Featured, front row, representing Bob’s Steak & Chop House in Edinburg, the Edinburg City Council, and the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation, include, from left: City Councilmember Homer Jasso; Juan Luis Mussenden, General Manager, Bob’s Steak & Chop House in Edinburg; Peter Higgins, Managing Partner, Bob’s Steak & Chop House in Edinburg; Gus García, Executive Director, Edinburg Economic Development Corporation (immediately behind Peter Higgins); Mayor Richard García, who also serves as President, Board of Directors, Edinburg Economic Development Corporation; and City Councilmember Richard Molina. These leaders were among the several hundred area residents who participated in the Wednesday, July 19, 2017 ribbon-cutting of the five-star, multi-million dollar restaurant, located at the Shoppes at Rio Grande Valley. The restaurant is just off U.S. Expressway 281 in the heart of Edinburg. Bob’s combines a lively atmosphere, fine wines and large cuts of the finest prime steaks, chops and seafood to make Bob’s the best steak house in any town. Known for their prime filets, Bob’s only serves prime beef, hand-selected from the top two percent of all beef, perfectly trimmed and expertly grilled. Bob’s also offers delicious sides and desserts made from scratch, and included with every steak, their famous pickles, choice of potato and signature big glazed carrot. Letty González, President of the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce, shared community leaders enthusiasm for Bob’s Steak & Chop House in Edinburg. “We are excited to welcome our new member to Edinburg,” said González. “Bob’s is a beautiful and unique dining experience that will be unparalleled in our area. This is just an indication of all the great things going on in Edinburg.”
Photograph By RONNIE LARRALDE
Featured, from left: Gus García, Executive Director, Edinburg Economic Development Corporation, congratulates Peter Higgins, Managing Partner, Bob’s Steak and Chop House in Edinburg, following the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the restaurant, which took place on Wednesday, July 19, 2017. “Edinburg’s restaurants are fantastic, and they serve phenomenal food, great meals, you name it. Now, having an elite restaurant like Bob’s Steak & Chop House changes the image for the entire South Texas region. This is the first nationally-recognized five-star restaurant in Edinburg and deep South Texas,” said García. “Bob’s has a nationally known reputation. By doing well in Edinburg, it will once again prove that our region can support, and deserves, the very best life has to offer.” Higgins heaped praise on deep South Texas. “People have asked me several times recently, ‘Why Edinburg, Texas?’ Well, I’ll tell you why. It is a tremendous growth environment,” Higgins said. “If you look at the city itself with its growth, a new Hidalgo County Courthouse that will be built, several world-class hotels, a nationally-ranked university with a School of Medicine, and the Bert Ogden Arena and H-E-B Park near our site – well, the list goes on and on.”
Featured, from left: Jaime Cazares, District Sales Manager, Ben E. Keith Foods; Debra Stolley; Roger Stolley, NAI Rio Grande Valley (Commercial Real Estate Services Worldwide); Byron Jay Lewis, President and CEO, Edwards Abstract and Title Co., and Peter Higgins, Managing Partner, Bob’s Steak & Chop House in Edinburg, seated inside the Lenox Lounge in the multi-million dollar five-star restaurant, located at 591 East Trenton Road in Edinburg, at the Shoppes at Rio Grande Valley. The Lenox Lounge, part of the approximately 9,000-square-foot facility, is named in honor of William “Bill” W. Lenox, former president of the Bob’s Steak & Chop House national chain of fine dining establishments. Lenox, who died on Friday, January 20, 2016, was the key player in bringing the restaurant to Edinburg. According to his obituary, published in the Dallas Morning News, “Lenox, known for his entrepreneurial success, generous spirit and engaging character, passed away after suffering a heart attack at his home in Vail, Colorado. He was 70.” (http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/dallasmorningnews/obituary.aspx?pid=183988366)
Featured: Second from left, Dr. Guy Bailey, President, The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, meets with students at the Edinburg campus on Wednesday, August 31, 2016, as part of celebrations marking the first anniversary of UTRGV, which was the result of state legislation in 2013 that brought together the resources of UT Pan American in Edinburg, UT-Brownsville, and the UT Regional Academic Health Centers in Edinburg and Harlingen. The Edinburg Mayor and Edinburg City Council, along with the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation, helped lobby the Texas Legislature and the UT System Board of Regents for the creation of UTRGV, which also includes a School of Medicine with a major campus in Edinburg.
Photograph By PAUL CHOUY
About a week before The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley in Edinburg celebrated its first anniversary, the UT System Board of Regents approved a major plan that will lead to the construction of the latest state-of-the-art facility on the local campus – the $35.6 million Interdisciplinary Engineering and Academics Studies Building. Meeting in Austin on Wednesday, August 24 and Thursday, August 25, 2016, the nine-member governing board, which includes Ernest Aliseda of McAllen, unanimously gave the go-ahead to the design development of the 53,400 gross square foot facility, which is being built to increase the number of engineering students, said Edinburg Mayor Richard García. The timeline for the project includes issuing the Notice to Proceed in March 2017, with substantial completion anticipated by November 2018. “According to the UT System Board of Regents agenda, this new facility will include six engineering teaching labs, two discipline-specific computer labs, eight 60-seat general classrooms, offices for faculty and staff, and support spaces for graduate and doctoral students,” said the mayor. According to UT System and UTRGV leaders, among the key goals of the Interdisciplinary Engineering and Academics Studies Building are: Increase engineering enrollment by 48% from 3,076 to 4,553 by 2028; Increase number of laboratory seats by 40% from 2,771 to 3,879 by 2028; and Reduce teaching space deficit by 32,233 assignable square feet (ASF). Additionally, the project will include an outdoor area to be used as a gathering and study space to relieve pressure on more expensive indoor space and also to support academic events. The $35.6 million Interdisciplinary Engineering and Academics Studies Building will located just adjacent to the west Physical Science Building, which will be abandoned and demolished.
Dr. Bin Fu, assistant professor in Department of Computer Science at The University of Texas-Pan American, has become the second faculty member on the Edinburg campus to receive the National Science Foundation’s most prestigious honor, the Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Award. The NSF accolade is presented to junior faculty members at CAREER-eligible organizations who exemplify the role of teacher-scholars through outstanding research, excellent education and the integration of education and research within the context of the mission of their organizations. Dr. Karen Lozano, mechanical engineering associate professor who holds the Julia Beecherl Professorship in Engineering at UTPA, won the honor in 2001. “The CAREER Award is a dream for many tenure track faculty members. Before receiving the confirmation from NSF, I did not even believe it would be true for me,” Fu said. “I hope this will encourage more junior faculty members at UTPA to join this national competition.” See story later in this posting.
The South Texas Transplant Center at McAllen Medical Center on Tuesday, April 7, held a public flag raising ceremony as part of “Flags Across America", a Donate Life America initiative which honors and celebrates the hundreds of thousands of donors and recipients whose lives have been affected by organ, eye and tissue donation. The Donate Life flag was officially raised by Micaela Ledezma, who after six years on dialysis, received a kidney from a cadaver and underwent a transplant procedure at the South Texas Transplant Center at McAllen Medical Center. With a healthy kidney, Ledezma has been able to live her life without dialysis. Featured with Ledezma is Joel Peña, System Director of Volunteer Services. Partially obscured by the flagpole to her right is Fidel Ozuna from the hospital’s Engineering Department. See story later in this posting.
Community leaders and residents of the Mid Valley communities, including Alamo, Donna, Mercedes, Progreso, Progreso Lakes, San Juan, and Weslaco, are featured in this portrait with Rep. Armando "Mando"Martínez, D-Weslaco (first row, third from left) and Sen. Eddie Lucio, Jr., D-Brownsville (first row, third from right), during a visit last month to the Texas Capitol by a delegation from those cities. Late last week, House Bill 848 by Martínez, which would allow the governor to designate the Mid Valley Airport in Weslaco as the disaster relief headquarters for the Valley, was heard by a major House committee. Lucio also represents Weslaco in his senatorial district, and will be pressed into action by his constituents to rally support for the Weslaco airport measure, and get it passed out of the Senate as well. Weslaco Mayor Buddy de la Rosa, featured to Lucio’s left, has publicly endorsed the Weslaco airport legislation. See lead story on the Mid Valley Airport and a related story on Mid Valley Day later in this posting.
South Texas College has honored the commitment to education in Starr County of founding board member Manuel Benavidez Jr., who passed away on Saturday, March 28, by naming the college’s new Starr County Campus Rural Technology Center in his honor. Benavidez, who represented Starr County on the STC Board of Trustees, is a past president of the board and served as secretary until his passing from terminal cancer. "He did a fine job for the college,” said Dr. Alejo Salinas Jr., STC board member from Edinburg. “The entire community owes him so much for his efforts to purse the best education possible for our students. He was elected to do the same job we were, but he took a tremendous lead in getting things accomplished for the college and making STC one of the best community colleges in the nation. He was a dear friend and deserving colleague.” See story later in this posting.
South Texans who are working on ways to help autistic children recently took their ideas to the Texas Capitol, including meeting with area legislators, to seek support for the creation of State Autism Resource and research Center. There are more than 5,000 South Texas children afflicted with autism, according to the Texas Health and Human Services, and that figure is projected to double by the year 2028. Autism is a developmental disability characterized by language impairment, deficits in communication and social interaction, and abnormal behavior, such as repetitive acts and excessive attachment to certain objects. Autism affects at least one in every 166 children nationally, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Diagnostic rates are increasing 10 percent to 17 percent annually. The CDC estimates that every day, 66 children – nearly three per hour – are diagnosed with autism. Members of South Texas’ Autism Council for Educational Support and Scientific Studies (ACES3) and the RGV chapter of the Texas Council on Autism are featured on the steps on the Texas Capitol on February 26 with local senators. Front row, from left: Sen. Eddie Lucio, D-Brownsville; Gabriela Ortiz; Heather Vitek; Missy Renaud; María "Charo" Mann; Adriana Paz; and Sen. Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa, D-McAllen. Center row, from left: Celine Garza; Zacnith Treviño’ Bret Mann; and Dalia De La O Carr. Back row, from left: Dagoberto Garza; Linette Linsangan; Belen Garza; Joel Garza; Claudia Rodríguez; Nancy Alanis; Allan Mercado, M.D.; and Gladys Ajero.
The RGV Branch of the National Association of Social Workers, more than 200 members strong, on Friday, March 27, named Hidalgo County Judge J.D. Salinas, III as the Public Elected Official of the Year. “From a social worker’s standpoint, he’s made a difference in the community,” said Rebecca Ramírez, NASW Texas Chapter RGV Branch Chair. “Our criteria are to honor somebody who stands up for the civil rights of those in need.” The group didn’t have a hard time choosing Salinas, Ramírez observed, adding that the judge’s compassion toward the uninsured and granting access to health care, his outcries against the border fence and his vested interest in “the little guy,” are readily apparent. Salinas was honored along with Tim Smith, Media Representative of the Year, for his work with Tim’s Coats; Public Citizen of theYear Amelia Molina; Social Work Student of the Year Eileen Palacios; and Social Worker of the Year Candice Guillen. “When you elected me to be your County Judge, I vowed to be there full time. And I am surprised today, because I am being honored for just doing my job," Salinas said. "But we have a team of professionals that work hard for you every day, so I accept the award for my staff and for the Commissioners’ Court. We serve full time for you."
Sergeant 1st Class Jeff Printy last July 22 marshaled in nine light-medium tactical vehicles deployed from San Antonio to the Standing Joint InterAgency Task Force headquarters located at the Army National Guard Armory in Weslaco. Texas military forces came to southern Texas in anticipation of heavy flood relief efforts caused by Hurricane Dolly. A bill introduced by Rep. Armando "Mando" Martínez, D-Weslaco, would allow the governor to designate the Mid-Valley Airport, which is located next to the armory, as the Valley headquarters for emergency responses to natural and man-made calamities. See story later in this posting.
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.
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.
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.