Group hike to Wyler Aerial Tramway challenging, but popular on the last Sunday of each month

A group of 64 people braved steep terrain, dodged cacti and high altitude as they climbed to the Wyler Aerial Tramway at Franklin Mountains State Park to hike the trails leading to the to the top of Ranger peak recently. The hike is open to everyone but might be challenging for some, said Paul Hanson, a park employee. “Fit people do great on it but some people come out and taken about two hours to make it to the top, but it’s always a good accomplishment when they make it up there,” Hanson said. There are other ways to prepare for a hike like this. “It’s one of the steepest trails in town.

KTEP Science Studio’s light formula keeps audience tuned in

For more than three decades, KTEP radio’s Science Studio program has been one of the most successful shows of the station. The show talks about science in a way that the community can relate to while getting to learn something new. “I started this Science Studio program over 30 years ago, because I like radio, I like, conversation, I like science,” said UTEP chemistry professor Keith Pannell, the show’s creator. “We have to keep it relatively light in order to make sure people don’t fall asleep with so much science. So we learned a lot of the background, the little stories of the guest each week.

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.

A short tour through lost El Paso

El Paso is a special place with a long history. You may have heard of Mexican Revolutionary leader Pancho Villa’s visits to El Paso or the roaming alligators in San Jacinto Plaza. Over the years there has also been a lot of change in the Sun City. A recent lecture at the El Paso Museum of History with historian Fred Morales inspired this look back through time into how some familiar spots used to be in days gone by. 1.

Lack of sight doesn’t keep these hockey players from the goal

EL PASO — Can you imagine playing a sport without seeing anything? All you can do is rely on your ears and communication from your teammates. Well, a local El Paso hockey team does just that every Friday. Ultra Violet Moose is an inline hockey team with visually impaired players along with players who have full vision. Medical technician Dan Guard is the coach who founded the team three years ago.

Jugger – the battle sport inspired by a B-movie – attracts friendly warriors

The referee stands in the middle of the field and signals both teams to get ready. “Three …Two …One… jugger!” The teams run at each other, brandishing their weapons like medieval warriors. In fact, this is not very different from a battle from the Middle Ages; just add a little rugby, hockey, fencing and martial arts. But before the battle both teams gathered in a circle, reminding themselves that it is all about having fun. Then they broke the circle and went to a large stack of padded weaponry: spears, staffs, shields, chains and swords.

Fur festival helps shelter pets find forever homes

EL PASO – “Fur Babies” was the phrase of the day at the second annual Fur Festival in early November, an adoption extravaganza encouraging pet adoption from both the El Paso Animal Services and the Humane Society of El Paso. “It was a great experience. Everyone was really friendly and it’s a home-like environment for the dogs,” said a visitor named Mark who adopted a black labrador retriever mix named Daisy at the festival. At the 2014 festival, 125 pets were adopted in one day from the Humane Society of El Paso and the city shelter combined. This year 98 pets found new homes during the festival, but organizers said adoptions during the week were at a higher rate than usual due to promotion of the event.

La City Ride: Promoting the border culture through cycling

CD JUAREZ — Mixed cultures, two languages, and a diversity of ideas and traditions make the metroplex of El Paso and Ciudad Juarez unique, and La City Ride wants to show off the border blend of events and practices in its bi-national culture. “La City Ride is an initiative born [in Juarez] as a result of Jovenes Emprendedores Sociales and graphic designers,” said Daniel Martinez, a promoter of La City Ride. “It has the intention to promote urban cycling and to generate a border identity through these Juarez/El Paso events.”

The border region’s rich mix of cultures, languages as well as isolation from major population centers in Mexico and Texas means that the border region often develops its own identity. La City Ride is a recent movement in Ciudad Juarez that invites residents to get to know and experience the special qualities of their city, for example historic downtown buildings, local coffee shops, and often unnoticed murals and sculptures. The organizers of La City Ride say they are creating biking events and cycling tours around different themes, like visiting coffee houses, to attract residents to join in to explore little known aspects of the city.

Juarez shop specializes in antique, unique and artisan

The owner of  a unique boutique in Juarez, called Julia & Ernestina, is hoping that the store’s mix of U.S. collectibles, Mexican antiques and artisan crafts can keep shoppers south of the border. “Everyone runs to El Paso to buy things, leaving Ciudad Juarez at a disadvantage,” said store owner Monica Renee Morales Gallo. She believes that in order for Ciudad Juarez to rebound economically money has to be circulating in the city and not outside. Julia & Ernestina is filled with products made by artisans, designers and companies from different parts of the Mexican republic. It also carries collectibles and one-of-a-kind items.

“Julia & Ernestina is a new concept here in Ciudad Juarez,” Morales said.

Juarez team riding water polo wave in Mexico

CD.JUAREZ — An unusually cold and rainy morning here welcomed the public to a training session at the diving pool of Centro Acuatico Universitario of the University of Juarez that is usually closed to outsiders. Yellow balls float in the water, and two goals are set up at the edges of the pool. What was once one of the best diving facilities in Mexico, the diving pool that is still equipped with trampolines and platforms and has a depth of more than 50 feet has been repurposed to fit teams of aquatic warriors that play a sport unknown to many: Water polo. A sport conceived in England and Scotland, water polo still enjoys wide popularity in Europe,the United Stated, Canada, China and Australia. Now Mexico joins the list as the popularity of this water sport grows here.

A year in Juarez gives foreign exchange students a different view on Mexico

CIUDAD JUAREZ – As this Mexican border city emerges from the five-year drug war that made it famous as the most violent city in the world, four high school students from Europe and South-America have called it home for a full year. Daniel Fantyš, Arthur Felipe Acker-Gregory, Victor Rodriguez and Juan Martinez have become adopted Juarenses. They have experienced life in this city, which has embraced them, and it has become their new Mexican home. “After two or three days, I saw it was really not that bad. But I thought I had gone back 20 years in time because of the way the buildings and streets look,” said Daniel Fantyš.

Hoja de Ruta le trae cultura a ciudad Juárez

CIUDAD JUÁREZ—Cada quince días Edgar Rincón y su esposa Verónica Martínez, acompañados de sus dos hijos Diego y Elena, caminan hacia el puente peatonal situado frente a Plaza Juárez Mall, esperando la ruta, el transporte público de la ciudad. Esto puede parecer un acto cotidiano en Ciudad Juárez, donde la mayoría de las personas usan las rutas como principal medio de transporte; excepto que, cuando la familia Rincón Martínez se sube al camión, ellos entregan a los pasajeros cuadernillos en forma gratuita que contienen poemas y cuentos que después se disponen a leer en voz alta. In English: Literary readings add culture to Juárez bus rides

“—Tú que vas allá arriba, Ignacio, dime si no oyes alguna señal de algo o si ves alguna luz en alguna parte—” proclamó Martínez, 42, al leerle a un grupo diverso de pasajeros el cuento llamado ¿no oyes ladrar los perros?, del escritor mexicano Juan Rulfo. “Nos impacta mucho ver a los niños, los señores, a todo el mundo, muy interesados en la lectura”, dijo Martínez.  

Lo que hacen Rincón y Martínez junto con su familia y otros jóvenes y ciudadanos es parte del proyecto Hoja de Ruta, una iniciativa juarense con la finalidad de difundir la literatura y fomentar la lectura por medio de lecturas en camiones que a la vez son acompañadas por la entrega de cuadernillos.

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.

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.

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.

Underground comedy on the border has its own jalapeño flavor

EL PASO – Everyone always enjoys a good laugh and at Coconuts Bar and Grill the staff invites amateur comedians to gather around every Tuesday to perform in the Underground Comedy Show. Comedians from El Paso differ from comics in other places, because the culture here nourishes a different type of humor, merging American and Mexican culture into an authentic border type of humor. Jerry Karnes who is known by his stand up name “El Malkreado” founded the show in April 2005 after a road trip to Austin where he visited a bar on 6th street called the Velveeta room. A comedy show was going on and the comedians were so bad, he said, that he started making fun of them. One of them told Karnes to do a better job if he could.