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.

Numbers Offer Proof of NAFTA Benefits


The numbers are impressive. The North American Free Trade Agreement has had a profound impact on the economies of the United States, Mexico and Canada, the three nations party to the agreement implemented in 1994. NAFTA has been a driving force behind increases in Texas exports, which reached $247 billion by 2015, the best in the country and followed by California with $163 billion, according to statistics compiled by Jesus…

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Downtown Harlingen Merchants Share Information

Downtown merchants gathered for coffee and breakfast tacos to hear updates from fellow business owners. (VBR)

Downtown Harlingen Director Edward Meza welcomed about 30 people Thursday morning to discuss some of the latest news from downtown merchants. Sponsored by the Harlingen Chamber of Commerce, coffee and breakfast tacos were served as business owners took turns talking about their products and services and promoted upcoming events. Meza said he has recently talked with three individuals interested in opening businesses in the downtown area.”There are more new people…

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Getting Ready to Pay the Taxman

CPA Javier Alacron discusses tax reform with small business owners.

Some elements of the new tax reform package that was signed into law late last year and took effect in 2018 are straightforward and simple to understand. Others are detailed and complex. And some areas are cloudy since the regulations haven’t been written yet. The simplest part of the package to understand is the lowering of tax rates in the seven tax brackets for individuals. “Whatever bracket you are in,…

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Moving Toward an MPO Merger?

MPO graphic

With potentially millions of dollars in transportation funding on the line for the Rio Grande Valley, the idea of consolidating the region’s three Metropolitan Planning Organizations has been percolating for several years. But, so far, only the Hidalgo County MPO is on record as being firmly behind the merger. Hidalgo County MPO Director Andrew Cannon said such a consolidation could bring an additional $11 million a year to the Valley…

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Turning a Profit for a Nonprofit

Nathan Pinkerton is director of Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore operations in the Valley. (VBR)

A deciding factor for many people who give to nonprofit organizations is how much of their donation will go to administrative costs, because they want to know their money goes directly to fund charitable works. The answer to that question for the Rio Grande Valley affiliate of Habitat for Humanity is zero. The reason behind that is the success of Habitat for Humanity ReStore retail outlets in McAllen and Harlingen…

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Demand Grows for Dog Day Care

doggie day cares

At daycare facilities across the Rio Grande Valley, kids can be found playing ball, catching Frisbees or splashing in a swimming pool, and then maybe taking a good, long nap. Except these children are of the four-legged variety. Dog daycare is a growing segment for many dog-boarding businesses to meet the demand for short-term canine care. More and more dog owners are turning to daycare to avoid leaving their pets…

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Lone Star Breaks Ground on New Banking Center

Lone Star National Bank officials and community leaders turn shovels of dirt at the groundbreaking ceremony for the bank’s second Edinburg location. (VBR)

In front of the building already under construction, Lone Star National Bank hosted a groundbreaking ceremony Feb. 7 to celebrate its second Edinburg location. The new branch will be the 34th in a network of banks throughout both the Rio Grande Valley and San Antonio. “Our goal is to continue to grow in the Valley, Lone Star National Bank President and CEO David Deanda said. “We are always there to…

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Multimedia Art Event Explores the FOLD

A close-up of an interactive installation created by Laleh Mehran, whose work has been exhibited around the world. (

Exhibit opens Feb. 2 Art that challenges space and time will be the focal point for FOLD: Art, Metaphor and Practice, a series of art exhibits, lectures and live performances over the next two months in McAllen and Edinburg. Artwork by 13 women artists will converge in what is described as a presentation of works that explore the concept of the fold in terms of form and conceptual metaphor in…

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The Path to Starting a Business

Retired businessman and SCORE volunteer Lionel Levin speaks to a group of aspiring entrepreneurs. (VBR)

A retired pipefitter and welder said he wanted to gather information that would “help my grandchildren get something better than I’ve got.” Others in the room were considering starting businesses such as a second-hand boutique, a construction company and an environmental consulting firm. What they all had in common was a desire to find success owning and operating their own business. About 30 people gathered in January at the Small…

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