Friday, February 19, 2021

Laredo's February Freeze Timeline

Temperatures took a dive last weekend as a result of an arctic blast phenomenon that affected all of Texas.  Laredoans were excited about the possibility of seeing snow fall -- a welcome change for locals that are used to an abundance of hot weather.  The situation quickly soured as roadways were closed off to drivers and the power went out.  

Our secluded border hamlet has seen extreme weather events in the past.  This was something else.  

Sunday, February 14, 2021: The high was 35 degrees fahrenheit and the low was 18.  TxDOT started treating I-35 as ice was expected on roads.  Some overpasses were closed by city officials.  We were advised to conserve electricity and to expect outages.  Shelters that became available for the public were: Bethany House, the Salvation Army and the Holding Community Center.  Snow flurries were spotted throughout town.  A multi-car pileup occurred on Loop 20 after dark, near the City Hall Annex building. 


   (Icicles formed on my roof Monday morning.)


Early Monday morning (February 15), residents started reporting power outages.  State officials and the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) told people to expect rolling blackouts to prevent strain on the system.  The lights didn't come back on for millions of Texans.  

The City of Laredo opened the Sames Auto Arena as a warming center, providing shelter from the cold.


In Tuesday's Laredo Morning Times (above): 2 million Texas households without power as massive winter storm drives demand for electricity (Texas Tribune).

Weather and resulting road conditions lead to closures. (Jason Mack)

Rolling blackouts occur throughout Laredo on Monday. (Danny Zaragoza photo byline) 

Brindan asistencia a la comunidad: alrededor de 25,000 casas y negocios sin electricidad. (Julia Wallace)

Extienden cierres por bajas temperaturas. (Malena Charur)


Wednesday, February 16, 2021 issue of the Laredo Times:

Icy weather has big impact on Laredo, Zapata areas

Officials issue update on electricity, water. (Christian Alejandro Ocampo)

Zapata County faces boil water notice, lack of power (Julia Wallace)

Bethany House nearly full as frigid weather strikes. (Jorge Vela)

Council meeting postponed due to power outages. (Julia Wallace)

Laredo schools adjusting to frigid weather's impact. (Christian Alejandro Ocampo)


Thursday, February 17, 2021 issue of the Laredo Times:

Outages could last for days longer in Laredo area. (Julia Wallace) 

Laredoans rush for gas against LPD's warning. (Danny Zaragoza photo)

Texans asked to stop dripping taps as nearly 12 million face water disruptions. (Texas Tribune)

Sheriff's office gives out food, water; blanket drive underway. (Cesar Rodriguez)

Abbott doesn't know when Texans will have water or power. (Texas Tribune)


Our leaders: 

Governor Greg Abbott blamed the outages on frozen windmills and the Green New Deal.

Rick Perry said that Texans would rather freeze than impose regulations on Texas' energy grid.

Ted Cruz flew to Cancun with his family and left his dog home alone. 

Beto O'Rourke, with volunteers, made calls to check in on people without power or water.

Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez raised more than $3 million dollars for Texas; visited Houston.   


Tuesday, February 9, 2021

Covid Vaccination Laredo Texas

 


Laredoans looking to get the vaccine to fight Covid-19 have to register at VaccinateLaredo.com.  Those without computer access can call 311 for assistance.  If you're lucky enough to get through, you'll be asked to provide your: name, date of birth, address, telephone number and email.  You'll also be asked to select the location and time for the vaccination, and if you belong to the 1A or 1B group.  

Once you finish, you should get a confirmation for the appointment.  Sites for the drive-thru vaccine clinics have been: select LISD schools, select UISD schools, the arena and Laredo College South. 



(courtesy photo)

At the vaccination site, wait times can be between 30 minutes and one hour.  Make sure you have an ID.  Staff has a list of the people who have an appointment at each particular site. 


Once in line, you will have to fill out and sign a consent form.  Your basic information is required, including your mother's maiden name.  Be sure to fill out the space for your phone number; staff may use that to call you with a reminder for the second vaccine dose.


On the vaccine checklist, you'll be asked about previous vaccine allergies, the use of blood thinners or immunosuppressive drugs, and if you've had Covid-19 in the past.  Having a doctor's order for the vaccine  helps staff determine whether it's safe for some clients to get vaccinated.

The vaccine is injected in the deltoid muscle, in the upper arm.  Wearing a short sleeve garment helps to access the injection site.  

You will be given a vaccine card that includes: your name, date of birth, the type of immunization (Moderna, Pfizer), the date of vaccination, and the date to return for the subsequent dose. 

After receiving the vaccine, you'll be directed to an observation area to be monitored for fifteen minutes or more.  Staff should be available to treat serious side effects, such as severe rash, shortness of breath, chest pain, dizziness, etc. 

 

Sunday, January 17, 2021

Laredo Texas Wildflowers

 


January 15, 2021:

Creeping Buttercup (upper left)

Daisy

Mexican Hat


Sunday, January 10, 2021

Capitol Attack Aftermath

 


Rep. Henry Cuellar was at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday when Republican extremists stormed the building to contest the certification of the Electoral College votes.  Congress and their staffers had to go into lockdown mode.  Capitol police did their best to repel the angry mob of thousands.  However, their preparedness and handling of the invasion is being called into question.  Many are raising concerns about the lack of forethought put into that day, considering that Donald Trump held a rally that morning for his maniacal supporters.  He, Rudy Giuliani and Sen. Ted Cruz used inflammatory language to rile up the masses, spewing their thoughts about an illegitimate election.  The result was an attempted coup.

In today's Laredo Times story by Jorge Vela, Henry Cuellar labeled the Capitol attackers as traitors and agreed that impeachment is necessary to remove Trump from office, even though time is running out and Joe Biden is set to be sworn in on January 20, 2021.  

Local party chairs expressed their concerns with the Times on Thursday (J. Vela story/photo above) 

Democratic Party Chair Sylvia Bruni: We've had a man in the White House who has spent four years sowing anger and distrust for our country's political system, for the rule of law, for the people's voice.  And (he's grown) more and more desperate as the time comes for him to face what's waiting for him outside the protection of his office. 

Republican Party Chair Tyler Kraus echoed Bruni's sentiments in calling the attack "grotesque" and "a slap in the face to our democracy."  But he wasn't going to lump the mob with the Republican party. 

What the political leanings of these people are, I don't know.  I know that they said that a lot of them were waving Trump flags, but I really hope that these people don't call themselves Republicans, as they are not really Republicans as far as any of us are concerned.  They are just radicals, and they should be charged criminally for what they did.  And that is our view as the Webb County Republican Party.  

Regarding Donald Trump:

I think he really has a good chance of running for president again in 2024.  I think he really has a large base, and I can attest to that from even my own county of Webb County.  If not, he is still going to have a really big impact in politics and policies to come, as his voice is heard, and a lot of people tune into the president and hear what he has to say.  I think he really has still a lot of pull politically in our country.

Twitter pulled the plug on Donald's feed, so I don't know what kind of voice he's going to have.  And legal problems may be on his tail as soon as he leaves office.  If we hear about Trump in the future, it may be from the media reporting on the probability of jail time for the one-term disaster.

It's amazing that Tyler Kraus dismisses the possibility that those that invaded the Capitol were Republican voters.  Extreme as they were, it should be acknowledged that they were Republican; the social media feeds of those who have been arrested shows it.  Their rhetoric matches what Trump and Ted Cruz have been saying all along.  The language of Fox News talking heads matches what these nuts believe.  If Kraus doesn't want to own this, then it's on him.  I mean, for chrissakes, he still supports Trump after EVERYTHING that has happened.  

One of the greatest ironies is that Republicans are the ones calling for unity now.  


The red caps with the words Make America Great Again should be identified as a symbol of extremism.  Donald Trump invented that and it should be lumped in with all the other trappings of modern-day extremists: the Stars and Bars flag, the slogans "Don't Tread On Me" and "Come And Take It"; open carry; military gear and attire in public settings; overt religious tones conflated with politics.  All of it stormed the Capitol on Wednesday and it should be a red flag for authorities.  There is no more room anymore for: we never imagined this would happen.

To be a Trump supporter is to be an extremist.  To make excuses for what happened on Wednesday at the Capitol is crazy.  There is no gray area to what occurred this week.  There was an attack on our Democracy and duplicitous thinking, benign as it may seem, is dangerous.   



Saturday, January 2, 2021

A Shot To The Arm

 


(not my photo)

Hospital workers got the Covid-19 vaccine on December 17, 2020.  


(Also not my photo)

Sheriff Cuellar received his vaccine on December 30, 2020.  


Vaccine drive was held today for health care workers. 

Friday, January 1, 2021

Four Won Their Races

 


Alyssa Cigarroa is the new council member for District 8.  She beat ass face Roberto Balli in the December 12 runoff.  Cigarroa was sworn in on December 23, at the outlet mall parking lot; an ideal situation considering there's a pandemic going on.  


 District 5 victor was Ruben Gutierrez Jr.  He edged out Nelly Vielma.  Gutierrez promised to make a change and make a difference.  Nice words, except that he took tens of thousands of dollars from the police and fire union PACS.  And for his swearing in ceremony, he went along with having the event in council chambers.  (see pandemic)  Not expecting much from Gutierrez.  His penchant for monogrammed shirts and male cleavage are a red flag.  It doesn't look like he's about making changes and making a difference. 


Vanessa Perez will be taking over George Altgelt's seat.  She beat Betty Flores, who may or may not actually live in District 7.  Perez was sworn in on December 30.  She said she will give her new job "full-time focus."  (me staying quiet)


And Squiggy's illegitimate love child Alberto Torres won his re-election bid.  His swearing in ceremony was attended by Anna Galo, Father Tom Juarez and County Judge Estanislado Tijerina.  Good to know he rubs elbows with a political patron and two homophobes.  

Not a good year for attorneys on council: Altgelt, Vielma and Bali.  Altgelt had had enough; Vielma didn't have enough; and for Bali, well, enough is enough. 

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Person Of The Year: El Balli


Laredo attorney and man who pronounces his last name like that of an Indonesian province, Roberto Balli, is this year's Person of the Year. 

Earlier this month, Balli was dealt a crushing and well-deserved blow to his political career: he lost his re-election bid to a write-in candidate.  Sure, that candidate came from a respected family and had plenty of resources to beat an unscrupulous incumbent, but those are the breaks in local politics.  Serves him right.  Balli treated his female challenger with the same contempt that Henry Cuellar used against Jessica Cisneros.  There was nothing honorable about his attitude.  

But apart from his boorish behavior, Balli was embroiled in a scheme that should be a topic of discussion today.  People went on record to state that the former ferret face council member, along with firefighter union members, solicited votes from District 8 residents as they went around distributing bags of food. The food packages were paid for with federal money.  Balli, of course, denied the allegations that his actions were nefarious.  That plan failed to win him another term; he is now history.  

Far be it from me to drag Balli's good name through the mud.  I mean, it's not like the man did the same thing before -- rounding up needy people and showering them with gifts, in return for their votes.  THAT'S NOT HIS M.O.!!!


Balli's legacy as District 8 council member does have its merits.  He hosted a mean movie night event at St. Peter's Plaza.  He installed a gym space and food panty-like store at the Southern Hotel, after the downtown HEB closed.  He signed a steel beam for the outlet mall downtown.  He landed on the FBI's target list of public officials suspected of corruption.

And he went along with buying expensive property from political insiders, instead of pushing for the use of vacant, city-owned spaces for the relocation of the Planning & Zoning Department.  Oh! and he named a downtown building after his campaign manager.  

Balli kept busy.  But now he can ride off into the sunset and rest on his laurels.  He can take a load off from having to constantly insist that he really did live in District 8, and not at his lavish north side estate.  He can let go of having to keep public records private, because he used to be a highfalutin attorney and NOT because it showed that he was using a fake homestead address to gain favor.

Balli did more dubious things in his short stint than most politicos do their whole careers.  And it looks like he'll go unscathed.  I would say so long to him, but I have a feeling we haven't seen the last of Roberto Bali.  Thanks for the memories, sir.  You showed us how the game is played.  The old patron system is long dead, but you kept the spirit of their immoral character alive.  And for that, you are La Sanbe's Person of the Year.  

Bravo, Mr. Balli, or Bali, or whatever the fuck your name is.