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.

Sun Fuels Industry Growth

A solar roof installation on a building detached from the residence helps power an entire home in Mission. (VBR)

The scorching South Texas sun holds virtually unlimited potential to generate electricity, and consumer demand for solar power is on the rise. And while at one time about seven solar companies operated in the Rio Grande Valley, today there is only a handful, and only one of those is locally owned and operated. American Made Solar and Wind Technologies, based in Weslaco, specializes in meeting the demand for both commercial…

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Valley Economic Forecast Good

Salvador Contreras, director of UTRGV’s Center for Border Economic Studies, summarizes his findings in a 2019 economic forecast for the Rio Grande Valley. (VBR)

Deep South Texas is expected to see economic growth again this year, although the increases in activity may be a little smaller than the numbers for 2018, according to an economic forecast compiled by Salvador Contreras, director of the Center for Border Economic Studies at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. “Texas had a strong 2018,” Contreras said. “This year may not be as strong but we will have…

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American Airlines Official Visits Harlingen

American Airlines representative Dale Morris sits with Valley International Aviation Director Marv Easterly during a lunch with Harlingen officials and business leaders.

As American Airlines prepares to begin daily service to Dallas-Fort Worth to and from Valley International Airport in March, airline representative Dale Morris made a visit to Harlingen last week to meet with city officials and business leaders, as well as take a tour of the airport. Dale Morris, senior consultant for special projects and government affairs for American, met with community leaders for lunch at Frankie Flav’z before heading…

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Cooking in the Great Outdoors

An outdoor kitchen and entertainment area with fireplace designed and installed by Grill Street. (Courtesy)

Outdoor grilling is as popular as ever in the Rio Grande Valley, with greater numbers of people taking it well beyond simply firing up a gas grill or charcoal pit on the back patio to cook steaks, ribs, chicken, vegetables and more. A fast-growing segment is expanding their options to install outdoor kitchens, some of which are as well-equipped as the indoor versions. Ruben Castillo, an architect who moved to…

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Work Visa Rules See Changes

On the same day that President Donald Trump visited the Rio Grande Valley to drum up support for a border wall, a group of business people gathered to learn about immigration issues facing workers and employers. “It’s really hard to keep up. Changes are occurring on an almost daily basis and the changes are affecting immigrants and employers,” said immigration attorney Belia A. Pena, who presented the workshop sponsored by…

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Thrift Store Helps Victims

Customers browse racks of used clothing at Repeat Performance, which is open Monday through Saturday on Jackson Street in Harlingen. (VBR)

One of the shops along Jackson Street in downtown Harlingen is a thrift store that not only recycles old clothes and other merchandise, it fosters new beginnings for victims of domestic family violence and sexual assault. The small retail outlet is operated by the Family Crisis Center of the Rio Grande Valley. “Repeat Performance generates revenue that comes back into the center to help us run the center,” said Laura…

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Manufacturer Unique in Valley

Texas Thread owner Kavanaugh Francis operates a manufacturing business that is unique in the Rio Grande Valley. (VBR)

A nondescript metal building with a faded sign along an industrial/commercial stretch of Wilson Road in Harlingen houses Texas Thread, a manufacturing enterprise that is unique in the Rio Grande Valley. “We are the only thread maker in the Valley,” owner Kavanaugh Francis said. “Actually, we are the only one west of the Mississippi because most of our competitors are in the east in states like the Carolinas. And, being…

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This Golf is High-Tech

A player at Topgolf in Pharr reacts to one of his shots. (VBR)

Topgolf is not so much about golf as it is a technology-driven entertainment experience. In fact, more than half of the people who visit Topgolf venues are non-golfers. And only eight percent classify themselves as avid players of the game. The new Topgolf in Pharr, the 50th location in the franchise, features three levels with 72 stations from which to whack balls out into a large area filled with targets.…

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Turn an Idea Into a Business

Business consultant Michael Wilson meets with a group of aspiring entrepreneurs to discuss how to develop a solid business plan. (VBR)

No matter how good the idea or how big the dream, passion and detailed planning are critical components of starting a new business. That was the message from Michael Wilson, who recently presented one in a series of Small Business Administration workshops dedicated to guiding aspiring entrepreneurs through a process of turning an idea into a viable enterprise. Wilson is chief operating officer of CM Institute of Leadership, a company…

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SBA Administrator Visits RGV

WycoTax owner Christopher Wycoco presented a bouquet of flowers to SBA Administrator Linda McMahon on her visit to Harlingen. (VBR)

Linda McMahon and her husband took a small regional business and built it into a multinational powerhouse brand known as WWE. For non-wrestling fans, that stands for World Wrestling Entertainment, a media and entertainment company primarily known for professional wrestling. Active in WWE from 1980 to 2009, serving as president and CEO, McMahon left the company to mount two unsuccessful runs for the U.S. Senate in her home state of…

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