“Project Cinco” huge 440 acres, data center draws power concerns

By Victoria Arredondo
Staff Writer
Stephanie Blanks of Go Medina informed the Natalia City Council about a huge project coming into the area called “Project Cinco.”
“All these projects have code names, they don’t reveal who the company is [and] there’s lots of nondisclosure agreements, basically it’s a data center that has purchased 440 acres that’s between Natalia and Lytle,” Blanks said. “When they’re done building and constructing everything, the estimate is probably about a 500 million dollar investment,” she said. “This is huge…

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NAPA to host two-day Grand Opening party in Devine this Friday & Saturday

By Victoria Arredondo
Staff Writer
Come join Napa Auto Parts as they host a grand opening ceremony for their third store located in Devine where attendees can enjoy free food Friday, April 26 and live music by The Solis Brothers, a car show, a bounce house and a drawing for prizes on Saturday, April 27.
Located on 202 E. Herring Ave. in the old fire station in downtown Devine, this free event will last from Friday and Saturday, April 26-27. Catered by Dirt Road Cookers, attendees will have a chance to try a slice of a 10 – 12 foot pizza!
They will begin serving pizza on Friday beginning at 11:30 a.m. until supplies run out.
There will be a tool tent sale. Gearwrench will also…

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Two big props put to Natalia ISD voters, bonds for classroom and athletic facilities

Voters in Natalia ISD will decide on two propositions. Natalia ISD will start Early Voting on April22 running through April 30th. Election Day will be May 4th. Here is a little about the two bonds totaling approximately $23 million.
Prop A is a $17,465,000 bond which will provide additions and updates to the Elementary some of which include new classrooms, library, life skills room, courtyard, front entrance and admin offices, and relocating the playground. It will also provide renovation of the…

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Property tax shortfall discussed by Devine city council

By Anton Riecher
Better understanding the intricacies of tax collection might have helped avoid a property tax shortfall that impacted the 2022-2023 city budget, Devine City Accountant Denise Duffy explained to the city council at its April 16 meeting.
“I know that one of your questions was on the property tax and why we had a shortfall on that,” Duffy said. “So we budget 100 percent of our property tax. We say we’re going to collect 100 percent. We actually collected 87 percent, roughly.”
The council questioned Duffy on the budget following the city’s recent official outside audit in which the city received an unmodified or “clean” opinion, the highest…

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A&M team working with Homeland Security to protect US food supply chain from threats

Safeguarding agricultural chains through research, innovation

By Susan Himes
The disruption of the food supply chain during the first few years of COVID made Americans aware of how critical the ability to move agricultural products reliably, safely and efficiently is, according to Texas A&M AgriLife experts.
A Texas A&M AgriLife-led team is doing their part to protect the U.S. food supply chain from future threats that are accidental, intentional or an act of Mother Nature. The project, Systematic Mapping of Cross-Border Threats to Enhance U.S. Agricultural Security, began…

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Voters face a mammoth $290 million bond issue in Medina Valley ISD

MVISD enrollment was at 3,870 just a little over 10 years ago, and is expected to explode to more than 18,000 within the next 10 years.

By Anton Riecher
In the Devine-Natalia-Lytle region, Medina County voters will decide on more than $54.4 million in bond issue proposals for their respective school districts this May. While certainly significant, that burden pales by comparison to what Medina Valley ISD alone is asking on its May ballot — $290 million.
MVISD board member Jason Bonney attributes the need to phenomenal expansion in enrollment experienced by the district.
“For the past few years we’ve had a crazy amount of enrollment and growth,” Bonney said. “We rank as the fifth fastest growing school district in Texas.”
The $290 million request comes only about a year after voters approved a $376 million bond issue for construction of a second high school and other district improvements, district superintendent Scott Caloss said in a video posted to the district’s website.
“In last year’s bonds we addressed the overcapacity at our high school,” Caloss said. “In this bond, we are having to address the capacities of our middle schools and elementaries.”
If approved, the new bond issue would cover the addition of a middle school and two elementary campuses, among other district improvements.
Medina Valley ISD covers 296 square miles of Medina and Bexar counties including the communities of Castroville, La Coste, Rio Medina, Dunlay and Mico. The district boasts more than 8,700 students distributed across eight campuses – five elementary schools, two middle schools, and one high school.
Despite the trumpeting of development along the Austin-San Antonio corridor, a generous amount of San Antonio’s metropolitan growth is moving west into Medina County. The county subdivision map displays an explosion of housing projects west of Loop 1604 bearing names such as Potranco West, Alsatian Oaks, Megan’s Landing and Hunter Ranch.
That expansion shows no sign of letting up. Only last March plans for a new $700 million subdivision between Castroville and San Antonio was announced. Add to this Microsoft’s new $1 billion data center just outside of Castroville and the result is a school district swamped by incoming families.
“Because the growth in the San Antonio-Bexar County area is so overwhelming the current middle schools and high school just cannot facilitate the number of students projected,” Bonney said. “We are projected to be at our maximum in our current middle schools and elementary schools by next year.”
As of 2023 district enrollment stood at 8,727 students, of which slightly more than 5,225 attend elementary schools. Even with a new elementary opening this fall, that attendance is expected to be over the district’s capacity by 2025-26. By 2028-29, elementary attendance is projected to reach 7,000 students.
The district’s middle schools, with slightly over 2,000 students in attendance, are also expected to be overcapacity by 2025-26. Middle school attendance is expected to hit 3,000 students by 2028-29.

Within a decade, total district enrollment is projected to swell by at least 1,000 new students, projections posted on the district’s website state.
While Texans continue to struggle with high property taxes, a key point in winning support for the MVISD bond issue is that no tax rate increase is tied to the latest bond proposal. Each new home sold increases the appraised value of the property it stands on, Bonney said.
The projection on population growth in the next few years stands at between 10 and 12 percent. That represents 14,000 new homes either…

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Lytle ISD Voters to decide on $20,650,000 Bond Election

At the January 22, 2024, Lytle Independent School District School Board meeting, the LISD Board of Trustees voted unanimously in support of a May 2024 Bond Election to address growth, renovations, new construction, and further supports academic opportunities for our Lytle community.
Major projects included in the proposed bond:
-Addition of 16 Classroom Spaces at Primary
-Gym Addition at Primary
-Parking Addition/…

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