Featured: Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class JoAnn Consiglio, assigned to Navy Officer Recruiting Station Harlingen in Texas, is joined by other sailors of Navy Recruiting District San Antonio and Navy City Outreach Southwest Region, including Lt. Cmdr. Diana Tran-Yu of Navy City, in discussing grassroots perspectives on opportunities, benefits, and careers in the Navy to students during Latina Day on Wednesday, October 4, 2017 at the Hispanic Engineering, Science, and Technology (HESTEC) Week on the Edinburg campus of the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley.
Photograph By BURRELL PARMER
With scores of Texans preparing to pay their 2017 annual home property taxes, Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg, is reminding military veterans, and the surviving spouses of first responders who were killed or fatally injured in the line of duty, that there are new laws in place that can help many of them reduce the bills on their primary residence. “Home ownership is a vital part of the American Dream, and I have always supported efforts to provide property tax relief to Texans, such as local property tax freezes for homeowners who are 65-years-of-age or older, and for homeowners who have physical disabilities,” said Canales. “This year, I successfully authored House Bill 217, which provides property tax relief for certain veterans who have a disability, and I voted to place two other measures that protect homeowners on the November 2017 statewide constitutional amendments election ballot, where they were subsequently approved by voters – House Joint Resolution 21 and Senate Joint Resolution 1.” The House Research Organization, which is the nonpartisan research division of the Texas House of Representatives, provides the following background and goals of HB 217, HJR 21, and SJR 1, which became state law in 2017: House Bill (HB) 217 – Canales was the author of HB 217 while Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, D-McAllen, sponsored Canales’ bill in the Texas Senate – provides veterans who are disabled, in the instances they were not protected under now-former Texas laws, the ability to defer collection of property taxes or the abatement of a foreclosure/sale of their home due to delinquent property taxes; House Joint Resolution (HJR) 21 – it was approved by Texas voters as Proposition 1 during November 7, 2017 state constitutional amendment election– fixes a shortcoming in current law that unfairly resulted in increasing the financial burden on a veteran with a partial disability who paid some amount of the cost of a donated home; and Senate Joint Resolution (SJR) 1 – it was approved by Texas voters as Proposition 6 during the November 7, 2017 state constitutional amendment election – allows a surviving spouse of a first responder who is killed or fatally injured in the line of duty to receive an exemption from ad valorem taxation from all or part of the market value on the surviving spouse’s residence homestead, as long as the surviving spouse has not remarried since the death of the first responder. According to the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts, Texas offers a variety of partial or total (absolute) exemptions from appraised property values used to determine local property taxes. A partial exemption removes a percentage or a fixed dollar amount of a property’s value from taxation. A total (absolute) exemption excludes the entire property from taxation. Taxing units are mandated by the state to offer certain (mandatory) exemptions and have the option to decide locally on whether or not to offer others (local option). (https://comptroller.texas.gov/taxes/property-tax/exemptions/
Featured, from left: Jorge Correa, Rio Grande Valley Area Director for Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers; Letty Rodríguez, Escrow Officer/Public Relations/Sales Representative, Edwards Abstract and Title Co., and a member of the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce; Letty González, President, Edinburg Chamber of Commerce; Elva Jackson Garza, Vice President and Marketing Manager, Edwards Abstract and Title Co., and Member, Board of Directors, Edinburg Chamber of Commerce; Mayor Richard Molina; Councilmember Gilbert Enríquez, who also serves as President, Board of Directors, Edinburg Economic Development Corporation; and Elijah Edwards, Edinburg General Manager, Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers. The elected officials and business leaders are shown here during the grand opening of Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers, located at 718 W. University Drive, on Tuesday, December 5, 2017. Seventy-eight employees – with about half of them enrolled as students at The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley – were hired as a result of Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers establishing their first restaurant in Edinburg. Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers is a fast-food restaurant chain specializing in chicken fingers and which is known for active community involvement. It was founded in Baton Rouge, Louisiana by Todd Graves and Craig Silvey on August 26, 1996.
Photograph By RONNIE LARRALDE
Area leaders, Edinburg residents and the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley community may soon receive a major public update on the $5.4+ million Edinburg Transit Terminal under construction, which is being built at 617 W. University Drive between 6th and 7th streets, the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation has announced. Tom Logan, Director of Valley Metro, said that initial plans call for a presentation to be made about the Edinburg Transit Terminal during the Tuesday, December 19, 2017 public meeting of the Edinburg City Council at Edinburg City Hall. “Everything is still on schedule,” Logan said. “We are excited. It will definitely improve the quality of life in Edinburg. It will create a transportation hub for the city along with synergy (teamwork) with other components that can come into play there.” The promising future for the community officially began on Thursday, May 11, 2017, with the groundbreaking of the multi-million dollar Edinburg Transit Terminal, said City Councilmember Gilbert Enríquez, who also serves as President, Board of Directors for the Edinburg EDC. “The 15,000-square-foot, two-story complex, located on a 1.2 acre tract donated by the Edinburg EDC, will serve as a home for Valley Metro, which is the publicly-owned bus service for deep South Texas that is administered and operated by the Lower Rio Grande Valley Development Council,” said Enríquez. “One of the many key needs the Edinburg Transit Terminal will fulfill when it opens for business in 2018 will be to help improve vital transportation services into and near the city’s downtown during the work week.” The Edinburg EDC is the jobs-creation arm of Mayor Richard Molina, Mayor Pro-Tem David Torres, Councilmember Homer Jasso, Jr., Councilmember Gilbert Enríquez, and Councilmember Jorge Salinas. In addition to Enríquez, the Edinburg EDC Board of Directors is comprised of Edinburg School Board Trustee Miguel “Mike” Farías as Vice-President, Isael Posadas, P.E., as Secretary/Treasurer, and Julio César Carranza and Dr. Noé Sauceda as Members.
Featured: University of Texas Rio Grande Valley student Brandon Lau talks about his group’s research project with Robert Kaplan, President and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, during the Border Economic Development and Entrepreneurship Symposium (BEDES) hosted by UTRGV, the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas-San Antonio Branch, and the McAllen Chamber of Commerce. The symposium was held Friday, December 1, 2017 at the Embassy Suites in McAllen. The Edinburg Mayor and Edinburg City Council, along with 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.
Photograph By PAUL CHOUY
Edinburg’s retail economy from November 2016 through September 2017 has generated more than $19.3 million in local sales taxes, compared with more than $19.5 million for the same 11-month period the previous year, the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation has announced. The amount of local sales taxes collected helps reflect the strength of an economy, along with construction activities, per capita income, education, historical performances, and related trends. The sales tax, formally known s the State Sales and Use Tax, is imposed on all retail sales, leases and rentals of most goods, as well as taxable services. Texas cities, counties, transit authorities and special purpose districts have the option of imposing an additional local sales tax for a combined total of state and local taxes of 8 1/4% (0.825). From November through September 2017, Edinburg’s retail economy produced $19,310,276.82 in local sales taxes, compared with $19,526,679.52 for November 205 through September 2016, a decrease of 1.10 percent. The year-to-date figures, which under the reporting system used by the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts, begin in November of each year and end in October of the following year. For September 2017, Edinburg’s retail economy produced $1,963,990.26 in local sales taxes, compared with $1,933,808.59 in September 2016, representing an increase of 1.56 percent. The local sales tax in Edinburg is also used 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. The Edinburg EDC is the jobs-creation arm of Mayor Richard Molina, Mayor Pro Tem David Torres, Councilmember Homer Jasso, Jr., Councilmember Gilbert Enríquez, and Councilmember Jorge “Coach” Salinas. The Edinburg EDC Board of Directors is comprised of City Councilmember Gilbert Enríquez as President, Edinburg School Board Trustee Miguel “Mike” Salinas as Vice-President, Isael Posadas, P.E., as Secretary/Treasurer, and Julio César Carranza and Noe Sauceda as Members.
UTRGV Civil Engineering Assistant Professor Jongmin Kim on Tuesday, Nov. 08, 2016 at the Academic Services building in Edinburg, Texas.
UTRGV Photo by Paul Chouy
Featured: The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley has been ranked in the top seven colleges in Texas for civil engineering majors by Zippia.com, a career resource website. Shown here is UTRGV Civil Engineering Assistant Professor Jongmin Kim during a class at the Academic Services building on the Edinburg Campus. The Edinburg Mayor and Edinburg City Council, along with 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.
Photograph By PAUL CHOUY
As part of its regional and statewide reach, the Mayor and Edinburg City Council on Wednesday, November 15, 2017, are scheduled to appoint members of the city’s top elected officials to three major regional groups – the Lower Rio Grande Valley Development Council, the Hidalgo County Metropolitan Organization, and Amigos del Valle, Inc., the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation has announced. The Edinburg EDC, of which Agustín García is Executive Director, is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg Mayor and Edinburg City Council. On the agenda for the city council’s regular meeting is a scheduled discussion on deciding who from the five-member City Council, which includes the mayor and four city councilmembers, will represent Edinburg on regional advisory groups which control the flow of millions of dollars a year in state and federal funds to Hidalgo County and deep South Texas. “The city’s top elected leadership has delivered for its constituents through their key participation and roles in Congress and before the Texas Legislature, and in working with the many federal and state agencies that have funds and policies that greatly benefit our community,” said Edinburg EDC’s García. “The work of the mayor and city council on boards and commissions here in deep South Texas is just as important.” 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. Molina, Councilmember-elect Gilbert Enríquez, and Councilmember-elect Jorge “Coach” Salinas, who won their campaigns for their respective positions on Tuesday, November 7, 2017, will be sworn into office beginning at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, September 15, 2017, followed by the city council’s first regular meeting beginning at 6:30 p.m. Both events, which are open to the public, will be held in the Council Chambers of Edinburg City Hall, located at 415 East University Drive.
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.