EL PASO – Is that scrappy plant on the side of the road a weed or a wonder? Desert landscapers say there’s often more to the Borderland’s flora than meets the eye. The term weed is usually meant for a plant that is considered a nuisance, growing where it isn’t always wanted, says John White, curator of the Chihuahuan Desert Gardens at UT El Paso. But where some people see weeds, others see wildflowers, healing herbs and critical sustenance for desert wildlife and other helpful uses. “Some of the weeds are actually good, some of the weeds can be edible, and some of them can be used for different purposes,” White says.
EL PASO – Ardovino’s Desert Crossing in Sunland Park, NM, is known as one of the region’s premiere spots for special events and fine dining. But few people may know of the man who inspired it all and how his family is expanding on his legacy. Frank Ardovino’s family came to the U.S. from Italy. The young man first lived in New York, but found his way to El Paso when he joined the U.S. Cavalry and was stationed here. “He fell in love with the desert,” said his great-niece, Marina Ardovino, who co-owns Ardovino’s Desert Crossing with her brother, Robert.
The current rainy, windy and hot weather makes ideal conditions for mosquitoes to breed. And with the Zika virus spreading into the Americas, El Paso is beginning to take preventative measures. The problem with Zika is that it poses a threat to unborn babies. In May of 2015, Brazil saw a link between pregnant women who had been infected with Zika virus and a birth defect in their babies known as microcephaly. “Also, it can effect the general population with an autoimmune disease that is called Guillan-Barre syndrome, so it has a different connotation and a different behavior from other viruses,” says Fernando Gonzalez of the El Paso Public Health Department.