Have you noticed the vertical integration of education happening in the Rio Grande Valley? We now have colleges/universities in the area partnered with local school districts that have academies, then early college high schools, and then dual enrollment. Many of these new programs and initia…

E-cigarette use in the United States has increased rapidly since its introduction in 2007. While electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) are often touted as a less harmful alternative to smoking, it is important to remember that these devices can be harmful, nonetheless. While the long-term eff…

Now that the warm and fuzzy sentimentality of Mother’s Day is behind us, let’s take a look at the real cost of being a mother. I’m not talking about what it costs to raise a child in the United States, which is $233,610 excluding college. No, I am talking about what having a child costs the …

Over the past two decades, we’ve gone digital. The development of the Internet and related technologies and advances in communications have changed the way we live and work, affecting virtually every aspect of our daily routines. The digital segment of the economy has been growing much faste…

The future of our state depends on a healthy, educated and prepared workforce to meet evolving market demands. We must continue to invest in programs that meet current workforce needs but also help identify, develop and train workers for the economy of the future. In working with the Texas W…

I met Barbara Bush just once. She and her husband were passing me in a hall on their way from a private luncheon on their way to a campaign event. They both greeted me with a brief moment of graciousness while hustling down the corridor. My immediate impression of the moment was that the cam…

“Carmina Burana” is an intense piece of music. It is both sensuous and sensual. On April 6, the Valley Symphony Orchestra and Chorale presented “Carmina Burana” and gave full play to both those aspects. But this is not an article about their exquisite performance. This is about a twist added…

The future for the homeless companion animals of Hidalgo County has never looked brighter. The large influx coming through the gates at Palm Valley Animal Center (still almost 100 per day) hasn’t changed, but what happens once they get there has.

I have long fought for more healthcare resources in South Texas, including the creation of the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley School of Medicine and increased funding for graduate medical education. While increased access to care and greater availability of healthcare personnel contin…

In 2042, I will be 96 years old. New Year’s Day will be on a Wednesday and Easter Sunday will fall on April 6. Fossil fuels should be at the beginning of their end. Cars will be self-driving. We will eat less meat. Currency will become obsolete as electronic movement of money will be automat…

While rich in economic diversity, the vast border region between the United States and Mexico has much in common. Geographic proximity and centuries of interaction have brought a unique social, familial, cultural and economic melding that transcends the two countries. In particular, since th…

On Feb. 16, Vice President Mike Pence made a four-hour visit to the Rio Grande Valley. It is always an honor to have our state and national leaders visit our region. However, it seems that the visits have only been focused on border security and the photo opportunity that comes with a tour o…

All of us have owned “that” car. It was the rusted-out piece of crap. Its only virtue was that it was the best ride we could afford. We were struggling to pay the bills and a better car was not even a blip on the perimeter of our fiscal radar scope. My version of “that” car was a metallic gr…

Over the past weeks, I have attended several state-of-the-city addresses, and on Feb. 5 I was at the first State of the Valley discussion with county judges from throughout the region. All these events make it clear that the Rio Grande Valley is transforming and will continue to blossom econ…

There’s a raging debate across the country about whether a tradeoff between a Dream Act and money to build a border wall is a good deal. It’s high time to say things as they are: We should do both, build the wal — the tallest wall — and keep all the Dreamers out.

Institutions of higher education, our universities and community colleges, are the foundation of our communities. These institutions not only provide education to those in our community, but they are also part of our culture and have a positive impact on our economy. Our universities and com…

What united a high percent of white Catholics and Evangelicals to vote for President Donald Trump was basic opposition to abortion. The Evangelical view of a connection between recognition of Jerusalem and the apocalypse has not been main stream thought in Catholicism.

The clock is ticking on a two-million-job issue: finding a permanent solution to replace Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). The DACA program allows individuals who entered the United States as children to remain here for school or work. Nearly 800,000 persons across the country a…

On Oct. 3, the United States Supreme Court heard Gill v. Whitford, a Wisconsin case regarding extreme partisan gerrymandering of the Wisconsin Legislature. It’s a case that should draw attention in Texas, where the redrawing of political districts is a problem.

Martin Luther is often depicted as a brooding, personally troubled man. The pictures of him show a square-jawed German with a grim mouth and a furrowed brow. Growing up in a Lutheran home, I was sure he had been a brave but angry man, nailing his 95 Thesis on the door of the church in Witten…

The Rio Grande Valley is on the threshold of joining the top four metropolitan areas in the state to access millions in transportation dollars that would address congestion and ensure our interstates, highways and local roads can handle our area’s continued and future growth. However, to rea…

It’s been eight long weeks since the NAFTA renegotiations kicked off. It was an ambitious agenda for a short period of time, from incorporating the energy and e-commerce sectors to pushing for higher labor and environmental protections. Yet, four rounds of negotiations later and the hopes of…

On or about Nov. 12, 1651, near San Miguel Nepantla, Tepetlixpa, Mexico, an illegitimate daughter was born to a wild child of middle-level Mexican aristocracy. The child, Juana de Asbaje y Ramírez de Santillana, had more against her than her out-of-wedlock birth. She was a female in a time a…

I might have been looking at the eye of Hurricane Harvey, but no, I was looking at the surface of Saturn. The pictures were taken by NASA’s spacecraft Cassini as it recently plunged through Saturn’s iconic rings on a suicidal dive toward the heart of the gas giant.

If you’ve stopped and looked around the Rio Grande Valley lately, you’ve noticed new businesses, restaurants and housing developments that have been built or are under construction. Communities throughout the Valley have recently been energized with remarkable economic growth — new jobs, pop…

Too often, we Americans see Labor Day as the end-of-the-summer finale and forget its origins. We have that unfortunate tendency with many of our holidays — to enjoy their festiveness, and not recall or honor why they came into existence.

In recent decades, an increasing proportion of the U.S. population has chosen to live in and near cities rather than in rural areas. According to the Census Bureau from 2000 to 2010, the population in urban areas expanded by 12 percent, significantly outpacing the overall growth rate in the …

With the new North American Free Trade Agreement negotiations beginning in Washington, D.C., this week, the big question may not just be what a new NAFTA deal includes, but also whether it will ultimately clear the political hurdles.

It looks to be construction season in South Texas. Along this stretch of the U.S.-Mexico border, 31 miles of wall may soon be going up and companies are wading through the final paperwork for building liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminals in the Port of Brownsville.

Last week’s July 4 holiday marked 241 years since the 13 American colonies separated from England and did so with Thomas Jefferson’s powerful and lyrical prose that made the Declaration of Independence one of the most memorable documents in human history. We often forget, however, that the y…

I am one of the lucky people who had a great father. He was a loving, good-natured man who never met a stranger. When I was growing up, Mom was the law and Dad was the gospel. He could always be counted on to make a joke of our foibles and give us a pass on minor infractions. Mom, on the oth…

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