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Mabton launching summer programs for youngsters

MABTON – In response to concerns by parents in the community there is a lack of things for their children to do, the Mabton City Council last night agreed to fund a park and recreation program this summer.

Mabton initially planned to hire one college summer intern to help with office staffing. Tuesday night, council approved Mayor Mario Martinez’s proposal to hire two summer interns who will spend a portion of their time organizing summer programs for children in the community.

Martinez said there were a number of applicants for what was initially a single summer post, but he said two candidates stood above the rest. Both are UW students, with one from Mabton and the other from Sunnyside.

He declined to identify who the two are until he first officially offers them the jobs.

Martinez said the two college interns will spend their mornings helping with office tasks, such as scanning city regulations onto the city website, then in the afternoons organize activities in local parks.

The program will not be just sports-related, Martinez emphasized, but will include arts and crafts, as well as activities that encourage science and technology education.

Cost for the additional college intern will be $4,473. Also, Martinez said there will be expenses incurred for equipment related to the summer program.

Councilwoman Sophia Sotelo questioned whether it was wise to spend the extra funds, concerned the city was trying to take on too much at one time.

Councilwoman Vera Zavala replied that much is being asked of citizens in terms of hikes in water and sewer rates to help fund system improvements. “What are we giving back to the citizens?” she asked.

Martinez said this summer’s program is running on a trial basis and will be reviewed. In addition, the two interns will appear before council at various times to report on youth programs.

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