A home for aspiring artists: Downtown El Paso

By Sarah Olberman   

Galleries and museums are embracing local artists like never before, giving them more exposure as the El Paso creative community begins to prosper, artists say. “Before I moved to Los Angeles, the only places I would see local art was like at bars,” said Matthew Martinez, better known by his alias JAM! “That was my first experience with seeing really talented artists in a bar setting. Seeing that, I really wanted to give people an opportunity to have something in a traditional, real, contemporary gallery because I feel like there’s a lacking for that,” Martinez said. Martinez opened his gallery and store, Dream Chasers Club, 200 S. Santa Fe St., in 2015 after living in California and on the East Coast.

Streetcar Project: una molestia ahora, pero un gran beneficio en el futuro

By Alexia Nava

Debido al Proyecto Tranvía – Streetcar Project – varios negocios han sido afectados de diferentes formas. Sin embargo, las expectativas con respecto al futuro del proyecto se siguen manteniendo positivas. Uno de los negocios afectados fue “Briar Patch”, un bar localizado sobre N. Stanton St. “La clientela no llega, no tienen lugar para estacionarse, y pues el dinero y las propinas han bajado,” dijo Francisco Ahumada, mesero en el bar. “Cuando está cerrada la calle, pues, la gente piensa que también estamos cerrados nosotros,” explicó Ahumada.

‘Mexican Black Friday’ struggles to compete with U.S. deals in border towns

CD. JUAREZ– People gather in the electronics section of Walmart two weeks before Black Friday with their shopping carts still empty, going in circles among the store’s sales staff, who today wear red T-shirts announcing “the cheapest weekend of the year.”

As they tell shoppers that the price for the 60-inch flat-screen TV in front of them is the lowest they will ever see, someone with a microphone urges shoppers not to wait until Black Friday to do their Christmas shopping: “Forget about the long lines, ‘the good weekend’ is here.”

El Buen Fin, dubbed the Mexican Black Friday, took place from November 13 to November 16 this year. In past years, El Buen Fin has rung up to 197 billion pesos in sales, according to the Confederation of National Chambers of Commerce (Conacaco), This year was expected to bring in between four to eight percent more. While El Buen Fin has been successful in most parts in México since its inception in 2011, it hasn’t had the same success in border cities such as Cd. Juárez where shoppers have access to U.S. Black Friday sales.

Electric rate increase stings for those on fixed income

EL PASO — Ramon Garcia, 55, lives on a fixed disability income and he never really thought much about electricity, until the El Paso Electric Company announced that it will raise his monthly power cost by $8.41. “The thing about the Electric Company, you can’t go anywhere else it not like the cell phones. It’s them or nobody else,” Garcia said. “You can scream and holler all you want but it won’t do you any good, unless the whole city raises hell, which I doubt.“

Dissatisfied and frustrated with the increase the electric company is asking for, Garcia understands there is not much that can be done, given that El Paso Electric is a monopoly. Alex Ochoa, an electrician in his early 40’s, has the same worries.

Los populares mercados de segundas de Juarez se resisten a desaparecer

Cd. JUAREZ — Muchos sitios son icónicos aquí prácticamente por decreto como el Bar Kentucky, la Catedral de Guadalupe, el parque de El Chamizal, pero entre estos hay un ícono algo olvidado– los mercados de segundas de la ciudad. Desde los que van emergiendo con el tiempo y luego desaparecen hasta los que tienen más de cuarenta años, los mercados de segundas son sitios de comercio informal que por diversas causas se resisten a desparecer. Varios de estos mercados populares se encuentran próximos a puntos de cruce y denso tráfico o bien en las inmediaciones de espacios de reunión, como el situado a un costado de la iglesia San Pedro Y San Pablo, o dentro de los mismísimos -y tradicionales- Herrajeros. Los hay de todos tamaños y últimamente han empezado a florecer en las proximidades de zonas habitacionales clasemedieras.

Oil, gas prices showing impact on Texas economy

EL PASO—Gas prices have been on a roller coaster ride since the beginning of the year, but the days of filling up a car with a crisp $20 bill may be a possibility for the summer. Gas prices started to rise again at of the end of January, reaching $2.42 in February and have since slowly decreased as the maintenance of refineries in the U.S. have finished and have gone online worldwide. “Other cities are more geographically compact because they don’t have mountain ranges or military bases preventing them from getting to their destination. We tend to use a lot more gasoline per capita in El Paso,” said Tom Fullerton, professor of economics and finance at the University of Texas at El Paso. “So when gasoline prices go down, it helps us a lot.

PiktoChart graphic by Maria Esquinca showing countries in the TPP

New U.S. international trade deal raises concerns about shadowy negotiations

EL PASO — Clouded in secrecy, the United States is negotiating a trade agreement with 11 other countries throughout the Asia-Pacific region, including Mexico, known as the Trans Pacific Partnership (TTP). TPP has been compared to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), a trade agreement between Mexico, the U.S, and Canada that was signed by President Bill Clinton in 1993 and came into effect in 1994. Critics of TPP have referred to it as NAFTA on steroids. The other countries involved in the agreement are Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, Vietnam, Brunei Darussalam, Chile, Malaysia and Japan. Negotiations for the treaty have been conducted behind closed doors with no public or congressional input.

5 underreported stories of 2014

By Wesley Juhl – SHFWIRE.com
WASHINGTON – While important stories about the Ebola crisis, Islamic state group and nationwide protests dominated headlines this year, the news media neglected other important stories. Several prominent journalists met at the Woodrow Wilson Center in December to discuss the most underreported stories of 2014. No one at the event would admit to missing an event outright – one journalist said that would be tantamount to admitting to malpractice – but they shared news they said should have gotten more widespread attention. 1. Loose nukes in Pakistan
Pakistan has at least six nuclear sites and could have as many as 200 nuclear devices by 2020.

El Paso’s unique style shines in holiday gifts and supporting local businesses

EL PASO/SUNLAND PARK — From fresh local produce and artisan foods to hand-woven baskets and natural soaps, Ardovino’s Desert Crossing in Sunland Park, New Mexico is one popular local spot to get a taste of El Paso and New Mexico specialties. Julia Cipriano, owner of Of The Earth Beads & Jewelry, greets potential customers with a genuine smile at her booth. She tells shoppers that she can adjust any piece of handmade jewelry to their liking. She calls it negotiation. “Once I make something, even if I make a duplicate, it’s not an exact duplicate,” said Cipriano, who has been beading bracelets, earrings and necklaces since childhood.