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Construction begins in Edinburg on first new $54 million building for University of Texas medical school

Email This News Story Email This News Story | Print This News Story Print This News Story | October 14th, 2014 by Legislativemedia@aol.com
Photograph by MARCO MARTÍNEZ www.EDINBURGPOLITICS.com Edinburg’s key governments and businesses were among the big winners in the 2014 Monitor’s Readers’ Choice Award, according to the McAllen-based newspaper, which honored all recipients of that honor during a ceremony on Tuesday, September 30, at the McAllen Chamber of Commerce. “For nearly three decades, Hidalgo County institutions have looked forward to The Monitor’s annual Readers’ Choice Award,” the publication stated in its Wednesday, October 1 edition. “Among the big winners were the City of Edinburg, with many businesses there garnering the endorsements of Monitor readers.” In addition to Edinburg being named the Best City, the Edinburg school district was named best school system, and the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce took to top ranking in its respective category. Featured, seated, from left: Imelda Rodríguez, Director of Tourism, Edinburg Chamber of Commerce; Letty González, President, Edinburg Chamber of Commerce; Sonia Marroquín, Edinburg Assistant City Manager; Myra C. García, First Lady, City of Edinburg; Nicole Sosa, Kids’ Kollege Learning Center; and Concepción “Connie” S. Hernández, New York Life Insurance. Standing, from left: Agustín “Augie” Lozano, Bert Ogden Rio Grande Valley; Edinburg City Councilmember Richard Molina; Dr. René Gutiérrez, Superintendent, Edinburg Consolidated Independent School District; Edinburg School Board President Juan “Sonny” Palacios, Jr.; Edinburg Mayor Richard García; Alex Ríos, Kids’ Kollege Learning Center; and Velma Sue De León, Memorial Funeral Home. See story later in this posting. •••••• Photograph By MARK MONTEMAYOR www.EDINBURGPOLITICS.com Amidst the pomp and circumstance of community-wide events on Tuesday, September 16 and Wednesday, September 17, honoring the 100th anniversary of The Edinburg Review, the milestone for the newspaper also provides residents with the opportunity to appreciate a free and independent press, city and state leaders say. “There is a saying that the press can be good or bad, but most certainly without freedom, the press will never be anything but bad,” said Edinburg Mayor Richard García. “In honoring The Edinburg Review on its centennial, we are also paying respect to the most important right of every American – freedom of speech.” García, who also serves as president of the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation Board of Directors, was joined by the Edinburg City Council on Tuesday, September 16, to present the leadership of The Edinburg Review a city proclamation honoring the history and impact of newspaper on its hometown and region. Featured at Edinburg City Hall on Tuesday, September 16, are, front row, from left, representing The Edinburg Review: Ricardo De Luna, Account Executive; Pedro Pérez, IV, Editor; Gustavo Díaz, Advertising Director; Laura García, Staff Writer; Linda Medrano (holding framed proclamation), Publisher, The Edinburg Review/Town Crier; Claudia García, Fulfillment Specialist; Javier Silva, Account Executive; and Jimmy Rocha, Production Manager. Back row, from left: Councilmember Richard Molina; Mayor Pro Tem Elías Longoria, Jr.; Mayor Richard García; Councilmember J.R. Betancourt; and Councilmember Homer Jasso, Jr. See story later in this posting. •••••• Photograph by DIEGO REYNA www.EDINBURGPOLITICS.com If there were ever any doubts, a music video featuring almost 200 Edinburg residents, including the cheerleaders and other key staff for the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, the NBA-affiliated professional basketball team, shows that the community is optimistic about the present and future – and its people used rhythm, dance and video to let the whole world know. In a first-class production by the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation, entitled “Edinburg EDC IS HAPPY”, the positive and catchy music of Pharrell Williams’ smash hit, Happy, serves as the soundtrack for the five minute and 22 second local music video. By utilizing YouTube, the EEDC is getting their message out on a global level, since the video sharing website, by its own accounting, “allows billions of people to discover, watch and share originally-created videos. YouTube provides a forum for people to connect, inform, and inspire others across the globe and acts as a distribution platform for original content creators and advertisers large and small.” Mayor Richard García, who is no stranger to the spotlight, and who as a younger man performed in a band, praised everyone who volunteered for the music video. “I know a picture tells a thousand words, but this music video goes even further,” the mayor said. “This is an extraordinary and true representation of the people of Edinburg, the Rio Grande Valley, and South Texas. We are energetic, intelligent, confident, diverse, young, strong, successful, accomplished, experienced, wise, beautiful, handsome, and full of hope.” “Edinburg EDC IS HAPPY” had its “world premiere” on Thursday, July 24, before a packed house of more than 220 area business and community leaders who had gathered at the Edinburg Conference Center at Renaissance for the quarterly Public Affairs Luncheon organized by the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce. (The “Edinburg EDC IS HAPPY” video is available online at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XaApcFHVr3o). More than 2,000 views had been registered of that video as of August 15. Featured on Tuesday, July 29, reenacting their performance for the “Edinburg EDC IS HAPPY” music video are, kneeling, from left: Nallely Cáceres; Ashley Torres; Sarah Echevarría; and Laura Perales. Middle row, from left: Liana Cisneros; Hondo Candelaria; Rebecca Sweat; and RGV Vipers mascot Fang. Back row, from left: André Burns; Laura Cisneros; and Gabriel Ramírez. See story later in this posting. •••••• Photograph by JOSUE ESPARZA www.EDINBURGPOLITICS.com Five cadets in The University of Texas-Pan American's U.S. Army Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) were commissioned on Friday, August 22 during a ceremony held at UTPA's Albert L. Jeffers Theatre. Col. Hugh Davis, adjunct professor at the National Defense University Eisenhower School of National Security Strategy and Resource Management, commissioned the cadets as second lieutenants in the U.S. Army during the ceremony attended by family, friends and university officials. Since its inception in 1981, 272 students in the UTPA ROTC program have transitioned from cadets to commissioned U.S. Army officers serving in active, national guard or reserve duty. Featured from left at the ceremony are: Second Lieutenants Leslie Amaya (Reserves); Manuel Aranda (Active Duty); José Nava López (Reserves); Betty Preciado (National Guard); and Amara Ríos (Reserves). For more information on UTPA's ROTC program, call 956/665-3600 or 3601. •••••• Photograph Courtesy of U.S. LIBRARY OF CONGRESS www.EDINBURGPOLITICS.com Hidalgo County is asking for area residents to provide information about women from the region who participated in the “Rosie the Riveter” movement during World War II. “Rosie the Riveter” was the star of a U.S. government campaign aimed at recruiting women for the munitions industry. In movies, newspapers, posters, photographs and articles, the campaign stressed the patriotic need for women to enter the work force and many did. “We are reaching out to everyone for information on women, especially those from the Rio Grande Valley, who answered the call to duty during World War II as widespread male enlistment left gaping holes in the industrial labor force,” explained Julie Benítez Sullivan, Director of Public Affairs for Hidalgo County. “Rosies were crucial to the war effort and Hidalgo County would like to help recognize them for their service to our country.” Individuals are asked to contact Sullivan via email at public.affairs@co.hidalgo.tx.us or by phone at 956/292-7026. In this image, provided by the U.S. Library of Congress, a man and a woman riveting team in 1942 work on the cockpit shell of a C-47 transport aircraft at the plant of North American Aviation, Inc. in Inglewood, California. More than six million female workers helped to build planes, bombs, tanks and other weapons that would eventually win World War II. They stepped up to the plate without hesitation and gave up their domestic jobs to accomplish things that only men had done before them. They became streetcar drivers, operated heavy construction machinery, worked in lumber and steel mills, unloaded freight and much more. Proving that they could do the jobs known as "men’s work" created an entirely new image of women in American society, and set the stage for upcoming generations. Every day the women, both young and old, would punch into work at the shipyards, factories and munitions plants across America. During the war the women increased the workforce by 50 percent. Racial barriers were broken as various minority members went to work. Coming from all walks of life, there were those already working who switched to higher-paying defense jobs, those who had lost their jobs due to the Depression, and then of course there were the women who worked at home. •••••• Photograph By RONNIE LARRALDE www.EDINBURGPOLTICS.com The Edinburg Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and Staff are planning the Annual Installation Banquet scheduled for Thursday, October 23, 2014 at 6 p.m. The banquet will take place at the Echo Hotel and Conference Center, located at 1903 S. Closner Boulevard in Edinburg. The banquet will honor Edinburg Municipal Court Judge Toribio "Terry" Palacios as incoming chairman and Robert McGurk, featured in this image, as outgoing chairman for the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce. The banquet will also feature dinner and the announcements of "Man and Woman of the Year", "Leadership Award" and "Ambassador of the Year". Tickets to attend the Annual Banquet are $30 per person, or $300 for a table of 8. Attire will be business casual and is open to the public. For more information, please call the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce at 956/383-4974. Dina Araguz, immediate past chairwoman of the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, also is featured in this image. •••••• Photograph by RONNIE LARRALDE www.EDINBURGPOLITICS.com The Edinburg Chamber of Commerce will host its Public Affairs Luncheon on Thursday, October 16, at the Echo Hotel & Conference Center, 1903 S. Closner Boulevard in Edinburg. The topic will be a legislative update, featuring highlights from the regular session of the Texas Legislature held in the spring of 2013, and looking ahead to the upcoming five-month regular session, which begins in early January 2015. Sen. Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa, D-McAllen, Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg, and Rep. R.D. “Bobby” Guerra, D-McAllen, are the invited speakers. Featured promoting the event are, from left: Letty González, President, Edinburg Chamber of Commerce; Lucy Canales, partner, Linebarger, Goggan Blair & Sampson, LLP; Kelly Rivera Salazar, Linebarger, Goggan Blair & Sampson, LLP; and Elva Jackson Garza, Vice President, Marketing & Business Development, Edwards Abstract and Title Company. For more information or to make a reservation for the luncheon, please call the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce at 956/383-4974. The October 16 luncheon also allows business professionals to meet, network and create opportunities for the companies they represent. Cost to attend the luncheon is $12 per person or $125 for a table of 8, and includes a hot lunch, beverage and dessert. The Public Affairs Luncheons are an initiative introduced in 2006, and since then have featured popular topics with speakers who cover important community and legislative issues. The vision is to inform, involve and educate chamber members and civic leaders. For 38 years, Linebarger Goggan Blair & Sampson LLP, a nationally-recognized business, has successfully focused on helping local governments ensure that all taxpayers meet their legal obligations. The firm is a major player in public-sector collections, serving more than 2,300 clients from offices in California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Illinois,Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Texas. •••••• Photograph by MARTHA E. PEÑA www.EDINBURGPOLITICS.com Elected officials and higher education leaders from across America came together at the St. Regis Washington, D.C. Hotel on Tuesday, September 30, to honor the South Texas College Dual Enrollment Academies program as a Finalist among America’s top programs that increase academic opportunities and increase achievement for Latino students. The South Texas Dual Enrollment Academies program was selected from among 217 competitors from 26 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico as one of 14 Finalists for the 2014 Examples of Excelencia Award. Conceived and run by Excelencia in Education, this is the only national initiative to systematically identify, recognize, and catalogue evidence-based programs that improve Latino college success. Featured at the STC Pecan Campus in McAllen are, front row, from left: Bianca Peralez, STC Secretary for High School Programs; Rickey Banda, STC Academies Specialist; and Alejandra López, STC Academies Specialist. Back row, from left: Javier González, STC Academies Specialist; Rebecca De León, STC Coordinator for High School Programs; Kimberly Crawford, STC Director of Academies and High School Projects; and Alejandro A. García, STC Training Manager. See story later in this posting. •••••• Photograph by MARK MONTEMAYOR www.EDINBURGPOLITICS.com McAllen Mayor Jim Darling, featured left, observes as Edinburg Mayor Richard García on Tuesday, August 26, signed a Memorandum of Understanding between the University of Texas System and the cities of Edinburg, McAllen, Pharr and Mission, along with Hidalgo County, to provide $47.5 million over the next 10 years to support medical training operations in Hidalgo County. The agreement was part of a groundbreaking ceremony at The University of Texas-Pan American, which will be home to a significant portion of a Valley-wide UT medical school. The gathering was the official kick-off for the beginning of construction of a $54 million medical school academic building in Edinburg. Occupying more than 88,000 square feet, that complex will be a teaching facility that promotes faculty and student interaction at the beginning stages of medical school. The building will include an auditorium, digital library, clinical skills center, pre-clinical laboratories and an anatomy teaching facility. Multiple small classrooms, seminar rooms and other features will offer opportunities for small group problem solving and inter-professional educational experiences. UT System Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa, second from left, and Mission Mayor Norberto Salinas, both featured in the background, took part in the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding. See lead story in this posting. ••••••

Construction begins in Edinburg on first new $54 million building for University of Texas medical school

By JENNY LaCOSTE-CAPUTO Medical, academic and community leaders from throughout South Texas gathered on Tuesday, August 26, for a groundbreaking ceremony for the $54 million University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley Medical Academic Building, the first new construction for the UT-RGV School of Medicine. As part of the ceremony that highlighted the beginning phase of the long-sought Valley medical school, UT System Chancellor Francisco G. Cigarroa, M.D., and leaders from Hidalgo County and the cities of Edinburg, McAllen, Mission and Pharr signed a Memorandum of Understanding, a reflection of support for the medical school by the local governments. Under the agreement, the cities and county agree to provide $47.5 million over the next 10 years to support medical training operations in Hidalgo County. Noting the event’s historic nature, Cigarroa, who played a critical role in the effort to secure legislative approval and funding for the medical school and UT-RGV, said that “until this moment, we have been preparing for the journey. And now, today’s groundbreaking is a tangible stepping stone in the journey to bring a medical school to this region of Texas. This has been an amazing journey and one we could not have undertaken without many outstanding leaders who have embraced this plan and contributed greatly to its early success.” In thanking many for their effort, Cigarroa singled out UT System Board of Regents Vice Chairman Gene Powell, a Weslaco native, who as chairman pushed for the creation of the university and medical school. “We could not have done this without him…. The people of the Rio Grande Valley have a devoted friend and native son who has returned home with gifts greater than gold,” Cigarroa said. “He has helped open the doors of higher education and medical training that will produce doctors, nurses, health professionals and well educated citizens for generations to come.” Powell said the medical school will bring world-class medical education and training, scientific research, and state-of-the-art healthcare to the region. “This new university and medical school will forever transform the lives of our children and grandchildren – and fulfill the dreams of those who have come before us and wanted the best for this magnificent part of Texas,” Powell said. Other speakers included Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, D-McAllen, a principal architect of the legislation to create the new university; Dr. Guy Bailey, founding president of UT-Rio Grande Valley; Francisco Fernández, M.D., founding dean of the UTRGV School of Medicine; William Henrich, president of the UT Health Science Center at San Antonio; Edinburg Mayor Richard García; Hidalgo County Judge Ramón García; and Ken Shine, M.D., special advisor to the chancellor at UT System. Occupying more than 88,000 square feet, the new building will be a teaching facility that promotes faculty and student interaction at the beginning stages of medical school. The building will include an auditorium, digital library, clinical skills center, pre-clinical laboratories and an anatomy teaching facility. Multiple small classrooms, seminar rooms and other features will offer opportunities for small group problem solving and inter-professional educational experiences. The region-wide medical school will interact with and complement facilities in Harlingen and Brownsville, including the existing Regional Academic Health Center, and will make extensive use of online and distance learning and will support continuing education in the region. Construction began in July and is expected to be complete by the time the first medical school classes begin in the fall of 2016. The institution will also be home to a School of Medicine and will transform Texas and the nation by becoming a leader in student success, teaching, research and healthcare. UT-RGV will enroll its first class in the fall of 2015, and the School of Medicine will open in 2016. ••••••

Doctors Hospital at Renaissance unveils plans for $206 million expansion and 530 new full-time jobs from period of 2013 through 2015

By DAVID A. DÍAZ Health care and medical education are key anchors for impressive growth and prosperity in Edinburg, as evidenced by the ongoing and planned expansions at Doctors Hospital at Renaissance, the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation has announced. The EEDC, which is governed by a five-member Board of Director led by Mayor Richard García as president, is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg City Council. With a local economic impact of $1 billion during the past three years, according to a University of Texas-Pan American analysis, hospital officials on Tuesday, August 19, successfully secured the support of the Edinburg City Council that allows DHR to apply to the governor’s office for up to $2.5 million in state financial incentives. García expressed the sentiments of his colleagues on the city council by emphasizing the importance of the city’s network of hospitals. In addition to DHR, South Texas Health Systems also has a major presence in Edinburg, with assets that include Edinburg Regional Medical Center and Edinburg Children’s Hospital. “I say that the city of Edinburg wears a crown of excellence, and the crown jewels include the University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley, our public and private schools, Hidalgo County government, the new UT medical school in Edinburg, our retail businesses, and our health and medical care systems,” the mayor said. “Doctors Hospital at Renaissance has become one of the crown jewels because it is important not only to us, but to the entire Valley and Texas.” Under DHR’s vision, they are planning to invest more than $206 million for expansion as well as create more than 500 new fulltime jobs at its southwest Edinburg sites. The ongoing and planned construction and jobs creation, which will cover a period between 2013 and 2015, could reach $250 million, DHR officials added, which could result in up to $3.5 million in state financial incentives for the sprawling, state-of-the-art, physician-owned medical care and medical education complex located at 5501 South McColl Road. As part of its $206 million expansion strategies, DHR is planning to create 530 new full-time jobs, including 250 positions for faculty and medical residents who will be working with DHR as part of the upcoming creation of a the UT medical school, which will have a major campus in Edinburg, said Agustín “Gus” García, EEDC’s Executive Director. Mayor Richard García and EEDC Executive Director Agustín “Gus” García are not related. A medical resident is a licensed physician who is training, usually though a hospital, in their medical specialty. • New jobs will result in another $125 million annual payroll “The EEDC has been working with Doctors Hospital at Renaissance in its expansion process,” Gus García said. “The hospital leadership has requested the city council designate DHR as a Texas Enterprise Zone Project for this expansion, retention and creation of full-time jobs in Edinburg.” According to the Office of the Governor, the Texas Enterprise Zone Program is an economic development tool for local communities to partner with the State of Texas to promote job creation and significant private investment that will assist economically distressed areas of the state. Approved projects are eligible to apply for state sales and use tax refunds on qualified expenditures. The level and amount of refund is related to the capital investment and jobs created at the qualified business site. The 530 new jobs also will result an additional annual payroll of $125 million at DHR, which in 2013 generated a payroll and related personnel costs of $180 million, according to data provided by the hospital leadership. Current employment at DHR numbers 3,755, with an average wage of its non-physician workforce of $24 per hour. DHR also has established its own minimum wage of $11 per hour, significantly higher than the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour. DHR pays more than $6.7 million annually in local property and sales taxes, further benefiting the local economy. The expansions and new jobs will add to those figures, which are used by local governments to help provide important services to its citizens. In nominating DHR as a Texas Enterprise Zone Project, the city is not required to provide any funding from local property or local sales taxes, Gus García noted. “This designation will not be at any cost to the City of Edinburg nor will the city lose sales taxes,” he emphasized. “The city will benefit with the increase in the tax base and the retention of new jobs.” Since 1989, Edinburg has qualified as an Enterprise Zone community, allowing it to partner with the state to offer a package of local and state tax and regulatory benefit to new or expanding businesses. “The Enterprise Zone designation has allowed the City of Edinburg to retain and recruit businesses such as Merkafon Teleperformance, Edinburg Regional Medical Center, Wright III Foods, and Doctors Hospital at Renaissance,” Gus García said. The Texas Enterprise Zone Program, which has benefited Edinburg and dozens of cities statewide, has deep Valley roots. The state law that created the Texas Enterprise Zone Program was sponsored by Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, D-McAllen, when he was a state representative, and then-Sen. Héctor Uribe, D-Brownsville, in 1983. • Highlights of current and planned growth In seeking the city council’s required support, Israel Rocha, DHR’s Chief Executive Officer, provided highlights of recent and planned growth by the hospital system during his Tuesday, August 19 presentation before the mayor and city councilmembers. “Doctors Hospital at Renaissance has a great history in working with the city. Together, we have built our company and have been able to grow, and are a great example of what the City of Edinburg offers to companies which are growing in the region,” Rocha said. “We have been able to build a top-tier hospital thanks to your assistance. We are moving from being a hospital to becoming a health system.” Rocha was joined at the city council session by Sofía Hernández, DHR’s Administrator for Medical Education and Public Affairs. He said DHR is planning formal public ceremonies to introduce more South Texans to the several construction projects that have opened this year. “The new Joslin Diabetes Center, the Bariatric and Metabolic Institute, and the Urology Institute at Renaissance are all open. We will soon be having a formal welcome for the community to come join us to see our service lines,” Rocha said. “We just broke ground on our Outpatient Surgery Center. The rest we listed (for 2014 and 2015 in the presentation to the city council) are still in planning. We have some additional clinics and programs for our residencies that need to be developed, but will start soon.” Regarding a proposed hotel, he said DHR leaders “are in discussion with some companies, and (a final plan) is probably further out than 12 months from now.” To illustrate his points, Rocha provide the following chronology and summary of recent and planned projects by DHR during his presentation to the city council. 2013 • Expansion of Antepartum Unit; • Remodeling of the 25-bed emergency room; • Addition of the Café Da Vinci; • Remodeling of the front lobby at DHR; • Transitional Care Unit; and • Renaissance Laboratories. 2014 • DHR Bariatric and Metabolic Institute; • The Urology Institute at Renaissance; • Joslin Diabetes Center; • Edinburg Conference Center at Renaissance expansion; • Outpatient Surgery Center; • Hotel; • DHR University; and • IT Building. 2015 • Geriatric Surgery Center; • Orthopedic Institute expansion; • Apply for bed expansion; • Emergency room expansion; and • Seek higher level status for Trauma Center. • History of Doctors Hospital at Renaissance What is now Doctors Hospital at Renaissance (DHR) opened its doors in 1997 as an ambulatory surgical center. Today, it is a modern, 530-bed acute care facility that provides a full range of medical services, with over 60 specialties and sub specialties. It has been ranked among the nation’s 100 Top Hospitals® by Thomson Reuters and as one of the 100 Top Hospitals® for Cardiovascular Care. Doctors Hospital at Renaissance is currently ranked number 1 in Hidalgo County and number 25 in the State of Texas by U.S. News and World Report. “Our vision from the start has been to provide state-of-the-art care of the highest quality for patients at all stages of life and their families,” says Carlos Cárdenas, M.D. In addition to being chairman of the hospital’s board, Cárdenas is a practicing gastroenterologist and a founder of South Texas Gastroenterology in Edinburg. The Edinburg Economic Development Corporation is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg City Council. It’s five-member governing board, which is appointed by the Edinburg City Council, includes Mayor Richard García as President, Fred Palacios as Secretary-Treasurer, and Felipe García, Dr. Havidán Rodríguez, and Steven Edward Cruz, II. For more information on the EEDC and the City of Edinburg, please log on to www.EdbgCityLimits.com or to www.facebook.com/edinburgedc ••••••

Edinburg named Best City in 2014 Monitor’s Readers’ Choice Award as other hometown entities also dominate independent poll

By DAVID A. DÍAZ If 2014 Monitor’s Readers’ Choice Awards were a sporting event, then the political and business leadership of Edinburg would be credited with more than a dozen “hat tricks”, which are three remarkable successes at the same time, such as when a football player in one game scores a touchdown through a run, a pass, and an interception. The competition, in its 30th year for the McAllen-based regional newspaper, resulted in amazingly good marks for the local community from the publication’s global audience, with Edinburg chosen as the Best City, the Edinburg Independent Consolidated School District selected as the best school system, and the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce named tops in its respective category. Three other major entities closely associated with Edinburg also were designated number one in their respective categories: The University of Texas-Pan American, Doctors Hospital at Renaissance and Los Lagos Golf Course. At least 38 winners of the annual poll are located, or have a major presence, in Edinburg. They were chosen by more than 2,000 readers of The Monitor, which bestowed the coveted designations on Tuesday, September 30, at a breakfast held at the McAllen Chamber of Commerce. “For nearly three decades, Hidalgo County institutions have looked forward to The Monitor’s annual Readers’ Choice Award,” the publication stated in its Wednesday, October 1 edition. “Among the big winners were the City of Edinburg, with many businesses there garnering the endorsements of The Monitor readers.” Mayor Richard García, along with his wife, First Lady Myra García, were on hand to accept the Best City honor during the morning ceremony in McAllen. Councilmember Richard Molina and Sonia Marroquín, Edinburg Assistant City Manager, also were part of the local delegation for the event, which drew more than 150 people to the McAllen Chamber of Commerce headquarters. The mayor expressed pride with the strong showing by Edinburg, noting the competition was formidable. “I’d rather be lucky than good, but based on the other outstanding nominees from our neighboring cities, Edinburg and its people had to be very good to win so impressively,” García said. “I congratulate everyone who was part of this important competition, but of course, I am most proud of our local winners. They bring honor upon themselves, their business and families, and their hometown.” Agustin “Gus” García (no relation to the mayor), the Executive Director for the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation, said the strong performances from Edinburg are the latest proverbial feathers in the hat as the EEDC, which is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg City Council, continues its successful efforts to help encourage businesses to locate or expand in Edinburg. “In this poll, readers made their honest, independent opinions known, and we are humbled and very appreciative of earning their favor,” Gus García said. “As part of bringing and keeping businesses in our city, we show them that Edinburg is the real deal, that the future of Texas is right here at home and in deep South Texas. This important survey will definitely be part of our marketing strategies to help create more jobs in our city.” Dr. René Gutiérrez, superintendent for the Edinburg school district, said education in Edinburg was second to none, citing the many achievements of the public and higher education systems in the city. “The Edinburg Consolidated Independent School District is very grateful for the vote of confidence from The Monitor’s readers and the communities-at-large,” Gutiérrez said. “The Edinburg community wants great schools. Great schools come as a result of high academic standards and goals, top-notch teachers, engaged parents and families, motivated students, safe classrooms and schools, access to technology, and school board support. At Edinburg CISD, all of our schools have these qualities.” ECISD is recognized by local, regional, state, and national organizations for attaining the highest levels of performance in every facet of the organization. Letty González, President of the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce, is part of the partnership of successful leadership that promotes business growth, job-development, and quality-of-life improvements. “We were excited when we first heard the news. We're thankful to have this amazing community, and we're grateful to have a great staff, board of directors, and volunteers," González said. "The chamber does a lot of good for our community, and it's nice to be acknowledged. I also want to thank our members and partners, because without them, this would not be possible.” Edinburg’s stellar rankings in the poll were so impressive that on Thursday, October 2, the newspaper’s editorial staff again prominently noted that achievement. “We deem every business, industry and individual who were selected as winners in The Monitor’s 2014 Readers’ Choice Award as crowd favorites,” the newspaper’s editorial observed. “But we can’t help but point out how the City of Edinburg and Edinburg businesses topped this year’s list that was announced on Tuesday (September 30) in our newspaper.” The list of Edinburg winners, which were chosen from more than 100 categories, includes: • Bank: IBC Bank • Bar: Chili’s Bar • Beauty Salon: E-Z Cuts • Behavioral Health: South Texas Behavioral Health Center • Breakfast Place: IHOP • Chamber of Commerce: Edinburg Chamber of Commerce • City: City of Edinburg • Coffee Shop: Starbucks – Trenton Road • College: University: The University of Texas-Pan American • Convenience Store: Stripes • Dry Cleaner: D&M Cleaners • Fajitas: Taco Palenque • Fast Food: Whataburger • Floral/Gift Shop: Rosie’s Flower Shop • Funeral Home: Memorial Funeral Home • Furniture Store: Lack’s Furniture • Golf Course: Los Lagos Golf Course • Hamburgers: Whataburger • Hospital: Doctors Hospital at Renaissance • Insurance Agent: Concepción “Connie” S. Hernández • Lasik Eye Surgeon: Manrique Custom Vision Center • Loan Company: EZ Pawn • Meat Market: Aguilar’s Meat Market • Medical Equipment Supplier: Rio DME Edinburg • Museum/Gallery: Museum of South Texas History • New Car Dealership: Bert Ogden Auto Group • Pediatrician: Ashley Pediatrics Day & Night Clinic • Pizza: Pizza Hut • Place of Worship: Christian Life Church Edinburg • Plastic Surgeon: Dr. Luis M. Ríos, Jr., MD • Pre-School Day Care: Kids’ Kollege Learning Center • Psychiatrist: Dr. César A. Matos, MD • School District: Edinburg ISD • Supermarket: H-E-B • Tire Accessories: Discount Tire • Urologist: Henry Ruiz, M.D. • Veterinarian: Four Paws Animal Hospital • Wings: Wingstop The Edinburg Economic Development Corporation is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg City Council. It’s five-member governing board, which is appointed by the Edinburg City Council, includes Mayor Richard García as President, Fred Palacios as Secretary-Treasurer, and Felipe García, Dr. Havidán Rodríguez, and Steven Edward Cruz, II. For more information on the EEDC and the City of Edinburg, please log on to www.EdbgCityLimits.com or to www.facebook.com/edinburgedc ••••••

100th anniversary of The Edinburg Review reflects importance of a free and independent press in America, say city, legislative leaders

By DAVID A. DÍAZ Amidst the pomp and circumstance of community-wide events on Tuesday, September 16, and Wednesday, September 17, honoring the 100th anniversary of The Edinburg Review, the milestone for the newspaper also provides residents with the opportunity to appreciate a free and independent press, city and state leaders say. “There is a famous saying that the press can be good or bad, but most certainly without freedom, the press will never be anything but bad,” said Edinburg Mayor Richard García. “In honoring The Edinburg Review on its centennial, we are also paying respect to the most important right of every American – freedom of speech.” García, who also serves as president of the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation Board of Directors, was joined by the Edinburg City Council on Tuesday, September 16, to present the leadership of The Edinburg Review a city proclamation honoring the history and impact of The Edinburg Review on its hometown and region. The EEDC is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg City Council. The city leadership of Edinburg also shares The Edinburg Review’s commitment to open and transparent government, the mayor added. “For many years, Edinburg has been a leader among Texas cities in providing its citizens with a full and accurate accounting of what its city government is doing in their name, ranging from televising and archiving video recordings of the meetings of the Edinburg City Council, the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation, and the Planning and Zoning Commission, to placing the entire agenda packet of every city council meeting on our city website,” the mayor noted. “We are not required to do that by state law, but we do it because an informed citizenry is what makes a great American city.” Agustín “Gus” García (no relation to the mayor), Executive Director of the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation, said the local news media play important roles in helping the city and EEDC leadership and staff recruit new businesses, or convince existing business to expand. “First and foremost, having an autonomous newspaper that carries the city’s name sends an important message that there is a local, independent voice that is providing a comprehensive and in-depth look into what is happening in our community,” Gus García said. “Business leaders both here at home and outside of our community, through key news media outlets such as The Edinburg Review, can see for themselves that Edinburg is indeed one of the best cities in Texas in which to live.” Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg, said Texans should continue supporting their local news media because they are the most connected to the concerns and vision of individual communities. “I am excited by the tremendous growth of the so-called social media, such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, websites, and other electronic communications because it allows as few as one person the power to inform and educate the masses,” Canales said. “But the local newspaper, especially one with the longevity of The Edinburg Review, is guaranteed to draw audiences that number in the tens of thousands and higher. In addition, The Edinburg Review also has effectively embraced the use of these social media tools. Their combination of print and the Internet reaches the largest audiences.” Canales said his commitment to journalistic freedoms extends to open government and open meetings laws in Texas. “In Texas, one of the strongest principles of our state is that the government shall not have the power to decide what the public may or may not know. That immense authority is the exclusive right of the people, through the Texas Legislature, and in keeping with the Constitution of the United States,” Canales said. “I will continue to work closely with all media, including The Edinburg Review, to make sure we protect that principle when the Texas Legislature begins its five-month regular session in January.” Canales also offered the following website address for residents who want detailed information and advice on state open meetings and open government laws: www.texasattorneygeneral.gov/ag_publications/pdfs/publicinfo_hb.pdf Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, D-McAllen, along with Canales, presented The Edinburg Review with respective House and Senate resolutions marking the newspaper’s landmark century mark. “As a U.S. Marine squad leader in Vietnam, I fought to protect the ideals of freedom and liberty, and the most important human right we have is freedom of speech,” Hinojosa said. “It is freedom of speech that makes our democracy possible. It is freedom of speech for which The Edinburg Review has stood for during the past 100 years, and will continue to defend and promote for another 100 years.” Hinojosa was the House author of sweeping legislation in the mid-1980s that provided major improvements to the Texas Open Meetings Act. The Texas Open Meetings Act, codified at chapter 551 of the Government Code, provides that meetings of governmental bodies must be open to the public except for expressly authorized executive sessions, according to the Texas Attorney General’s Office. The Act also provides that the public must be given notice of the time, place, and subject matter of meetings of governmental bodies. Additional background on The Edinburg Review is provided in the House Resolution by Canales presented to the newspaper’s leadership during a luncheon on Wednesday, September 17. Canales’ resolution follows: WHEREAS, The year 2014 marks the 100th anniversary of the founding of The Edinburg Review, and that occasion presents a fitting opportunity to recognize the newspaper for its century of service in the Rio Grande Valley; and WHEREAS, Founded on February 22, 1914, by Andrés E. Chávez under the name of Revista del Valle, the original Review functioned as a Spanish weekly; it became a daily paper the following year, and remained so until around 1927, when it was purchased by Marshall McIlhenny; Mr. McIlhenny converted the publication to an English-language periodical and based its operations in the 100 block of Closner Boulevard in Edinburg; and WHEREAS, In February 1965, the paper was acquired by James Mathis, who began to publish it daily, except on Mondays and Saturdays, and it continued to serve its readers as an important community voice; and WHEREAS, Keeping abreast of changing times, the paper's editors created a digital edition by 2008, thereby attracting numerous new online consumers; today, the weekly Review reaches more than 24,000 households each Wednesday and is owned by Gatehouse Media; led by publisher Linda Medrano, the expert staff includes advertising director Gus Díaz, editor Pedro Pérez IV, staff writer García, multimedia account executives Javier Sierra, Emmanuel Villa, Pat Young, and Ricardo De Luna, and fulfillment specialist Claudia García; and WHEREAS, Throughout its 100 years of journalism, The Edinburg Review has provided important local reportage, as well as coverage of life-changing events across the globe, and the newspaper's talented staff may indeed reflect with pride on their achievements as the paper enters its second century; now, therefore, be it RESOLVED, That the centennial of the founding of The Edinburg Review be commemorated and that the paper's staff be extended sincere best wishes for continued success. The Edinburg Economic Development Corporation is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg City Council. It’s five-member governing board, which is appointed by the Edinburg City Council, includes Mayor Richard García as President, Fred Palacios as Secretary-Treasurer, and Felipe García, Dr. Havidán Rodríguez, and Steven Edward Cruz, II. For more information on the EEDC and the City of Edinburg, please log on to www.EdbgCityLimits.com or to www.facebook.com/edinburgedc ••••••

Edinburg retail economy in July 2014 shows 12.63 percent improvement over July 2013, with annual growth leading all major cities

By DAVID A. DÍAZ Edinburg’s retail economy in July 2014 was second-best among all major Valley cities in the rate of improvement over the same month last year, and year-to-date showed the best increase, the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation has announced. The EEDC is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg City Council. Edinburg’s most recent economic showing is almost double the average for all Texas cities, which came in with a 6.5 percent monthly increase over July 2013, according to the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts. Based on the amount of local sales taxes collected, which reflects the strength of an economy, Edinburg’s retail sector generated almost $1.5 million in local sales taxes in July 2014, compared with more than $1.3 million in July 2013 – an improvement of 12.63 percent. For the first seven months of 2014, Edinburg’s retail economy also posted a double-digit upswing over the same period last year, generating $14,285,511.68 in local sales taxes, compared with $12,720,913.59 for January through July 2013 – a rise of 12.29 percent. The local sales tax figure represents sales made in July, sent to the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts in August, and returned to the respective local government entities in September. The sales tax, formally known as the State Sales and Use Tax, is imposed on all retail sales, leases and rentals of most goods, as well as taxable services. Texas cities, counties, transit authorities and special purpose districts have the option of imposing an additional local sales tax for a combined total of state and local taxes of 8 1/4% (.0825). The local sales tax is used in Edinburg to help pay for many city services, while the EEDC uses its one-half cent local sales tax to help generate economic development in the city. According to the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts, Edinburg’s retail economy in July 2014 generated $1,489,519.36 in local sales taxes, up 12.63 percent over July 2013, which reached $1,322,478.58. For July 2014, Pharr registered the best improvement among major Valley cities, up 14.42 percent over the same month in 2013, with $1,183,373.39 in local sales taxes being generated. Year-to-date, Pharr’s local sales tax revenue was 11.20 percent ahead of the pace during the same seven months in 2013. McAllen – the traditional retail giant of the Valley – reported $4,715,748.68 in local sales taxes in July 2014, down 1.38 percent over July 2013. Year-to-date, McAllen’s local sales taxes were up 1.47 percent over the same seven months in 2013. Weslaco’s retail economy in July 2014 produced $904,402.81 in local sales taxes, an increase of 4.34 percent over the same month last year. Year-to-date, Weslaco reported a 1.52 percent increase over January through July 2013. Brownsville generated $2,882,758.71 in local sales taxes in July 2014, up 6.38 percent over July 2013. Year-to-date, Brownsville’s retail economy had improved 4.17 percent over the same period in 2013. Harlingen’s retail economy in July 2014 registered $1,718,360.73 in local sales taxes, up 1.19 percent over July 2013. From January through July 2014, Harlingen’s retail economy was 1.15 percent better than the same period in 2013. Mission reported a 3.09 decrease in retail sales for July 2014 as compared to July 2013. In July 2014, Mission generated $1,174,329.21 in local sales taxes, compared with $1,211,853.17 in July 2013. Year-to-date, Mission’s retail economy was 6.35 percent better than during January through July 2013. According to the state comptroller’s office, which released the data on Wednesday, September 10, the Valley’s major cities reported the following local sales tax figures for July 2014: • McAllen: $4,715,748.68, down 1.38 percent over July 2013 ($4,782,006.14); • Brownsville: $2,882,758.71, up 6.38 percent over July 2013 ($2,709,683.40); • Harlingen: $1,718,360.73, up 1.19 percent from July 2013 ($1,697,999.63); • Edinburg: $ 1,489,519.36, up 12.63 percent over July 2013 ($1,322,478.58); • Pharr: $1,183,373.39, up 14.42 percent over July 2013 ($1,034,173.66); • Mission: $1,174,329.21, down 3.09 percent from July 2013 ($1,211,853.17); and • Weslaco: $904,402.81, up 4.34 percent over July 2013 ($866,781.81). All cities in Hidalgo County generated a combined total of $11,457,883.09 in local sales tax revenue in July 2014, compared with $11,102,562.93 during the same month in 2013, an improvement of 3.20 percent. Year-to-date, all cities in Hidalgo County generated a combined total of $111,091,398.99 in local sales taxes, compared with $ 106,416,891.43 from January through July 2013, an improvement of 4.39 percent. All cities in Cameron County generated a combined total of $5,858,010.13 in local sales tax revenue in July 2014, compared with $5,610,240.91 during the same month in 2013, an increase of 4.41 percent. Year-to-date, all cities in Cameron County generated a combined total of $51,515,136.92 in local sales taxes, compared with $49,852,253.27from January through July 2013, an improvement of 3.33 percent. For details of the July 2014 local sales tax figures for all cities, counties, transit systems, and special purpose taxing districts, located the Monthly Sales Tax Allocation Comparison Summary Reports at the comptroller’s website, log on to: www.window.state.tx.us/taxinfo/allocsum/compsum.html The Edinburg Economic Development Corporation is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg City Council. It’s five-member governing board, which is appointed by the Edinburg City Council, includes Mayor Richard García as President, Fred Palacios as Secretary-Treasurer, and Felipe García, Dr. Havidán Rodríguez, and Steven Edward Cruz, II. For more information on the EEDC and the City of Edinburg, please log on to www.EdbgCityLimits.com or to www.facebook.com/edinburgedc ••••••

Bronc, symbol of UT-Pan American, endorsed by Edinburg City Council for new mascot of UT-Rio Grande Valley

By DAVID A. DÍAZ A measure urging the University of Texas System to preserve local school spirit and regional history by retaining the Bronc, the symbol of UT-Pan American, as the new mascot for UT-Rio Grande Valley was unanimously approved on Tuesday, September 2, by the Edinburg City Council. A Bronc, short for bronco, is an unbroken or imperfectly broken range horse of western North America, such as a mustang, which is directly descended from horses brought in by the Spaniards, according to merriam-webster.com. The endorsement, contained in a city resolution, will be presented to UT System leaders, along with Dr. Guy Bailey, the president of the UT-Rio Grande Valley. The resolution came soon after a committee of students from UT-Pan American and UT-Brownsville on August 18 released a list of 10 recommended mascots for UT-RGV. None of those names included the Bronc. As part of the naming process, Dr. Guy Bailey, President of UT-Rio Grande Valley, is scheduled to appoint a steering committee that will add faculty, staff, alumni and students from both institutions to make a final recommendation. The steering committee to be named by Bailey will be co-chaired by Alberto Adame, president of the UTPA Student Government Association, and Erendira Santillana, president of the UTB Student Government Association. “We cherish our past, and part of our past and part of our families have been Pan American Broncs,” said Mayor Richard García. “We are not trying to get in his business, or tell him how to do his business, but show him our support by suggesting to him why this would be a good thing.” The Bronc has been the mascot for UT-Pan American since 1927, when UT-Pan American first began as Edinburg Junior College. But in the fall of 2015, as a result of a new state law, UT-Rio Grande Valley will open its doors as a new, regional UT higher education system. As part of its new identity, it needs a mascot to serve as a powerful symbol of opportunities and success. UT-RGV is a comprehensive university system being developed from the merger of all assets of UT-Pan American, UT-Brownsville, and the UT Regional Academic Health Centers in Edinburg, Harlingen, and Brownsville. UT-RGV, which will include a UT medical school with a major presence in Edinburg, will become one of the largest public universities in Texas, with an enrollment approaching 30,000 students. City Councilmember J.R. Betancourt said he asked for the resolution to be placed for action by the city council as a result of strong support throughout the Valley and Texas. Betancourt noted that a large number of alumni had signed up on an online petition being championed by a Bronc alumnus, Alex Del Barrio of Mission, who is a sportscaster for SportsRadio 610 in Houston. “He has more than 3,000 signatures on his petition, and has more than 5,000 likes and comments on his FaceBook,” Betancourt said. “I stumbled upon this, and right away, I spoke with our city manager to have this resolution placed on our agenda.” Del Barrio has two major presences on the Internet where he lays out his reasons for protecting and promoting the Bronc as the mascot for UT-RGV: www.facebook.com/Savebucky?fref=nf and www.change.org/p/savebucky/u/7965700. “We know that growing up, the Bronc has been a big symbol, and has been part of the City of Edinburg,” Betancourt said. “I am very happy and appreciative that all of you (mayor and city council members) have stepped up to the plate.” The decision last December by the UT System Board of Regents to eliminate “Pan American” from the newly-created UT-Rio Grande Valley did not sit well with many alumni. Holding on to the Bronc as the mascot remains very important, Mayor Pro Tem Elías Longoria, Jr. reflected. “We lost the name ‘Pan American’, which was near and dear, but we don’t want to eliminate the Bronc, completely make it disappear, and make it feel like this never existed,” Longoria said. “We can see there are proud alumni of UTPA here. We are not doing this for us, but for all the tens of thousand of alumni who are associated with the Bronc.” Longoria called on the city leadership to “pursue this as strongly as possible, and meet as soon as possible with Dr. Bailey, and anyone else involved, to help us.” García expressed hope that Bailey, who may have the final say in the matter, will appreciate the value of designating the Bronc as the UT-RGV mascot. “We cherish our past, and part of our past and part of our families have been Pan American Broncs,” the mayor said. “There has been an excellent choice made for us in leadership with Dr. Bailey, and we will rally behind him, help him, support him, in ensuring that UT-RGV is going to be even better and more successful than what has existed in the past.” As evidence of that support, García referred to one of the most recent contributions the city government made to continue helping UT-RGV. “The first thing we are going to do is remind our new president that we just gave him a new ballpark,” the mayor said. On Tuesday, August 19, the Edinburg City Council agreed to transfer ownership of the Edinburg Baseball Stadium to UTPA/UTRGV. UTPA has been leasing the stadium from the city for its Spring baseball season since the stadium was built in 2000. The donation includes approximately 10 acres of land, 4,000 seats, 10 skyboxes, the customary amenities, 635 feet of frontage along Sugar Road and 31 parking spaces. Meanwhile, the donation will relieve the city of the on-going cost and expense of maintaining the stadium about $225,000 annually. The transfer of the stadium will become official once the contract has been signed by both parties which should happen no later than September 30th. The City of Edinburg built the stadium in 2000 to accommodate UTPA and to make room for semi-professional baseball. Since construction it has been home to the UTPA Broncs baseball team, as well as home to the professional minor league baseball squads Edinburg Roadrunners and Edinburg Coyotes. In a letter posted on July 23 in the UTPA and UTB websites, Bailey offered his views on how the final mascot will be determined. Highlights of Bailey’s comments follow: “Dear UT Brownsville and UT-Pan American Communities, “As we move forward with plans to open the new UT Rio Grande Valley in one short year, many activities are underway by a number of working groups at UTB, UTPA, and the UT System, and I remain grateful to you for your engagement and support of the process. “Among one of the most high profile and popular processes are the selections of: “(1) a new institutional wordmark for use in print and digital publications for official academic and administrative purposes, and “(2) new university colors and a mascot as related to athletics and the broader campus community. “Allow me to share with you where we are on these efforts. “With respect to the first process, the development of a new university wordmark and typography has occurred, and two concepts received input from administrators and several working teams from UTPA, UTB and the UT System. The wordmark will be used as we quickly prepare enrollment and recruitment materials for prospective students, parents, high school counselors and more. “Please note that the wordmark may undergo further changes in design as new, final school colors are selected in the months ahead, but for now, we must concentrate efforts on having a UT-RGV wordmark so we may quickly finalize materials that must go into production soon for pending mailings. “The second process – the selection of new university colors and a mascot – is one that will involve a much broader participation outside of our established working groups. The ultimate decision for this is delegated to me by the UT System Board of Regents, but I will make this decision through extensive input by all. “Additionally there will be two new committees, one composed of student leaders from UT-Brownsville and UT Pan American, chaired by student government presidents Eréndira Santillana and Alberto Adame, respectively, and a steering committee I (have appointed), composed of faculty and staff, student leaders and alumni, also chaired by our student government leaders. “The UT System has engaged a national expert with significant experience in rebranding and the development of logos for universities, professional sports teams, and large corporations. “This expert, Eric Rickabaugh, will work with the student and steering committees to hear their voices and help us develop our new athletics logos and designs, and he has already met with a number of individuals on both campuses, including students and athletics leaders. “Eric will receive all of the information that is submitted in the web-based survey, too. Eric has been instrumental in creating award-winning designs for Coco-Cola, Toyota, the NFL, NBA, Ohio State University, Vanderbilt, and many more organizations. “I hope this communication is helpful to you as we all share in the equity of the new UT-RGV. “As always, I look forward to working with you on this extraordinary opportunity.” The Edinburg Economic Development Corporation is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg City Council. It’s five-member governing board, which is appointed by the Edinburg City Council, includes Mayor Richard García as President, Fred Palacios as Secretary-Treasurer, and Felipe García, Dr. Havidán Rodríguez, and Steven Edward Cruz, II. For more information on the EEDC and the City of Edinburg, please log on to www.EdbgCityLimits.com or to www.facebook.com/edinburgedc ••••••

South Texas College Dual Enrollment Academies recognized among most effective in nation at increasing Latino student success in college

By MARTHA E. PEÑA Elected officials and higher education leaders from across America came together at the St. Regis Washington, D.C. Hotel on Tuesday, September 30, to honor the South Texas College Dual Enrollment Academies program as a Finalist among America’s top programs that increase academic opportunities and increase achievement for Latino students. The South Texas Dual Enrollment Academies program was selected from among 217 competitors from 26 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico as one of 14 Finalists for the 2014 Examples of Excelencia Award. Conceived and run by Excelencia in Education, this is the only national initiative to systematically identify, recognize, and catalogue evidence-based programs that improve Latino college success. South Texas College Dual Enrollment Academies are two-year dual enrollment programs for high school juniors interested in earning an associate degree by the end of their senior year in high school. Academy program structure is designed to allow students to take high school courses in the morning and dual credit college courses in the afternoon at South Texas College. The Academies are designed to focus on specific fields of study. They include the Dual Enrollment Medical Science Academy (DEMSA), Dual Enrollment Engineering Academy (DEEA), Dual Enrollment Computer Science Academy (DECSA) and the Dual Enrollment Criminal Justice Academy (DECJA). “The South Texas College Dual Enrollment Academies are increasing our Hispanic students’ degree attainment at the associate’s level. We are honored to receive recognition and will continue encouraging Hispanic students as they pursue higher education pathways,” said Kimberly Crawford, STC Director of Academies and High School Projects. The September 30 announcement event, Celebraciòn de Excelencia, coincided with the release of the 2014 edition of “What Works for Latino Student Success in Higher Education,” a compendium of all 29 recognized programs along with the evidence of their success. Through this annual process, Excelencia in Education continues to grow America’s largest inventory of programs and strategies that education leaders, policymakers, and others tap into to accelerate degree completion among Latinos. This is the ninth annual release of Examples of Excelencia. Excelencia in Education has systematically reviewed more than 700 programs to identify and recognize 125 programs and departments – including, for the first time this year, community-based organizations – that demonstrate with evidence that they effectively boost Latino enrollment, performance and graduation. “As one of this year’s Finalists, South Texas College is at the forefront of meeting the challenge of improving higher educational achievement for Latino students,” said Sarita Brown, president of Excelencia in Education. “No longer should policymakers and institutional leaders ask how to improve college success for Latinos – we have the largest accumulation of proven examples and tested strategies that show them how. Today’s question is do leaders have the will to put these practices into action?” To download What Works for Latino Student Success in Higher Education, which includes detailed information about all of the programs recognized on September 30, visit www.EdExcelencia.org. “By sharing what works we hope to support educators, community leaders, funders, and policymakers to take an asset-based approach to serving Latino students,” said Deborah Santiago, COO and Vice President of Excelencia in Education and author of the publication. “Ultimately, we strive to inspire and support replicating and bringing to scale evidence-based practices that serve Latino students and thus serve the country.” Examples of Excelencia is the only national initiative to systematically identify and promote evidence-based programs and departments effectively boosting Latino enrollment, performance and graduation. It is presented in collaboration with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO). The 2014 sponsors are ACT, Univision, Diverse: Issues in Higher Education, DeVry University, and the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation. Celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2014, Excelencia in Education is a Washington, D.C.-based national non-profit organization whose mission is to accelerate Latino student success in higher education. ••••••

EEDC music video, featuring almost 200 residents, sending “extraordinary and true representation of the people of Edinburg”

By DAVID A. DÍAZ If there were ever any doubts, a music video featuring almost 200 Edinburg residents, including local personalities and politicians, shows that the community is optimistic about the present and future – and its people used rhythm, dance and video to let the whole world know. In a first-class production by the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation, entitled “Edinburg EDC IS HAPPY”, the positive and catchy music of Pharrell Williams’ smash hit, Happy, serves as the soundtrack for the five minute and 22 second local music video. The EEDC is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg City Council. By utilizing YouTube, the EEDC is getting their message out on a global level, since the video sharing website, by its own accounting, “allows billions of people to discover, watch and share originally-created videos. YouTube provides a forum for people to connect, inform, and inspire others across the globe and acts as a distribution platform for original content creators and advertisers large and small.” Within a month of being posted on YouTube by the EEDC, more than 2,000 views had been registered, with thousands more sure to follow in the weeks and months to come. (The “Edinburg EDC IS HAPPY” video is available online at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XaApcFHVr3o) “Edinburg EDC IS HAPPY” had its “world premiere” on Thursday, July 24, before a packed house of more than 220 area business and community leaders who had gathered at the Edinburg Conference Center at Renaissance for the quarterly Public Affairs Luncheon organized by the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce. Agustín “Gus” García, Executive Director for the EEDC, the keynote speaker for the Public Affairs Luncheon, had just finished his hour-long review of the dramatic economic growth going on and projected for the city. With all the advanced video systems available at the Edinburg Conference Center at Renaissance, García had made excellent use of the facility’s technology, including effectively utilizing impressive graphics from his Power Point presentation on the big screens of the conference hall. He succeeded in keeping the audience’s attention with his facts, figures, and photographs, then surprised the audience by invoking a passage from the song by the musician Williams, leaving them to wonder what was García was up to. • “These are exciting times in Edinburg, and we couldn’t be happier” When it was all said and done, the “Edinburg EDC IS HAPPY” video drew loud cheers and applause from the gathering, not only because the production itself was so professional, but because it was as uplifting as it was enlightening about the great news and honorable people of Edinburg. Seconds before the video was shown, García addressed his unsuspecting audience. “In the words of Pharrell Williams,” the EEDC executive director began, then paused for effect. “There may be naysayers, I know…” Then he invoked several key passages from Williams’ global music hit, reading the following verse: “Here come bad news talking this and that, yeah” “Well, give me all you got, and don't hold it back, yeah” “Well, I should probably warn you I’ll be just fine, yeah” “No offense to you, don't waste your time” As soon as García finished, the two large broadcast screens in the meeting hall came to life with the EEDC video, starting with García, smiling and seated at his desk in his office at the EEDC headquarters, tossing a Rio Grande Valley Vipers basketball, and addressing the video camera. “Ladies and Gentleman, these are exciting times in Edinburg, and we couldn’t be happier,” García reflected on the video, with all the confidence of a Jimmy Fallon of the Tonight Show. “But you know what? There are a lot of other people who are happy about it, too. So take a little trip with me and let’s just find out who is happy about Edinburg.” The music soundtrack and video then kicks into action, with Mayor Pro Tem Elías Longoria, Jr., who is First Vice President of Texas Regional Bank, showing his dance moves, with fellow staff members clapping to the beat of the song. The video then cuts to Councilmember Richard Molina doing turns with an Edinburg police parking enforcement vehicle, followed by Hidalgo County Sheriff Department staff members strutting their stuff, and so on. As more and more residents appeared on the video, exclamations of recognition and excitement came from the audience, who had immediately been swept up by what is being hailed as “Feel Good Anthem” of this generation. • Diego Reyna, Letty Reyes led production of video The video was a collaborative effort of Diego Reyna, Research Analyst, and Letty Reyes, Director of Business Development and Public Affairs, both EEDC staff members, as part of their cutting-edge work that helped prepare García for the Public Affairs Luncheon. “A lot of team meetings go on at the EEDC, and we do everything as a team. In one of those sessions, we talked about using a video to end the (July 24 Public Affairs Luncheon) presentation – something different, something exciting,” said Reyna. “We knew there were going to be a lot of numbers and statistics discussed, so we wanted to end on something fun.” As they searched the Internet for ideas, Reyna and Reyes noticed the “Happy” song was being used by increasing number of cities, both small and enormous, nationally and worldwide, to show off their communities and their people. “Gus really liked the idea of using the “Happy” song,” Reyes recalled. “We showed him other songs used by other communities, but when he saw the cities that used ‘Happy’ in their videos, he said, ‘That’s the one!’ He issued that challenge to Diego and myself to come up with the ‘Edinburg EDC IS HAPPY” performance. And so it was that Edinburg became destined to join El Paso in Texas along with Amsterdam (Netherlands), Barcelona (Spain), Belfast (Ireland) Berlin (Germany) Dublin (Ireland) and Moscow (Russia), among others, in using the Happy song to create an inspiring video music video of their people. But coming up with the idea, outstanding as it sounded, still only achieved half of the goal. Finding the groups and individuals to participate in what will surely become an iconic image of Edinburg was still needed to pull off the feat. Also, convincing people, particularly captains of industry and other pillars of the community, to groove on video for exposure on YouTube could have been the most challenging issue facing the EEDC. But a strong desire by citizens to show their pride in their hometown prevailed, and the ability of the EEDC to orchestrate every facet of the project, paid off. “Whether it was setting up appointments, providing suggestions during the editing process, creative input, or ‘busting a move’, I can honestly say that everyone on the EEDC staff had a big part in this production,” Reyna emphasized. • Sen. Lucio, Judge García among cameo appearances Political and public figures, ranging from Sen. Eddie Lucio, Jr., D-Brownsville, and Hidalgo County Judge Ramón García, to Edinburg Police Chief Rolando Castañeda, Edinburg Fire Chief Shawn Snider, and Edinburg City Manager Ramiro Garza, Jr. – no strangers to big audiences –contributed to the effort with cameo appearances. The younger set – such as members of the local Boys and Girls Club and young women participating in a soccer camp at the University of Texas-Pan American – were more than ready to demonstrate their skills, in some cases performing like future Michael Jacksons or Shakiras. The Rio Grande Valley Vipers cheerleading squad also was included, showing why fans who will pack the planned $54 million Edinburg arena in a couple of years will admire their skills as much as the NBA-affiliated Vipers basketball players. But a large contingent of the Edinburg residents on the video were city personnel, and they, too, answered the call to show to proudly represent their hometown, including: • Debora Melvin, the Texas Department of Transportation 2013 General Aviation Airport Manager of the Year, showcasing Edinburg’s air transportation system while herself moving so gracefully as to be deserving of a shot on “Dancing with the Stars”; • Steven Edward Cruz, II, a member of the EEDC Board of Directors, illustrating the power of Edinburg’s determination by landing knock-out punches, to the beat of the music, on a leather speed boxing bag; • Cynthia Contreras-Gutiérrez, the outside counsel for the EEDC, and her staff, symbolizing the successes of women-owned businesses in Edinburg and giving a thumbs-up along with movie star smiles; and • Alex Ríos, Director of the District Office for State Rep. Terry Canales, showcasing a great James Brown dance rendition outside of their legislative office, a symbol of Edinburg’s influence as a state political power located in the heart of the city’s downtown. • Calming nervous participants Even so, in same cases, it took a little bit of convincing for some, Reyna said. “We just pitched it as Edinburg is at a time when things are going very well, a lot of exciting projects are underway, and from an economic standpoint, Edinburg is in a very happy time. That’s how we sold it to them to participate,” he said. As in all large organizations, many of the city staff members are outgoing and confident, ready and willing to take part in such a unique public performance. EEDC staff members would reassure their city counterparts that they did not expect them to do anything that would make them uncomfortable. “We just want to see you happy on the video,” Reyes would explain what the EEDC wanted to project on video. “If you want to show off your smile into the camera, or give a thumbs-up, or if you want to have more fun, you can dance.” To help soothe willing but nervous performers, Reyna and Reyes came up with strategies to help reduce the “butterflies in the stomach”. “If one person was uneasy about dancing solo, there is safety in numbers, so we would bring other people into the video,” Reyes said. “Once that spark ignited, it was easier to get into it.” Plus, Reyna brought a music speaker to play the song for the prospective dancers. “It didn’t take too much choreography,” he downplayed his stroke of brilliance, “The song made a person want to dance to the music.” • Mayor García: “Extraordinary and true representation of the people of Edinburg” Mayor Richard García, who is no stranger to the spotlight, and who as a younger man performed in a band, praised everyone who volunteered for the music video. “I know a picture tells a thousand words, but this music video goes even further,” the mayor said. “This is an extraordinary and true representation of the people of Edinburg, the Rio Grande Valley, and South Texas. We are energetic, intelligent, confident, diverse, young, strong, successful, accomplished, experienced, wise, beautiful, handsome, and full of hope.” In order of appearance, the “Edinburg EDC IS HAPPY” video featured the following individuals and organizations: • Edinburg City Council • Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Department • Boys and Girls Club of Edinburg • Edinburg Engineering Department • Edinburg Utilities Department • Lone Star National Bank • Edinburg International Airport • Edinburg Chamber of Commerce • Edinburg Finances Department • Edinburg Economic Development Corporation • Rubencito • Edinburg EDC Board of Directors • Edinburg EDC Staff • UTPA Women’s Soccer Camp • Texas Cook’Em • Edinburg City Manager Ramiro Garza, Jr. • State Sen. Eddie Lucio, Jr. • Hidalgo County Judge Ramón García • Edinburg Police Department • Edinburg Fire Department • Edinburg Parks and Recreation Department • Dustin Sekula Library • Edinburg City Planning Department • RGV Vipers Cheerleaders and Staff • Edinburg Cable Network • Edinburg CDBG Staff • Edinburg Human Resources Department • Edinburg Parks and Recreation Department • Dustin Sekula Memorial Library • EEDC Attorney Cynthia Contreras-Gutiérrez • State Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg The Edinburg Economic Development Corporation is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg City Council. It’s five-member governing board, which is appointed by the Edinburg City Council, includes Mayor Richard García as President, Fred Palacios as Secretary-Treasurer, and Felipe García, Dr. Havidán Rodríguez, and Steven Edward Cruz, II. For more information on the EEDC and the City of Edinburg, please log on to: www.EdbgCityLimits.com or to www.facebook.com/edinburgedc ••••••

Santería follower from Mission and others head to prison on federal drug charges

BY ANGELA DODGE Francisco Javier Maya, 35, has been ordered to prison following his convictions of conspiracy to possess and possession with intent to distribute approximately 1,000 pounds of marijuana, U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson has announced. A jury in Brownsville convicted Maya on January 30, 2014, after two days of trial testimony and approximately six hours of deliberations. On Tuesday, October 7, U.S. District Judge Hilda G. Tagle of Brownsville, who presided over the trial, handed Maya a sentence of 189 months for the conspiracy charge and 189 months on the possession charge. The sentences will be served concurrently. At the hearing, additional evidence was presented including that he was a leader and organizer of the conspirators. Maya will also be required to serve a term of five years of supervised release following completion of the prison term. Also sentenced today were Phillip Cross, 56, Cade Jobe, 37, and Julio Treto, 56, to respective terms of 58 months, 38 and 47 months in federal prison. Cross, Jobe and Treto had previously pleaded guilty to their roles in the conspiracy as did seven others – José Ángel Marichalar Jr., 33, Yisnel García González, 30, Ángel Barraza, 34, Jesus González, 35, Delton Hinderliter, 35, Adonys Hurtado-Gutiérrez, 38 – who are set for sentencing at a later date. Four others were charged in a separate, but related case: Jesús Mauricio Juárez, 28, Rubén González-Cavazos, 30, Adolfo Lozano-Luna, 36, and Alberto Martínez, 51, had also previously pleaded guilty. Martínez received a sentence of 70 months on October 7, while Lozano-Luna, Juárez and González-Cavazos were sentenced previously to respective terms of 70, 31 and 41 months. At Maya’s trial, the jury heard evidence that placed him in a conspiracy with the others involving several marijuana loads each totaling between 300 and 1,000 pounds between the summer of 2012 and January 2013. Maya’s role in the drug trafficking organization was to provide tractor-trailer drivers to drive marijuana loads to locations including Houston and Taylor. Maya would share in the profits of each load, making between $4,000-$5,000 per load. On one occasion, he provided his wife’s bank account number in order for another conspirator to deposit the drug proceeds. Evidence was presented that $6,500 was deposited Maya’s wife’s account on November 28, 2012, right after a successful 300 pound marijuana delivery to Taylor by the organization. Evidence showed Maya was a follower of the Santería religion. According to www.U.S. Courts.gov, a web sited maintained by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts on behalf of the Federal Judiciary: The Santería religion is considered by some to be a "fusion" between the religion of the Yoruba people of Western Africa, who were brought as slaves to Cuba, and significant elements of Roman Catholicism. The Cuban Yoruba express their devotion to spirits, called orishas, through the iconography of Catholic saints; Catholic symbols are often present at Santería rights; and Santería devotees attend the Catholic sacraments. One of the principal forms of devotion in Santería is animal sacrifice. Sacrifices are performed at birth, marriage, and death rites; for the cure of the sick; for the initiation of new members and priests; and during an annual celebration. The sacrificed animal is cooked and eaten at some ceremonies. The jury saw photos of Maya’s residence in Mission, which depicted numerous images of what were considered to be altars showing glasses of alcohol, knives, a machete, kettles, feathers and substances that appeared to be blood. Testimony also included descriptions of two rituals involving the sacrifice of animals. In December 2012, Maya had a Santería priest, known as a Padrino, perform rituals with the organization to “bless” a 1,000 pound marijuana load that was destined for Houston. After meeting with the Padrino, Maya, González-Cavazos and Juárez decided the marijuana load should remain in the Rio Grande Valley. The next day, a second ritual, attended by all five defendants, was performed and the 1,000 pounds of marijuana was to be transported to Houston. However, the marijuana was stolen from the group by unknown individuals that evening. After the theft and a subsequent improvised explosive device detonated at Juárez’ residence in Brownsville, law enforcement was able to piece together the events and conspirators involved in this drug trafficking organization. Maya will remain in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future. The case was the result of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force investigation involving agents from Drug Enforcement Administration, Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation, FBI, Homeland Security Investigations, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and Brownsville Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Ángel Castro and Jody Young prosecuted the case. ••••••

Robert Ricardo Maldonado, former Hidalgo County deputy sheriff, sentenced for laundering $40 million in drug proceeds

By ANGELA DODGE Robert Ricardo Maldonado, 49, of Weslaco, has been sentenced to federal prison following his conviction of conspiracy to commit money laundering, announced U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson. Maldonado was a former deputy with the Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office. He pleaded guilty on Monday, May 12, 2014. On Wednesday, October 4, U.S. District Judge Randy Crane of McAllen, who accepted the guilty plea, handed Maldonado a total sentence of 144 months in prison to be immediately followed by three years of supervised release. At the hearing, the court found the relevant conduct to be $40 million worth of drug proceeds Maldonado laundered over several years. From 2001 to November 2013, Maldonado transported currency derived from the distribution of narcotics from various destinations including Detroit, Chicago, Birmingham and elsewhere to the Rio Grande Valley. Maldonado was a paid a percentage of the total amount of the currency transported. He then utilized these funds to purchase various properties and assets. Previously released on bond, Maldonado was permitted to remain on bond and surrender later in October. The investigation leading to the charges was conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration, Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation and Texas Department of Public Safety. Assistant United States Attorney James Sturgis is prosecuting the case.

Plan approved by UT System regents to ask Legislature to authorize $42.5 million in tuition revenue bonds for $50 million Interdisciplinary Engineering and Academic Studies Building at Edinburg campus of UT-Rio Grande Valley

Email This News Story Email This News Story | Print This News Story Print This News Story | August 6th, 2014 by Legislativemedia@aol.com
Havidán Rodríguez, Ph.D. has a modern vision for South Texas based much like 15th century English philosopher Sir Francis Bacon so famously advised: “A wise man will make more opportunities than he finds.” So not surprisingly, Rodríguez has answered the clarion call from the University of Texas System leadership for him to create another great opportunity, not just for his already illustrious professional career, but to make history by helping propel The University of Texas-Pan American into a bold, prosperous future never before seen. In late June, he agreed to serve as Interim President of The University of Texas-Pan American for the 2014-2015 academic year, which begins this fall. Among the milestones that will be reached in those 12 months, it will be the last time the Edinburg campus will carry the beloved and prestigious “Pan American” name. Rodríguez also will become the final name in the honor roll of distinguished leaders who have served as president of the Valley’s premier institution of higher education since H.C. Baker held that position from 1927 to 1933 of what was then Edinburg College. But the soon-to-be former Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs at UT-Pan American, Rodríguez – who also serves on the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation Board of Directors – realizes his dramatic ascension at the university goes far beyond his professional life. “I am humbled and grateful. It is an incredible honor,” reflects Rodríguez. “There is really only a handful of people who get the opportunity to create a new university. So being here is not only a challenge, it is an opportunity. It is exciting and it is revolutionary because what we are looking at is a transformational experience for the entire Rio Grande Valley. You don't get a second chance like this.” See story later in this posting. •••••• Dr. Guy Bailey, President of the University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley, on Tuesday, July 29, was welcomed by Dr. Shirley A. Reed, President of South Texas College, and administrators at the STC Nursing and Allied Health Campus in McAllen. During the visit, Bailey spoke with current STC Dual Enrollment Medical Science Academy (DEMSA) students and an alumna currently doing research with Yale University. They are prime examples of the quality education and bright futures South Texas College provides for students pursuing careers in the medical field. It was the first time Dr. Bailey visited the Nursing and Allied Health Campus in McAllen. “It was a great visit,” commented Reed, presenting Bailey a welcome gift to the Valley. “I believe he was impressed with the quality of our facilities and students. We wanted to host this meeting at the Nursing and Allied Health Campus specifically because of the need to have a strong relationship with the medical school and to show Dr. Bailey the state-of-the-art technology we have. Like us, he wants South Texas College to be a major pipeline to UTRGV and subsequently medical school.” According to recently approved admissions criteria, students with associate’s degrees will have automatic admission into UT-RGV. “South Texas College students are already battle-tested, tried and true,” said Bailey. “Those with associate’s degrees will have automatic admission into UT-RGV. I understand the role of community colleges and look forward to working with STC in the future.” See story later in this posting. •••••• Another major retail and entertainment complex, complete with a hotel, is in the planning stages for Edinburg, a project that could bring in as much as $300 million a year into the city’s economy, Agustín “Gus” García, the Executive Director for the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation, featured second from left, has announced. The EEDC is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg City Council. García delivered that news and provided other insights into the strength and future of Edinburg and its economy during the Public Affairs Luncheon, sponsored by The Bert Ogden Auto Group and the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce, on Thursday, July 24. García said the EEDC has been working with Burns Brothers, LTD, a local development firm which in 2008 created the 726-acre La Sienna Master Planned Community in north Edinburg, to help bring about the adjoining planned retail/hotel conglomerate to be known as Resaca Market. The planned Resaca Market and La Sienna Master Planned Community are located by the U.S. Expressway 281/169C six-lane thoroughfare’s intersection with Monte Cristo Road. “They are changing the shopping industry with Resaca Market,” García said. “We are currently working with Burns Brothers, LTD to develop that project, which would feature about 500,000 square feet of retail, restaurants, hotel, shopping, entertainment, movie theaters, and so on. What a wonderful opportunity for shopping this will be, which would bring many more Mexican consumers and American dollars to that area, and into our city.” Featured, from left: City Councilmember Homer Jasso, Jr.; Agustín “Gus” García, the Executive Director for the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation; Elva Jackson-Garza, Vice President of Marketing and Business Development, Edwards Abstract and Title Company; and Mayor Pro Tem Elías Longoria, Jr. See story later in this posting. •••••• As the Rio Grande Valley, with more than 1.4 million residents, continues to become an even larger major metropolitan region, the ongoing drought and political circumstances, such as the current dispute over the region’s share with Mexico of water from the Rio Grande River, are unacceptable risks, said Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg, featured at the podium. Texas also continues to suffer, with large sections of our state experiencing exceptional or extreme drought – prolonged, dry conditions that put a strain on water supplies for all uses. “Surface and groundwater storage, conservation, and treating reclaimed/recycled water are some of the water supply options that offer hope to our situation,” he explained. “Today, water desalination, a growing and improving technology that converts brackish (salty) groundwater and seawater into fresh water suitable for drinking and irrigation, is receiving statewide attention.” Canales serves on the Joint Interim Committee to Study Water Desalination – comprised of House and Senate members – which is taking a close look at what Texas is doing to develop new reservoirs of drinking water. Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, D-McAllen, Sen. Eddie Lucio, Jr., D-Brownsville, and Rep. Ryan Guillén, D-Rio Grande City, are also members of this House/Senate legislative panel. The Joint Interim Committee to Study Water Desalination held three public hearings in June to hear from all Texans – at the Texas Capitol on June 16, in Corpus Christi on June 23, and in Wichita Falls on June 30. Featured during a 2013 presentation by Canales before Edinburg school district employees are, from left: Carmen González, Member, Edinburg school board; Jaime Solis, Secretary, Edinburg school board; Dr. Martín Castillo, Vice-President, Edinburg school board; Juan “Sonny” Palacios, President, Edinburg school board; Dr. René Gutiérrez, Superintendent, Edinburg school district; and Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg. See story later in this posting. •••••• The newest project at Edinburg Consolidated Independent School District was marked official by the groundbreaking of Robert Vela High School’s performing arts center. On May 22, ECISD, ERO Architects of McAllen and SpawGlass representatives took part in the ceremony, as well as local officials. Located at 801 E. Canton Rd., the 19,709-square-foot facility will boast a 361-seat theatre, classroom space, dressing rooms and design shop. According to ERO Architects Project Manager Ismael Adame, the project is estimated to cost $7 million and is expected to be complete by January 2015. “We are pleased to continue serving the Edinburg school district by bringing our fourth performing arts center here to the community. This new facility is state-of-the-art and will enhance student achievement and give them a learning environment comparable to what you would see at universities,” said Adame. The theatre features modern technology including theatrical lighting, an intuitive intercommunication system, powerful rigging and effects speakers located around the theatre to provide ambient noise for dramatic performances. Combined, the innovative systems are similar to those used in a professional theatre, and will transform the students’ performances into a fully-immersive 21st century learning experience. The Robert Vela High School Performing Arts Center is preceded by the Ciro L. Trevino Performing Arts Center at Edinburg High School, the Pat McNallen Performing Arts Center at Edinburg North High School and the Alberto Garza, Jr. Performing Arts Center at Johnny Economedes High School. The previous centers were simultaneously designed by ERO and constructed between October 2009 and November 2010 through Infrastructure Facility Allotment funding from the State of Texas. The district was eligible for funding because each performing arts center was also multiple learning environments for students and teachers. Featured, from left: Mario Salinas, Assistant Superintendent for Support Services, ECISD; Jaime Solis, Secretary, Edinburg school board; Carmen González, Member, Edinburg school board; Eva Torres, Principal, Robert Vela High School; Dr. René Gutiérrez, Superintendent, ECISD; Dominga Vela, widow of Robert Vela and Director of C&I, ECISD; Juan “Sonny” Palacios, President, Edinburg school board; and David Torres, Member, Edinburg school board. •••••• On Wednesday, May 28, the 25th year of Leadership Edinburg, a program of the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce, was commemorated with the graduation of 12 participants during a ceremony held at the Echo Hotel and Conference Center. Edinburg City Manager Ramiro Garza presented the keynote address to the graduates, expressing the importance of leadership and staying active in local community affairs. Class XXV completed several events, including a two-day leadership retreat and sessions that focused on education, health care, history, media, economics and government. This year the class is giving back to the Chamber of Commerce by completing a tile fundraiser to raise money for the Southern Pacific Depot Restoration Project. This community service project will consist of the restoration and beautification of the exterior of the Southern Pacific Depot, where commemorative tiles will be installed in front of the depot. A personalized message may be inscribed to make a lasting impression for residents, business owners and visitors can enjoy for a lifetime. Leadership Edinburg strives to encourage a better Edinburg through strong leadership skills focusing on politics, education, and quality of life. For more information on Leadership Edinburg please call the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce at 956/383-4974 or visit online at www.edinburg.com. Featured are the Leadership Edinburg Class XXV graduates. Standing, from left: Serafín Castro (Magic Valley Electric Cooperative); Joe Voje (University of Texas-Pan American); Mario Lizcano (Doctor's Hospital at Renaissance); Ramiro Rodríguez (Edinburg Fire Department), Rogelio Chanes (Teach For America); Augie Lozano (Bert Ogden Rio Grande Valley); Mario García (South Texas Business Education and Technology Academy); and Frank Arévalo (Elsa State Bank and Trust Co.). Seated, from left: Barbara Reynolds (Echo Hotel and Conference Center); Stephanie Ozuna (University of Texas- Pan American); Karen Pittman (IBC Bank); and Adrián Rendón (Boys and Girls Club of Edinburg Rio Grande Valley). •••••• The March of Dimes and its Signature Chef Committee invite area residents to the 5th Annual Signature Chefs Auction to be held on Tuesday, October 28, at the Kalos Event Center in Mission. Top local chefs prepare their signature dishes to raise awareness and resources to help March of Dimes prevent birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality. “March of Dimes paves the way for premature babies to develop in a way that will allow them to have a healthy childhood and we are excited to be doing our part to make an impact in our community through this event,” said Perla Tamez, 2014 Signature Chefs Auction Chair. The 2014 Signature Chef Committee are: Standing, from left: Melisa Tejada; David Aguirre; and Yirla González Nolan. Seated, from left: Sarah Hammond; Giselle Mascarenhas-Villarreal; Perla Tamez; and Elizabeth Aguirre. Committee members Larry Delgado and Pepe Cabeza de Vaca are not pictured. See story later in this posting. •••••• The Edinburg Chamber of Commerce recently received four honors, including two First Place showings, at the recent Texas Chamber of Commerce Executives (TCCE) Annual Excellence Awards held in College Station. The local chamber of commerce earned First Place in Marketing Campaign for the annual Texas Cook'Em: High Steaks in Edinburg; First Place in Brochures; Second Place in Directory/Magazine for its Edinburg Community Guide; and Second Place in Maps. The overall competition had more than 225 entries from which the best were judged by panels of experts in the specific field around the state,” said Ray Hernández, TCCE Vice-Chairman of Communications and Chair of the 2014 Media Awards. Local chambers from Texas convened on Monday, June 23, for the Texas Chamber of Commerce Executives Annual Awards. Featured, from left: Martín Rivas, Director of Membership, Edinburg Chamber of Commerce; Letty González, President, Edinburg Chamber of Commerce; Imelda Rodriguez, Director of Tourism, Edinburg Chamber of Commerce; and Ronnie Larralde, Director of Marketing/Special Events, Edinburg Chamber of Commerce. See story later in this posting. •••••• Jaclyn Treviño, Public Affairs Multimedia Coordinator for Hidalgo County, featured center, on Tuesday, July 29, was recognized by the county commissioners court for receiving the Award of Excellence from the Texas Association of Municipal Information Officers. Her statewide honor was bestowed upon her for a video she wrote, directed, shot, and produced for Precinct 2 called Working for You. Her video was made to inform the public of what Hidalgo County Precinct 2 is doing for the residents of the region and was shown at Town Hall meetings. “Congratulations are in order for our extraordinary Jackie Treviño,” said Julia Benítez Sullivan, Public Affairs Director for Hidalgo County. “It’s always good when Hidalgo County receives statewide recognition.” Treviño thanked Precinct 2 Commissioner Héctor “Tito” Palacios and his staff, Raúl Silguero, Erika Zamora and Carlos Jasso. "They were very helpful in providing me with all of the information and tools I needed to complete the project," said Treviño. "Their collaboration was instrumental in making this video a success.” Working for You received second place honors. The City of Arlington took first place and the City of Plano placed third. Hidalgo County competed against municipalities with populations of more than 200,000. There were more than 300 entries submitted and Treviño's video was selected from 80 finalists. Featured, from left: Julia Benítez Sullivan, Public Affairs Director for Hidalgo County; Jaclyn Treviño, Public Affairs Multimedia Coordinator for Hidalgo County; and Yolanda Chapa, Chief Administrator for Hidalgo County Judge Ramón García. •••••• As part of the continued efforts of the State of Texas to combat human trafficking, Rep. Óscar Longoria, Jr., D-La Joya, featured left, hosted the Joint Interim Committee To Study Human Trafficking for a public hearing on Thursday, July 24, 2014 at 10 a.m. at the Nellie Schunior Central Administration Building, 201 W. Expressway 83, in La Joya. Rep. Sergio Muñoz, Jr., D-Mission, also is a member of that legislative panel. The committee heard testimony on ways to further combat human trafficking along the Texas border and region, and discussed services available to victims. “Human trafficking has been a very serious issue in Texas for decades,” said Longoria, who represents House District 35. “We have seen this issue increase throughout the years, especially here in the South Texas border, where we have experienced an overwhelming number of immigrants crossing from Mexico into the United States within the last three years. The thousands of men, women, and children who make the journey to cross through our border are subject to, and in many cases have become victims of human trafficking.” Featured, from left: Rep. Roberto Alonzo, D-Dallas; Rep. Senfronia Thompson, D-Houston; Milda Mora, Chief Committee Clerk; Rep. Óscar Longoria, Jr., D-La Joya, and Sen. Joan Huffman, R-Houston, See story later in this posting. •••••• Gov. Rick Perry on Monday, August 4, announced that the state is offering $2.3 million from the Texas Enterprise Fund (TEF) to bring SpaceX's commercial rocket launch facility to Cameron County. Contingent upon final approval of local agreements and receipt of additional required permits, this facility will create 300 jobs and pump $85 million in capital investment into the local economy. "Texas has been on the forefront of our nation's space exploration efforts for decades, so it is fitting that SpaceX has chosen our state as they expand the frontiers of commercial space flight," Perry said. "In addition to growing the aerospace industry in Texas, SpaceX's facility will provide myriad opportunities for STEM education in South Texas, and inspire a new generation of Texas engineers and innovators." Featured in this image is a successful static fire in March in preparation for a mission to the International Space Station. The mission, from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, took place in mid-April, with the Falcon 9 rocket sending the Dragon spacecraft on SpaceX’s third commercial re-supply mission and fourth visit to the space station. See story later in this posting. •••••• Louis Dartez, an alumnus of The University of Texas at Brownsville, on Monday, August 4, faced a room crowded with television cameras, reporters and civic officials at a press conference held at the offices of the Brownsville Economic Development Council. Representing physics students, Dartez had been asked to comment on the day’s big announcement that Space Exploration Technologies, or SpaceX, has selected Boca Chica Beach as a launch site for its Falcon 9 rocket. “You all have changed my life,” said Dartez, citing the many individuals and entities that have worked on obtaining this project for more than three years. “The decision by SpaceX to select our area benefits the students of today and tomorrow.” SpaceX ended months of speculation that the rocket company would choose Cameron County and build the world’s first vertical rocket launch site at Boca Chica Beach to complement its existing launch sites at Vandenberg, California, and Cape Canaveral, Florida. SpaceX CEO Elon Musk made the official announcement through a news release from Gov. Rick Perry’s office. “This is a historical moment for the greater Brownsville region and the state of Texas,” said Brownsville Mayor Tony Martínez. “This would never have succeeded but for the immense support of the people of Brownsville, all of its surrounding neighbors and the state. We will ensure that SpaceX has everything they need in order to be successful in the Greater Brownsville Borderplex.” •••••• The University of Texas System Board of Regents, meeting in Austin on Thursday, July 10, approved a proposal to ask state lawmakers to authorize $42.5 million in tuition revenue bonds to help pay for construction of a $50 million Interdisciplinary Engineering and Academic Studies Building at the Edinburg campus of UT-Rio Grande Valley, Edinburg Mayor Richard García, featured left, has announced. Dr. Guy Bailey, the President of The University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley, is shown here with the mayor during a legislative briefing on Tuesday, June 17, at the Edinburg Conference Center at Renaissance. The $50 million Interdisciplinary Engineering and Academic Studies Building would be built on the campus quad – its open-air courtyard – west of the Edinburg campus’ main library. “This project (Interdisciplinary Engineering and Academic Studies Building in Edinburg) would create an additional 124,304 GSF (gross square feet) with 80,798 assignable square feet of much needed space. The spaces will include a large lecture auditorium with a 250-seat capacity, several 150-seat lecture halls, 60-seat classrooms, and faculty offices,” noted a UT System synopsis of the project. “The project will also include an outdoor pavilion to be used as a gathering area and study space to relieve pressure on more expensive indoor space and also to support academic events.” Agustín “Gus” García, Executive Director for the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation, said the EEDC and the Edinburg City Council would continue to be champions for UT-RGV and its UT medical school, not only before the UT System Board of Regents, but also at the state legislative levels. “Edinburg’s top leadership, featuring the Edinburg City Council and the EEDC Board of Directors, has a long and distinguished history of proven support and effectiveness for higher education, not only in our community, but Valleywide,” said Gus García. “We know the legislative system in Austin, we benefit from an outstanding state legislative delegation, and we have friends and allies in key places in the UT System. We will be partners in the continuing transformation of UT-RGV into a university of the first-class.” See lead story later in this posting. ••••••

Plan approved by UT System regents to ask Legislature to authorize $42.5 million in tuition revenue bonds for $50 million Interdisciplinary Engineering and Academic Studies Building at Edinburg campus of UT-Rio Grande Valley

By DAVID A. DÍAZ The University of Texas System Board of Regents, meeting in Austin on Thursday, July 10, approved a proposal to ask state lawmakers to authorize $42.5 million in tuition revenue bonds to help pay for construction of a $50 million Interdisciplinary Engineering and Academic Studies Building at the Edinburg campus of UT-Rio Grande Valley, the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation has announced. The EEDC is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg City Council. The $50 million complex in Edinburg is part of a package of proposed major renovations or new facilities at nine UT System campuses, totaling more than $1.5 billion, that also includes UT-Arlington ($310 million), (UT-Austin $205 million), the Brownsville campus of UT-RGV ($155.7 million), UT-Dallas ($194 million), UT-El Paso ($235 million) UT-Permian Basin ($68.4 million) UT-San Antonio ($157.5 million), and UT-Tyler ($76 million). Most of the money for the UT System’s statewide academic institution projects would come from tuition revenue bonds, which is money generated from tuition charges levied against students or universities. As more students are enrolled, more money from tuition is generated that is used to repay the debt from tuition revenue bonds. The Texas Legislature would have to authorize the issuance of tuition revenue bonds in the 2015 regular session, which will be held from mid-January through the end of May. Agustín “Gus” García, Executive Director for the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation, said the EEDC and the Edinburg City Council would continue to be champions for UT-RGV and its UT medical school, not only before the UT System Board of Regents, but also at the state legislative levels. “Edinburg’s top leadership, featuring the Edinburg City Council and the EEDC Board of Directors, has a long and distinguished history of proven support and effectiveness for higher education, not only in our community, but Valleywide,” said García. “We know the legislative system in Austin, we benefit from an outstanding state legislative delegation, and we have friends and allies in key places in the UT System. We will be partners in the continuing transformation of UT-RGV into a university of the first-class.” • New building to be located by campus library The proposed facility in Edinburg would help prepare more engineering students while also addressing space requirements for other academic disciplines as needed, according to a synopsis of the project provided by the UT System. The $50 million Interdisciplinary Engineering and Academic Studies Building would be built on the campus quad – its open-air courtyard – west of the Edinburg campus’ main library. “This project (Interdisciplinary Engineering and Academic Studies Building in Edinburg) would create an additional 124,304 GSF (gross square feet) with 80,798 assignable square feet of much needed space. The spaces will include a large lecture auditorium with a 250-seat capacity, several 150-seat lecture halls, 60-seat classrooms, and faculty offices,” noted a UT System synopsis of the project. “The project will also include an outdoor pavilion to be used as a gathering area and study space to relieve pressure on more expensive indoor space and also to support academic events.” If the tuition revenue bond funding for the Interdisciplinary Engineering and Academic Studies Building is approved by the Texas Legislature next spring, UT-RGV would provide the $7.5 million balance to reach the projected $50 million cost of the proposed 124,304 GSF (gross square feet) complex. Once the funding plan clears the Legislature, facility programming would begin in October 2015, with design development approval scheduled for August 2016, leading to occupancy by August 2018. • Canales: Major UT projects in Edinburg already underway This latest major construction proposal for UT-Pan American – to be renamed UT-Rio Grande Valley next year – comes as a result of legislation approved by state lawmakers in 2013. “For UT-Pan American and UT-Brownsville, which are being merged into the University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley, these proposals represent the next phase of academic excellence and economic development as a result of the landmark legislation approved in 2013 that also will bringing the Valley a full-fledged UT medical school,” said Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg, whose House District 40 includes UTPA and a major component of the medical school. “I will work diligently with my fellow Valley and state lawmakers to secure legislative funding for these vital projects.” Canales was a House sponsor of Senate Bill 24, authored by Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, D-McAllen, whose primary sponsor was Rep. René Oliveria, D-Brownsville. SB 24 is resulting in the merger of UTPA and UT-Brownsville into The University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley, and to the establishment of a UT medical school for the Valley. Canales noted this latest project is in addition to several major facilities already underway at the Edinburg campus. “Last year, the UT System authorized funding for the construction of a $70 million Science Building Annex at UT-Pan American and $54 million for a UT medical school academic building next to the Edinburg campus,” Canales said. “This is in addition to the $42.6 million, 1,000-seat Academic and Performing Arts Center at UTPA, also already funded, which is well on its way to being completed.” Hinojosa emphasized the importance of South Texans remaining united to bring about these and future major advances for UT-RGV and its medical school. “UT-RGV was only possible because of our legislative delegation, UT system leaders, medical community, business leaders, public officials, parents and students who worked together to transform a dream into a reality,” the South Texas senator said. “By embracing a regional mindset, we have been able to come together to invest in education and the people of South Texas. As the Valley moves forward with the same collaborative efforts, “we need to continue as a united community welcoming a vision that is broad and long-term to reap the tremendous returns that a new top-tier university and medical school will bring to the Rio Grande Valley,” Hinojosa added. In addition to Hinojosa, Oliveira, and Canales, other key lawmakers involved with the passage of Senate Bill 24 include Rep. Sergio Muñoz, Jr., D-Mission, Rep. Armando “Mando” Martínez, D-Weslaco, Rep. Robert “Bobby” Guerra, D-McAllen, Rep. Óscar Longoria, Jr., D-La Joya, Rep. Eddie Lucio, III, D-San Benito, and Rep. J.M. Lozano, R-Kingsville. Sen. Eddie Lucio, Jr., D-Brownsville, and Sen. Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo, were among the joint authors of SB 24. Sen. Kel Seliger, R-Amarillo, the Chairman of the Senate Higher Education Committee, also was a joint author of SB 24, while Rep. Dan Branch, R-Dallas, Chairman of the House Higher Education Committee, was a joint sponsor of that measure. As a result of SB 24, UT-Pan American and UT-Brownsville are in the process of being merged to become The University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley. The combined assets of UT-Pan American and UT-Brownsville, along with the three UT Regional Academic Health Centers (RAHC) in Edinburg, Harlingen, and Brownsville, will make up UT-Rio Grande Valley. The RAHCs will become part of a full-fledged UT-RGV medical school, with major components in Edinburg and Harlingen. • UT RGV to serve as model for UT System Dr. Guy Bailey, the recently-hired president of UT-RGV, was encouraged by regents to look for ways to use high-technology to increase the efficiency of the classroom settings, noting that UT-RGV could serve as a model for other UT System campuses. Responding to suggestions that space needed for a large lecture hall, as proposed for the new facility, might be better used for more, but smaller classrooms, Bailey said he and his staff would work with the architects of the facility to address that goal. “The fact that you are teaching a large lecture doesn’t mean that class is limited to that particular space,” said Bailey. “By using technology, we can both offer our class in a large lecture hall and in a small classroom. Through things like video streaming, you can offer that.” In general, video streaming is a term that refers to providing video, in real time, through the Internet to viewers, such as students in a classroom. “Most students who come to a traditional institution want face-to-face instruction,” Bailey added. “We know we are going to be offering instruction in a variety of different mechanisms, so we anticipate offering classes in classrooms, online, some of those video-streamed as they are being taught.” The Brownsville campus of UT-RGV had the following projects approved for inclusion in the UT System statewide campus construction plan: • $50,600,000 Multipurpose Academic Center UT-RGV, Brownsville Campus The project will add an academic facility with a total of 177,527, GSF. The facility will include 132,527 GSF for much needed classrooms for science, biology, chemistry, environmental sciences, and physics and an additional 45,000 GSF will provide space for general purpose classrooms. 294,955 GSF is currently being leased from Texas Southmost College and other private property owners. The lifespan of the leases is between two and six years; therefore, UTRGV Brownsville campus has an urgent need to begin to construct new buildings for classroom space, science labs and student support services to meet current enrollment needs. • $50,400,000 Fine Arts and Classrooms Building UT-RGV, Brownsville Campus This project will construct a Fine Arts and Classroom building with a total of 155,174 GSF to provide music education teaching space and general purpose classrooms. This space is needed to replace space that is currently being leased from Texas Southmost College. It will provide some additional space to accommodate student enrollment. The facility will include 30,000 GSF of flexible learning spaces to serve not only music education but other disciplines as well. • $54,700,000 Student Success and Administrative Building UT-RGV, Brownsville Campus This project will construct 181,715 GSF for a Student Success and Administrative Building. A total of 154,282 GSF is needed to replace space that is currently being leased from Texas Southmost College and provide additional space to accommodate student enrollment in the areas of student support and services. Included will be 27,433 GSF for learning enrichment spaces that would include collaborative spaces equipped with technology to interact with students located in any of the locations of UT-RGV. A videotape of the public portion of the UT System Board of Regents may be viewed on the Internet at http://www.utsystem.edu/board-of-regents/meetings The Edinburg Economic Development Corporation is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg City Council. It’s five-member governing board, which is appointed by the Edinburg City Council, includes Mayor Richard García as President, Fred Palacios as Secretary-Treasurer, and Felipe García, Dr. Havidán Rodríguez, and Steven Edward Cruz, II. For more information on the EEDC and the City of Edinburg, please log on to: www.EdbgCityLimits.com ••••••

Resaca Market, a 500,000-square-foot retail, entertainment and hotel complex, in planning stages, announces Edinburg EDC

By DAVID A. DÍAZ Another major retail and entertainment complex, complete with a hotel, is in the planning stages for Edinburg, a project that could bring in as much as $300 million a year into the city’s economy, Agustín “Gus” García, the Executive Director for the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation, has announced. The EEDC is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg City Council. García delivered that news and provided other insights into the strength and future of Edinburg and its economy during the Public Affairs Luncheon, sponsored by The Bert Ogden Auto Group and the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce, on Thursday, July 24. His remarks, illustrated by a Power Point presentation, were made before about 225 community and business leaders who attended the function, held in one of the main reception rooms at the Edinburg Conference Center at Renaissance. García said the EEDC has been working with Burns Brothers, LTD, a local development firm which in 2008 created the 726-acre La Sienna Master Planned Community in north Edinburg, to help bring about the adjoining planned retail/hotel conglomerate to be known as Resaca Market. García said Resaca Market would take advantage not only of the growing residential subdivisions within the La Sienna Master Planned Community, but especially with the tens of thousands of prospective customers who would travel by it every day on U.S. Expressway 281, which on May 30, 2013 was designated Interstate 69-Central. The planned Resaca Market and La Sienna Master Planned Community are located by the U.S. Expressway 281/169C six-lane thoroughfare’s intersection with Monte Cristo Road. Resaca Market and La Sienna Master Planned Community are about 3.5 miles north of Edinburg’s downtown, and approximately six miles north of Edinburg’s city-owned, planned $54 million, 8,500-seat arena to be constructed along U.S. 281/I69C in south Edinburg. “They are changing the shopping industry with Resaca Market,” García said. “We are currently working with Burns Brothers, LTD to develop that project, which would feature about 500,000 square feet of retail, restaurants, hotel, shopping, entertainment, movie theaters, and so on. What a wonderful opportunity for shopping this will be, which would bring many more Mexican consumers and American dollars to that area, and into our city.” In general, a master planned community is an economically-upscale residential center, with homes built by several different builders, pools, trails, and other recreational facilities, designed to provide all the major amenities to its residents. There are often adjacent commercial districts with shopping and entertainment venues, as would be the case with the Resaca Market. García said Resaca Market has the potential to generate as much as $5 million a year in local sales tax revenue for key public services – additional money that can be used by the Edinburg City Council and EEDC for a wide range of its duties, from public safety, infrastructure improvements and youth programs to economic development and job-creation efforts. The EEDC executive director said Resaca Market would have similar benefits as another of the Valley’s more well-known retail venues, the Rio Grande Valley Premium Outlets, which is the 587,000-square-foot shopping center located in Mercedes by U.S. Expressway 83. To provide Edinburg’s leadership with an analysis of the potential financial impact of Resaca Market, the EEDC reviewed the positive economic impact of the Rio Grande Valley Premium Outlets, which took advantage of being located right off U.S. Expressway 281. “In the area of Mercedes that now includes the Rio Grande Valley Premium Outlets, before that shopping center was built, that region of their city generated about $1.2 million to $1.5 million a year in local sales taxes,” García reported. “After the outlet was built, that figure, in as few as five years, increased to $7.4 million in local sales taxes generated annually. That equates to roughly $300 million in sales a year. If all goes well for Resaca Market, that could bring the extra $5 million a year for local city services in Edinburg.” “Location, location, location” – that famous selling point for successful real estate transactions – is one of the major themes Edinburg has been using in encouraging new commercial and residential developments and expansions in the city, including along the frontage roads of the 18-mile stretch of U.S. Expressway 281/I69C that spans Edinburg’s southern and northern city limits. While Resaca Market would serve as the northern anchor of retail action for Edinburg which will draw traffic from U.S. Expressway 281/169C, that same interstate also is benefiting another developing retail corridor that features The Shoppes at Rio Grande Valley – and other vital businesses. García said that The Shoppes at Rio Grande Valley in Edinburg, which currently has 450,000 square feet of retail space in use, is planning its next significant addition, which will provide more restaurants in high demand by local residents. This latest expansion involving those new restaurants is part of a vision by city leaders and First Hartford Realty Corporation, the developers of The Shoppes at Rio Grande Valley, which was opened in 2008. Currently, The Shoppes at Rio Grande Valley is generating about $100 million annually in retail activity from existing stores, but that figure will grow significantly when that complex eventually reaches its goal of becoming a 1.1 million square-foot retail giant. Near the Shoppes at Rio Grande Valley, major auto dealerships and large shopping venues, such as the city’s third Wal-Mart Supercenter, are open for business. Other existing and planned retail venues, such as the city’s third H-E-B supermarket, are drawn by the high-traffic counts of U.S. Expressway 281/I69C in south Edinburg. That region will also soon boast the $54 million, 8,500-seat arena, to be owned by the city, that will serve as home to the NBA-affiliated Rio Grande Valley Vipers professional basketball team, as well as host major concerts and other large gatherings. The EEDC executive director’s overview also included summaries of more than one dozen other ongoing and planned major projects, ranging from new hotels coming to the city to more than $200 million in new construction now underway, approved, or proposed for the The University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley in Edinburg and the UT-RGV school of medicine in Edinburg. “Ladies and gentlemen, that is a lot of activity going on in Edinburg right now,” García concluded his presentation, then predicted, “We’re helping lead the way in education, medicine, and government. In partnership with all cities in the Valley, I know that South Texas is going to become one of the epicenters of economic development for Texas.” The Edinburg Economic Development Corporation is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg City Council. It’s five-member governing board, which is appointed by the Edinburg City Council, includes Mayor Richard García as President, Fred Palacios as Secretary-Treasurer, and Felipe García, Dr. Havidán Rodríguez, and Steven Edward Cruz, II. For more information on the EEDC and the City of Edinburg, please log on to: www.EdbgCityLimits.com ••••••

EEDC making its influence felt with board member Havidán Rodríguez, Ph.D., chosen as Interim President for UT-Pan American

By DAVID A. DÍAZ Havidán Rodríguez, Ph.D. has a modern vision for South Texas based much like 15th century English philosopher Sir Francis Bacon so famously advised: “A wise man will make more opportunities than he finds.” So not surprisingly, Rodríguez has answered the clarion call from the University of Texas System leadership for him to create another great opportunity, not just for his already illustrious professional career, but to make history by helping launch The University of Texas-Pan American into a bold, prosperous future never before seen. In late June, he agreed to serve as Interim President of The University of Texas-Pan American for the upcoming 2014-2015 academic year, which begins this fall. Among the milestones that will be reached in those 12 months, it will be the last time the Edinburg campus will carry the beloved and prestigious “Pan American” name. Rodríguez also will become the final name in the honor roll of distinguished leaders who have served as president of the Valley’s premier institution of higher education since H.C. Baker held that position from 1927 to 1933 of what was then Edinburg College. But the soon-to-be former Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs at UT-Pan American, Rodríguez – who also serves on the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation Board of Directors – realizes his dramatic ascension at the university goes far beyond his professional life. “I am humbled and grateful. It is an incredible honor,” reflects Rodríguez. “There is really only a handful of people who get the opportunity to create a new university. So being here is not only a challenge, it is an opportunity. It is exciting and it is revolutionary because what we are looking at is a transformational experience for the entire Rio Grande Valley. You don't get a second chance like this.” In doing so, Rodríguez will serve a vital mission in protecting and promoting the well-being of UT-Pan American as it evolves into a new, larger higher education system. Effective August 2015, under legislation successfully passed in 2013 by Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, D-McAllen, and Rep. René Oliveira, D-Brownsville, along with the rest of the Valley’s state legislative delegation, all the resources of the UT System in deep South Texas will have been combined to become The University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley. In late 2012 and during the spring of 2013, the EEDC and the Edinburg City Council lobbied the Texas Legislature for the landmark creation of The University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley, which is also bringing a full-fledged UT school of medicine to the Valley, including a major component in Edinburg. For almost 20 years, the EEDC and the Edinburg City Council have effectively supported UT-Pan American before the Texas Legislature and the UT System Board of Regents. “Edinburg is deservedly known as a center of education in South Texas, and UT-Pan American always has been a powerful force for good in so many ways, so the EEDC and the Edinburg City Council have long served as champions for this incredible institution of higher education,” said Agustín “Gus” García, EEDC’s Executive Director. Mayor Richard García and EEDC Executive Director Gus” García are not related. The EEDC, whose five-member governing board includes Edinburg Mayor Richard García as president, is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg City Council. All EEDC board members, with the exception of the mayor, who automatically serves as president, are appointed by the city council. • EEDC Executive Director: Rodríguez’ presidency “a fitting tribute” “For Dr. Rodríguez, who has done so much for UT-Pan American, both in his capacity with the university and as a valued leader of the EEDC, it is a fitting tribute to him that he be chosen to lead UT-Pan American into its glorious future,” EEDC Executive Director Gus” García declared. Chosen on Wednesday, June 25, by UT System Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa, M.D., to serve as the final president of UT-Pan American, Rodríguez will be a top advisor to Dr. Guy Bailey, the incoming president of The University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley, while tending to his own awesome responsibilities of leading UT-Pan American. Rodríguez says he will have at least three major duties for the upcoming 2014-2015 academic year at the Edinburg campus. “First, we still have another year of maintaining UT-Pan American as an excellent institution of higher education, so my role is to make sure we continue to promote excellence in teaching, research/scholarship, and service,” he said. He is also tasked with helping ensure UT-Pan American’s successful transition to UT-Rio Grande Valley. “In that context, I will be working with (UT-RGV) President Bailey, with the leadership at UT-Brownsville, UT-Pan American and the UT System, to ensure that we open the doors and are very successful on day one of the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley,” said Rodríguez. Building, sustaining, and strengthening the relationships between UT-Pan American, UT- Brownsville, and the UT Regional Academic Health Centers in Edinburg, Harlingen and Brownsville comprise what he sees as his third major duty as Interim President. “Making sure we continue to have strong partnerships throughout this year; collaborations and communication, are key,” he added. “Because at the end of the day, we will become one family.” • Ongoing UTPA construction projects shaping future campus In his three-and-a-half years as UTPA’s Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, as a member of the EEDC Board of Directors, and during the upcoming year as Interim President of UT-Pan American, Rodríguez has been, and will continue to be, a valuable leader in the physical transformation of the Edinburg campus, said Mayor Richard García. “Right now, most noticeable is the $42.6 million, 1,000-seat Academic and Performing Arts Center being built and scheduled to open in early 2015, as well as other key expansions or additions to existing buildings that people see as they walk or drive by campus,” the Edinburg mayor noted. These and other very impressive developments at UT-Pan American always will bear witness to the work of Havidán Rodríguez.” In addition, the UT System Board of Regents already has approved, and provided the funding for, a $70 million Science Building, and for the construction of a $54 million medical school classroom complex at the Edinburg campus of UT-Rio Grande Valley, Mayor García added. Other construction projects will continue to reshape UT-Pan American in the coming 12 months, Rodríguez said, while indicating that all of these breakthroughs have taken place under the leadership of UTPA President Robert S. Nelsen and Martin (Marty) Baylor, Vice President for Business Affairs. “We have a significant renovation project to enhance, strengthen and expand the health sciences, so we'll have Occupational Therapy and Social Work moving to the building which was previously the university book store,” he said. “In addition, we will have a major renovation project, that will start this fall, to expand the facilities for our nationally-recognized Physician Assistant Program, as well as our excellent nursing program.” The university bookstore is now located on the first floor of the UTPA Library. “We have another building that is being constructed, and hopefully, people will start moving in by August that will house what we call the University College, which is designed to ensure the successful transition of students from high school and community colleges to a four-year institution and to promote student success,” Rodríguez continued. That new building will be a hub for student engagement and experiential learning (learning from experience) so prospective students can be exposed to undergraduate research, service learning, the honors program, and study abroad – “these are experiences that will help our students succeed at the university and get excellent jobs or continue to graduate school,” he said. As for the most visible project on campus right now, Rodríguez said UTPA officials “expect the Academic and Performing Arts Center will be fully online, hopefully sometime in February, so this is a major contribution that we will be making to the Rio Grande Valley.” Sports will also make its presence felt at the Edinburg campus, with the upcoming revival of NCAA Division One men’s and women’s soccer. Women's soccer team begins play this fall, while the men's soccer team returns after an 18-year hiatus in 2015. “There is construction of a soccer field ongoing right now; we are also adding soccer to our athletic teams here at UT-Pan American, and to UT-Rio Grande Valley as well, so a soccer complex is a project we hope will be completed fairly soon,” Rodríguez said. • Rodríguez’ legacy includes humility, loyalty Regarding all of this dramatic growth, Rodríguez demonstrates admirable humility and loyalty, despite his remarkable legacy in higher education and his upcoming lofty title as Interim President of UT-Pan American. Without fail, he credits his friend and soon-to-be former boss, UTPA President Nelsen, for helping make possible this next phase of impressive growth of university facilities. “It is important to say that under the leadership of President Nelsen, we have been able to significantly expand the construction projects and the renovations now going on at UT-Pan American,” Rodríguez said. Nelsen, who supported the creation of UT-Rio Grande Valley, on June 6 announced his plan to retire as UTPA president effective September 2. He has been offered the position of Special Advisor to Pedro Reyes, Ph.D., Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs of the University of Texas System. Nelsen’s roles would include fundraising for the UT System and for UT-RGV. “In his four years as President, Dr. Nelsen has accomplished a great deal, and the UT System and UTPA owe him a debt of gratitude for moving a number of tough initiatives forward,” Reyes stated in correspondence announcing Nelsen’s decision. “His major achievements include providing leadership that resulted in UTPA being elevated from a ‘comprehensive masters’ to a ‘doctoral serving’ institution, and being named as The College of the Year (in 2013) by the National Hispanic Institute.” With both Nelsen and Rodríguez continuing to excel in their respective professions, their efforts have and will continue to bring advancements to all of South Texas. “UT-Pan American still has another year to work on a variety of initiatives,” Rodríguez said. “As we also move to create a new university of the 21st century, there will be significant interaction with the UT System, the UT System Board of Regents, and the Texas Legislature,” he said. • Rodríguez: “There are a lot of eyes on South Texas right now.” He emphasized the value of higher education for deep South Texas. “UT-Pan American and UT-Brownsville have always been important economic engines for the region. When UT-Rio Grande Valley is created, it will be even more so,” Rodríguez predicted. “We will continue to create well-paying jobs. With the addition of the school of medicine in 2016, UT-RGV will have a significant and positive impact on the social and economic development in the region.” He beams with pride, not for himself, but for South Texas, which through the coming emergence of UT-RGV and its UT medical school, has generated impressive attention and awe from beyond the four-county Rio Grande Valley. “This is a truly innovative project that will have significant ramifications, not only for the Rio Grande Valley and Texas, but across the United States,” Rodríguez explained. “Our goal is to become a model institution - not only a model Hispanic-serving institution, but a model institution of higher education across the country.” With great confidence, he embraces the challenges that will come as the final president of The University of Texas-Pan American as it becomes Texas’ first new university of the 21st century. “There are a lot of eyes on South Texas right now,” Rodríguez welcomed the scrutiny and support tied into one of the most ambitious legislative higher education efforts ever undertaken in Texas. “People are looking at us,” he said of this landmark opportunity facing him and South Texas. “We are looking forward to continue to work and to make sure that we are successful.” • Biographical Professional Highlights for Havidán Rodríguez, Ph.D. Prior to being selected as Interim President for The University of Texas-Pan American, Dr. Havidán Rodríguez had been Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at UTPA. He is also a tenured professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology. Before arriving at UTPA, Dr. Rodríguez served as the Deputy Provost, Vice Provost for Academic Affairs and International Programs, and Professor in the Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice at the University of Delaware. He was also a core faculty member and former director of the Disaster Research Center (DRC), the oldest and one of the leading social science disaster research centers in the world. He obtained his Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Dr. Rodríguez held a faculty position and several administrative positions at the University of Puerto Rico-Mayagüez (UPRM) for more than a decade; and he served as Director of the Minority Affairs Program for the American Sociological Association (1995-1998). He has also been a visiting professor at the University of Michigan’s Population Fellow’s Program (Summers, 2001-2003); was selected as the Frey Foundation Distinguished Visiting Professor at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill (Spring, 2002); received a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) National Disaster Medical System (NDMS) Outstanding Achievement Award (2004); and was recognized as one of the Hispanics of the Year in the State of Delaware for which he received the Professional Achievement Award (2007). Dr. Rodríguez served on a number of committees for the National Academy of Sciences and on review panels for the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Ford Foundation, and he was the Chair of the Latina/o Sociology Section of the American Sociological Association. Dr. Rodríguez has received funding from NSF, the Ford Foundation, the National Institute of Mental Health, FEMA, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the UPRM Sea Grant Program, among others, for a number of research projects focusing on the social science aspects of disasters and for projects aimed at providing hands-on research training and mentoring to undergraduate and graduate students. He was also the principal investigator for the Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) Program: Training the Next Generation of Disaster Researchers, funded by NSF. Currently, he serves as the principal investigator for an NSF ADVANCE IT grant aimed at increasing the representation, participation, and leadership of women faculty in STEM fields. Dr. Rodríguez has led and participated in a number of field research projects, including trips to Honduras, following Hurricane Mitch; India and Sri Lanka, following the Indian Ocean Tsunami; and the Gulf Coast, following Hurricane Katrina. Dr. Rodríguez has a significant number of publications in the area of disasters, as well as Latinos/as in the United States. He is the co-editor (with Quarantelli and Dynes) of the Handbook of Disaster Research (2006) and the co-editor (with Sáenz and Menjívar) of Latinas/os in the United States: Changing the Face of América (2008). The Edinburg Economic Development Corporation is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg City Council. It’s five-member governing board, which is appointed by the Edinburg City Council, includes Mayor Richard García as President, Fred Palacios as Secretary-Treasurer, and Felipe García, Steven Edward Cruz, II, and Dr. Havidán Rodríguez. For more information on the EEDC and the City of Edinburg, please log on to: www.EdbgCityLimits.com ••••••

UT System Board of Regents approve establishment of doctor of medicine degree at UT-Rio Grande Valley

In another historic step in the march to higher education opportunities for the Rio Grande Valley, The University of Texas System Board of Regents on Thursday, July 10, unanimously approved the establishment of a doctor of medicine degree at UT-Rio Grande Valley. UT-RGV, which will combine the assets, talents and resources of UT-Pan American and UT- Brownsville, is set to open its doors in August 2015. The following year, in July 2016, the university’s medical school will accept the charter class of 50 first-year medical students, subject to preliminary accreditation by the Liaison Committee for Medical Education (LCME), the national accrediting body for institutions that offer a medical degree. “This is a continuation of an historic milestone for the entire Rio Grande Valley, one of the most medically-underserved regions in the nation,” said UT System Chancellor Francisco G. Cigarroa, M.D. “The new medical degree program at UT-RGV will educate physicians to be skilled clinicians, biomedical scientists and innovators and help to transform the health care system regionally and across Texas.” The UT-RGV medical school will adopt an innovative curriculum that is sequenced vertically and horizontally to integrate basic and clinical sciences. “The South Texas region is different and unique geographically, culturally and medically, from the rest of Texas,” said Francisco Fernández, M.D., the medical school’s founding dean. “Our medical students will have the opportunity to be part of community-based projects aimed at addressing specific health needs, including incidences of obesity and diabetes that are significantly higher than the rest of the state and nation.” Regents already have approved $54 million from the Permanent University Fund for the construction of a medical school building in Edinburg. Medical education programs will take place at several locations throughout Hidalgo and Cameron counties, including at the new facility, at the existing Regional Academic Health Center in Harlingen and at other existing and planned facilities. Already operational in Harlingen is the UT Rio Grande Valley Smart Hospital, a 15,000 square-foot, state-of-the-art simulation teaching hospital built with $10 million allocated by the Board of Regents. The fully-functional medical school “will be a big step towards providing greater access to health care throughout the Rio Grande Valley, transforming medical education and health care for all of South Texas,” said Dr. Guy Bailey, UT-RGV’s founding president. “The entire community’s enthusiasm and support for the School of Medicine is very impressive. The dream that so many have had for so long is finally becoming a reality.” ••••••

SpaceX to build first commercial launch complex for orbital missions in Cameron County, bring 300 high-tech jobs with it

Gov. Rick Perry on Monday, August 4, announced that the state is offering $2.3 million from the Texas Enterprise Fund (TEF) to bring SpaceX's commercial rocket launch facility to Cameron County. Contingent upon final approval of local agreements and receipt of additional required permits, this facility will create 300 jobs and pump $85 million in capital investment into the local economy. "Texas has been on the forefront of our nation's space exploration efforts for decades, so it is fitting that SpaceX has chosen our state as they expand the frontiers of commercial space flight," Perry said. "In addition to growing the aerospace industry in Texas, SpaceX's facility will provide myriad opportunities for STEM education in South Texas, and inspire a new generation of Texas engineers and innovators." The State of Texas and SpaceX first discussed this potential project in the spring of 2011 during a TexasOne mission to California. The governor has since met with SpaceX founder Elon Musk and provided letters in support of SpaceX's efforts to get FAA clearance for the site. Governor's Office staff has worked closely with local officials in South Texas throughout the process, and also testified before the FAA in support of bringing the project to Texas. In addition to the TEF investment, the state is also offering $13 million from the Spaceport Trust Fund to the Cameron County Spaceport Development Corp. The fund is used to support the development of infrastructure necessary for establishing a spaceport. SpaceX designs, manufactures and launches advanced rockets and spacecraft, and is the world's fastest-growing provider of launch services. It is the only private company ever to return a spacecraft from low-Earth orbit, which it first accomplished in December 2010. SpaceX is also the first private company to attach a spacecraft to the International Space Station, exchange cargo payloads, and return safely to Earth – a technically challenging feat previously only accomplished by government space programs. SpaceX operates a Rocket Development Facility in McGregor, Texas which has grown to over 250 employees since starting operations in 2003. The Brownsville facility will launch commercial satellites. "SpaceX is excited to expand our work in Texas with the world's first commercial launch complex designed specifically for orbital missions. We appreciate the support of Gov. Perry and numerous other federal, state and local officials who have partnered with us to make this vision a reality," SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said. "In addition to creating hundreds of high tech jobs for the Texas workforce, this site will inspire students, expand the supplier base and attract tourists to the south Texas area." Texas has a long history with both public and private spaceflight. NASA's Johnson Space Center served as a hub for America's human space exploration program from the early Gemini, Apollo and Skylab projects to today's Space Shuttle and International Space Station Programs. Texas was also the launch site for the Conestoga 1 in 1982, one of the first privately funded rockets to reach space. "What a historical moment for the greater Brownsville region and the State of Texas. It's the culmination of a dream and a vision that began more than three years ago," Brownsville Mayor Tony Martinez said. "We will ensure that SpaceX has everything they need in order to be successful in the Greater Brownsville Borderplex. The team effort would have never succeeded but for the immense support of the people of Brownsville, all of its surrounding neighbors and the state - to all of you ‘mil gracias' and watch us soar." The Legislature created the TEF in 2003 and reauthorized funding in 2005, 2007, 2009, 2011 and 2013 to help ensure the growth of Texas businesses and create more jobs throughout the state. TEF projects must be approved by the governor, lieutenant governor and speaker of the House. The fund has since become one of the state's most competitive tools to recruit and bolster business. To date, the TEF has invested more than $565 million and closed the deal on projects generating nearly 76,000 jobs and more than $24 billion in capital investment in the state. ••••••

UT-RGV students to benefit from SpaceX launch site at Boca Chica Beach

By LETTY FERNÁNDEZ Louis Dartez, an alumnus of The University of Texas at Brownsville, on Monday, August 4, faced a room crowded with television cameras, reporters and civic officials at a press conference held at the offices of the Brownsville Economic Development Council. Representing physics students, Dartez had been asked to comment on the day’s big announcement that Space Exploration Technologies, or SpaceX, has selected Boca Chica Beach as a launch site for its Falcon 9 rocket. “You all have changed my life,” said Dartez, citing the many individuals and entities that have worked on obtaining this project for more than three years. “The decision by SpaceX to select our area benefits the students of today and tomorrow.” Dartez, a 2009 graduate of the UTB Mathematics and Science Academy, in May earned his M.S. in physics at UT-B (to be renamed The University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley in August 2014). Set to begin working on his Ph.D. in physics in three weeks with the onset of the fall semester, Dartez said physics students would have opportunities “like never before.” “My thanks to Dr. Rick Jenet and Dr. Richard Price,” he said. “Without you and the other faculty we wouldn’t be here.” SpaceX ended months of speculation that the rocket company would choose Cameron County and build the world’s first vertical rocket launch site at Boca Chica Beach to complement its existing launch sites at Vandenberg, California, and Cape Canaveral, Florida. SpaceX CEO Elon Musk made the official announcement through a news release from Gov. Rick Perry’s office. “This is a historical moment for the greater Brownsville region and the state of Texas,” said Brownsville Mayor Tony Martínez. “This would never have succeeded but for the immense support of the people of Brownsville, all of its surrounding neighbors and the state. We will ensure that SpaceX has everything they need in order to be successful in the Greater Brownsville Borderplex.” The mayor read a statement from Dr. Juliet V. García, UT Brownsville President, who was unable to attend the media event: “This is clear evidence of what can happen when a community and its leadership focus on achieving a goal together. The university is proud to have played a pivotal role in helping recruit SpaceX to our region.” Teamwork and perseverance were the themes cited by all the speakers at the media event – along with excitement and relief. Dr. Guy Bailey, President of UT-Rio Grande Valley that will open its doors in August 2015, said this accomplishment made him think of the Johnson Space Center that was established years ago and the many achievements that came from the work of its talented teams. “Congratulations to all of you,” Bailey said. “This is a tremendous effort, and years from now you will step back, and you will think, ‘Wow we did this, and we really achieved something remarkable.’ The people who are going to benefit are the students – the students in high schools, the students at UT Brownsville who will be UT-RGV students. SpaceX will be the real beneficiary of students like Louis. This is going to be a great partnership. I can’t tell you how happy I am to be a part of it.” Keith Uhles, Board Chair of the Brownsville Economic Development Council, said he remembered being in the same room, three and a half years ago, when this project was first addressed. “It all sounded like a dream,” Uhles said. “This type of project could never have happened without teamwork – from the city of Brownsville, the governor and his staff, and the BEDC staff, working tirelessly all hours of the day and night. This is just the beginning for Brownsville.” Cameron County Judge Carlos Cascos echoed Uhles’ gratitude to Perry. “It is amazing what we can do when we all pull together,” Cascos said. “I thank Gov. Rick Perry for all his support – this is an important initiative for the entire state – Texas will benefit greatly from the SpaceX project.” ••••••

Former Hidalgo County Sheriff Treviño sentenced to five years in federal prison

By ANGELA DODGE Former Hidalgo County Sheriff Guadalupe Treviño, aka Lupe Treviño, on Thursday, July 17, was sentenced to federal prison following his conviction of conspiracy to commit money laundering, announced U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson. Treviño, 64, of McAllen, pleaded guilty in McAllen on Monday, April 14, 2014, in McAllen. “No one is above the law,” said Magidson. “Those entrusted with protecting the public safety have a specific duty to guard against corruption. When they become crooked themselves, the interests of the people demand full accounting for their illegal activities.” Calling this day a “sad” one for Hidalgo County, U.S. District Judge Micaela Álvarez of McAllen upwardly departed from the recommended guidelines and handed Treviño a 60-month term of imprisonment. He was also ordered to pay a $60,000 fine and will serve a two-year-term of supervised release following completion of the prison sentence. “The sentencing of the former Hidalgo County sheriff is the culmination of a long-term investigation into corruption and the violation of public trust,” said Special Agent in Charge Janice Ayala of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in San Antonio. “While the local community mourns this violation, they're now able to put this chapter behind them.” José A. Padilla, of Weslaco, a former deputy commander with the Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office who served under the leadership of Treviño pleaded guilty to receiving a bribe, in a separate, but related case. Nine others, including drug trafficker Tomás Reyes González aka El Gallo, were convicted in relation to the underlying narcotics/money laundering conspiracy. They will all be sentenced on Thurday, September 18, by U.S District Judge Randy Crane of McAllen. The investigation revealed that from 2007 to 2013, Reyes González headed a drug trafficking organization responsible for the distribution of thousands of kilograms of marijuana and hundreds of kilograms of cocaine. The narcotics were transported from the Rio Grande Valley to Arkansas, Tennessee, Alabama and Georgia. Reyes González used the resulting drug proceeds to purchase properties. Treviño admitted he received cash contributions for his election campaign through Padilla from Reyes González, acknowledging he accepted the money knowing it was from illegal activities. At the time of his guilty plea, Padilla also admitted he received cash from Reyes González in exchange for providing information to him related to ongoing law enforcement activities. Treviño admitted he accepted the monies directly and through others as donations to assist with his 2012 election campaign. Some of the monies received were subsequently deposited into bank accounts Treviño controlled and were comingled with other funds. During and after the transactions, Treviño and others acted to disguise and conceal the nature, location, source, ownership and control of the currency by filing false Candidate/Officeholder Campaign Finance Reports and producing other documents. María Patricia Medina, Treviño’s former chief of staff and campaign treasurer, pleaded guilty to misprision of a felony, admitting she assisted Treviño in the concealment of the donations by falsifying election records. Medina was sentenced to 11 months in prison and a $2,000 fine in late July by Chief U.S. District Judge Ricardo Hinojosa of McAllen. The overall investigation was conducted by Homeland Security Investigations, Drug Enforcement Administration, Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation and Texas Department of Public Safety, Rangers Division. Assistant United States Attorneys James Sturgis and Aníbal Alaniz prosecuted the case. ••••••

Edinburg retail economy in May 2014 leads major Valley cities with almost 15 percent improvement over May 2013

By DAVID A. DÍAZ Edinburg’s retail economy in May 2014 led all major Valley cities in the rate of improvement over the same month last year, coming in with an almost 15 percent increase in local sales taxes generated compared with May 2013, the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation (EEDC), has announced. The EEDC is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg City Council. Edinburg’s most recent economic showing is almost quadruple the average for all Texas cities, which came in with a 4.4 percent monthly increase over May 2013, according to the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts. Based on the amount of local sales taxes collected, which reflects the strength of an economy, Edinburg’s retail sector generated more than $1.5 million in local sales taxes in May 2014, compared with more than $1.3 million in May 2013. For the first five months of 2014, Edinburg’s retail economy also posted a double-digit upswing over the same period last year, generating $11,062,277.87 in local sales taxes, compared with $9,811,553.22 for January through May 2013 – a rise of 12.74 percent. The ongoing improvements in Edinburg’s retail economy, along with other positive economic indicators, were the subject of a major presentation on Thursday, July 24, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. during the Public Affairs Luncheon, hosted by the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce, which featured Agustín “Gus” García, Executive Director for the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation. “We appear to be at the cusp of a tremendous economic development opportunity. The past, and present economic indicators are important to understanding the future,” said EEDC Executive Director Gus García. “We discussed what this all means from the EEDC’s perspective and what the City, the EEDC and the community can do to take advantage of its strengths, achieve its goals and reduce it’s weaknesses. We are seeking the community’s input, what they see in the future, and what they feel the community is missing or needs.” His presentation, sponsored by The Bert Ogden Dealer Group and the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce Public Affairs Committee, was held at the Edinburg Conference Center at Renaissance, located at 118 Paseo Del Prado in Edinburg. The local sales tax figure represents sales made in May, sent to the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts in June, and returned to the respective local government entities in July. The sales tax, formally known as the State Sales and Use Tax, is imposed on all retail sales, leases and rentals of most goods, as well as taxable services. Texas cities, counties, transit authorities and special purpose districts have the option of imposing an additional local sales tax for a combined total of state and local taxes of 8 1/4% (.0825). The local sales tax is used in Edinburg to help pay for many city services, while the EEDC uses its one-half cent local sales tax to help generate economic development in the city. According to the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts, Edinburg’s retail economy in May 2014 generated $1,518,208.18 in local sales taxes, up 14.76 percent over May 2013, which reached $1,322,830.78. Also for the second consecutive month, Pharr registered the second-best improvement among major Valley cities for May 2014, up 13.89 percent over the same month in 2013, with $1,239,026.47 in local sales taxes being generated. Year-to-date, Pharr’s local sales tax revenue was 11.48 percent ahead of the pace during the same five months in 2013. Although during the previous month, all of the Valley’s major cities reported significant monthly improvements over April 2013, the May 2014 figures were more modest – and in a couple of cases, down from May 2013. McAllen – the traditional retail giant of the Valley – reported $4,736,694.81 in local sales taxes in May 2014, up 4.51 percent over May 2013. Year-to-date, McAllen’s local sales taxes were up 1.97 percent over the same five months in 2013. Weslaco’s retail economy in May 2014 produced $852,092.42 in local sales taxes, an increase of 0.41 percent over the same month last year. Year-to-date, Weslaco reported a 0.52 percent increase over January through May 2013. Brownsville generated $2,599,372.93 in local sales taxes in May 2014, up 3.32 percent over May 2013. Year-to-date, Brownsville’s retail economy had improved 4.21 percent over the same period in 2013. Two of the Valley’s major economies – Mission and Harlingen – reported decreases in retail sales for May 2014 as compared to May 2013. Mission’s posting of $1,092,731.51 in May 2014 represented a drop of 2.58 percent from its May 2013 monthly showing, while Harlingen produced $1,559,481.53 in local sales taxes in May 2014, a decrease of 5.70 percent over the same month last year. Year-to-date, Mission’s retail economy was 9.51 percent better than during January through May 2013, while Harlingen’s retail economy was 2.34 percent better from January through May 2014 than during the same five months last year. According to the state comptroller’s office, the Valley’s major cities reported the following local sales tax figures for April 2014: • McAllen: $4,736,694.81, up 4.51 percent over May 2013 ($4,531,984.73); • Brownsville: $2,599,372.93, up 3.32 percent over May 2013 ($2,515,698.79); • Harlingen: $1,559,481.53, down 5.70 percent from May 2013 ($1,653,786.05); • Edinburg: $ 1,518,208.18, up 14.76 percent over May 2013 ($1,322,830.78); • Pharr: $1,239,026.47, up 13.89 percent over May 2013 ($1,087,853.29); • Mission: $1,092,731.51, down 2.58 percent from May 2013 ($1,121,748.60); and • Weslaco: $852,092.42, up 0.41 percent over May 2013 ($848,589.45). All cities in Hidalgo County generated a combined total of $11,100,766.11 in local sales tax revenue in May 2014, compared with $10,649,780.16 during the same month in 2013, an improvement of 4.23 percent. All cities in Cameron County generated a combined total of $5,081,677.93 in local sales tax revenue in May 2014, compared with $5,050,718.39 during the same month in 2013, an increase of 0.61 percent. For details of the May 2014 local sales tax figures for all cities, counties, transit systems, and special purpose taxing districts, located the Monthly Sales Tax Allocation Comparison Summary Reports at the comptroller’s website, log on to: www.window.state.tx.us/taxinfo/allocsum/compsum.html The Edinburg Economic Development Corporation is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg City Council. It’s five-member governing board, which is appointed by the Edinburg City Council, includes Mayor Richard García as President, Fred Palacios as Secretary-Treasurer, and Felipe García, Steven Edward Cruz, II, and Dr. Havidán Rodríguez. For more information on the EEDC and the City of Edinburg, please log on to: www.EdbgCityLimits.com ••••••

Converting salt water into drinking water taking center stage for Valley’s future

By REP. TERRY CANALES HOUSE DISTRICT 40 As the Rio Grande Valley, with more than 1.4 million residents, continues to become an even larger major metropolitan region, the ongoing drought and political circumstances, such as the current dispute over our region’s share with Mexico of water from the Rio Grande River, are unacceptable risks to our future. Texas also continues to suffer, with large sections of our state experiencing exceptional or extreme drought – prolonged, dry conditions that put a strain on water supplies for all uses. Surface and groundwater storage, conservation, and treating reclaimed/recycled water are some of the water supply options that offer hope to our situation. Today, water desalination, a growing and improving technology that converts brackish (salty) groundwater and seawater into fresh water suitable for drinking and irrigation, is receiving statewide attention. We in the deep South Texas are key players in developing plans to help expand the use of water desalination. I serve on the Joint Interim Committee to Study Water Desalination – comprised of House and Senate members – which is taking a close look at what Texas is doing to develop new reservoirs of drinking water. My Valley colleagues, Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, D-McAllen, Sen. Eddie Lucio, Jr., D-Brownsville, and Rep. Ryan Guillén, D-Rio Grande City, are also members of this House/Senate legislative panel. The Joint Interim Committee to Study Water Desalination held three public hearings in June to hear from all Texans – at the Texas Capitol on June 16, in Corpus Christi on June 23, and in Wichita Falls on June 30. Even though the legislative hearings are concluded, South Texans may still offer their viewpoints and explain the challenges and successes we face in protecting and expanding our sources of water here at home. We invite people to share their thoughts with us so we can incorporate them into the committee’s recommendations, which will become proposal state laws and policies. Here at home, with the Gulf of Mexico, we literally have an inexhaustible source of potential drinking and irrigation water. But what would be involved, how much would it cost to make this a reality, and what state and federal financial resources are available for this technology? An acre-foot of water, which is 326,700 gallons, supplies about 2.2 households per year. The average cost to produce 1 acre-foot of desalinated water from brackish groundwater ranges from approximately $357 to $782. The average cost to produce 1 acre-foot of desalinated water from seawater is projected to range from approximately $800 to about $1,400. But those costs do not include pipelines, building the plants or other infrastructure costs. Seawater desalination is not currently being used in Texas, but it is in Florida and California, and across the world from the Middle East to China. In order for seawater desalination to be a viable option in our state, further research is required, which is part of our committee’s duties. The development and financing of desalination projects can help the Rio Grande Valley reduce its dependence on elements out of our control. Conservation of existing water supplies is always wise and must continue. But the population growth of the Valley and Texas are going to require creating new sources of water, such as with desalination, to help nourish the economy and quality-of-life which are now hallmarks of deep South Texas. No individual, business, or government has a monopoly on wisdom. Contact us with your ideas, your recommendations, your vision for this great issue of the day. One thing is for sure: In the Valley, when it comes to facing and conquering challenges, such as overcoming current and future droughts, we never bury our heads in the sand. Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg, represents House District 40 in Hidalgo County. HD 4o includes portions or all of Edinburg, Elsa, Faysville, La Blanca, Linn, Lópezville, McAllen, Pharr, San Carlos and Weslaco. He may be reached at his House District Office in Edinburg at (956) 383-0860 or at the Capitol at (512) 463-0426. ••••••

State legislators visit Rio Grande Valley to study desalination efforts

A group of state legislators conducted a fact-finding tour of desalination facilities in Cameron County on Monday, July 28, Sen. Eddie Lucio, Jr., D-Brownsville, has announced. Lucio is one of three Valley lawmakers serving on the Joint Interim Committee to Study Water Desalination. Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, D-McAllen, and Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg, also are members of this legislative group. The Joint Interim Committee to Study Water Desalination tasked with studying desalination efforts across the state, invited his colleagues to study such efforts in Lucio’s Senate district. The lawmakers toured brackish desalination facilities of the Southmost Regional Water Authority in Brownsville on Monday, July 28, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Rep. Todd Hunter, R-Corpus Christi, Co-Chairman of the committee, said the tour was voluntary for committee members. "I could not be more excited to welcome my colleagues to Brownsville, where local leaders have developed incredible models for desalination which might be adopted statewide," Lucio said. "In the midst of a historic drought, expanding desalination efforts must be at the top of Texas' priorities for meeting growing water demands." In a letter dated May 19, 2014, Senator Lucio had invited Hunter and Sen. Craig Estes, R-Wichita Falls, the Senate Co-Chair, to conduct a public hearing of the committee in Brownsville. "As we research the benefits of water desalination, I encourage our Joint Interim Committee to examine Brownsville’s efforts in utilizing both seawater and brackish water desalination. Brownsville has been proactive in trying to determine the viability and sustainability of seawater desalination," Lucio wrote. The Brownsville Public Utilities Board has operated a brackish water desalination plant since 2003. The utility previously collaborated with the Texas Water Development Board and the Port of Brownsville on a saltwater desalination pilot project at the Brownsville ship channel. That pilot has since concluded. The Joint Interim Committee to Study Water Desalination was created pursuant to passage of House Concurrent Resolution 59, which was sponsored by Lucio and Hunter during the 83rd Legislative Session last year. Lucio was appointed to the committee in January. ••••••

Speaker Straus appoints Rep. Muñoz to Joint Interim Committee to Study Education Policy for a Skilled Workforce

By RICHARD SÁNCHEZ Texas House Speaker Joe Straus on Friday, June 20, appointed Rep. Sergio Muñoz, Jr., D-Mission, to the Joint Interim Committee to Study Education Policy for a Skilled Workforce. The committee's authority and work is based on House Concurrent Resolution 82 passed during the 2013 Session of the Legislature. The Joint Committee will examine and make recommendations on opportunities for career and technology education (CTE) to provide career exploration and curricula aligned with postsecondary programs and employer-validated skill requirements. Specifically, members will study how CTE programs can better align with those offered in Texas colleges and with the needs of Texas employers. "As education is always a top priority, I am honored to be named to this joint committee to study and find ways to more closely align how we teach our students and the needs of the community and workforce, said Muñoz. "I look forward to working with the our local superintendents and the excellent staff and administrators at South Texas College on these issues, as they are among the state's leaders in CTE programs." "I am very thankful to Speaker Straus for this and other appointments which have given me the opportunity to be in a position to improve the quality of life for my constituency and all Texans," added Muñoz. Muñoz also serves on the powerful House Appropriations Committee, where he is a member of the subcommittee with oversight of the Texas Department of Transportation and the Department of Motor Vehicles, was recently appointed to the Select Committee on Transportation Funding, the House Insurance Committee, and the House Local Calendar Committee. In addition to Muñoz, who was the only Valley House lawmaker selected to the panel, committee members include: Rep. Jim Murphy, R-Houston, who will serve as Co-Chair; Rep. Nicole Collier, D-Fort Worth; Rep. Joe Farías, D-San Antonio; Rep. Marsha Farney, R-Georgetown; Rep. Kyle Kacal, R-College Station; and Rep. Ken King, R-Canadian ••••••

Rep. Longoria hosts Joint Interim Committee to Study Human Trafficking during July 24 public hearing in La Joya

By MICHELLE VILLARREAL As part of the continued efforts of the State of Texas to combat human trafficking, Rep. Óscar Longoria, Jr., D-La Joya, hosted the Joint Interim Committee To Study Human Trafficking for a public hearing on Thursday, July 24, 2014 at 10 a.m. at the Nellie Schunior Central Administration Building, 201 W. Expressway 83, in La Joya. Rep. Sergio Muñoz, Jr., D-Mission, also is a member of that legislative panel. The committee heard testimony on ways to further combat human trafficking along the Texas border and region, and discussed services available to victims. “Human trafficking has been a very serious issue in Texas for decades,” said Longoria, who represents House District 35. “We have seen this issue increase throughout the years, especially here in the South Texas border, where we have experienced an overwhelming number of immigrants crossing from Mexico into the United States within the last three years. The thousands of men, women, and children who make the journey to cross through our border are subject to, and in many cases have become victims of human trafficking.” Testimony was open to the public. Various local leaders, legislators, organizations, and law enforcement officials testified before the committee. This was the first time the committee held a human trafficking hearing in the Rio Grande Valley. “Human trafficking is a growing problem, not only along the border but world-wide, that subjects women and children into modern day slavery,” said Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, D-McAllen, whose Senate District 20 covers most of the Rio Grande Valley and Corpus Christi. “We need to provide our law-enforcement community with the necessary tools to crack down on human traffickers.” Sen. Eddie Lucio, Jr., whose Senate District 27 includes Cameron, Willacy, and part of Hidalgo County in the Rio Grande Valley, shared Hinojosa’s sentiments. "I am grateful to the committee chairs and Rep. Longoria for extending an invitation to join them as they were briefed on important human trafficking concerns relevant to the Rio Grande Valley, especially in light of the recent influx of Central American migrants to the region,” Lucio said. “The more than 50,000 souls who arrived at the border, young children in particular, were certainly vulnerable to mistreatment on their journey,” Lucio added. “It is imperative that our state agencies, medical professionals, and educators have the necessary systems in place to identify victims of trafficking." Last legislative session in 2013, through creation of this committee and through passage of several bills intended to curb the evil of human trafficking, lawmakers overwhelmingly endorsed a view that all trafficking victims deserve appropriate protections of law, Lucio added. “At this hearing, we ensured our state is honoring that commitment in the face of an unprecedented crisis at our border,” the Brownsville Democrat noted. The committee, established during the 2011 legislative session and renewed by the Legislature last year, is delegated the task of studying the problem of human trafficking. It is charged with continuing its previous work by studying ways to combat the crime of human trafficking and identifying services available to victims. "This hearing allowed South Texas residents to play an important role in addressing the very serious crime of human trafficking," said Speaker of the House Joe Straus, R-San Antonio. "The work that Rep. Longoria, Rep. Muñoz, and his colleagues are doing now will provide valuable guidance when the full Legislature takes up this issue in next year's legislative session." An estimated 17,500 foreign nationals are trafficked into the United States each year, and the number of U.S. citizens trafficked within the country is estimated to be even higher. Given its size and proximity to a major international border, Texas is often a focal point for human trafficking activity. "I thank my colleague, Representative Longoria, for inviting us to his district. It has been my passion the past few sessions to adopt the harshest punishments against the pimps and the persons responsible for carrying out these modern day slavery acts against mankind,” said Rep. Senfronia Thompson, D-Houston. “We will continue the fight to combat this heinous crime and put an end to it, now more than ever.” Thompson and Sen. Joan Huffman, R-Houston, are Co-Chairs of the committee. In addition to Thompson, Longoria and Muñoz, other House members on this panel are: Rep. Todd Hunter, R-Corpus Christi; Rep. Debbie Riddle, R-Tomball; Rep. Roberto Alonzo, D-Dallas; Rep. Joe Moody, D-El Paso; Rep. Tan Parker, R-Flower Mound; Rep. James White, R-Woodville; Rep. Toni Rose, D-Dallas; Rep. Paul Workman, R-Austin; Rep. Allen Fletcher, R-Cypress. In addition to Huffman, other Senate members of this panel are: Sen. Brian Birdwell, R-Granbury; Sen. Donna Campbell, R-New Braunfels; Sen. Craig Estes, R-Wichita Falls; Sen. Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound; Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, D-San Antonio; and Sen. John Whitmire, D-Houston. "With the increase in unaccompanied minors crossing our southern border, I am deeply concerned about the potential that exists for these children to be exploited by the commercial sex trade industry,” said Huffman. “At our hearing in La Joya, we listened to testimony from experts and law enforcement officials to gain greater insight into this troubling situation." ••••••

UT-RGV president visits STC’s Nursing and Allied Health Campus in McAllen

By MARTHA PEÑA Dr. Guy Bailey, president of the University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley, on Tuesday, July 29, was welcomed by Dr. Shirley A. Reed, president of South Texas College, and administrators at the STC Nursing and Allied Health Campus in McAllen. During the visit, Bailey spoke with current STC Dual Enrollment Medical Science Academy (DEMSA) students and an alumna currently doing research with Yale University. They are prime examples of the quality education and bright futures South Texas College provides for students pursuing careers in the medical field. DEMSA students Tania Vargas and Marco Cruz were both interested and eager to hear about UT-RGV and their possible future prospects with the medical school. As a student at McAllen High School, Vargas has plans to attend a medical school in Texas and pursue a degree in anesthesiology. Marco is a student at Sharyland High School, and his goals consist of obtaining a bachelor’s in biology and then pursuing a doctorate degree to eventually practice psychiatry in the Valley. Even though both students are still enrolled in high school, they are scheduled to graduate in 2015 with an associate’s degree from South Texas College, making them optimal candidates to transition to the new university. According to recently approved admissions criteria, students with associate’s degrees will have automatic admission into UT-RGV. “The programs that are going to be very focused with the new university are the ones that prepare students who are strong in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM),” explained Reed. “Much of this work is going to be done in partnerships with our public schools. Students who want to go to medical school must work towards a strong associate’s degree in the sciences so they are well prepared to do the upper division work.” Well-prepared students from STC are making great strides in their educational and professional careers. Recent graduate Karina Cerda was also in attendance to share her success story with Bailey. “I am South Texas College’s biggest cheerleader,” exclaimed Cerda. “I earned my Associate of Science in Biology and Chemistry and then continued at South Texas College to pursue a Bachelor of Applied Technology in Medical and Health Services Management. It’s because of STC that I am continuing my education and reaching my goals.” Cerda is currently pursuing a Master in Public Health at Texas A&M University and is employed by Yale University’s School of Public Health, conducting research at Doctors Hospital at Renaissance in Edinburg. It was the first time Dr. Bailey visited the Nursing and Allied Health Campus in McAllen. “It was a great visit,” commented Reed. “I believe he was impressed with the quality of our facilities and students. We wanted to host this meeting at the Nursing and Allied Health Campus specifically because of the need to have a strong relationship with the medical school and to show Dr. Bailey the state-of-the-art technology we have. Like us, he wants South Texas College to be a major pipeline to UTRGV and subsequently medical school.” “South Texas College students are already battle-tested, tried and true,” said Bailey. “Those with associate’s degrees will have automatic admission into UT-RGV. I understand the role of community colleges and look forward to working with STC in the future.” ••••••

Edinburg Chamber of Commerce earns four awards, including two First Place showings, in statewide media marketing competion

By RONNIE LARRALDE The Edinburg Chamber of Commerce recently received four honors, including two First Place showings, at the recent Texas Chamber of Commerce Executives (TCCE) Annual Excellence Awards held in College Station. The local chamber of commerce earned First Place in Marketing Campaign for the annual Texas Cook'Em: High Steaks in Edinburg), First Place in Brochures, Second Place in Directory/ Magazine for its Edinburg Community Guide; and Second Place in Maps. The overall competition had more than 225 entries from which the best were judged by panels of experts in the specific field around the state,” said Ray Hernández, TCCE Vice-Chairman of Communications and Chair of the 2014 Media Awards. Local chambers from Texas convened on Monday, June 23, for the Texas Chamber of Commerce Executives Annual Awards. The awards honor organizations for exceptional efforts in marketing, communications and media outreach. Awards are judged in seven separate categories: social media marketing and communications, brochures, chamber maps, magazines or community guides, print/electronic news, websites and marketing campaigns. “Rest assured the winners faced stiff competition from fellow chambers of commerce,” Hernández noted. “Their victories truly indicate the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce is the best in 2014 in the Marketing Campaign and Brochures categories." "Our vision is to serve our members, the City of Edinburg and the region as an advocate and resource and lead the effort in advancing commerce and quality of life," said Letty González, President of the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce. "We are honored to have received these awards and will continue to work hard for Edinburg." TCCE is an organization of chamber executives from across the state, working together to improve the business climate in Texas, while developing ways to enhance the quality of life in the communities that they represent. TCCE provides leadership for chamber employees through its many publications and resources. There are many networking opportunities including the annual conference held each summer, mini-conferences, and other meetings with the purpose of bringing executives together to exchange ideas and success stories. ••••••

5th Annual Signature Chefs Auction to raise funds for March of Dimes slated for October 28

By MELISA TEJADA The March of Dimes and its Signature Chef Committee invites area residents to the 5th Annual Signature Chefs Auction to be held on Tuesday, October 28, at the Kalos Event Center in Mission. The evening will begin at 6 p.m. with cocktails, chef samplings and a silent auction. Guests will also have the opportunity to bid during the live auction that will also be taking place at this event. The Signature Chefs Auction has become one of the premier culinary events in the Rio Grande Valley. Top local chefs prepare their signature dishes to raise awareness and resources to help March of Dimes prevent birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality. “March of Dimes paves the way for premature babies to develop in a way that will allow them to have a healthy childhood and we are excited to be doing our part to make an impact in our community through this event,”said Perla Tamez, Chair of the 2014 Signature Chefs Auction. March of Dimes is the largest and most respected maternal-child health organization in the world. They help moms have full-term pregnancies and healthy babies. And if something goes wrong, they offer information and comfort to families. More than four million babies are born in the United States each year, and the March of Dimes has helped many of them through 75 years of research, education, vaccines, and breakthroughs. The mission of March of Dimes is to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality. March of Dimes carries out its mission through research, advocacy, community services and education to save babies’ lives. For more information on this event or to inquire on sponsorship opportunities contact Yirla González Nolan, March of Dimes Community Director at (956) 682-7114 or at Ygonzaleznolan@marchofdimes.com. ••••••

Mexican pair pleads guilty to debit/credit card conspiracy in $35K McAllen shopping spree

By ANGELA DODGE Mary Carmen Vaquera-García, 27, and Daniel Domínguez-Guardiola, 28, both of Mexico, have entered guilty pleas to conspiring to use debit/credit cards with the intent to defraud, announced U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson. Vaquera and Domínguez admitted on Tuesday, July 8, that on Sunday, January 12, 2014, they went on a $35,000+ shopping spree in McAllen using unauthorized Lone Star National Bank Visa card accounts. The pair intended to sell the fraudulently-purchased merchandise in Mexico for a profit. Vaquera further admitted to wiring money overseas to obtain stolen account information for the cards and to hiring Domínguez to help her use the cards. The magnetic strips on the fake cards had been encoded with stolen, real account information for other people’s accounts that the defendants were not authorized to use. The names on the front of the fake cards were associated with false male and female identities that the defendants were using. Therefore, a retailer simply checking the name on an ID against the front of the card might not have been able to detect the fraud. Vaquera-García and Domínguez-Guardiola were arrested on Sunday, January 19, 2014, on several outstanding warrants as they attempted to re-enter the U.S. through the Anzaldúas Port of Entry. A total of 96 counterfeit cards were found hidden in Domínguez’ waistband.’ As part of their plea agreements, the defendants agreed to pay restitution and forfeiture in the amount of $35,422.21 and to forfeit several items that were seized from them on the day of their arrest, including hundreds of dollars in currency and gift cards. Chief U.S. District Judge Ricardo H. Hinojosa, who accepted the guilty pleas, has set sentencing for Wednesday, September 24, 2014. At that time, each defendant faces up to 10 years in federal prison and a possible $250,000 maximum fine. They will remain in custody pending that hearing. This case was investigated by the Secret Service with the assistance of the McAllen Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher Sully is prosecuting. ••••••

Speaker Straus accepts requests from Rep. Canales, EEDC, for joint legislative hearing on impact of Mexican energy reform on Valley and Texas economies

Email This News Story Email This News Story | Print This News Story Print This News Story | July 9th, 2014 by Legislativemedia@aol.com
Edinburg’s retail economy in April 2014 showed an improvement of almost 19 percent over the same month last year, leading all major Valley cities, which also showed big gains, Edinburg Mayor Richard García, featured third from right, has announced. Edinburg’s most recent economic showing is almost double the average of all Texas cities, which came in with a 10.7 percent monthly increase over April 2013, according to the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts. Based on the amount of local sales taxes collected, which reflects the strength of an economy, Edinburg’s retail sector generated more than $1.5 million in local sales taxes in April 2014, compared with almost $1.3 million in April 2013. For the first four months of 2014, Edinburg’s retail economy also posted a double-digit upswing over the same period last year, generating $9,544,069.69 in local sales taxes, compared with $8,488,722.44 for January through April 2013 – a rise of 12.43 percent. García, who also serves as president of the five-member Edinburg Economic Development Corporation Board of Directors (EEDC), said the April 2014 and January through April 2014 year-to-date figures reflect Edinburg’s reputation as a preferred city in which to set up a business, work, and live. “When I say our ‘growing community’, I mean specifically a community growing at a rate of 5.3 percent since the last 2010 census,” the mayor reported. “Today, Edinburg is ranked the third largest city in the Rio Grande Valley with almost 85,000 residents after the annexation of 2,200 acres this past year. Edinburg continues its commitment to attracting and building quality of life projects like the new $8.5 million Parks, Recreation and Wellness Center that is currently under construction at South Park. Four gyms, one which will be a practice gym for the Rio Grande Valley Vipers as well as for the Houston Rockets.” Featured from left on Tuesday, July 1 at Edinburg City Hall, are: Cynthia Contreras Gutiérrez, General Counsel, Edinburg Economic Development Corporation; Nelda T. Ramírez, Assistant Executive Director, EEDC; Agustín “Gus” García, Executive Director, EEDC; Dr. Havidán Rodríguez, Interim President, The University of Texas-Pan American and Member, Board of Directors, EEDC; Renata Marques, Attorney-at-Law, Max Paul and Associates in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Max Paul, Attorney-at-Law, Max Paul and Associates, Rio de Janeiro; Mayor Richard García, President, Board of Directors, EEDC; Fred Palacios, Secretary-Treasurer, Board of Directors, EEDC; and Steven Edward Cruz, III, Member, Board of Directors, EEDC. Max Paul is the President of the Texan Chamber of Commerce in Brazil. See story about Edinburg’s retail economy later in this posting. •••••• As tens of thousands of unaccompanied children flee violence in Central America in a desperate effort to join family members in the U.S., Texas must take more active roles in helping protect them while the federal government deals with the growing “humanitarian crisis” along the U.S.-Mexico border, including in the Valley, says Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg. “In America, we do not turn a blind eye to the powerless, the weak, the sick, and especially to innocent children,” said Canales. “In Texas and in the Valley, we do not blame people for being victims.” In a related development, Texas Speaker of the House Joe Straus, R-San Antonio, on Wednesday, June 18, announced the appropriations of $1.3 million a week, until the end of 2014, for the Texas Department of Public Safety to conduct law enforcement surge operations to help the plight of these children and to protect them and Texas citizens from any criminal elements which seek to exploit this tragedy, Canales added. “I applaud the decision by state officials to provide additional funding to assist the Rio Grande Valley in what has become a humanitarian crisis,” Canales said. “We need real solutions to cope with the recent immigration surge in deep South Texas.” Straus, who was in Edinburg on Tuesday, June 17, called the situation along the Texas-Mexico border “a very serious problem. “Tens of thousands of young people have come into the United States, often from Mexico and Central America. This rush of young migrants has overwhelmed federal officials and could make the border region more vulnerable to criminal activity such as drug trafficking and human smuggling operations,” Straus said. “I was in the Rio Grande Valley earlier this week and visited with border patrol officers and state and local law enforcement officials about the situation on the ground and the effect of this influx on security efforts.” Featured, during a Saturday, June 14 legislative briefing at the Border Patrol holding facilities in McAllen, are, from left, bottom to top: Congressman Henry Cuellar, D-Laredo/McAllen; Sen. Eddie Lucio, Jr., D-Brownsville; and Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg. Featured, on right, second and third from the bottom, respectively: Rep. Sergio Muñoz, Jr., D-Palmview; and Hidalgo County Judge Ramón García. •••••• Rep. Sergio Muñoz, Jr., D-Palmview, featured right speaking with McAllen Mayor Jim Darling, was appointed on Wednesday, July 2, by Texas Speaker of the House Joe Straus, R-San Antonio, to the Select Committee on the Fiscal Impact of Texas Border Support Operations. The special legislative panel will examine the short- and long-term budgetary effects of addressing increased activity along the Texas-Mexico border by thousands of undocumented immigrants from Central America fleeing violence and poverty in their nations. Rep. Óscar Longoria, Jr., D-La Joya, also was appointed to that legislative panel. Muñoz, who was addressing the McAllen mayor on Tuesday, June 17, at the Edinburg Conference Center at Renaissance, said the thousands of Central American immigrants, especially children and their mothers, prompted the state's top leadership to call for a surge of Department of Public Safety (DPS) Troopers along the Rio Grande Valley border region. Among its duties, the DPS is conducting law enforcement operations. The committee will monitor the costs of those operations and other services associated with increased border crossings. "It is quite an honor to accept this appointment and get right to work on these very pressing issues that are directly affecting our communities in the Rio Grande Valley," said Muñoz. "It will be my priority to devise a system that rewards the great work that is being done by our local governments and communities by reimbursing the significant costs they bear by supporting what is ultimately a federal responsibility. A federal reimbursement revenue stream will allow our state and local governments to sustain the response to the humanitarian crisis and provide for adequate border security." See story later in this posting. •••••• Rep. Eddie Lucio, III, D-Harlingen, featured left, and Rep. Sergio Muñoz, Jr., D-Palmview (not in this image), have announced that a task force has been created to develop The Rio Grande Valley Regional Alert System, which is designed to help law enforcement agencies find missing or kidnapped residents or criminals involved abductions. Currently there are 17 regional alert systems across Texas – but not in the Valley – serving a majority of Texans by providing alerts in those respective regions. Lucio and Muñoz on Tuesday, June 11 met in Weslaco with law enforcement, emergency management, and bridge officials from across the Rio Grande Valley to discuss the progress of the Regional Alert System for the Rio Grande Valley. “It's important to understand that we are not trying to replace the current state alert systems that exist now,” Lucio explained. “Every department we have spoken to has acknowledged a need to create a regional alert system that would help during the crucial, critical hours of a person being reported missing.” In this photograph, taken on Tuesday, June 17 at the Edinburg Conference Center at Renaissance, Lucio and Ernest “Ernie” Aliseda of McAllen, who serves on the nine-member University of Texas System Board of Regents, greet constituents. See story later in this posting. •••••• Edinburg’s unemployment rate for May 2014 was 6.1 percent, the best showing in the city for that month since May 2008, and the second-best figure for all cities in May 2014 in the Rio Grande Valley, the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation has announced. The EEDC is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg City Council. In addition, Edinburg’s labor force was the third largest in the Valley, with 33,485 persons employed in the city in May 2014. The area’s two most populous cities, Brownsville and McAllen, posted larger numbers with 63,313 and 58,523 individuals, respectively, employed in May 2014. For the month of May 2014, only McAllen (5.8 percent) had a better figure than Edinburg (6.1 percent), while the other major communities in the Valley had unemployment rates that ranged from 6.7 percent in Harlingen to 8.9 percent in Brownsville. The Valley’s three other most populous cities also had unemployment rates for May 2014 in single-digits: Mission (6.8 percent), Pharr (7.3 percent), and Weslaco (8.2 percent). These latest figures were released on Friday, June 20, by the Texas Workforce Commission, which is the state agency charged with overseeing and providing workforce development services to employers and job-seekers in Texas. The ongoing favorable employment figures for Edinburg are consistent with what Mayor Richard García, who also serves as President of the EEDC Board of Directors, envisions for this year. “So what is next?” the mayor, featured second from right on Wednesday, February 26, asks rhetorically. “What is on the horizon tomorrow for Edinburg?” Among planned and ongoing projects which will lead to more jobs in the coming months are: a series of master planned, multi-family, luxury projects with full amenities (pools, sauna, office and recreational space, and gyms); a slew of important road and infrastructure projects, including the expansion of FM 1925 (Monte Cristo Road), that will also connect to 10th street, converting it a five-lane roadway; and hotel developments for Edinburg, including a Holiday Inn Express, located at the corner of Closner and Trenton, which features a new prototype design for Texas, and set to open in early 2o15. The site also will include a restaurant pad site. The planned construction of a $70 million University of Texas-Pan American Science Complex and a $54 million University of Texas medical school classroom facility in Edinburg will boost job numbers once those projects get underway in earnest in the coming months. Featured, from left: Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, D-McAllen; Dr. Francisco Fernández, Dean of the School of Medicine at UT-Rio Grande Valley; Mayor Richard García; and Councilmember Richard Molina. See story later in this posting. •••••• Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, D-McAllen, on Wednesday, June 26, was appointed as Chairman of the Subcommittee to Study the Potential Closures of State Supported Living Centers (SSLCs). Texas houses 13 SSLCs that are state-run residential facilities for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. They are campus-based 24-hour direct services facilities that are overseen by the Department of Aging and Disability Services (DADS). "We need a solution that recognizes the critical services that SSLCs provide to so many of our residents with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families, but that also addresses the safety and quality control issues, the aging infrastructure, and the enormous budget costs associated with running these facilities,” said Hinojosa. “I am honored to chair this subcommittee and am looking forward to a coordinated approach with members and stakeholders to develop a plan that will set up criteria to evaluate the effectiveness of these SSLCs while at the same time improving community-based services.” The South Texas senator is featured here on Thursday, April 24, being interviewed in Edinburg by Zoraly Nuñez-Ramos with Noticias 48, KNVO-TV of McAllen. See story later in this posting. •••••• More students at The University of Texas-Pan American will get an extra boost toward achieving their dream of a law career thanks to a generous grant from The Texas Bar Foundation to support the University's Law School Preparation Institute (LSPI). The $16,000 grant will assist 10 LSPI students with the cost of books, the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) preparation courses and provide them a stipend while enrolled in the rigorous five-week summer course. Initiated in 2001, LSPI has continually yielded success, boasting a 90 percent acceptance rate for LSPI graduates who apply to law school, averaging much higher than the national acceptance rate of 60 percent. Over the years, numerous LSPI graduates have been accepted to law schools across the country, including Texas Tech University, Southern Methodist University and St. Mary's University as well as The University of California at Berkeley, Indiana University, Penn State and Georgetown University, among many others. Featured at the recent check presentation ceremony celebrating the $16,000 grant are, from left: Dr. John Darcy, professor and LSPI Co-Director; Velinda Reyes, Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations; Dr. Walter Díaz, Dean of the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences; Dr. Robert S. Nelsen, UTPA President; Alejandra Martínez, LSPI graduate; Lorena Castillo, Texas Bar Foundation trustee; Verónica Gonzáles, Vice President for University Advancement; Lydia Alemán, Associate Vice President for University Advancement; and Dan Worthington, attorney and Texas Bar Foundation Fellow. See story later in this posting. •••••• The Hidalgo County District Clerk Office on Friday, June 27, presented a check totaling $3,000 to the Food Bank of the Rio Grande Valley as part of their Blues for Bucks Workplace Fundraising Campaign, a program benefitting local charitable organizations. “Our Blues for Bucks program is a great way for our staff to become engaged and contribute to worthy causes in our community such as the Food Bank of the RGV,” said Laura Hinojosa, Hidalgo County District Clerk. “We are honored to help support an organization that is committed to overcoming poverty and hunger in our community and is making a huge difference in lives of children and families throughout the region." The Food Bank of the RGV was founded in 1983 and incorporated in 1986 to serve as a clearinghouse for smaller food pantries and on-site feeding organizations. It serves as a champion to those organizations that focus on making food accessible to the Valley and is passionately committed to ending hunger. District Clerk personnel and Food Bank officials featured, from left, front row: Mónica Valdéz; Virginia Granados; April Lizcano; María Elva Garza; Brenda Pérez; Jasmine Cruz; Yanira Hernández; Melinda Sotuyo; Zayra Narváez; and Esmeralda Mendoza. Middle row, from left: Rose Ávalos; Aída Villarreal; María Barrera; Victoria Michelle Mancha; Ana De Luna; Joseph González; Krystal Hidalgo; and Claudia Lemus. Back row, from left: Yésica Garza; Sabrina Guerra; Irineo Razo; Jesse Castillo; Phillip Farías; Terry Drefke, Chief Executive Officer, Food Bank RGV; Laura Hinojosa, Hidalgo County District Clerk; Ana De Luna; and Pablo Campos. See story later in this posting. •••••• A detailed legislative look, requested by Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg, and Edinburg Mayor Richard Garcia, featured center, into how Mexico’s planned, landmark energy reform will benefit the Valley and Texas economies, has been authorized by Texas Speaker of the House Joe Straus, featured left. On Tuesday, July 1, Straus instructed the House Energy Resources Committee, of which Canales is a member, and the House International Trade and Intergovernmental Affairs Committee to work on developing information and strategies to help Texas prepare for, and benefit from, Mexico’s efforts to tap into the huge reservoir of oil and natural gas in the Mexican states of Tamaulipas, Nuevo León, and Coahuila. With Mexico finalizing a major energy reform predicted to generate more than $1 trillion over the next 10 years in prosperity for Northern Mexico and South Texas, Canales and the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation – led by the Edinburg mayor – want Texas to be ready to help transform their home region into an even more influential international economic power. “There is an energy revolution about to take place in Northern Mexico just south of the Valley and Laredo, which stands to greatly affect our region and state,” said Canales. “The Texas Legislature must be educated concerning recent events in Mexico, how this will improve energy independence for the United States, and how our economies on both sides of the border will dramatically benefit.” Recently, Mexico’s President Enrique Peña Nieto announced that his government would, for the first time, support foreign and private investment and participation in PEMEX, the energy giant owned by the Mexican federal government. This development is tied to the explosive growth and extraordinary findings known as Eagle Ford Shale located north of the Valley. “U.S. manufacturers, transportation companies, and service providers want to be closer to Mexico but maintain a presence in Texas,” the mayor reflected. Featured on Tuesday, June 17, for a legislative briefing with Straus at the Edinburg Conference Center at Renaissance, are, from left: Speaker of the House Joe Straus, R-San Antonio; Michael J. Blum, Partner and Managing Broker, NAI Rio Grande Valley of McAllen; Dr. Guy Bailey, President, The University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley; and former Rep. Verónica Gonzáles, D-McAllen, Vice President for University Advancement, The University of Texas-Pan American. Standing in the background is Aisa Showery, Communications Liaison for Rep. R.D. “Bobby” Guerra, D-McAllen. See lead story in this posting. ••••••

Speaker Straus accepts requests from Rep. Canales, EEDC, for joint legislative hearing on impact of Mexican energy reform on Valley and Texas economies

By DAVID A. DÍAZ A detailed legislative look, which was requested by Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg, and the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation, into how Mexico’s planned, landmark energy reform will benefit the Valley and Texas economies, has been authorized by Texas Speaker of the House Joe Straus. On Tuesday, July 1, Straus, R-San Antonio, instructed the House Energy Resources Committee, of which Canales is a member, and the House Committee on International Trade and Intergovernmental Affairs to work on developing information and strategies to help Texas prepare for, and benefit from, Mexico’s efforts to tap into the huge reservoir of oil and natural gas in the Mexican states of Tamaulipas, Nuevo León, and Coahuila. The House Speaker’s assignments, known as interim charges, call for the following major actions by the two House panels: • Examine the impact on Texas’s economy and businesses of the recent expansion of oil and gas production in Northern Mexico; and • Assess opportunities for economic growth in Texas and collaboration between Texas businesses and Mexico resulting from Mexico’s energy reform, including Mexico’s efforts to recover shale gas from the Eagle Ford Shale. A date and location for the joint House committees’ public hearing has not yet been set. With Mexico finalizing major energy reforms predicted to generate more than $1 trillion over the next 10 years in prosperity for Northern Mexico and South Texas, Canales and the EEDC, led by Mayor Richard García, want Texas to be ready to help transform their home region into an even more influential international economic power. “There is an energy revolution about to take place in Northern Mexico just south of the Valley and Laredo, which stands to greatly affect our region and state,” said the Edinburg state lawmaker. “The Texas Legislature must be educated concerning recent events in Mexico, how this will improve energy independence for the United States, and how our economies on both sides of the border will dramatically benefit.” Canales praised the House Speaker’s decision, and thanked the chairmen of the two House committees – Rep. Jim Keffer, R-Eastland (energy committee) and Rafael Anchía, D-Dallas (international trade committee) – for their vital support that help lead to the legislative assignments, which could include public hearings before the end of the year. “Much like the historic legislation in 2013 supported by Democrats and Republicans in the House of Representatives that will create the University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley and bring with it a UT medical school to our region, this is another great example of bipartisan cooperation by legislators to benefit the Valley and Texas,” said Canales, who was a legislative sponsor of the UT-RGV/medical school legislative measure, known as Senate Bill 24. Senate Bill 24 was authored by Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, D-McAllen, and sponsored by Rep. René Oliveira, D-Brownsville. In asking Straus earlier this summer for the two House committees to take action, Canales had expressed concern that “Texas is not prepared to take full advantage of the recent developments through a calculated collaboration between our two countries. “It is pertinent that the Texas Legislature be prepared to capitalize on the impending economic boom effectuated by the energy reforms of our neighbor to the south,” Canales recommended to Straus. “The Texas House of Representatives, under your leadership, must be ready to help transform our border region into an even more influential economic power.” • Mayor García: “Edinburg is right smack dab in the middle.” City leaders in Edinburg have been promoting the potential energy boom in Northern Mexico as yet another major reason why businesses should move to, or expand in, deep South Texas. U.S. and Texas firms expected to participate in helping PEMEX and Mexico prosper from their currently inaccessible but massive energy resources will have to come through Edinburg and the Valley, the Edinburg mayor had noted. “Recently, Mexico’s President Enrique Peña Nieto announced that his government would, for the first time in history, support foreign and private investment and participation in PEMEX,” said García. This development is tied to the explosive growth and extraordinary findings known as Eagle Ford Shale,” the mayor noted. “U.S. manufacturers, transportation companies, service providers want to be closer to Mexico but maintain a presence in Texas,” García reflected. “Edinburg is right smack dab in the middle.” Petróleos Mexicanos (translation: Mexican Petroleums), better known as PEMEX, is the Mexican state-owned petroleum company, created in 1938 and under the control of the Mexican government. But PEMEX lacks the technology, equipment, and finances to find and recover new reserves, prompting Nieto to push for changes in Mexican law to allow foreign companies to come into Mexico and work with PEMEX to explore new reserves. García also serves as president of the five-member Board of Directors of the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation. The EEDC, led by Agustín “Gus” García, Jr., is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg City Council. • World is watching Mexican energy fields south of Valley Just like the Eagle Ford Shale formation, which has become a worldwide leader in the production of oil and natural gas, the same is expected to take place for Mexico just south of the Valley, the House District 40 state representative said. “When that happens in Northern Mexico, we in Texas will benefit as well. Texas will have an incredible opportunity,” Canales said. The Eagle Ford Shale involves 30 counties north of the Valley, stretching 400 miles from the Mexican border in Webb County and other counties in South Texas, up into Brazos County in East Texas. In 14 of the most productive counties, located in South Texas, the Eagle Ford Shale has generated tens of billions of dollars a year in economic activity from the recovery of oil and natural gas, and in the creation of thousands of direct and indirect jobs. BBVA Research, which is part of the international banking giant BBVA Compass, headquartered in Spain, is among the many financial and energy firms throughout the world which are closely monitoring the development of the oil and natural gas reserves south of the Valley and Laredo. According to the BBVA analysis, dated January 22, 2014, and titled Opportunities from Mexico’s energy reform, the potential effects on the South Texas border economies and quality-of-life are enormous. “Faster economic growth in the border will narrow the socio-economic disparities between Texas’ border cities and big metro areas like Houston, Dallas, or Austin. If these border towns effectively seize the opportunity, the U.S.-Mexican border could see one of the most dramatic transformations in its history. The upside for Mexican border towns could be even greater if economic prosperity allows them to eradicate the bad reputation created by drug-trafficking and other illegal activities,” the BBVA economic report noted. The BBVA Research analysis supported Canales’ and other South Texas leaders’ perspectives on the potential economic windfall for the Texas border region. “Mexico’s energy reform will offer abundant opportunities to U.S. and foreign companies across energy and non-energy industries. Mexico is expected to regain its position as one of the top producers of hydrocarbons in the world. This has positive implications for the U.S. as it strengthens macroeconomic stability and energy security in North America,” the BBVA report continued. “The multiplier effect of energy investments will give a boost to the Texas-Mexico border area, generating $1.2 trillion dollars in economic activity over the next 10 years. Last but not least, the success of the reform will depend on the quality of the implementation process.” Canales said the BBVA Research analysis is available to the public on the Internet, in both English and Spanish, at: https://www.bbvaresearch.com/en/publicaciones/u-s-economic-watch-opportunities-from-mexicos-energy-reform/ • Duties, membership of Energy Resources, International Trade and Governmental Affairs committees The House Committee on Energy Resources, which includes Canales among its 11 members, is chaired by Rep. Jim Keffer, R-Eastland. The other committee members include Rep. Myra Crownover, R-Denton, who serves as Vice-Chair; Rep. Lon Burnam, D-Ft. Worth; Rep. Tom Craddick, R-Midland; Rep. Tony Dale, R-Cedar Park; Rep. Phil King, R-Weatherford; Rep. J.M. Lozano, R-Kingsville; Rep. Chris Paddie, R-Marshall; Rep. Ralph Sheffield, R-Temple; and Rep. Gene Wu, D-Houston. The House Committee on International Trade & Intergovernmental Affairs, a seven-member panel, is chaired by Rep. Rafael Anchía, D-Dallas, while Rep. J.M. Lozano, R-Kingsville, serves as Vice-Chairman. The committee also includes Rep. Giovanni Capriglione, R-Southlake; Rep. Brandon Creighton, R-Conroe; Rep. Celia Israel, D-Austin; Rep. Poncho Nevárez, D-Eagle Pass; and Rep. Mary Ann Pérez, D-Houston. The powers of the House Energy Resources Committee includes jurisdiction over all matters pertaining to:
  • The conservation of the energy resources of Texas;
  • The production, regulation, transportation, and development of oil, gas, and other energy resources;
  • Mining and the development of mineral deposits within the state;
  • The leasing and regulation of mineral rights under public lands;
  • Pipelines, pipeline companies, and all others operating as common carriers in the state;
  • Electric utility regulation as it relates to energy production and consumption;
  • Identifying, developing, and using alternative energy sources;
  • Increasing energy efficiency throughout the state; and
  • The following state agencies: the Railroad Commission of Texas, the Office of Interstate Oil Compact Commissioner for Texas, the Office of Interstate Mining Compact Commissioner for Texas, the State Energy Conservation Office, and the Office of Southern States Energy Board Member for Texas.
The powers of the House Committee on International Trade & Intergovernmental Affairs includes jurisdiction over all matters pertaining to:
  • The relations between the State of Texas and other nations, including matters related to trade relations and international trade zones;
  • The relations between the State of Texas and the federal government other than matters involving defense, emergency preparedness, and veterans issues;
  • The relations between the State of Texas and other states of the United States;
  • International commerce and trade, including the regulation of persons participating in international commerce and trade;
  • International and border regions (as described in Sections 2056.002(e)(2) and (3), Government Code) economic development, public health and safety issues affecting the border, tourist development, and goodwill, and economic development, tourist development, and goodwill in other areas of the state that have experienced a significant increase in the percentage of the population that consists of immigrants from other nations, according to the last two federal decennial censuses or another reliable measure;
  • The provision of public services to persons residing in proximity to Texas' international border or in other areas of the state that have experienced a significant increase in the percentage of the population that consists of immigrants from other nations, according to the last two federal decennial censuses or another reliable measure; and
  • The following state agency: the Office of State-Federal Relations.
The Edinburg Economic Development Corporation is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg City Council. It’s five-member governing board, which is appointed by the Edinburg City Council, includes Mayor Richard García as President, Fred Palacios as Secretary-Treasurer, and Felipe García, Dr. Havidán Rodríguez, and Steven Edward Cruz, II. For more information on the EEDC and the City of Edinburg, please log on to: www.EdbgCityLimits. ••••••

Edinburg’s May 2014 unemployment rate of 6.1 percent continues positive showings, reflects best May monthly report since 2008

By DAVID A. DÍAZ Edinburg’s unemployment rate for May 2014 was 6.1 percent, the best showing in the city for that month since May 2008, and the second-best figure for all cities in May 2014 in the Rio Grande Valley, the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation has announced. The EEDC is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg City Council. For the month of May 2014, only McAllen (5.8 percent) had a better figure than Edinburg (6.1 percent), while the other major communities in the Valley had unemployment rates that ranged from 6.7 percent in Harlingen to 8.9 percent in Brownsville. The Valley’s three other most populous cities also had unemployment rates for May 2014 in single-digits: Mission (6.8 percent), Pharr (7.3 percent), and Weslaco (8.2 percent). In addition, Edinburg’s labor force was the third largest in the Valley, with 33,485 persons employed in the city in May 2014. The area’s two most populous cities, Brownsville and McAllen, posted larger numbers with 63,313 and 58,523 individuals, respectively, employed in May 2014. All cities combined in Hidalgo County averaged an 8.6 percent unemployment rate in May 2014, the same as in April 2014, while all cities combined in Cameron County averaged an 8.2 percent unemployment rate in May 2014, slightly up from an 8.1 percent unemployment rate in April 2014. The statewide unemployment average in Texas for May 2014 was 5.1 percent. These latest figures were released on Friday, June 20, by the Texas Workforce Commission, which is the state agency charged with overseeing and providing workforce development services to employers and job-seekers in Texas. • More growth in the horizon The ongoing favorable employment figures for Edinburg are consistent with what Mayor Richard García, who also serves as President of the EEDC Board of Directors, envisioned for this year during his State of the City Address, which he presented on Thursday, April 24, at the Edinburg Conference Center at Renaissance. “So what is next?” the mayor asked rhetorically. “What is on the horizon tomorrow for Edinburg?” Among planned and ongoing projects which will lead to more jobs in the coming months are: • A series of master planned, multi-family, luxury projects with full amenities (pools, sauna, office and recreational space, and gyms). “Three have announced already: The Residents at Trenton, The Villages at Sugar and Owassa, and the Auriel Development on North Sugar and Alberta, all aimed at the medical community, keeping the professionals living, eating, and shopping in Edinburg,” García noted. “Like these, there are a few others on the table that we will be reporting soon.” • Hotel developments for Edinburg, including a Holiday Inn Express, located at the corner of Closner and Trenton, which features a new prototype design for Texas, and set to open in early 2015. The site also will include a restaurant pad site. “Another deal was just signed on Wednesday, April 23, to bring a major, high-end hotel chain, conference center and business executive suites, and more dining across from the University of Texas-Pan American to focus on the traffic generated from the growth of the university, with two more higher-end hotel chains with restaurant pad sites currently in negotiations,” the mayor continued. • Upgrading key infrastructure Major roadway systems are the arteries of a community and its economy, which mean jobs. “Tomorrow brings a slew of important road and infrastructure projects like the expansion of FM 1925 (Monte Cristo Road), that will also connect to 10th street, converting it a five-lane roadway,” Garcia reported. “Most of the cost for this project has already been secured through state and MPO (Metropolitan Planning Organization) funds, with Edinburg and Hidalgo County’s share being about $1 million,” the mayor said. Edinburg also has collaborated with the cities of Pharr and McAllen, Hidalgo County Precinct’s 2 and 4 to widen Owassa Road, he added. “All of these are planned with commitment to improve mobility and spur economic development in those areas,” García explained. • Other key economic indicators More detailed information about the labor market and unemployment rates in Edinburg and neighboring major communities include: Number of persons employed, May 2014:
  • Brownsville: 63,313
  • McAllen: 58,523
  • Edinburg: 33,485
  • Mission: 29,942
  • Pharr: 25,882
  • Harlingen: 25,205
  • Weslaco: 13,479
Edinburg’s May unemployment rates, by year:
  • May 2014: 6.1 percent
  • May 2013: 7.3 percent
  • May 2012: 7.8 percent
  • May 2011: 8.7 percent
  • May 2010: 8.3 percent
  • May 2009: 6.2 percent
  • May 2008: 4.7 percent
  • May 2007: 4.4 percent
  • May 2006: 5.4 percent
  • May 2005: 4.9 percent
Edinburg’s May employment, by year:
  • 2014: 33,485
  • 2013: 33,004
  • 2012: 32,616
  • 2011: 31,886
  • 2010: 31,330
  • 2009: 29,960
  • 2008: 29,430
  • 2007: 27,935
  • 2006: 26,533
  • 2005: 25,559
Edinburg Monthly Unemployment Rates, 2014
  • May: 6.1
  • April: 5.5
  • March: 6.0
  • February: 6.6
  • January: 6.6
Edinburg Monthly Unemployment Rates, 2013
  • December: 6.7
  • November: 6.8
  • October: 7.4
  • September: 7.4
  • August: 7.6
  • July: 7.9
  • June: 8.0
  • May: 7.3
  • April: 6.7
  • March: 7.2
  • February: 7.5
  • January: 7.7
Because of substantial methodology changes between 2004 and 2005 in estimating city unemployment statistics, Texas city data is not available prior to 2005, according to the Texas Workforce Commission. Because of substantial methodology changes in geographic areas below the state level, data from 2005 and 2004 or earlier is not considered comparable, the state agency adds. The Edinburg Economic Development Corporation is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg City Council. It’s five-member governing board, which is appointed by the Edinburg City Council, includes Mayor Richard García as President, Fred Palacios as Secretary-Treasurer, and Felipe García, Dr. Havidán Rodríguez and Steven Edward Cruz, II. For more information on the EEDC and the City of Edinburg, please log on to: www.EdbgCityLimits.com ••••••

Edinburg retail economy up almost 19 percent in April 2014, leading all major Valley cities, which also showed big gains

By DAVID A. DÍAZ Edinburg’s retail economy in April 2014 showed an improvement of almost 19 percent over the same month last year, leading all major Valley cities, which also showed big gains, the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation has announced. The EEDC is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg City Council. Edinburg’s most recent economic showing is almost double the average of all Texas cities, which came in with a 10.7 percent monthly increase over April 2013, according to the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts. Based on the amount of local sales taxes collected, which reflects the strength of an economy, Edinburg’s retail sector generated more than $1.5 million in local sales taxes in April 2014, compared with almost $1.3 million in April 2013. For the first four months of 2014, Edinburg’s retail economy also posted a double-digit upswing over the same period last year, generating $9,544,069.69 in local sales taxes, compared with $8,488,722.44 for January through April 2013 – a rise of 12.43 percent. The local sales tax figure represents sales made in April, sent to the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts in May, and returned to the respective local government entities in June. The sales tax, formally known as the State Sales and Use Tax, is imposed on all retail sales, leases and rentals of most goods, as well as taxable services. Texas cities, counties, transit authorities and special purpose districts have the option of imposing an additional local sales tax for a combined total of state and local taxes of 8 1/4% (.0825). The local sales tax is used in Edinburg to help pay for many city services, while the EEDC uses its one-half cent local sales tax to help generate economic development in the city. According to the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts, Edinburg’s retail economy in April 2014 generated $1,515,235.89 in local sales taxes, up 18.88 percent over April 2013, which reached $1,274,558.63. Pharr registered the second-best improvement among major Valley cities for April 2014, up 15.27 percent over the same month in 2013, with $1,239,818.57 in local sales taxes being generated. Weslaco’s retail economy in April 2014 produced $ 961,718.22 in local sales taxes, an increase of 13.38 percent over the same month last year. Mission’s posting of $ 1,294,797.04 in April 2014 represented a 13.26 percent boost over its April 2013 monthly showing, while McAllen – the traditional retail giant of the Valley – reported $5,060,901.86 in local sales taxes, up 11.95 percent over the April 2013. In Cameron County, Harlingen and Brownsville also enjoyed improvements in April 2014, with Harlingen reporting $1,705,190.61 in local sales taxes, an increase of 10.21 percent over the same month last year, while Brownsville, which generated $2,947,823.07 in local sales taxes, was up 8.23 percent over April 2013. Mayor Richard García, who also serves as president of the five-member Edinburg Economic Development Corporation Board of Directors, said the April 2014 and January through April 2014 year-to-date figures reflect Edinburg’s reputation as a preferred city in which to set up a business, work, and live. “When I say our ‘growing community’, I mean specifically a community growing at a rate of 5.3 percent since the last 2010 census,” the mayor reported. “Today, Edinburg is ranked the third largest city in the Rio Grande Valley with almost 85,000 residents after the annexation of 2200 acres this past year. “Today, Edinburg continues its commitment to attracting and building quality of life projects like the new $8.5 million Parks, Recreation and Wellness Center that is currently under construction at South Park. Four gyms, one which will be a practice gym for the Rio Grande Valley Vipers as well as for the Houston Rockets,” García continued. In addition, Edinburg boasts Cinemark Theatres first “Bistro” facility in the country. “This six-screen theatre has a full service café that delivers to your seats – some of the best burgers in town, wine and beer, and stadium seating. This truly is a fun family experience: dinner and a movie with one stop,” he said. Another first for Edinburg is a “splash pad” at Freddy González and I Road – a zero depth water park for children which is a recreation area for water play that has little or no standing water – thus eliminating the need for lifeguards or other supervision. Another quality-of-life feature that encourages local residents and visitors to spend money in the local economy is Las Ramblas/El Paseo Cultural, also known as the McIntyre Street Project, which is now complete, the mayor said. “Las Ramblas-Paseo Cultural is designed for pedestrians, bicyclists, runners and for entire families to enjoy outdoor local festivals and international cultural events like our monthly Jardín de Arte at the City Hall courtyard,” the mayor spoke of the ongoing development of the city’s downtown region into a center for economic development and tourism. The Jardín de Arte festival, which is held on the second Friday of every month from April through November, hosts a wide range of cultural events, from showcasing local, regional and national artists, speakers, and writers, to featuring performances by local, regional and national musicians and dancers. According to the state comptroller’s office, the Valley’s major cities reported the following local sales tax figures for April 2014:
  • McAllen: $5,060,901.86, up 11.95 percent over April 2013 ($4,520,372.01);
  • Brownsville: $2,947,823.07, up 8.23 percent over April 2013 ($2,723,467.74);
  • Harlingen: $1,705,190.61, up 10.21 percent over April 2013 ($1,547,086.64);
  • Edinburg: $ 1,515,235.89, up 18.88 percent over April 2013 ($1,274,558.63);
  • Mission: $1,294,797.04, up 13.26 percent over April 2013 ($1,143,124.93);
  • Pharr: $1,239,818.57, up 15.27 percent over April 2013 ($1,075,570.38); and
  • Weslaco: $961,718.22, up 13.38 percent over April 2013 ($848,169.63).
All cities in Hidalgo County generated a combined total of $12,112,848.14 in local sales tax revenue in April 2014, compared with $10,509,422.25 during the same month in 2013, an improvement of 15.25 percent. All cities in Cameron County generated a combined total of $5,619,943.39 in local sales tax revenue in April 2014, compared with $5,092,079.11 during the same month in 2013, an increase of 10.36 percent. For details of the April 2014 local sales tax figures for all cities, counties, transit systems, and special purpose taxing districts, located the Monthly Sales Tax Allocation Comparison Summary Reports at the comptroller’s website, log on to: www.window.state.tx.us/taxinfo/allocsum/compsum.html The Edinburg Economic Development Corporation is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg City Council. It’s five-member governing board, which is appointed by the Edinburg City Council, includes Mayor Richard García as President, Fred Palacios as Secretary-Treasurer, and Felipe García, Steven Edward Cruz, II, and Dr. Havidán Rodríguez. For more information on the EEDC and the City of Edinburg, please log on to: www.EdbgCityLimits.com ••••••

Speaker Joe Straus announces emergency appropriation while Rio Grande Valley leaders plan strategy session on “humanitarian crisis”

By DAVID A. DÍAZ As tens of thousands of unaccompanied children flee violence in Central America in a desperate effort to join family members in the U.S., Texas must take more active roles in helping protect them while the federal government deals with the growing “humanitarian crisis” along the U.S.-Mexico border, including in the Valley, says Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg. “In America, we do not turn a blind eye to the powerless, the weak, the sick, and especially to innocent children,” said Canales. “In Texas and in the Valley, we do not blame people for being victims.” In a related development, Texas Speaker of the House Joe Straus, R-San Antonio, on Wednesday, June 18, announced the appropriations of $1.3 million a week, until the end of 2014, for the Texas Department of Public Safety to conduct law enforcement surge operations to help the plight of these children and to protect them and Texas citizens from any criminal elements which seek to exploit this tragedy, Canales added. “I applaud the decision by state officials to provide additional funding to assist the Rio Grande Valley in what has become a humanitarian crisis,” Canales said. “We need real solutions to cope with the recent immigration surge in deep South Texas.” Straus, who was in Edinburg on Tuesday, June 17, called the situation along the Texas-Mexico border “a very serious problem. “Tens of thousands of young people have come into the United States, often from Mexico and Central America. This rush of young migrants has overwhelmed federal officials and could make the border region more vulnerable to criminal activity such as drug trafficking and human smuggling operations,” Straus said. “I was in the Rio Grande Valley earlier this week and visited with border patrol officers and state and local law enforcement officials about the situation on the ground and the effect of this influx on security efforts.” According to Straus: • The U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (USCBP) has apprehended more undocumented immigrants in the Rio Grande Valley in the first eight months of the current federal fiscal year (over 160,000) than it did for all of fiscal year 2013 (154,453); • In May 2014 alone, USCBP reported apprehending more than 1,100 undocumented immigrants per day in the Rio Grande Valley; • This year, like last year, more than half of the individuals apprehended at the Texas-Mexico border by USCBP are from countries other than Mexico; • Additionally, 34,000 unaccompanied undocumented children (UAC) have been apprehended in Texas so far this year, with estimates that number will reach 90,000 by the end of the fiscal year; and • By comparison, 28,352 UAC were apprehended in fiscal year 2013. Canales said he was overwhelmed with compassion and fear for many of these undocumented immigrant children, who are being kept in holding facilities at the U.S. Border Patrol in McAllen. “The Border Patrol is doing its best to take care of these children, but they just don’t have the facilities, manpower, and other resources needed to do what they do best, which is to protect our country, and to save lives, no matter where you are from,” Canales said. The state lawmaker, at the invitation of U.S. Congressman Henry Cuellar, D-Laredo/McAllen, on Saturday, June 14, saw first-hand the trauma facing refugee children in U.S. custody at the Border Patrol holding facilities in McAllen. “I do not care what your stance on immigration is,” Canales told the Rio Grande Guardian. “When you see a room full of four-year olds or eight-year olds with their noses pressed up against the glass, drowning in their own tears because they do not know where they are or who is going to save them, we have to treat them like human beings. There is no question this is a full-blown humanitarian crisis.” In addition to Cuellar and Canales, other top Valley leaders who toured the Border Patrol holding facilities in McAllen were Rep. Sergio Muñoz, Jr., D-Mission, Sen. Eddie Lucio, Jr., D-Brownsville, and Hidalgo County Judge Ramón García. Kevin W. Oaks, Chief Patrol Agent of the Rio Grande Valley Sector of the U.S. Border Patrol, provided the private legislative update for the elected leaders. “The (Obama) administration has tried to ease overcrowding in Border Patrol stations in the Rio Grande Valley, where a processing backlog left hundreds of unaccompanied children waiting in cramped and chilly holding cells for days. From the start of the fiscal year October 1 through May, the Border Patrol caught more than 47,000 children and teens traveling without parents, a 92 percent increase over the same period last year,” the Houston Chronicle reported in its June edition. More than 33,000 unaccompanied children were caught in the Rio Grande Valley sector, the Houston Chronicle added. “They are backing up in facilities that were never designed for children,” FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate said. The situation facing the refugee children is so alarming that Canales said he was too emotional to participate in a news conference following the Saturday, June 14 inspection of the conditions at the McAllen holding facilities. He said he went back to his car and cried – something he said does not happen very often. “I could not stand in front of a camera. I would not have been any use to anybody. I was an emotional mess. There are not many things in this world that can do what this did to me,” Canales told the Rio Grande Guardian, in a phone interview an hour after his tour. “It was not until I got in my car that I had just a meltdown,” Canales continued. “If you did not feel it in your chest and you were not holding back tears, you were not human.” ••••••

Rep. Muñoz, Rep. Longoria appointed to Select Committee on the Fiscal Impact of Texas Border Support Operations

By RICHARD SÁNCHEZ Texas House Speaker Joe Straus on Wednesday, July 2, appointed Rep. Sergio Muñoz, Jr., D-Palmview, to the Select Committee on the Fiscal Impact of Texas Border Support Operations, which will examine the short- and long-term budgetary effects of addressing increased activity along the Texas-Mexico border. Rep. Óscar Longoria, Jr., D-La Joya, also was appointed to that legislative panel. The recent influx of immigrants from Central America prompted the state's top leadership to call for a surge of Department of Public Safety (DPS) Troopers along the Rio Grande Valley border region to conduct law enforcement operations. The committee will monitor the costs of those operations and other services associated with increased border crossings. The committee will also review and evaluate any support that Texas receives from the federal government to address this issue and study the influx’s effect on resources available to local governments. Finally, the committee will determine the long-term budgetary effect of efforts to ensure Texans’ safety. "It is quite an honor to accept this appointment and get right to work on these very pressing issues that are directly affecting our communities in the Rio Grande Valley," said Muñoz. "It will be my priority to devise a system that rewards the great work that is being done by our local governments and communities by reimbursing the significant costs they bear by supporting what is ultimately a federal responsibility. A federal reimbursement revenue stream will allow our state and local governments to sustain the response to the humanitarian crisis and provide for adequate border security." “It is important for legislators and the public to know the full impact of these operations,” said Straus. “A comprehensive look at the costs and benefits associated with our investment in border security will be helpful as the House sets priorities for next year’s legislative session.” Speaker Pro Tempore Dennis Bonnen, R-Angleton, will chair the new committee. Its membership will also include Reps. Greg Bonnen, R-Angleton; Rep. Myra Crownover, R-Denton; Rep. Drew Darby, R-San Angelo; Rep. Donna Howard, D-Austin; Rep. Marisa Márquez, D-El Paso; Rep. John Otto, R-Dayton; Rep. Sylvester Turner, D-Houston; and Rep. John Zerwas, R-Simonton. Tens of thousands of unaccompanied children from Central America have crossed into Texas in recent months, raising concerns about the ability of federal, state and local authorities to focus on fighting drug cartels and other criminal activity along the border. Muñoz has worked closely with Straus and with DPS officials to monitor the situation, especially as activity has increased in recent months. Muñoz has visited with federal, state and local officials about the influx, and continues to assess the impact of the change in immigration trends and the flow of commerce and business across the ports of entry in his legislative district Three major international ports of entry lay within Muñoz’ House District 36: The Pharr International Bridge, the Hidalgo International Bridge, and the Anzaldúas International Bridge. “The committee needs to address the situation and find solutions both for the short term and the for the long term,” Muñoz said. ••••••

Sen. Hinojosa to lead subcommittee to develop Plan for the Future of Texas' State Supported Living Centers

By JENNIFER SÁENZ Sen. Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, Chair of the Sunset Advisory Commission, on Wednesday, June 26, appointed Sen. Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa, D-McAllen, as Chairman of the Subcommittee to Study the Potential Closures of State Supported Living Centers (SSLCs). The Sunset Advisory Commission held their first hearings on June 25 and 26, lasting late into the night with hundreds of people testifying on various issues – with SSLCs being one of the most controversial issues. Texas houses 13 SSLCs that are state-run residential facilities for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. They are campus-based 24-hour direct services facilities that are overseen by the Department of Aging and Disability Services (DADS). The Sunset staff report expressed serious concerns with the safety, quality, and enormous costs associated with these facilities as well as the declining number of residents housed in these facilities and recommended that the Austin SSLC be shut down along with five others. There has since been an outpouring of public comments and concerns -- many wishing to shut some down, while many fighting to keep them all open. "We need a solution that recognizes the critical services that SSLCs provide to so many of our residents with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families, but that also addresses the safety and quality control issues, the aging infrastructure, and the enormous budget costs associated with running these facilities,” said Hinojosa. “I am honored to chair this subcommittee and am looking forward to a coordinated approach with members and stakeholders to develop a plan that will set up criteria to evaluate the effectiveness of these SSLCs while at the same time improving community-based services.” The agencies under sunset review that were discussed at the hearing include University Interscholastic League (UIL) and four health and human services agencies: Department of Assistive and Rehabilitation Services (DARS), Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS), Department of State Health Services (DSHS), and Department of Aging and Disability Services (DADS). The Sunset Advisory Commission is a 12-member legislative commission tasked with identifying and eliminating waste, duplication, and inefficiencies in or government agencies. It is composed of fie state Senators, five state representatives, and two public members. “Our job is to evaluate whether these agencies and their programs are still necessary and, if so, how to structure them to be successful in carrying out their missions," Nelson said. "We have a long way to go in this process. Nothing is set in stone. We need public input to ensure these agencies are running efficiently and effectively." At the next Sunset Advisory Commission meeting to be held on Wednesday, August 13, members will vote on whether to accept, modify or reject the recommendations of Sunset staff. Those decisions will result in legislation to be filed in the next legislative session. Final decisions on the future of all these agencies ultimately rest with the Legislature. Each of the reports being discussed by the Sunset Advisory Commission during this week's hearings can be viewed online at www.sunset.texas.gov. The Sunset Advisory Commission reviews policies and programs of state agencies and recommends reforms, improvements, changes, dissolution of agencies, elimination of wasteful programs and any other changes that are needed to ensure transparent, cost-effective, and productive state programs. Public participation is a key aspect of the Sunset Review process. The Sunset Advisory Commission seeks public input through hearings on every agency under Sunset review, and recommends actions on each agency to the full Legislature in the next regular session. ••••••

Texas Bar Foundation grants $16,000 to UTPA’s Law School Preparation Institute

By GAIL FAGAN More students at The University of Texas-Pan American will get an extra boost toward achieving their dream of a law career thanks to a generous grant from The Texas Bar Foundation to support the University's Law School Preparation Institute (LSPI). The $16,000 grant will assist 10 LSPI students with the cost of books, the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) preparation courses and provide them a stipend while enrolled in the rigorous five-week summer course. Initiated in 2001, LSPI has continually yielded success, boasting a 90 percent acceptance rate for LSPI graduates who apply to law school, averaging much higher than the national acceptance rate of 60 percent. Over the years, numerous LSPI graduates have been accepted to law schools across the country, including Texas Tech University, Southern Methodist University and St. Mary's University as well as The University of California at Berkeley, Indiana University, Penn State and Georgetown University, among many others. Attorney and Texas Bar Foundation Fellow Dan Worthington (BA '85) said the Foundation has been impressed with LPSI's success in preparing students and how it supports the Foundation's mission to serve the civil justice system and the Rio Grande Valley, which he said is often underserved. “What this program [LSPI] does, is it helps get the students get ready for law school and if they succeed in law school, they will get a better opportunity for employment and ... a lot of those students will return to the Valley as lawyers. That's why, to us, it seemed an appropriate investment," he said. Through LSPI students are prepared for the LSAT, introduced to legal research and writing, and review selected law cases to help develop their analytical, argumentative and critical reading and writing skills. They also discuss the admissions process into law school and receive assistance in selecting and applying to law schools. “LSPI makes our students aware of the opportunities available to them to pursue careers in law and other careers outside of law. It’s a very disciplined program that requires a great commitment and so it introduces students to study at a level of rigor that they don’t see at the undergraduate level,” said Dr. John Darcy, accounting and business law professor and LSPI co-director. LSPI's interdisciplinary team of instructors also includes UTPA faculty members Dr. Jerry Polinard, political science professor, and Dr. Erik Anderson, philosophy lecturer. Polinard, who has directed the program since its inception and is UTPA's pre-law adviser, was honored in 2013 by the Pre-Law Advisors National Council with the Gerald Lee Wilson Award for Excellence in Pre-Law Advising. Since many students who apply to the program balance a full-time work and school schedule, the $1,000 stipend will serve as a necessary incentive for students who have to either quit their job or take a leave of absence during the duration of the course described as "highly demanding." "It’s like an emersion; they’re there all day, which means that many of them, if they work, can’t work the hours that they usually work. So, that support is very, very important to the success of the program,” said Dr. Walter Díaz, Dean of the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences. "The gift enables us to have a more sustainable program and to be able to provide the LSPI students the full support that they need." LSPI graduate Alejandra Martínez (BA '13), who is currently balancing her job as a Chick-fil-A manager while studying for her LSAT, said she valued most the relationships she established with LSPI instructors, particularly Polinard, and the advice and mentorship she has received from them. Martínez will be taking her LSAT in September and, depending on the outcome of her score, plans to apply to her top choice law school, UT Austin School of Law, as well as every law school in Texas and a few out-of-state law schools, she said. “It’s important to continue having this program because we get an advantage over others; it looks great on our résumé. I know a lot of the administrators who accept these students know what the program is and they’re actually looking for students who have taken this program,” she said. Since its inception in 1965, the Texas Bar Foundation has awarded more than $15 million in grants to law-related programs. Supported by members of the State Bar of Texas, the Texas Bar Foundation is the nation’s largest charitably funded bar foundation. The Foundation targets five general program areas including legal services for the underserved, education of the Third Branch of government, ethics and professionalism in the legal profession, administration of justice and victim services. For more information on LSPI, contact the Department of Political Science at (956) 665-3341. For more information on giving opportunities at UT Pan American, contact the Office of Development at development@utpa.edu or (956) 665-5301. ••••••

Rep. Muñoz, Rep. Lucio announce creation of task force that will lead to development of Rio Grande Valley Regional Alert System

By RICHARD SÁNCHEZ A task force was created on Tuesday, June 11, to develop The Rio Grande Valley Regional Alert System, which is designed to help law enforcement agencies find missing or kidnapped residents or criminals involved abductions, said Rep. Sergio Muñoz, D-Mission. Currently there are 17 regional alert systems across Texas – but not in the Valley – serving a majority of Texans by providing alerts in those respective regions. The proposal to create a regional alert system was prompted by the cases of Harlingen residents David Mark García and former Rep. Don Lee, D-Harlingen, in 2012. Both men were reported missing only to be found deceased shortly after their disappearance. Both of these cases did not qualify for any state alert systems. “But the regional alert systems across Texas have been extremely successful because local regions are most familiar with local resources that can be used when a BOLO (Be On the Look Out) alert has been activated,” Muñoz said. “The most effective tool to locate a missing person is the ability to use the community as a resource. Public awareness and participation is critical towards the success of any alert system.” Each of the regional alert systems, including the statewide system managed by the Texas Department of Public Safety, are modeled after the original AMBER Alert System created in the Dallas area in 1996. The AMBER Alert System began when Dallas-Fort Worth broadcasters teamed with local police to develop an early warning system to help find abducted children, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. AMBER stands for America's Missing: Broadcast Emergency Response and was created as a legacy to nine-year-old Amber Hagerman, who was kidnapped while riding her bicycle in Arlington, Texas, and then brutally murdered. Other states and communities soon set up their own AMBER plans as the idea was adopted across the nation. “It's important to understand that we are not trying to replace the current state alert systems that exist now,” Lucio explained. “Every department we have spoken to has acknowledged a need to create a regional alert system that would help during the crucial, critical hours of a person being reported missing.” Muñoz and Rep. Eddie Lucio, III, D-San Benito, on June 11 met in Weslaco with law enforcement, emergency management, and bridge officials from across the Rio Grande Valley to discuss the progress of the Regional Alert System for the Rio Grande Valley. Following that session, the two state lawmakers announced the group would establish the first official task force to design and put into action the guidelines of the proposed Regional Alert System. "I am excited to see the consistent progress and development of this task force, and I strongly believe that we will establish a system that will prioritize, protect, and preserve the safety of the citizens of the Rio Grande Valley," said Lucio. The task force consists of the Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office, Hidalgo County Emergency Management Coordinator, Mission Police Department, Pharr Police Department, the Anzaldúas and Hidalgo International Bridges, the Pharr International Bridge, Harlingen Police Department, Edinburg Police Department, Cameron County Emergency Coordinator, Raymondville Police Department, and the Palm Valley Police Department. “The RGV Regional Alert System will be an additional tool for law enforcement agencies to use in an effort to recover missing or abducted persons,” Muñoz said. “I am confident that this task Force will develop a system that is responsive and responsible. They have my complete support and appreciation.” Lucio and Muñoz thanked the founding members of the task force for their commitment to developing the initial Regional Alert System. They added they were proud of the representation from each county (Cameron, Hidalgo, Willacy) by law enforcement officials, who the lawmakers praised for continuing to seek improved safety for Valley communities. “It's important to understand that we are not trying to replace the current state alert systems that exist now,” Lucio had explained. “Every department we have spoken to has acknowledged a need to create a regional alert system that would help during the crucial, critical hours of a person being reported missing.” The Valley system “will be tailored to our local communities and administered by local emergency and law enforcement,” Muñoz said when both lawmakers first revealed their goal on Monday, January 27. Currently, the state has active AMBER, Silver, Blue and Endangered Missing Persons Alert systems. The AMBER, Blue, Silver and Endangered Missing Persons Alert Programs are housed within the Operations Section of the Texas Division of Emergency Management, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety. The State Operations Center (SOC) serves as the state primary control point, collecting and disseminating alert information to local, state, federal, public and private technology partners, known as the State Network. The goal of the State Network is to mobilize Texas citizens to search for abducted children, missing senior citizens, endangered missing persons and suspects involved with the death or serious injury of law enforcement officers. Each alert program has a specific set of criteria in order to protect the integrity of the network. Only law enforcement can request activation of the State Network. ••••••

Former Texas State Bank employee in McAllen sentenced to federal prison for bank fraud

By ANGELA DODGE A former bank officer with Texas State Bank has been ordered to federal prison for defrauding her former employer, announced United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson. Sondra Tredaway, 65, of Mission, was the former manager of the Texas State Bank branch located in McAllen. She pleaded guilty to one count of bank fraud on June 7, 2011. On Thursday, June 12, Chief U.S. District Judge Ricardo H. Hinojosa handed Tredaway a sentence of 41 months in federal prison and further ordered she pay restitution to Texas State Bank in the amount of $4,496,455.83. The prison term will be immediately followed by a two-year-term of supervised release. Tredaway had admitted she defrauded Texas State Bank, using her position as branch manager to defraud the bank of approximately $2.4 million. She used the names and personal information belonging to several individuals, without their permission, to create more than 58 fictitious loans beginning in 1998 through 2010. Tredaway further admitted she used the loan proceeds for her own benefit. The fraud was discovered when BBVA Compass Bank purchased Texas State Bank and began reviewing their loan records. After handing down the sentence on June 12, Hinojosa permitted Tredway to remain on bond and voluntarily surrender to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future. The investigation leading to the charges was conducted by the FBI. Assistant United States Attorney Robert Wells Jr. prosecuted the case. ••••••

Spa owner pleas guilty for role in unsafe liquid silicone injection that led to woman’s death

By ANGELA DODGE Elva Navarro, 37, of Hidalgo, entered a guilty plea to violating the U.S. Food, Drug and Cosmetics Act as her federal trial was about to being on Monday, June 9, announced United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson. The investigation into Navarro began in November 2013 after law enforcement discovered she was involved with providing liquid silicone to women to effect the structure and function of their bodies. Court documents demonstrated that Navarro would administer injections of liquid silicone into individuals who would frequent her facility - Bella Face and Body Spa in McAllen. These injections were not approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Navarro falsely represented to her customers that they were safe when, in fact, they were not. During her plea on June 9, Navarro admitted that on October 5, 2013, she used an adulterated device, namely, liquid silicone on a female customer at her spa. Navarro knew that the substance had caused complications on previous occasions, but admitted she intended to mislead the woman by not disclosing that information to her female customer. The woman later died as a result of the injections. U.S. District Judge Micaela Álvarez, who accepted the plea, has set sentencing for August 21, 2014. At that time, Navarro faces up to three years in prison and a possible $250,000 fine. She will remain in custody pending that hearing. The case is being investigated by FDA, Hidalgo County Sheriff's Office and the FBI. Assistant U.S. Attorney Kim Leo is prosecuting. ••••••

Hidalgo County District Clerk staff raises $3,000 for the Food Bank of the RGV

By RICARDO CONTRERAS The Hidalgo County District Clerk Office on Friday, June 27, presented a check totaling $3,000 to the Food Bank of the Rio Grande Valley as part of their Blues for Bucks Workplace Fundraising Campaign, a program benefitting local charitable organizations. “Our Blues for Bucks program is a great way for our staff to become engaged and contribute to worthy causes in our community such as the Food Bank of the RGV,” said Laura Hinojosa, Hidalgo County District Clerk. “We are honored to help support an organization that is committed to overcoming poverty and hunger in our community and is making a huge difference in lives of children and families throughout the region." The Food Bank of the RGV was founded in 1983 and incorporated in 1986 to serve as a clearinghouse for smaller food pantries and on-site feeding organizations. It serves as a champion to those organizations that focus on making food accessible to the Valley and is passionately committed to ending hunger. The Food Bank of the RGV is currently affiliated with Feeding America and the Texas Food Bank Network and has grown to become the 36th largest in the nation and 5th largest in Texas based on distribution. It currently serves Hidalgo, Willacy and Cameron Counties. “We are grateful for this amazing contribution from the Hidalgo County District Clerk Office,” Terri Drefke, Chief Executive Officer, said. “This contribution will help us provide 15,000 healthy meals for children right here in the RGV.” The district clerk office kicked off their charitable efforts in 2008. The program, which allows department staff to wear jeans every Friday in exchange for a $5 donation, has since then expanded their efforts through the creation of a “charitable organizations list” of which staff randomly selects a recipient every six months. Over the past five years the district clerk office has collected over $40,000 that has gone to local charitable organizations throughout Hidalgo County. Learn more about the Food Bank of the RGV and their efforts by calling 956.682.7921 or by visiting www.foodbankrgv.com. ••••••

Hidalgo County government implements new procedures for public information requests

By HILDA SALINAS The Hidalgo County Public Affairs Division on Friday, June 27, announced that it has implemented new policies and procedures for receiving Public Information Requests (PIR). The intent is to ensure that all PIRs are handled in a timely and uniform manner. Pursuant to the Public Information Act, which is codified at chapters 552 of the Texas Government Code, effective immediately, all public information requests to Hidalgo County Public Affairs Division shall be made in writing to either of the following: • Email: public.info@co.hidalgo.tx.us • Facsimile: (956) 292-7766 • Mail: Public Information Director 302 West University Dr. Edinburg, TX 78539 Attn: Public Information Request The Hidalgo County Public Affairs Division will no longer accept public information requests made to individual employees via writing, email or telephone calls. The Public Information Request Form is available on the Hidalgo County website under the Public Affairs Division tab on the menu bar. Here is a link to the form: http://co.hidalgo.tx.us/DocumentCenter/View/15319. As a reminder, under the Public Information Act, a governmental body is not required to prepare new information in response to a request. See A&T Consultants, Inc. v. Sharp, 904 S.W.2d 668, 676 (Tex. 1995); Fish v. Dallas Indep. Sch. Dist., 31 S.W.3d 678, 681 (Tex. App.—Eastland 2000, pet. denied); Attorney General Opinion H-90 (1973); Open Records Decision Nos. 452 at 2–3 (1986), 342 at 3 (1982), 87 (1975). Additionally, a governmental body is not required to prepare answers to questions or to do legal research. See Open Records Decision Nos. 563 at 8 (1990) (considering request for federal and state laws and regulations), 555 at 1–2 (1990) (considering request for answers to fact questions). For more information regarding the Public Information Act, please visit: https://www.texasattorneygeneral.gov/open/index.shtml

Texas Capitol Vietnam Veterans Monument, created by legislation filed by Sen. Hinojosa, is dedicated to honor fallen heroes from that war

Email This News Story Email This News Story | Print This News Story Print This News Story | May 31st, 2014 by Legislativemedia@aol.com
Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, D-McAllen, and other state leaders on Saturday, March 29, led a tribute to Texas veterans who served or were killed during the Vietnam War with the unveiling and dedication of the Vietnam Veterans Monument on the Texas State Capitol Grounds. The ceremony was held on Texas Vietnam Veterans Day, which marks the anniversary of the day the last American combat troops left Vietnam. "As a Vietnam veteran for the U.S. Marine Corps, I understand the difficult sacrifices that our military families endure on a daily basis," Hinojosa said. "The Texas Capitol Vietnam Veterans Monument honors and thanks our fallen Vietnam heroes and their families for their ultimate sacrifice of defending our freedom, and welcomes those who came home and fought with great courage and resilience.It is our hope that this monument will ensure that the memory of our Texas Vietnam Heroes lives on. Semper Fi." The monument is a 14-foot-tall bronze sculpture featuring five seven-foot tall infantry figures in patrol positions situated atop an eight-sided base. Designed to represent the diversity of Texas Vietnam Veterans, the figures will be Hispanic-American, African-American, Asian, Native-American, and Caucasian. The Texas Vietnam Heroes Exhibit is a visual representation of the 3,417 Texans who did not survive to come home from Vietnam. It was designed by Excalibur Exhibits and consists of hand-embossed dog tags featuring the name, rank, branch of service, and date of loss and home of record for each veteran. See lead story in this posting. •••••• Dr. Guy Bailey, the newly-selected president of The University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley, will find that South Texans are determined to see higher education in the Valley reach a world-class level, say Edinburg city and state leaders. Bailey, 63, has served as chancellor of the University of Missouri-Kansas City, the president of Texas Tech University and the University of Alabama, and provost of The University of Texas at San Antonio. On Monday, April 28, the UT System Board of Regents, which met in Austin, selected Bailey as the sole finalist for the historic position of founding president for UT-Rio Grande Valley. “I am very impressed with his credentials and accomplishments, but it is the people of the Valley who will impress him,” said Canales, whose House District 40 includes UT-Pan American, the UT-Regional Academic Health Center Medical Research Division, and a planned major component of the new UT medical school for the Valley. Featured, from left, during a reception on Friday, May 16, at The University of Texas-Pan American, are: Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg; former Rep. VerónicaGonzáles, D-McAllen, who now serves as Vice President for University Advancement, The University of Texas-Pan American; Edinburg Mayor Richard García; Dr. Guy Bailey, President, The University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley; Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, D-McAllen; Congressman Rubén Hinojosa, D-Mercedes; Ernest “Ernie” Aliseda, Member, Board of Regents, The University of Texas System; and Rio Grande City Mayor Rubén A. Villarreal. See story later in this posting. •••••• The majority of the Rio Grande Valley legislative delegation celebrates in the House of Representatives chamber soon after the final House passage in 2013 of Senate Bill 24, authored by Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, D-McAllen, and Rep. René Oliveira, D-Brownsville, which will bring a full-fledged University of Texas medical school to the Rio Grande Valley. The planned UT medical school, which is set to open in the fall of 2016 with an enrollment of 50 students, will have an economic impact to the four-county region of more than $1 billion a year when it grows into a UT health science center. This image, taken on May 23, 2013, features, front row from left: Rep. Sergio Muñoz, Jr., D-Mission (seated); Rep. Eddie Lucio, III, D-San Benito; and Rep. Armando “Mando” Martínez, D-Weslaco. Standing, back row, from left: Sen. Eddie Lucio, Jr., D-Brownsville; Rep. René Oliveira, D-Brownsville; Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg; Rep. Óscar Longoria, Jr., D-La Joya; Rep. R.D. “Bobby” Guerra, D-McAllen; Rep. Dan Branch, R-Dallas; and Rep. Ryan Guillén, D-Rio Grande City.  See story later in this posting. •••••• Details of a proposal to donate up to five acres of prime real estate in southwest Edinburg – valued at more than $2 million – to serve as the site of the planned administrative headquarters for the University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley have been made public by MVP Partnership, L.T.D. of McAllen.The offer, submitted by prominent attorney José E. García on behalf of MVP Partnership, L.T.D., would benefit the UT System, UT-Rio Grande Valley, and the McAllen-Edinburg-Pharr-Mission Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) by placing the key headquarters, with its prestigious economic, academic, and political resources, in the heart of one of the Valley’s most influential, safest, and attractive regions.The site being offered by MVP Partnership, L.T.D. is located by the intersection of Trenton Road and McColl Road in Edinburg, immediately north of the campuses of Doctors Hospital at Renaissance and adjoining medical offices and businesses. It is within easy access to all major hospitals in Edinburg, including Edinburg Regional Medical Center and Edinburg Children’s Hospital, the University of Texas-Pan American, the planned UT-RGV medical school, and minutes away from some of the most distinguished neighborhoods and bustling business, medical, and entertainment corridors in Edinburg and McAllen. Featured on Friday, May 16, at The University of Texas-Pan American, from left: Dr. Miguel Nevárez, former president of the University of Texas-Pan American; Dr. Guy Bailey, President, The University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley; and Jose E. García. See story later in this posting. •••••• Leaders for Texas National Bank in Edinburg and the Rio Grande Valley Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (RGVHCC) on Thursday, May 22, hosted a summer mixer to educate area residents of the loan packages and other financial services available through Texas National Bank for current and prospective business owners. The event took place at the bank, located at 4809 South Jackson Road. “Are you looking for loan? Learn of all the different loan possibilities that Texas National Bank offers,” noted Cynthia M. Sakulenzki, President and CEO of the RGVHCC. “Also learn of the award-winning membership benefits that the RGV Hispanic Chamber offers. Anyone can become a member of the chamber.” Individuals do not have to be Hispanic to be a member, she added. The RGVHCC has many services for its membership, including lobbying state and federal leaders on public education, international affairs, and women and health-related issues. Featured during final preparations for the May 22 event are, seated from left: Gina Ayala; Odilia Chaidez; Mayra Woloski; Linda Vera; and Ester Medrano. Standing, from left: Rubén Plata, Executive Vice President, Texas National Bank; Mario Lozano; Omar Rodríguez; Frank Davila; Pete Morales; James Flores; Millie Smith; Laura Galván; Leo Treviño; Connie González; Mary Elizondo; Ernesto López; Navil González; Joe Quiroga, President, Texas National Bank; and Cynthia M. Sakulenzki, President and CEO, Rio Grande Valley Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. •••••• The Texas Land Title Association (TLTA) has announce that five employees with Edwards Abstract and Title Company, with its headquarters in Edinburg have successfully completed the requirements and passed a rigorous examination to earn the professional certification designations from TLTA. To become TLTA certified, a candidate must meet certain eligibility requirements in work experience, education and professional involvement, and then successfully pass an examination. Each designation represents a measure of achievement and proficiency in the Texas title insurance industry and distinguishes these highly motivated individuals. Edwards Abstract and Title Company associates who have earned professional certification designations from the Texas Land Title Association are, featured from left: Martha (Marty) García, CESA (Sr. Escrow Officer – Mission); Marilyn De Luna, CAEA, CESA, CTIA (Regional Escrow Automation Manager/Sr. Escrow Officer – McAllen); Byron Jay Lewis, CTIA (Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer – Edinburg); Mariana Ragousis-Ramírez, CESA, CTIA (Escrow Officer – McAllen); and Mary A. Barrientos, CESA (Mission Branch Manager/Sr. Escrow Officer). See story later in this posting. •••••• The Rio Grande Valley Hispanic Chamber Women’s Committee is preparing for the RGV Women of Distinction Awards Dinner to be held on Saturday, June 19, at The Social Club in Edinburg. The evening will celebrate women who have excelled in their fields. It will consist of a dinner, shopping, entertainment and the 2014 awards. Individual tickets may be purchased for $10 while a Table for 10 is available for $500. The committee is asking for nominations from the public in the following categories: Professional, Humanitarian, Education, Government, Entrepreneur, Arts and Entertainment; and Rising Star. Qualified nominees are those women who have helped the community and excelled in their field, and who have encouraged other women to succeed. The RGVHCC Women’s Committee will also be scheduling workshops, in the forms of luncheons or evening gathering, relating to women’s issues. “We welcome women to become involved in the Women’s Committee and get to know other successful women who are willing to help women.  The Women’s Committee also has an event at the end of the year called ‘Ladies Night Out’, which includes pampering, shopping, silent auction and a male style show,” said Cynthia M. Sakulenzki, RGVHCC President and Chief Executive Officer. Women’s Committee leaders, featured from left, are:,Sharon Almaguer, attorney; Cynthia M. Sakulenzki, RGVHCC President/CEO;  Brenda Lee Huerta, Chair-Elect, RGVHCC; Hannah Burleson; Connie Huerta, New York Life; and Eve Mullis, Women’s Assistant Basketball Coach, The University of Texas-Pan American. More information on the Women of Distinction and/or the RGVHCC is available by calling 928-0060. •••••• Edinburg’s retail economy in March 2014 showed an improvement of almost 11 percent over the same month last year, representing one of the best gains among major Valley economies, the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation has announced. The EEDC is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg City Council. Edinburg also registered a rate of growth better than the state average for March 2014, which showed a 5.6 percent increase over the same month in 2013. Based on the amount of local sales taxes collected, which reflects the strength of an economy, Edinburg’s retail sector generated more than $1.7 million in local sales taxes in March 2014, compared with almost $1.6 million in March 2013. For the first three months of 2014, Edinburg’s retail economy also posted a double-digit upswing over the same period last year, generating $8,028,833.80 in local sales taxes, compared with $7,214,163.81 for January through March 2013 – a rise of 11.29 percent. Mayor Richard García, who also serves as president of the five-member Edinburg Economic Development Corporation Board of Directors, said the March 2014 and January through March 2014 quarterly figures are consistent with the economic goals and strategies of the Edinburg City Council, the EEDC Board of Directors, and city and EEDC staff. “The greatest measure of a community’s growth, we believe, is the growth in sales tax,” the mayor observed. “This kind of success and growth does not happen without vision, planning, and a very deliberate plan of action. Our City Council and our city staff are a team of professionals whose focus, priority, and responsibility is this, our beloved city.” The positive retail sales figures are helped by dozens of new and planned businesses in the past year, he added. “When it comes to economic development we have more than 50 new businesses that have opened within the last year or are under construction right now aimed at improving our quality of life: Wal-Mart with 360 new jobs and a new planned HEB along with Taco Palenque, two Starbucks, IHop, Two Popeye’s, University Drafthouse, Thirsty Bronc, Kahn’s Grill, Chic-Fil-A, Wingstop, Subway, Pizza Hut, Siempre Natural, Sally’s Beauty Supply, Easy Cuts, Moon Beans, Drunken Clam, Burrito Bar, Lanadees, La Mexicana, Taquería el Zarape, Pizza Patrón, Walgreens, CVS, McDonalds, Las Cazuelas, Big Lots, Party City, Carters, Burkes Outlet, GNC, Melrose, Chopstix, Gorditas Doña Tota, Dairy Queen, Cordons Taste of Chicago, CTC Distributing, Johnny’s True Value,” García noted. Featured from left: Laura Lee Vela, Administrative Assistant, EEDC; Cynthia Contreras Gutiérrez, General Counsel, EEDC; Nelda T. Ramírez, Assistant Executive Director, EEDC; Leticia Reyes, Director of Business Development and Public Affairs, EEDC; Mayor Richard García; Fred Palacios, Secretary-Treasurer, Board of Directors, EEDC; and Agustín “Gus” García, Executive Director, EEDC. See story later in this posting. •••••• Edinburg’s unemployment rate for April 2014 was 5.5 percent, the best showing in the city for any month since January 2008, and the second-best figure for all cities that month in the Rio Grande Valley, the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation has announced. The EEDC is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg City Council. This latest positive news comes as Walmart announced the opening of its third major store in Edinburg. Mayor Richard García, featured left, who also serves as president of the five-member Board of Directors for the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation, noted that the city’s third Wal-Mart (the most among all Valley communities) is taking advantage of one of Edinburg’s key assets: U.S. Expressway 281/I69-Central. Located just south of the Shoppes at Rio Grande Valley, the new Walmart has created 300 new jobs for the region. It is near the intersection of U.S. 281/I69-Central and Canton Road, an area that in the past few years has become one of busiest in the city, the mayor said. “The region’s Expressway 281/I69-Central is a huge piece of the success today and even greater of what to expect tomorrow: 13.5 miles of U.S. Highway 281/I69-Central from FM 2812 to the Pharr Interchange,” said García. Edinburg has the largest amount of freeway frontage than any other community in the Rio Grande Valley, “to the tune of 18 miles” compared to the three other largest cities with an estimated two miles of frontage each, he added. “This immense opportunity for growth has been discovered by large investors like Bert Ogden with the new Infinity Dealership, Fiesta Chevrolet, Holt Caterpillar, Walmart, HEB, the Shoppes at Rio Grande, the master planned community of La Sienna and our exciting mega-arena development,” García said. The mega-arena project involves a planned $50 million special events center to be built just off U.S. Expressway 281/I69-Central. For the month of April 2014, only McAllen (5.4 percent) had a better figure than Edinburg (5.5 percent), while the other major communities in the Valley had unemployment rates that ranged from 6.3 percent in Harlingen to 8.6 percent in Brownsville. The Valley’s three other most populous cities also had unemployment rates for April 2014 in single-digits: Mission (6.8 percent), Pharr (6.9 percent), and Weslaco (8.6 percent). From left in this image from May 19 at the University of Texas-Pan American are Edinburg Mayor Richard García, Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg, and Rio Grande City Mayor Rubén O. Villarreal. See story later in this posting. ••••••

Texas Capitol Vietnam Veterans Monument, created by legislation filed by Sen. Hinojosa, is dedicated to honor fallen heroes from that war

By JENNIFER SÁENZ And DAVID A. DÍAZ Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, D-McAllen, along with Gov. Rick Perry, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, and other state leaders on Saturday, March 29, led a tribute to Texas veterans who served or were killed during the Vietnam War with the unveiling and dedication of the Vietnam Veterans Monument on the Texas State Capitol Grounds. The ceremony was held on Texas Vietnam Veterans Day, which marks the anniversary of the day the last American combat troops left Vietnam. Hinojosa co-authored House Concurrent Resolution 36 of the 79th Legislative Session in 2005 authorizing a Vietnam Veterans War monument on the Capitol grounds. Hinojosa passed legislation in 2009 to declare an official day of recognition specifically for Vietnam Veterans.  On March 29, 1973, the last remaining members of the United States armed forces withdrew from Vietnam; thus, March 29 has been declared "Vietnam Veterans Day." Hinojosa then worked to secure funding through a legislative rider in 2011 by obtaining a $500,000 matching grant towards the installment of this historic monument. The monument, which sits on the northeast side of the Capitol grounds, was approved by the 79th Texas Legislature. Hinojosa and Rep. Wayne Smith, R-Baytown, both Vietnam veterans, authored the legislation. Entombed inside the monument are 3,417 dog tags personalized for the Texans who gave their lives or went unaccounted for in the war. "As a Vietnam veteran for the U.S. Marine Corps, I understand the difficult sacrifices that our military families endure on a daily basis," Hinojosa said. "The Texas Capitol Vietnam Veterans Monument honors and thanks our fallen Vietnam heroes and their families for their ultimate sacrifice of defending our freedom, and welcomes those who came home and fought with great courage and resilience.It is our hope that this monument will ensure that the memory of our Texas Vietnam Heroes lives on. Semper Fi." Perry also paid tribute to Texas veterans who served or gave their lives in the Vietnam War. "The monument we dedicate today will stand as an ongoing demonstration of the depth of our appreciation for the sacrifices of our Vietnam veterans, and a reminder of what is noble and good about the human spirit," Perry said. "It will stand as a declaration that in Texas, we understand how blessed we are to have warriors ready to step forward and draw a line between us and those who would do us harm." The governor also highlighted the contributions of the Vietnamese nationals who fought alongside Americans in the war, many of whom went on to pursue U.S. citizenship and settle in Texas. "Most of our men and women who fought in Vietnam never received a hero's welcome or recognition for our service to our country and state," Smith said. "With today's dedication, we can finally say welcome home, and thanks for your sacrifice." According to a Wikipedia: The monument is a 14-foot-tall bronze sculpture featuring five seven-foot tall infantry figures in patrol positions situated atop an eight-sided base. Designed to represent the diversity of Texas Vietnam Veterans, the figures will be Hispanic-American, African-American, Asian, Native-American, and Caucasian. The estimated cost of the monument is $1.5 million. The Texas Vietnam Heroes Exhibit is a visual representation of the 3,417 Texans who did not survive to come home from Vietnam. It was designed by Excalibur Exhibits and consists of hand-embossed dog tags featuring the name, rank, branch of service, and date of loss and home of record for each veteran. Excalibur Exhibits received two Crystal awards by the American Marketing Association for the design and construction of the Texas Vietnam Heroes Exhibit in the categories of Fixed Installation and Nonprofit/Cause. The Texas Capitol Vietnam Veterans Monument Committee oversaw the fundraising, design and production of the monument. It was funded fully through private donations, with more than 600 individual, organization and corporate donors. For more information about the monument or the committee, please visit: http://buildthemonument.org/. Hinojosa’s prepared remarks, which he delivered at the dedication ceremony, follow: I am both honored and humbled to be here today. The dedication of the Vietnam Veterans Monument is a welcome home to our Texas Vietnam Veterans. We honor the loyalty and the valor of those Texans who served in Vietnam. Having served in the Marine Corp. 3 Battalion 7 Regiment Mike Co., the emotions that I feel are bittersweet – having lost three high school classmates (Jesús Martínez, Walter Merle Langford, Leonel Buentello) in Vietnam. Vietnam was a controversial war, an unpopular war, where more than 58,000 American soldiers were killed and many were MIA or POWs.  It was a war that Americans did not understand.  They confused the unpopularity of the war with the courage and valor of our soldiers. Because of this, many of us never felt welcomed upon our return home to our own country. For us Vietnam Veterans, we remember the rice paddies, jungles, and cities of Chu Lai, Da Nang, Huề, Khe Sanh, and of course, Saigon, to name a few. Every day of my life as I smell the flowers, hear the birds sing, feel the wind and enjoy my freedom, I am grateful and remember my fellow Marines in Vietnam – Anzio, an Italiano from the Bronx, New York; two brothers from West Virginia; a blue-eyed son of an Alabama preacher; Shellhorn, a Bronco Rider from New Mexico; Suárez from El Paso; a couple of farmers from West Texas; a corn husker from Nebraska; and several African Americans from Los Angeles and Chicago. But what was so amazing is how we bonded as a family.  We were all Americans, we were united. We stood together ready to fight and die for our country – our freedom. Different races, different religions, different backgrounds and cultures, and different states; yet, we were all the same. We understood that we reflected on what makes our country a great nation – The United States of America! But who were these soldiers in Vietnam? Many were volunteers, but many were drafted without a choice – taken away from their families to fight a war in an unknown place called Vietnam. These soldiers were us – our brothers and sisters, our fathers and mothers, our neighbors, and our friends.  They courageously answered the call to serve our country and many died for our freedom and the freedom of others. But Vietnam taught our country a lesson --  and that is -- always honor and respect our soldiers, their sacrifice and courage, whether fighting in Afghanistan, Iraq, Vietnam or other wars.  Throughout our nation’s history it is our families who sacrifice and stand committed to defend our country. This Vietnam Veterans Monument honors our Texas Vietnam Soldiers – the 3,417 Texans who lost their lives and those of us who came back with scarred memories. Let this Monument heal our wounds and bring closure to our hearts. As long as we honor and remember our soldiers’ sacrifice, they will always be with us in memory and spirit. This is a very personal and emotional day for me.  Seeing the monument unveiled brought chills up my spine. I thank each one of you for the dignity and respect you give not only to those who served in Vietnam but to all our soldiers who have served and continue to serve our country. Welcome Home, Vietnam Warriors, Welcome Home! Semper Fi. God bless you all. ••••••

UT-RGV president Guy Bailey will find South Texans ready and able to help create world-class university system, say Edinburg leaders

By DAVID A. DÍAZ Dr. Guy Bailey, the newly-selected president of The University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley, will find that South Texans are determined to see higher education in the Valley reach a world-class level, say Edinburg city and state leaders. On Monday, April 28, the UT System Board of Regents, which met in Austin, selected Bailey as the sole finalist for the historic position of founding president for UT-Rio Grande Valley. Bailey, 63, has served as chancellor of the University of Missouri-Kansas City, the president of Texas Tech University and the University of Alabama, and provost of The University of Texas at San Antonio. “I am very impressed with his credentials and accomplishments, but it is the people of the Valley who will impress him,” said Canales, whose House District 40 includes UT-Pan American, the UT-Regional Academic Health Center Medical Research Division, and a planned major component of the new UT medical school for the Valley. UT-RGV will welcome the inaugural class of students in the fall of 2015. The medical school campus in Edinburg will enroll its first class of students in late summer 2016. The three existing UT-Regional Academic Health Centers in Edinburg, Harlingen and Brownsville will become part of the UT-RGV medical school system. “We, including the outstanding administration, faculty, staff, and students, are going to be his most important partners,” Canales emphasized. “In an equal alliance with the Texas Legislature and the UT System leadership, we shall continue to transform deep South Texas into an economic and academic powerhouse, not only for Texas, but for our nation.” UT-RGV, including the medical school, is a new institution of higher education made possible by Senate Bill 24, authored by Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, D-McAllen, and sponsored by Rep. René Oliveira, D-Brownsville. SB 24, approved by the Texas Legislature and Gov. Rick Perry in the spring of 2013, also featured Canales, Rep. R.D. “Bobby” Guerra, D-McAllen, Rep. Óscar Longoria, Jr., D-La Joya, Rep. J.M. Lozano, R-Kingsville, Rep. Eddie Lucio, III, D-San Benito, Rep. Armando “Mando” Martínez, D-Weslaco, and Rep. Sergio Muñoz, Jr., D-Mission, as joint sponsors. “Dr. Guy Bailey will be able to guide our university and communities in physically transforming a dream into a reality,” said Hinojosa. “Just as the name UT-Rio Grande Valley best exemplifies our unity and the many Valley communities and cultures joining together with common focus and direction, it is our hope that our founding president will exemplify strong and effective leadership while embracing a regional mindset to move us forward to achieve the endless educational and healthcare benefits for our families that UT-RGV envisions.” Mayor Richard García:  “Mark my words.” Edinburg Mayor Richard García, who helped unite regional leaders in support of the creation of UT-RGV and the medical school, predicted that this landmark institution of higher education will elevate the Valley into a world-class economy, on par with the largest cities in America. “Tomorrow brings the most exciting, most significant, most impacting news for our city, our region, and South Texas: our merged university – the University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley with the new medical school,” the mayor reflected. “Mark my words, this will change the face of our region for generations to come.” García also serves as president of the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation Board of Directors. The EEDC is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg City Council. The EEDC and Edinburg City Council successfully helped lobby the UT System Board of Regents and the Texas Legislature for passage of Senate Bill 24. Thousands of high-paying jobs are predicted to be created in Edinburg and in the Valley from the establishment of UT-RGV and the medical school. To help put it into perspective, García used San Antonio, the seventh-most populous city (1,382,951) in the U.S., to illustrate the economic power of a major medical school/health science center. “In 2009, according to BioMed SA, its economic impact was $18.9 billion measured conservatively – in one year,” he said of the influence of the UT Health Science Center at San Antonio (UTHSCSA) and the biomedical and medical industries that have been created as a result. BioMed SA, formally known as The Healthcare Bioscience Development Corporation, was formed by San Antonio community and industry leaders during 2005 to build upon the city's impressive base of biomedical assets and raise its visibility nationally and beyond. As a result of the presence of UTHSCSA and the related industries that grew from its creation and expansion, the healthcare and bioscience sector in San Antonio now is credited with generating an annual payroll of $6.5 billion, according to BioMed SA. One of every six San Antonio employees works in the healthcare and bioscience sector. “In the past decade, the Health Care and Bioscience industry has added nearly 33,000 net new jobs, fueling San Antonio’s growth, reports BioMed SA,” the Edinburg mayor noted. “We are on the verge of seeing the same results.” With confidence, he sees the Valley as the next mecca of medical education, health care, and economic development for Texas and the U.S., just like San Antonio has become. “If we look at San Antonio 25 years ago – before the medical school – we will see a mirror image of the Valley today,” García said. “Since then, and as a result of the medical school, San Antonio became the second largest city in Texas. The positive effects to come will be like a tidal wave to the Rio Grande Valley.” In addition to the merger of UT-Pan American and UT-Brownsville, Senate Bill 24 provides another historic first: UT-RGV will have access to the Permanent University Fund (PUF), said Augustín “Gus” García, Executive Director for the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation. Augustín “Gus” García and Mayor Richard García are not related. “PUF is an endowment valued at about $14 billion which generates money from oil and gas production on state-owned land to finance special higher education projects, such as the construction of a medical school for the Valley,” Gus García noted. UTPA, UTB presidents, RAHC Dean praised for their roles Canales and Hinojosa had special praise for Dr. Robert S. Nelsen, president of UT-Pan American, and Dr. Juliet García, president of UT-Brownsville, for their roles in helping plan for the creation of UT-RGV and its medical school. “I want to thank UT-Pan American President Robert Nelsen, a finalist in the UT-RGV presidential candidate search, for his many years of tireless dedication and passionate service to our students and our community,” said Hinojosa. “His tremendous accomplishments at UTPA have left a lasting impression as he created a better place for our students to pursue their higher education ambitions.” Canales said Dr. Leonel Vela, the founding Dean of the Regional Academic Health Center in Edinburg and Harlingen, also deserved special credit for building the RAHC in Edinburg and Harlingen into outstanding medical education and medical research components. Vela also supported the creation of UT-RGV and the full-fledged medical school. As Dean of the UT-RAHC in Edinburg and Harlingen, Vela helped establish and lead the foundation of which will become the UT medical school in the Valley. Dr. Francisco Fernández, professor and chairman of psychiatry and neurosciences at the University of South Florida College of Medicine in Tampa, on Friday, February 14, was announced by the UT System as the founding Dean of the School of Medicine at UT-RGV. Initially, Fernández will report to Dr. Francisco González-Scarano, Dean of the School of Medicine and Vice President for Medical Affairs at UT-Health Science Center at San Antonio as well as the UT System’s executive vice chancellor for health affairs, Dr. Ray Greenberg. Once UT-RGV becomes an independent entity, he’ll report to the new UT-RGV provost and UT-RGV President Bailey, as well as Dr. Greenberg. “Imagine the courage, the vision, the integrity that it took these wonderful individuals to work hard and unselfishly on an incredible plan that will literally and physically lift a people into greatness and prosperity, even though they knew it could cost them their leadership roles,” Canales said of Nelsen, García, and Vela. “We have many people from all walks of life who helped make this dream come true. But what President Nelsen, President García, and Dean Vela did for all of us makes them heroes in my eyes.” Bailey: “The single most exciting educational opportunity in America today.” According to the UT System: The UT System Board of Regents announced its selection after interviewing select candidates  Monday, April 28, and considering recommendations from an advisory committee that vetted all applicants. Witt/Keiffer, an executive search firm, assisted the committee in a national search to identify candidates. Under state law, regents must name a finalist for a university presidency at least 21 days before making the appointment. Bailey is a proven leader with extensive experience at the helm of large research institutions. “I view this role as the single most exciting educational opportunity in America today,” Bailey said after being informed of the decision by the UT System regents. “I look forward to working with everyone as we launch the nation’s first major public university of the 21st century. I am truly honored to be the sole finalist.” While at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, which is home to schools of medicine, dentistry, pharmacy and law, Bailey developed an action plan designed to make the institution a model research university. He also developed an innovative construction plan that allowed the institution to build numerous new facilities with minimal state resources. He led Texas Tech University, a comprehensive research university with an enrollment of more than 32,000 students, for four years, and was instrumental in leading the university on its successful quest to become eligible for the state’s National Research University Fund. Bailey, a sociolinguist, was most recently president of the University of Alabama. He has also held positions at Emory University, Texas A&M University and Oklahoma State University and served as dean of liberal arts at the University of Nevada at Reno. He received a bachelor’s and master’s degree in English from the University of Alabama and a doctorate in English linguistics from the University of Tennessee and is the author of more than 100 books and articles. • New president begins visits to the Valley Bailey made his first visits to the Rio Grande Valley on Friday, May 16, including meetings with faculty, staff, and state and city leaders on Friday, May 16, at The University of Texas-Pan American. “Outstanding leadership is crucial for any institution of higher education,” UT System Board of Regents Chairman Paul Foster said. “UT-RGV’s unique and innovative environment, which will integrate next-generation technology and customized learning to increase access and affordability for all students, calls for a visionary leader like Dr. Bailey. We initially saw his tremendous leadership first-hand when he served as provost of UT San Antonio, and we were impressed with continued successes at Texas Tech and Missouri. We are thrilled to welcome him back to the UT System.” UT System Chancellor Francisco G. Cigarroa, M.D., said choosing the right leader for UT-RGV is one of the most important decisions the Board of Regents will make, and he anticipates the new university will have a monumental impact regionally, nationally and even internationally in the generations to come. “UT-RGV is the fulfillment of the creation of a new model of excellence with the aim of transforming the quality of life, health and economic prosperity in South Texas and beyond,” Cigarroa said. “This new university is poised to be a major academic and economic asset not only to the Rio Grande Valley, but all of Texas. UT-RGV will uphold a mission of global excellence that will transform South Texas into an epicenter for research, world-class education and healthcare.” Cigarroa said Bailey’s familiarity with Texas and the UT System, along with his experience at the helm of a university with a medical school makes him an ideal candidate. “Dr. Bailey has had a very impressive career, and we are fortunate to invite such a proven, progressive leader to be a part of this transformational mission in South Texas,” Cigarroa said. Both Cigarroa, a nationally-renowned pediatric transplant surgeon who was born and raised in South Texas, and Rio Grande Valley native and former Regents’ Chairman Gene Powell were instrumental in the push for legislative approval of the university’s creation in 2013. Gov. Rick Perry visited the region in July 2013 for a ceremonial signing of the historic legislation. Per the goals and guiding principles set by the Board of Regents, UT-RGV will have access to resources to become an emerging research university with the long-term goal of becoming a global leader in higher education, producing graduates who are bicultural, bilingual and bi-literate. It is projected that when it opens, UT-RGV likely will become the second-largest Hispanic-serving institution in the nation. The Edinburg Economic Development Corporation is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg City Council. It’s five-member governing board, which is appointed by the Edinburg City Council, includes Mayor Richard García as President, Fred Palacios as Secretary-Treasurer, and Felipe García, Dr. Havidán Rodríguez, and Steven Edward Cruz, II. For more information on the EEDC and the City of Edinburg, please log on to: www.EdbgCityLimits.com ••••••

UT medical school for Valley projected to have more than $1 billion annual economic benefit

By DAVID A. DÍAZ The planned University of Texas medical school, which is set to open in the fall of 2016 with an enrollment of 50 students, could eventually have an economic impact in the Rio Grande Valley of more than $1 billion a year, a figure based on an eventual 1,000-student enrollment, according to an analysis by the Data and Information Systems Center (DISC) at the University of Texas-Pan American. Based on the vision of Texas legislators and UT System leaders, the Valley’s medical school will eventually transform into a health science center, which will feature related academic and professional programs such as dentistry, biomedical science, nursing, and research. Financial projections for the medical school were requested by the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation, which is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg City Council. Even the inaugural class of 50 students in Edinburg, which will be housed in a planned $54 million medical education building to be built by the UT Regional Academic Health Center next to UT-Pan American, is certain to grow significantly sooner rather than later. As a result of the state’s urgency to educate more physicians and health professionals, the Valley will be cashing in, both figuratively and literally, through the medical school. The Texas Legislature and the UT System are being forced to deal with a troubling and growing physician shortage that affects Texas and the Valley, which is being caused by numerous factors, including rapid population growth. Medical education programs for first- through fourth-year medical students will take place at several locations in both Hidalgo and Cameron counties, including at the existing UT Regional Academic Health Centers in Edinburg, Harlingen and Brownsville. Mayor Richard García, who also serves as president of the five-member Board of Directors for the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation, says his hometown is poised to reap many of the benefits. “As we know, with growth comes a better quality of life,” said Mayor García, who helped lobby the Texas Legislature and the UT System for the creation of a full-fledged UT medical school for the Valley. “We will see new developments, from entertainment to restaurants and retail stores, to serve the growth that is going to come from the result of the medical school being in our city.” The UT medical school will be part of another new major higher education advancement: the University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley, which is a single institution that will span the entire Rio Grande Valley and bring limitless educational, economic and medical opportunities to South Texas. UT-RGV is being created from the ongoing merger of The University of Texas-Pan American and The University of Texas-Brownsville. Agustín "Gus" García, Executive Director for the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation, said UT-RGV with its medical school and health science center “will be major contributors to the economic vitality of the City of Edinburg, Hidalgo County, and the state of Texas. But we haven't done it alone. The growth in jobs, spending, and other economic indicators over the last five years show a vibrant university, and a willing and supportive surrounding community.” Mayor García and Gus" García are not related. Institutions of higher learning have a direct impact on the economic success of a state and region, the EEDC executive director said. “There is a direct correlation between higher education and the positive outcomes on quality of life measures. In essence, higher education pays,” Gus García added. “UT-RGV will provide jobs, train future workforces, incubate businesses, create and bolster new industries, enrich the lives of residents through the arts and humanities, and sustain the financial stability of Edinburg and surrounding communities.” Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg, whose House District 40 will include a major component of the UT medical school system, says he envisions the Valley will become home to a medical education complex comparable, both in quality and size, to existing UT System juggernauts elsewhere in Texas. “Our goal for the Valley is pretty simple,” Canales said. “What is good enough for Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio, which are among the biggest cities in America, is good enough for the Valley. We have the talent, the intelligence, the work ethic, the labor force, and the will to succeed to become an international center for medical education and research of the first-class.” • Economic impact estimates could be higher That economic impact projections of the Valley’s planned medical school and health science center are conservative, says Sai Mullapudi, who developed financial estimates for DISC at the request of the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation, which is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg City Council. The DISC is the one-stop source for data, as well as a variety of products and technical assistance to aid clients from initial project planning through completion, according to UTPA. From population count requests and area income breakdowns to custom GIS services and specialized consulting services, DISC handles the data needs of South Texas in a timely and efficient manner. “The study takes into consideration the budget and the student enrollment of the existing medical schools in the UT System,” explained Mullapudi. “Other UT System medical schools on an average have 2,000 students in all programs.” Indeed, the three largest health science centers in the UT System are titans of medical education, employment, and economic development. As of 2012, The UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, which is the medical education complex nearest to the Valley, reported an annual enrollment of 3,310 plus 1,090 medical residents and fellows. During the same year, The UT Health Science Center at Houston had a student enrollment of 4,489. Also in 2012, The UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas had an enrollment of about 4,500 students, which included 947 medical students, 1,561 postdoctoral fellows, 1,561 clinical residents, 639 graduate school students, and 327 health professions students. Plus, thousands of faculty, administrators, professionals and paraprofessionals, and other employees are part of each of those health science centers, representing another major influx of economic prosperity for their home regions. • Valley medical school needed to help address statewide physician shortage Texas has about 43,000 physicians engaged in patient care for a population of about 23 million, according to the Texas Medical Association. The most recent reports show Texas ranking 45th in the nation in the number of physicians per population. Its eight medical schools and their partner organizations educate and train about 5,400 medical students and 6,000 resident physicians. According to the Texas State Department of Health Services, the ratio of primary care physicians to 100,000 population in the four-county Rio Grande Valley ranges from a low of 24.7 in Starr County to a high of 57.6 in Cameron County. By comparison, the average primary care physician ratio in the rest of Texas is 69.5, according to the South Texas Medical Foundation, which is based in Harlingen. The ratio of all physicians to 100,000 population in the Rio Grande Valley is about one-half the national average, the South Texas Medical Foundation added. “Because the population of the region is growing so rapidly, the relative number of primary care and specialty physicians has actually been steadily decreasing over the last decade,” Randy K. Whittington, President and Trustee of the South Texas Medical Foundation, reported in written testimony he submitted to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board on December 11, 2012. The South Texas Medical Foundation is a 501(c)(3) public charitable foundation which exists for the sole purpose of advocating and supporting the creation and expansion of medical education programs and improvement and access to healthcare in the Rio Grande Valley and South Texas. • How economic impact is determined When the 1,000-student enrollment benchmark is reached, the Valley’s UT health science center, anchored by its medical school, will generate 9,263 direct jobs, 1,577 indirect jobs, and 1,466 induced jobs, representing a $256 million annual payroll, according to DISC. In general, direct jobs refer to employment directly related to the production of products or services or when a person is permanently employed in a firm. Indirect jobs refer to when the business generates employment in other businesses to supply or produce goods and services or when a firm contracts some work to a person. Induced jobs result from salaries and wages paid to persons employed in direct and indirect jobs turning over in the local economy. According to DISC, the 1,000-student enrollment medical school system will generate “Direct Output” – an economic term used to describe the dollar volume of a good or service produced or sold – of about $557 million annually. That figure takes into account a predicted $502 million annual operating budget. Indirect and Induced Output – economic activities influenced by Direct Output – are estimated at $230 million and $164 million, respectively, per year. Combined with Direct Output of $557 million, the 1,000-student enrollment medical school will have a $950 million annual economic impact. DISC also predicted that the 1,000-student enrollment medical school system will have an additional $435 million annual impact on the Valley as a result of another key economic category known as “Value Added”. Value Added is the sum of total income and indirect business taxes. Value Added is the most commonly used measure of the contribution of a region to the national economy, as it avoids double counting of intermediate sales and captures only the “value added” by the region to final products. • Edinburg to share economic benefits with neighboring cities In March, the UT System announced the creation of the leadership team – four directors of the residency programs in internal medicine, surgery, family medicine, and obstetrics and gynecology – which will be headquartered out of Doctors Hospital at Renaissance in Edinburg. Residency programs feature medical school graduates who begin training in their specialty, usually conducted in a hospital or clinic. DHR will serve as a new location for residency programs in internal medicine, surgery, family medicine, and obstetrics and gynecology. McAllen Mayor Jim Darling – who also serves as general counsel for DHR – says Edinburg’s neighboring cities also stand to gain from the medical school and medical residency programs set to launch in Edinburg. “We think the residency program, with the professions you bring here with the medical school – professors, suppliers, etc. – are going to benefit the surrounding communities, and McAllen happens to be one of them,” Darling said. “We think it is an economic development boom for our area. Certainly, it helps put us on the map. Having a medical school makes us more noticeable, not only for things relating to medicine, but just for overall economic development.” Regents, meeting in Austin in early February, approved the design development plans as well as the $54 million to fund the construction of the medical school building in Edinburg. They also gave preliminary authority for a Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) program at UT-RGV. Dr. Shirley A. Reed, President of South Texas College, had a say in selecting the new dean for the planned medical school in her role with a medical school advisory committee appointed by the UT System leadership. She noted that STC will have its own economic impact on the medical school/health science center and UT-RGV. “South Texas College plays a critical role in helping provide the talent pipeline to the new medical school by preparing graduates in STEM fields such as Science, Technology, Engineering and medical sciences as well as preparation for nursing, allied health, and medical careers,” said Reed. Recently, (UT System Chancellor) Francisco Cigarroa had the opportunity to meet three graduates from South Texas College’s Dual Enrollment in Medical Sciences Academy (DEMSA) who are practicing physicians or serving residencies in South Texas. “All came from South Texas College’s DEMSA program and now there will be even greater opportunities for future graduates,” she added. Julián Álvarez, President of the Rio Grande Valley Partnership Chamber of Commerce, also put the transformational power of the medical school/health science center into perspective. “In two rapid-fire, heady days last summer, ceremonies for three landmark accomplishments took place in the Rio Grande Valley, breaking a long drought of going without,” Álvarez said. “It signified new days that most around her thought they would never see.” On July 15, about 100 Valley and congressional leaders gathered in Pharr and Harlingen for the unveiling of new signs for Interstates 69 and 2, he reflected. These events marked the first time the four-county Rio Grande Valley has had an interstate highway — the only metro area in the country without one until that point. “The very next day in Edinburg and Brownsville, Gov. Rick Perry ceremonially signed into law a bill that awarded the Valley a new medical school and combined both of the Valley’s University of Texas campuses into a new school, the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley,” Álvarez continued. “In doing so, the new university was granted full access to the riches of the Permanent University Fund (PUF), which neither Valley campus had ever had access to before.” The Rio Grande Valley has challenges, he readily acknowledges. “Education, employment, water and health care just to name a few,” Álvarez said. “But with a new university and PUF money, a new medical school and new interstates and through unity and leadership, the Valley stands ready to unlock its real potential as one region. • Economic presence to be felt at every stage of development Like all great endeavors, the Valley’s UT health science center, featuring the medical school, will make its presence felt at every stage of its growth. When the doors first open at the medical school facility in Edinburg, with its initial enrollment of 50 students, hundreds of new jobs will be tied into that development. “The economic impact analysis shows the investment in the project will create 1,315 jobs in the region and create a total economic impact of $135 million dollars in the local economy,” Mullapudi estimated. “Excluding construction expenditures, the project will create 393 jobs, and generate an economic output of $36.6 million in the local economy every year.” He added, “We are not taking into consideration the expenditures by the increased visitors to the area for treatments and the research dollars that will increase due to the existence of the new medical school.” Mullapudi explained that the regional economic impacts predicted are due to three types of spending: • Expenditures by the medical school to provide the education program; • Expenditures by the students aside from tuition expenditures (e.g. room and board, books, etc.); and • Spending from the increased number of doctors in Rio Grande Valley following their graduation, assuming that 80 percent of the 50 doctors stay back in the region. Once the medical school complex in Edinburg reaches a 200-student enrollment, the economic impact will be even more dramatic. Based on a 200-student enrollment, “the economic impact analysis shows the investment in the project will create 2,303 jobs in the region and create a total economic impact of $216 million dollars in the local economy” Mullapudi said. For Edinburg, at the 200-student enrollment level, other economic figures are equally impressive. “Excluding construction expenditures, the project will create 1,381 jobs, and generate an economic output of $127 million in the local economy every year,” Mullapudi said. That impact also does not take into consideration the expenditures by the increased visitors to the area for treatments and the research dollars that will increase due to the existence of the new medical school. • Gov. Perry: “…create one of the next great universities in America.” It’s little wonder that Rick Perry, the longest-serving governor in Texas history, did not contain his enthusiasm for the legislation that is resulting in the creation of the University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley and the advent of a UT Health Science Center in the Rio Grande Valley. Addressing a packed house in the auditorium of the Student Union at UT-Pan American, and flanked by the Valley legislative delegation and the top leaders for the UT System, Perry came to Edinburg in July 2013 for a ceremonial bill-signing of the state law that makes the coming of UT-Rio Grande Valley and its Health Science Center realities. Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, D-McAllen, who shared the stage with Perry at the UTPA gathering last summer, reflected on the magnitude of the dramatic advances in higher education and medical care for deep South Texas. “It’s been a long-time dream of the Rio Grande Valley to have its own medical school,” Hinojosa said. “Sen. Eddie Lucio (Jr., D-Brownsville) and myself started that about 15 years ago, when he carried the legislation in the Senate, and at that time I was a state representative, and I carried the measure in the House to create the Regional Academic Health Centers. This was the first step in creating a full-fledged medical school.” The legislation, Senate Bill 24, featured Hinojosa as the primary Senate author and Rep. René Oliveria, D-Brownsville, as the lead House sponsor. Lucio and Sen. Judith Zafirrini, D-Laredo, were joint authors of SB 24. Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg, Rep. R.D. “Bobby” Guerra, D-McAllen, Rep. Óscar Longoria, D-La Joya, Rep. Eddie Lucio, III, D-San Benito, Rep. J.M. Lozano, R-Kingsville, Rep. Armando “Mando” Martínez, D-Weslaco, and Rep. Sergio Muñoz, Jr., D-Mission were House cosponsors of SB 24. The governor, a Republican who in January 2013 called on the Republican-controlled Texas Legislature to approve the creation of UT-RGV and the Valley’s UT medical school, portrayed that legislative accomplishment in unusually personal perspectives. “I have had some fabulous and wonderful moments as the governor of Texas,” said Perry, who did not seek reelection this year in order to again test the waters for a Republican presidential bid. “But I’m not sure that I have ever had one that was any more impactful or one that I have enjoyed any more than being able to walk to that table and put my pen to paper, and create one of the next great universities in America,” Perry acknowledged. The Edinburg Economic Development Corporation is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg City Council. It’s five-member governing board, which is appointed by the Edinburg City Council, includes Mayor Richard García as President, Fred Palacios as Secretary-Treasurer, and Felipe García, Dr. Havidán Rodríguez, and Steven Edward Cruz, II. For more information on the EEDC and the City of Edinburg, please log on to: www.EdbgCityLimits.com ••••••

MVP Partnership, L.T.D. of McAllen offers to donate $2+ million propertyto help land UT-RGV headquarters for McAllen-Edinburg-Pharr-Mission MSA

By DAVID A. DÍAZ Details of a proposal to donate up to five acres of prime real estate in southwest Edinburg – valued at more than $2 million – to serve as the site of the planned administrative headquarters for the University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley have been made public by MVP Partnership, L.T.D. of McAllen. The offer, submitted by prominent attorney José E. García on behalf of MVP Partnership, L.T.D., would benefit the UT System, UT-Rio Grande Valley, and the McAllen-Edinburg-Pharr-Mission Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) by placing the key headquarters, with its prestigious economic, academic, and political resources, in the heart of one of the Valley’s most influential, safest, and attractive regions. The site being offered by MVP Partnership, L.T.D. is located by the intersection of Trenton Road and McColl Road in Edinburg, immediately north of the campuses of Doctors Hospital at Renaissance and adjoining medical offices and businesses. It is within easy access to all major hospitals in Edinburg, including Edinburg Regional Medical Center and Edinburg Children’s Hospital, the University of Texas-Pan American, the planned UT-RGV medical school, and minutes away from some of the most distinguished neighborhoods and bustling business, medical, and entertainment corridors in Edinburg and McAllen. MVP Partnership, L.T.D. was one of 14 applicants who submitted offers to the UT System by the 5 p.m. Thursday, May 15 deadline. García, a UT-Austin alumnus, former Hidalgo County Democratic Party chairman, and Senior Partner of García and Villarreal, P.L.L.C., Attorneys at Law, 4311 North McColl Road in McAllen, said it is a “once in a lifetime opportunity to be part of something so important and historic.” He wants to help the McAllen-Edinburg-Pharr-Mission MSA have the strongest chance to land the UT-RGV administrative headquarters. “The cities of Edinburg and McAllen have each submitted their own plans, and our proposal gives the UT System leadership another outstanding reason to build the UT-RGV administrative headquarters in our region,” he said. “The offer by MVP Partnership, L.T.D. is our way of supporting Edinburg, McAllen, Pharr, Mission and other Hidalgo County communities, and the UT System, who have given so much to us,” García added. In addition to MVP Partnership, L.T.D., the other applicants who submitted proposals of land donation are the cities of Brownsville, Edinburg, Harlingen, McAllen, Mercedes, San Benito, and Weslaco, along with the Weslaco Economic Development Corporation, as well as Cielo Realty Partners, Cadence Commercial Real Estate, D&M Ventures LLC, Roberto S. Zamora, and S.E.R.R. Properties Ltd. The gift of land by MVP Partnership, L.T.D., is a private donation. This would allow Edinburg and McAllen to spend and invest their tax revenues on other important projects. “I know McAllen has a great interest in building a permanent campus, focusing on Master’s and Ph.D programs, in their community, and Edinburg will continue to be a vital partner in the development of the UT-RGV campus and UT-RGV medical school in their city,” García said. “Our proposal allows both cities to save their valuable resources for those, and other, incredibly important goals.” The unique strategic location of the property will be of great benefit to McAllen, Edinburg, Pharr and Mission, he noted, but also emphasized some of the many quality-of-life advantages to the people who would work in the headquarters. “The commercial and residential areas surrounding the property are safe, secure, well-maintained, and aesthetically pleasing, while still affordable,” García said. “The Northeast McAllen/Southwest Edinburg corridor is the most attractive location in an area where people want to live, work, eat, shop, recreate and learn.” He added the site being offered by MVP Partnership, L.T.D. is situated “in the heart of the 78504 zip code, which contains the highest per capita income level in the Rio Grande Valley.” According to the UT System, the administrative headquarters for UT-RGV will need to accommodate about 100 employees, including staff, professional level and executive level personnel. Considerations will include a proposed site’s access to amenities and major highways – ideally in or near an established commercial district – and access to UT-RGV’s campuses. The proposed site submitted by MVP Partnership, L.T.D. would provide the space needed for the construction of a 36,000-square-foot building with 172 parking spaces, in compliance with City of Edinburg ordinances, as required by the UT System. The University of Texas System on Friday, March 14, had posted a request for proposals (RFP) to seek offers for the most suitable site for the administrative headquarters for UT-RGV. Among the key points included in the 28-page proposal by MVP Partnership, L.T.D., are the following highlights: • The gift to the UT System by MVP Partnership, L.T.D. is from a private, independent entity. It would not be tied to any specific group, business or municipality; • MVP Partnership L.T.D.’s proposed site is an independent site so the community can recognize it as the headquarters for UT-RGV and the entire region; • Independence is important. The public perception is important. Safety is important; • Tax dollars are not being used to pay for the property being gifted to the UT System; • The MVP Partnership L.T.D. property is prominently located in and near established commercial districts, and the majority of the area’s premier neighborhoods are immediately adjoining the MVP Partnership L.T.D. property; • The City of McAllen will receive the highest benefit because of the proximity of the site to well-established commercial districts and North McAllen neighborhoods; • This gift will promote and enhance continued economic growth and development for the cities of McAllen and Edinburg; • MVP Partnership, L.T.D’s proposed land donation is located in the heart of the McAllen-Edinburg-Pharr-Mission MSA, which is a hub of economic activity. Many retailers have seized upon this activity, and the MSA has seen marked growth in recent years.  The MSA is poised at a critical juncture for future growth and would benefit enormously from the economic partnerships fostered by UT-RGV and the medical school; • The property is literally at the crossroads of McAllen and Edinburg, perfectly positioned on the northeastern boundary of McAllen and southwestern boundary  of Edinburg. The majority of the surrounding housing rooftops are of the premier North McAllen neighborhoods; • Any proposed project will enjoy the significant strength and purchasing power of North McAllen and also benefit from the beautiful North McAllen neighborhoods, jogging trails, and the luxurious Lake James subdivision in Edinburg; and • By virtue of its location, MVP Partnership L.T.D.’s property fosters access to, and partnerships with, the booming medical corridor in Edinburg, including Doctor’s Hospital at Renaissance, the Women’s Hospital at Renaissance, Cancer Center at Renaissance, Heart and Vascular Hospital, Renaissance Behavioral Hospital, Edinburg Regional Medical Regional Center, Edinburg Children’s Hospital, Cornerstone Regional Hospital, Edinburg Regional Rehab Center, and South Texas Behavioral Health Center. According to the UT-System, the request for land donations is the first step in selecting a site for the future UT-RGV headquarters. UT System staff, assisted by a master planner for the new university, will review and evaluate all proposals and select a site or sites for further evaluation and negotiation. The UT System Board of Regents will make the final decision on selecting the location. In 2013, the Texas Legislature unanimously passed a bill to create UT-Rio Grande Valley, a historic move that will combine the resources and assets of UT-Brownsville and UT-Pan American and, for the first time, make it possible for residents of the Rio Grande Valley to benefit from the Permanent University Fund. The institution, which will provide an outstanding, world-class, education to the students of South Texas, Texas, the United States and the world, will also be home to a school of medicine and will transform Texas and the nation by becoming a leader in student success, teaching, research and healthcare. ••••••

Edinburg retail economy up almost 11 percent for March 2014, one of the best improvements among major Valley economies

By DAVID A. DÍAZ Edinburg’s retail economy in March 2014 showed an improvement of almost 11 percent over the same month last year, representing the second-best gain among major Valley ec0nomies, the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation has announced. The EEDC is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg City Council. Edinburg also registered a rate of growth better than the state average for March 2014, which showed a 5.6 percent improvement over the same month in 2013. Based on the amount of local sales taxes collected, which reflects the strength of an economy, Edinburg’s retail sector generated more than $1.7 million in local sales taxes in March 2014, compared with almost $1.6 million in March 2013. For the first three months of 2014, Edinburg’s retail economy also posted a double-digit upswing over the same period last year, generating $8,028,833.80 in local sales taxes, compared with $7,214,163.81 for January through March 2013 – a rise of 11.29 percent. The local sales tax figure represents sales made in March 2014 as well as the January, February and March 2014 sales by businesses that report taxes quarterly. The sales tax, formally known as the State Sales and Use Tax, is imposed on all retail sales, leases and rentals of most goods, as well as taxable services. Texas cities, counties, transit authorities and special purpose districts have the option of imposing an additional local sales tax for a combined total of state and local taxes of 8 1/4% (.0825). The local sales tax is used in Edinburg to help pay for many city services, while the EEDC uses its one-half cent local sales tax to help generate economic development in the city. According to the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts, Edinburg’s retail economy in March 2014 generated $1,753,587.06 in local sales taxes, up 10.95 percent over March 2013, which reached $1,580,441.48. Mission registered the best improvement among Valley cities for March 2014, up 20.54 percent over the same month in 2013, but Edinburg generated more local sales taxes ($1,753,587.06) than Mission ($1,578,820.90) for that month. Pharr was the only other major retail economy to post a double-digit improvement in its retail economy for March 2014, generating $1,332,227.05 in local sales taxes, representing a 10.36 percent increase over March 2013. McAllen, historically the retail giant in the Valley, showed a decrease of 2.41 percent for March 2014, and a decrease of almost one percent for the first quarter (January through March) of 2014. But McAllen still held the top ranking in deep South Texas for local sales taxes generated for March ($5,772,494.86) and for the first quarter of 2014 ($27,484,356.46). Brownsville, the most populous city in the Valley, also reported a drop in its March 2014 local sales tax figures. For March 2014, Brownsville generated $3,234,210.77 in local sales taxes, compared with $3,305,404.35 for the same month last year. Year-to-date, however, Brownsville reported a 3.61 percent improvement ($15,050,910.20 in 2014 compared with $14,525,977.10 in 2013). Mayor Richard García, who also serves as president of the five-member Edinburg Economic Development Corporation Board of Directors, said the March 2014 and January through March 2014 quarterly figures are consistent with the economic goals and strategies of the Edinburg City Council, the EEDC Board of Directors, and city and EEDC staff. “The greatest measure of a community’s growth, we believe, is the growth in sales tax,” the mayor observed. “This kind of success and growth does not happen without vision, planning, and a very deliberate plan of action. Our City Council and our city staff are a team of professionals whose focus, priority, and responsibility is this, our beloved city.” The positive retail sales figures are helped by dozens of new and planned businesses in the past year, he added. “When it comes to economic development we have more than 50 new businesses that have opened within the last year or are under construction right now aimed at improving our quality of life: Wal-Mart with 360 new jobs and a new planned HEB along with Taco Palenque, two Starbucks, IHop, Two Popeye’s, University Drafthouse, Thirsty Bronc, Kahn’s Grill, Chic-Fil-A, Wingstop, Subway, Pizza Hut, Siempre Natural, Sally’s Beauty Supply, Easy Cuts, Moon Beans, Drunken Clam, Burrito Bar, Lanadees, La Mexicana, Taquería el Zarape, Pizza Patrón, Walgreens, CVS, McDonalds, Las Cazuelas, Big Lots, Party City, Carters, Burkes Outlet, GNC, Melrose, Chopstix, Gorditas Doña Tota, Dairy Queen, Cordons Taste of Chicago, CTC Distributing, Johnny’s True Value,” García noted. The economic growth of the city has positive effects beyond job creation and sales tax figures, the mayor reflected. It speaks well of a well-run city government, which helps keep and attract businesses and related prosperity. “Today, Edinburg is financially sound and our credit rating has been increased to AA from AA-,” the mayor said. “The report announced by Standard & Poor’s Rating Services, attributes the (credit) rate increase to how Edinburg manages its Utility System funds and financial debt, how it handled the recent growth, and how it operates on a daily basis.” The management of the city government, including the EEDC, has allowed Edinburg to keep the same property tax rate at the same level for the last 19 years in a row. “This credit goes to our Edinburg government administrators and staff who take care of the day-to-day operations of the city. Year after year, they come up with a balanced budget that ensures no reduction of services,” García said. “Our last budget also included $19.4 million in capital improvement projects that are allowing for acquisition of property, drainage improvements, and the completion of the wastewater treatment plant expansion.” Edinburg’s retail economy compared favorably with other major Valley communities. According to the state comptroller’s office, the Valley’s major cities reported the following local sales tax figures for March 2014: • McAllen: $5,772,494.86, down 2.41 percent over March 2013 ($5,915,462.93); • Brownsville: $3,234,210.77, down 2.15 percent over March 2013 ($3,305,404.35); • Harlingen: $ 2,041,476.03, up 1.56 percent over March 2013 ($2,010,095.84); • Edinburg: $1,753,587.06, up 10.95 percent over March 2013 ($1,580,441.48); • Mission: $1,578,820.90, up 20.54 percent over March 2013 ($1,309,786.21); • Pharr: $1,332,227.05, up 10.36 percent over March 2013 ($1,207,075.76); and • Weslaco: $1,143,370.36, up 0.70 percent over March 2013 ($1,135,315.39). All cities in Hidalgo County generated a combined total of $13,889,398.93 in local sales tax revenue in March 2014, compared with $13,482,106.40 during the same month in 2013, an improvement of 3.02 percent. All cities in Cameron County generated a combined total of $6,407,400.04 in local sales tax revenue in March 2014, compared with $6,409,143.16 during the same month in 2013, a decrease of 0.02 percent. On a statewide level, Edinburg’s holiday sales rate of improvement was equally impressive. Texas Comptroller Susan Combs said that state sales generated during March 2014 was $2.27 billion, up 5.6 percent compared with March 2013. “Growth in sales tax revenue was spurred by increases in the telecommunications sector and services sector,” Combs said. “Increased business spending in the wholesale trade sector also contributed to the latest monthly gain. This marks 49 consecutive months of growth in sales tax collections.” For details of the March 2014 local sales tax figures for all cities, counties, transit systems, and special purpose taxing districts, located the Monthly Sales Tax Allocation Comparison Summary Reports at the comptroller’s website, log on to: www.window.state.tx.us/taxinfo/allocsum/compsum.html The Edinburg Economic Development Corporation is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg City Council. It’s five-member governing board, which is appointed by the Edinburg City Council, includes Mayor Richard García as President, Fred Palacios as Secretary-Treasurer, and Felipe García, Steven Edward Cruz, II, and Dr. Havidán Rodríguez. For more information on the EEDC and the City of Edinburg, please log on to: www.EdbgCityLimits.com ••••••

Edinburg unemployment rate for April 2014 drops to 5.5 percent, representing the best showing for any month since January 2008

By DAVID A. DÍAZ Edinburg’s unemployment rate for April 2014 was 5.5 percent, the best showing in the city for any month since January 2008, and the second-best figure for all cities that month in the Rio Grande Valley, the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation has announced. The EEDC is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg City Council. For the month of April 2014, only McAllen (5.4 percent) had a better figure than Edinburg (5.5 percent), while the other major communities in the Valley had unemployment rates that ranged from 6.3 percent in Harlingen to 8.6 percent in Brownsville. The Valley’s three other most populous cities also had unemployment rates for April 2014 in single-digits: Mission (6.8 percent), Pharr (6.9 percent), and Weslaco (8.6 percent). The April 2014 rates for the Valley’s seven most populous cities also represented improvements from March 2014. In addition, Edinburg’s labor force was the third largest in the Valley, with 33,551 persons employed in the city in April 2014. The area’s two most populous cities, Brownsville and McAllen, posted larger numbers with 63,143 and 58,639 individuals, respectively, employed in April 2014. All cities combined in Hidalgo County averaged an 8.6 percent unemployment rate in April 2014, an improvement from 9.4 percent in March 2014, while all cities combined in Cameron County averaged an 8.1 percent unemployment rate in April 2014, better than the 8.8 percent figure in March 2014. The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in Texas fell to 5.2 percent in April 2014, down from 5.5 percent in March 2014, according to the Texas Workforce Commission. The unemployment rates in Edinburg and in Texas remain below the national rate of 5.9 percent. The latest figures were released on Friday, May 16, by the Texas Workforce Commission. Edinburg’s labor market has always remained strong in deep South Texas, with only one month since 2005 – June 2011 – being the only month when the unemployment rate was in double-figures at 10 percent. • Walmart announces creation of 300 jobs in Edinburg This latest positive news comes as Walmart announced the opening of its third major store in Edinburg. Mayor Richard García, who also serves as president of the five-member Board of Directors for the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation, noted that the city’s third Wal-Mart (the most among all Valley communities), is taking advantage of one of Edinburg’s key assets: U.S. Expressway 281/I69-Central. Located just south of the Shoppes at Rio Grande Valley, the new Walmart has created 300 new jobs for the region. It is near the intersection of U.S. 281/I69-Central and Canton Road, an area that in the past few years has become one of busiest in the city, the mayor said. “The region’s Expressway 281/I69-Central is a huge piece of the success today and even greater of what to expect tomorrow: 13.5 miles of U.S. Highway 281/I69-Central from FM 2812 to the Pharr Interchange,” said García. Edinburg has the largest amount of freeway frontage than any other community in the Rio Grande Valley, “to the tune of 18 miles” compared to the three other largest cities with an estimated two miles of frontage each, García added. “This immense opportunity for growth has been discovered by large investors like Bert Ogden with the new Infinity Dealership, Fiesta Chevrolet, Holt Caterpillar, Walmart, HEB, the Shoppes at Rio Grande. the master planned community of La Sienna and our exciting mega-arena development,” the mayor reported. • Other big developments in the works The mega-arena project involves a planned $50 million special events center to be built just off U.S. Expressway 281/I-69 Central. The 115,799 square-foot arena will be constructed on 40 acres of land located on the east side of I-69 Central on Alberta Road. It will feature 8,500 seats and 2,400 parking spaces. The entire property includes nine additional pad sites for the development of a future hotel, restaurants and more parking spaces. Construction cost for the arena is estimated at $50 million with a boost to the local economy of $96 million during the construction phase and $45 million annually once operational. It is expected to create approximately 150 new jobs. For its part, the new Walmart will provide residents with one-stop shopping convenience for their grocery and general merchandise needs.  It will also feature organic and natural selections in addition to local favorites.  Like most of their new stores, this one will include energy efficient technology and special features to help reduce energy and water consumption. The approximately 183,000 square feet facility will be open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. As part of the grand opening,  $6,000 in grants from Walmart and the Walmart Foundation were donated to local community groups. A big family welcome is scheduled for Saturday, May 24, from noon to 3 p.m. complete with family activities such as face painting, cupcake decorating and free food samples while supplies last. The other two Walmart stores in Edinburg are located at University Drive and Sugar Road, and Jackson Road and Trenton Road More detailed information about the labor market and unemployment rates in Edinburg and neighboring major communities include: • Number of persons employed, April 2014: Brownsville: 63,143 McAllen: 58,639 Edinburg: 33,551 Mission: 30,001 Pharr: 25,934 Harlingen: 25,137 Weslaco: 13,506 • Edinburg’s unemployment rates, by year: April 2014: 5.5 percent April 2013: 6.7 percent April 2012: 7.3 percent April 2011: 8.4 percent April 2010: 8.3 percent April 2009: 5.7 percent April 2008: 4.0 percent April 2007: 4.2 percent April 2006: 5.4 percent April 2005: 4.7 percent • Edinburg’s April employment, by year: 2014: 33,551 2013: 33,037 2012: 32,740 2011: 31,855 2010: 31,381 2009: 29,990 2008: 29,690 2007: 28,112 2006: 26,798 2005: 25,767 The Texas Workforce Commission maintains a detailed accounting of employment trends for Edinburg and all other cities in the state on its website, located at: www.tracer2.com/cgi/dataanalysis/AreaSelection.asp?tableName=Labforce The national, statewide, and Valleywide figures were compiled by the Texas Workforce Commission, a state agency which defines the unemployment rate as the number of persons unemployed, expressed as a percentage of the civilian labor force. The civilian labor force is that portion of the population age 16 and older employed or unemployed, and to be considered unemployed, a person has to be not working but willing and able to work and actively seeking work, the Texas Workforce Commission noted. Texas city data is not available prior to 2005 because of substantial methodology changes between 2004 and 2005 in estimating city unemployment statistics. The Edinburg Economic Development Corporation is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg City Council. It’s five-member governing board, which is appointed by the Edinburg City Council, includes Mayor Richard García as President, Fred Palacios as Secretary-Treasurer, and Felipe García, Dr. Havidán Rodríguez and Steven Edward Cruz, II. For more information on the EEDC and the City of Edinburg, please log on to: www.EdbgCityLimits.com ••••••

Former Hidalgo County Sheriff Lupe Treviño pleads guilty to money laundering charge

By ANGELA DODGE Guadalupe Treviño, aka Lupe Treviño, 64, of McAllen, on Monday, April 14, entered a guilty plea a criminal information charging him with conspiracy to commit money laundering, announced United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson. Treviño was the former sheriff of Hidalgo County. The investigation revealed that during 2011 and 2012, Treviño received cash contributions for his election campaign from alleged drug trafficker, Tomás “El Gallo” González. On April 14, Treviño admitted he accepted the money, knowing it was from illegal activities. He admitted he accepted the monies directly and through others as donations to assist with his 2012 election campaign. Some of the monies received were subsequently deposited into bank accounts Treviño controlled and were co-mingled with other funds. During and after the transactions, Treviño and others acted to disguise and conceal the nature, location, source, ownership and control of the currency by filing false Candidate/Officeholder Campaign Finance Reports and producing other documents. U.S. District Judge Micaela Álvarez, accepted the plea on April 14, and has set sentencing for July 17, 2014. At that time, Treviño faces up to 20 years in federal prison and $500,000 fine or twice the value of the property involved in the transaction. On Friday, April 14, 2014, Treviño’s former chief of staff and campaign treasurer, María Patricia Medina, pleaded guilty to misprision of a felony, admitting she assisted Treviño in the concealment of the donations by falsifying election records. She faces up to three years in federal prison and a potential fine of $250,000. The investigation leading to the charges was conducted by Homeland Security Investigations, Drug Enforcement Administration, Texas Department of Public Safety, Rangers Division and Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation. Assistant United States Attorneys James Sturgis and Aníbal Alaniz prosecuted the case. ••••••

Five members of corrupt Panama Unit law enforcement group ordered to federal prison

By ANGELA DODGE Five defendants, all former law enforcement officers in Hidalgo County, on Tuesday, April 29, were ordered to federal prison for their roles in a drug trafficking conspiracy, announced United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson. Jorge Garza, 60, of Edinburg, was convicted in August 2013 after six days of trial, while Fernando Guerra Jr., 24, Claudio Mata, 35, and James Phil Flores, 47, all of Edinburg, and Gerardo Mendoza-Durán, 31, of Pharr, all previously pleaded guilty in relation to the case. U.S. District Judge Randy Crane on April 29 handed Mata a total sentence of 140 months in federal prison. Garza received a sentence of 121 months, while Flores was sentenced to a 120-month term of imprisonment. Mendoza-Durán and Flores both received 96-month terms. “The prosecution of corrupt law enforcement officers will always be a priority of this office in order to ensure the community’s faith in our judicial system,” said Magidson. “The sentencings today represent part of that continuing effort.” Fernando Guerra Sr., 48, Jonathan Treviño, 29, Eric Alcantar, 29, Alexis Espinoza, 30, all of McAllen, Salvador Arguello, 34, of Edinburg, and Fabian Rodríguez, 29, of Edcouch, have all also pleaded guilty in the case and were sentenced the following day. Arguello, Mata, Alcantar and Rodríguez were former members of the Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO) and the now infamous and defunct Panama Unit. Espinoza was a former Mission Police Officer, as was Treviño, one of three sons of former Hidalgo County Sheriff Guadalupe “Lupe” Treviño, who on April 14 pled guilty to federal charges of money laundering. Jonathan Treviño also served on the Panama Unit. Mendoza-Durán, Flores and Garza were all members of the Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office, but not part of the Panama Unit itself. All were convicted of using their positions as law enforcement officers to traffic narcotics. “Today’s sentencing of law enforcement officials involved in crimes they are sworn to investigate serves as a sobering warning about the consequences of violating the public's trust,” said Special Agent in Charge Janice Ayala of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in San Antonio. “While HSI is saddened by the circumstances that brought this sentencing to bare, HSI feels justice has been served.” The investigation revealed that from 2010 through 2012, the defendants used their positions to steal narcotics and currency from local drug traffickers. The stolen narcotics were then re-distributed to Guerra Sr. In addition, Treviño, Espinoza and Mendoza-Durán attempted to assist narcotics traffickers by escorting loads of cocaine, which travelled through Hidalgo County in exchange for thousands of dollars. The Guerras, Flores and Garza were also convicted for their roles in the distribution of stolen narcotics. Flores and Garza assisted Guerra Sr. and Jr. by performing false traffic stops utilizing HCSO vehicles in order to assist the Guerras with the theft of the narcotics. The investigation leading to the charges was conducted by HSI, Drug Enforcement Administration, Immigration and Customs Enforcement - Office of Professional Responsibility, FBI and the Texas Department of Public Safety. Assistant United States Attorneys James Sturgis and Aníbal Alaniz prosecuted the case. ••••••

Former Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Commander José A. Padilla enters guilty plea for bribery

By ANGELA DODGE José A. Padilla, 54, of Weslaco, on Thursday, April 17, entered a plea of guilty for one count of receipt of a bribe, announced United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson. Padilla was a former deputy commander at the Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office and served under the leadership of former sheriff Guadalupe “Lupe” Treviño. Padilla has admitted that during 2011 and 2012, he received cash from alleged drug trafficker Tomás “El Gallo” González. In exchange for the cash payments, Padilla performed various tasks for González and provided information to González related to ongoing law enforcement activities. U.S. District Judge Randy Crane accepted Padilla’s plea on April 17, and has set sentencing for July 17, 2104. At that time, he faces a maximum of 10 years in federal prison and a potential maximum fine of $250,000, or twice the amount he received. He was permitted to remain on bond pending that hearing. The investigation leading to the charges was conducted by Homeland Security Investigations, Drug Enforcement Administration, Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation and Texas Department of Public Safety, Rangers Division. Assistant United States Attorneys James Sturgis and Aníbal Alaniz prosecuted the case. ••••••

Rep. Guerra appointed by Speaker Straus to House Select Committee on Child Protection

By AISA SHOWERY Rep. R.D. “Bobby” Guerra, D-McAllen, on Thursday, May 15, was appointed by Speaker of the House Joe Straus, R-San Antonio, to serve on the House Select Committee on Child Protection and the Protect Our Kids Commission. The purpose of the commission is to study the relationship between child protective services and child welfare services and the rate of child abuse and neglect fatalities. Through its work, the commission will identify promising practices and evidence-based strategies to address and reduce fatalities from child abuse and neglect, including the development of recommendations and guidelines for the types of information that should be tracked, as well as identifying pertinent resources. "The death of even one child due to abuse or neglect is unacceptable," said Straus. "The Texas House is committed to working with Child Protective Services (CPS) and local communities to prevent senseless tragedies. I am confident that this committee will provide meaningful recommendations to improve outcomes for Texas children.” Rep. Dawnna Dukes, D-Austin, will chair the committee. In addition to Guerra and Dukes, the other House members on the House Select Committee on Child Protection are Rep. Cindy Burkett, R-Sunnyvale; Rep. Tony Dale, R-Cedar Park; Rep. Jessica Farrar, D-Houston; Rep. James Frank, R-Wichita Falls; Rep. John Frullo, R-Lubbock; Rep. Toni Rose, D-Dallas; and Rep. J.D. Sheffield, R-Temple. The select committee will also work in concert with the public members of the Protect our Kids Commission, which the Legislature created in 2013. The commission will study the rate of child abuse and neglect fatalities and recommend strategies to prevent and reduce them. Protecting children from abuse and neglect is one of government’s essential functions and the core mission of Child Protective Services (CPS), Guerra said. In 2013, 156 Texas children died as a result of abuse or neglect. “Protecting our children is of the utmost importance and a top priority for legislators. Even one case of abuse or neglect is not acceptable,” said Guerra. “We have an obligation to our Texas children in making sure they live in a safe and caring environment.” The committee will serve to be a key resource to hear from local and state agencies about the emerging issues and concerns with Children Protective Services (CPS). “I look forward to working with my colleagues and I will strongly advocate for developing core solutions concerning abuse and neglect that will provide the necessary tools towards legislation for the coming session,” said Guerra. “The Texas House is committed to working with Child Protective Services (CPS) and local communities to prevent senseless tragedies. I am confident that this committee will provide meaningful recommendations to improve outcomes for Texas children,” said Straus. • Details of work to be performed The committee shall study the incidence of abuse and neglect fatalities in Texas and make recommendations to protect children. In developing its recommendations, the committee shall: • Monitor the ongoing efforts of the Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS), the work of the Protect Our Kids Commission and the National Commission to Eliminate Child Abuse and Neglect Fatalities, and any relevant Sunset Commission recommendations; • Assess the efficacy of ongoing prevention efforts that target resources to families at risk; • Examine regulatory policy and contract oversight within the child welfare system; • Consider ways to encourage consistent, transparent, and timely review of abuse and neglect fatalities; • Monitor ongoing efforts to stabilize the CPS workforce, placing specific emphasis on improving work environment, enhancing the quality of supervision, and addressing the unique challenges facing different regions of the state; •  Suggest improvements to the screening, assessment, training, and support of potential foster and kinship families; • Evaluate the ability of children and youth within the system to report maltreatment; • Monitor ongoing efforts to enhance the use of data to improve outcomes; and •  Consider strategies to ensure better coordination and collaboration among local agencies, faith-based organizations, the private sector, non-profits, and law enforcement to reduce the incidence of abuse and neglect fatalities. ••••••

Edwards Abstract and Title Company professionals complete rigorous examination by Texas Land Title Association

By ELVA JACKSON-GARZA The Texas Land Title Association (TLTA) has announce that five employees with Edwards Abstract and Title Company, with its headquarters in Edinburg have successfully completed the requirements and passed a rigorous examination to earn the professional certification designations from TLTA. To become TLTA certified, a candidate must meet certain eligibility requirements in work experience, education and professional involvement, and then successfully pass an examination. Each designation represents a measure of achievement and proficiency in the Texas title insurance industry and distinguishes these highly motivated individuals. TLTA's certification designations include, CESA: Certified Escrow Settlement Associate, CAEA: Certified Abstract Examination Associate and CTIA: Certified Title Insurance Associate. The five Edwards Abstract and Title Co. employees who have earned TLTA certification designations include: • Byron Jay Lewis, CTIA (Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer – Edinburg); • Marilyn De Luna, CAEA, CESA, CTIA (Regional Escrow Automation Manager/Sr. Escrow Officer –McAllen); • Mariana Ragousis- Ramírez, CESA, CTIA (Escrow Officer - McAllen); • Mary Barrientos, CESA (Mission Branch Manager/Sr. Escrow Officer); and • Martha (Marty) García, CESA (Sr. Escrow Officer – Mission). “These are very prestigious professional certification designations. Edwards Abstract and Title Company is proud to have several members of the team who are leading the way in the title insurance industry in South Texas.” said Mike Overly, President and Chief Financial Officer. Byron Jay Lewis is one of four title insurance company owners in Texas who have earned the CTIA designation. Marilyn De Luna is the only escrow officer in Texas to have earned all three certification designations from the Texas Land Title Association. Founded in 1908, TLTA is a statewide trade association representing the Texas title insurance industry and currently serving more than 13,000 professionals involved in the safe and efficient transfer of real estate. In the course of their daily work, TLTA membership serves more than one million consumers each year. TLTA members provide certainty, efficiency and security to real estate transactions by conducting title searches, examinations, closings and issuing title insurance to protect real property owners and mortgage lenders against losses from defects in titles. For more information about TLTA's certification program, visit: www.tlta.com/certification. ••••••

Sen. Zaffirini captures 26 awards in 
Press Women of Texas 2014 Communications Contest

By WILL KRUEGER Sen. Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo, recently won 26 awards in the Press Women of Texas (PWT) 2014 Communications Contest for work published in 2013, contest officials announced on Wednesday, May 21. Her winning entries included 10 first place winners, 6 second place winners, 6 third place winners and 4 honorable mentions. Interestingly, the senator's four entries in the speech category won all four awards — from first through honorable mention. Her keynote speech to the Texas Indigent Health Care Association, Stepping into the Future, won first place, and her opening speech at the Texas Higher Education Leadership Conference, Closing the Gaps by 2015 and Beyond, won second. Her acceptance speech for the Mary Elizabeth Holdsworth Butt Award from Mental Health America of Texas, History as a Source of Strength and Hope for the Future, won third, while her remarks honoring University of Texas students from Mexico and Spain visiting the Texas Capitol won an honorable mention. Zaffirini’s other first place award winners included her ongoing series of communications to constituents about issues related to growth and development in the Eagle Ford Shale, her statement regarding school finance, a news release about her 50,000th consecutive vote and a podcast interview conducted by Andrew Roush of Alcalde magazine. Her annual newsletter, Senator Judith Zaffirini Reports to the Families of District 21, won three first place awards: one for the overall publication and two for its layout and headlines. “These awards reflect my deep commitment to communicating effectively with my constituents via a variety of media,” Zaffirini said. “What's more, I am grateful to Press Women of Texas for championing freedom of speech and freedom of the press and for providing important resources to women working in the communications arena.” ••••••

Rep. Cuellar votes to enhance U.S. - Mexico cooperation against illegal drug trade

By MIRANDA MARGOWSKY Congressman Henry Cuellar, D-Laredo/McAllen, on Thursday, May 22, voted in favor of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), the annual budget for the Department of Defense, which passed the House and now heads to the Senate for consideration. Cuellar successfully included language in the NDAA that reiterates and enhances support for United States-Mexico cooperation in the ongoing fight to combat the illegal drug trade. “The safety and security of the United States cannot be viewed in a vacuum,” said Cuellar.  “Cooperation between the United States and Mexico can lead to a reduction in the flow of drugs to the United States, which threatens children and families, taxes our criminal justice system, and costs billions in law enforcement resources. That is why I fought to include this language, which boosts cooperation between our two nations in this vital effort. More can be done and more must be done to work with our southern neighbor and secure our border.” Over the past decade, a “balloon effect” has pushed increased violence and instability into Central America and Mexico from South America. Currently, Mexico is working to reduce violence created by transnational criminal organizations and address issues spurred by the emergence of internal self defense groups. To combat these destabilizing threats, through a variety of authorities, the U.S. Department of Defense advises, trains, educates, and equips vetted troops in Mexico and many of the nations of Central America to build their militaries and police forces, with an emphasis on human rights and building partnership capacity. Cuellar’s language directs the Department of Defense to focus on combating illicit networking routes in Mexico and Central America. According to Cuellar’s language, the United States Northern Command and United States Southern Command should continue to work together to combat the transnational nature of these threats and the U.S. Department of Defense should increase its maritime, aerial and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance assets in the region in order to reduce the amount of illicit networking flowing into the United States. Cuellar is also continuing to monitor the progress of language he included in last year’s NDAA, which directed the Department of Defense, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Federal Aviation Administration to develop joint testing and training of unmanned aircraft and systems for use in border security operations. This provision will better train and equip pilots to operate unmanned aircraft for the purposes of border security. It will more effectively utilize taxpayer dollars to support the activities of Customs and Border Protection so that agents are better trained and equipped. The ability of these three agencies – DoD, DHS, and FAA – to work jointly will allow for better sharing of knowledge and expertise which will ultimately benefit the residents of the border regions and citizens throughout the country. Henry Cuellar is a member of the U.S. House Appropriations Committee, Vice Chairman of the House Steering and Policy Committee, Senior Whip, and member of the Blue Dog Coalition. Previously, he served as a Texas state representative and Texas Secretary of State. ••••••

President Obama posthumously bestows Medal of Honor to World War II hero Pedro Cano of Edinburg

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On Tuesday, March 18, President Barack Obama awarded 24 Army veterans – including a posthumous national recognition for Pedro Cano of Edinburg – the Medal of Honor for conspicuous gallantry. One of Cano’s daughters, Dominga Cano Pérez of Reedley, California, accepted the Medal of Honor on his behalf from President Obama during the ceremony held in the East Room of the White House. “This is the single largest group of service members to be awarded the Medal of Honor since the Second World War,” Obama said, adding that “their courage almost defies imagination.” Congressman Rubén Hinojosa, D-Mercedes, whose congressional district features Edinburg, reflected on the importance of the national honor, not only to Cano and his family, but for the country. "Many wrongs have finally been made right in the case of Pedro Cano and twenty three other American heroes who have received the highest honor that a military serviceman or woman can earn, the Medal of Honor,” Hinojosa said. “For decades these men were not recognized for their outstanding feats of courage. They were never honored for the American lives they saved. Sadly, they were never honored for their extraordinary patriotism because of their ethnicity, the color of their skin and their religion.” Cano is the second Edinburg man to receive the nation’s highest military honor. On October 31, 1969, Alfredo “Freddy” Cantú González, a U.S. Marine, was posthumously bestowed the Medal of Honor for his actions, which led to his death in combat, during the Battle of Huế in 1968, one of the bloodiest and longest battles of the Vietnam War. Cano died in an automobile accident in Edinburg in 1952. Both men are buried at Hillcrest Memorial Park Cemetery in Edinburg. See lead story in this posting. ••••••

Major issues affecting juvenile justice in Texas, including protecting the rights of juries to have more options in the punishment and rehabilitation of 17-year-olds accused of serious felonies, was taken up in Austin on Tuesday, March 25, by the House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee. Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg, featured left, is the only Valley lawmaker on the nine-member legislative panel, which is chaired by Rep. Abel Herrero, D-Corpus Christi. The committee heard from expert witnesses, as well as allowed verbal and written testimony Texans, during the public hearing the State Capitol. The session focused on studying the classification of 17-year-olds as adults in the criminal justice system of Texas. “Serious concerns nationwide and in Texas have been raised regarding whether placing 17-year-olds, who are still not adults, under the control of the adult criminal justice system, where they are more likely to become hardened criminals, and where they are more vulnerable to physical and sexual assaults than in juvenile justice facilities,” said Canales. Featured during grand opening ceremonies earlier this year at his legislative office in Edinburg are, from left: Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg; Agustín “Gus” García, Jr., Executive Director, Edinburg Economic Development Corporation; Edinburg Mayor Pro Tem Elías Longoria, Jr.; and Irma Garza, Director of Public Information, City of Edinburg. ••••••

Edinburg’s unemployment rate for January 2014 was 6.6 percent, an improvement over the December 2013 figure of 6.8 percent and the best showing for the month of January since 2009, when the unemployment rate for that month was 6.2 percent, the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation has announced. For the month of January 2014, only McAllen has a better figure at 6.3 percent, while the other major communities in the Valley ranged from 7.3 percent (Harlingen) to 10.5 percent (Brownsville) for that month. In addition, Edinburg’s labor force was the third largest in the Valley, with 33,363 persons employed in the city for January 2014. The area’s two most populous cities, Brownsville and McAllen posted larger numbers at 62,488 and 58,310 individuals, respectively, employed in January 2014. The latest figures were released on Friday, March 7, by the Texas Workforce Commission. Mayor Richard García, who also serves as president of the EEDC Board of Directors, said the number of jobs in Edinburg is expected to grow, not only because the city’s population continues increasing, but as a result of Edinburg being a major center of education, government, health care, and retail. “Soon, hundreds of jobs will be added when Walmart opens its third store, located near the intersection of U.S. Expressway 281 (recently renamed I69-Central) and Canton Road just south of The Shoppes at Rio Grande, and that will help lower our unemployment rate,” the mayor noted. “Right across the street from The Shoppes at Rio Grande, HEB has announced its own plans to build a major new store, which will provide even more jobs for our community and region.” The EEDC is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg City Council. EEDC staff, featured from left, are: Laura Lee Vela, Administrative Assistant; Leticia Reyes, Director of Business Development and Public Affairs; Agustín “Gus” García, Jr., Executive Director; Nelda T. Ramírez, Assistant Executive Director; Dalila Razo, Business Manager; and Freddie Gómez, Research Analyst. ••••••

The University of Texas-Pan American College of Education honored more than 40 educators at its ninth annual Teacher of the Year Awards on Wednesday, November 20 at the UTPA Community Engagement and Student Success Building. UTPA and College of Education administrators praised the elementary and secondary school teachers of the year for their dedication to educating students and presented plaques and other gifts to them. The College of Education also awarded its Teacher Legend Award to Gloria Judy Saca-Díaz, who taught for 19 years at two elementary schools in the Edcouch-Elsa Independent School District. Seated, from left: former Teacher Legend Award recipient Wayne Miller; current Teacher Legend Award recipient Gloria Judy Saca-Díaz; and former Teacher Legend Award recipients Sylvia Alvarado and Criselda J. Guerra. Standing, from left: Dr. Havidán Rodríguez, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, The University of Texas-Pan American; Dr. Velma Menchaca, Department Chair and Professor of Educational Leadership, The University of Texas-Pan American; Dr. Joy Esquierdo, Associate Professor of Curriculum and Instruction, The University of Texas-Pan American, who nominated Gloria Judy Saca-Díaz; Dr. Salvador Héctor Ochoa, Dean, College of Education, The University of Texas-Pan American; Dr. Verónica Estrada, Professor of Curriculum and Instruction, The University of Texas-Pan American; and Rachel Arcaute, Assistant Superintendent of Instruction Services, McAllen Independent School District. ••••••

Area residents who enjoy poker are invited to purchase tickets for the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce’s first annual “Chamber Royale” Texas Hold’Em and Fold’Em Poker Tournament, scheduled for Friday, April 25, at the historical Southern Pacific Depot. The entry fee per person is $100 with a $25 re-buy option. The proceeds will go to help the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce, which is located in the Southern Pacific Depot, 602 West University Drive, provide many of its vital services to its membership and the community. The top 10 players will receive prizes, ranging from a trip to Las Vegas to a flat-screen television to a weekend at South Padre Island. No cash prizes are allowed by state law. Participants do not have to be members of the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce. Each ticket includes a seat at the table, open bar, appetizers, and the opportunity to win the table prizes. For individuals who only want to watch the high-skills competition, a spectator pass is available for $25, which also includes a meal and beverage. For tickets or more information, please contact the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce at 956/383-4974 or log on to www.edinburg.com. The tournament fundraiser will begin at 6 p.m. and last past midnight. Registration may take place the night of the event, but participants may pre-register at any day before the fundraiser. Featured are Edinburg Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors members and other leaders, including, first row, from left: Edinburg Mayor Pro Tem Elías Longoria, Jr. (Texas Regional Bank); Dina Araguz (IBC Bank); Letty González, President, Edinburg Chamber of Commerce; Elva Jackson Garza(Edwards Abstract and Title Co.); Maggie Kent; and Edinburg Municipal Court Judge Terry Palacios (García, Quintanilla and Palacios). Back row, from left: J.J. Flores (Chorizo De San Manuel); Robert McGurk, Chairman of the Board, Edinburg Chamber of Commerce (Elsa State Bank & Trust Co. of Edinburg); Greg Martin (Martin Farm & Ranch Supply); Jacob De León (Memorial Funeral Home); and Hiren Govind (Best Western-Edinburg Inn & Suites). ••••••

The “Cinco de Mayo Fiesta”, sponsored by the Rio Grande Valley Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and Univision Radio, will take place on Sunday, May 4, at the the Rio Grande Valley Livestock Show Grounds in Mercedes. The event will be bustling with major music entertainment, games, wrestling, food and crafts vendors, a dog costume contest, Bingo, Chihuahua races, jalapeño-eating, a Kiddie Playground, and other entertainment. Gates will be open from noon till 10 p.m. Sponsorships and food and crafts/informative vendors are being sought. More information on the event, including sponsorships, is available by contacting the RGV Hispanic Chamber of Commerce at 928-0060 or Univision Radio at 631-5499. Featured helping finalize the fiesta details are, front row, from left: César Chapa, Event Director, Univision; Vicky Guerrero, General Manager, Univision; Edna García, RGVHCC; Brenda Lee Huerta, Public Affairs Director, RGVHCC/Univision; and Sarah Sánchez, Editorial Page Editor, The Monitor, and RGVHCC. Back row, from left: Mario Lizcano, RGVHCC; Cynthia M. Sakulenzki, RGVHCC president and CEO; and Travis French, RGVHCC. ••••••

Realizing the importance of taking care of our senior community, The City of Pharr will co-sponsor the annual South Texas Senior Summit on Thursday, April 3, at the Pharr Event Center located at 3000 U.S. Expressway 281 in Pharr. The Summit will feature free screenings and information booths that are important to the older South Texans. Glucose, blood pressure, bone density, foot and vein are among the medical screenings that will be available. Various organizations will provide information on Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, adult aging, a county services. A “pamper corner” offering free massages and nail polish changes will also be offered to the seniors. In addition, attendees will also get to participate in a light Zumba, Bingo, door prizes and a dance. Lunch and snacks will also be served. “We encourage senior centers, nursing homes, individuals and senior organizations to attend and make a day of this fun, healthy and informative event,” said Cynthia M. Sakulenzki, President and CEO of the Rio Grande Valley Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. Among the major sponsors for the Senior Summit are Lee’s Pharmacy, Superior HealthPlan and Cigna HealthSpring. Vendors will also be available with services and products to offer the senior community. More information on the Senior Summit, including registration, is available by calling the RGV Hispanic Chamber at 928-0060. Featured meeting to review plans for the event are, front row, from left: Cynthia M. Sakulenzki, President and CEO of the Rio Grande Valley Hispanic Chamber of Commerce; Pharr Mayor Polo Palacios; and Maribel Cárdenas, Senior Summit committee member representing sponsor Cigna Health Spring. Back row, from left: Pharr Commissioner Bobby Calvillo; Mario Lizcano, Vice Chair of Health, Rio Grande Valley Hispanic Chamber of Commerce; Pharr Commissioner Arturo Cortéz; Pharr Commissioner Erinuondo Maldonado; Phsrr Commissioner Jimmy Garza; and Pharr Mayor Pro Tem Adan Farías. ••••••

Chancellor Francisco G. Cigarroa, M.D. (featured center), a nationally renowned leader in higher education and pediatric transplant surgery, announced on Monday, February 10, that he will step down as head of The University of Texas System after a five-year tenure marked by groundbreaking accomplishments. Cigarroa will serve as chancellor until his successor is named, and afterward will become the head of pediatric transplant surgery at the UT Health Science Center at San Antonio. Cigarroa will also serve as a special liaison to the Board of Regents to advise on the development of the new University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley and medical school. Cigarroa was also instrumental in the effort to establish a new university and medical school in the Rio Grande Valley. The Texas Legislature approved the initiative in 2013, and the University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley is scheduled to enroll its first class in the fall of 2015. His leadership was also pivotal in creating the Dell School of Medicine at UT Austin – fulfilling a long-held dream of integrating a medical school with UT’s flagship academic university in Austin. Featured during a February visit to UT-Pan American are, from left: Ramiro Garza, Jr., Edinburg City Manager; Leticia Reyes, Director of Business Development and Public Affairs, Edinburg Economic Development Corporation; Francisco Cigarroa, M.D., Chancellor of the University of Texas System; Ernest Aliseda of McAllen, Member, The University of Texas System Board of Regents; and Freddie Gómez, Research Analyst, Edinburg Economic Development Corporation. See story later in this posting. ••••••

The North American Advanced Manufacturing Research and Education Initiative (NAAMREI) at South Texas College (STC) on Thursday, March 6, at the STC Technology Campus in McAllen celebrated the announcement of their $500,000 grant from the Wagner-Peyser program administered through the Office of Texas Governor Rick Perry. Local leaders, manufacturing partners and representatives from Houston Community College were present in support of this important grant that will provide training to 675 individuals in areas including robotics, mechatronics, programmable logic controllers and other advanced topics. “Our success rests on our partnerships with manufacturers,” STC President Dr. Shirley A. Reed said. “When you are successful, we are successful.” Mike Pérez, who retires as McAllen city manager on March 31, also addressed the crowd in support of this opportunity. “This grant is a cornerstone for developing a stronger labor structure in our region,” he said. Featured, from left: Ernesto Ávila, Training Specialist, South Texas College; Dr. Mataz Alcoutlabi, Assistant Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering, the University of Texas-Pan American; Agustín
“Gus” García, Executive Director, Edinburg Edinburg Economic Development Corporation; Dr. Abdel Salan Hamdy Makhlouf, Professor, Department of Manufacturing Engineering, the University of Texas-Pan American; Mike Pérez, City Manager, City of McAllen;
Dr. Shirley A. Reed, President, South Texas College;
Ralph García, Vice President Business Recruitment, McAllen Economic Development Corporation; and
Carlos Margo, Interim Executive Director, STC NAAMREI. ••••••

Rep. R.D. “Bobby” Guerra, D-McAllen, featured fourth from left, in conjunction with LeFleur Transportation, on Wednesday, March 19, gathered outside the Veterans War Memorial of Texas in McAllen to hand over the keys of a donated van to local veterans and members of the Veterans War Memorial Foundation of Texas. Guerra was able to facilitate this donation through the assistance and continued partnership with Colonel Frank S. Plummer, U.S. Air Force (Ret.), President of the Veterans War Memorial Foundation of Texas, and Dr. Ricardo Chapa, a Marine Corps veteran and board member of the memorial foundation. “Giving back to our local veterans is the least I could do. The Veterans War Memorial Foundation helps remind us all of the ultimate sacrifice our service men and women have made in protecting our freedom,” said Guerra, who represents House District 41 in Hidalgo County. “I commend Col. Plummer and Dr. Chapa for all the good that they do for our veterans in the community. I would like to thank LeFleur Transportation for being instrumental in making this donation possible. It has been an honor working with members of the foundation, and I am very pleased to have fostered such great partnerships with our local veterans,” Guerra said. The state representative is flanked in this image by Chapa, who is featured third from left, and Plummer, who is featured fifth from left. The Veterans War Memorial Foundation depends on donations to help achieve its goal in completing the construction of their historical landmark, the state representative noted. See story later in this posting. ••••••

The Edinburg City Council on Wednesday, March 5, approved a city resolution calling on South Texas College to establish a site in the Delta Area as part of an ongoing legislative effort to expand higher education opportunities throughout Hidalgo County. The Delta Area features San Carlos, Elsa, Edcouch, La Villa and Monte Alto, communities that are connected by East State Highway 107 between Edinburg and Weslaco. The political support came after a presentation before the mayor and city council members by Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg, who has been working with Congressman Rubén Hinojosa, D-Mercedes, and Rep. Óscar Longoria, Jr., D-La Joya, to convince STC to establish a physical presence in that region. “South Texas College, which receives significant funding from all property taxpayers in Hidalgo and Starr counties, has an obligation to bring higher education opportunities and invest more of its resources in communities, such as in the Delta Area, which would most benefit from seeing a STC site in its own backyard,” said Canales, the Edinburg lawmaker whose House District 40 includes San Carlos and Elsa. Leaders supporting the expansion of STC into the Delta Area are not requesting any STC tax increase to achieve that goal. Featured from left: Ramiro Garza, Jr., Edinburg City Manager; David Torres, Member, Edinburg School Board; Councilmember Homer Jasso; Mayor Pro Tem Elías Longoria, Jr.; Councilmember Richard Molina; Mayor Richard García; Juan “Sonny” Palacios, President, Edinburg School Board; Carmen González, Member, Edinburg School Board; Councilmember J.R. Betancourt; Dr. Martín Castillo, Vice President, Edinburg School Board; Jaime Solis, Secretary, Edinburg School Board; Dr. René Gutiérrez, Superintendent, Edinburg School District; and Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg. See story later in this posting. ••••••

President Obama posthumously bestows Medal of Honor to World War II hero Pedro Cano of Edinburg

By DAVID A. DÍAZ On Tuesday, March 18, President Barack Obama awarded 24 Army veterans – including a posthumous national recognition for Pedro Cano of Edinburg – the Medal of Honor for conspicuous gallantry. Cano is the second Edinburg man to receive the nation’s highest military honor. On October 31, 1969, Alfredo “Freddy” Cantú González, a U.S. Marine, was posthumously bestowed the Medal of Honor for his actions, which led to his death in combat, during the Battle of Huế in 1968, one of the bloodiest and longest battles of the Vietnam War. Cano died in an automobile accident in Edinburg in 1952. Both men are buried at Hillcrest Memorial Park Cemetery in Edinburg. One of Cano’s daughters, Dominga Cano Pérez of Reedley, California, accepted the Medal of Honor on his behalf from President Obama during the ceremony held in the East Room of the White House. “This is the single largest group of service members to be awarded the Medal of Honor since the Second World War,” Obama said, adding that “their courage almost defies imagination.” Cano, who was a private, was recognized by the nation for his courageous actions while serving with Company C, 8th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Division during combat operations against an armed enemy in Schevenhutte, Germany on December 3, 1944. PREJUDICE PLAYED ROLE IN DELAYING HONORS According to the White House: Cano and the other veterans received the Medal of Honor in recognition of their valor during major combat operations in World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War. Each of these soldiers’ bravery was previously recognized by award of the Distinguished Service Cross, the nation’s second highest military award; that award will be upgraded to the Medal of Honor in recognition of their gallantry, intrepidity and heroism above and beyond the call of duty. In 2002, Congress, through the Defense Authorization Act, called for a review of Jewish American and Hispanic American veteran war records from World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War, to ensure those deserving the Medal of Honor were not denied because of prejudice. During the review, records of several soldiers of neither Jewish nor Hispanic descent were also found to display criteria worthy of the Medal of Honor. The 2002 Act was amended to allow these soldiers to be honored with the upgrade – in addition to the Jewish and Hispanic American soldiers. Congressman Rubén Hinojosa, D-Mercedes, whose congressional district features Edinburg, reflected on the importance of the national honor, not only to Cano and his family, but for the country. "Many wrongs have finally been made right in the case of Pedro Cano and twenty three other American heroes who have received the highest honor that a military serviceman or woman can earn, the Medal of Honor,” Hinojosa said. “For decades these men were not recognized for their outstanding feats of courage. They were never honored for the American lives they saved. Sadly, they were never honored for their extraordinary patriotism because of their ethnicity, the color of their skin and their religion.” • CANO WAS MEXICAN IMMIGRANT TO U.S. Hinojosa noted that Cano was an immigrant to the U.S whose birthplace was La Morita, Nuevo León, Mexico and was brought to Edinburg as an infant. “He fought for this country as a citizen of Mexico but made it known that he wanted to become a U.S. citizen,” Hinojosa said. “It wasn't until after Word War II that Pedro Cano was able to finally become a citizen of the country he fought for so valiantly. Today, President Obama awarded this long overdue Medal of Honor to his family. God bless Private Cano and the other men and all of their families for their sacrifices." The Medal of Honor is awarded to members of the Armed Forces who distinguishes themselves conspicuously by gallantry above and beyond the call of duty while: • Engaged in an action against an enemy of the United States; • Engaged in military operations involving conflict with an opposing foreign force; or • Serving with friendly foreign forces engaged in an armed conflict against an opposing armed force in which the United States is not a belligerent party. In 2009, Cano was also posthumously honored by his adopted home state with the Texas Legislative Medal of Honor, which is the highest military decoration that may be awarded to a member of the Texas military, including the Texas Air National Guard, the Texas Army National Guard, and Texas State Guard. The Texas Legislative Medal of Honor may only be awarded to federal military personnel, or state military personnel who serve in the Armed Forces of the State of Texas. Freddy González also was a previous recipient of the Texas Legislative Medal of Honor. Gov. Rick Perry came to Edinburg to participate in that event honoring the U.S. Marine. That state legislative measure for Cano – House Concurrent Resolution, 5 – was authored by Rep. Aaron Peña, D-Edinburg, and sponsored by Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, D-McAllen. Gov. Perry, who signed the measure, would later come to Edinburg for a major ceremony to deliver the Texas Legislative Medal of Honor to Cano’s family. • CANO LEGACY OF COURAGE HCR 5 provided key background on Cano’s life and remarkable acts of heroism, including the following highlights: The Texas Legislative Medal of Honor was established to honor gallant and intrepid service by a member of the state or federal military forces, and through his courageous actions in World War II, United States Army Private Pedro Cano distinguished himself as a worthy recipient of this prestigious award; and Cano was born to Nicholasa González Cano and Secundino Cano on July 7, 1920, in Nuevo León, Mexico. His family moved to Texas when he was an infant and spent the rest of his life, except for his time in the U.S. Army, in the Rio Grande Valley. After joining the armed forces during World War II, Cano was deployed to Europe, where he fought with the 4th Infantry Division. In December 1944, he was advancing with his company near Schevenhutte, Germany, when they came under withering fire from German machine guns. With his comrades pinned down, Cano worked his way forward alone, through a hail of fire and over more than 100 yards of heavily mined terrain, until he was within 30 feet of the nearest German emplacement. Firing one round with his hand-held rocket launcher, he destroyed the position and killed its two gunners and five supporting riflemen. He then moved on toward a second emplacement, which he attacked with his rifle and hand grenades, killing several more soldiers; and With another American company nearby similarly immobilized, Cano crept to within 15 yards of a third emplacement, killed its two gunners with a rocket, and then destroyed yet another emplacement and killed its gunners, enabling that company to also advance. • DISABLED AMERICAN HERO The next day, the Americans once more encountered heavy German resistance, and Cano again moved forward alone with his bazooka. Crossing open, fire-swept ground, he succeeded in suppressing three more machine-gun positions and killing their gunners, bringing to nearly 30 the number of German soldiers he killed during that two-day period. Sometime later, while on patrol, Cano and his platoon were surprised by German soldiers, who inflicted heavy casualties. Cano lay motionless on the ground until the assailants closed in, then tossed a grenade into their midst, wounding or killing all of them. It was in this engagement, or shortly afterward, that Cano sustained injuries that left him permanently disabled. In addition to a Purple Heart, he was awarded two Silver Stars and a Distinguished Service Cross, the nation's second-highest award for valor. Of the more than 16,100,000 individuals who served in the U.S. armed forces during World War II, only 5,059 were recognized with the DSC. Cano's most illustrious medal at the time, the Distinguished Service Cross, arrived at his home near Edinburg in the mail, prompting area citizens to plan a formal ceremony, complete with numerous other festivities. On April 26, 1946, Pedro Cano Day, some 4,000 local residents turned out to witness General Jonathan M. Wainwright present the medal to the former private. Also present on the dais were other high-ranking American and Mexican military officers, as well as civil officials and several other Rio Grande Valley military heroes. In his remarks, General Wainwright declared that he believed Pedro Cano actually deserved the highest recognition of all, the Medal of Honor. In May 1946, Cano realized a longtime aspiration when he received his American citizenship. Six years later, on June 24, 1952, he was killed in a traffic accident. He was survived by his wife, Herminia Garza Cano, his daughters, Dominga and María, and his son, Susano. Pedro Cano was buried with military honors in Edinburg, where today a street and an elementary school both bear his name. ••••••

Sen. Hinojosa praises Texas court ruling that would remove ban on same-sex marriage; Attorney General Abbott, Sen. Davis split on decision as they face off for Texas governor

By DAVID A. DÍAZ Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, D-McAllen, has praised a Wednesday, February 26 federal appeals court ruling in Austin that removes the ban on same-sex marriages in Texas, while Attorney General Greg Abbott, a Republican, and Sen. Wendy Davis, a Democrat, split on the decision handed down by the judge who was appointed by President Clinton, a Democrat. Abbott, who opposes same sex marriage, and Davis, who supports same-sex marriage, will be facing off in the November general election for the office of Texas governor. The ruling by Judge Orlando García, a former Democratic state representative from San Antonio (1983-1991), came after two gay couples challenged state law that prohibits gay and lesbian marriages in Texas. García said his order would not go into effect until the U.S. Supreme Court decides on the nationwide issue sometime in 2015, when rulings from Texas and other states are expected to be taken up by the nation’s highest court. "Without a rational relation to a legitimate governmental purpose, state-imposed inequality can find no refuge in our United States Constitution," García stated in his ruling. "These Texas laws deny plaintiffs access to the institution of marriage and its numerous rights, privileges, and responsibilities for the sole reason that Plaintiffs wish to be married to a person of the same sex." García was nominated for federal judge by President Bill Clinton on November 19, 1993, was confirmed by the United States Senate on March 10, 1994, and received his commission on March 11, 1994. The United States District Court For the Western District Of Texas is a Federal district court. The court convenes in San Antonio with divisions in Austin, Del Rio, El Paso, Midland, Pecos, and Waco. “Today’s court decision is not made in defiance of the great people of Texas or the Texas Legislature, but in compliance with the U.S. Constitution and Supreme Court precedent,” García wrote in the order. “Without a rational relation to a legitimate governmental purpose, state-imposed inequality can find no refuge in our U.S. Constitution.” Hinojosa, who in 2013 filed legislation that legalize civil unions in Texas, said he “wholeheartedly agreed” with the decision by the federal judge. “There are over 46,000 same-sex couples living in Texas. They live in our communities, work in our communities, attend church in our communities, and volunteer for our military where they fight for our freedom and liberty,” said Hinojosa. “They are our sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, and colleagues and friends. Same-sex couples should be allowed the freedom to form committed relationships and love one another, be treated with dignity and respect, and be given the same equal protections.” A civil union is a legally recognized union of a same-sex couple, with rights similar to those of marriage. Abbott said the federal appeals court decision by García is “an issue that will ultimately be resolved by a higher court. Texas will begin that process by appealing today’s ruling to the Fifth Circuit.” Abbott contended that the U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly ruled that states have the authority to define and regulate marriage. “This is an issue on which there are good, well-meaning people on both sides,” Abbott said. “I believe that all Texans who love one another and are committed to spending their lives together should be allowed to marry,” Davis said in a statement. Hinojosa, who has championed minority rights during his legislative career, said the ban on same-sex marriage is discriminatory. “In 2005, I led the fight against the resolution in the Texas Senate that would ultimately amend the Texas Constitution to recognize only ‘traditional’ one-man and one-woman marriages, effectively banning same-sex marriage,” Hinojosa said. “I argued then for the equal rights of all citizens. The resolution that passed did not empower anybody, but only robbed the rights of certain people.” During the regular session in 2013, Hinojosa authored Senate Bill 480 to repeal parts of the Texas Defense of Marriage Act to legalize civil unions. “Although the bill did not pass, I remain committed to the cause of marriage-equality. As a society we should not tolerate acts of discrimination, hate, or violence,” he said. According to Hinojosa, public opinion has evolved in Texas, as in the rest of the country. A majority of voters now support the legal recognition of same-gender couples. 69% of Texans believe there should be some form of legal recognition of same-gender relationships (civil unions and/or marriage). A poll conducted by the Respect for Marriage Coalition, 83% of Americans believe full marriage equality will occur within the next ten years. In 2013, Section 3 of the Federal Defense of Marriage Act defining marriage as one man and one woman was ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court of the United States. Hinojosa represents the counties of Nueces, Jim Wells, Brooks, and Hidalgo (part). He serves as Chairman of the Senate Committee on Intergovernmental Relations, Vice-Chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance, and is a member of the Senate Committees on Natural Resources, Criminal Justice, Agriculture, Rural Affairs and Homeland Security as well as the Legislative Budget Board (LBB) and the Sunset Advisory Commission. ••••••

Regional support for STC site in Delta Area increases with Edinburg City Council resolution secured by Rep. Canales

By DAVID A. DÍAZ The Edinburg City Council on Wednesday, March 5, approved a city resolution calling on South Texas College to establish a site in the Delta Area as part of an ongoing legislative effort to expand higher education opportunities throughout Hidalgo County. Leaders supporting the expansion of STC into the Delta Area are not requesting any STC tax increase to achieve that goal. The political support came after a presentation before the mayor and city council members by Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg, who has been working with Congressman Rubén Hinojosa, D-Mercedes, and Rep. Óscar Longoria, Jr., D-La Joya, to convince STC to establish a physical presence in that region. Longoria’s House District 35 includes Edcouch, La Villa, and Monte Alto. Hinojosa’s Congressional District 15, which covers Brooks, Duval, Guadalupe, Hidalgo, Jim Hogg, Karnes, Live Oak, and Wilson counties. includes Edcouch, Elsa, La Villa, and Monte Alto. Both Longoria and Hinojosa have ties to the STC Board of Trustees – Hinojosa was a founding member of the STC Board of Trustees, and Longoria served on the STC Board of Trustees before being elected to the Texas House of Representatives in November 2012. “South Texas College, which receives significant funding from all property taxpayers in Hidalgo and Starr counties, has an obligation to bring higher education opportunities and invest more of its resources in communities, such as in the Delta Area, which would most benefit from seeing a STC facility in its own backyard,” said Canales, the Edinburg lawmaker whose House District 40 includes San Carlos and Elsa. The Delta Area features San Carlos, Elsa, Edcouch, La Villa and Monte Alto, communities that are connected by East State Highway 107 between Edinburg and Weslaco. Canales echoed sentiments expressed by Edinburg City Councilmember J.R. Betancourt, who noted that Delta Area residents are closer to a prison used by the federal government – the East Hidalgo Detention Center in La Villa – than a university or college. “For many Delta Area residents, it would cost too much for transportation to the main STC campuses in McAllen, and the STC campus in Weslaco is land-locked and won’t be able to grow much more in the future,” the state lawmaker reflected. “But in the Delta Area, we have a talented and growing population which would be successful in a STC site in their home region. All we want is our fair share of the STC resources and opportunities.” STC covers Hidalgo and Starr counties, with its major campuses in McAllen, Weslaco and Rio Grande City. STC is scheduled to build a $4 million site in Pharr to provide education and expert training for the Valley’s police forces. Mayor Richard García, who has built a statewide reputation for helping unite South Texas on major legislative efforts, such as the establishment of a University of Texas medical school campus in Edinburg, endorsed the lawmakers’ efforts, and the city resolution was unanimously approved. Canales said he has spoken with members of the Edinburg School Board, reporting they, too, will soon consider a similar resolution to endorse the expansion of STC into the Delta Area. Canales’ efforts follow action by fellow lawmaker Longoria, who on Tuesday, February 25, secured support by the Hidalgo County Commissioners Court, which also endorsed the need for an STC site and eventual campus in the Delta Area. That county proclamation was authored by County Commissioner Precinct 4 Joseph Palacios of Edinburg and County Commissioner Precinct 1 A.C. Cuellar, Jr. of Weslaco. The campaign to hopefully lead to an STC campus in the Delta Area comes as Rio Grande City, McAllen, and Weslaco are about to reap the benefits of a $159 million bond election that was narrowly approved in early November by voters in Hidalgo and Starr counties. STC, which was created in the early 1990s, serves Hidalgo and Starr County. Canales said the group’s collective hope is that STC could consider using the former Mercado Delta facility, located in Edcouch but now abandoned, for its inaugural academic building. The Mercado Delta, a $3.5 million complex built with federal funding, was originally designed to bring upscale businesses and economic development to the Delta Area. But those high hopes eventually failed to materialize. The Hidalgo County proclamation took note of the entities and facilities that may be available to bring STC to the Delta Area. Edcouch-Elsa ISD, along with the Delta Region Revitalization Corporation Board of Directors, are proposing to offer land and buildings in and around the Mercado Delta to South Texas College for the establishment of a site that will offer courses for credit, certificates and training. The Hidalgo County proclamation also stated “Edcouch-Elsa ISD is committed to collaborate with the cities and school districts of Edcouch, Elsa, La Villa, Monte Alto ISD and La Villa ISD, as well as community organizations in the Delta Area, to provide educational, training, and professional development opportunities to students and adults.” STC would represent a steady, proven source of economic development for the area, Canales noted. “The Mercado Delta is an example of available facilities and other resources, including land, in the Delta Area for South Texas College,” Canales said. “By working together as a region, we will make the case for STC to invest in these vital communities in Hidalgo County. South Texas College features the Pecan Campus in McAllen, Mid-Valley Campus in Weslaco and Starr County Campus in Rio Grande City, which offer traditional college programs. The Nursing Allied Health Campus and the Technology Campus in McAllen provide specialized training for students entering the workforce. In addition, STC has Workforce Training Centers at the Technology Campus and the Mid-Valley and Starr County campuses. According to STC, the November 5, 2013 bond election, which featured two propositions, will have the following impact: Proposition 1 authorized the issuance of $159 million in bonds for construction and equipping of college buildings. It passed with a vote of 11,642 to 9,503. The $159,028,940 million in bonds will be used to pay for the construction and equipping of 564,548 sq. ft. of new classrooms, science and health care teaching labs, and technical training facilities at all STC locations. Renovation of some existing space, parking lots, roadways and infrastructure are included. The new funding from the bond election will be used for existing campuses, but also includes $4 million for a public safety facility in Pharr. Proposition 2 authorized an additional 3 cents maximum increase in the tax rate for the maintenance and operation of STC to accommodate increased student enrollment and expanded facilities. It passed with a vote of 11,167 to 10,118. The November 5, 2013 vote was the first for the college since September 2001, when voters approved $98.5 million to support continued growth and services through enlarged and improved facilities. Since then the college’s enrollment numbers have increased by more than 18,000 students to over 31,000 students in Fall 2013. The Edinburg Economic Development Corporation is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg City Council. It’s five-member governing board, which is appointed by the Edinburg City Council, includes Mayor Richard García as President, Fred Palacios as Secretary-Treasurer, and Felipe García, Jaime A. Rodríguez, and Dr. Havidán Rodríguez. For more information on the EEDC and the City of Edinburg, please log on to: www.EdbgCityLimits.com ••••••

Edinburg unemployment rate for January drops to 6.6 percent, with local workforce totaling 33,363

By DAVID A. DÍAZ Edinburg’s unemployment rate for January 2014 was 6.6 percent, an improvement over the December 2013 figure of 6.8 percent and the best showing for the month of January since 2009, when the unemployment rate for that month was 6.2 percent, the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation has announced. The EEDC is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg City Council. The unemployment rate is a key indicator of the strength of the local economy. For the month of January 2014, only McAllen has a better figure at 6.3 percent, while the other major communities in the Valley ranged from 7.3 percent (Harlingen) to 10.5 percent (Brownsville) for that month. In addition, Edinburg’s labor force was the third largest in the Valley, with 33,363 persons employed in the city in January 2014. The area’s two most populous cities, Brownsville and McAllen posted larger numbers at 62,488 and 58,310 individuals, respectively, employed in January 2014. All cities in Hidalgo County averaged a 10.5 percent unemployment rate in January 2014, while all cities in Cameron County averaged a 9.7 percent unemployment rate in January 2014. Texas’ seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell to 5.7 percent in January, the lowest since November 2008. It was down from 6.0 percent in December 2013, and remained below the nation’s January unemployment rate of 6.6 percent. The latest figures were released on Friday, March 7, by the Texas Workforce Commission. Mayor Richard García, who also serves as president of the EEDC Board of Directors, said the number of jobs in Edinburg is expected to grow, not only because the city’s population continues increasing, but as a result of Edinburg being a major center of education, government, health care, and retail. “Soon, hundreds of jobs will be added when Walmart opens its third store, located near the intersection of U.S. Expressway 281 (recently renamed I69-Central) and Canton Road just south of The Shoppes at Rio Grande, and that will help lower our unemployment rate,” the mayor noted. “Right across the street from The Shoppes at Rio Grande, HEB has announced its own plans to build a major new store, which will provide even more jobs for our community and region.” Recent Census estimates show that the population in Edinburg has grown by more than four thousand people, representing the largest percentage increase among other major cities in the Rio Grande Valley, the mayor added. “There are a lot of exciting things happening in Edinburg. It’s not uncommon for people to gravitate to where the action is,” García noted. “A few months down the road, when Walmart and HEB open their newest stores, and a year or so after that, when construction begins on new facilities for UT-RGV and the medical school, hundreds more jobs will be created from those projects alone, and they are only part of the growth we will be experiencing.” Agustín “Gus” García, Jr., the executive director for the EEDC, said the city’s gains are influenced by the economic and legislative policies put into place by the mayor, city council, EEDC board of directors and staff, and other major elected and appointed leaders in Edinburg. Mayor Richard García and Agustín “Gus” García are not related. “The creation of a UT medical school campus in Edinburg, the upcoming growth of UT-Pan American, the planned construction of a new county courthouse, a booming medical and health care sector that features nine hospitals, and other job-creation projects currently in the planning stages significantly help our city’s economy and qualify-of-life,” said Gus García. “Much of our labor force is young and smart, as evidenced by the fact that our local school district has been recognized by the Texas Education Agency as one of the best in the state, and the Edinburg school board was recognized last fall as the best school board in Texas,” the EEDC executive director continued. “Being the center of county government and higher education, along with highly-qualified city and school district professionals and staff, also means we have a very large number of well-educated and experienced employers and employees in our community.” UT-Pan American, soon to be renamed UT-Rio Grande Valley, is one of the Valley’s crown jewels, the EEDC executive director emphasized. “The university, and the soon-to-be built UT medical school – both which will have campuses throughout the Valley – are responsible for thousands of jobs, and thousands more to come. These two higher education institutions will continue to bring South Texas an incredible source of talent, energy, world-class education, and economic prosperity,” said Gus García. “The amazing future that awaits UT-Rio Grande Valley and the regional UT medical school in the next few years will benefit all of us, not only in the Valley, but throughout Texas and our nation.” The national, statewide, and Valleywide figures were compiled by the Texas Workforce Commission, a state agency that defines the unemployment rate as the number of persons unemployed, expressed as a percentage of the civilian labor force. The civilian labor force is that portion of the population age 16 and older employed or unemployed, and to be considered unemployed, a person has to be not working but willing and able to work and actively seeking work, the Texas Workforce Commission noted. Texas city data is not available prior to 2005 because of substantial methodology changes between 2004 and 2005 in estimating city unemployment statistics, Throughout 2013, Edinburg’s unemployment rates per month ranged from December’s low of 6.8 percent to a high of 8.1 percent in June – the only month that the jobless numbers for the city went above eight percent. But also in 2013, the city never experienced monthly unemployment rates in double-digits, such as Brownsville and Weslaco, which reported figures higher than 10 percent every month of the year. Edinburg’s labor market has always remained strong in deep South Texas, with only one month since 2005 – June 2011 – being the only month when the unemployment rate was in double-figures at 10 percent. More detailed information about the labor market and unemployment rates in Edinburg and neighboring major communities include: PERSONS EMPLOYED, JANUARY 2014 Brownsville: 62,488; McAllen: 58,310; Edinburg: 33,363; Mission: 29,833; Pharr: 25,788; Harlingen: 24,876; and Weslaco: 13,430 EDINBURG ANNUAL UNEMPLOYMENT RATES January 2014: 6.6 percent; January 2013: 7.7 percent; January 2012: 8.2 percent; January 2011: 9.2 percent; January 2010: 7.6 percent; January 2009: 6.2 percent; January 2008: 4.8 percent; January 2007: 4.9 percent; January 2006: 4.8 percent; and January 2005: 5.3 percent; PERSONS EMPLOYED BY YEAR 2013: 32,112; 2012: 32,012; 2011: 31,696; 2010: 31,128; 2009: 29,848; 2008: 29,458; 2007: 28,057; 2006: 26,791; and 2005: 25,497. The Texas Workforce Commission maintains a detailed accounting of employment trends for Edinburg and all other cities in the state on its website, located at: www.tracer2.com/cgi/dataanalysis/AreaSelection.asp?tableName=Labforce The Edinburg Economic Development Corporation is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg City Council. It’s five-member governing board, which is appointed by the Edinburg City Council, includes Mayor Richard García as President, Fred Palacios as Secretary-Treasurer, and Felipe García, Jaime A. Rodríguez, and Dr. Havidán Rodríguez. For more information on the EEDC and the City of Edinburg, please log on to: www.EdbgCityLimits.com ••••••

UT System seeks proposals for UT-Rio Grande Valley administrative headquarters

By JENNY LaCOSTE-CAPUTO The University of Texas System on Friday, March 14, posted a request for proposals (RFP) to seek offers for the most suitable site for the administrative headquarters for The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. The deadline to submit proposals is 5 p.m. on Thursday, May 15. The RFP may be downloaded from the UT System by logging on to: www.utsystem.edu/reo/RFPs/UTRGV/1725023_5%20UTRGV%20HQ%20RFP.PDF The administrative headquarters for UTRGV will need to accommodate about 100 employees, including staff, professional level and executive level personnel. Considerations will include a proposed site’s access to amenities and major highways – ideally in or near an established commercial district – and access to UTRGV’s campuses. The RFP is the first step in selecting a site for the future UT-RGV headquarters. UT System staff, assisted by a master planner for the new university, will review and evaluate all proposals and select a site or sites for further evaluation and negotiation. The UT System Board of Regents will make the final decision on selecting the location. In 2013, the Texas Legislature unanimously passed a bill to create UT-Rio Grande Valley, a historic move that will combine the resources and assets of UT-Brownsville and UT-Pan American and, for the first time, make it possible for residents of the Rio Grande Valley to benefit from the Permanent University Fund. The institution, which will provide an outstanding education to the students of South Texas, Texas, the United States and the world, will also be home to a school of medicine and will transform Texas and the nation by becoming a leader in student success, teaching, research and healthcare. “This is yet another step on the incredible journey to establish UT-RGV as a beacon of opportunity and excellence,” said UT System Chancellor Francisco G. Cigarroa, M.D. “We have come a long way, but there is much work ahead and we are ready for the task. We look forward to seeing the proposals and selecting what will best serve the students, faculty and staff at UTRGV. ••••••

UT System Chancellor Cigarroa announces he is stepping down to return to medicine full time

By JENNY LaCOSTE-CAPUTO Chancellor Francisco G. Cigarroa, M.D., a nationally renowned leader in higher education and pediatric transplant surgery, announced on Monday, February 10, that he will step down as head of The University of Texas System after a five-year tenure marked by groundbreaking accomplishments. Cigarroa will serve as chancellor until his successor is named, and afterward will become the head of pediatric transplant surgery at the UT Health Science Center at San Antonio. Cigarroa will also serve as a special liaison to the Board of Regents to advise on the development of the new University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley and medical school, Chairman Paul Foster said. Before being named the first Hispanic chancellor of the UT System in late 2008, Cigarroa served as president of the UT Health Science Center at San Antonio from 2000 to 2008. Cigarroa said at a news conference on February 10 that it always had been his plan to return to medicine full time, but he did not know the perfect opportunity at the UT Health Science Center at San Antonio would unexpectedly present itself in late 2013. When Cigarroa decided to step down as president of UT Health Science Center at San Antonio in 2008, he intended to resume performing surgeries full time. About the same time, former chancellor Mark Yudof left the System to become president of the University of California System, and the UT System Board of Regents launched a search for a new chancellor. “When initially approached by regents to consider the chancellorship more than five years ago, I was inclined to say no, but I considered the similarities between health and education,” Cigarroa said. “Like surgery, education saves lives on many levels, and I thought I could bring value to the UT System with that perspective in mind.” But Cigarroa made it clear to the Board of Regents from the beginning that he would return to medicine at some point and made sure that he would be allowed to take surgical call at least once a month at University Hospital in San Antonio. “I’m completing a circle. It has been such a wonderful privilege to work with countless and exceptional professionals throughout the UT System. Together we have been able to impact many lives through the creation of new and transformational initiatives,” he said. “Now it’s time to return to saving one life at a time. “Professionally, my plan was to eventually go back to being a full-time transplant surgeon, and I knew there would be a natural time to do so. That time is now,” he added. “The longer I wait to go back full time, the harder it will be to retool.” Cigarroa said he’s proud of what he’s accomplished over the last five years with the full partnership of the Board of Regents, the System’s 15 presidents, his executive officers at the UT System and UT students, staff and faculty. During his tenure, Cigarroa has championed student access and success. In 2011, the Board of Regents unanimously adopted Cigarroa’s Framework for Advancing Excellence, a strategic action plan to advance the UT System’s 15 academic and health institutions. Two years later, 95 percent of the Framework has been fully implemented and the plan has received national acclaim. Cigarroa was also instrumental in the effort to establish a new university and medical school in the Rio Grande Valley. The Texas Legislature approved the initiative in 2013, and the University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley is scheduled to enroll its first class in the fall of 2015. His leadership was also pivotal in creating the Dell School of Medicine at UT Austin – fulfilling a long-held dream of integrating a medical school with UT’s flagship academic university. UT System Board of Regents Chairman Paul Foster said he was disappointed to receive the news but was pleased to hear Cigarroa is staying within the UT family. “I do not know any leader who has accomplished so much so quickly or been as effective as Chancellor Cigarroa, navigating a complex university system during a time of significant discussion on higher education nationally,” Foster said. “I have the highest admiration and respect for Chancellor Cigarroa, and his leadership has had a tremendous and profound impact at all of our institutions,” Foster added. “He is fully committed to the success of our students, staff and faculty. He’s both a visionary and a man of action who gave 100 percent of himself each and every day, tirelessly. I know I speak for all regents when I say we will be forever grateful for his service.” Because Cigarroa has graciously agreed to stay on until his successor is named, it will give the Board of Regents enough time to find a new, permanent chancellor, Foster said. “It goes without saying that it will be challenging to find a successor for Chancellor Cigarroa, who has such a high level of understanding of how both academic and health institutions function,” Foster said. “But fortunately, Chancellor Cigarroa will be here to provide us counsel and guidance and will stay engaged as the Regents’ special liaison to see the new university and medical school in the Rio Grande Valley become a reality. And when he does leave for San Antonio, I’ll know where to find him.” ••••••

Public invited to offer nominations for new chancellor of the University of Texas System

By JENNY LaCOSTE-CAPUTO A contract with an executive search firm that will assist in identifying the next University of Texas System Chancellor has been signed, Board of Regents Chairman Paul L. Foster announced on Wednesday, March 12. Wheless Partners, a national executive search firm, has been selected to assist a regents’ search committee to find a successor to Chancellor Francisco G. Cigarroa, M.D. Mike “J.R.” Wheless, president of Wheless Partners’ Texas operation, will lead the search. Cigarroa announced his resignation in January. He will remain in his position until a successor is selected and then plans to return to the UT Health Science Center–San Antonio (UTHSC-SA) to serve as director of pediatric transplant surgery. Before serving as chancellor, Cigarroa served for nine years as president of UTHSC-SA. The firm will immediately begin its part in a national search seeking the best qualified candidates. It will also advise the committee in developing a timeline and interview schedule. Assisting Foster, who will chair the search committee’s efforts, will be Board Vice Chairmen Gene Powell and Steve Hicks. Foster indicated he expects a new chancellor will be selected this summer, and that he or she will begin duties by the beginning of the 2014 fall semester. Cigarroa, who has served as the system’s top executive for the last five years, said the decision to leave was a difficult one, but he has accomplished the goals he set for himself and the System and is eager to return to the business of saving lives, one patient at a time. Foster said Cigarroa will be a tough act to follow, but the board is committed to finding a stellar candidate. “There is no more important role for this board than the selection of a chancellor, the chief executive of one of the nation’s largest and most complex higher education enterprises,” Foster said. The search for the new chancellor will be thorough, inclusive and open, and as part of that process, the System has created a web page to receive public comment and nominations, as well as to offer updates about the search committee’s progress and timelines. The web page is accessible at: www.utsystem.edu/board-of-regents/chancellor-search Foster said the committee will also reach out and seek the direct input of UT’s academic and health institution presidents, faculty, students, staff, alumni and supporters to find the best candidate. “The Board of Regents is fully committed to finding a new chancellor who is worthy of leading one of the finest and most prominent public universities in America and the world. We will not settle until we have the right person for this extraordinary responsibility,” Foster said. ••••••

Texas Veterans Caucus announces new proof of service process, Vietnam Veterans Monument to be dedicated on March 29 at Texas Capitol

By RICHARD SÁNCHEZ Honorably discharged veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces or Texas National Guard can now show proof of their veteran status on state ID cards, driver licenses, and concealed handgun licenses, Rep. Sergio Muñoz Jr., D-Mission, has announced. According to the Texas Veteran's Caucus, veterans can utilize these forms of identification to show proof of their service history, as well as take advantage of various discounts at stores and restaurants. Further information about the process can be obtained from the Department of Public Safety website at http://www.dps.texas.gov/DriverLicense/vetServices.htm. "I am very pleased that Texas is able to offer this service to our veterans," said Muñoz. "It is important that we allow honorably discharged veterans to display their status as efficiently as possible so that they are able to avail themselves of benefits, services, and discounts that they deserve." The Texas Capitol will also be hosting a dedication ceremony of the Vietnam Veterans Monument on "Vietnam Veterans Day", scheduled for Saturday, March 29, on the Capitol grounds. For more information about the monument and the dedication event, please visit http://www.BuildTheMonument.org. "Vietnam Veterans will finally have a permanent memorial on the Texas Capitol grounds that will honor their service and sacrifice,” Muñoz said of the monument. “I am proud to have supported this effort for Vietnam veterans and their families." Muñoz has been a member of the Texas Veteran's Caucus since his first term in 2011. The Texas Veterans Caucus is a bipartisan, bicameral group of State legislators who have served in the armed forces or have an interest in issues affecting veterans and their families. The Texas Veterans Caucus was formed to serve as an educational platform for communication between the legislators and the community. ••••••

Rep. Bobby Guerra facilitates van donation by LeFleur Transportation that will help raise funds for Veterans War Memorial of Texas

By AISA SHOWERY Rep. R.D. “Bobby” Guerra, D-McAllen, in conjunction with LeFleur Transportation, on Wednesday, March 19, gathered outside the Veterans War Memorial of Texas in McAllen to hand over the keys of a donated van to local veterans and members of the Veterans War Memorial Foundation of Texas. Guerra was able to facilitate this donation through the assistance and continued partnership with Colonel Frank S. Plummer, U.S. Air Force (Ret.), President of the Veterans War Memorial Foundation of Texas, and Dr. Ricardo Chapa, a Marine Corps veteran and board member of the memorial foundation. “Giving back to our local veterans is the least I could do. The Veterans War Memorial Foundation helps remind us all of the ultimate sacrifice our service men and women have made in protecting our freedom,” said Guerra, who represents House District 41 in Hidalgo County. House District 41 features parts or all of Alton, Doffing, Edinburg, La Homa, McAllen, Mission, Palmhurst, Pharr, and Sharyland. “I commend Col. Plummer and Dr. Chapa for all the good that they do for our veterans in the community. I would like to thank LeFleur Transportation for being instrumental in making this donation possible. It has been an honor working with members of the foundation, and I am very pleased to have fostered such great partnerships with our local veterans,” Guerra said. The Veterans War Memorial Foundation depends on donations to help achieve its goal in completing the construction of their historical landmark, the state representative noted. “I am honored to be a part of the memorial that pays tribute to the memory of all those who have fallen to keep us free,” Guerra reflected. Joe Cura, State Director for Le Fleur Transportation, said his firm was also proud to be part of the donation. “LeFleur Transportation is grateful for the opportunity to assist the Veterans War Memorial of Texas,” said Cura. “We thank the veterans of South Texas for their service to our country. It would be a great honor to continue to make contributions to an organization such as this.” The Foundation plans to auction off the van in order to raise funds to help with the continuation of construction of the Veterans War Memorial, located on 29th Street and Galveston Avenue in McAllen. The mission of the Veterans War Memorial Foundation of Texas is to provide an educational, cultural, and historical facility to assist future generations, especially children, to learn about the sacrifices of those who died in the service of their country, the value of their legacy, and the important lessons that must be learned from those sacrifices. Events on Veterans Day, Memorial Day and Pearl Harbor Day are held each year with the support of the City of McAllen where veterans, teachers, students, and all community members are encouraged to attend to honor all veterans for their service and remember the sacrifice of those who gave their lives for this country. More information about the Veterans War Memorial of Texas is available online at: www.mcallen.net/veterans/default.aspx For donations, individuals may contact Plummer at 956/631-2511 or plummerf@att.net for more information. ••••••

Two Hidalgo County developers charged with violating state colonias laws

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott on Wednesday, March 19, charged two Hidalgo County developers with unlawfully subdividing and leasing residential lots in violation of state colonias prevention laws. Under Texas law, unincorporated residential subdivisions near the U.S.-Mexico border that lack adequate water and sewage services are commonly referred to as colonias. Most colonias lie outside city limits or in isolated areas of a county and lack even basic infrastructure and utilities. The state’s enforcement action, which was filed in Travis County, names José Pérez and Rosa Hilda Pérez as defendants. Court documents filed by the state charged the defendants with unlawfully subdividing two residential lots in Hidalgo County and leasing one single-family home and up to 10 mobile home units that lacked proper water and wastewater infrastructure. The Victoria Acres mobile homes are leased to individuals under oral, month-to-month agreements. The defendants are also charged with failing to obtain plat approval from local officials. According to investigators, the residences created by the defendants are unfit for human habitation and constitute a public health nuisance. The subdivision tenants’ drinking water is distributed in an unsanitary manner via a network of garden hoses attached to a single outdoor water spigot. Additionally, the Hidalgo County Health Department identified the release of wastewater from one of the lots into a small ditch – creating a public health hazard. The Office of the Attorney General obtained a temporary restraining order that requires the defendants to cease leasing new spaces, and cease accepting rent for the leased spaces. The state is also seeking a temporary injunction that requires defendants to provide alternative sources for drinking water and wastewater services at the subdivision until the court issues a permanent injunction. The Office of the Attorney General is also seeking a permanent injunction that prohibits the defendants from subdividing, leasing or selling the tracts of land until the necessary platting and infrastructure requirements are met. Additionally, the state is seeking civil penalties of up to $15,000 for each improperly leased lot. Before purchasing or leasing residential property outside city limits, border area residents should check with county officials to confirm the property was legally subdivided and that the developer has made necessary arrangements to supply required infrastructure. Texans can file complaints with the Office of the Attorney General against developers or sellers who fail to provide water and wastewater services or who subdivide land without first obtaining necessary county approval. Complaints can be filed on the Office of the Attorney General’s website at: www.texasattorneygeneral.gov or by calling (800) 252-8011. ••••••

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Email This News Story Email This News Story | Print This News Story Print This News Story | December 3rd, 2013 by Legislativemedia@aol.com

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Buy Zithromax Without Prescription, Edinburg leaders, along with state legislators and top officials with The University of Texas System, were on hand in Harlingen at the UT Regional Academic Health Center on Wednesday, November 20, to participate in the symbolic distribution of almost $200 million for higher education in the Valley, including $124 million that will be used for the first major phase of a UT medical school in Edinburg. “These funds represent the fuel that will begin to power the economic engine that will drive South Texas into the future,” said Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg, featured center. “This will unquestionably be the first of many distributions from the Permanent University Fund (PUF) which South Texas has long sought, more so deserved, and is finally receiving, thanks to decades of work by selfless leaders who dared to dream what has become a reality.” Mayor Pro Tem Elías Longoria, Jr. and Dr. Havidán Rodríguez, Provost for the University of Texas-Pan American who also serves as a member of the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation (EEDC) Board of Directors, also participated in the public event, Buy Zithromax Without Prescription. “This is just the beginning. The taps have been opened,” said Mayor Pro Tem Elías Longoria, Jr., who attended the mid-afternoon gathering. “This is such great progress for us. We know this is going to happen. Buy Zithromax Without Prescription, And now, we start touching and feeling something solid and concrete. You know that we’re there, or getting there to that point of completion. We’re excited.” Rodríguez shared the sentiments. “It’s incredible. This is an opportunity to bring new students to the Rio Grande Valley, specifically to Edinburg, to ensure that they get an excellent education here,” he said. “In addition, we know that students that get medical degrees in a certain region, and do their medical residencies in a certain region, close to three-quarters of them remain in that region, Buy Zithromax Without Prescription. So that means more doctors for the Rio Grande Valley.” Featured, from left: Ernest Aliseda of McAllen, a member of the UT System Board of Regents; Sen. Eddie Lucio, Jr., buy cheap Zithromax, D-Brownsville; Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg; Dr. Robert S. Buy Zithromax Without Prescription, Nelsen, President, The University of Texas-Pan American; Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, D-McAllen; and Rep. Robert “Bobby” Guerra, D-McAllen. See story later in this posting.

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Eliminating “Pan American” from the name of the new university/medical school system being developed for the Rio Grande Valley is not required by state law, and would devalue the diplomas of upwards of 70,000 alumni, says former Rep. Roberto Gutiérrez, D-McAllen. The veteran lawmaker, featured here on Thursday, October 24, at the Student Union Building at The University of Texas-Pan American, has shared his reasons in a letter, dated November 29, addressed to Paul L, Buy Zithromax Without Prescription. Foster, Chairman of the UT System Board of Regents. That landmark legislation – which includes the Valley’s other state senators and state representatives as joint authors or cosponsors – requires the University of Texas System to establish a new university and medical school that will combine the talent, assets and resources of UT-Pan American, UT-Brownsville and the UT Regional Academic Health Centers in Edinburg, Harlingen and Brownsville. But first, the new university needs a name, and Senate Bill 24 places the responsibility of selecting the name on the nine-member UT System Board of Regents, which includes Ernest Aliseda of McAllen. SB 24, authored by Sen. Buy Zithromax Without Prescription, Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, D-McAllen, and sponsored by Rep. René Oliveira, D-Brownsville, was approved earlier this year by the Texas Legislature. “Sadly, Purchase Zithromax, there is a broad misconception that SB 24 prohibits keeping the name The University of Texas-Pan American or Pan American,” Gutiérrez noted. “Many alumni have revealed to me that they have not spoken out because they have been led to believe that abolishing that name ‘is a done deal.’ Nothing could be further from the truth.” See story later in this posting.

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More than 20 news media outlets from across the state ran stories about The University of Texas System Board of Regents’ unanimous decision on Thursday, November 14, to send $196 million from the Permanent University Fund to South Texas. Francisco Cigarroa, M.D., the Chancellor of the UT System, has helped champion the creation of a UT medical school in the Valley in part by being readily accessible to news reporters. In this image, taken at the UT-Pan American Student Union Building on Thursday, October 24, Cigarroa was interviewed by Laura García, who writes for the Valley Town Crier, the Edinburg Review, and www.YourValleyVoice.com, and Daniela Díaz, who writes for the Monitor in McAllen, Buy Zithromax Without Prescription. The PUF appropriations will construct new facilities in Cameron and Hidalgo counties, including a $70 million Science Building at UT-Pan American and a $54 million UT medical school classroom building in Edinburg, as part of the UT System initiative to establish a new university and medical school in the Rio Grande Valley. The regents’ vote was historic because it marks the first time PUF money will go to South Texas.

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On the heels of successful programs to increase funding for research at UT’s emerging research institutions, The University of Texas System Board of Regents unanimously voted Thursday, November 14, to begin a similar program for UT System’s four comprehensive universities. The regents authorized $1 million from the Permanent University Fund to begin the UT System Research Incentive Program for the Comprehensive Universities, or UTrip-CU. The UT System’s comprehensive universities include UT-Brownsville, UT-Pan American, UT-Permian Basin and UT-Tyler. Buy Zithromax Without Prescription, The UTrip-CU money will be used to augment philanthropic gifts that support research at these four institutions. Ernest Aliseda of McAllen, featured third from left in this image taken at UT-Pan American on Thursday, October 24, is one of the nine regents serving on the UT governing board. Featured, from left: Rudy Ramirez, Executive Director, Edinburg Housing Authority; Debbie Crane Aliseda, President, McAllen School Board; Ernest Aliseda, Member, Zithromax description, UT System Board of Regents; Hidalgo County Judge Ramon Garcia; Hidalgo County Precint 2 Commissioner Héctor “Tito” Palacios; and Francisco Cigarroa, M.D., Chancellor, The University of Texas System. See story later in this posting.

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A new state law to ensure punishment for online predators who use Internet communications to “groom” children for sexual assault will be among the legislative priorities for Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg, featured with one of his children, Terry Andrés Canales II. “As a parent, I want to make sure that law enforcement has every tool necessary to catch and prosecute online predators,” he said, Buy Zithromax Without Prescription. “Next session (in 2015), I will work with my fellow lawmakers to pass legislation that will not fall victim to a legal argument that the law violates the First Amendment right of free speech, as we have recently seen. I feel it is of the utmost importance that the Texas Legislature passes a viable and enforceable law to punish online predators in order to protect our children." The proliferation of child predators using the Internet to target young victims has become a national crisis, according to the Office of the Texas Attorney General. A study shows one in seven children will be solicited for sex online in the next year. See story later in this posting.

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Longtime public servant and community activist Elvia Ríos, 64, earlier this fall officially filed for Justice of the Peace Precinct 2, Place 2 in Hidalgo County for the March 2014 Democratic Party primary election. Buy Zithromax Without Prescription, Lupe Silva (Aboud) is her campaign treasurer. Ríos, who was born and raised in McAllen, said if elected, she plans to be a proactive judge who works with educators, community groups, and law enforcement to address situations that lead to the cases heard in court. “My strong sense of fairness and integrity will guide both my campaign and judicial decisions,” Ríos said. "I welcome the community's input and plan to take advantage of every opportunity to go out and meet the citizens of Precinct 2, Place 2. The time is right for me to give back to my community.” Ríos said she views the Justice of the Peace court as "the people’s court.” The Justice of the Peace Precinct 2, Zithromax mg, Place 2 covers McAllen, Pharr, San Juan, Alamo, and the City of Hidalgo. JPs perform the functions of a magistrate and conduct inquests, Buy Zithromax Without Prescription. A justice of the peace presides over truancy cases, traffic violations, hears civil suits under $10,000, issues arrest warrants, and performs marriages. See story later in this posting.

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The leadership of the 2013-2014 Board of Directors for the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce was recently announced as part of that organization’s work on behalf of the community. The new board members were formally welcomes during the group’s annual Installation Banquet, held at the ECHO Hotel and Conference Center on Thursday, October 24. Dina Araguz, seated, center, who is the immediate past Chair of the Board of Directors, and Robert McGurk, standing, right, is the new Chair of the Edinburg Chamber’s governing board, are featured in this image. Buy Zithromax Without Prescription, “I am very excited about our new Board of Directors,” said McGurk, who is Vice President of Elsa State Bank and Trust Co. in Edinburg. “We have a great group of individuals who are passionate about the Chamber and the City of Edinburg. We will continue to move forward and strengthen our bond with the community, our partners and the members we serve.” Featured, seated, from left: Jennifer Garza, Chief Executive Officer, Edinburg Regional Medical Center; Dina Araguz, Zithromax from canada, Branch Manager, International Bank of Commerce in Edinburg; and Lucy Canales, Partner, Linebarger Goggan Blair & Sampson, LLP. Standing, from left: Jacob De León, Funeral Director, Memorial Funeral Home; Martin V. Baylor, Vice President for Business Affairs, The University of Texas-Pan American; and Edinburg Municipal Judge Toribio "Terry" Palacios, Chair-Elect of the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and Senior Partner, Law Office of García, Quintanilla & Palacios in McAllen; and Robert McGurk.McGurk has previously served as a Loaned Executive for United Way of South Texas, the Texas Association of Sports Officials, City of Edinburg Architecture Review Board, Edinburg Kiwanis Board (President), and Weslaco Kiwanis Board (President), Buy Zithromax Without Prescription. He currently serves as the Chairman of the City of Edinburg Planning and Zoning Commission.

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More than 170 community members and other local leaders attended the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce’s annual Installation Banquet at the ECHO Hotel and Conference Center, held on Thursday, October 24, which included the appointment of the chamber’s Board of Directors for 2013-2014. Several of the top leaders for the governing board included, from left: Elva Jackson Garza, a former member of the Board of Directors for Edinburg Economic Development Corporation, and Vice President and Marketing Manager, Edwards Abstract and Title Co.; Maggie Kent, Individual Member; and Marissa Castañeda, Chief Operations Officer, Doctors Hospital at Renaissance. Standing, from left: J.J. Flores, Chorizo De San Manuel, Inc.; Greg Martin: Martin Farm & Ranch Supply Inc., Hiren Govind, Best Western Plus-Edinburg Inn and Suites; and Marty Martin, DR – Broker, Rio Valley Realty.

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The Board of Directors of the Rio Grande Valley Hispanic Chamber of Commerce recently attended a strategic planning session, Order Zithromax from mexican pharmacy, focusing on updating the group’s program of work, updating their image, and improving their member benefits. Buy Zithromax Without Prescription, They discussed the chamber’s mission statement and founding principles, which focus on helping the small business owner.  Since then, the RGV Hispanic Chamber of Commerce has obtained both small and large members from throughout the Valley as well as corporate partners, both local and national.  In refreshing their image, a new chamber logo was approved. More information on the RGV Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and membership is available by calling 928-0060.  The offices are located at 3313 N. McColl Road in McAllen, Buy Zithromax Without Prescription. Featured with the new logo are, front row, from left, RGV Hispanic Chamber of Commerce leaders Jenise Díaz, Vice Chair of Public Relations; Adelita Muñoz, Vice Chair of Women’s Issues; Cynthia M. Sakulenzki, RGVHCC President and CEO; Ronnie Bernal, Chair Elect; Marti Miller, Secretary; and Yoli Gonzalez, Vice Chair of Events.  Back row, from left: Hari Namboodiri, Advisory Board; Travis French, Vice Chair of Small Business & Economic Development; Brent Smith, Treasurer; Pete Morales, Vice Chair of International Affairs and Dr. Havidán Rodríguez, Vice Chair of Education.

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Leadership Edinburg (LE) Class XXV recently completed a series of seminars designed to help its members gain knowledge in areas that have a direct impact on their community. Buy Zithromax Without Prescription, One of their goals involves raising money to complete projects relating to the improvement of the historic Southern Pacific Depot, which serves as the home for the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce. Featured in this image, taken at the Central Station of the Edinburg Fire Department, are, Zithromax trusted pharmacy reviews, kneeling, from left: Ramiro Rodríguez, Edinburg Fire Department; Serafín Castro, Magic Valley Electric Cooperative; Karen K. Pittman, International Bank of Commerce; and Frank Arévalo, Elsa State Bank & Trust Co. in Edinburg. Standing, from left: Agustín Lozano, Jr., Bert Ogden Dealer Group; Brittany N. Sawyer, Card Service Providers; Nicolás A, Buy Zithromax Without Prescription. Lerma, Card Service Providers; and Jonathan J. Voje. The University of Texas-Pan American; Stephanie Ozuna, The University of Texas Pan- American; Barbara C. Reynolds, Echo Hotel & Conference Center; Mario García, South Texas Independent School District-BETA; Rogelio E. Buy Zithromax Without Prescription, Chanes, Teach for America-Rio Grande Valley Office; and Mario Lizcano, Doctors Hospital at Renaissance. See story later in this posting.

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The City of Edinburg and The Edinburg Economic Development Corporation on Friday, November 1, announced plans for the construction of an events arena to be built just off Interstate 69 Central (U.S. Expressway 281). The announcement, which included Edinburg City Councilmember Richard Molina, featured left, and Edinburg City Councilmember Homer Jasso, Jr. was made during a press conference held at Edinburg City Hall, Buy Zithromax Without Prescription. Zithromax used for, Mayor Richard H. García noted that not only will this project enhance the economy by millions of dollars but it will also improve the quality of life for Edinburg residents and visitors. “People want to visit and live in cities where they can get educated, where they can work and where they can play. We’ve created more than 3,500 jobs in the last three years, we have the University of Texas-Pan American about to become an even larger UT system campus complete with a medical school. Buy Zithromax Without Prescription, Now, we will also have a place for entertainment.” City leaders say the arena will not only host professional basketball games and other sporting events but will also serve as a location for concerts, graduations and meetings. A name for the arena has not been determined, but the Edinburg mayor says that in itself will create investment opportunities for companies. The 115,799 square-foot arena will be built on 40 acres of land located on the east side of I-69C on Alberta Road. It will feature 8,500 seats and 2,400 parking spaces. The entire property includes nine additional pad sites for the development of a future hotel, restaurants and more parking spaces. Construction cost for the arena is estimated at $50 million with a boost to the local economy of $96 million during the construction phase and $45 million annually once operational, Buy Zithromax Without Prescription. It is expected to create approximately 150 new jobs. See lead story in this posting.

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Edinburg announces construction of $50 million arena that will anchor major new development along U.S. Expressway 281


By REBECCA SWEAT

The City of Edinburg and The Edinburg Economic Development Corporation on Friday, November 1, announced plans for the construction of an events arena to be built just off of Interstate 69 Central (U.S. Expressway 281). Buy Zithromax Without Prescription, The announcement was made during a press conference held at Edinburg City Hall.

Mayor Richard H. García also announced that the anchor tenant at the arena will be the Defending NBA Development League Champion Rio Grande Valley Vipers. The Vipers will begin playing in the new facility in 2017.

“We are excited to accept the invitation from the City of Edinburg and Edinburg Economic Development Corporation to be a part of this exciting new project,” said Bert Garcia, president of the RGV Vipers. “Just a few months ago we announced the building of the Edinburg Sports and Wellness Center, which will serve as our primary practice facility, Buy Zithromax Without Prescription. The Vipers look forward to being an even larger part of the Edinburg community by being a part of this arena project.”

Mayor García and Bert García are not related.

The 115,799 square-foot arena will be built on 40 acres of land located on the east side of I-69C on Alberta Road. It will feature 8, Zithromax dose,500 seats and 2,400 parking spaces. The entire property includes nine additional pad sites for the development of a future hotel, restaurants and more parking spaces. Buy Zithromax Without Prescription, Construction cost for the arena is estimated at $50 million with a boost to the local economy of $96 million during the construction phase and $45 million annually once operational. It is expected to create approximately 150 new jobs.

Mayor García noted that not only will this project enhance the economy by millions of dollars but it will also improve the quality of life for Edinburg residents and visitors.

“People want to visit and live in cities where they can get educated, where they can work and where they can play. We’ve created more than 3,500 jobs in the last three years, we have the University of Texas-Pan American about to become an even larger UT system campus complete with a medical school. Now, we will also have a place for entertainment.”

City leaders say the arena will not only host professional basketball games and other sporting events but will also serve as a location for concerts, graduations and meetings, Buy Zithromax Without Prescription. A name for the arena has not been determined, but the Edinburg mayor says that in itself will create investment opportunities for companies.

Meanwhile, EEDC Director Gus García Jr. (no relation to the mayor or Vipers president) said this latest development is part of major economic advances being developed as a result of a strong partnership between the Edinburg City Council and the EEDC, which is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg City Council.

“This is a culmination of several entities coming together to create entertainment, hotels, restaurants and jobs. Buy Zithromax Without Prescription, We are very excited to have this group invest in Edinburg,” said the EEDC executive director. “I’m excited to say this is the first of many projects the EEDC and the City Council tasked me with when I came on board in June. Talks began four months ago and we are now seeing the fruits of that labor.”

Gus García Jr. said this latest news reflect “exciting times for Edinburg. Get ready for several new project announcements coming very soon.”

Currently, the RGV Vipers play at the State Farm Arena in the City of Hidalgo, and have three years remaining on the current contract.

“The Vipers have called State Farm Arena home for our first six seasons, Buy Zithromax Without Prescription. It has been a great experience and we look forward to fulfilling the current three-year agreement.” Vipers President Bert García said. “The move to the new arena in 2017 will still allow for us to be in a central RGV location, and will also offer more seating and sponsorship options for the team, which will help the organization generate more revenue and grow.”

For more information about the RGV Vipers 2013-14 season and season ticket information, Where can i find Zithromax online, call the Vipers at 956-972-1144 or visit www.rgvipers.com.

The two-time champion Rio Grande Valley Vipers are the NBA Development League affiliate of the NBA Houston Rockets. The Vipers won the NBA Development League Championship in 2010 and 2013. Buy Zithromax Without Prescription, In 2013, the Vipers were also named the NBA Development League Development Champions, which recognizes the team that best embodies the NBA D-League’s goals of developing NBA-caliber basketball talent via call-ups and assignments.

The NBA Development League is the NBA’s official minor league, preparing players, coaches, officials, trainers, and front-office staff for the NBA while acting as the league’s research and development laboratory. Featuring 14 teams with direct affiliations to NBA franchises, the league offers professional basketball at an affordable price in a fun, family-friendly atmosphere.

Thirty percent of players in the NBA at the end of the 2012-13 season boasted NBA D-League experience. In fostering the league’s connection to the community, its teams, players and staff promote health and wellness, support local needs and interests, and assist in educational development through NBA D-League Cares programs. Fans can watch all NBA D-League games on nbadleague.com, Buy Zithromax Without Prescription.

The Edinburg Economic Development Corporation is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg City Council. It’s five-member governing board, which is appointed by the Edinburg City Council, includes Mayor Richard García as President, Fred Palacios as Secretary-Treasurer, and Felipe García, Jaime A. Rodríguez, and Dr. Havidán Rodríguez. Buy Zithromax Without Prescription, For more information on the EEDC and the City of Edinburg, please log on to: www.EdbgCityLimits.com

••••••

Edinburg city leaders on hand for distribution of $124 million for first major phase of upcoming University of Texas medical school in Edinburg


By DAVID A. DÍAZ

Edinburg leaders, along with state legislators and top officials with The University of Texas System, were on hand in Harlingen at the UT Regional Academic Health Center on Wednesday, November 20, order Zithromax no prescription, to participate in the symbolic distribution of almost $200 million for higher education in the Valley, including $124 million that will be used for the first major phase of a UT medical school in Edinburg.

“This is just the beginning. The taps have been opened,” said Mayor Pro Tem Elías Longoria, Jr., who attended the mid-afternoon gathering. “This is such great progress for us. We know this is going to happen, Buy Zithromax Without Prescription. And now, we start touching and feeling something solid and concrete. You know that we’re there, or getting there to that point of completion. We’re excited.”

Dr. Havidán Rodríguez, Provost for the University of  Texas-Pan American, also serves as a member of the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation (EEDC) Board of Directors, also participated in the public event. Buy Zithromax Without Prescription, “It’s incredible. This is an opportunity to bring new students to the Rio Grande Valley, specifically to Edinburg, to ensure that they get an excellent education here,” Rodríguez said. “In addition, we know that students that get medical degrees in a certain region, and do their medical residencies in a certain region, close to three-quarters of them remain in that region. So that means more doctors for the Rio Grande Valley.”

The EEDC is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg City Council.

The first two years of medical school will take place in Edinburg, with the third and fourth years of education to be conducted at the UT Regional Academic Health Center in Harlingen.

Medical education residencies, which usually involves another three years of training in a medical specialty, will take place in hospitals throughout the Valley, Buy Zithromax Without Prescription.

UT System Board of Regents Vice Chairman Gene Powell of San Antonio, formerly of Weslaco, Zithromax dangers, and Regent Ernesto Aliseda of McAllen ceremonially presented a $196 million Permanent University Fund (PUF) check to the presidents of The University of Texas at Brownsville and UT-Pan American in Edinburg.

“These funds represent the fuel that will begin to power the economic engine that will drive South Texas into the future,” said Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg. “This will unquestionably be the first of many distributions from the Permanent University Fund (PUF) which South Texas has long sought, more so deserved, and is finally receiving, thanks to decades of work by selfless leaders who dared to dream what has become a reality.”

PUF is a public permanent endowment established in 1876 by the Texas Constitution and draws revenues from gas, oil, and land leases from state land to support members of The University of Texas System and Texas A&M University System. Buy Zithromax Without Prescription, But up until this year, state law did not allow UTB and UTPA to access PUF for major construction projects.

That was changed earlier this year by Senate Bill 24, authored by Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, D-McAllen, and Rep. René Oliveira, D-Brownsville, which authorized the merger of UT-Pan American and UT Brownsville, and sped up the planned creation of a UT medical school in the Valley, which will include a major campus in Edinburg by the UTPA campus. SB 24 allowed the new university system to receive money from the PUF.

In addition to Canales, Rep, Buy Zithromax Without Prescription. Sergio Muñoz, Jr., D-Mission, Rep. Armando “Mando” Martínez, D-Weslaco, Rep. Robert “Bobby” Guerra, D-McAllen, Rep, Zithromax canada, mexico, india. Óscar Longoria, Jr., D-La Joya, Rep. Buy Zithromax Without Prescription, Eddie Lucio, III, D-San Benito, and Rep. J.M. Lozano, R-Kingsville, were House cosponsors of SB 24.

Sen. Eddie Lucio, Jr., D-Brownsville, and Sen. Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo, were among the joint authors of SB 24, Buy Zithromax Without Prescription.

The money was officially approved by the Board of Regents on Thursday, November 14, and is the first ever to be awarded to the South Texas institutions and the first for the new university. The first freshman class will begin at the yet to be named university in fall 2015.

The new university is expected to offer expanded learning and research opportunities, boost the quality of life, attract new businesses and fill critical needs in the health care field.

As part of the $124 million coming to the UT System in Edinburg, $70 million will be used to build an addition to the existing Science Building at UTPA, along with the construction of the inaugural $54 million UT medical school building. Buy Zithromax Without Prescription,  The medical school building will be located next to the existing UT Regional Academic Health Center Research Division.

The UT medical school building will be built by Schunior Street, immediately north of the UT Regional Academic Health Medical Research Facility,

The Science Building is vital since it will provide the academic skills, equipment, and laboratories to prepare UTPA students to attend and succeed in the planned UT medical school in Edinburg, scheduled to open in Summer/Fall 2016.

“The facilities will provide the research experience that they need, Zithromax gel, ointment, cream, pill, spray, continuous-release, extended-release, with the expectation that our students will continue through a number of pre-med programs needed to apply to medical school here, and medical schools throughout the country,” UTPA’s Provost Rodríguez explained. “The idea is to get these folks trained, have them get their M.D.s, and return to the Rio Grande Valley, or stay in the Rio Grande Valley to provide the healthcare needs of our population.

The Edinburg Mayor Pro Tem, an alumnus of UT-Pan American, described the latest developments as being “just amazing” for the Edinburg campus, which for the Fall 2013 semester set a record enrollment of more than 20,000 students.

“When I went to school there were 7,000 students on campus and we thought that was huge, but it’s so beautiful to see,” Longoria said, Buy Zithromax Without Prescription. “The City of Edinburg is going to benefit. There are so many things – the growth, the people that it is going to bring to our community, areas are going to continue to grow. I think more and more rooftops are going to be built, jobs are going be created, all these things are going happen all around the university.”

UT System Chancellor Francisco G. Cigarroa, M.D., Texas legislators and community leaders from throughout the Rio Grande Valley also took part in the event. Buy Zithromax Without Prescription, “It is because of the leadership of Gene Powell and the understanding that The University of Texas System needed to plant a larger flag in South Texas and to understand this great region of the state needs to have a research university,” said Cigarroa about the work that went into making south Texas PUF money a reality.

Powell said the idea for the unified university came up during a late night telephone conversation with Cigarroa in October 2012. He said all of the work that went into creating the university and securing funding was a strong team effort.

“I was fortunate to be chairman (of the UT System Board of Regents) when it happened,” said Powell.

The UT Board of Regents announced their idea in December 2012 to merge the universities and create four-year medical school. The new university and medical school will combine the talents, assets of UTB, UTPA and the RAHC, Buy Zithromax Without Prescription.

Gov. Rick Perry used part of his State of the State address to call for the 83rd Texas Legislature to pass legislation creating the new university and granting access to this important funding. The Legislature successfully passed a merger bill this spring.

“Today, the students of south Texas are able to stay closer to home to earn their college degrees, Zithromax brand name,” Perry told legislators in January. Buy Zithromax Without Prescription, “This area of the state is crucial to our state’s future, and our investment in the children of south Texas will be returned a thousand-fold.”

A campaign is underway to seek community input on the new name of the institution until Friday, December 6. The Board of Regents is expected to decide the new university’s new name by the end of the year. Also, a search advisory committee is recruiting and reviewing candidates to serve as president of the new university.

The new university is expected to offer expanded learning and research opportunities, boost the quality of life, attract new businesses and fill critical needs in the health care field.

The Edinburg Economic Development Corporation is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg City Council. It’s five-member governing board, which is appointed by the Edinburg City Council, includes Mayor Richard García as President, Fred Palacios as Secretary-Treasurer, and Felipe García, Jaime A, Buy Zithromax Without Prescription. Rodríguez, and Dr. Havidán Rodríguez. For more information on the EEDC and the City of Edinburg, please log on to: www.EdbgCityLimits.com

••••••

$124 million approved for UTPA Science Building, inaugural UT medical school facility to be built in Edinburg, EEDC announces


By DAVID A. DÍAZ

The dream of South Texans to be viewed as an equal partner in the growth of Texas took a $124 million step forward on Thursday, November 14, when the University of Texas System Board of Regents unanimously approved the construction of two major facilities that will herald the coming of a UT medical school in Edinburg. Buy Zithromax Without Prescription, In a dramatic unanimous vote, the regents, who were meeting in Austin, put a fortune in state money behind their pledge to forever improve the education, health care, and economy of the Rio Grande Valley.

Regent Gene Powell of San Antonio, who was raised and lived in Weslaco into adulthood, made the motion to authorize the huge investment of UT money into the Valley.

“It is really a great moment today,” said Powell, one of the champions for South Texas, and then, with emotion in his voice, addressing his fellow regents, humbly emphasizing, “I can’t thank you all enough. I make the motion to approve it.”

Ernest Aliseda of McAllen, Where to buy Zithromax, who was appointed earlier this year by Gov. Rick Perry to serve on the nine-member UT System Board of Regents, seconded the motion, drawing heartfelt applause from the audience at the public meeting, which included Edinburg City Manager Ramiro Garza, Jr., and Agustin “Gus” Garcia, the Executive Director for the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation.

The EEDC is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg City Council, Buy Zithromax Without Prescription.

A $70 million addition to the existing Science Building at UTPA was funded, along with the inaugural $54 million UT medical school building that will be built on the UTPA campus.

The UT medical school building will be built by Schunior Street, immediately north of the UT Regional Academic Health Medical Research Facility,

The Science Building is vital since it will provide the academic skills, equipment, and laboratories to prepare UTPA students to attend and succeed in the planned UT medical school in Edinburg, scheduled to open in Summer/Fall 2016.

The advances for higher education in South Texas are the result of the passage of Senate Bill 24, authored by Hinojosa and sponsored by Rep. René Oliveira, D-Brownsville, which was approved by the Legislature last May. Buy Zithromax Without Prescription, Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg, Rep. Sergio Muñoz, Jr., D-Mission, Rep. Armando “Mando” Martinez, D-Weslaco, Rep. Robert “Bobby” Guerra, effects of Zithromax, D-McAllen, Rep. Óscar Longoria, Jr., D-La Joya, Rep, Buy Zithromax Without Prescription. Eddie Lucio, III, D-San Benito, and Rep. J.M. Lozano, R-Kingsville, were House cosponsors of the legislation, known as Senate Bill 24, by Hinojosa and Oliveira.

Sen. Buy Zithromax Without Prescription, Eddie Lucio, Jr., D-Brownsville, and Sen. Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo, were among the joint authors of SB 24.

Sen. Kel Seliger, R-Amarillo, the Chairman of the Senate Higher Education Committee, also was a joint author of SB 24, while Rep. Dan Branch, R-Dallas, Chairman of the House Higher Education Committee, was a joint sponsor of that measure.

In addition to creating a UT medical school for Edinburg and the Valley, SB 24 merged UTPA with UT-Brownsville as part of a needed strategy that allows the new South Texas university system, and the UT medical school, to receive money from the Permanent University Fund (PUF), Buy Zithromax Without Prescription.

PUF is a public endowment established in 1876 by the Texas Constitution and draws revenues from oil, gas and land leases to benefit the UT and Texas A&M systems. But  state law had prevented UT Brownsville and UT Pan American from accessing PUF revenue.

However, Buy Zithromax from mexico, as a result of SB 24, the new, merged university system in the Valley became eligible to receive PUF funding. The new university and medical school will combine the talent, assets and resources of UT-Brownsville, UT-Pan American and the Regional Academic Health Center in Edinburg, Harlingen and Brownsville. Buy Zithromax Without Prescription, Edinburg, which through the Edinburg City Council and the EEDC Board of Directors had lobbied the Texas Legislature last spring on behalf of UT-Pan American and the long sought-after UT medical school, was an undisputed winner, said Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg.

"The allocation of these funds is a culmination of the blood, sweat, and tears of generations of South Texas leaders fighting for the educational future of our people,” said Canales. "Our participation in the Permanent University Fund means we will finally be treated as equals, something we have long sought, but always deserved. This new university will unquestionably be the future economic engine that drives the Texas economy.”

A new name for the merged, Valleywide UT university system is currently being developed by the UT System.

"Confirming the allocation of these funds advances the goal of expanding access to educational opportunities and medical education, which will increase access to care for our Valley families and decrease our physician shortage,” Hinojosa said, Buy Zithromax Without Prescription. “This is just the beginning. With future funding and construction projects, we are finally transforming a dream into a reality to benefit all of South Texas.”

The $124 million in funding coming to the Edinburg campuses will be invested accordingly:

• $70 million for a new Science Building in Edinburg will be used to build the most modern of its kind in the region. It will contain about 120,000 square feet of research labs and classroom space for STEM disciplines, including biology, physics, chemistry, math, pre-med and environmental studies. The building will be designed with interactive technology to allow students to participate in classes no matter their physical location; and

• $54 million for the South Texas Medical Academic Building in Edinburg, an 88,000 gross square-foot complex, will be devoted to teaching facilities that promote faculty and student interaction at the earliest stages of medical school, discount Zithromax. Buy Zithromax Without Prescription, The building will include an auditorium, digital library, clinical skills center, preclinical laboratories and an anatomy teaching facility. The building will make extensive use of online and distance learning as part of a region-wide medical school interacting with and complementing facilities at Harlingen and Brownsville as well as supporting continuing professional education in the region. The plan is designed to complete the building in time to achieve the ambitious goal of matriculating the first medical school class in the Summer/Fall 2016.

“One of the reasons this new university was created was so that South Texas could finally access PUF funding for the first time,” Regents Chairman Paul Foster said. “This new university will prepare students for global leadership positions in higher education, health care, bio-medical research and emerging technology, and will serve as a gateway to the Americas that will create partnerships with education, health and research leaders from around the globe.”

The new university is expected to enroll its first class in fall 2015, and a campaign is under way to seek community input on the new name for the institution.

Echoing Foster’s sentiment about the push to bring 21st century educational opportunities to the more than 1.3 million residents in the area, UT System Chancellor Francisco G, Buy Zithromax Without Prescription. Cigarroa termed the regents’ vote “a truly transformational moment for the region.”

“I am incredibly proud of the 83rd Legislature for authorizing the Board of Regents under the chairmanship of Gene Powell to create this new university, which is now PUF eligible,” Cigarroa continued. “I am also incredibly proud of this Board of Regents today under the chairmanship of Paul Foster for now allocating PUF to the new university in the Rio Grande Valley, making the dream become reality.”

The Edinburg Economic Development Corporation is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg City Council. It’s five-member governing board, which is appointed by the Edinburg City Council, includes Mayor Richard García as President, Fred Palacios as Secretary-Treasurer, and Felipe García, Jaime A. Rodríguez, and Dr. Buy Zithromax Without Prescription, Havidán Rodríguez. For more information on the EEDC and the City of Edinburg, please log on to: www.EdbgCityLimits.com

••••••

Former Rep. Roberto Gutiérrez asks UT System Regents to keep The University of Texas-Pan American as name for new university


By DAVID A. DÍAZ

Eliminating “Pan American” from the name of the new university/medical school system being developed for the Rio Grande Valley is not required by state law, and would devalue the diplomas of upwards of 70,000 alumni, says former Rep. Buy cheap Zithromax no rx, Roberto Gutiérrez, D-McAllen.

That landmark legislation – which includes the Valley’s other state senators and state representatives as joint authors or cosponsors – requires the University of Texas System to establish a new university and medical school that will combine the talent, assets and resources of UT-Pan American, UT-Brownsville and the UT Regional Academic Health Centers in Edinburg, Harlingen and Brownsville, Buy Zithromax Without Prescription.

But first, the new university needs a name, and Senate Bill 24 places the responsibility of selecting the name on the nine-member UT System Board of Regents, which includes Ernest Aliseda of McAllen.

SB 24, authored by Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, D-McAllen, and sponsored by Rep. Rene Oliveira, D-Brownsville, was approved earlier this year by the Texas Legislature. Buy Zithromax Without Prescription, “Sadly, there is a broad misconception that SB 24 prohibits keeping the name The University of Texas-Pan American or Pan American,” Gutiérrez noted. “Many alumni have revealed to me that they have not spoken out because they have been led to believe that abolishing that name ‘is a done deal.’ Nothing could be further from the truth.”

Gutiérrez, who served as House District 41 state representative from January 1991 through December 2004, believes there is no need for a new name.

As part of his efforts, Gutiérrez shared his reasons, through a letter dated November 29 addressed to Paul L. Foster, Chairman of the UT System Board of Regents.

“The depth of support for the name Pan American is so powerful that in the 1990s, legislation was introduced to rename The University of Texas-Pan American to The University of Texas at Edinburg,” he recalled. “Needless to say, that proposal, filed by a Valley legislator, was dropped, Buy Zithromax Without Prescription. Since then, tens of thousands of diplomas have continued to carry the name The University of Texas-Pan American.”

Gutiérrez, who also was House sponsor of legislation to create the UT Regional Academic Health Centers – from which the Valley’s UT medical school will emerge – reminded local political leaders that alumni whose diplomas bear the name Pan American represent a significant constituency.

“Not to be minimized are the negative political, professional, and personal consequences of eliminating Pan American from the huge number – upwards of 70,000 and higher – of diplomas that have proudly adorned the offices and homes of graduates, buy Zithromax no prescription, the majority who still live in the Rio Grande Valley,” Gutiérrez said. “Many of those alumni whose diplomas feature the name Pan American are from, or live in, Cameron County, which for many years also featured a branch campus in Brownsville bearing that distinguished name.”

According to the official website of UT-Pan American, “the name Pan American was selected to reflect the institution's desire to bridge the cultures of North and South America and to reflect the cultural and ethnic diversity of the university.”

The University of Texas-Pan American remains the most appropriate unifying title, “and best of all, this current name would not limit our new university to a portion of the state,” he said. “It is indeed global in nature, as are the people of the Rio Grande Valley, and our contributions to Texas, the United States, and indeed, the world.”

The McAllen resident, who was the House sponsor of legislation that created South Texas College in the early 1990s, asked the regents to put consider how graduates of the state’s other major universities would feel if their diplomas were to have their names changed. Buy Zithromax Without Prescription, “How would the alumni of The University of Texas at Austin or Texas A&M University – the two flagship universities of our state – react if the name of their respective campuses were to be changed, thus condemning their diplomas to the ‘Ash Heap of History’, where evidence of their excellence would be forgotten or marginalized?” Gutiérrez asked. “We in South Texas have just as much pride, as much history, as bright a future, and as many achievements associated with The University of Texas-Pan American as any other college or university in the nation.”

The campaign to collect input on a name for the new university in South Texas was launched on November 11 and will run through December 6, according to the UT System.

A national search for the president and medical school dean is under way, and the new university is expected to enroll its first class in fall 2015.

“Selecting a name will be one of the most important decisions we will make about the new university, and we don’t want to do it without first hearing from the people of South Texas,” Regents Chairman Foster said.

The regents are expected to select a name by the end of 2013. The new university’s logo and school colors will be determined by the new president with input from students and the community, Buy Zithromax Without Prescription.

There are four ways to submit comments and names:

“Like” the UT System Facebook page and comment on the proposed names that are posted Tweet @UTSystem using #ProjectSouthTX;

Send an email to ProjectSouthTX@utsystem.edu; or

Call (512) 499-4473 and leave a message. Ordering Zithromax online, For more information, visit www.ProjectSouthTexas.com.

••••••

Regents approve research incentive program for UT-Brownsville, UT-Pan American, UT- Permian Basin and UT-Tyler


By JENNY LACOSTE-CAPUTO

On the heels of successful programs to increase funding for research at UT’s emerging research institutions, The University of Texas System Board of Regents unanimously voted Thursday, November 14, to begin a similar program for UT System’s four comprehensive universities.

The regents authorized $1 million from the Permanent University Fund to begin the UT System Research Incentive Program for the Comprehensive Universities, or UTrip-CU. Buy Zithromax Without Prescription, The UT System’s comprehensive universities include UT-Brownsville, UT-Pan American, UT-Permian Basin and UT-Tyler. The UTrip-CU money will be used to augment philanthropic gifts that support research at these four institutions.

A gift ranging from $25,000 to $99,999 would be matched by the UT System at 20 percent, which would mean an additional $5,000 to $19,999.90 for the institution. Gifts of $100,000 to $249,999 will be matched at 30 percent, and gifts of $250,000 or greater will be matched at 50 percent but will not to exceed $250,000.

In 2009, the Texas Legislature created the Texas Research Incentive Program, or TRIP, and the UT Regents created the UT Research Incentive Program, or UTrip, to leverage philanthropic gifts at UT’s four emerging research institutions.  Those institutions include UT Arlington, UT Dallas, UT El Paso and UT San Antonio, Buy Zithromax Without Prescription.

“Research is integral to the mission of the UT System because it improves the lives of Texans and people throughout the nation and world,” Regents Chairman Paul Foster said. “We hope the matching funds provided by the UTrip-CU program will be the seed to encourage donors to give gifts to fund research at our comprehensive institutions, get Zithromax. We are thrilled with the impact of the UTrip program at our emerging institutions, and we hope to see a similar success story at our comprehensive institutions.”

••••••

Rep. Canales to file bill to punish online sexual predators who use Internet to prey on children


By DAVID A. DÍAZ Buy Zithromax Without Prescription, A new state law to ensure punishment for online predators who use online communications to “groom” children for sexual assault will be among the legislative priorities for Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg, the House District 40 lawmaker said.

Canales’ pledge came after the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals on November 1 struck down a law passed in 2005 that banned adults from having sexually explicit conversations online with minors. The Court reasoned that the current law violated the First Amendment of the Constitution, which guarantees citizens the right to freedom of speech.

The law that the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals found to be unconstitutional was designed to prohibit ‘grooming’, which is when a person attempts to befriend and establish an emotional link with a child in order to lower the child’s inhibitions in preparation to sexually assault or exploit the child.

“As a parent, I want to make sure that law enforcement has every tool necessary to catch and prosecute online predators,” he said, Buy Zithromax Without Prescription. “Next session (in 2015), I will work with my fellow lawmakers to pass legislation that will not fall victim to a legal argument that the law violates the First Amendment right of free speech, as we have recently seen. I feel it is of the utmost importance that the Texas Legislature passes a viable and enforceable law to punish online predators in order to protect our children."

The proliferation of child predators using the Internet to target young victims has become a national crisis, according to the Office of the Texas Attorney General. A study shows one in seven children will be solicited for sex online in the next year.

“I am confident that we can improve that law so that online predators cannot claim ‘free speech’ in order to escape punishment for their despicable actions,” Canales emphasized. Buy Zithromax Without Prescription, “It is incumbent upon the Legislature to keep our kids safe from online predators, and I have every intention to make that happen.”

Laws restraining the First Amendment right to free speech are presumed to be unconstitutional, unless they serve a compelling state interest and are narrowly drawn to limit their impact, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals court ruled.

But supporters of the law argued that without the current provision, perverts will be free to bombard children with salacious emails and text messages, and parents and law enforcement would be unable to stop it.

The issue of online child predators became the focus of nationwide attention with the airing of the reality series, To Catch a Predator, hosted by Chris Hanson, which focused on the impersonation of young people (usually ages 12–15) on Internet chat rooms and detaining those male adults who contacted them over the Internet for sexual liaisons.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation has numerous reports online to help parents protect their children from Internet predators.

According to the FBI report, entitled A Parent’s Guide to Internet Safety:

While on-line computer exploration opens a world of possibilities for children, expanding their horizons and exposing them to different cultures and ways of life, Zithromax overnight, they can be exposed to dangers as they hit the road exploring the information highway.

There are individuals who attempt to sexually exploit children through the use of online services and the Internet, Buy Zithromax Without Prescription. Some of these individuals gradually seduce their targets through the use of attention, affection, kindness, and even gifts.

These individuals are often willing to devote considerable amounts of time, money, and energy in this process. They listen to and empathize with the problems of children. They will be aware of the latest music, hobbies, and interests of children. Buy Zithromax Without Prescription, These individuals attempt to gradually lower children’s inhibitions by slowly introducing sexual context and content into their conversations.

That report provides ideas for parents to help reduce the risk that an online predator can victimize their children, including:

• Communicate, and talk to your child about sexual victimization and potential online danger.

• Spend time with your children on-line. Have them teach you about their favorite online destinations.

• Keep the computer in a common room in the house, not in your child’s bedroom. It is much more difficult for a computer-sex offender to communicate with a child when the computer screen is visible to a parent or another member of the household, Buy Zithromax Without Prescription.

• Utilize parental controls provided by your service provider and/or blocking software. While electronic chat can be a great place for children to make new friends and discuss various topics of interest, it is also prowled by computer-sex offenders. Use of chat rooms, in particular, should be heavily monitored. While parents should utilize these mechanisms, they should not totally rely on them. Buy Zithromax Without Prescription, • Always maintain access to your child’s online account and randomly check his/her e-mail. Be aware that your child could be contacted through the U.S. Mail. Be up front with your child about your access and reasons why.

• Teach your child the responsible use of the resources on-line. There is much more to the on-line experience than chat rooms, Buy Zithromax Without Prescription.

• Find out what computer safeguards are utilized by your child’s school, Zithromax reviews, the public library, and at the homes of your child’s friends. These are all places, outside your normal supervision, where your child could encounter an on-line predator.

• Understand, even if your child was a willing participant in any form of sexual exploitation, that he/she is not at fault and is the victim. The offender always bears the complete responsibility for his or her actions. Buy Zithromax Without Prescription, That report recommended that parents instruct their children on how not to reveal information about themselves on the Internet that can be used by predators, including:

• Never arrange a face-to-face meeting with someone they met online;

• Never upload (post) pictures of themselves onto the Internet or online service to people they do not personally know;

• Never give out identifying information such as their name, home address, school name, or telephone number;

• Never download pictures from an unknown source, as there is a good chance there could be sexually explicit images;

• Never respond to messages or bulletin board postings that are suggestive, obscene, belligerent, or harassing; and

• Always remember that whatever they are told on-line may or may not be true.

••••••

RGV Vipers welcomed into Edinburg with free, international exhibition game against Mexico’s Huracanes Tampico at UT-Pan American


By DAVID A. DÍAZ

South Texas pro basketball fans did not have to wait four years after all to see the Rio Grande Valley Vipers against high-powered competition in their upcoming new hometown of Edinburg.

Even though the Vipers won’t be calling Edinburg’s planned $50 million multipurpose arena their home until 2017, they did play their first game in Edinburg on Sunday, November 17, with an exhibition game at the University of Texas-Pan American Fieldhouse against Huracanes Tampico.

The Vipers defeated Huracanes Tampico, 129-95.

The game, which was free to the public on a first-come basis, matched the Vipers, which is an affiliate of the NBA Houston Rockets, against one of the best teams in the Liga Nacional de Baloncesto Profesional (National Professional Basketball League) in Mexico, Buy Zithromax Without Prescription.

Tip-off for the game took place at 3 p.m., which was sponsored by the City of Edinburg and the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation, which is the jobs-creation of the city council.

Sports professionals and journalists rate the Liga Nacional de Baloncesto Profesional, founded in 2000, and which is fielding 16 teams as of the 2012-13 season, as the best professional basketball league in Latin America, not just Mexico.

Jamario Moon (Charlotte Bobcats), Sūn Míngmíng (Beijing Ducks), Horacio Llamas Grey (San Antonio Spurs), and Dennis Rodman (Detroit Pistons, No prescription Zithromax online, San Antonio Spurs) are among the many pro basketball stars that have come out of The Liga Nacional de Baloncesto Profesional.

The RGV Vipers have produced their own world-class athletes, including Glenn Rice, Jr. Buy Zithromax Without Prescription, (Washington Wizards) Greg Smith (Houston Rockets) Hasheem Thabeet (Oklahoma Thunder), Aaron Brooks (Houston Rockets), and Andrew Goudelock (BC UNICS, Kazen, Russia, and Los Angeles Lakers).

Plus, the Vipers are the defending NBA Development League Champion, with a previous championship already under their belt.

The NBA D-League, as it is more commonly referred, is loaded with top professional basketball talent, as evidenced by the October 29 announcement that an all-time high 103 players with NBA Development League experience are featured on 2013-14 NBA opening-day rosters, up from 86 such players on opening day rosters last season.

The 103 players represent 24 percent of all NBA players. NBA D-League alumni on opening day rosters have nearly tripled since 2006-07, with only 35 NBA D-Leaguers making NBA opening day rosters that season, according to NBA-D League officials.

Twenty-nine of 30 NBA teams feature at least one player with NBA D-League experience, while the Atlanta Hawks have a league-high seven NBA D-League alumni on their roster, Buy Zithromax Without Prescription. The Houston Rockets, Indiana Pacers, Philadelphia 76ers and Phoenix Suns each have six former NBA D-Leaguers and an additional three teams have five former NBA D-Leaguers on squads.

Laura Cisneros, Executive Vice President for the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, said the game represented a major milestone for the Vipers.

“It’s the first time we are doing something international. We were trying to reach out to international competition, and they actually reached out to us,” Cisneros recalled, emphasizing the quality of Huracanes Tampico. Buy Zithromax Without Prescription, “They are huge in Mexico.”

She said the entry of the RGV Vipers into Edinburg will increase the visibility of the team, which has called the State Farm Arena in Hidalgo home since 2007.

“It’s exciting. We are all looking forward to it. It’s something we think can get Edinburg known internationally as well as locally,” Cisneros noted. “In our league, comprar en línea Zithromax, comprar Zithromax baratos, we go up against teams from Dallas and Los Angeles. With this exhibition game, and with the upcoming construction of the practice facilities here as well, we are really trying to engage the people of Edinburg to also be part of us.”

The RGV Vipers/Huracanes Tampico professional basketball game represented the most recent development in an amazing series of events involving Edinburg, which is rapidly becoming the dominant South Texas city on economic development achievements, Buy Zithromax Without Prescription.

On September 30, the RGV Vipers, the City of Edinburg, and the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation announced the construction of the 84,000-square-foot Edinburg Sports and Wellness Center at 315 East Palm Drive in Edinburg.

The Edinburg Sports and Wellness Center, which is slated to open in March 2014, will serve as the official practice facility of the RGV Vipers, as well as a community hub for wellness and education for Rio Grande Valley residents of all ages.

On November 1, the City of Edinburg and the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation announced plans for the construction of the yet-to-be named $50 million events arena to be built just off of Interstate 69 Central (U.S. Expressway 281). Buy Zithromax Without Prescription, The 115,799 square-foot arena will be built on 40 acres of land located on the east side of I-69C on Alberta Road. It will feature 8,500 seats and 2,400 parking spaces. The entire property includes nine additional pad sites for the development of a future hotel, restaurants and more parking spaces.

Construction cost for the arena is estimated at $50 million with a boost to the local economy of $96 million during the construction phase and $45 million annually once operational. It is expected to create approximately 150 new jobs.

City leaders say the arena will not only host professional basketball games and other sporting events but will also serve as a location for concerts, graduations and meetings, Buy Zithromax Without Prescription.

For more information about the RGV Vipers 2013-14 season and season ticket information, call the Vipers at 956-972-1144 or visit www.rgvipers.com.

The Edinburg Economic Development Corporation is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg City Council. It’s five-member governing board, which is appointed by the Edinburg City Council, includes Mayor Richard García as President, Fred Palacios as Secretary-Treasurer, and Felipe García, Jaime A. Rodríguez, Zithromax photos, and Dr. Buy Zithromax Without Prescription, Havidán Rodríguez. For more information on the EEDC and the City of Edinburg, please log on to: www.EdbgCityLimits.com. Rebecca Sweat contributed to this article.

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Longtime community activist Elvia Ríos runs for Justice of the Peace Precinct 2, Place 2


By JULIA BENÍTEZ SULIVAN

Longtime public servant and community activist Elvia Ríos, 64, earlier this fall officially filed for Justice of the Peace Precinct 2, Place 2 in Hidalgo County for the March 2014 Democratic Party primary election.

Lupe Silva (Aboud) is her campaign treasurer.

Ríos, who was born and raised in McAllen, said if elected, she plans to be a proactive judge who works with educators, community groups, and law enforcement to address situations that lead to the cases heard in court.

“My strong sense of fairness and integrity will guide both my campaign and judicial decisions,” Ríos said, Buy Zithromax Without Prescription. "I welcome the community's input and plan to take advantage of every opportunity to go out and meet the citizens of Precinct 2, Place 2. The time is right for me to give back to my community.”

Ríos said she views the Justice of the Peace court as "the people’s court.”

The Justice of the Peace Precinct 2, Place 2 covers McAllen, Pharr, San Juan, Alamo, and the City of Hidalgo.

JPs perform the functions of a magistrate and conduct inquests. A justice of the peace presides over truancy cases, traffic violations, hears civil suits under $10,000, issues arrest warrants, and performs marriages. Buy Zithromax Without Prescription, For the past 16 years, Ríos has been a self-employed consultant providing governmental agencies, higher education institutions, and non-profits services in resource development and management. She has a proven track record of securing grant funding totaling millions for Valley projects and programs. In addition, Zithromax duration, Hidalgo County judges have appointed Rios to make recommendations to the courts on child custody cases and adoptions.

Prior to consulting, Ríos worked for Texas Rural Legal Aid, for the late State Sen. Carlos F. Truan, D-Corpus Christi, and State Rep, Buy Zithromax Without Prescription. René Oliveira, D-Brownsville. Her legislative work includes the creation of South Texas Community College, the University of Texas Regional Academic Health Center, and legislative appropriations for South Texas colleges and universities.

She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from the University of Houston, and a Masters in Public Health degree from the UTHSC-Houston. She also is a graduate of the Executive Program at Harvard University's JFK School of Government in Boston, MA, and the Leadership Development Program at the Center for Creative Leadership in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Buy Zithromax Without Prescription, Ríos is a W.K. Kellogg Foundation Fellow in Health Leadership, and a Fellow of the National Hispana Leadership Institute in Washington, D.C.

Ríos is the mother of Alejandro J. Ríos Tovar, MD, 28, who is in his third year of a General Surgery residency at the University Medical Center in El Paso.  Dr. Ríos Tovar plans to return to McAllen upon completion of the residency to serve the people of the Rio Grande Valley, Buy Zithromax Without Prescription.

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Leadership Edinburg (LE) Class XXV learning about helping improve city, raising funds for restoration of historic Southern Pacific Depot


By RONNIE LARRALDE

Leadership Edinburg (LE) Class XXV recently completed a series of seminars designed to help its members gain knowledge in areas that have a direct impact on their community.

Leadership Edinburg is designed by the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce to allow class members to interact with one another and members of the community to encourage a better Edinburg. The nine- month program is structured to help class members, through strong leadership skills focusing on politics, Zithromax price, coupon, education, and quality of life, to better understand the problems and opportunities faced in the city.

Their two-day leadership retreat was held at the South Texas Business and Technology Academy (BETA) in Edinburg. Buy Zithromax Without Prescription, One of their goals involves raising money to complete projects relating to the improvement of the historic Southern Pacific Depot, which serves as the home for the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce.

Area residents may help in this effort by purchasing a commemorative tile through the "Get on Track" program being promoted by LE Class XXV and the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce.

The tile program provides local businesses and citizens the opportunity to inscribe personalized messages to be installed in front of the Southern Pacific Depot. The price for a 6" X 6" engraved tile is $100 and a 6" X 12" is $250.

A commemorative tile offers a unique and lasting way to memorialize a loved one, promote a business or simply celebrate a special event.

For more information on the tile program please contact Karen Pittman at 956/821-9112 or Augie Lozano at 956/778-5677, Buy Zithromax Without Prescription.

The history and influence of the Southern Pacific Depot, which no longer serves train passengers, is highlighted in the following historical narrative by the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce:

Edinburg is filled with rich historical reminders of the past. Even the names of the streets have their own history. Many of the streets in the city were named after executives of the Southern Pacific Railroad in hopes that they would build a line to the Rio Grande Valley.

Streets named after railroad officials include Van Vleck (Van Week), Lovett, Peter, Loeb, Kuhn, Mclntyre, Harriman (later changed to University), Mahl, Stubbs and Fay. Buy Zithromax Without Prescription, Local leaders took the following streets: Samano, Champion, Sprague, Closner, Chapin, Baker and Chavez. On January 11, 1927 history was made when the train whistle blew as it arrived into Edinburg. Thousands gathered for the grand ceremony school children took the day off to witness the driving of the "golden spike".

Dignitaries from throughout South Texas and from Southern Pacific, rode the train from Lull to Edinburg, as bands played and food was prepared for thousands on the town square.

The Edinburg Southern Pacific Depot operated out of a rail car until the depot opened its doors on August 1, 1927. Before the time of the Southern Pacific, Edinburg had been served by the San Antonio-Rio Grande Valley Railroad, Buy Zithromax Without Prescription. Service was later provided by Missouri Pacific, my Zithromax experience.

For more information on Leadership Edinburg please contact the Edinburg Chamber at 956/383-4974 or log on to www.edinburg.com.

••••••

Edinburg couple Manuel and Romelia Puig sentenced for lengthy health care fraud


By ANGELA DODGE

Two former clinic staffers and a physician assistant’s wife have all been ordered to prison for conspiracy to defraud Medicare and the Texas Medicaid program in the operation of the Mission Clinic and La Hacienda Family Clinic, United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson announced on Friday, November 7.

Eliza Lozano Lumbreras, 46, and San Juanita Gallegos Lozano, 57, a couple who operated the Mission Clinic, were in the midst of trial in late 2012, when they opted to enter guilty pleas for their roles in the conspiracy. Buy Zithromax Without Prescription, Manuel Anthony Puig, 48, and Romelia Puig, 45, both of Edinburg, operated La Hacienda Family Clinic near Alton and both previously pleaded guilty in advance of trial.

On November 7, Chief U.S. District Judge Ricardo H. Hinojosa sentenced Lumbreras and Lozano to 50 and 33 months in federal prison, respectively. In addition to the prison terms, Hinojosa ordered they pay $371,720.16 in restitution to Medicare and Medicaid for the false and fraudulent claims they submitted or caused to be submitted to the health care programs.

Romelia Puig was ordered to pay $185,881.75 in restitution and received a sentence of 18 months, Buy Zithromax Without Prescription.

All will also serve three-year-terms of supervised release upon completion of their prison sentences.

Lumbreras and Lozano conspired together and with the others to submit claims to Medicare and Medicaid using the Medicaid provider number of a medical doctor who for years before his death, was unable to practice medicine. In fact, the doctor suffered from Parkinson’s disease and associated Dementia and had been mentally incompetent to practice medicine since September 2001.

Although the doctor was unable to practice, they kept the Mission Clinic open for patient care. Buy Zithromax Without Prescription, Lumbreras and Lozano took the doctor to the Mission Clinic and placed him in an office while Lumbreras saw and treated patients.

Neither Lumbreras or Lozano were licensed to provide any medical services.

The government’s evidence showed that between September 2001 and January 2006, Lumbreras and Lozano submitted bills to the Medicare and Medicaid programs which fraudulently claimed the doctor had provided patients with more than 13,000 medical benefits, Australia, uk, us, usa, items or services when in fact those services had been provided by Lumbreras or not at all. As a result, Medicare and Medicaid paid more than $344,000 on those claims.

Beginning in April 2005, Lumbreras and Lozano also arranged for Manual Puig to operate La Hacienda Family Clinic in Alton and to send bills to Medicare and Medicaid using the provider number of that same unpracticing doctor.

Manuel Puig is a physician assistant, Buy Zithromax Without Prescription. By state law, a licensed physician is required to supervise and delegate work to a physician assistant and to be responsible for the physician assistant. At his plea hearing, Manuel Puig admitted he joined the ongoing conspiracy, admitting to fraudulently using the Medicaid provider number of that doctor who was unable to practice medicine nor provide any health care benefits, items or services; who did not delegate authority to Manuel Puig to provide any health care benefits, items or services; and who did not supervise Puig’s attempts to provide health care benefits, items or services.

Romelia Puig admitted that between May 2005 and January 2006, she was the biller at La Hacienda Family Clinic and that she submitted or caused to be submitted more than 6,000 claims to Medicare and Medicaid fraudulently using that Texas Medical provider number for which Medicare and Medicaid paid approximately $173,830.56.

Lumbreras had access to the doctor’s bank accounts and was able to obtain control over the money Medicare and Medicaid paid for the fraudulent bills submitted from the Mission and La Hacienda clinics, which was divided among Lumbreras, Lozano, their families, Puig and his wife. Buy Zithromax Without Prescription, Previously released on bond, all were allowed to remain on bond and voluntarily surrender to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.

The investigation leading to the charges in this case was conducted by the FBI and the Texas Attorney General's Medicaid Fraud Control Unit with assistance from the Mission Police Department.

Assistant United States Attorney Casey N. MacDonald and Special Assistant United States Attorney Rex G. Beasley are prosecuting the case, Buy Zithromax Without Prescription.

••••••

Former Cameron County woman convicted of voter fraud


Sonia Leticia Solis, 55, on Wednesday, November 4, entered a plea of guilty to voting more than once in connection with the 2012 primary runoff election held in Cameron County on July 31, Zithromax alternatives, 2012, announced United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson.

The election included candidates running for the U.S. House of Representatives.

Solis resided in Brownsville during the election and obtained multiple mail-in ballots by forging applications on behalf of individuals she represented to be disabled. Buy Zithromax Without Prescription, U.S. District Judge Hilda Tagle, who accepted the guilty plea, has set sentencing for February 5, 2014, at which time Solis faces a possible federal prison sentence of up to five years and a maximum $10,000 fine.

This case was investigated by the FBI and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Bill Hagen.

••••••

Tomás Yarrington Ruvalcaba, the former Governor of State of Tamaulipas, indicted by Brownsville federal grand jury for allegedly violating U.S. corruption, racketeering laws


A federal indictment charging Tomás  Yarrington Ruvalcaba, the former governor of the state of Tamaulipas, Mexico, was unsealed in federal court in Brownsville on Monday, December 2.

An indictment is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence, Buy Zithromax Without Prescription. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until convicted through due process of law.

The unsealing was announced by United States Attorneys Kenneth Magidson and Robert L. Pitman, of the Southern and Western Districts of Texas, respectively, along with Janice Ayala, special agent in charge, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI); Javier Peña, special agent in charge, Online buy Zithromax without a prescription, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA); Bernard Butler, acting special agent in charge, Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI); and Armando Fernández special agent in charge, FBI.

Following an investigation that spanned several years, the sealed indictment was returned in May 2013 by a federal grand jury sitting in Brownsville. Buy Zithromax Without Prescription, The indictment charges Yarrington, 56, and Fernando Alejandro Cano Martínez, 57, the owner of a Mexican construction firm, with conspiring to violate the provisions of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization (RICO) statute.

The two men are also charged with conspiracy to launder money, conspiracy to defraud, and conspiracy to make false statements to federally insured U.S. banks.

Yarrington is also separately charged with a conspiracy to violate the provisions of the Controlled Substances Act, two substantive bank fraud charges, and a conspiracy to structure currency transactions at a domestic financial institution, while Cano is separately charged with three counts of bank fraud.

Yarrington served as governor of Tamaulipas from 1999 to 2004. Tamaulipas lies along the southern border between the United States and Mexico directly across from Brownsville and Laredo, Buy Zithromax Without Prescription.

According to the indictment, beginning in approximately 1998, Yarrington received large bribes from major drug traffickers operating in the Mexican state of Tamaulipas, including the Gulf Cartel. In return, Yarrington allegedly allowed them to operate their large scale, multi-ton enterprises freely, which included the smuggling of large quantities of drugs to the United States for distribution.

From 2007 to 2009, Yarrington allegedly became involved in the smuggling of large amounts of cocaine through the Port of Veracruz into the United States.

Yarrington also allegedly collected bribes from commercial operations in Mexico, according to the indictment. Buy Zithromax Without Prescription, Cano operated Materiales y Construcciones Villa de Aguayo, S.A. de C.V., a construction firm in Tamaulipas that received significant public works contracts during Yarrington’s term as governor. The indictment alleges Cano, in turn, paid bribes to Yarrington to include the acquisition of real estate in front names for him, about Zithromax.

The indictment further alleges Yarrington also received control over stolen public funds in the latter part of 2004. Portions of those funds were allegedly used to buy a Sabreliner 60 airplane in January 2005. As part of that purchase, $300,000 was transferred to a bank account in the United States, Buy Zithromax Without Prescription. Another portion of the allegedly stolen funds, $5 million Mexican pesos, was transferred to Cano in the spring of 2005, according to the indictment.

The indictment further alleges that starting in approximately 1998, Yarrington, and later to include Cano, became involved in the acquisition of valuable assets in the United States, using front names and business entities established starting in 2005 to disguise the true ownership of the assets.

The assets allegedly included bank accounts, residences, airplanes, vehicles, and real estate in Bexar, Cameron, Hidalgo, and Hays counties, many of which were acquired via allegedly fraudulent loans from banks in Texas. According to the indictment, bank accounts established in front names at Texas banks were used to receive and disburse money to carry the ongoing costs of the assets, such as loan costs and condo fees. Buy Zithromax Without Prescription, The indictment identifies numerous specific front entities involved in the scheme, each of which allegedly applied for multi-million-dollar fraudulent loans at Texas banks, which Cano allegedly personally guaranteed. The indictment details a total of more than $7 million in transfers into the U.S. accounts of the front entities.

Additional entities were created and used to apply for other loans to fund the purchase of still other assets, according to the indictment. Numerous currency transactions were allegedly conducted at First National Bank, headquartered in Edinburg, in a structured manner in amounts at or below $10,000 in order to evade the filing of Currency Transaction Reports by the bank.

Neither Yarrington nor Cano is in the custody of the United States and warrants remain outstanding for their arrests, Buy Zithromax Without Prescription. Anyone with information about their whereabouts is asked to contact Homeland Security Investigations at 956-542-5811. Persons calling from Mexico should call 001-800-010-5237.

The RICO and money laundering charges each carry sentences of up to 20 years in prison, while conspiracy to commit bank fraud carries as possible punishment up to 30 years. The drug conspiracy charges carry a term of imprisonment of at least 10 years. Buy Zithromax Without Prescription, The currency structuring charges carry a possible five-year term of imprisonment.

The indictment also includes a notice of forfeiture. Some of the assets identified in the indictment already have been seized by the United States in civil forfeiture actions over the course of the investigation, to include approximately 46 acres in Bexar County, a condo on South Padre Island, a 2005 Pilatus airplane, and residences in Hidalgo and Hays counties.

The investigation leading to the indictment has been conducted by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force in Brownsville, San Antonio, Houston, Corpus Christi, and New York and has included agents and officers with HSI, DEA, IRS-CI, FBI, and the Texas Attorney General’s Office.

The United States government also acknowledges with gratitude the significant assistance received from the government of Mexico in the course of this investigation, including through sharing evidence and expertise.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Charles Lewis, Julie K. Hampton, and Jody Young.

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Email This News Story Email This News Story | Print This News Story Print This News Story | September 18th, 2013 by Legislativemedia@aol.com

Amoxicillin For Sale, As Hidalgo County leaders prepare for the inevitable expansion or construction of a new courthouse in downtown Edinburg, the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation has begun a regional market survey to determine the demand for a privately-funded Class A office tower as part of the city’s ambitious downtown revitalization goals. Agustín “Gus” García, Executive Director for the EEDC, which is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg City Council, is hopeful that the proposed construction of a $100+ million Hidalgo County Courthouse would help encourage the private sector to finance the creation of an office tower. “This effort is only the initial step to identifying a need,” said García. “If a need is found, then phase 2 – looking for a developer – would proceed.” The privately-funded professional services complex, envisioned through a collaborative effort between the EEDC and the city, would primarily cater to attorneys and other legal professionals. But it also could draw high-end shops, restaurants, and entertainment venues, whose tenants could capitalize on the thousands of people who come to the courthouse and downtown daily to conduct their business. The EEDC leader, along with other elect included in this image, are featured in this recent portrait taken during the Public Affairs Luncheon at the ECHO Hotel and Conference Center, Amoxicillin For Sale. Featured, front row, from left: Liz Gómez-Adamson, Chief Nursing Information Officer, Doctors Hospital at Renaissance (DHR); Marissa Castañeda, Chief Operating Officer, DHR; Maggie Kent, Member, Board of Directors, Edinburg Chamber of Commerce (ECC); Dr. Carlos J. Cárdenas, M.D., Chairman of the Board, DHR; McAllen Mayor Jim Darling; Edinburg Mayor Richard H. Amoxicillin from mexico, García; Edinburg School Board Trustee Carmen González; Dr. Amoxicillin For Sale, Robert S. Nelsen, President, The University of Texas-Pan American; Hidalgo County Judge Ramón García; Elva Jackson Garza, Member, ECC Board of Directors; Letty González, President, Edinburg Chamber of Commerce; Dina Araguz, Chairman of the Board, Edinburg Chamber of Commerce; Alex Ríos, Member, ECC Board of Directors; and Marty Baylor, Member, ECC Board of Directors. Back row, from left: Norma Terán, Chief Nursing Officer, DHR; Lisa Woodward, Assistant Chief Nursing Officer, DHR; Lucy Canales, Member, ECC Board of Directors; Susan Turley, Chief Financial Officer, DHR; Dr. René Gutiérrez, Superintendent, Edinburg Consolidated Independent School District (ECISD); Dr. Martín Castillo, Vice-President, ECISD Board of Trustees; Edinburg Mayor Pro Tem Elías Longoria, Jr.; Jaime R, Amoxicillin maximum dosage. Solis, Board Secretary, ECISD Board of Trustees; Ramiro Garza, Jr., Edinburg City Manager; Hiren Govind, Member, ECC Board of Directors; Jacob De León, Member, ECC Board of Directors; and Agustín “Gus” García, Jr., Executive Director, Edinburg Economic Development Corporation, Amoxicillin For Sale. See story later in this posting.

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Key South Texas lawmakers on Wednesday, August 21, provided highlights from Texas Legislature’s regular session and three special sessions during a legislative luncheon hosted by the Rio Grande Valley Hispanic Chamber of Commerce at The Club at Cimarron in Mission. “We are extremely proud of our South Texas delegation. Not everyone is able to keep up with the activities at the Texas Capitol, so this annual Legislative Report Card Luncheon is very valuable to the communities as we are informed of the legislation passed,” said Cynthia M. Sakulenzki, the organization’s President/CEO. Amoxicillin For Sale, “We are extremely lucky that this session was very fruitful for the Rio Grande Valley. The South Texas Delegation was able to get us funding for transportation, education, water infrastructure, an increase in the Texas Retirement fund, and so on, besides the creation of the new University of Texas regional university and planned UT Medical School, which will have a tremendous economic and educational boost for the Rio Grande Valley.” Sakulenzki also expressed appreciation for video updates provided by Congressman Rubén Hinojosa, D-Mercedes, and Congressman Henry Cuellar, D-Laredo/McAllen. “Even though Congressman Hinojosa and Congressman Cuellar were not present because they were in session in Washington, D.C., we want to thank them for the videos they sent answering our questions on veterans affairs, immigration, student loans, the Affordable Care Act and the border fence.” Featured, from left, are RGV Hispanic Chamber board members, including: Jeniffer C. Garza, Amoxicillin from canadian pharmacy, Vice Chair of Health Issues; Brenda Lee Huerta, Vice Chair of Governmental Affairs; Cynthia M. Sakulenzki, President/CEO, RGV Hispanic Chamber of Commerce: Rep. Sergio Muñoz, Jr., D-Mission; Rep, Amoxicillin For Sale. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg; Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, D-McAllen; Adelita Muñoz, Vice Chair of Women’s Issues; Rep. Óscar Longoria, Jr., D-La Joya; Jenise Díaz, Vice Chair of Public Relations; and Pete Morales, Vice Chair of International Trade.

••••••

Jared Matthew Janes, a five-year veteran journalist for The Monitor who in August left his profession to attend the University of Texas School of Law in Austin, was honored for his news reporting skills on Tuesday, July 30, by the Hidalgo County Commissioners Court – which was one of his numerous “beats” – subject areas assigned to a reporter – in which he excelled. Janes also extensively wrote about the City of Edinburg and its jobs-creation arm, the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation, as well as generated significant coverage of the major actions of the Texas Legislature and the Hidalgo County state legislative delegation. Amoxicillin For Sale, He also reported on the Hidalgo County Regional Mobility Authority, and statewide and regional political campaigns. Janes, a native of Sydney, an unincorporated town in the north-central Texas region of Comanche County, serves as proof of the famous adage, “From small things, big things one day come.” In his time at The Monitor, Janes has comprehensively covered issues that affect every resident in the county, from health care and transportation to the environment and legal affairs, noted Karina Cardoza, what is Amoxicillin, Director of Public Affairs for Hidalgo County, who wrote the resolution in Janes’ honor. That declaration was unanimously approved by the county judge and county commissioners. Featured, front row, from left: Carlos Sánchez, Editor, The Monitor; Jared Janes; Hidalgo County District Clerk Laura Hinojosa; and Hidalgo County Tax Assessor-Collector Paul Villarreal. Back row, from left: Precinct 4 County Commissioner Joseph Palacios; Hidalgo County Judge Ramón García; Precinct 2 County Commissioner Héctor “Tito” Palacios; and Precinct 1 County Commissioner A.C. Cuellar, Jr.

See story later in this posting.

••••••

Led by Rep, Amoxicillin For Sale. Sergio Muñoz, Jr., D-Mission, local leaders and trade stakeholders met on Friday, August 30, at the Anzaldúas International Bridge in Mission to discuss the next steps for designation of an Overweight Vehicle Corridor in Hidalgo County. Passage of House Bill 474, authored by Muñoz and sponsored by Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, D-McAllen, authorized the establishment of this corridor and marks a milestone in the region’s economic development efforts. The corridor will also promote safety as businesses begin to utilize the corridor for movement of goods through Hidalgo County. “This corridor is a key piece of infrastructure needed to promote trade and attract jobs and investments,” said Muñoz. “We know that with the opening of the Durango- Mazatlán Highway, many produce businessmen will be turning to our region for expedient delivery of products. Amoxicillin For Sale, But we need to have infrastructure such as this corridor in place.” In this image, Muñoz presented signed copies of House Bill 474 to key South Texas leaders who endorsed his legislation. Featured, from left: Rigoberto Villarreal, Director of Operations for the Anzaldúas International Bridge and Hidalgo International Bridge, and Rep. Sergio Muñoz, Amoxicillin use, Jr., D-Mission. Back row, from left: Mayor Leopoldo “Polo” Palacios, Jr. of Pharr; Councilmember Rubén Plata of Pharr, and Keith Patridge, President and CEO of the McAllen Economic Development Corporation. See story later in this posting.

••••••

Hidalgo County has earned 2nd Place in the Metro County Division for its efforts to increase public awareness of county programs and services while incorporating this year's theme of "Smart Justice: Creating Safer Communities." Celebrated in April, Hidalgo County was one of only six counties across the nation honored for outstanding public outreach, Amoxicillin For Sale. The purpose of the National County Government Month Award program is to encourage counties to participate in National County Government Month (NCGM) and recognize those counties that sponsor outstanding programs to reach out and educate citizens about county government during the month of April. Featured, first row, from left: Former 92nd District Court Judge Ricardo Rodríguez, Jr.; Public Affairs Director Karina Cardoza; District Clerk Laura Hinojosa; and Adult Probation staff member Faustino López. Second row, from left: Pct. 4 Commissioner Joseph Palacios; Pct. Amoxicillin For Sale, 3 Commissioner Joe M. Flores; County Judge Ramón García; Pct. 2 Commissioner Héctor "Tito" Palacios; and Pct. 1 Commissioner A.C. Cuellar, Jr. See story later in this posting.

••••••

A bipartisan coalition of state legislators, including, from left, Rep. Sergio Muñoz, Jr., D-Mission, Rep, Amoxicillin For Sale. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg, Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, D-McAllen, and Rep. Óscar Longoria, where can i cheapest Amoxicillin online, Jr., D-La Joya, are working to rally voter support during the November 5, 2013 statewide constitutional amendment election in favor of Proposition 6, which would help communities statewide pay for needed water and conservation projects. Water Texas, an advocacy group in favor of Proposition 6, announced on Wednesday, August 21, the members of its Statewide Leadership Team, a bipartisan coalition of legislators working to help pass Proposition 6, which is designed to address the state’s water crisis. Amoxicillin For Sale, The Statewide Leadership Team includes 152 members of the 181-member Texas Legislature. Canales said the Valley, with its rapidly-growing population – Hidalgo County alone has more than 840,000 residents as of 2012 – needs to have access to funding options in order to manage the continuing positive growth of deep South Texas. “Water is life, and it is our duty as Texans to protect, conserve, and plan for the future water needs of our state, taking in to account population growth and the reality of severe drought,” Canales. “This measure is the first of many steps we must take to not only protect our economy, but our very way of life and the lives of future Texans.” The proposed amendment is a response to the severe strain that drought and rapid population growth have put on the state's water supply. While the population of Texas is expected to nearly double by 2060, existing water supplies are projected to decrease by 10 percent during that time, creating a need for an additional 2.7 trillion gallons of water. See story later in this posting.

••••••

The Hobo Hap'nin' Reunion 2013 "Crew" is getting bigger. The Hobo Hap'nin' Reunion is scheduled for Saturday, September 21, at 6:30 p.m, Amoxicillin For Sale. at 602 W. University Drive, the home of the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce, Amoxicillin no rx, Edinburg Economic Development Corporation and Edinburg Convention and Visitors Bureau. This event brings the community to the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce Depot for one common historical purpose: setting the goal of raising $50,000 for the ongoing restoration of the Edinburg landmark. Lone Star National Bank, the ECHO Hotel and Conference Center, and Memorial Funeral Home have been leaders in helping support this fundraising effort. Amoxicillin For Sale, Tickets for the reception are $75 each, and that sponsorship also covers dinner, refreshments, live music, and the option to participate in a silent auction. The Depot Restoration Committee is asking for further support from anyone interested in preserving a very historic and beautiful architecturally designed facility. Donations for the live and blackboard auctions are being accepted. For more information, please contact Letty González, President of the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce at 956/383-4974 or chamber@edinburg.com. In this image, representatives of the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors Depot Restoration Committee, and "Trainmaster" sponsors of the Hobo Hap'nin Reunion gathered at the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce. Featured, seated, from left: Alex Ríos, Laura Guajardo, Elva Jackson Garza, León De León, Velma Sue De León, and Pedro Salazar, Amoxicillin For Sale. Standing, from left: Jacob De León, Flo Prater, Edinburg Mayor Pro Tem Elías Longoria, Jr., Byron Jay Lewis, Hiren Govind, Dina Araguz, Robert McGurk, Edna Peña, Dina Pérez, Letty González, Marty Martin, and Maggie Kent.

••••••

Dr. Robert S. Nelsen, President of the University of Texas-Pan American (featured second from left), Amoxicillin street price, on Thursday, August 15, said he will ask the UT System Board of Regents at its November meeting to provide $148 million for the construction of a new science complex and business building at the Edinburg campus. If approved, UTPA would receive a major boost in plans to be transformed into a first-class university serving the four-county Rio Grande Valley. Amoxicillin For Sale, UTPA is going to be merged with the University of Texas at Brownsville in order to create a new, yet-to-be-named higher education system for the Valley that will feature a full-fledged UT medical school. Nelsen, who also confirmed he would be seeking the presidency of the new UT university/medical school, said he will ask for $100 million for the science building and $48 million for a business building. The construction, if funded by the UT System, would help create many direct and indirect jobs, he added. “The Science Building alone would generate, on top of the $100 million (that it will cost to construct), $145 million in economic impact when it is built here. It will generate hundreds of jobs. It will help lift the entire Valley as we go forward,” Nelsen said. “It’s mind-blowing, right, Amoxicillin For Sale. It truly is.” Nelsen made the announcement at the ECHO Hotel and Conference Center in Edinburg, during the Public Affairs Luncheon coordinated by the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce and sponsored by Doctors Hospital at Renaissance. Featured, from left: Dr. Carlos J. Cárdenas, Chairman of the Board of Directors and interim Chief Executive Officer for Doctors Hospital at Renaissance; UTPA President Dr. Amoxicillin For Sale, Robert S. Nelsen; Edinburg Mayor Richard H. García; Hidalgo County Judge Ramón García; and Edinburg Mayor Pro Tem Elías Longoria, Jr. See story later in this posting.

••••••

Cinemark Holdings, Inc., one of the world's largest motion picture exhibitors, on Thursday, Real brand Amoxicillin online, August 29, provided a sneak preview for Edinburg leaders and residents of their first Cinemark Movie Bistro. The new six-screen theatre, located at 2001 West Trenton, is the first in-theatre dining experience for the entire corporation. The family entertainment venue, which will serve as the major anchor for adjacent businesses and restaurants, features state-of-the-art visual and audio, along with premium plush seating with snack tables to allow patrons to enjoy meals ordered at the theatre while enjoying their favorite movies, Amoxicillin For Sale. Featured during the ceremonial tearing of the first admission ticket, are, front row, from left: Nelda Ramírez, Assistant Executive Director, Edinburg Economic Development Corporation; Ramiro Garza, Jr., Edinburg City Manager; Frank Torres, General Manager, Cinemark Movie Bistro; Mayor Pro Tem Elías Longoria, Jr.; Mayor Richard García; Art Murtha, Vice President of Theatre Operations, Cinemark Theatres; Letty González, President, Edinburg Chamber of Commerce; and Dina Araguz, Chairman, Board of Directors, Edinburg Chamber of Commerce. Featured back row are Johnny Cisneros, Broker, Cadence Commercial Real Estate, and Jennifer Frederick, Marketing Manager, Cinemark Theatres. See top story in this posting.

••••••

Seeing is believing – Cinemark opens first-of-its kind theatre in company’s history in Edinburg


By DAVID A. DÍAZ

Hundreds of area residents, Amoxicillin long term, joined by Edinburg and Cinemark Holdings, Inc. Amoxicillin For Sale, leaders, on Thursday, August 29, celebrated a sneak preview of one of the nation’s most unique family entertainment venues, the Cinemark Movie Bistro, located at 2001 West Trenton Road.

The new Cinemark Movie Bistro, an ultramodern six-screen theatre which officially opened for business on Friday, August 30, offers customers an enhanced dining menu and a variety of beverage options including favorite beers, premium wines and frozen cocktails that can be enjoyed in the auditoriums.

“Edinburg is proud to be number one in so many ways,” Mayor Richard García told a packed house before participating in a ceremonial tearing of the first admission ticket. “Today we are opening in our city of the first-of-its-kind. This Cinemark venue is the first one to be opened in the U.S. Let’s give Cinemark a big hand.”

Art Murtha, Vice President for Theatre Operations for the Plano, Texas-based multinational corporation, was among Cinemark’s national staff members who attended the Edinburg celebration, Amoxicillin For Sale.

“Tonight is the VIP night, and we are going to do things a little bit differently here. As you have been hearing all night, complimentary popcorn and soft drinks, complimentary beer and wine, and we are also passing platters around with samples of the kitchen fare that we are offering here,” Murtha addressed the gathering. “This theatre is going to be a little bit unique compared to other theatres because you can come in, order meals, and have it delivered to your seat. Pretty cool. Amoxicillin For Sale, Big luxury chairs here. Hope you enjoy it.”

• CITY, EEDC PLAYED KEY ROLES IN NEW DEVELOPMENT

The Edinburg City Council and its jobs-creation arm, the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation, were active participants in bringing the new entertainment venue to the community, said Agustín “Gus” García, Executive Director, Edinburg Economic Development Corporation. Buy Amoxicillin without a prescription, Initially, an Alamo Drafthouse Cinema had been planned for the facility, but that project stalled as the national and Texas economy suffered through a major economic recession several years ago. Sine then, the unfinished Alamo Drafthouse Cinema remained empty.

“The EEDC and the city provided a number of incentives to revive the project. We were tired of seeing an empty unused building,” the EEDC executive director said, Amoxicillin For Sale. “Like it or not, an empty unfinished building is sometimes worse than no building at all. The job growth, venue and sales tax creation were key to the decision as well.”

Gus García (no relation to the mayor) said it was important for the EEDC and its leadership to finally see this project come to life.

“The Cinemark Movie Bistro was a natural fit because it is both a local and regional draw. Our city’s leadership has made it clear that we need to grow as a region. Amoxicillin For Sale, This location was an ideal project to draw many shoppers and diners from the region to the Jackson and Trenton roads area,” Gus García continued. “Trenton Road is becoming a natural corridor for those seeking regional access to the northern part of Hidalgo County.”

• THEATRE PART OF PLANNED ECONOMIC GROWTH FOR REGION

According to an economic impact analysis prepared for the EEDC by UT-Pan American, the movie theatre complex will have a significant economic impact for the city.

More than 90 direct, indirect, and induced jobs, resulting in a payroll of more than $2.8 million, were and will be created as a result of the construction and operation of the Cinemark Movie Bistro, which also resulted in an infusion of more than $9 million into the local economy.

Gus García emphasized the short-term and long-range benefits of the movie theatre complex to the region served by Jackson Road and Trenton Road.

“Be it retail, financial, health or governmental services, this business and leisure corridor will undoubtedly produce the traffic counts necessary for further expansion,” he said. “If you take a close look at the Trenton Road corridor, you will notice that there is plenty of land between U.S Interstate 69 (recently renamed for U.S, Amoxicillin For Sale. Expressway 281) and Tenth Street. It is safe to say that 70 percent of the available property in this vital corridor is situated in Edinburg.”

The Jackson Road/Trenton Road transportation system serves as an access point for motorists seeking access to North McAllen’s 10th Street and southwest Edinburg for entertainment, dining, and health care – since many of the area’s major hospitals are part of that corridor, he said, Amoxicillin without prescription.

“Quite frankly, if you are traveling from the Mid-Valley or South McAllen, you have quicker access along I-69/U.S. Expressway 281, and through the Trenton Road corridor, than anywhere else. It is a natural funnel.”

Mayor Richard García recalled the high hopes of the community almost a decade ago, when the current commercial subdivision was used for agricultural purposes. Amoxicillin For Sale, “I remember about 10 years ago, sitting down here in an empty field, and the concept was this type of venue. It didn’t happen with the former group, but we have come a long way,” the mayor reflected. “The powers that be with Cinemark, the Edinburg City Council, the EEDC and its Board of Directors, and especially, all of the great citizens of Edinburg, are the ones who made businesses want to come and set up shop here.”

Gus García added both Edinburg and McAllen would prosper as a result of the ongoing growth in southwest Edinburg.

“From a regional perspective, this natural growth of the area is proving to very positive for both cities. These are the types of corridors that retailers and large destination site selectors look for,” Gus García said. “The EEDC fully intends to market the corridor and hopefully attract many restaurants and entertainment venues for the entire region, Amoxicillin For Sale. Edinburg and many retailers have discovered the fertile mining ground that Trenton Road is offering.”

He added that the EEDC “has a number of prospects already inquiring about or locating on the Trenton corridor, and announcements will soon be coming. We have been actively ‘pitching’ the area.”

• “FOUR STAR RATING”

Dr. Havidán Rodríguez, a member of the Board of Directors for the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation, which is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg City Council, praised the addition of Cinemark Movie Bistro as yet another quality-of-life improvement for the city and surrounding communities.

“This is a great opportunity, not only for Edinburg, Amoxicillin recreational, but for the entire region. Amoxicillin For Sale, This is about creating a family-friendly atmosphere and environment,” said Rodríguez, who serves as Provost and Vice President, Academic Affairs, The University of Texas-Pan American. “We live in a growing, thriving city that is developing very, very quickly, and socio-economic factors are improving significantly. I believe this will be a total success.”

Letty González, President of the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce, gave the new theatre complex the proverbial top compliment for films – the “Four Star Rating”.

“I encourage all of us here to let everyone to know what Edinburg has to offer,” she told the gathering. “Our community will now enjoy a great and unique experience being wined and dined while watching their favorite movie.”

• CINEMARK’S VISION FOR EDINBURG, SOUTH TEXAS

Tim Warner, Cinemark’s Chief Executive Officer, said the new complex – which will serve as a showpiece for the rest of the commercial complex that includes restaurants and shops – provided insight into the corporation’s vision for Edinburg and South Texas.

“Cinemark has called the Rio Grande Valley home for more than 20 years and we are excited to introduce a brand new concept,” Warner stated in a Cinemark news release, Amoxicillin For Sale. “The new Cinemark Movie Bistro offers our customers the highest quality presentation available paired with an enhanced dining experience.”

Cinemark has long been recognized as a pioneer in the theatrical exhibition industry and the new Cinemark Movie Bistro extends that reputation, added Bob Shimmin, Vice President of Food and Beverage for the corporation, which is a leading domestic and international motion picture exhibitor, operating 504 theatres with 5,794 screens in 40 U.S. states, Brazil, Mexico, Argentina and 10 other Latin American countries as of June 30, 2013.

“What I believe our customers will find so appealing about the Cinemark Movie Bistro is that we've added great tasting food options and a selection of beers, wines, and frozen cocktails to the entertainment experience, all the while never allowing the new features to distract from the immersive experience that makes movie-going magical,” Shimmin noted in the corporation announcement.

According to Jennifer Frederick, purchase Amoxicillin online, Marketing Manager, Cinemark Theatres, Edinburg’s Cinemark’s Movie Bistro offers the following:

• An expanded dining menu featuring appetizers, pizzas and flat breads, sandwiches and wraps, quesadillas and tacos and much more;

• Domestic, imported, craft and Texas brewed beers, various wine selections, and frozen margaritas and daiquiris;

• Premium plush seating with thoughtfully designed snack tables;

• Delivery service before the movie;

• Six all-digital auditoriums with wall-to-wall screens; and

• Four auditoriums that are RealD 3D capable

Cinemark takes pride in creating the best entertainment experience in the industry, focusing on offering more choices to our customers, Frederick emphasized. Amoxicillin For Sale, “For example, the new theatre will feature online ‘Print at Home’ ticketing, available at www.cinemark.com, which makes it easy for patrons to purchase from the comfort of their home or office. Also, guests can download and purchase tickets through Cinemark's mobile applications that are available for iPhone and Android phones,” she explained. “Finally, to stay connected, customers can sign up online to receive free, weekly showtime emailers that contain online coupons for discounts at the concession stand and other weekly special offers.”

Pricing options include a Senior Citizens Day every Monday, a Discount Tuesday offer, and Early Bird and Bargain Matinees everyday, Frederick added.

The Edinburg Economic Development Corporation is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg City Council. It’s five-member governing board, which is appointed by the Edinburg City Council, includes Mayor Richard García as President, Fred Palacios as Secretary-Treasurer, and Felipe García, Jaime A. Rodríguez, and Dr, Amoxicillin For Sale. Amoxicillin no prescription, Havidán Rodríguez. For more information on the EEDC and the City of Edinburg, please log on to: www.EdbgCityLimits.com

••••••

$148 million for science and business buildings for UTPA to be requested by President Nelsen when UT System regents meet in November


By DAVID A. DÍAZ

Dr. Robert S. Amoxicillin For Sale, Nelsen, President of the University of Texas-Pan American, on Thursday, August 15, said he will ask the UT System Board of Regents at its November meeting to provide $148 million for the construction of a new science complex and business building at the Edinburg campus.

If approved, UTPA would receive a major boost in plans to be transformed into a first-class university serving the four-county Rio Grande Valley. UTPA is going to be merged with the University of Texas at Brownsville in order to create a new, yet-to-be-named higher education system for the Valley that will feature a full-fledged UT medical school.

Nelsen, who also confirmed he would be seeking the presidency of the new UT university/medical school, said he will ask for $100 million for the science building and $48 million for a business building.

The construction, if funded by the UT System, would help create many direct and indirect jobs, he added.

“The Science Building alone would generate, on top of the $100 million (that it will cost to construct), $145 million in economic impact when it is built here, Amoxicillin For Sale. It will generate hundreds of jobs. It will help lift the entire Valley as we go forward,” Nelsen said. “It’s mind-blowing, right. It truly is.”

Nelsen made the announcement at the ECHO Hotel and Conference Center in Edinburg, during the Public Affairs Luncheon coordinated by the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce and sponsored by Doctors Hospital at Renaissance. Amoxicillin For Sale, “Our Public Affairs Luncheon offer insights, knowledge and provide network opportunities to help everyone in our community stay ahead,” said Letty González, President of the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce.

The Public Affairs Luncheons were introduced in 2006 to feature speakers who cover important legislative and community topics for members and the public.

“We were eager to have Dr. Nelsen address the opportunities the new university and medical school will bring to our region,” added González. “This is a life-changing moment for the Rio Grande Valley.”

More than 200 business and civic leaders attended the gathering, including Edinburg Mayor Richard H. García, Edinburg Mayor Pro Tem Elías Longoria, Jr., Hidalgo County Judge Ramón García, Rep, Amoxicillin For Sale. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg, cheap Amoxicillin, McAllen Mayor Jim Darling. Agustín “Gus” García, Executive Director, Edinburg Economic Development Corporation; Edinburg City Manager Ramiro Garza, Jr.; snd Dr. Carlos J. Cárdenas, Chairman of the Board and interim Chief Executive Officer, Doctors Hospital at Renaissance. Amoxicillin For Sale, Mayor García also serves as the president of the Board of Directors for the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation, which is the jobs-creation of the Edinburg City Council.

Canales, whose House District 40 includes The University of Texas-Pan American, said he would continue to rally legislative support for the requested $148 million in new construction at the local campus.

“I commend President Nelsen for his vision on what UT-Pan American needs now and in the near future. I will continue to work closely with the Valley state legislative delegation, the UT System Board of Regents, UT System Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa, and UTPA President Nelsen to help come up with the needed funding for these two vital new buildings,” Canales said. “In particular, the proposed Science Building would go a long way in expertly preparing more of our students for careers in the medical and health care professions, plus provide them with the high academic environment necessary to succeed in the UT medical school for the Valley.”

On January 23, Nelsen helped secure support from the UT System Board of Regents for the proposed science building, which was included in legislation that was filed a few weeks later seeking new construction money for universities statewide. However, that measure failed to get approved by lawmakers before the regular session of the Legislature ended in May, Amoxicillin For Sale.

In late January, Nelsen was seeking funding for a 162,600 gross-square foot complex that would support biology, math, pre-med and environmental studies. It would be constructed as an addition to the current Science Building. Buy Amoxicillin from canada, Hopes for the new business facility would involve an expansion of 80,000 to 100,000 square feet on the north side of the existing Business Administration Building.

• ACCESS TO PERMANENT UNIVERSITY FUND COULD BE KEY

The prospective good fortune for UTPA has improved dramatically over the past few months with a separate, but landmark legislation, approved in May, which will create the Valley’s new university/medical school. Amoxicillin For Sale, As a result of Senate Bill 24, by Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, D-McAllen, and Rep. René Oliveira, D-Brownsville – which included all Valley lawmakers as joint authors or sponsors of the bill – the new Valley university system now has access to the Permanent University Fund.

The Permanent University Fund (PUF) is valued at more than $14 billion based on oil and natural gas revenue generated from state lands in west Texas. As a result of Senate Bill 24, the new Valley university system will have access to the PUF to help pay for major campus construction programs, such as the proposed science and business buildings, and for the planned UT medical school, which will include a major component in Edinburg.

Nelsen had previously explained how the new science building would increase the number of students who graduate in the fields of STEM, which stands for the categories of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, Amoxicillin For Sale.

“We need the jobs in the Valley, we need STEM credentialed-individuals,” Nelsen emphasized during the January 23 meeting of the UT System Board of Regents. “STEM education is critical for the Valley.”

According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, by 2017, STEM education “will grow and create 17 percent more jobs than currently are out there,” Nelsen explained. “Those people who get a STEM credential will earn 26.7 percent more.”

“We are in the middle of master planning right now. Amoxicillin For Sale, It is very interesting. We have the acreage on our campus that you could fit all of UT-Austin on our campus. We are not landlocked,” Nelsen said.

Constructing the massive additions would also help generate more money for the university because more students would be able to enroll, where can i order Amoxicillin without prescription.

“We have a responsibility to grow, and every time we grow one percent, we are bringing in about $900 thousand to be able to do it. Having these buildings and having the capacity will allow us to do it,” the UTPA president noted, Amoxicillin For Sale.

• UT SYSTEM WEBSITE PROVIDES TIMELINE, OTHER DETAILS

According to the UT System, which maintains a website on the ongoing efforts dealing with the new university and medical school, South Texas residents may know who will be the new president by January or February 2014.

Later this year, the name for the new university will be finalized.

Additional details about the history, timeline, guiding principles, frequently asked questions, and other important information are available by logging on to:

www.utsystem.edu/news/topics/project-south-texas

Following his presentation at the Public Affairs Luncheon, Nelsen made himself available to Valley news reporters. A transcription of one of his interviews follows. Amoxicillin For Sale, It has been edited for grammar and content.

Question:

Do you intend to apply for president of the new university.

President Nelsen:

I haven't seen the job ad. But if I’m qualified, I would certainly apply.

Question:

Why is it important for you to stay in this region.

President Nelsen:

I love this Valley, Amoxicillin For Sale. I love the people of the Valley. I would love to have the opportunity to be able to continue, if they ask me to.

Question:

At what point will the names of the applicants for president of the new university be published.

President Nelsen:

I don't know. Amoxicillin For Sale, The (UT System) Board of Regents runs that, and really they haven't announced a committee or anything. It will be announced when they bring them (applicants) on campus, the same way when I came on campus (in 2009). They announced each one just before they came on campus, Cheap Amoxicillin no rx, so they announce the pool of finalists that way.

Question:

Essentially, you supported the merger legislation, despite the fact that you knew it could cost your job. Why was it important that you make that sacrifice.

President Nelsen:

I don't think it was a sacrifice, and I hope you write that, Amoxicillin For Sale. I don't think it was a sacrifice. I think it was a wonderful opportunity to be able to help the children of the Valley. I always look at it as a way to save our children.

Question:

What do you want your legacy to be here.

President Nelsen: Amoxicillin For Sale, I want it to be that we partnered together to be able to do this with the entire community. It really was a collaboration of all of us working together to make it happen.

Question:

Talk about the impact made by Mayor García and the Edinburg City Council.

President Nelsen:

All of the mayors and judges (in the Valley) were very influential with what happened. They went and talked with the (state legislative) delegation. They met with legislators up there, Amoxicillin For Sale. They believed in the university, so their support meant the world. They solidified things for us.

Question:

What is the main thing you want people to know that was not covered in these questions.

President Nelsen:

What is not important is the name (of the new university). Amoxicillin For Sale, What is not important is the mascot. What is important is the future for our children and the ability for them to be able to really have a first-class education. What I didn't talk about is the excellence of this university. It really will be excellent.

The Edinburg Economic Development Corporation is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg City Council. It’s five-member governing board, which is appointed by the Edinburg City Council, includes Mayor Richard García as President, Fred Palacios as Secretary-Treasurer, and Felipe García, Jaime A, Amoxicillin For Sale. Rodríguez, and Dr. Havidán Rodríguez. For more information on the EEDC and the City of Edinburg, please log on to: www.EdbgCityLimits.com

••••••

EEDC begins regional market survey to determine demand for privately-funded Class A office complex near Hidalgo County Courthouse


By DAVID A. DÍAZ

As Hidalgo County leaders prepare for the inevitable expansion or construction of a new courthouse in downtown Edinburg, the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation has begun a regional market survey to determine the demand for a privately-funded Class A office tower as part of the city’s ambitious downtown revitalization goals. Amoxicillin For Sale, According to the website About.Com:

The highest-quality space on the market is considered Class A. These spaces are generally newly constructed, and have been outfitted with top-of-the-line fixtures, Amoxicillin pharmacy, amenities and systems. Class A buildings are usually aesthetically pleasing, as they reside in high-visibility locations, such as a metropolitan’s central business district. These spaces are normally maintained by reputable property management companies that keep them looking impeccable.

Agustín “Gus” García, Executive Director for the EEDC, which is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg City Council, is hopeful that the proposed construction of a $100+ million Hidalgo County Courthouse would help encourage private developers to finance the creation of an office tower.

“This effort is only the initial step to identifying a need,” said García, Amoxicillin For Sale. “If a need is found, then phase 2 – looking for a developer – would proceed.”

The privately-funded professional services complex, envisioned through a collaborative effort between the EEDC and the city, would primarily cater to attorneys and other legal professionals. But it also could draw high-end shops, restaurants, and entertainment venues, whose tenants could capitalize on the thousands of people who come to the courthouse and downtown daily to conduct their business.

“We are getting ready to start one of the largest construction projects for the downtown square, which will be the new county courthouse,” García said. “There has been a big push by the Edinburg City Council and the EEDC to revitalize that area, to improve the infrastructure and drainage, to eliminate the flooding that has taken place over the past many years. Amoxicillin For Sale, The Edinburg City Council and the EEDC are partners in the development and transformation of the city’s downtown into a major economic powerhouse for the city. The possible law office tower complex and the proposed new courthouse are part of a larger vision for significantly improving job-creation and quality of-life issues, known as the Downtown Master Plan, finalized in June 2010 under the leadership of the city and EEDC.

“With the proposed construction of a new Hidalgo County Courthouse in the downtown square, the EEDC is looking at all viable options to revitalize this vital area in order to continue generating more sales taxes and more property taxes, as well as more new jobs, Amoxicillin cost, from such major construction projects,” the EEDC executive director said. “If one looks at any county seat, where the courthouse is located, there is always a need for Class A office space.”

He noted that dozens of law firms are located outside of Edinburg, representing potential and legitimate tenants for private developers who would fund the creation of any high-rise complex tied into the new courthouse.

“We want to begin talking to law firms to see if they are interested in relocating near or next to the courthouse in a tower with a parking space. We will be pursuing developers to see if they are interested in building such a facility,” García explained, Amoxicillin For Sale. “We want to build a list of attorneys who would move into a Class A legal tower for their needs. If we can get enough interested parties, we can explore finance incentives for a developer who would want to take on a project of that magnitude.”

Edinburg’s downtown region is anchored by three important public entities – the county courthouse, Edinburg City Hall, and the University of Texas-Pan American, which “generate a significantly positive flow of traffic and visitors,” García observed. “Any business would do well locating in our downtown, and the office tower could represent an ideal way to prosper from the unique characteristics that make up the heart of our city.”

By the fall of 2014, the University of Texas-Pan American will have finished ongoing construction of a $42.6 million performing arts center that will be the latest showpiece on campus, with thousands of visitors expected to drive to Edinburg each year to enjoy concerts and other major cultural and academic activities at the new facility, he reflected.

“UTPA, especially as it becomes the major component of a new, Valleywide University of Texas System higher education complex, will begin to see even more new construction that will continue to bring more people to our city. Amoxicillin For Sale, A Class A office tower would be in a position to capitalize on those prospective customers and clients,” García said. “In a matter of a couple of months, the UT System Board of Regents will be asked to authorize almost $150 million in new construction at UTPA. With new buildings will come many more people who will travel through, and stop at, our downtown.”

García said the survey will continue over the next six to 12 months, but he encouraged all interested business leaders – not just attorneys – to participate in the study.

“Contact the EEDC at (956) 383-7124 or go to our websites (www.EdinburgEDC.com. or www.EdinburgEDC.com) and tell us what you need by viewing and completing our questionnaire, online Amoxicillin without a prescription,” he said.

As for the possible location of an office tower, García said it would depend on key factors, Amoxicillin For Sale.

“We are exploring sites right now, we have some ideas, but it would depend on the interest, the type of building, will it have an underground parking garage,” he said. “That is one of the reasons it is very important that we hear from prospective tenants of this office tower.”

The following questions highlight the survey:

Should the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation attract a high rise Class "A" tower to the downtown area. The real question is, if we bring it would you want to be a part of it.

In considering attracting a high rise tower with Class "A" office space, how important are the following for you and your company:

• Proximity to the new courthouse. Amoxicillin For Sale, • Accessibility to the new courthouse.

• Security.

If the tower had restaurants, cafes, branded shopping experience, would it convince you to locate there.

If the tower also had entertainment, sky restaurant, sky lounge, private club, green zones designated for outdoor and indoor concerts and theater, would it convince you to locate there.

If the tower were to connect to the courthouse premises through an air walk, would it convince you to locate there.

If the tower had a ballroom and convention space, would you be interested in locating there, Amoxicillin For Sale.

Would you be interested in subterranean parking garage designed to ease pedestrian access as well as revitalize the entire downtown community.

If the tower had bicycle and pedestrian-friendly outdoor exercise areas making it ideal location for family gatherings and business professionals, would it convince you to locate there.

What if it also had artwork and sculptures and allowed for a farmer's market. Amoxicillin interactions, If interested:

• How many square feet would you need. Amoxicillin For Sale, • How much would you be willing to pay per square feet.

• Would your lease be more than six months. One year. Three years. Five years.

• Would you have use for any of the other amenities besides office space, Amoxicillin For Sale.

• Would your office have any special needs.

The Edinburg Economic Development Corporation is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg City Council. It’s five-member governing board, which is appointed by the Edinburg City Council, includes Mayor Richard García as President, Fred Palacios as Secretary-Treasurer, and Felipe García, Jaime A. Rodríguez, and Dr. Amoxicillin For Sale, Havidán Rodríguez. For more information on the EEDC and the City of Edinburg, please log on to: www.EdbgCityLimits.com

••••••

Overweight Vehicle Corridor, authorized by Rep. Muñoz, to bring economic development for House District 36 and Hidalgo County


By ERIKA REYNA-VELÁSQUEZ

and

DAVID A. DÍAZ

Led by Rep. Sergio Muñoz, Jr., D-Mission, local leaders and trade stakeholders met on Friday, August 30, at the Anzaldúas International Bridge in Mission to discuss the next steps for designation of an Overweight Vehicle Corridor in Hidalgo County.

Passage of House Bill 474, authored by Muñoz and sponsored by Sen, Amoxicillin For Sale. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, D-McAllen, authorized the establishment of this corridor and marks a milestone in the region’s economic development efforts. The corridor will also promote safety as businesses begin to utilize the corridor for movement of goods through Hidalgo County, Amoxicillin over the counter.

“This corridor is a key piece of infrastructure needed to promote trade and attract jobs and investments,” said Muñoz. “We know that with the opening of the Mazatlán-Durango Highway, many produce businessmen will be turning to our region for expedient delivery of products. Amoxicillin For Sale, But we need to have infrastructure such as this corridor in place.”

Truck weight regulations in Mexico are different from those in Texas and businesses transporting goods from Mexico through Texas currently have to divide loads, many of which are perishable items, across the border before arriving at warehouses in Hidalgo County for final processing and distribution throughout the country.

Muñoz’ House Bill 474, which included Rep. R.D. “Bobby” Guerra, D-McAllen, as a joint author, received widespread support when the legislation was considered by the House Transportation Committee on March 19, which help lead to its eventual passage.

According to the bridge’s website, in a region that depends heavily on cross-border trade, the Anzaldúas International Bridge is America’s newest border crossing into Mexico. Officially opened on December 15, 2009, the Anzaldúas International Bridge crossing directly connects the southern Hidalgo County region to the industrial hub of Reynosa, Tamaulipas, Amoxicillin For Sale. It offers a quicker and safer route for shoppers and visitors crossing the border.

Also according to the bridge’s website, the Anzaldúas International Bridge opened after nearly 17 years of work and forging of a strong partnership between the cities of McAllen, Mission, Hidalgo and Granjeño. The new bridge also serves as the most direct and efficient route between the Rio Grande Valley and Mexican cities such as Monterrey and Mexico City, reducing travel time by as much as 45 minutes.

Other areas in Texas, as well as major produce ports of entry along the U.S. Amoxicillin For Sale, border with Mexico, such as the Morley, Deconcini, and Mariposa ports of entry in Nogales, Arizona, have embraced similar corridors. Businesses with overweight trucks will be required to pay a fee per load to cover road maintenance costs on the U.S. side.

“This corridor is a much needed asset for the continued economic development of our region,” shared Keith Patridge, President and CEO of the McAllen Economic Development Corporation. Amoxicillin coupon, “The corridor, the opening of the Durango-Mazatlán Highway in Mexico, our location, and our booming population are all advantages that will allow our area to continue to grow, create jobs, and highlight our escalating role in commerce at the state and national level.”

Pilar Rodríguez, Executive Director of the Hidalgo County Regional Mobility Authority, and Pedro Álvarez, Deputy District Engineer for the Texas Department of Transportation Pharr District, provided the group with information about anticipated next steps.

The Hidalgo County Regional Mobility Authority is expected to be the administrating entity for the corridor, Amoxicillin For Sale. A formal presentation on this project is anticipated at the September 26 Transportation Commission meeting to be held in McAllen.

“We are very excited about the implementation of this legislation” said Joaquin Spamer, “For businesses like ours, it makes sense to pay this fee and use our resources to further invest in U.S. facilities”.

Spamer is the President of CI Logistics Group. Amoxicillin For Sale, CI Logistics Group is one the companies along the border that offers integrated logistic services including warehousing, customs brokers, distribution, and transportation of industrial, commercial, and perishable products.

In addition to Patridge, other South Texas leaders who endorsed the Muñoz/Hinojosa legislation included:

• Hidalgo County Judge Ramón García;

• Dennis Burleson, Chairman, Hidalgo County Regional Mobility Authority;

• John McClung, Past President, Texas International Produce Association, Mission;

• Alex Meade, Mission Economic Development Corporation;

• Ramón Navarro, City of McAllen, Anzaldúas International Bridge Board of Trustees;

• Teclo García, Director of Government Relations, City of McAllen;

• Juan Guerra, Pharr Bridge Director/CFO, City of Pharr;

• Fred Sandoval, City Manager, online buying Amoxicillin, City of Pharr;

• Carlos Zambito, Marketing Director, McAllen Produce Terminal Market;

• Barry London, President, London Fruit, Inc., Pharr;

• Henry Sutherlin, President, Scantech Sciences, Inc. Houston;

• José A. García, The García Group, Austin; and

• Lawrence Olsen, Executive Vice President, Texas Good Roads Transportation Association.

The $1.2 billion+ Mazatlán-Durango Highway, which is a hallmark of former Mexican President Felipe Calderón’s ambitious plans to modernize his nation’s transportation network, is designed to profoundly improve safety and significantly reduce the time it takes to travel from Mazatlán, one of Mexico’s largest commercial ports, to Durango, the capital of the state of Durango.

The Mazatlán-Durango Highway, renowned as an engineering marvel with its system of underground tunnels and Latin America’s tallest cable-based bridge, will make driving – particularly the transportation of commerce such as produce – much safer through the hazardous western Sierra Madre range that separates Mazatlán, which is in the state of Sinoloa, from the city of Durango, Amoxicillin For Sale.

From the city of Durango, travel to the Valley and the United States is much more accessible with the continuing expansion of Mexican Federal Highway 40, also known as the Carretera Interoceánica (Interoceanic Highway), a four-lane divided highway that links Durango with Reynosa.

As a result, the Mazatlán-Durango Highway makes it much more lucrative for Mexico growers from that region to send their produce directly to the Valley for collection and storage at major, ultra-modern produce storage facilities in Hidalgo County, Amoxicillin dosage, followed by distribution of those goods by U.S. trucking firms to major cities in America’s Midwest and East Coast.

Currently, many agricultural products from western Mexico are imported to the United States through Nogales, Arizona.

••••••

Edinburg unemployment rate has remained in single digits from January through July 2013


Amoxicillin For Sale, By DAVID A. DÍAZ

Edinburg posted a 7.9 percent unemployment rate in July 2013, second-best showing among the major communities in the Valley, and has remained in single-digits throughout the year, according to the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation.

The EEDC is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg City Council.

Edinburg’s July 2013 unemployment rate of 7.9 percent was better than the July 2013 average of all cities in Hidalgo County, which was 11.3 percent, and better than the July 2013 average of all cities in Cameron County, was 10.5 percent, according to the Texas Workforce Commission.

Only McAllen, which had a 7.5 percent unemployment rate, had a better showing in July than Edinburg. Texas had a 6.5 percent unemployment rate for that month, while the nation’s unemployment rate was 7.4 percent, according to the Texas Workforce Commission, Amoxicillin For Sale.

The Texas Workforce Commission is the state agency charged with overseeing and providing workforce development services to employers and job seekers of Texas.

Year-to-date, Edinburg’s unemployment rate averages 7.53 percent, better than the 7.8 percent unemployment rate average for all of 2012.

The unemployment rates in July for the other major cities in the Valley featured Harlingen (8.5 percent), Mission (9.1 percent), Pharr (9.9 percent), Brownsville (10.9 percent), and Weslaco (11.8 percent).

The July 2013 unemployment rates for all Texas cities, metropolitan regions, and counties were released by the Texas Workforce Commission on Friday, August 16, Amoxicillin samples. Amoxicillin For Sale, For July 2013, there were 31,629 residents employed in Edinburg, according to the Texas Workforce Commission.

According to the Texas Workforce Commission, the unemployment rate is the number of persons unemployed, expressed as a percentage of the civilian labor force. The civilian labor force is that portion of the population age 16 and older employed or unemployed. To be considered unemployed, a person has to be not working and actively seeking work.

The Texas Workforce Commission maintains a detailed accounting of employment trends for Edinburg and all other cities in the state on its website, located at:

www.tracer2.com/cgi/ dataanalysis/AreaSelection. asp?tableName=Labforce

The Edinburg Economic Development Corporation is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg City Council, Amoxicillin For Sale. It’s five-member governing board, which is appointed by the Edinburg City Council, includes Mayor Richard García as President, Fred Palacios as Secretary-Treasurer, and Felipe García, Jaime A. Rodríguez, and Dr. Havidán Rodríguez. For more information on the EEDC and the City of Edinburg, please log on to: www.EdbgCityLimits.com

••••••

Hidalgo County recognized for receiving the National Association of Counties (NACO) 2013 National County Government Month Award


Hidalgo County has earned 2nd Place in the Metro County Division for its efforts to increase public awareness of county programs and services while incorporating this year's theme of "Smart Justice: Creating Safer Communities."

Celebrated in April, Hidalgo County was one of only six counties across the country honored for outstanding public outreach. Amoxicillin For Sale, The purpose of the National County Government Month Award program is to encourage counties to participate in National County Government Month (NCGM) and recognize those counties that sponsor outstanding programs to reach out and educate citizens about county government during the month of April.

Notable outreach activities included:

• The Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Program;

• Adult Probation Evidence-Based Practices Presentation;

• Veteran's Court Graduation;

• Drug Court presentation to Palmer Drug Abuse Program's 4th Annual Substance Abuse and Mental Health Conference’

• RGV Lead Job Shadow Day;

• Hidalgo County District Clerk's 5th Annual Open House;

• Hidalgo County officials’ presentation to Leadership Class;

• Leadership Mission Class Visits Hidalgo County;

• Hidalgo County hosts UTPA Criminal Justice Department; and

• Drug Court Graduation.

As a result of this award, Hidalgo County was recognized during the 2013 County Solutions and Idea Marketplace, The Annual Conference of NACO.  Hidalgo County NCGM activities have also been published in the Texas Association of Counties “County Magazine”.

Among the county leaders who participated in this notable achievement were: County Judge Ramón García, Pct. 4 Commissioner Joseph Palacios; former 92nd District Court Judge Ricardo Rodríguez; 93rd District Court Judge Rudy Delgado; 430th District Court Judge Israel Ramón; District Clerk Laura Hinojosa; Public Affairs Director Karina Cardoza; Public Defender Jimmy González; and Arnold Patrick and Faustino López from Adult Probation, who all played an instrumental role in the community outreach programs that educated Hidalgo County residents about county government.

••••••

Jared Janes, former reporter for The Monitor, honored by Hidalgo County Commissioners Court for his excellent coverage of major issues


By DAVID A, Amoxicillin For Sale. DÍAZ

In journalism, Amoxicillin for sale, noteworthy events are best judged by this age-old standard: “When a dog bites a man, that is not news, because it happens so often. But if a man bites a dog, that is news.”

Just as rare is when a reporter who regularly writes about politicians is honored by those same officeholders – as in the recent case of Jared Matthew Janes, a five-year veteran journalist for The Monitor, who in August left his profession to attend the University of Texas School of Law in Austin.

Janes was publicly recognized for his news gathering skills on Tuesday, July 30, by the Hidalgo County Commissioners Court, which was one of the numerous “beats” – subject areas assigned to a reporter – in which he excelled.

Janes also extensively reported on the City of Edinburg and its jobs-creation arm, the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation, as well as generated significant coverage of the major actions of the Texas Legislature and the Hidalgo County state legislative delegation. Amoxicillin For Sale, He also covered the Hidalgo County Regional Mobility Authority, and statewide and regional political campaigns.

Janes, a native of Sydney, an unincorporated community in the north-central Texas region of Comanche County, serves as proof of the famous adage, “From small things, big things one day come.”

“In his time at The Monitor, Jared has comprehensively covered issues that affect every resident in the county, from health care and transportation to the environment and legal affairs,” noted Karina Cardoza, Director of Public Affairs for Hidalgo County, who wrote the resolution in Janes’ honor. That declaration was unanimously approved by the county judge and county commissioners.

Janes' work has garnered several statewide awards from the Associated Press Managing Editors, including placing in the Star Reporter of the Year category in 2011 and Star Investigative Report in 2010, along with the top honor from the Texas Bar Association for a series surrounding the costs of Hidalgo County's indigent defense program.

“Most recently, Jared drove the conversation surrounding the events leading to and the coming impact that the merger of the Rio Grande Valley's two public universities and its first medical school will have on the region's transformation, buy no prescription Amoxicillin online,” Cardoza added.

After reading the county resolution into the record, Janes was asked by Cardoza to address the commissioners court, audience members at the gathering, and the public, which was able to view the presentation on the Internet, and through the local PBS television station, which videotapes then broadcasts all public meetings of the Hidalgo County Commissioners Court, Amoxicillin For Sale.

“I was listening to Karina and wondering who was that guy she was describing,” Janes laughed, then proceeded to thank South Texans for his tenure in the Valley.

“It has been an extremely rewarding time, and I have enjoyed every minute of it. One of the things I wrote in my law school application personal statement is how newspapers, at their best, are a conversation,” Janes reflected. “What that comes down to is they are a dialogue, and I have been fortunate to have dialogues with exceptional groups of people who have really shaped my life, including all of you here, a number of people in this audience, and those who I have met during the last five years. Amoxicillin For Sale, For that, I can’t thank you enough.”

Janes was joined at the event by his now-former editor, Carlos Sánchez, who earlier this year took the leadership helms of The Monitor.

Despite the accolades and his impressive accomplishment in being admitted to one of the best law schools in the nation, Janes remained humble.

“It’s been a remarkable experience, but I am not irreplaceable,” he said. “The Monitor has been in this business for more than 100 years, I’ve been here for five years. Carlos, in whom I am more than optimistic in how he will lead this newspaper, will find someone to replace me.”

Hidalgo County Judge Ramón García, himself an attorney, set up the modest journalist to unavoidably praise himself.

“Where are you headed?” García asked, Amoxicillin For Sale.

Janes replied, “I’m going to law school. Japan, craiglist, ebay, overseas, paypal, I hope that turns out well.”

“What university?” the county judge continued to press Janes, who earned his undergraduate degree at Oklahama State University in Oklahoma City.

“The University of Texas,” Janes answered, prompting congratulatory cheering from Longhorn fans and UT alumni in the audience.

“For you who know me, I am a huge Oklahoma State University Cowboy, so the one thing I have decided, no matter what color orange I’m wearing (both schools feature orange in their school colors), I’m always wearing the right one,” Janes reported with reassurance. Amoxicillin For Sale, The county judge then publicly acknowledged the respect Janes has earned from him and the county commissioners and their constituents.

“You have a unique talent, your writing skills are exemplary, and you have the ability to take a complex set of facts and write them in such a way that people can understand what’s going on, and in a good, fair, and objective manner,” García told Janes. “That’s why people, I believe, think highly of you. Good luck to you, sir.”

Janes thanked the judge and the commissioners court for their well-wishes, allowing Cardoza to set up the proverbial photograph of the commissioners court with recipients of congratulatory resolutions.

“Judge, there are a number of other elected officials in the audience who may want to join us in the photograph with Jared,” Cardoza advised García, seeking permission from the commissioners court to allow more people into the pending group image.

But Janes came back to the podium, feigning protest: “But I don’t like most of those guys!”

His uncharacteristic public bias generated nervous laughter from the audience, as well as a surprised but silent reaction from Cardoza, who excels in helping manage the public image of county leaders, Amoxicillin For Sale.

Janes, who has expressed an interest in focusing on public service himself in the future, quickly followed through with his punch line – “I’m just kidding!” – prompting a roar of approval and visible relief from the gathering, is Amoxicillin addictive.

• RESOLUTION IN HONOR OF JARED JANES

WHEREAS County officials and employees were graced with the presence of a new visitor to the Hidalgo County Commissioners Courtroom – a quiet, unassuming, bespectacled young man who sat in the back of the courtroom with his laptop propped on his lap, furiously typing away at the keyboard, trying to capture, verbatim, it seemed, all the minute details, elaborate deliberations, and even lively exchanges from the proceedings of the Court; and

WHEREAS, little did we all know that a short five years later, this young, fresh-faced reporter would end up being one of The Monitor’s most prolific writers in his time in the Rio Grande Valley, having penned hundreds of news articles about Hidalgo County government, with a talented way with words and an ability for tackling complicated and often controversial issues and breaking them down into meaningful pieces of relevant information for Hidalgo County residents; and

WHEREAS, a native of Sidney, Texas, Jared Matthew Janes has covered Hidalgo County government, Edinburg, the Delta Area and legislative issues affecting the Rio Grande Valley for The Monitor since 2008; prior to joining The Monitor, Janes worked on the city desk at The Advocate in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and interned at the Tulsa World. He graduated cum laude from Oklahoma State University in 2006; and

WHEREAS, in his time at The Monitor, Janes has comprehensively covered issues that affect every resident in the county, from health care and transportation to the environment and legal affairs; Janes' work has garnered several statewide awards from the Associated Press Managing Editors, including placing in the Star Reporter of the Year category in 2011 and Star Investigative Report in 2010, along with the top honor from the Texas Bar Association for a series surrounding the costs of Hidalgo County's indigent defense program; most recently, Order Amoxicillin from United States pharmacy, Janes drove the conversation surrounding the events leading to and the coming impact that the merger of the Rio Grande Valley's two public universities and its first medical school will have on the region's transformation; and

WHEREAS, throughout his career, Janes’ tireless devotion to unbiased and fair reporting on important issues affecting our community provided a service that helped foster an informed local electorate; Janes’ reporting merits respect because it is true, factual, and fair and his professionalism, integrity, and upstanding reputation have earned him the utmost respect of Hidalgo County officials and employees; and

WHEREAS, Janes is leaving his career as a reporter to pursue a law degree, and leaves his beat replacement at The Monitor big shoes to fill; County officials and employees alike are certain Janes will be successful in his new profession, and sincerely wish him the best as he begins this new chapter in his life.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Hidalgo County Commissioners Court hereby recognizes and honors Jared Matthew Janes, for his diligent and dedicated devotion to the field of journalism and for his exceptional coverage of Hidalgo County government during his tenure.

••••••

PlainsCapital Bank of Dallas takes over First National Bank of Edinburg; FDIC protects all assets of customers at FNB’s 51 branches


By LaJUAN WILLIAMS=YOUNG Amoxicillin For Sale, First National Bank of Edinburg was closed on Friday, September 13, by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, which appointed the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) as receiver.

To protect the depositors, the FDIC entered into a purchase and assumption agreement with PlainsCapital Bank, Dallas, Texas, to assume all of the deposits of First National Bank.

The 51 former branches of First National Bank also reopened as branches of PlainsCapital Bank during their normal business hours, beginning on Saturday, September 14, including the two branches in El Paso doing business as The National Bank of El Paso.

Depositors of First National Bank automatically became depositors of PlainsCapital Bank. Deposits will continue to be insured by the FDIC, so there is no need for customers to change their banking relationship in order to retain their deposit insurance coverage up to applicable limits.

Customers of First National Bank should continue to use their current branch until they receive notice from PlainsCapital Bank that systems conversions have been completed to allow full-service banking at all branches of PlainsCapital Bank, Amoxicillin For Sale.

Depositors of First National Bank can continue to access their money by writing checks or using ATM or debit cards. Checks drawn on the bank will continue to be processed. Loan customers should continue to make their payments as usual.

As of June 30, 2013, buy generic Amoxicillin, First National Bank had approximately $3.1 billion in total assets and $2.3 billion in total deposits. Amoxicillin For Sale, In addition to assuming all of the deposits of First National Bank, PlainsCapital Bank agreed to purchase approximately $2.7 billion of First National Bank's assets.

The FDIC will retain the remaining assets for later disposition.

The FDIC and PlainsCapital Bank entered into a loss-share transaction on $1.8 billion of First National Bank's assets. PlainsCapital Bank will share in the losses on the asset pools covered under the loss-share agreement. The loss-share transaction is projected to maximize returns on the assets covered by keeping them in the private sector. The transaction also is expected to minimize disruptions for loan customers, Amoxicillin For Sale. For more information on loss share, please visit:

http://www.fdic.gov/bank/individual/failed/lossshare/index.html.

Customers with questions about this transaction should call the FDIC toll-free at the following numbers: from U.S., 1-800-405-7869; from Chile, 1-800-891-4004; from Guatemala, 1-800-507-9581; and from Mexico, 1-800-891-3995 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., CDT.

Interested parties also can visit the FDIC's Web site at

http://www.fdic.gov/bank/individual/failed/firstnatl-tx.html or

http://www.fdic.gov/bank/individual/failed/firstnatl-tx_spanish.html. Amoxicillin For Sale, The FDIC estimates that the cost to the Deposit Insurance Fund (DIF) will be $637.5 million. Compared to other alternatives, PlainsCapital Bank's acquisition was the least costly resolution for the FDIC's DIF. First National Bank is the 22nd FDIC-insured institution to fail in the nation this year, and the first in Texas. The last FDIC-insured institution closed in the state was First International Bank, Plano, on September 30, 2011.

Congress created the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation in 1933 to restore public confidence in the nation's banking system. The FDIC insures deposits at the nation's 6,940 banks and savings associations, and it promotes the safety and soundness of these institutions by identifying, monitoring and addressing risks to which they are exposed, Amoxicillin For Sale.

The FDIC receives no federal tax dollars — insured financial institutions fund its operations.

FDIC press releases and other information are available on the Internet at www.fdic.gov, by subscription electronically (go to www.fdic.gov/about/subscriptions/index.html) and may also be obtained through the FDIC's Public Information Center (877-275-3342 or 703-562-2200). PR-83-2013

••••••

Former Judge Abel Limas of Brownsville handed 72-month sentence to federal prison for taking bribes in Cameron County scandal


By ANGELA DODGE

Former 404th State District Judge Abel Corral Limas on Brownsville on Wednesday, August 21, Amoxicillin australia, uk, us, usa, was ordered to prison following his conviction for racketeering, United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson announced.

Limas pleaded guilty March 31, 2011. Amoxicillin For Sale, U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen, who accepted the guilty plea, handed Limas a total sentence of 72 months in federal prison. At the hearing, additional testimony was presented concerning the impact suffered by victims, with one victim testifying there was “outrage and shock at the magnitude of the corruption.”

Limas admitted to the court that his conduct was “not a mistake, it was intentional” and he had destroyed the public’s view of the local judiciary. Limas was further ordered to pay restitution of approximately $6,777,270.50 and will serve a term of three years of supervised release following completion of the prison sentence.

An additional amount of $257,300 was ordered forfeited as proceeds derived from the offense.

“It critical to our court system that justice is administered fairly and without any undue influence,” said Magidson. “This case and the sentencing today serve as remindera that this behavior will not be tolerated in the Southern District of Texas, Amoxicillin For Sale. We will continue our efforts against public corruption and will pursue prosecution in these matters when identified to us by our partner law enforcement agencies.”

Limas, 57, a life-long resident of Brownsville, practiced criminal and family law in south Texas during the late ‘80s and the ‘90s before assuming the judgeship of the 404th District in 2000. Limas served as judge for eight years – retiring in December 2008. Thereafter, he was associated with the law firm of Rosenthal & Watson, an Austin firm, as “of counsel.”

At the time of his guilty plea, Limas admitted his part in use of the office of judge of the 404th District Court as a criminal enterprise to enrich himself and others through extortion. Limas accepted money and other consideration from attorneys in civil cases pending in his court in return for favorable pre-trial rulings in certain cases, including a case involving a helicopter crash at South Padre Island in February 2008. Amoxicillin For Sale, Limas specifically admitted to receiving $8,000 in May 2008, a payment described as eight “golf balls,” for favorable rulings.

Evidence also showed Limas participated in a series of meetings with attorneys Marc Garrett Rosenthal and former Rep. Jim Solis, D-Harlingen, in the summer of 2008 during which they planned and negotiated the terms of Limas’ employment as an “of counsel” attorney with the firm.

During those meetings, Rosenthal promised Limas an advance of at least $100,000 as well as a percentage of attorneys’ fees earned in the helicopter crash case in return for favorable rulings on the case. Limas’ employment arrangements were confirmed in calls on August 28, 2008, between Limas and his wife and son. Limas was expecting to be “cut in” on 10 percent of the settlement/judgment of the helicopter crash case pending in his court and the $100,000 advance, Amoxicillin For Sale.

On December 31, 2008, Limas received a check for $50,000 payable from the Rosenthal & Watson Law Firm.

On January 2, 2009, Limas received a check for $50,000 from Solis.

In October 2009, the helicopter case settled for approximately $14 million and Limas received approximately $85,000 from the Rosenthal & Watson Law Firm approximately two months later.

To date, a total of eight defendants have entered guilty pleas to related violations in the FBI’s four-year public corruption investigation, including:

• Former Rep. Amoxicillin For Sale, José Santiago “Jim” Solis, a Democrat from Harlingen. Solis was sentenced August 2, 2013, to 47 months in federal prison.

• Local attorney José “Joe” Valle;

• Former Cameron County District Attorney’s Office investigator Jaime Munivez;

• José Manuel “Meme” Longoria; and

• Armando Peña and his wife, Karina.

Three others – attorneys Ray Román Marchan, Marc Garrett Rosenthal and former Cameron County District Attorney Armando Villalobos were found guilty of public corruption-related charges involving their association with Limas after separate jury trials.

Marchan was previously sentenced to 42 months imprisonment, which was vacated upon his death.

Rosenthal and Villalobos will be sentenced September 23 and October 15, 2013, respectively, Amoxicillin For Sale.

Limas was permitted to remain on bond and voluntarily surrender to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.

The investigation was been conducted by the FBI with the assistance of the Drug Enforcement Administration, Brownsville Police Department and Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation.

Southern District of Texas Assistant United States Attorneys (AUSA) Michael Wynne and Óscar Ponce are prosecuting this case.

The cases against Villalobos and Rosenthal are being prosecuted under the direction of the Western District of Texas by AUSA’s Wynne and Greg Surovic.

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Email This News Story Email This News Story | Print This News Story Print This News Story | August 6th, 2013 by Legislativemedia@aol.com

Buy Amoxicillin Without Prescription, Gov. Rick Perry (seated), a Republican and the longest-serving governor in Texas history, on Tuesday, July 16, was at The University of Texas-Pan American in Edinburg to participate in a bill-signing ceremony that will merge UT-Pan American and The University of Texas at Brownsville into one, Valley-wide higher education complex, complete with a four-year UT medical school, which will be built in the next few years. The legislation, Senate Bill 24 by Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, D-McAllen, and Rep. René Oliveira, D-Brownsville, was approved by the Texas Legislature in late May, and signed into law by Perry. Senate Bill 24 was the top priority of the Edinburg City Council and the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation as part of their successful 2013 state legislative agenda, Buy Amoxicillin Without Prescription. The measure included the entire Rio Grande Valley state legislative delegation as joint authors and joint sponsors. Featured in this photograph are: Seated: Texas Governor Rick Perry. Standing, from left: Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg; President Juliet V. Buy Amoxicillin Without Prescription, García, The University of Texas at Brownsville; Francisco G. Cigarroa, M.D., Chancellor, The University of Texas System; Rep. Armando “Mando” Martínez, D-Weslaco; Congressman Rubén Hinojosa, D-Mercedes; Ernest “Ernie” Aliseda, Member, The University of Texas System Board of Regents; Sen. Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo; Sen. Order Amoxicillin online c.o.d, Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, D-McAllen; Rep. Sergio Muñoz, Jr., D-Mission; Rep, Buy Amoxicillin Without Prescription. René Oliveira, D-Brownsville; Rep. Óscar Longoria, Jr., D-La Joya; Rep. Eddie Lucio, III, D-San Benito; Nash M. Horne, Student Regent, The University of Texas System Board of Regents; Rep. Buy Amoxicillin Without Prescription, Ryan Guillén, D-Rio Grande City; Rep. R.D. “Bobby” Guerra, D-McAllen; and President Robert S. Nelsen, The University of Texas-Pan American. See story later in this posting.

••••••

Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, D-McAllen, featured center at the University of Texas-Pan American, addresses South Texas journalists on Tuesday, July 16, helping lay out the timetable of events that will lead to the creation of a new university in the Valley, the result of a merger of UT-Pan American and The University of Texas at Brownsville, Buy Amoxicillin Without Prescription. Hinojosa was the author of Senate Bill 24, which will create the new UT higher education institution, which will include the construction of a full-fledged UT medical school in the Valley. Timeline highlights include the following: name for new university to be finalized in November-December 2013; president of the new university to be announced in January-February 2014; recruitment of inaugural first class through January-December 2014; Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) approves new university in June 2015; and inaugural class enrolls in new university in August 2015. Featured, from left: Rep. René Oliveira, D-Brownsville, the House lead sponsor of SB 24; Gov. Buy Amoxicillin Without Prescription, Rick Perry; Sen. Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa, D-McAllen; Congressman Rubén Hinojosa, D-Mercedes: Sen. Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo, a Senate author of SB 24; and Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg, online buying Amoxicillin hcl, a House sponsor of SB 24. See story in this posting.

••••••

Dr. Havidán Rodríguez, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at The University of Texas-Pan American (featured center), on June 18 took on a new role to further advance the university's commitment to community engagement, Buy Amoxicillin Without Prescription. Rodríguez was appointed by the Edinburg City Council as the newest member of the Board of Directors for the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation (EEDC). “This opportunity to become a member of the EEDC is one of those where you lead by example and to work quite extensively on making the university an engaged university, which allows us to become a connected part of the community which UTPA interacts with on a regular basis,” Rodríguez said. As a board member, Rodríguez will attend board meetings and vote on key issues regarding job creation and social, cultural and economic development of the community. Rodríguez will also visit with potential business investors and consultants who work in collaboration with the city, as well as facilitate and attend joint meetings with the university and the city’s key officials. Buy Amoxicillin Without Prescription, As part of its creation in the 1990s by Edinburg voters, one of the five members of the EEDC Board of Directors must represent UT-Pan American. Rodríguez was appointed to the EEDC Board of Directors following the departure of a fellow university leader – Dr. Glenn Martínez – who was selected as Department Chair and Professor of Spanish, in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at The Ohio State University, located in Columbus, Ohio. Featured, from left, are former longtime McAllen Mayor Richard Cortéz, Dr. Havidán Rodríguez, and Edinburg Mayor Pro Tem Elías Longoria, Jr., who served on the EEDC Board of Directors before he was elected to the Edinburg City Council. See story later in this posting.

••••••

Since the mid-1990s, the Edinburg City Council and the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation – the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg City Council – have been active participants in the state legislative process, successfully securing the introduction and passage of major proposals that have pumped hundreds of millions of dollars into the local economy, Buy Amoxicillin Without Prescription. Among the legislative achievements for the city’s elected and appointed leadership include the funding and passage of state laws and policies that have significantly improved infrastructure, highways, and higher education. The city council’s and EEDC’s top priority this year was Senate Bill 24, by Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, D-McAllen, and Rep. René Oliveria, D-Brownsville, Buy Amoxicillin online no prescription, which will merge the University of Texas-Pan American and UT-Brownsville into one Valley-wide “super university” – still part of the UT System – plus the creation of a full-fledged UT medical school, including a major campus in Edinburg. Buy Amoxicillin Without Prescription, Featured during the Tuesday, July 15 ceremony at UT-Pan American celebrating the passage of SB 24 are, from left: City Councilmember Homer Jasso, Jr.; René Ramírez, the state lobbyist for the city council and EEDC; and City Councilmember J.R. Bentancourt.

••••••

Edinburg Mayor Richard García, featured here at the University of Texas-Pan American with former Rep. Verónica Gonzáles, D-McAllen, helped lead Hidalgo County support for the passage of Senate Bill 24, by Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, D-McAllen, and Rep. René Oliveira, D-Brownsville, which will combine the resources and assets of UT-Pan American and UT- Brownsville and the future South Texas School of Medicine into a single institution that spans the entire Rio Grande Valley. The UT System Board of Regents has approved spending $100 million over the next decade to accelerate the pace of establishing the school of medicine, Buy Amoxicillin Without Prescription. The ambitious initiative – approved by the Board of Regents in December, supported by Gov. Rick Perry in his State of the State Address in January, and made possible by a bill that garnered overwhelming support from the Texas Legislature last spring – promises to transform South Texas by providing limitless opportunities in education and economic growth and improving healthcare for millions of Texans. The goal is for the university – with a focus on bi-literacy, bilingualism and biculturalism – to build a world-class reputation and pursue global excellence in teaching, research and healthcare. Gonzales serves as Vice President for University Advancement for UTPA. See story later in this posting.

••••••

Buy Amoxicillin Without Prescription, Rep. Óscar Longoria, D-La Joya, on Monday, July 29, announced he will seek a second two-year term to the Texas House of Representatives for House District 35, which includes portions of Hidalgo and Cameron counties. “It is a tremendous honor to serve the people of District 35 in the House,” Longoria. “I’m honored and humbled that the people of Hidalgo and Cameron counties have elected me once before, and is my hope is that I have earned their trust for another term.” During the 83rd Legislative Session, Longoria was appointed to the House Appropriations Committee, where he serves on the sub-committee for Articles I, IV, and V, rx free Amoxicillin, and as Vice-Chairman of the Budget Transparency and Reform Sub-committee. He is also an appointed member of the Investments & Financial Services Committee. “I have truly enjoyed being a part of the legislative process during my first term this session,” said Longoria, Buy Amoxicillin Without Prescription. “My intent is to ensure that our children and my constituents, not only in the Rio Grande Valley, but those across the entire state, receive the best care for generations to come, and have their voices represented by me in the Texas House of Representatives.” Longoria’s House District 35 includes La Joya, Sullivan City, Peñitas, Alton, McAllen, Mission, Edinburg, Monte Alto, Edcouch, La Villa, Mercedes, Weslaco, Santa Rosa, Primera, Palm Valley, Combes, Harlingen, and La Feria.

••••••

The city’s latest luxury homes complex, the Villages at Sugar Road, Phase 1, helped boost the value of construction in May to more than $14 million, almost three times better than the same month in 2012, the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation has announced. The Edinburg Economic Development Corporation is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg City Council. “For the month of May 2013, total construction in Edinburg was valued at $14,157,660, Buying Amoxicillin online over the counter, compared with $5,048,148 in May 2012 – the latest figures available from the Code Enforcement Department of the City of Edinburg,” said Agustín “Gus” García, Executive Director for the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation (featured with microphone) “Year-to-date, the value of all construction in Edinburg reached $73,795,848 during the first five months of 2013, compared with $42,628,060 from January through May 2012.” The Villages at Sugar Road, Phase 1, classified as a multi-family project, represented the single-most valuable undertaking in May. According to the Code Enforcement Department for the City of Edinburg, the 168-unit Class-A luxury apartments complex is valued at $7 million, based on the building permit issued for its construction. Buy Amoxicillin Without Prescription, Building permits do not include the value of the land. Featured with García during one of his recent presentations to area business leaders are Martín Rivas, Director of Membership for the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce, and Letty González, President of the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce.

••••••

Edinburg, Hidalgo County, and state leaders on Monday, July 15, celebrated the placement of the first signs marking Interstate 69 East, Interstate 2 and Interstate 69 Central, a ceremony that marked the first time the Rio Grande Valley will be served by the Interstate Highway System. Local, state and federal leaders participated in the unveiling of the new signs at the now renamed I2/I69C interchange in Pharr. The 13.5 miles of U.S. Expressway 281 freeway in Pharr and Edinburg is now signed as Interstate 69 Central, a designation that will eventually extend northward all the way to George West. U.S. Expressway 77 through Cameron and Willacy counties is now signed as Interstate 69 East, Buy Amoxicillin Without Prescription. This includes 53.3 miles of existing freeway starting at the Rio Grande River in Brownsville and running north past Raymondville. Featured, from left: Edinburg City Manager Ramiro Garza, Jr.; Congressman Rubén Hinojosa, D-Mercedes; Hidalgo County Judge Ramón García; Edinburg Mayor Pro Tem Elías Longoria, Jr.; Edinburg City Councilmember Homer Jasso, Jr.; and Agustín “Gus” García, Executive Director, Edinburg Economic Development Corporation. See story later in this posting.

••••••

Dr. Robert S. Buy Amoxicillin Without Prescription, Nelsen, featured second from left, the 8th president of The University of Texas-Pan American, on Thursday August 15, will be the keynote speaker for the Public Affairs Luncheon, coordinated by the Public Affairs Committee of the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce. The event will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m, Amoxicillin pics. at the ECHO Hotel and Conference Center, located at 1903 South Closner in Edinburg. The Public Affairs Luncheon, an initiative introduced in 2006, features popular topics with speakers that cover important legislative and community issues. Cost to attend the luncheon is $12 per person or $125 for a table of eight, and includes a hot lunch, non-alcoholic beverage and dessert, Buy Amoxicillin Without Prescription. Featured at the univerity’s Student Union Building during the Tuesday, July 15 celebration of the merger of UT-Pan American and UT-Brownsville are, from left: Dr. Juliet V. García, President, The University of Texas at Brownsville; Dr. Nelsen, President, The University of Texas-Pan American; Gov. Buy Amoxicillin Without Prescription, Rick Perry; Gene Powell, Chairman, The University of Texas System Board of Regents; and Dr. Francisco Cigarroa, Chancellor, The University of Texas. See story later in this posting.

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With the new "Super University", a new South Texas University of Texas Medical School, and increased funding for health and public education secured for House District 40, Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg (featured right) on Tuesday, June 23 announced his intention to seek reelection to the Texas Legislature. Canales’ House District 40 contains most of Edinburg, including The University of Texas-Pan American, Elsa, San Carlos, La Blanca, Faysville, northern Pharr, and portions of McAllen and Weslaco, Buy Amoxicillin Without Prescription. “It is an honor to serve the families and businesses of Edinburg and Hidalgo County,” said Canales, a local attorney and father of three. “I am blessed and humbled by the sheer amount of people who encourage me to seek another term as State Representative. Today, I am pleased to announce my reelection campaign for the Texas House.” Canales played a key role in personally securing the majority of votes in the 150-member House of Representatives to pass Senate Bill 24, by Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, Generic Amoxicillin, D-McAllen, and Rep. Buy Amoxicillin Without Prescription, René Oliveira, D-Brownsville, which will merge UT-Pan American and UT-Brownsville, and with it, create a full-fledged UT medical school with a major presence in Edinburg. “Tens of thousands of high-paying jobs, directly and indirectly linked to Senate Bill 24, will be created over the next few years as a result of the construction, operation, and maintenance of a UT medical school in the Valley, including here in House District 40, where Edinburg will have a major campus,” said Canales. “Equally important, SB 24 gives UT-Pan American access to the $13 billion Permanent University Fund for the first time. The funds can be used for major construction projects, including a much-needed $100 million Science Building at UTPA and construction of the UT medical school in Edinburg and throughout the Valley.” Featured with Canales at the Texas Capitol in January are, from left: Dr. Juliet V. Garcia, President, The University of Texas at Brownsville; Dr, Buy Amoxicillin Without Prescription. Robert S. Nelsen, President, The University of Texas-Pan American; Rep. R.D. “Bobby” Guerra, D-McAllen, and Rep. Buy Amoxicillin Without Prescription, Canales. See lead story in this posting.

••••••

With UT medical school and increased funding for health and education secured for House District 40, Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg, announces bid for reelection


By DAVID A. DÍAZ

With the new "Super University", a new South Texas University of Texas Medical School, and increased funding for health and public education secured for House District 40, Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg, on Tuesday, buy Amoxicillin online cod, June 23 announced his intention to seek reelection to the Texas Legislature.

Canales’ House District 40 contains most of Edinburg, including The University of Texas-Pan American, Elsa, San Carlos, La Blanca, Faysville, northern Pharr, and portions of McAllen and Weslaco, Buy Amoxicillin Without Prescription.

“It is an honor to serve the families and businesses of Edinburg and Hidalgo County,” said Canales, a local attorney and father of three. “I am blessed and humbled by the sheer amount of people who encourage me to seek another term as State Representative. Today, I am pleased to announce my reelection campaign for the Texas House.”

He is married to Erica E. Canales of Edinburg, who is a local business owner. Buy Amoxicillin Without Prescription, They are the parents of Terry Andres Canales, Juliana Figueroa, and newborn Caleb Ezra Canales. The family lives in Edinburg, where Juliana attends public school and son Terry will soon begin pre-school.

Currently, Canales is in the process of renovating his new district office within a building owned by the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation, located at 101 North 10th Avenue, across from the Hidalgo County Courthouse.

In the meantime, his constituents who are in the need of assistance are encouraged to call his Capitol office at (512) 463-0426 or to come to his law practice at 2727 West University Drive in Edinburg.

TENS OF THOUSANDS OF JOBS TO BE CREATED BY LEGISLATION CHAMPIONED BY REP. CANALES

His bid for a second two-year term, which would begin in January 2015, comes after a remarkable first term, which included landmark legislation – of which he was a leading sponsor – that will improve medical education, health care, and economic development in the near future, and for generations to come, Buy Amoxicillin Without Prescription.

Canales currently serves on the influential Committee on Energy Resources, which deals with the production, regulation, transportation, and development of oil, gas, and other energy resources in the State of Texas, and the Committee on Criminal Jurisprudence, which handles legislation designed to protect Texans from criminals, and ensure fairness in the judicial system.

"I worked hard this past session to fight for the priorities of my district, including education, healthcare, veterans, and job creation. Working closely and effectively with the Valley legislative delegation and the other top leadership of the Legislature, Amoxicillin wiki, we achieved many of these goals that exceeded even my own expectations,” he said.

Canales played a key role in personally securing the majority of votes in the 150-member House of Representatives to pass Senate Bill 24, by Sen. Buy Amoxicillin Without Prescription, Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, D-McAllen, and Rep. René Oliveira, D-Brownsville, which will merge UT-Pan American and UT-Brownsville, and with it, create a full-fledged UT medical school with a major presence in Edinburg.

“Tens of thousands of high-paying jobs, directly and indirectly linked to Senate Bill 24, will be created over the next few years as a result of the construction, operation, and maintenance of a UT medical school in the Valley, including here in House District 40, where Edinburg will have a major campus,” said Canales. “Equally important, SB 24 gives UT-Pan American access to the $13 billion Permanent University Fund for the first time. The funds can be used for major construction projects, including a much-needed $100 million Science Building at UTPA and construction of the UT medical school in Edinburg and throughout the Valley.”

On Wednesday, July 10, Canales attended the UT System Board of Regents meeting in Austin, where the first distribution of money from the Permanent University Fund – an allocation totaling $44.8 million – was provided to the “Super University.”

“I was beside myself thinking that District 40 and the people of South Texas will be receiving a distribution of this magnitude as a result of legislation that I, along with the rest of the Valley Delegation, worked so hard to pass,” Canales said.

SUCCESSFUL LAWMAKER HELPED BRING MILLIONS MORE STATE DOLLARS FOR SCHOOLS IN HOUSE DISTRICT 40

Canales’ work in the Legislature also resulted in the passage of a new state budget that helped restore drastic budget cuts to public schools which occurred 18 months before he was elected to the House of Representatives, Buy Amoxicillin Without Prescription.

“I fought for increases in education and healthcare in the state’s budget – which did not raise taxes – and which allowed for more than $1.2 billion in tax relief,“ Canales emphasized. “This session we fully funded enrollment growth in our public schools which was not done last biennium, while increasing the money to the Foundation School Program by $3.2 billion dollars. On top of that, we managed to secure an additional $530 million went to strengthen the Teacher Retirement System.”

According to the Texas Education Agency, Edinburg CISD will see an increase in their budget of 5.05% percent in 2014 and 7.74% in 2015, which is a significant increase in per student funding.

Canales is a passionate advocate for education, Amoxicillin class, always striving to ensure that our children are seen as an investment and not an expense. Buy Amoxicillin Without Prescription, He holds a deep-rooted belief that education is the cornerstone of society and a great equalizer.

Canales also coauthored House Bill 5 during the regular session, which reduced the number of mandatory high school end-of-course exams from 15 to 5.

“I told the people of District 40 that I would fight to reduce standardized testing, and restore budget cuts, and that is exactly what I did,” he said. “The bill places curriculum back into our educator’s hand by allowing teachers to spend more time teaching and not simply preparing students for tests,” he said.

“This session also saw increases in funding to the TEXAS Grant fund so that Texas high school graduates with financial need can receive up to $7,400 a year to attend public universities. Legislators also increased per-student funding at colleges and universities to reduce the need for tuition increases that can make college unaffordable for our children,” he added, Buy Amoxicillin Without Prescription.

OTHER MAJOR LAWS AUTHORED/SPONSORED BY REP. CANALES

• House Bill 5 (Aycock, Canales, et. al./Patrick)

Relating to public school accountability, including assessment, and curriculum requirements.

HB 5 will bring needed balance to excessive state-mandated testing.  The current system costs too much in time, money, and resources that  should  be dedicated to classroom instruction rather than test preparation. Buy Amoxicillin Without Prescription, Over-testing threatens the futures of high school students, most of whom now must pass 15 EOC exams to be eligible to graduate, as opposed to four exit-level tests under the TAKS program.

This new law also will make changes to the high school curriculum that maintain rigor while providing students flexibility to pursue college or career interests. This would meet the growing need of Texas employers for skilled workers ready to enter technical trades, such as welding, pipefitting, and computer animation. Finally, the bill would broaden the accountability system to lessen reliance on test scores and provide a better understanding of overall school performance.

While the commitment of Texas to public school accountability has certainly yielded gains in student achievement over the years, the burden created by excessive testing has grown too large. HB 5 addresses the excesses of the state’s testing and accountability system while maintaining high standards and expectations for Texas students, Buy Amoxicillin Without Prescription.

• House Bill 1768 (Canales/Hinojosa)

Relating to identification requirements for certain fire hydrants and flush valves.

Firefighters in rural areas of the state have faced increasing problems with broken fire hydrants, resulting in significant property loss and a potential risk to human life. Recent legislation was enacted to help firefighters identify nonfunctioning hydrants by requiring the owners of hydrants to paint the hydrants black if they are nonfunctioning or otherwise unavailable for fire suppression services.

However, Doses Amoxicillin work, after passage of that legislation several years earlier, some water utilities – including in Hidalgo County – began painting all of their hydrants black out of concern that the statute might subject them to lawsuits.

HB 1768 solves that problem by setting out the conditions under which a hydrant is considered unavailable, exempting a water utility from liability for a hydrant’s inability to provide adequate water supply in a fire emergency, and implementing a color coding system for hydrants that are used only to fill the tanks of fire trucks.

Buy Amoxicillin Without Prescription, • House Bill 1973 (Lucio, III, Canales, et. al./Hegar)

Relating to the provision of water by a public utility or water supply or sewer service corporation for use in fire suppression.

HB 1973 addresses concerns that neighborhoods across the state within a municipality’s city limits and extraterritorial jurisdiction that are served by water supply corporations (WSCs) and investor owned utilities (IOUs) are not equipped with fire hydrants with adequate pressure (psi) and flow (gallons per minute) to fight fires.

Currently, only public utilities serving cities with 1 million or more residents — Houston, San Antonio, and Dallas — are required to comply with fire-flow standards. This law will expand the standards statewide to ensure communities served by WSCs and IOUs within cities and extraterritorial jurisdictions had access to sufficient fire flows in times of emergency.

• House Bill 2090 (Canales/Hinojosa)

Relating to a written statement made by an accused as a result of custodial interrogation, Buy Amoxicillin Without Prescription.

HB 2090 will establish a sensible procedure to ensure the integrity of the judicial system by requiring that the accused be able read and understand the written statement the person signs.

Currently, it is possible that a non-English speaker could sign a written statement in English without understanding the content of the statement. HB 2090 removes such an injustice.

• House Bill 349 (Canales/Hinojosa)

Relating to electronically filing any court document in a criminal case in Hidalgo County. Buy Amoxicillin Without Prescription, The Texas Supreme Court has ordered that civil cases—including those in family, probate, county, and district courts—be filed uniformly and electronically by 2016.  Electronic filing for criminal cases has lagged behind civil cases in Texas. Currently no parties in a criminal case can digitally file court documents in Hidalgo County.

Filing physical documents is both time-consuming and environmentally wasteful. District clerks are burdened with the inordinate amounts of paper stacking up on their desks. While electronic filing is an option for all counties, it is up to the discretion of the courts to implement an e-filing system.

HB 349 requires Hidalgo County district courts to allow parties to electronically file court documents, Buy Amoxicillin Without Prescription. This will save Hidalgo County money and move it into the 21st century, becoming a model criminal court system for other counties to follow. HB 349 changes current law relating to electronically filing any court document in a criminal case in Hidalgo County.

• House Bill 442 (Muñoz, Jr., Canales, et. al./Hinojosa)

Relating to the recognition of a portion of U.S. Buy Amoxicillin Without Prescription, Highway 83 as a memorial to Trooper Eduardo Chavez.

Texas Highway Patrol Trooper Eduardo Chávez was killed in the line of duty in May 2006, having suffered fatal injuries in a traffic accident that occurred on United States Highway 83, also known as the Texas Vietnam Veterans Memorial Highway, as he drove his patrol vehicle to assist his fellow trooper and brother with a felony narcotics stop.

Records note that Trooper Chávez was a former Edinburg resident from a law enforcement family, was a three-year veteran of the Department of Public Safety of the State of Texas who previously had worked as a sheriff's deputy in Hidalgo County, purchase Amoxicillin for sale, and is survived by his wife of five years, Iliana.

Law enforcement officers who fall in the line of duty deserve recognition for their service, and a highway memorial allows Texans to acknowledge and pay respect to selfless individuals such as Trooper Chávez who put their lives at risk and sometimes pay the ultimate price to keep us safe. The goal of HB 442 is to commemorate the life and service of Trooper Eduardo Chávez. HB 442 changes current law relating to the recognition of a portion of U.S, Buy Amoxicillin Without Prescription. Highway 83 as a memorial to Trooper Eduardo Chávez.

• House Bill 1090 (Mando Martínez, Lucio, III, Canales/Hinojosa)

Relating to the creation of Texas Task Force 1 Type 3 Rio Grande Valley and authorizing the creation of a Texas Task Force 2 by certain municipalities.

HB 1090 will locate a regional response search-and-rescue task force – know as a Texas Task Force 1 Type 3 Rio Grande Valley – in deep South Texas, which is one of the areas of the state vulnerable to hurricanes.

The Valley is too far removed from the rest of the state to fully count on assistance from Texas Task Force 1 in times of emergency, nor can it fully contribute to task force missions. Buy Amoxicillin Without Prescription, The Valley’s combination of low-lying areas and flood prone highways means it should have its own task force to deal with emergency search and rescue in the event it is cut off from the rest of the state.

Gov. Rick Perry vetoed HB 1090 because of unrelated concerns to public safety, but still took positive action that has the same effect as HB 1090. The governor instructed the Texas A&M System Board of Regents and the Texas Division of Emergency Management to still create the Texas Task Force 1 team, to be based in the Valley, to help with any disaster in South Texas.

• House Bill 1422 (Geren, Canales/Eltife)

Relating to the reporting in a lobbyist registration of certain persons from whom compensation or reimbursement is received.

A registered lobbyist who also acts as a campaign consultant is not currently required to disclose information related to the lobbyist’s consulting activities.  This lack of disclosure can potentially lead to conflicts of interest between lobbyists and members of the legislative body and can breed distrust with the public, Buy Amoxicillin Without Prescription.

HB 1422 addresses this issue and promotes transparency by expanding lobbyist disclosure requirements.  Specifically, HB 1422 changes the Government Code to require a lobbyist to include on the lobbyist’s registration form the name of any lawmaker who compensates or reimburses the registrant from campaign funds for services, including political consulting services.

• House Bill 1562 (Harless, Canales/Hinojosa)

Relating to notice provided when a bail bond surety is in default.

Code of Criminal Procedure, art. 17.11 governs sureties for bail bonds. Buy Amoxicillin Without Prescription, Under sec. 2, a surety, such as a professional bail bond agent that is in default on a bail bond is disqualified to sign as a surety on any other bail bond. The clerk of the court is required give notice in writing of a default to the sheriff, Where can i buy cheapest Amoxicillin online, chief of police, or other peace officer but not to provide notice to the bail bond agent, which would hasten payment of bail bonds in default and enable bail bond agents to continue to act as sureties.

HB 1562 will require the clerk of a court where a surety was in default on a bail bond for an offense other than a class C misdemeanor (maximum fine of $500) to send notice of the default by certified mail to the last known address of the surety.

• House Bill 1960 (Cortez, Moody, Canales/Campbell)

Relating to reciprocity for emergency medical services personnel certification for certain United States military personnel.

HB 1960 will allow U.S, Buy Amoxicillin Without Prescription. experienced combat medics, once they finish their military tours of duty, to qualify for certification by the state as emergency medical services (EMS) personnel in Texas.

• House Bill 2424 (Mando Martínez, Muñoz, Jr., Canales/Hinojosa)

Relating to the designation of the part of U.S. Highway 83 Business in Hidalgo and Cameron Counties as a portion of the national Purple Heart Trail. HB 2424 changed current law relating to the designation of the part of U.S. Buy Amoxicillin Without Prescription, Highway 83 Business in Hidalgo and Cameron Counties as a portion of the national Purple Heart Trail.

• House Joint Resolution 147 (Guerra, Canales, et. al./Hinojosa)

Proposing a constitutional amendment repealing the constitutional provision authorizing the creation of a hospital district in Hidalgo County. HJR 147 would allow Hidalgo County, with voter approval, to raise local revenue and generate additional money from state and national sources, to help provide medical care to the poor and uninsured.

• House Bill 78 (Simpson, Canales, et. al./Etlife)

Relating to the exemption from the sales and use tax for certain coins and precious metals, Buy Amoxicillin Without Prescription.

HB 787 will allow more Texans, especially lower and fixed-income residents, to invest in the financial security offered by precious metal coins without being penalized by the sales tax. The difficulty with Texas’ current tax treatment of precious metal coins is that the tax break is out of reach for most Texans.

The current policy actually punishes those who would like to save but can only purchase precious metal coins in lower denominations. Those who wish to protect themselves against possible future increases in inflation should not be penalized 8.25 percent for making smaller investments in gold and silver. Buy Amoxicillin Without Prescription, It is difficult for those with low or fixed incomes, such as teachers who want to invest in metal coins to pay for retirement, to save enough for their precious metal purchases to be exempt from sales tax. These individuals should be able to make small transactions to help make themselves financially secure, as opposed to making their purchases out-of-state, which leaves them unprotected by consumer protection laws, Amoxicillin results.

HELPING PEOPLE IS WHAT IT IS ALL ABOUT

Following in the footsteps of his father, Terry A. Canales, a former State District Judge, and his uncle, Arnulfo González, Jr., by earning a law degree from St. Mary’s School of Law in San Antonio.

He is a general practitioner with a distinguished trial record and a reputation for zealously advocating for his clients, Buy Amoxicillin Without Prescription.

He specializes in oil and gas litigation, criminal defense, personal injury, family law, real estate, and municipal law. Having represented thousands of clients and multiple municipalities, he is on the forefront of many issues that affect all Texans. Canales says being an attorney counselor at law is extremely rewarding.

“Helping people is what the practice of law is all about, and pro bono work is the staple of every successful practice,” he said. Buy Amoxicillin Without Prescription, Canales made history on January 8, 2013, when he took his oath of office at the State Capitol to serve as a state representative.

His victories in the 2012 Democratic primary, run-off election, and November general election marked the first time in Texas history that three members of an immediate family were elected to the Texas House of Representatives.

His father, Terry A. Canales, was the first Hispanic state representative to represent Jim Wells County, serving from 1973 to 1977.

His sister, Gabriella “Gabi” Canales, served in the House of Representatives in 2003 and 2004.

His father and sister are Democrats, Buy Amoxicillin Without Prescription.

Rep. Terry Canales, Amoxicillin images, D-Edinburg, is also the sixth member of his extended family to serve in the Texas House of Representatives.

••••••

Gov. Perry, UT System, Edinburg, and Rio Grande Valley leaders celebrate birth of new university and full-fledged UT medical school


By MELISSA VÁSQUEZ

From a young age, Anju Abraham knew she was going to be in the medical field. Buy Amoxicillin Without Prescription, Today, she is a junior at South Texas High School for Health Professions in Mercedes who is looking forward to attending school at the new university – the result of the merger of the University of Texas-Pan American and UT-Brownsville – in South Texas, expected to open its doors in August 2015.

For Abraham this new university – it’s new name will be determined at the end of this year – that will combine the assets and resources of UT Pan American and UT Brownsville and establish a new medical school could not have come at a better time for the Middle Eastern-born student. She was not looking forward to leaving her loved ones behind to pursue her dream of becoming an anesthesiologist.

“All students in the Rio Grande Valley will have options — (because of this university) — options to stay with family and friends and options to better serve the community,” Abraham said. “Thanks for giving me something exciting to look forward to."

Abraham addressed a crowd of more than 500, which included Gov. Rick Perry, during a celebration at The University of Texas-Pan American on Tuesday, July 16, marking the landmark legislation that authorized the creation of the new university in the Rio Grande Valley, Buy Amoxicillin Without Prescription.

Joining Perry for this once-in-a-lifetime moment were UT System Board of Regents Chairman Gene Powell, UT System Chancellor Francisco G. Cigarroa, UT Pan American President Robert S. Nelsen, UT Brownsville President Juliet V. Garcia, along with numerous Texas legislators, community leaders, UTPA alumni, students, staff and faculty who witnessed one of the university’s most historic events in the campus’ 85-year history. Buy Amoxicillin Without Prescription, Perry ceremonially signed copies of Senate Bill 24 that combines the two South Texas institutions and a new medical school into a single institution for the region. Also applauded was the $40 million allotted to the new university from the Permanent University Fund (PUF), bringing this important resource to the area for the first time. UTPA and UTB were the only UT System institutions that, by law, had no access to PUF.

“I’ve had some wonderful moments as governor and, in 30 seconds, one of the greatest moments in my governorship will be to put pen to paper to this piece of legislation,” Perry said before he signed the bill.

Perry thanked all the individuals, Amoxicillin treatment, from legislators to the UT System officials, who believed in the vision of this new university that will be a “game-changer for South Texas.” Perry said the new university, temporarily dubbed “Project South Texas,” will improve job quality and the quality of lives for everyone in the Valley.

“It will mean new doctors to treat South Texas patients, new startups utilizing discoveries made in the Valley and new opportunities for all Texans across the state,” Perry said, Buy Amoxicillin Without Prescription.

During the event, founders for the new vision for South Texas higher education, Powell, a Valley native from Weslaco, and Cigarroa, shared with the public the timeline and guidelines for the new university.

“In August, we will hold town hall meetings for people across the Rio Grande Valley…for stakeholders to take an active role in the institution we will build together,” Cigarroa said.

Timeline highlights include the following:

• Name for new university to be finalized in November-December 2013;

• President of the new university to be announced in January-February 2014;

• Recruitment of inaugural first class through January-December 2014;

• Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) approves new university in June 2015; and

• Inaugural class enrolls in new university in August 2015.

For Nelsen, July 16, 2013 marked the final chapter for his beloved UT Pan American, which he has led for the past three years. Buy Amoxicillin Without Prescription, “Today we lift the name (The University of Texas-Pan American) up into the rafters. Pan Am we will always love you and keep you in our hearts,” Nelsen said.

Nelsen called the new university a rebirth for UTPA and the region he calls the “Magic Valley”.

“Today is an amazing day for this university… We celebrate the literal birth of the new university that will transform the Valley and the entire state…What a baby it is!” Nelsen said.

Perry, joined by UT System officials and the Valley legislative delegation, traveled to UT Brownsville to have another ceremonial signing that afternoon.

To stay up to date with the happenings for Project South Texas, visit www.projectsouthtexas.com, Buy Amoxicillin Without Prescription.

••••••


Villages at Sugar Road, Phase 1 helped boost Edinburg construction figures to $73.8 million from January through May 2013, reports EEDC


By DAVID A. DÍAZ

The city’s latest luxury homes complex, the Villages at Sugar Road, Phase 1, helped boost the value of construction in May to more than $14 million, almost three times better than the same month in 2012, the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation has announced. Amoxicillin online cod, The Edinburg Economic Development Corporation is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg City Council.

“For the month of May 2013, total construction in Edinburg was valued at $14,157,660, compared with $5,048,148 in May 2012, according to the Code Enforcement Department of the City of Edinburg,” said Agustín “Gus” García, Executive Director for the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation. Buy Amoxicillin Without Prescription, “Year-to-date, the value of all construction in Edinburg reached $73,795,848 during the first five months of 2013, compared with $42,618,060 from January through May 2012.”

The Villages at Sugar Road, Phase 1, classified as a multi-family project, represented the single-most valuable undertaking in May 2013.

According to the Code Enforcement Department for the City of Edinburg, the 168-unit Class-A luxury apartments complex is valued at $7 million, based on the building permit issued for its construction.

Building permits do not include the value of the land.

Two commercial enterprises were ranked the second- and third-most valuable projects in May, based on the building permits issued.

The Cinemark Movie Bistro, located on the northwest corner of Trenton Road and Rhonda Street, was issued a building permit for remodeling work valued at $800,000.

Starbucks Coffee Co, Buy Amoxicillin Without Prescription. was issued a building permit for new construction of a coffee house, valued at $700,000, at 2720 West University Drive, which will be in front of Lowe’s. A second Starbucks is planned for construction in Edinburg later this year.

Year-to-date, in addition to the value of all construction, Edinburg showed increases in construction activities in four major categories.

From January through May 2013, permits were issued for work valued at $40,494,700 for the construction of 53 multi-family buildings, compared with $11,841, Amoxicillin steet value,970 for the construction of 42 multi-family buildings the same five-month period in 2012. Buy Amoxicillin Without Prescription, Multi-family buildings include duplexes, fourplexes, and larger housing structures, such as apartment complexes, which have five or more units.

From January through May 2013, permits were issued for work valued at $13,786,979 for the construction of 138 single-family residences, compared with $12,368,738 for the construction of 123 single-family residences during the same five-month period in 2012.

From January through May 2013, permits were issued for work valued at $7,448,909 for alterations/remodeling of commercial buildings, compared with $2,642,135 for the same five-month period in 2012.

From January through May 2013, permits were issued for work valued at $3,886,946 for alterations/remodeling of residences, compared with $1,972,223 for the same five-month period in 2012.

Another key category for construction activities from January 2013 through May 2013 showed that building permits were issued for new commercial construction valued at $7,981,200, compared with $11,630,027 from January 2012 through May 2012.

The Villages at Sugar Road, Phase 1 development is located on approximately 20 acres fronting Sugar Road near Alberta Road, just west of U.S, Buy Amoxicillin Without Prescription. Highway 281. The first phase of the development also will include the development of two 1.13-acre commercial pad sites fronting Sugar Road. Each commercial pad site will accommodate at least a 3,000 square-feet of commercial or retail building.

Phase II is slated to include the addition of between 132 and 150 additional units of Class-A luxury apartments. Buy Amoxicillin Without Prescription, The Edinburg Economic Development Corporation is providing financial assistance on the utility infrastructure cost for the commercial portion of the The Villages at Sugar Road, Phase 1.

Cinemark Movie Bistro is an entertainment venue that will feature a six-screen movie theatre as well as meals and beverages, Amoxicillin schedule, including beer, wine and margaritas – the first of its kind in the Valley.

In mid-January, Cinemark Holdings, Inc., announced that it had taken over the stalled Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, which never opened for business due to financial problems.

The Cinemark Movie Bistro, scheduled to open later this year, will boast a state-of-the-art entertainment environment offering digital projection, RealD 3D capability, and enhanced sound systems. Additionally, the new Cinemark Movie Bistro will feature an expanded menu with high-quality food offerings such as fresh wraps, hot sandwiches, burgers, gourmet pizzas, alongside favorites like freshly popped popcorn, hot dogs, and popular candy brands. As for beverages, customers have the opportunity to select from microbrewed beers, premium wines, margaritas, and of course, Coca-Cola fountain beverages, Buy Amoxicillin Without Prescription.

Starbucks, the Seattle-based national corporation that promotes its stores “as a neighborhood gathering place for meeting friends and family”, has more than 17,500 outlets worldwide.

Also according to its website, Starbucks features more than 30 blends and single-origin premium coffees, plus handcrafted beverages, such as hot and iced espresso beverages, Frappuccino® coffee and non-coffee blended beverages, smoothies, and Tazo® teas.

Starbucks also sells merchandise, such as coffee- and tea-brewing equipment, mugs and accessories, packaged goods, music, where can i buy Amoxicillin online, books and gifts, as well as fresh food, including baked pastries, sandwiches, salads, oatmeal, yogurt parfaits and fruit cups.

Additional details on the Villages at Sugar Road, Phase 1 were initially issued on May 7 by RightQuest Edinburg, LLC, an affiliate of RightQuest, LLC, a Dallas-based real estate investment and development firm. Buy Amoxicillin Without Prescription, The announcement by RightQuest Edinburg LLC provided the additional background:

The site’s proximity to U.S. Highway 281 provides fantastic visibility and access to all parts of the Rio Grande Valley. The project is located within a one-mile radius of Doctor’s Hospital at Renaissance, Women's Hospital at Renaissance, Cancer Center at Renaissance, Edinburg Regional Medical Center, Edinburg Children’s Hospital, and Cornerstone Regional Hospital, making it highly desirable for a mix of uses and drawing demand from the growing number of healthcare professionals working in the area.

The project is also located on the direct route to The University of Texas Pan American, just three miles north, making it an ideal residence for the student population as well. A Wal-Mart Super Center, Cinemark Movie Bistro and Applebee’s are within a one-mile radius of the site, as well as The Shoppes at Rio Grande Valley, which includes JC Penny, Burlington Coat Factory, Ross, TJ Max and other fine retailers.

RightQuest Edinburg is developing the property on behalf of Brownsville-based JTMR, LLC, a privately-held company that gave the groundbreaking the green light in May.

The two companies began working on Phase I of the Project in March of 2012, bringing onboard the San Antonio architectural firm of B&A Architects and the Edinburg-based civil engineering firm of Melden & Hunt, Herbal Amoxicillin, Inc. to coordinate the design, Buy Amoxicillin Without Prescription.

The general contractor for the project is Peterson Construction, Inc., which is currently mobilizing on the site. Peterson Construction has offices in both McAllen and Frisco, Texas.

Phase I of the development has several Class-A amenities including a clubhouse with media center, complimentary business center, state-of-the-art fitness center, resort-style swimming pool, poolside cabana/BBQ area, laundry facility, playground, limited access control system, 24-hour emergency maintenance, detached garages, onsite storage facilities, covered parking and several other amenities.

Most living spaces will include private patios/balconies, nine-foot high ceilings, large walk-in closets, gourmet kitchens, washers/dryers, microwaves, upgraded finishes, etc. Buy Amoxicillin Without Prescription, Rents range from $580 to $1180 for efficiency, one, two and three-bedroom units. The first units will be available for occupancy in January of 2014.

IBC Bank is providing the financing for the project.

The San Antonio office of Capstone Real Estate Services is providing lease-up and property management services.

Landscape design for the project is by SSP Design, and interior design services are by Davidson Design Group. Butler Burgher Group provided the market feasibility and demand analysis, Buy Amoxicillin Without Prescription.

The development is a welcomed addition to the city’s tax base and helps achieve one of the city’s key objectives – to keep the growing number of Edinburg professionals living in Edinburg.

The Edinburg Economic Development Corporation is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg City Council. It’s five-member governing board, which is appointed by the Edinburg City Council, includes Mayor Richard García as President, kjøpe Amoxicillin på nett, köpa Amoxicillin online, Fred Palacios as Secretary-Treasurer, and Felipe García, Jaime A. Rodríguez, and Dr. Buy Amoxicillin Without Prescription, Havidán Rodríguez. For more information on the EEDC and the City of Edinburg, please log on to: www.EdbgCityLimits.com

••••••

UTPA Provost Havidán Rodríguez, as newest member of Edinburg Economic Development Corporation Board of Directors, to serve as vital link in development of new university


By JAVIER ESPINOZA

Dr. Havidán Rodríguez, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at The University of Texas-Pan American, took on a new role recently to further advance the university's commitment to community engagement.

On June 18, Rodríguez was appointed by the Edinburg City Council as the newest member of the Board of Directors for the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation (EEDC).

The EEDC is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg City Council.

As part of its creation in the 1990s by Edinburg voters, one of the five members of the EEDC Board of Directors must represent UT-Pan American, Buy Amoxicillin Without Prescription.

Rodríguez was appointed to the EEDC Board of Directors following the departure of a fellow university leader – Dr. Glenn Martínez – who was selected as Department Chair and Professor of Spanish, in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at The Ohio State University, located in Columbus, Ohio.

“This opportunity to become a member of the EEDC is one of those where you lead by example and to work quite extensively on making the university an engaged university, which allows us to become a connected part of the community which UTPA interacts with on a regular basis,” Rodríguez said.

As a board member, Rodríguez will attend board meetings and vote on key issues regarding job creation and social, cultural and economic development of the community. Buy Amoxicillin Without Prescription, Rodríguez will also visit with potential business investors and consultants who work in collaboration with the city, as well as facilitate and attend joint meetings with the university and the city’s key officials.

“All of these types of commitments involve effort and time and I am very pleased to do so for the development of the University and our community. We need to do what we can to enhance and strengthen those partnerships,” Rodríguez said.

The EEDC plays a key role in assisting companies to expand, while helping to attract new business and industry to Edinburg. It also serves as an advocate with state and local governmental entities.

With the immense growth that will occur as a result of the recent merger of UTPA and The University of Texas at Brownsville and the creation of a medical school, Rodríguez said he will stand as an essential link between the EEDC, UTPA and the new university as well as with the Valley and the state of Texas, Buy Amoxicillin Without Prescription.

“This will enhance and expand the role that I play in the EEDC and with the role the EEDC plays in the formation of the new university and the leadership of the elected officials with the city of Edinburg,” he said. Order Amoxicillin online overnight delivery no prescription, “We believe we should always strive, as UTPA, to serve the entire Rio Grande Valley and beyond. We work across the Rio Grande Valley in a variety of initiatives such as education and economic development, with ties to local government and industry. The new university will serve to build and expand the strength of that and much more.”

Rodríguez credits both the University and the EEDC as a great combination in the way they work hand-in-hand as the city of Edinburg prepares for UTPA’s transition into a new and much larger university and economic powerhouse. Buy Amoxicillin Without Prescription, “This new university will have an impact on the economic well-being of the Rio Grande Valley. That ties in nicely to our role with the EEDC as the role of the EEDC is to create jobs, create employment, and impact the quality of life, while our responsibility at UTPA is to create and develop students with the skills, knowledge and education that can benefit from opportunities,” he said.

Agustín “Gus” García, executive director of the EEDC, is enthusiastic about the addition of Rodríguez to the board and believes the new university will have a major impact on the Valley's growth and potential future.

“It's important for UTPA to understand and interact with our local business community as Rodríguez’ position with EEDC is key to understanding the impact these changes will have on the region’s growth,” García said. “The EEDC is one more avenue for the University to embrace. The business communities across the region tout the University for the assets it brings to the table, Buy Amoxicillin Without Prescription. Large employers and potential prospects want to see that an institute of higher learning exists. UTPA meets that requirement and more.”

Rodríguez joined UT Pan American in January 2011 as Provost and Vice president for Academic Affairs and as a tenured professor in the Department of Sociology.

Prior to coming to UTPA, he served as deputy provost at the University of Delaware, where he also was a professor in the Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice and former director of the Disaster Research Center, the oldest and one of the leading social science disaster research centers in the world.

Rodríguez, who obtained his Ph.D. Buy Amoxicillin Without Prescription, in sociology from the University of Wisconsin, held a faculty position and several administrative positions at the University of Puerto Rico-Mayagüez for more than a decade, and served from 1995 to 1998 as Director of the Minority Affairs Program for the American Sociological Association.

He has also been a visiting professor at the University of Michigan's Population Fellow's Program (Summers, 2001-2003); was selected as the Frey Foundation Distinguished Visiting Professor at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill (Spring, 2002); received a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) National Disaster Medical System (NDMS) Outstanding Achievement Award (2004); and was recognized as one of the Hispanics of the Year in the State of Delaware, for which he received the Professional Achievement Award (2007).

Rodríguez has served on a number of committees for the National Academies of Sciences and on review panels for the National Science Foundation and the Ford Foundation, and was the chair of the Latina/o Sociology Section of the American Sociological Association.

Javier Espinoza is an intern with the Department of Public Affairs at The University of Texas-Pan American. David A. Díaz contributed to this story, Buy Amoxicillin Without Prescription. Permission is granted for the use of all or portions of this photograph, caption, Amoxicillin blogs, and article by the news media, including Internet-only news media sites. Credit to www.EdinburgPolitics.com is not required but would be appreciated. The Edinburg Economic Development Corporation is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg City Council. It’s five-member governing board, which is appointed by the Edinburg City Council, includes Mayor Richard García as President, Fred Palacios as Secretary-Treasurer, and Felipe García, Jaime A. Buy Amoxicillin Without Prescription, Rodríguez, and Dr. Havidán Rodríguez. For more information on the EEDC and the City of Edinburg, please log on to: www.EdbgCityLimits.com

••••••

Former Rep. Jim Solis, D-Harlingen, gets 47-month prison sentence for role in Judge Limas bribery scandal


By ANGELA DODGE

Former Rep. Jose Santiago “Jim” Solis, D-Harlingen, has been ordered to prison following his conviction of aiding and abetting the extortion by former state district judge Abel Corral Limas, United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson announced on Friday, August 2.

Solis pleaded guilty April 29, 2011, Buy Amoxicillin Without Prescription.

On August 2, U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen, who accepted the guilty plea, handed Solis a total sentence of 47 months in federal prison. At the hearing, additional testimony was presented including the impact suffered by victims as well as Solis’ family and friends.

Hanen took into consideration the testimony of witnesses before pronouncing the sentence and said Solis “betrayed the public trust and violated the oath to uphold the laws.”

Solis was further ordered to pay restitution of approximately $119,000 and will serve a term of three years of supervised release following completion of the prison sentence. Buy Amoxicillin Without Prescription, An additional amount of $250,000 was ordered forfeited as proceeds derived from the offense.

Solis, 47, a life-long resident of Harlingen, has practiced law in south Texas for many years, Taking Amoxicillin, focusing primarily in personal injury cases. Solis served as a member of the Texas House of Representatives, representing District 38, for seven terms – retiring from the Legislature in 2007.

At the time of his guilty plea, Solis admitted his part in Limas’ use of the office of judge of the 404th District Court in Brownsville as a criminal enterprise to enrich himself and others, including Solis, through extortion.

Limas accepted money and other consideration from attorneys in civil cases pending in his court, including Solis, in return for favorable pre-trial rulings in certain cases, including a case involving a helicopter crash at South Padre Island in February 2008.

Solis specifically admitted to paying Limas $8,000 in May 2008, a payment they described as eight “golf balls,” for favorable rulings, Buy Amoxicillin Without Prescription.

Evidence also showed Solis participated in a series of meetings with attorney Marc Garrett Rosenthal and Limas in the summer of 2008 during which they planned and negotiated the terms of Limas’ employment as an “of counsel” attorney with the firm.

During those meetings, Rosenthal promised Limas an advance of at least $100,000 as well as a percentage of attorneys’ fees earned in the helicopter crash case. Limas’ employment arrangements were confirmed in calls on August 28, 2008, between Limas and his wife and son. The intercepted calls indicated Limas was expecting to be “cut in” on 10% of the settlement/judgment of the helicopter crash case pending in his court and the $100,000 advance. Buy Amoxicillin Without Prescription, On December 31, 2008, Limas received a check for $50,000 payable from the Rosenthal & Watson Law Firm. On January 2, 2009, Limas received a check for $50,000 from Solis.

In October 2009, the helicopter case settled for approximately $14 million and Limas received approximately $85,000 from the Rosenthal & Watson Law Firm approximately two months later.

To date, a total of eight defendants have entered guilty pleas to related violations in the FBI’s four-year public corruption investigation, including Limas, former state district judge of the 404th District Court; local attorney José “Joe” Valle; former Cameron County District Attorney’s Office investigator Jaime Munivez; and José Manuel “Meme” Longoria; Armando Peña and his wife, Karina.

Three others – attorneys Ray Román Marchan, Marc Garrett Rosenthal and former Cameron County District Attorney Armando Villalobos were found guilty of public corruption-related charges involving their association with Limas after separate jury trials.

Marchan was previously sentenced to 42 months imprisonment, which was vacated upon his death, Buy Amoxicillin Without Prescription.

Rosenthal and Villalobos will be sentenced September 23 and October 15, is Amoxicillin safe, 2013, respectively.

Solis was permitted to remain on bond and voluntarily surrender to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.

The investigation has been conducted by the FBI with the assistance of the Drug Enforcement Administration and Brownsville Police Department. Buy Amoxicillin Without Prescription, Southern District of Texas Assistant United States Attorneys (AUSA) Michael Wynne and Óscar Ponce are prosecuting this case.

The cases against Villalobos, Rosenthal and Lucio are being prosecuted under the direction of the Western District of Texas by AUSA’s Wynne and Greg Surovic.

••••••

U.S. Expressway 281, with expansions underway, added to Interstate Highway 69


Edinburg, Hidalgo County, and state leaders on Monday, July 15, celebrated the placement of the first signs marking Interstate 69 East, Interstate 2 and Interstate 69 Central, a ceremony that marked the first time the Rio Grande Valley will be served by the Interstate Highway System.

The 13.5 miles of U.S. Expresswat 281 freeway in Pharr and Edinburg is now signed as Interstate 69 Central, a designation that will eventually extend northward all the way to George West, Buy Amoxicillin Without Prescription.

U.S. Expressway 77 through Cameron and Willacy counties is now signed as Interstate 69 East. This includes 53.3 miles of existing freeway starting at the Rio Grande River in Brownsville and running north past Raymondville.

These designations are the result of actions taken by federal and state agencies in May. Buy Amoxicillin Without Prescription, The east-west U.S. Expressway 83 that connects more than a dozen Valley cities has been designated as Interstate 2. It extends approximately 46.8 miles from Harlingen to west of Mission.

U.S. Expressway 83 was not designated by Congress as part of I-69 but the Alliance for I-69 Texas and community leaders have insisted over the years that it should be considered an interstate connector between the legs of I-69.

The Lower Rio Grande Valley interstate highway designations were made possible by the passage of milestone federal legislation championed by the Alliance for I-69 Texas over a period of several years and passed in 2012 as part of MAP-21, Buy Amoxicillin Without Prescription.

The effort led by Congressman Blake Farenthold, D-Corpus Christi, and Congressman Rubén Hinojosa, D-Mercedes, and Texas’ U.S. senators – Kay Bailey Hutchison and John Cornyn – removed from federal law a requirement that completed highway segments must be connected to an existing interstate highway before they could be added to the Interstate Highway System.

Local leaders participated in the unveiling of the new signs at the now renamed I2/I69C interchange in Pharr.

Bringing the national interstate system to the Valley has been a goal of community leaders since they helped form the Alliance for I-69 Texas in 1993. Buy Amoxicillin Without Prescription, Former U.S. Canada, mexico, india, Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison was part of that effort in her 20 years in office and participated in the multi-location Valley celebration.

In late May, state officials explained the significance of the designations and upgrades.

“This is a landmark day in the 20-year effort to make I-69 a reality in Texas,” said John Thompson, Chairman of the Alliance for I-690 Texas. “It is the result of a sustained local, state and federal cooperative effort. Community leaders along the I-69 route have relentlessly pursued this goal because they know that moving people and freight efficiently is vital to our economy and our quality of life.”

The Alliance for I-69 Texas is a coalition made up of cities, counties, port authorities and community leaders building grassroots support for upgrading the entire Interstate 69 route in Texas, Buy Amoxicillin Without Prescription.

At its May 30 public session, the Texas Transportation Commission gave final approval to the designation of an additional 117.1 miles of freeway in South Texas and Northeast Texas as part of the Interstate 69 system.

The Federal Highway Administration approved the four highway sections the previous week.

The newly designated interstate sections mean a total of 186 miles of the I-69 route that have been added to the Interstate System in the past two years.

Following the May 30 action by the Transportation Commission, Jeff Austin, III, of Tyler, one of five a members of that governing body, praised the work of the Alliance for I-69 Texas, the TxDOT I-69 Advisory Committee, and the five I-69 Segment Committees. Buy Amoxicillin Without Prescription, He noted that I-69 has become a reality “you can actually drive on”, noting that now I-69 in Texas  “starts” on the Rio Grande Valley.

The Texas Department of Transportation is governed by the five-member Texas Transportation Commission and an executive director selected by the commission. Commission members serve overlapping six-year terms and are appointed by the governor with the advice and consent of the Texas Senate.

Transportation Commissioner Jeff Moseley pointed out the importance of continued development of I-69 as a very strategic corridor to the state.

“With a $1.4 trillion state economy there is no doubt that I-69 is significant to continuing to provide jobs and growth of the total assessed value of our state. My hat is off to Commissioner Austin and all the efforts that have gone into getting us to this point,” said Mosely, a Houston resident, Buy Amoxicillin Without Prescription. “This is a dynamic corridor and it clearly ties in to international trade.”

Transportation Commissioner Fred Underwood of Lubbock praised communities along the I-69 route for working together and not letting their thinking stop at the county line.

“The more this happens it makes it so much more easy for our staff and for the commission to help because everyone is working in the same direction,” he said.

In a related development, the Texas Department of Transportation is conducting a study to determine what upgrade improvements will be necessary to bring U.S. Expressway 281 up to interstate highway standards along the Interstate 69 Central route. Buy Amoxicillin Without Prescription, The study area begins at the intersection of U.S 59 and Interstate 37 in Live Oak County. It extends west on U.S. 59 to George West and then south on U.S. 281 to the intersection with Interstate 2/U.S. 83 in the Lower Rio Grande Valley.

A draft Interstate Development Plan will be compiled in the coming months and a final Feasibility Study Report is scheduled for completion by the end of the year, Buy Amoxicillin Without Prescription.

The study area covers a five-mile stretch on U.S. 59 and 149 miles on U.S, after Amoxicillin. 281.

All of the route is at four-lane divided standard, and sections at Alice, Ben Bolt, Falfurrias, Edinburg and McAllen are at full interstate standard. Buy Amoxicillin Without Prescription, A separate U.S. 281 study is underway to determine the routing and schematic designs for freeway lanes through the town of Premont in southern Jim Wells County.

Projects to upgrade sections of U.S. 281 to freeway standard are currently underway at Alice, Rachal and at the north edge of Edinburg. The Alice project includes an overpass at FM 1554, now approximately 50% complete.

Work on an overpass at FM 755 in Rachal began earlier this year, Buy Amoxicillin Without Prescription.

The Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956 called for uniform geometric and construction standards for the Interstate System. The standards were developed by the State highway agencies, acting through the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) and adopted by the FHWA.  The standards are included in the AASHTO publication A Policy on Design Standards -- Interstate System available from the AASHTO web site.

Examples of design standards for the Interstate System include full control of access, design speeds of 50 to 70 miles per hour (depending on type of terrain), a minimum of two travel lanes in each direction, 12-foot lane widths, 10-foot right paved shoulder, and 4-foot left paved shoulder. Initially, the design had to be adequate to meet the traffic volumes expected in 1975. Buy Amoxicillin Without Prescription, Later, the requirement was changed to a more general 20-year design period to allow for evolution of the System.

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Edinburg School Board named Regional School Board of the Year by Region One Education Service Center


By ANNETTE S. GARCÍA

The Edinburg school board on Wednesday, July 31, was selected as the 2013 Regional School Board of the Year by The Region One Education Service Center on Wednesday, July 31, qualifying them to compete in September for the honor as best school board in Texas.

As a regional winner, Region One ESC will nominate the Edinburg School Board in the Texas Association of School Administrators “Outstanding School Board of the Year” program. The program recognizes school boards across the state that have demonstrated outstanding dedication and rendered ethical service to the children of Texas.

Members of the 2012-2013 Board of Trustees for the Edinburg Consolidated Independent School District are Juan “Sonny” Palacios, President; Dr, Buy Amoxicillin Without Prescription. Martín Castillo, Vice-President; Jaime R. Amoxicillin without a prescription, Solis, Secretary; David Torres, Member; Jaime R. Chavana, Member; Carmen G. González, Member; and Robert Peña, Jr., Member.

Region One Education Service Center (www.esc1.net Buy Amoxicillin Without Prescription, ) serves more than 419,000 students and educators in seven counties in south Texas including Cameron, Hidalgo, Jim Hogg, Starr, Webb, Willacy and Zapata counties. Region One works to assist school districts in improving student performance, assist districts to operate more efficiently and economically, and implement initiatives assigned by the legislature or the Commissioner of Education.

Nominations were submitted to the Region One Education Service Center and were reviewed by a committee of Region One school superintendents. The criteria used to evaluate nominated school boards included the board’s adherence to adopted board policies, its role as a policy-making body, as well as demonstrated support for educational performance of state-established standards and educational improvement projects, a commitment to a code of ethics, community awareness, maintenance of a harmonious and supportive relationship among board members, provision of financial support for the school system, professional development, and the placement of the welfare of children served by the school system above personal or political motives.

“The Edinburg CISD Board of Trustees has demonstrated through its actions and leadership how a school board should effectively function within a school district. We congratulate the Edinburg CISD School Board members on their receipt of this prestigious award, and are proud to have them represent the Region One area,” said Dr, Buy Amoxicillin Without Prescription. Cornelio González, Region One ESC Executive Director.

Five school boards from the state’s 20 service centers will be selected and recognized as Texas Honor School Boards by the Texas Association of School Administrators. The five boards will be interviewed by the TASA School Board Awards Committee and the winner of the Texas Outstanding School Board will be announced at the joint conference of the Texas Association of School Administrators/Texas Association of School Boards, September 27-29, 2012 in Dallas.

••••••

Edinburg Chamber to host Public Affairs Luncheon on Thursday, August 15, featuring UTPA President Dr. Buy Amoxicillin Without Prescription, Robert S. Nelsen


By RONNIE LARRALDE

Dr. Robert S. Nelsen, the 8th president of The University of Texas-Pan American, low dose Amoxicillin, On Thursday August 15, will be the keynote speaker for the Public Affairs Luncheon, coordinated by the Public Affairs Committee of the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce.

The event will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m, Buy Amoxicillin Without Prescription. at the ECHO Hotel and Conference Center, located at 1903 South Closner in Edinburg.

Doctor's Hospital at Renaissance is the sponsor for the event.

The Public Affairs Luncheon, an initiative introduced in 2006, features popular topics with speakers that cover important legislative and community issues. Cost to attend the luncheon is $12 per person or $125 for a table of eight, and includes a hot lunch, non-alcoholic beverage and dessert. Buy Amoxicillin Without Prescription, Nelsen was raised on a small cattle ranch in the "Big Sky Country" of Montana, just outside of  Yellowstone Park. Like the majority of students at UTPA, Nelsen faced great financial hardships while obtaining his education. He put himself through college by working as a janitor in the pre-dawn hours before classes and by selling fish hooks and western clothing in the evenings.  Through his hard work and dedication he was able to earn bachelor's and master's degrees in political science.

Nelsen continued his education by earning a Ph.D. from the Committee on Social Thought at The University of Chicago. His Ph.D, Buy Amoxicillin Without Prescription. fields of specialization are modern literature, modern philosophy and modern political theory. Today he's a literature and philosophy scholar, experienced

administrator, award-winning professor, published writer and author.

For more information on this event or to make a reservation. please call the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce at 956/383-4974.

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Buy Amoxicillin Without Prescription, Ramón De La Garza, former biller for RGV DME, gets more than 11 years in federal prison for his role in $11 million health care fraud


By ANGELA DODGE

One of the billers for a now defunct McAllen area durable medical equipment (DME) business has been ordered to prison for his role in a conspiracy and scheme to defraud Medicare and Medicaid through fraudulent billings, United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson and Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott announced on Wednesday, July 24.

Ramón De La Garza, 52, of Mission, was a biller for RGV DME from approximately August 2004 through approximately April 2009. The scheme involved approximately $11.1 million in false claims to Medicare and Medicaid.

On July 24, De La Garza, was handed a sentence of 110 months for conspiracy to defraud Medicare and Medicaid and an additional mandatory 24-month-term for aggravated identity theft. Fast shipping Amoxicillin, which must be served consecutively to the other sentence imposed, resulting in a total sentence of 134 months in federal prison.

He will also serve three years of supervision following his release, Buy Amoxicillin Without Prescription.

In addition to the prison sentence, he was ordered to pay restitution to Medicare and Medicaid in the amount of $5,059,198.96, and a money judgment will be entered against him for that amount.

De La Garza and former RGV DME Owner Marcello Herrera, 40, along with his wife Carla Cantú Herrera, 32, both from Mission, pleaded guilty on February 21, 2013, to conspiring to defraud Medicare and Texas Medicaid.

Beatriz Ramos, 28, of Edinburg, another former biller for RGV DME, pleaded guilty to the conspiracy on October 16, 2012.

Marcelo Herrera and De La Garza also pleaded guilty to one count of aggravated identity theft for unlawfully using the identity of a beneficiary to bill Medicare and Medicaid $5,000 for a power wheelchair that was not requested, prescribed, needed or delivered. Buy Amoxicillin Without Prescription, Marcelo Herrera was sentenced earlier this month to 120 months for the conspiracy as well as the mandatory 24 months for aggravated identity theft for a total of 144 months in federal prison. The court ordered him to pay restitution to Medicare and Medicaid in the amount of $6,103,953.74 and that he forfeit wheelchairs, scooters and other DME items discovered in his leased storage facility in Alamo, which had been rented by him and ultimately seized by the FBI.

From early 2004 through late 2011, Marcello Herrera, who did business as RGV DME in the McAllen area, engaged in and directed a scheme to submit fraudulent claims to Medicare and Texas Medicaid for power wheelchairs, scooters, incontinent supplies, Amoxicillin natural, hospital beds and mattresses as well as other DME supplies.

At various times, his wife – who admitted to being marketing director, chief financial officer, chief operating officer, office manager, human resources manager and co-owner of RGV DME – and billers De La Garza and Ramos all participated in the conspiracy and aided Marcello Herrera and each other in the submission of fraudulent billings, wire fraud and theft of the identities of beneficiaries and doctors.

In court on February 21, 2013, De La Garza admitted that during his participation in the conspiracy the fraudulent billing exceed $9.6 million for which payments exceeded $5 million.

Marcelo Herrera acknowledged he submitted or caused the submission of more than $11.1 million in false and fraudulent claims to Medicare and Texas Medicaid for which he illegally received in excess of $6.1 million, while Carla Herrera admitted that during her participation in the conspiracy, the fraudulent billings exceeded $9.9 million for which they received illegal payments exceeding $5.5 million, Buy Amoxicillin Without Prescription.

Marcelo Herrera, his wife and De La Garza also admitted that approximately 85% of their Medicare and Texas Medicaid billings were false and fraudulent.

The three defendants in court on February 21, 2013, also admitted that marketers were used to obtain Medicare and Medicaid identification numbers and other information from beneficiaries, which they in turn used to fraudulently bill Medicare and Medicaid for DME that was either never prescribed or prescribed but never delivered.

Ramón De La Garza has been in custody since his arrest on June 28, 2012. He will remain in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Buy Amoxicillin Without Prescription, Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.

Sentencing for Carla Herrera and Ramos are set for September 18, and 26, 2013, respectively.

The investigation leading to the charges was conducted by the FBI, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services-Office of Inspector General and the Texas Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit. Special Assistant United States Attorney Rex Beasley and Assistant United States Attorney Grady Leupold are prosecuting the case.

Office of Inspector General and the Texas Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, Buy Amoxicillin Without Prescription. Special Assistant United States Attorney Rex Beasley and Assistant United States Attorney Grady Leupold are prosecuting the case.

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Alexis Espinoza, son of Hidalgo Chief of Police Rudy Espinoza, pleads guilty in plot involving law enforcement officers stealing illegal drugs


By ANGELA DODGE

Alexis Espinoza, 30, on Wednesday, Amoxicillin forum, July 24, entered a guilty plea to one count of conspiring to possess with the intent to distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine and more than 500 grams of methamphetamine, United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson has announced.

Espinoza is son of Hidalgo Police Chief Rudy Espinoza.

Espinoza, of McAllen, admitted that during 2012, he utilized his position as a law enforcement officer to traffic narcotics. Buy Amoxicillin Without Prescription, Espinoza, a former officer with the Mission Police Department (MPD), along with other MPD officers and deputies of the Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office, used his law enforcement authority to steal narcotics, which were then sold to local drug dealers.

U.S. District Judge Randy Crane, who accepted the guilty plea, has set sentencing for September 10, 2013, at which time he faces a minimum of 10 years and up to life in prison, along with a potential fine up to $10 million. Espinoza was permitted to remain on bond pending that hearing.

The investigation leading to the charges was conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration, Homeland Security Investigations, FBI, Homeland Security Investigations-Office of Professional Responsibility and Texas Department of Public Safety.

Assistant United States Attorneys James Sturgis and Anibal Alaniz are prosecuting the case, Buy Amoxicillin Without Prescription.

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Edna Edith Sepulveda indicted for alleged $232,351.19 bank fraud of Inter National Bank of McAllen


By ANGELA DODGE

Edna Edith Sepulveda, 39, of McAllen, has surrendered to federal authorities following the return of an indictment alleging she perpetrated more than $200,000 in bank fraud, United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson announced on Monday, July 15.

The indictment was returned July 9, 2013, and she made her initial appearance today, at which time she was permitted release upon posting bond.

An indictment is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence.
A defendant is presumed innocent unless convicted through due process of law.

According to the indictment, Sepulveda was a former employee of Inter National Bank of McAllen, Amoxicillin pictures. Buy Amoxicillin Without Prescription, Beginning in January 10, 2006, she allegedly devised a scheme to take money from Inter National Bank by fraudulent means. She then placed the funds into the accounts of her parents allegedly intended for her own personal use, according to the allegations. The total amount of loss to Inter National Bank is $232,351.19.

If convicted, Sepulveda faces up to 30 years in federal prison as well as a $1 million fine.

This case is being investigated by the FBI with the cooperation of Inter National Bank.

Assistant United States Attorney Jason C, Buy Amoxicillin Without Prescription. Honeycutt is prosecuting the case.

••••••

Attorney General Abbott sues to allow prayers before the meetings of governmental bodies


The Texas Attorney General’s Office Friday, August 2, filed an amicus brief urging the U.S. Supreme Court to reverse a federal appeals court’s ruling that struck down the town of Greece, New York’s practice of allowing  citizens to offer a prayer to begin monthly town board meetings.

Abbott and Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller filed the “friend of the court” brief on behalf of the 23-state coalition, arguing that the decision by the U.S. Buy Amoxicillin Without Prescription, Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit is improper and contrary to the longstanding history and tradition of legislative prayer in this country.

“Despite hundreds of years of established tradition and a Supreme Court ruling upholding the right of legislatures to convene each day with a prayer, the town of Greece, New York, has been improperly prohibited from beginning their monthly town board meetings with a prayer,” Abbott said. “Today’s legal action reflects a bipartisan, multistate effort to defend the longstanding and constitutionally protected right of legislative

The case involves an Establishment Clause challenge to the town of Greece, New York’s practice of allowing citizens to offer a prayer during monthly town board meetings. Atheists sued the city, and a federal appeals court ruled against the town of Greece’s practice.

In the amicus brief filed on August 2, the states argue that public acknowledgments of God at official functions have been customary since the nation’s founding. The states point out that many governmental bodies on the local, state and federal level – indeed, the United States Congress and all 50 state governmental bodies – have a long history of beginning meetings with prayer, Buy Amoxicillin Without Prescription.

In Marsh v. Chambers, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of governments opening every legislative session with a clergy-led prayer.
The states are urging the U.S. Supreme Court to reverse the decision by the federal appeals court and hold that legislative prayers remain constitutional. Buy Amoxicillin Without Prescription, The states’ brief also asks the high court to use this case to provide clarity to the Establishment Clause doctrine by adopting a single Establishment Clause test that is clear, workable and faithful to the text and history of the First Amendment.
The State of Texas’ action in the Greece, N.Y., case is just the latest of Abbott’s many efforts to defend public acknowledgments of religion.

Texas’ religious liberties cases include:

• In 2012, the Attorney General’s Office intervened in the Kountze High School cheerleader case after the cheerleaders were improperly prohibited from including religious messages on the banners they created for football games. Purchase Amoxicillin online no prescription, The attorney general’s actions defended the cheerleaders’ right to exercise their personal religious beliefs and the constitutionality of a state law that protects religious liberties for all Texans;
•

• In 2011, Abbott sent a letter to Henderson County Judge Richard Sanders in response to a threat the county had received from the Freedom From Religion Foundation regarding a nativity scene on the grounds of the Henderson County courthouse;

• In 2011, the Attorney General’s Office submitted a legal brief asking a federal appeals court to uphold Medina Valley High School graduates’ constitutional rights to freely express their religious beliefs during graduation ceremonies.
;

• In July 2010, Abbott led a multistate coalition of 29 attorneys general in taking legal action to defend the annual National Day of Prayer;

• In January 2009, after Abbott submitted a legal brief joined by all 50 state attorneys general, a federal judge cleared the way for President Barack Obama to include references to religion during his presidential inauguration;

• In 2007, Abbott defeated a lawsuit that attempted to remove the words “under God” from the Texas Pledge of Allegiance;

• In 2005, Abbott appeared before the U.S. Supreme Court and defended the State’s Ten Commandments monument, which stands on the Texas Capitol grounds. In that case, Van Orden v. Perry, the plaintiff sought to remove the Ten Commandments monument from the Capitol grounds, but Abbott successfully argued that the monument was entirely constitutional; and

• After Abbott submitted a legal brief defending the right of Texas schoolchildren to begin each school day with the Pledge of Allegiance followed by a minute of silence to “reflect, pray, [or] meditate” before class, a federal appeals court upheld the Texas Moment of Silence law, Buy Amoxicillin Without Prescription.

••••••


A growing share of U.S. Latinos – 32 percent – get their news exclusively in English; TV is the most used medium; Internet use is on the rise


By RUSS OATES

The language of news media consumption is changing for Hispanics: a growing share of Latino adults are consuming news in English from television, print, radio and internet outlets, and a declining share are doing so in Spanish, according to survey findings from the Pew Research Center.

In 2012, 82% of Hispanic adults said they got at least some of their news in English, up from 78% who said the same in 2006. By contrast, the share who get at least some of their news in Spanish has declined, to 68% in 2012 from 78% in 2006. Buy Amoxicillin Without Prescription, Half (50%) of Latino adults say they get their news in both languages, down from 57% in 2010.

The rise in use of English news sources has been driven by an increase in the share of Hispanics who say they get their news exclusively in English. One-third (32%) of Hispanic adults in 2012 did this, up from 22% in 2006. By contrast, the share of Hispanic adults who get their news exclusively in Spanish has decreased to 18% in 2012 from 22% in 2006.

These changes in news consumption patterns reflect several ongoing demographic trends within the Hispanic community: a growing share of Latino adults who speak English well; slowing migration to the United States; Latino immigrants living in the U.S. for longer periods of time; and the growth of Latinos born in the U.S, Buy Amoxicillin Without Prescription.

Even though the share of Hispanic adults who consume news media in Spanish has declined, the number of potential Spanish news media consumers is growing as a result of the rapid overall rise in the number of Hispanics in the U.S.---- to 52 million in 2011, up from 35 million in 2000. According to U.S. Census Bureau data, a record 35 million Hispanics ages 5 and older speak Spanish (at home), up from 25 million in 2000 and 10 million in 1980. At the same time, a record 31 million Hispanics ages 5 and older are proficient in English, up from 19 million in 2000 and 8 million in 1980.

Among the report's other findings:

FOLLOWING THE NEWS:

Buy Amoxicillin Without Prescription, About eight-in-ten Hispanic adults say they keep up with the news "a lot" (45%) or "some" (36%) and about two-in-ten keep up "not much" (15%) or "not at all" (4%).

TELEVISION MOST POPULAR: INTERNET ON RISE

Fully 86% of Latino adults say that on a typical weekday they get their news from television. That is down slightly from 92% who said the same in 2006, but is higher than the share of Latinos who get their news from radio (56%), the Internet (56%) or print newspapers (42%). Use of Internet news media has grown among Latino adults since 2006 while radio news media and print newspapers have seen the biggest declines.

NUMBER OF PLATFORMS USED

Latino adults on average use 2.4 news media platforms among the four tested---- television, print newspapers, radio and the Internet ---- when they consume news media. Overall, 3% of Latino adults do not use any of the four news media platforms tested, 17% use one, 32% use two, 33% use three and 15% use all four platforms, Buy Amoxicillin Without Prescription.

ACCURACY

When asked if news organizations get their facts straight or are often inaccurate, 60% of all Hispanics say Spanish-language news organizations "get the facts straight" and 59% say the same of English-language news organizations.

BEST AT COVERING NEWS RELEVANT TO HISPANICS

Seven-in-ten Hispanic adults say the Spanish-language news media do an "excellent" (24%) or "good" job (46%) covering news specifically relevant to Hispanics in the U.S. By contrast, about six-in-ten Hispanic adults say the English-language news media do an "excellent" (17%) or "good" job (42%) covering news relevant to Hispanics in the U.S.

This report is largely based on a nationally representative bilingual telephone survey of 1,765 Latino adults conducted from September 7 to October 4, 2012.

The report, A Growing Share of Latinos Get Their News in English, authored by Mark Hugo Lopez, director of Hispanic research, and Ana Gonzalez-Barrera, research associate, is available at

www.PewHispanic.org

Pew Research Center is a nonpartisan source of data and analysis. It does not take advocacy positions. Its Hispanic Center, founded in 2001, seeks to improve understanding of the U.S. Hispanic population and to chronicle Latinos' growing impact on the nation.

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Email This News Story Email This News Story | Print This News Story Print This News Story | July 15th, 2013 by Legislativemedia@aol.com

Zithromax For Sale, The Texas Legislature on Thursday, May 23, gave final approval of blockbuster legislation that merges The University of Texas-Pan American with the University of Texas-Brownsville – and will bring a UT medical school to Edinburg. Gov. Rick Perry on Friday, June 14, signed the bill into law. The measure went into effect immediately. The landmark measure, Senate Bill 24 by Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, D-McAllen, and Rep. René Oliveira, D-Brownsville, will have immediate, long-range, and unprecedented positive impact on the economy, health care, and higher education in deep South Texas, said Rep, Zithromax For Sale. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg (featured at the podium in the Speaker’s Committee Room at the Texas Capitol). “On this monumental day, the Rio Grande Valley has forever changed the way people will look at us in more ways than one. Some people believe that a ‘Friday Night Football Mentality’ dooms our South Texas communities. This is slander,” Canales reflected. Zithromax For Sale, “When the stakes are highest, as it was with this incredibly important issue, we always remain united.” Featured, from left: Sen. Kel Seliger, R-Amarillo; Rep. René Oliveira, D-Brownsville; Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg; Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, D-McAllen; Sen. Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo; and Rep, Zithromax For Sale. Óscar Longoria, Jr., D-La Joya. Oliveira was the lead sponsor of Hinojosa’s SB 24, while Canales, Buy Zithromax without prescription, Longoria, and (not pictured) Rep. Armando “Mando” Martínez, D-Weslaco, Rep. Sergio Muñoz, Jr., D-Mission, Rep. Zithromax For Sale, Eddie Lucio, III, D-San Benito, and Rep. R.D. “Bobby” Guerra, D-McAllen, were joint sponsors. Keliger, Zaffirini, and Sen. Eddie Lucio, Jr., D-Brownsville, were joint authors of Hinojosa’s SB 24. See story later in this posting.

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For the third time in his legislative career, Sen, Zithromax For Sale. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, D-McAllen has been named as one of the 10 best legislators, based on the recently-concluded five-month regular session of the Texas Legislature, by Texas Monthly magazine. Hinojosa’s selection was heavily influenced by his role and successes in passing Senate Bill 24, landmark legislation that he authored, which will merge the University of Texas-Pan American with UT-Brownsville, bring a full-fledged UT medical school into that new system, and provide the new university and medical school with access to the Permanent University Fund. Gov. Rick Perry signed SB 24 into law on Saturday, June 15, Zithromax price, at the Texas Capitol. See story later in this posting.

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HOLT CAT and Edinburg leaders on Tuesday, June 25, held groundbreaking ceremonies for the company’s planned $7 million, 38,476-square-foot full-service facility that will sell and service Caterpiller, Inc. Zithromax For Sale, equipment for deep South Texas. The planned complex, which should be open for business next spring, is located at 110701 U.S. Highway 281 North. Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg, whose House District 40 includes the planned HOLT CAT dealership, praised local efforts that continue to bring major employers to his legislative district. “We saw first-hand in the Texas Legislature the roles played by the Edinburg City Council and EEDC in helping me and other key lawmakers bring a University of Texas medical school to our area,” said Canales, who was a joint sponsor of landmark legislation that will provide a campus for the first two years of medical education in Hidalgo County, Zithromax For Sale. “I never cease to be amazed by the tremendous talent, determination, and vision that are hallmarks of these and other influential leaders in my legislative district.” Featured during the ceremony from left, are: Allyn L. Archer, President and Chief Operating Officer, HOLT CAT; Edinburg City Manager Ramiro Garza, Jr.; Edinburg City Councilmember J.R. Betancourt; Peter M. Holt, HOLT CAT Chief Executive Officer; Edinburg Mayor Pro Tem Elías Longoria, Jr.; and Agustín “Gus” García, Executive Director, Zithromax wiki, Edinburg Economic Development Corporation. See story later in this posting.

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Zithromax For Sale, Dr. Havidán Rodríguez, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs for the University of Texas-Pan American, featured left, on Tuesday, June 25, congratulated Ernest “Ernie” Aliseda of McAllen, featured center, on Aliseda’s recent appointment by Gov. Rick Perry to the UT System Board of Regents. Rodríguez, who is the newest member of the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation Board of Directors, was joined by UTPA President Dr. Robert S. Nelsen at Edinburg City Hall prior to the presentation of a proclamation to Aliseda by the Hidalgo County Commissioners Court, Zithromax For Sale. Hidalgo County leaders honored Aliseda on his many accomplishments and years of service, including his selection to the prestigious nine-member UT System Board of Regents. City, county and state officials are confident that Aliseda will be a valuable asset and tremendous resource to the UT System in representing regional interests on key decisions that will affect Hidalgo County, the upcoming merger of UT-Pan American with UT-Brownsville, and the planned creation of a UT medical school, which will provide the first two years of medical education in Hidalgo County. Dr. Rodríguez, who is one of five members of the EEDC Board of Directors, represents UTPA on the EEDC governing board. The EEDC is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg City Council.

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Zithromax For Sale, Former Edinburg Mayor Pro Tem Agustín “Gus” García, Jr. – featured during a June 25 interview with Victoria Acosta-Rubio of KNVO 48 TV (Univision) – on Tuesday, May 28, submitted his letter of resignation from the city council in order to accept an appointment as Executive Director for the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation. The EEDC is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg City Council. García’s decision came after he was reelected on Saturday, May 11 to a third term on the Edinburg City Council. García was unanimously selected as EEDC Executive Director by the five-member EEDC Board of Directors, which includes Mayor Richard H, Zithromax brand name. García (no relation to “Gus” García) as president of the EEDC governing board. “Gus” García began his duties as EEDC Executive Director on June 3. Nelda T. Ramírez, a 13-year-veteran with the EEDC who has served as Executive Director since December 2011, remains on the EEDC staff as Assistant Executive Director. See story later in this posting.

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The Rio Grande Valley Hispanic Chamber of Commerce is holding their annual “Legislative Report Card Luncheon” on Friday, July 26, at The Cimarron Club in Mission from 11:30 a.m, Zithromax For Sale. to 1 p.m. State senators and representatives from the Rio Grande Valley will be reporting on their key legislation and how those measures will affect South Texas. Sponsors of the luncheon will be seated with an elected official during lunch so they may have one-on-one conversations regarding their concerns. The RGVHCC Government Relations Committee will also have questions for the officials. Zithromax For Sale, Those in attendance will also get the opportunity to ask questions and/or make comments on any concerns they may have. Confirmed to attend are: Senator Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, D-McAllen; Rep. René Oliveira, D-Brownsville; Rep. Eddie Lucio, III, D-Harlingen; Rep. Armando “Mando” Martínez, D-Weslaco; Rep. Ryan Guillén, D-Rio Grande City; Rep, Zithromax For Sale. R.D. “Bobby” Guerra, D-McAllen; Rep. Sergio Muñoz, Jr., D-Mission; Rep. Óscar Longoria, Jr. Zithromax For Sale, D-La Joya; and Rep. J.M. Lozano, R-Kingsville; Kingsville. In addition, Rx free Zithromax, Cassandra Garcia, Southwest Texas Regional Director for U.S Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, will attend to solicit concerns from constituents to share with Cruz. Representatives for Congressman Rubén Hinojosa, D-Mercedes, and Congressman Henry Cuellar, D-Laredo/McAllen, also will attend, Zithromax For Sale. Sponsorships for the event are: Presidential – $3,000 with three tables; Governor – $2,000 with two tables; Statesman – $1,000 with one table, and Civic Leader – $500. Individual tickets are $35, while Reserved Tables of 10 are available for $500. For more information and/or to purchase tickets call the RGVHCC office at 928-0060. Featured finalizing all plans for the Legislative Luncheon are Ronnie Bernal, Chair-Elect, and Cynthia M. Zithromax For Sale, Sakulenzki, RGVHCC President and Chief Executive Officer.

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The RGV Aggie Mom’s are a proud group of mothers whose children attend Texas A&M. They meet several times a year to create long lasting friendships and to work on fundraising projects to raise funds for scholarships for the local Texas A&M students. They travel to College Station to meet with the chancellor, sell crafts at different occasions on campus and send special Goody Bags to the children of the participating Aggie Moms. The Aggie Mom’s met recently at a mixer to discuss upcoming events as well as to organize their upcoming “Howdy Party”, scheduled for Saturday, August 3, at Harold’s Country Kitchen in Donna from noon to 3 p.m.  Any and all new or current Aggie Mom’s are welcome to attend and get some insight as what to expect at College Station and to create new friendships. Aggie fathers and siblings are welcome to attend as well. For more information on the organization, contact Sonia Maupin, RGV Aggie Mom President at sonia.maupin@yahoo.com. Aggie mothers and prospective Aggie graduates who participated at the most recent RGV Aggie Mom’s Mixer are, front row, from left: Cynthia M. Sakulenzki; Sara Gómez; Sonia Maupin; Jacquelyn Gómez ’16; Jenny Torres ’15; and Diana García, Zithromax For Sale. Back row, from left: Barbie Solether ’16; Ryan Maupin ’16; Cindy Liljedahl; Ginny Richter; Katelyn Whelan ’16; Lynn Whelan; Patty Peña; and Aaron García ’16.

••••••

The Hidalgo-Starr Chapter of the Texas Exes, which represents alumni of the University of Texas at Austin, Zithromax australia, uk, us, usa, met with key Valley leaders in McAllen on Wednesday, June 5, as part of the organization’s annual meeting, which was hosted at Tony Roma’s Restaurant, 2121 South 10th. In addition to laying out the group’s schedule of activities for the upcoming year, members heard from Federal Judge Ricardo H. Hinojosa of McAllen, interacted with other influential community leaders during the event, and congratulated scholarship recipients from deep South Texas. UT alumni, featured from left, are: Carlos Sánchez, Editor, The Monitor; Honorable Ricardo H. Hinojosa, Judge, United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas; Honorable Gina M. Zithromax For Sale, Benavides, Justice, 13th Court of Appeals; Martha Rivas, Donna High School, Scholarship Recipient; Honorable Dori Contreras Garza, Justice, 13th Court of Appeals; and Rep. Sergio Muñoz, Jr., D-Mission. An estimated 2,000 UT alumni reside in the Valley. More information on the Hidalgo-Starr Chapter of Texas Exes is available by visiting www.Facebook.com/HidalgoStarrExes or by e-mailing texasexes2012@gmail.com.

••••••

More than 80 competitive cooking teams from throughout Texas gathered at the 8th annual Texas Cook 'Em: High Steaks in Edinburg, which also featured entertainment, music and food, on Saturday, July 6.  Highlights of the activities included the Texas Watermelon Association ‘Sweet Spot’, a musical performance by Jack Ingram, and the opportunity for expert cooks to compete for $17, Purchase Zithromax for sale, 000 in prize money. Monte Brown of Trash Can Cookers walked away with the Grand Champion Trophy and Arnie Segovia of Smokin' Lonestar was the Reserve Grand Champion. Leaders of the local chamber expressed appreciation for the volunteers, who gave their time, talents, and skills to help in all areas of the cook-off, Zithromax For Sale. "Year after year we see teams show tremendous amount of passion and dedication for barbeque and competition at this event,” said Letty González, president of the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce. “We haven't cleaned up from this year and we are already thinking about next year.” Major sponsors of this year’s annual event were The City of Edinburg, the Edinburg Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation, Texas Watermelon Association, HEB, Martin Farm & Ranch Supply, The Monitor, Magic Valley Electric Cooperative, L&F Distributors, YourValleyVoice.com, Glazer's, and Texas Gas Services. For more information, call the Edinburg Chamber at 956/383-4974 or log on to www.edinburg.com. Texas Cook 'Em is sanctioned by the International Barbeque Cookers Association (IBCA). Zithromax For Sale, Featured, from left: Dina Araguz, Chairman of the Board, Edinburg Chamber of Commerce; Eddie Tapia, Head Judge, International Barbeque Cookers Association; Clarissa Laura Rodriguez, Miss Edinburg 2013; Arnie Segovia of Smokin' Lonestar, 2013 Reserve Grande Champion; Monte Brown with Trash Can Cookers, Grand Champion; Paulina Elizabeth Rodríguez, Miss Rio Grande Valley 2013; Alex Ríos, Vice Chairman, Edinburg Chamber of Commerce; Ronnie Larralde, Director of Marketing/Special Events, Edinburg Chamber of Commerce; and Jesse López, Jr., Judge, International Barbeque Cookers Association.

••••••

Since 1987, Leadership Edinburg (LE) has produced classes for the community to encourage a better Edinburg and help make a long-term impact. On May 22, the 24th year of Leadership Edinburg was highlighted with the graduation of 17 participants during a ceremony held at the Echo Hotel and Conference Center. Carlos X. Guerra, one of the area's most successful cattle rancher, businessman and community supporters presented the keynote address. Class XXIV completed several events including a two-day leadership retreat and sessions that focused on education, healthcare, history, media, economics and government, Zithromax without prescription. "This has been one of our biggest classes to date, Zithromax For Sale. Class XXIV has really set the bar and is in the final stages of completing their project. This year the class is giving back to the Chamber and purchasing a fully digital marquee. The marquee will allow members, local businesses, organizations and the Chamber to provide promotions and announcements to our community. The new digital sign will allow for messages to be shown 24/7 and will be a great centerpiece for the busy downtown area, "said Letty González, President of the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce. Leadership Edinburg is a program of the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce; it's a growing organization that strives to encourage a better Edinburg through Zithromax For Sale, strong leadership skills focusing on politics, education, and quality of life. For more information on Leadership Edinburg please call the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce at 956-383-4974 or log on to www.edinburg.com. Leadership Edinburg Class XXIV graduates featured are, seated, from left: Adriana Hernández (Doctor's Hospital at Renaissance); Katherine Ann de la Peña and Shea J. Prevost (Doctor's Hospital at Renaissance); Cristina Niño Villarreal (Linebarger Goggan Blair & Sampson); Nicole Sosa (Kids Kollege Learning Center); Kelly Rivera Salazar (Linebarger Goggan Blair & Sampson); and Cindy Esparza Reyna (Elijah Pest Control). Standing, from left: Ronnie Larralde (Edinburg Chamber of Commerce); Lazaro J. Guerra (Doctor's Hospital at Renaissance); Jorge A, Zithromax For Sale. Gutiérrez (University of Texas Pan American); Rubén J. De Jesús (Melden and Hunt, INC.); Jason Chang (South Texas Health Systems: Edinburg Regional Medical Center); Roy Esparza (L&L Logistics); Joe L. Sánchez (Legacy Chapels); and Rolando Bocanegra, Jr. (G Tech Corporation-Texas lottery). Zithromax For Sale, Not pictured are Debbie Pequeño (Linebarger Goggan Blair & Sampson) and Araceli Valencia (Boys & Girls Club of Edinburg RGV).

••••••

As South Texas prepares for Tuesday, July 16 bill-signing ceremony for UTPA/UTB merger, Rep. Canales praises new vision for university

By DAVID A. DÍAZ

A packed house is expected on Tuesday, July 16, in the Student Union Building at the University of Texas-Pan American for a morning bill-signing ceremony, featuring Gov. Zithromax recreational, Rick Perry, along with state legislators, UT System officials, and county and local leaders.

The gathering, which is open to the public, will herald the merger of UT-Pan American with UT-Brownsville, and the creation of a full-fledged UT medical school, which will include a major component of the medical school in Hidalgo County, says Rep, Zithromax For Sale. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg.

Perry will join Gene Powell of San Antonio, formerly of Weslaco and who is Chairman of the UT System Board Regents, Ernest “Ernie” Aliseda of McAllen, a member of the UT System Board of Regents, and Francisco G. Cigarroa, M.D., Chancellor of the UT System, for the event. They will unveil plans for the new university in South Texas. Zithromax For Sale, Perry and UT leaders will make remarks about the significance of a sweeping initiative that will unite UT-Pan American and UT-Brownsville to establish a new university and a new medical school in the Rio Grande Valley, according to a UT System announcement.

The event, which is open to the public, will begin at 9:30 a.m. Since summer classes are ongoing at the Edinburg campus, parking on campus will be scarce, the Edinburg lawmaker noted.

“This is an historic event, and anyone who wishes to be a witness to history should arrive on campus early, because there is limited parking for the general public,” Canales noted. “Have a cab or a friend drop you off at the campus to be sure you can get into the Student Union Building, which could be overflowing because of the magnitude of this tremendous occasion.”

Canales, who was a joint sponsor of Senate Bill 24, by Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, D-McAllen, and Rep, Zithromax For Sale. René Oliveira, Zithromax mg, D-Brownsville, said the new higher education system being created will have profound effects for deep South Texas.

“To say that this new UT university and UT medical school will revolutionize, for the better, our lives in the Valley, is an understatement,” said Canales, whose House District 40 includes UT-Pan American. “Over the next few years, thousands of direct and indirect jobs will be created, academic opportunities will dramatically increase, the delivery of health care will improve, and new generations of physicians, surgeons, and other high-skilled professionals, from all fields of study, will come from, and come to, the Valley.”

Canales said the passage of the new law is the result of the work and contributions of hundreds of individuals from the Valley and statewide.

“This has been a long time coming, but finally, the Valley has arrived. Zithromax For Sale, With the passage of this law, we are about to join the major metropolitan regions in Texas and in America in terms of higher education, economic development, and health care,” Canales said. “Valley legislators worked tirelessly and diligently to make the university and medical school possible. This is a monumental event that will bring prosperity and new opportunities throughout South Texas."

Another major aspect of SB 24 is that the new law gives the UT System the authority to draw much-needed revenue from the Permanent University Fund, which uses money from more than $13 billion in assets to help pay for crucial construction programs throughout the UT System.

Next steps in creating the new university include launching a presidential search and choosing a name, according to a UT System news release. The Board of Regents has not yet taken action on those two important measures.

Sen, Zithromax For Sale. Eddie Lucio, Buy Zithromax no prescription, Jr., D-Brownsville, Sen. Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo, and Sen. Kel Seliger, R-Amarillo, were joint authors of Hinojosa’s SB 24.

In addition to Canales, also serving as joint sponsors for Oliveira on Senate Bill 24 were Rep. Zithromax For Sale, Armando “Mando” Martínez, D-Weslaco, Rep. Sergio Muñoz, Jr., D-Mission, Rep. Dan Branch, R-Dallas, Rep. Eddie Lucio, III, D-San Benito, Rep. Óscar Longoria, Jr., D-La Joya, Rep. R.D, Zithromax For Sale. “Bobby” Guerra, D-McAllen, and Rep. J.M. Lozano, buy Zithromax without prescription, R-Kingsville, were joint sponsors.

• Institution of the 21st century

On Wednesday, July 10, Canales, Hinojosa, Lucio, and Guerra attended the UT System Board of Regents quarterly meeting in Austin. The lawmakers were there to demonstrate their ongoing involvement in working with UT System leaders on the implementation phase of the new university and medical school. Zithromax For Sale, Of particular interest at the regents’ board meeting was the announcement by UT System leaders, who laid out their vision for the new university and medical school.

Pedro Reyes Ph.D., Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs at the UT System, expressed his pride in stated goals for the new Valley institutions.

“The chancellor, the members of the University of Texas System, have worked really hard, along with members of the board, to create a new vision for the university in South Texas. We have provided to you a list of very important principles that would create a totally different entity in South Texas,” said Reyes, a former resident of Pharr.

“One of the most important issues is that we want to make sure this is an institution of the 21st century. What it means is that we will not just be an ordinary institution; we will be an institution that will help, not only the Valley, but also the state of Texas and part of the world,” Reyes told regents and legislators, Zithromax For Sale. “We want to have a global reach and have a premiere program, not only in education, but in research and in health care education.”

• Presidents Nelsen, García noted for their contributions

The UT System chancellor noted the vital roles played by countless supporters of the legislation.

“First of all, we wouldn’t be here without the tremendous work of our legislative delegation, and the entire Texas Legislature, to get this bill passed. Senate Bill 24 really makes this become a reality and no longer a vision, Zithromax canada, mexico, india, ” Cigarroa emphasized. “The second part I would like to make is to reflect upon a meeting where President Nelsen and President García were with us, trying to assemble what this vision might look like.”

Robert S. Zithromax For Sale, Nelsen, Ph.D., is president of the University of Texas-Pan American. Juliet García, Ph.D., is president of the University of Texas-Brownsville.

“I remember Juliet and Robert making the statements as to how important it was to having relevance to the region. By having relevance to the region, we are going to have a global impact,” Cigarroa continued. “Also, how important it was to instill into the DNA of this new university a sense of being bilingual, biliterate, bicultural, and really utilizing Latin America as an opportunity to really expand the outreach of this university.”

Cigarroa, a surgeon by profession, added, “I want to thank Robert and Juliet for their vision in helping us communicate to our regents what we feel is important, that allows you, Mr. Chairman, and our other regents, to set these guiding principles for us to follow.”

In 2009, Cigarroa became the first Hispanic to be named chancellor of The University of Texas System, Zithromax For Sale. As chancellor, he oversees one of the largest public systems of higher education in the nation, which consists of nine universities and six health institutions. He is also vice chairman for policy on the Board of Directors of The University of Texas Investment Management Company.

• Regent Stillwell: “Realistic and concrete vision”

Regent Robert L. Stillwell of Houston expressed deep satisfaction with the recent history and positive future for the new university system and medical school for the Valley,

“When I first saw them, I was thinking it was going to be a lot of Mom and Apple pie and not as much brick and mortar and substance. Zithromax For Sale, I am pleased to see how concrete and visionary and substantive these principles are,” Stillwell said. “I congratulate the thought that went into it from the legislative delegation, from the system’s implementation team, the chancellor, where can i cheapest Zithromax online. They represent a realistic and concrete vision.”

The University of Texas System Board of Regents on Wednesday, July 10, approved goals and guiding principles for the new university and medical school to be established in the Rio Grande Valley.

The new university will combine the resources of UT Pan American and UT Brownsville and, unlike those institutions, will be eligible for participation in the Permanent University Fund. It will automatically be the second-largest Hispanic-serving institution in the nation and promises to transform education, opportunity and the economy of South Texas.

Regents have pledged to build a world-class university and pursue global excellence in teaching, research and healthcare, Zithromax For Sale.

“These guiding principles are the foundation on which this new university will be built,” Board Chairman Gene Powell said at the July 10 Board of Regents’ meeting. “If we are truly to transform South Texas and build a state-of-the-art university in the Rio Grande Valley, we have to think globally and that is exactly what we are doing.”

• Increase affordability and maximize student success

The guiding principles serve as a sort of constitution, establishing fundamental precedents for the formation of the new university. They are:

• Fully integrate next generation technology and customized learning to increase affordability and maximize student success;

• Promote access to postsecondary education to a diverse student body to become one of the largest and most successful Hispanic-serving institutions in the USA.;

• Employ the highest quality faculty members and staff who pursue global excellence in teaching, research, healthcare and service;

• Streamline academic and administrative programs and re-design processes to increase productivity and promote a student- and service-centered mode of operation;

• Promote arts and humanities programs to produce state, national and world leaders who are bicultural, bilingual, and biliterate;

• Develop programmatic strength in the areas of science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and health;

• Develop a Medical School of the first class, with outstanding undergraduate and graduate medical education, public health, health professional degrees and clinical research, to improve the health of the community;

• Become a global leader in higher education, health education, bio-medical research, Order Zithromax from mexican pharmacy, emerging technology and preparing students to be lifelong learners;

• Pursue applied and translational research to address critical local, state, national, and global needs;

• Build on the excellent economic activity and strength of the State of Texas and benefit from the State’s leadership in the world;

• Provide a leadership role in fostering economic and community partnerships to help solve local, state, national, and global problems;

• Promote innovation and knowledge discovery with business and industry that will lead to job growth and improvements in the quality of the region’s workforce;

• Build a hub for inventions and intellectual property that will lead to economic and community prosperity and an improved quality of life for the region, the State, the nation and our world;

• Serve as a “Gateway to the Americas” by cultivating partnerships with global leaders in education, health, research and other strategic, high-growth industries; and

• Leverage the size, strength, and excellence of the University of Texas System and its 15 institutions to shorten the time it takes to achieve these goals.

•••••

In anticipation of new university and medical school, City Council, Edinburg EDC bolstering presence before UT System Board of Regents

By DAVID A. DÍAZ Zithromax For Sale, Strengthened by a landmark state legislative session that featured the planned merger of the Valley’s two major universities and the creation of a University of Texas medical school in Edinburg, local leaders are not content to rest on their achievements.

On Wednesday, July 10, a delegation of elected leaders, spearheaded by Mayor Richard H. García and Agustín “Gus” García, Executive Director for the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation, attended the quarterly meeting in Austin of the UT System Board of Regents.

High on Edinburg’s agenda was to show their support for UT System Regent Ernest “Ernie” Aliseda of McAllen, a South Texas attorney, former Hidalgo County district court judge, and former Edinburg resident who is making his first session as a member of that powerful governing board.

In addition, the Board of Regents and top UT System officials discussed and took appropriate action regarding proposed guiding principles for the new, comprehensive university for deep South Texas that will be created as the result of Senate Bill 24 – legislation that was supported by Edinburg, where can i order Zithromax without prescription.

SB 24 will unite UT-Pan American and UT-Brownsville into one major system, complete with a long sought-after dream: a UT medical school for deep South Texas, Zithromax For Sale.

Plus, the Edinburg city delegation’s journey to the capital city days before Gov. Rick Perry, along with state, regional, city, and university leaders, on Tuesday, July 16, were scheduled to participate in a ceremonial bill-signing of SB 24, authored by Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, D-McAllen, and sponsored by Rep. René Oliveira, D-Brownsville. Zithromax For Sale, Sen. Eddie Lucio, Jr., D-Brownsville, Sen. Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo, and Sen. Kel Seliger, R-Amarillo, were joint authors of Hinojosa’s SB 24.

Oliveira was the lead sponsor of Hinojosa’s SB 24, while Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg, Rep, Zithromax For Sale. Armando “Mando” Martínez, Real brand Zithromax online, D-Weslaco, Rep. Sergio Muñoz, Jr., D-Mission, Rep. Dan Branch, R-Dallas, Rep. Eddie Lucio, III, D-San Benito, Rep. Zithromax For Sale, Oscar Longoria, Jr., D-La Joya, Rep. R.D. “Bobby” Guerra, D-McAllen, and Rep. J.M. Lozano, R-Kingsville, were joint sponsors.

UTPA President Robert Nelsen was scheduled to host the governor for the public gathering at the UT-Pan American Student Union Theater on Tuesday, July 16 at 9:30 a.m, Zithromax For Sale. for remarks by Perry and a ceremonial signing of the legislation, followed by a brief reception at 10:30 a.m.

The mayor, along with the city council and EEDC Board of Directors, have a long, successful history of lobbying for the community and UTPA before the Texas Legislature.

Mayor García says he and his colleagues on the city council and EEDC Board of Directors are ready to remain a visible force for good before the UT System Board of Regents. Months of hard work by the UT System regents and top UT System leaders are at hand, with the goals of creating the new university system and medical school as directed by the Texas Legislature. Zithromax For Sale, “This whole thing began because we were in their ear,” Mayor García reflected on the efforts, over the past year-and-a-half, that led to the filing and passage of SB 24. “We need to continue that movement to be sure they address our needs down here.”

The mayor, order Zithromax online c.o.d, who during the spring helped rally local and county-wide support to bring the first two years of the four-year UT medical school complex to Hidalgo County, is determined to see South Texas get its fair share of the UT System’s impressive resources.

“In the past, we have been shortchanged,” Mayor García recalled. “But now, we are finally at the table, and we need to stay there. That’s what this is all about.”

Gus García (no relation to the mayor), is the point man for the city’s elected and appointed leadership.  A former Edinburg Mayor Pro Tem, Gus García knows what it takes to work with the titans of industry, politics, and education to benefit Edinburg and South Texas.

“The mayor, city council, and EEDC Board of Directors always have been effectively involved in shaping major state laws and policies that benefit and protect our community,” Gus García observed, Zithromax For Sale. “With the help of our outstanding Rio Grande Valley state legislative delegation, and with the Valley now guaranteed at least one area resident on the UT System Board of Regents, we are in a very good position to help this new UT university system and UT medical school forever change Edinburg and South Texas for the better.”

Francisco Cigarroa, M.D., Chancellor of the University of Texas System, also credits state, regional and local leaders for their crucial roles in the merger and medical school legislation.

“With profound gratitude to everyone, including elected officials, students, parents, faculty, staff, alumni and business and community leaders, your collective voices were instrumental in this important leap forward for South Texas and all of Texas,” Cigarroa stated in his recent announcement of the July 16 ceremony. Zithromax street price, “The new UT and its medical school will transform Texas and the nation by becoming a global leader in student success, teaching, research and healthcare. It will be affordable, accessible and innovative.”

As for the July 10 meeting of the UT System Board of Regents, that governing board gathered on the ninth floor of Ashbell Smith Hall, 201 W. 7th Zithromax For Sale, Street. The event, with the exception of allowable executive session items, was open to the public.

The public portions of all regent meetings are available online.

For the July 10 session, the full agenda packet, plus the archived video broadcasts of the event, are available by logging on to:

www.utsystem.edu/board-of-regents/meetings/board-meeting-2013-07-10

••••••

Edinburg lands UT medical school “on monumental day” in blockbuster legislation merging UT-Pan American with UT-Brownsville, says Rep. Canales

By DAVID A. DÍAZ

The Texas Legislature on Thursday, May 23, gave final approval of blockbuster legislation that merges The University of Texas-Pan American with the University of Texas-Brownsville – and will bring a UT medical school to Edinburg, Zithromax For Sale.

Gov. Rick Perry on Friday, June 14, signed the bill into law. The measure went into effect immediately.

"The creation of this new university in South Texas is an historic moment for the future students who will fill the classrooms, proudly call this university their alma mater, and create a brighter future for themselves and their families. Zithromax For Sale, And through the creation of the new medical school, we continue our uncompromising commitment to improving access to care and keeping our growing population healthy,” Perry said.

The landmark measure, Senate Bill 24 by Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, D-McAllen, and Rep. René Oliveira, buy Zithromax without a prescription, D-Brownsville, will have immediate, long-range, and unprecedented positive impact on the economy, health care, and higher education in deep South Texas, said Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg.

“On this monumental day, the Rio Grande Valley has forever changed the way people will look at us in more ways than one, Zithromax For Sale. Some people believe that a ‘Friday Night Football Mentality’ dooms our South Texas communities. This is slander,” Canales reflected. “When the stakes are highest, as it was with this incredibly important issue, we always remain united.”

Sen. Eddie Lucio, Jr., D-Brownsville, Sen. Zithromax For Sale, Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo, and Sen. Kel Seliger, R-Amarillo, were joint authors of Hinojosa’s SB 24.

Oliveira was the lead sponsor of Hinojosa’s SB 24, while Canales, Rep. Armando “Mando” Martínez, D-Weslaco, Rep. Sergio Muñoz, Effects of Zithromax, Jr., D-Mission, Rep. Dan Branch, R-Dallas, Rep, Zithromax For Sale. Eddie Lucio, III, D-San Benito, Rep. Oscar Longoria, Jr., D-La Joya, Rep. R.D. “Bobby” Guerra, D-McAllen, and Rep. Zithromax For Sale, J.M. Lozano, R-Kingsville, were joint sponsors.

For Edinburg, much of which is included in Canales’ House District 40, the legislation will require the UT System regents to build a campus near UT-Pan American that will provide the first two years of medical students’ education. The third and fourth years of the medical school education will take place in Harlingen, where a UT Regional Academic Health Center is located.

“This legislation is huge for UT-Pan American and the UT medical school because it will allow, for the first time, access to money from the Permanent University Fund to help pay for major construction projects at UTPA, UT-Brownsville, and the medical school, which will have campuses in Hidalgo, Cameron and Starr counties,” Canales said, buy Zithromax from canada. “Plus, you cannot put a price tag on the prestige of a UT medical school coming to Edinburg and the Valley.”

According to the UT System, the Permanent University Fund (PUF) is a public endowment contributing to the support of institutions of The University of Texas System and the Texas A&M University System (A&M System), Zithromax For Sale.

On December 31, 2012 the market value and book value of the PUF was $13.9 billion and $11.9 billion, respectively, exclusive of land acreage. Today the PUF contains 2.1 million acres located in 24 counties primarily in West Texas.

The legislation authorizes the UT System Board of Regents to create a new university from the merger of UTPA and UT-B, and bring the planned UT medical school under the control of the new university. The name and other major administrative details of the new university and medical school will be decided at a later date by the regents. Zithromax For Sale, SB 24 was amended in the final days of the legislative session to reflect a negotiated plan reached by the Valley delegation that specifies the medical school educational programs for first-year and second-year programs shall be primarily located in Hidalgo County and the educational programs for third-year and fourth-year students shall be primarily located in Cameron County, said Hinojosa.

“Although there were contentious issues, it was no different than other legislation that is complicated with various moving parts. Negotiating – the "give and take" – is part of the process when various stakeholders are involved.,” Hinojosa explained.  “In the end, we all came together on an agreement that takes a regional approach and maximizes the RAHC, UT-Brownsville in Cameron County, and UT-Pan American in Hidalgo County to the benefit of not only South Texas, but the whole state of Texas.”

Also, offices overseeing undergraduate medical education should be located in Hidalgo County, and offices overseeing the graduates’ residency programs should be located in Cameron County.  Finally, the language ensures that educational programs for all medical students will take full advantage of the existing educational facilities at UT-Pan American, UT-Brownsville and the Lower Rio Grande Valley Regional Academic Health Center.

According to the bill analysis of the SB 24:

• Creation of a new university:

The new university would be a general academic teaching institution under the governance of the Board of Regents of the University of Texas System. The UT System Board of Regents will name the new university, Zithromax For Sale.

The university would include:

• An academic campus in Cameron County;

• An academic campus in Hidalgo County;

• An academic center in Starr County;

• The facilities currently operated by the Lower Rio Grande Valley Regional Academic Health Center (RAHC); and

• The medical school and other programs authorized for a University of Texas Health Science Center-South Texas by Senate Bill 98 by Sen. Eddie Lucio, Jr., D-Brownsville (81st Legislature, regular session).

The UT System Board of Regents shall equitably allocate the primary facilities and operations of the university among Cameron, Hidalgo, Zithromax price, and Starr counties. The new medical school’s medical and research programs shall have a substantial presence in Hidalgo and Cameron counties. Zithromax For Sale, The new university will award bachelor’s, master’s, doctoral, and medical degrees. The university will not be allowed to create a department, school, or degree program without the prior approval of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board except for those previously approved for UT-Pan American or UT-Brownsville or authorized by law.

• Abolishing UT-Pan American and UT-Brownsville:

SB 24 will abolish the University of Texas-Pan American and the University of Texas at Brownsville. The UT System Board of Regents would determine the actual date to abolish the schools and would establish procedures to wind up each institution’s remaining business.

The new university shall hire as many of the faculty and staff of the abolished schools as was practical. A student already admitted to or enrolled in one of the abolished schools would be entitled to admission to the new university, Zithromax For Sale.

• Participation in the PUF:

SB 24 allows the new university to receive funding from the Permanent University Fund.

• Medical school advisory group:

SB 24 shall create a temporary medical school advisory group that would assist the UT System Board of Regents in designing and establishing the new university’s medical school. The advisory group will help with site selection, design, and development of the medical school and would solicit input from stakeholder groups. The UT System Board of Regents will select the advisory group members. Zithromax For Sale, The group will be dissolved once it reported findings to the UT System Board of Regents

and the regents determine the purposes of the group had been achieved.

• Center for Border Economic and Enterprise Development:

SB 24 allows the new university to run a Center for Border Economic and Enterprise Development to:

• Develop an economic database concerning the Texas-Mexico border;

• Perform economic development planning and research;

• Provide technical assistance to industrial and governmental entities and groups; and

• Help coordinate economic and enterprise development planning activities of state agencies to ensure that the needs of the border region were part of a comprehensive state economic development plan.

The center will cooperate fully with similar programs at Texas A&M International University, the University of Texas at El Paso, and other academic institutions.

Texas Academy of Mathematics and Science:

SB 24 allows the new university to run a math- and science-focused high school. The academy will provide gifted juniors and seniors a university-level curriculum for college credit. The academy will also offer the necessary courses for the students to graduate under the advanced high school

program, Zithromax For Sale. Regular class sizes will be limited to a 30-to-1 student-teacher ratio. The ratio could be higher in limited cases, such as if a class were combined with a university class of more than 30 students.

The funding a Texas school district receives from the Texas Education Agency (TEA) will be reduced to account for students attending the academy instead of its own high schools. TEA would distribute these funds to the academy to support the education of those students. Zithromax For Sale, Except for the funding mentioned above, the academy would not be subject to oversight by the TEA or the provisions of the Education Code.

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Sen. Hinojosa rated one of 10 best legislators by Texas Monthly as governor signs into law Hinojosa’s landmark legislation that creates new Valley UT university and medical school

By DAVID A. DÍAZ

For the third time in his legislative career, Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, D-McAllen, ordering Zithromax online, has been named as one of the 10 best legislators, based on the recently-concluded five-month regular session of the Texas Legislature, by Texas Monthly magazine.

Hinojosa, who has represented District 20 since 2002 – and was state representative for the McAllen/Edinburg/Mission area from 1981 to 1991 and from 1997 to 2002 – acknowledged the prestigious recognition in an e-mail to supporters on Monday, June 17, Zithromax For Sale.

“Last week I was honored to receive Texas Monthly's Top 10 Best Legislators for the 2013 Legislative Session,” the McAllen attorney stated. “I thank Texas Monthly for the tremendous distinction. I am proud of what we accomplished for South Texas and the entire state.”

The magazine, whose assessment is entitled The Best and Worst Legislators 2013, has a paid circulation that approaches 300,000 editions a month, a figure estimated to represent more than 2.5 million people, not including its online audience.

Hinojosa’s selection was heavily influenced by his role and successes in passing Senate Bill 24, landmark legislation that he authored, which will merge the University of Texas-Pan American with UT-Brownsville, bring a full-fledged UT medical school into that new system, and provide the new university and medical school with access to the Permanent University Fund. Zithromax For Sale, Gov. Rick Perry signed SB 24 into law on Saturday, June 15, at the Texas Capitol.

SB 24 also was the top priority for the Edinburg City Council and the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation, which consistently lobbies the Texas Legislature and major state agencies for laws and policies that promote its constituency.

The EEDC, led by Mayor Richard Garcia as President of its five-member Board of Directors, is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg City Council.

Paul Burka, senior executive editor for Texas Monthly, along with other magazine journalists, compiled and wroteThe Best and Worst Legislators 2013.

Texas Monthly credited the South Texas lawmaker for pulling off the UTPA/UTB merger and related UT medical school legislation in citing his effectiveness, Zithromax For Sale. Online buy Zithromax without a prescription, “Hinojosa closed the deal. He has long made a virtue of compromise, and although his own party has occasionally been frustrated that he doesn’t fight harder, the result is that the other party trusts him,” the magazine article noted. “Indeed, few bills passed during the Eighty-third Legislature will have such a profound long-term impact on any region in the state. Hinojosa’s bill also merges UT–Pan American and UT-Brownsville into a new regional ‘super-university,’ which will enable the institution to access the $13.9 billion Permanent University Fund.”

Hinojosa has consistently and publicly shared credit for the passage of SB 24 with his colleagues in the Senate and the House of Representatives. Zithromax For Sale, Senate Bill 24 included Sen. Eddie Lucio, Jr., D-Brownsville, Sen. Judith Zafirrini, and Sen. Kel Seliger, R-Amarillo, as joint authors. In the House, Rep. René Oliveira, D-Brownsville, was the lead House sponsor, Zithromax For Sale.

Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg, Rep. R.D. “Bobby” Guerra, D-McAllen, Rep. Zithromax For Sale, Oscar Longoria, Jr., D-La Joya, Rep. Eddie Lucio, III, D-San Benito, buy Zithromax online cod, and Rep. Sergio Muñoz, Jr., D-Mission, were joint House sponsors of SB 24.

Burka, in his online website, Burkablog, explained the history and workings of the magazine’s legislative ratings:

“Forty years have passed since the first time Texas Monthly chose the Ten Best and the Ten Worst legislators. In the introduction to the first list, published in July 1973, we wrote, ‘The ancient Greeks believed that politics was the act of organizing and governing human society for the greatest good, and considered it to be among the highest callings of man.’ What was true then remains true today. Politics can inform our noblest impulses--and our basest, Zithromax For Sale. Our legislators, then and now, may not pass for ancient Greeks, but they deserve better than the cynics who automatically write off politics as a joke and politicians as charlatans.”

Burka continued:

“If there is a single idea that informs our choices of the Best and Worst legislators, it is that the business of governing Texas is a personal business, and that the influence of personality has more to do with success or failure in politics than party or ideology. In this session, as with the 63rd (in 1973), our team of reporters was present from day one until adjournment sine die. We were on the floor, in committees, and in the hallways and back rooms, talking with members, staffers, lobbyists, Zithromax description, and other journalists. Readers will no doubt find things to criticize in this list – after all, that's what lists are for – but it is the result of that work and of the opinions and input of key voices in and around the Capitol.”

The benefits of SB 24 for UTPA, UT-Brownsville, and the planned UT medical school in the Valley are considerable, said Canales. Zithromax For Sale, “This legislation is huge for UT-Pan American and the UT medical school because it will allow, for the first time, access to money from the Permanent University Fund to help pay for major construction projects at UTPA, UT-Brownsville, and the planned UT medical school, which will have campuses in Hidalgo, Cameron and Starr counties,” Canales said. “Plus, the prestige of a UT medical school coming to Edinburg, Hidalgo County, and the Valley is invaluable.”

By making the new university and medical school eligible for support from the Permanent University Fund (PUF), there would be less dependence on state general revenue. The PUF is an endowment fund that supports certain universities in the University of Texas and Texas A&M University systems through investments made with state oil and gas royalties.

Moving support for the university to the PUF from the general revenue-funded Higher Education Fund (HEF) would free tens of millions dollars for other HEF-supported institutions.

On December 31, 2012 the market value and book value of the PUF was $13.9 billion and $11.9 billion, respectively, exclusive of land acreage. Today the PUF contains 2.1 million acres located in 24 counties primarily in West Texas, Zithromax For Sale.

The new university’s increased size and budget would bring it closer to emerging research university status, eventually allowing it to compete for additional UT system and state matching funds. The university initially would have about 28,000 students, research expenditures of more than $11 million, and an endowment of $70.5 million.

Hinojosa released the text of the Texas Monthly rating that featured him, which follows:

“Very historic,” David Dewhurst told Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa after the Senate granted final passage of a measure by the veteran lawmaker to create the University of Texas Health Science Center–South Texas, in the Rio Grande Valley. Indeed, few bills passed during the Eighty-third Legislature will have such a profound long-term impact on any region in the state. Zithromax For Sale, Hinojosa’s bill also merges UT–Pan American and UT-Brownsville into a new regional “super-university,” which will enable the institution to access the $13.9 billion Permanent University Fund.

“Plans to build a medical school in the Valley had been under way since the nineties, and frustration over the years of delay had been mounting, buy generic Zithromax, particularly after the UT Regents signed off on a plan, in early 2012, to build the state’s next med school, at UT-Austin.

“Hinojosa closed the deal. He has long made a virtue of compromise, and although his own party has occasionally been frustrated that he doesn’t fight harder, the result is that the other party trusts him. That’s why he was called in for late-night negotiations as the Senate’s budget chiefs battled to keep this year’s deal from falling apart.

“That same talent for finding a middle ground served the Valley well when it came to the medical school, Zithromax For Sale. Rather than let a blue-ribbon panel hem and haw for months over where to locate the school, Hinojosa offered an amendment to place the first two years of medical education in Hidalgo County and the third and fourth years forty miles away in Cameron County. With help from Democratic representative Eddie Lucio III, Hinojosa was able to sell the Valley delegation this regional approach.

“But Hinojosa didn’t stop there. The mild-mannered former Marine quietly passed a slate of other bills, including one that expands the Texas Forensic Science Commission (which he created in 2005) and another that will collect fees from cigarette manufacturers who were not party to the state’s 1998 tobacco settlement. Zithromax For Sale, He also filed a bill to legalize civil unions, but that died in committee. Consider that his first challenge for 2015.”

Hinojosa was joined on the 10 Best list by Rep. Jimmie Don Aycock (R-Killeen); Sen. Wendy Davis (D-Fort Worth); Sen. Robert Duncan (R-Lubbock); Rep. Charlie Geren (R-Fort Worth); Rep, Zithromax For Sale. Trey Martinez Fischer (D- San Antonio); Rep. Jim Pitts (R-Waxahachie); Speaker Joe Straus (R-San Antonio); Sen. Leticia Van de Putte (D-San Antonio); and Sen. Tommy Wiliams (R-The Woodlands).

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Zithromax For Sale, HOLT CAT, major dealer of famous Caterpillar heavy equipment, breaks ground on state-of-the-art $7 million sales/service facility in north Edinburg

By DAVID A. DÍAZ

HOLT CAT, a major dealer of famous Caterpillar heavy equipment, broke ground on Tuesday, June 25, in north Edinburg for its $7 million, Kjøpe Zithromax på nett, köpa Zithromax online, 38,476-square-foot, full-service facility, which will provide sales, service, parts and rentals to customers in South Texas and the Rio Grande Valley.

The new complex, which will include renovation of some existing buildings at the site, will reach almost 50,000-square-feet in size once it opens for business next spring. Company officials reported that the Edinburg store will be one of its five largest among its more than three dozen stores statewide.

In anticipation of continued growth and new construction in the Valley, an existing HOLT CAT facility in Edinburg and in Weslaco will remain open.

The new store location will be the anchor facility for the area and is expected to open in the second quarter of 2014, according to company officials, Zithromax For Sale. Once this store comes online, HOLT CAT anticipates adding up to 25 employees to the total Rio Grande Valley count, which currently totals 71.

HOLT CAT plans to have a workforce of 60 skilled employees at its new facility with hourly wages of up to $29 per hour plus benefits.

HOLT CAT sells, rents and services Caterpillar machines, engines and generator sets in a 118-county Texas territory spanning from the Red River to the Rio Grande River. HOLT CAT also offers total machine and engine rebuild capabilities, sells used equipment around the world, and fabricates its own line of land-clearing equipment and HOLT Spray King water tankers. Zithromax For Sale, Peter M. Holt, the Chief Executive Officer for San Antonio-based HOLT CAT, led the high-profile delegation of company officials during the mid-morning celebration.

They were welcomed by elected officials and leaders for key local and regional groups, including the Edinburg City Council, the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation, the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce, and the Rio Grande Valley Partnership, Zithromax pictures.

The Edinburg Economic Development Corporation is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg City Council.

Holt, who is recognized by Valley sports fans as the owner of the San Antonio Spurs, told the gathering that his firm has closely followed – and long been part of – positive business and economic trends in Edinburg and the Rio Grande Valley.

“We are excited, Zithromax For Sale. When we see what is going on in the Valley, especially in the past 20 years. It is just phenomenal,” Holt said. “We are glad to be part of that.”

Holt emphasized the company purchased a large site because of confidence in their product and services, combined with the future economic vitality of the city and region.

“We bought this much acreage on purpose because we think we are going to be able to expand this facility over the next decade or so,” he predicted. Zithromax For Sale, Mayor Pro Tem Elías Longoria, Jr. noted HOLT CAT’s longtime presence in deep South Texas, and the fact that the complex is located immediately off U.S. Highway 281, which is being transformed into Interstate Highway 69.

“This U.S. 281 corridor has more than 100,000 cars traveling on it every day. It is going to be an ideal situation for the city and HOLT CAT,” Longoria told company leaders, Zithromax For Sale. “You already have a (truck repair) store in Edinburg, and your first store in the Valley is in Weslaco, which was opened in 1938. This is the kind of trust and faith that shows the Valley is the place to be.”

HOLT CAT’s established presence in Hidalgo County features its Holt Truck Center in Edinburg, which is a truck and RV center for South Texas. HOLT CAT in Weslaco sells, services and rents heavy equipment for construction, earth moving, mining, industrial and petroleum industries. Is Zithromax addictive, Councilmember J.R. Zithromax For Sale, Betancourt said the HOLT CAT facility fits well with the Edinburg City Council’s plans to continue bringing prosperity and employment to all parts of the community.

“It is very important for our city to see this type of growth, especially north of town, where we have our industrial parks,” Betancourt said. “It also shows that in the Valley, we need this type of machinery and services to build the roadways and sites that comes with growth. I am sure HOLT CAT officials did their homework to justify their expansion plans. Edinburg is growing. We are the only city in the region that is not landlocked, Zithromax For Sale. We have the area to grow. Businesses see it.”

Agustín “Gus” García, Executive Director for the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation, said the new facility serves as further independent evidence of the economic vitality of Edinburg.

“They recognize the fact that Edinburg is going north, and with the Valley, there are going to be growing needs for infrastructure, new buildings, new commercial plazas,” García illustrated. “There is going to be a need for this type of sophisticated, heavy equipment. Zithromax For Sale, HOLT CAT wanted to be at the center of growth, and Edinburg is in the center of all the construction and all the growth in the Valley. That was a big factor in them expanding here.”

Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg, whose House District 40 includes the planned  HOLT  CAT dealership, praised local efforts that continue to bring major employers to his legislative district.

“We saw first-hand in the Texas Legislature the roles played by the Edinburg City Council and EEDC in helping me and other key lawmakers bring a University of Texas medical school to our area,” said Canales, who was a joint sponsor of landmark legislation that will provide a campus for the first two years of medical education in Hidalgo County. “I never cease to be amazed by the tremendous talent, determination, Zithromax coupon, and vision that are hallmarks of these and other influential leaders in my legislative district.”

(The Edinburg Economic Development Corporation is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg City Council. It’s five-member governing board, which is appointed by the Edinburg City Council, includes Mayor Richard García as President, Fred Palacios as Secretary-Treasurer, and Felipe García, Jaime A, Zithromax For Sale. Rodríguez, and Dr. Havidán Rodríguez. For more information on the EEDC and the City of Edinburg, please log on to: www.EdbgCityLimits.com.)

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Mayor Pro Tem Agustín “Gus” García, Jr. resigns from Edinburg City Council to accept key leadership position as Executive Director for Edinburg Economic Development Corporation

By DAVID A. DÍAZ Zithromax For Sale, Mayor Pro Tem Agustín “Gus” García, Jr., on Tuesday, May 28, submitted his letter of resignation from the city council in order to accept an appointment as Executive Director for the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation.

The EEDC is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg City Council.

Garcia’s decision comes after he was reelected on Saturday, May 11 to a third term on the Edinburg City Council.  The term is for four years.

García was unanimously selected as EEDC Executive Director by the five-member EEDC Board of Directors, which includes Mayor Richard H. García (no relation to “Gus” García) as president of the EEDC governing board.

“Gus” García will begin his duties as EEDC Executive Director on June 3, Zithromax For Sale.

Nelda T. Ramírez, a 13-year-veteran with the EEDC who has served as Executive Director since December 2011, will remain on the EEDC staff as Assistant Executive Director.

Since the creation of the EEDC in the early 1990s, the role of EEDC Executive Director has been one of prestige and influence, as well as administrative authority.

Among its many duties, the EEDC is responsible for collecting and administrating a one-half economic development sales tax that is generated from eligible retail purchases within the city limits. Zithromax For Sale, The EEDC is designed to play a key role in assisting companies to expand, while helping to attract new business and industry to Edinburg.

Several days later, the Edinburg City Council met and formally accepted the resignation – a formality – Mayor García explained, setting into motion the steps needed to replace “Gus” García on the city council.

“He submitted his letter of resignation from the City Council on Tuesday, May 28. The law requires us to hold a special election within 120 days to fill the vacancy, Is Zithromax safe, ” the mayor said.

• “Gus” García’s experiences, credentials positive factors

In the meantime, Mayor García praised the achievements and credentials of “Gus” García and Ramírez.

“This is his background as a developer, Zithromax For Sale. He has that type of experience, and he has always expressed an interest, going back a year and maybe longer,” the mayor explained. “We are growing by leaps and bounds. We need to be more proactive, which includes travel. We have more businesses interested in coming to our city. Zithromax For Sale, They have their business locations throughout the United States. We need to add staff to handle all of that. He is in a position to do that.”

“Gus” García’s business, economic development, and public policy experiences, plus his willingness to travel extensively on behalf of the EEDC and the city, were among his many assets, the mayor noted.

“We had discussions about finding someone who could travel. We have reached the point. The discussions are that we can’t do without a new person, and we can’t do without Nelda, either, Zithromax For Sale. She packages a great deal and does a great job for us,” Mayor García said. “But we need to have one person in charge. We even spoke about having two people. We can’t have two executive directors.”

The result was bringing “Gus” García on as Executive Director and keeping Ramírez, with her valuable skills and experiences, on the EEDC team, the mayor said. Zithromax For Sale, “That is how we came to this agreement and conclusion. I think everyone is happy with it, and agreeable with it, Zithromax alternatives. He will have the time to deal with it. It’s a fulltime job for him,” Mayor García added. “He will be compensated accordingly. There is not going to be much difference in compensation between him and Nelda because we are not taking any money away from Nelda to pay Gus.”

Agustín “Gus” García, Jr. was first elected into office on May 13, 2006, Zithromax For Sale.

A native of Edinburg, he graduated from Edinburg High School in 1990 and obtained a Bachelors in Business Administration from the University of Texas-Pan American. He has owned and operated several health care businesses.

He also has more than 9 ½ years of experience in commercial, residential and retail development in the Rio Grande Valley. Most recently, he served as Director of Business Development and Sales for Valley Baptist Health Systems. Zithromax For Sale, “Gus” García has been an active member of the business community for years and dedicates his time to enhancing the economic development of South Texas. He is married to Tonya Bailey García of Ennis, Texas and they have four children, Soledad Alexis, Halley Loren, Agustín G. García III, and Pilar Neréa.

• Mayor: “Nelda has been a great, great asset to us.”

As for Ramírez, the mayor expressed deep satisfaction with her performances on the job.

“Nelda has been a great, great asset to us. We had her doing both the Assistant Executive Director and the Executive Director’s job, Zithromax For Sale. In order to compensate her adequately, we had made her Director,” Mayor García recalled the dual roles performed by Ramírez in her leadership roles for the EEDC.

Ramírez had served as Interim Executive Director for the EEDC since August 3, 2011 following the departure of Executive Director Pedro Salazar, who left for a position with Lone Star National Bank in McAllen. Taking Zithromax, Prior to the August 3, 2011 appointment as Interim Executive Director, Ramírez had held key positions with the EEDC, including serving as Assistant Executive Director for about seven years, and Business Manager for the previous four years.

Ramiro Garza, Jr., who currently serves as Edinburg City Manager, was EEDC Executive Director for much of Ramírez’ ongoing service on the EEDC staff. Zithromax For Sale, Prior to coming to the EEDC, she worked for nine years with the Law Office of James (Jim) Darling, while he was the City Attorney for the City of McAllen. Darling was sworn into office as McAllen mayor on Tuesday, May 28.

Other services provided by the EEDC include, but are not limited to:

• Site selection assistance;

• Real estate database of properties and buildings;

• Business seminars;

• Job training assistance;

• Data Information Center;

• Coordination of state and local assistance; and

• Access to business start-up resources.

In addition, the EEDC can arrange custom tours, schedule meetings with community leaders, arrange introductions to necessary business contacts, and serve as an advocate with state and local governmental entities.

(The Edinburg Economic Development Corporation is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg City Council. It’s five-member governing board, which is appointed by the Edinburg City Council, includes Mayor Richard García as President, Fred Palacios as Secretary-Treasurer, and Felipe García, Jaime A, Zithromax For Sale. Rodríguez, and Dr. Havidán Rodríguez. For more information on the EEDC and the City of Edinburg, please log on to: www.EdbgCityLimits.com.)

••••••

A record 11.2 million Latinos voted in 2012 presidential election, but Hispanic turnout rate still significantly behind other U.S. groups

By RUSS OATES

A record 11.2 million Latinos voted in the 2012 presidential election, but Latinos' voter turnout rate continues to lag other groups significantly, according to an analysis of new Census Bureau data by the Pew Research Center. Zithromax For Sale, Overall, 48% of Hispanic eligible voters turned out to vote in 2012, down from 49.9% in 2008.

By comparison, the 2012 voter turnout rate among black non-Hispanics was 66.6% and among white non-Hispanics was 64.1%, both significantly higher than the turnout rate among Hispanics.

Rapid growth of the nation's Latino population has fueled quick growth in the number of Latinos eligible to vote (U.S. citizen adults). Between 2008 and 2012, the number of Latino eligible voters grew from 19.5 million to 23.3 million---- an increase of 19%. By contrast, the number of Latino voters increased by 15% over 2008, Zithromax For Sale. With the number of Latino voters growing more slowly than the number of Latino eligible voters, the Latino voter turnout rate declined between 2008 and 2012, despite a record turnout.

The Pew Research analysis also finds that the Hispanic voter turnout rate declined for nearly all major Hispanic demographic subgroups with the exception of three in 2012.

The voter turnout rate of naturalized Hispanic immigrants who arrived in the 1990s increased from 41.2% in 2008 to 47.2% in 2012. Among Hispanics ages 65 and older, the voter turnout rate increased from 56% in 2008 to 59.9% in 2012. Zithromax For Sale, And among Hispanic origin groups, the voter turnout rate of Puerto Ricans increased from 49.7% in 2008 to 52.8% in 2012.

Voter turnout rates differed widely among Latino demographic subgroups in 2012. The highest voter turnout rates were among those with a college degree (70.8%) and among Cuban-origin Latinos (67.2%). Meanwhile, the lowest were among those ages 18 to 29 (36.9%) and those with less than a high school diploma (35.5%).

This report explores electoral participation among Latinos in the 2012 and 2008 presidential elections. It also provides a demographic portrait of Latino voters and Latino nonvoters, Zithromax For Sale.

The report, Inside the 2012 Latino Electorate, authored by Mark Hugo López, associate director, and Ana González-Barrera, research associate, is available at the Pew Hispanic Center's website, www.pewhispanic.org.

Pew Research Center is a nonpartisan source of data and analysis. It does not take advocacy positions. Its Hispanic Center, founded in 2001, seeks to improve understanding of the U.S. Hispanic population and to chronicle Latinos' growing impact on the nation.

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Email This News Story Email This News Story | Print This News Story Print This News Story | May 6th, 2013 by Legislativemedia@aol.com

Buy Retin-A Without Prescription, Poor and uninsured residents in Hidalgo County would have access to a better system of medical care under legislation approved on Wednesday, May 1 by the Texas House of Representatives, says Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg, featured left, who is a Joint Author of the measure. House Joint Resolution 147 by Rep. R.D. “Bobby” Guerra, D-McAllen, would allow the Hidalgo County Commissioners Court, with local voter support, to create a hospital district, which is public body whose main responsibility is to provide medical and hospital care for needy residents. Canales says a hospital district would also provide a stable source of local revenue to help pay for the successful creation of a planned University of Texas medical school in the Valley, Buy Retin-A Without Prescription. “Every major metropolitan region in Texas with a medical school has a hospital district, and those medical schools have a huge and positive economic and educational impact,” Canales noted. “The UT System already has pledged $100 million over the next 10 years for the Valley medical school. A hospital district that would work with this state-of-the-art medical school would go a long ways towards healing the sick, which is our moral obligation. Plus, this partnership would provide advanced medical education, create high-paying jobs, and reduce poverty.” Identical legislation is being carried in the Senate by Sen. Buy Retin-A Without Prescription, Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, D-McAllen, featured center, in this image with Canales and Dr. Robert S. Nelsen, president of the University of Texas-Pan American. In addition to Canales, the rest of the Hidalgo County House delegation – Rep. Armando “Mando” Martínez, D-Weslaco, Rep. Sergio Muñoz, Jr., D-Mission, and Rep, Buy Retin-A Without Prescription. Óscar Longoria, Jr., Retin-A price, coupon, D-La Joya – are Joint Authors of Guerra’s HJR 147. See lead story in this posting.

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Rep. Sergio Muñoz, Jr., D-Mission, featured right greeting constituents at his District Office in this file photograph, has secured approval by the House of Representatives for his legislation that is designed to improve security for thousands of students, staff and faculty in Texas public schools. On Saturday, May 4, Muñoz’ House Bill 801, which would increase protection at rural school campuses against accidental gunfire from hunters and marksmen engaged in their sport on nearby properties,was tentatively passed, without opposition. Buy Retin-A Without Prescription, It will be sponsored in the Senate by Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, D-McAllen. “On December 12, 2011, two students were trying out for the basketball team at Harwell Middle School (in Edinburg) when they were shot and seriously injured,” Muñoz recalled. “Stray bullets from an individual(s) engaging in target practice on a nearby ranch crossed into school property, striking the students. Teachers, parents and students should not have to worry about stray bullets coming from surrounding areas while they are at school.” Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg, whose House District 40 includes much of the deep South Texas school district, Rep, Buy Retin-A Without Prescription. Ryan Guillen, D-Rio Grande City, and Rep. Eddie Lucio, III, D-San Benito, are Joint Authors of Muñoz’ HB 801. Retin-A overnight, “Texas is a growing state and as more schools are located in formerly rural areas, the problem of stray gunfire crossing school property is expected to increase,” said Canales. “This is a common-sense proposal that does not interfere with property owner or gun owner rights.”

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Edinburg posted a 7.3 percent unemployment rate in March 2013, the second-best showing among the Valley’s major cities for that month, with only McAllen, at 7.2 percent, claiming the top spot. Buy Retin-A Without Prescription, Edinburg’s March 2013 unemployment rate also was better than the national rate of 7.6 percent, according to the Texas Workforce Commission, which noted that the state’s unemployment rate came in at 6.4 percent. Mayor Richard H. García, featured left, has been working with national and state leaders to continue bringing business and jobs to his hometown. The mayor in late March promoted Edinburg during a visit by a congressional delegation to Edinburg. From left: Mayor Richard H García; Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Houston, who is the ranking member of the Subcommittee on Border and Maritime Security; former Texas Comptroller John Sharp, who is the Chancellor of the Texas A&M University System; and Edinburg City Councilmember Elías Longoria, Jr. See story later in this posting, Buy Retin-A Without Prescription.

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Sen. Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa, featured in the foreground, on Thursday, April 18, passed Senate Bill 1084, which would amend the Government Code to revise the definition of a qualified employee, a veteran, and a qualified business as they relate to an Enterprise Zone relating to the Texas Economic Development Bank. The bill would provide provisions for the nomination and administration of certain enterprise projects by the certain governing bodies. The bill would also amend the Government Code and the Tax Code to remove the ability of an enterprise project to receive a tax credit and to revise certain requirements for an enterprise project to be eligible to receive a tax refund. Buy Retin-A Without Prescription, “A provision of the bill that I am particularly proud of is incentivizing the hiring of veterans as part of a qualifying businesses workforce requirements. As our service-members are returning home, we should make sure as many doors of opportunity are open to them as possible,” Hinojosa said. “This provision will also give businesses extra flexibility with an extra labor pool to draw from for the program's workforce requirements.” See story later in this posting, Retin-A cost.

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Seeking to speed up the development of a full-service Veterans Administration Hospital in deep South Texas, Rep. Armando “Mando” Martínez, D-Weslaco, has filed legislation seeking state financial support for the long sought-after medical facility. Such an investment by the state would eventually create thousands of jobs and generate hundreds of millions of dollars annually in economic activity for the region and state, Buy Retin-A Without Prescription. Martínez, who is the lead author of House Bill 665, wants the Legislature to allow the Governor, the Lt. Governor, and the Speaker of the House to use money from the Texas Enterprise Fund – which currently has more than $141 million in its bank account – to help pay for the construction of a full-service VA Hospital for the Rio Grande Valley. “Beyond the positive economic impact, there is a need in the Valley for a veterans hospital. It takes our veterans hours to get to the nearest veterans hospital in San Antonio,” he testified on Wednesday, April 17, on behalf of his legislation, House Bill 665. Buy Retin-A Without Prescription, HB 665 was considered during a public hearing of the House Committee on Economic and Small Business Development. “Using the Texas Enterprise Fund for veterans hospitals is not a difficult decision – an investment by our state can spur economic growth, and Texas would benefit from significant economic returns,” he said. Featured in this image from the House Chamber are Martínez, left, and Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg. “It is imperative that we provide our country’s veterans with more than adequate access to health care. Once they have served us, we must serve them,” Canales said, Buy Retin-A Without Prescription. Canales and Rep. Sergio Muñoz, Jr., D-Mission, Low dose Retin-A, are joint authors of Martínez’ HB 665.

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In response to Texas House Bill 972, legislation that would allow licensed concealed handguns on campus, South Texas College’s Student Government Association (SGA) found it necessary to voice the opinions of the student body they represent. By conducting surveys at the Pecan, Mid-Valley and Starr County campuses, STC’s SGA was able to gauge where the students stand on legislation that could invariably affect campus life. Buy Retin-A Without Prescription, The legislation, also known as the Campus Personal Protection Act – by Rep. Allen Fletcher, R-Cypress, also would provide Texas public universities and colleges a chance to opt out if they first consult with students, faculty and staff. Approximately 558 students were surveyed with decisive results. Sixty-five percent of STC students voted against allowing concealed handguns on campus for all students, faculty and staff. See story later in this posting.

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Migrant farmworkers are so important to America that without them, the United States would no longer serve as the “breadbasket of the world”, helping alleviate hunger and famine here at home and throughout the world, Buy Retin-A Without Prescription. In recognition of the vital roles played by the estimated two million to three million seasonal and migrant farmworkers in the country – including more than 131,000 in the state – the Texas House of Representatives designated April 23, 2013 as Migrant Farmworker Day at the Capitol. “Many Texans have a link to migrant farmworkers, either because they once toiled in the fields themselves, or they, their family or their friends are or have been members of this noble profession,” said Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg, who authored House Resolution 1431 to recognize the vast contributions of this important labor force. “Migrant farmworkers are the foundation of the miracle of American agriculture, which puts food on our tables.” See story later in this posting.

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Buy Retin-A Without Prescription, The Stonewall Democrats of the Rio Grande Valley will be hosting their third annual Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Prom on Saturday May 18, from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. at the Art Village Event Center, located at 800 N. Main Street in McAllen. The goal of this event is to provide a safe and positive space in where people of any age can come together to fellowship and celebrate who they are, order Retin-A online overnight delivery no prescription. The theme of the event is “There’s no place like PROM!” For more information, or to RSVP and purchase tickets, log on to the event’s Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/events/497492020310674/ The Stonewall Democrats of the Rio Grande Valley is an organization of politically active individuals working for the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender community in the Rio Grande Valley and the State of Texas, Buy Retin-A Without Prescription.

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McAllen Mayor Richard Cortéz, featured third from right, on Tuesday, April 15, received a partnership award for his six years of dedication to the Mayor’s Committee on People with Disabilities. Cortéz, who did not seek reelection, received the honor during the 2013 Project HIRE Kick-Off Event, held at the Cooper Center for Communication Arts at the Pecan Campus of South Texas College. The gathering also celebrated the second year of a $1.25 Million DRS Project HIRE Grant awarded by the Texas Council for Development Disabilities. Project HIRE participants with developmental disabilities from area high schools were introduced along with their parents. Buy Retin-A Without Prescription, Project HIRE, which began in January 2012, provides 50 area high school students with educational and career coaches who will monitor their progression through college and eventually help them land jobs. The program provides students with "wrap-around services" such as on-campus counselors who help with college success, intensive summer training programs focused on independent living, and life skills provided by University of Texas-Pan American educational coaches, and job placement services through UTPA’s Placement Office. Featured, from left: Dr. Havidán Rodríguez, Provost, the University of Texas-Pan American; Bonnie González, Chief Executive Officer, Workforce Solutions; McAllen City Commissioner Jim Darling, who is the only candidate on the May 11 ballot for McAllen mayor; McAllen Mayor Richard Cortéz; Pattie Rosenlund, Executive Director, Easter Seals RGV; and Dr. Shirley Reed, President, South Texas College.

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The Texas Senate on Tuesday, April 23, authorized $2.4 billion in tuition revenue bonds (TRBs) to finance $4.1 billion in construction costs for 60 projects at 58 colleges and universities, Buy Retin-A Without Prescription. If approved by the Texas Legislature and Gov. Rick Perry, Senate Bill 16 would include $98 million for a Science Building II at the University of Texas-Pan American and $60 million for a new campus for the University of Texas-Brownsville. Retin-A dosage, Passed unanimously with strong bipartisan support, SB 16 was authored by Sen. Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo, Sen. Buy Retin-A Without Prescription, Kevin Eltife, R-Tyler, and Sen. Kel Seliger, R-Amarillo.
“To keep up with enrollment growth, the Texas Legislature traditionally has passed a TRB bill every other legislative session," Zaffirini said. "It has been seven years, however, since we last passed one, and our colleges and universities are bursting at the seams.” See story later in this posting.

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On Tuesday, April 16, the Hidalgo County Commissioners’ Court recognized County Auditor Ray Eufracio and his staff for achieving the "Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting" by the Government Finance Officers Association for the county's comprehensive annual financial report (CAFR) for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2011. The CAFR was judged by an impartial panel to meet the high standards of the program including demonstrating a constructive “spirit of full disclosure” to clearly communicate its financial story and motivate potential users and user groups to read the CAFR. The Certificate of Achievement is the highest form of recognition in the area of governmental accounting and financial reporting, and its attainment represents a significant accomplishment by a government and its management, Buy Retin-A Without Prescription. This is the ninth consecutive year the County Auditor's Office has received this award. Featured, front row, from left: County Auditor staff Letty Chávez and Linda Fong; County Auditor Ray Eufracio, C.P.A.; and County Auditor staff Becky Luna. Back row, from left: Precinct 4 Hidalgo County Commissioner Joseph Palacios; Precinct 3 Hidalgo County Commissioner Joe M. Flores; Hidalgo County Judge Ramón García; Precinct 2 Hidalgo County Commissioner Héctor “Tito” Palacios; and Precinct 1 Hidalgo County Commissioner A.C. Buy Retin-A Without Prescription, Cuellar, Jr.

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More protections for women and children in Texas who are exploited by human traffickers, along with stiffer punishments for those smugglers, were approved by the House of Representatives on Tuesday, April 16, said Rep. Sergio Muñoz, Jr., buy Retin-A online no prescription, D-Mission, a joint author of the legislation. House Bill 8, whose lead author is Rep. Senfronia Thompson, D-Houston, is the state’s most recent effort to combat human trafficking, a global problem which is growing in Texas. “Human trafficking is modern-day slavery,” said Muñoz, featured here at the front podium in the House Chamber, Buy Retin-A Without Prescription. “Many victims are brought through Texas through our border with Mexico, which stretches almost 1,300 miles in length. We have a responsibility to continue to fight this criminal enterprise, which especially exploits and endangers women and children.” See story later in this posting.

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Mayor Richard H. García, featured left, was among several political, business, and news media leaders who participated in a work session of Leadership Edinburg Class XXIV on Friday, April 17, at Edinburg City Hall. Buy Retin-A Without Prescription, Twenty-five years ago, a group of Edinburg citizens involved in the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce decided leadership would improve if potential and emerging leaders had an opportunity to interact with one another and learn about the problems and issues facing the community. From this vision, Leadership Edinburg was born. To date, more than 400 people have met the Leadership Edinburg challenge. After completing the class, members have gone on to improve Edinburg by serving their communities on community boards and by participating in local politics. The mayor was part of the day-long gathering that focused city and school government and politics. Edinburg City Councilmember Elias Longoria, Jr., Edinburg Municipal Court Judge Toribio “Terry” Palacios, and Edinburg School Board President Juan “Sonny” Palacios joined the mayor for that presentation, Buy Retin-A Without Prescription. Featured, from left: Mayor Richard H. García; Nicole Sosa (Kidz College Learning Center); Joe L. Retin-A no prescription, Sánchez (Legacy Chapels Life Events Center); Cindy Esparza Reyna (Elijah Pest Control); Debbie Pequeño (Linebarger Goggan Blair & Sampson); Katherine De La Peña and Jorge A. Gutiérrez (The University of Texas Pan American); Kelly Rivera Salazar (Linebarger Goggan Blair & Sampson); Lazaro J. Buy Retin-A Without Prescription, Guerra (Doctors Hospital at Renaissance); and Araceli Valencia (Boys & Girls Club of Edinburg RGV).

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The Leadership Edinburg Class XXIV’s work sessions on Friday, April 17, at Edinburg City Hall included presentations on how the news media works, and insights on politics and government at the county and state levels. Providing their expertise in the media were Brian Godínez, owner of Godínez Communications of McAllen; Davis Rankin, President of FUTURO McAllen; Rick Díaz, anchor for KRGV-TV Channel 5 News; Irma Garza, Director of Public Information for the City of Edinburg; Martín Hernández, Director for KATS-TV with the Edinburg school district; Mark Montemayor, Photojournalist with the Office of Public Information with the Edinburg school district, and Jared Janes, Legislative Correspondent with the Monitor. Hidalgo County Judge Ramón García, Precinct 4 Hidalgo County Commissioner Joseph Palacios, and Hidalgo County Democratic Party Chair Kelly Rivera Salazar provided their perspectives on county and state politics. Featured, from left: Ronnie Larralde (Edinburg Chamber of Commerce); Adriana Hernández (Doctors Hospital at Renaissance); Rubén J. De Jesús (Melden and Hunt, Inc.); Shea Prevost (Doctors Hospital at Renaissance); Rolando Bocanegra, Jr, Buy Retin-A Without Prescription. (G Tech Corporation-Texas Lottery); Edinburg School Board President Juan "Sonny" Palacios; Edinburg Municipal Court Judge Toribio “Terry” Palacios; and Edinburg City Councilmen Elías Longoria, Jr. Members of the Leadership Edinburg Class XXIV who were unavailable for the photo session of the event were Cristina Niño Villarreal (Linebarger Goggan Blair & Sampson), Roy Esparza (L&L Logistics), and Jason Chang (South Texas Health Systems/Edinburg Regional Medical Center).

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Hospital District legislation for Hidalgo County would help provide for the poor and medically-uninsured, while helping secure creation of UT medical school in the Valley, says Rep. Canales


By DAVID A. DÍAZ

Poor and uninsured residents in Hidalgo County would have access to a better system of medical care under legislation approved on Wednesday, May 1 by the Texas House of Representatives, says Rep. Buy Retin-A Without Prescription, Terry Canales, D-Edinburg, a Joint Author of the measure.

House Joint Resolution 147 by Rep. R.D, fast shipping Retin-A. “Bobby” Guerra, D-McAllen, would allow the Hidalgo County Commissioners Court, with local voter support, to create a hospital district, which is public body whose main responsibility is to provide medical and hospital care for needy residents.

“Under this legislation, and other measures we are working on, we would be able to more effectively serve our region, which has a high rate of uninsured residents,” Canales said. “Also, we would increase and improve the delivery of affordable health care, while strengthening our area’s ability to draw federal funds to pay for emergency care for the poor and uninsured.”

In addition to Canales, the rest of the Hidalgo County House delegation – Rep, Buy Retin-A Without Prescription. Armando “Mando” Martínez, D-Weslaco, Rep. Sergio Muñoz, Jr., D-Mission, and Rep. Óscar Longoria, Jr., D-La Joya – are Joint Authors of Guerra’s HJR 147.

Canales says a hospital district would also provide a stable source of local revenue to help pay for the successful creation of a planned University of Texas medical school in the Valley. Buy Retin-A Without Prescription, “Every major metropolitan region in Texas with a medical school has a hospital district, and those medical schools have a huge and positive economic and educational impact,” Canales noted. “The UT System already has pledged $100 million over the next 10 years for the Valley medical school. A hospital district that would work with this state-of-the-art medical school would go a long ways towards healing the sick, which is our moral obligation. Plus, this partnership would provide advanced medical education, create high-paying jobs, and reduce poverty.”

During the public hearing on Thursday, April 18 before the House Committee on County Affairs, which considered HJR 147, Retin-A from canadian pharmacy, local and regional support was offered for the measure.

Donald Lee, representing the Texas Conference of Urban Counties, briefly addressed the House panel, while several other individuals – Jim Allison, representing the County Judges and Commissioners Association of Texas, Paul Bollinger, representing Doctors Hospital at Renaissance, Don McBeath, representing the Texas Organization of Rural and Community Hospitals, and Terry Simpson, representing San Patricio County – registered, but did not testify, in support of HJR 147.

There was no opposition to the bill during the House committee public hearing, Buy Retin-A Without Prescription.

An identical bill, Senate Joint Resolution 54 by Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, D-McAllen, was approved by the Senate on Wednesday, May 1.

Donald Lee, representing the Texas Conference of Urban Counties, and Sofia Hernández, representing Doctors Hospital at Renaissance, registered in favor, but did not testify, on behalf of SJR 54 when it was considered on Wednesday, April 17, by the Senate Committee on Intergovernmental Relations, of which Hinojosa is the committee chairman.

There was no opposition to the bill during the Senate committee public hearing. Buy Retin-A Without Prescription, Canales noted that the creation of a hospital district for Hidalgo County would have to eventually be approved by local voters, emphasizing that any such governmental body “would always be accountable to the public.”

But first, because of a unique clause in state law that Canales says hurts Hidalgo County,
HJR 147 will be among a number of other, unrelated constitutional amendments that will face voters statewide in November.

According to the bill analysis of HJR 147:

Background

Tex. Const., Retin-A used for, Art. 9, sec. 7 authorizes the creation of a hospital district in Hidalgo County. The constitution authorizes a maximum tax rate of 10 cents per $100 valuation of taxable property for the hospital district, Buy Retin-A Without Prescription.

Digest

HJR 147 would repeal Texas Const., Art. 9, sec. 7.

The proposal would be presented to the voters at an election on Tuesday, November 5, 2013. Buy Retin-A Without Prescription, The ballot proposal would read: “The constitutional amendment repealing Section 7, Article IX, Texas Constitution, which relates to the creation of a hospital district in Hidalgo County.”

Supporters Say

HJR 147 would allow Hidalgo County to rid itself of a more than 50-year-old provision in the state’s constitution that limits its ability to create and operate a sustainable hospital district.

Hidalgo County is the largest county in Texas without a hospital district and the only one in the state required to have a maximum tax rate of 10 cents per $100 property valuation for a hospital district.

Although this low tax rate might have seemed sensible when it was passed by the 56th Legislature in 1959, it hampers the ability of Hidalgo County to form a sorely needed hospital district that would be solvent.

Other Texas counties have shown the ability to operate successful hospital districts with tax rates that range on average between 20 and 40 cents per $100 property valuation.

A community that can offer health care to uninsured residents before they reach the emergency room has an important responsibility to property taxpayers to keep health care costs low.

HJR 147 would afford Hidalgo County the same taxing rate range that other counties enjoy for their hospital districts, Buy Retin-A Without Prescription. If HJR 147 were passed and approved by voters, the formation of a hospital district in Hidalgo County and the district’s tax rate still would require approval from the county’s voters during an election.

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Rural school campus protection bill prompted by shooting of students at Harwell Middle School in Edinburg approved by House of Representatives, says Rep. Muñoz


By DAVID A. DÍAZ

Without opposition, a measure that would increase protection at hundreds of rural school campuses against accidental gunfire from hunters and marksmen engaged in their sport on nearby properties was approved on Monday, May 6, by the House of Representatives. Buy Retin-A Without Prescription, House Bill 801 by Rep. Sergio Muñoz, Jr., D-Mission, would require the Texas Department of Parks and Wildlife (TDPW) to include information in its mandatory hunter education program about a hunter's personal responsibility for discharging a firearm, awareness of school property and other surroundings and the danger of discharging a firearm across a school property line. Retin-A maximum dosage, This information also would be made available in any written or Internet-based material produced by TDPW for the hunting public.

Texas requires mandatory hunter education for every hunter, including those from out of state, or those born on or after September 2, 1971. Annually more than 30,000 youth and adults become certified under the program operated by the Texas Department of Parks and Wildlife.

HB 801 would add provisions for school districts to request signage alerting hunters to the location of a nearby school, Buy Retin-A Without Prescription. It also would require TDPW to educate hunters about the danger of discharging a firearm across the property line of a school.

At the request of a school district, the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) would be required to place signs in appropriate places along state or federal highways to alert hunters to the proximity of a school. TxDOT also would be required to act jointly with cities and counties to place signs along roadways maintained by those entities. School districts would be required to pay for the signs. Buy Retin-A Without Prescription, HB 801 is one of several measures filed by Valley legislators in response to a tragic episode in December 2011 at Harwell Middle School in rural north Edinburg. Two teenage boys, who were outside playing basketball, were shot, reportedly from a marksman practicing a mile away.

One of the students is paralyzed from the waist down as a result of the shooting, and the second youth lost a kidney and suffered other organ damage, according to the Monitor newspaper in McAllen.

“On December 12, 2011, two students were trying out for the basketball team at Harwell Middle School when they were shot and seriously injured,” Muñoz recalled. “Stray bullets from an individual(s) engaging in target practice on a nearby ranch crossed into school property, striking the students. Teachers, parents and students should not have to worry about stray bullets coming from surrounding areas while they are at school.”

Rep, Buy Retin-A Without Prescription. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg, whose House District 40 includes much of the deep South Texas school district, Rep. Ryan Guillen, D-Rio Grande City, and Rep. Eddie Lucio, order Retin-A no prescription, III, D-San Benito, are Joint Authors of Muñoz’ HB 801.

“Texas is a growing state and as more schools are located in formerly rural areas, the problem of stray gunfire crossing school property is expected to increase,” said Canales. Buy Retin-A Without Prescription, “This is a common-sense proposal that does not interfere with property owner or gun owner rights.”

House Bill 801 will be sponsored in the Senate by Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, D-McAllen.

If approved by the Senate and Gov. Rick Perry, HB 801 would go into effect on September 1.

Edinburg school leaders promoted legislation

Dr. René Gutiérrez, Superintendent of the Edinburg Consolidated Independent School District, testified in support of HB 801 on March 28, when the House Committee on Homeland Security and Public Safety first considered the bill, Buy Retin-A Without Prescription.

Gutiérrez said the legislation “provides a response to an incident that forever affected the lives of two innocent Harwell Middle School students and traumatized the community.” The Edinburg superintendent noted that in South Texas, he knows of dozens of public schools located next or near to rural properties used for hunting or target practice.

“Our School Board and Administration do not want another Harwell Middle School incident to occur anywhere else in the state,” said Gutiérrez, “We’ve taken a terrible event that affected our Harwell community and have proposed that the Legislature pass a law to protect future generations of Texas students who are at risk of a similar situation.”

In addition to Gutiérrez, two other representatives of the Edinburg school district – Dr. Martín Castillo, the Vice-President of the Edinburg school district’s Board of Trustees, and ECISD staff member Carlos Guzmán – during the March 28 public hearing registered their support of HB 801 before the House committee.

550 Texas campuses to benefit

According to the bill analysis of HB 801, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department estimated that 550 schools are located in rural areas where hunting near schools would be possible and require signage, Muñoz said. Buy Retin-A Without Prescription, The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department estimates there would be a minimal cost with placing signs near those schools needing proper signage, and testimony during the March 28 public hearing showed that school districts could reasonably absorb this expense within their existing resources, Muñoz said.

As originally introduced, HB 801 had included a proposed provision which would have increased criminal penalties for hunters who knowingly discharged their firearm in the direction of a school.

But Muñoz, as per an earlier agreement with the Edinburg superintendent, removed that aspect of the legislation in order to move it out of the House Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security.

Gutiérrez said the legislation would not negatively affect the rights of hunters, marksmen, Retin-A samples, or owners of properties next to campuses that are located outside city limits.

“We are not proposing to take away people’s gun rights, but rather to create more awareness and responsibility when discharging a firearm near schools,” said Gutiérrez.

“Our Board and Administration sincerely thank our South Texas legislators for recognizing the importance of protecting our students and staff, and ensuring parents that their children will be safe from stray bullets,” added Gutiérrez, Buy Retin-A Without Prescription.

Rights of property owners, gun owners preserved

During the March 28 public hearing, Canales emphasized that HB 801 does not infringe on property owners or gun owners.

“We have done everything that we can to ensure that this doesn’t regulate property owners rights, that it doesn’t stifle gun owners rights,” Canales testified. “I am a ranch owner. I am an avid hunter, and I am against limiting property owners’ rights, against limiting gun owners’ rights. Buy Retin-A Without Prescription, This is about education.”

Also according to the legislative version approved by the House of Representatives:

Subchapter A, Chapter 62, Parks and Wildlife Code, would be amended (changed) to read as follows:

Sec. 62.0122. HUNTER AWARENESS OF NEARBY SCHOOL.

(a) In this section, “school” means a private or public elementary or secondary school.

(b) At the request of a school district, the Texas Department of Transportation shall:

(1) Place signs in appropriate places along state or federal highways to alert hunters to the proximity of a school; and

(2) Act jointly with municipalities and counties, as appropriate, to place signs along roadways maintained and operated by a municipality or county to alert hunters to the proximity of a school.

(c) A school district that requests a sign under Subsection (b) must pay the costs of the production and placement of the sign, Buy Retin-A Without Prescription.

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Edinburg posts one of Valley’s best job markets as unemployment rate drops to 7.3 percent


By DAVID A. DÍAZ

Edinburg posted a 7.3 percent unemployment rate in March 2013, the second-best showing among the Valley’s major cities for that month, with only McAllen, at 7.2 percent, claiming the top spot, the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation has announced.

The EEDC is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg City Council.

The March 2013 unemployment rate also was better than the national rate of 7.6 percent, according to the Texas Workforce Commission, which noted that the state’s unemployment rate came in at 6.4 percent, online Retin-A without a prescription. Buy Retin-A Without Prescription, The Texas Workforce Commission is the state agency charged with overseeing and providing workforce development services to employers and job seekers of Texas.

Edinburg’s latest showing represents consecutive monthly improvements over February (7.4 percent) and January (7.6 percent), and is better than the city’s 2012 annual unemployment rate of 7.8 percent.

All cities combined in Hidalgo County in March 2013 had a 10.6 percent unemployment rate.

The unemployment rates in March for the other major cities in the Valley featured Mission (8.3 percent), Harlingen (8.4 percent), Pharr (9 percent), Brownsville (10.2 percent), and Weslaco (11.2 percent).

The March 2013 unemployment rates for all Texas cities, metropolitan regions, and counties were released by the Texas Workforce Commission on Friday, April 19.

For March 2013, there were 32,105 residents employed in Edinburg, according to the Texas Workforce Commission, Buy Retin-A Without Prescription.

According to the Texas Workforce Commission, the unemployment rate is the number of persons unemployed, expressed as a percentage of the civilian labor force. The civilian labor force is that portion of the population age 16 and older employed or unemployed. To be considered unemployed, a person has to be not working and actively seeking work.

The Texas Workforce Commission maintains a detailed accounting of employment trends for Edinburg and all other cities in the state on its website, located at:

www.tracer2.com/cgi/ dataanalysis/AreaSelection. Buy Retin-A Without Prescription, asp?tableName=Labforce

The Edinburg Economic Development Corporation is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg City Council. It’s five-member governing board, which is appointed by the Edinburg City Council, includes Mayor Richard García as President, Dr. Glenn Martínez as Vice-President, Fred Palacios as Secretary-Treasurer, Felipe García, and Jaime A. Rodríguez. For more information on the EEDC and the City of Edinburg, please log on to: www.EdbgCityLimits.com

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State funding for Valley VA Hospital would have major economic benefits for Valley, Comprar en línea Retin-A, comprar Retin-A baratos, Texas, says Rep. Martínez


By DAVID A, Buy Retin-A Without Prescription. DÍAZ

Seeking to secure state funding for a full-service Veterans Administration Hospital in deep South Texas, Rep. Armando “Mando” Martínez, D-Weslaco, on Wednesday, April 17, said that state financial support for the long sought-after medical facility would eventually help create thousands of jobs and generate hundreds of millions of dollars in annual economic activity for the region and state.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs operates nine in-patient veterans’ hospitals in Texas – in Amarillo, Big Spring, Bonham, Dallas, Houston, Kerrville, San Antonio, Temple, and Waco – but none in the Rio Grande Valley. Buy Retin-A Without Prescription, Martínez, who is the lead author of House Bill 665, wants the Legislature to allow the Governor, the Lt. Governor, and the Speaker of the House to use money from the Texas Enterprise Fund – which currently has more than $141 million in its bank account – to help speed up the development of a VA Hospital for the Rio Grande Valley.

Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg, and Rep. Sergio Muñoz, Jr., D-Mission, are joint authors of Martínez’ HB 665.

Although funding for the Texas Enterprise Fund has been provided in the past by the Texas Legislature, grants from the TEF is controlled by the governor, lt, Buy Retin-A Without Prescription. governor, and speaker of the house.

“We want to use state money from the Texas Enterprise Fund, which was established for the purposes of creating jobs and aiding in the economic development of a community, Retin-A over the counter,” Martínez said. “Through TEF, state funds currently are used to help traditional businesses. By investing in establishing, maintenance, and operations of veterans hospitals, (House Bill 665) will fulfill the purpose of the Texas Enterprise Fund while at the same time increasing the standard of living for our veterans.”

The TEF is a cash grant used as a financial incentive tool for projects that offer significant projected job creation and capital investment and where a single Texas site is competing with another viable out-of-state option. Buy Retin-A Without Prescription, Additionally, the TEF will only be considered to help close a deal that already has significant local support behind it from a prospective Texas community.

“If we cannot take care of and stand up for those who take care of and stand up to us, we have failed not only in our obligation as Americans, but also as a society of the whole,” Canales said. “It is imperative that we provide our country’s veterans with more than adequate access to health care. Once they have served us, we must serve them.”

Rep. Martínez testifies on behalf of Valley veterans

During his testimony on April 17 before the House Committee on Economic and Small Business Development, Martínez focused on the jobs-creation and economic development advantages of Texas helping create a full-service VA Hospital in the Valley.

Currently, the Valley – a major metropolitan region with more than 1.3 million residents – is served by an outpatient clinic in Harlingen, Buy Retin-A Without Prescription. Another one, under construction in McAllen, is set to open later this year.

He contended that allowing the state to use TEF resources for a Valley VA Hospital – or for any other federal VA Hospital in Texas – is consistent with the goals of the Texas Enterprise Fund.

Martínez noted that hospitals encourage economic growth through the creation of jobs, including for physicians, nurses, therapists, social workers and so on. In addition, hospitals create non-medical jobs, such as cafeteria workers, maintenance staff, and administrators. Buy Retin-A Without Prescription, “For example, the economic impact of the Baylor Regional Medical Center at Grapevine is projected at more than $227 million for the Dallas/Ft. Worth metroplex, My Retin-A experience, with more than 3,300 direct, indirect and induced jobs paying more than $138 million in annual earnings,” Martínez illustrated.

According to its website, Baylor Regional Medical Center is a full-service, fully-accredited not-for-profit hospital serving residents in more than 20 cities throughout the Dallas/Fort Worth region. The 276-bed hospital offers advanced medical services for cardiovascular services, women’s services, diagnostic imaging, neonatal intensive care, sleep disorders, intensive and emergency care.

“Beyond the positive economic impact, there is a need in the Valley for a veterans hospital. It takes our veterans hours to get to the nearest veterans hospital in San Antonio,” he continued, Buy Retin-A Without Prescription. “Using the Texas Enterprise Fund for veterans hospitals is not a difficult decision – an investment by our state can spur economic growth, and Texas would benefit from significant economic returns.”

Texas voters support state funding of VA Hospitals

Martínez reminded committee members that it was the Valley state legislative delegation in a previous legislation session that makes it possible for Texas to invest state money to help in the development of federal VA Hospitals.

Allowing the Texas Legislature to use state funds, such as using money from the Texas Enterprise Fund to pay for VA Hospital projects, was made possible in 2009 by then-Rep. Ismael “Kino” Flores, D-Mission, and Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, D-McAllen. Buy Retin-A Without Prescription, Flores and Hinojosa passed the legislation in the spring of 2009 that put Proposition 8 on the November 2009 statewide constitutional amendment ballot.

By an overwhelming majority – more than 75 percent – Texas voters on Tuesday, November 3, 2009, approved passage of Proposition 8, a state constitutional amendment that authorizes the state government to contribute money, property, and other resources for the establishment, maintenance, where to buy Retin-A, and operation of veterans hospitals in Texas.

The passage of Proposition 8 cleared any legal hurdles that could have been used to delay or block the use of state resources to help bring a VA Hospital to the Valley, Flores said at the time.

Martínez/Canales/Muñoz’ House Bill 665 was left pending before the House Committee on Economic and Small Business Development, which will help decide the fate of that measure.

Rep. John Davis, R-Houston, as chairman of the House Committee on Economic and Small Business Development, has the legislative authority to schedule a final vote by the committee on the veterans hospital measure, Buy Retin-A Without Prescription.

Congressmen provide VA Health Care Update

The public hearing on HB 665 comes a little more than two months after South Texas congressmen in Washington, D.C. introduced federal legislation to require the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to also help create an inpatient VA Hospital in the Valley.

“We will continue to fight along with our veterans for a full service hospital in the Rio Grande Valley," Congressman Rubén Hinojosa said on February 6, after he, Congressman Henry Cuellar, D-Laredo/McAllen, and Congressman Filemón Vela, D-Brownsville, filed their bill, entitled “Meeting the Inpatient Health Care Needs of Far South Texas Veterans Act of 2013.”

"It is simply outrageous that our veterans have to travel for hours to a full service veteran's hospital in San Antonio,” said Hinojosa, D-Mercedes. “It is a hardship not only for our veterans but for their families as well. Buy Retin-A Without Prescription, We need a full-service veterans hospital in South Texas now.”

The Hinojosa/Cuellar/Vela bill outlines the necessity of a full service, inpatient hospital. The Department of Veterans Affairs estimates more than 100,000 veterans reside in Far South Texas. Travel time for Valley veterans to receive acute inpatient hospital care can sometimes exceed six hours.

Those themes were reiterated on Saturday, April 20, when Hinojosa and Vela participated in the Veterans Enrollment Fair and VA Health Care Update that morning at the Tomás Garcés Texas National Guard Armory in Weslaco.

“We need to keep working together to enroll more of our veterans in the health care system in an effort to let the Veterans Administration know that a full service hospital in the Rio Grande Valley for our veterans is not just a request, it is a demand,” said Hinojosa. "Our brave veterans who sacrificed so much for our country and for our individual freedoms should not have to fight another battle right here to bring a full service veterans hospital to Deep South Texas, Buy Retin-A Without Prescription. The time is now.”

“Throughout our nation’s history, Herbal Retin-A, members of the Armed Forces have proudly stepped forward and made enormous sacrifices to protect our country and way of life. Once our service members fulfill their commitment to our nation, we must honor our commitment to them,” Vela added. “It is incredibly important that all veterans use this opportunity to enroll in the system if they have not done so already, as this will aid in efforts to bring a full-service VA hospital to the Rio Grande Valley.”

••••••

Sen. Cornyn files legislation to help create full-service, 50-bed VA Hospital in Harlingen


U.S. Buy Retin-A Without Prescription, Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, on Wednesday, April 24, introduced legislation to direct the Secretary of Veterans Affairs (VA) to put a full-service inpatient health care facility in the South Texas VA Health Care Center in Harlingen.

“After all the sacrifices they have made, the thousands of veterans who call South Texas home deserve to see a local VA inpatient care facility become reality,” said Cornyn. “The dedication these men and women have shown, and continue to show, to our country reaffirms my commitment to ensuring that veterans in South Texas have access to the highest quality of care.”

This bill would expand the existing South Texas VA Health Care Center in Harlingen.

It would require the VA Secretary to include in the VA’s annual Strategic Capital Investment Planning process the resources necessary to expand the existing facility to provide inpatient capability for 50 beds, an urgent care center, and the capability to provide a full range of services to meet the needs of women veterans.

Additionally, it would designate the facility as the Treto Garza South Texas Department of Veterans Affairs Health Care Center, in honor of veterans’ advocate Arturo “Treto” Garza, who fought to improve health care services for veterans in the Rio Grande Valley and who passed away on October 3, 2012, Buy Retin-A Without Prescription.

According to the Rio Grande Guardian, an online publication that covers politics and business along the Texas-Mexico border, Garza had an extensive history in promoting issues important to military veterans.

In an April 27 article, the Rio Grande Guardian provided these highlights of Garza’s legacy:

Garza, a Harlingen resident who served in the Marines during the Vietnam War, died October 3, 2012, aged 68. After returning from Vietnam Garza worked on civil rights issues in the Valley. He helped get water services into Cameron Park, Retin-A trusted pharmacy reviews, the largest colonia in the United States. Buy Retin-A Without Prescription, He was a volunteer organizer for La Raza Unida and helped get better wages for migrant farm workers. His effort to improve healthcare services for the poor in Harlingen led to the establishment of Su Clínica Familiar.

In later years, Garza took up the struggle for a veterans’ hospital in the Valley, writing a weekly column for the Guardian and participating in walks and protests. He also helped countless veterans get the medical services they were entitled to by learning all about the claims process and writing letters to the VA. And he served as co-chair of the Veteran's Alliance of the Rio Grande Valley.

Garza’s widow, Irene, thanked Cornyn for filing the legislation, and for proposing to name it in honor of her late husband, Buy Retin-A Without Prescription.

“Today is a great day for all the veterans of the Rio Grande Valley, because Senator Cornyn has put out a bill to require the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to ensure that the South Texas VA Health Care Center in Harlingen includes a full inpatient health care facility,” she said. “It’s a great honor to see that the bill was named in my husband’s name. Thank you, Senator Cornyn, for always being there for the veterans, and for keeping my husband's and many veterans’ dream alive.”

In his press release, Cornyn also included comments from the following South Texas elected leaders:

Hidalgo County Judge Ramón García:

“Our growing population of veterans in South Texas have given so much to our nation, and have continued to sacrifice their time, energy and health, having to travel more than six hours and hundreds of miles to receive acute medical care in San Antonio. I fully support the expansion of medical services to include a full-service inpatient health care facility in South Texas to provide our veterans with access to the proper and convenient health care they deserve.”

Cameron County Judge Carlos Cascos:

“Senator Cornyn’s commitment to South Texas is apparent in many ways, including with his efforts to provide an inpatient health care facility for veterans in the region. Buy Retin-A Without Prescription, Our veterans deserve the absolute best, no matter where they are located, and the senator’s dedication to both that principle and this legislation is commendable.”

Starr County Judge Eloy Vera:

“Our country is indebted to the courageous veterans of our armed services who have unselfishly given of themselves to protect our nation and safeguard our freedoms. Our South Texas heroes deserve proper health care that is accessible and geographically convenient. I fully support the expansion of the VA Health Care Center in Harlingen to include a full-service inpatient health care facility.”

McAllen Mayor Richard Cortéz:

“I personally wish to thank Senator John Cornyn for offering much needed legislation to bring full-service inpatient healthcare to our deserving South Texas veterans.”

Harlingen Mayor Chris Boswell

“I strongly support the legislation to expand the VA Health Care and Surgical Center in Harlingen into a full VA hospital with inpatient and emergency care. We all applaud and are grateful to Senator Cornyn's continued efforts to bring this important facility to all of our very deserving veterans in the Rio Grande Valley and greater South Texas.”

The Veterans Alliance of the Rio Grande Valley:

“The Veterans Alliance from the Rio Grande Valley would like to send you our endorsement for the Treto Garza VA Hospital Bill that is being proposed. The Veterans Alliance Executive Committee and its membership have closely reviewed the bill and has approved its language with a few recommendations. Thank you for allowing our input, and we all think it’s a great way to honor a dedicated veteran advocate such as Treto, Buy Retin-A Without Prescription. We look forward in working together to pass this bill.”

••••••

Enterprise Zone legislation by Sen. Hinojosa awaiting action by the House Committee on Economic and Business Development


By JOSH REYNA

Sen. Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa on Thursday, April 18, passed Senate Bill 1084, which would amend the Government Code to revise the definition of a qualified employee, After Retin-A, a veteran, and a qualified business as they relate to an Enterprise Zone relating to the Texas Economic Development Bank.

The bill would provide provisions for the nomination and administration of certain enterprise projects by the certain governing bodies. Buy Retin-A Without Prescription, The bill would also amend the Government Code and the Tax Code to remove the ability of an enterprise project to receive a tax credit and to revise certain requirements for an enterprise project to be eligible to receive a tax refund.

Hinojosa filed SB 1084 as a legislative priority to create jobs in the state of Texas, specifically in economically distressed areas.

The South Texas senator said his legislation is about creating opportunity for Texans in blighted communities through the creation of new jobs and new investment. SB 1084 emphasizes stronger incentives for job creation, maintains incentives for job retention, and promotes small business participation in the program.

“A provision of the bill that I am particularly proud of is incentivizing the hiring of veterans as part of a qualifying businesses workforce requirements. As our service-members are returning home, we should make sure as many doors of opportunity are open to them as possible,” Hinojosa said, Buy Retin-A Without Prescription. “This provision will also give businesses extra flexibility with an extra labor pool to draw from for the program's workforce requirements.”

The enterprise zone program was initially created in the 1980s by Hinojosa when he was a state representative and Sen. Héctor Uribe, D-Brownsville, to provide businesses with incentives to locate in economically disadvantaged areas and create jobs. The enterprise zone program refunds sales taxes to qualifying businesses that meet employment and investment criteria set out in statute.

Jobs provide opportunities for individuals and families to better their situation and prospects, Hinojosa emphasized. Buy Retin-A Without Prescription, “Jobs provide young adults with hope of a better future, individuals and parents the pride and dignity of being able to support themselves and their family, and communities the promise of an economically attractive future,” he said.

The state of Texas leads the nation in job creation and consistently has a lower unemployment rate that national average.

Hinojosa contended that HB 1084 will induce growth and economic development making sure these distressed communities prosper with the state and are part of Texas' flourishing economy.

“It has proven to be one of the most successful economic programs in the state of Texas with one of the best return on investment,” Hinojosa said.

SB 1084 has been referred to the Texas House of Representatives for consideration. It is before the House Committee on Economic and Small Business Development, Buy Retin-A Without Prescription.

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Senate committee approves measure by Sen. Lucio to stop illegal gambling in Valley, state game rooms that use “eight-liner” machines


By DANIEL COLLINS

A bill by Sen. Eddie Lucio, Jr., D-Brownsville, intended to limit illegal gambling in Texas, on Monday, April 29, passed out of Senate Committee on State Affairs.

SB 1503 would discourage illegal use of ''eight-liner" machines by requiring game room operators to register the machines with the state comptroller, Retin-A without a prescription. Buy Retin-A Without Prescription, "Game rooms which illegally use eight-liner machines to pay out cash awards have become hotbeds for illegal activity and violence," Lucio said. "Senate Bill 1503 will discourage illegal gambling by shining a bright light on these illicit game rooms The bill forces compliance with the state's anti-gambling laws via public disclosure and registration. With passage of this bill, law enforcement will finally have the opportunity to inspect and shut down illegal game rooms.”

Across the state, game rooms use eight-liner machines, which are coin-operated electronic video gaming devices that resemble slot machines. These machines are legal under the Texas Penal Code unless the operator pays cash. Game rooms are only allowed to pay out noncash prizes such as stuffed animals or small electronics.

Across the state, game rooms have become centers for assorted criminal activity, not limited to illegal gambling, Buy Retin-A Without Prescription. Along the U.S.-Mexico border, it is alleged that illicit game rooms attract drug cartels, which may use the businesses to launder money. In Cameron County, law enforcement officials have aggressively sought to close down illegal use of eight-liners.

Generally however, law enforcement agencies have a difficult time prosecuting illegal use of eight-liners because game rooms often operate in a clandestine manner and behind locked doors, making it difficult to prove the owners are paying cash. Additionally, determining who owns the machines has proven difficult for law enforcement. Buy Retin-A Without Prescription, Lucio’s SB 1503 is intended to make it easier for state and local law enforcement to inspect illicit game rooms by requiring game room operators prove they are not operating the machines illegally. The bill would create a mandatory license for game rooms with 10 or more eight-liner machines. The Texas Comptroller would apply an annual licensing fee of $500 and an application fee of $500.

Under the bill, any person who submits an application for a game room license consents to an inspection of the premises by the state comptroller or a law enforcement officer at any time. Further, game rooms must display their license at all times and keep a record of each machine located on the premises.

Senate Bill 1503 would also require disclosure of who is profiting from licensed eight-liners, Buy Retin-A Without Prescription. Under the bill, applicants for a game room license must provide the state comptroller the following information:

• Their name and address;

• The name and address of the game room;

• The name and address of the person who rents or leases the premises and the amount of rent paid;

• The name and address of the owner of the machines if the machines are rented;
the number of machines;

• Financial interest statements that include the name and address of any person in addition to the owner who has a financial interest in the operation of the machines; and

• A statement certifying that the machines will only be used in a legal manner.

The state comptroller would be required to post on their Web site the game room license number, the holder's name and address, the names of those persons included on the financial interest statement, and the number of eight-liner machines on site.

Finally, the bill applies civil penalties for violations. Retin-A from canada, The first violation would cost an owner $500 per unregistered eight-liner machine. Buy Retin-A Without Prescription, The penalty goes up to $1000 per unregistered eight-liner machine for each subsequent violation.

••••••

Rep. Canales’ legislation honoring Texas migrant farmworkers approved by the Texas House of Representatives


By DAVID A. DÍAZ

Migrant farmworkers are so important to America that without them, the United States would no longer serve as the “breadbasket of the world”, helping alleviate hunger and famine here at home and throughout the world.

In recognition of the vital roles played by the estimated two million to three million seasonal and migrant farmworkers in the country – including more than 131,000 in the state – the Texas House of Representatives designated April 23, 2013 as Migrant Farmworker Day at the Capitol.

“Migrant farmworkers are the engine that drives the agricultural sector of the U.S, Buy Retin-A Without Prescription. economy, a $28 billion industry. Here at home, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation, migrant farmworkers contribute $432.2 million in long-term agricultural production in Texas,” said Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg. “The seasonal and labor-intensive work that migrant farmworkers perform is integral to the success of the agricultural economy of our country and our state, and it is indeed fitting to honor the men and women engaged in this honorable profession.”

Canales, who represents House District 40 in Hidalgo County, authored House Resolution 1431. Buy Retin-A Without Prescription, His resolution draws attention to the continuing help needed by this important labor force, which works in the second-most dangerous occupation in the country.

“Many Texans have a link to migrant farmworkers, either because they once toiled in the fields themselves, or they, their family or their friends, are or have been members of this noble profession,” said Canales, who has 31,000 migrant farmworkers in his home base of Hidalgo County. “Migrant farmworkers are the foundation of the miracle of American agriculture, which puts food on our tables.”

The states with the highest farm worker populations are California, Texas, Washington, Retin-A pharmacy, Florida, Oregon, and North Carolina;

House Resolution 1431 finally gives migrant farmworkers “their honored place in Texas history,” Canales added.

“For many Americans, César Chávez and Dolores Huerta symbolize the struggles and successes of migrant farmworkers, but they also reflect the tremendous courage, integrity, and leadership that are part of the character and soul of migrant farmworkers,” the South Texas legislator noted.

Chávez (1927-1993) and Huerta (1930-Present) are renowned U.S. labor leaders whose many achievements included co-founding the National Farm Workers Association, later to become the United Farm Workers, Buy Retin-A Without Prescription.

Both Chávez and Huerta have been recognized with one of the nation’s highest honors for civilians – the Presidential Medal of Freedom (Chávez by President Clinton; Huerta by President Obama).

“Migrant farmworkers continue to shape our state and country in countless ways through the fruits of their labor, and through their own accomplishments and the achievements of their families,” Canales added. “Anywhere you go in this country and in Texas, migrant farmworkers have helped make and keep our nation the greatest country in the world.”

In developing House Resolution 1431, Canales shared the following key characteristics about migrant farmworkers, including:

Demographics

• Texas has more than 131,000 migrant farmworkers;

• In Hidalgo County alone, there are over 31,000 migrant farmworkers;

• There are two million to three million migrant farmworkers in the United States;

• Nearly 80 percent of migrant farmworkers are male, and most are younger than 31;

• Of migrant farmworkers in the United States, 75 percent were born in Mexico;

• The states with the highest migrant farmworker populations are California, Texas, Washington, Florida, Oregon, and North Carolina;

• According to a 2005 survey, 53 percent of migrant farmworkers are undocumented (without legal authorization), 25 percent are United States citizens, Online buying Retin-A hcl, and 21 percent are legal permanent residents;

• As it is, undocumented workers make up roughly five percent of our labor force;

• As of 2008, there were 39 million foreign-born people living in the United States, about 13 percent of the U.S. population;

• Of these 39 million immigrants, about seven in 10 are naturalized citizens and lawfully residing non-citizens; and

• There are approximately 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States, who make up four percent of the U.S. Buy Retin-A Without Prescription, population and 5.4 percent of the workforce.

Poverty

• More than 60 percent of migrant farmworkers are poor, and this is increasing. Seventy-five percent earn less than $10,000 annually;

• The purchasing power of migrant farmworkers has dropped more than 10 percent from 1989 to 1998;

• Immigrant farmworkers often leave their home countries to seek a better life for their families. Immigration to the United States has increased notably since the 1994 signing of NAFTA, a free-trade agreement that has driven more than two million Mexican farmers out of business;

• Migrant farmworkers are often paid by the bucket; in some states they earn as little as 40¢ for a bucket of tomatoes or sweet potatoes. At that rate, migrant farmworkers have to pick around two tons of produce (125 buckets) to earn $50;

• Few social benefits. Despite their poverty, most migrant farmworkers are not eligible for social services, Buy Retin-A Without Prescription. Less than one percent of all migrant farmworkers use general assistance welfare, only two percent use Social Security, and fewer than 15 percent are Medicaid recipients; and

• Low education levels. The median highest grade of school completed by migrant farmworkers is sixth grade. Thirteen percent of migrant farmworkers have completed less than three years of schooling, and 13 percent have completed high school.

Economic Breakdown

• Migrant farmworkers serve as the backbone for a national multi-billion dollar agricultural industry;

• Without migrant labor, $5 billion to $9 billion in import-sensitive agricultural commodities would be lost;

• Without migrant labor 10 percent to 20 percent of fruit and vegetable production would shift overseas;

• Without migrant labor, Texas would face up to $455 million in agricultural production losses;

• Without migrant labor, Texas would face up to $90 million to 288 million in income losses;

• Migrant farm labor supports the $28 billion fruit and vegetable industry in the U.S.;

• The Texas Comptroller’s Office estimates the absence of the estimated 1.4 million undocumented immigrants in Texas in fiscal 2005 would have been a loss to our Gross State Product of $17.7 billion;

• The state comptroller’s office estimates that state revenues collected from undocumented immigrants exceed what the state spent on services, with the difference being $424.7 million; and

• The state comptroller’s office found that the costs of the underground construction industry are large. Buy Retin-A Without Prescription, The city, state, and federal governments were denied an estimated $272 million in 2005 because of employers who did not pay payroll taxes for Social Security, Medicare, workers’ compensation, unemployment insurance, and disability insurance; as well as another $70 million in lost personal income taxes, because there is no withholding when workers are paid “off the books”.

Dangers of Migrant Farm Work

• Farm work is the second most dangerous occupation in the U.S.;

• Migrant farmworkers suffer from the highest rate of toxic chemical injuries of any workers in the U.S.; and

• Infant mortality rates are considerably higher among migrant farmworkers than the rest of the U.S. population.

••••••

Bill by Rep. Thompson, Rep. Muñoz to increase punishments against human smugglers, protect victims of sexual abuse, approved by House of Representatives


By DAVID A, Buy Retin-A Without Prescription. DÍAZ

More protections for women and children in Texas who are exploited by human traffickers, along with stiffer punishments for those smugglers, generic Retin-A, were approved by the House of Representatives on Tuesday, April 16, said Rep. Sergio Muñoz, Jr., D-Mission, a joint author of the legislation.

House Bill 8, whose lead author is Rep. Senfronia Thompson, D-Houston, is the state’s most recent effort to combat human trafficking, a global problem which is growing in Texas. Buy Retin-A Without Prescription, “House Bill 8 would resolve conflicting protective order statutes, adds trafficking of persons and compelling prostitution to the list of offenses ineligible for parole, adds sex trafficking of a minor and compelling prostitution to the list of offenses ineligible for community supervision, includes trafficking of persons in the list of crimes eligible to receive reimbursement for relocation expenses under the Crime Victims Compensation Act, and enhances certain penalties for trafficking related offenses,” Thompson explained.

HB 8 goes to the Senate, where it will be carried by Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, D-San Antonio.

“Human trafficking is modern-day slavery,” Muñoz said. “Many victims are brought through Texas through our border with Mexico, which stretches almost 1,300 miles in length. We have a responsibility to continue to fight this criminal enterprise, which especially exploits and endangers women and children.”

Supporters of HB 8 said the changes are necessary to continue the state's efforts to combat the horrific crime of human trafficking, especially the sex trafficking of children, Buy Retin-A Without Prescription.

Texas has been identified as a hub for international human trafficking, and in response, the state has enacted numerous laws to combat these crimes. These have included laws to punish traffickers, protect victims, and establish the state's Human Trafficking Prevention Task Force. HB 8 would continue these efforts by focusing on crimes related to the sex trafficking and exploitation of children.

In December, details on the issue were published in the Texas Human Trafficking Prevention Task Force Report 2012. Buy Retin-A Without Prescription, Among the many highlights were the following findings:

• Evidence suggests traffickers are taking advantage of the state’s vast borders, intricate roadways, robust economy, booming tourism, and expansive agricultural industries. Canada, mexico, india, Although accurately reflecting the prevalence of this crime across the state is still elusive, Texas is able to capture limited data on human trafficking and human trafficking-related offenses using the Human Trafficking Reporting System (HTRS).

HTRS is a secure, online portal where Department of Justice (DOJ)-funded task forces and voluntary participants from other law enforcement agencies enter data on suspected human trafficking incidents, offenders, and victims.

Based solely on the limited information entered into HTRS by the 11 Texas-based reporting agencies, there have been 678 human trafficking-related incidences and 167 suspects arrested from January 1, 2007, to December 14, 2012. Of those arrested, 79 were ultimately convicted.

In addition, according to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ), 13 inmates are currently serving sentences for a human trafficking-related offense, and 52 inmates are serving sentences for compelling prostitution, Buy Retin-A Without Prescription.

The number of arrests and inmates does not necessarily illustrate the extent of human trafficking across Texas. The better measure is the number of victims that have been identified by reporting law enforcement agencies. Victim information is gathered by the two Texas-based Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Innocence Lost Task Forces – one each in Dallas and Houston – and from the HTRS data base.23 Based on this data, 768 human trafficking victims have been reported in Texas.

In 2009, the State of Texas took major steps to fight human trafficking by creating the Texas Human Trafficking Prevention Task Force. Buy Retin-A Without Prescription, On February 12, Van de Putte and Thompson introduced HB 8 that combined all of the recommendations presented in the Task Force’s 2012 report, which is accessible on the Office of the Attorney Generals website at www.texasattorneygeneral.gov.

Muñoz signed on as a joint author of HB 8 on March 12.

BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE

According to the bill analysis of the measure, House Bill 8, as approved by the House of Representatives:

The 81st Legislature created the Human Trafficking Prevention Task Force in an effort to create a statewide partnership among law enforcement agencies, social service providers, nongovernmental organizations, legal representatives, and state agencies that fight against human trafficking. The task force worked to develop policies and procedures to assist in the prevention and prosecution of human trafficking crimes and to propose legislative recommendations that better protect both adult and child victims.

HB 8 seeks to aid the prevention and elimination of the crime of human trafficking by enacting recommendations made by the task force in its recent report to the legislature.

HB 8 would make several changes to Penal Code, Code of Criminal Procedure, and Government Code statutes dealing with prostitution, the trafficking of persons, and other crimes, including:

• Increasing the penalties for certain offenses related to prostitution involving children;

• Eliminating the statute of limitations for compelling prostitution of children;

• Prohibiting jury-recommended probation and restricting parole consideration for certain offenses;

• Adding some prostitution-related offenses to the sex offender registry;

• Merging provisions dealing with protective orders for victims of human trafficking and certain other victims; and

• Allowing victims of trafficking to receive relocation expenses from the crime victims compensation fund and to participate in a state address confidentiality program, Buy Retin-A Without Prescription.

ANALYSIS

HB 8 reenacts and amends Article 7A.01(a), Code of Criminal Procedure, as amended by Chapters 1 (S.B. 24) and 135 (S.B, get Retin-A. 250), Acts of the 82nd Legislature, Regular Session, 2011, to include a victim of any trafficking of persons offense, rather than only certain trafficking of persons offenses, among the persons authorized to file an application for a protective order without regard to the relationship between the applicant and the alleged offender. The bill clarifies that a parent or guardian acting on behalf of a person younger than 18 years of age who is the victim of any trafficking of persons offense is also authorized to file such application. Buy Retin-A Without Prescription, HB 8 amends the Code of Criminal Procedure to authorize a court to enter a temporary ex parte order for the protection of a protective order applicant or any other member of the applicant's family or household if the court finds from the information contained in the application that there is a clear and present danger of sexual abuse or trafficking.

HB 8 reenacts and amends Article 7A.03, Code of Criminal Procedure, as amended by Chapters 135 (S.B. 250) and 238 (H.B. 649), Acts of the 82nd Legislature, Regular Session, 2011, to expand the offenses for which a court is required to find whether there are reasonable grounds to believe that a protective order applicant is the victim to include sexual abuse and trafficking and to require the court to include such findings in the issued protective order.

HB 8 amends the Code of Criminal Procedure to clarify that a parent or guardian acting on behalf of a victim of any trafficking of persons offense or a compelling prostitution offense who is younger than 18 years of age is authorized to file at any time an application with the court to rescind a protective order.

HB 8 reenacts and amends Article 12.01, Code of Criminal Procedure, as amended 1 (S.B, Buy Retin-A Without Prescription. 24), 122 (H.B. 3000), 222 (H.B. 253), and 620 (S.B. 688), Acts of the 82nd Legislature, Regular Session, 2011, to change the statute of limitation for compelling prostitution from 10 years from the victim's 18th birthday to no limitation. Buy Retin-A Without Prescription, HB 8 amends the Code of Criminal Procedure to make a defendant convicted of compelling prostitution or trafficking of persons ineligible for jury recommended community supervision. The bill includes a victim of "trafficking of persons," defined for purposes of crime victims' rights as any offense that results in a person engaging in forced labor or services and that may be prosecuted under specified laws, Japan, craiglist, ebay, overseas, paypal, among the persons eligible to receive a onetime-only assistance payment in a specified amount for certain relocation and housing expenses and among the persons for which the attorney general is required to establish an address confidentiality program. The bill includes a conviction of or an adjudication for or based on certain prostitution and compelling prostitution offenses in the definition of "reportable conviction or adjudication," for purposes of the sex offender registration program.

HB 8 amends the Government Code to make an inmate serving a sentence for compelling prostitution or trafficking of persons ineligible for release on parole until the inmate's actual calendar time served, without consideration of good conduct time, equals one-half of the sentence or 30 calendar years, whichever is less, but in no event less than two calendar years.

HB 8 amends the Penal Code to increase from younger than 14 years of age to younger than 18 years of age the age at which a person being solicited in a prostitution offense results in a penalty enhancement to a felony of the second degree and to specify that this enhancement occurs regardless of whether the actor knows the age of the person solicited at the time the actor commits the offense.

HB 8 enhances from a Class A misdemeanor to a felony of the second degree the penalty for promotion of prostitution if the actor solicits a person younger than 18 years of age to engage in prostitution with another or receives money or other property pursuant to an agreement to participate in the proceeds of prostitution services rendered by a person younger than 18 years of age, Buy Retin-A Without Prescription.

HB 8 enhances from a felony of the third degree to a felony of the first degree the penalty for aggravated promotion of prostitution if the prostitution enterprise uses as a prostitute one or more persons younger than 18 years of age.

HB 8 increases to a felony of the second degree the penalty enhancements for all obscenity offenses resulting from the showing at trial that the obscene material that is the subject of the offense visually depicts certain obscene activities engaged in by a child younger than 18 years of age or in an image depicting a child.

HB 8 creates an offense if a person knowingly or intentionally accesses with intent to view, visual material that visually depicts a child younger than 18 years of age at the time the image of the child was made who is engaging in sexual conduct, including a child who engages in sexual conduct as a victim of an offense under Section 20A. (a) (5), (6), (7), or (8). Buy Retin-A Without Prescription, HB 8 creates an offense if a person knowingly or intentionally accessed the visual material in good fail solely as a result of an allegation of a violation of Section 43.621.

HB 8 reenacts and amends Section 71.02(a), Penal Code, as amended by Chapters 68 (S.B. 934) and 223 (H.B. 260), Acts of the 82nd Legislature, Regular Session, 2011, to expand the conduct that constitutes the offense of engaging in organized criminal activity to include the commission or conspiracy to commit continuous sexual abuse of a young child or children or solicitation of a minor, with the intent to establish, maintain, or participate in a combination or in the profits of a combination or as a member of a criminal street gang.

HB 8 makes technical corrections and repeals Chapter 7B, Code of Criminal Procedure, relating to protective orders for victims of trafficking of persons, Retin-A class.

••••••

Senate approves tuition revenue bond legislation that includes $98 million for new science building at UT-Pan American


By WILL KRUEGER

The Texas Senate on Tuesday, April 23, authorized $2.4 billion in tuition revenue bonds (TRBs) to finance $4.1 billion in construction costs for 60 projects at 58 colleges and universities, Buy Retin-A Without Prescription.

If approved by the Texas Legislature and Gov. Rick Perry, Senate Bill 16 would include $98 million for a Science Building II at the University of Texas-Pan American and $60 million for a new campus for the University of Texas-Brownsville.

Passed unanimously with strong bipartisan support, SB 16 was authored by Sen. Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo, Sen. Buy Retin-A Without Prescription, Kevin Eltife, R-Tyler, and Sen. Kel Seliger, R-Amarillo.

“To keep up with enrollment growth, the Texas Legislature traditionally has passed a TRB bill every other legislative session," Zaffirini said. "It has been seven years, however, since we last passed one, and our colleges and universities are bursting at the seams.”

In 2006, Zaffirini sponsored and passed House Bill 153 by Rep. Geanie Morrison, R-Victoria, which authorized $1.86 billion in tuition revenue for 63 projects.

Generally, tuition revenue bonds are issued by individual universities and are backed by the expected future revenue raised from tuition, Buy Retin-A Without Prescription. The State of Texas traditionally has offset the payment of the debt service on these bonds, enabling the universities to receive a much lower interest rate on the market because the bonds essentially are backed by the full faith and credit of the state.

”The economy is recovering, interest rates and construction costs are relatively low, and Texas university enrollments are spiraling upward,” Zaffirini said. “This is the perfect time to invest in these projects that would create jobs and have a dramatic economic multiplier effect on our state.”

According to a bill analysis of SB 16:

Tuition Revenue Bonds (TRB) have been the favored method of the legislature for funding construction in higher education. Classrooms, laboratories, libraries, Discount Retin-A, academic centers, and other critical infrastructure are well suited to long-term financing. Buy Retin-A Without Prescription, Institutions have proven adept at refinancing their issued TRBs along with more traditional sources of debt financing, thereby saving the state millions of dollars in debt service over the life of the bonds.

Since 1997, the Texas Legislature established an informal agreement that new bonding authority would be authorized for TRBs every other Regular Legislative Session. Based on this agreement, the next TRB bill was expected to pass in 2009; however, no new TRBs have been authorized since 2006.

During the 2013 Senate Finance Committee hearings on Senate Bill 1, chancellors and presidents testified about their critical construction needs and about the scarcity of alternative revenue sources.

They attested that nearly every proposed project would not be feasible without the issuance of a TRB. Funding these needs is timely, especially because interest rates are relatively low, as are construction costs, and rapid enrollment in higher education over the last decade has strained the state's aging existing infrastructure, Buy Retin-A Without Prescription. The state must invest now to ensure the education of a booming population to meet the needs of a modern economy and secure Texas' economic vitality.

SB 16 includes TRBs for 60 projects at 58 institutions and system offices, totaling $4.1 billion in construction costs and $2.4 billion in TRB authorizations.

SB 16 amends current law relating to authorizing the issuance of revenue bonds to fund capital projects at public institutions of higher education.

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Senate passes three bills by Sen. Zaffirini to improve state contracting and procurement


By WILL KRUEGER Buy Retin-A Without Prescription, The Texas Senate in the final days of April passed three bills by Sen. Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo, that improve the State of Texas’ contracting practices, including by enhancing contract oversight and uniformity.

“Texas state agencies and institutions of higher education manage thousands of contracts valued cumulatively at more than $100 billion," said Zaffirini, Chair of the Senate Government Organization Committee. "Proper oversight and transparency in state contracting is critical, especially because so much taxpayer money is at stake.”

Zaffirini's Senate Bill 1680 promotes greater uniformity in state contracts. The bill would standardize contract management practices for all state agencies, including by requiring that the agencies establish formal contracting guidelines, maintain all contracts in a central location and include uniform provisions in each contract. The bill also would prohibit a major contract from being negotiated by only one employee, Buy Retin-A Without Prescription.

"Greater uniformity in state contracting would help ensure the best value for each dollar spent," Zaffirini said.

Her SB1681 enhances contract oversight by requiring the Texas comptroller to develop training programs for contract managers, consult with state agencies in developing forms, contract terms and criteria, and establish a uniform evaluation process and include performance reviews in a vendor tracking system, where can i find Retin-A online.

“Contracts must be monitored closely at every stage of the process, including solicitation, negotiation and management,” Zaffirini said. “Proper contract oversight helps mitigate risk, contain costs and ensure quality and efficiency.”

SB 1679 by Zaffirini would improve state agency procurement by requiring the comptroller to leverage state spending in the most efficient manner and to determine if certain services may be leveraged for multiple state agencies in one statewide contract at a cost savings. Buy Retin-A Without Prescription, A champion for government efficiency and transparency, Zaffirini has introduced legislation to improve state contracting practices each legislative session since 2005.

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South Texas College poll of students, faculty, finds opposition to measure that would allow persons with concealed handgun licenses to bring weapons onto higher education campuses


By MARTHA E. PEÑA

In response to Texas House Bill 972, legislation that would allow licensed concealed handguns on campus, South Texas College’s Student Government Association (SGA) found it necessary to voice the opinions of the student body they represent.

By conducting surveys at the Pecan, Mid-Valley and Starr County campuses, STC’s SGA was able to gauge where the students stand on legislation that could invariably affect campus life.

The purpose of the SGA is to promote the general welfare of the student body by serving as an advocate for student issues and presenting the student perspective to College administration, faculty and College committees.

Their role is pivotal as the bill – also known as the Campus Personal Protection Act – by Rep, Buy Retin-A Without Prescription. Allen Fletcher, R-Cypress, also would provide Texas public universities and colleges a chance to opt out if they first consult with students, faculty and staff.

“I was a Border Patrol Explorer for four years at Post No. 735, so I have a different perspective than most students,” explains Rubén Cantú, Jr., a STC Starr County Campus SGA senator. “You never know the state of mind someone is in. Buy Retin-A Without Prescription, However, I’m here to represent the entire student body, not my own personal beliefs.”

Cantú’s own beliefs did so happen to reflect those of the majority of STC’s student body.

Approximately 558 students were surveyed with decisive results. Sixty-five percent of STC students voted against allowing concealed handguns on campus for all students, faculty and staff. Where can i buy cheapest Retin-A online, Denisse Carreón, STC Mid-Valley Campus SGA President, elaborates on the opinions of students on campus.

“The general consensus is that students would feel unsafe, and many worry that it would affect their everyday life on campus,” Carreón said. “Of course, there are those that are for concealed handguns on campus, but they are in the minority.”

“At South Texas College students expect teachers to teach, students to learn and the police to do the policing,” said Armando Ponce, STC Coordinator of Student Activities, Buy Retin-A Without Prescription. “The focus for everyone is providing quality education in a safe learning environment.”

••••••

Pharr 19-year-old who bragged on Facebook of involvement with drug cartel and torture sentenced to almost 10 years in federal prison


By ANGELA DODGE

Erick Ochoa-Rodríguez, 19, of Pharr, has been ordered to prison for almost 10 years following his convictions for conspiring to possess and actually possessing marijuana with the intent to distribute the controlled substance to another, United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson announced on Wednesday, April 24.

A federal jury in McAllen convicted Ochoa-Rodríguez on Thursday, February 7, 2013, after nearly three days of trial.

On April 24, U.S. District Judge Micaela Álvarez, who presided over the trial, handed Ochoa-Rodríguez a total of 115 months in federal prison, which will be followed by a four-year-term of supervised release. Buy Retin-A Without Prescription, At the April 24 hearing, the government presented additional evidence showing Ochoa-Rodríguez to be a cartel operative involved in drug and firearms trafficking, bulk cash smuggling and cartel violence. In many of the Facebook posts introduced at the sentencing hearing, he bragged about trafficking cocaine, selling firearms, recruiting drug dealers and even kidnapping other rival drug dealers before taking them to Mexico where they would be tortured and killed.

In handing down the sentence, Álvarez noted the evidence introduced at trial and during the hearing today indicated that Ochoa-Rodríguez was “in the [drug trafficking] business” and had “embraced this life as a drug trafficker.”

Álvarez went on to say that any other sentence would only serve to “encourage this lifestyle” and his continuing “disregard for the law.” Álvarez further mentioned that while the defendant’s age would usually serve to lessen his sentence, he has repeatedly relied upon his age to manipulate law enforcement and the courts.

Ochoa-Rodríguez was charged in an indictment returned on November 13, 2012.

During trial, the government presented photos, Retin-A reviews, maps and witness testimony illustrating his attempt to receive 175 kilograms of marijuana from unknown individuals carrying the drugs from the border.

On October 29, 2012, Border Patrol agents encountered Ochoa-Rodríguez as he drove his vehicle to a planned rendezvous near a levee within two miles of the border with seven individuals who had carried marijuana bundles from the Rio Grande River, Buy Retin-A Without Prescription.

He immediately fled, first in his vehicle and then on foot into a densely forested area. Agents ultimately located him as he was lying in the fetal position within dense overgrowth through the use of a canine unit, trackers and aircraft.

The government also proved this was not the defendant’s first encounter with law enforcement. Additional evidence demonstrated that Ochoa-Rodríguez received 125 kilograms of marijuana from undercover federal agents on June 11, 2012, before successfully fleeing law enforcement on that occasion. Buy Retin-A Without Prescription, Further investigation revealed his growing ties with Mexican Drug Cartels and his involvement in cocaine and firearms trafficking, money laundering and other cartel-related crimes.

The government introduced photographs depicting Ochoa-Rodríguez with firearms and large sums of Untied States currency.

He will remain in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.

This case is being investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration, Border Patrol and Homeland Security Investigations. Assistant United States Attorney Grady J, Buy Retin-A Without Prescription. Leupold is prosecuting the case.

••••••

Mexican-origin Hispanics in the United States reaches record 33.7 million, Census reports


By RUSS OATES

A record 33.7 million Hispanics of Mexican origin resided in the United States in 2012, according to a new analysis of Census Bureau data by the Pew Research Center. This estimate includes 11.4 million immigrants born in Mexico and 22.3 million born in the U.S. who self-identify as Hispanics of Mexican origin. Buy Retin-A Without Prescription, Mexicans are by far the largest Hispanic-origin population in the U.S., accounting for nearly two-thirds (64%) of the U.S. Hispanic population in 2012. Hispanics of Mexican origin are also a significant portion of the U.S. population, accounting for 11% overall.

The size of the Mexican-origin population in the U.S. has risen dramatically over the past four decades as a result of one of the largest mass migrations in modern history, Buy Retin-A Without Prescription. In 1970, fewer than one million Mexican immigrants lived in the U.S. By 2007 it reached a peak of 12.5 million. Since then, it has declined as the arrival of new Mexican immigrants has slowed significantly. Today, 35% of Hispanics of Mexican origin were born in Mexico. Buy Retin-A Without Prescription, And while the remaining two-thirds (65%) were born in the U.S., 52% of them have at least one immigrant parent.

Before the 1980s, growth in the nation's Mexican-origin population came mostly from Hispanics of Mexican origin born in the U.S. However, from 1980 to 2000, more growth in the Mexican-origin population in the U.S. could be attributed to the arrival of Mexican immigrants. That pattern reversed from 2000 to 2010 as births surpassed immigration as the main driver of population growth.

The 11.4 million Mexican immigrants who live in the U.S, Buy Retin-A Without Prescription. make up the single largest country of origin group by far among the nation's 40 million immigrants. The next largest foreign-born population group, from greater China at 2 million, is less than one-fifth the size of the Mexican-born population in the U.S.

Mexican immigrants comprise by far the largest share of the unauthorized immigrant population in the U.S. More than half (55%) of the 11.1 million immigrants who are in the country illegally are from Mexico. Buy Retin-A Without Prescription, Internationally, the U.S. is far and away the top destination for immigrants from Mexico. Fully 96% of Mexicans who leave Mexico migrate to the U.S. Worldwide, nine percent of people born in Mexico live in the U.S. In addition, the U.S. has more immigrants from Mexico alone than any other country has immigrants, Buy Retin-A Without Prescription.

The characteristics of Mexican immigrants living in the U.S. have changed over the decades. Compared with 1990, Mexican immigrants in 2011 were less likely to be male, considerably older, better educated and have been in the U.S. for longer. Buy Retin-A Without Prescription, This report includes demographic, income and economic characteristics of the foreign-born and native-born Mexican-origin populations in the U.S. and compares them with the characteristics of all Hispanics. It covers immigration status, language, age, marital status, fertility, regional dispersion, educational attainment, income, poverty status, health insurance and homeownership.

The report, A Demographic Portrait of Mexican-Origin Hispanics in the United States, was written by Ana González-Barrera, research associate with the Pew Hispanic Center, and Mark Hugo López, associate director of the Pew Hispanic Center. It is available at the Pew Research Center's website, www.pewresearch.org.

Pew Research Center is a nonpartisan source of data and analysis. It does not take advocacy positions. Its Hispanic Center, founded in 2001, seeks to improve understanding of the U.S. Hispanic population and to chronicle Latinos’ growing impact on the nation.

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