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With effective legislative legacy guaranteed,Rep. Flores will not seek reelection in 2010, will concentrate on community interests, family

Bill Summers (featured center, with his wife, Jo), president and chief executive officer of the Rio Grande Valley Partnership, on Wednesday, September 9, was honored by state leaders in Weslaco with the renaming of a key South Texas roadway in recognition of his decades of public service on both sides of the Texas-Mexico border. Summers many contributions to the people of Texas, particularly in helping promote an improved transportation system in South Texas that directly benefits economic development and jobs creation, sparked a new state law that renamed FM 1015 International Boulevard into the Bill Summers International Boulevard. The seven-mile long Bill Summers International Boulevard leads directly to the Progresso International Bridge, “which is fitting, given that Mr. Summers is also well-known for his strong ties to political, business, and community leaders in Mexico,” said Rep. Armando “Mando” Martínez, D-Weslaco. Martínez was the House sponsor of Senate Bill 1997, approved by the Legislature last spring, which authorized the renaming of the roadway. Sen. Eddie Lucio, Jr., D-Brownsville, was the lead Senate author of that legislation, along with Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, D-McAllen. “Bill has always been a very effective advocate for South Texas and the border region every time he came to visit us at the Texas Capitol,” said Hinojosa. “Equally impressive, he has the ability to make and keep friendships with people from all walks of life, even when they don’t agree with him. That speaks volumes about the man and his wonderful family, including his wife, Jo.” Featured, from left: Rep. Ryan Guillen, D-Rio Grande City; Rep. Armando “Mando” Martínez, D-Weslaco; Rep. Aaron Peña, D-Edinburg; Bill and Jo Summers; Sen. Eddie Lucio, Jr., D-Brownsville; Weslaco Mayor Buddy De la Rosa; and Rep. Eddie Lucio, III, D-San Benito. See story later in this posting.

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On Thursday, September 24, from 11:30 a.m. until 1 p.m., the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce Governmental Affairs Committee, headed by Ramiro Garza, executive director of the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation, will host a public affairs luncheon featuring René Gutiérrez, the new superintendent of the Edinburg school district. Although the event is open to the pubic, there is a $12 per person fee, or $150 for a table of 10, which includes a hot lunch, beverage and dessert. The luncheon will take place at The Edinburg Activity Center located on 123 Palm Drive. Gutiérrez will address current topics being discussed within the school district including but not limited to the new schools being built. Featured, from left, promoting the luncheon, are: seated, Ramiro Garza with EEDC; Elva Jackson Garza with Edwards Abstract and Title Company; and Edinburg Superintendent Dr. René Gutiérrez. Standing, from left:  Letty Reyes with EEDC; Letty González with Edinburg Chamber of Commerce; Cynthia Bocanegra with South West Funding; Lee Castro with Memorial Funeral Home; Lupita Cano with Sudarshan Eye Experts; Maria Reyna with Sudarshan Eye Experts; and Frank Lara with Sudarshan Eye Experts. See story later in this posting.

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State Rep. René  O. Oliveira, D-Brownsville, featured left, announced his bid for a 14th term in the Texas House of Representatives on Thursday, September 10, citing the need to bring an additional congressional seat to the Rio Grande Valley through redistricting in the 2011 legislative session.   Oliveira represents House District 37 which encompasses the majority of Brownsville, Port Isabel, Laguna Vista, Bayview, and a portion of northern Los Fresnos.  Launching his campaign for the 2010 March Democratic Primary election, Oliveira, 54, currently chairs the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee, and is a member of the House State Affairs Committee which oversees electric and other major utilities. He is the eighth ranking member of 150 members of the Texas House. Oliveira is featured here, receiving the 2009 Legislator of the Year by the Texas Association of Counties from the group’s president, J.D. Johnson. See story later in this posting.

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Flagship newspaper of Freedom Communications, owner of McAllen Monitor, Valley Morning Star, and Brownsville Herald, agrees to pay as much as $42 million in a settlement with newspaper carriers and carriers’ attorneys over employment lawsuit

Edwards Abstract and Title Company, headquartered in Edinburg, was recently recognized as the 2008 Affiliate of the Year by the Greater McAllen Association of Realtors (GMAR) during its Annual Installation Banquet, held at the McAllen Convention Center. More than 300 of the region’s leading real estate professionals attended the Saturday, November 22 banquet and the installation of the officers who will serve their terms during 2009. Roxanne Rydell-González, the outgoing GMAR president, announced the honor, which is bestowed upon a non-realtor member of the organization in appreciation for outstanding service and commitment to the organization during the past year. “The Greater McAllen Association of Realtors shines year after year because of the incredible volunteers and leadership that give of themselves and their time to face the challenges and tasks necessary to carry this great association forward and service buyers and sellers in the real estate industry,” said Rydell-González. Several members of the Edwards team were on hand at the installation banquet and they were honored to receive the award. Featured, seated, from left: Marilyn De Luna, McAllen branch manager; Mary Arce, Weslaco branch manager; Elva Jackson Garza, vice president/marketing manager and Mary Barrientos, Mission branch manager. Standing, from left: Clarissa Basaldúa, escrow officer; Lydia Gámez, examiner; Dick Henry, 2009 GMAR president; Roxanne Rydell-González, 2008 GMAR president; Vickey Terveen, escrow officer; Clay Sánchez, examiner; Norma Cano, escrow officer; Libby Luis, escrow assistant, and Miriam Lozano, escrow officer.

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Santa Claus is shown passing out one of the 24 bicycles donated to students at Robert E. Lee Elementary during a pre-Christmas event celebrating family literacy. Also present was keynote speaker, Rep. Aaron Peña, D-Edinburg, along with Principal Nelda Gaytán, Eddie Gonzáles, Operations Manager, and Paul Arrendondo, Assistant Manager, of Edinburg’s Academy Sports and Outdoors.

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An American soldier bravely stands at his post during this holiday season, protecting America from the forces of tyranny while bringing closer the dream of freedom to oppressed people throughout the rest of the world. A poem, featured later in this posting, captures the courage and sacrifice of tens of thousands of U.S. military veterans overseas, who have volunteered to put themselves in harm’s way, which ensured a safe Christmas 2008 for millions of Americans here at home.

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Gov. Perry orders flags at half-staff in memory of Lena Guerrero of Mission, who was first woman and first minority to serve on Texas Railroad Commission

Texas Speaker of the House Tom Craddick, R-Midland, will be honored on Wednesday, April 30 by South Texas College at its Pecan Campus in McAllen. The event, which is free and open to the public, represents a major coup for the community college because as speaker, Craddick is one of the three most powerful men in the Texas Legislature, along with Gov. Rick Perry and Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, also both Republicans. Craddick’s visit also represents his first public venture into South Texas after he helped significantly fund the successful reelection bids in March by Rep. Aaron Peña, D-Edinburg, and Rep. Ismael “Kino” Flores, D-Palmview. Both South Texas Democrats were roundly criticized for being loyal to Craddick and some of his policies, including a controversial plan which was blamed for costing the Rio Grande Valley an additional congressional seat, and with it, hundreds of millions of dollars annually in federal funds. However, Peña and Flores opposed Craddick’s congressional redistricting efforts, and countered that by being loyal to Craddick, South Texas has picked up large increases in state funding and programs at higher levels than many other regions of the state.

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In a spirited ceremony “a la Bobcat-style,” Edinburg High School was honored on Wednesday, April 22, by the College Board with a 2008 College Board Inspiration Award and a check for $25,000 at a special assembly. EHS is one of three schools in the nation to receive the coveted 2008 award. Featured accepting the 2008 College Board Inspiration Award at the event, from left, are: ECISD Trustee Robert Peña; Gabriel Luna, Jarrod Salaiz, and Cassandra Sáenz, EHS student leaders; Peter Negroni, College Board Senior Vice president; ECISD Trustee David Torres; and ECISD Trustee and Vice President Omar Palacios. See story later in this posting.

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Small business owners from not only South Texas but from as far away as Georgia joined faculty and staff members at The University of Texas-Pan American April 16-17 to learn how to successfully identify and pursue government contract opportunities with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Participating in the workshop hosted by UT-Pan American, and co-sponsored by the Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), which contracted with RGF Consulting Corporation (RGFCC) to conduct the workshop were, from left: Cassandra Ford, presenter, RGFCC; Clarence Randall Jr., OSDBU; Teneshia G. Alston, HSS; Deborah Walker-Sewell, RGFCC; Dr. Wendy Lawrence-Fowler, UTPA vice president for Research and Sponsored Projects; Felicia Gaston, presenter, F.M. Gaston Associates; Theresa Bailey, UTPA director of Sponsored Projects; and Robert Flowers Jr., presenter and RGFCC president/CEO. See story later in this posting.

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Rep. Verónica Gonzáles, D-McAllen, recently addressed the membership of Us Too – McAllen Chapter, a prostrate cancer support group, as a guest speaker to deliver her message of hope for advancing cancer research in Texas at the Edinburg Regional Medical Center. “Statistics are well known, but they are no less shocking,” said Gonzáles. “These men and their families are the lucky ones.” Among the most shocking statistics state that in Texas; one in four deaths is caused by cancer. A new case of prostate cancer occurs ever 2.5 minutes and a man dies from prostrate cancer every 19 minutes. The estimated total cost of cancer in Texas is $30 billion a year. Gonzáles shared with the audience of cancer survivors her hope with the success of Texans’ efforts to approve the landmark creation of the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas. See story later in this posting.

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