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Locally Owned

Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom.” – Thomas Jefferson A JOURNAL OF THE BORDERLANDS SEPTEMBER 2013

Est. 1994

Vol. XVIII No. 9 64 PAGES

@lareDOSnews

LareDOS Newspaper

See Page 29


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publisher

María Eugenia Guerra

meg@laredosnews.com Editorial Assistant

Mariela Rodriguez Staff Writers

Mariela Rodriguez Juan Madero Sales

María Eugenia Guerra ads@laredosnews.com

Circulation, Billing & Subscriptions meg@laredosnews.com Layout/design

Sergio Puente vantagegraphics@yahoo.com

Contributors Raul Casso

José Antonio López

Beatriz Escamilla Monica McGettrick Walters Bebe Fenstermaker

Salo Otero

Sissy Fenstermaker

Jennie Reed

Neo Gutierrez

Ernesto Uribe

Steve Harmon Henri Kahn Randy Koch

Write a Letter to the Editor meg@laredosnews.com

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Mariela Rodriguez/LareDOS

Mariela Rodriguez/LareDOS

Gearing up for the Tennie-thon Rookies and veteran firefighters recognized In commemoration of September 11, HEB recognized firefighters and first responders at the Laredo Fire Department Administration Center. HEB volunteers washed fire trucks, landscaped, filled the pantry with non-perishable food items, and donated kitchen appliances.

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UISD Supt. Roberto J. Santos, Women’s City Club president Esther Degollado, and LISD superintendent Dr. A. Marcus Nelson kicked off the annual Pennies for Tennies fundraiser on September 12 at the Laredo Country Club. The campaign is set to culminate on October 26 with a Tennie-thon at KGNS studios on Make a Difference Day.

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Luis Torres, Norma Treviño, Stephanie Gomez, and Tristian Barrera — members of The Strength Within support group — met on on Friday, September 13 at the Ruthe B. Cowl Rehabilitation Center. The group hosts monthly meetings for those with physical disabilities to socialize with others, share experiences, and create awareness in the community.

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Mariela Rodriguez/LareDOS

Mariela Rodriguez/LareDOS

Strength Within

City and Job Corps join forces On September 17, Mayor Raul G. Salinas and the Laredo Job Corps director Mike Fernandez announced that the City and Job Corps would be joining forces to educate Laredoans about recycling and what goes into the blue bins. The new trash and recycling initiative begins September 30.

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Mariela Rodriguez/LareDOS

Courtesy Photo

Boomers take to the courts

Little Heroes at STCE

Robert Cavazos, Doc Ramos, Raul Ramos, Joe McCarry, and John Hundsnurshcher were among those on the courts for the Baby Boomer Tennis Tournament on Saturday, September 16 at the Haynes Recreation Center Courts.

Little Heroes Dentistry staff member Veronica Cabello, Dr. Sergio Guzman, Ram Ramirez, Dama Santos, Violeta Santos, and Laura Ruelas were at the South Texas Collectors Expo on Saturday, September 21 at the Laredo Civic Center.

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Mailbox L

etters to the publisher

Hi Meg! I’ve attached my latest movie review for The World’s End...a truly fun and inspired movie! Unfortunately, this one’s gonna’ have to be my last...at least for a while. I’m hoping to complete my first novel by the end of the year so that in January I can begin another book project I’ve taken on. Needless to say, I really have to concentrate on these long projects.  I’ve so enjoyed being a part of LareDOS these past years. I think what you and LareDOS do is among the most important work being done in South Texas, and I am so glad that you’ve managed to stay afloat all these years. With so many seemingly unreasonable and outlandish voices in Laredo, it’s nice to know that LareDOS is still there to get the story right!  Take care, stay in touch, and please let me know if there is ever anything I can do for you. It’s been a great ride and I have always felt blessed to be a part of such an awesome and necessary voice of reason.   Best, Cordy Barrera

Gloria Gonzalez/LareDOS Contributor

www.laredosnews.com

Many happy returns World traveler Victoria Uribe, recently returned from Greece and beloved to many as Tía Viky, celebrated a birthday with good friends in San Ygnacio.

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Opinion

Opinion

I’ll vote for Wendy Davis

The 2014 elections: Vote for change or affirm pork before people politics?

By MARIELA RODRIGUEZ LareDOS Staff

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he eyes of Texas have been on Senator Wendy Davis (D-Fort Worth) since her memorable 11-hour anti-abortion filibuster in June 2013. That filibuster, coupled with her attempts to stop $5 billion from being cut from Texas public schools last summer catapulted this stand-up-and-fight advocate to the forefront of Texas politics Raised by a single mother, and becoming one herself at 19, Davis is no stranger to the difficulties many women face. An advocate for job growth, she filed the Texas Jobs First legislation in 2011 to give preference to Texans in the award of state contracts. Davis is also a strong supporter of veterans programs, and has fought against cuts to women’s health care. Davis addressed the state’s backlog of untested rape kits by authoring and ensuring the passage of SB 1636 — a law that significantly changed how sexual assaults are investigated statewide. That Wendy Davis is a product of Texas public schools and the community college system, and that she secured her higher education degrees through college loans and grant programs, gives her insight into the importance of offering educational opportunities to those who do not have them. She is a Harvard Law graduate who practiced in Fort Worth and served nine years on the City Council. She chaired the city’s Economic Development Committee and helped create thousands of new jobs in Tarrant County. Davis offers the gutsy, articulate representation many of us have been waiting for, and her run for governor could very well put Texas on the blue path, getting there, perhaps, with an

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anti-Perry groundswell of Hispanic and female voters. Her credibility will no doubt attract powerful Democratic donors. With the post-filibuster momentum she has gained, Davis has proven to be a major grassroots fundraising force. According to her campaign finance report, she grossed $1.2 million from small donors, Fort Worth investors, attorneys, and Annie’s List — a Texasbased group pushing the Senator for a run at the governorship. For far too long Texas has been run by Republican men. Governor Rick Perry’s constant lobbying for personal and conservative agendas and his unwavering one-track mind — incapable of seeing beyond the black and white spectrum on many issues — has worn thin with me. His undeniable pandering to the wealthy over the working class — as seen in 2009 when his actions had the poorest fifth of Texans paying about 12 percent of their income as opposed to the three percent the wealthiest one percent of Texans paid. Perry’s failures as governor are irrefutable as evidenced that after a decade in office the state’s unemployment rate has risen from 4.2 to 6.5 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This summer we witnessed Perry’s radical views on women’s healthcare take a turn for the worse when he signed the most restrictive abortion bill in the country — implementing ridiculously restrictive standards that will culminate in 37 of the 42 abortion clinics in the state closing their doors. We need more new open-minded state leadership to give voice to an agenda that serves all Texans. We need more savvy women to run for state office and to truly represent an approximate six million Texas women. If she passes on the governor’s race — and here’s hoping she doesn’t — Wendy Davis has vowed to run for reelection for the State Senate. 

By MARIA EUGENIA GUERRA LareDOS Publisher

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he ballot for the March 2014 Primary Election has begun to take shape as more candidates have made their candidacy official by naming campaign treasurers and filing with the Webb County Elections Administration office. One race that will be of great interest to county residents is that of rancher and business owner Tano Tijerina and incumbent Webb County Judge Danny Valdez. Valdez, whose lackluster, pork-before-people administration seems to have worn thin with taxpayers and voters, has held the office for eight years. In terms of energy, focus, and campaign style, the contrasts between the two candidates are vast, a factor that will spell out the electorate’s desire for change or its willing complacency to have county government operate in its extant dearth of leadership. In the Spring 2010 primary election, Tijerina, then a political neophyte with an incredibly organized campaign, lost to Valdez’s machine politics by a scant 650 votes. If you need a deciding issue to crystallize your choice for Webb County Judge, consider the current administration looking away from the life-threatening problems that have been consistent since cañonero Johnny Amaya was anointed the Rio Bravo Water Plant director. Lives and the health of children have hung in the balance since the vote reaper took the position, a horrible irony about a man who also serves as an LISD school board trustee and whose decisions likewise affect the welfare of children.

I digress. The race for County Court at Law #2, which has early on given off political heat, will see longtime incumbent Jesus “Chuy” Garza in a race with challenger Linda Garza Martinez, an Assistant Public Defender and a former Webb County Assistant District Attorney who served for seven years as Chief Prosecutor of the Child Abuse and Sex Crimes Unit. Garza, a former Justice of the Peace, was elected to County Court at Law #2 in 1993. An unexpected and uninvited show of colors from the Garza campaign surfaced at an August 23 fundraiser for a national non-profit organization when Garza Martinez was approached by Chuy Garza supporter, employee, political hack, and minion Jerry Perez. Surprised onlookers surrounding Garza Martinez witnessed Perez’s aggressive confrontation during which he asked her why she was bothering to run. In the course of his zealous, expletiverich spew, Perez ended up touching her person and pinching her mid-section. The self-proclaimed pachuco told Garza Martinez, “Eres una babosa. The magistrate position was yours. Que pendeja.” He also told her he worked for the number one politician in Laredo and that she would not win against him. Another contest that promises to fire up political passions is the race for the Pct. 4 Commissioners Court seat held by Jaime Canales. He will face former City Council member José Valdez Jr. and Hector J. Liendo. Cynthia Mares — director of the county’s Administrative Services Department and president of the Laredo Continued on page 48

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News Brief

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asa Yoga will host the Seeds of Change Yoga Festival on Saturday, November 9 at North Central Park. Onsite registration will begin at 8 a.m. for the 5K run and walk with yoga seminars commencing at 9:30 a.m. Participants are encouraged to bring their own picnic blankets and yoga mats. “Anyone can participate — families with strollers, kids on roller skates, serious runners, and your grandma,” said Casa Yoga instructor Alli Flores. Yoga, various fitness challenges, and Zumba workshops are among the planned activities for the morning. Flores said, “So far, workshops and demonstrations will be held by Casa Yoga, G7 Athletics, Gold’s Gym, Adventures Laredo, RUNStrong, Airrosti Rehab Centers, Laredo Medical Center, Poppi & Sons Organic Gardens, the Río Grande International Study Center (RGISC), and more.” Over 50 vendors have signed up to participate and provide gourmet food, arts and crafts, and many more fun-filled activities. The Randy Tate band will provide live entertainment. “We are excited to be working with BLive Promotions. Sound Connection, and United Rentals, which have generously donated their equipment for our event,” Flores said. All proceeds will benefit the environmental efforts of RGISC and a planting of native trees in North Central Park in late November. RGISC executive director Tricia Cortez said, “We are excited about this terrific event that Casa Yoga is hosting. We encourage you to register and join other socially conscious individuals who care deeply about environmental sustainability in Laredo.” On the selection of RGISC as

benefactors of the event, Flores said, “RGISC has made great strides in raising environmental awareness in the community. One of Casa Yoga’s yogic principles is to do no harm, and that includes taking care of Mother Earth.” She added, “The name Seeds of Change means that each one of us has the power to create change if we choose to. We invite all of Laredo to come and participate and help us beautify North Central Park, which has so much potential. Our goal is to plant as many trees as we can, thereby increasing Laredo’s air quality.” The planting of more native trees would serve to provide more shade which would lessen water evaporation for the pond areas and help cool the park, which in turn would be more inviting to Laredoans who want to be physically active, according to Flores. “Tree plantings like the one we have planned will provide the community with an opportunity to become involved and empowered, while improving the quality of life in our neighborhoods and encouraging civic pride,” she said. The festival began last year as an anniversary celebration for Casa Yoga members. This year the center opted to expand and include other health and wellness enthusiasts from the community. Sponsors for Seeds of Change include Falcon International Bank, Arguindegui Oil, Cream City Magazine, Sound Connection, Southern Distributing, Airrosti Rehab Centers, Blow Me Away, Bolillos, Cactus Imports, Cakeland, Rawesome Sunshine “N” Lavendar, Nadamoo Ice Cream, and Analee G Paz Design. Registration per participant is $15 and can be completed online at www.casayoga.info. — LareDOS Staff 

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Mariela Rodriguez/LareDOS

Seeds of Change fest to benefit RGISC

Doctors Hospital volunteers raise funds for scholars Doctors Hospital Auxiliary Volunteers Santita Espinoza, Maria Luisa Aguero, Isabela Rodriguez, Josie Farias, Irene Coronado, and Cesar Coronado are pictured on Wednesday, September 18 at the hospital gift shop. The volunteers raised $25,000 for scholarships that will go to LISD. They are currently seeking additional volunteers for daily and upcoming events.

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News Brief

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the competitive event. Proceeds will benefit local young athletes who will receive sponsorship for various athletic camps. Ringside seats are $23, reserved lower bowl seats $18, and general admission $13. Tickets can be purchased at all Ticketmaster outlets, at Ticketmaster.com, or the LEA box office. Tables are also available, on a first come first serve basis, for purchase ranging from $280 to $132. Doors open at 6 p.m. with first bout set for 7 p.m. For more information visit www. learena.com. For table purchases contact Anissa Treviño at (956) 7919195. — LareDOS Staff

Documentary screening Executive producer Enrique Aleman Jr., City of Laredo public information officer Xochitl Mora García, and Mayor Raul G. Salinas are pictured on Saturday, September 21 at the Laredo Public Library for the screening of the documentary Stolen Education.

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uns-N-Hoses of Laredo is gearing up for its Pound for Pound Round Five event set for Saturday, November 2 at the Laredo Energy Arena. Off-duty members of the Laredo Fire Department, Laredo Police Department, Drug Enforcement Administration, the U.S. Border Patrol, Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Marshals Service, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Tra n spor t at ion Security Administration, Texas Department of Public Safety, and the Webb County Volunteer Fire Department will go headto-head in a 14 bout fight. Local first responders will exhibit model sportsmanship and camaraderie throughout

Mariela Rodriguez/LareDOS

Pound for Pound Round Five set for Nov. 2 at LEA

TAMIU Alumni 5K Oda García, Carolina García, and Oda García participated in the Texas A&M International University Alumni Association’s 5K walk on Saturday, September 21. W W W.L A R ED OSN E WS.COM

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Feature

Young pugilist comes home with world championship title By MARIA EUGENIA GUERRA LareDOS Publisher

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arolina Guerra, a Gonzalez Middle School student, has been an avid participant in team sports like volleyball, basketball, and softball since early childhood, but last spring, encouraged by her uncle Rudy de Luna, she began training and sparring at Baby Joey’s Boxing Club. The experience quickly transformed the 13-year-old physically and mentally, eventually catapulting her into an amateur match this summer in Independence, Missouri in which she prevailed as Girls Novice Champion at the three-day 2013 Ringside World Championships. Guerra won her first match, besting opponent Sydney O’Donnell from Queens, NY with a second-round TKO. On the third day of the competition, she prevailed in a championship match over Shekinah White when the

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judges ended the match after three rounds. The young pugilist traveled to Independence with nine other Laredo amateurs who train at Baby Joey’s. The youngest competitor was 10, the oldest 22. “Boxing has taught me how to focus. I felt myself changing gears, preparing myself mentally as I prepared myself physically. I gave up junk food and turned to fresh food. I have learned the power of positive thinking,” Guerra said. She credits coach José Luis Garza with helping her gain endurance and upper body strength with an exercise regimen that includes running and cross fit. “He thought of everything that we needed to do to prepare us for our matches,” she said, adding that in losing 30 pounds, she turned fat into muscle. She said the other equally important component to preparing physically and mentally is learning tim-

ing, how to defend yourself, building speed, delivering clean punches, and taking an opportunity when it presents itself. “You focus not on power, but on speed,” Guerra said. “Win or lose, you give it everything. You try your best. You focus on your opponent and you focus on what you need to do not to get hurt. Win or lose, you keep your head up. It’s in God’s hands and the judges. You either go hard or you go home. You always think you could have done better, and you always congratulate

your opponent for a good fight,” she continued. “The support of my family means everything. My mom and my sister Gladys and brother E.J. went with me to Independence,” she said. The quiet, thoughtful eighth grader said boxing has provided her with fitness and life skills that will see her through her high school studies and on to an undergraduate degree and law school studies. She is the daughter of Dolores Sanchez Guerra and José Guerra. 

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News

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he Washington’s Birthday Celebration Association (WBCA) is the recipient of the Zenith Award, the number one, best overall award category in the Texas Festivals & Events Association (TFEA) event marketing and management awards competition. The WBCA took first in 25 other marketing categories for excellence in event marketing and management. WBCA board president Pati Guajardo said that the Zenith accolade reflects the concerted efforts of the organization’s staff, board of directors, members, sponsors, and the auxiliary organizations that are part of the annual celebration. The WBCA, which competed in a field of 375 entries from 20-plus organizations with a budget of over $750,000, received first-place awards in the following categories — Best Event within an Existing Festival, Best Media Relations Campaign, Best New Event, Best Educational Program, Best Event Program (3 or less colors), Best TV Promotion (ad spot or PSA), Best New Promotion, Best Creative/Effective News Stunt, Best Street Banner, Best Event Invitation, Best Ad series, Best Event Photograph, Best Event/Organization E-newsletter, Best Single Newspaper Display Ad, Best Newspaper Insert/Supplement, Best Miscellaneous Printed Material (single page), Best Festival/Event Mobile App, Best Miscellaneous Multimedia, Best Hat, Best T-shirt Design, Best Miscellaneous Clothing, Best Mascot, Best Billboard, Best Press/

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Media Kit, and Best Sponsor Solicitation Video. The TFEA Marketing Awards program recognizes excellence in marketing campaigns used to promote festivals and events. TFEA is a professional trade association for festival and event planners, volunteers and suppliers from across Texas. It is an official affiliate of the International Festivals & Events Association. Throughout the years, the Celebration has grown to be over a month long and consists of parades, dazzling pageants, fireworks, a carnival, an air show, a sizzling jalapeño festival and much more. Combined, WBCA events attract nearly 500,000 residents and visitors, and contribute an estimated $14 million every year to the local economy.  The Washington’s Birthday Celebration was recently ranked as one of the Top 100 Events in North America by the American Bus Association (ABA) because of the excellent entertainment value it offers to both tour groups and individual travelers from around the world. The 117th Washington’s Birthday Celebration takes place January 23 - February 24. Tickets for events may be purchased in early February at the WBCA Kiosk inside Mall Del Norte (at Macy’s Center Court). For additional information, click on the media tab at www.wbcalaredo.org, e-mail wbca@wbcalaredo. org, contact the WBCA office at (956) 722-0589, or visit 1819 E. Hillside Road in Laredo, TX. — LareDOS Staff

Juan Madero/LareDOS

WBCA earns top festival marketing awards

Masters of jazz showcase their skills Laredo Community College jazz and mariachi instructor Ruben Vargas is pictured playing on Tuesday, September 3 during a jazz master class with New York bassist Marcos Varela.

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Feature

Language in Motion a Juarez-Lincoln success story

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By BEATRIZ ESCAMILLA LareDOS Contributor

t has been noted through research that students learn through motion, sound, and touch. This was certainly the case with the 18 bilingual fourth graders in my class at Juarez-Lincoln Elementary School in Rio Bravo. The students’ demographics consisted of limited English proficiency and low socio-economically disadvantaged status. They all met the bilingual program’s at-risk criterion. At the initiation of the academic year, my students’ puzzled look showed the fear within as I announced that one of the major requirements of the class was to write two essays. WRITING ANXIETY The students carefully hung their backpacks behind their chairs as I stood in military position in front of the classroom. Their ghostly stare gave it all away as they absorbed the word “writing” and showed their apprehensions about writing. Writing a narrative and an expository piece in a fourth grade bilingual classroom is no easy task. The State of Texas defined the criterion and presented a draft of the newly adopted State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR®) standards for all districts. Now, at the beginning of the academic year, teachers vigorously worked to analyze the state’s requisites on the Texas Education Agency website in order to comply with the mandates. TOTAL PHYSICAL RESPONSE As I revised the student’s first draft, I began to brainstorm ways to connect both the grammar (mechanics) portion of the test with the actual written part, both of which were grossly void of formal writing characteristics. To make matters worse, the state limited each paper’s length to 26 lines. Due to the

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limited English proficiency makeup of her students, I determined to employ Dr. James Asher’s TPR (total physical response) method with my students to alleviate their apprehension of writing and the learning of the grammar skills in order for them to connect this knowledge to the their actual narrations. Asher defines TPR as “a method of teaching language using physical movement to react to verbal input in order to reduce student inhibitions and lower their affective filter.” I implemented this into my grammar lessons. WHAT IS A SENTENCE? Simple TPR tasks proved enormous results. Each morning, I asked my class, “What is a sentence?” To this cue, the students stood in unison, faced the front of the classroom and recited, “A sentence includes: a complete subject (left arm outstretched) a complete predicate (right arm outstretched), connected by a verb (both hands joined together on top of their heads to form a clap).” After this drill, the students continued as they stood in erect position, “Capital letter (pointed with their left hand again to the beginning of the subject), end punctuation marks — period, question mark, exclamation point (as they pointed with their right index finger to the end of the complete predicate). With these uncomplicated body movements, each student learned the main components of a complete sentence. We engaged daily in TPR manner. This allowed them to make a connection between the grammar skills and the syntax of a sentence. They quickly grasped the concept that a sentence has three major components: complete subject, verb, and complete predicate. To this foundational grammar lesson, I added the use of prepositions and conjunctions in a highly kinesthetic fashion.  W W W.L A R ED OSN E WS.COM


Feature

Las Minas descendants seek installation of historical marker By Mariela Rodriguez LareDOS Staff

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ountless stories of the upriver coal mining communities and their people have inspired two descendants of mining families to petition the Texas Historical Commission (THC) for a subject historical land marker memorializing the mining activity in the Santo Tomás Coal Field from the early 1880s to the late 1930s. During the latter part of the nineteenth century, the mining companies built homes for the miners and their families in the communities known as Santo Tomás, Minera (Carbon), Dolores (San José), and Darwin (Cannel). As a child, Alex Martinez, the grandson of coal miner Enrique Valdez, was fascinated by stories about those communities, vivid descriptions of the landscape, and stories of los matachines. He

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said those accounts have resonated with him into adulthood. “Growing up we heard a lot of community names. I couldn’t wrap my head around where everything was at until I came across a U.S. Geological Survey with a sketch map depicting the coal production areas of 1918 — clearly defining the locations of Dolores, Darwin, Minera, and Santo Tomás,” Martinez said. Juan Castro, a descendant of Benito Castro, a miner originally from San Luis Portosi, grew up across the street from Martinez in Las Canta Ranas neighborhood. He, too, recalled his grandfather’s stories, and was inspired to take action to preserve that part of Laredo’s history after listening to a story on National Public Radio (NPR). “I was listening to an interview on NPR with country western singer Kathy Mattea,” he said, adding, “Her roots are in the Virginia coal mines, which she now writes about. It brought back memories of stories I heard as a child.” Stories close to Martinez and Castro’s hearts related to Los Matachines de la Santa Cruz — a traditional dance group that originated in las minas, and eventually found a home in La Ladrillera. The mesmerizing dance of the matachines has roots in medieval Spain and pre-Columbian Mexico. Martinez said, “My grandfather was very involved in the matachines. He shared his experiences from gathering in the evenings after

work outside their homes for performances and to exchange the oral histories of their ancestors with everyone in the community.” “As a young man, I didn’t appreciate how fortunate I was to have my parents share my grandparents’ experiences with me. Now it is important for me to bring back some of the cultural and social contributions from las minas to the forefront,” Castro said. Castro, who currently resides in McAllen, and Martinez, now from Dallas, spoke various times before committing to writing the narrative to the THC petitioning for a historical marker. They began their research in June 2013 and uncovered various sources, which painted a clearer picture of what life was like in the communities of las minas. They continue their research. Among some of their sources are U.S Geological Surveys from 1900 to 1917; Coal Age Magazine (1916, 1917, and 1922); The Southwestern Reporter (1894), The Coal Trade Journal (1896); The Federal Reporter (1907); photographs from the Texas Institute of Cultures; Dr. Roberto Calderon’s Texas Mexican Coal Mining Labor in Texas and Coahulia 1830-1930; University of Texas geology publications; former coal miner

Ildefonso Cardenas’ testimony; and a study conducted by TxDOT. Once the mines closed down some families relocated in search of mining jobs to Eagle Pass, Malakoff, Bridgeport, and Ranger; and others to Laredo neighborhoods such as La Ladrillera, Las Canta Ranas, and El Azteca . Martinez reconnected with cousins in other parts of Texas, and together they discovered a photo of miners at a dinner in Ranger, one of whom was kin. “All the stories become more vivid when coupled with historical documents, photographs, and other testimonies that substantiate everything,” said Castro. Martinez added, “One story in particular that has come up in our research was on the Santo Tomás Mine fire of 1919. My grandfather was trapped and eventually rescued from the mine.” Geological remnants of the mines — hills of clay spoils displaced in the mining process — can still be seen today. “What was once Darwin is still visible heading toward the Colombia Bridge. At the end of the city limit line there is another hill to the right where Continued on page 16

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Continued FROM page 15

Santo Tomás was once located. There were a couple of mines in what is now the Dolores Ranch. That is all that is visibly left of the coal mining activity,” Martinez said. Since they began delving into the history of mining in Laredo, Castro and Martinez have received support from the community as they discovered that many of the families from the mines are still very much connected to each other. “Through this process we have reconnected with a lot of childhood friends, some of whom are city and county officials who have provided positive feedback for what we are trying to

do,” Castro said, adding, “It is important to get the message out that we want to do this because we think it is worth it, and inform all the descendants of the true significance of this history.” Martinez said, “The economic strength of the Mines Road is booming — what better time than now to memorialize the mining era with a historical marker.” The THC is authorized to award 180 markers statewide in 2014. “Not every county is going to get a marker. We realize it is going to be competitive, but we will be persistent, and if we don’t get it this year we will certainly try again next year,” Martinez said. 

Mariela Rodriguez/LareDOS

SIDEBAR

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Teachers Liz Torres-Guerrero, Chris Baeza, Sylvia Montemayor, Marie Garza, Jenny Dorne, and Christy Navarro were among those present at the 2013 Dyslexia Awareness Festival for parents on September 20 at the Bill Johnson Student Activity Complex.

Mariela Rodriguez/LareDOS

According to the Texas State Historical Association, the mining towns were located on the banks of the Río Grande upriver from the site of the Laredo-Colombia Solidarity Bridge. Cannel coal was in high demand for, its high-burning characteristics, as mentioned in George H. Ashley’s The Santo Tomás Cannel Coal, Webb County, Texas. Mining in Minera consisted of horizontal shafts or drift mines, as opposed to vertical shafts. “The Minera mines were among the first and they were drift mines. The mines of Darwin, Dolores, and Santo Tomás, were modern vertical shaft mines,” Martinez said, adding, “Drift mines began at the riverbank, then would go horizontally inland. These proved to be problematic because of the river rising and flooding at times.” Through the course of his research Martinez discovered some interesting documents that belonged to his grandfather. “I found some correspondences with retired U.S. Army Major General Charles F. Bowen from Manchester, New Hampshire. The correspondence was dated June 1964 to May 1965. The correspondence related to the military outposts where the First New Hampshire Infantry was on duty in 1916-1917 during the U.S. - Mexican border crisis,” Martinez said, adding, “Bowen had succeeded in erecting historical bronze plaques at Zapata and San Ygnacio where the infantry had been on duty. He wanted to do the same for the “Dolores Mining City» where the 1st New Hampshire Infantry had also been stationed. Bowen reached out to my grandfather for help. They succeed in getting a plaque placed «at the junction of the Pan American Highway and the old road leading to the sites of Dolores Mining City...» and another one affixed to the Bandstand in Jarvis Plaza, in Laredo.” The vast majority of miners were young men in their 20s and 30s, immigrants from Coahuila, San Luis Portosi, and Durango. Mining was prosperous in the area up until the end of World War I and the subsequent decline in demand for coal. The last drift mine closed in 1939 when the petroleum industry prevailed as a fuel source. A marker commemorating the Darwin location as well as another marker for the Rio Grande and Eagle Pass Railroad currently stand, for now talks of placing the Santo Tomás marker side by side to the Darwin on are in the works.

UISD dyslexia educators participate in annual fair

Alumni support association Texas A&M International University’s Alumni Association hosted their 5K walk on Saturday, September 21 on campus. Pictured are participants Angie Treviño, Gaby Salinas, and Monica Pastrana. W W W.L A R ED OSN E WS.COM


Commentary

The Y-Monster of Reality By RAUL CASSO LareDOS Contributor

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azing upon a beer bottle I hold in my hand, I consider that I am not seeing the beer bottle as it exists, out there, in ‘reality’. Instead, I am looking at a picture of it as produced in my brain via my sensory perceptions. That is, my senses provide data about the object of my perception (a beer bottle), and using the sensory data my brain assembles a picture for me to see. At any rate, it is the picture in my brain that I see and not the bottle of beer I hold in my hand. But because the picture in my brain is not the object itself, one may come to doubt the very existence of the object out there, in reality. How can we ever know whether objects really exist externally, if all we have to look at are images of them in our heads? Is ours a world of ideas, or is our world really real? The answer is, Both. Reality is at once a world of ideas, and an objective world of empirical reality. Although one may never perceive physical objects apart from our perceptions of them, we can safely conclude that the objects out there really are there, and so really are real, because there is general consensus about them. People agree, generally, as to what objects are. If I were to throw my beer bottle and hit a passer-by on the head with it, that person would tell the police I threw a beer bottle at him — as opposed to having been kicked in the head by a flying blue unicorn, for instance. If there were no such consensus about the perceived external world, then the fact of one’s experiences would be all one could be sure of, with little by way of meaningful discourse with others. Yet, there is consensus

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about the perceived external world. Like moviegoers in a theater, we all see the same movie. Indeed, there is some consensus even concerning the world beyond our senses. Niels Bohr & Co. explored an invisible world on the basis of theory. Yet the world they thus ‘observed’ and described is real, as corroborated by subsequent discoveries and common experiences (well, sort of, at least to some extent). So, how can the empirical world, about which there is general consensus, and the world that exists in our individual heads, be reconciled? Behold: the Y-Monster of Reality. The nature of reality is that it has two perceptual realms, or two heads, like a ‘Y-monster’ – albeit with a slight qualification. Unlike a Y-monster with two heads perched separately on two torsos joined to one spine, the Y-monster of reality has two heads, but one is inside the other. On the one hand [head], we have our individual, subjective perceptions, individual to our own heads. On the other hand, however, there is also a giant, external ‘head’ which encompasses all empirical reality, including our individual heads. It is science-based culture. This metaphorical ‘outer head’ encompasses the empirical world of our common consensus. It is by way of this consensus that we experience reality. Any individual’s perception is made within the context of a much larger shared perception. To use a crude analogy, moviegoers at a cinema each perceive the movie in their minds, but what they perceive is in the movie theater, and their perceptions are determined by the same objective data, as depicted on the silver screen. If, as quantum physicists say, our perceptions play

a role in selecting reality by freezing a wave of quanta upon perception, then the world is also subject to our collective perception. Thus we form our world together, from one infinite moment to the next. (Raul Casso’s essay was published in issue no. 61 of Philisophy Now, a British newstand magazine that is the most widely read philosophy periodical in English, with publication and circulation in Great Britain, USA,Canada, and Australia. Philosophy Now is dedicated to the corruption of innocent

citizens by convincing them that philosophy can be exciting, worthwhile, and comprehensible. Casso wrote the piece in answer to the magazine’s question of the month, “What is the nature of Reality?” Of the essays of many respondents, Casso’s was the one selected for publication. In addition to the recognition, he was awarded a book about Theodore Adorno’s negative dialectics. Casso previously won publication of his essay in response to the question, “What is the meaning of life?”) 

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Feature

By MELISSA DEL BOSQUE LareDOS Contributor McALLEN - In the midst of a growing security crisis in Mexico, the McAllen-based USA Now Regional Center offered Mexican families with money an escape: Invest $500,000 in South Texas and get a legal permanent resident card in the United States. But the offer may have been too good to be true. In mid-July, agents with the FBI raided USA Now and confiscated luxury cars it says were purchased with investors’ cash. A warrant filed in federal court alleges that Marco Ramirez and his wife, Bebe Ramirez, the owners of USA Now, were running a Ponzi scheme, defrauding foreign investors of millions of dollars. USA Now opened for business in McAllen in April 2011 and was designated by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services as an EB-5 investor program. Congress created the EB-5 program in 1990, providing U.S. residency visas as an incentive to foreign entrepreneurs willing to invest $1 million in a business that created 10 or more jobs, or $500,000 for an economically distressed or rural area. For years the program has been underutilized because of onerous paperwork and confusion about changing immigration requirements. But in 2007, with the economic crisis expanding and credit drying up, U.S. companies began to take a second look at the program and its pool of foreign investors. The security crisis in Mexico provided the willing par-

ticipants. By 2011, there were more than 300 regional centers like USA Now nationwide, according to the Associated Press, up from 11 in 2007. In a 2011 interview with the Texas Observer, Marco Ramirez said the company had more than 200 investors and another 100 waiting to invest. “Because of the insecurity crisis in Mexico, they’re no longer coming to visit, they’re coming to migrate,” he said. “And they’re also seeing an economic opportunity because of the economic crisis in our country.” At the time, Ramirez was heavily advertising a program in Mexico called “Texas for Sale,” emphasizing to wealthy Mexican investors the benefits of buying foreclosed homes in Texas at cut-rate prices. In an FBI affidavit filed in federal court, a McAllen-based lawyer (and U.S. citizen) alleges that Marco Ramirez offered to help him buy back his foreclosed properties. The lawyer gave Ramirez $470,000, but $50,000 was allegedly used to buy Ramirez a 2011 Dodge Ram pickup instead of the foreclosed properties, according to court records. No charges have been filed in the case, but the FBI investigation is ongoing. The company’s lawyer, Tony Canales, told the McAllen Monitor that the investigation is “wrong on the law and wrong on the facts. There’s a lot of things to explain,” he said. “They’re going to want explanations, and we’re going to give them explanations.” (Reprinted with permission from the author from the September 10, 2013 issue of the Texas Observer.) 

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Wealthy Mexicans swindled on path to legal residency

Veterans deliver bottled water to El Cenizo and Río Bravo Answering the water contamination crisis in El Cenizo and Río Bravo, members of the Veterans of South Texas Afghanistan Iraq Veterans Association delivered cases of bottled water to homes in the area on Saturday, August 31.

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News

The personal becomes political: De La Riva’s one-woman show

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By Mariela Rodriguez LareDOS Staff

n honor of Hispanic Heritage month, Laredo Community College (LCC) hosted One Journey: Stitching Stories Across the Mexican American Border on Tuesday, September 17 at the Guadalupe and Lilia Martinez Fine Arts Center. “I am a desert flower standing on a cactus throne. My petals displayed, colors unashamed. I am simply, naturally, beautifully, borderless and unafraid.” These were among the verses recited by Yadira De La Riva — poet, playwright, performer, and educator from the bordertowns of El Paso and Cd Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico. LCC reading instructor Leticia Spillane said, “I think this is a wonderful presentation because it covers everything it entails to be American of Mexican descent or a recent immigrant juggling the connections with Mexico and having a love for their new country.” Spillane added, “She has it all on one stage performance and covers everything that only people living on the border can understand. “ Laredo was the first border town in which De La Riva performed her one-woman show — a coming of age story depicting her family’s navigation through border life in El Paso and Cd Juarez. She said she feels it is important as a member of marginalized groups to share experiences of the individual connections through the political relations between the U.S. and Mexico. “I think we are very unique. We are very marginalized. I think it is about time that as ‘borderlanders’

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Yadira De La Riva we begin to speak up because we are really affected by the policies these two countries create unaware of how those decisions affect people on a local level.” Part of her show includes workshops from which she hopes to gain feedback and have others share

their bordertown experiences. She hosted a workshop with LCC instructor Carlos Flores’ English 1301 course after her performance. “I’ve been developing my show since 2010 to not only improve as a writer and performer but also to put as much truth into it as possible,”

De La Riva explained. She shared her parents’ experiences in relation to the social and political tug-of-war between Mexico and the U.S to alleviate debt. “My mother worked at a Levis maquiladora during the boom of the industry in Juarez, until the U.S. turned to other nations for cheaper labor, leaving thousands unemployed,” said De La Riva, adding “All of our parents in some way or another are bound by the trade and economies of these two nations. That’s the history que no se conoce.” De La Riva has a BA in American studies from the University of California and a Masters in performing arts as cultural artivism from the New York University Gallatin School of Individualized Study. She studied at the Mexico Solidarity Network Study Abroad Program which is dedicated to educating scholars about underrepresented communities throughout Mexico that are negatively affected by U.S./ Mexico economic policies. De La Riva has worked with the Theater of the Oppressed in Río de Janeiro; performed in various multicultural community venues throughout California; taught theater workshops in California, Mexico, Cuba, and Brazil; and currently teaches in various schools throughout New York City. “I am gritos of ecstasy and despair. Santo corridos, cumbia, bachata, salsa, and hip hop songs blare out of windows, and dance floors I tear. I don’t care. No matter what they say I can’t be led astray.” De La Riva’s tour along the U.S Mexico border, which culminates in California, kicks offs October 1 in Brownsville.  LareDOS I SEP T EM B ER 2013 I

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Feature

Atticus and me — a life worth living By MARY WYERS LareDOS Contributor

My father did three things very, very well. The practice of law, gourmet cooking, and dove hunting. Dove hunting was by far his favorite. By far. In August every year, when I was young, my father's eyes would glass over. His step would be a little lighter. He would smile a lot and whistle and hum to himself.

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y father would have had the gun cabinet in the living room, but my mother nixed that idea. It was a pretty piece of furniture, made of birds-eye mahogany with beveled glass windows on the front and sides. Originally it had been a china cabinet, but my father had it converted into a gun cabinet to showcase his much prized collection of shotguns and rifles.  “This is not the Ponderosa!” said she. So the gun cabinet went into the sunroom alongside our piano and the African violets. Odd bedfellows, but somehow they complemented each other very well. From his seat at the dining room table my father could glance longingly at his gun cabinet. I knew he would be re-

flecting back on the last hunt or the next season. You see, my father did three things very, very well. The practice of law, gourmet cooking, and dove hunting. Dove hunting was by far his favorite. By far. In August every year, when I was young, my father’s eyes would glass over. His step would be a little

lighter. He would smile a lot and whistle and hum to himself. “You know what time of year it’s gonna’ be, Beezie?” he would ask. “No, what time. Pops?” I knew damn well what he was reffering to, but I loved to hear him tell of it. “It’s that time of year when life is worth living again! Laska called and said

she planted a field of sorghum and it’s come up nicely. She said the bird are already flying over. Yessiree, it’s gonna’ be a fine huntin’ season this year!” He smiled at me broadly. I would follow him into the garage where he stored all of his hunting gear. He relished in the anticipation of dove season, happily gearing up for it. He loved all of the rigamarole attached to dove hunting. He loved the process and preparation. He would rummage around and pull out a box, the “off limits to you girls” box, which contained all manner and sizes of brushes, and bits of flannel’ and special screw drivers, and a whole array of special oils. In the den, as we (wife and five daughters) watched T.V., he would spread out an old bed sheet on the Continued on page 21

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Horace Hall, Michael Portman at Camp Haddit

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floor and place the box on it. He would then go to the gun cabinet in the sunroom and return with a shotgun. Thus began the ritual of cleaning his guns. He would proceed to dismantle each gun, one by one, piece by piece, screw by screw until it was laid out before us on the floor. He worked with skill and precision like a great surgeon. He would clean and oil and brush and buff and polish, and then reassemble them until the gun shone, resplendent in the glow of the T.V. He would lift it up and ask, “Now isn’t she beautiful?” To which my mother responded, “No! Emeralds are beautiful and diamonds and sapphires and rubies. Your daughters are beautiful. I fail to see anything beautiful about a fire arm!” Thus spake my mother to whom he responded with a chuckle. He loved to get her goat. We would of course agree with him and tell him that yes, indeed each one was a thing of beauty. We would go hunting with him and he let us shoot the little .410. That was his first gun and didn’t “have much of a kick” to it. I begged to differ! We would be his bird-boys. Even though the other hunters brought their sons, he would bring us along to fetch the fallen bird for him. We proved to be better at it than the boys. My mother would not allow him to leave us at home alone with her.

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She had been on a hunt before, but she couldn’t stand the heat and the insects that came with it. So we would leave her home with her Cosmopolitan magazine and Baby Ruths (which she hid from us because we had “sticky fingers” and “did not respect her property.”) We fought over who got to ride shotgun. Whomever rode shotgun got to open all of the gates which was something we loved to do. We would jump on and ride the gate as it swung open. Eventually, after many twists and turns and bumps, we would arrive at a field of grain. He would seek the place where the hunters would meet, camouflauged from the bird. It was usually at the edge of the field in the monte under a big mesquite He would make camp and unload numerous items that were essential to the hunt.  An ice chest full of beer and Coca-Cola, insect repellent, nuts and chips, folding chairs, a big cast iron pot and all manner of whatnots and doodads for every conceivable situation that might arise. He derived great pleasure in doing so. He had rigged out his Bronco for hunting season, and we thought it was neat-o-beat-o. So did he. Just before sundown the bird would begin to fly overhead and the hunt was on. He would wink at me and say, “Ah Beezie, life is sure worth living again.” I nodded in agreement. Yes, it was. Indeed it was. 

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The Arts

Gringo Barrio’s debut album captures frontera culture By MARIELA RODRIGUEZ LareDOS Staff

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hildhood friends born and raised in Laredo have come together years later to do what they love best — make music. The core of the eclectic band Gringo Barrio — a Texas folk, country, and traditional Latin inspired group — is composed of Richard “Sparky” Miller, guitarist and backup vocalist Mike “TBird” Jackson, and lead vocalist Hank Sames. The group also includes professional musicians from Austin — organist and accordionist Chip Dolan, rhythm guitarist Craig Calvert, percussionist Joe Resnick, and bass guitarist Boo Resinck. Although most of the members reside in Austin, Sames continues to live in Laredo. Gringo Barrio is all about capturing the essence of border culture, Laredo in particular, according to Sames. The name of the group evolved from the three friends growing up in Laredo oblivious to cultural differences between Anglos and Hispanics. “We didn’t know that there was prejudice out there or that things were different. When we went to the University of Texas, the Chicano movement was just exploding on campus. My friends who were Castillon, Barrera, and López — we were perplexed as to why everyone was so mad,” said Sames, adding, “We had not experienced the discrimination that these other people had in other communities. That was a culture shock. That is why I say Laredo is a wonderful place to live, and there is no other place I rather be because of the feeling that everyone is treated the same.” Gringo Barrio, the self-titled album, was released August 24 at Stubbs BBQ in Austin. The band played together for the first time in front of a live audience, an experienced charac-

Sparky Miller, Hank Sames, Mike Jackson terized by Sames as “nerve wrenchingly great.” Sames explained the genesis of the band. “It started off as a lark about two years ago. By email we started writing songs, throwing words back and forward to one another. Most of it was stuff about our childhood here in Laredo,” he said, adding, “Once we got 11 songs, enough to put out an album, I approached Mike about getting musicians together to do the album.” Sames said Sparky Miller does not play instruments, but is instead a backup vocalist. “He’s really the lyricist of the group. He has come out with some of the great lyrics on the album,” he said. The band’s essence, as described inside the album jacket, is the sound of Texas and the heart of the border. The music of Gringo Barrio was inspired by groups such as The Beatles; The Rolling Stones; Crosby Stills, Nash and Young; The Sir Douglas Quintet; Freddy Fender, Los Lonely Boys, and Los Lobos. The album is a collective story of three young men coming of age in the culture of two countries. The song “Chingouas Bawanas,” an ironic play on the Spanish curse words adopted from a classmate, dealt with an adventure Miller, Jack-

son, and Sames experienced on a Mexican ranch. “There was this ranch in Mexico that kept wild animals. They had lions. When we were in junior high, the guy that owned the ranch took a bunch of us out there. This guy started poking at one of the lions with a mop. The lion reached out and ripped him to shreds. He almost died,” said Sames. “Chingouas Bawanas” is a cumbia with a reggae feel to it. Sames, Miller, and Jackson all attended Lamar Junior High and Nixon High School. Sames jokingly explained the genesis of the “Catholic School Girl” song. He said that for public school boys there was just an intrigue and a mystique about those private school girls. Although based in Austin, the band looks forward to performing on home turf. “The music scene in Laredo seems pretty vibrant from what I saw at last year’s Jamboozie. We think there is definitely a niche for this sound — a Texas sound with a

Latino feel to it — that hasn’t really been filled,” said Sames. Since returned to Laredo in 1975 after completing a BA in finance from UT and has been part of his family’s century-old car dealership, which is now managed by his daughter Evelyn. Her role at the helm has granted him the time to dive head first into his musical interests. “I’ve never done anything like this. A lot of it had to do with exploring this idea of a shared border. Laredo is definitely different from anywhere else,” he said, adding, “We just want to put out some good music that people can relate to. This is our market down here.” Gringo Barrio is working on an additional album. One of the songs will be entitled “Lampara Electrica” — a nod of sorts to a tourist attraction in Nuevo Laredo, a macho test that consisted of getting shocked while holding metal rods. Sames said, “With Mexico right next door, Laredo is a great place to live whether you are gringo or Mexicano. The complaint about this city is that there is no culture. You hear that all the time. Maybe we don’t have gringo culture, but we have tremendous amounts of Mexican culture. When you embrace that, you see that this place is filled with culture. Go to a quinceañera or a charreada and there is loads of culture there — we just need to open our eyes and embrace it.” For more information on the band visit www.gringobarrio.com. The album is available for purchase on iTunes or Amazon. 

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The Arts

LCC jazz concert features bassist Marcos Varela

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By JUAN MADERO LareDOS Staff

n his early years, bassist Marcos Varela was little more than a music fanatic and was more interested in playing baseball than music. He didn’t begin his musical career until the age of 17, much older than the age many professional musicians find their hearts in music. He started playing the bass in Houston while attending the prestigious High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, a school that fostered the careers of many highly acclaimed alumni in the music and the arts — among them Jason Moran, Robert Glasper, Beyonce Knowles, BrianMichael Cox, Eric Harland, Chris Dave,

Marcos Varela

and Matt Mullenweg. Varela was drawn to the bass because he felt that it was the heartbeat of any ensemble and didn’t want to play the guitar like everyone else. He quickly gained recognition in the Houston jazz scene and by the age of 18 was one of the top honorees of the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts (NFAA) International Jazz award and an International Association for Jazz Education (IAJE) Clifford Brown/Stan Getz All-Star fellow. His attraction to jazz music wasn’t rooted in a fondness of the music itself, but rather in the great challenge that came with playing it. He was convinced that if he could master jazz, he would be able to play anything. Varela attended the New School University/Mannes School of Music in NYC on scholarship. The school encouraged its students to tour, even when it meant missing class because the experience of playing live was considered equally, if not more, crucial than the classroom component of music education. Varela played alongside his peers and professors and made a name for himself in the New York jazz community, becoming a vital part of the New York and world music scene and performing with many world class musicians and jazz legends including Billy Hart, Charli Persip,

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Martha Wainwright, The Last Poets (Umar Bin Hassan), The Mingus Big Band, Jason Moran, and Billy Harper. Varela has also demonstrated great versatility with his success in the pop music and film scene, among them a composition for acclaimed director Domenica Cameron-Scorsese’s film Roots in Water, an adaptation of a piece by Tony Award-winning playwright Richard Nelson. The film was an official selection at the Tribeca Film Festival and received a red carpet premiere. Roots in Water also appeared in numerous other festivals, including the Chicago Film Festival, Woods Hole Film Festival, Prague Film Festival, and Albuquerque. Varela also participated in Greenwich and

Hargrove. At 28, Varela has travelled worldwide performing before many different cultures. He has found that he has been able to effectively communicate with different audiences through his music in a way that popular American lyrical music cannot. He said that many cultures aren’t attracted to popular American artists because they simply do not speak the same language and the music relies heavily on the meaning of its lyrics in order to convey its message. Instrumental music, he said, is appreciated worldwide because it does not require spoken language in order to move the audience. Instead, he finds that his music provokes emotion in people of

Joe Guerra and Marcos Varela 11th directed by John Carlino and coproduced by Cameron-Scorsese, which premiered at the Ft. Lauderdale Film Festival 2010. Varela’s compositions have been featured in popular American TV shows, trailers, and commercials. He has had a commendable presence in the world of pop music. He has composed, taken part in music videos, and recorded for prominent pop entities including The Last Poets- Umar Bin Hassan, Cappadonna of the Wu-Tang Clan, Styles P, Common, Dead Prez, and Roy

all cultures. He describes music as a universal language. Varela will begin another European tour late in the year. He looks forward to returning to Laredo, his father’s hometown, to once more conduct master classes at LCC and other educational venues. Varela’s master class at LCC, as well as, his performance there on September 2, featured drummer Joe Guerra, LCC student Angel Perez (guitar), and LCC jazz and mariachi instructor Ruben Vargas (sax). 

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Former WBCA member and current WBCA Stars & Stripes Air Show Spectacular volunteer Carlos Garza, an integral part of the Air Show since its inception in 1998, was recently promoted to Brigadier General. Maj. Gen. Manuel A. Rodriguez VII, Commander of the Texas State Guard, and Yolanda Garza pinned the commendation on Garza during a promotion ceremony at Camp Mabry in Austin. Garza retired from the Texas Army National Guard after 30 years of service, and since then has served with the Texas State Guard for nine years.

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Mariela Rodriguez/LareDOS

Mariela Rodriguez/LareDOS

Texas State Guard recognizes Carlos Garza

Retired UISD educator of 35 years presenter at dyslexia fair Elizabeth Guevara, former United Independent School District dyslexia teacher of 17 years, explained the significance of recognizing and assisting children with learning disabilities such as dyslexia at the annual awareness fair on Friday, September 20 at the Student Activity Complex.

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Feature

Meet Arturo Muñoz, Pink To Do’s 2013 honoree By MARIELA RODRIGUEZ LareDOS Staff

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rturo Muñoz, a 14-year breast cancer survivor, was selected as this year’s Pink To Do’s first male honoree for the October 5 walk at the Laredo Community College south campus. Muñoz, 73, is a native Laredoan who served in the U.S. Navy for six years and retired after 30 years with the Tex-Mex Railway company. He is the husband of Olga Muñoz and father to their five children. “When I heard the word cancer, I thought I was going to die,” he said, adding, “I thought that was it, but I wasn’t afraid of dying — just of leav-

ing my family behind.” Despite his love of the outdoors and active lifestyle — hunting, fishing, riding horses, and jogging — he said his diagnosis was one of those “things that just happen.” Muñoz recalled the discovery of an anomaly in his left breast while showering back in 1999 at the age of 59. “I felt that lump and didn’t know what it could be. I had no idea men could have breast cancer. It was a big surprise. I was not expecting that particular diagnosis,” he said. Olga said, “The doctors gave him several medicines like Tamoxifen, and because there are no specific medications for males with breast cancer, he’s been on several.” Muñoz experienced a radical 15

pound drop within weeks, and opted for a radical mastectomy. Doctors encouraged him to continue doing what he loved best, which his wife attributed to keeping his spirits up and eventually putting him in remission. Despite the cancer taking a toll on him physically, it did not tarnish his spirit or determination. He said, “I went through hell and back, but I thank God that I got it instead of my wife or daughter.” Initially, Muñoz was on the receiving end of ridicule for his diagnosis. He said, “Many thought it was impossible. Back then you didn’t hear about men getting breast cancer at all, so they couldn’t believe it.”

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Olga and Arturo Munoz

Olga added, “He’s getting to be a great spokesperson for breast cancer. He’s shared his experiences at LCC, and the reaction is usually the same. No one can believe a rugged tall man with a mustache could have been afflicted with breast cancer.” Possessed of an inherent strength, this survivor initially lived in secrecy in the machista culture of the border. “Men are expected to be tough and are never expected to have breast cancer at all. It was hard going to treatments and being surrounded by women,” said Muñoz, adding, “Initially, when asked why I was there, I would

Pink To Do annual walk set for October 5

he eleventh annual Pink To Do Breast Cancer Awareness Walk is set for Saturday, October 5 at the Laredo Community College South Campus. An opening ceremony at 8:30 a.m. will honor cancer survivors and will culminate with a walk around the campus at 10:30 a.m. The cost per person to participate in the walk is $20. All funds raised by the non-profit go toward assisting breast cancer survivors with mammograms; doctor and hospital bills; medical exam

expenses; transportation to medical appointments in Laredo, San Antonio, and Houston; assistance with daily living costs such as groceries, utilities, fuel, and miscellaneous medical equipment. Pink To Do is a unique non-profit in which all operational costs are personally funded, which means 100% of funds raised go to breast cancer survivors. For more information on Pink to Do, call (956) 319-0384 or visit their Facebook page at PinkToDoAssociation/info. 

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María Eugenia Guera/LareDOS

At Tano Tijerina’s campaign announcement Rosalinda Tijerina is pictured with Adriana Nunemaker at the kickoff for Tano Tijerina’s bid for Webb County Judge. A large crowd of supporters turned out to greet the candidate and to make known their wishes for how county government should work.

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Feature

Leadership, service, and accountability — core of Tijerina’s bid for Webb County Judge By MARIA EUGENIA GUERRA LareDOS Publisher

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he hat is but one of the things that sets apart the imposing challenger for Webb County Judge from the two-term incumbent Danny Valdez. It’s the conviction with which Tano Tijerina ariculates what he believes he will do once in office, and it’s language he uses that is void of jaded platitudes for progress. “I see a tsunami of change. You’ll see active, hands-on leadership. You’ll see me stand for a decision. You won’t see abstentions or political fence straddling. The lives and well being of too many are affected by bad decisions and the void of leadership,” Tijerina said. “It’s a dangerous, slippery road to spend the taxpayers’ money recklessly. They elect us to make good decisions. They do not elect us to create unnecessary jobs and fill them in a return for political favors. The public wants accountability in office holders, administrators, employees and services,” he continued. “They expect clean tap water — not dirty water or water that is a health risk to them and their children,” he said. Tijerina said he will work proactively

You won’t see abstentions or political fence straddling. The lives and well being of too many are affected by bad decisions and the void of leadership. for change in how the county conducts its business. “We shouldn’t let decisions be reactive because we waited until an 11th hour crisis to act. You can’t negotiate a good outcome when you are desperate,” he said. Among the items on his short list, once elected, are to broaden the county’s tax base for economic sustainability and a stimulus for more jobs; to build a new jail and to generate income by housing federal inmates in the old facility; and to establish an adult drug rehab center. Of his upbringing, Tijerina said, ”I was raised not to be wasteful, to understand that every penny adds up to a dollar. These were the lessons of my parents, Rosalinda and Cayetano Tijerina. The other lessons that were ingrained in me and my brother Carlos were self-respect, respect for each other, and respect

Candidate Tano Tijerina is pictured with his wife Kimberly at the wellattended announcement of his candidacy on the Courthouse steps. W W W. L A R E D OSNEWS. COM

for our elders. Love and caring for each other were the constants in our lives,” Tijerina said. “When I was very young, we lived on Mier Street and then moved to Victoria for a few years. “It was the best of times and the worst of times. Money was tight, but we were together,” he said. In Victoria, a coach offered the young Tijerina a job at Riverside Park picking up trash under the bleachers and cleaning the park restrooms. When the Tijerinas returned to Laredo, he was a 12-year-old who had refined his love of baseball into valuable athletic skills. He attended Lamar and Memorial Middle School, graduating in 1992 from Nixon High School as a Blue Chip athlete. “I could have gone to college anywhere,” he said, noting that he chose Navarro College in Corsicana. After a year at Navarro he was drafted in the eighth round by the Milwaukee Brewers, for which he played five seasons. Tijerina married Kimberly Walker in 1994 while she was a student at Baylor University. “There was a lot of learning in those times that I was far from here. For many years I had worked at only one thing — baseball. After I was released by the Brewers, I went through a difficult time. I got to work finishing my degree and something changed in me — lots of introspection — as I understood that I was doing this for me and my family,” Tijerina said. He earned a degree in fitness and sports management from TAMIU, minoring in criminal justice. The Tijerinas have four children — Bonnie Jean, 16, a United High School sophomore; Cayetano, 12, a student at Trautmann Elementary School; and Christopher, 8, and Keith Alexander, 7, both students at Power Christian Academy. Tijerina has ranched for the last two decades, doing what he calls “the usual

stuff” — fencing, feeding livestock, electrical work, plumbing, and tractor work. He also manages several businesses, among them one in transportation and another in rodeo bull and horse production. An early riser who sees his children off to school, he follows a regimen of exercise and tending to business matters before falling into a spate of meetings relative to the campaign. “One of the hardest things about being a parent is holding back on wanting to give your kids everything we never had. They have to learn that the world does not revolve around them. We teach them respect and the value of loving each other. In summer, my two oldest children work with me sunrise to sunset, sometimes cleaning stalls, putting their hearts into the work on the ranch. All my children are into athletics, but they hear from me that that will come and go, and that an education is a constant,” Tijerina said. He speaks unabashedly about having “ a servant’s heart.” He said he answers to God. “I have a one-on-one relationship with God, and I am not ashamed to hide it. I am not a hypocrite. What you see is who I am,” he said, adding, “God did not make me a coward.” Tijerina will open campaign headquarters in January, but for the present he is using social media to get out his core message for change, accountability, and service. He hopes for a win that involves those who most need county government to better serve them and those who want accountability for the spending of their tax dollars “It won’t be my win — it will be a win for all of us.” “You’ll see us staging fundraisers like a bowling tournament, steak plate sales, meet and greets, and a roping tournament,” he said. For more information on the candidate, go to tanoforcountyjudge.com 

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Chamuscando – how it was done en aquel entonces

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By ERNESTO URIBE LareDOS Contributor

am certain there are still a few old cowhands who experienced that feeling of having the chamuscadora strap digging into their shoulders at high-noon in summer as they concentrated on burning the thorns off prickly pear cactus, trying not to worry about that fourfoot rattler that just slithered over the top of their boots as it dashed away from the just-torched packrat nest. Ah, for the days before the rootplow, Buffel grass, cottonseed cake pellets, and those half-ton rolls of hay ranchers now buy to feed their stock during drought. To be able to go back to the first part, or at least to the middle part, of the 20th century — back to the days when a roundup was not honking the horn of your pickup and tossing some cottonseed pellets to bring the herd into a trap, but having to pop cattle out of the thorny thickets on horseback, because most cows were wild as deer, and the ranch lands were still up to your armpits in solid brush. Back in the 1940s and early 1950s most of the brush country was still undisturbed and dominated by mesquite, huisache, chaparro prieto, ebano, guajillo, uña de gato, just to mention a few of the thorny bushes I remember. And then we had the cactus, prickly pear or nopal, cacanapo, tasajillo. And perros (dog cholla) — that

wonderful little cactus that jumps up and attaches to your boot, or pierces your foot if you happen to be wearing tennis shoes, and all those wonderful little barrel cactus like manca caballo, peyote, pitaya, alcoche, fishhook cactus, and many more I can no longer remember. During a drought, when the native grasses gave out, and the mesquite bean supply had been exhausted, it was the nopal, the prickly pear cactus that came to the rescue of many a rancher. That succulent wonder — after the thorns were burned off — became the primary food source that sustained many a cowherd until the rains came. I was still a boy in the early 1950s when my grandfather, Carlos B. Ortiz, introduced me to the chamuscadora at his little ranch just a few miles northeast of Laredo. It was what appeared to be a homemade contraption, probably put together by a local blacksmith out of a small airtight tank, a simple hand valve to control the flow of the compressed air and fuel mixture that was sent through a thin tube extending some five or six feet from the tank. The tube had a nozzle at the end that was covered with an iron cylinder that had to be heated so it would burn the raw fuel and distribute the flame evenly over the prickly pear leaves as you burned off the thorns. The leather or canvas sling attached to the tank helped support the burner while you worked. Burning pear

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Ernesto Uribe, El Veleño Ranch, Zapata County during these dry, hard times was my after-school evening chore until I went off to college. In those early days, we unscrewed an airtight top on the tank and filled it with several coffee cans full of kerosene. It was an exact measure, though I can’t remember the amount. We shut the top back on tight with a wrench and inserted a hand-pump to a one-way air valve also attached to the tank and proceeded to pump air until the pressure reached a point that it became impossible to push the pump handle down. The burner had no air pressure gauge. When you reached the patch of prickly pear you planned to burn that day, your first step was to gather wood and start a fire that would be

burning well by the time you fueled and pumped up the burner. Once you had your fire going and your burner ready, you would place the iron cylinder that covered the nozzle over the coals and let it sit until it was white-hot. Once ready, you would open the valve slowly and adjust the flame, just like you would a blowtorch, and you would set out to burn the thorns from the cactus pads. You soon developed the skill to determine how long to hold the flame over a cactus leaf to just burn the thorns off without cooking it, and pass on quickly to the next one. You passed the flame from one cactus plant to the next until your air pressure gave out. To refill the tank, it was important to

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went on, there were improvements in the commercially manufactured pear burners, and most ranchers started using portable pressure airtanks that they could fill at their local gas station and thus avoid the back breaking work of having to fill the pear burner tank with a quirky hand pump. It was not until after I had departed for Texas A&M, that the butane pear burners that you could fill directly from a large butane gas tank in the back of your pickup became popular. I missed out completely on this innovation, for I was never to return to ranch work after I graduated from college. However, I can still smell the raw kerosene, hear the air hiss into the tank as I pushed down on the hand pump, and hear the cows bawling as they hungrily chomped on the still smoldering pear leaves. These were hot, sweaty, hard-working times that are good to remember. ď ľ George Altgelt/LareDOS Contributor

make sure all the air was out before you carefully opened the tank top for refueling and pumping up again for burning the next batch. Even while burning pear in the middle of the day, you always had to watch for rattlesnakes that were being forced out of their hiding places by the flames and the roar of the pear burner. My grandfather always warned that if you saw a snake, you had to be on the lookout for that second rattler, because they always seemed to come out in pairs. It was in the mid-1950s that the root-plow was introduced in our part of the country, and as the brush began to disappear it gave way to the African grasses like Sudan and Buffel that were being introduced. Cottonseed cake in pellet form and cheaper hay sources were also rapidly becoming the rancher’s supplemental feeds of choice. These changes reduced the need, but did not eliminate the burning of prickly pear in South Texas. As time

Dove season opener

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Trainer Dan Ramirez of Maridan Labradors and his retrievers Kali (black) and Luna (yellow) enjoyed the dove hunt at Santa MarĂ­a Ranch in San Ygnacio on Saturday, September 21. LareDOS I SE PTE M B E R 2 0 1 3 I 3 3


Santa María Journal

My granddaughters pick up where the sunrise left off, filling my house with light and unbridled happiness

By María Eugenia guerra

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y inner clock is wound to wake at daybreak, to look for first light, to snap my circadian tick-tock from REM mode and into the glory of those fleeting translucent seconds that usher in the new day. Nowhere is that time more threaded with color, inspiration, and hope than in my view of the eastern horizon at the

self in all my thoughts, hope that everyone I love is safe and well. It’s roll call, a reckoning, a resolution, a move forward. Citizen of the world Meg Guerra present and ready for God’s work, whatever that may be that day. Fresh from their own restful ranch slumber, my granddaughters Emily and Amandita walk across the path from the house that had been my father’s, and

Emily Altgelt ranch — color for a jolt of joy; inspiration to do my best work and to make the most of my time; hope that kindness roots it-

they pick up where the sunrise left off, filling me and my home with light and the unbridled happiness of little kisses

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and the chatter and questions that allow me the repeat gift of understanding the breadth of their love and respect for me. Oblivious that I am daunted by their assumption that I know everything, that I am some sort of authority for how the world works, I do my best to answer their unending cache of questions, running to Google (How long do butterflies live? How many babies can a turtle have? Where do anteaters live? Are ostrich eggs the biggest eggs of all animals?) or winging it (Do a cow and a bull mate for life? Why do I feel something right here {pointing to solar plexus} when the sun goes down?) From time to time there are recurring questions that tell me they are constantly calibrating how they see the world, how they think it should be, and what justice is. (Why doesn’t your sister like you? Why do people throw garbage on the ground?) There are stories they want to hear again and again — how my father José got off the train in Laredo after the end of World War II and walked not to his father’s house, but to Amanda Gutierrez’s house to ask her to marry him. And they want to hear about how their father George grew up. (Was he funny? Why was his dog named Blue? Why did the rooster bite Dad on the lip? How did Dad make you stop smoking?)

Amandita Altgelt In the screened cooking house nearby, George and Rosita have begun our breakfast, a feast of all natural over-easy eggs harvested from the hen house the day before. The smell of good food draws us all to the same place. I savor my cup of cowgirl coffee. We join hands and Emily says grace, and I feel the current of connectivity, the fuse that runs from their clean, precious hearts and their little hands into mine. We are bound, all of us to each other in a magnificent fidelity of unconditional love. 

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Courtesy Photo

WBCA Abrazo Children

Mariela Rodriguez/LareDOS

Abrazo children Frank Riley Puig and Isabella Gonzalez, representing the United States, and Gisella Rose Carranza Gutierrez and Eduardo Andres Lerma Bazan, representing the Republic of Mexico, are pictured with WBCA second vice president Eddie Villarreal, WBCA president Pati G. Guajardo, Norbert Dickman of La Posada Hotel, WBCA president-elect Veronica Castillon, WBCA first vice president Dr. Joe Castellano, and WBCA treasurer Jeffery Puig.

Farmer’s Market staff Laredo Main Street’s Stephanie Mendez, Pilar Monroy, and Francisco Reyes are pictured at the September 21 Farmer’s Market at Jarvis Plaza. W W W. L A R E D OSNEWS. COM

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CourtesyPhoto

At the LAPS fundraiser Laredo Animal Protective Society (LAPS) member Sid Holden and executive director Michele Deveze are pictured at the recent fundraiser than honored LAPS volunteer Jennie Reed and the memory of the Devine sisters, Ella and Jennie, who founded the organization and established its first shelter.

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News

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ouncil Member Cindy Liendo and architect Frank Rotnofsky, both champions of the preservation, revitalization, and economic sustainability of downtown Laredo, have been named Reina and Rey for this year’s SOL Masquerade Ball. They will be honored at the Friday, October 26 ball at La Posada Hotel’s San Agustin Ballroom. The

visory Board; Teens in the Drivers Seat Advisory Board; Women’s City Club; the Veteran’s Affairs Committee; Finance Committee; and the Sister Cities Committee.  She has become an advocate for molding young children into tomorrow’s leaders in order to ensure a better future for our community. She believes that effort begins by teaching children to care about their city

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Liendo, Rotnofsky to reign over SOL Masquerade Ball

A look at Mexican American history The documentary Stolen Education premiered September 21 at the Laredo Public Library. The film was based on the family history of executive producer Enrique Aleman Jr. The film discusses the inequalities for Mexican Americans in the public school system. It examines the 1956 lawsuit for discrimination between eight Mexican American families and the Driscoll School District.

event begins at 7 p.m. Liendo has served as City Council representative of District VII, which includes historic downtown and some of the oldest neighborhoods in the City. She has held that position since May 2008. Her reach goes beyond the Council chambers with her involvement across the community as a Girl Scout Troop Leader and a Democratic Party precinct chairperson. Liendo is also an active member of the Laredo Commission for Women; Leadership Laredo; the South Texas Development Council; Habitat Women’s Build Committee; TAMIU’s Masters of Public Administration Ad-

Frank Rotnofsky and encouraging them be active citizens. Five years ago she initiated the local National Night Out event — which promotes good relations between the community and local law enforcement officials, and also encourages neighborhood involvement to better combat crime. Liendo is the daughter of Judge Hector and Bertha Liendo, and mother to Ana Victoria.  She is a graduate of J. W. Nixon High School, and has attended Laredo Community College and St. Mary’s University. Currently, she is the chief development officer

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Mariela Rodriguez/LareDOS

Cindy Liendo

Comic book artist at STCE Marvel Comics cover artist Sam de la Rosa was at the South Texas Collectors Expo on Saturday, September 21 at the Laredo Civic Center. He was among the vendors selling and signing issues for fans.

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Gloria Gonzalez/LareDOS

David Taylor celebrates his 15th birthday David Taylor was feted with a deluxe Texas style barbecue party on the occasion of his birthday. He is pictured with his parents Anacelia and David Taylor of San Ygnacio.

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HEB’s border regions public affairs manager Linda Tovar presented opening remarks for Helping Heroes’ National Day of Service project on Friday, September 6 at the Laredo Fire Department Administration Center. HEB honored local firefighters and first responders for their every day heroic efforts and commemorated the 85th anniversary of the grocer by donating $8,500 to the Laredo Fire Department for the construction of a monument.

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Mariela Rodriguez/LareDOS

Mariela Rodriguez/LareDOS

Honoring local heroes

United Day supports Pennies for Tennies United Day School Patriot cheerleaders performed at this year’s Pennies for Tennies kickoff luncheon on September 12 at the Laredo Country Club. The Women’s City Club sponsors the fundraiser, and LISD, UISD, and private school students are the principal fundraisers.

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Commentary

Dreamers — victims of immigration reform stall By MARIELA RODRIGUEZ LareDOS Staff

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he national debate on immigration reform continues, despite legislation stalling in Congress. The DREAM Act, a bill originally introduced in 2009, is intended to provide young adults with a path to legalization as opposed to facing deportation or having to live in fear under the radar. In this border city of ours, immigration issues strike close to home. It is not uncommon to encounter those who through no fault of their own immigrated illegally from Mexico and began attending school on the American side of the border. These are the Dreamers. Javier Perales, now 16, moved to the United States when he was in the fifth grade. He recently obtained an F-1 Visa as a student, to remain in the states while attending school. “My father brought our family here in hopes of creating a better life for my two brothers and me,” he said. Perales’s father works at odd maintenance jobs to provide for his family. Transitioning to life in a new country has a bit of a struggle for Perales. “It was hard at first learning a new language and getting used to the way people do things on this side,” he said, adding, “I learned it was easier to enroll in school than it was to keep me there. They ask for utilities bills each year as proof of residency.” Perales spent the better part of six years in hiding after relocating, and although he has permission to reside here, he still lives with a certain sense of fear. Derogatory comments

from his peers kept Perales from disclosing personal information. He felt the sting of hearing his friends jokingly say to others mojadito this or “la migra is coming.” Perales said, “I don’t really like to talk to my friends or anyone outside my family about my situation.” He added, “My parents still don’t speak English so I have to translate everything for them,” he added. Given the immigration status of his parents, Perales and the rest of his family are unable to travel to other states. The realities of conomic constraints and life in a small, tightly enclosed apartment serve as motivators for Perales to work for a better life. “I want to work and help my father with what I can. I want to go to college and study to be a physical therapist,” he said, adding, “I wish I could vote and speak up for the rights of other immigrants.” Dreamer Karina Esquivel, 17, recently began her senior high school year. She is a member of the school band, the National Honor Society, and is part of a specialized magnet program. Esquivel lived in Nuevo Laredo until the first grade when her father, a carpet installer, and her mother, a housewife, decided to move to the U.S. to give Esquivel and her sister more opportunities. This Dreamer began her schooling with no knowledge of the English language and completed various ESL courses. She recalled learning English through music. “I’d listen to the radio and sing along so I could practice and eventually perfect my English,” she said. The Esquivels moved into a large

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home with Karina’s grandparents, two aunts, one uncle, and six cousins. Esquivel’s parents crossed came to the U.S. with visiting visas, but after returning to Nuevo Laredo to address a family emergenc, they were no longer able to return to the U.S. side. “Except for a few teachers none of my friends know about my status. Some of my friends say some hurtful things, but I can’t say anything. Words like ‘wetbacks’ hurt because we didn’t cross the river to get here, and we actually deserve to be here.” Esquivel plans to continue her studies and to eventually work to provide for herself and her sister. She is hopeful of a just immigration policy and a bright future. She refuses to let her hard work go to waste. “Had I not seen the things my parents went through, I might have been someone different. I am much more aware and grateful for all I have,” she said. Sandra Meza-Trujillo, 19, a resident of El Cenizo, commutes daily to college studies in nursing. “I chose nursing because I am a people lover. Initially I wanted to go to San Antonio to study, but for financial reasons and my residency status, I had no choice but to stay here,” she said. Meza-Trujillo lives with her parents and three siblings. They came here from Hidalgo, Mexico when she was eight. Money is tight, as their only income is from her father’s carpentry jobs and her mother’s housekeeping work. “I probably wouldn’t, but I would like to have the option to travel to Mexico if I ever chose to,” she said,

adding, “My parents have trouble with going out because they are scared of driving around and getting pulled over. They live in fear of deportation.” Meza-Trujillo finds it inconvenient and frustrating to be unable to obtain a driver’s license, which also hinders her ability to find work. These are struggles Meza-Trujillo doesn’t want to go through, and as with Esquivel the struggles are the impetus to pursue an education and a career. Both said they are grateful for the opportunity to be able to continue their education “In high school, I never talked to my friends about being from Mexico and how my family got here. I didn’t know that many of them were in the same boat,” she said, adding, “I would love to be able to vote to decide who is going to decide what will happen for this country.” Meza-Trujillo said, “We are Dreamers, and we deserve a chance.” Perales, Esquivel, and Meza-Trujillo all have a two-year permit to remain in the U.S. to pursue their studies. Legal fees for the permit amount to approximately $1,600. They plan to reapply after that term and they dream of eventually attaining citizenship. Current immigration regulations state that children who emigrated to the U.S. from another country can only obtain permanent status through their parents and may not independently apply for residency. They are allowed to attend and complete public education, but upon graduation, they are not allowed to attend college in many states. Continued on page 45

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The Mystery Customer BY THE mystery Customer

Chick-Fil-A 2460 Monarch Dr If you’re feeling blue, the MC recommends stopping by this establishment even if it’s just to purchase a beverage. Why? Best customer service in town! Instantly you are greeted with smiles and a genuine warm welcoming. The management is all about keeping their employees happy, so they in turn keep the customers happy. The staff always walks around to ensure every customer is satisfied and offers them refills when needed. El Meson de San Agustin 908 Grant MC recently attended an intimate family gathering catered by El Meson, a historic downtown treasure. With their newest addition on the menu, sopita de chile poblano, the MC worked up quite an appetite and hankering for their classic pechuga en mole served with Mexican rice and beans. The meal would not have been complete without the authentic welcoming ambience. Target 7501 San Dario During a mad dash grocery run, the MC opted to skip HEB, taking a cue from the excessive number of vehicles in the parking lot. The MC shopped Target for those few items on a Monday around 6 p.m. and had no trouble finding the missing items for dinner, but was sorely disappointed to find only two cashiers available to handle what appeared to be endless lines of customers. Even more disappointing was the fact that a small cohort of employees were standing about and chatting by the doorway leading to the bathrooms instead of opening up more registers to speed

Chick-Fil-A, El Meson, Carino’s — smiles and attentive service up the check-out process. Bank of America 5313 San Dario Ave Not only are the tellers and bankers friendly at this establishment, they are knowledgeable and efficient. The MC observed the inner workings of the branch while seated and waiting to speak to a representative about an inquiry on the account. Management is on key with attaining and retaining customers, an uncommon occurrence among other banks in town. Jett Bowl North 701 Gale This fun and upbeat establishment caters to young and old alike. While a flurry of children could be seen throughout the lanes, laughing and having a good time, a smaller group of adults enjoyed some beers and watched a pre-season football in the bar area. The MC was satisfied with the chili cheese fries and nachos that were served promptly upon ordering. LMJ Imaging Services 6262 McPherson The caring service here was a huge relief to the MC on the occasion of an MRI. The experienced tech did much to allay the MC’s fear of white coats. Laredo Laser and Surgery 5315 McPherson The MC’s first visit here was like a cattle call, so many patients waiting in a very small space, many of them in acute pain. Don’t get me wrong — the front desk was staffed with kind professionals, and the nurses who prepped for surgery and procedures were consummate skilled professionals who accorded the MC every comfort. This is an endorsement for excellent service. Johnny Carino’s 7603 San Dario

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The MC has had consistently good evening service at this establishment. The wait staff does not flinch at special requests for suppers not on the menu. They are quick on the draw for iced tea refills. The Sweet Spot

7609 McPherson This uber clean establishment is staffed by friendly cashiers. The owners are often seen putting the place in order clearing tables and the serving area. Don’t get the MC started on the icy treats.

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and Martha Narvaez are genuinely good people who by any means, even if it is out of their own pockets, continue to give,” Muñoz said. Olga added, “Through my husband’s involvement with other organizations we saw that not everyone gives as much as Pink to Do, nor cares as much, but everyone wants the publicity. No other organization except Pink to Do checks in with us to see how he is doing.” “It is very important to get yourself checked out. That is the best advice I can give,” Muñoz said. One in eight women and one in 100,000 men are diagnosed with breast cancer each year. In April, Muñoz underwent a sixbypass cardiac surgery. He is currently recovering well, and will be celebrating 56 years of marriage to Olga on October 8. “For one reason or another, God wants me here,” he said. For more information on Pink to Do call (956) 319-0384. To contact Mr. Munoz call (956) 286-4303. 

 Continued FROM page 42 Without proof of legal immigration status, they cannot work legally, as they cannot obtain a drivers license, state IDs, or Social Security cards. The DREAM Act could grant immigrants a permanent residential status if they are between the ages of 12 and 30 at the time the law is enacted; if they arrived in the U.S. before the age of 16; if they have resided continuously in the U.S. for at least five years; earned a high school or a general education diploma; and have no criminal convictions. When I think of the slurs of “mo-

jaditos, beaners, and wetbacks” that “harmlessly” slip from the mouths of many, I understand the need to recognize the struggles of the Dreamers. I can’t help but feel for my contemporaries. I cannot begin to image what my life would be had all my hard work at completing a degree been in vain. To think of being disenfranchised from the workforce after earning a degree is incomprehensible. To postpone a just immigration policy in a land founded by immigrants is inhumane. (The names of the interviewees for this story were changed.) 

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 Continued FROM page 27 lie and say I was injured while serving.” Eventually he became more comfortable, opened up, and befriended other fellow breast cancer survivors. “I had to take a lot of bull for a couple years before I became more comfortable with talking about it, but I sure hit the lottery because 14 years later, I am still here and I feel great.” Muñoz said. Now an advocate for male breast cancer survivors, Muñoz said, “I’ve now heard of other men being diagnosed. I have had a couple men approach me to ask me what I went through,” he said, adding, “Nobody helped me when I was first going through this, so I am glad that I can help others now.” Muñoz became involved with the nonprofit Pink to Do a few years ago when he began attending their annual walk. “Pink to Do is a great organization that does a lot more than most organizations for those in need. As long as I am alive, I’ll keep helping them in any way I can because Elizabeth Benavides

UHS volunteers assist Farmer’s Market United High School students Virginia Morales, Isela Rodriguez, Angel Cantu, Karla Morales, and Sofia Soto volunteered at the September 21 Farmer’s Market at Jarvis Plaza.

 Continued FROM page 38 for the South Texas Food Bank. Rotnofsky, along with his wife and business partner Viviana Frank, is a co-principal of the multidisciplinary architectural firm, Frank Architects. The firm concentrates its efforts to the recognition of the historic downtown, and other original neighborhoods of Laredo. Frank Architects along with the City of Laredo developed a historical assessment for downtown Laredo, and the city’s first “Historic Urban Design Guidelines” adopted by the city council. Rotnofsky’s recent preservation and restoration projects include the national designation of the “Cotulla Downtown Historic District” in La Salle County; the Good Samaritan Hospital in San Antonio and in Laredo; the Villa Antigua Border Heritage Museum Project; the Historic Hamilton Hotel; and the CansecoDel Valle House. From 1998 to 2004, he served as

a member of the Texas Historical Commission’s State Board of Review. Rotnofsky also served on the City of Laredo Landmark Board from 1999 to 2005. He is a founding board member of the Laredo Center for the Arts, and Laredo Main Street, for which he served as the chairman of the design committee. An avid cyclist, Rotnofsky is a strong advocate of cycling as an athletic activity as well as an alternative means of transportation. He has a Bachelor of Architecture from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York, and a Masters of Architecture from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation. Attendees are encouraged to wear costumes and masks. For more information on the SOL Masquerade Ball, or to purchase a table, call the Laredo Main Street office at (956) 523-8817 or Enrique Lobo at (210) 251-1092. — LareDOS Staff

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Feature

Pánfilo Narváez in early Texas history

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By JOSÉ ANTONIO LÓPEZ LareDOS Contributor

n writing history articles for LareDOS readers, my goal has been to feature little-known pre-1836 people, places, and events. I’ve chosen Pánfilo de Narváez for this issue. Narváez was born in Cuellar (Castile), Spain in 1478 and came to America in the early 1500s. His uncle, Diego Velázquez de Cuellar, was the first Governor of Cuba. Narváez is a key player in the history of Jamaica, Cuba, Mexico, the Gulf of Mexico, and Florida. The brawny, red-bearded Narváez was a diplomat, military commander, explorer, and entrepreneur. Yet, his story is not a favorite among mainstream historians. For that reason, I offer this snippet of his amazing life: All was going well for the aging Governor Velázquez de Cuellar. He was a man in his fifties, who realized he could no longer lead expeditions himself. So, he hired Hernán Cortez, an enterprising fellow Spaniard living in Cuba to lead a voyage to Yucatán (México). Sadly for Velázquez, Cortez had plans of his own. Hearing negative rumors, Señor Velázquez first relieved Cortez from his job. However, he soon forgave and rehired the expedition leader. Still unsure of Cortez’ loyalty, Don Diego decided yet again to fire his recalcitrant subordinate, but it was too late. It is recorded that Velázquez arrived at the port just as Cortez was sailing out to sea. “Compadre, why are you leaving me in such a hurry?” he shouted (or similar comments). Cortez pretended not to hear his master as he sailed off aboard a rowboat taking him to his main vessel. Velázquez was infuriated. He quickly organized another expedition to stop Cortez and picked his relative, Pánfilo de Narváez to lead it.

By the time Narváez reached Yucatán, Cortez had not only defeated the Aztecs, but had amassed a sizeable fortune. Cortez agents then used gold to bribe Narváez’s officers. Hence, when Narváez and Cortez met in battle at Cempoallan, Cortez’ small force easily defeated the larger Narváez army. In the battle, Narváez lost an eye and suffered the indignity of incarceration in chains for over two years. After his release, Narváez took his grievances against Cortez to the Spanish King who listened, but did not punish Cortez. Gold shipments from Cortez were already arriving regularly in Spain and the King did not want to hinder the treasure convoys. The king would have to find another way to reward the loyal Narváez. As such, Narváez’s fourth voyage came about when the king gave him a land grant to Florida and title of Adelantado de Florida (first Governor of Florida), with authority to recruit crewmen, families, and missionaries. The land grant stretched from the Atlantic coast, west on straight lines to the Pacific Ocean, including all Gulf coastal lands, the still unnamed Texas, the entire Southwest, and Baja California. Its southern boundary extended to the Rio Pánuco. The flotilla sailed from Seville, Spain in June 1527. On board was Alvar Nuñez Cabeza de Vaca, the Royal Treasurer. Shortly after landing in Española in August, disaster struck. First, nearly 150 crewmen deserted. Then, a hurricane destroyed two ships in Cuba. To stay the course, Narvaez needed a pilot captain. Limited by few candidates in Cuba, he chose a Captain Miruelo, whose sea captain credentials crumbled immediately. His inexperience led the flotilla into shallow waters. Luckily, they were saved by a rising tide. Much worse, Miruelo was

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unaware of the Gulf Stream, one of the strongest currents in the world. The Gulf Stream’s effect was profound. To illustrate, the flotilla sailed for days in what they thought was a straight, westerly direction from Cuba. In reality, they were drifting in a northeasterly (opposite) direction, landing in present-day Tampa Bay, Florida instead. Anxiety turned to surreal fear the next morning, when the sun arose over land and not from the sea as they expected. It was indeed, in Cabeza de Vaca’s words, a land so strange. Undaunted, Narváez still pressed on. In those days, little was known of actual distances in the Gulf. Narváez split his forces in two. All able men (about 250) and horses were to accompany him on land. The sailors and women were to remain on board and sail to Río de Las Palmas (where Narváez’ was to begin exploring his land grant) and wait for the rest of the party. The decision proved to be disastrous. Wives aboard the ships never saw their husbands again. Narváez soon realized their destination was actually hundreds of miles away! He also knew that to reach it, the sea was their best option. Skillfully using all available resources under the most primitive conditions, they built a forge to melt their weapons into tools.

Then, they cut over a hundred trees to build five large rafts; strong enough for each to carry 50 men. Their craftsmanship initially proved seaworthy. All five rafts managed to miraculously make it to the Texas Coast in a fan-like approach from Galveston to Corpus Christi. Their ingenuity had carried them nearly halfway. Narváez earlier gave the command “each man for himself.” After landing on the Texas coast, Narváez and two others were last seen precariously aboard their disintegrating raft and presumed drowned. (The powerful, influential Maria de Valenzuela, his wife, spent a fortune in a multi-ship search for her husband, to no avail. Finally, it’s this last voyage that some historians use to cast Narváez in a negative light. That’s unfair. In his defense, far from exercising dictatorial powers, he sought opinions from his staff before making tough, risky decisions. His courage was tested under very trying conditions. In the end, the tough warrior fought the good fight, but lost. This is but a mere capsule in the life of this very interesting Spaniard (¡Hombre muy valiente!). Anyone who wishes to learn more of this exciting Spanish exploration era is highly encouraged to check out the increasing number of books that focus on pre-1836 Texas history. 

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Notes from La La Land

By dr. neo gutierrez

The spotlight is on Tricia Cortez — actor, writer, environmental advocate

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

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erformers in Broadway musicals are called «triple-threat» artists because they have to sing, dance, and act in a production. And that›s what Laredo›s Tricia Cortez did so beautifully in last month›s Laredo production of the Broadway musical Chicago. She played the part of Velma Kelly, which was made famous in the movie by Catherine Zeta-Jones. There’s more to Tricia than artistry. She was an outstanding reporter for The Laredo Morning Times for several years, and does much for the environment in Laredo.  Besides her stage work, she writes that she has been «crazy busy» with meetings in Nuevo Laredo on the situation of raw sewage discharges into the river (almost five million gallons per day). Also a concern for her, the plastic bag ordinance that she is working on for Laredo, a golf tournament, the E-coli bacteria found in the drinking water of El Cenizo and Río Bravo, as well as starting plans for the coming year’s Laredo Birding Festival and other Dia del Rio activities in October. In the meanwhile, she’s doing another show, Young Frankenstein.  But let›s backtrack to her beginnings. She was born in San Antonio, where she grew up in the downtown area, raised by a single mother. She graduated from Brackenridge High School as salutatorian, and then graduated from the Princeton University with a degree from the Woodrow Wilson School in public and international affairs and a minor in Mandarin Chinese. After college, she worked in D.C. for Japan›s leading newspaper Ashai Shimbun, which sent her to cover a hostage crisis in Lima, Peru for three months. That’s where she really started to learn Spanish. Intrigued with early jazz and ethnic show music, she checked out CDs and DVDs from the San Antonio Public Li-

Tricia Cortez

brary to learn songs and how to sing. She worked for a law firm, and decided she didn’t want to be a lawyer. Disenchanted with a music career going nowhere, she moved to Laredo in 2001 to work for the LMT. She thought Laredo would be a fascinating place to be for a spell, and she was not disappointed with its quirkiness, political drama, fastpaced growth, and many terrific stories to tell. She wanted to go to Los Angeles, but she couldn’t break away from Laredo. She spent seven years at LMT covering City Hall, the county, education, and doing investigative pieces, features, profiles, and stories on the arts. And that’s when she stated dabbling in community theater and musicals. By 2008 she felt burned out, so she left LMT on good terms and moved to Germany, where she spent four months, while also checking out Southeast Asia, Italy, Switzerland, Austria, and her favorite, Croatia. But she eventually ended

up in Laredo again, working odd jobs, and in 2010 won the Dancing With the Stars-Laredo style contest with a medley called “Fantasia del Tango.” Then came a job with the Rio Grande International Study Center. Dr. James Earhart, co-founder of the RGISC, hired Tricia to become assistant director. Says Tricia, “We worked so, so hard in 2010, 2011, and part of 2012, to stabilize the organization financially and to renew our reach into the community.  She was named executive director in 2011, launching many new projects, now part of the regular programming, which includes work on the City’s plastic bag reduction ordinance. Tricia also established the Eco-Ambassadors program with high school students, the summer Eco-Camp, the Safe Fracking Coalition, the annual Renato Ramirez Golf Tournament, and a Río Grande student water testing project, the monthly Loving Laredo Hike series, and annual cleanups for local creeks with the

Texas Army National Guard. Major concerns she has addressed as director of RGISC include Nuevo Laredo’s raw sewage discharge into the river, as well as the destruction of a beautiful and one-of-a-kind wetland across from Laredo International Airport (a battle which was lost). She is continuously involved in grant writing and raising funds to sustain RGISC and its environmental work. Tricia is deeply involved in getting kids into the action of environmental awareness and protection. “We are now in our fourth year, and we organize about 70 teams from the river›s headwaters in Colorado to its mouth at the Gulf of Mexico. Teams are in the U.S. and Mexico and spread out throughout the basin, not just along the border, but in cities like Roswell, Pecos, Monterrey, Sabinas, and Chihuahua. On a given day in October in an initiative called the Río Research Roundup, student teams sample the river or one of its tributaries with kits that we provide. They also write essays, do artwork, and produce a one-minute video of their experience. This effort allows us to plant beautiful seeds into their young minds, to become better stewards and caretakers of the river and our environment,” she writes.  For the past two decades, the Río Grande stubbornly remains on the list of 10 Most Endangered Rivers in the World, according to the World Wildlife Fund.  Besides singing, dancing, and acting, wonderful Tricia Cortez is doing something about it! And when she›s able, she continues her world travels by backpack, having traveled last year to East Africa, visiting Rwanda, Zanzibar, Nairobi, and Uganda. She traveled recently to Belize. And on that note it›s time for — as Norma Adamo says — TAN TAN! 

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Maverick Ranch Notes

Summer ends with a rattle

By bebe & sissy fenstermaker

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attlesnake in the barn! Rattler in the yard! It is snake time. There is a small rat snake in the water turn-off valve box, which I’ve got to get into at least once a day, and it shows no intention of leaving that cool place. Dog Ruby defied a large rat snake in the yard a couple of weeks ago. I was glad to see her hesitancy in approaching it, but she set up a barking to let me know. A friend told Sissy she’d picked up an unknown snake out of her swimming pool and it turned out to be a coral snake. The chemicals in the pool had bleached out the “red and yellow kills a fellow” coloring and when she got it by the neck, it turned its head and managed to bite her on the finger. Egad, why pick up any snake by hand? She will be okay and is very lucky. The first rattler notified me of its presence just after dark where it had taken up position under the bird feeders. I take the feeders in at night. The snake let me get them, but then set up its howl. I hopped right out of there. Rattler #2 (the next day) was coiled and ready at the back door of the barn when I went in to leave the rake. I don’t know where it had been moments before when I went in to get the rake! We eyed each other and I phoned Sissy so she could hear the rattling, but there was nothing on hand to move the snake on down the road. No, the rake would not have done the job. We both retreated. That one was big. I’ve warned hunters and sisters that the barn is no man’s land. It’s the end of summer and most of us are cranky and fed up with no rain, intense heat, and foul air. All the old timers are saying they’ve never been so exhausted before. I know it is climate change heat exacerbated by San Antonio’s filthy air. That dirty

air comes to us overnight due to the southeast breezes from the Gulf, but returns in the morning from the north to give that unappreciated city air filtered over the Hill Country all night. But the Hill Country can only filter out so much filth before the system breaks down. People who have worked outside all their lives now talk about the close quality of the air. It’s hard to breathe. No rain has fallen here since late May. A friend who ranches near Comfort and whose family has monitored their well for 50 years says it will take, by his reasonable calculations, 180 years of steady year by year rain, with no droughts, to bring the aquifer back to the water level of 1990. Up until that time his water level remained about the same. After that time, due to the influx of people, new wells, and golf courses, his water level is down permanently 44 feet. He is not as near major development as we are, so you can guess the enormous drop in our groundwater levels. Yet the city and state governments and the developers say there’s no groundwater problem. Water will be there whenever they call for it! The fact it has not rained in our ‘regular’ pattern for about 14 years doesn’t trouble them; reuse water and desal water will be just fine to use! Drink up and don’t forget to plant big carpet grass lawns and keep them green all summer. — Bebe Fenstermaker

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ugust was pretty dry here. What moisture we had was in the form of short drizzles and sporadic sprinkles, all lasting from a few seconds to a minute or two. So, under foot crackles and snaps with each step. The vegetation that looked healthy and green in

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June is now withered and won’t make seed for next year. I suspect the palette for next spring and summer will have to rely on errant seeds from the past to germinate. It is rumored that we are to have a cold, wet winter, which used to be the accepted time of year for our moisture. I recently learned that those in control of Medina Lake, which is located in Medina County, gave/sold sprawling San Antonio the right to empty the lake in order to provide its residents the water with which to ‘keep their lawns emerald green.’ (The last is my take on the affair). At present, Medina Lake looks like it did during the drought of the 1950s, just a trickle of water down the middle. The other day I noticed the rooster who resides here at Fromme Farm had settled his dispute with Blue, the peacock, and was following his small band of hens. They took care to stay in the shade while scratching away leaves and loosening the soil for dust baths. They reminded me of a rag tag army going around looking for something to get into. On most evenings they get fresh torn up greens which

they devour with relish, it being about the only greenery available to them at this time. I have noticed that the two less dominant hens are his favorites and the two dominant ones are not. I rather think he has great taste, as I find the latter two rather tedious myself. They don’t flock and are too flighty for my taste. I prefer down to earth pluckers. A friend of ours recently had an experience with a coral snake she found in the swimming pool. Thinking it was a milk snake about to expire she caught it behind the head and pulled it out of the water. It was able to twist its head just enough to nip her finger and with that she slung it away. She had a good enough look at it, however, to realize that it was a coral snake whose colors had faded in the chlorinated water. She scrubbed her finger and joined her husband in other activities. Shortly thereafter the digit began to burn, then her arm, and finally her whole body was on fire. She said the pain was excruciating. When I saw her a week or so later she said her finger was numb, and otherwise she was okay. — Sissy Fenstermaker

 Continued FROM page 9 Community College Board of Trustees — and self-employed accountant Jaime Velasquez will square off in the race for Webb County Treasurer, a position held by Delia Perales since 2002. Attorney Hugo D. Martinez, the former head of the County’s Public Defender’s office, seeks to unseat longtime County Court at Law #1 incumbent Judge Albino “Ben” Morales, a former Municipal Court judge who was elected to the bench of County Court at Law #1 in 1998. County Commissioner Rosaura Tijerina will run against Jaime A. Montes, Justice of the Peace Oscar R. Liendo,

Pct. 1, Place 2, will square off with Daniel R. García. Pct. 2, Place 1 Justice of the Peace Ramiro Veliz will face challenger Rolando Saenz, a manager for Cabello’s Wrecker Service. Pct. 4 Justice of the Peace Oscar O. Martinez, who was elected to the position in 1991, will face attorney Eduardo Jaime. Thus far the following incumbents are unchallenged — District Clerk Esther Degollado; County Clerk Margie Ramirez Ibarra; JP Ricardo Rangel, Pct. 2, Place 2; JP Alfredo García Jr., Pct. 3; and Democratic Chair Silverio Martinez. 

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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 is that safety net for neighbors in need percent in poverty equals about 71,000. Obviously, the STFB is not serving all those in need of assistance, although the numbers continue to grow. Serving an impoverished eightcounty area from Del Rio (Val Verde County) to Río Grande City-Roma (Starr), the monthly STFB distribution total hit a record 33,362 families in June. The average for the past year was 25,000, but in April and May the numbers were 30,173 and 29,074 before the 33,000-plus. A member of the Feeding America and Texas Food Bank Network, the STFB service area includes Zapata, Maverick (Eagle Pass), Dimmit (Carrizo Springs), Kinney (Brackettville), and Jim Hogg (Hebbronville). The assistance is a monthly bag of supplemental food to the unemployed, under-employed, and those living

on fixed incomes like the elderly. The STFB, a 501 c-3 nonprofit, is located at 1907 Freight at Riverside in west Laredo. It opened in 1989 with help from H-E-B. The phone number is (956) 7263210 and the website address is www. southtexasfoodbank.org About 50,000 needy Laredoans are on the STFB rolls, but more than 21,000 are still in need. The STFB distributes food via 85 pantries-agencies, including 40-plus in Laredo, mostly church-affililated. Elia Solis is the agency coordinator. STFB programs designed to help the mission of feeding the hungry include: • The Commodity Supplemental Food Program sponsored by the USDA. More than 7,000 elderly (ages 60 and over), are served. Juan Solis is the director. • Adopt a Family, a sponsorship

program that serves more than 400 families. The program includes veterans and their widows. Miguel Zuniga is the director. • Kids Cafes at 18 sites, including 15 in Laredo, serve an after-school meal Monday through Friday. More than 1,000 meals are served daily with the biggest attendance at the Lamar Bruni Vergara and Benavides Boys and Girls Clubs. Dr. Jesse J. Olivarez, PhD, is the director. • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Outreach: (SNAP, formerly food stamps). The STFB helps clients apply for SNAP, especially the elderly. About four years ago, there were more than $40 million in unused SNAP benefits in Webb County. That number has dropped to $24 million because of the outreach program. Alma Blanco is the director. 

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Let me share with you a bad news, good news story. The bad news is that 30 percent of Laredo-Webb County residents live below the poverty guideline, thus experiencing several issues, including food insecurity. The good news is that the STFB exists as a safety net for those who are struggling to put food on their table. But there is also bad news on the good news side. Not everyone who is eligible for food bank assistance is accessing the help. One of the top reasons for people not raising their hand to ask for help? “A majority are embarrassed. There’s dignity involved when it comes to admitting you’re hungry,” noted Tano Tijerina, STFB board member. Laredo’s population is 236,000 as of the 2010 census. Do the math. The 30

South Texas Food Bank

Lamar Bruni Vergara trustees J.C. Martin III and James Pearl were recognized for their contribution to the STFB mission to feed the hungry. Pictured left to right are Martin, STFB board president Annie Dodier, Pearl, STFB vice president Anna Galo, and executive director Alfonso Casso. W W W. L A R E D OSNEWS. COM

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

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sometimes wonder if I should take up a different profession, something less detrimental to my own writing, like coal mining or removing asbestos from the walls of old buildings or sealing leaks in the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. Maybe those jobs would expose me to fewer and less-perilous long-term hazards than those I face repeatedly from August to May in composition classes. There, every day I risk being infected with the verbal convolutions of a hundred teenagers, who often use “like” as if it were a grammatical necessity: “He was, like, the most awesome guy I’d ever seen, and, like, I thought I would, like, totally implode if I didn’t, like, close my eyes!” Fortunately by late summer, after weeks of therapy consisting of repeated viewings of old Walter Cronkite newscasts and large doses of post-adolescent poetry in which “like” is actually used for similes, I’ve mostly stopped hearing teenage voices. Of course, now classes have resumed, and so, too, my exposure to the contagion of freshman writing. Last week after I assigned a diagnostic essay, I again felt the onset of symptoms. On Day One, in order to find out a bit about students and to get a sense of their basic writing skills, I told them to “write at least 250 words of your best first-draft writing in which you describe a member of your family who’s most different from you.” Two days later, I collected their 94 handwritten drafts, all of which I read but didn’t assign grades to. Predictably most were stylistically simple but competent. Equally predictable were both what they said and how they said it. While nearly all freshman comp students are initially polite, atten-

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Serving Sentences

Like, a surgeon tive, and anxious in class, many are also — as I certainly was at their age — relatively immature and selfabsorbed on paper. Out of 94 students, 24 wrote about a parent; the remaining 70 wrote about a sibling, cousin, uncle, or aunt, someone the student clearly should have named. However, 19 of them didn’t and, instead, referred to their relative only in terms of the student’s connection to him or her, as if he or she were a personal possession: “my brother,” “my sister,” “my aunt,” or “my uncle.” Similarly, even though I told them to describe a relative who’s unlike them, which would allow me to infer how students perceive themselves, all 94 described not only a relative but also themselves. If a student said her uncle is loud and outgoing, she also unnecessarily explained that she’s quiet and shy; if a student characterized his sister as lazy and obnoxious, he needlessly pointed out that, by contrast, he’s hardworking and respectful. Granted, some students may have done this simply to meet the length requirement, but that every student did this by writing about him- or herself (along with the fact that 27% referred to family members not by name but as “my”) seems to clearly indicate that they are, given their age and through no fault of their own, still psychologically self-absorbed. Similarly, even though I told them to describe a family member, students rarely included factual, concrete, descriptive details; instead, they consistently resorted to vague generalizations and rarely applied any cognitive powers other than their new-found teenage capacity for abstract thought. Rather than naming individual objects, places, and people, students vaguely generalized with indefinite pronouns, such as something, every-

where, anyone, and nobody. Instead of offering a specific incident or example, they summarized large chunks of time with always, usually, frequently, often, and never. Instead of convincing readers of their opinion with factual evidence, they piled on more and more abstract opinions: straightforward, childish, social, frustrating, quiet, foolish, stern, stiff and serious, worldly and secular, wealthy, middle class, lavish, inseparable, etc. In fact, out of the 94 diagnostic essays that my Comp I students wrote this semester, 83 (or over 88%) contained very few or no concrete physical details, and 56 (or nearly 60%) offered very few or no factual details, such as name, age, birthplace, profession, number of children, alma mater, marital status, etc. Despite the

instructions, students thought mostly or exclusively in terms of abstract opinions rather than describe with specific details and facts. It’s a bit late in the game to switch professions, but I probably wouldn’t even if I could. Sure, it takes a while to wash students’ voices out of my head at the end of the day, but every semester I also happily find that their enthusiasm, optimism, and increasing maturity are infectious. Besides, at my age I’m immune to childhood diseases, can mostly resist adolescent insecurities, and am rarely afflicted by the plague of teenagers’ abstract namelessness that drives some infected adults to ask, “Why did I become a teacher instead of, like, a surgeon?” 

Mariela Rodriguez/LareDOS

By randy koch

WCC at Pennies for Tennies announcement Women’s City Club members Aurora Ramirez, Lydia de la Viña, and Lupita Alvarado are pictured on Thursday, September 12 at the Laredo Country Club. The WCC kicked off the 2013 Pennies for Tennies campaign, a citywide initiative that funds the purchase of tennis shoes, eye exams, and eyeglasses for underprivileged children. LareDOS I SE PTE MB E R 2 0 1 3 I 5 1


LAPS

Remembering the Devine Sisters By JENNIE L. REED LareDOS Contributor

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he Laredo Country Club was the scene of what the Laredo Animal Protective Society called “The Devine Years of LAPS.” The August 29 event honored the memory of two of the main founders of LAPS — Ella and Jennie Devine. I was recognized for my years of work at the shelter, an honor that I reluctantly accepted, but agreed to as I am, as I call myself, the “dinosaur” of the volunteer group. I am also the great-niece of the Devine sisters who devoted their lives to the betterment of unwanted animals in our community. The event was organized as a fundraiser by new board member Sid Holden and shelter executive director Michele Deveze. Board president Catherine L. Kazen welcomed the guests. And LAPS member Diana Farias opened the

program with a poem written by Ella Devine in 1969 in which she thanked those who gave to the shelter’s upkeep. She also sent it to those who had not, in hopes that they would help the shelter, which was founded when the sisters’ back yard outgrew the capacity to care for all the animals brought to them.          Raul Gutierrez, publisher of Greater Laredo magazine was the master of ceremonies. A slide show was presented, highlighting photos and events during the history of LAPs. I will quote from some of my own remarks. “It is hard to say thank you for fear of leaving some out, but you know who you are. I see you here tonight. You are those who designate the shelter as your United Way contribution. You are the ones who help raise money day after day, year after year. “You are the children who donate your birthday money, a tradition start-

ed long ago by my niece Alegra Volpe. You are the Mutt Patrol that has raised so much money for LAPS. I can still see Alegra and Rebecca Zapata enticing people to help. Who could resist beautiful kids with a parrot on one shoulder and a friendly boxer on a leash? You are all grown up now, but that’s a picture I still have in my memory bank. “You are the South Texas Outreach Foundation, the Guadalupe and Lilia Martinez Foundation, and the Fernando A. Salinas Charitable Trust. You are Rosita Jeffries and the Cox and Renner families. You are those who wish to remain anonymous, but who give with so much love. “But for our story to be complete, we must go back to the days before Laredo grew so big; to when there was no leash law; to the vacunas that covered the city, block by block, vaccinating dogs and cats. Together, the Health Department, the vets, LAPS and hundreds of volun-

teers kept the city rabies-free for many years. Despite all efforts, rabies did hit in the mid 1970s. That is a terrible time to remember, but we were in the trenches of early animal control together. “For many years, LAPS had a contract to act as the City’s impound facility. When the time came for us to part, the City built its own facility and LAPS concentrated on sponsoring spaying and neutering clinics. More humane groups have joined the fight. The pet overpopulation crisis is world-wide, and we must all combat it together. Euthanasia for too long was the main solution. That can no longer be! LAPS’ slogan is now NO Birth is the First Step to NO Kill. Please help us become not only a No Kill Shelter, but a No-Kill Community.” Guests that evening enjoyed a delicious meal, after which dancing to the music of Ross and Friends went on into the night. 

Honoree Jennie L. Reed is pictured with master of ceremonies Raul Gutierrez at the LAPS fundraiser that honored the memory of the Devine sisters, Ella and Jennie, who founded the Laredo Animal Protective Society.

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Laredo Community College

LCC goes pink in honor of breast cancer awareness By MONICA McGETTRICK WALTERS LareDOS Contributor

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ctober is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and in honor of those women and men who fight the good fight against the disease, Laredo Community College’s colors will transform from green and gold to pink in honor of that struggle. Kicking off LCC’s annual breast cancer awareness events is the fourth annual Dig Pink volleyball match on Wednesday, Oct. 2 at 6 p.m. at the Maravillo Gymnasium at the Fort McIntosh Campus. Proceeds from the event benefit the Side-Out Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting awareness, education, and support for men and women with breast cancer, as well as helping fund research. The Lady Palominos will don their pink jerseys in honor of survivors and breast cancer warriors as they take on the Coastal Bend College Lady Cougars. The Lady Palominos have had a great start to their season, winning 10 of their 11 games thus far, in addition to sweeping the recent LCC Invitational. The team and LCC head volleyball coach Binny Canales are looking forward to taking on the Cougars for a good cause. “The players have really been looking forward to hosting Dig Pink again this year. Every year we hope to build off the previous year, and to do that, we count on the support of the LCC family and community to help us raise money for this very important cause,” Canales said.

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Donations of $4 or more will be accepted to buy tickets for the match, which can be purchased in advance at the LCC Athletics Department Office located in the Maravillo Gym, room 152. Tickets also will be available at the door. For more information, call the LCC Athletics Department at 7215326. Pink to Do Breast Cancer Awareness Walk LCC’s South Campus will once again serve as the home to the 11th annual Pink to Do Breast Cancer Awareness Walk, continuing the college’s commitment to bringing breast cancer awareness to the community. This year’s walk will be held on Saturday, Oct. 5 at 8 a.m. at the South Campus on South Zapata Highway. A small registration fee of $20 allows participants to share their support for the cause, and Pink to Do uses all funds raised by the event to support Laredo breast cancer survivors and their families. The organization has worked tirelessly over the years to offer a measure of peace to all breast cancer survivors and patients undergoing treatment. The group provides financial assistance for mammograms, daily treatment costs, post-treatment expenses, and much more. They also offer survivors and their families an avenue of support as they make the transition from patient to survivor. “Most of our survivors are middle class or earn very little above the poverty line and who don’t qualify for government assistance. They are homeowners and business owners, office managers, or people with

good jobs who simply can’t keep up with the high cost of treatment. This is where we come in. We don’t discriminate in who we help, and we will help everyone we can,” said Elizabeth Benavides, president of the Pink to Do Association. According to Benavides, Pink to Do has assisted 50 survivors with various necessities over the last year, including an increasing number of survivors under age 30. Pink to Do also hopes to increase awareness about breast cancer in men, enlisting the assistance of Laredoan Arturo Muñoz, who was diagnosed with breast cancer and had a mastectomy more than 10 years ago.

“We want to make sure that men are informed about their risk,” said Benavides. Since 2002, Pink to Do has helped more than 200 breast cancer survivors and their families with funds for personal and medical expenses regardless of socioeconomic status. The organization spreads awareness through special events geared towards helping cancer survivors in Laredo, Oilton, Bruni, and Hebbronville. For more information about the Pink to Do Breast Cancer Awareness Walk, contact Elizabeth Benavides at 319-0384 or email pinktodoassociation@gmail.com. 

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TAMIU

Fall enrollment rebounds, credit hours up; TAMIU welcomes 25 new faculty members By STEVE HARMON LareDOS Contributor

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fter a flat summer enrollment, Texas A&M International University (TAMIU) officials are elated that Fall enrollment at the University appears to have rebounded with a record 7,633 students in preliminary enrollment reports. That’s an increase of 4.4% over last Fall’s 7,313 headcount. Semester credit hours (SCH) are also up 4% from 73,225 at this same time last Fall to 76,102 this Fall. Classes began Aug. 28 and late registration ended Sept. 3. “We’ve been working aggressively to share the University’s story and our strengths with potential students and their families. It’s a gradual, intensive process, but clearly has yielded some very positive results.  We have retooled some programs, boosted our online offerings, and looked at ways that we can better support students and their experiences here with programs like study abroad and internships,” Dr. Keck explained. Keck said the growing economic recovery and recent national accolades have also helped to boost the University’s visibility and accessibility. Also noteworthy, he said, was the large entering freshman class of 865 students. “Our recruiters have worked diligently with local and regional high schools to help secure this large class of entering freshmen,” Dr. Keck said. New Faculty Members Texas A&M International University (TAMIU) has welcomed 25 new faculty members from across the nation and around the world with the

start of this Fall semester. The new faculty and their respective Colleges are: College of Arts and Sciences Nastaran Barari, instructor of Political Science - I.B.M.S., Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences; M.A., TAMIU. Dr. Colin A. Campbell, assistant professor of Music - B.M., M.M., University of Port Elizabeth; Ph.D., North-West University. Ariadne González, instructor of Psychology - B.A., TAMIU; M.A., University of Texas at San Antonio.  Dr. Hector E. González, visiting instructor of Chemistry - B.S., Ph.D., University of North Texas. Dr. Muhammad Z. Hasan, visiting assistant professor of Engineering - B.Sc., Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology; M.E.E., Eindhoven University of Technology; Ph.D., New Jersey Institute of Technology.  Dr. Karyn E. Miller, visiting assistant professor of Criminal Justice - B.A., Colorado College; M.S., Pace University; Ph.D., Michigan State University.  Dr. SangChul Nam, associate professor of Biology -  B.S., Seoul National University; M.S., Ph.D., Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology.   Also, Dr. Elias M. Nassar, visiting professor of Engineering - B.E., American University of Beirut; M.S., Ph.D., The Ohio State University. Pablo Ontiveros, instructor of Military Science - B.B.A., University of Texas-Pan American. Clint E. Osowski, assistant professional in Criminal Justice - B.S., University of Houston-Downtown; M.S., Bellevue University. Dr. Gilberto Salinas, assistant professor of Psychology - B.S., Ph.D., St. Mary’s University; M.S., TAMIU. Dr. Melissa A. Templeton, visiting assistant professor of Dance - B.A., Concordia University;

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B.F.A., York University; Ph.D., University of California-Riverside. Elizabeth A. Tomsich, assistant professor of Criminal Justice - B.A., University of Minnesota, M.S., Purdue University and Dr. Donovan S. Weight, assistant professional of History - B.A., Utah State University; M.A., University of Illinois-Springfield; Ph.D., Southern Illinois University. A. R. Sanchez, Jr.  School of Business Dr. Homero Aguirre-Milling, instructor of Management - B.B.A, Ph.D., Universidad Autónoma de Tamaulipas, M.B.A., TAMIU; Djuan G. Bragg, instructor of Business Communication - B.A., University of West Florida, M.B.A., University of Central Florida; Dr. Vanessa Garza, visiting assistant professor of Management Information Systems - B.B.A., St. Mary’s University, MPAcc, Ph.D., TAMIU; and  Yinhong Wei, associate professor of Marketing  - B.A., East China Jiaotong University, M.Phil., City University of Hong Kong, Ph.D., University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.

College of Education Won Gyoung Kim, assistant professor of Special Education - B.A., Seoul National University; M.Ed., Texas State University-San Marcos. Dr. Kyung-Shin Park, associate professor of Kinesiology - B.S., M.S., Seoul University; Ph.D., Purdue University. Rosa M. Robledo, assistant professional of Communication Disorders - B.A., M.A., Our Lady of the Lake University and Linda V. Villarreal, visiting instructor of Kinesiology - B.S., Texas A&M University; M.S., The University of Texas at Austin. College of Nursing and Health Sciences Dr. Rosemary K. Plank, associate professor of Nursing - B.S.N., M.S., University of Minnesota; Ph.D., University of California-San Francisco and Dr. Glenda C. Walker, dean and professor of Nursing - B.S.N., Troy University;  M.S.N., D.S.N., University of Alabama at Birmingham.  University College Mónica Thorpe, instructor B.A.A.S, M.A., TAMIU. 

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Movie Review

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ased on an 1867 novel by Henry James, What Masie Knew, is a film about a riveting family drama starring Julianne Moore (Susanna) as a faded rock diva trying to make a comeback and her long disinterested husband Steve Coogan (Beale). Susanna’s trendy present-day Manhattan apartment is filled with rock hangers-on. Beale, an art collector is always on the phone trying to seal his next deal. Their beautiful child Maisie (Onata Aprile) is seen flitting at play through a mayhem of music, alcohol, and cigarette smoke. The drama unfolds in Susanna

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and Beale’s fiery divorce and in what hangs in the balance, Maisie’s innocence and her welfare. The mutual failures of Susanna and Beale to look beyond their vitriol and conceits bears the possibility of enormous peril for Maisie, who is more than once left at the curb to find the kind doorman of Susanna’s building. The divorced parents each take a new partner — Beale, Maisie’s sweet and beautiful nanny Margot (Joanna Vanderham); and Susanna, a handsome, lanky bartender named Lincoln (Alexander Skarsgard). In the absence of her self-absorbed parents, Maisie is more often than not in the care of either of her new step-parents, Margot and Lincoln. Beale leaves for England and Susanna leaves Maisie with Lincoln as she launches a tenuous comeback tour. Moore’s portrayal of a tormented, chain-smoking rocker is stunning, fullblown. The affection Margot and Lincoln each have for Maisie, and eventually for each other, is portrayed with much tenderness. Aprile’s Maisie is charming and credible. It isn’t known or ever revealed in the film what Maisie knew. I would guess she knew love would trump all. 

Bailes de Sinaloa Mexico Pedro Gutierrez, Laura Palacios, Esmeralda Sanchez, and José Sanchez dancers from Gabriela Mendoza Garcia Ballet Folklorico Academy, performed on September 12 at L.J. Christen Middle School’s Mexican Independence celebration.

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By MARIA EUGENIA GUERRA LareDOS Publisher

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What Masie Knew, tender movie based on a Henry James novel

9-11 remembrance ceremony at VMT Vidal M Treviño School of Communication and Fine Arts student Noel Loera performed “Taps” accompanied by other classmates on Wednesday, September 11 in remembrance of the tragic events of 9-11. LareDOS I SE PTE MB E R 2 0 1 3 I 5 5


Entertainment

Country sensation Dunn takes the LEA stage

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ountry music star Ronnie Dunn will be hitting the stage at the Laredo Energy Arena on Thursday, Octo-

ber 3. Dunn, half of the country duo Brooks and Dunn for over 20 years, released his self-titled album in 2011 — launching his solo career. Earlier this year he released the first single, “Kiss You There,” from his upcoming follow-up album. This Texas native found solace in music at a very early age, dubbing music the only constant in his life. Born to a truck-driving father and conservative mother, Dunn attended 13 schools in 12 years. He relocated to Nashville where he met Arista Records label head Tim Dubois who paired him up with Kix

Brooks. It was a partnership that resulted in the industry’s most awardwinning duo, reaching the top of the country music charts 23 times, and being named entertainers of the year four times — until their 2010 farewell tour. “Our fans have asked us to bring country back to Laredo. Ronnie Dunn is one of the top artists in the country music industry, and he’ll be right at home here in Laredo,” said LEA general manager Xavier Villalon. Pre-sale tickets are available for Eblast subscribers at www.learena.com. For other ticket purchases, visit any Ticketmaster location. Ticket prices range from $32.50 to $58. For more information visit www. ronniedunn.com or www.learena.com. — LareDOS Staff

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The many faces of women Nancy Herschap hosted an art show, “Faces”, on Saturday, September 14 at Caffé Dolce. Works on display included a series depicting women’s emotions. Herschap, who is also an accomplished writer, perceives art as a form of therapy. Pictured at the exhibit are Roberto Canizales, Lila Canizales, Martha Fenstermaker, Ana Flores, Carolyn Conkey, Dolores Jean Hinojosa, Nancy Herschap, Ron Herschap, Heather Herschap, Tom Conkey, and Gerry Aguirre.

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Movie Review

The World’s End and the end of the plastic age By CORDELIA BARRERA LareDOS Contributor

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ike the hugely popular Shaun of the Dead (2004), The World’s End (2013) is hilarious and clever — it’s social satire with spectacular bar fights, action sequences, and heart. But swimming beneath all the boozy banter and action-packed slapstick floats a sense of loss, maybe even despair over lost youth and missed opportunities. The World’s End, directed by Edgar Wright and written by Wright and Simon Pegg, is the final film in the popular and very successful British “Cornetto Trilogy.” Each film in the trilogy corresponds to a Cornetto flavor (Cornetto is a British brand of ice cream). In Shaun of the Dead, a strawberry-flavored Cornetto signifies all that bloody zombie gore. The buddy cop comedy, Hot Fuzz (2007), features a traditional blue Cornetto in homage to the boys in blue of the title. And in the final minutes of The World’s End, a chocolate mint Cornetto — possibly among the world’s last — sails by in a wistful bow to the science fiction genre. In the film, it’s 20 years after Gary King’s best night ever. Gary (Simon Pegg) has hardly changed at all. A tiresome alcoholic and drug addict, Gary (who insists he be called “The King”) resolves to track down his old buddies and complete “The Golden Mile,” an infamous pub-crawl of 12 pubs in their hometown of Newton Haven. The friends — regulars in Wright/Pegg films — include the incomparable Nick Frost as Andy, Martin Freeman as “O-Man,” Paddy Considine as Steven, and Eddie Marsan as Peter. Gary and his pals attempted the crawl as teenagers, but failed to reach the final pub, The World’s

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End. The friends are estranged now, deep into their failed marriages and sad careers. But Gary’s hedonistic obsession pushes them to accompany him in what he insists will be a life-affirming and symbolic journey. Their combined irritation is initially glossed over by a lot of silly and sometimes passive-aggressive banter. But by the film’s end, a deeper story about friendship bubbles over in a hilarious spew of blue robot blood. Ultimately, The World’s End is a film about friendship and personal responsibility, but the ride is wacky and joyous, if not a little melancholy. With names like The Two-Headed Dog, The Famous Cock, The Trusty Servant, The Mermaid, and The World’s End, the circle of pubs in The Golden Mile recalls forgotten eras and lost mythologies. To the five men, now fathers and businessmen, the pubs seem mostly the same, but they’ve also changed: they’ve become “Starbucked.” Sure, the grime is gone, and none of the old barkeeps remembers “The King.” But something’s not right. Something’s different. The faces, the stares, the way people move and sometimes line up like bowling pins. Are people just being weird, or is something uncanny and otherworldly going on? In time, they conclude they’ll

have to complete The Golden Mile if they hope to survive the night. When the friends’ reunion becomes forced drinking and partying, the end result is a wild and clever embrace of some really great sci-fi classics. The World’s End is full of hilarious and outrageous gestures to directors like John Carpenter and films like Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956), and Village of the Damned (1960). As an added bonus, the more drinks these guys have, the more they blearily comprehend the truth behind what’s happening in Newton Haven. There is a hilarious reverse correlation going on here: the drunker these guys get, the smarter they’re forced to become and behave. The World’s End is the kind of genresmashing, weirdly joyous, wildly comedic ensemble we’ve come to expect from Pegg and Wright. At the risk of giving

too much away, the film is a roller coaster of cool chase scenes, hilarious slapstick action sequences, and all manner of silly sight gags and one-liners about robots and what our hedonistic dive into living in the plastic age may ultimately bring us. The sensational cast, the excellent early ‘90s British dance-rock soundtrack, and Wright’s kinetic direction all combine to make The World’s End a cut above other comedies one in likely to find in theatres. As Gary and pals attempt to reconcile the past and present, they realize the real struggle is for the future, not just theirs but ours as well. Reaching The World’s End is the least of their worries, as the very surprising final sequence indicates. And although the film is a bit far-fetched at times, it’s a little like a night of heavy drinking: we shouldn’t be surprised where we finally end up. 

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Review

By MATT ADAMS LareDOS Contributor

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aredo Community College recently hosted a concert featuring NYC bass player Marcos Varela in the Guadalupe and Lilia Martinez Performing Arts Center. Varela, a native of Houston, performed with Laredo musicians Joe Guerra (drums), LCC music student Angel Perez (guitar) and LCC music faculty member Ruben Vargas (saxophone). The group played several standards including Stella by Starlight and All the Things You Are and closed with an original tune by Varela that incorporated South Indian and African influences. One of the more memorable moments of the night was when the group performed very tasteful versions of Santana’s Oye como va and Evil Ways. It is somewhat of a paradox as to how an almost entirely acoustic group can end up sounding so cool and vital without ever actually playing loudly. All too often, when jazz musicians attempt to “rock out” on acoustic instruments, the resulting sound can become taxing on the listeners’ ears. That didn’t happen with Varela and friends. On the contrary, the quartet masterfully maintained the integrity of the original Santana classics while maintaining the character of the chamber jazz idiom. The group improvised over the Santana tunes with a raw and energetic, solid groove, but they never crossed over into the zone of an overbearing jam session. The soloists on these tunes performed with a cool, chic sensitivity with an emphasis on lyrical melodies and a welcoming atmosphere. In other words, it was nice. It is not often that one hears a bass

player who plays with the strength and vitality of Marcos Varela. He was clearly the heartbeat and the lifeblood of the group — as he should be. With Varela’s solid timing bass, Laredo jazz drummer Joe Guerra had more freedom to play out since the timing of the entire group did not rest solely on his shoulders. Consequently, Guerra was by no means playing the role of a backseat timekeeper. He played with a freshness and spontaneity that kept the music very much alive. His frequent interjections of quick-witted rhythmic motifs were balanced with artful washes of timbral painting. Ruben Vargas sounded great as always on the saxophone. One has to wonder if he actually had a hidden wind pump on stage, seeing how he never seemed to run out of breath (or musical ideas for that matter). His solos were at times impressive displays of musical virtuosity, which were often balanced by light-hearted whims of playful melodies. Angel Perez is certainly a new force to be reckoned with on the Laredo Jazz scene. In an acoustic jazz setting, the electric guitar can be a deadly weapon in the wrong hands. Fortunately, Perez, aka “Tito,” used his instrument for the sake of producing good music. He projected graceful melodies with a silky-smooth tone that blended perfectly with the acoustic bass, drums, and saxophone. I never thought once that he needed to turn down his amp or to lay off the distortion. The up and coming LCC student has a good ear. I wasn’t totally satisfied, though. I was left with a lingering question at the end of the concert: “When are they going to do it again?” (Matthew Adams is chair of the LCC Performing Arts Department and a percussion instructor.) 

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Courtesy Photo

Varela, Guerra, Perez, and Vargas: maintaining the chamber jazz idiom

Azios students exhibit at Gallery 201 Artist Isabella López was among the students of art instructor Rosario Azios who displayed her work at an exhibit at Gallery 201. She is pictured with her India ink/watercolor rendition of a butterfly.

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Annual Pennies for Tennies kickoff

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Women’s City Club member Nancy de Anda and Minnie Silva were among those present at the September 12 kick off of the 2013 Pennies for Tennies campaign. The funds raised go toward the purchase of tennis shoes, eye exams, and eyeglasses for underprivileged children in the community.

Laredo Job Corps recycling club Laredo Job Corps students Melanie Corpus, Monica Cegueda, Valerie Corpus, Yaritza Fernandez, Melissa Mendoza, and Laura Martinez were at the Tuesday, September 17 press conference announcing that Job Corps students will help Laredoans better understand the city’s recycling program and the do’s and don’ts of using the curbside blue bins. W W W. L A R E D OSNEWS. COM

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LareDOS September 2013  

Tano Tijerina announces candidacy for Webb County Judge

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