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Mayor, City Council on Wednesday, November 15, set to make appointments to Lower Rio Grande Valley Development Council, Hidalgo County Metropolitan Organization, and Amigos del Valle

UTRGV Civil Engineering Assistant Professor Jongmin Kim on Tuesday, Nov. 08, 2016 at the Academic Services building in Edinburg, Texas.
UTRGV Photo by Paul Chouy

Featured: The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley has been ranked in the top seven colleges in Texas for civil engineering majors by Zippia.com, a career resource website. Shown here is UTRGV Civil Engineering Assistant Professor Jongmin Kim during a class at the Academic Services building on the Edinburg Campus. 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 PAUL CHOUY

As part of its regional and statewide reach, the Mayor and Edinburg City Council on Wednesday, November 15, 2017, are scheduled to appoint members of the city’s top elected officials to three major regional groups – the Lower Rio Grande Valley Development Council, the Hidalgo County Metropolitan Organization, and Amigos del Valle, Inc., the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation has announced. The Edinburg EDC, of which Agustín García is Executive Director, is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg Mayor and Edinburg City Council. On the agenda for the city council’s regular meeting is a scheduled discussion on deciding who from the five-member City Council, which includes the mayor and four city councilmembers, will represent Edinburg on regional advisory groups which control the flow of millions of dollars a year in state and federal funds to Hidalgo County and deep South Texas. “The city’s top elected leadership has delivered for its constituents through their key participation and roles in Congress and before the Texas Legislature, and in working with the many federal and state agencies that have funds and policies that greatly benefit our community,” said Edinburg EDC’s García. “The work of the mayor and city council on boards and commissions here in deep South Texas is just as important.” The Edinburg EDC Board of Directors is comprised of Mayor-elect Richard Molina as President, Harvey Rodríguez, Jr. as Vice President, Elías Longoria, Jr., as Secretary/Treasurer, and Richard Ruppert and Dr. Peter Dabrowski as Members. Molina, Councilmember-elect Gilbert Enríquez, and Councilmember-elect Jorge “Coach” Salinas, who won their campaigns for their respective positions on Tuesday, November 7, 2017, will be sworn into office beginning at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, September 15, 2017, followed by the city council’s first regular meeting beginning at 6:30 p.m. Both events, which are open to the public, will be held in the Council Chambers of Edinburg City Hall, located at 415 East University Drive

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Rep. Canales supports creation of Texas legislative panel to improve governments’ transparency and accountability to citizens

Featured: Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg, with his wife, Erica, on Wednesday, October 4, 2017, prior to the House District 40 state legislator addressing the Edinburg Rotary Club on various issues that affect his constituents.

Photograph By ALEX RÍOS

Texans deserve more power to know what their governments are doing, says Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg, who has formally asked Speaker of the House Joe Straus, R-San Antonio, to create a special House-Senate legislative panel to improve transparency and accountability to citizens. Canales, the House District 40 state lawmaker from Hidalgo County, during his career in the Texas Legislature has authored, sponsored, and voted for legislation designed to strengthen public knowledge about the actions of local and state governments, before, during, and after such efforts by those public entities take place. “I have a proven track record of fighting for open-government legislation during my five years as a state lawmaker, through carrying measures that bear my name, and through my work in House committees and on the floor of the House of Representatives, where I have always spoken in favor and voted for dozens of measures that protect the people’s right to know about what our local and state governments are doing in our name with our public resources,” said Canales. In general, open-government is a set of beliefs that all government business should be open to regulation and scrutiny by the public. The Texas Public Information Act and the Texas Open Meetings Act are the two most powerful sets of laws in the state regarding public disclosure of actions of local and state governments. During the recently-concluded 85th Regular Session of the Texas Legislature, which was held from January through May 2017, Canales authored one of the few proposals dealing with open government and public information that became state law. As of September 1, 2017, as a result of Canales’ House Bill 214, the Texas Supreme Court and the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals – the highest courts in the state – are required to dramatically improve the ability of the public to see what is going on in the two Austin-based powerful trial courts. “Recording and broadcasting courtroom proceedings can promote transparency and allow the public to evaluate the efficacy of the judicial system,” explained Canales. “To increase the public’s access to the judicial branch, H.B. 214 builds upon previous policies by requiring the Texas Supreme Court and the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals to make video recordings of their oral arguments, and any open meeting the courts have, and publish the recordings on their respective websites.” The Texas Supreme Court is the state’s highest court for civil matters, and the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals is the state’s highest court for criminal matters.  

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Edinburg EDC: Public swearing-in for Mayor Richard Molina, Councilmember Gilbert Enríquez, and Councilmember Jorge “Coach” Salinas set for 5 p.m. Wednesday, November 15, 2017 in Council Chambers at Edinburg City Hall

Featured: The Council Chambers at Edinburg City Hall will be standing-room only on Wednesday, November 15, 2017, with the public swearing-in ceremonies for the city’s latest generation of leaders – newly-elected Mayor Richard Molina, along with newly-elected Councilmembers Gilbert Enríquez and Jorge “Coach” Salinas, the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation has announced.  Following the public swearing-in event, which begins at 5 p.m., the new mayor and his four colleagues on the Edinburg City Council will hold its regular meeting, which begins at 6:30 p.m. Edinburg City Hall is located at 415 East University Drive. Among the items for their review and action will be discussing and consider amending the bylaws of the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation, Article II Board of Directors, Section I Powers, Number and Term of Office; and Appointments to the Edinburg EDC Board of Directors. The Edinburg EDC, whose Executive Director is Agustín García, is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg City Council.

Photograph Courtesy HAMILTON & ASSOCIATES

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Edinburg EDC: UT System Regents set to approve plan for PhD program with emphasis on mathematics and statistics important to students in engineering, medicine, finance and other fields

Featured: Seated, second from right: Newly-elected Edinburg Mayor Richard Molina, during a recent planning session of the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce 2017-2018 Board of Directors, which took place on Wednesday, September 20, 2017 at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley in Edinburg. Also in this image with Molina, who was elected the city’s mayor on Tuesday, November 7, 2017, are some of the other members of that business organization’s leadership. Seated from left: Hiren Govind representing Town Place Suites by Marriott; Jacob De León representing Memorial Funeral Home and Past Chairman of the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors; Mayor-elect Richard Molina representing Odyssey Primary Home Care; and Verónica Gonzáles representing The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. Standing, from left, are: Michael Williamson representing PlainsCapital Bank; Julio Carranza representing Landmark Mortgage; Kelly Salazar representing Linebarger Goggan Blair and Sampson; Cris Torres  representing Greater State Bank; and Elva Jackson Garza representing Edwards Abstract and Title Co.

Photograph By RONNIE LARRALDE

The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, which has its largest campus and a School of Medicine in Edinburg, is scheduled to receive a major boost in its academic programs on Wednesday, November 8, and Thursday, November 9, 2017, when the UT System Board of Regents meet in Austin to consider adding a Doctor of Philosophy degree program in Mathematics and Statistics with Interdisciplinary Applications, the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation has announced. A Doctor of Philosophy is the highest academic degree awarded by universities in most countries (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doctor_of_Philosophy). Also on the agenda affecting the Edinburg campus are plans to lease approximately 6,200 square feet of space located in the University Library building and at athletic venues on the campus at 1201 West University Drive, and to buy, at fair market value, property located at 2802 Fountain Plaza Blvd. to be used for future programmed campus expansion, including medical office and educational use by the institution’s doctorate program in clinical psychology. UTRGV’s College of Liberal Arts is currently in the process of  developing a Ph.D. program in clinical psychology. Currently, UTRGV offers four doctoral programs: Business Administration (PhD)Curriculum and Instruction (EdD)Educational Leadership (EdD), and Rehabilitation Counseling (PhD). It also offers two cooperative doctoral programs, Pharmacy (PharmD) and Physics (PhD). The Doctor of Philosophy degree program in Mathematics and Statistics with Interdisciplinary Applications would be designed to meet the needs of UTRGV students interested in a wide range of careers, including those in academia, industry, and government, according to the agenda packet of the regents’ meeting, which will occur on the second floor of the UT System Building, 210 West 7th St., in Austin. An important characteristic of the proposed program is its emphasis on applications of mathematics and statistics that cut across biological, environmental, life, physical and social sciences, engineering, medicine, and finance fields. The Edinburg Mayor, the 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 matters that benefit and protect UTRGV and its School of Medicine, which have major campuses in the city. 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-elect Richard Molina as President, Harvey Rodríguez, Jr. as Vice President, Elías Longoria, Jr., as Secretary/Treasurer, and Richard Ruppert and Dr. Peter Dabrowski as Members.

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Edinburg Economic Development Corporation reports $217+ million in construction authorized in the city from January through August 2017

Dr. Gladys Maestre, Professor of Biomedical Sciences at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley School of Medicine in Edinburg and Director of the Memory Disorders Center at UTRGV’s Institute for Neurosciences, is conducting research about the high number of Alzheimer’s and dementia cases in the Rio Grande Valley’s Latino population, UTRGV officials announced on Thursday, October 19, 2017. 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 DAVID PIKE

Total construction activities in Edinburg from January through August 2017, including almost $22.5 million for the month of August, reached more than $217 million, compared with more than $166 million during the first eight months of 2016, the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation has announced. During August 2017, new construction of commercial facilities and new construction of multi-family residences led the way, with the issuance of building permits for investments valued at more than $8.4 million and more than $6.4 million, respectively. Those year-to-date and monthly totals do not include the value of any building-related activities at The University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley and the UTRGV School of Medicine in Edinburg because the state government, not the city, oversees all construction at the Edinburg campus. The building permits do not include the value of the land for the homes and buildings. In general, a building permit is legal permission given by the City of Edinburg, through the Code Enforcement Department, to erect, construct, renovate, maintain, or conduct any other specified activity on any building or structure, or on any installations or facilities therein. The term “building permit” includes but is not limited to building permits, electrical permits, mechanical permits, and plumbing permits. The top construction projects in Edinburg for August 2017, not including the value of the land, are: $4,000,000 – Safil Group LLC, 3131 W. Freddy González Dr., West Meadows Subdivision (Commercial New); $1,500,000 – Aguayo Corona LEP, 3807 S. Veterans Blvd., Kelly-Pharr Subdivision (Multi-Family New/Addition/Remodel); $1,500,000 – CTC Asset Company, LTD, 501 W. Owassa, Kelly Pharr Tract Subdivision (Commercial New); $850,000 – Linebarger, Goggan, Blair & Sampson, 1512 Lone Star Way, Lone Star Plaza Subdivision (Commercial New); $725,000 – Amigo Motel Jay B. Patel, 2721 S. Hwy 281, Kelly-Pharr Subdivision (Commercial New); $600,000 – Doctor’s Hospital at Renaissance, 2603 Michelangelo Dr., Doctors Center Ph. 2 Subdivision (Commercial Additions/Repairs); and $600,000 – Edinburg Consolidated Independent School District, 1023 E. Kuhn St., Edinburg Original Townsite Subdivision (Non-Taxable Addition/Remodel). 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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Rep. Muñoz, whose legislation protects children, consumers, crime victims, and public education, to seek fifth term as House District 36 lawmaker

Featured: Rep. Sergio Muñoz, Jr., D-Mission, in his seat at his desk on the floor of the Texas House of Representatives. 

Photograph by PETER SALINAS

Rep. Sergio Muñoz, Jr., D-Mission, whose legislation protects children, consumers, crime victims, and public education, will seek a fifth, two-year term as state lawmaker for House District 36, a key South Texas region which includes all or parts of the cities of Hidalgo, Granjeño, McAllen, Mission, Palmview and Pharr. Muñoz, whose achievements have earned him membership to key House legislative panels, including the powerful House Committee on Appropriations, also has used his eight years experience in the Texas Legislature to make improvements on border trade and economic prosperity, educational funding and opportunities for students, teachers and education professionals, while successfully championing a higher quality-of-life and access to health care for his constituents. “There is no substitute for experience in life, and the same goes for the Texas Legislature,” said Muñoz, an attorney by profession. “When it comes to getting results for our area, I have an expert knowledge of the legislative process, so I know how to work with my colleagues and the state leadership, and I am able to get big things done for us in House District 36.” Muñoz and his wife María Elena have three children – Gael Sebastián, Sergio Emiliano, and Caterina Violetta. He is the son of former Rep. Sergio Muñoz, Sr., a local healthcare businessman and Connie Muñoz, a long-time educator from the Mission area. His sister, Marla Muñoz-López, is a healthcare professional. He attributes his success and commitment towards civic duty to the values instilled by his parents and strengthened by his love for his family. In addition to his immediate family and his service in the Texas Legislature, Muñoz is a civil and criminal law attorney and sole principal of the Muñoz Law Firm, serving the South Texas region. He served as a Municipal Judge in Palmview, Texas and is a member of the Hidalgo County Bar Association. Beyond his professional service, Representative Muñoz is a member of the Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association and the Knights of Columbus. He attends both Our Lady of the Guadalupe Catholic Church and St. John of the Field’s Catholic Church. Muñoz has served in the Texas Legislature since 2011 and represents all or parts of the cities of Hidalgo, Granjeño, McAllen, Mission, Palmview and Pharr. His Capitol office is located at CAP 4S.4 in the Texas Capitol, and may be reached at (512) 463-0704. His District Office is located at 121 E. Tom Landry, Mission, and may be reached at (956) 584-8999.

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