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.

Kapal Gains State Designation

The Donna facility of Kapal Industries, a cabinet and countertops manufacturer.

Irineo Capetillo knows what it’s like to navigate through the birth, emergence and subsequent struggles of a business that even in success, needs assistance if it hopes to see further growth. Going into 2019, Capetillo knew his Kapal Industries had outgrown its Donna facility. He also needed a second facility to expand his cabinet making and countertops manufacturing operations. The early search for a second facility in the Rio Grande…

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Determination Tops Ranch House Burgers

Ranch House Burgers II in Mission. (Courtesy)

Ranch House Burgers II has new and temporary hours in the era of COVID-19. Every other day, the Mission restaurant is open from midnight to 3 a.m. Its customers are primarily police officers, state troopers and first responders. “They got tired of burritos from the convenience stores,” said Mike Barrera, the restaurant’s owner. “We’re a business, so we do charge for the meals to help keep my staff employed, but it’s…

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Farmers Market Reinvents the Wheel

Onions, vegetables and fruits are bagged for pickup and delivery from Rancho Viejo Farmers Market. (Courtesy)

One day, Bonnie Emerson was getting ready to stage another weekend Rancho Viejo Farmers Market – and then the world changed.  The threat of the coronavirus led Texas Gov. Greg Abbott to issue an executive order on March 19 that limited public gatherings and eventually led to the closing of many businesses. The Rancho Viejo Farmers Market of March 21-22 saw an abrupt cancellation with no roadmap of what to…

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Medical School Dean Predicts Early-May Peak in RGV

ohn Krouse at the Innovation, Transformation and Disruption panel in January. (UTRGV School of Medicine photo)

The dean of the UTRGV School of Medicine believes strict stay-at-home orders will likely lead to the coronavirus spread peaking in early May in the Rio Grande Valley.  Dr. John Krouse said models he is seeing suggest the Valley is coming up to its COVID-19 peak time. “The latest models I’m seeing coming out of the state are looking at a peak, perhaps in early May,” Krouse said during a…

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Customs Revises Traffic Hours At Anzalduas Bridge 

The Anzalduas Bridge (photo U.S. Customs and Border Protection)

A McAllen/Mission-area bridge is reducing hours of operations for southbound traffic as traffic volume from Mexico has declined with restrictions imposed during the coronavirus crisis.  Beginning Monday, April 6, the Anzalduas Bridge will see hours reduced for incoming traffic from Mexico. Northbound traffic on Anzalduas will operate from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. Hours of operation for southbound traffic will remain unchanged and be open for traffic from 6 a.m.…

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Traffic Volumes Dropping

Social distance practices and shelter in place directives from county judges appear to be having the effect intended. At least one Rio Grande Valley city reports significant declines in vehicular traffic. The City of McAllen reports a nearly 70 percent drop in normal vehicular traffic at two of its busiest intersections. Those locations are 2nd Street and Nolana Avenue and Ware Road and Nolana. Both intersections as of March 28…

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Wing Barn Gains Recognition Amid Growth

Bobby Saenz and Daniel Pompa are the owners of the fast-growing Wing Barn restaurants in the Valley.

Down-home Rio Grande Valley cooking is gaining statewide accolades for the Brownsville-based Wing Barn. The growing regional restaurant chain was recently named one of the “Top 25 Best Places for Chicken Wings in Texas” by Big 7 Travel. The widely-read and well-sourced social media site offers recommendations on the best destinations, hotels and restaurants around the country and world for travelers to visit and enjoy. The accolade comes at a…

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Magnet Schools Adapt to Changing Times

Simulation Lab Facilitator Linda Valdez shows the variety of equipment in her lab at Med High

Engineering students are at work inside a new innovation lab building on the Mercedes campus of the South Texas Independent School District campus. They peer over laptops and move from table to table, conferring over projects and looking over numerical formulas that offer solutions.  “These kids know they’re not on an island,” said Gabe Valdez, an instructor at the school. “They collaborate. They look for opportunities to teach each other.”…

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Harlingen Farm Grows Green Sensibilities 

Diana Padilla looks over rows of organically grown crops at her farm in Harlingen.

Diana Padilla describes it as seeing a piece of land and knowing it’s where she wanted to be. The Chicago native and retired federal government employee chanced upon the farmland near the corner of Rangerville and Morris roads in Harlingen and had a good feel for it. She and her husband Saul purchased a 15-acre plot, including the old farmhouse where they live, and then began farming. It was 2004…

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McAllen Goes Green With Unique Facility

Grinding and processing brush at the McAllen Composting Facility.

Robert Treviño winds his city-issued truck through 20-foot-plus high piles of brush – grinded and raw – at the McAllen Composting Facility.  The city’s renewable resource manager oversees a facility that annually sells 25,000 bags of compost and mulch, and also hauls and delivers products all over South Texas. It’s a valuable commodity among growers and gardeners for the nutrients and microbial activity it provides to soils for plant use…

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