Featured: CBS News correspondent Mireya Villarreal, a 2001 graduate of the University of Texas-Pan American and a Valley native, will be sharing her inspiring story with more than 800 GEAR-UP students at 9 a.m. on Wednesday and Thursday, March 1 and 2, 2017, in the Library Media Theater on the Edinburg campus of the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. Her appearance is part of FESTIBA 2017, which is UTRGV’s annual Festival of International Books & Arts, an educational, entertaining week-long gathering that promotes literacy and appreciation of reading for all ages. FESTIBA lasts from Monday, February 27, 2017 to Sunday, March 5, 2017 on both the Edinburg and Brownsville campuses of UTRGV. The Edinburg Economic Development Corporation is a sponsor of FESTIBA 2017.
Photograph Courtesy of CBS NEWS
Possible agreements with nine business prospects, a pending lease renewal involving the District Office of State Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg, a real estate purchase under consideration, and a presentation from the Capable Kids Foundation highlight the agenda for noon on Tuesday, February 28, 2017 for the Board of Directors of the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation. The session, which is open to the public, will be held in the City Council Chamber of Edinburg City Hall, located at 415 West University Drive. The meeting also will be broadcast live on the Edinburg Cable Network, as well as made available in an archived version on the city’s website at:http://www.cityofedinburg.com/ecnlivestreaming.php. The Edinburg EDC Board of Director meeting will take place during the same week as FESTIBA 2017, which is the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley’s annual Festival of International Books & Arts, an educational, entertaining event that promotes literacy and appreciation of reading for all ages. FESTIBA begins on Monday, February 27, and continues through Sunday, March 5, 2017 on both the Edinburg and Brownsville campuses. The Edinburg EDC is a sponsor of FESTIBA 2017. The Edinburg EDC Board of Directors is comprised of Mayor Richard García as President, Harvey Rodríguez, Jr. as Vice President, Elías Longoria, Jr. as Secretary/Treasurer, and Richard Rupert and Dr. Peter Dabrowski as Members. Agustín García, Jr. is Executive Director for the Edinburg EDC, which is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg Mayor and Edinburg City Council. Agustín García, Jr. and Mayor Richard García are not related.
Featured, from left: Dalila Razo, Office Manager, Letty Reyes, Director of Business Development and Public Affairs, and Agustín García, Jr., Executive Director, who are on the staff of the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation, and acting on behalf of the Board of Directors of the Edinburg EDC, on Monday, February 13, 2017, present a $15,000 check from the Edinburg EDC to Letty González, President, Edinburg Chamber of Commerce, to help with the 49th Annual Fiesta Edinburg. Fiesta Edinburg will run from Thursday, February 23 to Sunday, February 26, 2017 at H-E-B Park, located at 1616 S. Raul Longoria Road.
Photograph By RONNIE LARRALDE
More than 15,000 local residents and visitors from as far away as San Antonio, drawn by two evenings of outdoor music concerts headlined by national and international stars, along with four days of one of the country’s top-rated carnivals, could set a record turnout for the 49th Annual Fiesta Edinburg on Thursday, February 23 through Sunday, February 26, 2017, reports the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation. “I believe we will break our records, and typically, we average 12,000 to 15,000 visitors for the four-day event, but with concerts, the carnival, the new venue, and the parade, we should surpass that figure,” said Ronnie Larralde, Director of Marketing and Special Events for the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce. “We have been promoting this event since December, and it has created the biggest buzz. Their is great entertainment coming, there has been a lot of promotion for our city, and it has continued to grow.” Major attractions are the Heart of America Carnival, regional food, arts/crafts plus the top notch musical entertainment, which include Josh Turner, Lauren Corzine, Eddie Sáenz, and The Powell Brothers on Friday evening, and Los Cadetes de Linares de Rosendo Cantú, Zamorales, Notable, and Resplandor on Saturday evening. Individuals may purchase tickets at http://www.hebparkrgv.com. For more information please contact the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce at 956/383-4974.
Featured: TownePlace Suites by Marriott in Edinburg, whose owners, the Qube Hotel Group of Carrollton, Texas, hosted a grand opening on Friday, February 10, 2017, is the first of its type for the famous Marriott International brand, considered one of the top hospitality companies in the world, according to Ron Stewart of Dallas, Area Vice President, Lodging Development for Marriott International, Inc. “We have been watching Edinburg for a while. I have heard a lot of interesting things about what is happening with the growth, and among the most impressive things now, there have been some really big changes, not just in the economic, housing and retail environments, but some of the projects I saw today were so impressive, such as Bob’s Steak & Chop House, with the Bert Ogden Arena construction finally going vertical, the soccer stadium complex (H-E-B Park). Those, to me, were very, very impressive.” Ideal for travelers who need accommodations for longer stays, this new property offers studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom suites with fully equipped kitchens, as well as separate living/working and sleeping areas.
Photograph By JERI DEATHERAGE
Featured: Mayor Richard García on Friday, February 10, 2o17, applauds the grand opening of the 95-room, TownePlace Suites by Marriott, located at 502 W. Trenton Road in Edinburg. The new hotel, a $10 million investment, is owned and managed by Qube Hotel Group of Carrollton, Texas. Along with the mayor in this image are, from left: Agustín “Augie” Lozano, Jr., Public Relations Manager, Bert Ogden Auto Group, and two-time Ambassador of the Year for the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce; Himesh M. Jeram, Chief Executive Officer, Qube Hotel Group; Mayor García, who also serves as President, Board of Directors, Edinburg Economic Development Corporation; Hiren M. Govind, Chief Operating Officer, Qube Hotel Group, holding son Zaylen Govind; Mohan Tewani, Chief Financial Officer, Qube Hotel Group; René Flores, Ambassador, Edinburg Chamber of Commerce, and Owner of The X-Factor; Brenda Garza, General Manager, TownePlace Suites by Marriott; and Shekhar Gianchandani, Chief Development Officer, Qube Hotel Group. The Edinburg EDC, of which Agustín García, Jr. is Executive Director, is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg Mayor and Edinburg City Council. In addition to the mayor, the Edinburg EDC Board of Directors is comprised of Harvey Rodríguez, Jr. as Vice President, Elías Longoria, Jr. as Secretary/Treasurer, and Richard Rupert and Dr. Peter Dabrowski as Members. Mayor Richard García and Edinburg EDC Executive Director Agustín García, Jr. are not related. “Such a major investment, the most recent of many outstanding businesses growing in our community or moving to our city, with more to come, is a reflection of the strong confidence that business owners, from independent, small family-owned stores to global corporations, have in our city, its future, and especially in our citizens,” the mayor said. “As I predicted during my State of the City Address less than a year ago, together, we are transforming Edinburg into a ‘Destination City’, a city that offers the best education, superb residential options for every level, and world-class cultural and sporting venues.”
Photograph By RONNIE LARRALDE
Featured: At the front podium on the floor of the Texas House of Representatives, Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg, on Tuesday, February 7, 2017, praises the virtues of the Rio Grande Valley and its beneficial economic and social impact on Texas and the United States. Flanking him, from left, are: Rep. Óscar Longoria, D-La Joya; Rep. R.D. “Bobby” Guerra, D-McAllen; Rep. Armando “Mando” Martínez, D-Weslaco; Rep. Ryan Guillén, D-Rio Grande City; Rep. René Oliveira, D-Brownsville; Rep. Eddie Lucio, III, D-Brownsville; and Rep. Sergio Muñoz, D-Mission.
Photograph By DAVID PIKE
Deep South Texas continues to grow as one of the state’s most important regions for trade, commerce, and culture, state lawmakers were reminded on Tuesday, February 7, 2017, during Rio Grande Valley (RGV) Day at the Texas Capitol, the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation has announced. Among the messages delivered to the state leadership was the Texas Legislature would be wise to continuing investing state resources and creating state laws and policies that will help the region’s extraordinary transformation in the past two generations from once being a major agricultural and ranching area, into building on its status as a growing national center of international trade, energy development, even future space flights. Those were among the highlights pointed out to the 181-member Texas Legislature and other statewide officials, including Gov. Greg Abbott and Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush, who met with a large delegation of Valley business, community, and political leaders during the one-day lobbying effort. Included among the 35 organizations and the more than 200 individuals who participated in the day-long event were the Edinburg Mayor, Edinburg City Council, the Board of Directors of the Edinburg EDC, the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce, and the Edinburg Consolidated Independent School District. 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 Mayor Richard García as President, Harvey Rodríguez, Jr. as Vice President, Elías Longoria, Jr. as Secretary/Treasurer, and Richard Rupert and Dr. Peter Dabrowski as Members.
Featured: The Center for Border Economic Studies (CBEST) of The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley on Friday, January 27, 2017, hosted its Economic Forecast Luncheon at the McAllen Public Library Conference Center. Visitors heard about the research and predicted outcomes of economic development in the area from speakers that included Francisco García Cabeza de Vaca, Governor of Tamaulipas, Mexico; Dr. Salvador Contreras, Director of CBEST; Dr. Dennis Jansen, Professor of Economics, Texas A&M University; María D. Juárez-Serna, Director of the UTRGV Small Business Development Center; and Dr. Keith R. Phillips, Assistant Vice President and Senior Economist, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, San Antonio Branch. Contreras addressed current and future regional economic activity, including the new, large retailers building in the McAllen-Edinburg-Mission area that place the MSA among some of the top metros in Texas, including San Antonio and Austin. The luncheon concluded with Gov. García Cabeza de Vaca, who told the crowd, “We can grow juntos (together) more than we can as two,” and encouraged our country to “build bridges, not walls.”
Photograph By SILVER SALAS
While the combined average of cities statewide in December 2016 showed a 0.9 percent decrease, Edinburg recorded a 1.33 percent increase in its retail economy, according to the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts. For the month of December 2016, Edinburg’s retail economy – as measured by local sales taxes generated from purchases of eligible goods and services – had the third-best showing among the Valley’s largest cities. That figure is based on sales made in December 2016 by businesses that report tax monthly; October, November and December sales by quarterly filers; and 2016 sales by businesses that report tax annually. The local sales tax is used in Edinburg to help pay for many city services, while the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation uses its one-half cent local sales tax to help generate economic development in the city. For December 2016, Edinburg’s retail economy generated $2,248,780.54 in local sales taxes, compared with $2,219,178.85 during the same period in 2015, representing the improvement of 1.33 percent, also according to the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts.
FEATURED, FROM LEFT: Claudia Jackson, Executive Director of Strategic Communication and Government Relations, Del Mar College, Corpus Christi; Barbara Canales, Attorney-at-Law, Corpus Christi; Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg; Dr. Gilda Ramírez, Vice President, Small Business & Education, United Corpus Christi Chamber of Commerce; and Rosie Gonzalez Collin, Director of Community Relations, Port Corpus Christi, meeting in Canales’ office at the State Capitol on Wednesday, February 8, 2017. The Coastal Bend delegation met with Canales to discuss pending legislation that will affect community colleges in Corpus Christi.
Photograph By CARLOS PIMENTEL
With Texas’ energy industry expected to grow in 2017, Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg, will play a key role on legislative matters that affect this vital economic force, which accounts for $13.8 billion in Fiscal Year 2015 ($15.7 billion in FY 2014) in taxes and royalties that directly fund Texas’ public schools, roads and emergency services. Canales on Thursday, February 9, 2017, was reappointed to the House Committee on Energy Resources, which has widespread jurisdiction over proposed laws and policies that, among its duties, deals with the conservation of the energy resources of Texas, the production, regulation, transportation, and development of oil, gas, and other energy resources, protecting the environment, and the activities of the Railroad Commission of Texas. The House District 40 state legislator, who is in his third two-year term, also was reappointed to the House Committee on Criminal Jurisprudence, which usually considers proposed measures designed to protect Texans from criminals. “I will be supporting efforts to let family violence victims know more accurately the whereabouts of convicted abusers when those criminals are out on bond for their violence, to develop classroom education to teach young people how to be in a healthy relationship, and to increase state funding for women’s shelters across the state,” he said.
Featured: Rep. Eddie Lucio, III, D-Brownsville, with former Rep. Verónica Gonzáles, D-McAllen, observing, on Thursday, January 26, 2017, addressed lawmakers and their staffs from upstate, renowned Valley health professionals, and area leaders at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley School of Medicine in Harlingen as part of the Rio Grande Valley Partnership tour for state legislators to answer questions about the state of medicine in the Valley.
Photograph By DAVID PIKE
The Mayor and City Council will part of a delegation that will be meeting with state lawmakers in Austin on Tuesday, February 7, 2017, helping promote the community’s and region’s top priorities for the ongoing 85th Regular Session of the Texas Legislature at the Capitol, the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation has announced. Since the mid-1990’s, the mayor, city council, and Edinburg EDC leadership have played active and successful roles in promoting the legislative priorities for their community at the State Capitol. Their efforts have resulted in passing state laws and policies that have had a huge beneficial economic impact on the city. From lobbying on behalf of the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley and its School of Medicine in Edinburg, to helping secure funding that has converted U.S. Expressway 281 into Interstate Highway 69, the mayor, city council, Edinburg EDC Board of Directors, and their respective staffs, have worked with the city’s state legislative delegation on behalf of their constituents. The Edinburg EDC, of which Agustín García, Jr. is Executive Director, is the jobs-creation arm of the Mayor and City Council. The Edinburg EDC Board of Directors is comprised of Mayor Richard García as President, Harvey Rodríguez, Jr. as Vice President, Elías Longoria, Jr. as Secretary/Treasurer, and Richard Rupert and Dr. Peter Dabrowski as Members. Edinburg EDC Board Vice President Rodríguez, Edinburg EDC Executive Director García, and Letty Reyes, Director of Business Development & Public Affairs for the Edinburg EDC, are scheduled to be in Austin as part of Rio Grande Valley Day. Mayor Richard García and Edinburg EDC Executive Director Agustín García, Jr. are not related.
Featured: Mayor Richard García makes a point to the audience during his State of the City Address on Thursday, April 24, 2014 at the Edinburg Conference Center at Renaissance.
Photograph By MARK MONTEMAYOR
Mayor Richard García has joined 28 other border leaders in asking Congress to oppose President Trump’s “reckless policies regarding our U.S. Border and Mexico, our neighbor and trading partner,” according to a letter dated Tuesday, January 31, 2017. The Edinburg Mayor, along with Hidalgo County Judge Ramón García (no relation), Brownsville Mayor Antonio “Tony” Martínez, and Rio Grande City Mayor Joel Villarreal were among the elected and appointed officials who signed the correspondence. The group’s concerns revolve around the public statements and actions, through presidential executive orders, issued by Trump about the Border Wall, immigration policies, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), and “border tax” on imports to the U.S. from Mexico. “The President’s recent executive actions and rhetoric threaten not only lasting damage to our country’s relationship with Mexico but severe economic consequences to Border communities and the United States as a whole,” contend the Edinburg Mayor and the other leaders. “We have much to lose as a nation with the approach that the President is taking and we urge you to stand up for our communities and economy in the face of this divisive and dangerous antagonism toward the Border and Mexico.” Executive Orders (EOs) are legally binding orders given by the President, acting as the head of the Executive Branch, to Federal Administrative Agencies. Executive Orders are generally used to direct federal agencies and officials in their execution of congressionally established laws or policies, according to ThisNation.com. Trumps’ executive orders are available online at:
Featured, from left: Erika Canales, seated, bears witness as her husband, Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg, takes the oath of office on the floor of the Texas House of Representatives at the State Capitol in Austin on Tuesday, January 12, 2016, as he begins his third term representing House District 40 in Hidalgo County.
Photograph By ALEX RÍOS
House Bill 326, which would prohibit an employer from keeping any portion of a gratuity paid to or left for a tipped employee, has been filed by Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg, as part of a series of proposals by Texas lawmakers designed to increase the minimum wage in Texas. HB 326 would benefit thousands of such employees whose hard work still leave them in poverty. “Every time a business is paid with a debit card or credit card, that firm must pay a fee for that financial service,” Canales explained. “But for waitpersons in restaurants – those professionals who provide excellent service and depend on gratuities to make a living – it is unfair if employers pay that fee from the worker’s tips.” In a related measure, Canales in 2015 voted for House Joint Resolution 26, which proposed an amendment to the Texas Constitution that would establish the minimum wage in Texas at $10.10 an hour, or the federal minimum wage, whichever is higher. House Joint Resolution 26 was defeated by Republicans in the House of Representatives on May 15, 2015. However, for the current five-month legislative session, which began in early January 2017, similar measures have been filed. According to the Center for Public Policy Priorities (CPPP), if legislation to increase the minimum wage is approved by the Texas Legislature later this spring and not vetoed by Gov. Greg Abbott, more than 67,000 workers in Hidalgo County, or about 43.1 percent of the labor force, would get a pay increase, Canales noted.
Featured, from left: Richard Sánchez, Associate Vice President for Governmental Relations, The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, and Verónica Gonzáles, Vice President for Governmental and Community Relations, the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, on Wednesday, December 7, 2016, presented a portrait of the inaugural class of students at the School of Medicine in Edinburg to Hidalgo County Judge Ramón García and the Hidalgo County Commissioners Court in appreciation for the financial help from the county. The county has pledged to support the medical school with annual contributions of $1 million for 10 years, beginning in 2014. To date, the county has provided $3 million to the medical school. On Monday, December 12, 2016, Mayor Richard García (no relation to the county judge) presented UTRGV leaders a check for $1 million from the City of Edinburg as part of Edinburg’s agreement to also help support the School of Medicine in Edinburg.
Photograph By EVANA VLECK
In December 2016, Edinburg reached the largest number of full-time employees for the year – 36,850 – according to the Texas Workforce Commission, and the city registered the second-best unemployment rate in the Valley for that month, the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation has announced. Edinburg’s unemployment rate for December 2016 came in at 5.1 percent, edged only by McAllen’s 4.9 percent unemployment rate, and ahead of Harlingen, which posted a 5.8 percent unemployment rate for that period. Those three cities were the only Valley communities with December 2016 figures under six percent unemployment. Also according to the Texas Workforce Commission, which on Friday, January 20, 2017 released the latest data on jobs in the state, Edinburg saw a growth of more than 1,000 jobs when comparing employment in December 2016 with December 2015. The Texas Workforce Commission reported there were 36,850 people employed in Edinburg during the month of December 2016. That performance represents an increase of 1,072 jobs in Edinburg when comparing the employment figures for December 2016 (36,850) and December 2015 (35,778). 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 Mayor Richard García as President, Harvey Rodríguez, Jr. as Vice President, Elías Longoria, Jr. as Secretary/Treasurer, and Richard Ruppert and Dr. Peter Dabrowski as Members. Richard García and Agustín García, Jr. are not related.