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Francisco G. Cigarroa, M.D., Chancellor of the University of Texas System (featured third from right) on Friday, August 17, 2012 was welcomed at the UT Regional Academic Health Center in Edinburg by UT, Edinburg and state leaders, including Mayor Richard García and Rep.-elect Terry Canales, D-Edinburg. Cigarroa announced plans to significantly expand medical education in South Texas and graduate the first class of medical school students in the region in 2018. “On behalf of The University of Texas System Board of Regents, I am honored to make two announcements. First, the year 2018 will be a very special year for all of us. It will be the year that we graduate our first class of medical school students in South Texas,” said Cigarroa. “Second, we are beginning the transition of the UT Health Science Center – San Antonio Regional Academic Health Center—known as the RAHC – into an independent, freestanding, comprehensive and research intensive regional medical school, with its own president and structure, for South Texas.” Cigarroa outlined a blueprint that he developed in coordination with UT System Chairman of the Board of Regents Gene Powell and Regent Robert Stillwell, Chairman of the Health Affairs Committee. The plan was developed to bring the new South Texas medical school to life, and it addresses a significant list of past commitments and future steps to move the project forward. Featured, from left: Harlingen Mayor Chris Boswell; retiring Rep. Aaron Peña, Jr., R-Edinburg; Sen. Eddie Lucio, Jr., D-Brownsville; Chancellor Cigarroa; Mayor García; and Rep.-elect Canales. See story later in this posting.

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Sen. Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa, D-McAllen, featured here in mid-August at the McAllen Convention Center as the keynote speaker during the summer graduation ceremony for the University of Texas-Pan American, is hailing a federal court ruling on Thursday, August 30, that overturned the state’s so-called "Voter ID Law". The measure, made possible last spring with the passage of Senate Bill 14, popularly known as the Voter ID Law, does disenfranchise certain segments of the voting-age population in Texas, the Washington, D.C. federal court ruled. "From the day this legislation was filed we voiced as loudly as we could that Voter ID legislation is designed to stop minorities and the indigent population from exercising their constitutional right to vote," said Hinojosa. Under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, any changes to the elections process in Texas must be approved by the United States Department of Justice before it can be implemented. See story later in this posting.

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South Texas state and congressional leaders on Wednesday, August 15, saluted retiring U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, for the work she has done  on behalf of the state, including help secure federal funding for the new McAllen VA Outpatient Clinic. Hutchison was addressing more than 100 Valley veterans and other local leaders during the groundbreaking of the new 58,500 square-foot medical facility, set to open late next summer, which will improve services to McAllen area by providing extended primary care services and outpatient specialty care. Featured, from left: Rep. Sergio Muñoz, Jr., D-Mission; Sen. Eddie Lucio, Jr., D-Brownsville; Congressman Henry Cuellar, D-Laredo/McAllen; Congressman  Rubén Hinojosa, D-Mercedes, and Sen. Hutchison. See story later in this posting.

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With area students of all ages returning to school for the fall semester, the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation on Friday, August 10, organized a Back to School Runway Show, featuring fashions being sold locally by Wal-Mart, Bealls, and Kenya Rose. Young women with Missy’s Modeling Studio showcased the latest back-to-school styles as part of iShop Edinburg’s ongoing campaign at the monthly Jardín Del Arte’s Summer Nights Jazz Series 2012, held free-of-charge and open to the public, at the City Hall Courtyard, 415 West University Drive. The modeling show, live music, and other activities – which showcased more than 20 artists and artisans, and food from local vendors – drew hundreds of area residents. Musical performances were delivered by Del Viento, and Bongo Bob & The Bobaloos. Among the other local talent featured at the event were: Benjamin Varela; Anna Varela; Celerrino Castillo; Rubén Ríos; Julián Rodríguez; Raúl Treviño; Ramón Vela; Ernesto Gómez; Lupe Vázquez; Raquel Hinojosa; Isis D. Camarillo; Paul Valadez; Martha Hinojosa; and Anna Ramírez – Robot Annie. Jardín Del Arte is organized by the EEDC, which is the jobs creation arm of the Edinburg City Council. The City of Edinburg and the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce also are sponsors of Jardín Del Arte and iShopEdinburg.

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The Edinburg Cultural Activities Board along with Edinburg Arts recently made a connection between the Evins Regional Juvenile Center in Edinburg and the Emmanuel Project. The Emmanuel Project provides art supplies and creative learning materials for incarcerated youth ages 12 to 21 to help engage them in academics and facilitate success in the classroom. The project is named after Emanuel Martínez, a master painter and sculptor, and includes a customized mural for each center in which 80 percent is painted by the center’s youth. “The Arts can improve the quality of life in our community as they lift our spirits and touch our deepest emotions, as well as teach us to appreciate all cultures and traditions. The Arts are a vital component of our children’s education because they inspire and expand the creative mind, and promote development of analytical and critical thinking skills," Guerra said. "The Arts sustain and preserve the heart and soul of our civilization, and, in short, the Arts make us better people." She continued, "We are very happy to have facilitated this opportunity for the inmates in the Evins Regional Juvenile Center, with the hope of touching and possibly transforming a young life in Edinburg. These are the types of projects that the Edinburg Cultural Activities Board strives to bring to our community." Featured, posing in front of the working mural earlier this summer, are, from left: Dr. Dahlia Guerra; Emanuel Martínez; Letty Leija; and Ronaldo Chávez, the principal at the Evins Regional Juvenile Center. See story later in this posting.

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Ladies, come out and enjoy an evening of shopping, dinner, cocktails, pampering, silent auction and a Men’s Style Show comprised of local business and community leaders on Thursday, September 27, at La Antigua Revilla in Edinburg from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. The Women’s Committee of the Rio Grande Valley Hispanic Chamber of Commerce has scheduled this event to raise funds for their upcoming Women’s Conference. Enjoy yourself as you get pampered with free massages, nail color change, make up makeover’s and new hair do’s. RGVHCC male board members will be bartenders and butlers to the ladies present. The Men’s Style Show will be coordinated by Debi Lou Productions. They will be showcasing casual, sport, business, western and formal wear. Ladies will have the opportunity to take pictures with the popular men. Several single and eligible models will be auctioned off for Dinner Dates hosted by several restaurants in the Valley. Tickets for the fundraiser are $25 each, and $300 for a reserved table of 10. Sponsorships of $3,000, $2,000, $1,000 and $500 are also available. Sponsorships include reserved tables in priority seating, ads in the program book and a vendor table. For more information call the RGVHCC office at 928-0060. Helping promote the fundraiser with Cynthia M. Sakulenski, the president and CEO of the RGV Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, are some of the male models. Featured, from right; Sergio Contreras, ATT; Ray Cantú, Frank Smith Toyota; Johnny R. Cavazos, Johnny’s BBQ; Cynthia M. Sakulenzki; Emilio de los Santos, Lone Star National Bank; J.C. Cervantes, Pangea Floor Covering; and Joe Smith, L3 Technologies.

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The Miss Edinburg 2013 Scholarship Pageant is accepting applicants for the Saturday, October 6 pageant, which will be held at the historic City Auditorium, located at 415 W. McIntyre, next to Edinburg City Hall. Registration is officially underway and will take place until the end of September. "We are looking forward to our upcoming pageant and are very excited to meet all interested applicants. Miss Edinburg and Miss Teen Edinburg 2013 will receive a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to serve their community with honor by promoting different events throughout Edinburg and the Rio Grande Valley," said Minerva Olivarez, Pageant Director. Featured promoting the pageant are, from left: Imelda Rodríguez, Director of Tourism, Edinburg Chamber of Commerce; Rachel Tunberg, Miss Teen Edinburg; Letty González; President, Edinburg Chamber of Commerce; Miranda Gracia, Miss Edinburg; and Minerva Olivarez, Pageant Director. See story later in this posting.

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The Rio Grande Valley Hispanic Chamber of Commerce is well underway in preparing for the annual “Hispanic Heritage Fiesta & Cook Off” that is scheduled for Friday, November 9 and Saturday, November 10 at the Mercedes Livestock Show Grounds. The Cook Off is a Sanctioned IBCA Cook Off with cash prizes over $10,000.  Besides the sanctioned chicken, brisket and ribs, additional categories that can be entered into are Pan de Campo, Fajitas, Chef’s Choice and Beans. Cooking Teams can register for $200 and pick their cooking spot on a first come first serve basis. Other new events that will occur this year are a Chihuahua Race, Jalapeno Eating Contest, Horseshoe Toss and Chihuahua Costume Contest.  The popular Kiddie Cooking Contest,  Biker Poker Run & Field Events hosted by SPI BikeFest and Kiddie Land will return. Car dealerships will also display some of their new vehicles as well as compete in a Car Dealership Cook Off.  Live entertainment from popular local bands will also be on stage all day Saturday. For information on the Fiesta & Cook Off call the RGV Hispanic Chamber at 928-0060. Featured working on the event details are, seated, from left: Lee Cabrera, Marti Miller and John Kowalski. Standing, from left: Anthony Covacevich, Cynthia M. Sakulenzki and Ronnie Bernal.

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Hidalgo County Clerk Arturo Guajardo, Jr. and his Office of Records Management were recognized by the members of Hidalgo County Commissioners’ Court for receiving a national "Best Practice" Award by the National Association of County Records, Election Officials and Clerks (NACRC). The achievement, which was announced by the NACRC at their annual conference held in July, recognizes the County Clerk’s Office for their newly implemented program, "Records Management: Record, Retain, Recycle," which began with the initiative to reduce overcrowding, manage bulk paper waste, and promote environmental preservation of the county’s records management system. As the program evolved, the County Clerk’s Office successfully included a county-wide recycling strategy that is both efficient and effective, resulting in a tremendous environmental impact as well as a revenue-making stream. Featured, from left: Hidalgo County Judge Ramón García; Precinct 3 County Commissioner Joe M. Flores, Armando Pérez, a staff member with the Office of Records Management; Hidalgo County Clerk Arturo Guajardo, Jr.; Precinct 2 County Commissioner Héctor "Tito" Palacios; and Precinct 1 County Commissioner Joel Quintanilla. See story later in this posting.

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Congressman Rubén Hinojosa, D-Mercedes, on Friday, August 10, announced that $129,534,387 in disaster recovery funds were awarded to several counties, a city and to the Lower Rio Grande Valley Development Council through the Texas Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recover Grant and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). "This funding will help thousands of people by upgrading their quality of life when it comes to health and safety," said Hinojosa. "We are still recovering from the effects of Hurricane Dolly, which hit the Rio Grande Valley in 2008 and caused severe wind damage and flooding. This grant award is very much needed and appreciated." According to Wikipedia, Hurricane Dolly – which hit the Valley and deep South Texas in 2008 – was the third most powerful hurricane to hit the U.S. in the month of July in recorded history, behind a storm in 1916 and Dennis in 2005. Dolly was also the second most destructive U.S. hurricane in July, behind Dennis. See story later in this posting.

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Following banner years for Edinburg school district, Robert Peña, Jr., files for reelection for Place 4 seat on school board

By DAVID A. DÍAZ

Following yet another banner year for the Edinburg school district, which has seen its academic achievements and campus system continue to increase – without raising its property tax rate – Robert Peña, Jr., 45, has filed for reelection for a four-year term as Place 4 trustee on the Edinburg school board.

"Since my first election in 2007, I have successfully worked with the leadership of the school district, and especially with our tremendous administrators, faculty, and staff, to continue to build Edinburg into one of the best education systems in Texas," said Peña. "South Texas is blessed with many great things, and the Edinburg school district is one of the best resources we have, not only for the outstanding education of our children, but for the continued economic growth and high quality-of-life in our region."

Peña is a native son of Edinburg and local businessman with interests throughout the Valley. He is co-owner of Texas Energy Consultants, which he founded as a start up in 2001 in Edinburg. Peña is a former U.S. Marines platoon sergeant, whose nine-year military career included service in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Iraq during the first Persian Gulf War.

His immediate family includes his wife, the former Dora Denise González, a banker with Security First Credit Union; one son, Joshua A.; parents, Roberto and Maria Teresa Peña; sister and brother-in-law Norma and Óscar Villarreal; nephews Anthony and Joseph; niece Elizabeth; sister Anabelle Garza; nephew Steven; sister and brother-in-law Nelda and Luis Landeros; and sister Genoveva Peña.

In addition to his local and regional accomplishment, Peña was elected in June as secretary of the National Association of Latino and Appointed Officials (NALEO), a leadership organization for more than 6,000 Hispanic elected and appointed public leaders.

Peña said his successes in the business and public service arenas provide voters, who will cast their ballots in the November 6 presidential election, with a proven track record of his career on the seven-member Edinburg school board.

"There is no substitute for experience, and as an incumbent, voters know what I have done and where I stand on issues that are vital to them and our students," Peña said. "The bottom line is the Edinburg school district is second-to-none in Texas, and I have the independent, pro-education, and pro-taxpayer voting record to help us become even better."

In the latest school budget, approve by Peña and his fellow school board trustees, the Edinburg school district property tax remained the same, and at $1.23 per $100 assessed valuation, it remains one of the lowest among South Texas school districts. In addition, the school district, following the direction of the school board, has built healthy financial reserves that will pay for a two percent across-the-board pay raise for all employees while protecting key programs and services from anticipated state budget cuts.

"In any economy, saving money is the same as making money, and our school district has done a great job of protecting the hard-earned taxes of our community," Peña said.

He said he favors setting up a system of auditors in the school district to help identify new ways to save money for taxpayers, as well as to prevent any possible misuse of public funds.

"The Edinburg school district has a larger budget than Hidalgo County government, and Hidalgo County has twice as many employees, but we don’t have any auditors," Peña said. "Adding auditors to our administrative team deserves a close look. The role of auditors, such as with Hidalgo County, is to help our top leadership develop an even better financial management system, and by doing so, eliminate waste and duplication of services, and stop any potential fraud."

Among his other priorities for the coming year and in a new term are:

  • Maintain discipline in classrooms and public safety on campuses to help guarantee a safe learning environment for teachers, staff, and students;
  • Continue promoting parental involvement in the school district, including, as a school board member, maintaining that standard by remaining accessible to all constituents;
  • Continue building a healthy surplus in the district’s budget so vital programs and services can continue even if the Texas Legislature approves more cuts in public education funding;
  • Develop a master plan that includes partnerships with other local governments, including the City of Edinburg, on projects of mutual benefit, such as parks, infrastructure, legislative initiatives, and cracking down on the threats of child predators;

Peña noted other successes for the school district while he has served on the school board, including:

• In 2005, the district had 11 “Recognized” campuses and 15 “Acceptable” campuses. After Peña was elected to the school board, the district made significant improvements. For 2010 – 2012, the Texas Education Agency recognized 13 campuses at “Exemplary”, 19 as “Recognized”, and six as “Acceptable”.

• In May 2008, Edinburg voters overwhelmingly approved a $112 million school bond issue to build new schools, make additions and renovations.  Those projects, which have now been completed and financed without a property tax increase, involved:

•• Four new elementary schools;
•• Two new middle schools;
•• Converted Harwell Middle School to Robert Vela High School, which is the district’s fourth high school;
•• Added three muti-purpose fine arts centers –  one at Edinburg High School, Economedes High School, and Edinburg North High School. Robert Vela High School has a cafetorium which is a large room designed for use as a cafeteria and an auditorium;
•• Made additions and renovations to Brewster Elementary School; and
•• Set aside money for future land acquisition for new schools.

According to the school district, other gains made during Peña’s service on the board include:

• Received a rating of “Superior Achievement” under the Financial Integrity Rating System of Texas (FIRST) for the ninth consecutive year;

• Adopted a balanced budget in 2011-2012 despite state cuts to education and without any employee layoffs;

• Gave an across-the-board $500 stipend to all district employees in December 2011;

• Reversed a $4 million deficit in the district’s self-funded insurance plan within first year and built a surplus of $15.8 million;

• Opened $5 million Instructional Technology Building;

• Secured a "Safe Routes to School Grant,” a joint project with Hidalgo County and the cities of Edinburg and McAllen to build sidewalks for schools;

• Received $2 million Cool Schools Grants to replace air conditioner in elementary and secondary schools and save the district $237,000 in energy costs; and

• Received the Texas Fitness Now Grant to purchase equipment for the Physical Education classes at middle schools

ECISD has 42 campuses consisting of 31 elementary schools, six middle schools, four high schools, a dropout recovery school, and an alternative school. The fourth high school – Robert B. Vela High School – opened in early August.

(Political Ad paid for by Robert Peña for ECISD School Board, Place 4, P.O. Box 1847, Edinburg, Texas 78540)

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Edinburg school district releases contact information for school board candidates

Contact information, including the placement of names on the ballot, of the incumbents and candidates for the November 6 Edinburg school board races, on Monday, September 3, were released by the Edinburg School District.

Three of the seats are up for election, including Place 4, Place 6, and Place 7, which are currently being held by Robert Peña, Jr., Carmen González, and Ciro Treviño.

Their names, by placement on the ballot, along with key contact information, follow:

PLACE 4

Alex José Ríos
2720 Phoenix St.
Edinburg, Texas 78541
E-Mail: alexríos1980aol.com
(O) 956/451-7452
Profession: Businessman

Alfredo Salinas
1124 West Rogers Rd.
Edinburg, Texas 78541
E-Mail: Alfr.salinas@gmail.com
(O) 289-2575
(C) 956/393-0265
Profession: School Administrator

Robert Peña, Jr. (I)
1112 Loyola Dr.
Edinburg, Texas 78541
E-Mail: ROBJRPENA@gmail.com
(C) 956-207-3644
Profession: Self-Employed

Irma Estela Salazar-Peña
1422 Heritage Oaks
Edinburg, Texas 78539
E-Mail: iepeña@yahoo.com
(O) 380-4141
(C) 956/929-1948
Profession: Social Worker

PLACE 6

Carmen González (I)
902 W. Ebony Drive
Edinburg, Texas 78539
(C) 956/207-7493
(H) 383-8219
Profession: Retired Educator

Xavier Salinas
515 Shortline St.
Edinburg, Texas 78539
Profession: Executive Director
(O) 969-6795
(C) 956/207-8727

PLACE 7

Jaime R. Solis
13504 Stags Leap
Edinburg, Texas 78541
E-Mail: JRSOLIS2@yahoo.com
Profession: Pharmacist
(O) 630-5500
(C) 956/655-2192

Ciro Treviño (I)
1206  S. 7th St.
Edinburg, Texas 78539
Profession: Retired
(956) 457-2659

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Heavy equipment dealer HOLT CAT to invest up to $8 million for plant facility in Edinburg

By DAVID A. DÍAZ

HOLT CAT, the authorized dealer for Caterpillar machines and engines throughout Texas, on Tuesday, August 28, announced that it would be constructing its largest facility in deep South Texas on a 35-acre site in north Edinburg.

The private investment will range between $7 million and $8 million, which will be pumped into the renovation of 20,000 square-feet of existing buildings at the site, plus into 30,000 square-feet of new construction that will house a repair shop, parts department, and offices.

Once open for business, HOLT CAT plans to have a workforce of 60 skilled employees with hourly wages of up to $29 per hour plus benefits.

The new HOLT CAT facility in Edinburg, which will be located about nine miles north of Edinburg by the southbound lanes of U.S. Expressway 281, will focus on sales and repairs of large equipment, featuring the world-famous Caterpillar and AGGO brands.

Caterpillar is the world’s leading manufacturer of construction and mining equipment, diesel and natural gas engines, industrial gas turbines and diesel-electric locomotives.

AGGO features heavy farm equipment, such as tractors, combine harvesters, application equipment, and power generation systems for agricultural interests.

HOLT CAT, which is the largest Caterpillar dealer in the United States, is owned by Peter M. Holt,
who is best known by Texans as the chairman, CEO, and owner of Spurs Sports and Entertainment, which owns the four-time NBA champion San Antonio Spurs, the WNBA’s San Antonio Silver Stars, the AHL’s San Antonio Rampage, and the NBA Development League’s Austin Toros.

HOLT CAT has an established presence in Hidalgo County, with its Holt Truck Center in Edinburg, which is a truck and RV center for South Texas, and with HOLT CAT in Weslaco, which sells, services and rents heavy equipment for construction, earth moving, mining, industrial and petroleum industries.

Tony Shedrock, Vice President, General Services for HOLT CAT, appeared on behalf of Peter Holt before the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation during the public portion of its regularly monthly meeting, which was held at noon on Wednesday, August 28, at Edinburg City Hall.

The EEDC is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg City Council.

Shedrock updated the EEDC Board of Directors about his company’s plans and vision about expanding their presence in the city.

"We are getting ready to start the design process, and takes about three months before we bid it out," Shedrock said after his presentation. "The construction would take about six to seven months to complete."

He emphasized that the new facility is "much more than a minimum wage company. Once open, we will have field service technicians, shop technicians, parts and sales managers and staff. We are a company that pays well for what we do."

Shedrock said the population growth of the region, plus the improving highway and roadways systems in the Edinburg area, are among the factors that led HOLT CAT to expand in Edinburg.

"We looked at what is coming in the future in the Valley, such as the development of Interstate 69, the planned Hidalgo County Loop, and we already have many customers, contractors, and rock quarries that are down here," Shedrock said. "They all use our equipment and they are some of our major customers."

A quarry is a type of open-pit mine from which rock or minerals are extracted, according to Wikipedia. Quarries are generally used for extracting building materials, such as dimension stone, construction aggregate, riprap, sand, and gravel. They are often collocated with concrete and asphalt plants due to the requirement for large amounts of aggregate in those materials. The word quarry can include underground quarrying for stone, such as Bath stone.

Interstate 69 is the planned transformation of several key South Texas highways, including U.S. Expressway 281, to link up with the national interstate system that will allow non-stop direct movement of personal and commercial vehicles between Edinburg, key Mexican cities, and major U.S. cities in northern states.

The Hidalgo County Loop is a planned $700 million project, slated to take a decade or more, designed to shuttle commercial trucks away from population centers while reducing the time it takes for them to travel with their freight to, from, and through Hidalgo County. When completed, the northern portion of the Hidalgo County Loop would link up with U.S. Expressway 281 north of Edinburg.

Shedrock said HOLT CAT maintains the highest standards for its employees and in dealing with the communities in which they are located.

"What people need to know is that HOLT CAT is a value-based company, that we really believe in doing the right thing at the right time. We really believe in being a good corporate citizen.  That means a whole lot to Peter Holt, our owner, that we are good corporate citizen," Shedrock said. "We want to do the right thing for us and the right thing for everybody around."

Mayor Richard García, who also serves as president of five-member EEDC Board of Directors, echoed the satisfaction by his colleagues on the EEDC governing board and the city council for successfully recruiting the new HOLT CAT complex.

"We are in negotiations with about 50 other companies," García revealed about ongoing EEDC efforts to bring more employers to the city.

Then, addressing Shedrock, García acknowledged, “Your business especially is a feather in our hat.”

The Edinburg Economic Development Corporation is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg City Council. It’s five-member governing board, which is appointed by the Edinburg City Council, includes Mayor Richard García as President, Dr. Glenn Martínez as Vice-President, Fred Palacios as Secretary-Treasurer, Felipe García, and Jaime A. Rodríguez. For more information on the EEDC and the City of Edinburg, please log on to:  http://www.EdbgCityLimits.com

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Store openings at The Shoppes at Rio Grande Valley adding boost for Edinburg’s economy

By DAVID A. DÍAZ

With more store grand openings scheduled this fall for the latest additions at The Shoppes at Rio Grande Valley, Edinburg’s retail economy is predicted to continue strengthening, including maintaining its second-best ranking, based on the generation of the sales tax, among all cities in Hidalgo County.

Only McAllen, the longtime retail sales leader in South Texas with double Edinburg’s population, remains ahead of Edinburg in this important economic indicator, according to the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts.

Through the first six months of 2012, Edinburg’s retail economy generated almost $11 million in revenue from its sales tax, which represents combined money from the city’s 1.5 cent local sales tax and the half-cent economic development sales tax, which is administered by the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation.

The sales tax is used statewide by local governments to help fund their operating budgets. In the case of Edinburg, a portion of the local sales tax revenue is used by the EEDC, which is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg City Council, to help pay for vital economic development projects.

In its most recent update, released in early August, the state comptroller’s office reported that the following amounts of local sales tax revenue have been raised between January 1 and June 30 of this year:

• McAllen: $40,158,804,51;
• Edinburg: $10,992,724.19
• Mission: $9,783,235.41;
• Pharr: $8,800,115.43; and
• Weslaco: $7,289,052.70.

Brownsville, the Valley’s most populous city, has seen its retail economy generate more than $22.5 million in local sales tax during the first half of 2012, while Harlingen reports more than $13.8 million raised in local sales taxes during the same period, according to the comptroller’s office.

Edinburg’s positive retail showings come as more new businesses are set to come online, particularly at or near The Shoppes at Rio Grande Valley, which is building on its earned reputation as one of the premier shopping venues in deep South Texas.

Formal ceremonies celebrating additions to The Shoppes at Rio Grande Valley have or will take place, including for Big Lots, Burkes Outlet, and Party City. During the past few months, GNC, Petcos, Anna’s Linen, and Melrose Family Fashion have celebrated their respective grand openings.

These seven latest tenants are part of a 90,000-square-foot expansion, known as the West Wing, that has allowed The Shoppes at Rio Grande Valley to approach 440,000-square-feet in size – almost halfway to what will eventually become a 1.1 million square-foot retail outdoor shopping mall.

Plans to expand by 90,000 square-feet were first announced in the spring of 2011 by First Hartford Realty Corporation of Manchester, Connecticut, which is the developer of the shopping center.

Mayor Richard García, who also serves as the president of the EEDC’s five-member governing board, said the West Wing addition has pumped in several million dollars more in construction activities for the local economy.

"Not only does The Shoppes help generate millions of dollars annually in local sales taxes for our community, along with payrolls for more than 100 full-time and part-time employees, this latest round of expansion represents about $4.3 million in new construction," the mayor noted.

The growth of The Shoppes at Rio Grande Valley also is drawing other retail investments, García added.

Shavi Mahtani, president of Auriel Investments of McAllen, is completing work on Trenton Park Plaza, which is located on the south side of The Shoppes at Rio Grande Valley.

Restaurants Siempre Natural, Wingstop, and Pizza Hut, along with telecommunication retail stores Cricket and Sprint, as well as Sally Beauty Supply and EZ Cuts, plus Fiesta Auto Insurance are among the tenants at Trenton Park Plaza. Those outlets are scheduled to open by the end of the year.

Also nearby is the new Bert Ogden Infinity dealership, set to open in September, which represents an almost $1 million investment for its construction, according to the city’s Code Enforcement Department, which issues building permit for all construction activities in Edinburg.

The Edinburg Economic Development Corporation is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg City Council. It’s five-member governing board, which is appointed by the Edinburg City Council, includes Mayor Richard García as President, Dr. Glenn Martínez as Vice-President, Fred Palacios as Secretary-Treasurer, Felipe García, and Jaime A. Rodríguez. For more information on the EEDC and the City of Edinburg, please log on to:  http://www.EdbgCityLimits.com

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Sen. Hinojosa praises federal court ruling throwing out Texas’ Voter ID Law

By DAVID A. DÍAZ

Sen. Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa, D-McAllen, on Friday, August 31, praised a decision issued on August 30 by a three-member federal court in Washington, D.C. which threw out a recent state law that would require voters to present a photo identification before being able to vote in person.

That controversial state law, made possible in 2011 by the Republican-controlled Texas Legislature,
is more commonly known as the "Voter ID Law".

The federal court’s ruling found the the Voter ID Law disenfranchises certain segments of the voting-age population in Texas.

"From the day this legislation was filed, we voiced as loudly as we could that Voter ID legislation is designed to stop minorities and the indigent population from exercising their constitutional right to vote," said Hinojosa.

Under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, any changes to the elections process in Texas must be approved by the United States Department of Justice before it can be implemented. See story later in this posting.

“We find that Texas has failed to make this showing — in fact, record evidence demonstrates that, if implemented, SB 14 will likely have a retrogressive effect,” the three-judge panel wrote in their opinion. “Given this, we have no need to consider whether Texas has satisfied Section 5’s purpose element. Accordingly we deny the state’s request for a declaratory judgment.”

Gov. Rick Perry and Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, both Republicans, criticized the ruling and vowed to appeal it to the U.S. Supreme Court.

“Chalk up another victory for fraud,” Perry said. “Today, federal judges subverted the will of the people of Texas and undermined our effort to ensure fair and accurate elections. The Obama administration’s claim that it’s a burden to present a photo ID to vote simply defies common sense.”

Abbott contended the state’s Voter ID Law will be approved by the U.S. Supreme Court, of which a majority of the justices are appointees of Republican presidents.

"The Supreme Court of the United States has already upheld Voter ID laws as a constitutional method of ensuring integrity at the ballot box," Abbott said. "Today’s decision is wrong on the law and improperly prevents Texas from implementing the same type of ballot integrity safeguards that are employed by Georgia and Indiana – and were upheld by the Supreme Court. The State will appeal this decision to the U.S. Supreme Court, where we are confident we will prevail."

Hinojosa said the state law was designed to restrict people’s right to vote.

"This decision by the federal court shows that SB 14’s intent was to restrict the voting power of the rapidly growing minority Hispanic population in Texas. I will continue to fight against passage of Voter ID legislation in the Texas Senate," said Hinojosa. "Our society was founded on the fundamental principle that all people should have an equal voice in governance. Voter ID legislation undermines this very principle that the founding fathers stood for."

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Sen. Hinojosa receives statewide honor for work on behalf of home health care services

By JENNIFER SÁENZ

Sen. Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa, D-McAllen, a long-time supporter and friend of the Texas Association for Home Care and Hospice (TAHC&H), was presented with the People’s Choice Award at the organization’s annual meeting on Wednesday, August 15, in Galveston.

The award is presented each year to a visionary and highly principled lawmaker who has introduced bills that would enhance the quality of life for Texans through home care services and who works against those changes which would have an adverse effect on the quality of care and services provided.

Hinojosa expressed his appreciation for the award and remarked on the importance of cooperative efforts to meet Texas’ growing health care needs.

"I am extremely grateful for TAHC&H’s generosity in honoring me with this award. Significant challenges continue to face lawmakers in health care policy today and collaborative efforts are needed to recognize and solve barriers in providing quality care," said Hinojosa. "I want to thank TAHC&H for their hard work in supporting the growth of much-needed home care services and in their ability to partner with lawmakers to work effectively and successfully."

TAHC&H has championed the collective interests of Texas home care agencies, organizations, service and supply companies, and individual professionals since its founding in 1969.  Representing over 1,300 members, TAHC&H speaks with a strong unified voice for the interests of home care throughout Texas and gives home care providers a strategic pathway to key state lawmakers and health care regulators.

"Sen. Hinojosa’s prudent actions during the 82nd session of the Texas Legislature regarding funding for community care programs and home care rates will ensure the continuation of cost-effective support of home care clients of all ages. The admirable efforts of him and his staff to serve as a resource to health care providers and their clients in his district and throughout the state merit this prestigious award," said Rachael Hammon, Executive Director of TAHC&H.

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Congressman Hinojosa announces $129 million federal grant to help victims of Hurricane Dolly

By PATRICIA GUILLERMO

Congressman Rubén Hinojosa, D-Mercedes, on Friday, August 10, announced that $129,534,387 in disaster recovery funds were awarded to several counties, a city and to the Lower Rio Grande Valley Development Council through the Texas Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recover Grant and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

"This funding will help thousands of people by upgrading their quality of life when it comes to health and safety," said Hinojosa. "We are still recovering from the effects of Hurricane Dolly, which hit the Rio Grande Valley in 2008 and caused severe wind damage and flooding. This grant award is very much needed and appreciated."

According to Wikipedia, Hurricane Dolly – which hit the Valley and deep South Texas in 2008 – was the third most powerful hurricane to hit the U.S. in the month of July in recorded history, behind a storm in 1916 and Dennis in 2005. Dolly was also the second most destructive U.S. hurricane in July, behind Dennis. It also marked the fastest start of a hurricane season since 2005. Dolly’s estimated damage in Texas was $1.05 billion which made it the 4th most destructive Texas hurricane on record (based on total cost), behind Hurricane Alicia, Hurricane Rita, and Hurricane Ike later in 2008.

The federal funding secured by Hinojosa will be distributed accordingly:

$122,034,387 was awarded to the Lower Rio Grande Valley Development Council and will be used for the Non-Rental Housing Assistance Program. The funds will provide homeowner rehabilitation and reconstruction assistance activities for households, including Homeowner Opportunity Program (HOP). All households served through this program must be low and moderate income families. The grant also includes the use of Non-Rental Homebuyer Assistance Program, Non-Rental Rapid Housing Recovery Pilot Program and Multi-Family Rental Housing Units. This part of the grant will serve 815 households.

$4,500,000 was awarded to Hidalgo County and will be used to construct a drainage channel to direct storm water to a primary drainage channel to reduce flooding from storm water in Hidalgo County between Edcouch and La Villa. The funding will also be used to improve canals, irrigation and drainage to prevent flooding in Hidalgo County between Alberta Road and Owassa Road 3/4 of a mile east of Tower Road. This project should benefit over 50 residents.

$1,000,000 was awarded to Brooks County for regrading, realigning and widening of roadside drainage ditches in the Cantú Addition and the Los Olmos South Drainage Improvements area. The project includes the replacement of culverts. These projects should benefit approximately 183 residents.

$1,000,000 was awarded to Jim Wells County to be used to remove and replace culverts, resurface crossings, repair driveways in order to ensure proper disposal of storm water and reduce flooding. These improvements will be made at Lattas Creek on McMasters Road and on Gulf Street (Ditch and Storm Sewer) from Eva Street to Range Street and on to Lattas Creek. Over 500 residents will benefit from this project.

$1,000,000 was awarded to the City of Falfurrias for various repairs and replacement of drainage pipes, culverts, the excavation of roadside ditches and pavement repair. The project will improve the drainage capacity within the storm sewer and increase the efficiency of water drainage. The project will take place on several streets in the Cibolo Creek area. This project should benefit close to 1,000 people.

The grant funds are made available from the 2008 Supplemental Community Development Block Grant associated with the Consolidated Security, Disaster Assistance, and Continuing Appropriations Act which was appropriated by Congress through HUD.

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Edinburg Arts instrumental in bringing Emmanuel Project, which provides artistic outlets and academic successes to incarcerated youths, to Evins Regional Juvenile Center

By EVANA VLECK

The Edinburg Cultural Activities Board along with Edinburg Arts recently made a connection between the Evins Regional Juvenile Center in Edinburg and the Emmanuel Project.

The Emmanuel Project provides art supplies and creative learning materials for incarcerated youth ages 12 to 21 to help engage them in academics and facilitate success in the classroom. The project is named after Emanuel Martínez, a master painter and sculptor, and includes a customized mural for each center in which 80 percent is painted by the center’s youth.

Last spring, Dr. Dahlia Guerra, Dean of Arts and Humanities at the University of Texas–Pan American (UTPA), received a phone call from the Emmanuel Project’s representative asking for help in connecting with a local center. Guerra immediately thought of Edinburg Arts and its mission “to preserve, promote, develop and encourage the community’s cultural expression and enhance the quality of life in the City of Edinburg” and thought it would be a great opportunity to enhance the life of the ERJC youth through the artistic expression.

Guerra connected the Emmanuel Project with Letty Leija, City Liaison to the Edinburg Cultural Activities Board, who phoned the Evins Regional Juvenile Center and set up a meeting between the principal and the Emmanuel Project members. From there a mural was born and now a hallway of vibrant colors brings the juvenile center to life with a vivid color palette. It all came about through the hard work, passion, and dedication of Emanuel Martínez and a group of students enrolled at the Evins Regional Juvenile Center who helped turn the gray walls into a lively work of art.

The Emmanuel Project describes endless opportunities through art: Youth incarcerated in the juvenile justice system can develop important skills and a sense of self-respect and responsibility that will help them become good decision makers as they transition into the next phase of their lives.

The Art for Kids Emmanuel Project helps introduce young inmates to the transformative power of art by providing art supplies and creative learning materials. The project’s vision is to inspire them to recognize their potential and commit to new educational and career aspirations.

Guerra – sister to Edinburg Mayor Richard García – is also Chair for the Edinburg Cultural Activities Board. She explains the importance of art in the community.  

“The Arts can improve the quality of life in our community as they lift our spirits and touch our deepest emotions, as well as teach us to appreciate all cultures and traditions. The Arts are a vital component of our children’s education because they inspire and expand the creative mind, and promote development of analytical and critical thinking skills," Guerra said. "The Arts sustain and preserve the heart and soul of our civilization, and, in short, the Arts make us better people.

We are very happy to have facilitated this opportunity for the inmates in the Evins Regional Juvenile Center, with the hope of touching and possibly transforming a young life in Edinburg. These are the types of projects that the Edinburg Cultural Activities Board strives to bring to our community,” she added.

For more information on the Cultural Activities Board and Edinburg Arts, please call 956/383-7124 and log onto http://www.edinburgarts.com .

According to the Texas Juvenile Justice Department and the Evins Regional Juvenile Center:

The Evins Regional Juvenile Center (ERJC) is a facility of the Texas Juvenile Justice Department, a state government entity whose mission is to establish a cost-effective continuum of youth services that emphasizes keeping youth in their home communities while balancing the interests of rehabilitative needs with public safety.

The Evins Regional Juvenile Center, located at 3801 East Monte Cristo Road in north Edinburg, is a fenced, high-security facility that first opened in 1990 and expanded in 1997.

The main focus at Evins Regional Juvenile Center is on public protection – through rehabilitation. Youth are encouraged to earn a GED and some are in the program long enough to obtain a regular high school diploma. The facility’s educational department also offers career and technology training in building trades, computer applications and technology programs.

(David A. Díaz contributed to this story.)

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Congressman Cuellar helps breaks ground on planned McAllen VA Outpatient Clinic

Marking a milestone in his continued efforts to promote the accessibility of health care services to local veterans, Congressman Henry Cuellar, D-Laredo/McAllen, on Wednesday, August 15, attended the groundbreaking ceremony for the new McAllen VA Outpatient Clinic.

The clinic will be twice the size of the existing McAllen VA Outpatient Clinic and will improve services to McAllen area veterans by providing extended primary care services and outpatient specialty care. 

U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, Congressman Ruben Hinojosa, D-Mercedes, Rep. Sergio Muñoz, Jr., D-Mission, Sen. Eddie Lucio, Jr., D-Brownsville, and McAllen City Commissioner Jim Darling also attended the ceremony.

“Ensuring that veterans have access to the care and benefits they have earned has been one of my highest priorities as both a state representative and a Member of Congress, and I am very proud to have played a role in the expansion of the McAllen VA Outpatient Clinic.  The large geographic area of Hidalgo County places difficult travel barriers between many veterans and full service hospitals, which makes outpatient clinics like this one all the more important,” said Cuellar.  “I congratulate the VA and the City of McAllen and all who have worked together to make this important milestone in the expansion of regional veteran health care services possible.”

The new McAllen Outpatient Clinic will replace the current 27,000 square foot facility with a new 58,800 square foot facility.  The expanded facility, which is expected to open in late summer 2013, will provide extended primary care services and outpatient specialty care. The construction project is expected to create 217 construction jobs.

“Today marks an important milestone in keeping our promise to our nation’s Veterans by ensuring they have the best health care second to none,” said Larry Biro, VISN 17 Network Director.  “I would like to thank our Congressional delegation for their continued support of the VA Mission and especially to our Veterans.”

“I am truly excited about this important project for our McAllen area Veterans,” said Robert M. Walton, Director, VA Texas  Coastal Bend Health Care System (VATVCBHCS). “Doubling the size of the McAllen VA Outpatient Clinic will allow us to maintain and expand VA health care services, and those two goals are very important to our Rio Grande Valley Veterans and very important to me.”

The new facility will be located at the intersection of North McColl Road and East Hackberry Avenue in McAllen.

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UT System leadership announces plans to expand regional academic health centers into full-fledged medical school in the Valley

By RANDA S. SAFADY

University of Texas System officials on Friday, August 17, announced plans to significantly expand medical education in South Texas and graduate the first class of medical school students in the region in 2018.

The plans were made public by UT System Chancellor Francisco G. Cigarroa, M.D., at a news conference in Edinburg. In May, the UT System Board of Regents authorized future steps that will ultimately culminate in an independent, freestanding, comprehensive and research-intensive regional medical school in South Texas.

“On behalf of The University of Texas System Board of Regents, I am honored to make two announcements. First, the year 2018 will be a very special year for all of us.  It will be the year that we graduate our first class of medical school students in South Texas,” Cigarroa said. "Second, we are beginning the transition of the UT Health Science Center – San Antonio Regional Academic Health Center — known as the RAHC – into an independent, freestanding, comprehensive and research intensive regional medical school, with its own president and structure, for South Texas,” Cigarroa said.

Cigarroa outlined a blueprint that he developed in coordination with UT System Chairman of the Board of Regents Gene Powell and Regent Robert Stillwell, Chairman of the Health Affairs Committee. The plan was developed to bring the new South Texas medical school to life, and it addresses a significant list of past commitments and future steps to move the project forward. Excerpts from the blueprint include the following:

• The expansion of medical education and research initiatives will draw upon more than $79 million in infrastructure and other resources previously invested by the Texas Legislature and UT System in Cameron, Hidalgo, Starr and Willacy counties. The facilities include three buildings currently organized and operated under The University of Texas Health Science Center – San Antonio Regional Academic Health Center – a medical education building and an academic and clinical research building in Harlingen and a medical research building in Edinburg – along with a building in Brownsville for the school of public health under the University of Texas Health Science Center – Houston.

• Within the past year the UT System Board of Regents invested an additional $30 million in South Texas to increase residency programs, support biomedical programs in obesity and diabetes, recruit exceptional faculty, build a clinical simulation facility, enhance the UTeach program to develop more graduates in math and science, and fund more science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) programs.

• Additionally, the Legislature contributes $10.8 million in recurring annual financial support through general revenue appropriations to support the medical and research divisions of the Regional Academic Health Campus.

• An extraordinary number of other assets currently exist that support the enhancement of medical education and research, including nursing, physician assistant, and other health professional educational programs at UT Pan American, clinical rotations by 100 Health Science Center San Antonio students with more than 250 volunteer faculty, indications from hospitals in the region to support almost 100 additional medical residency programs, and more.

By 2018, the freestanding medical school will:

• Increase the number of physicians and health professionals in South Texas
• Expand residency slots
• Expand and develop additional health science research and discoveries to improve health and attract research funding; and
• Promote technology transfer and commercialization to enhance economic development

In his remarks, Cigarroa described how the UT System will utilize the strength and assets of UT Health Science Center-San Antonio (UTHSC-SA) in much the same way that in 1959 UTHSC-SA used the strength of UT Southwestern at Dallas and the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston to get its medical school off the ground. 

Cigarroa predicted that the state would expect the same long term success of the South Texas medical school as has been by experienced by UTHSC-SA, as well as the contribution to the economic vitality of the Rio Grande Valley as has been experienced by San Antonio.

“As a native of South Texas, I know how important it is to increase the number of physicians and health care providers in a region of our state that has been historically underserved,” UT System Board Chairman Powell said.

“Nationally, more than 70 percent of physicians typically end up practicing medicine in the same region where they graduated. We must do everything possible to ensure we provide excellent medical education opportunities to our students in South Texas, and we must complement that with a commitment to improve the delivery and quality of health care,” added Powell. 

“In 2010, I stated my commitment to plant a larger University of Texas System flag in South Texas,” Chairman of the Board of Regents’ Health Affairs Committee Robert L. Stillwell said. “I am extremely proud the UT System will marshal its considerable financial and human capital in the region to incentivize future collaborations among our health and academic institutions, bolster research and commercialization efforts, and spur regional economic development in the Rio Grande Valley by establishing a freestanding medical school.”

In his remarks, Cigarroa also gave credit to the legislators who have worked so hard to provide the statutory foundation for the medical school, most recently in 2009 with passage of Senate Bill 98, authored by Senator Eddie Lucio, Jr., along with Senator Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, D-McAllen, and Senator Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo, and sponsored in the House by Representative Eddie Lucio III, D-San Benito. which authorized the creation of The University of Texas Health Science Center – South Texas.

Moving forward, the UT System will continue to work with local hospitals to increase the number of residency programs within Cameron, Hidalgo, Starr and Willacy counties. Additionally, System officials will work with state leadership – Governor Perry, Lt. Governor Dewhurst and Speaker Straus – along with the Texas Legislature and community organizations in these counties to increase funding and support for these programs and the new medical school.

Most importantly, the UT System will join together with a regional coalition of community leaders and stakeholders to work to successfully transition the Regional Academic Health Center into the free-standing, comprehensive, research intensive medical school the Rio Grande Valley deserves.

“We are here now and for the long-term. Now is the time to realize this dream,” Cigarroa said in his closing.

Educating students, providing care for patients, conducting groundbreaking research and serving the needs of Texans and the nation for more than 130 years, The University of Texas System is one of the largest public university systems in the United States, with nine academic universities and six health science centers. Student enrollment exceeded 215,000 in the 2011 academic year. The UT System confers more than one-third of the state’s undergraduate degrees and educates nearly three-fourths of the state’s health care professionals annually. The UT System has an annual operating budget of $13.1 billion (FY 2012) including $2.3 billion in sponsored programs funded by federal, state, local and private sources. With roughly 87,000 employees, the UT System is one of the largest employers in the state.

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UT-Pan American awarded $1.3 million grant for Upward Bound Math and Science Program, says Congressman Rubén Hinojosa

By PATRICIA GUILLERMO

Congressman Rubén Hinojosa, D-Mercedes, on Thursday, August 30, announced that a $1,312,500 grant was awarded to the University of Texas-Pan American by the U.S. Department of Education for the Upward Bound Math & Science Program (UBMS). The grant will budget $262,500 each year over a five-year period.

"The UBMS program hosted by UTPA has a long and excellent track record of being essential in assisting students to reach their goals of enrolling and completing a higher education," said Hinojosa. "Federal funding through these grants helps our students and our communities and the fact that UTPA was awarded this grant shows their constant commitment to our region."

The UBMS program is designed to strengthen the math and science skills of participating students. The goal of the program is to help students recognize and develop their potential to excel in math and science and to encourage them to pursue postsecondary degrees in math and science, and ultimately careers in the math and science profession.

Participants must be potential first-generation college students, low-income individuals, or individuals who have a high risk for academic failure and have a need for academic support in order to attain higher education.

UBMS program services include, in part, academic tutoring, preparation for college entrance exams and information of federal student financial aid programs.

UBMS projects include, in part, intensive instruction in mathematics and science, including hands-on experience in laboratories, in computer facilities, and at field sites.

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County honors Hidalgo County Clerk’s Office, led by Arturo Guajardo, Jr., for prestigious Best Practice Award from national association

By KARINA CARDOZA

The National Association of County Recorders, Election Officials and Clerks (NACRC) recently awarded the Hidalgo County Clerk’s office with a Best Practice Award for Outstanding Records Management. The honor was announced by the NACRC on July 13 at their annual conference, and Hidalgo County Clerk Arturo Guajardo, Jr. and his staff were recognized for their achievement on Tuesday, August 7, by the Hidalgo County Commissioners Court.

The award recognizes the Hidalgo County Clerk’s Office of Records Management for their newly implemented program titled “Records Management: Record, Retain, Recycle.”

The office began the initiative with the goals to (1) Reduce overcrowding, (2) Manage bulk paper waste, and (3) Promote environmental preservation of the county’s records management system. As the program evolved, the County Clerk’s Office successfully included a county-wide recycling strategy that is both efficient and effective. Above all, it has become a leading initiative for the County’s “green” and “sustainable” future as well as, a leading model for other counties and government entities.

There were numerous challenges facing such an enormous paper waste management system for Hidalgo County, and Guajardo and his team were able to develop an innovative solution to address the need and created a successful recycling program that has not only cleaned up the County’s records, but also revolutionized the way in which the records are disposed of. This initiative funnels paper waste from numerous county departments to the Office of Records Management for official processing and storage before going to a final stage in which the outdated records are recycled.

The recycling stage of the process is what makes this program so remarkable. Not only does the program reduce overcrowding, manage paper waste, and promote environmental awareness, but it also provides a mechanism for the recycled materials to be sold creating an average revenue stream of $220.77 monthly for the county. Furthermore, since the implementation of the program in January 2010, the environmental impact resulting from the program has been credited as saving 1,619 trees and 679,241 gallons of water as well as earning just over $3,000 in excess revenue for the county.

More information on the NACRC or its “Best Practice” Award are available at its website:

http://www.nacrc.org/best-practices.

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Applicants being accepted for Miss Edinburg 2013 Scholarship Pageant set for October 6

By RONNIE LARRALDE

The Miss Edinburg 2013 Scholarship Pageant is accepting applicants for the Saturday, October 6 pageant, which will be held at the historic City Auditorium, located at 415 W. McIntyre, next to Edinburg City Hall.

Registration is officially underway and will take place until the end of September.

"We are looking forward to our upcoming pageant and are very excited to meet all interested applicants. Miss Edinburg and Miss Teen Edinburg 2013 will receive a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to serve their community with honor by promoting different events throughout Edinburg and the Rio Grande Valley," said Minerva Olivarez, Pageant Director. 

Contestants for Miss Edinburg should be from 18 to 22 years of age. For Miss Teen Edinburg, the age group is 15-17 years of age.

The pageant will feature competition among numerous other group’s of Edinburg’s finest young women and girls, including:

• Miss Jr. Teen (for ages 13-14);
• Miss Preteen (10-12);
• Little Miss (7-9); and
• Miss Princess (5-6).

Delegates should be well-rounded individuals and live in Edinburg.

All contestants will be invited to attend a Social Event – Etiquette/Self-Improvement workshops, and will be highlighted with social media.

Winners will be awarded scholarships, a crystal crown, banner, crystal trophy, roses, and much more. Winners will have the opportunity to represent Edinburg at various functions, including socials, luncheons, ribbon cuttings, and banquets.

Interested applicants should contact Minerva O. Olivarez, Pageant Director, by calling 956/929-0510 or e-mailing missedinburgpageant@yahoo.com.

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