Saturday, November 17, 2018
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Valley man is world’s oldest pilot

Dick Smith is a character.

At age 97 he looks decades younger than his age suggests. He still gets around quite well. In fact, one of the ways he gets around is in an airplane he built himself from a kit. It took him four years to build it, but it was completed in 1999 and is still flying. While Dick does not go far these days, he still enjoys flying his plane. He often flies from the McAllen Airport to the Edinburg Airport just to keep his flying skills intact.

Born April 2, 1918 in Coraopolis, a suburb of Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, it seems he always knew what he wanted to do. In a civics contest when he was 13, he wrote he wanted to build airplanes. After turning 17 in April and graduating high school in May, he left home to pursue his dream of building airplanes. He went to the Spartan School of Aeronautics in Tulsa, Oklahoma where he trained as an airplane mechanic for one year.

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Harlingen dedicates new mural

Harlingen officials will have a ribbon-cutting event for a new mural entitled “From Farm to Market through Harlingen” on Dec. 22, at 11:30 a.m. The public is invited to attend this event that will take place in the public parking lot at the intersection of Harrison Avenue and the railroad tracks in Downtown Harlingen. The mural, on the west wall of the building at 201 W. Van Buren, faces this parking lot.

The new mural features historic images of agricultural processing in the Rio Grande Valley, including crops in the field, loading and unloading of produce into trucks and wagons, and icing of produce in railroad cars in Downtown Harlingen. These were painted in sepia tones directly on the wall. The new mural was painted by artist Brett Oberthaler, of Weslaco, based on historic photos.

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Texas Citrus Fiesta Parade deadline nears

Several Winter Texan RV parks participate in the Texas Citrus Fiesta Parade of Oranges each year, and the Fiesta invites other parks to have a parade entry this year.

The 79th annual Texas Citrus Fiesta Parade of Oranges will kick off Saturday, Jan. 30, at 3 p.m. This year’s TCF theme is “Citrus, Cartoons & Comic Book Characters.” The deadline to turn in applications for new parade participants (those who did not have a parade entry last January) is Jan. 14, or until the maximum number of entries is reached. The $40 entry fee must be turned in with the application.

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Rio Grande Children’s Home needs assistance

When the Winter Texan Times called to see if the Rio Grande Children’s Home had any special needs for the children at Christmas, Monica Skrzypinksi, Gift Officer for RGCH, said there was a very special need she had no funds to cover.

Last summer there was a freak accident on Padre Island where an 8-year-old child was killed coming out of a restaurant when a corroded light post on the premises fell over on top of him and killed him. After reading about this tragic death, the Children’s Home decided to examine all of their lights posts for the safety of their children.

They discovered the lights posts around their children’s playground were all corroded at the bottom and they faced the same possible danger as the child on the island if one of the poles fell on one of their children. As a result, they have cordoned off the playground and the children can no longer play there.

Skrzypinski is unsure just how many poles need to be replaced but she does know the total cost of the project will be $19,000. And this is an unbudgeted project so she does not know where she will get the money. Currently, there are 20 children and they are expecting an addition four soon. In 2014, the home served as many as 70 children.

Since it opened in 1964, RGCH has served thousands of children.

Rio Grande Children’s Home serves as a home away from home for children who have been abused and neglected. Children come and typically stay from three months to a year. The longest time was eight years. They are not for adoption. If the family situation gets resolved, the children return home. RGCH does not work with the family; instead they are a safe haven for the children.

The children come with many different needs but the most pervasive problem is they need love. They need a healthy family situation and that is what RGCH provides. For some it is their first experience in a functional family where they are not being abused and they can simply be children.

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Senior Softball plans ‘World Series’ to start new season

While the baseball World Series ended just a few weeks ago, members of the Senior Texan Softball League are planning to start their season with a surprise! There will be “World Series” softball games between the “National League” and the “American League” to start the season for the first time this year. The teams will be made up of Winter Texans and local senior players.

Just like in the baseball World Series, where each player has his name and team announced when he goes to bat, the senior players taking the field at the Senior Texan World Series will have their name and hometown announced when they step up to the plate.

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Myra Green presents ‘Mary’s Christmas’

For a touching reminder of ‘the reason for the season,” Myra Green of Bible Alive Theater has been presenting, “Mary’s Christmas,” in a number of Winter Texan parks across the Rio Grande Valley. The Winter Texan Times caught the presentation at Oleander Acres, but there are still a number of locations Winter Texans can go to see the story of “Mary’s Christmas.” Green uses song and prose to tell the story and invites the audience to join in on the beloved Christmas carols that are a part of the show.

The play starts with the Biblical account of Zachariah, who was a relative of Mary. He was told by an angel that he and his wife, Elizabeth, would have a child. Zachariah doubted the angel because of their advanced ages. As a result, the angel made him unable to speak until the baby arrived. The angel tells him that his son is to prepare the way for the coming of God’s son.

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