Featured: Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg, addressing participants at the Friday, October 6, 2017 groundbreaking ceremony that took place near Edinburg Lake, a 63-mile drainage improvement system that will benefit Hidalgo, Cameron and Willacy counties. “For more than 30 years, Rio Grande Valley leaders have worked to lay the foundations for this massive 150 foot-wide drainage system which will run from Hargill to the Laguna Madre,” said the House District 40 lawmaker. “This project will help redirect a significant amount of the stormwater safely away from many of our communities that suffer from flooding while helping protect our homes and businesses, as well as the continued economic development of flood-prone areas in both Hidalgo and Willacy counties.”
Photograph By ALEX RÍOS
Almost 100 years after Rep. José Tomás Canales, a Brownsville Democrat, politically battled the Texas Rangers for murdering scores of innocent South Texans because they were Mexican American, the State of Texas on Saturday, October 14, 2017 will officially acknowledge, with a permanent public display, that dark period in the state’s history and recognize the descendants of those victims affected by that brutality, Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg, has announced. The unveiling of the state historical marker will take place at 10 a.m. at the Saturday, October 14, 2017 gathering, which will be held at the Southbound Exit 16, Parking/Rest Area between San Benito and Los Fresnos exits. The gathering is open to the public. Canales is a grand nephew of José Tomás Canales, who, as the only Mexican American in the Texas Legislature in 1919, filed legislation to stop that illegal state police violence. “In Texas, there has been a long and continued effort to minimize the struggle of ethnic minorities’ quest for civil rights,” Canales said. “The stories told by these historians in this historical marker and their many published works are an important part of a larger story about the continued struggle of Texas Latinos, who have been fighting for equal rights since the founding of this state.” The Refusing to Forget Project has organized fourdays of presentations and panel discussions as part of “Resilience en el Valle: Remember the Matanza (Massacre) of 1915” that will lead to the Saturday, October 14, 2017 dedication of the state marker.“The approval and erection of this marker is as close as the government of the State of Texas has gotten to acknowledging its role in the horrific anti-Mexican violence of the 1910s,” said historian Benjamin Johnson, author of the bookRevolution in Texas. “We at Refusing to Forget are pleased that these events are finally getting some of the public recognition that they deserve.”
Featured: Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg, addressing South Texans during a Memorial Day event at the Brooks County Courthouse in Falfurrias on Monday, May 30, 2016.
Photograph By ALEX RÍOS
The annual Delta School Supply Giveway, which will donate key learning materials, ranging from pens and pencils to paper, erasers and notebooks, is underway and will wrap up on Thursday, August 18, 2016, when the donations will be distributed, while supplies last, to students enrolled in the Edcouch-Elsa, La Villa and Monte Alto school districts, Rep. Terry Canales has announced. “Throughout the state and nation, many families simply don’t have enough resources to properly provide the school supplies needed by their children,” the state lawmaker reflected. “But through the love and caring that our residents have for our communities and for our youth, these small acts of kindness are investments in all of our future and well-being.” Any student enrolled in the Edcouch-Elsa, La Villa, and Monte Alto school district is eligible, but each child and parent must be present to receive a backpack. Each child will get a backpack approved by the school districts, which means it is clear or mesh. In the backpack will be supplies to get a child started out for the year: pencils, folders, notebooks, tissues, glue sticks, erasers, pencil case, rulers, colored pencils and crayons. The backpacks with school supplies will be given away from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Carlos F. Truan Junior High Gym, located at 700 East Ciro Careers Drive in Elsa. There will also be a raffle of school supplies and various resources and service-oriented organizations at the event.
Featured, from left: Michael McCarthy with MD Bio Scan; Sabrina Guerra, Senior Accountant, and Nilda VanHook, Chief Deputy, both with the Office of the Hidalgo County District Clerk; Laura Hinojosa, who is Hidalgo County District Clerk; and Jessica Treviño with Congressman Rubén Hinojosa’s Office, during an open house at the Hidalgo County Courthouse on Thursday, April 23, 2015. An additional $40 fee for the filing of civil lawsuits in Hidalgo County, of which the District Clerk Office serves as registrar, recorder, and custodian, is being proposed in state legislation designed to help generate millions of dollars, without raising property taxes, for the construction of a new Hidalgo County Courthouse.
Photograph By HILDA SALINAS
Legislation that could raise between $1 million and $2 million a year for the next 30 years to help pay for a new courthouse or renovations of the existing 64-year-old facility in downtown Edinburg – without increasing property taxes – has been approved by the House Committee on the Judiciary & Civil Jurisprudence, the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation has announced. The EEDC is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg City Council. Senate Bill 1964, by Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, D-McAllen, was supported by that House panel on Wednesday, May 20, after Rep. Armando “Mando” Martínez, D-Weslaco, successfully offered an amendment to Hinojosa’s SB 1964 that could generate more money than originally estimated, but without increasing property taxes. Martínez and Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg, are the primary author and joint author, respectively, of the companion bill for SB 1964. SB 1964, which is now on the way for action by the House of Representatives, has two major changes from the original version of SB 1964 approved by the Senate on Wednesday, April 29. Instead of authorizing the county commissioners court to charge up to an extra $20 for the filing of each civil lawsuit, as originally proposed, SB 1964 doubled that amount to $40. In addition, Cameron County was added to SB 1964, which would give the County Commissioners Court the same authority to raise revenue for their own courthouse plans, whether they involve a new courthouse or renovations to the existing structure in Brownsville. SB 1964, as approved by the House Committee on the Judiciary and Civil Jurisprudence, also would allow both county commissioners courts to collect an extra $10 fee for each filing of real property records. Real property records are official documents filed with the county clerk’s office such as mortgages, warranty deeds, deeds of trust, power-of-attorney, material liens, notices of foreclosure, oil and natural gas liens, mineral deeds, equity liens, and releases of liens. If the House approves SB 1964, it would have to go back to the Senate for their agreement on increasing the fee by up to $40 for the filing of civil lawsuits. After that, it would go to the governor for his approval. SB 1964 could help raise significant non-tax revenue for the construction of a $100+ million Hidalgo County Courthouse in the heart of Canales’ House District 40 legislative district. “The Hidalgo County Courthouse complex is one of the major economic engines, along with the University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley and its School of Medicine, that is part of a tremendous revitalization that is going on in deep South Texas,” Canales said. “Just as important, South Texans need a courthouse that provides a safe and secure environment for the administration of justice for individuals and businesses.” SB 1964 allows Hidalgo and Cameron counties to collect a civil courts filing fee similar to the one currently collected in Bexar, Hays, Dallas, Rockwall, and Travis counties to assist with the costs of renovating, improving, or constructing new courthouse facilities, said Hinojosa. For years, Hidalgo county officials have spoken of the need to replace the county’s existing courthouse in Edinburg, Hinojosa and Martínez noted. “When the existing courthouse opened in 1954, it housed two state district courts and one county court-at-law. That has grown to 11 district courts and eight county courts-at-law, along with other auxiliary courts that have spilled into temporary buildings and one nearby storefront in downtown Edinburg,” said Martínez. “In the past 24 years, Hidalgo County’s population has doubled and the county is now home to up to 900,000 residents. Further, the dated structure and history of asbestos requires constant maintenance and repairs raising public health and safety concerns as wells as costs.”
Gov.-elect Mark White celebrated with Mrs. Gloria G. Saca of Edinburg during White’s successful bid to defeat Republican Bill Clements in 1982. Mrs. Saca, a lifelong Democrat, was a strong advocate for programs to help the elderly and the disabled in Texas. Tuesday, May 15 marked the second anniversary of her passing. See feature story in this posting.
Mrs Gloria G. Saca always believed in helping the underprivileged in the Valley, such as volunteering with the Salvation Army during Christmas seasons.
In Memorium: Gloria G. Saca remembered as a champion of the elderly and disabled in Texas
Let us throw off everything that hinders…and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.
– Hebrews 12:1
By DAVID A. DÍAZ
Beloved mother, grandmother, role model, and friend, Mrs. Gloria Garza Saca, 78, passed away, surrounded by her family, at her home in Edinburg on Sunday, May 15, 2005.
Mrs. Saca exemplified the best traits of South Texans: intelligence, determination, achievement, humility, and compassion.
She earned her credentials and many accomplishments the American way –successes forged from hard work that overcame economic and cultural obstacles.
An exemplary mother of three daughters and two sons, Mrs. Saca demonstrated courage and tenacity when at the age of 43, she enrolled at Pan American University and would go on to earn a Bachelor of Science with honors in Psychology.
She reached the heights of her chosen profession when she was named director of the Area Agency on Aging, where she pioneered key programs for the elderly and disabled in Texas.
Her skills were recognized at the national level, when in 1980, she was the only Mexican American woman from Texas invited to a White House conference on aging in Washington, D.C.
The highlight of that visit was a personal audience with First Lady Rosalynn Carter.
In 1978, Mrs. Saca was promoted to director of the Area Agency on Aging, a move that would define the path her successful career would take.
Breaking the barriers for minority women in the work force, she undertook this position with boundless talent and a unique perspective that would transform her into a champion for elderly rights.
Mrs. Saca traveled through Cameron, Hidalgo, and Willacy counties identifying and assessing the needs of older citizens. She worked tirelessly to plan, coordinate, and pool resources in an effort to develop a comprehensive and well-coordinated system of health and support services for the seniors of deep South Texas.
Her ultimate goal was to keep the elderly out of nursing homes in order to ensure their dignity and independence.
During her tenure as director, Mrs. Saca pioneered a vast array of committees and programs that are still in existence. They were developed to help older citizens by allowing them to be productive, worthwhile members of society.
Some of these efforts included: Senior Companion Program; Retired Senior Volunteer Program; Foster Grandparent Program; and Ombudsman Program.
Mrs. Saca also oversaw other key initiatives for South Texans.
Health screenings and health awareness seminars were organized for the first time. Funding was secured to purchase new vans for local housing authorities that served elders. These vans would provide medical transportation.
Senior service centers and nursing homes were monitored closely. An ombudsman program, the first of its kind in the Valley at that time, was established to advocate for quality of life, and to care for clients in nursing homes.
Area residents participated in the Senior Olympics at the Texas Senior Games Competition in Arlington after Mrs. Saca secured funding to bus and house them at various statewide competitions.
Mrs. Saca also helped expose the plight of the terminally-ill elderly patient by participating in the development of the first hospice care for the Rio Grande Valley.
After she retired from her professional life, she continued to serve her fellow Texans in many ways, donating her skills and contacts for many benevolent efforts, ranging from securing affordable housing for the needy to providing scholarships for deserving high school students.
In addition to her many charitable contributions, she continued to volunteer her time and efforts at the political levels, helping elect some of the most prominent public servants in South Texas.
Her family remained the focus of her life, and when she had successfully completed her professional goals, she made the most of her freedom by spending much of her time with her adult children and her grandchildren.
Mrs. Saca is preceded in death by her parents, Alfredo Garza and Beatrice Chapa Garza; husband Carlos Saca; sons Dr. Carlos Ramón Saca, M.D., and Jorge Jaime “Jimmy” Saca; brother Alfredo Garza, Jr.; and sisters Blasita Califa and Beatrice Flores.
Mrs. Saca is survived by her loving daughters Tula (Irineo) González, Judy (David) Díaz, and Sophia Margot (Rolando) Pérez; sister Sofia Canales; grandchildren Marieana Saca, Lauren Saca,
James Saca, Robert Riggio, Monette Rodríguez, Dr. Sonia Razzetti, and Judin Pérez; and great-grandchildren Karolina Rodríguez, Christopher Rodríguez, Noah Razzetti, and Ella Maria Razzetti.
The Saca family gave a special thanks to her caregiver Lydia Bravo for her compassionate and caring manner in which she took care of Mrs. Saca for eight years.
Having the distinguished honor to serve as pallbearers were Max Ceballos, Hector Pulido, Jerry Canales, Dr. Larry Balli, Brandon Balli, Fred A. Garza and Ricky Alamia.
Honorary pallbearers were Senator Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, State Rep. Aaron Peña, Fred R. Garza, Richard Alamia, Dr. Ramiro Flores, Jr., M.D., and Salvador S. Díaz.