Jesse Ventura, politician, actor, author, veteran, broadcaster, body guard and former professional wrestler who went on to serve as the 38th Governor of Minnesota from 1999 to 2003. (Courtesy of Jesse Ventura)

Jesse Ventura – A one of a kind All-American

There are certain individuals who have made an impact on the American psyche whether they intend to do it or not. In the last few years, one of those who has made such an impact in both the worlds of entertainment as well as the world of politics is a man by the name of James George Janos. The reader may know Mr. Janos by his stage name, Jesse Ventura, politician, actor, author, veteran, broadcaster, body guard and former professional wrestler who went on to serve as the 38th Governor of Minnesota from 1999 to 2003. Ventura was born James George Janos, on July 15, 1951, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, the son of Bernice Martha (née Lenz) and George William Janos, both of whom were World War II veterans. Ventura’s older brother served in the Vietnam War.

Hotel San Carlos, Phoenix, AZ.

The ghostly guests of Phoenix’s Hotel San Carlos

PHOENIX – It was Benjamin Franklin who once said that guests, like fish, begin to smell after three days. Well, what would you think of a guest who has been a non-paying guest at a hotel for over 80 years and shows no signs of leaving or three children who run and play in the halls at all hours of the day and night? The Hotel San Carlos has been a major attraction in Phoenix, AZ since it opened on March 19, 1928. Though it has never been considered a five star hotel, at the time it opened it was considered one of the best places to stay in the area and kept that high class reputation for many years. Consider if you will, the list of famous guests who stayed at the San Carlos routinely when in the Phoenix area.

Chinese immigration in El Paso started with the construction of the railroad. (Ivan Pierre Aguirre/

The remnants of tunnels under El Paso’s streets tell the origins of human smuggling

EL PASO – Some say stories of a maze of hidden tunnels beneath the city of El Paso are just myth while others swear that the underground pathways are real. Their existence has been the stuff of legend for over 150 years. The hidden tunnels are said to run beneath the streets of El Paso and down into Mexico, some of them dug by smugglers, and others dating from before to the American Civil War. Some of these tunnels may just go from one house to another, but others are said to run for miles. In a series of interviews conducted for the writing of Spirits of the Border: The History and Mystery of El Paso Del Norte, the late Tobias “Toby” Tovar, a math teacher at El Paso High School, discussed the section of these tunnels lying beneath El Paso High School.

President Obama talks to the soldiers at Fort Bliss after two years. (Ken Hudnall/

Obama visits Fort Bliss to praise the sacrifice and dedication of U.S. troops after a decade of war

EL PASO – President Barack Obama returned to Fort Bliss two years after his first visit at the end of the Iraq war to tell the troops that after a decade of war America has not forgotten its wounded warriors. He promised the troops on August 31 more counselors, more clinicians, more care and more treatment. “Today we’re taking another step. I’ve signed a new executive order to give our troops, our veterans, and our families better access to mental health care,” Obama said. The president said that he was here for a simple reason, but it was clear that his reasons went far beyond that.

Ghostly cowboy and his horse at Ccncordia cemetery. (Photo courtesy of Hamilton Underwood)

The meaning and effect of childhood imaginary friends have different interpretations

EL PASO – Almost every child has, at one time in his or her life, made the acquaintance of an imaginary friend, an entity that can help develop the child’s imagination and can also be a solace during times of great stress or loneliness. An imaginary friend, the opposite of an imaginary enemy, is, in most cases, a made-up person, animal or character created in the minds of some people, especially young children, and is sometimes seen in those with autism according to Marilyn Elias in an article entitled ‘Pretend friends, real benefits” published in USA Today. Despite an imaginary friend being unreal, the child will act as if the imaginary being is physically present by talking to it, playing with it, or even attempting to feed it. Of course, to another person it will seem as though the child is talking into thin air. If told that there is nothing there, the child will often retaliate in a defensive manner by stating that the so-called imaginary friend is invisible.

The Plaza Theatre reopened as the Plaza Theatre Performing Arts Center on March 17, 2006. (Oscar Garza/

The Classic Film Festival to welcome Al Pacino at El Paso’s historic Plaza Theatre

EL PASO – Nostalgia is a wonderful thing when you are well along in life. The memories of youth many times built around classic films are resurrected during the very rare film festivals held from time to time. Well, more than 80 classic films will be shown in El Paso in August. The Plaza Classic Film Festival will be held August 2 – 12 at the historic Plaza Theater. The festival was created in 2008 to celebrate this country’s rich cinema history and rekindle the joy of going to the movies.

An installation at the UFO Museum and Study Center, Roswell, NM. (Ken Hudnall/

Earthlings gather at historic Roswell for the 65th anniversary of the UFO legend

ROSWELL, NM – The 65th anniversary of the alleged crash of an unidentified flying object here attracted visitors from as far away as Australia and introduced a large number of people to the various aspects of the UFO mystery through displays, books and lectures. As has been the custom for many years, around the fourth of July, a dual celebration of this event was held in Roswell, one sponsored by the town and the other by the UFO Museum and Study Center. The Galaxy Fest, the event sponsored by the UFO Museum and Study Center, held its opening ceremonies in the UFO Museum at 9:00 AM, Friday, June 29th. Each year the Museum invites stars from the world of science fiction as well as the leading researchers and authors in the field of UFO phenomenon. Attending this event was Denise Crosby, the actress that played Tasha Yar on the first season of the television program Star Trek: The Next Generation.

Currently, there is a call in the El Paso Times for the EPISD board to resign, but the president of the board, Isela Castañon-Williams, is standing her ground. (Raymundo Aguirre/

Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely, but memory is short in El Paso

EL PASO – What is it about powerful people that makes them feel above the law? Dr. Lorenzo Garcia, Superintendent of the El Paso Independent School District (EPISD) recently pled guilty to two counts of conspiracy to commit mail fraud. One of the charges involves cheating on student test scores and the other deals with a $450,000 contract given to one of his lovers. Unfortunately, unrestricted power is a heady intoxication that once achieved is always craved. People jump when you snap your fingers, kowtow to you in all the little ways that make you feel above the crowd, better than anyone else.

The IAV Stryker, the currnt vehicle used for mechanized operations. (Ken Hudnall/

Back in the saddle again – Old soldiers never die, they come back as journalists

EL PASO – It was Marlon Brando in Apocalypse Now who said “I love the smell of napalm in the morning.” For me it is the sound of powerful diesel engines idling, hinting just a promise of the power at your command and diesel fumes filing the air that takes me back to an earlier time when it was my company waiting to move out to the field. I had been a career Infantry Officer until my injury. I took the uniform off long ago, but the feel and the thrill of moving a company of men and vehicles to engage an enemy is a feeling that is never forgotten. So when this assignment came along, I did not have to think long before agreeing to work as an embedded reporter in a military exercise at Fort Bliss, Texas.

The landmark building went up in flames shortly after 6:30 p.m. Thursday, April 19. (Ken Hudnall/

Fire snatches another chapter of western history from El Paso

EL PASO – As these words were written the once white gleaming walls of the building where legendary western fast gun and attorney John Wesley Hardin had his apartment and office were collapsing. The second and third floors of one of the most historic buildings in El Paso are a burned-out ruin. In minutes, a large chunk of El Paso history became ashes

The well-known building, located at the intersection of San Antonio Ave. and S. El Paso St. and directly across the street from the Camino Real Hotel, went up in flames shortly after 6:30 p.m. Thursday, April 19.

As of April 19, three Secret Service employees involved in the scandal were forced out of the agency. (©United States Secret Service)

Heroes falter and fall before the ladies of the night in Colombia

EL PASO – Prostitution is routinely accepted as part of the culture in the third world countries of the southern hemisphere and success in that field can be a source of pride. In the United States, however, prostitution is still shunned and often associated with scandal, which is why a successful high priced Colombian prostitute has landed on the front pages of major American newspapers. In this bizarre situation, the local customs of Colombia, vis-à-vis, sex and prostitution have become intertwined with the customs and practices of the United States Secret Service. So now the extra curricular sexual practices of various senior Secret Service agents are the subject of hearings in the U.S. Congress. The twists and turns of this tale make an interesting story.

An illustration of the incident can be found at the Roswell UFO Museum. (Courtesy of Roswell UFO Museum)

After 65 years, events at Roswell, NM, still evoke thoughts of extraterrestrials

EL PASO – Rapidly moving and unusually powerful storms do hit the southwest of United States from time to time and one of them struck near Roswell, NM, in the late hours of July 4, 1947. An aerial craft of unknown design was attempting to cross a rather desolate area some 75 miles northwest of Roswell when it was hit by a powerful bolt of lightning, according to witnesses, and crashed. So began a series of events that have had repercussions to this day. Interview with Julie Schuster, Director of the Roswell UFO Museum

It should be noted that neither the craft nor the crash went unnoticed. Rancher Mac Brazel heard a loud noise different from the normal sounds of thunder.

Kaplan survived four years in the Nazi concentration camps and was the only one from his family. (David Smith-Soto/

David Kaplan – A child in the Nazi concentration camps survives and forgives

EL PASO – Loud demanding voices in the darkness of the early morning disrupting too few hours of sleep and waking to find that the man next to him is now a corpse mark the start of another stressful day in the Nazi concentration camp. Hunger pangs continually tear at his stomach as he labors in the ever-present bone-chilling cold that cuts through the filthy rags he wears. These are some of David Kaplan’s childhood memories. “Families were torn apart, you never knew when it would be your turn to die,” said David Kaplan, 82. He told journalism students at the University of Texas at El Paso that he felt lucky to have survived the hell he fell into when he was only 11 years old.

Front of the El Paso High School building. (Ken Hudnall/

Lingering memories of ghostly images and echoing pep rallies haunt El Paso High

EL PASO – It’s dark and late, usually around 2 a.m. when the faint notes of the Tiger fight song begin to sound, then, more clearly, cheerleaders cheering and students laughing, and stamping feet cascading into a pep rally – in a locked empty auditorium. You are hearing ghosts. “You might also think New Orleans is the most haunted city in the U.S but it is actually El Paso,” said Tobias H. “Toby” Tovar, 55, a math instructor at El Paso High School, “and El Paso High School is the most haunted building in town.”

El Paso High located at 800 E. Schuster, opened for classes in 1916 and since then “Lady on the Hill” has graduated many prominent citizens, and has captured hundreds of trophies, plaques, and championships in all fields. “Since the days of its construction, paranormal events have taken place at the school,” said Tovar. There have been numerous interior modifications designed to accommodate a growing student body and changing educational theories.

Engraved on the cross found in the Arizona desert c.1922 is the tale that after landing on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico, the Romans marched northwest until they arrived at a desert area near present day Tucson. (Photo from the Desert Magazine, December 1980.)

Did Europeans settle in the Arizona desert thousands of years before Columbus sailed to America?

EL PASO – In our modern world we tend to think of stories of pygmies and giants, dragons and the wee people, hidden treasures and mysterious lost cities as fairy tales and bedtime stories, but these yarns have roots deep in the distant history of the American Southwest. Almost 500 years before the arrival of Christopher Columbus, Leif Ericson explored the land west of Greenland and established a small settlement. More than 300 years before Columbus landed in Santo Domingo in 1492, a Welsh explorer navigated up Alabama’s Mobile Bay and established European styled fortifications and settlements as far north as the Ohio Valley. But perhaps even they weren’t the first to come to the new world. Roman Christians may have established a colony on the outskirts of what is now Tucson, Arizona as far back as 775 A.D. Unfortunately, mainstream archeology and academia have dismissed these discoveries as either hoaxes or simply as unworthy of discussion.