UTRGV Ballet Folklorico performers at IMAS. The Dia de los Muertos, Biozone activity was making Q-tip skeletons. Kids get skull face paintings. Guests view a community alter at the IMAS Dia de Los Muertos Festival. Families play in the new “Seed to Table” hands on exhibit at IMAS. Guests use the picture op at the festival. Guests at IMAS Dia de Los Muertos Festival decorate sugar skulls with icing. The Heavin Resaca Trail, a community gathering point. San Benito City Manager Manuel De La Rose Downtown San Benito (photo SB Economic Development Corp). Business in Development Program Barbara Garza Knee-high floodwaters inundated SS Auto Body Solutions in June, but the Mercedes business recovered and re-opened. (VBR) SS Auto Body Solutions owners Rachel Hinojosa and Rene Moreno next to a classic car in their shop. (VBR) SCORE volunteer Rebecca Esparza talks about digital marketing during a seminar hosted by the Small Business Administration in Harlingen. rian Guerra, owner of Armas de Guerra and Lone Star Guns. (VBR) An instructor helps a young girl learn to swing on the parallel bars. (VBR) The Little Gym owner Alton Britton incorporates learning into the gymnastics routines. (VBR) Lead teacher Karen Chapel poses with Sylvan student Mariana. (VBR) JHK Equestrian Country Club owner Jamie Ricks helps a young rider adjust her stirrups before class. (VBR) A group of young riders navigate a series of obstacles in the training arena at JHK Equestrian Country Club. (VBR) After checking her horse’s equipment, a student mounts her horse for a ride. (VBR) One of the older students rides her mount at JHK Equestrian Country Club. (VBR) A young equestrian crosses through one of the obstacles in the arena. (VBR) A server prepares ice cream orders for customers. (VBR) Owner Claudia Martinez personally mixes ingredients for a batch of ice cream. (VBR) Kamron Fultz socializes with canine daycare customers. (VBR) Playtime is an important part of dog socialization at Paws and Claws Pet Resort. (VBR) Two dogs tussle over a ball at the RGV K9 Training Centre daycare. (VBR) Gabriel Palacios and Constance, the granddaughter of owners John and Liz Patterson, welcome two daycare pets being dropped off by their owners. (VBR) CPA Javier Alacron discusses tax reform with small business owners. Furniture and home décor items on display in the Harlingen ReStore. (VBR) Dr. Juan D. Villarreal working with a patient at Harlingen Family Dentistry. (VBR) Construction is underway for the Lone Star National Bank branch at North 10th Street and Freddy Gonzalez Road in Edinburg. (VBR) Lone Star National Bank’s mascot Cowboy Cash greeted dignitaries at the groundbreaking. (VBR) Lone Star National Bank Board Chairman Alonzo Cantu. (VBR) McAllen Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Steve Ahlenius. (VBR) Edinburg Mayor Richard Molina. (VBR) Edinburg Chamber of Commerce President Letty Gonzalez. (VBR) Lone Star National Bank Board Chairman Alonzo Cantu (left) and President David Deanda get ready for the groundbreaking ceremony. (VBR) Lone Star National Bank President David Deanda. (VBR) Rio Bank President and CEO Ford Sasser addresses the crowd at the groundbreaking. Rio Bank President and CEO Ford Sasser addresses the crowd at the groundbreaking. Guests view a rendering of the new new six-story Rio Bank coming to North McColl in McAllen. Guests of the Rio Bank groundbreaking in McAllen Jan. 18 mingle and stay warm in a heated tent. Face painting for the kids was another attraction at the grand opening. Batman and Captain America were among the superheroes greeting visitors at the grand opening. Youngsters had the chance for photo opps with superheroes like Spiderman. Waiters offered food and drink at the grand opening of the Pediatric Emergency Room. Visitors sample the food at the grand opening of the Pediatric Emergency Room. Brightly colored balloons greeted visitors to the grand opening. One of 12 beds dedicated to the Pediatric Emergency Room. Teams of students in the Smart Farm robotics competition. (photo Paul Chouy, UTRGV) Students perform repairs and modifications on a robot. (photo Paul Chouy, UTRGV) Robots built for the Smart Farm competition. (photo Paul Chouy, UTRGV) Students guide a robot to collect objects representing crops in the Smart Farm competition during the UTRGV Texas Manufacturing Assistance Center summer camp. (photo Paul Chouy, UTRGV) Dr. Guy Bailey speaks at the Knapp/UTRGV Family Practice Residency Clinic ribbon cutting. (photo VBR) TSTC Interview Practicum volunteers guide students through mock job interviews. (photo TSTC) A semi’s tires have to be ready for the long haul, hitting the road for 3,000-4,000 miles per trip. (VBR) A SBA representative explains some of the programs being offered by SBA after a natural disaster in Oklahoma. (photo by Patsy Lynch/FEMA) Jovita Chase, owner of Brownsville Coffee Shop No. 2, still does work all over the restaurant when needed. (VBR) The Mexican plate, a classic dish with beans, rice, tacos and enchiladas. (VBR) RGVAS instructor Juan C. coaches a young guitar student. (VBR) Lori Rodgers welcomes future ballerinas to a class at Rio Grande Valley Arts Studio. (VBR) Alfonso Duarte has run his own sprinkler business – now called Duarte and Daughters – for 15 years. (VBR) With the passage of SB 2118, South Texas College’s Division of Nursing and Allied Health is planning to offer a Bachelor of Science in Nursing program. (photo STC) A new cohort of local ISD, community college and university faculty will guide students in STEM careers after graduating from the RGV STEM Faculty Institute. (photo STC) The UTRGV School of Medicine welcomes 56 new medical residents during orientation June 22-23 at the Edinburg Medical Education Building. An AmeriCorps VISTA member tutors a student in Washington, D.C. (photo AmeriCorps VISTA) Enrique Leal STC recently received a $223,109 JET grant to assist in training for careers in the medical profession. (photo STC) McAllen Day in Mexico City showcases McAllen hotels, restaurants and retail July 11. Sarah M. Rowe, assistant professor in the UTRGV Department of Sociology & Anthropology(UTRGV photo by Paul Chouy) The City of McAllen Office of Communications receives three awards from the Texas Association of Municipal Information Officers. (photo by McAllen Office of Communications) A rendering of the upcoming Premier Plaza in McAllen Victor Flores Captain Christopher R. Urbanovsky Rendering of Pasha Hawaii’s vessels to be built by Keppel AmFELS. (Photo by Pasha Hawaii) Mike Blum is honored with receiving the 2017 Community Service Award on April 25 at McAllen Convention Center. Seated at the table next to Blum are McAllen Mayor Jim Darling and actor and movie producer of “God’s Not Dead,” David R. Wright. (VBR) Mike Blum and wife Pat celebrate at the luncheon to honor his service to the community. UETA’s Roel Delgado, RGV Hispanic Chamber CEO Cynthia Sakulenzki, Entravision’s Flower Guerrero and Logos’ Victor Sotomyor enjoy the RGV Hispanic Chamber of Commerce’s Manic Monday Mixer at Fuzzy’s Taco Shop in McAllen. (VBR) Johnathan Eric Medina and Janine Marie Campbell kick-start the Leadercast RGV Summit where attendees learn how purpose motivates teams to build stronger organizations and inspire individuals to lead with intention. (VBR) The Vermillion uses the freshest ingredients available for their shrimp tacos and charro beans. The Vermillion nachos covered with delicious avocado. Craft brewers have a variety of options for ingredients, like cocoa beans, when creating the beer. (VBR) Steve Padilla, owner of Big River Brewery in Pharr, stands in front of his beer vats. Big River Brewery opened in April. (VBR) Kyle Orgera and his brother Keith Orgera brew about 10 times per year but have plans to start brewing more often. (VBR) There are several craft brews ready and on tap to choose from at the Big River Brewery. (VBR) Joshlyn Ross Leading the MIH project are Immanuel Edinbarough, associate dean for External Affairs and Innovation; Alexander Domijan, dean of the College of Engineering and Computer Science; and Constantine Tarawneh, director of the University of Transportation Center for Railway Safety and associate dean for Research. (UTRGV Photo by David Pike) The Women’s Business Center of Cameron County hosts its Women Entrepreneurs’ Small Business Boot Camp June through August. STHS, City of Edinburg and Hidalgo County officials break ground for a new STHS ER in Weslaco. TSC offers STEM camps this summer free of charge thanks to a TWC grant. Robert Rosell Luis Martínez and Christopher Galicia with Bob’s Steak & Chop House in Edinburg join General Manager/Wine Director Juan Luis Mussenden as they perform some of their key administrative duties at Grindstone Coworking. (photo Edinburg EDC) The McAllen-Edinburg-Mission area ranks in the top of the 10 best places to live on a six figure salary. (photo City of McAllen) Victor Diaz, owner of VD Transports, and the third truck he’s owned since he began his business two years ago. (VBR) Jerimiah Walker talks to two new students about respectful behavior. (VBR) Winners and judges of the fourth annual Business Plan Contest at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. (VBR) Setting up the sprinklers right in the yard makes sure there are no dry spots. (VBR) Owners Iselle and George Perez opened their second Vermillion Restaurant, this one in Harlingen. Nurses come together at the announcement of Project HEAL2 The McAllen International Airport will soon receive terminal building improvements and more. (photo by McAllen International Airport) The UTRGV Peace Corps Prep program leads to skills needed for both Peace Corps volunteering and other jobs in international development. This photo was taken during the HIV/AIDS testing day held in Tanzania on May 17, 2014. Two hundred people were tested, and while they were testing the PCV and his counterparts played Grass Roots Soccer games with some of the kids outside the clinic. This game teaches about the affects of HIV/AIDS on the immune system and demonstrates how taking ARVs can help the immune system. (Photo Courtesy of Peace Corps) West Plains LLC employee unloading first unit train of grain (photo Port of Brownsville) Award-winning photographer Jackie Neale will serve as Mission EDC’s first Expert-in-Residence (photo by Benjamin Jarousch) Mark J. Kroll Aloe Re-Leaf has developed a variety of products by being aware of their customers’ needs. Bonnie and Todd Waller stand in one of their fields of aloe vera that is in bloom. The staff of JDG Jewelers Speaker Z-Dogg, MD To celebrate its first anniversary in January, the Hynes Event Center brought back the Oak Ridge Boys to perform for several nights. The central boulevard through Llano Grande Resort reveals some of the 1,100 permanent homes and motorhomes that had the park filled to capacity this season. Llano Grande Resort administration occupies the renovated former home of an early Mercedes doctor. Rick Rodriguez, co-owner of Bob Starks Beef Shop, prepares some fajita. Sauces and seasonings line up the shelves at Bob Starks Beef Shop in Mission. A worker at Lopez Supermarket in Brownsville cuts some meat for a special order. A worker prepares some fajita before putting it out for display at Lopez Supermarket in Brownsville. Local meat markets offer a variety of choices, like those above at Lopez Supermarket in Brownsville. A twist on original jalapeno poppers – armadillo poppers – with jalapeno, cream cheese, shrimp and wrapped in bacon. The GEOTRAC Industrial Hub park features more than 1,400 acres of land suitable for light and heavy manufacturing, logistics, energy services, technology development and export/import warehousing. (Photo courtesy Port of Brownsville) When a bus carrying prisoners went out of control, La Feria Wrecker was called to set it upright and tow it away. Heavy duty wreckers do more than tow vehicles. Mark Magouirk said towing services accommodate Graham Paint & Body Shop customers and can win new customers. Roy Sanchez of South Highway Garage & Towing can deploy three tow trucks. Harlold Waite, owner of I-69 Wrecker Services, stands one of the his businesses’ 11 tow trucks. American Eagle and La Feria Wrecker are owned and operated by two families: Rodney Meyers, Harold Waite, his daughter Samantha Waite and Belle Meyers. Drums filled with loose cotton ropes feed in spinning machine wind the yarn onto overhead bobbins at Denimburg. Denimburg administrator Javier Martinez and plant manager Claudio Motta stand in front of miles of denim that will be shipped to sewing factories. Up to 4,800 side-by-side cotton threads are immersed in indigo dye before being woven into denim. Although native to the Americas, pitaya became popular in Asia udne rthe name dragonfruit. (courtesy) The abundant blooms on pitaya cactus herald a good crop of colorful dragonfruit, like that on the left. Chuck Taylor and Chinnling Wong are preparing for six-month long dragonfruit harvest season at Pitaya Farms. Chris Salazar, co-owner of Hobbies and Heroes in McAllen, displays in front of him the wide range of collectibles the store has for all type of consumers – from casual to avid readers and collectors. South Texas Vo-Tech Executive Director Jose Gonzalez said the placement rate for Professional Massage Therapy graduates is 84% 2016 graduates of Harlingen Family Dentistry’s Dental Assistant Training celebrated receiving certificates in a field that is projected to have more than 20% growth over the next seven years. Dr. Vivian Teegardin and Chelsi Tristan, a recent graduate of Dental Assistant Training, check a patient at Harlingen Family Dentistry. Bank presidents panel discussion during the Border Economic Development & Entrepreneurship Symposium (BEDES) on Wednesday, Nov. 09, 2016 at the Embassy Suites McAllen Convention Center hotel in McAllen, Texas. The symposium is organized by the UTRGV Robert C. Vackar College of Business & Entrepreneurship, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, & the McAllen Chamber of Commerce. From L to R: Doug Bready, Joe Quiroga, Fred Garza, A. Ford Sasser, Michael Williamson, S. David Deanda. UTRGV Photo by Paul Chouy Roberto Coronado, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas El Paso Branch Assistant Vice President, speaks during the Border Economic Development & Entrepreneurship Symposium (BEDES) on Wednesday, Nov. 09, 2016 at the Embassy Suites McAllen Convention Center hotel in McAllen, Texas. The symposium is organized by the UTRGV Robert C. Vackar College of Business & Entrepreneurship, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, & the McAllen Chamber of Commerce. UTRGV Photo by Paul Chouy Maribel Guerrero shows the location of the Annova terminal along the Brownsville Ship Channel. Ben Atkins of Rio Grande LNG stands in fornt of of views of the facility planned along the Brownsville Ship Channel. Because of the LNG facilities low profile, they will have little impact on the skyline as shown in this rendered view from the Port Isabel Lighthouse. (Courtesy) An aerial rendering of the Rio Grande LNG facility shows it is surrounded by a 14-foot-high vegetated berm, which hides the facility from view. Front, 2015-2016 board chair Melissa Neuhaus, Woman of the Year Anabell Cardona, Man of the Year Richard Lehman, Gene Pena and family accepting the Lifetime Achievement Award for Pablo G. Pena; back, Volunteer of the Year Sulema Cuellar, 2016-2017 board chair Gene Vaughan, Board Member of the Year Kevin Bloomquist, retiring board director Jeff Walker and associates from Business of the Year Lowe’s Home Improvement. Angela R. Burton Woman of the Year Annie Holand Miller If you didn’t catch enough fish, Quik Stop has a freezer of tasty seafood and recipe suggestions. A bait shrimper pulls into the Quik Stop dock to unload. Spools of thread feed into the multi-stitch machine, creating some designs that could not be done by hand. A master bootmaker oversees each step in building a Rios of Mercedes boot. Henry Camargo stitches a design into leather in front of a rack filled with lasts or boot molds. Santos Camargo pauses while hammering in wooden pegs that attach the sole to the bottom of a custom-made boot. Trainor Evans, who graduated from a university in Mexico City, poses with a boot honoring the Aztecas. Jaime Gutierrez Gus Garcia TSTC Chancellor and CEO Michael Reeser announces TSTC’s money-back guarantee at the ribbon-cutting for the TSTC in Fort Bend County Bryan Daniel Bryan Daniel Victor A. Flores Laura Gutierrez serves a Cafe Grande Mocha at McAllen’s newest coffeehouse. Patrons of J & B’s Café chat over coffees. Valley coffeehouse roast coffee from Brazil, Ethiopia, New Guinea and more. Jitterz serves cold brewed Brewmstick on tap and in the bottle. The Jitterz cortado espresso, served with mineral water. Dr. Graham said ophthalmologists perform more surgeries than any other specialists. Dr. Wade Graham, managing partner of the Valley’s oldest ophthalmology practice Thurmond Eye Associates, performs laser surgery. Louis Barton, Executive Vice President for Frost Bank, talks to those in attendance during the Frost Bank Cyber Safety Starts With You Small Business Luncheon at the Weslaco Area Chamber of Commece Valley Heat Volleyball Director Danny Soto works on technique with one of the girls at their practice facility on Owassa Road in Edinburg. Valley Heat girls enjoy a moment prior to their tournament in San Antonio. The girls finished first in the U12 category. They won two tournaments, finished second twice and third once in tournaments across Texas. Valley Heat Director/Coach Danny Soto talks to the girls prior to the finals of the Austin Performance Club Volleyball Tournament. Camilla Miller, Sydnee Moreno and Vanessa Morales prepare for their teammate to serve during a tournament in Austin. Member sof the Valley Heat U12 volleyball team prepare for a match against a team from Dallas during a tournament by the Austin Performance Club in Austin in January. The Heat finished second in the tournament. SBA’s Lower Rio Grande Valley District Director Angela Burton provides remarks during the press conference announcing the new Women’s Business Center of Cameron County on Sept. 7. Water training can be included in the class schedule at RGV K9. Elyssa Lopez holds onto a Bahama Bucks Sno-ball while trying, unsuccessfully, to avoid getting hit with another A worker drizzles Tropic Creme onto a Mango Sno treat at Bahama Bucks. Delana Darling, co-owner of Stuart Place Nursery, has live oaks, cedar elms and kapoks creating shade on the patio. This desert willow blooms throughout the summer and soon after it leaves Simmons Oak Farms will be big enough to start providing shade. TWC Commissioner Representing Labor Julian Alvarez and Mission EDC CEO Alex Meade presented a $150,000 High Demand Job Training grant check to representatives from Workforce Solutions Lower Rio Grande Valley and Code RGV on Aug. 24 to support a job training initiative. Pictured are Mission EDC Board Members Richard Hernandez, Cathy Garcia, Jody Tittle, Pete Jaramillo, Linda Requenez, Meade, Alvarez, CodeRGV Olmo Maldonado, state Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, state Rep. Oscar Longoria, and state Rep. Eddie Lucio III. (photo Workforce Solutions Lower Rio Grande Valley College) Weslaco High School student Joshua Espinoza and Michael Cruz. Espinoza learned about banking at International Bank of Commerce in the first nCourage program last year. Speaker and Brownsville Chamber of Commerce President/CEO Melinda Rodriguez Marty Medina always stocks children’s classics and young readers’ favorite books. Blueprint rolls and set of construction tools on vintage pine wooden board maintenance concept An adult crested gecko kept for breeding at Tip O Texas Geckos. Jibber sails across the Laguna Madre and can teach anyone how to windsurf in 60 minutes. Ed’s World Class Martial Arts Academy is a family business, run by Ed and Cynthia Arriaga, with their sons Adrian, Michael and Daniel featured in taekwondo advertising posters. Kerri and Joshua Sharpless prepare for a takedown at Gracie Barra Brazilian jiu-jitsu. Getting the opponent to the mat and gaining control often involves using a knee to immobilize them during Brazilian jiu-jitsu. Gloria Campos Taylor and Martha Blanton enjoy hosting both casual and formal events at Casa Los Ebanos. Ebony trees proliferate throughout the property of the aptly named Casa Los Ebanos. A Tea Room invites passersby inside for cozy comforts. The Green Owl Deli offers vegan snacks and meals. Tucked inside Major Health Foods, Naturalissimo provides vegan meals like this Mexican sampler. Major Health Foods offers aisles of health supplements and healthy foods. Juiceology’s menu offers a wide range of vegetables, fruits and seeds. Nancy Klein and her husband Garner run Eagle Catcher Farm and Ranch, raising grassfed beef and selling cuts such as porterhouse steaks. The vegan burger at Green Owl Deli attracts repeat customers. UTRGV Associate Professor William Donner discusses Geographic Information Systems with graduate research assistants Bianca Lopez and Karen Rodriguez. Donner, the sociology program coordinator, along with Walter Diaz, dean of the College of Liberal Arts, oversaw development of the new Master of Arts in Disaster Studies program at UTRGV. (UTRGV photo by Paul Chouy) SBA guest blogger Rieva Lesonsky is CEO and President of GrowBiz Media, a media company that helps entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses. She’s been covering small business and entrepreneurial issues for more than 30 years, is the author of several books about entrepreneurship and was the editorial director of Entrepreneur magazine for over two decades Featured artists at LatinaHope.com More than a dozen small business owners enrolled in the Etsy Entrepreneurship class to become more successful selling their hand-crafted products in the online store. Ariel King prepares her keepsake boxes for their Etsy phots in the light box. At the Etsy class photo session, Sol Gallegos’ bath salts are prepped for a photo shoot instead a light box provided by Mission EDC. Van conversions enable wheelchair bound drivers and passengers to access selected minivans, SUVs, and truck models (courtesy Adaptive Driving Access) Danny Acebedo, owner of Mediforce LLC, and assistant manager Raul Garcia, demonstrate how easy it is to operate the BuzzAround scooter. Displayed behind them are some of the 150 styles of diabetic shoes that pateints can choose from. Van conversions enable wheelchair bound drivers and passengers to access selected minivans, SUVs, and truck models (courtesy Adaptive Driving Access) Jerry Greenfield talked about growing Ben & Jerry’s into a major ice cream brand that he and partner Ben Cohen sold to Unilever 15 years ago. (photo courtesy Paul Chouy/UTRGV) Codysur’s trucks with the CT logo line up prior to departure. The firm uses only truck models to optimize servicing. Codysur Group CFO Carlos Buentello, CEO Fabian Contreras and COO Victor Mendez have grown a San Benito trucking company into a global logistics powerhouse. CBS Sports and News network broadcaster James Brown joins the list of national speakers for Leadercast. (photo courtesy jbjamesbrown.com) Todd Mann Josh Stockel The foundation for a Weigh & Test Scale truck scale is prepared at an inspection station. (courtesy) Lance Ames A mother and son check out a model apartment, looking for a new home. Apartment communities are including fenced bark parks to attract pet-loving tenants. The serve-yourself Starbucks mini-café at The Vantage at Harlingen is very popular with apartment residents. Griffin Park resident Yolanda Castillo talks with Steve Guinn, resident owner of the apartment complex. The chart records the patient’s breathing ad vital signs during sleep. Dr. Noel Lopez, certified in sleep medicine, stands in a hotel-room-type sleep suite next to some of the sleep monitoromg equipment. Wires attached to the patient will plig into this device and transmit information to the technicians in the sleep lab office. Coils of steel unloaded from a ship docked at the Port of Brownsville are destined for a manufacturing plant. A ship’s crane, operated by longshoremen hired by Dix Shipping, unloads a 25-ton slab of steel. Lee Ostos operates Dix Shipping, which was founded by his grandfather at the Port of Brownsville. The company arranges for the docking, loading and unloading of ships as well as storing and forwarding cargo. Mark Toth Bill Whalen began selling radios 95 years ago prior to expanding into furniture at Whalen’s. When Whalen’s lost its lease, Tom Weekly decided to close the furniture store, which his uncle Bill Whalen started in the 1920s. Blogger Barbara Weltman 2013 Flamingo Bowl participants Lamar Jones sells his Jank BBQ sauce dressed as Sir Jankster. Forklifts move produce from refrigerated trucks to Cold Smart Storage’s refrigerated dock before going to cold storage rooms. Construction of four cold storage facilities will begin in 2016 in the new Pharr Produce District. In 2014, 618 million avocados entered the U.S. via the Pharr Bridge. Producing passing through Smart Cold Storage has full traceability. The bar code denotes, grower, field, packer, shipper and dates. Photographs of Mexican produce handled by Smart Cold Storage in Pharr bracket keep the focus on the product for office manager Enrique Bracamontes. Promoting the Winter Texan Expo set for Jan. 19-20 are Associate Administrator for Edinburg Regional Medical Center/Edinburg Children’s Hospital Gerardo Ramos, Program Coordinator for Welcome Home RGV Colette Brookins, COO of McAllen Medical Center Eladio Montalvo, CFO of Welcome Home RGV Sharon Flores, Regional VP Central Region UHS Douglas Matney, Volunteer Coordinator for Welcome Home RGV Amie Gray, Interim CEO at McAllen Heart Hospital Lance Ames, CEO at Edinburg Regional Medical Center and Edinburg Children’s Hospital Jennifer Garza, First Responder Coordinator for Welcome Home RGV Rita Huether, Public Relations Coordinator for South Texas Health System Cari Lambrecht and CEO of Welcome Home RGV Kristi Collier. The Shipp Family (Photo courtesy knifeglider.com) Shine bright like a diamond – Stand out from the crowd with some sparkle and shine! Sure, a little black dress is always a go-to for the party season, but who says holiday style has to be so cut and dry? For a New Year’s Eve party, try this classic embellished look by designer Laisa Chavez Macias. I paired the embellished top with sleek black silk dress pants also by LaLa. Remember not to overdo it: if you have one embellished piece, allow it to be the star of the show. You don’t need to add any more “ring to your bling.” Professional stylist Lillyan David advises businesses and media on professional attire and dressing for success. Jo Wagner (photo credit Juan Macias) Roberts Jewelry owner Cindy Nelson features a Norman Begay bracelet. Lapidarist Laurel Becker creates unique jewelry by wrapping semi-precious stones in wire. (courtesy) At Portillo Chic, Deborah Portillo carries jewelry designed for young, stylish couples. Carats displays the jewelry of noted Italian designer Roberto Coin In addition to fine jewelry, Carlos Melguizo at Carats sells Lalique and Daum glass art. Courtesy McAllen Chamber of Commerce Davis Rankin (photo KURV) A wide variety of business and community leaders will participate as team chairs and captains for the Weslaco Chamber Membership Event coming up Nov. 17-19. Jimmy Cusano (front) met with and prepped the team leaders at an initial meeting held Oct. 26. Architects had to shed their shoes to tour one historic home. A fashion trend is alive, if rarely visible, in the RGV. Making keys is at the heart of Guthrie’s Locksmith Shop. Abby and Donald Guthrie sell, install and service large safes and vaults. TSC’s architecture students construct project and community models in their design classes. (Courtesy John Faulk/Frontera Media) Architects discovered historically significant homes hidden behind whitewashed walls and exuberant landscaping. Courtesy Workforce Solutions Theresa A. Maldonado Pharmacist Christina Torralba consults with patients on their prescriptions and dispenses medications. Pharmacist Bobby Muniz shows a sample of prescriptions packaged according to the time they are to be taken. Packaged by the synchronization machine in the background, the pill presentation increases compliance. At Muniz Rio Grande Valley Pharmacy, customized prescriptions are compounded under a safety hood. Some of the more exotic offerings at the Paw Pantry are kangaroo and crocodile treats. The kangaroo diet is for pets who’ve tried eating other proteins without success, leaving kangaroo as “a last resort,” said Walters. The Paw Pantry also sells a large variety of pet toys and supplies. Customer service is the calling card of Mary Lou Peña and Irazema Walters, owners. “It’s almost wrong to call them customers because we want to call them family,” said Peña. One of the Paw Pantry’s most recent satisfied customers is Lucian, a reddish-brown, Lab-mix rescue dog. He was searching for cheese puffs, one of the many food items available at the natural pet food store located in Harlingen. Golf cart races at VIP Park test the top speeds of the electric powered vehicles. (courtesy) Split Rail RV Park is affiliated with several RV associations. Fun-N-Sun RV Resort has added new benches and tables for its pull-through RV sites. John and Ruth Dearinger, managers of VIP La Feria RV Park, display the awards for Best Medium-size RV Park in Texas which the privately owned park won in 2013 and 2014. This shaded oasis is a corner lot at Palm Gardens, which started life as an orange grove that in the 1920s let trailer tourists park in the orchard in exchange for picking citrus. Shuffleboard courts are attracting less players as the new generation of Winter Texans look for more active pasttimes, in and out of the RV parks. WISD Asstistant Superintendent Sue Peterson, Weslaco Chamber President/CEO Martha Noell, nCourage Committee Chair Luis Reyes, WISD Superintendent Ruben Alejandro, WISD Director for Secondary Curriculum Sergio Garcia, WISD Assistant Superintendent of Support Services Xavier Salinas and WISD Director of Staff Development Elizabeth Salinas Kevin Wick checks a white-tailed deer mount he completed hours earlier. Taxidermist Kevin Wick fits a nilgai skin and horns to a polyurethane form, addling clay to fill it out. South Texas Headquarters owner Adam Batot poses with a gemsbok taken in Africa. Who can take a sunset sail without capturing the memories? Chef Diego prepares dinner for passengers saling past South Padre on the Southern Wave. Hot off the grill, the fajitas served on the sunset sail finds ready takers. Senator Eddie Lucio Jr., District 37 Representative Rene Oliveira & District 38 Representative Eddie Lucio III nCourage Committee Chair Luis J. Reyes of Magic Valley Electric Co-Op, Weslaco Chamber of Commerce President/CEO Martha Noell, WISD Assistant Superintendent Sue Peterson and Weslaco ISD Superintendent Ruben Alejandro Rebecca Reyes and Gabriela Hernandez Lamar Jones Melinda Rodriguez Dora Brown accepts the Leadership McAllen Alex Longoria Leadership Award from Leadership McAllen President Dirk Westphal and incoming President Maria Elena Gonzalez at the organization’s recent graduation banquet. Tony Oran, Festo North America services & solutions sales manager; Paul R. Rodriguez and Graciela Farias, South Texas College trustees; UT-RGV Dean of the College of Engineering & Computer Science Manuel Gonzalez; TWC Commissioner Representing the Public Chairman Andres Alcantar; STC Interim Associate Dean of Industry Training & Economic Development Carlos Margo; South Texas College President Shirley A. Reed; STC Interim Vice President of Student Affairs & Enrollment Management Wanda Garza; Festo Executive Vice President of Sales U.S. and Latin America Theodoros Ktistakis; Workforce Solutions CEO Francisco Almaraz; and Festo Customer Solutions Sales Manager Octavio Rojas. Jorge Cuellar poses with his daughter Abby, one of the namesakes for his Debby & Abby Factory which makes and packages Mexican cookies and tamarind treats. Vally Park staff are neatly uniformed whether they are handling valet parking at a private residence, country club or the McAllen Convention Center. Vally Park staff are neatly uniformed whether they are handling valet parking at a private residence, country club or the McAllen Convention Center. Julia spends hours at Rink n Roll, where her mother works, helping other skaters and becoming a better skater herself. Main Event seems to have more video games than you can play in a day. The ropes walk soars above the Main Event video game arcade. In a mixed media class at Alebrije Creative Workshop, you might make a mermaid portrait like this. Penguin aids assemble before helping beginning ice skaters at the Frio Grande ice rink. (Courtesy) Google developer Chris Wren provided insight on innovation and creative work at the first STARGATE Talk. (Courtesy Paul Chouy, University of Texas-Brownsville) Nicho Produce is a family-oriented business. Along with Nicho and Tommy Villarreal, seen here in the patriarch’s office, the company also has also employed Tommy’s son Nicholas, whose image as a 3-year-old boy pulling a wagon emblazons the company logo. He is 16 now. Nicho Produce supplies its clients with a growing list of fruits and vegetables. Workers in the Salad Room process fresh-cut vegetables. EBT CrossFit owner Ray Garcia has been into fitness since high school and the army, where he did workouts similar to CrossFit. Aziza Barker, right with other Laguna Madre Yoga instructors, said the fitness she promotes “incorporates body, mind and spirt,” a process that teaches how to address injury and its compensation. (VBR) A class at Laguna Madre Yoga Meditation and Dance Cetner practices the bow posture. Yoga fitness incorporates body, mind, and spirit.