Saturday, March 21, 2020

Pandemic In Photos: Laredo


An online flier posted online by the health department. (photo via City of Laredo FB alerts)


El Metro accepting ten riders per bus.  Some seats are cordoned off to allow for space between passengers. (photo via Univision live stream on FB)



Grocery stores were encouraged to set aside hours for the elderly to shop. (photo via FB)


Schools started providing meals for students.  Parents were advised to Grab & Go.  (photo via Cigarroa H.S. Twitter)


Front page of the Times from March 17, 2020: first case announced.


Photo taken Sunday, March 15, 2020.  Customers lined up at HEB before the store opened at 8:00 a.m.  I walked to the store, just to take a picture.


TX-DOT reminding drivers to stay safe and healthy.

Friday, March 20, 2020

Coronavirus In Laredo: Timeline

February 26, 2020: Dr. Hector Gonzalez states that no confirmed cases of Covid-19 exist in our community.

Sunday, March 1:  LMT headline: Webb County officials say they are prepared for coronavirus. 

Tuesday, March 3: No plans for closures.  Dr. Hector Gonzalez: But at this time it is acting like a seasonal cold-like virus. 
Texas primary election: Super Tuesday

Wednesday, March 4, 2020: Health department staff members meet with LISD nurses.
Covid-19 hotline is set up by health department. 

Friday, March 6: No testing kits available locally. 

Sunday, March 8: city leaders travel to Washington, D.C. as part of their yearly jaunt.
LMT story: Jorge Vela quoted Dr. Hector Gonzalez: He pointed out that this is due to the fact that COVID-19 is no worse than the regular virus that causes the common cold and that 80% of people don't have symptoms and quickly recover. Therefore, large amounts of medical supplies are not needed. 

Monday, March 9: Texas Department of State Health Services present information to county commissioners regarding Covid 19. Attention is given to jail facility.

Wednesday, March 11: Tom Hanks and wife Rita Wilson quarantined in Australia after testing positive for Covid 19.  NBA season is suspended.
The World Health Organization declares Covid-19 a pandemic
City officials hosted "Laredo Day" in Washington, D.C.
City of Laredo officials: No state of emergency and therefore, there is no need for community-wide social distancing.
Grocery stores are seeing a run on: water, toilet paper, Clorox and anti-bacterial soap. 

Thursday, March 12: UISD statement: Family self-reported that they recently travelled to a European country.
2 patients at Doctors Hospital in isolation tested for Covid-19.

Friday, March 13: LISD teachers send extra work home with students, in case that Spring Break is extended.
Laredo spelling bee postponed.
Laredo College extends Spring Break one more week, until March 27, 2020.
City of Laredo: no confirmed cases of Covid-19; city events canceled for 30 days.
UISD cancels practices, the use of open courts, fields, weight rooms.

Saturday, March 14: The Tecolotes Dos Laredo's suspend preseason games, postpone regular season.
HEB stores close at 8:00 p.m.

Sunday, March 15: Announcement is made by city officials that 2 patients at Doctors Hospital tested negative for Covid 19.

Monday, March 16: First case of Covid 19 is confirmed by health department.  Person had not travelled to any hotspot areas.  Infection was classified as community-acquired.
TX-DOT announces that employees will start working remotely, starting on Monday.
Emergency declaration is announced by city and county officials.  The emergency management plan is set in motion.

Tuesday, March 17: City council convenes an emergency meeting. They vote on a 2-week lockdown. Residents are encouraged to stay home; grocery stores, pharmacies and doctors offices are allowed to stay open.
Facilities that are ordered to close are: bars, bingos, 8-liner joints and entertainment facilities.

Wednesday, March 18: Outlet stores remain open but foot traffic is minimal.
El Cenizo orders a lockdown.
Diocese of Laredo cancels services.
Laredo Police Department headquarters is closed for visitors.
Sheriff's downtown office limits visitors who want to pick up information, reports.
Rio Bravo issues lockdown order.

Thursday, March 19: County judge signs emergency order, restricts gatherings of more than 10 people.
City of Laredo launched text alert app for Laredoans to get Covid 19 updates.

Friday, March 20: Three people tested positive for Covid 19, bringing the total to 4, according to city officials.
The bridges didn't close, but non-essential travel was prohibited.

Saturday, March 21: parks were closed at noon to discourage groups of people from congregating.
Regular unleaded: $1.77 per gallon in south Laredo.
Laredo Federal Credit Union to be open only Monday thru Friday.

Monday, March 23: Schools started Grab & Go meals, providing food for students.
Two more people test positive for CoronaVirus, bringing total to 6.

Tuesday, March 24: City officials report 3 new confirmed cases, bringing total up to 9.
Mexican Consulate in Laredo suspends community activities.

Wednesday, March 25: Total confirmed Covid 19 cases is up to 13.

Saturday, March 28: at 12:01 a.m. shelter in place order to start, with partial curfew.

Sunday, March 29: 1st death from Covid-19 is reported in Laredo.

Monday, March 30: School districts extend break until April 24, 2020.  
LMT business section: Local restaurants battle to stay open under emergency order that allows only takeout.

Tuesday, March 31: Second death from Covid-19 is reported.
Governor orders schools to remain closed until May 4, 2020.  Only essential services to remain open.
City of Laredo holds meeting, installs curfew for all citizens from 10:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. and people should wear a face covering when going to public places. 

Sunday, March 1, 2020

The Outdoor Stage I Like


Webb County will embark on a major upgrade to LIFE Downs.

It's a unique place for the public to enjoy.  Not my kind of scene but I wish them luck.



Comment via press release:

Laredo, Texas – (February 28, 2020) – Webb County Judge Tano Tijerina along with members of the County Commissioners Court held a Groundbreaking Ceremony and officially unveiled plans for the new Webb County Fair and Expo.

Hundreds of attendees gathered amid the ongoing Laredo International Fair and Exposition. The sounds and aromas of the annual fair permeated the area while the Lamar Middle School Band welcomed attendees with their lively and familiar tunes. 

County Officials emphasized the importance of bringing everyone together as one of the many attributes of this new multi-purpose facility. The new Webb County Fair and Expo will support a wide variety of community events year-round. It will feature flexible and adaptable spaces for numerous civic and community events. It will be place well known for celebrations – where memories are made; a place that allows children to showcase their talents, abilities, and accomplishments.

“The Webb County Fair and Expo has been a top priority for me since taking office. For many of us, some of our earliest and fondest memories were made at the fairgrounds. It has served as a hub for community activities and involvement for years in Webb County. It’s time to reinvigorate this institution to its full glory so that our community and future generations in Webb County will enjoy the fairgrounds for many more years to come”, said Webb County Judge Tano Tijerina.

The venue is designed to host numerous events such as conventions, conferences, concerts, sporting events, graduations and more.

The new 140-acre project will be designed as a park-like campus with an efficient, visitor friendly layout with beautifully landscaped areas, professional on building and way finding signage. 

The new Webb County Fair and Expo will include new:

·         Main Event Arena
·         Banquet Hall
·         Two Exhibition Halls
·         Show Rings
·         Horse Barns
·         Stall Barns
·         Festival Grounds and Outdoor Concert Stage
·         RV Park for Participants
·         Baseball Fields
·         Soccer Fields

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

The Inevitable Wall In Laredo


The newspaper screen shot above is from December 15, 2019.


Federal officials have released their proposal for the location of a fence -- it'll be alongside the river.  If that's true, if the border fence is constructed along the path of the Rio Grande, then the landscape that we've known all our lives will be dramatically altered.

No longer will we have access to one of the great wonders of the world.  The natural beauty of the world which is our tie to another nation will be obstructed by a heap of metal.  We will have given in to fear.  

Saturday, February 15, 2020

The Money Is Not Quite There Yet


Federal funds, which have not yet been secured, are being tagged for major work along Chacon Creek.  Henry Cuellar and city officials held a press conference, on February 3, to announce the millions of dollars that are expected to fund the creek's restoration.  Press conferences like these bolster everyone's image.  We're supposed to think that elected officials are constantly hard at work for the community.  Let's just hope everything falls into place.

$14 million will go towards flood risk management, which includes buying out about 73 property owners that have their homes too close to the creek, where flooding is prevalent.

The people whose homes are bought out will be allowed to relocate wherever they want and receive relocation assistance to help pay for their new home by taking into account how much their property is worth along the creek.  The process is expect to be all voluntary, but imminent domain can be used by the federal government for anybody that is reluctant to sell. 

(Jorge Vela, LMT)

Translation: nobody is going to get Canseco House, or downtown office building, kind of money for their property, not like political insiders are used to getting.  Residents along the Chacon Creek will be lucky if they're offered $150,000 for their homes.

I hope city officials, and the councilman representing this area, especially, are transparent in their dealing with the people that will be relocated.

Monday, February 3, 2020

A New Agreement


Mayor Pete Saenz went to Washington last week for the signing of the USMCA trade pact.  It's a revamp of NAFTA, apparently.  (photo appeared in the Laredo Times yesterday)


This clipping I found at the public library when I was scanning the microfilm inventory.

Sunday, February 2, 2020

County Dreams Big


Millions of dollars have already been spent on the design plans for the LIFE grounds upgrades.  Commissioners now want to put it up to the public in November to vote on moving forward with the development.  At stake in the bond election: a project that may cost between $40 and $80 million.

That will add to the county's debt and we don't know if they have the revenue to cover the daily upkeep of the proposed facilities.

Other projects that have been in the works for a while: rehab center, veterans museum, golf course hotel.