I thought of that while riding my bicycle. â€“ Albert Einstein,
in reference to the Theory of Relativity
A JOURNAL OF THE BORDERLANDS juLY 2013
Vol. XVIII No. 6 64 PAGES
See Page 20
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Texas Greens make their way to Laredo Members of the Texas Greens, the Green Party of Texas, held their annual meeting at the Holding Institute Community Center on June 29 and 30. Party members discussed ways in which the state Green Party could help local parties prosper.
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Korean War, Korea Service Veterans, and Catholic War Veterans were among participants of the Independence Day parade on Thursday, July 4. The parade kicked off at St. Peter’s Plaza and culminated at the Civic Center.
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Red, White, and Blue Parade
Dance like there’s no tomorrow Dancers Rene Ramos and María I. Lozano performed Love Like A Sunset by Phoenix on Thursday, July 11 at the TAMIU Fine and Performing Arts Center.
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Mural of Brotherhood unveiled Independence day family fun Laura and Sky Pharr along with Lea and Cassie Ruiz enjoyed an afternoon of games and live entertainment at the Family Fun Fest Celebration on Thursday, July 4 at Uni-Trade Stadium.
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Ing. David Iza Cruz, professor Jesus Manuel Plata Segovia, Minerva Reyes de Alanis, Mayor Raul Salinas, and Alcade de Montemorelos Gerardo Alanis were at the unveiling of the Mural of Brotherhood on Saturday, July 13 at the Laredo International Airport. The permanent installation is a gift to the City of Laredo representing the bond between Laredo and its sister cities throughout Mexico.
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Local high school students Gerardo Velasco, Rodolfo Gonzalez, Chris Caribe, Natalia Vasquez, Aurora Serrano, Eliot Benavides, Rey Alvarado, and Adrian Martinez were among participants of The Cross Over Beneficence Concert held June 1. Proceeds benefited the Ruthe B. Cowl Rehabilitation Center. Executive director Fay Mainhart and assistant director Jackie Rodriguez recognized the students on July 11.
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Celia Villarreal/ LareDOS
Student concert benefits Cowl Center
Summer Volleyball Team Competition Camp Varsity volleyball players from St. Augustine and Alexander High School played against each other during the summer skills camp at TAMIU. The camp continues through August 9.
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Repeal of DOMA — it’s about civll rights, human rights By MARIELA RODRIGUEZ LareDOS Staff “It was an exciting event in our lives — not because we’ll benefit yet in Texas by those 1,400 legal rights that marriage confers to partners — but because this opens the door for possible sweeping changes at the state level,” said Liv of the June 26 SCOTUS repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Laredoans Liv and Natalia (not their real names) spoke to LareDOS under condition of anonymity about the repeal of DOMA, their lifetime commitment to one another, and being gay in Laredo. “I believe that civil rights are nothing more than human rights. So, as a part of a minority we’re looking forward to the day when all civil rights will be extended to us, too. This ruling will go a long way toward moving the process forward,” she continued. Cognizant that Texas — with its predominately Republican and conservative views — will be one of the last states to recognize the rights they hold dear, Liv and her lifetime partner Natalia are pragmatic about what changes may or may not come their way. “If a neighboring state should offer marriage equality, it might not be a very hard choice to make to move. Life would be so much simpler in an environment that accepted us and offered us a chance to live our life openly with all the rights and privileges of heterosexual couples,” said Natalia. Both women stressed that they do not want more rights, but simply the same Constitutional rights as other married couples. Under section three of the DOMA ruling these rights include health insurance and pension protections for federal employees’ spouses, social security benefits for widows and widowers, support and benefits for military spouses, joint income tax filing (exemption from federal estate taxes), and
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immigration protections for binational couples, according to www.gpo.gov. The repeal of DOMA evidences a major shift in the social and political views of the nation, Liv said, commenting on the 1969 riots at a New York City gay bar, the Stonewall Inn. “This laid the groundwork for today’s LGBT fight for equality.” She continued, “The once silent minority is making some noise through very active political organizations throughout the United States,” adding, “If you look at LGBT history, it all changed when those brave souls at Stonewall resisted police harassment in 1969. The media has also helped move the cause along.” Much as Selma, Alabama is considered the birthplace of the black-rights movement, and Seneca Falls, New York is equated to the women’s-rights movement, the incident at Stonewall brought the nation’s nascent gay rights movement into the light. President Obama referred to Stonewall, Seneca Falls, and Selma in his 2013 inaugural address. Natalia said that seeing the 1996 film If These Walls Could Talk pushed the couple into action about the legal state of their union. “In the film the partner of an older Lesbian couple suddenly dies and the surviving partner is totally unprotected — she loses her home and financial stability to her partner’s family,” Natalia, said, adding, “There were no medical or legal protections in place to guard against those things, as there were no precautionary steps to safeguard our shared livelihood.” The couple consulted an attorney to address those issues and then began the process of ‘coming out’ to their families. “We’ve come a long way since those days,” recalled Natalia. The women met in 1980 through mutual friends. They moved in with one another a year later, have invested in a home together, had a commitment ceremony in 1995 in San Antonio, came out
to their families in 2000, and are now celebrating 33 years together. “We both had prior relationships, so it wasn’t hard to recognize the real thing. Like all loving, committed, and devoted couples, we sincerely believed that we were destined to be soul mates. Nothing about that has changed. In fact, it strengthens with every year that passes,” said Liv. Although the couple’s commitment ceremony did not constitute a legal domestic partnership in Texas, it was important for them to publicly express their devotion to one another. “We wish we had a domestic partnership in the legal sense. Unfortunately, it doesn’t exist in Texas,” Natalia said, adding, “We had a lavish commitment ceremony. Except that it was two women at the altar, it was pretty much the same as any other marriage ceremony. We also had a large 25th anniversary celebration. Like most couples who love each other, we wanted a public re-affirmation of our commitment to each another.” Coming out was a slow process for both women. “We were both in our 40s before we took that step. The reaction was not nearly the significant event we thought it might be. Although it was a tense moment for us, the reaction from our family was pretty much ‘It’s about time!’ Photos of the two of us together are proudly displayed on their walls next to other family members, and they’re always quick to introduce us as partners,” said Liv. What began as a ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ (DADT) relationship has evolved as Liv and Natalia have grown comfortable as part of the Laredo LGBT community. Liv shared, “In the beginning the ‘L’ word was a little scary considering the social stigma attached to it. These days it’s more about not exposing any vulnerability in terms of job security. The best term to describe our visibility in
Laredo is that we live in a glass closet — we don’t openly confirm we’re gay when it comes to our employee relationships, but we live our life as a couple. The speculation of others about our sexual orientation is really of no significance to either of us.” Both women were not originally from Laredo but were raised in small, conservative South Texas communities. “When you’re very young, you realize that you feel ‘different’ from others, and it doesn’t take long to figure out that this is a secret that is best kept. Our stories involve different time frames in terms of embracing that difference,” said Natalia, adding, “We found large gay communities that embraced us and made us feel less different. Family is so much more than blood kinship – it’s about shared life experiences that bind you to people.” Interestingly, they have found that Laredo is fairly comfortable with DADT when it comes to its gay citizens. “Laredo is for the most part accepting of the LGBT community as long as it’s a DADT situation. They’re happy to let you thrive, they just don’t want to talk about it,” said Liv, inquiring, “Is that any different than the rest of our country?” Both women are politically active as Democrats at the local, state, and national level. They have a close friend running for state representative. “Our friend is gay, Hispanic, and female. She’s heavily favored to win the seat, and although she’s not from Laredo, she’s one more progressive voice for us. We’re very involved in her campaign,” said Natalia. “Since Natalia is self-employed without any fear of repercussions, it allows for openness. Discrimination laws that involve sexual orientation do not protect me in my workplace,” Liv said, adding, “You learn to be mostly aloof Continued on page 59
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EDAC working toward citywide revitalization By MARIELA RODRIGUEZ LareDOS Staff
he City Council-appointed Economic Development Advisory Committee (EDAC) was created in July 2010 to form a comprehensive incentive package for prospective new businesses and to form a plan for sustainable economic development. The EDAC is comprised of business leaders from various sectors of the community. IBC senior vice president John Villarreal, who chairs the committee, said, “I personally like the composition of the group because we have members from different business segments that provide to the committee different viewpoints and experiences.” Villarreal serves alongside Fred Dickey, appointed by Mayor Raul Salinas; Mark Gonzalez, appointed by Council Member Mike Garza; Carlo Molano, appointed by Council Member Esteban Rangel; Marcus Holliman, appointed by Council Member Juan Narvaez; Robert Martinez, appointed by Council Member Roque Vela Jr; Ed Ramirez, appointed by Council Member Charlie San Miguel; Marisa Laufer, appointed by Council Member Jorge Vera; and Viviana Rotnofsky, appointed by Council Member Cindy Liendo. Among the economic development strategies the EDAC has worked to implement are the District III and VIII Neighborhood Empowerment Zones (NEZ) — segments of old neighborhoods designated by an eligibility criteria to receive incentives to promote affordable housing and economic development. While NEZs are not a new concept in the state and across the country, it is new to Laredo. “We reviewed policies and tax incentive tools from other cities and adapted them to fit our city,” he said, adding, “We met with city staff and council to ensure the policy was in
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John Villarreal conformance with other city codes and policies. They were very helpful in ensuring the policy came to fruition.” Villarreal attributed the support and encouragement of Council Members Liendo and Perez for getting the go-ahead from the City to implement the NEZs in their respective districts. “Viviana Frank, one of our committee members, a local architect, and real estate investor, provided great input into the NEZ,” he said, adding, “Through her profession, she provided insight as to how the NEZs work,” he said. Frank is also is a member of Team Streets of Laredo (SOL) which is working to implement a municipal management district (MMD) for Districts III and VIII. MMDs are created within an existing commercial area to finance facilities, infrastructure, and services beyond those already provided by individual property owners or the municipality, according to www.texasahead. org/tax_programs “This will be another great tool in revitalizing these areas,” said Villarreal. He stressed that the NEZs are within districts in need of revitalization. “If we let some of these areas continue in their current state, they will continue to deteriorate, lose value, and the tax base
diminish,” he said. Both the taxpayer and tax entity benefit from the tax abatements provided by the NEZ, according to Villarreal. “For the taxing entity, the deterioration in tax values should cease as the property does not continue to deteriorate. While for the taxpayer, they will obtain abatement of their taxes on the ‘lift’ or increment increase of the property value for a specific period of time, either five or 10 years,” he said. EDAC committee members continue to research what other sectors of the city are in need of revitalization through sustainable economic development. They have met with Rolando Ortiz and Olinda Varela from the Laredo Development Foundation to see what they are doing, especially in the industrial sector. “Ideally, we would like to formulate
a strategic plan for the city, but it is a tremendous task that must be undertaken in segments. If a strategic plan is formulated, we do not want it to be in a binder sitting on someone’s desk,” he said, adding, “We want it to be a road map that we can review on a periodic basis to ensure we are going on the right path and amend it if needed. We hope we can continue to provide valuable insight to our city leaders and continue to see our city progress.” Villarreal said that the EDAC committee members believe that revitalization of one property will prompt adjacent properties to be revitalized, causing a domino affect that would create a major impact to the area and the city as a whole. The committee will continue to approach other taxing entities such as Webb County about enacting NEZ policies.
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MHS 1956 state champions to be inducted into National Hispanic Heritage Hall of Honor The Hispanic Sports Foundation for Education (HSFE) has selected the 1956 Martin High State Basketball Championship team for induction into the National Hispanic Hall of Honor at a July 27 banquet at the Omni Hotel at the Colonnade in San Antonio. Coaches Bill Batey and John Valls and players and managers Andres “Andy” Santos, Ramiro Hernandez, Leonard Anderson, Phillip Trammel, Willie Dickinson, Hector Chacon, Pitin Guajardo, Jimmy Rodriguez, Cruz Soto, Enrique Mejia, Agustin Molina, Isidro “Chilo” García, Walter Her-
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beck, and José Luis Novoa will become of part of the distinguished hall for achievements in athletics. Rodriguez, Soto, and Mejia are being inducted posthumously. The legendary Tiger Team claimed Laredo’s only public high school basketball championship after upsetting the top two teams in the state at storied Gregory Gymnasium on the campus of the University of Texas at Austin. Other 2013 inductees in the Hall of Honor are former San Antonio Mayor and Department of Housing and Ur-
ban Development Secretary Henry G. Cisneros and the Honorable Sam Medina for Public Service, San Antonio Independent School District superintendent Dr. Sylvester Perez for Education, Clarence Kahlig for Business, and Jo Anne Boone who is being given a special recognition by the HSFE board. The National Hispanic Heritage Hall of Honor recognizes outstanding Hispanic leaders who have established a record of achievement and excellence in Education, Athletics, Business, Public Service, Military Service
and Arts & Entertainment. On occasion, HSFE confers the Special Recognition Award to honor a non-Hispanic individual who has shown extraordinary dedication in the inspiration and support of young Hispanics. An additional highlight of the event is the presentation of scholarships to aspiring college students. Tickets to the Hall of Honor banquet are $60.00 per person and can be purchased online at www.hsffe.com or by contacting Roy Orozco at (210) 443-4460 or at email@example.com. —LareDOS Staff
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Plastic bag reduction ordinance to move through council after August 5 introduction by ESD director Riazul Mia By MARIA EUGENIA GUERRA LareDOS Publisher
ity of Laredo Environmental Services Director (ESD) Riazul Mia will introduce the proposed Plastic Checkout Bag Reduction Ordinance at the August 5 City Council meeting, re-introducing the ordinance initially sent to Council in 2008 by the Citizens Environmental Advisory Committee (CEAC). According to ESD assistant director John Porter, since CEAC began its work on the ordinance in 2007, the committee held 35 meetings that elicited the concerns and opinions of citizens and representatives of downtown merchants, the Laredo Chamber of Commerce, environmental groups, grocery retailers, convenience stores, and plastic bag manufacturers. Though Council members Cindy Liendo and Mike Garza voiced opposition to the ordinance at the July 8 Council meeting, the issue seems to have momentum and less vocal opposition than its 2008 introduction. The ordinance was discussed at length by Council members after Dr. Lynne Manganaro, a TAMIU professor of public administration and a member of the board of the Rio Grande International Study Center (RGISC), presented findings of an 824-household study conducted in all eight City Council districts about the use of the thin (less than 4 mil) white bags that become airborne and proliferate the landscape. Entitled 2012 Laredo Environmental Survey: Findings and Recommendations, the study was conducted by a corps of 60 volunteers Manganaro assembled to conduct surveys in English and in Spanish. Reminding City Council members that Laredo consumes about 120 million plastic bags per year, RGISC executive director Tricia Cortez articulated the W W W.L A R ED OSN E WS.COM
environmental organization’s recommendations to provide a one-year time frame for compliance for all retailers; to include exemptions for fast food, meats, and dry cleaners; to require retailers to display signage in parking lots and doorways about bag availability in the stores; and to make violations a 311-complaint driven enforcement process. As was Council member Alejandro Perez’s steadfast leadership for the ordinance visible at the meeting, so was Council member Liendo’s non-support as she repeated a preference for educational measures to address plastic bag littering and warned of upcoming opposition to the ordinance. She was referring to the handful of downtown merchants in her district who have opposed the ordinance since its origins in 2007. The Council is expected to decide on an implementation schedule for the ordinance and whether to apply a penalty or fee per transaction if a customer at checkout asks for plastic bags. The City of Brownsville imposes a $1 transaction fee, while stores in other cities charge 25 cents per bag. Mia said that the Brownsville model, for instance, has HEB keep five cents, and 95 cents goes to the City to address environmental issues. “We would use that money for community cleanups, cleaning illegal dumping sites, tire buy-backs, environmental education, and to help with Keep Laredo Beautiful projects,” Mia said, adding that the passage of the ordinance would save his department $170,000 annually in the operation of vacuum trucks to clean out storm drains clogged with plastic bags. The city’s Solid Waste Department would save about the same amount annually in picking up windblown plastic bag debris at the landfill and downtown. Council member Perez acknowl-
edged the work that went into Dr. Manganaro’s survey. “The survey told us that 84 percent of Laredoans favor this plasic bag reduction ordinance. I want to do what the people want and do what has worked in other cities,” he said. “Other cities in Texas, including Austin, also have plastic bag ban or reduction ordinances in place. Freer has passed an ordinance to keep the bags from blowing onto ranches where they can harm cattle and wildlife if ingested,” Perez continued. Texas cities working on plastic bag ordinances include Corpus Christi, Odessa, El Paso, Dallas, Houston, San Marcos, Midland, Copperas Cove, and Eagle Pass. Of the $300,000 the city spends annually to clean up plastic bags, Perez said, “We employ a full time person cleaning up bags along the fence at the landfill. The problem has gotten bad enough that retailers have stopped advertising on their plastic bags, so that litter cannot be tracked back to them. Opposition to the ordinance has been minimal. It is time for this ordinance,” he said. Council member Charlie San Miguel called the ordinance “a progressive step that says we don’t want plastic bags to be part of the environment. They are an unsightly nuisance that clog our storm drains and end up in the creeks and the river. We know retailers will resist the idea, but it’s time to think for the greater good.” Roque Vela, the most junior Council member, said, “For the environment and for the bottom line costs to the city, this is the right thing to do. It’s a big step in the right direction. Council will do some tweaking to the ordinance.” Council member Esteban Rangel, who seconded a motion to introduce the ordinance at the upcoming August 5 Council meeting, said that informing the public of how the ordinance will
work will be key to its success. “It’s a dramatic change for retailers and for the consumers. We’ve met with HEB and heard their concerns. They’ve seen this in other cities, so they are well versed in how to educate the public of changes the ordinance will bring.” RGISC’s Cortez said that while change is uncomfortable for some, it can bring significant improvement to the quality of life in Laredo. “Change is often worth the short-term sacrifices. We all need to keep our recycled shopping bags nearby and remember to take them with us,” she said. Cortez said she is proud of RGISC’s partnership with the City and others who believe the ordinance will change the cityscape and ultimately keep plastics from making their way into the Río Grande. RGISC has utilized grant funds and donations to buy bus advertising calling for the reduction of plastic bags. The organization has purchased thousands of reusable shopping bags made of recycled plastic bottles, and has secured City participation for more bags. “Once the ordinance is in place, we encourage the public and all retailers to be patient with this new policy, and to see how our community will benefit from it,” she said,” adding, “RGISC will continue to be at the forefront of this city-wide initiative, and monitor its progress, for a cleaner, safer and more beautiful Laredo.” City Manager Carlos Villarreal, who has seen plastic bags on the landscape as the bane of his existence, has been unwavering in his determination to do something about the unsightly environmental problem. “This is a very significant step in that direction,” he said of the ordinance. “We look forward to implementing it. We are glad to tackle the issue. Obviously we’ll encounter opposition from those who do not see how the entire community will benefit.” LareDOS I J U LY 2013 I
Job Corps’ Billy Smith — inspiring mentor to students By MARIELA RODRIGUEZ LareDOS Staff
s of the publication of this issue, former Laredoan Billy Smith lives in India, working alongside the CDHIFI International Foundation — a charitable organization that provides free medical care and medicine for the destitute and their animals. Smith is also working as chief consultant for Biotools, a Bangalore–based company that specializes in training drug detection dogs for government and private agencies. The former Laredo Job Corps (LJC) K-9 instructor for over 10 years, Smith left a lasting impression on students and colleagues alike. His lessons went far beyond those of the classroom as he aimed at instilling respect, responsibility, and perseverance in students who trained as dog handlers. “Everyday was a memorable experience — taking these kids and demanding they respect one another,” Smith said, adding, “Before you can train or discipline a dog, you yourself must be disciplined — which is one of the things we strived for at LJC.” Smith’s students speak highly of his knowledge, capabilities as a canine trainer, and his overall bearing on their lives. “The last few months in the LJC
K-9 program were the best,” said student Lizbeth Alonso, adding, “I never saw Mr. Smith as just an instructor. I looked up to him as a parental figure. I admire him a lot.” LJC student Juan Carlos Campos said, “Mr. Smith always treated all of his students fairly and with a great deal of respect.” After six months in the program, Luna García reflected on her overall experience. Smith encouraged and pushed García — a native of Mexico — to sharpen her English skills and to learn from life’s trials by error. “I learned so much from him, and he’s given me the motivation I need to continue,” she said. LJC business and community liaison Adriana Hernandez said, “Mr. Billy Smith will be tremendously missed. He has inspired many young minds to keep going in a positive direction.” She added, “Thank you, Mr. Smith, for giving our K-9 students the attention, training, and confidence they need to succeed in this dog-eat-dog world.” A native Texan, Smith has traveled and lived all over the United States. Prior to accepting the teaching position with LJC, he retired as a narcotics dog handler at the Texas Department of Criminal Justice in Angleton. He completed certifications from Miramar College in San Diego, Alvin College, the University of Utah School
Billy Smith addressing K-9 handler class.
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of Medicine, the Texas Department of Corrections, and the American Police Academy, among others. With over 20 years as an educator, Smith has taught at the University of Louisiana, Texas A&M’s Criminal Justice Academy, Austin Police Department Law Enforcement Academy, New York State Sheriff’s Association Training Institute, and Laredo Community College. He has assisted in various trainings for sheriff’s departments and held seminar trainings in narcotics and explosives detection across the country. Throughout his career Smith assisted in numerous investigations in several states and natural disaster search and rescue missions for the retrieval of cadavers. In 1996, he assisted the Judicial de Estado de Chihuahua in recovering cadavers and remains of females who were abducted and killed in Juarez, Chihuahua. Smith served in the U.S. Navy from January 1956 to August 1975, retiring as an E-7 Chief Master-at-Arms — a law enforcement specialist. Smith was the trainer for the first Federal narcotic detector dog (Heidi) in the Seattle district. In 1972, he established the Commander Naval Air Forces Pacific Fleet Narcotic Interdiction and Training Program. As a teen, Smith recalled his own rebellious streak and attributed that to his ability to relate to troubled students. “When I was a teenager I was considered a bad boy. My last years in high school were spent at Allen Military Academy in Bryan. I enjoyed it so much, it’s why I joined the service,” Smith said, adding, “That is where I learned the importance of discipline and guidance, which is what a lot of students need.” Author of the Law Enforcement Training Specialist Training Manual (1989), Smith has received countless awards
for his work with law enforcement such as the National Achievement Award and Meritorious Achievement Award from the National Narcotic Detector Dog Association, Inc., an organization he founded in 1977. In India, Smith is no doubt doing what he does best — teaching, training canines, and lending a helping hand where needed. He said he will use his spare time on safari in search of the last of the Bengali tigers, as he had planned prior to his departure from Laredo. About the LJC K-9 program The LJC K-9 program equips students with the skills to modify canine behavior and to prep canines to work for law enforcement as narcotic and explosive detectors. A positive reinforcement and scent discrimination method is used in the training process. Currently the LJC facility has 16 fully functional kennels and has received various litter donations from breeders all over the U.S. The unit has worked closely with the Laredo Animal Protective Society and Webb County Precinct Four and has also supplied dogs to the Wounded Warrior Project. Bed bug detection was also implemented into the training program. One of the many success stories from the LJC K-9 program is Mara Cadena, one of Smith’s former students, who now lives in Georgetown, South Carolina and works as a handler for Merrill’s Detector Dog Service. She travels throughout the Southeastern U.S. and works with a bed bug detector canine for inspections of major hotels, hospitals, and other industrial sites. For more information on the Laredo Job Corps programs call (956) 727-5147 or visit their website at www.laredo.jobcorps.gov.
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Just keep swimming, swimming, swimming
Joaquina Kuriatta along with daughter Kimberly and son Kurt M. Kuriatta are pictured at Kimberly’s athletic scholarship signing ceremony held at United High School on Friday, June 27. The recent graduate signed with the UT Pan Am track team.
Lifeguard AB Gutman teaches Abraham Garza the basics of free-style swimming on Wednesday, July 17 during the Learn to Swim classes sponsored by the City of Laredo Parks & Leisure.
High school grad on the right track
Saturday night is for art lovers Yvette Garza, Cruz Pizano, George Gonzalez, and Alison Martinez attended the opening and reception for Catherine Avaritt’s exhibit Flesh: an exhibition, on Saturday, July 20 at Caffé Dolce.
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The Border Foundry: a restaurant built on family tradition By Celia Villarreal LareDOS Staff
or years members of the community have urged the Pete Mims family to open a restaurant. That they did on June 18, opening the doors to the Border Foundry restaurant and bar at 7781 McPherson Road. The name “Border Foundry” is an homage to Pete Mims’ grandfather, Constantine Mims who operated a foundry, a workshop for casting metals, at Market Street and Marcella. Established in 1907 as the Border Foundry, it remained open for nearly 100 years in the Mims family until 2005. For Pete Mims the foundry was more than just a business. The old
establishment has held a great deal of meaning for him. “I grew up in there. I stayed there until the very end,” he said. After the foundry closed, Pete and his sons found themselves involved in the catering business. “The whole idea for the restaurant kind of evolved from catering. People would tell us that we should open a restaurant, so that idea has been in our heads for some time,” remarked William Mims, the youngest son of Pete and Leslie Mims. Eldest son Richard, now one of the Border Foundry chefs, initially cooked at Cosmos for about a year before venturing to the Culinary Academy of Austin. He eventually returned to Laredo to pursue the dream of starting up a family res-
William, Richard, and Pete Mims, owners of the Border Foundry.
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taurant. Once the idea for the restaurant began to take form, the Mims knew they would name it the Border Foundry. “We decided to keep the same name to carry it on. When you walk in here, you can see a lot of artifacts from my grandfather’s day that date to the early 1900s and 1920s. We even have the original sign from the 1920s,” said Pete Mims. Mirroring an adherence to family tradition, the Border Foundry serves classic foods that let the ingredients speak for themselves. “We’re keeping with the theme of the business being around since the early 1900s,” said Richard. Some of the family’s personal favorites include the rib eye, chipotle pasta, and salmon pizza. “Everything we’re preparing is top quality, so you can’t go wrong with any choice,” Richard said. “Naming the best dish would be like naming your favorite baby,” William added. All of the restaurant’s dishes are made from scratch. The fruit juices are freshly squeezed, and nothing is pre-frozen or pre-made. “If you go into our kitchen you won’t find a microwave. Everything is made fresh,” said Pete. The Border Foundry has an impressive wine selection that is unrivaled anywhere else in the city, according to Pete. “The one thing we hear is that we’re keeping our prices pretty reasonable for a bottle of wine. We’re not trying to make a killing on the price of wine,” he said. He suggested that the cucumber martini is worth a try because they have included gin infused with cucumber in the mix. “We’re trying to
do some new signature drinks as well as keeping the traditional favorites,” remarked Pete. “For desserts, we have my grandmother’s recipe on the trifle, which is a pound cake stacked up with strawberries, whipped cream, and vanilla custard,” said Richard. Other desserts include bread pudding, chocolate mousse, and ice cream. Peach cobbler from a family recipe will likely make it onto the menu. Border Foundry’s full-time pastry chef is Emma Trujillo, a graduate of the LCC Culinary Program. Pete Mims said the family’s goal is to keep consistent with the values of Constantine Mims’ quality and hard work. “We hope to keep on receiving the wonderful support from the community,” he added “It’s been a lot of fun, but also a lot of work and time,” reflected Pete on the recent opening of the restaurant. An average workday for the Mims team is about 18 hours that span setting up at early morning hours to closing down and cleaning the entire kitchen every night. The Border Foundry is open Tuesday through Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. for the kitchen and 11:30 a.m. to 12 a.m. for the bar. “We get here at eight in the morning, and we leave at around two the next morning,” said Pete. They are also open on Sundays for brunch from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Mondays aren’t really days off, but they use that day to catch up on paperwork and order supplies. Reservations are not necessary and private parties and catering are available. For more information on Border Foundry, call (956) 724-5907. W W W.L A R ED OSN E WS.COM
Enjoying dinner at the Border Foundry Pictured in the photo to the left are Patty Bruni, Linda LaMantia Leslie Mims (Peteâ€™s wife and mother of William and Richard), and Janice Gonzalez. In the photo to the right are Homero Montemayor III and Giselle Vasquez.
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An excursion to China – a memorable experience By JIM MOORE LareDOS Contributor
he opportunity to visit China and experience a miniscule portion of its history and culture comes once in a lifetime to most people. Recently Cathey and I traveled there with our first stop in Hong Kong. We arrived on a cloudy, overcast day. The size of the airport and harbor were the first thing we noticed upon arrival. Hong Kong is not the largest seaport in China; Shanghai is. The airport, once considered one of the most dangerous in the world, has been moved some distance from the city. Prior to its relocation, large passenger and cargo planes landed between the many multistory buildings on either side of the approach to the airport. There have been many photographs taken and published of a 747, landing gear deployed, passing between the skyscrapers near the airport. The magnificent harbor surrounded by office and residential buildings is a sight to see. From our hotel lobby, we could enjoy the beautiful lighted buildings across the harbor with a most unusual light show throughout the evening. The next morning we had a full day of visiting two temples, Victoria Peak, fishing harbor, and a small market reminiscent of Nuevo Laredo of old. While walking through the market, I encountered a shop, maybe 100 square feet, with camera and accessories. I had been looking for a replacement battery pack for my Canon Rebel XTi in the US without success. I asked the merchant if he might have the battery. He reached under the counter to retrieve the replacement I had been looking for. The contrast of the ancient temples and a modern day Hong Kong was very evident as we viewed the temple with a backdrop of 100+ story skyscrapers. The temples are in the city center with freeways crisscrossing the areas around
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Jim and Cathey Moore them. Once inside, the freeway presence was not noticeable. The interior grounds were peaceful and serene. The prevalent scent of incense greeted us as we entered Man Mo Temple, which brings together two meanings — civil and military. Man Mo was built in the mid 1800s while under British law. It was the site where locals would come to settle disputes not resolved under British law. Although rebuilt several times, much of the original temple remains today. Fortune tellers surround the area just outside the temple grounds. Inside there are larger than life-size bronze statues of the images representing the sacred animal for every year, such as the monkey or goat. Inside the temple grounds is Yue Heung Shrine, which is dedicated to the Buddha of Lighting Lamp. The aim is to propagate Buddhism. Built in 1933, it has been modified in recent years to add a guardian of Buddhists. While visiting the Temple, it became very interesting because many young Asian men and women wanted to have their picture taken with Cathey, a tall, blond American. This continued throughout our trip, including visits to the great Wall and
Xi’an. Our next stop was one of the most peaceful places I have ever visited, on par with Muir Woods in Northern California. The “Nunnery” as identified by our guide was connected to the Man Mo Temple, but housed women only. The contrast of the modern and ancient was inescapable. The Aberdeen Fishing Village just off the main Hong Kong harbor is where fisherman lived and practiced their livelihood among the large ships and yachts in the area. Many of the vessels did not appear to be seaworthy and would not have passed any inspection by the United States Coast Guard. As we left the fishing village, we travelled up the side of the mountain adjacent to the harbor to scale Victoria Peak high above Hong Kong proper. Although cloudy and overcast, the sight was beautiful and impressive. Large ocean faring vessels appeared to be mere specks on the harbor’s surface. Beijing was next. We left Hong Kong aboard China Southern Airlines for our flight north. The ride into the city during rush hour was at least an hour-anda-half. The road was originally built for the travelers during the Olympics. The Chinese are very careful where tourists are allowed to travel. We saw what the Chinese wanted us to see! Beijing is a city of 22 million, perhaps closer to 30 million. As we approached the city, we witnessed the tremendous building activity. We probably passed a million units under construction. Upon arrival at our hotel (The St. Regis, originally built by John Astor in the 1920s), we were welcomed at a five-star hotel in the embassy section of the city. It is important to note Starbucks, KFC, and Subway were located immediately across the street. McDonalds was not far down the street. Beijing was the central focus of our visit, with tours outside the city to the Great Wall, and a cloisonné factory. Although several options for area tours
were available, we chose the Silk Factory, the Pearl Market, Summer Palace, Temple of Heaven, Tiananmen Square, and the Forbidden City. The Silk Factory (historical in nature, not currently functioning as a factory) is a walk through history with demonstrations that ended in a “shopping” opportunity for silk products. I had a suit made in two days. As we walked through the retail center in the factory, we learned quickly the art of negotiating price as we’ve all learned on the streets of Nuevo Laredo. I have been told by many South Texans there was a silk farm between Laredo and San Antonio. The silk was produced for parachutes during World War II. Following a bus ride, we arrived at the Summer Palace on Lake Kunming. The dragon boat ride allowed us to see the temple from the lake while seeing other
Terracota Soilder at Xi’an sites on the lake. The lake was dug by hand at the emperor’s request — quite an endeavor considering the size of the lake. Many of the buildings on the lake were decorated in typical Chinese artwork of the period. Fortunately for visitors today and in the future, the artwork is maintained for generations to come. In the park surrounding the lake, Chinese musicians performed traditionContinued on page 17
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Continued FROM page 16 al music and dance from the period of the emperor’s reign. I enjoyed watching an elderly gentleman practicing the art of calligraphy on the sidewalk using a special mop with water. As we walked along the many walkways, we observed blooming trees, manicured gardens, and waterways, most of which were hand dug. The wisteria trees had bloom clusters 18 to 24 inches in length. The trees in most parks were marked with colored plates indicating the age of the trees (100 to 500 years old). The trees marked appeared to be juniper or cedar. Throughout the park, people all ages enjoyed the park and its facilities. Some were playing a game similar to badminton using their feet as paddles with a shuttlecock about 12 inches in length. The game involved four people. Several groups were playing various board games while others were knitting and sewing items for sale. The Temple of Heaven was a real treat. The temple is located on the highest point in Beijing, so located to give the emperor the sense of being in the clouds or heaven. Very large incense burning pots were placed throughout the temple. The care and condition of the temple indicates the constant upkeep of the facilities and grounds. The artwork is outstanding. You would have to see it to really appreciate its beauty and uniqueness. Culinary offerings were presented in many local restaurants with unbelievable presentations as well as tastes. Lunch at Mansion Bai was as pleasing to
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the eye as to the taste buds. The entrance to the restaurant was off a main street down a long walkway to a beautiful building in a wonderfully manicured garden with roses and dahlias as large as a dinner plate. The hostesses, servers, and other employees were in traditional dress for our benefit. Peking duck is obviously a specialty in the city formerly known as Peking. As it is served, the chef brings it out to demonstrate the required 140 cuts necessary before serving the duck. What an experience to the taste buds. The restaurant is the world renowned Quanjade Peking Duck Restaurant. Other meals included a typical Dim Sum luncheon including experiences with foods that did not interest me. However, a very special dinner was planned the last evening in Beijing. The Pearl Market became the favorite of many in our group. The offerings ranged from pearls, of course, to anything else you might want. The building was five stories tall with two subfloors. The higher you went in the building, the higher the prices of goods. Unfortunately we spent too much time on the fifth floor. I did have 6 shirts and 2 sport coats made overnight. The pearls and jade we purchased have provided much joy to our families and friends. Here again the art of negotiating price was an art. An additional attraction of the Pearl Market is that it was only a five-block walk from the hotel. The initial impression of Tiananmen Square is the sheer size of the area. Although my estimation may be incorrect, the distance appears to be about one mile in width from the Hall of the People to the Tomb of Mao se Tung. The Forbidden City is at one end of the square with temple buildings in the area. There was the presence of Chinese soldiers everywhere we traveled, but never overbearing. In fact, the only time I saw sol-
The Great Wall of China diers with weapons was while standing guard at the embassy buildings. As we left the square we entered the Forbidden City. One of our guides stated there were 1,000 buildings with a total of 8,000 rooms in the Forbidden City. Walking through the Forbidden City, one is aware of the massive size, ornate buildings, walkways with special carvings and meanings — all evidence of cultural beliefs and superstitions. Rock formations can be observed throughout the places we visited. Rocks hold a special place in Chinese lore. The Nunnery in Hong Kong had some very beautiful rocks and formations. A visit to the Forbidden City is overwhelming because the size and special meanings. The Great Wall of China was one of my favorite sites. It can be seen from outer space! I would have never thought I would have ever seen the Great Wall, but to walk on it and climb its many stairways was a special treat. The treat was enhanced with a catered lunch on the Wall. Walking along the storied, ancient walkways and stairs, one is consumed by the enormity of the experience. Rock walls several hundred years old have graffiti carved into the surface with dates over 50 years ago. The stairways were being climbed by all types but particularly interesting to me was the number of elderly Asian visitors on the Wall and the steep stairs. The city of Xi’an was another favorite, some 1.5 hours by air southwest of Beijing and the archeological site of the Terracotta Soldiers. It is a national park with very large buildings housing the
active digs. The number, size, difference, and positions of the soldiers is remarkable. Unfortunately, the original soldiers were damaged during a subsequent uprising following the emperor’s death by a rival group. The site shows the meticulous manner in which the soldiers, houses, and bronze carriages are being restored. The six-foot stature of the soldiers is interesting because the average Chinese person is not that tall. To create 8,000 soldiers with different facial features, hair, uniforms, and positions is an unbelievable fete. With the death of previous emperors, real soldiers were killed to accompany the emperor into the next world. This emperor had the terracotta soldiers made instead. The dinner in the Hall of the People on Tiananmen Square offered an unusual experience. The massive size of the building, entry halls, artwork, and doors was impressive. We were ushered into a “Grand” hall used for state dinners and other very special events. In fact, it is used for non-government purposes only a few times a year. The doors into the hall were massive, 25 feet or so. They appeared to be covered with gold leaf. The height of the ceiling inside was 30 to 40 feet from the floor. There was a second floor around the main floor. I was impressed by the size and beauty of the chandeliers. The gorgeous lighting fixtures appeared to be made of gold filigree and crystals. The size appeared to be 20 feet in diameter. Dinner and entertainment surpassed our expectations. An interesting note to the evening was that the event should have ended at 10:00 p.m., which it did, with the lights turned off at 10:00 p.m. sharp. Our guides were very well trained, spoke English, and were graduates of a special college program for guides. We learned Chinese children begin to learn English about the third grade. The current generation of guides is the third generation from the Communist takeover of China. They are thoroughly indoctrinated and are very proud representatives of their country. A common theme expressed by the guides is that the Chinese always have the largest of most everything. LareDOS I J U LY 2013 I
Trayvon Martin shooting was senseless and tragic; Florida law gave Zimmerman the right to shoot him
By ROBERTO BALLI LareDOS Contributor
was a law student at the University of Houston when O.J. Simpson was tried and acquitted of the murder of his wife Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman. Even though the evidence seemed to indicate that Simpson committed the crime, I witnessed many individuals in the African-American community celebrate Simpson’s victory, while many white Americans sat in disbelief and disappointment in the system. It was clear from comments from members of either community that race, and in some cases, racism played a part in the opinions concerning the verdict. In the Zimmerman case, just like in the Simpson case, from the social media to the web media, and the traditional media, it was evident that there was a similar racial divide in the country. When the verdict was announced in the Zimmerman case, whites celebrated this victory, using the social media while African Americans expressed disappointment. Like in the Simpson case, many of the comments about the Zimmerman case were charged with a racial or even a racist slant. Many who supported a conviction felt that the case was about the racial profiling by an armed white man of Trayvon Martin, an AfricanAmerican teen. Although it seems that this could be the truth, there was never evidence to support this logical conclusion. In fact, as much as race played a role in the court of public opinion, there was hardly a mention of race during the trial of George Zimmerman. The only mention of race during the trial came
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from a State witness, Rachel Jeantel, who said that Martin, the victim, referred to Zimmerman as a “creepy-ass cracker.” Instead of race and racial profiling, the social theme that played out in the courtroom was America’s love for guns. There are many Americans who believe they should be allowed to carry guns and use them if confronted by an attacker, or even to stop a potential attack. In the end, it was Florida’s laws that reflect this love for guns that protected George Zimmerman from conviction. Under Florida law, it is not illegal for a citizen with a fully loaded and cocked handgun to question a complete stranger. It was also legal for Zimmerman to follow Martin – first with a car and then on foot – and confront Martin for an explanation about what he was doing in the neighborhood. Never mind that Zimmerman’s conduct was likely to provoke fear and perhaps an angry reaction from Martin, who was not violating the law. Martin did not even look like he was violating the law. He was just a kid walking home, wearing a hoodie on a rainy February night. Zimmerman’s conduct, although distasteful, was not illegal, and the jury needed to consider this. What happened during this initial confrontation and shortly thereafter, is really not known. Not one person witnessed the initial confrontation. Martin’s family identified Martin’s voice screaming for help on a 911 recording during the scuffle. In contrast, Zimmerman’s family identified Zimmerman’s voice as the person screaming for help. Eyewitness testimony conflicted about whether Martin was on top of Zimmerman during the scuffle
or Zimmerman was on top of Martin. One trial witness identified Martin as beating on Zimmerman “MMA style.” All of this conflicting testimony had to weigh on the jury. The prosecution’s case was in shambles for three reasons. First, the prosecution had the burden to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Zimmerman was guilty, and that he was not entitled to use self-defense. Zimmerman did not have to prove anything. In many states, the defendant is required to prove their self-defense claim. Second, according to Florida law, Zimmerman was entitled to use deadly force, in this case, shoot Martin, if Zimmerman was in fear of death. He had no duty to retreat. This is in contrast to the law in some states, including, Texas, in which the defendant has a duty to retreat, if it can be done safely. Finally, in some states, including Texas, Zimmerman would not be entitled to a self-defense claim if the jury found that he provoked the attack by Martin either by some act or by words. This is not the case in Florida. The state was at a disadvantage from opening statements. Things only got worse for the prosecution. The prosecution played video recordings for the jury of interviews between the state’s lead investigator on the case, Chris Serino, and Zimmerman in which Zimmerman recounted the events of that evening. Zimmerman said that he was physically attacked by Martin. Zimmerman described being on the ground screaming for help as Martin beat him; even pounding Zimmerman’s head into the pavement. Zimmerman recounted that Martin was trying to get his gun from Zimmerman’s waist when he fired the fatal shot. When a
defense lawyer for Zimmerman asked the state’s lead investigator weather he believed Zimmerman’s account of the events, he answered that he believed “he was telling the truth.” This was, no doubt, a significant point in the trial. If the state’s lead investigator believed Zimmerman, why should the jury doubt him? Next, the defense called Doctor Vincent Di Maio, one of the country’s best known and most respected forensic pathologists, to the stand. Dr. Di Maio spent years as Bexar County’s Chief Medical Examiner. He has written books and lectured on gunshot wounds. Webb County was lucky to have him oversee our autopsies for many years. Dr. Di Maio testified that when Zimmerman fired the fatal shot, Martin was on top of Zimmerman. Di Maio concluded this because there was evidence that Martin’s shirt was dangling a few inches away from his body at the time he was shot. If Martin had been on the ground when he was shot, Martin’s shirt would have been pressed against his body. Dr. Di Maio also reviewed photographs taken of Zimmerman by the police, which showed that Zimmerman had bruising, a cut on the bridge of his nose, and cuts on the back of his head. Dr. Di Maio testified that Zimmerman’s nose appeared to have been broken and that the cuts on the back of Zimmerman’s head were consistent with being beaten against the pavement as Zimmerman had described to the lead investigator in the recorded interviews. The prosecution was now on life support. According to Florida’s Stand Your Continued on page 59
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Contest fun at Uni-Trade Children ages eight through 11 eagerly participated in a water meloneating contest held at the City of Laredo Fourth of July Family Fun Fest Celebration at Uni-Trade Stadium.
The Dolce Divas Olivia Cotton, owner of the Knick Knack Studio and Shop, and Val Vega, owner of CaffĂŠ Dolce, were among vendors at the July 13 Bazaar at the French Quarter. They promoted mugs among other handcrafted products.
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Cyclists ask for Safe-Passing Ordinance; Council member San Miguel leads the push By CELIA VILLARREAL LareDOS Staff
ith cycling and running growing ever more popular in Laredo, City Council member Charlie San Miguel has proposed a safe-passing ordinance to enhance the safety of those who share the roadways with vehicular traffic. When San Miguel introduced a draft of the ordinance at the May 6 City Council meeting, he was surprised that Council members Esteban Rangel and Juan Narvaez were not supportive of the idea. “Texas law states that motorists must pass bicyclists and pedestrians ‘in a safe manner.’ What does safe mean? To somebody, safe could be one foot, but to somebody else it could be five feet, so what’s safe?” asked San Miguel. These are the questions that led to the draft of the proposed ordinance, which would define a safe distance between cyclists and vehicles as three feet, and six feet for large automobiles. The draft he presented to City Council was based on existing ordinances that protect cyclists and runners in other Texas cities, such as San Antonio and Austin. During the May 6 City Council meeting, City Manager Carlos Villarreal asked, “What happens when the street is so narrow that you can’t be six feet away from an individual?” San Miguel explained that motorists should approach the situation the same way they would as if they were driving behind a car driving below the speed limit. “I would wait until there’s no oncom-
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ing traffic, and then go around. It’s no difference between vehicles and cyclists,” he said. By law, cyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as motorists to use the road, and like motorists, they must also obey the rules of the road — stopping at red lights, yielding the right-of-way to either a car or bicycle, and indicating turn signals. Among the cyclists with whom LareDOS spoke for this story were members of the Laredo Cycling Association (LCA). They concurred that many Laredo drivers hold contempt for cyclists who share the road with them. “A lot of drivers aren’t aware that cyclists have the same rights on the streets, and that our bikes, too, are a mode of transportation,” said LCA member Ramon Avina, who works in the distribution of GPS satellite tracking devices for the trucking industry. Some LCA members said that the safety of cyclists boils down to educating motorists that cyclists have a right to use public thoroughfares. They believe that one of the best ways to promote safety on the road is signage that read “Share the Road” or “Three Feet Rule.” Cyclist Oscar Urdias, the sales manager of an auto dealership, said that getting the signs posted has been “an uphill battle.” He and other LCA members have met with Mayor Raul Salinas about the signs. “We are still waiting,” he said. LCA member Joe Gonzalez, a customs broker, said, “It’s not that we’re going to go out there with a tape measure to see who we can catch. If the ordinance passes, the vehicle will then have more respect for the cyclist instead of getting as
close as they can to purposely intimidate us.” “A lot of uneducated drivers think that the car has the right-ofway, and because of this, they’ve honked at us, they’ve yelled at us, and they’ve thrown stuff at us. One time, we even had people throw tortillas at us,” Gonzalez added. Despite the obvious aggression displayed by some motorists, City Council member Narvaez, who opposes the ordinance, said after its introduction, “I believe even without an ordinance at this time we still respect the cyclists and joggers.” He added that he felt the ordinance would “put too much of a burden” on the driver. “I don’t think the ordinance is going to hurt anyone driving a vehicle. We just want to make sure that the citizens of Laredo have awareness for the cyclists,” said City Council member Cindy Liendo. “In the event of a bicycle/vehicle accident, there’s a much more vulnerable party in that accident. When you have a vehicle that weighs 2,000 to 3,000 pounds and a cyclist that might be a couple hundred pounds, the collision could be fatal for the cyclist because there’s such a big difference in mass. We’re just trying to prevent that from happening,” said San Miguel, who added that the proposed cycling ordinance goes hand in hand with the Comprehensive Plan of Laredo, which was adopted 22 years ago (August 26, 1991) as a guideline to where city officials at the time wanted Laredo to be in the future. That plan specifies, “Sidewalks and/or hike and bike trails should be included in the right-of-way improvements along the entry routes.” (Implementation
Strategy LU3.4-4). The plan is available as a matter of public record. Though the Comprehensive Plan indicates the implementation of bike lanes, the ordinance San Miguel introduced does not. He expects the safe passing ordinance will be an educational tool for drivers. If there is a set penalty for breaking the three-foot rule, drivers will be more wary of their surroundings, he said. “Members of the City Council who opposed the idea of a safepassing ordinance thought it would cost the city a lot of money, which is not at all the case. We’re not asking the city to spend any money with the three-foot ordinance,” said San Miguel. What would cost the city money would be the implementation of bike lanes, which are not mentioned in the ordinance. Yet, Council Member Rangel argued, “We’ve got to be smart enough to think of how much money this is going to cost us if we need to widen streets. At the end of the day, it comes down to how much money it will actually cost.” Although bike lanes are not part of the proposed ordinance, cyclists have mentioned that bike lanes are something that they would eventually hope to see in Laredo, said Urdias, who added, “Some were saying that bike lanes would cost too much money, but compared it to what? The cost of a life? Is it too expensive to spend several thousand dollars to save a life?” Many Laredo cyclists have been endangered, menaced, and injured, and some have lost their lives to careless drivers. On July 7, a 12-yearContinued on page 40
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Community engages in “One City, One Book” By CELIA VILLARREAL LareDOS Staff
ith the beginning of summer vacation, it isn’t uncommon to look for ways to pass time enjoyably. One of the many things that Laredoans do is participate in One City, One Book, an annual event of the Laredo Public Library, encourages the community to engage in a collective reading activity. This year, the book selected is Kaffir Boy by Mark Mathabane, a memoir that tells the story of Mathabane’s escape from poverty-stricken South Africa by receiving a scholarship to an American university. “We hope that this will build a sense of community by reading the same book. This initiative will open dialogue among families, friends, co-workers, classmates, or even strangers. What better way than to talk about a book,” said Maria G. Soliz, director of the Laredo Public Library. Aside from the community’s participation in the summer reading, Kaffir Boy will also be used by Texas A&M International University in the fall as part of the Global Read for the freshman class. Originally chosen for TAMIU freshman students, the book is part of a partnership with the public library’s One City, One Book initiative. There has only been one year that the public library did not partner with TAMIU because they felt that the book that year would be an inappropriate read for their younger readers. “I wanted to say how much we value the partnership that we have with the City of Laredo Public Li-
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brary and their One City, One Book program, and how we hope we can continue working with them each year to bring powerful reading experiences not only to TAMIU freshman, but to Laredoans at large,” stated Dr. Conchita Hickey, Dean of University College and Director of the University’s Reading the Globe. The committee that selects the book each year is composed of about 10 TAMIU faculty members and administrators, with Dr. Hayley D. Kazen as the committee chair. The book selection process begins with the selection of five books by Dr. Kazen. Then, the committee reads summaries of those five, different members read different books, and then narrow the choice down to a top three. They each get a copy of the three books and read enough of each book to vote on one book. Dr. Hickey said, “We have our own criteria of what books are appropriate. They have to be international topics, they need to be engaging to read, and they must be accessible to freshman in general.” She also mentioned that they usually try to go for memoirs, and the author must be contemporary because every year the author comes to speak in Laredo. This year, Mathabane will speak to students and faculty at TAMIU on Friday, October 11, and to the general public at the Laredo Public Library Multi-Purpose Room on Saturday, October, 12. The selection for the next book is usually done soon after the guest speaker visits so that the committee has enough time to contract the author for the next year. Upon reading the book, TAMIU freshman students also have the
opportunity to travel as part of the Reading the Globe program. Based on where the book takes place, a group of about 15 students travel either to the country, or very near to the setting. For instance, last year’s book Prisoner of Tehran by Marina Nemat took place in an Iranian prison. The students were unable to travel there because those prisons are still active today. Instead, they traveled to Turkey. “What we wanted to do with that book was to create an understanding of Islam,” said Dr.
Hickey. This year, they are hoping to travel to South Africa. Kaffir Boy is available at the Laredo Public Library and copies are being sold at Books-A-Million. “It is important that we take the lessons we learn from the stories selected for One City, One Book and apply them to very real problems in our community. This is just one more benefit of reading: becoming aware of the problems and challenges in the world around us, and finding solutions to them,” said Soliz.
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Leadership Laredo invests in tomorrow’s leaders By XENIA MARTINEZ LareDOS Staff
outh Leadership Laredo (YLL) hosted its eighth annual Bowl-A-Thon at the Jett Bowl North on July 13. Seventeen teams comprised of local business employees, TAMIU staff, high school students, and parents participated. “The purpose of the event was to raise funds for YLL,” said Dalila Castillo, secretary of YLL. The event coordinators, including student members of YLL, sold door prize tickets, collected fundraiser raffle tickets, and announced the lucky winners. “I never win anything,” said Alejandra León, one of the lucky winners, adding, “So winning the electric guitar was the best surprise.” The Bowl-A-Thon’s main raffle consisted of a television, a camera, and a tablet donated by Sony, according to Castillo. The tournament winners were the IBC Bank team which came in third place, the Best Buy team in second, and the Border Patrol team in first, according to YLL president Juanita M. Soliz. “We managed to have a positive turn out,” said Soliz, adding, “The contribution of friends and businesses coming together made this event a success.” The YLL was established in September 2005 by Leadership Laredo as the organization’s 2004 end-of-year program under the Laredo Chamber
of Commerce. The program focuses on reaching out to students, asking for a five-year commitment, and offering them seminars on education, health, business, local government organizations, the arts, and leadership, according to Soliz. “It offers students leadership skills, networking opportunities between school districts, and skills that will help them succeed,” she said. The program recruits eighth graders from LISD, UISD, and private schools. Each middle school counselor nominates six eighth graders, of which five are selected to enter, according to Soliz. These eighth graders are expected to stay in the program until they graduate from high school to honor their commitment. “There is a tuition fee of $100 per year,” Soliz explained, adding, “The $500 they invest will be reimbursed in the form of a scholarship.” She continued, “All of them will learn how to maneuver their educational career, have better study habits, and how to plan for the future,” she said. According to Soliz, the YLL recruitment for the 2013- 2014 school year starts in August, once students enter school. The Kick-Off Seminar will take place on October 12. “The YLL committee looks forward to serving our community in 2013-2014,” said Soliz adding, “We hope to count on the community’s continued support of our efforts to make YLL an excellent program for our students.”
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Slam poet’s journey bound in new book By MARIELA RODRIGUEZ LareDOS Staff
oberto “Chibbi” Orduña is an artist in many facets. He is no stranger to the stage where he has performed as a musician, actor, and slam poet. Last month, a collection of his self-published works, Where the Wild Things Grow, made its way off the printing press. The title reflects the poet’s quest to establish his identity. “A lot of the poems deal with finding a home, a sense of belonging, identity. The cover art
Roberto “Chibbi” Orduña and the title are directly related,” he said, adding, “The wild things grow from within, your heart, and your home. And from there you become who you are.” Orduña’s poems are the narrative of his departure from his hometown, his return, and his leavetaking once more. “The poems showcase where I’ve come
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from and a side of how I’ve grown into who I am today,” he said. Although he previously released a chapbook – a smaller collection of poetry copied and hand stapled – Where the Wild Things Grow is a more expansive and professional collection of his works over the last seven years. “It recounts my attempts at finding love, my adventures and misadventures, my recovery, and my rebirth ready to venture out again. It feels like I’m about to begin a completely new chapter in my life, so I had to put a close on this one,” said Orduña. “Full Circle” is an account of his first experience in love, which Orduña compared to a circus as seen in his choice of imagery. “Have I ever been in a circus? No. But did I experience love to the point where I was balancing on a high wire while juggling flaming knives? Yes,” he said, reminiscing, “Your first love is always the most memorable, and from what I’ve seen, the most chaotic. It seemed like the circus to me. Bright lights, big colors, over the top emotions, and just like that…it was gone. But you’ll never forget the experience.” Orduña expressed his political views in the poem “Whose Right?” which touched on Texas A&M voting against funding LGBT organizations. “These communities of people are just like everyone else and deserve the same rights. ‘I love their fashion sense, and he did wonders for my hair,’ and
every other LGBT stereotype you can think of is socially acceptable but heaven forbid they should marry,” he said, inquiring, “Don’t these individuals deserve social security, health care, and equal protection under the law?” In “The First Poem,” the poet considers Austin his home. Orduña lived there for seven years while attending the University of Texas where he earned a BA in theatre and dance. “When I moved to Austin I finally felt like I could be whoever I was without any judgment or restraint. It seemed like there was so much of everything there that no matter who you were, you could find your pocket, or in my case, pockets of people,” he said adding, “It will always be where I consider the place I grew into myself, but I think that’s where it stays. I’m constantly on the move, and there are too many amazing places in the world to keep you in one.” Asked what Laredo needs to be on par with progressive cities such as Austin, the poet commented on the lack of publicity for the local arts. “I’m going to be honest. Laredo is lacking. For young people, it seems like the only things that people do (or that are widely advertised for people to do) is go to a club, get drunk, and party. There are a ton of arts events going on around the city that get maybe half a page of publicity,” he said. Orduña, who has spearheaded Laredo Border Slam since 2010, is still taken aback by the fact many residents are unaware of all the avenues of artistic expression around them. “I still get people saying, ‘I didn’t know anything like that existed here.’ The sad part is, even those that know about other things, don’t give it a chance. Dare to be different. The world isn’t black and white. It isn’t even shades of grey anymore. It’s a spectrum of diversity; its Jackson Pollock in high
definition,” he said, adding, “There’s a strong determination to expand what Laredo sees and considers art. I’ve seen a bigger initiative in the younger artists around the city, but they need support.” This summer Orduña is determined to further cement a solid foundation for Laredo Border Slam to continue, and he is also lending a hand in local theatre productions before heading to Houston. “When I left for college at 17, I never thought I would come back, but the past three years in Laredo have been amazing. I wouldn’t trade them for anything,” he said adding, “The subjects in my poetry are universal. I felt like this collection showcased my best writing and told my story in a wellrounded way. No one is one-sided; hell, no one is even just two-sided — especially not me. There are many facets to every individual, and I felt like putting this collection together in this way showed a complete being.” Rest assured, readers, you can expect to hear much more from Orduña down the road.
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Chicago — it’s all show business By MAXIMA MONTANO LareDOS Staff
hicago: A Musical Vaudeville, the 1996 Tony Award winner for best musical and record holder for longest running revival of a musical, will be presented by the Laredo Center for the Arts and the Laredo Institute for Theatrical Education (L.I.T.E.) Productions on Thursday, August 8 at Laredo Center for the Arts main gallery. Directed by stage virtuoso Danny Villarreal, the musical presents a blend of classic Broadway performances along with a new approach from the cast and directors that will give the audience the full Chicago experience along with a twist. Director Villarreal said, “It’ll be like Broadway, but different. We’re adding our own flavor to it. It’s our own painting.” Producing a show like Chica-
go has required time and commitment from everyone associated with the production. “These are just people who love what they do and who want to give a great performance,” said Villarreal. Donations from various venues have made the show possible. From the acting to the labor it takes to build the stage, the production is coming to life and will be a display of the old razzle-dazzle, Chicago style. Many answered the casting call in May, presenting Villarreal and musical director Hacel Arias with many good choices. Villarreal said, “I just know what I like to see. You have an idea who will play the part, but then auditions start and you have to do what’s called the actor shuffle.” He said it is like piecing a puzzle together. After casting, rehearsals began on a Monday through Friday schedule. On Saturdays cast members dedicated their day to dance prac-
Julia Orduña assisting Tricia Cortez with her makeup prior to rehearsal
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tice under the instruction of Sandi Harsa, a Laredo Community College dance instructor. “I went to one of Sandi’s recitals at LCC three or four years ago, and it blew my mind. She knows the show, she loves to dance, and she’s excellent at what she does. I’m so happy she’s on board with us,” said Villarreal. Cast member Oscar O. Peña, who will portray the attorney Billy Flynn, said, “It’s been a real challenge. The acting, singing and dancing require hours and hours of preparation — I have a new appreciation for any performance that requires all three disciplines. Most of all it’s been very fun working with all my cast mates.” Presented by special arrangement with Samuel French, Inc., based on the book by Fred Ebb and Bob Fosse, with music by Johan Kander and lyrics by Ebb, Chicago is set in the mid 1920s. Roxie Hart, played by Lexie De Anda, longs to attain the Hollywood dream of stardom. She becomes entwined in an affair with smooth talker Fred Casley, portrayed by John Pérez, who convinces her that he has what it takes to make her famous. Fed up with his neverending vacuous promises, Roxie kills Fred and goes to jail. It is there she meets Velma Kelly, portrayed by Tricia Cortez, as a sexy theatrical entertainer who killed both her husband and sister after learning about their affair. Thanks to hotshot lawyer Flynn, Velma becomes the new scandal sensation in the press, and Roxie, encouraged by the results, also hires him in hopes that the situation she’s in might bring fame in exchange for her misfortune. Roxie’s brief moment of fame does come about thanks to Flynn’s exaggerated depiction of events that led Roxie to murder her lover. By the end of their trials, both
Roxie and Velma are vying for the media’s attention, until both become old news when a new murder trial starts for another victim. Other cast members who have contributed vastly to Chicago’s 2013 revival are Celia Hernandez, Olive Cecile, Alejandro López, Lauren Guzman, Richard Resendez, Crystal Ortiz, Erika Soto, Cecilia Long, Marissa I. Mata, Julia Orduña, Doreen Puig-Peña, Andrez Bustamante, Hector Rios, Jorge Quijano, Amanda Treviño, Brandon Garza, Kira Elizondo, Ernesto García, Briana Morales, and Mark Garner. Villarreal’s full production team includes Carolina Herrera, stage manager; Marco Gonzalez, set designer; Roger De Los Santos, set construction; Celia Hernandez, vocal instructor; Michael Carrillo, light designer; Diana Marcos, makeup; Joshua Goldberg, costume designer; and Amanda Treviño, hair. Gabriel Castillo, Armando X. López, and Guillermo Gallegos are assistants to the project. Orchestra members are Amelia Amaya, Benito Rangel, David Balderas, Donald Hale, Uriel Torres, Angel Ortiz, John Alvarado, Rolando Ramirez, Juan José Padilla, Alejandro Nava, Jesus Quiroz, Andrea García, Luis Bravo, Jonathan Arias, Danny Arambula, Eddie Gomez, and Chris Moore. Performances of Chicago: A Musical Vaudeville will be held at the Laredo Center for the Arts at 500 San Agustín Avenue on August 8 through 10 at 8 p.m.; Sunday August 11 at 3 p.m., and August 16 and 17 at 8 p.m., and August Sunday 18 at 3 p.m. Ticket prices are $20 each and are on sale at the Laredo Center for the Arts. Tables for six are available for $200. For additional information call (956) 725-1715.
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Scout Troop 9128 prepares for fundraising golf tournament In an effort to raise funds for a trip to Yellowstone National Park, members of Girl Scout Troop 9128 are in high gear preparing for the Second Annual Pack Your Bags Golf Tournament. The fundraiser, a three-man scramble, is set for Saturday, August 10 at the Max Golf Course. For further information, call (956) 206-9746 or 206-4229. All proceeds benefit Troop 9128.
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How would the Earth taste in one bite? A reflection on conservation and Costa Rica’s biodiversity
By XAVIER ROTNOFSKY LareDOS Staff
was in Costa Rica for a little over a month with a group from the University of Texas studying land use issues and conservation. We went around the whole country and, at my own risk, there was a lot I smelled, touched, and tasted. While on a two-hour powerboat ride to the Sirena Biological Station that included a wet and bumpy escape from the mouth of the Sierpe River into the Pacific Ocean, I thought about how the Earth – in its vast biodiversity, geology, and chemistry – would taste in one bite. To explore this concept, let’s imagine a hypothetical trans-galactic planet gobbler has ventured into our solar system for a planetary snack. It chooses to eat Earth because it looks most appetizing. Upon biting, an initial rush of flavors, textures, and sensations would swirl in the planet gobbler’s mouth. Earth is primarily covered in water, the salty kind especially. The planet gobbler would be greeted with a giant splash of seawater brine. Rocky landmasses would add a nice earthy crunch. The gobbler would experience a variety of heat sensations. As the gobbler chomps down on the planet, its teeth would first sink into Earth’s atmosphere. The friction of entry would be burning hot and could scald the gob-
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bler’s soft palette. Then the temperature would quickly cool as its teeth pass through atmospheric precipitation and ice crystals. Biting into Earth would be a bipolar sensation between cold and hot. Earth’s polar zones, with all its ice caps, icebergs, and icy things, would offer a freezing sensation. But just as
the gobbler bites through Earth’s crust, it will quickly make its way through a nougat of rocky mantle and crude oil into the searing hot sauce of magma below. The creature’s teeth would then crunch right through the malt ball core of the planet. Earth’s vast biodiversity would
provide billions of subtle flavors. Would the planet gobbler be able to distinguish between the 45,000 different mushrooms known just in Costa Rica? Would it be able to tell between the 650 species of bats that reside just in Corcovado? Would it be able to taste the gallo pinto digesting in my stomach? It would take the planet gobbler a sensitive palette to fully appreciate the smorgasbord of Earth’s flavors. I’m not saying it would be cool to be devoured by a planet gobbler because that would kill me, and that would be unfortunate, but Earth is the tastiest planet in the solar system. Plus, the moon, which orbits us, is made of cheese and would make for a great appetizer. Mercury’s close proximity to the Sun has rendered it flavorless, and Mars would taste like a huge rusted penny. Venus smells bad and tastes like a rotten egg. The gas giants don’t have any consistency. One of the terms we have been attempting to define over the course of the Maymester has been conservation. Our planet is a gastronomical delight. In the context of Earth’s taste, conservation is the preserving of Earth’s flavor. (Laredoan Xavier Rotnofsky recently returned from a month in Costa Rica studying the issues between land use and conservation. When he completes his studies at the University of Texas in 2016, he will graduate with degrees in Plan II Honors, Computer Science, and Mathematics.)
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Scout’s honor: Simms receives Gold Award By MAXIMA MONTANO LareDOS Staff
adie Simms, a recent graduate of Alexander High School and a member of Girl Scout Troop #9113, was awarded the Girl Scout Gold Award for a video project entitled “Break the Cycle,” which she produced to raise awareness about teen dating violence in middle and high school. The Girl Scout Gold Award is the highest and most prestigious award that Girl Scouts can earn, requiring that a scout complete two Girl Scout Senior or Ambassador journeys or earn the Silver Award and complete one Senior or Ambassador journey. Simms used her volunteer experience at Casa de Misericordia women’s shelter to address abuse in her video. Casa de Misericordia is the only shelter in Laredo that offers women a chance to reclaim their lives through comprehensive services and consistent long-term support. It’s also a place where women and their children can temporarily reside safely. Simms presented her video to the Laredo Independent School District, which showed it to all middle and high schools in the district. After its postive reception by LISD counselors, both Simms and her troop leader and mother Sara Simms also contacted United Independent School District representatives, and like LISD, the district distributed the video throughout all middle and high schools in their district. “Having the video go city-wide
was something we never expected. It was pretty awesome. It was taken to the next level,” said Sara Simms. Reminding Madie of the deadlines was Mrs. Simms only contribution throughout the making of the video. “It was her project. I just wanted to keep her on track with deadlines and remind her what a Gold Award means. It lets people know about leadership,” said Mrs. Simms. Basing herself on the Girl Scout Promise to serve God and country and to help others at all times, Madie Simms put into action something she thought would benefit the community. “I was able to grow as a person and become aware of things. I’m more responsible,” she said of the project. Aside from dedicating time to Girl Scouts, Simms also conducts an annual blanket drive which she calls “Give a little, Warm a lot” to encourage community members to donate blankets for those in need in the cold season. She said she hopes troop members will continue the blanket drive. “I hope I inspired other girls to continue to do more projects in the community,” said Simms. Troop leader Simms said that one of the most valuable lessons Madie has learned in Scouting all about respect. “Respect for herself. Don’t be afraid to speak up. You have to respect yourself in order for others to respect you,” she said. Madie Simms, a recipient of the Bill Gates Millennium Award, has plans to attend Baylor University to begin studies in environmental science. Her father is Matt Simms.
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Women’s tennis team competes for state USTA title
The Laredo Country Club Women’s 4.0 team, with a USTA sectional tournament win behind them, will compete for the state title in Dallas August 9 to 11. A state win in Dallas will move the team to nationals. Seated left to right are Dalia Martinez, Tammy Treviño, Rene Moreno, and Mahtena Waters. Standing are Malu Benavides, Marti de Llano, Annais Richer, Cindy Robledo, Roxy Alvarez, and Sonia Diaz. The team coach is Homero Jimenez.
Working Urban Fest Marie Perez, Laura Perez, and Maricela Leyva were among staff working at the fourth annual Urban Fest on Saturday, July 20 at the Laredo Energy Arena.
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Ready, set, Jump Start
tudents from Zapata County Independent School District were treated to a July 3 luncheon at Halâ€™s Landing upon the completion of a six-week summer course known as the Zapata Jump Start Program. The college preparation program was initiated in June 2006 by former LCC South Campus Provost Francisco Martinez Jr. with the collaboration of Zapata County Independent School District. Through the program incoming Zapata High School freshmen commit themselves to three consecutive summers of college readiness courses in preparation for college entrance exams. The program focuses on intensive reading, writing, and math reviews. Recommendations from teachers
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By MAXIMA MONTANO LareDOS Staff
Instructors Maria T. Garza (left) and Diana Gonzalez (right) are photographed with Shannon M. Lopez and Jorge Ramon. and counselors are required in order for students to be accepted into the program. Upon viewing State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) test scores, administrators decide which students would benefit from the program. Once accepted, stu-
dents are able to continue attending the Zapata Jump Start program for three consecutive summers. Students who take and pass the college entrance exam will be ready to take college courses the summer of their high school sophomore year.
Transportation, tuition, books, other supplies, and two meals are provided for all program participants throughout the six-week course. Official student enrollment status is also given to students. Backpacks are issued to each individual at the beginning of the Jump Start program. First-year students receive a dictionary, second-year students a Thesaurus, and third-year students a pin drive that has vital college information such as a Free Application for Federal Student Aid application and other college entrance information. With the completion of every summer program, students are rewarded with T-shirts, a field trip, and a closing ceremony at which they receive a certificate of completion. Jump Start is made possible with the sponsorship of the Guadalupe and Lilia Martinez Foundation. ď ľ
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Rancher Jim Winch on ranching: so close to God and at the mercy of the weather BY MARIA EUGENIA GUERRA LareDOS Publisher “When the tanks went dry about five years ago, I sold the cattle and turned my focus to wildlife management,” said Jim Winch of Rancho Las Tejanas. “The guided hunts we offer far outstrip the cattle revenues of the past,” he said. Winch works the land near Freer that his father Leslie managed and before him, land that his grandfather, James Henry “Pops” Winch, worked with Ed Russell. Winch holds a Managed Lands Deer Permit (MLDP) from Texas Parks and Wildlife, a formal wildlife management program that is incentive based and habitat focused. The program also has flexible seasons and bag limits. He considers the high perimeter fences of Rancho Las Tejanas the most important infrastructure for managing wildlife. He works at maintaining habitat by sculpting it. “We have a ratio of one deer to 25 acres, which is medium density. We feed pellets year round and we take our census by helicopter. We see what we have and then develop a harvest plan. We have good numbers of deer, and we let them mature so that there are plenty of five-year old bucks that will register above 150 Boone and Crockett,” he said. Those 150+ Boone and Crockettscored deer come with a hefty price tag, $10,000. A hunt at Rancho Las Tejanas starts
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at $3,500 and inwith the devastaHe talked about the “hard” cludes a stay in the tion of loss of limbs side of ranching, being at the bunkhouse, meals, and PTSD. They mercy of the weather. “You a guide, and Winch’s love being here, ask yourself, ‘Why am I dohospitality. even though it may ing this?’ and then you re“Our hunters are be challenging, but member the baby box turtles repeat customers those challenges you saw, or the bobcat, or the for the most part, help them recover mountain lion.” and many come some part of their by word of mouth. lives,” Winch said of They’ve heard about his five-year history the quality of the deer and that they will with the organization. enjoy their experience on the ranch,” Winch said some of the servicemen Winch said, adding, “They are individu- will have a “long, hard pull” at recovals who like to hunt and are for the most ery, but most of them will move forward part respectful of the experience.” more easily. Save for the occasional accompany“There’s a lot to be ing youngster who would rather text exchanged among them than give himself over the to the adven- about their wounds and ture, he observed. how their lives changed. Winch is a supporter of the Texas There’s a lot of camaraParks and Wildlife Youth Hunts that derie among them when give youngsters the opportunity to ex- they are out here, a lot of perience all aspects of a hunt — safety, campfire talk,” he said. instruction, wildlife management, track“It’s an honor to ing game, and harvesting. He said the have some part in their reactions of the young hunters being in lives and to offer them the natural setting of a ranch is reward- the peace of this place,” ing for the adults who participate. Winch said. A Marine who saw service in VietLast May Combat Marine Outdoors nam in the 60s, Winch offers Rancho named him to its Hall of Honor for being Las Tejanas’ hospitality and hunts at a patriot “that has gone above and beno charge to wounded combat veterans yond for our Nation’s Wounded Heroes.” who are in recovery. Former Marine Arturo G. García, “I work it on their schedule. Through who is the outdoor programs director for Combat Marine Outdoors (CMO), they CMO, called Jim Winch “the epitome of travel here from their hospitals to spend an American hero.” time hunting here. They are dealing He said that there was no limit to
Winch’s generosity. “He served his country, he’s a productive member of his community who opened his doors to these wounded heroes and has had a direct impact on saving lives. He offers a welcome home they might not otherwise experience, and he gives them an opportunity to grow, heal, and transition from military to civilian life,” García said. “He is brother, father, grandfather, and mentor, ever conscious that these warriors do not go through what Vietnam vets went through when they came home. I cannot say enough about this man’s character, kindness, and empathy,” he said. Jim Winch is married to Karen Britain Winch, whom he met 44 years ago while completing a degree in range management at Texas A&M University in Bryan. They have four children — Kara, Erin, Eddie, and Alissa — and two grandchildren, Bridgette and Ashley. Winch has the expectation that his children will continue the management of the ranch. “I’m counting on them. They love what I love about it — being outdoors, watching animals, what it feels and sounds like when the sun is going down. You are very close to God out here,” he said. He talked about the “hard” side of ranching, being at the mercy of the
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Making hay: living with unprecedented prices for forage Jim Winch with Arturo G. García and Rusty Hicks of Combat Marine Outdoors weather. “You ask yourself, ‘Why am I doing this?’ and then you remember the baby box turtles you saw, or the bobcat, or the mountain lion.” Like all ranchers, he has an abiding value for water. He has a rainwater catchment system, in short, 5,000 square feet of metal roofing harvesting rainfall into two 3,000-gallon tanks. “Things will turn, and it will rain again,” he said, adding that everyone needs to value a resource as precious as water. “We all need to be aware of our impact on the countryside, how throwing out a cigarette can
By MARIA EUGENIA GUERRA LareDOS Publisher
Karen and Jim Winch cause such harm over a large area.” He said he has a great deal of respect for those who work to keep land in their families. Winch has a love for the history of ranches, the people who have worked them and who have carried around with them great stories. His personal favorites — Gene Walker and the late Edwin Vivian, Earl Stevenson, Harper Turbeyville, and the longtime neighbor with whom he shared a fence, Nell Walker Manly. I’ve just added Jim Winch, a pan de campo aficionado, to my own list.
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ot long after June’s unexpected rains, trucks loaded with square bales and round bales of hay were visible outside livestock sale barns, Saturday flea markets in the Valley, and at intersections along Hwy. 83. The prices were outrageously low — $5 to $7 for square bales of Coastal and $40 for small round bales. The rains were a windfall and so were the low hay prices. Those who had the good luck to have cash were able to buy and put away hay for the rest of this long, hot summer and perhaps for winter ahead. The rest of us will be buying hay retail, paying today somewhere between $10.75 and $13.50 for Coastal squares and $17.50 for Alfalfa square bales. Retail for round bales of Coastal/Johnson grass mix are going for $100, while pure Coastal round bales are selling for $120. As hay becomes more scarce and fuel prices rise, prices will tick upward. According to a January 2013
press release from the Oklahoma State University Extension Service, prolonged drought has pushed U.S. hay production and supplies to their record low. Production of 120 million tons in 2012 was down about 18 percent from the 2006-2010 average. Production in 2011 was 131 million tons, reflecting about a 10 percent decrease from the same five-year period. Derrell S. Peel, an OSU extension livestock specialist, noted that in 2011 Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas “all had production decreases of over 30 percent compared to the 2006-2010 average, with Texas and Oklahoma having over 57 percent decreases compared to that five year average. In 2011, these three states accounted for 78 percent of total decrease in U.S. hay production.” Peel wrote, “The combination of reduced hay production and increased hay feeding due to drought the past two years leaves the U.S. with severely depleted forage supplies. Total U.S. December 1 hay stocks were 76.5 million tons, the lowest December 1 stock level in data back to 1974. This stock level is down 25.5 percent from the 2006-2010 five year average.”
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Noah Benjamin Druker, eight days old, celebrated his Brit Milah on July 10 at La Posadaâ€™s Tesoro Club. The ceremony is an old Jewish custom that honors the Abrahamic covenant. Front Pictured on the front row are godfather Richard Geissler, Mohel - Rabbi Shawal, brother Arie, great-grandmother Adela Frank, mother Susie Druker with baby Noah, grandmother Â Linda Frank, and grandmother Diana Farias. On the back row are grandfather Joshua Druker, godmother Jaque Geissler, brother Ryan, and father Uri Druker.
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Maria Eugenia Guerra/LareDOS
Family celebrates with Noah Druker
Invasive insects on display U.S. Customs Agent Giselle Galindo shared her knowledge of invasive insects with Laredoans at the July 21 Farmers Market. The market drew good crowds and featured a good amount of fresh produce.
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Clowning around 4th of July Lizbeth Ramirez is pictured with Cory la Payasita at Uni-Trade Stadium for the City of Laredo Fourth of July Family Fun Fest Celebration. The event was open to the public and sponsored by Southern Distributing/ Miller Lite, Guerra Communications, HEB, South Texas Waste Systems, and AT&T.
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STARS Extravaganza 2013
Spreading the message of tolerance The Stop the Bullying Club took their message of tolerance to the streets at the Fourth of July parade. They moved up Matamoros and past Jarvis Plaza with signs to of advocacy to end bullying. The club was awarded the Judgeâ€™s Award.
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Linda and Steve La Mantia are pictured at the announcement that Felipe Calderon, the 56th President of Mexico will headline the annual STARS Extravaganza fundraising event on September 18. The private event raised over $2 million and assisted 1,100 South Texas students for the 2013-2014 academic school year. L&F Distributors and Anheuser-Busch underwrite the cost of the Extravagaza, enabling the STARS Scholarship Fund to direct 100 percent of every dollar contributed by sponsors towards student scholarships.
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TAMIU golfers named Academic All-American By XENIA MARTINEZ LareDOS Staff
exas A & M International University (TAMIU) golfers Abigail Palacios and Victoria Young have been named Academic All-Americans by the Women’s Golf Coaches Association (WGCA). “I’m so proud. They deserve it,” said Rebecca Mayeux Foster, TAMIU’s head golf coach. According to Foster, WGCA awards students who not only excel on the greens, but also in the classroom. “The Women’s Golf Coaches Association is a professional organization dedicated to coaches of women’s college golf teams,” said Foster, adding that in order to participate,
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“WGCA requires the player to have a 3.5 or higher GPA and to have played in sixty percent or more of the teams’ events throughout the year.” This honor is awarded at the end of every academic year, Foster said. “They were nominated, and we sent their transcripts. The WGCA confirmed that they were eligible and decided upon the winners,” said Foster. According to Foster, the women’s team as a whole had a GPA average of a 3.2. “We have a three-part mission statement for the team — to get good grades and excel in the classroom, to play our best and give it our all at every tournament, and to give back to the community,” said Foster proudly. Palacios, a communication disorders major, and Young, a communi-
cations major, traveled with the TAMIU golf team to the PGA Minority Collegiate Championship in Florida in May. “The team is working hard to build the program up, and we’ve made significant strides,” Foster said, adding that the team is attract-
ing new talents to Laredo as local and international students are joining the team. “Something special is happening right here in town,” she explained, adding, “I’m really excited to see how we will continue to grow and improve.”
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Support group helps stroke survivors By MARIELA RODRIGUEZ LareDOS Staff
he monthly meeting of the Laredo Stroke Support Group (LSSG) offers all stroke survivors, family, and caregivers an opportunity to share their experiences. The community-based organization was started by stroke survivor Bill Hrncir and his wife Deedee. Despite living an active and healthy lifestyle, Bill suffered a stroke at the age of 47 in December 2006. The Laredoan was visiting family in Austin. “I was running along Lady Bird Johnson Lake. I blacked out and came to when someone found me there,” Bill recalled. “When he first had a stroke, I asked around at the hospitals for information on a local support group. I was informed no such thing existed but was
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advised I could start one,” said Deedee. LSSG began hosting meetings in September 2012. The group is not affiliated with any hospital or any particular physician. LSSG began as a forum for camaraderie for stroke survivors and their families. “It’s a means of sharing your struggles and frustrations with individuals that may be or have already experienced something similar,” Deedee said, adding, “It is also a way of sharing ideas and literature about therapies, exercises, and doctors that have personally helped them or their loved ones.” LSSG hosts speakers at each meeting who provide information on the short and long term effects of strokes. Past speakers have included Lisa Kong, RN, MSN; hypnotist Peter Kingsley who spoke about relaxation, breathing, and pain control; Rebecca Ingersol who
provided important dietary information; speech language pathologist Dr. Georgeanna Reuthinger; speech language pathology assistant Ana Laura Gonzalez who spoke on assistive technology for speech therapy, and neurologist Dr. Fernando Sánchez. Stroke survivors of all ages as well as community members, who wish to provide any additional support or information, are always welcomed by the LSSG. Deedee commented on some of the goals of the LSSG. “Meet with others who have had their lives interrupted by a stroke, hear knowledgeable speakers talk about ways to recover and gain independence, learn about healthy snacks, meals, and exercises to power up your brain and help prevent stroke, and help survivors set personal goals to aid in recovery,” she said.
“Stroke can make you feel as though you have lost your life. Let it be a challenge to help you regain your talents and strengths to become a thriving, healthy individual,” said Bill, adding, “It is a long process, but you can recover — you can get your life back.” LSSG meets every second Monday of the month at the San Martin de Porres Church Family Life Center at 7 p.m. The meetings are free and open to anyone that is interested. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in the United States, someone dies from a stroke every four minutes. Strokes are the leading cause of death for all Americans. For more information contact Deedee at (956) 286-0641, Bill at (956) 763-6123, by email at knowstroke956@ gmail.com or follow them on Facebook.
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Continued FROM page 13 old cyclist was hit by a vehicle while riding with a friend on the 2500 block of East Price Street. It happened in broad daylight, around 5 p.m. Though Guy Godines’ serious injuries included broken legs, collapsed lungs, swelling of the brain, and being in a coma, he is expected to recover. Unfortunately, not every cyclist or jogger who has been hit by a vehicle has Godines’ prognosis for recovery. In 1991, Joey Muñoz, cycling from Laredo to Zapata, was struck near midday by a drunk driver who allegedly had driven closely to Muñoz to frighten him. The driver’s antics ended in tragedy when Muñoz was hit and killed by the vehicle. The driver continued on his way to Laredo. San Miguel would like to name the safe passing ordinance after Muñoz, who is remembered by his friend José Navarro as a stellar cross-country athlete and a man who loved cycling. Navarro said the proposed ordinance would aid in the prevention of more tragedies on the road. The Texas Legislature attempted to pass a three-foot law in 2009, but it was was vetoed by Governor Rick Perry. “Now it’s up to the cities to pass this,” said Arturo Dominguez, president of the LCA and a U.S. Customs broker. Texas cities that have already passed a three-foot ordinance include Austin, Beaumont, Denton, Edinburg, El Paso, Fort Worth, Helotes, New Braunfels, San Antonio, Pharr, and McAllen. “This law has apparently worked for other cities, and we expect it to work for us as well,” said City Attorney Raul Casso, whose staff has aided San Miguel in the draft of the ordinance. While motorists may feel that cyclists and joggers best stay on the sidewalks, concrete sidewalks are much harder on cyclists and runners than the streets. Running on sidewalks can cause unnecessary stress to joints and muscles, and the expen4 0 I LareDOS I J ULY 2013
sive road or mountain bikes favored by some cyclists are not meant to ride on concrete. “We have completely destroyed our bikes by riding on sidewalks,” said Gonzalez. Urdias said that another means to promote awareness about safe passing is through public information and public service announcements. “We have public information for trash pickup day, when you can and can’t water your lawn, and so on. It’s in-your-face public information, because it’s something that the city backs. If the same public information was put out there for cycling awareness, we could go a long way,” he said. According to San Miguel, Council members Rangel and Narvaez argued that not many people cycle in their districts, II and IV, respectively. “I’ve seen people cycling all over town. If they aren’t cycling, then we should promote it as a great way to achieve better health and fitness,” said San Miguel. Avina said that in the July edition of Men’s Health, Laredo is listed as the capitol of soda consumption (http:// w w w.me n sh ea lt h.c om / b e st-l i f e/ cities-most-soda). “Laredo is a city that’s known for having overweight and obese people. The promotion of cycling through this ordinance is something that could address that,” he said. Not all Laredoans cycle recreationally or for health benefits. There are many who use their bikes as a means to get to their jobs or in the course of their work. Take Saul Flores and Alvaro De La Cruz who both work for a sports bar delivering food on their bicycles to many downtown locations. Flores said that they only use their bikes for work and never for recreation. “You never know when you might get hit by a car. Just now I was almost hit. It’s an everyday problem,” said De La Cruz. Both mentioned that the only way to be truly safe is to stay on the sidewalks, which is an alternative that many Laredo cyclists are forced
to use. “This isn’t about our cycling group. It’s about everyone who rides a bike in Laredo. It’s about providing a safer means for those who use bikes as a mode of transportation, whether to work or school,” said Avina. Urdias said the attitude of many Laredo motorists and others who don’t have value for the sport in Laredo is a major deterrent for cyclists. “If you show up to a Starbucks in Laredo, there aren’t any bike racks. If you show up to one in Austin, I guarantee that bike racks are available,” stated Urdias. Several cyclists mentioned that if the Safe Passing Ordinance becomes law, that cycling could continue to grow and could put Laredo on the map. This past year, the Laredo city-
wide high school mountain biking team, sponsored by the LCA, placed third in the state, prevailing over cities such as Austin, Houston, and San Antonio. Members of the LCA say that those opposed to the ordinance need to get on a bicycle and move through traffic. “Go to work one day on your bike. Maybe you can spend a minute in our shoes so you can see how much of a benefit this ordinance would be,” said Urdias. (Though LareDOS made every effort to contact City Council members Rangel and Narvaez for comments about their opposition to the safe-passing ordinance, neither returned phone calls, emails, and text messages. The May 6 City Council Meeting can be viewed at the cities’ website.)
Can’t find a hard copy? Go to www.laredosnews.com
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LEA prepares for Molotov, and Sasha Benny Erik By MAXIMA MONTANO LareDOS Staff Molotov, August 4 Molotov, presented by Jägermeister, is scheduled to perform Sunday, August 4 at Club Annex, the LEA’s club and show setting. Having two Latin Grammy wins to their credit and multiple MTV Video Music Awards,
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this Platinum recording group will make their way back to Laredo. Borderland fans can expect to hear more of the group’s songs dealing with their homeland immigration and political issues. Tickets are on sale all at Ticketmaster locations. Prices range from $28$38. Tables for four are available for $300. For additional questions or table
reservations call (956) 791-9192. Sasha Benny Erik, October 19 This newly formed Mexican pop trio is scheduled to perform live at Laredo Energy Arena Saturday, October 19. The former Timbiriche child singers — Sasha Sokol, Benny Ibarra, and Erik Rubin — were recently on tour from late 2012 throughout early 2013. They’ll be singing songs from their triple Plat-
inum debut album, Primera Fila: Sasha Benny Erik, which has gained immense popularity throughout Mexico. The album consists of songs honoring the rise of each of the artists’ solo careers. Ticket prices will be $40, $55, $75, $90 and are on sale at the LEA box office, Ticketmaster.com, select H-E-B Ticketmaster outlets, or by phone at 1-800-745-3000.
Sasha, Benny, Erik
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LBJ student first in Frontera Film Festival By MAXIMA MONTANO LareDOS Staff
yndon B. Johnson High School senior María Ruiz was awarded first place in the Frontera Film Festival in Eagle Pass. She won in the 30-second commercial category for “Doritos Flamas,” besting 162 entries. Ruiz’s award-winning project also brought home the special recognition award in the non-film division for Best Presentation. Ruiz wrote, edited, produced, and directed the commercial with the supervision of LBJ instructors Michael Carrillo and Jeffrey Castillo, who both teach audio/video production. It was at the union of both Carrillo’s and Castillo’s fifth block classes that Ruiz formed her group of team members. “We were able to choose our own group to work with, and from there we had the choice of making a short film or a commercial. The idea for the project just came to me when I was watching a Doritos commercial. I love all of their commercials. From then I decided that my project would be centered on Doritos. After that, I
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wrote the script and told the crew,” said Ruiz. Team members Kristina Murrillo, Anahi Arrameide, Betty Villarreal, Karla Longoria, and Evelyn Leal contributed to the video with their performance on camera. According to Ruiz, who didn’t know the team members before filming began, “It took four hours of straight filming, and in the end the commercial was only 30 seconds, but to me all of them got the main part.” She said her crew didn’t mind her taking over the behind-the-scenes work like writing, editing, producing, and directing because they knew she already had experience working with the equipment. “I love to do videos and editing. It’s my passion,” said Ruiz. She said instructor Carrillo had mentioned he might submit some of their projects, but Ruiz wasn’t aware her commercial was part of the entries. Winners were announced via Twitter the day after the festival. “I saw the posting and told Mr. Carrillo and my team right away. I didn’t expect to win first place,” said Ruiz. The award-winning commercial has not
been seen by the public yet, but plans to have it copyrighted and showcased are underway. Ruiz wants to enter her commercial into another contest in which the winning entry will be broadcast during the Super Bowl commercials. For the upcoming school year,
Ruiz has looked into different colleges and the majors they offer. “I’m going to keep on going with audio/video because it’s what I love. It wasn’t until this year that I found out that it’s what I want to do,” Ruiz said. Ruiz is the daughter of Elisa and Roberto Ruiz.
Lyndon B. Johnson High School students Kristina Murrillo, María Ruiz, and Anahi Arrameide are pictured after being recognized for winning first place at the Frontera Film Festival in Eagle Pass for their 30-second commercial Doritos Flamas.
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By MAXIMA MONTANO LareDOS Staff
hile triple digit temperatures can be lethal, preventive measures can provide relief and avoidance of heat related illnesses. Everyone is vulnerable to heat related emergencies, especially those who work outdoors or are exposed to the heat for long periods of time. City of Laredo Health Department director Dr. Hector F. Gonzalez warned, “Persons over 65, infants and children up to age four, those who are overweight, those who overexert themselves during work or exercise, and people who are ill or on certain medications, need to take precautions.” Although it seems that staying out of the sun’s heat is caution enough, keeping your body hydrated and avoiding sugared drinks as much as possible are highly advised. “Among the most important precautions you can take is to keep yourself hydrated by drinking plenty of water, even if you are not thirsty and staying in cool shaded areas,” cautioned Mayor Raul G. Salinas. Helpful Hints You can better endure the heat by wearing loose and light colored clothing, and by avoiding dark clothing that absorbs sunlight. While sweating does help drop extra pounds, it’s important to know your limits when exercising outdoors. Waiting until cooler evening hours to undertake daily exercise activities is recommended as is switching to an early morning schedule. For those intent on avoiding the heat altogether, Laredo’s Mall Del Norte opens its doors to the public at 7 a.m. for indoor walks before stores open. The City of Laredo Health Depart-
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ment at 2600 Cedar Avenue offers free Zumba classes on their outside patio from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. Wednesdays and from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. Thursdays. Enrolling in an indoor gym with air-conditioning is also advisable for a summer exercise regimen. Use sunglasses, a cap, an umbrella, and especially sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher to shield your skin. Stay in a shaded area to keep your body from overheating and be aware of your surroundings. Be mindful of all the air-conditioned places that you can spend time in without having to be outdoors. Community centers, the mall, and all three libraries — Main, Bruni Plaza Branch, and the Lamar Bruni Vergara Inner City Branch — are open throughout the year. Heat related illnesses Heatstroke and heat exhaustion, both of which require immediate medical attention, are two of the most dangerous heat-related conditions. Symptoms to watch out for when dealing with heatstroke are dry skin, rapid, strong pulse, and dizziness. If left untreated, the body temperature can rise above 106 degrees in minutes. Although heat exhaustion might seem similar to heatstroke, symptoms vary. Symptoms include heavy sweating, rapid breathing, and a weak pulse. When either of these heat-related illnesses occur, its advisable to move that person to a shaded or air-conditioned area, damp them down with cool water to get their body temperature down, and seek immediate medical attention. If you would like more information about heat illness, call 311, or contact the City of Laredo Health Department at (956) 795-4918.
Be proactive about protection from triple digit temperatures
It’s a family affair Jorge, Karime, and Paty Hinojosa were among the local vendors at the Bazaar on Saturday, July 13 at the French Quarter Plaza. The family offered various homemade knick-knacks for sale.
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Class of 2013 — where they’re coming from, where they are headed By CELIA VILLARREAL
George-Thomas Pugh, 23 TAMIU, Biolog y
Martha “Marty” Louise Reyes, 22 TAMIU, Biology Biggest lesson learned in school: Being educated is a blessing and putting tremendous amounts of hard work into my degree was super rewarding. The feeling of accomplishment and success is indescribable, and one will not regret exerting all their effort into their passion. What’s next? I plan on continuing my education at Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine in hopes of becoming a veterinarian and coming back to Laredo to run my own clinic. Do you feel prepared? I feel that the science department at TAMIU is of exceptional status, and all the professors from lower to upper level sciences prepped me well for graduate school. The D.D. Hachar Honors Program at TAMIU is also demanding and further pushed me to work diligently. Your most memorable undergraduate experience: In addition to my biological research, one of my greatest experiences would be playing my violin with the Chamber Orchestra of Laredo under the direction of Mr. Brendan Townsend. The concerts and being a part of the Sweeney Todd musical will be memories I will keep forever.
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Biggest lesson learned in school: I learned how to manage stress. Each semester I had over 15 credit hours, and because of that and working part-time I had a near constant workload. To deal with this constant pressure, I learned to take things a day at a time and to not get too worked up about things that were pending. In my free time I would evaluate myself to see if I should use that time to give myself a break, or use that time to get ahead on future projects and assignments. I learned that if I was constantly doing something that I considered “productive” (even rest is productive when it’s needed) I could avoid situations that cause stress, and I would actually be destressing because I’d be taking care of things that needed to be done. Basically I learned the best tool to fight stress was to not waste time. What’s next? I will be going to Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine to fulfill my lifelong dream of becoming a doctor. Do you feel prepared? TAMIU did an excellent job preparing me for medical school. I have heard that the first year of medical school will be extremely tough, but I am confident that a combination of the excellent professors I have had, the courses that I have taken, and my dedication to learning and becoming a doctor will propel me through the first year of medical school and the succeeding three years after. I have also learned a lot of valuable life skills throughout my undergraduate career such as time management, leadership, stress management, and communication skills that I believe have prepared me not only for medical school, but for any endeavor that I undertake in the future. Your most memorable undergraduate experience: My most memorable undergraduate experience was a trip that I took to Singapore to represent TAMIU at the World Model United Nations conference. This experience was very memorable for many reasons. Firstly, I got to cooperate and Continued on page 46
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Continued FROM page 45 meet many people from all over the world. Over 2,000 students from 65 countries participated in this conference as we addressed global issues such as global health, economic concerns like sovereign wealth funds, and liberty issues such as the future of decolonization. I learned to how to communicate effectively with the most diverse group of people I had ever encountered — individuals from many different nationalities and political viewpoints as we all worked together to reach compromises and solutions to common problems. Not only did we get to interact in a business setting, but we got to socialize in recreational events hosted by the conference. I made many friends from around the world that I still keep in touch with. This trip was also the furthest I have ever been from home and my first and so far only time in Asia. I was amazed at the beauty of Singapore. Its modern architecture, cleanliness, and tropical climate still impress me to this day, and I plan to someday go back.
Sandy Lugo, 22 TAMIU/LCC, Communication/ Business Administration Biggest lesson learned in school: Responsibility, organization, and the experience of knowing what you are learning is important. In this world it is about how intellectual and culturally diverse you become. The more you know, the better opportunities you will have. What’s next? By the time you graduate, you already started searching for a job pertaining to your area of study, or you were already thinking of continuing higher education. What’s next is enjoying the moment of the goal you have achieved and putting to practice what you have learned and experience what you have not. Do you feel prepared? I am ready to work as a journalist, photographer, and in production, but one is never completely prepared for any area. You still continue learning as new material is created through time. Your most memorable undergraduate experience: Being able to build my portfolio and experiencing the administration of The
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Bridge Newspaper, being able to participate in exhibitions and festivals. Every time I used my talent those were the most amazing moments.
Tracy Mariana Talavera, 21 UT/TAMIU, Anthropology/Latin American Studies Biggest lesson learned in school: I learned that although life can surprise you with twists of unfortunate events, it should never become your excuse to quit. It’s always important to become a better person from life’s misfortunes rather than use them as excuses. What’s next? I’m undecided, but I’m seeking some sort of teaching job to save money, pay off my school debts, and do what I truly love – travel. Do you feel prepared? No, I don’t feel prepared. I graduated early from high school and now I’m seeing the effects of becoming a real adult at a very young age. However, this puts me at an advantage from all my peers because I’ll be gaining job experience early. Your most memorable undergraduate experience: It was definitely traveling to Europe for a study abroad program. I spent it with amazing people from all over the country and all walks of life. I particularly remember our picnic from our last night in Paris before we ventured off to Italy. We stayed as late as we could and watched the Eiffel Tower twinkle at the beginning of every hour.
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Diaz – De Jesus Match promises World Champion Excitement
By XAVIER ROTNOFSKY LareDos Staff
uan “El Torito” Diaz, threetime world champion, is set to box against the Brazilian Adailton De Jesus on Top Rank’s nationally televised Solo Boxeo Tecate at the Laredo Energy Arena on Saturday, August 17. The main event is scheduled for 10 rounds. It is anticipated to be a heated match between Diaz, who has a record of 36-4 with 18 knockouts, and De Jesus, who has a record of 30-7 with 24 knockouts. Juan Diaz began fighting professionally as a 16-year-old. Because he was still considered underage in the United States, he fought in Mexico. His debut fight was against Rafael Ortiz (7-3) in Merida, Mexico. Diaz won the fight by technical knockout in the first round. The “Baby Bull” started fighting as an 8-year-old at the Savannah Boxing Club. Boxer Julio Cesar Chavez was idol of his. Diaz fought 110 amateur fights and won 105 of them. Despite his busy boxing career, Diaz was keen on pursuing a college degree and graduated from the University of Houston with a degree in political science, all while being a boxing world champion. Diaz, 29, is coming back after a three-year retirement. In his hiatus he established a successful trucking company that now runs about 15 to 20 tractor-trailers. He is also a community activist who works with Houston’s League of Women Voters, and he is a Volunteer Voter Registrar for Harris County. In his April 29 comeback fight, Diaz beat Pipino Cuevas Jr. in a six-round brawl that concluded with Diaz delivering an eight-punch combination, causing
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Juan “El Tito” Diaz at July 12 press conference the referee to stop the fight. Reserved seating for the August 17 match is $35, $20, and $10. VIP tables seating 10 are available for $600 and $400. There are also four top tables for $200. Tickets are available at all Ticketmaster locations including the LEA box office, some HEB locations, 1-800-745-3000, or www. ticketmaster.com. Tables, however, are not available online. There are seven other scheduled fights, which will include a Mexican Olympian and an American Olympian. The main event can be watched on television through the UniMas network. Diaz is known for his aggressive style and quick movement. He wears down his opponents and can fight for 12 rounds. On the topic of his upcoming fight, Diaz said, “I want to show them a great fight; I want to show them entertainment.”
Diaz and Mayor Raul Salinas discussed the high number of rounds in the fight to which Diaz remarked, “Don’t worry, Mayor, I’m going to make it three or four [rounds]. I’m going to get you out of there early.” Diaz fought in Laredo six years ago. Because he won that fight, he said he has good memories of Laredo and is therefore excited to be back for another fight. He said that in the August 17 fight, “va hacer una
noche que voy a tirar bastantes trancazos. Voy hacer que el oponente [Adailton De Jesus] grite cuando salgo porque no va querer estar allí adentro conmigo.” It will be a night of heavy blows, and his opponent will cry when Diaz comes out because he won’t want to be in there with him. Now that he is out of retirement, Diaz is looking to take his fourth world championship title.
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1819 and 1815 Victoria: abandoned properties bear negative impact on tranquility of the neighborhood By MARIA EUGENIA GUERRA LareDOS Publisher
hen the out of town property owners at 1815 Victoria — the property behind our offices at 1812 Houston — took leave of their responsibilities to maintain their property (unlocked gates, overgrown weeds), vandals stripped the central AC unit and a homeless couple began living in the backyard of the property. The eyesore of a burned-out hull of a house with gaping windows and doors adjacent to the west of 1815 Victoria — a haven to rats, feral cats, pigeons, and opossum — practically advertised that the properties were abandoned. As the transients settled into their new home behind my building, my dog barked all night at their constant movement, interrupting the tranquility we’ve known at night in this neighborhood. A neighbor and I contacted the owners of 1815 Victoria in Eagle Pass as well as their realtor who promised to put locks on the gates as an impediment to the intruders who slept on a concrete
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pad in the backyard of 1815 Victoria. They never secured their property. We called the police a number of times, and though the officers were sympathetic, one and another concurred that once it was known to be a safe place for transients, it would be difficult to get them out. The garbage strewn encampment was bed, bath, and beyond for the visitors who left clothing, feces, an envelope with a collection letter for a $1,500 cell phone bill, and Texas Employment Commission paperwork that identified them. Eventually, they stopped coming, but they were soon replaced by crack heads who have used the backyard as their nighttime playground — young, shiftless goons in baggy shorts who scour the neighborhood by day for aluminum cans and hang out behind my house and my neighbors’ by night. Just feet from where my neighbors and their small child sleep, they hear the crack-high men jumping the fence onto their property and once onto their rooftop. Agitated by the raucous noise night after night, my dog barks on high alert. The May rains caused the overgrowth in the yard behind us to spike to four or so feet, and the property at 1815 Victoria took on a new degree of abandonment.
After I called City Code enforcement, they worked quickly to contact the absentee property owners in Eagle Pass to mow the grounds of 1815 Victoria or pay a fine. An industrious crew of two men left it very clean, but it remains unlocked. We’ve called LPD time and again about the crack heads, turning over to them a bong my neighbor found on her
fence. One night in particular, police officers swarmed the area, just missing the crack heads who were probably hiding in the burned out house or crouched on
its rooftop where I had earlier seen them playing using lengths of PVC as lances. For a period, the goons made fewer visits, but they’re back and have left my neighbors a calling card, an Amor Brujo votive candle, and lately a discarded cell phone and another homemade bong. With impunity they make known their crack- fueled dominion over the backyard of 1815 Victoria, and with impunity they make us feel less safe. The burned out rat/cat/tlaquache/ pigeon (avian rats) haven on the Victoria/Santa Rita street corner is owned by a Houston Street property owner who ironically keeps his historic home in pristine condition and his lawn manicured meticulously. He would do well to board up all the windows and doors of 1819 Victoria and haul off debris. His degraded, accessible property is an invitation to vermin and to the crack users that have invaded our tranquility in this old historic neighborhood. I live at the ranch when I can, and in town when that is where I need to be. On the ranch my closest neighbors are at least a mile away, and many of them don’t live on their property. If they feed feral cats, those cats will not shit in my yard or leave fragrant piss gifts on my doormats. If the house on the ranch next door is abandoned, it has no bearing on my property or my vista. If someone is partying on the ranch behind me, I wouldn’t know about it. I find great comfort in the distance between us. What we share with our neighboring ranchers is perimeter fences and an occasional howdy. We don’t trespass, and we make sure to respect the intent and upkeep of those five strands of wire between us, which includes chaparreando brush and nopales from the fence. To do otherwise would be to be a bad neighbor.
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Maverick Ranch Notes
By bebe & sissy fenstermaker
t’s chick time again, and I’ve received my allotment of adolescents from our friend Clark. I’m also babysitting two tiny Serama chicks his hens hatched behind his back. Clark has taken over the chick business for several of us, and we all appreciate this deeply. We tell him what we want and he wrangles with the salesladies at Ideal Poultry in Cameron. He drives to Cameron to pick up the order and starts the chicks out to 24-hour classical music until they feather out and are ready for dispersal. I don’t know how he does all this, but he insists it’s his pleasure. Oh, yes, we all pay him for chicks and feed, but nothing can cover his time and care. He’s a good man, and his chicks are very easy-going! This year I have three Speckled Sussex, three Rhode Island Reds, an Americana, and an Australorp. A couple of weeks later Clark brought me an Americana rooster who he’d hoped was a pullet. The rooster stayed out down at the Ranch house with my pullets until he discovered how to fly up and out of the dog run. He moved to the chicken house immediately after I caught him. My old rooster, Flighty, a Lakenvelder, and a sweet Lakenvelder hen moved over to Sissy’s coop, and I now hear Flighty’s crowing all the way across the valley. So far the rooster in my chicken house is speechless. The daily egg count here has gotten very low and I know three hunters who will be glad my new pullets are about to begin laying. They haven’t gotten Maverick Ranch eggs for nearly two years since all my hens are over three years old. The other day we met a San Antonio friend who has just begun a flock of four hens. She is having a wonderful time, has named each one, and told us how she got them. A fellow started her out with four old hens and one already doesn’t lay. That one has a bad leg, and our friend thought
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It’s chick time once again that the reason the hen doesn’t lay. We didn’t have the heart to tell her the egg count will only go down from there. She loves her chickens so. I don’t think much of starting someone with old chickens and not divulging the law of diminishing returns. I hope she’ll just go right on to younger hens when she needs to. Now if we have too many chicks there’s another name for the list. Clark always orders more than he wants and they end up at “Eva’s Chicken Ranch” if we find no takers. We had chickens when we were children because Papa had a feed store and ordered chicks for his customers and put any remainders into our home coop. When I started with chickens in 1981, Mama was doubtful I’d stick with it. No one I knew had chickens then. Pretty soon Papa had a couple and then Sissy started with them in the late 80s. Things remained thus until 2000 when Clark started getting interested. Now we know at least six people out in the county and in the city who keep chickens and are hooked. And of course there are several chicken lovers in Laredo! Who can go back to store-bought eggs after raising your own at home? Update: the pullets moved to the chicken house yesterday after ‘somebody’ dug under the gate and entered their pen. At nightfall I had to put each one up on the roost, chicken by chicken. — Bebe Fenstermaker new (for me) rooster and hen joined my dwindling flock and settled in rather quickly. The typical peacock rooster wars have not amounted to much so far, probably because it’s too hot. I’m just thankful that the two keep a distance from each other. Bebe and our neighbor, who delights in raising chicks to the local classical radio station, began moving chickens around, and thus as luck would have it, I ended up with the rooster and
hen. Martha, our cousin Rena, and I made a fast trip to West Texas recently. It was delightful to be in the mountains, again. There had been a couple of rains before we arrived, so the countryside was looking quite green. The ocotillo at the house had bloomed before we arrived, however, it had a covering of little, bright green leaves. The ‘wild rose pass’ rose in the back patio was looking very healthy, though no blooms yet. We were on the move each day, but did allow time for a recuperative nap each afternoon. One evening we drove to the scenic drive overlook in the Davis Mountains State Park. The sky was overcast with dark clouds to the west that hung just short of the horizon that was the tops of the mountains. The sunset showne
through that gap between the clouds and mountains in colors ranging from beautiful yellows to oranges to pinks. The rains missed us that evening and went north towards Balmorhea. The next day, however, we did get a shower. On the trip home we stopped for a picnic lunch at a rest stop east of Fort Stockton. The wind was blowing at gale force. We were determined to have our picnic outside rather in the car. Each of us was holding down stuff from flying away while at the same time putting together our sandwiches. The little animales nearby did very well that day as several food items were literally blown from our hands as well as off the tabletop. We estimated the wind velocity at around 60 mph. It finally blew us back into the car and down the road. — Sissy Fenstermaker
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Poets slamming Crystal Ortiz and Armando Lopez were among the slam poets representing Laredo Border Slam at the fourth annual Urban Fest on July 20 at the Laredo Energy Arena.
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By dr. neo gutierrez
Dr. Neo Gutierrez is a Ph.D. in Dance and Fine Arts, Meritorious Award in Laredo Fine Arts recipient 2009 from Webb Co. Heritage Foundation, Laredo Sr. Int’l 2008, Laredo MHS Tiger Legend 2002, and Sr. Int’l de Beverly Hills, 1997. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
armen Salinas, Mexican actress and the sister of Laredo Mayor Raul Salinas, has been star and co-producer of a stage musical in Mexico titled Aventurera. In production for 15 years, the curtain came down on the show, and it wasn’t a pretty picture. The past season the show was cancelled due to fights about money, which is no surprise, considering the worldwide economic distress. According to reports, Carmen had been lowering her salary for her performances in the show, being able to make it with income from other sources. She eventually stopped making any money from the production and was having to help production costs from her own money. Aventurera is a stage adaptation of a theater musical from a 1949 Mexican film by the same name. Carmen went
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Notes from La La Land
The curtain comes down for Aventurera, long-running Mexican stage musical from one producer to the Vallejo sisters, who eventually simply treated her like an employee, instead of the production’s major force. The musical, by the way, included audience participation in a cabaret setting that had the audience sitting in café type tables onstage. In Aventurera, Carmen played the owner of the brothel working within the mythical nightclub. On a recent U.S. tour the show played at New York’s Madison Square Garden and at the Universal Amphitheater in Hollywood. Changing themes, the big news in L.A. is that we have a new mayor, Eric Garcetti. He’s a Latino with a grandfather from Turkey; his father is from Mexico; and his mother is Jewish. He speaks Spanish like a native, and he is 42 but looks 32 with movie star good looks. He has a one-year-old daughter, plays jazz piano, and is a very accom-
Eric Garcetti plished photographer. He exemplifies the multi-ethnicity of L.A. He replaced Mayor Antonio Villarraigosa on July 1, another Latino. The spotlight falls on Richard Overton of Austin, who is America’s oldest veteran at 107. According to Fox News, he lives in a home that he built after returning from World War II. How did he spend Memorial Day? On the porch of his East Austin home, with a cigar in his right hand and a cup of whiskey-stiffened coffee nearby. Born in 1906 in Bastrop County, Overton served in the South Pacific, including Hawaii, Guam, Palau, and Iwo Jima. He says he is very happy and grateful he can stand and do do anything and that his mind is good. To what does he attribute his longevity? He credits aspirin, which he takes daily, and the stress-free life he enjoys. When he left military service, he worked at a local furniture store before working with the state treasury in Austin. Although married twice, he never had any children. He attends church every Sunday. He takes no medicines, and he stays busy trimming trees, helping with horses,
and keeping himself moving. He doesn’t watch television. He smokes up to 12 cigars a day and has a little whiskey in his morning coffee. He believes whiskey is a good medicine that keeps his muscles tender. A super centenarian, by the way, is an individual aged 110 or older. There are just 57 people in the world who fit that category, including 114-year-old Jeralean Talley of Inkster, Michigan, who is the oldest person in the U.S. Talley, born in 1899, spends most of her day listening to baseball on the radio and watching television. To close today, let’s look at some changes at the Vatican instilled by Pope Francis. He has changed the Pope’s golden throne to a wooden chair; he has rejected the gold-embroidered red stole and the red cape; he uses the same old black shoes and not the classic red; he uses a metal cross, rather than one of rubies and diamonds; his papal ring is silver, not gold; he uses the same black pants under the cassock, to remember that he is just another priest; and he removed the red carpet. And on that note, it›s time for — as Norma Adamo says — TAN TAN !
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By salo Otero Salo Otero is the director of marketing for the South Texas Food Bank. He can be reached at sotero@ southexasfoodbank.org or by calling 956-726-3120.
he South Texas Food Bank’s major fundraiser Empty Bowls VII is set for Aug. 23 at the Laredo Energy Arena from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. Empty Bowls VII is primed for an outstanding evening of entertainment featuring a concert by the 1960s-80s music sensation Starship Band — all to help one of the top causes in Laredo, feeding the hungry. STFB board president Anita Dodier and president-elect Anna Galo announced that Empty Bowls VII is dedicated to the Lamar Bruni Vergara Trust and trustees J.C. Martin III and James H. Pearl, who will be recognized for their contribution to the STFB. J.C. (Joe) Martin III, a native Laredoan, graduated from St. Mary’s University in 1962 with an economics degree and attended the University of Texas Law School from 1962-64. A Laredo civic leader involved in several business ventures in Webb, Zapata, and LaSalle counties, Martin joined his father, J. C. Martin Jr. as co-trustee for the Lamar Bruni Vergara Trust in
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South Texas Food Bank
Empty Bowls VII set for Aug. 23 at LEA; Starship Band headlines entertainment 1996. James H. Pearl has been with the Law Offices of Casseb and Pearl since 1971. He is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy with a degree in engineering in 1960, and in 1969 he graduated from St. Mary’s University School of Law. Involved in businesses throughout South Texas, Pearl became a co-trustee of the Lamar Bruni Vergara Trust in 2009, replacing Solomon Casseb. It was in 1996 that the STFB, then the Laredo-Webb County Food Bank, received a grant from the Lamar Bruni Vergara Trust to renovate a 36,000-foot warehouse that would become the food bank’s new home at 1907 Freight and Riverside in west Laredo, just a stone’s throw from the Mexico border. The Laredo-Webb County Food Bank was started in 1989 under the auspicies of the H.E.B. grocery chain and a board of concerned citizens. Laredo is growing in population and economically, but its poverty rate continues past the 30 percentile, making the STFB a valuable resource to the thousands in need and potentially in
the food insecure bracket. STFB executive director Alfonso Casso Jr. reported at the July board meeting that a near-record 1,152,964 (1.52 million) pounds of product were distributed in June. The total is the most since May 2011’s 1.23 million pounds. The previous high for this fiscal year was 865,037 pounds in January. A total of 7.14 million pounds has been distributed this fiscal year. Another milestone was reached in April when 30,000 families were served. The STFB service area has grown from a single county and a subsidiary of the Rio Grande Valley Food Bank to become a member of the national Feeding America and Texas Food Bank Network, distributing supplemental food monthly in an eightcounty area from Rio Grande City to Del Rio. The STFB serves 30,000 families, 7,000 elderly, 6,000 children and 500 veterans and their widows. The STFB area is one of the most impoverished in the nation. More than 30 percent of the residents of its service area live below the poverty guidelines. The Lamar Bruni Vegara Trust has
left its footprints across Laredo’s landscape in generous support of religious, health, social justice, and educational needs. Bishop James A. Tamayo noted during the 24th anniversary mass in remembrance of Lamar Bruni Vergara, “May her example of faith and generosity inspire others to dedicate their spiritual gifts, talents, and financial resources to make this community a better place to live.” Lamar Bruni Vergara was born in 1910 to Annie Reiser Bruni and Louis H. Bruni. She was raised and educated in her beloved Laredo. Her Roman Catholic faith inspired her life of charity and service. She died on April 16, 1989. Coincidentally, the STFB had its start just eight months later in December 1989. Empty Bowls VII sponsorship floor tables for 10, with dinner and access to a silent auction of artwork, are $20,000 (diamond), $10,000 (platinum), $5,000 (gold), $2,500 (silver) and $1,500 (bronze). Tickets for the Starship Band concert are on sale at $25, $15 and $10. For information call 726-3120 or 324-2432. Starship, originating in San Francisco, is one of the most iconic rock bands from the 1980s, recording several of the decade’s biggest anthems, including “We Built This City,” “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now,” and “Sara.” While the band’s history goes back to the 60s, the incarnation still performing these hits today was started in 1979 when Mickey Thomas joined Paul Kantner to resurrect Jefferson Starship. Grace Slick rejoined the band in 1981, and when Paul Kantner left in 1984, it inspired Mickey and Grace to change the band’s name to just Starship.
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Sneaky pests, ticks By RICHARD C. RENNER LAPS Board Secretary
family in Laredo had a section of ranch land outside of town where they spent their weekends and holi-
days. Their land had some rather dangerous cohabitants — feral hogs, javelina, and even a bobcat. After talking to dog breeders and a local veterinarian, they decided to buy a Rottweiler puppy, a breed known for their affectionate and defensive nature. Not too long after the puppy joined the family, the mother of the family discovered she was pregnant, and a son joined the older sister and brother and the rottie. When the younger son was about six months old, he developed a mysterious disease. He had a fever, rash, chills, vomiting, and lethargy. The family’s pediatrician had a number of lab tests performed, which indicated a diagnosis of a viral infection. No treatment was available except to reduce the symptoms. The boy continued to deteriorate and had severe muscle and skeletal pain, which led to the diagnosis of juvenile arthritis. Desperate to help their son get better, the family went to a specialist in juvenile arthritis in Denver. After examinations, lab tests, consultations with other specialists, the diagnosis of Erlichiosis was made. An intravenous antibiotic solution of doxycycline produced rapid improvement of the child. When asked by the parents how the boy had gotten the infectious disease, they were told it was likely he had been bitten by a tick that carries the infectious disease bacterium in its body, infecting animals and humans. There are many different types of Erlichia, an obligate parasite of mammals including humans. The father mentioned that they had had severe infestations of ticks on their young dog,
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but denied the boy ever had a tick attached to his body. The doctor said that immature stages of the tick may not be much larger than a “period” at the end of a sentence and could have easily been overlooked. Later when checked by the veterinarian, the Rottweiler was positive for Erlichiosis as well. The ticks are resistant and long lived, existing for months without a blood meal. Once a female gets a blood meal she becomes fertile. If you find a bloated blood-filled tick attached to your skin or your pet’s, often you will find one or more smaller ticks attached close to the blood-filled tick. These are usually males waiting to mate with the female. After mating, the female drops off the host’s body and lays several hundred eggs. When the eggs hatch, the immature ticks scramble onto to grass blades or other plants. The young and adults have eight legs to hold on to their perches. As animals walk by, the young and adults extend their forelegs to snag the hair on the body or your clothes. They begin their migration upward until they find a place where they can attach. In a dog you may find ticks almost anywhere on the animal’s body. Young ticks may attach to the thin skin between the toes, in the ears, the edge of the eyelids. Adult ticks more often are found between the toes, in the ears, and on the body. During the time the parasite is attached, the germs they may carry may gain access to the host’s blood stream. Diseases transmitted by ticks include Erlichiosis, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Babesiosis, and Lyme Disease. If you find a tick on your body or on your pet, you should remove it by using fine tipped tweezers to grasp it as close to the skin as possible. Pull upward with a steady force. Do not twist or jerk the tick as the mouth parts may remain in the skin. Clean the site with soap and water. Do not grasp the tick’s
body as you may force the contents of its digestive tract into the wound. Although it is tempting to squash the tick to kill it, you may accidently contact the bacterial parasite in the fluids. You can drop it into a container of rubbing alcohol to kill it. If you find ticks on your pet or you, you may need to treat your home and yard to kill the ticks already present. Keeping the grass and other plants trimmed will help. You can buy treatments from pet stores or your veterinarian to kill ticks, fleas, and some parasitic worms. If you are hunting, fishing, or hiking in known areas of tick infestations, you can use insect repellents to spray your socks and legs. You can tuck your pants legs into the top of your socks to keep tick on the outside of your clothing. Check each other’s clothes such as under your shirt collar frequently. You may find ticks looking for bare skin. When possible, check your own skin and have someone check your scalp for embedded ticks. You should check your pet for ticks daily as it appears necessary for the tick to be embedded at least 48 hours before disease transmission occurs. This can be done while brushing your pet’s coat. Ticks and tick fevers are common in Laredo because so many stray animals
are positive for tick fevers. Erlichiosis responds well to doxycycline. If the animal doesn’t improve, the disease may be caused by one of the other parasitic bacteria found in ticks. The LAPS Animal Shelter at 2500 Gonzalez Street provides a temporary home for homeless pets and some of those picked up the City’s Animal Control Officers. By making a monthly contribution, the Shelter can use your donation to buy the medicines and preventative treatments to protect the animals from pests. A monthly contribution of even $5 will help pay for spaying and neutering the animals at the shelter. It helps pay the staff for their constant and dedicated service to keeping the animals at the shelter healthy. It helps pay the utilities bills of the shelter. Please consider contributing monthly to Laredo’s only No-Kill Shelter. Go to the LAPS web page at http://www.petadoptlaredo.org/donate.html to make your donation! Bless those of your who have contributed or made donations of needed supplies to the LAPS. Visit the shelter to look for a new pet. Remember, adopting or fostering a dog or cat saves two animals — the one you have taken in to your home and another to fill the shelter space of the pet you have taken home.
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By randy koch Randy Koch earned his MFA at the University of Wyoming and teaches writing at Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania.
hadn’t been out to the farm to see the folks in a long time. And they still had not seen the inside of the small white house on Douglas Street I bought a year earlier even though we lived only three miles apart. We seldom talked, and when we did, I knew better than to bring up sore subjects, which included anything political, religious, cultural, financial, personal, or sports related. Weather was safe. So were queries about livestock or soybean and corn prices. But topics of disagreement were quickly snuffed out the way some people quietly got rid of unwanted cats — with a gunny sack, a couple bricks, and a bridge. All of which at least partially explains why, even on the rare occasion when we did talk, they never asked about Julie. On a Saturday in March 1984, she and I pulled on our coats, went out the backdoor, and followed the narrow sidewalk around the house and to the curb. We got in my brown 1970 Plymouth Gran Fury with its whitewall tires, black paisley vinyl top, and eight-track player in the dash. Julie was home for the weekend and on Sunday night would ride back to Minneapolis with Reed Hammerschmidt, who was the same age as my younger brother Steve and also had a job in the Cities. Julie worked as a live-in home-health aide for Jim Labelle, a young law student who was paralyzed from the waist down and confined to a wheelchair. He lived in an apartment in Dinkytown, not far from the University of Minnesota campus; he was nearly finished with law school, would take the bar soon, and was already looking for a job. We drove two blocks south, past
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Finding a way home Steve Flaig’s gray house next door, the Bondhuses a couple doors down, and Denny Theis’s on the corner of Douglas and County Road 6. From under the dingy snow plowed to the curb, gray water trickled down the gutter and into the storm sewer. Sunshine filled the Plymouth’s broad windshield as I turned west, shadows from utility poles and empty elms swinging across the dash and Julie’s blue jeans. She leaned against the door and bit at her thumb. I raised two fingers from the steering wheel at Jay Imker’s black pickup as he headed the other way. Then, the wide blacktop was empty. On the left, naked maples and elms hovered over Ruth Decker’s small house, and farther down stood Bill and Marsha Petersen’s place. On Saturday nights a few summers earlier I had kissed their daughter Robyn in that dark driveway, not far from the spot east of the house where her younger brother Jay shot himself during an after-prom party. Back then I didn’t know that I didn’t know what love was. Now, I was pretty sure I did. I reached across the bench seat and pressed Julie’s hand. I rolled through the stop sign and turned north on County Road 4. We passed Lawrence Hubert’s junkyard, Doc Trout’s corner house, the dirt road into Mageeville where Julie’s grandparents lived, and the Lamberton Motel, the red neon “Vacancy” sign flickering faintly in the sun. We thumped over the railroad tracks, crossed Highway 14, and headed out of town. In the fields and pastures, soybean stubble and the gray shoulders of boulders stuck through patches of snow. Beneath the bridge that
crossed the Cottonwood River, water arced over the small concrete dam. Dad said that when he was a kid, he cooled off in the swimming hole behind the dam, but now it was filled with sediment, Schlitz beer cans, and tree limbs spangled with leaders, spinners, and fish hooks. I had spent most of my life within two miles of this spot, knew where township roads drifted shut in a snowstorm, which abandoned farm sites were suitable for a keg, where D. H. Neperman, Lamberton’s cop, usually parked on Friday nights, and how to get to the spring in Donneth Krinke’s pasture where water so cold it hurt my teeth ran out of a hillside. And knowing all this also convinced me that Julie and I knew what we were doing. “It’ll be okay,” I said as we climbed the hill out of the river bottom. She smiled weakly and twisted a dark strand of hair by her ear around her finger. We passed Shorty Skelton’s driveway and Christ Peterson’s ranchstyle house and attached garage, the door open and his shiny blue Ford tractor inside. I turned left onto the gravel road; we passed the Polkows’ place on the right and Rich and Edie Coulter’s on the left, between a pasture and an abandoned gravel pit, and up a slight grade past Orville Bruns’s and Ron Kurkowski’s. Then, I slowed for the short driveway to the place I still called home. Inside the house, the Formica table with chrome tubular legs was cleared, and even though only Mom, Dad, and my youngest brother Ron ate here at the same time, the leaf was still in the table so it sprawled nearly the width of the kitchen. Mom was home alone. Dad went to
town, she said without mentioning the Liquor Store and sat down at the end nearest the stove. She wore blue polyester slacks, a pink turtleneck sweater, white tennis shoes, and bifocals, her graying hair in a tidy halo of curls. She examined the fingers of her left hand and scraped under a nail with a flat toothpick. “We’ve got something to tell you,” I said to her as Julie sat on one side of the table and I sat on the other. Mom looked over her glasses at me, grim and tight-lipped, stiffening as she often did when Dad stumbled in after we’d finished supper. Even though I knew she wouldn’t hear it as good news, I tried to smile. “Julie’s pregnant.” Mom’s eyes sank to the linoleum. She shook her head. A pronounced sigh. The wall clock above the refrigerator tocked loudly. “First, Steve,” she said to the dining room, the south porch, and the gravel road outside the back door, “and now you.” She shook her head again and closed her eyes. I looked at Julie and back at Mom. “We thought you’d want to know.” Julie turned in her chair toward the stove and watched the side of Mom’s face. I leaned my arms on the table. “September,” I said. Mom looked at me, her pale face empty, her wrists crossed in her lap. She still wore the mother’s ring with five birthstones set in the band. “That’s when Julie’s due,” I explained. She looked back at the road. A throaty pickup rumbled by. “So,” she started with an edge of sarcasm, Continued on page 57
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Laredo Community College
LCC ranks first of 33 most popular colleges for Hispanics By MONICA McGETTRICK WALTERS LareDOS Contributor
tudents preparing to find their futures at Laredo Community College this fall will be enrolling in the nation’s most popular college for Hispanic students. The College Database, an online directory of colleges in the U.S., recently ranked LCC first on their list of most popular U.S. Colleges for Hispanic Students. With a Hispanic student population of approximately 95 percent, LCC was chosen for its culture of support for both students and their families. LCC President Dr. Juan L. Maldonado found it reaffirming to find the regard LCC students, the community, and the region have for the college reflected in this national ranking. “We are elated that the College Database rated Laredo Community College at the top of 33 Hispanic-serving institutions in the country. It comes as no surprise to us that we are very well liked by our students and the community in Laredo, but to be considered first in the nation is indeed a superb honor,” said Dr. Maldonado. The College Database uses data collected from government and commercial databases to rank colleges that attract and support Hispanic undergraduate and graduate students. To arrive at their rankings, the directory factors in data on college majors, enrollment status, financial aid awarded, race, ethnicity, and gender. This information is collected from government and commercial entities such as the National Center for Education Statistics, the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data Sys-
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tem, and Carnegie Classification. Included in the top five colleges are Imperial Valley College in California (2), Texas A&M International University (3), South Texas College in McAllen (4), and the University of Texas at Brownsville (5). The complete listing and methodology used to compile the ranking is available at http://www. onlinecollegesdatabase.org/popularcolleges-for-hispanic-students. Seven of the top ten schools are located in Texas, on or near the U.S.Mexico border. Find your future this fall at LCC The summer months may be flying by, but it is not too late for students to register for the Fall 2013 Semester at Laredo Community College. Students who are hoping to find their future this fall at LCC should get advised now in order to lock in their classes for the upcoming semester. Anyone new to LCC can easily apply online by visiting www.laredo. edu/apply. Registering early is the key to getting the best choice of classes and class times, but before students can register, they need to be advised. First-time students and general studies majors (formerly known as undeclared) can get advised at the Student Success Center at the Fort McIntosh Campus in Memorial Hall, room 107, or at the South Campus in the Billy Hall Jr. Student Center, room 116. Both locations are open for advising Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Friday from 8 to 11 a.m. Students who have not yet been advised are encouraged to contact the LCC Student Success Center at the Fort McIntosh Campus at 721-5135 or at the South Campus at 794-4135
as soon as possible to make an appointment with an advisor. Walk-ins are welcome, but appointments take priority. Those with a declared major can call their instructional departments to make an appointment for advising. To view the online schedule of classes, anyone can visit www.laredo.edu and click on the PASPort icon. Then click the tab for Additional Resources to view the class schedule. The deadline to pay all tuition and fees for students who registered between April 8 and Aug. 15 is Thursday, Aug. 15. Students can pay in person by 6 p.m. that day or online via PASPort until 11 p.m. Those who
miss the payment deadline risk being dropped from their classes and will have to register again. The first day of the Fall 2013 semester is Monday, Aug. 26. For students who work full-time and find it difficult to make it to campus during the workweek, LCC has the perfect solution. Visit us during Saturday Services from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Memorial Hall, room 125, at the Fort McIntosh Campus. Students can get advised, register for classes or get information on financial aid. For information on registration, students should call the LCC Enrollment and Registration Services Center at 721-5109.
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TAMIU criminal justice graduate heads to Dominican Republic for Peace Corps Post By STEVE HARMON LareDOS Contributor
onsider the last person who inspired you. Now meet Joaquín García. The Texas A&M International University 2013 graduate, former migrant farmworker and recent world traveler will soon leave his hometown of Roma, Texas, and head to the Dominican Republic for a 27-month commitment with the Peace Corps to help other young people have a successful future. “I will be working with different communities as a community health extentionist. My duties focus on three main goals – helping youth make healthy decisions, improving nutrition, and reducing unwanted pregnancies. I will also be promoting peace by sharing our American val-
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ues with the locals,” said García. “But as I see it, I will be making a difference in the world,” García mused. No longer seen as the stereotypical group of hippies from long ago, more than 210,000 Peace Corps volunteers have served in 139 host countries to work on issues ranging form AIDS education to information technology and environmental preservation. “When I started at TAMIU, I was passionate about criminal justice and dreamed of becoming a state trooper, but now I want to work for an international organization to spread peace and help the less fortunate,” said García. He explained that he became interested in working with helping people after spending Maymester studying abroad aboard a ship with more than 300 other students. This experience
took him to the Bahamas, Trinidad and Tobago, Panama, Costa Rica, Honduras, Guatemala, and Belize. “As a result, I fell in love with traveling and exploring new lands. When the voyage was over, I knew I wanted traveling to be part of my future and decided to apply to the Peace Corps,” he said. Rather than switch his major from criminal justice, García decided to minor in political science and received certification in international politics. “During study abroad, I realized I enjoyed working with people to innovate communities that lack basic amenities, such as running water and electricity,” García said. “TAMIU made my college life a great success and opened the door for me to see the real world and experience what few people have experienced — having the world at your hands!” he added. When Garcia began his studies at TAIU, he was part of the College Assistance Migrant Program (CAMP). He said from CAMP, he learned to value his education and take pride in what he does. He set high expectations for himself. “I was to get excellent grades, make my mother and my whole family proud of what I was doing, and graduate,” he noted. In addition to his own goals, García was also an active member of the Campus Activities Board, Association of International Students, College Assistance Migrant Program Organization of Students, and TAMIU Rotaract — organizations that stress community service. “Words cannot describe how much
I look forward to this new chapter in my life. My friends, well, they think I’m crazy sometimes, but I know they would do it if they had the opportunity,” he said. To incoming TAMIU students, García recommends they study abroad and volunteer for as many events as possible. “Volunteering lets you meet new people and the act of kindness alone is priceless. Studying abroad will help you see the world differently and help you meet other people that will change your life and even your future, like it happened to me. Some parents might hesitate to let their children travel by themselves, but it is a part of life and letting your children grow and become adults,” he said. “Coming from a single-parent family was something I had to consider when I applied to the Peace Corps. I felt like I was going to abandon my mother for the next two years, but I know she wants the best for me and will be waiting for me when I return. She has always supported my decisions and has been extremely helpful throughout the whole Peace Corps application process, which was a lot! The rest of my family has been really supportive and have helped me a lot as well,” he added. “I want to thank TAMIU for all the opportunities it gave me and for always having professors and staff willing to help me when I decided to take on a new endeavor. I will always be proud of being a member of the TAMIU alumni and I hope to represent it well in my future journeys,” García said. For more information on the Peace Corps: http://www.peacecorps.gov/
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tled wherever he landed, and then move home in July or maybe August and into our house on Douglas Street. Eventually we found a way to leave, either with a clumsy excuse or nothing at all, and pulled the door shut on Mom’s back. But as the months passed, we could never find our way to the altar, never keep the promises we made when we found each other in the dark, back when we both thought we knew how everything would turn out.
Maria Eugenia Guerra/LareDOS
Continued FROM page 54 “are you getting married?” “Well, yeah. We haven’t decided exactly when but probably sometime this summer.” Then, a quick tsk that said more than she ever would. No crying or stomping into the living room, no door slamming or yelling at us to get out. Not even a word to Julie. As much to fill the silence as to reassure myself, I explained Julie’s job situation, how she’d work as long as she could, help Jim get set-
At the Farmers Market
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Renato García and John Sabas Zapata are pictured with their avian pets, Darwin, a Conure, and Mitchell, a Mexican Readheaded Conure, at the June 21 Farmers Marekt at Jarvis Plaza.
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Children’s Advocacy Center hosts Great Conversations dinner By MARIELA RODRIGUEZ LareDOS Staff
he Children’s Advocacy Center (CAC) board of directors is set to host an August 15 dinner event entitled Great Conversations, which is designed to restore the lost art of conversation. It will take place at the International Bank of Commerce Annex on Jacaman Road. “Instead of coming to the dinner to listen to one speaker, Great Conversations is a larger dinner party at which each table a different topic will be discussed. The discussions will be lead by a designated conversation leader,” said CAC board of directors’ president Linda Howland. Over 30 prominent community leaders, acting as the conversation leaders, will discuss topics of cultural and intellectual interest. Individuals from diverse backgrounds will have the opportunity to exchange ideas and experiences. Some of the topics include Fallen Snow: Patriot or Traitor? The Case of Edward Snowden led by U.S. Customs and border management consultant Audrey Adams; Immigration Reform: a Border Perspective led by IBC executive vice president Gerry Schwebel; Human Trafficking: A Global and Local Perspective led by TAMIU director of Criminal Justice Program Dr. Claudia San Miguel; Stories From the Upper Balcony of the Plaza Theater and Other Downtown Icons led by Laredo Center for the Arts director
Gabriel Castillo; and Quantity of Life vs. Quality of Life led by physician Dr. Jane Unzeitig. The event is modeled after those hosted at the University of Houston and the University of Texas at San Antonio. “I wanted to bring this event to Laredo because I really enjoyed it when I participated in San Antonio,” Howland said. “The goal is for participants to enjoy a dynamic evening with good friends, good food, and great conversation,” she said, adding, “We want to invite the public to be a part of this new event to Laredo that is guaranteed to be entertaining and fun.” Tables, which will seat the table sponsor and nine guests, are available for purchase at three levels — the Champion level for $5,000, Guardian level for $3,000, and Defender level for $1,500. “Aside from the event sponsor and Champion sponsor, both entitled to first choice of table topics, all others are asked to select three topics, in priority order, in order to assign one of these topics to that sponsor,” said CAC executive director Sylvia Bruni. All proceeds fund the CAC’s continued mission to aid children who have suffered horrific and traumatic abuse. The funds will go toward the center’s outreach and state of the art programs. IBC is the sponsor and underwriter of the fundraiser. For more information or to purchase tables contact Bruni at (956) 7121840 or (956) 763-3335.
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Continued FROM page 8 within the confines of your employment. Living in any kind of secrecy is stressful. However, coming out to our family made a huge difference. Once we stepped out of the closet to them, everyone else seemed so unimportant. We’ll be in a position soon to exit the closet for good! It’s at that time that we will devote more time to openly supporting the LGBT platform in a much more visible way.” While Natalia said she has had more freedom to be herself in her workplace, she lives the life of a triple minority — gay, female, and Hispanic. She said, “We only get one chance to get this journey right! I don’t have time for those who stand in my way. I’m no more or no less than you — but I’m certainly equal to you. I may be gay, female, and Hispanic, but mostly I’m an American and the Constitution guarantees my right to life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness. I want my rights.” “With 13 states including D.C. now offering same-sex marriage benefits, it
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appears that it’s only a matter of time before those rights will be extended to all. It’s a shifting view in part, thanks to this younger generation that is so enlightened!,” said Natalia, adding, “They are loud and proud. There is no such thing as a closet for most of them. Most of them are already politically active in the LGBT community and have the support of their straight friends,” Liv said. Liv and Natalia have full lives as vital parts of the Laredo community. Their sexual orientation has no bearing on their civic character or their contributions to society. “We are the neighbors that run your errands or bring you food when you’re ill, taxpayers that contribute to your children’s education, co-workers that interact with you on a daily basis, employees that work tirelessly for your business, friends that advise and sympathize when you have a dilemma, citizens that contribute to charities and civic events, and, oh yes, we just happen to be gay, too!,” Liv said.
Continued FROM page 18 Ground Law, the jury was told that Zimmerman was justified in shooting Martin if Zimmerman was in fear of deadly force, and Zimmerman had no duty to retreat. The photographs depicting Zimmerman’s bloody head and face showed that he had been in a fight. In his video interview, which was played for the jury, Zimmerman recounted that Martin was reaching for his gun. Since Zimmerman was in fear of being shot with his own gun, Florida law now justified the use of deadly force. Unlike most states, including Texas, Zimmerman did not have the duty to retreat. Zimmerman pulled the trigger, with the protection of the laws of the State of Florida. Martin lay there lifeless, and the jury reached the only conclusion that it really could — NOT GUILTY. The force used by Zimmerman was fully justified under Florida’s Stand Your Ground Law. The death of Trayvon Martin was senseless and tragic. However, the prosecution of George Zimmerman under
Florida law was also tragic because it was not based on the law or the facts. The law and facts in this case clearly showed that Zimmerman had the absolute right under Florida law to shoot Martin. This prosecution was based on public outcry. It is difficult to empathize with George Zimmerman, who like many other Americans feel empowered by concealed handgun laws and “Stand Your Ground Laws.” Under these laws, all that a concealed handgun carrier has to do is shoot someone when no one is looking and claim fear. George Zimmerman had a loaded and cocked weapon and picked a fight with an innocent teenager. Still, based on the evidence presented at trial and under Florida law, it is clear to me, as it was clear to the jury, that Zimmerman was not guilty under the law. (Roberto Balli is a criminal defense lawyer, certified in criminal law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. Roberto Balli also served a prosecutor for the Webb County District Attorney’s Office as First Assistant District Attorney.)
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Restoring the Río Grande Ecosystem Restoration project By XAVIER ROTNOFSKY LareDOS Staff
aredo’s Río Grande riverbend is a geographic landmark. The ecosystem at the river’s 90-degree turn below Laredo Community College is famous for its “lost lakes” and wetlands that are habitat to unique riparian flora and fauna. There is no shortage of adjectives associated with the wonder the setting inspires. Venturing through the area allows the sense of being far removed from human and urban distractions. Locals and outsiders call the area a treasure; the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers calls it the Río Grande Ecosystem Restoration project. The riverbend was once home to a gravel mining operation owned by Thomas M. Dye who deeded it to the City in 1986. The lost lakes themselves are a result of the gravel excavations, which now make up a collection of shallow ponds. Traces of the operation can still be seen in the area. Concrete blankets some trails, and gravel lays about the shores of the lakes. The City of Laredo had officially authorized the restoration of the 78-acre site on July 3, 2000. However, after 9/11, federal money was redistributed for national security, and the Army Corps of Engineers lost funding for projects such as the Río Grande Ecosystem Restoration. Every year since then, director of the City Environmental Services Department (ESD), Riazul Mia, has visited the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers headquarters in Washington D.C. to petition for the project. Mia’s persistence kept the project fresh within the Corps of Engineers, and now that the Corps has received funding, the project will finally begin. Mia commented, “The Lost Lakes are the environmental crown jewel of the
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river ecosystem. It will never be a park. It is an ecosystem restoration that will be a valuable bird watching and eco-tourism resource. It will be open to biologists and environmentalists who are conducting research. This is such a unique part of the city.” The Army Corps of Engineers will take the bulk of the $2,877,059 cost, and its Joint Task Force-6 will be here for the three years of construction and transition. Construction is set to begin in 2014, perhaps as early as the fall. Within the three-year construction time there will be a transitional phase of adaptive management between the Corps and the City, and eventually it will fully be the City’s responsibility for the area’s maintenance and monitoring, which will include the protection of native plants and removal of non-natives. Concerns have been expressed about local maintenance of the area once the Corps is gone. During the big 2010 flood, the entire riverbend was inundated and the native species planted earlier by the Corps of Engineers were washed away along with the drip irrigation system they had installed. Attempts to revegetate what was lost were futile because of the lack of monitoring. The new seed-
lings could not survive and were once again crowded out by the invasives. The current project seeks to implement strong natives that are self-sufficient and resistant to invasive encroachment. Invasive species are so aggressive because of the lack of predation. If there is nothing stopping them from spreading, the field is wide open for the taking, even though the metaphorical field was in a fragile balance before the invasives arrived. That’s why tamarisk, Carrizo cane, buffelgrass, and salt cedar have established themselves so well on the Río Grande riverbend. Part of the project will deal with eradicating these plants and replacing them with the native plants present long ago. Complete removal of invasive plant species will be difficult and can be detrimental. Used to line highways, buffelgrass has firmly established itself in Laredo and will be nearly impossible to fully eradicate. The grass is resistant to herbicide, so it has to be pulled by hand with the root intact or else it will re-sprout. Because its seeds are easily carried by the wind, it has proliferated throughout the riverbend ecosystem. Salt cedar and Carrizo cane are also problems because they use vast amounts of water. While
there is a good chance of completely fixing the Carrizo cane problem, the salt cedar issue is a different matter. Salt cedar has been in the riverbend area for so long that there are some tall, thick-trunked cedars that tower over the terrain and have become habitat for wildlife. The area is important to a number of federally listed endangered animals. Gulf Coast jaguarundis and ocelots, which number less than a thousand in Texas, hunt on the land, and interior least terns nest on the shores of the lost lakes. The interior least tern represents the riverbend’s flagship species for which the restoration is dedicated. The Corps plans to deepen the shallow ponds to a depth of four to five feet and use the dredged sediment to create shores around the ponds. They will also place a collection of metal barges on the lakes. These measures will significantly improve ternnesting habitat, which has been severely disturbed many times in the past. The restored riverbend area will have limited recreational access. There will be a couple of trails for hiking and some bird-watching stations, but no more amenities than that. The area is intended for environmental rejuvenation and the process will be swifter with limited human presence. Border Patrol will also be limited to their methods of patrolling the area. No motorized vehicles are allowed on the trails. The use of horses as an alternative to ATVs and trucks has been suggested. The Río Grande riverbend is a huge environmental asset. Polishing this gem is a worthy cultural and environmental investment. Thirteen years since its inception, the Rio Grande Ecosystem Restoration project has become a high profile project within the Army Corps of Engineers, meaning the project has value and is looked forward to with enthusiasm.
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Danielle Yetter, Lauren Yetter, María Elena Aguero, and Nydia Galindo were part of the spectators at the Summer Dance Concert at TAMIU’s Center for Fine & Performing Art’s Sam Johnson Experimental Theatre on Thursday, July 11, under the artistic direction of Griselda Dozal.
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Dance, dance revolution
TAMIU AstroKids Summer Space Camp Instructor Laura Jimenez aids the space campers in an arts and crafts activity. The camp began July 8 and continued through August 1.
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The Big Night Out at LEA
Not too big to be a star Melissa Barrera Gonzalez, Joshua Goldberg, Kristen Nicole Ferreyro, and Dana Crabtree are pictured in rehearsal for Laredo Theater Guild Internationalâ€™s production of Hairspray: The Broadway Musical. Under the direction of Vernon Carroll the play opens July 25 and runs through August 4 at LCCâ€™s Guadalupe and Lilia Martinez Fine Arts Center Theater.
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Terry Corso and Dryden Mitchell of Alien Ant Farm, the alternative rock group, were among the performers of The Big Night Out tour on Friday, July 19 at the Laredo Energy Arena. In an interview prior to the show, the band members reflected on the ups and downs of the music industry.
Save something for the swim back Family members Mathew, Rosa, and Jennifer Vega eagerly watched oldest brother Alberto Vega (right) as he learned vital swimming skills in the Learn to Swim classes sponsored by the City of Laredo Parks & Leisure Department on Wednesday, July 17. WWW.L A R E DOSN EWS.COM
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