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Edinburg EDC: UT System Regents set to approve plan for PhD program with emphasis on mathematics and statistics important to students in engineering, medicine, finance and other fields

Featured: Seated, second from right: Newly-elected Edinburg Mayor Richard Molina, during a recent planning session of the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce 2017-2018 Board of Directors, which took place on Wednesday, September 20, 2017 at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley in Edinburg. Also in this image with Molina, who was elected the city’s mayor on Tuesday, November 7, 2017, are some of the other members of that business organization’s leadership. Seated from left: Hiren Govind representing Town Place Suites by Marriott; Jacob De León representing Memorial Funeral Home and Past Chairman of the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors; Mayor-elect Richard Molina representing Odyssey Primary Home Care; and Verónica Gonzáles representing The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. Standing, from left, are: Michael Williamson representing PlainsCapital Bank; Julio Carranza representing Landmark Mortgage; Kelly Salazar representing Linebarger Goggan Blair and Sampson; Cris Torres  representing Greater State Bank; and Elva Jackson Garza representing Edwards Abstract and Title Co.

Photograph By RONNIE LARRALDE

The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, which has its largest campus and a School of Medicine in Edinburg, is scheduled to receive a major boost in its academic programs on Wednesday, November 8, and Thursday, November 9, 2017, when the UT System Board of Regents meet in Austin to consider adding a Doctor of Philosophy degree program in Mathematics and Statistics with Interdisciplinary Applications, the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation has announced. A Doctor of Philosophy is the highest academic degree awarded by universities in most countries (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doctor_of_Philosophy). Also on the agenda affecting the Edinburg campus are plans to lease approximately 6,200 square feet of space located in the University Library building and at athletic venues on the campus at 1201 West University Drive, and to buy, at fair market value, property located at 2802 Fountain Plaza Blvd. to be used for future programmed campus expansion, including medical office and educational use by the institution’s doctorate program in clinical psychology. UTRGV’s College of Liberal Arts is currently in the process of  developing a Ph.D. program in clinical psychology. Currently, UTRGV offers four doctoral programs: Business Administration (PhD)Curriculum and Instruction (EdD)Educational Leadership (EdD), and Rehabilitation Counseling (PhD). It also offers two cooperative doctoral programs, Pharmacy (PharmD) and Physics (PhD). The Doctor of Philosophy degree program in Mathematics and Statistics with Interdisciplinary Applications would be designed to meet the needs of UTRGV students interested in a wide range of careers, including those in academia, industry, and government, according to the agenda packet of the regents’ meeting, which will occur on the second floor of the UT System Building, 210 West 7th St., in Austin. An important characteristic of the proposed program is its emphasis on applications of mathematics and statistics that cut across biological, environmental, life, physical and social sciences, engineering, medicine, and finance fields. The Edinburg Mayor, the Edinburg City Council, and the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation and its Board of Directors lobby the Texas Legislature and the UT System Board of Regents on matters that benefit and protect UTRGV and its School of Medicine, which have major campuses in the city. The Edinburg EDC, of which Agustín García is Executive Director, is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg Mayor and Edinburg City Council. The Edinburg EDC Board of Directors is comprised of Mayor-elect Richard Molina as President, Harvey Rodríguez, Jr. as Vice President, Elías Longoria, Jr., as Secretary/Treasurer, and Richard Ruppert and Dr. Peter Dabrowski as Members.

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Edinburg EDC: Edinburg Chamber of Commerce honored for vital roles it plays in promoting economic growth, prosperity in local community

Featured, on Tuesday, October 17, 2017 at Edinburg City Council as part of Texas Chamber of Commerce Week for October 16-20, 2017, are, from left, front row: Ronnie Larralde, Director of Marketing & Special Events, Edinburg Chamber of Commerce; Lee Castro, Funeral Director, Legacy Funeral Home and Member, Board of Directors, Edinburg Chamber of Commerce; Verónica Gonzáles, Vice President for Governmental Affairs, The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, and Member, Board of Directors, Edinburg Chamber of Commerce; Letty González, President, Edinburg Chamber of Commerce; Alex Ríos, District Office Director, Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg, and Chairman, Board of Directors, Edinburg Chamber of Commerce; and Jacob De León, Funeral Director, Memorial Funeral Home, and Immediate Past Chairman, Board of Directors, Edinburg Chamber of Commerce. Back row, from left: Councilmember David Torres; Councilmember Richard Molina; Mayor Richard García; Mayor Pro Tem J.R. Betancourt; and Councilmember Homer Jasso, Jr.

Photograph By IMELDA RODRÍGUEZ

Featured, promoting the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce’s Public Affairs Luncheon, set for Monday, October 30, 2017, which will showcase U.S. Congressman Vicente González, are, seated from left: Verónica Gonzáles, Vice President for Governmental Affairs, The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley; Elva Jackson Garza, Vice President | Marketing Manager, Edwards Abstract and Title Co.; and Letty González, President, Edinburg Chamber of Commerce. Standing, from left, are: Amy Cantú, Senior Vice President | Commercial Loan Officer, PlainsCapital Bank; Michael Williamson, PlainsCapital Bank- Market President;, Byron Jay Lewis, President & C.E.O., Edwards Abstract and Title Co.; Cris M. Torres, Vice President | Loan Officer, Greater State Bank; and Mario Lizcano, Administrator of Corporate Affairs, Doctors Hospital at Renaissance. The Edinburg Chamber of Commerce will welcome Congressman Vicente González, who represents the 15th Congressional District in Texas – which features Edinburg as the largest population center – as the guest speaker during the quarterly Public Affairs Luncheon, which will be held  from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Edinburg Conference Center at Renaissance, 118 Paseo Del Prado. Tickets may be purchased for $20 each, or a reserved table of eight for $200 for the Public Affairs Luncheon by contacting the Edinburg Chamber office at 956/383-4974 or membership@edinburg.com . For more information please call the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce or visit the website at http://www.edinburg.com.

Photograph By RONNIE LARRALDE

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Edinburg EDC: Retail economy shows continued growth, with January 2017 local sales tax revenue up by more than 3.7 percent over January 2016

Featured: Dr. Peter Dabrowski, Maestro of the Valley Symphony Orchestra, and a member of the Board of Directors for the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation, on Tuesday, February 28, 2017, was inducted into the Rio Grande Valley Walk of Fame at Hidalgo’s BorderFest. Presenting him with the honor was Miss Hidalgo 2016 Alma Pamela Niño. Dabrowski was nominated by the City of Edinburg and selected to the Rio Grande Valley Walk of Fame by the City of Hidalgo, Hidalgo’s BorderFest committee, and the Rio Grande Valley Walk of Fame Commission. Dabrowski is in his 15th season as Music Director and Conductor of the Valley Symphony Orchestra. Additionally, he serves as Associate Dean of the College of Fine Arts, Professor of Music, and Conductor of the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley Symphony Orchestra in Edinburg. He is committed to providing exhilarating musical performances and education in the Rio Grande Valley. The Walk of Fame celebrates life, achievements and significant civic contributions of outstanding men and women in all walks of life to the communities in the Rio Grande Valley and South Texas.

Photograph By RONNIE LARRALDE

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Featured, from left: Hiren Govind, Chief Operating Officer, Qube Hotel Group; Mike Govind, Owner and Operator, Best Western Plus – Edinburg Inn & Suites; Letty González, President, Edinburg Chamber of Commerce; and Jacob De León, Funeral Director, Memorial Funeral Home, and Chairman of the Board, Edinburg Chamber of Commerce, on Tuesday, February 28, 2017, at the State Farm Arena in Hidalgo. During that evening, as part of the City of Hidalgo’s 2017 Borderfest, Mike Govind, a former member of the Board of Directors for the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation, was inducted into the Rio Grande Valley Walk of Fame.

Photograph By RONNIE LARRALDE

Edinburg’s retail economy showed an improvement of more than 3.7 percent in January 2017 compared with January 2016, based on local sales taxes generated during those months, the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation has announced. The amount of local sales taxes collected also helps reflect the strength of an economy, along with construction activities, per capita income, education, historical performances, and related trends. The local sales tax is used in Edinburg to help pay for many city services, while the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation uses its one-half cent local sales tax to help generate economic development in the city. For January 2017, Edinburg’s retail economy produced $1,573,510.95 in local sales taxes, compared with $1,516,885.34 in January 2016, representing an improvement of 3.73 percent. Edinburg’s 3.73 percent increase was third-best among the Valley’s major economies, with Harlingen posting the top improvement, a 4.10 percent growth in January 2017 over January 2016. In terms of local sales tax revenue for January 2017, McAllen led all major Valley cities with $4,129,303.57. Brownsville was second, ($2,586,308.57), Harlingen was third ($1,769,340.94), and Edinburg was fourth ($1,573,510.95). The Edinburg EDC, of which Agustín García, Jr. is Executive Director, is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg Mayor and Edinburg City Council. The Edinburg EDC Board of Directors is comprised of Mayor Richard García as President, Harvey Rodríguez, Jr. as Vice President, Elías Longoria, Jr. as Secretary/Treasurer, and Richard Rupert and Dr. Peter Dabrowski as Members.

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Fiesta Edinburg 2017, set for February 23 – 26, marks first time annual event will be held at H-E-B Park, the city’s latest entertainment venue

Featured, from left: Alex Farías, Miss Teen Edinburg 2017; Jacob De León of Memorial Funeral Home, and Chairman of the Board, Edinburg Chamber of Commerce; Letty González, President, Edinburg Chamber of Commerce; J.J. Flores of Chorizo De San Manuel, and Vice Chair, Edinburg Chamber of Commerce; Johnny Rodríguez, Public Relations, Bert Ogden Dealer Group; Bert García, President, Rio Grande Valley FC Toros Football; Edinburg City Councilmember Richard Molina; Robert Lucio, Executive Manager, Bert Ogden Dealer Group; Richard Hinojosa, Edinburg City Manager; Alex Ríos of Kids College Learning Center and District Office Manager for Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg, and who is Chairman-elect of the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce; Lee Castro of Legacy Funeral Home, and Member, Board of Directors, Edinburg Chamber of Commerce; Agustín Lozano, Jr., Public Relations, Bert Ogden Dealer Group; Mario Lizcano, Administrator of Community Engagement and Corporate Affairs; and
Lexi Esparza, Miss Edinburg 2017.

Photograph By RONNIE LARRALDE

Local leaders are making final preparations for the 49th Annual Fiesta Edinburg, presented by the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce, which will also serve to showcase H-E-B Park, which is the latest in a growing number of impressive entertainment venues in the city, the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation has announced. H-E-B Park is a $16.8+ million sports and entertainment outdoor complex that features a 9,700 seat capacity soccer-specific stadium, a park with a playground, an amphitheater with a capacity of 2,000 individuals, and lighted parking. On Tuesday, December 20, 2016, Fiesta Edinburg officials announced the four-day event – set for Thursday, February 23, 2017 through Sunday, February 26, 2017 – would be moving to a new location, the H-E-B Park, located at 1616 S. Raul Longoria Rd. in Edinburg. In previous years, the popular fiesta was held at the Edinburg Municipal Park. “We are excited about the new venue and we know our festival fans are going to love it as well,” said Letty González, President of the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce. “The facilities are state-of-the-art and this is going to create a statement environment like no other. The amphitheater is going to be electric.” The Edinburg EDC is one of the major sponsors for Fiesta Edinburg 2017. The Edinburg EDC, whose Executive Director is Agustín García, Jr., is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg Mayor and Edinburg City Council. The Edinburg EDC Board of Directors is comprised of Mayor Richard García as President, Harvey Rodríguez, Jr. as Vice President, Elías Longoria, Jr., as Secretary/Treasurer, and Richard Ruppert and Dr. Peter Dabrowski as Members.

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Miriam Martínez’ campaign symbolic of humble beginnings, titanic struggles, and valiant victories of all South Texans

Sen. Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa, D-McAllen, on Tuesday, November 6, celebrated with his supporters and local news media reporters outside his law office in McAllen following his victory over Rep. Raul Torres, R-Corpus Christi. Hinojosa earned more than 60 percent of the vote for the right to serve as the District 20 state senator. District 20 includes a large portion of Hidalgo County, Nueces County, Jim Wells County, and Brooks County. "I would like to thank the voters for returning me to the Texas Senate to continue defending District 20’s fast-growing and distinct slice of Texas," Hinojosa following his victory. "I also want to thank my supporters, volunteers and campaign staff for their very hard work on the ground this election season."

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Mayor Richard García, Rep.-elect Terry Canales, D-Edinburg, and Paul Rappaport of First Hartford Realty, who is the General Manager for The Shoppes at Rio Grande Valley in Edinburg, on Friday, October 19, were joined by other area business and community leaders for a ribbon cutting ceremony marking the positive economic impact of the 440,000 square-foot retail shopping complex, which is scheduled to expand to more than 1.1 million square-feet in the coming few years. Since it first opened for business in the fall of 2008, The Shoppes at Rio Grande Valley, located at Trenton Road and U.S. Expressway/Business 281, has generated $4.6 million in local sales taxes and employs more than 220 full-time professionals, according to the mayor. Featured, from left: Martín Rivas, Membership Director, Edinburg Chamber of Commerce; Elizabeth Rocha, General Manager, Melrose Family Fashions; Letty Reyes, Project Manager, Edinburg Economic Development Corporation; Ramiro Garza, Edinburg City Manager; Rep.-Elect Terry Canales, D-Edinburg; Mayor Richard García, president, Edinburg Economic Development Corporation Board of Directors; Paul Rappaport of First Hartford Realty, General Manager, The Shoppes at Rio Grande Valley; Chris Fuentes, General Manager, JC Penney; Agustín Lozano, Public Relations, Bert Ogden Motors; Letty González, President, Edinburg Chamber of Commerce; Marty Martin, Rio Valley Realty; Melissa Rodríguez, Austin Personnel Services; and Johnny Rodríguez, Austin Personnel Services.

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Robert R. Vela High School was formally dedicated on Saturday, October 13, during a grand opening ceremony that brought together hundreds of guests from throughout the Valley. There were local, state, and national dignitaries, former students, and people from all walks of life whose lives were touched by Vela. Vela was a teacher who firmly believed that academics and athletics worked hand-in-hand to mold well-rounded student-athletes into productive citizens in our community. Vela was one of South Texas’ greatest football coaches. He lived his life helping students see the potential of greatness within them. Robert R. Vela High School is home of the SaberCats. Featured, from left: His widow, Dominga Vela; Sen. Eddie Lucio, Jr., D-Brownsville; Rep.-elect Terry Canales, D-Edinburg; Eva Torres, Principal of Vela High School; and Dr. René Gutiérrez, Superintendent of the Edinburg School District.

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South Texas College Dual Enrollment Medical Science Academy was one of only three programs that were honored on Thursday, October 4 with the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board’s Star Award at the 2012 THECB Leadership Conference in Austin. "The Coordinating Board’s recognition of South Texas College’s exemplary Dual Enrollment Academy for Medical Sciences as a Star Award winner is long overdue," said STC President Shirley A. Reed. "The program has a sterling track record of success and helping hundreds of young people get a jump start on pursuing a professional degree in medical sciences by earning an associate degree from STC, tuition free." Featured, from left: Nick González, STC High School Programs and Services Liaison; Ali Esmaeili, STC Dean of Bachelor Programs and University Relations; Lupe Chávez, STC High School Programs Director; Raymund Paredes, Commissioner of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board; Mark Murray, President of STC Faculty Senate; and Juan E. Mejía, STC Vice President for Academic Affairs. See story later in this posting.

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Silver Ribbon Community Partners, First Choice Power and the Rio Grande Valley Hispanic Chamber of Commerce are asking the community to "Share the Warmth" with the elderly and disabled this winter season. Silver Ribbon is a non-profit United Way Agency that assists the elderly 65+ and the disabled 18+ who have been referred to them by Adult Protective Services due to abuse, neglect or exploitation. Many of these elderly clients fall into the "low-to moderate income" bracket and may receive $10,000 a year or less from Social Security. Every year the county of Hidalgo receives over 2,500 calls of physical, emotional, or sexual abuse, neglect, self-neglect, or exploitation of the elderly and disabled. Area residents can help the less fortunate by donating new or gently used blankets, warm stretch gloves, non-skid socks, or winter caps and scarf’s that will be distributed to the elderly or disabled of Hidalgo County who meet the income criteria. Monetary donations will also be accepted. Please make checks out to Silver Ribbon Community Partners. Residents also may drop off donations now until December 17 at Silver Ribbon Community Partners located at 1919 Austin Avenue in McAllen, at First Choice Power located at 2423 E. Expressway 83, Suite 400, in Mission, or at the Rio Grande Valley Hispanic Chamber of Commerce located at 3313 N. McColl in McAllen, Please call Rose Ramírez, Program Director with Silver Ribbon at 956/664-4892 for more information and remember your donation is tax deductible. Featured, from left: Cynthia Sakulenzki, RGVHCC Pres/CEO; Rose Ramírez, Program Director Silver Ribbon Community Partners, and Moníca Rodríguez, Area Manager for First Choice Power.

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First National Bank on Friday, November 9, announced that Saúl Ortega, its Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, has been named the honoree for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Edinburg RGV 6th Annual "Steak" in Your Community Event. Ortega and the 2013 Youth of the Year will be celebrated on Saturday, January 12, 2013, at the Legacy Center@Boys & Girls Clubs, 702 Cullen Street (Rogers & Expway 281). Ortega has been with First National Bank for 25 years, formerly as Accounting Officer, Controller, and Chief Financial Officer. He assumed the role of Chairman and CEO in late 2011. Ortega’s focus is on strong, conservative lending practices and maintaining FNB’s long history of the best customer service in banking. Featured, first row, from left: Amaya Hernández; Tomás Espinoza; Brianna Espinoza; Mallory Espinoza; Adam López; Abel López; and Alex Castillo. Back row: Saúl Ortega and Sabrina Walker-Hernández, Chief Professional Officer, Boys & Girls Clubs of Edinburg RGV. See story later in this posting.

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A scholarship for South Texas students at The University of Texas at Austin has been named for Senator Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo, the Texas Exes announced on Tuesday, October 30. The Senator Judith Zaffirini Scholarship will be presented annually by the Texas Exes to deserving students from South Texas who need assistance paying for college. The scholarship was endowed by the senator’s son, Carlos Zaffirini Jr., an attorney and businessman. Because of his contribution, the Texas Exes will create a permanent endowment that can fund scholarships for years to come. Featured, from left: Carlos Zaffirini Jr.; Leslie Cedar, Texas Exes Executive Director; Bill Powers, UT President; and Dr. Francisco Cigarroa, UT System Chancellor. Not shown: John Beckworth, Texas Exes President. See story later in this posting.

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León and Velma Sue De León, owners of Memorial Funeral Home in Edinburg, among other area businesses, on Saturday, November 3, were recognized as 2012 Man and Woman of the Year by the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce. The honor was bestowed during the Annual Chamber Installation Banquet, held at the ECHO Hotel and Conference Center in Edinburg. The Man and Woman of the Year selection was based on a community-driven committee process that selected a man and woman that exceeds in professional and civic commitment and avid volunteerism within the community of Edinburg. Featurd, from left: son Jason De León; León and Velma Sue De León; and son Jacob De León. See story later in this posting.

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Edinburg Mayor Richard García, featured seated, center, on Saturday, October 13, help lead a delegation of Valley mayors who met at Pepper’s Restaurant in McAllen with San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro to begin building an alliance with San Antonio on legislative issues of mutual concern to that city and the Rio Grande Valley. They addressed shared challenges and strategies needed to develop a partnership between the two regions of South Texas in advance of the upcoming regular session of the Texas Legislature, which begins in January. Featured, front row, from left, are: Rio Grande City Mayor Rubén Villarreal; Granjeño Mayor Yvette Cabrera; Mayor Castro’s twin brother, Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-San Antonio; Edinburg Mayor Richard H. García; San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro; San Juan Mayor San Juanita Sánchez; and Laguna Vista Mayor Susie Houston. Standing, from left: Gilbert Hinojosa, Texas Democratic Party Chair; Rio Hondo Mayor Alonzo Garza; La Feria Mayor Steve Brewer; Port Isabel Mayor Joe E. Vega; Alamo Mayor Diana Martínez; Alamo Commissioner María del Pilar Garza; Mercedes Mayor Henry Hinojosa; McAllen Mayor Richard Cortéz; and Harlingen Mayor Chris Boswell.

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On November 28, 2011, Miriam Martínez of Edinburg, who only the year before had become a naturalized U.S. citizen, gave back to her beloved America with her remarkable first entry into U.S. democracy, which ended for her on Tuesday, November 6, as the Republican nominee for State Representative, House District 41. In her almost year-long campaign, she has endured, as so aptly put in Shakespeare’s Hamlet, "the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune" – dealing with political attacks on her honorable reputation, plus all the complications and problems that life throws at her. Yet, Martínez has never wavered in her bold vision, integrity, and willingness to "speak truth to power" – the highest standards of U.S. democracy – in order to drive her message that anyone can run for high office in America, not just the privileged few.
"The promise of America and Texas is that if you are willing to sacrifice and work hard, pray for guidance, work with people, listen to the wisdom of others, and do what is right and just, you can accomplish just about anything," she said. "My campaign is symbolic of the humble beginnings, titanic struggles, and valiant victories of all South Texans." See lead story in this posting.

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