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CASA raises awareness on child abuse
CASA Executive Director Veronica Whitacre at podium with staff members.

CASA raises awareness for Child Abuse Prevention Month


Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) Executive Director Veronica Whitacre thanked Commissioners Court for the support and funding provided to CASA following the reading of a proclamation declaring April as Child Abuse Awareness and Prevention Month.

Child abuse prevention is a community responsibility and finding solutions depend on involvement among all people.

"Without all of your support and funding, we could not help half of these children that are here in Hidalgo County," said Whitacre, who was joined at the podium by staff members.

There were 66,382 confirmed victims of child abuse and neglect in the State of Texas last year. In Hidalgo County, there were 1,603 confirmed cases of child abuse and neglect, including the deaths of six children.

"Everyone in the community should become more aware of child abuse prevention and consider helping parents raise their children in a safe, nurturing and loving environment," said Public Affairs Manager Julia Sullivan as she read the proclamation.

When a child enters the foster care system because his or her home is no longer safe, a judge may appoint a committed volunteer to help them. That volunteer is called a Court Appointed Special Advocate. CASA volunteers are screened and highly trained to represent and advocate for a child's best interest.


"Communities must make every effort to promote programs that benefit children and their families," said Whitacre. "I’d like to recognize my staff as they help place these children in safe and permanent homes."


Hidalgo County Commissioners Court urges all citizens to work together to help reduce child abuse and neglect significantly in our community. 

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Commissioner Fuentes receives award
Pct. 1 Commissioner David L. Fuentes and Vitalant Director Frank Esparza.

Commissioner David L. Fuentes leads the way in blood drive competition


Pct. 1 Commissioner David L. Fuentes was recognized for the outstanding efforts of Precinct 1 and its staff in leading the way on a recent blood drive competition held between three of the county precincts.  

"Our mission is to save lives," said Vitalant Center Director Frank Esparza, who presented Fuentes with a trophy.

Last fall Precinct 1 collected more than half of the units of the entire group who participated in the competition, said Esparza.

"We are responsible for providing over 135 units across the valley and encourage all to 
help whenever there is a blood drive," said Esparza.  "Every unit counts."

Fuentes said part of his precinct's success was due to City of Weslaco staff and community members.

"I appreciate the recognition and would like to stress the importance of giving blood," said Fuentes. "It's not only once a year that we can donate blood, but throughout the year."

A county employee blood drive will take place Thursday at the Administration Building in Edinburg. County employees are encouraged to sign up to provide life-saving donations.

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Head Start Week of the Young Child
Children from Navarro Head Start in McAllen learned about county government and led Commissioners Court in the Pledge of Allegiance today. The Court passed a proclamation declaring April 15-19 as Week of the Young Child. 
Head Start students
Navarro Head Start students.

Head Start  celebrates the Week of the Young Child


Dressed as characters from Disney's Finding Nemo, children enrolled in the Hidalgo County Head Start program Navarro campus, visited Commissioners Court to commemorate the Week of the Young Child, April 15-19.

Students Valeria Lupercio Martinez and Diego Silva led the court in the Pledge of Allegiance and learned about county government.

"These are the children that make the program so rewarding; thank you for having us," said Head Start Executive Director Teresa Flores.

The Week of the Young Child is an annual celebration sponsored by the National Association for the Education of Young Children.

The Hidalgo County Head Start Program, under the leadership of the County Commissioners Court and Policy Council, shares a vision of dedicated services to the economic and social well-being of children and families and are committed to their safety, education and healthy development, with strong community support.

"Without your help, we couldn't offer these imperative early childhood programs to our students," Flores said.

In addition to the children who performed the Pledge of Allegiance, other children present included Marielena Balderas, Mia Cavazos, Alexander Cruz, Meggan Gonzalez, Sheccid Haros, Mathew Martinez, Sofia Parada Lazarus Ramirez, Maximus Tamez, and Alan Trevino.

Flores invited all the commissioners to visit Head Start's Week of the Young Child Celebration where students engage in arts and crafts, puppet shows, and other activities.

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Boys and Girls Club week proclamation
Precinct 2 Chief of Staff Armando Garza Jr., far left, with representatives of the Pharr Boys and Girls Club and Commissioners Court following a proclamation celebrating National Boys and Girls Club Week, which runs through Friday.

National Boys & Girls Club Week acknowledges more than 50,000 youth as future community leaders


Commissioners Court passed a proclamation declaring April 8-12 as National Boys and Girls Club Week.

The proclamation was sponsored by Precinct 2 Commissioner Eduardo "Eddie" Cantu and was presented by Chief Administrator Armando Garza Jr.  The proclamation recognized the five Boys and Girls Clubs in Hidalgo County: Pharr, Edinburg, McAllen, Weslaco, and Mission, and the more than 50,000 young people they serve annually.


The organizations help ensure that youths have a safe, supportive place to help develop their social, emotional, physical, cultural and academic skills.

"All of these Boys & Girls Club locations serve thousands of youths daily," said Pharr Boys and Girls Club CEO Alfredo Mata. "Without your support, we would not be able to serve or feed thousands of kids daily."

Nationwide there are more than 4,000 Boys and Girls Clubs serving over two million children and supporting working families by ensuring their children have safe and productive after-school and summer programs.

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P.R. Avila with the HC Urban County program
Assistant Director P.R. Avila.

Urban County celebrates Fair Housing Month in April


The Fair Housing Act protects the rights of all Americans to access housing regardless of race, color, sex, religion, national origin, family status or disability. 

Commissioners Court proclaimed the month of April as Fair Housing Month. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development continues to enforce the Fair Housing Act to ensure that every American retains the fundamental right to choose where he or she lives, raises a family or owns a home. 


 
City of Weslaco Proclamation
L-R: Weslaco City Manager Mike Perez, Mayor David Suarez, Precinct 4 Commissioner Ellie Torres, Precinct 3 Commissioner Joe M. Flores, County Judge Richard F. Cortez, Precinct 2 Commissioner Eduardo "Eddie" Cantu, and Precinct 1 Commissioner David L. Fuentes. Weslaco provided office space for Precinct 4 for nearly nine months.

Weslaco recognized for its hospitality to Precinct 1 


In times of emergency events, cities, county precincts and departments all come together as one to assist where there is the most need.

Today, Weslaco Mayor David Suarez and Weslaco City Manager Mike Perez accepted a resolution commending the City of Weslaco for its leadership and for opening their doors to Pct. 1 Commissioner David L. Fuentes and key staff for nearly nine months.

During the June 2018 flood event, eastern Hidalgo County was the most impacted. 

"We couldn’t have done what we did during that rain event without your emergency management team, your IT staff, or your Human Resources Department and all they did to accommodate us at the City of Weslaco," said Fuentes.  

Although Precinct 1 staff was displaced, relocating operations to City Hall did not stop Commissioner Fuentes and staff from responding to those hit with heavy rainfall.

"During the event, we received 16 inches of rain in less than 24 hours, and we were able to respond to the needs of our residents from our temporary offices at City Hall," said Fuentes.  "The city welcomed us and we are very thankful."

Fuentes handed the two city representatives a Hidalgo County Precinct 1 flag as a token of appreciation and also thanked City Commissioners Leo Munoz, District 1; Greg Kerr, District 2; Jose “JP” Rodriguez, District 3; Jerry Tafolla, District 4; Letty Lopez, District 5; and Joseph Pedraza, District 6 for their generosity in assisting the precinct.

"We all serve the same taxpayers and were pleased to be of assistance," said Suarez.  
"We work closely with Commissioner Fuentes and we thank you for the partnership we have with Hidalgo County."

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CSA Director Jaime Longoria
Community Service Agency Executive Director Jaime Longoria. 

CSA improves the  Utility Assistance Program for qualifying families


Community Service Agency Director Jaime Longoria presented to the court details on how his office plans to improve operations for the utility assistance program. The Comprehensive Energy Assistance Program provides residents in low-income households with help paying utility bills.
 
According to Longoria, about $6 million in grant money is available to help nearly 9,000 families in the next four months with more than 100,000 families that could potentially qualify. In order to ensure the funds are dispersed effectively and efficiently, Longoria provided the court with a comprehensive plan.

As part of the new procedures, CSA staff will receive applications Monday through Thursday, processing 40 to 50 appointments and pre-screening 65 applicants each day. To help residents who may not be able to travel to the main office in Edinburg, CSA staff will be stationed at one precinct office every Friday to process applications. To further assist residents, CSA also offers homebound application packages, transportation vouchers, gas assistance, and their staff will even conduct on-site visits. 

 
Longoria says these modifications and changes will streamline the utility assistance program to better serve our constituents.

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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 missed today'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 10 a.m. on your local school district channel 17.


A Commissioners Court Workshop is scheduled for
Tuesday, April 16
The Drainage District Board of Directors is scheduled to meet at 9:30 a.m. followed by the Commissioners Court Workshop at 10:00 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 www.hidalgocounty.us.


 
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