Category Archives: Member Briefs

Breadsmith God Filled Her Heart with Bread Dough

In Colombia, South America, the mother country of Martha Garza, McAllen’s Breadsmith franchise owner, it’s customary to sit daily with friends or family and partake of a cup of tea and some form of bread. She followed her country’s custom by being a long time client of Breadsmith’s delectable goodies. When the opportunity to acquire the business became available, she jumped at the chance. “Though I was already retired, I got the feeling I had to go for it,” Garza said. “I went through two weeks of intensive training at the corporate headquarters, learning to bake every single item we make just in case the baker misses a shift,” Garza said. It’s a good thing she was prepared, because she was baking her heart out one night at 11:00 p.m. when the baker didn’t appear as scheduled. Perhaps her willingness to jump into the process was simply because she had…

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Kairos Coffee Catering: A Surprising Alternative for Public & Private Events

The Valley, like an island of innovation deep down in the tip of Texas, keeps adding to its list of unique services available for events in the area. The latest is Kairos Coffee Catering, named after the Greek word meaning “an opportune time”. Gabriel and Jessica Sanchez, owners, are longtime coffee aficionados who dreamt of one day owning a coffee business. The two first met as teens on a mission trip, then again after five years when Jessica was attending Christian Bible college in Chicago, where she was studying linguistics and working in a coffee shop. “I learned the ins and outs of the business and how to make all the drinks,” Jessica revealed. “Gabriel learned also.” Dating led to the next step, marriage. A few years later, and after adding a little one to the family, they decided to move to the Valley to be closer to family. “Literally,…

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VTX1 Companies Acquires Ranch Wireless, Inc.

The acquisition will extend VTX1’s service area by 17,000 square miles.  VTX1 Companies today announced its acquisition of Ranch Wireless, Inc. based in Seguin, TX. Ranch Wireless, established in 1998, is a provider of fixed wireless internet service as well as residential and business phone systems in the area south of Round Rock to Kingsville.  They also offer digital land mobile radio systems for remote two-way communication. “This acquisition is important for VTX1 in that we overlap approximately 4,000 of their 17,000 square-mile service area through our northern exchanges,” said Dave Osborn, CEO of VTX1 Companies. “Their coverage area extends from south of Round Rock to Kingsville and includes San Antonio, San Marcos, New Braunfels and Corpus Christi. They have towers in these areas that we can use immediately to provide better broadband services to many of our existing customers. And adding Ranch Wireless customers to our existing customer base will give us close to…

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McHi Mariachi Oro wins multiple awards at FESTIBA

The McAllen High Mariachi Oro won first place at the 2018 FESTIBA (Festival of International Books and Arts) Conference and Competition March 2-3 at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley Performing Arts Center. McAllen High won in the Class 6A Division along with the caption awards for Best Vocals and Best Violins. Additionally, senior Kamryn Ramírez, won first in the vocal competition and was also named Overall Vocal Grand Champion, earning a $1,000 scholarship on behalf of MPR out of San Antonio and The Mariachi Connection.  “We are extremely proud of all of them for their hard work, dedication, and passion that they put in for yet another very musical performance,” Mariachi Oro Instructor Alex Trevino said.

Ice Cream with an Identity

Rolling with Cream Raised in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York, Mark Lewis – co-owner of Rolling with Cream – gave up the frigid north back in 2012 to take a job transfer in the infinitely warmer Rio Grande Valley. With the heart of an entrepreneur, it didn’t take him long to realize opportunities abounded in the Valley. Seeing Thai Ice Cream Rolls on Facebook, Mark began his research on the product, even going so far as to visit an Asian shop in Chinatown back in NYC, all for a taste test. Convinced of its possibilities, Mark and his partner, Andrew Gomez, bought a machine and Mark developed their basic recipe over the summer. It was winning the McAllen Chamber’s Business Plan Competition that gave them the boost they needed to bring their plan to fruition. “We did our Shark Tank demonstration, making up sample taste cups of the…

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Become Janktafied: Meet Lamar Jones

Lamar Jones – food creator, musician, business owner, family man – keeps his eyes to the sky and his feet firmly planted on the ground. He also keeps his ears open to his customers and his mind open to any opportunity that may come around the next corner. First winning the McAllen Chamber’s Innovation Grant in 2014, Jones’ barbeque sauces have since won HEB approval, putting him in 247 HEBs across Texas and counting. “The Innovation Grant is still one of those things that, at the time, was one of the most significant things I had ever won,” Jones’ face glows with pride. “It was a validation that I may actually have something which could do well in the market once it got there. It helped me get all my packaging and retail ready. That was the big leap I needed to take it to the next level.” But Jones…

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Security First Credit Union will be awarding five $1,000 scholarships to students in the Rio Grande Valley. We encourage our young members who are graduating high school seniors or currently enrolled as an undergraduate college student to apply. *Applicant must be a member of Security First Credit Union for one-year and an RGV High School senior in 2018, or currently enrolled in a college or university. Application deadline is April 6th! Please visit our website and refer to the application for complete details. Questions? Please email the Security First Marketing department at The scholarship application is available on the Security First Credit Union website at –

Southern Careers Institute Seeking Nurse Aide Instructors

MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN A STUDENT’S LIFE! Are you a driven individual who enjoys the challenge of exceeding expectations and goals?  Are you passionate about improving people’s lives? Southern Careers Institute is currently seeking Nurse Aide Instructors for our new Nurse Aide program at the Pharr, Texas location. As an Instructor, you will have the opportunity to positively impact students’ lives by engaging them in learning new skills. Position Requirements: Successful candidates will have the following: ·         Must be a current Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) or Registered Nurse (RN) licensed in Texas; ·         Successfully completed a course in teaching adults, experience in teaching adults or supervising nurse aides; ·         1 year long-term care facility experience is required; ·         Ability to keep a classroom full of students engaged in the learning process.  In other words, you must have strong communications skills; ·         Perform other duties as assigned.    

Fifteen McAllen ISD Choirs earn Sweepstakes

District dominates by earning 40 percent of all Sweepstakes trophies Fifteen groups from McAllen ISD earned the highest score at the Middle School Choir UIL Concert and Sight-Reading Contest held recently at PSJA Southwest High. McAllen ISD sent 21 choirs to compete. Of those, 15 of them (71 percent) received Sweepstakes which is the highest UIL music score. McAllen ISD also had four other groups earn a Superior Rating in either Concert or Sight-Reading. That means 90 percent of the district’s choirs received an award at UIL. McAllen ISD also had more performing groups at UIL than any other school district (28 percent of the total competing groups).  In fact, 40 percent of all UIL Sweepstakes Trophies were awarded to McAllen ISD choirs. Fossum and Morris middle schools each earned four Sweepstakes awards. Cathey earned three while De Leon earned two. Brown and Travis earned one each. Lincoln Middle School…

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Mesquite Beans From Lowly Seed to Dazzling Superfood

Texas has one of the highest populations of mesquite trees in the country. To the average person this really doesn’t matter, but to Victoria Barrera Cappadona, those feathery, spring-green trees with long, glittering, golden beans have been the catalysts to a tremendous change in her life. “When we were in the midst of a heavy drought in 2012, everything dried up around the ranch except the mesquite trees which looked like Christmas trees with their beautiful glorious pods,” Cappadona stated. “I asked my father-in-law what could be done with the mesquite bean pods and he said he’d heard of honey and jelly being made.” Launching into research mode, a common mode for this inquisitive, exuberant woman, Victoria began studying about the bean and discovered its many health benefits. Deciding to act on the knowledge, she first launched her original Mesquite Bean Jelly-experiment with the Chilli Pequin for a delicious added…

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South Texas College receives $929,800 grant from the U.S Department of Education

The Department of Childhood Development at South Texas College (STC) received a four year grant from the U.S Department of Education of $929,800 as part of the Child Care Access Means Parents in School Program. The grant will provide affordable childcare services for eligible students at the Child Development Center, located at the South Texas College Mid Valley Campus. Funds will be utilized to cover tuition and fees for 50 eligible children of STC student-parents each semester and 40 children in the summer. STC’s Mid Valley Campus Child Development Center, which is nationally accredited, is committed to providing a lab program to train future early childhood professionals and has served as a catalyst for quality care and education for children and their families for the past 10 years. Veronica Rodriguez, Assistant Professor and Program Chair of Child Development, says this grant will serve students greatly and believes that the Child Development…

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Couture Ravel “Piano Trio in A minor”

Join us for a romantic evening and experience “Piano Trio in A minor” by Maurice Ravel that will captivate you from the very first measure. Written for cello, piano and violin — Ravel’s piece is a true sonata for three players, rich in the harmonic and textural innovations with a passionate final movement filled with shimmering, never-ending trills from the strings and a wild whoosh or two from the piano. Featuring VSO Concertmaster, Geoffrey Wong, violin; Benjamin Ponder, cello and Daniel Steenken, piano. Thursday, February 15, 2018 at Sky Tower Club, Chase Bank, 17th Floor, 200 S. 10th St., McAllen, Tx Contact: Valley Symphony Orchestra at  956-661-1615 or


The Valley Symphony Orchestra and Trudie Elmore Abbott invite you to América, América. Let the music move you with Latin-inspired symphonic music from Cuba, Brazil & Mexico with Col. R.T. (Ret). & Carol Ann Dixon sponsored guest artist, UTRGV Mariachi Aztlán. A concert so energetic, so rhythmic, so explosive, you’ll have a hard time staying still in your seat. Friday, February 2, McAllen Performing Arts Center, 8:00 p.m.  Musical Director/ Conductor: Peter Dabrowski Contact: Valley Symphony Orchestra at  956-661-1615 or  

Final Mile of the McAllen Kids Marathon

On Saturday, January 20, at McAllen Convention Center, our students will run the Final Mile of the McAllen Kids Marathon. As you know, we are a school district that has been recognized nationally for encouraging physical and nutritional health. This is the culmination event for our district-wide effort.  Please encourage students to register by going online at McAllen ISD students can receive a medal and a t-shirt for completing their  Final Mile. This free event is set to begin at 9 a.m. on Saturday. Adults are encouraged to also sign up to run in the adult marathon on Sunday, January 21. Adults can sign up at Employees and students (13 years and older) will receive a 50% discount (PROMO CODE: MISD17) when they sign up for the McAllen Marathon/Scott Crane Memorial Run!  McAllen Kids Marathon Final Mile WHAT: Joint press conference WHEN: 10:30-11 am, Friday, Jan. 19 WHERE:…

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