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House panel preserves option to upgrade Edinburg RAHC into UT medical school, says Rep. Martínez

A second Edinburg war hero – the late Pedro Cano – could soon join an elite group of Texas veterans who have been bestowed the state’s highest medal for valor – the Texas Legislative Medal of Honor – under a bill introduced on Friday, April 17, by Rep. Aaron Peña, D-Edinburg.

Family members for Cano – who is featured here during ceremonies honoring him in downtown Edinburg more than 60 years ago – are among the special guests invited to participate in a special presentation on Saturday, April 25, while Peña’s measure continues through the legislative process. The April 25 gathering,  which is free and open to the public, is also being organized by the Edinburg lawmaker. It will begin at 10 a.m. on the western plaza of Edinburg City Hall. More than half a century ago, the city of Edinburg dedicated April 26, 1946 as Pedro Cano Day. On that day, businesses closed, schools were dismissed, a parade was held and more than 4,000 people witnessed the award of the Distinguished Service Cross, the nation’s second highest military honor, to the 25-year-old South Texan. Only six Texans have been bestowed the Texas Legislative Medal of Honor, including its most recent recipient, the late U.S. Marine Sgt. Alfredo "Freddy" González of Edinburg, who was posthumously awarded the honor in February 2008, during a public ceremony in Edinburg which featured his mother, Dolia González, and Gov. Rick Perry. See story on Pedro Cano later in this posting. 

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Amanda Lira, who attends Economedes High School, hugs her mother, Delma Lira Sánchez, during a ceremony earlier this month at the University of Texas at Austin, where Amanda was one of two South Texas high school students honored as Migrant Students of the Year. Texas has the second-largest migrant education program and the largest interstate migrant student population in the nation. Students and their families migrate annually from Texas to 48 other states to work in agricultural and other seasonal jobs. The Liras were joined in this portrait by Dr. Judy C. Ashcroft, UT’s Dean of Continuing and Innovative Education, and Dr. Felipe Alanis, UT’s Associate Dean of Continuing and Innovative Education and Director of the K-16 Education Center. See story later in this posting. 

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Deyanira Castillo of Weslaco celebrates with her mother, María Castillo, after Deyania was one of two Texas high school students honored by the University of Texas at Austin as Migrant Student of the Year. Since it was begun more than two decades ago, the Migrant Student Graduation Enhancement Program has enrolled more than 22,000 students in its mission to increase the graduation rate of high school migrant students in Texas. With funding from the Texas Education Agency and gifts from the Beaumont Foundation of America, the Exxon Mobil Foundation, the John G. and Marie Stella Kenedy Memorial Foundation and the Microsoft Corporation, the program helps Texas migrant students earn high school credits through distance learning courses that meet Texas curriculum requirements. See story later in this posting. 

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Sen. Eddie Lucio, Jr., D-Brownsville, honored members of the Zonta Club of Brownsville on Tuesday, April 14, at the Texas Capitol with a Senate Resolution commending them for their contributions to the Brownsville community and congratulating them on their 50th anniversary. Zonta is a worldwide service organization of executives and professionals working together to advance the status of women worldwide through service and advocacy. There are over 32,000 members in 1,255 clubs in 67 countries. Featured, from left: Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst; Danita Utsman, Zonta District Governor; Rosalie Gutiérrez, Brownsville Zonta President; Lee Ann Greer, Zonta Vice President; Brenda Pérez, Public Relations Chairwoman; Brunilda Villarreal and Minnie Lucio (wife of Sen. Lucio), Conference Co-Chairs, and Sen. Lucio. 

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Border Wall to be discussed at April 15 forum sponsored by UT-Pan American, Texas Border Coalition

High school students Melissa Castaño of Edinburg, featured center, and Atanacio Gómez of Eagle Pass were named Students of the Year on Monday, March 31 by the Migrant Student Graduation Enhancement Program at The University of Texas at Austin. Castaño, a senior at Johnny G. Economedes High School, is the oldest child of Ricardo and María del Jesús Castaño. She ranks 13th in a class of 537 students and is the highest-ranked migrant student in her school. “She is a student who has a quiet demeanor and who excels in all her classes because she happens to be a very intelligent young lady,” said Castaño’s migrant counselor, Diana Alejos. “My ideal is to change a life and assist the people in my community,” Castaño said. See story later in this posting.

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Eagle Pass Mayor Chad Foster, chairman of the Texas Border Coalition, is among the key Texas border leaders scheduled to be in Edinburg on Tuesday, April 15, from 10:30 to noon, for a forum on the controversial planned Border Wall. The session, which is free and open to the public, will be held at the University of Texas-Pan American in the Student Theatre, located in the Student Union Building on campus. “We hope that this event contributes to UTPA’s standing as a national resource for the study of Latin America and its borders with the United States,” said Dr. Glenn A. Martínez, associate professor of modern languages and literature, who also serves on the board of directors for the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation, which is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg City Council. For more information on the forum, contact the Office of International Programs at 956/381-3572. See lead story later in this posting.

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The Edinburg CISD School Health Advisory Council (SHAC) will host its seventh annual ECISD Wellness Fair at the Harwell Middle School Gym on Thursday, April 10 from 6 – 8 p.m., announced Albert López, RN, Coordinator of Health Services. Harwell MS is located at 801 E. Canton Road. The wellness fair will feature various health-related entities from throughout the community as well as a food show sponsored by the ECISD Child Nutrition Department and a Physical Education Showcase by eight elementary schools. The SHAC is a state-mandated council made up of community members, parents and school district staff. The purpose of the SHAC is to address issues that deal with health, nutrition and a safe school environment with the intent to reflect the values of the community. Membership on the health advisory council is approved by the local school board every school year. For more information on the wellness fair, contact the ECISD Health Services office at 289-2300. Edinburg CISD School Health Advisory Council members (left to right) Mike Castillo, parent member; Esther López, Physical Education teacher; Albert López, RN, Coordinator of Health Services; and Dalia Fellows, parent member, plan for the health fair at the Harwell Middle School Gym. Not pictured are Mary DeLuna, director of Child Nutrition; Leo Reyes, PE teacher; and Iris Pérez, ECISD Dietitian.

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The Edinburg Chamber of Commerce has revamped its web page presence on the Internet, thanks to a “virtual face lift” and brand new web page designed by Web Magik. The domain and web address will remain the same at http://www.edinburg.com and will continue to update the community on the local chamber’s news, including ground breakings, ribbon cuttings, seminars, event/meeting dates and more. The user friendly website includes an updated calendar, membership listing, photos, and news involving chamber and city events in which the chamber partners with other entities on such events as Texas Cook’em: High Steaks in Edinburg, set for July 4. The website was unveiled on March 31 at the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors meeting held at the depot. If you would like more information on chamber events and news please call 956-383-4974, or log onto http://www.edinburg.com. Featured in this portrait are some of the active members of the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce, including, standing, from left: Abel J. Leal, Tiffany Gómez, Naomi Perales, Dalia Arce, Dr. Walt Green, Flo Prater, Ian Ochoa, Dina Araguz, Alicia Campos, Aaron Ramírez, Holly Martin, Frank Lara, and Marie García; and seated, from left: Gisela Hughes, Paulina Solis, Elva J. Garza, Jeannie Sandoval, and Eva Rodríguez.

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South Texas is making its mark in the realm of online media. PodCamp San Antonio Numero Dos is scheduled for May 3, 2008 at El Tropicano Riverwalk Hotel. PodCamp San Antonio is an event that attracts online media stars and producers from throughout the state, and has a global audience. Technology events like PodCamp San Antonio Numero Dos have typically been held in cities like Austin, Houston, or Dallas; but they never specialized in podcasting. According to http://www.podcasting-tools.com, podcasting is quickly becoming a buzz word among the techie crowd. So what is podcasting, anyway? Podcasting is online audio content that is delivered via an RSS feed. Many people liken podcasting to radio on demand. However, in reality, podcasting gives far more options in terms of content and programming than radio does. In addition, with podcasting, listeners can determine the time and the place, meaning they decide what programming they want to receive and when they want to listen to it. Listeners can retain audio archives to listen to at their leisure. While blogs have turned many bloggers into journalists, podcasting has the potential to turn podcasters into radio personalities. Key organizers for PodCamp San Antonio Numero Dos are featured here, from left: Richard Galvan, Shaine Mata, Jennifer Navarrete, Michael De Leon, and Lans Hobart. See story later in this posting.

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Kenneth I. Shine, M.D., executive vice chancellor for health affairs at The University of Texas System, was appointed interim chancellor of the UT System on Tuesday, April 1, by Regents’ Chairman H. Scott Caven, Jr. The appointment is effective May 1. Shine, a world-renowned cardiologist and physiologist with outstanding academic and medical credentials, will succeed UT System Chancellor Mark G. Yudof, who last week was named the president of the University of California system. See story later in this posting.

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