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General Interest General Interest

A dream ride for Freddy

20130922 Freddy Thrash Dream Ride lg-03Few things in Freddy Thrash’s life have been easy.

At 10, Thrash was put into the foster care system. At 11 he was taken to a center for children with disabilities and not expected to live to see his 13th birthday. And now at 31, Thrash has been diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer doctors said will kill him in a matter of months.

So when Freddy expressed a desire to ride in a motorcycle, his church family jumped to help him fulfill his dream, a task far easier said than done. That’s because Freddy has Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD), a disorder caused by a mutation in the dystrophin gene, which has resulted in him being wheelchair bound for most of his life.

Shortly after Freddy was diagnosed with cancer, he shared one of his bucket list wishes with Conway Avenue Baptist Church’s youth pastor Jeff Vaughn. It was to ride with the Blue Knights Motorcycle Club, of which he is an honorary member. That was when Vaughn got the ball rolling on an event he named Freddy’s Dream Ride.


Mobile stations around Hidalgo County to offer Election Identification Certificates

Hidalgo-County-SealElection Identification Certificates (EICs) will be available from mobile stations throughout Hidalgo County for a week beginning Wednesday, Oct 16.

EICs are available without charge to qualified Texas voters who do not have an approved form of photo ID, which is now required for voting in person. The Nov. 5 election will be the first statewide election with photo ID requirements in effect.

"Accommodating my constituency to be part of the election process is one of the most sacred duties I have,” State Rep. Sergio Muñoz Jr. stated in a news release. "Although I did not favor the voter ID law when it was proposed in 2011, it is the law of the land, and my intention with these mobile certificate stations is to allow all Texans here in deep South Texas the opportunity to have the tools they need to have a voice at the ballot box."


National Butterfly Center prepares for Texas Butterfly Festival, opens registration

20131008 National-Butterfly-Center AF  2350MISSION—Butterflies can be seen flitting and fluttering through neighborhoods, across highways, and around businesses in Mission.

The months of October and November are the peak of butterfly season, according to the National Butterfly Center Executive Director Marianna T. Wright. Mission is perfectly located to capture it with 150 species of butterflies that can only be found in the Valley.

“There is not anything else like this park in the country; we are the one and only,” Wright said.


Perry taps Mission attorney for open 92nd District Court seat

20131011 MISSION Jaime-TijerinaNewly transplanted Mission attorney Jaime E. Tijerina has been appointed by Gov. Rick Perry as 92nd District Court judge.

He will replace Ricardo Rodriguez, who recently step down and announced plans to run for district attorney. His term ends Dec. 31, 2014.

“I’m pleased, excited,” said Tijerina. “I’m honored that the governor has entrusted me. I promise to do my very best and give the people, the taxpayers, an honest day’s work each and every day.”


Ruby Red Ventures: Frank Brewster promotes literacy through Spanish literature

20130916 Frankie-Brewster-Ruby-Red-Ventures AF  1657 featureMISSION—Frank Brewster III doesn’t want to reinvent the wheel; he wants it turn much faster. Brewster, grant winner of $10,000 through the Mission Economic Development Corporation Ruby Red Ventures program, lives by that motto.

The owner of Brewster’s Guacamaya Enterprises is pushing to promote literacy through children’s books he has written with inspiration from his everyday life.

Born in McAllen, Brewster graduated from Sharyland High School. He received his bachelor’s in music from the University of Texas-Pan American and has nearly 30 years of experience teaching music across the Valley at districts like Sharyland Independent School District, Mission ISD, Hidalgo ISD and Donna ISD.

“I taught at Kenneth White Junior High for 16 years; I have made amazing and wonderful lifelong friendships,” Brewster said.


UTPA president gives new university update at VAMOS event

20131004 VamoseventmediaRobert S. Nelsen, president of the University of Texas-Pan American, served as the guest speaker at a "Back to School Social" Sept. 10 hosted by the Valley Alliance of Mentors for Opportunities and Scholarships (VAMOS).

Nelsen thanked the organization for its support of Rio Grande Valley students and gave an update on the new university and future Valley medical school. During the event, held at the Lone Star National Bank corporate office in McAllen, VAMOS leaders also shared information with community groups on the scholarships it makes available to assist commendable Hispanic students from Hidalgo, Starr and Cameron counties complete a post-secondary education.

Also described was the organization's mentorship program to support college completion as well as its major fundraising events. The UTPA Foundation's  partnership with VAMOS supports the VAMOS/UTPA Endowed Scholarship Program for students attending UTPA. In 2013, 20 UTPA students received a VAMOS Scholarship.


UTPA wins College of the Year Award from National Hispanic Institute

UTPA-logoGloria De Leon attributes her success in co-founding one of the leading nonprofit organizations that trains Hispanic youth to become leaders to the education she received at the University of Texas-Pan American.

"My alma mater rooted me culturally and prepared me to incorporate the best of who we are as a community and to visualize the future where Latinos will set a new standard. I don't think there is a university that can compare," said De Leon, who co-founded the National Hispanic Institute (NHI) in the late 1970s.

This year, the NHI named UT-Pan American as its College of the Year for its continued support and cooperation with the institute.


20,000 and counting: UTPA enrollment reaches record enrollment

UTPA-logoThe University of Texas-Pan American has reached another milestone this fall with a total student enrollment of more than 20,000—the most in the institution's 86-year history. This number also includes a record 3,500 entering freshmen.

The student influx is welcome news to President Robert S. Nelsen, who mused the university literally "is bursting at the seams."

“Reaching 20,000 plus students at UTPA is an important milestone because it means that the university has truly been recognized by students, parents and high school counselors for the excellent education that we provide," Nelsen said. “No one needs to leave the (Rio Grande) Valley to get an outstanding university education; as the billboards say, ‘It's all right here.’”


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