Monday, May 27, 2019
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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.

Read more: Valley man is world’s oldest pilot

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.

Read more: Harlingen dedicates new mural

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.

Read more: Texas Citrus Fiesta Parade deadline nears

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.

Read more: Rio Grande Children’s Home needs assistance

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.

Read more: Senior Softball plans ‘World Series’ to start new season

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.

Read more: Myra Green presents ‘Mary’s Christmas’

Red Hat Queens plan upcoming events

The Red Hat Queens of the Valley met this week for lunch and to discuss upcoming events. The Festival of Tables and Rhinestone Cowgirl will be held in February. These two are major events where Winter Texan Red Hatters from all across the Valley are invited to participate.

The Festival of Tables will be held Feb. 9 at the Nomad Shrine in Pharr. Jan Bergman is chairing the event. Each of the tables with be decorated with a different theme and ladies will be given tickets to sit at different tables as they arrive. This way they will meet Red Hat ladies from all of the Winter Texan communities in the Rio Grande Valley and have an opportunity to compare notes on what types of events they are having both in the Valley and with their groups back home. Johnny Ray Gomez will provide entertainment for the event.

Read more: Red Hat Queens plan upcoming events

Ladies of Winter Haven RV Resort love life in Brownsville

While in Brownsville recently I went to lunch at the Vermillion, an old favorite restaurant that has been around since 1934. I enjoy it because the food is good and the pictures on the walls tell a story of what Brownsville was like in the early days.

While dining I could not help but notice a group a ladies who were out having a good time, enjoying lunch. Since they looked like Winter Texans I ventured over to say hello. I found the ladies were from Winter Haven RV Resort and were celebrating the birthdays of Joe Anna Eirich and Carol Forrester.

They shared with me some of the things they enjoy about Brownsville. They said they enjoy buying fresh food at the Saturday morning Farmer’s Market held in front of the Fine Arts Museum, going out to eat, and just having a good time. They also enjoy going to the new Cascade Park built by Cameron County across from their resort on Old Port Isabel Road because it is full of picnicking, walking and hiking opportunities.

But their favorite thing is going across the border in Matamoros to Garcia’s, which is within walking distance of the bridge. “You can get anything you need there because they have restaurants and bars, a pharmacy, and a souvenir shop that has all kinds of things. They even have a driver, who for a fee, will drive you to other locations in Matamoros, if you want to shop elsewhere,” the ladies told me.

“It’s very safe because there are border guards within a short distance, so we do not feel any kind of threat when we go,” said Marilyn Williams.

Sheri Banning said she enjoys riding around the resort on her golf cart and looking at the Christmas lights and looking for someone to enjoy “Happy Hour” with her.

Marcia Edwin is a birder who enjoys seeing the different birds around Brownsville and going to the different World Birding Centers around the area.

Fran Hardin enjoys the close proximity to South Padre Island and the activities there.

Carol Forrester enjoys the warm south Texas weather and the social life at the park.

Anne Gilmer enjoys the different activities available in Dean Porter Park in the Mitte Cultural District along with being able to shop for fresh organic food on weekends.

Read more: Ladies of Winter Haven RV Resort love life in Brownsville

Newspaper Holiday Schedule

We all enjoy the Christmas and New Year’s holidays. And with the holidays come early advertising and news deadlines, as well as special delivery times.

The Winter Texan Times will be delivered one day early – on Wednesday, Dec. 23 – to give our staff time off on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

Read more: Newspaper Holiday Schedule

Hidalgo Festival of Lights continues

Even though there are just a few more days to enjoy the entertainment at this year’s Hidalgo Festival of Lights, the 3 million Christmas lights on 550 fixtures will remain lit up until Dec. 31 for all to enjoy.

From the lighted rocket ship seen at the entrance of Hidalgo City Hall where most festivities are centered, to old favorites that have been around for years, it is worth the time to drive the streets of Hidalgo. Better yet, park the car and take a stroll through this wonderland of Christmas adventure. Take in the beauty and creativity of the many lighted scenes on the grounds of city hall and along many of the small town’s streets. Hidalgo is a little town with a strong Christmas spirit it is not afraid to express.

Read more: Hidalgo Festival of Lights continues

Brownsville Holiday Village adds new cottages

New cottages have been added to the ever-growing Brownsville Holiday Village located in Dean Porter Park. There are now 29 cottages on display to see this year. From the traditional replica of the Immaculate Conception Church and the historic Stillman House, each cottage is uniquely decorated with a variety of themes.

The new yellow school bus of “Elfamentary” is sure to be a hit with the younger crowd just as Golden Rule Elementary still reminds children of school. The town library where Mrs. Santa reads books to the children is a winner.

Read more: Brownsville Holiday Village adds new cottages

Port Isabel offers something for everyone

Whether you enjoy fishing, dining (preferably with a seafood appetite), shopping, exploring historical artifacts and sunken treasures, or simply taking a walk while enjoying the fresh sea breeze, Port Isabel is one place Valley visitors must see.

Because of its mainland location near South Padre Island, Port Isabel has long been an important site in Texas. The site has been strategic since the days of the Karakawas, fierce Indians known for cannibalism, who used the narrow channel waterway between the island and the mainland to trap their enemies.

Read more: Port Isabel offers something for everyone

FUMC hosts live nativity Dec. 19-20

LA FERIA – First United Methodist Church of La Feria will host its annual Live Nativity on Saturday, Dec. 19 and Sunday, Dec. 20 from 6 to 7:30 p.m. At the Live Nativity, the church street and parking lot transform into the town of Bethlehem. Visitors can drive or walk through the village and see the story of Joseph and Mary and the arrival of Jesus Christ.

Read more: FUMC hosts live nativity Dec. 19-20

Winter Texan competition begins

The Mission area Winter Texan Activities Association is once again planning a series of competitions for Winter Texans in several sports beginning Dec. 14. Competitions include shuffleboard, billiards, golf and bowling. In addition, the Arts & Crafts Show is planned Feb. 28.

Shuffleboard competition will be held at Bentsen Grove Resort beginning Dec.14.   Categories of competition are mixed doubles, men’s and ladies’ doubles, and men’s and ladies’ singles. Registration for all categories st arts at 8:30 a.m. Look for mixed doubles tournaments on Dec. 14 and 18; men and ladies doubles, Jan. 4 and Jan. 8; men’s and ladies’ singles on Jan. 11 and Jan. 15. Any questions about the categories or events should be directed to chairmen Howard Adams at (217) 895-2240, or Hugh Ross (810) 656-7338.

Read more: Winter Texan competition begins

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.

Popular categories for Winter Texan RV park parade entries include floats, bicycles and decorated golf carts.

The most prestigious float category is Valley Product. To be competitive in this category, the float must adhere to the parade theme and be decorated with at least two-thirds citrus or other products grown in the Rio Grande Valley. First place Sweepstakes Award receives $1000, second place receives $500, and third place $350. Some Winter Texan RV parks, such as Bentsen Grove Resort and Split Rail RV Park have competed exceptionally well in this category in the past.

Read more: Texas Citrus Fiesta Parade deadline nears

Looking for a special place to visit during the Christmas season?

There’s more than Santa coming to town in Alamo this Christmas season. As many are reminded at this time of the year, an angelic host worshipped on that eve when Jesus was born in Bethlehem. On Thursday, Dec. 17, a host of angels will be appearing as a new angel galleria will be born in the Alamo Museum building, 130 South Eighth Street in Alamo.

More than 1,500 angel figures will be on display, which were donated by Shirl Pfeiffer, of Alamo, who has been collecting them for more than 30 years. The exhibit opens Dec. 17, at 1 p.m. with a grand opening ceremony set for 5:30 p.m., which will include a ribbon cutting arranged by the Alamo Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center. Mrs. Pfeiffer will do the snipping of the ribbon, followed by a reception and the opportunity to view the unique exhibit. The occasion also includes a Chamber of Commerce network night for members.

Read more: Looking for a special place to visit during the Christmas season?

Brownsville Heritage Museum tells history of Brownsville

The Brownsville Heritage Museum, located at 1325 Washington Street, just a couple of streets over from the river, tells the story of the early days of Brownsville. The museum is adjacent to the home of Brownsville founder, Charles Stillman, who was an American merchant in Matamoros before the Mexican-American War started. Stillman moved to the north side of the river and kept trading, founding Brownsville in the process.

Brownsville was a true Wild West town and many of the sketches of early Brownsville on display tell that story.

Read more: Brownsville Heritage Museum tells history of Brownsville

Pantry makes Christmas stockings for needy children

Santa Claus does not always arrive in a sleigh pulled by reindeer. There may or may not be a jolly old elf wearing a red and white suit working in Penitas on Christmas day when Christmas stockings are passed out in nearby colonias. But the true meaning of Christmas, the call to minister to the needy, abounds when the Penitas Food Pantry Christmas Caravan hits the road on Christmas morning.

While there are a number of food pantries in the area that have weekly food distributions for needy families, the Penitas Food Pantry goes far beyond to serve the needs of the people in their area. Sponsored by the Penitas Baptist Church, the food pantry started about 15 years ago. Sharon Child, who is coordinator for the Penitas Food Pantry says there is so much need in the area that additional programs for distribution of shoes and clothing and baby items have been developed.

Read more: Pantry makes Christmas stockings for needy children

McAllen Holiday Parade rolls in Saturday

The Valley’s biggest Christmas parade will be held in McAllen on Saturday, Dec. 5, complete with over 36 helium balloons (look for Big Bird, the Ogre and Mrs. Santa Claus to name a few), over 50 floats and many marching bands.

The 2015 theme is “Movies on Parade.” It will be the largest holiday illuminated parade in Texas. The fun begins at 6 p.m. at McAllen Veterans Memorial Stadium. Over 200,000 people turned out to see the inaugural Christmas parade in 2014.

Planning a new route this year, the parade will begin at the high school football stadium and move north on Bicentennial Blvd., ending at Houston Street. There will be a concert by Enrique Iglesias at the stadium before the parade begins.

Actor Esai Morales who appeared in the movies, “La Bamba,” “Bad Boys” and “Spare Parts” as well as having roles on “NYPD BLUE,” “Criminal Minds” and “Miami Vice,” will serve as Grand Marshal of the parade.

Disney star Laura Marano, who has the lead role as Ally in “Austin & Ally” will be in the parade. David Zepeda, best known for roles in several telenovelas and films such as “Acorralada,” will also take part in the parade.

Read more: McAllen Holiday Parade rolls in Saturday

Dean Canty Big Band Brings Christmas to Quinta Mazatlan

Dean Canty grew up in radio’s heyday where all means of entertainment came out of that little box with a speaker screen.

“My mother always had the radio on, listening to music because we didn’t have TV,” chuckled Dean Canty, a tall, vital man with sparkling eyes. “Every Saturday my older sister and I had to clean the house, so we did it listening to the Texaco Opera Broadcasts. We’d both sing parts.”

Though his father was only an appreciative bystander to all the musical goings on in the home, his mom and sisters took their musical talents to the church choir and lifted up their voices around the house.

Read more: Dean Canty Big Band Brings Christmas to Quinta Mazatlan

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