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Texas’ oil and gas industry, war on crime legislation to be shaped by Rep. Canales through his House committee appointments

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Featured, from left: Texas Governor Greg Abbott and Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg, on Thursday, January 22, at the Edinburg Conference Center at Renaissance.

Photograph By MARK MONTEMAYOR

Texas’ oil and gas industry and the state’s efforts to fight and prevent crime will be directly affected by Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg, who on Wednesday, February 4, was chosen to continue serving on the two State House committees which first deal with those vital aspects of life in the Lone Star State. Canales was reappointed by Speaker of the House Joe Straus, R-San Antonio, as the only Valley state representative to the House Committee on Energy Resources and the House Committee on Criminal Jurisprudence. “Texas is one of the the world’s largest energy producers and it contributes significantly to our state’s economy and way of life, so the work of the House Committee on Energy Resources Committee will have a tremendous influence on the production, regulation, transportation, and development of oil, gas, and other energy resources,” the House District 40 lawmaker said. Equally important, in his role on that legislative panel, Canales will continue to expertly monitor – and shape state laws and policies – to promote the beneficial impact of two enormous energy producing regions, the Eagle Ford Shale in South Texas and the Burgos Basin in northern Mexico, on the state, especially for the Valley. “The Rio Grande Valley is centrally located between Eagle Ford Shale, which has produced billions of dollars worth of jobs, revenue, and taxes for Texas, and the Burgos Basin on the other side of the border, which, once in full production, will have a $1 trillion dollar economic impact over 10 years for Mexico,” Canales said. “By helping provide the skilled workforces, building up the transportation systems, and handling the distribution of energy to the rest of the nation and world, the Valley will be a key to the continuing economic development of Texas.” As for his role on the House Committee on Criminal Jurisprudence, Canales said his focus will be on supporting measures to help the state’s law enforcement entities in their battle against crime and help protect Texans from the scourge of criminals. “I am dedicated to helping provide the laws and powers to our police and courts that will make it easier for them to punish criminals, especially the violent cowards who prey on the most vulnerable in our families,” said Canales, who is an attorney. “All law-abiding Texans, especially innocent children, victims of domestic violence, mobility-impaired residents, and senior citizens, have a champion in me.”

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Edinburg’s December 2014 unemployment rate drops below five percent, best monthly showing in almost seven years, Edinburg EDC announces

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Featured in this image during the Thursday, February 6, 2014 grand opening of the EEDC’s office in downtown Edinburg are, from left: Agustín “Gus” García, Executive Director, Edinburg Economic Development Corporation; Edinburg City Councilmember Richard Molina; Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg, and Ramiro Garza, Jr., City Manager, City of Edinburg.

Photograph By MARK MONTEMAYOR

Edinburg’s unemployment rate for December 2014 was 4.8 percent, the best showing for the city during 2014, and the first time in almost seven years – since January 2008, which also achieved a 4.8 percent unemployment rate – that the city’s economy had registered such a strong figure in the jobs market, Mayor Richard García has announced. The EEDC is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg City Council. The annual unemployment rate in Edinburg for 2014 was 6.15 percent, the best 12-month average from January through December in seven years. Edinburg’s annual unemployment rates since 2005, which is the year in which the state government began preparing those figures using a more accurate formula, have registered as follows: 2014 (6.15 percent); 2013 (7.3 percent); 2012 (7.8 percent); 2011 (8.9 percent); 2010 (8.4 percent); 2009 (6.8 percent); 2008 (5.0 percent); 2007 (4.8 percent); 2006 (5.3 percent); and 2005 (4.9 percent). In deep South Texas, only McAllen registered a better December 2014 monthly unemployment figure than Edinburg’s 4.8 percent, but not by much, as the City of Palms came in at 4.6 percent. The statewide unemployment average in Texas for December 2014 was 4.6 percent, while the U.S. unemployment rate for that month was 5.6 percent. Agustín “Gus” García, Executive Director for the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation, says the ongoing improvements of the local and regional unemployment rates are tied into the strengths and diversity of the economies throughout deep South Texas. “Edinburg has our medical, educational and governmental sectors which help power our economy, while McAllen has their large manufacturing and retail industries,” he illustrated. “With the scheduled opening in February of the $180 million Santana Textiles denim manufacturing complex in north Edinburg, and with the continuing growth of The University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley and its planned School of Medicine in Edinburg, we should see more economic advances for our community and region.” García (no relation to Mayor Richard García) pointed out that the Valley is an economic success story which reaches beyond its four-county boundaries. “We are fortunate as a whole to be in a growing sector of the United States. Recently the Edinburg/McAllen/Mission/Pharr metropolitan statistical area was ranked as the second-fastest growth area in the Texas, and Texas has continually been ranked as the fastest-growing state in the nation,” the EEDC Executive Director continued. “The EEDC’s role as a center of economic development is to harness these opportunities. These and other positive economic achievements reflect the efforts of not only the EEDC Board of Directors and its staff, but also of the city management, and of course, our city leadership: Mayor García and the Edinburg City Council.”

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Farouk Shami, American success story, guarantees 100,000 new jobs, declares war on poverty in Texas

 

Farouk Shami, a Democratic candidate for Texas governor who came to America 44 years ago with $71 in his pocket and became an American success story, on Tuesday, February 8, said as governor he would use his extensive skills as a proven business leader to help create 100,000 new jobs in Texas  – or he will pay the state $10 million."I am putting my money where my mouth is, and I am sure of my success in serving every person," he said during a televised debate from Fort Worth that featured him and former Houston Mayor Bill White. In an equally powerful fashion, Shami promised that he would never forget the millions of middle-income and poor Texans who, through no fault of their own, are struggling to survive in a Texas economy weakened by the national recession. "We are tired of losing jobs, we are tired of losing mortgages and having hungry people," Shami said. "I will declare war on poverty, and everyone will live the American dream when I am governor of Texas." Shami, featured left, was greeted in McAllen by a full house at the Celestial Room, including Nashla Showery and Aziz Showery, III.  See lead story later in this posting.  

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Sen. Juan ""Chuy" Hinojosa, D-McAllen, featured left, meets with Lucy Canales, partner with Linebarger, Goggan Blair & Sampson, and Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst on Monday, February 1 in McAllen following the announcement that Hinojosa has been appointed to the powerful Legislative Budget Board. Created in 1949, the LBB is primarily responsible for developing a draft appropriations budget at the beginning of each legislative sessions, said Canales, citing the organization’s official records. The board – which features 10 of the most influential state lawmakers – also establishes a constitutional spending limit each session. In many other states, this is done only in the executive branch. The authority of the LBB is broad, and its influence on spending is significant. Hinojosa expressed his appreciation for the appointment and stressed the need to improve fiscal discipline in Texas. "Gov. Dewhurst continues to place his trust in my judgment and capacity to be a part of the Senate’s finance team. This appointment, along with my vice chairmanship of Senate Finance, brings a Coastal Bend and South Texas perspective to Texas’ fiscal management," Hinojosa said. "The current economic picture requires us to be even more prudent in how the state’s wealth is invested. I plan to continue Texas’ dedication to a disciplined approach to maximize the return on the taxpayer’s investment." See story later in this posting. 

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Another major endorsement has been secured by Sergio Muñoz, Jr., who on Thursday, February 4 received the unanimous support in his bid for State Representative, House District 36, from the mayor and city commission of Pharr. House District 36 includes Granjeno, Hidalgo, southern McAllen,  most of Mission, Palmview, Peñitas, and Pharr. The powerful show of confidence by the elected city leadership of Pharr comes soon after another big victory for Muñoz, a Democrat, when the mayor and city council of Mission also endorsed his candidacy for the Texas Legislature. Muñoz, a successful attorney and Palmview Municipal Court Judge,  has made job creation, more health care, better access to education, and improved public safety – including cracking down of sexual predators – the foundation of his campaign. "Pharr has established itself at the statewide level as the hub of transportation for our region and as a major gateway for NAFTA-oriented businesses, and Pharr knows that Sergio Muñoz, Jr. has the professional and personal skills to be successful in the Texas Legislature, where he will pass laws and shape state agency policies that will help our city continue to grow and prosper," said Mayor Leopoldo "Polo" Palacios, Jr. Featured, from left: Commissioner Francis Quintanilla; Commissioner Óscar Elizondo, Jr.; Commissioner Eduardo "Eddie" Cantú; Sergio Muñoz, Jr.; Mayor Leopoldo "Polo" Palacios; Commissioner Roberto "Bobby" Carrillo; and Mayor Pro Tem Adán Farias. Not shown, but also endorsing Muñoz, is Commissioner Arturo J. Cortéz. 

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Sen. Eddie Lucio, Jr., D-Brownsville, featured third from right, on Monday, February 1, brought Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, to Lucio’s right, and Rep. Tara Ríos Ybarra, D-South Padre Island, to Lucio’s left, to the University of Texas Regional Academic Health Center in Harlingen for an update on the facility, which includes campuses in Edinburg and Brownsille. Dr. Robert Hernández, a faculty professor at the Harlingen campus, conducted a demonstration on how Valley medical students study the human body with the use of one of two similar dolls named SIM Man #1 and SIM Man #2. Also present were  Dr. Leonel Vela, Regional Dean of the RAHC and Dr. Adela Valdéz, Assistant Regional Academic Dean for Medical Education. In conjunction with the tour, Lucio, who serves as chair of the Senate International Relations and Trade Committee, said that his legislative panel is looking into ways to help boost job creation and improve trade in communities located along the Texas-Mexico border.  See story on IRT committee later in this posting. 

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The McAllen Hispanic Chamber of Commerce has announced their Business Award winners for 2010. They will be honored at the Annual Business Awards & Installation Dinner on Tuesday, February 16 at The Club at Cimarron in Mission from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Being honored this year are, from left: Francisco Ochoa, Jr. Taco Palenque/Palenque Grill (Small Corporation category); Pepe Cabeza de Vaca of Social Life (Business Man); Yoli Cantú, owner of McAllen Stained Glass (Business Woman); and Cruz Rangel of Coca Cola – Rio Grande Valley (Large Corporation). Entertainment for the night will be comedian Mark “The Mexi Can’t” Olabarrieta, who will poke fun at the business world. Additionally, the new 2010 Board members will be installed by Hidalgo District Judge Juan Partida. Current sponsors for the event are TXU as Title Sponsor and Lone Star National Bank, Silver Sponsor. For more information on sponsorship and/or tickets, individuals may call the MHCC office at 928-0060. 

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More than 100 employees from several maquiladora manufacturing companies are attending English and Spanish-language classes at South Texas College’s Technology Campus. As part of the North American Advanced Manufacturing and Research Initiative, private partner companies have taken advantage of intense workplace literacy training at STC’s Institute for Advanced Manufacturing (IAM). The program consists of three levels of English and Spanish language classes that help participants refine their oral, written and listening skills, and gain an understanding of commonly-used vocabulary terms to enhance their job productivity. Sonia Salinas, an English instructor at STC, is featured here placing students in a real-world situation to help them improve their communication effectiveness in the workplace. See story later in this posting.  

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The Food Bank RGV and Feeding America, the nation’s largest domestic hunger-relief organization, on Wednesday, February 3, released a landmark study  and reported that nearly 22,000 different people receive emergency food assistance in any given week through agencies served by the Food Bank of the Rio Grande Valley.  Fifty percent of those served are children under 18 years old and 52 percent of households include at least one employed adult. Óscar L. Garza Jr., Hidalgo County Commissioner of Precinct 4, was present for the study’s unveiling and signaled his personal as well as the county’s unwavering support of the Food Bank, which serves the three-county area of Hidalgo, Cameron and Willacy. “The Food Bank of the Rio Grande Valley performs an invaluable service to our community helping to keep our families healthy and fed. For this reason, I am challenging our county employees to make either a donation of non-perishable food to the Food Bank or a monetary contribution. We will be organizing the first county-sponsored food drive slated for March 1 and getting our employees motivated and engaged to end hunger in our community," said Garza. "If our county family can put up at least $2,500 worth of donations, I’ll also see to it that local Hidalgo County businesses match that amount. No child, no elderly individual and no veteran should be going hungry in Hidalgo County.” Featured, from left: Richard Aguirre, Ignacio Almaguer, Naomi Perales, and Terri Drefke, who are board members with the RGV Food Bank; Hidalgo County Precinct 4 Commissioners Óscar L. Garza; Nelda Garza, Minnie Longoria, and Tracy Hughes, who also serve as board members of the RGV Food Bank; Arden Peterson, an advocate; and Luis Leal, a member of the board for the RGV Food Bank. See story later in this posting. 

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The Edinburg Chamber of Commerce is grateful for all of the community support given to Fiesta Edinburg 2010. Sponsors of the upcoming event for February 27 are The City of Edinburg, IBC Bank, the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation, HEB #2, Doctors Hospital at Renaissance, Martin Farm and Ranch Supply, Memorial Funeral Home, Security First Credit Union, Elsa State Bank, Texas Gas Service, The Valley Town Crier/Edinburg Review, L&F Distributors, South Texas Health System and special thanks to Cuartitos, Que Pasa 99.5, G&S Glass, A&J Petroleum and Austin Personnel Services. Fun, Food, IBC Bank “Sports Bowl” parade, the Heart of America Carnival (rates apply), Kids Zone plus live music are all free with only $10 parking per vehicle. Fiesta Edinburg is Edinburg’s largest celebration and was created to commemorate holding the county seat. The Fiesta Edinburg Committee is excited to announce Los Palaminos and Jaime y Los Chamacos on the Saturday, February 27 music lineup. Featured promoting Fiesta Edinburg 2010 are, from left: Rick Salinas with L&F Distributors; Naomi Perales with Texas Gas Service; Emigdio Cahue with HEB #2; Robert McGurk with Elsa State Bank; Letty González, president of the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce; Dina Araguz withIBC Bank; Tiffany Tamez with IBC Bank; Blanca Hinojosa with Security First Credit Union; and Rey Garza with HEB #2. More information on Fiesta Edinburg is available at 956/383-4974 or online at http://www.edinburg.com 

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The McAllen Hispanic Chamber of Commerce recently celebrated their annual Noche de Gala.  The highlight of the evening was the presentation of the Golden Eagle Award. Being honored this year was Congressman Henry Cuellar, D-Laredo/McAllen. The award is given to an individual who has gone above and beyond the norm in the community in regards to economic development, education, leadership, and so on. Featured, from left: Adelita Muñoz, vice chair of education for the McAllen Hispanic Chamber of Commerce; Roxanna Godínez, MHCC vice chair of membership;  Alma Torres, MHCC secretary; Congressman Cuellar; Rep. Verónica Gonzáles, D-McAllen; and Cynthia M. Sakulenzki, MHCC president and chief executive officer.   

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