Longtime El Paso sports writer Ray Sanchez remembers the laughs and the tears

EL PASO — Ray Sanchez, considered the first Hispanic sports writer in El Paso, has a long view of local sports history and he remembers the stories that made him laugh and cry in his latest book. “I had a lot of happy parts in my book that I enjoyed. There were so many games, so many great ones,” said Sanchez about his latest book The Good, The Bad, And the Funny of El Paso Sports History, “But I guess the biggest thrill I got, and it was so emotional that I almost cried when I would write it, was when the Miners won this 1966 championship.”

He has written seven books, all of them about sports. He was a sports writer for the El Paso Herald-Post from 1950 to 1990. He was a columnist for the El Paso Times, and currently writes for El Paso, Inc. He has won numerous awards for his coverage.

Buñuelos' highest season starts a week before Thanksgiving and ends a week after New Year's Eve. (Karina Moreno/Borderzine.com)

The border region welcomes home holiday dishes from the Hispanic world

EL PASO — Christmas, on the border is different than anywhere else in America. Traditions from south of the border come together to form a unique and delightful style of holiday mirth. Traditional foods originating from Mexico and beyond have made their way here and ingrained themselves into the local culture. Buñuelos are a tasty treat that span across many cultures thanks to the Middle East’s influence on Spain. Traditionally they are served at Christmas for the Christians, Rammadan for the Muslims, and Hannakuh for the Sephardic Jews.

Indonesian woman outside her home in Sulawesi, Indonesia. (Valeria Hernandez/Borderzine.com)

I spotted two pairs of female orangutans and their young foraging for food in the Indonesian jungle

EL PASO – I opened my eyes and immediately felt the heat of my bed sheet and the mosquito net on my face, the wooden roof seemed like a stranger I saw for the first time, and the mattress I lay on felt unfamiliar. It took me a few seconds to remember that I wasn’t in my room in El Paso, Texas, but rather in a local family’s traditional Islamic home in Bali, Indonesia. This past spring I was admitted into the Indonesia Study Abroad Program, led by Dr. Stacey Sowards, Chair of the Communication Department at the University of Texas at El Paso. Along with 12 other students and four faculty members, I spent three weeks in Indonesia and had the opportunity to observe the environmental conservation programs that the non-governmental organization Rare and the University of Mulawarman run in the island. According to its website, Rare “trains local conservation leaders all over the world to change the way their communities relate to nature…inspiring people to take pride in the species and habitats that make their community unique, while also introducing practical alternatives to environmentally destructive practices.”

Leaving the country for the first time in my life made my mind race a million miles per hour.

La fuerza de voluntad con la que mi madre vive su vida me enseña que siempre hay que seguir luchando. (Vianey Alderete/Borderzine.com)

Lo que me enseñaron las manos de mi madre

EL PASO – Cuando yo tenía 11 años mi mamá se convirtió en mi muñeca. Tuve que acomodarle los brazos para ayudarla a vestirse, hacerle de comer, cuidarla y amarla más que nunca. La rapidez con la que la artritis reumatoide se adueñó de su cuerpo fue tanta que ése mismo año dejó de usar zapatos altos y empezó a tener dificultad cambiándose la ropa. Sus síntomas eran resultados de esa dolencia que le fue detectada cuando tenía 36 años. Es una enfermedad crónica del sistema inmune que causa la inflamación de las articulaciones como las rodillas, las caderas y los tejidos circundantes.

Centennial Plaza will be located in the middle of UTEP campus and includes a Lhakhang, a gift from the Kingdom of Bhutan. (Nora Rausch/Borderzine.com)

UTEP campus gets a facelift in time for centennial celebrations

EL PASO – The University of Texas at El Paso begins its centennial celebrations at the start of 2014 and students are excited about the changes the centennial is bringing to campus. “I’ve seen the plans for the construction, and it looks like it will be worth it,” says sophomore UTEP student Eliana Grijalva. “The model for the Centennial Plaza looks really cool. I just can’t wait until construction is done,” she added. Other students agree that while the construction now is tedious, the end result looks like it will be well worth it.

Ray Malooly, 2013 Gold Nugget recipient. (Audrey Wescott/Borderzine.com)

UTEP award goes to Ray Malooly, El Paso real estate and investment CEO

EL PASO – With downtown in the throes of redevelopment, entrepreneurs are more motivated to stay here instead of taking their business elsewhere, but Ray Malooly credits his success with staying in the Sun City. Malooly was born and raised here and after graduating from UTEP he became a prominent real estate and investment CEO. A graduate of Austin High School, he attended UTEP in the late 1950s when the university was known as Texas Western College. He had originally set his sights on becoming a doctor but instead decided on a business career. Malooly’s success garnered him UTEP’s 2013 Gold Nugget Award, which he received during UTEP’s 99th homecoming celebration in October.

El abogado Carlos Spector (derecha) junto a Carlos Gutiérrez quien liderará un grupo de 50 ciclistas que llevarán hasta Austin el mensaje de Mexicanos en Exilio. (Luis Hernández/Borderzine.com)

‘Mexicanos en Exilio’ – 700 millas de testimonio

EL PASO – Con un negocio concesionario, el cual preveía eventos deportivos en el estado de Chihuahua, Carlos Gutiérrez estaba viviendo un periodo de prosperidad económica. Pero dicha fortuna atrajo la atención indeseada de delincuentes. Y en el 2011, un grupo de narcotraficantes comenzó a extorsionarlo por la cantidad mensual de 10 mil dólares. “Te ven que estas siendo próspero en tu negocio eres blanco de una extorsión,” dijo Gutiérrez, “por mucho o poco que ganes, ya eres blanco en México.”

Al no contar con el apoyo de las autoridades locales, se vio obligado a tratar de pagar la cuota, pero después de unos meses se vio incapaz de hacerlo. El 30 de Septiembre del mismo año, Gutiérrez fue atacado por hombres armados, los cuales laceraron ambas piernas dejándolo por muerto.

Washington remembers, celebrates the 50th anniversary of March on Washington

WASHINGTON – When Ethel Delaney Lee,87, heard about plans for the March on Washington in 1963, she knew it was something she wanted to participate in. She didn’t expect it to be such a defining moment in history, but soon realized how important this gathering was. “It was in the news, in the newspapers, announcements in the churches. You couldn’t exist in Washington and not hear about it,” Lee said in an interview in the Northwest Washington home she moved into just weeks before the march. Lee, her late husband.

Mike "Sarge" Preston, Program Director and DJ at KOFX 92.3

The faces behind the voices of radio disc jockeys

EL PASO – While you listen to your favorite song during your commute to work, there is a small team of radio disc jockeys pulling levers, pushing buttons, flicking switches and orchestrating the entire three-four minute performance. This is an inside look into the lives of three DJs and the DJ booth. Sarge Preston, Jojo Garcia and Victor Cruz are three local radio DJs at KFOX 92.3. The three DJs have a combined 91 years of experience. Their time spent on air is a very small part of their daily job responsibilities but it is also the favorite part of their workday.

Un equipo de escaramuzas hace una demostración en un lienzo de El Paso. (Jessica Salcedo/Borderzine.com)

Escaramuzas Zapatistas – Ocho muchachas a todo galope

HORIZON CITY, TX – Todo empieza con tradición, lo traen en sus venas, y viene de su cultura. Después se convierte en pasión por el deporte y luego el amor crece por los caballos. Las Escaramuzas Zapatistas son un grupo de ocho muchachas que se atreven a montar un caballo y realizar rutinas peligrosas a todo galope. Vestidas de Adelitas o de Charras, este equipo monta sus caballos arriba de una albarda, que es un montura especial donde las escaramuzas pueden colocar sus dos piernas a un lado en vez de montar el caballo con las piernas abiertas. “Ellas practican tres veces a la semana, de dos a tres horas,” dijo Teresa Castro instructora de escaramuza charra de las Zapatistas.

"Stand with families" was the clamor of students members of United We Dream. (Luis Hernandez/Borderzine.com)

DREAMers march on Capitol Hill to put a human face on the struggle for immigration reform

WASHINGTON – A group of college students dressed in blue graduation gowns sit in a gallery during a U.S. Senate hearing, their eyes fixed on the Senate floor, watching attentively as a steady stream of yay votes are tallied and read out loud by the clerk. They’re not the usual student visitors on a school-sanctioned field trip to the Capitol – they’re DREAMers and the vote they are witnessing will ultimately decide the legality of their residency in this country. The Senate Bill 744: Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act more commonly known as the Immigration bill, passed its first hurdle June 11 on an 82-15 vote, with 54 Democrats and 28 Republicans voting to move the bill to the floor. With congressmen all around Washington voicing their opinions to anyone who would listen, the DREAMers sought to place a human face on immigration and let them know the repercussions of their rhetoric. The students are members of United We Dream (UWD), a nonpartisan network made up of 52 affiliate organizations in 25 states, and one of the largest immigrant youth-led organizations in the nation.

Korean Americans consider it easier to adapt in El Paso because Hispanic culture is also family oriented. (Hecko Flores/Borderzine.com)

Korean Kimchi finds a friendly red chili pepper in El Paso

EL PASO – There was a slight tremor in the hands. The arms were thin and pale, yet strong as they helped hold up and set up one of the lights at the factory. His thick and heavy eyeglasses sat lower than they were supposed to be. Judy Lee, 54, observed as her restless 77-year-old uncle, Dr. William Lee, descended from a high stool after changing a bright light bulb that reflected off his bald head. “Be careful uncle!” said Judy as the elderly man stepped down from the stool and kept himself busy working around the factory.

Multimedia journalism academy gives teachers time to learn

On a Saturday morning in early June, a UTEP classroom buzzed with anticipation as students sat in front of computers and watched demonstrations on the brave new world of multimedia journalism. Their teachers were seasoned pros in the arts of sound recording, social media, videography, web programming, and much more. The students themselves were professionals in a different regard; they were university professors who had traveled from all over the country to participate in the fourth annual Dow Jones Multimedia Training Academy hosted by UTEP. By the end of their five-day intensive program, the group of journalism teachers had learned to beat the El Paso summer heat as well as how to use the technology available to them to educate upcoming generations of reporters. The group included representatives from the University of Arizona, San Diego City College, Arizona State University, North Texas University, California State University at Long Beach, Texas State University, Texas Christian University, Illinois State University,Central Michigan University, Universidad Autónoma de Ciudad Juárez, Florida International University and the University of Oklahoma.

cattle cowboy

Vacas sin fronteras: Livestock crossing fuels economy

SANTA TERESA, NM – It’s a Tuesday morning in June and a few hundred head of cattle are running across the U.S.-Mexico border. The Santa Teresa International Export/Import Livestock Crossing is the busiest in the U.S. It is one of the few crossings where cattle are permitted to run across the border, avoiding the need for cattle trailers and long lines at international ports. “Last year was our largest amount of cattle crossed in a year,” said Director Daniel Manzanares. “Usually, we do an average of 300,000-310,000 animals a year. We were at 478,000, close to $300 million worth of commerce.”

The facility is owned by a cooperative of 5,000-7,000 Mexican ranchers, Unión Ganadera Regional de Chihuahua Co-op Inc., and is 35 acres on the U.S. side and about a third larger on the Mexico side of the border, Manzanares said.

Chole Saldaña has been buying "esponjas" for 30 years. (Pablo Hernández-Batista/Borderzine.com)

Bowie Bakery – 42 years of traditional pan dulce

EL PASO – In Segundo Barrio, the traditional way is the best way. Especially when you’re taking about “pan dulce.” Since 1951 customers have been returning to Bowie Bakery on the corner of 7th and Park in downtown El Paso to get their “esponjas, marranitos, polvorones and empanadas de piña.”

Located on the city’s south side, the Segundo Barrio is home to more than 8,000 people, according to City of El Paso statistics. A morning drive through the neighborhood would typically encounter a variety of colorful murals as well as locals looking for day labor. The bakery has been in the Marquez family for the past 42 years and is now owned by Juan Marquez who continues the family tradition of making El Paso’s favorite bread. The bakery, known for its “sabrosos panes de dulce” and family-oriented service, has played host to presidents, members of congress and other dignitaries looking for the best baked goods in El Paso.

Mirel Argueta, a Juarez native and a professor at Tecnológico de Monterrey en Juárez, and Reinaldo Sánchez, Colombian and recent PhD graduate. (Courtesy of Mirel Argueta)

Love knows no boundaries for couples divided by the U.S.-Mexico border

EL PASO – Although El Paso and Juárez are sister cities, they are divided by differences and obstacles that present real-life challenges to unmarried couples whose relationships straddle the border. Three couples, all in their 20s, discuss their transnational relationships, explaining how they wish they could live in the same city with their partners and even though they speak the same language they still clash over differences in lifestyle. However, these committed relationships seem to be strong. Gina Nuñez-Mchiri, associate professor of sociology at UTEP, said, “I would say that love knows no boundaries, but boundaries are real, right? But it’s love that makes you resilient and hopeful, and people find ways.”

The testimony of these three couples lovingly expresses the adage “where there’s a will, there’s a way.”

Mirel & Reinaldo

“When I met him, I was like, ‘Oh my God.

Instructor Stan Huber and student Alyssa Garcia at ballroom practice. (Kimberly Garcia/Borderzine.com)

¿Bailamos? An invitation to ballroom dancers of all ages

EL PASO – A studio tucked away in a little strip shopping center on the west side of town teaches ballroom dancing to dancers of all ages, from all walks of life. The reasons why they came to this studio vary from curiosity to losing a bet, but they all share one thing in common – a passion for ballroom dance. “It’s been a wonderful experience,” says Cynthia Garcia, 27. Garcia has been dancing for two and a half years and still continues to dance along with her younger sister Alyssa Garcia. It was her younger sister says Garcia who introduced her to the ballroom dance.

Amnesty prospects: Where do they come from, and where do they live?

IMPERIAL, Calif.—The first day of Senate debate on immigration reform ended in Washington today with several proposed changes accepted and several tossed by the 18-member committee poring over the merits of the almost 900-page S. 744, the proposed ‘‘Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act.’’

The bill would offer conditional amnesty and a path to citizenship to an estimated 11 million immigrants living illegally in the U.S., among other provisions, all of which will require months of debate and amending before adoption. In the meantime, fundamental questions like where those millions of people come from and where they live in America beg some answers. Statistics in the following video come from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the Public Policy Institute of California.

New UTEP football Head Coach Sean Kugler. (Domingo Martinez/Borderzine.com)

UTEP football – New coach, new attitude, new season

EL PASO – After nine seasons, the University Texas at El Paso head football coach Mike Price decided to retire in the final year of his contract, in November 2012. A few weeks later UTEP Director of Athletics Bob Stull hired former UTEP offensive linesman, assistant coach and Pittsburgh Steelers assistant coach Sean Kugler. The players expect Kugler to take UTEP football to the top like the last two head coaches did. “Our new coach is a real strict guy,” said wide receiver Jacob Garcia a sophomore majoring in criminal justice.  “It’s goanna be a positive impact with the team because we’re going to have more discipline with him and the new coaching staff. It can help the team do our best on Saturdays and maybe win more games and go to a bowl game,” said Garcia.

Senior Jecoa Ross plays the oud along with other students during Layali Al-Sham’s rehearsal. (Paul Reynoso/Borderzine.com)

Arab music ensemble brings the Middle East to the border

EL PASO – On Friday afternoons in the practice room of the Fox Fine Arts building, a group of students rehearses for Layali Al-Sham, UTEP’s Arabic music ensemble. The ensemble primarily consists of UTEP students that sing and play Arabic music. The instrumentation of Layali Al-Sham includes a wide variety of Western Classical and Arab musical instruments such as the clarinet, electric guitar and the Egyptian flute called the ney. Dr. Andrea Shaheen, assistant professor of ethnomusicology at UTEP and director of the school’s World Music Ensembles, said that the formation of the Arabic music ensemble began in 2010. “It sort of fell into my lap in that there was this core group of three or four students that were really driven to learn,” Shaheen said.

This year's Senior Games have over 300 participants that will compete in over 15 events. (Luis Barrio/Borderzine.com)

El Paso’s senior athletes still compete to win after all these years

EL PASO – On a recent March morning, 76-year-old Armando Uranga sat on the gymnasium bleachers dripping sweat and catching his breath. He had just played a strenuous 20-minute game of basketball with three other competitors as part of this year’s El Paso Senior Games. After playing in the games for the last 12 years, Uranga considers them his fountain of youth. “I felt like I was in my backyard like when I was a kid, it was so much fun,” said Uranga, who has already competed in the 5K walk, the 3K walk and plans to participate in Saturday’s track and field event at Montwood High School. In its 31st year, the El Paso Senior Games are a beacon drawing residents to get out and be physically active or go watch the community’s senior athletes compete.  With a variety of events, the games are for persons 50 years of age and older who participate in activities ranging from swimming to cycling, basketball to track and field.

Imperial Valley College On Immigration

IMPERIAL, Calif.– With Congress drafting out a concrete plan for immigration reform, students and staff at Imperial Valley College shared their opinions on the matter. About 11 million undocumented people in the U.S. who entered illegally could be offered amnesty and a path to citizenship.

A panoramic picture shows Interstate 10 right after the smokestacks fall. The cloud of dust followed the same path. (Sarah Duenas/Borderzine.com)

A pang of sorrow hit as the ASARCO smokestacks came tumbling down

EL PASO – The skyline in El Paso changed forever on Saturday April 13 when the two ASARCO smokestacks imploded leaving an empty space, a day prior to the demolition of City Hall. The stacks fell in slow motion, as if slowly saying goodbye to their longtime home. Viewing the demolition from the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) parking lot across from Interstate 10, I reflected on the experience I had writing a story on the last-ditch efforts to save the stacks. The stacks had a profound historical impact on the city and many people wanted to stop the demolition. The first event I attended was a protest lead by El Paso AWARE, an organization that focused on stopping the demolition until proper testing was done.

Creosote bush (Creosote Larrea Tridentata) found in El Paso contain polyphenols that help intervene in the process of protein misfolding.

Everyday foods may prevent Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, say UTEP researchers

EL PASO – Imagine a place where drinking a glass of milk and munching on cheese and crackers is all you need to prevent Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. According to Dr. Mahesh Narayan’s, associate professor of chemistry at The University of Texas at El Paso, this fairy tale scenario could soon be a reality. In recent studies, Narayan has shown that everyday spices such as turmeric, most commonly found in Indian food, neem, almond oil and the creosote bush hold the potential for unlocking the key ingredients in the prevention of neurodegenerative diseases. “The long term prospect for us is to actually lace everyday food, such as potato chips, milk, cheese, etc., with these ethno-pharmaceuticals, and then have them neuro-protect you without you even knowing,” said Narayan, a native of India. Experiments with curcumin, a polyphenol in turmeric, show the potential of these kitchen table ingredients in the intervention of a brain process called “protein misfolding” (see video for explanation) that is most commonly known to cause many neurodegenerative diseases.

Children are the main victims of family separation. (Anoushka Valodya/Borderzine.com)

The U.S.-Mexico border splits families, but loved ones strive to stay connected

EL PASO – With a Border Patrol helicopter hovering close above him, Honduran native Pedro Guzman, who was in his mid-thirties, had to choose between running away or surrendering. After seeing his fellow emigrants detained, Guzman decided to give up, but he still didn’t lose hope. He had spent three days and two nights, without food and water, crossing from Matamoros, Mexico to reach Brownsville, Texas in 1999. “I was just eating air, but I was always positive, telling myself that I was going to make it,” Guzman said. He paid $4,000 to a coyote, but was later abandoned by the smuggler to find his way to the U.S. along with a couple dozen men.

William Beaumont Army Medical Center (WBAMC) on Ft. Bliss. (Joshua Gutierrez/Borderzine.com)

Many soldiers return from war only to face post-traumatic stress

EL PASO — When Marine Sgt. Miguel Marquez returned home from fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan he realized that post-traumatic stress disorder was preventing him from adjusting to civilian life. “I started drinking heavily to help deal with life back at home because I didn’t know what else to do,” said Marquez, 28. Thousands of soldiers coming home with mental and physical injuries from the wars of the last decade suffer from PTSD. According to the United States Army Medical Department about 10 percent to 15 percent of soldiers returning from Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) suffer from PTSD.