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Former Mayor Richard García reappointed to new term on Edinburg EDC Board of Directors

Former Mayor Richard García reappointed to new term on Edinburg EDC Board of Directors  - Titans of the Texas Legislature

Edinburg Fire Chief Shawn Snider, featured here with his wife, the former Edna Casas, and their 13-year-old daughter, Sarah, on Tuesday, June 17, was honored by the Edinburg City Council for his recent selection as president of the State Firemen’s and Fire Marshals Association of Texas. In the 132-year history of the group, only three other Valley residents – including two other fire chiefs from Edinburg – have ever held the top leadership position of the association. Snider, who was born in San Diego, California on July 10, 1964, and was raised by his grandparents in San Juan, has been Edinburg Fire Chief since 1991. He now resides in Edinburg. See story later in this posting.

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Former Mayor Richard García reappointed to new term on Edinburg EDC Board of Directors  - Titans of the Texas Legislature

The Region One Education Service Center is one step closer to realizing a 38,171 square foot expansion to its Edinburg facility, located immediately west of the University of Texas-Pan American. The new construction, which officially began with a May 7 groundbreaking ceremony, will increase its size from 74,000 square feet to more than 112,000 square feet. The total project will take about 474 days, with a completion date in mid-August 2009. Featured in this portrait taken at the groundbreaking are, from left: Region One Board of Trustees members Abel Cavazos (Place 7-Willacy County); Alicia E. Requenez (Place 1-Hidalgo County); Dora Ruiz (Place 5-Cameron County); Jack Damron (executive director); Richard R. Cantú (Place 4-Hidalgo County); Dr. Manuel Gómez, Jr., (Place 6-Cameron County); and Noé R. Sánchez (Place 2-Jim Hogg, Starr, and Zapata Counties). See story later in this posting.

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Former Mayor Richard García reappointed to new term on Edinburg EDC Board of Directors  - Titans of the Texas Legislature

U. S. Representative Rubén Hinojosa, D-Mercedes, featured left, along with Rex Tillerson, the chairman and chief executive officer of Exxon, on Thursday, June 19, were chosen as the 2008 recipients of the Hispanic Heritage Foundation (HHF) Inspira Award. The annual award honors leadership in education and community service for Latinos and for inspiring a new generation of Hispanic leaders in the United States. Actor and CSI: Miami star Adam Rodríguez will be the third Inspira Award recipient and presented during the National Youth Awards Ceremony in Kansas City, Missouri on July 11. See story later in this posting.

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Former Mayor Richard García reappointed to new term on Edinburg EDC Board of Directors  - Titans of the Texas Legislature

Former Mayor Richard García, feature here in a file photo, was reappointed by the Edinburg City Council to another two-year term on the board of directors for the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation, the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg City Council. He currently serves as the president of the EEDC board of directors. Under García’s leadership, as well as during the first and current administrations of Mayor Joe Ochoa, Edinburg has seen unprecedented economic development and growth in new construction, record-low unemployment rates, advances in higher education, and the development of a significant medical corridor that includes two comprehensive hospitals, a women’s hospital, a children’s hospital, two behavioral health care centers, a high-tech cancer treatment complex, and a University of Texas Regional Academic Health Center. “I’ve seen Richard García in action, and he’s not doing just a good job, he’s doing an excellent job in bringing commerce to this city,” said Councilmember Alma Garza. “In my opinion, it is in the city’s best interest to keep him in this position.” See lead story in this posting.

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In Memorium: Gloria G. Saca remembered as a champion of the elderly and disabled in Texas

In Memorium: Gloria G. Saca remembered as a champion of the elderly and disabled in Texas - Titans of the Texas Legislature

A Toast to Life

Mrs. Gloria G. Saca, seen here as an infant in the summer of 1928 outside her Mission home with her mother, Beatriz Chapa Garza, seemingly gives a toast to life with a glass of chilled tea. Mrs. Saca, a longtime Edinburg resident who passed away on May 15, 2005, is being remembered this month by her loving and extended family in Texas.

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In Memorium: Gloria G. Saca remembered as a champion of the elderly and disabled in Texas - Titans of the Texas Legislature

Holy Communion

As a young girl, and throughout her life, Mrs. Gloria G. Saca was always aware of the many blessings she had received from God, beginning in earnest when she received her First Holy Communion at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Edinburg.

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In Memorium: Gloria G. Saca remembered as a champion of the elderly and disabled in Texas - Titans of the Texas Legislature

The One and Only

One of the happiest days of her life took place in 1950, when Gloria Garza married Carlos Saca, the son of Lebanese merchants, whose parents immigrated to General Teran, Mexico around the turn of the 20th century. They went on to successfully raise a wonderful family. Also shown with the couple are their mothers – Angelina Ancer Saca, shown on the left, and Beatriz Chapa Garza.

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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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Border Wall to be discussed at April 15 forum sponsored by UT-Pan American, Texas Border Coalition

Border Wall to be discussed at April 15 forum sponsored by UT-Pan American, Texas Border Coalition - Titans of the Texas Legislature

High school students Melissa Castaño of Edinburg, featured center, and Atanacio Gómez of Eagle Pass were named Students of the Year on Monday, March 31 by the Migrant Student Graduation Enhancement Program at The University of Texas at Austin. Castaño, a senior at Johnny G. Economedes High School, is the oldest child of Ricardo and María del Jesús Castaño. She ranks 13th in a class of 537 students and is the highest-ranked migrant student in her school. “She is a student who has a quiet demeanor and who excels in all her classes because she happens to be a very intelligent young lady,” said Castaño’s migrant counselor, Diana Alejos. “My ideal is to change a life and assist the people in my community,” Castaño said. See story later in this posting.

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Border Wall to be discussed at April 15 forum sponsored by UT-Pan American, Texas Border Coalition - Titans of the Texas Legislature

Eagle Pass Mayor Chad Foster, chairman of the Texas Border Coalition, is among the key Texas border leaders scheduled to be in Edinburg on Tuesday, April 15, from 10:30 to noon, for a forum on the controversial planned Border Wall. The session, which is free and open to the public, will be held at the University of Texas-Pan American in the Student Theatre, located in the Student Union Building on campus. “We hope that this event contributes to UTPA’s standing as a national resource for the study of Latin America and its borders with the United States,” said Dr. Glenn A. Martínez, associate professor of modern languages and literature, who also serves on the board of directors for the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation, which is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg City Council. For more information on the forum, contact the Office of International Programs at 956/381-3572. See lead story later in this posting.

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Border Wall to be discussed at April 15 forum sponsored by UT-Pan American, Texas Border Coalition - Titans of the Texas Legislature

The Edinburg CISD School Health Advisory Council (SHAC) will host its seventh annual ECISD Wellness Fair at the Harwell Middle School Gym on Thursday, April 10 from 6 – 8 p.m., announced Albert López, RN, Coordinator of Health Services. Harwell MS is located at 801 E. Canton Road. The wellness fair will feature various health-related entities from throughout the community as well as a food show sponsored by the ECISD Child Nutrition Department and a Physical Education Showcase by eight elementary schools. The SHAC is a state-mandated council made up of community members, parents and school district staff. The purpose of the SHAC is to address issues that deal with health, nutrition and a safe school environment with the intent to reflect the values of the community. Membership on the health advisory council is approved by the local school board every school year. For more information on the wellness fair, contact the ECISD Health Services office at 289-2300. Edinburg CISD School Health Advisory Council members (left to right) Mike Castillo, parent member; Esther López, Physical Education teacher; Albert López, RN, Coordinator of Health Services; and Dalia Fellows, parent member, plan for the health fair at the Harwell Middle School Gym. Not pictured are Mary DeLuna, director of Child Nutrition; Leo Reyes, PE teacher; and Iris Pérez, ECISD Dietitian.

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Border Wall to be discussed at April 15 forum sponsored by UT-Pan American, Texas Border Coalition - Titans of the Texas Legislature

The Edinburg Chamber of Commerce has revamped its web page presence on the Internet, thanks to a “virtual face lift” and brand new web page designed by Web Magik. The domain and web address will remain the same at http://www.edinburg.com and will continue to update the community on the local chamber’s news, including ground breakings, ribbon cuttings, seminars, event/meeting dates and more. The user friendly website includes an updated calendar, membership listing, photos, and news involving chamber and city events in which the chamber partners with other entities on such events as Texas Cook’em: High Steaks in Edinburg, set for July 4. The website was unveiled on March 31 at the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors meeting held at the depot. If you would like more information on chamber events and news please call 956-383-4974, or log onto http://www.edinburg.com. Featured in this portrait are some of the active members of the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce, including, standing, from left: Abel J. Leal, Tiffany Gómez, Naomi Perales, Dalia Arce, Dr. Walt Green, Flo Prater, Ian Ochoa, Dina Araguz, Alicia Campos, Aaron Ramírez, Holly Martin, Frank Lara, and Marie García; and seated, from left: Gisela Hughes, Paulina Solis, Elva J. Garza, Jeannie Sandoval, and Eva Rodríguez.

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Border Wall to be discussed at April 15 forum sponsored by UT-Pan American, Texas Border Coalition - Titans of the Texas Legislature

South Texas is making its mark in the realm of online media. PodCamp San Antonio Numero Dos is scheduled for May 3, 2008 at El Tropicano Riverwalk Hotel. PodCamp San Antonio is an event that attracts online media stars and producers from throughout the state, and has a global audience. Technology events like PodCamp San Antonio Numero Dos have typically been held in cities like Austin, Houston, or Dallas; but they never specialized in podcasting. According to http://www.podcasting-tools.com, podcasting is quickly becoming a buzz word among the techie crowd. So what is podcasting, anyway? Podcasting is online audio content that is delivered via an RSS feed. Many people liken podcasting to radio on demand. However, in reality, podcasting gives far more options in terms of content and programming than radio does. In addition, with podcasting, listeners can determine the time and the place, meaning they decide what programming they want to receive and when they want to listen to it. Listeners can retain audio archives to listen to at their leisure. While blogs have turned many bloggers into journalists, podcasting has the potential to turn podcasters into radio personalities. Key organizers for PodCamp San Antonio Numero Dos are featured here, from left: Richard Galvan, Shaine Mata, Jennifer Navarrete, Michael De Leon, and Lans Hobart. See story later in this posting.

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Border Wall to be discussed at April 15 forum sponsored by UT-Pan American, Texas Border Coalition - Titans of the Texas Legislature

Kenneth I. Shine, M.D., executive vice chancellor for health affairs at The University of Texas System, was appointed interim chancellor of the UT System on Tuesday, April 1, by Regents’ Chairman H. Scott Caven, Jr. The appointment is effective May 1. Shine, a world-renowned cardiologist and physiologist with outstanding academic and medical credentials, will succeed UT System Chancellor Mark G. Yudof, who last week was named the president of the University of California system. See story later in this posting.

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Hidalgo County Road Builders negotiates $46.3 million contract to work on Hidalgo County Loop project for local Regional Mobility Authority

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Mayor Pro Tem Alma Garza and Johnny Rodríguez, her opponent in the Saturday, May 10 city council elections, maintained a positive, friendly tone on Wednesday, March 12, when both candidates showed up late that morning at Edinburg City Hall to see whose name will be placed first on the ballot for their seat. Staff members for the City Secretary drew the names with the candidates looking on as witnesses. Garza will have her name first on the ballot. In the second race, challenger Leonel Guerrero’s name will be first on the ballot in his race against Councilmember Gene Espinoza. Guerrero also attended the drawing, which was open to the public. Espinoza was unable to attend due to other important business. Garza and Rodríguez are vying for the Place 4 city council post, while Guerrero and Espinoza are seeking the Place 3 seat.

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Gerry Pate, standing left, managing general partner with Hidalgo County Road Builders, a private coalition, has negotiated a $46.3 million contract with the Hidalgo County Regional Mobility Authority – a governmental entity – to provide pre-construction services in preparation for the building of major portions of the $645 million Hidalgo County Loop, which will be designed to shuttle heavy commercial truck traffic coming to and from the region. Services included in the agreement include advance planning, environmental clearance, preliminary and final design, right-of-way acquisition services. The contract was approved on Thursday, February 28. HCRB is contracted to complete the pre-construction services within 18 months and deliver to the RMA board a guaranteed maximum price for the completion, including construction of a major portion of the loop project by 2013. The agreement is expected to be executed within the next week. Also featured with Pate is Jacinto Garza, the project engineer. Both men were addressing the RMA board during the organization’s meeting in Weslaco on Thursday, February 28. See lead story later in this posting.

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Bryant Morrison, a faculty member at the University of Texas-Pan American, addressed the Edinburg School Board on Tuesday, March 11, to announce the formation of Yes4Kids, a political action committee that will raise money to help pass a two propositions relating to the construction and renovation of schools in the district. The election will be held on Saturday, March 10. were among some of the Yes4Kids members who made their pitch before the Edinburg school board during the trustees’ regularly bimonthly meeting on Tuesday, March 11. Also at the meeting were opponents of the bond election, who are concerned that, with the U.S. economy slowing down – possibly already in an economic recession – now is not the time for local taxpayers to go into long-term debt by passing bond issues. But Morrison and other bond proposals believe otherwise. “We don’t need their money, we need their support and we need the community discussing the pros and cons of the bond. The more people talk, the more they will see that there is really no debate here,” Morrison said. “When they get the information, they will see we will be saving money, we will get a bigger bang for the bank, and we will relieve the district from some of the bond debt they already have.” See story later in this posting.

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Rep. Armando “Mando” Martínez, D-Weslaco, recently presented a $500 check to Women Together/Mujeres Unidas, a local charity organization whose vision is to end violence so that individuals may live without fear, abuse or oppression. The mission of Women Together/Mujeres Unidas is to provide shelter and support services to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault and their families. Martínez organized a charity event in November 2007 to benefit various charity organizations in the Rio Grande Valley. Among those charities that benefited from the event was Women Together/Mujeres Unidas. Since 1978 Women Together/Mujeres Unidas has worked to end domestic violence and sexual assault in Hidalgo and Starr Counties. Women Together/Mujeres Unidas have three locations, two in McAllen and one in Weslaco. They provide education, awareness and prevention programs to the communities. Featured with the Mid-Valley lawmaker is Marlene Ramírez, Outreach Advocate for Women Together/Mujeres Unidas in front of Martínez’ district office in Weslaco.

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