Featured: Dr. Havidán Rodríguez, Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs, the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, helped salute the estimated 2,401 graduates at the McAllen Convention Center on Saturday, May 13, 2017 as they walked the stage during the Spring 2017 Commencement Ceremonies to accept the degrees they worked so hard for over the years. More than 700 graduates also were honored during an evening ceremony on Friday, May 12, 2017 on the UTRGV Brownsville Campus. A combined total of more than 3,100 UTRGV graduates were celebrated in four ceremonies over a two-day period. Rodríguez is a former member of the Board of Directors for the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation, which is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg Mayor and Edinburg Council.
Photograph By PAUL CHOUY
With the month of May featuring graduation ceremonies from local and area high schools, South Texas College and The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, one of the most influential supporters of publication in the Valley – the Board of Directors for the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation – will hold its public meeting on Tuesday, May 30, 2017, at Edinburg City Hall. The session, which begins at 12 p.m., will be held at Edinburg City Hall, located at 415 West University Drive. The Edinburg EDC, of which Gus García is the 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 Ruppert and Dr. Peter Dabrowski as Members. Mayor Richard García and Edinburg EDC Executive Director Gus García are not related. According to the Edinburg EDC Board of Directors’ agenda, which is also posted online at: http://edinburgedc.com/meetings-agendas/, they will meet to consider the following: Open Session: Call meeting to order; Roll Call; Presentation by Capable Kids Foundation; Discuss and consider authorizing the Executive Director to renew the Professional Services Agreement with Signature Public Affairs, Inc.; Discuss and consider approval of termination of the Interlocal agreement with the City of Edinburg regarding Project Wildcat; and Discuss and consider approval of a sponsorship for the Valley Symphony Orchestra. Executive (Closed) Session: Deliberate the offers of financial or other incentives to business prospects; Deliberate authorizing the Executive Director to enter into a Development Agreement with Dennis Owens; and Consultation with Attorney.
Featured: Texas Department of Public Safety troopers, wearing their traditional “Texas Tan” uniforms and cowboy hats with their patent leather gun belts, showed up on Friday, March 3, 2017, along with other South Texas law enforcement professionals for the groundbreaking of the multi-million dollar Regional Center for Public Safety Excellence, located at 4300 S. Cage Boulevard in Pharr. The upcoming campus is a collaboration between South Texas College, the City of Pharr, the Pharr-San Juan-Alamo School District, and the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS). “The facility will benefit the region by adding additional programs in public safety, law enforcement, border security, and fire science. These programs provide college level certificates and degrees for public safety and law enforcement professionals in the Rio Grande Valley,” said Mario Reyna, Dean for Business and Technology at STC. “Furthermore, this center will be able to accommodate the professional continuing education courses required by all law enforcement officers. The spectrum of courses offered will cover all the needs of our region. Traveling to College Station or San Antonio for specialized training will be a thing of the past.”
Photograph By ALEX RÍOS
Texas Department of Public Safety troopers, Texas Rangers and other DPS commissioned officers, such as Criminal Investigations Division Special Agents, Texas Capitol Security, and other personnel within the Texas Highway Patrol, would earn overtime pay on a daily basis under legislation by Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg, Rep. Rick Miller, R-Sugar Land, and Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, D-McAllen. House Bill 483 by Miller/Canales and Senate Bill 297 by Hinojosa, which are identical in language, would change Section 411.016, Government Code, to allow DPS, which is a state police force, to calculate overtime for eligible staff – including its Homeland Security Division and Counterterrorism Division – based on working more than eight hours in a 24-hour period, according to the bill analysis of both measures. The two bills would benefit officers because it would allow them to take sick leave or other types of leave without risking the loss of earned overtime. As DPS officers move to a standard 50-hour work week, they will develop a reasonable expectation of paid overtime based on the standard schedule. “In order to increase protection for our citizens, DPS often has its troopers on duty for up to 12 hours a day, which is 48 hours during four days of a five-day, eight hour a day, workweek. ” Canales explained. “But currently, if for whatever reason, any trooper who has worked more than 40 hours in four days is not available or not needed on the fifth day, he or she would not receive any overtime pay. That’s not fair. Our law enforcement professionals put their lives on the line for us every day.”
Featured: Dr. Havidán Rodríguez, Provost and Executive Vice President, The University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley, on Monday, December 12, 2016, speaks with Valley journalists about the 26 articulation agreements signed between UTRGV and South Texas College at a ceremony held at STC in McAllen. The partnership will provide a seamless pathway allowing STC students to move from an associate degree at STC to a bachelor’s degree in those programs at UTRGV.
Photograph By PAUL CHOUY
Almost $210 million in construction, not including value of building activities at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley and School of Medicine, took place in Edinburg in 2016, the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation has announced. New single-family homes and multi-family residences (duplexes to apartments) led the way in 2016, with building permits issued for a combined total of $128,328,117 in the value of their construction. That figure is more than double the $62,284,040 combined value of single-family homes and multi-family residences approved for construction in 2015. In 2016, building permits were issued for 478 single-family residences, valued at $62,768,702 compared with 340 single family residences, valued at $47,969,918 in 2015. Also in 2016, building permits were issued for 267 multi-family residences, representing 1,o21 units, valued at $65,559,415, compared with 63 multi-family residences, representing 197 units, valued at $14,314,122 in 2015. For the month of December 2016, according to the city’s Code Enforcement Department, 41 single-family residences, valued at $6,182,305 were approved for construction, compared with 33 single-family residences, valued at $4,317,674, during the same month in 2015. Combined, building permits in 2016 were issued for work valued at $209,189,249, compared with $139,559,411 in 2015. The top construction projects in Edinburg for December 2016, not including the value of the land, are: $800,000 – Dr. Jerry Alvarado, 2823 Puente De Paz St., Villa Las Fuentes Ph. 1 Subdivision; $750,000 – R&N Properties, 1814 E. Iowa Rd., Poco Bueno Subdivision; $425,000 – Chris Ryan Homes & Investments, LLC, 2508 Hampton, Bentley Estates Subdivision; and $400,000 – Provecho LP, 2111 W. University Dr., Wendy’s University Subdivision. 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.
Featured, from left: Leticia Reyes, Director of Business Development and Public Affairs, Edinburg Economic Development Corporation; Jonathan Torres, Production Specialist, City of Edinburg; Pepe García Gilling, Independent Filmmaker, Monterrey, Mexico; Viviana Ozuna, Business Consulting and Marketing, McAllen; Luis Suner, MG Digital Group, Edinburg; and Dr. Dahlia Guerra, Assistant Vice President for Public Art, The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. These individuals were gathered on Saturday, September 10, 2016, during the South Texas International Film Festival 2016 awards banquet held at the Edinburg Conference Center at Renaissance. The Edinburg EDC was the major financial sponsor for the event, which organizers said drew more than 1,000 people to the three-day event, held from Thursday, September 8 through Saturday, September 10, 2016. STXFF is a competitive international film festival in the categories of Best Short Film, Best Feature Length Film, and Best Regional Film. This year’s edition showcased local, regional and international films that have a unique voice and style. As an added bonus, STXFF premiered the first local 3D movie filmed and produced in the Rio Grande Valley as part of the Festival’s opening. More than 102 submissions in Feature Film, Short Film, and film projects from more than 12 countries were in the running for awards.
Photograph By MARK MONTEMAYOR
Leticia Reyes, Director of Business Development and Public Affairs for the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation, on Friday, October 7, 2016 will participate in the Fourth Annual Binational Innovation Conference (INNO 2016), which is being hosted by South Texas College (STC) in McAllen. The Edinburg EDC is one of the sponsors of INNO 2016. INNO 2016 is a bi-national collaborative effort between STC and El Instituto Internacional de Estudios Superiores in Reynosa, Mexico, and takes place from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Friday, October 7, 2016 at the STC Technology Campus located at 3700 W. Military Highway in McAllen. Reyes will be part of a panel of representatives from various economic development corporations in the region talking about entrepreneurial innovation as part of the INNO 2016. Joining her on the panel, which will be featured from 11:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m., will be Keith Patridge, President and CEO of the McAllen Economic Development Corporation; Rose Benavídez, Member, Board of Trustees, South Texas College, and President, Starr County Industrial Foundation; and Frank Almaraz, CEO of Workforce Solutions. They will focus on “Entrepreneurial Innovation”. 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, Elías Longoria, Jr., Harvey Rodríguez, Jr., Richard Rupert, and Dr. Peter Dabrowski.
Featured: Rose Benavidez, Member, Board of Trustees, South Texas College, and Rep. Sergio Muñoz, Jr., D-Mission, in the underground annex of the Texas Capitol, during Community College Day on Thursday, February 3, 2015.
Photograph By PETER SALINAS
Pharr could soon see construction begin on the South Texas Regional Center for Public Safety, to be located on a 113.9 site located between U.S. Highway 281 and South Veterans Boulevard, as a result of House Bill 1887 by Rep. Sergio Muñoz, Jr., D-Mission. On Tuesday, January 26, 2016 (today), the STC Board of Regents are scheduled to review and approve an interlocal agreement with the City of Pharr and the Pharr San Juan Alamo Independent School District that will see the landmark complex take shape, and with it, improve the quality of public safety in deep South Texas. The pending action is part of the STC Board of Trustees’ regular monthly meeting, which will begin at 5:30 p.m. in the Ann Richards Administration Building Board Room at the Pecan Campus in McAllen. Muñoz predicted the planned STC facility and site also will pave the way in the future for a branch campus – and possibly more – in Pharr, which is part of his House District 36 legislative district. “South Texas College is one of the best college systems in Texas, it is only one of a handful of community colleges in the state which offer university-level bachelor degrees, it is poised for greater growth, and it has helped transform the South Texas economy through its outstanding graduates who are as skilled and talented as they are numerous and in demand,” Muñoz said. “This is just the beginning for STC in Pharr.” The three-term state legislator, who serves on the powerful House Appropriations Committee which shaped the current $200+ billion state budget, praised his fellow Valley lawmakers for helping pass the state law authorizing and helping fund the South Texas Regional Center for Public Safety. “Sen. Juan Hinojosa was the Senate author of my House Bill 1887, while Rep. Terry Canales, Rep. Bobby Guerra, Rep. Eddie Lucio, III, and Rep. Ryan Guillen were joint authors in the House, and they all deserve credit for this huge accomplishment,” said Muñoz. “There is no substitute for experience when it comes to getting what we deserve from the Texas Legislature.” According to STC, once the interlocal agreements with the city and school district are approved, it will take between 18 months and 24 months to build the 21,800 square-foot facility which will be the initial heart of The Regional Center for Public Safety Excellence. The project will include classroom facilities, vehicle driving range, outdoor shooting range, firearms simulator, mobile firearms simulator/live firing range, driving simulator, obstacle course, fitness rooms, and administrative offices. The estimated initial construction cost is $6.782 million, which includes $4.2 million from South Texas College’s Series 2013 Bond Issuance, $1.5 million provided by the Texas Department of Public Safety, and $1 million provided by the PSJA School District. “The Regional Center for Public Excellence in Pharr shall increase necessary access to training opportunities for officers in the Rio Grande Valley region and, in turn, improve public safety and border security,” said Muñoz. “The training provided at the regional center also would provide officers with college credit toward either an associate’s or a bachelor’s degree, while the four police academies in the area do not.”