Houston Ballet II performs Oct. 16 at UTRGV Performing Arts Center

Houston Ballet II

EDINBURG, TEXAS – SEPT. 23, 2015 – Rio Grande Valley ballet fans are invited to enjoy a performance Oct. 16 of the Houston Ballet II, at The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley’s Performing Arts Complex on the Edinburg Campus.

Houston Ballet II is the second company of the nationally acclaimed Houston Ballet, America’s fourth-largest classical ballet company.

The two-hour performance, which begins at 7:30 p.m., will feature six dance pieces, including classical ballet (August Bournonville’s Flower Festival in Genzano), neoclassical ballet (George Balanchine’s Allegro Brillante), and several contemporary ballets.

Houston Ballet II will bring 15 dancers, and also will conduct a master class for UTRGV dance majors and community members. The master class will be 11 a.m. Oct. 16, in the Dance Studio on the Edinburg campus.

The company, consisting of talented young dancers from around the world, performs nationally and internationally. Under the direction of Stanton Welch, artistic director and an internationally celebrated choreographer, and Shelly Power, academy director, Houston Ballet II dancers are led by distinguished coaches and teachers Claudio Muñoz, ballet master, and Sabrina Lenzi, ballet mistress.

Tickets are $10 for general admission and $5 for students (valid student ID required) and children.

For more information, contact the UTRGV Dance Program at (956) 665-2230.

Area middle schools begin tobacco prevention curriculum

With a new school year in full effect the Tobacco Prevention Specialists Quincy Bonilla and Rafael Cepeda from the UNIDAD Tobacco Prevention and Control Coalition at Behavioral Health Solutions of South Texas are looking forward to implementing Project Towards No Tobacco Use (Project TNT), an evidence-based curriculum, at La Joya ISD and PSJA ISD middle school campuses.

By the conclusion of project TNT, students should be able to state accurate information about the course of tobacco-related addiction and disease, the consequences of using or not using tobacco, and the actual prevalence of tobacco use among peers. This research based curriculum will aid students to demonstrate active listening skills, assertive refusal skills, effective communication, general assertive skills, self-esteem building techniques, and tobacco-use-specific cognitive coping skills.

Prevention of tobacco use among teens is not a casual business or fruitless endeavor- we can prevent deaths from occurring. Project Towards No tobacco use is a prevention program that works. If other middle schools in Hidalgo County want to incorporate this free curriculum in their campus they could call 956-787-0004 for more information.

UNIDAD TPCC is a coalition effort of Behavioral Health Solutions of South Texas, located in Pharr, Texas. The Coalition was established to empower Hidalgo County to affect individual and social change through cooperation, sharing and coordination of resources focused on preventing and reducing the illegal and harmful use of tobacco products. The TPCC’s goals are to prevent tobacco use among young people, promote compliance and support adequate enforcement of federal, state, and local tobacco laws, increase cessation among young people and adults, eliminate exposure to secondhand smoke, reduce tobacco use among populations with the highest burden of tobacco-related health disparities, develop and maintain statewide capacity for comprehensive tobacco prevention and control.

High school graduate publishes children’s book


Local Weslaco resident Victoria Moreno published her first children’s book, “Arbez the Friendly Zebra” this year. The story is about a zebra trying to make friends on a farm. Her brother Leroy Moreno Jr illustrated the book.

By Raul Garcia Jr.

Most people will never write a book in their lifetime. One recent high school graduate was determined to get it done before starting college.

Arbez the friendly Zebra is a children’s book written by Victoria Moreno and was published by Outskirts Press in April of this year. She said it took her a lot of writing over the years and help from her brother Leroy Moreno Jr. who illustrated the book.

“I wanted something different where kids could say — Wow,” the author said. “This is the first time I read something like this.”

Her book details the social problem of bullying through the experience of a zebra that does rope tricks. Moreno hopes the book will help teach children not to bully other students at school. In the story Arbez the zebra quickly becomes the outsider at a farm and found himself unwelcome by all the animals because he is different.

“The book is helpful and it teaches kids not to be so hard on somebody,” the author said.

Moreno recalls letting her imagination run wild at her grandfather’s farm. At a young age she would often wonder what it would be like if the farm animals could speak and later she turned them into characters and started writing it all down. The zebra became her favorite and because it was so different from all the other animals she related social differences and found the basis of her book to not judge someone because they are different.

“I do plan to continue more stories along the way,” Moreno said. “It’s something that I enjoy doing.”

The entering college freshman is considering psychology as her major but she hasn’t completely taken business off the table. After all her family owns the Moreno’s Feed and Pet Stores in Weslaco and Donna where she has spent time working.

The book is available at Moreno’s Feed and Pet Stores in Weslaco and can be ordered through Barnes and Noble or Amazon.


By Raul Garcia Jr.

You have seen it on the movies, you have seen it in the shopping mall and you have wondered what would it be like to ride one– and now you can at Segway Valley Tours at South Padre Island.

“As long as you’re comfortable with you on the machine you’re really good to go,” said Reid Vaughn, SegValley Tours guide.

20150718_134646It’s a leap of engineering from the Pogo Stick invented in 1891 that were designed for jumping off the ground in a standing position. The Segway is like a Star Wars vehicle and it’s reminiscent for the sound, speed and alien-like technology. The Segway can go from slow to fast in an instant like hyperdrive and the sound it makes gives you an added rush cruising down the island strip.

The SegValley Tour guides take the time to train every rider that they take out with practice riding a straight line and back and learning to turn.

“Everything is done with the weight shifting of your feet except for the steering,” said Rachel Bunton, the store manager. “It’s swing arm steering sort of like a joystick.”

SegValley has their walk-in office on South Padre Island off Padre Boulevard and Amberjack Street. Segways are always charged for anyone to enjoy. Groups can also call ahead to reserve a tour ahead of time. They are the only Segways rentals in the whole Valley and also host tours in Harlingen, the National Butterfly Center, Bentsen State Park and Port Isabel starting at $45 dollars an hour. Call (956) 565-2404 for inquiry or a reservation.

A family visiting the beach from Omaha, Nebraska took the tour down the strip and to Isla Blanca Park. Their guide showed them the many sand castles and tourist attractions on the beach.

“At first it was really scary and then is was really great,” Kate Jones said. “I thought the tour was great and I loved the scenery and it didn’t even take very long.”

Transporting down the main strip in style beats walking it the old fashioned way. Enjoying the island breeze on a segway is something new everyone who visits the beach needs to try.

The Segway was introduced in 2001 by its inventor Dean Kaman. The machine got its name from the word segue, meaning smooth transition. It’s a personal transporter built with computer sensors and electric motors in the base of Segway that keep the machine upright when a rider maintains balance while standing on it.

Cut ties with Trump

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By Raul Garcia Jr.

“You’re Fired!”

To stereotype all Mexican and South American illegal immigrants as rapists and drug dealers is un-American and racist. The American people don’t need Donald Trump for President even more after saying those words.

His deep pockets and confident attitude doesn’t mean he can be insensitive to people even though he is talking about the nation’s biggest and important issues.

The Republican Party would be endorsing murder if they nominate Donald Trump as their Republican candidate for President. Trump’s inaccurate accusations on Mexicans proves he fails in diplomacy and his rhetoric is damaging to the country and to many of the 50 million Latinos in the United States.

We cannot forget one of the most recent tragedies in American History was based on his point of a certain kind of people of color being rapists. Nine Black people were massacred by a young white man in South Carolina because he believed Black people were rapists.

Trump’s tone and honesty is not the kind character to lead the United States of America. Hate was riddled between the lines in his first speech for president. He has left people outraged and quite possibly the KKK card carrying members in tears of joy for the yearn to lynch rapists.

People should fear that others can be inspired to harm Latinos despite their naturalization status. It’s unfair to group all illegal immigrants as rapists, bad people and drug dealers. They are not coming over like flowing water as Trump would tell you and committing ongoing violence. He wants boardroom war and that’s not the way the president’s role is supposed to be. The American people deserve a leader with reason.

People are coming to America illegally because they are in search of a better life. They are working people and most of them toil in American agriculture fields. They do pay texas and even run their own businesses that don’t involve drugs or violence. Trump taking on the Republican Party’s insecurity of illegal immigration was calculated to help his campaign for the Republican nomination.

His grandparents are immigrants from Germany and Scotland. They like everyone else came to America for opportunity and work. When they came into Ellis Island like many other immigrants they were coming to America for a news start. And that is what is going on now. The only difference is now is there is no open immigration act in the United States.

It is astonishing that the American people and Republican Party are even entertained by him. His blunt boardroom banter should not be excused in this case because it was insensitive. Political correctness does matter. His speech showed he is on the campaign trail wielding an ax. That is not what the American people need or want. And don’t be fooled Trump is a real-estate mogal not a leader of the free world.

It’s a joke that he continues to campaign and polls show that he is leading the race for the Republican ticket.