Featured: María González, a Student Assistant with the University of Texas Rio Grande Valle, signs in a student at U Central on Monday, October 12, 2015, at the UTRGV Student Services Building on the Edinburg Campus. U Central is a one-stop shop on both the Edinburg and Brownsville campuses that works with various offices to centralize services via one point of contact.
Photograph By PAUL CHOUY
Gone are the days when students have to wait in multiple long lines to get answers to their questions on financial aid, registration, enrollment and other issues. Students at The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley now can receive assistance at its new one-stop shop – called U Central – on both the Brownsville and Edinburg campuses. On Monday, October 12, UTRGV celebrated the official opening of U Central with two ribbon-cutting ceremonies – one in the morning at El Gran Patio on the Brownsville Campus, and one in the afternoon outside the Student Services Building on the Edinburg Campus. U Central has been assisting students since August. UTRGV President Guy Bailey said U Central enables the university to achieve its primary goal of student success. “You need to have processes that help students get registered, get their financial aid, get in the right classes, meet advisers. And they need to be able to do that in as streamlined a fashion as possible,” Bailey said. “U Central provides that with cross-trained staff, technology and technological solutions to things. And it makes our goal really simple.” Bailey, the founding president of the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, will be participating in a panel discussion during the Texas Tribune Festival on Saturday, October 17, at The University of Texas at Austin. The panel starts at 4:25 p.m. at the Student Activity Center Auditorium. The topic is “Price vs. Cost vs. Value.” Joining Bailey on the panel are Gregory Fenves, president of The University of Texas at Austin; Brenda Hellyer, chancellor of San Jacinto College; U.S. Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson, D-Dallas, and Renue Khator, chancellor of the University of Houston System and president of the University of Houston. Texas Tribune reporter Matthew Watkins will serve as moderator. Members of UTRGV’s Student Government Association will attend the festival to represent the university: Denisse Molina Castro, Vice President of the Brownsville campus; Alondra Galván, chair of the Senate; Nicholas Hill, senator at-large; and Marc Roque, senator for Liberal Arts.
Earlier this month, Lt. Governor David Dewhurst appointed Sen. Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo, featured here reading to elementary school students, to the Select Committee on Redistricting. In her guest column, featured later in this posting, Zaffirini explains how the upcoming congressional redistricting battles in the Texas Legislature next spring will have a major impact on how much federal money comes for public school education. Zaffirini says South Texans can help funnel more federal funds for local school districts by fully participating in the final rounds of the U.S. Census. "An accurate census count is critical to fair representation for all Texans. Congressional seats are awarded to states based on population, and regions of Texas with greater population are given greater representation in the state legislature and board of education," she contends. "Census counts also will play a major role in determining how $4 trillion in federal funds will be spent over the next decade for critical needs including roads, hospitals, school lunch programs and senior centers."
The Edinburg Chamber of Commerce Restoration Committee has undertaken the task of preserving the Southern Pacific Train Depot, a historic site constructed in 1927 that has served the community and the Valley for many decades, including housing the local chamber and the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation. The facility was presented with a historical designation by the Texas Historical Commission once the initial restoration project was completed in 1995. Volunteers of the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce Depot Restoration Committee, members of the Board of Directors and Chamber staff have united to restore one of the city’s jewels. Committee members gathered recently to plan the next phase of the ongoing restoration project. Featured, from left: Marty Martin, Rio Valley Realty; Flo Prater, Rio Valley Realty; Letty González, President of the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce; Elva Jackson Garza, Depot Restoration Committee Chair; Maggie Kent, General Dentistry Centers; and Johnny Rodríguez, Austin Personnel Services and Chairman-Elect of the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce. See story later in this posting.
On Tuesday, July 13, the Workforce Solutions (WFS)Board of Directors recognized Cellular One for their continued support and creation of jobs in South Texas by presenting the telecommunications company with an Employer Partnership Award. In April 2008, Cellular One approached WFS with the idea of creation a call center in McAllen – their first in Texas.
With an initial staff of 20 employees, the Cellular One call center now employes 79 staff members – who also receive excellent benefits packages – which were referred by WFS. Featured, from left: John Hershey, Workforce Solutions; Rosie Welborn, Cellular One; Sam Vale, Workforce Solutions Board Chairman; and Ryan Murphy, Cellular One.
Alexander Cantú, a graduate of Edinburg North High School, was one of four Edinburg area students who were recently honored for their academic achievements with public recognition and scholarships by the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce Ambassadors Committee. The Ambassadors Committee last month held the 1st Annual Night Golf Tournament, which raised $4,000 for scholarship funds for Cantú and three other worthy students: Evan Brough, a graduate of the South Texas BETA Academy; Alexis García, a graduate of Edinburg High School; and Christian Henry, a graduate of Johnny G. Economedes High School. Those funds also were used for a restoration project for the Edinburg Depot, which currently houses the chamber of commerce and the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation. Featured with Cantú is Celeste Cabrera, a Chamber Ambassador, who also co-chaired the Night Golf Tournament.
Evan Brough, a graduate of the South Texas BETA Academy, featured right, proudly accepts his Certificate of Accomplishment, which also brought an academic scholarship, during a recent ceremony hosted by the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce. Bough, shown here receiving the public recognition from Martín Rivas, Director of Membership for the local chamber, was one of four Edinburg high school graduates who were awarded scholarships from proceeds of a June 11 golf tournament hosted by the chamber. In addition to Brough, the other accomplished area high school graduates who were honored and bestowed with scholarships were: Alexander Cantú, a graduate of Edinburg North High School; Alexis García, a graduate of Edinburg High School; and Christian Henry, a graduate of Johnny G. Economedes High School. The golf tournament, held on Friday, June 11 at the Ebony Municipal Golf Course, fielded teams whose entry fees help raise the crucial funds for the scholarships and the renovation work. From that competition, the follow teams placed accordingly: 1st Place: Jerry Salazar, Eric Cubriel, Víctor Prado, and Adolfo Cubriel; 2nd Place: Albert Ochoa, Chris Brasher, Eloy Alberete, and Mike Salinas; and 3rd Place: Guy Marroquín, Justin Esparza, and Rey Chavana.
Alexis García, featured right, a graduate of Edinburg High School, poses with Celeste Cabrera, a member of the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce Ambassadors Committee, after being honored by that group for the EHS student’s achievements in school, a ceremony which included García receiving a scholarship from the Ambassadors Committee. In addition to García, the other accomplished area high school graduates who were honored and bestowed with scholarships were: Evan Brough, a graduate of the South Texas BETA Academy; Alexander Cantú, a graduate of Edinburg North High School; and Christian Henry, a graduate of Johnny G. Economedes High School. The Ambassadors Committee also expressed their appreciation to the following sponsors for their commitment and support for: Allure Marketing Firm; Berton Auto Industrial; Beyamar Home Health & Hospice; Briggs Equipment; Budweiser; Convention + Expo Management Services LLC; Edinburg International Race Track; Edinburg Road Runners; Elsa State Bank; Gilbert Enríquez Enterprises; H20 Only; Home Depot Store #516; Klean Kits; Law Office of Roy Valdéz; ING/Rolando J. Guerra & Associates; Magic Valley Electric; Melden & Hunt; Lowes; Pro Nails II; Ramón’s BBQ; Rescue EMS; Sandia Depot; Security Depot; Stepping Stones Rehabilitation; Tiger Rock Taekwondo; and Valley Grande Manor.
South Texas Health System has recently named Steven C. Foster as Chief Operating Officer for Edinburg Regional Medical Center and Edinburg Children’s Hospital. “I am pleased to announce the promotion of Steven Foster to the position of Chief Operating Officer at Edinburg Regional Medical Center and Edinburg Children’s Hospital,” said Douglas Matney, Vice President of the Acute Care Division and Group Director for South Texas Health System. “We extend congratulations to Steven on his promotion and wish him continued success.” As Chief Operating Officer, Foster will help lead Edinburg Regional Medical Center and Edinburg Children’s Hospital’s strategic, operational, and administrative activities with Linda Resendez, RN, CEO. See story later in this posting.