Featured: About 500 stargazers and space aficionados visited the H-E-B Planetarium on the Edinburg campus of the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley on Wednesday, July 25, 2018 to catch a glimpse of Venus, Jupiter, Mars and Saturn – and the moon – during a special community event hosted by the university. 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
Bond election to pay for drainage and street improvements scheduled for action on Thursday, August 9, by the Mayor and Edinburg City Council
By DAVID A. DÍAZ
Recently-hired City Manager Pilar Rodríguez, P.E. is recommending that the Edinburg mayor and city council members, who will be meeting on Thursday, August 9, 2018, approve scheduling a special bond election, to be held on November 6, 2018, for the purpose of generating money to pay for drainage and street improvements, the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation has announced.
The amount of the new revenue needed and the specific beneficiaries of the proposed drainage and street improvements will be determined during the Thursday, August 9, 2018 public session of the mayor and city council.
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.
“The bond issue sought by the city council is for streets and drainage improvements,” Rodriguez noted in his executive summary of the matter. “The council is requesting the voters’ approval on the issuance of the bonds.”
The funding mechanism involves what are known as general obligation bonds.
In general, a general obligation bond (GO) is a municipal bond backed by the credit and taxing power of the issuing jurisdiction rather than the revenue from a given project. General obligation bonds are issued with the belief that a municipality will be able to repay its debt obligation through taxation or revenue from projects. (https://www.investopedia.com/terms/g/generalobligationbond.asp)
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.
If the city manager’s recommendation for the bond election is approved by the mayor and city council, the proposed language for the election – which could be changed during the meeting – is as follows:
“Shall the City Council of the City of Edinburg, Texas be authorized to issue and sell one or more series of general obligation bonds of the City in the aggregate principal amount of not more than $______________ for the purpose of making permanent public improvements or other public purposes, to wit: _______________________________________________, such bonds to mature serially or otherwise (not more than forty (40) years from their date) in accordance with law; and any issue or series of said bonds to bear interest at such rate or rates (fixed, floating, variable or otherwise) as may be determined within the discretion of the City Council, provided that such rate of interest shall not exceed the maximum rate per annum authorized by law at the time of the issuance of any issue or series of said bonds; and shall the City Council of the City be authorized to levy and pledge, and cause to be assessed and collected, annual ad valorem taxes, within the limitations prescribed by law, on all taxable property in said City sufficient to pay the annual interest and provide a sinking fund to pay the bonds at maturity and the cost of any credit agreements executed in connection with the bonds?”
PROPOSITION 2 “Shall the City Council of the City of Edinburg, Texas be authorized to issue and sell one or more series of general obligation bonds of the City in the aggregate principal amount of not more than $______________ for the purpose of making permanent public improvements or other public purposes, to wit: _____________________________________ such bonds to mature serially or otherwise (not more than forty (40) years from their date) in accordance with law; and any issue or series of said bonds to bear interest at such rate or rates (fixed, floating, variable or otherwise) as may be determined within the discretion of the City Council, provided that such rate of interest shall not exceed the maximum rate per annum authorized by law at the time of the issuance of any issue or series of said bonds; and shall the City Council of the City be authorized to levy and pledge, and cause to be assessed and collected, annual ad valorem taxes, within the limitations prescribed by law, on all taxable property in said City sufficient to pay the annual interest and provide a sinking fund to pay the bonds at maturity and the cost of any credit agreements executed in connection with the bonds?”
The official ballot shall be prepared in accordance with the Texas Election Code, as amended, so as to permit voters to vote “FOR” or “AGAINST” the aforesaid propositions which shall appear on the ballot substantially as follows:
PROPOSITION 1 – “THE ISSUANCE OF NOT TO EXCEED $________________ OF CITY OF EDINBURG, TEXAS GENERAL OBLIGATION BONDS FOR _____________________________________, AND THE LEVYING OF A TAX IN PAYMENT THEREOF”
PROPOSITION 2 – “THE ISSUANCE OF NOT TO EXCEED $______________ OF CITY OF EDINBURG, TEXAS GENERAL OBLIGATION BONDS FOR ____________________________________, AND THE LEVYING OF A TAX IN PAYMENT THEREOF”.
UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS RIO GRANDE VALLEY H-E-B PLANETARIUM IN EDINBURG DRAWS CLOSE TO 500 STARGAZERS FOR PLANETARY OBSERVATIONS
All eyes were on the skies as stargazers and space geeks alike gathered at the UTRGV H-E-B Planetarium on the Edinburg Campus on Wednesday, July 25, 2018 to catch a glimpse of Venus, Jupiter, Mars and Saturn.
The university had anticipated about 200 people, but almost 500 gathered at the planetarium for the community event. Attractions included several short films about space presented inside the planetarium, and a special lecture by Dr. John Gerling, which included an “explosion” using warm water and liquid nitrogen.
“It is important to inform the public and community about science issues to spark interest and curiosity in kids, who will become our next scientists,” said Dr. Cristina Villalobos, professor in the UTRGV School of Mathematics and Statistical Sciences and Director of the Center of Excellence in STEM Education.
“Science is all around us, and many times we can conduct experiments with simple tools to assist our understanding.”
The UTRGV Planetarium hosts star watching events every Tuesday with free telescope viewings, but this event was special due to a partnership with community leaders Dr. John Gerling from Gerling Orthodontics in McAllen, and H-E-B, who provided free hotdogs, chips, snacks and drinks during the event.
“Tonight is extra special because H-E-B wanted to thank all volunteers for their work helping recent flood victims,” said Yvonne Loflin, H-E-B public affairs specialist for the border region. “We wanted to come out tonight and bless the community with some free food and this is just another way to get the community aware of this beautiful place.”
At 9 p.m., once the sun had set and the stars began to sparkle, three massive telescopes were rolled out into the courtyard so visitors could get a good view of the planets. Although it was a bit overcast, lines of people formed, waiting to use the telescopes.
Bobby Ray Lemons, 11, of Mission was super excited about space gazing.
“I’ve never seen the moon this close before!” he said. “I was trying to look at Venus – it looks like a little bright dot!”
Madeline and Hailey Cantú, of Raymondville, both clad in outer space T-shirts, said getting to see the planets up close was both fun and a little overwhelming.
“I’m excited to see these planets for the first time; I’m actually shaken up knowing I’m going to see them,” said Madeline, 11. “My favorite planet is Mercury because I did a project about it in the third grade and I got to learn all about it.”
Their dad, Martín Cantú, said people are curious about the mysteries of space and so many showed up because of the access to the telescopes the university was offering.
“It’s important for kids like my daughters to have access to this and be around it,” he said. “I’m sure all their friends will see their photos on Snapchat and want to come out to check it out.”
The UTRGV H-E-B Planetarium is open to the public for planet observations from 9-10 p.m. each Tuesday, and the facility is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday with extended hours till 10 p.m. on Tuesdays.
For more information, visit http://www.utrgv.edu/planetarium.
PHOTO GALLERY by David Pike: https://utrgv-umc.photoshelter.com/galleries/C00005VpyHfz6R6c/G0000WW22MF9g2qM/20180724-Planetarium-Night-EC-DP
ABOUT THE UTRGV H-E-B PLANETARIUM
The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) Planetarium including the UTRGV Portable Planetarium serves the rapidly growing, international, multicultural Rio Grande Valley community. The planetarium creates, promotes, and disseminates learning and educational experiences through utilizing digitally enhanced visualization technology, surround sound and other innovative specialized equipment.
The planetarium interactively motivates and attracts youth as well as the entire family and the community toward education by capturing their imagination while educationally exploring the universe through a wide range of disciplines including but not limited to science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
The visualization laboratory provided by the planetarium enhances University student learning outcomes through a variety of educational areas and disciplines preparing them for lifelong learning and leadership roles in the state, nation and world community.
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.
Amanda Taylor contributed to this article. For more information on the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation and the City of Edinburg, please log on to http://edinburgedc.com