Police chief reassures Winter Texans: RGV is safe

20140815 Winter-TexansMany Winter Texans have been calling their RV parks and the local chamber of commerce offices asking if it is safe to come back to the Rio Grande Valley this fall because of the influx of immigrant youth and children. National media has given many the impression that the border is running wild with immigrant children all over the place.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry on July 21 issued an order to deploy 1,000 Texas National Guard members along the border to assist the Texas Department of Public Safety with law enforcement efforts along the river. Since then, the numbers of illegals crossing the Rio Grande have dropped dramatically.

A few days later during a drive to San Antonio, I counted 26 Department of Public Safety (DPS) vehicles headed toward the Valley. There were also four tanker trucks for the state guard and each was pulling a trailer that appeared to carry all-terrain vehicles.

Read more: Police chief reassures Winter Texans: RGV is safe


Family finds strength in tragedy

20140410 MISSION Crime-Victims-Week 1719 featureJuan “J.J.” Sanchez was just 15 when he lost his big sister in an accident involving a drunken driving.

Nine years later, Sanchez and his family showed up in full force to remember Jessica Sanchez during the National Crime Victims Week event hosted by the Mission Police Department. But this year, there  were additions to the clan who Jessica will never know, like J.J’s own 2-month-old daughter.

J.J. remembered Jessica at 17 as a happy girl with a beautiful smile whom everyone loved.

Read more: Family finds strength in tragedy


Community unites in Relay for Life

20140411 MISSION Relay-for-Life 1686 featureSome ran, wearing headphones to help pass the time, huffing and puffing around Tom Landry Stadium in Mission on Saturday morning.

Others walked casually around the track in pairs or groups, laughing or chatting.

All of them had been touched by cancer and wanted to do something about it. During the 16th American Cancer Society Relay For Life, groups from around the Upper Valley joined to raise money for the agency. At least one person from each group had a member walking on the track at all times.

Read more: Community unites in Relay for Life


Forgotten Friends works to save dogs

20140328 Nonprofit-dog-photos  7122Eight black puppies piled onto each other for naptime Friday morning in cage in a back room at Smith Ranch Kennels in Los Fresnos.

Their mother was a stray who’d had several litters before, but Christine Compton, president of Mission-based Forgotten Friends Texas Rescue RGV, rescued these lucky pups two weeks earlier. There were originally nine, but one foster family decided to keep its pup.

The agency works with Smith Ranch Kennels to send dozens of dogs from around the Valley to shelters in states around the country through the ASPCA.

“The only reason we could do this was because we had grant money. But this time there is no money. We’re still going to apply,” Compton said, adding that several fundraising ideas have fallen through because there aren’t enough people to help them. “I’m just so tired of begging people for money. I want somebody else to do it.”

Read more: Forgotten Friends works to save dogs


Sharing the Memories

20140327 Festivals-and-Events smallIt’s been a great season here in the Rio Grande Valley. We’ve been there to capture the moments as Winter Texans have enjoyed a host of fun and exciting events and activities. To share some of the good times with our readers, we have created several photo features of special events held in the Rio Grande Valley. These features spotlight Winter Texan events as well as Winter Texans participating in some of the most popular Valley festivals and events.

We hope you enjoyed your stay in the Rio Grande Valley as much as we did. And we hope you’ll invite your friends up north to come down and join in the good life in the Valley next fall – getting away from the snow and bitter cold up north. Share a copy of the Winter Texan Times or show them these photos online so they can see what a great time we had together this winter season.

CLICK HERE to view the photos to share and to reminisce.


Howling Trails: La Joya ISD drops $5 million on golf course

20140328 Martin Valley Golf lg-26Martin Valley Ranch Golf Course soon will be Howling Trails Golf Course as La Joya ISD is expected to close on purchasing the property this week at a $5 million price tag.

La Joya Independent School District Board of Trustees approved the new name and logo for the golf course at a meeting Monday. The owners of the golf course approached the school district last year to suggest the property when La Joya ISD board members first started talking about a natatorium.

“The idea is to expand our golf program and to provide more opportunities for our kids so we can keep our kids off the street and engaged in other things,” Superintendent Alda Benavides said when the board first agreed to negotiate the sale.

Read more: Howling Trails: La Joya ISD drops $5 million on golf course


Texas Independence Day Celebration provides Texas History and good time

20140308 Texas Independence Day San Benito KO  5817The annual Texas Independence Day celebration, held in San Benito, has been growing in size each year. This year it was held at the Cameron County Youth Fairgrounds, which was large enough to allow horses as part of the re-enactment shows and for a cook-off.

The moment visitors arrive, they are greeted by the delicious scents of cooking meat wafting through the air. Rudy and Sharon Sandau and Arthur Stokes, all or Ontario, were taking in the sights. Having tasted some of the fair’s foods, Arthur pronounced the barbecued chicken to be “delicious,” and Sharon had been drafted into judging the tastiest beans.

“It was interesting to see how beans are cooked in the Valley. At home we make our beans thicker with sauce more like a gravy. Here the sauce was watery, more like soup,” Sharon explained.

Read more: Texas Independence Day Celebration provides Texas History and good time


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