Road Work on Hwy 100, Will it be Finished in Time for the Biggest Little Rodeo in Texas?
back road as well with the larger vehicles taking alternative routes.
Mark Milum says, “Our streets have been beaten up and we are ready to do some improvement on those streets, but we can’t do it until this is finished.”
Milum shares that as of January 16th, TxDOT says they will be finished on February 15th, which is just a few days before the Rodeo. He says they are going to be working very hard to meet that deadline.
Los Fresnos has been battling the infamous State Highway 100/Ocean Boulevard construction since May of 2021. Los Fresnos News covered the road work, and its impact on local businesses back on September 13, 2021. The story was titled, “Rough Road Ahead, Businesses Struggle through Construction on Highway 100”.
Back in September of 2021, TxDot was
already wrestling with some slowdowns but trying to meet the 11 Month deadline that was originally projected to take. City Manager, Mark Milum does share that at the beginning of the project they tried using a different base material that was imported from the San Antonio area. This caused a slow start-up, TxDot later decided to switch back to what they normally use, no more real detail that we could find on that, just that it was a slowdown.
Another was just the
supply shortage, “because of covid, even today, there’s still supplies shortage with different things.” and the lack of workers. Milum also shares that this project isn’t the only one, “Early on, and we didn’t really see it, they were pulling him[Contractor] to do other work because TxDOT’s fiscal year runs from September to August,” Milum explains, “And so by July they had this money that they were gonna lose if they don’t expend it by August 31st.”
Milum says that this project didn’t fall into the category. For other projects, they don’t finish they lose that project altogether. And so, TxDOT workers get pulled to other jobs.
“It becomes very confusing and frustrating for us for our businesses and streets” Mark Milum shares in reference to the lack of workers TxDot has had and the slow workings.
“One of the problems that has happened is people go around,” Milum explains it’s damaged the
“We have told them that if they don’t it’s going to be very… You know, a bad thing for Los Fresnos.” He says it would be bad for the Rodeo, but says “It would be bad for our community as a whole because there’s so much traffic already…”
So, just as Larry Cantu is praying for good weather, Milum hopes for good weather. “Dry weather ‘til (and through) the Rodeo!” Milum says.
City Manager highlights the positive, saying the good news is these roads should last for a good long while and hopes the big event coming will speed up the process and push to get this project finally finished.
Women Business Owners are Optimistic About the Future
(StatePoint) Even as they ride out inflationary pressures, supply chain disruptions and economic
uncertainty, women owners and executives of small and mid-size majority-womenowned businesses have an
optimistic outlook about the near-term future of their businesses, according to a recent survey.
OrDInanCE nO 543
an OrDInanCE TO rEZOnE FrESnO LanD & IrrIGaTIOn CO SuBDIVISIOn 0.583 aCrES OuT OF LOT 32 BLOCK 171, anD LOS FrESnOS InDuSTrIaL SuBDIVISIOn #1 LOT 1, CITy OF LOS FrESnOS, CaMErOn COunTy, TEXaS FrOM C4 HEaVy COMMErCIaL DISTrICT TO C2 HIGHWay COMMErCIaL DISTrICT. aMEnDInG THE OFFICIaL ZOnInG MaP TO rEFLECT THE nEW ZOnInG; anD PrOVIDInG an EFFECTIVE DaTE FOr THE IMPLEMEnTaTIOn OF THIS OrDInanCE.
an OrDInanCE By THE CITy COunCIL OF LOS FrESnOS, TEXaS raTIFyInG, COnFIrMInG, anD VaLIDaTInG CErTaIn aCTIOn ITEMS TaKEn By THE CITy COunCIL aT THEIr nOVEMBEr 8, 2022 MEETInG, aS FurTHEr DESCrIBED HErEIn, InCLuDInG aPPrOVaL OF BOnD COunSEL, aPPrOVaL OF FInanCIaL aDVISOr, aPPrOVaL OF EnGInEEr, aPPrOVaL OF THE ISSuanCE OF “LOS FrESnOS, TEXaS COMBInaTIOn TaX anD SuBOrDInaTE LIEn rEVEnuE CErTIFICaTES OF OBLIGaTIOn, SErIES 2022 (CLEan WaTEr STaTE rEVOLVInG FunD)” anD THE LEVyInG OF an annuaL aD VaLOrEM TaX, WITHIn THE LIMITED PrESCrIBED By LaW, uPOn aLL TaXaBLE PrOPErTy In THE CITy FOr THE PayMEnT OF THE BOnDS FurTHEr SECurInG SaID CErTIFICaTES By a SuBOrDInaTE anD InFErIOr LIEn On anD PLEDGE OF THE nET rEVEnuES OF THE SySTEM On a ParITy WITH CErTaIn CurrEnTLy OuTSTanDInG SuBOrDInaTE LIEn OBLIGaTIOnS, anD aPPrOVaL OF a PrInCIPaL FOrGIVEnESS aGrEEMEnT; anD OTHEr MaTTErS In COnnECTIOn THErEWITH.
DECLar I nG MOTOr VEHICLES a Ban DOn ED
To whom it may concern: Pursuant to the provisions of article V of the Texas Abatement Act, V.C.S. 447-9a, Sec. 5.05, we hereby notify you that we took custody of the following vehicles:
2013 MERCEDEZ-BENZ C300 GRAY NY LIC# 2618211 VIN# WDDGF8AB4DR251980
2006 CHEVY COBALT WHITE TAMPS LIC# 516TPS-7 VIN# 1G1AL55F367769493
UTILITY TRAILER RED LIC# N/A
The registered owner or lien holder has the right to claim the motor vehicle within (10) days from the date of this publication by payment of the impounding law enforcement agency. Unclaimed vehicles will be turned over to the Police Department to be declared abandoned and sold at public auction to satisfy the charges against the said.
VALLEY TOWING & STORAGE 6830 N EXPRESSWAY BROWNSVILLE.TX 78526 (956)350-5772
To whom it may concern: RAYMOND'S WRECKER SERVICE, 2591 OLD PORT ISABEL RD., BROWNSVILLE.TX 78526 (956)541-2029
Pursuant to the provisions of article V of the Texas Abatement Act, V.C.S. 447-9a, Sec. 5.05, we hereby notify you that we took custody of the following vehicles:
R#11074 2011 HONDA ODYSSEY GRAY NUEVO LEON LIC# SNM-68-81
R#11081 2011 FORD EXPLORER 4D SUV WHITE MEXICO LIC# XMW-315-B VIN# 1FMHK8D83BGA53616
The registered owner or lien holder has the right to claim the motor vehicle within (10) days from the date of this publication by payment of the impounding law enforcement agency. Unclaimed vehicles will be turned over to the Police Department to be declared abandoned and sold at public auction to satisfy the charges against the said.
By: Janie E. Trejo (956)541-2029 email@example.com
The PNC Bank survey found that women business owner (WBO) expectations for their own companies remain strong, with 41% feeling highly optimistic -- up from 29% in the fall of 2020 but down from 67% in the fall of 2021 -- while the share of those feeling pessimistic has held constant at just 1%.
The survey also indicated that more than eight in 10 women business owners are very confident about their future success and nearly half say it comes from their own hard work and drive. Similarly, 79% of WBOs are very satisfied with their
role as a business owner or leader compared to 67% of men business owners (MBOs).
“We are seeing a new pattern of selfempowerment among women business owners that is very encouraging,” said Beth Marcello, director of PNC Women’s Business Development.
“Their own hard work to survive the pandemic is the source of their confidence and optimism today.”
The survey suggests that women have a take charge, can-do attitude. When it was difficult to find employees, 49% of
WBOs versus one-third of MBOs say that they or their managers stepped in to cover open staff hours themselves. Additionally, they’re focused on growth: 81% surveyed are Woman Business Enterprisecertified, 73% market their certification, and 88% say that certification has been a helpful business development tool.
an OrDInanCE auTHOrIZInG THE ISSuanCE OF “CITy OF LOS FrESnOS, TEXaS COMBInaTIOn TaX anD SuBOrDInaTE LIEn rEVEnuE CErTIFICaTES OF OBLIGaTIOn, SErIES 2022 (CLEan WaTEr STaTE rEVOLVInG FunD)”; PrOVIDInG FOr THE PayMEnT OF SaID CErTIFICaTES By THE LEVy OF an aD VaLOrEM TaX uPOn aLL TaXaBLE PrOPErTy WITHIn THE CITy anD FurTHEr SECurInG SaID CErTIFICaTES By a SuBOrDInaTE anD InFErIOr LIEn On anD PLEDGE OF THE nET rEVEnuES OF THE SySTEM On a ParITy WITH CErTaIn CurrEnTLy OuTSTanDInG SuBOrDInaTE LIEn OBLIGaTIOnS; PrOVIDInG THE TErMS anD COnDITIOnS OF SaID CErTIFICaTES anD rESOLVInG OTHEr MaTTErS InCIDEnT anD rELaTInG TO THE ISSuanCE, PayMEnT, SECurITy, SaLE, anD DELIVEry OF SaID CErTIFICaTES, InCLuDInG THE aPPrOVaL OF an aPPLICaTIOn TO THE TEXaS WaTEr DEVELOPMEnT BOarD anD a PrIVaTE PLaCEMEnT MEMOranDuM PErTaInInG TO THE CErTIFICaTES; auTHOrIZInG THE EXECuTIOn OF a PayInG aGEnT/rEGISTrar aGrEEMEnT anD an ESCrOW aGrEEMEnT; COMPLyInG WITH THE rEQuIrEMEnTS OF THE LETTEr OF rEPrESEnTaTIOnS WITH THE DEPOSITOry TruST COMPany; COMPLyInG WITH THE rEGuLaTIOnS PrOMuLGaTED By THE TEXaS WaTEr DEVELOPMEnT BOarD; anD PrOVIDInG an EFFECTIVE DaTE.
OFFICE SPACE FOR RENT
LOCATED AT 705 W. OCEAN BLVD. CALL (956) 233 - 5744
Los Fresnos Business Directory
A&A Towing & Recovery (956)233-5773
A&M Automotive (956)233-5773
Leo Motors (956)254-2010
Bank First Community Bank (956)233-4100
Bakery Tapia’s Cakes (956)346-5257
Boutique Agape’ (956)496-2348
Carpet Cleaning Nikky’s Carpet Cleaning (956)266-1369
Chambers of Commerce
Los Fresnos Chamber of Commerce (956)233-4488
City of Los Fresnos City Hall (956)233-5768
Los Fresnos Community Development Corp. (956)233-6182
Police / Fire / EMS (956)233-4473
CAF Museum (956)479-8585
CAF Air Show (956)479-8585
Narciso Martinez Cultural Arts Center (956)367-0335
Los Fresnos Rodeo lfrodeo.com
Dr. Ivar Perez / Optical Image (956)399-0680
CD&J Mini Ranch (956)456-9600
Flowers The Flower Gallery (956)233-1555
Gris Faviola’s Flower Shop (956)233-1611
Rosie’s Flowers & Gifts (956)233-5877
Los Fresnos Funeral Home (956)254-2099
Consolata Funeral Consultants (956)245-2447
Graciela Garza / Funeraria Del Angel (956)831-4216
Handgun / Security Training
Vinson’s Training School (956)266-2582
Healthcare Clinic / Home Care TVNS, LTD. (800)242-8867
Tropical Health Care (956)202-0111
Home Improvement Arizpe Flooring (956)545-8520
Los Fresnos Inn & Suites (956)233-1133
Country Inn & Suites (956)428-0043
Padre South Hotel / SPI (956)761-4951
Rio Grande Underwriters (956)233-5744
Los Fresnos News (956)233-9928
Outdoor Marketing Benchmark Outdoor (956)428-SIGN
Plumber Integrity Services & Plumbing (956)367-6005
real Estate V.I.P. Realty (956)399-7777
recycling / Waste Oil Collection
Fatty Chem By-Products (956)233-5691
restaurant Bros Craft Burger (956)254-2096
Taqueria El Cien (956)233-1001
Dairy Queen (956)233-9533
Tapia’s Cafe (956)233-9988
Palmdale RV Resort (956)399-8694
Salon Cuts & More (956)233-3250
Sports Broadcasting Rio Sports Live (956)291-2538
Storage Move-It Storage (956)233-5996
Water Delivery / Filtration Culligan (956)399-1780
Fragile Planet Wildlife Park (956)710-2025
aDVErTISEMEnT FOr BIDS
The City of Los Fresnos, Texas will receive sealed bids for its “LOS FRESNOS 2021 STREET, SIDEWALK, AND SEWER IMPROVEMENTS” project. Bids must be delivered to the Los Fresnos City Hall, 520 E. Ocean Boulevard, Los Fresnos, Texas 78566 on or before 2:30 P.M. on Thursday, February 2, 2023, at which time all bids will be publicly opened and read aloud.
The project consists of placing approximately 8,296 SY of pavement improvements, 4,775 SY of 6” limestone, 3,521 SY of scarifying surface and base material, reshape and compact existing base course with 1% lime, approximately 8,296 SY of Tensar Geogrid TX-5, 3,349 LF of curb and gutter replacement, 3,839 SF of driveway repairs, 4,083 SF of 5’ wide concrete sidewalk improvements, 18 manhole replacements, 1,253 LF of 8” PVC SDR-35 sanitary sewer line, 1,246 LF of 18” PVC SDR-26 sanitary sewer line and related appurtenances as shown on the Plans and required by the Specifications in Los Fresnos, Texas.
Electronic copies of the Bid/Contract documents including drawings and technical specifications may be obtained at no charge via the internet at: http://www.civcastusa. com/. The project can be located on civcastusa.com by the bid date, the state (Texas) or the city (Los Fresnos). Bidders will be required to register through CivCastUsa. There is no charge for registering or downloading the plans. Hard copies of plans may also be purchased through CivCastUSA at the bidder’s expense.
Bid and Contract documents, including Drawings and Technical Specifications are on file and available for inspection at the office of Jaqueline Moya, City Secretary, City Hall, 520 E. Ocean Blvd., Los Fresnos, Texas. a pre-bid conference will be held on Tuesday, January 24, 2023 at the Los Fresnos City Hall 520 E. Ocean Boulevard, Los Fresnos, Texas 78566 at 10:00 a.M. Be advised that the pre-bid conference is not mandatory. Bidders must submit a certified check or bank draft payable to the order of City of Los Fresnos, Texas, or negotiable U.S. Government Bond (as par value), or a satisfactory Bid Bond executed by the Bidder and an acceptable surety, in an amount equal to five (5%) of the total Bid, as a guaranty that the Bidder will enter into a Contract within ten (10) days after Notice of Award of Contract to him.
All contractors and subcontractors must have an active registration with the System for Award Management (www.SAM.gov) AND have been cleared (not suspended or debarred) prior to any formal action authorizing the award of a contract to the contractor.
Attention is drawn to the fact that the successful Bidder must ensure that employees and applicants for employment are not discriminated against because of their race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.
Bids may be held for a period not exceeding ninety (90) days for the purpose of review.
City of Los Fresnos, Texas reserves the right to reject any or all bids or to waive any informalities in the Bidding.
City of Los Fresnos, Alejandro Flores, Mayor
A Heavyweight Bout
Los Fresnos Survives BrownsvilleBy Ruben Rodriguez Los Fresnos News
The Los Fresnos Lady Falcons played host to the Hanna Lady Golden Eagles for game three of the District 32-6A Calendar. With both teams coming of losses on Tuesday Night, Hanna and Los Fresnos were hungry for a win. The Lady Falcons, who were 1-1 coming off a loss against Weslaco in a thriller, looked to bounce back. Hanna, who is 0-2 in 32-6A play, were needing a win to avoid falling behind.
The Los Fresnos-Hanna Series in 32-6A has been a bit one sided. The Lady Falcons have won the last 16 District meetings over Hanna. The Lady Golden Eagles last known win over Los Fresnos was January 16, 2015.
In a lengthy first quarter that saw 13 free throws taken, both teams took advantage of the lengthy quarter to put up some points. Los Fresnos’ Aylene Ortega had herself a quarter with 13 points. Hanna’s Sofia Roman did some damage as well, draining back to back shots from behind the arc, as well as shooting 3-5 from the charity stripe.
Heading into the second quarter 16-15 with Los Fresnos up, both teams played evenly in the second. Roman stayed hot, splashing another three and going 3-4 from the line. Ortega shot 4-4 from the line to give her 13 at the end of the first half. For the Lady Falcons, Shiloh Jones netted in two key layups and Maritza Ortega went coast to coast on a steal and score. For Hanna, Aimee Bustos tacked on a key three to keep the Golden Eagles and Lady Falcons tied 2626 at the half.
Lady Falcons came into the second half swinging as Aylene Ortega would tack on two quick layups, Maritza Ortega would hit a deep three pointer, and Olivia Parra would drive a layup in as Los Fresnos controlled the third, only allowing four points by Hanna to make it 35-30 at the end of the third.
The fourth quarter saw Hanna play more aggressively on offense. Aimee Bustos would net in a three, Jenna Saldana and Sofia Roman would net in four points each. Despite the more aggressive offense, the Lady Falcons were able to hold off the Lady Golden Eagles. Jones took charge in the fourth, leading the offense with six points and Ortega cashing in two.
Los Fresnos would hold on to win a wild contest 46-43.
“32-6A every Tuesday and Friday night is going to be a heavyweight fight, no matter what the records are. Everyone is fighting
for a playoff spot”, said Lady Falcons Head Coach Alex Lucio. “That’s how the game went, it was back and forth but in the end we pulled it off”.
Hanna, who has been riding a seven game losing streak, was desperate for their first win since December 9. So it was expected that they were going to come out swinging. “We just had to capitalize on the other end, we knew it was going to be a battle”, said Lucio. “We had to be mentally tough and we figured it out at the end”.
Aylene Ortega, who led the offense with 18 points, was on a roll in the matchup tonight. “We leaned on Aylene tonight, we knew we had the height advantage”, said Lucio. “We tried to give her the ball down low and she did her part towards the end”.
As the case with every team in 32-6A, there is no time to celebrate a win. Every team needs to be prepared for the next matchup. “San Benito is tough, they’ve won a couple of big games in non-district”, said Lucio.
“Like I said, every game is going to be a heavyweight fight. We got to be mentally prepared and limit our turnovers”.
Los Fresnos improves to 2-1 in 32-6A play.
The Lady Falcons will gear up against San Benito on Tuesday Night. Meanwhile, Hanna will still be in search of their first district win as they will host Weslaco on Tuesday.
Los Fresnos Outlasts Brownsville Hanna in District 32-6A Opener
Salazar and Gio Galvan combined for 15 points in the second quarter.
Los Fresnos was able to render Roman scoreless in the second quarter.
Kevin Flores was able to pick up six points to keep Hanna’s offense going.
Los Fresnos now led 2925 at the half.
district, there is no time to celebrate the wins or losses. “It’s always good to start off 1-0, it’s always hard to get that first win,” said Hinojosa. “We didn’t win anything tonight but a game. Win or lose we have to put this behind us and focus on our next game”.By Ruben Rodriguez Los Fresnos News
The Los Fresnos Falcons played host to the Brownsville Hanna Golden Eagles in the District 32-6A Opener. After both teams had successful non-district schedules, the Falcons and Golden Eagles were ready to get to work. Last meeting saw Hanna pull off a late comeback at Los Fresnos to split the season series in 2021-22. After missing the playoffs in 2021-22, the Falcons have gone through a tear in non-district, finishing with a 19-6 record. Meanwhile, the Golden Eagles held a 20-8 record in non-district.
Hanna’s offense got started early on as Ricardo Roman netted in nine points to jumpstart the Golden Eagles. Assisting Roman was Jared Zarate with a three and Emiliano Hernandez with two points. The Falcons’ response was led by Luis Ramirez, who had a six point first quarter. Los Fresnos trailed Hanna 14-9 at the end of the first quarter.
Los Fresnos was able to mount some offense as JJ
Third quarter saw the Falcons take control as JJ Salazar netted seven points. Luis Guerra would help the cause with six points. Ricardo Roman re-emerged in the third, scoring in six and kept Hanna in the fight.
The fourth quarter saw Free Throws be the difference maker as the Falcons shot 10 for 13 from the line. Gio Galvan went 5-6, Jude Barrera went 3-3, and JJ Salazar, Luis Guerra both went 1-2. For Hanna, the Golden Eagles struggled from the line, shooting two for six.
Roman again took charge in the fourth quarter for Hanna with six points in the quarter. Flores followed suit with five points. The Falcons were able to hold off on defense to win 64-54.
“We didn’t have our best game tonight, but we were able to get the win”, said Los Fresnos Head Coach Marco Hinojosa. “Hanna is a great team, I’m excited for this start, but now we got to focus our attention on San Benito”.
In 32-6A, which has been known to be a highly competitive
Gio Galvan and the Falcons had a great performance. Free throws were crucial in the fourth and proved to be the difference maker.
“It’s a total team effort, we had three guys in double figures and we had players hit crucial free throws. A total team effort”, said Hinojosa.
“The ‘We over Me’ is what we preach, that is the type of team we had tonight”.
Galvan, Salazar, and Ramirez all finished off in the double digits in points. Chemistry certainly played a factor in the team win tonight.
“Credit to our non-district schedule, we are battle tested. We’ve seen so many different styles of offense and defense”, said Hinojosa. “We were ready for that tonight.
I’m proud of the team for sticking with it and we ended up winning”.
Los Fresnos improves to 1-0 in 32-6A play, 20-6 on the season overall. Hanna falls to 20-9 overall, 0-1 in 32-6A play. Los Fresnos will travel to San Benito Tuesday Night while Hanna will host the Weslaco Panthers.
Zoo Staff Are Deeply Saddened by Unexpected
Loss of Stingrays
Brownsville, Texas (Jan 17, 2023) – Zoo staff are deeply saddened to share the unexpected loss of five stingrays at Stingray Landing in the Russell Aquatic Ecology Center. An investigation is currently underway to determine the cause of their passing.
The loss was noted on the morning of January 16 by aquarium staff.
All life support systems were fully operational,
and it was confirmed by an externally monitored alarm system that their pump and filtration system had operated properly throughout the night.
Water chemistries were performed immediately, but did not provide any information that would help determine the reason for their demise.
The Zoo’s veterinary staff performed necropsies, and found them all to be in good body condition,
with some changes that could have taken place post mortem. As is routine for diagnosing the cause of animal death, tissue samples will be sent to a veterinary diagnostic lab for further evaluation. As soon as further details are available, the public will be informed.
Over the past year, the Zoo has thoroughly evaluated and upgraded all of the electrical systems in the Russell Aquatic
Ecology Center, and engaged the services of outside technicians to install an alarm system to relay pump failure messages, via email and text messages, to all aquarium and night keeper staff. The system, which is also monitored externally by the installing controls contractor, has worked flawlessly.
“At present, we are concentrating our efforts on determining the cause
of this incident, and at this point are hoping that the diagnostic labs that will be looking at water and tissue samples will give us a clue as to what may have occurred,” said Patrick Burchfield, the Zoo’s executive director.
“The Gladys Porter Zoo is deeply committed to every animal in our care, and if there is something we need to do differently, we will do it. Using both internal and external expertise will help
ensure that there are no unnecessary future losses.”
The Gladys Porter Zoo is an accredited member of the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA). Zoo officials have been in touch with the AZA Accreditation Commission, and as part of its commitment to meeting the highest standards in animal care and welfare, the Zoo will remain in touch throughout the completion of its investigation.
UTRGV Volunteers Give Back on MLK Day of ServiceBy Karen Villarreal RIO GRANDE
VALLEY, TEXAS –
JAN. 17, 2023 – Rakes and shovels in hand, Jay Sanchez, a senior majoring in computer software engineering at UTRGV, brought members of his fraternity to volunteer at Restlawn Cemetery in Edinburg on Monday morning in the spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who had a vision of a “beloved community.”
Sanchez, president of UTRGV’s Tau Kappa Epsilon chapter, said members of TKE volunteer often – at the food bank, animal shelters,
►Women Business Owners are Optimistic About the Future
“For the first time, we have evidence of increased financial confidence among women business owners.
They are two times more likely than men to say they’re considering a new loan or line of credit to support business growth,” said Marcello. “They are monitoring their cash position and have a cash reserve, but they’re investing excess cash rather than stockpiling it; they are continuing to leverage the increased efficiency of the digital financial tools they migrated to during the pandemic; and they are confidently increasing pricing as the economy allows for it.”
Meeting the Challenges
While WBOs have concerns about inflation,
adopt-a-beach cleanups, maintaining a section along a highway, and wherever else they see an opportunity. However, the cemetery cleanup on this year’s National Day of Service held a special place for Sanchez, as his sister is laid to rest in the adjoining Hillcrest Memorial Park.
“It’s thoughtful that the university is giving this to the loved ones of those who have passed,” said Sanchez, who grew up in Edinburg. “It’s something we can do for the families who can’t come out here to visit and clean the tombstones. They can know they’re resting in a nice space.”
The Restlawn Cemetery
profitability and the supply chain, they believe they’re prepared for these challenges. Although similar portions of WBOs and MBOs experienced supply chain issues in the past year, 79% of WBOs believe they have the right amount of inventory they need to succeed.
WBOs also intend to maintain or expand on policies they initiated during the pandemic, including allowing flexible work arrangements (48%), increasing compensation (38%) and implementing employee health or safety enhancements (33%).
WBOs are more likely than MBOs to adopt Corporate Social Responsibility policies or practices, including gender pay equity (34% vs. 9%) and diversity and inclusion (29% vs. 14%). These disparities could be an indication of why fewer WBOs (30%) than MBOs (43%) are
site cleanup, organized by the Juneteenth Committee, brought more than 50 volunteers from UTRGV, Village in the Valley (ViVa), and the City of Edinburg Library and Cultural Arts. Restlawn, which sits about 200 feet from Hillcrest Memorial Park and the Hidalgo County Public Cemetery, is believed to be the only graveyard in Hidalgo County dedicated for African American burials, according to a Texas Historical Marker onsite.
Volunteers contributed to maintaining the dignity of the space by repainting benches and wooden crosses, cleaning
finding it harder to hire new staff compared to six months ago.
Identifying and addressing challenges faced by women financial decision makers is a component of PNC’s Project 257: Accelerating
gravestones, and tidying and mulching flower beds. Among the volunteers were Little Miss McAllen and Ms. South Texas Rose ’22 –Bella Carreon and Trinidad Montes – in pageant sashes and tiaras.
“We give back when we can – however we can –for the community,” said Montes.
On this nationally recognized “day on – not a day off," the TKE brothers were among more than 100 UTRGV students, staff, and faculty who gave their time to four social causes across the Rio
Women’s Financial Equality, an initiative to help close the 257-year economic gender gap. More information about these efforts as well as helpful resources for women financial decision makers can be found at pnc.com/
Grande Valley. UTRGV volunteers also volunteered at Loaves and Fishes in Harlingen, Salvation Army in McAllen, and the Good Neighbor Settlement House in Brownsville.
Congress passed the King Holiday and Service Act, designating the Martin Luther King Jr. Federal Holiday as a National Day of Service in 1994.
UTRGV held its first MLK Day of Service in 2015, with hundreds of volunteers working together on over 40 local projects to strengthen the community and
women. To connect with Project 257, follow PNC on social media: Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter.
While the pandemic created new economic challenges, many with lasting effects, women
empower individuals. This built on the activities of legacy institutions UT Brownsville – which hosted MLK Day volunteer activities since 2000 – and UTPA, which held its first service day in 2011.
business owners largely overcame these obstacles, taking away lessons that have inspired their optimism and confidence today.
Making a Positive Difference on Earth — and Beyond
College of Agriculture and Life Sciences grad Lauren Cornell ’09 exemplifies diversity in scientific accomplishment
years, the business was able to secure a patent because the technology would be used in the process of nipple reconstruction. She credited one of the courses she took at Texas A&M with her knowledge of how to apply for a patent on how NovoThelium planned to use this technology.
both the undergraduate and graduate levels,” said Wand, who is also a professor of chemistry in Texas A&M’s College of Arts and Sciences and professor of molecular and cellular medicine in the Texas A&M School of Medicine.
Lauren’s experiences with applications of biochemistry demonstrate the value of a solid foundation in science and show the variety of career opportunities available to those who have the desire to pursue them.” – Josh Wand
accounting for differences in gravity and other variations,” she said.Written by Paul Schattenberg
As a freshman, Lauren Cornell, Ph.D., was not sure what path to follow in college. Ultimately, however, she graduated magna cum laude in 2009 from Texas A&M University with a bachelor’s degree in genetics. That was the beginning of a diverse and impressive scientific journey.
Cornell not only used her love of science fostered at Texas A&M to start her own business, but also to become a part of a NASA study.
“I was always interested in science. However, when I got to Texas A&M, I didn’t know if I wanted to go into medicine or pursue a different path,” Cornell said. “Finally, after working in various lab settings at the university, I decided to focus on scientific research.”
A former student in the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Cornell attended Texas A&M under a Robert C. Byrd Honors Scholarship.
“My parents were podiatrists and worked together, so I was exposed to science and medicine from an early age,” she explained. “My father used to show me how to conduct experiments and explained to me how fun it was to discover things using science. But, I went to a small school in Abbott, Texas, that had limited science-related educational opportunities. There were only 20 people in my high school graduating class.”
Cornell said her limited classroom exposure to science was part of the reason she initially had trouble deciding on a specific scientific path while at Texas A&M.
“Luckily, my parents stimulated my interest in science,” she said. “In my family, I had one aunt with Down’s Syndrome, and because of that I learned something about the role of genetics. And another of my aunts worked at NASA, so that gave me a further connection to science.”
a startup with a special purpose
Today, Cornell is CEO of NovoThelium, a San
Antonio-based science startup she co-founded with Bianca Cerqueira, Ph.D. Once again, it was partly due to the experiences of another family member –her grandmother – that she was inspired toward this particular journey.
“My grandmother had breast cancer and passed away because she delayed her treatment due to concerns about what she would look like after having a mastectomy,” Cornell said. “There were limited breast reconstruction options at that time, so as a result, she waited too long to get a mastectomy.”
Cornell said the greatest challenge in current post-surgery breast reconstruction is nipple reconstruction.
“Nipple reconstruction is vital for a woman’s post-mastectomy mental and physical well-being and healing, including the feeling of being whole again,” she said.
In current breast reconstruction surgeries, if the nipple can’t be saved, then the surgeon will suture the skin where the nipple should be and create a mound of skin shaped like a nipple, Cornell explained.
“After that, the protrusion, which is basically scar tissue, can be tattooed for the desired pigmentation,” she said. “Unfortunately, this ‘nipple’ usually has little to no sensation, and typically within three years, will lose its projection and start to flatten out.”
A scientific solution
At NovoThelium, Cornell and Cerqueira and their team are working to develop a bioengineered matrix from donor nipple areolar tissue that would serve as a type of “scaffolding” for nipple reconstruction.
“This process involves removing donor DNA from a nipple provided through an FDA donor tissue bank to create an acellular matrix or platform that can be implanted into the breast,” Cornell said. “Then the patient’s own cells can repopulate the grafted collagen scaffold to create a ‘new’ nipple comprised of the patient’s own cells.”
Cornell said while the use of an acellular matrix for tissue repopulation has been around for many
“I took an inventionrelated course in the College of Engineering that required students to develop an invention that was patentable and then research it to ensure nobody had already gotten a patent for it,” she said.
“That was very helpful knowledge for when we needed to apply for a patent related to our business.”
Cornell said NovoThelium has won several national and international awards, in addition to being identified as an outstanding entrepreneurial enterprise by both France and Switzerland. It has also won or placed in more than a dozen business plan competitions and has been recognized during “Women in Science Day” by the Small Business Administration.
“Our long-term goal for NovoThelium is to develop a number of women’s health care products to improve women’s quality of life and enhance their feeling of wholeness and overall well-being,” Cornell said.
Standout classes at Texas a&M
Cornell said three classes at Texas A&M were particularly helpful in determining the direction of her science career.
“I enjoyed organic chemistry because we were able to conduct experiments and got to see the practical application of scientific principles,” she said. “And from organic chemistry, I went into biochemistry, which was by far my favorite class because it addressed the chemical processes of living organisms. And my third-most favorite class was population genetics, which not only solidified my love of genetics but also led me to the opportunity to attend Oxford my senior year.”
Josh Wand, Ph.D., University Distinguished Professor and head of the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, Bryan-College Station, said the goal of the department is to introduce students to the wonders of biochemistry, biophysics and molecular genetics, and lay the foundation for a successful career in research or the allied professions.
“We strive to do this through superlative course offerings that provide a gateway to research experiences at
Wand said biochemistry is a dynamic and diverse field that has become the basic discipline for the life sciences, and biochemists have made significant discoveries that relate to medicine, agriculture and the environment.
“The diversity of Lauren’s experiences with applications of biochemistry demonstrate the value of a solid foundation in science and show the variety of career opportunities available to those who have the desire to pursue them,” Wand said.
After graduating from Texas A&M, Cornell earned her master’s degree in Biomedical Engineering through a joint program of the University of Texas Health Science Center, UTHSC, and the University of Texas at San Antonio, UTSA.
“My former roommate at Texas A&M was accepted to the UTHSC School of Dentistry in San Antonio,” she said. “She convinced me to come to San Antonio to continue my education. I liked the city and decided it would also be a good place to establish a startup.”
As a graduate student, she was accepted into a Food and Drug Administration Fellowship, received a Military Health Young Investigator Award and was selected for a Texas Business Hall of Fame Future Texas Business Legend Award. She also attained a scientific communication fellowship from the Association for Research in Vision Ophthalmology, where she lobbied Texas representatives in the U.S. Congress and Senate for scientific funding.
Cornell completed her doctorate through the Translational Science Doctor of Philosophy program, a joint program administered by the University of Texas at Austin, UTA, and UTHSC San Antonio.
After graduation, Cornell held several sensory trauma research positions with the U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research. She now works as a research scientist in military biomedicine with the U.S. Air Force 59th Medical Wing at Joint Base San Antonio, Lackland Air Force Base, in addition to overseeing the business side of the NovoThelium startup.
“The diversity of
Current scientific research
“My current research through the Air Force is focused on resilience,” she said. “At this time, we are studying the impact of alcohol on the mental health and well-being of military personnel affected by stress, PTSD and other conditions. Our goal is to help military personnel be more resilient and find more productive and positive ways to deal with psychological challenges.”
She credited both the Army and Air Force for giving her the flexibility to pursue her graduate and post-graduate education.
“It was difficult to balance my work and studies and also help build a startup enterprise,” she said. “But I’m used to working hard and was fortunate that, in my experiences of working for the military, I was given the latitude to continue my higher education.”
Experiences of an analog astronaut
In addition to her already impressive accomplishments, last year Cornell was selected as an “analog astronaut” to conduct research for NASA’s Human Exploration Research Analog, or HERA, mission.
As a member of the ground-based crew of four, she lived and worked in tight quarters for 45 days inside a unique simulation habitat at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston.
“The habitat, which was in a warehouse at the center, was small – about the same size as what the astronauts have on the International Space Station,” she said. “It was designed to serve as a simulated environment in which to study isolation, confinement and remote conditions during space exploration.”
Cornell said she and the other mission participants went through two and a half weeks of pre-mission training and a week of postmission debriefing, making the entire experience a two-and-a-half-month commitment.
The data collected on the HERA mission will be used to help prepare humans for Artemis exploration missions to the moon, as well as trips to the planned lunar Gateway and longduration missions to Mars.
“We got to experience what it would be like to conduct scientific experiments in space,
“Fortunately, those of us who were selected as crew members decided to spend as much time as possible together before the mission, and that really helped prepare us for the long term. In fact, we all became friends, and a year later, we still keep in touch.”
Cornell, who is also a fellow in NASA’s Spaceflight Technology, Applications and Research, or STAR, Program in space biosciences training, said she was thrilled to participate in the HERA mission.
“I enjoyed the entire experience so thoroughly that I wouldn’t hesitate to sign up as a crew member for a mission to Mars.”
Lessons learned Due to her commitment to the life sciences and notable successes, Cornell was selected for a 12 Under 12 Award by the Texas A&M Association of Former Students. The 12 Under 12 Awards recognize the contributions of Texas A&M alumni who graduated in the past 12 years and are leading by example in business and service.
Cornell said throughout her academic and professional career she has encountered a few setbacks but has drawn from the lessons she learned through her academic and professional experiences.
“I feel it is important that young people get involved in STEM education, and I have tried to be a mentor to young people who want to pursue a career in science,” she said. “My own experience with science was somewhat limited due to growing up in a small town, but I was still able to seek out and find opportunities. But having more STEM opportunities available in school would have been helpful.”
She said one of the most important life lessons she has learned is how to accept criticism.
“If you are doing an experiment and something isn’t working, you need to find out why and make the needed corrections,” Cornell said. “It’s the same if you make a mistake or if something isn’t working in a different context. If someone offers you some constructive criticism that helps lead you to a solution, you should be able to accept that criticism with grace and accept its underlying value.”
She also said her experiences taught her the need for persistence.
“It’s important to dedicate yourself to your research — or whatever else you commit yourself to in life — and see it all the way through to the finish line.”