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Edinburg prepares for legislative session, EEDC, city government to split lobbyist’s $60,000 annual fee

Valley Land Title and Lone Star National Bank recently contributed monetary donations that will be awarded as scholarship funds to 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners of an essay contest that will be part of the city’s centennial celebrations scheduled to begin in October. All ECISD 5th graders are encouraged to participate in the contest. The topic is Edinburg. Featured in this photograph are, from left: Paul Rodríguez and Susan Valdéz with Valley Land Title; and Elias Longoria, Jr. with Lone Star National Bank. Longoria is also on the board of directors for the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation, which is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg City Council.  See related story later in this posting.

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The Museum of South Texas History,  with its Upper Old Jail Gallery included in this postage stamp, will celebrate its hometown of Edinburg’s 100th anniversary in October with a week of activities coordinated by the Chamber of Commerce and the Centennial Committee. A special exhibit entitled, Edinburg: A Centennial Salute, 1908-2008, has been created to commemorate the historic event.  Installed in the Upper Old Jail Gallery, this exhibit presents a sampling of photographs and artifacts from the museum’s collections and is organized into four themes.  Those themes are education, government, civic life, and commerce. See related story later in this posting.

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The McAllen Chamber of Commerce Governmental Affairs Council hosts monthly meetings featuring local elected officials, providing them the opportunity to reach out to McAllen Chamber of Commerce members among their constituents. On Wednesday, September 24, the McAllen Chamber of Commerce will welcome Rep. Ryan Guillen, D-Rio Grande City, as guest of the Governmental Affairs Council. Guillen will speak about his perspective of the major issues, challenges, and opportunities of the upcoming legislative session.  Featured making preparations for the event are Matt Z. Ruszczak, vice-president of governmental affairs, and Eva-Jean Radle,  vice-chair of the chamber’s Governmental Affairs Council.  See related story later in this posting.

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In Texas alone, more than 7,000 people are on the waiting list for life saving transplants. Knowing that the public has the power to donate life, the McAllen Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and the Donate Life Texas Organization are hosting an informative workshop to educate the public and dismiss the myths on being an Organ Donor on Thursday, September 25, from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the MHCC Board Room, located at 24 N. 12th Street in McAllen. Texas Health Spring will co-sponsor the workshop and offer light dinner refreshments.  There is limited seating so reservations are required by calling the MHCC office at 928-0060. Featured making preparations for the free workshop are, from left: Cynthia M. Sakulenzki, president/CEO of the McAllen Hispanic Chamber of Commerce; Trisha Barrera, Donate Life Texas; and Rose Ramírez, MHCC Vice Chair of Health Issues and Texas Health Spring representative.

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Sen. Hinojosa criticizes FEMA for ignoring Valley victims following major wildfires in Hidalgo County

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Work continued on Thursday, March 20 on the southern face of Edinburg City Hall, which is expected to be open by May, although it may not be until mid-summer before an old city hall annex, located north of the new facility, is demolished, and Kuhn Street is extended to serve the new complex. The groundbreaking for the 42,000-square-foot facility, located at 412 West McIntyre, took place in May 2006. It is designed to triple the amount of space utilized by city employees at the current City Hall. The project is expected to cost $6.65 million and will be funded through Certificate of Obligation Bonds. Due to construction, the section of McIntyre Street between 7th Avenue and 8th Avenue will be permanently closed. The existing city hall will be converted into a larger headquarters for the Edinburg Volunteer Fire Department.

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An aerial photograph taken on Wednesday, March 19, showed smoke from one of the wildfires that eventually consumed more than 26,000 acres in the ranch country north of Edinburg. Sparks from a utility line are being blamed for starting the initial fire, which was fueled by dry pastures, then spread by sustain winds approaching 50 miles per hour throughout that day and evening. Unofficial estimates predict the cost of the fires will approach $1 million. Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, D-McAllen, on Thursday, March 21, criticized the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) for not doing enough to financially help victims of the wildfires. See lead story later in this posting.

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Rep. Armando “Mando” Martínez, D-Weslaco, recently presented a $1,800 check to the Raindrop Room, which is sponsored and maintained by the Upper Valley Community Partners Board, Inc. The Raindrop Room in Weslaco was established as part of the Rainbow Room in McAllen, a local charity organization whose mission is to provide Child Protective Services (CPS) caseworkers the additional resources, products, tools, training and support services necessary to accomplish this goal. The vision of this organization is: “Community partners will initiate, develop, and support projects that enable CPS caseworkers to make the most positive impact possible on the victims of child abuse and neglect in Texas Counties and on those who are at risk”. Martínez organized a charity event in November 2007 to benefit various charity organizations in the Rio Grande Valley. Among those charities that benefited from the event was the Raindrop Room. The donation received will be used to restock the room with all new items for CPS clients such as diapers, baby formula, personal hygiene items, clothing and shoes. Featured, front row from left are: caseworkers Jovita Shives and Angie Romo; Martínez; Alicia de León, Rainbow Room coordinator; and Cynthia Bocanegra of Edinburg, the board president. From left, back row, are: Norma Reyes, caseworker; Rosie López, administrative assistant II; Johnny Rodríguez of Edinburg, a board member; Betsy Sinnett, program director; Junior Cordero and Ene Prado, board members; Georgina Morales, CPS director Region 11; and Marina Yzaguirre, program administrator.

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