Skip to Content

Borderzine

Syndicate content
Reporting Across Fronteras
Updated: 34 min 58 sec ago

Family, food and shopping biggest reasons for El Pasoans to visit Juarez

Thu, 01/16/2020 - 2:44pm

Ciudad Juarez is known as a sprawling border city with a strong economy thanks to the proliferation of of over 300 hundred maquiladoras, factories that assemble parts for a variety of items from car radios to windmill blades. Less well known is that the desert city of 2 million residents draws many El Paso residents to visit each day to patronize a variety of Juarez businesses from restaurants to clothing boutiques.

These preferences are most visibly shown in the medical and retail sectors, but according to the Border Perception Index, a survey conducted as part of an initiative called Building Broader Communities in the Americas, the second main reason El Pasoans cross to Cd. Juarez is to shop for 21.5 percent of those polled. The primary reason for El Pasoans to go to Juarez, according to the survey, is to visit family or friends, as indicated by 44 percent of those surveyed.

The survey, spearheaded by the El Paso Community Foundation with participation by two UTEP researchers, is the first detailed cross-border survey of residents of both sides of the frontera. Conducted between August and September of 2018, the survey includes responses from 896 El Pasoans and 1535 Juarez residents.

Shopping

La Marquesa, a popular clothing store in Juarez, is one of the most visited stores by residents of El Paso, said Ana Cristina Acosta, an Environmental Engineering graduate student at The University of Texas at El Paso.

“I know about La Marquesa because of my friends… told me that they discovered a new store with very good prices and cool stuff, especially good jewelry for every occasion,” said Acosta, who visits at least twice a month.

“Since the first day I went there I loved everything they had… and I’ve bought many gifts for family and friends, earrings, necklaces, dresses, accessories for my phone, necklaces for my dogs and other pet supplies.”

Merchandise in La Marquesa. Photo by Grecia Sanchez, Borderzine.com

Acosta said she is especially attracted by La Marquesa’s entrepreneurial activities such as “Bazar La Marquesa,” where different concept stores from Mexico and Cd. Juarez come together often usually in front of the store’s parking lot to offer their products at cheaper prices than retail stores.

“While I used to buy all of these things at H&M, Dillard’s or Macy’s, now I definitely prefer to go to La Marquesa,” Acosta said.

Burritos Crisostomo. Photo by Grecia Sanchez

Casual dining

Claudia Hernandez, a college junior student with a double major in digital media production and multimedia journalism, has been to Burritos Crisostomo on both sides of the border as she says it is one of the best street food restaurants of the region.

“I remember in El Paso I ate the barbacoa burrito and then, the other time I went, I got the quesadilla and beans, and in Juarez, I’ve eaten like, all of them,” she says. “But I stopped going to the one at El Paso because I was always comparing the price and everything and I was like ‘ugh, they’re too expensive,’” she said.

Hernandez says there is a price difference of almost two dollars between a Crisostomo burrito in El Paso ($3.90) and a Juarez Crisostomo burrito at $1.53 or 30 pesos.

The 22-year-old says her frequent visits to Juarez are to visit her grandmother and other family that live there. She usually also spends the night at the home of a family member. And a frequent activity is to take her family out to eat.

“So it’s always like that feeling of every time I go to Crisostomo in Juarez I’m having a good time,” she said.

However, she prefers the El Paso location in the summers because of the indoor air conditioning. The Juarez Crisostomo she frequents is outdoors.

“I think Juarez doesn’t have the appropriate weather for that type of restaurant because it’s always super-hot or cold or windy,” she said.

La Choperia is a popular stop for visitors from El Paso in Juarez. Photo by Grecia Sanchez, Borderzine.com

Fine Dining

Patricia Muñoz, a 49-year-old businesswoman from El Paso who works in the construction equipment business, enjoys going to a high end restaurant in Juarez called La Choperia on Avenida Lincoln near the Cordova bridge border crossing.

At the fancy restaurant, she says, she can experience an enjoyable moment with excellent quality in everything they offer.

“I do prefer La Choperia more than restaurants at El Paso… because it is close to the bridge, it has a safe parking lot, and I just love the music there,” Muñoz said. “My family and friends love it there too. We even participate singing and playing with their musical group and one just feels welcomed there.”

Muñoz also visits Chinese restaurant Shangrila as well as other types of restaurants such as Los Arcos, Ardeo and La Cabaña. She also enjoys crossing over to assist community events, boutique stores and holistic centers at Juarez or get her mandado in stores like Smart, Costco, and Soriana.

Munoz said that she is a frequent border crosser and adds: “I live my life in both cities.”

 

 

Click hear to read Family, food and shopping biggest reasons for El Pasoans to visit Juarez

Categories: Local Blogs

The Rarámuri experience in Ciudad Juárez

Mon, 01/13/2020 - 6:48pm

One of the main indigenous groups in the state of Chihuahua is known as the Tarahumada. They recognize themselves as Rarámuri. Most live in the mountains, but they also have colonies within Ciudad Juarez exclusively for them. Adriana Garcia, a Mixteca Juárense, interviewed Rosalinda Guadalajara, the local governor of the Rarámuri.

Transcript (English translation below)

INTRODUCCION: Este verano las universidades de UTEP y UACJ colaboraron para grabar historias personales de ambos lados de esta frontera. Uno de los grupos indigenas principales en el estado de Chihuahua se conocen como los Tarahumada. Ellos se auto-reconocen como Rarámuri. La mayoría viven en la sierra, pero también tienen colonias dentro de Ciudad Juárez exclusivamente para ellos. Adriana Garcia, una Mixteca Juárense, entrevisto a Rosalinda Guadalajara gobernadora local de los Rarámuri.  

ADRIANA: Sabes porque los Rarámuri son famosos alrededor del mundo?

ROSALINDA: Nosotros los Rarámuri caminamos mucho ósea para sobrevivir, para alimentarse para dar a su comunidad. Si mas recuerdo Lorena, corredora a nivel mundial, Lorena dijo, ‘Yo corro por hambre, corro por hambre porque así solamente puedo ayudar a la gente si gano esa carrera.’ 

ADRIANA: Platicanos cómo llegaste a Ciudad Juárez?

ROSALINDA: Tenia como siete años más o menos. Mis papas fueron los que vinieron primero. Después mandaron por mí. Ellos vinieron por la necesidad, por tener, por buscar trabajo. Y desde ahí cuando ellos me trajeron,  yo no me sentía pues así augusto. Era para mí, era otro mundo. 

ADRIANA: Y como que experimentaste aqui, cómo te trataba la gente?

ROSALINDA: Por primera vez que llegue aquí en la ciudad yo desconocía, desconocía cuales eran mis derechos si podia entrar en tiendas grandes o no. O hasta incluso hasta subirte en un camion te sentías que no tenias ese derecho para subirte en ese camion. Por no saber leer si el camion era el correcto al que tenias que agarrar pues parabas a un camion para preguntar, no, a un chofer que muchas de las veces sí paraban y sí te decía. Pero muchas veces no, no se paraban. Y teníamos que durar horas y horas ahí esperándolo hasta que pasara otro camion. 

ADRIANA: Una vez te paso algo con el bar Kentucky, salió mucho en las noticias nos podrías hablar de eso?

ROSALINDA: Pues era mi primera vez, no, de ir a ese lugar para convivir con unos amigos que ellos me habían invitado, no. Siempre yo lo veía que era mas así como que para gente turística. Entonces ya ahí cuando llegamos en efecto pues pasa que el guardia que estaba ahí nos dice de que no había lugar, que el lugar ya estaba todo reservado, no. Empezaron a decir los compañeros, ‘Pues si el lugar esta vacío.’ Entonces ya empieza decir que era por mí que porque yo traía guaraches o porque no podia pasar por si cae algún botella ahí que tuviera un accidente no. Entonces fue cuando ya le digieron no, mientras vengas con ella pues no entran y si van entrar que se cambie primero. Y realmente yo ahí le dije al muchacho, ‘Te dije que no nos iban a dejar entrar. Bienvenido al mundo de los Rarámuri que eso es lo que enfrentamos día a día.’ 

ADRIANA: Qué piensas de lo que paso en ese momento?

ROSALINDA: Hemos vivido mucha discriminación, no. Siempre desde pequeña e vivido lo que es así en las calles, no, veían algún indígena pues siempre te decían ‘indios’, ‘patarajada’, o incluso pues te arremedaban cuando hablabas, no, o se reían viéndote. Pues muchas veces nosotros de lo que vivimos lo normalizamos y es por eso que la gente siguen haciendo porque piensan que al final no hacen nada, no pasa nada, no saben dónde acudir, no saben, ellos son muy resistentes, aguantan lo que les decimos, no. 

ADRIANA: Pero en realidad en Ciudad Juárez hay muchas comunidades no solo la Rarámuri, la Mixteca. Hay Zapotecos, Otomi, Chinantecos, Mazahuas, Huicholes, Purépecha. En cierto momento las comunidades como son migrantes se sienten como un poco mas abajo porque vas a una, hacer cuál quiere cosa, les dicen, ‘No, es que no eres de Chihuahua, no perteneces aquí, ve te a tu pueblo. Aquí no te vamos a ayudar.’ 

ROSALINDA: Como comunidades indigenas creo que la única manera de resolver si seria como que unirnos. Muchas veces vas a decir pues como yo no lo vivo pues no me voy a ni a ponerme a trabajar ni mucho menos a opinar. Y aunque no lo hayas vivido, pero siempre hay un día que te puede pasar, no. 

Transcript in English

INTRODUCTION: This summer the universities of UTEP and UACJ collaborated to record personal stories from both sides of the border. One of the main indigenous groups in the state of Chihuahua is known as the Tarahumada. They recognize themselves as Rarámuri. Most live in the mountains, but they also have colonies within Ciudad Juarez exclusively for them. Adriana Garcia, a Mixteca Juárense, interviewed Rosalinda Guadalajara, the local governor of the Rarámuri.  

ADRIANA: Do you know why the Rarámuri are famous around the world?

ROSALINDA: We Rarámuri walk a lot to survive, to feed, to give to their community. If I remember correctly, Lorena, a global runner, Lorena said, ‘I run for hunger, I run for hunger because that’s the only way I can help people, if I win the race.’ 

ADRIANA: Tell us, how did you get to Ciudad Juárez?

ROSALINDA: I was about seven years old or so. My parents were the ones who came first. Then they sent for me. They came for the need, for having, for looking for work. And from there on, when they brought me, I did not feel so comfortamble. For me, it was another world. 

ADRIANA: And how did you experience it here, how did people treat you?

ROSALINDA: The first time I arrived here in the city, I didn’t know what my rights were, if I could enter large stores or not. Or even to get on the bus, you felt as if you didn’t have that right to get on that bus. Beacuse of not knowing how to read if the bus was the one you had to take, you would have to stop a bus to ask the driver, who often stopped and told you. But many times they wouldn’t stop. And we would have to last for hours and hours there, waiting until another bus would pass. 

ADRIANA: Something happened to you once at the Kentucky bar, it came out a lot in the news, could you tell us about that?

ROSALINDA: Well, it was my first time going to that place to hang out with friends who had invited me. I always saw it was more for tourists. When we arrived, the guard who was there tells us that there was no more space, that the place was already reserved. My friends began to say, ‘But the place is empty.’ Then he starts saying that it was because of me, that it was because I had brought sandles, I could not pass because if a bottle fell, there could be an accident. That was when they told us no, “As long as you come with her you do not enter,” and if they were going to enter then she had to change first. And there I told the boy, ‘I told you they weren’t going to let us in. Welcome to the world of the Rarámuri, this is what we face every day. ‘

ADRIANA: What do you think of what happened at that time?

ROSALINDA: We have experienced a lot of discrimination. Ever since I was little and lived what is like in the streets, they would see someone indigenous and called you ‘Indians’, ‘patarajada’, orbthey would mock how you talked, or laughed at you. Well, many times what we lived, we normalized it, and that is why people keep doing it, because they think that in the end “nothing happens, they do not know where to go, they are very resisilient, they can take what we tell them.”

ADRIANA: But in reality in Ciudad Juárez there are many communities, not only the Rarámuri, the Mixteca. There are Zapotecs, Otomi, Chinantecos, Mazahuas, Huicholes, Purépecha. At some point, communities that are migrants feel less than, because you go to do whatever and they say, ‘No, you’re not from Chihuahua, you don’t belong here, go back to your town. We are not going to help you here. ‘ 

ROSALINDA: As indigenous communities, I think the only way to resolve it would be by coming together. Many times you will say, “because I do not live it, I am not going to work, or much less, give my opinion.” And although you have not lived it, there can always be a day where it can happen to you. 

Click hear to read The Rarámuri experience in Ciudad Juárez

Categories: Local Blogs

Food trucks leverage border street food tradition into storefront businesses

Mon, 01/13/2020 - 5:54pm

Borderzine reporter Nicole Madrid explores how some El Paso entrepreneurs used food trucks to test and build their brick and mortar businesses.



Story Script

FROM FOOD TRUCK TO STOREFRONT
5:42
NICOLE MADRID

NATS 1: [Fade in sounds of food truck generator humming. Keep low under TRACK, fade out under “options.” ]

TRACK 1: (:28)

THE HUM OF A FOOD TRUCK HAS BECOME THE SOUNDTRACK TO MANY EL PASO MEALS IN RECENT YEARS, ATTRACTING DINERS WITH THEIR UNIQUE AND AFFORDABLE OPTIONS. NOW, FOOD TRUCK OWNERS LIKE PALOMA TREJO ARE MAKING THEIR NEXT STOP A BIT MORE PERMANENT.

ACT 1: Paloma Trejo (:07)
“We always had the idea of doing a store front, and we used the food truck as sort of like the vehicle to get us here.”

TRACK 2:
TREJO STARTED SWEET ADDICTION, EL PASO’S FIRST DESSERT TRUCK, IN 2012.

[Nats, street, bell, “good to see you”]

AFTER FOUR YEARS ON WHEELS, TREJO OPENED HER BAKERY IN A 1950’s STUCCO BUILDING ON PIEDRAS STREET IN CENTRAL EL PASO.

ACT 2: Trejo (:27)
“I honestly believe with all my heart that if I would have had the money to start a bakery, and if I would have just, you know, up and opened the bakery I would have probably been one of those people that is out of business within the first year, you know, or two. I don’t think I would have made it.”

TRACK 3:
FOR FIRST-TIME BUSINESS OWNERS LIKE TREJO, FOOD TRUCKS OFFER THE CHANCE TO EXPERIMENT AND LEARN WHAT CUSTOMERS LIKE.

ACT 3: Trejo
“it was through the food truck that we figured out that we like doing seasonal flavors and that people were kind of into that.”

TRACK 4:
THE TOP SELLERS FOR THE TRUCK ARE CUPCAKES THAT TREJO SAYS SHE’LL NEVER TAKE OFF THE MENU.

ACT 4: Trejo
“Right from the get go…our two most popular flavors are the churro and the red velvet. Those are the ones that everybody wants”

TRACK 5:
LEE ANNE VEGA AT THE EL PASO CHAPTER OF THE SMALL BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION, SAYS TREJO IS AMONG MANY IN THE BORDERLAND TURNING TO FOOD TRUCKS TO START UP A NEW BUSINESS.

ACT 5: Lee Anne Vega (:06)
(17:19) “There is a boom right now and we see that a lot. We get a lot of traffic from people that want food trucks.”

TRACK 6: (:22)
ACCORDING TO FOOD INSPECTION DATA FROM THE CITY’S HEALTH DEPARTMENT, THERE ARE CURRENTLY MORE THAN 300 ACTIVE MOBILE FOOD VENDOR PERMITS IN EL PASO.

VEGA SAYS MANY NEW ENTREPRENEURS IN EL PASO DON’T HAVE ACCESS TO THE CAPITAL TO START A BRICK AND MORTAR BUSINESS. ACCORDING TO 2017 CENSUS DATA, THE AVERAGE ANNUAL INCOME IN EL PASO IS JUST UNDER TWENTY THOUSAND DOLLARS, COMPARED TO A NATIONAL AVERAGE OF THIRTY ONE THOUSAND DOLLARS.

ACT 6: Vega (:26)
“You don’t want the majority of your- of your finances to go to overhead costs: to renting a space or all of the maintenance and upkeep that comes from that. So if you have a food truck the cost is minimal to get it going, and to move it around, and even just employee-wise you don’t need as many employees to keep a food truck running as you would for a brick and mortar location.”

ACT 7: Gabe Valencia
“It’s a much smaller risk with the bus.”

TRACK 7:
GABE VALENCIA CO-OWNS KAEDAMA, A SUCCESSFUL EL PASO RAMEN SHOP THAT STARTED IN A CONVERTED VW BUS.

ACT 8: Valencia
“If the bus had failed it would have been a small investment compared to the one that the restaurant was, so it was a nice little trial run.”

TRACK 8:
LIKE TREJO, VALENCIA FOUND THAT THE LOWER RISK OF THE FOOD TRUCK ALLOWED HIM TO EXPERIMENT WITH FOODS THAT WEREN’T COMMON TO EL PASO.

ACT 9: Valencia (:20)
“When we had just launched the bus we actually were kind of like an all-around Asian cuisine type deal. We had pho on the menu, we had banh mi sandwiches, we had steamed pork buns, …and eventually we just settled on it being a Japanese ramen bus”

(Nat sounds of outside Kaedema)
TRACK 9:
TURNS OUT, SETTLING ON RAMEN WAS A GOOD CHOICE. THE FOOD TRUCK TRANSFORMED INTO A RESTAURANT ON EL PASO’S WEST SIDE AND KEEPS SO BUSY A SIGN ON THE DOOR TELLS CUSTOMERS TO WAIT OUTSIDE UNTIL A SERVER GREETS THEM.

Ambi kitchen
THE TINY KITCHEN STAYS ACTIVE TURNING OUT BOWLS OF HOT RAMEN TO A FULL HOUSE.
(Fade out ambi)

TRACK 10: (:11)
TREJO ATTRIBUTES THE GROWING POPULARITY OF FOOD TRUCKS IN EL PASO TO A STRONG TRADITION OF STREET FOOD IN NEARBY JUAREZ, MEXICO..

ACT 12: Trejo (:10)
“A lot of us, you know, grew up in Juarez or come from Juarez where street food is sort of like a normal thing. You know we’re never scared of eating tacos on a street corner. We have that culture.”

BOTH VALENCIA AND TREJO SAY FOOD TRUCKS WERE ALSO A WAY TO SEE IF THEIR COOKING WAS GOOD ENOUGH FOR A SUCCESSFUL BUSINESS.

ACT 10: Valencia
“A lot of people I think make really good food. People like their family and friends will tell them it’s good. And when they open the restaurant and it’s you know it’s the public. They don’t- they’re not forced to be nice and they might get different reactions”

ACT 11: Trejo
“it does give you that validity. It’s like ‘oh ok yeah. Here’s a total stranger and they love what I do,… and you know now they’re asking me where my location is.’ So you know you start to see sort of a demand for it.”

NATS 5: [Sounds of Trejo helping customers. ]

TRACK 11:
NOW IN HER OWN STORE, TREJO IS HAPPY TO BE WAITING ON A STEADY STREAM OF CUSTOMERS. SOME DAYS SHE HAS TO CLOSE EARLY, TELLING HER FACEBOOK FOLLOWERS SHE RAN OUT OF GOODS FOR THE DAY. THIS GIVES HER HOPE THAT SWEET ADDICTION BAKERY CAN BUILD THE KIND OF LOYAL FOLLOWING ENJOYED BY SEVERAL LONG-TIME, MOM-AND-POP FOOD SPOTS ON PIEDRAS STREET.

ACT 13: Trejo
“My hope is that the neighborhood embraces us as sort of like a neighborhood go-to place. You know like very much like Kiki’s or Gussies or like Papa Burgers, like you know those are places that have been here forever and it kind of goes through, like, generations.”

TRACK 12:
TREJO’S TRUCK IS PARKED BEHIND THE BAKERY. SHE HOPED TO USE IT FOR CATERING EVENTS, BUT IS TOO BUSY KEEPING UP WITH THE DEMAND AT THE STORE. FOR NOW, SHE’LL LET THE CUSTOMERS COME TO HER.

TRACK 13: (:03)
FROM EL PASO, I’M NICOLE MADRID.

Click hear to read Food trucks leverage border street food tradition into storefront businesses

Categories: Local Blogs

Children of color already make up the majority of kids in many US states

Fri, 01/10/2020 - 10:16pm

By Rogelio Sáenz, The University of Texas at San Antonio and Dudley L. Poston, Jr., Texas A&M University

Demographers project that whites will become a minority in the U.S. in around 2045, dropping below 50% of the population.

That’s a quarter-century from now – still a long way away, right?

Not if you focus on children. White children right now are on the eve of becoming a numerical minority.

The U.S. Census Bureau projects that, by the middle of 2020, nonwhites will account for the majority of the nation’s 74 million children.

Children in 2018

The share of the U.S. non-Hispanic white population has fallen since the mid-20th century.

Between 2010 and 2018, the number of white children fell by 2.8 million, or 7.1%. In contrast, nonwhite children grew by 6.1%.

In 2018, the last year for which data are currently available, the proportion of people in the U.S. under 18 years of age was just barely more white than nonwhite.

However, children under 11 were more nonwhite than white.

In almost one-third of U.S. states, nonwhite children outnumber all white children under 18 in 14 states – including Nevada, Hawaii, Georgia and Maryland – plus the District of Columbia.

Nonwhite children currently outnumber white children ages 0 to 4 in these 15 states and in Louisiana. In the next few years, the same will be true in North Carolina, Illinois and Virginia, followed a little later by Connecticut and Oklahoma.

In the coming decades, the percentage of all white children will drop – from 49.8% in 2020 to 36.4% in 2060.

A growing trend

Why will white children become the numerical minority?

We draw on the insights of demographer Kenneth Johnson and his colleagues to understand this trend.

First, the declining number of white children reflects the significant aging of the white population.

Whites in the U.S. have a median age of 43.6, much higher than those of all other racial or ethnic groups. Latinos, in particular, are much younger, with a median age of 29.5.

Slightly more than one-fifth of whites are age 65 and older, while elders account for only about one-tenth of nonwhites. Indeed, today in the U.S. there are more white elders than white children.

The older age of whites is mainly due to fewer white births than white deaths.
Between July 2017 and July 2018, there were 0.88 white births in the U.S. for every 1 white death. In the case of Latinos, the ratio was 5 births for every 1 death.

Whites also have lower fertility rates than most other racial and ethnic groups.

Even if white women increased their fertility levels, their actual numbers of births would not go up that much, because there is a shrinking number of white women of childbearing age.

Only 41% of white women aged 15 and older are in the childbearing ages of 15 to 44, when most births occur, compared to 57% of nonwhite women.

What the future holds

In the coming decades, people of color will have an increasing presence in all U.S. institutions, in higher education, the workforce and the electorate.

Americans are already seeing the consequences of these demographic shifts in higher education. Between 2009 and 2017, the number of white undergraduate students in the U.S. dropped by 1.7 million, while the number of Latino undergraduates rose by 1.1 million.

In addition, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projections show that, between 2014 and 2024, the white share of the civilian labor force is declining, while the share of nonwhites is estimated to rise.

Furthermore, people of color will increasingly be part of the voter rolls and slates of political office seekers in the coming decades.

Despite these expected changes, one thing is certain. The white population is not going to disappear. The U.S. Census Bureau projects that whites will still be the largest racial or ethnic group, accounting for 44.3% of the nation’s population in 2060 and outnumbering Latinos, the second largest group, by 67.9 million.

The reality is that whites will not dominate demographically as they have throughout most of U.S. history, when they accounted for as much as 90% of the country’s population. Roughly speaking, the share of the U.S. white population in 2060 will be the same as it is now in Las Vegas, about 44%.

Rogelio Sáenz, Professor of Demography, The University of Texas at San Antonio and Dudley L. Poston, Jr., Professor of Sociology, Texas A&M University

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

 

Click hear to read Children of color already make up the majority of kids in many US states

Categories: Local Blogs

Entrepreneurial spirit flourishes at El Paso’s farmers markets

Fri, 01/10/2020 - 9:48pm

Farmers markets in El Paso provide not only local produce, arts and entertainment, they also bring entrepreneurial opportunities.

Mother and daughter, Mary Maskill and Arianna Romero, operate Pretty in Lemon, a lemonade stand that can be seen at nearly every farmer and artist market location.

“I’ve always wanted to open a business. It’s been a dream of mine to open my own business. It’s awesome to be your own boss,” said Romero, whose parents helped her open the lemonade and simple syrup stand.

Maskill shares her daughter’s space with her own business called Pretty in Paper. She says her husband hopes to one day open a hot dog or bratwurst stand.

“He said ‘maybe we can be right next to each other and you can sell the drinks and I sell the food,’ she said. “Hopefully one day that will happen.”

There are farmers markets on Fridays at Fountains at Farrah, Saturdays at Ardovino’s Desert Crossing, Saturdays Downtown, and Sundays at the Hobby Lobby in the Upper Valley.

Romero said the hardest part of selling at markets throughout the weekend is getting the booth set up.

“You can show how proud you are of your business by how it looks and how you present yourself. But we move our store everywhere, so we pick up everything. We pick up the tables, the water, everything. Hauling it back and forth is heavy work,” she said.

Harold Shumate is a honey producer with New Mexico Desert Farm who sells honey made by local bees.

“The honey comes from different flowers. I have my bees where I have at least 100 acres of just those flowers, so the bees will only go to those flowers. That’s the way I can control what kind of honey I get. I have mesquite honey from mesquite bushes, Palo Verde, alfalfa, catclaw, cotton, rose,” Shumate said.

He cautions shoppers to know how to tell they’re getting the real thing.

“If the honey doesn’t taste like the flower it comes from, it’s not real. All honey comes from a flower, so it must taste like the flower it comes from. If it’s only sweet, you just bought corn syrup,” he said.

He also touts the benefits of honey.

“The honey itself has lots of good properties. Honey will heal a cut faster than anything you can buy in stores. Honey has natural antibiotics, enzymes, folic acid, tremendous amount of benefits raw honey has.”

Two years ago, Shumate began selling CBD oil in addition to honey.

“A lot of people are buying CBD oil as a way to manage pain,” he said.

He isn’t a reseller of the CBD oil, but makes his own.

“I have a lab report from a third-party so you know exactly what you are getting. There are so many people out here selling CBD oil, it’s unbelievable. All they do is buy it, resell it, or put a different label on it and resell it. They don’t know what’s in it, they don’t know their quality, they don’t know how much is really there or not,” he said.

Max Rapaport sells melons, chilis, and other produce at farmers markets for Grow Wild at Sierra Vista Growers.

“I used to be a chef for many years in Colorado where the market culture was very strong, the farm-to-table movement. In my background, I worked in a lot of restaurants where all of the food that we use, as far as produce, was grown within 100 miles of our restaurant. When I moved here, I was hard pressed to find a good market culture with fresh vegetables fresh produce, organically grown and responsibly harvested,” he said.

Rappaport started gardening in his back yard, then “I found Sierra Vista Growers where I started selling house plants, trees, everything that we have there, flowers. From there it kind of grew organically to what you see here.”

In addition to sales, the farmers market culture appeals to vendors.

“I enjoy making the drinks,” Romero said. “I enjoy making the lemonade, but my favorite part is the people. Oh my goodness, so many sweet people and so many friends that we make by doing this. It’s awesome how this community supports each other.”

Maskill agreed.

“My nephew told me one time, ‘You guys are lucky because you guys are actually doing what you’ve always wanted to do’ so it’s a privilege to be able to, maybe not become rich but be happy. We love meeting people, we have made a lot of friendships.”

Click hear to read Entrepreneurial spirit flourishes at El Paso’s farmers markets

Categories: Local Blogs

Ex-convicts use Real Talk program to put El Paso youth on better path

Fri, 01/10/2020 - 9:17pm

A motivation program for children and teens called Real Talk that features conversations with felons and individuals convicted of crimes recently launched in El Paso. The project goal is to steer borderland children and teens away from dangerous lifestyles by getting them to engage in honest and open conversations with former convicts about the dangers of drug abuse, gang life, and crime.

“The ultimate goal is to try and save as many kids as we can,” said Real Talk founder Sheree D. Corniel who launched the first project in Las Vegas in 2013.

Corniel, who has 20 years of experience working in law enforcement as a U.S. probation officer and juvenile parole officer, said she hopes to launch additional branches of Real Talk at cities across the U.S. El Paso is the second Real Talk location.

Even before the program’s official launch next month, Julian Morales, whose hard work and perseverance helped bring the non-profit program to the Sun City, and other Real Talk presenters have visited local middle and high schools to promote the program to students and parents. They also held a special event at Cesar Chavez Academy, a local school for at-risk students.

Presentations with ex felons are a a major feature of Real Talk. Former felons share their life stories, talk about how they became involved in a gang or in crime and urge youth to stay on the right path. The former felons’ crimes vary from murder, robbery, driving while intoxicated and other brushes with the law.

“We want to be a beacon of hope for the felons that are coming out, raising their hand, wanting to do something positive,” said Morales, who spent more than a decade in prison for a drug crime and other felonies.

He added that believes bringing the program to his home city will help save the youth who are on the same destructive path that he went down and provide them positive alternatives such as after school activities to keep them busy and off the streets.

Born and raised in El Paso, Morales said he learned about the Las Vegas program and after numerous calls to Corniel she agreed to allow him to open a branch in his home city if he first obtained permission to open a non profit. Morales received the legal permission last January.

Real Talk EP is open to children ages 8 to 18 and consists of three initial classes at the Southwest University Auditorium, on the first Tuesday of every month at 6 p.m.

Parents attend the first class with their children and participate in discussions with a parenting group, while the youth attend their first Real Talk session.

Although parents are not required to attend every time, the children and teens who join the program must be accompanied by an adult every time.

Real Talk sessions consist of a female and two males offenders. During the sessions, they share their stories with youth in hope that their personal examples will keep them from making the same mistakes. Individuals who have been charged with any kind of sexual assault or child endangerment are excluded from participating.

Real Talk EP presenters and volunteers during a presentation at Cesar Chavez Academy in El Paso, Texas on October 9th, 2019.

In 2017 there were 400 reported felonies committed by juveniles from the ages of 10 to 16 in El Paso County. The number increased to 465 in 2018, according to the website epcounty.com. Over 100 of the felonies committed by juveniles in 2018 were for burglary and 58 were categorized as drug offenses.

In addition to participating in the conversations and receiving guidance, students and parents who meet the requirements can apply for a monthly stipend of $150 to use for after school programs or STEM projects, sports equipment, or time in a recording studio.

To qualify for the stipend a participant must have at least a 2.0 grade point average, the parent has to volunteer a minimum of 20 hours a year, and the youth has to volunteer a minimum of two hours a month by helping out at Real Talk events.

All young people ages 8 to 18 are eligible to participate in the Real Talk program, not just those considered at risk. The program is also open to students who excel in school but may not have funds to participate in extracurricular activities.

For more information contact Real Talk EP at (915) 253-9865 or by email at info@realtalkep.org. You can also follow them on Facebook by searching for Real Talk EP or visiting the website at www.realtalkep.org

 

 

 

Click hear to read Ex-convicts use Real Talk program to put El Paso youth on better path

Categories: Local Blogs

Growing up along with the rise of emojis and gifs

Fri, 01/10/2020 - 9:13pm

If there is one thing that I have noticed about my life, it is that language has been changing.

Being part of a generation practically obsessed with social media has made me and millions of others aware that these platforms are no longer just about posting that perfect selfie or unfriending that one person because you feel petty. It has made me realize that online culture has influenced the way I, and most millennials, write.

We are hooked on the screens of our computers, tablets and phones, which makes it inevitable that formal writing is just not a common thing anymore. There are new words and new meanings of old words – not to mention several ways to respond to someone online.

What started out as a handful of simple acronyms like LOL (laughing out loud) or BRB (be right back) has now turned into an alphabet soup of words and letters that can seem more like Morse Code than conversation.

“This new variant of written English strives to convey what body language, and tone and volume of voice can achieve in spoken English,” Dr Lauren Fonteyn, English Linguistics lecturer at the University of Manchester told Mashable.

Back in my early days it seemed like sparking up a conversation was as simple as “Hi, how are you.” Language was more simple, formal, and understandable. When I look back and compare to how conversations went, it feels language lacked emotion. Nowadays, writing in all caps exudes more emotion than the simple exclamation mark that was used before.

Over time, it seemed all the cool kids and trendy people came up with unique ways to create a spunkier way of talking, whether that be through a note being passed to a friend in class, or an AOL dial-up chatroom.

Keeping up with all these changes takes a lot of work. I clearly remember scavenging through the web trying to figure out what on earth “being skinny” meant, only to find out it didn’t only mean being physically slim, but also meant being iconic. Or, the first time my friends asked me to spill the tea. No, they weren’t asking me to spill actual tea made out of actual tea leaves, but to spill any good gossip I had.

 

Another trend that has slowly taken over is meme and gif responses. Sometimes, it isn’t right to just respond with, “omg I am speechless.” Instead use a meme.

The uses of memes and gifs, even emojis, have made the language we use through technology quicker, funnier, and more modern.

At the first international workshop on Emoji Understanding and Applications in Social Media, known as Emoji2018, researchers gathered to show how emoji and other forms of modern communication are changing the way we communicate online. According to Instagram, “by 2015, more than half of all comments on Instagram posts included at least one emoji.”

Although there is a right time and place to use this informal medium, using too much of this internet language and conversation can lead to having a casual attitude toward grammar.

The language on social media can hinder your way of having a decent and normal conversation. Join a spelling bee or read the dictionary once in a while, you’ll find that most internet slang and conversations lack punctuality, correct syntax, and other communication tragedies.

If you feel you’re left out of this bubble, don’t fret, Urbandictionary.com is your friend. If there’s anything you want to know that just has you in complete confusion, there are plenty of online dictionaries that can help you stay trendy and be one of “those” people.

Click hear to read Growing up along with the rise of emojis and gifs

Categories: Local Blogs

How border journalism learned the value of Spanish and local reporters

Thu, 01/09/2020 - 11:20am

A conversation with father and son journalists in El Paso. Aaron Bracamontes, digital content director for KTSM 9 News, interviews his father, Ramon, former El Paso Times managing editor, about the not-too-distant past when Hispanics and the Spanish language weren’t reflected in the makeup of the city’s largest newsroom.

Transcript

Aaron Bracamontes:  Me and you have kind of talked about it in the past. The El Paso Times I started at and the El Paso Times I left wasn’t the same El Paso Times that you start at. What was newspaper like here in El Paso when you started ,or just journalism in El Paso at the time?

Ramon Bracamontes:  Journalism in El Paso, a long time ago, was an amazing, an amazing competitive career. There were two newspapers in El Paso. The El Paso Herald Post, which published every afternoon, published every day except Sundays. And then the El Paso Times, who I worked for, was the competition.

And it was, we were housed in the same building with only a hallway dividing us. And it was competition to beat them in the stories. It was competition to get the story first, competition to get the investigation first. And it was a badge of honor every day if you could scoop your fellow police reporter. And it was great.

The other big difference now that, from back then to now, is that the El Paso Times was considered a major newspaper in Texas, in the United States. It’s still a major newspaper, but the difference is we used to cover the Olympics, we used to go cover the Super Bowl. We used to go cover national events. If there was an earthquake in Mexico City, we would get eight reporters, put them in an airplane and send them down to Mexico City to cover the earthquake. We did what big newspapers do now.

Because of the El Paso Times I’ve been able to see the world. I went, I was sent to Cuba to interview Fidel Castro, when he was in his prime in the ‘80s. I was sent to Europe to do stories out of Amsterdam and the Netherlands. I’ve been all over the country and all over the world because of my journalism and because the El Paso Times wanted to cover national and worldwide events, not just local, local, local.

Aaron Bracamontes: And it was Gannett back then, right?

Ramon Bracamontes: It was owned by Gannett. Yes

Aaron Bracamontes:  So speaking Spanish was a huge advantage for going down to Cuba and southern countries south of us, right?

Ramon Bracamontes:  Yes. The big advantage back then was Gannett was tied to the starting and the formation of USA Today and USA Today wanted to compete with the national newspapers. But, instead of hiring a staff of 500 people, they would rely on local reporters. And for a while for Gannett and for USA Today I was the unofficial, central South America correspondent for USA Today. It means anything that happened from south of El Paso all the way to Argentina, I would be sent to help with the news.

Aaron Bracamontes:  I think you’ve kind of one time mentioned, I mean, when I was at El Paso Times a year ago, there was Bracamontes, there was Martinez, there was Gonzalez, there was Borunda, there were a lot of, you know, a lot of Hispanic surnames. Was it like that back when you started? Or was it, I guess, did it represent El Paso as much?

Ramon Bracamontes:  When I started at the El Paso Times, it was 1984. The majority of the editors and the majority of the reporters did not speak Spanish. They didn’t think there was much of a need or value in somebody being able to speak Spanish. It has totally changed now. Everybody speaks Spanish.  Even the editors now, who didn’t use to speak Spanish, learned it, appreciated it and are moving now.

But the biggest misconception back then was that the reporters the El Paso Times hired to cover Juarez, were people that learned Spanish and learned about the Mexican culture and about the Hispanics, they learned it in universities away from the border. It was never a reporter who was born and raised in El Paso who knew Juarez like the back of their hand, just like they knew El Paso, like the back of their hand.

And that was the thing that I, and other editors as we moved up and got older. moved to change. We wanted natives from Juarez covering Juarez, we wanted natives from El Paso and Juarez covering both cities. And because of a lot of great editors the Times has had, starting with Paula Moore and Tom Fenton and Don Flores and Bob Moore. The culture there at the Times now is a lot of Spanish speaking and Spanish speaking is very much valued. It wasn’t in 1984.

It’s just amazing how life has changed. Back then speaking Spanish, being Hispanic was considered a negative and you had to work twice as hard to move up. Now if you speak Spanish, if you’re a minority, it’s seen as a positive and it’s, it’s a good thing to be able to speak both languages.

Aaron Bracamontes:  As you saw that change, what was it like? Did it feel like it was always heading in that direction or did it feel like it was a fight to get to that direction? Or did it feel like it was just a slow change?

Ramon Bracamontes:    It was a very slow change too, because it wasn’t just in the newsroom. It was happening throughout El Paso in the leadership. I remember that when I started in 1984, all the superintendents as a school district were Anglo – didn’t speak Spanish. Most of the elected officials except for maybe one in city council, were Anglo, not Hispanic. And most of the elected officials, the county attorney, the district attorney, were all Anglo – didn’t speak Spanish.

And I don’t know what year it was, but it was before 1990, it changed. All of a sudden, Jose Rodriguez became the county attorney and he spoke Spanish. Jaime Esparza became the district attorney, he spoke Spanish. A gentleman named Trujillo was named the superintendent in Ysleta School District and he spoke Spanish. Stan Paz was named the superintendent in the El Paso School District, and he spoke Spanish. So it took a long time, but in retrospect, it happened over night. All of a sudden you woke up and almost every other elected official was Hispanic. Almost every elected official spoke Spanish regardless of what their heritage was. And then the school districts were led by Hispanic speaking people, Hispanic people who spoke Spanish.

It hasn’t happened anywhere as fast as in El Paso, but in El Paso, it was a twofold. Because, and I don’t remember the years, it must’ve been the late eighties, early nineties, when we at the Times were experimenting about using Spanish words, maybe having a Spanish section, throwing in a Spanish word in the headline, throwing in a quote in Spanish. People were mad in El Paso at the El Paso Times for doing that. And we stopped.

But the reason we stopped and what really surprised me and others was that the people who got the most upset about seeing Spanish in the newspaper were Spanish speakers or Hispanics. And they said “I came here to learn English. I came here to become a part of the United States. I came here to acclimate myself. I want to read in English, I want to speak in English. I don’t need you putting Spanish in my daily newspaper in El Paso.” And I think that was why we pulled the plug on that experiment in the- I don’t know if it was the late eighties, early nineties, but we stopped putting Spanish in the El Paso Times. Instead, we went to a section by itself, delivered to certain neighborhoods.

Aaron Bracamontes:  One of the things that you always kinda told me that I still say today to reporters and editors is the reminder that as journalists, as much as we want to say we rough it sometimes, we still do live in the ivory tower because we have direct access to elected officials. We have direct access to CEOs.

But a big part of that, what you always tried to instill me, was know what the neighborhood says. And El Paso it was always kind of knowing the neighborhoods in El Paso, knowing the regular people who take their kids to games who, you know, go eat at the hole in the wall Mexican joints and knowing what they feel is the pulse of the city is a huge part of covering this town. How important was that? Or was bringing El Paso to El Paso through news. How important was that for you?

Ramon Bracamontes: That was always very important. Always very important. And I’ve been lucky that the editors that I worked for, gave me a seat at the table and they at least heard me when I said crazy things or things that I thought made sense. And one of the things I always pushed for was that we need, the El Paso Times and all the journalists, all the TV stations here, needed more Spanish speakers. More Spanish speakers, more Spanish speakers. And native El Pasoans are the way to go because El Paso is a different city.

I spent some time in Reno, I spent some time in Tucson. I spent time in Washington, D C, and El Paso is just a very different city, that is, I guess a small town in lots of respects. So you need the people that can relax and interview somebody’s grandma and interview somebody who is struggling to open a new store, a new shop, and a new little restaurant. And you need to bring those people forward because they have something to bring them to the table and you can learn from them. Others can learn from them by talking to them.

I am super, super competitive. So when I walked into the newsroom as a young kid out of UTEP and there were great reporters there, like David Landis and Gary Scharrer, or Ramon Renteria and David Crowder, who had been there awhile. My goal, and I would tell them, is that ‘I’m going to be your boss and I’m going to be better than you.’ So I learned from them and I learned how to do good stories. I learned from the editors who were helping me write stories like Ben Keck and John Moore and Dan Elliott. I observed them from all, I observed Nan Kick. I observed Kate Gannon, Bob Moore. And my goal was to take what they had and take my street instincts and my Lower Valley raising and my Spanish influence and mesh those things together. And I think I was able to do that, which is why  I was promoted real fast. I was sent around the world to talk to people. I mean, they, no matter what happened, if they needed somebody to go fast and mobile and get somewhere, it would be me.

It helped me get to where I wanted to get. I mean, there was one story when, a bunch of people from Aguascalientes, Mexico came to El Paso. They crossed the border illegally. They were put in a train in a boxcar and they were going to go to Dallas. The boxcar got stuck outside of Tornillo in 105 degree weather. And within a couple of hours, all 29 people in that boxcar died.

When they were sending them back home, I was going to – when they were putting them in caskets and sending them back home-  I was at the Juarez airport and I was doing the story. All I had was maybe 5 dollars in my pocket and a notebook. And one of the airplanes that was taking the caskets back, and the pilot, and it was the mayor or the governor of Aguascalientes. He had an extra seat in his little plane in his – I don’t know what kind of plane it was, it was small. And I said, is anybody going in there? Can I get in there? And I said it in Spanish and I said it real friendly and he said, “Yes, come on in.”

So I just got in the plane and I went to their hometown, which was in the mountains in Aguascalientes. Didn’t have a hotel room, didn’t have a credit card, didn’t have money. Didn’t have anything. But once when I got there, I befriended a family and said, ‘I have nowhere to stay. I am- I don’t know anybody in this town. I don’t have a hotel there’s no hotels here.” And they said, stay in our house. You can have the sofa, you can stay here. They fed me three times a day and I was able to send stories back every time.

So it was my street smarts, my Hispanic heritage that helped me get that. But then it was the journalism training that I got from Gannett and from my peers that would make me, that made me successful. That was able to mesh both of them.

 

Click hear to read How border journalism learned the value of Spanish and local reporters

Categories: Local Blogs

Cross-border romance led to marriage on international bridge

Thu, 01/09/2020 - 11:14am

La historia de una pareja separada por su situación migratoria. Sandra Lopez se regreso a Juárez después de descubrir que estaba viviendo indocumentada en Estados Unidos. Ella conoció a su esposo, Rodolfo, un ciudadano Americano, por internet. Ambos recuerdan cómo fue desarrollando su relación.

Translation: This is the story of a couple separated by their immigration status. Sandra Lopez returned to Juarez after discovering that she was living undocumented in the United States. She met her husband, Rodolfo, an American citizen, online. Both recall how their relationship developed.

Transcript (translated):

Introduction: The universities of UTEP and UACJ have collaborated this summer to gather stories from both sides of the border. Today we have the story of a couple separated by their immigration status. Sandra Lopez returned to Juarez after discovering that she was living undocumented in the United States. She met her husband, Rodolfo, an American citizen, online. Both recall how their relationship developed.  

Rodolfo: When did you find out that you were undocumented?

Sandra: I realized it when I was going to graduate from high school. That’s where it hit me. My counselor called me to say “hey, we have scholarships that they want to give you.” Ah, how fun, I said, How cool. But then he said, “but do you have Social Security?” And that’s when I was like, what is that? And that’s when I said “oops.” I wanted to continue studying, I wanted to study to be a judge.

Rodolfo: How were your first weeks, months living in Juarez?

Sandra: It was horrible because I came to a country I didn’t know. With no one to give you support, without knowing anything, and now what do I do? Where will I go to look for work? And I thank God that Sanborn’s was the one who gave me the opportunity. The manager told me, the amount you earned in the United States does not compare to here. The first time I grabbed my check, tears even rolled. Wow, I earned this in a single week. A whole week working hard. And earn $55 a week.

Sandra: Tell me about the first time we met.

Rodolfo: She brought her mother to the bridge. I bought flowers and brought my guitar. And I crossed.

Sandra: And what did my mom call you?

Rodolfo: Oh, Antonio Banderas. Because I arrived with the guitar and the flowers.

Sandra: I made you chile rellenos with rice and beans and there I was, cooking, and making everything look good and boom I ran out of gas. And I said, “what now?” I quickly called, because there where I lived I had an aunt who lived there, so I called her. “Aunt, you know what, this this and that…” “No mija, come here and we’ll make the chiles rellenos here so they are ready.” Well, there I go with my aunt, with pans and everything walking in the street to go and make the chiles rellenos. I prepared him a romantic dinner.

Sandra: When did you realize that you fell in love with me?

Rodolfo: Well, I remember talking to you and feeling sad to get to El Paso and not be able to visit you. You caught my attention, I needed you. 

Rodolfo: And where did we get married?

Sandra: Well, on the bridge.

Rodolfo: On the Santa Fe bridge.

Sandra: It was a totally unforgettable experience. Everyone looked at me weird. Just like, “Ah look, there’s a bride.” Well, I was already very nervous to walk all over the street and then go up to the bridge and then pay the booth. And then when I was arriving, it felt like eternity to get to the middle of the bridge. Finally, when he stretched his hand I relaxed. There, I’m safe. 

Rodolfo: What was the most difficult part of our relationship?

Sandra: Well, the separation. The separation that you are there and I am here.

Rodolfo: Still, right now?

Sandra: Even now that has always been the saddest part of our relationship. Not being able to be with you every night.

Rodolfo: And what are your plans for the future?

Sandra: I want to be able to fix my immigration status, to be able to go there and be with you. Of course we want to live as a family, as every normal family lives wherever they are together.

Click hear to read Cross-border romance led to marriage on international bridge

Categories: Local Blogs

Fort Bliss soldiers share their thoughts on living in El Paso

Fri, 01/03/2020 - 1:16pm

EL PASO – Life in the military brings soldiers to duty stations across the U.S and overseas. For many, it is easy to picture being stationed in places like Hawaii or Colorado. But, when it comes to a posting at Fort Bliss in this West Texas city on the U.S., Mexico border, some soldiers didn’t know what to expect.

“All I really knew of it was what I heard from old tales of the wild, wild west,” said New Jersey National Guard, Staff Sgt. Brandon Glaser, who came to El Paso from Chicago in 2012. “It was my first time on a military installation, I thought the perception of the military in towns like that would be not-as-well taken, but El Paso is a very friendly place.”

After moving to New Jersey, Glaser and his wife continue to talk about moving back to the borderland.

“We made such great friends there, we’re in love with the scenery, we like the outdoors, we love the weather, but the people of El Paso are just incredibly friendly and some of the best relationships we have are local El Pasoans,” he said.

According to Gilbert Telles Jr., public affairs specialist at Fort Bliss, 27,057 active duty military personnel and 37,747 family members are stationed at Fort Bliss living on and off post. The post sprawls from the center of the city to the Chihuahuan desert wilderness of New Mexico. Fort Bliss-stationed service members and their families are equal to just under 10 percent the population of El Paso. The 2010 census states the population living on Fort Bliss was 8,591.

Borderzine reached out to soldiers who were stationed at Fort Bliss in the past five years to talk about their experiences with the Sun City.

Both Veteran Sgt. Michael Boatright and Staff Sgt. Joe Mindar of 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, revealed that the only thing they knew about El Paso before arriving was that their drill sergeant during basic training at another post told them it was “a shithole.”

“When I got here, my first impression was that the local populace wasn’t too fond of the military. Whenever I would go out to drink, to the bars, or to shop and people find out you’re military and they kind of look at you like, ‘Oh man, another soldier.’ But I guess that’s from their past experiences,” said Boatright, who came from Riverside, California.

“My overall perception, after living here for 11 years, is that I love El Paso. It’s a lot slower pace than what I’m used to in California. It’s a lot safer,” he said. “I got my kids here, my wife here, quite a few civilian friends. I’m just enjoying the civilian life out here and going to school.”

Mindar, from Springerville, Arizona, said that after being stationed in El Paso, “I did enjoy living there. It wasn’t that bad.”

After leaving El Paso to be stationed at Schofield Barracks in Hawaii, Mindar was then sent to Fort Polk in Louisiana. He is currently on temporary assignment in El Paso. After returning he said, “Coming back wasn’t as bad as I was expecting, it’s still familiar, but I don’t think it’s home.”

Photo by Jared Carver, Borderzine.com

Perceptions varied depending on whether the soldier came from a small town or a large city. Some small town residents saw El Paso as huge, while city-dwellers considered it a smaller and slower paced town.

Veteran Spc. Dustin Rogers of 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, came from Glennville, Georgia, which he describes as, “a very small town where everybody knew everybody. The kind of town where you could be 6 years old and drive a tractor through town and no one even blinks an eye.”

After arriving, Rogers was surprised to run into language barriers. “A lot of people spoke Spanish that I didn’t understand. But it’s like that sometimes when you go places you don’t ever go.”

Rogers said he was in El Paso for about two years with a deployment in the middle of his time here.

“I left as soon as I could. It was just way too big of a city,” he said. They didn’t grow up like I did and they didn’t treat people like I was raised to treat people. I come from a very small town where everyone would give you the shirt off their back if you need it.”

Veteran Sgt. 1st Class Tina James worried about the safety of the community,

“My perception of El Paso before I got here was that you were gonna get robbed,” she said. She even mentioned being told that she would be a kidnapping target due to her light complexion. After arriving, her perception was flipped.

“Everyone was so friendly. It was very nice. I have no issues at all, and I still have no issues,” James said. “I’ve lived here for 7, almost 8 years now and I love it. There’s always something to do. Actually, I love El Paso. I’ve made El Paso my home now.”

And that feeling of safety?

“I’m from Barstow, California, which is a very small town. Believe it or not, it’s a lot like El Paso just with a lot less people and a lot more meth.”

Fort Bliss has several services available for incoming soldiers and their families to help with the adjustment to living on post and in El Paso. Doug Piltz, Manager at Transition Services said that once soldiers arrive, they go through the Welcome Center for processing. At that time, they will be given direction, guidance, and information about the various organizations on the installation. Soldiers are also told where they are not allowed to go in the city. Additionally, they are not allowed to enter Juarez due to safety concerns.

Piltz said the following organizations are a few that encourage soldiers and their families during the integration process into their new community.

  • Morale Welfare Recreation (MWR)
  • Welcome center
  • Relocation office
  • Army Community Services
  • YMCA Armed Forces
  • USO

The Morale Welfare Recreation (MWR) organizes recreational, social events for soldiers and their families on-post usually, but sometimes they go on out-of-town events too.

 

Click hear to read Fort Bliss soldiers share their thoughts on living in El Paso

Categories: Local Blogs

Kiki’s – How a little neighborhood restaurant grew to be a community tradition

Fri, 01/03/2020 - 12:36pm

El Paso is a city packed with mom-and-pop Mexican restaurants – humble spots tucked in amid neighborhood shops that many non-locals might not even notice as they drive by. Places, like Kiki’s at 2719 N. Piedras. It is off the beaten path, but after more than 40 years, this Central El Paso eatery has grown into a local institution that attracts fans from across the city.

Kiki’s Mexican Restaurant and Bar was established by Paula Yardeni in 1976. The name Kiki’s comes from Yardeni’s daughter who was just a toddler at the time. While Yardeni was in charge of running the restaurant, Hector Latigo, 57, came on board as assistant manager in 1985.He worked his way up to manager and, when Yardeni retired in 2011, he bought the place, fulfilling his high school dream of owning a restaurant.

“I was born and raised in South Texas and had been working in restaurants my whole life. One weekend about 40 years ago, I came to El Paso to visit my sister and I instantly fell in love it with. I was surprised by the feeling of community and togetherness, the likes of which I had never experienced,” Latigo said. “I moved here as fast as I could and started working in a few other restaurants before I finally found my home at Kiki’s.”

The dining room is filled with tributes to and from the community. Polaroid photos of patrons hang on the walls next to the booths. Elsewhere, the walls are covered with thank you letters from dozens of schools, veterans organizations, and non-profit organizations alongside framed news articles and even notes of thanks from local and national celebrities.

Latigo said he always strongly believed in giving back to the community. “We’ve done a lot of fundraisers for schools, from elementary to high school. But I also like to get involved with all sorts of, not just schools, but other organizations, and to anyone that comes in and needs a little assistance,” he said.

His most popular fundraiser is selling green chile enchilada plates and donating a portion of those proceeds to a worthy cause.

“It’s so much more meaningful to give back to the community and know that part of our proceeds are benefiting the people who support us; rather than pay for a commercial. A majority of our business comes from word of mouth,” he said.

The restaurant has also received raves in regional and national publications. It was named one of the 50 Best Hispanic Restaurants by Hispanic magazine and has been featured on the Food Network.

Some of Kiki’s most popular dishes, the Mexican combination plate and green chile enchiladas. Photo by Amanda Pracht, Borderzine.com

While it’s true you can find Mexican restaurants around just about every corner in the borderland, there is a certain something about Kiki’s that keeps patrons coming back for generations.

“Our style of food is a little different,” Latigo said. “For example, our green sauce has a little bit of a different, creamier, spice to it and we do everything fresh.”

The restaurant is most known for their mouth-watering green chicken enchiladas, spicy molé and it’s “famous machaca” plate. The only things that are not on the menu are pork dishes – not even the Mexican staple, carnitas.

“We’ve never banned pork from our menu; we have bacon that we add to our breakfasts and burgers. But I believe that our customers have a particular taste and have never really asked for pork products. It just comes down to what our customers ask for,” Latigo said. “… It’s been working for us for over 40 years, so why am I going to change those things?”

The menu isn’t the only thing that hasn’t changed about Kiki’s. Latigo said the interior design remains in the same style as it did when it first opened.

“I truly believe that a lot of folks, especially those from out of town, want to come to a place that’s original and something from the past. They can get an upscale, fancy, modern Mexican restaurant in New York. But when they come into town, they want a place where the locals hang out. And even the locals tell me, ‘just leave it the way it is, this is the way it’s been even before it was Kiki’s.’ This is because it was a bar and grill right before it became Kiki’s,” he said.

Hector Latigo showing pictures historical pictures of Kiki’s building and pictures that were taken in the building. Photo credit: Amanda Pracht

Standing by a collection of old black and white photographs, Latigo said the building has hosted a variety of other businesses. “Back in the 1910’s and 1920’s this building used to be right next to a trolley stop. It was a store by the name of Altura Grocery.”

Latigo has tried to keep artifacts from the building’s past, including a set of four iron stakes on the side of the building which once were used to tie up horses while patrons shopped inside. “Those stakes had been here since before Paula and I were here, and I remember when the city finally came to redo the sidewalk, they pulled the stakes out and gave them to me for safe keep.”

Patrons eating at the booths of Kiki’s as lunch begins, while a waiter writes down an order. Photo credit: Amanda Pracht

The 64 seat restaurant is usually packed for lunch and dinner. Latigo said there are regulars who have been coming in since before he started working there.

” I’ve gotten to know the regulars on a very deep and personal level, and I wouldn’t change that for the world. And we don’t just make regulars feel like family, we make anyone who walks through our doors feel like family. I’ve had folks who’ve never had Mexican food come in, I’ve had celebrities in. … I mean people from all over the world stop by. My customers are everything to me,” he said.

Whenever Carmen Bethany and her daughters get a hankering for green chile enchiladas, Kiki’s is their go-to place.

“Probably I’ve been coming here since it was built or maybe a couple years after that, I would say,” she said. “It has great food and we like the green chile enchiladas and many other things too. It’s a great atmosphere, really friendly, nicest people, just a great place to come to.”

Kiki’s is part of her family story too.

Bethany recalled a day 18 years ago when one of her daughters went into labor with her grandson while eating at the restaurant. Now that grandson comes with them after school. Roberta, Carmen Bethany’s other daughter said “I can’t think of a time when Kiki’s wasn’t in my life. I’ve literally been coming here for as long as I can remember. We love the food and we always get the same meal, we actually split it. We love the atmosphere, we just love the feeling of hominess, that’s what keeps us coming back.”

 

 

 

 

Click hear to read Kiki’s – How a little neighborhood restaurant grew to be a community tradition

Categories: Local Blogs

Cross-border home ownership rate reflects El Paso, Juarez binational community dynamic

Sat, 12/28/2019 - 3:10pm

About one in every six El Pasoans say they own homes in both Ciudad Juarez and El Paso, according to a recent survey.

The Border Perception Survey asked border residents about topics ranging from education and health to the security and environment. The survey, a collaboration between the El Paso Community Foundation and Fundación Comunitaria Frontera Norte as part of an initiative called Building Broader Communities in the Americas, was conducted between August and September of 2018 and included 896 El Pasoans and 1,535 Juarez residents.

“The surprising thing was such a large number of people who actually are dual citizens, or are citizens of one side of the other but have homes on the other side of the border. And so that was an impressive finding,” said one of the researchers on the project, Josiah Heyman, director of the Center for Inter-American and Border Studies and professor of Anthropology at the University of Texas at El Paso.

El Paso Realtor Daniel Lara said it is easy for anyone to own property in the United States, but not in Mexico.

“In El Paso, you don’t have to be a U.S. citizen. As long as you can afford it, you can buy it,” he said.

But Mexico only allows Mexican citizens to own homes, Lara said, limiting cross-border home ownership to El Pasoans with dual citizenship.

While 17% of El Paso homeowners say they also own homes in Juarez, only 3% of Juarenses say they own a home in both cities. Still, about 60% of those surveyed say they have family on both sides of the border, reinforcing how deeply connected the two cities are.

“When we bring this out, then I start have people come up to me and say ‘Oh yes, you know, I still have my mother’s house in Juarez’ and ‘You know, part of my family is here and part of my family is there,” Heyman said. “We get all the stories of people who actually have residences in both countries. This tells us something to support the impression, the words, the imprint in the minds of people that this is a binational community.”

Fabian Hernandez, an electrical engineering student at UTEP, was born in Ciudad Juarez, but his family lived in El Paso on weekdays and stayed in their Juarez residence on the weekends. He grew up shifting back and forth between his homes on both sides of the border. Now he lives in Juarez with his wife and crosses the border to work and study in El Paso.

“One of the advantages of living in El Paso is that you can get like the best of the United States and the best of Mexico, but I consider Juarez more like my home,” Hernandez said. “I lived there most of my time, with most of my family and friends there. That’s why when I was living here in El Paso I went, when I could, I went to Juarez to go out with them.”

Heyman says a significant number of people regularly cross back and forth between El Paso and Juarez from both sides, but it is dominated by El Pasoans. The survey showed 63% of El Pasoans say they go to Mexico, but 75% of Juarenses never cross into the United States.

“Many people in Mexico don’t have permission to come to the United States and a very, very small proportion of them go without documents,” he said. “Vast majority just stay on the southern part of the border.”

Eva Moya, a co-researcher on the Border Perception Survey is an associate professor in the Department of Social Work and the College of Health Sciences at UTEP. She said a majority of Juarenses don’t see the border region as a binational community like El Pasoans do, but still recognize themselves as fronterizos.

“Their perception is we’re on the border frontier because it’s so clear, it’s divided, it’s marked. But they’re not binational, however they have interactions with binational communities,” Moya said.”The products that they consume – most likely – the clothing that they have, possibly the gifts that they receive, the medications that are moved. All these products are pretty international in nature. So, they’re connected.”

Commuters making their way to the U.S. border port of entry between Juarez and El Paso. Photo by Grecia Sanchez, Borderzine.com

Heyman said one question in the survey that asked where a person lived until they were 12 years old gives insight because that is considered a key formative period.

“Official statistics only ask you where you were born, but a significant number of people from Juarez are born in El Paso,” he said. “And yet, spend their early years on the Mexican side, so they don’t get captured in the official statistics.”

According to the survey, 48% of El Pasoans spent their childhood in Mexico while 2% of Juarenses spent their childhood on the U.S. side. About 8% of El Pasoans said they spent their childhood in both cities, whereas less than 1% percent of Juarenses said the same.

Moya said she was intrigued with how the survey showed how people from both sides of the border perceived each other apart from their governments’ policies.

“Despite the differences and despite the walls and the barriers and the policies that have been put in place, Juarenses and Paseños referred to each other as brothers, sisters, as almost family members, as good neighbors, so this speaks volumes of the quality of the people that make this region,” she said. “Despite walls, we see each other as an economic driver, and we continue to understand that we are connected and dependent on each other. So, the success of one is the success of the other, the failure of the other is the reflection of the other, so we’re joined at the hip in many different ways.”

 

 

 

Click hear to read Cross-border home ownership rate reflects El Paso, Juarez binational community dynamic

Categories: Local Blogs

6 bands to see in the borderland before they’re gone for good

Sat, 12/28/2019 - 2:30pm

Whether you enjoy the lively bars in the Cincinnati District, the skyline views from the roofs of Downtown El Paso, or the laid-back atmosphere of the many dive bars scattered throughout the city, one thing you can find no matter what side of town you are on is great local music.

But, nothing in the known universe last forever and the same principal applies to the bands we love. We have all felt the heartbreak when a band we follow stops creating music. Or, even worse is discovering a band that has already broken up. As bands come and go here are six bands from the borderland you should see before they’re gone.

Ribo Ruckus

Photo by Viridiana Villa

Ribo Ruckus, ABF has been making waves in the music circuit since the summer of 2018. The band is a collaboration of musicians who work together to flawlessly fuse genres and make something new. You can hear jazz, rock, and hip-hop influences that come together to create a blend of sounds unlike any other. The band has been known to play the stages at some of the popular festivals here in the borderland, such as Neon Desert Music Festival and Chalk the Block.

Emily Davis and the Murder Police

Photo by Bobby Gallagher

Emily Davis and the Murder Police is an alternative folk / punk rock band that has been blessing the borderland with fun-filled shows since 2018. The band has already rocked stages across the country when they toured with punk rock legends Bad Religion. They have had a great year in streaming, racking up more than 138,000 streams on Spotify during 2019.

Dulce Mal

Dulce Mal is a fusion band from our sister city Ciudad Juarez. The band blends different genres such as reggae, ska, and jazz. The unique combination of sounds come from trumpets accompanied by acoustic guitars and electric bass. The band plays dozens of shows a year in El Paso. Look out for them at venues such as Neon Rose.

Texas Gigantism

Texas Gigantism is a melodic heavy metal band from the borderland who incorporate pop-culture into their music to have a unique presence. The band has opened for dozens of heavy metal bands at the Rock House and have gained a following by playing energetic shows that keeps the crowd pumped. They are embarking on their Plus Run Ultra tour where they will be playing in the states of Colorado, California, and Arizona.

La Chapuza

Photo by Ariana Martinez

La Chapuza has been playing in the borderland since 2008, The band is a mix of genres that include – but are not limited to – punk, reggae, cumbias, and surf. The band puts on great shows by incorporating trombones, saxophones and other brass instruments.

Jazz Over Easy

Jazz Over Easy has been playing shows in the borderland for the past 19 years and can be seen at a number of downtown restaurants including Pot Au Feu, 307 E. Franklin Ave. The band that plays smooth jazz can also be found playing at Dillinger’s, 303 E. Franklin Ave. In addition to catching this band on a stage, they can also be booked for local events such as weddings or birthday or business parties.

 

Click hear to read 6 bands to see in the borderland before they’re gone for good

Categories: Local Blogs

Paydirt Promise provides tuition relief to UTEP students with income under $40,000

Mon, 12/23/2019 - 12:00pm

Pursuing a college education comes with many struggles, from exams and homework to figuring out how to pay for four years or more of tuition, fees, books, room and board or commuting expenses.

Last summer, the University of Texas at El Paso announced it would be offering some Texas residents who attend UTEP tuition-free college starting Fall 2020.

The Paydirt Promise allows a Texas resident whose family income is less than $40,000 a year to attend college without having to pay tuition. According to the U.S. Census Bureau the median income for an El Paso family is $44,431.

Along with the income requirement, a student must also complete their college education in five years. They must take 12 hours per semester, which can cost at an upwards of $7,629.68 for two semesters. The student must also maintain a grade point average of 2.0 or higher.

UTEP’s decision to waive tuition for undergraduates comes at a time when state and national politicians, including presidential candidates Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, have begun to promote tuition free college for all students, an idea in part prompted by rising tuition bills and mounting student debt.

In neighboring New Mexico, the governor recently announced it will provide free tuition to all college students at its public universities. The measure still needs to be approved by the New Mexico state legislature.

Along with The University of Texas at Austin, UTEP is among the first universities in Texas to offer free college tuition to qualified students.

UTEP Vice President of Student Affairs Gary Edens says the school expects thousands of students to qualify and participate in the new grant program.

Under a previous tuition waiver program called the UTEP Promise, about 5,000 students per semester received free tuition, he said. UTEP’s overall student enrollment this fall rose slightly to 25,151.

Edens said the process for applying for the tuition waiver is simple.

“They have to sign up for financial aid, and once financial aid sees that they make under $40,000, the student will automatically be put on the Paydirt Promise,” he said. Students will continue to receive the tuition waiver as long as they meet the grade and course requirements and complete their degree in five years, he added.

There is growing buzz on campus among students about the impact of the free tuition plan.

“I think it’s good for the families that do not have too much income so … everybody has the same opportunity to come to UTEP and to get their bachelor’s,” said Julia Hernandez, Biomedical Engineering graduate student.

Some students who don’t meet the income requirement are disappointed they will not be able to reap the benefits of the grant.

Freshman Carlos Rodriguez says although he personally will not benefit from the Paydirt Promise program because he doesn’t meet the income requirement, he believes, “it’s a really great idea for families of lower income, how it’s able to pay your tuition.” Rodriguez plans to pay for his college costs including tuition and books by taking out “a couple loans here and there.”

Anthony Beyers, a UTEP sophomore, said he and his younger brother, who will begin his studies at UTEP next spring semester, have both applied for tuition waivers.

“My family doesn’t make that much money. We are middle class but it is very hard sending my brother and I to school,” Beyers said.

“By my family qualifying… it makes it possible for me and my brother to go to school and receive the education that my parents want us to get…,” he added.

Applications for the grant are available until March 1st and will be awarded as part of financial aid.

Find information about Paydirt Promise here. Ihttps://www.utep.edu/student-affairs/financialaid/types-of-aid/grants.html

Click hear to read Paydirt Promise provides tuition relief to UTEP students with income under $40,000

Categories: Local Blogs

A sacred light in the darkness: Winter solstice illuminations at Spanish missions

Sat, 12/21/2019 - 11:38am

By Rubén G. Mendoza, California State University, Monterey Bay

On Saturday, Dec. 21, nations in the Northern Hemisphere will mark the winter solstice – the shortest day and longest night of the year. For thousands of years people have marked this event with rituals and celebrations to signal the rebirth of the sun and its victory over darkness.

At hundreds, and perhaps thousands, of missions stretching from northern California to Peru, the winter solstice sun triggers an extraordinarily rare and fascinating event – something that I discovered by accident and first documented in one California church more than 20 years ago.

At dawn on Dec. 21, a sunbeam enters each of these churches and bathes an important religious object, altar, crucifix or saint’s statue in brilliant light. On the darkest day of the year, these illuminations conveyed to native converts the rebirth of light, life and hope in the coming of the Messiah. Largely unknown for centuries, this recent discovery has sparked international interest in both religious and scientific circles. At missions that are documented illumination sites, congregants and Amerindian descendants now gather to honor the sun in the church on the holiest days of the Catholic liturgy with songs, chants and drumming.

I have since trekked vast stretches of the U.S. Southwest, Mexico and Central America to document astronomically and liturgically significant solar illuminations in mission churches. These events offer us insights into archaeology, cosmology and Spanish colonial history. As our own December holidays approach, they demonstrate the power of our instincts to guide us through the darkness toward the light.

Winter solstice illumination of the main altar tabernacle of the Spanish Royal Presidio Chapel, Santa Barbara, California. The author first documented this solar illumination of the altar in 2004.
Rubén G. Mendoza, CC BY-ND Spreading the Catholic faith

The 21 California missions were established between 1769 and 1823 by Spanish Franciscans, based in Mexico City, to convert Native Americans to Catholicism. Each mission was a self-sufficient settlement with multiple buildings, including living quarters, storerooms, kitchens, workshops and a church. Native converts provided the labor to build each mission complex, supervised by Spanish friars. The friars then conducted masses at the churches for indigenous communities, sometimes in their native languages.

Spanish friars like Fray Gerónimo Boscana also documented indigenous cosmologies and beliefs. Boscana’s account of his time as a friar describes California Indians’ belief in a supreme deity who was known to the peoples of Mission San Juan Capistrano as Chinigchinich or Quaoar.

As a culture hero, Indian converts identified Chinigchinich with Jesus during the Mission period. His appearance among Takic-speaking peoples coincides with the death of Wiyot, the primeval tyrant of the first peoples, whose murder introduced death into the world. And it was the creator of night who conjured the first tribes and languages, and in so doing, gave birth to the world of light and life.

Hunting and gathering peoples and farmers throughout the Americas recorded the transit of the solstice sun in both rock art and legend. California Indians counted the phases of the moon and the dawning of both the equinox and solstice suns in order to anticipate seasonally available wild plants and animals. For agricultural peoples, counting days between the solstice and equinox was all-important to scheduling the planting and harvesting of crops. In this way, the light of the sun was identified with plant growth, the creator and thereby the giver of life.

The horse and mule trail known as El Camino Real as of 1821 and the locations of the 21 Franciscan missions in Alta California (click to zoom).
Shruti Mukhtyar/Wikipedia, CC BY-SA Discovering illuminations

I first witnessed an illumination in the church at Mission San Juan Bautista, which straddles the great San Andreas Fault and was founded in 1797. The mission is also located a half-hour drive from the high-tech machinations of San Jose and the Silicon Valley. Fittingly, visiting the Old Mission on a fourth grade field trip many years earlier sparked my interest in archaeology and the history and heritage of my American Indian forebears.

On Dec. 12, 1997, the parish priest at San Juan Bautista informed me that he had observed a spectacular solar illumination of a portion of the main altar in the mission church. A group of pilgrims observing the Feast Day of Our Lady of Guadalupe had asked to be admitted to the church early that morning. When the pastor entered the sanctuary, he saw an intense shaft of light traversing the length of the church and illuminating the east half of the altar. I was intrigued, but at the time I was studying the mission’s architectural history and assumed that this episode was unrelated to my work. After all, I thought, windows project light into the darkened sanctuaries of the church throughout the year.

One year later, I returned to San Juan Bautista on the same day, again early in the morning. An intensely brilliant shaft of light entered the church through a window at the center of the facade and reached to the altar, illuminating a banner depicting the Virgin of Guadalupe on her Feast Day in an unusual rectangle of light. As I stood in the shaft of light and looked back at the sun framed at the epicenter of the window, I couldn’t help but feel what many describe when, in the course of a near death experience, they see the light of the great beyond.

Only afterward did I connect this experience to the church’s unusual orientation, on a bearing of 122 degrees east of north – three degrees offset from the mission quadrangle’s otherwise square footprint. Documentation in subsequent years made it clear that the building’s positioning was not random. The Mutsun Indians of the mission had once revered and feared the dawning of the winter solstice sun. At this time, they and other groups held raucous ceremonies that were intended to make possible the resurrection of the dying winter sun.

Plan of Mission San Juan Bautista showing the church’s off-square orientation.
California Missions Resource Center

Several years later, while I was working on an archaeological investigation at Mission San Carlos Borromeo in Carmel, I realized that the church at this site also was skewed off kilter from the square quadrangle around it – in this case, about 12 degrees. I eventually confirmed that the church was aligned to illuminate during the midsummer solstice, which occurs on June 21.

Next I initiated a statewide survey of the California mission sites. The first steps were to review the floor plans of the latest church structures on record, analyze historic maps and conduct field surveys of all 21 missions to identify trajectories of light at each site. Next we established the azimuth so as to determine whether each church building was oriented toward astronomically significant events, using sunrise and sunset data.

The azimuth angle is the compass bearing, relative to true (geographic) north, of a point on the horizon directly beneath an observed object such as a star or planet.
Pearson Scott Foresman/Wikipedia

This process revealed that 14 of the 21 California missions were sited to produce illuminations on solstices or equinoxes. We also showed that the missions of San Miguel Arcángel and San José were oriented to illuminate on the Catholic Feast Days of Saint Francis of Assisi (Oct. 4) and Saint Joseph (March 19), respectively.

Soon thereafter, I found that 18 of the 22 mission churches of New Mexico were oriented to the all-important vernal or autumnal equinox, used by the Pueblo Indians to signal the agricultural season. My research now spans the American hemisphere, and recent findings by associates have extended the count of confirmed sites as far south as Lima, Peru. To date, I have identified some 60 illumination sites throughout the western United States, Mexico and South America.

Melding light with faith

It is striking to see how Franciscans were able to site and design structures that would produce illuminations, but an even more interesting question is why they did so. Amerindians, who previously worshiped the sun, identified Jesus with the sun. The friars reinforced this idea via teachings about the cristo helios, or “solar Christ” of early Roman Christianity.

Anthropologist Louise Burkhart’s studies affirm the presence of the “Solar Christ” in indigenous understandings of Franciscan teachings. This conflation of indigenous cosmologies with the teachings of the early Church readily enabled the Franciscans to convert followers across the Americas. Moreover, calibrations of the movable feast days of Easter and Holy Week were anchored to the Hebrew Passover, or the crescent new moon closest to the vernal equinox. Proper observance of Easter and Christ’s martyrdom therefore depended on the Hebrew count of days, which was identified with both the vernal equinox and the solstice calendar.

Schematic of the four successive solar illuminations of the saints of the main altar screen of Mission San Miguel Arcángel, California. Note illumination begins at the left with the Oct. 4 illumination of Saint Francis on his Feast Day. The author first identified and documented this solar array in 2003.
Rubén G. Mendoza, CC BY-ND

Orienting mission churches to produce illuminations on the holiest days of the Catholic calendar gave native converts the sense that Jesus was manifest in the divine light. When the sun was positioned to shine on the church altar, neophytes saw its rays illuminate the ornately gilded tabernacle container, where Catholics believe that bread and wine are transformed into the body and blood of Christ. In effect, they beheld the apparition of the Solar Christ.

The winter solstice, coinciding with both the ancient Roman festival of Sol Invictus (unconquered sun) and the Christian birth of Christ, heralded the shortest and darkest time of the year. For the California Indian, it presaged fears of the impending death of the sun. At no time was the sun in the church more powerful than on that day each year, when the birth of Christ signaled the birth of hope and the coming of new light into the world.

Rubén G. Mendoza, Chair/Professor, Division of Social, Behavioral & Global Studies, California State University, Monterey Bay

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Click hear to read A sacred light in the darkness: Winter solstice illuminations at Spanish missions

Categories: Local Blogs

House passage of U.S., Mexico, Canada trade deal called victory for Texas

Fri, 12/20/2019 - 7:26pm

By Abby Livingston, Texas Tribune

WASHINGTON – The U.S. House passed a major trade deal on Thursday that will reset the economic relationships within North America.

The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement passed with a 385-41 vote and will now head to the Senate, which is expected to approve it next year. The deal will replace the North American Free Trade Agreement, a 1994 agreement that dramatically changed the landscape of the Texas economy. While the three countries announced the agreement a year ago, the deal hit some turbulence in the Democratically-controlled House.

Many Texas lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have urged its passage, due to the state’s reliance on cross-border commerce with Mexico. Texas has more ports of entry with Mexico — or any country, for that matter — than any other state in the U.S. In a sign of the trade deal’s importance to the state, all Texans in the House voted in favor of it.

“It is a victory for Texas workers, businesses and communities, as trade between our home state and our North American neighbors supports nearly one million jobs, and results in billions of dollars flowing into our economy,” said U.S. Rep. Roger Williams, R-Austin. “This agreement is about growth and certainty for our country, and it sends the message that we are going to lead the world.”

Approving the agreement has been especially vital to Texans who represent districts along the border.

“As a representative of one of the largest manufacturing regions in North America, a vote for an updated NAFTA is a vote for the more than 23,000 El Pasoans dependent on a prosperous border economy,” said U.S. Rep. Veronica Escobar, D-El Paso.

Should it pass the Senate, the USMCA will be the capstone of President Donald Trump’s economic agenda. Republicans from Texas praised the president for his administration’s work securing the deal.

“Let’s give credit where credit is due for the one who led the charge, who did the heavy lifting – our President Donald J. Trump,” said U.S. Rep. Jodey Arrington, R-Lubbock. “In 2016, he was already calling out some of these trade deals as a rip off on American workers and manufacturers. While we saw a 400% increase in trade for agriculture products since the inception of NAFTA, it hasn’t been good all the way around, it hasn’t been fair all the way around, and it hasn’t been productive in terms of keeping jobs here in the United States.”

A number of Texans were closely involved in passage, thanks to assignments on the Ways and Means Committee and the number of Texans who represent the border.

The new, Trump-negotiated deal will have many similarities with the old agreement, but there are some differences. The changes that will most impact Texans include increased enforcement of labor and environmental laws and an increase in the threshold of how much of a car must be manufactured in a country to avoid tariffs.

It is unclear when the Senate will take up the legislation. U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has indicated in recent days that he would not address the matter until the conclusion of Trump’s coming impeachment trial. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi did not publicly determine Wednesday night when she would take the case to the Senate.

This story was originally published here at TexasTribune.org.

Click hear to read House passage of U.S., Mexico, Canada trade deal called victory for Texas

Categories: Local Blogs

What you should know about opening a franchise restaurant in El Paso

Fri, 12/20/2019 - 7:07pm

Bringing a franchise restaurant to a new city may seem easy compared to opening a business from scratch. However, being a franchisee comes with its own set of challenges.

“Some franchisees don’t realize how hard it is to get started and how hard it is to make it successful. It takes time and it takes a lot of work,” says Kirk Robison, chairman and chief executive officer of Pizza Properties Inc., which owns and operates 46 Peter Piper Franchises in Texas and two in Las Cruces. In September the company bought 10 El Paso Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill & Bar locations.

In order to be a successful franchise owner, franchisees have to study the business model of what they’re purchasing, the location they’re bringing the operation to, and finances says Chris Lyons, the owner of Jimmy Johns locations in El Paso and Las Cruces.

“Everything is on you to be able to reach profitability,” Lyons says, which is “something that the franchisor doesn’t have to worry about.”

Although it takes a lot of money to build up a franchise location, it may be less costly than starting a new business. “It makes financing easier to go with a franchise,” Lyons says. Banks are more likely to loan money to a franchisee when there’s a proven track record for the company. If a franchise has been successful in the past and there is market research for the new area, then there is less risk involved in lending thousands of dollars to the franchisee.

But owning a also franchise means giving up creative freedom.

“A lot of what it is to be an entrepreneur is to want to take control over what you’re doing,” Lyons ays. “You lose control of exactly what you want to do. I can’t decide how I want to decorate this building, I can’t decide what’s on the menu, I can’t decide almost anything.”

And, some franchise opportunities that seem promising may not do as well as expected.

“Some brands that I brought to the market, like Black Eyed Pea and Del Taco, were not successful, so they don’t always work out,” Robison says. “In business sometimes you invest in things, you keep some, you don’t keep others, and there’s just different strategies along the way.”

One strategy is for franchisees to look for outfits with business models they believe in, Lyons says, explaining how he came to choose Jimmie Johns.

“I absolutely came to the brand through the lens of both simplicity and through quality.”

Robison’s advice for becoming a successful franchisee is to follow two seemingly simple, yet crucial directives: “Number one you have to be able to finance whatever you do, you have to have the money and the debt and the credit to buy some sort of a business or build it,” he says. “Number two— which is the intangible— is you have to be 150 percent committed to working it and making it work. It’s not going to work if it’s just an investment.”

Lyons advice is similar that immersing yourself in the business is very important even before investing.

“I would suggest getting with somebody who’s willing to share all there is about the business with you to get your feet really wet on what it is first and work your way up with them,” he says. “Find anyway to get yourself in the door. You’re going to learn an incredible amount and you’re also going to learn whether it’s the right place for you.”

 

Click hear to read What you should know about opening a franchise restaurant in El Paso

Categories: Local Blogs

High School athletes now need digital presence to get noticed

Fri, 12/20/2019 - 5:56pm

As competition for talented high school athletes increases, social media is having a bigger impact in helping prospects stand out with college recruiters.

Athletes often put together their top films in one video that they make themselves and post them on social media. For others, their families pay marketing businesses to manage digital promotion efforts.

“I think it works for the kids who don’t know how to promote themselves through social media or whose families don’t know how to use social media”, says Margie Cortez, a parent and coach.

Another option is going the old school way and pay for recruiting services that can be very pricey.

Danny Cortez posing for a photo in a game, in College in Valley City, ND.

“Recruiting services are helpful if you’re really under-recruited in an area that really doesn’t get any exposure. But besides that I feel like there are other things to do besides paying to get recruited”, says Danny Cortez, a former football player from Del Valle High School in El Paso who is now at Valley City State University.

Recruiters now have their own sites that allow athletes to build their profiles for college coaches to notice.

“If you have good highlights, you know film doesn’t lie so if they think you can play off film, then obviously their gonna wanna give you an offer,” Cortez says.

College coaches may also be watching for signs of character, looking at a student athlete’s behavior on social media as an indication of how they will act on campus.

“It’s up to the athlete and the work that they out in and the film that they cut and how they promote themselves and behave themselves on social media that can effectively market themselves where a collegiate coach can discover them,” says Jesse Tovar, founder of Prep1 a business aimed at promoting student athletes.

Jesse Tovar founder of Prep1 on the sidelines taking video footage for the group’s Twitter page. Friday September 20, 2019 Photo by D’laura Herrera, Borderzine.com

Tovar began his recruiting services while going through his own daughter’s successful collegiate soccer recruiting. He learned new skills and built up her profile online. After getting requests from other parents for help in promoting their children he created Prep1 and recruited his own team to help.

 

Click hear to read High School athletes now need digital presence to get noticed

Categories: Local Blogs

Adding ratings on source reliability helps limit spread of misinformation

Mon, 12/16/2019 - 2:54pm

By Antino Kim, Indiana University; Alan R. Dennis, Indiana University; Patricia L. Moravec, University of Texas at Austin, and Randall K. Minas, University of Hawaii

Online misinformation has significant real-life consequences, such as measles outbreaks and encouraging racist mass murderers. Online misinformation can have political consequences as well.

The problem of disinformation and propaganda misleading social media users was serious in 2016, continued unabated in 2018 and is expected to be even more severe in the coming 2020 election cycle in the U.S.

Most people think they can detect deception efforts online, but in our recent research, fewer than 20% of participants were actually able to correctly identify intentionally misleading content. The rest did no better than they would have if they flipped a coin to decide what was real and what wasn’t.



Both psychological and neurological evidence shows that people are more likely to believe and pay attention to information that aligns with their political views – regardless of whether it’s true. They distrust and ignore posts that don’t line up with what they already think.

As information systems researchers, we wanted to find ways to help people discern true and false information – whether it confirmed what they previously thought or not, and even when it came from unknown sources. Fact-checking individual articles is a good start, but it can take days to do, so it usually isn’t fast enough to keep up with how quickly news travels.

We set out to discover the most effective way to present a source’s accuracy level to the public – that is, the way that would have the greatest effect on reducing the belief in, and spread of, disinformation.

Expert or user ratings?

One alternative is a source rating based on past articles that gets attached to every new article as it is published, much like Amazon or eBay seller ratings.

The most useful ratings are those a person can use at the most relevant time – finding out about previous buyers’ experiences with a seller when considering making an online purchase, for instance.

When it comes to facts, though, there’s another wrinkle. E-commerce ratings are typically done by regular users, people with firsthand knowledge from using the item or service.

Fact-checking, on the other hand, has traditionally been done by experts like PolitiFact because few people have the firsthand knowledge to rate news. By comparing user-generated ratings and expert-generated ratings, we’ve found that different rating mechanisms influence users in different ways.

We conducted two online experiments, with a total of 889 participants. Each person was shown a group of headlines, some labeled with accuracy ratings from experts, others labeled with ratings from other users and the remainder with no accuracy ratings at all.

We asked participants the extent to which they believed each headline and whether they would read the article, like it, comment or share it.

A sample headline with a rating from experts, as shown in our experiment.
Kim et al., CC BY-ND A sample headline with a rating from other users, as shown in our experiment.
Kim et al., CC BY-ND

Expert ratings of news sources had stronger effects on belief than ratings from nonexpert users, and the effects were even stronger when the rating was low, suggesting the source was likely to be inaccurate. These low-rated inaccurate sources are the usual culprits in spreading disinformation, so our finding suggests that expert ratings are even more powerful when users need them most.

Respondents’ belief in a headline influenced the extent to which they would engage with it: The more they believed an article was true the more likely they were to read, like, comment on or share the article.

Those findings tell us that helping users mistrust inaccurate material at the moment they encounter it can help curb the spread of disinformation.

Spillover effects

We also found that applying source ratings to some headlines made our respondents more skeptical of other headlines without ratings.

Facebook tried labeling headlines that were of dubious accuracy, but it didn’t help curb the spread of disinformation.
Kim et al.

This finding surprised us because other methods of warning readers – such as attaching notices only to questionable headlines – have been found to cause users to be less skeptical of unlabeled headlines. This difference is especially noteworthy since Facebook’s warning flag had little influence on the users and was eventually scrapped. Perhaps, source ratings can deliver what Facebook’s flag couldn’t.

A NewsGuard rating warns Facebook users that the source may not be accurate or reliable.
Screenshot by Antino Kim

What we learned indicates that expert ratings provided by companies like NewsGuard are likely more effective at reducing the spread of propaganda and disinformation than having users rate the reliability and accuracy of news sources themselves. That makes sense, considering that, as we put it on Buzzfeed, “crowdsourcing ‘news’ was what got us into this mess in the first place.”

Antino Kim, Assistant Professor of Operations and Decision Technologies, Indiana University; Alan R. Dennis, Professor of Internet Systems, Indiana University; Patricia L. Moravec, Assistant Professor of Information, Risk and Operations Management, University of Texas at Austin, and Randall K. Minas, Associate Professor of Information Technology Management, University of Hawaii

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Click hear to read Adding ratings on source reliability helps limit spread of misinformation

Categories: Local Blogs

Stalking and burglary reported as the most common crimes at UTEP

Sat, 12/14/2019 - 6:25am

Stalking and burglary were the most prevalent crimes on the University of Texas at El Paso campus during the past year, but showed a slight decrease from previous years, according to a recently released crime report.

The report – the Annual Security and Fire Safety report and released by the UTEP Police Department on Oct. 1 – showed 12 cases of burglary. That compares to 12 reports of burglary in 2017 and 27 in 2016.

The report also showed and 13 cases of stalking in 2018. That compares to 16 and 11 cases of stalking in 2017 and 2016, respectively. The report also showed two cases of rape in 2018 and five cases in 2017 and 2016.

The report follows the “Jeanne Clery Act,” which requires higher education institutions to issue “an annual report containing crime statistics and statements of security policy,” said UTEP Police Chief Cliff Walsh.“We’re happy to (release the crime statistics). We think is a great thing to do to promote transparency and safety on campus, and to provide information to the general public,” Walsh said.

Walsh said the typical experience of burglary at UTEP has to do with someone walking in an unsecured office or area and taking something from it.

“What we like to tell our students is treat the campus like you would if you’re at the mall,” Walsh said. “You see it every day when someone would go to the library or classroom and they’ll leave their laptop, they’ll leave their belongings, in some cases for a while. I even remember having a car left running while someone went to class.”

Catie McCorry-Andalis, associate vice president for student engagement and dean of students, describes burglary cases at the university as “crimes of opportunity,” more than intentional-type of situations.

“I think one of the things that happens with those types of situations is our community comes to our campus, finds it to be such a safe and secured campus that we tend to let our guard down,” McCorry-Andalis said.

Other common crimes, following the report’s statistics, include dating violence, with 11 cases last year compared to six cases in 2017 and 2016, and aggravated assault, with seven cases in 2018 compared to one case in 2017 and six cases in 2016.

McCorry-Andalis said although there has been work done to ensure the zero tolerance of these crimes on campus, UTEP has also approached theses issues as “one is one-too many.”

“I always tell our team I would love the day when we do not have to address these issues anymore, but until that day comes, we’re going to do all we can to support our students, faculty, and staff in this campus and make sure that they are not part of an environment that is hostile or filled with some sort of sexual misconduct,” McCorry-Andalis said.

She also emphasized the importance for a community to be willing to come forward with these situations as “that’s not always the case.”

“I think it’s also important to remember that dating violence, stalking, etc. are some of the most underreported crimes and I think we’ve done a very good job in the past several years of letting our community know ‘if this is happening you need to come forward,’” McCorry-Andalis said. “So, because there are more or less numbers does not necessarily mean there are more or less cases happening.”

Walsh also said these types of crime are always a “serious concern” to the police department as they focus on these crimes being “stopped right away.”

“We also want to make sure that the student feels safe on campus, that’s addressed directly, so…we work with Catie’s office and we think from schedule changes, parking, escort services, a host of things to include victim’s services to the care office, through counseling services, there’s a whole host of resources on campus that we bring to bear,” Walsh said.

McCorry-Andalis also encourages people to engage with the system as much as possible in this regard, from watching videos for incoming students informing on what to do in unsafe situations, answering surveys on whether students feel safe, participating in campaigns of wellbeing and programs on dating violence, taking advantage of escort services, among other resources.

“When a case comes in, we rely heavily on our campus police department to categorize it, because the penal code is very specific what constitutes stalking versus dating violence versus domestic violence, even on the burglary…but regardless of what category it falls into, it’s horrible that is happening, but I’m thankful folks have trust in our system to bring it for and address it,” she said.

Adriana Chavez, senior UTEP political science student, said that she feels safe on campus, but that she would like further action taken from the police department during the evenings.

“I’ve stayed here (on campus) very late at night and I’ve walked long distances on campus…but I always feel safe,” Chavez said. “However, I would like to see them more at night because I only get to see them during the day and I feel there’s more danger when there’s no Sun, or no sunlight.”

Walsh has heard similar concerns where, like Chavez, students feel unsafe with regard to lighting on campus.

“We’ve been improving lighting on campus for years and years. And lighting typically in many areas of the campus are either at or above the standards for lighting in communities across the country,” Walsh said. “My hat’s off to facility services and Catie’s office. My staff and a whole host of others and students as well, and faculty and staff, who report that ‘this area is dimmed or something’s not working right,’ for lighting purposes in that area.”

Walsh also said he believes students at UTEP to be more “mature, responsible, and more capable than anywhere I’ve seen,” as he has noticed students taking initiative toward their safety.

“We can never predict the future, but with the student body’s help and taking more responsibility than what they already have for their own safe and security, we can all make the campus safer than what it was yesterday,” Walsh said.

Click hear to read Stalking and burglary reported as the most common crimes at UTEP

Categories: Local Blogs


by Dr. Radut