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Sexual Assault Awareness Month, proposed by Rep. Canales, receives 144 – 0 House approval; lawmaker also wants universities and colleges to provide details of such crimes on campuses

Featured: A recent U.S. Air Force poster, part of an ongoing campaign by the American military in support of Airmen and their families who have been a victim of sexual assault. In Texas, a statewide effort led by Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg, is underway to develop strategies to reduce sexual assault by equipping the public with knowledge and awareness of this serious crime by designating April as Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

Photograph Courtesy of U.S. AIR FORCE

Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg, has proposed that April would be designated as Sexual Assault Awareness Month in Texas in order to increase knowledge that leads to more prevention of sexual assault and punishment of criminals, and to authorize the regular observance of Sexual Assault Awareness Month through appropriate activities in public schools and other places. Sexual assault, according to FindLaw.com, occurs when a defendant – intentionally and knowingly – commits any of a number of prohibited sexual activities listed under Texas’ sexual assault law without the victim’s consent. Canales’ proposal, as illustrated in House Bill 822, was overwhelmingly approved by the Texas House of Representatives on Thursday, April 2o, 2017.  The bill will now go to the Texas Senate for their action. “Today, I passed legislation out of the House to officially designate the month of April as Sexual Assault Awareness Month in an effort to raise public awareness about sexual assault and educate communities and individuals on how to prevent sexual assault,” Canales said. “We need everyone’s help to reduce sexual assault, and I believe that officially designating this month is a step in the right direction towards proactively reducing sexual assault.” Sexual assault is a serious criminal violation. Canales’ measure stems from a study conducted by UT Austin’s Institute on Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault, whose findings were released on Friday, March 24, 2017. The report titled Cultivating Learning and Safe Environments showed that sexual assault is an ongoing problem throughout society, including in the halls of higher education. According to the study,  almost 200 out of the more than 3,800 students who participated in the anonymous online survey reported to have been sexually assaulted since they have been enrolled at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley’s campuses. Nine percent of those students who participated in the anonymous online survey – almost 350 individuals – said they had been victims of unwanted sexual touching since they have been enrolled at UTRGV’s campuses. “These figures are shocking, to say the least,” said Canales, an attorney who also serves on the House Committee on Criminal Jurisprudence, which shapes state laws to protect Texans, especially from violent criminals. “But through this legislation, and another major bill I am working on, we are going to help remove the shroud of secrecy over sexual assault, family violence, and stalking policies at our public universities and colleges.” House Bill 1096, coauthored by Canales and Rep. J.M. Lozano, R-Kingsville, would require public universities and colleges in Texas to provide students and organizations with information about these crimes. “If HB 1096 becomes law, but a public university or college fails to provide that information, that university or college would not receive any state funding,” Canales said. 

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Edinburg EDC: Retail economy has produced almost $6.9 million in local sales taxes in past four months, ahead of same period the previous year

Featured: Students and faculty from the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley in February 2017 won numerous awards for creative excellence at the American Advertising Federation (AAF)-Rio Grande Valley ADDY awards competition. Shown, front row, from left, are: Ping Xu, UTRGV Assistant Professor of Graphic Design; and UTRGV students Richard Guzmán; Alexandra González; Jacqueline Maldonado; and Arael Meza. Back row, from left: Samuel Hernández; UTRGV Art Lecturer Erika Balogh; Mónica Lugo; Julio Aranda; Mariana Zapata; and Robert Gilbert, Associate Professor of Graphic Design. The Edinburg Mayor and Edinburg City Council, along with the Board of Directors of the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation, lobby the Texas Legislature and the UT System Board of Regents on behalf of UTRGV in Edinburg and the UTRGV School of Medicine in Edinburg.

Photograph Courtesy of MARCI CALTABIANO

Between November 2016 and February 2017, Edinburg’s retail economy remained ahead of the same period the year before, up 0.63 percent, based on local sales taxes generated, the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation has announced. For the month of February 2017, the city’s retail economy was slightly behind the pace set during the month of February 2016 – registering a slight drop of 1.08 percent – with almost all of the other Valley communities also reporting decreases in local sales taxes generated from the same month the prior year. From November 2016 through February 2017, Edinburg’s retail economy produced $6,888,933.94 in local sales taxes, compared with $6,845,130.80 for November 2015 through February 2016, an increase of 0.63 percent. For February 2017, Edinburg’s retail economy produced $1,543,532.91 in local sales taxes, compared with $1,560,406.24 in February 2016, representing a decrease of 1.08 percent. 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, Harvey Rodríguez, Jr. as Vice President, Elías Longoria, Jr. as Secretary/Treasurer, and Richard Rupert and Dr. Peter Dabrowski as Members. Mayor Richard García and Edinburg EDC Executive Director Agustín García, Jr. are not related.

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Edinburg EDC: $93.4 million in total construction took place in city during first month of the year, boosting hopes that 2017 will reach record level

Featured, from left: Elva Jackson Garza, Vice President & Marketing Manager, Edwards Abstract and Title Co.; Byron Jay Lewis, President & CEO, Edwards Abstract and Title Co.; Guy S. Huddleston, III, Senior Vice President & Corporate Ambassador, Edwards Abstract and Title Co.; Mike Overly, Executive Vice President/COO/CFO, Edwards Abstract and Title Co.; Edinburg Mayor Richard García; Dr. Ted C. Jones, Ph.D., Chief Economist and Senior Vice President, Stewart Title Guaranty Co.; D.D. Hoffman, Senior Vice President & Corporate Ambassador, Edwards Abstract & Title Co., and Brandon Linscomb, Vice President/Agency Services Manager, Stewart Title Guaranty Company. This portrait shot was taken on Thursday, March 2, 2017 at the Edinburg Conference Center at Renaissance during the 13th Annual Real Estate Forum, which drew almost 300 real estate professionals and business leaders, and which was hosted by Edwards Abstract and Title Co., whose headquarters is in Edinburg. Garza is a former member of the Board of Directors for the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation. García is the President of the Edinburg EDC Board of Directors.

A group photo during the H-E-B Distinguished Chair in Diabetes and Genomics for the South Texas Diabetes and Obesity Institute luncheon on Wednesday, Mar. 8, 2017 at the McAllen Country Club in McAllen, Texas. From L to R: Dr. Havidan Rodriguez, Winell Herron, Dr. Sarah Wililams-Blangero, Linda Tovar, Kelly Scrivner-Cronin.
UTRGV Photo by Paul Chouy

Photograph By ROBERTO GONZÁLEZ

Featured, from left: Dr. Havidán Rodríguez, Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs, The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley; Winell Herron, Vice President of Public Affairs, Diversity & Environmental Affairs, H-E-B Grocery Company LP; Dr. Sarah Williams-Blangero (seated), Director, South Texas Diabetes and Obesity Institute (STDOI); Linda Tovar, H-E-B Manager of Public Affairs, Border Region; and Dr. Kelly Scrivner-Cronin, Vice President for Advancement, The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. Williams-Blangero, a genetics and infectious diseases expert, is Director of STDOI. UTRGV leaders on Thursday, March 9, 2017, named Williams-Blangero as the Endowed Chair of the H-E-B Distinguished Chair in Diabetes and Genomics for the South Texas Diabetes and Obesity Institute. Rodríguez is a former member of the Board of Directors of the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation.

Photograph By PAUL CHOUY

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Edinburg EDC Board of Directors set to review nine business prospects at noon during Tuesday, February 28, 2017 meeting at Edinburg City Hall


Featured: CBS News correspondent Mireya Villarreal, a 2001 graduate of the University of Texas-Pan American and a Valley native, will be sharing her inspiring story with more than 800 GEAR-UP students at 9 a.m. on Wednesday and Thursday, March 1 and 2, 2017, in the Library Media Theater on the Edinburg campus of the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. Her appearance is part of FESTIBA 2017, which is UTRGV’s annual Festival of International Books & Arts, an educational, entertaining week-long gathering that promotes literacy and appreciation of reading for all ages. FESTIBA lasts from Monday, February 27, 2017 to Sunday, March 5, 2017 on both the Edinburg and Brownsville campuses of UTRGV. The Edinburg Economic Development Corporation is a sponsor of FESTIBA 2017.

Photograph Courtesy of CBS NEWS

Possible agreements with nine business prospects, a pending lease renewal involving the District Office of State Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg, a real estate purchase under consideration, and a presentation from the Capable Kids Foundation highlight the agenda for noon on Tuesday, February 28, 2017 for the Board of Directors of the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation. The session, which is open to the public, will be held in the City Council Chamber of Edinburg City Hall, located at 415 West University Drive. The meeting also will be broadcast live on the Edinburg Cable Network, as well as made available in an archived version on the city’s website at:http://www.cityofedinburg.com/ecnlivestreaming.php. The Edinburg EDC Board of Director meeting will take place during the same week as FESTIBA 2017, which is the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley’s annual Festival of  International Books & Arts, an educational, entertaining event that promotes literacy and appreciation of reading for all ages. FESTIBA begins on Monday, February 27, and  continues through Sunday, March 5, 2017 on both the Edinburg and Brownsville campuses. The Edinburg EDC is a sponsor of FESTIBA 2017. 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 Rupert and Dr. Peter Dabrowski as Members. Agustín García, Jr. is Executive Director for the Edinburg EDC, which is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg Mayor and Edinburg City Council. Agustín García, Jr. and Mayor Richard García are not related.

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Edinburg’s 5.1 percent unemployment rate for December 2016, second best in the Valley, reflects the city’s largest number of full-time jobs for the year, Texas Workforce Commission reports

Featured, from left: Richard Sánchez, Associate Vice President for Governmental Relations, The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, and Verónica Gonzáles, Vice President for Governmental and Community Relations, the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, on Wednesday, December 7, 2016, presented a portrait of the inaugural class of students at the School of Medicine in Edinburg to Hidalgo County Judge Ramón García and the Hidalgo County Commissioners Court in appreciation for the financial help from the county. The county has pledged to support the medical school with annual contributions of $1 million for 10 years, beginning in 2014. To date, the county has provided $3 million to the medical school. On Monday, December 12, 2016, Mayor Richard García (no relation to the county judge) presented UTRGV leaders a check for $1 million from the City of Edinburg as part of Edinburg’s agreement to also help support the School of Medicine in Edinburg.

Photograph By EVANA VLECK

In December 2016, Edinburg reached the largest number of full-time employees for the year – 36,850 – according to the Texas Workforce Commission, and the city registered the second-best unemployment rate in the Valley for that month, the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation has announced. Edinburg’s unemployment rate for December 2016 came in at 5.1 percent, edged only by McAllen’s 4.9 percent unemployment rate, and ahead of Harlingen, which posted a 5.8 percent unemployment rate for that period. Those three cities were the only Valley communities with December 2016 figures under six percent unemployment. Also according to the Texas Workforce Commission, which on Friday, January 20, 2017 released the latest data on jobs in the state, Edinburg saw a growth of more than 1,000 jobs when comparing employment in December 2016 with December 2015. The Texas Workforce Commission reported there were 36,850 people employed in Edinburg during the month of December 2016. That performance represents an increase of 1,072 jobs in Edinburg when comparing the employment figures for December 2016 (36,850) and December 2015 (35,778). 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, Harvey Rodríguez, Jr. as Vice President, Elías Longoria, Jr. as Secretary/Treasurer, and Richard Ruppert and Dr. Peter Dabrowski as Members. Richard García and Agustín García, Jr. are not related.

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