Category Archives: Industry

Longhorn Cattle Company Is Back

Plates of hot meats and tasty sides are heaping and ready for Longhorn customers.

It was a day before the Longhorn Cattle Company reopening and owner Bill Turner was raring to go. “The fires are lit and the beans are cooking,” said Turner on June 2, the eve of his barbecue restaurant reopening after weeks of COVID-19 closure.  The San Benito mainstay business along the expressway is a destination restaurant in the Rio Grande Valley. The days of closure were long ones for a…

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Valley Businesses Regroup, Adjust To Life

Dien Nguyen says business is returning to his nail salon in San Juan. (VBR)

Adam Shidler stayed busy in the two weeks his Weslaco business was closed. Government-mandated shutdowns due to COVID-19 kept his downtown coffee shop temporarily shuttered. Shidler used the time to do maintenance and upkeep at Weslaco’s Daily Grind. Working in his shop, customers would see him inside and knock on windows and wave hellos. Weslaco’s Daily Grind’s customers missed their coffee shop – and the feelings were mutual.  “Our friends…

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Building a Culture of Health in the RGV

Hidalgo-County residents take advantage of the Hidalgo County Precinct 2 Hike-and-Bike Trail in San Juan.

We have all been deluged with local, state, national and international statistics about COVID-19 in recent months. The term “underlying conditions” is often cited in describing those who have become critically ill or who have passed away. There has been more limited information about the actions individuals and communities can take to improve the chances of fighting COVID-19 and other deadly viruses and diseases. Eddie Olivarez, the chief administrator for…

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Weslaco Western Store Creates New Opportunities 

Sandy Pena looks over inventory she wants to feature on her store's website.

Sandy Pena is at one of her store counters, entering inventory to soon be featured on her website. It’s early June and in downtown Weslaco the temperatures already feel like mid-August. Inside Lionel’s Western Wear & Boutique, Pena is upbeat and feeling the new possibilities in the midst of a pandemic.  “I’m not depressed or dejected at all,” Pena said. “I’m optimistic about retail. I think there’s still a place…

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Project COVID Care Helps Elderly & Disabled

Johnny Llanes and Drea Labanzat make a delivery to a resident in need. (Courtesy)

Violet Metz became concerned in March as grocery store lines grew and local governments issued shelter-in-place orders. “At my age, security is such a huge concern,” said Metz, 81, a McAllen resident. “If I really need something, will I be able to get it?” It was an extraordinary period of time in March going into April as the COVID-19 pandemic set in. The general panic being felt in the community-at-large…

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Pharr Reaches Out During Pandemic

Pharr has remained busy during COVID-19 era. (Courtesy)

The City of Pharr set up an emergency business loan program similar to other cities – and then did one better in reaching out to its community. The city established the Pharr COVID Recovery Center at its events center to handle all sort of inquiries related to the pandemic outbreak. Among those questions is how local businesses can apply for funds from the Pharr CARES Small Business Loan Program. It…

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Moonshiner Bring Slice Of Ozarks

Jerrod Leon Henry stands by his copper still in Los Fresnos.

Tape holds up a distiller’s and rectifier’s permit from the state to the front window of Jerrod Leon Henry’s emerging business. A gold 120-gallon copper still made in Tennessee sits inside of what will become the Rio Grande Distillery and Magic Valley Moonshine. It’s on Highway 100 on the outskirts of Los Fresnos. Traffic buzzes by on the way to Port Isabel and South Padre Island. Henry is bringing a…

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Back to Work: TWC Provides Acceptable Reasons for Refusal

The Texas Workforce Commission recently took action to provide guidance on eligibility for unemployment insurance benefits due to refusal to suitable work. Evaluations of each UI benefits case is currently on an individual basis. However, because of COVID-19, the following are reasons benefits would continue if an individual refuses work. Reason for refusal: People 65 years or older and/or people with medical issues. These include heart disease, diabetes, cancer or a…

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Doors Now Open for Janet Oliva Cortez

VIDA: Janet Oliva Cortez

The team at Valley Initiative for Development and Advancement knows all too well about doors closing in keeping underemployed and unemployed people in the Rio Grande Valley from career advancement and higher pay. Janet Oliva Cortez knows about those challenges. Cortez works for the Weslaco Independent School District as a data entry clerk. It’s a good employer, secure job, and a decent salary. Cortez knew, however, that without a degree,…

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