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Plan approved by UT System regents to ask Legislature to authorize $42.5 million in tuition revenue bonds for $50 million Interdisciplinary Engineering and Academic Studies Building at Edinburg campus of UT-Rio Grande Valley

Plan approved by UT System regents to ask Legislature to authorize $42.5 million in tuition revenue bonds for $50 million Interdisciplinary Engineering and Academic Studies Building at Edinburg campus of UT-Rio Grande Valley - Titans of the Texas Legislature

Havidán Rodríguez, Ph.D. has a modern vision for South Texas based much like 15th century English philosopher Sir Francis Bacon so famously advised: “A wise man will make more opportunities than he finds.” So not surprisingly, Rodríguez has answered the clarion call from the University of Texas System leadership for him to create another great opportunity, not just for his already illustrious professional career, but to make history by helping propel The University of Texas-Pan American into a bold, prosperous future never before seen. In late June, he agreed to serve as Interim President of The University of Texas-Pan American for the 2014-2015 academic year, which begins this fall. Among the milestones that will be reached in those 12 months, it will be the last time the Edinburg campus will carry the beloved and prestigious “Pan American” name. Rodríguez also will become the final name in the honor roll of distinguished leaders who have served as president of the Valley’s premier institution of higher education since H.C. Baker held that position from 1927 to 1933 of what was then Edinburg College. But the soon-to-be former Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs at UT-Pan American, Rodríguez – who also serves on the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation Board of Directors – realizes his dramatic ascension at the university goes far beyond his professional life. “I am humbled and grateful. It is an incredible honor,” reflects Rodríguez. “There is really only a handful of people who get the opportunity to create a new university. So being here is not only a challenge, it is an opportunity. It is exciting and it is revolutionary because what we are looking at is a transformational experience for the entire Rio Grande Valley. You don’t get a second chance like this.” See story later in this posting.

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Plan approved by UT System regents to ask Legislature to authorize $42.5 million in tuition revenue bonds for $50 million Interdisciplinary Engineering and Academic Studies Building at Edinburg campus of UT-Rio Grande Valley - Titans of the Texas Legislature

Dr. Guy Bailey, President of the University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley, on Tuesday, July 29, was welcomed by Dr. Shirley A. Reed, President of South Texas College, and administrators at the STC Nursing and Allied Health Campus in McAllen. During the visit, Bailey spoke with current STC Dual Enrollment Medical Science Academy (DEMSA) students and an alumna currently doing research with Yale University. They are prime examples of the quality education and bright futures South Texas College provides for students pursuing careers in the medical field. It was the first time Dr. Bailey visited the Nursing and Allied Health Campus in McAllen. “It was a great visit,” commented Reed, presenting Bailey a welcome gift to the Valley. “I believe he was impressed with the quality of our facilities and students. We wanted to host this meeting at the Nursing and Allied Health Campus specifically because of the need to have a strong relationship with the medical school and to show Dr. Bailey the state-of-the-art technology we have. Like us, he wants South Texas College to be a major pipeline to UTRGV and subsequently medical school.” According to recently approved admissions criteria, students with associate’s degrees will have automatic admission into UT-RGV. “South Texas College students are already battle-tested, tried and true,” said Bailey. “Those with associate’s degrees will have automatic admission into UT-RGV. I understand the role of community colleges and look forward to working with STC in the future.” See story later in this posting.

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Plan approved by UT System regents to ask Legislature to authorize $42.5 million in tuition revenue bonds for $50 million Interdisciplinary Engineering and Academic Studies Building at Edinburg campus of UT-Rio Grande Valley - Titans of the Texas Legislature

Another major retail and entertainment complex, complete with a hotel, is in the planning stages for Edinburg, a project that could bring in as much as $300 million a year into the city’s economy, Agustín “Gus” García, the Executive Director for the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation, featured second from left, has announced. The EEDC is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg City Council. García delivered that news and provided other insights into the strength and future of Edinburg and its economy during the Public Affairs Luncheon, sponsored by The Bert Ogden Auto Group and the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce, on Thursday, July 24. García said the EEDC has been working with Burns Brothers, LTD, a local development firm which in 2008 created the 726-acre La Sienna Master Planned Community in north Edinburg, to help bring about the adjoining planned retail/hotel conglomerate to be known as Resaca Market. The planned Resaca Market and La Sienna Master Planned Community are located by the U.S. Expressway 281/169C six-lane thoroughfare’s intersection with Monte Cristo Road. “They are changing the shopping industry with Resaca Market,” García said. “We are currently working with Burns Brothers, LTD to develop that project, which would feature about 500,000 square feet of retail, restaurants, hotel, shopping, entertainment, movie theaters, and so on. What a wonderful opportunity for shopping this will be, which would bring many more Mexican consumers and American dollars to that area, and into our city.” Featured, from left: City Councilmember Homer Jasso, Jr.; Agustín “Gus” García, the Executive Director for the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation; Elva Jackson-Garza, Vice President of Marketing and Business Development, Edwards Abstract and Title Company; and Mayor Pro Tem Elías Longoria, Jr. See story later in this posting.

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Plan approved by UT System regents to ask Legislature to authorize $42.5 million in tuition revenue bonds for $50 million Interdisciplinary Engineering and Academic Studies Building at Edinburg campus of UT-Rio Grande Valley - Titans of the Texas Legislature

As the Rio Grande Valley, with more than 1.4 million residents, continues to become an even larger major metropolitan region, the ongoing drought and political circumstances, such as the current dispute over the region’s share with Mexico of water from the Rio Grande River, are unacceptable risks, said Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg, featured at the podium. Texas also continues to suffer, with large sections of our state experiencing exceptional or extreme drought – prolonged, dry conditions that put a strain on water supplies for all uses. “Surface and groundwater storage, conservation, and treating reclaimed/recycled water are some of the water supply options that offer hope to our situation,” he explained. “Today, water desalination, a growing and improving technology that converts brackish (salty) groundwater and seawater into fresh water suitable for drinking and irrigation, is receiving statewide attention.” Canales serves on the Joint Interim Committee to Study Water Desalination – comprised of House and Senate members – which is taking a close look at what Texas is doing to develop new reservoirs of drinking water. Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, D-McAllen, Sen. Eddie Lucio, Jr., D-Brownsville, and Rep. Ryan Guillén, D-Rio Grande City, are also members of this House/Senate legislative panel. The Joint Interim Committee to Study Water Desalination held three public hearings in June to hear from all Texans – at the Texas Capitol on June 16, in Corpus Christi on June 23, and in Wichita Falls on June 30. Featured during a 2013 presentation by Canales before Edinburg school district employees are, from left: Carmen González, Member, Edinburg school board; Jaime Solis, Secretary, Edinburg school board; Dr. Martín Castillo, Vice-President, Edinburg school board; Juan “Sonny” Palacios, President, Edinburg school board; Dr. René Gutiérrez, Superintendent, Edinburg school district; and Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg. See story later in this posting.

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Plan approved by UT System regents to ask Legislature to authorize $42.5 million in tuition revenue bonds for $50 million Interdisciplinary Engineering and Academic Studies Building at Edinburg campus of UT-Rio Grande Valley - Titans of the Texas Legislature

The newest project at Edinburg Consolidated Independent School District was marked official by the groundbreaking of Robert Vela High School’s performing arts center. On May 22, ECISD, ERO Architects of McAllen and SpawGlass representatives took part in the ceremony, as well as local officials. Located at 801 E. Canton Rd., the 19,709-square-foot facility will boast a 361-seat theatre, classroom space, dressing rooms and design shop. According to ERO Architects Project Manager Ismael Adame, the project is estimated to cost $7 million and is expected to be complete by January 2015. “We are pleased to continue serving the Edinburg school district by bringing our fourth performing arts center here to the community. This new facility is state-of-the-art and will enhance student achievement and give them a learning environment comparable to what you would see at universities,” said Adame. The theatre features modern technology including theatrical lighting, an intuitive intercommunication system, powerful rigging and effects speakers located around the theatre to provide ambient noise for dramatic performances. Combined, the innovative systems are similar to those used in a professional theatre, and will transform the students’ performances into a fully-immersive 21st century learning experience. The Robert Vela High School Performing Arts Center is preceded by the Ciro L. Trevino Performing Arts Center at Edinburg High School, the Pat McNallen Performing Arts Center at Edinburg North High School and the Alberto Garza, Jr. Performing Arts Center at Johnny Economedes High School. The previous centers were simultaneously designed by ERO and constructed between October 2009 and November 2010 through Infrastructure Facility Allotment funding from the State of Texas. The district was eligible for funding because each performing arts center was also multiple learning environments for students and teachers. Featured, from left: Mario Salinas, Assistant Superintendent for Support Services, ECISD; Jaime Solis, Secretary, Edinburg school board; Carmen González, Member, Edinburg school board; Eva Torres, Principal, Robert Vela High School; Dr. René Gutiérrez, Superintendent, ECISD; Dominga Vela, widow of Robert Vela and Director of C&I, ECISD; Juan “Sonny” Palacios, President, Edinburg school board; and David Torres, Member, Edinburg school board.

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Plan approved by UT System regents to ask Legislature to authorize $42.5 million in tuition revenue bonds for $50 million Interdisciplinary Engineering and Academic Studies Building at Edinburg campus of UT-Rio Grande Valley - Titans of the Texas Legislature

On Wednesday, May 28, the 25th year of Leadership Edinburg, a program of the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce, was commemorated with the graduation of 12 participants during a ceremony held at the Echo Hotel and Conference Center. Edinburg City Manager Ramiro Garza presented the keynote address to the graduates, expressing the importance of leadership and staying active in local community affairs. Class XXV completed several events, including a two-day leadership retreat and sessions that focused on education, health care, history, media, economics and government. This year the class is giving back to the Chamber of Commerce by completing a tile fundraiser to raise money for the Southern Pacific Depot Restoration Project. This community service project will consist of the restoration and beautification of the exterior of the Southern Pacific Depot, where commemorative tiles will be installed in front of the depot. A personalized message may be inscribed to make a lasting impression for residents, business owners and visitors can enjoy for a lifetime. Leadership Edinburg strives to encourage a better Edinburg through strong leadership skills focusing on politics, education, and quality of life. For more information on Leadership Edinburg please call the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce at 956/383-4974 or visit online at http://www.edinburg.com. Featured are the Leadership Edinburg Class XXV graduates. Standing, from left: Serafín Castro (Magic Valley Electric Cooperative); Joe Voje (University of Texas-Pan American); Mario Lizcano (Doctor’s Hospital at Renaissance); Ramiro Rodríguez (Edinburg Fire Department), Rogelio Chanes (Teach For America); Augie Lozano (Bert Ogden Rio Grande Valley); Mario García (South Texas Business Education and Technology Academy); and Frank Arévalo (Elsa State Bank and Trust Co.). Seated, from left: Barbara Reynolds (Echo Hotel and Conference Center); Stephanie Ozuna (University of Texas- Pan American); Karen Pittman (IBC Bank); and Adrián Rendón (Boys and Girls Club of Edinburg Rio Grande Valley).

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Plan approved by UT System regents to ask Legislature to authorize $42.5 million in tuition revenue bonds for $50 million Interdisciplinary Engineering and Academic Studies Building at Edinburg campus of UT-Rio Grande Valley - Titans of the Texas Legislature

The March of Dimes and its Signature Chef Committee invite area residents to the 5th Annual Signature Chefs Auction to be held on Tuesday, October 28, at the Kalos Event Center in Mission. Top local chefs prepare their signature dishes to raise awareness and resources to help March of Dimes prevent birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality. “March of Dimes paves the way for premature babies to develop in a way that will allow them to have a healthy childhood and we are excited to be doing our part to make an impact in our community through this event,” said Perla Tamez, 2014 Signature Chefs Auction Chair. The 2014 Signature Chef Committee are: Standing, from left: Melisa Tejada; David Aguirre; and Yirla González Nolan. Seated, from left: Sarah Hammond; Giselle Mascarenhas-Villarreal; Perla Tamez; and Elizabeth Aguirre. Committee members Larry Delgado and Pepe Cabeza de Vaca are not pictured. See story later in this posting.

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Plan approved by UT System regents to ask Legislature to authorize $42.5 million in tuition revenue bonds for $50 million Interdisciplinary Engineering and Academic Studies Building at Edinburg campus of UT-Rio Grande Valley - Titans of the Texas Legislature

The Edinburg Chamber of Commerce recently received four honors, including two First Place showings, at the recent Texas Chamber of Commerce Executives (TCCE) Annual Excellence Awards held in College Station. The local chamber of commerce earned First Place in Marketing Campaign for the annual Texas Cook’Em: High Steaks in Edinburg; First Place in Brochures; Second Place in Directory/Magazine for its Edinburg Community Guide; and Second Place in Maps. The overall competition had more than 225 entries from which the best were judged by panels of experts in the specific field around the state,” said Ray Hernández, TCCE Vice-Chairman of Communications and Chair of the 2014 Media Awards. Local chambers from Texas convened on Monday, June 23, for the Texas Chamber of Commerce Executives Annual Awards. Featured, from left: Martín Rivas, Director of Membership, Edinburg Chamber of Commerce; Letty González, President, Edinburg Chamber of Commerce; Imelda Rodriguez, Director of Tourism, Edinburg Chamber of Commerce; and Ronnie Larralde, Director of Marketing/Special Events, Edinburg Chamber of Commerce. See story later in this posting.

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Plan approved by UT System regents to ask Legislature to authorize $42.5 million in tuition revenue bonds for $50 million Interdisciplinary Engineering and Academic Studies Building at Edinburg campus of UT-Rio Grande Valley - Titans of the Texas Legislature

Jaclyn Treviño, Public Affairs Multimedia Coordinator for Hidalgo County, featured center, on Tuesday, July 29, was recognized by the county commissioners court for receiving the Award of Excellence from the Texas Association of Municipal Information Officers. Her statewide honor was bestowed upon her for a video she wrote, directed, shot, and produced for Precinct 2 called Working for You. Her video was made to inform the public of what Hidalgo County Precinct 2 is doing for the residents of the region and was shown at Town Hall meetings. “Congratulations are in order for our extraordinary Jackie Treviño,” said Julia Benítez Sullivan, Public Affairs Director for Hidalgo County. “It’s always good when Hidalgo County receives statewide recognition.” Treviño thanked Precinct 2 Commissioner Héctor “Tito” Palacios and his staff, Raúl Silguero, Erika Zamora and Carlos Jasso. “They were very helpful in providing me with all of the information and tools I needed to complete the project,” said Treviño. “Their collaboration was instrumental in making this video a success.” Working for You received second place honors. The City of Arlington took first place and the City of Plano placed third. Hidalgo County competed against municipalities with populations of more than 200,000. There were more than 300 entries submitted and Treviño’s video was selected from 80 finalists. Featured, from left: Julia Benítez Sullivan, Public Affairs Director for Hidalgo County; Jaclyn Treviño, Public Affairs Multimedia Coordinator for Hidalgo County; and Yolanda Chapa, Chief Administrator for Hidalgo County Judge Ramón García.

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Plan approved by UT System regents to ask Legislature to authorize $42.5 million in tuition revenue bonds for $50 million Interdisciplinary Engineering and Academic Studies Building at Edinburg campus of UT-Rio Grande Valley - Titans of the Texas Legislature

As part of the continued efforts of the State of Texas to combat human trafficking, Rep. Óscar Longoria, Jr., D-La Joya, featured left, hosted the Joint Interim Committee To Study Human Trafficking for a public hearing on Thursday, July 24, 2014 at 10 a.m. at the Nellie Schunior Central Administration Building, 201 W. Expressway 83, in La Joya. Rep. Sergio Muñoz, Jr., D-Mission, also is a member of that legislative panel. The committee heard testimony on ways to further combat human trafficking along the Texas border and region, and discussed services available to victims. “Human trafficking has been a very serious issue in Texas for decades,” said Longoria, who represents House District 35. “We have seen this issue increase throughout the years, especially here in the South Texas border, where we have experienced an overwhelming number of immigrants crossing from Mexico into the United States within the last three years. The thousands of men, women, and children who make the journey to cross through our border are subject to, and in many cases have become victims of human trafficking.” Featured, from left: Rep. Roberto Alonzo, D-Dallas; Rep. Senfronia Thompson, D-Houston; Milda Mora, Chief Committee Clerk; Rep. Óscar Longoria, Jr., D-La Joya, and Sen. Joan Huffman, R-Houston, See story later in this posting.

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Plan approved by UT System regents to ask Legislature to authorize $42.5 million in tuition revenue bonds for $50 million Interdisciplinary Engineering and Academic Studies Building at Edinburg campus of UT-Rio Grande Valley - Titans of the Texas Legislature

Gov. Rick Perry on Monday, August 4, announced that the state is offering $2.3 million from the Texas Enterprise Fund (TEF) to bring SpaceX’s commercial rocket launch facility to Cameron County. Contingent upon final approval of local agreements and receipt of additional required permits, this facility will create 300 jobs and pump $85 million in capital investment into the local economy. “Texas has been on the forefront of our nation’s space exploration efforts for decades, so it is fitting that SpaceX has chosen our state as they expand the frontiers of commercial space flight,” Perry said. “In addition to growing the aerospace industry in Texas, SpaceX’s facility will provide myriad opportunities for STEM education in South Texas, and inspire a new generation of Texas engineers and innovators.” Featured in this image is a successful static fire in March in preparation for a mission to the International Space Station. The mission, from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, took place in mid-April, with the Falcon 9 rocket sending the Dragon spacecraft on SpaceX’s third commercial re-supply mission and fourth visit to the space station. See story later in this posting.

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Plan approved by UT System regents to ask Legislature to authorize $42.5 million in tuition revenue bonds for $50 million Interdisciplinary Engineering and Academic Studies Building at Edinburg campus of UT-Rio Grande Valley - Titans of the Texas Legislature

Louis Dartez, an alumnus of The University of Texas at Brownsville, on Monday, August 4, faced a room crowded with television cameras, reporters and civic officials at a press conference held at the offices of the Brownsville Economic Development Council. Representing physics students, Dartez had been asked to comment on the day’s big announcement that Space Exploration Technologies, or SpaceX, has selected Boca Chica Beach as a launch site for its Falcon 9 rocket. “You all have changed my life,” said Dartez, citing the many individuals and entities that have worked on obtaining this project for more than three years. “The decision by SpaceX to select our area benefits the students of today and tomorrow.” SpaceX ended months of speculation that the rocket company would choose Cameron County and build the world’s first vertical rocket launch site at Boca Chica Beach to complement its existing launch sites at Vandenberg, California, and Cape Canaveral, Florida. SpaceX CEO Elon Musk made the official announcement through a news release from Gov. Rick Perry’s office. “This is a historical moment for the greater Brownsville region and the state of Texas,” said Brownsville Mayor Tony Martínez. “This would never have succeeded but for the immense support of the people of Brownsville, all of its surrounding neighbors and the state. We will ensure that SpaceX has everything they need in order to be successful in the Greater Brownsville Borderplex.”

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Plan approved by UT System regents to ask Legislature to authorize $42.5 million in tuition revenue bonds for $50 million Interdisciplinary Engineering and Academic Studies Building at Edinburg campus of UT-Rio Grande Valley - Titans of the Texas Legislature

The University of Texas System Board of Regents, meeting in Austin on Thursday, July 10, approved a proposal to ask state lawmakers to authorize $42.5 million in tuition revenue bonds to help pay for construction of a $50 million Interdisciplinary Engineering and Academic Studies Building at the Edinburg campus of UT-Rio Grande Valley, Edinburg Mayor Richard García, featured left, has announced. Dr. Guy Bailey, the President of The University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley, is shown here with the mayor during a legislative briefing on Tuesday, June 17, at the Edinburg Conference Center at Renaissance. The $50 million Interdisciplinary Engineering and Academic Studies Building would be built on the campus quad – its open-air courtyard – west of the Edinburg campus’ main library. “This project (Interdisciplinary Engineering and Academic Studies Building in Edinburg) would create an additional 124,304 GSF (gross square feet) with 80,798 assignable square feet of much needed space. The spaces will include a large lecture auditorium with a 250-seat capacity, several 150-seat lecture halls, 60-seat classrooms, and faculty offices,” noted a UT System synopsis of the project. “The project will also include an outdoor pavilion to be used as a gathering area and study space to relieve pressure on more expensive indoor space and also to support academic events.” Agustín “Gus” García, Executive Director for the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation, said the EEDC and the Edinburg City Council would continue to be champions for UT-RGV and its UT medical school, not only before the UT System Board of Regents, but also at the state legislative levels. “Edinburg’s top leadership, featuring the Edinburg City Council and the EEDC Board of Directors, has a long and distinguished history of proven support and effectiveness for higher education, not only in our community, but Valleywide,” said Gus García. “We know the legislative system in Austin, we benefit from an outstanding state legislative delegation, and we have friends and allies in key places in the UT System. We will be partners in the continuing transformation of UT-RGV into a university of the first-class.” See lead story later in this posting.

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Speaker Straus accepts requests from Rep. Canales, EEDC, for joint legislative hearing on impact of Mexican energy reform on Valley and Texas economies

Speaker Straus accepts requests from Rep. Canales, EEDC, for joint legislative hearing on impact of Mexican energy reform on Valley and Texas economies - Titans of the Texas Legislature

Edinburg’s retail economy in April 2014 showed an improvement of almost 19 percent over the same month last year, leading all major Valley cities, which also showed big gains, Edinburg Mayor Richard García, featured third from right, has announced. Edinburg’s most recent economic showing is almost double the average of all Texas cities, which came in with a 10.7 percent monthly increase over April 2013, according to the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts. Based on the amount of local sales taxes collected, which reflects the strength of an economy, Edinburg’s retail sector generated more than $1.5 million in local sales taxes in April 2014, compared with almost $1.3 million in April 2013. For the first four months of 2014, Edinburg’s retail economy also posted a double-digit upswing over the same period last year, generating $9,544,069.69 in local sales taxes, compared with $8,488,722.44 for January through April 2013 – a rise of 12.43 percent. García, who also serves as president of the five-member Edinburg Economic Development Corporation Board of Directors (EEDC), said the April 2014 and January through April 2014 year-to-date figures reflect Edinburg’s reputation as a preferred city in which to set up a business, work, and live. “When I say our ‘growing community’, I mean specifically a community growing at a rate of 5.3 percent since the last 2010 census,” the mayor reported. “Today, Edinburg is ranked the third largest city in the Rio Grande Valley with almost 85,000 residents after the annexation of 2,200 acres this past year. Edinburg continues its commitment to attracting and building quality of life projects like the new $8.5 million Parks, Recreation and Wellness Center that is currently under construction at South Park. Four gyms, one which will be a practice gym for the Rio Grande Valley Vipers as well as for the Houston Rockets.” Featured from left on Tuesday, July 1 at Edinburg City Hall, are: Cynthia Contreras Gutiérrez, General Counsel, Edinburg Economic Development Corporation; Nelda T. Ramírez, Assistant Executive Director, EEDC; Agustín “Gus” García, Executive Director, EEDC; Dr. Havidán Rodríguez, Interim President, The University of Texas-Pan American and Member, Board of Directors, EEDC; Renata Marques, Attorney-at-Law, Max Paul and Associates in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Max Paul, Attorney-at-Law, Max Paul and Associates, Rio de Janeiro; Mayor Richard García, President, Board of Directors, EEDC; Fred Palacios, Secretary-Treasurer, Board of Directors, EEDC; and Steven Edward Cruz, III, Member, Board of Directors, EEDC. Max Paul is the President of the Texan Chamber of Commerce in Brazil. See story about Edinburg’s retail economy later in this posting.

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Speaker Straus accepts requests from Rep. Canales, EEDC, for joint legislative hearing on impact of Mexican energy reform on Valley and Texas economies - Titans of the Texas Legislature

As tens of thousands of unaccompanied children flee violence in Central America in a desperate effort to join family members in the U.S., Texas must take more active roles in helping protect them while the federal government deals with the growing “humanitarian crisis” along the U.S.-Mexico border, including in the Valley, says Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg. “In America, we do not turn a blind eye to the powerless, the weak, the sick, and especially to innocent children,” said Canales. “In Texas and in the Valley, we do not blame people for being victims.” In a related development, Texas Speaker of the House Joe Straus, R-San Antonio, on Wednesday, June 18, announced the appropriations of $1.3 million a week, until the end of 2014, for the Texas Department of Public Safety to conduct law enforcement surge operations to help the plight of these children and to protect them and Texas citizens from any criminal elements which seek to exploit this tragedy, Canales added. “I applaud the decision by state officials to provide additional funding to assist the Rio Grande Valley in what has become a humanitarian crisis,” Canales said. “We need real solutions to cope with the recent immigration surge in deep South Texas.” Straus, who was in Edinburg on Tuesday, June 17, called the situation along the Texas-Mexico border “a very serious problem. “Tens of thousands of young people have come into the United States, often from Mexico and Central America. This rush of young migrants has overwhelmed federal officials and could make the border region more vulnerable to criminal activity such as drug trafficking and human smuggling operations,” Straus said. “I was in the Rio Grande Valley earlier this week and visited with border patrol officers and state and local law enforcement officials about the situation on the ground and the effect of this influx on security efforts.” Featured, during a Saturday, June 14 legislative briefing at the Border Patrol holding facilities in McAllen, are, from left, bottom to top: Congressman Henry Cuellar, D-Laredo/McAllen; Sen. Eddie Lucio, Jr., D-Brownsville; and Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg. Featured, on right, second and third from the bottom, respectively: Rep. Sergio Muñoz, Jr., D-Palmview; and Hidalgo County Judge Ramón García.

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Speaker Straus accepts requests from Rep. Canales, EEDC, for joint legislative hearing on impact of Mexican energy reform on Valley and Texas economies - Titans of the Texas Legislature

Rep. Sergio Muñoz, Jr., D-Palmview, featured right speaking with McAllen Mayor Jim Darling, was appointed on Wednesday, July 2, by Texas Speaker of the House Joe Straus, R-San Antonio, to the Select Committee on the Fiscal Impact of Texas Border Support Operations. The special legislative panel will examine the short- and long-term budgetary effects of addressing increased activity along the Texas-Mexico border by thousands of undocumented immigrants from Central America fleeing violence and poverty in their nations. Rep. Óscar Longoria, Jr., D-La Joya, also was appointed to that legislative panel. Muñoz, who was addressing the McAllen mayor on Tuesday, June 17, at the Edinburg Conference Center at Renaissance, said the thousands of Central American immigrants, especially children and their mothers, prompted the state’s top leadership to call for a surge of Department of Public Safety (DPS) Troopers along the Rio Grande Valley border region. Among its duties, the DPS is conducting law enforcement operations. The committee will monitor the costs of those operations and other services associated with increased border crossings. “It is quite an honor to accept this appointment and get right to work on these very pressing issues that are directly affecting our communities in the Rio Grande Valley,” said Muñoz. “It will be my priority to devise a system that rewards the great work that is being done by our local governments and communities by reimbursing the significant costs they bear by supporting what is ultimately a federal responsibility. A federal reimbursement revenue stream will allow our state and local governments to sustain the response to the humanitarian crisis and provide for adequate border security.” See story later in this posting.

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Speaker Straus accepts requests from Rep. Canales, EEDC, for joint legislative hearing on impact of Mexican energy reform on Valley and Texas economies - Titans of the Texas Legislature

Rep. Eddie Lucio, III, D-Harlingen, featured left, and Rep. Sergio Muñoz, Jr., D-Palmview (not in this image), have announced that a task force has been created to develop The Rio Grande Valley Regional Alert System, which is designed to help law enforcement agencies find missing or kidnapped residents or criminals involved abductions. Currently there are 17 regional alert systems across Texas – but not in the Valley – serving a majority of Texans by providing alerts in those respective regions. Lucio and Muñoz on Tuesday, June 11 met in Weslaco with law enforcement, emergency management, and bridge officials from across the Rio Grande Valley to discuss the progress of the Regional Alert System for the Rio Grande Valley. “It’s important to understand that we are not trying to replace the current state alert systems that exist now,” Lucio explained. “Every department we have spoken to has acknowledged a need to create a regional alert system that would help during the crucial, critical hours of a person being reported missing.” In this photograph, taken on Tuesday, June 17 at the Edinburg Conference Center at Renaissance, Lucio and Ernest “Ernie” Aliseda of McAllen, who serves on the nine-member University of Texas System Board of Regents, greet constituents. See story later in this posting.

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Speaker Straus accepts requests from Rep. Canales, EEDC, for joint legislative hearing on impact of Mexican energy reform on Valley and Texas economies - Titans of the Texas Legislature

Edinburg’s unemployment rate for May 2014 was 6.1 percent, the best showing in the city for that month since May 2008, and the second-best figure for all cities in May 2014 in the Rio Grande Valley, the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation has announced. The EEDC is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg City Council. In addition, Edinburg’s labor force was the third largest in the Valley, with 33,485 persons employed in the city in May 2014. The area’s two most populous cities, Brownsville and McAllen, posted larger numbers with 63,313 and 58,523 individuals, respectively, employed in May 2014. For the month of May 2014, only McAllen (5.8 percent) had a better figure than Edinburg (6.1 percent), while the other major communities in the Valley had unemployment rates that ranged from 6.7 percent in Harlingen to 8.9 percent in Brownsville. The Valley’s three other most populous cities also had unemployment rates for May 2014 in single-digits: Mission (6.8 percent), Pharr (7.3 percent), and Weslaco (8.2 percent). These latest figures were released on Friday, June 20, by the Texas Workforce Commission, which is the state agency charged with overseeing and providing workforce development services to employers and job-seekers in Texas. The ongoing favorable employment figures for Edinburg are consistent with what Mayor Richard García, who also serves as President of the EEDC Board of Directors, envisions for this year. “So what is next?” the mayor, featured second from right on Wednesday, February 26, asks rhetorically. “What is on the horizon tomorrow for Edinburg?” Among planned and ongoing projects which will lead to more jobs in the coming months are: a series of master planned, multi-family, luxury projects with full amenities (pools, sauna, office and recreational space, and gyms); a slew of important road and infrastructure projects, including the expansion of FM 1925 (Monte Cristo Road), that will also connect to 10th street, converting it a five-lane roadway; and hotel developments for Edinburg, including a Holiday Inn Express, located at the corner of Closner and Trenton, which features a new prototype design for Texas, and set to open in early 2o15. The site also will include a restaurant pad site. The planned construction of a $70 million University of Texas-Pan American Science Complex and a $54 million University of Texas medical school classroom facility in Edinburg will boost job numbers once those projects get underway in earnest in the coming months. Featured, from left: Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, D-McAllen; Dr. Francisco Fernández, Dean of the School of Medicine at UT-Rio Grande Valley; Mayor Richard García; and Councilmember Richard Molina. See story later in this posting.

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Speaker Straus accepts requests from Rep. Canales, EEDC, for joint legislative hearing on impact of Mexican energy reform on Valley and Texas economies - Titans of the Texas Legislature

Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, D-McAllen, on Wednesday, June 26, was appointed as Chairman of the Subcommittee to Study the Potential Closures of State Supported Living Centers (SSLCs). Texas houses 13 SSLCs that are state-run residential facilities for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. They are campus-based 24-hour direct services facilities that are overseen by the Department of Aging and Disability Services (DADS). “We need a solution that recognizes the critical services that SSLCs provide to so many of our residents with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families, but that also addresses the safety and quality control issues, the aging infrastructure, and the enormous budget costs associated with running these facilities,” said Hinojosa. “I am honored to chair this subcommittee and am looking forward to a coordinated approach with members and stakeholders to develop a plan that will set up criteria to evaluate the effectiveness of these SSLCs while at the same time improving community-based services.” The South Texas senator is featured here on Thursday, April 24, being interviewed in Edinburg by Zoraly Nuñez-Ramos with Noticias 48, KNVO-TV of McAllen. See story later in this posting.

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Speaker Straus accepts requests from Rep. Canales, EEDC, for joint legislative hearing on impact of Mexican energy reform on Valley and Texas economies - Titans of the Texas Legislature

More students at The University of Texas-Pan American will get an extra boost toward achieving their dream of a law career thanks to a generous grant from The Texas Bar Foundation to support the University’s Law School Preparation Institute (LSPI). The $16,000 grant will assist 10 LSPI students with the cost of books, the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) preparation courses and provide them a stipend while enrolled in the rigorous five-week summer course. Initiated in 2001, LSPI has continually yielded success, boasting a 90 percent acceptance rate for LSPI graduates who apply to law school, averaging much higher than the national acceptance rate of 60 percent. Over the years, numerous LSPI graduates have been accepted to law schools across the country, including Texas Tech University, Southern Methodist University and St. Mary’s University as well as The University of California at Berkeley, Indiana University, Penn State and Georgetown University, among many others. Featured at the recent check presentation ceremony celebrating the $16,000 grant are, from left: Dr. John Darcy, professor and LSPI Co-Director; Velinda Reyes, Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations; Dr. Walter Díaz, Dean of the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences; Dr. Robert S. Nelsen, UTPA President; Alejandra Martínez, LSPI graduate; Lorena Castillo, Texas Bar Foundation trustee; Verónica Gonzáles, Vice President for University Advancement; Lydia Alemán, Associate Vice President for University Advancement; and Dan Worthington, attorney and Texas Bar Foundation Fellow. See story later in this posting.

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Speaker Straus accepts requests from Rep. Canales, EEDC, for joint legislative hearing on impact of Mexican energy reform on Valley and Texas economies - Titans of the Texas Legislature

The Hidalgo County District Clerk Office on Friday, June 27, presented a check totaling $3,000 to the Food Bank of the Rio Grande Valley as part of their Blues for Bucks Workplace Fundraising Campaign, a program benefitting local charitable organizations. “Our Blues for Bucks program is a great way for our staff to become engaged and contribute to worthy causes in our community such as the Food Bank of the RGV,” said Laura Hinojosa, Hidalgo County District Clerk. “We are honored to help support an organization that is committed to overcoming poverty and hunger in our community and is making a huge difference in lives of children and families throughout the region.” The Food Bank of the RGV was founded in 1983 and incorporated in 1986 to serve as a clearinghouse for smaller food pantries and on-site feeding organizations. It serves as a champion to those organizations that focus on making food accessible to the Valley and is passionately committed to ending hunger. District Clerk personnel and Food Bank officials featured, from left, front row: Mónica Valdéz; Virginia Granados; April Lizcano; María Elva Garza; Brenda Pérez; Jasmine Cruz; Yanira Hernández; Melinda Sotuyo; Zayra Narváez; and Esmeralda Mendoza. Middle row, from left: Rose Ávalos; Aída Villarreal; María Barrera; Victoria Michelle Mancha; Ana De Luna; Joseph González; Krystal Hidalgo; and Claudia Lemus. Back row, from left: Yésica Garza; Sabrina Guerra; Irineo Razo; Jesse Castillo; Phillip Farías; Terry Drefke, Chief Executive Officer, Food Bank RGV; Laura Hinojosa, Hidalgo County District Clerk; Ana De Luna; and Pablo Campos. See story later in this posting.

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Speaker Straus accepts requests from Rep. Canales, EEDC, for joint legislative hearing on impact of Mexican energy reform on Valley and Texas economies - Titans of the Texas Legislature

A detailed legislative look, requested by Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg, and Edinburg Mayor Richard Garcia, featured center, into how Mexico’s planned, landmark energy reform will benefit the Valley and Texas economies, has been authorized by Texas Speaker of the House Joe Straus, featured left. On Tuesday, July 1, Straus instructed the House Energy Resources Committee, of which Canales is a member, and the House International Trade and Intergovernmental Affairs Committee to work on developing information and strategies to help Texas prepare for, and benefit from, Mexico’s efforts to tap into the huge reservoir of oil and natural gas in the Mexican states of Tamaulipas, Nuevo León, and Coahuila. With Mexico finalizing a major energy reform predicted to generate more than $1 trillion over the next 10 years in prosperity for Northern Mexico and South Texas, Canales and the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation – led by the Edinburg mayor – want Texas to be ready to help transform their home region into an even more influential international economic power. “There is an energy revolution about to take place in Northern Mexico just south of the Valley and Laredo, which stands to greatly affect our region and state,” said Canales. “The Texas Legislature must be educated concerning recent events in Mexico, how this will improve energy independence for the United States, and how our economies on both sides of the border will dramatically benefit.” Recently, Mexico’s President Enrique Peña Nieto announced that his government would, for the first time, support foreign and private investment and participation in PEMEX, the energy giant owned by the Mexican federal government. This development is tied to the explosive growth and extraordinary findings known as Eagle Ford Shale located north of the Valley. “U.S. manufacturers, transportation companies, and service providers want to be closer to Mexico but maintain a presence in Texas,” the mayor reflected. Featured on Tuesday, June 17, for a legislative briefing with Straus at the Edinburg Conference Center at Renaissance, are, from left: Speaker of the House Joe Straus, R-San Antonio; Michael J. Blum, Partner and Managing Broker, NAI Rio Grande Valley of McAllen; Dr. Guy Bailey, President, The University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley; and former Rep. Verónica Gonzáles, D-McAllen, Vice President for University Advancement, The University of Texas-Pan American. Standing in the background is Aisa Showery, Communications Liaison for Rep. R.D. “Bobby” Guerra, D-McAllen. See lead story in this posting.

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Texas Capitol Vietnam Veterans Monument, created by legislation filed by Sen. Hinojosa, is dedicated to honor fallen heroes from that war

Texas Capitol Vietnam Veterans Monument, created by legislation filed by Sen. Hinojosa, is dedicated to honor fallen heroes from that war - Titans of the Texas Legislature

Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, D-McAllen, and other state leaders on Saturday, March 29, led a tribute to Texas veterans who served or were killed during the Vietnam War with the unveiling and dedication of the Vietnam Veterans Monument on the Texas State Capitol Grounds. The ceremony was held on Texas Vietnam Veterans Day, which marks the anniversary of the day the last American combat troops left Vietnam. “As a Vietnam veteran for the U.S. Marine Corps, I understand the difficult sacrifices that our military families endure on a daily basis,” Hinojosa said. “The Texas Capitol Vietnam Veterans Monument honors and thanks our fallen Vietnam heroes and their families for their ultimate sacrifice of defending our freedom, and welcomes those who came home and fought with great courage and resilience.It is our hope that this monument will ensure that the memory of our Texas Vietnam Heroes lives on. Semper Fi.” The monument is a 14-foot-tall bronze sculpture featuring five seven-foot tall infantry figures in patrol positions situated atop an eight-sided base. Designed to represent the diversity of Texas Vietnam Veterans, the figures will be Hispanic-American, African-American, Asian, Native-American, and Caucasian. The Texas Vietnam Heroes Exhibit is a visual representation of the 3,417 Texans who did not survive to come home from Vietnam. It was designed by Excalibur Exhibits and consists of hand-embossed dog tags featuring the name, rank, branch of service, and date of loss and home of record for each veteran. See lead story in this posting.

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Texas Capitol Vietnam Veterans Monument, created by legislation filed by Sen. Hinojosa, is dedicated to honor fallen heroes from that war - Titans of the Texas Legislature

Dr. Guy Bailey, the newly-selected president of The University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley, will find that South Texans are determined to see higher education in the Valley reach a world-class level, say Edinburg city and state leaders. Bailey, 63, has served as chancellor of the University of Missouri-Kansas City, the president of Texas Tech University and the University of Alabama, and provost of The University of Texas at San Antonio. On Monday, April 28, the UT System Board of Regents, which met in Austin, selected Bailey as the sole finalist for the historic position of founding president for UT-Rio Grande Valley. “I am very impressed with his credentials and accomplishments, but it is the people of the Valley who will impress him,” said Canales, whose House District 40 includes UT-Pan American, the UT-Regional Academic Health Center Medical Research Division, and a planned major component of the new UT medical school for the Valley. Featured, from left, during a reception on Friday, May 16, at The University of Texas-Pan American, are: Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg; former Rep. VerónicaGonzáles, D-McAllen, who now serves as Vice President for University Advancement, The University of Texas-Pan American; Edinburg Mayor Richard García; Dr. Guy Bailey, President, The University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley; Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, D-McAllen; Congressman Rubén Hinojosa, D-Mercedes; Ernest “Ernie” Aliseda, Member, Board of Regents, The University of Texas System; and Rio Grande City Mayor Rubén A. Villarreal. See story later in this posting.

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Texas Capitol Vietnam Veterans Monument, created by legislation filed by Sen. Hinojosa, is dedicated to honor fallen heroes from that war - Titans of the Texas Legislature

The majority of the Rio Grande Valley legislative delegation celebrates in the House of Representatives chamber soon after the final House passage in 2013 of Senate Bill 24, authored by Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, D-McAllen, and Rep. René Oliveira, D-Brownsville, which will bring a full-fledged University of Texas medical school to the Rio Grande Valley. The planned UT medical school, which is set to open in the fall of 2016 with an enrollment of 50 students, will have an economic impact to the four-county region of more than $1 billion a year when it grows into a UT health science center. This image, taken on May 23, 2013, features, front row from left: Rep. Sergio Muñoz, Jr., D-Mission (seated); Rep. Eddie Lucio, III, D-San Benito; and Rep. Armando “Mando” Martínez, D-Weslaco. Standing, back row, from left: Sen. Eddie Lucio, Jr., D-Brownsville; Rep. René Oliveira, D-Brownsville; Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg; Rep. Óscar Longoria, Jr., D-La Joya; Rep. R.D. “Bobby” Guerra, D-McAllen; Rep. Dan Branch, R-Dallas; and Rep. Ryan Guillén, D-Rio Grande City.  See story later in this posting.

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Texas Capitol Vietnam Veterans Monument, created by legislation filed by Sen. Hinojosa, is dedicated to honor fallen heroes from that war - Titans of the Texas Legislature

Details of a proposal to donate up to five acres of prime real estate in southwest Edinburg – valued at more than $2 million – to serve as the site of the planned administrative headquarters for the University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley have been made public by MVP Partnership, L.T.D. of McAllen.The offer, submitted by prominent attorney José E. García on behalf of MVP Partnership, L.T.D., would benefit the UT System, UT-Rio Grande Valley, and the McAllen-Edinburg-Pharr-Mission Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) by placing the key headquarters, with its prestigious economic, academic, and political resources, in the heart of one of the Valley’s most influential, safest, and attractive regions.The site being offered by MVP Partnership, L.T.D. is located by the intersection of Trenton Road and McColl Road in Edinburg, immediately north of the campuses of Doctors Hospital at Renaissance and adjoining medical offices and businesses. It is within easy access to all major hospitals in Edinburg, including Edinburg Regional Medical Center and Edinburg Children’s Hospital, the University of Texas-Pan American, the planned UT-RGV medical school, and minutes away from some of the most distinguished neighborhoods and bustling business, medical, and entertainment corridors in Edinburg and McAllen. Featured on Friday, May 16, at The University of Texas-Pan American, from left: Dr. Miguel Nevárez, former president of the University of Texas-Pan American; Dr. Guy Bailey, President, The University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley; and Jose E. García. See story later in this posting.

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Texas Capitol Vietnam Veterans Monument, created by legislation filed by Sen. Hinojosa, is dedicated to honor fallen heroes from that war - Titans of the Texas Legislature

Leaders for Texas National Bank in Edinburg and the Rio Grande Valley Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (RGVHCC) on Thursday, May 22, hosted a summer mixer to educate area residents of the loan packages and other financial services available through Texas National Bank for current and prospective business owners. The event took place at the bank, located at 4809 South Jackson Road. “Are you looking for loan? Learn of all the different loan possibilities that Texas National Bank offers,” noted Cynthia M. Sakulenzki, President and CEO of the RGVHCC. “Also learn of the award-winning membership benefits that the RGV Hispanic Chamber offers. Anyone can become a member of the chamber.” Individuals do not have to be Hispanic to be a member, she added. The RGVHCC has many services for its membership, including lobbying state and federal leaders on public education, international affairs, and women and health-related issues. Featured during final preparations for the May 22 event are, seated from left: Gina Ayala; Odilia Chaidez; Mayra Woloski; Linda Vera; and Ester Medrano. Standing, from left: Rubén Plata, Executive Vice President, Texas National Bank; Mario Lozano; Omar Rodríguez; Frank Davila; Pete Morales; James Flores; Millie Smith; Laura Galván; Leo Treviño; Connie González; Mary Elizondo; Ernesto López; Navil González; Joe Quiroga, President, Texas National Bank; and Cynthia M. Sakulenzki, President and CEO, Rio Grande Valley Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

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Texas Capitol Vietnam Veterans Monument, created by legislation filed by Sen. Hinojosa, is dedicated to honor fallen heroes from that war - Titans of the Texas Legislature

The Texas Land Title Association (TLTA) has announce that five employees with Edwards Abstract and Title Company, with its headquarters in Edinburg have successfully completed the requirements and passed a rigorous examination to earn the professional certification designations from TLTA. To become TLTA certified, a candidate must meet certain eligibility requirements in work experience, education and professional involvement, and then successfully pass an examination. Each designation represents a measure of achievement and proficiency in the Texas title insurance industry and distinguishes these highly motivated individuals. Edwards Abstract and Title Company associates who have earned professional certification designations from the Texas Land Title Association are, featured from left: Martha (Marty) García, CESA (Sr. Escrow Officer – Mission); Marilyn De Luna, CAEA, CESA, CTIA (Regional Escrow Automation Manager/Sr. Escrow Officer – McAllen); Byron Jay Lewis, CTIA (Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer – Edinburg); Mariana Ragousis-Ramírez, CESA, CTIA (Escrow Officer – McAllen); and Mary A. Barrientos, CESA (Mission Branch Manager/Sr. Escrow Officer). See story later in this posting.

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Texas Capitol Vietnam Veterans Monument, created by legislation filed by Sen. Hinojosa, is dedicated to honor fallen heroes from that war - Titans of the Texas Legislature

The Rio Grande Valley Hispanic Chamber Women’s Committee is preparing for the RGV Women of Distinction Awards Dinner to be held on Saturday, June 19, at The Social Club in Edinburg. The evening will celebrate women who have excelled in their fields. It will consist of a dinner, shopping, entertainment and the 2014 awards. Individual tickets may be purchased for $10 while a Table for 10 is available for $500. The committee is asking for nominations from the public in the following categories: Professional, Humanitarian, Education, Government, Entrepreneur, Arts and Entertainment; and Rising Star. Qualified nominees are those women who have helped the community and excelled in their field, and who have encouraged other women to succeed. The RGVHCC Women’s Committee will also be scheduling workshops, in the forms of luncheons or evening gathering, relating to women’s issues. “We welcome women to become involved in the Women’s Committee and get to know other successful women who are willing to help women.  The Women’s Committee also has an event at the end of the year called ‘Ladies Night Out’, which includes pampering, shopping, silent auction and a male style show,” said Cynthia M. Sakulenzki, RGVHCC President and Chief Executive Officer. Women’s Committee leaders, featured from left, are:,Sharon Almaguer, attorney; Cynthia M. Sakulenzki, RGVHCC President/CEO;  Brenda Lee Huerta, Chair-Elect, RGVHCC; Hannah Burleson; Connie Huerta, New York Life; and Eve Mullis, Women’s Assistant Basketball Coach, The University of Texas-Pan American. More information on the Women of Distinction and/or the RGVHCC is available by calling 928-0060.

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Texas Capitol Vietnam Veterans Monument, created by legislation filed by Sen. Hinojosa, is dedicated to honor fallen heroes from that war - Titans of the Texas Legislature

Edinburg’s retail economy in March 2014 showed an improvement of almost 11 percent over the same month last year, representing one of the best gains among major Valley economies, the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation has announced. The EEDC is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg City Council. Edinburg also registered a rate of growth better than the state average for March 2014, which showed a 5.6 percent increase over the same month in 2013. Based on the amount of local sales taxes collected, which reflects the strength of an economy, Edinburg’s retail sector generated more than $1.7 million in local sales taxes in March 2014, compared with almost $1.6 million in March 2013. For the first three months of 2014, Edinburg’s retail economy also posted a double-digit upswing over the same period last year, generating $8,028,833.80 in local sales taxes, compared with $7,214,163.81 for January through March 2013 – a rise of 11.29 percent. Mayor Richard García, who also serves as president of the five-member Edinburg Economic Development Corporation Board of Directors, said the March 2014 and January through March 2014 quarterly figures are consistent with the economic goals and strategies of the Edinburg City Council, the EEDC Board of Directors, and city and EEDC staff. “The greatest measure of a community’s growth, we believe, is the growth in sales tax,” the mayor observed. “This kind of success and growth does not happen without vision, planning, and a very deliberate plan of action. Our City Council and our city staff are a team of professionals whose focus, priority, and responsibility is this, our beloved city.” The positive retail sales figures are helped by dozens of new and planned businesses in the past year, he added. “When it comes to economic development we have more than 50 new businesses that have opened within the last year or are under construction right now aimed at improving our quality of life: Wal-Mart with 360 new jobs and a new planned HEB along with Taco Palenque, two Starbucks, IHop, Two Popeye’s, University Drafthouse, Thirsty Bronc, Kahn’s Grill, Chic-Fil-A, Wingstop, Subway, Pizza Hut, Siempre Natural, Sally’s Beauty Supply, Easy Cuts, Moon Beans, Drunken Clam, Burrito Bar, Lanadees, La Mexicana, Taquería el Zarape, Pizza Patrón, Walgreens, CVS, McDonalds, Las Cazuelas, Big Lots, Party City, Carters, Burkes Outlet, GNC, Melrose, Chopstix, Gorditas Doña Tota, Dairy Queen, Cordons Taste of Chicago, CTC Distributing, Johnny’s True Value,” García noted. Featured from left: Laura Lee Vela, Administrative Assistant, EEDC; Cynthia Contreras Gutiérrez, General Counsel, EEDC; Nelda T. Ramírez, Assistant Executive Director, EEDC; Leticia Reyes, Director of Business Development and Public Affairs, EEDC; Mayor Richard García; Fred Palacios, Secretary-Treasurer, Board of Directors, EEDC; and Agustín “Gus” García, Executive Director, EEDC. See story later in this posting.

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Texas Capitol Vietnam Veterans Monument, created by legislation filed by Sen. Hinojosa, is dedicated to honor fallen heroes from that war - Titans of the Texas Legislature

Edinburg’s unemployment rate for April 2014 was 5.5 percent, the best showing in the city for any month since January 2008, and the second-best figure for all cities that month in the Rio Grande Valley, the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation has announced. The EEDC is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg City Council. This latest positive news comes as Walmart announced the opening of its third major store in Edinburg. Mayor Richard García, featured left, who also serves as president of the five-member Board of Directors for the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation, noted that the city’s third Wal-Mart (the most among all Valley communities) is taking advantage of one of Edinburg’s key assets: U.S. Expressway 281/I69-Central. Located just south of the Shoppes at Rio Grande Valley, the new Walmart has created 300 new jobs for the region. It is near the intersection of U.S. 281/I69-Central and Canton Road, an area that in the past few years has become one of busiest in the city, the mayor said. “The region’s Expressway 281/I69-Central is a huge piece of the success today and even greater of what to expect tomorrow: 13.5 miles of U.S. Highway 281/I69-Central from FM 2812 to the Pharr Interchange,” said García. Edinburg has the largest amount of freeway frontage than any other community in the Rio Grande Valley, “to the tune of 18 miles” compared to the three other largest cities with an estimated two miles of frontage each, he added. “This immense opportunity for growth has been discovered by large investors like Bert Ogden with the new Infinity Dealership, Fiesta Chevrolet, Holt Caterpillar, Walmart, HEB, the Shoppes at Rio Grande, the master planned community of La Sienna and our exciting mega-arena development,” García said. The mega-arena project involves a planned $50 million special events center to be built just off U.S. Expressway 281/I69-Central. For the month of April 2014, only McAllen (5.4 percent) had a better figure than Edinburg (5.5 percent), while the other major communities in the Valley had unemployment rates that ranged from 6.3 percent in Harlingen to 8.6 percent in Brownsville. The Valley’s three other most populous cities also had unemployment rates for April 2014 in single-digits: Mission (6.8 percent), Pharr (6.9 percent), and Weslaco (8.6 percent). From left in this image from May 19 at the University of Texas-Pan American are Edinburg Mayor Richard García, Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg, and Rio Grande City Mayor Rubén O. Villarreal. See story later in this posting.

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President Obama posthumously bestows Medal of Honor to World War II hero Pedro Cano of Edinburg

President Obama posthumously bestows Medal of Honor to World War II hero Pedro Cano of Edinburg - Titans of the Texas Legislature

On Tuesday, March 18, President Barack Obama awarded 24 Army veterans – including a posthumous national recognition for Pedro Cano of Edinburg – the Medal of Honor for conspicuous gallantry. One of Cano’s daughters, Dominga Cano Pérez of Reedley, California, accepted the Medal of Honor on his behalf from President Obama during the ceremony held in the East Room of the White House. “This is the single largest group of service members to be awarded the Medal of Honor since the Second World War,” Obama said, adding that “their courage almost defies imagination.” Congressman Rubén Hinojosa, D-Mercedes, whose congressional district features Edinburg, reflected on the importance of the national honor, not only to Cano and his family, but for the country. “Many wrongs have finally been made right in the case of Pedro Cano and twenty three other American heroes who have received the highest honor that a military serviceman or woman can earn, the Medal of Honor,” Hinojosa said. “For decades these men were not recognized for their outstanding feats of courage. They were never honored for the American lives they saved. Sadly, they were never honored for their extraordinary patriotism because of their ethnicity, the color of their skin and their religion.” Cano is the second Edinburg man to receive the nation’s highest military honor. On October 31, 1969, Alfredo “Freddy” Cantú González, a U.S. Marine, was posthumously bestowed the Medal of Honor for his actions, which led to his death in combat, during the Battle of Hu? in 1968, one of the bloodiest and longest battles of the Vietnam War. Cano died in an automobile accident in Edinburg in 1952. Both men are buried at Hillcrest Memorial Park Cemetery in Edinburg. See lead story in this posting.

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President Obama posthumously bestows Medal of Honor to World War II hero Pedro Cano of Edinburg - Titans of the Texas Legislature

Major issues affecting juvenile justice in Texas, including protecting the rights of juries to have more options in the punishment and rehabilitation of 17-year-olds accused of serious felonies, was taken up in Austin on Tuesday, March 25, by the House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee. Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg, featured left, is the only Valley lawmaker on the nine-member legislative panel, which is chaired by Rep. Abel Herrero, D-Corpus Christi. The committee heard from expert witnesses, as well as allowed verbal and written testimony Texans, during the public hearing the State Capitol. The session focused on studying the classification of 17-year-olds as adults in the criminal justice system of Texas. “Serious concerns nationwide and in Texas have been raised regarding whether placing 17-year-olds, who are still not adults, under the control of the adult criminal justice system, where they are more likely to become hardened criminals, and where they are more vulnerable to physical and sexual assaults than in juvenile justice facilities,” said Canales. Featured during grand opening ceremonies earlier this year at his legislative office in Edinburg are, from left: Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg; Agustín “Gus” García, Jr., Executive Director, Edinburg Economic Development Corporation; Edinburg Mayor Pro Tem Elías Longoria, Jr.; and Irma Garza, Director of Public Information, City of Edinburg.

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President Obama posthumously bestows Medal of Honor to World War II hero Pedro Cano of Edinburg - Titans of the Texas Legislature

Edinburg’s unemployment rate for January 2014 was 6.6 percent, an improvement over the December 2013 figure of 6.8 percent and the best showing for the month of January since 2009, when the unemployment rate for that month was 6.2 percent, the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation has announced. For the month of January 2014, only McAllen has a better figure at 6.3 percent, while the other major communities in the Valley ranged from 7.3 percent (Harlingen) to 10.5 percent (Brownsville) for that month. In addition, Edinburg’s labor force was the third largest in the Valley, with 33,363 persons employed in the city for January 2014. The area’s two most populous cities, Brownsville and McAllen posted larger numbers at 62,488 and 58,310 individuals, respectively, employed in January 2014. The latest figures were released on Friday, March 7, by the Texas Workforce Commission. Mayor Richard García, who also serves as president of the EEDC Board of Directors, said the number of jobs in Edinburg is expected to grow, not only because the city’s population continues increasing, but as a result of Edinburg being a major center of education, government, health care, and retail. “Soon, hundreds of jobs will be added when Walmart opens its third store, located near the intersection of U.S. Expressway 281 (recently renamed I69-Central) and Canton Road just south of The Shoppes at Rio Grande, and that will help lower our unemployment rate,” the mayor noted. “Right across the street from The Shoppes at Rio Grande, HEB has announced its own plans to build a major new store, which will provide even more jobs for our community and region.” The EEDC is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg City Council. EEDC staff, featured from left, are: Laura Lee Vela, Administrative Assistant; Leticia Reyes, Director of Business Development and Public Affairs; Agustín “Gus” García, Jr., Executive Director; Nelda T. Ramírez, Assistant Executive Director; Dalila Razo, Business Manager; and Freddie Gómez, Research Analyst.

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President Obama posthumously bestows Medal of Honor to World War II hero Pedro Cano of Edinburg - Titans of the Texas Legislature

The University of Texas-Pan American College of Education honored more than 40 educators at its ninth annual Teacher of the Year Awards on Wednesday, November 20 at the UTPA Community Engagement and Student Success Building. UTPA and College of Education administrators praised the elementary and secondary school teachers of the year for their dedication to educating students and presented plaques and other gifts to them. The College of Education also awarded its Teacher Legend Award to Gloria Judy Saca-Díaz, who taught for 19 years at two elementary schools in the Edcouch-Elsa Independent School District. Seated, from left: former Teacher Legend Award recipient Wayne Miller; current Teacher Legend Award recipient Gloria Judy Saca-Díaz; and former Teacher Legend Award recipients Sylvia Alvarado and Criselda J. Guerra. Standing, from left: Dr. Havidán Rodríguez, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, The University of Texas-Pan American; Dr. Velma Menchaca, Department Chair and Professor of Educational Leadership, The University of Texas-Pan American; Dr. Joy Esquierdo, Associate Professor of Curriculum and Instruction, The University of Texas-Pan American, who nominated Gloria Judy Saca-Díaz; Dr. Salvador Héctor Ochoa, Dean, College of Education, The University of Texas-Pan American; Dr. Verónica Estrada, Professor of Curriculum and Instruction, The University of Texas-Pan American; and Rachel Arcaute, Assistant Superintendent of Instruction Services, McAllen Independent School District.

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President Obama posthumously bestows Medal of Honor to World War II hero Pedro Cano of Edinburg - Titans of the Texas Legislature

Area residents who enjoy poker are invited to purchase tickets for the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce’s first annual “Chamber Royale” Texas Hold’Em and Fold’Em Poker Tournament, scheduled for Friday, April 25, at the historical Southern Pacific Depot. The entry fee per person is $100 with a $25 re-buy option. The proceeds will go to help the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce, which is located in the Southern Pacific Depot, 602 West University Drive, provide many of its vital services to its membership and the community. The top 10 players will receive prizes, ranging from a trip to Las Vegas to a flat-screen television to a weekend at South Padre Island. No cash prizes are allowed by state law. Participants do not have to be members of the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce. Each ticket includes a seat at the table, open bar, appetizers, and the opportunity to win the table prizes. For individuals who only want to watch the high-skills competition, a spectator pass is available for $25, which also includes a meal and beverage. For tickets or more information, please contact the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce at 956/383-4974 or log on to http://www.edinburg.com. The tournament fundraiser will begin at 6 p.m. and last past midnight. Registration may take place the night of the event, but participants may pre-register at any day before the fundraiser. Featured are Edinburg Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors members and other leaders, including, first row, from left: Edinburg Mayor Pro Tem Elías Longoria, Jr. (Texas Regional Bank); Dina Araguz (IBC Bank); Letty González, President, Edinburg Chamber of Commerce; Elva Jackson Garza(Edwards Abstract and Title Co.); Maggie Kent; and Edinburg Municipal Court Judge Terry Palacios (García, Quintanilla and Palacios). Back row, from left: J.J. Flores (Chorizo De San Manuel); Robert McGurk, Chairman of the Board, Edinburg Chamber of Commerce (Elsa State Bank & Trust Co. of Edinburg); Greg Martin (Martin Farm & Ranch Supply); Jacob De León (Memorial Funeral Home); and Hiren Govind (Best Western-Edinburg Inn & Suites).

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President Obama posthumously bestows Medal of Honor to World War II hero Pedro Cano of Edinburg - Titans of the Texas Legislature

The “Cinco de Mayo Fiesta”, sponsored by the Rio Grande Valley Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and Univision Radio, will take place on Sunday, May 4, at the the Rio Grande Valley Livestock Show Grounds in Mercedes. The event will be bustling with major music entertainment, games, wrestling, food and crafts vendors, a dog costume contest, Bingo, Chihuahua races, jalapeño-eating, a Kiddie Playground, and other entertainment. Gates will be open from noon till 10 p.m. Sponsorships and food and crafts/informative vendors are being sought. More information on the event, including sponsorships, is available by contacting the RGV Hispanic Chamber of Commerce at 928-0060 or Univision Radio at 631-5499. Featured helping finalize the fiesta details are, front row, from left: César Chapa, Event Director, Univision; Vicky Guerrero, General Manager, Univision; Edna García, RGVHCC; Brenda Lee Huerta, Public Affairs Director, RGVHCC/Univision; and Sarah Sánchez, Editorial Page Editor, The Monitor, and RGVHCC. Back row, from left: Mario Lizcano, RGVHCC; Cynthia M. Sakulenzki, RGVHCC president and CEO; and Travis French, RGVHCC.

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President Obama posthumously bestows Medal of Honor to World War II hero Pedro Cano of Edinburg - Titans of the Texas Legislature

Realizing the importance of taking care of our senior community, The City of Pharr will co-sponsor the annual South Texas Senior Summit on Thursday, April 3, at the Pharr Event Center located at 3000 U.S. Expressway 281 in Pharr. The Summit will feature free screenings and information booths that are important to the older South Texans. Glucose, blood pressure, bone density, foot and vein are among the medical screenings that will be available. Various organizations will provide information on Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, adult aging, a county services. A “pamper corner” offering free massages and nail polish changes will also be offered to the seniors. In addition, attendees will also get to participate in a light Zumba, Bingo, door prizes and a dance. Lunch and snacks will also be served. “We encourage senior centers, nursing homes, individuals and senior organizations to attend and make a day of this fun, healthy and informative event,” said Cynthia M. Sakulenzki, President and CEO of the Rio Grande Valley Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. Among the major sponsors for the Senior Summit are Lee’s Pharmacy, Superior HealthPlan and Cigna HealthSpring. Vendors will also be available with services and products to offer the senior community. More information on the Senior Summit, including registration, is available by calling the RGV Hispanic Chamber at 928-0060. Featured meeting to review plans for the event are, front row, from left: Cynthia M. Sakulenzki, President and CEO of the Rio Grande Valley Hispanic Chamber of Commerce; Pharr Mayor Polo Palacios; and Maribel Cárdenas, Senior Summit committee member representing sponsor Cigna Health Spring. Back row, from left: Pharr Commissioner Bobby Calvillo; Mario Lizcano, Vice Chair of Health, Rio Grande Valley Hispanic Chamber of Commerce; Pharr Commissioner Arturo Cortéz; Pharr Commissioner Erinuondo Maldonado; Phsrr Commissioner Jimmy Garza; and Pharr Mayor Pro Tem Adan Farías.

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President Obama posthumously bestows Medal of Honor to World War II hero Pedro Cano of Edinburg - Titans of the Texas Legislature

Chancellor Francisco G. Cigarroa, M.D. (featured center), a nationally renowned leader in higher education and pediatric transplant surgery, announced on Monday, February 10, that he will step down as head of The University of Texas System after a five-year tenure marked by groundbreaking accomplishments. Cigarroa will serve as chancellor until his successor is named, and afterward will become the head of pediatric transplant surgery at the UT Health Science Center at San Antonio. Cigarroa will also serve as a special liaison to the Board of Regents to advise on the development of the new University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley and medical school. Cigarroa was also instrumental in the effort to establish a new university and medical school in the Rio Grande Valley. The Texas Legislature approved the initiative in 2013, and the University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley is scheduled to enroll its first class in the fall of 2015. His leadership was also pivotal in creating the Dell School of Medicine at UT Austin – fulfilling a long-held dream of integrating a medical school with UT’s flagship academic university in Austin. Featured during a February visit to UT-Pan American are, from left: Ramiro Garza, Jr., Edinburg City Manager; Leticia Reyes, Director of Business Development and Public Affairs, Edinburg Economic Development Corporation; Francisco Cigarroa, M.D., Chancellor of the University of Texas System; Ernest Aliseda of McAllen, Member, The University of Texas System Board of Regents; and Freddie Gómez, Research Analyst, Edinburg Economic Development Corporation. See story later in this posting.

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President Obama posthumously bestows Medal of Honor to World War II hero Pedro Cano of Edinburg - Titans of the Texas Legislature

The North American Advanced Manufacturing Research and Education Initiative (NAAMREI) at South Texas College (STC) on Thursday, March 6, at the STC Technology Campus in McAllen celebrated the announcement of their $500,000 grant from the Wagner-Peyser program administered through the Office of Texas Governor Rick Perry. Local leaders, manufacturing partners and representatives from Houston Community College were present in support of this important grant that will provide training to 675 individuals in areas including robotics, mechatronics, programmable logic controllers and other advanced topics. “Our success rests on our partnerships with manufacturers,” STC President Dr. Shirley A. Reed said. “When you are successful, we are successful.” Mike Pérez, who retires as McAllen city manager on March 31, also addressed the crowd in support of this opportunity. “This grant is a cornerstone for developing a stronger labor structure in our region,” he said. Featured, from left: Ernesto Ávila, Training Specialist, South Texas College; Dr. Mataz Alcoutlabi, Assistant Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering, the University of Texas-Pan American; Agustín?“Gus” García, Executive Director, Edinburg Edinburg Economic Development Corporation; Dr. Abdel Salan Hamdy Makhlouf, Professor, Department of Manufacturing Engineering, the University of Texas-Pan American; Mike Pérez, City Manager, City of McAllen;?Dr. Shirley A. Reed, President, South Texas College;?Ralph García, Vice President Business Recruitment, McAllen Economic Development Corporation; and?Carlos Margo, Interim Executive Director, STC NAAMREI.

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President Obama posthumously bestows Medal of Honor to World War II hero Pedro Cano of Edinburg - Titans of the Texas Legislature

Rep. R.D. “Bobby” Guerra, D-McAllen, featured fourth from left, in conjunction with LeFleur Transportation, on Wednesday, March 19, gathered outside the Veterans War Memorial of Texas in McAllen to hand over the keys of a donated van to local veterans and members of the Veterans War Memorial Foundation of Texas. Guerra was able to facilitate this donation through the assistance and continued partnership with Colonel Frank S. Plummer, U.S. Air Force (Ret.), President of the Veterans War Memorial Foundation of Texas, and Dr. Ricardo Chapa, a Marine Corps veteran and board member of the memorial foundation. “Giving back to our local veterans is the least I could do. The Veterans War Memorial Foundation helps remind us all of the ultimate sacrifice our service men and women have made in protecting our freedom,” said Guerra, who represents House District 41 in Hidalgo County. “I commend Col. Plummer and Dr. Chapa for all the good that they do for our veterans in the community. I would like to thank LeFleur Transportation for being instrumental in making this donation possible. It has been an honor working with members of the foundation, and I am very pleased to have fostered such great partnerships with our local veterans,” Guerra said. The state representative is flanked in this image by Chapa, who is featured third from left, and Plummer, who is featured fifth from left. The Veterans War Memorial Foundation depends on donations to help achieve its goal in completing the construction of their historical landmark, the state representative noted. See story later in this posting.

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President Obama posthumously bestows Medal of Honor to World War II hero Pedro Cano of Edinburg - Titans of the Texas Legislature

The Edinburg City Council on Wednesday, March 5, approved a city resolution calling on South Texas College to establish a site in the Delta Area as part of an ongoing legislative effort to expand higher education opportunities throughout Hidalgo County. The Delta Area features San Carlos, Elsa, Edcouch, La Villa and Monte Alto, communities that are connected by East State Highway 107 between Edinburg and Weslaco. The political support came after a presentation before the mayor and city council members by Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg, who has been working with Congressman Rubén Hinojosa, D-Mercedes, and Rep. Óscar Longoria, Jr., D-La Joya, to convince STC to establish a physical presence in that region. “South Texas College, which receives significant funding from all property taxpayers in Hidalgo and Starr counties, has an obligation to bring higher education opportunities and invest more of its resources in communities, such as in the Delta Area, which would most benefit from seeing a STC site in its own backyard,” said Canales, the Edinburg lawmaker whose House District 40 includes San Carlos and Elsa. Leaders supporting the expansion of STC into the Delta Area are not requesting any STC tax increase to achieve that goal. Featured from left: Ramiro Garza, Jr., Edinburg City Manager; David Torres, Member, Edinburg School Board; Councilmember Homer Jasso; Mayor Pro Tem Elías Longoria, Jr.; Councilmember Richard Molina; Mayor Richard García; Juan “Sonny” Palacios, President, Edinburg School Board; Carmen González, Member, Edinburg School Board; Councilmember J.R. Betancourt; Dr. Martín Castillo, Vice President, Edinburg School Board; Jaime Solis, Secretary, Edinburg School Board; Dr. René Gutiérrez, Superintendent, Edinburg School District; and Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg. See story later in this posting.

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Edinburg announces construction of $50 million arena that will anchor major new development along U.S. Expressway 281

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Edinburg leaders, along with state legislators and top officials with The University of Texas System, were on hand in Harlingen at the UT Regional Academic Health Center on Wednesday, November 20, to participate in the symbolic distribution of almost $200 million for higher education in the Valley, including $124 million that will be used for the first major phase of a UT medical school in Edinburg. “These funds represent the fuel that will begin to power the economic engine that will drive South Texas into the future,” said Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg, featured center. “This will unquestionably be the first of many distributions from the Permanent University Fund (PUF) which South Texas has long sought, more so deserved, and is finally receiving, thanks to decades of work by selfless leaders who dared to dream what has become a reality.” Mayor Pro Tem Elías Longoria, Jr. and Dr. Havidán Rodríguez, Provost for the University of Texas-Pan American who also serves as a member of the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation (EEDC) Board of Directors, also participated in the public event. “This is just the beginning. The taps have been opened,” said Mayor Pro Tem Elías Longoria, Jr., who attended the mid-afternoon gathering. “This is such great progress for us. We know this is going to happen. And now, we start touching and feeling something solid and concrete. You know that we’re there, or getting there to that point of completion. We’re excited.” Rodríguez shared the sentiments. “It’s incredible. This is an opportunity to bring new students to the Rio Grande Valley, specifically to Edinburg, to ensure that they get an excellent education here,” he said. “In addition, we know that students that get medical degrees in a certain region, and do their medical residencies in a certain region, close to three-quarters of them remain in that region. So that means more doctors for the Rio Grande Valley.” Featured, from left: Ernest Aliseda of McAllen, a member of the UT System Board of Regents; Sen. Eddie Lucio, Jr., D-Brownsville; Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg; Dr. Robert S. Nelsen, President, The University of Texas-Pan American; Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, D-McAllen; and Rep. Robert “Bobby” Guerra, D-McAllen. See story later in this posting.

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Eliminating “Pan American” from the name of the new university/medical school system being developed for the Rio Grande Valley is not required by state law, and would devalue the diplomas of upwards of 70,000 alumni, says former Rep. Roberto Gutiérrez, D-McAllen. The veteran lawmaker, featured here on Thursday, October 24, at the Student Union Building at The University of Texas-Pan American, has shared his reasons in a letter, dated November 29, addressed to Paul L. Foster, Chairman of the UT System Board of Regents. That landmark legislation – which includes the Valley’s other state senators and state representatives as joint authors or cosponsors – requires the University of Texas System to establish a new university and medical school that will combine the talent, assets and resources of UT-Pan American, UT-Brownsville and the UT Regional Academic Health Centers in Edinburg, Harlingen and Brownsville. But first, the new university needs a name, and Senate Bill 24 places the responsibility of selecting the name on the nine-member UT System Board of Regents, which includes Ernest Aliseda of McAllen. SB 24, authored by Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, D-McAllen, and sponsored by Rep. René Oliveira, D-Brownsville, was approved earlier this year by the Texas Legislature. “Sadly, there is a broad misconception that SB 24 prohibits keeping the name The University of Texas-Pan American or Pan American,” Gutiérrez noted. “Many alumni have revealed to me that they have not spoken out because they have been led to believe that abolishing that name ‘is a done deal.’ Nothing could be further from the truth.” See story later in this posting.

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More than 20 news media outlets from across the state ran stories about The University of Texas System Board of Regents’ unanimous decision on Thursday, November 14, to send $196 million from the Permanent University Fund to South Texas. Francisco Cigarroa, M.D., the Chancellor of the UT System, has helped champion the creation of a UT medical school in the Valley in part by being readily accessible to news reporters. In this image, taken at the UT-Pan American Student Union Building on Thursday, October 24, Cigarroa was interviewed by Laura García, who writes for the Valley Town Crier, the Edinburg Review, and http://www.YourValleyVoice.com, and Daniela Díaz, who writes for the Monitor in McAllen. The PUF appropriations will construct new facilities in Cameron and Hidalgo counties, including a $70 million Science Building at UT-Pan American and a $54 million UT medical school classroom building in Edinburg, as part of the UT System initiative to establish a new university and medical school in the Rio Grande Valley. The regents’ vote was historic because it marks the first time PUF money will go to South Texas.

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On the heels of successful programs to increase funding for research at UT’s emerging research institutions, The University of Texas System Board of Regents unanimously voted Thursday, November 14, to begin a similar program for UT System’s four comprehensive universities. The regents authorized $1 million from the Permanent University Fund to begin the UT System Research Incentive Program for the Comprehensive Universities, or UTrip-CU. The UT System’s comprehensive universities include UT-Brownsville, UT-Pan American, UT-Permian Basin and UT-Tyler. The UTrip-CU money will be used to augment philanthropic gifts that support research at these four institutions. Ernest Aliseda of McAllen, featured third from left in this image taken at UT-Pan American on Thursday, October 24, is one of the nine regents serving on the UT governing board. Featured, from left: Rudy Ramirez, Executive Director, Edinburg Housing Authority; Debbie Crane Aliseda, President, McAllen School Board; Ernest Aliseda, Member, UT System Board of Regents; Hidalgo County Judge Ramon Garcia; Hidalgo County Precint 2 Commissioner Héctor “Tito” Palacios; and Francisco Cigarroa, M.D., Chancellor, The University of Texas System. See story later in this posting.

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A new state law to ensure punishment for online predators who use Internet communications to “groom” children for sexual assault will be among the legislative priorities for Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg, featured with one of his children, Terry Andrés Canales II. “As a parent, I want to make sure that law enforcement has every tool necessary to catch and prosecute online predators,” he said. “Next session (in 2015), I will work with my fellow lawmakers to pass legislation that will not fall victim to a legal argument that the law violates the First Amendment right of free speech, as we have recently seen. I feel it is of the utmost importance that the Texas Legislature passes a viable and enforceable law to punish online predators in order to protect our children.” The proliferation of child predators using the Internet to target young victims has become a national crisis, according to the Office of the Texas Attorney General. A study shows one in seven children will be solicited for sex online in the next year. See story later in this posting.

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Longtime public servant and community activist Elvia Ríos, 64, earlier this fall officially filed for Justice of the Peace Precinct 2, Place 2 in Hidalgo County for the March 2014 Democratic Party primary election. Lupe Silva (Aboud) is her campaign treasurer. Ríos, who was born and raised in McAllen, said if elected, she plans to be a proactive judge who works with educators, community groups, and law enforcement to address situations that lead to the cases heard in court. “My strong sense of fairness and integrity will guide both my campaign and judicial decisions,” Ríos said. “I welcome the community’s input and plan to take advantage of every opportunity to go out and meet the citizens of Precinct 2, Place 2. The time is right for me to give back to my community.” Ríos said she views the Justice of the Peace court as “the people’s court.” The Justice of the Peace Precinct 2, Place 2 covers McAllen, Pharr, San Juan, Alamo, and the City of Hidalgo. JPs perform the functions of a magistrate and conduct inquests. A justice of the peace presides over truancy cases, traffic violations, hears civil suits under $10,000, issues arrest warrants, and performs marriages. See story later in this posting.

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The leadership of the 2013-2014 Board of Directors for the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce was recently announced as part of that organization’s work on behalf of the community. The new board members were formally welcomes during the group’s annual Installation Banquet, held at the ECHO Hotel and Conference Center on Thursday, October 24. Dina Araguz, seated, center, who is the immediate past Chair of the Board of Directors, and Robert McGurk, standing, right, is the new Chair of the Edinburg Chamber’s governing board, are featured in this image. “I am very excited about our new Board of Directors,” said McGurk, who is Vice President of Elsa State Bank and Trust Co. in Edinburg. “We have a great group of individuals who are passionate about the Chamber and the City of Edinburg. We will continue to move forward and strengthen our bond with the community, our partners and the members we serve.” Featured, seated, from left: Jennifer Garza, Chief Executive Officer, Edinburg Regional Medical Center; Dina Araguz, Branch Manager, International Bank of Commerce in Edinburg; and Lucy Canales, Partner, Linebarger Goggan Blair & Sampson, LLP. Standing, from left: Jacob De León, Funeral Director, Memorial Funeral Home; Martin V. Baylor, Vice President for Business Affairs, The University of Texas-Pan American; and Edinburg Municipal Judge Toribio “Terry” Palacios, Chair-Elect of the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and Senior Partner, Law Office of García, Quintanilla & Palacios in McAllen; and Robert McGurk.McGurk has previously served as a Loaned Executive for United Way of South Texas, the Texas Association of Sports Officials, City of Edinburg Architecture Review Board, Edinburg Kiwanis Board (President), and Weslaco Kiwanis Board (President). He currently serves as the Chairman of the City of Edinburg Planning and Zoning Commission.

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More than 170 community members and other local leaders attended the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce’s annual Installation Banquet at the ECHO Hotel and Conference Center, held on Thursday, October 24, which included the appointment of the chamber’s Board of Directors for 2013-2014. Several of the top leaders for the governing board included, from left: Elva Jackson Garza, a former member of the Board of Directors for Edinburg Economic Development Corporation, and Vice President and Marketing Manager, Edwards Abstract and Title Co.; Maggie Kent, Individual Member; and Marissa Castañeda, Chief Operations Officer, Doctors Hospital at Renaissance. Standing, from left: J.J. Flores, Chorizo De San Manuel, Inc.; Greg Martin: Martin Farm & Ranch Supply Inc., Hiren Govind, Best Western Plus-Edinburg Inn and Suites; and Marty Martin, DR – Broker, Rio Valley Realty.

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The Board of Directors of the Rio Grande Valley Hispanic Chamber of Commerce recently attended a strategic planning session, focusing on updating the group’s program of work, updating their image, and improving their member benefits. They discussed the chamber’s mission statement and founding principles, which focus on helping the small business owner.  Since then, the RGV Hispanic Chamber of Commerce has obtained both small and large members from throughout the Valley as well as corporate partners, both local and national.  In refreshing their image, a new chamber logo was approved. More information on the RGV Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and membership is available by calling 928-0060.  The offices are located at 3313 N. McColl Road in McAllen. Featured with the new logo are, front row, from left, RGV Hispanic Chamber of Commerce leaders Jenise Díaz, Vice Chair of Public Relations; Adelita Muñoz, Vice Chair of Women’s Issues; Cynthia M. Sakulenzki, RGVHCC President and CEO; Ronnie Bernal, Chair Elect; Marti Miller, Secretary; and Yoli Gonzalez, Vice Chair of Events.  Back row, from left: Hari Namboodiri, Advisory Board; Travis French, Vice Chair of Small Business & Economic Development; Brent Smith, Treasurer; Pete Morales, Vice Chair of International Affairs and Dr. Havidán Rodríguez, Vice Chair of Education.

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Leadership Edinburg (LE) Class XXV recently completed a series of seminars designed to help its members gain knowledge in areas that have a direct impact on their community. One of their goals involves raising money to complete projects relating to the improvement of the historic Southern Pacific Depot, which serves as the home for the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce. Featured in this image, taken at the Central Station of the Edinburg Fire Department, are, kneeling, from left: Ramiro Rodríguez, Edinburg Fire Department; Serafín Castro, Magic Valley Electric Cooperative; Karen K. Pittman, International Bank of Commerce; and Frank Arévalo, Elsa State Bank & Trust Co. in Edinburg. Standing, from left: Agustín Lozano, Jr., Bert Ogden Dealer Group; Brittany N. Sawyer, Card Service Providers; Nicolás A. Lerma, Card Service Providers; and Jonathan J. Voje. The University of Texas-Pan American; Stephanie Ozuna, The University of Texas Pan- American; Barbara C. Reynolds, Echo Hotel & Conference Center; Mario García, South Texas Independent School District-BETA; Rogelio E. Chanes, Teach for America-Rio Grande Valley Office; and Mario Lizcano, Doctors Hospital at Renaissance. See story later in this posting.

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The City of Edinburg and The Edinburg Economic Development Corporation on Friday, November 1, announced plans for the construction of an events arena to be built just off Interstate 69 Central (U.S. Expressway 281). The announcement, which included Edinburg City Councilmember Richard Molina, featured left, and Edinburg City Councilmember Homer Jasso, Jr. was made during a press conference held at Edinburg City Hall. Mayor Richard H. García noted that not only will this project enhance the economy by millions of dollars but it will also improve the quality of life for Edinburg residents and visitors. “People want to visit and live in cities where they can get educated, where they can work and where they can play. We’ve created more than 3,500 jobs in the last three years, we have the University of Texas-Pan American about to become an even larger UT system campus complete with a medical school. Now, we will also have a place for entertainment.” City leaders say the arena will not only host professional basketball games and other sporting events but will also serve as a location for concerts, graduations and meetings. A name for the arena has not been determined, but the Edinburg mayor says that in itself will create investment opportunities for companies. The 115,799 square-foot arena will be built on 40 acres of land located on the east side of I-69C on Alberta Road. It will feature 8,500 seats and 2,400 parking spaces. The entire property includes nine additional pad sites for the development of a future hotel, restaurants and more parking spaces. Construction cost for the arena is estimated at $50 million with a boost to the local economy of $96 million during the construction phase and $45 million annually once operational. It is expected to create approximately 150 new jobs. See lead story in this posting.

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Seeing is believing – Cinemark opens first-of-its kind theatre in company’s history in Edinburg

Seeing is believing – Cinemark opens first-of-its kind theatre in company’s history in Edinburg - Titans of the Texas Legislature

As Hidalgo County leaders prepare for the inevitable expansion or construction of a new courthouse in downtown Edinburg, the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation has begun a regional market survey to determine the demand for a privately-funded Class A office tower as part of the city’s ambitious downtown revitalization goals. Agustín “Gus” García, Executive Director for the EEDC, which is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg City Council, is hopeful that the proposed construction of a $100+ million Hidalgo County Courthouse would help encourage the private sector to finance the creation of an office tower. “This effort is only the initial step to identifying a need,” said García. “If a need is found, then phase 2 – looking for a developer – would proceed.” The privately-funded professional services complex, envisioned through a collaborative effort between the EEDC and the city, would primarily cater to attorneys and other legal professionals. But it also could draw high-end shops, restaurants, and entertainment venues, whose tenants could capitalize on the thousands of people who come to the courthouse and downtown daily to conduct their business. The EEDC leader, along with other elect included in this image, are featured in this recent portrait taken during the Public Affairs Luncheon at the ECHO Hotel and Conference Center. Featured, front row, from left: Liz Gómez-Adamson, Chief Nursing Information Officer, Doctors Hospital at Renaissance (DHR); Marissa Castañeda, Chief Operating Officer, DHR; Maggie Kent, Member, Board of Directors, Edinburg Chamber of Commerce (ECC); Dr. Carlos J. Cárdenas, M.D., Chairman of the Board, DHR; McAllen Mayor Jim Darling; Edinburg Mayor Richard H. García; Edinburg School Board Trustee Carmen González; Dr. Robert S. Nelsen, President, The University of Texas-Pan American; Hidalgo County Judge Ramón García; Elva Jackson Garza, Member, ECC Board of Directors; Letty González, President, Edinburg Chamber of Commerce; Dina Araguz, Chairman of the Board, Edinburg Chamber of Commerce; Alex Ríos, Member, ECC Board of Directors; and Marty Baylor, Member, ECC Board of Directors. Back row, from left: Norma Terán, Chief Nursing Officer, DHR; Lisa Woodward, Assistant Chief Nursing Officer, DHR; Lucy Canales, Member, ECC Board of Directors; Susan Turley, Chief Financial Officer, DHR; Dr. René Gutiérrez, Superintendent, Edinburg Consolidated Independent School District (ECISD); Dr. Martín Castillo, Vice-President, ECISD Board of Trustees; Edinburg Mayor Pro Tem Elías Longoria, Jr.; Jaime R. Solis, Board Secretary, ECISD Board of Trustees; Ramiro Garza, Jr., Edinburg City Manager; Hiren Govind, Member, ECC Board of Directors; Jacob De León, Member, ECC Board of Directors; and Agustín “Gus” García, Jr., Executive Director, Edinburg Economic Development Corporation. See story later in this posting.

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Seeing is believing – Cinemark opens first-of-its kind theatre in company’s history in Edinburg - Titans of the Texas Legislature

Key South Texas lawmakers on Wednesday, August 21, provided highlights from Texas Legislature’s regular session and three special sessions during a legislative luncheon hosted by the Rio Grande Valley Hispanic Chamber of Commerce at The Club at Cimarron in Mission. “We are extremely proud of our South Texas delegation. Not everyone is able to keep up with the activities at the Texas Capitol, so this annual Legislative Report Card Luncheon is very valuable to the communities as we are informed of the legislation passed,” said Cynthia M. Sakulenzki, the organization’s President/CEO. “We are extremely lucky that this session was very fruitful for the Rio Grande Valley. The South Texas Delegation was able to get us funding for transportation, education, water infrastructure, an increase in the Texas Retirement fund, and so on, besides the creation of the new University of Texas regional university and planned UT Medical School, which will have a tremendous economic and educational boost for the Rio Grande Valley.” Sakulenzki also expressed appreciation for video updates provided by Congressman Rubén Hinojosa, D-Mercedes, and Congressman Henry Cuellar, D-Laredo/McAllen. “Even though Congressman Hinojosa and Congressman Cuellar were not present because they were in session in Washington, D.C., we want to thank them for the videos they sent answering our questions on veterans affairs, immigration, student loans, the Affordable Care Act and the border fence.” Featured, from left, are RGV Hispanic Chamber board members, including: Jeniffer C. Garza, Vice Chair of Health Issues; Brenda Lee Huerta, Vice Chair of Governmental Affairs; Cynthia M. Sakulenzki, President/CEO, RGV Hispanic Chamber of Commerce: Rep. Sergio Muñoz, Jr., D-Mission; Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg; Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, D-McAllen; Adelita Muñoz, Vice Chair of Women’s Issues; Rep. Óscar Longoria, Jr., D-La Joya; Jenise Díaz, Vice Chair of Public Relations; and Pete Morales, Vice Chair of International Trade.

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Seeing is believing – Cinemark opens first-of-its kind theatre in company’s history in Edinburg - Titans of the Texas Legislature

Jared Matthew Janes, a five-year veteran journalist for The Monitor who in August left his profession to attend the University of Texas School of Law in Austin, was honored for his news reporting skills on Tuesday, July 30, by the Hidalgo County Commissioners Court – which was one of his numerous “beats” – subject areas assigned to a reporter – in which he excelled. Janes also extensively wrote about the City of Edinburg and its jobs-creation arm, the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation, as well as generated significant coverage of the major actions of the Texas Legislature and the Hidalgo County state legislative delegation. He also reported on the Hidalgo County Regional Mobility Authority, and statewide and regional political campaigns. Janes, a native of Sydney, an unincorporated town in the north-central Texas region of Comanche County, serves as proof of the famous adage, “From small things, big things one day come.” In his time at The Monitor, Janes has comprehensively covered issues that affect every resident in the county, from health care and transportation to the environment and legal affairs, noted Karina Cardoza, Director of Public Affairs for Hidalgo County, who wrote the resolution in Janes’ honor. That declaration was unanimously approved by the county judge and county commissioners. Featured, front row, from left: Carlos Sánchez, Editor, The Monitor; Jared Janes; Hidalgo County District Clerk Laura Hinojosa; and Hidalgo County Tax Assessor-Collector Paul Villarreal. Back row, from left: Precinct 4 County Commissioner Joseph Palacios; Hidalgo County Judge Ramón García; Precinct 2 County Commissioner Héctor “Tito” Palacios; and Precinct 1 County Commissioner A.C. Cuellar, Jr.

See story later in this posting.

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Seeing is believing – Cinemark opens first-of-its kind theatre in company’s history in Edinburg - Titans of the Texas Legislature

Led by Rep. Sergio Muñoz, Jr., D-Mission, local leaders and trade stakeholders met on Friday, August 30, at the Anzaldúas International Bridge in Mission to discuss the next steps for designation of an Overweight Vehicle Corridor in Hidalgo County. Passage of House Bill 474, authored by Muñoz and sponsored by Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, D-McAllen, authorized the establishment of this corridor and marks a milestone in the region’s economic development efforts. The corridor will also promote safety as businesses begin to utilize the corridor for movement of goods through Hidalgo County. “This corridor is a key piece of infrastructure needed to promote trade and attract jobs and investments,” said Muñoz. “We know that with the opening of the Durango- Mazatlán Highway, many produce businessmen will be turning to our region for expedient delivery of products. But we need to have infrastructure such as this corridor in place.” In this image, Muñoz presented signed copies of House Bill 474 to key South Texas leaders who endorsed his legislation. Featured, from left: Rigoberto Villarreal, Director of Operations for the Anzaldúas International Bridge and Hidalgo International Bridge, and Rep. Sergio Muñoz, Jr., D-Mission. Back row, from left: Mayor Leopoldo “Polo” Palacios, Jr. of Pharr; Councilmember Rubén Plata of Pharr, and Keith Patridge, President and CEO of the McAllen Economic Development Corporation. See story later in this posting.

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Seeing is believing – Cinemark opens first-of-its kind theatre in company’s history in Edinburg - Titans of the Texas Legislature

Hidalgo County has earned 2nd Place in the Metro County Division for its efforts to increase public awareness of county programs and services while incorporating this year’s theme of “Smart Justice: Creating Safer Communities.” Celebrated in April, Hidalgo County was one of only six counties across the nation honored for outstanding public outreach. The purpose of the National County Government Month Award program is to encourage counties to participate in National County Government Month (NCGM) and recognize those counties that sponsor outstanding programs to reach out and educate citizens about county government during the month of April. Featured, first row, from left: Former 92nd District Court Judge Ricardo Rodríguez, Jr.; Public Affairs Director Karina Cardoza; District Clerk Laura Hinojosa; and Adult Probation staff member Faustino López. Second row, from left: Pct. 4 Commissioner Joseph Palacios; Pct. 3 Commissioner Joe M. Flores; County Judge Ramón García; Pct. 2 Commissioner Héctor “Tito” Palacios; and Pct. 1 Commissioner A.C. Cuellar, Jr. See story later in this posting.

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Seeing is believing – Cinemark opens first-of-its kind theatre in company’s history in Edinburg - Titans of the Texas Legislature

A bipartisan coalition of state legislators, including, from left, Rep. Sergio Muñoz, Jr., D-Mission, Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg, Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, D-McAllen, and Rep. Óscar Longoria, Jr., D-La Joya, are working to rally voter support during the November 5, 2013 statewide constitutional amendment election in favor of Proposition 6, which would help communities statewide pay for needed water and conservation projects. Water Texas, an advocacy group in favor of Proposition 6, announced on Wednesday, August 21, the members of its Statewide Leadership Team, a bipartisan coalition of legislators working to help pass Proposition 6, which is designed to address the state’s water crisis. The Statewide Leadership Team includes 152 members of the 181-member Texas Legislature. Canales said the Valley, with its rapidly-growing population – Hidalgo County alone has more than 840,000 residents as of 2012 – needs to have access to funding options in order to manage the continuing positive growth of deep South Texas. “Water is life, and it is our duty as Texans to protect, conserve, and plan for the future water needs of our state, taking in to account population growth and the reality of severe drought,” Canales. “This measure is the first of many steps we must take to not only protect our economy, but our very way of life and the lives of future Texans.” The proposed amendment is a response to the severe strain that drought and rapid population growth have put on the state’s water supply. While the population of Texas is expected to nearly double by 2060, existing water supplies are projected to decrease by 10 percent during that time, creating a need for an additional 2.7 trillion gallons of water. See story later in this posting.

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Seeing is believing – Cinemark opens first-of-its kind theatre in company’s history in Edinburg - Titans of the Texas Legislature

The Hobo Hap’nin’ Reunion 2013 “Crew” is getting bigger. The Hobo Hap’nin’ Reunion is scheduled for Saturday, September 21, at 6:30 p.m. at 602 W. University Drive, the home of the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce, Edinburg Economic Development Corporation and Edinburg Convention and Visitors Bureau. This event brings the community to the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce Depot for one common historical purpose: setting the goal of raising $50,000 for the ongoing restoration of the Edinburg landmark. Lone Star National Bank, the ECHO Hotel and Conference Center, and Memorial Funeral Home have been leaders in helping support this fundraising effort. Tickets for the reception are $75 each, and that sponsorship also covers dinner, refreshments, live music, and the option to participate in a silent auction. The Depot Restoration Committee is asking for further support from anyone interested in preserving a very historic and beautiful architecturally designed facility. Donations for the live and blackboard auctions are being accepted. For more information, please contact Letty González, President of the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce at 956/383-4974 or [email protected]. In this image, representatives of the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors Depot Restoration Committee, and “Trainmaster” sponsors of the Hobo Hap’nin Reunion gathered at the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce. Featured, seated, from left: Alex Ríos, Laura Guajardo, Elva Jackson Garza, León De León, Velma Sue De León, and Pedro Salazar. Standing, from left: Jacob De León, Flo Prater, Edinburg Mayor Pro Tem Elías Longoria, Jr., Byron Jay Lewis, Hiren Govind, Dina Araguz, Robert McGurk, Edna Peña, Dina Pérez, Letty González, Marty Martin, and Maggie Kent.

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Seeing is believing – Cinemark opens first-of-its kind theatre in company’s history in Edinburg - Titans of the Texas Legislature

Dr. Robert S. Nelsen, President of the University of Texas-Pan American (featured second from left), on Thursday, August 15, said he will ask the UT System Board of Regents at its November meeting to provide $148 million for the construction of a new science complex and business building at the Edinburg campus. If approved, UTPA would receive a major boost in plans to be transformed into a first-class university serving the four-county Rio Grande Valley. UTPA is going to be merged with the University of Texas at Brownsville in order to create a new, yet-to-be-named higher education system for the Valley that will feature a full-fledged UT medical school. Nelsen, who also confirmed he would be seeking the presidency of the new UT university/medical school, said he will ask for $100 million for the science building and $48 million for a business building. The construction, if funded by the UT System, would help create many direct and indirect jobs, he added. “The Science Building alone would generate, on top of the $100 million (that it will cost to construct), $145 million in economic impact when it is built here. It will generate hundreds of jobs. It will help lift the entire Valley as we go forward,” Nelsen said. “It’s mind-blowing, right? It truly is.” Nelsen made the announcement at the ECHO Hotel and Conference Center in Edinburg, during the Public Affairs Luncheon coordinated by the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce and sponsored by Doctors Hospital at Renaissance. Featured, from left: Dr. Carlos J. Cárdenas, Chairman of the Board of Directors and interim Chief Executive Officer for Doctors Hospital at Renaissance; UTPA President Dr. Robert S. Nelsen; Edinburg Mayor Richard H. García; Hidalgo County Judge Ramón García; and Edinburg Mayor Pro Tem Elías Longoria, Jr. See story later in this posting.

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Seeing is believing – Cinemark opens first-of-its kind theatre in company’s history in Edinburg - Titans of the Texas Legislature

Cinemark Holdings, Inc., one of the world’s largest motion picture exhibitors, on Thursday, August 29, provided a sneak preview for Edinburg leaders and residents of their first Cinemark Movie Bistro. The new six-screen theatre, located at 2001 West Trenton, is the first in-theatre dining experience for the entire corporation. The family entertainment venue, which will serve as the major anchor for adjacent businesses and restaurants, features state-of-the-art visual and audio, along with premium plush seating with snack tables to allow patrons to enjoy meals ordered at the theatre while enjoying their favorite movies. Featured during the ceremonial tearing of the first admission ticket, are, front row, from left: Nelda Ramírez, Assistant Executive Director, Edinburg Economic Development Corporation; Ramiro Garza, Jr., Edinburg City Manager; Frank Torres, General Manager, Cinemark Movie Bistro; Mayor Pro Tem Elías Longoria, Jr.; Mayor Richard García; Art Murtha, Vice President of Theatre Operations, Cinemark Theatres; Letty González, President, Edinburg Chamber of Commerce; and Dina Araguz, Chairman, Board of Directors, Edinburg Chamber of Commerce. Featured back row are Johnny Cisneros, Broker, Cadence Commercial Real Estate, and Jennifer Frederick, Marketing Manager, Cinemark Theatres. See top story in this posting.

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Titans of the Texas Legislature