Travis Whitehead

Travis Whitehead is a Reporter for the Valley Morning Star. He can be reached at [email protected] or (956) 421-9876.

Students, teachers adjust to distance learning

Not your typical day. With COVID-19 now in control of everything, there are no more typical days for parents, children, teachers, and certainly not for Camryn Hale, a junior at Harlingen High School. “I wake up when my first Zoom session starts, usually around 8:30 in the morning,” said Camryn, 17, one of more than 18,000 Harlingen students now attending [email protected] Read the full story at

Virus and the VA

HARLINGEN — “Are you currently having flu-like symptoms such as fever/chills, new onset of cough or shortness of breath?” That’s the first question veterans —...

Rio Grande City students dominate Regional Spelling Bee

“D-E-H-Y-D-R-A-T-I-O-N.” Krishna Miana, 13, spoke each letter clearly for the judges, making her the winner of the Rio Grande Valley 32nd Annual Regional Spelling Bee. “I feel really proud of myself,” said Krishna, an eighth grader at Ringgold Middle School in Rio Grande City. Read the full story at

Agents of independence: VA helps blind veterans ‘see’

Benito Lopez can no longer see where he’s going, but he knows exactly where he’s going. Someone in Florida, or California, or Colorado or North Carolina is looking out for him, thanks to a camera attached to his glasses. It’s called the AIRA system, or artificial intelligence remote assistance, and it has empowered Lopez, a Harlingen resident, to achieve more mobility after losing his eyesight to glaucoma several years ago. The Department of Veterans Affairs offers this and so many other services to veterans who have lost their eyesight. Read the full story at

New surgical residency to begin at Harlingen hospital

A recent multimillion-dollar grant will soon train more physicians who will stay and fill a critical shortage. The Valley Baptist Legacy Foundation’s $38 million grant to the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley School of Medicine will facilitate the creation of a general surgery residency program at Valley Baptist Medical Center. Read the full story at

Kids going global: Local students on path to world view

HARLINGEN — “You like frijoles?” Elvia Gonzalez took her young Spanish students through yet another cultural experience as part of the International Baccalaureate program at...

Honoring the heroes of Iwo Jima

Walter Fleming remembers only too well his five days on Iwo Jima. “I was in a Higgins vehicle evacuating wounded off the beach,” said Fleming, 91, who will attend the 75th Anniversary Iwo Jima Memorial Parade on Wednesday at Marine Military Academy. Read the full story at

$38 million grant going to UTRGV School of Medicine

The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley announced Tuesday it has received a $38 million gift for the School of Medicine. The university received the gift from the Valley Baptist Legacy Foundation, and it’s the largest single donation in the history of higher education in South Texas. Read the full story at

New virus puts medical community on the alert

Physicians are concerned about a new virus that has just arrived in China. One of those physicians is Dr. Jose Campo Maldonado, infectious disease specialist at Valley Baptist Medical Center. He and other health professionals are keeping a close eye on a new strain of Corona virus known as 2019-nCoV. As of Saturday morning it had killed more than 40 people. Just a day earlier, that toll was at 26, with more than 900 confirmed cases in all. Saturday that number had risen to almost 1,300 cases in China alone. Most of those have occurred in Wuhan, China where officials first reported the virus earlier this month. Read the full story at

Girls join in for winter retreat at Camp Perry

The scouts had plunged into the fresh meat and vegetables to wrap them in foil. The aspiring young cooks at Camp Perry’s Winter Camp placed their “foil wraps” on the ash-covered coals which simmered as if anticipating some new cuisine to savor and sear. But it was the scouts Saturday who tried out their culinary curiosities by eating the sizzling contents a few minutes later. Read the full story at