Author Archives: VBR

DA Focuses on Human Trafficking in Agriculture

Hidalgo County Criminal District Attorney Ricardo Rodriguez Jr. announces the Buffett-McCain Institute Initiative to Combat Modern Slavery grant.

Hidalgo County will soon have a Human Trafficking Unit created by Criminal District Attorney Ricardo Rodriguez Jr. The unit will address forced labor in the agricultural sector, being the first of its kind in the United States. The unit is possible due to funding via a Buffett-McCain Institute Initiative to Combat Modern Slavery grant of $356,783. “In forced labor, workers are often tied to the employers who hold them hostage to the job…

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Emergency Loans Available During Federal Shutdown

Due to the extended period of the government shutdown, nonprofit and social service organizations in need of emergency bridge loans are eligible for up to $50,000 in low-interest capital from PeopleFund. The loans are designed to help nonprofits with government subsidies that rely on federal funding to provide vital community services. Organizations will need to provide proof of federal contract (NOFA or reimbursement agreement), financial statements, recent 990s and other documentation. The…

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TWC Awards STC more than $1.3 million

Ruth Hughs, chair of Texas Workforce Commission, signs three grants totaling more than $1.3 million to South Texas College. (photo STC)

On Jan. 11, South Texas College had a “million-dollar morning” with three Texas Workforce Commission grants totaling more than $1.3 million. The award includes a $249,096 Job and Education for Texas grant, as well as $655,153 to STC’s Healthcare and Social Assistance Consortium. The consortium will create and upgrade 1,167 jobs. Additionally, a $409,890 grant goes to the college’s Manufacturing Consortium to create and upgrade 205 jobs. Guest speakers in…

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RGV Airbnb Earns $11.5 Million in 2018

According to Airbnb, properties in its Rio Grande Valley host community took in earnings of $11.5 million in supplemental income in 2018. Approximately 80,000 visitors used the service while staying in the region. Cameron County hosts took in $10.5 million with 70,000 guests, while Hidalgo County hosts earned $947,000 with 9,500 guests. Willacy and Starr counties pulled in the final figures and guests. According to the most recent state-commissioned Texas…

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UTRGV SBDC Offers Multiple Services

Marie Chang, owner of the BARA Exotic Food restaurant, discusses ways to improve her business with the UTRGV Entrepreneurship & Commercialization Center staff. (photo David Pike, UTRGV)

The Small Business Administration estimates about 627,000 new businesses open every year. It might be a hobby to earn extra income, or a long-standing idea you finally want to act on. Whatever the motivation, there are resources available for people who want to launch a business in 2019. One of the organizations aspiring business owners can turn to is the Small Business Development Center housed at The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. Center…

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McAllen Marathon and Health Expo Jan. 19

(photo McAllen Marathon's Health Expo)

The McAllen Marathon and Health Expo is expecting more than 6,000 visitors Jan. 19, including thousands of McAllen marathon participants. Hospitals, health providers, doctor clinics, medical suppliers, nutritionists, gyms, holistic centers and sports clubs will be on hand. Offerings include free health screenings, massages, health care solutions and nutritional information. The City of McAllen and the McAllen Chamber of Commerce are still accepting applications for vendors. Local businesses may introduce new products and give…

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Winter Texan Expo Jan. 17

Edinburg Winter Texans

The Edinburg Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce host a Winter Texan Appreciation Day and Expo Jan. 17. The event includes live music by Sweet Water Band RGV, food and a chance to win door prizes. “Winter Texans continue to be vital to our community,” said Ronnie Larralde, executive director of the Edinburg Chamber and Edinburg CVB. “Their visits to Edinburg assist our growing economy and…

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Capital Project Grant Applications Now Open

(photo Brownsville Convention & Visitors Bureau)

With a deadline on March 1, the Brownsville Community Improvement Corporation invites organizations to apply for its ‘Capital Project Grant 2019 Cycle’ through its website. The grant cycle for capital projects allow the BCIC to partner with organizations that have developed capital projects that will create economic development opportunities within Brownsville city limits. Previous projects that have created economic development opportunities in the past have included the Market Square Restoration Project.…

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TSTC welcomes new police chief

Eduardo Patiño

Eduardo Patiño was recently promoted and named Texas State Technical College’s newest police chief. Patiño celebrates 10 years at TSTC in June, serving as sergeant for the force for the past six years. TSTC Police Commissioner Aurelio Torres says Patiño was one of six candidates selected and interviewed on competences identified as critical for a college police chief. “Patiño has made an impact since day one,” said Torres. “His experience in…

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TechPlace Continues to Home Entrepreneurs


Since 2015, the McAllen Chamber of Commerce’s TechPlace has been providing a place where tech-minded entrepreneurs can connect and work. The 2,500-square-foot area on the third floor of the McAllen Creative Incubator offers memberships for the collaborative space to app and software developers, tech startups, programmers, coders and college students. TechPlace offers its members 24/7 access to collaboration space, lounges and meeting rooms. The facility also offers high-speed WiFi as well as…

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