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Edinburg CISD recovers almost $11.3 million in back taxes, interest and penalties from past two fiscal years

McAllen Mayor Richard Cortéz, flanked, from left, by Hidalgo County Democratic Party Chair Dolly Elizondo, Rep. Verónica Gonzáles, D-McAllen, and Texas Secretary of State Hope Andrade, on Sunday, October 3, gave a thumbs-up to bipartisan efforts to encourage South Texans to cast their ballots for the Tuesday, November 2 statewide and local elections. Early voting will be held from October 18 through October 29. Andrade, who joined the local leadership for the news conference at the McAllen Convention Center, was in the Valley that day to announce the 2010 VOTETEXAS Road Tour, a 22-stop, statewide initiative to answer questions about the “when, where, and how” of voting. For voting information, Texans may visit http://www.VOTETEXAS.org or call the Office of the Texas Secretary of State at 1-800-252-VOTE (8683). Many Edinburg and McAllen voters will be casting their ballots in the contested race of House District 41, currently held by Gonzáles, who is being challenged by Rebecca Cervera, the Republican Party nominee for state representative.

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Carolina Desiga-Lozano, principal of Dr. Kay Teer Crawford Elementary, on Saturday, October 2, unveiled the portrait of the school’s namesake, which is the first of three new campuses to be opened by the Edinburg school district for the 2010-2011 school year. Crawford graduated from Edinburg High School and returned to teach there in the mid-1930s, where she organized the EHS Red and Blue Sergeanettes. This first of its kind nonmilitary drill team featured girls performing fancy, high-kicking synchronized movements. Crawford is regarded as the “Mother of the Modern Dance Drill Team”, and is internationally-known. Her dance drill instruction served as the inspiration for more than 15,000 dance drill teams nationwide and during her life time she taught more than 55,000 students. She provided drill teams for 10 Super Bowls, four Rose Bowls and seven Pro Bowls, the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles, the Seattle World’s Fair, the Mazatlán Carnival and New York’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. She was involved in the rededication of the Statue of Liberty and helped orchestrate a celebration surrounding a mass by Pope John Paul II at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles. Crawford died August 29, 2001 at the age of 88, leaving a legacy of excellence which continues today through Dr. Kay Teer Crawford Elementary. Featured, from left: Rosie Guerra and Evelyn Milligan, former ECISD teachers who also were members of the Sergeanettes; and Desiga-Lozano. The Crawford campus is located at 1800 East Davis Road in northeast Edinburg. See story later in this posting.

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South Texas College board trustees on Monday, September 27, wound up in a stalemate with 3-3 votes on two competing proposals that sought to replace Mike Allen, who passed away on Wednesday, August 25, on the governing board. Going into the public meeting, held at the Pecan Campus in McAllen, STC trustees deadlocked on appointing a replacement to succeed Allen until an election could be held in May 2012, or allowing the vacancy to remain unfilled until voters in Allen’s District 3 could select their own representative in a May 2011 election. Under both options, Allen’s successor would serve the remaining portion of his term.  In May, Allen was elected by voters in District 3 to a new, six-year term. “By not deciding to appoint someone, then they have to have an election,” STC board attorney Jesús “Chuy” Ramírez said after the board meeting. “I don’t know that we have enough time to do it in November, so that would put the election in May. That will give plenty of time for people to put together a campaign.” Allen passed away from complications of a cancer, chronic lymphocytic leukemia. See story on the vacancy left by Allen’s death later in this posting.

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Congressman Rubén Hinojosa, featured second from right, on Wednesday, September 29, announced the University of Texas-Pan American (UTPA) was awarded three grants totaling $3,630,000 by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, under the Affordable Care Act, and the U.S. Department of Education, for UTPA’s College of Health Sciences & Human Services. “UTPA is making great strides in graduating more and more students with degrees in Science,” said Hinojosa. “These grants, coming at the time when HESTEC is in full gear at UTPA in Edinburg, are great timing to say the least. It is very clear that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services as well as the Department of Education know what a great job UTPA is doing for our students and for our community.” HESTEC is an acronym for Hispanic Engineering, Science, and Technology Week, an annual educational and community-oriented sessions hosted by UT-Pan American which are designed to encourage public school students to go to college and major in math, science and technology. This year’s HESTEC was held from September 26 through October 2. Hinojosa was joined in this photograph on Sunday, September 26, by fellow congressional and university leaders at the Social Club in Edinburg to kick off UTPA’s ninth annual HESTEC. Featured, from left: Congressman Silvestre Reyes, D-El Paso; Congressman Henry Cuellar, D-Laredo/McAllen; UTPA President Dr. Robert S. Nelsen; Congressman Hinojosa; and Congressman Solomon Ortiz, D-Corpus Christi. See story on the federal grants to the local university later in this posting.

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Hidalgo County Judge  René A. Ramírez has won a top award for his efforts to ensure a full and accurate count of Hidalgo County residents during Census 2010. At an awards ceremony in Waco on Thursday, October 7,  the County Judges and Commissioners Association of Texas, along with County Progress Magazine, bestowed upon Ramírez the 2010 Excellence in Going the Extra Mile award. The public recognition specifically cited Ramírez’ launching of the Yo Cuento 2010 campaign, which was designed to increase the Census count in Hidalgo County. It is the first time an Hidalgo County official has won the award. “I am deeply honored to win this prestigious award,” Ramírez said. “The Census is taken every 10 years to provide a snapshot on this nation’s population. However, its ramifications are huge. Billions of federal dollars are allocated to states, counties and cities based upon the Census count. The number of congressional and state House and Senate seats we get are also based upon the Census count. So, ensuring a full and accurate count in 2010 was one of my top priorities when I was appointed county judge.” See story later in this posting.

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Hispanic Heritage Month in the United States is celebrated from September 15 through October 15, while Dia de la Raza – which honors the contributions of the Hispanic heritage – is commemorated on October 11. In conjunction with these two landmark events, Wells Fargo Bank, located at 120 W. Nolana in McAllen, on Thursday, October 14, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., will be hosting a social mixer current for current and prospective members of the Rio Grande Valley Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. Also, winning art work of high school and middle school students  from Brownsville to Laredo who participated in the Mi Cultura (My Culture) Hispanic Heritage Art Contest will be on display. “We encourage the community to come out and join in the celebrations as well as see the fabulous art work of South Texas students,” said Cynthia M. Sakulenzki, RGVHCC president and CEO. “It’s also a great way to meet your fellow business people of the Valley.” Winning art work will also be displayed in Washington, D.C. in the offices of Congressman Henry Cuellar, D-Laredo/McAllen, and Congressman Rubén Hinojosa, D-Mercedes.  More information on the social mixer  is available by calling the RGVHCC at 927-0060. Featured promoting the October 14 mixer are, from left: Alma Ortega Johnson, Wells Fargo Bank’s community banking president in McAllen; Laju M. Alemán, Wells Fargo Bank’s branch manager; and Cynthia M. Sakulenzki, RGVHCC president and CEO.

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Leadership Edinburg, a nine-month program of the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce which features local business and civic leaders, strives to encourage a better community through strong skills focusing on politics, education, and quality of life. Members of the latest group, Class XXII, kicked off their new venture into public service with a one-and-a-half day retreat at South Padre Island in September. “This particular class is a dynamic group of individuals. Everyone has a positive attitude and is excited about getting to know each other, and learning about their community.  Everyone is anxious to get involved and start working on their big community project,” said Letty González, chamber president. “We are happy that the Leadership Edinburg tradition has been going strong for as long as it has been.  Leadership is a wonderful program, and we encourage anyone to become part of it.” More information on the program is available by contacting the chamber at 956/383-4974 or by going online at http://www.Edinburg.com. Featured in this photograph, but not in any particular order, are the following Leadership Class XXII members: Luis A. Adame; Steven C. Foster; Patricia L. Galindo; Homero Jasso, Jr.; Arminda A. Garza; Valerie Gosalvez; Patricia Y. Juaristi; Andrew M. Leonie; Cynthia Castillo; Granados H. Díaz; Tiffany M. Tamez; Adelita G. Ozuna; Marla Sandoval; and Victoria P. Wu. See story later in this posting.

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The McAllen Chamber of Commerce Health Fair Committee invites everyone to participate in the 27th Annual “Heart of the Valley” Health, Fitness and Wellness Fair scheduled for Sunday, November 21, from 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., at the McAllen Convention Center. The chamber sponsors this event to promote health awareness and education to the community and to give medical and wellness businesses professionals the opportunity to give back to the community.  Also, through the fair, the McAllen Chamber of Commerce is able to educate the community about the latest treatments, procedures, services and technology available in the Rio Grande Valley. Featured promoting the event are, seated from left: Nancy Rangel; Trini Lozano; Priscilla Arredondo; and Lisa Garza. Standing, from left: Héctor Madrigal; Joel Davila; Luis Cantú; and Orlando Martínez. See story later in this posting.

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Hidalgo County secures $78.5 million state boost for two major transportation projects

 

Texas Transportation Commission officials, joined by Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, D-McAllen, Hidalgo County Judge  René  A. Ramírez, Hidalgo County Commissioner Héctor “Tito” Palacios, and other local transportation leaders, on Thursday, June 24, announced $78.5 million in pass-through funds for two major Hidalgo County transportation projects that will connect NAFTA truck traffic from the five ports to area industrial zones and to U.S. Highway 281. The funds are leveraging an estimated $400 million in local revenue that will be used toward building major components of the proposed Trade Corridor Connector (TCC) and the International Bridge Trade Corridor (IBTC). “My colleagues in the Texas Legislature and I are proud of the progress we’ve made in securing critical funding for building the physical infrastructure in South Texas," said Hinojosa. "We need to sustain that progress, especially during difficult budget times, so that industry and commerce can continue to thrive in this fast-growing region." Featured following the funding action by the Transportation Commission are, from left: Jacinto Garza, P.E.; Michael G. Cano, a member of the Hidalgo County Regional Mobility Authority (RMA) board of directors; Dennis Burleson, chairman of the Hidalgo County RMA board of directors; Hidalgo County Judge René A. Ramírez; Hidalgo County Commissioner Héctor “Tito” Palacios; and Godrey Garza, executive director for the Hidalgo County RMA. See lead story in this posting. 

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McAllen attorney Gary Gurwitz, featured left in this file photo, on Wednesday, June 23, was selected by his colleagues to serve as chairman of the South Texas College Board of Trustees, setting into play the political leadership structure which soon will have to deal with yet-undisclosed expansion plans for the two-county community college system – and how to pay for it. Gurwitz, flanked by Mike Allen, who he succeeded as chairman, immediately had to deal with other money issues during the trustees’ special meeting, held at the Pecan Campus in McAllen. The STC governing board approved pay raises, effective September 1, ranging from three percent to five percent, for all STC employees, and authorized a five percent cut in its current budget, the result of a mandated $1.5 million drop in state revenues. See story later in this posting. 

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National, state and local leaders on Thursday, June 24, gathered at South Texas College’s Technology Campus in McAllen to celebrate the regional launch of the English for Manufacturing and the Skilled Trades Initiative. The initiative training consists of an interactive, technology-based curriculum derived from the proven and innovative language learning program, Sed de Saber. The program ensures efficient and functional acquisition of workplace communication skills, such as understanding directions and important health and safety measures, using proper manufacturing vocabulary, and reading and interpreting administrative forms. Featured, front from left: Jennifer McNelly, senior vice president for The Manufacturing Institute; Andrés Alcantar, commissioner representing the public for the Texas Workforce Commission; and Blas Castañeda, chief external affairs and economic development officer for Laredo Community College. Featured from left, back row: Rose Benavidez, vice-chair of the STC Board of Trustees; Rafael Vargas, account manager for Sed de Saber; Wanda Garza, executive officer, the North American Advanced Manufacturing Research and Education Initiative; and Keith Patridge, CEO for the McAllen Economic Development Corporation. See story later in this posting. 

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Have competitive employees? Want to promote your company while giving your employees an opportunity to bond and have a good time? Sign up for the annual McAllen Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Summer Corporate Olympics, scheduled for Friday, August 6 at the La Vista Park. The $500 entry fee will cover 30 employees, friends or relatives with an Olympic company t-shirt, food and beverages. The Summer Corporate Olympics has games for both individuals and for team competition. A limit of 14 teams is allowed. Featured making preparations for the Summer Corporate Olympics and representing the games in the upcoming event, are, front row, from left: Jeanette Noone, Tug-of-War; Dianela Morantes, Volleyball Tournament; Rudy Cordova, Spinning Bat; and Julio García with the Tug-of-War. Back row, from left: Blake Kelley; Cynthia M. Sakulenzki with the Sack Race; Rick Cavazos with the Shot Put and the Horseshoe Toss; and Mireya Lozano and Hilda Solis with the 3-Legged Sack Race. For more information call the MHCC office at 928-0060. 

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Prospective contestants for the Miss Edinburg Pageant, which will be held on August 14, have until Wednesday, June 30 to submit their applications for the event, says Minerva Olivarez, Director for the Miss Edinburg  Pageant, who is featured left. Letty González, president with the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce, is featured right during the pageant update. Contestants for Miss Edinburg Teen should be between 14 and 16 years of age, while contestants for Miss Edinburg should be between 17 and 20 years of age. All candidates must be Edinburg residents. Winners will receive scholarships in the Teen and Miss divisions, be awarded a crystal crown, roses, banner and other awards. Winners will have the opportunity to represent the City of Edinburg at various functions such as socials, luncheons and ribbon cuttings. “We are so excited about the upcoming pageant and look forward to meeting all interested applicants. Miss Edinburg and Miss Edinburg Teen will be highlighted throughout the city of Edinburg.  This will be a great honor to receive. We welcome you all,” said Olivarez. More information is available by calling Olivarez at 956/929-0510 or via e-mail at: missedinburgpageant@yahoo.com .  

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Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson supports looking at all state funds for Valley VA Hospital

Efraín N. Martínez of Edinburg, featured left, reviews strategies for hurricane preparedness and recovery with Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson on Monday, May 17, when both men appeared in McAllen at a public meeting of the House Select Committee on Emergency Preparedness. Patterson, a retired U.S. Marine whose state agency’s responsibilities include oil spill prevention and response programs, also said he favors reviewing all state funds to help come up with money to build a Veterans Administration Hospital in the Rio Grande Valley. Patterson, a Republican, is being challenged in the November general elections by former Sen. Hector Uribe, D-Brownsville. See lead story on the proposed VA Hospital in this posting.

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Numerous political and business leaders from McAllen on Thursday, May 20, pledged to work closely with its newest state legislator –  Rep.-elect Sergio Muñoz, Jr, D-Mission, featured left – during a public reception honoring the 28-year-old lawyer at the McAllen Chamber of Commerce. “We have a real challenging legislative session coming up in January,” Muñoz said. “Ahead of us we face one of the most important budgetary debates in recent memory, combined with the issue of redistricting, and also to see how we can still bring back more funding and resources to our great communities.” He said since his election on March 4, he has been traveling to Austin and throughout House District 36, preparing himself for his legislative and constituent work “to learn first-hand what is important so we can focus our legislative ideas.” Featured, from left: Rep.-elect Muñoz; McAllen City Commissioner Marcus Barrera; McAllen Mayor Pro Tem Hilda Salinas; and McAllen Mayor Richard Cortéz. See story later in this posting.

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Graduation day was held on Saturday, May 15, as South Texas College welcomed more than 18,000 community members to State Farm Arena to celebrate a major life milestone with friends and family members. During the college’s three ceremonies, more than 3,500 graduates were awarded certificates, associate degrees or bachelor degrees. STC also took the opportunity to celebrate its smallest graduates from its Mid-Valley Campus Child Care Development Center in Weslaco. Featured, from left, front: graduates Orlando Pardo and Baltazar Nuñez. From left, back: Juan Mejia, Vice President for Academic Affairs; Rep. Verónica Gonzáles, D-McAllen, who spoke at the college’s Division of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences commencement; STC President Shirley A. Reed; Margaretha Bischoff, STC Division Dean of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences; and William Serrata, Vice President for Student  Affairs and  Enrollment Management. See story later in this posting.

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The Edinburg Chamber of Commerce on Friday, June 11, will host the 1st Annual Night Golf Tournament, four-person team scramble at the Ebony Golf Course, 300 West Palm Drive. The Golf Tournament committee is currently seeking teams at several sponsorship levels beginning at $250 and reaching the $5,000 level. Prizes from $1,000 to $2,000 will be awarded based on an 18-team field. “There will be door prizes, a dinner plus we are also awarding five scholarships to each of the Edinburg High schools,” said Celeste Cabrera, golf committee co-chair. “This will be the Ambassador’s First Annual Night Golf Tournament, and we feel the importance of continuing fundraisers such as this, and in turn giving back to our community and promoting further education.” More information on the event is available by contact the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce at 383-4974 or online at http://www.Edinburg.com. Featured, from left: JP Tilburg; René Deanda; Letty González; Robert McGurk; Jeremy Martin; and Glen Morgan.

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Continuing to be an advocate of small business, the McAllen Hispanic Chamber of Commerce has become a satellite office to ACCIÓN Texas, a micro-loan lender for small business loans. ACCIÓN Texas is a statewide nonprofit organization dedicated to providing the essential tools needed to grow a small business: credit and training. Many lenders do not offer loans to entrepreneurs without traditional collateral or sufficient credit history. That’s where ACCIÓN Texas is different. ACCIÓN Texas makes loans to small business owners with limited access to traditional sources of credit. Residents may be eligible for a variety of business loans between $500 to $100,000 or may be able to take advantage of one of their new products, such as the SBA 504 loans, which are loans from $200,000 to $4 million for commercial property and long term assets. ACCIÓN Texas will be at the McAllen Hispanic Chamber office on Thursday’s. To call and make an appointment call the MHCC office at 928-0060. Featured, from left: Dr. John Thomas, member, Small Business and Economic Development Advisory Board; Cynthia M. Sakulenzki, president and CEO for the McAllen Hispanic Chamber of Commerce; Marlene Rodríguez, loan officer, ACCIÓN Texas; and Lorena Silva, office manager, ACCIÓN Texas. See story later in this posting.

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Rep. Armando “Mando” Martínez, D-Weslaco, featured left, during a Monday, May 17 legislative hearing in McAllen, asked Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson (not shown in this photograph) what that statewide elected leader can do to help rally state legislative support for the construction of a Veterans Affairs Hospital in the Rio Grande Valley. Patterson is the chairman of the Texas Veterans Land Board, which works with the federal government on mutual construction projects involving Texas State Veterans Homes, which are skilled nursing homes exclusively for veterans. Martínez was a joint author of legislation in 2009 which put Proposition 8 on the statewide ballot last November. Proposition 8, which was passed overwhelmingly by Texas voters, for the first time authorizes the state government to invest resources and money into the construction, maintenance and operation of VA Hospitals statewide. Patterson pledged to support the region’s efforts to improve medical care for Valley veterans. “Whether we build something that is a VA Hospital or a VA medical center, or we contract with all the full-range of services at some location here in the Valley, the mission is to provide the care,” Patterson said. “Veterans should no longer have to travel to San Antonio. I don’t care whether we call it a VA Hospital, I don’t care if we call it a state hospital. It needs to be done.” Featured, from left: Rep. Martínez; Rep.-elect Sergio Muñoz, Jr., D-Mission; and Rep. Tara Ríos Ybarra, D-South Padre Island. See lead story in this posting.

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Women trailblazers in "Macho Country" changed image of Hidalgo County politics

David V. Aguilar, an Edinburg native and 1974 graduate of Edinburg High School, was confirmed by the U.S. Senate effective Sunday, April 11, as Deputy Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). Aguilar was named Acting Deputy Commissioner on January 3 following the retirement of Acting Commissioner Jayson P. Ahern, and confirmed by the U.S. Senate effective April 11th. As Deputy Commissioner, Aguilar is responsible for securing, managing, and controlling our Nation’s borders. Aguilar serves as the Chief Operating Officer, overseeing the daily operations of CBP’s 57,000-employee workforce and managing an operating budget of more than $11 billion. Aguilar’s primary focus will be to ensure that CBP’s mission of protecting the nation’s borders from terrorists and terrorist weapons is carried out effectively in partnership and unison with our nation’s other federal, state, local and foreign partners. See story later in this posting.

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Area leaders, including Hidalgo County Judge René A. Ramírez, featured second from left during the December 21, 2009 ribbon-cutting of the Edinburg regional headquarters for the U.S. Census Bureau, are implementing numerous local strategies to help increase a successful count in Hidalgo County by the federal government. “We are doing our part to complement the Census to help ensure that the residents of Hidalgo County are counted accurately,” said Ramírez, who has been openly critical of the Census’ decision to not mail questionnaires to residents of local colonias. But the county leader is not discouraged. “As a community, we now need to work to educated and mobilize those living in hard to count areas to fill out the Census form," the county judge added. See stories later in this posting. 

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The McAllen Hispanic Chamber of Commerce has scheduled a congressional summit on Friday, May 7, at the Palm View Community Center in McAllen to allow area residents to bring their concerns to Congressman Ruben Hinojosa, D-Mercedes, and Congressman Henry Cuellar, D-Laredo/McAllen. The event, which is free to the public, will be held from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. The community center is located on South Ware Road and Jordan Street. The morning session will feature three workshops: financial planning for the elderly, security measures, and Medicare/Medicaid. All workshops will be conducted in English and Spanish. Following a luncheon and congressional hearing, there will be a talent show for the public, with awards for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place. The event also provides area businesses to sponsor booths to feature their goods and services for the estimated 400 area residents anticipated to attend. More information of this event may be obtained by contacting the McAllen Hispanic Chamber of Commerce at 928-0060. Featured promoting the South Texas Senior Summer are, seated, from left: Mary Jane Ramírez with Congressman Cuellar’s office; José González with the Lower Rio Grande Valley Area Agency on Aging; and Rose Ramírez with Silver Ribbon. Standing, from left: Adelita Muñoz, MHCC vice chair of education; Cynthia M. Sakulenzki, MHCC president and chief executive officer; and Lidia Limas and Delia Estrada with the Retired Senior Volunteer Program.

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The unlikely dream for South Texas "Baby Boomers" of political equality for women in one of the most populated regions of Texas has become a welcomed and growing fact of life in Hidalgo County. Those findings – and other fascinating insights into the evolution of women’s rights in the traditionally male-dominated world of Rio Grande Valley politics – are found in a landmark academic study authored by Cassandra Rincones, featured right, a history instructor at South Texas College in McAllen. So important was Rincones’ research that Lucy Canales and Lilia Ledesma, partners in the national law firm of Linebarger Goggan Blair & Sampson LLP – which has offices in Edinburg and Brownsville – commissioned a transcription of Rincones’ March 11 presentation at South Texas College, and are forwarding PDF copies to more than 1,000 community, political, business, and media leaders throughout Texas. "Although South Texas women have always been crucial to the political fortunes of South Texas men, for much too long, we were not allowed the opportunities to prove ourselves as capable elected leaders," Canales said. For her part, Ledesma noted, "Today, we take it for granted that women hold positions as elected officials in Hidalgo County. But, as Cassandra Rincones has chronicled, it took tremendous courage, determination, and skills by women and men to help change the image and gender of the elected leadership in Hidalgo County. " As part of a standing-room only audience at STC to hear Rincones’ presentation are, from left: Lupe Silva-Aboud, 13th Court of Appeals Justice Linda Yañez, and Elvia Ríos. See lead story in this posting.

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Sen. Hinojosa applauds recommendation to change leadership at Texas Department of Transportation

Edinburg City Councilmember Alma A. Garza, flanked by her parents, Dr. Omar and Dora Garza, took her oath of office on Monday, May 12, for a three-year term on the five-member governing body. Alma Garza, who for the first time in her young political career had faced an opponent, generated 63 percent of the vote, a significant margin of victory.  She was sworn in by Hidalgo County 206th District Court Judge Rose Guerra Reyna. Garza also raised more than $29,000 in campaign funds in the second phase of her campaign to help secure her victory, according to her campaign finance report filed with the City Secretary’s Office. See story later in this posting.

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Gene Espinoza, left, who was reelected to a new three-year term on Saturday, May 10, is congratulated by his uncle, Justice of the Peace Charlie Espinoza, after the city councilmember, who was joined by his immediate family, was sworn in to office on Monday, May 12.  In addition to his own many supporters, Espinoza was helped in his reelection bid by generous contributions for several prominent Edinburg-area business leaders.  The most recent list of his contributors, along with the campaign financial supporters for Councilmember Alma Garza, are featured in a story later in this posting.

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Edinburg Municipal Court Judge Toribio “Terry” Palacios, featured left, on Monday, May 12, was sworn in for another three-year term as presiding judge of the local court by  his nephew, Hidalgo County 92nd District Court Judge Ricardo Rodríguez, Jr.  Palacios, who is also a partner in the law firm of García, Quintanilla and Palacios in McAllen – which includes former Edinburg Mayor Richard García – serves a key role in the administering of justice in the community. Rodríguez was  a former Edinburg City Councilmember before resigning that post in October 2005 to make his own successful bid for district judge. According to CourtReference.com, municipal courts in Texas have original and exclusive jurisdiction over criminal violations of certain municipal ordinances and airport board rules, orders, or resolutions that do not exceed $2,500 in some instances and $500 in others. Municipal courts also have concurrent jurisdiction with the justice courts in certain misdemeanor criminal cases. In addition to the jurisdiction of a regular municipal court, municipal courts of record also have jurisdiction over criminal cases arising under ordinances authorized by certain provisions of the Texas Local Government Code. The municipality may also provide by ordinance that a municipal court of record have additional jurisdiction in certain civil and criminal matters. Municipal judges also serve in the capacity of a committing magistrate, with the authority to issue warrants for the apprehension and arrest of persons charged with the commission of both felony and misdemeanor offenses. As a magistrate, the municipal judge may hold preliminary hearings, reduce testimony to writing, discharge the accused, or remand the accused to jail and set bail.

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Dr. Scott Cook, one of the world’s expert on Mexican brick culture, has a unique window on Valley’s history, and he will be in Edinburg on Wednesday, June 11, to share those perspectives at the Museum for South Texas History, located at 200 N. Closner, immediately northeast of the Hidalgo County Courthouse. Accompanying him will be local musicologists and “North of the Border” radio show hosts Joe and Rosa Pérez (singing songs of the brick-makers).  The presentations will be held from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., and wine and hors d’oeuvres will be provided.  Cook is professor emeritus of anthropology and interim director of the Puerto Rican and Latino Studies Institute at the University of Connecticut. He lives in Willimantic, Connecticut. There is a $5 donation requested, and the event calls for business casual attire. To RSVP or obtain more information, interested persons may call 956/ 776-0100, extension 311.

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