Author Archives: Gerry Garcia

McAllen ISD student named Finalist in National Merit Scholarship Program

McAllen ISD student David Li has been named to a prestigious group of national scholars that places him in the top one percent of students nationwide who took part in the program. Officials of National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) announced this month that Li was one of approximately 15,000 Finalists in the 65th annual National Merit Scholarship Program. Li is a student in the International Baccalaureate Programme based at Lamar Academy. His home campus is McAllen Memorial High. The IB is a globally recognized, rigorous curriculum. It aims to educate all students to become lifelong learners and productive citizens in an ever-changing global society through a comprehensive, academically challenging program of studies that uses technology and community resources. McAllen ISD offers the Primary Years Programme (grades 1-5), the Middle Years Programme (grades 6-10) and the Diploma Programme (grades 11-12). The National Merit Scholarship Semifinalists have an opportunity to continue in…

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McAllen, other Texas cities hoping to benefit from new sales tax policy

BY MITCHELL FERMAN STAFF WRITER, THE MONITOR It’s not in-person shopping that leaders in McAllen have been unsure about. They know consumers spend money at La Plaza Mall and other brick-and-mortar stores across the city. But online sales have been tricky to quantify, they said, and following a U.S. Supreme Court ruling, Texas regulators are now working to tweak the interpretation of the sales tax revenue law that could allow hundreds of cities across the state like McAllen to receive some new revenues and be able to quantify online sales. “Once these rules are implemented, you’ll have an idea,” McAllen Chamber of Commerce President Steve Ahlenius said about measuring online sales in municipalities. “It evens the playing field,” McAllen Mayor Jim Darling said. McAllen’s economy relies heavily on sales tax revenues, with a significant portion stemming from sales at La Plaza Mall. City officials reported a record year of sales tax…

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Government Affairs Council Meeting – Postponed

The Chamber’s Government Affairs Council will meet on Wednesday, April 8 from 12:00 noon to 1:00 p.m. at the McAllen Chamber of Commerce.  The council will meet Dr. Harrison Keller, newly appointed as the sixth Commissioner of Higher Education and Chief Executive Officer for the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board in October 2019.   Dr. Keller will discuss higher education and how it impacts the success of our community’s workforce. Chamber members who would like to attend and be part of the council, please RSVP with Gerry Garcia at 682-2871 or  Lunch will be provided. The council will typically meet once a month to discuss issues that could affect our area’s business community.    

Government Affairs Council Meeting – February 17

Government Affairs Council Meeting The McAllen Chamber will host the next Government Affairs Council meeting on Monday, February 17 from 12:00 noon to 1:00 p.m. at the Chamber, 1200 Ash Ave. Candidates Judge Richard Gonzales, Dr. John R. Guerra, and Abraham Padron will attend to talk about their upcoming 2020 elections. They will discuss important business issues for our area and what issues they will propose in the next legislative session. Chamber members who would like to attend and be part of the council, please RSVP with Gerry Garcia at 682-2871 or  Lunch will be provided. The council will typically meet once a month to discuss issues that could affect the area’s business community.

Driscoll’s Transition to Professional Nurse Program accredited with distinction by the national program

Driscoll Children’s Hospital Nurse Residency Program’s new Graduate Registered Nurse Residency Program was accredited with distinction by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) after an extensive evaluation. “We are proud that the Transition to Professional Nurse Program at Driscoll Children’s Hospital is recognized by ANCC as one of the highest-quality transition programs for nurses,” said Julie Pina, MSN, RN, CNOR, NEA-BC, Chief Nursing Officer at Driscoll Children’s Hospital. “ANCC accreditation gives nurse residents assurance that Driscoll Children’s Hospital offers an elevated transition program with a clear course of instruction and reliable evaluation methods. With ANCC accreditation, our transitioning nurses gain the skills and confidence needed to perform effectively within a new practice setting,” she said. Driscoll Children’s Hospital’s Transition to Professional Nurse Program is the first in South Texas to obtain the ANCC accreditation. The accreditation adds several benefits to the Driscoll program: Nurses can claim they participated in an…

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A Message from GE McAllen

This communication is to announce the transition of our Plant Leader, Horacio Repetto, to a new role leading the GE Aviation Materials team (GEAM) in Dallas, TX after 3 and a half years at McAllen. Horacio has been a great champion of the GE McAllen shop, a great advocate of our community while significantly driving a culture of change and continuous improvement. We are very confident he will continue to do so in his new capacity at GEAM, supporting all of our customers with various material solutions. We are pleased to announce that Len (Leonard) Davis has accepted the role of GE McAllen Plant Leader, reporting to Dan Fermon. Len was selected for this role based on his strong operational background, component repair knowledge, and experience across multiple functions and businesses. His previous experience includes a 3-year stint at the GE Aviation McAllen facility, where he led the LPT Nozzle…

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Political Forum

Political Forum Thursday, January 23 from 12:00 noon to 1:00 p.m. McAllen Chamber of Commerce 1200 Ash Ave. McAllen, TX 78501 State Representative Bobby Guerra and State Representative Sergio Muñoz, Jr. will attend to discuss the upcoming election with their opponents Richard Gonzalez, Dr. John Guerra, and Abraham Padron.

Supplemental Funding for Customs & Border Protection (CBP)

Issue: Supplemental Funding for Customs and Border Protection (CBP) April 1, 2019 – Custom and Border Protection redeployment at the Southern Border Ports of front line staff has dramatically effected wait times at McAllen’s two ports of entry. The McAllen Chamber of Commerce is seeking supplemental funding for CBP officers to cover the operations for the remainder of the fiscal year. Additional funding is needed for CBP officers, overtime, and travel costs related to ongoing deployment at southern ports of entry. It is critical for the Rio Grande Valley and particularly McAllen, to address funding levels and staffing at our ports of entry. Our region is experiencing critical delays and wait times that now exceed 6-7 hours, which is unacceptable for the efficient and effective movement of goods and people. McAllen relies on the safe and efficient movement of goods and people, and with the redeployment of CBP officers during…

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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, 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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