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

By DAVID A. DÍAZ
Legislativemedia@aol.com

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 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 Edinburg 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.

According to the Edinburg EDC Board of Directors’ agenda, which is also posted online at: http://edinburgedc.com/meetings-agendas/, they will meet to consider the following:

Open Session

• Call meeting to order;
• Roll Call;
• Discuss and consider authorizing the Executive Director to renew the Professional Services Agreement with Signature Public Affairs, Inc.; and
• Discuss and consider authorizing the Executive Director to enter into a Professional Services Agreement with Triggers Media.

Executive Session

• Deliberate the offers of financial or other incentives to business prospects;
• Deliberate authorizing the Executive Director to enter into a Construction Contract regarding Project Uplift;
• Deliberate authorizing the Executive Director to enter into an Interlocal Agreement with the City of Edinburg regarding Project Uplift;
• Deliberate authorizing the Executive Director to enter into an Interlocal Agreement with Project Grill;
• Deliberate possible action regarding the Lease Agreement with Nu-Co Tool, Inc.;
• Deliberate the annual evaluation of the Executive Director; and
• Consultation with Attorney.

In general, an interlocal agreement is a written contract between local government agencies such as a city, a county, a school board or a constitutional office. Any time a public service involves the joint operations and budgets of two or more local government agencies, an interlocal agreement must be drawn up and approved by all sides, with each government’s governing body – a school board, a city council, a county commission – enacting the agreement by vote.

According to the Freedom of Information Foundation, the Texas Open Meetings Act, which is a state law, provides what a government must discuss in the open and what may be discusses in executive session, which takes place during the meeting, but away from the audience:

The Texas Open Meetings Act is detailed in Chapter 551 of the Government Code. It states that governmental bodies must hold open meetings unless there is an authorized reason for a closed session, also known as an executive session.

Key provisions of the act are as follows:

Covered Entities

Governing boards, commissions, agencies and other bodies created within the executive and legislative branches of government are subject to the Texas Open Meetings Act. Commissioners courts, city councils, school boards and certain nonprofit corporations providing public services or spending taxpayer money are among the entities covered. Certain property owners’ associations also are subject to the law.

Quorum

A quorum refers to a majority of members of a governing body, unless a quorum is defined differently by an applicable law or rule or charter of the body. A quorum must be present for the body to take action.

Posting of Notice

The governmental body must give the public notice of the date, time, place and subject of an upcoming meeting. The notice must be posted in a place readily accessible to the general public at all times at least 72 hours before the meeting. In case of an emergency or “urgent public necessity,” a meeting notice or addition to a meeting agenda may be posted at least two hours prior to the meeting. The governmental body must clearly identify the emergency.

Other Exceptions to Posting Law

Boards or commissions with statewide jurisdiction must have their meeting notice posted on the Internet by the secretary of state at least seven days before a meeting. Committees of the Texas Legislature are not subject to the meeting notice rules above. Their rules are set by the Texas House and Senate.

Closed Sessions

Closed, or executive, sessions may be held by a governmental body in certain situations. Executive sessions are permitted when a body is meeting with its attorney on litigation or a settlement offer; deliberating personnel matters; deliberating the purchase or lease of property; discussing certain financial contract negotiations; or discussing deployment of security devices. Several other exceptions to open meetings are also contained in the Texas Open Meetings Act.

UTRGV SCHOOL OF MEDICINE WELCOMES 56 NEW MEDICAL RESIDENTS TO PRACTICE IN THE VALLEY

The UTRGV School of Medicine (SOM) welcomed its 56 new medical residents during orientation on Thursday, June 22 and Friday, June 23, 2017 at the Edinburg Medical Education Building.

The new residents will begin their post-graduate training July 1 in six specialties throughout the Valley.

This year, the SOM has added three new residency programs, one for Family Medicine at Knapp Medical Center, as well as one for Psychiatry and one for Preventive Medicine.

With the latest cohorts, the School of Medicine now has 140 medical residents in nine programs working at four hospitals and other institutions throughout the Valley.

Specifically, the UTRGV School of Medicine gained:

• Six residents each for its Family Medicine residency programs with McAllen Medical Center and Doctors Hospital at Renaissance (DHR).
• 10 residents for its Internal Medicine residency at Valley Baptist Medical Center.
• 12 for its Internal Medicine residency program with DHR.
• Four each for its Obstetrics and Gynecology and General Surgery residency programs at Doctors Hospital at Renaissance.
• Six residents for the Family Medicine program at Knapp Medical Center.
• Six residents for the Psychiatry medical residency program.
• And two residents for the Preventive Medicine residency program.

For access to other high-resolution photographs taken by UTRGV’s Paul Chouy of the orientation session, log on to the following link:

https://utrgv-umc.photoshelter.com/galleries/C0000OxOMyzQL3z4/G0000cH2SG4grO5U/20170622-SOM-GME-Orientation-EC-PC

Use the password gmeorientation (use all lower case letters) to view and download the photographs.

UTRGV RECEIVES $1 MILLION TO PROMOTE STEM INCLUSIVENESS

The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley is one of only 24 institutions in the nation to receive $1 million in the first round of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Inclusive Excellence Initiative (IEI).

The announcement was made on Wednesday, June 7, 2017.

UTRGV was selected from among more than 500 institutions that applied for the grant. Specifically, the university plans to use the money to support instructional assistants and peer mentors, who will provide bilingual support, tutoring and life coaching to create a nurturing, inclusive learning environment.

Dr. Justin Moore, associate professor and interim chair of the UTRGV Department of Chemistry, says that, in addition to hiring instructional assistants and peer mentors, the department also will redesign courses to be hybrids – a combination of online and traditional classroom settings – with bilingual resources, making them more manageable for students.

“We hope that this will allow us to recruit and retain more students into STEM, especially those who are currently underrepresented.” Moore said. “As of now, the program will benefit biomedical students, but hopefully will expand into general science students, as well.”

The initiative’s broad objectives are to help colleges and universities encourage students from underrepresented communities to pursue study in fields related to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), and to cultivate the talent of students in the natural sciences, according to the Institute.

The grant is designed to promote science inclusiveness on an institutional level by giving each awarded university the resources to combat its own unique issues with STEM success and inclusiveness, said David Asai, senior director for science education at HHMI.

“Too many times, we approach diversity with a deficit mindset, in which interventions are aimed at ‘fixing’ the students,” Asai said. “Our goal is to catalyze changes that last well beyond the lifetime of these five-year grants. We want to change the way schools do business.”

According to data cited by HHMI, underrepresented racial groups leave STEM at much higher rates than whites and Asians, despite similar college preparation. Even as demographics change, disparities in the science field continue to grow.

HHMI’s initiative encouraged schools to find new ways to include all students in opportunities to achieve science excellence. In particular, the program focuses on those undergraduates who come to college from diverse backgrounds and pathways.

“The challenges this program addresses are important for all of us who care deeply about developing a more inclusive and diverse scientific community,” said HHMI President Erin O’Shea.

Other universities selected for the grant are:

• Chaminade University of Honolulu.
• Delaware State University.
• Humboldt State University.
• Kenyon College.
• Lawrence Technological University.
• Northeastern University.
• Oberlin College.
• Radford University.
• Rochester Institute of Technology.
• San Francisco State University.
• Stony Brook University.
• Towson University.
• Trinity Washington University.
• Tufts University.
• University of California Davis.
• University of Colorado Denver.
• University of Northern Colorado.
• University of South Dakota.
• University of Utah.
• Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.
• Washington University in St. Louis.

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Jennifer Berghom and J. Edward Moreno contributed to this article. For more information on the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation and the City of Edinburg, please log on to http://edinburgedc.com or to http://www.facebook.com/edinburgedc

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