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Area high schools take national recognition in academics



Helen Rodriguez El Paso Tribune

Weekend January 28 - 30, 2011

In a report released by the Texas Education Agency, several El Paso high schools are recognized for their outstanding acheivements. Silva Magnet high school leads in academic performance with a 99 percent passing rate of the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) exit level test, ranking the highest amongst area high schools. “It’s been an honor that every year we have been able to maintain our exemplary status with the Texas Education Agency. That makes us very proud,” Margarita Ramirez, Assistant Principal of Silva Magnet High School said. The school is a 2010-2011 National Blue Ribbon nominee as well as a silver medal recipient in 2010 from U.S. News’ America’s Best High Schools along with Fabens High School. In addition, Silva has received the Texas Business & Education Coalition (TBEC) award for seven consecutive years. “I think [Silva] has done marvelous things for students that want to move ahead in education, the students that already have a goal they want to reach, a college in mind,” Ramirez said. “It opens doors for those kids that otherwise wouldn’t be challenged in a regular high school experience giving them an opportunity where they can achieve more.”

Top Schools in El Paso (based on 2009-2010 TAKS scores) Silva Helath Magnet High School Valle Verde Early College High School Mission Early College High School

*ranked “Exemplary” but no available TAKS scores report

Fabens High School **ranked “Exemplary”

Del Valle High School

but no available TAKS exit

Socorro High School

level scores

DaVinci School for Science and the Arts** Transmountain Early College High School* As an extension of Jefferson High School, Silva Health Magnet high school focuses on healthcare career education. Students who wish to attend the school must apply, with a minimum 3.0 GPA and have excellent school attendance. The school provides many medical related programs and certifications including dental assistant, licensed vocational nurse and pharmacology. Silva’s location near the University Medical Center, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center and, soon, the Medical Center of the Americas Foundation has been useful to the magnet program in recent years. “The medical school has really helped us with our recruitment,” Ramirez said. “We see more interest in the community, parents and students wanting to come to our school because now there is a medical school in El Paso,” For students who have little interest in health careers but still seek an academic challenge, they can choose to attend Valle Verde Early College high school and Mission Early College high school. Early college high schools work with the different campuses of El Paso Community College to provide students with an early college education. The schools are part of the Early College High Schools Initiative with schools scattered throughout the states where students graduate with a high school diploma and an associate’s degree. Mission Early College, part of the Socorro Independent School District (SISD), has a 100 percent TAKS exit level test passing rate while Valle Verde Early College in the Ysleta Independent School District (YISD) has a 99 percent rate. “El Pasoans should be very proud of the fact that not only do we have one, but we have two nationally recognized school districts,” Patricia Ayala, YISD Public Relations Director said. Last year both SISD and YISD were named finalists of the Broad Prize, a prestigious annual award for school with the best overall performance and improvement while reducing educational achievement gaps among low-income and minority students. It is the first time in The Broad Foundation’s history that two adjacent school districts were declared finalists. “It’s really an amazing time to be a student in El Paso,” Ayala said. “It also means that the class of 2011 will have over half a million dollars in scholarships because of the Broad Prize...because each of [the districts] get $250,000 in scholarships.” Both Valle Verde and Mission Early College are “Exemplary” and have some of the highest TAKS scores in the city, along with Socorro and Del Valle High School.

UTEP School of Nursing treats itself for 35-year anniversary John R.P. Del Rosario El Paso Tribune If you’ve ever entered an El Paso hospital and encountered a welltrained, professional nursing staff, you might have the University of Texas at El Paso to thank for your experience. UTEP’s School of Nursing is celebrating its 35-year anniversary this year and with major changes in store that has the students, faculty and administration making the term “busy” sound like an understatement. Kicking off this year’s anniversary, January 11th saw leaders from UTEP and Texas Tech University meet to sign an agreement, uniting the work of UTEP’s School of Nursing and the Texas Tech Paul Foster School of Medicine. “The agreement formalized the work that’s been done at the ground level among faculty, students and staff members,” UTEP President Diana Natalicio said. “We can achieve efficiency in terms of resources by trying to identify the ways in which we can offer health professions’ educational programs that complement each other.” Although the two schools may be competitors in some areas, Texas Tech University President Tedd Mitchell still feels the need for partnership. “We are competitors in certain areas, and always will be,” “[Com-

petition] is the nature of the beast,” Mitchell said. “But we’re not adversaries and these are some of the areas where we can work together.” Along with signing the agreement to the joint venture, this year the School of Nursing welcomes its new dean, Elias Provencio-Vasquez. “My vision is to educate the next generation of nurses in nursing research as well as practice,” ProvencioVasquez said. “One of my visions for this school of nursing is to take it to top 20 status in the nation in the next three to five years.” A born El Pasoan, Dean ProvencioVasquez is the School of Nursing’s first Hispanic male dean. “One of my goals in my career trajectory was to be a Dean some day,” he said. “The reason it happened quickly is because UTEP was a good fit with my philosophy of education and of the profession of Nursing.” Perhaps the biggest change the School of Nursing this year is its upcoming move to the main campus. The College of Health Sciences, located on North Campbell Street will move to the newly-built $60 million, 130,000-square-footfacility in May. The spacious, new building will make room for nursing school’s “Hospital Day.” The event, a degreeprogram requirement in the college, gives students the opportunity to role play nurse-patient situations. “We’re simulating a typical hospital day,” simulation Lab Director Ronnie Stout said. “The nurses are going to run a five-hour shift. The patients are playing the role for five hours. We want all the activities to be able to simulate the actual activity, instead of just talking about it.” Hospital Day sets UTEP’s School of Nursing apart from the rest of the country. “The rest of the country is using mannequins,” Stout said. “They have

New Children's Hospital would ease ER wait times, curb unemployment

AP Photographer/ Marice Cohn Band Upon completion of El Paso Children’s hospital, patients will no longer have to depend on only one pediatric specialist in the city or be forced to travel in search of proper medical attention. Sonia Rangel El Paso Tribune The new and first ever independent, separately licensed El Paso Children’s Hospital is due to open its doors in February 2012. With only a year left to finish construction, hospital CEO Larry Duncan is positive that the new children’s hospital will benefit the city of El Paso. The facility, located on Alameda parallel to University Medical Center, will be independent and under the control of a 15-member board. “El Paso’s Children’s Hospital will bring high quality pediatric care to the area,” Duncan said. The hospital would help the underserved pediatric community. A 2005 report issued by the American Academy of Pediatrics found that in the U.S. the pediatrician to child population ratio is one pediatrician specialist to every 1,769 children. In El Paso, the ratio is one pediatrician specialist to every 3,532 children. With the new hospital in operation early next year, young patients in need of serious medical attention will no longer have to depend on only one pediatric specialist in the city or be forced to travel in search of proper medical attention. In most areas of El Paso, there would only be one practicing physician for each specialty including pulmonology, cardiology, urology and oncology. These specialists would have to be on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to help seriously ill children. With the emergence of the new hospital, more pediatric specialists would be recruited into the city in order to be able to better serve the children in our community. Since 2007, the hospital has hired 16 pediatricians, including two native El Paso physicians that have returned to the Sun City. Some of the new medical staff includes three pediatric surgeons and an orthopedic surgeon, five pediatric intensivists, three oncologists, one pediatric anesthesiologist and a pediatric emergency medicine specialist among others. New County Judge Veronica Escobar faces a challenging year while serving her first year term in 2011 but is looking forward the grand opening of the new hospital in early 2012. “The county has a more significant role to play in health,” County Judge Escobar said. The community decision to open a children’s hospital was determined on the voting ballots in November 2007 after months of intense debate over the a mannequin in a bed and a person standing behind a curtain playing the role of patient, doing the talking.” Students feel the event is good preparation for clinicals. “We learn to manage our time,” student Octavio Aguilera said. “They give us problems that we need to solve throughout the day in the lab.” Hospital Day will nearly triple in size with the move to the new building and will cover 16,000 square feet and 55 hospital beds.

Photo John Del Rosario Leaders of UTEP and Texas Tech sign an agreement to collaborate efforts of their medical schools.

cost and importance of building the facility. The issue about whether the new hospital would be a financial burden to the community and the need for pediatric specialists to serve El Paso’s children were some of the hot topics discussed during the debate. James N. Valenti, President and CEO of University Medical Center, approached the county commissioner’s court that year in order to ask to put a $120 million bond issue for the building for the new hospital. Since approved in 2007, the planning and building of the new hospital was initiated. In 2009, the groundbreaking ceremony commenced. With a projected budget of $119 million, the new hospital will cover 224,500 square feet and include pediatric surgery operating rooms, all private rooms, and 22 pediatric intensive care beds, one full floor dedicated to Pediatric Herntology/Oncology, Pediatric Rehabilitation and an Emergency Room. The first five floors and the basement will be dedicated to Women and Infants while the 6th - 10th floor will be devoted to being a children’s hospital. With 2012 rapidly approaching, one of Escobar’s and the county’s goals is being accomplished. Escobar also said that the Children’s Hospital would assist in job creation, an area that she is focusing on for El Paso. “Some obstacles that we were facing are financial challenges” County Judge Escobar said. “We need economic development in our county to increase jobs” According to Bureau of Labor Statistics, El Paso has a 10% unemployment rate, one of the highest in the state. County Judge Escobar states that, “the Children’s Hospital would improve the quality of living for the county and would be a thoughtful approach to increase jobs.” The hospital is “anticipating 150 to 300 new jobs” according to the hospital CEO Larry Duncan, including medical staff, nurses, respiratory assistants, nursing assistants, clerical support staff, radiology staff among others. Along with the job creation that the hospital will provide, it will be a training site for pediatrics from Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center Medical School and UTEP students. It will become a major teaching site for medical and nursing students and will serve as an education, clinical and research site. The hospital will also be recruiting physicians from Texas Tech and other private physicians in the city. “The building is currently on target and on budget” Duncan said. The exterior of the building is completed and city inspection is expected in November. Projected new patient registration is scheduled for February 2012.


EL PASO TRIBUNE | Weekend January 28 - 30, 2011

Out in the West Texas town of El Paso..

The song stormed radio waves, bringing a bit of the Chihuahuan Desert’s heat to homes throughout Texas and the Nation. “I would go to Austin or San Antonio and talk about Rosa’s Cantina. They all knew about it. But I would drive to Zaragoza and they were like, ‘Que?’ They didn’t know where it was,” Lopez said about his establishment. Much like the song, Rosa’s Cantina has kept in good shape even to this day. Lopez bought Rosa’s Cantina three years ago upon his uncle Zubia’s death. If you peek in the kitchen widow, you will find Marta Martinez frying up chiles rellenos like she’s been doing for the last 25 years. Since then though, the restaurant hours, menu and bar selections have expanded. Valerie Jimenez has been a bartender at Rosa’s Cantina since Lopez took over three years ago. Although Lopez brings in a variety of bands weekly, she has begun to notice an increase in bigger concerts. Raymundo Aguirre When the regular customers walk Photo Raymundo Aguirre The bodyguards surrounded the in, Jimenez isn’t shy about going Rosa's Cantina, located on Doniphan Drive, is said to be the around the bar for a good-afternoon Englishman as he walked into Rosa’s Cantina and sat at a dining table. inspiration for singer Marty Robbins' hit, "El Paso." hug. Some regulars expect it. Oscar Lopez, owner of the establish“It’s like a big ‘ol family here. Evment, wasn’t sure what to make of it. eryone keeps coming back,” Jimenez “You don’t know who he is?” asked one of the bodyguards. Neither Lopez said. nor his wife was sure if the Englishman was important, but they asked to take It is only at high-end bars and nightclubs that she has experienced bartenda picture with him, just in case. ing as a business transaction. Only at Rosa’s Cantina has she familiarized herBefore he left, the man signed his name, Tim Rice, in the Rosa’s Cantina self with the closeness she feels with the regulars. guest book. Walking out the doors of Rosa’s Cantina, the view consists of a pair or railRice, the knighted lyricist who coined “I can show you the world” in Dis- road tracks, a mountain range, and a short wall blocking off a path to the ney’s Aladdin is also famed for his work in The Lion King and Jesus Christ Rio Grande – a good country song setting for a howling coyote or a sneaking Superstar. That day Rosa’s Cantina added his autograph to the ever-expanding bandito. Even so, Jimenez never feels threatened or alone as she walks to her list of celebrities and oddities that sneak their way into this hole-in-the-wall. car at night. Half a century ago, luck would have a musician of a different sort traveling “I like it here. They’ve got good people,” said Lupe E. Shamy, wearing a long down the same sun-beat road of El Paso. Country singer Marty Robbins was furry coat, her Hollywood sunglasses resting next to a large purse. At 82 years heading to Phoenix, Ariz. from his recording studio in Nashville, Tenn. when old, she’s recently been coming in every Wednesday with her son, Charles, he came upon the doors of Rosa’s Cantina. usually for a margarita. Never actually stepping inside Rosa’s Cantina, Robbins snuck a peek through Shamy says her granddaughter loves listening to the Marty Robbins song the window and jumped back into the passenger seat. His mind inspired from and singing along. Most visitors to Rosa’s Cantina do too, and usually get what he saw inside, Robbins wrote the lyrics to his most memorable song, “El a chance to whistle along to the tune before their meal or drink arrives. The Paso”, as he rode away. jukebox is set to play “El Paso” loud and often.


EL PASO TRIBUNE | Weekend January 28 - 30, 2011

Feds give way to cooperation after 10-day hunger strike by El Pasoan

AP Photo Megan Fox, left, and Shia LaBeouf are shown in a scene from “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.”

Did you know... John R.P. Del Rosario El Paso Tribune

...that the city of El Paso has quite an impressive Hollywood resumé. El Paso has been and continues to be a choice location for major movie studios to shoot in. Among the dozens of movies shot in or around El Paso, some of the big ones include “Lone Wolf McQuade,” “Extreme Prejudice,” “Courage Under Fire,” “Man on Fire,” “Transformers” and the Academy Award-winning “Traffic.” “For one thing, the entire community , as well as the city government & county government, along with the various state agencies that we work with are beyond easy and really want films to come here,” El Paso Film Commissioner Susie Gaines said. “We’ve been able to sell a filmfriendly city because of that.” “El Paso has different looks and styles,” Film Commission Coordinator Leah Ramirez said about the city’s adaptable appearance. “We can look like Mexico, Iran, Iraq and there are some parts of New York we can double for.” The NBC made-for-TV movie “Saving Jessica Lynch,” in fact, used parts of the surrounding desert around El Paso to serve as Iraqi deserts. Weather is another plus about filming in El Paso. It is the city’s natural beauty that a lot of film studios find appealing about El Paso. “Every city has its specific draw,” Film Commissioner Gaines said. “One of Ours would be Indian Cliffs Ranch.” Indian Cliffs Ranch is one of the more popular locales to shoot in El Paso. Scenes from “Lone Wolf McQuade,” “Extreme Prejudice,” “Courage Under Fire” and “The Day After Tomorrow” were all shot out there. This led owner Dieter Gerzymisch,

who owns the ranch and operates its famed Cattleman’s Steakhouse in Fabens, to gather photographs from the movies and feature them on a “movie wall” in the restaurant. The 2007 movie “Transformers” was shot, in part, in Holloman Air Force Base, outside of White Sands, New Mexico. Ronny Pangelinan was an extra in the movie who heard about a casting call around the area during his time in the New Mexico National Guard. “I had a scene on a tower where they’re landing helicopters,” he said. “Out of 13, they only picked four people to be in that tower and I got chosen.” As an extra, he was paid $50 dollars for eight hours as well as the opportunity to be seen in one of the biggest blockbusters of the last few years. But he says that the experiences on set were the bigger payoff: “I got to meet all the soldiers from the scene like Tyrese and [Josh Duhamel.] We got to actually sit down and mingle and talk to them. They were just like regular people. We took pictures, talked about our lives. They do stuff that we do, pretty much.” Other big movie stars that have come through El Paso to shoot are Chuck Norris, the late David Carradine, Nick Nolte, Denzel Washington, Bruce Willis, Meg Ryan, Ewan McGregor and Tommy Lee Jones. Other stars have come to El Paso to scout locations to shoot, including Johnny Depp. Luke Wilson, who recently, has come to town and has worked with the Film Commission to scout. In addition to national notoriety in film, El Paso’s economy has greatly benefited from being featured in movies. According to the El Paso Film Commission, the total estimated economic impact of independent and feature films shooting in El Paso is $100 million since 1966. The movie that has brought in the most money to the city is Courage Under Fire with a whopping $12 million in 1995. This figure does not include the countless commercials, music videos and TV series that have also been shot in El Paso.

Raymundo Aguirre El Paso Tribune It took Ana Gomez a ten-day hunger strike at the White House in Washington to be penciled into the agenda of the federal government. “If you have a good cause to fight for, you have to do everything possible,” Gomez said. On behalf of La Mujer Obrera, a local non-profit organization in El Paso dedicated to the advancement of working women, Gomez and her group of 12 women called for the creation of a regional committee to improve economic development and quality of life in border communities. The November hunger strike last year secured meetings with the Departments of Treasury, Agriculture and State. Representatives from these departments have traveled to El Paso and

Photographer Raymundo Aguirre El Paso Tribune Honors... Ana Gomez been witness to the needs of La Mujer Obrera and the community. Negotiations are underway between them and the La Mujer Obrerea to obtain resources for the promotion of health, youth programs, local border organizations and create jobs in El Paso as well as help maintain small business already in place. help small businesses and create jobs in El Paso. Gomez, 43, is known by those who work beside her as more likely to mop floors and chop vegetables than to click her day away on a computer. She’s known as La Gomez. Despite a limited 6th grade education and broken English, she has strapped on the roles of coordinator in her organization, became a leader among her co-workers and is recognized as a community activist. Gomez and her husband lost their factory jobs when American Garment left the country. She began volunteering at La Mujer Obrera and

after much involvement was asked to join the board of directors. When the organization opened its restaurant, Cafe Mayapan, to employ women, she found a job there as a waitress. Her work ethic and leadership pushed her to the position of Cafe Mayapan’s coordinator. When La Mujer Obrera opened El Mercado Mayapan, Gomez took charge of it as well. Remodeled from an old sewing factory, the Mercado puts Gomez in charge of a bakery, a produce and dry goods market, a juice stand, a butcher shop and a second restaurant. The center is also home to arts and crafts shops and the Chicano museum, Mayachen. “She was a factory worker and now she is the manager of Centro Mayapan,” Ana Luisa Lopez, a fellow worker at the café, said. “She doesn’t know English or have a degree and still she is giving this example of struggle and dedication.” Gomez said she was welcomed into La Mujer Obrera and allowed

to develop in her own way. Now as a manager, Gomez does the same for her co-workers. She opposes repetitive factory mentality and instead pushes her women to learn as much as they can. May it be as a cashier, in the bakery, mopping floors or working the kitchen, Gomez has the women learn each part of the business. “I was very quiet, but they always pushed me to be more and more,” Gomez said. A Ciudad Juarez native, Gomez has always been shy in public situations. “Although sometimes she says she is too timid to talk to people, over these three years I have seen a lot of change in how she is,” Maria Yolanda Mancinas, a co-worker since 2007, said. Mancinas described how the women would call for Gomez to speak in special occasions, only to have her back away. “Now we say, ‘Gomez!’ and she’ll stand right up. Now sometimes we can’t stop her,” Mancinas joked. “It is not easy for me to speak to people. I’m the general manager and I don’t speak to anyone,” Gomez said with a big laugh. For someone who claims to be so shy, her laughter has an easy way of filling a room. “Although she looks like a very serious person, she likes to make jokes. She’s very funny,” Lopez said. She doesn’t volunteer for public roles, but Gomez no longer shies away from them. She leads as she wants others to follow. As La Mujer Obrera continues to expand deeper into the city, a trail of sweat can be traced back to the foreheads of those women working hard to improve their lives and community. From the beginning, Gomez has been there for these women, her calm, lulling voice lending support and her deep laughter pushing them forward.



TRIBUNE The El Paso Tribune, premiering as a weekend publication, prides in providing a compilation of human perspectives gathered from the week’s top stories. We are the first weekend newspaper in the community dedicated to an independent and objective perspective of news and political coverage along with in-depth feature reporting. Our mission at the Tribune is to serve as an active citizen of El Paso to best reflect the stories the concern our readers. In an effort to better serve our audience, we aim to provide a unifying forum from which to view and address concerns of the community. We invite your personal standpoints, gripes, compassion and complaints as we will stay committed to adapting to the needs and preferences of our readers. The El Paso Tribune thanks you for joining us in our first steps of developing into an objective and an open-mindeded publication adhereing to First Amendment rights and regulations. Our goal is to be the weekend newspaper for El Paso, by El Paso, in covering the community with fresh perspectives.


EL PASO TRIBUNE | Weekend January 28 - 30, 2011

FDA sees possible cancer risk with breast implants

AP Photo/Donna McWilliam Federal health officials said Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2011, they are investigating a possible link between breast implants and a very rare form of cancer after reviewing a handful of cases reported over the last 13 years.

MATTHEW PERRONE AP Health Writer WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal health officials said Wednesday they are investigating a possible link between breast implants and a very rare form of cancer, raising new questions about the safety of devices which have been scrutinized for decades. The cancer, known as anaplastic large cell lymphoma, attacks lymph nodes and the skin and has been reported in the scar tissue which grows around an implant. The Food and Drug Administration is asking doctors to report all cases of the cancer so the agency can better understand the association. The agency has learned of just 60 cases of the disease worldwide, among the estimated 5 million to 10 million women with breast implants. The agency reviewed the scientific literature going back to 1997 along with information provided by international governments and manufacturers. Most of the cases were reported after patients sought medical care for pain, lumps, swelling and other problems around the surgical site. “We are very interested in trying to understand more specifically which patients may be at more risk and which breast implants may present a higher risk,” said Dr. William Maisel, FDA’s chief scientist for devices, on a call with reporters. The agency saw no difference in cancer rates between patients with saline versus silicone implants. There was also no difference between patients who got the implants for cosmetic reasons versus those who underwent reconstructive surgery after breast cancer. Because the disease is so rare, FDA researchers suggested the issue may never be completely resolved. “A definitive study would need to collect data on hundreds of thousands of women for more than 10 years. Even then, causality may not be conclusively established,” the agency said. Still, the FDA said it is working with the American Society of Plastic Surgeons to register patients with the cancer and track them over time. Breast implants are marketed in the U.S. by Allergan Inc. and Johnson & Johnson’s Mentor Corp. Those companies will be required to update the labeling for their products to reflect the cancer reports. A handful of researchers have published papers on instances of the lymphoma in breast implant patients over the last three years, prompting

Medical marijuana users getting pot soft drink SOQUEL, Calif. (AP) — A California entrepreneur has plans to market a line medical marijuana soft drinks. Clay Butler says he plans to supply medical marijuana dispensaries with his soda pot, which contains the psychoactive marijuana ingredient THC. Marijuana drinks are already showing up here and there, but Butler

FDA’s review. Some research suggests bits of silicone can leak into cells around the implant, triggering the cancer. Even saline implants include trace amounts of silicone to help them maintain their shape. The lymphoma is an aggressive form of cancer though it is often curable, according to experts. Treatments include radiation, chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant, if the disease returns. Reports of the cancer among women with breast implants have been reported anecdotally for years, according to Dr. Jasmine Zain, a lymphoma specialist at New York University’s Langone Medical Center. “We’ve seen it from time to time over the years, but this is the first time the FDA actually looked at all the case reports and made a statement,” Zain said. The FDA pulled silicone breast implants off the market in 1992, saying manufacturers had not provided medical data showing their safety and effectiveness. At the time, there were worries about a connection to a variety of diseases, including cancer and lupus. Alarming cases of ruptures added to the concern. But in 2006 the agency returned the implants to the market after most studies failed to find a link between silicone breast implants and disease. The approval came with conditions, including a requirement that the companies complete 10-year studies on women who have already received the implants to study leaks, as well conduct new decade-long studies of the safety of the devices in 40,000 women. The FDA said the companies have continued to pursue those studies, though several of them have enrolled less than half of the patients needed to make them statistically significant. Dr. Diana Zuckerman said the studies “will be completely useless unless the FDA can convince the companies to do more to keep women in their studies.” Zuckerman’s group, National Research Center for Women & Families, opposed the FDA’s decision to re-approve silicone implants. Wells Fargo analyst Larry Biegelsen, who covers the medical device industry, said the negative media coverage over the issue could hurt implant sales. “At this point, we do not expect breast implants to be removed from the market, but sales growth could be negatively impacted by the media coverage,” Biegelsen wrote in a note to investors.

says he thinks his branding savvy will make his product a hit. Besides his flagship cola drink, Canna Cola, he will also produce Dr. Pepper-like Doc Weed, lemon-lime Sour Diesel, grape-flavored Grape Ape and orange-flavored Orange Kush. A 12-ounce bottle will cost $10 to $15. The Soquel-based commercial artist tells the Santa Cruz Sentinel that he doesn’t do drugs or need medical marijuana for any ailments. Information from: Santa Cruz Sentinel,

EL PASO TRIBUNE | Weekend January 28 - 30, 2011


Study: No higher mental health risk after abortion

AP Photo/Ng Han Guan These findings are similar to a study by the American Psychological Association, stating they found no evidence that ending an unwanted pregnancy threatened a woman’s health. Associated Press LOS ANGELES (AP) — Having an abortion does not increase the risk of mental health problems, but having a baby does, one of the largest studies to compare the aftermath of both decisions suggests. The research by Danish scientists further debunks the notion that terminating a pregnancy can trigger mental illness and shows postpartum depression to be much more of a factor. Abortion in Denmark has been legal since 1973 — the same year the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Roe v. Wade, which established a right to abortion. The Danish study included 365,550 teenagers and women who had an abortion or first-time delivery between 1995 and 2007. None had a history of psychiatric problems that required hospitalization. Through various national registries, researchers were able to track mental health counseling at a hospital or outpatient facility before and after an abortion or delivery. During the study period, 84,620 had an abortion while 280,930 gave birth. Researchers compared the rate of mental health treatment among women before and after a first abortion. Within the first year after an abortion, 15 per 1,000 women needed psychiatric counseling — similar to the rate seeking help nine months before an abortion. Researchers say women who seek abortions come from a demographic group more likely to have emotional problems to begin with. Statistics show that a

Study: College freshmen troubled but optimistic KATHY MATHESON Associated Press PHILADELPHIA (AP) — This year’s class of U.S. college freshmen is reporting record-low levels of emotional health, with more students saying they frequently felt overwhelmed by work as high school seniors, according to an annual survey being released Thursday. Yet the new students generally expressed positive attitudes toward higher education, even as they struggle to finance it. More students than ever — about 73 percent — believe it will help their earning power, researchers at the University of California in Los Angeles found. “Despite the fact that students are concerned about the economy and stressed out ... they’re still really optimistic about the college experience,” lead author John Pryor said. The study, titled The American Freshman: National Norms, found 51.9 percent reported their emotional health was above average, a drop of 3.4 percentage points from last year that Pryor called “fairly alarming.” Women were far less likely than men to report high levels of emotional health. Overall, emotional well-being was at the lowest level since the question was first asked in 1985, when 63.6 percent reported feeling above average, the study said. Pryor, director of the Cooperative Institutional Research Program of UCLA’s Higher Education Research Institute, said the reasons behind the decline are unclear, but the result may be that freshmen are less able to cope with the stress of their new academic and social environments.

That could lead to poor decisions in terms of time management and alcohol consumption, he said. Marcus Hotaling, chairman of mental health for the American College Health Association, said he’s not surprised by the findings. In 1985, he said, many students with mental health issues did not get into college. Today, they are able to pursue higher education because of improved medication, better treatments, reduced stigmas and more open discussions of mental health. “Students are more attuned to who they are, what they’re dealing with, and that there’s help out there,” said Hotaling. Academically, more students than ever — 71.2 percent — rated their abilities as above average; nearly 76 percent rated their drive to achieve in the same terms. The study also found that a record 47 percent of freshmen expected to participate in student clubs or groups. And nearly 58 percent said there’s a very good chance they’ll be satisfied with their college experience overall — the highest percentage since 1982. Thomas Dingman, dean of freshmen at Harvard University, said his “very, very busy” class of 1,675 students embodies both the optimism and the stress reported in the survey. “Many of them come in with high expectations and feel that there’s not that much room for error because they want to be successful,” Dingman said. Sean Marks, an 18-year-old freshman at Drexel University in Philadelphia, said the pressure he felt in high school has continued at college.

large percentage struggle economically and they have above-average rates of unintended pregnancies. While first-time mothers had a lower rate of mental problems overall, the proportion of those seeking help after giving birth was dramatically higher. About 7 per 1,000 women got mental health help within a year of giving birth compared with 4 per 1,000 women pre-delivery. The most common problems among women in both the abortion and the delivery groups were debilitating anxiety, severe stress and depression. “A woman should know that her risk of having a psychiatric episode is not increased” after an abortion, said Trine Munk-Olsen of Aarhus University, who led the study. Results were published in Thursday’s New England Journal of Medicine. The study was funded by grants from the Danish Medical Research Council and the Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation, which supports abortion rights organizations and projects. The study did not examine why a pregnancy was terminated. Researchers also only studied mental problems serious enough to warrant admission to a hospital or outpatient clinic and did not look into the role of mild depression and other lesser symptoms. In a previous study, published in 2006, Munk-Olsen found new mothers faced increased risks for a host of mental problems, not just postpartum depression.

Smoking, obesity why US lifespans lag a bit

As a high school senior, Marks said he stayed home on Saturday nights to apply for scholarships. Now he has to keep up his GPA to retain that money. “That’s the whole mentality ... focus on school, have to get ahead, have to get scholarship money, have to apply for every single grant,” Marks said. Still, the economics major from Ewing, N.J., said he is extremely happy at Drexel and has become more involved with campus activities — even though it adds to his work load. “I found a happy balance finally,” Marks said. “But the stress definitely piles up if you don’t know how to manage it correctly.” The UCLA study is based on the responses of 201,818 first-time, full-time students at 279 of the nation’s four-year colleges and universities.

Changes in hormone levels, sleep deprivation and other demands associated with having a baby could trigger mental problems, experts say. By contrast, women who have an abortion don’t experience similar changes. “Anyone who’s ever had a baby knows it’s stressful. That stress doesn’t go away in a week or two” after delivery, said Dr. Robert Blum, who heads the department of population, family and reproductive health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. The latest findings echo an extensive review by the American Psychological Association in 2008 that found no evidence that ending an unwanted pregnancy threatens women’s mental health. A separate review by Blum and his colleagues found that the most rigorous research on the topic did not find a relationship between abortion and longterm mental health problems. Previous studies that suggested such a connection were often poorly designed, had dropout rates or did not control for factors that could affect the conclusion. Though the latest study was done in Denmark, Blum said it’s comparable to the U.S. Access to abortion is similar in both countries though Denmark tends to be more conservative. Abortion rates are lower in Denmark — about 13 abortions per 1,000 women in 2008, compared to almost 20 per 1,000 U.S. women that same year, according to the Guttmacher Institute, which studies reproductive-rights issues. WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. spends more on health care than any other nation yet has worse life expectancy than many — and a new report blames smoking and obesity. That may sound surprising, considering that public smoking is being stamped out here while it’s common in parts of Europe. And obesity is a growing problem around the world. But the U.S. led those unhealthy trends, lighting up and fattening up a few decades ahead of other highincome countries. And the long-term consequences are life expectancy a few years shorter than parts of Europe and Japan, the National Research Council reported Tuesday. In the U.S., life expectancy at birth was 80.8 years for women and 75.6 years for men in 2007. In France, life expectancy for women was 84.4 years and 77.4 for men. And in Japan, it was nearly 86 years for women and 79.2 for men. But thanks to the decline in smoking over the last 20 years, the life expectancy of U.S. men is expected to rapidly improve in coming decades. That improvement will be a little slower for U.S. women, whose peak

smoking rates occurred several years after men’s. In countries where women’s life expectancies are particularly high, women never smoked as much as men, said gerontologist Eileen Crimmins of the University of Southern California, who co-chaired the report. But in some Northern European countries, women’s smoking was more similar to Americans’ and life expectancy is too. While smoking is the key factor, the report also said obesity may account for a fifth to a third of the U.S. shortfall in life expectancy. It’s hard to predict if that impact will continue, Crimmins said. Treatments may allow people to survive obesity’s damage for longer, although specialists are particularly concerned about the lifespan of children who live all their lives obese rather than getting fat after they’re grown. As for all those health care bills, “it’s not enough to trump a lot of our behaviors,” Crimmins said. The council is part of the National Academy of Sciences, an independent organization chartered by Congress to advise the government on scientific matters.


EL PASO TRIBUNE | Weekend January 28 - 30, 2011

3-D means headaches to many, yet companies push on One in four viewers have problems watching 3-D movies and TV PETER SVENSSON NEW YORK (AP) — From Hollywood studios to Japanese TV makers, powerful business interests are betting 3-D will be the future of entertainment, despite a major drawback: It makes millions of people uncomfortable or sick. Optometrists say as many as one in four viewers have problems watching 3-D movies and TV, either because 3-D causes tiresome eyestrain or because the viewer has problems perceiving depth in real life. In the worst cases, 3-D makes people queasy, leaves them dizzy or gives them headaches. Researchers have begun developing more lifelike 3-D displays that might address the problems, but they’re years or even decades from being available to the masses. That isn’t deterring the entertainment industry, which is aware of the problem yet charging ahead with plans to create more movies and TV shows in 3-D. Jeff Katzenberg, CEO of Dreamworks Animation SKG Inc., calls 3-D “the greatest innovation that’s happened for the movie theaters and for moviegoers since color.” Theater owners including AMC Entertainment Inc. and TV makers such as Panasonic Corp. are spending more than a billion dollars to upgrade theaters and TVs for 3-D. A handful of satellite and cable channels are already carrying 3-D programming; ESPN just announced its 3-D network will begin broadcasting 24 hours a day next month. Yet there are already signs that consumers may not be as excited about 3-D as the entertainment and electronics industries are. Last year, people were willing to pay an additional $3 or more per ticket for blockbuster 3-D movies such as “Avatar” and “Toy Story 3.” But that didn’t help the overall box office take: People spent $10.6 billion on movie tickets last year, down slightly from

the year before. People went to the theater less, but spent more. 3-D TV sets were available in the U.S. for the first time last year, but shipments came in below forecasts, at just under 1.6 million for North America, according to DisplaySearch. Nevertheless, TV makers such as Samsung Electronics Co. and Panasonic are doubling down on 3-D and introduced more 3-D-capable models this month at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Those models cost more than regular ones and require glasses, just like in theaters. Research into how today’s 3-D screens affect viewers is only in its early stages. There have been no large-scale scientific studies. A study of 115 South Koreans watching 3-D screens close up found that 3-D caused more eyestrain than 2-D. The research prompted the Korean government to recommend that viewers take a break of up to 15 minutes after an hour of 3-D viewing. But that study was based on glasses with red and green lenses rather than the ones used in theaters and with TVs. Based on an unscientific, online survey, the American Optometric Association estimates that 25 percent of Americans have experienced headaches, blurred vision, nausea or similar problems when viewing 3-D. TV makers do their own testing, but don’t publish results. Samsung warns on its Australian website that its 3-D TVs can cause “motion sickness, perceptual after effects, disorientation, eye strain, and decreased postural stability.” The last part means viewers risk losing balance and falling. “We do not recommend watching 3-D if you are in bad physical condition, need sleep or have been drinking alcohol,” the site continues. Nintendo Co. says children aged 6 or younger shouldn’t play with its upcoming 3DS handheld gaming

system with 3-D technology, because it might affect vision development. 3-D screens and glasses create the illusion of depth by showing different images to each eye. That simulates the way objects that are at different distances in real life appear in different places in each eye’s field of view. That’s enough for most of us to perceive a scene as having depth. But our eyes also look for another depth cue in a scene: They expect to need to focus at different distances to see sharply. More specifically, our eyes track an approaching object by turning inward, toward our noses. Bring something close enough, and we look cross-eyed. 3-D screens also elicit this response when they show something approaching the viewer. The problem is that as the eyes turn inward, they also expect to focus closer. But a screen isn’t moving closer, so the eyes have to curb their hard-wired inclination and focus back out. This mismatch between where the eyes think the focus should be and where the screen actually is forces them to work extra hard. The problem is magnified if the screen moves close to the viewer — exactly what’s happening if 3-D viewing moves from the movie theater to living rooms to game gadgets like the 3DS. There is at least anecdotal evidence of a growing problem. David Hays, an optometrist in University Place, Wash., says patients came in after seeing “Avatar,” complaining of eyestrain or the inability to see the 3-D effect. He expects to see more as the technology spreads. Moviemakers do hold back on 3-D effects to minimize eyestrain. “Avatar” avoided gimmicks such as objects suddenly appearing to jut out of the screen. Filmmakers also try to make sure that the most significant part of a scene, such as the lead actor’s face, appear to be at the same distance as the screen.

AP Photo Martin Banks, an optometry professor at University of California, Berkeley, says the science behind 3-D technology doesn’t always match up with the abilities of the human eye. The problem is that as the eyes turn inward, they also expect to focus closer. But a screen isn’tmoving closer, so the eyes have to curb their hard-wired inclination and focus back out.

Facebook to let advertisers republish user posts Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) — Facebook users who check in to a store or click the “like” button for a brand may soon find those actions retransmitted on their friends’ pages as a “Sponsored Story” paid for by advertisers. Currently there is no way for users to decline this feature. Facebook says this lets advertisers promote word-ofmouth recommendations that people already made on the site. They play up things people do on the site that might get lost in the mass of links, photos, status updates and other content users share on the world’s largest social network. The new, promoted posts would keep the same privacy setting that the original posting had. So if you limit your check-ins to a specific group of friends, only these same friends would see the “Sponsored Story” version later.

The promoted content will appear on the right side of users’ home pages, not in their main news feed. That’s where regular ads, friend requests and other content are located. Involving users in advertisements without their consent has been a thorny issue for Facebook. Marc Rotenberg, executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, said in this case the company is making money off a person’s name or likeness without their consent. He calls it “subtle and misleading” and says users should object. Twitter already offers advertisers something similar, called “promoted tweets.” These are Twitter posts paid for by advertisers to show up in search results and on top of popular topic lists on the site. But while Twitter’s ads are written by the companies that pay for them, Facebook’s sponsored stories are created by users. Both represent an effort to make advertisements more akin to what people are already experiencing on the site instead of putting up virtual billboards that users might ignore or find tacky.

No proof WikiLeaks breaking law, inquiry finds Associated Press

The fan page of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg was hacked Tuesday morning. A status update on Zuckerberg’s fan page read: “If facebook needs money,instead of going to the banks, why doesn’t Facebook let its users invest in Facebook in a social way? Why not transform Facebook into a ‘social business’ the way Nobel Price (six) winner Muhammad Yunus described it? What do you think? #hackercup2011” Within minutes, the status received more than 1,800 likes and gained more than 400 comments.

LONDON (AP) — A company asked by Visa to investigate WikiLeaks’ finances found no proof the group’s fundraising arm is breaking the law in its home base of Iceland, according to a document obtained by The Associated Press. But Visa Europe Ltd. said Wednesday it would continue blocking donations to the secret-spilling site until it completes its own investigation. Company spokeswoman Amanda Kamin said she couldn’t say when Visa’s inquiry, now stretching into its eighth week, would be finished. Visa was one of several American companies that cut its ties with WikiLeaks after it began publishing a massive trove of secret U.S. diplomatic memos late last year. U.S. officials have accused the site of putting its national security at risk — a claim WikiLeaks says is an attempt to distract from the memos’ embarrassing content. When it announced its decision to suspend WikiLeaks donations on Dec. 8, Visa said it was awaiting an investigation into “the nature of its business and whether it contravenes Visa operating rules” — though it did not go into details. The Norwaybased financial services company Teller AS, which Visa ordered to look into WikiLeaks and its fundraising body, the Sunshine Press, found no proof of any wrongdoing. “Our lawyers have now completed their work and have found no indications that Sunshine Press ... acted in contravention of Visa’s rules or Icelandic legislation,” Teller’s chief executive Peter Wiren said late last month in a letter obtained by the AP. The two-page document said that Teller stood ready to process payments to WikiLeaks — but only if Visa gave the go-ahead. Teller confirmed the letter’s authenticity Wednesday. The refusal of Visa and other companies — including MasterCard Inc., PayPal Inc., and Moneybookers Ltd. — to handle WikiLeaks’ donations has hit the site hard at a time when its founder, 39-year-old Julian Assange, is fighting an attempt to extradite him to Sweden over allegations of sexual misconduct.

AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis The founder of secret-spilling website WikiLeaks Julian Assange was flanked by police officers as he left the court after making an appearance at Belmarsh Magistrates’ Court in London, Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2011. Assange was in court Tuesday for a procedural hearing which lasted for only about 10 minutes, as part of his fight to avoid extradition to Sweden on allegations of sex crimes.

New York Times to publish e-book on WikiLeaks NEW YORK (AP) — The New York Times is experimenting with another source of revenue: digital books. The newspaper said Wednesday it will publish its first e-book on Monday. “Open Secrets: WikiLeaks, War and American Diplomacy” will chronicle the story of last year’s WikiLeaks saga, in which the anti-secrecy group released U.S. State Department cables and other sensitive documents. The Times was among five publica-

tions that reviewed the material with WikiLeaks before their release. The Times’ new e-book will sell for $5.99 through Inc., Barnes & Noble Inc., Google Inc.’s eBook store and Apple Inc.’s iBookstore. The Times, owned by The New York Times Co., has been looking to grow revenue in digital businesses to offset declines in print advertising. It will soon charge readers who go over a certain monthly limit of free articles at its website. Executive Editor Bill Keller will write an essay on how the Times got involved with WikiLeaks and why it decided to publish the documents. The e-book will contain essays from Frank Rich and Maureen Dowd. It will also include the full text of the documents that the Times has published on its website, along with 27 additional cables selected for the e-book.

El Paso Tribune 1-28-2011 Section C  

El Paso Tribune 1-28-2011 Sports