Skip to Content

Local Blogs

Video: Today’s House Vote on Impeachment In 30 Seconds

EPN - Border Analysis - Wed, 10/30/2019 - 10:00pm
As readers may be aware, the House is scheduled to vote on the next phase of the impeachment […]
Categories: Local Blogs

A new quarry and the cost of Duranguito

Refuse the Juice - Wed, 10/30/2019 - 1:26pm
It's hunting season, so that's taking all my time right now. Wanted to touch on a couple of things, though. First, the Lost Dog trail goes back into the abyss with council voting to keep exploring a conservation easement... which... Brad Kanus
Categories: Local Blogs

Hugs Not Walls event gives families long divided by border precious minutes together

Borderzine - Wed, 10/30/2019 - 10:39am

An estimated 3,000 people gathered Saturday morning, Oct. 26, to see Borderland family members and waited their turn along a small strip of damp land just a few feet from the Rio Grande to see their kin who many hadn’t seen in years and hug them for three minutes under the watchful eye of security officials.

Toddlers, children, teens, parents, grandparents and the infirm gathered along the banks of the river that separates El Paso and Juarez to meet during the seventh gathering of Hugs not Walls/Abrazos no Muros, organized by the Border Network for Human Rights.

Related: Brief reunion of families at border fence makes a point: walls divide, hugs unite (2016)

Many family members live just a few miles apart, but it might as well be worlds apart. In at least one case, a woman saw and hugged her father for the first time in 31 years.

“This event is rooted in love, but also protest,” said Fernando Garcia, BNHR’s executive director. “Our families are in crisis” because so many of them live separated by immigration policies enacted by both the United States and Mexico, he said.

He also blamed a nationalistic fervor and “white supremacy,” referring the shooter who drove 650 miles from Allen, Texas, to kill Hispanics at the Walmart, for the “two years of very aggressive immigration policies.” Among the 21 Hispanics killed in the shooting were Mexican citizens.

More than 300 families braved temperatures that started in the 40s about 6 a.m. at Chihuahuita Park to register for their chance to see family members and finally start meeting about 9:15 a.m. in the middle of the Rio’s concrete culvert near the cities’ downtowns. The gathering was near the Santa Fe bridge and a confluence of railroad tracks from the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway.

In a highly organized and methodical way, family members from both countries walked down respective ramps to meet in the middle of the culvert near the reduced-flow river about 40 people at a time and hugged after a spokesman from the Border Network for Human Rights shouted on a loudspeaker: “Familias abrazen” or families hug in English.

For those three minutes, family members exchanged vows, greeted children or grandchildren they’d never met, and took selfies as quickly as they could because time was scarce. After they met and in what seemed like the blink of an eye, a new announcement came over the loudspeaker to separate. Families departed in an orderly way, but often tearfully, and a new lineup of family members from both sides met in the middle.

Families met while the cameras and microphones of some 50 or more international media members recorded their intimate moments, and asked for interviews. Several drone cameras flew overhead.

BNHR security from Ciudad Juarez dressed in red were positioned on the south side of the strip where family members met while security from El Paso were dressed in black. They were separated by about 10 feet of loamy sand.

Family members from Juarez were dressed in white T-shirts while family members from El Paso were dressed in blue T-shirts. The colorful attire kept everyone easily distinguished as they met and then separated after meeting for a few minutes between the two lines of security officials.

The event took place with members of the U.S. Border Patrol monitoring the event from the El Paso side while Mexican federal police watched from the Mexican side.

Prior to the family members meeting, 22 women carrying white crosses from the El Paso side met seven people also carrying crosses from the Juarez side in the middle of the river in a solemn moment to start the event.

The El Paso women carried crosses to represent the 22 people killed in the mass shooting Aug. 3 at the Cielo Vista Walmart, and the Juarez women carried crosses to represent the seven children who had died trying to cross into the United States and while in U.S. custody when children were being separated and detained by U.S. immigration officials. There was a minute of silence as the people with crosses met across from each other.

Hugs not Walls ended about 2 p.m. with more than 3,000 people greeting each other.

Organizers praised a number of agencies that made the event possible: The International Water and Boundary Commission for reducing the Rio’s flow, the BNSP for stopping rail traffic so people could walk to the border fence, the Border Patrol and a more agreeable political climate that made the event possible, and other agencies.

The event was originally scheduled for May, but the Border Patrol did not approve Hugs not Walls at that time, and it was rescheduled for October, organizers said.

Click hear to read Hugs Not Walls event gives families long divided by border precious minutes together

Categories: Local Blogs

Go ahead–do what you want

ElPasoSpeak - Wed, 10/30/2019 - 5:00am

Are they nuts?

The agenda item authorizing the city manager to sign a new agreement with the water park people contains this language:

“that the City Manager be authorized to sign an Economic Development Initiative Agreement in a form substantially similar to the attached documents…”

This involves more than $100 million of our money and they don’t even want to approve the final agreement.

What does “similar” mean here?

We deserve better

Brutus

Categories: Local Blogs

Abeytia Holguin and The Texas House of Representatives

EPN - Border Analysis - Tue, 10/29/2019 - 10:00pm
Over the last few weeks, I have received several phone calls and emails asking me to find out […]
Categories: Local Blogs

Austin - January 2021

Max Powers - Tue, 10/29/2019 - 2:36pm
Folks, I have seen the future. And lucky for you I can provide you a glimpse of it. Here is a picture of yours truly preparing a Representative-elect Elisa Tomatillo-Powers a dark roast pour over, using a Chemex of course, the morning of swearing-in: And yes, you do need a... Max Powers
Categories: Local Blogs

Art and technology intersect at El Paso CODAworx event

Borderzine - Tue, 10/29/2019 - 9:16am

El Paso recently became the second site in the nation for an innovative, international event called CODAsummit focused on showcasing the intersection of art and technology.

The three-day event, produced by CODAworx at the El Paso Museum of Art downtown, drew hundreds of local and out-of-town artists, technologists, innovators, museum directors and others to share innovative ideas and brainstorm ways to combine art and technology in public installations making them immersive and interactive.

The first CODAworx event was held in Santa Fe in September 2018, the second in El Paso in October, and a third summit is expected to take place in Denver in the future.

Related: Border Tuner to create bridges of light across El Paso-Juarez sky so residents of both sides can listen to each other

Ben Fyffe, assistant director of the city’s Museums and Cultural Affairs Department, said there is a sense of urgency to bring events like CODAsummit to the borderland.

“I would argue that there are few places that are as misunderstood, continually recontextualized, argued over, fought over as borders. El Paso is at the literal and figurative heart of the U.S.-Mexico border,” he said.

The current politicization and militarization of the border, Fyffe said, makes the region “really fertile ground for artistic and intellectual exploration.”

Among the presenters at the event were internationally recognized artist and architect Guto Requena, who has won several awards, lectured and exhibited in more than 20 countries, and Mexican-born artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, who will unveil in November a cross-border light and sound project Border Tuner in El Paso and Ciudad Juarez,

Brian McKutchen, owner of Ignition Arts, a custom-fabrication company based in Indianapolis that specializes in large scale public art projects and digitally-designed architecture, said he traveled to the El Paso summit “as a fabricator… to support the artists’ conceptual designs and help them make it in the real world.”

A year ago, McKutchen’s company fabricated a public art installation called Marquise at a west side natatorium in El Paso, is currently completing three more art installations in Texas and has two more on the drawing board.

“Texas seems like a state that is really pushing public art in the community, which is awesome,” he said.

CODAworx was launched in 2018 by Toni Sikes, co-founder and CEO of the company, as a networking hub focused on connecting artists, art patrons and various industry professionals to work together to create public and private art installations. On its website CODAworx allows industry professionals to showcase their work, request bids, or enter contracts.

Tracey Jerome, director of El Paso Museums & Cultural Affairs Department (MCAD), invited Sikes to hold the summit in the city after attending the first one in Santa Fe.

“We are in overdrive because there’s an understanding in this community of how important public art is. It’s place making. It’s about identity. It’s about making sure that we have pride in our community,” Jerome said.

At the event opening, Sikes introduced Requena.

“When I spoke to Guto… he told me he wanted to speak on art, technology, and love. Being the good mid-Westerner that I am, I went, ‘Love?’ Given everything that has happened this past year, I think it is a topic we should all be talking about.”

Requena, who lives in São Paulo, Brazil, said that when he looks at everyday objects like benches, bus stops, or even trash cans, he wonders, “why can it not be more than this? What if we can add digital technologies to provoke people to talk and smile?”

Requena’s previous project, “Can you tell me a secret?”, in São Paulo, did just that. The installation consisted of five wooden benches in the middle of the Coronel Fernando Prestes Square, in the Bom Retiro neighborhood, an area with a substantial immigrant population.

According to Requena’s website, the installation “invites passers-by to come in and share their stories, which are then recorded and played back randomly inside the furniture via speakers.”

The shape and color of the furniture, he explained, “came from the hybridization of the ten biggest countries that are living in that area. There is a private chamber where you are invited to narrate secrets about yourself. Then you sit on the bench and you hear random secrets.”

Requena was not shy about sharing his positive energy with many attendees who approached to discuss and express admiration for his work.

“In our life, we all have sad moments, but it’s on us to make the decision of not going to the dark and… sad space but instead looking to the sun and going to the beautiful side of life.”

In another Requena project, Light Creature, that appeared on a São Paulo hotel wall, the artist used audio sensors along with color-changing lights to measure air quality and volume in the city. A phone app allowed people to interact by voice or by drawing patterns.

An unintended result of the project, Requena said, was that during a political demonstration in São Paulo students used the app to change the colors of the building back and forth between the political party colors.

Lozano-Hemmer, who was born in Mexico and now lives in Canada, plans to return to the border region in November to unveil his art installation “Border Tuner,” a project that consists of spotlights placed at six locations in El Paso and Ciudad Juarez.

When the light beams (he calls them “bridges of light”) intersect in the sky above people will be able to talk to each other.

“At a time of intense adversarial nationalism, of racism, we need to create a system that allows us to hear each other,” he said.

 

 

Click hear to read Art and technology intersect at El Paso CODAworx event

Categories: Local Blogs

Boos and Chants of Look Him Up

EPN - Border Analysis - Mon, 10/28/2019 - 10:00pm
On Sunday, Donald Trump was met with large-scale boos and chants of “lock him up” as he was […]
Categories: Local Blogs

City budget challenges

ElPasoSpeak - Mon, 10/28/2019 - 5:00am

Our city manager’s office included this slide in a budget update for city council:

They are now talking publicly about our lack of revenue growth and the costs of operating the quality of life projects.

If the proposed public safety bond passes this November what will be the effect on operating and maintenance costs?

We deserve better

Brutus

Categories: Local Blogs

Note How The GOP Responds to Impeachment

EPN - Border Analysis - Sun, 10/27/2019 - 10:00pm
I noticed a curious thing about the GOP response to the impeachment inquiry into Donald Trump. It somewhat […]
Categories: Local Blogs

Run, Eddie, Run!

Max Powers - Sun, 10/27/2019 - 7:39pm
The race for House District 76 is on, and like David K said it will get nasty. Why? Well, in short, dos mujeres...un camino. And when it is like that, things get ugly. You have Claudia Ordaz PEREZ and her Taco Bell logo versus Elisa Tomatillo and her caca logo....although... Max Powers
Categories: Local Blogs

Gotcha

ElPasoSpeak - Sun, 10/27/2019 - 5:00am

In a special city council meeting Monday, October 28, 2019 they will be changing the water park deal.

They do these things in special city council meetings to avoid exposure to the citizens.

They first plan to cancel the earlier agreement with Great Wolf.

Why?  Probably because their plan to give Great Wolf 100% of the sales taxes collected near the water park was going to run into trouble because the water park was not really a convention center.

Now it is

Our Texas legislature passed house bill 4347 in their last session.

One of the things the bill did was to qualify facilities that have at least 4,000 square feet of meeting space as a convention center.

In the agreement being cancelled the city promised to give the developer up to $40 million if Texas decided that our facility did not qualify as a convention center and thus would not be able to get the sales taxes collected from facilities around the water park.

Now that the water park and its adjoining meeting room will qualify the city is off the hook.

We however are not so lucky.

The sales tax money from stores near the water park would normally go into our general fund.

Now they will be used to fund the privately owned water park.

We deserve better

Brutus

Categories: Local Blogs

RumpToons No: 156

EPN - Border Analysis - Sat, 10/26/2019 - 10:00pm
I hope you enjoy RumpToons No: 156!
Categories: Local Blogs

Open line Saturday

ElPasoSpeak - Sat, 10/26/2019 - 5:00am

Tell us what’s on your mind.

We deserve better

Brutus

Categories: Local Blogs

Moody Blues

Max Powers - Fri, 10/25/2019 - 9:51am
Have you ever gone to a bank and either applied to open a business line-of-credit or ask for an increase? Opening a business line-of-credit is somewhat easy if it is an SBA-backed line-of-credit. The bank likes it cos' it won't lose. Now, have you asked for an increase on the... Max Powers
Categories: Local Blogs

Personalities are the news

ElPasoSpeak - Fri, 10/25/2019 - 6:00am

Our major news outlets seem to be more concerned with personalities than they are with issues.

We more frequently read or see stories that focus on what a particular individual did or did not do than we read or see stories about what actions or legislation a particular government is about to do or just did.

That’s a shame.

We deserve better

Brutus

Categories: Local Blogs

The Colorado Wall

EPN - Border Analysis - Thu, 10/24/2019 - 10:00pm
Donald Trump said he is building a wall in Colorado. Yes, he really said that. He also said […]
Categories: Local Blogs

Border Tuner to create bridges of light across El Paso-Juarez sky so residents of both sides can listen to each other

Borderzine - Thu, 10/24/2019 - 1:33pm

During 12 days in November, residents of El Paso and Ciudad Juarez will get a chance to bridge the border divide with search lights and sound technology for two-way conversation in an innovative, illuminated art installation called Border Tuner.

The technology inspired art show is the brainchild of internationally known, Mexican-born artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, who has combined his artistic sensibilities with advanced digital technology to create and showcase other light and sound art installations in cities around the world, including Washington D.C., Boston, Mexico City, Santiago, Chile, as well as cities in Poland, Austria and Germany.

“The idea is to highlight the very diverse connections that already exist in these two sister cities,” said Lozano-Hemmer at a recent meet-and-greet with local news media and staff at the Stanlee and Gerald Rubin Center for the Visual Arts on the UTEP campus, which is coordinating the project with partners in Ciudad Juarez.

Related: Art and technology intersect at El Paso CODAworx event

The twin cities, he explained, “are connected historically, fraternally, economically, environmentally; so what we want to do is to make sure that this is a platform for people to talk and tell a different story than what we normally hear in the media about the borderlands.”

And, to demonstrate how communication technologies can be used to bridge political, geographic and national boundaries, he said, “the conversations are going to be livestreamed across the globe at bordertuner.net, and the bottom line is to listen to each other. That’s the spirit of this project.”

Border Tuner goes live Nov. 13–24 in both cities – at Bowie High School in El Paso and El Chamizal Park in Ciudad Juarez. The program starts nightly at sunset and continues until 11 p.m. and will include food trucks, tents to showcase the work of community organizations, an educational resource center, and other artworks.

Lozano-Hemmer, who lives in Montreal, explained how local residents can participate: “The idea is to create bridges of light using powerful searchlights… that actually send the voice of people across the US-Mexico border. When you arrive, you’ll have a microphone, a speaker, and you’ll have a little tuning dial. When you turn the tuning dial, the searchlights scan the horizon of the other country.”

“When my light and your light intersect in midair, the computer knows it and automatically opens a direct channel of communication so that now you can hear me and I can hear you,” he said.

At the start of the evening, before handing the instruments and mic to the public, there will be short curated conversations on topics like slam poetry, indigenous communities, music, feminism, environmentalism, and binational/borderland history.

I’m excited because in a way I’m just setting up the theatre, but it’s the people setting up the play/content,” Lozano-Hemmer said.

“The idea of tuning, of listening to others, is exactly what we need at this time: politically and culturally. The symbolism of using the technology of light to transmit voices is such that you as an individual are being seen and heard. Your voice is a bridge to connect the two countries.”

Kerri Doyle, director of the Stanlee and Gerald Rubin Center for the Visual Arts, worked with curators at the Universidad Autónoma de Ciudad Juarez to bring the project to the borderland. She said the process of coordinating, planning, curating, fundraising and finding partners for the project took a long time and lots of work.

“There’s a lot of under-the-radar work that went into this installation,” Doyle said. “We’ve actually spent most of the past year getting permits, making sure we have all of the technology in place, as well as getting both cities involved.”

Funding for the project in the U.S. came from the Mellon Foundation, VIA Art Fund and Bloomberg, and in Mexico from Arte Abierto and Novamex, with local in-kind support from Transtelco. Doyle said Lozano-Hemmer waived his fees and donated in-kind design and fabrication from his studio Antimodular Studio.

His previous art projects also make use of searchlights and other powerful electronics and include The Trace (1995), Vectorial Elevation (1999), Amodal Suspension & 1000 Platitudes (2003), and Pulse Corniche (2015).

The artist began thinking 10 years ago about creating a unique art installation for the border.

“I’ve wanted to make a piece that would connect Ciudad Juarez and El Paso, but I had an idea originally that was totally bad,” he laughed.

“My idea was to originally put on a light show like the ones I’ve done for the Olympics and for cities around the world,” he said. After giving it more thought, he decided the border art installation “should not be a spectacle. It’s about intimacy… it should also not be (about) controlling the lights but that we’re allowing our communities to control them and somehow listen to conversations.”

As a native of Mexico City, he said, the border divide has always intrigued him.

“For me what this project is about is trying to tell different stories of El Paso and Ciudad Juarez’s relationship. And of the United States and Mexico’s relationship. Not the narrative of a border [wall], and not drugs, rapists, or all these things, but rather another world; a world of coexistence, interdependence, and a world where community brings together people in a way that is really a beautiful example for the rest of the world.”

How to join in

Border Tuner will be live between November 13–24 from 6:30 to 11p.m. at Bowie High School, 801 S San Marcial St., El Paso, TX and Parque Público El Chamizal 1, Ciudad Juarez.

Find more information about the project here or call the Rubin Center at 915-747-6151.

Click hear to read Border Tuner to create bridges of light across El Paso-Juarez sky so residents of both sides can listen to each other

Categories: Local Blogs

I didn't see that coming - D76 Notes

Refuse the Juice - Thu, 10/24/2019 - 8:32am
One of the most non-controversial members of council will be leaving to run for the seat being vacated by San Antonio resident, Cesar Blanco. Councilwoman Ordaz is looking to be called Representative Ordaz... Which is great, I guess. Here's my... Brad Kanus
Categories: Local Blogs
Syndicate content


by Dr. Radut