J ULY/AUG UST 2 0 18 | VO LUM E 10 ISSUE 4
7 TOP LEGAL LEADERS Best rated attorneys in the area.
FOOD LABELS A guide to understanding nutrition facts.
TAKING FLIGHT McCreery Aviation offers slew of services to RGV.
INJURY ATTORNEYS AWARD WINNING LEGAL REPRESENTATION Auto Accidents Truck Accidents Personal Injury Product Liability Premises Liability Wrongful Death Oilﬁeld Explosions
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Serving the Community Normally this is an opportunity for the publisher to share with the reader what is expected in this issue. But I’d rather use this publisher’s note to thank all those who served our community during another catastrophic downpour, and to take a moment for those who were affected. Every issue the RGVision staff puts in work, passion, dedication, and gumption to bring informative pieces that have coined RGVision the Rio Grande Valley’s premier magazine. Together, the RGVision team, including the in-house staff and freelance writers and photographers, uses their strengths to bring these articles to life — thank you! RGVision aims to promote the growth of the RGV and praises those we feature for their success. The stories of our community are what inspire RGVision Publications. If you have a positive story to share, please call our office; we would love to hear from you! Contact (956) 379-6029. “You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.” – Galatians 5:13
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32 ON THE COVER
BREWED IN THE RGV
7 TOP LEG A L LEA DERS Best rated attorneys in the area. stout
Local brewers: Bright future on tap for RGV scene.
6 0 FOOD LA B ELS
A guide to understanding nutrition facts.
TA K ING FLIG HT McCreery Aviation offers slew of services to RGV.
QUALITY OF LIFE
HCISD’s Music Education
Grande Produce in the RGV
Continuing the Legacy
Special Needs Trust
Dr. Luz Oyala Pettle
Cattle Baron’s Ball Kick Off
Breakfast of Champions
Reaching for the Stars
Dr. Jaime Gasco
The Valley’s Best Burgers
In the Way you Say It
Food & Nutrition
Ready for Anything
The Waldorf Way
Military Lessons in Business
Sugar the Silent Killer
Call for Artists
Writing Her Own Story
A Career in Cybersecurity
Clearing the Path
Expanding Digital Printing
Low-Fat Zucchini Lasagna
E D U C A T I O N
MUSIC EDUCATION PROGRAM RECEIVES NATIONAL RECOGNITION
by A dria na D o mi nguez
such as music. ESSA recommends music and the arts as important elements of a well-rounded education for all children. “To receive the Best Communities for Music Education designation is an incredible honor for our school district,” said Ronnie Rios, director of music programs. “We have been blessed to be able to work with some of the absolute best students any teacher could ever ask for in our community.”
Harlingen CISD has been honored with the Best Communities for Music Education designation from The NAMM Foundation for its outstanding commitment to music education. The Best Communities for Music Education designation is awarded to districts that demonstrate outstanding achievement in efforts to provide music access and education to all students. To qualify for the Best Communities designation, HCISD answered detailed questions about funding, graduation requirements, music class participation, instruction time, facilities, support for the music program, and community musicmaking programs. Responses were verified with school officials and reviewed by The Music Research Institute at the University of Kansas. “At HCISD, we recognize the importance of music education as part of our programming in the three A’s — academics, fine arts, and athletics. Music can greatly enhance learning and creative processes, challenging learners at all levels,” said Dr. Art Cavazos, HCISD superintendent. “We have an outstanding music program at HCISD, and to receive national recognition brings us great pride. This is a testament to the commitment and dedication of our music teachers, the hard work of our students, the commitment of our parents, and the support from our administration.” This award recognizes that HCISD is leading the way with learning opportunities as outlined in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The legislation guides implementation in the states and replaces the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) which was often criticized for an overemphasis on testing-while leaving behind subjects
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Research into music education continues to demonstrate educational, cognitive, and social skill benefits for children who make music. In a series of landmark studies by scientists and researchers at Northwestern University a link was found between students in community music programs and lifelong academic success, including higher high school graduation rates and college attendance. In another study from the university, it was discovered that the benefits of early exposure to music education improve how the brain processes and assimilates sounds, a trait that lasts well into adulthood. Beyond the Northwestern research, other studies have indicated that music education lays the foundation for individual excellence in group settings, creative problem solving and flexibility in work situations, as well learning how to give and receive constructive criticism to excel. A 2015 study supported by The NAMM Foundation, “Striking A Chord,” also outlines the overwhelming desire by teachers and parents for music education opportunities for all children as part of the school curriculum.
HCISD’s music program has grown and seen much success over the years, continuously increasing opportunities available to students. Points of pride include: The district hosts all Region 28 band, orchestra, and choir UIL events at the HCISD Performing Arts Center. The annual UIL Pigskin Jubilee has been hosted at Boggus Stadium during the last couple of years. The district hosts an All-City Band Night at Boggus Stadium for the entire community to enjoy. HCISD has its very own All-City Fifth Grade Choir, All-City Middle School Band, All-City Middle School Orchestra, and All-City High School Full Orchestra. HCISD hosts its very own Mariachi and Jazz Festival annually. Nearly all of HCISD’s bands, choirs, and orchestras earned a “Sweepstakes” Award at the annual UIL competition. Students at HCISD consistently earn chairs in the AllRegion, All-Area, and All-State organizations. Harlingen High School Band has advanced during the State Marching Band Contest at every opportunity since 1998.
ABOUT THE NAMM FOUNDATION
HCISD is home to the 2005 and 2009 TMEA CC Honor Band Champion of Texas-Coakley Middle School.
foundation advances active participation in music making across the lifespan by
HCISD is home to the 2016-17 TMEA High School Jazz Champion of Texas — Harlingen High School.
more information about the NAMM Foundation, please visit www.nammfoundation.org.
The NAMM Foundation is a nonprofit supported in part by the National Association of Music Merchants and its approximately 10,300 members around the world. The
supporting scientific research, philanthropic giving, and public service programs. For
E D U C A T I O N
PSJA Education Foundation Surpasses Goal of Awarding Over $1 Million to Students and Teachers
The PSJA Education Foundation reached a new milestone this year, awarding over $1 million collectively its first five years of existence to PSJA students and faculty through scholarships, grants, and district-level literacy programs. First founded in 2013, the PSJA Education Foundation, a nonprofit 501 (c)(3) organization, has helped enhance educational opportunities for youths and families of the tricity area thanks to sponsorships and donations from PSJA alumni, local businesses, and PSJA ISD staff members through payroll deduction. Honored to continue helping students fulfill their educational goals and fund innovative classroom projects,
PSJA Education Foundation President Jesse Vela Jr. emphasized that their efforts would not be possible without the endless support from the PSJA community. "A big thank you to everyone for their continued support," Vela said. "To those that give to the PSJA Education Foundation, know that every penny goes back to our students and staff for the betterment of our PSJA community."
REACHING NEW GOALS, ESTABLISHING A LEGACY
The foundation broke its own record this year, awarding $375,000 through its efforts. A total of 145 scholarships were awarded to PSJA ISD graduating seniors, totaling $320,000, and $40,000 was distributed to teachers through 26 mini-grants. Reaching this goal was always part of former President Joel “Joey” Gonzalez’s mission. He died unexpectedly earlier this year. Serving as president of the foundation since its inception in 2013 and as a long-time member of the TriCity Business/Education Coalition, he worked tirelessly to provide funding to graduating seniors so they could continue their education. Throughout his 30-year banking career, the last couple of years as vice president at Texas Regional Bank, he made an impact in the Rio Grande Valley and the PSJA community he loved. The PSJA High School’s 1984 valedictorian dedicated his life to giving back to his community as a volunteer, coach,
P S JA’s S o r e n s e n El e m e ntar y i n Sa n J uan w as o ne of 20 s c h o o ls a w a r d ed PSJA Educati o n Foundati o n Te a ch er M in i G r a n t s t o fund i nnov ati v e cl a s s r oom p r o j e cts .
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Karla Uriegas, PSJA North ECHS Nancy Vasquez, PSJA Memorial ECHS Antonio Martinez, PSJA Southwest ECHS Portia Lopez, PSJA T. Jefferson T-STEM ECHS and a board member in numerous other boards, including Nuestra Clinica del Valle, Kiwanis, Pharr Chamber of Commerce, and the Pharr Rotary. He also served as president and board member of the Boys & Girls Club of Pharr. As a special way to pay tribute to him, this spring, the PSJA Education Foundation awarded the first four-year Joel “Joey” Gonzalez Presidential Scholarships totaling $16,000 each to five PSJA ISD graduating seniors. The inaugural Presidential Scholarship was created to commemorate his memory and was funded in part by the efforts of his former colleagues at Texas Regional Bank through the Joel “Joey” Gonzalez Presidential Scholarship Inaugural Golf Tournament held May 5 at the Tierra del Sol Golf Course in Pharr. Over $50,000 was raised that day, helping fund the largest scholarship available through the
Alejandra Urbina, PSJA ECHS
foundation. "We lost a great leader in Joey," said PSJA Education Foundation Vice President Ronnie Cantu during a scholarship ceremony at PSJA Early College High School on May 8. "We are honored to continue his legacy. He believed so much in the power of education and giving back." For one of the Presidential Scholarships recipients, receiving this award was a true blessing. "I almost cried when I found out," said PSJA Southwest Early College High School graduate Antonio Martinez. "I am so thankful for the scholarship because I am the first one in my family to graduate from high school and will be the first one to go to college." After learning about the legacy of the man behind his scholarship, Martinez now feels inspired to seek ways to make an impact in his community. "Once I complete my education, I plan to come back to the Rio Grande Valley," said Martinez, who will be pursuing a bachelor's degree in biology/pre-med at Texas A&M University with the goal of becoming a cardiothoracic surgeon. "Every penny we've been given has been an investment in our education and I hope to one day make a difference by helping students like me go to college."
JOEL “JOEY” GONZALEZ PRESIDENTIAL SCHOLARSHIP RECIPIENTS
P S JA Ed u c a t io n F o u n dati o n m e m be r s a nd Texa s Re gi o nal Ban k represen tatives with th e five Joel “Joey” G on zalez P r esid e n t ia l S c h o la r s h i p r e ci p i e nts .
E D U C A T I O N
Distance Learning Technology Meeting Student Demand at South Texas College
by Jo ey Go mez
As soon as high school was finished, Selena Guerra said she longed for independence. The goal at first, she said, was to begin supporting herself without neglecting college. Graduating from Nikki Rowe High School in 2013, Guerra, 23, said she immediately began working at a local pizza restaurant as a shift lead, handling employees and customers and other responsibilities. The money was decent, she said, but she grew concerned when she began losing her focus for college. “I was a little below the assistant manager,” Guerra said. “I was in charge of opening the store and closing at night and stuff like that. But then it just became too much, and I wasn't really focusing on school too much.” What she really needed, she said, was a better way to manage her working life and school life. Her busy schedule did not allow her to maintain a typical college routine, and it prompted her to look for another option. It was at this time when she discovered the opportunity for distance learning at South Texas College. Guerra said she eventually decided to leave the restaurant and instead applied for a work-study position at STC in order to concentrate on her schoolwork. “So right after high school I found a job, and I had night shifts, and some morning shifts, so I decided to try out online classes,” Guerra said. “I especially enjoyed waking
up and doing my homework in my pajamas. That's what I would do. Usually I would work night shifts on the weekends, so I would wake up whenever I wanted and I would just do my homework. This schedule allowed me to work and go to school at the same time.” As Guerra’s story shows, distance learning has especially gained traction among technology-loving millennials. A college staple since 1997, more than 10 percent of STC students are taking classes completely online. By this summer, distance learning enrollment on the college’s online portal South Texas College Online has increased by nearly 20 percent, according to leaders in the department. Starting more than two decades ago with two course sections and 57 students, the Distance Learning program has since expanded to include 32 programs, which are fully online, 250 faculty, 700 online classes, and 6,000 students. Distance Learning at STC includes a full complement of online student services including library access, advising and counseling, registration, and tutoring. Students can earn one of 32 degrees and certificates entirely online in pursuit of their career goals. “In ’97 we had two courses, so now we're at 700. I mean, it has become more known because of our millennials,” said Ana Peña, director of Distance Learning at South Texas College. “We have orientations that (students) go through,
E D U C A T I O N
especially if they are a first-time online student. That way, they know what they are getting into. You would be surprised. We still have some students on dial-up.” SR Education Group, an online education publisher, recently ranked South Texas College Online at the very top of their 2016 Most Affordable Online Colleges list. Published on OnlineU.org, the ranking identified the college as the most affordable online college in the nation. The ranking is significant, as South Texas College Online is experiencing record growth in student enrollment. In fall 2015, South Texas College Online hit a record high enrollment of 5,925 students. Six percent of the total STC student body took classes completely online, while 17 percent took at least one online class. For students needing assistance, the college employs a full staff and help desk for support services from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. The department is currently in the process of establishing 24/7 service in the near future. “Don’t be afraid of taking an online class,” Peña said. “It does require a lot of a student’s time and they have to do everything on their own, but that is the real world.” When it was all done, Guerra said three of her five semesters at STC were taken completely online. She obtained her associate degree in interdisciplinary studies
“When you take classes online, you have to be dedicated. My first semester was all online, and I loved it. You can literally do your homework from the convenience of your own home, or at a library.”
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at South Texas College and eventually graduated from the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley with a bachelor degree in health science. “When you take classes online, you have to be dedicated,” Guerra said. “My first semester was all online, and I loved it. You can literally do your homework from the convenience of your own home, or at a library. You don't have to necessarily have a schedule and come to class. And I really liked that. “It's so convenient to have classes online instead of having to make my schedule convenient to the school.”
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E D U C A T I O N
BREAKFAST OF CHAMPIONS Boys & Girls Clubs of Edinburg Rio Grande Valley Event to Feature Speakers, New Campaign
by Amy Casebier A Boys & Girls Clubs of Edinburg Rio Grande Valley breakfast event in August will feature the president of the national organization — his first time in the region. “We’re having our second annual I Am Great breakfast,” said Sabrina Walker Hernandez, Boys & Girls Clubs of Edinburg Rio Grande Valley CEO. “This year, for the first time ever, we’re actually having the president, Jim Clark, from Boys & Girls Clubs of America come in. He’s going to be our leadership talk.” In addition to Clark’s speech, the breakfast will highlight the Edinburg organization’s pick for Youth of the Year. “They’re going to kind of launch the breakfast and give it an inspirational launch on their story and be an example of these are the types of kids that we serve,” Walker Hernandez said. Paired with this look at a club member’s hopeful future is
a look at a past member’s triumph. “We’re going to have the Voice of Success, and right now that’s always featured a club alumni,” Walker Hernandez said. “We’ve extended an invitation to Judge Omar Maldonado, and he has agreed to be that Voice of Success.” Perhaps one of the biggest parts of the breakfast is an initiative aiming to reshape the economic fortunes of families in the region. “We’re going to do a call to action, and that call to action is going to be a campaign called 4550 No More because 45 1/2 percent of Hidalgo County youth live below poverty level,” Walker Hernandez said. “It’s an annual giving campaign and we're asking people to join that club to give $45.50 a month to eliminate poverty.” Completely eliminating poverty might sound like a lofty goal, but it’s one Walker Hernandez has eyed for some time.
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Rio Grande Valley use these three tenets to form meaningful experiences for club members. No all sites are sportsspecific, Walker Hernandez added, explaining that limited resources force the organization to narrow its focus. The club locations are designed to be as accessible and convenient to as many local children as possible. Half of the sites are located in school campuses, effectively eliminating transportation barriers. “It’s all about how do we reach beyond our walls and partner with school districts to reach those kids who may not otherwise be served,” Walker Hernandez said. She added that the organization is always in need of volunteers for both one-time events and ongoing involvement. And as for parents looking to sign their children up to start benefit from the guidance and opportunities available at the club? “It’s very easy,” Walker Hernandez said. “They can join via membership, they can join online at edinburgkids.com or they come in person and join the club.” Learn more about the Boys & Girls Clubs of Edinburg Rio Grande Valley at edinburgkids.com.
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The organization already has led some programming based on studies centered around keeping children from future lives of poverty. “We really focused on saying, if you do these three things, kids will be less likely to fall into poverty,” Walker Hernandez said. “One, wait until you’re 21 to get married, wait until you get married to have kids. Two, graduate from high school. And three, obtain full-time employment. If we do those three things, they’re 98 percent less likely to fall into poverty.” The I Am Great breakfast — along with the launch of the 4550 No More campaign — is scheduled for 7:30 to 8:30 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 9 at the Echo Hotel and Conference Center in Edinburg. The Boys & Girls Clubs of Edinburg Rio Grande Valley have served youths in the region since 1969, eventually expanding to include eight locations in the area. “We hope that we take the kids who need it the most, combine them with that Boys & Girls Club experience, that we would get outcomes for the kids — that they reach their full potential when they’re older around academic success, healthy lifestyle, and character and civic engagement,” Walker Hernandez said. The Boys & Girls Clubs of Edinburg
E D U C A T I O N
Modernizing how RGV Students can Earn an Online Degree through IDEA-U b y Lor e n a B a l l i Since the start of collegiate academia, we’ve come to know the university system as a brick-and-mortar environment created typically for 18- to 24-year-olds to go to school full time and possibly work part time, if working at all. While this system still operates effectively throughout the world, the creators of IDEA-U — an online, flexible, and affordable college system — have recognized the need for a conglomeration to the order. Now they have
launched and opened the doors of the IDEA-U postsecondary program, catered to the modern day student. The program is focused on providing what is needed for students of an array of different lifestyles who wish to pursue a college degree the online route. The concept behind IDEA-U is to allow students to study at their own pace while maintaining a healthy work, life, student, and family balance in addition to providing some individual and group environment guidance. Although IDEA
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“We want to give access to low income and first generation students in the Valley and provide a different way to access college. We want to provide students with a place to work where they’re supported academically, mentally and in other senses.”
College for America offers online, individualized curricula that lead to an associate or bachelor’s degree. Along the way, most students also complete an associate degree in eight to 14 months. Included in the tuition is the impressive facility where students are able to go study or work. The facility has plenty of workspace, meeting spaces, desks, computers, laptops, internet access, printers, and fresh coffee daily. Students clock in and out each time they attend to make tracking their hours easier. IDEA-U leads the way in an innovative approach to the digital classroom era. It allows for students to complete college on their terms while simultaneously gaining the college experience of physically meeting with other students and advisers. The launch of the program in August 2017 began with 57 students enrolled. Now, officials at IDEA-U look to expand and end the year with about 100 students from across the RGV. Though the program was originally only offered to students who earned their high school diploma from an IDEA school, it is now expanding to any high school student across the Valley who is interested. Entry requirements include submitting an application, submitting the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid), completing an essay, proceeding with an interview process, and communicating a drive and motivation to complete a four-year college degree. Accountability is a big part of the program, but helping build skills needed to thrive in the real working environment is also a huge element to the program. You can think of it as the “WeWork” of college — individualized programs democratized into a community learning environment. Learn more about the program by visiting www.idea-u.org.
students have a very high acceptance rate into college and universities around the country — 99.6 percent, in fact — there are still a few students who stray from the path. Students commit to Southern New Hampshire University, which provides the curriculum, and IDEA-U offers the counseling, advising, and gives students the additional support at a physical location, located in Weslaco at 505 Angelita Drive, Suites 8-10. Students enrolled in the program have mandatory weekly meetings with their college completion advisers to ensure they are remaining focused on their studies as well as to address any concerns they might be having along the way of their degree plan. In addition to their weekly one-hour meetings with advisers, students must also commit to spending 12 hours a week of residency working on their assignments at the designated center located in Weslaco. This adds up to a total commitment of 13 hours a week, all of which is to provide the accountability frequently needed by so many people who choose to earn an online degree. “We want to give access to low income and first generation students in the Valley and provide a different way to access college,” said Phillip Garza, chief College & Diversity officer at IDEA Public Schools. “We want to provide students with a place to work where they’re supported academically, mentally, and in other senses,” Relationships with fellow peers flourish, mentorship is provided, students have access to a fully functional stateof-the-art educational facility, and the silver lining is a modest tuition of only $5,500 a year. However, if students are eligible for the federal Pell Grant, they pay no money out of pocket for this program. The program is partnered with the fully accredited nonprofit institution College for America, as well as Southern New Hampshire University.
P h i l l i p G a r z a , Chi e f Co l l e ge & Diversity Officer at I DE A Pu blic Sch ools
E D U C A T I O N
Waldorf Way At Pace Academy
by So fia Al ema n
“Running Pace Academy is my vision,” said Robin Wilson-Clipson, principal of Pace Academy in Harlingen. “When I left the public school system, I left to create a place where children can learn, explore as children love to do, and have fun.” When parents drop off their children every morning, they feel comfortable knowing their kids attend a school where they are learning alongside being treated with respect and dignity. Pace Academy teachers celebrate children for their individual beauty and do not require them to fit into a predetermined mold of what students “should” look like. This means advanced students are challenged and in turn grow immensely, and students who need extra help are not challenged in an unfair manner in order to keep a score. There are similarities among Waldorf, Montessori, and Reggio educational styles, like the philosophy of utilizing everyday activities and free play for learning. But there are far fewer commonalities between Waldorf and public schools. What makes the Waldorf curriculum different is the
delivery. Pace Academy makes a special effort to deliver to children what they need at that particular time in their life. Each child is unique and comes with a different set of skills, likes, dislikes, and expectations from parents at home. Every single outside factor contributes to the type of learner they will become. Delivering information to children requires utilizing many different elements of teaching and Pace instructors use hands-on experience whenever they can. Tending to animals and growing a garden are just two examples of unorthodox methods of introducing academic skills that can be utilized in the real world. The mission at Pace Academy is to make sure children understand and absorb information the way they need it. This is what makes this campus different and what turns students into lifelong learners.
Brownsville, Edinburg James Hord (956)371-0891 jameshord.com email@example.com
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Writing Her Own
STORY 10-Year-Old McAllen Author Eyes Future Projects
b y Amy Ca s eb i e r | p h ot o b y J a s on G a r z a Before she knew how to read, Arielle Adriana Garza scrawled scribbles over the blank pages of a notebook, already aiming at a future full of writing. Her mother, Alison Balderas, saved that journal and others Arielle steadily filled with longer words and sentences — a testament of what was to come. In 2013, at 8 years old and with the support of her family, Arielle became a published author with the picture book “A Castle for Me.” “I was extremely proud of her,” said Omar Balderas, her father. “She always likes to write, so for the ideas to come out of her little head and onto paper, then finally it became a reality.” It’s all in the family, Arielle, now 10, remarked. “It’s not that hard when your grandpa, grandma, tía and tío are all authors, too,” she said before remembering that her uncle is an illustrator — and perhaps an inspiration for some of her own artistic abilities. In addition to writing the story, Arielle drew and colored all of the illustrations. “It’s about a girl and her brother having a fun day in their castle,” Arielle said of her book. The 20 pages, including the front and back covers, detail activities like playing inside and outside, breakfast and dinner, and a movie night. The book comes in three different sizes, as well as English, Spanish, and bilingual versions. Copies can be purchased online through the publisher’s website, www.fbgenterprises.com, or at the Palms Crossing Barnes & Noble location in McAllen. For Arielle, the writing process was swift. She developed the book from a shorter story she had previously wrote, making some changes to the narrative
along the way. “It was easy,” she said. “It only took me two days.” And the publishing process, by comparison? “It took them months.” After the book was published, Arielle attended readings at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, the Early Childhood Conference on South Padre Island, and a Hispanic heritage event in San Antonio. Omar recalled other attendees being impressed with his daughter’s achievement. “As a parent, for me, I feel a sense of pride when you have other authors who have been doing this for years and they come up to her and say congratulations,” he said, adding that her age surprised the authors. “They even say that’s why they started writing — to be able to influence children just like Arielle to go ahead and be able to fulfill their dreams.” Back at home, Arielle remained discreet about her published work. “I only told my friends at my old school,” she said. “None of the people at my new school know except the principal. She likes it.” Arielle won’t stop at just one book. She’s gearing up to write an entire series based on a game she and her brother, Omar Balderas Jr., used to play. “It’s called ‘Fairy Girl and Dino Boy,’” she explained. “I’ve been writing the first book for about a month. It’s a lot bigger and I’m using harder sentences — compound and complex. “They save the day, like superheroes.” With this new project comes more complicated situations for Arielle to
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Arielle has some advice for children her age who might be considering publishing stories of their own. “Write what makes you happy.”
navigate. “ I had to get special permission to use Dino Boy in the book since (my brother) created him.” “They have contracts,” Alison interjected, laughing. “They both wrote out contracts.” At this point, Omar Jr. wants to be “a very famous scientist,” Alison said. No matter what paths their children choose, Omar said he and Alison support them. “All we’ve ever done with both of them is try to encourage them to do everything that they put their minds to and let them know that there’s nothing in this world they can’t accomplish,” he said. Alison looks forward to what that future holds for Arielle. “It’s an exciting adventure that we get to go on with her and know that she wants to continue,” Alison said. “It wasn’t, ‘let me write it and I’m done,’ it’s ‘what can I do more, how am I going to create more?’ Now she wants to do a series — from one book to a series — and it’s her blossoming into …” “The creative artist that she is,” Omar finished. “It’s just easy to me,” Arielle quickly added. “I go read, and I write books, and I get to have fun.” “That’s all she does, is read,” Alison agreed, mentioning the Harry Potter series Arielle is currently plowing through. Arielle has some advice for children her age who might be considering publishing stories of their own. “Write what makes you happy,” she said. And as for what she wants to be when she grows up? She smiled. “Well, I’m already what I wanted to be.” Learn more about “A Castle for Me” by visiting www. fbgenterprises.com/a-castle-for-me.html.
A rielle A dr ia na G a r z a , 10- y e ar - o l d a utho r
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CLEARING THE PATH BACK TO SCHOOL
by Lor i H ou s t on
It’s almost that time of year again — the back to school season. Children dread it as the summer months start to dwindle and the countdown to the first day of school begins. Parents scramble to buy school supplies, new clothes, and uniforms. It’s a very busy time in many households. Transitioning from summer vacation freedom to the school year schedule is a challenge that many families struggle to cope with. “Being a principal at a small Christian school, I relish the idea of my students and teachers leaping off into summer happiness,” said Laurie Cantu, principal of St. Matthews Episcopal School in Edinburg. “Finding summer balance is key to rejuvenating mind, body, and spirit.” During the school year, most families are great about maintaining a schedule of how the days and weeks are going to go. When the final bell rings on the last day of school, though, all sense of structure seems to fly out the window. The summer becomes a free for all, making the transition back to school all the more difficult. “As an educator, I am keenly aware that students can have learning lapses over summer months,” Cantu said. She favors embedding learning opportunities into the summer days, along with keeping as much routine as you can in students’ time away to make the return to school much easier. “The summer is our opportunity to try out new activities, frequent the libraries, and other great local events and
locales, so our days may not be as structured,” said Anastasia Perez of RGV Moms Blog, a mother of three. “The biggest routine we keep a hold of all year long, even in the summer, is a family dinner, bath, and bedtime routine that always includes lots of stories. I think this contributes to easing back into the school year.” Robin Wilson-Clipson, principal of Pace Academy, a Waldorf school in Harlingen, says she believes that children’s reliance on electronic devices — including phones, computers, TV, and others — as a source of entertainment has a large impact on their transition back into school. She believes the key to transitioning kids back to the school year schedule is a combination of proper sleep, nutrition, and physical activity — things that are often interrupted by the constant use of technology. She recommends that parents begin the back-to-school transition sooner rather than later. “It’s hard to be productive when you’re fidgety, hungry, and sleepy,” Wilson-Clipson said. So as the end of the summer creeps up on us and the new school year approaches, begin to find some structure in the chaos. “Preparing for the return back to school can seem daunting, and the kiddos might offer ample resistance,” Cantu said. “Stay positive and strong; remember, resistance is futile.”
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GRANDE PRODUCE IN THE RGV RGVISION MAGAZINE
by RGV isio n | p h o to s b y Ja mes Ho r d a nd O m a r DÃ a z
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of Oaxaca, then next month we’re going to move to Sinaloa for mangos. And avocados always come in from Michoacán, and limes from Vera Cruz. We have customers locally and all over the U.S., but mainly we ship to the east coast and the central part of the U.S. R: Here in the Valley, what is your position on supporting local businesses? RC: It’s a great opportunity to sell locally. There’s a lot of business here. I think in the beginning of when we first opened the company, our main goal was to sell produce outside the state. We realized were missing out on selling locally, that there is a huge market here. That’s our main target at this point — just promote our sales Valleywide. R: How has the Greater Mission Chamber of Commerce helped your business? RC: When we first started the business back in 2004, our main focus was to send the product outside of the state. In the last few years, we have been promoting our business locally. And the Greater Mission Chamber of Commerce has been helping a lot, doing that local promotion for us. R: What would you say to other business owners about becoming a Mission Chamber member? RC: If you are not a member of the Greater Mission Chamber of Commerce, I highly recommend you become one.
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We met with the Greater Mission Chamber of Commerce’s Featured Member of the Month Raul Cano, vice president of Grande Produce in San Juan. Cano shared a little about his company’s produce, its shift from focusing on national sales to local sales, and the ways in which the Greater Mission Chamber of Commerce has helped the business along the way. RGVision: Tell us a little about Grande Produce. Raul Cano: We are a family-owned company that has been in business for 15 years, and we bring produce from Mexico and we ship it up north, all over the U.S. R: How many people work at Grande Produce? RC: We have about 150 employees. We have a crew of about 10 sales representatives, and about 15 in accounting. The rest of our employees are warehouse personnel. R: What specific products do you sell? RC: We’ve got mainly vegetables, but we also have some fruit. We have all kinds of fresh peppers, cilantro, and green onions. We have avocados, mangos, limes, and we try to have most of the products that we carry year round. R: Where do your products come from and go? RC: We are all over Mexico, depending where the product is at in which season. At this moment, we’re getting mangos out
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TOP LEGAL LEADERS IN THE RGV
RGVISION SPONSOR INSIGHT
With such a highly competitive field in the Rio Grande Valley, there is no shortage of attorneys in our region, or the state of Texas for that matter. According to the 201516 State Bar of Texas Membership: Attorney Statistical Profile, there are 87,957 active members of the State Bar of Texas practicing in the state. And the numbers have only grown since then. With such high numbers and myriad options of lawyers to choose from, how can you know who to trust to help you right the wrong against you and bring forth justice? It is imperative to find a dedicated attorney who is not only licensed, but bears the ideal combination of years of experience, focus and expertise, a history of high case success rates, and reliability. It is their duty to not only fairly represent you, but protect you and advocate for you. A great way to gauge the lawyer your are considering to hire is speaking to their previous clients and learning about their experience with them. More importantly, schedule a consultation with the lawyer and meet them in person, asking about their background and if they have received any awards
or accolades. This will give you the opportunity to feel out if this attorney will listen to your needs. You should feel comfortable around who you are considering to hire. It is of utmost importance that you feel you can trust the lawyer that represents you.
We found the top rated attorneys in the area to serve your legal needs by category. We based our system on the following criteria: honesty, experience, accomplishments, advocacy, and results. Even if you donâ€™t find yourself in a legal bind, youâ€™ll want to keep this list handy for potential future needs.
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B EST RIO G RA N D E VA L L E Y AT T O RN E Y F O R : PERSONAL INJURY J. González J. González Injury Attorneys
Offices in McAllen, Brownsville and Rio Grande City:
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2120 Oakland Avenue McAllen, Tx 78501 956-630-6700 4217 Expressway 83 Brownsville, Tx 78520 956-630-6700 2117 E. Highway 83 Rio Grande City, Tx 78582 956-630-6700
IMMIGRATION Alex Martinez The Law Office of Alex Martinez
DWI/DUI Rene A. Flores The Law Office of Rene A. Flores PLLC
403 N. Conway Avenue, Mission, TX 78572 956-316-1991
BUSINESS LITIGATION Ryan C. Solis Law Office of Ryan C. Solis, PLLC
300 E. Pecan Blvd McAllen, TX 78501 956-287-7400
3900 N. 10th Street, BBVA Compass Bank Tower, Suite. 915, McAllen, TX 78501 956-686-9600
HOA (HOMEOWNER ASSOCIATION) DISPUTES Efrain Molina & Pablo Garza myhoaproblems.com 5429 N 23rd St. Ste. D McAllen, Texas 78504 956-627-2724
CRIMINAL DEFENSE Armando Marroquin Marroquin Law Firm PLLC
421 S. 12th Street, McAllen, TX 78501 956-540-2255
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Local Brewers: Bright Future on Tap for RGV Scene b y Amy C a s e b i e r | p h ot os b y J a s on G a r z a
education on that part for us to try to inform the community on what a brewery is.” For Padilla, craft beer is a family business. He brews, his wife is the taproom manager, and their daughter also works in the taproom. Padilla developed a taste for craft beer and homebrewing during grad school in Pennsylvania, which gave him access to Yuengling beer. When he moved back to the Valley, it was a love he never forgot. After visiting breweries in the Austin and San Antonio area, Padilla decided to open his own. “I realized there was an opening in the market for something like this here in the Valley, so I decided, why not give it a shot?” he said. “I already know how to homebrew. It was a gutsy move, but I think it paid off.” Since opening in April 2017, Big River has expanded its six draft beers to 10, including a changing seasonal. Padilla says he will begin canning beer this summer for sale in the taproom — starting with the popular Cha Cha Blonde. If sales go well, the Big River Amber Lager is next, followed by the rest of the brewery’s core beers. For Rice of 5x5, the hurdles come in the form of getting his brewery up and running. “5x5 was actually founded in 2016,” he said. “It’s just been a very long, painful process to get going.” Rice says he aims to open the brewery to the public this summer. “We knew we weren’t going to be able to come into this with six, $700,000 dollars like other small breweries at our level, so we had to make real methodical decisions,” he said. “Because of that, we make good choices, but it’s taken a lot of time.” While waiting for the opportunity for a grand opening, Rice and the rest of the employees at 5x5 — most of whom are veterans — have taken their beer to fundraisers, nonprofit events, and competitions. The feedback he’s received from people who have tried his
“Five years ago it was difficult to find craft beer locally,” said Mayer, who owns RGV Homebrew Supply. “Now we have three breweries and even H-E-B carrying a large craft beer selection.” Coupled with restaurants and bars like Roosevelt’s at 7, Grain to Glass, the Whistling Duck, and others, RGV beer fans have more access to craft brews now than ever before. “It’s definitely started to flourish in the last couple of years,” said Mark Garza, one of the owners of Roosevelt’s. “With more and more breweries, it kind of grows exponentially because people start to experience the environment.” Exposure to different beer options for people in the Valley not only goes toward enriching the palate — it can also influence a change in beer culture. “We have our own regional identity down here,” said George Rice, operations manager and owner of 5x5 Brewing Co. in Mission. “We have our own tastes, our own norms. We’ve been dominated by macro brewers for a very, very, very long time.” Operations like 5x5, RabbleRouser Brewing Company, and Big River Brewery have taken on the challenge of getting people stout to branch out from the beers they ipa amber ale usually drink — with some small hiccups along the way. “Some people come in here asking for a Bud Light or a Miller Light and we have to explain to them that we don’t sell that type of product here — we sell only what we make,” said Steve Padilla, owner of Big River. “At first, there was a little bit of hesitancy with some of our customers, but slowly we’ve been winning them over.” He recalled a customer who was reluctant to branch out to new beers. But after enjoying the Cha Cha Blonde Ale, the customer now orders IPAs and is a regular in the taproom. Taste preferences are just one hurdle local brewers must leap in the region. “There are some misconceptions as to what a brewery is since this is so new to the Valley,” Padilla said. “There’s a little bit of
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beer has been glowing. “I’m very self-critical. I’m like, ‘man, I don’t really think my stuff’s that good,’” Rice said. “But then we get other people that try it and they’re like, ‘dude, this is amazing, you guys are really on to something.’” Some of the most popular brews for 5x5 are local twists on traditional recipes, like a brown ale infused with honey — Rice’s personal favorite. But 5x5 is more than just a way for Rice to make money off of something he loves. “It’s a way I can give back to my community — not just the local community, but my veteran community,” he said. “Everyone always talks about veteran empowerment and entrepreneurship, but no one ever does it. I wanted to show these guys that if you put your mind to it, you can do whatever you want.” And he says he hopes that 5x5 and the other RGV breweries are just the tip of the iceberg for the regional craft beer scene. “It’s a huge ripe market,” Rice said. “When we did our market analysis, we honestly could fit about five or six microbreweries in the Valley, not including all the nanobreweries we could fit, as well.” A representative for Rabble-Rouser — a nanobrewery that has been open since 2016 — declined to be interviewed for this article.
One offshoot of the burgeoning craft beer scene in the Valley is a modest rise in homebrewing hobbyists. “I see as far as the homebrewers go, there’s been a little bit of an uptick in new brewers, people trying it based on their exposure to Big River and 5x5 and Rabble-Rouser,” said Mayer of RGV Homebrew. Mayer, along with his wife, Debra, have run the McAllen brewing supply store since opening it in January 2015. “We sensed a demand based upon our participation with the local homebrew club, Border Brewers, and our own frustration with online ordering,” Mayer said. “We are the only shop south of a line from Corpus to San Antonio to El Paso. We also serve numerous customers from northern Mexico.” It’s easy to get started in homebrewing, according to Mayer. “We say if you can boil water, keep time, watch temperatures, and follow simple instructions, you can homebrew,” he said. Mayer has years of homebrewing experience under his belt. “I like it because you get to be an artist, a scientist, and an engineer all at once, if you want to,” he said. Mike Cantu, a general manager for an industrial manufacturing company and homebrew enthusiast, can attest to Mayer’s homebrewing expertise. Cantu, along with Garza, of Roosevelt’s, has been homebrewing for 10 to 12 years. “We’ve done a good amount of batches within our homebrew
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life,” Cantu said. “We go out to Austin, or go out of state, we’d just have these amazing beers that we couldn’t get back home, and I decided to have a crack at it.” Cantu started off with a basic Mr. Beer kit — available at Target, Kohl’s, and other retailers. “Little plastic barrel, mix in the stove top, and you just throw it there and let it ferment,” he said. “Six weeks later, you have a beer, so that’s what got me into it.” He’s since moved on to more sophisticated setups through the help of Mayer and RGV Homebrew. “You start having different types of beers, your batches start getting bigger, and you start sharing with friends,” Cantu said. For now, RGV brewers both big and small look forward to future growth for the industry in the region. “I think there’s a lot of room for other breweries here in this market and I’m just excited because finally this is going to take off,” Big River’s Padilla said. “I hope it grows to something like the beer scene in Austin and people have a variety. Make it a scene like that, where we all cooperate and we’re all working together.” He added that a boost in breweries could usher in more tourism to the region. “The better the craft beer industry does in the Valley, the better we all do,” said Rice, of 5x5. “I’m in favor of there being a dozen more breweries down here.” The variety of different brews available would be a boon to beer fans, said Garza. “It would be nice to see the scene grow and us have access
“IT’S DEFINITELY STARTED TO FLOURISH IN THE LAST COUPLE OF YEARS. WITH MORE AND MORE BREWERIES, IT KIND OF GROWS EXPONENTIALLY BECAUSE PEOPLE START TO EXPERIENCE THE ENVIRONMENT.”
5x5 Brewing Co.
Big River Brewery
801 N. Bryan Road, Suite 174
RGV Homebrew Supply
Pharr, Texas 78577
Mission, TX 78572
Rabble-Rouser Brewing Company facebook.com/therabble3 301 E. Cedar Ave. McAllen, Texas 78501
610 N. Main St.
505 West Nolana Loop
McAllen, TX 78501
to more beers,” he said. “And it’d be great to start with more local breweries and brew pubs.” And while the Valley awaits future breweries, the growing number of craft beer fans have another outlet for their passion: Facebook. “There’s craft beer pages and craft beer groups where we host beer shares,” Garza said. “You’re able to try different beers that you really can’t get down here, so we usually do that once a month: Crack a few beers from all over the country. Sometimes we’ll get beers from Europe, Mexico. We’ll just share it.” But maybe beers produced in the RGV could someday be the cans and bottles being passed around in other places. “Eventually having some distribution of Valley beers going up to San Antonio, having people seeking beers out here in the Valley, that’s something I would love to see here in the future,” Cantu said.
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YOUR BUSINESS WILL PROFIT FROM FACEBOOK LIVE
by S of i a A l e m a n
For entrepreneurs, it’s important to solidify a brand for your company. Branding will give your business a personal voice and ultimately give your company reasons to be recognized. People will acknowledge your business philosophy and soon, you will start to dominate the market of your product or service. In a world controlled by technology, there lies a plethora of opportunity to build your brand name online for free. So why not capitalize on it? Facebook Live requires only video capability on your smartphone, an internet or strong network connection, and a Facebook account. When you choose to livestream, Facebook records in real-time and allows the audience to actively participate with likes, comments, and questions. According to Brightcove, Video Analytics, social videos generate 1,200 percent more shares than images and
text combined. It’s no secret that videos connect viewers to your brand and is a great way to engage new potential clients. Recently, RGVision Media has had the pleasure of doing live videos for current clients with much success. The great thing about Facebook Live is one, it’s free, but two, it allows for future clients to finally ask you all the questions they’ve been meaning to ask you without leaving their home or scheduling an appointment. Optimum convenience for the customer means an overflow of engagement. Connecting people to your business with a platform that is part of the public’s daily life is the best thing for your business. So now that we’ve set the stage for this amazing marketing tool, we’d like to continue to share with you the top 10 reasons Facebook Live needs to be part of your marketing and advertising strategy.
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1. Events streamed live. Nothing beats going behind the scenes. People enjoy being a part of something they wouldn’t normally get a chance to see. It’s also a great way to increase awareness about community events or allow people to participate in an event they couldn’t attend in person.
scheduled posts, you as the entrepreneur see the engagement as it happens. When people comment or ask questions, you have the opportunity to answer them on the spot, and talk back and forth with the customer. People also love hearing other questions answered they might have asked themselves.
2. Connect directly to the audience. People love Facebook live because they can engage with the person on camera directly and from the comfort of their home. It lessens the intimidation of asking questions face to face and eliminates the sometimes impossible hassle to make appointments during scheduling conflicts. While you are on camera, questions and comments are streaming that you can respond to. Nothing beats this kind of engagement.
8. Creates more excitement around product releases. If you have a new product, you can not only post about it, but show it off, giving live examples or testimonies of how it works or why it helps. People will never miss new products or services again. They will also be more enticed by the product or service and more likely to recommend and buy it themselves. Any questions about the product or service will also be answered right then and there.
FRIDAY JULY 6
3. Content is completely unique. Unlike scheduled posts, which crafted and designed well could have awesome engagement, Facebook Live is totally exclusive. The viewers are guaranteed to see, hear, and participate in something that has never been posted on your page. It is also completely unique to your product or service industry. There is no way a competitor will be streaming exactly the same thing as you.
9. Facebook Live acts on your behalf. Although there are many video options out there to promote your video, Facebook is well developed. Your fans or clients are notified when you're about to go live. Facebook will even allow a page to promote a live video in advance, giving users the option to set reminders through Facebook so they don’t forget to tune in.
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7. Great interaction. The greatest thing for both the viewer and the streamer is the chance to interact with the audience. Unlike
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6. People will watch (lots of people). The recent FOMO (fear of missing out) craze does have merit because people really don't want to miss being a part of something. Once a Facebook Live has started, people online will be alerted. In most cases, people are clicking away to be part of the action.
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4. Cost effective. The best part about this tool is that it doesn’t cost anything. 5. Facebook Analytics. Facebook provides the user with detailed analytics of how well your video did, including how many people were reached, how many views your video received, and the number or reactions, comments, and shares. This information helps your business to gauge how well your video did.
10. Facebook Live playback option. Once done with the video, you have the option to save it to your page’s video roll. Now people who missed the live video can always go back to it, see the questions asked and hear the answers. Facebook continues to measure the amount of views the video receives after it’s gone live. RGVision Media recently did a Facebook Live for Pace Academy in Harlingen, livestreaming a class in session — the first of its kind. There was an amazing response from parents researching schools for their children. Even current parents loved watching their kids in action. Please check it out on Facebook at Pace Academy, Harlingen. If you think your business could benefit from a Facebook Live with professional camera equipment, contact RGVision Media today at (210) 618-8930. Don’t wait to get the engagement you’ve been waiting for.
B U S I N E S S ARTICLE PROVIDED BY
B ILL MARTIN CFP ® , 1845 CAP ITAL OF RAY MON D JAME S, 95 6-3 3 1-2777
CHOOSING THE TRUSTEE FOR A
SPECIAL NEEDS TRUST When Selecting Who Should Take on This Important Role, There Are Several Factors You Should Consider
When establishing a special needs trust (SNT), selecting a credible and reliable trustee is extremely important. The purpose of an SNT is to supplement a disabled person’s government benefits by paying for non-covered medical services or equipment. SNTs are commonly used to pay for personal care attendants,
education, home furnishings, out-of-pocket medical and dental expenses, recreation, vehicles, and physical rehabilitation, as well as common necessities such as a cellphone. Most importantly, a special needs trust helps to enrich the beneficiary’s life and make it more enjoyable. Therefore, a trustee should be adept at managing
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The trustee, whether an individual or corporate institution, should be knowledgeable about what can be paid for through the trust and what shouldn’t, as well as be able to prepare and retain records of earnings and disbursements for tax purposes.
INDIVIDUAL VS. CORPORATE TRUSTEES Given the complexity and longevity of administering a special needs trust, it’s important to weigh whether to select the best-qualified individual or a corporate trustee. Properly managing a special needs trust means understanding the disabilities of the beneficiary and being able to effectively communicate with a parent, caregiver, or guardian, which can require a significant time commitment on the part of the trustee. A trustee must be able to prudently manage the assets held for the beneficiary’s benefit and understand the governmental regulations and how to work about them. The trustee, whether an individual or corporate institution, should be knowledgeable about what can be paid for through the trust and what shouldn’t, as well as be able to prepare and retain records of earnings and disbursements for tax purposes. A corporate trustee is often better positioned than an individual trustee to effectively administer a special needs trust in a way that is compliant with state and federal laws. Raymond James financial advisers do not render advice on tax or legal matters. You should discuss any tax or legal matters with the appropriate professional.
accounts, bills, taxes, and other financial matters, as well as allocating money to these needs in an efficient manner. Additionally, it’s often wise to work with someone who has a personal connection and commitment to the beneficiary and his or her interests and needs. When evaluating trustee candidates, consider the four key factors below.
COMPETENCE, KNOWLEDGE, AND EXPERIENCE Often, proceeds from a disability settlement are not enough to cover ongoing medical expenses related to the injury. Missteps can cause a beneficiary to lose needs-based benefits such as Medicaid, Medicare, and Supplemental Security Income. The trustee must thoroughly understand these programs and how to satisfy the qualification requirements.
CONFLICTS OF INTEREST
marks CFP®, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, CFP® (with plaque design)
Having a good trustee-beneficiary relationship is critical, as communication regarding changing needs should be frequent. A close connection is also important as the trustee is expected to serve the needs of the beneficiary for the duration of the trust.
and CFP® (with flame design) in the U.S., which it awards to individuals
Article provided by Bill Martin, CFP®, 1845 Capital of Raymond James, 1400 N McColl, Suite 101, McAllen, TX 78501. For more information, please contact Bill Martin, CFP® at 956-331-2777. Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc. owns the certification
who successfully complete CFP Board's initial and ongoing certification requirements." © Raymond James & Associates, Inc. member New York Stock Exchange / SIPC
The trustee should never act in her or her own interest when making decisions regarding the allocation of funds. These decisions should be based solely on the best interest of the beneficiary. Additionally, SNTs contain Trust Protector Language that allows a professional trustee to be removed with no questions asked. The trustee should be comfortable with this language, which keeps the family as the client.
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REACHING FOR THE STARS SpaceXâ€™s Boca Chica Progress Continues as RGV Anticipates Regional Boost
by A my C a sebier
“We are entering a new and exciting era in space exploration and Texas will play an increasingly important role in our efforts to help make humanity multi-planetary.” Ja mes Gl ees o n, s e ni or m ana ge r of c o m m u n ica ti ons at Sp ace X
adequate electrical power,” Benavides wrote. “SpaceX resolved the power issue by installing a solar farm and are having water trucked in, a huge undertaking on their part.” One of the newest developments at the Boca Chica site will provide support when launches begin sending people into space. “Recently, we installed two antennas to track Crew Dragon missions to the International Space Station and beyond beginning in 2018,” Gleeson said. For Valley residents, SpaceX represents opportunities that have never before existed in the region. “To have SpaceX in Cameron County means the students here have something inspiring in their backyard, to make them want to strive for more science and math courses and provide the desire for them to further their education,” Benavides wrote. “They also don’t have to leave the area in order to get a job with a company like SpaceX.” Many in the community have welcomed SpaceX to the Valley with open arms, she added. “The reception to SpaceX has been tremendous,” Benavides wrote. “Over 700 people attended the the public hearings during the permitting process to express support for the project and the FAA said it was the largest group they had ever seen for support of a project.” In addition to drawing more tourism to the region through launches, the RGV economy continues to enjoy a boost from SpaceX. “SpaceX held a vendor fair and over 300 local companies attended and registered to do business with the company,” Benavides wrote. “This has helped create additional jobs here and stimulate the local economy with the millions they have spent in this area.” The Valley will also have the advantage of being a part of SpaceX’s mission to take humans farther in the universe than they’ve ever been. “We are entering a new and exciting era in space exploration and Texas will play an increasingly important role in our efforts to help make humanity multi-planetary,” Gleeson said. Learn more about SpaceX and keep track of the company’s launches and missions at www.spacex.com.
Sun, sand, surf, and space. The countdown to completion of SpaceX’s Boca Chica beach launch site continues, but Rio Grande Valley residents don’t have to wait until blastoff to start experiencing the benefits of SpaceX’s presence in the area. “Rocket launches are not something to only watch on TV anymore, they’re going to to be happening right here,” Cameron County Commissioner Sofia C. Benavides wrote in an email. Benavides helped guide SpaceX during the company’s site selection process. The Boca Chica site falls within her precinct. “It also means we have a huge opportunity to further develop our tourism business and gain some additional revenue as people will be traveling here from all over the place to watch the launches up close,” she added. “The public beach at South Padre Island is less than 5 miles away from the launch pad.” SpaceX broke ground at the Boca Chica site in September 2014. Progress has been steady since then even with unanticipated steps to the process. “SpaceX has invested millions into the project, hired new full-time employees, conducted extensive engineering and geotechnical surveys, and performed soil surcharging and drilling in preparation for the build,” said James Gleeson, senior manager of communications at SpaceX. From late 2015 to early 2016, some 310,000 cubic yards of soil were transported to the site to help make the ground more stable for construction — just one challenge SpaceX has faced in building at the site. “Some of the challenges involved are because the launch facility is located in a very remote, undeveloped area without basic infrastructure such as water and
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IT’S ALL IN THE WAY YOU SAY IT b y S of i a A l e m a n
“There’s only so many times someone is going to come back for a good cup of coffee … if your attitude sucks.” -Gabriel De La Garza, owner of Jitterz Coffee Bar These words couldn’t be more true. When it comes to owning a business, customer service plays a lifeline to the people who will either make it or break it. “Too many places are ‘forcing’ employees to be nice to the customer, but you can tell they aren’t being sincere. I think authenticity also plays a big part in good customer service,” De La Garza added. RGVision Media agrees with De La Garza wholeheartedly. We believe the way you treat the client plays a giant role in the success of the company, and whether you will be recommended. Clients want to know they are making a good investment in you and your company. They want to feel as if they will somehow come out better in the end for spending money on your services or product — which they rightfully should. Nothing brings more confidence from clients than the feeling that your company or product can be trusted, and was a wise investment. Satisfaction is also a big concern. Customers want to know that if for some reason something went wrong, they would be able to contact you, or get a refund, and that you will willingly and gladly hear out their concern. We all dread the customer service hotlines that have automated voices asking you to click 10 buttons before you speak to an actual person. The reason is because we lose value, and our assistance feels cheapened.
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So RGVision Media took the time to compile what we believe are the catalysts to good customer service.
We believe the way you treat the client plays a giant role in the success of the company, and whether you will be recommended.
First, we must ask, why is good customer service so important? Clients want an experience to look forward to: You probably own a business that has a fair share of competition. What is going to keep your customers coming to you when they can go somewhere else? Believe it or not, it’s not a lower price. Lower price doesn’t always indicate quality. Most of the time, people will pay more for a comparable product just because they get such excellent customer service.
or exceeds their expectations. But don’t think that it is a reason to neglect the customer themselves. People will gladly find other options that are more pleasantly accommodating. Think of a fancy uptown shoe or purse store. If you walk in underdressed, they treat you like a servant. No one respects this kind of treatment, and they are likely to look for something else, even if the product is less in quality.
You are part of a web: Nothing beats good old-fashioned word of mouth. When you create strong business bonds with customers who trust you, they will tell all their friends about you — who will then also become your customers. Your customers are who keep you in business: Your business can either die, survive, or thrive. Think about it — if you sell a product, you wouldn’t have to worry about cutting production costs if you could just increase your sales.
Getting to know your customer: What are the likes and dislikes of your customers? What do they want to see more of? Less of? Then accommodate them.
What does good customer service look like?
We hope that you will read this, and it will inspire you to keep doing a great job as a fellow entrepreneur. Remember, customer service is probably going to be the number one thing that keeps you in business, and we can’t wait to see you thrive. Now go out there and wrangle in some customers with a great smile and welcoming attitude.
Don’t think your product will sell itself: Ideally, the quality of your product should sell itself, meaning people trust they are paying for something that either meets
Don’t upsell: The term “sleazy car salesman” comes to mind. Clients want to know you are not in this business to simply “close the sale.” They want to feel like they can trust that your product is quality. Don’t over-promise or create on-the-spot features just to close a sale. Being honest is key to whether people keep coming back.
Be consistent: Don’t just deliver once. It needs to be an ongoing satisfaction. Again, trust and honesty are key.
Be available: Customers want to know they can reach you when you say you can be reached. Never returning phone calls, or never answering your phone is a big turnoff.
Be authentic: When you address a customer, they want to feel as though you are treating them individually. Making sure to laugh at jokes. Carrying on a conversation is also a good trait. Look them in the eyes when you talk. Just be personable overall, and don’t just repeat assigned catchphrases that don’t actually create engagement.
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CEO INCORPORATES MILITARY LESSONS IN BUSINESS
by Amy Casebier
If you’re only showing up to your job because the company you work for pays you to do so, you might be doing it wrong. “It’s not about what you get in return, it’s about what you can do for your organization,” said Cristina Solis Wilson, CEO of CM Institute of Leadership in McAllen. “What values do you bring to your company?” It’s this kind of paradigm shift — changing previously held beliefs — that transforms the atmosphere in the workplace. “And then bringing everybody’s strengths together and putting the right person in the right place to make that happen,” Solis Wilson added. It’s Solis Wilson’s job — along with her husband, CM Institute of Leadership Vice President Michael Wilson, and their team — to influence these kinds of positive changes in businesses. “(Having) that mentality to work together and to collaborate together is what makes a difference of when you’re trying to do that team building within that department,” Solis Wilson said. “And that usually helps change the attitude and the dynamics within the organization.” Solis Wilson and her husband first got into business together after cofounding Crossroads Academy, a nonprofit organization designed to reach out to children in colonias in the Rio Grande Valley. Activities included leadership training, civic engagement, and other programming. “We were out there to tell these young youths that ‘you have a future, you all have the potential to go out and make something of yourself,’” Solis Wilson said. “‘Don't let people
“Growing up, people would tell us, my husband and I — by coincidence, we have the same type of upbringing where we were told, ‘yeah, you're not smart enough, or you're not going to amount to nothing,’” Solis Wilson said. “I don’t know if it was my parents or what, but I never let that get to me. I was like, ‘hm, that's what you think.’ And you just keep going.” Solis Wilson said she and her husband recognized a need in the RGV community for the kinds of services they were providing through Crossroads Academy. From there, they decided to create the CM Institute of Leadership. While the CM Institute of Leadership is open to helping corporations of all sizes, Solis Wilson says it’s the smaller businesses she sees benefiting the most. “That’s why we’re starting to do seminars and training online, so they can have something they can do on their own,” she said. Once a business reaches out for help, Solis Wilson and her husband work closely with the business to determine the best course of action. Wilson will often conduct assessments, and Solis Wilson will begin to development curriculum based on the needs determined through the assessments and subsequent meetings with the business. It’s a tailored approach to every situation, resulting in mentoring, coaching, speaking engagements, workshops, and more. A little known fact: The “CM” in CM Institute of Leadership doesn’t stand for Cris and Mike, like some might assume. “Really, it’s for civil and military that we mix when we do our trainings,” Solis Wilson said. “We teach companies to have their employees maximize their team into having a productive outcome at the end.” Both Solis Wilson and
tell you you can't do it.’” It was a sentiment that hit close to home for both husband and wife.
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Wilson served in the military. Solis Wilson is still a first sergeant for the 812th QM CO of the U.S. Army. Solis Wilson often incorporates lessons she has learned from her military service into her business practices and teaching. “My mantra that I like to use, I got it from the military, so it’s purpose, direction, and motivation,” she said. “You can make anybody do anything when you give them a purpose, or direction, or motivation to do something. It doesn’t matter who they are.” In the Army, Solis Wilson found herself advocating for soldiers others didn’t want to work with. It was an approach easily applied to a business setting. “I would always take those soldiers,” she said. “I would take the time of day to sit down with them and talk with them because, believe it or not, that’s what people want to see in the workforce. Do you even care? Do you even know them? You’d be surprised if you just reach out and touch someone. You could go a long way.” With problem soldiers — and problem employees in the workplace — simply opening the lines of communication often works wonders. “You’d be surprised how much knowledge they might have or why they don’t get it,” Solis Wilson said. “They don’t get it because you’re really the one who’s not connecting with them.” Bridging those divides are key to boosting the success within a business. “You’d be surprised when you reach out to somebody, just how much you can get out of them, or what you can use from them,” Solis Wilson said. “And so going back to that paradigm shift, I try to tell people, too, look, when you’re coming in, come in and say, ‘what can I offer you?’” Solis Wilson recalls a 12-year-old at Crossroads Academy who loved taking photos. “Can you imagine somebody now with social media, just taking pictures, how big of an impact that can be for an organization?” Solis Wilson asked. “How do you know somebody just doesn’t have a passion for taking pictures or drawing or whatnot that you can use to bring your team together?” Another Army lesson Solis Wilson touts is the power of regular performance evaluations. “In the military, we get an annual evaluation,” she said. “At the minimum, we have to be counseled every quarter — three
“My mantra that I like to use, I got it from the military, so it’s purpose, direction, and motivation.” C r i s t i n a S ol i s W i l s on , CE O of CM I n stitu te
. RGVISION MAGAZINE
ups, three downs.” At a retail company, that could translate to anything from positive feedback on customer service experiences to failure to meet sales goals. “You always want to promote your employees, and I always tell them it doesn't have to be a promotion monetary, but like, ‘attaboy,’” Solis Wilson explained. “People appreciate gratification. They want to be told they’re doing good. So at the end of the year, are you evaluating them?” A recent Army evaluation Solis Wilson experienced with a new commander nearly moved her to tears. It illustrated how simple it is for employers to connect with their employees “The first thing she asked me, ‘where do you see yourself next? What do you want to do in the next five years?’” Solis Wilson recalled. “I wanted to cry, and she was like, ‘I’m sorry, I hope I’m not hurting your feelings.’ And I said, ‘no, my last commander never asked me something as simple as that. That means you care.’” Learn more about the CM Institute of Leadership at http:// cminstituteleadership.com.
of Leadersh ip in M cAllen
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IMAGINING A CAREER IN
CYBERSECURITY STC Leads the Way as One of Four Texas Colleges to Offer Cybersecurity Degree
by Lor e n a B a l l i Fifteen to 20 years ago, the term “cyberattack” would elicit visions of a blockbuster movie where the bad guys tap into phone lines and listen in on covert government conversations. Today, we’ve come to understand that the possibility of a cyberattack is much more than a movie scene. Networks of all sizes are nothing short of a breach away from disseminating important information. This creates a sense of vulnerability for the general public since even large companies are susceptible to information breaches. Last year’s Wells Fargo cyberattack saw tens of thousands of bank accounts
accessed without authorization. Incidents like this call into question how safely our information is being guarded and how major entities and corporations can take precautionary measures to avoid further breaches. A slew of recent public information mishaps highlight a growing demand and need for stronger attention to network protection. One step in this direction is the ongoing training of cybersecurity experts and professionals, including at institutions like South Texas College.
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“We use real-case scenarios of real crimes that have been committed to use in the classroom as examples of how the software programs used by these big companies are actually used in real situations,” said Adolfo Lozano, the STC information technology department chair. STC is one of few colleges in the state with a cybersecurity program where the main objective is to prepare students to know how to protect networks, computers, programs, and data from attacks, damage, or unauthorized access. This degree was implemented in fall 2017 and came from a revision of a previous degree called information security/digital forensics. It was renamed cybersecurity. With the change of title, some courses were replaced to comply with new National Security Administration rules for any college wanting to offer this field of study. This program is offered as both an associate of applied science and certificate degree. The NSA designated STC as a National Center for Academic Excellence in cybersecurity and cyber defense until the year 2022. The certificate consists of 32 credit hours and students can transfer from the certificate to the associate degree, which includes a total of 60 to 61 hours. STC is only one of four colleges in the state of Texas with this prestigious designation. Students pursuing this program also have the opportunity to earn industry certifications along the way to graduation. These certifications are nationally recognized and demonstrate the student’s knowledge of a certain skill set needed in the IT industry. One example is the Computer and Mobile Forensics Certification, which prepares students for “incident response” situations needed to analyze, extract, and report evidence in criminal cases.
The following certifications are offered to students in the cybersecurity degree program:
A do lfo Loz a no, STC i nf o r m ati o n te chno l ogy d e p a r t m e n t chai r
“We use real-case scenarios of real crimes that have been committed to use in the classroom as examples of how the software programs used by these big companies are actually used in real situations.”
Coupling these certifications with real-world scenarios offers a valuable educational experience, Lozano said. “We show students not only the technical side, such as using keywords, but also how to secure the evidence in this kind of situation using the software from Cellebrite and cyber security equipment,” he said. Cellebrite is the company that was able to crack into an iPhone following a terrorist attack to retrieve the password that Apple did not wish to release. All certifications available to the students in the cybersecurity program are free, and employment opportunities are vast for graduates of this discipline. Industry leaders have observed the need for network protection both locally and nationally. Upon graduation, students can expect to work in local, state or federal law enforcement, private sector companies, hospitals, tech companies, school districts, and the financial industry — just to name a few. Position titles include cybersecurity administrator, network defense manager, systems engineer, IT director, or IT specialist. “We have had several individuals who have been hired by a local company called NetSync even before graduating from the program,” Lozano said.
> Cisco Networking Academy > CompTIA > Cellebrite Certified Operator (CCO) > Cellebrite Certified Physical Analyzer (CCPA) > Paraben Certified Mobile Operator (CMO) > Blackbag Certified Mobilyze Operator (CMO)
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Expanding Digital Printing Possibilities at CopyZone by Lo ri Ho u s to n | p h o to s b y Ja mes Ho r d
businesses become more productive and efficient. Core Business Solutions has become the premier office solutions company in South Texas. It not only provides a wide array of business products and services, from office equipment to IT support services and commercial furniture, but also valuable expertise that produces measurable benefits to its customers. Armstrong plans to take business solutions even further. His company has recently acquired CopyZone in McAllen, which is the largest print and copy service in the Rio Grande Valley.
Technology is inescapable. Nearly every facet of our life is pervaded by technology â€” from work to play and everything in between. Technology doesn't wait for anyone and if you or your business isn't keeping up with it, you will be left in the dust by one of your competitors. This is the age of information, and with so much vital facts being stored, shared, and saved on paper, advanced printing solutions are more important than ever. David Armstrong, president & CEO of Core Business Solutions, understands this concept very well. About 15 years ago, he started his company to help local
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projects, and book binding. “Our intention is to continue to operate CopyZone as a separate business under its talented management team,” Armstrong said. “Where we come in is by referring additional business, upgrading their technology, and adding additional services that make sense. For example, we recently upgraded their IT infrastructure and management software, and added promotional items to the product offering.” Additional services provided to the customers now include a full graphic design department; branded marketing merchandise — coffee mugs, pens, caps, and more; and variable data printing. Variable data printing offers the highest response rate on any type of advertising. It customizes a letter or postcard for each recipient. This capability allows business customers to outsource the printing and mailing of their invoices, statements, and notification letters. CopyZone also provides turnkey political campaign packages of street signs, mailers, fliers, and social media. When asked about the future, Armstrong said that CopyZone is in growth mode, and looking to move into a new, modern facility in the fall. They also expect to open two to three branch locations around the Valley in the next two years. “We have to feed ‘The Beast’ and it needs a lot of work to fill it up,” Armstrong said.
“CopyZone was a great fit for Core Business Solutions,” Armstrong said. “They were already using a lot of our equipment, we were providing variable data services to our customers, and most importantly, all employees agreed to remain on board, giving us the most experienced print crew around.” CopyZone has a large and diverse customer base ranging from individuals who want to print birthday or wedding invitations, to schools wanting graduation programs, to lawyers needing to print case material, to engineers wanting multiple sets of wide format plans. With all his experience providing technology solutions to local businesses, Armstrong recognizes the importance of the needs of his broad customer base and is committed to providing clients with access and support to leadingedge technologies in the digital printing market. As part of that commitment to leading-edge technology, Armstrong has equipped CopyZone with an AccurioPress C6085 machine, the very latest in full color production printing systems. The machine, which is nicknamed “The Beast,” is the largest print production machine in Valley. “The machine gives us capabilities down here that nobody else has,” Armstrong said. Aside from increased production capacity, it also provides specialized services, like the ability to print on thicker paper, create large banners in one piece, large tri-fold
Additional services provided to the customers now include a full graphic design department; branded marketing merchandise — coffee mugs, pens, caps, and more; and variable data printing.
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SHATTERING MYTHS OF PSYCHOTIC DISORDERS:
Facts and Tips for Families
Psychotic disorders are marked by a loss of contact with reality, irrationality, and distorted perceptions. Those who have such disorders experience a range of extreme symptoms that come in various forms, which includes positive and negative symptoms. Positive symptoms can be described as the presence of specific behaviors and symptoms manifested in the forms of > hallucinations — hearing, smelling, feeling, or tasting things that are not real; > delusions — believing things that are not true even when evidence that contradicts their beliefs are presented; and > disorganized thoughts and speech. On the other extreme are negative symptoms, or the absence of appropriate behaviors. Some examples of negative symptoms include catatonic behaviors such as an individual’s reduction in reactivity to the environment, and having a flat affect, which is where an individual speaks in a toneless voice and remains expressionless. Activities of daily living are also affected.
SCHIZOPHRENIA Schizophrenia is a mental illness that affects the way that an individual thinks, feels, and behaves. This disorder usually develops in men in their early 20s and women in their late 20s. These individuals may have trouble deciphering what is real and what is not and have difficulty expressing emotions in social situations. Additionally, schizophrenia is not the same as split personality/multiple personality disorders, and the majority of these individuals are not a danger to others. In fact, they are more likely to be the victims of violence.
THE STATISTICS It is estimated that schizophrenia affects over 23 million people worldwide, and it typically manifests more on males (12 million), than females (9 million). According to a study on prevalence rates of this disorder on ethnocultural groups showed that Latinos (13.6 percent) and African Americans (15.3 percent) had higher lifetime prevalence rates of schizophrenia in comparison to whites (9.7 percent).
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Additionally, the prevalence rates of schizophrenia in the lower Rio Grande Valley are below 1 percent in the adult population. It is still important to become educated and understand the reality of psychotic disorders. It is easy to dismiss these individuals as “crazy” or believe that their symptoms aren't real; however, this is far from the truth. Therefore, the first step is understanding what schizophrenia and psychotic disorders are and the symptoms they entail.
account for culture and cultural values. Phenomena such as hearing voices from a deity or fellow members of one’s kin can be influenced by religion and/or culture and would therefore not qualify as a hallucination. Among Latinos, psychotic disorders have been identified to differ when compared to other groups. Atypical psychotic symptoms include sound of knocking at the door, a voice, and faces of dead relatives, among others. However, said symptoms are not clinically relevant and may be influenced by culture. Treatment for Latino groups must take in consideration the acculturation, time of living in the United States, and personal beliefs to optimize treatment.
CAUSES OF SCHIZOPHRENIA There is not one sole cause of schizophrenia. Traumatic experiences might trigger a psychotic episode. For example, acute schizophrenia is when an individual rapidly/suddenly develops schizophrenia after experiencing a stressor such as losing a job or home, a divorce, or physical, sexual, or emotional abuse. Other causes may include: a traumatic brain injury, brain tumors, family history of psychotic disorders and mental illness, and chemical and psychoactive substance usage. Increase levels of dopamine has also been associated with psychotic symptoms.
TIPS FOR FAMILIES AND INDIVIDUALS Understanding how to support someone who has this medical condition or their family members is important. 1. The first step to provide support is recognizing the symptoms. Despite behavioral and mood changes in psychotic disorders, the patients are usually first to recognize their condition. 2. It is imperative for the entire public to recognize signs and symptoms to help someone in need of assistance.
TREATMENTS The media portrays this population in a negative light contributing to the already high stigma. It is imperative to understand that psychotic disorders are in a spectrum, meaning that symptoms can range from severe avolition and asociality, lack of independence and/or social skills to self-dependent patients including prominent doctors, lawyers, teachers, or writers. With proper treatment, symptoms can be stabilized, allowing patients to precisely live an independent and stable life. Treatment can include medication in the form of neuroleptics (also known as antipsychotics), benzodiazepines (commonly prescribed to reduce anxiety and/or disturbed behavior), and/or a form of psychotherapy.
3. You can also help a relative or friend by listening compassionately and without judgments and making suggestions without being confrontational.
It is also important to note that the individual is a person who should not be defined by their diagnosis. People with schizophrenia still hold their individuality regardless of the symptoms they have. Their delusions and hallucinations are only a symptom of their medical condition. It is not who they are. A person is not schizophrenic.
PSYCHOTHERAPY Various forms of psychotherapies have been utilized to treat this population. For instance, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) has been shown to be effective in treating negative symptoms and associated anxiety or low selfesteem in patients with psychotic disorders. Other forms of psychotherapy are aimed to improve the quality of living and include Cognitive Remediation Therapy, and Cognitive Enhancement Therapy. They have been shown to be effective in independent living skills, vocational, and/or social skills.
(Co-Authors include Dr. Mercado’s Mental Health Lab at UTRGV: Abigail Nunez-Saenz, Andy Torres, Jose Garcia, Paola Salazar, and
ARTICLE PROVIDED BY
ALFONSO MERCADO, PH.D., LICENSED PSYCHOLOGIST Valley Psychological Services - Assistant Professor Department of Psychology at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley | www.utpa.edu/psychology
CULTURE & DIAGNOSIS Given that hallucinations are a critical component for a diagnosis of a psychotic disorder, it is equally imperative to
4. If you are aware of the symptoms, you can go to a mental health professional or encourage an individual to seek help. Family support groups are also recommended.
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INTERVENTIONAL RADIOLOGY: INNOVATIVE TESTING AND TREATMENT OPTIONS
by Lo ri Ho ust o n | p h o to b y Ja mes Ho r d
Dealing with health issues can be stressful for anyone. Many of us know the anxiety that arises when our doctor thinks something is amiss, and sends us out for tests or a radiological scan. Radiology is so much more than just an X-ray. Everybody knows it is a powerful tool to diagnose injury and illness, but it is also a valuable treatment option. Interventional radiologists like Dr. Ravi Mydur, of Edinburg Radiology, are among the unsung heroes of medicine. Most patients never even meet their radiologist. Instead, their interactions are usually with the radiological technologists who operate the imaging equipment. Typical radiologists spend the majority of their time reading the images and scans to determine a diagnosis. This holds true for Mydur, as well. “I am basically reading one to two hundred studies a day,” he said. It is that large volume of scans that gives Mydur an all-encompassing view of the different pathologies in the hospital. “In all of that, I am bound to come across very interesting pathology, but the satisfying part is making a diagnosis so that the patient can get treated appropriately,” Mydur said. The 1895 discovery of the X-ray by Wilhelm Rontgen opened the field of radiology. In the decades that followed, many more advances would come to shape the field of radiology, such as the development of the ultrasound, PET scans, CT scans, and MRIs. Even now, history is still being made in the field of radiology. Interventional Radiology — IR — is bringing the field to the edges of modern medicine and redefining the way physicians
treat certain diseases. IR offers a minimally invasive way to treat a variety of ailments in patients by using medical imaging to see inside the body while treating the condition through a pinhole. This lessens the risk of complications and shortens the recovery time. IR has the capability to treat conditions such as stroke, aneurysm, and several different types of cancers. It can also help provide easier access catheters needed for dialysis. Mydur found his passion during his Interventional Radiology Fellowship at Case Western Reserve Medical Center in Cleveland, Ohio. While there, he was able to treat inoperable liver cancer with a radioactive isotope called yttrium-90. When his fellowship ended, he brought that experience back to the Rio Grande Valley. Working with Texas Oncology, he is very involved in diagnosing, biopsies, and scanning for new cancer growth. One of the great things about radiology is that it allows physicians to catch something before it poses a significant and possibly debilitating threat to their patients. The doctors and staff of Edinburg Radiology are committed to providing much-needed services at affordable prices for residents of the Rio Grande Valley in order to help diagnose and treat these conditions before they become life threatening. “Radiology is the cornerstone of preventative maintenance,” Mydur said. “For example, chest X-rays to rule out lung pathologies and annual mammograms to screen for breast cancer.”
Radiology is so much more than just an X-ray. Everybody knows it is a powerful tool to diagnose injury and illness, but it is also a valuable treatment option.
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Dr. Luz Olaya Pettle Offers Obstetrics and Gynecology Options for Women
b y Ca r i La mb r e ch t | p h ot o b y O m a r D í a z
Dr. Luz Olaya Pettle says people would classify her as blunt, down to earth, and maybe a little sarcastic. This Dallasnative and guns-up Texas Tech alumna recently located to the Rio Grande Valley to join the growing Valley Care Clinics obstetrics and gynecology practice. The weather is so much better here than in Buffalo, she jokes. She left private practice in Buffalo, New York, to head to warmer temps and Texas, which she affectionately calls home. Pettle, 36, has two children — aged 2 and 4 — with her husband, Ted, yet she waited to answer the call of motherhood until after she completed her lengthy education. She’s a board-certified MD and also holds an MBA. Waiting was a deliberate choice she made. “My mom had me when she was 19,” she said, reflecting on her Hispanic heritage. There’s nothing wrong with that,
and it’s more common in Hispanic culture, but today it takes a lot of education to make it in this world. Girls have dreams and goals, and “putting a baby into that equation … it doesn’t always help.” Pettle says one of the most satisfying parts of her job is to work with teens and young women to plan their families as they see fit and when they see fit. “It’s OK to talk about sex,” she said. “I’m a big proponent of contraception. I don’t want to think of my own daughter having sex when she gets older. But it can happen, and I want our kids to be educated about safe sex and how to prevent unwanted pregnancies and other diseases.” Pettle draws from her own experiences to better talk to her patients, whether it’s about waiting to form a family, or how to start their family. She laughs when she talks about her own birth story.
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“I know what it’s like to go through labor and push for three hours and wind up with a C-section,” she said. “I also know what it’s like to try to have a vaginal delivery after C-section and still wind up with another C-section. I’ve been in those shoes.” She noted that she and her practice partners are some of very few OB-GYNs in the community that will actually take on patients wanting to try for a VBAC — a vaginal birth following a C-section birth. “I’m also not the doctor that’s going to tell you not to gain 50 pounds during your pregnancy, because I did,” she added. She feels it is important to have perspective and each woman is different in her needs. Whether it’s natural birth, laboring in a tub, or working with a midwife, “I will try my best to make your pregnancy and delivery special, and healthy,” she said. For Pettle, patience and hard truth are her virtues. “I’m not the type to sugarcoat things,” she said. “I will always be upfront with you and never lie to you about your health or your care. I practice evidence-based medicine.”
Some of the services Pettle provides at her South McAllen practice include:
“I will always be upfront with you and never lie to you about your health or your care. I practice evidence-based medicine.”
Adolescent and adult gynecology Family planning Treatment for polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) Prenatal wellness and exercise education Pregnancy induced hypertension C-sections and VBACs Infertility treatments (IUI) Treatments for abnormal vaginal bleeding Breast disorders Management of normal and high-risk pregnancies Pelvic organ prolapse repairs Ultrasounds Colposcopy Menopause and post-menopausal disorders and more.
valleycareclinics.com. Dr. Luz Pettle is located at 1800 S. Fifth St. in McAllen. For an appointment, you can book online or call (956) 682-4702.
As one of seven providers in the Valley Care Clinics Obstetrics and Gynecology group, Pettle has joined a growing team of diverse specialists. She shares an office with Dr. Ebenezer Nii-Moi, who, like Pettle, is da Vinci Surgical System-certified for minimally invasive surgery. In Edinburg, Drs. Giannina Guardia-Rullan, Kristy Morales, and Thiendella Diagne offer similar services. All five OB-GYNs deliver at South Texas Health System’s McAllen Medical Center and The Women’s Corner at Edinburg Regional Medical Center, and they also perform their gynecological surgeries there. Recently, two certified nurse midwives, Anna Shields and
Simone Payan, joined the Valley Care Clinics team. They are supervised by the female OB-GYNs, who also manage high-risk OB patients who may be looking for a midwife experience. “This is a great team to work for. It’s solid,” Pettle said. “We’re all a little different so we have much to offer the community in terms of what type of care, bedside manner, personality, certifications, or whatever it is you are looking for in your doctor. But we all like to say we are team players and partners in our patients’ care no matter at what stage of life they are in.” More information about the physicians and midwives of the Valley Care Clinics OB-GYN team can be found at www.
Dr. Lu z O l a y a Pe t t l e
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Dr. Jaime Gasco Internationally Board-Certified Neurosurgeon Serves Patients Like Family
by RGV isio n | p h o to b y Ja s o n G a r z a background, schooling, and how you continue staying upto-date on trends. Dr. JG: For what we do, you need to be constantly studying, preparing and going to courses where the latest technology is being shown and being done. I knew I wanted to do this since I was 16. I was formally exposed to neurosurgery at age 21 to 22 as a student. I trained overseas â€” I did part of my training in Spain and I rotated in Singapore and also the University of Virginia as a medical student during my first years as a resident in general surgery. I continued my education at the University of Texas in Galveston, where I participated in rotations at M.D. Anderson, Methodist, and Memorial Hermann UT Houston system. I had the honor to serve as faculty at the University of Texas Galveston as assistant professor and director of resident education for a number of years before I moved to the Valley.
Dr. Jaime Gasco is a Valley Care Clinics neurosurgeon at South Texas Health System Hospitals who recently became board-certified in two continents, here in the United States as well as in Europe. Our staff had the privilege of meeting with Dr. Gasco to get a closer look at what it means to be an neurosurgeon and the impact he is making on the lives of Valley residents. RGVision: What does a neurosurgeon do? Dr. Jaime Gasco: A neurosurgeon deals with the problems related to the brain, the cervical spine, the neck, the lumbar spine, anything that has to with the central nervous system or the peripheral nerve system. Surgeries can be anything from brain tumors to lumbar disc herniations to carpal tunnel. We also treat emergencies and trauma, for example, when patients suffer a fall or a car accident. RGVision: Talk a little bit about preparation. Your
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“For patient care, I always do to patients and offer to patients what I would offer to a family member.” Dr. J a i m e G a s co
RGVision: What was that moment when you were 16 that you realized you wanted to be a neurosurgeon? Dr. JG: A female neurosurgeon, who was a family friend, came to dinner when I was age 16 and my father told her “this kid wants to be a neurosurgeon,” so she invited me to the operating room. I visualized three or four surgeries that day with her — pediatric brain tumors — and with one of the best neurosurgeons in Madrid for pediatric brain surgery. I knew at the time that was going to be what I would do. RGVision: Talk about your recent certifications by the two different boards from two different countries and put it in perspective to what that means to a patient. Dr. JG: I think for patients, it gives them a sense of reassurance that the person/doctor they are seeing is knowledgeable. There’s always the discussion with the patients that has to happen in order for them to understand their condition. It gives patients a little of an expectation, and a level of confidence and trust that otherwise wouldn’t exist. Of course there may be surgeons that are not board certified who are young in their careers, just like I was a few years ago, and they may be also be very competent. For me to pursue both continents’ certifications was just a matter of uniting my background with my current professional situation. RGVision: What are some of the tools that you use in any advanced technology for the procedures you’re performing most? Dr. JG: So we have really state-of-the-art technology right now at South Texas Health System. We have microscopes that allow us to see with great accuracy and is very useful for
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RGVision: Do you have a mantra or philosophy that you abide by and tell others? Dr. JG: I would say that “take each day at a time and try to strive to be better every day.” So you know, at the end of the day, you'll look back and say “that was a good job” and analyze and look back on the things that you could have done better. I think it’s very important to be self-critical as a doctor. For patient care, I always do to patients and offer to patients what I would offer to a family member, and that’s something I was taught during training by my chairman and it has always been proven to be the best thing I learned. It always works. If your motivations are good and are essentially to help your patient, your indiciations will be most of the time very, very correct.
our microspine surgeries with minimally invasive techniques. We also have navigation tools with an intraoperative CT scan that allows us to navigate the spine as we’re doing surgery. And it allows us to put screws or hardware with a very good degree of accuracy and confidence. Like anything, I think it's very important to understand that the surgeon’s experience and the decision making process is superior in importance to any equipment. You can do these surgeries with X-rays, but the equipment gives you a level of confidence. You can never be overconfident and place all your trust in a piece of equipment, because they can fail any time. Every operation has to be planned as thoughtfully as you would plan a flight.
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FOOD & NUTRITION
E D U C AT I O N
Beating Illness Through Whole Foods And Lifestyle b y Ka r l a A r r e d on d o
does that mean? What is “healthy” food? Food is not “healthy.” Living beings may enjoy good health, which is the definition of healthy, but when we refer to “healthy food,” we actually mean nutritious. Food is good for our health when it is rich in nutrients. Nutritious foods are those that naturally contain many nutrients in the form of carbohydrates, proteins, fats, minerals, vitamins, fiber, and water. As a rule of thumb, we want to consume foods that are nutritious, just as Mother Nature provides.
I recently read an Instagram post that shared a picture of a grocery store aisle, posing the question, “If there is a ‘Nutrition’ section at the grocery store, what is all the other stuff?” It has become increasingly overwhelming to know whether what we are buying at the grocery store is truly good for us. We are bombarded with aggressive marketing labels to convince us that those sweet treats are actually good for us because they have added minerals, are “allnatural,” and “sugar-free.” But what exactly
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Steer clear of processed foods, which are the ones that have our current healthcare system treats these diseases with long ingredient lists disclosing all the extra stuff. medications, many medications greatly disrupt the gut “Should I be vegan, paleo, or keto? Vegetarian but microbiome and mask the symptoms of disease, leaving the occasionally eat meat?” Well, that depends. To share root cause of the problem intact and our bodies with an even my personal story, I started following a paleo diet after more favorable environment for illness. Food is medicine, completing the Whole 30® about three years ago. I loved and this is the most empowering piece of information you the Whole 30®! It was eye-opening, profoundly educational, can grasp to gain control of your health. and transformational. I have enjoyed good health ever since Beating illness through wholesome, nutritious foods is learning what works for me and eliminating what does not. a sustainable, long-term approach to leading healthy lives. For a while, I was preaching my lifestyle to everyone When you are grocery shopping, look at the ingredient who would listen because it felt so perfect, amazing, and I list. Foods such as produce, raw nuts, and non-processed wanted everyone to experience this. Then I learned through meats have no ingredient lists because they are exactly my health coaching training that dietary theories what you see (almonds, broccoli, apples … are not a one-size-fits-all kind of thing. An you get the idea). Most of us buy some optimal diet may be as individual and processed foods, too, and if this is unique as fingerprints are. Now I do the case, you can do your best to not stick to any one dietary theory, avoid added sugars, artificial but have gained awareness of ingredients, food colorings, Dietary habits may the foods that support health or names that are long and be very difficult to break. in my body and mind. So how difficult to pronounce. Our bodies may be so do you find out what works Some “bad” ingredients for you? use sneaky names. If you accustomed to the food we Dietary habits may be very search the downloadable eat, that we no longer register difficult to break. Our bodies resources from the Whole the symptoms of a disrupted may be so accustomed to 30® website, you can find a the food we eat that we no list of the common additive gut microbiome. longer register the symptoms cheat-sheet. You can also of a disrupted gut microbiome. improve your health by learning The gut microbiome is this what kinds of foods work well with wonderful world of beneficial bacteria your body, and which are disrupting in our intestines that we share a symbiotic your system. A full-blown reset like the relationship with. That is, they benefit us and we Whole 30® was a great way for me to do it, but benefit them. Certain foods disrupt this beautiful balance you can take a gentler and longer approach by eliminating and we get problems like leaky gut (bad bacteria entering one type of food for a couple of weeks, notice how you feel, our blood stream), poor digestion, heartburn, inflammation, then reintegrate it and eliminate another. Common foods to and even mental health issues. Yes, you read that correctly. eliminate that may be causing problems are legumes, dairy The gut is being recognized as our “second brain” as products, all kinds of sugars, and grains that contain gluten. research continues to support its connection to our mental When you start reading ingredient lists, you start realizing well-being. It is no wonder then that we have deep emotional how our food is so negatively altered. Furthermore, when attachments to certain foods and we give in to strong you give your body a chance to reset, and you reconnect cravings. But knowledge is power, and now you have this to it noticing the signs and subtle ways it communicates information to use to your advantage. with you, you learn to listen to its needs, and to trust your A chronically disrupted gut microbiome may lead to judgment. Making positive food choices becomes a nolifestyle diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, high brainer. Be an informed shopper in order to really know the blood pressure, COPD, stroke, many types of cancers, food you consume and improve your health. We are made of autoimmune diseases, personality and mood disorders, exactly what we eat, and health begins from the inside out. autism, and depression, to name a few. These conditions can be significantly improved by the food we eat. While
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H E A L T H
HOW TO NAVIGATE
b y Ka r l a A r r e d on d o
In the spirit of being more informed and mindful grocery shoppers, below is some information on food labels to simplify the experience for you. As you begin, continue, or refine your lifestyle habits regarding nutrition, being able to understand what the common food labels really stand for is important. Most of them aim to convince you of buying something by sounding healthy and beneficial, but this is not necessarily the case. The Dailyburn and Mindbodygreen offer great insight into this subject. While food labels sometimes suggest a beneficial property, the rule of thumb is to check the ingredient list. “I first teach how to read food ingredient labels,” said Lebby Salinas, Holistic Health & Wellness Coach, a.k.a.
The Fooducator®. “Second I teach how NOT to have to read food ingredient labels because REAL FOOD does not have ingredient labels. However, if you do eat food that has a label, [it is] best to [stick to] 5 or less ingredients and only ingredients you can pronounce and are made from other real food ingredients.” So let’s have a look at what some common labels mean, including ethical implications of some. “Fortified with” means that the manufacturer of the product added vitamins or minerals. This implies that those nutrients are not present naturally, but fortification does not necessarily make a product more nutritious or good for your health. It is best to apply the rule of thumb
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can use this label on their products if it contains less than 20 ppm gluten, according to Daily Burn. So again, check the ingredient list to make sure that a gluten-free product is free of any grains that contain gluten, or if it is processed in a facility that produces them, as they could be cross-contaminated. “Sugar-Free” may be the most deceiving label. This label typically means that real sugar has been left out but replaced with an artificial sweetener. This is NOT healthier, and all types of sweeteners (agave, coconut, raw, stevia, etc.) have the same chemical response in the brain: pleasure, addiction, reward. If your goal is to avoid sugar altogether, look for the stamps “No Added Sweeteners,” and always check your ingredient list. Different types of sugars (saccharides) usually end in -ose, such as glucose and sucrose, but maltodextrin or sorbitol are also sugars. While this is not an exhaustive list, it is sufficient to identify a pattern. Food companies are using labels that make them sound like they are on our side, but the labels are actually deceiving and hide a truth we are usually disappointed by. Surely new labels and stamps, certifications, and standards will emerge, and we will continue to be proactive in understanding what we are buying. What we feed our bodies has the most significant effect on our health and wellbeing. Let’s be kind and respectful to it, and nourish it with real, wholesome foods, as nature intended.
of checking the ingredient list to find out what other things have been added. “Certified Humane” is a label certified by a nonprofit that has strict standards requiring that animals have access to fresh water, quality feed, and abundant roaming space. This label also means that meat is hormone-free and antibiotic-free. “Cage-Free” vs “Pasture-Raised.” When it comes to eggs, the labels are a bit confusing. Cage-free does not mean that chickens are roaming free, but only that chickens were raised in open industrial barn rooms that house hundreds of crammed chickens, as opposed to in tiny crates. Pasture-raised eggs are laid by hens that get to spend their days outside on pastures. These eggs tend to have deep orange-colored yolks, which is a good indication of health quality. “Natural” does not mean much for the most part, as this label is not clearly defined by the FDA. Manufacturers may include this label if a food item has no added colors, artificial flavors, or synthetic ingredients. Organic foods may be labeled in different ways. Listed in order of quality, organic labels include “USDA Organic,” “Certified Organic,” or “100% Organic.” The USDA Organic label is the most trusted, according to the sources above. “Non-GMO” means that a food was produced without the use of genetically modified organisms. While research has consistently supported the notion that GMO foods are safe, many people still opt to avoid them. “Gluten-Free” stamped products do not have any gluten-containing grains in them, such as wheat, barley, or rye. However, it is important to note that manufacturers
As you begin, continue, or refine your lifestyle habits regarding nutrition, being able to understand what the common food labels really stand for is important. Most of them aim to convince you of buying something by sounding healthy and beneficial, but this is not necessarily the case.
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THE SILENT KILLER
by Lor i H ou s t on
In a 2018 study conducted by WalletHub and a panel of experts, the McAllen Metro area was once again named amongst the top five fattest cities in America. Obesityrelated conditions, such as heart disease and diabetes, are also common in the region. One reason for these findings is linked to the long-term overconsumption of added sugars. According to the USDA, added sugars are sugars and syrups that are added to food or beverages when they are processed and prepared, but does not include naturally occurring sugars such as those found in milk and fruit. “Foods with added sugars promote overconsumption
and the inability to control cravings,” said Karla Arredondo, the owner of Feminae Women’s Health Holistic Services in McAllen. “These foods create habits and eating behaviors that are hard to break.” According to the American Heart Association, many people consume more sugar than they realize. The organization’s website notes that it is important to be aware of how much added sugar you are taking in because it is not needed to keep our bodies functioning. Added sugar only adds many calories with no nutritional value, leading to obesity and poor heart health. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
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Foods with added sugars promote overconsumption and the inability to control cravings.” Ka rla A r r ed o nd o, o w ne r o f Fe m i nae Women’s Health H ol i s ti c Se r v i ce s
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this is directly what you are giving your body. The food you eat is the largest and most direct influence of your health. If you are not buying fresh, whole foods, such as fresh veggies, fruits, meats, fish, raw nuts, as they come from the earth, then it likely has added sugars.” Some of the best ways to reduce the amount of added sugar in your diet is to avoid packaged and processed foods, sugary drinks, and to eat more proteins and healthy fats. Replace your desserts with fruit or Greek yogurt, and void sauces with added sugars and rely on spices instead for flavor. Arredondo is an occupational therapist who seeks to improve the lives of her patients in any way that she can. Occupational therapy encourages rehabilitation of physical or mental illness by performing tasks that are used in everyday life. “Occupational therapists can guide and educate clients on things like whole versus processed foods, reading ingredient lists, breaking up activities into objectives to help clients reach health-related goals in an effective and realistic way,” Arredondo said. “We can teach clients positive coping strategies for other negative effects of poor nutrition, such as stress, depression, and anxiety.” Arredondo firmly believes that many lifestyle diseases can be prevented or reversed by changing our eating habits.
states that sugar-sweetened beverages or sugary drinks are the leading sources of added sugars in the American diet. Frequently drinking sugar-sweetened beverages is associated with weight gain and obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, kidney diseases, non-alcoholic liver disease, tooth decay and cavities, and gout, a type of arthritis. Arredondo first became interested in the effects of added sugar on her health after being introduced to Whole30, a short-term nutrition reset with a focus on eating real food, limiting processed foods and foods with added sugar. “Taking out added sugars for an entire month made me experience firsthand what a healthy gut response feels like, but also what withdrawal from sugar is like,” Arredondo said. “Sugar is so addictive that going off it causes withdrawal symptoms similar to withdrawal from other drugs.” Examples of added sugars include but are not limited to honey, sucrose, corn syrup, and dextrose. These ingredients and others are often found in our easy-to-grab, prepackaged and processed foods. Arredondo also stresses the importance of reading the ingredient list on packaged foods, noting that this is one of the easiest and most significant changes you can make to avoid the overconsumption of added sugars. “Most likely, there are 10 to 20 ingredients, and most of those are hard to pronounce,” she said. “Pause for a second and realize
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SUN SALUTATION WORKPLACE WELLNESS
This particular yoga exercise is a series of stretches combined called Sun Salutation. Included is the traditional method of the stretches along with a modified stretch that can be done right from your chair. Enjoy!
i n t r o b y S of i a A l e m a n | p h ot os b y O m a r D í a z
In a society where most people are obtaining jobs that require many hours in front of a computer, it’s imperative to stretch your body. Doing simple yoga stretches during your lunch break will only take about 15 minutes and aid in keeping your muscles flexible and strong. Without stretching, muscles shorten and become tight. One will also lose a range of motion in their joints. Ana Karen Torres from Ana Karen Torres Online Nutrition introduces an excellent way to keep your body healthy with yoga stretches right from the convenience of your small office or cubicle. Now there is no longer an excuse to not maintain your muscle strength. Invite your co-workers to join in the fitness fun.
WIND RELEASE POSE 1-EXHALE 1.Slowly straighten your back without taking your chin off your chest until you're completely upright. Pull you knees towards your abdomen. Maintain a straight back. 2.Straighten your back but don’t take your chin off your chest until you’re completely straight. Pull your knees toward your abdomen.
PRAYER POSE-INHALE Hands in a prayer position in front of the chest, back straight, tighten the abdomen.
WIND RELEASE POSE 2-INHALE Go deeper, trying to bring your head to the knees, relaxing your neck.
HALF BOAT POSE-EXHALE Sitting in your chair, extend your legs in front of you, lifting them from the floor while strengthening your abdomen.
FORWARD BEND-INHALE Place your head between your knees and touch your chest with your chin.
RAISED ARMS POSE-EXHALE Extend your arms behind you and bring your chest forward, make sure your neck is aligned to your arms.
YOU’VE NOW SUCCESSFULLY DONE THE SUN SALUTATION YOGA EXERCISE. Repeat these steps for a total of two reps, the following time use the other side of your body. Try to stretch every day during the workday and your body will thank you!
EXERCISES WERE PROVIDED BY
A N A KA R E N TO R R E S To find more nutrition and health tips, visit her Facebook at @ anakarentorresonlinenutrition.
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H E A L T H
LOW-FAT ZUCCHINI LASAGNA i ntr o b y So fi a Al ema n | p h ot o b y O m a r D í a z
PREPARATION 1. Heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit 2. Cut the zucchini lengthwise in thin slices 3. Put the zucchini in the oven for 10 to 15 minutes to dehydrate. Finish drying them with a napkin then reserve for later in the recipe. 4. In a pan add a little extra virgin olive oil,
3 zucchinis $3
the finely chopped garlic and chopped red bell pepper and saute. Once garlic is slightly golden, add the ground turkey meat, season with black pepper, sea salt, and oregano, and stir until the meat is fully cooked. Once cooked, add the homemade tomato sauce (recipe found below) wait for it to boil. Remove from heat and reserve.
1 lb of ground turkey $4
5. Oil a deep 10- to 12-inch oven dish and start
3 garlic clove finely chopped 60 cents 1 cup of tomato sauce $3 2 cups of fat free cottage cheese $2 1 cup of grated parmesan cheese $3 1/2 onion finely chopped $1
by placing the zucchini strips first. Add 1 cup of cottage cheese, 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese, ground turkey and sauce and another layer of zucchini. Continue by adding another cup of cottage cheese and 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese, meat sauce until ingredients finish.
6. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes, waiting until the cheese turns golden and bubbles. 7. Carefully remove the oven, let cool for 10 minutes, and serve.
4 tomatoes $1.50 Seasonings: garlic powder, sea salt, black pepper, extra virgin olive oil, oregano
Yields 4 servings 255 calories per serving cost: $18.60
SAUCE 1. Cook 4 tomatoes until tender, remove from heat and reserve. 2. Finely chop an onion and 2 cloves of garlic, brown in olive oil until dry.
3. Blend cooked tomatoes, garlic, onion. Salt and pepper to taste. RECIPE PROVIDED BY:
AN A K AR E N TO R R E S Bachelor of Science (BS): Nutrition More recipes can be found on Facebook: @anakarentorresonlinenutrition
1 red pepper 50 cents
We recognize it’s not always easy (or cheap) to eat clean, especially if you have a family. With little children, it may also be difficult to get them to eat vegetables like broccoli or other greens. This recipe is kid-approved and is affordable for any sized family. It will leave you without the bloat and give your kids the healthy veggies they need to stay strong and healthy. Did we mention it’s also low-carb and wheat-free? It’s a win-win for everyone and costs less than $20.
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Pet Therapy RGVISION MAGAZINE
st o r y a nd p h o to s b y Geo rge Cox
When Sue Gunnels and Baby visit the Alzheimer’s unit at an assisted living facility in Harlingen, their mission is to bring a little sunshine into the residents’ lives. “It’s like sharing the sunshine of yourself and your therapy pet with others and receiving twice as much sunshine back,” she said. As a registered therapy pet team for more than six years, Gunnels and her rescue dog, Baby, are among a special breed of humans and animals that help supply an overwhelming demand for their volunteer services. “You know you have contributed something of yourself and your pet to people who need to touch, feel and communicate … and feel so safe in doing so with a therapy pet,” she said. The physical, mental, and educational impacts of human interaction with animals are well documented. According to Pet Partners, a national nonprofit organization that registers therapy pet teams and provides support and continuing education, veterans with PTSD, seniors living
with Alzheimer’s, students with literacy challenges, patients in recovery, people with intellectual disabilities, and those approaching end of life are among people who can benefit from animal-assisted interventions. “In the memory group, the residents may be sitting quietly alone in their own world of thoughts and as Baby lays her head in their lap or sits beside them, they come alive and reach down with big smiles and pet her or call her by the name of one of their past pets,” Gunnels said. Since there is no good way to track the numbers of therapy pet teams and their visits, it is unclear how many teams are active in the Rio Grande Valley. But what is clear is that there are not enough of these volunteers to meet the demand. “I get calls from facilities all the time asking for a team to visit but I can’t oblige them,” said Denise Silcox, the only therapy pet team evaluator licensed by Pet Partners in Deep South Texas. Silcox uses therapy animals as part of her practice as
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Therapy pet Jackson Durango visiting young residents at Sunny Glen Children’s Home in San Benito.
animal,” Silcox said. “They go through all the trouble and expense of getting registered, visit once or twice and then quit because they forgot that they have to be good at it, too.” For therapy pet handlers, Silcox said they tend to find success through dedication and finding a population with which they are comfortable interacting. “For some it might be children, for others, senior citizens,” she said. Silcox schedules two evaluation days each year, but would do them more often if the demand is there. She said people who are interested in becoming registered therapy pet teams should first complete a basic obedience course with their pet and then do the home study course at petpartners.org. They can contact Silcox at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. Another resource for therapy pet information in the Valley is Inspirational Pets of South Texas, online at inspirationalpets.com.
Therapy pet Sobrina Luna, an Irish wolfhound, with an IDEA Public Schools student during a student reward day.
a certified rehabilitation counselor. An assistant clinical professor in the School of Rehabilitation Counseling and Services at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, Silcox teaches a course titled Animals in Health Care that looks at how animals can improve human health. She is also the sponsor of the university’s Animal Therapy Club. “People who volunteer with their pets in the community are making a huge difference,” she said. “Animals have a way of making people feel better. Having a pet visit a nursing home or hospital gives patients a chance to think of something besides their situation and creates a sense of normalcy.” Silcox believes more people would be willing to volunteer if they knew how to get started. While most therapy pets are dogs, Pet Partners recognizes nine species as potential therapy animals, including cats, horses and even alpacas. “The animal must be dependable, obedient and most of all love being with people,” she said. Some basic obedience is required to pass the evaluation, but most of the exercises simulate situations and distractions that therapy pet teams might encounter on an actual visit. In one exercise, volunteers role-play as hospital patients in wheelchairs and using other medical equipment. In another, the team is crowded by individuals who may be very loud and attempt to inappropriately interact with the animal. The evaluation is more than just a test of the animal. It evaluates the human and the animal as a team. “One thing I have seen repeatedly is a person who looks at his animal and thinks how great the animal would be as a therapy
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Reviving The Forgotten Sport of Bowling
b y Lo r i Ho ust on | p h ot o b y J a s on G a r z a
They say time changes everything, and bowling is no different. In its heyday during the 1960s, there were approximately 12,000 bowling centers in the United States. Now, there are only about 5,000 certified centers left. The majority of the customers were league players who signed up to play once or twice a week for 30 or so weeks a year, but the bowling business has experienced a major shift over the past several decades. Changing lifestyles have changed people’s bowling habits. We now live in a time-pressured, spontaneous culture. The most significant change is that more and more people are working variable schedules so they are not willing to commit to showing up every week for such a long time. At one time, there were over 9 million sanctioned bowlers in the United States. It is down to about 2 million now. Here in the Rio Grande Valley, we still have a few busy bowling centers. David Forquer Jr. is a regular at Incredibowl in Mission, and his passion is still league bowling. “I’m just a regular old bowler, just a regular league bowler,” he said. He has been bowling for 35 years, starting in the youth
league at 12 years old and switching to the adult league when he turned 18. His father, who has been bowling for over 40 years, is the one who got him started in bowling. There are two leagues playing at Incredibowl, which is where Forquer bowls, and up to five leagues at Flamingo Bowl in McAllen — including one youth league on Saturdays. The league bowling season starts in late August and runs through May. Forquer bowls two nights a week with his league, but says it isn’t unusual for some bowlers to bowl up to five nights a week. He says many people bowl in more than one league, but estimates that there are anywhere from 500 to 800 different bowlers between the two main bowling centers in the Valley, with bowlers coming from Brownsville, Port Isabel, Corpus Christi, Harlingen, and Mexico to play. The decline in league play that has been noted around the country is also evident here. According to Forquer, the league used to have over 1,500 players, but now has approximately 800. He says he has hopes of drawing in new, younger players. Forquer and others on the league have been mainly
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using word of mouth to attract new bowlers but will also be placing fliers in the bowling centers to explain all the incentives of league bowling. He points out that many of the longtime bowlers will coach new people for free, and there are cash prizes based on a point system and for different categories like high average and more. Anybody can start a league, but if they want to be sanctioned, they have to go through the U.S. Bowling Congress. There is no minimum number of players, but Forquer recommends at least 30 people to make it worthwhile. “There is even a Winter Texan league here, but they play for fun,” he said. “They want to socialize and get some exercise.” When asked what he liked most about bowling, Forquer said he liked the skill, the competition. “It’s about trying to improve yourself, because you want to be the best,” he said. According to Bowlingball.com, bowling is a game, and recreational, but because it is highly competitive, as seen in some fierce battles on the Pro Tour and in the Amateur tournaments, it is also a sport. A few years ago it was under consideration for becoming an event in the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. However, it wasn’t chosen because it isn’t very appealing to youths and new facilities would have to be constructed. Fourquer is looking for bowlers to join him in trying out for Team USA. “We have some really good bowlers here,” he said. “I’m going to go. Whether I win or fail, it’s for the experience.” He has friends in this league who have bowled 46 and 47 perfect 300 games. “I was 13 years old when I bowled my first 200 game,” Forquer said. “This season I bowled a 299 game. One of my friends bowled his first 300 game the next week.” The community built by the league players here in the Rio Grande Valley is truly supportive. They celebrate each other’s accomplishments and comfort each other in disappointment. At the end of the bowling season, they have a big gala at the Echo Hotel in Edinburg to celebrate and see who makes it into the Hall of Fame. “All of us in this association have known each other for a long time,” Forquer said. “We’re a big family.”
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CATTLE BARON’S BALL KICKS OFF Retired News Anchor to Be This Year’s Honoree
by Amy C a sebier Bank lenders moonlighting as models strutted down the catwalk, flaunting colorful versions of cowboy chic in boots and bedazzled dresses, felt hats and pressed jeans. “They’ve really gotten into the spirit of not only hosting this beautiful event at their wonderful facility but also modeling,” said Susan Rodriguez, senior manager of community development at the American Cancer Society. The fashion show was the highlight of the evening during May 10’s kick-off event at Texas Regional Bank in McAllen for the annual Cattle Baron’s Ball of the RGV. The kick-off also included drinks, appetizers, the opportunity to purchase tickets and tables for the ball, and the announcement of this year’s entertainment: Sawyer Brown. The official ball takes place Sept. 22 at the Boggus Ford Events Center in Pharr. Texas Regional Bank hosts quarterly mixers, and organizers decided to team up with the ACS for the kick-off event, said Felicia Villarreal, business development officer at the bank. “It’s also an opportunity for the nonprofit to share their story and share what their plans are for fundraising,” she said, adding that cancer is an issue that hits home for many at the bank — especially for several at the branch who had lost loved ones to cancer over the last year.
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“We were able to help lots of people, thousands and thousands of people in the Rio Grande Valley. That was my favorite part of working at Channel 5.”
Every Cattle Baron’s Ball features an honoree. This year, the event will honor former KRGV Channel 5 news anchor Letty Garza. Garza retired last year after being diagnosed with a rare form of kidney cancer. “When I got to know her story, I couldn’t have picked a better person to honor,” said Clara Chapa, ACS community development manager. “She’s done so much for her community. We all grew up watching her on the news and she’s been very courageous in her battle, so I really wanted to give her the spotlight and let her tell her story.” Garza worked her way up through the ranks at Channel 5 during her 35-year career, beginning as an intern at age 22. “We were able to help lots of people, thousands and thousands of people in the Rio Grande Valley,” she said by phone from Austin, living there now after her husband became the state’s DPS counterterrorism manager. “That was my favorite part of working at Channel 5.” Garza says she loves Austin, especially the wealth of bike trails and friendly people. But her retirement got off to a rocky start. “Remember the movie ‘Forrest Gump?’” she asked. “Remember when Jenny came home and slept for like two weeks? That was me. Man, after I retired, I slept and slept and slept and slept.” She also found it particularly difficult to relax around 6 p.m. — time to go live for the news. It took her some time to get into the swing of things — joining a fitness club, getting to know herself again, and deciding that she wasn’t ready for retirement after all. Garza recently had her first day as a public affairs specialist with FEMA in Austin, helping people like she used to through Channel 5.
When she discovered she would be the Cattle Baron’s Ball honoree this year, Garza says she was floored. “I was so honored to be asked by Clara to be part of this event, but you know, it’s not about honoring me,” she said. “It’s about helping others, and I cannot wait to tell my story.” Sharing her experience with others is important to Garza because kidney cancer usually doesn’t have symptoms. Garza experienced exhaustion, a nagging pain in her side, and a persistent fever. She found herself calling in sick to work at Channel 5 far more often than usual. “A lot of people find out they have kidney cancer way too late, after it’s spread,” she said. “Mine was already at stage three — just a few more months and I probably would not have made it.” After a surgery to remove her left kidney, Garza has been in remission from the rare and aggressive form of cancer. She receives an MRI every six months to ensure it hasn’t returned. “If people just listen to their bodies, if you suspect, if there’s just like that weird feeling of extra tiredness or you get a fever for no reason, get it checked out,” Garza said. “When you think about $300 for an ultrasound versus your life, that’s priceless.” Garza says she hopes to use her opportunity at the Cattle Baron’s Ball to raise awareness of the importance of catching cancer early. “She has a great passion for her cause,” said Rodriguez of the ACS. “She has benefited from our services, so it’s great that she can represent our organization so well. I think she’ll bring a whole new group of people and a new sense of energy and passion to the event.” Tables and individual tickets for the Cattle Baron’s Ball of the RGV can be purchased online or by calling the ACS at (956) 682-8329. Learn more about this year’s Cattle Baron’s Ball of the RGV at https://acshped.ejoinme.org/RGVCBB.
Le t t y G a r z a , former K RGV Ch an n el 5 n ews an c h o r
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by So fia Al ema n RGVision decided to do its first “foodie guide.” We want to know where we can locate some of the Valley’s best and most frequented restaurants for all types of foods and treats. For this issue, we asked our readers to vote for their favorite burger spot. We compiled that list as a guide of where you can find some of the craftiest, juiciest, and most delicious burgers all over the Valley! We encourage you to try as many of these burger joints as possible, upload photos on Instagram and Facebook, and tag us at @rgvisionmagazine.
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TA K I N G FLIGHT McCreery Aviation Offers Slew of Services to RGV
by A my C a sebier | p h o to s b y Ja s o n G a r z a
. RGVISION MAGAZINE
If somebody famous is flying in to McAllen, chances are they’re landing at McCreery Aviation Company. “When people fly their private airplanes, this is where they would park their airplane when they come to town,” said Bob McCreery, owner, general manager, and president of McCreery Aviation. “Clinton was in here a couple times. Of course we get all kinds of government officials coming and going all the time. Celebrities. We had Frankie Valli from the Four Seasons.” Part of the company’s facilities functions as a who’s who of well-known visitors to the Rio Grande Valley. “We have a picture board down here in the lobby and we try to take pictures with some of them, if they’ll let us,” McCreery said. “We put it up on the boards and kind of see who’s been coming through in the last 15, 20 years.” McCreery Aviation Company has been a fixture in the region’s aviation community since its founding in 1946 by McCreery’s father, who was stationed at Harlingen Air Force Base during World War II. First located in Mercedes, McCreery Aviation was relocated to McAllen two years later. As the aviation industry grew, so did the company. For McCreery himself, the company influenced the course of his life. “I was kind of raised in it, worked at the airport in summertimes,” he said. One of his favorite memories from growing up around airplanes includes busy weekends during white-winged dove hunting season. “White-wing season used to be really, really big down here in the Valley back in the ’60s and ’70s,” McCreery said. “We would have airplanes fly down from all around the state — the airport was just full of airplanes. It was crazy how much activity there was during those particular years. We would be down here for four days from dawn to dusk out at the airport taking care of things and handling all of the airplanes that came through.” In 1979, he returned to work full time at the company, where he now oversees around six departments and 45 employees. “Now we’re in our 72nd year,” McCreery said. “We have enjoyed a long run, have seen lots of ups and downs in the economy, in the aviation industry all those years — and still fighting it today.”
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McCreery said. “Most people, it just really hooks them good.” After they’ve caught the bug, potential students can enroll in a flight school and complete requirements in their own time. “The flight school works on a B o b Mc Cr eer y, o w ne r, gen eral man ager, self-paced program,” McCreery and p r e s i de nt o f McCr e e r y Aviation said. “You do your ground school studies at your own pace. If they want to fly every day, they can. If they want to fly once a The RGV is uniquely positioned as an international week, they could do that, too. The course is very flexible in community for aviation, McCreery said, explaining that his the fact that we work around the student’s schedule. The company serves both U.S. and Mexican customers. student can pretty much dictate how quickly they want to go “Because we’re tied to two economies,” he said. “When through the course and get their license.” things are good, people move more often. When things slow McCreery got his pilot’s license when he was a teenager. down, they don’t move around as often — it kind of ebbs and “Think I got my driver’s license and my pilot’s license back flows with the economy.” to back, back in those days,” he said. McCreery Aviation isn’t just a place for people to park their Whether someone is looking to learn how to fly or for a private planes. In addition to hangar services, the company place to land their private plane, McCreery Aviation — a fixed offers a flight school, charter services, aircraft sales, parts base operator — offers everything someone in the aviation sales, aircraft maintenance, fueling, and more. community might need. “We’re not just a one-stop shop,” McCreery said. “We do “We’re a minority in the fact that we do provide all these quite a few different things to support and service private services to the general aviation public under one ownership aircraft. Every day is a different day at the airport.” and one location,” McCreery said, adding that every airport For individuals who dream of flying, flight school through has an FBO like his company on the premises. “I think that’s McCreery Aviation is an accessible option. The company something that makes us stand out a little bit from others in offers a $100 discovery flight that gives participants a the industry.” primer on what flight school would be like — as well as a To learn more about the McCreery Aviation Company, go to quick jaunt in the air. www.mccreeryaviation.com/. “They go fly for about 20 minutes — a short flight — to let
“The flight school works on a selfpaced program. You do your ground school studies at your own pace. If they want to fly every day, they can.”
them experience what it’s like to get up in a small airplane,”
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R E A DY F O R ANYTHING Free Training Aims to Prep Schools, Businesses, Churches for Active Shooters
b y Amy Ca s eb i e r | p h ot os b y J a s on G a r z a
You’re sitting at your desk at work and suddenly, the unthinkable happens — gunshots in the lobby. You either have a plan to implement in this kind of emergency, or you don’t. Sheriff’s Deputy Ricardo R. Garcia is the primary instructor for the Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office Active Shooter Awareness Program — or ASAP. The training program is offered to everyone for free. “I’ve taught this class to thousands of people over the last couple of years all over the state of Texas,” said Garcia, who has an Army background. The majority of the lessons he’s led has been for educators. But businesses and other entities stand to benefit from the same type of training, since such incidents can happen anytime, anywhere. “The good news is this: There have been enough incidents, we have cracked the code,” Garcia said. “We have begun to see patterns where we can hand you the keys of success in this.” Some of those keys include being aware of your surroundings. “We’ve unplugged from the world around us,” Garcia said. “My challenge to you is look at everyone around you.” Be aware of the parking lot when you’re arriving at work or the store. If you sense something off, Garcia
urges you to call the police. “Call us a thousand times,” he said. “It’s OK. The one time that it pays out, it’ll be worth it for everyone involved.” Another key is to be proactive and pragmatic. “The truth is this: The world has changed,” Garcia said. “The very first step for us to take the power away from these people who are doing these horrible things is accepting that the world has changed.” People can move forward from that initial step by completing a plan of action for active shooter scenarios. This can take the form of a safety committee in the workplace, to investing in a quality first aid kit, to talking to your children about what to do if they get separated during an emergency situation. Garcia said that he is always available to help review and implement safety plans. If the worst happens, and an attacker gains entry, know what you can do. This includes three directives: run, hide, and fight. RUN. If there is an opportunity to do so, flee through the exit nearest to you — away from the gunshots. Leave in spite of what people around you are doing. Don’t worry about your belongings. If you have the chance, help others escape, too. Try to stop people from entering the danger area. Once you’re safe, call 9-1-1.
R i ca r d o R . G a r ci a , Sh eriff ’s Depu ty
“I can tell you this from experience, having been in dozens of combat situations. You will always fight the way that you train.When something goes wrong, you will always act in an instinct that is brought about through repetitive training and thought. That’s how it works.”
HIDE. If your exit is blocked, find someplace safe to hide, away from the shooting. Try for a separate room or closet. Lock or barricade the door. Stay quiet, including silencing your cell phone. Keep out of the shooter’s view. FIGHT. As a last resort, when you are in danger, attempt to stop the shooter. Use physical aggression. Improvise weapons with what you have around you. Once you’ve started to make your move, commit to it. The goal of these three actions is to limit the damage the attacker can do in the time it takes for officers to arrive. “You need to learn how to buy time,” Garcia said. “I need the two minutes it’s going to take to get here. Once you hear sirens, we’re good. But how do you buy me those two minutes?” Having this sense of partnership between the public and law enforcement is the next step toward better safety preparedness. “We’re winning because we are beginning to talk as a community,” Garcia said. “We’re beginning to match our response to what we need you to do. We’re going to end this trend because we’re going to take charge again.” And knowing what you’re going to do ahead of an emergency empowers you to act. “I can tell you this from experience, having been in dozens of combat situations. You will always fight the way that you train,” Garcia said. “When something goes wrong, you will always act in an instinct that is brought about through repetitive training and thought. That’s how it works.” Even taking a few minutes to look around you to see where you could quickly exit, take cover, or what on your desk could be used as a weapon to fend off an attacker is valuable. “When something is happening, when the endorphins and the cortisol and the adrenaline are coursing through your body, that is not going to be the time for you to have coherent thought about what you’re going to do next,” Garcia said. “If you’ve never had the conversation with yourself, you will do nothing.” For more information about how to take part in the Active Shooter Awareness Program, contact Sr. Dep. Ricardo Garcia via the Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office Academy by phone at (956) 381-7979 or email at email@example.com.
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ARTISTS RGVision is inspired, ignited, and passionate about the livelihood of the Valley. Our aim is to cover your story, and feature what would matter most to our readers. Because we’re reader-centered, it only made sense to showcase some of the Valley’s local talent. Art breathes the brilliance, vision, and imagination of its creator. This is why we embrace it and encourage our local artists to continue shaping our culture through their visual expression. Included are pieces submitted to the magazine from the talented individuals who live right in your area. We thank you for your submissions and are happy to share them with our community! If you would like to submit your artwork to our next issue, please visit our facebook at @rgvisionmagazine for more information.
Los Llamantes Watercolor, Pen & Ink 2015 INSTAGRAM instagram.com/severed.thumbs
I fasted for five days. By the fifth day I couldn’t see nor think straight. I went to see the Doctor. And I had lost 8 lbs! But when I told him that I couldn’t see nor think straight he said “Well do you know the head weighs 8 lbs? So that’s probably what you lost first.....” _ 2018
Pedazo N° 5 Assemblage 2018
Pedazo N° 6 Assemblage 2018
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FRANCISCO RODRIGUEZ SHERU CITY PLAZA Oil Painting on Canvas 2016
SEA ADVENTURE Oil Painting on Canvas 2015 pastelcomicbooks.com
Tap Tap Tap Clip Studio Paint 2018
Rooted Screenprint 2017 Cuantos Más? Glazed Stoneware 2017 INSTAGRAM instagram.com/negracaderona
Qipao dress “China Beauty” Acrylic & Glitter 2017
Padaung “Mujeres Jirafa” Acrylic & Glitter 2017
Humilde Cómo El Serpiente Lithograph 2017
JESSICA D VILLEGAS
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JOSE CHAVERO RIVERA
Allen’s Landing Wallpaper Digital graphics on cotton canvas 2017
Lia in White Watercolor on Paper 2018
Lia in Blue Watercolor on Paper 2018
Mil máscaras Collage on papier-mâché 2018
Frame Structure, an influence map Acrylic on print 2018 jichrivera.myportfolio.com
Happy Ending Mixed Media 2017 Feeling Yellow Mixed Media 2017 War with the Mind Mixed Media 2017
Philosophy of Water Ceramic 2018
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COMMITMENT TO SERVE S.O.S Ministry Brings Hope to People of Matamoros
b y S of i a A l e m a n
In a land not far from ours there lives mothers, fathers, and children who look a lot like our own. They carry the bloodline of our ancestors along with hopes, dreams, and the strife for a better life. But their reality looks radically different than those of us who after the commitment of our forefathers ended up on this side of the border. Not far from the Brownsville bridge, whole families in Matamoros are still digging around in what used to be dumpsites, looking for scraps to feed their children. Thankfully, there is a Valley ministry, Servants of our Savior Ministries, or S.O.S., that continues to remedy the hunger, lack of shelter, education, and medical care that continues not far from our homes. S.O.S. Ministry was started 18 years ago by Paulino Gonzalez, a pastor living in Brownsville who noticed the impoverished lifestyle of certain neighborhoods, or colonias, in Matamoros. His attention veered to the groups of inhabitants who would claim 500 square feet of land on old dump sites, or basureros, and build makeshift huts for homes. It wasn’t long after that Gonzalez started to supply the people of these colonias with food, visits from doctors, and small, one-room homes through a ministry he created called S.O.S. Ministries.
S.O.S. was started specifically to bring aid and healing to people who otherwise wouldn’t have enough money to purchase daily meals for themselves or their children. The ministry continues to serve individuals in Matamoros and now Oaxaca, México. It is still operated under the leadership of Gonzalez, but now is faithfully co-managed by his adopted daughter, Rosaneli Barreiro, and her husband, Aaron Barreiro. Rosaneli, having been plucked from a life of economic disadvantage herself at 14 years old, feels an urgency to continue to serve the areas where she has a strong family and cultural tie. “I was living in Matamoros for two years and my family was really poor,” she said. “I got to know a missionary who visited our town, Paulino Gonzalez, and his wife, Tere Gonzalez. They allowed me to live in their home and the treated me like a daughter. They gave me the opportunity to study.” While going to school, Rosaneli was able to attend missionary trips with the Gonzalez family in Oaxaca, providing wellness supplies and services that included glasses to those who couldn’t afford eye care, trips to the doctor, and meeting people’s basic needs with food every
the families with small children during the extreme weather during summer and winter. S.O.S. Ministry offers people of the Valley a chance to reconnect to their roots in a tangible way. As Americans with Mexican roots, many people rarely or never experience the burden of not knowing if they will have food to feed their children tomorrow, or experienced a storm without a roof over their heads. To realize that families have survived impoverished lifestyles in Mexico and have somehow worked their way out of it powerfully reunites a disconnect some people may have accidentally slipped into. “Our hope is that people right across the border would recognize that immediate needs who even with just a little bit of giving, whether it be time or finances, you could literally change a life so easily,” Aaron said. “And with the impact of more people from the Valley, there’s millions of people who live between Starr County and Cameron County. Those millions of people would mean the impact could potentially be great if we were willing to put in that effort.” If you would like to help hundreds of children and families in need thrive, please consider giving financially to S.O.S. Ministry. If you’d like to help one-on-one, volunteers are always welcomed. For more information and to find out ways to give, visit the website at www.aaronyrosaneli.weebly.com or email them personally at firstname.lastname@example.org.
day. This even began building small, one-room houses in neighborhoods, all the while making sure to share the love of Jesus Christ to all who came. “From that point, I fell in love with serving people for Jesus,” Rosaneli said. “When I saw the need in these colonias I felt in my heart a need to live to serve other people. When we serve others, it actually makes us happier. Sometimes we don’t have much, but we try to do whatever possible.” S.O.S. continues to supply groceries like milk, cooking oil, and other non-perishable groceries to the colonias the organization’s members visit. Rosaneli recalled an endearing moment in her experience when an elderly woman walked over 2 miles to a ministry campsite and asked for a bag of beans and tortillas because she was hungry and had no other means of obtaining food. Moments like this only solidify the need for the ministry to help the less fortunate with the basic tools they need for survival. Not only is S.O.S. providing the basic needs, they also extend their programs to cover scholarships for children of all ages to go to school. One hundred percent of the funds given to the ministry is poured into outreach programs. Currently they receive funds from churches in Indiana and Michigan, and from donations from personal givers. Rosaneli and her husband currently work a side job to provide for their own personal needs to make sure that all of the giving goes back to the ministry. “Paulino will do anything to raise money — he’ll resell items he’s refurbished or sell his own personal items for the ministry,” Aaron said. Some of the future plans include continuing the current outreaches, like building houses, and supplying groceries, scholarships, and medical treatment, along with also implementing a community center in a building that once used to be a soup kitchen. The community center will supply kids with supplemental reading programs in addition to receiving a scholarship to go to school. S.O.S. also hopes to implement classes that will offer recipes, English tutorials, introduction to different career options, and technology. “Our goal is to the let the children know that where they’re at now is not the only option in life, we want to expose them to new things and new opportunities,” Aaron said. In encouragement of this mission, S.O.S. was pleased to receive 15 drones from a technology company in Edinburg called Nerdvana, whose mission aims to implement drones, virtual reality, robotics, and programming into innovative learning experiences for children in the Valley. The ministry also hopes to start providing families insulation for their small homes when they build future houses. Currently, there is not enough funding to fill the oneroom houses with insulation, and it would greatly benefit
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Boggus Ford Events Center Cattle Baron's BAll of the RGV
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For sponsorship and ticket information, contact the American Cancer Society at 956.682.8329 or visit cbbrgv.com
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