El Paso: Drinking our way to obesity

EL PASO — With more than 20 liquor stores, over 100 convenience stores and the many supermarkets and restaurants that sell alcoholic beverages, it is little wonder that El Pasoans are facing an obesity epidemic. Manuel Colorado, a local exercise specialist and nutritionist, works with overweight clients. “It is easy for people in El Paso to gain weight because of their alcohol consumption,” says Colorado. “With nothing else to do in our city; alcohol seems to fill the void of boredom and too much time on the hands.”

While Colorado’s clients are reducing their prospect of obesity by limiting their alcohol intake and exercising, some El Pasoans are doing nothing to better their chances of dodging obesity. “We see obese people walking around El Paso everyday and not doing anything about it,” says Colorado.

Woman boxer pounds away the obstacles in a male-dominated sport

EL PASO — Her swollen eyes gaze at her bloody opponent sitting in the opposite corner of the ring as her coach shouts out demands for the last round of the bout. Heavy hands hang on the ropes as she inhales and exhales trying to catch her breath while the mostly male crowd howls. Just as the bell sounds, she forces her body to her feet and moves guardedly to the center of the ring. She taps gloves with her opponent and the round begins. Jasmine Rodriguez, 20, a junior at the University of Texas at El Paso, entered the ring at the Sports and Health Expo held here in April to fight in one of the day’s only two women’s boxing matches.

Lowriders unite to honk for César Chávez

EL PASO – The aroma of freshly waxed lowriders saturated the Riverside High School parking lot as car clubs harkening back to their Chicano roots came together to honk and holler and rock and bounce. Hundreds of people enjoyed the nacho stands and the Mexican bands as they marveled at the customized cars remodeled into a homage to Chicano history, part of a series of celebrations in March honoring the memory of César Chávez. Radio El Paso Community College broadcast the festivities. The César Chávez Celebration Car Show hosted by the Riverside Youth Activists and the Cultural Artists United for Social Change showcased vehicles of all different types brought to the meet by different car clubs from El Paso. Wikked Customs Car Club started eight months ago by siblings, Adrienne Novotny, 25, and J.R. Maldonado, 19, proudly showcased three of the cars — a 1994 Camaro, a 1989 Firebird and a Marvin the Martian Themed 2004 Mazda RX8, all from Wikked Customs.

“Us being here today is about showing support to the public, being together and having fun,” said Novotny, co-president of Wikked Customs.

Not only was the car show held in honor of Cesar Chavez, it was also meant to raise money for Riverside High School.

Pickets and hunger strikers demand a kidnapped family’s safe return

EL PASO — The Spanish words on white poster-board picket signs carried by Nancy Gonzalez cry out for “Justice and peace for Cd. Juarez.”

To the left of Gonzalez, on a busy downtown sidewalk Selfa Chew holds up a poster with a blood-red handprint overlapping a peaceful white dove. Person after person walk by, some hesitant and others curious as they scan through the words of rage on the posters. Then they continue on with their day. Every Friday from 2p.m. to 3 p.m., a group of individuals gathers in front of the Mexican Consulate building in downtown El Paso to remind the community of the assassinations and kidnappings of innocent people taking place right across the bridge in Cd.

Journalism students say they prefer the glitter to the hard news

EL PASO – As journalism students graduate from colleges into a tough job market every year, more and more of them are straying from hard news and are instead pursuing careers covering sports and entertainment. According to Dr. Thomas Ruggiero an associate professor of journalism at the University of Texas at El Paso campus, “…reporting on breaking hard news has become lost.”

A scenario for the new bred of entertainment reporters could look like this: Microphones in hand and cameras on record, numerous reporters anxiously wait behind velvet ropes for the first celebrity to step on to the red carpet. The first interview of the night dressed in a long, tight-fitting gown and sparkling stilettos, poses for the flashing cameras, then makes her way toward the screaming requests as they point their microphones in her direction. They yell over each other’s voices to get the first interview after the star’s stint in rehab. One reporter with a single letter logo on his microphone lands the interview and immediately riddles the troubled movie star with question after question.