Author Archives: George Cox, VBR Managing Editor

George Cox is a veteran journalist with more than 30 years experience as a newspaper writer and editor. A Corpus Christi native, he started his career as a reporter for The Brownsville Herald after graduating from Sam Houston State University with a degree in journalism. He later worked on newspapers in Laredo and Corpus Christi as well as northern California. George returned to the Valley in 1996 as editor of The Brownsville Herald and in 2001 moved to Harlingen as editor of the Valley Morning Star. He also held the position of editor and general manager for the Coastal Current, a weekly entertainment magazine with Valleywide distribution. George retired from full-time journalism in 2015 to work as a freelance writer and legal document editor. He continues to live in Harlingen where he and his wife Katherine co-founded Rio Grande Valley Therapy Pets, a nonprofit organization dedicated to raising public awareness of the benefits of therapy pets and assisting people and their pets to become registered therapy pet teams.

Lone Star Breaks Ground on New Banking Center

Lone Star National Bank officials and community leaders turn shovels of dirt at the groundbreaking ceremony for the bank’s second Edinburg location. (VBR)

In front of the building already under construction, Lone Star National Bank hosted a groundbreaking ceremony Feb. 7 to celebrate its second Edinburg location. The new branch will be the 34th in a network of banks throughout both the Rio Grande Valley and San Antonio. “Our goal is to continue to grow in the Valley, Lone Star National Bank President and CEO David Deanda said. “We are always there to…

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Multimedia Art Event Explores the FOLD

A close-up of an interactive installation created by Laleh Mehran, whose work has been exhibited around the world. (

Exhibit opens Feb. 2 Art that challenges space and time will be the focal point for FOLD: Art, Metaphor and Practice, a series of art exhibits, lectures and live performances over the next two months in McAllen and Edinburg. Artwork by 13 women artists will converge in what is described as a presentation of works that explore the concept of the fold in terms of form and conceptual metaphor in…

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The Path to Starting a Business

Retired businessman and SCORE volunteer Lionel Levin speaks to a group of aspiring entrepreneurs. (VBR)

A retired pipefitter and welder said he wanted to gather information that would “help my grandchildren get something better than I’ve got.” Others in the room were considering starting businesses such as a second-hand boutique, a construction company and an environmental consulting firm. What they all had in common was a desire to find success owning and operating their own business. About 30 people gathered in January at the Small…

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Harlingen Takes Big Economic Leap

When CARDONE Industries announced plans in December to build a 920,000-square-foot distribution center in Harlingen, it was touted as the largest economic development project in the city’s history. The $50-million facility represents a major strategic move for CARDONE, complementing existing operations in Matamoros, Brownsville and Harlingen. For Harlingen, the deal represents a giant step forward for economic growth in a city that over the last five years has experienced new…

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Big Increases in Sales Tax Revenue

New wind farm construction in the Raymondville area is part of what has driven sales tax revenue percentage increases that rank among the highest in the Valley. (VBR)

Ever since Raymondville posted a whopping 66-percent increase in sales tax revenue for October 2017 over the same month in 2016, the small Willacy County city has continued to see gains with percentage growth among the highest in the Rio Grande Valley. With a population of fewer than 12,000 people, the Raymondville economy took a blow when Walmart closed in January 2016, laying off 149 workers. At the time the…

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AEP Texas Builds Service Centers

The AEP Texas service center near Los Fresnos is a 32,350-square-foot building on 15 acres. (VBR)

Two large AEP Texas service centers under construction in Cameron County are expected to be up and running within a few months. “The Rio Grande Valley continues to be one of the fastest growing areas within our service footprint,” said Judith E. Talavera, AEP Texas president and CEO. “Building these new service centers will give our employees and the community improved, more resilient facilities that will allow us to continue…

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A Need to Build a Stronger Workforce

President and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas Robert Kaplan

Changing demographics and under-equipped workers in the United States are threats to economic growth that need to be addressed, President and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas Robert Kaplan said. He addressed the issue in December during remarks at the Border Economic Development and Entrepreneurship Symposium in McAllen. “The native-born workforce is going to continue to decline,” Kaplan said. “Immigrants and their children will make up more of…

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Coffee and Bicycles: An Odd Couple?

7th and Park owner Graham Sevier-Schultz with a selection of new and used bicycles.

Bicycle enthusiasts gather on weekend mornings at a coffee shop before taking off on a group ride. While sipping one of many coffee drinks on the menu, they can pick up parts for their bikes or get a little maintenance done. That’s what sets 7th and Park apart from most coffee or bicycle shops. “I always wanted to own my own business but the ideas kept changing,” said Graham Sevier-Schultz,…

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Valley Cheese Finds New Markets

Adam Thompson socializes with some of his goats and one of the family dogs.

After placing in the top 25 out of 400 entries in the H-E-B grocery store chain’s Quest for Texas Best competition, the pace of business at Thompson Dairy Farms has picked up dramatically. And, with a little luck, the farm’s goat cheese may next find a global market. Owner and head cheese maker Adam Thompson began marketing hand-crafted aged cheeses from goat’s milk at Rio Grande Valley farmers markets, where…

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Pharr Celebrates New Avocado Distribution Facility

Index Fresh Board Chairman John Grether and President and CEO Dana Thomas (holding scissors) prepare to cut the ribbon on the company’s 60,000-square-foot avocado packing and ripening facility in Pharr.

Officials break ground for Index Fresh Latin American avocados headed for tables in the United States have a new place along the border to stay cool and ripen. Index Fresh cut the ribbon on a new 60,000-square-foot packing and ripening facility in Pharr on Jan. 9. “I am just overjoyed to be here today,” Index Fresh President and CEO Dana Thomas said. “I love the new plant. If you are…

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