Thursday, June 21, 2018
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Winter Texans have many places to celebrate the New Year

Winter Texan parks all across the Rio Grande Valley will be having New Year's celebrations for their residents and guests who would like to join in the fun. Numerous celebrations in Winter Texan RV and mobile home parks are listed in the Parks Calendar in this issue, as well as online at

For those looking for fun outside the Winter Texan community events, the Heart of McAllen will offer a New Year's Celebration that will include dropping the ball from a location near the parking garage in downtown McAllen. Last year was the first time the event took place. Up to 20,000 people were there to witness the ball drop marking the start of the New Year.

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Winter Texans share Christmas spirit with needy

Winter Texans all across the Rio Grande Valley make a tremendous impact on their second-home communities through the community service they provide while in the Valley. Local organizations have benefited greatly from Winter Texans serving as volunteers and in community projects to benefit the disadvantaged and needy in South Texas.

Following are reports from just a few of the RV and mobile home parks with Winter Texans who have volunteered during the Christmas season to bring happiness to others

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Singer, songwriter Jim Owen performing in Valley

One of country’s favorite stars, Jim Owen, will be making several appearances in the Rio Grande Valley. Owen is well known for his offbeat humor and from-the-heart style of singing. But that is not all he does. Owen is a songwriter and has appeared in several movies.

“I’m the luckiest man in the world,” says Jim Owen. “I love performing and I love to make people laugh.” Most of the time he does that at the Clay Cooper Theater in Branson, Missouri. But when winter comes and Branson closes for the season, he does a few shows on the road.

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Port Isabel Yacht Club has colorful history

During the Prohibition Era of the 1920s, private clubs called speakeasies sprang up all across the country. In the Rio Grande Valley, the Port Isabel Yacht Club became one of those speakeasies, where drinking was allowed as long as the police did not find out about it.

The old building has an elegance not found in many buildings in the Valley. Built in Mediterranean-style architecture with stucco exterior walls, the club was an 18,000-square-foot building with a red and orange tile roof. Inside, the rooms featured hardwood floors, beamed ceilings, and elegant furnishings. The double front doors once graced a ship and have real portholes. Several nationally prominent people were responsible for construction. Perhaps the most famous was E.G. Mayer of Metro Golden Mayer movie productions. One share sold for $150.

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Genealogist creates historical quilt

Recording history on quilts has been a tradition for generations in the family of Shirley Reed, a Winter Texan from Michigan who lives in San Benito.

Beginning in 1883, each of Shirley's grandmothers' grandmothers made a quilt embroidered with a family tree. One of these quilts was put to use, but the others were stored safely, then passed down through generations of girls.

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SPI World Birding Center now open

The newest of the World Birding Center satellite centers located on South Padre Island is now open. According to center director Cate Bell, the 10,000-square foot building, located next to the South Padre Island Convention Center, officially opened Sept. 26.

The five-story tower building overlooks walkways over the marshlands along the Laguna Madre. An elevator inside the building takes people to the observation deck on the fifth floor where they can get a great view of the wetlands along the Laguna Madre, which are home to many species of birds and marine life. On the north side of the tower visitors can view the development that is occurring, while on the east side of the tower they can look at the beaches and out into the Gulf of Mexico. To the south they can look down Padre Boulevard toward the Queen Isabella Causeway.

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Mission Chamber welcomes Winter Texans

The Welcome Winter Texan Day hosted by the Mission Chamber of Commerce drew over 500 people attending the event, according to Arlene Rivera, CEO of the Mission Chamber. The event was held at the Leo Pena Plazita in downtown Mission.

Entertainment included Cactus Willie and Boxcar Bob who crooned Willie Nelson's, "You Were always on My Mind." They also sang a song of their own creation about a man who lost his passport and was stuck in Nuevo Progeso because he could not get back across the border. The song was to the tune of the old favorite, "The Man Who Couldn't Get off of the Train." The crowd enjoyed their rendition.

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Odd and interesting bird behavior

Sometimes carefully observing a bird can be more fascinating than watching a long list of birds. Find out what birds really mean when they squawk, harass, or peck at each other during the "Silly Things Birds Do" presentation at the Edinburg Scenic Wetlands and World Birding Center. Mary Gustafson, coordinator for the Rio Grande Valley Joint Venture, will discuss the odd and interesting behaviors of birds that help them find mates, establish personal space, or find comfort.

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Pumphouse becomes Christmas Wonderland

The Old Hidalgo Pumphouse has been transformed into a Christmas Wonderland with over 200 houses and buildings from the Snow Village collection placed in a variety of displays throughout the museum.

The majority of the display belongs to Hidalgo Assistant City Manager Kay Wolf and her husband, Vernon.

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Valley has Pulitzer level photographer

Jerry Tomaselli of Chicago, who spends his winters at Sunshine RV Resort in Harlingen is not just good with a camera, he's great. At least that is what the Pulitzer Prize committee thought in 1979 when Tomaselli's picture, "Tears for a Buddy," was named first runner up to the Pulitzer Prize in photography for the year.

Tomaselli's love of photography began when he was 12. His father would bring the Chicago Daily News home. The back of the front section would be covered with pictures. Tomaselli would study the pictures that were scenes of what was happening all over the world and look at the names of the people who took those pictures. He began carrying his camera around and taking pictures of the scenes around him.

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Bentsen Grove smashes donation record

It was a pie in the face for Channel Five Chief Meteorologist Tim Smith. Smith, who organizes an annual Tim's Coats Drive for the needy in the Rio Grande Valley, promised residents of Bentsen Grove Trailer Park in Mission that if they topped the record number of 1,232 coats collected in 2008 this year, he would take a pie in the face.

Residents rose to the challenge and collected 1,365 coats in 2009. Smith kept his word Wednesday, Dec. 2, at Bentsen Grove when Activities Director Bonnie Newbole put a pie in his face during a park meeting.

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Christmas photo contest planned

Many Winter Texans get in the spirit and decorate their homes or parks for the Christmas season. To help share photos of some of the Valley's colorfully-decorated RV and mobile home parks, the Winter Texan Times will hold a Christmas decoration photo contest.

The Winter Texan Christmas Decoration Photo Contest is open to all Winter Texans living in the Rio Grande Valley. The photo subject must be Christmas decorations of an RV park, mobile home park or a residence in one of these parks located in the Rio Grande Valley.

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Rio Grande Valley celebrates Christmas

As December gets underway, the Rio Grande Valley abounds with many Christmas celebrations that Winter Texans can enjoy. Following is a list of festivities coming your way soon.


The first annual Green Christmas will be celebrated Dec. 12 from 4 to 8 p.m. at Resaca de la Palma State Park World Birding Center, 1000 New Carmen Blvd. Events include the lighting of a native tree, Christmas carolers, tram rides, a talent show with prizes, and kids' crafts and activities. Admission is $4 for adults. For information call (956) 350-2920.

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Christmas shoe drive to help needy children

A Love Thy Neighbor Shoe Drive began in the Rio Grande Valley on Dec. 7 and will continue through Dec. 18. The project is an outgrowth of Shoes for Orphan Souls, a Buckner Ministry, which has provided 1.8 million pairs of new shoes and socks to children in 68 countries since its beginning in 1999.

According to Monica Skrzypinski of Buckner Ministries, the Valley receives approximately 10,000 pairs of shoes from this ministry each year. The shoes are distributed through Buckner's Colonia Program in the Valley.

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Hidalgo Festival of Lights begins

The 2009 Festival of Lights in Hidalgo kicked off Nov. 30 with an illuminated parade to begin the festive holiday season. The Valley's most famous light festival will continue through the month of December with the heart of the show taking place right in front of the Hidalgo City Hall, located at 704 E. Texano.

Perhaps the most relaxing and enjoyable way to partake of the festivities in Hidalgo is to buy the dinner and entertainment package. The dinners will began this week with serving times at 5:15 p.m. and 6:15 p.m., giving those who purchase dinner tickets an opportunity to enjoy the entertainment on the outdoor stage in front of the Hidalgo City Hall. Tickets are $8 and may be purchased only at the Dodge Arena Ticket Box Office. The ticket includes a dinner, seating for the entertainment, and a trolley ride.

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Top News

  • San Juan Gardens keeps residents active

    2018401 Shorts San Juan Gardens Ladies LuncheonSan Juan Gardens had many activities to celebrate the Winter Texan season, including a new event called Tape Measure Racing where races are held in double-elimination heats, and everyone is eligible to participate. The park also holds 30-minute low-impact exercise time every weekday for all ages, including a 90-year-old who gets… Read More +

  • Paradise Resort Estates raises money for charities

    20180401 Shorts Paradise Estates1Paradise Resort Estates in Pharr, held its annual Spaghetti Supper and Charity Auction on Friday, Feb. 16th.

    The resort’s Community Outreach Committee sponsored the event and proceeds are donated to local charities. This year’s proceeds totaled $7,000. Some of the items for auction included wood carvings and a… Read More +

  • Split Rail Party

    20180401 Shorts Split Rail Party1At the end of each season, the Split Rail Association at Split Rail RV Park in Mission throws a thank you party for its residents, filled with good food and entertainment. In mid-March, residents enjoyed a delicious catered lunch of grilled chicken, potato salad, baked beans, coleslaw and all the fixins and dessert.… Read More +

  • Southern Comfort RV Park hosts Bocce tournaments

    20180401 Shorts Southern Comfort Bocce JPGSouthern Comfort RV Park, located at 1501 S Airport Dr. in Weslaco has been running bocce ball tournaments for the past couple of years. What started as one bocce tournament in the park is now up to three and signs are that the growth is going to continue.

    Read More +

  • Winter Texans volunteer at Lutheran church

    20180322 El Buen Pastor IMG 5095For nearly a decade, Stan Kirschbaum and Bill White of Hidden Valley Ranch, and Ralph Freudenberg of Mission West RV Park have spearheaded projects at El Buen Pastor Lutheran Church.

    The congregation from Westminster Lutheran Fellowship at Pleasant Valley Ranch have collected money and, most recently,… Read More +

  • La Floresta holds tournament championship golf event

    20180315 LaFloresta Golf GAIL CATRON MENS CHAMPIONGail Catron, Men’s Champion

    La Floresta Park and Golf Course held its version of the PGA Championship March 5-8 with 32 men and 24 ladies competing in the annual event. La Floresta is located at 4140 La Floresta Road in Mercedes.

    Read More +

  • The Power of One

    20180308 Palm Resaca Single Ladiesbest2The vitality of any Winter Texan Park is the result of the positive efforts and friendly interactions of its residents. A small core of single women in Palm Resaca Park have made a tremendous effect on helping to make the park run smoothly.

    Single women account for more than 10 percent of park residents. These women have involved themselves in leadership… Read More +

  • Mexican Whistling Ducks enjoy Palm Resaca Park

    20180301 Whistling Ducks mexicanducks2Marching single file, seemingly with purpose. They are not soldiers mustering on the parade grounds or cows heading home at feeding time. They are black-bellied whistling ducks.

    As a Winter Texan from Canada, I find the birds of Southern Texas fascinating. Dozens of Whistlers dwell along the Resaca de la Guerra that flows past our mobile home at Palm Resaca Park in… Read More +

  • Canada Day celebrated at Riverside Club

    20180306 CanadaDay Riverside GU 1889Hundreds of Canadians showed up at the Riverside Club in Mission on Tuesday, March 6 to join in the fun of the annual Canada Day celebration. Everyone seemed to be enjoying the music provided by the Riverside Club Band led by Randy Dupuis and enjoying drinks and food. They were a number of… Read More +

  • Encore brings tribute concerts to RGV resorts

    20180329 Encore Abba Fab 2676The 2017-18 Winter Texan season is fast coming to a close – and Encore is quickly giving Winter Texans some great reasons to look forward to next year.

    The management group that oversees more than 200 RV resorts in 21 states has announced five tribute bands coming… Read More +

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