County Judge Ramon Garcia and Commissioners were treated to breakfast and coffee by the UTRGV Office of Governmental and Community Relations prior to the start of today's meetings.
"On behalf of Dr. Guy Bailey, our Provost Havidan Rodriguez, our School of Medicine Dean Dr. Steve Lieberman, and all our administrators, faculty, staff and students, we thank you for your partnership and for your continued support of our UTRGV School of Medicine," said Veronica Gonzales, Vice President for Governmental and Community Relations.
The County has committed to pay $1 million each year in support of the medical school from 2014 until 2023. To date the county contributed $1 million in 2014 and 2015, respectively. The third installment of $1 million is scheduled for payment this week.
"Please accept this breakfast and a photo signed by our medical students as a small token of appreciation for all you do to support education and access to healthcare in Hidalgo County," Gonzales added.
Donna park renamed in honor of Commissioner A.C. Cuellar Jr.
Precinct 1 Commissioner A.C. Cuellar Jr. was honored with the renaming of Aurora Sports Park to the A.C. Cuellar, Jr. Sports Park. The 14 acre park located in a rural section of Donna includes five soccer fields and four baseball fields. It is surrounded by 20 oak trees and features a large pavilion with picnic tables for the community to enjoy.
Mike Rhodes, CEO of Rhodes Enterprises and the developer of the park, proposed the name change to the court as a token of appreciation for Commissioner Cuellar's years of faithful service to Precinct 1.
"Commissioner Cuellar has been a leading proponent of improving the physical health and quality of life of the residents in that area," said Rhodes. "This park will strengthen the community and make the area a more attractive area to live."
The Commissioners Court congratulates Commissioner Cuellar on this well-deserved honor.
Raul Lozano honored for 28 years of dedicated service to Hidalgo County
Raul Lozano will retire from Hidalgo County after 28 years of dedicated service. He was honored for his exceptional work and dedication.
Lozano is a graduate of Edcouch-Elsa High School and attended the University of Texas Pan American.
In 1988, Lozano began his career at the county working as the CDBG Manager for the Urban County Program. Ten years later he was named the Chief Administrator for Hidalgo County Precinct 1.
After serving for nearly three decades, Lozano looks forward to spending more time with his family and grandchildren.
Lozano was joined by his friends and family as he was presented with a plaque and resolution commemorating his retirement.
"It has been a pleasure to work with all the wonderful staff in Hidalgo County," Lozano said. "I especially want to thank Commissioner Cuellar for his support and for being such a wonderful leader."
Domingo "Mingo" Villarreal honored as he prepares to retire this month
Surrounded by family, friends and colleagues, Domingo “Mingo” Villarreal Jr. accepted a plaque and resolution commemorating his retirement from Hidalgo County after nearly three decades of public service.
Born in Cuevitas to Domingo and Susana Villarreal, he graduated from La Joya High School in 1967 and went on to attend Pan American University.
In 1987, Villarreal began his career with the county working for former Precinct 3 Commissioner Beto Salinas as an administrative assistant. During his time with the county he has worked under nine county judges and three commissioners.
For the past 16 years he has worked as a Coordinator for Precinct 3 Commissioner Joe M. Flores.
“I want to thank my family, who I love so very much, but I also want to thank my second family, all of my department and all county department heads plus the judge and commissioners,” said Villarreal. “I will miss everyone".
Villarreal said it has been a pleasure to work with Commissioner Flores, however he looks forward to spending more time with his family and helping his community.
County Clerk employee Evelia Morales honored for 35 years of public service
For more than 35 years, Evelia Morales has dedicated her career to serving the citizens of Hidalgo County in the County Clerk's office.
“Evelia is an absolute delight to work with and is full of knowledge. Anytime a question arose, I turned to Evelia and she always had the answers,” said Hidalgo County Clerk Arturo Guajardo, Jr.
Guajardo said he first met Morales when he interned in the County Clerk's office before heading off to college.
"Who knew that we would come full circle and end up working together again," Guajardo added.
Born in Elsa, Morales graduated from Santa Rosa High School in 1972 and soon began her career with the county in 1980.
Morales began working in Precinct 1 and later moved to the County Clerk’s office where she would stay and go on to work under the supervision of seven elected County Clerks. She has held several positions at the County Clerk’s office and in 2008 was promoted to a manager position supervising the Probate, Civil and Criminal departments.
After more than three decades of dedicated public service, Morales will retire from the County Clerk’s office on December 30 to spend more time with her family.
Rio South Texas Economic Council provides update on economic development programs
Hidalgo County and the Rio South Texas Economic Council have come together to develop and administer state and local economic development programs in order to stimulate, encourage, and develop commercial activity in the county.
With the assistance of RSTEC, the county intends to continue to develop an economic development program to promote business and commercial activity for the purpose of improving the economic competitiveness of the county and enhancing the development of regional industry clusters within the Rio Grande Valley.
RSTEC, a nonprofit organization, was created to promote the Rio Grande Valley for the purpose of generating opportunities that will result in economic expansion and diversification in Hidalgo, Cameron, Willacy and Starr Counties.
The Council offers resources that includes but is not limited to storytelling through traditional and social media, engagement with media partners, improving education by engagement with regional workforce events and education stakeholders.
John Austin Peña Memorial Center assists troubled youth
Representatives from the UTRGV School of Medicine were on hand to thank the court for allowing them to use the the John Austin Peña Primary Care & Substance Abuse Treatment Facility.
Hidalgo County’s first publicly owned drug treatment facility serves as a center for youth struggling with addictions. The county maintains the facility while offering the space to the substance abuse treatment provider that accepts all methods of payment.
“Thank you for allowing us to reside in the county building," said Linda S. Nelson, UTRGV Senior Director for Clinical Operations. "We believe that we are rendering a good service for youth and families.”
In partnership with Hidalgo County, the John Austin Pena Memorial Center helps educates the public on drug and alcohol abuse and offers programs to youth and families struggling to fight drug and alcohol abuse.
“The center offers community based health care programs and patients are seen from all across the county,” noted Hidalgo County Health & Human Services Chief Administrative Officer Eduardo “Eddie” Olivarez.
“We want them to have a productive adult life, be better prepared and be able to get a better job,” said Nelson. “We want them to go forward, whether it’s vocational or in an academic setting. Whatever it is, we want to give them the tools to move forward.”