Sunday, July 16, 2017

Old Building On Bartlett

Former pawn shop on the corner of Bartlett Ave. and Lyon looks vacant.  It's seen better days.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Sucker For Nostalgia

For old times sake, I took a turn into Lake Casa Blanca on Sunday.  It was late in the afternoon.  I was a little exhausted from tending to menial things at my place and at my mother's vacant house.  Some heavy lifting was involved but nothing that broke my back.

I stopped for something to drink because my mouth was so dry.  My body was telling me I was behind on fluids.  All I had strength for was sitting behind the wheel of my pickup.

As I drove east on Saunders, I played in my mind the many times we got on the old lake road, the one just west of the county golf course.  That was the only way we knew of how to get to the lake.  The curving road had a low wooden fence between us and the greens.  That fence ended at some point, giving way to a nondescript park sign.

There was no entry fee in the days of my youth.

The grounds surrounding the lake look the same, with the exception of some add-ons and replacements.  I can't help but think that on a day like this the lake would've been packed with outdoor types and cruisers out to pass the time.  Times change, however, and the tired park has lost its allure.  The area near the shuttered swimming pool was deserted.  If it wasn't for the noise coming from Loop 20, you could sit alone in silence.


And old bench sits broken near the pool house.

1981 is a long time ago.  Only the vestiges and vague memories remain.  What was once a favorite spot for many Laredoans to partake in leisure activities is now a shell of its former self.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

One Big Mess: Old Hospital

A blaze was put out by the fire department at the old Mercy Hospital on June 26, 2017.  No major damage was reported.  I don't know how you can tell; the whole facility is in a state of major disrepair.

KGNS reporter Yocelin Gallardo quoted the owner of the building, Andrew Carranco, as saying, "the building has tight security and (he) does not know how this happened."

The report goes on to say that the building has no electricity.

The abandoned hospital does have chain link fencing around the entire perimeter.  But from the photo above, you can see that a big gap is there for anyone to trespass onto the property.  Not exactly what you would call a deterrent for ne'er-do-wells.  Tight security this is not.  (view is from Hendricks Ave. looking west.)

If the building doesn't have any electricity, how can it have any type of monitoring system?

Everything about this location stinks.  I can only imagine what the people who live nearby have to put up with.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Disappearing Laredo

The image above I pulled off of Google Maps.  You can tell it's from there by how some of the pieces don't align with each other, and by the blurred-out spots that show at different places.  I tweeted this photo 2 years ago: June 15, 2015.  

The reason I saved a shot of this location is because the auto parts store, at least, had some yellow tape blocking off its parking area at one point, and the store looked vacant.  I thought it was due for demolition.  Both buildings were located on the corner of Convent Ave. and Matamoros.  They're gone now.  They were demolished a week ago today.    

This image, which features the old Southern Hotel and the Hamilton Hotel in the background, is one of my own photos.

Meg Guerra wrote about the location last week in her online reboot of LareDOS.

In 2011, around the time of downtown revitalization talks, and Kell-Munoz/City of Laredo relationships, the centro corner site was going to take on a 'Marketplace' design.  But it looks like that destination hub for a renewed downtown will turn out to be a mere parking lot owned by the city.

Courtesy photo of Que Fregados blogger entitled: Rubble after the rain.

The white and red-colored building in the background will be used for low-income housing for the elderly.  At least that's the plan right now.  I remember the place being a pool hall in the 1990s.  Way before that it used to be home to the KGNS studios.

The demolished sites in downtown Laredo keep racking up:

Blanquitas restaurant
Sanchez Auto World of Laredo
Tex-Mex building (vacant lot)
County Courthouse Annex (filled-up hole in the ground)
Riverdrive Mall (outlet mall)
Jitney Jungle (Siete Banderas)
El Centro Motel (parking lot)
Lamar Bruni Vergara Home (duty free shop)
Betos Music store (parking)

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Laredo Institutions Now Gone

Holloway's Bakery closed for good one week ago.  The closing came without warning, aside from a statement posted on the front door.  The photo of the door/flier was shared on Facebook.

In 2010, the owners made a declaration for all to see: here to stay!  That was when the Guadalupe overpass was being erected directly behind the bakery.  They weren't budging; the overpass would have to bypass them.  Unfortunately, all things come to an end.  The owners of Holloway's realized it was now time to move on.  

For the residents of the Heights, 3 Points and El Chacon, the nearest bakery now is Quickie Bakery on Corpus and Malinche.  The natives will make the necessary adjustments, but what will become of the iconic Holloway's location?  My fear is that it will become a gambling joint like other Laredo institutions that have gone the way of the buffalo, if you will.

I don't know when it was that Roli's dance hall closed and became a casino.  On McPherson, Cotulla Style Pit BBQ was razed in 2012.  A new building came and part of it was leased for use of gambling machines (photo below). 

Another joint that was turned into a casino was Pelican's Wharf.  Remember that one?  Kelly's Western Wear (formerly Shakey's Pizza) is on the verge of closing.  Could gambling machines be in its future?  

Friday, May 26, 2017

Is She A Fraud?

Two weeks ago, Patricia Barrera made heads turn when she announced that she paid her employees out of her own pocket, because Webb County did not issue them their paychecks.  KGNS reported that 40 of Barrera's employees were not using the county-mandated biometric system for punching in.  As a result, pay checks were not issued and then there was the matter of them not accumulating sick leave and annual leave.

(statement released by Webb Co. today)

Barrera pressed on with the only recourse she found appropriate: filing a restraining order against the commissioners court.  Instead of getting her house in order, she went at the county dads (term used by Odie Arambula) with a legal fight.

According to a county spokesperson, the Time Clock Plus (biometric system) machines were introduced by the county 3 years ago.  Commissioners opted to make the system THE apparatus of choice for Webb Co. late last year.  Barrera decided not to climb on board with the punch-in system, and that brings us to now, with another Patricia Barrera scandal.

The word fraud has come up with this case.  It's unknown whether any intentional malfeasance has taken place at the tax assessors office.  The only thing we know is that Barrera doesn't intend to let this go.  She may fight some more.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017