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Edinburg EDC: Edinburg is one of only two major Valley cities which posted unemployment rates under six percent for June 2017

Featured: Several of the newest students of The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley’s School of Medicine go over paperwork during orientation on Wednesday, July 5, 2017 at the $54 million, 88,000-square foot Medical Education Building in Edinburg. UTRGV, with its main campus in Edinburg, and its School of Medicine are responsible for helping prepare an educated workforce for the city, the Rio Grande Valley, and Texas. The Edinburg Mayor, Edinburg City Council, and Edinburg Economic Development Corporation and its Board of Directors help lobby the Texas Legislature and the UT System Board of Regents on behalf of those two major institutions of higher education.

Photograph By PAUL CHOUY

Edinburg and McAllen were the only two major Valley cities which posted unemployment rates under six percent for June 2017, with the other large population centers ranging from 6.9 percent to 9.3 percent, the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation has announced. Edinburg, which had recorded the lowest unemployment rates among Valley cities in April and May 2017, came in at 5.9  percent for June 2017, based on preliminary figures released on Friday, July 21, 2017 by the Texas Workforce Commission. This latest data also showed that Edinburg saw a growth of 416 jobs when comparing the monthly totals of June 2017 (36,650) and June 2016 (36,234), according to the Edinburg EDC. For the past several years, Edinburg has registered the lowest or second-lowest unemployment rate among all Valley cities. McAllen, which came in with a 5.4 percent unemployment in May 2017, tied Edinburg for the best showing for that month. The continued growth of jobs in Edinburg is independently documented by the Texas Workforce Commission, a state agency with many key duties, such as maintaining and reporting on key trends in state and local economies, including unemployment rates and the number of people employed in cities. The Edinburg EDC, of which Gus García is Executive Director, is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg Mayor and Edinburg City Council. The Edinburg EDC Board of Directors is comprised of Mayor Richard García as President, Harvey Rodríguez, Jr. as Vice President, Elías Longoria, Jr. as Secretary/Treasurer, and Richard Ruppert and Dr. Peter Dabrowski as Members.Richard García and Gus García are not related. The unemployment rate is a key indicator of the strength of the local economy. The unemployment rate is the number of persons unemployed, expressed as a percentage of the civilian labor force, according to the Texas Workforce Commission. The civilian labor force is that portion of the population age 16 and older employed or unemployed. To be considered unemployed, a person has to be not working but willing and able to work and actively seeking work.

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Edinburg EDC: Dr. Havidán Rodríguez, UTRGV Provost and former member of the Edinburg EDC Board of Directors, appointed by New York Gov. Cuomo as President of The University at Albany

Featured at the podium is Dr. Havidán Rodríguez, founding Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs at The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, on Saturday, July 23, 2016, welcoming the UTRGV School of Medicine’s Class of 2020 for the inaugural White Coat Ceremony at the Performing Arts Center in Edinburg. Among the dignitaries who also participated in the South Texas landmark event were, front row, from left: Dr. Leonel Vela, then-Senior Associate Dean for Education and Academic Affairs; Dr. Guy Bailey, President of UTRGV; and UT System Chancellor William H. McRaven. Rodríguez, a former member of the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation Board of Directors, caught the attention of statewide leaders in higher education and state politics on the East Coast which resulted in the Wednesday, June 21, 2017 announcement by New York Gov. Mario Cuomo that the longtime Edinburg resident has been selected as the 20th president of The University at Albany. The appointment will take effect in mid-September.

Photograph By DAVID PIKE

Dr. Havidán Rodríguez generously credits the people of South Texas – including his colleagues on the Board of Directors of the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation — for helping prepare him to serve as the 20th president of The University at Albany in upstate New York. Rodríguez believes one of the strengths of his successful candidacy for the presidency of The University at Albany was his work on the Edinburg EDC Board of Directors from June 2013 through May 2015, which allowed him to develop expertise in municipal government, economic development, and state legislative affairs. “I think it was critically important because it got me, and it got UTPA (The University of Texas-Pan American), and later UTRGV, to remain connected to the city, and continued to fortify and strengthen the university relationships with the city,” he said. “We established great partnerships that benefited both the city and UTRGV, and especially the students. This was a fabulous experience in my professional development.” The Edinburg EDC Board of Directors is comprised of Mayor Richard García as President, Harvey Rodríguez, Jr. as Vice President, Elías Longoria, Jr. as Secretary/Treasurer, and Richard Rupert and Dr. Peter Dabrowski as Members. The Edinburg EDC, of which Gus García is Executive Director, is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg Mayor and Edinburg City Council. Mayor Richard García and Edinburg EDC Executive Director Gus García are not related. Gus García said Rodríguez’ efforts on behalf of the Edinburg EDC and UTRGV have been impressive and appreciated. “From working with the Edinburg EDC and the Edinburg City Council on its joint efforts that have brought hundreds of millions of dollars in economic growth to the community, to helping the city’s leadership on its pro-business and high quality-of-life strategies that have resulted for years in one of the lowest unemployment rates in deep South Texas, soon-to-be President Rodríguez has made his presence felt in these and many other ways,” Gus García said. Among their many duties, members of the Edinburg EDC Board of Directors attend board meetings and vote on key issues regarding job creation and social, cultural and economic development of the community. They, along with the Edinburg EDC staff, also visit with potential business investors and consultants who work in collaboration with the city, as well as facilitate and attend joint meetings with the university and the city’s key officials.

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Edinburg Economic Development Corporation reports $150.6 million in construction in city between January and May 2017, $50 million ahead of last year’s pace

Featured, from left: Roberto González, Publisher, Texas Border Business and Mega Doctor News; Peter Higgins, Managing Partner, Bob’s Steak & Chop House in Edinburg; and Juan Luis Mussenden, General Manager, Bob’s Steak & Chop House in Edinburg, on Thursday, June 22, 2017 inside the multi-million dollar, nationally-rated restaurant, which is one of dozens of construction projects valued at $1 million and higher that have been built in Edinburg during the past two years. Bob’s Steak & Chop House has scheduled its grand opening for the Valley for Friday, July 14, 2017, from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. It is conveniently located by Interstate Highway 69 (U.S. Expressway 281) at The Shoppes at Rio Grande Valley. More information is available online at https://www.facebook.com/bobsedinburg/. “I had the honor of visiting the new Bob’s Steak & Chop House in Edinburg during its preparation for their grand opening. The only comment I have is that the venue is a magnificent place to gather and dine. It will bring patrons from 250 miles’ radius to include South Texas and Mexico,” said González.

Courtesy Photograph

As Bob’s Steak & Chop House, one of the latest construction projects in Edinburg valued at $2.5 million, prepares for its grand opening on Friday, July 14, 2017, the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation announced that total construction activities in the city reached more than $150 million from January through May 2017, including $10.1 million for the month of May. The year-to-date figure of $150.6 million continues to outperform last year’s pace, when total construction in Edinburg for the first five months of 2016 had reached slightly more than $100 million. For the month of May 2017 – the latest figures available from the city – Edinburg saw construction permits issued for work valued at $10,186,236, with single-family homes and multi-family residences leading the way, at $4 million and $2.7 million, respectively. Those totals do not include the value of any building-related activities at The University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley and the UTRGV School of Medicine in Edinburg because the state government, not the city, oversees all construction at the Edinburg campus. As a result, the city – through its Code Enforcement Department – does not issue building permits for any construction work at UTRGV or its School of Medicine, or count the value of those activities in the city’s monthly and year-to-date figures. The Edinburg EDC, of which Gus García is Executive Director, is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg Mayor and Edinburg City Council. The Edinburg EDC Board of Directors is comprised of Mayor Richard García as President, Harvey Rodríguez, Jr. as Vice President, Elías Longoria, Jr., as Secretary/Treasurer, and Richard Ruppert and Dr. Peter Dabrowski as Members. Mayor Richard García and Edinburg EDC Executive Director Gus García are not related. In general, a building permit is legal permission given by the City of Edinburg, through the Code Enforcement Department, to erect, construct, renovate, maintain, or conduct any other specified activity on any building or structure, or on any installations or facilities therein. The term “building permit” includes but is not limited to building permits, electrical permits, mechanical permits, and plumbing permits.

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Edinburg EDC announces that for the second consecutive month, Edinburg posted the lowest monthly unemployment rate – 5.4 percent – among all Valley cities for May 2017

The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley has purchased this existing shell building on Crosspoint Boulevard in Edinburg to house the UTRGV School of Medicine Pediatrics Clinic. The sale was finalized in May and project completion is estimated for September 2017. The UTRGV School of Medicine was created in May 2013 through Senate Bill 24 by Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, D-McAllen, serving as the primary author, and Rep. René Oliveira, D-Brownsville, serving as primary sponsor. The rest of the Valley legislative delegation played key roles in the creation of the medical school in Edinburg, serving as joint authors and cosponsors of SB 24. The Edinburg Mayor, Edinburg City Council, and the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation and its Board of Directors lobby the Texas Legislature and the UT System Board of Regents on behalf of UTRGV in Edinburg and the UTRGV School of Medicine in Edinburg.

Photograph By PAUL CHOUY

Jobs in Edinburg’s medical and health care professions will continue to grow following news on Wednesday, June 14, 2017 by the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley School of Medicine that it will establish a Pediatrics Clinic in the community. Edinburg – which for numerous consecutive years has registered the lowest or second lowest unemployment rate among all Valley cities, for the month of May 2017 posted the best figure, at 5.4 percent, the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation has announced. This is the second consecutive month that Edinburg has posted the lowest unemployment rate in the Valley. The Edinburg EDC, of which Gus García is Executive Director, is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg Mayor and Edinburg City Council. The Edinburg EDC Board of Directors is comprised of Mayor Richard García as President, Harvey Rodríguez, Jr. as Vice President, Elías Longoria, Jr. as Secretary/Treasurer, and Richard Ruppert and Dr. Peter Dabrowski as Members. Richard García and Gus García are not related.

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As community continues to show positive growth, Edinburg EDC to hold monthly public meeting at noon on Friday, June 30, 2017 at City Hall

Featured: Dr. Steven Lieberman, Interim Dean of the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley School of Medicine in Edinburg, speaks to medical school residents during the Graduate Medical Education Program Orientation at the local campus on Thursday, June 22, 2017. The UTRGV School of Medicine was created in May 2013 through Senate Bill 24 by Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, D-McAllen, serving as the primary author, and Rep. René Oliveira, D-Brownsville, serving as primary sponsor. The rest of the Valley legislative delegation played key roles in the creation of the medical school in Edinburg, serving as joint authors and cosponsors of SB 24. The Edinburg Mayor, Edinburg City Council, and the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation and its Board of Directors lobby the Texas Legislature and the UT System Board of Regents on behalf of UTRGV in Edinburg and the UTRGV School of Medicine in Edinburg.

Photograph By PAUL CHOUY

As Edinburg continues to receive positive and independent reports on its growth – it posted the lowest unemployment rate (5.4 percent) in the Valley for May 2017 and was approaching more than $150 million in construction activities during the first five months of this year – the Board of Directors for the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation will meet in public on Friday, June 30, 2017, to review its strategies for more advances for the community. The session, which begins at noon, will be held in the City Council Chamber at Edinburg City Hall, located at 415 West University Drive. The Edinburg EDC, of which Gus García is the Executive Director, is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg Mayor and Edinburg City Council. The Edinburg EDC Board of Directors is comprised of Mayor Richard García as President, Harvey Rodríguez, Jr. as Vice President, Elías Longoria, Jr., as Secretary/Treasurer, and Richard Ruppert and Dr. Peter Dabrowski as Members. Mayor Richard García and Edinburg EDC Executive Director Gus García are not related. The Edinburg EDC Board of Directors’ agenda is posted online at: http://edinburgedc.com/meetings-agendas/.

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Edinburg EDC announces Texas Cook ‘Em, to be held June 30/July 1, 2017 at H-E-B Park, will help promote community as a major “Destination City”

Featured, from left: J.J. Flores, Vice Chair of Special Events, Edinburg Chamber of Commerce, and representing Chorizo de San Manuel; Gus García, Executive Director, Edinburg Economic Development Corporation; Letty González, President, Edinburg Chamber of Commerce; and Ronnie Larralde, Director of Marketing & Special Events, Edinburg Chamber of Commerce. The Edinburg EDC, which is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg Mayor and Edinburg City Council, presented a $10,000 contribution to the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce to help cover expenses for Texas Cook ‘Em – High Steaks in Edinburg barbecue cook-off, which takes place on Saturday, July 1, 2017, at H-E-B Park. The national-level barbecue competition will occur on the second day of the annual two-day event, which kicks off Friday evening, June 30, 2017 as part of the city’s Fourth of July festivities. “This event is great for Edinburg. It gives area residents a family-friendly event with entertainment for all,” said Gus García, Executive Director of the Edinburg EDC. “It also brings in so many visitors from outside the region and they too will get to enjoy this amazing venue. H-E-B Park has become a trending spot for the hottest events coming to the Valley and it’s right here in Edinburg. It’s such a versatile park and it’s great seeing it being used in so many different ways.” On Friday, music fans will be able to purchase tickets ($30 apiece) for a major concert, to begin at 6 p.m. at the outdoor amphitheater, that will feature two of Edinburg’s many talented musical performers – Matt and the Herdsman (http://www.mattandtheherdsmen.com), and Southern Ashes (https://www.facebook.com/SouthernAshesMusic/) – followed by two national headline groups: Los Lonely Boys LosLonelyBoys.com and then the Eli Young Band (http://www.cmt.com/artists/eli-young-band).

Photograph By JENNIFER CABRERA

Featured promoting Texas Cook ‘Em – High Steaks in Edinburg (Friday, June 30, 2017 and Saturday, July 1, 2017) during the Edinburg City Council meeting held on Tuesday, June 20, 2017, are, from left, front row: Marty Martin, Immediate Past Chairman of the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce, representing Rio Valley Realty; Letty González, President, Edinburg Chamber of Commerce; Alex Ríos, Chair-Elect, Edinburg Chamber of Commerce, representing Kids College Learning Center and the Office of State Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg; and J.J. Flores, Vice Chair of Special Events, Edinburg Chamber of Commerce, and representing Chorizo de San Manuel. Back row, from left: City Councilmember David Torres; City Councilmember Richard Molina; Mayor Richard García; and City Councilmember Homer Jasso, Jr. With more than 1,000 people from outside of the Valley anticipated to show up for the upcoming Texas Cook ‘Em – High Steaks in Edinburg barbecue cook-off, which takes place on Saturday, July 1, 2017 – along with several thousand more in attendance from the city and the Valley – the community will continue to sizzle as a Destination City, the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation has announced. Adding to the wow factor for residents and visitors, the gathering for the first time will be held at the recently-opened H-E-B Park, located at 1616 S. Raul Longoria Road, which boasts a $16.8+ million, 9,735-seat professional soccer stadium as part of the 37-acre site, a sprawling park with all amenities, an amphitheater with a capacity of 2,000 people, well-lighted parking, and security and medical personnel for major gatherings (http://www.hebparkrgv.com). Now entering its 12th year, Texas Cook ‘Em – High Steaks in Edinburg will provide $30,000 in cash prizes, with the top winner in the day-long barbecue competition that will be held all day Saturday to take home $2,000, and qualify for other nationally-sanctioned competitions later this year.

Photograph By RONNIE LARRALDE

Featured, from left: Ringo Garza, drums/vocals, Jojo Garza, bass guitar/vocals, and Henry Garza, guitar/vocals, of Los Lonely Boys, an American rock power trio of brothers from San Angelo, Texas, who play a style of music they call “Texican Rock n’ Roll,” combining elements of rock and roll, Texas blues, brown-eyed soul, country, and Tejano. They will perform from 8:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Friday, June 30, 2017 at the amphitheater of H-E-B Park in Edinburg as part of the two-day Texas Cook ‘Em – High Steaks in Edinburg, which includes the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation as a major sponsor of the annual event. Their debut single, “Heaven”, was a number-one hit on the Billboard adult contemporary chart and reached the top 40 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 2004. In 2009, they signed to Austin-based indie label, Playing in Traffic Records, and released an EP, “1969” and three albums under their LonelyTone imprint, Keep On Giving: Acoustic Live!, Rockpango, and their newest release, Revelation. The performances start earlier that evening, with Edinburg country music bands Southern Ashes kicking off the concert at 6 p.m., followed by Matt and the Herdsmen.

Courtesy Photograph

Featured, from left are the members of the Eli Young Band: Chris Thompson, drums: Mike Eli, vocals/guitar; James Young, lead guitar; and Jon Jones, bass guitar. The Eli Young Band (EYB) is the final act scheduled to headline the two-day Texas Cook ‘Em – High Steaks in Edinburg on Friday, June 30, 2o17, with the country music stars set to come on stage at the amphitheater at H-E-B Park beginning at 10 p.m. EYB’s hit singles have been awarded Billboard’s #1 Country Song of the Year and ACM (Academy of Country Music) Song of the Year, in addition to garnering EYB numerous nominations from GRAMMY (https://www.grammy.org/recording-academy/awards), CMA (Country Music Association), CMT (Country Music Television), and Teen Choice Awards. They have performed on NBC’s TODAY, Conan, Late Show with David Letterman, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel Live! and Fox & Friends. The Edinburg Economic Development Corporation is a major sponsor the Texas Cook ‘Em – High Steaks in Edinburg.

Courtesy Photograph

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Edinburg EDC reports that $5.4+ million Edinburg Transit Terminal will have far-reaching benefits not just for city, but throughout region

Featured, from left: Councilmember David Torres; Councilmember Richard Molina; Mayor Richard García; Elías Longoria, Jr., Secretary/Treasurer, Board of Directors, Edinburg Economic Development Corporation; Gus García, Executive Director, Edinburg Economic Development Corporation; and Richard Hinojosa, Edinburg City Manager. The area leaders were gathered on Thursday, May 11, 2017, for the groundbreaking of the multi-million dollar Edinburg Transit Terminal. The facility also will serve as the new headquarters for the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation. The Edinburg EDC, which is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg Mayor and Edinburg City Council, is led by a five-member Board of Directors which features Mayor Richard García as President, Harvey Rodríguez, Jr. as Vice President, Elías Longoria, Jr. as Secretary/Treasurer, and Richard Rupert and Dr. Peter Dabrowski as Members. Mayor Richard García and Gus García, who is the Executive Director of the Edinburg EDC, are not related.

Photograph By RONNIE LARRALDE

The promising future for the community continued moving forward on Thursday, May 11, 2017, with the groundbreaking of the multi-million dollar Edinburg Transit Terminal, the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation has announced. The 15,000-square-foot, two-story complex, located on a 1.2 acre tract donated by the Edinburg EDC, will serve as a home for Valley Metro, which is the publicly-owned bus service for deep South Texas that is administered and operated by the Lower Rio Grande Valley Development Council. Valley Metro’s increased presence in Edinburg will have far-reaching benefits not just for the city, but throughout the region, according to local and area leaders. One of the many key needs the Edinburg Transit Terminal will fulfill when it opens for business in early 2018 will be to help handle the thousands of vehicles that converge into and near the city’s downtown during the work week.

Artist’s Rendition Courtesy of NEGRETE & KOLAR ARCHITECTS, LLP

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Sweeping reform by Rep. Canales of unfair system that annually jails hundreds of thousands of poor Texans for traffic tickets is signed by Gov. Abbott

Featured: Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg, looks out at the Texas Capitol grounds in Austin as he handles calls from constituents during a break from legislative debate on the floor of the Texas House of Representatives earlier this spring 2017.

Photograph By HOUSE PHOTOGRAPHY

Gov. Greg Abbott on Thursday, June 15, 2017, approved House Bill 351 by Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg, which will help do away with a decades-old injustice which results in hundreds of thousands of Texans going to jail every year because they are too poor to pay fines for traffic tickets and other Class C misdemeanors. HB 351 was one of 12 measures passed by Canales which were approved by the Texas Legislature and the governor following the five-month regular session, which ended on Monday, May 31, 2017. Those 12 now-enacted state laws covered a wide range of issues, from protecting veterans and victims of family violence, to advancing medical education, creating more jobs, and promoting open government. In addition, Canales also served as a joint author or co-author of 24 other bills. The legislator who files a bill and guides it through the legislative process is the author (also called the primary author). The Senate allows multiple primary authors for each bill or resolution. The House of Representatives allows only one primary author, the house member whose signature appears on the original measure and on the copies filed with the chief clerk. Both chambers also have coauthors, and the house of representatives has joint authors. Canales said HB 351 represents a “sweeping reform” of the state’s criminal justice system. “In Texas, at the rate we are going, we were going to eventually be throwing a million poor people in jail every year for failure to pay tickets, fines and fees arising from court cases,” explained the House District 40 lawmaker, who is an attorney. “We have too many Texans statewide who are struggling to pay rent and groceries, then they wind up getting ticketed and getting jailed for the most minor offenses, such as traffic violations.” For Class C misdemeanors, there is no jail time, and the fine is limited up to $500. But a person can be put in jail for not paying the fines, and other related costs, such as failure to appear in court. Canale added that the border of jailing all these people for petty crimes ultimately falls on the shoulders of taxpayers. “This whole system of putting poor people in jail has become a convenient cash cow for our government, which wants to squeeze money out of indigent Texans,” he said. “HB 351 provides a much better way for minor offenders to pay their debt to society without unjustly putting them behind bars.” Canales is the primary author of HB 351 while Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, D-McAllen, by carrying HB 351 in the Senate, is the primary sponsor of the legislation. The measure, which won final support in the House of Representatives on a huge, bipartisan vote of 132 Yeas, 11 Nays, and 2 Present, Not Voting.

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Rep. Canales’ plan to do away with “debtors prisons” for poor people who can’t pay traffic fines and other minor offenses approved by Texas Legislature and on its way to Gov. Abbott

Featured: Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg, and Rep. Barbara Gervin-Hawkins, D-San Antonio, during a meeting at the Capitol of the Jurisprudence Subcommittee on Asset Forfeiture on Wednesday, March 29, 2017.

Photograph By HOUSE PHOTOGRAPHY

State lawmakers on Friday, May 26, 2017, approved House Bill 351 by Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg, which will help do away with a decades-old injustice which results in hundreds of thousands of Texans going to jail every year because they are too poor to pay fines for traffic tickets and other Class C misdemeanors. Canales said HB 351 represents a “sweeping reform” of the state’s criminal justice system. “In Texas, at the rate we are going, we were going to eventually be throwing a million poor people in jail every year for failure to pay tickets, fines and fees arising from court cases,” explained the House District 40 lawmaker, who is an attorney. “We have too many Texans statewide who are struggling to pay rent and groceries, then they wind up getting ticketed and getting jailed for the most minor offenses, such as traffic violations.” For Class C misdemeanors, there is no jail time, and the fine is limited up to $500. But a person can be put in jail for not paying the fines, and other related costs, such as failure to appear in court. Canales added that taxpayers wind up paying more because through the costs it takes to look after people who are in local jails for petty crimes. “This whole system of putting poor people in jail has become a convenient cash cow for our government, who want to squeeze money out of indigent Texans,” he said. “HB 351 provides a much better way for minor offenders to pay their debt to society without unjustly putting them behind bars.” Canales is the primary author of HB 351 while Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, D-McAllen, by carrying HB 351 in the Senate, is the primary sponsor of the legislation. Hinojosa, also an attorney, agreed with the need for Canales’ legislation. “Our current system is counter-productive, and it traps people into a cycle of debt when they cannot pay their tickets and other low-level, fine-only citations. Our current practice also leads to license suspensions and arrest warrants,” said Hinojosa. “In 2015, fines in over 677,00 cases were satisfied through jail credit and over 230,000 Texas were unable to renew expired licenses until their fines and fees were paid off.” HB 351 allows courts to ask about a defendant’s ability to pay during the sentencing phase, Hinojosa explained. “After making that determination, courts would be allowed to reduce or waive fines and costs and offer community service as an alternative. In 2015, judges resolved fine-only cases with community service just 1.3 percent of the time,” Hinojosa said. “HB 351 seeks to put the justice system’s time and resources to more efficient use by holding people accountable while saving money and increasing public safety.”

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Edinburg Economic Development Corporation reports $140+ million in construction activities in city during the first four months of 2017

Featured, from left: William Brock, Chief Medical Officer, South Texas Health System; Richard Hinojosa, Edinburg City Manager; Roxanne Godínez, Chief Executive Officer, Cornerstone Regional Hospital; Jennifer Garza, Chief Executive Officer, Edinburg Regional Medical Center/Edinburg Children’s Hospital, and Member, Board of Directors, Edinburg Chamber of Commerce; Anthony De Luna, TIS Total Imaging Solutions; Mayor Richard García; Precinct 4 Hidalgo County Commissioner Joseph Palacios; Cat Domian, Chief Nursing Officer, Edinburg Regional Medical Center/Edinburg Children’s Hospital; and Councilmember Richard Molina, Member, Board of Directors, Edinburg Chamber of Commerce. The group was on hand on Tuesday, May 23, 2017 for the groundbreaking of the $8.6 million STHS ER (medical emergency room), located in north Edinburg.

Photograph By RONNIE LARRALDE

Days after South Texas Health System held a groundbreaking on Tuesday, May 23, 2017, of its multi-million dollar, stand-alone STHS ER (medical emergency room) to be built in north Edinburg, the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation announced that total construction activities in the city reached more than $140 million from January through April 2017, including $23.1 million for the month of April. The year-to-date figure of $140.4 million continues to outperform last year’s pace, when total construction in Edinburg for the first four months of 2016 had reached almost $82.1 million. For the month of April 2017 – the latest figures available from the city – Edinburg saw construction permits issued for work valued at $23,146,234, with multi-family residences and single-family homes leading the way, at $11.8 million and $6.3 million, respectively. The building permits do not include the value of the land for the homes and buildings. Those totals do not include the value of any building-related activities at The University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley and the UTRGV School of Medicine in Edinburg because the state government, not the city, oversees all construction at the Edinburg campus. The Edinburg EDC, of which Gus García is Executive Director, is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg Mayor and Edinburg City Council. The Edinburg EDC Board of Directors is comprised of Mayor Richard García as President, Harvey Rodríguez, Jr. as Vice President, Elías Longoria, Jr., as Secretary/Treasurer, and Richard Ruppert and Dr. Peter Dabrowski as Members. Mayor Richard García and Edinburg EDC Executive Director Gus García are not related.

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