Author Archives: George Cox, VBR Managing Editor

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.

Carlito’s Takes Patrons on a Journey

Mercedes and Luis Betancourt worked to create a comfortable, inviting space at Carlito’s Wine House. (VBR)

Walking into Carlito’s Wine House, if you feel transported to another place then Luis and Mercedes Betancourt will be happy. Inspired by their love of wine and the Texas Hill Country, the couple designed their downtown Harlingen business as a getaway from life’s daily grind. Just inside the door there is a traditional bar with stools, but much of the space is appointed with comfortable sofas and chairs grouped around…

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CARDONE Distribution Center Breaks Ground

CARDONE Industries owner and executive vice chairman Michael Cardone

New center to create more than 1,000 jobs Construction on the largest industrial project in Harlingen history will begin soon following a groundbreaking ceremony on Dec. 4. The 920,000-square-foot CARDONE Industries distribution center is expected to be completed by December 2018, with some operations to start as early as the summer of 2018. With a core processing facility in Harlingen for the past 10 years, CARDONE is the largest privately held…

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Federal Reserve Official Talks Economics During Valley Visit

Economics professor Marie T. Mora moderates a discussion with Robert Kaplan, president and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas. (VBR)

Higher education called upon to close skills gaps Somewhere between 50,000 and 75,000 Texas jobs were lost in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, but the state’s economy is already showing signs of recovery, President and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas Robert Kaplan said during remarks at the seventh annual Border Economic Development and Entrepreneurship Symposium in McAllen on Dec. 1. “We are already seeing a rebound…

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Winter Texans Boost RGV Economy

The annual migration is underway as Winter Texans make the trek south to escape cold northern winters. During the 2015-2016 season these visitors from the north contributed $760 million to the Rio Grande Valley economy, and this year could be even stronger. “We’re looking for a good season,” said Kristie Collier, president and CEO of Welcome Home Rio Grande Valley. “A lot of new people are coming to Texas this…

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Hispanic Business Leader Touts Economic Growth

Javier Palomarez greets Valley civic and business leaders. (UTRGV Photo by David Pike)

The Hispanic population in the United States continues to grow at a rapid pace, and that translates into big money when it comes to business in America. President and CEO of the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Javier Palomarez told a group of Rio Grande Valley business leaders that Latino entrepreneurs contribute more than $668 billion to the U.S. economy each year. “The Hispanic community has become a defining feature…

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Building a Dream with Chocolate

Veronica Barrera-Cuellar with gift baskets prepared by Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory for special occasions. (VBR)

After managing 16 school kitchens in North Texas as a nutritionist, Rio Grande Valley native Veronica Barrera-Cuellar returned home with a dream of attending pastry school. She ended up selling chocolate. “I love pastry and I wanted to go to pastry school, but life happens,” she said. Needing to find a livelihood, she teamed up with her sister Patricia and began looking into franchise opportunities to start their own business.…

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Personal Touch Secures Customers

Smith Security technician Alvin Lopez installs a security system control panel at a Weslaco business. (VBR)

  As technology races ahead by leaps and bounds, one thing never changes when operating a business. In the end it’s all about customer service. Across the Rio Grande Valley there are several locally owned companies offering residential and commercial security systems, and they all say their success is grounded in connecting with customers. Unlike some national security companies that contract with sales representatives and service technicians, these businesses take…

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Under Attack: Scammers Want Your Money

Frost Bank Vice President Sylvia talks to business leaders about digital theft and fraud. (VBR)

The chances of becoming a victim of electronic fraud are growing every day for both individuals and businesses. “We see fraud on a daily basis,” said Frost Bank Senior Vice President Mickey Boland as he introduced a presentation on how to protect your money and your identity in a digital world at the Harlingen Chamber of Commerce. With so many options to conduct financial transactions online and with wireless devices,…

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Bountiful Harvest Predicted for Citrus

Citrus cover

Rio Grande Valley citrus groves and packing houses are buzzing with activity as this year’s harvest season kicks into high gear for what is predicted to a bountiful yield that could pump as much as $200 million into the local economy. “I think we are shaping up to have a really good year,” said Dale Murden, president of Texas Citrus Mutual. “Our estimates are above last year. The crop is…

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