Author Archives: Gerry Garcia

People You Should Know – Pattie Rosenlund, MS Executive Director, Easter Seals

Providing Help, Hope and Answers The Easter Seals Foundation was founded in 1919 by Edgar Allen when his  son was injured in a street car accident and, suddenly, disability touched his life. Easter Seals Rio Grande Valley began in 1952, starting out in an Army barracks in Pharr before moving to 1217 West Houston Avenue in McAllen. Executive Director Pattie Rosenlund, with the organization for 18 years, heads up the 160 employees. “My background is in teaching special education, and then I moved to teaching in the mental health world,” said Pattie. “I love the opportunities we have of program development, working with families to provide the support they need to make a positive impact.” Easter Seals offers multiple programs such as Early Childhood Intervention, which provides services from therapy for infants and toddlers with disabilities or developmental delays, helping adult clients fund their ongoing therapy to teaching parents how…

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San Antonio FOX Television Crew Films in McAllen

A San Antonio television crew visited McAllen recently to film a portion of episodes that will feature the Rio Grande Valley. “Daytime at 9,” a program run on San Antonio’s Fox Channel KABB, will air two live programs from the Rio Grande Valley at the end of June, said Nancy Millar, Vice President and Director of the McAllen Chamber of Commerce’s Convention and Visitors’ Bureau. “The program has now begun to air in the Valley as well, on KGBT Channel 4,” Millar explained. “’Daytime at 9’ will therefore be covering the Valley more frequently. These episodes just filmed will be the first of what is anticipated to be several more over the course of the run of the program.” The production crew visited for several days, filming interviews with McAllen chefs and some shopping scenes, Millar said. Featured locations will include Quinta Mazatlan and Town Lake at Fireman’s Park. “The…

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McAllen Lanza Programa en Apoyo a Visitantes y Compradores Mexicanos

La nueva iniciativa ‘Tu Peso Vale Más’ les ofrecerá un tipo de cambio preferencial. Debido a la reciente devaluación que ha sufrido el peso, el turismo y las compras en la ciudad de McAllen por parte de Mexicanos ha disminuido considerablemente. En apoyo a esta situación, la Cámara de Comercio de esta ciudad ha lanzado una nueva iniciativa llamada: “Tu peso vale más,” que permitirá a los Mexicanos realizar sus compras en pesos y beneficiarse con un tipo de cambio preferencial. Steve Ahlenius, presidente de la Cámara de Comercio de McAllen, explicó las diferentes modalidades del programa: “Algunos de los negocios locales y minoristas tomarán como base el tipo de cambio oficial publicado en la página web de la asociación (, para luego ofrecer a sus clientes un ahorro de un peso por dólar en sus compras, pagando en pesos mexicanos. Mientras que aquellas tiendas que por política no puedan…

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McAllen and LiftFund partner for no-interest small business loans

  The City of McAllen and LiftFund, the nation’s largest nonprofit small business lender, are offering small business owners in McAllen loans up to $250,000 at a zero percent interest rate for the third consecutive year. Loans can be used to expand a business or to startup a new business. A former manager of a cell phone retail location, Anamia Ortiz opened her own location two years ago. “As a first time business owner, no one would give us a chance until we found LiftFund,” said Anamia. “LiftFund has been there for us when we most had a need for capital and through the City of McAllen buy down program we received our loans at a 0% interest.”   Today she is the owner of five Jackson Wireless, LLC, locations throughout the Rio Grande Valley. Anamia received two loans from LiftFund through this program. The first loan helped startup the…

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Man & Woman of the Year 2015

City Commissioner Richard Cortez and Sister Norma Pimentel A politician and a humanitarian; what a wise and wonderful blend to make up the Chamber’s 2015 Man and Woman of the Year. First, the Humanitarian. Who comes to mind when one thinks of that person who was the leader in bringing dignity back to those who believed they were lost souls? Sister Norma Pimentel, director of Catholic Charities, has become the shining star to those women and children feeling so alone in a foreign country. “Those first weeks and months, the surge of people came in 2014 and throughout 2015, we saw women and children walk up to the door in the worst conditions. It broke my heart,” she said, emotionally. “Actually, when my mentor, Sister Juliana Garcia, saw the surge begin, she said it was deja vu. ‘We did this in the 80s,’ she said.” Growing up, Sister Norma believed…

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  1) What is your favorite book? Aside from the dozens of cookbooks I have, I would say The Celestine Prophecy. I read that book about 20 years ago and it helped me change my perspective on things. I’ll never forget that book. 2) What is your favorite movie? That’s going to be tough because there are several movies that, if they are on, I have to watch them. The Rocky Series tops them all; the story of the struggle that he has to overcome in every movie. Also, Breakfast Club is one of my favorites. Tarantino is a beast. Reservoir Dogs is another one of my favorites. 3) What was your favorite vacation spot? I don’t think I’ve vacationed enough. For many years it was Fredericksburg. It was close to where we lived and was a great escape. Now, when we travel, we don’t like to go to the…

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PEOPLE YOU SHOULD KNOW – Greg Turley, Attorney at Law

Local attorney, Greg Turley, is on an adventure of a lifetime. He’s published his first book,  Hideaway, and entered an exclusive club. Though there are millions of books out there, it’s still a privilege to become part of the “Authors” club. “In the last 10 years I’ve become more interested in writing,” he said. “I have a personal blog,, and a movie review site,,” said Turley. For the last two years, between life and the career he loves as an attorney in Business Law, Estate Planning, real estate and construction matters, he has brought to life his dream of writing a book. “I had an idea for an interrogation and started with that in mind. One of the things I didn’t realize was when I came to a fork in the road with the story, I was the one who had total control over whether to go right…

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Air Evac Lifeteam – Air Ambulance service is looking for a Membership Sales Manager

The position is based in McAllen, TX for membership development in the Valley area. College degree and previous sales background is preferred, but not mandatory. Candidate must be community minded, adept at public speaking, computer literate, have a strong work ethic, and be willing to work some evenings and weekends. Bilingual candidate is preferred. Air Evac is part of AirMedCare Network, is a fast growing Emergency Medical Care service provider with over 230 Helicopter and Fixed Wing aircraft in 32 states. If interested, please forward a resume to John Gates is Area Director, Membership for AirMedCare Network, South Texas.

Raba Kistner promotes F. Howard Holland, PE to Vice President

Russel Lenz, PE and COO of Raba Kistner Infrastructure, Inc. (RKI), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Raba Kistner, Inc., has announced the promotion of F. Howard Holland, PE to Vice President. With substantial experience overseeing all facets of project management, including planning, design, construction, and maintenance, Mr. Holland is responsible for all areas of project operations for the Infrastructure group of Raba Kistner, including employee and corporate leadership, operational oversight, and project development and management. Prior to joining Raba Kistner, Mr. Holland had a significant career with the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT). In his more than 24 years with the organization, Mr. Holland served in numerous positions including District Engineer in Amarillo before retiring as the Director of the Maintenance Division in Austin. Holland is a graduate of Texas A&M University and is a licensed engineer in the State of Texas.

Latest BBQ team to join Sizzling in the Tropics BBQ Competition

H-E-B and the McAllen Chamber of Commerce invite everyone to the “Sizzling in the Tropics” BBQ Competition on Saturday, April 2 from 12 noon to 5:00 p.m. at the McAllen Chamber, 1200 Ash Ave. One of the latest teams to join in the fun is the “You Rub Me Long Time” Cooking Team headed up by Alma Vera.  Her team is ready for competition and they would like everyone to come out and sample the meat they prepare for the judges.  The cooking teams will be judged on the best Chicken, Pulled Pork, Pork Ribs, Beef Brisket, Pan de Campo, and Beans.  There will also be awards for best showmanship and The public will judge the People’s Choice Award so come out and support your favorite team! Tickets to attend the event are $15.00 per person, which includes all-you-can-eat tasting from all 35 teams, drinks, a beverage garden, live entertainment…

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McAllen Chamber Innovation Grants – Changing Lives

McAllen Chamber of Commerce Innovation Grants is a program designed to encourage product innovation and venture creation in the McAllen trade area. Every year, the McAllen Chamber provides up to $50,000 in grant funding to McAllen innovators, allowing entrepreneurial pioneers to advance their groundbreaking ideas towards reality. Meet the grant winners whose ideas were the strongest, best presented and most potentially viable ideas. While most of the Valley population goes about its business working, sleeping and eating, there are individuals who delight in discovering new goods and services to offer the world – be it food, fun, or problem-solving ideas. McAllen Chamber Innovation Grants of 2015 highlight the variety offered. Be-live Deodorant Starting off the list is an all-natural deodorant. Alejandra Rabago was studying to become a Health Coach, which sent her searching for healthier options in eating and lifestyle habits. “I started paying more attention to my personal care…

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People You Should Know: Mike Hernandez, McAllen Parks & Recreation Director

Mike Hernandez was raised in the Valley and proud of it. Being part of a very large family is what ultimately brought Mike back to the Valley after he graduated from St. Edwards University in Austin. “I had found Mrs. Right and began asking myself questions,” Mike Hernandez, Director for the City of McAllen Parks and Recreation Department, said. “What if we decide to have a family? I want our kids to have the kind of life I had. There’s no better life than growing up in the Rio Grande Valley, getting to enjoy the outdoors and small town life.” Moving back to the Valley, he began his work in the media/communications field as a photographer for Britton’s Photography in McAllen. Working a multitude of events, learning his craft, his expertise with people was evident to his clients, one of which was Sunglo Fellowship. He was hired by Sunglo Fellowship to…

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12 Questions with McAllen Chamber Board Member Brian Godinez

BRIAN GODINEZ, CHIEF MARKETING OFFICER/PRINCIPAL, ERO A/E 1) What is your favorite book? I’d have to say To Kill A Mockingbird. 2) What is your favorite movie? To Kill A Mockingbird. It reminds me of growing up in Pharr, small town, just like the community in that movie. My father was an attorney; he was my Atticus. He had cases very similar, civil rights cases. It’s a perfect snapshot of my years that I can remember from the ages of 4 to 13. 3) What was your favorite vacation spot? Huatulco. It’s a part of the Mexican Riviera on the Pacific side. Spring of 1996, that’s where I proposed to Leigh Ann. Everything I love to do we did – fish, golf, party, drink, dance. On top of that, I won a grito contest! 4) What is your life’s motto? Connected Communities. It’s what I do. It’s what I live…

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On January 29, City of McAllen & McAllen Chamber to host Open Carry Law Seminar

The City of McAllen and the McAllen Chamber of Commerce will host a Texas Open Carry Law Seminar on Friday, January 29, at 8:30 a.m. at the McAllen Chamber of Commerce, 1200 Ash Ave. in McAllen.   During the 84th Legislative Session, new legislation passed that will affect handgun licensing in the state of Texas, and since the law became effective on January 1, there have been many questions from the community regarding the new open carry laws, in particular the authority of a person who is licensed to carry a handgun to openly carry a holstered handgun. In response to these questions the City and the Chamber have organized this informative seminar for the business community and any interested citizens who wish to get answers to some of their questions. Topics that will be covered: The eight requirements to be eligible for open carry Four things that must be completed…

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