Author Archives: Gerry Garcia

Anzalduas International Bridge Providing Relief to Delayed Travelers

As long lines begin to form at Anzalduas International Bridge, McAllen Bridge System employees are doing what they can to provide relief to road-weary travelers, including offering water and shuttle rides to those who may need to use the restroom facilities.   “CBP is doing a great job of trying to process the vehicles as efficiently and safely as possible, but there are times when the traffic does begin to back up,” said Rigo Villarreal, Superintendent of the McAllen Bridge System, which includes Anzalduas and the Mcallen-Hidalgo-Reynosa International Bridges. “During those long wait times, employees are out along the line, passing out water bottles to customers.”   Also on hand are police officers from the City of Mission Police Department who are assisting bridge staff with providing any support and work to vehicles that may be overheating or need some temporary servicing.   According to Villarreal, on average, the Anzalduas…

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     “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did.”    – Mark Twain Last week in the Texas Legislature. SENATE: The Senate was in session last Monday through Thursday. Last Thursday, they had their first Local & Uncontested calendar. Last Monday, the Senate gave preliminary approval to two bills and passed 9 bills including: SB 27 by Bryan Hughes (R-Mineola) allowing recovery of attorneys fees in frivolous regulatory proceedings. SB 244 by Brandon Creighton (R-Conroe) allowing school districts and charters to appoint school marshals. SB 254 by Jose Rodriguez (D-El Paso) allowing courts to appoint a receiver for a property in violation of a municipal ordinance. (additional information is in the Property section) SB 289 by Eddie Lucio, Jr. (D-Brownsville) requiring state and federal agencies to cooperate to secure reimbursement for housing needs in a disaster…

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86th Legislative Session Update #11

“Man has 12 billion brain cells, just to give you an idea of the unemployment situation.” STATEWIDE: Hurricane Harvey/Disaster Preparedness: Passed the Senate: SB 6 by Lois Kolkhorst (R-Brenham) would direct the Texas Department of Emergency Management at the Department of Public Safety to develop a model guide based on best practices to help local officials respond in the aftermath of a natural disaster. The committee substitute and two-floor amendments were adopted and it passed the Senate unanimously. SB 7 by Brandon Creighton (R-Conroe) would establish the Texas Infrastructure Resiliency Fund for flood mitigation projects identified by regional flood planning. The committee substitute and three-floor amendments were adopted and it passed the Senate unanimously. SB 8 by Charles Perry (R-Lubbock) would require the Water Development Board to facilitate creation of a statewide flood plan with local officials and stakeholders developing regional priorities. The committee substitute was adopted and it passed…

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86th Legislative Session Update #10

“There are always many choices, many paths to take, one is easy. And its only reward is that it’s easy.” Bill Filing Deadline – The deadline for legislators to file bills to be considered by the Texas Senate and House this session was 6:00 p.m. on Friday, March 8, 2019. The filing deadline does not apply to local bills, concurrent resolutions or simple resolutions. A total of 4,773 HB’s/HJR’s and 2,508 SB’s/SJR’s were filed for a total of 7,281 bills. 2,830 were filed in the last week. That compares to: 2019 bills filed by the deadline – 7,281 (up 627 over 2017) 2017 bills filed by the deadline – 6,654 2015 bills filed by the deadline – 6,107 2013 bills filed by the deadline – 5,665 2011 bills filed by the deadline – 5,672 2009 bills filed by the deadline – 7,136 This past Thursday, the Senate State Affairs Committee…

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86th Legislative Session Update #9

“Not the cry, but the flight of the wild duck leads the flock to follow.” Chinese Proverb The Texas Legislature was in session this past week. Here are some key happenings: Supplemental Appropriations – On Thursday, Governor Greg Abbott designated supplemental appropriations as an emergency item. His specific designation says, “Legislation relating to making supplemental appropriations and reductions in appropriations and giving direction including direction regarding reimbursement adjustment authority regarding appropriations.” SENATE: The Senate was in session this past Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of this week. On Wednesday, they recessed until Thursday for first reading and referral of bills to committees. On Monday, the Senate unanimously approved SB 3 by Jane Nelson (R-Flower Mound), which would provide a permanent $5,000 annual salary increase for classroom teachers. A Senate floor amendment added librarians. Senator Nelson said, “It has been a decade since teachers received a small raise from the state. It’s…

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McAllen Medical Center Becomes First and Only Level II Trauma Center in the Upper Valley

This impressive accomplishment demonstrates South Texas Health System’s ongoing commitment to ensure quality care is available for patients with life-threatening injuries or illnesses in the Rio Grande Valley. McAllen Medical Center, part of the South Texas Health System (STHS), is the first hospital in Hidalgo County designated as a Level II Trauma Center with 24/7 board-certified trauma surgeons immediately available to serve the Rio Grande Valley. The designation by the Texas Department of State Health Services was achieved following program verification by the American College of Surgeons and required that McAllen Medical Center meet the essential criteria that demonstrate trauma care capability and institutional performance. The Texas Department of State Health Services Trauma Designation Rules classifies both Levels I and II Centers as Major Trauma Centers since patient care delivery requirements are the same for both. We are proud to be designated as the first and only Level II Trauma…

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Upcoming Fusing Workshop at McAllen Stained Glass

Make a beautiful and functional work of art in just one session! We will guide you through the process and provide all the materials and tools needed for your special work of art. These pieces will be fired and picked up later. 16+ yrs. old. Prior glass cutting experience is not necessary. Advance registration required.  Space is limited. For your safety, closed-toe shoes are required in the classroom.   HANDKERCHIEF VOTIVE  WORKSHOP Tuesday, March 19, 2019 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM Class Fee:  $25   REGISTER FOR HANDKERCHIEF VOTIVE HERE   WILDFLOWER WORKSHOP Monday, March 25, 2019 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM Class Fee:  $75 and $125   REGISTER FOR WILDFLOWER HERE SERVING TRAY WORKSHOP Tuesday, March 26, 2019 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM Class Fee:  $70   REGISTER FOR SERVING TRAY WORKSHOP HERE MCALLEN STAINED GLASS     800 N. MAIN ST. STE. 400, MCALLEN, TX 78501   956.687.8682

86th Legislative Session Update #8

 “I dreamed a thousand new paths. I woke and walked my old one.” Chinese Proverb SENATE: The Senate was in session Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of this week conducting routine business. On Wednesday, they recessed until Friday for first reading and referral of bills to committees. On Wednesday, the Senate adopted SR 300, which increased the Senate Higher Education Committee from seven to nine members. Lt. Governor Dan Patrick named Senators Pete Flores (R-Pleasanton) and Jose Menendez (D-San Antonio) to the two new slots on the committee.   BUDGET: House Appropriations Committee: Subcommittee on Articles I, IV & V (General Government, Judiciary, and Public Safety & Criminal Justice) met on Monday to discuss budget recommendations for Article I and Article V agencies; and on Tuesday and Wednesday to discuss Article I, IV, and V agencies. Subcommittee on Article II (Health & Human Services) met on Tuesday to discuss budget items…

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86th Legislative Session Update #7

February 18, 2019 “One man with courage makes a majority.” Andrew Jackson Last week during the 86th Legislative Session, the following took place: BUDGET: Senate Finance Committee: This past Monday, the Senate Finance Committee took testimony on the following Article III Education Agencies: Texas Education Agency Teacher Retirement System Optional Retirement Program Higher Education Group Insurance Windham School District School for the Blind and Visually Impaired School for the Deaf This past Tuesday, the Senate Finance Committee took testimony on the following Article III Education Agencies: Texas A&M University System and Component Institutions Texas A&M University System Health Science Center and Agencies Texas State University System and Component Institutions University of North Texas System and Component Institutions University of North Texas Health Science Center This past Wednesday, the Senate Finance Committee took testimony on the following Article III Education Agencies: Texas Tech University System and Component Institutions Texas Tech University…

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McAllen Begins Outreach Efforts for U.S. Census 2020

The City of McAllen, in partnership with the U.S. Census, has already rolled out its first of many public service announcements regarding the 2020 Census, encouraging McAllen and the Rio Grande Valley to “Make Texas Count!” for next year’s census.  Featuring McAllen Mayor Jim Darling in English and McAllen Chief of Police Victor Rodriguez in Spanish, the message is a broad overview of why the census is conducted, why it is important, the various ways to fill out the Census and finally, how individuals can apply to help be a part of the Census team in McAllen and the Rio Grande Valley. In both videos, Mayor Darling and Chief Rodriguez encourage the community to fill out the Census to help make sure that everyone in Texas is counted. “This message is especially important in our part of Texas, the entire Rio Grande Valley,” said Mayor Darling.  “It is so important…

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STC’s President Reed honored in New York by Community College Baccalaureate Association

South Texas College President, Dr. Shirley A. Reed, was invited by the Community College Baccalaureate Association (CCBA) to accept the 2019 annual Pioneer Award on behalf of the College. The award recognizes an individual who has shown great leadership, as well as someone who went above and beyond to provide financial support and resources for a higher education institution. The event took place Saturday, Feb. 23 in New York City. The CCBA strives to promote better access to baccalaureate degrees on community college campuses and serves as a resource of information for community colleges interested in offering bachelor degrees. As the founding president, Dr. Reed developed STC from a “blank canvas” to serve South Texas, formerly a region that was once plagued by limited access to higher education and workforce training. Because of Dr. Reed’s leadership, STC is now Offering over 120 degrees and certificate options with 32 fully-online programs.…

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McAllen to Celebrate Women’s History Month, International Women’s Day

Mayor Jim Darling and the McAllen City Commission proclaimed the month of March as Women’s History Month in McAllen,  and March 8 as International Women’s Day in McAllen, in celebration of the of the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women.  City leaders were proud to point out that the City of McAllen is unique among Rio Grande Valley and border municipalities, with an equal number of men and women who are directors of the City of McAllen departments.    The world of work is changing, and with significant implications for women. “The City of McAllen is an organization where women flourish and is proud to boast an equal number of women and men in positions of leadership, influence, and decision and policy-making as directors within the organization, helping to bring new vision and perspective to the growth and direction of the municipality and more importantly, the community,” said Mayor…

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Passport Division open second Saturday of the month

The City of McAllen would like to remind residents that its Passport Division is open every second Saturday of the month. They will open Saturday, February 9. They will accept applications from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.   No matter where you go, a U.S. passport will get you back home. To learn more about travel requirements for U.S. citizens visit City of McAllen Passport Acceptance Facility is located in the Downtown Parking Garage at 221 S. 15th Street.

86th Legislative Session Update #5

Thanks to McAllen Mayor Jim Darling for the city’s legislative update and agenda.   At our next Government Affairs Council Meeting, on Wednesday February 27, we’ll have County Judge Richard Cortez share the county’s legislative agenda and issues. STATEWIDE: Texas Property Tax Reform and Relief Act – On Thursday (last week), Governor Greg Abbott, Lt. Governor Dan Patrick, and Speaker Dennis Bonnen held a joint press conference to announce their support for the Texas Property Tax Reform and Relief Act. They were joined at the press conference by Senator Paul Bettencourt (R-Houston), who filed SB 2, the Senate version of the bill; and Representative Dustin Burrows (R-Lubbock), who filed HB 2, the House version (the bills are identical). Governor Abbott said, “These two bills start the conversation for meaningful property tax reform and relief for all Texas taxpayers. As I said at the opening of the 86th Legislative session, we are going to solve school…

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