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How police work for women in El Paso has changed over the years, but still has a ways to go in recruiting

Borderzine - Thu, 05/06/2021 - 11:02am

The history of women on El Paso’s police force dates back to 1913, but much has changed over the years.

“Women were seen more as social workers than police officers because it was a very male-dominated occupation,” said Egbert Zavala, an associate professor in the Criminal Justice Department at the University of Texas at El Paso.

Early police work by women mostly involved looking for runaway girls, making calls on community residents, patrolling the streets and arresting prostitutes.

“There was this idea, back in the day, that males had to deal with dangerous criminals,” Zavala said.

The earliest picture of some of the first policewomen captures Virginia Mendez (left), Ida Newton (middle), and Julia Kate Farnham (right).

According to records with the El Paso County Historical Society, the first policewomen in El Paso appointed in 1913 were Mrs. C.A. Hooper, Mrs. L.P. Jones, and Juliet Barlow. Jones had a background in charity work for the city and Barlow had a professional medical history, working as a nurse in pediatrics. They were responsible for enforcing sanitation laws and conducting arrests for cases of abuse. In 1917, Lola Eighmey was hired and assigned to work as a traveler’s aid for the YWCA at the union depot.

In 1918 positions for policewomen were eliminated in El Paso, but restored again in 1919 when Julia Kate Farnham was appointed, followed by Virginia Mendez who, it was noted, spoke Spanish.

Farnham and Mendez were assigned to work together and patrol the streets. Mendez was known as a “gun-toting, badge-wearing policewoman,” according to the historical society article which also notes Mendez “was said to be tough and as strong as any policeman.”

Virginia Mendez, an El Paso policewoman, wrote what she did for every shift she took up in her logbook. Photo credit: Nicole Lopez

Mendez wrote in her logbook for every shift. In the logbook, which is in the C. L. Sonnichsen Special Collections Department of the UTEP library, most of her notes read “worked on the streets” or “located a runaway girl.”

Farnham experienced similar encounters. In an April 24,1923 article in the El Paso Herald-Post, Farnham talked about how she would always try to help young girls before having to put them in jail. .Farnham said she felt she was more of an influence to these girls than their parents because they “feared her authority.” She said she believed their mothers were too modern and liberal in raising their daughters.

“Because mothers have not been careful in training their daughters, I find the girls reeling as they cross they Juarez bridge at midnight.”

The policewomen positions were eliminated again in 1923. Mendez went on to serve as deputy county probation office and Farnham took up a job as matron at Washington Park. After that position was eliminated she ran the Upson Hotel, a boarding house on Upson Street.

In 1929, Callie Fairley became the first woman police detective, according to a post on the El Paso History Museum’s Digie site, credited to the El Paso Police Department. She was a detective on the vice squad for more than 25 years and was responsible for more than 96% of arrests involving female vice violators from 1929 until her retirement in 1952.

The post said she “was in charge of handling all woman prisoners confined in the city jail and carry out investigations of woman involved in prostitution and other similar offenses.”

In 1942, according to the EPPD’s annual report, the department began a regular advertising campaign encouraging women to apply as full-duty policewomen.

In its 1947 annual report, the EPPD included a section called “Report of Policewoman.” It listed that women officers investigated 352 clinical cases, arrested 44 juveniles and 717 women.

By the 1950s, police departments began to consider women officers for the same work as male officers, according to research published by Carol Archbold, a professor at North Dakota State University, and Dorothy M. Schulz, a professor at the City University of New York, in 2012. That’s when women all over the nation were being assigned to take on more cases besides sexual and domestic crimes.

Although women are now provided with more and more opportunities, the police force in El Paso is still predominantly comprised of male officers. In 2019, 14% of the 1,153 person police force was made up of female officers, according to an annual report released by the EPPD.

There are five regional commands and the specialty unit in the El Paso Police Department, where female officers are distributed throughout each of these sectors.

“When you’re spread out that far, there are not that many females in any one regional command, so we’re still very small in terms of females,” said EPPD Assistant Police Chief Zina Silva.

Silva, the highest ranking woman in the El Paso Police Department, began serving with EPPD in 1995. Originally from New York, Silva moved to El Paso in the early nineties to continue her powerlifting training with a good friend of hers who was living in El Paso at the time. She was looking for a policing position since the late 1980s. The New York Police Department honored her a role to work in the mass transit subway system, but due to a hiring freeze, she wasn’t able to move into city policing there.

After a while, she decided she would try to pursue an official position as a police officer at the El Paso Police Department.

“I knew what I wanted, I knew where I wanted to be, and I knew what I wanted to achieve,” Silva said. “I was on a good path and I had the opportunity to work in several departments.”

As an assistant police chief, Silva is in charge of the strategic planning and auxiliary services bureau, where she is responsible for writing policies and procedures for the departments, implementing software, delegating city council presentations, and works in resource management. Silva is also actively working in other sectors such as victims services, radio communications, and volunteer programs.

Assistant Police Chief, Zina Silva, is assigned to work in the funeral committee to honor fallen officers. Silva wears a special uniform when attending funerals.

Silva touches on the kinds of assignments that El Paso policewomen take on today.

“We have women working in crimes against persons where they’re managing homicides,” Silva said. “The field has completely opened up for anybody that has the talent, the expertise, and the willingness to learn these job assignments.”

Zavala, of UTEP’s criminal justice department, said there are plenty of ways that the police force can encourage more women to join and diversify their field of work.

“We need to have a police chief or a sheriff that go out there and seek those types of applicants out there,” Zavala said.

UTEP criminal justice assistant professor, Caitlyn Muniz, notes that most recruiting positions are male officers, which may also pose another roadblock when it comes to hiring women in the police force.

“There is the greater issue of recruiting and then within that, recruiting women specifically and really getting women involved in a time where the field of law enforcement needs a positive change,” Muniz said.

Categories: Local Blogs

Cross-border romance disrupted, but not defeated by pandemic restrictions on travel

Borderzine - Thu, 05/06/2021 - 9:52am

The cities of El Paso, Texas, and Juarez Mexico are side by side, but to some Borderland couples it seems like they are worlds apart since the pandemic closed the border to all but essential travel.

The U.S. imposed limits on border travel in March 2020 in response to the rising COVID-19 crisis. Only U.S. citizens, permanent residents and those designated as essential travelers can cross. That means no crossing for recreation and tourism to go shopping or visit family and friends.

Love is not considered essential under the travel ban, which makes it hard for cross-border couples like Briana Martinez and her boyfriend, Oswaldo Cuevas, who once freely traveled between cities to stay connected.

“It’s been tough definitely, because the borders are closed. He does have a tourist visa only, so he hasn’t been able to cross since March of last year,” Martinez said.

Martinez and Cuevas met while she was visiting her grandmother in Guanajuato, Mexico. Martinez works as a speech-language pathologist in El Paso and would occasionally visit Cuevas in Guanajuato, Mexico over the span of their 8 year relationship.

In January 2020, Cuevas, a chemical engineer. moved to Juarez to be closer to Martinez. Two months later the pandemic hit.

“When he initially moved here we thought we’d both have the liberty to cross whether he goes to visit me for the weekend or I go to Juarez. So, it’s been tough in that aspect because he hasn’t been able to cross,” Martinez said.

After months being away from each other at the beginning of the pandemic, Martinez began visiting Cuevas in Juarez almost every weekend. She moved to Juarez at the start of the 2021 to live with Cuevas, but found the commute to work in El Paso was too much and moved back to the U.S.

The couple is now engaged and Martinez is buying a home in El Paso, but they aren’t sure when they will be able to get married. Even then, it could take years before Cuevas can legally reside in the U.S.

The pandemic also forced Edith Velazquez of El Paso and Alex Rodriguez of Juarez to rethink their 6-year cross-border relationship.

“I was traveling to Juarez to see my boyfriend, but the pandemic hit and we had to decide whether one of us would move to where the other lived or just stay apart for the time being,” said Velasquez, who met her boyfriend during an outing with friends in Juarez.

They decided to get engaged and plan to get married in Tulum, Mexico, next year when the pandemic has eased. They’re hopeful that Rodriguez will be able to move to El Paso in the future.

 

Categories: Local Blogs

UTEP students eager to celebrate graduation in person after year of pandemic

Borderzine - Wed, 05/05/2021 - 10:05am

After more than a year of remote classes and cancelled graduation ceremonies, students at the University of Texas at El Paso are excited about commencement.

At the end of March 2021, students got the news UTEP would have an in-person ceremony for graduates of the class of 2020 and the class of 2021 at the Sun Bowl Stadium on Friday, May 14 and Saturday, May 15.

The Friday ceremony recognizes bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral graduates and candidates in the colleges of business administration, education and liberal arts. The Saturday ceremony honors graduates and candidates in the colleges of engineering, health sciences and science, and the schools of nursing and pharmacy,” according to the announcement from UTEP Communications.

Many of those who will take part in commencement are the first in their families to graduate from a university.

“I’ve always wanted to walk across the stage and, just you know, have that special moment, saying that I did it and I made it,” said Deante Michelle Sears, a first-generation student.

Sears, 30, earned a bachelor’s degree in education. It’s meaningful for her family because she will be able to find better job opportunities in the future and be a good example for her daughter, Sears said.

Her family lives in Virginia and won’t be able to attend the ceremony because of the cost of last-minute traveling expenses. She says her family is very proud of her accomplishments and she will capture the moment to share with them.

“I’ll have pictures I can send, and I’ll be able to have video that is recorded. So, even if they can’t physically be here to support me and see, they will be able to see me online or through video,” Sears said.

Yomaira Gonzalez, 26, graduated last spring. She earned bachelor’s degree with a double major in psychology and criminal justice. She was disappointed when pandemic restrictions forced UTEP to cancel commencement.

“Last year I was like, it’s finally my moment, I can shine,” Gonzalez said.

Now she’ll attend a the commencement ceremony with the class of 2021. Even though it’s a shared ceremony, she’s excited. She is a first-generation college graduate who wants to make her parents proud, especially her father, who was diagnosed with cancer.

“I want to show him that I actually walked the stage, to see that his daughter actually had the education that he didn’t have. For me is something that I wanted to show him,” Gonzalez said.

Astrid Elsa Barrientos, 23, is also a 2020 graduate attending the commencement ceremony this year.

Barrientos earned a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and is the first in her family to complete a college education. She also missed her commencement ceremony and is glad that one is happening this year.

“I was really really sad when they postponed it in December because I already have my diploma but it feels more real walking across the stage,” Barrientos said.

Her parents, twin sister and a younger brother will attend commencement. “I’m very proud. Very very proud,” said her mother, Maribel Barrientos. “She strives for the best, and whatever she puts her mind to she gets to it, and that is what I admire about her. And I love that about her.”

 

The university initially announced that each graduating student could only take two guests, but later expanded the number to a total of eight guests per student. The decision was made after carefully reviewing the level of COVID-19 cases in El Paso and the number of students who had confirmed they planned to participate in the ceremonies according to UTEP.

“Our 2020 and Spring 2021 graduates have worked hard to earn their degrees, and their achievements deserve to be celebrated with their loved ones,” said UTEP President Heather Wilson in a statement released by the university.

According to University officials, 3,812 students had sent an RSVP to attend the ceremonies as of April 22.

Social distancing between family groups will be in place and face masks will be required. Hand sanitizing stations will be set up and Sun Bowl seating capacity will not exceed 50%, even if every graduate brings eight guests, according to a recent press release from UTEP.

Students will not have physical contact or shake any hands with anyone as they walk the stage but they will have the opportunity for photos of the proud moment.

Families will watch from the stands, eager to share the milestone that many missed last year and now happily celebrate.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Categories: Local Blogs

Deconstructing El Paso’s Identity Crisis

El Paso Politics - Wed, 05/05/2021 - 5:56am
El Paso has a cultural identity crisis. It is Mexican and then it is not. Why this exists can be traced back to two realities. The first is that El Paso, unlike […]
Categories: Local Blogs

County Attorney Responds To Our Children’s Open Records Intervention Request

El Paso Politics - Mon, 05/03/2021 - 7:48am
As readers may remember, we asked the County Attorney – to intervene on behalf of the El Paso taxpayers – to ask the Texas Attorney General to determine whether the El Paso […]
Categories: Local Blogs

How pandemic anxiety has altered the social lives of young adults

Borderzine - Fri, 04/30/2021 - 11:43am

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way many of us interact now. For one group, the changes in social dynamics come at a critical time in their lives as they navigate early adulthood. Amid managing socially distant lifestyles, 20-somethings are seeing shifts in their relationships – with some drifting apart and others dissolving completely.

“I did lose a handful of friends this year. But now that I look back on it I don’t know if they were really my friends or just acquaintances,” said El Pasoan Brittney Tambeau, 25.

What should be important and life changing years in terms of relationships, networking and an overall transition into adulthood has turned into a much more complicated reality, relationship experts say. With the loosening of lockdown measures in much of the country comes a divide between what to do when your friends want to go out, and how to maintain friendships when daily interaction is confined to a screen.

“The dynamics in relationships have shifted because of COVID, and it’s really hard for people to adjust because it’s still a loss, even if it’s a friendship,” said Ellen Ijabor, a counseling-psychology doctoral candidate at the University of Texas at El Paso. Ijabor works as a mental health practicum intern at CAPS, the university’s counseling and psychological services department.

On top of the disconnect of not being able to have day-to-day interactions, Tambeau said she found she resented acquaintances who were posting on social media about their unsafe escapades of going out to crowded places.

“Clearly we don’t have the same moral compass if they’re just going out all the time,” she said, pointing out one particular acquaintance who documented trips to Disney, Utah, Vegas; even an EDM festival, on social media.

Ijabor said she has already seen increased anxiety, depression and difficulty socializing in many of her clients along with a “how do I say no?” dilemma in respect to going out.

“It’s been a really big conversation with a lot of students of ‘how do I say no? How am I able to set those boundaries when usually I could just go out?’ ” These added stresses and strains on friendships, she says could lead to increased loneliness.

While we live in a very digital age, we are still social beings who need human interaction, Ijabor said.

Even with opportunities to video chat via Facetime, Zoom and other communication apps, staying connected with friends can be a challenge for many young people who are living with their families and may not have their own space to be themselves.

“The way that people would usually have conversations with their friends, or have intimate conversations with their partners, they can’t really do that because they don’t have the privacy to do so,”,Ijabor explained. “So, that’s an additional strain on the relationship.”

However, she says that adaptability is key in trying to navigate these hurdles. “Coping is different for everyone. So, maybe it’s not always going to be staring at a screen, maybe it’s having a phone call or doing things outside safely while social distancing like going for a walk or hiking,” she said.

Clinical psychologist Seth J. Gillihan, wrote in a May 2020 WebMD blog post that navigating friendships during traumatic times takes an extra level of compassion and kindness for what friends may be going through, regardless of if they have extra time or may be posting on social media. In addition, he adds that it is important to adopt compassion for oneself in order to understand the meaning behind feelings of being neglected or left out in friendships.

El Paso Community College student Rikki Gutierrez, 20, said the pandemic has given her a new outlook on how to be a more attentive friend. “We all have busy schedules and everything. But when we come back and talk it’s like nothing has changed,” she said.

Before the pandemic, Gutierrez had plans to transfer to UTEP for in-person classes, travel to Korea and see her favorite band live. Disappointed, but carrying on, she said she realized how important it is to check in with others whose lives have also been disrupted. Even with friends she feels she has drifted apart from.

“We’ve become more open with talking about how we feel and better about being there for each other,” she said. “To move the conversation forward and to make sure we’re doing okay, it’s just become an important part of our relationships.”

 

 

Categories: Local Blogs

UMC Voluminous Personal Messages

El Paso Politics - Wed, 04/28/2021 - 5:56am
The leaders of the University Medical Center of El Paso and El Paso Children’s Hospital use taxpayer-funded equipment and services to send and receive “voluminous… personal messages unrelated to official business,” according […]
Categories: Local Blogs

Delta-8 gaining interest in Borderland as legal alternative to marijuana products in Texas

Borderzine - Tue, 04/27/2021 - 10:08am

Delta-8 – a legal compound similar to THC from cannabis – has arrived in the Borderland and one CBD shop owner says its popularity is sure to rise among El Paso-area residents seeking to explore its medicinal qualities.

May Leach, owner of Whole Health CBD, says the compound is thought to relieve pain, emotional unrest and produce a slight sense of euphoria. It is marketed in different form such as oils, lotions and even edibles.

And unlike marijuana, it is legal in Texas, Leach said.

Like CBD, short for cannabidoil, Delta-8 comes from the hemp plant and is legal in the Lone Star state after Texas Bill 1325 legalized hemp products in 2019.

Nayeli Granados, 28, an El Pasoan who regularly consumes Delta-8, said she found it gave her more energy. “I was ready to do my work very focused and relaxed. Without any stress.”

Prior to using Delta-8, Granados tried CBD, but now prefers Delta-8.

CBD is widely available, and its products are made from the hemp plant, which makes it legal to consume and sell in Texas, Leach said. The hemp plant might look like a cannabis plant and is related to it, but it will not get users high like the marijuana plant, according to online health magazine, healthline.com.

Leach sells Delta-8 in her store and said Delta-8 can produce a psychoactive reaction, meaning there might be a soft “high” feeling when consuming the product.

THC is the main component associated with a high-like feeling in cannabis products. CBD and THC have the same chemical components, but they have different structures, which makes the reaction of the body to CBD or THC different, researchers said.

Social media, like TikTok or Facebook, are full of reviews on the products. Many users talk about taking Delta-8 for their anxiety and relaxation. There are entire Reddit threads for users exchanging information about how to consume it and reviews of gummies, vapes, or tinctures.

Toni Chops, the owner of Piercing Poli’s, sells both CBD and Delta-8. He said that the federal legalization of marijuana is becoming more of a possibility and hopes that Delta-8 remains legal, but recognizes there are some issues that come with easy access to the products.

“I believe that individuals who abuse products, use them underage, or distribute them to minors, do ruin it for everyone who follows the appropriate laws,” Chops said. The legal age to buy Delta-8 is 21, the same legal age to buy alcohol and cigarettes.

Product labels indicate not to drive while under the influence, just like when drinking alcohol. The consumer must be aware, like full-spectrum CBD, Delta-8 can be detectable in employer drug tests.

Leach said that the hemp product’s chemical components will attach to body fats and stay in the system for 30 days. Drug tests will detect Delta-8 or full-spectrum CBD as marijuana.

“I usually tell my customers right away, that if they are likely to get tested, they maybe should use other CBD products,” she said.

Unlike Delta-8, CBD is available as topical creams, which means CBD can be used to target a specific problem, for example, back pain or joint pains like arthritis. Some research shows that there’s also a potential healing effect of CBD for pets.

El Paso’s history with cannabis products is long. In 1915 was among the first cities in the U.S. to ban marijuana use after a local sheriff pushed the idea that it provoked violent crimes. On June 4, 1915, an El Paso Times article praised the city for taking “a stand against the traffic in marijuana, known to be the deadliest drug on the market.”

Much has changed through the years. El Paso City Council last year approved a “cite-and-release” policy for people found with small amounts of marijuana. Possession of the drug at a Class A or B misdemeanor level will no longer lead to an arrest but a citation, much like a traffic ticket, will be issued.

 

 

Categories: Local Blogs

Special Report: El Paso Children’s Hospital Argues It Is Not Accountable to El Paso

El Paso Politics - Mon, 04/26/2021 - 7:34am
The El Paso Children’s Hospital is arguing that it is not subject to the Texas Public Information Act. El Paso Children’s Hospital is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. As a nonprofit, it argues that […]
Categories: Local Blogs

Artesano batalla durante cierre de la frontera por pandemia

Borderzine - Sat, 04/24/2021 - 1:41pm

Ciudad Juárez — En esta región fronteriza, COVID-19 ha causado un gran impacto económico en centros comerciales, y negocios pequeños.

Los gobiernos de México y Estados Unidos cerraron puentes internacionales en Marzo durante la pandemia. Solo está permitido cruzar por razones esenciales e ir de compras no es una de las razones.

Muchos negocios ubicados en la Avenida Juárez tuvieron que cerrar temporalmente a causa de la pandemia y siguen afectados por restricciones en los puentes internacionales Estos negocios dependen del turismo y clientes que cruzan el Puente Internacional Paso del Norte.

“Afecta mucho a los países de los dos lados pero aquí nos afecta más porque estamos esperanzados en el turismo,” comento Antonio Hernández Camacho, joyero en Avenida Juárez. Por 45 años, se ha dedicado a vender todo tipo de joyas, como anillos, pulseras de plata, collares pero se especializa en arte en metal. Hace llaves con nombre de las personas, corazones, y varias cosas con la segueta.

Su arte lo ha llevado a exponer con éxito en Europa ya que unos años atrás una escritora quedó sorprendida con su trabajo y lo invitó a España. Después siguió recibiendo ofertas de otras ciudades para exponer su arte, incluyendo Boston, Dublin, y Miami.

El señor Camacho tuvo que cerrar por tres meses cuando empezó la pandemia en Marzo y explica que vendió sus llaveros a través de internet. Pero las ventas fueron disminuyendo. “Tenía unos ahorros, porque soy un hombre muy precavido en ese aspecto, pero por mucho dinero que tengas si no trabajas se va a acabar.” explicó Camacho.

Desde que volvió a abrir su joyería, sus ventas no han mejorado como esperaba. “Las ventas bajaron como en un 70%,” dijo Camacho.

Antes de la pandemia y restricciones en los puentes internacionales, “venían muchas personas de los Estados Unidos, de Canadá, de diferentes partes del mundo” dijo Camacho.

a causa de la pandemia en 2020, tuvo que cancelar dos viajes organizados por medio de la Cultura del Arte en México para inaugurar museos en Escocia y Japón.

“Hasta el día de hoy no ha cambiado nada como la gente ha esperado, aún no se sabe hasta cuando vuelvan abrir los puentes internacionales para las personas con visas de turista”, dijo Camacho.

El, como muchos que dependen del flujo de clientes que cruzan la frontera, sigue en limbo. “La pandemia y la crisis económica parece no terminar y lo último que queda es la esperanza para que todo regrese a la normalidad.”

Categories: Local Blogs

Juarez nightlife trying to adapt to changing pandemic conditions

Borderzine - Sat, 04/24/2021 - 1:22pm

The COVID-19 pandemic affected a wide range of businesses during the past year, especially nightclubs in Ciudad Juárez but some businesses found ways to reopen and adapt. Now, they’re faced with a new health order limiting hours and capacity and forcing some to close their doors once again as cases and hospitalizations spike.

Nightclubs and restaurants have looked for ways to stay in business.

“We had to turn everything into e-commerce we tried to sell remotely and reach the customer ourselves, said Pepe Hernandez, a founder of “Punto Unión,” an upscale property with restaurants, bars, and nightclubs.

The months when businesses were forced to close under a health mandate to slow the spread of COVID-19 were difficult.

“The entertainment business ended, so we did it through other brands; we launched a sushi brand, mixology courses, food, and some businesses we turned completely into something new, ” Hernandez said.

“Plaza Portales,” another upscale commercial center that attracts a young crowd with trendy restaurant bars and nightclubs also had shut down at the beginning of the pandemic. But it and other places reopened as restrictions were slowly lifted in Ciudad Juarez.

 

 

Mexico has an “epidemiological traffic light” system that indicates the level of risk and restrictions for business activities. The lights indicate levels range from red, the most restrictive, to green, the least restrictive. While Juarez had been allowed to operate under a yellow light, the rest of the state of Chihuahua was in the orange light category. The lights can fluctuate depending on COVID-19 deaths and infections.

The yellow light level meant many businesses in Ciudad Juarez were operating with health and safety protocols like masks, social distancing, and limited capacity depending on the type of establishment. There were more activities but also many precautions for bars and nightclubs that sell alcohol.

At midnight on April 23rd as COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations spiked, State Health authorities ordered a weekend shutdown of non-essential businesses that included restaurants and bars through 6 a.m. Monday. The orange light level is now in effect in Ciudad Juarez forcing bars to shut down. Restaurants can operate at reduced capacity, 30 percent inside and 50 percent outside, and must close by 10 on weeknights and 11:00 pm on weekends

Health protocols were already in effect with many places checking temperatures and ensuring customers have masks on when they arrive. Most businesses also have a floor mat soaked with disinfectant at the entrance people step on before walking into the building. There’s plenty of hand sanitizer available inside and some places use digital menus so that customers don’t have contact with a physical menu.

“Last year, we were open for three months in which we had opened under the yellow traffic light with 30% of the total capacity,” said Marco de la Fuente, director of operations and public relations for Plaza Portales. “It lasted those three months, and then we returned to the traffic light red,” he said.

Bars were allowed to reopen if they also provided food. But under the orange light, some of these businesses were forced to close again. Many restaurants and nightclubs that cut staff as they coped with a drop in sales and uncertainty.

But others moved forward with their plans. During the first weekend of February, a new restaurant-bar called “Panic Botanic” opened.

“It was not going to open until we were on a green traffic light, said Marco. But the owners went ahead “to generate sales and money to pay expenses,” said Marco.

Panic Botanic has been able to attract a clientele eager to try a new place. As customers from Juarez and El Paso ventured out, nightlife on the border was slowly returning.

Categories: Local Blogs

Joe Lopez Keeps Latino Cultural Heritage Visible

El Paso News - Fri, 04/23/2021 - 1:29pm
By Ricardo Romo, PhD When Joe Lopez was growing up, the most popular Spanish language movie theaters located on the western edge of downtown, just west of the San Pedro Creek, featured the latest Mexican films and stars. These cultural architectural landmarks included the Zaragoza, El Nacional, and the Alameda theaters. The Alameda, with its… Read More Joe Lopez Keeps Latino Cultural Heritage Visible
Categories: Local Blogs

UTEP Presidents, Latinos/as, and Colonialism

El Paso Politics - Fri, 04/23/2021 - 7:13am
By: Oscar J. Martinez, PhD., A guest editorial Editor's Note: Oscar J. Martínez is a retired professor who taught at UTEP and the University of Arizona. He has published numerous books on […]
Categories: Local Blogs

The El Paso Political Power Rise of Paul L Foster And Alejandra de la Vega, Part 2

El Paso Politics - Wed, 04/21/2021 - 3:08pm
On September 23, 2020, El Paso Politics introduced readers to Paul L. Foster and how he rose to power in El Paso. As readers may remember, El Paso Politics is exploring the […]
Categories: Local Blogs

Apply now for 2021 multimedia training academy for Hispanic-Serving Institution college faculty and students

Borderzine - Tue, 04/20/2021 - 10:09pm

Borderzine is now accepting applications from college journalism instructors and students for full scholarships to attend the 11th annual Dow Jones News Fund Multimedia Training Academy at June 5-10. This year the academy will be conducted virtually with participants reporting from their home communities and working closely with skilled trainers on a variety of digital storytelling techniques.

The workshop, based at UT El Paso, has trained more than 100 educators from Hispanic-serving institutions who brought back digital reporting skills to their classrooms. After being postponed in 2020 due to the pandemic, the academy is back in an online format designed to deliver the same unique reporting project experience and power-up journalism education skills.

“We’ve learned so much about teaching and doing journalism from anywhere this year,” said Kate Gannon, Borderzine’s digital content manager, who is director of the academy. “In addition to building a foundation of multimedia skills for attendees, our trainers are eager to share best practices and new techniques that academy participants can bring back to their classrooms or to their work as student journalists.”

This year the program is expanding to include some college students as well as previous faculty participants who are interested in returning to the academy to work on next-level skills.  Previous Multimedia Training Academy attendees are welcome to apply if their institutions have had students accepted into the Dow Jones News Fund College Internship Program.  

“We often hear from participants that they would like to come back to the program to work on something different. Offering a chance to repeat is a reward for those who have been able to help their students be competitive enough to earn a Dow Jones News Fund internship,” Gannon said.

The deadline to apply is has been extended to midnight on Saturday, May 15.

Click on the appropriate link below to apply:

Participants in the academy go out on assignment for a group reporting project and produce multimedia stories that are published in Borderzine.com. The workshop simulates a deadline-oriented, real world newsroom where attendees gain hands-on experience in skills for video, audio and digital photography in news gathering and using editing software in story production. Trainers and mentors provide skills training and coaching throughout the project. You can see some of the most recent stories produced in past sessions under the Multimedia Training Academy section here on Borderzine.

This fast-paced, hands-on academy has a proven track record of helping journalism educators develop their skills and confidence in multimedia journalism production.

“Instructors have told us how much they appreciate getting out into the community and doing real stories with the support of a dedicated trainer,” Gannon said. “They say it helps them have empathy for what their students are going through and gives them the confidence to make their courses challenging because they can draw from their own experience in the field.”

The team of trainers includes Kate Gannon, a professor of practice at UT El Paso and Borderzine’s digital content manager; broadcast TV veteran Andrew Valencia; San Diego State University assistant professor Lourdes Cueva Chacon; radio journalist, Monica Ortiz Uribe; and others.

The Dow Jones News Fund provides the funding for full scholarships to 8 journalism instructors and 4 college students from across the country to attend the academy 

For questions about the Dow Jones News Fund Multimedia Training Academy, contact program director, Kate Gannon at kagannon at utep.edu.

Borderzine is an innovative journalism education initiative and online publishing platform that prepares minority journalists for jobs in 21st century news media, addressing the urgent need for diverse newsrooms that reflect our nation’s complex identity. Since 2008, Borderzine.com has published rich, relevant content about the borderlands produced by multicultural student journalists at UT El Paso and partner schools across the U.S. and Mexico.

The Dow Jones News Fund is a national foundation supported by Dow Jones, Dow Jones Foundation and others within the news industry. The organization’s emphasis is on education for students and educators as part of its mission to promote careers in journalism.

 

Categories: Local Blogs

How one U.S.-based Mexican crafts small business is trying to adapt to supply issues amid the pandemic

Borderzine - Sun, 04/18/2021 - 7:45pm

Dianna Williams-Hefley grew up with one foot on each side of the border. She spent her early years living in the United States, but due to job opportunities for her parents who were teachers, her family moved to Guadalajara, Mexico. That’s where she went to high school.

Williams-Hefley recalls being mesmorized by the art culture she experienced while living in Mexico. Enchanted by the vibrant colors of folk art and the traditional methods used in each handcrafted piece, Williams-Hefley’s appreciation for Mexican artisan work stayed with her even after returning to the U.S.

“I was always trying to figure out someway to get back to Mexico,” Williams-Hefley said. “I loved and had such an appreciation for handmade art.”

This appreciation inspired the El Pasoan in 1993 to open The Desert Gypsy, a now online shop that sells handcrafted art imported from the country.

Business was going well until the COVID-19 pandemic hit in 2020, making international travel complicated amid public health concerns.

“Thank goodness I traveled in January and February last year a lot,” Williams-Hefley said. “I bought enough jewelry for the year, went back to the states, got everything shipped and then boom COVID started.”

Williams-Hefley typically travels to her second home in Guadalajara multiple times a year to shop for art, textiles, pottery and clothing from Mexican artisans in villages around Jalisco. She said she was fortunate to have purchased large amounts of merchandise before March 2020, which was what kept her business afloat in the months that followed.

However, as her stock began to decrease she faced with the decision to either travel back to Mexico in November in order to stay in business, or let go of her shop.

“I think during the pandemic we sometimes take more calculated risks,” said Williams-Hefley, who at 60 years-old falls into a high-risk category for COVID-19. “I just felt it was more important for me to come down here (Mexico), see the artisans, keep my foot in the door with them and let them know I’m still going to be around.”

She said she followed all health safety regulations while traveling, including wearing double masks and quarantining for at least 14 days in her home near Guadalajara. As she travels through the city seeking out the artists and their crafts, the open space of outdoor shopping allows her to social distance while interacting with vendors.

“It’s not been fun,” Williams-Hefley said in a call from Guadalajara. “In Mexico it’s all kisses and hugs and that doesn’t happen anymore. We don’t have much spirit in us.”

Aside from the loss of spirit, business just isn’t the same for Williams-Hefley. With COVID-19 spread throughout Mexico, she said her regular artisans are no longer in business or are unable to travel to the city.

“It really affected the people in Mexico and especially the people of few means like the artists and artisans,” Williams-Hefley said. “They’re producing without selling. There seems to be a lot of merchandise just waiting to be bought.”

According to Jalisco’s government website, Tonala, Jalisco and other towns have offered 1,500 and 1,000 pesos respectively (U.S. $63 and $42) to artisans who have lost employment and business.

“Four thousand indigenous artisans received support of fifteen hundred pesos affected in their economic activity and because it is a priority attention group,” the website reported.

The Jalisco website also states the government is working to help families of artisans affected by COVID-19, through its Plan for Economic Reactivation. The plan includes a section called Reactiva Artesanal, with a 15 million pesos budget that has supported 178 artisans as of today.

Reinicia Artesanas y Artesanos, is another part of the government’s plan, which has a budget of 10 million pesos. As of November the initiative had registered 500 Wixárika artisans from the north.

In Guadalajra, Williams-Hefley is trying to buy as much merchandise as possible to help keep alive her business and that of many artisans.

“So much is lost when the artisans can’t sell,” Williams-Hefely said. “The most significant loss is the family’s generational knowledge may be lost if the artisans have to go elsewhere to find work. The kids who work in the “talleres” are no longer absorbing the family culture of making art.”

 

Categories: Local Blogs

What you need to know about El Paso zoo’s limited reopening and pandemic safety protocols

Borderzine - Sun, 04/18/2021 - 7:22pm

Visitors to El Paso’s recently reopened zoo are getting to meet some new animals that settled in while the zoo was closed for the pandemic.

“The cougars came in as cubs, two little bitty cubs. Now they are full grown cats,” said Zoo Director Joe Montisano.

The popular destination for El Paso families reopened at 50 percent capacity in February. That’s 2,500 visitors a day. Montisano says that he expects the zoo will be operating at 75 percent capacity in a few weeks.

Visitors are required to follow safety protocols when entering the zoo, such as wearing face coverings and social distancing.

“Our main concern is keeping the guest safe, the staff safe, and our animals safe as well,” says Joe Montisano, director of El Paso Zoo.

According to Elpasozoo.org and Montisano, indoor buildings and activities such as the train, carousel, splash pad, and the ropes course will remain closed, as they are almost impossible to clean and disinfect. The train and carousel are expected to be open around Memorial Day or in early June.

The zoo’s Passport Café is closed but visitors can still get a bite to eat at the Grasslands Café, which has limited seating. Guests can also bring their own food and beverages as long as they don’t bring glass containers or straws, which can be harmful to the animals.

Zoo visitor Jose Sotelo appreciates the public health efforts at the facility.

“We should be protecting ourselves, wearing the mask and still using hand sanitizer. I notice some things have been closed but I know it’s for the safety of everybody,” Sotelo said.

The carousel is one of the attractions that remains closed at the El Paso zoo because it is difficult to keep sanitized between rides. Photo by Valeria Armendariz, Borderzine.com.

Montisano recommends visitors wanting the best experience should come early in the day before it gets too crowded.

“People need to come back to the zoo, come see us. It’s a lot of fun, it’s a great place to walk around,” he said.

The zoo is open 9:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Wednesday through Friday and from 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on weekends. It will be closed on Mondays and Tuesdays for cleaning.

For more information about the zoo’s new operation hours and regulations, visit elpasozoo.org.

 

 

Categories: Local Blogs

Application for returning professors for the Dow Jones News Fund Multimedia Training Academy

Borderzine - Sat, 04/17/2021 - 10:03pm

Journalism college instructors and students, please fill out the appropriate form to apply for the 2021 Dow Jones News Fund Multimedia Training Academy, which runs from June 5 – 10, 2021. This virtual workshop will be conducted online.

In an effort to encourage more schools to cultivate students for the Dow Jones News Fund College Internship Program, college faculty who have previously attended the Multimedia Training Academy are welcome to apply to attend again if their institutions have had students accepted into the Dow Jones News Fund internship program.

The Dow Jones News Fund is providing the funding for full scholarships to attend this fast-paced, hands-on multimedia training academy. See more information on the academy here: Apply now for 2021 multimedia training academy for Hispanic-Serving Institution college faculty and students

The deadline to apply has been extended to midnight on Saturday, May 15.

For questions about the Dow Jones Multimedia Training Academy, please contact program director, Kate Gannon,  at kagannon at utep.edu.

DJMTA Previous Attendees Application 2021 Application form for Dow Jones Multimedia Training Academy 2021

  • Name* First Last
  • Email*
  • Work Phone
  • Cell Phone
  • Twitter Handle
  • University or College Name*
  • Department or Program*
  • You are a*
    • Tenured or tenure-track professor
    • Professor of practice
    • Senior or full-time lecturer
    • Part-time lecturer
  • Supervisor's name and title*
  • Supervisor's email address*
  • Does your institution offer Journalism as a major or concentration?*
    • Yes
    • No
  • Does your institution provide instruction in Multimedia Journalism?*
    • Yes
    • No
  • List any form of student-organized media at your institution
  • Do you teach in a computer lab?*
    • Yes
    • No
  • What types of digital technology do your students have access to?*
  • Are your students able to publish their class-produced stories online?*
    • Yes
    • No
  • If yes, what is the url to publication's website?
  • What courses do you plan to teach during the 2021-2022 academic year?*
  • Video editing*Using a scale from 1 to 5 (1 being the lowest) rate your level of experience in video editing programs like Adobe Premiere, Final Cut and iMovie
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
  • Audio editing*Using a scale from 1 to 5 (1 being the lowest) rate your level of experience in audio editing programs like Adobe Audition, Audacity, ProTools and Hindenburg
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
  • Photo editing*Using a scale from 1 to 5 (1 being the lowest) rate your level of experience in professional photo editing programs like Photoshop or Lightroom
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
  • Content management systems (CMS)*Using a scale from 1 to 5 (1 being the lowest) rate your level of experience in blogging or website content systems like Wordpress
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
  • Mobile Reporting*Using a scale from 1 to 5 (1 being the lowest) rate your level of experience in using mobile tools for reporting, such as livestreaming, audio recording apps, video apps and video editing apps.
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
  • Social Media Tools*Using a scale from 1 to 5 (1 being the lowest) RATE YOUR INTEREST in learning more about using social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Tiktok, etc. for journalism
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
  • Data visualization*Using a scale from 1 to 5 (1 being the lowest) RATE YOUR INTEREST in learning more about creating graphics and interactives using tools like Google Maps, Flourish and Tableau to go with digital stories.
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
  • Digital media opportunities*Using a scale from 1 to 5 (1 being the lowest) RATE YOUR INTEREST in learning more about digital media innovation, new storytelling styles and collaboration during this workshop
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
  • 360 video and photo*Using a scale from 1 to 5 (1 being the lowest) RATE YOUR INTEREST in learning more about 360 video and photo storytelling during this workshop
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
  • *When did you attend the Dow Jones News Fund Multimedia Training Academy in El Paso?
  • *What skills have you acquired or expanded on since attending the academy?
  • *Which of your students from your institution have been accepted into the Dow Jones News Fund internship program? (Must include at least one. Can be just the most recent you know of)
  • *What are your interests for this year's training? What next-level skills do you want to return to the academy to work on?
  • *What are some non-technical challenges you currently face?
  • *How do you plan on applying what you learn at the Multimedia Academy at your institution?
  • *Do you have any special requests or concerns regarding your attendance at the Multimedia Academy?
  • Do you have any technical concerns about participating in this workshop (internet issues, using videoconferencing and team communication apps, etc.?)
  • Please upload your Resume*
  • Please upload your multimedia course syllabus
  • If chosen, can you commit to mentor two students from your school to apply for the Dow Jones internship next school year?*
    • Yes
    • No
  • PhoneThis field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
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Categories: Local Blogs

Application for college journalism instructors for the Dow Jones News Fund Multimedia Training Academy (first-time attendees)

Borderzine - Sat, 04/17/2021 - 10:00pm

Journalism college instructors and students, please fill out the appropriate form to apply for the 2021 Dow Jones News Fund Multimedia Training Academy, which runs from June 5 – 10. This will be a virtual workshop conducted online.

The Dow Jones News Fund is providing the funding for full scholarships to attend this fast-paced, hands-on multimedia training academy. See more information on the academy here: Apply now for 2021 multimedia training academy for Hispanic-Serving Institution college faculty and students

The deadline to apply has been extended to midnight on Saturday, May 15.

For questions about the Dow Jones Multimedia Training Academy, please contact program director, Kate Gannon,  via email at kagannon at utep.edu.

DJMTA Application 2021 for first-time attendees Application form for Dow Jones Multimedia Training Academy 2021

  • Name* First Last
  • Email*
  • Work Phone
  • Cell Phone
  • Twitter Handle
  • University or College Name*
  • Department or Program*
  • You are a*
    • Tenured or tenure-track professor
    • Professor of practice
    • Senior or full-time lecturer
    • Part-time lecturer
  • Supervisor's name and title*
  • Supervisor's email address*
  • Does your institution offer Journalism as a major or concentration?*
    • Yes
    • No
  • Does your institution provide instruction in Multimedia Journalism?*
    • Yes
    • No
  • List any form of student-organized media at your institution
  • Do you teach in a computer lab?*
    • Yes
    • No
  • What types of digital technology do your students have access to?*
  • Are your students able to publish their class-produced stories online?*
    • Yes
    • No
  • If yes, what is the url to publication's website?
  • What courses do you plan to teach during the 2020-2021 academic year?*
  • Video editing*Using a scale from 1 to 5 (1 being the lowest) rate your level of experience in video editing programs like Adobe Premiere, Final Cut and iMovie
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
  • Audio editing*Using a scale from 1 to 5 (1 being the lowest) rate your level of experience in audio editing programs like Adobe Audition, Audacity, ProTools and Hindenburg
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
  • Photo editing*Using a scale from 1 to 5 (1 being the lowest) rate your level of experience in professional photo editing programs like Photoshop
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
  • Content management systems (CMS)*Using a scale from 1 to 5 (1 being the lowest) rate your level of experience in blogging or website content systems like Wordpress, Tumblr, Squarespace
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
  • Mobile Reporting*Using a scale from 1 to 5 (1 being the lowest) rate your level of experience in using mobile tools for reporting, such as livestreaming, audio recording apps, video apps and editing apps.
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
  • Social Media Tools*Using a scale from 1 to 5 (1 being the lowest) RATE YOUR INTEREST in learning more about using social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Tiktok, etc. for journalism
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
  • Data visualization*Using a scale from 1 to 5 (1 being the lowest) RATE YOUR INTEREST in learning more about creating graphics and interactives using tools like Maps, Flourish, Timelines and Charts to go with digital stories.
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
  • Digital media opportunities*Using a scale from 1 to 5 (1 being the lowest) RATE YOUR INTEREST in learning more about digital media innovation, new storytelling styles and collaboration during this workshop
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
  • *What other software have you tried or are interested in learning more about? Please explain
  • *What apps or techniques have you tried or are interested in learning more about like Snapchat, Facebook Live, etc.? Please explain
  • *What are some non-technical challenges you currently face?
  • *What are your expectations of this year's multimedia training?
  • *What type of projects are you expecting to produce at the training?
  • *How do you plan on applying what you learn at the Multimedia Academy in your classroom?
  • *What is your motivation for applying to the Academy?
  • *Do you have any special requests or concerns regarding your attendance at the Multimedia Academy?
  • *Are you interested in co-publishing or publishing your students’ stories on Borderzine?
  • *Do you have any experience in communities on the U.S., Mexico border?
  • *Lastly, tell us about a difficult situation in a group setting and how you dealt with it:
  • *Do you have any technical concerns about participating in this workshop (internet issues, using videoconferencing and team communication apps, etc.?)
  • Please upload your Resume*
  • Please upload your multimedia course syllabus
  • If chosen, can you commit to mentor two students from your school to apply for the Dow Jones internship next school year?*
    • Yes
    • No
  • NameThis field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
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Categories: Local Blogs

Application for college journalism students for the 2021 Dow Jones News Fund Multimedia Training Academy

Borderzine - Sat, 04/17/2021 - 9:59pm

Journalism college instructors and students, please fill out the appropriate form to apply for the 2021 Dow Jones News Fund Multimedia Training Academy, which runs from June 5 – 10, 2021. This is a virtual workshop that will be conducted online.

The Dow Jones News Fund is providing the funding for full scholarships to attend this fast-paced, hands-on multimedia training academy. See more information on the academy here: Apply now for 2021 multimedia training academy for Hispanic-Serving Institution college faculty and students

The deadline to apply has been extended to midnight on Saturday, May 15.

For questions about the Dow Jones Multimedia Training Academy, please contact program director, Kate Gannon,  via email at kagannon at utep.edu.

Eligibility

College students and graduate students are eligible to apply for the Dow Jones News Fund Multimedia Training Academy as long as they are currently enrolled during the application period and not graduating before December. Recent graduates are not eligible.

DJMTA STUDENT Application 2021 Application form for Dow Jones Multimedia Training Academy 2021

  • Name* First Last
  • Email*
  • Cell Phone
  • Twitter Handle
  • University or College Name*
  • Department or Program*
  • Your classification (Junior, Senior, etc.)
  • When to you expect to graduate?*
  • Does your institution offer Journalism as a major or concentration?*
    • Yes
    • No
  • Does your institution provide instruction in Multimedia Journalism?*
    • Yes
    • No
  • Briefly tell a bit about yourself and your goals*
  • Do you have any video, audio editing or writing experience? What kind of work have you done?*
  • Do you have any web content management experience (blogs, etc?) Please describe*
  • Video editing*Using a scale from 1 to 5 (1 being the lowest) rate your level of experience in video editing programs like Adobe Premiere, Final Cut and iMovie
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
  • Audio editing*Using a scale from 1 to 5 (1 being the lowest) rate your level of experience in audio editing programs like Adobe Audition, Audacity, ProTools and Hindenburg
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
  • Photo editing*Using a scale from 1 to 5 (1 being the lowest) rate your level of experience in professional photo editing programs like Photoshop or Lightroom
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
  • Content management systems (CMS)*Using a scale from 1 to 5 (1 being the lowest) rate your level of experience in blogging or website content systems like Wordpress
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
  • Mobile Reporting*Using a scale from 1 to 5 (1 being the lowest) rate your level of experience in using mobile tools for reporting, such as livestreaming, audio recording apps, video apps and live coverage on social media.
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
  • Social Media Tools*Using a scale from 1 to 5 (1 being the lowest) rate your interest in learning more about using social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, etc. for journalism
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
  • Data visualization*Using a scale from 1 to 5 (1 being the lowest) rate your interest in learning more about creating graphics and interactives using tools like Google Maps, Flourish and Tableau to go with digital stories.
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
  • Digital media Entrepreneurship*Using a scale from 1 to 5 (1 being the lowest) rate your interest in learning more about digital media innovation and new business models during this workshop
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
  • 360 video and photo*Using a scale from 1 to 5 (1 being the lowest) rate your interest in learning more about 360 video and photo storytelling during this workshop
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
  • *Please share a recent accomplishment (personal or professional) that you are proud of
  • *Do you have any special requests or concerns regarding your participation in the Multimedia Academy?
  • Is there anything else you would like to add?
  • Please upload your Resume*
  • Upload a letter of recommendation from your professor*
  • Upload your essay here*Upload a short essay telling us about yourself, your motivation for attending the academy and why you are a good candidate to be selected for the project. File should be a Word document.
  • NameThis field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
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Categories: Local Blogs
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by Dr. Radut