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Dozens of area leaders receive education on how to apply for $45 million in grants

State and local leaders met in Edinburg on Wednesday, August 27, as part of a two-hour session sponsored by the Texas Valley Communities Foundation to help area nonprofit groups apply for $45 million in AmeriCorps grants that will be awarded in Texas during the next three years. Featured, from left: Dr. Roland S. Arriola, Ph.D., president of Texas Valley Communities Foundation; Rosa Moreno-Mahoney, Associate Director of Service and Volunteerism for the One Star Foundation; Dr. Beverly Ashley-Fridie, Ph.D., a gubernatorial appointee from Edinburg who serves on the board of directors for the One Star Foundation; and Courtney Suhrs, Senior Strategic Communications Specialist for the One Star Foundation. “One Star Foundation is looking for partners to invest an anticipated $45 million in grant funding to support programs for the educational success of Texas’ youth over a three year period through AmeriCorps funding,” said Arriola. “One Star will partner with organizations that focus on quality early childhood education, school-readiness programs, improving literacy rates, increasing the obtainment of high school equivalencies, increasing grade level achievement, and increasing post-secondary attendance and completion.”  See story later in this posting.

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Congressman Rubén Hinojosa was the special speaker on Thursday, August 21 for the legislative luncheon hosted by the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce’s Public Affairs Committee, led by Ramiro Garza, executive director for the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation. Hinojosa talked about recent legislative issues, including education priorities, that will emphasize financial literacy, encourage financial partners in student loan programs, increasing need-based grant aid through Pell grants, and other measures. Sponsors for the event were Rio Valley Realty, and Edwards Abstract and Title Co.  Featured, back row, from left: Johnny Rodríguez; Hayden Prater; Flo Prater; Jared Prater; Elva Jackson Garza; Marty Martin, and Imelda.  Front row, from left: Rep. Aaron Peña, D-Edinburg; Mayor Joe Ochoa;Hinojosa; Byron J. Lewis; and Maggie Kent.

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The Edinburg Volunteer Fire Department will collaborate with the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce, and the Dustin Michael Sekula Memorial Library in celebrating Edinburg’s Centennial on Monday, October 6, at the Edinburg Municipal Park. As part of its participating, the fire department will host National Fire Department Week, and provide – for free – live entertainment, music, dancers, a karate show and demo, fire safety, cokes and hot dogs, as well  ice cream, courtesy of the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce,  and Edinburg’s biggest birthday cake, courtesy of the Dustin Michael Sekula Memorial Library.  The event will be from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m., with a Fire Prevention/Caravan/Parade to kick off the celebration at 5:30 p.m.  The fire department will also work in partnership with the Museum of South Texas History, on Sunday, October 5, and kick off the week with “Museum Day”.  Residents will be welcomed to visit the Museum of South Texas History on McIntyre and Closner, and then walk one block west to the Edinburg Volunteer Fire Department Museum located on McIntyre and 10th street.  Both museums will be open to the public from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., with free admission. Featured, from left, are: Fire Marshal Richard Drewery; Centennial Chair Evana Vleck; Library Director Letty Leija; Lucy Robinson; Fire Chief Shawn M. Snyder; Fire Inspector John R. Ovalle; and Assistant Fire Marshal Omar Garza.

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Dust off those boots and sharpen your casino skills as the McAllen Hispanic Chamber of Commerce has scheduled their 2nd annual “Back to School Casino and Dance Scholarship Fundraiser” for Saturday, September 6, at The Tower Club, located in the Chase Tower, 200 South 10th Street in McAllen. The event is from 7 p.m. to midnight, with Country Western band Crossfire performing, food and refreshments, and a Casino with Black Jack tables, Craps, Roulette and Poker.  Local merchants are also providing gifts and certificates for the silent auction. MHCC’s Education Committee schedules several fundraisers during the year to help raise funds for scholarships.  Sponsorships for the Back to School Casino and Dance are: Title $5,000, High Roller $3,000, Dealer $2,000, Bookie $1,000 and Casino Table $300.  Reserved Tables are $750 for a table of 10 with individual tickets $50. For more information, to inquire on sponsorships and tickets call the McAllen Hispanic Chamber at 928-0060. Featured, sitting: Diana Gonzáles, Vice Chair of Education. Standing, from left: Cynthia M. Sakulenzki, MHCC President/CEO; Hari Namboodiri, Chair-elect, and Verónica Vela, Vice Chair of Women’s Issues.

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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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