Retired Marine turned survival instructor teaches El Pasoans to depend on themselves

How long would you last if you didn’t have easy access to food, water and electricity? Retired Marine Alfred Legler knows many city dwellers aren’t prepared for when a disaster may strike. That’s why he began teaching classes to help El Pasoans learn basic survival skills. “A lot of people have never been out of the city. They don’t know how to hunt, they don’t know how to fish, they can’t look down on the ground and identify what kind of plant is edible, what kind of plant might have some medicinal use.

Social media reflects community response as news of attack at El Paso Walmart unfolds

The El Paso Police Department received first call about an active shooter at the Walmart near Cielo Vista Mall at 10:39 a.m. Within six minutes, first responders from around the city arrived on scene. Later, the police would determine there were no shots fired at the mall and the attack was only at the Walmart. Soon after learning of the shooting, former congressman Beto O’Rourke announced he was suspending his campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination to return to his hometown of El Paso. The El Paso Fire Department shares a tweet confirming that the family reunification center for families looking for their loved ones is at MacArthur Middle School near Cielo Vista Mall.  

At 2:10 p.m. Saturday, President Donald Trump tweeted about the shooting.

Light pollution improved in El Paso, but more can be still be done

Dark Sky advocates say that El Paso’s 14-year-old light pollution ordinance has made a difference for stargazing in the Sun City. “I’m happy to say that the light pollution in El Paso is practically gone,” said Marcia Turner, a community activist who helped push for the 2005 city ordinance that required changes in municipal and business lighting practices to help keep the stars visible in the night sky. Before the Dark Sky ordinance, Turner said stores would often compete for business by using bright lights which not only added a heavy amount of light pollution but made it difficult for people’s eyes to adjust. “Notice the stars that you can see now, that you couldn’t before,” Turner said. In 2003, scientists at the McDonald Observatory in Fort Davis, Texas, reported that they could see El Paso’s light pollution even though they were 200 miles away.

1st UTEP student chosen for UT system board of regents to champion access and affordability

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has appointed UTEP doctoral student Daniel R. Dominguez to a one-year term as Student Regent on The University of Texas System Board of Regents. He is the first UTEP student appointed to this position. Dominguez, who expects to earn his Ed.D. in educational leadership and administration in 2023, is The University of Texas at El Paso’s director of accounting and financial reporting. His term as Student Regent began June 1, 2019, and expires May 31, 2020. He said he is excited to serve as the voice of the more than 235,000 students who attend the System’s 14 institutions.

1st Democratic presidential debate turns into Texas skirmish as San Antonio’s Julian Castro goes after El Paso’s Beto O’Rourke

By Abby Livingston and Patrick Svitek, The Texas Tribune

MIAMI — Home-state tensions flared between Democratic presidential candidates and native Texans Beto O’Rourke and Julián Castro at their party’s first presidential debate Wednesday night, with Castro saying O’Rourke has not done his “homework” on the issue of immigration. At issue were the inhumane conditions at detention centers for migrants — including Texas — and a photo published Tuesday of the bodies of Salvadoran father Óscar Alberto Martínez Ramírez and his daughter Valeria, both of whom died while trying to cross the Rio Grande to seek asylum in America. “Watching those images of Óscar and Valeria is heartbreaking, and should also piss us all off … and it should spur us to action,” Castro said, fielding the first question on immigration. Several other candidates addressed the matter, including U.S. Sen. Cory Booker, pledging to end Trump’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement policies.

In San Elizario, Texas, residential growth competes with cotton farming for land

Many Borderlanders may not realize that El Paso County’s Lower Valley is one of the nation’s largest cotton producers. But the valley’s historical farming communities like San Elizario, Texas, face a struggle to continue working the land. “Cotton farming in San Elizario can be traced back to the early 19th century in the El Paso Lower Valley,” says Orlando Flores, of Texas A&M Agrilife Extension Services. “Originally the county produced grapes, the Mission Grapes, but died off due to a fungus. After that, cotton was introduced into the valley.”

New report explores New Mexico education system’s downward trend under Martinez administration

By Sylvia Ulloa, New Mexico In Depth, New Mexico In Depth
The easiest number to understand in the just-released 2019 Annie E. Casey Kid’s Count report is that New Mexico ranks 50th overall in child well-being. That’s a stark ranking, the second year in a row New Mexico earned that distinction. For detractors and supporters of former governor Susana Martinez, there’s a lot to digest in the numbers released Monday because they track with nearly her entire tenure. The chart below shows the Kids Count rankings in several categories for 2012-2019, but most of the data comes from 2010-17 (Rankings go back to 1990, but a different methodology was used in those years, making direct comparison difficult). “It very much is a reflection of what happened, and more specifically, what didn’t happen during the Martinez years,” said James Jimenez, executive director of New Mexico Voices for Children, which monitors the indicators for New Mexico.