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Edinburg EDC: Mayor García adds landmark “special needs” park, designed for Edinburg’s younger residents, to Downtown Master Plan

Featured: Following his State of the City Address on Wednesday, April 12, 2017, held inside the newly-opened $5 million IMAX theatre at Carmike Cinemas, Mayor Richard García, speaking to area journalists in a section of the IMAX lobby, praises Edinburg for its many assets, including the diversity of its people.

Photograph By DIEGO REYNA

With more than 80,000 Hidalgo County residents estimated by the state government with various types and degrees of disabilities, Edinburg Mayor Richard García, whose hometown is the county seat, wants them and their loved ones to know they are very important to the general well-being, positive image, reputation for diversity, and successes of the city. As part of his vision for Edinburg is a landmark plan to create a “special needs” park next to City Hall that would provide recreational equipment and positive experiences for children and teens with hearing, vision, independent living, ambulatory or cognitive difficulties. “This park will be a place where children with all types of challenges will be able to enjoy the outdoors, and have fun with other kids,” the mayor said. “It will be a place where they can learn about feelings of belonging and acceptance.” García, during his Wednesday, April 12, 2017 State of the City Address that he delivered as part of the public unveiling of the $5 million IMAX theater at Carmike Cinemas, emphasized his determination for such an outdoors complex. At the State of the City address, in announcing the special needs park, the mayor was joined by several young people and their families who represented the many residents for which the park is being created. Funding for the special needs park, when a final price tag is determined at a later date, will include financial support from the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation, which is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg Mayor and Edinburg City Council. The mayor’s proposed special needs park also sends a clear message to Edinburg’s youngest residents that the city government is responsive to all of its constituents. “Everyone, no matter what challenges or difficulties we face, has the potential for greatness,” García reflected. “This park will let people know that all of our young people are part of their hometown’s goals and achievements. Edinburg’s current successes and bright future will depend on the city’s leadership providing our young people with the encouragement, opportunities, resources, and physical and emotional support to help them reach their goals and dreams.” In general, a special needs park has an all-inclusive playground that is a place where children can play together with their peers, family, friends, and neighbors without experiencing physical or social barriers to inclusion. Play components are featured that challenge and accommodate typically developing children, as well as children with autism, hearing impairments, cognitive disabilities, cerebral palsy, spina bifida, and other physical and developmental needs.

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Edinburg City Council and Hidalgo County Commissioners Court to meet Tuesday, December 6, 2016 at noon to discuss new Hidalgo County Courthouse, announces Edinburg Economic Development Corporation

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Featured: Congressman Rubén Hinojosa, D-Mercedes, in a Wednesday, March 27, 2013 portrait at the Edinburg Conference Center at Renaissance. Hinojosa, who retires after 20 years at the end of December 2016, continues to produce for Edinburg, including with a recent $1.2 million federal grant to help prevent flooding in a northern part of the community.

Photograph By ISMAEL GARCÍA

Edinburg and Hidalgo County leaders are scheduled to meet at noon on Tuesday, December 6, 2016 in the county’s Administration Building for discussion and possible action regarding plans to build a new county courthouse in the city’s downtown region, the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation has announced. The joint session of the Edinburg City Council and the Hidalgo County Commissioners Court will be held in the Hidalgo County Commissioners Courtroom, located on the first floor of the county Administration Building, 100 East Cano. The meeting is open to the public. The purpose of the meeting is to consider a possible Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), which would memorialize the commitments made by the County of Hidalgo and the City of Edinburg for the construction of a new Hidalgo County Courthouse to be located in Edinburg, which is the county seat, according to Sonia Marroquín, Assistant City Manager for the City of Edinburg. The deliberations also will include what roles might be played by the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation, which is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg Mayor and Edinburg City Council, in the development and funding for the planned county courthouse. The Edinburg EDC Board of Directors is comprised of Mayor Richard García as President, Harvey Rodríguez, Jr. as Vice President, and Elías Longoria, Jr. Richard Rupert, and Dr. Peter Dabrowski as Members. Agustín García, Jr. is Executive Director for the Edinburg EDC.

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Southwest Workers Union plans 5:45 p.m. Tuesday rally in Edinburg to help organize ECISD workers

Hidalgo County Judge J.D. Salinas, III (with Sen. Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa, D-McAllen, featured left) will present the 2009 State of the County Address on Tuesday, February 24, from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Knapp Medical Center Conference Center, located at 1401 E. 8th Street, one block west of the hospital. "This event is for us to come together to publicly evaluate where we’ve been as a community and where we are going," said Salinas. “No Boundaries” is the theme of this event, and Salinas will focus on efforts working together to improve the quality of life for all residents. Dinner will be served, and the event also includes a live auction to benefit the Hidalgo County Scholarship Program. This program was unveiled at last year’s State the County Address, and since, Hidalgo County has awarded four scholarships for up to six hours of tuition and fees to four employees and their dependents. The event is free and open to the public. However, seating is limited, so organizers are asking residents to arrive early to allow ample time for auction registration. For those who cannot attend, this event will be webcasted live on http://www.krgv.com and broadcast on digital channel 5.4.

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On Saturday, February 7, 2009, Sen. Eddie Lucio Jr., D-Brownsville, presented the Most Reverend Raymundo J. Peña, Bishop of the Diocese of Brownsville, a Senate Resolution in celebration of his 75th birthday. Featured, from left: Sister Norma Pimentel; Ms. Linda McKamie, CEO, Catholic Charities of Corpus Christi Diocese; Mr. Steve Saldaña, CEO, Catholic Charities of San Antonio; Sen. Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo; Bishop Peña; and Sen. Lucio. See story later in this posting.

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Rep. Aaron Peña, D-Edinburg, on Thursday, February 19, welcomed the members of the Association of Public Administrators from the Master of Public Administration program at The University of Texas-Pan American on the House floor commending the members for their dedication to the field of public administration. "UTPA has made great strides since the inception of the Master of Public Administration Program and I am honored to have welcomed their visit to our State Capitol," said Peña. "I look forward to working with these outstanding individuals in the near future in shaping our government." Some of those delegation members are featured here, in the Speakers Committee Room at the Capitol, from left: Víctor M. de León, Dr. Aziza Zemrani, APA Advisor; Rep. Peña; Maricela De León, APA President; Adán Nieto, APA Vice President; and Edgar Cantú. Not shown are: Dr. Tom Lynch, Executive Director, UTPA at San Miguel de Allende, Mexico; Dr. Cynthia Lynch MPA Professor; Sylvia Quiñones; and Esteban Sánchez. See story later in this posting.

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South Texas Nonprofit Summit continues mission to help bring resources to Valley

Dr. Roland Arriola, Ph.D., (featured at the podium), president of the Texas Valley Communities Foundation in Edinburg, praised the growing role of nonprofit organizations in the Valley for the key role they will continue to play in helping thousands of South Texas residents. Arriola made his remarks during the opening on Wednesday, October 15, of the South Texas Nonprofit Summit, held at Texas State Technical College in Harlingen. Texas Valley Communities Foundation, headquartered in Edinburg, is helping spearhead efforts, such as the summit, to help area nonprofit organizations improve their chances of landing millions of dollars for the region.  “We are going to be seeing a lot more activity in the non-profit sector. The crucial element in any community is what we call ‘civil society’ – that’s what differentiates us from totalitarian states and dictatorships,” he said. In the end, the power of human compassion will always rise to any challenge, he suggested. “We have people who get involved, whether it is in their church or clubs or other organizations, and they do it as volunteers.  That’s what gives us our democratic values,” Arriola said. “We take that for granted, but actually it is so important to our structure as a people.” Featured with Arriola, from left, are Congressman Rubén Hinojosa, D-Mercedes, Will Ripley, news anchor for KRGV-TV Channel 5, and César Maldonado, the new president of TSTC in Harlingen. See story later in this posting.

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In commemoration and recognition of the 100-year anniversary of the arrival of Hidalgo County’s court records and subsequent founding of the county seat in present-day Edinburg, Rep. Aaron Peña, D-Edinburg, on Saturday, October 18, dedicated and planted a seedling from “Treaty Oak,” one of the country’s most historic trees, in the Hidalgo County Courthouse Square. The tree is a southern live oak grown from an acorn hand-selected from the historic Treaty Oak in Austin. Treaty Oak is believed to be more than 500 years old and is the lone survivor of the “Council Oaks” a grove of 14 trees that served as a revered meeting place for Apache and Comanche tribes of Central Texas. Featured during the dedication, from left, are: Ed Kuprel; Charlene Kuprel; Mark Peña; Michelle Peña; Esteban Peña; Sofía Montero-Aguilar; Anna Peña; Juliette Peña; Harlan Bentzinger; and Aaron Peña. See story later in this posting.

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Rey Anzaldúa, featured standing, a South Texas College business computer systems instructor, ain’t no dummy, but he writes for them. His bestselling new book (#1 in the Forensic Category on Amazon.com), Computer Forensics for Dummies, hit the shelves in October 2008 and is helping consumers sleuth their own digital trails. “People underestimate the amount of digital information they leave behind on digital devices and throughout the Internet during the course of their lives,” said Anzaldúa. “Computer forensics gives people the ability to retrieve data and literally piece together their lives and, sometimes, highlight their mistakes. The book will help you understand your digital footprints and how you can take steps to protect your privacy.” Anzaldúa, who has earned undergraduate and graduate degrees at the University of Texas-Pan American, is shown here at STC assisting student Sergio Rodríguez.  See story later in this posting.

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The McAllen Hispanic Chamber of Commerce was awarded the “2008 National Medium Hispanic Chamber of the Year Award” at this year’s annual United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Convention in Sacramento, California in September. The MHCC also won the Regional III award in August. “We are fortunate to have hard working directors, staff and committees who are abreast on the issues that concern our chamber members. The workshops and events that the MHCC promotes focus on key issues that concern business, education, legislation, health, women’s issues, etc.” said Cynthia Moya Sakulenzki, MHCC Pres/CEO.  “Our partnership with the Small Business Administration, the University of Texas Pan American HUB Program, the UTPA Small Business Development Center (SBDC) and the Women’s Business Center makes it easier for us to accomplish our Program of Work that focuses on business and women’s issues. We owe a lot of our success to our partnerships.” For more information on how to join or become active in the MHCC, call 928-0060. Featured with the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce National and Regional Awards are, from left: Diana González, Vice Chair of Education; Hari Namboodiri, Chair Elect; Sakulenzki; and Rose Ramírez, Vice Chair of Health Issues.

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