Harlingen Happenings

By Mary Torres, Special to the Star

Although everyone may be celebrating Valentine’s Day slightly differently this year, some things will remain the same: the consumption of scads of chocolate and the celebration of love in your family! 

The Texas Tropical Trail Region will present its 178th monthly Partner Event/7th virtual event via ZOOM on Tuesday, Feb. 16. You’re invited to celebrate Black History Month as the San Benito Historical Society presents a program on the Callandret Black History Museum of South Texas located in San Benito. If you haven’t already signed up for this free event, RSVP to Nancy Deviney at info@texastropicaltrail.com. 

The Valley Byliners, a local writer’s support group, in collaboration with the Harlingen Public Library invite you to “Poetry Night,” via Zoom on Tuesday, Feb 16, from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Join the meeting at https://zoom.us/j/91395354611, Passcode: 744187. The Byliners are waiving membership fees until they can meet face-to-face and you’re invited to join the group, recite your favorite poem or just pop in and enjoy the poetry being read! They ask that all poetry be family-friendly. For more information visit the Valley Byliners Facebook page.

I’m pleased and proud to announce that congratulations are in order for two Valley entities: 

  • Cameron County was the winner of the 2021 Texas Courthouse Stewardship Award by the Texas Historical Commission at the recent “Real Places Virtual Conference February 3-5! The THC recognized the ongoing efforts that Cameron County has undertaken to continue to preserve and restore the Dancy Building in Brownsville. Cameron County and Judge Eddie Treviño are to be commended for their safekeeping of this cherished landmark so important to all of south Texas! 
  • The Texas Historical Commission’s Governor’s 2020 Award for Historic Preservation went to the UTRGV’s Community Historical Archaeology Project with Schools (CHAPS.) This program continues to make a lasting mark in preserving Rio Grande Valley History The prestigious Governor’s Award goes to organizations or individuals for their efforts in preserving Texas’ cultural and historical resources and recognizes the highest achievement in heritage preservation. CHAPS, a community engagement program, founded in 2009, has worked on several projects and documentaries that showcase the hidden history of the Valley. The group also has focused on creating educational material for K-12 educators with its “Traveling Trunk” exhibits. UTRGV faculty, lecturers, and staff who volunteer their time and share a passion for showcasing the Valley’s history are Roseann Bacha-Garza, MA, CHAPS Project Manager; UTRGV Lecturer I. Walter Diaz, Ph.D., Dean, College of Liberal Arts; Juan L. Gonzalez, Ph.D., CHAPS Co-Director, UTRGV Associate Professor of Geology; Christopher L. Miller, Ph.D., CHAPS Co-Director, UTRGV Professor of History, and Russell K. Skowronek, Ph.D., CHAPS Founding Director, UTRGV Professor of History and Anthropology.

MyHeritage.com is offering free access to all of its marriage records for Valentine’s Day, through Feb. 16. MyHeritage offers 158 collections marriage collections with 462,808,849 records. During this limited-time offer, you’ll be able to access these records for free even if you don’t have a MyHeritage plan. Please note that free registration to MyHeritage will be required for non-MyHeritage users. Details may be found in the My Heritage Blog at https://blog.myheritage.com/2021/02/free-access-to-marriage-records-on-myheritage-this-valentines-day/

On the genealogy front, genetic genealogy leader 23andMe is going public. This deal would help fund 23andMe’s transition from the slowing consumer-DNA testing market towards a potentially more lucrative health market. They plan to focus on generating new business by encouraging existing and new customers to answer research questions and identify people who might want to participate in clinical medical trials. Multi-billionaire Richard Branson invested $25 million (U.S. funds) and an additional $25 million came from 23andMe’s CEO Anne Wojcicki. According to Branson, ” 23andMe’s drug development side could shorten the development time of a new drug by as much as two and a half years, which makes coming up with new drugs that much quicker,” You can find a free article regarding this topic at http://bit.ly/2Z38LOB. 

Happy Valentine’s Day!