Author Archives: Ricardo Cavazos, VBR content editor

Ricardo D. Cavazos is a journalist and business executive who has over 30 years of experience as a reporter, editor and publisher and is currently managing allied health schools in the Rio Grande Valley and Laredo. Working for Freedom Communications, Cavazos served as editor of The Monitor for eight years and was publisher of The Brownsville Herald for 14 years. He also served as publisher of the Valley Morning Star for one year and launched two Spanish-language publications - El Nuevo Heraldo and El Extra. He is an Edinburg native currrently living in Harlingen.

Making a Buck & Finding a Surplus

Juan Rosales in his warehouse at RGV Surplus.

Juan Rosales started out small, buying used books, figurines and old music albums. He called it “Just Trying To Make A Buck” back then in 2012, declining his wife’s suggestion of “Juan’s Junk” for his nascent surplus business. “I bought a few Just Trying To Make A Buck things and I got hooked,” said Rosales, a retired manager of the cigarette distribution business. He then began attending government and school auctions. His…

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Using Art To Boost SPI Economy

The art business incubator at SPI offers community workshops where local residents can learn more about sculpturing.

The usual formula to fuel economic development focuses on manufacturing, transportation and distribution. At South Padre Island, the path to boosting the economy has branched out to also include art and how creative endeavors can lead to growth. The Art Business Incubator South Padre Island seeks to give both new and existing art businesses support to establish a presence in the local economy. Its program director Alexa Ocean Ray is…

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Producing Health Care Workers In Time of Need

South Texas Training students practice skills on each other in early spring 2020. (Courtesy)

The front lines of hospitals and nursing homes are under severe duress – and help isn’t coming just from universities and nursing schools. Employers are in need of nurse assistants, medical assistants and phlebotomists in caring for surging numbers of patients. Career schools with licenses from the Texas Workforce Commission are training and educating these essential workers. Schools such as Careers Unlimited and South Texas Training Center are working to…

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Mid-Valley Pharmacies Offer Down-Home Service

Rows of vitamins and supplements at Mid-Valley Pharmacy in Mercedes.

Hometown pharmacies in Mercedes mean featuring orange-and-white themes and a community’s love for high school football. At Mid-Valley Pharmacy, a Mercedes Tiger football helmet sits up high on a main counter. Around the corner at Coach’s Pharmacy on Texas Avenue, the pharmacist is a former football coach. He also wears something orange to work every day.  The down-home connections are especially pertinent these days. Customers throughout the Mid-Valley depend on…

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Keto Bakeries Change Lives

A treat of keto-friendly cupcakes is shown at Keto Sweets & Treats in Alamo.

Karla Ugarte and Juan Palma were coming off nine solid months of new business success when they reached for more in opening their second Keto Sweets & Treats. The husband-and-wife team were building from solid ground with the customer and revenue gains from their Alamo bakery along Expressway 77/83. Moving into the bigger McAllen market with a location near the always busy intersection of 10th Street and Trenton Road was…

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Medical Residents Set the Standard

Dr. Miguel Tello, center, with the first class of physician residents of a UTRGV School of Medicine program in the Mid-Valley. (Courtesy)

Eddy Berges earned medical degrees and training in his native Dominican Republic and then in Puerto Rico.  A major goal still lay ahead and Berges pursued it by applying to several medical schools in the United States. Berges’ goal was to be accepted into a residency program. He found one in the Rio Grande Valley, and a program barely getting off the ground.  Berges and five other physician residents from…

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New Roadway Spurs New Development 

Traffic heads east toward Expressway 77/83 on Spur 54 in Harlingen.

A $7-million roadway connecting two busy parts of Expressway 77/83 in Harlingen is on schedule for completion this month. Spur 54 links southbound and westbound traffic on the expressway, running east-west behind Bass Pro Shops and in front of the Sam’s Club store in Harlingen. Construction on the 1.2 mile-long roadway began a year ago. It is already busy with traffic and leading to the development of new retail and…

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Busy Bristles Uses Art For New Understandings

Cynthia Duran is gearing up to start another school year – in whatever form that may take – but she’s always teaching. The Weslaco school district art educator has navigated through an interesting summer at her Busy Bristles Art Studio. The downtown Weslaco business also had its COVID-19 ups and downs. The enthusiasm for art never waned.  The interest of children and adults to get before a canvas again ran…

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OLLU Sparks New Higher Ed Opportunities

Exterior shot of OLLU campus in La Feria.

Dr. Patricia Blanco was there at the beginning. It was fall 2013 and Our Lady Of The Lake University was making its big move in the Rio Grande Valley. The San Antonio-based university was establishing a bricks-and-mortar location in La Feria. It was a sure sign the Catholic school was intent on a permanent presence.  “It was a leap for OLLU,” said Blanco, the director of the university’s RGV campus.…

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Teachers Find Sweet Spot With Supply Store

Patrick and Rebecca Alvarez are teachers/owners of Super Teachers Supply.

Patrick Alvarez walks into big-box stores and their rows of school supplies and his trained teacher eye makes an astute observation. “A lot of the inventory doesn’t move,” said Alvarez, a social studies teacher at a Brownsville charter school. “It’s not what teachers really need.” The dollar stores offer discounts on inexpensive items like glitter and markers, but what about the more specific supplies and decorations teachers commonly need to…

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