Author Archives: Gerry Garcia

McAllen ISD IB Programme students’ space experiment ready for liftoff

A project by McAllen Independent School District students will be launched into space next week. It’s one of only 21 selected from across the entire North American continent.  Three students Sabrina Benitez, Sofia Escobar and Juan Pablo Flanagan from McAllen ISD’s International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme at Lamar Academy conceptualized and produced a scientific proposal that will achieve realization on the International Space Station hovering above the Earth. The scheduled launch date currently scheduled for 9:01 a.m. CT on Saturday, February 18 from Cape Canaveral, Florida. The results will be shipped back to Earth in March. Students will conduct the same experiment on Earth (under gravity conditions) during the month while it is conducted in space. The results will be compared. Progress on the ISS can be monitored on the SSEP website. http://ssep.ncesse.org/ They wanted to know if you can grow tomatoes on Mars.  A mountain of research over six weeks…

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STC brings together leaders of industry in healthcare and information technology

South Texas College is seeking to bring as many leaders as possible from across the Valley to share their concerns about industry in the region. Working with decision makers in the healthcare and information technology industries, the goal is to gather those who recognize that there is a high demand for growth in these sectors throughout the Valley. In a two-day event held at the Weslaco Chamber of Commerce on Jan. 24-25, the RGV Healthcare Industry Partnership and the RGV Information Technology Partnership, in collaboration with representatives from STC’s Texas Regional STEM Degree Accelerator (TRSDSA), RGV FOCUS, McAllen Economic Development Corporation, Harlingen Chamber of Commerce, Weslaco EDC, Workforce Solutions-Hidalgo, and the Rio South Texas Economic Council continued their discussion to determine priorities for collective action among professionals in healthcare and information technology. “Our plan is to get as many leaders from across the Valley, from Brownsville to Rio Grande City,…

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  ‘No Barriers for Students’ – STC Opens New Student Enrollment Center

Following official ribbon cutting, South Texas College set to open new student enrollment center. For the upcoming Summer and Fall semesters, students registering for classes at the South Texas College Pecan campus will avoid waiting in long lines at the old admissions, info & welcome centers thanks in part to a new Student Enrollment Center the college unveiled Tuesday.  The renovated space, located inside the first floor of Building K, combined these areas into one larger, open-concept space to offer students a virtual one-stop for admissions and registration. “This embodies what South Texas College is all about, no barriers for students,” said STC President Dr. Shirley A. Reed. “Everything is open and collaborative. Students will be here in a comfortable environment, and will have the chance to register early and get their services done on time.” The enrollment center should be fully operational by the end of February. When it…

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12 Questions with board member Art Ortega, Ortega Ventures & Investments

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1) What is your favorite book? I would have to say my favorite book is the Bible. It provides guidance for any and all situations whether good, bad or indifferent. In good times you can find inspiration, in bad times you can find hope, and in times of tranquility you get a sense of responsibility of what you could do to make this world better. 2) What is your favorite movie? There are several, but I would say the animated movie, Madagascar. My three kids and I laughed so hard and I guess that’s why I liked it so much. It brings the family together and it gives you a moment of bonding. The movie has a moral, but more than anything it is the companionship and the bonding with the kids you’ll always remember. 3) What is your favorite vacation spot? We went to Honolulu and then to Maui.…

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People You Should Know – Joe Brown, Director of Development Rio Grande Valley Community Foundation

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  Joe Brown is wearing a new hat. Known throughout the area for his years of banking experience, moving into the retirement arena just didn’t quite fit him. Becoming Director of Development for the Rio Grande Valley Community Foundation fit him to a tee. Using his formidable background, it will be an easy switch for him to continue guiding the works of the foundation. In 2000, Steve Ahlenius suggested the area needed a community foundation, and he was the force behind getting it developed into a 501(c)(3). It is a separate entity from the Chamber. Community foundations have been around since 1914, when banker  Frederick Goff convinced the Cleveland Trust board to adopt a Resolution and Declaration of Trust creating the Cleveland Foundation – the first community foundation. Organized to provide philanthropic options for individuals, businesses and organizations, community foundations aid them in intelligent giving and assisting the givers to…

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Business You Should Know – Valencia Event Center

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“Dreamers dream and developers build. Eddie Cantu, developer and Hidalgo County Commissioner, was both when he built Valencia Event Center. “When my sister got married she found it difficult to find a place for the ceremony,” Cantu said. “I decided to build an event center with the idea of simply renting out the facility.” What he rapidly discovered was that it wasn’t that easy. “People wanted us to do it all, from food to linens to flowers to lighting. ‘Everything but the dress!’ has become our motto!” To do that, Cantu added a full kitchen beside the 10,000 square foot facility, which has an additional 7,000 square foot patio. Working with IDEO Art & Design, Cantu designed a building that has been turned into Oz and all manner of magical places for quinceañeras, weddings, fundraisers, and campaign events. “We took the ceiling up to 35 feet to give it a…

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McAllen to announce STC as recipient of Development Fund Grant

The City of McAllen and the Institute for Advanced Manufacturing (IAM) at South Texas College are announcing an investment to help McAllen become increasingly competitive on a global scale. The city will present a $400,000 Development Corporation Fund grant award to STC at its Technology Campus Building B atrium at 10:30 a.m. on Jan. 19. The campus is located at 3700 W. Military Highway in McAllen. The ceremony recognizes McAllen and South Texas College in their partnership for manufacturing customized training catered to industry located within the city. “This is a partnership that has been ongoing for the last 15 years,” said Carlos Margo, STC Dean of Industry Training. “These funds will be used primarily for the delivery of customized training for McAllen manufacturing companies, and is intended to help companies grow and become more efficient, productive and ultimately help the economy here by doing so.” Customized training involves over…

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Now Open! Cambria Hotel & Suites McAllen Convention Center in McAllen, TX

Choice Hotels International, Inc. (NYSE: CHH), one of the world’s largest hotel companies, O’Reilly Hospitality Management, LLC, Hankin Enterprises, and Fulcrum Management are set to officially open the doors of the new Cambria hotel & suites in McAllen, TX today. Located just steps from the McAllen Convention Center, the 121-room Cambria McAllen will serve as the brand’s third property in Texas “said Roxanne Pequeno, General Manager of the new hotel. The new Cambria Hotel & Suites McAllen Convention Center features a modern design, while also taking cues from the vibrant city that surrounds it. Amenities will include a contemporary Bistro called Social Circle, serving a menu comprised of local specialties created by Chef Michael DeMaria; liquor, wine, beer and freshly prepared grab-and-go gourmet salads and sandwiches; and a barista bar; an outdoor pool; and over 2000 square feet of meeting space with integrated AV capabilities available for meetings. “McAllen is…

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13 Questions with McAllen Chamber Board Member Nora Shah

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1) What is your favorite book? Gone with the Wind.  I’ve read it and seen the movie several times. 2) What is your favorite movie? I watch so many movies. I love funny or action movies like “The Proposal” and “The Fugitive.” 3) What was your favorite vacation spot? Paris is one. It’s so romantic. It’s old and I like the history. In Europe you see a lot of that. I love to see the old buildings and think how it was in the past. 4) What is your life’s  motto? I’ve been going through life doing what’s best and learning from people who inspire me. I love to learn. We never stop learning. 5) Where were you born? Brownsville, Texas 6) What was a life-changing event in your life? Having my four children and opening the business, I’m always dedicated to that. It keeps me changing, it keeps me focused. 7)…

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Raba Kistner Brings their Coastal Services to the Rio Grande Valley

Tom Burr, COO of the Raba Kistner Environmental group, has announced that Raba Kistner has brought their coastal protection, restoration and resiliency services to the Valley. The Coastal Services and Engineering (CSE) group will focus their efforts along the entire Texas Gulf Coast. The CSE group is led by Melany Larenas, PG and Scott Hicks, PE.  The group introduces a full suite of coastal engineering and geological capabilities to Raba Kistner’s Valley offices. For more information, please contact Melany at mlarenas@rkci.com or Scott Hicks at shicks@rkci.com.

Register now for STC Spring 2017 Classes

Registration for the upcoming 2017 spring semester is underway at all South Texas College campuses. Classes start January 17 and students are encouraged to register early. South Texas College offers 119 degree and certificate programs with classes ranging from art, biology, and automotive technology to nursing, mathematics and political science. More than 34,000 students attend STC, and a faculty and staff of more than 1,600 serve STC’s five state-of-the-art campuses, two teaching centers and South Texas College Online, a virtual campus. Day, night, weekend, and online classes allow students to fit school into even the busiest of schedules. Many classes are in high-demand and fill quickly, so early registration ensures the best selection of classes and times. Advisors are available to assist new students with the registration process. Current and recently enrolled students can register online at SouthTexasCollege.edu/register or at any South Texas College location. New students can apply for admission…

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Passion for the Chamber Leads to Bob Goodwin Awards

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Four Chamber members have been awarded the Bob Goodwin Award after having sold over $10,000 worth of memberships. “I worked at the Chamber as the Membership Director for five years in the ‘80s,” said award winner Francy Jones, Public Relations and Marketing Director for Castle Hospitality, LTD. “I had the pleasure to work side by side with Bob Goodwin. He was an Ambassador along with Alida Hernandez and Dora Brown, and many others. They were always competing with each other to get more members,” she continued. Bob was a unique individual, a handsome man always in a suit with one of his great ties! He would go to every ribbon cutting and almost every opening. Bob was the face of the McAllen Chamber of Commerce. It means a lot to me to win this since I knew him personally.” Winning this was no easy feat and came as a surprise…

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Public Art – A Reflection of our Humanity

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The Clarks Donate the  stainless Gatekeeper, a sculpture by Tobolowsky Art is a part of Clark’s soul, and has been since he was very young. Selling his first painting for $400 at 10 years of age was the start of his career in the colorful, captivating world of art. “I was a sculpture and drawing major at the University of New Mexico,” Kirk began. “I was a ‘found object’ guy using automotive found objects-bumpers, fenders and things like that. I used to go to junkyards, eyeing these giant mounds of steel and stand next to the crane operator who moved the pile from one side to another. “‘Stop, stop, stop!’ I’d yell, and run up the pile of metal, which would have probably cut my leg off if I had fallen, and pick up some odd piece I’d seen unveiled. “What the heck are you going to do with these pieces of…

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The Romero Group – Where the sales are happening!

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ROMERO GROUP  3901 North Jackson Road McAllen Texas 78501 USA  TO SELL OR NOT TO SELL? IS THE ADVERTISING QUESTION  Romero Group an international ad firm, just opened an office at The Monitor managed by Mr. Joseph Romero de Velasco Sr. Creative Director who hails from Dallas where he opened the agency with Larkin, Meeder & Schweidel, a spring child from GSD&M, Austin in 1993. “Our objective here is to expand sales to the local businesses via innovative technologies and ideas including shopping and investments from Mexico.” Said Mr. Romero a former mad man at Campbell Mithun – Esty in Minneapolis. After winning the 3M Thinsulate account vs. BBD&O, moved to Dallas where Romero Group assisted his client Ford Motor Credit (Associates Financial Services) develop a joint venture with the Puerto Rico’s government with an ad campaign to promote Puerto Rico’s Olympians such as former boxing champion Daniel Santos. “Joseph’s…

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