Author Archives: Gerry Garcia

Offering An Alternative Owner of Ya’ax Vegan Foods, Andrea Rivera, a McAllen Chamber Innovation Grant Award winner, created her spreads and foods to alleviate health issues

 Innovation Grant winner finds inspiration in illness BY BENJAMIN TREVIÑO STAFF WRITER Starting a business is a challenging process. It’s even more challenging when dealing with the burdens of chronic illness. However, for at least one McAllen family, illnesses were the inducement for their business idea. “I had a problem pregnancy with my second baby,” Andrea Rivera recalled. “I was undergoing steroid treatments, and I was always tired. My skin was dry, my nails were chipping, and my teeth were falling out. My husband, Dwight, had PTSD, anxiety, and several knee surgeries from an injury he suffered in the Army. He was on a lot of pills and he gained a lot of weight. I wanted something better for us.” Andrea set out to change her husband’s diet and her own. Using their mother’s recipes, Andrea and her sister, Maria Montiel, started a line of keto-friendly foods and spreads that…

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Vote “YES” to add amendment which will prohibit the state from levying an income tax

Texas Proposition 4, the Prohibit State Income Tax on Individuals Amendment, is on the ballot in Texas as a legislatively referred constitutional amendment on November 5, 2019. Please take note of the way the issue for voting will be added to the ballot: A “yes” vote supports adding an amendment to prohibit the state from levying an income tax on individuals to the Texas Constitution, which requires a two-thirds legislative vote and a statewide referendum to amend. A “no” vote opposes this amendment, thus continuing to allow the state to enact a tax on individuals in the future through a simple majority legislative vote and a statewide referendum. Please contact the Chamber at 956-682-2871 for more information.

McAllen Earns Another Top Safety Ranking 

The City of McAllen has once again been recognized as one of the safest cities in Texas, based on an independent study done by Bacgroundchecks.org, which utilized the FBI crime statistics and a unique methodology metric to gain a city’s safety index score.  The City of McAllen was ranked #23 out 2,929 of the top cities with a population over 10,000, receiving a safety index score of .39.  While other cities ranked higher, McAllen is the only city with a population over 140,000 to rank amongst the top 25.  “McAllen is clearly a safe community,” said McAllen Mayor Jim Darling.  “The work of the McAllen Police Department should be commended and is one of the reasons that our city is the place to work, live, play, do business, go to school and boasts the high quality of life we have here in McAllen.”  According to the report, the online website…

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City of McAllen Receives 97 Marketing Awards, Individual Professional Award at Texas Festival & Events Association Annual Conference 

McAllen Parks & Recreation Director Recognized as Professional of the Year McAllen hosted statewide festivals and events representatives for education and networking sessions The City of McAllen once again hosted the Texas Festival and Events Association Annual Conference this past weekend, bringing in festivals and events representatives from around the state as diverse and far away as Tomball Mud Fest; Ft. Worth Main St. Art Festival; Grapevine’s Grape Fest; Plano Balloon Fest; Poteet Strawberry Festival and even others closer to home, including Weslaco’s Texas Onion Fest; City of Edinburg; Laredo’s Washington Birthday Celebration Association,  and of course, as well-known as San Antonio’s Fiesta Flambeau Parade and St. Mary’s University Fiesta Oyster Bake. While the annual conference offers guidance, suggestions, ideas and networking opportunities, the highlight of the annual gathering is the Kaliff Marketing Awards, which recognizes the best of the best amongst the various Texas festivals and events. In fact,…

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U.S. Census Bureau Announces the Start of First Major Field Operation for 2020 Census

Today, the U.S. Census Bureau announced the launch of address canvassing throughout the United States, the first major field operation of the 2020 Census. Address canvassing improves and refines the Census Bureau’s address list of households nationwide, which is necessary to deliver invitations to respond to the census. The address list plays a vital role in ensuring a complete and accurate count of everyone living in the United States. “The Census Bureau is dedicated to ensuring that we are on track, and ready to accomplish the mission of the 2020 Census,” said Census Bureau Director Steven Dillingham. “We have made many improvements and innovations over the past decade, including better technologies for canvassing neighborhoods and developing complete and updated address listings and maps.” The Census Bureau created new software called the Block Assessment, Research and Classification Application (BARCA). It compares satellite images of the United States over time, allowing Census…

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South Texas College and Texas Workforce Commission came together for a check-signing on August 1 benefiting students in the STC nursing program

South Texas College and Texas Workforce Commission united for a Jobs and Education for Texans (JET) grant in the amount of $75,000 for their Associate Degree of Nursing Program. This grant will enable students at STC to learn and practice their nursing skills with new anatomically correct, life-sized, Juno Mannequins. These mannequins are replications of the human body from head to toe which will give students a holistic perspective in interacting with patients. President of South Texas College, Dr. Shirley A. Reed says collaborating together is an important factor for success. “This region has been immensely successful,” said Dr. Reed. “I believe it’s because of the hard work we put in. We make sure we are in partnership, we are in sync, and that we really can do what we say we can do.” Commissioner Representing Labor, from Texas Workforce Commission, Julian Alvarez, says student success is a priority. “At…

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SOUTH TEXAS HEALTH SYSTEM HOSPITALS ACHIEVE AWARDS FOR OUTSTANDING QUALITY OUTCOMES IN WOMEN’S SERVICES

Healthgrades has announced their 2019 award recipients for outstanding quality outcomes, and South Texas Health System Edinburg and South Texas Health System McAllen achieved the 2019 Gynecologic Surgery Excellence Award, placing the hospitals among the top five percent of all hospitals evaluated. The highly qualified team of physicians and nurses at South Texas Health System Edinburg and South Texas Health System McAllen have proven to provide exceptional care to female patients of the Rio Grande Valley as evident in the results shared by Healthgrades which evaluates hospital quality based solely on clinical outcomes for the most common in-hospital procedures and conditions. Patients that are treated in hospitals that receive one or more of these awards have a significantly lower risk of suffering from in-hospital complications than if they were treated in a hospital that did not. Healthgrades also named South Texas Health System Edinburg and South Texas Health System McAllen…

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City of McAllen Applauds Sen. Cornyn’s Efforts to Help Provide Funding for Continued Response to Immigrant Situation

Federal support is critical to assist with the growing municipal burden. The City of McAllen was notified that U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) had included funding language on a border supplemental package, which includes $30 million available for reimbursements to local governments, states, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) for migrant care through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) which was approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee. According to the press release issued by Sen. Cornyn’s office, he had sent a letter to key appropriators requesting this inclusion after hearing from many local Texas officials and non-profits that due to increased border crossings in recent months, local governments and NGOs have had to spend significant resources on services typically provided by the federal government. “We applaud Sen. Cornyn’s efforts to help the City of McAllen with federal funding as we continue our response to the immigrant situation our community has been dealing…

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86th Legislative Session – Bills that Passed

HB 1 by John Zerwas (R-Fulshear) and Jane Nelson (R-Flower Mound) is the general appropriations bill. It provides: $250.652 billion in all funds; $118.859 billion in general revenue funds; $6.19 billion in general revenue dedicated funds; $86.439 billion in federal funds; and $39.165 in other funds All Funds Comparison to Previous Sessions: $250.652 billion for the 2020-2021 biennium, compares to: $216.758 billion in the 2018-2019 biennium; $216.399 in the 2016-2017 biennium and $196.9 billion in the 2014-2015 biennium. Budget Highlights: Article I, General Government: $10 million to provide grants to Cultural Arts Districts across the state; $1.9 million to expand the Elections Fraud Unit at the Office of the Attorney General; $3.5 million to expand the Human Trafficking Section at the Office of the Attorney General to handle additional prosecutions; $7.7 million increase in funding for rape crisis centers to expand capacity to every area of the state and handle…

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86th Legislative Session Update #17 – FINAL

The 86th Legislative Session is Over Major Issues – Almost all of the session’s important issues were addressed. Here is a run-down of the major priority issues for Governor Greg Abbott, Lt. Governor Dan Patrick, and Speaker Dennis Bonnen taken up by the 86th Legislature: Governor Greg Abbott designated 5 issues as emergency items including: School finance reform and increasing teacher pay – passed as HB 3 Increased school safety – passed as SB 11 Greater access to mental health care services – Texas Mental Health Care Consortium passed in SB 11; HB 8 school mental health training and curriculum passed; and HB 19 mental health and substance abuse resources for school districts passed Property tax reform – passed as SB 2 Expanded disaster response and readiness programs – 28 disaster relief and recovery bills passed including HB 5, HB 6, HB 7, and SB 6 (others are listed at…

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86th Legislative Session Update #16

“The world is a stage, but the play is badly cast.”   Oscar Wilde  SENATE: The Senate was in session Monday through Friday of this past week. Last Monday, the Senate passed 6 bills including HB 638 by Representative Giovanni Capriglione (R-Keller) and Senator Beverly Powell (D-Burleson), which would allow high schools to give posthumous diplomas to parents of deceased students at the end of the school year in which a student was expected to graduate; HB 1483 by Representative James Frank (R-Wichita Falls) and Senator Charles Perry (R-Lubbock), which would require the Health & Human Services Commission to develop a self-sufficiency pilot program for assisting eligible families to gain permanent self-sufficiency and transition off of state assistance; and HB 2867 by Representative Will Metcalf (R-Conroe) and Senator Brandon Creighton (R-Conroe), which would establish the Sam Houston State University College of Osteopathic Medicine. Last Tuesday, the Senate passed 19 bills including…

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86th Legislative Session Update #15

“Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the face for the first time.”    Mike Tyson SENATE: The Senate was in session Monday through Friday this past week. On Monday, the Senate passed one bill, HB 3 by Dan Huberty (R-Humble) and Larry Taylor (R-Friendswood), the public school finance reform bill. Senator Taylor said, “Texas is way behind on school finance and if we want to continue to be the greatest state in the union, we must change. We’ve got to move our school finance system into the 21st century. The Texas Supreme Court ruled that although our system is constitutional, it’s messed up. We need to act now.” After more than one hundred proposed amendments, Senator Taylor closed the proceedings by thanking the Education committee members and the committee staff, and urging lawmakers to pass CSHB 3, “Let’s move Texas well into the 21st century with this vote.”…

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