Mission, Texas Brain

Thursday, August 20, 2015

What A Storm

We had quite a light show and hail last night. There was some destruction, but not like other times. Electric service was affected in some areas. 

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

A Visit to Ice House

Today I visited Ice House, which is a family owned business in Mission. Ice House has been around for years; but like many things, I never made the time to stop by and check it out, even if it's right there. The Statue of Liberty probably has the same issue with resident New Yorkers.

Today, being my birthday, I went out with my Mother, whose birthday was yesterday, to have a beer. She asked where we should go. We've gone to some other places in the past; but, being a lazy summer, it seemed better to go somewhere nearby. Ice House is just a few blocks away.

I suggested we check out the Ice House. I had known from others that the Ice House mostly caters to older people, especially during Winter Texan season. But, I think this is inaccurate.

As we entered the bar, we did see that there were several older people, likely retirees around the place. But, Ice House is more than that to me in the sense that it is reminiscent of some of the bars up in Wisconsin and pubs in the UK. You would feel perfectly fine taking your family to a pub. It's a place to have drinks, eat something, and socialize.

Bars in the RGV are more suited to getting plastered and making Neanderthalish attempts at attracting mates. The Ice House, on the other hand, is much calmer and friendlier. Given the older customer base, all that pretense of the youth is long gone. Sometimes you want to sit down and have a beer in peace.

My mother liked the place. I don't think it's half bad. I would certainly go back again. I don't know that I would take my family, although it would be a suitable establishment. The establishment accommodates smoking, which could be problematic for my young ones. This could be easily solved by sitting in the outdoors area; but, in 103 degree weather, that's unlikely.

In any case, I can see the appeal of Ice House for our Winter Texan population. The establishment is very reminiscent of bars up north. In addition, they don't have to deal with young trouble makers.

I think I will visit again.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Business Spotlight: Abel Riojas Photography

If you are looking for professional family and commercial photography in Mission, Texas, then be sure to visit Abel Riojas Photography. Abel Riojas had years of commercial photography and video experience before opening up his own studio.

Abel Riojas focuses on quality rather than churning out work in volume. There are plenty of photographers who will do countless glamour shots at discounted rates; but, they do not achieve the same degree of quality and composition that Abel can achieve. There is a big difference between taking technically correct photos and taking fabulous photos. Abel Riojas manages to hit both targets. The result is sharp images that are also emotionally moving.

Emotional impact is precisely why Abel Riojas recommends that professionals should have current head shots. Normally, you would have a head shot if you were a model or actor. However, according to Abel, customers do business with you, not your business. Your image is extremely important, especially if you are going to put it on your website, business card, or other marketing material. He emphasizes that a great head shot can go a long way towards building trust with your customers.

In addition to amazing portraits, Abel Riojas has a growing business in drone photography. Although initially reluctant to branch off from portrait photography, which he does best, his family convinced him to give drones a try. Abel purchased his first drone and taught himself how to operate it.

Soon after, word spread of his new drone photography service. Realtors were the first to jump at the opportunity to hire Abel for site surveys and aerial shots of properties. Prior to Abel's drone, the Realtors would have had to hire a plane and a photographer willing to dangle out the side of an open plane door to take the photo. Hiring Abel to do drone photography is less costly, is faster, and provides a better image of the property being surveyed.

You can visit Abel Riojas Photraphy online at http://www.abelriojas.com (you should definitely visit the site), or in person at 2715 E Griffin Parkway in Mission, Texas. You could call Abel Riojas at 956-624-4042 to inquire more about his services. Be sure to mention MissionTexas.net when he asks how you found out about his work.

Sunday, August 09, 2015

Last Week's Buenas Tardes Luncheon

Last Wednesday, I made the time to head over to the +The Greater Mission Chamber of Commerce monthly Buenas Tardes Luncheon at the Cimarron Country Club. The guest speakers at the luncheon were the school superintendents of +Mission CISD+La Joya ISD, and +Sharyland ISD. I'm late writing about it because. . ., nevermind that.

You would expect such an event to by your typical stuffy event composed of people in suits and controlled speeches meant to not offend anybody or cause controversy. I must say that the event was pleasantly surprising, entertaining even.

The panel consisted of, all Doctors by the way, Ricardo Lopez (Mission CISD), Alda Benavides (La Joya ISD, and brand spanking new Robert O'Connor (Sharyland ISD).

They were very open to sharing their views on what the districts face in the coming year. Dr. Benavides was very candid in talking about how competition with charter schools has been a good thing for public schools, requiring them to do a better job of educating students. Her view is that charter school competition is an opportunity to improve rather than a threat to public education.

Dr. Lopez was frank about sharing some of the budgetary challenges that schools face when the legislature sets money aside, but then adds many extra unfunded requirements while cutting budgets elsewhere.

Dr. O'Connor is the new kid on the block. He stated that he doesn't have statistics to offer, we'll have to wait until next year. However, he did share that his focus this year will be building his team, which is understandable. There have been some politica going on over at Sharyland ISD in recent years, which tends to inhibit teamwork. Best of luck.

The only other thing of note is that Alex Meade of the Mission Economic Development Corporation shared the success of their Code the Town initiative geared towards fostering an environment for students to learn how to program. Many of the high paying jobs of the future will consist of software development for all manner of uses from websites, robotics, corporate networks, to gaming. Mission EDC is getting statewide and national recognition for the effort, which is unlikely for a small town such as ours.

Tuesday, June 02, 2015

Bats in Mission, Texas

The other night while walking at dusk around Oblate Park in Mission, I saw some fluttering up above. I thought perhaps it was a bird. However, as the creature's silhouette passed by a lighter backdrop, I saw that it was a bat.

Since, these aren't Medieval times, I was a little fascinated and amused to see bats fluttering around in circles. Presumably, they are catching insects. With all the rains these past few weeks, the mosquitoes and other bugs are abundant. Of course, that means a feast for bats.

The only other place I have seen bats in Mission is at the Rio Grande Valley Bentsen State Park. During a Creatures of the Night tour, the park Rangers took our group up to a skywalk that oversees the trees. While up there, the Rangers had a device that could make the bat ultrasonic clicks audible to us. The Rangers would also shine a light on the bats for us to see.

Out in the wild, it is not too difficult to imagine that the bats may find somewhere to roost, if that's the proper word. However, within the Mission city limits, I have to wonder where these bats might be staying? It's possible they sleep in somebody's shed or attic. I would hate to be the person who discovers bats in their residence, complete with bat droppings.

Bats are a mixed blessing, one supposes. On the one hand, they help us keep the insect population under control. On the other hand, they aren't exactly the type of creature you want nesting around you.

Be sure to visit Oblate Park or Bentsen Park if you want to see bats fluttering around.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Hazy Days of Mission, Texas

Driving home one day, I was struck by how hazy the air is on hot and humid days. It gets like this especially with all the rain that we have been getting. It is also pleasing to see everything green.

Monday, May 04, 2015

Beer Variety in Mission

If you are one to shop around for new flavors of beer in Mission, Texas, then there really are only a handful of places to shop. Specifically, you'll hit HEB or Walmart. Convenience stores for the most part stick to the usual big brands, adding the occasional apple ale or, rarer still, an import.

My neighborhood HEB, on Conway Avenue and Business 83 does not offer too much beer variety. Instead they stock plenty of the national brands with a few of the other varieties. The wine section at this store is not too great either.

Your next best bet is the new Neighborhood Walmart that went up on Bryan Road and Business 83. What you may like about that Walmart is that you can create a 6 pack of an assortment of pre-selected beers for a flat price. This is a good deal if you are one to want to taste a variety of beers. The wine selection at the Walmart is much larger than Mission HEB #1.

Mission HEB #2, located on Griffin Parkway and Conway Ave offers a much better beer selection than the previous two stores. You will find the occasional oddball beer at this store, which you should probably snatch up before it is no longer offered. They offer just enough variety to keep you coming back to check for more. Their wine selection is comparable to the Neighborhood Walmart.

Having mentioned wines, the Walmart Supercenters in Palmhurst and Sharyland have about an equal wine selection to the last two stores mentioned. However, they lack the beer variety, stocking mostly national brands in large quantities.

In Mission, Texas, the place you want to go for uncommon beer varieties is the HEB on Shary Road, off the frontage road to Expressway 83. The Sharyland HEB offers a plethora, yes Guapo, a plethora, of beers. You will find all kinds of local, domestic,and imported beers. There is even a section in the cooler for 1 liter bottles of oddball beers from all over the world. Obviously, the beers cost more, so you would drink them for the joy of drinking different beer rather than simply getting plastered. Of course, the wine selection at the Sharyland HEB is not too bad either.

There is another fancy pants-ish HEB in Palmhurst; but, that store serves a completely different market. It's like walking into another world. The beer variety isn't worth the extra drive. I know, 2 miles won't kill you; but, it will waste your time.

None of these stores would obviously replace a well-managed and located liquor store, of which there are a few in town. However, they will make your love of beer and wine affordable and sufficiently varied for a while.

If you need to find something new with the least amount of seeking, then head straight to and the Sharyland HEB or at least the Mission HEB #2. Those are your best bets.


There is now the Whistling Duck bar near Griffin Parkway and Stewart Road where you can find a good variety of beers on tap.

Monday, February 16, 2015