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.

Exhibit brings to life the memories of two of El Paso’s first neighborhoods

EL PASO — Walking through a dark hall and swinging open the pair of steel gates, museum guests are thrown into a room with walls exquisitely decorated with the memories of this city’s most history-rich neighborhoods.Bright and colorful murals at the El Paso History Museum exhibit surround the viewer with quotes and representations of two of El Paso’s first neighborhoods.Neighborhoods and Shared Memories is an exhibit that shows what life was like in the Segundo Barrio and Chihuahuita neighborhoods as children grew up in the area. El Paso’s oldest neighborhoods continue to thrive in the southern part of the city with an extensive history as a place of refuge and social and economic struggle. Today, vivid murals on aged structures along the two-way streets give an insight into the cultural influences once existed.”We wanted to reach out to all the folks who had not had a voice, who were not represented in the history. The original exhibit plans for this building was that this gallery was designated from the begining to be the headquarters for the neighborhoods exhibit” says senior curator Barbara Angus.”The concept was that even from the beginning the exhibits that were created were directly by the people from the neighborhoods,” said Angus. Each wall represents one neighborhood with phrases from people who lived in the area and their memories of life there.

About 25 people participate in the Huerto Amistad garden on Beverly Ann in San Elizario. The garden was started in 2013. (Kirstie Hettinga/Borderzine.com)

Water, commitment are challenges for sustainable gardens in El Paso

EL PASO — San Elizario, Texas is a newborn city with a long history. The area was established in the mid-18th century as part of the Spanish colonial mission trail, but it’s only been officially incorporated since November 2013 and its first mayor took office on May 22, 2014. The rich history of San Elizario is largely agricultural and according to Mayor Maya Sanchez, honoring those roots and protecting the rural community is critical. “My family goes back five generations in San Elizario. It’s an agricultural community, historically has been.

A creamy heart enhances a cup of freshly roasted Ethiopian coffee from BLDG 6 Coffee Roasters in east El Paso.(Michael Marcotte/Borderzine.com)

New craft coffee culture brewing in El Paso

EL PASO — Wake up and smell the craft coffee, El Paso. The national craft coffee craze has slow-dripped its way into town, and three entrepreneurs hope locals perk up, take notice and embrace the new brew. Sales of craft or specialty coffees have given the U.S. industry a jolt, helping to drive up revenue 7.4 percent last year to $11 billion, according to the research firm IBISWorld. The trend of drinking a $3-$8 cup of java made from premium, exotic beans from around the world and lovingly roasted on the spot by certified artisans has been piping hot in cities such as Seattle, Portland and Dallas. In the last year, the trend has percolated into El Paso where it is slowly catching on.

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.

A unique screen-printing shop that made its mark is closing down

Editor’s note: Proper Printshop reopened. Follow up story here

EL PASO – Beneath fluorescent lights Inside a noisy concrete room that smells of paint, Stephen Escarzaga, 24, works a computer mouse to rapidly transform the pictures inside his clients’ heads into a graphic logo, a print or a shirt. For six years, Escarzaga and his partner Jonathan Childress, 24, worked in a unique lifestyle that included screen printing, making music, shooting video and running the show at their printshop. But the Central El Paso business, Proper Printshop, will come to an end as they move on to pursue other career goals. The partnership began in May 2008 as they shared a Westside apartment.

A movement for cannabis legalization takes root in El Paso

EL PASO— On a recent Saturday afternoon, some 50 pro-cannabis legalization and decriminalization supporters and enthusiasts of all ages packed a stuffy bar here to rally for marijuana legalization in Texas.The crowd of mostly young people wearing Bob Marley T-shirts and Vans shoes stamped with marijuana leaves, crowded into the Soho Cocktail Lounge in downtown El Paso for the first formal meeting of the local chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML),which lobbies for marijuana legalization.The crowd also included casually dressed middle-aged persons as well as some dressed to the nines, along with a group of much older graying hippies. The assembly packed the bar with only standing room barely accessible. The organizers come from different professions but are joined by the same goal — “to achieve true individual liberty” by legally consuming marijuana. “If you feel that you are a free and beautiful individual human-being with inalienable rights, with self-ownership, you should be able to do whatever you want to do with yourself without having to harm anybody else… as long as you are not harming anyone else you should be free to do what you choose,” said Joshua Dagda, the organization’s communications director. Approximately 230 persons interested in the cause attended NORML’s inaugural organizational meeting January 11th at the Hilton Garden Inn on W. University Avenue.

Deadly flu season hits home hard and it’s not over yet

EL PASO — Rene Delgado came home on a Saturday afternoon with a sore throat. The next day, his family noticed that he was becoming unresponsive so they took him to see a doctor in Juarez where he was diagnosed with the flu — the H1N1 strain. He was then taken by ambulance to Del Sol Hospital where he was admitted into the intensive care ward on January 11. He died there three days later. The civil engineering student at the University of Texas at El Paso was 22 years old.

Seok-Kiew Koay — Jewelry in the right place at the right price

EL PASO – A group of people gathered at the Union Plaza downtown on a recent Saturday morning to browse through and buy arts, crafts and food delicacies at the weekly Downtown Artists and Farmers Market. One vendor in particular stands out from the displays of original, unique hand-made art works because it doesn’t have a canopy overheard like the others. This stand belongs to Seok-Kiew Koay, 58, a designer and maker of bracelets, earrings, necklaces, and rosaries who has been a regular at the farmer’s market since 2011. “I’ve been doing this (jewelry) for 15 years and this hobby has become my job. I enjoy it,” said Koay as she held up one of her necklaces.

Destino: Georgia

Por Mario Guevara

La frontera entre México y Estados Unidos en Texas se convirtió este año en el área con mayor número de arrestos de indocumentados en EE.UU., superando a la de Arizona, que por dos décadas fue la que más detenciones registró. MundoHispánico viajó hasta esa zona fronteriza para indagar sobre este fenómeno, especialmente porque una buena parte de los inmigrantes que tratan de cruzar ilegalmente planean llegar a Georgia y los estados vecinos, según reportes de las autoridades federales. “Muy pocos son los que buscan quedarse aquí, porque la mayoría creen que tendrán mejor oportunidades de hallar trabajo yendo más hacia el norte”, aseguró a este medio Ramiro Cordero, uno de los portavoces de la Patrulla Fronteriza en Texas y quien está destacado en El Paso. Una de las personas que venían rumbo a Georgia y que fue descubierta recientemente atravesando la frontera en busca del ‘sueño americano’ fue Reina Martínez, de 20 años. La joven nativa de El Salvador llevaba un mes presa en un centro de detención en Texas, hasta que Inmigración le concedió la libertad bajo la condición de comparecer ante un juez.