Featured, some of the members of the winning teams, judges, and community leaders who participated in the 12th Annual Texas Cook ‘Em – High Steaks in Edinburg competition held on Friday, July 1 and Saturday, July 2, 2017 at H-E-B Park in Edinburg. The Edinburg Economic Development Corporation, which is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg Mayor and Edinburg City Council, was a major financial sponsor of the event, which draws hundreds of visitors to Edinburg. Front row, from left: Proudly sporting their team red outfits are Myranda Johnson with Road Crew BBQ, Lauria Franklin Kelley with Road Crew BBQ; Gary Kelley with Road Crew BBQ; and Ross Kelley with Road Crew BBQ, whose team from Sinton, Texas was the Texas Cook ‘Em Overall Champion for 2017; and Jerry Cárdenas with Loaded Smoke of Raymondville, the Reserve Grand Champion for the International Barbeque Cookers Association (IBCA); Michelle Dang, Judge with the Steak Cookoff Association (SCA); and Fred Robles with Rio Valley Meat of Weslaco, Grand Champion of the International Barbeque Cookers Association (IBCA). Featured, middle row, from left: Marty Martin with Rio Valley Realty and Member, Board of Directors, Edinburg Chamber of Commerce; J.J. Flores with Chorizo of San Manuel and Member, Board of Directors, Edinburg Chamber of Commerce; Ashley Tapia, Assistant, International Barbeque Cookers Association; Judy Tapia, Assistant, International Barbeque Cookers Association; Eddie Tapia, Head Judge, International Barbeque Cookers Association; Letty González, President, Edinburg Chamber of Commerce; Ronnie Larralde, Director of Marketing and Special Events, Edinburg Chamber of Commerce; Stephanie O. Larralde with The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley and Ambassador, Edinburg Chamber of Commerce; Michelle Gallaway, Judge, Steak Cookoff Association; and Sara Treviño, Secretary, International Barbeque Cookers Association. Featured, back row, from left: Martín Rivas, Director of Membership, Edinburg Chamber of Commerce; Imelda Rodríguez, Director of Tourism, Edinburg Convention and Visitors Bureau; Brett Gallaway, Judge, Steak Cookoff Association; Roddy Treviño with Roadster BBQ and 1st Place Winner in the H-E-B Steak Challenge; and Jake Barrera, Judge, International Barbeque Cookers Association.
Photograph By RONNIE LARRALDE
Featured: Joe González, Manager, H-E-B Rio Grande Valley Meat Market, provides expert advice to help contestants select rib-eye steaks for the premier portion of the 12th Annual Texas Cook ‘Em – High Steaks in Edinburg, held at H-E-B Park in Edinburg on Saturday, July 2, 2017. The steak selection was a process by which the teams chose their meat for the day-long competition, which drew 127 teams from Edinburg, the Valley, Texas and beyond. Initially done by a lottery, the teams then lined up in numerical order based on that lottery and picked their steaks. The Steak Cookoff Association (SCA) is the sanctioning body for the steak portion of Texas Cook ‘Em – High Steaks in Edinburg. The SCA requires the event to provide the same high-quality steaks for equal competitive opportunities for all the teams.
Photograph By RONNIE LARRALDE
Featured, Mike Eli, vocals/guitar for the Eli Young Band, performs as part of the final featured act on Friday, July 1, 2017 during the two-day 12th Annual Texas Cook ‘Em – High Steaks at Edinburg, held at H-E-B Park in Edinburg. An estimated 2,000 people bought tickets to that evening’s concert, which included two of Edinburg’s own talented musical performers – Matt and the Herdsman (http://www.mattandtheherdsmen.com), and Southern Ashes (https://www.facebook.com/SouthernAshesMusic/). The turnout for the concert that evening does not include people at the adjacent Edinburg Municipal Park who showed up to see the fireworks display during the concert. The following day, on Saturday, July 2, 2017, an estimated 3,000 people bought tickets to see the the world-class barbecue competition, as well as to enjoy many other activities going on that day, including another concert.
Photograph By RONNIE LARRALDE
Featured: Hundreds of fans of Los Lonely Boys cheer for the San Angelo-based “Texican Rock n’ Roll” band, which combines elements of rock and roll, Texas blues, brown-eyed soul, country and Tejano, on Friday, July 1, 2017 at the amphitheater of H-E-B Park in Edinburg. Los Lonely Boys were one of two national acts which performed on the first evening of the two-day 12th Annual Texas Cook ‘Em – High Steaks in Edinburg. H-E-B Park opened earlier in 2017. H-E-B Park is described on its web site as “the premiere sports and entertainment destination and focal point for the entire community. H-E-B Park serves as a community hub of outdoor space for active and recreational use including sports, live music, and corporate events.” H-E-B Park, which is privately owned and which is located at 1616 S. Raul Longoria Road, boasts a $16.8+ million, 9,735-seat professional soccer stadium as part of the 37-acre site with all amenities, an amphitheater with a capacity of 2,000 people, well-lighted parking, and security and medical personnel for major gatherings. The building permit issued for H-E-B Park represents the initial investment for the stadium, at that time valued at $16.8+ million, but the total financial worth of H-E-B Park, which is the name of the stadium and the fairgrounds with all improvements and assets, now that this outdoor sports and entertainment complex is open, is much higher.
Photograph By RONNIE LARRALDE
Featured, from left: McAllen City Commissioner Omar Quintanilla; Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, D-McAllen; McAllen Mayor Jim Darling; Dr. John Krouse, UTRGV Vice President for Medical Affairs and Dean of the School of Medicine; and UTRGV President Guy Bailey, on Wednesday, October 11, 2o17 at the Medical Education Building in Edinburg.
Photograph By PAUL CHOUY
The City of McAllen presented a $1 million check to The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley School of Medicine on Wednesday, October 11, 2017, at the Medical Education Building on the Edinburg Campus. The contribution is in support of the school’s mission to educate students and residents and provide increased access to healthcare. The payment is part of a memorandum of understanding UTRGV signed with McAllen and other Valley cities to support and ensure the success of the School of Medicine. “We are grateful for the City of McAllen’s support of the School of Medicine,” said UTRGV President Guy Bailey. “These funds will support UTRGV and the School of Medicine in its mission to engage in innovative research, clinical care and the training of the next generation of physicians for the Rio Grande Valley.” McAllen Mayor Jim Darling said the payment by the City of McAllen is its contribution to help improve the health and prosperity of the region. “In order to help the entire Rio Grande Valley grow and improve – as a community, in business, and most importantly, in our health – then a strong and vibrant UTRGV School of Medicine is tantamount to help make that possible,” he said. Dr. John H. Krouse, Dean of the School of Medicine and Vice President for Health Affairs, said McAllen’s support further solidifies the partnership between the UTRGV School of Medicine and the communities it serves. “It will allow our faculty, medical residents and students to continue providing healthcare to those who otherwise would not have access to care,” Krouse said, “and it will help fund the innovative research that addresses the healthcare needs of the Valley community.”
Featured, seated, from left: Rep. John Zerwas, M.D., R-Katy, the Chairman of the House Committee on Appropriations, and Rep. Óscar Longoria, D-La Joya, the Vice-Chairman of the House Committee on Appropriations, prepare to lay out the proposed $217+ billion, two-year state budget late last spring on the floor of the Texas House of Representatives. On Friday, October 13, 2017, Longoria was appointed by Zerwas to serve as Vice-Chairman of the newly formed Subcommittee on Disaster Impact and Recovery, which is part of the 27-member House Committee on Appropriations.
Photograph By HOUSE PHOTOGRAPHY
Featured: Students make their way to breakout sessions during the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley’s Hispanic Engineering, Science, and Technology (HESTEC) Latina Day on Wednesday, October 4, 2017 at the Fieldhouse in Edinburg. The Edinburg Mayor and Edinburg City Council, along with the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation and its Board of Directors, lobby the Texas Legislature and the UT System Board of Regents on matters that benefit and protect UTRGV and its School of Medicine, which have major campuses in the city. In the background is a portion of the $70 million, 115,000-square-foot, four-story addition to the UTRGV Science Building in Edinburg, which is set to be completed early next year. The expansion is making possible crucial infrastructure, such as classrooms, offices, suites, works stations, laboratories, and equipment, to increase to 873 a year the number of graduates in STEM, which stands for the fields of science, technology, engineering and math. With the addition, the Science Building will be the largest facility on the Edinburg campus, resulting in a 272,000-square foot intensive STEM research and learning center.
Photograph By SILVER SALAS
Edinburg posted an unemployment rate of 6.2 percent in August 2017, which is the second-best showing for that month since 2008, with 36,066 people holding down full-time jobs, the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation has announced. This latest data also showed that Edinburg saw a growth of 254 jobs when comparing the monthly totals of August 2017 (36,066) and August 2016 (35,812), according to the Edinburg EDC, which is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg City Council. Edinburg and McAllen, which posted an unemployment rate for August 2017 of 5.5 percent, compared favorably with other large population centers in the Valley, which reported unemployment rates ranging from 6.7 percent (Harlingen) to 9.3 percent (Weslaco). The unemployment rate is a key indicator of the strength of the local economy. The August 2017 numbers are based on preliminary figures released on Friday, September 15, 2017, by the Texas Workforce Commission. 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. Edinburg’s August 2017 unemployment rate of 6.2 percent is part of a consistent pattern of positive reports, including July (5.7 percent), June 2017 (5.9), May 2017 (5.4 percent), April 2017 (5.4 percent), March 2017 (6 percent), February 2017 (6.4 percent) and January 2017 (6.2 percent). Edinburg’s August 2017 unemployment rate of 6.2 percent is part of a consistent pattern of positive reports, including July (5.7 percent), June 2017 (5.9), May 2017 (5.4 percent), April 2017 (5.4 percent), March 2017 (6 percent), February 2017 (6.4 percent) and January 2017 (6.2 percent). The Edinburg EDC, of which Agustín 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 Agustín García are not related.
Featured: Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg, addressing participants at the Friday, October 6, 2017 groundbreaking ceremony that took place near Edinburg Lake, a 63-mile drainage improvement system that will benefit Hidalgo, Cameron and Willacy counties. “For more than 30 years, Rio Grande Valley leaders have worked to lay the foundations for this massive 150 foot-wide drainage system which will run from Hargill to the Laguna Madre,” said the House District 40 lawmaker. “This project will help redirect a significant amount of the stormwater safely away from many of our communities that suffer from flooding while helping protect our homes and businesses, as well as the continued economic development of flood-prone areas in both Hidalgo and Willacy counties.”
Photograph By ALEX RÍOS
Almost 100 years after Rep. José Tomás Canales, a Brownsville Democrat, politically battled the Texas Rangers for murdering scores of innocent South Texans because they were Mexican American, the State of Texas on Saturday, October 14, 2017 will officially acknowledge, with a permanent public display, that dark period in the state’s history and recognize the descendants of those victims affected by that brutality, Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg, has announced. The unveiling of the state historical marker will take place at 10 a.m. at the Saturday, October 14, 2017 gathering, which will be held at the Southbound Exit 16, Parking/Rest Area between San Benito and Los Fresnos exits. The gathering is open to the public. Canales is a grand nephew of José Tomás Canales, who, as the only Mexican American in the Texas Legislature in 1919, filed legislation to stop that illegal state police violence. “In Texas, there has been a long and continued effort to minimize the struggle of ethnic minorities’ quest for civil rights,” Canales said. “The stories told by these historians in this historical marker and their many published works are an important part of a larger story about the continued struggle of Texas Latinos, who have been fighting for equal rights since the founding of this state.” The Refusing to Forget Project has organized four days of presentations and panel discussions as part of “Resilience en el Valle: Remember the Matanza (Massacre) of 1915” that will lead to the Saturday, October 14, 2017 dedication of the state marker. “The approval and erection of this marker is as close as the government of the State of Texas has gotten to acknowledging its role in the horrific anti-Mexican violence of the 1910s,” said historian Benjamin Johnson, author of the bookRevolution in Texas. “We at Refusing to Forget are pleased that these events are finally getting some of the public recognition that they deserve.”
Featured: Borja Angoitia, goalkeeper for the Rio Grande Valley Football Club Toros professional soccer team, helps defend against the Liga MX side C.F. Monterrey Rayados on Wednesday, March 22, 2017 at the club’s new H-E-B Park for the venue’s inaugural game.
Photograph By DIEGO REYNA
H-E-B Park, a $16.8+ million sports and entertainment outdoor complex that features a 9,700 seat capacity soccer-specific stadium, has scored another major goal for its hometown with news that WalletHub, a national personal finance website, has named Edinburg as 2nd Best Small City for Soccer Fans for 2017, the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation has announced. In addition, WalletHub rated Edinburg 29th best among all U.S. cities for soccer fans, an accomplishment that places it in the top 10 percent in the nation, among the cities involved in the study, for community involvement in that sport. “Once more, a national, independent, and very credible source has concluded what we know very well here at home – Edinburg has a very high quality-of-life to offer its citizens from all walks of life,” said Agustín García, Executive Director for the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation. “We have one of the best public school systems in the state, we feature one of the largest University of Texas campuses, with its own School of Medicine, our hospital systems are nationally-ranked, and by the time 2017 is completed, the construction of new homes and businesses in Edinburg for the year is anticipated to pass $200 million.” The Edinburg EDC is the jobs-creation arm of Edinburg Mayor Richard García and the Edinburg City Council, which includes Mayor Pro Tem J.R. Betancourt, Councilmember Homer Jasso, Jr. Councilmember Richard Molina, and Councilmember David Torres. 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 Agustín García, Jr. are not related.
The state-of-the-art H-E-B Park in Edinburg has many amenities, including a full-service restaurant, executive lounges, a sports bar, and 33 suites. Suites include VIP amenities and a 16-seat capacity. Park grounds include practice fields for 7v7 and 5v5 soccer, various bench areas with picnic-sized tables, a playground, and an amphitheater with a capacity for more than 2,000 individuals. H-E-B Park hosts top-of-the-line professional soccer, musical concerts, high school sporting events, and other forms of entertainment. The stadium, which is modeled after the Houston Dynamo’s BBVA Compass Stadium, is located at the intersection of East Freddy González Drive and South Raúl Longoria Road.
Photo Courtesy RGV FC TOROS
“We are about three months away from opening the $88+ million Bert Ogden Arena, which will be the largest indoor sports and entertainment complex south of San Antonio, and people from all over the Valley, Texas, and the U.S. have a direct, nonstop way to get to Edinburg because we are served by Interstate Highway 69 and the South Texas International Airport at Edinburg. Those assets are just the tip of the iceberg of what makes our community a ‘Destination City’,” said Agustín García, Executive Director of the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation. “But most important, the vision of our elected, business and community leadership, and the amazing people of our community are who make Edinburg the American Success story that it has become.” Even the symbol of the hometown professional soccer team, the Rio Grande Valley Football Club Toros, proudly portrays Edinburg’s and the Rio Grande Valley’s regional strengths, according to the team’s website, which explains, “The Toros’ logo follows the mold of a traditional soccer shield, but offers a twist with the addition of horns to allude to the Toros nickname. The stripes at the bottom of the shield represent the agriculture industry of the Rio Grande Valley, which historically bright trade and commerce to the region. The vertical lines at the top of the graphic represent the sun and Valley heat, while also reflecting an element of the Toros’ Major League Soccer single-affiliate Houston Dynamo’s logo.” H-E-B Park at all its amenities enables Edinburg to be a staple as an entertainment hub in the Rio Grande Valley, and considerably helps it in the city and Edinburg EDC leaderships’ efforts to market the community as a “Destination City”.