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Updated passport processing times

The U.S. Department of State has extended the processing times for U.S. passports again. Now, the routine processing of a passport application is now 10 to 13 weeks, up from eight to 10 weeks. The expeditated processing – for the additional $60 fee – is now seven to nine weeks, up from five to seven weeks.

Read more: Updated passport processing times

Sign Up for the 2023 Adopt-A-Beach

adopt a beach webRecently, the Texas General Land Office (GLO) Commissioner Dawn Buckingham, M.D. reminded all interested volunteers to sign up for the 2023 Texas Adopt-A-Beach (AAB) Coastwide Spring Cleanup on Saturday, April 22nd at 23 locations across the Texas coast, from Port Arthur to Boca Chica Beach.

Read more: Sign Up for the 2023 Adopt-A-Beach

Edinburg Music Fest seeking vendors, artists

Edinburg Music Fest is seeking vendors and artists to participate at the fourth annual festival on April 15th. This year’s festival will take place at the Edinburg Promenade Park Amphitheater located at 201 W. McIntyre and promises to be a fantastic day filled with music, dance, food, and fun for the whole family.

The Edinburg Music Festival will feature various local bands, carnival rides, folkloric and dance performances, food trucks, crafts, children’s activities, an animal petting zoo/exhibits, and more. This year, Texas Folklife and the Museum of South Texas History will host the annual Big Squeeze, partnering with the City of Edinburg for the annual accordion semifinals competition, from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m., followed by the Edinburg Music Festival concert from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. The concert is free and open to the public but VIP tables are available for purchase at edinburgarts.com/viptables.

Read more: Edinburg Music Fest seeking vendors, artists

Beauty and opportunity surrounds us in the RGV

20200217 Bentsen Palm RV Park Cinderella Rescue Donation DAB 4468 webSometimes those of us who live in the Rio Grande Valley just take for granted all the wonders that surround us. Regardless of our age, we have so many opportunities to enjoy our life.

For the young or more active, how about canoeing down the Rio Grande River or perhaps kayaking in the Arroyo Colorado or in the Bay at nearby South Padre Island. Hiking trails and nature parks are scattered all over our semi-tropical area. Spring and Fall migrations attract many residents and visitors who want to add to their Birding Life List. For those of us who are more sedentary, river boats can take us up and down the river. Simply said, the Rio Grande Valley is virtually a natural paradise.

There are so many opportunities for travel and exploring. How about a Sunday afternoon drive down what is now referred to as the Memorial Highway. At one time bandits on horseback rode in this area often intercepting and robbing the mail wagons that not only carried the mail but often more valuable payrolls. Later this same road became the thoroughfare for the Oblate Fathers who were the ministers of the Christian faith to the ranches scattered along the river road. Those ministers were named the Cavalry for Christ.

Read more: Beauty and opportunity surrounds us in the RGV

Valley parks celebrate St. Patrick’s Day

20230322 St6 webBy Herb Moering

St. Patrick’s Day could be called a breeze this year at Royal Palms Mobile Home Park in Alamo. The gusts on Friday were not enough to stop the annual Irish-themed park parade of decorated golf carts, pets, and a walker.

Reigning over the afternoon event were grand marshals Norm and Mary Hall, married for 75 years and park residents since 2001. The couple, who were given gifts for their participation, came to the Valley in 1990 after Mary retired from a long-time stint as a teacher’s aide that was part of Norm’s 38 years with the U.S. Air Force, a combination of seven years in the service and 31 years as a civilian employee. The period of 1949-52 they were in Germany as part of the Berlin Airlift. He also was at a Waco, TX training base for pilots during the Korean War. He ended his career in 1990 after 30 years at Lowery Air Force Base in Denver.

Read more: Valley parks celebrate St. Patrick’s Day

We Are Not As Fit As We Were

20230322 On the Lifghter Side At the Mexican Marker in Benson State Park webIt was a warm February day in Bentsen State Park; we had stopped for a rest and a drink of water at the Mexican Marker and realized we had a problem. The Marker is about halfway around our planned bike ride. At the Marker, our friends admitted they had not ridden a bike in years.

Meeting Old Friends is Part of The Joy of Camping.

Case and Geraldine were good friends from twenty years ago. Our jobs had taken us to different parts of Canada, but we had maintained contact on Facebook.

They were crossing the southern USA in their RV. They had come to the Rio Grande Valley to see us.

Read more: We Are Not As Fit As We Were

Sizzling music at McAllen Mobile Park Jams

20230322 Jammin Band and Jammers McAllen Mobile webEach Friday in November through March from 1 to 3 p.m. the Blue Wolf band, and associate band members with jammers, entertain audiences of listeners with country, bluegrass, rock and roll, and other music genres at McAllen Mobile Park. The co-hosts are Jerry and Shirley Spanhanks assisted by the sound engineer, Dennis House, announcer Les Watkins, and entertainment coordinator Betty Dennison.

On stage, is the Blue Wolf band comprised of Steven Kelley on drums, Birger Olson on bass guitar, Shirley Spanhanks on guitar, and Jerry Spanhanks on lead guitar and other string instruments. Don Leet and RK Welander (both play bass and regular guitar) recently joined the stage band.

Read more: Sizzling music at McAllen Mobile Park Jams

Experience native landscapes at South Texas Ecotourism Center

20230315 STEC Edwardo Meza stec24 scaled webThe South Texas Ecotourism Center (STEC) had its grand opening last year, but it’s still one of the newest nature centers in the Valley. STEC gives visitors the opportunity to experience the Valley’s native landscapes through displays and mini habitats on its property. The center has living models of six different ecosystems that can be found in the Rio Grande Valley.

The center promotes the restoration and preservation of the native landscape and brings awareness of the plants and animals that are threatened in the Valley and live in these habitats. Throughout the center grounds, you can find signs that illustrate the plants and animals living in the habitats. The signs tell of what to look for, what the animals eat, and how to preserve the wildlife and vegetation.

Read more: Experience native landscapes at South Texas Ecotourism Center

IT’S WINTER TEXANS … ‘JUST WANTING TO HAVE FUN’

20230315 left side of group webAlamo Palms’ Scholarship Committee donates $22,000

By Barb Zanetti
Photos by Dennis Zanetti

While modeling his beige Union Suit and wide-brimmed, felt, brown hat, Rip Van Winkle (Brad Mallow) seemed to awaken. He paused. Turned. And then scooted back down the runway to steal an unexpected kiss from Miss Havisham (Beverly Bailey), who was gripping her wilted bouquet.

Surprised laughter erupted from the audience at this year’s Alamo Palms’ Ropa Style Show held recently.

Rip Van Winkle and Miss Havisham joined 28 other runway models featured in the “What a NOVEL idea” theme. The show was one of the park’s fundraising events held to benefit Alamo High School seniors.
This year 22 PSJA Memorial Early College High School [ECHS] seniors were each awarded a $1,000 scholarship from the Alamo Palms Scholarship Fund.

Read more: IT’S WINTER TEXANS … ‘JUST WANTING TO HAVE FUN’

Canada wins annual rivalry game

20230310 Canada USA Sfotball Game Courtesy HMiller 05 webEd Martens stood there in the middle of a group of people, never getting a moment alone -- and all was right with the world.

That made the 20th annual Winter Texan softball rivalry games between Canada and the United States a super celebratory event with plenty of fun, laughter – and competition. There were USA and Canada memorabilia being carried around, chants of "U-S-A" and "Canada" throughout the games, food and games within games for the annual event. At the center of it all was Martens.

“It’s good to be back, to be here,” Martens said, adding that he was feeling just fine. “It’s a beautiful day to play.”

Canada won the matchup in both divisions, 9-5 and 17-10 but everyone won on a day where they played two under nearly perfect weather conditions. Canada pulled away from a 4-4 with five straight runs in the “B” Division game while exploding for nine runs in the top of the seventh inning while trailing 10-8 in the “A” Division

Read more: Canada wins annual rivalry game

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