Featured, from left: Edinburg City Councilmember J.R. Betancourt and fellow Councilmember David Torres celebrate the ongoing successes of their hometown’s economy following the State of the City Address delivered by Mayor Richard García at the Edinburg Municipal Auditorium State on Wednesday, May 27. Photograph By MARK MONTEMAYOR
In the most recent showing of jobs in the city, Edinburg’s unemployment rate for August 2015 was 5.1 percent, the best performance for that month for the city since August 2007 (five percent), the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation has announced, noting that almost 35,000 people were employed in the city. The EEDC, of which Agustín García, Jr. is Executive Director, is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg Mayor and Edinburg City Council. The EEDC Board of Directors is comprised of Mark Iglesias as President, Harvey Rodríguez as Vice President, Ellie M. Torres as Secretary/Treasurer, and Mayor Richard García and Richard Ruppert as Members. The unemployment rate is a key indicator of the strength of the local economy. Edinburg was edged out by McAllen, which posted a five percent unemployment rate, for the top spot in August among the Valley’s major economies. The city’s latest unemployment rate was the same as than the U.S. unemployment rate for August 2015, which also came in at 5.1 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics (http://data.bls.gov/timeseries/LNS14000000). Edinburg’s August 2015 figure of 5.1 percent continues a year-long pattern of positive reports: July (5.4 percent); June (5.1 percent); May 2015 (4.8 percent); April 2015 (4.6 percent); March 2015 (4.8 percent); February 2015 (4.8 percent); and January 2015 (5.1 percent). Edinburg’s August 2015 unemployment rate of 5.1 percent remained close to the Texas statewide average, which was 4.4 percent in August, 4.6 percent in July, 4.4 percent in June, 4.1 percent for May 2015, four percent for April 2015, 4.2 percent for March 2015, 4.3 percent for February 2015, and 4.6 percent for January 2015, according to Texas Workforce Commission figures. The data represents an increase of 217 jobs in Edinburg when comparing the employment figures for August 2015 and August 2014. In August 2015, there were 34,908 persons employed in Edinburg, compared with 34,691 in August 2014. The August 2015 unemployment rate of 5.1 percent for Edinburg is also better than the annual unemployment rate in Edinburg for 2014, which was 5.8 percent – and that yearly rate was the best 12-month average from January through December since 2008. The Texas Workforce Commission data on all entities in the state, including cities and counties, is available online at: http://www.tracer2.com/cgi/dataanalysis/AreaSelection.asp?tableName=Labforce. In a related development, individuals interested in a job with the City of Edinburg have several options available in order to submit an electronic job application beginning on Monday, October 5. Effective as of that date, The City of Edinburg Human Resources Department will no longer accept paper job applications. Applicants will now have the convenience of online access and will no longer need to stop by City Hall for an application. This new policy will also minimize paper waste and streamline service for more expedited processing. Find the online link to apply on the City of Edinburg homepage at http://www.cityofedinburg.com. Applicants are also able to use mobile devices to access the online job form. Spanish speakers may select the option to utilize the Google translate function. Applicants without Internet access are advised to use computers available at the Dustin Sekula Memorial Library, 1906 S. Closner, or the Human Resources Department in City Hall at 415 W. University Drive. City Hall is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The library is open Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Fridays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Sunday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. The Edinburg city government is a significant economic force in the community, with a 700-member staff and a $100 million operational budget. Potential applicants may call the City of Edinburg Human Resources Department at 956/388-1873 with questions or for more information.
Featured, from left: Nelda Ramírez, Assistant Executive Director, Edinburg Economic Development Corporation; Agustín “Gus” García, Jr., Executive Director, EEDC; David Torres, newly-elected Edinburg City Councilmember; Mayor Richard García, who also serves as President of the EEDC Board of Directors; Cynthia Contreras Gutiérrez, Legal Counsel, EEDC; and Steven Cruz, III, immediate past member of the EEDC Board of Directors, at Edinburg City Hall on Wednesday, May 13, 2015.
Photograph By MARK MONTEMAYOR
Edinburg’s unemployment rate for April 2015 was 4.6 percent, representing the third consecutive month that the city posted a monthly rate under five percent, with McAllen, at 4.5 percent, being the only other major Valley city to come under five percent, the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation has announced. The EEDC is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg Mayor and Edinburg City Council. Edinburg’s unemployment rate, as calculated by the Texas Workforce Commission, was the best showing for the city during that month since April 2008, when it was reported at four percent by the state agency. Among its many duties, the Texas Workforce Commission provides information and analysis on shifts in occupations and industries within the state, including unemployment rates and employment figures, broken down by cities, counties, and regions in Texas, on a monthly basis. This latest positive news comes as Mayor Richard García , who also serves as President of the EEDC Board of Directors, is preparing to deliver his State of the City Address on Wednesday, May 27, at Edinburg Municipal Auditorium. The Edinburg Municipal Auditorium is located at 415 West University Drive, and is part of the Edinburg City Hall complex. His presentation, which is free and open to the public, begins at 11:30 a.m. It also will be televised live and videotaped for later broadcasting by the Edinburg Cable Network. “The annual presentation brings residents, city staff and civic leaders together to reflect on the city’s accomplishments from the past year and to review plans for the future,” said García. Edinburg’s April 2015 figure was lower than March 2015 (4.8 percent), February 2015 (4.8 percent), and January 2015 (5.1 percent). Edinburg’s April 2015 unemployment rate of 4.6 percent remained close to the Texas statewide average, which was four percent for April 2015, 4.2 percent for March 2015, 4.3 percent for February 2015, and 4.6 percent for January 2015, according to Texas Workforce Commission figures. The city’s latest performance also was better than the U.S. unemployment rate for April 2015, which was 5.4 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics. The data represents an increase of 106 jobs in Edinburg when comparing the employment figures for April 2015 and April 2014. In April 2015, there were 35,480 persons employed in Edinburg, compared with 35,374 in April 2014. The April 2015 unemployment rate of 4.6 percent for Edinburg is also better than the annual unemployment rate in Edinburg for 2014, which was 5.8 percent – and that yearly rate was the best 12-month average from January through December since 2005.
Edwards Abstract and Title Company, headquartered in Edinburg, was recently recognized as the 2008 Affiliate of the Year by the Greater McAllen Association of Realtors (GMAR) during its Annual Installation Banquet, held at the McAllen Convention Center. More than 300 of the region’s leading real estate professionals attended the Saturday, November 22 banquet and the installation of the officers who will serve their terms during 2009. Roxanne Rydell-González, the outgoing GMAR president, announced the honor, which is bestowed upon a non-realtor member of the organization in appreciation for outstanding service and commitment to the organization during the past year. “The Greater McAllen Association of Realtors shines year after year because of the incredible volunteers and leadership that give of themselves and their time to face the challenges and tasks necessary to carry this great association forward and service buyers and sellers in the real estate industry,” said Rydell-González. Several members of the Edwards team were on hand at the installation banquet and they were honored to receive the award. Featured, seated, from left: Marilyn De Luna, McAllen branch manager; Mary Arce, Weslaco branch manager; Elva Jackson Garza, vice president/marketing manager and Mary Barrientos, Mission branch manager. Standing, from left: Clarissa Basaldúa, escrow officer; Lydia Gámez, examiner; Dick Henry, 2009 GMAR president; Roxanne Rydell-González, 2008 GMAR president; Vickey Terveen, escrow officer; Clay Sánchez, examiner; Norma Cano, escrow officer; Libby Luis, escrow assistant, and Miriam Lozano, escrow officer.
Santa Claus is shown passing out one of the 24 bicycles donated to students at Robert E. Lee Elementary during a pre-Christmas event celebrating family literacy. Also present was keynote speaker, Rep. Aaron Peña, D-Edinburg, along with Principal Nelda Gaytán, Eddie Gonzáles, Operations Manager, and Paul Arrendondo, Assistant Manager, of Edinburg’s Academy Sports and Outdoors.
An American soldier bravely stands at his post during this holiday season, protecting America from the forces of tyranny while bringing closer the dream of freedom to oppressed people throughout the rest of the world. A poem, featured later in this posting, captures the courage and sacrifice of tens of thousands of U.S. military veterans overseas, who have volunteered to put themselves in harm’s way, which ensured a safe Christmas 2008 for millions of Americans here at home.
In the United States, there are more than 10 million businesses — with 50 percent or more of those firms owned by women – that employ 13 million people and generate nearly $2 trillion in annual revenues, according to the Center for Women’s Business Research in Washington, D.C. In South Texas, the Women’s Business Center (WBC) – headquartered on the third floor of the Wells Fargo Bank, 2852 W. Trenton Road, on the corner of Trenton and McColl roads in Edinburg – is playing a major role in helping ensure that Rio Grande Valley residents are also part of that growing national trend. “The Women’s Business Center is focused on providing services to area women who want to learn more about how to start or expand their companies,” said María “Charo” Mann, the WBC’s chief executive officer. “We feature, free-of-charge, a dedicated staff which can help guide people from all walks of life to their goals. Plus, we offer seminars, presentations, and other special events – often at no charge – that provide South Texans with direct contact to other professionals who are experts in what it takes to start and expand a successful business.” The local Women’s Business Center has launched an Internet website at http://www.wbc-rgv.org to provide more information to South Texans, or may also be contacted at 618-2828. See lead story later in this posting.
In today’s world where tons of trash is discarded daily, Edwards Abstract and Title Co. has taken a proactive step to protect the environment and promote recycling in Edinburg. They are among of handful of test sites within the Edinburg business community working with the Edinburg Recycling and Education Center to promote efforts to recycle without the fear of contamination, and at the same time reducing waste to preserve natural resources. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the average office worker in the U.S. uses 10,000 sheets of copy paper each year, equaling to four million tons of copy paper. Recycling one ton of paper saves enough energy to power the average American home for six months, saves 7,000 gallons of water, 3.3 cubic yards of landfill space, and reduces greenhouse gas emissions by one metric ton of carbon equivalent. The City of Edinburg Recycling Center staff delivered the Clearstream containers to Edwards Abstract and Title Co. branch office located at 3111 W. Freddy González Drive. Featured from left: Mark Peña; Armando Mayorga, Edinburg Recycling Center; Vinnie García; Janie Chapa, Edinburg Recycling Center; Dolly Villarreal; Nancy Lemke; Nora Cano; Susie Mercado; Diana Kaufold; Angela García; and Libby Luis. See story later in this posting.
The 2008 winners of the McAllen Hispanic Chamber of Commerce’s 2nd Annual Medical Awards Banquet, held on Saturday, November 15, at the Embassy Suites in McAllen, included two Edinburg physicians: Dr. Ben Garza, a family practice doctor, and Dr. Carlos Manrique, an ophthalmologist. The keynote speaker for the event was Dr. Filiberto Rodríguez, the first heart surgeon in the Valley. Rodríguez spoke on the positive changes of the medical care in the Valley going back to 1983, when he first arrived. Now, there are so many specialized doctors in the area that residents don’t have to go out of the Valley to seek medical attention or surgery. The event was sponsored by Aetna Insurance, New York Life/Armando Brennan, Manrique Custom Vision Center, Texas HealthSpring, BVAA Compass, Apex, South Texas Health System, IKON and Humana. Entries were submitted for judging to a committee of medical professionals in Austin. In addition to the two local doctors, other health professionals were recognized for their contributions. From left: Gilda Romero, Hospital Administrator of the McAllen Heart Hospital, Hospital of the Year; Hari Namboodiri, Administrator of Las Palmas Health Care Center, Nursing Home of the Year; Dr. Ben Garza, General Physician of the Year; Jean Calvert of South Texas Behavioral Center, Nurse of the Year; Rose Ramírez, MHCC Vice Chair of Health Issues; Dr. Carlos Manrique of Manrique Custom Vision Center, Specialty Physician of the Year, and Orlando Velásquez, Physician Assistant with Dr. Enrique Griego as Physician Assistant of the Year.
Ciro Treviño, featured right, takes his oath of office on Wednesday, November 12, as he is sworn in for a new, four-year term on the Edinburg school board. Treviño, who faced two challengers – Carlos Ramos and Roger C. Bunch – earned more than 55 percent of the vote during the November 4 general election, accumulating 9,648 votes, compared with Ramos’ 6,059 (almost 36 percent) and Bunch’s 1,486 (almost nine percent) turnout. It was the first campaign race for both Ramos and Bunch against Treviño, a veteran political figure in the city and Hidalgo County. Extending a peace offering to his two challengers and their supporters, Treviño gave them credit for running a good race. “I didn’t think I was going to make it, but I am glad I did,” he said. “I think this was my hardest election, really, and I have had few. But we will do the best we can. I know we are all going to be working towards the same goals.” Justice of the Peace Charlie Espinoza administered the oath of office with Armando Barrera, the Hidalgo County Tax Assessor-Collector who served as Treviño’s campaign treasurer, holding the Bible for Treviño. See related story later in this posting.
Carmen González picked up almost 60 percent of the vote in her November 4 reelection bid for a second term against challenger – and former veteran ECISD board president – Gilbert Enríquez with 9,981 votes compared with 6,782 votes for her rival. González’ match with Enríquez was the most visible, through the use hard-hitting advertisements featured in the McAllen Monitor, and personal attacks on local, anonymous blogs on the Internet. “I know I am perceived by some that I am as a threat to their personal goals,” she said. “Believe me when I say that I know who I am, and that you know who I am, and why I am the way I am. I make no apologies.” González was sworn in by Justice of the Peace Mary Alice Palacios, with González’ husband, Edward, holding the Bible upon which his wife placed her hand while taking her oath of office. See story later in this posting.
The McAllen Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and the Women’s Business Center have signed a memorandum of understanding to work together to help small businesses. In October, the two organizations signed a memorandum of understanding which pledged both entities to work together to provide technical and training assistance to women-owned businesses in South Texas. For more information about the Women’s Business Center, call (956) 618-2828 or to reach the MHCC, call (956) 928-0060. Featured during the signing ceremony are, seated, from left: María “Charo” Mann, chief executive officer and executive director for the Women’s Business Center, which is located in Edinburg, and Cynthia Sakulenzki, the president and chief executive officer for the McAllen Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. Standing, from left: José Leal, business advisor for the Women’s Business Center; Pam Garza, special events coordinator for the Women’s Business Center; and Elizabeth Martínez, managing editor for the South Texas Business Timesand vice chair of membership for the McAllen Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.