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.

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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Farm an Organic Family Affair

Susanne and Bud Cooke discuss the raising of the canopy on a greenhouse at Acacia Farms. (VBR)

The scene was reminiscent of an old-fashioned barn raising, where friends would turn out to help a farmer build a new barn, and then celebrate the accomplishment. But on this Saturday in December, what was being raised was a new covering for a damaged greenhouse at Acacia Farms in Bayview. The greenhouse, some 30 feet by 130 feet, lost its plastic covering in a freak windstorm earlier in the year…

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All in the Family: Salsa

Rebecca Garcia with jars of Blanquita’s Salsa made using her grandmother’s recipes. (VBR)

Rebecca Garcia was born into a large extended family with roots in Monterrey, Mexico. Her grandmother bore 11 children while her grandfather started a restaurant business, serving up barbacoa and other Mexican specialties from a small trailer. The family migrated north to Nuevo Progreso and eventually to the Harlingen area, along the way building and growing a restaurant business that thrives today. Starting out in trailers much like her grandfather…

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Building a Better Burger

Owner and chef Frank Macias with the Trump’s Burger Wall, piled high with American and Mexican flavors representing the cultural mix of South Texas. (VBR)

Frank Macias at times seems a bit surprised by his success. All the while, he is confident in the skills and vision that took him down a road from food truck operator to restaurateur with a plan for the future. The owner of Frankie Flav’z in Harlingen, Macias’s first job was flipping burgers at McDonald’s when he was 16. He bounced around from eatery to eatery until he was 22,…

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Birding by the Numbers

Two birders scan the area with binoculars at Estero Llano Grande State Park. (VBR)

Some 800 birders visited the Rio Grande Valley Birding Festival in November, its 25th year as one of the premier birding events in the country. With dozens of field trips to regional birding hotspots and lectures by internationally renowned birding experts, the festival’s staying power is a testament to the economic impact of ecotourism, and particularly birdwatching, in Deep South Texas. While there are no recent studies on the financial…

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Designing Iconic Texas Art

Ida Rodriguez holds a work in progress, a decorated steer skull, in her South Texas Longhorns studio. (VBR)

With a dream of becoming a fashion designer, Ida Rodriguez started out designing and sewing her own clothes. Growing up in the Rio Grande Valley town of Alton, she was one of a family of seven with a father who was the sole provider, and a strict patriarch. In her early 20s she had an opportunity to attend fashion design school in Dallas, but her father said no; she needed…

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Beer Center of ‘Experience’

Manager Kevin Norrell inside the glass-enclosed keg storage area at the Yard House in McAllen. (VBR)

Three thousand gallons of beer is kept at a temperature of 36-38 degrees in a glass-enclosed keg storage area that can be viewed from inside La Plaza Mall in McAllen. With some 130 beers on tap, the recently opened Yard House boasts the largest assortment of draft beer in the city. The cold beer is delivered to the establishment’s centerpiece, an island bar lined with colorful taps, through more than…

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A Cut Above the Competition

Norma Aguinaga shows off a box of fresh-cut Certified Angus Beef steaks ordered by a customer. (VBR)

Norma Aguinaga believes in divine intervention. Without it, Lord and Moe’s Meat Specialty Shop might not exist, and she might not even have a husband. “God still works miracles today for those that believe. Every customer that comes in here was brought by the Lord.” Norma and husband Erasmo began their journey together while working at Texas Meat Purveyors in Harlingen. That’s where they met and later married. With combined…

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LNG Plant Making Progress

A rendering of what the Rio Grande LNG plant at the Port of Brownsville would look like upon completion. (Courtesy)

One of three liquified natural gas facilities proposed for the Port of Brownsville has cleared another regulatory hurdle that keeps the project on track for the company to make a final investment decision in about a year. NextDecade Corp. has announced that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has issued a draft environmental impact statement for its Rio Grande LNG project, as well as the associated Rio Bravo Pipeline. “We appreciate…

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Websites Still Critical Tools

Websites_Haight: Spectrum digital expert Ben Haight delivered a presentation on best practices for business websites at a seminar hosted by the McAllen Chamber of Commerce. (VBR)

Small business owners who think a good social media presence is all they need to promote their enterprises in the digital world are most likely mistaken. Digital marketing started with websites and they remain a critical component of branding a business. “A website is your digital storefront and it’s what sets you apart from similar businesses,” said Ben Haight, senior digital sales manager for Spectrum in Texas, during a seminar…

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