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Rep. Flores wants AG opinion on whether tax freezes also protect homeowners with cancer, diabetes

STS-128 Mission Specialist José Hernández, a former migrant farm worker who as a boy toiled with his parents in the California vegetable fields, was part of the 13-day space shuttle Discovery mission in late August that delivered a new crew member and 33,000 pounds of equipment to the International Space Station. Rep. Armando “Mando” Martínez, D-Weslaco, who on Wednesday, September 16, participated in a press conference in Edinburg promoting issues to protect children who are farm workers, praised Hernández as a role model for all Americans. “Like many of us, Mission Specialist José Hernández came from humble beginnings,” Martínez said. “He tells everyone that if he could do this, anyone can achieve their dream – just stay in school, work hard, and never give up.” Hernández was also part of the first shuttle crew which included two Mexican Americans. Astronaut Danny Olivas, born and raised in El Paso, joined Hernández during the shuttle mission, which featured seven astronauts.

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Rep. Armando “Mando” Martínez, D-Weslaco, featured right, and Carlos Gutiérrez, legislative assistant for Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, D-McAllen featured second from right, on Wednesday, September 16, participated in a press conference in Edinburg to announce local support for the passage of federal legislation designed to help protect children who are farm workers. The 3 p.m. event, held in the 3rd floor of the Wells Fargo Building, represented the national campaign kick-off for The Children in the Fields campaign, which is a project of the Association of Farmworker Opportunity Programs (AFOP). AFOP is the national federation of non-profit and public agencies that provide job training and services for America’s farmworkers. For more information, please visit http://www.afop.org. See story on The Children in the Fields campaign later in this posting.

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Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, D-McAllen, has been honored by CASA of Nueces County, a nonprofit corporation whose volunteer members speak out during legal hearings on behalf of abused and neglected foster children. CASA stands for Court Appointed Special Advocates. Those advocates speak out in court representing the sole interest of the child. CASA of Nueces County is one of more than 60 local programs in Texas. Their goals focus on placing these children in safe, nurturing environments as quickly as possible. CASA of the Coastal Bend serves Nueces, San Patricio and Aransas counties. Hinojosa was recognized for his role in budgeting state money – about $7 million, according to CASA officials – during last spring’s regular session of the Texas Legislature to recruit and train more volunteers. Featured, seated, from left: Diana Booth; Vicki Hale; Sandra Strub; Noe Ortiz; and Drusilla Knight. Standing, from left: Mary Breen; Samanth Koepp; Anne Carelton; Don Melampy; Belinda Villarreal; Kathy Coker; Andrea Sparks; Sen. Hinojosa; Page Hall; Elia Gutiérrez; René Ramírez. See story later in this posting.

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Cynthia Bocanegra, featured left, and Lee Castro, center, will be recognized by the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce on Saturday, October 8, for their leadership roles on behalf of the local group. At the local chamber’s upcoming annual banquet, Lee Castro will be honored as outgoing chairman of the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce and Cynthia Bocanegra will be welcomed as the incoming chairwoman. The banquet also will represent the first time that the local chamber announces its Man and Woman of the Year, Fireman of the Year, Edinburg’s City Employee of the Year, and Elementary and Secondary Teacher of the Year. The price to attend the banquet is $40 per person or $500 per table, and the fee will include dinner and entertainment. Featured, from left: Cynthia Bocanegra; Lee Castro; and Letty González, president of the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce. See story later in this posting.

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The City of McAllen has proclaimed September as Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month. Over the last 20 years, National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month has inspired millions of people to raise awareness about addiction, share their stories of recovery, and assist others who are still struggling. Palmer Drug Abuse Program will be opening its doors at 115 N. 9th Street in McAllen to the general public on Friday, September 25, from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Area residents who, are or have someone close to them, struggling with alcohol and drug addiction, or have lost someone to addiction, are welcomed to PDAP’s open house on Friday to honor and celebrate their strength while on their journey to sobriety. For more information on how to celebrate Recovery Month or need further information on the programs that Palmer Drug Abuse Program has, please, call (956) 687-7714. Featured, displaying the proclamation, are, from left: Fito Mercado, PDAP program director; Myssie Cárdenas-Barajas, PDAP executive director; Pam Watson, PDAP financial manager; and Amanda Quintanilla, PDAP “Special People” counselor.

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Roland Arriola leaves UT-Pan American to help next generation of Texans succeed

Edwards Abstract and Title Co., has been recognized by the Texas Land Title Association as the company with the second most consecutive years of service in the state of Texas. Edwards Abstract and Title Co. was founded in 1880 by Judge James Henry Edwards with property records of both Starr and Hidalgo counties. In 2008, Edwards is celebrating 128 years of serving the region with four branch offices in Hidalgo County. The company is independently owned and operated and the corporate office is located in Edinburg. Featured in the lobby of the Edwards Corporate Office in Edinburg are: Elva Jackson Garza, Vice President/Marketing Manager; Marilyn De Luna, McAllen Branch Manager/Escrow Officer; Diana S. Kaufold, Vice President/Edinburg Branch Manager/Escrow Officer; Byron Jay Lewis, President; Rachel Arévalo, Executive Vice President/Commercial Closing Specialist; Mary Arce, Weslaco Branch Manager/Escrow Officer (back) Mary Barrientos, Mission Branch Manager/Escrow Officer; Mel Casas, Branch Operations Coordinator; Edna Cazares, Comptroller; Dan Cook, I. T. Manager; Mark Peña, Attorney – Lewis, Monroe & Peña; Angie Villarreal, Assistant Plant Manager/Examiner; Nancy Bryant, Accounting Manager; Alan D. Monroe, Attorney – Lewis, Monroe & Peña and René Correa, Plant Manager/Title Attorney.

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Dr. Blandina "Bambi" Cárdenas, president of the University of Texas-Pan American, spoke during the annual Go Red for Women Luncheon and Showcase, at the Cimarron Country Club in Mission on Thursday, May 22. At the event, hosted by the American Heart Association, Cárdenas talked about her heart surgery and the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Pictured from left to right are Cárdenas; Dr. Filiberto Rodríguez-Salinas, M.D. cardiovascular and thoracic surgeon; Gilda Romero, chief operating officer for the South Texas Health System; and Rebecca Taylor, senior corporate marketing director for the American Heart Association. For more information on the Go Red for Women event, contact Taylor at 956/984-0201.

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Once again South Texas College’s commitment to the higher education of Hispanic students is being highlighted on the national education scene. Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education magazine ranks the college third in the nation in the enrollment of Hispanic students among all U.S. colleges. Hispanic students comprise more than 94 percent of the college’s total enrollment. The ranking appears in the May 5, 2008 issue. Featured here are some of the more than 2,000 students who graduated earlier in May. See story later in this posting.

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There are high hopes for “Archipos” and the Mini Baja team from The University of Texas-Pan American to do well as they gear up to compete in the international Mini Baja competition, June 11-14 in Orford, Quebec in Canada. The UTPA team will be among 120 teams competing from the United States and around the world in the international competition. Sponsored by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE), the object of the Mini Baja competition is to simulate real-world engineering design projects. Students work together to design, build, test, promote and race a vehicle within the limits of the rules. The team includes Dr. Arturo A. Fuentes, associate professor of mechanical engineering and senior adviser; Dr. Kamalaksha Sarkar, mechanical engineering lecturer and adviser; team captain Joe Villanueva; Torres; Julian Gutiérrez, co-captain; Humberto Rodríguez; Luis Domínguez, Eddie E. Pérez, Roberto Pérez, Victor Salinas, Nathaniel Olivarez, Astrid K. Torres, and Eleazar Ruiz. See story later in this posting.

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Dr. Roland S. Arriola, Ph.D., on Wednesday, May 28, announced the formation of ENCORE – Engaging Communities for College Readiness, a major initiative of the Texas Valley Communities Foundation to help more students aspire, and be academically prepared, for college and university life. Arriola, a former longtime board member of the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation, is president of the TVCF. The non-profit group, which is based in Edinburg, plans to create a $100 million endowment to help dozens of Valley charities help improve the quality-of-life in deep South Texas. See lead story later in this posting.

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In battle over Border Wall, the medium is the message in order to influence national opposition

Key leaders of the Texas Border Coalition, welcomed here by Dr. Glenn A. Martínez, a member of the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation (featured bottom row, second from left), on Tuesday, April 15, in Edinburg spoke against federal government plans to build 2,000-mile border wall designed to stop terrorists from illegally crossing into the United States. Opponents against the wall say border security can be better enhanced with additional Border Patrol agents and high-technology detection systems. The wall, TBC leaders have contended, will hurt the border economies while doing little to stem the threat of terrorism. “It affects us very directly,” contended Martínez. “Many of us have a family members, friends, business relations across the border, and building a fence sends a message that we are breaking ties with them.” The international gathering, which included mayors from Mexican cities, will help spread the right image about border concerns, as well as favorably portray the local university. “It really shines a light on us and allows us to fulfill one of our functions as a major university – to project local knowledge to the world,” Martínez reflected on the event. The TBC forum was hosted by The University of Texas-Pan American. See lead story later in this posting.

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U.S. Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutiérrez (center) was escorted by Rep. Aaron Peña, D-Edinburg (left) and McAllen Mayor Richard Cortéz upon his arrival at the University of Texas-Pan American on Thursday, April 11, for the opening of the Rapid Response Manufacturing Center. See story later in this posting.

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The development of a world-class advanced manufacturing industry in the Rio South Texas Region is one step closer following the official opening on Thursday, April 11 of the Rapid Response Manufacturing Center (RRMC) at The University of Texas-Pan American. UTPA President Dr. Blandina Cárdenas welcomed more than 200 representatives from education, business and government and presided over a ceremony that included remarks from U.S. Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutiérrez, U.S. Representatives Rubén Hinojosa, D-Mercedes, and Henry Cuellar, D-Laredo/McAllen, and South Texas College President Dr. Shirley Reed. Featured, front, from left, are: right Dr. John Lloyd, RRMC director; Reed; Blas Castañeda, chief development officer, Laredo Community College; Cuellar; Gutiérrez; Dr. Blandina “Bambi” Cárdenas; and Hinojosa. See story later in this posting.

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