Featured: The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley H-E-B Planetarium in Edinburg celebrated its 55th anniversary with a celebration on April 27, 2018, attended by staff, faculty and guests and Yvonne Loflin, Public Affairs Specialist representing H-E-B, shown here shooting video of the UTRGV Pep Band in front of the planetarium. 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 DAVID PIKE
South Texas College, South Texas Health System, Texas Workforce Commission, Geofencing Campaign, South Texas Film Festival, and Texas Cook’ Em – High Steaks are among 14 items up for review and possible action by Edinburg EDC Board of Directors at 6 p.m on Tuesday, May 29
Fourteen items, ranging from a Memorandum of Understanding with South Texas College, South Texas Health System, and Texas Workforce Commission regarding a workforce training grant, to sponsorships of the South Texas International Film Festival and Texas Cook’ Em – High Steaks, are scheduled for review and possible action by the Board of Directors of the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation on Tuesday evening, May 29, 2018, the Edinburg EDC has announced.
The meeting, which is open to the public, will be held in the Edinburg City Council Chamber at Edinburg City Hall, located at 415 W. University Drive, beginning at 6 p.m.
In Executive Session, as allowed by state law, among the issues to be reviewed include deliberating possible action regarding the renewal and modification of Note and Lien in the original amounts of $5 million and $10 million with Santana Textiles, LLC.
The Edinburg EDC, of which Joey Treviño is the Executive Director, 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.
The Edinburg EDC Board of Directors is comprised of Councilmember Enríquez as President, Edinburg School Board Trustee Miguel “Mike” Farías as Vice-President, Councilmember Salinas as Secretary/Treasurer, and Mayor Molina and Mayor Pro Tem Torres as Members.
The Edinburg EDC agenda packet, which contains all the information that is open to the public, is available online by logging to the Edinburg EDC website at: http://edinburgedc.com/meetings-agendas/
The agenda for the Tuesday, May 29, 2018 regular meeting of the Board of Directors for the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation follows:
• Call meeting to Order, Establish Quorum.
• Roll Call and Certification of Posting of Meeting.
• Consider approval of Board of Directors’ Minutes for April 24, 2018 Board Meeting.
• Discuss and consider authorizing Executive Director to enter into a Memorandum of Understanding with South Texas College, South Texas Health System, and Texas Workforce Commission regarding a workforce training grant. In general, a Memorandum of Understanding is a nonbonding agreement between two parties outlining the terms and details of an understanding, including each parties’ requirements and responsibilities. An MOU is often the first stage in the formation of a formal contract. (https://www.investopedia.com/terms/m/mou.asp)
• Discuss and consider authorizing the Executive Director to enter into an agreement for accounting services for the Edinburg EDC.
• Discuss and consider adopting the Small Business Renovation and Improvements policy for the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation.
• Discuss and consider authorizing the Executive Director to enter into an agreement with Valley Central for the Love the Locals and Geofencing Campaign. In general, Geofencing is an approach where a “virtual fence” is established around a specific geographic area so when people go in it they can receive messages, alerts, coupons or other information sent to their mobile phone when they go into that area. (http://www.insivia.com/what-is-geofencing-and-how-can-it-be-used-by-marketers/)
• Discuss and Consider approval of a sponsorship for the South Texas International Film Festival. The 4th Annual South Texas International Film Festival will consist of a four-day festival beginning on Wednesday, September 5, 2018 and lasting through Saturday, September 18 2018 It will feature full-length, regional and a short film competitions, screenings, panel discussions, educational workshops, industry expo and mixers. For more information, visit its website at http://www.stxff.us
• Discuss and Consider approval of a sponsorship for the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce Texas Cook’ Em: High Steaks event. The Edinburg Chamber of Commerce celebrates Texas Cook’Em: High Steaks in Edinburg during the July 4th weekend in Edinburg. Competitors battle on the grill to cook the best chicken, ribs, brisket and rib-eye for money and a year’s worth of bragging rights. Texas Cook’Em is the Valley’s biggest BBQ purse awarding $30,000 to the winners. Texas Cook’Em is also the first and only IBCA & SCA Sanctioned Steak cook-off in South Texas. Join Texas Cook’Em each year for fireworks, live music, family fun zone, barbecue and more. (https://www.facebook.com/pg/Texas-Cookem-High-Steaks-in-Edinburg-201118396594494/about/?ref=page_internal)
• Discuss and Consider authorizing the Executive Director to enter into an agreement with MPC Studios for website design. According to the firm’s biography, since its founding in 1998, MPC Studios has earned a solid reputation for award-winning creative and results-driven use of online marketing technology that has helped establish local and national brands by providing them with a professional presence on the internet that has helped elevate their clients over their competitors. (http://www.mpcstudios.com)
• Executive Director’s Report – sales tax.
The EEDC Board will convene in Executive Session, in accordance with the Texas Open Meetings Act, Vernon’s Texas Civil Statutes Annotated, Government Code, Chapter 551, Subchapter D, Exceptions to Requirements that Meetings be Open, to deliberate under the following Subsections:
Section 551.071, Consultation with Attorney;
Section 551.072, Deliberations regarding Real Property;
Section 551.074, Personnel Matters; and
Section 551.087, Deliberations Regarding Economic Development Negotiations.
The EEDC Board may elect to go into Executive Session on any item whether or not such item is posted as an Executive Session item at any time during the meeting when authorized by the provisions of the Texas Open Meetings Act. The Board will deliberate the following items:
• Deliberate the offers of financial or other incentives to business prospects;
• Deliberate the sale of Lot 6, E.E.D.C. No. 1 Subdivision, Hidalgo County, Texas;
• Deliberate possible action regarding the Lease Agreement and Option to Purchase with Nu-Co Tools, Inc.;
• Deliberate possible action regarding the renewal and modification of Note and Lien in the original amounts of $5 million and $10 million with Santana Textiles, LLC;
• Deliberate the goals, objectives and evaluation of the EEDC Executive Director; and
• Consultation with Attorney: Potential Litigation regarding Agustín “Gus” García and Other Legal Matters.
Following Executive Session, the Board of Directors will reconvene and consider taking appropriate action on the Executive Session items.
TEXAS OPEN MEETINGS ACT
The Texas Open Meetings Act is detailed in Chapter 551 of the Government Code. It states that governmental bodies must hold open meetings unless there is an authorized reason for a closed session, also known as an executive session.
Key provisions of the act are as follows:
Governing boards, commissions, agencies and other bodies created within the executive and legislative branches of government are subject to the Texas Open Meetings Act. Commissioners courts, city councils, school boards and certain nonprofit corporations providing public services or spending taxpayer money are among the entities covered. Certain property owners’ associations also are subject to the law.
A quorum refers to a majority of members of a governing body, unless a quorum is defined differently by an applicable law or rule or charter of the body. A quorum must be present for the body to take action.
Posting of Notice
The governmental body must give the public notice of the date, time, place and subject of an upcoming meeting. The notice must be posted in a place readily accessible to the general public at all times at least 72 hours before the meeting. In case of an emergency or “urgent public necessity,” a meeting notice or addition to a meeting agenda may be posted at least two hours prior to the meeting. The governmental body must clearly identify the emergency.
Other Exceptions to Posting Law
Boards or commissions with statewide jurisdiction must have their meeting notice posted on the Internet by the secretary of state at least seven days before a meeting. Committees of the Texas Legislature are not subject to the meeting notice rules above. Their rules are set by the Texas House and Senate.
Closed, or executive, sessions may be held by a governmental body in certain situations. Executive sessions are permitted when a body is meeting with its attorney on litigation or a settlement offer; deliberating personnel matters; deliberating the purchase or lease of property; discussing certain financial contract negotiations; or discussing deployment of security devices. Several other exceptions to open meetings are also contained in the Texas Open Meetings Act.
Deliberations Between Meetings
Under a new provision of the act that took effect Sept. 1, 2013, members of a governing body are allowed to communicate with one another about public business between meetings if they do so in writing and on a publicly accessible online message board. The message board must be prominently displayed and easy for the public to find on the government entity’s website. Officials may not take action on the message board. That must wait for a posted meeting.
The Texas Open Meetings Act now allows for members of a governmental body to attend a public meeting via a video conference call. The head of the board or commission must be physically present in the designated meeting place and the public must be given access to that meeting space. The public must be able to witness the comments and actions of those officials attending the meeting remotely via audio and video equipment and be able to participate via the videoconferencing just as they would at a traditional public meeting.
Also according to its website (http://foift.org), The Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas works to encourage a greater appreciation, knowledge and understanding of the First Amendment and helps to ensure that the public’s business is conducted in public. Since its formation in 1978, the Foundation has helped citizens access government meetings and documents.
The Foundation seeks to inform journalists, legal professionals, educators, students, public officials and individual citizens about their rights and responsibilities as participants in our democracy. With the clear objective to protect and preserve the state’s open meetings and open records laws, the non-partisan Foundation acts as a statewide information clearinghouse and offers guidance and assistance on FOI-related issues through a network of attorneys and through public seminars and conferences.
FOIFT is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) supported through grants and tax-deductible donations from individuals, corporations and foundations.
SHINING BRIGHT: H-E-B UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS RIO GRANDE VALLEY PLANETARIUM CELEBRATES 55 YEARS OF EDUCATIONAL STAR-GAZING
We’ve all heard the song.
“The stars at night, are big and bright, deep in the heart of Texas.”
For Rio Grande Valley students visiting the H-E-B University of Texas Rio Grande Valley Planetarium on the university’s Edinburg Campus, the stars shine big and bright during classes and field trips to the facility.
UTRGV honored the 55th anniversary of the planetarium on Friday, April 27, 2018, during a ceremony that included guests and speakers celebrating the years of exploration and science education the center has provided for students across campuses and beyond.
“The H-E-B Planetarium has provided services to the UTRGV community, students and faculty, and the public, to learn more about the stars through science,” said Dr. Cristina Villalobos, Professor in the UTRGV School of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences and Director of the Center of Excellence in STEM Education. “We offer these services to inform the public on science literacy and help spark interest in K-12 students, since we now need so many future scientists, technicians, engineers and computer specialists.”
Established in 1963 at Pan American College on what is today the UTRGV Edinburg Campus, it is the oldest building on the Edinburg Campus. It was built during the “space race,” when nations were competing for space-exploration firsts, and throughout the 1960s, the facility saw thousands of community members and students gazing up at stars projected in the dome by a system donated by the U.S. Air Force Base in Harlingen.
Throughout the years, although the buildings around the planetarium changed, the actual site of the facility was left intact and untouched. In fact, the modern-day Science Department was built around the planetarium, meant to preserve its ability to inspire students to look up at the night sky, and wonder.
Ten years ago, a partnership with Dr. John Gerling of Gerling Orthodontics in McAllen and the H-E-B Foundation made it possible to completely renovate the planetarium, providing new digital capabilities and informative, interactive videos at the touch of a button.
“H-E-B has been a long-standing partner with UTRGV and legacy institution UTPA,” said Yvonne Loflin, H-E-B Public Affairs Specialist for the border region. “I think this planetarium is important because it’s very unique to the Valley, and it allows students to see something new and different and think outside the box. It allows children to be visionaries, and to strive to be something above and beyond.”
Videos on space exploration, the history of dinosaurs and even the human anatomy are available for school field trips, organization presentations, and anyone curious to expand their knowledge.
Along with renovations, a portable dome service has been incorporated to bring the wonders of space to students at their schools. Presentations are 30 minutes to an hour, and provide full-dome films with information geared toward specific grade levels.
The H-E-B UTRGV Planetarium is run by director Héctor Leal and staff members Sara Fillman, Chelsea Lyssy and Sandra Martínez. Leal said students, staff, faculty and the community are welcome to pop into the planetarium to view a video. All they have to do is call ahead of time.
“We encourage people to come out to the planetarium and see what it has to offer,” Leal said. “Students are always amazed by the videos and all the great services the facility provides. We offer much more than what the name represents.”
Every Tuesday night, telescopes provided by the UTRGV Science Department are available until 9 p.m. outside the planetarium to get a better view of the stars. These events are free and open to the public.
For more information on the H-E-B UTRGV Planetarium and its events, visit http://www.utrgv.edu/planetarium.
PHOTO GALLERY by David Pike: https://utrgv-umc.photoshelter.com/galleries/C00005VpyHfz6R6c/G0000MmuQLRQIxxQ/20180427-Edinburg-Campus-EC-DP
Password: science (case sensitive)
The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) was created by the Texas Legislature in 2013 as the first major public university of the 21st century in Texas. This transformative initiative provided the opportunity to expand educational opportunities in the Rio Grande Valley, including a new School of Medicine, and made it possible for residents of the region to benefit from the Permanent University Fund – a public endowment contributing support to the University of Texas System and other institutions.
UTRGV has campuses and off-campus research and teaching sites throughout the Rio Grande Valley including in Boca Chica Beach, Brownsville (formerly The University of Texas at Brownsville campus), Edinburg (formerly The University of Texas-Pan American campus), Harlingen, McAllen, Port Isabel, Rio Grande City, and South Padre Island.
UTRGV, a comprehensive academic institution, enrolled its first class in the fall of 2015, and the School of Medicine welcomed its first class in the summer of 2016.