A giant rattlesnake bike risen by six volunteers from Austin Bike Zoo participated in a bicycle ride from Cleveland Square into Downtown Juarez last October. (Lucia Quinonez/Borderzine.com)

Cycling in El Paso/Juarez is still a ‘green idea’

EL PASO — Methods of transportation are constantly evolving, in hopes of improving air quality and congestion. One increasingly popular alternative to driving in many urban centers across the country is cycling, and El Paso is embracing the trend in fits and starts. Recently, the El Paso Metropolitan Planning Office (MPO) approved a budget to help partly fund phase one of a citywide Bike Share program. The city’s tentative commitment to making El Paso a bike-friendly community comes at a time when cycling races or challenges have risen in popularity and cycling meet-ups such as Critical Mass are taking off. Sem Gallegos, 25, service manager of Crazy Cat Cyclery, attests to the growing popularity of cycling in El Paso.

‘Wise Latinas’ gather to search for identity, validation and education

EL PASO — It sounded like a fiesta, but between the laughter and loud chatter the group of some 80 Latina women examined the existential questions of identity and women’s rights. Organized here recently by Wise Latina International the women, who live on the U.S.-Mexico border, were challenged to identify, debate and find solutions to the challenges of maintaining self worth and contributing to their communities in the face of obstacles such as getting a good education and creating a productive life for themselves and their families. Two summits at the El Paso downtown library over two weeks specifically addressed and developed an agenda for a Latina Women’s conference here scheduled for the spring of 2014. The first summit hosted approximately 70 local women from diverse walks of life. The second summit attracted over 80 women.

At my new, sometimes dangerous, passion. (Courtesy of Javier E Delacruz)

Cyclists find the streets of El Paso unfriendly

EL PASO — Multitasking is a part of our daily commute no matter what mode of transportation you choose. We watch out that we don’t hit anyone or that others don’t run us off the road. We look to the left, look right, stop, go, brake suddenly and try to keep up our pace. This is what most cyclists experience daily, on a good day. I became a cyclist about two months ago just for fitness, so I can go ahead and avoid the daunting gym visits.

El Paso Zoo curator Rick LoBello’s mission is to share his love for animals with students

EL PASO – As a child growing up in the northeast part of the country, Rick Louis LoBello fell in love with wild animals when mountain gorillas jumped out at him from the pages of National Geographic. Today as the El Paso Zoo’s education curator, he shares that childhood fascination with new generations. LoBello, 60, grew up two miles from Lake Erie. As a child he spent his days bird watching, searching for salamanders along the creek and reading about nature in Angola, New York. “I could get on my bicycle, go down to the creek and study the animals,” he fondly reminisces his childhood years.

Juliana Jimenez started her relationship with scissors at five. (Lucia Quinonez/Borderzine.com)

A childhood dream of becoming a hairstylist led to a lifelong career in cosmetology

EL  PASO – Juliana Jimenez was shaved bald after giving herself a terrible haircut when she was five years old. At 17 she sprouted gray hair, which prompted her to start applying color. After that, she regularly cut, colored and styled her own hair. The youngest of eight children, she says she was just trying to distinguish herself from her siblings. Her interest in cosmetology grew during the seven years she worked at J.C. Penney in downtown El Paso.