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Edinburg’s unemployment rate drops to 4.9 percent for September 2015, representing the best performance among Valley’s major cities, reports Edinburg Economic Development Corporation

South Texas College Inno’ 2015

Featured, from left: Keith Patridge, President and CEO, McAllen Economic Development Corporation; Sergio Contreras, Executive Director, Pharr Economic Development Corporation; Agustín García, Jr., Executive Director, Edinburg Economic Development Corporation; Rose Benavidez, Executive Director, Starr County Industrial Foundation; and Julian Álvarez, President, Rio Grande Valley Partnership, on Friday, September 25, participating in a presentation during the South Texas College Inno’ 2015, held at the STC Technology Campus Atrium, Building B, in south McAllen.

Edinburg’s unemployment rate for September 2015 was 4.9 percent – the same as McAllen – representing the best performances among the Valley’s major cities for that month, and the lowest figure for that month for Edinburg since September 2007, the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation has announced. Also according to the latest data, which was released on Friday, October 16, 2015 by the Texas Workforce Commission, there were more than 35,000 people employed in Edinburg during the month of September 2015. 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’s latest showing was better than the U.S. unemployment rate for September 2015, which came in at 5.1 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics ( In its mission to help create jobs and help private businesses prosper, the Edinburg City Council and the EEDC Board of Directors place a high priority on the importance of a strong education system, said Mayor Richard García. “All that we are, and all that we want to be, one of the keys to our economic successes and quality-of-life is the classroom, and Edinburg has worked smart and hard to become a center of education in Texas,” the mayor said. “Just recently, top leaders from several of our nation’s largest corporations met with our area school district superintendents, in part because these industries recognize that their future, just like that of our nation, also depends on South Texas.” On Monday, October 5, 2015, a large group of public and charter school superintendents from across the Rio Grande Valley met during HESTEC with national government leaders, corporate partners, and administrators and faculty of The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, during the Superintendents Leadership Breakfast. HESTEC stands for Hispanic Engineering, Science and Technology Week, an annual weeklong gathering which this year was held from Sunday, October 4, through Saturday, October 10, at the Edinburg campus of The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. Mark Iglesias, the President of the EEDC Board of Directors, added that the deep pool of talent of Edinburg and South Texas was further emphasized by the attendance of U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan to HESTEC in Edinburg the following day. “In many ways, HESTEC is part of our homeland security, because HESTEC’s goal to to encourage more South Texas students to become the leaders and professionals in our nation’s STEM fields, from where many of the great scientific breakthroughs come,” said Iglesias. “It is no coincidence that the captains of industry and the titans of politics come to Edinburg and South Texas, because we have what it takes to serve our nation.” Duncan praised HESTEC as a model for the nation in its efforts to expose students to all the opportunities available in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields, and for helping prepare students for the workplace. “So many jobs of the future are in STEM fields,” he said. “Our country needs your talents, we need your expertise. We need for you to be the job creators and the entrepreneurs going forward.” As for the Superintendents Leadership Breakfast, it succeeded in its goal to open dialogue and share ideas on how to provide more opportunities for students and ensure their success, said Austin García, Jr., Executive Director for the EEDC. “When one looks at the incredible meetings, presentations, performances, exhibits, and turnout generated by HESTEC, it inspires all of us, not just our students,” said the EEDC Executive Director. “Such major events help let the nation know that South Texas is building on Edinburg’s reputation as ‘The Gateway to the Future.’”

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Javier Villalobos raises $60,000, hopes for GOP in local House District 41 race against Rep. Gonzáles


Javier Villalobos of McAllen, who is seeking the House District 41 state representative seat currently held by Rep. Verónica Gonzáles, D-McAllen, points to more than 300 friends who showed up on Thursday, October 4 in McAllen for a fundraiser to help power his campaign. “The winds of change are coming,” Villalobos told his supporters. “I think people are interested, and they do want to help. We were hoping to raise about $20,000 or $25,000, but we were able to raise $61,400.” See story later in this posting.



Ramiro Garza, Jr., executive director for the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation, gestures to a screen containing economic and demographic information about the city during a Thursday, October 4 commercial real estate roundtable hosted by the EEDC at the Edinburg Depot. Leticia Reyes, EEDC project manager featured left, also participate in the presentation. See story later in this posting.



Sebastian J. Izaguirre, son of José and Mayra Izaguirre from Edinburg, was the first baby born at the newly-opened, $67 million Women’s Hospital at Renaissance. The baby was delivered at 3:14 p.m. on Monday, October 1, weighing seven pounds and measuring 20.5 inches. “This modern state-of-the-art facility is the Valley’s only hospital dedicated exclusively to women’s healthcare needs,” says Marissa Castañeda, DHR Chief Operations Officer. “We are elated to join with over 45 obstetric and gynecological physicians in providing the highest quality care to women in South Texas.” In recognition of being the first baby born at The Women’s Hospital at Renaissance, Baby Izaguirre received a $10,000 savings bond from Lone Star National Bank and Doctors Hospital at Renaissance. HEB Food Stores was present during the formal presentation to the community and will be providing a supply of diapers and wipes for the first year to the Izaguirre family. The Women’s Hospital at Renaissance is scheduled to deliver 8,000 babies in its first year of operation and will revolutionize women’s healthcare in our region. For more information please call the Women’s Hospital at Renaissance at (956) 688-4000.



Sen. Hinojosa announces for reelection, credits constituents for Valley successes


Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, D-McAllen, shows off his hat in recognition of the cowboy/vaquero culture that is deeply rooted among many families in his legislative district, which stretches from McAllen/Edinburg/Mission through Corpus Christi. “This is for the people,” Hinojosa told several hundred supporters in McAllen, as he tipped his hat in their honor, during his campaign kick-off, held Thursday, September 13, at the Holidome. See story later in this posting.



The construction of the first private student housing development to serve the University of Texas-Pan American will give the local economy an estimated $18 million shot in the arm, and send yet another message that both the university and city are growing by leaps and bounds, the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation has announced. The complex, to be called The Veranda Place, is being built on North Sugar Road.


Steven J. Escobar, a 1987 Edinburg High School graduate, has sparked Bobcat pride for alma mater and for his hometown with his recent Emmy® Award for Outstanding Picture Editing for Reality Programming at the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences 2006-2007 Creative Arts Primetime Emmys in Los Angeles. See story later in this posting.


Titans of the Texas Legislature