Featured, from left: Robert C. Vackar, CEO of the Bert Ogden Auto Group; Alonzo Cantú, Chairman, Lone Star National Bank, Chairman, Cantú Construction and Development Company, and Member, Board of Managers, DHR Health; and Richard Hinojosa, Edinburg Interim City Manager, and Interim Executive Director, Edinburg Economic Development Corporation. This image was taken on February 12, 2018, during a tour updating city leaders and the area news media on the work taking place at the city-owned $88.3 million, 190,000-square foot Bert Ogden Arena.
Photograph Courtesy CITY OF EDINBURG
Interim City Manager Richard M. Hinojosa appointed as temporary executive director for Edinburg Economic Development Corporation
Richard M. Hinojosa, Edinburg’s Interim City Manager, on Monday, January 20, 2020, was appointed as the temporary executive director for the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation, which is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg City Council.
The decision was made on a 4 to 0 vote by the Board of Directors of the Edinburg EDC following the executive session portion of its public meeting, held in the City Council Chamber at Edinburg City Hall.
Xavier Salinas, who serves as Vice President of the five-member governing body, was excused from the meeting on other important business.
Mayor Pro Tem Gilbert Enríquez made the recommendation to appoint Hinojosa, pointing out Hinojosa’s credentials and experiences as being vital to help out the Edinburg EDC until a permanent executive director is chosen in the coming weeks.
“I made this motion specifically because of the transition from Ruben (Ramírez, former Interim Executive Director, Edinburg EDC),” Enríquez explained. “I hope it would behoove the city to have someone who is familiar with what is going on, knows how the system works, the projects that we are working on, while he was city manager.
“I felt the transition would be good, and most important, he would be doing it for free,” the mayor pro tem added.
Under his current employment as Interim City Manager, Hinojosa’s responsibilities are detailed, including a provision requiring him to perform other duties as assigned by the five-member Edinburg City Council, which includes the mayor.
Jorge Salinas, who is President of the Edinburg EDC Board of Directors, also is a member of the Edinburg City Council.
A military veteran who served a full year in Afghanistan, earning a Bronze Star for his service to the nation, Ramírez on Tuesday, January 14, 2020, announced that he was resigning his position, effective Monday, January 20, 2020, in order to return to private practice as an attorney.
Ramírez helped conduct his final meeting with the Edinburg EDC Board of Directors during the Monday, January 20, 2020 session.
He had been hired as Interim Executive Director for the Edinburg EDC on Friday, July 5, 2019, after former Edinburg EDC Executive Director Joey Treviño had resigned a few days earlier to return to his consulting business.
In thanking the Edinburg EDC Board of Directors for the opportunity to be part of the city’s economic development strategies, Ramírez emphasized that he was departing on positive terms with the Edinburg EDC governing board.
“I don’t want anybody to think that somehow, this was an ousting or termination, or for the (Edinburg EDC) board to get a bad reputation because it is unwarranted,” he said. “We have a great working relationship. These things happen.”
Ramírez noted that when he came on board with the Edinburg EDC, it was on a temporary basis.
“If I had wanted to stay around, I probably could have,” he said. “But I wanted to get back into law. I especially enjoy being in the courtroom. I enjoy trials.”
Ramírez is returning to work for a former employer: Chávez Legal Group, headquartered in Edinburg, which serves as Staff Counsel for Loya Insurance Group.
He said he “was honored and blessed to have been able to lend my talents to the City of Edinburg. I always have this mantra (belief) that you take something, you guard it, you improve it, and you pass it on. So I believe that is what I was able to do here as interim executive director. I left it better than how I received it, and be able to pass it on.”
Hinojosa, who was appointed Interim City Manager by the Edinburg City Council on Wednesday, November 13, 2019, previously served as Edinburg City Manager from Thursday, November 10, 2015, through Tuesday, June 5, 2018.
Hinojosa has been with the City of Edinburg in various management roles for almost 20 years.
He has served as the Planning and Zoning Director.
He has a Master’s degree in Urban and Regional Planning and has 40-years of related experience, including serving as Grants and Contracts Coordinator from 2007 to 2013; Edinburg Bureau Chief of Planning and Evaluation from 1981 to 1984 and City Planner from 1975 to 1979.
Prior to his work as Grants Administrator, Hinojosa worked for the City of McAllen as the Director of Planning and as Assistant City Manager; Director of Planning for the City of San Juan; City Manager and Director of Community Development and Planning for the City of San Benito; and Director of Regional Planning and Deputy Executive for the Lower Rio Grande Valley Development Council.
Hinojosa graduated from Edinburg High School in 1971. He earned a Bachelor of Arts from Pan American University in 1977 and his Masters from Texas A&M University in 1981.
GOVERNOR’S COMMITTEE ON PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES SEEKS NOMINATIONS, DUE BY MONDAY, FEBRUARY 17, 2020, FOR THE BARBARA JORDAN MEDIA AWARDS
The Texas Governor’s Committee on People with Disabilities (GCPD) on Friday, January 17, 2020, announced that it is now accepting nominations for the 2020 Barbara Jordan Media Awards.
Nominations are open for media professionals and students in Texas who have produced media covering the lived experience of people with disabilities. These awards seek to spotlight journalists who portray people with disabilities through a positive, person-centered lens.
“It is important to recognize the experiences and contributions of Texans with disabilities,” said Gov. Greg Abbott. “We are committed to ensuring Texas remains a state that provides an unmatched opportunity for all, and these awards are an important aspect of honoring the value that people with disabilities bring to the Lone Star State.”
Abbott is in a wheelchair, according to his campaign website.
On a summer day in July 1984, Abbott, a 26-year-old recent law school graduate, decided to take a break from studying for the bar exam by going for a jog in a west Houston neighborhood as he’d done many times before. While out running, a large oak tree along his path cracked and fell on Abbott’s back, leaving him forever paralyzed from the waist down.
After being rushed to the hospital, doctors discovered several crushed vertebrae splintering into his spinal cord, broken ribs, and damage to vital organs.
As he lay in a hospital bed, throttled with incomprehensible pain, doctors worked to piece his vertebrae back together. They inserted two steel rods near his spine, which will remain there for the rest of his life.
The Barbara Jordan Awards are presented in several different categories, including Broadcast, Photojournalism, Print, Book, and College or High School Student. Winners are selected by a panel of professional journalists, people with disabilities, and disability services professionals. Self-nominations are welcome and encouraged in all categories.
To be eligible, entries must have been produced and offered to the public between January 1 and December 31, 2019.
The 2020 Barbara Jordan Media Awards will be presented on Thursday, April 23, 2020, at Texas A&M University. The ceremony is hosted by the Texas A&M Department of Communication, which administers the University Studies Liberal Arts (USLA) Journalism Studies Degree, Texas A&M Athletics, and the Texas A&M Center on Disability and Development.
Submission can be made online through the GCPD website or through the nomination form. Nominations must be submitted by Monday, February 17, 2020.
Each year the Governor’s Committee on People with Disabilities, in conjunction with local committees throughout the state, accepts nominations for media professionals and students who have produced material for the public which accurately and positively reports on individuals with disabilities, using People First language and respectful depictions.
Nominations can be submitted by anyone, including the producer of the piece, by completing the submission form and sending it with any necessary supporting materials to the Governor’s Committee on People with Disabilities.
A panel of judges, including media professionals and people with disabilities, score the entries and collectively select the winners. Each year the decisions for the judges become more difficult as more quality entries are received in the categories of Print Feature, Print News, Photojournalism, TV Feature, TV Documentary, Special Contribution by an Organization, Internet, etc.
The Barbara Jordan Media Awards are named in honor of the Houston native and U.S. congresswoman who gained recognition and a place of honor in history. She was known as a remarkable orator who broke barriers and built bridges.
She received the Presidential Medal of Freedom and served for one day in 1972 as the Governor of Texas (both Governor Preston Smith and Lt. Governor Ben Barnes were out of state).
In 1973, Jordan was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and eventually began to use a cane and then a wheelchair.
Barbara Jordan passed away in 1996.
The Barbara Jordan Media Award itself is a beautiful three-inch bronze medallion designed by David Deming, an internationally prominent sculptor, and is presented to winners in several categories each year at an awards ceremony hosted by one of the many local committees throughout the state.
Elements in past winning entries include:
• Portraying people with disabilities as independent and productive.
• Focusing on stories about people first and the disability second.
• Using people with disabilities as sources, rather than as examples.
• Placing coverage in the appropriate subject area (e.g. sports covered in sports section).
For more on this and other Texas legislative news stories that affect the Rio Grande Valley metropolitan region, please log on to Titans of the Texas Legislature (TitansoftheTexasLegislature.com).