Issuu on Google+

LOCALLY OWNED

The value of a man resides in what he gives and not in what he is capable of receiving. — Albert Einstein A JOURNAL OF THE BORDERLANDS DECEMBER 2012

Est. 1994

Vol. XVII No. 24 64 PAGES

@lareDOSnews

LareDOS Newspaper


2 I LareDOS I D EC E M B ER 2012

W W W.L A RED OS N E WS.CO M


W W W.L A R ED OS N E WS.CO M

LareDOS I D EC E M B ER 2012 I

3


Santa María Journal

The rare gift of an entire weekend with my granddaughters

By MARÍA EUGENIA GUERRA By MARIA EUGENIA GUERRA LareDOS Publisher

T

here are days that are gifts, days you will remember for the rest of your life, that which hangs in the balance. Perhaps memories are the one thing you get to take with you when you depart the earthly plane. I love being with my granddaughters when I have them to myself and we lose ourselves in conversation that makes me stand up straight to listen well and answer as best I can. I shouldn’t say it is especially wonderful when their parents have to go out of town and for the moment I am their universe, but I did say it, and there it is – as irretrievable as

it is true. We spent the weekend at the ranch. We cooked and walked and drew with Prismacolor pencils. We watched Madeline the movie, and we watched birds from the porch. We tended to the goats, the chickens, cattle, and horses. We rode (very slowly, Mom and Dad) on the fourwheeler to a little presa in the horse pasture that we are cleaning and to which our friends Wally and Gloria cleared a wonderfully winding path into a copse of ebanos and mesquite. We used a magnet to pick up a bucketful of nails, wire, and old fence staples along a fence line. At the barn, Amandita found a broom and began to sweep loose hay into a pile without being asked to do so. Emily followed suit.

PUBLISHER

María Eugenia Guerra

meg@laredosnews.com STAFF WRITERS

Mariela Rodríguez Silke Jasso SALES

María Eugenia Guerra

ads@laredosnews.com

CONTRIBUTORS Cordelia Barrera

Randy Koch

Macedonio Martínez

Melissa Del Bosque

Jim Lacey

CIRCULATION, BILLING & SUBSCRIPTIONS

Bebe Fenstermaker

José Antonio López

Sissy Fenstermaker

Monica McGettrick

meg@laredosnews.com LAYOUT/DESIGN

Vantage Graphics

design@laredosnews.com

Neo Gutierrez

Salo Otero

Henri Kahn

Evelyn Pérez

Mark Karlin

Jennie Reed

Cathy Kazen

Write a Letter to the Editor meg@laredosnews.com

4 I LareDOS I D EC E M B ER 2012

We had just decorated our tree in Laredo and Christmas cheer was with us, and we sang carols off and on throughout the day. We hung our wreath at the ranch house. We watched the day drop itself into the western horizon and then came inside. I cooked our supper on a hearth fire and we made ourselves a cup of La India chocolate, Emily observing that some things just taste better at the ranch, Amandita counting out five little marshmallows. We bunked in my big bed, the two little rancheritas off to sweet dreams after a long round of giggles and more questions (Amandita, 5, already bagged by the Sandman: Nana, is it better to give or to receive?) When we woke, I was the only one in the same place I’d gone to sleep.

A great breakfast, more bird watching from the dining room table, calls to their parents, a short ride on the fourwheeler, and then we began to tidy up and pack in time to make it to a movie back in Laredo. Both of them carried our bags to the car, and Emily made short, neat work of organizing our gear. I found the silence in my car after I left them at their parents’ home Sunday evening deafening and kind of disconcerting, so accustomed had I become to the raucous, energized din of us, the chatter, the kisses and hugs, and their soft little hands in mine. These are really happy, inquisitive children, full of wonder about the natural world, and so full of love that I know to the heart of me that they are the measures of abundance in my life. ◆ W W W.L A RED OS N E WS.CO M


Mariela Rodriguez/LareDOS

Mariela Rodriguez/LareDOS

Women’s City Club at Family Fun Fiesta

Bazaar buyers treated to Jewels in the Sky

Amy Cazaras, Alma Narvaez, and Nancy García, members of the Women’s City Club, were among the vendors at the December 1 Imaginarium Family Fun Fiesta at Uni-Trade stadium.

Adolfo Vasquez and Luis Lascani of Jewels in the Sky entertained crowds on Saturday, December 1 at Caffe Dolce’s mini bazaar at the corner of Victoria and Santa Rita.

W W W.L A R ED OS N E WS.CO M

LareDOS I D EC E M B ER 2012 I

5


Alexander High School Health Occupation Students Association members Robert Gonzalez, Jasmin Omen, Alicia Oresky, Cesar Hardiola assisted on November 29 with the Webb County Sherrif’s Office Bear the Burden Teddy Bear Drive. The teddy bears are to be distributed to local children.

6 I LareDOS I D EC E M B ER 2012

Mariela Rodriguez/LareDOS

Mariela Rodriguez/LareDOS

Bulldogs represented at Family Fun Night

Gearing up for the Christmas parade Students from the Vidal M. TreviĂąo Communication and Fine Arts magnet school geared up for the Christmas parade on Friday, November 30. Their Mario-themed float cautioned against the dangers of texting while diving.

W W W.L A RED OS N E WS.CO M


Opinion

December 18, 2012: a good day to be exhumed BY MARIA EUGENIA GUERRA LareDOS Publisher

María Eugenia Guerra/LareDOS

SAN YGNACIO – A Zapata County backhoe operated by Abel Guerra clawed with some finesse at a section of pavement on Treviño Street that covered the burial site of what is believed to be a Coahuilatecan Indian laid to his eternal rest perhaps 600 years ago. With the asphalt removed, archaeologists from the University of TexasSan Antonio Center for Archaeological Research (CAR) began the delicate work of unearthing the human remains first documented in 1992 by George West archaeologist Jim Warren. The four-person team, which included UTSA’s CAR director Steve Tomka, moved the rubble of a crust of caliche with shovels until they reached soil of another color and the sheet of plastic Warren had used to cover the remains. They worked with trowels and smaller tools to reach the burial described by Warren — a cranial orientation to the south, “with the

face to the Río Grande to the west… the uppermost arm (right), instead of being tightly flexed with the hands near the face, is outstretched along the body’s side with the hand near the pelvic region.” According to Tomka, the skeletal remains will be analyzed at CAR to determine age and sex, when it was buried, and if it is of Native American, Spanish, or Mestizo origin. The Center will issue a report of its findings for review by Zapata County Judge Joe Rathmell and the Texas Historical Commission. Tomka said the remains will leave the possession of the research center and go to the National Parks Service (NPS) for repatriation. The NPS will enter CAR’s findings into a database for the possibility that a Native American tribe might claim them. “If there is no claim, the remains will be returned to Zapata County and the County will decide where to bury them,” Tomka said. The remains fall under the federal jurisdiction of the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation

Steve Tomka (foreground), director of UTSA’s Center for Archaelogical Research, Cindy Muñoz (right), and Charles Smith gently use shovels to arrive at the exact location of the remains believed to be those of a Coahuilatecan buried around 1400 A.D. They are pictured at the intersection of Treviño and Washington streets in San Ygnacio. W W W.L A R ED OS N E WS.CO M

Act, NAGPRA, a law signed by President George Bush in 1990. The two-day exhumation effort was spearheaded by archaeologist Cindy Muñoz who is CAR’s staff osteologist and NAGPRA coordinator. The burial at the corner of Treviño and Washington streets has been largely ignored for two decades by four Zapata County administrations. Warren identified the remains in 1992 as part of a cultural resources assessment entitled “Monitoring for Cultural Resources in the San Ygnacio Wastewater Improvement Project.” He documented them again in 2008 prior to the County’s 2010 storm water drainage and paving project. The information in Warren’s reports became part of the substance of a September 2008 Memorandum of Understanding between the Texas Historical Commission and Zapata County for the care of the Native American remains and other of San Ygnacio’s cultural resources. Stipulation IV of the 2008 MOU between the county and the historical commission identified “one Native American human burial known to lie beneath Treviño Street.” The stipulation read, “Any disturbance of this burial will constitute an adverse effect on a historic property. At this point in time, it appears that the project design will not affect this burial. However, since it is buried less than one foot beneath the surface, any future excavation or paving in close proximity to the burial will constitute an adverse effect that must be resolved before construction may proceed.” It was events during the 2010 drainage and paving project that once more brought attention to the Native American remains and forced the hand of Zapata County officials to deal with them. Representatives of contractor Reim Construction — who were well in ad-

vance made aware of the burial site, compliance with the Antiquities Code of Texas, and measures to protect San Ygnacio’s historical resources, such as Fort Treviño, a National Historic Landmark — ended up committing two affronts to the history of the small town of San Ygnacio. On January 11, 2010 a Reim paving equipment operator sprayed the entire southern façade of the historic sandstone block fort with an asphalt emulsifier, and on June 4, 2010, Reim employees capped the Indian burial site under Treviño Street with another layer of asphalt. Though Reim maintained that the new asphalt did not disturb the grave and that no heavy equipment was used at the site, the new layer of asphalt on the 600 year-old burial was considered a desecration of a grave, a violation of the State Health and Safety Code. Zapata County contacted the Texas Historical Commission immediately to report the disturbance of the grave by Reim workers. Zapata County held Reim Construction responsible for the disturbance of the remains, and the two entities settled for an undisclosed amount to cover the exhumation. In the summer of 2012, the Zapata County Commissioners Court filed a petition in the 49th District Court to ask for permission to exhume the body and also entered into an agreement with UTSA to carry out the work. What — the question might be posed — are 20 years of indifference to the human burial on the continuum of the five or six centuries in which ox carts and modern day vehicles alike have driven over the grave? It’s that we’ve known for two decades that the remains of a human soul were in the road — a veritable speed bump — and that until this balmy December day no effort had been made to respect what had once been a life. ◆ LareDOS I D EC E M B ER 2012 I

7


Courtesy Photo

Maria Eugenia Guerra/LareDOS

LCC’s posada honors holiday tradition

Unbeatable ambience at El Catán Artists Martha Fenstermaker and Nancy Herschap are among the patrons of El Catán who enjoy the restaurant’s ambience and good food.

8 I LareDOS I D EC E M B ER 2012

Laredo Community College students Roselyn Velasquez as Mary, Arturo Rangel as Joseph, Vanessa Vicharelli as an angel, and Frank Berlanga as the devil, led the community in song as they reenacted the journey of Mary and Joseph during the college’s 11th annual Traditional Mexican Posada on Tuesday, Dec. 4 at the Fort McIntosh Campus.

W W W.L A RED OS N E WS.CO M


Opinion

VIDA does the math BY RICHARD GEISSLER LareDOS Contributor

V

IDA (Voices in Democratic Action) was recently sued for defamation by Mr. Eduardo Garza due to VIDA’s public objections to what it considers a sweetheart contract awarded by the city to Mr. Garza and a sister of councilman Charlie San Miguel. This is why VIDA has been so vehement in its objection to this contract: The city spent $1.8 million to construct two 6,000 square-foot refrigerated facilities on city land at the Colombia and World Trade bridges. The facilities are used by U.S. Customs in inspecting cargo such as produce. These construction costs were paid for with bond money, which will cost taxpayers an additional $500,000 in interest over 20 years. Mr. Garza won the right to manage these facilities last year. He agreed to charge $95 in fees for each truck that used the facility, and to pay the city 12.5% of this amount. He now has the exclusive right to manage the two facilities for 20 years, with the city paying for a share of maintenance costs. Mr. Garza’s bid projected that the facilities would handle at least 10,800 trucks per year. Using Mr. Garza’s own bid projections, the facilities will generate an average of at least $1 million in cash every year. The city will receive $125,000 of this revenue, with Mr. Garza pocketing $875,000, less his expenses. We estimate these expenses will run about $400,000 each year. During the 20year life of the contract then, Mr. Garza will profit at least $10 million, W W W.L A R ED OS N E WS.CO M

while the city will earn a mere $2.5 million. It seems clear to VIDA that Mr. Garza obtained city facilities worth almost $2 million on which to operate his private business, at absolutely no cost to him, and will make a no-risk fortune at taxpayer expense. The city, on the other hand, will not earn enough on the contract to pay costs for construction, interest, and maintenance. VIDA believes that the refrigerated facilities should have been operated by the city. There is no specific expertise involved in operating such a facility. The business is not involved at all in the inspection process. If the city can operate a bridge system, it can certainly operate facilities as simple as these. Instead of earning $10 million from their investment, taxpayers will get stuck with more debt and a bill at the end. We are also concerned that Mr. Garza is a lavish provider of political contributions to city officials, and gives them gifts, including free travel on his private jet. Such spreading of money and favors stink, when the purveyor is enriching himself at taxpayer expense. VIDA will continue to speak out against this apparent $10 million dollar give-away to a wealthy and influential Mexican businessman, using debt so easily placed on the backs of Laredo taxpayers by a city council over whom Mr. Garza appears to have substantial influence. VIDA can assure the community that it will defend itself vigorously in the suit, and will use it to hold city officials accountable before the public light. ◆ LareDOS I D EC E M B ER 2012 I

9


News Brief

Foster children benefit from book and toy drive Mariela Rodriguez/LareDOS

BY MARIELA RODRIGUEZ LareDOS Staff

Meet your councilman Charlie San Miguel hosted “a meet your councilman” event on Thursday, November 29 at the corner of Shiloh and McPherson. It’s the first of many such events, according to San Miguel who wants Laredoans to get to know their council representative so they can inform him of issues that need resolution and the changes they want to see in the community.

1 0 I LareDOS I D EC E M B ER 2012

Books-A-Million (BAM) and Voz de Niños (court-appointed special advocates for children) have kicked off a book and toy drive to run through Monday, December 24. BAM, which is located inside Mall Del Norte, provides customers with the option of purchasing a book, toy, or both to be sent to one of the 48 children currently in foster care in Laredo. The drive’s goal is to ensure all children receive at least one item. “It’s important that we keep the spirit of Christmas alive for these children so that they know they are never forgotten during this special holiday,” said Mary Benavides, Laredo BAM’s general

manager. “Any purchase, no matter the amount, is greatly appreciated,” she added. “With this drive we’re trying to promote literacy and love for books among children in foster care. A book could be a child’s greatest escape from their present hardships,” said Edgar Ricalde, executive director of Voz de Niños-CASA. This is the first time that the national corporation permits local BAM stores to choose a charity to assist during the holidays. “Any book given is a great gift. It is a gift that truly keeps giving,” said Benavides. For more information, please contact Mario G. Cavazos, Jr. at (956) 285-4855 or email at cassadine_s@live.com. ◆

W W W.L A RED OS N E WS.CO M


Feature

Q&A with Mary Cuddehe, author of a probing investigation into the death of ICE agent Jaime Zapata BY MELISSA DEL BOSQUE Texas Monthly Magazine

O

n February 15, 2011, ICE agents Jaime Zapata and Victor Avila were ambushed by gunmen on a Mexican highway. The 32-year-old Zapata died that day but Avila, who was injured, survived. That much is certain about the fateful event. To this day, however, Zapata’s family and Victor Avila still don’t understand why they were sent, unescorted, to San Luis Potosi into territory controlled by the brutal Los Zetas drug cartel. As the months progressed after the fatal ambush, media reports revealed disturbing details about weapons bought in the U.S. and traced to the shooting. Now, Zapata’s parents in Brownsville wonder whether the gun that killed their son was part of a botched U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives gun-walking operation called Fast and Furious which allowed hundreds of guns to be trafficked into Mexico. New York-based writer Mary Cuddehe is, to my knowledge, the first to take an in-depth look into Zapata’s fatal shooting and its aftermath, published by the digital publishing house Atavist. Through extensive interviews, reporting, and travel from violence-torn Nuevo Laredo to Zapata’s hometown of Brownsville, Cuddehe pieces together a compelling and heartbreaking story of a family devastated by the loss of their son and a government unwilling to give them answers that will help them find peace. Atavist was kind enough to share an excerpt of “Agent Zapata” with the Observer. As someone who folW W W.L A R ED OS N E WS.CO M

lows events along the U.S-Mexico border closely, I was intrigued to finally see an in-depth piece about this puzzling and tragic murder. Naturally, I had a lot of questions for Cuddehe about her reporting. Following is our conversation about her really excellent story – for a couple of dollars, you can download the entire story to your mobile device or computer from https://www.atavist. com/stories/agent-zapata Observer: Why did you decide to write this story? Cuddehe: One day in a conversation with Evan Ratliff, the editor of Atavist, he mentioned that he’d never seen a big piece on the Fast & Furious operation. I had lived in Mexico for a couple of years, and I remember the attack (on Zapata) very well but I hadn’t followed the story very closely. So when I started doing the research into Fast & Furious I found myself drawn into the mystery. Observer: At one point in your story you write that it’s a wonder that something like what happened to Zapata doesn’t happen more often. Could you explain this further? Cuddehe: It’s striking to me given the presence of U.S. law enforcement in Mexico in recent decades, which has grown. There are such close relations between the U.S. and Mexico, and given the unique role of U.S. law enforcement (in Mexico) it is almost surprising that this hasn’t happened more often. But everyone I talk to says there’s this agreement that it’s ‘hands off’ on American law enforcement in Mexico. Observer: I’ve heard that often as well. But do you think that agreement still holds? Because pretty much everything has

changed in Mexico with regards to who is off-limits. Cuddehe: That was a question people were starting to ask after the attack on Zapata. And then there was the attack on the CIA agents (in Mexico). It remains to be seen, but it does seem like all bets are off. Observer: Typically, it’s very difficult to get any information from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. You got pretty amazing access to the ICE agents who worked with Zapata for your story. Was it difficult to get that access? Cuddehe:  It’s so funny that it seems like great access because I was so frustrated doing the reporting for the story. Basically, I just showed up at the (ICE) headquarters. They had a bust unveiling for what would have been Jaime’s 34th birthday. I had already been talking to Jaime’s parents and they told me about it. It was a quasi-public thing so I was able to get in and while I was there I hung around and waited until I could talk to people. It’s much more difficult to say no to someone in person. Just because of that, I was able to speak to the agents. But they didn’t really say anything. It was amazing to be in the building and talking to people, but on the other hand it was ridiculous because I didn’t really feel like I was getting anything. Observer: You got more from the ICE agents than many reporters normally get. Cuddehe: I had been calling them over and over and not getting anywhere. So it was just me being relentless. Driving to Texas and not taking no for an answer. CONTINUED ON PAGE 12

44

SIDEBAR We reprint this Texas Monthly story with the permission of author Melissa del Bosque. The $1.99 you spend to read Mary Cuddehe’s tracking of the tragic event that ended ICE agent Jaime Jorge Zapata’s life and the aftermath of his loss will make your head spin with questions about the government’s disposition of the case. Cuddehe’s intimate look at Zapata and his family and the details of his death on the Mexican roadside flesh out a story that until now has yet been fully told. Cuddehe’s probing skills as a journalist tell the human side of Zapata’s demise and his family’s loss, skills that are an admirable counter to the government’s tight-lipped control of information about the ICE agent’s murder. She writes of fate as fact, describing that the heavily armored vehicle in which Zapata and Avila traveled would likely have withstood the assault, except that when Zapata put the Suburban into park, the doors unlocked. Jaime Zapata’s parents – who have yet to see the report of their son’s autopsy – and Victor Avila, who survived the attack, are suing the federal government for $60 million and $12 million, respectively. The Zapatas, Mary and Amador, allege “that reckless acts and omissions by ICE, ATT, and FBI created the opportunity for his death to occur,” and that a government operation was “responsible for allowing…weapons to walk into the hands of known killers.” Cuddehe writes in chilling detail about the ATF’s Fast and Furious scandal of arming cartels by “gun walking” – guns that should have been held in a Texas evidence room but had instead made their way to Mexico, such as the Romanian AK-47 Draco pistol that killed Jaime Zapata.

– María Eugenia Guerra

LareDOS I D EC E M B ER 2012 I

11


CONTINUED FROM PAGE 11 Observer: And you had to get permission from their supervisor. Cuddehe: I was surprised when he gave me permission. And that’s been one of the interesting tensions of this story. On one hand the agency has been really great with the family and done their best to honor him with ceremonies but at the same time they’re not giving the family the answers to the questions that they seek. Observer: I’ve never seen such a detailed account of the actual ambush and shooting. How did you get your information? Cuddehe: Most of the information comes from interviews I did with Victor Avila’s sister. He is the only witness, obviously, other than the men who allegedly took part in the attack. So I had to trust his sister’s narration of the events. Victor Avila hasn’t given an interview since the attack. I also read some reports that had statements he’d given that afternoon of the attack but it wasn’t very detailed. Observer: One of the big looming questions in your piece is the motive for the shooting. Why did it happen? Cuddehe: I did my best in the story to lay out the different possibilities. My suspicion is that the attack happened initially because they did really think the people in this fancy SUV were rivals from another gang. Maybe they got going and realized they weren’t dealing with the Gulf Cartel but figured they’d finish what they started. That to me seems like the likeliest thing. But we may never really know the answer. Observer: And are there still doubts that the people in jail in

Mexico for the crime may not have done it? Cuddehe: Well, that’s a given with any arrest in Mexico. That there’s going to be some scrutiny and questioning of the validity of the arrests. But the people I’ve spoken with seem pretty confident that they have the right people. Observer: How is Jaime Zapata’s family doing after his death? Cuddehe: The scrutiny and intense media interest and the way its been politicized has made the grieving process unusually arduous for them. But the last time we spoke they seemed to be looking for closure so they could move on. Observer: What would be closure for them? Cuddehe: That’s the interesting thing about this story. It has evolved for them over time. The questions around the case have become more complex. I think they would like to know why was Jaime sent to San Luis Potosi. They still haven’t even seen the autopsy report. There are still so many basic questions about what he was doing and why he was sent that they haven’t been able to get answers to. And I think some of those answers would help them move on. Observer: What was the most puzzling thing about the story for you? What questions are still pending? Cuddehe: There were so many questions. Initially, I spent a lot of time trying to find out what Jaime’s mission was in Mexico City and never got answers to that. I wasn’t able to ever get an interview with ATF. It still seems odd that ICE wouldn’t give any info about what Jaime was doing in Mexico City. ◆

News

CEC probes spent lead-acid battery exports, recycling in three NAFTA member states in Mexico

T

he North American Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC) is seeking public comment on a report dealing with spent lead-acid battery exports and recycling within the three North American Free Trade Agreement member states. Authored by the CEC, a preliminary version of the study found that “important gaps” in Mexico’s regulatory framework as well as a lack of proper documentation of the trade paralleled a surge in U.S. exports of used lead-acid batteries to Mexico between 2004 and 2011. In announcing the release of the draft report, the CEC said concerns exist that a big leap in U.S. exports of spent lead-acid battery to recyclers located south of the border, which were estimated to have shot up in volume from 449 to 526 percent during the seven-year period examined, represented “an effort to avoid the cost of stricter environmental and health protection laws prevalent in the United States.” As a consequence, the CEC warned that the trade could be resulting in a heightened “danger of lead exposure to workers and communities near certain recycling

operations in Mexico, while undermining the competitiveness of the US-based lead recycling industry.” The public can view the CEC’s draft report until December 21 of this year at: www.cec.org/slabs. Interested persons are urged to send comments on the document to Eduardo Viadas, CEC Secretariat, at eviadas@cec.org In a statement, the CEC said it expected a final report on the used lead-acid battery export/recycling issue to be presented to the organization’s Council for further action sometime in early 2013. The CEC is the environmental side commission that grew out of the negotiations for the North American Free Trade Agreement. Based in Montreal, the organization’s staff do cutting-edge research, engage in fact-finding investigations and present reports to the top environmental officials of Mexico, the United States and Canada, who are all represented on the CEC Council. According to the CEC, the trinational body “brings together governments, civil society and businesses to develop innovative North American solutions to global environmental challenges.” ◆

Can’t find a hard copy?

Go to www.laredosnews.com 1 2 I LareDOS I D EC E M B ER 2012

W W W.L A RED OS N E WS.CO M


Commentary

Little elates me more… BY JOSÉ ANTONIO LÓPEZ LareDOS Contributor

D

uring the holiday season many of us reflect on thanksgiving thoughts. Little else elates me more this time of year than to hear spiritual applause from heaven. I hear it from our Spanish Mexican pioneer ancestors. Of strong faith, they died knowing that one day justice would prevail for their descendants. As the founders of this great place we call Texas, they left this earth wondering what they did wrong to be ostracized from mainstream society after 1848. Quite possibly, the applause from their heavenly balcony may have begun in the 1920s. The diminutive Laredoan Jovita Idar never set out to be a heroine, and yet, for a time, she was a one-soldier army defending the honor of Mexican-born people and Mexican-descent U.S. citizens living in Texas. Starting off as a young teacher in 1903, she was appalled at the sub-standard facilities and education of Mexican students. She decided to do something about it. To publicize the plight of poor Texans of Mexican-descent, she joined the newspaper El Progreso. She also initiated some of the first women’s equal rights groups in the country. Soon, she angered the United States Army and Texas Rangers with an editorial protesting President Woodrow Wilson’s dispatch of U.S. troops to the border. In addition, she wrote articles condemning Texas Rangers for violence and brutal tactics toward Mexican-descent citizens. When the Rangers arrived to close down El Progreso, Jovita stood in the doorway to keep them from entering. In that one instant, she took the Rangers’ self-imposed motto and redefined it as “One Texas Ranger unit; one Jovita Idar.” Although the Rangers eventually forced the newspaper to close, Jovita continued until her death her quest to bring liberty W W W.L A R ED OS N E WS.CO M

and justice to all. The conclusion of another difficult event may have likewise gladdened our ancestors. That incident came in 1948. Private Felix Longoria from Three Rivers, Texas died overseas fighting in World War II. Trouble began when his grieving family received his remains to be buried in his hometown, a most sacred and honored tradition in the U.S. The local funeral home refused to provide services at their facility. Through the help of Dr. Hector P. García, Senator Lyndon B. Johnson intervened. Amid the prevalent bigoted atmosphere against Mexican-descent Texans, Senator Johnson could not persuade town leaders to offer the Longoria family the comfort and support they needed at the time. It was then that LBJ, at great political risk, arranged for the war hero to be buried at Arlington Cemetery. The applause also came in 1954 for young Texas attorneys, Gus García, Carlos Cadena, James deAnda, Chris Alderete, John J. Herrera, their staff and for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Earl Warren. On that momentous year, Chief Justice Warren certified Mexican-descent Texas citizens as human beings worthy of every right and freedom automatically guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution to Anglos and other white folks. Up to then, ugly racism in Texas was dominant. It was California-born Warren who allowed the group of young attorneys to bring their case to the Supreme Court. It was also the first time that Mexican-descent attorneys had ever addressed the Supreme Court. Chief Justice Warren’s ruling (the “Class Apart” Decision) found the State of Texas guilty of discrimination. Our pioneer ancestors also applauded LBJ, a chief defender of dignity for Mexican-descent Texans, when he approved the 1964 Civil Rights and the 1965 Voting Rights Acts. Sadly, within our lifetime (up to the 1960s), some property deeds in Texas had offensive claus-

es prohibiting the sale of homes in better neighborhoods to Mexican-descent buyers. So, at least officially, the Civil Rights Act leveled the playing field for them to pursue the American Dream. Our ancestors must have felt proud in 1970 when Mrs. Genoveva Morales of Uvalde demanded that her children receive the same quality of education as that of white Anglo students. Leading a class-action suit, Mrs. Morales exposed the horrible prejudice of the Texas school system. Although Federal Judge John H. Wood (RIP) ruled against Mrs. Morales, she didn’t give up. With help from MALDEF and San Antonio Lawyer Pat Maloney Sr., she appealed. In 1975, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court found evidence of segregation and reversed Judge Wood’s decision. In 1976, a Desegregation Plan with federal judicial oversight was written. Not until 2008 did both sides agree to end the federal oversight of the Uvalde school district. Mrs. Morales, then 79, was thankful for the agreement. However, she lamented the fact that it took 38 years for justice to prevail. Most recently, our ancestors must have beamed with pride when the Tejano Monument was unveiled in Austin. Finally, Tejanos and Tejanas now hold

the place they deserve in Texas history. In my view, the monument depicts the deep Spanish Mexican roots of our state, forever reminding visitors to Austin that this is truly the birth certificate of Texas. There are many other examples. My point is that we can’t let our guard down. There is wicked nonsense at play today that began as a negative reaction to the election of President Obama. With his re-election, those evil forces and their crazy talk once again threaten our nation. Though the extremists were soundly defeated in the recent elections, they still talk openly about employing voter suppression to win the next election. With renewed resolve and unity, we must stand our ground. ¡No pasarán! So, while U.S. citizens of Mexicandescent should be thankful for the progress that’s been made, our job is far from over. Mostly on our own initiative, we have reached higher and higher plateaus, though we’ve not attained our full potential. As our numbers grow, we need to continue teaching our children the value of education and how to avoid risky behaviors. Little elates me more than to think that the more we do these things, the more applause we receive via the enduring spirit of our pioneer ancestors. ◆

LareDOS I D EC E M B ER 2012 I

13


News

Fueled by War on Drugs, Mexican death toll could exceed 120,000 as Calderon ends six-year reign

I

BY MARK KARLIN, Truthout Copyright, Truthout.org Reprinted with permission

n the first part of this year, Truthout posted a series of ten articles that dispelled the myths surrounding the failed US/Mexico war on drugs. As a follow-up, this article details newly released statistics that indicate the predicted death toll from the alleged war-turned-bloodbath will likely far exceed past estimates. In late August, the internationally respected French newspaper Le Monde Le Mondeposted an editorial denouncing the war on drugs in Mexico: “The Spiral of Barbarity.” The most important and ominous figure cited by Le Monde is that perhaps 120,000 (or more) Mexican citizens will have been intentionally killed during the presidency of Felipe Calderón: Within Le Monde, two years ago, Mexican President Felipe Calderon welcomed the results of the largescale war committed since the beginning of his term in December 2006, against organized crime and drug traffickers. «We will defeat crime,» he asserted. He addressed the concerns of those who denounced the increased violence in the country: «If you see dust, it is because we clean the house.» Limited to one term of six years, Calderon will hand Enrique Peña Nieto the presidency at the end of the year (December 1), leaving him with a damning balance sheet of death. The National Institute of Statistics and Geography of Mexico has released startling figures: 27,199 homicides were recorded in 2011; be-

1 4 I LareDOS I D EC E M B ER 2012

tween 2007 and 2011, the total came to 95,632 murders. On the basis of the trend in recent months, an estimated 120,000 homicides will have occurred during the term of Calderon. This is more than double the figure often mentioned - already staggering - of 50,000. This carnage is by far the deadliest conflict in the world in recent years. The official homicide statistics are an implacable revelation that gangrene has overtaken the nation. But beyond the number of deaths allegedly related strictly to the fight against drugs there has developed a number of industries engaging in kidnapping, extortion, prostitution, trafficking of persons and bodies - and widespread disappearances. The map of the homicides in Mexico shows that homicides are no longer only confined to the regions of strong presence of gangs, but tend to spread over most of the territory. (Translated from the French) Although the now estimated 120,000 to 130,000 intentional homicides in Mexico - called “homicidios dolosos” - outraged Le Monde, few other prominent news organizations in the United States or Mexico took notice. Mexico’s La Reforma was an exception, when in August it estimated  95,000 homicides, based on newly released government statistics. A few other US and Mexican publications have mentioned the new figures in passing, but without recognizing the implications. A major source for the higher violent death-rate came as a result of figures calculated by Molly Molloy, a librarian at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces (who is cited in the “Truthout on the Border” se-

ries). Molloy runs a web site and listserv that informs many Mexico violence-watchers of information that is not readily available through either the Mexican or US media. Molloy analyzed a data dump earlier in 2012 from Mexico’s National Institute of Statistics and Geography (INEGI); she then used a second Mexican source of data to extrapolate intentional homicides through the end of Calderon’s term on November 30. These forecast figures for the end of 2012 came from an analysis of data reported by the National System for Public Security (SNSP), which compiles crime statistics sent in by local and state police agencies. According to Molloy, INEGI compiles data from death certificates that list a cause of death as determined by a medical examiner. “None of these numbers include even an estimate of the missing, the disappeared, the bodies from mass graves, etc.,” she said. As the year has progressed Molloy estimated the total number of intentional homicides could rise above 120,000 for the six-year Calderon administration. This would compare to 60,162 intentional homicides during the six-year term of Vicente Fox. (Molloy has recently upped the potential death toll to possibly reach an estimated 150,000 from violence. Many of the deaths, however, would not be verifiable due to challenges such as the porous Mexican reporting system and unreported deaths.) Molly laid out her perspective on government criminal justice figures in a July 26 story in the alternative Phoenix New Times: I have tried to gather more com-

plete homicide data from Mexican government agencies that have reported consistently over the years, and with a bit more distance from the political necessities of the Calderón administration, though there are inconsistencies in all of the data available.... For the sake of comparison, the US homicide numbers as reported by the FBI Uniform Crime Reports have declined from about 17,000 in 2007 to an estimated 14,000 in 2011 and 2012. An estimate of the total homicides in the US for this period comes to about 92,000 - this out of a population of more than 312 million, about three times the population of Mexico. The press also parrots the Mexican government’s claim that 90 percent of the victims are criminals killed by other criminals. From my daily reading of crime reports from Juárez - the city still at the epicenter of the violence - it is evident that the majority of the 10,800-plus murder victims there since 2007 are ordinary people, and most of them are poor: small-business owners who cannot pay extortion demands, mechanics, bus drivers, prostitutes, addicts, boys selling newspapers, a pregnant woman washing cars on the street. This city of only 1.2 million accounts for 10 percent of all of Mexico’s murder victims since 2007. And the truth is, we may never know the actual number of people killed. Mexican agencies like INEGI and SNSP must rely upon local entities to report homicide numbers, and there is little reason to trust the state and local police and justice officials responsible for such reports. CONTINUED ON PAGE 15

44

W W W.L A RED OS N E WS.CO M


 CONTINUED FROM PAGE 14 There also is the number that will never be known: the “cifra negra” - the black numbers - a term used for the missing, the kidnapped who never return and whose bodies are never found, and those who simply disappear. Jim Creechen, an active participant in Molloy’s listserve, is a retired Canadian sociology professor with a keen interest in Mexican crime statistics. He also has taught at the university level in Mexico. Creechen told Truthout he believes the death toll could rise to 130,000 or more under Calderon. “How many are drug-related? Impossible to know. What I do know is that the [Mexican] government wants to downplay the number of deaths associated with the drug war.” Indeed, the Calderon administration announced earlier this year that it would not release further figures on estimates of killings related to organized crime (as flawed as they historically have been) until Calderon left office. This becomes an extremely murky task in any case, because crime records are in disarray in Mexico, with only 2 percent of homicides prosecuted in some jurisdictions. Indeed, according to Prensa Latina: The Mexico’s National Human Rights Commission (CNDH) reported that 99 percent of crimes go unpunished in this country, which shows a very low police efficiency against high rates of violence. Only eight out of 100 crimes are reported and barely one percent is investigated, according to the CNDH web site.... The CNDH president, Raul Plascencia Villanueva, said during a meeting with members of the Senate in charge of this issue that violations of individual rights grew, torture cases increased by 500 percent and enforced disappearances and arbitrary detentions have grown exW W W.L A R ED OS N E WS.CO M

ponentially in the last six years. But if so many non-governmental agencies allege that the Mexican government - due it its own legacy of corruption and tolerance for violence, combined with the US mandated militarization of its southern neighbor in what many regard as a show war - is heavily responsible for the killing of its own citizens, why are there no consequences for those involved? That’s because there is no uniform standard for determining a drug-related death, there are relatively few investigations into finding out why some were shot, and many - if not the majority - of murdered individuals are innocents caught in the crossfire of a drug culture in which the cartels, the military, the police and the government are all participants. Mexican citizens are often unsure of who is protecting them versus who is killing them, extorting them, raping them, kidnapping them and displacing them. The overlap between the criminals and the protectors is frequently non-existent. Sandra Ley, a PhD. candidate in political science at Duke University, writing for the Mexican web site Letras Libras, points out the critical insufficiency of Mexican government databases to reveal the true extent of the death toll resulting from the so-called Calderon war on drugs: Finally, all the [Mexican government] databases ... ignore other fundamental aspects of the violence: the wounded, the missing, displaced, threatened.... For its part, the Center for International Monitoring estimated a total of 230,000 displaced by drug violence since 2007. However, even these figures are uncertain because of the lack of data, and we do not know where to begin to count. Currently, dozens of scholars in and outside Mexico work to fill these gaps, but when the federal government continues to hide information on the phenomenon of

violence, this continues to fill us with questions. As a result, we may not ever know the real cost of the [so-called] military strategy Felipe Calderon decided to implement during his administration. What is even worse and imposes an indignity upon the victims whose faces and histories are real - has resulted from the decision not to update and make the governmental databases functional. These lives become just empty spaces and blank pages that are forgotten and denied. For those who hope the nightmare of the last six years of the US-backed drug war will decrease under Nieto beginning on December 1, Jim Creechen warns: “When a government changes [in Mexico], it leaves room for other people to fight and try to take over the turf. Everyone is fighting for a piece of the drug war.” Nieto’s PRI political party has a long history of negotiating payoffs from the cartels in return for “franchises” in designated areas of Mexico. Given a transition between presidents and political parties in 2012, Creechen argues that violence may increase in the short-term as drug cartels and corrupted government (and military and police) interests carve out their territories. Molloy co-authored an article with Charles Bowden in the Phoenix New Times about Mexicans who have fled for their lives and sought political asylum in the United States. They emphasize that the war on drugs has become a war on the Mexican people that includes the Mexican military and police doing the killing: The United States, the nation worried about terrorism, gives half a billion dollars a year to a Mexican army that murders and terrorizes Mexicans. The United States walls

off Mexico on national-security grounds and then decries imaginary violence spilling north across the border. The United States constantly praises the Mexican government for its brave fight against drug organizations, even though in the 5 1/2 years since President Calderón launched the war that has resulted in the murders of at least 100,000 Mexicans, the delivery of drugs has not been disturbed and prices have not increased. The United States has helped to create a death machine, and now the eyewitnesses come north. Earlier in the story, it is noted that: “On July 4,  The New York Times declared the War on Drugs a cruel failure, claiming that the price of cocaine, for example, is 74 percent cheaper now than it was 30 years ago. America has spent $20 billion to $25 billion a year to stem the flow of narcotics, to no good end.” Not only it is a war to meet internal political goals for US politicians, it is also a thriving industry, as NPR reports in its story, “US Grows an Industrial Complex Along the Border.” That is just one aspect of the profiteering - that includes the prison industry - which is tied into the assault on the citizens of our southern neighbor. Some of the disappeared will never be found; most of the reasons for the deaths of individuals in Mexico will never be investigated; a relatively small number of murderers will be tried (and they may not even be the actual perpetrators). Meanwhile, even as two US states legalized marijuana in the recent November election, the so-called war on drugs will continue to claim tens of thousands of lives under the pretext of saving lives. It›s a war of collateral damage over dollars. ◆

Write a letter to the publisher. meg@laredosnews.com LareDOS I D EC E M B ER 2012 I

15


News

Bar Association confers Lifetime Achievement Award on retiring 341st jurist Elma Salinas Ender

O

it?

Mariela Rodriguez/LareDOS

n December 14, 341st District Court Judge Elma Salinas Ender received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Laredo-Webb County Bar Association. In her three decades on the bench she has served on numerous boards and committees that have guided the application of the law for citizens of all ages. As her resumé reads, Salinas Ender has been accorded many civic and state accolades and recognitions over her career. In this issue of LareDOS, she reflects on this recognition in particular and on her tenure on the bench. The first Mexican-American female jurist appointed to the bench has no plans to go gently into retirement. She said she will work to establish a mediation and arbitration practice and will act as a visiting judge. She looks forward to more time with her family – husband David Ender, daughters Jackie and Amy and her mother Elma. LareDOS: Tell us about this recognition by the local bar, what it means to you. ESE: The fact that I have not had an opponent since 1984, I once believed was the highest compliment that the members of the legal community could have ever paid me. I was overwhelmed with humility when the committee representing the Laredo-Webb County Bar Association informed me that the bar had decided to present me with the Lifetime Achievement Award because Laredo is the home of many highly accomplished and recognized attorneys who deserve the recognition. LareDOS: What was it like to be named a District Judge five years out of law school and to be the first Mexican American woman named to the bench? ESE: I felt as if the weight of the world was on my shoulders. It was very important for me to win in or-

1 6 I LareDOS I D EC E M B ER 2012

Judge Elma Salinas Ender der to demonstrate to others that the women and Hispanics who would follow me were electable. Few people know that I was encouraged to seek the appointment by Alma Benavides, one of the many local female attorneys who worked hard at creating the 341st District Court. She wanted to see more women on the bench. At first no one really believed I had a chance at receiving the appointment and certainly not at getting elected. I was fortunate that Governor Mark White and the Texas Commission on Women were eager to have more women and Hispanics appointed to the other agencies and boards as well as to the bench. Governor White named many young attorneys to the bench representative of the gender and ethnicity of the State at that time, forever changing the complexion of the judiciary in the State. He isn’t given enough credit for that. LareDOS: Who was your mentor in

the law? ESE: Judge James (“Jim”) Barlow was my professor at St. Mary’s University School of Law, and he continued to mentor me when I assumed the bench. LareDOS: Which types of cases had the greatest impact on you as a sitting judge? Is there one in particular? ESE: Judges are witness to many things in the courtroom. Some of which are the effects and consequences of many of society’s ills. Judges are subject to many restrictions. The rules of ethics govern what we can or cannot do on a personal and professional level. So often, judges serve as catalysts for the creation of organizations or agencies. They help identify some of these issues and solutions but then step aside allowing others to carry on in other to maintain the fairness and impartiality required in a courtroom. LareDOS: What fomented your decision to go into the law? What drew you to

ESE: I believe I was always interested in anything having to do with the law or courtrooms. I was fascinated with detective shows and courtroom dramas as a young child. I remember my maternal grandmother being shocked that I preferred Perry Mason to Perry Como. I remember being impressed when I read a novel about a female attorney at the time I was in middle school. My father always encouraged me to pursue my dream about becoming an attorney. Perhaps that is why I always believed that women could accomplish anything they set out to do. LareDOS: As a young attorney did you ever contemplate that you would be a judge? ESE: I had thought about it when I was a young attorney. However, in those days, attorneys retired into the judiciary after years invested in the profession. That frame of thought began to change about the time I was appointed. LareDOS: Regarding cases and caseloads, how did Laredo change over the 30 years you were judge? ESE: When I first became an attorney, we very rarely went to court. On the civil side, about the time I went on the bench, judges were encouraged to implement case management systems. We went from a time when there was limited discovery to lengthy and expensive discovery procedures. The expense of litigation has led to alternative dispute resolution and arbitration. At the time I became a judge only the 49th and the 341st District Courts heard criminal cases. It was rare to have more than one murder case a year. There were few aggravated felCONTINUED ON PAGE 17

44

W W W.L A RED OS N E WS.CO M


W W W.L A R ED OS N E WS.CO M

George J. Altgelt

sponsive to the needs of our courts. I would like to thank all of the elected officials and county employees who have always been so attentive to the needs of our court. It has also been my fortune to have working for me a very, diligent, loyal and professional staff. I was blessed at birth with two loving parents and a wonderful family. My mother, Elma Lopez Salinas, showed me the meaning of unconditional love. My father, Oscar David Salinas, encouraged me to study and to pursue my dreams. They supported me wholeheartedly in everything I chose to do. I can never repay and never forget the generosity and spirit of the loyal members of my election committee. Many of you remember the “Gracias” placards we placed over our signs. Many thought we had thanked the citizens of Webb County because we won. Few knew that they went up the afternoon of the election before we knew the results because it was important to us whether we won or not to demonstrate our appreciation for all of the wonderful hard work and the tremendous support we had enjoyed during the nine month election cycle. I also take with me over twenty nine years of wealth of experience on the bench of a general jurisdiction court. I have heard felony criminal cases, civil cases, family law cases, and juvenile cases. LareDOS: What’s ahead? ESE: I received a very nice letter accompanying my permission to sit as a Senior Retired District Judge from the Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice, Wallace Jefferson. I will be available to help the judges of the 4th administrative region. I plan to work at developing a mediation and arbitration practice. LareDOS: Your avocations, things you do that make you happy to do them? ESE: I hope to have more time to read for pleasure. I have always enjoyed drawing and want to take a painting class and a photography class. Eventually, I would also like to place a few more stamps on my passport. ◆

Felicidades, Tito Attorney Baldemar García Jr. is pictured on the occasion of his birthday celebration at Palenque Grill with his wife Lizzie, sons Baldemar III and Sebastian, and his mother Arabella García.

Maria Eugenia Guerra/LareDOS

 CONTINUED FROM PAGE 16 ony offenses. The number of violent cases and the number of reported sexual assault, child abuse cases and domestic violence cases has skyrocketed. The juvenile docket has also grown tremendously. We have built two juvenile detention centers since I have been on the bench. The legislature gave the local courts the task of running an alternative school in addition to the other administrative duties. We have added a fourth district court, two county courts at law, a child support master, and a cluster court judge. The commissioners court has funded two associate judge positions for the coming year. LareDOS: How do you wish to be remembered as a jurist? ESE: I have always striven to be a fair and impartial jurist. It is difficult for a judge to uphold the oath of office, it requires following the ethical rules, and running for office, all the while withstanding all the political pressures. When you become a judge, you are invited to attend an orientation. Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Jack Pope, shortly before his retirement, spoke to us informally at baby judge’s school in 1983. Justice Pope told the story about a judge who stood up to a powerful group and whose ruling cost him the election. I vowed then that I wanted to be a judge who was never going to rule one way because I was afraid of losing an election. It has been a privilege to serve and I am grateful for the trust and confidence bestowed on me. I have worked diligently to uphold my pledge to administer justice fairly and impartially and to serve with the dignity and respect the office deserved. LareDOS: What are you taking away from this 30-year experience on the bench? ESE: I am taking many treasured memories of friends and colleagues who served with me on the bench and who practiced before me. I would like to extend my gratitude to the County Judges and members of the Commissioners’ Courts that have been so re-

At the San Ygnacio tree lighting Carole and Heatwave Berler enjoyed a day in historic San Ygnacio, taking part in the home tour sponsored by A. L. Benavides Elementary School. They are pictured in the Plaza Blas María Uribe. LareDOS I D EC E M B ER 2012 I

17


Opinion

BY JIM LACEY LareDOS Contributor

R

ight from the start let’s get the facts on the table about immigration reform, especially as it concerns our brothers and sisters to the south. I don’t hear anyone squawking about a check on birth certificates of the invading hordes who came across the Atlantic, killed off most of the Native American Indians, and sent millions of Mexicans packing – Mexicans whose homeland and country and fruited plains and purple mountains and majesty this land was (a third of it, more or less). And let’s please don’t try to say that the smoke-filled back room where a handful of Mexicans and U.S. agents who signed a treaty handing that huge parcel of land over, did so after a referendum passed under whose terms and agreements the Mexicans inhabiting that huge parcel of land unanimously agreed to gain zero bucks from the deal while also agreeing to vacate the land completely, give up their sovereign rights and claims to it, their homes and fortunes, to just quit life here, to leave and start all

over again somewhere. That’s bullshit and damned insulting. It’s about as fair to say we “legally purchased” Mexico’s claims to any lands now included as part of what we call the U.S.A., as it is to suggest that the African-Americans here today are “better off” than they’d have been had they not been forced into those ships and dragged into slavery. Let’s don’t scream morals and scruples and God and Bible and flag and country one minute and then wave high the document that “proves ownership” while screaming, “Here it is, a copy of the original sale showing that we bought it fair and legal.” Let’s be the Americans we say we are, all days – not just on those days when we’re feeling particularly religious and good about ourselves. Let’s craft an Immigration Reform Bill that is fair and just, that we would want in place for ourselves were it China, instead, that invaded tomorrow and ran us off this land we hold so sacred. It is no less sacred to those wholost their home through highway robbery. ◆

Maria Eugenia Guerra/LareDOS

We need fair, just immigration reform

Ready to serve your ranch needs Homero Santos, Orlando Gandarilla, and David Martinez of Laredo Implement Company at 509 Market Street are pictured behind the counter on a very busy Saturday morning as they sold tack, feed, and hardware.

SUBSCRIBE

meg@laredosnews.com 1 8 I LareDOS I D EC E M B ER 2012

W W W.L A RED OS N E WS.CO M


News

News

Banda Show Internaciónal headlines LWCBA’s Noche de Agave

WCHF hosts January 17 membership party

BY MARÍA EUGENIA GUERRA LareDOS Publisher

T

he Laredo-Webb County Bar Association (LWCBA) is in preparation for the Fourth Annual Noche de Agave Tequila Tasting and Silent Auction, a fundraising event to benefit the Barbara Kazen Scholarship Endowment at Texas A&M International University and the Laredo-Webb County Bar Association Scholarship Endowment at Laredo Community College. The event, which is set for Friday, January 25 at 8 p.m. at Paseo Real at 2335 Endeavor Drive, will feature the live, high-energy music of Banda Show Internacional, dancing, great food, networking, and the opportunity to taste some of the industry’s premium tequi-

las. Now in its fourth year and a Washington’s Birthday Celebration Affiliate, Noche de Agave has a history of raising over $100,000 for the higher education endowments. There are three levels of sponsorship: Añejo Level: A $2,500 donation reserves (i) 1 table for ten (10) invitees; (ii) special recognition as a sponsor of the Noche de Agave (recognition in the form of a reserved table placard, verbal recognition by the event’s master of ceremonies, and name and logo projected W W W.L A R ED OS N E WS.CO M

on a large screen at the event; (iii) name and logo on event advertisement in newsprint media; (iv) name and logo on event advertisement on LWBCA website and LWBCA social media sites; and (v) name and logo on event advertisement in LWBCA newsletter; Reposado Level: A $1,500 donation reserves (i) 1 table for ten (10) invitees; (ii) special recognition as a sponsor of Noche de Agave (recognition in the form of a reserved table placard, verbal recognition by the event’s master of ceremonies, and name and logo projected on a large screen at the event); and (iii) name and logo on event advertisement in LWBCA newsletter; and Silver Level: A $1,000 donation reserves (i) 1 table for ten (10) invitees; and (ii) special recognition as a sponsor of Noche de Agave (recognition in the form of a reserved table placard, verbal recognition by the event’s master of ceremonies. Individual tickets to the event cost $100. “Our success is measured by the level of involvement of our members and sponsors like you. Together, we can assist deserving students obtain their educational and professional goals,” said LWCBA president Edward Nolen, urging attorneys, law firms, and other businesses to sign up as sponsors. For further information contact the bar association office at 1120 Matamoros St., call (956) 725-4400 or write webbcountybar@gmail.com (The LWCBA was established in 1936, providing services to both legal professionals and the general public of the city of Laredo, Webb County, and surrounding communities. The organization assists its attorney members in providing quality legal services, raising public awareness regarding legal issues, and maintaining the highest level of ethics, professionalism, and integrity so that justice is effectuated for all.) ◆

T

he President of the Republic of the Río Grande, Renato Ramírez, and the board of directors of the Webb County Heritage Foundation (WCHF) will host a Membership Party for all current members and those wishing to become members of the organization on Thursday, January 17 at 6 p.m. at the Villa Antigua Border Heritage Museum, 810 Zaragoza St. All interested in supporting the cause of historic preservation in the community are cordially invited to attend, according to WCHF executive director Margarita Araiza. An annual membersh ip drive is currently underway, and those who have not yet renewed or would like to initiate a membersh ip Renato Ramirez are encouraged to attend. The Republic of the Rio Grande Museum at 1005 Zaragoza St. will also be open that evening for a special candle-light tour. “We are so grateful for our loyal supporters,” said Judith Gutierrez, WCHF board president, “and we strongly urge all those who believe in the importance of preserving our cultural heritage to join us that evening. It is through the efforts of such dedicated preservationists as Renato Ramirez that the Heritage Foundation is able to provide the programs and services that protect our community’s history,” she said, adding, “We hope that many will come to visit our most important historic landmark

that evening – the capitol building of the Republic of the Río Grande.” The Membership Party and candlelight tour will take place on the 173rd anniversary of the election of the officers and cabinet of the original Republic of the Rio Grande in 1840. Membership in the Heritage Foundation is available at levels from “Student” to “1755 Club”. The Webb County Heritage Foundation, a non-profit 501 (c)(3) organization chartered in 1980, advocates historic preservation, heritage education, and heritage tourism. In this role, the WCHF promotes preservation and rehabilitation of historic architecture, ranching heritage, and folklore and traditions of the border region. The WCHF conducts tours of historic downtown Laredo, archives historic documents, maps, and photographs, records oral histories, presents exhibitions, and operates the Villa Antigua Border Heritage Museum and the Republic of the Río Grande® Museum. The Webb County Heritage Foundation office is located at 500 Flores Ave. in the Old Mercado Building. Office hours are Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Archival collections are available for public access by appointment. For more information, please call (956) 727-0977 or visit www.webbheritage. org

– LareDOS Staff

LareDOS I D EC E M B ER 2012 I

19


Feature

Thrift store serves veterans tomatoes and a plastic-wrapped 24pack of Mexican sodas. A line of 10 individuals were in the here Salinas Avenue cue as their packages were prepared dead ends to meet the by store manager Ruben Treviño and railroad tracks behind his assistant Raquel Navarro. the old Tex Mex depot, Some recipients placed their food the modest building that houses the in their cars and others filled small Volunteers Serving the Need Thrift carts for the walk home. Store teemed with veterans or their The place was packed with donatspouses picking up an assortment of ed merchandise, clothing, household food that on this day included fresh goods, and shoppers milling through boxes of used clothing. I’d stopped by to leave off things I’d rounded up from my home, office, and the storage room behind my office – not a huge load, but things still useful like an AC window unit, kiddo car seats, a box of cotton shirts. Approaching from a block away, the activity around the store was immediately noticeable. Once I met the inspiring force behind it all – founder Gigi Ramos – I comprehended the energy and the dynamics of the place she founded in 2009. She sets the pace, and staff follows her lead. Ramos knows many of the store’s patrons by name. Some of them offer expertise as repairmen for donated items that need a tweak or a fix. One of them, a Vietnam veteran named Alejandro Vela, wheeled in an overhauled lawnmower ready to go on sale. It wasn’t just in working order – it had Gigi Ramos of Volunteers Filling the Need been cleaned to look like and Alfredo Guerra are pictured at the ennew. trance of the pantry and thrift store at 1202 Gigi referred to him Salinas. and other veterans who

help her as Godsends, men who are on the receiving end of the thrift store’s food distribution, and who return the favor, like Luis Coronado, with construction or the moving of heavy objects. Proceeds from the sale of the lawnmower and other donated items help defray the store’s monthly rent of $500 and an overhead that Ramos said is at about $8,000 per month. There is no shortage of items for sale – household appliances, a set of cabinets, Christmas decorations and toys. Merhandise sale revenues account for 60 percent of the store’s income. Other streams are 25 percent from donations, five percent from the sale of scrap metal, six percent from random sources, and four percent from grants. The store’s office is located next door in a small frame house. The order of it – and its obviously plain mission to keep the store going and its veteran patrons fed – contrasts with the bustle of the store. It’s a quiet place where

BY MARIA EUGENIA GUERRA LareDOS Publisher

2 0 I LareDOS I D EC E M B ER 2012

CONTINUED ON PAGE 21

44

Maria Eugenia Guerra/LareDOS

Maria Eugenia Guerra/LareDOS

W

Ramos gathers her thoughts and her energy to keep food and monetary donations coming. The pantry works with both Laredo food banks to keep serving the veterans, and Ramos, who says her CEO title stands for Chief Encouragement Optimist, searches for and taps into any other food sources. Ramos said that for $2,500 she can buy a semi trailer filled with non-food goods – toiletries and personal hygiene items, blankets, shoes, lamps, and clothing. “I’ve only been able to do it once,” she said. “Anything is possible,” she said, adding, “These American heroes deserve our help. The first time they come in to sign up, they may find it difficult, but then most of them become part of what we do. They continue to serve,” she said. “Our job here is to provide for them to the best of our ability and to restore

Ruben Treviño, manager of Volunteers Filling the Need pantry and thrift store is pictured with staffer Raquel Navarro as they prepare bags of food for the 500 veterans the pantry serves. W W W.L A RED OS N E WS.CO M


when it is available. The recipients are qualified through the Webb County veteran’s office, a DD214 discharge document, and bank statements. Ramos said her ministry to help veterans is dedicated to her parents, Norma Elizabeth McCormick and Ruben Leonel Garza, both of Río Grande City, both who served in the armed forces – her mother saw service as a Marine and her father served in the Army and Navy; to her husband Roberto and his seven brothers; and to her three sisters who enlisted. She identified her most pressing need as “getting more people to adopt a veteran.” She said that a $180 annual fee for adoption for each of the 500 veterans the store serves would “take away enormous financial pressure” from the organization. Currently 51 veterans have been adopted. To adopt a veteran or to make a contribution, call Ramos at (956) 7172960 or email her at gigiramos54@yahoo.com ◆

Maria Eugenia Guerra/LareDOS

 CONTINUED FROM PAGE 20 hope. If for 14 days out of the month they can not be worried about having enough food to eat, we can empower them to have a little more money, to make a little money,” Ramos said. “One enterprising recipient has begun to sell clothing she purchased here to those homebound in retirement facilities. She credits that bit of income with being able to go to the beauty shop now and again or being able to run her air conditioner for a few hours. There are some who measure out very carefully what they need to make it every month,” she continued. Another veteran, one whose hours in home health care are restricted by his Social Security income, is a volunteer at the thrift store and takes home the store’s large quantity of flattened cardboard boxes so that he can sell them for extra income. The thrift store bags for veterans generally include rice, beans, macaroni, milk, cereal, canned goods, snacks, bread, and meat and fresh produce

At the Treviño Fort Uriel Druker and his son Ariel are pictured in one of the doorways of the Treviño Fort in San Ygnacio on Sunday, December 9.

W W W.L A R ED OS N E WS.CO M

LareDOS I D EC E M B ER 2012 I

21


Mariela Rodriguez/LareDOS

Mariela Rodriguez/LareDOS

Students portray arrival of the Christ child Toys for children at Casa de Misericordia David and Cliffe Killam and the staff of Killam Oil presented Sister Rosemary Welsh with a bounty of holiday gifts for the children of Casa de Misericordia women’s shelter.

2 2 I LareDOS I D EC E M B ER 2012

Students from St. Peter’s Memorial School are pictured in portrayal of Mary, Joseph, the shepherds, the three wise men, and the angel of the Lord at their annual Gran Posadas held December 13 in the school courtyard. Parents and members of the community were in awe at the moving musical interpretation of the birth of Jesus.

W W W.L A RED OS N E WS.CO M


Feature

Sue Bishop: a devotion to writing and teaching others to write BY MARIELA RODRIGUEZ LareDOS Staff

T

exas A&M International University English instructor Sue Bishop has recently published a second book of poetry, Horse-Minded. The concept for the book stemmed from reflections on time spent in Laredo and her annual summer trips to New Jersey and California to visit her family. "The poem 'So I Rode There’ is about traveling from one distinctive place to another and from one ocean to another. The long poem led to other poems about place, real and imagined, inhabited in the present or past,” Bishop explained, adding, “A horse motif emerged, too, suggesting ways to travel via the imagination or on horseback or on an imaginary horseback ride.” Some of Bishop's poems, such as the one about the impending loss of the ocelot from South Texas, delve into problematic environmental practices and the consequences of those shortsighted practices. As well, she takes on the terrible effects of marine pollution. In addition to environmental issues, Bishop’s writing focuses on the health and disability adjustments she has made for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/Fibromyalgia (CFS/FM). “That has been its own journey from a diagnosis that took over eight years to finding ongoing treatments that help. And, guess what, horseback riding has proven to be the most therapeutic thing I’ve done so far!” she said. “For me, personally, the message of the book was loud and clear: I need to get back on a horse! I heeded the message and returned to taking horseback riding lessons after not being on a horse for about 20 years,” she said. W W W.L A R ED OS N E WS.CO M

Sue Bishop While working on her own book, Bishop read Dorothy Herbert’s Riding Sensation of the Age! A Memoir. Hebert’s work and a photo from her book inspired the cover of Horse Minded. “Dorothy Herbert was a bareback rider in the circus, and the photo I chose was from her book. Luckily, I was able to get permission to use it for my book cover,” Bishop said, adding that the photograph is an untitled work by Timothy Tracz. Bishop said she hopes her book pays homage to a few of the writers and visual artists she loves who focus on landscape and place. Her first book, She Took Off Her Wings and Shoes, was the winner of the May Sweson Award, and included poems that were based on visual artists, mainly female. A bit of that thread continues in Horse-Minded. Bishop said, “Many of the poems in the previous book are also about moving, but under much more stressful circumstances, including a period of near-homelessness after my parents divorced and the near-starvation years of college and graduate school as a student from a low-income family.”

In both Horse-Minded and She Took Bishop is devoted both to writing Off Her Wings and Shoes, Bishop want- and teaching writing. “Teaching and ed to marry the lyric free-verse poem students help to keep me creatively enwith the experimental prose poem. gaged and current, which is definitely She said, “I’ve had the good fortune a plus. I try to also give back in the way to study with poets from different my teachers gave to me and have been poetic schools. But poets using these involved in developing a creative writapproaches don’t tend to like each ing minor at TAMIU," she said. other’s poems much or feel they have “For me, teaching has priority over anything in common. I felt differently writing during the semester — I don’t and wanted to see how both kinds of seem to be wired to limit how much poems could live together in the same time and energy I put into lesson book and play off each other.” plans, grading, and responding to stuWriter and poet Lori Anderson dents programmatic needs,” Bishop Moseman referred to Bishop as “an said. innovative painter in these historic Over the holiday break Bishop hybrids who gives us our exploited natural world as if it were a new horizon.” Bishop said, “It’s lovely to be described as a painter — I tend to be a visual writer, working with images I hope readers can see, but I’m also interested in what poems can look like on the page. I have no idea if it’s really painterly, but the recognition of the visual approach in my poems, and in poetry in general, is wonderful.” A true poet’s creative process is layered and can be quite messy according to Bishop. “I usually write the first few drafts with pen and paper. I think the slower movement of the pen across Horse-Minded the page helps me to slow down and focus better than trying to tap away at the keys on the plans to submit her new book in a few computer. I’ll rewrite the poem on a contests. “After four long years of subnew page, starting to make changes mitting the book for publication and as I copy the draft out by hand. Then, collecting rejection letters, simply beI’ll stop to look over a draft and cross ing able to hold the book in my hands things out, add things, draw arrows to is plenty reward and award to me,” move things around,” she said. she said. ◆ LareDOS I D EC E M B ER 2012 I

23


Opinion

The U.S. Senate is wiping out email privacy

T

he U.S. Senate will soon vote on a law that would gravely undermine Americans’ privacy and give expanded, unbridled surveillance over people’s e-mails to more than 22 government agencies. Sen. Patrick Leahy, the influential Democratic chair of the Judiciary Committee, has capitulated to law enforcement agencies, including the U.S. Justice Department, and is sponsoring a bill authorizing widespread warrantless access to Americans’ e-mails, as well as Google Docs files, Twitter direct messages, and so on, without a search warrant. It also would give the FBI and Homeland Security more authority, in some circumstances, to gain full access to Internet accounts without notifying either the owner or a judge. Leahy’s bill would only require the federal agencies to issue a subpoena, not obtain a search warrant signed by a judge based on probable cause. It also would permit state and local law enforcement to warrantlessly access Americans’ correspondence stored on systems not offered “to the public,” including university networks. Even in situations which still would require a search warrant, the proposed law would excuse law enforcement officers from obtaining a warrant (and being challenged later in court) if they claim an “emergency” situation. Not only that, but a provider would have to notify law enforce-

2 4 I LareDOS I D EC E M B ER 2012

ment in advance of any plans to tell its customers they’ve been the target of a warrant, order, or subpoena. The agency then could order the provider to delay notification of customers, whose accounts have been accessed, from three days to “ten business days” or even postpone notification up to 360 days. Agencies that would receive civil subpoena authority for electronic communications include the Federal Reserve, the Federal Trade Commission, the Federal Maritime Commission, the Postal Regulatory Commission, the NLRB, OSHA, SEC, and the Mine Enforcement Safety and Health Review Commission. There is no good legal reason why agencies like these need blanket access to people’s personal information with a mere subpoena, rather than a warrant. One might expect better of Leahy, given his liberal credentials; but he has been quite disappointing. In fact, he had a hand in making the Patriot Act bill less protective of civil liberties. Nor has the Administration been helpful in this regard, quite to the contrary. Expectations of “law and order” types might not be as high in terms of protecting civil liberties, but they should not be as unsatisfactory as they are with proponents of constitutional freedoms. The revelations about how the FBI perused former CIA director David Petraeus’ e-mail without a warrant should alarm all of us, who have less power and prestige than he did. If the Fourth Amendment is to have any meaning, it is that police must obtain a search warrant – backed by probable cause – before reading Americans’ e-mails or other communications. If we are to preserve our constitutional protection from warrantless searches, un-

reviewed by the courts, we need to let our U.S. Senators from Texas hear from us immediately and resoundingly. We cannot allow the government to undermine our rights, bit by bit, even in the name of national security, which too often is the mantra it so casually uses. As Ben Franklin

said, those who give up freedom in the name of security deserve neither. This abridgement of our fundamental rights affects us all – conservative, liberals, and libertarians alike. Our allegiance to the Constitution must be non-partisan. Write or call your Senators – now. ◆

Mariela Rodriguez/LareDOS

BY RENATO RAMIREZ Chairman of the Board and CEO, IBC-Zapata and JAMES C. HARRINGTON Director, Texas Civil Rights Project

Las Posadas en El Centro Fernando Gonzalez and Roxela Flores enjoyed every minute of “Las Posadas en El Centro” December 6 in San Agustín Plaza. It was a first for Flores who had never attended a posada. W W W.L A RED OS N E WS.CO M


Maria Eugenia Guerra/LareDOS

Mariela Rodriguez/LareDOS

L&F thanks the media Delicious offerings at Las Posadas María Ramirez and Ramona García of Don Vicente Restaurant were among the vendors who offered tasty Mexican favorites at Las Posadas en El Centro on Thursday, December 6 in historic San Agustín Plaza.

W W W.L A R ED OS N E WS.CO M

L&F Distributors hosted a luncheon for members of the media to thank them for their continued support of the STARS higher education scholarship initiative for South Texas students. Pictured at the Guerra Communications reception hall from left to right are Yvette Donovan, Belinda Guerra Muerer, Juan Arroyo, and Carlos Salinas, KGNS station manager.

LareDOS I D EC E M B ER 2012 I

25


2 6 I LareDOS I D EC E M B ER 2012

W W W.L A RED OS N E WS.CO M


W W W.L A R ED OS N E WS.CO M

LareDOS I D EC E M B ER 2012 I

27


2 8 I LareDOS I D EC E M B ER 2012

W W W.L A RED OS N E WS.CO M


W W W.L A R ED OS N E WS.CO M

LareDOS I D EC E M B ER 2012 I

29


Mariela Rodriguez/LareDOS

Mariela Rodriguez/LareDOS

Night out Alexis Gomez, Alicia Gomez, and Mia Martinez are photographed with U.S. Border Patrol officer JosĂŠ Olvera at the Teddy Bear Drive on November 29 at Chick-fil-a on Monarch Drive.

3 0 I LareDOS I D EC E M B ER 2012

Planting the seeds of learning and responsibility Alexander High School Youth Leadership Laredo students helped Bonnie Garcia Elementary third graders plant trees on their campus. The project symbolized planting the seeds of higher education and community responsibility.

W W W.L A RED OS N E WS.CO M


W W W.L A R ED OS N E WS.CO M

LareDOS I D EC E M B ER 2012 I

31


3 2 I LareDOS I D EC E M B ER 2012

W W W.L A RED OS N E WS.CO M


W W W.L A R ED OS N E WS.CO M

LareDOS I D EC E M B ER 2012 I

33


Feature

Larry McMurtry and the search for an old gravesite BY CORDELIA BARRERA LareDOS Contributor

Photos by Cordelia Barrera

“So who’s gonna play Britt Johnson in the movie,” I asked? “Will Smith,” they said in unison. “Maybe Jamie Foxx, it’s all about timing,” added Diana. She was looking out the window towards Butler Loop, just off FM 1769, about six miles northwest of Graham, Texas. We had been driving the dirt roads, looking for Johnson’s old gravesite for a while now. We didn’t find it, but from their mind’s eye, the two screenwriters laid out the scene: “We’re gonna begin in the dead of night, in a hail of bullets. It’s gonna be awesome.” This was our second day with Larry McMurtry and Diana Os-

sana, the Academy Award winning screenwriters of Brokeback Mountain. My colleague, Sara, was asked to write a piece on McMurtry for The Paris Review. I was along to take pictures, and because — at least academically — I can make my way around McMurtry’s oeuvre, which includes more than 30 novels, countless essays on Texas writers and literature in general, and at least 20 screenplays. We were headed back to McMurtry’s home — “The Big House” — in Archer City, about 150 miles northwest of Dallas. The two-story Georgian used to be the country club and is still within walking distance of the town’s two restaurants. The Big House is a book lover’s paradise. Milky white walls, rich

At the Big House

3 4 I LareDOS I D EC E M B ER 2012

cherry wood, and neatly stacked bookshelves from floor to ceiling adorn most of the home. “The Book House,” a two-story carriage house behind The Big House, contains McMurtry’s vast collection of early western dime novels, his extensive assemblage of 1940s comics (including risqué, rare collections of European Trash Cinema, Adult Comics, and Asian Cult Cinema). For two days, McMurtry allowed us the run of his property, and it was absolutely spellbinding. Ossana and McMurtry are consummate professionals who negotiate the written word as astutely as they tackle the complex business of writing a screenplay and seeing it to production. Since 1992, they have co-written and adapted books, tele-

plays, and screenplays. Their most popular adaptation is the Academy Award winning, Brokeback Mountain, based on the short story of the same name by Annie Proulx and directed for the screen in 2005 by Ang Lee. So, why are they both so eager to locate Britt Johnson’s gravesite? The answer is San Antonio-based author Paulette Jiles’s novel, The Color of Lightning (2010). McMurtry and Ossana have teamed up to deliver the screenplay, and director Ridley Scott (Blade Runner (1982), Gladiator (2000), Prometheus (2012) is set to direct. In short, the story of Britt Johnson, the black cowboy and Indian scout who, in 1864, valiantly fought against the Kiowa when they captured several CONTINUED ON PAGE 35

44

Inside Booked Up W W W.L A RED OS N E WS.CO M


 CONTINUED FROM PAGE 34 members of his family, was tailormade for the screen-writing duo. I can certainly envision the two receiving the Oscar — again — for The Color of Lightning. At 76, Larry McMurtry remains a literary powerhouse. Best known for his novels set in his home state of Texas — The Last Picture Show (1966), Terms of Endearment (1975); and the early American West (The Pulitzer Prize winning Lonesome Dove (1985) and Streets of Laredo (1993) — McMurtry has always considered himself a writer of what he calls “domestic fiction. I care about people,” he says, “and I usually begin a story with an idea that’s centered around a ‘culminating scene.’ My job is to describe how these people got to a certain place in time, in their life.” A hail of bullets in the dead of winter. This certainly sounds like a visually-stunning culminating scene, given the remarkable life of Britt Johnson, the black cowboy and

Booked Up

orderly at Fort Belknap who was one of several persons killed in the bloody Elk Creek Indian Raid of October 13, 1864. “But I’m done with fiction,” says McMurtry. “The screenplays (with Diana) keep me busy and, as you know, I’ve been writing my memoirs and I still like going into the book-

Typewriters for spare parts W W W.L A R ED OS N E WS.CO M

store most days.” The memoirs he refers to are: Books: A Memoir (2008); Literary Life (2009); and Hollywood: A Memoir (2011). The bookstore is Archer City’s “Booked Up.” For over 30 years, McMurtry has arguably been this country’s most high-profile book dealer and collector. “I’m not much of a

collector…I’m an accumulator,” he says. In August 2012, he held a huge book sale in which more than 150 collectors and dealers queued up to bid on 300,000 rare and used books — about two-thirds of the stock of “Booked Up,” the four-building literary mecca that McMurtry started in 1988. Of the original four bookstores, one remains open. Watching Ossana and McMurtry collaborate is a lot of fun. Ossana is all about structure and details and McMurtry, well, he just “let’s the characters jump off the page,” always has. He’s what you call “old school,” as can be seen by the rows of old hospital green Hermes 3000 typewriters stacked neatly against the huge picture windows of the airy dining room in The Big House, where he writes these days. When I asked him what he did with so many typewriters, he simply said: “parts.” Parts. Of course. The man, who has never used a computer, goes through a lot of typewriters. ◆

Larry McMurtry and Diana Ossana LareDOS I D EC E M B ER 2012 I

35


3 6 I LareDOS I D EC E M B ER 2012

W W W.L A RED OS N E WS.CO M


W W W.L A R ED OS N E WS.CO M

LareDOS I D EC E M B ER 2012 I

37


3 8 I LareDOS I D EC E M B ER 2012

W W W.L A RED OS N E WS.CO M


W W W.L A R ED OS N E WS.CO M

LareDOS I D EC E M B ER 2012 I

39


4 0 I LareDOS I D EC E M B ER 2012

W W W.L A RED OS N E WS.CO M


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 neodance@aol.com.

E

x-Laredoan and retired educator Lucy Rincon of Bryan has a famous ex-student, Rico Rodriguez, the star of television’s “Modern Family.” At age 14, he’s written his first book!  Lucy writes, “Rico was a student at my head start center when he was only four. He was a very shy little boy! He left to California with his mom and sister Raini so that Raini could pursue her career in show business, too. Last month Rico was on “Good Morning America” and on the “Regis and Michael” show promoting his new book. Every year, Rico and his mom and sis come back to Bryan to spend the holidays. Indeed, Rico is very down to earth and has a big heart!” Known as Manny Delgado in “Modern Family,” Rico has won twice, along with his co-stars, a Screen Actor’s Guild Award for Best Ensemble in a Comedy Series. Born in College Station, he is the son of Diane and Roy Rodriguez. Rico did not consider being an actor till around 2006, when his sister Raini began acting.  

W W W.L A R ED OS N E WS.CO M

Notes from La La Land

Child star Rico Rodriguez authors book on life lessons  According to ABC News, Rico spills his television secrets and life lessons in his new book, Reel Life Lessons...So Far.” He is not far off from his on-screen personality when it comes to giving advice, as he always does in the sit-com. He comes off as having wisdom far beyond his real age, 14. In the book, Rico tells us what it’s like to have Sofia Vergara as his TV mom. He also gives his impressions of what it was like growing up in the spotlight, family values, and overcoming the challenges in his life. With permission from the book publisher, we excerpt: “For as long as I’ve been acting, I have been very lucky to be paired with really great actresses playing my mom. It could be worse – I could get roles with a wicked mom, right? Naturally, people are curious about how my real mom feels about me having a TV mom. They want to know if she likes how my TV mom treats me. My mom and Sofia Vergara get along great. It’s kind of funny when people ask me about Sofia because they stumble over their words. Sofia has that effect on some

people. Ok, most people. I always tell them the truth: Sofia is a really nice person, and she treats me as if I were her own son. Sofia’s favorite candies are Hot Tamales and marshmallows. She likes to stash them in drawers all around the set. She always has a handful and starts eating them on set. It is almost as if she wants me to enjoy them as much as she does. She offers me some candy, and she doesn’t like to take no for an answer. In my eyes, I have two wonderful moms. Both amazing women who love me very much. That makes me so lucky.” To close the year, here’s some random mish-mash goodies that might interest you. Upon noting all over the net Carol Burnett’s ads selling a com-

posite of her best television work when she was a weekly regular, I remembered something many may not know. Carol Burnett was born in San Antonio, the daughter of a mother who was a publicity writer for a movie studio, and a father who was a theater manager. She is now 90+ and still kicking. I love on occasion to watch Judge Judy Sheindlin on her TV show where she dispenses justice “a su estilo.” Are you ready for this? She makes $45 million per season, netting her $123,000 salary per day! She just turned 70 and does not know how to work a computer.  And on that note, it›s time for –as Norma Adamo says – TAN TAN!  ◆

LareDOS I D EC E M B ER 2012 I

41


News

Mario A. Vazquez at helm of KLRN

M

ario A. Vazquez, newly named president and CEO of KLRN, brings a wealth of experience in board governance, fundraising, external affairs, political advocacy and public speaking. As well, he brings a passion for arts and culture. He has previously served the station as executive vice-president and station manager. “Mario is energetic and enthusiastic which makes him a fantastic fit for KLRN. We, as a board, were Mario A. Vasquez searching for someone who had business connections combined with an appreciation for the arts as well as an active level of community involvement. Luckily, we found him right here in San Antonio and look forward to watching KLRN and public television prosper under his leadership,” said board chair Edward Polansky of the Alamo Public Telecommunications Council (dba KLRN). “KLRN is such a diverse organization, filling an educational need, providing quality entertainment and news, and bringing arts and culture from around the world to living rooms in our community. It is an amazing force that I have never before seen generated out of one group of people,” said Vazquez. “KLRN is a respected institution in our community as well as the rest of

the nation among other PBS stations, and I plan to maintain that standing and continue to find new ways to engage and inspire our viewers, our funders, and our friends.” The new CEO is a former classical pianist who studied 14 years of private piano study. He continues to play for pleasure, and his service on the Chamber Orchestra board keeps him close to his musical passion while continuing his community work and support through KLRN. Vazquez was born in San Antonio, but spent his formative years in Laredo. He has a BA in political science from the University of Texas at San Antonio His extensive list of community engagement roles include being the founding board chair of the Chamber Orchestra of San Antonio and serving on the boards of the San Antonio River Foundation, the UT Health Science Center Development Board, the Cancer Therapy and Research Center Board of Governors, Old Spanish Mission Advisory Committee of Las Misiones, Gemini Ink. He co-chairs the Mahendra and Kirti Patel Endowed Scholarship for Ethics and Humanity in Medical Education at the UTHSCSA. Formerly, he served on the boards of both Ballet San Antonio and the San Antonio Symphony. – LareDOS Staff

4 2 I LareDOS I D E C E M B E R 2012

The Mystery Customer BY THE MYSTERY CUSTOMER

Impressive service at Applebee’s

Applebee’s 7601 San Dario The MC and a friend stopped by the popular chain restaurant to take advantage of their 2-for-$20 deal – any appetizer and two entrées. This great deal not only saved the MC and his guest a few extra bucks for the holidays, but also provided a delicious meal. The chef wasn’t the only one in high gear. The servers were on key as well, serving everyone in a nearly packed restaurant during the noon-hour rush. The meals were served at just the right temperature and refills were constantly offered to MC and his guest. Mr. Frog 1019 E Saunders While the speedy service proved to be convenient for the MC’s busy schedule, a lack of communication between the receptionist and the MC cost her about $20 more. The MC indicated an order for a basic oil change, but the receptionist, through the automated system linked to the mechanics, submitted an order for a premium package, which was apparently the service the MC requested on a previous visit. Once the MC realized the error, she approached the chip-chomping receptionist who informed the MC that the mechanic was nearly finished with her vehicle and there was nothing that could be done. In hindsight, the MC should have been more cognizant of the service the receptionist logged in. The MC now knows the establishment does not abide by the “the customer is always right” philosophy. And by way of unsolicited advice, the MC suggests a little more professionalism at the front desk. P.S.: Thanks for the complimentary calendar. Scholars Caffe Barista 120 W. Village Blvd #115

This quaint coffee bar located in the heart of north Laredo offers a really cozy meeting place for friends, colleagues, and clients. Customers also have the option of just getting comfy on the couch with a nice read. Delectable pastries, gourmet salads, bagels, and outstanding coffee are made and served fresh by the friendly baristas. The MC found the spot to be aesthetically pleasing and conducive to quiet contemplation. Many northside professionals, as well as kaffeklatschers come to Scholars for the opportunity to have conversation over a great cup of coffee. Home Depot 5710 San Bernardo The early morning hours on a Saturday early in December proved to be just the right time to select a Christmas tree and a wreath to the MC’s liking. That part of the store was well-staffed and folks there were quite helpful. Wal Mart Hwy. 83 South Across town in South Laredo, the MC found a good selection of Christmas lights but was appalled at all the open packages and things taken out of their boxes. El Catán Salinas at Houston St. The MC and a handful of friends, all she has, really, have made a weekly visit to this beautiful eatery for a good meal, great conversation, and excellent service. The fish tacos are irresistibly delicious. Las Kekas 3914 McPherson The MC stopped to grab a bite to eat along with some family members. The food was delectable. The service was great. Everything was served warm and in a timely manner. The MC would label this a great experience overall. ◆ W W W.L A RED OS N E WS.CO M


Mariela Rodriguez/LareDOS

At Gallery 201 reception Saltillo artist María Inés de Leon was one of the artists who displayed her work at Gallery 201’s La Virgen de Guadalupe artist renditions reception. She is pictured with Jacque Frank and Francisco Cervantes.

W W W.L A R ED OS N E WS.CO M

LareDOS I D EC E M B ER 2012 I

43


Feature

Arriaga’s album rocks with Christmas cheer BY MARIELA RODRIGUEZ LareDOS Staff

T

ejano sensation Phoebe Marie Arriaga is ringing in the holidays with her new Christmas album filled with classics such as “Santa Baby,” “Jingle Bell Rock,” and “Let It Snow.” This marks Arriaga’s third album and the first time she has recorded Christmas songs. The album, much like Arriaga’s sound, ranges from country to pop rock and dance music. While the Latina has found her niche in the Tejano music scene, proof of her versatility as a performer is captured in a unique sound not

Phoebe Marie Arriaga limited to one genre or language. “I want to be known as a bilingual singer. It is important to bring out my Latina side,” said the native Laredoan. She said her most memorable performance was singing in Span-

4 4 I LareDOS I D EC E M B ER 2012

ish in Mexico City when she was 16. “That was the largest crowd I’ve ever performed before. It gave me the opportunity to experience what it was like to perform in that capacity versus smaller events,” she said. The Latina chanteuse has honed her musical talents since the age of three. Her first performance was at her fifth grade prom. She was the youngest singer at the time to participate in her school choir and UIL competitions. Arriaga’s first demo was recorded at the age of 13, followed by her self-titled EP album in 2005. She has performed at the Washington Birthday Celebration’s Jamboozie since the age of 10. Arriaga is also a regular performer at the yearly HEB Feast of Sharing. This year she will perform for the first time at the Jalapeño Festival. She is currently represented by Tony Vasquez of Forth Worth Tejano, and managed by her mom Mary Jaurigui. Arriaga records in the local I Sing Studio owned by Mark and Linda Izquierdo. Arriaga performs at local hospitals, nursing homes, and adult daycares. “I especially enjoy going to adult daycares and singing to them. They seem to enjoy themselves and

I have a good time as well,” she said, adding, “It is important as a performer to give back to your community.” The 24-yearold has already achieved countless recognitions and awards in various states as well as internationally, including the Nuestro Orgullo De Laredo award; Best Of Texas Music Awards; Texas Modern Vocalist & Karaoke Pop Entertainer; Texas Drover Records Rising Star Award; Texas Academy Of Fine Arts Tejano

Female Award; Texas Teen Latina Beauty Pageant; Texas Teen Ambassador Award; Best Of Texas Music Awards for best video honoring the victims of 9/11 flight 93; Tennessee Country Music Alliance Latina Award; New York Music Festival’s Best Female Latin Pop Solo Award; and 1st place in the Mexico Intermodel Y Talentos De Mexico Best Of All Award. She’s also been featured twice in Tejano Gold Radio Magazine. She performed December 15th at the Texas Armory Guard during a Laredo Wresting Alliance match. Arriaga said, “If you put your whole heart and mind into something that you love doing, you will succeed.” To purchase her Christmas album for a mere $6 contact Mary Jaurigui at (956) 744-4808. ◆

W W W.L A RED OS N E WS.CO M


Opinion

Will Supreme Court review bring clarity to rights in same-sex marriage?

I

BY MARIELA RODRIGUEZ LareDOS Staff

t is amazing that the land of the free continues to subjugate those deemed different from the status quo. Homosexuality exists, and it’s not going anywhere — sorry right-wingers. The time has come to address gay marriage and the rights that such unions should enjoy, as the Supreme Court is scheduled to do in March. According to an article in the New York Times (NYT), the Supreme Court will be examining two cases. One pertains to Proposition 8 — the opposition to the constitutional right granted over same-sex marriage. It is argued that citizens violated the federal law when they overrode the Supreme Court’s decision to allow gay marriage in California. There is a “fundamental constitutional right to marry for all citizens,” according to Theodore Olson Washington, one of the attorneys representing Californians opposed to Proposition 8. The other case the Supreme Court will review is from New York and it has to do with benefits denied to gay and lesbian couples married in states allowing such unions. This challenge of the federal law could once and for all define what constitutes a legal marriage as well as the rights of individuals in same-sex unions. According to Supreme Court records, “In addition to the question presented by the petition, the parties are directed to brief and argue the following questions: Whether the Executive Branch’s agreement with the court below that Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is unconstitutional W W W.L A R ED OS N E WS.CO M

deprives this Court of jurisdiction to decide this case; and whether the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group of the United States House of Representatives has Article III standing in this case.” Simply put, the United States v. Windsor challenges part of the 1996 DOMA, which defines marriage as a union between only a man and a woman for purposes of more than 1,000 federal laws and programs. In 2007, Edith Windsor and Thea Clara Spyer were married in Canada. Spyer died in 2009, and Windsor inherited her property. The 1996 law did not allow the Internal Revenue Service to treat Windsor as a surviving spouse. Consequently, she is faced with a tax bill of $360,000 — an amount that a spouse in an oppositesex marriage would not have had to pay — according to the NYT’s article. According to gaymarriage.procon. org, “Opponents argue that altering the traditional definition of marriage as between a man and a woman will further weaken a threatened institution and that legalizing gay marriage is a slippery slope that may lead to polygamous and interspecies marriages.” It is safe to say sexual orientation has nothing to do with respect for the sanctity of marriage. Heterosexual couples seem to be pretty guilty of failing in this aspect. A case in point are celebrity quickie marriages such as Britney Spears’s two-day nuptials in Las Vegas, or Kim Kardashian’s 73-day union, as reported in the tabloids. Gay marriage is legal in nine states — Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, Iowa, New Hampshire, Vermont, Minnesota, Maine, and

Washington, the District of Columbia. Thirty-one states have constitutional amendments banning gay marriage while six states have laws banning it. For the first time, an American President has openly declared he supports gay marriage. Great, but does his administration now deem it unconstitutional or not? Clarity would certainly influence the Supreme Court to come to a consensus on the

constitutionality of gay marriage. Who is to say that a gay couple that has perhaps spent years together is not entitled to the same marriage rights as a heterosexual couple? This blatant act of discrimination has left many unanswered questions pertaining to the infringement of basic constitutional rights of matrimonial unions — answers hopefully forthcoming once the Supreme Court reviews these cases. ◆

Can’t find a hard copy? Go to www.laredosnews.com

LareDOS I D EC E M B ER 2012 I

45


4 6 I LareDOS I D EC E M B ER 2012

W W W.L A RED OS N E WS.CO M


Jarvis Plaza alive with Christmas cheer

Mariela Rodriguez/LareDOS

Mariela Rodriguez/LareDOS

The Macdonnell Elementary Rhythm Style and Dance Orffestra students, ranging from kinder to fifth graders, entertained attendees of the December 8 Farmer’s Market. The kiddos sang, danced, and played orffestra instruments under the direction of music instructor Beatriz Escudero.

Toys for Tejanitos Marinela Santos, member of McDonald’s hostess program, McDonald’s franchise owner Mike Marasco, Mayor Raul Salinas, Juventino Rosales, María Flores, and Dave Gonzalez of Guerra Communications announced that the Toys for Tejanitos drive would be held on the rooftop of McDonald’s on the corner of McPherson and Del Mar on December 17. W W W.L A R ED OS N E WS.CO M

LareDOS I D EC E M B ER 2012 I

47


Serving Sentences

BY RANDY KOCH Randy Koch earned his MFA at the University of Wyoming and teaches writing at Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania.

O

n November 13th, I walked across campus to the office of the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties, or APSCUF, the union representing faculty at all 14 state-owned universities. Then, like over 6,000 other faculty members across Pennsylvania, I voted “Yes” to give the union the authority to call a strike if they decide it’s necessary to get the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education, or PASSHE, and Chancellor John Cavanaugh to negotiate in good faith on a contract that expired 19 months ago. One week later Bloomsburg’s daily newspaper, the Press Enterprise, published an editorial under the headline “How Dare Profs Threaten Strike?” in which editor James Sachetti claimed that “threatening to walk out on strike…. would take some colossal nerve…[and] a lot of explaining.” He argued, “Do the math: To earn nearly $108,000 per school year, a professor is required to teach two 15-week semesters, four courses per semester, each of which meets three hours per week. That works out to $300 per hour in the classroom.” While Mr. Sachetti vaguely admitted that “a professor has duties outside of class as well,” it’s the “$300 per hour” that likely sticks in the craw of blue-collar Bloomsburgians whose two-digit hourly wages pale in comparison. People like me. I’m not a professor, just a temporary, full-time comp instructor, but I am a dues-paying union member, one of the people Sachetti claims couldn’t “walk a picket line without bags over their heads to hide their shame.” So I took his advice, and I did the math. This academic year, like last year, I earn $47,035.01, or $23,517.50 per semester, and this fall I taught five sections of Composition I, each of which met three hours per week for 15 weeks. This means

4 8 I LareDOS I D EC E M B ER 2012

A manual labor of love I worked 225 hours this semester and made $104.52 per hour in the classroom, a nice, cozy sum but only about 35% of what Mr. Sachetti claims too many of us make. However, classroom teaching sometimes requires and results in other work, so, like professors, I do my “duties outside of class.” I prepare lesson plans, post materials online for students, create quizzes and writing exercises, update essay assignments, write sample paragraphs, record daily attendance, and perform other inconsequential tasks. This usually takes just six hours each week, so for the 15-week semester, that’s only another 90 hours. Added to the 225 hours in the classroom, this comes to 315 hours this semester, or $74.66 per hour. I’m no Donald Trump, but this still ain’t too shabby. And while I’m not obligated to be available to students except during a handful of office hours each week, I understand that freshman writers sometimes have questions they don’t think to ask in class, so I encourage but don’t require them to sign up for 20-minute conferences to talk to me about their writing. This semester a few of them did, 482 in all, which means I spent another 160.67 hours conferencing one-on-one with students outside of class, bringing the total to just 475.67 hours, which means I still made $49.44 per hour. Pretty danged nice for a job that doesn’t require swinging a pickaxe or troweling cement or shimmying up utility poles. Hell, I barely get dirty except for a bit of chalk dust on my slacks and maybe a dribble of coffee on my sweater vest. And now that I think about it, I actually have a couple other minor “duties outside of class.” Just to make sure students stayed on their toes, I gave each class six quizzes this semester, one every couple of weeks. While it takes only a couple minutes to grade each one, I

needed more than a lunch hour to grade 575 of them. In fact, at two minutes per quiz, it took about 1,150 minutes or 19.17 hours. And I almost forgot: 122 students in those 5 sections also completed a 3-page midterm exam. Because the test wasn’t conducive to using a Scantron form, I graded each one myself. This took about 15 minutes per exam, which came to 1,830 minutes or 30.5 hours of grading. That means I make $44.77 an hour, which is quite a bit less than Mr. Sachetti’s estimate of “$300 per hour,” but I still bring home a whole lot more moolah than I did in 1975 when Shorty Skelton paid me two bucks an hour to stack hay bales on the rack behind his baler. Besides quizzes and the midterm exam, I assign, collect, and read a bit of other mostly ungraded work, such as diagnostic essays, prewriting, sentencevariety exercises, cutting clutter practices, and completed peer review forms, which I keep track of in my grade book. I collected only 1,070 of these from my students and spent roughly 28.7 hours reviewing and documenting them. When I add this to the time devoted to grading quizzes and exams, my total hours worked this semester comes to 554.04. And my hourly wage? A snazzy $42.45, which, according to a CNN report, is still more than most kindergarten teachers and dental hygienists make. I also get a fair amount of e-mail at

work, not because I’m popular but because freshmen have questions, worries, family and legal problems, and the occasional confession. Anyway, this semester I received over 300 e-mails either from or about my composition students, and while I could have saved time by just deleting them and going back to counting my money, I read them. Each took about 1 minute, sometimes a little longer if it came from a Russian student or an American teen allergic to punctuation and accurate spelling. I also wrote over 350 e-mails to or about my students, which took a bit longer, probably about two minutes per e-mail. This means I spent another 1,000 minutes or 16.67 hours corresponding with or about my students, bringing my total hours worked to 570.71. And though it’s hardly worth mentioning, I had a couple other “duties outside of class.” Because it made sense to me that composition students should write compositions, I assigned a bit of writing. Of course, doing so meant I should read and mark their essays — only 681 of them consisting of about 680,000 words, which is just a bit more (though usually less inspired) than in the Old Testament. Regardless, each of those 681 essays took about 20 minutes to grade, which comes to another 13,620 minutes or 227 hours. Adding this to CONTINUED ON PAGE 49

44

W W W.L A RED OS N E WS.CO M


CONTINUED FROM PAGE 48

the 570.71 hours above nudges my total to 797.71 hours and my hourly wage to $29.48, which is still more than I’d make as a Wal-Mart greeter, a McDonald’s burger-flipper, or, I suspect, a Press Enterprise reporter. And I forgot to mention a couple other “duties,” such as completing progress reports for at-risk students, posting midterm and final grades, reading e-mails from other faculty and administrators, and waiting for students who signed up for conferences but didn’t show up, all of which probably took no more than one hour per week or 15 hours for the semester. And if you think I have so much leisure time that I can do all this math just for the fun of it, think again. Each semester I’m required to complete the Snyder Amendment Reporting Form, on which I have to calculate the average number of hours I spend per week doing my job. Sure, I could throw together a rough estimate in a few minutes, but that’s prob-

W W W.L A R ED OS N E WS.CO M

ably how Mr. Sachetti arrived at “$300 per hour.” Anyway, calculating the hours I devote to my job took me about two hours, so for the sake of precision, let’s do one last bit of math: $23,517.50 per semester divided by 814.71 hours worked this semester comes not to “$300 per hour” but to $28.87 per hour. In 1986, as a 29-year-old janitor/maintenance man with a high school diploma, I made $7.51 per hour at Valley View Manor Nursing Home in Lamberton, MN. When adjusted for inflation, that’s today’s equivalent of $14.75. However, Chancellor Cavanaugh and Mr. Sachetti figure that if I make almost double those janitor’s wages--even though I now have a bachelor’s degree, two master’s degrees, and 22 years of teaching experience – I’m overpaid. In fact, with PASSHE’s recent proposals, they’ve simply confirmed what I’ve suspected for a very long time: composition instructors, like most other temporary faculty, are little better than manual laborers. And, they insist, that’s how we should be paid. ◆

Evelyn Perez/LareDOS

Classic accessories Yelile Raimondi and Jessica Vasquez had some lovely earrings, beaded bracelets, and necklaces for sale on Saturday, December 8 at the monthly Bazaar at the French Quarter.

LareDOS I D EC E M B ER 2012 I

49


Cynthia Cuellar, 14, harvested this nine-point buck at 185 yards on her father’s lease in San Ygnacio. Her father is Edinburg educator Martin Cuellar, a Zapata native.

5 0 I LareDOS I D EC E M B ER 2012

Courtesy Photo

Courtesy Photo

South Texas harvest

Happy hunting Gavin Laurel is pictured with the deer his father, Rick Laurel, shot on a ranch northeast of San Ygnacio.

W W W.L A RED OS N E WS.CO M


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.

R

ejoice and be glad. The holiday season is indeed a time to do both with family, friends and the less fortunate. Obviously, the holidays are both spiritual and material. Two days are the highlights – Thanksgiving and Christmas. Spiritually, Christmas is a celebration of God’s love and His gift to us, the birth His son Jesus Christ, the source of all energy. Humanly or materially, the translation is that “It is a time for the sprit of giving.” Gifts are exchanged among loved ones. And in the same spirit people share with the less fortunate via charitable donations. Of course, Christmas Day was here before Thanksgiving Day. But now, it seems you can’t have one without the other. In Laredo, the spirit of thanksgiving came to life at an ecumenical service on Nov. 18, the Sunday before Thanksgiving Day, at the Texas A&M International University Fine and Performing Arts Center. Laredo pastors Rev. Toby Guerrero, St. Peter the Apostle Catholic Church; Rev. Paul A. Frey, Christ Church Episcopal; and Rev. Peter Aguilar, First United Methodist Church organized the event, attended by about 100. The spiritually-soothing service focused on the true meaning of the “holy” days. There were Holy Scripture readings, organ music by Dr. Ray Keck, president of TAMIU, and the First United Methodist Church Handbell Choir. Rev. Aguilar’s sermon centered on the first Thanksgiving “con-celebrated’’ by the native Americans, headed by a man named Squanto, and new Americans (pilgrims). He also shared about “a change of conW W W.L A R ED OS N E WS.CO M

South Texas Food Bank

Charity: a focus during the holidays sciousness” as we keep life’s priorities in order. All three – Guerrero, Frye and Aguilar – said plans are to have a similar service next year, encouraging more participation. Money collected at an offering was for the South Texas Food Bank mission of feeding the hungry. The money was divided among the STFB pantries at St. Peter, Christ Church Episcopal, and First United Methodist Church. Yes, the holidays are a time to count blessings and also share them. The STFB is in the forefront of Laredo charitable avenues. After all, in the hierarchy of needs, food is No. 1. With more than 30 percent of Webb County residents living below poverty guidelines, food insecurity ranks high among Laredo families, especially the elderly and children. In existence since 1989, the STFB is at the ready with a monthly bag of supplemental food to those in need. Last year the STFB distributed almost 10 million pounds and is on course to hit that mark again in 2012. Because of its membership in the Texas Food Bank Network and the national Feeding America, every dollar donated to the South Texas Food Bank is converted into eight meals. Charitable donations can be mailed to 1907 Freight, Laredo, Tex., 78041. The phone number is (956) 726-3120 and website www. southtexasfoodbank.org And as St. John of the Cross wrote in the early Catholic Christian Church, “At end of our life, we shall all be judged by charity. God will not judge us on our earthly possessions and human success, but rather on how much we have loved.” ◆

The TAMIU soccer team presented a $350 check to the South Texas Food Bank adopt-a-family program coordinator Miguel Zuniga after conducting a fund-raiser. Left to right are are TAMIU soccer coach Claudio Arias, assistant coach Luis Rincon, and players Elkin Marin-Tobar and Juan Ramirez. For information on the South Texas Food Bank go to www.southtexasfoodbank.org

Maria Eugenia Guerra/LareDOS

BY SALO OTERO

Felicidades y mucho más Those who were expecting just another fantastic Christmas tamalada hosted by Judge Oscar Martinez were witnesses to the marriage of Miguel Arguelles and Donaciena Gutierrez on the morning of December 7, 2012. LareDOS I D EC E M B ER 2012 I

51


Mariela Rodriguez/LareDOS

Maria Eugenia Guerra/LareDOS

The gift of knowledge

Velma Martinez, Eileen Andrade Martinez, Oscar Martinez III, and Jill Garza- Gongora enjoyed the tamalada hosted by Judge Oscar Martinez Sr. at his offices on December 7.

Margarita Araiza, executive director of the Webb Country Heritage Foundation, staffed the WCHF booth at the December 8 Farmers Market. The booth featured a good selection of books for gift giving.

Evelyn Perez/LareDOS

At Judge Martinez’s tamalada

Soothing sounds conducive to holiday shopping Bruno Gutierrez and Ana Lu Ramirez were among the performers at the French Quarter Bazaar on Saturday, December 8.

5 2 I LareDOS I D EC E M B ER 2012

W W W.L A RED OS N E WS.CO M


Maverick Ranch Notes

How the year ends

BY BEBE & SISSY FENSTERMAKER

W W W.L A R ED OS N E WS.CO M

subdivision’s southern fenceline. That property’s high location would compromise the integrity of the entire Maverick Ranch-Fromme Farm viewshed. Most of the Maverick Ranch-Fromme Farm is under conservation easements and the final easement is underway. This means our wonderful place will remain as it is forever, never to be developed. Achieving this complete preservation has taken 30 years of the hardest kind of work and is our commitment to the citizens of Texas. Our neighbor’s pl an has hit hard. – Bebe Fenstermaker

ors. One fieldtrip was to the Spokane Falls found right in the city. It was led by members of the Spokan Indian Tribe. Historically the Tribe used to gather at the Falls where they caught salmon for winter food. The Tribe does not use the final ‘e’ in their name – Spokan. I’m not ignoring that our year goes out on a down note. We don’t know how

SUBSCRIBE

T

his month we finally got our first freeze after enjoying an extended Fall. I suppose that broke someone’s record. There were lots of animals scurrying around trying to warm themselves in the pale sunlight coming through the cloud cover. We did not get any of the scattered showers that were predicted. Earlier this Fall I was in Spokane for the annual National Trust for Historic Preservation Conference. It was my first visit to that city, which impressed me with the amount and variety of historic structures both commercial and residential. I saw only one fake Tuscan mcmansion and as usual it stuck out like a sore thumb. One of the highlights was the elegant historic Davenport Hotel. Its busy large lobby took up most of the first floor. It has been totally restored and the fine restoration kept its original look. It dates from the latter nineteenth century. The Spokane River flowing through downtown actually divides the city. The city includes the river valley and its banks, and it spreads out onto the plain. There were spectacular views looking from the plain into the valley. We were very fortunate to be there for Fall col-

it will turn out for the Ranch and Frommes, our home. However, my thanks to those who came before us who taught us the value of open land. They never saw it as some sad people do, as ‘waiting for development’; they saw it for what it truly is — alive, filled with all the wonderful lives it could possibly hold. – Sissy Fenstermaker

meg@laredosnews.com

Mariela Rodriguez/LareDOS

H

ow pleasant the last few weeks have been. No rain has come but the weather has been beautiful, and it has been good to get out and walk. Both red heeler Ruby and I have benefitted from the exercise and after Thanksgiving the sensational colors of Spanish, post and black-jack oaks, cedar elms, surviving hackberries, and sumac have added zest to our travels over the Maverick Ranch-Fromme Farm. The cattle and wildlife seem to thrive. On the last day of November, a Friday, we received notice that a neighbor with 27 adjacent acres has filed a plat for a subdivision of 37 lots right on our fenceline. At least a quarter of his acreage is in the floodplain, so the lots will be small. Up to now there has been open communication between us neighbors, so this was totally unexpected. The notice said that on December 12 there will be a public hearing by the SA Planning Commission. Only those owning property within 200 feet of this property got the notice. Needless to say this last week has been the week from hell. To deal with this nightmare, endless time has been spent getting in touch with all the entities who are involved; that alone took entire days of phone calls and emails. We have had to set aside everything plus our businesses to deal with this debacle. Maverick Ranch-Fromme Farm which is a National Register of Historic Places District, fenceline to fenceline, surrounds the proposed subdivision. We have documented endangered birds right up to the fenceline and just this year we became part of an internationally designated global Important Bird Area (IBA) after rigorous documentation of nesting Golden-cheeked Warblers. There are sensitive aquifer recharge features lying within 50-feet of the proposed

Historic Post 59 to get a façade face lift Melissa Amici Haynes of Laredo Main Street and Arturo García of the City of Laredo are pictured Tuesday, December 11 at the American Legion Post 59 press conference announcing that the historic Post is the first recipient of the Facade Improvement Grant. LareDOS I D EC E M B ER 2012 I

53


Feature

I

Girl Scouts learn business skills through cookie sale

t won’t be long before you start seeing uniformed Girl Scouts across the city selling cookies that include the favorite standards and the new Mango Crème variety. The sale begins January 12 and runs through February 2013. With a mission of building girls of courage, confidence and character who make the world a better place, the Girl Scouts of South Texas (GST) is taking the ever-popular cookie sale to teach Scouts five primary business skills – goal setting, decision making, money management, people skills, and business ethics. On December 8, local Scouts who attended Cookie College at the Lar-

5 4 I LareDOS I D EC E M B ER 2012

edo Service Center heard from business owner Raquel Esparza, troop leader and attorney Selina Mireles, and newspaper publisher María Eugenia Guerra. The five skills will not only help the girls sell cookies, but they are also important business practices that will help them through their entire lives. In setting a cookie sales goal as a team and creating a plan to reach that goal, Scouts will learn that setting goals are important first steps to success in school, on the job, and in life. From making decisions where and when to sell cookies, how to market their sale, and what to do

with their earnings, Scouts will learn the benefit of making good decisions. They will learn money management skills when they develop a budget, take cookie orders, and handle customers’ money. This is how they will learn how to handle their own money – from their lunch money to their allowance and to (someday) their paycheck. Scouts will learn people skills as they talk to and listen to their customers, and as they work as a team with other girls. These skills spell success at school, on group projects, on sports teams, and on the playground – and later in life at work. The annual cookie sale also im-

parts a sense of business ethics as Scouts learn that acting honestly and responsibly reaps great benefits. Employers want to hire ethical employees – and the world needs ethical leaders in every field. These five skills teach Girl Scouts cooperation, team building, critical thinking, problem solving, practical life skills, healthy relationships, conflict resolution and positive values. There are over 2,500 Girl Scouts in 85 troops in Laredo. The purchase of a box of Girl Scout cookies supports a cause that is building up the next generation of businesswomen and good citizens. – LareDOS Staff

W W W.L A RED OS N E WS.CO M


Review

The New Normal mirrors changes in family structure BY MARIELA RODRIGUEZ LareDOS Staff

R

yan Murphy, the creator, producer, and director of critically acclaimed shows such as Nip Tuck and Glee, has done it once again with his new NBC comedy The New Normal. The TV series premiered Tuesday, September 1 and returns with all new episodes on January 8. There is little doubt that the dynamics of family structures have changed and that what was once defined as normal no longer exists. From single dads, double moms, sperm donors, egg donors, to onenight-stand donors -- families now

come in varied forms. The premise of The New Normal revolves around a newly single mother and Midwestern waitress, Goldie (Georgia King), searching for a fresh start with her precocious daughter Shania (Bebe Wood) in Los Angeles. Emmy and Tony Awardwinning Ellen Barkin portrays Jane, Goldie’s small-minded, right wing meddling grandmother. Gay couple Bryan (Andrew Rannells) and David (Justin Bartha) seem to have it all – successful careers and a committed, loving partnership. There is just one thing missing from the couple’s lives — a baby. Goldie, desperate, broke, and fertile, quickly becomes the ideal

candidate for a surrogate who can bear a child for Bryan and David. In the ensuing closeness, Goldie and Shania become their extended family. Jane with her preconceived homophobic views, finds no joy in her granddaughter’s choice to be a surrogate mother for a gay couple. The show’s characters depict society’s views on gay marriage or partnerships and the often-conflicting views of what constitutes a family. Murphy’s approach to tackling homophobia and gay marriage is nothing short of brilliant. While other shows such as Modern Family portray gay couples having families, The New Normal takes it a notch higher by revolving the show

around a couple’s immense and sincere desire to have a family. Little Shania, deemed an outcast by her peers and far wise than her years, finds the comfort and acceptance she’s longed for from Bryan and David. This foreshadows the couple’s ability to relate to a child and the type of fathers they’d be, further stressing that innate parenting abilities and instincts stem not from gender but from love. Murphy’s smart comedy takes on stereotypes and misconceptions about gay couples with a happy stealth that hits the mark – spot on. The New Normal is produced by 20th Century Fox Television and Ryan Murphy Productions. ◆

Shania, Bryan, David, and Goldie W W W.L A R ED OS N E WS.CO M

LareDOS I D EC E M B ER 2012 I

55


Laredo Animal Protective Society

News

An unwanted pet’s pathway to a second chance

‘Posadas en El Centro’ celebrate the birth of Christ

BY CATHY KAZEN AND JENNIE REED LareDOS Contributors

T  

he Laredo Animal Protective Society (LAPS) ends this year of transition with gratitude in our hearts. Although it has been a year fraught with challenges, we have met each one with a positive attitude and with the loving support of our community and local veterinarians, giving us the strength to move forward. We are happy to report our present status as a No Kill Shelter, the result of our transition away from serving as the impound and euthanasia facility for Laredo Animal Control. We are grateful to start each day with peace at our facility and in our hearts and focused on our mission. The LAPS mission is to provide shelter for homeless, adoptable dogs and cats in Laredo and Webb County until we can successfully find them permanent homes. We address the dog and cat overpopulation crisis by helping to provide affordable spay/neuter services to the community, and we are working through education to eliminate animal cruelty and neglect The Laredo Animal Shelter pioneered bringing mobile clinics to Laredo. We are also grateful to be working with like-minded non-profits Pet Haven, PAWS, and Gateway Gatos as well as the City of Laredo by helping to organize these low-cost spay/

5 6 I LareDOS I D EC E M B ER 2012

neuter clinics. Together we have successfully “fixed” hundreds of animals that will no longer reproduce! Hooray!  We are so blessed to have a wonderful and capable Shelter Executive Director, Michelle Deveze, whom we introduced in last month’s issue of LareDOS. Michelle hit the ground running, creating a brand new website, www.petadoptlaredo.org which provides a link to our Facebook page. Both are filled with wonderful pictures and information about our many adoption events, volunteers, lost and found pets, and the new and exciting activities happening at LAPS. Friends of LAPS have come forward with needed donations and thanks to local merchants, our “Houses of Hope” donation boxes are appearing at several locations. For LAPS to be able to provide much-needed services to our community, we ask for the public’s continued support, as we search for grants. Thank you Laredo, for helping LAPS continue to do what we have done for over 60 years – provide a pathway to a second chance for innocent creatures. As we move forward into this New Year help us spread the word, “No-birth is the first step to nokill!” Spay or neuter your pet! And please microchip them so they can find their way home in case they are lost! We wish our beloved and loyal friends a glorious Christmas and we look to the future with optimism and hope for the sake of the homeless ones we care for. ◆

BY MARIELA RODRIGUEZ LareDOS Staff

L

aredo Main Street and El Consulado General de Mexico hosted a celebration of the holidays and cultural traditions with “Posadas en El Centro” on Thursday, December 6 at San Agustin Plaza. The celebration commenced with a pastorela or play about the shepherds’ journey to Bethlehem. In Mexico, according to the Encyclopedia Britannica, las posadas is a religious festival celebrated in Mexico between December 16 and 24 to commemorate the journey of Joseph and Mary from Nazareth to Bethlehem in search of safe refuge for Mary to give birth to Jesus. In cities and towns across Mexico, las posadas is celebrated each evening during the festival. A small child dressed as an angel leads a procession through the streets of the town. “Posadas en El Centro” had a comedic air about them, as evidenced by the audience’s laughter. Tradi-

tional Mexican attire such as straw sombreros were worn by Mary and Joseph, and an appearance by three mariachis sealed the deal on the Mexican depiction of the trek. The pastorela was followed by a procession and the singing of Christmas carols. To the delight of many, a Christmas tree lighting ceremony took place in the center of historic San Agustín Plaza. Piñatas were available for the children. Those who participated enjoyed traditional foods such as buñelos, champurrada, ojarascas, tacos, chocolate, corn on the cob, pozole, and tamales which were available for purchase. “The community was invited to celebrate families, friends, and traditions as we returned to our historic and cultural beginnings at the ‘Posadas en El Centro,’” said Sandra Rocha Taylor of Laredo Main Street. Sponsors for the event included the City of Laredo, Mexican Cultural Institute of Laredo, La Posada Hotel, Taco Tote, Taco Palenque, El Mesón, Tacos Kissi, and Mariachi Express. ◆

W W W.L A RED OS N E WS.CO M


W W W.L A R ED OS N E WS.CO M

LareDOS I D EC E M B ER 2012 I

57


Feature

From-scratch cooking: Chef Beto Gutierrez on satisfying a spectrum of Laredo diners BY MARIA EUGENIA GUERRA LareDOS Publisher

Chef Beto Gutierrez a refined variation, or as he calls it, “a revision,” of a classic pork chop and applesauce meal. “It’s all been done before, but this is my interpretation,” he said, adding that the meal has been well received by restaurant patrons. “The sauce is a spin on a red Oaxacan mole with a lit-

sauce ($12); shrimp chimichurri served with queso flameado, chimichurri salsa, and tortillas ($11); spicy tequila shrimp in poblano crepes and served with black beans ($24); and the Z Grill’s signature dish, queso fresco tenderloin served with rice and bacon-wrapped asparagus with chile guajillo butter ($32). A professional chef since graduation from the Texas Culinary Academy in Austin in 1998, Gutierrez has tracked the trends and the changing desires of restaurant patrons. “They are looking for a dining experience – good food well presented – something special they will remember. So many are all into the food scene, fans of cooking shows. They have a good idea of what they want. When they come here, what they get is the affordable luxury of a great meal,” he said. “The service and ambience of the CONTINUED ON PAGE 59

44

María Eugenia Guerra/LareDOS

“At any restaurant, order the chef’s specials. You can’t go wrong,” said Chef Beto Gutierrez of La Posada’s Zaragoza Grill, emphasizing that these tried and true successes are often prepared with the sum total of a chef’s culinary experiences. Among Gutierrez’s offerings this fall at the Z Grill are wild boar chops in a from-scratch mole sauce. The allnatural chops come from Broken Arrow Ranch near Austin, a supplier of free-range venison, wild boar, and quail. “The meat is rosy pink and does not taste like wild game. There is no chocolate in my mole. It is made from peanuts, pasilla and guajillo chiles, cranberries instead of raisins, and red wine. It is spiced with cinnamon and cloves and served with sweet potato risotto and grilled zucchini,” he said, referring to the dish as

tle more peanuts and guajillo chile.” He calls his cooking “modern Latin” with influences from other cultures, cooking that had its origins in Tex-Mex and Southwest fare but that has morphed into something more sophisticated as diners have demanded, he noted, “a little bit more to Mexican food.” Gutierrez said the wild boar meal is typical of his scratch cooking philosophy. “Fresh ingredients produce good results and a tastier product. The fewer items on a plate – in this case three – the more they have to stand on their own. The mole has to be spot on. The texture of the vegetables has to be just so. I have a great appreciation for simplicity,” he said of his cooking methods and the presentation of his dishes. Other of Gutierrez’s dinner specials are bacon wrapped shrimp stuffed with crab and served with chipotle mayo and pasilla diablo

Queso Fresco Tenderloin w/ Bacon-Wrapped Asparagus

5 8 I LareDOS I D EC E M B ER 2012

Wlld Boar in Mole Sauce, Sweet Potato Risotto W W W.L A RED OS N E WS.CO M


lunch – a team of four multi-tasking in controlled chaos,” he said, adding that he adheres to the idea of mise en place – everything in its place – all ingredients measured, chopped, and otherwise prepared for cooking. He said consistency is key to all preparations. Gutierrez and his staff are in preparation for the hotel’s Christmas Day brunch in the San Agustín Ballroom, a sumptuous feast of choices that include rosemary turkey, prime rib, glazed ham, smoked salmon, an omelet station, and holiday deserts. As well they are preparing for a New Year’s Day Special Menu that will feature menudo, pozole, and tacos de lengua. Gutierrez is an admirer of celebrity Chef Aaron Sánchez, who was recently in Laredo. “There aren’t many like him. He’s the real deal,” he said. The native Laredoan said his affinity for cooking is rooted in the meals of family gatherings, especially those prepared by his late grandfather Jorge

de la Garza. He recalled that on any given Sunday there would be a big meal, “something grilled and lots of salsitas.” Gutierrez elaborated on his 12hour days. “There are so many preparations to attend to, including decid-

ing what wines will be served with what meals. It is stressful sometimes. There are adrenaline-induced moments. You are cooking your heart out while maintaining a level of professionalism. Do I love every moment of it? Yes.” ◆

Denise Ferguson/LareDOS Contributor

 CONTINUED FROM PAGE 58 Z Grill complement the food. The front of the house and the back of the house have to be in synch. We count on the servers for as much information as possible for special requests. The servers eat this food, too, so they speak knowledgably about it to the patrons,” Gutierrez continued. “There is nothing stuffy about this place,” he said, surveying the atmosphere and accoutrement of the restaurant – no loud TV or music, so you can have conversations. There is complimentary valet parking. Where else could you have a menu with high end dining options as well as simpler choices like a Kobe beef burger or a club sandwich? We please many paletes. We have a great lunch crowd of downtowners, and we welcome everyone to try our dinner options,” Gutierrez said. The kitchen fires up at La Posada at 5 a.m. as preparations get underway for breakfast. “As we move through breakfast, we are also preparing for

At the TMLC Christmas meeting Angeline Townsend, Joy Edwards and Rolinda Lawrence of the Memorial Bells of the First United Church, performed at the Christmas meeting of the Tuesday Music and Literature Club.

W W W.L A R ED OS N E WS.CO M

LareDOS I D EC E M B ER 2012 I

59


TAMIU

Killam Historical Marker unveiled BY MIKA AKIKUNI LareDOS Contributor

T

he Texas A&M International University (TAMIU) Killam Historical Marker that recognizes Radcliffe Killam was unveiled Dec. 14 at the TAMIU Sue and Radcliffe Killam Library. The Texas Historical Commission’s Recorded Texas Historical Landmark was submitted by the Webb County Historical Commission (WCHC), Dr. José Roberto Juárez, chairman, WCHC Marker Committee. Radcliffe Killam and the Killam family name are synonymous with support of higher education in South Texas and beyond. Killam and his wife, Sue Spivey Killam, helped fulfill Laredo’s longcherished dream of a TAMIU campus with their generous gift of 300 acres of prime land in northeast Laredo. Born in the small town of Grove, Oklahoma, Radcliffe Killam followed in the footsteps of his father, O.W. Killam, a legendary independent wildcatter in the oil and gas business. Killam graduated from Laredo High School, and often toiled in

the oilfields as a teenager. He received a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas and went on to earn a law degree from Harvard Law School. His military service included time as a Lt. Commander in the U.S. Navy and Mediterranean Area Commander, Pacific Theater Boat Base. He was a guiding hand in much of the nation’s oil and gas industry’s growth in the past 50 years. His business focused on discovering oil and gas in South Texas. His diversified businesses included extensive ranching, real estate, and banking and financial investments. With wife Sue at his side, the couple assisted greatly in the growth of TAMIU, providing primary support for the University’s Center for the Study of Western Hemispheric Trade, in addition to student scholarships. In recognition of their longstanding support of higher education, The Texas A&M University System conferred on Mr. and Mrs. Killam the first honorary doctorates from Texas A&M International University in 1998. Radcliffe Killam passed away in 2007 at age 97. ◆

Can’t find a hard copy?

Go to www.laredosnews.com 6 0 I LareDOS I D EC E M B ER 2012

W W W.L A RED OS N E WS.CO M


Maria Eugenia Guerra/LareDOS

Maria Eugenia Guerra/LareDOS

At the Farias Ranch

At the River Pierce Foundation reception

Hector Farias welcomed Victor and Ciara Gonzalez to his ranch for Christmas festivities that honored La Virgen de Guadalupe.

Vernon Carrol and Henry and Karen Mejia are pictured at a reception hosted by the River Pierce Foundation on December 9 in San Ygancio.

W W W.L A R ED OS N E WS.CO M

LareDOS I D EC E M B ER 2012 I

61


Feature

Los matachines — mesmerizing prayerful dance BY MARIA EUGENIA GUERRA LareDOS Publisher

O

n December 7 at a ranch on a bluff above the river, the Matachines de la Santa Cruz of St. Judas Catholic Church danced in variations of dances that originated in Mexico centuries ago to honor the Virgen de Guadalupe and the Holy Cross. As the dancers were lost to their ritual and prayer, I was lost in the mesmerizing spectacle of them dancing to the accompaniment of an accordion and a drum, the sound of their steps, and the sounds made by hollow reeds of carrizo and the bells on their costumes. I’ve seen matachines perform many times before, but never this close-up and never long enough to be touched so deeply by the beauty of their movement. The steps to their dances are more deliberate than graceful, and yet they occupy a state of grace as they dance. On this dark December night, just a stone’s throw from the river that is the lifeline – both historically and in fact today – of us all, children played nearby on a great expanse of grass. And on the concrete pad of a small metal-roofed pavilion illuminated by Christmas lights, the matachines danced in honor of the Virgen de Guadalupe. Over the course of a couple of hours, the intensity of the dances increased, and by evening’s end the energy of their movement peaked into a force of harnessed beauty, a beauty that wasn’t about any one dancer, but was instead rooted in the movement of them all. There was no conversation among them as they danced. Not even the

6 2 I LareDOS I D EC E M B ER 2012

youngest matachines broke from the ritual. “We give it our best. We go to a zone. We are dancing and praying as a family, bringing our religious beliefs to life. This is joy,” said Maribel Gonzalez, a fourth generation dancer, whose father Lupe, 67, and son J.J., 9, are both dancers, as are her uncles and cousins. “To dance with my father is a great thing, as it is to see my son commit himself to the dance,” said the Webb County pretrial officer. “I have been around this my whole life. I danced as a child and then came back to it about seven years ago. My son started when he was three,” Gonzalez said, adding that learning the dances is a disciplined effort. Her uncle Cruz Gonzalez has danced for 46 years. “I’ve never wanted to stop dancing,” said the professional truck driver. “Es algo allegre. It comes from devotion to the Holy Cross, the Virgen, family, and tradition. The dance can also be a petición for those who need prayer for a return to health,” he said. Gonzalez said each dancer makes his or her own costume, holding to the traditions that have been handed down over time. The only change he has seen on the red velvet naguilla or skirt each wears is the replacement of round metal roofing “fichas” with bells. Dr. Norma Cantu, who has written extensively about the matachines, writes in the Handbook of Texas Online, “Its roots go back to a type of widespread medieval sword dance called a morisca. Originally, the dances acted out the battle between Christianity and paganism. The Spanish brought the ritual with them to the New World, where over time it incorpo-

rated Mexican, Indian, and American religious and social symbols. Most modern versions rely heavily on representations of the Virgin Mary and the Holy Cross. The dance is usually performed in connection with major liturgical feast days such as Christmas.” In Laredo, the matachines have origins in Las Minas, an upriver, turn

of the century coal mining community. When the mines closed in the late 1940s, many of the families of Las Minas came to Laredo to reside in neighborhoods like La Ladrillera and Cantarranas, where the traditions of the matachines have been well preserved and have given rise to numerous other groups of dancers. ◆

Laredo Community College

LCC opens Spanish ballet class SPRING 2013 Important Dates to Remember

Priority Registration Payment Deadline: Dec. 18 LCC closed for winter holidays/spring in-service: Dec. 20-Jan. 7 Online Registration: Dec. 19-Jan. 7 First day for LCC Bookstore Purchases (with financial aid): Jan. 8 Advising and Late Registration: Jan. 8-12 Payment Deadline (for those who register from Dec. 19-Jan. 10): Jan. 10 Late Registration: Jan. 11-12 Payment Deadline: Jan. 12 For more information on registration, contact the LCC Enrollment and Registration Services Center at the Fort McIntosh Campus at 721-5109 or at the South Campus at 794-4110. BY ROLANDO SANTOS AND MONICA MCGETTRICK This spring, say olé to the rhythms of Spain at Laredo Community College! Dance enthusiasts are invited to register and join dance instructor Cristina Greco as she teaches all the right moves in Spanish Ballet I. The class is designed to teach students the fundamentals of the Spanish classical dance and the implementation of techniques that will articulate the art of the Flamenco dance. With more than 15 year of teaching experience, Greco has toured the world as member of the Boston Flamenco Ballet and the José Greco Dance Company. She co-founded the José Greco II Flamenco Dance Company, with

which she toured for eight consecutive years throughout the United States, Canada, Alaska, Virgin Islands, Spain, Italy, Taiwan and Japan. During her tenure as a professional dancer, Greco also has choreographed numerous dance pieces for world renowned dance companies such as the National Ballet of Spain, featuring Lola Greco. Greco is a graduate of the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, where she earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance Performance and Education. Registration for the Spring 2013 is ongoing. Classes start Jan. 14 and will meet Mondays and Wednesdays. For more information, contact the Performing Arts Department at 7215330. ◆ W W W.L A RED OS N E WS.CO M


María Eugenia Guerra/LareDOS

W W W.L A R ED OS N E WS.CO M

LareDOS I D EC E M B ER 2012 I

63


6 4 I LareDOS I D EC E M B ER 2012

W W W.L A RED OS N E WS.CO M


LareDOS December Issue