Video: Faith-based shelter gives migrants ‘hospitality, some semblance of humanity’

Volunteers at Casa Vides, a shelter for migrants in El Paso, explain how the non-profit provides comfort for people trying to navigate the U.S. immigration system. Casa Vides is one shelter in a sanctuary network for refugees and homeless poor managed by the faith-based Annunciation House. This video story was produced as part of a collaborative reporting project with Borderzine staff and Youth Radio.

No retirement in sight for fruit vendors working to help sick granddaughter

Cuitlahuac and Maria Hernandez can be found at the Canutillo flea market on weekends selling fresh fruit treats to help support their family. The money they make goes to help Maria’s 97-year-old mother and their 9-year-old granddaughter, who needs surgery. “We’ll keep going for as long as she’s still sick. When she’s no longer sick that’s when we’ll think about stopping our business,” Cuitlahuac Hernandez says. “While she’s still like this, we pray to God we don’t get sick so we can continue to help her.”

In this video they share their story.

It is rose time in El Paso

Spring is the time to visit El Paso’s Municipal Rose Garden at 1702 N. Copia Street. Borderzine reporter Ariadne Venegas took this tour of the venue in 2016.

Borderland Facebook foodies having fun rating restaurants with Juarez celebrity scale

Garnachas y restaurantes Juárez y El Paso is a Facebook group that has been gaining popularity among border residents. It began as a hobby two years ago and now is an online community with more than 50,000 members. The driving motivation for the group is to stimulate Juarez business and entertainment activity following a half decade of a declining economy and business closings sparked by high crime and violence. Group members rate Juarez restaurants and cafes on a scale of one to 10, using colloquial Juarez personalities such as superstar “divo” Juan Gabriel and the well-known clown Niko Lico, and others. For example, ten “Juangas” means the establishment is super good and one Niko Lico, means it is awful.

El Paso’s forgotten historical sites gather dust on the border

Weeds grow high around the empty buildings on the land where many say El Paso got its start. The spot where Don Juan de Oñate is believed to have led a Spanish expedition in 1598 after discovering the Pass to the North is marked by little more than an abandoned fountain. Generations later in 1850, El  Paso pioneer Simeon Hart established Hart’s Mill in the same area of Paisano Drive on the edge of the Rio Grande. Now there is just La Hacienda, a restaurant that closed down decades ago. The officers quarters from Old Fort Bliss, built between 1873 and 1893 still stand nearby – also empty and forgotten.

Video: Poppies Fest returns with spring in Franklin Mountains

EL PASO, Texas — The foothills are alive with the spread of golden poppies along Castner Range. Recent rains makes this a good year to see a lot of blooms on the northeast side of the Franklin Mountains, said Deborah Cuilty, executive director of Poppies Fest 2015 at the El Paso Museum of Archaeology. UT El Paso Multimedia Journalism student Robert Smith filed this video report on the April 4 event.  

Fast and furious go-kart trend rolls into El Paso

EL PASO –The go-carts at Zero to 60 Indoor Motor Speedway aren’t your dad’s go-karts. “That was a rush,” says Pearl Martinez. “This was our first time here, my son and I did one race, and it was such a rush we had to do it again. The go-karts are super fast, and you actually drift a bit! I’m hooked now.”

Sporting the newest in cart technology, the totally electric carts at Zero to 60 Motor Speedway can reach speeds up to 50 miles per hour.

El zapateo folclórico ayuda a la comunidad Hispana preservar su cultura

EL PASO — Es miércoles por la noche y mientras la mayoría de los jóvenes en la frontera se relajan jugando Xbox o terminando sus deberes escolares, los bailarines de la academia de baile, Ballet Folclórico of El Paso, pasan tres horas practicando pasos de baile, practicando su español y estudiando la cultura mexicana y sus tradiciones. Con una gran sonrisa y vestido de charro, Esteban Esquivel, de 18 años zapatea enérgicamente las tablas del piso de madera y hace retumbar las paredes del salon donde practica el baile folclórico con otros 10 alumnos. “Yo siento el amor por la cultura de México”, dijo Esquivel, un estudiante de último año en Cathedral High School que nació en El Paso. “La representación de mi cultura mexicana para mi es algo muy grande, yo viviendo en los Estados Unidos no tengo que olvidarme de la cultura mexicana y de donde vinieron mis papas. Yo también tengo que vivir y sentir la tradición de México a pesar de ser estadounidense”.

Farewell to Chicano activist Reies Lopez Tijerina

Friends, family and community members pay their last respects to Chicano civil-rights leader Reies López Tijerina, who died Jan. 19, 2015 in El Paso at the age of 88. Related story: Reies López Tijerina celebrated as a dedicated leader for Chicano rights

Kerry Washington as Olivia Pope in Scandal. Photo courtesy ABC.

‘Scandal’ fashion hits the racks in El Paso

By Estefania Y. Seyffert

EL PASO – Fans of the hit ABC TV series “Scandal” have been delighted to find the fashion of their favorite character available in a local store. Scandal joined forces with The Limited Store’s head designer Elliot Staples, costume designer Lyn Paolo, and actress Kerri Washington, to create an affordable collection reflecting the style of Washington’s character, Olivia Pope. “People want to dress like Olivia Pope, they want to be Olivia Pope,” said Sarah Perez, sales lead manager at The Limited at Sunland Park Mall

Although most of the collection is made to resemble the type of clothing Olivia Pope would wear, some highlighted pieces such as a crème wool coat and a charcoal jacket are as seen on the show. Some pieces have tags that inform shoppers which articles of clothing have already been seen in the series

Fashion Merchandising student Claudia Garza at Texas State University in San Marcos explains how the extensive detail and neutral color palette gives the career clothes a more feminine feel. “Sometimes people think career clothes or professional attire would age somebody, however this collection brings about some modern twists,” Garza said.  

Fire, dance, fun fuel Odd Lab entertainment project

Odd Lab, a flow arts entertainment troupe, found a new level of expression while preparing for its performance at El Paso’s Chalk the Block festival in October. “This pushes us to a theatrical production standard that we’ve never had the incentive to really accomplish,” said Georgina Armendariz-Ramirez, director and coordinator of the group. Find out more about Odd Lab at their website here. Members of Odd Lab, who practice on Rim Road overlooking the city, spent up to 12 hours a day perfecting their skills and planning for the 7th annual Chalk the Block, which drew more than 30,000 people to Downtown El Paso October 10-12. The group unveiled a 20 minute Shadow Box Theatre show as well as a 40 minute fire show that were developed especially for the festival.

The Mextasy of William Nericcio dashes stereotypes and builds ‘mexicanidad’

EL PASO— The Mexican experience in America, presented with verve as a celebration of the culture and and as a bulwark against negative stereotypes in popular art and media was dubbed Mextasy by Dr. William Anthony Nericcio. “This anti-Mexican fervor needs to be met with a kind of invocation of mexicanidad that needs to be equally strong,” Nericcio says. “You got to attack it with the same power with the same fervor, with the same dynamic focus.”

Nericcio captivated a room of faculty members and students when he came to the University of Texas at El Paso recently to discuss and present his travelling art show,

TheMextasypop-up exposition contains objects that Nericcio has collected over the years, Ranging from dolls to posters that harken back to the 1950’s representing and satirizing the Mexican experience in the United States, representing an analysis of Hollywood’s contribution to perceptions of Mexican ethnic identities. Nericcio gets serious when addressing how consumers should fight the negative commentary on Mexicans that some commentators in media like Rush Limbaugh and Anne Coulter advocate. Ectasy healing

For Nericcio, Mextasy can be seen as a form of defense and cure against those Mexican stereotypes and tropes.

A dachshund races across the field at the St. Luke's Great Dachshund Stampede 2014, Oct. 4.

Hot dog! It’s the Great Dachshund Stampede

LA UNION, NM — Call them wiener dogs, hot dogs or dachshunds. The folks who turned out for the Great Dachshund Stampede 2014 at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church just call them a lot of fun. According to the Rev. Daniel Cave, more than 100 dachshunds from three states came out for the highlight of the church’s annual country fair on Oct. 4, 2014.

Birth of her son moves her to overcome learning delays from childhood meningitis

CIUDAD JUAREZ — Rocio Jiménez, 31, lives in colonia La Cuesta, one of the poorest sections of this city, in a small two-bedroom house with her husband and six-year-old son. Although she seems to have a normal life, Jiménez has suffered since childhood from disabilities caused by meningitis. The illness left her unable to learn to communicate clearly, but determined to improve her life, she finally learned to read and write when she turned 30. Jiménez never asked for help, but she was determined to overcome adversity, said her mother, Irma Rodriguez, who describes Jiménez as courageous and stubborn.  

Meningitis is an inflammation of the tissues that surround the brain or spinal cord.

Joven terapeuta apoya a víctimas de crímenes violentos en Ciudad Juárez

CIUDAD JUÁREZ – Día tras día Omar Morales es testigo del trauma que ha vivido esta ciudad y que aunque según estadísticas la violencia ha disminuido un 84 por ciento desde el año 2010, sigue causando estragos en la población más vulnerable, las víctimas de crímenes violentos. Morales, de 24 años, es un joven estudiante de psicología originario de Ciudad Juárez que trabaja como terapeuta en el área de atención a víctimas para la Fiscalía del Estado de Chihuahua. Su oficina está localizada sobre el Eje Vial Juan Gabriel y la calle Aserraderos, en una de las zonas más transitadas de la ciudad. “Tuve una gran oportunidad de tener este trabajo,” menciona Morales, quien lleva poco más de un año con el equipo de aproximadamente 75 personas que atienden a víctimas de violencia.Como psicólogo de atención a víctimas, Morales trabaja con personas que tienen que vivir con las secuelas físicas y emocionales que son causadas por el crimen organizado en la ciudad. Uno de los casos que más recuerda es el de un niño de solamente cinco años que perdió a su padre.

Volunteering finds its way from the classroom into the community

EL PASO — The concept of volunteer work is evolving rapidly within higher education as a relatively new idea called service learning, which transforms book learning into hands-on work in the community. According to Campus Compact, a national coalition of public and community service organizations, 44 per cent of college students participated in some form of volunteer work during the 2011-2012 academic year, an estimated $9.7 billion worth of service to their communities. Hector Garza, a junior studying political science at the University of Texas Pan American in Edinburg, Texas, describes service learning as early career training for a college student. He explained that “service learning actually gives you the opportunity take it to the community and actually see what you are learning and how it comes to life.”

Service learning takes place worldwide impacting millions of students and communities. This past April, 1, 400 high school students, college professors, teachers, and non profit representatives from the U.S. and other countries gathered at the 26th Annual Service Learning Conference in Washington, D.C.

The Monumental Conference, as it was named, offered many 90-minute workshops to sharpen and educate attendees about service learning with tools, resources, and ideas to better serve their communities.

El Paso del Norte Youth Leadership Forum

EL PASO — Place yourself in the shoes of a graduating high school senior, approaching the real world unaware of what to expect. Now place yourself in the shoes of a graduating high school senior with a disability. As appealing the idea of college may seem, most graduating students with disabilities lack the confidence and resources they need to get there. The El Paso del Norte Youth Leadership Forum (YLF) is a local community event that happens once a year in October. The forum has been around for 12 years strong and is going on its 13th year.

El Paso reacts with skepticism to Chapo Guzman’s capture

EL PASO — On February 14, 2014, the leader of the Sinaloa Cartel Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman was captured in a small, rather dull condominium. Guzman ran a drug business worth approximately $3 billion, and he has been on the run from Mexican officials since his first escape from prison in 2001. According to Mexican officials, he escaped jail the first time by simply bribing prison guards and walking out the front gate. However, this escape was highly romanticized and eventually grew into a daring urban legend. Guzman’s most recent capture has left borderland residents with mixed emotions ranging from elation to apathy.

Learning how to swim and following the rules can prevent drownings

EL PASO — Even though 70 percent of the Earth is covered in water there are people who don’t know how to swim and don’t find it necessary to learn.That attitude can drown them. “My dad threw me in when I was four,” said University of Texas at El Paso student Linda Flores, 20. “I had to learn not to panic.”
Most people can recall a scary, calm, or funny experience they had when learning how to swim.According to a national research study by the USA Swimming Foundation and the University of Memphis, if a parent does not know how to swim, there is only a 13 percent chance that a child in that household will learn how to swim.There are people that do not think swimming is dangerous, but when a person drowns there usually is no call for help. The victim can’t yell underwater and it can happen even in the shallowest depths.Studies from the Centers for Disease Control have found that a toddler can even drown in a bucket filled with water due to lack of supervision. The toddler’s head can get stuck on the way in and finding no way out, the child can slump into the bucket preventing the body from standing back up.

The choice to consume healthier organic dairy products comes down to price

EL PASO — As the sun rises over the desert landscape, the rushing hooves of a herd of 80 calves creates a dust storm as they rush to their morning feast of gourmet quality hay bales. The calves and cows at Licon Dairy are the VIPs of the dairy industry in the greater El Paso area. Licon Dairy does things differently than other local factory farm competitors such as Price’s Creameries. Licon raises organic livestock — no hormones, no antibiotics, no mysterious injections for these happy and healthy bovines. “You have to give them the best quality of hay to keep them healthy,” said Angel Licon of the Licon Dairy family, “We start them off healthy by leaving the calves with their mothers to feed and get all of the nutrients from their milk.

El bar más antiguo de Ciudad Juárez inventó la margarita y la sigue sirviendo

CD. JUAREZ — En el puente Paso del Norte, cruce internacional entre El Paso y Ciudad Juárez, una marea de personas, vendedores ambulantes y autos se alinean para cruzar al país vecino, mientras los famosos lavadores de carros que no dejan ni un carro limpio siguen frenéticos en su tarea. En el centro de la ciudad queda poco de lo que fue una maravillosa vida nocturna en Ciudad Juárez. Ahora algunos edificios en ruinas son recuerdos de lo que antes eran bares transitados. “La Juárez,” calle conocida por muchos por su gran vida nocturna, ya sea por ir por una copa o una prostituta, esta reviviendo.

Football coaches debate the possible benefits and dangers of marijuana use

EL PASO — The week before the Super Bowl, Seattle Seahawks Head Coach, Pete Carroll was asked about his thoughts on the use in the NFL of medicinal marijuana, which is legal in the state of Washington. Carroll said that the NFL needs to continue to find ways to make football a better game by taking care of its players in the best way possible. “The fact that it’s [medicinal marijuana] in the world of medicine is obviously something [that Commissioner Roger Goodell] realizes.” Carroll said he supports the commissioner’s “expression that we need to follow the information and the research.”

Carroll said that regardless of the stigmas involved, he thinks “we have to do this because the world of medicine is trying to do the exact same thing and figure it out and they’re coming to some conclusions.” University of Texas at El Paso head football Coach Sean Kugler said he does not agree with Carroll. “I have my own opinions about drugs and college athletes, and that is handled within our program,” he said.