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Rep. Muñoz taking leadership roles in coming up with ways for Texas to reduce the impact of future natural disasters, such as Hurricane Harvey

Featured, from left: Marissa Castañeda, Senior Executive Vice-President, Chief Operating Officer, Doctors Hospital at Renaissance; Rep. Sergio Muñoz, Jr., D-Mission; Rep. R.D. “Bobby” Guerra, D-McAllen; Rep. René Oliveira, D-Brownsville; Cary Zayas, News Anchor, KRGV-TV in Weslaco; Rep. Armando “Mando” Martínez, D-Weslaco; and  Edna X. De Saro, Senior Vice President and Marketing Director at Lone Star National Bank. The group met at the KRGV-TV studios, one of the locations for donations, on Wednesday, September 20, 2017.

Photograph By JUSTIN CANTÚ

The Rio Grande Valley’s state House and Senate members have collectively donated $10,000 to help victims of Hurricane Harvey, the devastating superstorm that hit most of the Texas coastal region, including Houston, on Friday, August 25, 2017, stalling over that region of the state for days, causing billions of dollars of property damage, displacing tens of thousands of residents, and killing at least 81 people. The contribution is going towards the Valley Relief Fund, coordinated by KRGV, Lone Star National Bank, and other area businesses. All monetary donations to the Valley Relief Fund will go to the Salvation Army and American Red Cross. “The devastation of Hurricane Harvey and its aftermath are on a scale of historic proportions,” said Rep. R.D. “Bobby” Guerra, D-McAllen. “This is one way the Rio Grande Valley can help in the efforts to restore those communities affected. I’m honored to belong to a delegation that is willing to step up and help our fellow Texans.” Muñoz also shared his thoughts, and offered the following prayer from the Holy Bible for everyone hurt by Hurricane Harvey: “Do not fear for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous hand! – Isaiah 41.10.”

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Edinburg EDC: Edinburg unemployment rate drops to 5.7 percent for July 2017, second-best in Valley, representing 36,037 jobs for that month

Featured: The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley School of Medicine in Edinburg. During their meeting in Austin on Wednesday, August 23, 2017 and Thursday, August 24, 2017, the University of Texas System Board of Regents reinforced its commitment to The UTRGV School of Medicine, which has a major campus in Edinburg, by approving $20 million in Permanent University Funds (PUF) for capital expenses. “We are grateful to the Board of Regents for its continued support of the UTRGV School of Medicine,” said Dr. John Krouse, Dean of the UTRGV School of Medicine and Vice president for Health Affairs. “This allocation will enable the School of Medicine to become a leader in research that will benefit the Rio Grande Valley and beyond, and prepare the next generation of physicians who will provide exceptional care to the communities they serve.” 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.

Photograph by SILVER SALAS

For the second straight month, Edinburg and McAllen were the only two major Valley cities which posted unemployment rates under six percent, the Edinburg Economic  Development Corporation has announced. The unemployment rate is a key indicator of the strength of the local economy. For the month of July 2017, the latest figures available from the Texas Workforce Commission, Edinburg had an unemployment rate of 5.7 percent, which was an improvement from June 2017, which came in at 5.9 percent. This latest data also showed that Edinburg saw a growth of 492 jobs when comparing the monthly totals of July 2017 (36,037)and July 2016 (35,545), according to the Edinburg EDC. Edinburg and McAllen, which posted an unemployment rate of 5.2 percent, compared favorably with other large population centers in the Valley, which reported unemployment rates ranging from 6.5 percent (Harlingen) to9 percent (Weslaco). During 2017, Edinburg has recorded one of the lowest unemployment rates among Valley cities in April and May, and came in with the second-lowest unemploymentrates during the other months in 2017 through July. McAllen, which came in with a 5.4 percent unemployment in May 2017, tied Edinburg for the best showing for that month. For the past several years, Edinburg has registered the lowest or second-lowest monthly unemployment rates among all Valley cities. 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 July 2017unemployment rate of 5.7 percent is part of a consistent pattern of positive reports, including 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.

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Edinburg EDC, Grindstone Coworking announce second class, of 15 individuals, for Hive Effect, which prepares small business owners to succeed

Featured, key leaders and most of the new members of Hive Effect, an entrepreneur development initiative created by the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation, following their orientation session on Wednesday, August 23, 2017, at the offices of Grindstone Coworking, located at 506 West University Drive. From left, front row, are: José Chávez; Gerardo González; Donica Landa; Renee Sánchez; and Dani Marrero. From left, back row: Cooper Thompson; Steven De Los Santos; Agustín García, Executive Director, Edinburg Economic Development Corporation; Daniel Rivera, Founder, Grindstone Coworking and Director of Hive Effect in Edinburg; Elizabeth Martínez; Marco Barrios-Espinoza; Mark Laguñez; Pete Díaz; and Cirano Lagunas. Not shown in this image are Noé Ramos, Mark Harris, and Mauricio Atilano.

Photograph By JENNIFER CABRERA

The Edinburg Economic Development Corporation, in collaboration with Grindstone Coworking, has announced the second cohort (new set of members) of the Hive Effect, which is an innovative entrepreneur development initiative designed to help local businesses, particularly small firms and sole proprietors, to succeed and prosper.  According to its website (http://hiveeffect.com/about-us/): Hive Effect uses a three-pronged approach to cultivate the entrepreneurial ecosystem and promote regional collaboration. It utilizes coworking, education, and mentorship to help both startups and existing businesses; Hive Effect conducts a six-month education program called the Hive Effect Learning Program (HELP). Applications for HELP are reviewed for acceptance twice each year to select cohort participants. Hive Effect partners with local and regional entrepreneurial organizations and businesses with programs and events that aim to grow the entrepreneurial ecosystem across the Rio Grande Valley; and Grindstone Coworking, located at 506 West University Drive, is a membership-based office in Edinburg. Designed for mobile workers, freelancers, and startups, the office provides workspace, phone booths, private suites, conference rooms, training rooms, a copy center, mailboxes and other amenities for today’s modern businesses. “The EDC is excited to again partner up with Grindstone Coworking to promote this second, six-month initiative,” said Agustín García, Executive Director, Edinburg Economic Development Corporation. “Hive Effect has become a valuable resource for some of our city’s most exciting new businesses.” Daniel Rivera, founder of Grindstone Coworking and Director of Hive Effect, added: “We’re proud of what we’ve accomplished with Hive Effect since its launch in September 2016. Our coursework, mentorship and implementation of the coworking concept last year helped 10 entrepreneurs achieve great things for their respective businesses, and we’re happy to announce our second cohort (new set of members) of 15 individuals to our growing community.” The Edinburg EDC is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg Mayor and 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 Mayor Richard García as President, Harvey Rodríguez, Jr. as Vice President, Elías Longoria, Jr. as Secretary/Treasurer, and Richard Rupert and Dr. Peter Dabrowski as Members. Mayor Richard García and Edinburg EDC Executive Agustín García are not related.

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UTRGV’s Dr. Lydia López Aguilera gains highest standard of certification for pharmacists

Dr. Lydia López Aguilera, Director of the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley/UT Austin College of Pharmacy and Clinical Associate Professor in the UTRGV Cooperative Pharmacy Program, has added another level of expertise to an impressive list of accomplishments by achieving board certification in ambulatory care pharmacy from the National Board of Pharmacy Specialties (BPS). Aguilera is a native of Edinburg.

Photograph By PAUL CHOUY

Visitors to Dr. Lydia López Aguilera’s office are greeted by a wall full of framed educational accomplishments, recognitions of her achievements and thankful notes from her pharmacy students at The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. Now, at age 60, the director of the UTRGV/UT Austin Cooperative Pharmacy Program has added another level of expertise in her field by achieving board certification in ambulatory care pharmacy from the National Board of Pharmacy Specialties (BPS). “Gaining the certification builds your foundation of knowledge. It’s a review, but you also learn new things – and knowledge is power – allowing you to not only help your patient, but also your team of doctors, nurses, dieticians and other healthcare team members,” said Aguilera, a Clinical Associate professor who has headed UTRGV’s cooperative program since 2010. The announcement of her latest achievement was made on Thursday, August 31, 2017. Board certification through the BPS is recognized as the highest standard for determining which pharmacists are qualified to contribute at advanced levels of practice.

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Edinburg EDC: City, school district, UTRGV begin efforts to help with disaster relief for countless Texans hurt by Hurricane Harvey

IDL TIFF file

As Hurricane Harvey approached the shores over coastal Texas on Thursday, August 24, 2017, Edinburg and Rio Grande Valley were alarmed over the possibility that it could strike close to home. Instead, deep South Texas was spared from what became one of the most powerful hurricanes in history – a category 4 storm thaton Friday night, August 25, 2017 packed wind gusts up to 132 miles per hour northeast of Corpus Christi, and which has caused billions of dollars in damages and human suffering from flooding in the Houston region in the following days. 

Photograph By NASA

Local officials and organizations are pulling together resources as part of a national effort to help the countless Texans hurt by Hurricane Harvey, which on Friday, August 25, 2017 slammed into the Texas Coastal Bend, anchored by Corpus Christi, threatened metropolitan areas of San Antonio and Austin, and has produced epic flooding in the Houston region, including the displacing of thousands of homeowners, the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation has announced. “We wish all those (affected by Hurricane Harvey) well, and we ask that you put them in your prayers, because God knows they need it,” Agustín García, Jr., Executive Director for the Edinburg EDC, said Monday, August 28, 2017, during the Edinburg EDC Facebook live broadcast, “Edinburg Connects”. In response to the humanitarian disaster that has taken place elsewhere in Texas, the City of Edinburg, the Edinburg Consolidated Independent School District, and the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, which has its main campus and its School of Medicine in Edinburg, have announced their respective assistance plans, which began on Monday, August 28, 2017 and will continue through the upcoming weekend and beyond. The Edinburg EDC 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.

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Edinburg EDC to launch “Edinburg Connect”, a Facebook page live broadcast, with first episode set for 10 a.m. on Monday, August 28, 2017

The Edinburg Economic Development Corporation will launch “Edinburg Connect”, a live interactive broadcast on its Facebook page, beginning at 10 a.m. on Monday, August 28, 2017. “We have a new medium, ‘Edinburg Connect’, and we are going to reach out to you so you can reach out to us, and we can talk with each other, live, on Facebook,” explains Agustín García, Executive Director of the Edinburg EDC, in a recent posting on the Edinburg EDC Facebook page.“You can ask  questions and we are going to give you answers. We will have guests from the city, guests from the county, guests from everywhere. We are very excited about our new initiative, ‘Edinburg Connect’, here at the Edinburg EDC.” One of the viewers who participates in the live event will have the chance to win a $100 gift card to Bob’s Steak & Chop House in Edinburg. The Edinburg EDC’s Facebook page is available at:http://www.facebook.com/edinburgedc

Photograph By JENNIFER CABRERA

The Edinburg Economic Development Corporation has announced the creation of “Edinburg Connect”, a live broadcast on the Edinburg EDC Facebook page that will provide viewers worldwide the chance to see and hear from, and to interact with, city, county and other leaders about economic development activities, successes and related goals for the city. The first episode will go online live on Monday, August 28, 2017, beginning at 10 a.m. 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. In addition to Mayor García, who serves as President of the Edinburg EDC Board of Directors, the other board members are Harvey Rodríguez, Jr. as Vice President, Elías Longoria, Jr. as Secretary/Treasurer, and Richard Rupert and Dr. Peter Dabrowski as Members. Mayor Richard García  and Edinburg EDC Executive Director Agustín García are not related. New live broadcasts of “Edinburg Connect” are scheduled to take place every two weeks, and all episodes will be remain on the Edinburg EDC Facebook page. 

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