Thursday, May 23, 2019
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Winter Texans help ‘poorest of the poor’ in Mexico

20171219 Trade Winds ChristmasGifts JB 1105A group of about 40 Winter Texans from Trade Winds and Mission Bell RV Resorts gather to assemble gift bags of toys and candies for the children who live in some of the poorest areas of Reynosa, Mexico. Seated at front left are Scot and Cynthia Swafford, park managers. Scot is also a pastor for park.

The recreation hall at Trade Winds RV Resort in Mission was filled with tables covered with small toys, such as toy cars for boys and little dolls for girls, along with puzzles, booklets of Bible stories in Spanish, and bowls of candy on Dec. 19. Approximately 40 volunteers – mostly from Trade Winds and Mission Bell RV Resorts – were manning the tables, filling plastic bags with simple dollar store toys and trinkets destined for more than one hundred children living in shacks in the poorest parts of Reynosa, Mexico.

The bags were then delivered by Whitewater Ministries pastor Scot Swafford, his wife Cynthia and some of the Winter Texan volunteers to colonias in Reynosa on Dec. 20. Scot Swafford said the people living in these areas are “the poorest of the poor” and have very little of their own.

Read more: Winter Texans help ‘poorest of the poor’ in Mexico

Arguello's the heart of McAllen Jam

20171228 ARGUELLOPat Arguello performs Al Hirt's “Fancy Pants” during the McAllen Mobile Park jam on Saturday.

McAllen Mobile Park's Pat Arguello reminded me of a veteran boxer in the ring, diverting punches directed at her with smooth and graceful movements. A question would be aimed at her or about her, but like the cagey veteran, the response would be skillfully pushed to the side, more often than not to promote the talents of others.

Arguello is humility personified. The entertainment coordinator for McAllen Mobile Park, shared some of her story, but not without putting others in front of her on a regular basis.

Read more: Arguello's the heart of McAllen Jam

Ladies Christmas Brunch serves others

20171228 CasaDelValle BoxesGifts LANG 6022Because Norma Moe attended a prayer breakfast at Winter Ranch RV park in Alamo, just before Thanksgiving of 2013, dozens of families have benefited during the holidays from the annual Casa Del Valle food drive.

Following that 2013 prayer breakfast, Norma was handed an invitation to an Advent breakfast at a private home in Alamo. Norma and four of her friends attended, and when the breakfast was over they came out filled with excitement and the spirit of Christmas.

Read more: Ladies Christmas Brunch serves others

Palm Resaca Park in giving spirit for Brownsville food pantry.

By Alden Moore
Winter Texan from Sundridge, Ontario

20170228 Palm Resaca Velma and Bob Wilson Photos By Darlene JulianVelma and Bob Wilson

The Christmas season is in full swing – not a golf swing, however – at Palm Resaca Park in Brownsville. Even though on Sunday, Dec. 10 there were 20 golf carts lined up – and there more lined up on Sunday, Dec. 23 – it really wasn't for golf.

Both golf cart Christmas parades met with much enthusiasm as dozens of residents decorated their carts.

Residents jumped into the Christmas spirit immediately after the Thanksgiving celebrations and recovery from all the food. Residents began decorating the entire park. The mobile homes are gleefully lit and park Christmas lights are everywhere. The park has been transformed into a bright and joyful wonderland.

Read more: Palm Resaca Park in giving spirit for Brownsville food pantry.

Red Hat Queen’s Council holds Christmas party

The Rio Grande Valley Red Hat Queen’s Council held its Monday, Dec. 11, meeting and Christmas party at Red Lobster in McAllen. The ladies enjoyed the entree of their choice from the menu and then held a short meeting.

Members were reminded of upcoming events such as the Festival of Tables to be held at Trophy Gardens in Alamo on Jan. 29. A group of 40 tables will be set in different styles representing holidays of special themes such as Red Hats, formal settings, beach or summer settings, or other countries such as Scotland or The Netherlands. Doors will open at 11 a.m. for viewing of the tables and lunch will follow at noon. Bill Chrastil, named Winter Texan Entertainer of the Year for 2017, will provide the entertainment.

Read more: Red Hat Queen’s Council holds Christmas party

Iwo Jima Museum has new exhibit

20171228 Iwo jima head on cropOne of the popular places for Winter Texans, especially veterans, to visit is the Iwo Jima Museum on the grounds of Marine Military Academy in Harlingen. It is located in a small building opposite the drill field where the statue of the flag-raising at Iwo Jima is located.

A collection of Morse code keys, like those used by the Navajo Code talkers in World War II, were given to the museum by the grandfather of a Marine Military cadet, Lorenzo Casso. He used the keys during World War II. The grandfather also used the Morse code keys again during Hurricane Katrina when all other forms of communication were down.

Read more: Iwo Jima Museum has new exhibit

National Quilt Museum winners on display at Harlingen Museum

20170228 National Quilt Museum 1Starting Jan. 11 through Feb. 18 the geese will be flying at the Harlingen Arts & Heritage Museum when the display of quilts from the National Quilt Museum in Paduca, Kentucky go on display. The theme for this year is “Flying Geese,” a pattern that uses triangles representing the shape of a flock of flying geese in the quilts.

According to Forest Garling, volunteer and gift shop coordinator, the museum has been having this display every year since 2007 and it is one of the most popular exhibits the entire year. This year there are 19 quilts in the exhibit that use the flying geese pattern in some way.

Read more: National Quilt Museum winners on display at Harlingen Museum

Texas Trails Christmas Luncheon

FromthepublisherThank you to Pat Julian, Sharon Swanson and all the ladies at Texas Trails for inviting me to the Texas Trails Ladies Christmas Luncheon last week.

In addition to enjoying a wonderful luncheon and visiting with some of the park residents, we got to hear about some of the projects the park residents are doing to help the children of the Rio Grande Valley.

Also attending the luncheon were Pharr Police officers J.C. Aguirre and Daniel Garcia, who spoke to the group about the many different projects the police department conducts to help the community.

Read more: Texas Trails Christmas Luncheon

Casa del Valle Ladies Christmas Luncheon helps colonia families

FromthepublisherWhen I received a call from Norma Moe at Casa del Valle RV Resort about a Ladies Christmas Brunch, I wasn’t sure what to expect – or how a male would fit in with a room full of ladies at a brunch. But when she said it was the park’s food drive kick-off event to help the children and families in a local colonia, I said, “I’ll be there Saturday!” And I’m glad I did.

What a treat!

As soon as I walked in the door of the rec hall at Casa del Valle I knew this was going to be really special. The decorations were amazing – all creating the theme “Down Candy Cane Lane.”

Read more: Casa del Valle Ladies Christmas Luncheon helps colonia families

Pearl Harbor Day Ceremony planned at VWMT

20171109 Veterans War Memorial

Korean War
Bronze plaques show actual battles of the Korean War in 9 phases.

“It’s been an amazing journey but in late 2018 or early 2019 the entire Veteran’s War Memorial of Texas will be completed,” stated Col. Frank Plummer (Ret.) US. Army. The journey began in 1988 when a friend told him the veterans of McAllen should place a statue of a World War II veteran in Archer Park to remind residents of their sacrifices.”

While Plummer agreed with the idea of remembrance of the sacrifices made during World War II, he wanted a memorial that would teach school children about the sacrifices of all those who had served to give the United States of America the freedoms that it now enjoys.

Read more: Pearl Harbor Day Ceremony planned at VWMT

Winter Texans bring Christmas joy to children

20171123 OPERATION CHRISTMASChristmastime is a time many of us think of others and seek ways to help those in need – those who are less fortunate. So many children go without proper food, shelter and essential medical care every day along the border.

These needs seem to be magnified at Christmas. And Winter Texans seem to have some of the biggest hearts to be found, as they organize and work together to create wonderful events to make Christmas special for needy children and their families.

Read more: Winter Texans bring Christmas joy to children

RGV welcomes return of Ralph Kuster's variety musical performances

20171123 Ralph Kuster PhotoRalph Kuster's vocal range is only surpassed by the beautiful tone of his voice and the vast number of songs he knows.

Since 2012 Kuster, has performed in the Rio Grande Valley. A Canadian in the summer months, Kuster used to be a regular performer in Branson, Mo. He now looks forward to performing for Winter Texans each season in the Rio Grande Valley. His first performance of the season, “Timeless Treasures,” will be at 2 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 2 at the Border Theater, located at 905 N. Conway Ave. in Mission. Tickets are $10 per person.

Read more: RGV welcomes return of Ralph Kuster's variety musical performances

Bit-O-Heaven holds craft sale

20171116 Bit O Heaven CraftFair GREGu IMG 4801

New wardrobes for American Girl dolls

Rosie Armstrong displayed new wardrobe items designed to fit the popular American Girl dolls many Winter Texan’s granddaughters have.

Christmas is coming soon and craft sales are often a great source for people seeking gifts for that hard-to-buy-for person who has everything. Even when not seeking Christmas gifts, craft sales are always fun to attend. Bit-O-Heaven RV Park in Donna held its monthly craft show On Friday, Nov. 10, and offered several sources of unique gifts of fun items to furnish Valley homes.

T-shirts are often popular wear among Winter Texans, who enjoy the warm weather in the Rio Grande Valley. Kathy Webber had a great variety of shirts with Valley themes such as “Winter Texan for Life,” for those wishing to advertise ­– or maybe brad a little – that they are vacationing in the warm Valley. She also offered specialized themes such as the one for quilters, “Quilter for Life,” a hobby many women (and men) enjoy during their leisure time. She had too many themes to list so look for her table at next month’s craft sale.

Read more: Bit-O-Heaven holds craft sale

Many parks with new or improved ‘toys’ for Winter Texans

20171116 Pine to Palm Pickleball HM IMG 2955

Pine to Palm resident Dave Gemmell enjoys playing on one of the two new pickle ball courts at the resort, which also built 20 new shuffleboard courts for residents.

There are new “toys” to welcome Winter Texans back at many parks and resorts across the Rio Grande Valley this year.

From new cooks and paved roads to amenities for furry friends, Winter Texan parks are investing in their property and welcoming back their guests with several improvements.

Residents of Pine to Palm RV Resort in Weslaco have brand new shuffleboard courts waiting to be broken in, as well as new two pickleball courts that were added due to the demands of that rapidly growing sport.

Read more: Many parks with new or improved ‘toys’ for Winter Texans

Halloween bash starts social season at Victoria Palms

20171109 Victoria Palms Halloween contest 2

Winter Texans at Victoria Palms Resort went all out with their costumes for the Halloween Bash and dance.

Halloween marks the start of the social season at many of the larger parks in the Rio Grande Valley and Victoria Palms is no exception. Early arriving Winter Texans joined year-round residents by showing up in costumes and dancing the night away to the music of Danica for the park's Halloween bash.

Costumes ranged from witches to warlocks, and a variety of colorful costumes including a “molting rooster” who kept losing his tail feathers, and a pink bunny reminiscent of the Energizer Bunny. Park Manager Lori Fanaselle said the party is always the beginning of the new season.

Read more: Halloween bash starts social season at Victoria Palms

A Salute To Our Veterans

FromthepublisherAs I look forward to the patriotic Veterans Day events this weekend, I feel deep gratitude for the brave men and women who have served our country valiantly, defending freedom and liberty. This nation has refused to allow tyrannical despots to destroy the freedom of our people, or that of our friends and allies.

This weekend we not only honor those who served valiantly in past wars, but also our sons and daughters and grandchildren who have stepped forward to serve their country, to protect their families, friends and, yes, even millions of people they never met so they may enjoy the freedom to live happy lives, enjoying the blessings of this great nation.

Read more: A Salute To Our Veterans

Taco Tuesday is hit at Sleepy Valley

20171102 taco tuesdayThe Winter Texan season has just begun. We are seeing cars and trucks with Iowa, Minnesota or Quebec license plates. There definitely are signs that the Winter Texans are arriving in the Rio Grande Valley.

One of those delicious signs this past Tuesday was a wonderful aroma wafting from the rec hall at Sleepy Valley Resort in Mission. Just the smell of the acclaimed “Best Charro Beans in the Valley” was good enough to at least earn that distinction and be placed on a ballot for voting somewhere. If there are no charro bean competitions around, there should be.

Read more: Taco Tuesday is hit at Sleepy Valley

Dancing the night away at Trophy Gardens

20171102 main picture tro gardensALAMO – Brenda Taepke started dancing when she was 6 years old, growing up in Michigan.

She hasn't stopped since. In fact, as a Winter Texan living at Trophy Gardens RV Resort in Alamo, Taepke said she dances every day, whether it's at a nearby resort or park, or at the Riverside Club in Mission or even in Progreso, Mexico – she's ready to hit the dance floor.

Read more: Dancing the night away at Trophy Gardens

Nature is Calling

FromthepublisherIf you’ve just arrived in the Rio Grande Valley, welcome! You’ve arrived just in time for two of my favorite events – the Texas Butterfly Festival at the National Butterfly Center in Mission and the RGV Birding Festival in Harlingen.

First up is the Texas Butterfly Festival, which kicks of this Saturday, Nov. 4 with a free Community Day, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Lots of family-friendly activities are planned. The day actually begins at 8 a.m. with the festival’s inaugural Monarch 5K Trail Run and 1K Fun Run. The Fun Run is designed to celebrate the huge variety of butterflies found around the Mission Trails outdoor recreational area that is home to the National Butterfly Center, a National Wildlife Refuge tract and Bentsen-RGV State Park, Headquarters of the World Birding Center.

Read more: Nature is Calling

RGV Winter Texan visitors on the rise

20171019 AlamoPalms mgr RockyRamirez n Ida 3756Local resorts report increased reservations again this year

Alamo Palms Mobile Park Manager Rocky Ramirez and resident Ila Wisdom, a Fort Worth native, stand on her front porch next to a bottle tree. Wisdom is planning an early returning Winter Texan get together on Friday in her yard at the park. Ramirez, like many managers across the Rio Grande Valley, is expecting an increase in reservations for the 2017-18 season.

Don Wilson remembers when he and his wife Jeni were making their first stint as park managers a few years ago at Bentsen Palm Village RV Resort in Mission. They oversaw the park, which has approximately 245 RV spaces.

“The park would be full and there would be a waiting list of as many as 30 people wanting to get in,” Wilson said. “That's a good problem to have.”

The Wilsons, who moved to the Valley from Las Vegas, then took a few years off to travel in 2011 and came back in June 2015. They noticed something had happened. A strange quiet, comparatively speaking, had engulfed the resort. The park had fewer Winter Texan visitors than before.

Read more: RGV Winter Texan visitors on the rise

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Top News

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