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If you haven’t got anything nice to say about anybody come sit next to me.” — Alice Roosevelt Longworth A JOURNAL OF THE BORDERLANDS January 2013

Est. 1994

Vol. XVIII No. 25 64 PAGES

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Santa Maria Journal

Home is where you hang your hat(s)

By María Eugenia guerra

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t was pretty wonderful to travel away from here over the holidays and to see new landscapes and snow-covered vistas. I love being amazed by the geographic stories told in the drama of rock formations and rivers cutting through canyon walls. But I love, too, the ranchería and the brush land that is my home. I didn’t understand how much I missed this place, and I wasn’t quite prepared for the emotional impact of seeing our ranch from the road and stepping onto its soil to open the gate with its plangent steel-onsteel creaks and moans. The place looked so beautiful, clean, and organized – just as I’d

left it. In pin ball mode, I pinged all over the ranch and drove to see the

publisher

María Eugenia Guerra meg@laredosnews.com Staff Writers

Mariela Rodríguez Silke Jasso Sales

María Eugenia Guerra ads@laredosnews.com Circulation, Billing & Subscriptions

meg@laredosnews.com Layout/design

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cattle, pleased at the sight of sturdy, newborn calves with spotted hides of brown and the stark shade of white seen only on calves that are a few days old. I drove to the goats and found them under cover, and then to the chickens who raced to the door of the hen house to see if I had grain or greens for them. The cattle and the horses had put on their luxuriant winter coats while I was gone. Even the soil of the ranch had thrown out a welcome mat, a damp, sandy one that evidenced the

bounty of a slow soaking half-inch of drizzle that made the rye seed sprout. The ranch house greeted me with its simple, familiar smell – a slight waft of the last mesquite fire we’d enjoyed – and the comforting sight of the colors of the walls, my books and hats, the Pendleton blanket on my bed, and the red toy barn and animals my granddaughters play with. We burned piles of brush the next day, took Sabino out for a trot, and cranked up the four-wheeler for a closer look at the pastures, fences, and water troughs. I made my list — a leaky valve, a crack in the concrete water trough, a gate that needs to be hung again. We filled the bird feeders, Emily and Amandita all into using the funnel to spill less seed. We drove to Zapata for supper and to find pajamas for the girls (Dollar Store, flannel). We added logs to the fire we’d kept going all day. Emily read us a story, and we fell into our sweet dreams. I was home. ◆

Contributors Cordelia Barrera

Jim Lacey

Bebe Fenstermaker

José Antonio López

Sissy Fenstermaker

Monica McGettrick

Neo Gutierrez

Tony Newman

Henri Kahn

Salo Otero

Randy Koch

design@laredosnews.com

Write a Letter to the Editor meg@laredosnews.com

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Mariela Rodriguez/LareDOS

Armando X. Lopez/LareDOS Contributor

On NYC’s Theater Row Cast members Alex Lopez and Nerea Duhart are pictured at the Studio Theatre on Theatre Row in New York City. They were part of the Conservatory for Dramatic Arts production of Dream Dead for Seven, a play written by Ashlin Halfnight, an acclaimed playwright and the artistic director of the new theater company Electric Pear Productions.

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Kiwanis hear about strategic philanthropy Guest speakers Ruben Soto and Tina Cerda, board members of the Laredo Area Community Foundation, addressed members of the Kiwanis at their January 8 meeting at the Covey Lounge. The two discussed the importance of giving back to the community in the most cost effective and responsible manner and advised Kiwanis members how to do so.

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Mariela Rodriguez/LareDOS

Maria Eugenia Guerra/LareDOS

En la ranchería Ashton Arriaga of Los Fresnos spent part of his Christmas break in San Ygnacio with his grandparents Wally and Gloria Gonzalez.

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New and returning participants of 5k run/ walk Karla Gonzalez, Patty Peña, Veronica Doria, and Yvonne Valdez participated in the Let’s Move for Scholars 5k run/walk at the UISD SAC football field on Saturday, January 12.

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Members of Troop #91054 are pictured making crafts in preparation for their annual cookie sale. Their troop leader is Cristina Paez.

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

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Mariela Rodriguez/LareDOS

Maria Eugenia Guerra/LareDOS

Meet Girl Scout Troop #91054

Abrazo Children – goodwill ambassadors Edward Henry Maddox and Isabella Gibson, representing the United States, and Maria Resendez Rodriguez and Emilio Lerma Garza, representing the Republic of Mexico, will greet each other in a gesture of goodwill on International Bridge I on February 23. The traditional “abrazo” is considered one of the most important international exchanges during the annual WBCA celebration.

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New board members

Mariela Rodriguez/LareDOS

The Women’s City Club held their disbursement dinner for non-profit organizations on Thursday, January 10 at the Laredo Country Club. Pictured left to right first row are Bebe Garcia, Brenda García, Dee Ann Novoa,Esther Degollado, Raquel San Miguel, and Molly Martinez; second row are AmyCastillo Casares, Ruby Chapa, and Nancy de Anda; third row are Georgeanne Reuthinger, Rosie Cavazos, and Carolyn Schmies;fourth row, Cindy Reyes, Lydia Sanchez, and Anita Cavazos; and fifth row are Lety Garcia, Alma Narvaez, and Gloria Oaferina.

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etters to the publisher Dear Editor,

I have contributed to this publication on many occasions and it is one of the papers that represents freedom of the press on the border. I am sure there are some who would want to silence it and some who might want to run the publisher out of town on a rail. Yet in the years I have read this paper and drawn cartoons for it, I have seen it as always fair and (to use an awful cliché) balanced. Of course my art has frequently taken the tone of a 2x4 between the eyes of the donkey, but still this is a great paper in the tradition of the Los Angeles Free Press, The Austin Rag, and The Austin Chronicle. I am told that the print media is a dying breed, but when looking around, I see some publications that are thriving. People want a ‘fish wrap’, to look over and it is easier to read on a real paper rather than a screen or a Kindle. At least that is the case for me. – Charlie Loving

Hey there, Meg! Hope you are doing well. I love getting LareDOS in the mail and keeping in touch with what’s going on in South Texas. I wanted to send a quick note to thank you for the coverage you guys give gay issues - most recently around the Supreme Court decisions to be heard in March. Having fact based articles like you have provided on a consistent basis and with a positive light is the only way we can ever hope to make a difference. The more people see it, the less they are afraid and the quicker we can change lives. It’s already a changed landscape from when I was growing up in Zapata. Thanks to people like you, making a grassroots difference, that have made it possible. Adelante! Take care of yourself! Ruben Ramirez-Cherry Dallas

Write a letter to the publisher. meg@laredosnews.com

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News

Birding festival promises sightings of sought-after avian species By MARIELA RODRIGUEZ LareDOS Staff

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tional Park Services and served as chief park naturalist for Big Bend National Park. “The 2012 Laredo Birding Festival was a huge success, and the 2013 festival should be even better. Where else can one enjoy the birds, butterflies, and other fascinating wildlife in the winter,” he said, adding, “The festival setting in downtown Laredo provides a historical perspective rarely found north of the border.” The festival kicked off January 19 at the Laredo Public Library where birding workshops for middle and high school students were held. Another workshop will be held February 2 for elementary school chil-

dren. Gallery 201at 513 San Bernardo will host an exhibit entitled Birds of the Brush with an opening reception to be held February 8. Sandy Komito, whose 1998 record of 748 species in a single year inspired the book and film The Big Year, highlights a farewell banquet Saturday, February 9 at La Posada Hotel. “The Laredo Festival is a must for naturalists and historians alike,” boasted Wauer. For questions or to register email laredobirdingfestival@rgisc.org or contact RGISC executive director Tricia Cortez at (956) 718-1063. ◆

Mariela Rodriguez/LareDOS

aredo is gearing up for the 2013 Birding Festival co-sponsored by the Río Grande International Study Center, Monte Mucho Audubon Society, and the City of Laredo Convention and Visitors Bureau. The three-day event will take place February 6 through February 9. The diverse Río Grande eco-system will offer novice and advanced birders alike a look at wildlife habitat and many sought-after avian species. Among the species visible on this stretch of the Río Grande are the prized White-Collared Seedeater, Altamira Oriole, Vermilion Flycatcher, Scaled Quail, Green Jay,

Red-billed Pigeon, Chachalaca, Olive Sparrow, and the Green-tailed Towhee, to name a few. Visting and local birders and birding experts will be able to meet each other at a Feburary 6 social mixer. The three-day event will include field trips with professional field guides to historic downtown St. Peter’s Plaza, Las Palmas Nature Trail, Zacate Creek, and the river bend at the Paso del Indio Nature Trail, and Lost Lakes. Birders will also have the option of visiting La Perla Ranch and Dolores Creek near the WebbZapata county line. Renowned birders Ro Wauer and Chuck Sexton will provide afternoon discussions and workshops intended to enhance birding skills. Wauer spent 32 years with the Na-

Dan Romo, coordinator of events for the 2013 Laredo Birding Festival; Lamar Bruni Vergara Environmental Science Center director Tom Miller, a member of the Monte Mucho Audubon Society; María Flores; and Monte Mucho treasurer John Kelley are pictured at the January 9 Birding Festival press conference at La Posada Hotel.

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Commentary

Immigration reform, north and south From Frontera NorteSur

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n Washington, the political impact of the 2012 U.S. elections could finally break the legislative logjam that’s stalled immigration reform at the federal level for many years. As the pro-immigration reform organization America’s Voice noted this month, the elections “made it clear” that the Democrats wield new power but now have to deliver the promised immigration goods, especially to their key Latino electoral constituency. “At the same time, the Republican Party has no other choice but to change on immigration if it wants to rebuild its image with Latino voters… a pro-immigration reform Republican Party could win enough Latino support to remain a viable national party, while continuing to follow the Mitt Romney/Lamar Smith playbook will continue to lose them elections,” America’s Voice contended. If a national immigration reform does indeed gain traction this year, as America’s Voice and other advocacy organizations predict, it remains to be seen what the particulars will be, what trade-offs on the security/ civil liberties front will ensue, and how many people will ultimately benefit. Meanwhile, immigration-related measures continue to percolate at the state level, sometimes in a conflictive manner and sometimes in a cooperative one. While legal battles simmer over the refusal of state governments in Arizona and Iowa to grant driver’s licenses to undocumented young people eligible for the Obama Administration’s Deferred Action program, more debates and possible

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action loom in the New Mexico State Legislature over the policy of granting licenses to undocumented residents of the state. In California, a different tone is evident in Oakland, where city councilors recently gave the go-ahead to the issuance of city identification cards to undocumented residents beginning in 2013. “For a city that is mostly people of color with a large immigrant population, I think it’s important that the local government respond to the needs of all the population in the city,” said outgoing Councilman Ignacio de la Fuente. “An ID card is one of those needs.” Expected to benefit thousands of people, Oakland’s new identification document will have the extra function of serving as a debit card that links people living in the shadows to the banking system. Manuel de la Paz of East Bay Sanctuary, one of the groups promoting the ID card, praised the official action while adding it would encourage cooperation with law enforcement and reduce robberies of undocumented residents who are reputed to carry relatively large amounts of cash with them. Oakland joins other U.S. cities opting to provide a local identification card for otherwise undocumented residents including New Haven, Washington, D.C., and San Francisco. Similar measures are pending in Los Angeles and Richmond, California. South of the border, pressure is building for a reform of Mexico’s immigration law and a thorough change in the treatment of migrants, especially Central Americans traveling to the United States. As the new

administration of President Enrique Peña Nieto enters its second month, pro-immigrant activists are stepping up demands that Peña Nieto reform the National Migration Institute (INM) or dismantle it altogether. They accuse the agency of engaging in corrupt practices, applying arbitrary criteria in processing detained foreigners, and fostering violence against migrants. Raquel Sevilla, vice-president of the International Association in Mexico for Migrant, Refugee and Asylum Help, cited the example of Arturo Gonzalez, a Spanish citizen who has been detained without legal representation in an INM facility in Mexico City since last June. Contrary to the law, detained migrants like Gonzalez are held “inaccessible in the migratory stations,” Sevilla charged. Just prior to the Christmas holiday recess, 200 members and supporters of the Mesoamerican Migrant Movement (MMM), mostly people deported from the U.S. and their family members, staged a demonstration outside the Interior Ministry in Mexico City demanding a “cleansing” of the migrant route from corruption and human rights violations. Rebuffed by a Federal Police blockade, the protesters nevertheless met with Mexican senators and lobbied for the reform of 13 sections of immigration law and the reconstitution of the INM. The MMM also demanded that Mexico drop its visa requirement for Central Americans, and instead approve a new, easierto-obtain visitor sub-category and corresponding document. Such a status, the group contended, would eliminate the motive for extorting migrants passing through Mexico. “Central American) countries

don’t ask Mexicans who visit them for anything besides a passport, while Mexico denies (Central Americans) a visa,” the MMM said in a statement. No poor migrant can normally obtain a Mexican visa.” Additionally, the activist group proposed that the INM enjoy autonomy from the Interior Ministry’s policing functions. In separate but related comments, a Mexican priest whose pro-immigrant advocacy led to threats and temporary exile last year, told the press that President Peña Nieto had a historic opportunity to change the INM or tolerate the existence of a decrepit institution. “He can continue with what was left him, but with the consequences that we aren’t going to leave him peace, because we are going to denounce over and over again, like we’ve done for years, the gross behavior of INM agents,” said Father Alejandro Solalinde, director of the Catholic-sponsored migrant shelter in Ixtepec, Oaxaca, and winner of Mexico’s 2012 National Human Rights Prize. “It is said (Peña Nieto) wants to respect the human rights of all migrant persons, as he expressed last December in Los Pinos, but the INM continues to systematically violate human rights, and there is a contradiction,” Solalinde added. “What then, are we playing?” (Additional sources: Reforma, January 5, 2013. Articles by Eylyn Cervantes. San Francisco Chronicle, December 21, 2012 and January 2, 2013. Articles by Matthai Kuruvila. Frontera NorteSur: on-line, U.S.-Mexico border news; Center for Latin American and Border Studies; New Mexico State University; Las Cruces, New Mexico.) ◆ LareDOS I JA N UA RY 2013 I

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Commentary

Realigning Texas history with its first heroes

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By JOSé ANTONIO LóPEZ

n sharing with others the beauty of early Texas history, there is an increasing positive response from South Texas folks in particular. They have found inspiration and a sense of wonder as they learn about long-forgotten pre1836 people, places, and events. Most especially after reading tidbits of information in my article, “Seven Flags of the Rio Grande Valley,” based on the grand opening of the Weslaco Visitor Center, some readers have been eager to rediscover the bicultural and bilingual roots of Texas. Many are reminded of oral history lessons they have heard since infancy from their parents and grandparents. Hence, one particular question is asked more often than any other. “What purpose has it served mainstream Texas historians to ignore these wonderful early chapters of Texas history?” That most of the Texas story has a noticeable Anglicized Manifest Destiny pitch is not debatable. So, the quick answer to the question is one of convenience. Simply stated, the test for inclusion is as follows: If Spanish Mexicandescent Texas history doesn’t fit the Sam Houston mold, it is conveniently left out. Doing so, mainstream historians have built a literary fence that acts like an impenetrable barrier, hiding pre-1836 historically significant details from the public’s view. With few exceptions, most history books have been written to make readers believe that fundamental Texas history begins in 1836 with the arrival from the U.S. of Anglos and other nonHispanic white immigrants of Northern European descent. Nowhere else is this more frustrating than in the classroom curriculum where students with Spanish Mexican-roots, and descendants of the first citizens of Texas, are made to feel like foreigners in their

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own homeland. That doesn’t mean that conventional historians omit all Spanish-surnamed personalities from Texas history. Mainstream historians do mention a few Tejano names, albeit in a cursory manner. Alas, a small group of Tejanos is included only because they supported Sam Houston. They are de Zavala, Seguin, Navarro, Losoya, Esparza, and Ruiz. Historians fail to mention that most of these patriots have a direct connection to Don Bernardo Gutiérrez de Lara and the first Texas Revolution (1812-1813). For example, after the Battle of Medina, entire San Antonio families (Navarro, Leal, Losoya, Ruiz, among others) were forced to flee to Louisiana by the pursuing Spanish Army. Many were cut down by Spanish swords on the Camino Real before they reached sanctuary. Such is the price that early Texas families paid for daring to dream of liberty and independence before 1836. Additional key early Texas history details are provided below. While Lorenzo de Zavala is a bonafide 1836 Texas Revolution hero, the following proves the old adage that politics make “strange bedfellows.” De Zavala was born in Yucatán, and rose in political affairs to be a senator and then the governor of the state of Mexico. In the period of unrest following the 1821 independence of Mexico, de Zavala joined none other than Antonio López de Santa Anna in a coup-de-tat plot to remove the freely elected president and install Vicente Guerrero as president. Later, when his co-conspirator Santa Anna forcefully assumed the Presidency, the political intrigue was too much for de Zavala. His survival instincts kicked in and he fled to the U.S. He then re-entered Mexico in 1835. While in Texas, he befriended Sam Houston, a recent immigrant to Mexico from the U.S. and served as his Spanish interpreter. It was then that de Zavala joined

the Anglo-led rebellion against the central government in Mexico City. As for Juan Seguín, the sanitized version of his story is known by most Texas history fans. Militarily, no one can top his Texas independence heroism, especially leading his all-Tejano cavalry in decisive charges at the Battle of San Jacinto. (In my view, their superb military-style horse riding skills qualify these early Tejanos as the Cossacks of Texas.) However, some sad details regarding Seguin’s life after 1836 are not well known. Enjoying what turned out to be a very short honeymoon with the Anglos after 1836, Spanish-surnamed patriots like Juan Seguín suddenly became personas non grata in Texas. Adding to the problem was the tsunami of angry, surly Anglos from the U.S. who treated Spanish Mexican Tejanos with utmost disdain and conducted several ethniccleansing drives. Seguín was accused of treason and charged with other false claims. He was chased out of Texas and forced to resettle with family in Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, Mexico. He died there, across the Rio Grande from his beloved Texas. In 1974, about 120 years later, the citizens of Seguin, Texas and his descendants asked Mexico for the return of his remains and reburied them where they always belonged – his hometown. The José Antonio Navarro family suffered a similar fate. Hounded out of San Antonio, almost the entire family was forced southward. Upon reaching the Rio Grande, my ancestors in the Dolores and San Ygnacio area convinced the Navarros to stay on this side of the river, which is where they began a new life. Shortly after Zapata County was organized, José Antonio G. Navarro served as County Judge in the 1880s1890s. (By the way, when I was born, my grandfather Ignacio Sánchez, himself a Zapata County Judge and Sher-

iff, asked my parents to name me José Antonio in honor of County Judge Navarro.) This brings us to the hero Lt. Colonel José Bernardo Gutiérrez de Lara, the first President of Texas (1813). As they build on their renewed motivation to learn more, some readers find it disappointing that Don Bernardo’s coverage in history books is scant and not always positive. They want to know why. Bluntly, Don Bernardo’s incredible story of valor is too awkward for mainstream historians to handle. He brought to the citizens of Texas their first taste of independence on April 1-2, 1813, when he led his army in capturing the Regional Capital of San Antonio. Shortly after, he completed his revolution by declaring that Texas was now an independent province (state). As regards thoughts of liberty, freedom, and justice for all in Texas, Sam Houston took over a work in progress. Equally important, many Tejanos who supported Sam Houston in 1836 received their military OJT fighting for Don Bernardo Gutiérrez de Lara in the first Texas independence (1812-1813)! Still, Don Bernardo’s legacy has been deliberately left out as the architect of Texas liberty. His many feats of courage deserve better in the recording of Texas history. His role as Texas independence trailblazer must no longer be denied. It is for that reason that many of us now push for presenting Texas history in a seamless manner from the arrival of the Spanish in 1519 to the present. The Tejano Monument in Austin, Texas, is a great start. If you haven’t visited it yet, I highly recommend that you do. Finally, due to the ever-increasing interest in our state’s pre-1836 history, future articles will follow dealing with little known facts of this great place we call Texas. Meanwhile, in the words of my good friend and fellow Laredoan Walter Herbeck, “Más, later!” ◆ W W W.L A RED OS N E WS.CO M


Maria Eugenia Guerra/LareDOS

Mariela Rodriguez/LareDOS

Collaborative art Sandra and Isabella Torres worked together to complete an activity on Friday, January 11 at the Imaginarium of South Texas. The Imaginarium is located inside Mall del Norte.

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Herbal offerings at Farmers Market Those who arrived earliest chanced on the best selections of herbs and plants at the January 19 Farmers Market. Jarvis Plaza was filled with shoppers looking for good buys on fresh produce and hand made products.

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Commentary

10 ways the Drug War is causing massive collateral damage By TONY NEWMAN AlterNet

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he war on drugs is America’s longest war. It has been 40-plus years since Nixon launched our modern “war on drugs” and yet drugs are as plentiful as ever. While the idea that we can have a “drug-free society” is laughable, the disastrous consequences of our drug war are dead serious. While it might not be obvious, the war on drugs touches and destroys so many of the issues we care about and the values we hold. Below are 10 collateral consequences of the drug war and reasons we need to find an exit strategy from this unwinnable war. 1. Racial Injustice The war on drugs is built on racial injustice. Despite roughly equal rates of drug use and sales, African-American men are arrested at 13 times the rate of white men on drug charges in the U.S. – with rates of up to 57 times in some states. African Americans and Latinos together make up 29 percent of the total U.S. population, but more than 75 percent of drug law violators in state and federal prisons. 2. Denied Access toEducation, Housing and Benefits Passed by Congress in 1998, the Higher Education Act delays or denies federal financial aid to anyone ever convicted of a felony or misdemeanor drug offense, including marijuana possession. A drug offense will also get you and your entire family kicked out of public housing. Thirty-two states ban anyone convicted of a drug felony from collecting food stamps. 3. Wasted Taxpayer Dollars U.S. federal, state, and local governments now spend $50 billion per year trying to make America “drug free.” State prison budgets top spending on

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public colleges and universities. The 7. Compromising prison industrial complex is ever more Teenagers’ Safety powerful. Nevertheless, heroin, coThe defenders of the failed war on caine, methamphetamine, and other il- drugs say that we can’t discuss alternalicit drugs are cheaper, purer and easier tives to prohibition because it would to get than ever before. “send the wrong message to the kids.” 4. Unsafe Neighborhoods Ironically, the drug war is a complete Most “drug-related” violence stems failure when it comes to keeping young not from drug use, but from drug pro- people from using drugs. Despite dehibition. That was true in Chicago un- cades of DARE programs with the simder alcohol kingpin Al Capone and it is plistic “Just Say No” message, 50 pertrue now. The mass cent of teenagers killings in Mexico will try marijuana and in many U.S. From racial in- before they graducities are not from and 75 percent justice to flawed for- ate marijuana or other will drink alcohol. eign policy, the war on Young people also drug use, but because the plants drugs causes harm on feel the brunt of are worth more marijuana enforcemany fronts. than gold and ment and make up people are willing the majority of arto kill each other rests. Arresting over the profits to be made. young people will often cause more 5. Shredded damage than drug use itself. TeenagConstitutional Rights ers need honest drug education to help Armed with paramilitary gear, po- them make responsible decisions. Safelice break into homes unannounced, ty should be the number-one priority. terrorizing innocent and guilty alike. 8. Drug Treatment Prosecutors seize private property Despite the government’s lip service without due process. Citizens convict- to the need for treatment, most of the ed of felony offenses lose their right to drug war budget still goes to criminal vote, in some states for life. More and justice and military agencies. The mamore Americans are subject to urine jority of those who need treatment can’t tests without cause. And the list goes get it. And for many, the only way to get on. treatment is to get arrested. We should 6. Bloodbath in never put people in a cage because they Latin America have a drug problem, and we should U.S. drug policies in Latin America make treatment available to all who have failed to reduce the supply of illic- want it. it drugs. Instead our policies have led to 9. Public Health a bloodbath with more than 60,000 peoUnsterile syringe sharing is associple killed in prohibition violence since ated with hundreds of thousands of 2006 in Mexico alone. Our policy and HIV/AIDS infections in the U.S. among strategies have empowered organized injection drug users, their sex partners, criminals, corrupted governments, and their children. Yet state parapherstimulated violence, assaulted the envi- nalia and prescription laws limit acronment, and created tens of thousands cess to sterile syringes in pharmacies, of refugees. and the U.S. government stands alone

among Western industrialized nations in refusing to fund needle exchange. 10. Destroyed Families The number of people behind bars on drug charges in the U.S. has ballooned from 50,000 in 1980 to more than half a million today. That’s more than all of Western Europe (with a bigger population) incarcerates for everything. Millions of people in the U.S. now have a father, mother, brother, sister, son, or daughter behind bars on a drug charge. Momentum Builds to End Drug War The war on drugs is really a war on people. It is hard to imagine an issue that has caused so much damage to so many people on so many fronts. Thankfully, momentum is building in this country and abroad toward a more rational drug policy based on science, compassion, health and human rights. States like Colorado and Washington just dealt a blow to marijuana prohibition by legalizing marijuana. World leaders, including multiple presidents in Latin America are calling for open debate on alternatives to drug prohibition. Many countries in Europe have implemented public health strategies like safe injection facilities and prescribing medical heroin to reduce HIV/ AIDS and overdose deaths. Both red and blue states are reducing their prison populations by offering alternatives to jail for low-level drug offenses. Everyone has a reason to oppose and be outraged by the failed drug war. We need to step up our efforts, grow our numbers, and continue to win hearts and minds because the casualties from the war continue to grow every day. And the war on drugs is not going to end itself. (Reprinted from AlterNet. Tony Newman is communications director for the Drug Policy Alliance.) ◆ W W W.L A RED OS N E WS.CO M


Feature

Job Corps education comes full circle

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lexandra De La Garza is a 20-year-old whose strong will and determination have been the driving force to overcome obstacles to her education and success. The former resident of Piedras Negras, Coahuila made her way to the United States five years ago, a stranger in a strange land. “The first three years were the most difficult because I didn’t know a single word of English,” said De La Garza, adding, “It was very difficult at first to assimilate into the culture. It took a great deal of patience and effort to understand the manner in which people spoke and acted toward one another.” It was her adaptability that saw her though learning a new language, familiarizing herself with a foreign culture, and eventually completing a six-month Certified Nursing Assistant program at the Laredo Job Corps. “I went to after-school tutorials. I would practice writing essays, read the dictionary, and practice singing songs in English. That helped me out with my pronunciation a lot,” De La Garza said of her years at Alexander High School. She graduated from Alexander in 2010 and decided to pursue a degree at Texas A&M International University. She studied there until a conflicting work schedule forced her to drop from enrollment. De La Garza worked two part time jobs in order to provide for her mother, father, and sister. “I first learned about Job Corps after I left TAMIU. Soon after, my mother began researching possible alternatives for vocational training, anything that would guarantee me a stable fulltime job in the medical field,” she said. After receiving her impressive CNA W W W.L A R ED OS N E WS.CO M

Mariela Rodriguez/LareDOS

By MARIELA RODIRUEZ LareDOS Staff

Alma Martinez and Alexandra De La Garza certification results, the Laredo Nursing and Rehabilitation Center (LNRC) hired her immediately. Laredo Job Corps business and community liaison Adriana Hernandez said, “Alexandra De La Garza is very focused and dedicated. She always received excellent grades while at Job Corps and scored high marks on her CNA exam.” “I have a lot of fun with my big kids,” joked De La Garza of her elderly patients. “I love listening to them and helping them with whatever they need.” When Alma Martinez, a 24-year employee at Laredo Job Corps, became ill, she was sent to LNRC. Little did she know that not only would she run into some familiar faces, but that she would also be treated by her former student. Martinez recalled, “When I first got here I saw some students. Alexandra came up to me just as shocked as I was to see me here no doubt. She told me she had just begun working for LNRC.” “Alexandra was a very good student,” Martinez remembered. “In the time I’ve been here I’ve had the pleasure of seeing her dedicate herself to the people around her and treat her patients very well. It’s been great having her care for me.” “It was definitely a surprise to see Mrs. Martinez here. I remember every

morning before class and after school I’d spend my time in the front office of Job Corps, and she was always there to talk to.”

“My training was very beneficial, and I was able to focus all my attention to one job without the stress of trying to make ends meet with two jobs,” she said, adding, “All the instructors at Job Corps helped me in one way or another. I would recommend the program to anyone who is serious and willing to put the effort required to accomplishing their goals.” She said the Job Corps program helped her, but it also left her wanting more in the way of education. De La Garza is continuing her education at Laredo Community College, where she plans to complete her degree in physical therapy. “I want a calm, normal life with my family — something that only a set career will ensure I get to enjoy,” she added. ◆

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Opinion

Honoring the Dream in 2013 By JAMES C. HARRINGTON Director, Texas Civil Rights Project

We might actually help raise up the next King, Parks, Chávez, or Anthony. When we remember them, it is also either Martin Luther fitting to recall and honor the people King nor Rosa Parks de- who influenced their lives. scended from heaven This is important to remember on to take up positions as the MLK holiday because we have civil rights leaders among us. Nor did a tendency to deify our heroes and César Chávez or Susan B. Anthony. forget they started out like each of They became who they were because us. Making gods of our heroes can their family, friends, colleagues, and become an easy excuse for not doing the work we know we should do. We tell ourselves that they, and only they, could bring about great changes, and excuse ourselves from the task. The holiday also should remind us of Dr. King’s example and preaching that we need to support all human rights efforts, not just those which especially appeal to us. Protecting and advocating the rights of all people benefits society in general and moves forward the universal expansion of human rights. As the New England saying goes, in a different context, “A rising tide lifts all boats.” Dr. King realized Kofi Bailey’s 1968 Poor People’s Campaign this. We forget that, bePoster sides, his awesome and courageous civil rights even enemies, prodded them along work, he passionately opposed the from the time they were children and Vietnam War and, at the time of his helped them grow their dedication death in 1968, was planning the Poor and hone their leadership skills. People’s March on Washington for Occasions like the Martin Luther economic justice in this country. InKing holiday should challenge us to deed, in a speech discussing plans for realize the potential impact we can the march, Dr. King said, “We have have on our relatives, acquaintances, moved from the era of civil rights to and neighbors, if we take the time to an era of human rights.” nudge, encourage, and support them. The Poor People’s Campaign was a

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multi-racial effort to address poverty in the nation by demanding a $30 billion antipoverty package, including full employment and the annual construction of 500,000 affordable residences. We also tend to forget that Dr. King was assassinated, not during his civil rights endeavors, but while helping poor sanitation workers in Memphis organize a union for better wages and working conditions. Were Dr. King alive today, he surely would be involved in overturning the U.S. Supreme Court’s antidemocratic Citizens United decision, contesting efforts to suppress voting in minority and poor communities, trying to reverse the re-segregation of our schools, supporting equal rights for gay people, opposing drone at-

tacks on foreign civilian populations, and resisting government’s constant narrowing of our civil liberties in the name of national security. More to the point, Dr. King would encourage us and stir our moral conscience to undertake those efforts. What holds us back from doing that -- and from encouraging others to involve themselves in the struggle for human rights? Dr. King believed in Eleanor Roosevelt’s observation: “Where, after all, do universal human rights begin? In small places, close to home . . . where every man, woman, and child seeks equal justice, equal opportunity, equal dignity, without discrimination. Unless these rights have meaning there, they have little meaning anywhere.” Our work is cut out for us. ◆

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News

Eduardo A. Garza v. Hector Farias, VIDA Half the City Council, Mayor, City Manager affidavits: Garza gave no gifts in return for votes By MARIA EUGENIA GUERRA LareDOS Publisher

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t the January 14th 49th District Court hearing for the motion to dismiss business mogul Eduardo A. Garza’s defamation suit against Hector Farias and VIDA (Voices in Democratic Action), visiting Judge Fred Shannon characterized the issue between Garza and Farias as a dispute between two competing bidders for a City-owned cold storage facility. The comments of the judge, who would later in the day deny the motion to dismiss, took by surprise some attorneys and observers who believed that the exercise of the First Amendment and free speech were at the heart of the suit. Baldemar García, Farias’ attorney, and Ricardo de Anda, attorney for VIDA, worked quickly to clarify that Farias, a U.S. Customs broker, had not been a bidder on the contract for the facility, but had written a letter of support for another bidder, José Valdez of Laredo Facilitators. Garza’s firm Garros Services, Ltd. was awarded the bid in November 2011 to operate the $1.7 million facility built by the City of Laredo. García argued that in exercising his First Amendment right to question and criticize the City’s dealings with Garza, Farias had “said what everyone was saying. Any taxpayer reading what was being said – it’s what the taxpayers were thinking, it’s what every citizen is entitled to ask. Farias is entitled to ask. What he voiced was a matter of public concern, a matter opposed by most of the local customs brokers.” García said that in order for Garza to recover for defamation, “he has to prove with clear and specific evidence that he was defamed.” He continued, “Garza can’t go all over town repeating what he thought was defamation… ‘I went and told everyone myself, including City Manager Carlos Villarreal, that I had been defamed.’ He is W W W.L A R ED OS N E WS.CO M

self-publishing the alleged defamation by repeating it and now self publishing it in legal documents and court records. He is disparaging himself far more than any of Mr. Farias’ alleged comments.” As García and De Anda made their case for dismissal – arguing that Farias and VIDA had the First Amendment right to question how their City Council members conducted business with Garza and whether or not Garza’s campaign contributions to City Council races bore influence on Council decisions – a surreal echo resounded at the plaintiff’s table as a translator recounted for Garza in Spanish what was being said by the attorneys. Garza appeared at times to have a visceral reaction to what was being said about him, particularly when there was reference to him as an influence peddler or a cartel member who sold guns into Mexico. To substantiate the defamation claim, Garza’s attorney Adolfo Campero introduced exhibits that included affidavits from four members of the City Council – Charlie San Miguel, Cindy Liendo Espinoza, Mike Garza, and Jorge Vera; Mayor Raul Salinas; and City Manager Carlos Villarreal. “That’s half the City Council and the tie-breaking Mayor,” De Anda said. “Mr. Garza exerts no influence over city government?” De Anda continued. “Mr. Garza got those affidavits over the holidays when most people are inaccessible,” he said after the hearing. The affidavits of the four Council members and the Mayor were uniformly consistent in the avowal that Garza exerted no influence and gave no gifts with the expectation of returned favors in the form of Council action. In his December 27, 2012 affidavit, Mayor Raul Salinas said that he did not vote in matters that concerned Garza’s leases with the City, that Garza had never asked him to perform any favors as a City official, and that he, Salinas, had not been paid by Garza

with gifts in exchange for votes or official acts. Salinas received $12,291.97 in in-kind contributions from Garza on July 1, 2010 and traveled to Mexico in 2008 and 2009 on a plane owned by a company in which Garza owns an interest. Councilmember Liendo Espinoza, stated in her December 20, 2012 affidavit that she voted for bids and leases for companies owned in part by Garza. She said that Garza had neither solicited favors in her official capacity, nor did he pay her for any votes as a City Council member. She accepted a $1,250 campaign contribution on September 12, 2012. Jorge Vera said in a December 20, 2012 affidavit that he did not vote for the Garros Services refrigerated inspection station bid. He said Farias had called him shortly after Garros was awarded the bid and had told him that Garza’s wealth came from drug money. Vera acknowledged a campaign contribution, but said that Garza had not offered him “anything of value” in exchange for votes. Vera received a $750 campaign contribution from Garza on May13, 2011. Councilman Mike Garza said in his January 7, 2013 affidavit that he voted for the Garros bid and airport leases for companies Eduardo Garza owned and that Garza had received no preferential treatment and that the leases had no preferential terms. The Councilman said that during the bidding process he was contacted by Hector Farias to discourage him “from voting for the bid submitted by Garros.” He further stated that Eduardo Garza “has never asked for me to perform any favors for him as a City official.” The councilman received a $2,500 campaign contribution from Eduardo Garza on June 26, 2010. In his December 20, 2012 affidavit, Councilman Charlie San Miguel – who once managed construction projects for Eduardo Garza in Cotulla – offered an explanation for events that transpired at the Laredo Animal Protective Shelter as a rea-

son for becoming the object of Hector Farias’ disdain. He said that Farias’ and VIDA’s attacks on him intensified beginning “on or about August 6, 2012” with accusations of conflicts of interest. San Miguel said Eduardo Garza “has never solicited favors from me in my official capacity as a City Councilman.” He said he abstained from the Council vote on the Garros cold inspection facility (his sister Raquel San Miguel was then a partner in Garros), but voted in favor, he said, of the airport leases “in which Eduardo Garza owns an interest” because the tracts of land had remained idle, the City needed revenue, and the proposed tenants were the only parties willing to lease them. According to Eduardo Garza’s January 7, 2013 affidavit, San Miguel flew on the plane in which Garza owned an interest on three occasions – business trips – in June 2012 and July 2012. City Manager Carlos Villarreal’s December 21, 2012 affidavit covered a lot of ground, including an explanation for the bidding process for the cold storage facility; the exclusion of Eduardo Garza’s nephew Gilberto Garza, a then-City purchasing department employee, from the bidding process; that leases for comparable tracts of land such as those leased by Garza at the airport were available; and that Hector Farias had called the City Manager “on at least two occasions” to tell him that Eduardo Garza was “involved in the illicit importation and distribution of narcotics.” Villarreal said he advised Eduardo Garza of Farias’ statement, and that he felt compelled to correct Farias. “Specifically I explained that Plaintiff Eduardo Garza is a customs broker and one of his clients is the Department of Defense for Mexico. I said this to discourage Dr. Farias from mis-characterizing the role that Eduardo Garza plays in clearing customs in Mexico for the Mexican government.” It is Eduardo Garza’s lengthy affidavit Continued on page 23

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Feature

WBCA: a staff of five, a hundred volunteers: 30 events and $14 million into the local economy By MARíA EUGENIA GUERRA LareDOS Publisher

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María Eugenia Guerra/LareDOS

hile you are out reveling in your favorite Washington’s Birthday Celebration Association (WBCA) activity – whether it is the carnival, the Grand Parade, Jamboozie, the Stars and Stripes Air Show, or the Jalapeño Festival – give a nod to the WBCA’s staff of five, a volunteer board, and a solid core of dedicated volunteers who put on the annual fun-filled salute to patriotism and history. Director Lisa Morales – now in her tenth year at the helm of the WBCA – has refined the inner workings and orchestrations of the activities of the organization’s affiliates and the vendors, publicity, logistics, and security that ensure the safety and success of each event. Under Morales’ leadership, she and her staff have worked to make the annual celebration more meaningful and more accessible, all the while winning event marketing awards. To reiterate the significant heft of the

work of a staff of five (plus two peak season temporary employees in January and February) and 100 volunteers, consider that the organization itself spends approximately $2 million locally and generates upward of an estimated $14 million that moves through the community as hotel/motel revenues, dining, gasoline, and vendor sales – all of which have an impact on jobs locally. Factor in what each of the 15 WBCA affiliates generate – much of it going to education and scholarships – and you get a bigger picture of the celebration’s investment in the community and the impact of those revenues. The celebration has not grown of its own volition. According to Morales, it has grown because good ideas have been considered, cultivated, and implemented. A prime example is the Stars and Stripes Air Show, which was established 13 years ago and has grown into one of the celebration’s largest draws – not only in popularity and attendance, but also in the number of participating aircraft, pilots, and array of military hardware.

WBCA marketing director Celina Alvarado, president Bob Weathers, first vice-president Veronica Castillon, and executive director Lisa B. Morales.

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According to WBCA president Bob Weathers, the behind-the-scenes staging for the air show is intricate and detailed because of Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) rules; the movement of pilots, aircraft, static displays, and tanks to Laredo from Camp Mabry and bases across the country; the procurement and coordination of other flying acts; the lodging of over 100 parachutists, pilots, and support staff; and public safety issues. “That’s apart from the funding,” Weathers said. “We wouldn’t have an air show without the participation of the National Guard and the Texas State Guard. The office of the Texas Adjutant General signs the orders to assign military assets and personnel for the air show. The WBCA air show committee chairs work with the FAA Flight Standards district office out of San Antonio to handle the paperwork,” he added. “The air show is free to kids under 12 and only $5 for adults. It is one of my favorite events,” said Weathers, who has been a part of the growth of the event since it was first organized. “It’s a salute to the armed forces. Where else would you see such a display of military power – F-16s, C-130s, Blackhawk and Apache helicopters, tanks, and jeeps?” He added that the Navy will participate this year and that it is possible that a B-52 from Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana will fly over the show, among many other participating military aircraft. “The WBCA air show is now well known in the International Council of Air Shows, and so is Laredo’s hospitality. Pilots ask to participate in the show each year,” Weathers said. Morales said the air show has been an inspiration to schoolchildren. “They get close and personal with the pilots and the parachutists. The air show is a big event with a lot of little moments that give you chills,” she said.

WBCA first vice-president Veronica Castillon sees the annual event, which is held on the grounds of what had once been Laredo Air Force Base, as a thumbsup to Laredo’s past. The Stars and Stripes Air Show, which is set for Sunday, February 17, draws about 30,000 Laredoans and out of town visitors from Texas and northern Mexico. “The Air Show, the Jalapeño Festival which draws a crowd of between 20,000 to 30,000, and the parade with its 75,000 to 100,000 spectators are the three largest and most labor intensive events we stage,” Morales said, adding, “Again, it is largely committees of volunteers who coordinate vendors, ticket sales, traffic, gates, logistics, power, trash pickup, sanitation, and security. That says a great deal about the value they and the WBCA affiliates have for the celebration. The volunteers are business owners, educators, bank staffers, city and county employees – representatives from across the community. Volunteers stage great events like Jamboozie, Comedy Jam for George, and Noche de Agave.” Morales said she and her staff work closely with the affiliates. “We want their worthwhile event to be successful, especially because their revenues go back into the community. We have prepared a manual of guidelines for them to use to help them promote their event, and we include their event on our web site and in press releases.” Weathers, Morales, and Castillon said the momentum for this year’s Jalapeño Festival – featuring headliners Intocable and Duelo – continues to build for the two-night production. “Laredo told us what they wanted, and we answered the call,” Weathers said, adding that two-day passes for Continued on page 21

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News

Laredo Portrait Project: performance and portraiture illustrate the life of George Washington By MARIA EUGENIA GUERRA LareDOS Publisher

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he Laredo Portrait Project, a three-part educational component of the 116th Washington’s Birthday Celebration, presents the national traveling exhibit, A Man for All Seasons: the Many Faces of George Washington; an American Historical Theatre national premier performance of Portrait of A Patriot; and an exhibit of the 1798 Gilbert Stuart Athenaeum portrait of George Washington.

The Laredo Portrait Project represents a collaboration between the WBCA, Texas A&M International University, the Guadalupe and Lilia W W W.L A R ED OS N E WS.CO M

Martinez Charitable Foundation, the Lucy Meriwether Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, and Toni L. Ruiz. A Man for All Seasons: the Many Faces of George Washington presents the country’s first president in color graphics of paintings, photographs, and iconic objects from the Mount Vernon collections. The exhibit, which will be on display February 1 through 25 at the Sue and Radcliffe Killam Library at TAMIU, examines Washington’s life across seven themes – childhood in Virginia, risk taker, realistic visionary, wise decision maker, impassioned learner, visionary entrepreneur, and at home in Mt. Vernon. There is no admission fee. The exhibit opening and lecture are set for February 5 at 6:30 p.m. Portrait of a Patriot, an original play commissioned for the Laredo Portrait Project, makes its national premier in Laredo on February 13 at 7 p.m. at the TAMIU Fine and Performing Arts Recital Hall. Admission is free to this production of the American Historical Theatre of Philadelphia. The performance explores Washington’s life through portrait artist Gilbert Stuart. John Lopes portrays Washington, and Bob Gleason portrays Stuart. An exhibit of the original Gilbert Stuart Athenaeum portrait of George

Washington, the one that appears on dollar bills and postage stamps, will be on exhibit February 12 through 14 at the Sue and Radcliffe Killam Library. The portrait unveiling and presentation is set for 6:30 p.m. on February 12. The exhibit is made possible by the Harlan Crow Library in Dallas, TAMIU, and the International Bank of Commerce.

Carla K. McClafferty, the author of The Many Faces of George Washington: Remaking A Presidential Icon, will be in Laredo February 4 for a book signing at Books a Million from 3:30 to 5 p.m. For further information on the Laredo Portrait Project, call the WBCA at (956) 722-0589 or visit www.wbcalaredo.org ◆

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Maverick Ranch Notes

By bebe & sissy fenstermaker

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e teenagers were going through culture shock after moving into San Antonio from West Texas in 1958. Our parents were born and raised in San Antonio so they knew all the parts of town that existed before moving away. We knew next to nothing except where our grandmother and aunt lived. As they were repeated, names of places gradually grew familiar. One day driving home from school Mama mentioned her father, Robert B. Green, who had died when she was a year old. I remember saying how odd it was that the county hospital had the same name. Not odd, she said, it was named for him and although built ten years after his death, the community, remembering him so well, wished to honor his memory in that way. Grandma was busy gathering together things in order to write a small memoir about Bob Green. She finished it in 1962, at the age of 88, just a few months before she died. Three of her children clearly remembered their father, however all four of them spoke of him with special tenderness. Grandma’s memoir seemed to stir their thoughts of him. His sudden death more than 50 years earlier had shocked them and brought many changes to their lives. Surviving his loss and continuing on took real strength. They had loved their ‘Bob’ who figured so hugely in their lives. Bob Green died when he was barely 42. By that young age he had already served as a federal district judge, then Bexar County Judge and as State Senator at the time of his death. He never sought an elected position except a

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The legacy of our grandfather Robert B. Green – federal judge, county judge, and state senator second term as district judge; he was always approached by friends in the community who asked him to run. Before becoming a district judge he graduated from Texas A & M and

Robert Berrien Green while still at college was elected Captain of the Belknap Rifles in San Antonio. He commanded the drill team evenings and weekends while studying law in San Antonio. The drill team competed in national competitions and won many awards. Photographs of Bob in his uniform give strong clues as to why Grandma fell in love with the handsome captain. After receiving his law license he spent a year as secretary to Senator Coke in Washington. Profiting from that experience he returned home to work in his father’s law office. Soon he received an appointment to fill a federal district court vacancy and was the youngest judge in the country at age 28. During his time as a district judge the

new courthouse was completed with first choice privileges going to the older district judges who choose courtrooms facing Main Plaza. His courtroom was on the east side. He said he missed all the dog fights on the plaza but his courtroom was the coolest in summer. He often suggested Grandma might wish to visit his courtroom when he felt a particularly interesting case was before him. They had married in 1897, and he knew she was quite interested in law. My favorite story about him as County Judge was when citizens came to him complaining that the new school textbooks contained two whole pages about Abraham Lincoln. Those were the days just after Reconstruction and memories were raw. (Even his mother was firmly unreconstructed, having lost her brothers in the Civil War.) Bob replied he thought two pages on Lincoln inadequate, that even a whole textbook about him would not be enough. When he took office as County Judge gambling operators had a lot of control over county politics. The first visitors to his office were the gambling casino kingpins. His secretary later wrote that they sailed into his office full of themselves to make their deals with the new judge. Moments later they emerged, hats in hand, without their demands and with the message from Bob that their reign was over. And it was. He brought the county out of debt and the first thing he did in order to bring about the change was to lower his salary of $200 to $100. He successfully passed the first bond election in Bexar County. It was to establish good roads in Bexar County so that farmers and ranchers could bring their

produce to town. He loved the Maverick Ranch, bought January 1, 1907, the year of his death in December. He was out here as much as time allowed and wrote letters to Grandma about those days. That summer she was in West Texas with the children on vacation and he had to stay and work. On weekends he was able to come out and happily report to her. There is a photograph of him reading the newspaper on an iron cot in the Big Room. In one letter he said his father-in-law had bought a megaphone to aid communication with family running all over the Ranch. We know the megaphone well; it resides up on top of the big safe in the Kitchen House and we played with it as children. Bob’s letter told us how it got here and why. Bob Green had many goals in life. He deeply felt it wrong that children in trouble with the law were incarcerated with adult criminals in the jail. One of the reasons he ran for State Senate was to establish children’s courts and wards. After his death Grandma continued to work for this important change. She also began legal aid for which he had advocated. On their wedding trip to Washington, DC he took her to the Supreme Court, speaking of it in such a way that she realized it was his highest ambition. Bob Green died suddenly on a hunting trip with his brother-in-law which started out from Maverick Ranch. They made camp and were bedding down for a cold night when he suffered a fatal heart attack. Mercifully death came instantly, but the loss of him still echoes. – Bebe Fenstermaker Continued on page 21

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 Continued FROM page 18 both concerts are pre-sale priced at $25 or $20 per individual night at the gate. While much of the celebration has remained intact over decades – the Grand Parade a prime example – other aspects of it have changed to offer more historic relevance to the celebration. One such aspect is the American Historical Theatre of Philadelphia’s performance of Portrait of A Patriot, a theatrical production that explores the life of George Washington through the eyes of portrait artist Gilbert Stuart. The play has been incorporated into The Laredo Portrait Project, which includes the national traveling exhibit, A Man for All Seasons: the Many Faces of George Washington, and an exhibit of one of Gilbert Stuart’s 70 replicas of the “Athenaeum” portrait of George Washington. “The parade,” Morales said, “is the longest standing of the WBCA events. We are a patriotic community still celebrating a tradition begun more than a century ago. It is an exciting, nationally acclaimed event that is part of fam-

ily reunions and part of the history of many Laredoans. The Grand Parade has grown to 184 entries and the Youth Parade to 150.” She said the Abrazo Ceremony on the International Bridge is another such meaningful event. “It is a very quick exchange because for the duration of the ceremony the bridge is closed. But it is a very moving experience to witness the affirmation that the ties between both countries remain intact. There’s a great deal of security involved with this event,” she said. Morales said she and her staff – in tandem with the WBCA directors – do all possible to keep the 116-year-old celebration in good financial shape. “We have it down to a science. We’ve learned what doesn’t work. We look at attendance versus what we spent. We look to find places we can save money, and we are organized. We operate as a nonprofit civic organization with 501©4 status,” she said, adding, “We are handling a 116-year-old legacy, and we do it with great care.” ◆

Continued FROM page 20 Several months ago Martha, Bebe, our cousin Rena and I learned that the Robert B. Green Memorial Hospital and area surrounding it in downtown San Antonio was being named the University Health System, Robert B. Green Campus. A new building was already under construction at the campus west of the IH-10 and IH-35 intersection. At that time we were meeting with Allison Hays Lane, director of Olana Group and art manager for the University Health System’s (UHS) Salud-Arte: Art of Healing Program, and Karen Glenney, director of the Corporate Records Library who were telling us all about it. On the evening of the preview reception we five grandchildren of Robert B. Green (Rena, her brother Fritz, and the three of us) drove together to the new RBG Clinical Pavilion, a six story, state-of-the-art outpatient center. As we approached the entrance a section of the wall above

it shimmered with a glow of gold light. Thus began an evening the five of us will long remember. Our hosts, Karen Glenney and Jacqueline Burandt, Senior Director, UHS’s Center for Learning Excellence, guided us through all six floors of the Pavilion. The first five floors were filled with over three hundred pieces of art in various media,by local and nationally recognized artists. The UHS’s Salud-Arte “will use art to inspire healing, compassion, hope and trust.” On each floor we also feasted on the foods of the different cultures found within this county. Some of the medical services for individuals and families offered at the Clinical Pavilion will be urgent care for adults and children plus primary care for wellness and illness. In addition there will be on site diagnostic imaging available and an outpatient surgery center. All of this and more for the citizens of Bexar County and located downtown! – Sissy Fenstermaker

Science fair winners

Mariela Rodriguez/LareDOS

David Barrera, Ricardo Perez, and Alyssa Benavides were recognized as the high school grand champion group project winners at the Laredo Independent School District Secondary Science Fair on Wednesday, January 23. They will be representing LISD at the International Science and Engineering Fair in Phoenix in May with their project entitled Mouse Release: A Fundamental Analysis of Mus musculus as a Model for Advanced Mammalian Altruistic Capacity.

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Mariela Rodriguez/LareDOS

Maria Eugenia Guerra/LareDOS

Standing by survivor

New citrus crops at Farmers Market Grapefruit, oranges, and lemons were among the fresh fruits offered by vendors like Isabel Ochoa at the January 19 Farmers Market.

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Cancer survivor Laura Dañes is flanked by Kassandra Ramos and Janet Vega at the Relay for Life 2013 kick-off on January 17 at Rudy’s Country Store, a sponsor of the upcoming event. Sixty percent of the Relay’s proceeds remain in the community to purchase prosthetics, hats, and caps for cancer patients. Last year’s proceeds also aided patients with travel and lodging expenses while out of town for treatment.

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 Continued FROM page 17 that framed his case for injuries and damages resulting from the statements of Farias and VIDA. The affidavit begins with the naming of Garza’s companies and how his bids for leases and for the management of the cold storage facility happened in accordance with City ordinances, policies, and applicable law. “The bid was not awarded because of my business relationship with Charlie San Miguel, nor my friendship with Mayor Raul Salinas, as neither voted in this bid contest,” Garza said. He averred that in early December 2011, one of his business partners, Humberto Gonzalez Betancourt, told him that José Valdez Jr. had said that Eduardo Garza was being investigated by law enforcement authorities. Garza said a letter was sent to Valdez asking “to cease and desist disparaging me.” Garza recounted the weapon-selling allegation Farias allegedly made to Carlos Villarreal. Garza said he never spoke to his nephew Gilberto Garza about his bid with the City or about Gilberto Garza’s interest in a job with Webb County. He cited VIDA’s publication of a statement by Jaime Mendoza that he, Eduardo Garza, controls Webb County Commissioner Jaime Canales and Councilman San Miguel. Garza wrote that “The statements by José Valdez that I’m under investigation by law enforcement authorities, Hector Farias’ statements that I am or was a drug dealer and that I sell weapons in Mexico, and the statements made by Farias and VIDA that I engage in bribery, tampering with bid contests, and unethical, corrupt, and criminal activity in offering or giving money or items of value in exchange for votes, recommendations, or actions by elected officials are false and extremely disturbing to me.” He said that he and his businesses operate by “a high and ethical moral code,” and he cited Uni-Trade as supporting the economic viability of the new Lemurs baseball team and stadium to “create new and exciting quality of life options for the citizens of Laredo.” Garza said that statements made and/ or published by Valdez, Farias, and VIDA had caused him to experience anxiety “due to the impact they are having on my personal and business reputation, the risks of W W W.L A R ED OS N E WS.CO M

harm they are creating for my family and employees, and because of the impact they are having on my business partners.” He said the anxiety has disrupted his sleep patterns and “thereby adversely affecting my energy levels, demeanor, productivity, and ability to focus.” He said he is unable to attend to his daily personal and business affairs as he was able to before the statements of Valdez, Farias, and VIDA. Garza said that the severance of Charlie San Miguel from the companies for which he worked had required the hiring of one individual to “take care of construction supervision in LaSalle County” and another for accounting purposes. He wrote, “The net additional amount the companies have to pay on a monthly basis to new employees hired as a result of the severing of the business relationship with Charlie San Miguel is $1,454.09.” Garza said in the affidavit that the statements made about him have made him have “a fear that the criminal element, especially in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico will become emboldened about extorting me or kidnapping me, my family, or employees.” Garza said that rumors about him being a drug dealer and a criminal “can serve to embolden sophisticated criminal players or unsophisticated copycats.” He said he has moved his adult daughter (he names her) to Laredo, accomplishing the move by purchasing a vehicle for her that costs him $646.52 per month since August 2012 and purchasing a condo that is under construction and for which he has paid $31,018 toward its purchase. He said he “would not have incurred these expenditures if the statements had not been made.” Garza said that a manager of Uni-Trade brokers in Mexico “no longer wants to stay in Nuevo Laredo” when he travels to Nuevo Laredo for 10 or 15 days of the month and now stays in an apartment once available to any company employee who traveled to Laredo for business. Due to the occupancy of the company apartment, Uni-Trade had to cover a three-day $492.46 Embassy Suites stay for a Mexico City employee. He said the statements have made him fear for his brother Jorge Garza Robles and his family, who reside in Nuevo Laredo.

Garza stated he has paid $4,500 to an attorney to begin a naturalization application for his brother. Garza’s partner in the Garros Services cold storage facility, Salvador Rosas, has asked for a partial business divorce – not in Garros, but in a LaSalle County development in Las Palmas. Garza said he has thus far paid Rosas $45,000 for the buyout. Another partner, Gonzalez Betancourt, Garza said, has asked to cease development of an apartment complex in La Salle and instead sell the property. Garza said the property is on the market and that the partners had spent $15,425.95 developing it. In his affidavit, Garza said his gifts to Laredo and Webb County elected officials in 2009 and 2010 were $18 coffee cakes, and in 2011 were either a $35 bottle of tequila or a $40 briefcase. In 2010, he said, he gave Mayor Salinas a $100 tie “because we have been friends for more than 20 years.” Garza’s affidavit ends with a summary of funds Uni-Trade provided the City for its annual trip to Washington, D.C. – $5,500 in total from 2009 to 2012. A January 17, 2013 affidavit from Gonzalez Betancourt recounted the visit in which José Valdez allegedly told him that Eduardo Garza was under investigation by law enforcement authorities. Gonzalez Betancourt said he urged Eduardo Garza to cancel the development of the LaSalle County apartment complex. He attested, “The reason is that the statements made by Farias, VIDA, and Valdez that Eduardo A. Garza is a drug dealer, sells weapons in Mexico, and engages in corruption, bribery, and tampers with government bid contests concern me greatly. I do not want to be associated with such allegations.” Like Garza in his affidavit and Salvador Rosas in his, Gonzalez Betancourt recounted the loss of the $15,425.95 the partners had spent to date. Of the affidavits that are part of Eduardo Garza’s claim that he was defamed, the affidavit of his business partner Salvador Rosas is the most succinct. A permanent resident of the U.S., Rosas has plans to apply for citizenship. “One of the eligibility requirements is that I demonstrate good moral character,” he stated. He said that though he is mentioned infrequently

in the media, it is well known that he has business interests with Garza. “As a result,” he wrote, “I have decided to diminish my business collaborations with Eduardo A. Garza.” Rosas cited the loss in the canceling of the apartment complex development in Cotulla and also cited undetermined losses in the dissolution of Ed-Sal Investments, Ltd. Garza’s attorney Campero characterized him as “an honest man who has won the admiration and respect of many people, myself included, because of his professionalism, work ethic, and altruism.” Campero added, “Garros Services, LLC, in which he owns an interest, submitted the best proposal in a city contest open to the public.  Garza followed the rules and the law.  He did not deserve to have his name and reputation damaged by a competitor and his supporters, who hijacked a ‘watchdog’ group in their crusade.” According to Campero, “We have maintained throughout that the defendants’ statements did not constitute constitutionally protected speech.  The defendants never acknowledged the possibility that their statements were actionable.  They scoffed at the notion and were so confident they even filed counterclaims asking for substantial damages for the filing of a frivolous lawsuit.  The ruling by Judge Shannon is preliminary.  However, it is an important first step because a prima facie defamation case has been found to exist.” Defense attorney García said Farias will appeal Judge Shannon’s denial of the motion to dismiss the suit, and that the appeal invites closer scrutiny of the plaintiff’s affidavits and evidence. “We know we have a strong case on appeal. They have to prove every element of their claims for defamation,” García said. Making reference to frequent newspaper photographs of Garza giving sizeable oversized checks to schools and non-profit organizations,” defense attorney García said, “That does not look like a man who has suffered a loss of reputation. If Mr. Garza is suffering mental anguish and sleeplessness that is affecting his performance in business, let’s have proof of that,” he said. ◆ LareDOS I JA N UA RY 2013 I

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At the Laurel Ranch Ranchers Fernando Laurel and Zapata stockman Meme García – discussing cattle, drought, and the cost of hay – are pictured at the beautiful Laurel Ranch near Encinal.

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Renato Ramirez, honorary president of the Republic of the Rio Grande, and Judith Gutierrez president of the Webb County Heritage Foundation, collaborated at the membership cocktail party held on January 17 at the Villa Antigua Border Heritage Museum.

George J. Altgelt

Mariela Rodriguez/LareDOS

WCHF - Los presidentes

Well-attended Menudo Bowl Good weather and the lure of some menudo sampling ensured good crowds at the January 19 Crimestoppers Menudo Bowl at the L.I.F.E. grounds.

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Mariela Rodriguez/LareDOS

IGNC reception for Abrazo children Sandra Garza, Daniela Pe単a, Christy Pe単a, and Maricela Ca単amar were among the Laredenses who enjoyed the January 10 reception for the Abrazo Children hosted by the International Good Neighbor Council at La Posada Hotel.

www.laredosnews.com

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Silvia Lucio, Drew Claes, Dan Romo, and Richard Leyendecker were among the members who attended the first Kiwanis meeting of the year on January 8. The members listened to a presentation by Laredo Area Community Foundation board members.

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Courtesy Photo

Mariela Rodriguez/LareDOS

Kiwanis kick off the year

Many happy returns Consuelo S. Lopez celebrated her 78th birthday with her children and grandchildren. She is surrounded by Blastio, Isabela, and Maya Lopez, the children of Blasita and Goyo Lopez.

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TAMIU

Mark Twain Tonight coming to TAMIU Thursday, January 31 he world of America’s beloved author and humorist Mark Twain will come to life in a special performance of Mark Twain Tonight! starring veteran American actor of stage and screen Hal Holbrook on Thursday, Jan. 31 at 7 p.m. at the Texas A&M International University Center for the Fine and Performing Arts’ Recital Hall. The performance is part of the University’s 2013-14 A. R. Sanchez Sr. Lecture Series.  Tickets are free of charge and are available from the TAMIU Office for Institutional Advancement in the Sue and Radcliffe Killam Library or by calling (956) 326-4483. Limited public seating is available. Mark Twain Tonight! is a one-man play devised by Hal Holbrook, in which he depicts Mark Twain giving a dramatic recitation selected from several of his (Twain’s) writings, with an emphasis on the comic ones. However, a lengthy excerpt from Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is always included. Holbrook, who currently can be seen in Steven Spielberg’s acclaimed Lincoln and Gus Van Sant’s just-released Promised Land, has performed the one-man show as Mark Twain since 1954. According to Playbill, Holbrook’s first solo performance as Twain was at Lock Haven State Teachers College in Pennsylvania in 1954. Ed Sullivan saw him and gave Holbrook his first national exposure on his February 12, 1956 show. In 1967, Mark Twain Tonight was

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presented on television by CBS and Xerox, and Holbrook received an Emmy for his performance. Holbrook’s Twain first played on Broadway in 1966, and again in 1977 and 2005; Holbrook was 80 years old during his most recent Broadway run, older (for the first time) than the character he was portraying. He won a Tony Award for the performance in 1966. Mark Twain Tonight has repeatedly toured the country in what as of 2005 had amounted to over 2000 performances. He has portrayed Twain longer than Samuel Langhorne Clemens did. Holbrook appeared in Sean Penn’s critically acclaimed film Into the Wild (2007) and received an Oscar nomination for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role at the 80th Academy Awards. This renders Holbrook, at age 82, the oldest nominee in Academy Award history in the Best Supporting Actor category. In addition to Lincoln, and Promised Land, Holbrook appeared in Water for Elephants (2011). The A.R. Sánchez Distinguished Lecture Series honors Antonio R. Sánchez Sr. (1916-1992). After 20 years as the owner of an office equipment business, Sánchez in the 1960s began buying oil and gas leases and used his earnings to establish a bank. In 1974, Sánchez and his son, A.R. Sánchez Jr., along with geologist Brian O’Brien, established the Sánchez-O’Brien Oil and Gas Corporation. The same year the father and son team discovered the largest natural gas field (Webb and Zapata Counties) to that point

in history. Under his leadership as chairman, the International Bank of Commerce grew to become the International Bancshares Corporation, with banks in Laredo, Zapata, Houston, San Antonio, the Lower Rio Grande Valley, and the Gulf Coast. Today, the bank employs more Hispanic men and women in leadership positions than all other Texas banks combined. A.R. Sánchez Sr. is best remembered in Laredo for his philanthropic efforts. Known for his work ethic and generosity, he was a major

crusader for a four-year University in Laredo and a supporter of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund. He was also a legendary Texas entrepreneur with a down-to-earth sense of humor. This lecture series is presented through the vision and generosity of Mr. and Mrs. A.R. Sánchez Jr. For further information on the A.R. Sánchez Distinguished Lecture Series, please contact the Office of the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at 326-2460 or visit offices located in the Lamar Bruni Vergara Science Center, room 301. ◆

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By Mika Akikuni

The Commanders Reception kicks off 116th WBCA celebration A variety of participants in this year’s WBCA festivities are pictured at the reception at the Laredo Energy Arena. Tickets for the 2013 Celebration can be purchased beginning February 11th at the WBCA ticket kiosk inside Mall Del Norte -- while supplies last! Last day for pre-sale tickets is Wednesday, February 20th. W W W.L A RED OS N E WS.CO M


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Feature

Travelogue: a Grand Canyon adventure; catching a draft and sailing through the air By MARíA EUGENIA GUERRA LareDOS Publisher

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t’s amazing to me that our old four-door F-250 – the belle of the four-wheel drive ball when I bought it from Pat Clarkson at Grande Ford in 2002 – moved us without difficulty, Airstream in tow, across Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona for a winter family vacation. But why wouldn’t it? It’s a well-built machine, and we’ve never faltered on maintenance. A pre-departure promise for best behaviors in the cab of a truck was elicited from the outspoken, recalcitrant family matriarch who publishes a newspaper y que no tiene pelos en la lengua. The agreement was so skillfully articulated by her son, an attorney, that she hardly felt the sting of its impertinence or his wile. OK, you get the picture. Being with my granddaughters Emily and Amandita on a Christmas road trip was the real carrot, and I agreed to all other details of the trip as long as I didn’t have to stay in the sleek, state of the art Airstream, as I am of the opinion that the stainless steel home on wheels is a wonderful travel tool

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for young, thin people and not so very much so for the portly and the stiff-kneed. We left Laredo on December 22 and ended up traveling to beautiful RV parks that had cabins or lodging nearby for me, one who has to have quiet time and her own space to make sense of the world. The first such stop was a KOA in Carlsbad, New Mexico. I enjoyed the WIFI in my log cabin, and my family was snug in their RV against the huge drop in temperature we had just experienced. I left there with a new appreciation for the role of varnish in the deadwood life of felled trees. The Airstream’s really nice kitchen and the gas grill that traveled with us provided some outstanding meals that were an alternative to road food. Christmas Eve found us 52 miles west of Albuquerque in Acoma, New Mexico – a casino wonderland with an RV park. I stayed in the deluxe casino, a very pretty hotel, but I was horrified by the extent to which the casino’s cigarette smoke permeated the non-smoking third floor room in which I stayed. I was grateful the double pane window in my room opened, even at 22° on the other side of the glass.

The glassed-in casino offered a birds eye view of gambling types of every stripe and their earnest dedication to beat odds over which they had no control. Many of them smoked and bore the pallor of an aversion to natural light. Most of them cleared out on Christmas Eve, but many returned first thing Christmas Day. Bitter cold weather dashed the plans for the traditional Christmas Eve lighting of luminarias on the road to the Acoma Pueblo, but we found ourselves warm, happy, and spellbound watching a Buffalo Dance performed at the Sky City Cultural Center in Acoma. Center director Emerson Vallo addressed the gathering in Keres, a language of the northern Pueblos, and then in English. The youngsters who performed in tribal costume did so under the direction of Bert Leno who beat the drums. After the dances we took in the exhibits of the beautiful Haakú Museum in the cultural center, and then drove to the Acoma pueblo at the top of the mesa to see San Esteban del Rey Mission. The pueblo and the mission are both listed in the National Register of Historic Monuments. The mission, which

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was begun in 1629 and completed in 1640, has been designated as a Save America’s Treasures site and one of 100 endangered sites by the World Monuments Fund. The Pueblo is one of the oldest continuously occupied places in the United States. Biting winds blew over the mesa, and we bundled up to walk on the grounds of the historic church, the monolith of its majesty visible in the pale moonlight. We made out the crosses of the old camposanto that faces the church. That Christmas Eve walk on hallowed ground in the muted winter light – the fragrance of piñon fires thick in the air from the old homes on the mesa – was a spectacular, unforgettable moment to share with my granddaughters and with my son and Rosita. The girls awoke to Christmas lights outside their home on wheels, a small tree, and all the gifts we’d packed up and that Santa had brought. It was a spectacular morning shared with Robert and Joann Czar and their children Anna Lauren and Alexandra, who traveled with us in their own RV configuration. We packed up and moved on, photographing ourselves at the Arizona state line and then driving to Flagstaff where we discovered a natural foods store called New Frontiers. We ate delicious soups and salads with the gusto and abandon of escaped convicts who had chanced upon a feast. A heavy snowfall began to fall and blanket-

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ed the landscape we would travel across for the next several days. At Williams, we settled into the Canyon RV Park and Motel, a place surrounded by fir trees and a vast field of snow. Williams, which has parlayed its history, the railroad, and the old buildings of its downtown into an Old West tourist destination, is home to the Grand Canyon Railway. This is where we boarded the Polar Express to travel to the North Pole in an old Pullman car. We traveled through snow-blanketed country to arrive at Santa’s village, which was replete with a reindeer barn, a magnificent official Christmas tree, and the houses of Santa’s helpers. The holiday lighting was bright and sharp against the dark night and new snow. The outing included a reading of the Polar Express children’s book by Chris Van Allsburg, hot chocolate and cookies, Christmas caroling, and a visit by Santa himself. The wonder of it all, even the day after Christmas, was visible on many happy little faces. We boarded the Grand Canyon Railway again the next day, this time to take the scenic ride through ranches, fields, and forests to the Grand Canyon. Our two-day stay there was a huge eye-opener for the good work and the efficiencies of the National Park Service. We made our home at Yavapai Lodge and enjoyed the hospitality and the large, clean rooms. No WIFI here, but a great view of deep snow and pine

trees out any window. Xanterra South Rim, LLC – which has the concession to operate Yavapai and the park’s six other South Rim lodging and dining venues, as well as the Phantom Ranch in the Canyon – works toward a goal of environmental sustainability by water conservation, alternative energy sources, fleets of tour buses that run on CNG, reducing carbon emissions, recycling, growing produce on site, using waste to create energy, using green cleaning products, xeriscape, water efficient bathroom fixtures, retrofitting the inefficient diesel powered steam engine locomotives of the Grand Canyon Railway to use efficient, clean burning waste vegetable oil, harvesting rainwater for the steam locomotives, banning the sale of water in plastic bottles and providing free hydration stations to refill reusable bottles. Gift shops throughout the park are stocked with many American-made goods, and everywhere there are educational messages about leaving a smaller carbon footprint. I found these measures in a national park and their reported efficacy inspiring. It took my breath away, as did the canyon itself, so vast and of so many colors and depths. The geologic history of the Grand Canyon and that of its development as a park were accessible – either by walking into a book store in the VilContinued on page 63

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Courtesy Photo

Justice Patricia Alvarez sworn in

At the WCHF membership party

Fourth Court of Appeals Chief Justice Catherine Stone is pictured administering the oath of office to Patricia Alvarez while her father, Salvador Alvarez, her step-mother Marcia Alvarez, her mother Patricia O’Connell, her son Eduardo Valdes, and her husband Vicente Leija attest to the oath.

Veronica Gamboa, Angel Rivera, and Brenda Medina Moreno are pictured at the Webb County Heritage Foundation’s membership party on January 17. The public is invited to renew or initiate memberships in the non-profit organization that safeguards the area’s history and its historic architectural assets.

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Mariela Rodriguez/LareDOS

Mariela Rodriguez/LareDOS

Construction Junction encourages the imagination

At the 18th annual menudo cook-off

The newly installed exhibit Conjunction Junction at the Imaginarium of South Texas is offering Laredo youngsters invaluable exercises of imagination and dexterity.

This family enjoyed sampling menudo, watching a wrestling face-off, live music, kids games, and a roping contest at the Crime Stoppers Menudo Bowl on January 19 on the L.I.F.E. grounds.

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News

USDA to settle discrimination claims of female Hispanic farmers and ranchers

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he NRCS has been tasked with assisting the USDAFarm Service Agency (FSA) in sharing information about the claims process for Hispanic and women farmers and ranchers who allege discrimination by the USDA in past decades. The United States Government is establishing a Claims Process to make available up to $1.33 billion or more to farmers who alleged discrimination by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) based on being female, or based on being Hispanic, in making or servicing farm loans during certain periods between 1981 and 2000. Qualified, timely claims, could receive an award of up to $50,000 or up to $250,000 in cash, depend-

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ing on the evidence submitted. USDA will also provide a total of up to $160 million in debt relief to successful claimants who currently owe USDA money for eligible farm loans. Successful claimants may also receive an additional amount, equal to 25% of the combined cash award plus the principal amount of debt relief, to help pay federal taxes that may be owed. The claims filing deadline is March 25, 2013. For more information, go to http://www. u s d a . g o v/w p s /p o r t a l /u s d a / usdahome?contentid=2012/09/0309. xml The English/Spanish flyer is available at http://www.usda.gov/ documents/8.5x11_sp-2.pdf ◆

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CACTUS Y CABALLOS (Y COWS, TAMBIEN), Janet Krueger exhibit opens February 7

he Webb County Heritage Foundation will host an opening reception for an exhibit of paintings by Encinal artist Janet Eager Krueger on Thursday, February 7 from 6 – 8 p.m. at the Villa Antigua Border Heritage Museum at 810 Zaragoza St. Krueger, who is also a rancher, will showcase her capture of the South Texas border lands and the humans, livestock, and wildlife that inhabit it. Her take on the myth of Texas resonates with love, humor, and a sense of mission – a witnessing of the world apart that is the ranchlands. Of the evolution of her work over decades, Krueger said, “I guess in my ‘maturity’ I find myself ruminating

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more on the mystery of the attraction of being/living in the middle of the monte. When I left Bryan to be married and to come live here, an artist buddy remarked in a snide sort of way, ‘Not much to paint down there but cactus.’ I avoided the cactus for about 30 years except as bit players in the larger stage

production of my life – but now the landscape seems to have taken on the larger role as metaphor for just about everything. Survivors, I guess. My heart is  ‘Full and hollow, like a cactus tree,’ as Joni Mitchell said. I want people to know what I see, and that’s about it.” Krueger’s work is in many private and corporate collections, including the Kronkosky Charitable Foundation, the AT&T Center, the University of Texas-San Antonio, USAA, USAA Life, and the Valero Energy Center. “We are so fortunate to have an artist of such mastery in our area,” said Margarita Araiza, executive director of

the Heritage Foundation. “Once again, Janet Krueger presents her work as a true chronicle of our region’s characters, traditions, livelihoods and landscapes – all in an explosion of colors that are sometimes breathtaking and other times quietly reverent.” The exhibit includes large and small works by the artist that will be available for sale. The exhibit will be on display throughout the months of February and March at the Villa Antigua Border Heritage Museum. Museum hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is free on Tuesdays. For more information, contact the Webb County Heritage Foundation at (956) 727-0977, www.webbheritage. org or visit them on facebook. ◆

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Mariela Rodriguez/LareDOS

Beat It! Relay for Life theme

Courtesy Photo

Organizers of the annual Relay for Life kick-off announced a goal of $150,000 this year. Representatives from sponsors Chick-fil-A; Union Pacific; Rudy’s Country Store; UISD; Great American Cookie; Papa John’s; Average Joe’s; the Cold Brew; Arby’s; Five Star Therapy; Laredo Specialty Hospital; 4gupgrade.com; and McDonald’s are pictured at the event.

Mr. and Mrs. Jacob Walters Three years after being brought together by a baby shower, LareDOS, and the Laredo Bucks, Monica Rachel McGettrick and Jacob Todd Walters were married the evening of December 29, 2012 at St. Andrew by the Sea Catholic Church in Corpus Christi. Joining the couple in celebrating their marriage were family and friends from all over Texas, Ireland, and Scotland. The ceremony was officiated by the bride’s uncle, Fr. Tom McGettrick. Monica is the daughter of Anthony and Ruth McGettrick. Jacob is the son of Teresa Walters and the late Jesse Walters. Sharing in their special day was the groom’s daughter, Tsioné Walters.

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By salo Otero Salo Otero is the director of marketing for the South Texas Food Bank. He can be reached at sotero@ southexasfoodbank.org or by calling 956-726-3120.

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he STFB, serving supplemental food to the unemployed, under-employed and those living on fixed incomes, will continue to have a significant niche in the lives of Laredo residents for years to come. Celia Cole, CEO of the 21-strong Texas Food Bank Network based in Austin and Fort Worth, visited the STFB on in early January, attending the monthly board meeting at the Commerce Bank community suite. Cole, a native of New Haven, Connecticut, a graduate of Columbia University, and in Texas for 20-plus years, lauded STFB board president Kevin Romo and members and executive director Alfonso Casso and staff “for the work you do in the mission of feeding the hungry.” She told the board, “Food banks have a lot of challenges ahead, facing cuts in federal and state budgets. But we have a good reputation of meeting the needs of the poor. The future of food banks? There will be continued growth and demand until the economy gets better.” Cole noted the national farm bill has

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South Texas Food Bank

Food Bank Network CEO visits Laredo, lauds STFB

TFBN CEO Celia Cole pictured with Alfonso Casso. yet to pass in Washington, D.C. The current bill will be extended through September , but the threat of cuts looms large to programs that help the poor like SNAP (formerly foodstamps). “We must remain vigilant that the less fortunate will not be affected and continue to build relationships to get the word out on behalf of our clients to our representatives Henry Cuellar and Pete Gallego,” Cole said. “Keep talking to our people in Austin. The primary goal is to protect the funding we have, adding more with

outreach and partnerships,” she said. The STFB, which serves an eight-county area from Rio Grande City to Del Rio, ranks ninth among the TFBN. It distributed 726,687 pounds of product in December, STFB director bringing the first three months of the 2013 fiscal year total to 2,200,553 (2.2 million) pounds from October through December. The food bank served 50,012 families in October and November, including 38,196

children, 79,972 adults, and 129,055 meals. Program numbers for December are 483 bags in adopt a family, 7,078 in Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP), 210 applications for SNAP (formerly food stamps) representing 266 adults, 314 children, 775 children daily served an after school meal at 15 Kids Cafés, and 69 applicants for emergency bags representing 141 adults and 130 children. The STFB can be reached at (956) 726-3120. Information on the STFB’s programs is available at website www. southtexasfoodbank.org Tax deductible donations can be mailed to 1907 Freight St., Laredo, Tex., 78041. ◆

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Feature

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Webb County ag-agent Gonzales recognized by A&M Board of Regents

SDA County Extension educator George L. Gonzales has been recognized by the Texas A&M University System Board of Regents with the Regents Fellow Service Award. He is one of 96 agency professionals who have received the Regents Fellow Service Award to date. The system has as well over the same time period recognized 166 A&M System faculty members with the Regents Professor Award.

Gonzales, a 32-year veteran of service as a county-based extension educator, is one of 11 professors and seven fellows designated for 2011-2012 within the A&M System. He will receive this distinguished award at a reception and dinner hosted by the Texas A&M Board of Regents on Wednesday, January 30, 2013 at Texas A&M University in College Station. Well-respected within the South Texas ranching community, Gonzales is known for an ambitious, grassroots approach to extension work, yielding many successful educational programs, result and applied research

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demonstrations, and other community-based initiatives. He began his career in 1980 as an assistant county extension agent in Bee County, and became the county extension agent in Webb County in 1984. With 11 different extension specialists, he has co-authored 63 research demonstration reports. He earned the highest rank (Level IV) for an AgriLife Extension agent and serves as Webb County coordinator. He has helped to train other agents who have moved on to serve across the state and at every level of the organization. According to Dr. Ruben Saldaña, district extension administrator for Texas AgriLife Extension Service in Weslaco, “George Gonzales has a record of performance and achievement as long as it is impressive. He’s an accomplished educator and media communicator…who is synonymous with agriculture in this part of the state and has earned the respect of local elected officials. He has the single most diverse program in the district, built on the strongest program development committees and advisory board…making him highly respected and effective in all that he does.” Edward G. Smith, director, Texas AgriLife Extension Service, of the The Texas A&M University System, said of Gonzales, “His achievements exemplify the benefits of the extension model-delivering research and science-based knowledge from the land-

grant university system directly to the people, at a local level. Ripple effects can begin one drop at a time. For extension education, Mr. Gonzales is himself a result demonstration, proving the profound differences a county-based educator can make in the world that matters most to the people he serves. It is an honor to commend Mr. Gonzales for the Regents Fellow Service Award.” Chancellor John Sharp of the A&M System, said, “We have so many outstanding people working for the A&M System and these awards are a way to honor the special men and women for all that they do for the people of Texas,” said John Sharp, chancellor of the A&M System. “Some of these recipi-

ents are researchers, some are teachers and all are examples of the innovations and excellence that makes the A&M System so special.” The A&M System is one of the largest systems of higher education in the nation, with a budget of $3.5 billion. Through a statewide network of 11 universities, seven state agencies and a comprehensive health science center, the A&M System educates more than 120,000 students and makes more than 22 million additional educational contacts through service and outreach programs each year. Externally funded research expenditures exceed $780 million and help drive the state’s economy. – LareDOS Staff

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The Arts

News

That’s Amore exhibit opens February 15

AHEC-hosted obesity forum draws 80 healthcare professionals

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he Laredo Center for the Arts marks its 20th anniversary with an exhibit of the latest works of Italian artist Silvio Sangiorgi. The public is invited to the opening reception on Friday, February 15 from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. at 500 San Agustín Avenue.

Silvio Sangiorgi Presently residing in Milan, Italy, Sangiorgi, a poet and painter, has published several books and has had his art included in anthologies. Sangiorgi has exhibited his work all over Italy and in the United States. His art of oil-on-wood portraits aims to evoke emotion and offers an introspective examination of the soul. La Mancha Gallery in Los Angeles posted “his unique journey [as] a continuous search that is fought between dream and reality, a vision of genuine problems of inner reality that the painter succeeds with a very personal approach on his technique.” Sangiorgi received a degree in W W W.L A R ED OS N E WS.CO M

accounting in 1996 from the Instituto Tecnico Commerciale Statale and began attending the School of Economics in Latina. In 1999, he moved to Siena to paint and attend the School of Law and the School of Humanities. Among his published written works are L’Autunno delle illusioni, disegni e poesie (2001), Il Giorno sommerso (2002), Etnica Naturale (2003), and Ipotesi Cosmica (2004). In 2006, he published two catalogs of exhibitions entitled Io, which showed in Monteriggioni, and Sangiorgi held in Latina. Sangiorgi’s art has received several awards including first prize in the 4° Concorso delle arti figurative “L’Artista” (Orizzonti, Giuseppe Aletti Editore), first prize for his technique in the 2ª Edizione Mostra Biennale di Arte Sacra (Venturina), the Morlotti-Imbersago award for the XVIII Edizione del Trofeo Medusa Aurea dell’Accademia Internazionale d’Arte Moderna (Roma), and international honorable mention from Araldo del Borgo in the XXII Edizione del Premio Settembre a Milano (Finalista). Since its inception in 1993, the Laredo Center for the Arts has been highlighting artistic expression from local and out of town artists in a variety of genres. Housed in the former Mercado, the Center is also proud to be commemorating the history of the 130-year-old structure. The Sangiorgi exhibit will remain on display through March 18. The Center is open Tuesday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday by appointment. For more information call (956)725-1715 or visit www.laredoartcenter.org ◆

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ver 80 healthcare professionals from the United States and Mexico collaborated in late November to strategize for improved plans to help prevent obesity on both sides of the U.S./Mexico Border. The US-Mexico Border Bi-national Obesity Prevention Regional Forum met at the UT Laredo Regional Campus and offered the expertise of researchers who presented on topics such as U.S. and Mexico Obesity Prevention Programs, Community Engagement Strategies, Preventing Obesity among Children and Adolescents in Schools, Healthy Eating and Physical Activity Programs, Genetics, and Epidemiology of Type 2 Diabetes among Mexican-Americans.

Among those who participated in the forum – which was sponsored by AHEC, he Area Health Education Center of the Mid Rio Grande Border Area – were members of the United States-Mexico Border Health Commission, Texas Department of State Health Services, Office of Border Health, the Secretaría de Salud de Tamaulipas, Secretaría de Salud de Nuevo Leon, and the City of Laredo Health Department. For additional information about the forum or its contents, please call Calixto Seca Jr., regional coordinator of the Office of Border Health (OBH) of Texas Department of State Health Services at (956)764-6290 or Julie Bazan, executive director of AHEC at (956)712-0037. – LareDOS Staff

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Movie Review

Django Unchained — Tarantino’s western take on slavery By MARIELA RODRIGUEZ LareDOS Staff

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uentin Tarantino’s films are never short. Nowhere is this more evident than in Djano Unchained, the story of a slave turned bounty hunter (Jamie Foxx) once he was purchased by his mentor Dr. King Schultz (Christopher Waltz).

Tarantino’s take on slavery has caused uproar with fellow director Spike Lee, who is protesting the film, claiming to feel disrespected by Tarantino’s constant use of the n-word. I don’t know how you can say you feel disrespected by a film you’ve never seen. The use of the

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word is not surprising in the historic context of the film. Good or bad “nigga” has persisted in common use in present day culture, at times as a term of endearment. While a certain level of creativity and historical inaccuracies are allotted in fictional films, audiences still expect a good story – something Tarantino accomplished in Inglorious Bastards, but failed to do with Django, which is marketed as a slave hero film. Ironically it was not Foxx’s Django that I found to be heroic – although his strong will and determination to retrieve his wife Broomhilda (Kerry Washington) from vicious plantation owner Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio) was nothing short of admirable and romantic. It was Schultz (Waltz) who leaped from the screen as a larger hero. Schultz bought Django’s freedom, took him on as an apprentice, paid him favorably, and devised the plan to free Broomhilda. His reaction to a slave being ripped limb by limb by a pack of dogs is perhaps the most visually heart wrenching moment in the film. Schultz was truly remarkable character and so was Stephen (Samuel L. Jackson), Cadie’s trusted slave. Stephen reminded me very much of another popular outspoken character, Uncle Ruckus from The Boondocks, an animated series with

an African American cast. Reginald Hudlin, the producer of Django, is also the producer of The Boondocks series. Hudlin seems to have made decisions in Django based on the sensibilities that make his Adult Swim series so edgy. While the film held my attention throughout, lingering thoughts persisted about the overall intended message of the film. Did the white Tarantino have the authority to present the historic plight of African Americans in film? Should the histories of minorities be portrayed by someone outside the culture in mainstream entertainment and media, someone who may lack an overall understanding and appreciation

for the culture)? Whites and blacks will see the film differently. It is not a traditional cosmeticized story about slaves or slave owners. It is a violent film about a man who seeks vengeance, and who in the end is justified in his actions. The film confronted black stereotypes throughout. In true Tarantino fashion, audiences were provided with brutal, action-packed scenes that in this case held to a sense of historic truth. The degrading scenes and diabolical practice of slave owners only served to reaffirm that slavery continues to be America’s greatest sin. ◆

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Movie Review

With malice toward none, with charity for all: Lincoln

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By CORDELIA BARRERA LareDOS Contributor

n January 1842, four years before he was elected to the US House of Representatives, Abraham Lincoln, the self-educated “prairie lawyer” and Whig (later Republican) Congressman, rode alongside a caravan of shackled slaves on a river steamer bound for Ohio. The memory of those men, chained together like so many fish on a line, would remain forever etched in his mind, a “constant torment” to him. Slavery, said Lincoln, “had the power of making me miserable.” Haunted by the moral and logical complexities inextricably bound to the unjust system of US slavery, the core of this humble, plainspoken man’s thinking can be summed up in his most famous speech of 1858, in which he accepted the Illinois Republican Party nomination. When Lincoln said, “A house divided against itself cannot stand…this government cannot endure, permanently, half slave and half free,” he was talking about equality under the law, a conviction that would, in due time, unite the United States. This conviction—one that continues to wrangle Lincoln scholars today—drives Steven Spielberg’s powerful 2012 historical drama, Lincoln. Lincoln stars Daniel Day Lewis — in what may be his finest performance to date — in the title role. The film covers the last four months of Lincoln’s life and focuses on the President’s efforts to have the 13th Amendment to the US Constitution, which would abolish slavery, passed by the House of Representatives. At center stage in this surefire Oscar winner is not Lincoln’s astute political maneuvering,

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but the man himself. Lincoln remains one of our country’s greatest leaders because he possessed the wisdom and magnanimity to soothe huge egos, turn rivals into allies, and deal with the often unwieldy challenges to his leadership for the sake of what he

determined — morally, ethically, and logically — to be the greater good. Spielberg’s Lincoln is based in part on Doris Kearns Goodwin’s biography of Lincoln titled Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln (2006). As early as 1999, Spielberg knew he wanted to make a film about Lincoln based on Goodwin’s work, which was ten years in the making.

Many consider the definitive Lincoln biography to be With Malice Toward None: The Life of Abraham Lincoln (first published in 1977), the exquisitely drawn portrait of Lincoln’s life by the historian Stephen B. Oates. With Malice is essential to understanding Lincoln’s extraordinary control of the English language, and his uncanny ability to “spin yarns” into pithy arguments. Although Spielberg’s Lincoln effectively focuses on Lincoln’s final, and most significant political maneuverings (in the spirit of Team of Rivals) Daniel Day Lewis’s skin-deep investment in Lincoln’s persona is reminiscent of Oates’s Lincoln: an extraordinarily complex human being who was both witty and melancholy, staunchly idealistic but acutely pragmatic, determined yet fatalistic. At the core of Lincoln are deeply philosophical questions bound by a profoundly tumultuous and transformative period in American history. The film presents Lincoln as highly disciplined and charismatic, an astute politician capable of changing the nature of power in society. The plot of the film depicts a “race against time,” an intensely dramatic narrative device that, however historically inaccurate, seamlessly ties Lincoln’s mythologi-

cal persona to the abolition of slavery. By April 1865, many slaves — in full-scale rebellion — began seizing plantations and “occupying” the land that they had worked. Slavery was, in effect, dying of its own accord. Blacks, slaves or otherwise, and whether they rebelled or not, are either missing or shown as passive players in Lincoln. But other key actors—Mary Todd Lincoln (Sally Field), Thaddeus Stevens (Tommy Lee Jones), and Secretary of State William H. Seward (David Strathairn) all deliver strong performances. Acerbic and crotchety, Jones is riveting as the wig-wearing fervent abolitionist who publicly humiliated all manner of House Republicans and Democrats, and Field wears melancholia like the weighty pall of the Civil War itself. But the soul of the film rests with Daniel Day Lewis’s outstanding composure. Lewis’s Lincoln, with his tortured but everserene brow and flat-footed gait, depicts a magnetic storyteller, a wielder of parables and metaphoric nuance that effectively captured the hearts and minds of so many of his contemporaries. On the whole, Lincoln is both a compelling political thriller and the inspirational story of the abolition of American slavery. Historical inaccuracies aside, Spielberg skillfully mediates between Lincoln’s own evolving beliefs and the political realities of the time. There is a supreme confidence in Spielberg’s Lincoln, a conviction that, today, we have perhaps forgotten, but which we would do well to recall: “With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in.” ◆ LareDOS I JA N UA RY 2013 I

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Theatre

Shakespeare gone punk By MARIELA RODRIGUEZ LareDOS Staff

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Mariela Rodrguez/LareDOS

he phrase star crossed lovers brings foremost to mind William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet and countless portrayals and adaptations of the tragic tale of these legendary characters. The Laredo Theater Guild International (LTGI) brings its version to the stage, opening February 7 for a 10-day run. Actor and director Marco Gonzalez takes a shot at the classic with an edgy version that mixes the comedy and tragedy of two punk kids in love. Punk? That’s right. Gonzalez has dedicated his life to theater since he was first introduced to it 13 years ago. He is a 2007 graduate of Nixon High School who studied radio, television, and film at the University of Texas at Austin. Upon graduation from UT and his return home, he found Lar-

edo theater in a state of revival and became involved in local productions. Gonzalez began working with LTGI last October, acting in the productions of The Foreigner and Macbeth, last year’s Shakespeare production. Although, he has assisted in the direction of various plays, this is his second time to direct a show. “I was looking for an LTGI project to direct because I think they’re such a great organization. They are so organized, and there is a support system within the production team that is very helpful to a director,” said Gonzalez. Although apprehensive at first about directing Romeo and Juliet, he decided that if he was going to do it, he’d have to do it in a way it had never been done before. His research took him to Goth punk rock as not only the visual theme of the show, but also as the soundtrack to teen angst.

Marco Gonzalez directs actor Mark Garner. W W W.L A R ED OS N E WS.CO M

“To me punk rock music really illustrates teen angst, and this story is about the misunderstood youth revolting against the older generation of the Capulets and the Montagues,” Gonzalez said. The vision for the production continued to evolve. Originally Gonzalez had an over-the-top punk rock image in mind when it came to the costumes, which included everything from piercings and Mohawks to Goth make-up. “Whenever I work on any project, I try to come up with one word that encapsulates all of the themes. From that single word you derive what the look should be, and so for me the word in this play was rebellion,” he said. Costume components that normally wouldn’t go together were put together and made to work — such as pumpkin pants with a t-shirt, mixing Victorian with Dorian, and even including a kimono and combat boots. Deedee Diaz and Chibbi Orduña are the style gurus of the show, and no doubt will wow audiences with the final results. The set design promises to be unlike anything seen on the Laredo stage. It is the interpretation of a punk rock industrialized version of the Globe Theatre, the Elizabethan playhouse in London that was home to many of Shakespeare’s productions. Scaffolding, metal everywhere, industrial spools, and chain link fences will unify Gonzalez’s theme of rebellion and his overall vision for the show. Gonzalez’s creative vision has incorporated film techniques into the realm of theatre. One such technique is the development of a soundtrack that accurately portrays the characters’ mindsets. “Radiohead experiments with their sound. They’re very progressive and have an industrialized and electronic feel to them. I will be using three of

their songs along with some classical music and even a Beatles track,” said Gonzalez. In addition to the avant-garde costumes and set design, audiences should expect to see montage effects of the characters, and quick cuts instead of the soft fades normally seen in theatre. There are plenty of hand gestures to further enhance the meaning of the character’s words. The leading roles will be played by former Laredoan and current resident of Los Angeles Andrew Villarreal and local actress Cassandra Canales, who was the lead in Bodas de Sangre/ Blood Wedding. Both actors are in their mid 20s. Veteran actor, director, and theater instructor Vernon Carroll will portray Lord Capulet. “He is great and definitely the actor of his generation,” Gonzalez said. With only nine days from the minute Villarreal steps off the plane and on to the stage, the final product will enthrall and give a fresh perspective to this tragic tale. Some scholars maintain Romeo and Juliet was intended to be a comedy. “Because we were starting in such an original place, we realized we have absolute creative freedom. Solidifying the look of the show, editing and detailing, is resulting in a hodge-podge of ideas and inspirations,” Gonzalez said. He admitted jokingly that the greatest challenge for him as a director has been at times having his peers take direction from him. In addition to its two-weekend run, the production is to be performed for local freshman English classes. “I love theater. It is what I do because it is my calling,” Gonzalez said, adding, “Theater is a medium where you can combine movement and striking visuals.” ◆ LareDOS I JA N UA RY 2013 I

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Opinion

The Keystone XL Pipeline: It’s not for oil — it’s for a wicked fossil fuel cocktail called “DilBit” By RAND CLIFFORD AlterNet (This article was published in partnership with GlobalPossibilities.org)

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he massive exploitation of Alberta tar sands may be the biggest environmental crime in history and a new benchmark for sacrifice of public health to corporate profit. It’s so much more than converting an area of boreal forest the size of England into a cankerous and lifeless open sore bleeding tar. It’s more than decimating some of the world’s last wild forests — home to 35% of Canada’s wetlands. And it’s more than attacking Earth’s biosphere with a carbon weapon of mass destruction. How far has corporate depravity driven corporate disregard for life on Earth? The exploitation of the Alberta tar sands goes the distance with the Keystone XL pipeline. In December 11, 2012 an L.A. Times article by Molly Hennessy-Fiske revealed that Jack Sinz, Texas County Court at Law Judge, lifted his restraining order that delayed a portion of TransCanada’s Keystone XL running through eastern Texas. The restraining order resulted from landowner Michael Bishop filing suit to halt pipeline construction on his property because TransCanada fraudulently promised that Keystone XL would transport “crude oil.” TransCanada lawyers convinced Judge Sinz that Michael Bishop “...understood what he was doing when he signed off on an easement agreement with the company three weeks ago.” TransCanada spokesman Shawn Howard stated, “TransCanada has been open and transparent with Mr. Bishop

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at all times.” Then Mr. Howard further illuminates the howler of TransCanada being open and transparent: “Since Mr. Bishop signed his agreement with TransCanada, nothing about the pipeline or the product it will carry has changed. While professional activists and others have made the same claims Mr. Bishop did today, oil is oil.” Problem is, oil is exactly what Keystone pipeline does not pipe. Raw bitumen diluted with up to 50% natural gas liquids (condensates) at 1,440 pounds per square inch (psi) pressure, and temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit — that’s what Keystone XL pipes, a wicked brew called, “DilBit”. What’s DilBit? That depends. TransCanada’s Howard said, “...oil is oil.. But that’s hardly the case. The massive exploitation of Alberta tar sands (MEATS) and Keystone XL advocates cultivate public misconception of DilBit being crude oil. A dangerous ruse spanning pipeline safety regulations to pipeline technology and leak detection... back to public awareness. Pawning off DilBit as crude oil is TransCanada’s public-relations Job Number One — except when it comes to the IRS. The oil industry pays an eight-centsper-barrel tax on crude oil produced in or imported to the U.S., proceeds earmarked for the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund that covers cleanup costs for oil spills. But in 2011, at the request of a company whose identity is kept secret, an exemption was made that frees DilBit from this tax because, as the secret company made clear: “oil” from Canada’s tar sands is so different (chemistry, behavior, how it’s produced) that it should not be considered crude oil. Texas, and federal statutory codes

define crude oil as “liquid hydrocarbons extracted from the earth at atmospheric temperatures”. Simple enough, DilBit is not crude oil. Alberta bitumen is strip-mined and steam-melted from sands and silts; it takes two tons of earth, three barrels of water, and lots of natural gas to extract one barrel of raw bitumen, which is almost a solid. MEATS currently consumes, per day, enough natural gas to heat 3 million Canadian homes, and fouls 400 million gallons of water. Wastewater is pumped into immense tailing ponds rich in arsenic, cyanide, ammonia, cadmium, lead, mercury, nickel, zinc — not to mention the biocidal gumbo of hydrocarbons — 65 square miles of tailing ponds, so far. Downstream from tailing ponds, as in Fort Chipewyan, there are spikes of lupus, renal failure, hyperthyroidism, and 100 of the town’s largely indigenous population of 1,200 have dying of cancer. Many rare cancers. DilBit’s character really shines its deepest darkest black when spilled into the environment. Actually, a cup of coffee might spill, a glass of milk; eruption is a better term for a DilBit pipeline or pump station “event”.  Permanent Pollution Keystone was predicted to spill no more than once every seven years. After being in operation less than one year, Keystone tallied its eleventh spill — at a pump station, which TransCanada insists “don’t count.”.  It was in Ludden, North Dakota, May 7, 2011. A 3/4-inch pipe fitting failed under the pressure, erupting DilBit 60 feet high — 21,000 gallons in minutes. July 26, 2010 had already shown us what a DilBit pipeline at 1440 psi and 160 degrees F can do. Line 6B of the Enbridge

Energy Partners Lakehead system ruptured, erupting a million gallons of DilBit into Michigan’s Kalamazoo River; the “Marshall spill”. Since pipeline operators are not required to say what they are piping, emergency responders didn’t discover until ten days later that what turned the Kalamazoo River black was DilBit. Original expectations were that cleanup would take a few months. But after two years the job was not over and apparently never will be. The EPA has declared 30 miles of the Kalamazoo River “ essentially permanently polluted”. Typically, 90% of crude oil spilled into water can be captured with booms and skimmers. DilBit is from 50% to 70% bitumen, diluted with natural gas condensates collectively called diluents (exact composition of diluents is a “trade secret”). DilBit in the Kalamazoo River was 70% bitumen. After diluents separated out, bitumen sank and coated the riverbed. Coincidentally, nine days before DilBit tarred the Kalamazoo River, the EPA warned that the “proprietary nature” of DilBit diluents could complicate cleanup. Over the last 10 years, average cleanup cost of spilled crude oil has been about $2,000 per barrel. DilBit in the Kalamazoo River has cost $29,000 per barrel, making it by far the most expensive spill in U.S. history — over $800 million so far. Much of the bitumen cannot be cleaned up without destroying the riverbed. DilBit pipelines operate at elevated temperature and high pressure to reduce viscosity and increase piping efficiency — increasing the risk of corrosion for a product that, compared to crude oil, contains huge amounts of abrasive quartz Continued on page 49

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 Continued FROM page 48 particles. DilBit’s extreme acidity and sulfur content also weaken steel.  Between 2002 and 2010, the Alberta hazardous-liquid pipeline system had 25-times as many leaks and ruptures per mile than the U. S. system, mostly from internal corrosion. TransCanada responded to the corrosion problem by seeking a safety waiver to use thinner-than-normal steel for Keystone XL. What little research done regarding DilBit has been conducted by industry, so it’s proprietary. That’s right, the old “trade secrets” suppression of information helping to keep government regulating DilBit as crude oil. Defective Steel Pipeline construction saw a major boom from 2007 to 2009. The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) inspection of seven pipelines built during the boom revealed that five showed expansion anomalies indicating significant amounts of defective steel. Several mills had provided defective steel, but 88% of the pipe with expansion anomalies was traced to a manufacturer based in India: Welspun Power and Steel. Welspun provided 47% of the steel for Keystone 1. TransCanada confirmed on February 2, 2012, that they will not be using any steel from India to build Keystone XL. An email to Energy and Commerce Committee staff from TransCanada’s government relations staff said, “We have not sourced any steel from India.” But days later (February 17, 2012), TransCanada confirmed in a press release that 10% of the steel in Keystone XL will come from Welspun, India. Other examples of TransCanada’s openness and transparency include: December 31, 2009: TransCanada confesses that Keystone XL would cause an increase in gas prices. June, 2010: TransCanada cites a recent study that claims Keystone XL would reduce gas prices. From the TransCanada website: “...supplies from reliable sources leads to lower costs, thereby putting downward pressure on prices.” W W W.L A R ED OS N E WS.CO M

September 26, 2011: Alex Pourbaix, TransCanada’s President of Energy and Oil Pipelines declares that the route for Keystone XL has been exhaustively analyzed, and it would be next to impossible to change it now. October 11, 2011: In a meeting with Nebraska State Senators, Alex Pourbaix insists that moving the route for Keystone XL would jeopardize the project. October 18, 2011: “...it is possible for us to move the route to avoid the Sandhills.” (Alex Pourbaix) November 14, 2011:    TransCanada announces they will change the route of Keystone XL. November 29, 2011: Russ Girling, CEO of TransCanada, declares that re-routing the pipeline would be easy. December 2, 2011: Alex Pourbaix cannot promise that Keystone XL’s “crude oil” will not be for foreign export. That’s a very important point. Keystone XL will supply the global market — a pipeline through, not to, the U.S.  Jobs Massive corporate attacks on the environment are often heralded by wildlyinflated promises of jobs, a standard brilliantly reflected by Keystone XL. TransCanada purports that Keystone XL construction will create 20,000 American jobs. Numbers from independent analysis seem more realistic, freer of agenda, averaging out to: 50 permanent jobs and 2,500 temporary jobs — but wait a minute. Considering jobs in emergency-response, cleanup, and environmental rehabilitation (where possible) created by DilBit erupting from Keystone XL...20,000 jobs might seem like an underestimation? Could tar mop-up be a new major growth industry, brought to us by a neighbor we thought was friendly? Perhaps TransCanada was simply not open and transparent regarding the kind of jobs Keystone XL will create. After all, TransCanada was open and transparent on September 17, 2009, when they described Keystone XL as “...a boon for corporate profits, but a burden to American consumers.” Tar With Attitude Corrosion is a huge menace to DilBit

pipelines, but corrosion takes time. An immediate and permanent hazard is called, “column separation.” The “column” is a mass of DilBit up to 30 miles long being squeezed along like toothpaste. Variations in pipeline pressure cause diluents to change from liquid to gas, creating a bubble, or column separation within the pipeline. Collapse of bubbles can result in pressure spikes capable of deforming or even rupturing pipeline. Column separation can also make it very difficult to detect leaks. A bubble can impede the flow of DilBit to and from nearby pump stations, giving pipeline operators signs similar to a leak. If the impeded flow is interpreted as a column separation, more DilBit is forced through the pipeline — which can be horrific if there is a leak. Keystone uses leak-detection technology developed for crude oil pipelines. 294,000 gallons of loss per day is needed to activate automatic safety responses. In the Marshal spill, the Enbridge pipeline erupted Dilbit into the Kalamazoo River for over 12 hours before pipeline shutdown. If a leak is detected and safety valves block the flow of DilBit, a potentially devastating phenomenon called a “fluid hammer” can elevate pressures far above the pipeline’s operating pressure. A column of DilBit at high pressure is like a freight train 30-miles long — impossible to stop quickly. Tons of inertia feed a train wreck inside the pipeline...a fluid hammer. Yet another unique DilBit hazard — in a pipeline rupture, diluents can explode with natural gas condensates so flammable they can even set raw bitumen on fire. Burning raw bitumen boils up toxic clouds containing a gas lethal in minute concentrations: hydrogen sulfide. Emergency personnel responding to a DilBit pipeline eruption must be fully trained and equipped to deal with hydrogen sulfide drifting toward populated areas. The gas is heavier than air, creating severe exposure potential because it hugs the ground, pooling in hollows, canyons, valleys — populated areas, generally.

U.S. Best Interests TransCanada so rarely tells the truth. When it happens, it’s an event — especially when something as profound as Keystone XL being “...a boon for corporate profits, but a burden for American consumers” is spilled. Keystone XL is a pipeline for the blackest goo that ever shined doom in all colors. $5.2 billion and counting has been spent to extend fossil-fuel dependence -$5.2 billion that could have funded energies that offer a future. The whole job-creation scenario wilts in light of the new-energy jobs taken away by pursuing bitumen as an energy source. How could a product destined for the global market be spoken of in terms of U.S. energy security? Besides, even at maximum exploitation, Dilbit could supply only about 2% of U.S. energy consumption. Keystone XL’s threat to vital U.S. resources peaks out by crossing 19 miles of the Ogallala aquifer with zero special precautions. Latest polls show battle lines being drawn between disinformation and awareness. Disinformation has healthy financial backing. Awareness faces austerity, if not poverty. A flash of light: the L.A. Times’ recent online poll has 25% of respondents saying yes to construction of Keystone XL, while 75% say no. Barack Obama is in the sticky situation of trying to sell a pipeline squeezing DilBit through the U.S. heartland, to feed the international market, as somehow in the nation’s best interests. Extreme public risk for nothing but corporate profits. Or, as TransCanada put it “...a boon for corporate profits, but a burden for American consumers.” Keystone XL is a tar baby if ever there was one. Does the President have the cojones to – at least for the sake of public health – stand up and say no to Big Tar? (Rand Clifford lives in Spokane, Washington. His novels, CASTLING, TIMING, and Priest Lake Cathedral, are published by StarChief Press.) ◆ LareDOS I JA N UA RY 2013 I

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Feature

Berrones’ algorithm – a hint of antics and the macabre By MARIELA RODRIGUEZ LareDOS Staff

Mariela Rodriguez/LareDOS

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aredo artist David Berrones hosted a solo exhibition – Algorithm– on January 12 at Caffe Dolce. The exhibition also served as a launch party for Algorithm Art & Apparel, a clothing line developed by Berrones and his wife Erika. Berrones said Algorithim is his specific vision and understanding of the world, referring to Algorithm as a fragmented and mediated experience of the world around us. The pieces featured in his exhibit were mixed-media collages filled with historical symbolism and popular icons. “As a society it is important for people to be aware of historical events and figures. We must educate ourselves of the possibilities, consequences, or results of certain actions,” Berrones said, adding, “I find historical symbolisms and popular iconography important to my work, because the imagery is easily recognizable and understood by most people. This imagery plays various roles in creating satire or simply to narrate the story or idea.” Music plays a vital role as the premise or idea from which Berrones’ works evolve. According to the artist, his works are intended to be visual narratives in which intrinsic human emotions and experiences are displayed. This was evident in three of his particular works. Help I’m Alive, was influenced by a song of the same title written by Metric. Berrones said, “This piece is

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David Berrones based on fear and perseverance – the fear we all sometimes have of failing in life and the will we possess to overcome life’s obstacles and persevere.” Rearview Mirror, was influenced by a song of the same title written by Pearl Jam. “This work is about reflecting upon one’s life as an older person and with more clarity. It is about understanding and yet ceasing to live in one’s past to embark on a new journey, despite the fear of challenges one might face,” he said. Do the Evolution – a satirical piece about the origin and evolution of mankind – was also influenced by a Pearl Jam song. According to the artist, it is meant to force us to take a good hard look at the society we have created and how we have intrinsically failed to truly

evolve as humans, despite our technological advancements. Other bands from which Berrones draws inspiration are The Doors, Interpol, APC, Stone Temple Pilots, and Beastie Boys. Despite Berrones’ fascination with disparate images creating new meanings, he prefers pen and ink on paper. “That is usually how I begin all my pieces. I feel it creates a unique and direct visual dialogue, with its high contrast and simplicity,” he said. Algorithm Art & Apparel stemmed from Berrones and his wife looking for the best way to expand Berrones audience on a larger scale. “My beautiful wife, Erika Skyles-Berrones is very much my foundation and deserves much credit for this venture,” Berrones said, adding, “We feel that Algorithm Art & Apparel is a lot fresher

and more substantial than a lot of the designs and companies we’ve seen. With our company, the consumer is buying a piece of art, not just some kitschy design, bland image, or mindless slogan.” Berrones said his work is influenced by Conceptualism and Pop-Art Surrealism as well as Robert Rauschenberg, Andy Warhol, and Salvador Dali. “I think everything we see influences us consciously or subconsciously, whether we know it or not. I have great appreciation of many artists from Picasso to Eric Fischl, but I would not say they influenced me directly. The only artist I can think of who has influenced me or from whom I draw inspiration would have to be Shepard Fairey,” he said. Berrones earned a BFA in Studio Art from Texas A&M University in Corpus Christi. He has taught art at Alexander High School for the past seven years. ◆

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Laredo Community College

LCC Fun Fest offers wholesome entertainment By MONICA McGETTRICK WALTERS LareDOS Contributor

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or many years, Laredo Community College’s annual Fun Fest and Musicale have offered families a way to unwind and have some fun in a safe and wholesome environment. As this year’s fiesta reaches its silver anniversary, the LCC family invites the public to have some fun to a higher degree on Saturday, Feb. 16 from 12 to 5 p.m. on the Fort McIntosh Campus grounds next to the Maravillo Gymnasium. The 25th annual Fun Fest and Musicale will feature delicious treats to please the palate, thrilling music to bring you to your feet, and exotic ani-

mals to bring a smile to any child’s (or adult’s) face. This popular Washington’s Birthday tradition will offer a day full of games, music, food and fun for anyone looking to relax after a long work week. As always, the best part of Fun Fest is that admission is free of charge. The musicale, which has become a Fun Fest favorite, highlights the talents of the college’s performing arts programs, as well as those from other local schools and private dance studios. Modern dance, mariachi music, and traditional Mexican dances can all be found on the main stage. If you find yourself hungry after dancing along or tapping your foot to the rhythm of the music, the fest has plenty of delicious fare to offer even the

It’s all fun and games at LCC’s Family Fun Fest Children young and old eagerly wait to learn if they have won a prize during one of the many games available during Laredo Community College’s Fun Fest and Musicale. This year’s outdoor celebration will be on Saturday, Feb. 16 from 12 to 5 p.m. at the Fort McIntosh Campus grounds next to the Maravillo Gymnasium. Admission is free and open to the community. W W W.L A R ED OS N E WS.CO M

pickiest palate, including funnel cakes, roasted corn, candy, and marshmallow shish kabobs, among many others. Want something a bit more substantial? LCC student organizations will be operating food concessions, selling fare like hot dogs, burgers, corn dogs, nachos, pizza, and corn in a cup. If you bring the kids along, college faculty and staff will be hosting fun and interactive games and activities for all to enjoy.  And don’t forget the petting zoo, which features a variety of exotic animals. There also will be rock climbing, face painting, inflatable slides, and bounce houses. All in all, the LCC Family Fun Fest and Musicale are a surefire way to have a good time. Don’t miss it! Distinguished Speaker Series takes flight If you have ever looked to the skies at night and imagined traveling into the heavens, then join Laredo Community College on Thursday, Feb. 7 at 6 p.m. as former astronaut José M. Hernandez tells his story of traveling from the depths of the ocean to the stars in the sky as part of the 2012-2013 Distinguished Speaker Series in the Guadalupe and Lilia Martinez Fine Arts Center theater. Hernandez will share his story of growing up working the fields of California with his migrant-working family, studying to become an engineer, diving to the depths of the ocean, and traveling to the International Space Station as part of NASA’s Space Shuttle mission STS-128. Born in California to Mexican parents, Hernandez and his family lived a nomadic lifestyle, moving from place to place in search of work. Education was important to him, however, and he participated in Upward Bound during high school. He

later earned a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the University of the Pacific and a master’s degree in electrical and computer engineering from the University of California at Santa Barbara. Saying the sky was the limit for Hernandez is more than just hyperbole, however. In 2001, Hernandez joined the Johnson Space Center in Houston, hoping to become an astronaut. He became an astronaut candidate in 2004, and in 2006, he completed his training. However, before joining the STS-128 mission to the International Space Station, Hernandez received a unique opportunity to serve as an aquanaut in the Aquarius underwater laboratory in the Florida Keys. After exploring the depths of the ocean and the stars in the sky, Hernandez chose to pursue a far less celestial but no less important role- that of a public servant. In October 2011, he announced his intention to run for the U.S. House of Representatives. He faced Republican Jeff Denham in the election for California’s 10th Congressional District of California, although he lost the election in a very close race. Hernandez is the second speaker in this year’s series. Veteran, actor and motivational speaker J.R. Martinez appeared in September 2012 as the first speaker of the 2012-2013 Distinguished Speaker Series. Past speakers have included renowned criminologist Dr. Jack Levin, skeptic Dr. Michael Shermer, Fidel Castro’s daughter Alina Fernandez, and Mayan expert Dr. Ed Barnhart. The speaker presentation is free and open to students and the public. General seating is available on a first-come, first-seated basis. For more information on the Distinguished Speaker Series, contact the Office of Student Life at 721-5179. ◆ LareDOS I JA N UA RY 2013 I

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The Mystery Customer BY THE mystery Customer

The MC feared that the HEB produce stocker’s cologne would stick to the Romaine and other vegetables

HEB South Zapata Hwy. The red-shirted produce man who was restocking the MC’s favorite fruits and vegetables had so much cologne on his person that walking near him was like taking a ball peen hammer between the eyes. Huge wafts of mucho manly fragrance filled the produce area and the MC was totally turned off at the prospect of buying a head of Romaine that might be tainted with the smell. Best Buy 7905 San Dario Ave In spite of the craziness of holiday shopping, it was surprisingly refreshing to receive stupendous customer service at any retail location. On the 24th of December employees at this establishment were in high spirits and the MC was attended to rather quickly. One employee in particular in the elec-

tronics section went out of his way to ensure the desired products were acquired for the MC. BC Plantation McPherson @ Del Mar Amanda de Leon offered super, super service from her bank lobby desk when the MC came in to renew a bank note. She was cordial, intelligent, and very helpful. Having just come from the reduced service at the IBC Banquito downtown, the MC was shocked to see three tellers moving along everyone in the cue. Subway 5112 McPherson Ave The MC made a pit stop for some much needed grub one cold January evening. Despite the unusual weather conditions, the establishment was fairly busy. With only two employees servicing customers the duo put all their efforts into making sure all or-

ders were prepared and received in a timely fashion. The MC enjoyed a delectable meatball sub as she looked on at the impressive service rendered to customers. Cinemark Mall del Norte 5300 San Dario For a distraction from all of life’s complications, the MC decided to enjoy the comforts of a good cinematic escape. The MC decided on The Rise of the Guardians for a big dose of family holiday cheer. While the movie itself could be deemed fantastic, the service from the employees lagged a bit. There appeared to be no one manning the ticket booth. The MC stepped inside to see if perhaps tickets were being sold at the refreshment bar, but it turns out the employee was upfront texting in a corner. By the time MC went out again there were five people in line. Once the MC obtained his ticket he decided to purchase some ridiculously overpriced popcorn – usually worth it – only to be disappointed by its bland flavor.

Immel Ford Fredricksburg, TX By all accounts, this outfit offered extraordinary service and a great deal on a trade-in to close a truck sale late on a Saturday afternoon. Danny’s 4320 McPherson The coffee never went cold at this early morning breakfast for four. The service was great and the food was a yummy square deal. Michael’s 5510 San Bernardo A good long line of customers and only one register open on Jan. 12. The MC butted into an employee chatfest near a closed register to ask for a price check with a scanner, but neither clerk could rise to the task. “Can’t do it, mam. Only the woman at the open register.” The MC doesn’t shop there often enough to remember the hideous service. The woman at the one open register, a longtime employee, offered great service. ◆

Now open! Pat’s Kitchen 5517 McPherson Rd.

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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.

“What did you get for Christmas?” is one of the questions most asked during this time of the year. Of course, only a handful ask, “What did you give for Christmas?” Working for a non-profit organization such as the South Texas Food Bank (STFB), I’m aware the “give” has much more significance. The comments heard around town are, “Laredo is a very giving community.” Amen, and yes, to that. Stories about examples of charity and charitable Laredoans are many. Allow us to share this one and to encourage more of the same giving. With more than 30 percent of Laredo-Webb County residents living below the poverty line – almost double the state average of 16.3 percent – the STFB mission of feeding the hungry is daunting. Hard-working people don’t make enough money to sustain their families in the most basic need of all – food. Herewith is that real life story. A Laredo single mom with three children ages 12, 14, and 15 working two jobs called the STFB just three days into the New Year. She said, “I lost one of my jobs and in the other job, my hours have been cut. You gave me your card several months ago and asked if I needed help.” At the time, the young mom did not ask for assistance. But now with her job situation change, she could use the helping hand. She called and the STFB stepped in to give her an emergency bag that she picked up at the food bank office at 1907 Freight at Riverside in west Laredo. The emergency bag program, funded from local donations, is one of five STFB programs that get food to the needy. Emergency bags are for immediate assistance. The W W W.L A R ED OS N E WS.CO M

South Texas Food Bank

A story of ‘getting’ and ‘giving’ for Christmas other programs are mostly monthly distributions at several pantries and agencies throughout Laredo. After the emergency bag, this mom was then referred to a sponsorship program called Adopt A Family (ADF) that was initiated by the STFB 10 years ago. A community member can adopt a family with a $120 annual donation. The “adopted family” receives a bag of food per month for one year. “Adopt A Family is neighbors helping neighbors,” said STFB ADF director Miguel Zuniga. The STFB distributes almost 500 ADF bags per month. Newcomers to the program like this family go on a waiting list, which numbers about 100. But in this case, the charity of Laredoans again came to the forefront almost as fast as the emergency bag. Within minutes of making the ADF application, the STFB received a call from a charitable woman who delivered a check for $240 to sponsor two families. She was told of the mom and three children and agreed to sponsor them. Similar stories are numerous in the mission of the STFB, which distributes supplemental food to 27,000 families per monthin an eight-county area from Río Grande City to Del Río. Regarding the mom and three children, STFB executive director Alfonso Casso noted, “We see people from all walks of life receiving assistance. Most are hard-working individuals going through a rough time because of the current economic situation.” For more information call the South Texas Bank (956) 726-3120 or visit the website at www.southtexasfoodbank. org Tax deductible donations can be mailed to 1907 Freight, Laredo, Tex., 78041. ◆

Courtesy Photo

By salo Otero

LULAC Council No. 7 made a $500 donation to the South Texas Food Bank’s Adopt a Family program. LULAC officers José Gonzalez, Armando Almanza, Mati Becerra, and Mary Peña made the check presentation to STFB executive director Alfonso Casso. Every $120 donation adopts one family per year.

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By dr. neo gutierrez

Dr. Neo Gutierrez is a Ph.D. in Dance and Fine Arts, Meritorious Award in Laredo Fine Arts recipient 2009 from Webb Co. Heritage Foundation, Laredo Sr. Int’l 2008, Laredo MHS Tiger Legend 2002, and Sr. Int’l de Beverly Hills, 1997. Contact neodance@aol.com.

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or this, my first column of the new year, I was going to discuss the terribly dreadful gun violence events of December. Then I came across a note in incdef. com from long-time friend and former Laredoan Antonio Uribe, now of Corona, Calif. His remembrances of life in Laredo and San Ygnacio back in the 40s seemed to ease my personal pain from December’s horrific events. Antonio Uribe, now 87, was born in San Ygnacio in 1925. He was delivered by his paternal grandmother. He went on to a happy childhood due to loving parents and relatives. He went through the Laredo school system, but his high school education was interrupted when he served for three years in the military. He came home in 1945 and finished high school, but he could find no work in Laredo, so he came to California in 1946. Except for a short stay back in Laredo, he has lived exclusively in California, where he worked as a mechanic and a jack-of-all trades who specialized in heating and cooling. He retired about 1990, and he now lives in a retirement home. He was married to Josefina Soliz for almost 50 years, and he still misses her very much. Of her he says, “She was my wife, companion, and a wonderful woman.” In his incdef note, he explains how at Christmas in Laredo things moved slowly. The barrio was poor and so was St. Nick...for the load was heavy and few chimneys were smoking. But, what chimneys, he asks. The barrio had few and Santa was skinny, not too much padding to push through the chimney, so he entered few homes and there were few toys to be enjoyed. “Things started getting in shape about a week before Christmas. Getting the tree was a chore only mother

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Notes from La La Land

Antonio Uribe: remembering yesteryear could handle...she went to a cypress tree by the entrance gate and selected the best branch, to represent our tree that year. Resemblance to Christmas trees of today was none. The branch was set on a table with tinsel and cotton added for winter effects. Foil was cut from used packs of Lucky Strike cigarettes, which were wrapped in foil with paper backing. So tinsel was made by separating foil from paper and then cutting it in strips. A manger was placed by the tree with a nativity scene only. “After Christmas, mom used to go to Kress and buy low-priced pieces to add to our nativity scene, and at the end, we had a complete nativity scene with “la sagrada familia,” shepherds, animals, and even three wise men and their camels. Christmas season was always a great joy for that was time for tamales to be enjoyed after Midnight Mass. We walked to church and arrived early in order to get seats. The church was always packed and latecomers had to stand till some people went to get communion and lost their seats in the process. “Arriving home after midniht we sat down to hot tamales, buñuelos, ojarascas, and hot lemon grass tea. And what a feast it was. We ate, opened our presents, which were mostly clothes for school. We always received a small box. After breakfast, around 4 a.m., we usually stayed up and cracked pecans. “I had written a letter to Santa asking for a bicycle and was disappointed the first year when I received a letter from Santa saying that he had run out of bicycles in San Antonio, but that for sure I would get one next year. The second year was no better, for Santa had run out of bicycles just before he reached Cotulla. It was an improve-

ment. But in the third year he made it as far as Los Botines. Needless to say, I never got my bicycle — never owned a “yonca.” The best I could do was get a second-hand one my cousin discarded, and it was a small one with 16-inch wheels. “Comparing the past and the present, it is like comparing night and day. We had no TVs, no computers nor electronic gadgets, and some did not even have a phone (we didn’t). We had little, but by the same token, we had a lot. Little material things turned into other things, using a lot of imagination. Games we played were many. Most were games that we dreamed up and we made them come to reality. Games like tops, marbles, and jacks lost their interest after a while, but we even played with milk bottle caps. “The new generation does not even know what they are. I see none of these games played today. He continues: Any of you remember the game El Coyote? The game was usually played after dinner in San Ygnacio, while we waited for the day›s heat to subside. The object

was for Coyote to eat sheep while the sheep tried to box in the coyote. The game board was inscribed on sand stones in a shady area and the game was enjoyed by old and young. “Other games of imagination included playing tag. Usually we played it at night on street corners. The object of the game was to run from base to base without getting caught. Bases were at every corner, and one guy had to catch someone off base, so he could become base runner, and the guy that was caught was «it.» “We made a baseball spinner game and even had teams made from soda and beer caps. We would keep scores and records, leading to playing a championship game after we played a season. “Dominos was another game we played in our youth, and we returned to it after our time in military service. In Laredo, there were only two domino/pool tables in town. Today I am sure our games from our childhood would be antiquated and boring.” And on that note, it›s time for--as Norma Adamo says--TAN TAN! ◆

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Seguro Que Si By Henri Kahn

Contact Henri D. Kahn with your insurance questions at (956) 725-3936, or by fax at (956) 791-0627, or by email at hkahn@ kahnins.com

Expect the unexpected

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arch 13, 2013 will mark my 50th year in the insurance business. My profession provides people with a way to prepare and lessen the financial and emotional devastation of an unexpected event. I have delivered or been involved in the process of numerous life insurance death claims and in preparing this article for LareDOS I remembered that in January 1968 I delivered a $50,000 death claim check to a young widow who was two months away from the birth of her first child. Her now deceased husband died in an auto accident two weeks after I sold him the $50,000 life insurance policy naming the expectant mother of his child as his beneficiary. When I handed her the check she was in tears, kissed my hand and thanked me. I told her that preparing for the unexpected was her husband’s act of love in preparing for the unexpected, namely an untimely death. I recall a motorcyclist that ended up with a multitude of broken bones that were repaired thanks to his mother’s decision to prepare for the unexpected, by purchasing health insurance that paid six-figure dollars to doctors and hospitals. I remember, too, a baby girl born with a hole in her heart being transported to Corpus Christi for surgery and intensive care that cost a substantial amount of money paid by an insurance policy, thanks to the 45 year-old mother’s just-in-case deciW W W.L A R ED OS N E WS.CO M

sion to prepare for the unexpected by having maternity coverage at her age. Then there was the 42 year-old man who suffered an unexpected heart attack that left him unable to work, and he called me to say he had received a check from the insurance company to replace his regular paycheck, thanks to my talking to him about preparing for an unexpected disability. I had a business man visit my office to thank and hug me for convincing him to buy workers compensation coverage, because one of his warehouse employees had suffered a broken back injury when he mistakenly drove the forklift he was operating off the edge of a cargo loading ramp. Medical care, income, and possible lawsuit was covered and the insurance benefits kept him in business. A few days ago I was asked how to supplement Social Security Income payments with an insured guaranteed income for life for a 50 year-old woman when she retires. I recommended an annuity to prepare for the unexpected possibility of not having sufficient money for her to have a financially stress-free retirement. Don’t wait till you say “I should have done something.” Expect the unexpected and get prepared. 2013 will be as good a year as you make it. Be optimistic and positive. Not only seguro que si, but claro que si. ◆

News

Taste of Laredo 2013 – more of everything!

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xperience the tastiest part of the 116th Washington’s Birthday Celebration (WBCA) at the Taste of Laredo on Thursday, February 7 at the Laredo Energy Arena (LEA). The festivities begin at 6:45 p.m. with a ribbon-cutting ceremony. Food connoisseurs should expect more food, beer, and wine choices than ever before. A grand variety of samples will appeal to everyone’s taste buds. For an additional fee, patrons can elect to taste from an international variety of beer and wine options. The 2013 Taste of Laredo promises some great musical entertainment with the likes of the Space Rockers – Austin’s premier 80s cover band. Also hitting the stage are Captain Cosmos, Probe, Thunderstick, and Stinger and Neuron. New to this year’s event is a pizzaeating contest sponsored by CiCi’s Pizza and the wing-eating contest sponsored by Buffalo Wild Wings. The event is open

to all who wish to compete. Registration the day of the event will be at the main entrance. Tickets are available for purchase at the LEA box office, select H-E-B stores, online at ticketmaster.com or charge-byphone at 1-800-745-3000. Ticket prices are $22 for adults and $12 for children 12 years or under. “We send a warm invitation to the whole community to experience one of our most favorite events at the LEA. Come and enjoy good food, music and company at the Taste of Laredo,” said Xavier Villalon, general manager for the SMG-managed Laredo Energy Arena. Since 1985, the Taste of Laredo has been one of the increasingly well-attended WBCA events that attract thousands of visitors each year. Restaurants and established eateries interested in participating can contact Javier Solis Jr. at (956) 523-6598. – LareDOS Staff

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Serving Sentences

By randy koch Randy Koch earned his MFA at the University of Wyoming and teaches writing at Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania.

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n light of recent events in Newtown, Aurora, Tucson, Minneapolis, Red Lake, and Oak Creek, Wisconsin, I offer the following abbreviated catalog of figurative language we all use, often without thinking about its implications: Aim: to intend or be prepared to do something just as one means to hit a target by aiming a gun at it. I aim to buy that loaded Mercedes once I’ve saved enough money. Bang for the buck: worth or value; refers to how much ammunition and, therefore, the number of shots one gets for one’s money. If you wait until the after-Christmas sales, you’ll get more bang for your buck. Bring in (or out) the big guns: suddenly introduce people or materials that will significantly affect the outcome of a contest or event, just as bigger, more powerful guns are likely to overpower smaller ones in a fight. The law firm brought in their big guns when defending their wealthy client against charges of embezzlement. Caught in the crossfire: unexpectedly trapped between two dissenting parties, like being caught between and, therefore, in danger of getting shot by either of two opposing sides shooting at each other. When John’s sister accused his best friend Chris of being lewd and loaded, John got caught in the crossfire. Draw fire: to intentionally attract negative attention during a conflict or argument in order to protect someone else, much as one makes him- or herself visible during a gun battle to divert the enemy’s attention from one’s comrades. Just before his parents were about to ground his younger brother Rick for the next six months, Chris drew their fire by claiming it was his idea to stuff the firecrackers in the gas

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Loaded language grill. Easy mark: someone easily cheated or taken advantage of, like a target easily hit with a gunshot. Melissa knew Jim was an easy mark when he asked the dealer, “Which is better--a full house or four of a kind?” Fire: discharge or dismiss from a job just as a bullet is discharged from a gun. Clarence got fired because he was constantly scoping out the boss’s wife. Flash in the pan: spectacular but short-lived and mostly ineffectual effort or performance; refers to an old gun’s priming charge igniting in the pan without setting off the main charge. Some people think pop singer Justin Bieber is just a flash in the pan. Give it (or take) a shot: to try or attempt, like shooting a gun in an effort to hit something. I’ve never made an angel food cake, but I’ll give it a shot. Go off halfcocked: to attempt something without being adequately prepared; refers to an incompletely cocked gun, which can discharge accidentally. Everyone knew that when Clarence got fired, he’d barge into the company president’s office and go off halfcocked. Gun it! or Give it the gun!: an exclamation from a passenger in a vehicle directing the driver to speed up quickly. While draping the oak tree with toilet paper, Chris and Carlos spotted Mr. Hernandez stomping out of his house with a double-barreled shotgun. They dived into Joe’s Chrysler idling by the curb and yelled, “Gun it, Joe!” Guns: biceps, probably because weapons are also referred to as “arms.” “Look at the guns on that linebacker,” Melissa sighed. Gun-shy: to be hesitant about or fearful of doing something, much as a horse or dog jumps or shies away from the report of a gun fired nearby. He’s awfully gun-shy when it comes to

dating divorced women. Hair trigger: a short temper, so temperamental as to be easily angered or provoked, like a gun that fires with very little pressure on the trigger. Don’t ask Joe about the citation he got on Friday; he’s got a hair trigger. In the crosshairs or sights: in imminent danger as a result of being the focus of someone’s attention; refers to the crosshairs in a gun’s scope. After calling in sick three days in a row, Clarence knew he was in his boss’s crosshairs. Keep your eye on or don’t lose sight of the target: Don’t be distracted from the goal or objective, just as one aiming at a target should not look away before firing. “I know you’re looking forward to next week’s game against Oklahoma,” the coach said, “but remember to keep your eye on tonight’s target: Kansas.” Lock and load: get ready, as one would prepare a weapon for firing. As the captain faced the football team standing in the tunnel that led to the thunderous stadium, he strapped on his helmet and yelled, “Lock and load!” Open season: a period when

people might be attacked without consequence, much as wild game can be legally hunted and killed during specific time periods. Before the NFL changed several rules, it was open season on quarterbacks. Point blank: directly, bluntly, like one holding a gun very close to and directly at someone. Glen asked Melissa point blank if she’d been running around with Chris. Quick on the draw: to react with little or no hesitation, like a gunslinger that can quickly draw his sidearm from the holster. On Black Friday, Sheryl tried to grab the last I-pad at Best Buy, but she wasn’t quick enough on the draw. Ramrod: to accomplish something by force; refers to the rod used to clean a firearm’s barrel. He intended to ramrod the new overtime policy through the committee. Shoot blanks: impotent; refers to a cartridge loaded with powder but no bullet. Phil wanted children but feared he was shooting blanks. Shoot (or fire) from the hip: to Continued on page 57

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Maria Eugenia Guerra/LareDOS

Members of Girl Scout Troop 9116 Kassandra Bautista, Isabella Arce, Esther Yoon, Anna Lauren Czar, and Isabella Montemayor (top photo) and Amandita Altgelt, Mia Montemayor, and Analis Ramos are painting part of a puzzle they pieced together at their recent meeting.

 Continued FROM page 56 speak spontaneously, directly, and without forethought; refers to drawing a pistol from a holster and quickly and less accurately firing it from near the waist rather than raising it to eye-level to aim. “Gloria, instead of just shooting from the hip,” Chuck advised, “check the sales figures, and get your facts straight.” Shoot the whole wad or shoot the works: to invest or spend something completely; refers to old guns that used a wad of cloth jammed into the barrel to hold in place the powder and shot before firing. Angela got her check on Friday and shot the whole wad at the casino on Saturday. Shotgun!: an exclamation used to declare the privilege of riding in the front passenger seat of a car, like an armed guard rode beside the driver of a stagecoach to protect its cargo. “Shotgun!” Claire yelled as she and her roommate raced to the waiting Mustang. Shotgun approach: simultaneously using several different and W W W.L A R ED OS N E WS.CO M

usually unconnected approaches to solving a problem or completing a task, much like firing a shotgun in the general direction of a target and hoping to hit something. He took a shotgun approach to making online sales. Son of a gun: a mild exclamation or way of referring to someone of ill repute; according to Webster’s Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary, originally “the illegitimate offspring of a soldier.” “Clarence, you son of a gun,” Oscar yelled, “I thought you got fired!” Take a potshot at: to unfairly or randomly attack or criticize; refers to shooting game only for food (for the pot) though not in a sporting fashion. Even though Jim’s naïve comments made him an easy target at staff meetings, Chuck rarely took potshots at him. Trigger: to cause or provoke, as pulling the trigger on a gun causes it to fire. Claire dumped a margarita in Joanna’s lap, which triggered a fistfight. Under the gun: facing a lot of pressure or a short deadline, like be-

ing ordered to perform a task while having a gun held to one’s head. Francis was under the gun to finish her report on school safety by 5 p.m. Went (or go) ballistic: to become insanely, even dangerously angry, to the point where one seems as lethal as a loaded firearm. Glen went ballistic when he found out that his girlfriend Melissa cheated on him. Zero in: to focus on or to direct one’s attention exclusively on, as a gunner adjusts the sights of a gun on a specific target. Claire and Carl both zeroed in on the loaded black Mercedes parked in the showroom. Given American history, it’s not surprising that these kinds of gun references, many of which I grew up with and still use, pervade our language. While they add color to conversation and writing, they also contain a steady undercurrent of violence that is easily taken for granted or forgotten just as we too quickly forget the blood, bodies, and gun casings on the floor of the movie

theater, the Sikh temple, the firstgrade classroom, the university lecture hall, the post office, the Florida beauty salon. Of course, outlawing all guns is no more reasonable than banning all references –stated or implied – to guns or gun violence. But consider this: even though the First Amendment of our Constitution states that “Congress shall make no law… abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press,” certain types of harmful and especially loaded language are necessarily restricted, particularly that which is libelous, slanderous, obscene, or seditious. However, when it comes to the Second Amendment, which states that “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed,” why can we not have a reasonable debate about qualifying and limiting the definition of “Arms,” just as we have qualified and limited, in the interest of a safe and civil society, the definition of “speech”? ◆ LareDOS I JA N UA RY 2013 I

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MarĂ­a Eugenia Guerra/LareDOS

WCHF membership drive

Mariela Rodriguez/LareDOS

Margarita Araiza, Luis De La Garza, and Ninfa De La Garza are photographed on Thursday, January 17 at the Villa Antigua Border Heritage Museum for the Webb County Heritage Foundation membership cocktail party.

Fresh smoothies at Market Val Vega and Allison Ramirez of Caffe Dolce prepare fresh, natural smoothies and juice drinks at the monthly Farmers Market in Jarvis Plaza.

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Students volunteer at UISD 5k run/walk

Mariela Rodriguez/LareDOS

United High School student Dedra Hernandez along with United South High School student council members Armando Ramirez, Andres Orozco, Daniela Vasquez, Emily Lerma, Jennifer Canales, and Jose Vasquez were among the volunteers at the 2nd annual Let’s Move for Scholars 5k run/ walk.

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

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Mariela Rodriguez/LareDOS

Mariela Rodriguez/LareDOS

Presenting the Mexican colors Eduardo Peña Morales, José Eduardo García Bazan, Franco Garza Carmona, and Mateo Cañamar Morales presented the Mexican colors at the January 10 reception honoring the WBCA Abrazo Children at La Posada Hotel’s San Agustin Ballroom.

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California natives kick off tour in Laredo The Young Rapscallions kicked off their Over the Hills 2013 tour on January 3 at Average Joe’s. Pictured left to right are vocalist Jonathan Sanders, bassist Taylor Messersmith, local fan Steven Sosa, guitarist Nick Chamian, and drummer/actor Chris Mintz Plasse, who is best known for his roles in Role Models and Superbad.

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Feature

La India’s savory Lenten dishes By Mariela Rodriguez LareDOS Staff

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a India’s Tasting Room Lenten menu offers a host of savory dishes for the season. Among them, a fish soup and two types of tortas — tortas de camaron made with shredded shrimp in a mild red chile sauce and served with small shrimp and a nopalito sauce; and tortas entomatadas of small stewed shrimp in a tomato and onion sauce.  Sides include Tejano seasoned lentils or Mexican pinto beans and Mexican rice or mesquite grilled veggies. Other non-meat dishes offered on the daily menu are cheese enchiladas, enmoladas, tostadas, and curry tuna salad with veggies or stuffed in an avocado. “These dishes can be complimented with my mom’s delicious capirotada or any of our other desserts, like our tangerine and lime pie, arroz con leche, and coming soon to the menu, café de olla,” said Elsa Rodriguez Arguindegui, granddaughter of the founders of La India, Antonio and Antonia Rodriguez. Rodriguez Arguindegui manages the Tasting Room and the spice company. The Tasting Room menu, she said,

Capirotada

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Tortas de camaron has origins not only in cultural influences and old family recipes, but also what she has learned from her travels about the fusion of certain spices and herbs. “As a spice company we need to be held to a higher standard. Our restaurant is our sales tool for our spices, so we must be consistently delicious – always!” she said, adding, “We ensure our customers that when they cook with our spices, herbs, and seasonings, that they, too, will get the same delicious results

time after time,” she said.  “We have a great customer base in both the spice company and the Tasting Room. The Tasting Room diners feel at home in our family style ambience,” Rodriguez Arguindegui said. “They enjoy the delicious homemade food, and for those who like nostalgia, they can enjoy our old family heirlooms,” she said, adding, “I feel that everyone needs to feel like my Grandma made me feel. I can almost hear her belting out one

of her Mexican ballads as she washed the dishes and looked out her kitchen window. And of course I will never forget the smell of her kitchen. That is the experience we strive to provide for our customers.” While Rodriguez Arguindegui values the time-tested tradition and products established by her grandparents in 1924, she knows, too, the necessity to adapt and accommodate an expanding clientele that wants vegan choices. “We want to expand our menu to include more raw, organic and vegetarian options,” she said. “It’s my job to take things to the next level,” she said of the company that began with spices and family recipes spice blends for chorizo, menudo, and chocolate. She said she still buys from companies that supplied her grandparents with spices. The Tasting room is open Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., and starting on Thursday, February 14, the restaurant will extend its hours to include Friday evenings. Reservations will be required. For more information on La India or to make reservations for Friday evenings, call (956) 723-3772 ◆

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 Continued FROM page 35 lage to read about the Native Americans who lived there or about the 1869 Powell Expedition that charted and named its canyons, rapids, and rock formations; or by stepping into some of the park’s well-preserved early buildings, such as those designed by architect Mary Jane Colter, the old Indian market known as Hopi House, the Kolb Studio, the old El Tovar Hotel, and Bright Angel Lodge. I was taken by the story of the Powell Expedition and read of its initiation on the Green River in Wyoming in five wooden boats unsuited for movement along bashing boulders and rapids, its juncture with the Colorado River, and the expedition’s move through the treacherous rapids of the Canyon. Down the Great Unknown by Edward Dolnick provided a riveting narrative for the travails, failures, and successes of the expedition led by Major John Wesley Powell, a one-

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armed veteran of the Civil War. One of the richest aspects of our time at the Grand Canyon was the international crowd of tourists who like us had traveled there by train, walked through the Village along the South Rim of the Canyon, or boarded a tour bus at sunset for yet another spectacular view of one of the seven natural wonders of the world. We returned to Williams and began our trip home after a restful evening back at the Canyon Motel, but not before a bit of sledding, a snowball fight, and more snow angels. I had wearied by now of the frosty temperatures, slippery patches of ice, and all the layers of clothing to dress and undress the children. I warmed to the prospect of being home. At Dragoon, Arizona we turned into the Triangle T, a storied dude ranch, a place that offered rustic casitas, RV spaces, and the Rock

Saloon set in a “forest” of immense round boulders. Established in 1922, the ranch has been the location for the filming of Westerns such as Young Guns, Geronimo, Tombstone, Duel in the Sun, and the original 3:10 to Yuma. According to the Triangle T website, the ranch once hosted vacationing Rockefellers and Vanderbilts, and just after the 1941 Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor it was the site for the internment of the Japanese ambassador to Hawaii and his entourage of 26 employees and six children. Over decades, the ranch has also been home and respite to visiting writers and artists. The place oozed hospitality and adventure, and we were sorry we could not stay longer. We were just a few miles ahead of bad weather and sleet that canceled our Triangle T trail ride and threatened to impede our way home. We woke early, drove through New Mexico and had lunch in El Paso with our friend Forrest Cook.

Happy to be in Texas again, we drove on to Fort Davis where we toasted the New Year under the stars. The last stretch of our drive was happy and uneventful, full of anticipation for being home again. We stopped for lunch near Del Rio at a rest stop on a bluff above the Pecos River. While George prepared our meal, I observed my granddaughters at play with their friends, the raw beauty of the river and the limestone canyon beyond them. Amandita, still clutching the stuffed fox toy we’d bought a few days earlier, chased behind Emily and Anna Lauren who launched a little balsa wood airplane into the wind, thrilled that it had caught a draft and sailed through the air. I added their happy laughter to the wealth of memories of this adventure with my family. I’d caught a draft and sailed through the air. ◆

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LareDOS January Issue