One hundred thousand Winter Texans can’t be wrong.

In case you missed the memo, the Rio Grande Valley in South Texas is the place to winter this year…and every year after that.  This Valley girl might be a little biased (with McAllen having been my home for…ouch…more than 40 years), but I assure you that once people come to the Rio Grande Valley, they’re hooked.


I’ll admit, it’s a drive, and once you get south of San Antonio, it’s a bit dull at that.  But when you start seeing palm trees dotting the expressway, you know you’re close.   And trust me, it’s well worth the drive.  The difference between South Texas and other winter destinations is that WE want you here.  In addition to the palm trees, you’ll see signs that read ‘Welcome Home Winter Texans.’  We hate to see you leave and can hardly wait for you to get back.


We have welcome parties, discounts, special interest publications, and websites dedicated to making your winter experience a great one.  In a focus group with Winter-Texan participants a few years back, equally as important as our warm weather and low cost of living is the friendliness of our people.  Again, it’s because WE want you here! The Winter-Texan community has made us who we are, and we are forever grateful for your support of our region and your significant impact on our economy.


Sure, there are a number of destinations from which to choose every winter.  But I challenge you to find one as accommodating, friendly, and affordable as South Texas.


Let us show you some real Texas hospitality this winter!

We’re just connecting the dots,



Kristi Collier is a McAllen native who loves to share her passion for the area with others.  Her company, Welcome Home RGV caters to the Winter & Converted Texan market through their events, activities, special interest publications and more.  For more information, call the Welcome Home RGV office at 956-687-5115, visit or visit on facebook at and

Brew at the Zoo!

            There’s something brewing at the Zoo! Raise your glass for animal conservation as the Gladys Porter Zoo and Brownsville Beer Fest invite you to Brew at the Zoo, from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. on Thursday, September 20th. Quench your thirst and support your Zoo by sipping on specially selected premium and craft beers paired with delicious food tastings from amazing chefs and restaurants. Only a few of the top Rio Grande Valley restaurants will be participating in this year’s “Feast with the Beasts.”


Plus, take part in fun games such as Jumbo Jenga and a Beer Pong Tournament. This is a 21+ event. Zoo members can purchase a Brew at the Zoo ticket for $20.00 pre-sale or $25.00 on the day of the event. Non-members can purchase a ticket for $25.00 pre-sale and $30.00 on the day of. Tickets will be available in the front office or online at For more information please call (956)546-7187.


What: Brew at the Zoo

When: September 20th – 6:00-9:00 p.m.

Where: Gladys Porter Zoo, 500 Ringgold St. Brownsville, Texas

Caring Resources Ministries International Accredited by National Financial Accountability Organization

SAN ANTONIO, TX – The ECFA (Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability) announced today the accreditation of Caring Resources Ministries International (CRMI) of San Antonio, TX.


ECFA accreditation is based on the ECFA Seven Standards of Responsible Stewardship™, including financial accountability, transparency, sound board governance and ethical fundraising.


CRMI joins a growing number of Christ-centered churches and ministries across America, supported by over 27 million donors, that have earned the right to display the ECFA seal.  When an organization is accredited by ECFA, it demonstrates its willingness to follow the model of biblical accountability.


“We are pleased to accredit a ministry committed to serve to increase the kingdom of God,” said Dan Busby, president of ECFA.


Founded in 2002, Caring Resources Ministries International ( through its division known as Christian Resort Ministries (CRM), accomplishes their mission by placing qualified and trained chaplains in RV resorts across the US; working with owners, managers, and leaders in the RV industry to present quality programs for resorts and campgrounds; sharing their mission with churches, mission committees, and pastors; and offering the opportunity to industry leaders.


ECFA, founded in 1979, provides accreditation to leading Christian nonprofit organizations that faithfully demonstrate compliance with the ECFA Standards pertaining to financial accountability, fundraising, and board governance. For more information about ECFA, including information about accreditation and a listing of ECFA-accredited members, visit or call 1-800-323-9473.


If you are interested in becoming a volunteer chaplain with CRM, you can contact the organization at 970-420-9525 or visit the website:


CRM currently has over 35 chaplains serving in the ministry.

Pharr Community Theater presents, Tales of the Hidalgo Pumphouse.

“After all these years, there is something magical about the huge old building with it’s aluminum exterior, some of it brown from years of baking in the hot sun and from weather aging, sitting tall, strong and mysterious,” said Pedro Garcia who co-wrote the script, Tales of the Hidalgo Pumphouse, and is Artistic Director for the Pharr Community Theater Co. and Co-Producer. “The high, white concrete smoke stack that touches the clouds and the deep pits inside the building where huge and heavy Corliss and Hamilton engines rest on top of strong cement beds are still there, as well as the gigantic furnaces where mesquite wood was once burned to help create the steam that would pump millions of gallons of water from the Rio Grande every day for crop irrigation. I grew up in Hidalgo and I have fond memories of my childhood and coming of age around the Pumphouse with my friends.”

Lucio G. Rivera who co-wrote the story and also grew up in Hidalgo said, “My grandfather Bartolo worked there before I was born and my uncle Luis for nearly 50 years up until he retired when the old pump house shut down in 1983.”

Luis Rivera who worked at the Pumphouse for more then 50 years is a character in the play, played by Gustavo Saucedo, as well as his wife Paula, played by Atenea A. Garza, who once baked a small tortilla where the face of Jesus appeared. Another real life character in the play is Rufus Wisdom, played by Larry Weinreich, who was a long time foreman with nearly 40 years working at the Pumphouse.

“It was our public swimming pool and fishing hole of sorts,” added Rivera. “Water that was stored in the huge receiving basins before heading out through the canals became a fun place for swimming and fishing for me and the other boys growing up there, including the Wisdom family.”

The play tells of Luisito, played by Gilberto Castro, Jr., and his buddies as they come of age and search for a hidden treasure while the girls are writing a historical-report about the old Pumphouse and practicing an ancient dance in honor of the Rio Grande (River). The story is also about the parents and ancestors who worked and lived around the Pumphouse since it was built in 1909 and closed in 1983.

Today the old Pumphouse still stands in the same place and has become a Texas Historical marker and a Museum and World Birding Center open to the public.

The tale is laced with history, folktales and adventure including the creepy and sometimes funny fantasmas/spirits such as, La Llorona/The Weeping Woman, played by Rhiannon Garza, La Lechuza/The Witch Owl, played by Alma I. Izaguirre, La Muerte/Death, played by Francisco Crisanto, and El Hombre Sin Cabeza/The Headless Man, played by Sergio Luna. Together the youth and adults with help from a historian named Mrs. Stonewall, played by Connie Garza, and a magical Pirate named Hidalgo, played by Cielo Barrios, save the Old Pumphouse from destruction.

The story is bilingual, predominately told in English with nearly 23 local cast members, including ten adolescents, who have been in rehearsals since early June.

Director Seres Jaime Magaña who is a local poet and writer, from McAllen, TX, says directing a play is a fresh start for him in having to adapt a story into a visual form, “A lot of the approach is letting the story tell me where it wants to go and then me being able to show that and to translate it, Not only is it a historical and fun play for the whole family, it’s also got a lot of heart,” added Magaña.

Thirteen year old Arianna Compean from Edinburg, TX, plays Janie in the play and attends Barrientes Middle School. “I do theater because I listen to broadway tunes and it’s a dream for me to perform there one day. This play has helped me learn about the Rio Grande, about where you live and about remembering childhood stories.”

Later this year, authors Rivera and Garcia plan to publish the entire play in a book of the same name to share with everyone and in hopes that other theater companies and institutions may want to produce the play as well.

The Play opens August 22-26, 2018 at the Elva and Kieth Michal’s Performing Arts Center (Pharr Community Theater) at 213 W Newcombe Ave., Pharr, TX. The show runs Wednesday through Saturday at 7:30 pm and Sunday at 3:00 pm. Tickets are $6 kids under 12; $8 seniors, veterans and students and $10 general admission. (Seating is limited to 60 persons per show)

For advanced tickets call 956-239-0412. Tickets will also be sold at the door, starting one hour before curtain upon availability. The show has a viewer rating equivalent to a PG movie.