Category Archives: Chamber News

McAllen Ranks Best in Places to Live in the South on a Social Security Check

Survey conducted by Once again, McAllen receives another accolade for the benefits it provides its residents; this time, those on a budget. According to the folks at, McAllen ranks number one for anyone planning to retire on Social Security alone.  The financial website conducted the survey and found that half of the list includes cities in Texas, with other cities from Louisiana, Mississippi, and Arkansas. “This is such good news for many in our community who are on a fixed government income, including the elderly and others who will rely on Social Security for their retirement,” said McAllen Mayor Javier Villalobos. “While we hope to elevate the opportunities for our younger generations, with higher-paying jobs and more educational opportunities, having affordable housing and other amenities for those who live on their Social Security check alone is important to us, as well.” McAllen has the lowest average rent — $613…

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The City of McAllen and LiftFund offer interest-free loans to support small businesses

The program offers 0% interest loans to growing small businesses and startups The City of McAllen and nonprofit small business lender LiftFund are aiming to help small business owners seeking to grow or begin a new business by offering interest-free funding. The program offers zero percent interest loans to small business owners who do not have access to acquire loans through more traditional sources. Loan amounts will vary based on the size and need of the business and the funds may be used for working capital, payroll, equipment, inventory, and other business-related purposes. “The City of McAllen and LiftFund have a long-standing partnership in support of the small business community,” said Roel “Roy” Rodriguez, P.E., McAllen City Manager. “Our Zero Percent Loan program is a great opportunity to support small businesses with access to funding during these tumultuous times.” The City of McAllen and LiftFund launched the zero percent loan…

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VIDA “A Golden Affair” 2nd annual Gala

For 26 years, VIDA has helped over 6,000 economically-disadvantaged valley residents achieve a college education and workforce success through long-term career training. In 2021, VIDA assisted 464 participants pursue careers in target demand occupations and prepare them to enter the workforce earning family-sustaining wages. Our persistence rate was 93% and best of all, the average annual salary upon their graduation was $45,614! This is a true representation of human capital investment and aligning workforce skills with local industry demand. Join us on September 29, 2022, for VIDA’s 2nd annual Gala – A Golden Affair at the Doubletree Suites by Hilton in McAllen. Contact Christi Cantu at

Cambium Learning Group Recognizes Three Exceptional Teachers for its 2022 Essential Educator Awards

Cambium Learning® Group, a leading provider of award-winning education technology and services for PreK-12 markets, today announced the winners of its second annual Essential Educators Awards. During ongoing uncertainty caused by the pandemic, the Essential Educator Awards recognize teachers who surpassed expectations in their commitment to helping students and their communities. The award program aligns with Cambium’s purpose of helping all teachers and students feel seen, valued, and supported. The winning teachers were selected based on written nominations from invited school districts and partners across the country. As part of the awards, Cambium is donating $1,000 in each winner’s honor to the Kids In Need Foundation, which empowers under-resourced teachers and students by providing the supplies they need to succeed. An official from Cambium Learning Group will be in McAllen to present Ms. Veronica Balli with an award at 9:45 am on Thursday, April 14 at the Fields Elementary Library located…

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Beautiful Quinta Mazatlan receives many honors by the Valley Wedding Pages

Quinta Mazatlan was honored as the BEST Outdoor Venue, Upper Valley Venue, and Photoshoot Location.  The VALLEY WEDDING PAGES presented the award to Commissioner Pepe Cabeza de Vaca, Commissioner Victor “Seby” Haddad, and Quinta Mazatlan Events Coordinator Victoria Gomez. Follow Quinta Mazatlan on social media and visit the beautiful urban sanctuary for a walk in the woods and/or to book your special event.  

McAllen to be certified as a “Music Friendly Community” on Thursday, April 7

McAllen is among the cities of Austin, San Antonio, and Dallas, just to name a few of the 30 most glorified cities, to receive the official Music Friendly Community designation in the great state of Texas, and the first city to receive the designation in the Rio Grande Valley! As a Music Friendly Community, McAllen is fostering a music scene that will reflect the vibrant and diverse heritage of the RGV. “Being designated a Music Friendly City acknowledges the many opportunities available for live music in the city and shows support for local artists and venues. The City of McAllen encouraged such entertainment as seen in various outdoor events held throughout the year,” said Commissioner Omar Quintanilla, District 3. “The City of McAllen is very proud to have earned the designation as a Music Friendly Community and we strongly believe it only reinforces what we know to be true, that…

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Governor Abbott Appoints Lizcano and Lemaux To Texas Commission On Law Enforcement

March 22, 2022, | Austin, Texas | Appointment Governor Greg Abbott has appointed Mario Lizcano and reappointed Kim Lemaux to the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement (TCOLE) for terms set to expire on August 30, 2027. The commission establishes and enforces standards to ensure that the people of Texas are served by highly trained and ethical law enforcement, corrections, and telecommunications personnel.Mario Lizcano of Pharr is an administrator of corporate affairs at DHR Health. He is certified as a volunteer firefighter with the State Firefighters’ & Fire Marshals’ Association and has served as a basic emergency medical technician with the Texas Health and Human Services for a combined 20 years. Additionally, he is Chairman of the board of the Greater Pharr Chamber of Commerce, Vice Chairman of the Pharr Economic Development Authority, incoming President of the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce, and Board President of Pharr Housing Authority. Lizcano received a…

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The Santa Fe Wine Classic, with this year’s theme “Studio54,” is scheduled for Friday, March 25, from 6:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Guests are encouraged to attend dressed in glamorous 1970s club scene-inspired attire. Housing this impressive event is Quinta Mazatlan, the City of McAllen’s quintessential adobe estate located at 600 Sunset Drive in McAllen. The Wine Classic will highlight over 200 wines including such top brands as Paul Hobbs, Amici Cellars, La Rioja Alta, Bevan Cellars, Cakebread Cellars, Château Latour, Vega Sicilia, Ca’Momi, Caymus, Stags’ Leap, and Moët & Chandon. Restaurant chefs will craft the specialty dishes that make their restaurants the best in McAllen. Included this year will be Santa Fe Steakhouse, Republic of the Rio Grande, University Draft House, Kumori Sushi & Teppanyaki, and Mori Steakhouse. Music by Grupo Aché will be featured again this year, as well as a silent auction, a champagne & mimosa lounge,…

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Francy Jones Marketing & Public Relations Director Castle Hospitality 1) What is your favorite book? My two favorite books are A Lucky Child by Thomas Buergenthal and American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins. A Lucky Child is a true story about a child surviving a Jewish concentration. The child’s strength is incredible to survive something like that. American Dirt is about migrants and their journey across the desert and mountains to get to the border. 2) What is your favorite movie? I’m more of a hobby and book reading type of person. I did like Pretty Woman because it’s a funny, happy ending movie. 3) What was your favorite vacation spot? Africa, without a doubt. We went to Johannesburg, Capetown, in South Africa. The pictures don’t do it justice until you see the zebras and the elephants crossing a river in their herds. It’s incredible to see nature at its best…

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Gabriel Barreto, a Sergeant First Class in the U.S. Army, has a passion and it’s his job. Training those under his command to become competent leaders, critical thinkers, experts in personnel management, and managing egos and people is what gets him hopping out of bed in the morning. Without question, the Army has proven to be more than Barreto ever expected. “You can have any one of 150 different skills to join and only 10 percent are related to the area of combat capacity,” states Barreto. “The rest are areas such as logistics, human resources, finance, reporters, broadcasters, and cameramen.” This 13-year non-commissioned officer with two trips to Afghanistan and Iraq under his belt, has his goal to embed the Army within the community, sponsoring events, and educating people on the depth of opportunities the Army has to offer. Married with three kids, Barreto loves working out, participating in sports,…

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All Creatures Family Vet Hospital Now Hiring

All Creatures Family Vet Hospital is now hiring very enthusiastic pet lovers that are willing to learn and to have excellent customer care. Experience is not necessary but this could be a plus. We are looking for vet tech assistance and receptionists. Our hours of operation are from Tuesday to Friday 8:00 am to 5:00 pm and Saturdays from 8:00 am to 12 pm. Salary is based on experience starting at $11.00 an hour. We also, Offer 401K and other benefits. Please send your résumé at: Attention Dr. Garcia-Camacho


Todd Mann, Chief Executive Officer This story isn’t only about a hospital, another building stretching into the sky. This story includes the blood, sweat, and tears inside the brick-and-mortar of South Texas Heath System McAllen, of the men and women of the Valley who make a story worth reading. For almost 100 years, McAllen Medical Center, now South Texas Health System (STHS) McAllen, has been serving the Rio Grande Valley. Many people remember how the downtown hospital was the place of their birth. Moving to its present location in 1983, the hospital has been a mainstay of McAllen ever since. Completing a $54 million facility aesthetic upgrade last July – from rest rooms to elevators to patient rooms to corridors – has been a patient and family pleaser. Even hiring a new chef for the hospital arena has brought a more boutique-style food, creating unique menus for staff and patients.…

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From artist to hair stylist and make-up artist to award winning realtor, Amy Noelle Gallo, a realtor at ReMax Platinum, has fallen madly in love with the Valley. “Number one, it saved my husband’s life,” she said of the migraines the up-and-down barometric pressure their Hawaiian living had caused the love of her life. Settling into the Valley in 2016, Noelle finished her long distant real estate projects in Hawaii before joining ReMax Platinum. For the last two years, she has been the top producer of their office and is being awarded as one of the top producers in Texas. Becoming a Chamber Ambassador was a natural progression for her means of networking and setting up contacts for her clients and their home needs. She loves working with the Ambassadors whom she feels are as passionate about their work as she is about hers. “I like being at the ribbon…

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