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Dr. Larry Balli, health care and economic leader, honored for life’s work by Gov. Perry, Legislature


Every year, Texas Monthly publishes much-anticipated reviews of some of the state’s best medical, legal, and community leaders, based on a strict and independent research process that identifies Texans who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. Dr. Larry Balli, one of the area’s most influential dentists, has long enjoyed a stellar reputation in Edinburg. Late last year, he was bestowed the coveted honor of "Super Dentist" by Texas Monthly, a major statewide magazine with a national following. Now comes news that his professional and civic contributions to the region have earned him praise from Gov. Rick Perry and the Texas Legislature, which have approved a legislative resolution publicly recognizing him for his efforts in the Lone Star State. See lead story later in this posting. 


As the veto period came to a close on Sunday, June 21, Sen. Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa, D-McAllen, featured here during a McAllen Chamber of Commerce legislative update on Wednesday, June 17, announced final approval of 59 measures that he authored or sponsored. Hinojosa’s legislative package includes bills on transportation, natural resources, criminal justice, infrastructure, and health care issues, benefitting South Texas and the entire state.  See story later in this posting. 


SOCIALIFE News Magazine, the five-year-old creation of South Texas entrepreneur Pepe Cabeza de Vaca, featured here with Rep. Verónica Gonzáles, D-McAllen, has been honored by the Texas House of Representatives for its vital role of promoting a positive image of the Rio Grande Valley and by helping charitable organizations in the state and nation.  The honor, contained in House Resolution 2283 filed by Rep. Verónica Gonzáles, D-McAllen, was unanimously approved by House of Representatives on May 25. See story later in this posting. 


The laboratories at McAllen Heart Hospital and McAllen Medical Center were accredited by the College of American Pathologists (CAP) after site inspections on April 1 and May 1. Both laboratories received complimentary remarks by CAP inspectors on the quality of patient testing, documentation and organization. The laboratories also received  exemplary marks on their standard of laboratory practices. Featured here are some of the employees of McAllen Medical Center and McAllen Heart Hospital who are instrumental to the quality of care and services the laboratories provide. From left, first row: Dr. Feliberto Cavazos, pathologist; Sobie Treviño, system assistant director; Grace Garza, system lab director; and Robert Tamez, hospital administrator. Second row, from left: Dr. José Luis Valencia, pathologist; Norma Rodríguez; and Lester Alvarado. Third row, from left:  Denisha Niño; Aida Galván; Diana Villarreal; Janice Milford; and Jennifer Ríos. Four row, from left: Elisa Díaz; Mylene Trasmonte; Becky Flores; and Sylvia Aguinaga. Fifth row, from left: Virgil Zuñiga; Robert Hockaday; Alejo Romero; Andy Romero; and Aydee García. See story later in this posting. 


Hundreds of future South Texas College graduates, such as these featuring during this spring’s commencement exercise, will benefit from a major grant, to be dispersed over the next three years, for expanded development education programs. On Monday, June 22, STC leaders announced that the college has been named as one of 15 national recipients – and only four in Texas – of a new grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and MDC, Inc. Together the groups are giving $16.5 million to community colleges across the nation, $743,000 of which will come directly to South Texas College. “At STC we are so happy to receive the funds because it will help us institute a change to the respective course contents in our developmental programs to create learning connections for students among the three developmental education disciplines through contextualization of the curriculum,” said Dr. Ali Esmaeili, dean of developmental studies for STC. “We plan to implement a robust case management student support framework to ensure a consistent and reliable contact experience for all of our developmental students.” See story later in this posting. 



Judge Susan Criss files for Texas Supreme Court, says she will bring diversity, justice for all Texans


Former Hidalgo County Judge Ramón García takes his oath of office on Thursday, December 13, to become the newest member of the Hidalgo County Regional Mobility Authority, which met in Weslaco. “While I was county judge (2003-2006), I quickly realized that there are two very important issues that need to be addressed in this county: one was transportation, the other was drainage, not necessarily in that order,” he recalled. “To be able to serve on a board that I consider to be a meaningful board, I welcome that opportunity.” His oath of office was administered by Justice of the Peace Luis Garza of Mission. See story later in this posting.



South Texas College has earned a financial reporting award from North American government group for fourth consecutive year. From left are Rubén Moreno, CPA and partner with Long Chilton, LLP of McAllen; Diana Peña, vice president for finance and administrative services for STC; Irene García, chair of the South Texas College Board of Trustees; and Mary Elizondo, STC Business Office comptroller. See story later in this posting.



Rep. Juan García, III, D-Corpus Christi, featured center at the front podium of the House of Representatives last January in this file photo, is calling on a Texas to play a bigger role in deciding who the nominees will be for president. ” Last April I was part of an overwhelming majority of the State House of Representatives who voted to move our primary to the first Tuesday in February, giving Texans a say in who our next President will be,” García said. “However, the measure died in the Senate, with members arguing that the change would create a burden on election officials, who would have to conform to new dates (registration deadlines, sending new registration cards, filing dates for candidates, etc.), several of which would fall over the holidays.” García elaborates on his thoughts in his essay, featured later in this posting.

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