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OEM Coordinator Ricardo Saldaña.

OEM Coordinator invites public to free hurricane preparedness fairs 

Preparing county residents on how to deal with weather-related emergencies is a top priority. For the ninth year in a row, the county will hold its annual Dare to Prepare fairs at the county Community Resource Centers beginning Wednesday. 

Emergency Management Coordinator Ricardo Saldaña explained to the court that the emergency preparedness fairs will provide residents with the tools they need to be prepared this hurricane season.

"We will have experts available to offer tips on what do before, during, and after a natural disaster event," said Saldaña. "Residents will be able to get one-on-one advice on what they need to organize their home and their family."

Hurricane season runs from June 1 to November 30, with the peak for our area occurring between mid-August and late October. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, this hurricane season will be near- or above-normal. High winds, heavy rainfall, tornadoes, and flooding can potentially cause loss of life and catastrophic damage to property. Two keys to weather safety are to prepare for the risks and to act on those preparations when alerted by emergency officials.

Dare to Prepare is a joint effort with the Texas A&M Colonias Program, Hidalgo County Office of Emergency Management, Commissioners Court, CRC directors, and local agencies and businesses. The fairs are free and open to the public.

For more information on Dare to Prepare click here.

For more information on hurricane preparedness click here.

Clerk's Office
L-R: Hidalgo County Collections Supervisor Juan Perez, County Clerk Chief Deputy Annette Muniz, Commissioners Court, 2018 Collector of the Year Ernest Edward Gonzalez, and County Clerk Arturo Guajardo Jr.
Top statewide collector Ernest Gonzalez and County Clerk Arturo Guajardo Jr.

County Clerk collections staffer earns statewide recognition

Commissioners Court unanimously passed a resolution honoring County Clerk staff member Ernest Edward Gonzalez for earning the title of 2018 Collector of the Year by the Governmental Collectors Association of Texas.

Gonzalez, who was hired on August 8, 2016 in the Criminal Department and later was transferred to the Collections Department with the Office of County Clerk Arturo Guajardo Jr., was recognized for his outstanding achievements and accomplishments.

In a little over a month of his transfer to the Collections Department in August 2017, Gonzalez achieved the title of one of the top three collectors in the county. 

“It was quite a surprise, as he had only been there six months, when he earned the top collector title," Guajardo said. "This proved he was the right person for the right job."

The Governmental Collectors Association of Texas consists of professionals responsible for the collection of funds for governmental entities across the state.

“I'm very proud of Ernest, he has accomplished a lot more than those who have been there longer," said Collections Supervisor Juan Perez. "His service to the county is outstanding."

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food bank rgv
 Food Bank's Philip Farias and Libby Salinas.

Food Bank RGV offers free monthly food distribution to qualifying seniors

At Tuesday's meeting, representatives from the Food Bank RGV publicized the Commodity Supplemental Food Program, also known as the cheese program, an important program that offers a free monthly food distribution to qualifying seniors.

"We currently have an expansion in our cheese program that needs to be filled immediately," said Food Bank RGV Chief Program Officer Libby Salinas. "The Texas Department of Agriculture gave us an allotment of an additional 2,500 cases to be able to distribute."

The food program has an increased availability of free food for additional clients until June 2018. Eligible applicants will receive a bag of food on the same day after completing the application and will continue receiving government cheese and commodities on a monthly basis within the Food Bank RGV service areas of Hidalgo, Cameron, and Willacy counties. 

"Applicants that are not eligible for CSFP will still be able to access emergency food assistance from the Food Bank RGV," said Salinas. 
"We are here to ask you to help us spread the word. There are a lot of seniors who can greatly benefit from this program."

The county's Community Service Agency, Community Resource Centers, and others have assisted in distributing flyers and information to low income seniors. If you know of a person or persons who may benefit from the program, please contact the Senior Feeding Program office at (956) 682-8101 and press 3.

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finance story
Noe Hinojosa.

County in good financial position to finance new courthouse

Commissioners Court held a special workshop to discuss the financing option summary for the new Courthouse prepared by financial advisors Estrada-Hinojosa Investment Bankers.
Estrada-Hinojosa Chief Executive Officer Noe Hinojosa said this preliminary report will be updated as more details become available, adding that the county is in a good financial position.

Pct 4
 L-R: 1st Sgt. Ociel Suarez, Commissioners Court, and retired Maj. Claudia Garza Noyola at Tuesday's meeting.

Commissioners Court honors two decorated members of the Armed Forces

Hidalgo County Precinct 4 Commissioner Joseph Palacios sponsored resolutions honoring two decorated members of the Armed Forces, 1st Sgt. Ociel Suarez and retired Maj. Claudia Garza Noyola.

"I wanted to recognize these two individuals for their contributions towards the students at Edinburg North," said Palacios. "Their distinguished service in the military is also something we wanted to acknowledge and we are very proud to have them in our community.”

Both individuals are part of a strong team of leaders at Edinburg North High School, and are committed to teaching and nurturing young minds, as well as encouraging growth and learning in a positive educational setting where student's needs are put first.

The juxtaposition of their military careers and current professions as educators is proof they are passionate individuals committed to helping others, said Palacios.

Suarez enlisted in the U.S. Army on July 14, 1978 and retired on July 31, 2000 followed by a six-year teaching career that's ongoing. During his 22-year military career, 1st Sgt. Suarez served in various positions of responsibility in the Combat Arms Field Artillery and received many Medals of Honor.

After 22 years of active duty in the U.S. Army, Maj. Noyola returned to her hometown and is currently the Senior Army Instructor for the JROTC program at Edinburg High School where she found comfort in teaching for the past two years.

"It's a privilege and an honor to not only be involved with the children of Edinburg North High, but also to stand before you and accept this resolution on behalf of our service to our country," said Noyola.

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Did you miss today's meeting? Watch it at 9 p.m. Thursday on KMBH Ch. 10 or on the county's YouTube Channel!

If you missetoday's meeting, you can view it on our county website or YouTube Channel by clicking hereYou can also watch today's Commissioners Court   and Drainage District meetings on KMBH TV, cable channel 10, on Thursday at 9 p.m. Or watch it on Friday morning at 9 a.m. on your local school district channel 17.

The next regular meeting of Commissioners Court will be on Tuesday, June 12, 2018. 
The Drainage District Board of Directors meets at 9 a.m. followed by Commissioners Court  at 9:30 a.m.

Meetings are held in the Commissioners Courtroom, located on the first floor of the Courthouse Annex III at 100 E. Cano St. in Edinburg.  

View meetings and find other news and events videos on our
Hidalgo County YouTube Channel.
To view a copy of the agenda and related backup documentation for this meeting, visit the county website at
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