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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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Rep. Gonzáles picks up at least $46,000, key endorsements, during fund raiser

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 Rep. Verónica Gonzáles, D-McAllen, thanks several hundred supporters on Friday, August 24, as she participates as a model for her unique fund raiser, which featured her and other lawmakers in a fashion style show at the Embassy Suites in McAllen.  She picked up almost $50,000 for her campaign war chest, along with endorsements from key political figures. She is facing at least one opponent in 2008: Republican Javier Villalobos.  Both of them are McAllen-based attorneys.  See story later in this posting. 

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Estella Treviño, longtime executive director for the Edinburg Housing Authority, beamed with pride on Monday, August 20, as she posed with the Edinburg City Council, which presented her a proclamation chronicling many of her achievements on behalf of the community. Among her accomplishments are helping provide affordable housing to thousands of residents, creating opportunities for property owners to rent homes to qualified families, and fighting the negative image of public housing.  “Ms. Treviño and the agency have received a host of awards for her diligent efforts including the Outstanding Services Award in 1975; the Specific Activity Award for outstanding programs offered through the Drug Elimination Program in 1994; the Award for Excellence in Youth Sports in 1995; the Family Self-Sufficiency Program Award in 1996; the Texas NAHRO Member of the Year Award in 1998; and the 2005 Texas NAHRO Hall of Fame Award,” said Mayor Pro Tem Alma Garza. “Widely known as an advocate of public housing and the elderly Ms. Treviño has changed the agency from merely providing assisted housing to helping residents achieve self-sufficiency and marketable skills enabling many of them to move beyond subsidized housing to homeownership.”   

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South Texas College’s Valley Scholars Program is celebrating its 10th anniversary at its annual Night with the Stars this October. The special event is designed to celebrate 10 years of academic excellence and pay tribute to ten outstanding Valley Scholar students, who have continued on to successful careers and have made positive changes in their communities. The celebration will take place on Thursday, October 4, 2007 at the Cimarron Country Club and will be an evening of celebration, recognition and entertainment. All proceeds from the event will benefit future South Texas College Valley Scholars Program students. As a result of the 2006 event, more than $40,000 was raised for the program. The coordinating team for the event includes, from left, seated: Sora Yañez, graphic designer; Marie Olivárez, STC Valley Scholars coordinator, Anahid Petrosian STC Assistant to the Vice President for Instructional Services , and  Sylvia Bernal, administrative assistant. From left, standing, are:  Roberto Gutiérrez, STC Fundraising Development Associate; George McCaleb, STC Director of Operations; and Ginna Gutiérrez, secretary. 

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