Featured: Hollywood stars David Barrera, originally from San Juan, and his actress wife, María Canals-Barrera, will highlight South Texas International Film Festival 2016. This year marks the second anniversary of the event and the City of Edinburg is proud to welcome two of Hollywood’s finest.
Photograph Courtesy DANIEL MICHAEL SEKULA MEMORIAL LIBRARY
With multi-million dollar movie theaters already part of the growing entertainment industry in the city – including the Valley’s first IMAX set to open for business early next year – the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation on Tuesday, August 30, 2016, will consider a plan to help sponsor the second-annual South Texas International Film Festival 2016. The South Texas International Film Festival and Conference 2016 will be held at the Edinburg Conference Center at Renaissance on Friday, September 9, and Saturday, September 10, with a special Opening Night Screening to take place at Carmike 20 Cinemas in Edinburg the evening of Thursday, September 8. For more details about the South Texas International Film Festival, or to get involved, call Arts Coordinator, Magdiel Alfonso at (956) 383-6246 or visit http://www.stxff.us. In addition, the Board of Directors of the Edinburg EDC – which is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg Mayor and Edinburg City Council – in open session will also review the proposed budget for the upcoming year, consider the election of officers for the five-member governing board, and review possible action relating to agreements/contracts with the City of Edinburg regarding the purchase of surplus property and real property.
Featured: Leaders gathered in front of the Hidalgo County Courthouse in Edinburg in support of migrant farmworkers from the Rio Grande Valley during the 1966 melon strike that featured a walk from Starr County through Edinburg to Austin seeking better working conditions and pay for workers, which helped ignite the Chicano Movement in Texas.
Photograph Courtesy LA UNÍON DEL PUEBLO ENTERO (LUPE)
Edinburg and The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley on Friday, September 9, 2016, will serve as sites for the 50th anniversary celebration of the 1966 melon strike by Texas farmworkers that resulted in more civil rights for labor and Hispanics, and helped ignite the Chicano Movement in Texas.The event, which is being hosted by the United Farmworkers, will begin at 9 a.m. at the courtyard of the International Trade and Technology Building at the Edinburg university, 1201 West University Drive. At 9:30 a.m., participants will continue with a march to the Edinburg City Hall Courtyard, followed by a program inside the adjacent City Auditorium, located at 415 W. University Drive, beginning at 10 a.m. The announcement of the upcoming celebration came on Tuesday, August 23, 2016, during the public comment portion of the Edinburg City Council meeting at Edinburg City Hall. As part of that news, Mayor Richard García and the City Council – Mayor Pro Tem Richard Molina, Councilmember Homer Jasso, Jr., Councilmember J.R. Betancourt, and Councilmember David Torres – unanimously approved a city proclamation recognizing the impact and importance of the 1966 melon strike on the Valley and Texas. García also serves as a member of the Board of Directors of the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation, which is the jobs-creation arm of the Mayor and Edinburg City Council.
Featured, from left: Rep. Eddie Lucio, III, D-San Benito; Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg; and Claudia and Matthew Martínez of McAllen, on Thursday, August 18, 2016, at the Legislative Report Card luncheon, hosted by the Rio Grande Valley Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, at the Embassy Suites in McAllen.
Photograph By MARK MONTEMAYOR
The Texas Tribune will host a free, open-to-the-public lunchtime event — A Conversation with Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa and State Reps. Terry Canales and Bobby Guerra — from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Friday, August 26, at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley – Edinburg campus. The event will be held in the Community Engagement and Student Success (CESS) Building, located at 407 E. Freddy Gonzalez Drive, near the UTRGV campus in Edinburg. Parking will be available in front of the building (parking pass required; map). General registration is open at texastribune.org/events. Doors open at 11:30 a.m. Conversation begins promptly at 12 p.m. The discussion will be followed by an audience Q&A session. A light lunch will be provided. This session is presented by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas, supported by Methodist Healthcare Ministries of South Texas and hosted by the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. Additional support is provided by the Hatton W. Sumners Foundation. This series of conversations is generously sponsored by AT&T, BP, PepsiCo, Walmart and Southwest Airlines, the official airline of Texas Tribune Events. The conversation will be live streamed at texastribune.org/livestream, and the video will be available for viewing afterward. Evan Smith, the Texas Tribune’s co-founder and CEO, will serve as the moderator for the event.
Featured: Approximately 5,000 teachers and staff attended the Edinburg Consolidated Independent School District’s General Assembly on Wednesday, August 17, 2016 at the McAllen Convention Center. The school district is the largest employer in the city and in Hidalgo County. Ellie M. Torres, Secretary/Treasurer of the Board of Directors for the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation, serves on the Board of Trustees for the Edinburg school district.
Photograph By MARK MONTEMAYOR
For the second time this year, Edinburg registered the lowest unemployment rate among Valley cities, coming in at 5.5 percent for July 2016, tied with McAllen, according to statewide figures posted on Friday, August 19, 2016 by the Texas Workforce Commission. Edinburg’s 5.5 percent figure also represents the best showing for that month in the city since July 2008 (5.4 percent), the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation has announced. Edinburg and McAllen, with their respective 5.5 percent monthly unemployment rates, along with Harlingen (5.9 percent), were the only three cities in deep South Texas to post figures for July 2016 under six percent, the Texas Workforce Commission also found. In addition, the Texas Workforce Commission reported that there were 35,655 people employed in Edinburg during the month of July 2016. That performance represents an increase of 567 jobs in Edinburg when comparing the employment figures for July 2016 (35,655) and July 2015 (35,088). The state’s unemployment rate in July 2016 was 5.1 percent, compared with 4.8 percent during the same month in 2015.
Featured, from left: McAllen Mayor Jim Darling; Edinburg Mayor Richard García; Pharr Mayor Ambrosio Hernández, M.D.; and University of Texas System Chancellor William H. McRaven on Thursday, August 11, 2016 at the Edinburg Conference Center at Renaissance. The leaders participated in a panel discussion about the UT Rio Grande Valley School of Medicine, which has a major component in Edinburg. The Edinburg Mayor, Edinburg City Council, and Edinburg Economic Development Corporation played key roles in 2013 in securing a full-fledged medical school from the Texas Legislature for deep South Texas. In July 2016, the first class of medical students began their education at the $54 million Medical Education Building, which is located on the UTRGV campus in Edinburg.
Photograph By DAVID PIKE
Construction and related building activities in Edinburg from January through July 2016 have passed the $152 million level, the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation has reported, with the month of July 2016 accounting for almost $21 million of that amount. The Edinburg EDC, of which Agustín García, Jr. is Executive Director, is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg Mayor and Edinburg City Council. The Edinburg EDC Board of Directors is comprised of Mark Iglesias as President, Harvey Rodríguez, Jr. as Vice President, Ellie M. Torres as Secretary/Treasurer, and Mayor Richard García and Richard Ruppert as Members. Combined, building permits from January through July 2016 were issued for work valued at $152,426,011 compared with $78,554,684 for the same seven months in 2015. During July 2016, building permits for work valued at $20,681,153 were issued by the city, compared with $13,330,130 in July 2015. The top construction projects in Edinburg for July 2016, not including the value of the land, are: $9,430,920 – Wisconsin Street Housing LP, 2132 E. Wisconsin Rd., John Closner Subdivision; $2,800,000 – Edinburg Village Apartments, 701 S. 4th Avenue, Maverick Subdivision; $960,000 – Edinburg Consolidated Independent School District, 1202 N. Monmack Rd., Tex-Mex Subdivision; and $379,259 – South Texas Independent School District, 510 S. Sugar Rd., Tex-Mex Subdivision.
Featured: Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg, addressing South Texans during a Memorial Day event at the Brooks County Courthouse in Falfurrias on Monday, May 30, 2016.
Photograph By ALEX RÍOS
The annual Delta School Supply Giveway, which will donate key learning materials, ranging from pens and pencils to paper, erasers and notebooks, is underway and will wrap up on Thursday, August 18, 2016, when the donations will be distributed, while supplies last, to students enrolled in the Edcouch-Elsa, La Villa and Monte Alto school districts, Rep. Terry Canales has announced. “Throughout the state and nation, many families simply don’t have enough resources to properly provide the school supplies needed by their children,” the state lawmaker reflected. “But through the love and caring that our residents have for our communities and for our youth, these small acts of kindness are investments in all of our future and well-being.” Any student enrolled in the Edcouch-Elsa, La Villa, and Monte Alto school district is eligible, but each child and parent must be present to receive a backpack. Each child will get a backpack approved by the school districts, which means it is clear or mesh. In the backpack will be supplies to get a child started out for the year: pencils, folders, notebooks, tissues, glue sticks, erasers, pencil case, rulers, colored pencils and crayons. The backpacks with school supplies will be given away from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Carlos F. Truan Junior High Gym, located at 700 East Ciro Careers Drive in Elsa. There will also be a raffle of school supplies and various resources and service-oriented organizations at the event.
Featured, from left: Nick Cantú, Realtor/Owner, Jinks Realty, Mayor Pro Tem Richard Molina, and Abisai Y. Ortiz, Realtor, Jinks Realty, during the Jinks Realty Ribbon Cutting and Open House on Friday, May 6, 2016 at Grindstone Coworking, 506 W. University Drive in Edinburg. Not pictured are Lee Jinks, Broker/Owner, Jinks Realty, Jania Cantú, Realtor, and Mary Alice Palacios, Realtor (www. JinksRealty.com). In addition to new businesses opening in the city, Edinburg’s economy continues to show continuing growth based on other financial figures, including in retail sales activities, according to the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts.
Photograph By RONNIE LARRALDE
Edinburg’s retail economy during June 2016 showed a more than 8.5 percent improvement over the same month last year, a figure that is much better than the statewide average improvement of 1.8 percent for all cities, the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation has announced. For June 2016, Edinburg’s retail economy generated $2,000,505.08 in local sales taxes, compared with $1,843,334.30 during the same period in 2015, representing the improvement of 8.52 percent, according to the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts. During the first six months of 2016, Edinburg’s retail economy produced $14,288,346.32 in local sales taxes, compared with $13,591,448.24 for January through June 2016, representing an improvement of 5.12 percent. The local sales tax is used in Edinburg to help pay for many city services, while the Edinburg EDC uses its one-half cent local sales tax to help generate economic development in the city.
Featured: Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg, on Tuesday, July 5, 2016 at the Medical Education Building in Edinburg, which is a major component of the School of Medicine for the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. Canales was a cosponsor in 2013 of Senate Bill 24, authored by Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, D-McAllen, and sponsored by Rep. René Oliveira, D-Brownsville, which created a full-fledged medical school for deep South Texas.
Photograph By ALEX RÍOS
Under a measure being proposed by the Texas Department of Agriculture, which is being opposed by Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg, small business citrus and rose nurseries throughout Texas would pay dramatically higher fees to the state for exporting their products to the rest of the nation. Canales is the only Valley lawmaker among the 28 state legislators calling on TDA Commissioner Sid Miller, a Republican, to eliminate a proposed fee increase by the state agency for the issuance of phytosanitary certificates, which helps guarantee that plants and plant products exported by Texans are pest-free. The proposed fee increase would especially hurt small business owners, the House District 40 lawmaker noted.
Featured, on Wednesday, July 27, 2016, at the ECHO Hotel and Conference Center in Edinburg following the Public Affairs Luncheon, which was organized by the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce, front row, from left: City Councilmember David Torres; Elva Jackson Garza (Vice President, Edwards Abstract and Title Co.); Cris Torres (Vice President, Greater State Bank); David Salinas (President/CEO, Greater State Bank); Mayor Richard García; Guy Bailey, Ph.D. (President, The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley); Robert Lozano (Chairman of the Board, Greater State Bank); Agustín Lozano, Jr. (Bert Ogden Dealer Group); and Marty Martin (Rio Valley Realty). Back row, from left: Johnny Rodríguez (Bert Ogden Dealer Group); Mario Lizcano (Doctors Hospital at Renaissance); Jacob De León (Memorial Funeral Home); Sergio González (Rosie’s Flower Shop); Ricardo Hinojosa (Chief Financial Officer, Greater State Bank); Víctor Barbosa (Vice President, Greater State Bank); Claudia Alvarado (Officer, Greater State Bank); James Cano (Senior Vice President, Greater State Bank); Mark Hernández (Senior Vice President, Greater State Bank); and Michael Williamson (PlainsCapital Bank). Greater State Bank was the sponsor of the quarterly event.
Photograph By RONNIE LARRALDE
College football, which is currently being considered for the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, could have positive results far beyond the gridiron, according to Guy Bailey, Ph.D., the President of the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. Bailey, whose extensive professional credentials include serving as president of The University of Alabama and Texas Tech University, which have high-profile football programs, brought up the possible addition of the nation’s most popular college sport to UTRGV during his presentation on Wednesday, July 27, 2016 before a full house in the Hidalgo Banquet Room of the ECHO Hotel and Conference Center in Edinburg. “As we look to grow as a university, we look at the possibility of football, too,” said Bailey, who was the featured speaker for the quarterly Public Affairs Luncheon organized by the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce. “There are a number of reasons for having football. If you have been at places with football, you understand it is a galvanizing force for students and for your communities as well. If that happens, you will all understand what impact it will have.”
Featured, from left: Agustín García, Jr., Executive Director of the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation; City Councilmember Homer Jasso, Jr., Mayor Richard García; Mayor Pro Tem Richard Molina; Councilmember David Torres; Ellie M. Torres, Secretary/Treasurer, Board of Directors, Edinburg Economic Development Corporation; and City Manager Richard Hinojosa on Thursday, July 21, 2016, immediately following the ribbon-cutting for the U.S. Customs and Border Protection facility at the South Texas International Airport in Edinburg.
Photograph By RONNIE LARRALDE
Construction and related building activities in Edinburg from January through June 2016 have passed the $131 million level, the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation has reported, with the month of June 2016 accounting for almost $32 million of that amount. Combined, building permits from January through June 2016 were issued for work valued at $131,744,588, compared with $65,224,544 for the same six months in 2015. During June 2016, building permits for work valued at $31,699,427 were issued by the city, compared with $6,212,165 in June 2015. The most valuable projects, not including the value of the lots, which led the way in June 2016, were: $22,500,000 – Edinburg Legends LTD, 1815 W. Chapin St, Tex-Mex Railway Co. Survey Subdivision; $500,000 – The Shoppes at Rio Grande Valley LLC, 609 Trenton Rd., The Shoppes at RGV Subdivision; $450,000 – Kamel Investments LLC, 3020 W. Trenton Rd., Marvel Plaza Subdivision; and $400,000 – Edinburg Independent Consolidated School District, 310 E. Palm Drive, Tex-Mex Subdivision.