Travis Whitehead

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

Local expert says young COVID-19 patients more prone to suffer a stroke

If you’re a young person infected with COVID-19, you’re more prone to have a stroke, experts say. Young COVID-19 patients who begin experiencing the customary stroke signs of numbness or vision problems should get to the hospital immediately, according to experts. Now more than ever it’s imperative you do so, says Dr. Ameer Hassan, head of the neuroscience department at Valley Baptist Medical Center. May is National Stroke Awareness Month. While Valley Baptist has had to cancel many of its events in observance of this, the hospital is emphasizing the importance of stroke patients to seek treatment at the first sign of trouble. Read the full story at

STISD approaches COVID-19 with time-proven system

Life in the time of corona requires a flexibility of thought and action unparalleled by common occurrences. South Texas Independent School District has embraced that concept with impressive results. “We actually started with what we call flexible learning the week after Spring Break,” said Amanda Odom, spokesperson for the district. STISD has an enrollment of about 4,200 students at six campuses from Olmito to Edinburg. In fact, the district had already laid the groundwork before the pandemic as a matter of efficacy. Read the full story at

UTGRV School of Medicine graduates first class

It started with a piece of legislation years ago. Now the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley School of Medicine has just graduated its inaugural class of 39 physicians. “It’s very exciting,” said Dr. John Krouse, dean of the School of Medicine. “We have been planning for this date for quite some time,” Krouse said. “We are happy to see our students graduate and go on to their residencies.” Read the full story at

Vocal powerhouse continues achieving greatness

HARLINGEN — Like all of us, Gabby Rae Garza’s plans have been disrupted by the pandemic. Still, again like so many, the high-octane singer/actress from...

Students, educators react to Abbott’s school closures

HARLINGEN — Last year, Camryn Hale had looked forward to visiting Disney World. That’s when Camryn, 17, and her fellow musicians at Harlingen High School...

Bahamian kids weathering life’s storms with courage

HARLINGEN — First came the hurricane, then came the pandemic. Taryn Carroll, 17, and her cousin Rocky Thompson, 16, have been marooned here since October when Hurricane Dorian devastated their sunny Bahamian island of Abaco in September. They’d planned to return home in June, but then the COVID-19 pandemic hit them. “It’s like a double whammy, it’s like back to back,” said Rocky, a junior at St. Joseph Academy in Brownsville. Read the full story at

Trade students having to learn remotely

Boring. That’s how Sandra Lopez, a 17-year-old welding student, describes her typical day. While she’s echoing the sentiment of many, hers is especially painful to hear because she likes to work with her hands in the welding shop, and she can’t. Like all classes in the Harlingen school district — and the country — the welding class at Harlingen High School South is closed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. “I do nothing besides homework,” said Sandra, irritation clear in her voice. Read the full story at

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 School@Home. 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