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South Texas College studying expansion; could result in new campuses for region, possibly in Edinburg

South Texas College studying expansion; could result in new campuses for region, possibly in Edinburg - Titans of the Texas Legislature

The Edinburg school district on Wednesday, October 8, celebrated the Edinburg Centennial by hosting a special program and an essay contest detailing the city and school district’s history. The fifth grade finalists are shown from left: Brianna C. McCormick, Freddy González Elementary (honorable mention); Jean Almonte, Guerra Elementary (honorable mention); Brooke Baus, Canterbury Elementary (1st place); Julissa Alexandra Mendoza (2nd place), Esparza Elementary (2nd place); and Kiana Ramírez, Travis Elementary (3rd place). Also featured, from left: Rep. Aaron Peña, D-Edinburg; Paul Rodríguez; Patricia Galindo; Shirley Clancey; ECISD School Board President Omar Palacios; and Edinburg Mayor Joe Ochoa.

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South Texas College studying expansion; could result in new campuses for region, possibly in Edinburg - Titans of the Texas Legislature

The McAllen Chamber of Commerce has announced that it will hold its 54th Annual Banquet on Friday, November 14, from 7 p.m. to midnight at the McAllen Convention Center. The event also will include the prestigious Man & Woman of the Year awards program. The Man & Woman of the Year awards are presented to individuals who have gone above and beyond routine civic service activities to promote the McAllen community and its residents.  Organizing the event are, from left: Edna De Saro; Tammie Risica; Dora Brown; Ricardo Portillo; Blanca Cárdenas; and Andreina Milpaca.  See story later in this posting.

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South Texas College studying expansion; could result in new campuses for region, possibly in Edinburg - Titans of the Texas Legislature

With area leaders gathered in Mission on October 7 to celebrate the 15th anniversary of South Texas College, the STC Board of Trustees has commissioned a major study which could lead to the creation of one or several new campuses in the coming years. STC President Shirley Reed, featured first row, third from left, says the study could come up with preliminary projections at the beginning of 2009, with the final report due by mid-2009. Featured with Reed during STC’s 15th anniversary celebration were, from left: Sylvia Bernal from STC’s Office of Academic Excellence; former Rep. Roberto Gutiérrez, D-McAllen, the House sponsor of the legislation that created STC in 1993; Reed; George McCaleb; and Jenny Cummings. Standing, from left, were: Valley Scholar students Adrian Rivera and Melanie Silva; Program Coordinator Marie Olivarez; Anahid Petrosian, assistant to the vice president of instructional services; and Valley Scholars Raymond Manguera, Delilah Castillo and Isaac Pérez. See lead story on STC expansion plans later in this posting.

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Gilbert Enríquez, honored by Texas for integrity and public service, seeks return to ECISD board

Gilbert Enríquez, honored by Texas for integrity and public service, seeks return to ECISD board - Titans of the Texas Legislature

Gilbert Enríquez, a former Edinburg school board president, also serves as executive vice-president of Enríquez Enterprises, Inc., one of the more renowned construction firms in the region. He said he is running for election to the school board on November 4 in order to continue helping the community which has helped shape his life. “I am here to help, to offer my leadership, skills, experience to everyone, to help everybody prosper, not one individual,” Mr. Enríquez pledged. “I never had any kind of ambition to be in politics or to be an elected official, but I felt I needed to give back to the district that provided me the education that got me to where I am today.” See lead story later in this posting.

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Gilbert Enríquez, honored by Texas for integrity and public service, seeks return to ECISD board - Titans of the Texas Legislature

Former longtime Mayor Ronald Case, seen here on the right, passed away on Friday, September 19, Rep. Aaron Peña, a lifelong supporter of the popular city political leader, has announced. Case, who served as mayor from 1973 to 1981, was featured in this recent photo which included three other former Edinburg mayors with the state lawmaker.  Peña characterized the former mayor as being “the epitome of a gentleman public servant stepping forward to serve the community he loved. I am very proud to have been a friend and admirer of Mayor Case.”  From left are: former Mayor Richard Alamia; former Mayor Richard García; Rep. Peña; former Mayor Rudy De la Viña; and former Mayor Case.  See story later in this posting.

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Gilbert Enríquez, honored by Texas for integrity and public service, seeks return to ECISD board - Titans of the Texas Legislature

Museum opens The Museum of South Texas History opened its newest exhibit, Edinburg: A Centennial Salute 1908 – 2008, on Wednesday, September 10. A ribbon cutting hosted by the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce and a private viewing was held for Museum FRIENDS. Installed in the Upper Old Jail Gallery, this exhibit presents a sampling of photographs and artifacts from the museum’s collections and is organized into four themes: education;government; civic life; and commerce. One of the largest artifacts in the exhibit is a mural depicting Edinburg Junior College students and academic subjects.  This mural was painted by Joseph Brennan and Humberto Cavazos and was presented to the college by Emil Fossler, president of the sophomore class. The exhibit coincides with the Edinburg Centennial Committee’s city- wide celebration, October 5-10. Throughout the week, various organizations will host mini-celebrations, including Edinburg’s largest birthday cake, an essay contest, and a fireman’s parade. An open house will be held at the Museum of South Texas History on October 5, from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. As a gift to the community, the museum will have free admission. Family activities include Edinburg Trivia, an Edinburg activity book, entertainment, refreshments, and, of course, a few shared words to commemorate the occasion. For a complete listing of the city wide celebrations, visit http://www.edinburg.com, or call 383-6911. Featured, from left: chamber board members Gus Casas; Cynthia Bocanegra; Maggie Kent; Shan Rankin, the museum’s executive director; Lee Cavazos; chairman-elect of the local chamber of commerce; and Willard Moon, chairman-elect of the board of directors for the museum.

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Gilbert Enríquez, honored by Texas for integrity and public service, seeks return to ECISD board - Titans of the Texas Legislature

Dan Richards, son of former Gov. Ann Richards, featured left, celebrates with Dr. Shirley A. Reed, South Texas College president, and Othal Brand, Sr., former McAllen mayor, during the Tuesday, September 16 naming of the college’s Pecan Campus Administration Building in honor of the late state leader, who died on September 13, 2006.  The Democratic governor played a large role in the early 1990s in bringing the college to fruition, helping thousands of Hidalgo and Starr county residents realize their goals of attaining a higher education and a better quality of life.  See story later in this posting.

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Gilbert Enríquez, honored by Texas for integrity and public service, seeks return to ECISD board - Titans of the Texas Legislature

Janet Escalante, Pedro de la Fuente and Lucio Torres are just three of the more than 22,000 students who have decided to continue their higher educations at South Texas College this fall. The landmark figure was reached at the two-county community college begins its 15th year anniversary.  See story later in this posting. (more…)

Roland Arriola leaves UT-Pan American to help next generation of Texans succeed

Roland Arriola leaves UT-Pan American to help next generation of Texans succeed - Titans of the Texas Legislature

Edwards Abstract and Title Co., has been recognized by the Texas Land Title Association as the company with the second most consecutive years of service in the state of Texas. Edwards Abstract and Title Co. was founded in 1880 by Judge James Henry Edwards with property records of both Starr and Hidalgo counties. In 2008, Edwards is celebrating 128 years of serving the region with four branch offices in Hidalgo County. The company is independently owned and operated and the corporate office is located in Edinburg. Featured in the lobby of the Edwards Corporate Office in Edinburg are: Elva Jackson Garza, Vice President/Marketing Manager; Marilyn De Luna, McAllen Branch Manager/Escrow Officer; Diana S. Kaufold, Vice President/Edinburg Branch Manager/Escrow Officer; Byron Jay Lewis, President; Rachel Arévalo, Executive Vice President/Commercial Closing Specialist; Mary Arce, Weslaco Branch Manager/Escrow Officer (back) Mary Barrientos, Mission Branch Manager/Escrow Officer; Mel Casas, Branch Operations Coordinator; Edna Cazares, Comptroller; Dan Cook, I. T. Manager; Mark Peña, Attorney – Lewis, Monroe & Peña; Angie Villarreal, Assistant Plant Manager/Examiner; Nancy Bryant, Accounting Manager; Alan D. Monroe, Attorney – Lewis, Monroe & Peña and René Correa, Plant Manager/Title Attorney.

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Roland Arriola leaves UT-Pan American to help next generation of Texans succeed - Titans of the Texas Legislature

Dr. Blandina "Bambi" Cárdenas, president of the University of Texas-Pan American, spoke during the annual Go Red for Women Luncheon and Showcase, at the Cimarron Country Club in Mission on Thursday, May 22. At the event, hosted by the American Heart Association, Cárdenas talked about her heart surgery and the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Pictured from left to right are Cárdenas; Dr. Filiberto Rodríguez-Salinas, M.D. cardiovascular and thoracic surgeon; Gilda Romero, chief operating officer for the South Texas Health System; and Rebecca Taylor, senior corporate marketing director for the American Heart Association. For more information on the Go Red for Women event, contact Taylor at 956/984-0201.

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Roland Arriola leaves UT-Pan American to help next generation of Texans succeed - Titans of the Texas Legislature

Once again South Texas College’s commitment to the higher education of Hispanic students is being highlighted on the national education scene. Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education magazine ranks the college third in the nation in the enrollment of Hispanic students among all U.S. colleges. Hispanic students comprise more than 94 percent of the college’s total enrollment. The ranking appears in the May 5, 2008 issue. Featured here are some of the more than 2,000 students who graduated earlier in May. See story later in this posting.

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Roland Arriola leaves UT-Pan American to help next generation of Texans succeed - Titans of the Texas Legislature

There are high hopes for “Archipos” and the Mini Baja team from The University of Texas-Pan American to do well as they gear up to compete in the international Mini Baja competition, June 11-14 in Orford, Quebec in Canada. The UTPA team will be among 120 teams competing from the United States and around the world in the international competition. Sponsored by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE), the object of the Mini Baja competition is to simulate real-world engineering design projects. Students work together to design, build, test, promote and race a vehicle within the limits of the rules. The team includes Dr. Arturo A. Fuentes, associate professor of mechanical engineering and senior adviser; Dr. Kamalaksha Sarkar, mechanical engineering lecturer and adviser; team captain Joe Villanueva; Torres; Julian Gutiérrez, co-captain; Humberto Rodríguez; Luis Domínguez, Eddie E. Pérez, Roberto Pérez, Victor Salinas, Nathaniel Olivarez, Astrid K. Torres, and Eleazar Ruiz. See story later in this posting.

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Roland Arriola leaves UT-Pan American to help next generation of Texans succeed - Titans of the Texas Legislature

Dr. Roland S. Arriola, Ph.D., on Wednesday, May 28, announced the formation of ENCORE – Engaging Communities for College Readiness, a major initiative of the Texas Valley Communities Foundation to help more students aspire, and be academically prepared, for college and university life. Arriola, a former longtime board member of the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation, is president of the TVCF. The non-profit group, which is based in Edinburg, plans to create a $100 million endowment to help dozens of Valley charities help improve the quality-of-life in deep South Texas. See lead story later in this posting.

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In battle over Border Wall, the medium is the message in order to influence national opposition

In battle over Border Wall, the medium is the message in order to influence national opposition - Titans of the Texas Legislature

Key leaders of the Texas Border Coalition, welcomed here by Dr. Glenn A. Martínez, a member of the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation (featured bottom row, second from left), on Tuesday, April 15, in Edinburg spoke against federal government plans to build 2,000-mile border wall designed to stop terrorists from illegally crossing into the United States. Opponents against the wall say border security can be better enhanced with additional Border Patrol agents and high-technology detection systems. The wall, TBC leaders have contended, will hurt the border economies while doing little to stem the threat of terrorism. “It affects us very directly,” contended Martínez. “Many of us have a family members, friends, business relations across the border, and building a fence sends a message that we are breaking ties with them.” The international gathering, which included mayors from Mexican cities, will help spread the right image about border concerns, as well as favorably portray the local university. “It really shines a light on us and allows us to fulfill one of our functions as a major university – to project local knowledge to the world,” Martínez reflected on the event. The TBC forum was hosted by The University of Texas-Pan American. See lead story later in this posting.

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In battle over Border Wall, the medium is the message in order to influence national opposition - Titans of the Texas Legislature

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutiérrez (center) was escorted by Rep. Aaron Peña, D-Edinburg (left) and McAllen Mayor Richard Cortéz upon his arrival at the University of Texas-Pan American on Thursday, April 11, for the opening of the Rapid Response Manufacturing Center. See story later in this posting.

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In battle over Border Wall, the medium is the message in order to influence national opposition - Titans of the Texas Legislature

The development of a world-class advanced manufacturing industry in the Rio South Texas Region is one step closer following the official opening on Thursday, April 11 of the Rapid Response Manufacturing Center (RRMC) at The University of Texas-Pan American. UTPA President Dr. Blandina Cárdenas welcomed more than 200 representatives from education, business and government and presided over a ceremony that included remarks from U.S. Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutiérrez, U.S. Representatives Rubén Hinojosa, D-Mercedes, and Henry Cuellar, D-Laredo/McAllen, and South Texas College President Dr. Shirley Reed. Featured, front, from left, are: right Dr. John Lloyd, RRMC director; Reed; Blas Castañeda, chief development officer, Laredo Community College; Cuellar; Gutiérrez; Dr. Blandina “Bambi” Cárdenas; and Hinojosa. See story later in this posting.

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Former Councilmember Eddie Cisneros-Johnson arrested on DWI, firearm, drug charges in McAllen

Former Councilmember Eddie Cisneros-Johnson arrested on DWI, firearm, drug charges in McAllen - Titans of the Texas Legislature

Edinburg school board president Carmen González on Tuesday, April 8, drew pieces of paper containing the names of fellow trustees Greg García, Jr. and Robert Peña, Jr. to determine the new length of their terms of office. The drawing of the names was authorized by a controversial new state law, according to school board attorney Jacques Treviño, that will eventually result in all seven school board trustees having their terms of office increase to four years from its current three-year length, and switch the month for school board elections to November from May. García, Peña and trustee Jaime Chavana have objected, contending the state law was voluntary, not mandatory, and that voters in the school districts should be the only one with the power to make those changes. González and the other three school board trustees say the new state law required the changes, whether they agree with the results or not, and that view has been supported by the Texas Attorney General and the Texas Secretary of State. The school board attorney, seen here, coordinated the drawing, which will be broadcast beginning of Friday, April 11, on the school district’s television channel on cable 17. García and Peña did not attend the special board meeting that was scheduled specifically for the drawing. See story later in this posting.

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Former Councilmember Eddie Cisneros-Johnson arrested on DWI, firearm, drug charges in McAllen - Titans of the Texas Legislature

Fern McClaugherty of Edinburg, a community activist who looks out for waste in government, on Tuesday, April 8, urged the Edinburg school board and area voters to reject two school construction bond issues that will be on the May 10 ballot. She express her sentiments with a card bearing the following theme against the two proposals, which involve almost $150 million in new debt: “Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without.” Supporters of the bond issue contend that the bond election will provide facilities needed to improve educational attainment. Proposition 1 includes building four (4) elementary schools, two (2) middle schools; converting Harwell Middle School into a fourth high school; three (3) multi-purpose fine arts centers at each of the existing high schools; Brewster School addition/renovations, and land acquisition for a total of $111,920,000. Proposition II includes $37,675,000 of 1998 Lease Purchase Bonds to be converted into Series 2008 voter authorized IFA supported bonds.

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Former Councilmember Eddie Cisneros-Johnson arrested on DWI, firearm, drug charges in McAllen - Titans of the Texas Legislature

South Texas College is a winner of the 2008 MetLife Foundation Community College Excellence Award. The announcement was made Tuesday, April 8 at the American Association of Community Colleges annual convention held in Philadelphia. The other national winner is The Community College of Baltimore County in Maryland. As part of the award, each college receives a $30,000 grant to continue creating and implementing effective strategies for aiding underrepresented students, as well as using data to target and assess strategies to improve student outcomes. The two colleges were chosen based on their ability to demonstrate determined leadership, innovative programming and attention to outcomes. The result: clear improvements in meeting the varied learning needs of low-income, first-generation, immigrant and working students. Representatives from South Texas College accept the MetLife Foundation Community College Excellence Award. From left are Roy de Leon of the STC Board of Trustees, President Shirley A. Reed, and Irene García, chair of the STC board. See story later in this posting.

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