Thousands have lived without love, not one without water. – W. H. Auden A JOURNAL OF THE BORDERLANDS OCTOBER 2013
Vol. XVIII No. 10 64 PAGES
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Celebrating the Rio Grande The Rio Grande International Study Center, City and County officials, Nuevo Laredo representatives, and other eco-friendly partners gathered on October 2 at Dos Laredo Park for the proclamation of the Nineteenth annual Día del Río celebration to be observed throughout October.
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City manager Carlos Villarreal, Council Member Jorge Vera, Texas Railroad Commissioner David Porter, Environmental Services Department director Riazul Mia, and Council Member Esteban Rangel are pictured on October 4 as Porter presented the City with a check of $269,500 for the purchase of 25 pickups that run on natural gas. With 50 natural gas vehicles already in use, the City continues to be a leader in alternative fuel use, saving money and reducing the dependency on foreign oil.
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Railroad Commission allows funds for CNG vehicles
Cancer seminar at UTHSC - Laredo The sixteenth annual cancer update seminar was hosted on October 9 at the UT Health Science Center Laredo campus. Among the topics discussed were prostate cancer, how to deal with advance cancer stages, and the healthcare disparities in the Latino community. Guest speakers Ian M. Thompson III, MD; Amelie G. Ramirez, PhD; and Jason Morrow, MD are pictured with Doctor’s Hospital CEO Rene López .
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Members of the Laredo Fire Department declared the observance of Fire Prevention Week from October 6 through October 12. They urged citizens to be wary of potential fire hazards all around their homes. Laredo Firefighters will visit schools to teach children about fire prevention and fire safety tips.
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Commemorating the Great Chicago Fire
Lending a helping hand with pumpkin patch St. Augustine High School students Monica Vargas, Jennifer Sauvignet, and Alfonso Ortiz were among volunteers on October 14 assisting the First Methodist Church set up their annual pumpkin patch.
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Amandita (Joyce A.) Altgelt shared a birthday moment with Macy Adams at the Imaginarium. The birthday princess turned six.
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Happy birthday, Amandita!
Anti bullying spread the word PILLAR volunteers Fernando Navaro and Judy Villarreal spread the word on the anti-bullying initiative observed throughout October. They are pictured on Saturday, October 19 at the Laredo Webb County Bar Associationâ€™s Multicultural Fest at TAMIU.
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Zapata Rising attendees
Laredo Theater Guild International opened its fifth season with Arthur Miller’s The Crucible, a classic dramatization of real events involving the Salem witch trials of 1692 and 1693. The production took place October 3-13 at Texas A&M International University Center for the Fine and Performing Arts Theatre.
Juan and Diana Marinez of Lansing, Michigan; Laredoan Joe García of Graphitiks and the Zapata Rising commemorative; Joe and Cordelia D. López of San Antonio; and Laredoan Sandra Gray were among the diverse attendees who enjoyed the talks, exhibits of family trees, and author’s readings at the recent Zapata Rising events.
With hunt takes the stage
Tackling all motor skills Physical Therapist Marizel Dia guided Andrew Lerma through a series of obstacle courses set up at Safari Kids Rehab on Monday, October 21. The rehab center celebrated physical therapy month with their patients and other members of the community with fun filled activities for the kids.
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Education takes center stage with LTGI’s Class on Stage series
Jackie Vazcarr niors with Shakespeare’s Macbeth. The following school year targeted freshmen with the production of Romeo and Juliet. Lizette Treviño, Nixon High School language arts instructor, said, “The students having a visual presentation of the literature they are studying really adds value to their comprehension of the play.” She added, “I’ve had students come up to me and say ‘Mam you were right this was a great experience.’ The major-
ity of them had never seen a live production prior to this.” Cigarroa High student Jackie Vazcarr said, “Not only do you read the story, but you see people portray each character you read about. Everything you imagine just comes to life. I think it is very important to have more of these opportunities for high school students.” LISD’s Sandra Veronica Treviño said, “They get to see and feel the actual process of the drama and genre instead of just reading it in the classroom.” She
added, “We conducted a pre-test and will submit a post-test to compare the students’ comprehension of the play after viewing it.” “When we did this with Macbeth, they did a comparison with the previous year’s students, who did not come to see it, and for those that did, and there was an overall 12 percent increase in testing results over the content. Martin High, had a 20 percent increase in results,” explained Arciniega. This year marked UISD’s first official participation with the class on stage. Other private and public schools are also welcomed to attend the shows at a special discount rate for students. LTGI’s Class on Stage is sponsored by the D.D. Hachar Charitable Trust Fund and International Bank of Commerce, and is presented in cooperation with Texas A&M International University. For more information call LTGI at (956) 319-8610, email LTGI at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit LTGI on the web at www.laredotheaterguild. com
he Laredo Theatre Guild International (LTGI) marked its third school year of collaborative efforts with local schools to present its Class on Stage series. This year both LISD and UISD juniors were targeted with the presentation of Arthur Miller’s The Crucible. LTGI’s Class on Stage performances were held at Texas A&M International University on October 4 for Martin and Early College high schools, October 7 for Nixon and Cigarroa high schools, and on October 8 for United High School students. “LTGI does one of their shows a year, specifically chosen with the school district curriculum directors to present what the students in a certain year are studying at that same time,” said LTGI artistic director Joe Arciniega. The Class on Stage concept was conceived, developed, and piloted by LTGI in 2010 with LISD and launched during the 2011-2012 school year for LISD se-
By MARIELA RODRIGUEZ LareDOS Staff
High school juniors at Q&A luncheon with the cast of The Crucible W W W. L A R E D OSNEWS. COM
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petitors. “Capital Farm Credit values its customers, and the more efficiently we operate, the more profits we can share,” said Ben Novosad, chief executive officer. “We believe this is a value-added service that sets us apart from other financial institutions.” With 70 locations in Texas, Capital Farm Credit has nearly 100 years of experience providing financing to farmers, ranchers, and other rural property owners. For more information about Capital Farm Credit, its patronage program and its office locations, visit www.CapitalFarmCredit.com. For information locally, call Leo A. Rodriguez at (95) 753-0758. — LareDOS Staff
Animal lovers come together Marta Garza and Julian Juarez are pictured with their canine friends on Saturday, October 6 at St. Peter’s Plaza for the annual Gateway Gatos’ animal blessing ceremony.
apital Farm Credit Board of Directors approved a $42.67 million cash retirement of allocated equities issued in 2006, 2007, and 2008. Borrowers from those years will receive their share of the cash payment in November. Combined with cash patronage paid in March this year, Capital Farm Credit has returned total cash distributions of $84.77 million in 2013. Capital Farm Credit has a long tradition of strong earnings that accrue to the benefit of its customers. Capital Farm Credit’s mission to provide financing and related services to agriculture and rural America, through its patronage, affords its membership net borrowing costs lower than many com-
Capital Farm Credit stockholders receive Fall 2013 Cash Payout of $42.67 Million
radKIDS empowerment Bonnie Garcia Elementary students participated in radKIDS simulation activities on Wednesday, October 9. The UISD school was the first to implement the safety curriculum program that empowers children with the tools and skills they need to recognize, avoid, resist, and escape violence, abduction, or harm.
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Apple once again demonstrates innovation with new IOS7 upgrade By Juan Madero Flores LareDOS Staff
n September 18th Apple released a new version of its operating system IOS 7. This update improves the usability and security of iDevices in ways that have resulted in mostly positive reactions from users worldwide. Apple has now moved the most frequently used settings so that users may flick up from the bottom of the screen to slide open a settings panel that includes screen brightness along with music controls, access to Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, airplane mode, mute, and the camera. These changes previously required that a user go to the settings app and find the adjustment desired, which can be a difficult task given the huge amount of customizations on Apple products. This is accompanied on the iPad by another screen that the user can pull down from the top of the home screen that shows the time, cal-
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endar information, current weather, reminders and upcoming events. The user can choose to look only at today’s update page, or farther in the future. Apple also improved the security of iDevices in the new operating system with the addition of an anti-theft tool called Activation Lock. Once Activation Lock is enabled, someone who finds or steals another’s device can’t disable Find My iPhone (or iPad) on the device without knowing both the owner’s Apple ID and that Apple ID’s account password. And without those credentials, the person who has a user’s lost device can’t erase data from it. Furthermore, if the user designates a lost device, whoever is in possession of it can’t restore or reactivate it. Instead, the phone displays only a phone number and a custom message about contacting the owner. This new feature has been widely promoted by law enforcement agencies nationwide who believe that this will result in a drastic decrease in the theft of Apple
products. Earlier versions of iOS included a passcode lock, and the Find My iPhone feature. Despite those attempts at securing iPhones, according to both New York and San Francisco officials, smartphone theft was the motive behind more than 50 percent of all robberies in their cities. Even more worrisome was the growing number of deadly encounters emerging from such robberies. Another new design change to IOS 7 is that the icons on devices with a retina display seem to float above the surface, and they move relative to the background. This movement is con-
trolled by the mot io n - s e n s ing hardware in the device, and most of the time it gives the vague feeling of depth. Some windows that open over the home screen also have this attribute. While this effect is amusing, it adds no useful function and many users are reporting that this feature gives them motion sickness. Overall, upgrading to iOS 7 is an intelligent decision for anyone who use Apple technology. The update creates a more user friendly experience and provides greater protection for both iDevices and the information stored in them.
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On the shoulders of how many elected officials does Amaya’s negligence squarely sit? By MARIA EUGENIA GUERRA LareDOS Publisher
have a photo of Johnny Amaya that I took on August 9, 2005 after I tailed him and Sara Jo Davila, a member of thenWebb County Commissioner Frank Sciaraffa’s staff. A phone tip had apprised us that Amaya and Davila would be out during work hours in a County truck (Unit 12-13) collecting payment for cartulina (poster) ads for Sciaraffa’s scholarship dance (Baile de Becas), a political fundraiser dressed in a ball gown. Amaya — then a system manager for the Webb County Utilities Department and a sitting Laredo City Council member — and Davila drove all over town to meat markets, an insurance office, a pipe and steel company. After Amaya realized the same car had been behind him for an hour, he lost me. I waited for them, however, in the parking lot of the old courthouse from which they had departed, and I asked first Davila and then Amaya if they had been using a Webb County vehicle to collect funds for Sciaraffa’s fundraiser. Davila said, pointing to Amaya, “Ask him” and then walked away. While I photographed him, Amaya vehemently denied he had been running fundraising errands for Sciaraffa. An investigation ensued and Amaya and Davila were exculpated by then-County Attorney Homero Ramirez for the use of a County vehicle to run political mandados for Commissioner Sciaraffa on the County clock. Davila was doing as she had been ordered; Amaya obviously made the choice to use the
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What’s more egregious: Johnny Amaya’s 12-year pattern of negligence and ineptitude, or those who let him keep his job? taxpayer owned vehicle to burn taxpayer gasoline during working hours. Amaya escaped without a reprimand, the order to let him off no doubt coming from the biggest of the administrative bottom feeders. I would later learn that when I took those photos in 2005, Amaya’s personnel file was already plump with 13 departmental reprimands that dated back to August 27, 2001 for an array of infractions — failure to submit reports timely about the Río Bravo water plant, negligence as a system manager, leaving work early, failure to pay invoices timely, lack of quality in his performance, failing inspections of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, failure to implement water conservation measures to comply with the guidelines of a December 20, 2000 Texas Water Development Board loan, failure to respond to complaints of residents of Río Bravo and El Cenizo, being rude to customers, failure to perform duties as system manager of the water treatment plant, and a questionable request for sick leave without following county
protocol. Among the reprimands is a note from his supervisor, Tomás Rodriguez, advising Amaya that his county-assigned vehicle would be taken back during his month of sick leave. These reprimands, and the 16 that would follow through May 2011, were not Amaya’s dirty little secrets. Many of them were copied to the Webb County Judge and the Commissioners of that time, and more recently to members of the current Commissioners Court and the county’s CEO Judge Danny Valdez. In the mix of reprimands from 2005 forward are a January 26, 2006 reprimand from County Auditor Leo Flores for an accounting irregularity regarding cash. Others came from utilities director Rodriguez, his successor Fitzgeraldo Sanchez, and planning director Rhonda Tiffin. These are the reprimands — May 2, 2006: failure to properly staff the water plant; August 14, 2006: insubordination and failure to respond in writing to his supervisor; February 26, 2008: deficiencies in cash handling procedures; February
5, 2011: failure to listen to weather advisory and the ensuing loss of a portable uptake pump due to rising river waters; October 28, 2009: inappropriate use of a printer in the County Engineering office; October 28, 2009: use of County equipment to access and use social chat websites; December 7, 2009: failure to follow County purchasing procedures; December 18, 2009: accepting septic sludge to the wastewater plant without County or TCEQ approval (violating the TCEQ regional permit); October 27, 2010: problems with Hwy. 59 reverse osmosis water dispenser and TCEQ violations; March 2, 2011: failure to address missing manhole covers in Rio Bravo first reported in 2010; November 22, 2011: misuse of County resources, using County contractors’ list to ask for donations on County time for his Thanksgiving steak plates; and February to May, 2011: leaving phone messages for his supervisor (rather than asking permission) that he would be leaving his job early on numerous occasions (26) to attend City Council meetings. One of the most telling of Amaya’s reprimands is based on October 27, 2009 communication from planning director Tiffin to MIS director Jaime Alvarado. Tiffin writes, “….over the last several days inappropriate and prohibited documents have been printing from the Planning Department’s Toshiba printer. Over the last few days we have been trying to determine the source of printing. As of yesterday afternoon, we noted that user ‘jamaya’ showed up on the user log of our copier shortly after a private chat log from a chat room was Continued on page 13
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printed. Then this afternoon several copies from a different chat room with the same chat name ‘xELVITORx’ was printed. Again, we were able to confirm that the user name on the printer log was ‘jamaya.’… I can tell you that the documents that are being printed on our printer are in violation of the county’s computer policies and campaign prohibitions as well as a inappropriate use of tax-supported equipment.” Amaya’s personnel file begs the question — what was more egregious, his pattern of poor performance and negligence at a job so vital to the health of the people of Rio Bravo and El Cenizo, or the 12-year look-away by sitting county judges and countless members of the Commissioners Court who have run the County over the last decade? Amaya may have been certified to run a water plant, but his 29 reprimands attest to his lack of qualiW W W.L A R ED OSN E WS.COM
fications, his failure as a manager, negligence, and his appropriation of county time, equipment, and resources for personal use. Why was he kept at the job? Of what use was he to the county judges and commissioners who kept him there, and how did a man with so checkered (and well-documented) an employment history get elected as a Laredo Independent School District trustee charged to make decisions for the welfare of children and the spending of tax dollars? A former City Council member who rarely spoke up with a good idea and who was best known for turkey giveaways to secure voter loyalty, cañonero Amaya’s legacy is not one of service to the humankind of Laredo and Webb County, but of service to self and the candidates who counted on him for vote reaping. On the shoulders of how many elected officials does Amaya’s negligence squarely sit? LareDOS I O C TO B ER 2013 I
Disney on ice celebrates 100 years of magic
he Laredo Energy Arena is set to host over 60 iconic characters — from Pinocchio, Nemo, Woody, Stitch, to the Incredibles — in Disney on Ice Celebrates 100 Years of Magic on Thursday, November 14 through Sunday, November 17. Produced by Feld Entertainment, the production kicks off with Mickey and Minnie and features stunning choreography; elaborate sets and costumes; and a sing-along score of Academy award-winning music such as “When You Wish Upon a Star,” “Under the Sea,” and “Beauty and the Beast.” Not only are the memorable characters from over the decades key to the shows’ overall success, so is the pro-
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duction team. Emmy Award winner Sarah Kawahara is the choreographer for the production. She previously worked with Michelle Kwan and choreographed the skating segment for the opening ceremonies of the 2002 Winter Olympics. The November 16 show begins at 2:30 p.m. with a special Spanish presentation. Tickets for adults and children range from $13 to $45. Children’s prices are only available with the purchase of a $20 adult ticket. Tickets can be purchased at the LEA box office, through Ticketmaster.com, or by calling 1800-745-3000. — LareDOS Staff
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Garza Martinez seeks change in work ethic, energy, and independence of Court-at-Law #2 By MARIA EUGENIA GUERRA LareDOS Publisher
“People deserve their day in open court and should not live with a decision determined in chambers or before a judge who makes them feel that he does not have time to hear them.” keep the vow you took to uphold the Constitution,” she said. “People deserve their day in open court and should not live with a decision determined in chambers or before a judge who makes them feel that he or she does not have time to hear them,” she said. On an administrative note, she said she would like to see a more efficient management of the County Court-at-Law #2 docket. “This court
ttorney Linda Garza Martinez — a former prosecutor for the Webb County District Attorney’s Office and a former Webb County Public Defender — has announced her candidacy for judge of Webb County Court-at-Law #2. Calling for a change in the court’s work ethic, energy, and independence, Garza Martinez challenges incumbent Jesus “Chuy” Garza, who has held the position for the last two decades. The mother of four, Garza Martinez said that her 12 years in the law as a public servant have prepared her well to serve as judge. “As a prosecutor and as a defense attorney, you never lose sight that you are there to see that justice is done and that you
Linda Garza Martinez, candidate for County Court-at-Law # 2 is pictured with her husband Silverio and children Rebecca, Abigail, Ana Gabriela, and Andres.
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needs a judge who puts in a full day’s work. The position pays for a fulltime judge,” she said. “As an attorney who has handled cases of abuse against children, I am very aware and motivated to do something about the lack of services for children in the judicial system,” Garza Martinez said. For seven of the nine years that she served as an assistant Webb district attorney, Garza Martinez was chief prosecutor of the child abuse and sex crimes unit, litigating cases from intake through jury trial and appeal. She prosecuted the 2005 murder case of six-year-old Shanea Casarez and worked to secure a life sentence for the murderer, the child’s stepfather, who had beaten her and dumped her body at Lake Casa Blanca. Garza Martinez was made chief prosecutor of the 49 th District Court Felony Division in 2009 by District Attorney Isidro Alaniz, a position she held until 2010. In the Webb County Public Defender’s Office, she was assigned to the 406th District Court Felony Division. As an Assistant Public Defender, she successfully defended indigent individuals accused of felonies and misdemeanors. Garza Martinez has served as a committee member in the 406th and
341st Drug Court, Sobriety Treatment and Veterans Treatment programs, which provide an alternative to incarceration and focus on the rehabilitation of individuals with drug and/or alcohol addictions. She said this experience has provided her the opportunity to work closely with individuals suffering from drug addictions and assist in their road to recovery. She is active in the local bar associations, having served as president of the Webb County Women’s Bar Association, treasurer of the Laredo Young Lawyer’s Association, and CLE director for the past two years with the Laredo-Webb County Bar Association. She is a former board member of the Webb County Children’s Advocacy Center. She has served as an ACTS retreat team member several times for San Martin de Porres parish. The daughter of Aida and Roberto M. Garza, Garza Martinez is a 1997 graduate of the University of Texas School of Communications with a degree in journalism, and a 2001 graduate of the Houston Law Center. She is married to attorney Silverio Martinez, and they have four children — Rebecca, 14; Abigail, 11; Ana Gabriela, 5; and Andres, 3. She said her role model for service to community has been her father. “When I was a child, my father was a Texas Rural Legal Aid attorney. He helped those who sought justice but could not afford legal services. From a very early age I knew I wanted to be an attorney,” she said. “I have been a good public servant. I can be a good judge who serves my community,” she concluded. LareDOS I O C TO B ER 2013 I
Chief Garner: murder rate down, theft edges up By MARIELA RODRIGUEZ LareDOS Staff
espite the city’s rapid growth in population, overall crime rates — except for theft — have decreased, according to Laredo Chief of Police Raymond E. Garner, who has been on the job since April 2013. “A lot of that I attribute to the men and women who wear the uniform,” said Garner, adding, “For instance on the last two murders, which we were able to clear up within 48 hours, I got out there and watched the interaction between the Criminal Investigator Detectives (CID) and the patrol officers. I’ve never seen anything like it — great communication, great results.” With only three murders to date this year — an unusual statistic for a city of more than 276,000 — murder in Laredo is 70 percent below last year’s stats, according to the LPD Crimes Against Persons Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Report. Homeowners can breathe easier as burglary with forcible entry, unlawful entry with no force, and attempts of forcible entry are down 20 percent. It seems that retail stores are the ones in need of a bit more vigilance with a slight increase of five percent in theft. Regarding theft by employees from their employers, Garner said, “These cases have to do with a company’s internal procedures and policies. We have a community relations department, so that if a company needs assistance improving their policies and security system, we can help, although we hardly get those calls.” “Auto theft is down,” Garner said,
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noting that the LPD auto theft bureau received a state award for the reduction. The Business Insider — a business and technology news website — ranked Laredo the 19th safest city in the U.S in 2012, although it showed that rape was 24 percent above the national average. That alarming statistic, Garner said, has decreased since the beginning of the year. He explained that the term rape encompasses all categories of sexual offenses and assaults. According to the UCR report, there was a 30 percent decrease from last year. “Through SCAN, the Child Advocacy Center, and the Special Investigation Unit, elementary school age children are being informed about inappropriate touching. You have nothing to fear, and you have a right to say no. If something like that happens, we are here to protect you,” Garner said, adding, “Women have a right to be protected whether they are in a marriage or a relationship. If a stranger begins to stalk or harass them, they can speak up.” Over the Labor Day weekend, LPD was busy with 55 arrests for DWIs — 55 opportunities for someone to die at the hands of an intoxicated driver. Of intoxicated driving, Garner said, “ It is a societal issue in which drinking is condoned as not being bad.” He added, “A lot of people get confused with drunk and intoxicated driving. It takes a trained eye to determine if someone is at a .08 (blood alcohol content level) or not. We are talking about split second changes in their ability to perceive an accident.” At a recent presentation to Mothers Against Drunk Drivers (MADD), the chief said that a great percentage of drunk drivers who have accidents
live through them, whereas the other driver may not. “The drunk driver does not respond to an accident the same way as someone who is not intoxicated. The intoxicated driver is already in a relaxed state,” said Garner, adding, “A person behind the wheel with an .08 (blood alcohol content level) is as dangerous as a person with a handgun.” One of Garner’s goals is to bring LPD’s technology up-to-date. “The City parks department has cameras at some of the parks, and we now have them on our mobile computer terminals. Certain officers have access. They can be at North Central Park but view something occurring at Independence Park on camera and call other units to help,” he said, adding, “That is saving taxpayers a lot of money. It has helped the response time. If we get more cameras, we’ll be able to stop a lot of the trespassers, and stop the graffiti,” he said. Updates to the LPD website have also helped response time. “With the intelligence received through the website, once it is reviewed and determined what is viable, we are able to put out the information to the CID and patrol officers so they can start looking for the individuals or circumstances surrounding a particular incident,” he said. Citizen input is instrumental for officers to do their jobs effectively, according to Garner. “We are the officers, but if the citizens don’t want to get involved, that makes our job almost impossible,” he said. Garner’s extensive experience and his enthusiasm will no doubt be important assets to continuing to drive down crime stats in Laredo. A former Texas Department of Public Safety trooper, and sergeant,
an instructor and administrator at the South Texas Police Academy, and the former UISD police chief, Garner has 40 years of service in law enforcement. “I am an outsider, yet I have a lot of knowledge and insight as to what this department is about. I feel like I’m 21 starting a whole new career. I am elated.” Garner said he has been more visible in the community than previous LPD chiefs. “I have been getting out and visiting with the public and finding out their needs, what their fears are, and where they think the police need to be,” he said, adding that traffic is a primary concern for many Laredoans. The chief has an open door policy for his officers as well as individuals in the community. Garner has been pleased with the positive feedback he’s gotten since taking office. Another of his goals is to improve relations between LPD officers and the public, by ensuring officers have greater visibility presence, and accessiblity. “I think for every complaint I get from the citizens about an officer being discourteous, I also get a compliment. I’m real surprised at that. I am very customer oriented. That is one of my biggest concerns, that we as policeofficers — yes we need to make arrests, and at times get physically involved with perpetrators — but we can still do it to where it is a learning experience for, not all, but for most people.” Garner added, “I’d put the LPD up against any other department in South Texas. Our people are well trained,” he added, “My main goal is to gain more feedback from the citizens. I want them to feel like they have input into the safety of their own neighborhoods.” W W W.L A R ED OSN E WS.COM
he American Institute of Architects (AIA) and the City of Laredo are asking for submissions for the design of a T-shirt logo that will brand the city. Designs and entry fee — $10 payable upon submittal of design or in advance using the “Register Online” button at www.aialaredo.org/#!tshirt-competition/c1adz — are due November 1. The T-shirt design is intended for the front portion of the shirt, which will be Gildan brand available in an “ice gray” color. A sample can be viewed at www.mygildan. com/p/2000/023. The shirts will be available in all sizes ranging from small to extra large. The design must include the word Laredo, and either the word Texas or a graphical depiction or allusion to the state in some way. Any combination of colors can be used in the de-
sign, and extra consideration will be given to those that incorporate a local architectural landmark, feature, detail, or motif. Design must be submitted on a CD or a USB drive in vector format. Submission of an actual T-shirt with a design will be accepted as a supplement. A panel of members of AIA Laredo chapter and the Laredo Convention and Visitors Bureau (LCVB) will review all submissions and select a winner. A winner will only be selected if the LCVB representative approves the design ranked highest by the panel. The winner will receive a $300 prize. Submissions can be sent to Memo Cavazos at 9114 McPherson Suite 2501. For more information call (956) 722-8186 or email admin@aialaredo. org — LareDOS Staff
AIA, City ask for entries for T-Shirt deisgn contest
Recognizing PT employees Ruthe B. Cowl Rehabilitation Center executive director Fay Mainhart and assistant director Jackie Rodriguez recognized staff members, among them José Lacate, on Friday, October 4. The celebration was held in honor of National Physical Therapy Month.
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By MARIELA RODRIGUEZ LareDOS Staff
he launch of the Laredo Northside Market is slated for Saturday, November 2 at North Central Park. The market is organized and coordinated by the board of directors of the Laredo Northside Market Association (LNMA), a nonprofit group, that began planning the initiative in July 2013. The market is an independent market association not affiliated with El Centro Farmer’s Market. LNMA is led by president Erna Pelto, vice president Louie Lozano, treasurer Maritza Lozano, and secretary Joseph Pelto. The board of directors and charter members of the association are all vendors who have participated in various markets across South Texas. “We wanted to expand sales opportunities for a variety of vendors,” said Pelto. “The market would not have been possible without the great support of Coucilman Charlie San Miguel and representatives from the City Parks and Leisure Services,” Pelto added. The Northside market will fea-
ture vendors and exhibitors with products including produce, nursery products, arts and crafts, natural products, food, and commercial information booths. Entertainment will also be provided and will include local school dance and music groups. “The LNMA chose North Central Park, just off Loop 20 because of its large free parking lot and central location that can easily be reached from all over Laredo,” Pelto said, adding, “LNMA has explored the idea of regional markets in other sections of Laredo with representatives of City Council and Parks and Leisure.” The market will be held the first Saturday of each month to avoid interfering with the downtown market, “except December when it will be held on the second Saturday as the downtown market move up their date to avoid increases in Paisano traffic for Christmas,” said Pelto. “You don’t want to miss it. We will have vendors and exhibitors as well as family-oriented entertainment and activities,” said Pelto, adding, “We also plan on showcasing various city departments and the role they play in our community.”
Northside Market set for November 2
Mock trial sponsor recipient of national award
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Martin High School criminal justice teacher and mock trial sponsor Maricela Ayala was the recipient of the national Champion of the 7th Amendment Award from the Texas Chapters of the American Board of Trail Advocates award. W W W.L A R ED OSN E WS.COM
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Mark and Matthew Rodriguez showed off their medals of participation in the Safari Kids Rehab Physical Therapy Month observance on October 21 at the 2108 Chihuahua location.
4th Court of Appeals in Laredo Attorneys Baldemar GarcĂa Jr. (far left) and Ricardo de Anda (far right) are pictured with community activist Richard Geissler of Voices in Democratic Action (VIDA) and attorney Uriel Druker at the recent hearing before the Fourth Court of Appeals in Eduardo Garza v. Hector Farias and VIDA. W W W.L A R ED OSN E WS.COM
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When a chair is not a chair, and an apple is not an apple
By RAUL CASSO LareDOS Contributor
f what I see in my mind’s eye is not really “out there,” in reality, but is instead a picture summary composed by my consciousness based on sensory data transmitted to the brain during normal waking hours, then what am I really looking at? Let’s see. Take any object — a chair, an apple, a tree, or a beer bottle — first keep in mind that the image in the mind’s eye does not correspond, one for one, with what is really out there. The chair or apple that you “see” differs substantially from the sum of reality: there is no tautology. A ≠ A (where “A” is any object, such as an apple). Contrary to what Plato would have us believe, there are no separately existent, universal Forms out there that “inform” matter so that we may identify it. Nor is there a universal, transcendent, timeless reality out there that is greater than the particulars we perceive, as Kant would have it. There is no metaphysical transcendence. The question of what ontological content the image in our brain actually contains does, however, remain. We’ll take a stab at an answer to that question some other time. For now, we continue with an investigation into the strange pictures in our minds. As stated, the picture in the mind, “A,” is an “opinion” formed by the conscious apparatus based on collected data. There is a difference between the images we see in our minds, and the data collected by the senses on which those images are based. As sensory data is
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collected by our sensory faculties, and transmitted to our brains, the conscious apparatus makes the necessary calculations to formulate the picture at lightning speed. Any simple perception, such as recognizing the Mona Lisa as the Mona Lisa, is an enormously complex undertaking that the conscious machinery handles swiftly, and with ease. Even the world’s most powerful computers can’t do such a simple thing so fast. In performing the maneuver, the conscious mind also uses memory as a tool. We know this because we see the same images while we’re dreaming, albeit in what can be wildly distorted contexts. While dreaming, the consciousness is receiving no sensory data at all, and without the continuous in-flow of sensory data, the amount of information the images are based on is significantly lessened, and so continuity erodes. That’s why dreams can be so warped. In any case, the image in the brain is formed with less information than what comes in. The image, “A,” is based on a subset of the data received. We’ll call this pool of sensory data as transmitted to the brain “A1.” We conclude that A ≠ A1. Likewise, the amount of data transmitted by the senses is less than what is out there in the real world. We know this because our senses have limitations. Our eyes, for example, cannot see the outer spectrums of light. That data, light’s outer spectrums, being invisible to us, is not transmitted. It is the same with our sense of hearing. We can’t hear super high pitches like dogs can; and, we can’t hear really low-
pitched sounds like elephants can. As another example, the subatomic world is completely invisible to us, but, as science has proven, it’s really out there. We’ll call what’s really out there “A2.” If A2 is the totality of reality, then A1, the set of data transmitted to our brain via the senses, is a lesser quantity. A1 is a subset of A2. And, if A is derived from less data than that transmitted, then A is less than A1. So: A<A1<A2. The images that we see, therefore, represent a limitation on totality. The imagery that we consciously perceive is a depiction based on only a small fragment of what reality really is. What’s more, that depiction is entirely artificial. It is drawn from fragments of sensory data, but is not what the data itself is or looks like. Who knows how it really looks. And what is it anyway? Were it not for the images our consciousness conveniently provides, we wouldn’t know to recognize it and we would quickly die
off as victims of it. Instead, our conscious apparatus has evolved such as to provide the imagery we see so that we may survive — formerly in the wild, and presently in jungles of our modern civilization; and, in any case for longer than we otherwise would. The differences between A and A1, and the differences between A1 and A2 negate or contradict the totality as long as one insists on a tautology for understanding. Thus the edifice of transcendency as constructed by thinkers such as Plato and Kant are monuments of error. What’s in our heads is only in our heads and not out there at all — not really. (Raul Casso earned a degree in philosophy from Southern Methodist University. His work has been published in Philosophy Now, a British newsstand magazine that is the most widely read philosophy periodical in the English language, with publication and circulation in Great Britain, USA, Canada, and Australia).
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etters to the publisher
Dear Meg, Recently, the man we unfortunately call mayor performed in his typical manner, seeking recognition from a group and for a principle that he does not truly deserve or hold. He was invited to the dedication ceremony of Día Del Rio held on the banks of the Rio Grande in front of Riverdrive Mall. He effusively congratulated the Rio Grande International Study Center, RGISC, for the work it has been doing for almost two decades to promote maintenance of a clean river in coordination with environmentalists in our sister city. How thorough a hypocrite can one man be? Just a few weeks before that October 2 event, he stood before a sizable group of real estate brokers and investors and disparaged RGISC at length. In that meeting at La Posada he rambled on and on about how the protection of the wetlands was both unnecessary and harmful to the local economy. He stated that the environmentalists stood in the way of economic progress and job growth here in Laredo. He cannot have it both ways. He cannot berate RGISC and environmentalists in a semi-private meeting, and then seek the favorable publicity garnered the morning of the Día del Rio kick-off. I urge all voters to remember Salinas’ hypocrisy should he seek to continue to live on the public dole. Sincerely, Jeffrey A. Jones
Dear Meg, I always enjoy reading LareDOS, including the articles with opinions I may not necessarily agree with. However, I must write to challenge something I read in the article by Mariela Rodriguez entitled ”I’ll Vote for Wendy Davis.” The very first sentence in this article is so misleading and inaccurate, that I believe it requires a correction by the editor. I am referring to the first sentence of her article on page 9 of the September 2013 edition that reads: ‘The eyes of Texas have been on Senator Wendy Davis (D-Fort Worth) since her memorable 11-hour anti-abortion (my italics) filibuster in June 2013. As a matter of fact, Davis’ 11-hour filibuster in June 2013 was NOT an anti-abortion filibuster. It was actually a pro-abortion filibuster. Wendy Davis in fact filibustered in favor of abortion, and not against abortion after 20 weeks of gestation. In her filibuster, she was opposing the anti-abortion bill that would outlaw abortion procedures after the baby has reached 20 weeks of development in his or her mother’s womb. It is important to remind readers that, contrary to what Ms. Rodriguez wrote in the first sentence of her article, Wendy Davis cannot be remembered for an 11-hour “anti-abortion” filibuster. Quite the contrary, her 11-hour filibuster was totally in favor of abortion at all stages of pregnancy. With all due respect, Ms. Rodriguez failed to distinguish between fact and opinion in the first sentence of the aforementioned article. Sincerely, Cordelia Flores
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Mariachi filled weekend Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán performed as part of the Laredo Mariachi Music Fest on October 11 at the Laredo Civic Center. Laredo’s top performing professional mariachi groups Mariachi Los Arrieros and Mariachi Los Alazanes also performed. The event was part of Buchanan’s Hispanic Heritage Month Celebration.
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TAMIU students inspired by award-winning author Mathabane Mark Mathabane, author of the highly acclaimed autobiography Kaffir Boy, spoke to TAMIU students on October 11 as part of the University’s Reading the Globe program. Kaffir Boy tells the story of Mathabane’s childhood in apartheid South Africa and his rise as a tennis star, which ultimately earned him a scholarship to Limestone College in 1978. After completing the novel and listening to Mathabane’s speech, students will enter an essay competition. Writers of the top 15 entries will win a trip to the book’s setting in South Africa guided by Mathabane. In his address to TAMIU students, Mathabane reminded them of their responsibility to not only their own families and future, but to the global community as well. He suggested that everyone in the audience is incredibly lucky to have the opportunity to attend a university like TAMIU. He said that this luck does not mean that they deserve the opportunity any more than the billions of others in the world with no such chance. The privilege of a college education, he said, bears the responsibility to make a difference in the world as leaders. Mathabane and his family lived in a one-square-mile ghetto, which was also home to more than 200,000 other individuals. These living conditions lacked the amenities of paved roads, electricity, and sewer systems. Food was scarce, and the homes were nothing more than rough shacks. Mathabane did not own his first pair of shoes until he
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was 14. He said his early life in apartheid South Africa was devastating, akin to “living in Hell.” At the young age of six, Mathabane joined his first gang. He said that this lifestyle was horrific, but he learned to cope in this environment. It was the elements of this environment that suppressed his spirit and drove him to the brink of suicide at the age of 10. Mathabane shared stories about the dire conditions of his childhood including the constant search for food, child prostitution, and overwhelming violence. He remembered seeing his friends join gangs and prostitute themselves in order to survive. He explained that his mother had always told him that he was meant for a greater destiny and that she was a huge motivator for him to aspire to achievement in school and later in tennis. He emphasized to the TAMIU students that it is important to aspire to greatness even when others, even our loved ones, don’t believe in the same dream. He warned the audience that unlike his mother, many parents don’t have the same high hopes for their children and instead push their children to be “realistic,” which ultimately leads them to mediocrity. He said that attaining the title of “Doctor” was an affirmation of all that his mother had dreamed for him. He said that title tells the world that he is someone dedicated to helping humanity find hope and meaning in their lives. He considers himself a doctor of the spirit. Kaffir Boy has been banned in several schools across the nation due to a controversial scene involving child prostitution and sodomy,
which some have referred to as “pornography.” Mathabane wrote an article for The Washington Post stating that he would prefer it to be banned completely to being revised or censored, but has since authorized a revised version for use in these schools. The unrevised book is still used as high school and college level reading material in spite of the controversial scenes. Kaffir Boy has won the presti-
gious Christopher Award for inspiring hope. The book reached the top of The Washington Post’s Bestseller List and number three on The New York Times Bestseller List. It has also been chosen by the American Library Association to be included on the list of “Outstanding Books for the College-Bound and Life-Long Learners.”
Can’t find a hard copy? Go to www.laredosnews.com
By JUAN MADERO LareDOS Staff
Greens of Guadalupe lend a helping hand Birdie Torres, Rosario Contreras, and Consuelo López from the Greens of Guadalupe were among volunteers at the Día del Río Paso Del Indio Nature Trail cleanup on Saturday, October 19 at the Laredo Community College Lamar Bruni Vergara Environmental Science Center. LareDOS I O CTO B E R 2 0 1 3 I 2 3
Retired UISD educator Guevara remains an advocate for children with learning disabilities By MARIELA RODRIGUEZ LareDOS Staff After 35 years as an educator for United Independent School District, dyslexia teacher Elizabeth “Liz” Guevara retired in May 2013 from Col. Santos Benavides Elementary School (CSBES). The native Laredoan recalled her days at Martin High School. “In those days, there was not a lot of encouragement for women to pursue their education or a career,” she said, adding, “I remember my counselor told my sisters and I that we were on a vocational route, meaning not college material.” She said that her parents never put much emphasis on the siblings furthering their studies. Despite that, Guevara and her sisters all became educators. “We had that drive to do more, be more,” she said. She was attending Laredo Junior College when at 21 she married Omar Guevara, to whom she attributes her success. “No one believed in me after I got married. They probably thought I wasn’t going to succeed, but my husband told me ‘Elizabeth, you are not a housewife. You have to get a degree,’” she said, adding, “Thanks to my husband, I gained the confidence to become a teacher.” Guevara completed a BA in elementary education from Laredo State University (present day TAMIU) and began teaching at Salinas Elementary School. With the growing demand for bilingual instructors, she took up UISD on its offer to cover all expenses in her pursuit of a Masters in bilingual education. Guevara also worked at Newman Elementary and Clark Elementary where she spearheaded the Help-
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Elizabeth and Omar Guevara ing One Student to Succeed (HOSTS) reading program. “We would test the students to determine their reading level and skills, and in turn bring in professionals from the community to read with the students at their respective levels and interact with them. A lot of them were bankers and lawyers who really took an interest in the kids,” Guevara said. Guevara dedicated her last 17 years in the classroom advocating for children with learning disabilities when her own son was diagnosed with dyslexia — a learning disorder that causes trouble with connecting sounds to letter symbols, ultimately affecting how a child learns to read and spell. She said, “He was in first grade when he began having trouble. His teacher would tell me ‘He can’t catch up with the others kids.’” She said he was unable to learn the alphabet, couldn’t hold a pencil correctly, struggled, fell behind, and showed no progress. “As a mother, I
felt scared and downright helpless. As an educator, I was full of self-doubt,” said Guevara, adding, “He had good coordination, showed intelligence, and had excellent communication skills. At the time, dyslexia was a disorder that was unheard of,” she said. It was not until fourth grade that he was diagnosed with his learning disability at the Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children in Dallas. She said, “Instinctively I began my quest as a mother and educator researching on dyslexia as much as possible, and jumped at the opportunity to specialize in the field.” Guevara’s son was placed under Section 504 and received modifications throughout the rest of his schooling and became successful in his studies, from which this teacher learned the importance of advocating for children with learning disabilities. “Welcome to reality. Not all students are at the same level within any given classroom. You have your slow
learners and your gifted and talented (GT) kids all in one room. As a teacher you have to learn to identify each child’s needs and work from there to ensure no one is left behind. I believe everyone learns in different ways, perhaps even on different days. It is all a matter of patience and hard work on the part of the students, teachers, and parents,” she said. Guevara’s personal experience allowed her to be more empathic towards her students’ parents and prepared her to better guide them as to how they could help their child succeed. “I believe that the key to any child’s success is parental involvement,” she said, adding, “I want to start a nonprofit for these children, continue to help them, and make a difference in their lives, because unfortunately they are victims of the educational system, who fall between the cracks, and get left behind.” she said. Preceding retirement, Guevara was the Laredo Chamber of Commerce School Bell Award recipient, as well as the Golden Apple Award honoree. In coordination with Texas A&M University in Bryan and John Hopkins University, she is currently working on a five year study on language involving students from local schools. Guevara said, “It was a lot of dedication that got me to where I am. I was blessed that I loved my job, kids, and parents. I woke up everyday genuinely excited to go to work. Not many can say that.” Guevara’s focus is now on enjoying what life offers and remaining involved in the community and with the St. Patrick’s Catholic Church as a Eucharist minister and with the ACTS retreats. She still makes time to take
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Demolition by neglect — the Webb County Courthouse Annex By MARIA EUGENIA GUERRA LareDOS Publisher If buildings could speak, what stories could echo from the hallowed walls of the Webb County Courthouse Annex at 1001 Houston Street? Even in its boarded-up neglect, the handsome exterior of the edifice bespeaks the architecture of another era. The two-story structure was built in 1916 as the Latin American Club, a recreational organization for some of the affluent old families of Laredo, some who were refugees from the Mexican Revolution. Also referred to as “The Casino” and “The Tesoro Club,” the facility was a meeting place for billiards, bowling, and board games like chess and dominos. There was also a ballroom for dances and family events. A building permit for the Latin American Club was obtained on October 17, 1916 by its president, Carlos Salinas, a developer. Some of the club’s principals were Daniel B. Serna, Artemio Gonzalez, Eusebio García, and Luis Ortiz. According to Steven J. Phillips, au-
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thor of Old House Dictionary, the structure with its “monumental appearance, symmetrical façade, wall surfaces embellished with medallions, exterior walls having quoins, low pitched mansard roofs, and a variety of stone finishes” is one of few examples of Beaux Arts architecture in Laredo. Architectural historian Ellen Beasley, author of Cultural Resource Survey of Laredo, noted the building’s balustrade along the roofline, projecting cornice with paired brackets, its fivebay façade, and decorative brick work in contrasting colors. Webb County acquired the building for $27,000 and $1,600.75 in taxes owed in a transaction with J. A. Ortiz dated February 26, 1929. Then Webb County Judge Justo Penn supervised the transformation of the building from clubhouse to the Webb County Courthouse Annex, following the plans drawn up by architect M. S. Ryan, also a Webb County Commissioner and the county auditor. The building’s basement provided offices and storage. The first floor was reconfigured into offices for 111th District Judge John A. Valls, County As-
sessor B. J. Leyendecker, Tax Assessor Amadee Ligarde, and other officials. The spacious second floor ballroom, according to a 1929 account by Sheena T. McCullough in The Texas Pioneer, was converted into “perhaps one of the finest courtrooms in the state.” McCullough noted the large casement windows to the north, south, and east; hard maple floors; good ventilation; plenty of seating; a large bench for the judiciary; a jury room and rooms for attorneys, the district clerk and the court reporter. The 111th District Court was created by the Texas Legislature in February of 1929 to take on the burdened caseload of the 49th District Court. Valls, an eminence of the Laredo legal community and an able attorney of international repute, served as 49th District Attorney for Webb, Dimmit, Jim Hogg, and Zapata counties for three decades. He served briefly as judge of the 111th Judicial District Court, resigning in September 1929 to resume his old post as District Attorney. In December 1939 he was appointed judge of the 49th District Court. Though the current Webb County
administration under Judge Danny Valdez has moved for the building’s demolition or for sale for demolition, there has been considerable opposition to such action. Few have been the Webb County Commissioners who recognize the historical worth of the annex building. This beautiful architectural asset could well house the historic archival documents of Webb County. No doubt there are grants available for just such a project, but that’s so forward thinking as to be out of the realm of this sitting Commissioners Court. Through openings in the building and through unsecured windows, pigeons, rats, bats, and other vermin continue to make their home there. Those same openings invite rain and mold into the structure. This is demolition by neglect.
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Local’s latest single hits the airwaves Local Tejano artist Phoebe Marie’s Phoebe Marie said, “I’d like to stay latest single Cumbia Candela y Senti- positive and become a good role modmento is hitting the Dallas, Lubbock, el for all fans and others who have a and Corpus Christi airwaves. goal to reach. Have faith, don’t give “I want my wonderful fans to love up just because it’s hard. Be strong what I sing, and for my songs to have and keep fighting for what you want some special meaning to each and in life. And most importantly, keep every one of them. A lot of times you need that special song to keep you going. As you know all songs are about life and/ or something in life that has happened,” said the Latina. Manager Mary Jaurigui said, “This first song showcases the kind of rhythm and feel for cumbia dance music that fans can expect.” Noe Benitez, who holds a Masters in music wrote the song. Tejano Music and Latin Grammy Award nominee, Benitez leads a career as songwriter and producer of Latin music and helps young artists who are interested in pursuing a career in music and the arts. “I look forward to this Phoebe Marie new project with Phoebe, who has recently recorded one of my songs. So far it has been your family by your side, believe me, well accepted by the audiences as a you will need that support. Always single out of Phoebe’s next album,” know who you are and where you Benitez said. came from. Be humble, and keep God Producer Hugo Guerrero, known in your heart and mind.” for his single La Charanga, is also set — LareDOS Staff to produce the Latina’s upcoming album. Of what’s next and her overall attitude of tackling the music industry,
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Gloria Gonzalez/LareDOS Contributor
Felicidades, Juanita Lerma
At the Nye Elementary School Book Fair
San Ygnacio resident Juanita Lerma is pictured with her daughter Odila Solis and granddaughter Bettina Solis on the occasion of Juanitaâ€™s recent birthday.
Librarian Yvette Hernandez and assistant librarian Sarah Guillen are pictured with Nye students Diego Hernandez and Emily and Amandita Altgelt at the twice-annual Book Fair.
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LTA’s Tennis for the blind reaches out to visually impaired By MARIELA RODRIGUEZ LareDOS Staff
he Laredo Tennis Association (LTA) is reaching out to the blind and visually impaired with Tennis for the Blind, which is open to the public. The program is divided into five to six segments and is taking place at the Haynes Health and Wellness Center at 2102 Clark’s Crossing. “This program is God driven,” said LTA board president Tina Treviño, who with other board members was approached by tennis coach Mario Cazares of McAllen’s Miradas de Esperanza. “They contacted me for a presentation, and I called Claudia Villarreal and Amaris Espinoza, both chairs of the program, and each of them had a connection with some parents of visually im-
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paired children and invited them to participate and spread the word.” “We’ve absolutely fallen in love with this program. We have five to seven young adults currently participating with great results. The kids are moving a lot more and getting plenty of physical exercise,” said Villarreal, chair of the Tennis for the Blind committee. Elsa Buitron, the mother of 22 year-old Barbara Buitron, said she is relieved that her daughter, who has no vision in her left eye and limited vision in her right eye, now has an opportunity to be active in a sport. “She is enthusiastic about learning, especially because while in school she was limited to her involvement in her physical education class or with any sport,” said Buitron. “Manuel Saucedo, one of our participants, is blind and learning
Braille in school. He was constantly slouching and did not know how to run when he first started. Now I see him smiling and standing up with a newfound confidence,” Treviño noted. Participants are being taught basic physical assertion skills, such as bending their knees and running. They are also being taught tennis with a special ball that makes noise. They follow the sound to know where the ball is going and where to aim with their racquets. Unlike standard tennis, the ball can bounce twice or thrice before it must be hit. “The City’s Parks and Leisure Department has been generous enough to permit use of the Haynes gym. In order to play at the Haynes Center, children have to become members. A donation was given to cover that fee for our current participants, but we are in need of
sponsorships to keep the program going,” Treviño said. Of LTA’s goal for Tennis for the Blind, Villarreal said, “The program is in its beginning stages. We are in search of kids who can travel and compete. So this is not just for recreational purposes. We want to offer these kids an opportunity to be involved in a competitive sport.” The U.S. Association for Blind Athletes has contacted LTA with interest in seeing how the program is working out. “This is very exciting, but more than anything it is about what these young people are accomplishing,” said Treviño. City Parks and Leisure is partners with LTA in sponsoring the program. For more information on the program or to become a sponsor, contact the LTA at (956) 724-7273.
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Depleted art exhibit Artist Olivia Cotton and husband Jorge Santana are pictured on Saturday, October 19 at CaffĂŠ Dolce. Cotton unveiled her latest watercolor illustrations in a collection called Depleted. W W W. L A R E D OSNEWS. COM
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Laredo Little Theater presents The Laramie Project Nov. 21 - 24 By ARMANDO X. LOPEZ LareDOS Contributor
aredo theater patrons will be treated to the tragic, thought provoking, and ultimately uplifting production of The Laramie Project when The Laredo Little Theater brings the award-winning show to the stage November 21 through 24. The Thursday, Friday, and Saturday shows will begin at 8:00 p.m. with the Sunday matinee to commence at 3:00 p.m. at the recently renovated theater. Director Kelly Fitzgerald and her production team of Anissa Zimmerman, Marisol Suarez, Dianne Addison Ramirez, and Mara Lopez are set to bring this show to the Laredo stage for the first time. The LLT production coincides with the 15th anniversary of the acclaimed show debut. The Laramie Project is written by Moises
Kaufman and members of the Tectonic Theater Project and performed with permission of Dramatists Play Service, Inc. The show tells the story of the aftermath of the savage beating and death of Matthew Shepard, in a supposedly secluded and quiet city of Laramie, Wyoming. Shepard, a gay 21 year-old, was tied to a fence on the outskirts of town and beaten savagely and left to die by the two men who kidnapped him and also robbed him. Shepard died six days later in a coma in a hospital surrounded by family and friends. A massive uprising for gay rights and non-discrimination acts rose in Shepard’s name during the time that he was in a coma and in the months following his death. The play is based on series of interviews and public documents surrounding the city, the incident, the trial, and the topic of tolerance and hate-driven
Director Kelly Fitzgerald works with cast members of The Laramie Project, which is in rehearsal for a November 21 -24 run at the Laredo Little Theater. Pictured onstage left to right are Pasha Melani, Venessa Prince, Claudia Escobedo, Rebekah Rodriguez, Francisco Salas, and David Barnett.
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crime. Fitzgerald, an assistant City attorney and regular on the Laredo theater scene, remembered the feeling that overcame her when she read the script. “I knew I not only wanted to direct this show, but that I had to. I vaguely remembered the Matthew Shepard case and being horrified by it. I started asking around to see if anyone locally was interested in doing this show, and was surprised to hear that many people were. We hear so often that Laredo ‘isn’t ready’ for this and ‘isn’t ready’ for that. Well, at some point, you have to force the issue if you want to see progress made.” She added “The play isn’t organized by scenes, as in a traditional play. It is organized in ‘moments.’ Some of these moments look like traditional scenes, in that the characters interact with each other but many scenes break the ‘fourth wall,’ with the characters speaking directly to the audience, as though the audience was interviewing them.” And though the show addresses what some might view as controversial themes, Fitzgerald has found great support by the Laredo Little Theater Board. “They have been incredibly supportive and we are working hard to put together a production that they can be extremely proud of. Dianne Addison Ramirez came up with the set design a couple of weeks after the board approved the production. LLT board president Oscar O. Peña has come to rehearsals just to watch and has acted as a stand-in for absent company members because he is very excited about this production. Memo Lopez, another LLT board member, has come up with ideas for sound and music that we are working
on at this moment. His mother, Jeannie Lopez has also been incredibly supportive of this production. I am so appreciative of all their contributions.” Fitzgerald is quick to acknowledge the contribution of stage manager Anissa Zimmerman. “She spots things that I miss and isn’t afraid to tell me her ideas. She also keeps me on track, because it’s not easy keeping 15 actors and 84 characters in order all the time,” said an appreciative Fitzgerald. Technical director Marisol Suarez is the boss in the booth. “She has come up with some amazing ideas on her own for the promo and program cover, as well as photos that we will be using during the play. I can’t wait to see what she can come up with,” stated Fitzgerald. Margo Paz and Penelope Warren are working with props and costumes. “I gave them an assignment and within a week, they presented me with a costume and prop plot for the entire show, and have some very interesting ideas for them.” Fitzgerald’s directing style is a balance between her own ideas of what the tone of the show should be and her cast’s interpretation of their character and the moment that they play. “I also try to stand back and get out of everyone’s way so they can shine,” she remarked. “I have encouraged my cast to research their characters, find out as much as they can about them, and bring some of that to their portrayal.” “My cast is made up of actors of varying levels of experience. There are some familiar faces like Andres Regalado and Gil Martinez Jr., but Continued on page 35
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The dos and don’ts of business etiquette
aredo Community College will host Building Better Business Relationships seminar on Wednesday, November 6 in Room 101 of the De La Garza Building on the Fort McIntosh Campus. The presenter will be PMDG marketing communications partner A.B. Barrera. “Business etiquette is about building relationships and that’s what we are really trying to accomplish,” Barrera said, adding, “The seminar will cover six different modules — everything from communication, that includes social media and email etiquette, as well as communicating with one another within the workplace — whether it is from boss to boss, employee to boss, or colleague to colleague — to solve workplace problems as a team. Barrera will share how incivility tears down relationships, how to properly communicate, and how to approach uncomfortable office situations. He plans to discuss the importance of solving workplace problems as a team.
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most of them are either new to Laredo or new to the Laredo stage,” noted Fitzgerald. Most of the actors will be taking four to six characters each. Cast members are Clarissa Astudillo, David Barnett, Claudia Escobedo, Jonathan García, Armando X. López, Pasha Melani, Eliamar Nguyen, Zone Nguyen, Cody Permenter, Venessa Prince, Rene Ramos Jr., Miguel Rodriguez, Rebekah Rodriguez, and Francisco Salas. Fitzgerald is hopeful that audience members will take from the play’s message that they can have an impact on stopping homophobia and bullying.
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He said, “A lot of times we don’t realize that when we create animosity amongst ourselves, that leads to poor work production, so we will definitely cover that. Difficult situations, how to do deal with them when encountered everyday, how do you communicate to people in the workplace, how do you greet customers, do you have the right attitude to deal with people on a regular basis.” Barrera is certified from the Emily Post Institute — a family business that specializes in etiquette and continues to teach the principles Emily Post published in her 1922 book Etiquette The topics to be discussed are featured in The Etiquette Advantage in Business by Peggy and Peter Post. The seminar is open to the public and is designed for business of all sizes. The workshop is designed to teach how to make a positive and professional impression. Admission is $75 per person the day of the event. For more information or to register visit www.laredo.edu/edc or contact Janet Miller at (956) 721-5110. She has invited the local PILLAR (People With Ideas of Love, Liberty, Acceptance and Respect) group to provide literature in the LLT foyer. All donations from the concession stand will be donated to PILLAR. “I hope the show inspires the audience to make Laredo a city that is known for welcoming all people, regardless of who they are, where they are from, or who they love,” said Fitzgerald. For information on ticket purchase please access the Laredo Little Theater Facebook page or the LLT web page at https://www.laredolittletheatre.org or by calling the theater at (956) 723-1342. The theater is located at 44802 Thomas Avenue. Tickets are $10.00.
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Trick-or-Treat Angelina Jimenez and Alicen Rodriguez showed off their costumes at the Farmerâ€™s Market on Saturday, October 19 at Jarvis Plaza.
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“It is what it is”?
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ternet sites, and blogs, and billions of dollars spent on negative advertising. We can shed the heavy sense of resignation implied in “it is what it is” by being more positive and proactive — for instance, by writing to legislators to politely insist that they do what they were elected to do: to consider and enact bills, i.e., to legislate. Congresspersons should prepare by diligently doing their homework on these bills to truly understand what policy they are attempting to advance and why and for whose benefit (for the people or for the lobbyists?) Our Congresspersons should never vote for bills written verbatim by the lobbyists, sometimes with the name of the lobbying organization left on the proposed bill! We must ask that our legislators perform their jobs as competently as most conscientious workers do. The October 2013 crisis has brought into sharp focus a sad truth — many of our elected senators and representatives are not performing their jobs thoughtfully and conscientiously. National polls reflect their dismal conduct with resounding clarity, and we should be no less willing to tell them also. An English friend wrote that a favorite author recently made a strong plea that we all get talking about the world situation — which shows great signs of chaos — and that we don’t bury our heads in the sand, thinking what we think does not matter. What we think does matter, and we can also make our voice heard outside the realm of government and politics. Recently, corporations have taken on a stronger role in our lives. Banks, for instance, have dozens of fees, disproportion-
ate to their cost of providing them. Even one $30 returned check fee can snowball into a downward spiral into several for those trying to make ends meet. Airlines, too, have inundated us with fees for schedule changes, phone reservations, and modest snacks while making seat space ever smaller. Even doctors now require patients to sign several pages of promises to pay fees for returned checks and missed appointments, while apparently giving no thought to the long waits patients endure in their
offices. We have allowed this overreaching to become the new norm. Although the law recognizes that agreements should not be coerced, we have had these small ones thrust upon us without giving us any choice in the matter. “It is what it is” may be comforting because it requires nothing of us. But thinking and speaking up about “what could be” does require something. By being more actively engaged in seeking solutions and making suggestions, we might well benefit us all.
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By NANCY BLACK SAGAFI-NEJAD LareDOS Contributor hen the phrase “it is what it is” first entered our parlance some years ago, it seemed both a confusing and dispiriting concept. It remained baffling but soon turned into a “wait a minute” moment of disagreement because its implication is that nothing can change and we have neither the will nor ability to effect change. This kind of view naturally impedes action and even discourages thought and imagination about what we might do to improve the status quo. And as this piece is written, the status quo is indeed pitiful! It seems that many have taken the phrase to heart because engagement in our nation’s civic life has diminished substantially over the last few decades. We seem to have become like obedient sheep who mechanically plod after a shepherd and show little initiative or energy — it is what it is. This kind of disengagement does not bode well for us and is why we should foster among ourselves greater camaraderie and involved discourse. We might ask what we can constructively do to take on more actively the “mantle of citizenship” and reject the constraints represented by this phrase. We might try harder to determine the accuracy and authenticity of what we read and hear by asking questions and getting answers. Then we can engage each other in thoughtful and rigorous debate supported by accurate facts rather than in divisive or diversionary tactics supported by half-truths. Granted, this is a difficult task when we have access to thousands of cable channels, In-
Newcomers get a tour Laredo Mainstreet’s Stephanie Mendez directed newcomers to the Farmer’s Market as to what was a must try from the food vendors and possible products that would interest them on Saturday, October 19 at Jarvis Plaza. LareDOS I O CTO B E R 2 0 1 3 I 4 1
Modern tech and non-modernized users
By JOSÉ QUEZADA Bridge Reporter
f you turned on your television in the 1960s, chances were you’d find George Jetson and the Jetsons or the Fred Flinstone family playing on your TV. One told the story of a family living day to day in a futuristic utopia, and the other about a family living in prehistoric times. In today’s world, we share more similarities with George Jetson than we do with Fred Flintstone, yet some people find themselves so out of touch with modern tech, that you could picture them driving their Flintstone Foot-mobile to work. Gone are the days giving up an entire Sunday to pay all of your bills. Much of that effort can be done in the palm of your hands or from the comfort of your home. Why would anyone choose not to use a method so progressively advantageous? In 2007, Apple released the first generation iPhone, which revolutionized the way we use the devices in our pocket. The possibilities brought by this new tech were endless. In 2013, we’ve made great advances in mobile technology. Tablets, a wide variety of mobile phones, and a more immersed experience across all of our digital devices have helped us go about day-to-day tasks, and yet we find that most consumers don’t seem to take full advantage of the technology at hand. When the question “What do you want out of your phone?” is asked, most consumers will tell you, “I mostly just use it for Facebook and the Internet.” Older customers who don’t want any of the fuss of a smart phone (a phone with Internet capabilities and applications), “love the bigger screens.”
Those who embrace the full use of their devices find that not only do they save time, but money as well. I’ve been going to Texas A&M International University for a few years now, and for the past two I’ve stopped carrying around a backpack and notepad for the most part. Sometimes, I even leave my pen at home. I’ve learned to do most, if not all, my note taking on my phone. Any important assignments or meetings for which I need reminding, I set on my phone’s calendar. My phone can even set specific location reminders at a specific time. Teachers and students are starting to find the advantages of these devices in the classroom, with some schools assigning iPads to all of their students and teachers. More powerful technology brings greater fears. It’s possible to pay most of your bills in a few minutes on a mobile device, but how secure is it? It’s the same concern that arose when Internet shopping became possible. People are scared of identity theft and therefore refuse to give any personal information whenever it’s requested. Location, agreements, and credit cards are required to do certain tasks on a phone. How safe is it? There are reports of Google and Apple surveying personal information to “improve products,” but how much privacy should be sacrificed for the advantage of modern technology. “Do I have to enter my credit card number?” or “I don’t want them to know where I am all the time” is something you’ll hear from an owner who is just starting up their new device. As with most good things, there is always a risk, but without taking this risk, how do we progress? Keeping up with family, staying healthy, paying bills — it’s all possible
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when you know how to use a personal digital device. I always encourage users to explore their new toy. I also dare them to make mistakes, because that’s the best way to learn how to use your new device. The next time you catch
yourself writing in your paper calendar or walking out the door to pay your electric bill, remember, it can all be done before you even roll out of bed. (José Quezada can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)
Educator Zelidéh López: modern children need modern parents By ALEJANDRO MEZA Bridge Jr. Reporter
s a city grows from its foundations, children succeed on the foundation established by their parents. Lyndon B. Johnson High School (LBJHS) teacher Zelidéh Lopez has dedicated her career to this principle. López has studied education since 1986 and has stopped at little, to ensure that her students succeed in life. López, 52 and the mother of three, was born in Mexico City where early on she understood that hard work would take her to her goals. She holds a BA in secondary education with a concentration in biology; a BA in secondary education with a concentration in physics; an MA in Spanish; and a certification in Neuroeducation, the study of cognitive processes and mental functions. López taught in Puerto Rico, where she lived for seven years. She also worked as a teacher and academic counselor in Mexico City. In 2006 she moved to Laredo, where she is now a teacher aide at LBJHS. During her time in Mexico City, she learned an innovative technique called Neuroeducation, which later inspired the project to which she
would dedicate her career, educating children by making parents an equal part of the learning equation. She created a workshop called “Modern Children Need Modern Parents,” which aims to help adults become better parents to their children by making use of Neuroeducation techniques, such as mental maps and communication channels to measure how people learn. She explores VAK— is the person Visual, Kinesthetic, or Auditive? López engages parents in activities that allow them to get to know themselves, such as hug therapy to break physical contact paradigms. She teaches the Life Project, which involves going back to what every person dreamed they could be when they were younger, when they were not parents. She utilizes scrapbooks to bring back memories from when their children where babies and videos of embryo development to create a sense of empathy towards the moment when humans are more vulnerable. The workshop was first utilized at LBJHS in school year 2012-2013. According to López, it had a positive impact on the parents of the community. “They would send me letters Continued on page 43
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and greeting cards telling me how much they appreciated the workshop and how it has radically changed the home environment in a positive way,” López said. The response was noted by assistant principal José Iznaola. He invited López to talk about the project during his radio show La Noche es Tuya on Stereo 91 (91.3 FM) and www.arcanasa. com. During the show, López talked about the focus of the program. For example, “educating from conception.”
López and Iznaola plan a “School for Parents” to help them better communicate with their children in order for them to be more successful in life. The school will offer parents techniques that will foster more fun, love, and respect in their families. López hopes for the program to have a far reach that will make a difference in the community. López goes into more detail on her blog www.neuroquantumalexapr. blogger.com and invites anyone interested to contact her for more information.
Laredo’s Lauren Guzman, Miss Texas USA 2014 By CELIA VILLARREAL Editor-in-Chief The Bridge “When I realized I wanted to be Miss Texas, I didn’t give up on that dream,” said Laredo native Lauren Nicole Guzman, the newly crowned Miss Texas USA 2014. In a fierce competition of 104 contestants from throughout the state, Guzman was the lucky one who wore the coveted Miss Texas crown and sash on September 1, 2013 in Houston. Guzman is humble about the win. “It all comes down to what the judges are looking for. If we had the same pageant with the same group of girls on a different night with a different set of judges, there would have been a completely different outcome. I was just lucky,” she said. As Miss Texas USA, Guzman has made appearances with Hope Endowment, a charity event that raised money for orphans in India, and at a charity golf tournament for Shriners Hospital. She will head to the Bahamas over
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Thanksgiving for the ‘Battle for Atlantis,’ a college basketball tournament hosted by the Miss Universe Organization. She will also be competing for the title of Miss USA this summer in Miami. Although the date hasn’t officially been released, the pageant is usually staged sometime in June. This is the first year the competition will be held in Miami instead of Las Vegas. Guzman, a graduate of St. Mary’s University with a degree in forensic science, said she wants to eventually apply with the FBI to work as either a special agent or a forensic investigator. She is a member of the Texas State Guard, a volunteer organization that in times of natural disasters supplements local and state law enforcement with setting up shelters, performing search and rescue, land navigation, and wide-area damage assessment. Guzman said she has learned invaluable information as a pageant contestant and skills that can’t be learned in school — self-confidence, grace, and
public speaking. She said these are all helpful in continuing her education, landing a job, and building relationships. She is the fifth Miss Texas to have won both the Miss Texas Teen and Miss Texas titles. She is the second from Laredo to win Miss Texas, and the first of three to win the Miss Texas Teen pageant. She said, “My perseverance paid off in the end. One of the biggest things I have learned is to never to give up, no matter how hard things may seem. If you set your goal on something and you work hard enough, you can achieve that goal.” Guzman’s road to the crown began in 2005 when she competed for and won the Miss Laredo Top Model pageant, thus gaining entry for the Miss Laredo Teen pageant. The first year she competed for the Laredo title, she placed as first runner-up, and won Miss Laredo Teen 2007 the following year. “The year I attended the Miss Texas Teen pageant just to watch, so I could kind of get a feel of what was expected of me and how things were going to run at the pageant,” she recalled. As Miss Laredo Teen 2007, Guzman had a duty to compete at the Miss Texas Teen 2008 pageant. Despite it being her first time competing at a state pageant, Guzman came home with the title of Miss Texas Teen 2008, the first Laredoan to bring back a state title. “It was my first time competing in a state pageant. I didn’t know what to expect. When you compete for something you don’t think, ‘I’m going to lose,’ but at the same time I didn’t expect to win. It was just a huge surprise,” she said. After a year as Miss Texas Teen 2008, Guzman rested a year and switched from the Teen division to the Miss division. The Teen division is for girls aged 14 to 18, and the Miss division for girls 18 to 27. In June 2010, Guzman competed for
the title of Miss Laredo, and came in as first runner-up. In September, she competed for Miss Texas USA 2011 as Miss Gateway City and placed third runnerup. That was the same year Laredo native Ana Rodriguez won Miss Texas USA. The following June Guzman won the title of Miss Laredo 2011, and placed first runner-up at the Miss Texas USA pageant a few months later. Since she had already received a preliminary title, Guzman went straight to competition for the Miss Texas USA 2013 title as Miss North Laredo, placing as fourth runner-up. “Before I competed for Miss Texas 2013, I said to myself that this was my last year competing. When you decide to do a pageant, it takes a lot of time and effort. I was just ready to move on and focus on a different part of my life. However, I wasn’t expecting to get fourth runner-up. I wanted to win that year. I realized that if I didn’t go back and try to win one more time, I would regret that decision for the rest of my life,” she said. Guzman is certainly glad she decided to compete once more for the Texas title. She remarked, “I think it was meant to be. I didn’t really do anything different. I just went in with the mentality that if it was meant to happen, it would. I was going to do everything to the best of my ability.” The fourth runner-up to Miss Texas was Miss South Central Texas, Alejandra Gonzalez. Third runner-up belonged to Miss Kemah, Peyton Saverence. The second runner-up was Miss South Texas, Yillana Guerra. Miss Dallas, Jordan Schultz, who placed first runner-up the year before, received first runner-up this year as well. She said, “When the announcer called out Dallas as first runner-up, I wanted to cry because I was so relieved. It’s overwhelming when you train so hard for something and succeed.”
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Animal welfare in Laredo needs marathon runners, not sprinters By MICHELLE RUBIO The Bridge Staff
e’ve all flipped absently through our TVs to see what’s on, only to instantly change the channel when we’ve come across a hard-towatch ASPCA commercial that depicts animal cruelty. It’s an impulse reaction because we don’t want to see suffering animals stare at us with desperate, sad eyes that tell of their inhumane treatment. Is it guilt we feel that we can’t help them, or is it a conscious decision to turn a blind eye? Most people don’t realize that a drive around Laredo can provide an up-close look of many instances of animal abuse — malnourishment, deprivation of water, being chained to a tree in full sun, or being turned loose to fend for themselves on the street. To these clear examples of abuse, many of us are are guilty of a slow reaction, if we have one at all. I’m not alone in seeing the lack of local resources to care for abused and abandoned animals. In my brief stint as a dog trainer for a local pet store, I personally witnessed many good Samaritans who invested personal finances to help animals. This was reassuring to see. Some customers would go to the store strictly to buy bags of food to drop off in our donation bin, and others would ask if their monetary donations would go to local shelters. While these many good intentions were admirable, they should not be the backbone of animal care and welfare in Laredo. Many customers would tell me that sometimes an animal in Laredo was better off on
the street than in a shelter. A quick Google search for animal shelters in nearby cities like San Antonio yield many options for people to take animals they can no longer care for. These include the San Antonio Humane Society, Animal Defense League, Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation, Inc., Missy’s Haven Canine Rescue, Animal Care Services, Last Chance Forever, Inc., and the Animal Shelter Assistance Program, some of which offer indoor facilities and additional assistance to animals other than cats and dogs. This is a sharp contrast to the same Google search for facilities in Laredo. With only a handful of organizations that act as shelters for local strays, animals often end up in peril and at the grim alternative of euthanization. The Laredo Animal Protective Society (LAPS), once funded by the City of Laredo to act as an impoundment facility, recently became the city’s only “nokill” shelter, but this was not without controversy. At an October 17, 2011 City Council meeting, two animal advocates presented their stance on issues with LAPS. A YouTube video presented graphic images of unclean kennels and explanations of the older unofficial policies by which pregnant dogs would be euthanized. City council members actually stopped the advocates from speaking because the video was labeled “defamatory.” The speakers said they were told by the ASPCA and the Humane Society to go through local authorities before conducting investigations, and also emphasized that the City’s annual funding of LAPS — in return for the impoundment
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of strays — was not enough. City manager Carlos Villarreal addressed the two women, telling them the issue would be handled. It was a year before anything transpired. Prior to this event, an online petition asked for the shelter to run in a more efficient manner or to be shut down. It cited the euthanizing of approximately 10,000 animals in 2010 and expressed distress over the lack of community involvement, both from local residents and veterinarians. The petition, which is still posted at change.org garnered 750 signatures, while the video only got about 230 views. While many voiced their concern, not all came forth with donations to help fund LAPS’ vital work to sustain animal care services. To be clear, the $300,000 funding of LAPS by the City was never enough to provide animal care services in a city overrun by strays abandoned by a public uneducated about animal care, city ordinances, and spay/neuter programs for their pets. Factor in the city’s understaffed animal control entity, its resulting lack of enforcement, and irresponsible pet owners, and you have the perfect formula for a small not-for-profit like LAPS trying, but often failing, to do the public work of animal impoundment in the face of an uncontrollably large stray population. Without the burden of impoundment and euthanasia, LAPS has moved forward in a progressive transformation that’s evident on the pages of its website at http://www.petadoptlaredo.org/, which allows online donations. The organization’s staff and its core of longtime volunteers work hard at the costly
task of keeping the shelter open through donations and grants. Gone are the severely overpopulated kennels and animals begging for attention. A visit there today is far more tranquil than in years past. The shelter’s historic patch of land in West Laredo, a refuge for unwanted animals founded by the kind-hearted Devine sisters, could easily be utilized to its full capacity if there were more funds for more staff. My goal in writing here is not to bash Laredo, a character trait that unfortunately seems embedded in the city’s culture. Instead, my goal is to turn people to the larger issue of how we care for strays and un-neutered pets in Laredo. According to the Humane Society of the United States, roughly 47 percent of households have at least one dog. Owning an animal is a serious responsibility. Dogs and cats need care, love, and attention, and pet owners need to be educated about feeding strays (which encourages a population of feral cats), backyard breeding, spaying and neutering, microchip registration, and regular vaccinations. LAPS is but one piece of the effort to make Laredo a compassionate, caring place for animals, a city that deals with its strays and protects its citizens from packs of feral animals. Pet owners need to do their part and so does the City of Laredo, whose Health Department for too long has been reactive to a cityscape overrun by an over-population of stray cats and dogs. Those who define public policy need to assume a proactive role to educate the public, enforce leash and microchip regulations, stop the feeding of feral animals, and fine those who violate city ordinances.
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Una nueva oportunidad para locutor local By LESLIE ADAME Spanish & Media Editor The Bridge
nivisión Radio, una de las principales compañías de los medios de comunicación en Estados Unidos, le abre las puertas a un gran talento local de la radio. La cadena Estéreo Latino 102.9 invita a Roberto Morales, más conocido como “Beto Morales,” a formar parte de su equipo radiofónico. Nacido en Beeville con raíces mexicanas, el locutor sintió una pasión por la radio desde muy temprana edad, que se fortaleció al recibir comentarios de que su voz era muy apta para la radio. Morales siempre vio la radio como un sueño, por lo que decidió estudiar la carrera de psicología. Más tarde, uno de los productores de su ahora ex compañía de trabajo R Communication, anteriormente conocida como BMP Radio, descubrió su gran potencial. Decidió ofrecerle una oportunidad de trabajo y poder salir al aire en la estación local La Ley 100.5 los fines de semana. Apartó sus estudios universitarios por un momento para poder enfocarse en su pasión. A los seis meses, Morales ya tenía su propia programación semanal. De ahí en adelante, el locutor tuvo la oportunidad de disfrutar de diferentes horarios y poder llegar a conocer y trabajar con distintos radioescu-
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chas. Morales ha tenido el privilegio de llegar con su voz a cientos de personas tanto de Laredo, como Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, de poder presentar a celebridades o conocer artistas de la categoría de Joan Sebastián y Vicente Fernández. Aún así, el locutor comenta que nada de eso se compara con el poder llegar a los corazones de sus radioescuchas y agradecerles su fidelidad a lo largo de los años. El poder formar parte de la radio y todo el conocimiento hasta ahora adquirido es algo que no deja de sorprender a Morales La nueva oferta de trabajo para el locutor surge de una forma inesperada. Durante la recién adquirida programación de radio “El Show de Raúl Brindis,” programa que se genera en Houston y es emitido por un gran número de estaciones de radio a nivel nacional, una de las personas encargadas de este programa contacto con Morales ya que quería conocerlo y ofrecerle un puesto en su cadena. La sorpresa fue mayor al recibir después la llamada del mismo Sr. Raúl Brindis, que personalmente lo invitó a formar parte de su programación. El poder llegar a ser una personalidad de radio como lo es Raúl Brindis siempre ha sido una de las metas del locutor. Recibir una oferta de trabajo de una de las personalidades que el locutor más admira fue algo inesperado. Morales comenta que para él siempre es importante el poder desarrollarse profesional-
mente, pero nunca se imaginó que iba a tener una oportunidad semejante tan temprano en su carrera. Morales ve como un gran reto ir a una ciudad que no conoce y estar lejos de todas las personas que lo apoyan y quieren. El hecho de trabajar para uno de los mercados más importantes de radio como es el de Houston representa para el locutor una gran oportunidad de crecimiento profesional y personal. Para el locutor la gran ventaja de este nuevo reto es estar bajo la guía de una personalidad de la radio tan importante Raúl Brindis. Morales debuto el 14 de octubre de siete de la tarde a doce de la noche, con muchas sorpresas pendientes de anunciar. Desea que sus radioescuchas lo puedan seguir apoyando en su nueva etapa. Con esta nueva oportunidad, espera cumplir su meta de llegar a ser una personalidad conocida e importante de la radio algún día con dedicación y
constancia. Morales no deja de prepararse desde que entró en el campo de comunicaciones y esta ocasión no será la excepción, “Día con día es un reto para mi superar a mi yo de ayer,” nos dice, “al superarme cada día quiero ser mejor que como fui ayer.” El locutor se despidió dando gracias inmensas a cada una de las personas que lo escucharon y apoyaron, especialmente a sus fieles radioescuchas quienes han sido los que le han llevando al lugar en donde está. Morales les dejó un mensaje simple pero directo, “luchen por su sueño, todo se puede si te lo propones.” Para concluir afirmó que algún día desea regresar con el público que le dio la oportunidad de crecer. Para escuchar la nueva programación de radio de Beto Morales puede visitar la página de internet www. estereolatino1029.univision.com. (Colaboracion editoral, Dr. José A. Martinez-Samos.)
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Illinois writer seeks data on 1870s Webb County public servant By MARIA EUGENIA GUERRA LareDOS Publisher
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ill Walsh, a writer from Morris, Illinois was in Laredo in early October to research the life and times of Col. Hamilton Cobb Peterson, a Civil War veteran who came to Laredo in 1869 as the Commander of Company C at Fort McIntosh. Peterson would reside in Laredo until his death in April 1879. He practiced law here as a circuit lawyer in partnership with W.A. Kraft of Brownville; was hired in 1871 as the Teacher in Charge of the Common Schools of Laredo to begin planning a high school; was elected in 1872 to represent Webb and Encinal counties at the State Republican Convention; was appointed a Webb County Elections Supervisor by the Circuit Court of the United States in 1874 along with E. F. Hall, H. Poggenpohl, Sam Jarvis, and Montague Stephens; served as U.S. Commissioner for the Justice Department in Laredo in 1876; and served as Webb County Attorney after his election in 1878. Despite Peterson's so varied and full a resume in public service, Walsh has found little documentation about Peterson in the local archives. Walsh has had more rewarding searches for information about Peterson in the National Archives and the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. and the Texas Supreme Court Archives. An elaborate 1899 narrative of the Old West, A Texas Ranger, authored by former Texas Ranger Napoleon Jennings, featured H.C. Peterson as an adventurous sharp shooter, a
Writer Bill Walsh is pictured on his recent data search in Laredo with Leo López and Rev. Dr. Roy C. Backus. “daredevil of the most pronounced type,” a man who could hit "a halfdollar with a pistol ball four times out of five at 50 paces.” By the time Peterson, a native of Grundy County, Illinois arrived in Laredo, he had been a teacher, a surveyor, and an agent of the Freedman’s Bureau. In 1873, Peterson married Inez López, the daughter of Gen. López, commander of the national forces of Northern Mexico. A news clipping from an Illinois newspaper recounts from a Laredo paper the marriage on January 1, 1873 in the Cathedral of Nuevo Laredo. The ceremony was performed by Reverend Father Renaud. The news item reads,
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“We congratulate our worthy young friend, Col. Peterson, upon his marriage with one of the fairest, most beautiful and accomplished ladies of the Río Grande Valley. May their married life be an unruffled calm of continued happiness with naught to mar or allay their bright dreams of a blissful future.” The marriage announcement mentions that Peterson was “late of the Mexican Army.” In addition to any details on Peterson’s time in Laredo, Walsh is looking for information about Inez López de Peterson and the identity of her father, whom Walsh speculates was Gov. Albino López. “Inez’s story is key to the telling
of Peterson’s story,” Walsh said. He is asking that anyone with a recollection of her name in their own family history contact him. Walsh came to the telling of the life of Hamilton Cobb Peterson by way of a small basket of 1800s era Mexican coins on the corner of an antique desk and a manila envelope in that desk. The desk had been a fixture in Walsh’s home, which had once been the home of Peterson’s niece, Ethel Peterson Marlette. In a draft preface to the book about Petrson, Walsh wrote, “Nobody in our family ever understood the significance of these items, only that they had been owned by Ethel and were inherited by my father when she died. When asked, my Dad would say they involved an uncle of Ethel’s who had lived in the ‘cowboy days’ and that was all he knew, except for a brief account of this uncle having married the daughter of a Mexican general.” The contents of the manila envelope, information gathered by Peterson’s father upon his son’s death in Laredo in 1879 at the age 34, piqued Walsh’s interest. And so began his journey to reconstruct Peterson’s life and to connect a native son of Illinois, a Civil War veteran who rode with the Yates Sharpshooters of the Illinois 64th Infantry, to public service in Laredo. Walsh said Peterson’s story “could have been lost forever,” had not the silver coins and the documents in the antique desk pointed him to Laredo. Bill Walsh can be reached at email@example.com or (815) 287-2108.
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By dr. neo gutierrez
Dr. Neo Gutierrez is a Ph.D. in Dance and Fine Arts, Meritorious Award in Laredo Fine Arts recipient 2009 from Webb Co. Heritage Foundation, Laredo Sr. Int’l 2008, Laredo MHS Tiger Legend 2002, and Sr. Int’l de Beverly Hills, 1997. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
erek Hough, originally trained as an exhibition ballroom dancer by Corky Ballas won an EMMY for his outstanding choreography work on a Dancing with the Stars television special performance. Corky is the son of Laredo’s great dancer/teacher from the 1950s, Maria Luisa Marulanda Ballas, now of Houston. Hough won the Emmy for three of the routines he choreographed for DWTS. Two of them were a mambo and a quickstep he performed with partner and Olympic gold medalist Shawn Johnson during Season 15. The third award was for “Walking on Air” for Macy’s Stars of Dance routine. DWTS just started its 17th season last month, presenting its 310th episode. The show is produced at CBS TV City Studios, which is eight blocks from where I live in L.A. The contestant pairs consist of a celebrity paired with a professional dancer. Past celebrity contestants include professional and Olympic athletes, supermodels, actors, singers, astronauts, and teen-heartthrobs. Each couple performs predetermined dances and competes against the others for judges’ points and audience votes. The couple receiving the lowest combined total of judges’ points and audience votes is eliminated each week until the champion dance pair remains. A total of 186 celebrities have appeared in the 17 seasons of the series, with 37 professional partners appearing alongside the celebrities. This season, which kicked off Sept. 16, includes celebrities such as actress Valerie Harper, who is battling terminal cancer, and actress Leah Rem-
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Notes from La La Land
DWTS dancer wins 2013 Emmy ini, who recently made headlines by leaving the Church of Scientology. Other contestants are Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi, Keyshawn Johnson, Jack Osbourne, Christina Milian, Amber Riley, Bill Nye, Corbin Bleu, Brant Daugherty, and Bill Engvall. The show airs at 8 p.m. on Mondays. For the first year in its total run, the hit show will combine the performance and results show into one two-hour program each week. From Laredo’s own Julia Vera we hear, “I am very excited to have been cast on the TV show Bones. I have been watching it for many years now. It is one of my favorites. So you can imagine my excitement with this assignment. Also, I did a movie with the actress that plays Cam Tamara Taylor. We did Gordon Glass in 2007. “I keep running into people both in front of as well as behind the camera. I did a film for TV, The Andrew Gurland Project in the last week of August 2013, and the first assistant director had been the second assistant director on the movie Speed. The funny thing is that they remember me, and I, of course, just focus on my work and don’t look around to see who I know or have met before. I am shooting a short film for a graduate student of the University of Southern California. This is a private university, of course, and the alumni are very outstanding. USC grad Steven Spielberg is one that I admire greatly for his work. The university picks only four scripts to be developed per year. The production is completely funded and provided with state of the art equipment. “The studios at USC compare with the studios in any big Hollywood studio complex. The crew is composed of students, and their work is
graded. Everything is very detailed. The set decorators and designers had me stand in front of several swatches of wallpaper and then they took pictures. The theme of the color scheme is very important. The film students are graded on everything. After I was cast, I told them I could only work on weekends. They agreed. The USC students are amazing — Chinese, Vietnamese, from Chile, Mexico, Hawaii, and New York. The one from Mexico is from Guanajuato, and his name is Juan Vera. That was my father’s name. There is a wall with the names of all the wealthy donors to USC, including Melnick, Weinstein, Speilberg. Oh, and by the way, I also did two radio commercials for Coffeemate last week. I love my life.” Movng onto another beautiful Latina in American showbiz, comedy star and entrepreneur Sofia Vergara of Colombia is now, for the second year, the highest-paid actress in American showbiz. A star in television’s Modern Family, she has been named by the Forbes organization as the highest-paid actress of 2013, earning more than $30 million between June 2012 and June 2013. At 41 she made $30 million with a major salary boost. She has endorsement deals with Diet Pepsi, CoverGirl, Rooms to Go, Comcast, State Farm Insurance, and the thyroid medicine Synthroid.
She has her own clothing line at KMart, and she is also one half of the management company Latin World Entertainment. Next to Sofia on the pay scale is Kaley Cuoco of The Big Bang Theory. Third on the list is actress Mariska Hargitay, whose mom was sex bomb Jayne Mansfield, a former UT Austin student. Kaley and Mariska each made $11 million the past year. I wrote recently about Yasiel Puig, the Dodgers’ new star, who defected Cuba to get to L.A. Well, now Cuba is letting athletes sign up with foreign sports leagues. According to the AP, Cuba announced recently that athletes from all sports will be able to sign contracts with foreign leagues, a break with past practices. The cookies have crumbled for O.J. Simpson, still in prison in Nevada. He was allegedly caught stealing gooey cookies from the prison’s cafeteria. He had a stash of not one, but more than a dozen smuggled oatmeal cookies from the prison’s chow hall. He would have gotten away with the goodies, but a sharp guard noticed Simpson was hiding something under his prison clothes after lunch. Simpson is in prison for the next four years for 2007 armed robbery and kidnapping charges. And on that note, it’s time for — as Norma Adamo says — TAN TAN!
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Maverick Ranch Notes
Summer reading: Texas history
By bebe & sissy fenstermaker
eading Texas history this summer finally got me to the family collection of the Southwestern Historical Quarterly, which was published by the Texas State Historical Association. The earliest issues we have are from the 1930s and they have excerpts from Nicholas Adolphus Sterne’s diary. Sterne emigrated from Germany around 1817 at the age of 16, beginning a new life in New Orleans. In 1826 he came to Texas to live, then participated in and helped to find financing for the Revolution. He also helped outfit two companies of volunteers known as the New Orleans Greys who were involved in the Siege of Bexar, Goliad, and the Alamo. From 1840 to 1851 Sterne recorded daily happenings in Nacogdoches when Texas was a republic and the early years of statehood. He began each entry with a weather report. His eye missed little, noting a comet in 1843 and the passage overhead of millions of the now-extinct Passenger pigeon on a Spring day. He knew everybody in Texas and recorded their news when they came through town. He had a sense of humor about these people and expressed it along with his disgust at the Texas government’s lack of ability to pull the Republic out of debt. His financial dealings were mind-boggling as were his endless horse trading, traveling, work on land records, and running the post office for that part of the Republic. He spoke and translated English, Spanish, French, German, Yiddish, and Latin. He worked in his large vegetable garden, built fences, and planted corn in his spare time, often
saying he went to bed worn out. One gem in the collection of the quarterlies was the report on the 65th annual meeting held in Austin in April 1961. The meeting’s register recorded the names of many people we knew in San Antonio and West Texas. Among them were our 87-year-old grandmother Rena Maverick Green and Mary Vance Green, her daughter and our aunt. Mary drove Grandma over to the meeting no doubt. Most of the names on the register were friends of Grandma’s and the ones I recognized bring back good memories. On the list is Florence K. Rosengren of San Antonio, who for decades, with her husband, ran the best bookstore west of the Mississippi. Mary Carolyn George is just finishing a book about the Rosengrens and their contribution to the culture and education of Texas. We spent lots of time in their bookstore and I keep any book with the Rosengren sticker on the inside pages. On the sign-in list is Winnie Allen, historian and archivist at the University of Texas archives. One summer in the early 1950s there was a big to-do when she visited Ft. Davis. There was much preparation to introduce her to old timers, look at old documents, and take her to all the historic places. Mama and Grandma cooked supper, and afterwards everyone sat on the patio under the stars and there was lots of Texas talk, historic and political. Among those present were Judge and Mrs. McClendon of Austin, summering at their house in town. And there on the 1961 Quarterly list is James W. McClendon’s name. Mrs. Maury Maverick of San Antonio signed in not using her given
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name Terrell. Walter P. Webb (later Terrell’s second husband) and former Governor and Mrs. Price Daniel were there as well as Llerena Friend, the librarian of the Eugene C. Barker Texas History Center. Listed are Mr. and Mrs. Stanley Banks of San Antonio and the Ramsey Yelvingtons, parents of our friend Harriett Worrell. I don’t see Dr. Pat I. Nixon on the list, but his name is on the book auction donor list along with other Texas authors including Grandma. (Just a year later Dr. Nixon wrote a remembrance of Grandma in the Quarterly.) The meeting had a variety of presentations, from Cabeza de Vaca to Texas in the Civil War; from guns to barns. I bet everyone enjoyed that meeting. — Bebe Fenstermaker
ctober turned into the month we went from crackling dry to lush green. The rains came in time to help the oaks produce an acorn crop on which the wildlife fattened for the winter. Vegetation that bloomed earlier in the year put on buds again, especially the antelope horn milkweed which bloomed in time for the monarch butterfly migration. We pulled up more cover at night as the temperatures edged towards the fifties. The days got cooler as well, and we enjoyed the fall light. The sweet olive tree bloomed as a result of the rains. Its tiny white blooms pro-
duced the most luxurious apricot fragrance which reminded me of the apricot trees in our yard in Fort Davis. During the summers there we feasted on tree-ripened fruit and during the rest of the year on Mama’s apricot jam on toast. In early October we lost our wonderful neighbor, Louise Ward, who was 98. She was a charter member of the Boerne Native Plant Society. I shall always remember the day Louise, her son Bill, and daughter-in-law Kathy, trekked around the Ranch with Bebe and me. We scrambled down a dry creek, over all kinds of rocky surfaces, then tromped through high grasses and weeds, and ducked under cedars. At the time, Louise was probably in her mid-80s. At the age of 10, she and her siblings were placed in the Methodist Orphanage in Waco. It was there that she met her future husband, also an orphan. They settled in San Antonio to raise their family. Louise was an artist, and after her husband’s death she enrolled at the University of Texas at Austin and graduated with a degree in fine arts. She was a dedicated volunteer with the Girl Scouts, and after graduating from UT, Louise was a Field Director for the organization in Abilene. She later retired to northwest Bexar County and continued with her art work and genealogy, all the while keeping up with her family. — Sissy Fenstermaker
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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.
STFB participates in national hunger study like the STFB and its network under the banner of Feeding America, noted as the nation’s leading domestic hunger-relief charity. The STFB is one of more than 200 food banks affiliated with Feeding America. HIA 2014 is the most recent in a series of hunger studies that are conducted every four years. The STFB HIA Study went from April to August and was conducted by Elia Solis, agency coordinator, who led a group of fellow employees and a handful of volunteers to poll clients at 42 STFB distribution sites from Del Rio (Val Verde County) to Rio Grande City (Starr County). Helping Solis at the survey sites were STFB staffers Dr. Jesse Olivarez, Amy Guardiola, Pancho Farias, Miguel Zuniga, Leo de la Garza, and Gloria Moreno. Also, there were more than a handful of volunteers, headed by AmeriCorps Vista volunteer as-
tudies, surveys and polls gather valuable information beneficial to any organization’s mission. The STFB recently participated in the Hunger In America (HIA) 2014 study, also known as the Hunger Study, which will help the STFB in its crucial mission of feeding the hungry in one of the most impoverished areas in the state and country. The STFB, located at 1907 Freight in west Laredo, serves Laredo-Webb County and seven other South Texas counties that have a poverty rate of 32plus percent. More than 30,000 families per month receive supplemental food from the STFB, which opened in 1989 under the auspices of the H-E-B grocery chain. The HIA Study focuses on charitable food assistance in America, which is primarily done by organizations
South Texas Food Bank
Elia Solis, center, South Texas Food Bank agency coordinator, was recognized at the STFB September board meeting for heading the Feeding America Hunger Study from April to August. She is pictured with STFB board president Annie Z. Dodier and executive director Alfonso Casso. W W W. L A R E D OSNEWS. COM
signed to the food bank this year, Sarah Lamm of Washington, D.C. The other volunteers were Laredoans Jackie Verastegui, Reymundo Saldaña, JoAnn Otero, Olga Tellez, Connie Peche, and Kiara Sanchez. Verastegui is a student at TAMIU and Saldaña, a student at the University of Texas. Otero is a retired public school teacher-counselor now at St. Peter’s Memorial School; and Peche, an LISD retiree. Tellez is the pantry coordinator for Templo Alfa Omega in Laredo, and Sanchez is a sophomore at Rice University. Feeding America was the primary study sponsor with funding from the Howard G. Buffett Foundation. The Westat, which teamed with the Urban Institute, was contracted by Feeding America to aid with the survey. The HIA study has collected information on the current work of Feeding America network of food banks. The data came from agencies that get product from food banks and the clients served. The information helps the Feeding America network to better work its mission of hunger relief. Feeding America uses the data to advocate for government assistance through its programs — TEFAP, CSFP and SNAP. The findings also support fundraising efforts by helping to educate donors about food bank services. The survey was conducted electronically with clients answering questions using head phones. Information immediately was forwarded to Feeding America headquarters in Chicago. Results of the entire survey are scheduled for release in April of 2014. Solis noted, “This is the first time a hunger study survey has been computer based. Initially, there was concern among food bankers that clients
may not want to participate because of technology fear. However, the equipment was well received by most.” STFB executive director Alfonso Casso lauded Solis and the STFB team. “Elia worked hard on this important project. The survey results will help the food bank’s ultimate goal of better service to our clients and reaching more who are in need. Our mission of feeding the hungry is continuous, and we certainly are always looking for more advocates. We cannot do it alone. All are a blessing.” Casso added, “The hunger study is the only one of its kind in the United States. A lot of partner agencies rely on the data. It is helpful for legislation and grants.” Lamm offered this perspective. “The hunger study is very comprehensive on how food is involved in the daily lives of the clients. It is a measuring stick for those at risk of hunger. It also reveals a real ground level of how different distribution sites work and how volunteers and pastors coordinate getting food to families.” Agency participants in Laredo included Holy Redeemer Catholic Church, Christ the King Catholic Church, St. Peter the Apostle Catholic Church, Christ Church Episcopal, Kids Cafés in Rio Bravo and Larga Vista, Salvation Army, Bethany House, Ministerios Revelacion, New Vision Church, Laredo Stepping Stone, Iglesia Cristiana Shalom, Villa San Luis, Sendero Hacia la Cruz, Iglesia Cristiana Viento de Dios, Sinai Presbyterian, Volunteers Serving The Need, and Border Area Nutrition Council. The STFB celebrates its silver jubilee (25th anniversary) in 2014. View the work of the STFB at www.southtexasfoodbank.org.
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The Mystery Customer
Kwik Kopy, Computer Hospital plimentary drink while waiting for his food. The server was friendly and gave helpful suggestions as to some key items of their menu. Kohl's 5219 Santa Maria Ave The MC stopped by to make a payment and was met with happy early morning greetings from the staff. The payment process was prompt and staff offered further assistance should the MC need it. Caffé Dolce 1708 Victoria St The MC got her sweet tooth fix with Dolce’s latest holiday treat, a delectable pumpkin spice cupcake. Their lemon basil cupcake is also a must. With great service and yummy treats, the MC recommends a swing by this eatery in one of the City’s oldest Victorian style buildings. HEB Plus 1911 NE Bob Bullock Loop This is probably the cleanest HEB in town, filled with a wide variety of merchandise. The service, however, is on par with all the other stores — lacking. Kmart 500 San Dario The service at the checkout counters left something to be desired. The MC had not shopped at the establishment in quite some time, and was completely taken aback at how rude the clerks were. The long line to purchase one item was also a deal breaker. It is a wonder how this store has remained open over the years.
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Pumpkins galore St. Augustine High School Students Axel Montezuma and Alejandro Benavides worked together on Tuesday, October 14 unloading pump-
Kwik Kopy 616 W. Calton Rd. Incredibly fast, helpful, and efficient service is what the MC has gotten from this hometown printing house. Hats off to the staff at this establishment for having customer service wired down to a fine art. Computer Hospital 1005 Santa María Ave. The MC could not have tapped into the mystery of her new iPhone without Jorge Santana’s expert guidance. He is seemingly able to master all computer and tech questions, Mac or PC. The MC found expedient service and very good prices. Tlaquepaque 115 W. Hillside Rd. Perfect huevos rancheros, great salsa, and very courteous service by some highly organized women make this a wonderful breakfast spot. Fish-O-Roll 4220 McPherson Ave The MC was disappointed with the lack of good service at this establishment. With only two tables of diners to attend to, the waitress had to be asked for service. The staff had a chat fest rather than tend to the customers. The MC has usually had a pleasant experience here, but this time the service was non-existent. Tacos Kissi 4220 McPherson Rd Despite the hustle of a busy Saturday afternoon, the service here was great! The MC placed an order to go and was provided with a com-
offer top-notch service
Food, culture, and music on display Deeda and Emanuel Haruna, local residents, represented their country Gana on Saturday, October 19 at the Laredo Webb County Bar Association’s Multicultural Fest at Texas A&M International University. WWW.L A R E DOSN EWS.COM
Five Star Service Awards will honor great service
UISD ITV Department Wins 10 NSPRA Awards
vices are this year’s award categories. Nominations are currently underway, until November 22, and open to the public and can be emailed to miriam@ laredochamber.com. This year’s awards ceremony will feature a keynote address by Discover Leadership president and master trainer Mike Jones. Chair of the Chamber’s Customer Service Committee Cassandra Wheeler said, “This year’s keynote address will be delivered by a nationally recognized team building expert. He has been featured on NBC Nightly News, Good Morning America, and Oprah.” For more information, to become a sponsor, or to purchase tickets, call the Laredo Chamber of Commerce at (956) 722-9895 — LareDOS Staff
Among attendees of the Five Star Award announcement were Miriam Castillo, Richelle Garcia, Cassandra Wheeler, Jonathan Ruiz, A.B. Barrera, Javier Montezuma, David Newman, and Lalo Uribe
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he United Independent School District’s Instructional Television (ITV) Department recently won 10 National School Public Relations Association (NSPRA) awards in the Electronic Media category at the NSPRA Conference in San Diego, California. The department had the distinction of winning more NSPRA video awards than any other school district. The ten winning videos include: UISD Student Newscast; The Genie and the Seven Wishes School Board Appreciation video; U-First Program; the Cherish Center; Energy Conservation Public Service Announcement (PSA); Halloween Safety Tips PSA; Killam Rockers Pass the STAAR Exam music video; United Pride video; Register Student Voters PSA; and Call Me Maybe music video. “I am really proud of my staff. They
are very creative and hard working, and it’s a tremendous honor to be recognized by such a prestigious organization.” The UISD ITV department produces weekly television programs which air on KGNS, KVTV, FOX, CW, and the Public Access Channel,” said UISD ITV director Susan Carlson. The NSPRA video contest is open to U.S. and Canadian public and private schools and school districts, including special schools such as vocational-technical institutes; regional or county education service agencies; education agencies; and private businesses serving as partners with those organizations. Video entries are judged according to the size of the district/organization. United ISD competes in the largest category, with schools districts having a student population of 30,000 or more. — LareDOS Staff
he Laredo Chamber of Commerce (LCC) board of directors and members of the Chamber’s Customer Service Committee are slated to host the Five Star Service Awards dinner and ceremony on Thursday, December 5 at the Laredo Country Club. Chamber of Commerce board chair Javier Montezuma said, “It all comes down to customer service, which is known to be the key to a business success. The chamber has been very active the past 13 years in recognizing superior customer service.” Financial services, wellness and medical services, hospitality and entertainment services, non-profit community services, professional services, retail services, best restaurant, and media and communication ser-
Members of the award winning UISD ITV team are (left to right) director Susan Carlson and secretary Ana Prado; on the back row are Pete Martinez, photographer/editor, Luis Garza, photographer/editor, Joe Moreno, photographer/editor, and Robert Nino, communications specialist. LareDOS I O CTO B E R 2 0 1 3 I 5 1
By randy koch
Randy Koch earned his MFA at the University of Wyoming and teaches writing at Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania.
n a hot July afternoon in 1968, when cornfields and telephone poles marked the edge of the known world, a stranger’s knuckles thumped the screen door of our farm house, and his voice helloed from outside. Mom, wiping her hands on a white dishtowel, walked around the table and past the sink, with Darla, the oldest of my four siblings, right behind her. In the dining room my brother Ken and I jumped up, bounded over our tractors and Lincoln Logs scattered across the linoleum, and galloped through the kitchen and into the porch. Mom stood at the door, the screen between her and the caller. She wore blue pedal pushers and a white sleeveless blouse, her calves mapped with varicose veins, her tan shoulders freckled from hanging out laundry and hoeing the garden. A few brown permed curls, limp and wilted, lay matted against the back of her neck. Outside, a man in a white shirt, a thin necktie, and dark rumpled slacks gripped the handle of the black satchel hanging heavily from his clean, fleshy fingers. “No family,” he said patting the case against his leg, “should be without this wonderful educational tool.” His eyes shifted warily to Rex, our collie-mutt cross barking and pacing under the clotheslines, then back to Mom behind the screen and beyond her to Darla, Ken, and me. I stood next to Ken. We wore second-hand T-shirts and jeans with iron-on patches on the knees. I pushed my brown-framed glasses up my nose with one finger and peered around Mom at the man. He stood on the narrow cracked sidewalk that led past the pump house behind him and ended by the yard light pole. There
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gravel stretched past the brooder house to the front of the old barn, its paint vaguely red and one quadrant of the window near the sagging door missing a pane of glass. With her right foot, Mom nudged a black rubber boot onto the muddied pages of the Sleepy Eye Herald Dispatch sprawled open on the floor in the corner. A half dozen pairs of overshoes lay in a heap against the wall. The faint smell of manure hung in the stagnant air, partly from the boots, mostly from the cow yard. The man wiped his brow. “Can I bother you for a glass of water, ma’am?” She unhooked the door, led him and us inside, filled a glass from the tap, and set it on the edge of the sink. In the kitchen doorway, he bent down, opened his case, and pulled out a maroon, hardcover volume of the World Book Encyclopedia. As he stood up, he glanced at the water glass and drawled, “Thank ya kindly.” He held the spine of the opened book against his chest and watched us as he touched a fingertip to his tongue. Then, with the pages facing us, he fanned through them until he came to maps that unfolded like colorful wings veined with highways and rivers, shaded by mountain ranges, blued with lakes and oceans. He held it open, swiveled it from Mom to Darla beside her drying silverware in a towel and down at Ken and me, my eyes wide. Again he put fingertip to tongue. He flurried more pages before stopping at a human skeleton. Slowly he turned a transparent overlay across the bones, then another, system after full-color system — nervous, circulatory, digestive, muscular — each visible behind the next as he built a human being before our eyes. “You
cannot afford not to have this in your home.” He flashed a practiced smile. Mom leaned over the dishpan on the Formica table, dipped a canning jar in the steaming water, twisted a dishrag in its mouth. He wiped his brow with the back of a hand. His black sample case stood on the kitchen floor next to his scuffed oxfords, his fingers fleshy and nails filed, tie crooked against his white shirt. He raised the glass and drank slowly. She watched him over the top of her glasses but did not speak, did not shoo him or us away. He turned the pages again, this time to an ape crouched at the end of a line of progressively taller, unbending primates, their lower jaws
receding, the last one upright, armed with a briefcase, wearing suit and tie, striding resolutely off the edge of the page. Outside, Rex stopped barking and scratched at the door. I looked at Mom, then up at the salesman’s transparent smile, the spine of the open encyclopedia against his tie. There in the old farmhouse — where we stood on the kitchen’s battered linoleum, where the world I knew extended barely thirty miles east and only blizzards and thunderheads rose out of the vast mystery of South Dakota to the west — there, the wonder of books and an evolving new world suddenly opened before me.
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Animal abuse, an under-reported crime By YIRE A. MENDIOLA LareDOS Contributor
hroughout time — in cinema, in literature, and in our own lives — we have experienced the depiction of animals as friends of humans. In Lassie, a homeless collie becomes an integral part of a family, becoming their protector and showing unflinching loyalty and companionship. On the other side of the coin is that there are some individuals who impose pain and torture on animals. Animal cruelty statistics put mankind to shame. Animal cruelty is prevalent in all areas of society. Thousands of cases related to animal abuse go unreported each year. According to the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA), the most common victims of animal abuse are horses, livestock, dogs, cats, and birds. The SPCA tells us, “In mediareported animal cruelty cases, dogs — pit bull-type dogs in particular — are the most common victims of animal cruelty.” Of the 1,880 animal cruelty cases reported in 2007 in the United States, abuse against pit bulltype dogs appears to be on the rise. In 2000-2001, pit bull dogs were involved in 13 percent of reported dogabuse cases. In 2007, according to the Humane Society of the United States, pit bull-type dogs were involved in 25 percent of reported dog-abuse cases. I personally own a pit bull and cannot bear the thought that dogs like my sweet, loyal Gar are being abused and forced into vicious fights. There are two types of animal cruelty — passive cruelty and active
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cruelty. Passive cruelty entails neglect. It is generally lack of attention such as starvation, dehydration, and improper shelter. Active cruelty involves malicious acts by which the individual intentionally harms the animal. In these cases, the animal is beaten, whipped, burned, and even branded by the abuser, many times leading to the death of the animal. Some of the brutal ways an animal can be tortured are shooting, animal fights, beating, throwing, burning, poisoning, stabbing, kicking, and dragging. There are many anti-cruelty laws and animal welfare programs that prohibit torture, beating, neglect, abuse, and unnecessary killing of animals. Organizations such as the SPCA, People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), and other animal rescue agencies investigate animal abuse cases. Alongside these agencies, law enforcement is charged to ensure that individuals who are neglecting or abusing animals are prosecuted. In Texas, animal cruelty is considered a felony. According to SPCA, House Bill 653 and Senate Bill 1724 — commonly known as ‘Loco’s Law’ — went into effect September 2001, making animal cruelty a felony and punishable by a $10,000 fine and up to two years in jail. The law was named after a puppy named Loco whose eyes were gouged out. Some may claim that they are not abusing or neglecting their animal because they are not inflicting any physical pain. However, under Section 42.09 (A)(2) Cruelty to Animals under the Texas Penal Code Title 9 it is stated, “A person commits an offense if the person intentionally or
knowingly: (2) fails unreasonably to provide necessary food, care, or shelter for an animal in the person’s custody.” While you may feed your animal, but do not provide shelter “to the extent required to maintain the animal in a state of good health,” you are committing an offense. This is especially important in Laredo, with its nearly unbearable summer temperatures. If prosecuted in a criminal animal abuse case, a person could face penalties including fines, jail time, or both. What can you do to help protect defenseless animals? Will you be one of many who turn a blind eye, or will
you be one of the few who actually takes a stand and does something? Animals have rights, too. Abused animals do not need our sympathies; they need people like you to act and stop abuse by reporting it. It’s your decision to be part of the problem or the solution to animal abuse. Mahavira once said, “All beings are fond of themselves, they like pleasure, they hate pain, they shun destruction, they want life and want to live long. To all, life is dear; hence their life should be protected.” (To report animal abuse, call the Laredo Animal Protective Society at (956) 724-8364 or the City of Laredo Police Department at (956) 795-2800.)
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Walker named dean of TAMIU Nursing and Health Sciences
Nursing and Health Sciences forward. Her multiple publications, funded research and grant experiences with program and outreach offerings provide additional depth to our growing College of Nursing,” Dr. Arenaz said. Dr. Walker said she is both humbled and eager for the TAMIU challenge and impressed with both students and faculty. Originally from Fyffe, Alabama, Dr. Walker was most recently director of Stephen F. Austin State University’s School of Nursing. Additional posts have included serving as associate
dean for Clinical Affairs and Community Services for the University of Texas Health Science Center (UTHSC) School of Nursing, Houston, and director of nursing research, a joint appointment with UTHSC, at the Harris County Psychiatric Center, also in Houston. She holds a doctorate (DSN) in community mental health from the University of Alabama, Birmingham (UAB) and an MSN in psychiatric nursing, also from UAB. She earned a BSN at Troy State University in Alabama.
Among her many career highlights are her development of the nation’s first graduate program focused on family violence at Vanderbilt University; the establishment of UTHSC’s UT Nursing Services as a national model, and a pioneering use of service learning as a teaching method at Stephen F. Austin — which was selected as a showcase school for the former National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission’s (now the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing, Inc.) Vision Project.
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r. Glenda C. Walker is the new dean at Texas A&M International’s College of Nursing and Health Sciences and Dr. F. M. Canseco School of Nursing. TAMIU provost and vice president for Academic Affairs, Dr. Pablo Arenaz, said Dr. Walker’s selection after a national search is a huge advantage to the growing College. “Dr. Walker brings a remarkable history of teaching, research, and community collaboration with her that will help to move our College of
Zapata Rising events include oral histories Longtime Zapata resident Jaime Gonzalez, formerly of Lopeño, recorded an oral history of his memories of the construction of the Falcon Reservoir and the subsequent displacement of his family and the family business. He is pictured with his daughter Anabelle.
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Chopra’s simple read offers spiritual road map
Breaking Bad finale — over-the-top closure
By MARIELA RODRIGUEZ LareDOS Staff
ave you ever walked into someone’s home and been instantly captivated by something in particular? For me on this day it was a four-by-six-inch book, its cover rather nondescript, its title not provocative. It was Deepak Chopra’s The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success, a simple read promoted as a pocketbook guide to fulfilling dreams. Normally, I don’t buy into the rhetoric of spiritual gurus moving readers along the path of self-help, but I found there was meaning behind Chopra’s words. Many will either completely worship Chopra’s every word or completely dismiss his writings as being for the weak willed. As an agnostic, I neither worship the man, nor consider myself weak-minded. The basic premise of the book offers the reader seven principles to obtaining true success, but most importantly it points to true happiness as the key to success in life. But what is happiness, and where does it come from? Chopra says that happiness is not material wealth, and it is most certainly not achieved by living up to other’s perceptions of happiness — not a revolutionary concept, but one that in our times is easily forgotten. He believes happiness cannot be obtained when we allow fear to stand in our way, and that it comes to us when we are attuned to our true self, and not our egos or social masks which “thrive on the approval of others and wants control because it lives in fear.” Chopra says that in the universe
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exists an infinite amount of potentially various possible outcomes for any situation. He asks, why live for tomorrow when today is here? He said that we spend so much time on any given day planning for the next that we completely take for granted the simple pleasures that inspire true happiness. The past is the past, he maintains, and it cannot be changed. The uncertainty of the future, he says, is an imperative to focus on the present. He tells us there is meaning in everything around us, and we get what we attract. If we want an abundance of weatlh, we must give in order to receive. He tells us to be cognizant of the negativity of those around us, because negativity attracts more negativity. While most of his concepts pack a punch, I fail to see eye to eye with Chopra in his claim that one does not have to work hard to obtain success. I feel that it has to be a combination of hard work, want, and desire that attracts success. Like most twenty-somethings, I am certain that everyone my age goes or has gone through similar experiences of trying to find themselves, figure out what they want, and what their place is in this crazy mixed-up world. I’ve come to realize, though, that age is just a number, and that some people can go through an entire lifetime not knowing who they really are or what their best purpose might have been. If you are seeking meaning and perhaps direction, this book is a good beginning. The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success was published by Hay House in December 2008 and is available on Amazon.
By JUAN MADERO FLORES LareDOS Staff
he September 29th conclusion to Vince Gilligan’s award-winning masterpiece Breaking Bad attained the highest viewership in the show’s history with 10.3 million Americans riveted to their television sets to discover what would become of Walter White and Jesse Pinkman. This level of popularity is even more impressive considering that less than one million people had gathered to view the show’s premier in early 2008. This massive growth in Breaking Bad’s popularity, as well as its good writing and unpredictable plot twists, has branded Breaking Bad as one of the greatest TV dramas of all time. Unlike many other modern dramas, Gilligan chose to write a very closed ending to the series, leaving very little room for viewer interpretation: Walt dies in his dream meth lab and Jesse Pinkman is freed from his captivity. Gilligan felt as though the show’s fans would appreciate this sort of finale, given the very literal nature of the show itself. Furthermore, he felt that viewers who have grown close to the characters over the years needed a sense of closure to feel truly satisfied. Walt dies a heroic death despite his moral corruption. First and foremost, he accomplishes his long-time goal of providing for his family by leaving $10 million with his wealthy former friends and business partners Gretchen and Elliot who will later provide it to support his family financially without the knowledge of the DEA. He was also successful in freeing his family from legal trouble by giving Skylar leverage over the federal government with the knowledge of where
DEA agents Hank and Steve were buried. His most significant act towards his family, however, was confessing that he did what he did for himself rather than for them. Whether this is true or not is up for debate, however, it undoubtedly relieved Skylar from the sense that she was partially responsible for Walt’s monstrous, transformation and it left her at peace so that she might move forward at last. Having done what he could for his family, Walt shifted his focus on tying up loose ends in his professional life. He is successful in taking revenge on Todd, Jack, and Lydia, who had all betrayed him, and in freeing Jesse Pinkman in the process. His ingenuity was once again showcased through his revenge plot as he poisoned Lydia with ricin without her knowledge and used a customized rotating firearm to kill Jack and his men. Appropriately, the task of killing Todd was delegated to Jesse Pinkman, who gladly accepted the opportunity for cold-blooded revenge. Shockingly, Walt then gives Jesse the opportunity to kill him, telling him he wants Jesse to do it. Jesse refuses, unable to shake off the strong, emotional, almost father-son connection that they have shared. They part for the last time on good terms, as good as those terms can be in the gore and mayhem of those last moments. In the last scene of the series, Walter dies a romanticized, peaceful death. He looks at his lab equipment with pride in what he was able to accomplish throughout the last two years. Over the course of the last five-anda-half years, Vince Gilligan’s masterpiece greatly impressed, entertained, and horrified its fans. The story of Walter White may have ended, but it will surely live in memory for many years to come.
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Binational ceremony at Dos Laredo Park Martin High School ROTC members Victor Ramirez, Martin Galvan, Deangelo Hernandez, and Eduardo Caziano, under the direction of Mark Quenga led the presentation of colors for the 19th annual Día del Río proclamation ceremony on October 2. The binational ceremony included officials from Nuevo Laredo.
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Go Nye Elementary Wildcats! Members of the Nye Elementary Wildcats Volleyball Team — who are having a great season — include Gabriela Jimenez, Anna Lauren Czar, Isabelle Montemayor, Norma Sepulveda, Emily Altgelt, Melanie Carrera, Kaycee Peña, Abregale Randez, Tanya Gonzalez, Regina Villalobos, Andrea Lañas, and Karina Sandoval. Their coaches are Victoria Benitez, Rolando Benitez, and Alma Benitez.
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Hard at work
Commemorating World Food Day
Physical therapist Elizabeth Lara is pictured assisting María Teresa Sánchez on Friday, October 4 at the Ruthe B. Cowl Rehabilitation Center. The center recently celebrated National Physical Therapy Month with its patients.
Rafael Torres, Dr. John Kilburn, Julie Bazan, and Adolfo Gonzalez were at the Laredo Regional Food Bank’s annual Rice and Beans Luncheon on October 16 at the Laredo Public Library. The event commemorated the global movement to end hunger.
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The Max — a world class municipal golf course carved from the brushlands By MARIA EUGENIA GUERRA LareDOS Publisher
he attention to detail — aesthetic and environmental — was visible the second we turned off the Mines Road and onto the 390-acre site of The Max Municipal Golf Course. You could see it in the land sculpted minimally to prevent erosion, in the ancient mesquite trees left intact, and in the care taken with arroyos. And that was just the drive up to the clubhouse, a beautiful terracotta-colored building that manages — despite a metal-roofed second story — to appear to be part of the landscape. The clubhouse and its terraces look out to the untamed banks of the storied Río Grande, the river that for all time has asserted itself as the source of life along this shared border. Your writer, a skeptic who expected to see massive land clearing and wildlife habitat destruction, was happily surprised to see that much care had been taken with the land and trees.
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The clubhouse is a Bill Luft design that integrates color, beautiful floor tiles, windows that showcase views of the natural world, and drought tolerant landscaping. It’s a spectacular building that features an upstairs reception room available to the public for meetings, workshops, quinceañeras, and family gatherings. The clubhouse at The Max is indisputably one of the nicest public buildings owned by the City of Laredo. It was a treat to sit in the clubhouse with the river in view, green where it turned in the shade of overhanging trees and blue just a bit upriver. On the Saturday in August that we toured The Max, the place was packed with golfers enjoying a bright, sunny day. As we rode along the concrete paths through the course, I had the sense that every foot of the 6,500 square-feet of the greens was carved with as little impact as possible from the surrounding brushland of mesquite, ebony, huisache, prickly pear, and native grasses. The idea for a municipal golf course took root in the results of a
2003 survey conducted by the City’s Parks and Recreation Department. According to those results, a golf course rated high in the top five most desired recreational amenities. The city sold bonds and went through RFPs for a location for the project in 2005 and 2006. A committee evaluated five proposals and chose the Mandel family’s proposal for Las Islitas farm property on the Mines Road. Max Mandel’s widow, Roslyn, donated the site to the City of Laredo, gave the City an additional $1 million donation, and a donation of 500 acre-feet of water for 30 years, a gift valued at about $1.5 million. In the thick of the recession, 31 bidders responded to the 2007 RFP for design/build. In better economic times a golf course design fee might have run about $1.5 million, but the City had the good fortune to contract renowned golf course architect Robert Trent Jones II for $400,000. The lower fee no doubt reflected the plummet in the number of golf courses under construction in the U.S. — from 500 in 2006 to a handful, including The Max, in 2009.
In addition to The Max project, contractor Landscapes Unlimited had a $50 million golf course construction project underway in China. Landscapes Unlimited built The Max’s course, outbuildings, and clubhouse, a turnkey project that came in at about $10 million. It was paid for with $7 million from bond revenues, the $1 million gift from the Mandel family, and another $2 million from utilities and public works bonds. The city bore the cost of the road up to the clubhouse and the parking lot. Foresight Golf of Boerne has the concession to run The Max and has recently hired hospitality professional Clema Owen as the general manager of the facility. According to Assistant City Manager Horacio De Leon, Foresight Golf does not charge the city a fee for operations, and will not until the facility turns a profit. At that time, profits will be shared equally with the city. The city currently subsidizes the course to the tune of about Continued on page 60
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$20,000 a month, with the expectation that it will soon pull its own weight, according to De Leon. Gary Jacobs, son-in-law of the late Max Mandel and the family’s spokesperson, lauded the City of Laredo “for having the courage to move forward with a world class golf course that has added substantially to the quality of life of every golfer and every citizen of Laredo.” He observed that the team put together by City Manager Carlos Villarreal to oversee the project was given authority to act decisively with the support of city administration and the City Council. “Horacio de Leon did a great job seeing the project through from beginning to
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end. He and Francisco Meza in purchasing traded tough to get the most out of every transaction,” he said. Jacobs said that the City had the choice to put the course on the ranchland side of the property or on the river. “They chose the river side, a wise choice because it was rich farmland that had been a test site for John Deere, prime land where tomatoes and onions were once cultivated,” he said. Jorge Flores, the head golf professional at The Max, oversees all departments, staff, tournaments, and instruction. “Those of us who have played the course know that it’s everything we want in a four or five hour golfing experience. It is as meaningful to a professional golfer as to an aver-
age golfer,” Flores said, adding that the grasses of the course itself have reached maturity level. “It’s lush and beautiful, as though it’s been here much longer.” He called the green fees at The Max “very affordable,” adding, “You can’t beat our Tuesday special — $25, $28.06 with tax. Our regular week day price for a round of golf is $36, tax included. Green fees on the weekend — $46. There are no membership fees. This is a public course. Another weekday special is a $29 twilight fee that starts at noon. On the weekend, the twilight fee is $35.” He said that The Max has completed 40 weeks of free golf instruction for adults. The 10-week classes attract 10 to 15 golfers per session.
“We want as many Laredoans as possible to come here to learn the game in this great atmosphere. We provide all equipment, and there are no costs associated with these classes,” he continued. “The name describes perfectly the golfing experience you will have on this scenic, beautifully developed course — the max,” Flores said. “Max Mandel was a powerhouse who helped chart the future of this region in banking and international trade, but Las Islitas is where he came to enjoy a landscape that enriched him with its natural beauty and with its memories of life with his family,” Jacobs said. “He said more than once it would be a great place to build a golf course.”
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Participants wear traditional clothing
Fun-filled morning at Farmer’s Market
Tuga Kursun, Vida Haruna, Reyhan Keskin, and Aysenur Murat represented their respective countries of Ghana and Turkey on October 19 at the Laredo Webb County Bar Association’s Multicultural Fest at Texas A&M International University.
Analis Paul and Bela and Alessandro Haynes enjoyed a Saturday morning at the Farmer’s Market at Jarvis Plaza on October 19. The morning was filled with music, food, shopping, and plenty of activities for the kids.
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Downtown art scene Valerie Vega, Mallory Miles, and Erika Buentello showed their support of local arts at the Depleted exhibit by Olivia Cotton on Saturday, October 19 at Caffé Dolce.
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Dia Del Rio trail cleanup Alfredo Ramirez, Vanessa García, and Jasmel Oritz were among the participants at Laredo Community College’s Día del Río Paso Del Indio Nature Trail Work Day on Saturday, October 19 at the Lamar Bruni Vergara Environmental Science Center.
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WHAT'S MORE EGREGIOUS: Johnny Amaya’s 12-year pattern of negligence and ineptitude, or those who let him keep his job?