Teacher trades time for big savings with extreme couponing

EL PASO – Every Sunday is like Christmas for Diana Lopez when she sorts through stacks of coupons and thinks about all the things she’ll be able give and receive. “I get very excited when it’s Sunday because it’s time to go shopping and save some money,” she said as she outlined her weekly routine that has saved her thousands of dollars over the years. Her day starts at her local Dollar Tree where she picks up the Sunday newspaper to find the coupons and sales at area stores. Lopez, 27, a special education teacher at Dolphin Terrace Elementary School, has been hooked on coupons since she was 24 years old, when she realized she was paying so much for clothes and food that she wasn’t able to build up much of a savings. “Many people think that using coupons is embarrassing and a waste of time but what if I my total was $112.64 and I ended up paying $19.02 with coupons?”
Using coupons has helped Lopez and her husband save enough to be able to afford a two-story house valued at more than $190,000.

For Hispanics, same-sex marriage another sign of generational culture shift

By Vanessa Hornedo, Hispanic Link News Service
WASHINGTON, D.C., Oct. 8 –The Supreme Court’s recent decision to not hear five states’ appeals that challenge same-sex marriage, coinciding with the majority of states now accepting the rapid social change, leaves the nation’s 54-million Hispanics trying to determine where their cultural heritage fits in. “Hispanics have been lagging a couple of steps behind and this will move our community to be more embracing,” Armando Vázquez-Ramos, professor of Chicano and Latino Studies at California State University, tells Hispanic Link News Service. “We have to go beyond the traditional teachings of the Catholic Church relative to same-sex marriage and gay and lesbian communities in Latino families because it’s not typically accepted.”
According to a 2013 Pew Research Center National Survey, 55 percent of Latinos identify as Catholic – a faith which denounces marriage between two people of the same gender. Bishop Richard Malone, who chairs the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth, and Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone, chairman of the USCCB’s Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage, responded in a joint statement released Oct.

New marijuana laws in U.S. violate international treaties

By  Kara Mason, SHFwire.com

WASHINGTON – Marijuana’s legalization in Colorado and Washington has put the U.S. in violation of multiple international treaties for the past two years. And with Oregon, Alaska and Washington, D.C., possibly following suit, it could be bad news for the U.S. on the international stage, says a new Brookings Institution report. The U.S. government has been a strong supporter of three treaties that outlaw marijuana until 2012, Wells Bennett, a fellow in national security law at the Brookings Institution Governance Studies program, said at a recent forum in Washington, D.C.

But the Obama administration has been relatively quiet about the federal and international laws the two states are breaking. The federal government has taken no action in Colorado or Washington regarding legalization. “It’s a problem because we’re straining the limits of an international drug control regime that most participants, including the United States, have long understood to be quite strict,” Bennett said in a blog post on the Brookings Institution website.

Ebola coverage too important to be a competition, editor tells journalists

After reports of an El Paso hospital closing its emergency room over a possible Ebola case burned like wildfire through social media Friday, Bob Moore, editor of the El Paso Times, posted the following cautionary note on his Facebook account:

“Something important to remember about reports of the closure of the Del Sol ER and any possible connection with Ebola:

Hospitals across the country have been dealing with concerns about possible Ebola cases. They react with an abundance of caution, as is appropriate. But in every case except those tied to the case in Dallas, tests have all turned up negative. We in the media should be informative but not alarmist.”

On Saturday the hospital released a statement saying its emergency room did not close. It explained that a patient’s symptoms and answers during a screening process triggered infectious disease protocols.

Song inspires writer to search for nameless victims in ‘Deportees’ plane crash

EL PASO — Folksinger Woody Guthrie wrote a poem In 1948 about a plane crash that year in which 32 people lost their lives near Los Gatos Creek in the Diablo mountain range of California. The flight was carrying 28 migrant farmworkers who were being deported back to Mexico. Guthrie was disturbed by press accounts at the time that didn’t include the names of the passengers. The poem was eventually set to music and was popularized by Pete Seeger as “Deportees,” which included the haunting line: “to fall like dry leaves to rot on my topsoil, and be called by no name except “deportees.” Sixty-six years later, writer Tim Z. Hernandez has made it his mission to remember those whose lives were lost by finding out their names.

David Smith-Soto – Seeing life on the streets through my Leica

LAS CRUCES, NM — My dad used to say that if Hitler hadn’t started World War II I wouldn’t have been born anywhere, but especially not in Costa Rica. My dad, Leon Smith, was 19, a gangly six-foot tall Jewish kid from Washington, D.C., when the war broke out and he enlisted in the Army to fight Nazis. The Army, in its infinite wisdom, sent him to Costa Rica. Not speaking a word of Spanish was not a handicap for a handsome guy in a U.S. Army uniform and soon enough he met a beautiful señorita, married her and I was born in San Jose a week before Hitler killed himself. Leon became a lawyer working for an international organization in Costa Rica, but he was an avid amateur photographer.

Herbal remedies big sellers in wellness strategies for Hispanics

EL PASO— When it comes to trying to keep bodies healthy in the fit-vs-fat wars, this predominately Hispanic border city leans toward natural solutions. Seventy percent of residents here and across the border in Cuidad Juarez say they use herbal medicines to lose weight and treat a variety of illnesses, according to a 2010 study funded by the Paso del Norte Health Foundation. Infographic: The pros and cons of 5 common herbal remedies

El Paso and Ciudad Juarez are essentially one urban metropolis of some 2 million residents divided by an imaginary political line. Together they make up one of the largest population centers to regularly use medicinal herbs. “It is definitely tied to the cultural factors especially among Hispanics,” said Armando Gonzalez-Stuart, one of the authors of the study.

Are you a thrifty shopper? The earth says thank you

EL PASO – Savvy shoppers who hunt through thrift stores and vintage shops to create one-of-a-kind outfits may not even realize they are helping to improve the planet, too. “My family used to shop in those stores because it was cheaper and because the clothing isn’t at all bad,” said avid shopper Cinthia Prado “To us it was a normal and smart habit because of how much you could save.”

For Prado, 21, the search was about finding great deals on designer fashions. “I like how sometimes you find brands like Mango at a very cheap price,” she said. While consumers like Prado are looking for style and savings in used clothing stores, they don’t usually think about the Earth-friendly benefits of their shopping habits. “It wasn’t on my mind that buying used clothing is something positive in an environmental way.” Prado said.

Street Photography exhibit, rare Beatles print Oct. 23 to help journalism students

Borderzine.com, a digital publication based at UT El Paso that focuses on achieving diversity in news media, announces an exhibit of photographs by  journalism professor David Smith-Soto at the Glass Gallery of the Fox Fine Arts Center on the UTEP campus, October 23 to 31. An opening reception of the exhibit at 5 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 23 will help celebrate the 6th anniversary of Borderzine, an award-winning web news portal and online community for Latino student journalists. Attendees will learn about the online publication’s future plans and programs, and have an opportunity to help send UTEP multimedia journalism students to news internships throughout the United States. A celebration of photojournalism

The 24 prints from Smith-Soto’s 60-years of street photography were taken during his travels as a journalist in Latin American, European and U.S. cities.  They include images from Oaxaca, Ciudad Juarez, Guatemala, Tangier, Paris and Madrid.

Videos capture a taste of autumn on the border

As the scorching heat of the summer gives way to afternoon rains and cooler temperatures in the low 80s, residents along the Texas, Mexico border begin to prepare for rituals of autumn.  Some of the staff of Borderzine for the fall 2014 semester practiced their multimedia skills by capturing signs of the season in our community. 1. Abuela’s Chicken Soup

This is the time of year when stock pots on stoves across the nation simmer with the comforting goodness of chicken soup. Here, reporter Marilyn Aleman presents a typical El Paso version prepared by her mother using big chunks of vegetables and corn still on the cob. The wine for the cook is optional.

New Fox TV show “Bordertown” treats Latinos with respect, cartoonist says


By Ramon Renteria – El Paso Times

Award-winning Chicano cartoonist Lalo Alcaraz describes the new Fox network comedy “Bordertown” as a historic step for Latinos in American television. “This is the first time that Latinos are going to play at least half the characters on a primetime animated show,” Alcaraz said recently before speaking to students at the University of Texas at El Paso. “We finally have an actual mainstream show that treats Latinos with respect.” Alcaraz, a nationally syndicated cartoonist and political satirist, is among five Latino writers on the 13-episode series which is scheduled to air next spring. The writing team also includes Gustavo Arellano, a newspaper editor who writes the nationally syndicated column “¡Ask a Mexican!”

Senate told policy changes needed to reverse economic inequality in U.S.

By Rocky Asusta – SHFWire.com

WASHINGTON – Skewed economic policies are a driving factor for economic inequality in the United States. That’s the opinion of witnesses at a hearing held by the Senate subcommittee on economic policy Sept. 17 chaired by Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore. Areas of significant difference in policy were taxes and deficits, trade and globalization, regulation of business and labor protection. “Every day thousands of lobbyists come onto the hill and seek to influence policy debates, usually in favor of the interests of more affluent citizens.

British parliament welcomes El Paso scholar on global health panel

After walking around in Parliament Square and mingling with the larger-than-life cast iron statues of Winston Churchill and Nelson Mandela, my wife, Anuja and I entered the Palace of Westminster from the Cromwell Green.  We were, finally, inside the closely guarded compound of the United Kingdom’s Houses of Parliament. The date was September 2, 2014 and the Big Ben struck its chimes precisely at 5:30 p.m.

Some 45 minutes later, Lord Collins of Highbury introduced me as “Dr. Arvind Singhal, a leading global academic of communication and social change, based at the Department of Communication, The University of Texas at El Paso”

A wave of UTEP Miner pride ran down my spine. What was I doing inside the highly ornate complex of towers, turrets, and spires that is home to the British House of Commons and the House of Lords? Sitting in the packed CMA room which adjoined the 100 yard long Westminster Hall — where Winston Churchill lay in state for 23 days, and from where Nelson Mandela and President Barack Obama addressed the two Houses of Parliament, I was participating in a parliamentary panel on global public health policy.

Dolores Huerta sees end-game strategy in Obama’s delay on immigration

By Griselda Nevarez

Labor leader and civil rights activist Dolores Huerta is standing by President Barack Obama on his decision to delay executive action on immigration and is asking the immigrant community to have patience. “We have to look at the big picture and don’t get caught up in saying we want it now,” she said, referring to action on immigration. “We’ve been waiting—we are a community that can wait. And we have to have faith in our president, because the Republicans have shown their hand. We know what they want to do.”


Many Latinos have been critical of Obama’s move to delay executive action to reform portions of the nation’s immigration system until after the November elections, but not Huerta.

Bhutanese visitor sees home in unique Texas university architecture

EL PASO –Sweating from a three-hour rehearsal of George Fredric Handel’s opera Acis and Galatea, Bhutanese performer Tshering Goen, dressed in blues, yellows, and deep reds began to prepare for a second round of practice. Goen, a director of the Bhutan Royal Academy of Performing Arts, came here to perform at the University of Texas at El Paso, a campus filled with buildings inspired by Bhutanese architecture. The Kingdom of Bhutan is at the eastern end of the Himalayas in South Asia. “I feel as if I am back in Bhutan,” Goen said with calmness in his voice as he donned an animal mask to continue with the rehearsal of a classic Western opera in Bhutanese dress. Related story and video: Love and Death visit Handel’s Acis and Galatea in a Bhutanese cremation field

The Bhutanese interpretation of the classic Handel opera fit perfectly with the architectural history of this campus, nestled in the foothills of the Franklin Mountains in the Chihuahuan desert.

Message to news media: Embrace diversity if you want to survive and thrive

Editor’s note: This commentary is part of Borderzine’s continuing series about the growing urgency to transform newsrooms into diverse work places. By Hugo Balta

Diversity doesn’t happen easily. It is slow progressive change. The pundit who asks, “why don’t they just hire more _____,” fails to understand the fiscal constraints in which media companies operate under. Newsroom budgets continuously contract in the ever-changing new technology economy.

Love and death visit Handel’s Acis and Galatea in a Bhutanese cremation field

EL PASO –The German composer G.F. Handel took his genius to London in the 18th century and in the 21st century the University of Texas at El Paso transported him to Bhutan. Famous for its century-old campus of Bhutanese architecture, UTEP has always been a beacon of diversity in the Chihuahuan desert, so no eyebrows were raised when the melodies of Handel’s Acis and Galatea were performed before dancers in skull masks. Tshering Goen, a musician from Bhutan and one of the program coordinators, described the opera as incorporating elements that both cultures can relate to. “From the story we can learn the nature in death, the love, and we can see the eccentricity of transformation of one’s life,” he said. Goen also danced in the opera, bringing Bhutanese music and culture into the performance.

Border writer Charles Bowden remembered for his passion for the truth

By Dylan Smith – TusconSentinel.com

Reporter and author Charles Bowden — he eschewed the term “journalist” — is

dead. The longtime Southern Arizonan recently moved to New Mexico and focused

his work on the dangerous turmoil of Ciudad Juarez. Bowden was a dogged investigative reporter and brilliant storyteller with a passion

for the truth. A finalist for a 1984 Pulitzer Prize, he won numerous other awards and

the respect of reporters everywhere with his gritty yet painstaking work. “People felt that so much of his work dwelt in the dark side and was mired in


Study: MSNBC spent most time on Ferguson story, Fox the least

A new study reveals significant differences in prime time coverage by three major news outlets of the protests in Ferguson, Mo.. MSNBC, Fox and CNN differed in the amount of coverage provided after the death of unarmed teenager Michael Brown. According to a study done by the Pew Research Center, out of the three major cable news outlets, MSNBC devoted the most coverage to Ferguson, followed by CNN, and Fox News, which devoted the least amount of coverage. The study analyzed 18 hours of programming from Sunday Aug. 9, to Friday Aug.

First look: The quest for Atari’s secret desert burial ground

El Paso filmmaker Carlos Corral is happy to share the dirt on a Southern New Mexico treasure hunt and a 30-year-old mystery for Atari video game fans. Corral worked as the location sound mixer for Lightbox Entertainment in the spring of 2014 when the production team came to Alamogordo, N.M. to learn what, if anything, legendary video game company Atari buried there. Atari went bankrupt in 1983 after releasing a cassette game called “ET The Extraterrestrial” that some say was the worst video game in history. Many believed that an embarrassed Atari dumped hundreds of copies of the game cassette in an Alamogordo landfill to hide them from the public. In a recent post on his blog, Corral shares photos of his experience on the set, including some of the artifacts that were unearthed.

Changing the complexion of news media calls for revolución

It’s time to shatter the myth that young Latino journalists won’t leave home for jobs in news media. This thought and others flashed in neon across my mind as I sipped white wine recently in a San Antonio ballroom to celebrate 30 years of tilling the soil to transform newsrooms into diverse work places by the National Association of Hispanic Journalists. As the speeches and awards played out on stage, I recalled the offensive words of a top news media recruiter not so many years ago.  The recruiter, in his early fifties, had come from Washington, DC to UT El Paso, where I teach journalism, to meet with our journalism students. We thought he was coming to talk about jobs and internships. Instead he lambasted me and my journalism colleagues for producing journalism graduates who “aren’t aggressive enough, do not speak up and refuse to leave home for jobs elsewhere.”

Old stereotypes linger among recruiters

While we were all too stunned to respond, his insensitive comments didn’t surprise me.

Fifty years later, it’s déjà vu all over again in Madrid


MADRID, Spain — Fifty years ago I walked into the Palace Hotel here looking for a cup of coffee and was promptly escorted out by two burly guards. It was Spain at the height of the fascist Franco dictatorship and, at 19, my buddy Mike and I probably looked like communists or worse, like the hippie kids we were, backpacking through Europe, sleeping in youth hostels for 30-cents a night and bathing once every couple of weeks. I carried two Leica cameras with me, my only possessions other than the shirt on my back, and I documented every step of our wanderings from Luxembourg where Icelandic Airlines dropped us off, across the Mediterranean to North Africa where penniless in Tangier we had to scrounge to get back to Madrid. In Madrid, we avoided the museums and any semblance of establishment culture, after all we were following in Hemingway’s footsteps and we spent our time guzzling raspy red wine at the bullfights, scouring for señoritas and scratching poetry on napkins in the cafes. After shooting the bird at the Palace hotel, we walked back to the center of town to our usual haunts near the Plaza Mayor.

Fracking squeezes more natural gas from the desert, but it may also inject new pollutants

EL PASO — Arnold Escobar leaves his apartment under the hot sun of Odessa, Texas, a desert region abundant in oil nicknamed the Texas Petroplex, drives past oil derricks and pumpjacks, to a remote well site where heavy machinery whirs loudly. He slowly walks along the plant to get to the two-ton blender he operates and starts his work day, a long shift that can last 48 hours. “I feel like my job is an important one,” said Escobar, 24. Escobar is a Senior Equipment Operator for Archer, an oilfield service company that specializes in drilling and well services. One of those services is the process known as hydraulic fracturing, “fracking” for short.

Declining minority representation in American newsrooms dominates discussion at convention of Hispanic journalists

SAN ANTONIO – The celebration of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists’ 30th anniversary was brought to a sobering pause last week when Hispanic Link News Service publisher Charlie Ericksen voiced his dissatisfaction with the progress mainstream media have made in diversifying the staffs of their newsrooms.

Hispanic journalists from all corners of the country made their way here to the NAHJ convention to celebrate its three decades of advocating for more minority participation in news media. Much of the talk at the four-day NAHJ convention was on the diversification of newsrooms throughout the United States and that conversation became a strident argument. During the convention’s final event – the Gala and Awards banquet – the association recognized news organizations that had “increased the visibility and accurate representation of Latinos in cable news,” including CNN, PBS, Buzzfeed and Fox News Latino. Ericksen, 84, a founding member of NAHJ, was given a chance to speak when he was recognized for his lifetime of work in newsroom diversity. He told the gathering that celebrating increased visibility and accurate representation of Latinos in the media by honoring a network such as Fox News was a “kind of a farce.” He also said that despite the organization’s 30 years of work on increasing newsroom diversity the number of Latinos in mainstream newsrooms has actually declined.

Un día en la vida de un niño Tarahumara

Cd. JUAREZ — Con un amanecer no muy diferente a los demás, el contorno de la montaña ya visible gracias a los primero rayos de sol, una briza fresca y el constante abrir y cerrar de puertas de acero anuncian que ha comenzado el día. El día de un niño tarahumara comienza cuando la luna aun es visible y la claridad de la mañana empieza a iluminar cada espacio de la comunidad. Las madres de la comunidad tarahumara son las primeras en despertar. A las 4 a.m. la mayoría ya está en el comedor ayudando a preparar el desayuno de cada día.

Mindless in Gaza

LAS CRUCES, NM — After three weeks in Europe I returned to my patch of high desert and basked in the hundred-degree afternoon knowing there is no place like home and with some new perspectives on the tragic human strife we see in the world. Nothing like visiting Europe to see the tracks of senseless violence in human history glorified in art, and architecture. From the gleaming marble statuary in Florence to the dark halls of old palaces built on blood in Spain, history demonstrates that military might and time eventually conquer just about everything. In Florence’s Medici palace, one football field full of statues and paintings after another speak of immense wealth, war, religion, politics. In Spain’s Prado museum, one painting in particular attracted my attention.

Grassroots Rios Online Radio to promote El Paso music talent

EL PASO — Beer bottles clink in the hands of burly men as ACDC pounds on the speakers. Under the sound of televisions playing football games, a faint chatter can be heard on the second floor of the Pershing Inn bar—“Welcome to Rios Online Radio…”
Since January 2013, Joseph Brooks and Gabriel Acuña, producers for Rios Online Radio, have met every Sunday at the Pershing Inn, 2909 Pershing Dr., to host a podcast aimed at promoting El Paso, its residents and the local music scene. Rios has produced about 40 shows in two seasons, under Chuco Talks, Rio Sports, and Rio Pod Co. “I used to do podcasts with my friends a couple years ago in my garage, using a cell phone in a can hanging in the middle of the room. We just shared it among friends,” Brooks said.

Two young girls dressed up to celebrate the Fourth of July take in the scenic view of El Paso, Texas, and Juarez, Mexico, from Tom Lea Park on Rim Road. Photo credit: Kate Gannon

As migrant crisis hits U.S. border, El Paso keeps it classy

It’s a sweltering summer Sunday night in El Paso, Texas, at the city’s new downtown baseball stadium, where the local Triple-A team, the Chihuahuas, is leading the visiting Tacoma Rainiers at the seventh-inning stretch. As the hammerlock of the day’s 102-degree heat begins to release its grip on this high-desert town, a sellout crowd of 8,607 fans rises to its feet to sing and sway along to “Take Me Out to the Ball Game.’’ Immediately after, trumpet-charged mariachi music blasts over the sound system and the crowd roars with glee as Chico the Chihuahuas’ mascot dances onto the field, wagging his tail and making the team’s signature “Fear the Ears’’ gesture with his paws. Ah, béisbol  – still America’s pastime in a new America. And if there is a city that characterizes our new America, it’s the very old town of El Paso, circa 1659. I spent a week there this summer studying at the University of Texas at El Paso and its Dow Jones Multimedia Training Academy.