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Seeing is believing – Cinemark opens first-of-its kind theatre in company’s history in Edinburg

As Hidalgo County leaders prepare for the inevitable expansion or construction of a new courthouse in downtown Edinburg, the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation has begun a regional market survey to determine the demand for a privately-funded Class A office tower as part of the city’s ambitious downtown revitalization goals. Agustín “Gus” García, Executive Director for the EEDC, which is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg City Council, is hopeful that the proposed construction of a $100+ million Hidalgo County Courthouse would help encourage the private sector to finance the creation of an office tower. “This effort is only the initial step to identifying a need,” said García. “If a need is found, then phase 2 – looking for a developer – would proceed.” The privately-funded professional services complex, envisioned through a collaborative effort between the EEDC and the city, would primarily cater to attorneys and other legal professionals. But it also could draw high-end shops, restaurants, and entertainment venues, whose tenants could capitalize on the thousands of people who come to the courthouse and downtown daily to conduct their business. The EEDC leader, along with other elect included in this image, are featured in this recent portrait taken during the Public Affairs Luncheon at the ECHO Hotel and Conference Center. Featured, front row, from left: Liz Gómez-Adamson, Chief Nursing Information Officer, Doctors Hospital at Renaissance (DHR); Marissa Castañeda, Chief Operating Officer, DHR; Maggie Kent, Member, Board of Directors, Edinburg Chamber of Commerce (ECC); Dr. Carlos J. Cárdenas, M.D., Chairman of the Board, DHR; McAllen Mayor Jim Darling; Edinburg Mayor Richard H. García; Edinburg School Board Trustee Carmen González; Dr. Robert S. Nelsen, President, The University of Texas-Pan American; Hidalgo County Judge Ramón García; Elva Jackson Garza, Member, ECC Board of Directors; Letty González, President, Edinburg Chamber of Commerce; Dina Araguz, Chairman of the Board, Edinburg Chamber of Commerce; Alex Ríos, Member, ECC Board of Directors; and Marty Baylor, Member, ECC Board of Directors. Back row, from left: Norma Terán, Chief Nursing Officer, DHR; Lisa Woodward, Assistant Chief Nursing Officer, DHR; Lucy Canales, Member, ECC Board of Directors; Susan Turley, Chief Financial Officer, DHR; Dr. René Gutiérrez, Superintendent, Edinburg Consolidated Independent School District (ECISD); Dr. Martín Castillo, Vice-President, ECISD Board of Trustees; Edinburg Mayor Pro Tem Elías Longoria, Jr.; Jaime R. Solis, Board Secretary, ECISD Board of Trustees; Ramiro Garza, Jr., Edinburg City Manager; Hiren Govind, Member, ECC Board of Directors; Jacob De León, Member, ECC Board of Directors; and Agustín “Gus” García, Jr., Executive Director, Edinburg Economic Development Corporation. See story later in this posting.

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Key South Texas lawmakers on Wednesday, August 21, provided highlights from Texas Legislature’s regular session and three special sessions during a legislative luncheon hosted by the Rio Grande Valley Hispanic Chamber of Commerce at The Club at Cimarron in Mission. “We are extremely proud of our South Texas delegation. Not everyone is able to keep up with the activities at the Texas Capitol, so this annual Legislative Report Card Luncheon is very valuable to the communities as we are informed of the legislation passed,” said Cynthia M. Sakulenzki, the organization’s President/CEO. “We are extremely lucky that this session was very fruitful for the Rio Grande Valley. The South Texas Delegation was able to get us funding for transportation, education, water infrastructure, an increase in the Texas Retirement fund, and so on, besides the creation of the new University of Texas regional university and planned UT Medical School, which will have a tremendous economic and educational boost for the Rio Grande Valley.” Sakulenzki also expressed appreciation for video updates provided by Congressman Rubén Hinojosa, D-Mercedes, and Congressman Henry Cuellar, D-Laredo/McAllen. “Even though Congressman Hinojosa and Congressman Cuellar were not present because they were in session in Washington, D.C., we want to thank them for the videos they sent answering our questions on veterans affairs, immigration, student loans, the Affordable Care Act and the border fence.” Featured, from left, are RGV Hispanic Chamber board members, including: Jeniffer C. Garza, Vice Chair of Health Issues; Brenda Lee Huerta, Vice Chair of Governmental Affairs; Cynthia M. Sakulenzki, President/CEO, RGV Hispanic Chamber of Commerce: Rep. Sergio Muñoz, Jr., D-Mission; Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg; Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, D-McAllen; Adelita Muñoz, Vice Chair of Women’s Issues; Rep. Óscar Longoria, Jr., D-La Joya; Jenise Díaz, Vice Chair of Public Relations; and Pete Morales, Vice Chair of International Trade.

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Jared Matthew Janes, a five-year veteran journalist for The Monitor who in August left his profession to attend the University of Texas School of Law in Austin, was honored for his news reporting skills on Tuesday, July 30, by the Hidalgo County Commissioners Court – which was one of his numerous “beats” – subject areas assigned to a reporter – in which he excelled. Janes also extensively wrote about the City of Edinburg and its jobs-creation arm, the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation, as well as generated significant coverage of the major actions of the Texas Legislature and the Hidalgo County state legislative delegation. He also reported on the Hidalgo County Regional Mobility Authority, and statewide and regional political campaigns. Janes, a native of Sydney, an unincorporated town in the north-central Texas region of Comanche County, serves as proof of the famous adage, “From small things, big things one day come.” In his time at The Monitor, Janes has comprehensively covered issues that affect every resident in the county, from health care and transportation to the environment and legal affairs, noted Karina Cardoza, Director of Public Affairs for Hidalgo County, who wrote the resolution in Janes’ honor. That declaration was unanimously approved by the county judge and county commissioners. Featured, front row, from left: Carlos Sánchez, Editor, The Monitor; Jared Janes; Hidalgo County District Clerk Laura Hinojosa; and Hidalgo County Tax Assessor-Collector Paul Villarreal. Back row, from left: Precinct 4 County Commissioner Joseph Palacios; Hidalgo County Judge Ramón García; Precinct 2 County Commissioner Héctor “Tito” Palacios; and Precinct 1 County Commissioner A.C. Cuellar, Jr.

See story later in this posting.

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Led by Rep. Sergio Muñoz, Jr., D-Mission, local leaders and trade stakeholders met on Friday, August 30, at the Anzaldúas International Bridge in Mission to discuss the next steps for designation of an Overweight Vehicle Corridor in Hidalgo County. Passage of House Bill 474, authored by Muñoz and sponsored by Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, D-McAllen, authorized the establishment of this corridor and marks a milestone in the region’s economic development efforts. The corridor will also promote safety as businesses begin to utilize the corridor for movement of goods through Hidalgo County. “This corridor is a key piece of infrastructure needed to promote trade and attract jobs and investments,” said Muñoz. “We know that with the opening of the Durango- Mazatlán Highway, many produce businessmen will be turning to our region for expedient delivery of products. But we need to have infrastructure such as this corridor in place.” In this image, Muñoz presented signed copies of House Bill 474 to key South Texas leaders who endorsed his legislation. Featured, from left: Rigoberto Villarreal, Director of Operations for the Anzaldúas International Bridge and Hidalgo International Bridge, and Rep. Sergio Muñoz, Jr., D-Mission. Back row, from left: Mayor Leopoldo “Polo” Palacios, Jr. of Pharr; Councilmember Rubén Plata of Pharr, and Keith Patridge, President and CEO of the McAllen Economic Development Corporation. See story later in this posting.

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Hidalgo County has earned 2nd Place in the Metro County Division for its efforts to increase public awareness of county programs and services while incorporating this year’s theme of “Smart Justice: Creating Safer Communities.” Celebrated in April, Hidalgo County was one of only six counties across the nation honored for outstanding public outreach. The purpose of the National County Government Month Award program is to encourage counties to participate in National County Government Month (NCGM) and recognize those counties that sponsor outstanding programs to reach out and educate citizens about county government during the month of April. Featured, first row, from left: Former 92nd District Court Judge Ricardo Rodríguez, Jr.; Public Affairs Director Karina Cardoza; District Clerk Laura Hinojosa; and Adult Probation staff member Faustino López. Second row, from left: Pct. 4 Commissioner Joseph Palacios; Pct. 3 Commissioner Joe M. Flores; County Judge Ramón García; Pct. 2 Commissioner Héctor “Tito” Palacios; and Pct. 1 Commissioner A.C. Cuellar, Jr. See story later in this posting.

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A bipartisan coalition of state legislators, including, from left, Rep. Sergio Muñoz, Jr., D-Mission, Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg, Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, D-McAllen, and Rep. Óscar Longoria, Jr., D-La Joya, are working to rally voter support during the November 5, 2013 statewide constitutional amendment election in favor of Proposition 6, which would help communities statewide pay for needed water and conservation projects. Water Texas, an advocacy group in favor of Proposition 6, announced on Wednesday, August 21, the members of its Statewide Leadership Team, a bipartisan coalition of legislators working to help pass Proposition 6, which is designed to address the state’s water crisis. The Statewide Leadership Team includes 152 members of the 181-member Texas Legislature. Canales said the Valley, with its rapidly-growing population – Hidalgo County alone has more than 840,000 residents as of 2012 – needs to have access to funding options in order to manage the continuing positive growth of deep South Texas. “Water is life, and it is our duty as Texans to protect, conserve, and plan for the future water needs of our state, taking in to account population growth and the reality of severe drought,” Canales. “This measure is the first of many steps we must take to not only protect our economy, but our very way of life and the lives of future Texans.” The proposed amendment is a response to the severe strain that drought and rapid population growth have put on the state’s water supply. While the population of Texas is expected to nearly double by 2060, existing water supplies are projected to decrease by 10 percent during that time, creating a need for an additional 2.7 trillion gallons of water. See story later in this posting.

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The Hobo Hap’nin’ Reunion 2013 “Crew” is getting bigger. The Hobo Hap’nin’ Reunion is scheduled for Saturday, September 21, at 6:30 p.m. at 602 W. University Drive, the home of the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce, Edinburg Economic Development Corporation and Edinburg Convention and Visitors Bureau. This event brings the community to the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce Depot for one common historical purpose: setting the goal of raising $50,000 for the ongoing restoration of the Edinburg landmark. Lone Star National Bank, the ECHO Hotel and Conference Center, and Memorial Funeral Home have been leaders in helping support this fundraising effort. Tickets for the reception are $75 each, and that sponsorship also covers dinner, refreshments, live music, and the option to participate in a silent auction. The Depot Restoration Committee is asking for further support from anyone interested in preserving a very historic and beautiful architecturally designed facility. Donations for the live and blackboard auctions are being accepted. For more information, please contact Letty González, President of the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce at 956/383-4974 or chamber@edinburg.com. In this image, representatives of the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors Depot Restoration Committee, and “Trainmaster” sponsors of the Hobo Hap’nin Reunion gathered at the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce. Featured, seated, from left: Alex Ríos, Laura Guajardo, Elva Jackson Garza, León De León, Velma Sue De León, and Pedro Salazar. Standing, from left: Jacob De León, Flo Prater, Edinburg Mayor Pro Tem Elías Longoria, Jr., Byron Jay Lewis, Hiren Govind, Dina Araguz, Robert McGurk, Edna Peña, Dina Pérez, Letty González, Marty Martin, and Maggie Kent.

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Dr. Robert S. Nelsen, President of the University of Texas-Pan American (featured second from left), on Thursday, August 15, said he will ask the UT System Board of Regents at its November meeting to provide $148 million for the construction of a new science complex and business building at the Edinburg campus. If approved, UTPA would receive a major boost in plans to be transformed into a first-class university serving the four-county Rio Grande Valley. UTPA is going to be merged with the University of Texas at Brownsville in order to create a new, yet-to-be-named higher education system for the Valley that will feature a full-fledged UT medical school. Nelsen, who also confirmed he would be seeking the presidency of the new UT university/medical school, said he will ask for $100 million for the science building and $48 million for a business building. The construction, if funded by the UT System, would help create many direct and indirect jobs, he added. “The Science Building alone would generate, on top of the $100 million (that it will cost to construct), $145 million in economic impact when it is built here. It will generate hundreds of jobs. It will help lift the entire Valley as we go forward,” Nelsen said. “It’s mind-blowing, right? It truly is.” Nelsen made the announcement at the ECHO Hotel and Conference Center in Edinburg, during the Public Affairs Luncheon coordinated by the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce and sponsored by Doctors Hospital at Renaissance. Featured, from left: Dr. Carlos J. Cárdenas, Chairman of the Board of Directors and interim Chief Executive Officer for Doctors Hospital at Renaissance; UTPA President Dr. Robert S. Nelsen; Edinburg Mayor Richard H. García; Hidalgo County Judge Ramón García; and Edinburg Mayor Pro Tem Elías Longoria, Jr. See story later in this posting.

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Cinemark Holdings, Inc., one of the world’s largest motion picture exhibitors, on Thursday, August 29, provided a sneak preview for Edinburg leaders and residents of their first Cinemark Movie Bistro. The new six-screen theatre, located at 2001 West Trenton, is the first in-theatre dining experience for the entire corporation. The family entertainment venue, which will serve as the major anchor for adjacent businesses and restaurants, features state-of-the-art visual and audio, along with premium plush seating with snack tables to allow patrons to enjoy meals ordered at the theatre while enjoying their favorite movies. Featured during the ceremonial tearing of the first admission ticket, are, front row, from left: Nelda Ramírez, Assistant Executive Director, Edinburg Economic Development Corporation; Ramiro Garza, Jr., Edinburg City Manager; Frank Torres, General Manager, Cinemark Movie Bistro; Mayor Pro Tem Elías Longoria, Jr.; Mayor Richard García; Art Murtha, Vice President of Theatre Operations, Cinemark Theatres; Letty González, President, Edinburg Chamber of Commerce; and Dina Araguz, Chairman, Board of Directors, Edinburg Chamber of Commerce. Featured back row are Johnny Cisneros, Broker, Cadence Commercial Real Estate, and Jennifer Frederick, Marketing Manager, Cinemark Theatres. See top story in this posting.

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Edinburg Mayor García says he would support possible AG Opinion expanding property tax freeze to homeowners with long-term illnesses

Fresh off a successful first session that included the passage of 18 major bills and one amendment bearing his name – including measures that provided $630,000 for a bachelor’s degree program at South Texas College, will reduce high school dropout rates, punish human traffickers and sexual predators, protect private property rights, and reduce the growing health and safety problems caused by roadside vendors – Rep. Sergio Muñoz, Jr., D-Mission, has been honored by his Democratic colleagues for his legislative achievements. Muñoz, featured left with Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, D-McAllen, on the House floor in late May, authored, coauthored, sponsored and cosponsored more than 60 bills and one amendment – including 25 measures approved by the full House that publicly recognized major achievements by constituents in his House District 36. See lead story later in this posting.

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The Edinburg Economic Development Corporation, along with the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce, on Thursday, June 9, hosted a job fair for Santana Textiles, one of the world’s largest denim manufacturers, which is constructing a $180 million complex at the city’s North Industrial Park. This first round, held at the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce, 602 West University Drive, focused on seeking skilled applicants for 20 positions, such as licensed electricians, mechanics, and mechanic helpers. “This job fair helped kick off Santana Textiles’ hiring process, but we will be hiring throughout the summer,” said Lori A. Garza, Manager of Human Resources for Santana Textiles, LLC. “We are happy to cooperate with the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation and the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce and appreciate their support.” Interested area residents who were unable to make it to the event may call the EEDC at 383-7124 for more information about future hiring by Santana Textiles, which eventually will have a workforce of 800 along with the major investment for facilities and state-of-the art equipment. Featured from left: Letty Reyes, Project Manager, EEDC; Evana Vleck, Director of Marketing and Special Events, Edinburg Chamber of Commerce; and Lori A. Garza, Manager of Human Resources, Santana Textiles, LLC.

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Rep. Aaron Peña, R-Edinburg, featured front row, center, participates in a group portrait with his Capitol office and House committee staff members, praising them for their individual and collective achievements on behalf of his constituents. “It’s appropriate that I take a moment to recognize the solid staff that makes our office run as effectively as it does. These are smart, young people who have found public service to be a value,” said Peña. “They are a credit to our community and to the State of Texas. I expect great things from them.” Featured, front row, from left: Maricela De León, chief of staff; Rep. Peña; and Paul Kamprath, chief clerk, House Committee on Technology. Featured, back row, from left: Felicia Peña, assistant committee clerk; Melinda Reyes, legislative intern; Mikael García, legislative director; Trey Pérez, legislative intern; and Jacob Welch, assistant committee clerk. See a related story later in this posting on Peña being bestowed the Teddy Roosevelt Award by the McAllen Chamber of Commerce.

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The University of Texas-Pan American is forming a Center for Bilingual Studies, which will take a multi-disciplinary approach to studying the Rio Grande Valley’s bilingual community. Featured from left: Dr. Glenn Martínez, professor of modern languages, and member of the Board of Directors for the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation; Dr. José Ruiz-Escalante, professor of curriculum and instruction, Dr. Dahlia Guerra, dean of the College of Arts and Humanities and sister to Edinburg Mayor Richard García; Dr. Héctor Ochoa, dean of the College of Education; Dr. Jennifer Joy Esquierdo, assistant professor of curriculum and instruction, Leonides Gómez, professor of curriculum and instruction, and Dr. Francisco Guajardo, associate professor of educational leadership. See story later in this posting.

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Veterans from the Rio Grande Valley, featured here in Austin earlier in the spring on behalf of a full-service Veterans Administration Hospital for the Valley, are closing following reports from Washington, D.C. which point to progress on that issue at the federal level as well. Congressman Henry Cuellar, D-Laredo/McAllen, has included legislation in the fiscal year 2012 Military Construction and Veterans funding bill that would bring South Texas one step closer to having a full-service VA hospital. The bill passed the U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday, June 15, by a  vote of 411 to 5. Featured in this portrait, taken in the State Capitol complex in Austin are, from left: Rep. J.M. Lozano, D-Kingsville; José María Vázquez; Joe Ibarra; Treto Garza (seated); Rep. Armando “Mando” Martínez, D-Weslaco; Rubén Cantú; Pete Garza; Sisto Barrera; and Scott Jenkines, chief-of-staff for Rep. Martínez. See story later in this posting.

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The inaugural graduates with Mexican American Studies certificate from the University of Texas-Pan American – which was first offered in spring 2010 –  celebrated the historic moment in May. To earn the certificate, a student must already be admitted to a graduate program at UTPA and take 12 hours of course work in Mexican American Studies from any discipline with no more than six hours in any one subject. Featured, front row, from left: certificate recipients Karmin San Martín and Vania Barrera; Dr. Cynthia Brown, UTPA vice provost for graduate studies; and certificate recipients Verónica Sandoval and Orquidea Morales. Back row, from left: certificate recipients Rodrigo Cano, Milena Melo, Lucas Espinoza, Hugo Paz, and Dennis Garza. See story later in this posting.

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The Edinburg Volunteer Fire Department recently donated six sets of protective helmets, jackets, pants and gloves to the foundry at the University of Texas-Pan American to keep artists safe when working with the molten metal. (A foundry is an establishment where metal is melted and poured into molds.) Shawn Snider, the fire department’s chief, said the gear is no longer useable by firefighters to enter burning buildings, but is safe for the artists to use when working in the foundry. Featured, from left: Jacob Quintanilla, EVFD firefighter; R.H. Pursley, EVFD deputy chief; Jaime Piña, EVFD firefighter; Antonio Salazar, EVFD deputy chief; Susan Fitzsimmons, UTPA Art Department chair; Douglas Clark, instructor at the UTPA Art Foundry Program; and Shawn Snider, EVFD chief. See story later in this posting.

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UnitedHealthcare, the Rio Grande Valley Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and Lone Star Insurance Services on Thursday, June 23, will host a seminar for small-business owners on Healthy Texas, a statewide health initiative to offer affordable health insurance to small-business employees and their families. The seminar, scheduled from 8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m., will be held at Lone Star National Bank, 520 E. Nolana, Suite 110, in McAllen. Registration begins at 8 a.m. UnitedHealthcare has been selected to provide insurance plans for Healthy Texas, an employer-based, public-private health insurance program offered by the Texas Department of Insurance. Healthy Texas uses state and federal funding to make it more affordable for qualifying small employers to offer health care benefits to their employees. Premiums for Healthy Texas products are, on average, 25- to 30-percent lower than commercial market plans. Featured making preparations for the seminar are, from left: Robbie Burgess, an executive with UnitedHealthcare; Laura McClelland, a renewal account consultant with UnitedHealthcare; and Rubén Garza with Lone Star Insurance Services. See story later in this posting.

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JoAnn Gama of McAllen, Chief of Schools at IDEA Public Schools, has been appointed by President Obama to President’s Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanics. Gama, featured here at the White House for a swearing-in ceremony on Thursday, May 26, held in the Smithsonian Castle in Washington, D.C., which  featured U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor. Gama was one of more than a dozen new members selected by the President to help improve academic excellence and opportunities by providing advice to President Obama and Education Secretary Arne Duncan. Gama co-founded IDEA Public Schools in 1998 as an academy, and after receiving a state charter, opened IDEA as an independent charter school in August, 2000. Since IDEA Public Schools’ launch, Gama has served as Principal and Chief Operating Officer. In 1997, she joined Teach For America in Donna, where she taught 4th and 5th grade English as a Second Language. Gama earned her B.A. from Boston University and her M.ED. in Educational Leadership from the University of Texas-Pan American. Also in this White House photograph is fellow Texan and commission member Ricardo Romo, the president of the University of Texas at San Antonio. See story later in this posting.

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Hidalgo Mayor John David Franz, featured right, on Thursday, May 19 in Mission expressed his appreciation to Congressman Henry Cuellar, D-Laredo/McAllen, for the South Texas lawmaker’s help in securing $5,975,000 in federal funds to construct a new 1.5 million gallons per day wastewater treatment plant in that border community. Cuellar – along with, from left, Jake Sheeran, Area Director for the United States Department of Agriculture Rural Development, and Paco Valentín, USDA Rural Development State Director – also announced grant awards of $1 million to the City of Alton for the construction of a new fire station, and $121,275 to the City of Palmview to begin a Revolving Loan Fund to aid small and emerging businesses. Cuellar, whose congressional district includes portions of Rep. Sergio Muñoz’ state House District 36 and Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa’s Senate District 20, also praised both state lawmakers for their roles in helping secure the grants. “One of the things that federal agencies look at is what sort of support they have in the local communities,” said Cuellar, himself a longtime state representative before he was elected to Congress. “If (local projects) have the support of the state legislators such as Rep. Muñoz and Sen. Hinojosa, that helps a lot.” Muñoz, who was in Austin for the state legislative session, said the alliances between the area’s state and federal elected leaders “continue to pay off. These important projects will help many of my constituents in House District 36 with the resources that will result in improved public safety, public health and economic development, as these three cities continue to grow and prosper.”  See story later in this posting.

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Edinburg Mayor Richard García, featured front row, center, says he would support a pending legal ruling – currently being developed by Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott – if that decision allows Texas homeowners with diabetes, cancer, and other long-term major illnesses to qualify for the state’s landmark homestead property tax freeze. “Earlier this year, Attorney General Abbott was asked by Rep. Verónica Gonzáles that, in light of a recent decision by Congress to now consider diabetes and cancer as physical disabilities, does that mean Texans with these afflictions now also qualify for a freeze on their local property taxes?” asks García. “If he rules that they – and possibly others facing long-term major illnesses –  do indeed qualify, then I would support such an expansion of the homestead property tax freeze.” The Edinburg mayor is seen here with other city leaders following a May 18 public affairs luncheon at the ECHO highlighting major economic development achievements. Featured, front row, from left: Agustín Hernández, Jr., attorney, Linebarger Goggan Blair & Sampson (LGBS); Pedro Salazar, executive director, Edinburg Economic Development Corporation (EEDC); Mayor Richard García, president, EEDC Board of Directors; Lucy Canales, attorney and general partner, LGBS; and Anissa Salazar, marketing coordinator, LGBS. Middle row, from left: Edinburg City Councilmember Elias Longoria, Jr.; Edinburg City Councilmember Noé Garza, P.E.; Flo Prater, Rio Valley Realty; Maggie Kent, General Dentistry Centers; Edna Peña, Horizon Properties; Marissa Castañeda, chief operations officer; Doctors Hospital at Renaissance; Letty González, president, Edinburg Chamber of Commerce; and Elva Jackson Garza, vice president, Edwards Abstract Title Company (EATC); Back row, from left: Ramiro Garza, Jr., Edinburg city manager; Johnny Rodríguez, owner, Austin Personnel Services; Mark Peña, legal counsel, EATC and member, EEDC Board of Directors; Eliseo Salinas, operations manager, LGBS; and Sam de la Garza, public relations, LGBS. See top story on the possible property tax freeze expansion later in this posting.

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