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Rep. Óscar Longoria, D-La Joya, appointed Vice-Chairman of Subcommittee on Disaster Impact and Recovery following October 2, 2017 hearing on devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey

Featured, from left: McAllen City Commissioner Omar Quintanilla; Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, D-McAllen; McAllen Mayor Jim Darling; Dr. John Krouse, UTRGV Vice President for Medical Affairs and Dean of the School of Medicine; and UTRGV President Guy Bailey, on Wednesday, October 11, 2o17 at the Medical Education Building in Edinburg.

Photograph By PAUL CHOUY

The City of McAllen presented a $1 million check to The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley School of Medicine on Wednesday, October 11, 2017, at the Medical Education Building on the Edinburg Campus. The contribution is in support of the school’s mission to educate students and residents and provide increased access to healthcare. The payment is part of a memorandum of understanding UTRGV signed with McAllen and other Valley cities to support and ensure the success of the School of Medicine.  “We are grateful for the City of McAllen’s support of the School of Medicine,” said UTRGV President Guy Bailey. “These funds will support UTRGV and the School of Medicine in its mission to engage in innovative research, clinical care and the training of the next generation of physicians for the Rio Grande Valley.” McAllen Mayor Jim Darling said the payment by the City of McAllen is its contribution to help improve the health and prosperity of the region. “In order to help the entire Rio Grande Valley grow and improve – as a community, in business, and most importantly, in our health – then a strong and vibrant UTRGV School of Medicine is tantamount to help make that possible,” he said. Dr. John H. Krouse, Dean of the School of Medicine and Vice President for Health Affairs, said McAllen’s support further solidifies the partnership between the UTRGV School of Medicine and the communities it serves. “It will allow our faculty, medical residents and students to continue providing healthcare to those who otherwise would not have access to care,” Krouse said, “and it will help fund the innovative research that addresses the healthcare needs of the Valley community.”

Featured, seated, from left: Rep. John Zerwas, M.D., R-Katy, the Chairman of the House Committee on Appropriations, and Rep. Óscar Longoria, D-La Joya, the Vice-Chairman of the House Committee on Appropriations, prepare to lay out the proposed $217+ billion, two-year state budget late last spring on the floor of the Texas House of Representatives. On Friday, October 13, 2017, Longoria was appointed by Zerwas to serve as Vice-Chairman of the newly formed Subcommittee on Disaster Impact and Recovery, which is part of the 27-member House Committee on Appropriations.

Photograph By HOUSE PHOTOGRAPHY

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Edinburg EDC: Edinburg’s unemployment rate of 6.2 percent for August 2017 represents the second-best showing for that month since 2008

Featured: Students make their way to breakout sessions during the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley’s Hispanic Engineering, Science, and Technology (HESTEC) Latina Day on Wednesday, October 4, 2017 at the Fieldhouse in Edinburg. 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. In the background is a portion of the $70 million, 115,000-square-foot, four-story addition to the UTRGV Science Building in Edinburg, which is set to be completed early next year. The expansion is making possible crucial infrastructure, such as classrooms, offices, suites, works stations, laboratories, and equipment, to increase to 873 a year the number of graduates in STEM, which stands for the fields of science, technology, engineering and math. With the addition, the Science Building will be the largest facility on the Edinburg campus, resulting in a 272,000-square foot intensive STEM research and learning center.

Photograph By SILVER SALAS

Edinburg posted an unemployment rate of  6.2 percent in August 2017, which is the second-best showing for that month since 2008, with 36,066 people holding down full-time jobs, the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation has announced. This latest data also showed that Edinburg saw a growth of 254 jobs when comparing the monthly totals of August 2017 (36,066) and August 2016 (35,812), according to the Edinburg EDC, which is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg City Council. Edinburg and McAllen, which posted an unemployment rate for August 2017 of 5.5 percent, compared favorably with other large population centers in the Valley, which reported unemployment rates ranging from 6.7 percent (Harlingen) to 9.3 percent (Weslaco). The unemployment rate is a key indicator of the strength of the local economy. The August 2017 numbers are based on preliminary figures released on Friday, September 15, 2017, by the Texas Workforce Commission. The unemployment rate is the number of persons unemployed, expressed as a percentage of the civilian labor force, according to the Texas Workforce Commission. The civilian labor force is that portion of the population age 16 and older employed or unemployed. To be considered unemployed, a person has to be not working but willing and able to work and actively seeking work. Edinburg’s August 2017 unemployment rate of 6.2 percent is part of a consistent pattern of positive reports, including July (5.7 percent), June 2017 (5.9), May 2017 (5.4 percent), April 2017 (5.4 percent), March 2017 (6 percent), February 2017 (6.4 percent) and January 2017 (6.2 percent). Edinburg’s August 2017 unemployment rate of 6.2 percent is part of a consistent pattern of positive reports, including July (5.7 percent), June 2017 (5.9), May 2017 (5.4 percent), April 2017 (5.4 percent), March 2017 (6 percent), February 2017 (6.4 percent) and January 2017 (6.2 percent). 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 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 Agustín García are not related.

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Edinburg EDC: Edinburg unemployment rate drops to 5.7 percent for July 2017, second-best in Valley, representing 36,037 jobs for that month

Featured: The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley School of Medicine in Edinburg. During their meeting in Austin on Wednesday, August 23, 2017 and Thursday, August 24, 2017, the University of Texas System Board of Regents reinforced its commitment to The UTRGV School of Medicine, which has a major campus in Edinburg, by approving $20 million in Permanent University Funds (PUF) for capital expenses. “We are grateful to the Board of Regents for its continued support of the UTRGV School of Medicine,” said Dr. John Krouse, Dean of the UTRGV School of Medicine and Vice president for Health Affairs. “This allocation will enable the School of Medicine to become a leader in research that will benefit the Rio Grande Valley and beyond, and prepare the next generation of physicians who will provide exceptional care to the communities they serve.” 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 SILVER SALAS

For the second straight month, Edinburg and McAllen were the only two major Valley cities which posted unemployment rates under six percent, the Edinburg Economic  Development Corporation has announced. The unemployment rate is a key indicator of the strength of the local economy. For the month of July 2017, the latest figures available from the Texas Workforce Commission, Edinburg had an unemployment rate of 5.7 percent, which was an improvement from June 2017, which came in at 5.9 percent. This latest data also showed that Edinburg saw a growth of 492 jobs when comparing the monthly totals of July 2017 (36,037)and July 2016 (35,545), according to the Edinburg EDC. Edinburg and McAllen, which posted an unemployment rate of 5.2 percent, compared favorably with other large population centers in the Valley, which reported unemployment rates ranging from 6.5 percent (Harlingen) to9 percent (Weslaco). During 2017, Edinburg has recorded one of the lowest unemployment rates among Valley cities in April and May, and came in with the second-lowest unemploymentrates during the other months in 2017 through July. McAllen, which came in with a 5.4 percent unemployment in May 2017, tied Edinburg for the best showing for that month. For the past several years, Edinburg has registered the lowest or second-lowest monthly unemployment rates among all Valley cities. The unemployment rate is the number of persons unemployed, expressed as a percentage of the civilian labor force, according to the Texas Workforce Commission. The civilian labor force is that portion of the population age 16 and older employed or unemployed. To be considered unemployed, a person has to be not working but willing and able to work and actively seeking work. Edinburg’s July 2017unemployment rate of 5.7 percent is part of a consistent pattern of positive reports, including June 2017 (5.9), May 2017 (5.4 percent), April 2017 (5.4 percent), March 2017 (6 percent), February 2017 (6.4 percent) and January 2017 (6.2 percent). 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 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 Agustín García are not related.

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UTRGV’s Dr. Lydia López Aguilera gains highest standard of certification for pharmacists

Dr. Lydia López Aguilera, Director of the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley/UT Austin College of Pharmacy and Clinical Associate Professor in the UTRGV Cooperative Pharmacy Program, has added another level of expertise to an impressive list of accomplishments by achieving board certification in ambulatory care pharmacy from the National Board of Pharmacy Specialties (BPS). Aguilera is a native of Edinburg.

Photograph By PAUL CHOUY

Visitors to Dr. Lydia López Aguilera’s office are greeted by a wall full of framed educational accomplishments, recognitions of her achievements and thankful notes from her pharmacy students at The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. Now, at age 60, the director of the UTRGV/UT Austin Cooperative Pharmacy Program has added another level of expertise in her field by achieving board certification in ambulatory care pharmacy from the National Board of Pharmacy Specialties (BPS). “Gaining the certification builds your foundation of knowledge. It’s a review, but you also learn new things – and knowledge is power – allowing you to not only help your patient, but also your team of doctors, nurses, dieticians and other healthcare team members,” said Aguilera, a Clinical Associate professor who has headed UTRGV’s cooperative program since 2010. The announcement of her latest achievement was made on Thursday, August 31, 2017. Board certification through the BPS is recognized as the highest standard for determining which pharmacists are qualified to contribute at advanced levels of practice.

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Edinburg EDC: City, school district, UTRGV begin efforts to help with disaster relief for countless Texans hurt by Hurricane Harvey

IDL TIFF file

As Hurricane Harvey approached the shores over coastal Texas on Thursday, August 24, 2017, Edinburg and Rio Grande Valley were alarmed over the possibility that it could strike close to home. Instead, deep South Texas was spared from what became one of the most powerful hurricanes in history – a category 4 storm thaton Friday night, August 25, 2017 packed wind gusts up to 132 miles per hour northeast of Corpus Christi, and which has caused billions of dollars in damages and human suffering from flooding in the Houston region in the following days. 

Photograph By NASA

Local officials and organizations are pulling together resources as part of a national effort to help the countless Texans hurt by Hurricane Harvey, which on Friday, August 25, 2017 slammed into the Texas Coastal Bend, anchored by Corpus Christi, threatened metropolitan areas of San Antonio and Austin, and has produced epic flooding in the Houston region, including the displacing of thousands of homeowners, the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation has announced. “We wish all those (affected by Hurricane Harvey) well, and we ask that you put them in your prayers, because God knows they need it,” Agustín García, Jr., Executive Director for the Edinburg EDC, said Monday, August 28, 2017, during the Edinburg EDC Facebook live broadcast, “Edinburg Connects”. In response to the humanitarian disaster that has taken place elsewhere in Texas, the City of Edinburg, the Edinburg Consolidated Independent School District, and the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, which has its main campus and its School of Medicine in Edinburg, have announced their respective assistance plans, which began on Monday, August 28, 2017 and will continue through the upcoming weekend and beyond. The Edinburg EDC 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 Agustín García are not related.

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