Featured: The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley honored three outstanding alumni with the 2018 Distinguished Alumni Award during a ceremony on Thursday, March 1 at the McAllen Country Club. The award recognizes high-achieving alumni who have made significant contributions to society through their accomplishments, affiliations, careers and philanthropy. Shown at the event are, from left: UTRGV Founding President Guy Bailey, who presented the awards; recipient Gen. William F. Garrison of Hico, Texas, a retired major general of the U.S. Army and 1966 graduate of UTRGV legacy institution Pan American College; recipient Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa of McAllen, a 1970 graduate of Pan American College who has served Texas Senate District 20 since 2002; and recipient Welcome Wilson Sr. of Houston, a real estate developer and businessman and a 1946 graduate of UTRGV legacy institution Brownsville Junior College; and UTRGV Vice President for Institutional Advancement Kelly Scrivner, who opened the event. The Edinburg Mayor and Edinburg City Council, along with the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation and its Board of Directors, lobby the Texas Legislature and the UT System Board of Regents on matters that benefit and protect UTRGV and its School of Medicine, which have major campuses in the city.
Photograph By SILVER SALAS
Featured: Conrad Brown, Assistant Director, Ambulatory Services, SED, representing South Texas Health System, and Mayor Richard Molina led the traditional ribbon-cutting during the grand opening ceremony for the hospital system’s open house and health fair event held on Saturday, January 6, 2018 of STHS ER Monte Cristo, a new stand-alone emergency room located at 3615 N. Interstate 69-C in north Edinburg. The facility is providing 24-hour emergency services year-round, and is staffed and equipped with the same diagnostic technology available in STHS’s hospital-based emergency rooms. The new STHS location is the first in north Edinburg and will serve approximately 60,000 residents in the area. From left, first row, are: Fabian Borrego, Market CFO, STHS; Martha Pérez, House Supervisor, STHS; Conrad Brown, Assistant Director, Ambulatory Services, SED, STHS; and Mayor Richard Molina. Other hospital officials in attendance were Daniel Caldwell, CEO, McAllen Heart Hospital; Doug Matney, Regional Vice President of South Texas Health System; Jennifer Garza, CEO, Edinburg Regional Medical Center/Edinburg Children’s Hospital; and Lance Ames, COO, Edinburg Regional Medical Center/Edinburg Children’s Hospital. STHS ER Monte Cristo, which represents an $8.6 million private investment, was among the more than $271 million in construction activities that took place in Edinburg in 2017.
Photograph Courtesy SOUTH TEXAS HEALTH SYSTEM
Total construction activities in Edinburg for the year – January through December 2017 – including more than $8 million for the month of December, were valued at more than $271 million, compared with more than $209 million during 2016, the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation has announced. The building permits do not include the value of the land for the homes and buildings. In general, a building permit is legal permission given by the City of Edinburg, through the Code Enforcement Department, to erect, construct, renovate, maintain, or conduct any other specified activity on any building or structure, or on any installations or facilities therein. The term “building permit” includes but is not limited to building permits, electrical permits, mechanical permits, and plumbing permits. The top categories in Edinburg for 2017, which led to the total figure of $271,400,571, were: $84,537,000 – Non-Taxable New (government, religious, but not including the value of construction activities at The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley or its School of Medicine); $61,972,808 – Multi-Family Residences New Construction; $59,715,790; Single-Family Residences New Construction; $37,456,294; Commercial New Construction; $13,180,161; Commercial Alterations; $8,653,359 – Non-Taxable Alterations (government, religious, but not including the value of construction activities at The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley or its School of Medicine); and $5,885,159 – Residential Alterations. During 2017, building permits were issued for 496 new single-family residences, valued at $59,715,700, and building permits were issued for 325 multi-family residences, representing 938 units, valued at $61,972,808. The Edinburg EDC is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg Mayor and Edinburg City Council. The Edinburg EDC Board of Directors is comprised of City Councilmember Gilbert Enríquez as President, Edinburg School Board Trustee Miguel “Mike” Farías as Vice-President, Isael Posadas, P.E., as Secretary/Treasurer, and Julio César Carranza and Noé Sauceda, Ph.D., as Members.
Featured: Twenty-eight employers, ranging in size from small business owners to local governments, state and federal agencies, along with 413 area residents, participated in a successful major job fair held at the Michael Dustin Sekula Memorial Library on Thursday January 25, 2018, the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation has announced. The event, which was held from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., was free and open to the public. Also at no charge to area residents were a Résumé Writing Workshop held on Tuesday, January 23, 2018 and a Job Interview Workshop which took place on Wednesday, January 24, 2018. The workshops and the job fair were organized by the Edinburg EDC, which is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg Mayor and Edinburg City Council, the City of Edinburg, the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, and Workforce Solutions. There was no charge to the 28 employers who participated in the job fair. “The Edinburg EDC job fairs are designed to make it easier and more convenient for employers and prospective employees to get together,” said Jennifer Cabrera, who leads the Edinburg EDC’s marketing efforts. “The workshops and job fair were for every kind of person, from people who want to get a job for the first time, to individuals who are already employed, but are looking for a better job or a different career.” Leticia S. Leija, Director of Library & Cultural Arts, said the city library staff takes great pride in hosting the employment gathering. “The Michael Dustin Sekula Memorial Library is committed to empowering our community, and by providing these Job Readiness workshops, in conjunction with the UTRGV Career Center, and then following up with the Job Fair coordinated with the Edinburg EDC and WorkForce Solutions, two dedicated partners, we help provide our residents with a life-changing opportunities,” said Leija.
Photograph Courtesy MICHAEL DUSTIN SEKULA MEMORIAL LIBRARY
Two of the six applicants who were interviewed on Tuesday, January 28, 2018 for the position of Executive Director, Edinburg Economic Development Corporation, will be back for further consideration by the Edinburg EDC Board of Directors during a special meeting, set to begin at 6 p.m. at Edinburg City Hall, on Wednesday, January 31, 2018. The interviews will take place, as allowed by state law, in executive session, along with three other items: deliberate the offers of financial or other incentives to business prospects; deliberate authorizing the Assistant Executive Director to amend the Development Agreement with Oceangate; and consultation with attorney. The meeting, whose agenda also is posted online (http://edinburgedc.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/Jan-31st-Agenda.pdf), will be held in the Council Chamber at Edinburg City Hall, which is located at 415 W. University Drive. The Edinburg EDC Board of Directors is comprised of City Councilmember Gilbert Enríquez as President, Edinburg School Board Trustee Miguel “Mike” Farías as Vice-President, Isael Posadas, P.E., as Secretary/Treasurer, and Julio César Carranza and Noé Sauceda, Ph.D. as Members.
Featured: U.S. Customs and Border Protection professionals, such as the ones shown in this photograph, will be among the representatives of more than two dozen employers scheduled to participate in the Thursday, January 25, 2018 Job Fair at the Michael Dustin Sekula Memorial Library in Edinburg. The event, to be held from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., is free and open to the public. Also at no charge to area residents, at the Dustin Michael Sekula Memorial Library, which is located at 1906 South Closner Boulevard, there will be a Résumé Writing Workshop on Tuesday, January 23, 2018 from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m., and a Job Interview Workshop on Wednesday, January 24, 2018 from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. The work shops and the job fair are being organized by the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation, the City of Edinburg, the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, and Workforce Solutions. The Edinburg EDC is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg Mayor and Edinburg City Council.
Photograph Courtesy Michael Dustin Sekula Memorial Library
Hosting job fairs and other important events are part of the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation’s efforts to help promote economic development and provide quality-of-life programs. “We are here to to empower our community, and one of the ways to do that is by offering and hosting job fairs during the year, as well as to have a data base of job vacancies available at the Dustin Michael Sekula Memorial Library, and helping people learn how to prepare résumés and perform well in job interviews, at no cost to the public,” said Nelda Ramírez, Assistant Executive Director for the Edinburg EDC. Jennifer Cabrera, who leads the Edinburg EDC’s marketing efforts, said any business owner who wishes to participate in the job fair may still contact the Edinburg EDC at 956/383-7124 for updated information. Each employer will be assigned one table and two chairs to greet employee candidates. There is no charge to the employer to participate in the job fair. “The Edinburg EDC job fairs are designed to make it easier and more convenient for employers and prospective employees to get together,” said Cabrera. “They are for every kind of person, from people who want to get a job for the first time, to individuals who are already employed, but are looking for a better job or a different career.” The Edinburg EDC Board of Directors is comprised of Edinburg City Councilmember Gilbert Enríquez as President, Edinburg School Board Trustee Miguel “Mike” Farías as Vice-President, Isael Posadas, P.E., as Secretary/Treasurer, and Julio César Carranza and Noé Sauceda, Ph.D. as Members.
Featured: Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class JoAnn Consiglio, assigned to Navy Officer Recruiting Station Harlingen in Texas, is joined by other sailors of Navy Recruiting District San Antonio and Navy City Outreach Southwest Region, including Lt. Cmdr. Diana Tran-Yu of Navy City, in discussing grassroots perspectives on opportunities, benefits, and careers in the Navy to students during Latina Day on Wednesday, October 4, 2017 at the Hispanic Engineering, Science, and Technology (HESTEC) Week on the Edinburg campus of the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley.
Photograph By BURRELL PARMER
With scores of Texans preparing to pay their 2017 annual home property taxes, Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg, is reminding military veterans, and the surviving spouses of first responders who were killed or fatally injured in the line of duty, that there are new laws in place that can help many of them reduce the bills on their primary residence. “Home ownership is a vital part of the American Dream, and I have always supported efforts to provide property tax relief to Texans, such as local property tax freezes for homeowners who are 65-years-of-age or older, and for homeowners who have physical disabilities,” said Canales. “This year, I successfully authored House Bill 217, which provides property tax relief for certain veterans who have a disability, and I voted to place two other measures that protect homeowners on the November 2017 statewide constitutional amendments election ballot, where they were subsequently approved by voters – House Joint Resolution 21 and Senate Joint Resolution 1.” The House Research Organization, which is the nonpartisan research division of the Texas House of Representatives, provides the following background and goals of HB 217, HJR 21, and SJR 1, which became state law in 2017: House Bill (HB) 217 – Canales was the author of HB 217 while Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, D-McAllen, sponsored Canales’ bill in the Texas Senate – provides veterans who are disabled, in the instances they were not protected under now-former Texas laws, the ability to defer collection of property taxes or the abatement of a foreclosure/sale of their home due to delinquent property taxes; House Joint Resolution (HJR) 21 – it was approved by Texas voters as Proposition 1 during November 7, 2017 state constitutional amendment election– fixes a shortcoming in current law that unfairly resulted in increasing the financial burden on a veteran with a partial disability who paid some amount of the cost of a donated home; and Senate Joint Resolution (SJR) 1 – it was approved by Texas voters as Proposition 6 during the November 7, 2017 state constitutional amendment election – allows a surviving spouse of a first responder who is killed or fatally injured in the line of duty to receive an exemption from ad valorem taxation from all or part of the market value on the surviving spouse’s residence homestead, as long as the surviving spouse has not remarried since the death of the first responder. According to the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts, Texas offers a variety of partial or total (absolute) exemptions from appraised property values used to determine local property taxes. A partial exemption removes a percentage or a fixed dollar amount of a property’s value from taxation. A total (absolute) exemption excludes the entire property from taxation. Taxing units are mandated by the state to offer certain (mandatory) exemptions and have the option to decide locally on whether or not to offer others (local option). (https://comptroller.texas.gov/taxes/property-tax/exemptions/