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Community Bike Share Program, latest national trend in mobility, to be added to Edinburg’s growing transportation system with help from Edinburg Economic Development Corporation

Featured: The Edinburg Mayor and Edinburg City Council, on Tuesday, January 3, 2016, continued to build on the city’s growing transportation system by moving forward with another cutting-edge trend in mobility – a Community Bike Share Program. In general, a bike sharing program is defined as an innovative transportation program, ideal for short distance point-to-point trips providing users the ability to pick up a bicycle at any self-serve bike-station and return it to any other bike station located within the system’s service area. The station shown here is on the Edinburg Campus of the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. 

Photograph By DAVID PIKE

With their full support, the mayor and city council members authorized the city manager to enter into an Interlocal Cooperation Contract between the city and university that will allow UTRGV to manage the Community Bike Share Program. “The City of Edinburg and UTRGV have been working on a Community Bike Share Program that will serve both the university community and the residents and visitors of Edinburg,” said Assistant City Manager Sonia Marroquín. “A bike share system can provide improved, safer bicycle and pedestrian commuting and recreational opportunities. This program will have a positive impact on community wellness by encouraging exercise and replacing some automobile trips with bicycle trips.” The Edinburg Economic Development Corporation is scheduled to pay for half of the total, two-year contract, which will not exceed $68,400, effective January 3, 2017 and ending on January 2, 2019. Agustín García, Jr. is Executive Director for the Edinburg EDC, which is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg Mayor and Edinburg City Council. “Among our many assets, Edinburg already features Interstate Highway 69, the South Texas International Airport at Edinburg, and a planned transit facility between City Hall and the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, and the mayor, city council, and Edinburg EDC and its board of directors, in conjunction with our legislative teams in Austin and Washington, D.C., continue to seek state and federal funds for these and other important infrastructure to serve our community, improve the quality of life, promote economic growth, and create more jobs,” said Agustín García, Jr. 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. and Mayor Richard García are not related.

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Agreement to keep congressional office in Edinburg, proposal to share contract fee for federal liaison team in Washington, D.C. set for action on Tuesday, January 3 by City Council

Featured: Congressman Vicente González, D-McAllen, poses with constituents Matthew and Claudia Martínez, also of McAllen, during González’ election night victory event on Tuesday, November 8, 2016 at the Embassy Suites by Hilton McAllen Convention Center.

Photograph By MARK MONTEMAYOR

Ongoing strategies to remain a center of legislative influence on behalf of its constituents will be considered on Tuesday, January 3, 2017 by the Edinburg Mayor and Edinburg City Council, which is scheduled to take action on two cost-sharing measures designed to keep the House District 15 congressional office in the city and to continue with the services of a federal liaison team in Washington, D.C., the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation has announced. Among the items set on the City Council agenda for its first regular meeting of 2017 are efforts to cover half of the lease for the district office of Congressman Vicente González, D-McAllen, and for the city and the Edinburg EDC to split the costs for Holland & Knight, LLP, located in Washington, D.C, which is serving as the legislative liaison for the two local government entities. 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.

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Democrat Vicente González, McAllen attorney who defends businesses and individuals against dishonest insurance companies, announces for Congress to succeed retiring U.S. Rep. Hinojosa

Lorena Sáenz González and attorney Vicente González

Featured: Lorena Sáenz González, a McAllen native, graduate of The University of Texas-Pan American with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology and a Master of Education Degree in Educational Administration, who was a former teacher and administrator with the Edinburg and McAllen school districts, on Friday, November 20, 2015, with her husband, attorney Vicente González, D-McAllen, founder of the Law Office of V. González & Associates, P.C., as he announced his candidacy for Texas Congressional District 15 to succeed retiring U.S. Representative Rubén Hinojosa, D-Mercedes.
Photograph By STEVE TAYLOR

Democrat Vicente González, a McAllen attorney who has protected South Texans against dishonest insurance companies, and has fought to provide healthy school buildings for students, on Friday, November 20, 2015, announced his candidacy to succeed retiring Rep. Rubén Hinojosa, D-Mercedes, to represent the people of Texas’ 15th Congressional District. “Our campaign is about getting the 15th District represented by someone who is capable of fighting and winning,” he said. “I have been doing just that for almost two decades”. González, 48, said he has the proven skills, energy, and experience needed to successfully champion the best interests of residents from all walks-of-life. “My education and professional achievements in representing homeowners, school districts, consumers and clients in their legal and business affairs, along with my experiences as a small business owner, uniquely qualify me for the position of congressman,” González said. He founded the Law Office of V. González & Associates, P.C. in 1997. Since then, his primary focus in law has been fighting for what he calls “victims of dishonest corporations”. González’ law firm has led litigation against some of the largest corporations in the world, with his work resulting in tens of millions of dollars in successful recoveries for his clients in recent years. He said that if he can successfully fight and win against the most powerful businesses, “I can certainly do the same in Washington, D.C. for Texas’ Congressional District 15.” Texas’ 15th Congressional District, in which Hidalgo County has the largest population, stretches from McAllen and Edinburg northward to include Jim Hogg, Brooks, Duval, Live Oak, Karnes, Wilson and Guadalupe counties. An estimated 700,000 residents live in the congressional district. As congressman, González said he would effectively serve constituents because he is capable of bringing jobs, fostering a favorable business environment that will create good, high-paying jobs, increase higher education resources and opportunities, and bettering the quality-of-life. “Our campaign is about Texas families who work 40 hours a week every week and still can’t make ends meet. We need more jobs and more higher wage jobs in our region. I will work to reach those goals and more,” said González, who said he came “from very humble beginnings” to achieve the American Dream. “I will tirelessly fight to protect U.S. programs that help the middle-class and the poor,” he promised. He emphasized his legislative efforts in Congress also would focus on helping women overcome obstacles in the workplace. “It’s about women getting equal pay for equal work. It’s about women getting paid maternity leave because that is right and just,” González said. “In this day and age, we cannot allow our mothers, our sisters, our daughters – any person – to be treated unfairly, including in the work place.” He was joined by his wife, Lorena Sáenz González, in providing the media with highlights of his platform. Democrats and Republicans will hold their party primaries in early March 2016 to nominate their candidates for the November 2016 election, which will determine who will be the new congressman/congresswoman for District 15 beginning in January 2017. The term of a U.S. congressman is for two years.

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Archer Fellows encourage students to consider a ‘life-changing’ semester in Washington, D.C.

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Featured, from left, Blanca Davila and Stephanie Méndez encourage students to apply for an Archer Fellowship. The application deadline for both the fall 2015 semester and the spring 2016 semester is Monday, February 23. For more information, contact Stephen Cisneros, Interim Director of Student Engagement, at 956-882-7152 or stephen.cisneros@utb.edu.

Photograph By LETTY FERNÁNDEZ

Stephanie Méndez and Blanca Davila are enthusiastic promoters of the Bill Archer Fellowship Program, an education program designed to provide students from throughout The University of Texas System with an intense learning and exploration experience in Washington, D.C. Students attending The University of Texas at Brownsville – who will be enrolled at The University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley in the fall – can apply to the Archer Fellows Program for the 2015–2016 academic year. Méndez, who will graduate from UT-Brownsville with her Bachelor of Business Administration in Marketing and Management in May, was an Archer Fellow during the fall 2014 semester. Davila, who will receive her Master of Public Policy and Management from UT Brownsville in May, participated in the Archer Graduate Program in Public Policy in summer 2014.

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Redistricting could be a treasure map for South Texas, McAllen and Mission, says Rep. Martínez

Leaders with the Renaissance Cancer Foundation on Wednesday, July 28, received a check totaling $3,500 on behalf of employees of Hidalgo County District Clerk Laura Hinojosa to help area patients. The money is part of the District Clerk Office’s Blues for Bucks Workplace Fundraising Campaign, which benefits local charitable organizations. The Renaissance Cancer Foundation is a private, non-profit organization established to help local cancer patients with the medical needs and emotional challenges related to the illness. “We are delighted to contribute to the Renaissance Cancer Foundation to assist in their efforts in addressing the needs of cancer patients in our region,” said Hinojosa. “We encourage other organizations to give of their time and/or money to this important endeavor. Together, our contributions can help make cancer services and education more accessible to the many friends and families who are affected by this disease and the community at large.” Featured, front row, from left: McAllen City Commissioner Jim Darling, who also serves as DHR General Counsel; Yadhira Y. Huerta, Cancer Care Coordinator; Norma Cavazos-Salas, D.O., Chief-of-Staff; and Sandra Yañez, Radiation Oncologist Director. Featured, back row, from left: Mario Lizcano, DHR Marketing Director; Chico Meyer, DHR Associate Administrator; and Ricardo Contreras, Chief of Administration and Public Information, Hidalgo County District Clerk Office. See story later in this posting.

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South Texas College students Juan Solis, Ariana Castellanos and Marisela Chávez show off the college’s 2010 summer enrollment figures in front of registration lines as the college gears up for an equally busy fall semester. Approximately 16,457 students took advantage of summer 2010 classes at STC, an increase of 3,820 students over the summer 2009 enrollment of 12,637 students. Geographically, the college saw large increases in summer enrollment at several of its campus locations. Summer enrollment was up 62 percent at the Mid-Valley Campus in Weslaco, 26 percent at its Pecan Campus in McAllen and 42 percent at its Starr County Campus in Rio Grande City. See story later in this posting. 

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María Medina, featured right, Director of Operations for The Boys & Girls Clubs of Edinburg RGV (Rio Grande Valley), on Thursday, July 22, was chosen as the 2010 Administrator of the Year for the South Texas Professional Association RGV Chapter. “It was such an honor and surprise to be selected for the award, considering the high caliber of club professionals that were nominated,” Medina said. “I know the value of working with youth and have spent more than three decades championing youth development for our kids.” The Administrator of the Year award recognizes a Boys and Girls Clubs professional who holds the title, duties and responsibilities of an executive director, assistant executive director, or director of operations within their organization, and who has made a significant contribution to the work of the Boys & Girls Clubs profession while in their current position. Teresa Walch, featured left, the Southwest Regional Vice President Boys & Girls Clubs of America, made the presentation to Medina. See story later in this posting.

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Kimberly Ann Rodríguez of Edinburg this summer in Houston participated in the National Youth Leadership Forum on Medicine (NYLF/MED), considered the nation’s foremost program in pre-medical education for high school students. Rodríguez, daughter of Johnny and Melissa Rodríguez, was joined with other high school students from around the country who demonstrate academic excellence, leadership potential and an interest in a career in medicine. NYLF/MED introduces outstanding high school students to the world of medicine. This 10-day program familiarizes students with professionals from some of the nation’s top medical centers and faculty from renowned institutions of learning. See story later in this posting.

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Someone will walk away with $100,000 in their pocket from the Jalapeño Golf Classic, hosted by the McAllen Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, on Saturday, August 28 at Los Lagos Golf Course in Edinburg. To qualify for the $100,000 Shootout, a contestant must be a participant of the Jalapeño and be an amateur player. Men will drive from 165 yards while women from 150 yards. Two lucky people will get to participate in the hole-in-one event. Sponsoring the $100,000 Shootout event is Deutsch & Deutsch of McAllen/Laredo. Featured at Los Lagos Golf Course promoting the event are, from left: Cynthia M. Sakulenzki, the president and chief executive officer for the McAllen Hispanic Chamber of Commerce;  Pres/CEO; Donna Saccomanno; John Haley, the Los Lagos golf pro; Ruth McCollough; Hector González; and Chuy Negrete, chair of the Jalapeño Golf Classic. More information on the golf classic or the $100,000 Shootout are available by calling the MHCC office at 928-0060.

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Hidalgo County Judge-Elect Ramón García on Monday, July 19, addressed the need for the Valley to have an extra congressional district during testimony he presented at the McAllen Convention Center before state lawmakers, including Rep. Armando "Mando" Martínez, D-Weslaco. The Mid-Valley lawmaker, who was appointed Chairman of the Judiciary and Civil Jurisprudence Subcommittee on Redistricting, said the stakes – and potential payoff – are high for South Texans in next spring’s legislative battle on legislative redistricting. "Make no mistake about it – we are talking about billions of dollars in additional state and federal funds for deep South Texas over the next 10 years – and it all revolves around a map-drawing process called legislative redistricting, where the boundaries of congressional, state senatorial, and state representative districts are created," said Martínez. "Even for people who could care less about politics, the stakes are enormous, especially for the Valley, which could gain power and money for every important program, from education to transportation to heath care." In the case of the Valley, one of the fastest-growing areas of Texas, the area is in good shape to get a new congressional district, with western Hidalgo County – including McAllen and Mission – and Starr County serving as the population base, he envisioned. See lead story in this posting.

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