Saturday, April 30, 2011

Texas Victim Services Association Conference at South Padre Island

The Texas Victim Services Association will have their annual conference at South Padre Island next week from May 3 to May 6.  

You can register and download the agenda here

TVSA is a professional organization for people who work in assisting victims of crime. If you are interested or involved in helping victims of crime, this may be an event you may not want to miss. 

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

McAllen's Bicentennial Boulevard Update

Texas Democratic Party Still Targeting Aaron Peña

The Texas Democratic Party has released a video aimed at Rep. Aaron Peña, stating their intention to take him on in the 2012 election. This is not the first time that the Democrats in Austin have targeted Peña, having faced primary challenges in the past, run by Austin consultants.

Dear Aaron Pena from anthony gutierrez on Vimeo.

It also brings us to the crux of the whole reason Peña switched parties; simply, they pushed him out. Redistricting was the consolation prize. They bailed on him long before he switched.

At the time rumors started swirling that Peña might jump ship, he was on vacation; it was the furthest thing from his mind. But, then the attacks came fast and furious from the usual suspects who never thought he was Democrat enough. So, why not? He was already fighting off people in his own party.

Some of you may recall that Peña was one of the Killer Ds who ran off to Ardmore, Oklahoma to break quorum during the last redistricting fight. At the time, there were enough Democrats in the Texas Legislature to do that. This time around, there aren't enough Democrats to break quorum. There is nothing they can do to stop the redistricting process, except stall.

Having been through redistricting before, and lacking the blunt weapon they had last go round, there was nothing that would stop Republicans from kicking the anthills of all the Democrat candidates.

I find it perplexing that nobody put 1 + 1 together to come up with redistricting. I don't know if the Party operatives are truly surprised at what the Republicans are doing, which indicates poor political savvy; or, if the operatives are simply acting surprised and outraged to goose their base into action. I think it's the latter; they're smart people. It's just part of the campaign groundwork.

Most people don't know much about the census, reapportionment, and redistricting to know that maps are supposed to be redrawn. Everybody is getting their districts altered. If you're friendly to those in power you get a favorable map; if you're unfriendly, you don't. Simple.

Duh! Winning.

Seriously, it's business as usual. These things have a 10 year cycle. Just as the ants get their mounds rebuilt, redistricting will come by and knock them over. There will be scapegoats, demagoguery, demonizing, and outright name calling. It will pass.

You might get the same Rep.; you might get a new one. Either way, you're represented. You'll still have to show up at work, pay the bills, and raise the kids regardless who is elected. Life goes on.
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Saturday, April 16, 2011

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

No April showers brings May fires

April is usually the rainy season. Texas has not seen much rain this year.  The result is plenty of dry vegetation just itching to catch fire with the slightest provocation.

The strong winds that have been with us can turn a small grass fire into a huge blaze that consumes thousands of acres of brush, buildings, and roads.

Please be mindful to not start any fires until the rains come again. A small flame during these conditions can result in a great deal of damage and, potentially, the loss of life.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Waze: Crowd-sourced traffic information

During my daily commute, I gave Waze a try. Waze is different from your average GPS. You don't use Waze to show you how to get from point A to point B. Presumably, if you're commuting, you know where you are going. Waze is different from your average GPS in that it keeps tabs of traffic so that you can avoid congested areas.

Waze uses GPS data from users to figure out the best route to quickly get you where you need to go. If other users are going slow or report problems on their route, Waze can help you avoid the bottleneck.

Waze also has a fun gaming component to it. You get points by hitting waypoints on your route. The gaming aspect doesn't really do anything for you other than keep you entertained. Waze also connects to Twitter, Facebook, and Foursquare to help you inform others about any reports you generate.

In terms of accuracy, Waze still needs a little work. So, you should probably stick to known routes. Again, it's not the best for finding places. It's better suited for going places you already know.

South Texas College Newsletter - 4.11.11

South Texas College Blogs

See what our students, faculty and staff have to say on Jag360 and leave your comments and perspectives:
Are robots taking over Manufacturing? – By David Ramos, STC Institute for Advanced Manufacturing Specialist


The Conflict Resolution Center turns 13 years old! – Part 2 – By Karey Barnes, STC Coordinator of Judicial Affairs/ Ombudsperson

STC Environmental Education Fair April 16 in Weslaco

Music, fun, live animals and entertainment await children of all ages at South Texas College's Third Annual Environmental Education Fair. The Earth Day Celebration will feature Eco-friendly hands-on arts and crafts as you walk through the woods on Saturday, April 16, 2011 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Frontera Audubon Society located at 1101 S. Texas Blvd. in Weslaco. The event is free to the public.

The Third Annual Environmental Education Fair: Celebrate Earth Day is sponsored by South Texas College, Frontera Audubon Society, STC's Mid-Valley Campus Biology Club and Education Department, the Weslaco Lions Club and Kohls.

"The goal of the event is to teach our younger generation to be aware of nature and to understand how humans and wildlife share the environment," said STC MVC Biology Lead Instructor Debbie Villalon. "We want to showcase local natural resources, such as Frontera's 15 acres of natural habitat, through entertaining, educational activities."

Eco-friendly Scavenger Hunt activities in Frontera Audubon's Thicket Forest will provide hands-on learning about recycling, sun protection and environmental education. Children can view live animals, paint sun catchers, create a photo frame, enjoy moon jumps, design a book mark, make lip gloss, decorate hats and so much more – all for free

"South Texas College has a strong commitment to outreach for children and the fair is a great way to show children how they can take what they learn and apply it to their lives," added Villalon. "The event stresses recycling and how to create, provide and enhance wildlife habitats."

A Bird House Competition, sponsored by STC's MVC Biology Club, will be judged during the event, with the people's choice award, and first, second and third place trophies and ribbons in three categories. Entry forms, a $10 entrance fee, and bird houses must be submitted by April 11.

"The Bird House Competition is a great way to create a habitat for birds," Villalon said. "This and other hands-on learning activities show how preserving and protecting our environment can easily be incorporated at home."

For more information about the "Celebrate Earth Day" Third Annual Environmental Education Fair or the bird house competition, e-mail Dr. Villalon at

Another STC night planned April 20 at The Zone!

The first STC night was such a huge success that we are planning another. Mark your calendars and get ready to join Alumni and Friends Wednesday, April 20, from 6 to 9 p.m. at The Zone Action Park, 2600 W. Expressway 83 in McAllen.

You get great savings when you say you're with STC…a $17.99 value package for just $5.99. The "Jaguar Green VIP Wristband" gets you unlimited miniature golf, bumper boat and go-kart rides. Or if you'd rather just play miniature golf, you can purchase the "Jaguar Purple Wristband" for just $3.99.

Both wristband packages include a $1 game card that can be used in the game room. The offer is only valid for the three hour period on the day of the event.

A portion of the ticket sales will benefit STC Alumni and Friends. The organization raises funds for scholarships and for different benefits for students at all campuses and within the community. So please spread the word… and bring your friends and family out for three hours of great fun. 

Be sure to wear tennis shoes and comfortable clothing. Sandals without straps and flip flops are not suitable or safe for the rides. Height restrictions apply for small children on the rides, and children under 12 years of age must be accompanied by an adult. For more information on height and other restrictions, visit The Zone's website and click on the speed and splash zone sites.

Food is available for purchase in the restaurant, which provides a great selection of pizzas, wings, drinks, ice cream and other snacks.

The Zone Action Park is a 12-acre family entertainment park that includes speedway go-karts, water squirting bumper boats and two 18-hole tropical landscaped miniature golf courses, which are included in the $5.99 package. The park is located on the north side of Expressway 83, between 23rd and 29th streets. 

NOTE: Batting cage use, food and additional video games (after the $1 game card is used) must be purchased separately and are not included with wristband packages.

This Week's Featured Events:

            Commemorate Civil War Anniversary with Talk from Historian, Author Jerry Thompson
            April 11, 2:30 p.m. – Mid-Valley Campus Library
            April 11, 6 p.m. – Pecan Campus Library
                        Dr. Jerry Thompson of Texas A&M International will speak about the role of Mexican and Mexican Americans in the U.S. Civil War.  Thompson
is the only historian to write extensively about the Mexican and Mexican American Experience in the U.S. Civil War.  This is part of the 150th
Anniversary Celebration of the U.S. Civil War that the Mexican American Studies Program and Division of Library Services are co-sponsoring. Admission is free and open to the public. For more information contact Victor Gomez at or 956-872-6485.

Women in Business And Technology Speaker Series
            April 12, 1 p.m.
            Technology Campus Auditorium
South Texas College's Business Administration Department is lauding the efforts of Rio Grande Valley business women through a new speaker series highlighting how they have broken the glass ceiling to become very successful business owners. In this third installment, hear from speakers Sally Cuellar of Coldwell Banker- La Mansion and Lorena Tijerina of STC's Plumbing Program. Admission is free and open to the public. For more information contact Roz Moore at or at 956-872-6132.

WILD Film Contest Screening
April 14, 7 p.m.
            Pecan Campus Ann Richards Administration Building Auditorium    
See original films shown for the first time including a dramas, comedies, tragedies, romances, satires, parodies and experimental cinema.  The winners will be decided 50 percent by a jury of film personalities and 50 percent from audience-participation ballots. Awards will be provided by South Texas College Book Store Barnes & Noble at recognition of the films on May 8, 2011. Admission is free and open to the public. For more information contact Tom Fuschetto at or at 956-872-3487.

            Music Department Faculty Recital
            April 15, 7:30 p.m.
            Pecan Campus Cooper Center
Music Instructor Daniel Cather will perform Ludwig van Beethoven's "Tempest" Sonata No. 17 and Scott Joplin's Fig Leaf Rag. The recital also features STC's Jazz Combo performing three original pieces  composed by Cather. Admission is free and open to the public. For more information contact Cather at or 956-872-2046.

To view the college's entire calendar of events visit

Need more information about South Texas College? Want to be added to or taken off the newsletter distribution? Contact Helen Escobar, coordinator of public relations, at 956-872-8359 or, or Edgar Chrnko, PR specialist, at 956-872-8358 or

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Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Hot weather

I'm not certain; I think yesterday was the first 100 degree weather for the year. That came out of nowhere. I was expecting temps in the 90s.

Hope April brings us some showers. The ground is dry. Dust is flying everywhere. We need rain to keep the heat from bringing is drought.

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