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Millennials Bring a New Perspective to the Workplace Call them Generation Y or Millennials, young professionals born between the late 1970s and the mid-1990s are different than any age group before.

McAllen’s ‘West Side Story’

Demystifying Our School Systems

New high-end and specialty stores coming soon.

An in-depth look at the pros and cons of public, magnet, and charter school options.

Cryotherapy Arctic Treatment in the Rio Grande Valley.


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There’s strong. Then there’s Army Strong. As a Soldier in the U.S. Army, you’ll develop the physical, mental and emotional strength to meet the challenges you may face today and in the future. You’ll gain unmatched leadership skills and on-the-job training—the kind that’s highly desired in both the military and civilian world. Plus, recruiter, or call 1-800-USA-ARMY.

Visit for more information regarding opportunities within the U.S. Army. To speak with a recruiter, contact the Alamo Recruiting Center at 956.783.9282 or the Laredo Recruiting Center at 956.723.5013.

©2015. Paid for by the United States Army. All rights reserved.










Copyright by RGVision Publications Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction without expressed written permission of the publisher is prohibited. The opinions and views expressed in the magazine don’t necessarily reflect those of our advertisers or collaborators. RGVision magazine is published bi-monthly and circulates 12,000 copies across the Rio Grande Valley in 420 locations with a direct mail distribution to major hospitals and Superintendents within Region 1. The RGVision office is located at 801 N Bryan Rd, Mission, TX 78572. To receive an annual subscription of RGVision publications for $29.99, email

Adriana Dominguez Claudia V. Lemus-C. ERO Architects Derrick Kinney Dr. Alfonso Mercado Fortino Gonzalez PT Annette S. Garcia

Kevin Martinez Johnny Quiroz David Alvarado Gabriel Elizondo






Matthew 6:33 Today some organizations have missed the mark on building solid teams and company culture by not providing the following: measurability, anonymity, and impact. It was the impact employees have on their environment that motivated us to dive into the cover story this issue on millennials. Matthew 6:33 demonstrates that we must reach further than ourselves to get what we are really looking for. There is data showing millennials are motivated by the impact they have on their surroundings far more than previous generations. This mental foundation is a good example in that verse. But why do millennials hop around so much? Where is the accountability? According to recent polls, 60 percent of this group is open to a new job opportunity. Our cover story doesn’t provide all the answers, rather some insight from a few local CEOs who share their experience hiring and managing this generation. Thank you for picking up this issue of RGVision! We hope you enjoy the cover story along with the other featured articles and profile stories we share in this issue.

For editorial comments and suggestions, please send e-mails to For advertising information, please call us at 210.618.8930 or e-mail us at A special thank you to all the advertisers who support this publication: you are the power behind the flywheel igniting positive change that keeps the conversation going. PRINTED IN MEXICO



George Cox Lori Houston Abbey Kunkle Amy Casebier David Alvarado Debra Atlas Irene Wazgowska









Call them Generation Y or Millennials, young professionals born between the late 1970s and the mid-1990s are different than any age group before.

EDUCATION HCISD’s First Firefighter Academy Recruits

pg 20

Teaching the Harvard Way pg 24

The Benefits of After-school Activities pg 26

An in-depth look at the pros and cons of public, magnet,





New high-end and specialty stores coming soon.

Arctic Treatment in the Rio Grande Valley.


It's All About Family

Project HEAL²

pg 30

pg 50

Castelo Cold Storage Keeps it Fresh

Dealing with College Stress

pg 32

pg 12

On the Rise - STC

DEMYSTIFYING OUR SCHOOL SYSTEMS and charter school options.


pg 8

First in the Nation High School Nursing Grads


Architecture Tech Wizards pg 34

Security in Cyberspace pg 44

Tres Lagos - Live Life by Design pg 48

pg 56

Posture Matters pg 58

Dental Care You Can Afford pg 62

Headache Pain Relief pg 64

QUALITY OF LIFE WesMer Drive-In Makes Memories pg 66

Summer Fun pg 68

South Texas Comic Con pg 70

Stronger One Day at a Time pg 72

Work & Play in RGV pg 74

Leaving a Legacy pg 78

Game Launch pg 82





group of 11 candidates recently put their endurance and agility skills to the test to become the first students to enter HCISD’s new Firefighters Academy. A total of 24 students will be accepted in the academy’s inaugural year. Under the careful supervision of Harlingen firefighters and the watchful eye of emergency medical technicians, students tackled tasks like a 1 1/2 mile run, lifting and carrying a 60-pound ladder, climbing a 12foot ladder, a stairway climb, and a 125-pound dummy rescue — all while wearing firefighter protective gear and attire. “It was a great experience because we got an idea of what firefighters do. I especially liked that the Harlingen Fire Department was there guiding us and helping us,” said Avianna Ayala, a sophomore at Harlingen High School. “The toughest part for me was the stairway climb. Going back down with a hose on my shoulders, placing that down, and then going to the next test where we pulled a 125-pound dummy — that was the hardest part because I was already “The Firefighters Academy so tired. But curriculum is geared towards it’s nothing preparing students to take the we can’t do.” Texas basic fire certification Ayala, who just met exam.” Harlingen’s RAUL ALVAREZ first female DIRECTOR OF CAREER & TECHNICAL EDUCATION



firefighter, Bree Rios, hopes to carry on the trailblazer’s legacy and prove she can take on the challenge of working in a male-dominated field. “I recently met Bree Rios, and she was really nice,” she said. “I’m glad I have someone like her to look up to. She’s doing things that male firefighters do. It’s really cool for me because it makes me feel like I belong, too. I like what she’s done.” HHS sophomore Anthony Rodriguez, who hopes to become a firefighter in the U.S. Navy, didn’t let an injury he experienced two days before hold him back from completing the course. “The challenging part for me, because of my hand injury, was dropping down the rope for the hose. I could bring up the rope quickly, but dropping it down without using all my fingers was a struggle,” Rodriguez said. With a heart for saving lives, both students have already had first-hand experiences where they have had to act to render aid to someone in trouble. “I recently got CPR and lifeguard certified with the City of Harlingen. When I was going to get my certification, water aerobics classes were taking place at the pool,” Ayala said. “Suddenly, one of the ladies looked like she couldn’t breathe. My best friend who was with me pointed it out, and we took her out of the water and helped her breathe. She had fainted in the water. She could have easily drowned if no one else was around to help her.” “I want to help save lives,” Rodriguez said. “Earlier

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this year, a woman fainted at PetSmart, and I helped make sure she was OK. I checked her breathing, and I checked her pulse. I checked to see if she was going into shock, but she wasn’t, she had just fainted. She woke up and fainted again. I got ahold of one of the workers and asked them to call for an ambulance. My mother showed me some things, like how to check vital signs. It really helped me out in that situation. It was a bit stressful, but I just found that focus to what I had to do.” In the new program, made possible through a partnership between HCISD and the Harlingen Fire Department, these students will have the opportunity to earn 468 hours of credit towards two certifications — Basic Structure Fire Suppression and First Responder — while gaining hands-on experience in the field. “The Firefighters Academy curriculum is geared toward preparing students to take the Texas basic fire certification exam,” said Raul Alvarez, director of

career and technical education. “When students pass their examination, they will be eligible for employment as an entry-level firefighter at any fire department in Texas. Students also have the option, once they become certified firefighters, to attend a vocational college to take firefighter courses free of charge.” Starting in ninth grade, students will take courses in principles of law, public safety, and corrections and security. After taking law enforcement 1 during their sophomore year, students interested in becoming a firefighter will apply to the academy. HCISD will launch six new academies featuring career and technical education courses of highdemand career tracks. Hands on training, skill development, and educational achievement are all part of the unique experiences students will receive through these exciting district opportunities. To learn more about HCISD Academies, visit http://












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Shantel is a 12-year-old from Palmview As an infant, a chronic liver disease meant she only had two years to live. But thanks to a selfless family who said “yes” she received a lifesaving liver transplant at 10 months old. An aspiring singer, Shantel hopes to one day meet her donor family. For more recipient stories, visit

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PSJA, STC, and DHR Celebrate First Cohort of High School Students to Receive Nursing Degrees By Claudia V. Lemus-Campos


ight students in the Pharr-San Juan-Alamo Independent School District (PSJA ISD) have accomplished what no other student in the nation has attempted, by becoming the first students to graduate with their Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) while in high school. Stemming from the high-demand of nurses in the area, the PSJA Nursing Career Pathway Program was launched in 2015 thanks to a partnership with PSJA ISD, South Texas College (STC) and Doctor’s Hospital at Renaissance (DHR). After seeking approval from the State Board of Nursing,



the partnership dared to take on what no other educational institutions had done before, create a unique pilot program set out to allow a cohort of students to be the first to complete their Associate Degree in Nursing while in high school. After two years of hard work and rigorous exams, eight PSJA ISD seniors graduated from South Texas College on May 12, 2017 with their ADN’s one-week before their high school graduation. They will now sit for the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN). Due to their tremendous accomplishment, the

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The Lamp of Knowledge is an international symbol of nursing, accompanying the most important ceremonies. It highlights the lifelong quest to deliver optimal quality nursing care to the patients they serve. It also symbolizes their hard work and perseverance in going through the nursing journey.

students have received high praise from their teachers, family and have been honored by STC and DHR during separate special Pinning Ceremonies. Despite the attention their feat has garnered, the students humbly admit that the journey was far from easy and took a lot of personal sacrifices, courage and strength to succeed. For Alexia Marez, a PSJA Memorial Early College High School graduate, and one of the eight nursing students, her desire to succeed in the program was fueled by the need to inspire her three younger sisters, whom she helped care for, in the past two years. Dealing with personal struggles at home resulted in her stepping up as a parent for her siblings while working toward her high school diploma and juggling the rigorous curriculum of the dual enrollment program. “Having to be a parent for my siblings inspired me to do better and succeed,” shared the 17-year-old. “I wanted to show them that if I could do it, they could do it also.” Feeling down at times and on the verge of giving up, she recalled relying on her classmates and teachers who helped lift her spirits and remind her of her goal. “I remember having study groups in the library and one summer coming together to support each other,” said the nursing graduate as she wiped a tear recalling their preparation for the Health Education Systems Incorporated (HESI) entrance exam. “As we grew together in this program we became a family, I found the support and love I needed in them." While Marez feels saddened at the thought of the group going separate ways to pursue their Bachelor’s Degrees, the young graduate said she plans to attend Texas A&M University College Station and major in Biomedical Science. Marez, along with her seven classmates, were presented with DHR pins and welcomed into the hospital’s family during a ceremony on May 15,

2017. The other seven seniors are: Luis Silos from PSJA North Early College HS who will attend the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV); Liesel Aranda from PSJA Southwest Early College HS who will attend Our Lady of the Lake University; and six seniors from PSJA Memorial Early College HS who include Itati Perez who will attend the University of Texas at Arlington; Iris Garcia, attending the University of Texas at Austin; Guadalupe Mendoza, Abigail Villarreal and Guadalupe Salinas attending UTRGV. Grateful for the opportunity presented to them, the students thanked their family, friends, teachers and key individuals who played a major role in encouraging them throughout the program, including their STC Clinical instructor Cynthia Shartle, the PSJA Program Coordinator Brenda Ambuehl and their bus driver Noel Gonzalez who was a part of their lives for the last two years. "Thank you to everyone for all of your support,” Luis Silos said. “You helped us start this program and finish it. We couldn't have done this without you." For PSJA ISD Superintendent of Schools Dr. Daniel King, having successfully graduated the first cohort of nursing students in the program filled him with joy and hope for the future of PSJA ISD and the Rio Grande Valley. “We are extremely proud of our students for their commitment and hard work in completing this rigorous program,” Dr. King said. “Thank you to our dedicated staff and partners for their continuous support throughout this journey.”

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Providing a Lifetime of Quality Service 5801 N. 10th St. Ste 400 McAllen, TX Give us a call at (956) 971 - 0326 Follow us on

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In 2016, 49 million children were enrolled in kindergarten through 12th-grade public schools in the U.S. Six million more were enrolled in private schools. Since the 1950s, a number of innovative school systems have emerged. Their differences and opportunities make selecting the right school a challenge. In simpler times, the choices were public, private, or parochial schools. Today's alternatives include magnet schools, which are part of the public school



system, charter schools, and IDEA schools, a notfor-profit based subset of the charter school system. Understanding these systems is challenging. Let's try to make sense of it all.

HISTORY Predating charter schools, magnet schools were launched in the late 1960s and early '70s to advance academic desegregation in large urban school districts. The term “charter school� was first used

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the Harlingen Consolidated Independent School District. “Public schools must take them all,” he said. Students in the South Texas Independent School District aren't zoned to a specific area, says Amanda Odom, the district's public relations director. They're part of a regional school district composed of secondary grades (seventh through 12th)). Encompassing Hidalgo, Cameron, and Willacy counties, the district provides free bus transportation across the Valley for its students. Magnet schools' open enrollment attracts students from different levels. “We work with them individually to make sure FUNDING, ATTENDANCE, AND they succeed within our school district,” Odom said. DIVERSITY Academics and Public schools receive local, competitiveness are state, and federal government driving charter, IDEA, funds. In 2013, the U.S. and even magnet schools. Department of Education Approximately one-third earmarked nearly $90 million of all magnet schools use in special grants for magnet academic performance to schools, giving local families determine who will be invited increased access to those to enroll. They generally programs. Some magnet schools accept 10 to 20 percent of receive state desegregation funds. student applicants, including Also, two-year grants through gifted students. - Amanda Odom, Public the federal Magnet Schools IDEA schools seem to Relations Director for South Assistance Program are available do better at embracing Texas Independent School District to programs created to promote “underserved” communities. desegregation. IDEA schools According to Tom Torkelson, receive state funding on a perfounder and CEO of IDEA, student basis, and federal funding under Title 1 on a 89 percent of students come from low income per low-income-student basis. homes. Elementary and secondary charter schools receive As of 2016, IDEA's student population was local, state, and federal government support, along around 95 percent Hispanic. English was a second with grants and community funding. State funding language for around 33 percent, and 5 percent had is based on the number of students enrolled. special education needs. “Friends of ” organizations such as the Bill and Charter schools, like magnet and private schools, Melinda Gates Foundation help through financial can include independent school districts, carry out contributions that provide important resources like distinct educational practices, or be oriented around school supplies. “themes.” Public schools have gotten onboard with School system acceptance criteria can vary. this as well. “Theme” magnet schools often include Charter schools don't have to take all students, even STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math), those with disabilities, said Shane Strubhart, with performing arts, and vocational or career paths. when Minnesota wrote the first U.S. charter school law in 1991. There are currently approximately 3,000 charter schools across the U.S. In Texas, the legislature authorized the first charter school in 1995, opening the first school in 1996. The Texas based nonprofit corporation Individuals Dedicated to Excellence and Achievement (IDEA) Public Schools Inc. was chartered in 2000. Its first school opened in 2001. Headquartered in Weslaco, IDEA schools currently serve more than 30,000 students in 51 schools across San Antonio, Austin, and the Rio Grande Valley. Louisiana has expressed interest in establishing them also.

“We work with them individually to make sure they succeed within our school district.”

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Photo courtesy of IDEA Public Schools.

“Theme” magnet schools often include: • STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) • Performing arts • Vocational or career paths

Montessori magnet schools' unique approach to learning makes kids part of the educational process. South Texas High School for Health Professions, otherwise known as Med High, and The Science Academy of South Texas — both located in Mercedes — are set up like college campuses. Their shared library features databases students can use at college level. The South Texas Business, Education & Technology Academy (BETA) campus offers the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme. Harlingen CISD includes the new Harlingen Med High. With a high concentration of medical facilities in the area, they saw a need for a high



school focused on the medical profession, Strubhart said. Although the campus has no graduates yet — students are juniors — “these are future surgeons (and) nurses,” Strubhart said. “They'll have a strong foundation when they go to college.” All these schools offer hands-on experience in their fields, whether in-person or technology-based.

PROS AND CONS “Public schools are teaching more than they did in the ’70s and ’80s,” Strubhart said. “It's not just about getting (students) prepared for college. It's about giving them a well-rounded education.” Public schools incorporate mentorships with the local community and externships. Charters prepare kids for testing, for academics, Strubhart said.“We do a lot of career exploration.” Strubhart noted that the Texas Workforce Commission and Gov. Greg Abbott traveled the state to see what the greatest workforce needs were. They realized the state wasn't doing a good job of filling the workforce. The types

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“Public schools are teaching more than they did in '70s and '80s. It's not just about getting (students) prepared for college. It's about giving them a wellrounded education.” - Shane Strubhart, HCISD Director of Public Relations/Community Engagement

of jobs they identified included coding programmers — anything in computers or high tech — and robotics. But, says Strubhart, there's a huge need for skilled labor. Manufacturing companies are giving money to public schools to get kids to fill the projected gaps in the electrical, plumbing, HVAC, and other industries. “There's an aging workforce right now,” he said. “These opportunities are high paying, respectable jobs.” Public schools emphasize the 3 A's: academics (core subjects), arts, and athletics. Harlingen CISD's arts focus includes orchestral programs, starting in sixth grade. Charter and magnet schools offer free tuition. Charters usually have smaller classes and offer more individual attention than conventional public schools. But, with charter schools, if kids can't meet the requirements, they must go back to public schools. “Students have a motivation to succeed,” Odom said. “(They) have an interest in the school's focus (STEM, etc.). It makes education something they're more passionate about.” Few educational systems can claim that. With IDEA schools, students are only eligible to graduate if they have been accepted into a four-year college or university, completed a minimum of 125 hours of community service, and performed satisfactorily on required end-of-course assessment instruments. Although one-third of IDEA's students are ESL, all classes are taught in English. Perhaps that factors into why IDEA high schools' completion rate is significantly higher than the national average. Two factors doubtless do, however, contribute to IDEA students’ success: clarity and inspiration. When entering IDEA, kids are given an exercise

to do with their parents. Parents must write out their dreams and aspirations for their child. Then they pair up and read it to them. “Parents have never been asked to write out hopes or dreams for their child,” Torkelson said. It's understandably a moving experience, and the kids must write their own lists. “It's about provoking with questions for kids to discover what their motivations are,” Torkelson said. Torkelson says his own children, who attend IDEA schools, get to write what they're going to do each year and what their dreams are. “It gives them a purpose, a reason, a motivating factor for why they're in school,” he said. Although he's never taken an education class, Torkelson applies leadership techniques to the classroom. Much of what he does is common sense. “But it's the inspiration/motivation piece that helps teachers help kids excel,” he said. “Our college acceptance rate is 100 percent. For every year, we've had all our students matriculate except one.” Strubhart, however, says “so much money has been diverted from public schools, they don't have the resources they need. Charter schools (create) a bigger separation between the wealthy and the poor.” Torkelson's motivation as a teacher is bigger than that. “I want to make our children more durable, less vulnerable to what life throws at them,” he said. So which school system is right for your children? It depends on your circumstances and your vision. It comes down to doing your homework and then making the best choice possible.

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outh Texas College is having a growth spurt, and the Rio Grande Valley is poised to directly benefit. With projects under construction nearing completion at all five of its campuses, STC stands to play a major role in law enforcement and fire training, as well as nursing and allied health education — all while offering more resources, services, and space to its ever-growing student population. Funded by a $159 million bond voters passed in 2013, a number of projects will be complete and ready for students this fall and in 2018. Perhaps one of the most anticipated projects is the Regional Center for Public Safety Excellence. Located in Pharr, the $9.3 million Phase One is slated to be



complete in time to welcome students in the fall of 2018. The bond funds $4 million of the cost, while the rest is paid for by the City of Pharr, Pharr-San Juan-Alamo school district, and the Texas Department of Safety. The center will see two additional phases of construction as a part of a $70.5 million long-range master plan to be developed through 2030. This facility will not only be a state-of-the-art location for STC students obtaining associate degrees of applied science in fire science and law enforcement to learn — it will also serve as a resource for continuing education for existing police officers and firefighters. Even dual credit PSJA students studying criminal justice will have the opportunity to attend classes at the center.

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“It’s going to be a comprehensive facility for fire and police, and as we evolve, it might also become a facility that will be used by Homeland Security, Border Patrol, Customs and Border Protection, FBI,” said Mario Reyna, STC’s dean of Business & Technology. “Those individuals might be able to participate with us. We’re talking to all of them to see how they can use the facility, so all of this is going to be extremely exciting for the law enforcement community.” The 19,375-square-foot center includes a skills pad and accident avoidance course for traffic maneuvers and other vehicle training. Many law enforcement agencies have been completing this type of training at the drag racing strip in Edinburg. One of the biggest goals for this facility is to offer a comprehensive, centralized location for training and education for police and firefighters throughout the Rio Grande Valley. In the future, Reyna said he expects additions of a covered shooting range and a live fire facility for fire trainees at the center. STC officials also anticipate partnerships that will have an impact beyond the region with the possibility of local law enforcement agencies working with state and federal entities at the center. “They’re already working together,” STC’s Wanda Garza said. Garza is tasked with overseeing the implementation of the college’s master plan for the center as well as uniting officials in support of the project. “There’s just not a facility here to bring in all this specialized training that they each can build on. It’s just a very efficient way to a very integrated border security training platform.” While the benefits for law enforcement agencies are obvious, the Valley and perceptions of the region also stand to gain a big boost with the opening of the center next year. “We get all this bad publicity about the border — is it safe? — because we don’t tell that story,” Garza said. “For us to see the kind of high level training here, I think it’s going to give a whole different picture on border security and how safe

our border really is with these consummate professionals.” Dual credit students at PSJA aren’t the only high schoolers who will benefit directly from STC’s bond projects. The Valley’s 16,000 dual credit enrolled students will have access to increased services, facilities, and space at all of STC’s campuses. “With the bond expansion, we’re going to have more classroom space, more lab space, just more space in general to accommodate some of our students who come in and out during the day and even the evening, from the dual credit side,” said Sofia Peña, director of Early College High School programs at STC. “I think all of us — I don’t care what program you talk to — we were busting at the seams.” Of the dual credit students in the region, 12,500 are early college high school students, while the rest are traditional dual credit students who attend some classes on STC’s campuses. New construction for academic buildings on all five campuses means more space for students and more opportunities to offer classes when students most need to take them. STC’s Pecan Campus in McAllen has used $55 million of the bond in the construction of two academic buildings, a STEM building, and a student activities and cafeteria building. The Mid-Valley Campus in Weslaco is working on a new health and science facility, a student services building expansion, and a library expansion and remodeling. The Technology Campus in McAllen will open a $15.6 million expansion for its Institute for Advanced Manufacturing this fall. “What is happening at this point is our existing programs have grown to the point that they don’t fit in the facilities they’re in right now, so this new facility is going to allow our programs to have additional space,” said Reyna, the dean of Business & Technology. “You can just imagine the amount of growth we’ve had in the last 20 years. So this is going to give everybody space to offer more classes and obviously serve the community a lot better.” Housing the manufacturing programs

“With the bond expansion, we’re going to have more classroom space, more lab space, just more space in general to accommodate some of our students who come in and out during the day and even the evening, from the dual credit side.” SOFIA PEÑA, DIRECTOR OF EARLY COLLEGE HIGH SCHOOL PROGRAMS AT STC

in the 76,000-square-foot facility will allow for the expansion of existing diesel, automotive, and heating, ventilation, and air conditioning programs at the Technology Campus, which serves between 1,600 and 1,700 students. The Dr. Ramiro R. Casso Nursing and Allied Health Campus in McAllen is also seeing extensive expansions with the construction of a $24 million, 90,000-square-foot facility. The building will add nursing and allied health training, lab space, a hospital simulation center, and a library. The improvements will support additional academic programs offered by STC, including radiology, MRI, vascular/doppler technology, and surgical technology. “NAH is enabling STC to become one of the leading producers of healthcare professionals in the Rio Grande Valley,” said Jayson Valerio, Interim Dean of the Nursing & Allied Health Division at STC, in a news release. This is a direct result of STC expanding its offerings and opportunities to students around the region, including the Starr County Campus in Rio Grande City. “In Starr County, I found that one of the biggest barriers to education is the distance to the other campuses,” said Arturo Montiel, campus administrator at the Starr County Campus. “As a result in the past we haven’t been able to have a lot of programs. For example, students would have to travel to the Technology Campus because we have a welding program, but you can only take a couple of classes before

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you have to transfer. With the bond, this gives us the ability to have the facilities to house an entire program.” The Starr County Campus is using $24 million of the bond to expand its student services building, add a thermal storage plant, and construct a new library and health and science center. These additions are particularly meaningful because students are so isolated from other STC campuses. Now, they can enroll in new programs and expect to attend classes in Starr County rather than commuting to Hidalgo County. “That’s my biggest challenge — getting the word out that you no longer have to go to Pecan Campus,” Montiel said. “You can do everything right here.”



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from Harvard University while continuing to teach in their classrooms. This one-ofa-kind program is available to teachers from school districts who participate in the program. The three-year master’s program helps teachers build a deeper knowledge of the mathematics they currently teach in middle and high school classrooms. Throughout the fall and spring semesters, they learn from world-class Harvard professors via live-streamed online classes held at the Texas Graduate Center in Mercedes, Texas. Each year the teachers-turned-students travel to Cambridge, Massachusetts, during the summer to attend classes at the historic Harvard campus as a residency requirement for earning their master’s degree. Upon completion of the program, they participate in the graduation ceremony held at Harvard Yard, along with all of the university’s students who have also earned their degrees. For Jose Constantino, graduation day had arrived. On a crisp New England morning, the graduates convened for breakfast before processing to Harvard Yard, despite rain clouds looming overhead. Honorary degrees were conferred on a number of accomplished scholars, artists, and professionals including Dame Judi Dench, James Earl Jones, and John Williams. After the morning exercises, graduates filed off into special ceremonies across campus to receive diplomas from their respective programs. Facebook founder and famed Harvard dropout Mark Zuckerberg delivered the keynote address, encouraging graduates to seek out ways to make it possible for everyone in the world to pursue their purpose. “And as technology keeps changing, we need a society that




assions, perspectives, inquiry, and discovery are tools that a group of Rio Grande Valley math teachers now have in their repertoire after earning a master’s degree from Harvard University. On May 25, over 800 students graduated from Harvard Extension School. Family and friends stood in awe of their beloved graduates, who hail from across the globe and whose hard work and perseverance led them to this incredible accomplishment. “Being part of the Harvard program has not only improved my teaching in the classroom but my perspective of mathematics overall,” said Jose Constantino, a high school mathematics teacher from Mercedes ISD who was enrolled in the math for teaching graduate program through the Texas Graduate Center. The program is a unique opportunity for local math teachers in the Rio Grande Valley that enables them to pursue a master’s degree



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focuses more on continuous education throughout our lives,” said Zuckerberg to the crowd of Harvard graduates and their families. The teachers graduating are part of the math collaborative with a math for teaching master’s degree offered through Harvard’s Graduate Extension School and the Texas Graduate Center, a component of the Texas Valley Communities Foundation, a Mercedes-based nonprofit organization. The foundation was established in 2006 to support programs in higher education that will guide new and emerging leaders in education that will impact schools and communities. “The Harvard master’s degree program for math teachers fills a critical need for local school districts seeking to increase the number of teachers who can teach advanced placement and dual enrollment courses,” said Dr. Roland Arriola, founder of the Texas Valley Communities Foundation and the Texas Graduate Center. The very first cohort of teachers began in 2013, and the Texas Graduate Center has since added four additional cohorts. Cohort 1 graduated in May 2016. Other Valley teachers who graduated from Harvard are Queen Claire-Martin and Crystal Chagoya from the La Joya school district, Homer Colunga and Jose Villagomez from Weslaco ISD, Rey Jope from McAllen ISD and Diana Gill from South Texas ISD. As the teachers become students themselves, they delve into the fundamentals of mathematics, examining different teaching styles and revisiting familiar math topics from a sophisticated point of view. “By learning from world-class Harvard mathematics faculty, TGC graduates dramatically improve their ability to teach middle and high school students from local school districts the math skills needed to succeed in life, work, and academia,” Arriola said. In the summers, they all attended classes at Harvard together

The Harvard master’s degree program for math teachers fills a critical need for local school districts seeking to increase the number of teachers who can teach advanced placement and dual enrollment courses.”

as a requirement for graduation. For seven weeks, the group attends the same classes as fulltime Harvard graduate and undergraduate students. They are housed in Harvard’s historic dormitories like Adam’s House, the dorm that 32nd U.S. President - DR. ROLAND ARRIOLA Franklin Delano Roosevelt stayed in during his time as a student. “The teachers are very excited to give back and share what they have learned at Harvard with the students,” said Dr. Mary Alice Reyes, chief executive officer of the Texas Graduate Center. “Since the initiation of the Texas Graduate Center program in 2012, five cohorts totaling 29 teachers have been selected to earn a master’s degree in mathematics for teaching from Harvard University.” The 366th Harvard commencement ceremony attracted thousands of people from around the world, who also shared the graduation experience. Completing bachelor's and master's degrees, this year's Harvard Extension School graduating class came from 44 states and 59 countries. “The pageantry, the tradition, and the emotion of that accomplishment was absolutely incredible,” Reyes said. “I’m so proud of the teachers. They have sacrificed so much during the past three years.”

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oday, schools across the RGV have a range of extracurricular activities for every student to enjoy. In fact, when it comes to college applications, it is pretty much expected that students not only be successful academically, but that they have proven themselves to be well-rounded and involved in a variety of programs. This has made its way down to the elementary level, with parents getting kids started early to give them the best chance for success. But some parents may wonder whether being involved in extracurricular activities is actually good for children.

The good news is that, yes, generally, it is. Though there might be concerns about students being overscheduled, or it seems tough for parents to squeeze everything in, overall, extracurricular activities like sports, music, clubs, and more have a positive effect on students in many ways. According to a recent report by the U.S. Census Bureau, 57 percent of children between 6 and 17 years old participate in at least one after-school activity. When talking with teachers across the Valley, they agreed that, in general, those students who participate in after-school activities are clearly more successful academically but also have also gained valuable social skills, exhibiting more compassion, confidence, as well as showing an understanding of expectations for behavior. “In general, it’s accepted that extracurricular activities are good for kids,” said Dr. Alicia Noyola, chief academic officer of Harlingen Consolidated

Independent School District. “They start to get better grades, higher test scores, and attendance is impacted.” She also pointed out the intangible benefits. “They learn to lead, and they also learn to follow.” Leadership skills are often emphasized, but the importance of knowing how to follow and being part of a team can be an extremely important skill in many future endeavors. “Sometimes you take the lead and sometimes you have to follow. It’s all a joint effort," Noyola said, adding that when looking at Harlingen’s top-ranked students over the years, they are always very involved and successful across the board. To encourage participation in extracurricular activities, many of the schools highlight their programs by holding special events like science night at the elementary and middle school levels, where you might find robotics teams or engineering clubs doing demonstrations to inspire young minds and expose them to what programs are available. Many of the

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activities like sports teams and music groups often sell themselves, but these organizations also do plenty of outreach by participating in pep rallies at feeder schools or holding end-of-year combined choir, band, or orchestra concerts with incoming ninth-graders. IDEA Public Schools across the RGV have recently taken an interesting approach with their 21st Century Community Learning Centers program which is facilitated by a grant awarded from the Texas Education Agency. According to TEA, the goal of the program is to create community learning centers that provide academic enrichment opportunities for children to meet state and local standards in core academic subjects. “One of the common misconceptions that people have about IDEA is that we focus just on academics, which is absolutely true, but we also offer opportunities that students don’t get during the school days,” IDEA’s 21st Century Program Regional Director Militza Stair said. In addition to sports, music and more, the grant program offers extra enrichment activities particularly for struggling students. “We’re looking to extend the school day beyond what students would typically attend, and we’re targeting our highest priority students in hopes of engaging them longer,” Stair said. “They’re getting the extra academic support they need, improving grades, social and emotional health.” In addition to activities for students, research has shown that parental involvement and having someone at home who is invested in the student improves academics as well as student satisfaction and behavior. 28


Through the 21st Century program, IDEA campuses throughout the Valley have also reached out to parents in the community by providing ESL classes, Gear Up college awareness events, and even assistance with things like income tax preparation. So far, the program has shown great improvements in students along with excellent participation and a 96.7 percent persistence rate of the over 10,000 participants. With 100 percent graduation and 100 percent of students attending college, IDEA’s programs have proven to be very effective. Depending on the child, some may feel comfortable participating in activities one day of the week whereas others might stay every day. With the help of their teachers and maybe encouraging them to try out something new, students may begin looking forward to school, which can have long-lasting effects on their education. With participation in after-school programs boasting proven social, emotional, and educational benefits, as well as the amazing variety of opportunities available to suit each child, parents should definitely consider finding an activity that sparks their child’s interest and leaves them with a desire to learn.

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With Derrick Kinney & Associates

- It's All About Family A dedicated family man who cares for his clients like his extended family, Derrick Kinney and his team are passionate about helping each family Derrick Kinney and his family

they work with achieve the financial goals that are important to them. Making Life Easier and Reducing Stress Recently, the Derrick Kinney & Associates team received a 99% Client Satisfaction score. Many clients commented on what a "great experience" it was to work with their team and how easy they made things. "Our goal is to make life easier and reduce stress for our clients," Kinney said. The trusted team at Derrick Kinney & Associates is there to help make their clients lives better.

Giving Back to the Rio Grande Valley A strong supporter of McAllen schools, Derrick supports quality education by recognizing outstanding teachers and students. Their team gives back to worthy organizations that make our local communities stronger and help those in need.

Examples of clients they serve include:

Helping Those who Help Their Families A family-focused practice, Derrick Kinney & Associates serves pre-retirees, retirees, professionals, and business owners. Kinney said the people he visits with have worked hard at their jobs, providing for their families, raising their kids, or building their businesses.

Couples who want to have enough money to travel and spend time with their grandchildren. Single parents who have worked hard to support their families. Widows that need guidance on not running out of monthly income.

Derrick Kinney with Mario Reyna, McAllen ISD Coordinator for Health & Physical Education (K-12) After School Enrichment Programs



For a no-obligation visit with one of their friendly and knowledgeable financial advisors, contact Derrick Kinney & Associates at (956) 668-0701 or online at

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Up Close with Private Wealth Advisor Derrick Kinney Designations: Chartered Advisor for Senior Living (CASL) Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC) Certified Long Term Care (CLTC) Certified Retirement Planning Counselor (CRPC)

Retirement specialist Derrick Kinney is often interviewed by local and national media to make complex financial topics “easy-to-understand.” We caught up with Derrick to gain his wealth wisdom. Q: What should investors do right now? As I visit with clients, many tell me they are concerned about the stock market — will it keep going up, or should they brace for a sudden drop? Listen, it’s more important than ever to know how much risk is in each investment you own. Have your advisor run a worst-case scenario on your portfolio.

Q: Great point, Derrick! What about someone who is about to retire or is already retired. What tips do you have for them? While the future is uncertain, here are some easy, yet powerful tips: 1. For retirees, keep six months of your income needs in cash. So whatever the market does, you’re not having to sell out of something when an investment is down to maintain your lifestyle. 2. For future retirees, live on a “practice retirement budget” for three months. This is critical to knowing how much money you need to live on in retirement. Q: Derrick, you’re well-known for your passion for education and supporting local schools. Why is that important to you?

At Derrick Kinney & Associates, our clients are part of something much bigger than us just managing their money. Through us, they are helping recognize outstanding teachers and student leaders and giving back to local organizations that make a difference in our community. There isn’t a week that goes by that I don’t think about a past teacher or professor that had a big impact on me. Teaching is an honorable profession and I respect and admire their dedication. Teachers helped shape me into the man I am today. For a no-obligation visit with one of their friendly and knowledgeable financial advisors, contact Derrick Kinney & Associates at (956) 668-0701 or online at

• Interviewed on: FOX Business, FOX News, Bloomberg TV, CNBC, CNN • Recognized by Texas Monthly Magazine as a "Five Star Wealth Manager" for the fifth year • Featured in the Wall Street Journal as one of the Wealth Managers investors need to know

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By George Cox Photos Johnny Quiroz

Castelo Cold Storage Plans Expansion to Progreso



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Building a successful business often means taking advantage of opportunities to expand and grow.

Ricardo Diaz, owner of Castelo Cold Storage in Pharr, is planning to do just that with the construction of a second facility in Progreso. Castelo Cold Storage opened in October 2012 in Pharr as a platform for the distribution of fresh produce between Mexico and the United States. With 20,000 square feet of climate controlled storage space and 13 loading docks located close to the Pharr International Bridge, Castelo Cold Storage is a destination for truckloads of Mexican produce to be unloaded and then loaded onto trucks to deliver the goods throughout the United States. “Mr. Diaz is planning on 25,000 square feet of cold storage with at least four different cold rooms,” said Russ Richard, a consultant to the Progreso Bridge Company who has worked with Diaz on his plans for the new cold storage facility scheduled to open in the early fall of 2018. Final plans are still in the works, but Richard said Diaz will construct a building that could be expanded to add 37,000 square feet of cold storage to meet future needs. The facility will include at least four cold rooms as well as climate-controlled loading docks to handle the traffic of fresh produce. One of the primary reasons Diaz chose to expand in Progreso is the fact that the privately owned international bridge is the only Rio Grande Valley international truck crossing that allows tandem trailers. “He will be focused on a clientele that will be using the tandems because of the cost effectiveness,” Richard said. “There’s a lot of economies in accepting tandem trucks, one driver and two trailers. It’s virtually the same driving cost. For growers to the south that would be a tremendous advantage.” Another advantage that attracted Diaz is the fact that the Progreso bridge also allows overloaded trucks to cross. Richard said the trucks would unload at Castelo Cold Storage after crossing the bridge and that the outgoing loads headed north would be required to meet U.S. weight restrictions.

The Progreso bridge, which first opened in 1952, constructed a separate two-lane truck bridge in 2002 to provide exclusive use to single and double trailers with extra heavy loads, which makes up about 60 percent of truck traffic, according to the bridge company’s website. The new Castelo Cold Storage will be built adjacent to the Progreso Bridge Company port of entry, making it easy for trucks coming out of Mexico “MR. DIAZ IS to unload the produce and PLANNING ON easily head back south. 25,000 SQUARE The Progreso Bridge Company is also making FEET OF COLD capital improvements to the STORAGE WITH port of entry designed to AT LEAST FOUR handle increased northbound DIFFERENT COLD traffic. ROOMS.” “The new Castelo Cold -Russ Richard, Storage will bring new Consultant to the customers to the port,” Progreso Bridge Company Richard said. Diaz’s Pharr cold storage facility in 2013 achieved a 100 percent score on its first Primus Global Food Safety audit and earned U.S. Department of Agriculture and Food and Drug Administration certifications, achievements that are expected to be duplicated at the new Progreso facility. Richard, who has worked closely with Diaz on his Progreso development plans, said the Castelo Cold Storage owner has a focused vision on what he wants to achieve in Progreso, and is using his knowledge of the industry to explore new ideas to gain an even greater competitive advantage in the future. “I first met Mr. Diaz at an industry conference,” Richard said. “He seems to be very active in the industry. That’s very positive in terms of marketing his services.”

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DELIVERING ON TIME ERO Architects technology wizards speed up the process of design industry-leading software programs



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y assembling a team of specialists, sponsoring their advanced training, and investing in highly sophisticated 3D technology platforms that include building scanning tools, advanced architectural and structural engineering design, rendering and drawing software, and multiple printing options, McAllen-based ERO Architects is accelerating the building schedules for many of their Texas-wide facility projects. The specialist trio of Larry Alvarez, Sergio Castillo, and Jody Galindo has dedicated itself to years of applied training to pass manufacturers’ certification programs, and otherwise fulfill the mission of ERO Architects founder Eli Ochoa. His mission and passion is to utilize the firm’s combined architecture and engineering resources and experience to produce relevant and uniquely designed facilities that are always constructable, on time, and on budget — a value that sets ERO apart from other architectural firms. As ERO’s senior structural technician, Alvarez has been modeling 3D designs for more than 10 years using AutoDesk’s industry-leading software programs. He is one of only seven Texans with a certification for Revit®-Certified Structural Professional, a building information modeling program that helps quickly plan, design, construct, and manage buildings and infrastructure. With Alvarez and Castillo, ERO is one of the early adopters and leading Texas firms to utilize BIM, and one of few using the online cloud AutoDesk BIM 360. This enables real-time coordination among all the construction contractors, architects, and engineers for any project, anywhere in the state. In addition to BIM 360, Alvarez and Castillo used a new addition to ERO, the FARO Focus X130 3D building scanner, to scan their latest $55 million high school project in a short amount of time because architectural drawings simply do not exist. The school is Houston ISD’s Austin High School with its 1930s vintage floor plans. “The lasers shoot out in a spinning motion towards the structure and register millions of points of data,” Alvarez said, explaining the process. “Then the scanner renders them as a 3D object in a companion

South Texas College Nursing & Allied Health Center Cafeteria J U LY / A U G U S T 2 0 1 7




program. It’s much more accurate than conventional tape or laser measuring tools, with extreme accuracy. Without it, we would never have been able to measure its high ceiling features.” Once imported into Revit architectural software, the 3D scan data calculates depths between walls, floors, and ceilings and enables fast reconfigurations for doors, windows, wiring and plumbing. “It saves so much time because it’s incredibly accurate,” Alvarez said. “Other firms might have to go re-measure an area if their calculations don’t add up or a construction crew runs into an obstacle.” Castillo is a production coordinator with more than 12 years of modeling for construction document production. He is also a Revit®-Certified Architectural Professional. As such, when combined with Alvarez, ERO is the only registered Texas firm with professionals having both AutoDesk Revit Architecture and Revit Structure Professional certifications. “Today’s environment is different,” Castillo said. “3D scans and modeling isn’t just for something nice to have fun and play with. They now become the working drawings which make field work so much more accurate, with so much time-saving. We can compare our designs against the contractors’ programs and get quicker feedback on possible problems before a single spade of dirt is turned or a wall goes up.” Castillo takes pride in his certifications. “Basically, it took 40 hours a week for five years for me to train on their software before I could take the AutoDesk certification test,” he said. “But it was worth it in terms of using software to its fullest, as the developer intended. And the certification provides peace of mind to our clients.” ERO’s 3D modeling capabilities help ensure that the needs of the owner, for any building type, are possible from the outset and not just done with a guessing game where costly disappointments can occur later in the project. Castillo notes how this dynamic design system was used and delivered plans in just three months for the entire structure of the new $83 million Seguin High School, 36


with very few issues. The project completes this summer. Galindo is one of only a handful of Texas licensed professional engineers — and the only one in South Texas — with a specialized structural engineering credential. Galindo’s focus is on life safety and public welfare, optimal economic strategies, and due diligence in checking conformance during construction. Galindo achieves much of this by producing BIM models using 3D finite element modeling and AutoDesk Revit 360 that more closely reflect how the building will perform in its actual environment. These help him anticipate and plan for the inevitable concrete cracks that come with foundation settlement, floor vibrations and building sway, and even the effects of seismic shifts. “I am amazed how fast we can turn around accurate work with fewer issues. I never thought I would be working with such sophisticated technology and talented professionals this early in my career,” Galindo said regarding the technology platform at ERO. At the end of the day, this trio of technology wizards, Alvarez, Castillo, and Galindo, are proud of ERO’s unique dedication to technology and the economic impact it has on design projects. “I’ve seen and worked for other architectural firms and I can safely say that our investment in technology is both unique and wise,” Castillo said. “It would take moving a mountain for other firms to invest like we have, not only in computers, programs, printers and rendering, but also in our staff ’s time, travel, and countless hours of hard work. I believe these investments are becoming increasingly evident in the quality we deliver and how fast we deliver it to our clients.” ERO has been fortunate to have been selected time and time again for the delivery of large, advanced projects serving the diverse needs of public markets. “Meeting owner’s expectations from an economic viewpoint is the utmost concern to our clients and ERO,” Ochoa said. “With the aid of the latest technologies combined with our multiple disciplines

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We have the experience and knowledge to produce high quality, highly-coordinated drawings because our in-house architectural and structural engineering services work side-by-side.” - ELI OCHOA

and talent, we can accomplish the value they want at the lowest possible cost.” Ochoa’s technology brain trust has a long list of technical achievements they are applying every day to new designs for four 21st century high school projects totaling over $200 million in construction value in El Paso, Seguin, and Houston. Ochoa believes a dedication to continuous learning allows his Rio Grande Valley firm to compete successfully against large architectural firms in Houston, El Paso, Austin, and San Antonio. “We have the experience and knowledge to produce high quality, highly-coordinated drawings because our in-house architectural and structural engineering services work side-by-side,” Ochoa said. “Coordination and time savings start the minute our computers turn on. If a design issue comes up, all parties can verify immediately in lieu of an email, phone call, or travel. Our technology platform with sophisticated communications saves our client’s projects time and money.”

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MCALLEN’S WEST SIDE STORY New High-End and Specialty Stores Coming Soon BY ABBEY KUNKLE


he Rio Grande Valley is booming with new development across the board, and even though widespread national concerns have questioned the productivity of brick and mortar establishments, with annual retail sales in the Valley exceeding $5 billion, retail is no exception to the continued growth. In fact, according to Isabel Rodriguez, Simon Property Group Inc. area director of Marketing and Business Development, La Plaza Mall, which generates over 18 million visitors a year and has over 2,000 employees, is one of the most productive properties in the United States.



“Its stores serve as many of the flagship properties for retailers across the country,” she said. With such success over the years, the Valley’s premier shopping destination has continued to evolve to serve its customers and the community and recently revealed that a dramatic new expansion is expected to take La Plaza Mall to the next level. Along with these exciting new announcements, McAllen has even more news with the announcement of additional high-end retail opportunities along the city’s west side. Currently, La Plaza Mall features more than 1.2 million square feet of retail space with over 150

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Zara, H&M, and Kendra Scott have constantly been requested by our shoppers. We are committed to the McAllen community, to our city, and to the overall Rio Grande Valley." - ISABEL RODRIGUEZ

mainstream, high-end, and specialty retailers, including BCBGMAXAZRIA, Marciano, Michael Kors, and Pandora, as well as Express, American Eagle Outfitters, Victoria’s Secret, and others. Highly-desired brands can also be found at the shopping center’s anchor department stores, including Macy’s, Dillard’s, JCPenney, and Joe Brand. When asked how the mall attracts such top-tier retailers, Rodriguez noted that because of the thriving market here in the RGV, which is attributed to continued community support as well as increased tourism and international sales, which account for 37 percent of retail sales in McAllen, retailers are constantly asking for an opportunity to join in on the success. The 2012 renovation of the mall’s food court was extremely well received throughout the community, and for the much-anticipated next phase of expansion, it has recently been announced that customers can look forward to a 200,000-square-foot expansion that will accommodate new high-end and popular options including Zara, H&M, Kendra Scott, REEDS Jewelers, as well as six first-to-market restaurants and two new parking decks. Further renovations are expected to bring additional interior and exterior upgrades to enhance the overall look and feel of the property. Rodriguez also pointed out that community input has played a major part in the decisions regarding priorities and selection of retailers to be included in the new development. She highlighted the continued expansion as a major economic impact to the city, providing additional jobs and increasing tax revenue

and tourism. This revenue provides nearly 40 percent of the city’s general fund, which is ultimately leveraged to provide residents with amenities including libraries, hike-and-bike trails, and continued street improvements. “Zara, H&M, and Kendra Scott have constantly been requested by our shoppers,” Rodriguez said regarding the process of selecting the new retailers, adding, “we are committed to the McAllen community, to our city, and to the overall Rio Grande Valley.” Their priorities include creating jobs as well as enhancing features to improve the customer experience. “Stay tuned,” Rodriguez said. “There will definitely be some more exciting announcements to come!” Furthering the retail options available to the Valley, locals and visitors alike can look forward to even more new development in the near future. Appropriately called “McAllen’s West Side Story,” Rebecca Olaguibel, the city’s Retail and Business Development director, shared that Expressway 83 will continue to develop for retail and entertainment. In addition to the Shops at 29th, Palms Crossing, and the Performing Arts Center, plans for the Premier Plaza Retail Center and Shops at La Solana are in the works with some areas expecting to break ground in July. Patrons can expect upscale retail, dining, hospitality, and entertainment venues in the highly coveted area. The high-traffic location continues to be a prime spot for the new development with over 130,000 visitors per day. Leasing for the properties are already in progress, and developers are confident that, due to the location as well as the talent and dedication that have gone into the project, the high-end developments will be a huge success and unique appeal for the community.

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Bring a New Perspective to the Workplace BY D E B R A AT L A S



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all them Generation Y or Millennials, young professionals born between the late 1970s and the mid-1990s are different than any age group before. They grew up in the time of 9/11, terrorist attacks, school shootings, the 2004 Southeast Asian tsunami, Hurricane Katrina, the Recession, and the fall of Enron. For them, it is Netflix and Hulu versus watching cable and creating playlists instead of buying CDs. Possibly the most educated generation in history, millennials score high on IQ tests, along with traits such as extroversion, self-esteem, high expectations, and assertiveness. They are changing the way things are done — in the workplace, in colleges, even down to the type of dictionaries created. Rene Capistran, CEO of Noble Texas Builders, says he had to educate himself about the generational gap, particularly regarding millennials. By the year 2025, millennials will comprise 75 percent of the workforce. And by 2050, they'll number approximately 80 million. “This is going to be the majority,” Capistran said. The impact of millennials is rippling out in many unexpected ways, said Bill Stocker, owner of Palace Cleaners in McAllen. It's easy to buy into the perception that millennials don't know proper work etiquette, are perpetually late, and want a lot for little effort. Although some do fit that picture, these 25 to 40-somethings, who are technologically savvy in a wired, connected world, are wired differently. And business owners need to change the way they relate to and manage them. Optimistic, team oriented and often confident to the point of borderline entitlement, millennials bring a new perspective to the workplace. They're up front with their expectations — sometimes outrageously so — yet embrace challenges, particularly if they see a way they'll benefit from it.

Baby boomers generally sought steady jobs offering more responsibility as they climbed the company ladder. Millennials seek shared responsibility, preferring to be part of a team making group decisions. For some, time management and attention to details such as typos on resumes and cover letters may not be their forte. “The job applications I've gotten from millennials for jobs are really discouraging,” Stocker said. “It's embarrassing.” Millennials bring some big differences to the table. They'll always ask why, challenging things others may take as givens. “They want someone who'll explain every step of a process,” Capistran said. And they want things up front. According to Forbes Magazine, 56 percent of millennials say a quality benefits package influences their choice of employers while 63 percent say benefits are an important reason in staying with an employer.

In addition to all the insurance benefits, they also want: • Paid Vacation Time • Retirement Savings Plans • A Flexible Work Schedule • Opportunities For Personal Development • A Custom Career Plan • An Organization That Reflects Their Values

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Millennials bring a new perception of what work life in the office should be. We have to face it (and) understand what (their) needs are." Rene Capistran

CEO of Noble Texas Builders

Capistran says when they're hired, the first thing they ask is if they'll get performance reviews, and how often. Regular feedback is vital to millennials. So, too, is having direct access to company leadership, says Capistran. “They want to know there's an open door policy,” he said. Unlike baby boomers, a Gen Y's loyalty is to the boss, not the company. “They're looking for a mentor or a coach,” Capistran said. Capistran and other CEOs are also finding that a millennial's average tenure runs no more than three years. “They believe in going from company to company,” Capistran said. “They think it will provide them with different experiences, that they'll be more valuable, (that they'll) have a more diverse background.” Brian Godinez, a partner at ERO Architects, says millennials are the backbone in their office. His company has to meet strict project deadlines and expects employees to often work 40- to 50-hour timeframes. “If they can't perform, can't meet deadlines, or don't have the skill set where they can keep up, they (are) replaced or eliminated,” he said. But, says Godinez, the company must lead by example.



His company tries to give employees salaries that are as competitive as possible, and create a culture they can be part of, be proud of. They encourage employee problem solving and being involved in a quality caliber of building. Millennials excel at technology. Eighty percent sleep with their cellphone next to the bed. And they communicate best digitally, through social networking. Face-to-face skills may not be their strong suit. But they're often strong innovators. Technology has to be a big part of your company if you want millennials to stick around. “This is the best team of the past 20 years,” Godinez said, referring to the company’s 25 millennials, the latest technology, and a modern office environment. “It's incumbent on owners with a large staff of millennials that you take some responsibility, take their viewpoint.” “Millennials bring a new perception of what work life in the office should be,” Capistran said. “We have to face it (and) understand what (their) needs are.”

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613 E. Trenton Rd., Edinburg, Texas 78539 Located at The Shoppes at Rio Grande Valley

©2017 Bob’s Steak & Chop House

Come See What All the Fuss is About. Opening July 14th.

Once you experience Bob’s special brand of service and food, it won’t be long until you’re a regular. Here the only thing you need to worry about is what cut of prime steak you’ll order. For Reservations, Private Dining or Special Events Call 956.537.0496


in this year’s Cybersecurity Analyst (boot) Camp. This program is an initiative of CodeRGV Inc. and is sponsored by Mission EDC and Workforce Solutions. (boot) Camp is held at the CEED building in Mission, and the program is taught by certified CompTIA instructors. The program includes training and certification tests on A+, Network+, Security+, and CSA+, as well as soft skills training. Participants have the opportunity to obtain four certifications as cybersecurity analysts, in a career that is in high demand. “This bootcamp is focused on filling a need in professional certification of IT workers in cybersecurity,” said Alex Meade, Mission EDC CEO. “The demand for certified workers encompasses all industries in IT departments and companies that provide IT services to businesses both large and small.”

Demand for Cybersecurity Analysts

SECURITY IN CYBERSPACE Programs Train To Battle Hacker Attacks By Irene Wazgowska


hen was the last time you used the internet? When was the last time you made an online purchase? Are you familiar with cybersecurity? In this digital age, we rely daily on our personal technical devices, and systems that contain our financial and personal information. In the wrong hands, this information can be easily compromised. With hackers improving their methods of attack, there is a need for increased security. Local Rio Grande Valley organizations have identified this need and are working to address it. For eight intensive weeks that began June 5, 40 chosen cohorts are participating



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The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that information security analysts will be the fastest growing overall job category, with 37 percent overall growth between 2012 and 2022. A career in information security analysis ranked seventh on U.S. News and World Report’s list of the 100 best technology jobs for 2017. According to the BLS, the median pay for an information security analyst is $90,120 per year. As the concern for cyberattacks continues to increase, the need for educated Cybersecurity Analysts means that universities are offering more degree programs. Texas is leading the way in cybersecurity education. At the University of Texas at San Antonio, the Department of Information Systems and Cybersecurity offers two undergraduate degree programs: one with a major in information systems, and the other with a major in cybersecurity. The department also offers minors in cybersecurity, digital forensics, information systems, and network and data center management, which are open to all majors. The university is among 11 prominent Texas schools working to educate students in order to supply the workforce.

In 2011, the Texas Department of Information Resources created the Texas Cybersecurity, Education, and Economic Development Council. According to the organization’s website, “TCEEDC was created to leverage public/private partnerships to examine the infrastructure of the state’s cybersecurity operations with the intent to produce strategies to accelerate the growth of cybersecurity as an industry within Texas, and to encourage industry members to call Texas ‘home.’”

(Boot) Camp Begins As the Cybersecurity Analyst (boot) Camp gears up in Mission, the excitement surrounding the camp is palpable. Drew Lentz, president of CodeRGV, points to the strength of this initiative. “This model will help build capacity in South Texas so that future cybersecurity certification boot camps such as this one may continue,” Lentz said. “Our mission to Build Better Nerds continues by educating developers and skilled professionals while cultivating a technology friendly atmosphere in South Texas. Through this partnership we will continue to innovate and build a better workforce for Texas and the world.” CompTIA, which will provide the curriculum and certified instructors for (boot) Camp, is a strong force in the internet technology industry. With more than 2,000 members, 3,000 academic and training partners and tens of thousands of registered users spanning the entire information communications and technology industry, CompTIA has become a leading voice for the technology ecosystem. The organization has invested millions to grow their portfolio that includes IT education, IT certification, IT advocacy, and IT philanthropy.

This summer CompTIA will bring its talented team to the RGV. “Cybersecurity threats are growing both in numbers and in the risks they pose to organizations,” said Mark Plunkett, senior director of Business Development. “To counter these threats we need to develop a technology workforce that is educated, trained, and certified in the latest cybersecurity countermeasures. This initiative is on point for achieving this objective. CompTIA is pleased to be a part of this effort.”

Employers Seek Talent


TUESDAY JULY 18 + Martin Valverde

FRIDAY JULY 21-23 + Texas Hunters & Sportsman’s Expo

Employers across Texas and the U.S. are seeking thousands of core technology workers in cybersecurity and other tech skills, in order to fill current and future staffing needs. "It's an increasingly important job. The need for people in the industry is going to grow exponentially," said Ed McLin, president of Larkin Addison, a specialty insurance company that provides cyber insurance. According to CompTIA’s Cyberstates 2017 report, in 2016 tech industry employment in Texas grew by more than 11,000 jobs. Despite this large number of hirings, employers posted job openings for more than 42,600 tech occupations in Q4 2016. ISACA, a nonprofit information security advocacy group, predicts that there will be a global shortage of 2 million cybersecurity professionals by 2019. According to the cybersecurity data tool CyberSeek, in the U.S. alone, 40,000 information security analyst jobs go unfilled yearly. The demand is high, and the talent to fill these positions is needed now more than ever.

FRIDAY JULY 28 + TAAF Games of Texas Opening Ceremonies

FRIDAY JULY 28-30 + TAAF Games of Texas McAllen Tx - Boxing & Wrestling

SATURDAY AUGUST 5 + 2017 Viva McAllen Streets

SUNDAY AUGUST 6 + Wedding Fair 2017

FRIDAY AUGUST 11 - 12 + Omnicon X

WEDNESDAY AUGUST 16 + Ismael Cala “Despierta con Cala”

SATURDAY AUGUST 19-20 + Saxet Gun Show

SATURDAY OCTOBER 7-8 + PalmFest International Folklife Celebration 2017

For More Info:

For more information CodeRGV: CompTIA: (TCEEDC): The University of Texas at San Antonio: business/informationsystemscybersecurity/

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As one of the 100 Best Places to Live in the U.S., according to a recent list by the U.S. News & World Report, as well as one of only six Texas cities to make the list, McAllen continues to flourish with amazing new development and opportunity.



The city continues to rank as one of the fastest growing cities in the U.S., and with so much expansion, McAllen’s primary location for growth is to the northwest edge of the city, and that is exactly where you can find the sprawling new community Tres Lagos. Slated to be one of the premier new developments in the city, Tres Lagos is a 2,571-acre master planned community with residential areas, top-rated IDEA Public Schools, churches, healthcare facilities, and more. With the inclusion of a new Texas A&M University campus, in addition to commercial and retail space, it is expected to be a hub of new opportunity - ultimately adding over 6,000 new jobs to the area. A major goal for the development was to create a smart and sustainable commu-

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nity that offers an environment with the perfect balance to live, work, learn, and play. To fulfill that goal, when completed, the community will supply internet, cable, and security cameras to every house as well as the parks which comprise about 45 acres across the development. They will also apply water conservation methods to cut usage in half. Furthermore, designers have organized the homes so that the majority do not back up to another house, but rather, provide some of the beautiful views of parks, hiking trails, or sparkling lakes. In terms of education, Rhodes pointed out that The Washington Post recently named five RGV IDEA Public Schools as five of the top 10 high schools in the country. Furthermore, Texas A&M has also expressed interest in putting in a

specialty engineering and technology high school on their new campus. The educational opportunities are sure to be a major draw for families with children of all ages. There are also a variety of options for different financial investments with homes ranging from $180,000 all the way up to $2 million. So far, over 110 homes have been presold and building is in progress. Model homes are expected to be available for view in August. “It’s importance to the region is its position,” developer Mike Rhodes of Rhodes Enterprises said in regards to the new community. “McAllen is surrounded by Edinburg, Pharr, Mission, and the only way it can grow is to the northwest.” So, for those who want or need to get out around town, Tres Lagos boasts easy ac-

Tres Lagos is a 2,571-acre master-planned community with residential areas, top-rated IDEA Public Schools, churches, healthcare facilities, and more.

cess to surrounding cities, airports, and even to South Padre Island, with plans for the Texas Department of Transportation and the Hidalgo County Regional Mobile Authority to expand a farm-tomarket road into a thoroughfare that will connect the community to the upcoming second causeway to SPI. With such a great opportunity for expansion in the thriving RGV, the plan is to make the best use of available space by providing everything you might want or need in this 5-mile area. Additional amenities for the community include a fitness

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center, pools, a community water park, an amphitheater with a capacity of about 2,000 people, and a $4 million community center that is expected to be complete in July. With all that, residents may never need to leave. For more information on the developing community, visit





Region One ESC and local partners announce $3 million Investing in Innovation grant set to impact nursing career pipeline in Rio Grande Valley

By Annette S. Garcia


he Region One Education Service Center, together with La Joya ISD, PSJA ISD, South Texas ISD, South Texas College, and Doctors Hospital at Renaissance are recipients of a $3 million Investin in Innovation grant awarded by the U.S. Department of Education. Together, the partners are set to kick off an innovative professional nursing dual enrollment project, Project Health Education and Leadership for ALL (Project HEAL²), which will significantly impact the opportunity for high school students interested in a health professions career. Through Project HEAL² 50 students from each of the participating school districts will have the opportunity to enroll in first-year college prerequisite courses through STC that will have them on the path to earning an associate degree in nursing as they earn their high school diploma. The Project HEAL² initiative expands on the successful pilot-program by Doctors Hospital at Renaissance, PSJA ISD, and Region One ESC, which just recently graduated eight students from the program. “The concept of the Project HEAL² program is the first of its kind in the nation,” said Dr. Cornelio Gonzalez, Region One executive director. “First piloted in the PSJA school district we observed amazing results, the young men and women who participated in the



“Project HEAL² is a ground-breaking model that will lead the way in preparing students to becoming successful registered nurses as they make their transition to college. This program is transforming lives in our communities by providing families with a no-cost program to them while the students are in high school.” - LUPE CHAVEZ, L A JOYA ISD ACADEMIES DIRECTOR

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program met the challenge and proved that it could be done. Sometimes to provide these learning and career opportunities for our students, it involves innovative and creative thinking; this is exactly what occurred when our partners met to develop Project HEAL². We are extremely grateful to our partner districts including La Joya ISD, PSJA ISD, and South Texas ISD, South Texas College, and Doctors Hospital at Renaissance for having the courage and enthusiasm to join us in this endeavor.” The first cohort of Project HEAL² students, consisting of ninth- and 10th-grade students, will have the opportunity to attend the local GEAR UP College for All: Health Science Professions Conference (C4A) which will introduce the students to healthcare careers and provide both students and their parents with a unique insight from those working in the field. Concurrently, in the 11th and 12th grades of the cohort group, each participating school district has been allotted 50 slots for participation by students with more intensive, dual enrollment courses. These students will have access to continued awareness opportunities and will take first year college prerequisite courses through South Texas College, be assigned a nursing mentor, and participate in experiential rotations at Doctors Hospital at Renaissance. Additionally, the Project HEAL² students will have access to tutors and

mentors to help prepare for the Health Education Systems Incorporated exam, which prepares student nurses to challenge the professional licensure exam. Upon graduation from high school, Project HEAL² students are eligible to apply for admission to the STC associate degree in nursing for second-year nursing content. Each participating school district is guaranteed 20 slots into the ADN Nursing Program for qualified students. “The nursing career pipeline will be forever changed by Project HEAL2. The student talent in the RGV is exceptional, as well as the dedication of the college’s nursing faculty. Together with committed partners, we will be validating a new national model for the preparation of registered nurses,” said Dr. Shirley Reed, president of STC. La Joya ISD and South Texas ISD, two of the three participating school districts, see a substantial benefit from participation in the program for the opportunities that it offers students. “Project HEAL² is a ground-breaking model that will lead the way in preparing students to becoming successful registered nurses as they make their transition to college. This program is transforming lives in our communities by providing families with a no-cost program to them while the students are in high school,” said Lupe Chavez, La Joya ISD Academies director. “Project HEAL is a perfect fit for our students,” said Dr. Marla M. Guerra,

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UPCOMING EVENTS SATURDAY JULY 1 + Ozuna - Odisea Tour 2017 FRIDAY AUGUST 4 + Cristian Castro SATURDAY OCTOBER 14 + La Doble Moral El Musical *New Date* (2 showings) WEDNESDAY OCTOBER 18 + Russian Grand Ballet Presents Swan Lake FRIDAY OCTOBER 20-22 + PAW Patrol Live!: Race to the Rescue (6 showings) FRIDAY NOVEMBER 10 + Dr. Cesar Lozano FRIDAY NOVEMBER 17 + Valley Symphony Orchestra 2017-2018 Season Ticket SATURDAY DECEMBER 2-3 + RGV Ballet's The Nutcracker (2 showings) SATURDAY DECEMBER 30 + Moscow Ballet's Great Russian Nutcracker (2 showings)

For more information, please visit the McAllen Convention Center Box Office or 956.681.3800





superintendent at South Texas ISD. “With an evident inclination towards medicine and the health professions, our South Texas High School for Health Professions students are now able to expand upon their medically centered high school coursework to create an even richer experience.” In addition to providing unique educational and career opportunities, Project HEAL² will also help to address the nursing shortage in the Rio Grande Valley area. Jayson T. Valerio DNP, RN, STC’s interim dean of the Nursing & Allied Health Division, notes the disparity in the nursing field. “In 2016, among the eight regions in the State of Texas, the RN facility vacancy rate was the highest in the Rio Grande Valley and only 14.8 percent are Hispanic/Latino, which does not mirror the population in the state and nationwide,” he said. “Looking at the RN FTE supply and demand for RGV by 2015-2030, our region will need more RNs than anywhere else in the state. Project HEAL² will increase the pipeline of students going into the nursing profession, enhance the academic preparation



for Associate Degree in Nursing, increase the rate of high school graduation, and produce more culturally diverse (students) in the nursing workforce.” “I truly believe that the U.S. Department of Education awarded our grant for multiple reasons. First, it is a proven model but it also aims to impact on multiple levels,” says Dr. Tina Atkins, Region One College to Career Readiness administrator. “Project HEAL² will increase the academic performance and preparation for students interested in the ADN program, it will most definitely impact the high school graduation rate and post-secondary attendance rate, but then it goes beyond the schoolhouse doors. This program will impact our entire community by increasing the culturally diverse nursing workforce pipeline for high school to college. We are extremely proud to be a part of this revolutionary approach to post-secondary and career readiness. We look forward to the next three years of Project HEAL².”

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The high amounts of stress throughout the semesters has caused more than 80% of college students to report feeling overwhelmed about what they had to do in the past year (American College, 2013). The scariest statistic to come to light is that suicide is the second leading cause of death in college student. It is no surprise that 1 in every 10 college students report having seriously thought about suicide (Drum et al., 2009). Therefore, it is important for college students to be aware of this problem and take care of their mental health.

Dealing with Stress: Be Aware of Your Own Health

STRESS in COLLEGE Where it Comes From, and How to Manage it The Statistics

It is a universally known truth that being a full-time college student can be exhausting. There are many sleepless nights, skipped meals, and never-ending piles of homework to attend to all while trying to be healthy, maintain an active social life, and achieve a high grade point average. Being a full-college student while juggling a part-time or full-time job and participating in extracurricular activities can be detrimental to your personal mental health. According to a survey done by Georgetown University, 25% of students that are enrolled in college full-time are also working full-time jobs, and 70% of college students nationwide have part-time employment.



If stress is the main reason you are feeling anxious or depressed there are some steps that you can take to manage your mental health. One of the best things you can do is to get organized. By learning what works for you and what does not, how much you can work in one day without feeling burned out, and sprinkling an hour or two of leisure time, you can soon lower the weight on your shoulders. Of course it will be impossible to maintain a regular sleeping schedule at some points in the semester, but setting a time to sleep will help you get a good night’s sleep most nights. Take one day to stop and think about everything you need to get done and list it by a matter of urgency. After you have done that, then make a schedule to tackle it in small parts and think “it’s going to get done.” Even if you do not stick completely to the schedule, it will still decrease the mental picture of the mountain of homework because it is now in fractions.

Alleviating Stress: University Resources

As college students it is important to know about the different steps that you can take to alleviate or prevent mental illnesses. One of the things that you can do is becoming familiar with the counseling services in your university. Obtaining counseling from the university can be a great way to find support, especially from people who are familiar with the stresses of being a college student. These services are being paid for by your tuition. They are there for you to use them if you need help, so take advantage of them. Another thing that you can do is educate yourself about the warning signs of mental illness. There are a lot of resources online about mental illness and you can talk to someone at your university’s counseling center. A preventative step that you can take is to become aware of the type of stresses and the amount of stress you can handle. For example, avoid taking a

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large course load if you believe cannot handle it. There is no reason to be ashamed if you cannot take those 15 or 18 hours. Some people work at different paces, and you should not overwork yourself if it is detrimental to your mental health.

Healthy Coping Mechanisms: Find what Works for You Understanding that stress and anxiety can attack without a warning and at unpredictable situations is key to dealing with one’s mental health. A few ideas to keep stress at a minimum are presented below:

1. Progressive Muscle Relaxation.

Lie down on your bed or comfortable chair and take a few minutes to unwind. From your toes to all the way to the muscle of your face, begin contracting each muscle group while breathing in. Hold the muscle tight for 3 seconds and then release tension while exhaling. This procedure can be done in just 10 minutes and can alleviate stress and anxiety. Instructions for this procedure can be found on YouTube some even include nature sounds in the mix! This procedure can be done a night before the exam, on a morning before you head off to class, or even during your lunch break!

2. Diaphragmatic Breathing.

At some point we have been told to “take deep breaths and relax” but are rarely instructed on how to do so. Diaphragmatic breathing involves expanding the diaphragm to increase the flow of oxygen to the body. Simply begin by finding a comfortable place to sit, and expand your stomach as much as you can while you inhale. One quick cue is to place one’s hand at the belly and make sure the belly “inflates” while inhaling. Hold the air for 2 - 3 seconds and then exhale. Repeat this cycle 3 to 5 times to complete one set of Diaphragmatic Breathing. This can be done right before an exam, before a presentation or interview, or simply whenever you feel stress is overwhelming you.

3. Write-it-Out.

If you feel like you have too much work ahead of you and don’t know where to start, write it all down on paper. Write your upcoming assignments, exams, projects, and even your worries about the upcoming deadlines. Not only will this assist you to time-manage but to also think concretely about your stressors. Write a journal entry about it on paper on even on your PC - you can even delete it afterwards! Finding a healthy way to vent your fears can be difficult, but identifying what your stressor is on the first place can lead to find what works for you.

4. Sleep. Exercise. Enjoy.

There is no better relaxation technique than a good night of sleep. Even though college has become a colloquial synonym for “all-nighters”, do prioritize your health by sleeping enough. Not only will you endanger your health, your cognition (memory, ability to focus, learning ability) will also be at risk if you sacrifice too many hours of your sleep. Similarly, you will not function at optimal levels if your body is not taken care of. So get creative - exercise at least 3-5 hours per week! Listen to your professor’s recording while walking a few laps around the track or take your dog out for a run every weekend before you binge on your favorite TV show! Find an enjoyable activity to take care of yourself. Precisely, enjoying life can be a forgotten factor among college students who are trap between long hours of work, 15 + hours of classes, and extracurricular activities. Take a swim every other day at the pool, enjoy a night out with your friends, and don’t miss out on your family’s cookout.

5. Get Involved in Your College Campus.

Adding to your stress might include not fitting in well or not knowing others on campus. Going to school events or joining a college club like, like the LGBTA Club, Chess Club, or any that catches your eye can help! These groups may help you forget about your stress and enjoy time with new friends with similar interest. Your academic success may become too stressful if you do not sleep properly, if you forget about your health, and especially if you forget to replenish your mental and emotional energy with your loved ones. Once again, sleep, and enjoy the good moments of life!

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts and feels like life is not worth living, seek help immediately by calling the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at (800) 273-TALK (8255), by texting Crisis Text Line at 741741 or by calling 911.

References available upon request (Co-Authors include Dr. Mercado’s Mental Health Lab at UTRGV: Paola Quijano, Melissa Briones, Abigail Nunez-Saenz, Andy Torres, Armando Villarreal-Sosa, and Amy Ramirez)


ALFONSO MERCADO, PH.D., LICENSED PSYCHOLOGIST Valley Psychological Services - Assistant Professor-Department of Psychology at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley

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POSTURE MATTERS It has been said that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Our posture is our foundation. We know that poor posture is often the root cause of many orthopedic conditions including headaches, neck, shoulder and back pain.

The decision is yours. Do you want to be proactive or reactive? To watch our Posture Matters video go to and click on the Posture Matters page.


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Reported benefits of whole body cryotherapy include:



* Inflammation reduction * Pain relief * Decreased spasticity and muscle guarding * Alleviation of DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) * Endorphin release * Alleviation of mental fatigue, depression, and/or anxiety

By Lori Houston

* Improved immune system * Improved metabolism


ome Valley residents are experiencing sub-zero temperatures this summer. We aren’t talking about air conditioners, here. This popular freezing treatment is known as Whole Body Cryotherapy, and is now available in the Rio Grande Valley. Cryotherapy, in its various forms, has been around since at least 2500 BC when the ancient Egyptians would use cold to treat inflammation and pain. Since then, it has evolved in different ways. Localized cryotherapy still consists of treating injuries with ice. “Besides drugs, cold therapy is one of the most effective ways to decrease inflammation,” physical therapist Cristi Cuellar said. “In my experience, most patients’ painful injuries have been caused by overuse and inflammation.” Another form of local cryotherapy includes physicians using a freezing agent to treat external skin disorders or during laparoscopic surgery to treat internal issues. In the early 1800s, Dr. James Arnott of England was the first to use extreme cold for the destruction of tissue in his treatment of tumors and became the father of modern cryosurgery. Whole body cryotherapy has surgical applications as well, when patients are placed in a hypothermic state, slowing down body processes during surgery. Whole body cryotherapy did not become more widespread until after 1978 when Dr. Toshima Yamaguchi developed the first whole body cryotherapy chamber to treat patients with rheumatoid arthritis. The cryochamber replaces cold water immersion and multiple ice packs, exposing patients to ultra-low temperatures as cold as -240 degrees Fahrenheit over a period of two to three minutes. This stimulates the body’s natural response to decrease inflammation, pain, spasms, and promote healing, because the sudden temperature change causes blood vessels to massively constrict and dilate.



Whole Body Cryotherapy has been very popular with professional athletes for several years now. The Dallas Mavericks have cited cryotherapy as their secret weapon in training recovery. Many other types of athletes have also felt the benefits of this treatment. “The first time I saw this, I was at a popular gym where MMA fighters trained, and one of the trainers told me that it made a huge difference in their overall wellness,” Cuellar said. “They were able to train more days, lifting heavier and recovering faster. I had to try it for myself.” Agustin Salazar of the RGV Tennis Academy believes in the benefits of Whole Body Cryotherapy. He has been doing cryotherapy regularly for four months so far. “The first time I came in was with my knee,” he said. “I used to wear a knee brace for tennis, but I don't use it anymore. I had shoulder pain. I had bad shoulder pain but the swelling has gone away.” Salazar said he tries to come in for treatment four or five times a week when he can.

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Athletes aren’t the only ones to swear by the benefits of Whole Body Cryotherapy. The internet is full of celebrity cryotherapy selfies, including Derek Hough, Lindsay Lohan, Kevin Hart and Mandy Moore. It has also been reported that Jennifer Aniston and Demi Moore use regular Whole Body Cryotherapy to keep their skin looking younger. “It helps to produce collagen in your skin because [your body] essentially thinks you're in this cold, harsh environment, so wants to make sure it doesn't dry out and it produces collagen which helps us keep a youthful appearance in our skin,” said Summer Garcia, owner of Coldfit Cryotherapy Studio in McAllen. To ensure proper collagen production, the cells need vitamins, minerals, and healthy vascular function. During cryotherapy, blood vessels respond by a quick constriction to keep the core temperature and protect the organs and tissues and a rapid dilation when we are back to normal exterior temperature. By widening the vascular system, blood circulates better. It can eliminate waste and toxins more efficiently and allow the distribution of vitamins and nutrients. There are two different types of chambers currently used in Whole Body Cryotherapy: liquid nitrogen chambers and electric cooled chambers. Liquid nitrogen cooled chambers envelop the users in super-cooled nitrogen vapors to lower the surface temperature of the skin. In these chambers, the head remains outside of the chamber, while inside the users are wearing minimal clothing such as shorts, gloves and socks. They are asked to rotate slowly around in the chamber so that the gas jets are not aimed at the same place for too long. When Garcia was doing research on Whole Body Cryotherapy before opening her own cryotherapy studio, she visited many different locations and tried out the different chambers. She described a time she was in a nitrogen chamber and was distracted, talking to the attendant and got a slight nitrogen burn on the backs of her legs because she wasn’t rotating. “That made me a little nervous about those [chambers],” Garcia said. The FDA also has warned about the potential risks with nitrogen cooled cryotherapy systems, citing asphyxiation, frostbite, and burns. For those reasons, Garcia and her partners chose to use electric cooled chambers at Coldfit. “With ours there really is no risk,” she said. “There's no reported injuries and no reported deaths related to the type chamber we have.” The electric chambers cool uniformly, dispensing with the users need to rotate. There is constant fresh oxygenated air in the chamber with no gas and the added benefit of true whole body cooling, including the head.

It helps to produce collagen in your skin because [your body] essentially thinks you're in this cold, harsh environment, so wants to make sure it doesn't dry out and it produces collagen which helps us keep a youthful appearance in our skin.” SUMMER GARCIA OWNER OF COLDFIT CRYOTHERAPY STUDIO IN MCALLEN

One of the claims about Whole Body Cryotherapy is that it is good for weight loss. Garcia confirms that after one of the three-minute treatments, the average body burns from 500 to 800 calories in order to warm back up, but does not really advocate this as a standalone weightloss treatment. “It does help your metabolism and it does help you burn those 500-800 calories, which is significant,” she said. “That can be a whole meal. But, you know you have to eat right, exercise.” Burning those calories won’t help you if you aren’t doing all the other things to lose weight as well. “If you are working hard at eating right and exercising, this is a supplemental calorie burner,” Garcia said. Coldfit has a warm up room with exercise machines that clients can use after their session to help them raise their body temperature and perhaps burn a few more calories in the process. There are many people that have tried Whole Body Cryotherapy and felt better because of it. Dr. Edgar Cruz, general surgeon, has been a client of Coldfit since it opened. Cruz says he has had chronic knee pain and knew the benefits of cryotherapy. He felt a difference after just one session and has made it a practice to come in regularly, six days a week. He has been able to exercise better and the knee pain is almost gone. “When I travel, I want to take the chamber with me,” Cruz said. “I’ve been feeling so great!” He isn’t the only one to have that reaction. Innumerable athletes and celebrities have become obsessed with this treatment, some even to the point of buying their own personal cryotherapy chambers. While experts are still debating on the reported merits of Whole Body Cryotherapy, there are plenty of people who feel it has helped them when they most needed it, including Valley residents who are grateful to have this service here, where they live.

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Attainable Dental Care Valley Family Dentistry offers patient payment plan through membership program By Amy Casebier

Proper dental care can quickly empty pockets, especially when a patient isn’t insured. From X-rays and examinations to cleanings and major treatment, some people might be tempted to delay or forgo trips to the dentist’s office. Inaction can exacerbate problems, so Dr. Brenda Landeros of Valley Family Dentistry in Harlingen came up with a solution: Formulate a payment plan that would cater to uninsured patients as well as individuals needing assistance with mounting bills. Enter Valley Family Dentistry’s Membership Club.



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We took the most common procedures that I feel need to be basic access to care,” Landeros said. “It’s a shame when patients are not even able to do that. We thought, how can we help these patients?”

“We took the most common procedures that I feel need to be basic access to care,” Landeros said about creating the program. “It’s a shame when patients are not even able to do that. We thought, how can we help these patients?” Once Landeros recognized the need, it was a matter of designing the membership club alongside her insurance coordinator and a third-party program that manages the patients’ information. And if Landeros and the rest of the staff at Valley Family Dentistry realize the membership club plans could stand to be tweaked, they do it. “That’s the easy thing about it,” Landeros said. “We control it, so we can implement changes. The patient can use this program as a supplemental, inhouse insurance.” Patients make one lifetime registration payment of $50, then a monthly payment that goes toward preventive services. Depending on the tier they qualify for — there are three, covering children, and adults with and without gum disease — patients are also responsible for paying a monthly fee. A regular adult membership, for example, costs $26. Children’s coverage is $21 per month. A patient with periodontal disease, which necessitates four maintenance visits per year, costs $51. “Are you going to need all the benefits it provides? Maybe, maybe not,” Landeros said. “You definitely will use the preventive benefits.” The adult and child membership plans both include two cleanings. The perio membership plan includes four cleanings a year, which is necessary to keep the disease at bay. All three plans include one to two doctor exams, any needed X-rays, and one emergency exam each year. “If something unforeseen should happen between visits, then they can come in essentially at no out of pocket cost for them on the day of the visit because

it’s already covered,” Landeros said. “That’s part of their program. On top of that, if they do require or need any additional dental treatment that’s going to be in the realm of fillings, crowns, root canals, any of that, they get a percentage discounted all across the board on their treatment.” Under the membership club, treatments deemed necessary during a visit see an automatic 15 percent price discount, though some exclusions may apply. For those in need of major work, like anything beyond fillings, the savings would be significant. Landeros added that Valley Family Dentistry itself has benefited from the membership club initiative. Patients with periodontal disease need to receive a maintenance dental cleaning once every three months, and individuals who were having a hard time coming up with the money to visit the dentist four times a year were missing appointments. Many dental insurance plans don’t cover the maintenance cleanings. But if periodontal patients forgo treatment for even as little as six months, any progress they made can be erased — the disease can infect their gums again. With the perio membership, though, all four cleanings are covered, meaning there’s no excuse for patients to miss their appointments. Currently, 20 patients at Valley Family Dentistry are enrolled in the membership club, but that number is poised to grow as more learn about the benefits they stand to gain. “It’s a win-win,” Landeros said. “We wouldn’t understand why somebody wouldn’t want that.” Visit Valley Family Dentistry’s website at http:// Learn more details about the patient loyalty program at

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Valley Family Dentistry's Membership Club Children's Coverage

$21 Adult Coverage

$26 Patient With Periodontal Disease







McAllen Dentist Offers Relief BY GEORGE COX


or people seeking relief from chronic headache pain, a trip to the dentist might not occur to them. But Dr. Erika Zarate, celebrating the one-year anniversary of her Advanced Dentistry and Headache Center, says that those headaches just might be caused by temporomandibular joint (TMJ) syndrome. The TMJ connects the lower jaw to  the skull in front of the ear. Certain facial muscles that control chewing are also attached  to  the lower jaw. If these muscles become overworked or the jaw is not properly aligned, the result can be grinding of teeth while sleeping and chronic headaches. “I have had training in neuromuscular dentistry where I learned how the muscles of the face and neck relate to the use of teeth,” Zarate said. “A lot of these headaches become so hard for people to deal with they start reaching out to neurologists,” she added. “This can be treated through neuromuscular dentistry. We can make sure that your bite is stable and in the proper position. We sometimes need to balance it out through restorative dentistry, rebuilding your teeth.” Zarate earned a bachelor’s degree in biology in 2002 from the University of Texas San Antonio and graduated from the University of Texas Health & Science Center Dental School in 2006. She returned to her hometown of Laredo to begin her career, moved to McAllen in 2009 and opened Advanced Dentistry and Headache Center in the summer of 2016. The year-old practice offers a wide range of services, including cosmetic, restorative, and prosthetic dentistry, as well as general preventive family dentistry. “We do pediatric dentistry through adults, including geriatric dentistry as well,” she said. “And I do have a lot of focus on the TMJ joints.”



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Treating TMJ syndrome can involve more than neuromuscular dentistry and Advanced Dentistry and Headache Center works to provide a range of related services, including a staff massage therapist. “We provide a massage therapist on site for patients who suffer severe TMJ problems,” she said. “We involve the massage therapist and referrals to ear, nose and throat specialists and physical therapists as well.” Cosmetic dentistry is another area of concentration for Zarate, offering patients a variety of options to improve their smile and the look of their teeth. “We can do a complete makeover where the patient can end up with what we call a Hollywood smile,” she said. A cosmetic dental makeover is a process that can take about a month and involve cosmetic veneers or possibly dentures. “But most of the times when you don’t like the shape of your teeth or the color, we can straighten the teeth with veneers and we can whiten them,” Zarate said. Zarate incorporated the latest technology into her practice, turning to David Armstrong for help. Armstrong is the owner of Core Business Solutions and part owner of Hewitt Dental Supply, businesses that can supply everything from office equipment like copiers and computers to IT services and furniture, as well as some of the latest in dental technology. “Dr. Zarate had a specific vision of what she wanted and we helped her implement that,” Armstrong said. After a series of meetings, Armstrong and his crew were able to develop specific recommendations to match what Zarate wanted to accomplish as she prepared to open Advanced Dentistry and Headache Center. “She told us what she wanted and we made recommendations. Once that was complete we handled everything from the build-out to the equipment and handed her the keys,” said Armstrong, who also has a construction company. “I wanted to open my practice with the best technology possible.” Zarate said. “We got a lot of our equipment through Hewitt Dental Supply because we wanted the best. We were able to get top-of-the-line X-ray machines with a minimum dose of radiation.” Zarate also uses an intraoral camera as part of the diagnostic process. The specialized camera uses a fluorescence technology to illuminate dental tissue and can detect tooth decay, periodontal problems and even potentially cancerous tissue. “The intraoral cameras help us diagnose oral cancer, which is a big concern,” she said. “It allows us to take pictures in the mouth so we can see what’s going on.” In addition to offering a broad range of services using the latest technology, at the heart of Zarate’s practice is a philosophy toward customer service that focuses on building patient relationships.

“I have had training in neuromuscular dentistry where I learned how the muscles of the face and neck relate to the use of teeth.” D R . E R I K A Z A R AT E

Early in her career, Zarate worked in practices where there was what she described as a “drill and fill, patient in, patient out” approach that she believes lacked proper regard for the human concerns of patients, which often involve a fear of dentistry. “We want to make sure when the patient gets here, first of all, they feel relaxed,” she said. A lot of thought was given to the design and color scheme of the office to create a calming, receptive atmosphere. “It feels like you are walking into a spa,” she said. Patients receive very personalized attention beginning with the first visit. “I spend about an hour with new patients,” Zarate said. “I want them to feel comfortable and open to talking to me about their concerns. We know every patient by name. They know us by first names. We want to make sure these patients feel at home. We want to make sure we build a good relationship.” Zarate said she felt right at home right as soon as she moved to McAllen and is optimistic about the future. “When I came to McAllen I fell in love with the community,” she said. “The people here were very welcoming. The dental community accepted me very quickly and my patients are very warming.” For more information on the Advanced Dentistry and Headache Center, call (956) 627-5047 or visit

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ould you drive over 250 miles to watch a movie? “People in San Antonio who come down here love to see the movies here,” said the security guard at the WesMer Drive-In. The theater, located in Mercedes, is the last drive-in theater in the Rio Grande Valley, and one of the few left in Texas. It opened up in the late 1940s, right at the start of the drive-in theater boom. The popularity of the drive-in spiked after World War II and reached its heyday in the late 1950s to mid-1960s, with some 5,000 theaters across the country. The WesMer DriveIn did close down in the mid-1980s, but reopened 10 years later. Today, fewer than 500 drive-in theaters survive in the United States. Many of the customers of the WesMer theater feel like they have a history here. “We’ve been coming here for more than 10 years,” said one moviegoer from Edinburg. “I remember my grandpa had taken me out here for the first time when I was 10 years old. This is where my grandparents had their first date together. I’m from Edinburg but my family stayed in Mercedes for the longest time. Oh, I actually remember breaking my toe here once when

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I used to come to drive-in movies a lot when I was young, that was in the '80s. When I heard that this place was still open I decided to make it my goto movie spot.” I was 19. This was before they had put the rule about sitting on top of the cars, my sister had actually closed the car door right on my foot!” The WesMer theater charges by carload instead of by the person. Normal price is $10 per car, but on Tuesdays, it is only $5. “The price is actually the first thing that really got me in,” said another attendee from Edinburg. “Getting to see two movies for about 10 dollars, you can’t even go see one movie for 10 dollars anymore. I used to come to drive-in movies a lot when I was young — that was in the ’80s. When I heard that this place was still open, I decided to make it my go-to movie spot.” One of the attractions of a drive-in as opposed to a walk-in theater is the freedom it gives you. “I still come here because it’s really a family place,” said a patron from Pharr. “We can talk to each other about the movies, the kids can get out and stretch their legs, they don’t always have to be sitting and super quiet, you know? I don’t even mind the drive, it’s worth it because it’s two movies and they’re even new movies. I’ve been coming here for about six years.” For some people the WesMer Drive-In has become part of their family rituals. “My mom would always take me here if I did good on tests in school as a kid,” said one Edinburg resident catching a movie at the WesMer. “It’s funny because the place had closed down but it had opened back up. When I went back to school to finish up my degree and after I had graduated with my bachelor’s, she took me back here. We have a history with this place.” Over the years, the WesMer Drive-In has had to implement some rules to maintain a family environment. “The only thing I really have to deal with is the alcohol,” said the theater’s security guard. “I’d say about 95 percent of people we never have a problem with. When it’s summertime, it’s always going to be busy because of the kids. Weekends and Tuesdays would be the busiest.” To see what is showing, check out the theater’s website at

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The McAllen Convention Center District, which encompasses the Convention Center, the Performing Arts Center, five hotels, and restaurants and shops of all types, attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors each year — out-of-towners and locals alike. And no wonder. There really is something for everyone to enjoy and appreciate on this beautiful campus. If you're looking for a place to relax for an



hour or so, there's the Oval Park with its lovely reflecting pool. For businesses, there are networking opportunities at the various conventions and exhibits held throughout the year. Looking for an evening of fun and entertainment? This summer promises to deliver. There are some exciting options to choose from that families, couples, and singles can enjoy. These include:

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Poké-Fest 2017 on July 9th will feature games, artists and vendors, music, contests, raffles and more. Cosplaying as your favorite Pokémon is encouraged!

McAllen will be hosting the Texas Amateur Athletic Federation’s Games of Texas for a second year, kicking off with the opening ceremony on July 28th and ending on July 30th. This event will feature a variety of competitions including wrestling, boxing, soccer and much more.

There's an exciting series of events happening in July. It's the Texas Amateur Athletic Federation's Games of Texas. This summer Olympics-style festival, which promotes competition and sportsmanship, will take place at the Convention Center July 28-30. Although several events will begin on Thursday, July 27, the official opening ceremony will be held on Friday, July 28. Held two years in a row in a host city, this is McAllen's second year to host the games. Athletes young and old compete for the gold in a variety of sports. These include: Thousands of athletes will descend on McAllen to participate • rugby • archery • volleyball • table tennis – singles and doubles

• basketball • boxing • tennis

• pickleball – a paddle sport that combines many elements of tennis, badminton and ping-pong

• skateboarding • soccer • baseball

Omnicon is back for its 10th year on August 11th and 12th. Video game, music, comics and anime fans across the Rio Grande Valley will get a chance to meet their favorite voice actors, artists, and cosplayers.

and thousands of visitors will come to watch and root for their favorites. It promises to be a rousingly fun good time. If you're just looking for a great restaurant to bring the family, a date or some friends, you'll find plenty of top quality choices. With cuisines from around the world to choose from, you're sure to find something you'll like. And if shopping's your thing, there are great opportunities to delight fashionistas. From large retailers to smaller artisan-type shops, there is something to suit every style. And for travelers, the choices of five top hotels guarantees a restful and enjoyable stay. Entertainment and great dining is just a short walk away. If you're planning a staycation — with time off but reasons to stay in the area — the Convention Center District will give you the feeling of having been on a short but very fun time away, minus the hassle and long hours driving. The Convention Center District is definitely a hub of entertainment. But it's more than that. It's a perfect destination for kids, families, singles, and visitors to come and enjoy what our city has to offer.

• wrestling

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Photos by Gabriel Elizondo

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FitSity Becoming physically and mentally stronger one day at a time By David Alvarado


one are the days when people go to gyms for mundane workouts. Today, owners of gyms throughout the Rio Grande Valley have come up with innovative methods and fitness philosophies to keep their customers interested and motivate them to improve their lives, one day at a time. FitSity, owned and operated by Heather George, is one such fitness training facility offering a myriad of training options and nutritional education. Their goal is to help you become stronger mentally and physically. According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Heart Disease, two-thirds of adults and nearly one-third of children struggle with being overweight and obesity. If these rates stay consistent, by 2030, 51 percent of the population will be categorized as obese. “Obesity is the biggest issue that people struggle with,” said George, who was born and raised in Harlingen, Texas. “An even bigger issue is people not un-



derstanding what they need to be eating nutrition-wise, because it leads to health problems later in your life and by that time it’s too late.” In Cameron County alone, where the majority of FitSity clients come from, the overall obesity rate is 32 percent and one in 10 are diabetic. FitSity is an all-women facility. George has an affinity for reaching out to moms because, as a mother herself, she can relate. Her vision of an ideal gym is something that is not only going to make people stronger physically, but also mentally; especially for women who struggle so much after having a baby. “I let go of working out and exercising once I got pregnant with my son,” said George, who suddenly found that her schedule and life has been flipped upside down. “Naturally, as a new mother, I lost focus on myself.” As much as George loved being at home with her newborn son, she felt very unhappy with her weight gain and

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it started to affect her self-esteem. When her son was 1 year old, she stopped fitting into most of her clothes. “I was in the dressing room, trying clothes on and it was the biggest size I had ever been,” George said. “I remember not buying anything that day and realizing that I’m not going do this anymore, I’m not happy.” She got a gym membership and started working out regularly. Her eating changed and she immediately started to feel better about herself. That experience led George to establish her own fitness philosophy that focuses on self-esteem and judgment control. Sometimes people don’t see results right away and begin to lose motivation and purpose. Humans tend to want immediate gratification, and it can be irritating when we don’t see it in one of those many mirrors on the wall. “My clients can get a little bit discouraged and they fall off the wagon,” said George, who now competes in National Physique Committee bodybuilding competitions. “That’s why we text them or send them a motivational picture. We are constantly trying to keep these girls on track, not just on days that they go to our gym.” Indeed, there are a plethora of gyms and fitness centers to join or YouTube videos one can look up, but FitSity and its team of dedicated fitness trainers push, motivate, and inspire. From its inception, FitSity was created to make fitness accessible to everyday women and provide sustainable health solutions for those who have desperately tried and failed at dieting. It takes a huge amount of courage for someone to step into the world of exercise; the same is true for starting a business.

“Venturing and going off on your own is a huge risk that you take, so it was very scary. That’s why a lot people don’t do it,” said George, who earned her college education at The University of Texas at San Antonio, where she received a bachelor of business administration in marketing. “I went full force with it, did all my own marketing, did my own workout videos — anything and everything to market my business.” FitSity also offers Youth Summer Camp throughout the month of June. The goal of the camp, which is available to kids ages 11 through 17, is to demonstrate workouts, educate on nutrition, create the meals together, and help them track meals on a chart they can take home. “We also have a motivational speaker, like former NFL players, local artists and the Harlingen police departments,” George said. “The camp inspires kids to set goals and to hear stories about people who have struggled to accomplish a goal.” George also has a mobile app as part of her online training business. It offers customized workouts, video footage of George demonstrating workouts and meal tracking. She also plans to release a meal prep e-book. After working with hundreds of clients, and consistently helping them improve their lives, FitSity has stayed true to its goal: to help women become the best version of themselves. “I am so blessed to have the opportunity to motivate and help others achieve their own goals and improve their life,” George said. “I deeply believe every single one of us has the inner potential and strength to accomplish anything our mind sets itself to doing, one day at a time.”

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Heather George Owner of FitSity I am so blessed to have the opportunity to motivate and help others achieve their own goals and improve their life. I deeply believe every single one of us has the inner potential and strength to accomplish anything our mind sets itself to doing, one day at a time.”




WORK& PLAY Dave & Buster’s opens their 100th location in the Rio Grande Valley BY LORI HOUSTON PHOTOS BY KEVIN MARTINEZ



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rior to opening their iconic entertainment establishment, Dave and Buster, two entrepreneurs, had opened separate businesses just a few doors down from each other; Buster had a restaurant and Dave had opened a place of entertainment and games. It did not take long for the two young men to notice that their patrons were rotating between the establishments and the idea was formed — why not put them both under the same roof ? The first Dave & Buster’s location opened its doors in Dallas in 1982 in a 40,000-square-foot warehouse. Now, nearly 35 years later, Dave & Buster’s has opened their 100th location here in the Rio Grande Valley. The very first South Texas location is located at the Shops at 29, on the corner of Expressway 83 and 29th Street. With over 30,000 square feet of entertainment space, Dave & Busters “is unlike anything McAllen has seen before,” said the spokesman for the chain. “The new McAllen location comes as part of the city’s strategic economic planning, and is

solidifying McAllen as the RGV’s entertainment hub.” Dave & Buster’s is one of many entertainment and dining facilities recently established within the city of McAllen. Diversifying development is an integral part of McAllen’s strategic plan. More than $100 million in new restaurants, hotels, and stores have opened their doors on McAllen’s west side as the city expands its commercial and retail presence around the Convention Center corridor. In an article published by the McAllen Public Information Office in April 2016, McAllen Mayor Jim Darling stated that “adding signature venues like Dave & Buster’s has been a longtime strategic goal for the city and not only will grow the retail base, but serve international visitors using the Anzalduas Bridge and McAl-

len-Hidalgo crossing.” Dave & Buster’s in McAllen provides innovative food and beverage selections, ultimate sports-viewing, and a one-ofa-kind gaming experience with 160 of the latest and greatest arcade games. The company has nearly 100 locations across the United States and the closest one to the Rio Grande Valley prior to the opening of the McAllen location was in San Antonio. “The fact that there was not one in the Rio Grande Valley was an import“It’s a huge win for the ant factor for us,” City Man- citizens of McAllen but also ager Roel “Roy” Rodriguez said for the entire region because

people will travel to go to a Dave & Buster’s.”


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to the McAllen Public Information Office in April 2016. “It’s a huge win for the citizens of McAllen but also for the entire region because people will travel to go to a Dave & Buster’s.” Dave & Buster’s is providing over 280 full-time and

part-time positions for both front-of-house and backof-house capacities. These jobs include cooks, managers, bartenders, waiters, game techs, hosts, and more. In addition, they offer benefits including medical, dental vision and 401k for many of their positions. Other perks include Dave & Buster’s High Potential Program that enables high-performing employees to move quickly into new positions. Over 30 percent of the brand’s current management was promoted from within the company through this program. “Like any large operation, we depend on having great people move us forward with excellent service and smiles second to none,” said Raul Gonzalez, the general manager of Dave & Buster’s in McAllen. “We will reward our people with great pay, in an environment that is fun and open for advancement throughout Dave & Buster’s soon-to-be 100 locations. In short, the Rio Grande Valley is our home, and we plan to champion our home to anyone that we have the pleasure of meeting.” Those interested in applying can do so on the Dave & Buster’s website at


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s Frank Yturria tells the story, the Tom Mix Wild West Show came to Brownsville during the Great Depression and went broke. The show closed and all the performers were laid off. When he lost his job, Rex Rossi, a trick rider/roper with the show, started hitchhiking his way north from Brownsville. Frank’s father, Fausto Yturria, was driving to his ranch north of Raymondville and offered the cowboy a ride. After listening to Rossi’s story, Fausto offered him a job on the ranch — with one condition: That Rossi teach his 15-year-old son to trick ride and rope. Frank was a good student and ended up joining Rossi on a three-month tour performing at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo and other venues. He continued to perform on and off for a few years at South Texas rodeos and festivals like Charro Days in Brownsville. Frank grew up learning to be a rancher on the storied Yturria Ranch, founded by his greatgrandfather, Mexican-born Francisco Yturria. Don Francisco was an early entrepreneur in the Rio Grande Valley, working in the 1800s with the likes of Brownsville founder Charles Stillman and riverboat operators Mifflin Kenedy and Richard King, two men who also developed extensive ranch holdings. Fast forward to the 1940s. Frank Yturria enrolled as a cadet at Texas A&M University in 1941. His studies were put on hold when the Cadet Corps was put on active duty in 1942 during the early days of World War II. He was able to resume his college career after the war and graduate with a degree in veterinary medicine in 1947, the same year he married native Alabaman Mary Altman. Mary was based in Brownsville as a flight attendant for Panm Am Airways when they met. “I got my degree one week and we were married the next,” Frank said. Frank and Mary Yturria recently celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary, on the same day that Mary turned 92 years old. Frank is coming up on his 94th birthday. The couple has been a force to be reckoned with over decades. Frank earned success as a rancher,

banker and oil man. And his staunch support for conservative politics has brought recognition from three presidents. He was appointed collector of customs for the 23rd Collections District of Texas by President Dwight Eisenhower. President Ronald Reagan named him to the South Pacific Commission and President George W. Bush installed him as chairman of the board of directors of the InterAmerican Foundation. Both Mary and Frank have earned accolades as philanthropists devoted to improving life in South Texas. Mary has always set her sights on helping improve local quality of life through dedication to numerous causes. She recalls being disturbed by the poverty she saw when she first moved to Brownsville, something that inspired many of her volunteer efforts. One of her earliest philanthropic ventures led to the founding of the Villa Bethany Home for Girls. Mary, along with a group of other volunteers that included Filemon Vela, a young lawyer who would later become a U.S. district judge, founded the program from scratch. “We rented this old, busted-up house and fixed it up,” Mary said. “The first two girls we had, their father had left these two little girls on a park bench one night and just abandoned them.” Mary has volunteered her time for many causes over the years, mostly in the areas of education, health, environment, and local history, interests largely shared by Frank. “I have to do the things I am interested in,” she said. “And when I give my word to somebody, that’s it.” Along the way the couple has been honored with the naming of the Mary and Frank Yturria Middle School in Brownsville. Mary has worked tirelessly to help the Brownsville Historical Association and is a co-founder of the Brownsville Adult Literacy Center and the Brownsville Community Foundation, dedicated to improving health, education, and quality of life. Frank’s career revolves around the Yturria Ranch that sprawls across land in Kenedy and Willacy counties, but his resume includes ventures in both business and politics.

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“This easement means that the land can never be broken up. No public access, no commercial hunting, no nothing that can harm the land.” As for the remaining acreage, “I may eventually put that into an easement as well.” -FRANK YTURRIA

He entered the world of banking when he chartered the National Bank of Commerce in Brownsville and served as chairman of the board and the largest shareholder. After that bank was sold he later chartered Texas Bank and Trust, again acting as chairman and majority shareholder. Oil and gas development has also played a role in Frank’s business ventures, but today one of his driving concerns involves the stewardship of South Texas ranch land, something he fears is in jeopardy. “The big ranches are disappearing,” he said. “My interest is to protect the ranches we have now from being destroyed.” As old-time ranching families diversify, some of the larger ranches are being split up and diminishing in size, he said. Even the Yturria Ranch has seen divisions. Frank said under the leadership of his great-grandfather the ranch at one time covered some 130,000 acres. Some of that was split up between Frank and his brother. “There will never be big Texas ranches again,” he said. “Land is too expensive, for one thing.” In the early days of South Texas ranching, land could be purchased for 6 to 10 cents an acre. “A thousand dollars would buy you a big ranch,” Frank said. “But private land is disappearing fast.” Frank’s dedication to his ranch is rooted in family history and his love for the land and its flora and fauna, and he has taken action to preserve it. “I’ve got ocelots. I’ve got great wildlife,” he said.



In South Texas it is estimated that only about 80 or so ocelots still roam wild, and the majority of those make their homes on private land. Some years back Frank dedicated 10,000 acres of his ranch as a wildlife conservation easement in cooperation with the Nature Conservancy and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Department. His actions to preserve native wildlife on his land have earned him land steward awards from organizations and agencies working to protect natural habitat. “This easement means that the land can never be broken up,” he said. “No public access, no commercial hunting, no nothing that can harm the land.” As for the remaining acreage, “I may eventually put that into an easement as well.” Frank has grown disturbed over a trend of commercial hunting that he believes is hurting the land. The introduction of nilgai, a prolific Asian antelope, as exotic game for commercial hunting has been to the detriment of native wildlife. He remembers dining at Club 21 in New York City and seeing nilgai steaks on the menu, the product of Texas ranches. “So many of the other ranches are all shot out,” he said about the growth in commercial hunting. “I don’t invite hunters out.” The only exception to that rule is to control the ever-growing numbers of nilgai. “We kill between 100 and 150 nilgai each year just to control the population,” he said. “But these aren’t fancy commercial hunts. Hunters come out for a day, under the supervision of a professional hunter, and can kill one nilgai. The population has to be controlled. They are competing against the native wildlife.” Frank and Mary’s devotion to Brownsville and giving back to the community doesn’t come without frustration, which goes back to what they both believe is holding South Texas back: poverty. After nearly a century behind them, they may move a little slower, but neither one has plans to stop their life’s work. Mary remains loyal to her causes and Frank is writing a book about his life as he stays involved with the ranch.

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MAKING LIVES Founded in 2008 by a group of emergency room physicians, Neighbors Emergency Center operates as a freestanding emergency room, providing patients with the same level of service as a hospital-based emergency room. We operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. Neighbors Emergency Center takes pride in only hiring local board certified physicians to care for patients. By doing this, our physicians provide nothing less than the highest of quality patient care. Neighbors Emergency Center is rooted in and driven by a purpose that sets us apart from the healthcare industry as a whole. Our purpose drives our vision which is inspired by our patients, culture and community. Neighbors Emergency Center believes in providing extraordinary care that is dedicated to making lives better every day. Neighbors Emergency Center operates around an unfaltering vision to be “The Best Neighbors Ever” – this means providing unparalleled medical care driven by compassion, respect and dedication.




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lone knight dashes along the ground level of a large area, trailing bright green floating shapes. When he encounters an oversized scorpion, he makes his attack, sword arcing and illuminating the space in the same shade and intensity of green. When giant spiders join the mix, the knight reconfigures his defenses and fires a bright pink wave of energy produced from his sword. After leaping from platform to platform, dispatching scorpions and spiders alike, the knight encounters a hulking, menacing figure waiting for him, but everything fades to black. That’s just one minute and 45 seconds of gameplay posted on Cruise Control Entertainment’s Facebook page previewing the company’s flagship game, “A Knight Named SOL.” Cruise Control is the video game development brainchild of Miguel Cruz and Jose Salinas, who established it in 2013-14 to give the Rio Grande Valley its first such company. On June 1, and alongside new art director Fred Esparza, the trio released the game demo, the first major title for the company. Though “A Knight Named SOL” was Esparza’s vision, Cruz and Salinas supported the project. All three have experience working for big game companies like Blizzard Entertainment, WinterLeaf Entertainment, and Santa Monica Studios, among others. Esparza has only been with Cruise Control for a few months. “Honestly, it’s felt like he’s been here since the beginning because we’ve done so much in such a small amount of time that it’s kind of mind blowing,” Cruz said. The team started work on the game in February of this year, and spent three months developing it.

Esparza returned to the Valley after studying in California and working for a variety of companies and contractors, looking for an opportunity to work in the region. He came across Cruise Control practically by chance, and even though he was in the process of interviewing for a spot in Google’s VR department, took a job with Cruz and Salinas. “I wanted something more indie,” Esparza said. “That’s something I was kind of looking forward to, not being in a very corporate environment. Some people enjoy it indefinitely, like, hey, man, it’s nice to have a steady paycheck, but there are certain freedoms that indie development allows you to have that I think are worth more than any kind of money.” “A Knight Named SOL” stems from a student project Esparza started, though the game Cruise Control is releasing went through several evolutions since then. Some of the themes and concepts remain, though, like the two characters — a knight and a wizard. “A Knight Named SOL” features action RPG, side-scroller gameplay. Think Konami’s “Castlevania,”

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or even Nintendo’s “Super Mario Bros.” “In the game itself, it actually evolves as you play it, so essentially you have the opportunity to have a completely unique experience every time you play it,” Esparza said. “There’s elements of randomness in the game that gives it a lot of - Miguel Cruz ‘replayability.’ That’s something I’m really excited about.” After the June 1 official early access launch, “A Knight Named SOL” was scheduled to become available on online game platform Steam a few weeks afterward, Cruz said. Early releases are primarily to drum up marketing funds, he explained, so they can market the game, which will take place from October through December of this year. Then, right before Christmas, if everything goes according to plan, the game will be available for purchase. And by summer 2018, the trio is looking to have “A Knight Named SOL” on PlayStation and Xbox. The completion of “A Knight Named SOL” hasn’t been all fun and games. Being the first video game development company in the region has been challenging, especially since the nearest companies were in San Antonio and Austin. That means Cruise Control can’t necessarily bounce ideas off of colleagues in the area, access references, or solicit advice for their own projects.

“We want to bring the game industry to the Valley, and we just want to try to keep the individuals that want to get into the industry here, to show them that we do have it here instead of having to go into a major city.”



“It’s a process because we’re having to learn everything on our own,” Cruz said. “Between the three of us, when we used to be in the industry, we were always the grunts, so we never actually knew the process or the paperwork that needs to be done.” To help others in the region, though, Cruise Control has been working to mentor and advise middle and high school students and participate in the community, guest speaking at Hour of Code, for example, recently in Mission. Cruz said that the company receives emails from teachers and professors around the Valley asking for advice on shaping curriculum geared around video game development as it becomes more and more popular. But Cruz wants to develop a class of game developers here who don’t have to leave the region to pursue their dreams. “We want to bring the game industry to the Valley, and we just want to try to keep the individuals that want to get into the industry here, to show them that we do have it here instead of having to go into a major city,” Cruz said. “We’re going as far as helping other game companies start up as well. Once we launch and once we’re more established, we’ll actually be good to help other individuals get into the industry.” The efforts to collaborate and contribute to the region have shown others the good work Cruise Control has been doing. The company received a McAllen Chamber of Commerce Innovation Grant as well as a Ruby Red Ventures grant from the City of Mission.

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July /August 2017 - RGVision Magazine  
July /August 2017 - RGVision Magazine