Author Archives: George Cox

George Cox is a veteran journalist with more than 30 years experience as a newspaper writer and editor. A Corpus Christi native, he started his career as a reporter for The Brownsville Herald after graduating from Sam Houston State University with a degree in journalism. He later worked on newspapers in Laredo and Corpus Christi as well as northern California. George returned to the Valley in 1996 as editor of The Brownsville Herald and in 2001 moved to Harlingen as editor of the Valley Morning Star. He also held the position of editor and general manager for the Coastal Current, a weekly entertainment magazine with Valleywide distribution. George retired from full-time journalism in 2015 to work as a freelance writer and legal document editor. He continues to live in Harlingen where he and his wife Katherine co-founded Rio Grande Valley Therapy Pets, a nonprofit organization dedicated to raising public awareness of the benefits of therapy pets and assisting people and their pets to become registered therapy pet teams.

Executive Program Benefits Nonprofits

UTRGV Executive Education program instructors Zoila Zambrano and Elaine Hernandez (Courtesy)

Nonprofit organizations typically form to address an area of need in the community. Leaders of those nonprofits are usually well-versed in the field they serve, but often not equipped with the knowledge and skills required to succeed on the business side of helping people. Nonprofit leadership is the topic of the first in a series of executive education course offerings from the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. “We want…

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Businesses Welcome Veteran Home

Miguel Simental wipes tears from his eyes in an emotional moment after he learned he had been chosen to receive a mortgage-free home. (Oskar Hernandez)

Verturo Construction owner Joey Holand wanted to help veterans. In 2016, Holand and his wife donated a hunting trip that reunited two combat-wounded veterans. The pair had been separated after their tours of duty. “That weekend changed me as a person,” Holand said. “It changed me on how we look at our veterans.” Holand’s company and other contractors, in partnership with H-E-B’s Operation Appreciation and the nonprofit Operation Finally Home,…

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Festival to Celebrate Cultural Influences

Mexican performers from Oaxaca will entertain festival crowds with traditional dances. (Courtesy)

An ambitious five-day festival coming to McAllen in July will celebrate the past, present and future of Latino culture and its influence on the Rio Grande Valley. “We see the need to create a destination festival in the summer,” said Luis Cantu, vice president for international business and community development with the McAllen Chamber of Commerce. “It’s kind of a compilation of a lot of events we have done, but…

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Harlingen Convention Center Open for Business

Mariachis added a festive atmosphere to welcome guests for the dedication of the $17.6-million convention center.

The new $17.6 million Harlingen Convention Center is open for business. The 44,436-square-foot facility was dedicated in May with great fanfare. Soon after, construction started on a $25-million five-story Hilton Garden Inn with 149 rooms adjacent to the convention center. That project is expected to be complete in 12 to 14 months. The hotel is being developed by BC Lynd, which will also manage the convention center. Advance bookings for…

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Forum Focuses on Highways

Texas Secretary of State addressed TxDot officials and contractors at the Heavy Highway Forum held in Pharr. (VBR)

Texas Secretary of State David Whitley expressed confidence that the Texas Department of Transportation’s 10-year, $70 billion statewide infrastructure program will bode well for the future economic development in the Rio Grande Valley. “As TxDot begins to the rollout of the Unified Transportation Program bill, it’s even more important that we continue to communicate with one another to accomplish our goals of enhancing capacity, maintenance and safety of our critical…

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Harlingen Dedicates New Convention Center

Harlingen Mayor Chris Boswell cut the ribbon to officially open the Harlingen Convention Center. (VBR)

City officials and community leaders gathered May 1 for a ceremony and ribbon-cutting to formally dedicate the Harlingen Convention Center. Attendees had a chance to tour the building and a community open house was on the schedule for the evening. Mariachis entertained guests upon arrival. A color guard made up of officers from the Harlingen police and fire departments started the ceremony. Harlingen school district students then led the pledge…

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Bootique Creates Retail Niche

Chrissy Santana arranges merchandise in the Bootique’s newly created western wear section. (VBR)

The history of a legendary Rio Grande Valley bootmaker provides the backdrop for the Bootique, a clothing and gift shop in downtown Raymondville. The store is in a portion of the brick building where Abraham Rios crafted custom footwear for decades. The building’s current owners, Cruz and Sonya Tijerina, ran the Bootique until they sold the business to Elma Chavez, former director of the Raymondville Chamber of Commerce. The Tijerinas…

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Natives Grow in Popularity

Mike Heep surrounds himself with hardy native plants known to attract birds and butterflies. (VBR)

Mike Heep spends his days cultivating native plants and educating people about the benefits of using indigenous vegetation in gardens and landscaping projects. Native plants are drought and freeze tolerant, and attract the birds and butterflies for which the Rio Grande Valley is famous. In 1964, Heep moved from San Antonio to the Harlingen area with his family. He operates Heep’s Nursery on the same two-acre tract where he grew…

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Jumping to Heights of Success

The business plan is pretty simple. Offer modern facilities with kid-friendly fun, competitive pricing and top-notch customer service, and people will come. Xtreme Jump Trampoline Parks began in San Benito about three years ago and last month opened its newest location in Harlingen. They also have operations in McAllen, Corpus Christi and Laredo, with more planned in the near future for the Rio Grande Valley and other towns in Texas…

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