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“The people are the city�

Bus ine s s, Ar t s & S oci e t y


Influential Women Martha Valencia Healthy Economy:

Is stress about money making you sick?

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Did you know that urinary incontinence is not a disease, but a symptom of an underlying medical condition, bad habit or physical problems? If urinary incontinence is affecting your day-to-day activities, the skilled and knowledgeable specialists at Kidney Innovations can help you begin to eliminate or control it so you can regain the active and confident life you deserve. We are the Rio Grande Valley’s premier practice specializing in kidney related disorders and treatment. We offer the most innovative and cutting edge technology in the treatment of urinary incontinence, hypertension, dialysis, management of kidney transplant patients and anemia related Kidney Disease. Call today to make an appointment, or visit our website at: for more information.

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PUBLISHER Eduardo Fernando Azcoitia content management Anett Ramírez EDITOR IN CHIEF Daniel Garza

Queridos lectores de City Harmony... Rey Duran as "il Toreador" in La Traviata Photo by, Rebeca Britt

EDITOR Teresa Heatherman CONTRIBUTORS Lahle Wolfe Gordon Botting, DrPH, CHES Jake Jenkis Camille Peri Bill Hendrick ART AND CULTURE Rey Duran PHOTOGRAPHY Lorena Cavazos Rebecca Britt GRAPHIC DESIGN Mario Villela Adriana Contreras Evelyn Celedon ADVERTISING 877-392-7263

We welcome your comments, suggestions or questions via email to:

Martha L. Valencia, Photo by Lorena Cavazos



technologies RGV, Inc.




i deseo es agradecerles por el apoyo incondicional a esta su revista la cual tiene como propósito representar el arte, la cultura, la sociedad y los negocios en el Valle del Río Grande. Somos testigos del crecimiento artístico en el Valle del Río Grande por lo cual seguimos apoyando a los representantes actuales tales como “Raíces de Dos Tierras”, South Texas Lyric Opera, Danzar de Rey Duran entre otros, asimismo nuestro propósito es impulsar a futuras generaciones a integrarse en la cultura y el arte que son áreas fascinantes. La gente del Valle es muy noble, es amigable, conoce de cultura y la apoya, por lo que me complace darles a conocer en cada una de las ediciones, espectáculos de alta calidad artística para el deleite de nuestra comunidad que valora y aprecia el arte.

Al paso de los años he sido testigo del gran desarrollo y crecimiento cultural en el Valle de Texas, aquí han llegado increíbles espectáculos de primer nivel que están a la altura de cualquier ciudad cosmopolita. Mi agradecimiento a toda la comunidad por seguir apoyando el arte, lo cual es necesario para el engrandecimiento de la sociedad. También hago una invitación a que nos compartan sus eventos sociales o culturales para que puedan ser publicados en alguna de nuestras ediciones. Nuestra misión en City Harmony es apoyar el arte y la cultura en todas sus manifestaciones y llevarlo a nuestra gente maravillosa que reconoce como el buen vino también un buen espectáculo. Con aprecio Rey Durán ¡Por amor al arte!

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Business Intelligence with Eduardo Azcoitia

An Interview with

Kirk Clark

Kirk Clark is owner and Dealer Principal of Clark Chevrolet and Clark-Knapp Honda. Born in McAllen, Texas to avid art collectors Charles and Dorothy Clark, he finished his first oil painting at the age of 10 and has spent much of his life creating art.In his adult years he would go on to become a successful South Texas car dealer, but studying and making art remains a big part of his life. He studied sculpture and drawing in the mid 60s and graduated from The University of New Mexico, Albuquerque. McAllen’s International Museum of Art & Science featured a compilation of Clark’s works, along with parts of his parents’ collection and works by his daughter, Anne Clark. Throughout his career as an artist and auto dealer, Clark has been most generous with the proceeds from his art sales. He has been known to donate 100% of the sales to various non-profit organizations, churches and charities both locally and abroad. Kirk Clark


e pride ourselves in being a magazine that recognizes merit in performance. Whether that performance is expressed through an inimitable vocational skill, artistic virtuosity, a prodigious musical faculty, or through shrewd business acumen, we applaud it when done right.Then there are those in life who manifest the ability to excel in multiple disciplines such as Kirk Clark. I sat down with him to discuss the personal motivations and experiences that have made him so successful in so many of his endeavors.

Q: Your art is very allegorical and filled with spiritual themes. Can you describe the “Atomic Jesus” series? A: The Atomic Jesus image represents a view of the crucifixion, resurrection and ascension through the eyes of Albert Einstein. It deals with the duality of light and the role cognition has in influencing the way light reveals itself.

Q: How do these choices impact our lives? A: I see life as a journey we are on. We spend most of our life kind of on a treadmill. I have come to understand that God wants us to be one with Him, to consciously give ourselves Q: You were raised in an environment surrounded by art, to Him and follow His lead. Satan on the other hand works how did this reality shape your artistic tendencies? on our egos, trying to get us to do what you want, do this feel A: Both my parents were artists, so good stuff. Unfortunately, when we do I was fortunate to grow up in a home that, we intentionally separate ourselves where one was constantly exposed to from God and fall into a state of "I have come to artistic expression and the business paranoia. Well its chaos - everything is understand that God of art. They were students who would out of order - there is no grounding. So spend many hours researching art my theory, which is not just mine, is that wants us to be one with movements and I was motivated to an unchecked ego is the driver, which Him, to consciously give devote time in the creation of art at my separates us from God. ourselves to Him and home under the tutelage of my parents. follow His lead." It pleases me also that even today my Q: How have your life experiences daughter Anne is an avid artist who caused past separations, and how have shares the love of art with me. In fact, you learned from them? her works are featured on my website. A: Sometimes things happen through pain; personal, spiritual, emotional pain. I had a terrible split Q: So there was business involved in the middle of all this and personal battle. I thought, boy, this wasn’t what I wanted activity? at all, but it basically had to happen. It was extremely painful. A: My mother and father were researching artists and the It was a battle that I was engaged in with my own self, and I art movement daily. In fact, from 1939 to 1985 they donated was scared. I had separated myself from God. I had always had over 30,000 works of art to over 30 museums and universities Him in close proximity, and I would invite Him and receive around the world. It was a time when the great art movements advice and counsel. But at this particular point in my life, I were being formed and it was driven by great artists. So it felt I didn’t have access. I kind of woke up one morning and was real interesting growing up in an environment like that. I realized “Oh my God, where are you?”, and there was no I wrote a book describing my early experiences back in 2005 answer. called Celebration of Spirit in honor of my parents.



“The people are the city”

Q: How did you react when you finally recognized your spiritually separated state? A: I realized that I had not claimed responsibility for my thoughts and feelings, and fell into this emotional trap. I had assumed a victim state of mind. So one morning I knelt at the end of my bed and said ‘Lord, I accept responsibility for what I have done by separating myself from you. I am desperate to find you. I’m desperate to put you in the center of my life. Show me how I do that. And before I got up, the message came to me very strong; ‘You’ll find me in art and you’ll keep me in your art’. So as I look back, I have been producing artwork at a prolific rate for the past eleven years. Q: Much of your art is allegorical and representative of grand themes such as this one (pointing to a painting in his office). How would you describe it? A: I had looked at the image and I said how strange that light has a dot nature and also has a wave nature. What else has that? I said, well, life. Life as it evolved, Albert Einstein discovered … not Einstein, but Newton discovered it’s plutonic for dot. About 4 years later they discovered it could also be a wave, and light has almost an intelligent behavior. It knows you are studying it, so if it detects that you might think it is a dot or a photon, it behaves like a photon. But if light detects you thinking of light as a wave, then it behaves as a wave. That is so amazing. In the Bible it says, “As a man thinketh, so is he.” Freedom to choose life is God’s gift to us. Q: I have always believed that business is an art, and excellent businessmen are in reality-gifted artists. How have you applied or related the art expertise, or experience in art to your business. A: Well, that is a very good point, I had not thought about it that way, but now that you mention it, it makes perfect sense to me. You know sometimes it takes someone from the outside to point out some things to us. Here in my dealership I encourage my people to produce a masterpiece on every delivery of a car. Just for example, we delivered a car to a man who is a long time friend and colleague - he sold cars for many years. I took one of our salesmen and he did an absolute wonderful job delivering the car. He showed the car, its features, and how to obtain the most benefit from his new car. I mean it was absolutely perfect! In the end, my long time friend said to him, “I want to congratulate you because you have done an excellent delivery of the vehicle. I am telling you, I have sold probably more cars than anyone else, and have delivered them

Kirk with daughter, Anne. Photo courtesy of Esperanza Chapa

in the best possible way, but you my friend have done extremely well. Let me tell you, you can have all my referrals. If anybody that I know is going to buy a car I will send them to you”. So there you go, when you strive for perfection, business happens. And that is what we do at our dealership. Q: You spoke about finding yourself as an artist; does a business person need to find him or herself?

"When you strive for perfection, business happens and that is what we do in our dealership." A: if you want to call it like that, but I would say that one needs to be in “harmony” with him or herself. You know we are now going through a training here at the dealership, and we are encouraging people to read the book “The 8th Habit” by Stephen Covey. It is about finding the deeper meaning in your life, and then relating everything you do to what it is “your own personal significance”. The book helps oneself find their own voice, and then help others in the dealership to find their voices. Q: Now that you mention it, one of the greatest

modern physicists said “We don’t know how God created the world, but I can see he did it with the vibration of music”. I love to sing and I consider that a blessing of expression. A: We need more people to be able to express themselves in a “creative ways” which is the opposite of “destructive ways”. Unfortunately we have many people in our society who destroy what others build, and tear down the fibers of our society and families. So I do celebrate that you are trying to encourage “harmonious living” because I believe that is what matters most in our pursuit of happiness. Q. Mr. Clark, are you basically saying that finding our voice and performance excellence is the calling of humanity? A. I believe God created us to do great things, and it is our ego that gets in the way of manifesting that power. As you mention the vibration and the harmony of life, I can see how my office is situated here in the middle of the dealership. So I can sense and be in tune with the harmonic vibrations in my business. I can sense when there is a beautiful harmonious atmosphere, and I know we are having a good day. But when the harmony is broken, I can feel it in my body, and I can correct and take action to fix what is happening, whether it be a sales person not doing things correctly or a customer who is not finding his/her needs met. You see, I try to be as wise as I can possibly be in managing this business. Q. Very interesting artistic application for business, I am grasping that “wisdom is applied knowledge in harmony”. A. Oh that is very good phrase (laughing) I would coin that as your phrase. It is very good. I am going to use it now. You know, progress to be healthy has to be in harmony with the laws of the universe which were set by God and business is not the exception. When you break the laws of success to get rich quick you not only affect our society and provide a bad service but also affect yourself. Eduardo: Thank you so much for your time Mr. Clark. I enjoyed our interview very much. Mr. Clark: Thank you, it was my pleasure.

Charles and


Dorothy Cla



“The people are the city”

c i t y ha r m o n y c o n t e n t s

10 Por Amor al Arte


Seguimos innovando y llegando a ustedes queridos amigos, a través de este espacio privilegiado para brindarles en esta edición los encantos de la música Hindú, la cual a mi en lo personal me encanta por sus místicos sonidos.

12 Healthy Economy? Millions of Americans feel anxious about current financial uncertainties. Fortunately, no matter your circumstances, it is possible to find your bearings financially.

18 Influential Woman of the Valley Martha Valencia is President & CEO of Americare Nursing Services Inc., one of South Texas most successful home health businesses focusing on the treatment of the elderly, physically impaired, and medically underserved populations of South Texas.

26 Strategies for Effective Parenting Child development and behavior specialist and author of You’re Not the Bossof Me, suggest strategies to improve your discipline techniques and help establish a healthy bond with your child.

28 Accessories for Business Attire


Dressing for success includes your outfit, personal grooming, and accessories. Clients and investors pay attention to details, and so should you.


Valley Youth Shine in Opera performance

"La Traviata", Performance Held on May 26 and 29 at McAllen’s Civic Center, and produced by the South Texas Lyric Opera (STLO) ended its season with one of the most beloved and famous operas ever performed.




The content of articles contained in City Harmony Magazine solely reflects the personal opinions permission of City Harmony Magazine. City Harmony Magazine is a bi-monthly magazine with over of the authors or contributors and doesn’t necessarily represent the official position of City 15,000 copies distributed throughout the Rio Grande Valley. Developed and published exclusively Harmony Magazine. The publisher assumes no responsibility for errors and omissions appearing by City Harmony Publishing. City Harmony, does not assume any liability for any advertising, in the content or advertising within. The publisher reserves the right to accept or reject any and all articles, photographs, or artwork. For advertising information or comments, please contact us at: content pertaining to advertising and editorial. Contents cannot be reprinted without the written City Harmony Publishing 813 N. Main Street McAllen, Texas 78501. Tel. 1-877-392-7263. Printed in Mexico.



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¡Por Amor al Arte!

Los Sonidos de la India Por Rey Durán, Academia Danzar


eguimos innovando y llegando a ustedes queridos amigos, a través de este espacio privilegiado para brindarles en esta edición los encantos de la música Hindú, la cual a mi en lo personal me encanta por sus místicos sonidos y ese despliegue de las bellas danzarinas que con sus bailes y sus velos coloridos parecieran no tocar el suelo. Debemos reconocer que ahora que se ha puesto tan de moda el “boom” de la industria de Bollywood –cine de la India-, ha dado una mayor proyección y promoción a este género musical de la India con el que cada vez más nos vamos familiarizando. Quien no recuerda los inolvidables bailes de salón donde la música hindú a dejado una huella. Yo en lo particular la he bailado, y por mi experiencia me atrevo a decir que es una música ligera, la cual considero rica, elegante, y cautivadora, y si ustedes mis amigos, tienen la oportunidad de bailar les recomiendo sólo que se dejen llevar. Escuchar el bansuri o flauta de bambú del maestro de la música hindú, Gurbachan Singh Sackdev, es un raro privilegio en nuestro país. Se trata de uno de los más altos exponentes de la música clásica de la India en la actualidad. El maestro imprime una profundidad y estructura en su música que se hace indefinible y siempre llega al corazón. Su ejecución es un canto espiritual que envuelve al que lo escucha transportándolo al mundo interior y así vislumbrar la magia del raga, su forma melódica básica. Para conocer un poco de esta música diremos que consiste en una larga improvisación basada en las jerarquías de los tonos (ragas), como se hacía en la música de la edad media occidental (música modal). El instrumento pilar de este tipo de música es el sitar, especie de laúd, generalmente acompañado por tamboriles, de los que el más común es la tabla.

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Como podrás imaginar, esta música que tiene un tanto de ceremonioso y que muchos respetan, se podría decir que es un tanto sagrada y que ha sumado a lo largo de los siglos diversas influencias dentro de un marco que ha permanecido inalterable. Hasta dónde ha llegado su influencia que hasta los mismísimos The Beatles y los Rollings Stones la han exportado al occidente fusionando en sus temas sonidos de la India. En la actualidad esta música se ha introducido a occidente gracias a músicos como Ravi Shankar quien tocó en 1967 en el famoso recital neo hippie de Monterrey junto a otras estrellas como Jimmy Hendrix, además de George Harrison (The Beatles) quien estudió con el maestro Shankar. Hoy en día hay bandas hindúes en todo el planeta y guitarristas eléctricos que tocan esta esencialmente música melódica. Y para terminar acá en occidente hemos ligado una profunda relación entre música hindú y espiritualidad, incluso al extremo de pensar en esta música como un camino a la autorrealización e iluminación. Muchos la toman como una forma de meditación, sobre todos maestros del yoga. Pero conózcala usted y déjese seducir por ella... ¡yo la bailo con pasión como todo lo que hago en la vida! - Rey Durán

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“The people are the city”

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x 11

“The people are the city”

Healthy Economy:

Is stress about money making you sick?

Financial expert offers seven steps to healthy finances. By Gordon Botting, Dr.Ph, CHES


nemployment. Foreclosure. Recession. Bankruptcy. Credit crunch. Stock loss. Depression. Bank failure. In recent months, the negative reports about the economy have poured down on us like a torrential downpour. And when we’re drowning financially, it affects all aspects of life, including our health and relationships. Millions of Americans feel anxious about current financial uncertainties. Fortunately, no matter your circumstances, it is possible to find your bearings financially. There’s hope, and it starts with reexamining your attitudes and values about financial security and success. Consider these seven strategies that will help you come out of a recession with a healthier mind, body, spirit and wallet. 1. Don’t panic Easier said than done, I know. Especially if you’ve lost your job and find yourself in the ranks of the nation’s unemployed. But remember, our grandparents lived through the troubling 1930s, and our parents survived a major war. We can live through this economic “hiccup.” The surprising reality is that people who fear losing their job have more health problems than those who have actually lost their jobs. In a recent study conducted by the University of Michigan, 3,000 employed people under the age of 60 were researched for a 24-month period. The study found that those individuals who felt chronically insecure about their employment experienced more depression and overall health problems than the unemployed. Don’t let worry and panic make matters worse. 2. Take control In a clever test of stress control, researchers divided 100 office workers into two groups. While at their workstations, both groups in the experiment were bombarded with a variety of annoying sounds, including jackhammers and blaring music. One group was given the ability to press a red button to turn off the noise in their cubicles; the other group was not. Not surprisingly, the group with the red button had less stress than the group that was powerless. However, there was one surprising result: not one of the office workers who had a red button used it. Why? Because they knew they were in control. They knew they had a plan if they needed it. Realize that you too can control your situation. Begin by

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reading a book, watching an informative DVD, or seeking advice from others who have experience and wisdom in the areas in which you feel a loss of control. 3. Change your perspective The majority of individuals still have their homes and jobs. Even in the Great Depression more than 75 percent of Americans were still employed. Today approximately 90 percent of Americans have jobs. We can shift our perspective and focus more on what is going right. In the past, for example, many of us had a long list of all the possessions and vacations we desired, but now we find ourselves simply grateful for our current employment. Stop and think about the past, the obstacles you have overcome, and know that you will get through this current crisis. You can come out of this a more astute and prudent person in all aspects of life. 4. Increase your physical activity One of the best ways to reduce tension is to participate in a moderate exercise program. Rather than spend money every month on a local gym, why not simply walk a half hour every day? A brisk walk will increase endorphins, which reduce blue feelings, and will give you time to think about how you can reduce your ongoing household expenses. 5. Cultivate a balanced lifestyle Take the opportunity during financially challenging times to improve the quality of your overall lifestyle. Determine to consume plenty of fruits and vegetables every day, and develop the habit of drinking lots of pure water. Seven to eight hours of sleep are necessary for the synthesis of proteins, hormones, and enzymes, and when you feel stressed out by work or financial responsibilities, that sleep is more critical than ever. 6. Learn money management This is the time to discover the benefits of a household budget. If you don’t like the word “budget,” call it a “spending plan.” Discover the satisfaction of being thrifty. Instead of eating out, crack open one of those cookbooks in your kitchen and try a new recipe. Cut coupons, purchase produce that is on sale or seasonally inexpensive, and never purchase clothing unless it is on sale. Reduce your utility bills by planting shade trees, using energy-efficient lightbulbs,

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increasing insulation, and switching off the air conditioner when it is unnecessary. Debt is definitely a no-no in today’s money-management predicament. Before you buy anything, ask yourself the hard questions: “Will anything terrible happen to me if I don’t purchase this item today?” “Is this a real necessity or just a want?” Cut up unnecessary credit cards, and strive to pay off your credit cards in full every month. In other words, change the way you manage your finances, and it will bring untold benefits to your health and relationships. 7. Choose community instead of materialism One way we can help fix the current financial meltdown is to recognize that possessing more material things will not make us happy. In my financial seminars I often point out that though the richest people in the world may have many mansions, numerous luxury automobiles, and an endless supply of the best cuisine, they can still only sleep in one bed at a time, drive one vehicle at a time, and eat one meal at a time. Rather than obsessing about things, we can be enjoying family and friends, spending time with our children and grandkids, and giving back to society

through acts of volunteerism. In a recent survey about what people consider the measure of success and a high quality of life, the top answers had nothing to do with money. The number one answer was “spending quality time with family” (88 percent), followed closely by “having a good relationship with your spouse or partner” (86 percent). In addition, volunteerism in many nonprofit organizations is up by 25 to 35 percent in the first quarter of this year. Use whatever dollars or time you can spare to enhance your connection to those you love. Good News About a Bad Economy Even when the economy is in bad shape, your life and health don’t have to be. It may surprise you that a seemingly bad economy can actually be good for your health. The United States death rates dropped during the 1972 and 1982 recessions and rose during the economic recovery that followed. This pattern happens because during a robust economy, people tend to work longer and spend less time on relationships and lifestyle; whereas in economic downturns we tend to take better care of our health and spend more time with families and friends. The bottom line: if you take steps toward financial health, even this recession can be a positive experience for you.


x 13

“The people are the city”

What Lack of Sleep Does to Your Mind Sleepiness can damage your judgment, work performance, mood, and safety.


By Camille Peri

o you often forget things that you’re sure you know? Is it hard to concentrate on complex assignments? Do you get less than six hours of sleep a night? If so, you’re probably not getting enough sleep. That’s right; lack of sleep can hinder you from thinking clearly and keeping your emotions at an even keel. Studies show that excessive sleepiness can hurt work performance, wreak havoc on relationships, and lead to mood problems like anger and depression. Why Don’t People Value Sleep? Most people who don’t get enough sleep don’t recognize the toll that it takes on their cognitive and mental health. Many people think of sleep simply as a luxury -- a little downtime. They know they feel better when they get a good night’s sleep and worse when they don’t. But sleep actually improves learning, memory, and insight.

“You’re putting energy in the bank when you go to sleep,” says Barry Krakow, MD, medical director of Maimonides Sleep Arts and Sciences. “On a cellular level, the body is literally repairing and restoring itself. Without it, you can’t do what you want - physically or mentally.” And catching up on your sleep is a bigger job than many people realize. If you get less than six hours of sleep a night for a week, for example, you’ll rack up a full night’s sleep debt - too much to make up for with a few hours extra sleep on the weekend. The Impact of Chronic Sleepiness People who are sleep deprived often say they feel “foggy.” Here are three reasons. 1. Sleepiness slows down your thought processes. Scientists measuring sleepiness have found that sleep deprivation leads to lower alertness and concentration. It’s more difficult to focus

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and pay attention, so you’re more easily confused. This hampers your ability to perform tasks that require logical reasoning or complex thought. Sleepiness also impairs judgment. Making decisions is more difficult because you can’t assess situations as well and pick the right behavior. 2. Excessive sleepiness impairs memory. Research suggests that the nerve connections that make our memories are strengthened during sleep. “Sleep embeds the things that we have learned and experienced over the course of the day into our short-term memory”, says Avelino Verceles, MD, assistant professor at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and director of the school’s sleep medicine fellowship. It appears that different phases of sleep play different roles in consolidating new information into memories. If your sleep is cut short or disrupted, it

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“The people are the city”

interferes with these cycles. When you’re sleepy, you may forget and misplace things often. And the inability to focus and concentrate caused by sleepiness further weakens memory. “If you’re not able to concentrate on what’s at hand, it’s not going to make it into your short-term memory and then long-term memory,” says Allison T. Siebern, PhD. 3. Poor sleep makes learning difficult. Sleep deprivation affects your ability to learn in two ways. Because you can’t focus as well, it’s more difficult to pick up information, so you can’t learn efficiently. It also affects memory, which is essential to learning. In children, sleepiness can lead to hyperactivity, also hampering learning. Teens may lose the focus, diligence, and memory capacity to perform well in school. The Biggest Danger of Sleepiness: Slowed Reaction Time Sleepiness makes your reaction time slower, a special problem when driving or doing work or other tasks that require a quick response. You don’t need to fall asleep at the wheel to be a danger - drowsiness alone can be as dangerous as driving drunk. Driving while sleepy is like driving with a blood alcohol content of .08% - over the legal limit in many states. And drinking and drowsiness are double trouble when driving because sleep deprivation magnifies the affects of alcohol. The people at highest risk for fatigue-related auto accidents are teenagers and young adults, especially men. Shift workers who work at night or work long or irregular hours and people with untreated sleep disorders such as sleep apnea and narcolepsy are also at high risk. The researchers noted that this could be a particular concern for firefighters, police officers, soldiers, and others who are often sleep deprived on the job.

The Impact of Sleepiness on Mood and Mental Health Lack of sleep can alter your mood significantly. It causes irritability and anger and may lessen your ability to cope with stress. Sleep-deprived people polled by the NSF were also less likely than those who sleep well to exercise, eat healthfully, have sex, and engage in leisure activities because of sleepiness. “Over time, impaired memory, mood, and other functions become a chronic way of life,” says Siebern. “In the long term, this can affect your job or relationships.” Chronic sleepiness puts you at greater risk for depression. A 2005 study by researchers at the University of North Texas found that people with insomnia were 10 times as likely to develop depression and 17 times as likely to have significant anxiety as those who slept well. Sleep deprivation and depression are so closely linked that sleep specialists aren’t always sure which came first in their patients. “Sleep and mood affect each other,” says Verceles. “It’s not uncommon for people who don’t get enough sleep to be depressed or for people who are depressed to not sleep well enough.” How Do You Know if Sleepiness is a Problem? Because individual sleep needs vary, experts say the best way to gauge whether you’re getting enough sleep is by how you feel. “You shouldn’t feel sleepy when you wake up,” says Verceles. “You should be energetic throughout the day and slowly wind down as you approach your usual bedtime.” Krakow suggests assessing your day-to-day abilities and quality of life.  “Ask yourself if your cognitive performance is where you want it to be,” he says. “Are you having conflicts with other employees or your boss over your memory, attention, or concentration -- and particularly your productivity?”


x 15



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“The people are the city”

Influential Women of the Valley

An Interview with

Martha Valencia Martha Valencia is President & CEO of Americare Nursing Services Inc., one of South Texas’ most successful home health businesses focusing on the treatment of the elderly, physically impaired, and medically underserved populations of South Texas. With an employee roster numbering over 250 people, AmeriCare’s staff positions include registered nurses, physical and speech therapists, social workers and home health aides


providing a variety of home health services in Zapata Starr, Starr, Hidalgo, Willacy and Cameron counties. Ms. Valencia also runs a real estate development / holdings company - Emerald Island Developments which acquires, develops and sells properties in Hidalgo and Cameron counties. Ms. Valencia’s activities include her participation and generous contributions to various nonprofit organizations throughout the Rio Grande Valley.

: Before we dive into business related issues, could you please share a bit of your personal background with us? A: Certainly. I was born in Manizales, Colombia where I studied International Business and began working in women’s retail clothing stores before deciding to come to America and live in New York City, NY with my brother. It was a very nice city, but I felt it was too cold for my Colombian bones so I relocated to Miami, FL where I got a job working in the fashion industry. Not long after, I landed a job with the Bank of Bogota in their International Relations Department. It was a great opportunity to learn the intricacies of running social and business networks, and facilitating the international commerce of many of their clients. After some time, I relocated to the Rio Grande Valley in 1996 and began working in a home health agency where I was very successful. In fact, I was recognized for my accomplishments. Eventually, I felt I could own and manage a home health agency better than what I had observed others do. Soon an opportunity arose to purchase an agency; AmeriCare Nursing Services - a home health agency based in McAllen, and I didn’t hesitate to seize the chance. That was 15 years ago. Since then, the company has expanded to include offices as far as Laredo and all the way to Brownsville. Today, we have 250 employees servicing over 500 patients a week. I have also established a real estate development and holding company - Emerald Island Developments. This entity owns, develops and sells properties in Hidalgo and Cameron counties. Q: Why did you decide to dedicate yourself to a career in home health? A: I wanted to be part of an effort that helped people and made a contribution to the quality of their lives. I felt strongly that home health would serve as the vehicle that would provide me with the self fulfillment of serving others. After having worked at several agencies, I realized that it was the extensive social network I had established that would serve to generate many of the referrals needed to succeed. I then went into business on my own, and I have been fortunate to enjoy the success that comes from hard work. Q: As you know, the healthcare industry has been changing drastically, particularly in your field. How are you adjusting to these changes? A: Like many other industries struggling through this recession, we have had to do more with less. It has been very difficult to make ends meet, and I am most grateful to my employees who helped to shoulder the decreases in compensation. We have withstood payment cuts of over 10%, plus the cap on the reimbursement of diabetic patients, which resulted in an additional 30% decrease in compensation. If it were not for my employees understanding the changes to reimbursement and the effects on our cash flow, I would be out of business. Working through these changes as a team helped us weather the storm. Q: What can you say about the turmoil recently experienced by some in the home health sector, primarily dealing with accusations of “systemic corruption”? A: If corruption or fraud is present in the home health industry in South Texas, then I believe that the regulatory agencies should address

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Photo by, Lorena Cavazos

I felt strongly that home health would serve as the vehicle that would provide me with the self fulfillment of serving others.

“The people are the city”

the subject and close those agencies down. Physicians should not have to worry if referrals made to a home health agency will “back-fire” on them and consequently get them involved in a Federal investigation. I have heard a lot of gossip on the topic, but what I know for a fact is that many home health agencies were placed on “vender hold” – which means they cannot bill. This impacts their cash flow and causes them to shut their doors. I know, because many of their employees have come looking for work at my agency after having faced this experience at their previous agency. Health Integrity (the local Zone Program Integrity Contractor) audited AmeriCare Nursing Services back in April of 2010. With the exception of one patient’s certification period ($900.00), we have not had to return any funds or been cited for any wrong doing. I can assure you that I believe in doing things right, and not doing so is just plain dumb. Q: Do you think our government is doing enough to encourage excellence in this industry? A: I believe that Medicaid and Medicare program administrators have made a “half hearted effort”, mandating third party patient satisfaction surveys is an example that comes to mind. But at this point, costs saving measures have taken center stage. Unfortunately, as in the case for home health diabetic patients, sometimes these cost saving measures result in unintended consequences. Medicare placed a ceiling of 10% of total monthly payments on the number of diabetic patients a home health agency could bill for. This prompted many agencies to educate their diabetic patients to self administer their insulin, find others to administer the patient’s insulin, or discharge those diabetic patients. This action saved a lot of money, but for those blind, demented, disorientated and confused diabetics, it became a terrible hardship. Regrettably, for now, I see cost containment superseding any pursuit of excellence. Q: As a CEO managing with a staff surpassing 250 in number, what do you consider have been the keys to your success? A: I would characterize the keys to my success as being able to establish and maintain a social network; passion in providing our patients with the best possible care; and a commitment to always taking the “high road” when it comes to compliance to the law and health care regulations. Additionally, I believe in clear communications to all of my employees, and require accountability for their actions. And finally, I value continuing education and training to keep up with the latest trends and policy changes. Q: You were recently the recipient of a significant recognition by the members of the Texas State Senate. What does this high honor signify for you? A: I proudly view the recognition given to me by the Texas State Senate as an acknowledgement of the economic benefits my business endeavors have brought to South Texas. The real estate development company that I operate and Americare Nursing Services are superb examples of the positive social changes and quality employment opportunities that can be generated for the community at large. Q: Speaking of positive social changes, you are known for your generous contributions to your community. What is your criterion for deciding who to contribute to? A: I am very people orientated, especially when it comes to children. I see children in need, and I compassionately understand that they are innocent of any wrong doing, and that they are victims of circumstance. I truly believe that by affording a child an opportunity to grow and excel, they will become a self sustaining citizen who will contribute to the needs of our society. Otherwise, they may never overcome their life struggles. Q: What are the main causes you have embraced? A: I also am very passionate about helping women succeed in achieving their goals in business and in life. If they are fortunate enough to be recognized for their accomplishments, they get paid less than their male counterparts. If they truly “shine” in their professional capacity, they do so while nurturing their children and caring for their husband. Recognizing that the world is not equal for all, especially in this region where Hispanic women must overcome a number of barriers just to start their careers, I try to coach, mentor, and motivate other

professional women to reach beyond their goals whenever possible. I am a “Go Girl” Cheer leader! I encourage them to be happy with themselves and celebrate their accomplishments in life. So I salute all of those hard working “super Moms” out there! As a Hispanic, I have been very impressed with the efforts of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce who provide Hispanic business owners a guiding light and a voice. I believe we are very fortunate to have the RGV Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, who has been very instrumental in the development of many small business efforts in the Valley. Q: I can see you pay very close attention to details, and have a discerning eye for good art. How has this quality helped you in business? A: Just as an artist chooses her style, medium and subject, a business woman must choose an industry, niche and location for her business. In both scenarios, you struggle to achieve harmony within the dynamics at play, and attention to detail is paramount. In art you create a finished product from the heart; in business you create a living organization with human beings working with their hearts for the common good. I also try to keep my businesses avant-garde, on the cutting edge of technology, focused on innovation and education.

On May 4Th, 2011, Martha L. Valencia is congratulated by Senators  Juan Jesus Hinojosa and Eddie Lucio, Jr. after her Texas Senatorial recognition in Austin, Texas.

Q: What do you want to transform or improve? A: I would like to help all who surround me to be better human beings. I question, confront and challenge these individuals. I practice what I preach and role model. I ask them to give more; to perform at a higher level and it works. Ask and you shall receive! Q: My observation has been that you surround yourself with great employees. What is your secret to attracting and keeping them? A: I am always on the “lookout” for employees who are top performers in my industry, and I have also hired employees from hospitals and physician offices. Mainly, I look for talent, customer service traits, and outstanding communication. I then persistently recruit them, and ultimately have them join my team. Once they’re on board, I encourage continuing educational experiences, which I try to attend myself, so that we all can share the same frame of reference. I include my employees in planning strategic initiatives so that they all feel part of the effort and share in the success. CH: Thank you for taking the time to speak with us today. MV: My pleasure.


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“The people are the city�

Influential Women of the Valley

The Future of Dance in South Texas is Bright


By Daniel Garza n case you haven't noticed, a revival of sorts has begun to spread in the Rio Grande Valley. If you're curious about what has turned many South Texans on to folklorico, ballet, or salsa dance, the answer is two words: cultural awakening. But if you don't know why more RGV residents than ever have begun performing with a theatre company, dressing in cultural attire to tap around a sombrero, or exercising to zumba, here are two more words for you: Rochelle Sinder. I meet her outside her expansive dance studio After some customary introductions are made, we step inside the lobby area and settle into the common area sofas positioned askance from each other in deliberate asymmetry. She is wearing a stylish blue top with black jeans that shimmer; I would even say they glisten. The modish highlights streaking down her sandy blonde hair justly complement her vanilla ice cream-colored face, her front teeth are all perfectly aligned, and she features two striking green eyes that rest softly under her confidently arched eyebrows. Some of that confidence probably comes from knowing she can do something better than the vast majority of us can; she can dance. What makes the recently married Rochelle such a force in the local arts community is that she has that rare attribute found wanting in most of her twenty five year old counterparts; a strong sense of purpose. One cannot help to be impressed by her long list of impressive accomplishments, but more so, for her demonstrated resoluteness in achieving so many of her goals at such a young age. She is a wunderkind, a creative visionary, a woman determined to elevate the lost art of artistic dance to loftier heights in the Rio Grande Valley. "She tells me she began formal dance training at barely two years of age. She became a licensed folkloric dance instructor at age ten - training with university students under master dance directors in Xalapa,

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Veracruz, Mexico. She then launched Raices de Dos Tierras at nineteen - a non-profit 501(c)(3) dance company dedicated to advancing ballet folklorico throughout the Rio Grande Valley. She has since written, directed and produced two complete musical productions presented at McAllen's Civic Auditorium and the UTPA Fine Arts Auditorium, and in January of last year, she opened her own dance studio in McAllen - Dance Factory. I'm mentally worn out just calculating the number of hours she has spent devoted to her passion. I ask her why such passion. She straightens her back, smiles, rests her small neat hands on her knees, and looks at me levelly as she responds. "I love to dance. I always knew dancing would be in my future. Since I was nine years of age, my parents were taking me across the Reynosa border three times a week so I could take dance classes under the tutelage of famed Professor Guillermo Garcia Berrocal. I would hurry to finish my homework to try to make the practice on time, then we would drive back late at night, time and again. I was so fortunate to have such unwavering support from my parents and to live in a border city; to live in an area so rich in history and traditions." The gratefulness her face is emoting reflects the evident high regard she has for her parents, but I also notice that part of that twinkle in her eye is sparked from the personal references she makes relating to Valley life. I ask her why she never left the area to live somewhere else. "You don't see the kind of bi-culturalism we have here in the Rio Grande Valley anywhere else. I love the valley. I'm so proud of who we are, and I think it is so amazing that I get to showcase the border culture to the outside world through our dance company." She mentions the studio is in the process of being renovated so we step out into the main expanse where the dancing and exercise takes place to view the ongoing work. The room

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features a thirty foot high ceiling, massive mirrors taking up an entire side of the area, a wooden dance area covering most of the floor, an unfinished elevated stage, and a utility room that holds many of the customes used for theatre and dance productions. It is evident the wooden dance floor is already showing wear from the many hours of rigorous activity it has borne. We move to the upper floor to view the area reserved for ballet and salsa lessons. Rochelle steps unto the dance floor, sways just a bit and then settles in to a ballet dancer's "attention" position as she peeks at the mirrors. Her arms form a circle with the palms facing each other and the back edge of the hands resting on the thighs. As if moving to a heartbeat's slow rhythm she gracefully raises a ballerina's hand chest high. Leg shifts with a quick step slide, faint tip of the toe, right hand down. Then she straightens her entire body to an at-ease position. In a flash, the feeling has passed. I get the sense it's intuitive, like she can't help herself. I ask her what motivates her. She breaks into a faint smile. "Mostly it's because of the feedback we get from the people who go to see our performances, I see the excitement on their face. But also it's because I am frequently asked why we don't see more of these dance productions being offered in McAllen or the Rio Grande Valley, and the truth is if we don't do them, who will?" By now her face has turned slightly concerned as she continues "Anybody who wanted to learn folkloric dance or any other traditional Mexican dance in the past had to cross the border. When I was at UTPA, I launched a dance company called "Raices de Dos Tierras" and recruited three other dancers to join my efforts, with the proposition that we would

honor the culture and the art by demanding excellence and quality from each other. Soon, we made an ambitious decision to produce a full on theatre production after we grew in size. After a successful showing at the Civic Auditorium, our small project took off. I opened the Dance Factory in January of last year and we haven't looked back since. Today, our dance studio provides high level instruction worthy of theatre to over 300 students." Her smile now returns full on as she adds "We have over thirty members who currently make up Raices de Dos Tierras, and are currently receiving dance instruction. I'm amazed to see the level of skill of some of our youngest members; they are doing things I was not doing at their age." She says holding her hair back with one hand. She then looks hopefully around the room as she tucks the tips of her fingers into the back pockets of her pants and adds "It makes me so excited about the future of dance and theatre in the Rio Grande Valley." We know the feeling. It makes us excited there are South Texans like Rochelle who have revitalized the art, and are shaping the future of dance.


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“The people are the city”

A Nutrition Coach

Can HelpYou Win I

by Jake Jenkins

am one of those who had a carefree, indifferent approach to all things related to dieting, nutritional regiments and calorie counting. Why? Cause, brother, I had always enjoyed eating what I wanted, as much as I wanted, and when I wanted. Health wise I felt I was holding my own. Probably because I kept myself physically active playing on co-ed soccer teams, basketball pick-up games at the gym, and a softball tournament every now and then. I took a certain pride knowing I was still the same weight at thirty that I had been in High school. People often remarked I was blessed with a high metabolism or skinny genes – like a superior genetic peculiarity providently coded into my DNA. It gave my life a certain quality of awesomeness a minority few could relate to. Fast forward a few years later and you guessed it; time had made a folly of my false beliefs and silly assumptions. My body was now exacting a pricy toll for all my past dietary sins and lifestyle indiscretions. Turns out, the principle of reaping what you sow applies to one’s diet as well - especially one’s diet. A life filled with years of splurging on weight-inducing miscellany of pink Hostess snowballs, sugary carbonated drinks, the first four selections of McDonald’s Value Meal menu, and just about every other sweet confectionary known to man had caught up to me. My dear readers, to put it mildly, I was now It’s not complicated, eating right is overweight. For an essential component in losing some time now I weight. Paired with a good exercise had been feeling regime, anyone can maintain sluggish, and weight at a desired level. lacking of energy. I had also felt stressed, apathetic and would get sick more often than in my previous years. And worse yet, the weight gain had concentrated mostly around the girth, giving me a roly-poly look. It was like my super powers had left me and I had become just one more common American struggling with weight issues. So I did what most others in my situation did; I wallowed helplessly in my condition. In what could best be described as a few chairs, a parent and awkward floor staring short of an intervention, several close friends recommended I look into dieting and moderate physical activity to help pull me out of the tailspin I was in. They all had visibly concerned faces, which in turn, concerned me. There was hand on the shoulder advice being dispensed, and I labored to remain patient, trying repeatedly to change the subject. I gritted my teeth and studied the dark stained cement floor as they spoke, it appeared to shift and form Rorschach images. I wanted to zone out their voices and ignore their words of concern. Maybe this was an intervention. One of them then suggested seeing a nutritional coach – “it worked wonders for me”, she said. It was evident it had. She further explained a nutritionist would review my medical history and inquire about my own health concerns, identify biochemical imbalances and the impact of my current diet and lifestyle affecting my health. Being the sports enthusiast that I was, and knowing that many successful athletes used nutritionist to give them that extra edge to beat their competition, this idea intrigued me. This idea got me charged up, got me thinking this could be the lifeline that could use to help me change course. I asked more questions and got more answers. Most nutrition

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coaches have a background in health, nutrition or medicine and have earned some form of certification or licensing. Services from nutrition coaches range from recommending healthy meal plans to shopping with their clients, cooking nutritious meals for them and providing a customized grocery list of the right foods. For executive and celebrity clients who live a bit more affluent than the rest of us, coaches even give advice about what to order at restaurants. Resigned to the notion that one’s success is highly contingent on the efforts and insights of others who are experts, it wasn’t long before I determined I would turn to a nutrition coach to help me figure things out. About a week later I walk into the nutritionist’s office for the first time in my life and was told by the receptionist to take a seat in the waiting room. There was an absence of magazines, and the only reading materials were neat little stacks of health-related pamphlets placed on the coffee table which I ignored. I noticed the small rows weaved into the berber rug made of vanilla colored tufts that ran vertical from the chair I was sitting on and straight towards the receptionist window. There was also sunbleached print of Van Gogh’s Starry Night hanging directly above me. I checked my phone to appear busy and spent the rest of the wait looking at the car traffic zipping by just outside the waiting room window. Soon my name was mercifully called, and I entered the clinic’s inner sanctum for my first ever consultation with a nutritionist. Turns out my friend was right, the nutritionist didn’t have a fully formed vision waiting to be jotted onto a page for me. She told me she would wait until a comprehensive assessment was done, because, she further explained, we were all individuals with dissimilar bodies, lifestyles and health needs. Further, she added,

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the nutritional instruction plan was to be tailored to meet my individual needs and to be designed specifically to achieve optimum wellness results. For starters, I told her I wanted to lose weight, have more energy, live healthier, and I also wanted to start eating right. After assessing my nutrition deficiency, my overall health and medical history, calorie, protein, carbohydrate, fat and fluid needs; she recommended a diet regimen and a list of the foods that would put me on the train to slender city. Lastly, we mapped out a timetable of realistic and achievable goals. I left the office with a bounding sense of confidence ready to start the transformation process armed with the information I would need. The next step was easy; signing up for delicious, nutritionally-balanced, calorie-controlled meals prepared by the folks at NutriChef. This would ensure I got the right proportion of carbohydrates, proteins and essential fats seven days a week. This range of meal plan also enabled me to achieve effective weight loss and enjoy great tasting food designed specifically for me by a chef who was also a certified nutritionist. I resolved to make good on the exercise plan starting out slowly. I began with a 10-minute periods of light exercises and short walks every day then gradually increase my work outs to 4 to 5 times a

week for 30 to 60 minutes at a time. It’s been six months since I started my journey, and I have never felt better. I have improved my sleep, gained back my laser-like concentration, increased my energy levels, and I have lessened my body fat. While I have also achieved notable weight loss, regained my stamina and feel healthier overall, I felt the most important aspect of the consultation was to empower me with tools and advice that would make long lasting changes to my eating habits. It’s not complicated, eating right is an essential component in losing weight. Paired with a good exercise regime, anyone can maintain weight at a desired level. Partial list of other benefits of a healthy nutritional diet and exercise regimen. • Reduces your risk of heart disease, • Keeps joints, tendons and ligaments flexible, which makes it easier to move around • Reduces some of the effects of aging • Contributes to your mental well-being • Helps treat depression • Helps relieve stress and anxiety • Increases your energy and endurance • Helps you sleep better • Helps you maintain a normal

weight by increasing your metabolism (the rate you burn calories) • Lowers total cholesterol • Helps improve your skin • Decreased occurrence of illness • Shorter duration of illness • Decreased risk and occurrence of prostate trouble • Enhanced athletic performance • Better performance in the workplace • Improved digestion • Regular bowel movements • Decreased risk of cancer • Fewer visits to doctors • Improved attitude • Improved memory • Reduces high blood pressure, • Reduces risk of diabetes Incorporate exercise into your day • Take the stairs instead of the elevator • Go for a walk during your coffee break or lunch • Walk or bike to work • Put a little zip into the house shores • Deliver documents or messages to co-workers in person rather than by email

Do a minute’s worth of jumping jacks.


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“The people are the city”

Exercise, Vitamin D

Reduce Risk of Falls in Elderly

By Bill Hendrick WebMD Health News Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD


federal task force’s review finds that for Americans 65 and older, exercise and vitamin D supplements can help reduce the risk of falling. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force reviewed findings from 54 clinical trials to determine the benefits and possible harmful effects of interventions aimed at preventing falls in elderly people. Task Force Findings The review of research shows: • Exercise or physical therapy can reduce fall risk by 13%. This includes exercise for strength, balance, and flexibility. • Vitamin D supplementation was linked to a 17% reduced risk of falls. • Other interventions may also be helpful: Homes should be carefully examined to determine if impediments that could lead to falls could be removed or modified. • Behavioral counseling might help older people better understand the risks and potential consequences of falls.

Yvonne Michael, ScD, and colleagues published their review in the Dec. 21 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine. The review, an accompanying article, and an editorial all point to the hazards for older people of falling. Falls Among Elderly Likely to Rise Dramatically An editorial by Mary E. Tinetti, MD, of the Yale University School of Medicine, notes that falls among elderly people will become even more of a problem than it is now, but that it’s already significant. Compared with 1984, “today’s typical primary care patient is older, takes more medications, has more chronic conditions, and visits more specialists who perform more tests and procedures and recommend more interventions,”

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Tinetti writes. “Preventive recommendations are increasingly being imposed on already overburdened providers and patients.” Falls Lead to Premature Deaths of Elderly Another report in the Annals of Internal Medicine says recommendations by the task force are needed “because of the anticipated, unprecedented growth of this population in the near future” due to the aging of the 78-million strong baby boom generation. In the task force review, authors note that between 30% and 40% of community-dwelling people 65 and older fall at least once per year. “Falls were the leading cause of fatal and non-fatal injuries among persons 65 and older,” cites the task force report. The authors write that estimates indicate falls could lead to medical costs of $43.8 billion by 2020 at the current rate of spend.

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“The people are the city”


Effective Parenting



o you fear that you’re raising a spoiled brat? Dr. Phil and Betsy Brown Braun, child development and behavior specialist and author of You’re Not the Boss of Me, suggest the following strategies to improve your discipline techniques and help establish a healthy bond with your child:    How to Eliminate Spoiling Your Child • Set firm, consistent boundaries for your child. • Encourage your child to work for something he wants. • Don’t let shopping be the time you spend with your child. Parenting Tips for Communication • Optimal distance for communication between two people is two to four feet. • Get down to your child’s level. Eye-to-eye communication levels out the playing field. • Beware of your anger. • Don’t talk over your child.

How to Teach Respect • Listen to your child. • Have clear limits and enforce them. • Speak to the behavior, not the child. How to Teach Responsibility • Stick to commitments and insist yourchild do the same. • Teach your child about obligations. • Allow your child to experience the consequence of not making responsible choices. How to Teach Self-Reliance • Teach your child how to make decisions for himself. • Give your child feedback about what went right. • Develop daily rituals that don’t change. How to Teach Honesty • Honest parents raise honest children. • Love your child unconditionally. • When it’s done, let it go.


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“The people are the city”


t Falfurrias Medical Group we pride ourselves in providing the highest quality care that is comprehensive, accessible and affordable to individuals of all ages and their families. Equally important to us is that we have retained that small town personal touch in treating a broad spectrum of diseases, promoting healthy lifestyles, and offering preventative medicine to each one of our patients.

We offer services such as: • Diagnosis and treatment of Illnesses • Routine health checkups & school sports physicals • Health-risk assessments & pre-natal care • Immunization shots & care of newborns and babies

If you haven’t visited our offices, find out why our experienced, personal and preventive approach to primary care makes us the preferred healthcare provider in the region.

1400 S. St. Mary’s Street, Falfurrias, TX 78355

Andrew Levine, MD. Kidney Specialist

Tel: (361) 325-1910 (361) 325-4582 x

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“The people are the city”

Accessories for Business Attire Tools to Make a Good Impression By Lahle Wolfe


ressing for success includes your outfit, personal grooming, and accessories. Clients and investors pay attention to details, and so should you. Even the brief case you select says something about who you are.

Pulling together an overall corporate image is especially important for work-at-home moms, and business women who work from home. To get big clients and contracts, your business needs to appear successful; already large enough to handle the customer’s needs. Looking “frumpy” or like you just came from the grocery store, conveys a message that you may not take business meetings seriously. Tips on How to Use Accessories to Impress The following tips for adding accessories to your business wardrobe will help you look your very best. • Jewelry: Avoid wearing large or costume jewelry. Earrings should be conservative and small. Necklaces should not dangle between cleavage, and bracelets should not make noise. Do not wear ankle bracelets, but do wear a conservative watch. 
 • Purses: Purse colors should coordinate with your shoe color. A good purse should

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“The people are the city”

be small, but easy to open in case you need to find an item inside. 
 • Hosiery: Panty hose should be a neutral tone and compliment your suit or dress. Avoid wearing hosiery with patterns and lines. Carry a bottle of clear nail polish in your purse to dab on snags and runs to stop them from spreading down your leg. 
 • Briefcases and Portfolios: Portfolios and padfolios are preferred over briefcases and should be padded in a neutral color. If you take a briefcase, it should be as small as is practical for your needs, and made of leather in a neutral color. 
If you do not need a briefcase don’t bring one just for show. Never use a shopping bag, book bag, or backpack in place of a briefcase. 
 Your Car, Another Accessory You car is not an accessory that you wear, but it is an accessory you are likely to take to business functions. Always keep the inside of your car clean and free of children’s toys and clutter.

How you keep your car is a reflection about the state of your life. If your car is a clutter closet on wheels, it sends the message you are too busy to tend to things, or that you just don’t care about your image. Treat your car as another potential message to clients about how you run your business. After a meeting with my first potential investor, he asked if he could walk me to my car. When I opened my car door he took a quick casual glance inside and then extended a firm handshake to thank me for presenting my business idea. The next day he offered to invest the full $5,000 I needed to get started on a new business venture. The investor explained the “clean car” test was something he used to assess how organized and efficient a person was. If their car was a disorganized mess he assumed that the chaos would extend into their professional life as well. Not everyone is this calculating in their decisions, but everyone looks at outward appearances and makes quick judgments about what the little things say about a person. Accessories like makeup, jewelry, and even your car should not be overlooked. They are tools that you can use to convey a positive and winning message about yourself and your ability to succeed.


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“The people are the city”

Valley Youth Shine in Opera performance by Sandra Gonzalez Photos by Rebecca Britt

Opera. Youth. Rio Grande Valley Italian. What could all these possibly have in common? The South Texas Lyric Opera’s recent performance of La Traviata, of course.


TLO ended its season Thursday, May 26th and Sunday, May 29th, with one of the most beloved and famous operas ever performed, Verdi’s La Traviata. Local high school and college students, doctors and professionals gathered under the direction of Conductor Mazias de Oliveira tirelessly practicing scales and arias in Italian in preparation for this production. Joined with International Opera Stars, a local orchestra and the dancing of Rey Duran and Sonia Chapa, the audience was enchanted with the beauty of the Opera. The crowd was silenced as soprano Edlyn de Oliviera, (Violetta) and tenor Antonio Albores (Alfredo) professed their love for each other only to be separated for “the sake of family” . . .and tears were plentiful when the death of Violetta separates them once again forever. The Rio Grande Valley is fortunate to have the brilliance of this fine art present here for the community to witness. The Opera is like no other art – it is the drama of the theater, the sereneness of the symphony, and the epitome of vocal singing all in one performance.

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“The people are the city”


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“The people are the city”

Another Season for by Francisco G. “Paco” Zarate Photos by Rebecca Britt


erhaps because life becomes a flash before our eyes as we age, I had never seen a connection between carpe diem and an opera company. But it was there as the performance of La Traviata crystallized into a homogenous whole on Thursday evening, May 26th, and last Sunday afternoon, May 29th. If you weren’t at either performance, you missed a heartfelt experience. What stood out the most for this reviewer was the dependence of the production on young professional Rio Grande Valley talent. Of course, the infinitesimally beautiful arias went to the likes of Soprano Edlyn de Oliveira as Violetta, Tenor Antonio Albores Mattar as Alfredo Germont, and Baritone Marcelo Ferreira as Giorgio Germont in exceptional form. However, it didn’t take much time to discover that comprimario roles were assigned to Renea Henry, Alyssa Joy Gonzalez, Melyn Saenz, Hannah Urias, and Dante Mireles (at the tender age of 15 yrs.) Other comprimario roles were performed by Eduardo Azcoitia, Jordan Dietz, Keith Weber, and Edgard Torres. Maestro de Oliveira has molded his students into full-blown professionals who are headed for successful careers in the world of the classical vocal arts. However, these young people must remain aware that they must maintain a solid vocal technique to continue growing in the field. I want to point out that Sonia Chapa and Rey Duran provided the Spanish entertainment during Act III, Scene 1, and what a tour de force it was. It seems to me that we have an opera company composed of local talent at our doorstep. The fact that Maestro Mazias de Oliveira is able

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STLO Follows Violetta's Demise

to whip up a magnificent show is no surprise. His work with the singers is a given, but there was new meaning to the orchestral sound as well. The prelude to Act I was heartfelt but it did not prepare one for the morbidezza of the prelude to Act 3. The short 2-note phrases toward the end of the prelude were like sighs leading to the final curtain-an uplifting death for la traviata, the wayward one. The sighs were not only for Violetta but for ourselves as well, serving as a reminder that only one who is without sin should cast the first stone. All in all, the production was a great success—the arias, the ensembles, the chorus, the Spanish dancing, the orchestra, the sets, the acting, and the list goes on and on. BRAVO, MAESTRO DE OLIVEIRA! Thank you for bringing such art to the very depths of our hearts and souls and eliciting such a catharsis. But opera enthusiasts, think about it; as Violetta leaves, can next season’s Don Giovanni, Amahl, and Canio be far behind?

“The people are the city”

"La Traviata"

at the McAllen Civic Center By: Daniel Garza


outh Texan opera aficionados of all ages were treated to splendid interpretations of Giuseppe Verdi’s beloved classic “La Traviata” held on May 26 and 29 at McAllen’s Civic Center, and produced by the South Texas Lyric Opera (STLO). Maestro Mazias de Oliveira, the immensely talented founder and general director of the organization, nimbly guided the musical portion of the production through his patented fiery conducting of an orchestra ensemble anchored by Concert Master Geoffrey Wong’s virtuoso violin play. The production’s signature role of the dying courtesan, Violetta Valery, was passionately played by the highly accomplished Edlyn de Oliveria. The Brazilian born soprano filled every corner of the hall as she sang with elegant vitality through the first act, with agonizing soul through the pivotal second act, and with impeccable force right up to the curtain’s final close. Tenor Antonio Albores Mattar, who played Violetta’s love interest Alfredo Germont, yielded a mature and sustained performance that complemented the evening’s performance suitably. The supporting cast was lively, engaged, and spirited as they more than delivered on their secondary and tertiary roles. A special nod goes out to Marcelo Ferreira who lent his baritone voice to portray Giorgio Germont, Alfredo’s enigmatic father. His powerful and confident performance proved to be a true revelation – bravo! The standing ovations were well deserved and well earned by the complete cast and ensemble. While the performances were arguably strong and praiseworthy, the costuming and the set decorations were frankly, disappointing and poor. Even the subtitles, essential for everyone ignorant of Italian, would fail to appear in proper sequence at times causing many patrons to get lost in the story’s sequencing. All of this speaks to STLO’s need to ramp up their fundraising effort’s and the public’s need to strongly support the commendable efforts of all those dedicated to sustaining a high level of operatic productions in South Texas.


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“The people are the city”

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Martha Valencia. Influential Woman of the Valley  

Martha Valencia was so gracious receiving us at her home. We savored a delicious Colombian coffee and talked about her art collection, and h...

Martha Valencia. Influential Woman of the Valley  

Martha Valencia was so gracious receiving us at her home. We savored a delicious Colombian coffee and talked about her art collection, and h...