Rio Grande Herald (Rio Grande City, Tex.), Vol. 88, No. 3, Ed. 1 Thursday, January 18, 2001 Page: 1 of 6
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January 18 ,2001
88th Year, No. 03
A Newspaper Serving the People of South Texas
Hearing on law grant held at non-quorum alderman meeting
By KENNETH ROBERTS ihe purpose of evaluating possible Gutierrez noted, "The Indus
Best Western groundbreaking called milestone
The groundbreaking ceremony Wednesday morning, Jan. 10 for the new 52-room hotel in eastern Rio
Grande City was called an economic milestone that will spur a great deal of additional development. Among
those pictured above are franchisee Vic Kazan, realtor/developer Troy Bathman, Mayor Baldemar Garza, and
Aldermen Manuel Canales, Juan DeLuna and Ricardo Gutierrez.
Groundbreaking held for new
Best Western hotel in RGC
Business and governmental
leaders in Rio Grande City gathered
xigciher Wednesday morning, Jan.
10 to celebrate the groundbreaking
for the new Best Western Hotel as a
milestone event that will open the
door for much greater business
development in the future.
The 52-room two-story hotel will
be located between Wal-Mart and
the Shamrock Convenience Store
on U.S. Highway 83 East.
Starr County Industrial
Foundation President Sam Vale
commented, "We thank the
organizations that are represented
and made this event possible. This
is a pretty exciting development for
Rio Grande City and the entire
county. This represents total new
"This is an exciting project,"
stressed Rio Grande City Mayor
Baldemar Garza. "A lot of people
League to elect
officers Jan. 19
It's almost time for another year
of Little League baseball, so the
Rio Grande City Little League has
scheduled a meeting for the purpose
of electing officers for the 2001
The meeting will take place on
Friday, Jan. 19 at 6:30 p.m. at the
K.C. Hall. All participants in Little
League are welcome to come and
attend the meeting.
have worked for this."
Rio Grande City Alderman
Ricardo Gutierrez declared, I
welcome Vic (Kazan), Troy
(Bathman), and Jack (Henley). Jack
is the owner of the 20 acres. We
started talking one and one-half
years ago. Things do not develop
overnight. I thank you for believing
in us. You'll be a very big asset in
this community. These jobs are
very much needed."
Gutierrez, who serves as president
of the Rio Grande City Economic
Development Corporation, added, "I
thank Mr. (Hector) Solis and the
Foundation for their help. They did
an outstanding job in working with
the involved parties."
Billy Canales of the Rio Grande
City Chamber of Commerce
emphasized, "I thank you for
having faith and coming in here to
do business. If you need any help,
don't hesitate to ask."
"I thank my brother aldermen and
the mayor," stressed Gutierrez.
"Many important decisions had to
Vic Kazan of Best Western
Hotels commented, "We've been
working on this two to three years.
The Industrial Foundation was
helpful in creating incentives."
Kazan noted that the hotel will
feature "fifty two (total) rooms, 20
suites, an exercise room, and a
business center. A full continental
breakfast will be served. Hopefully,
a number of businesses will
follow." He later indicated that the
hotel will also have a swimming
Business leaders present at the
ceremony indicated that a nationally
prominent restaurant chain is
highly likely in the near future to
locate a 24-hour restaurant adjacent
to the hotel.
Troy Bathman of the real estate
firm St. Ives, Inc., told the
audience, "I thank the mayor, the
Economic Development Council,
and the county group. I thank Vic
for taking the first step. We have
plans for major retail development
We believe in the community and
look forward to its future."
Also present at the event were
Rio Grande City Aldermen Ruben
D. Saenz, Manuel Canales and Juan
DeLuna, and also Rio Grande City
CISD trustee Dalinda Escobar.
Kazan later noted to The Rio
Grande Herald that he operates Best
Western hotels in Alice and El
Campo, a Holiday Inn Express in
Brownsville, and Executive Inns in
Pharr and Brownsville.
Kazan indicated that microwaves
and refrigerators will be featured in
all guest rooms. He predicted,
"We're looking at opening in six
months. Construction should begin
in one month."
Bathman later noted, "St. Ives
Realty is the owner of the property.
1 am one of the partners of the firm,
which is based in Richardson,
"What happened today is the start
of many good things," stressed
Bathman. "We're very impressed by
(See HOTEL, Page 6)
Starr cities receive increases
in January 2001 sales tax rebates
On Friday, Jan. 12, State
Comptroller Carole Keeton
Rylander delivered sales tax rebates
to 1107 Texas cities and 119
counties, with all three Starr
County citics recording significant
increases from the January 2000
The City of Rio Grande City's
January 2001 rebate check of
$156,905.83 is 4.60 percent higher
than the January 2000 rebate check
The City of Roma's January
2001 rebate check of $55,563.42 is
13.91 percent higher than the
January 2000 rebate check of
The city of Grulla received a
January 2001 rebate check of
$327.65, an increase of 5.29
percent from the January 2000
rebate check of $311.18.
On Jan. 12, Comptroller
Rylander delivered $206.6 million
in monthly sales tax payments to
1107 Texas cities and 119 counties,
a 4.7 percent increase compared to
the $197.2 million paid in January
January's sales tax rebates
include local sales taxes collected
by monthly tax filers in November,
and reported to the Comptroller in
The sales tax rebates included
$190.2 million to Texas citics.
4.8 percent higher than the January
2000 payments of $181.4 million.
Texas counties received January
2001 sales tax rebates of $ 16.3
million, an increase of 3.2 percent
compared to the January 2000
figure of $15.8 million.
Another $6.6 million went to 56
special-purpose taxing districts
around the stale. Texas' six
Metropolitan Transit Authorities
and two City Transit Departments
received a total of $73.7 million in
sales lax rebates.
The January 2001 sales tax
rebates for Starr County citics
amounted to $212,796.90, an
increase of 6.88 percent from the
January 2000 total of $199,088.81.
By KENNETH ROBERTS
A public hearing on proposed
uses of a federal law enforcement
grant slightly greater than $10,000
was held Thursday night at the
scheduled meeting of the Rio
Grande City Board of Aldermen,
with the meeting not having
official status due to the lack of a
Among >ther subjects discussed
at the non-quorum meeting was the
groundbreaking the previous day for
the new 52-room Best Western
hotel in eastern Rio Grande City.
Baldemar Garza and Alderman
Ricardo Gutierrez were the only
board members present for the
Before the meeting began, City
Administrator Leonardo Olivares
indicated, "Alderman DeLuna is out
of town on business." He said that
Alderman Ruben D. Saenz was
unable to attend because of the need
to deal with a family medical
situation. He later indicated that
Alderman Manuel Canales was
absent due to illness, and that
Mayor Pro Tem Lauro Lopez was
attending a funeral. Olivares later
stated, 'Two of them called me, and
two called (City Secretary) Ms.
Mayor Garza said, "Depending on
your definition, this may be the
first meeting of the new
millennium. As I understand the
rules, we can talk about anything,
whether it's on the agenda or not.
Anyone with ui item of concern
can discuss it here, and it can
possibly be placed on the agenda for
a future meeting."
The public hearing was held for
the purpose of evaluating possible
uses of the Local Law Enforcement
Block Grant of $10,050 awarded to
the city. The grant originated with
the U.S. Department of Justice.
Police Chief Guadalupe Marquez
declared, "I propose to use this
grant to deal with traffic
enforcement, mainly to enforce
speeding and seatbelt laws. At a
recent meeting, the District
Attorney was present, as was Rio
Grande City CISD Police Chief
Dutch Piper and Cesar Gonzalez of
Olivares stated, "This is to
supplement local law enforcement
dollars. It can be used for overtime.
It can be used for (virtually) any
effort to supplement law
enforcement. This is your (the
public's) opportunity to explain
how you think it should be used."
"The focus would be in the
school zones, including placement
of an officer," indicated Chief
Marquez. "...Personnel is a concern.
Right now, we have three officers
on patrol during the daytime."
The chief added, "We have the
radar; it (the grant) would go for
overtime for the officers. We'll
have a night officer help during the
opening and closing of school. The
school district has its own police
force, but that's within its
Concerning the Best Western
groundbreaking, Gutierrez, the
president of the Economic
Development Corporation, noted
that "there will be two stories, 52
rooms, 20 of them suites, a weight
room, a business room, and a
Gutierrez noted, "The Industrial
Foundation staff and I will meet
with Denny's executives in a week
or two. The hotel will create 25 to
35 jobs, full-time and part time
The restaurant, if it comes, will
create 50 to 60 jobs. There are
likely to be many more commercial
businesses (in that area adjacent to
East Highway 83)."
Denny's, a restaurant chain with
many locations throughout
America, is close to making a final
commitment to build a 24 hour
restaurant adjacent to the Best
Gutierrez emphasized, "Turnout
at the groundbreaking ceremony
was very good," in spite of
threatening weather conditions.
Gutierrez indicated. "I first talked
with Mr. Vic Kazan (the Best
Western franchisee) two years ago.
They were very demanding, looking
at all facts and figures. They looked
at traffic counts and figures for
weekend stays. They made at least
eight trips down here. I don't think
this could have been done without
the Foundation. We didn't offer any
incentives because of a lack of
resources. I thank tite aldermen for
Garza commented, "Richard has
put in a tremendous amount of time
and effort." Addressing Foundation
Executive Director Hector Solis, he
emphasized, "We appreciate your
help and that of Rose as well."
Garza asked, "Why is Mr
(Robert) Kyle (the city engineer)
not present? Did someone tell him
there would be no quorum?"
Olivares stated, "Mr. Kyle was here
(See MEETING, Page 6)
Commissioners hear reports
on state, federal projects
At their continued regular
monthly meeting on Friday
morning, the County
Commissioners received an update
on the status of several ongoing or
planned projects funded by state or
Coordinator Elisa Beas indicated,
"We are meeting in Weslaco with
Veronica Laurent, a NABBANK
representative, to find out the next
step in moving forvard with the
Concerning the Los Olmos
Project, Beas declared, "A lot of
houses have already been negotiated
and closed out on Los Olmos.
Right now, there's no money to
send to the trust account. We're
looking at February for
Empowerment Zone funds. There's
also an additional $200,000 for Los
Olmos from the sub-zone."
"Things are on hold for the
suspension bridge (restoration)
project (near Roma)," said Beas.
"There's also the change in
administrations in the U.S."
County Judge Eloy Vera later told
The Rio Grande Herald, "We
haven't heard from Mexico on their
About another project, Beas
stated, "Engineering and
architectural proposals are due by
the end of this month for TDHCA
paving." Vera later noted, "The
amount of that (countywidc) project
Vera said, "The audit (for 1998-
99) should be finished by the end of
the month, but some more time
will be needed for review by
TDHCA." Beas predicted, "Monies
should be flowing within three to
four months." Vera commented,
"Hopefully we won't have to
borrow from the General Fund in
Beas indicated, "We will be
taking over nutrition services on
Feb. 1, rather than having Laredo
The commissioners gave
unanimous approval to the Violent
Crime Task Force application.
Sheriff Reymundo Guerra declared,
'This past year, the cities of Roma
and Rio Grande City and the county
submitted an application for
funding. The Sheriffs Department
withdrew from the project. The
County Attorney, from what I
understand, wishes to join." Vera
stressed, 'This is an application at
Beas indicated, "We will be
meeting with the Rio Grande City
CISD and Union Water Supply
concerning the planned new
elementary school in the La Union
area." Vera later explained, "Our
involvement is trying to supply
sewage to the new school. We have
a sewage project in that area."
The commissioners considered
the issue of a lease agreement with
Verizon Southwest. Vera said, "I
was under the impression we had
already approved it, but I checked
the minutes ard a motion was made
to study it for the courthouse."
The commissioners unanimously
approved a motion authorizing the
County Judge to enter into a
contract with Verizon for
courthouse service. Vera noted,
"Verizon received the statewide
Ruben Klein candidate
for RGCCISD trustee
Ruben Klein is announcing his
candidacy for Position Five on the
Rio Grande City CISD board of
trustees in the May 2001 election.
Ruben Klein was born and
educated in Rio Grande City. He
graduated from Rio Grande City
High School in 1973 and was later
employed by the Starr County
Ruben Klein is currently
employed by the City of Rio
Grande City as Public Utility
Director. Ruben has worked for the
water district for 25 years which
enable him to receive a Class B
license and Customer Service
Inspector certification at TNRCC.
He has also been on the board of
the Housing Authority for 10 years
and is currently the vice-chairman.
Ruben is married to Adriana
Bcrlanga Klein and they have three
wonderful daughters: Betsy, Tracey,
Dcnise. He is the son of Aristeo
and the late Espcranza Klein, and
has two brothers, Aristeo Jr. and
Adrian, and two sisters, Pauline and
Ruben believes that the greatest
gift we can give our children is an
education and declares that not one
child shall be left behind. Ruben
vSee KLEIN, Page 6)
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Roberts, Kenneth. Rio Grande Herald (Rio Grande City, Tex.), Vol. 88, No. 3, Ed. 1 Thursday, January 18, 2001, newspaper, January 18, 2001; Edinburg, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth195771/m1/1/: accessed March 23, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Rio Grande City Public Library.