10 Travel Diet Tips From Alison Sweeney of “The Biggest Loser”

Vacations are relaxing, but not if you’re stressed about ruining a healthy regimen! To keep wholesome routines intact, Alison Sweeney, the actress, mother, and host of the TV show “The Biggest Loser,” has given us her 10 best tips for staying in shape while traveling.

Alison’s Tips and Tricks for Traveling on a Diet:

1.    Always stretch after a flight. When you’ve been sitting and tense that long, your muscles can get tighter than ever. I like to do a few quick yoga poses when I get where I’m going, just to reset and prepare for the day.

2.    Don’t skip the cocktails, just the sugary ones. Margaritas have tons of calories, but I’ve discovered you can order a really nice sipping tequila with a little bit of lime or lemon juice and a little agave. It’s less caloric but still delicious.

3.    Skip the waffle maker at the hotel breakfast bar. Mix in a few berries and cinnamon with Greek yogurt, and it feels like a treat!

4.    Use the coffee maker if you’re staying somewhere without a complimentary breakfast. My go-to meal in the mornings at home is oatmeal with agave and cinnamon, and you can make it in your hotel room using the hot water from the Mr. Coffee machine.

5.    Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! Flying dehydrates you. When you’re rushing from place to place, it’s easy to forget the H2O. Make an effort to drink a glass of water every hour.

6.    Sightsee while you sweat. I like to go for a five- to six-mile run first thing in the morning when I’m in a new city. The view always beats the one from a hotel treadmill!

7.    Sleep. One thing I’ve learned to never underestimate is the importance of sleep. Avoid using any electronics right before bed — the bright screens keep you awake! — and make seven to eight hours of shuteye a priority.

Alison is a fan of SleepIQ by Sleep Number which monitors your heart rate, breathing rate, and movement to ensure a good night’s sleep."

8.    Before you eat out, scan the menu online. Familiarize yourself with all the healthy possibilities, so you don’t feel rushed and choose the first tasty thing you see when it’s your turn to order.

9.    Treat your exercise like it’s a vacation in itself. I used to tell myself, “I’m on vacation, I don’t have to work out.” Now, I look at it as “I can sleep in and still have time for a yoga class!”

10.  Relax. If you don’t stick to your normal fitness and diet plan 100 percent, that’s totally normal on a trip or vacation. If you can incorporate fitness into each day in some way and eat a majority of your meals in a health-conscious way, that’s something to feel good about.


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Harlingen Eyes Incentives for SpaceX


The Harlingen Economic Development Corp. board on Tuesday recommended an incentive package of $450,000 for Elon Musk’s Space Exploration Technologies, which plans to develop a launch site at Boca Chica Beach amid the space exploration firm’s continuing investment in land in Cameron County.
In return, 10 percent of a minimum of 100 jobs that SpaceX proposes to create would be filled by Harlingen residents. “The phrase of being a ‘rocket scientist’ will have a new meaning for us now, because it really will be true,” Harlingen EDC board President Robert Dunkin said. Furthermore, SpaceX subsidiary company Dogleg Park LLC and other landowners in Cameron County are petitioning Cameron County Commissioners Court to close parts of Meike Place and Rio Grande Boulevard as SpaceX continues work on replatting property toward development of the world’s first private commercial vertical launch site.
Following an executive session Tuesday, which included the participation of the mayor, most city commissioners and city administrative staff, the Harlingen EDC board voted to recommend to the City Commission that EDC, Cameron County and SpaceX enter into an incentive agreement.

A SpaceX subsidiary company and other landowners in Cameron County are petitioning the Cameron County Commissioners Court to close portions of roads near the Boca Chica Beach area as SpaceX continues work on replatting property toward development of a rocket launch site.


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USS Saratoga Bound for the Port of Brownsville for Recycling

It was the second “supercarrier” in its class when it was built in the 1950s, and will be the second in its class to fall to the scrapper’s torch nearly four decades later.
The former USS Saratoga, currently berthed at Naval Station Newport, Rhode Island, is scheduled to depart under tow on Aug. 20 and arrive at ESCO Marine Inc.’s ship-recycling facility between Sept. 6-10, assuming the weather cooperates, Arnie Tyler, ESCO’s vice president of security and defense programs, said. The Naval Sea Systems Command announced in May that the Navy had signed a procurement contract with ESCO to tow and dismantle the ship. The Navy is paying the company 1 cent, the lowest price possible, and will continue to own the ship during the dismantling operation.
The Saratoga’s keel was laid in December 1952 at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. The ship was launched in October 1955, commissioned in April 1956 and served nearly 38 years before its decommissioning in September 1994. It was the second of four Forrestal-class supercarriers to be built. The USS Forrestal itself, decommissioned in 1993, arrived here in February and is being dismantled by All Star Metals LLC. A third carrier, the Kitty Hawk-class former USS Constellation, decommissioned in 2003, is en route here from Bremerton, Washington, and will be scrapped by International Shipbreaking Ltd.
Tyler said ESCO had received phone calls from veterans who served with the Saratoga, many of them inquiring about the possibility of setting foot aboard one last time. But ESCO’s contract with the Navy doesn’t allow it, he said.
“We’re not able to put people on there, but there are good reasons for that too,” Tyler said. “There are some areas of the ship that are rusted, particularly under the weather decks. You’ve really got to be careful you don’t step on an area that’s rusted through or nearly rusted through.”
Plans to turn the ship into a museum were dropped in 2010, and fund-raising efforts redirected toward the decommissioned carrier USS John F. Kennedy. The last chance to see the vessel was Aug. 8 at Naval Station Newport during a pier-side farewell ceremony that more than 100 Saratoga veterans attended.
ESCO is working with the port, however, on a plan to allow veterans to view the vessel from a distance at some point after it’s docked. Tyler said the company plans to post Saratoga-related updates on its website,
Interested persons will also be able to keep track of the carrier’s progress from Newport on the live ship map at Towing the Saratoga will be the tugboat “Signet War Horse III.”
Tyler said he expects quite a few Texas residents who served on the Saratoga to make the journey here to see the carrier.
While it’s sad to see once mighty ships on which so many have served relegated to the scrap pile, dismantling them employs people and puts high-quality steel back into the market, he said. Tyler noted that The Dallas Cowboys’ AT&T Stadium could be built with the 60,000 tons of steel the Saratoga contains.
“There’s a whole logistical train that goes along with pulling these vessels apart,” he said. “It puts people to work.” Tyler said the job should take 18 to 24 months to complete and that ESCO will hire, and train if necessary, 60 or 70 extra employees. As such, the Saratoga provides a potential connection even to veterans who didn’t serve on her. “I’m looking for veterans in particular, folks who have a clearance,” Tyler said. “If they’ve got a U.S. government clearance, I’m interested in talking to them. You hear a lot about veterans out there that need work. I’ve got an opportunity to put them to work.”


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Moreno, Hollon win South Padre Island Chamber Ladies Kingfish Tournament

The 33rd Annual South Padre Island Chamber of Commerce Ladies Kingfish Tournament held on August 8-10, 2014 was a huge success.

Early Saturday morning, 248 anglers and 98 boats hit the waterways, returning to the docks before 7  p.m. to weigh in their catch.  This year’s tournament brought 157 bay anglers and 91 offshore to the Island for a fun filled three days.

This year’s bay champion was Yochabel Moreno  from Edinburg. Moreno brought in all three species — redfish, trout and flounder — for a total weight of 11.3 pounds.  She was fishing with Troy Monjaras on the boat Ghost Reds.  Moreno brought tears to several in attendance when she stated she was fishing this year in memory of her grandmother.

Kathleen Hollon from Harlingen, walked away with the Offshore Championship when she brought in all four species — kingfish, bonita, blackfin tuna and dolphin — for a total weight of 59.2 pounds.  Kathleen was fishing on the Stormin’ Norman with Bubba Zittle.

The Awards Ceremony on Sunday brought anglers and their families together to recognize those who took top prizes.  Thirty anglers received framed original artwork by Dinah Bowman specific to the species they won.

Coner Harrison


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Renovation Granted - Historic Yacht Club Hotel To Get a Facelift

At nearly 90 years old, the Yacht Club Hotel in Port Isabel has seen better days.

But thanks to efforts by the city of Port Isabel and the Port Isabel Economic Development Corporation, the historic hotel will be restored and renovated as the city’s first culinary arts institute.
Port Isabel City Manager Edward Meza said the city has received a $1.2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration to fund the Port Isabel Culinary Arts Institute.
The institute would have a fully functioning restaurant and kitchen and include a kitchen incubator inside the historic Yacht Club Restaurant and Hotel on the 700 block of Yturria Street in Port Isabel, according the grant proposal by Reyna Network.
The proposal says the institute expects to create new jobs to serve approximately 92 to 155 full-time students per semester.
Meza said the city is in the process of purchasing the Yacht Club Hotel for a reported $750,000.


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USS Constellation heading to Port of Brownsville

The decommissioned aircraft carrier USS Constellation is headed for Brownsville in the morning where it will be scrapped for its metal.
The 62,000-ton carrier will be towed from the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in Bremerton, Washington and travel more than 16,000 miles around South America before arriving at the Port of Brownsville sometime in December.
Foss Maritime says its tugboat Corbin Foss will tow the ship. The Kitsap Sun is reporting the departure is scheduled for 5 p.m. Friday, which is high tide.
Construction began on the Constellation, the second of the Kitty Hawk-class of carriers, in 1957 at New York Naval Shipyard in Brooklyn. It was commissioned in October 1961. The vessel was decommissioned in August 2003 at the Naval Air Station North Island in San Diego, then towed to the inactive ship facility at Bremerton, Wash.
The Navy is paying International Shipbreakers $3 million to take apart the Constellation. Robert Berry, vice president of the company, said that’s because the towing distance is much longer — all the way down around the Horn of South America and up the other side — compared to other carriers being scrapped at the port.
The Constellation job will take roughly two years to complete, he said, while declining to estimate how much money the company expects to make from the salvaged metal. The steel salvaged from the ship may go to mills in Texas, Mexico or elsewhere around the world, depending on demand, he said.


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State Boosts Incentives for SpaceX

“Ground Control – Boca Chica … we are a go for lift off.”
It won’t likely be Gov. Rick Perry uttering that message, but Perry did, today, announce the State will offer $2.3 million from the Texas Enterprise Fund (TEF) to land SpaceX’s commercial launch facility around Boca Chica Beach. Perry explained that approval is contingent upon the agreement of all involved agencies and proper processing of required permits.
CEO Elon Musk thanked Gov. Perry and shared about his plans to connect Texas’ Gulf to the collective cosmos. “SpaceX is excited to expand our work in Texas with the world’s first commercial launch complex designed specifically for orbital missions.” Musk said. “We appreciate the support of Gov. Perry and numerous other federal, state, and local officials who have partnered with us to make this vision a reality.” Musk added that “… this site will inspire students, expand the supplier base and attract tourists to eth south Texas area.”
Perry then discussed the project’s potential financial impact, “… This facility will create 300 jobs, and pump $85 million in capital investment into the local economy,” Perry said. “Texas has been on the front of our nation’s space exploration efforts for decades, so it is fitting that SpaceX has chosen our state as they expand the frontiers of commercial space flight,” Perry said. “In addition to growing the aerospace industry in Texas, SpaceX’s facility will provide a myriad of opportunities for STEM education in South Texas, and inspire a new generation of Texas engineers and innovators.” Perry noted that the State will add $13 million to the TEF investment ($2.3 million) to support developing the spaceport’s infrastructure.
State Sen. Eddie Lucio also expressed his excitement at the announcement and shared about what this development means to the Valley. “I couldn’t be happier about (the) announcement, nor more excited about the possibilities this new Texas partnership with SpaceX will produce,” Lucio said. “SpaceX’s future launch site will soon become an invaluable economic driver for South Texas. With this site comes tens of millions of dollars in capital investment in our community annually, and hundreds of well-paying jobs over the next decade.”
For Lucio, this announcement is a major milestone, marking the Valley’s initial foray into space exploration. “I hope the new launch site will propel a dramatic cultural change in our region of the state, encouraging more of our children to pursue careers in engineering and science. Future generations of South Texas residents will look to this site and know that not even the sky is the limit for where their dreams may take them,” he said.
State Rep. Rene Oliveira, too, issued a statement this week that shared praise for SpaceX and promise for the communities he serves. “We are blessed by a great geographical location, overwhelming local support and a generous incentives package from the state,” Oliveira said. “We worked hard at every level to create the best chance possible to bring the project home. It underscores that our local entities are working well together to bring new opportunities to our region.”
House Bill 2623 authored by Oliveira and passed in 2013 allows Cameron County to temporarily close an area of beach for launches and space flight activities with approval of the General Land Office. Oliveira also worked closely with state budget writers to garner a maximum amount of incentives which total about $15 million, according to county records.
Oliveira then acknowledged how this incentive package was a joint effort by elected officials who recognized a vision and had commitment to see the proposal through. “The incentives package received the strong backing of state leadership. The bill was about protecting the citizens’ access to Texas beaches while clearing way for SpaceX to operate in Cameron County,” Oliveira said.
“We have demonstrated to the space industry that we want to be at the forefront of its development in Texas,” he said.  “This is a landmark announcement for the Rio Grande Valley.”
Sasha Heller


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Hearing Held for Second Causeway

Officials with the Cameron County Regional Mobility Authority (CCRMA) hosted a public hearing Tuesday evening at the South Padre Island Convention Center, and explained how area agencies are collaborating to develop a second causeway

Access to South Padre Island is currently provided by a single entry point – the Queen Isabella Memorial Causeway.
According to the Authority records, “Due to the high number of Island visitors, the (causeway) experiences severe congestion during peak periods.” The proposal involves building an alternate access route to and from the South Padre Island and generating economic opportunities for the community. Additionally, the alternate causeway could serve as a crucial evacuation route during an emergency.
Tuesday’s presentation covered how the new causeway will be built in multiple phases: project initiation: planning and programming: preliminary engineering; and design/construct/maintain/output.
The initiation phase will establish the project’s basic framework and expectations, the report reads. Phase two will include two public meetings and is expected to take eight months to complete. Construction techniques, cost estimates, value engineering, and design criteria will compromise phase three, which officials expect to last 23 months.
The CCRMA and Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) have partnered in this longstanding development, and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) will reportedly “provide oversight during the development process.”
Records indicate that the second causeway will follow an established development structure: the Executive Committee will oversee the Steering Committee, who, in turn, will manage technical working groups who interact directly with the stakeholders.
“More than 1.5 million Texans and motorists will be impacted by the project.” The report reads.
Officials are still considering various sources of potential financial assistance for the project, including public-private partnerships, toll and/or municipal revenue bonds, shadow trolling, federal grant opportunities, the Texas Mobility Fund and other sources.
A second public hearing, covering the same information, was set for Wednesday evening in Port Isabel but the meeting was canceled due to lack of quorum.

Sasha Heller


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Manatee Sighting on SPI Excites Residents

The salty waters surrounding South Padre Island are home to various marine wildlife, but some islanders were in for a surprise on a recent afternoon when a manatee made an appearance at a local boat dock on the northwest side of the Island, according to Parrot Eyes Water Sports employee Ryan Fuentes.
Fuentes, originally from Miami, is familiar with manatees from his native state but said he hadn’t see one in about nine years. Fuentes said the manatee swam under the pier in search of fresh water to drink.
Fuentes was able to document the encounter by recording a video with his iPhone. The manatee reportedly appeared to be in good health and didn’t have any cuts or injuries.
Tony Reisinger, the Cameron County extension agent for coastal and marine resources with Texas Sea Grant at Texas A&M University, has lived in the area for 32 years and has only heard of a handful of reported manatee sightings here.
Resinger noted that manatees are endangered and are protected by the Marine Mammal and the Endangered Species Acts.
According to Reisinger, manatees can weigh as much as a ton to a ton and a half, but the one spotted near the South Padre Island appeared smaller from the pictures.
Reisinger said the reason for the sighting is unknown but may have occurred for different reasons such as migration, mating or grazing on the lush sea grass meadows common in the Laguna Madre.

Christina R. Garza


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Historic Yacht Club to Get a Face Lift

At nearly 90 years old, the Yacht Club Hotel in Port Isabel has seen better days.
But thanks to efforts by the city of Port Isabel and the Port Isabel Economic Development Corporation, the historic hotel will be restored and renovated as the city’s first culinary arts institute.
PortIsabelCity Manager Edward Meza said the city has received a $1.2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration to fund the Port Isabel Culinary Arts Institute.
The institute would have a fully functioning restaurant and kitchen and include a kitchen incubator inside the historic Yacht Club Restaurant and Hotel on the 700 block of Yturria Street in Port Isabel, according the grant proposal by Reyna Network.
The proposal says the institute expects to create new jobs to serve approximately 92 to 155 full-time students per semester.
Meza said the city is in the process of purchasing the Yacht Club Hotel for a reported $750,000


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