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South Texas College trustees remain deadlocked on how to fill board vacancy

The American Legion Alfredo "Freddy" González Post #408 will host the annual “Veterans Day Parade, Medal of Honor Recipients” on Saturday, November 6.  The parade will begin at 10:00am at Cats Stadium then exit on Cano. Set-up time for entries is from 7:30 a.m. to 8 a.m. and is free to those who wish to participate (rules and regulations apply). All area residents are encouraged to support U.S. veterans by either attending or participating in this wonderful memorial parade honoring those who have served, and in many cases, made the highest sacrifice.  More information on the event, including registering, is available by contacting Commander Gus García at 956/457-9681, 1st Vice Commander Manuel Cantú, Jr. at 956/867-5367, or by contacting the American Legion Post 408 between 4 p.m and 10 p.m. at 956/383-1182. Featured, from left: Manuel Cantú, Jr.; Gus García; and American Legion Post 408 Finance Officer Arnoldo Morin.

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The Hidalgo County Commissioners’  Court on Tuesday, October 19, passed a resolution  in conjunction with the Doctors Hospital at Renaissance and the Cancer Center at Renaissance to raise awareness about breast cancer risks and preventative screening tests. Wearing pink ribbons, the court members said they support programs and activities, scientific research and education, and healthy living habits that promote all aspects of public health, including the reduction of breast cancer among women. “We are hopeful that our action today will remind mothers, sisters and daughters to periodically get screened,” said Hidalgo County Judge René A. Ramírez, seen here with his staff members and representatives from Doctors Hospital at Renaissance. Featured, first row, from left: Richard Sánchez, Chief Administrator, County Judge’s Office; Gloria Rodríguez, Administrative Assistant, County Judge’s Office; Sandra De León, Administrative Aide, County Judge’s Office (holding proclamation); Erika Reyna, Economic Development Planner, County Judge’s Office; and Terri García, Administrative Aide, County Judge’s Office. Back row, from left: Hidalgo County Judge René A. Ramírez; Elisa Perez, Community Events Coordinator, Doctors Hospital at Renaissance; Anabel Arellano, Cancer Center Director, Doctors Hospital at Renaissance; Chris Treviño, Assistant Chief Administrator, County Judge’s Office; and Michael Leo, Executive Assistant, County Judge’s Office. See story later in this posting.

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The Rio Grande Valley Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and Positive Only Women (P.O.W.)  on Wednesday, October 20, held a successful fundraiser and mixer to help raise awareness of the risks, prevention, and health care related to breast cancer. The event, dubbed Hats Off to Breast Cancer Awareness, was hosted by The Patio, located at 116 South 17th Street in McAllen. Participants donated $10 each, with those proceeds donated to a local organization which helps patients with breast cancer. Those participants who wore a hat also were given the chance to win a door prize during the social mixer, which featured fun, food and refreshments for a good cause. Featured, seated, from left: Rep. Verónica Gonzáles, D-McAllen; Cynthia M. Sakulenzki, RGVHCC president and CEO; Melisa Tejada and Illiana Cabrera with the RGVHCC; Barbara Guerra with The Patio; Giselle Dominique Mascarenhas with P.O.W.; and Becky Guerra with The Patio. Standing, from left: Pedro Ayala, Celina González, Aaron Cabrera, Pepe Cabeza de Vaca, and Stephanie Ramírez with the RGVHCC; and Mariana Aguayo with P.O.W. 

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Attorney General Greg Abbott, featured in his wheelchair, front row, left, joined the Hidalgo County Republican Party at their first annual Skeet Shoot on Saturday, October 23, in Donna. Twenty teams of five shooters, sponsored by various local businesses, battled the high South Texas winds to vie for first place, said Hidalgo County Republican Party Chairman Javier Villalobos, featured standing, right. Abbott joined the shooters and their guests for a lunch break. The winning team was Wild Mesquite, while placing second was the Newkirk & Newkirk team. Abbott is being challenged in the November 2 statewide election by  Barbara Ann Radnofski, the Democratic Party nominee for Texas Attorney General.

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As part of their public service, members of the Leadership Edinburg Class XX recently made a donation to the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce Depot Restoration project.  The Depot Restoration Committee, headed by Elva Jackson Garza, creates fundraising efforts to assist in restoring damage while maintaining the historic integrity of the Depot, which houses the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce and the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation.

Featured, from left: Roy Peña; Lisa Rosales; Angie Luna; Flo Prater; Abraham Pompa; Imelda Rodríguez; Mark Aguirre; Marty Martin; and Elva Jackson Garza. "We are so grateful to everyone who has believed in the historic integrity of our building. We appreciate all of the volunteers who serve on the Depot Restoration Committee and of course everyone who has donated money to keep our building sustainable and looking beautiful throughout the years," said Garza. "We are thankful to Leadership Edinburg Class XX for their amazing fundraising efforts and outstanding leadership. "Their generosity has certainly come full circle in helping restore one of Edinburg’s treasures." More information on the Depot or to make a financial contribution to its restoration is available by calling 956/383-4974. See story later in this posting.

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Coordinators from the 22 high schools participating in the University of Texas-Pan American’s GEAR UP project heard local leaders on Monday, October 18, about their efforts in helping Hispanic students achieve. Representatives from those 22 campuses participated in the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics’ National Education Summit and Call to Action meeting that morning as it was being streamed live from Washington, D.C. on campus monitors. UTPA hosted the viewing party and a lunch where they heard from Congressman Rubén Hinojosa, D-Mercedes, talk about the efforts he and other lawmakers made to pass Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 along with other laws that benefit students. Featured, from left: Dr. Martha Cantú, director of UTPA’s GEAR UP project; Congressman Hinojosa; Dr. Magdalena Hinojosa, the university’s associate vice president and dean of admissions and enrollment services; and Dr. John Edwards, UTPA vice president for the Division of Enrollment and Student Services. Eddie Zamora is the Republican Party nominee who is challenging Hinojosa in the November 2 general election. See story on Hinojosa’s congressional update later in this posting.

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Dr. Cynthia Orozco, author of the 2009 book titled, No Mexicans, Women or Dogs Allowed: The Rise of the Mexican American Civil Rights Movement, is acknowledged and thanked by Víctor Gómez, Mexican American Studies Program Instructor at South Texas College, for her presentation on Thursday, October 14 at the Pecan campus in McAllen, based on her landmark book, which focuses on the history and impact of the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC). Orozco, a professor at Eastern New Mexico University at Ruidoso, spoke on issues such as racial segregation against people of Mexican descent, exclusion of Mexican citizens and women from LULAC, and the recasting of that organization – which has been perceived as anti-Mexican and anti-working class – to one that was at the forefront of the civil rights movement in the U.S. after World War I. “The typical American doesn’t know about this particular era of discrimination and segregation,” Orozco said. “We need to not just think black and white; we have to add brown to that color scheme. There are various civil rights movements that took place and one of those is ours. There’s a long history of struggle for people of Mexican descent.” See story later in this posting.

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Doug Martin, a community and business leader who is owner and president of Martin Farm and Ranch Supply, on Saturday, October 16, was honored as Man of the Year 2010 by the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce during the local group’s Annual Installation Banquet held at the Monte Cristo Golf Club. Martin has been married for 31 years to Mary Alice Sánchez, and they have three children: Alyssa, Gregory and Charisse. Also during the ceremony, Maggie Kent received the Outstanding Leadership Award from the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce, while Edward Kuprel, Edinburg’s City Forester, was recognized as the City of Edinburg Employee of the Year. Fire Marshal Richard Drewry was selected as Edinburg Firefighter of the Year. See story later in this posting.

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María Noemí  "Mimi" Cárdenas, featured third from left, on Saturday, October 16, was honored as Woman of the Year 2010 by Edinburg Chamber of Commerce at the local group’s Annual Installation Banquet held at the Monte Cristo Golf Club. Among her many professional and community achievements was her work with the Texas Employment Commission, where she helped hundreds find jobs and hundreds more with unemployment claims during the hard economic times of the 1980s. Joining her for her big night, from left: Cynthia Bocanegra, who was honored as outgoing chairwoman of the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce; Mrs. Cárdenas’ son, Don; María Noemí "Mimi" Cárdenas; her daughter, Margaret Lucille "Myssie" Cárdenas-Barajas; and Johnny Rodríguez, incoming chairman of the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce. See story later in this posting.

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Hidalgo County Commissioners Court approves key feasibility study for commuter rail system envisioned by Sen. Hinojosa, Rep. Martínez

Magdalena Díaz Tellez, deputy consul at the Mexican Consulate in McAllen, and Hidalgo County Judge  René A. Ramírez on Wednesday, September 15, presided over the unveiling of a plaque in the downtown square in Edinburg that helped mark Mexico’s 200th anniversary of its declaration of independence from Spain. On September 16, 1810, Catholic priest Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla declared Mexican independence, which helped ignite what would become a war that did not end until 1821. Hidalgo County bears the namesake of the Catholic priest, who was captured and executed by Spanish forces. A bust of the hero priest is located in the downtown square, which is owned by the county to help handle parking demands for visitors doing business at the nearby county courthouse.

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Congressman Ruben Hinojosa, D-Mercedes (featured first on right), on Wednesday, September 15,  presented Arturo Sarukhan, the Mexican Ambassador to the United States, with a congressional resolution commemorating the important dates in Mexican history in honor of Mexico’s Bicentennial. “As a Mexican-American, I am very proud of my heritage and culture” said Hinojosa. “My parents never forgot where they came from and taught all 11 of their children to cherish our history and our ties to Mexico." Hinojosa made the presentation on behalf of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. He joined Congresswoman Lucile Roybal-Allard, D-California, in making the formal introduction of the resolution to Congress. “We have and always will be associated with our neighbor to the south and although we are facing new challenges along our border, we must never forget how much our two countries need each other to flourish,” said Hinojosa.

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Namaste Valley Magazine will be hosting a seminar on domestic violence and self-defense for women on Tuesday, September 28, from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the RGV Hispanic Chamber of Commerce offices, located at 3313 N. McColl Road in McAllen. Tony Torres of Torres Martial Arts will also demonstrate two self-defense techniques that all women should know. "’The ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and the cruelty by the bad people but the silence over that by the good people,’" said Martin Luther King, Jr. Domestic violence robs you of your hopes and your identity," noted Lana de Leon of Namaste Valley Magazine. “We encourage ladies to attend and take a step at being safer.” An Avon Reese Witherspoon bracelet will be given away as a door prize. The bracelet helped raise $4 million nationally in 2009 to  help  reducing domestic violence. Additional door prizes will be given away from Avon in honor of Avon’s Speak Out Against Domestic Violence campaign. Call to register at the RGV Hispanic Chamber at 928-0060 because seating is limited. Featured, from left:  Lana De León, Tony Torres and Stephanie Ramírez, who is an intern with the Rio Grande Valley Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

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The Texas Secretary of State on Wednesday, September 8, approved a request by the McAllen Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors to change its name to the Rio Grande Valley Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. "We intend to offer our services in all four counties and represent the area as a region in Washington, DC and Austin” said Cynthia M. Sakulenzki, RGV Hispanic Chamber Pres/CEO. "We want to be able to state that we represent the largest group of Hispanic and small business owners in the country." The business organization was initially chartered in 1997 as the RGV Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, but in February 2001, its leaders changed the group’s name to the McAllen Hispanic Chamber.  With the growth of the business community in deep South Texas, the Rio Grande Valley Hispanic Chamber will continue focusing on key constituencies and issues, including small business, economic development, women, cultural events, health, and international and local governmental affairs. Officials with the RGV Hispanic Chamber of Commerce featured here are, seated, from left: Roxanna Godínez, Vice Chair of Membership and Adelita Muñoz, Vice Chair of Education. Standing, from left, are:  Ronnie Bernal, Vice Chair of Small Business and Economic Development; Celina González, Events Committee; Cynthia M. Sakulenzki, president and CEO; Hari Namboodiri, Advisory Board; and Brent Smith, treasurer.

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The University of Texas-Pan American at Starr County has a permanent building to call its own. On Wednesday, September 8, UTPA officials were joined by local and state dignitaries, as well as representatives from its new neighbor, South Texas College (STC), in dedicating the 17,391-square-foot facility located on Farm-to-Market Road 3167 in Rio Grande City. "Having a local university is sometimes taken for granted in communities because they’ve been there for generations, but they bring opportunities, they bring growth and they bring prosperity to the local communities," said Rep. Ryan Guillen, D-Rio Grande City. "This facility, working closely with STC, will do the same for our area. This facility will enhance the ability of UTPA to touch the lives for more students right here in the Valley." Featured, during the ribbon cutting, from left: Dr. Ana María Rodríguez, UTPA Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs; Rose Benavidez, South Texas College Board of Trustees member; Eloy Vera, Starr County Judge; Sen. Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo; Dr. Robert S. Nelsen, UTPA President; Rep. Ryan Guillen, D-Rio Grande City; Rubén Sáenz, administrator of the South Texas College Starr County campus; and Dr. Alma Pérez, director of The University of Texas-Pan American at Starr County. See story later in this posting.

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A $1 million gift from VAMOS (Valley Alliance of Mentors for Opportunities & Scholarships) that will be matched dollar-for-dollar by The University of Texas -Pan American Foundation is a boon to the university in its efforts to help more and more students succeed, said UTPA President Robert S. Nelsen. Sonia Falcón, VAMOS president, and several members of the board convened on the UTPA campus on Monday, August 30 to present a $1 million check to Nelsen, who accepted on behalf of the UTPA Foundation Board of Trustees.The $2 million from VAMOS and the UTPA Foundation will fund the VAMOS/UTPA Endowed Scholarship program exclusively for Hidalgo, Cameron and Starr county students who enter the university as freshmen. The scholarships are then renewable for up to four years as long as the VAMOS/UTPA Scholars meet the eligibility criteria. Featured, seated, from left: Alonzo Cantú, chairman emeritus of VAMOS and vice chair of the UTPA Foundation board, Sonia Falcón, VAMOS president, and Dr. Robert S. Nelsen, UTPA president. Standing, from left: Johnny Oliva, VAMOS vice president; Rodrigo Reyna, VAMOS treasurer; Maritza Rodríguez, executive director of VAMOS; Olga López, VAMOS board member; and Paul R. Rodríguez, VAMOS board member.

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