Thursday, March 31, 2011

A Day Of Things

Today marks sixteen years since Selena was gunned down by Yolanda Saldivar.  And seven years ago today, Air America Radio debuted.  Personally, I had a bowl of cereal this morning.

Injured Person

Que Fregados tells us about the recent commotion going on in the downtown area, including the news that a person jumped off the bridge that leads to L.C.C.  Word is that it was a student.  We'll post more as details become available.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Laredo Gets Mentioned

On Bravo's "Watch What Happens Live" Top Chef finale special Wednesday night, my wife's random Facebook question made it on air.
Annie from Laredo, TX says:  Richard, do you use any cooking ingredients as your hair product?
My wife is a big fan of Top Chef.  She's still in shock that they found her question and actually used it.  FYI:  Richard Blais was the winner of Top Chef All-Stars.

To Pay Or Not To Pay

County wants to pay contractors for weatherization work done to private homes.  But staff needs to find out, case by case, if contractors did adequate work and if they went through the proper channels to get hired and get reimbursed.  County Judge Danny Valdez:
My concern is:  the contractors went out there, did the work that was requested.  And yet, they're going to have to wait or be penalized because of the actions of others.  So that's why I'm most concerned about this issue -- that we got to move on it.  We got to make sure that the contractors that did the legitimate work, that went out there, and did what they were supposed to do, you know, get paid...
Yeah, except county staff is going to have to take its time.  Sorry.

 

Not So Secret Order

How is it a 'secret order' if CNN is shooting out Tweet-asos about this?

Breaking News
President Obama has signed secret order authorizing covert support for Libyan rebels, Reuters learns

Schools

City businesses get design contracts

By Nick Georgiou
Laredo Morning Times
Published: Wednesday, March 30, 2011 4:03 AM CDT
Of five competing companies, Laredo-based firm Cavazos and Associates Architects was tapped Tuesday night to redesign Nixon High School, while fellow city company Frank Architects will design the new home for the Vidal M. Treviño School of Communications and Fine Arts.
Good for Nixon.  The area has seen quite a bit of construction in recent months.  There's a new water tank going up near the school.  The overpass on Guadalupe St. might be completed later this year.  And Mercy Hospital lays waiting.  Still....
Viviana Frank, of Frank Architects, said the Nixon High redesign and the new VMT will be a “beacon” of the Heights neighborhood.
We'll see about that.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Town Hall Meeting Thread

Tonight's town hall meeting at San Agustin H.S. was well attended.  And I think that was good considering all the city staff that made it out to the event.  District III showed up and it was a pretty tame gathering from what I've seen in the past.  Heck, even P.D. got props.

Councilman Alex Perez went over some projects that have been completed and spoke about projects that are on the horizon.  Here's a list:
  • Graffiti removal in the Heights area
  • Demolition of house next to Canizales Gym
  • Planned splash parks for Slaughter Park and Sta. Rita area
  • Planned train for Slaughter Park (similar to one at Brackenridge Park - S.A.)
  • Plan to open part of Lamar M.S. and Ryan Elem. campus for public use
  • Bring blue bin recycling program to District III
  • Assist with the development of the old Mercy Hospital building
Councilman Perez made it clear that the City of Laredo would not take any ownership of Mercy.  Chendo Carranco, who was present, is the owner of the property.  He stressed that the city has been very supportive in seeing that the building is used to its fullest potential.  

Mr. Carranco has made contact with federal agencies that could aid in the property's rebirth.  One idea was to use the building as a training facility for law enforcement entities.  Another was to turn the building into condo units with commercial property included.  The building has to be developed as a whole and not piecemeal, he said.

Some changes are certainly coming to District III.  For some we'll have to be patient.

People And Places


Dan brings to my attention the story of One Square Mile, a series that features people within a certain geographical location. 

Carl and Betsy Crum (pictured) have traveled far and wide for the work they do.
Some of you are probably lucky enough to have visited the places they've visited.

Austin was one of their pick cities.  I've been there.


Bad News County

By Andrew Kreighbaum
Laredo Morning Times
Published: Tuesday, March 29, 2011 1:41 AM CDT
Webb County Attorney Anna Cavazos Ramirez said the county may not be reimbursed by the state for any outstanding claims from the Weatherization Assistance Program because of shoddy documentation and paperwork.
Should the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs make that decision it would further place in doubt payments to private contractors that have already been delayed for months.
Reimbursement for five local contractors comes in at under $1 million.  Commissioners want to avoid any lawsuits but the county doesn't have $800,000+ budgeted to pay them.  Even though some people legitmately qualified for weatherization services, the state is not going to ante up because proper procedure wasn't followed by CAA staff throughout.  County Auditor Leo Flores:
He said in many cases county investigators don't know if the required purchasing order was drafted before a contractor did work.  Instead, contractors in many cases received verbal or emailed instructions from a Community Action Agency case worker.
The money owed to contractors would either have to come from insurance or from the general reserve fund, according to Flores.

It looks like the county will have to pay up.  They might argue that shoddy work was done by contractors, or that somebody was not authorized to pay them.  But it's looking like the county is running out of options. 

What I want to know is who (or what process) selected the staff at CAA that started all this mess.  My curiosity is not so much to point fingers but to shed light on how things work around here. 

There's A Difference

Five Texas representatives voted against funding for Planned Parenthood and public radio, but supported funds for NASCAR.
But the five pro-NASCAR Republicans said there was a difference. Culberson said that while NPR and Planned Parenthood are ideological or partisan, NASCAR sponsorship is a "successful and proven" tool for military recruitment.
Well, of course it's successful.  People who sit out in the sun, drink beer, and watch cars go in a circle will say yes to just about anything. 

Monday, March 28, 2011

Late Monday Thread

I've had worse Mondays. 

Violence

11 more bodies

Army: Little info is known about deaths
By
Laredo Morning Times
Published: Monday, March 28, 2011 1:35 AM CDT
Nuevo Laredo awoke Sunday to the macabre sight of 11 bodies in the south side of the city.
This incident comes a day after a gun battle left three armed civilians dead and an arsenal burned, also on the south side of the city.

Golf Course Coming

Spread the word.  People have to know.
March 28, 2011 (Laredo, Texas) – The City of Laredo, Texas announced its selection of Connecticut-based golf public relations and event marketing firm On Course Strategies LLC to coordinate special events and public relations assignments relating to the Robert Trent Jones, II designed Max A. Mandel Municipal Golf Course.

“The Max A. Mandel Municipal Golf Course will be a shining light for the City of Laredo and we are proud to be involved in telling its story to a regional, national and international media audience,” said Jane Dally, managing partner of On Course Strategies. “Having a RTJ II design along the Rio Grande will be a draw for all golfers.”


The Max A. Mandel Golf Course is expected to open in November 2011.
Info. courtesy of the City of Laredo.



Could it be that this is what Laredo has been waiting for?

Sunday, March 27, 2011

A Beauty Of A Sunday

Here's a podcast about some things I read about (spelling bee champs, bicycle sharing programs, gambling and towed cars).  I'll provide the links below.

       

                       
   
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Bicycle sharing link.
Gambling link.
Cars being towed in Dallas link.

UPDATE:  there might be an issue with the podcasting host service.  I'll try to correct it later if it doesn't load for you.
  

Sunday Morning

Some calm, soothing Finnish metal from Turisas to close out the weekend.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Family Tree

The Genealogical Society held their March meeting today at the Laredo Public Library.

This month's presentation was offered by Rick Moreno, Ph.D.  His focus was, of course, the Moreno family genealogy.  But what motivated me to attend this meeting was Dr. Moreno's relation to Tomas Sanchez, the founder of Laredo. 

While he didn't focus too much on Sanchez, his talk proved to be valuable.  His goal was "to motivate everyone to look at the past, the present, and the future."  The experiences, memories, and possessions that families live with over the years should be documented to give them meaning and pass on for future generations, he thought.

Dr. Moreno and I talked family history and even old buildings in the downtown area being razed.
"And the reason you see those homes being torn down is because they've lost the richness of what that house stood for.  Now it's just become a material house and not a home."
Check out our talk.

  

Dems Unite

South Texas Democrats' summit is today


By Andrew Kreighbaum
Laredo Morning Times
Published: Saturday, March 26, 2011 7:05 AM CDT
Democrats from across South Texas will meet in Laredo today to discuss how the region can make its voice heard on upcoming legislative battles such as redistricting in Austin.

"Todos Los Dias Es Lo Mismo"

Pro8news reported on the continuing problem of trains blocking streets near the downtown area.  It was only until the mayor was irked enough (he had to wait like everybody else) that something was done.  Apparently he went out to look for the conductor and ultimately made a call to train officials.  That produced results.  Or at least, that's how our self-righteous leader wants it to look like.

Luckily for us who live in the Chacon/Heights area, an overpass is coming.  It'll help us avoid that same train that blocks downtown.  But what are those who have to get down San Bernardo to do?  That's a question to ask the mayor as he approaches the end of his rule.  It would've been a great thing to tackle - the train blocking traffic - during his eight years.  Unfortunately it looks like he's paid little attention to it.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Say It Ain't So!!!

Courtesy of the City of Laredo:
Laredo Municipal Court Judge, Rosie Cuellar Castillo and staff would like to invite all students, ages 17-21, to participate in designing a mascot and creating a name with a positive slogan promoting the obeying of traffic laws and safety in general. This mascot will be representing the court at numerous educational and civic functions on behalf of the court.  There will be two winners, one for the designing of the mascot and one for the creation of the name and slogan.
Don't they know the field is already too crowded. 

Oh, The Language

I was fixin' to sit down and enjoy an episode of Seinfeld this afternoon but, for some reason err 'nother, KGNS aired GAR Outdoor in its place.  I'm not sure what's going on at the Channel 10 studios but this could be an isolated incident.  Or it could be that the local show is moving up in the world -- getting too big for its britches.

I don't really mind since I've seen practically every Seinfeld episode at least ten times.  And I've never checked out GAR, so I said, what the hey?
What I found was a gem of an example in code switching.  Check out the video below.  For those who might have trouble following along, just call up a Laredo buddy and get the interpretation.  You're bound to get the scoop before too long.

Enjoy.

New Crop

Just as the Rock&Roll Hall of Fame must induct its legends, so must my alma mater.  If a movie is ever made of LaSanbe, perhaps I'll qualify to be a Tiger Legend.  For now, behold the new class of honorees.  (Picture courtesy of the LMT.)



Copyright Infringement Friday

Via the Imperial Valley News:

Laredo, Texas - United States Customs and Border Protection import specialists from the Laredo port of entry discovered yet another shipment of counterfeit handbags and electronics goods that allegedly infringed on more than a dozen trademarks and copyrights recorded with CBP and carried a retail value of nearly $290,000.

CBP import specialists from the Laredo Import Specialist Enforcement Team (ISET) team recently targeted a shipment containing handbags and electronics for an enforcement examination. During the examination, conducted at the Colombia-Solidarity Bridge, CBP import specialists and officers noted that the merchandise carried various brand names that are either trademark or copyright recorded with CBP, including brands such as SD, LG, iPod, LV, Hello Kitty, Louis Vuitton, Abercrombie and Fitch, Mickey Mouse, Winnie the Pooh and the Love L ve, L ve interlocking hearts trademark.

CBP import specialists detained the shipment pending verification of the possible trademark infringement. After the importer was unable to produce a letter of authorization for the use of these trademarks and copyrights, the ISET team seized the merchandise on March 10.

The merchandise included 102 boxes containing 1,466 card players, 368 woofers and subwoofers and 3,598 handbags infringing on a variety of trademarks and copyrights recorded with CBP. The merchandise has a combined domestic value of more than $6,000 and a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $289,710.

“This is a large shipment of electronics and handbags that our import specialists discovered had infringed on more than a dozen trademarks and copyrights,” said Joe Uribe, acting CBP port director for Laredo. “It underscores the importance of CBP enforcing intellectual property rights law to protect not only the rightful trademark holder but the consumer as well.”
I just bought a refurbished netbook.  I bought it from a reputable retailer so I don't think I purchased a knockoff.  Or did I?!  No, it can't be.  I mean, the store isn't located downtown.  (Settle down, downtown; that was a joke.)

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Men Behaving Badly

It's sad to see George Lopez go down Carlos Mencia and Chris Brown territory. 

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Oh My

Pro8news did a piece on an item offered at McDonald's that's raising some eyebrows.

Ed Asner In Laredo


I didn't attend the play at TAMIU tonight which featured TV legend Ed Asner.  But I heard his portrayal of FDR was very entertaining.  Did anyone go?

Rally!

Alex Perez has planned a meet-up with his peeps.
Keeping his constituents informed about ongoing projects that affect his district is very important for City of Laredo District III Council Member Alex Perez, Jr. For this reason, Cm. Perez will hold a town hall meeting to discuss neighborhood issues specifically affecting District III residents. The meeting will be held at on Tuesday, March 29, 2011, at San Agustin High School Alumni Center, located at1300 East Galveston, starting at 7:00 p.m. The entrance to this building is located through Guerrero and Loring Street. Parking will be available. Residents of the neighborhood, as well as the entire district, are invited to attend.


“As council member for this district, I promise to continue working to improve our district,” said Cm. Perez. “District III is in need of improvements. This meeting will allow us to update the community about projects that will take place and any issues of concern for my constituents.”
District III is my area so I will definitely be there.  Kudos to Mr. Perez for making himself available to the public.  I don't expect things to get crazy but I will have a camera ready in case somebody gets knocked out.  See video below to find out what I'm talking about.


Menso, Not Mensa

A local man did his best to further give middle-aged men a bad name by driving his kids to school drunk.  Luckily nobody was hurt.  It still amazes me that people of a certain age still get drunk.  I realize that it's an addiction but you have to be nuts not to see where this leads:  One night you're partying with your buds, the next you're coughing up blood.

But an intervention might not be necessary; Just look at what your kids are Tweeting or posting on their Facebook page.  If their not posting, 'dad just busted driving drunk with us in the car,' they're mortified and you need to make some lifestyle changes. 


Gimme Back My Son's SSN!!!!!

This is something:
A disk holding the Social Security numbers of thousands of current and former high school students in the Laredo Independent School District — a total of 24,903 — has gone missing, according to the Texas Education Agency.
The numbers were requested by the Education Research Center at U.T.-Dallas.  The last anyone can account for them is that they made a stop at the TEA office in Austin.  Where they went from there is anybody's guess.  Naturally this is going to upset the masses but one LISD official is not particularly moved.
Beckelhymer also added that, while he doesn't like "sharing" Social Security numbers, he doesn't think the fact that they're missing is "a big deal."
Rep. Richard Raymond displayed a little more emotion.
"Why the hell does UT-Dallas need Social Security numbers from kids in Laredo?
Good question.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Sitch Sinks


What's your take on this comedic performance?

It's Common Around Here

Just as stray dogs are common in Laredo, so are people smashing their cars into someone's property.  LaSanbe is going to have to keep track of all these events and file them under 'horrible drivers.'

Why Would He Say That?

I mean, we're talking about (Centerpoint Energy) fee hikes, right?
“I try not to allow fear to make decisions,” said Councilmember Charlie San Miguel.
Quote taken from LMT story which should've been entitled, 'I Don't Think He Knows What We're Talking About.'

Monday, March 21, 2011

911 Fee

The city manager talks about a proposed 911 fee that would benefit the county.  See if you can follow along.

It Can Be Done

All it takes is a little (maybe a lot of) commitment.
Things began to change in Mount Morris in 2007. That was when O’Connell quietly began buying up buildings — he now owns 20 — on Main Street. For some he paid as much as $140,000. Others he snatched up for $4,000 at tax-lien sales. Then he went to work. He restored the historic storefronts and interiors, cleaning the tin ceilings. He renovated the apartments on the second floors, bringing in fresh paint, oak and maple floors, new windows, nice bathrooms. He spent about $1 million on the properties, he says, and he expects, when all is said and done, to spend another million on renovations.
This might not be possible in Laredo but it gives us a hint of the possibilities.
O’Connell charges these businesses as little as $100 a month in rent, but he asks for things in return. He’s a longtime admirer of Jane Jacobs — he used to carry her classic book, “The Death and Life of Great American Cities,” around like a talisman — and he learned from her and other urban planners. O’Connell’s leases require businesses to leave their lights on at night, to change their window displays at least four times a year and to stay open one evening a week. “If this place is going to make it,” he says, “it’s going to be a community effort.”

Driving around the downtown area and San Bernardo Ave. this weekend I was disheartened by the state of disrepair most buildings find themselves in. 

A plan like Mr. O'Connell's could be put into practice here.  Unfortunately those with the means tend to do other things with their fortune, like go into politics.




 

An Actual Attraction

Fishermen angling for catches in Zapata

By DUDLEY ALTHAUS
HOUSTON CHRONICLE
Published: Monday, March 21, 2011 6:18 AM CDT
Casting aside warnings of deadly peril and the ongoing gunbattles just across the water, anglers are pouring once again onto Falcon Lake, the border reservoir that many insist offers the finest bass fishing in the world.

Good for Zapata; They've got something that keeps the people coming back for more.  Perhaps we could learn something from them.  I'm not suggesting trying to copy what works for them, but instead, focus on what could work for us.  We need to develop our natural infrastructure to attract outdoor types.  Kayakers, mountain bikers, and bird watchers need to feel like this is the best place in the world to do their thing. 

Council Meeting Tonight

Charlie San Miguel wants to ask police authorities if any gun safety measures are being presented to the public.  His concern stems from the shooting death of a boy two weeks ago.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Ten O'Clock

I see the moon up in the sky but nothing's happening.

We Must Go Solar

Carlos Blanco wrote in to the LMT Editorial page.  Here's an excerpt from his letter.

Why are we waiting so long to take the renewable energy plunge?

If we wait any longer, the current pricing of $3.50 a gallon for gasoline will be a thing of the past and $10 will be the norm.

Understandably, we all love the roaring of our car’s engine and the magical manner in which we apply pressure to a gas pedal and the car takes off.

However, engines can roar and run just the same on bio fuels and liquefied petroleum gas.

Laredoans, we allow Big Oil to dictate how much we pay at the pump.

Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.

We, as Americans, can finally put an end to the fossil fuel dependency.

It can be done, but we need to pursue renewable energy sources with a passion so we can put the fear of God into Big Oil and legislative big oil supporters so that, in turn, green energies can be pursued.

The energy is here! And it’s solar energy.

Solar energy is free.

Yes, that is right: It is free.

It is also abundant, nearly continuous and pollution-free.

Because of this, many developed nations such as Germany and Japan are leading the U.S. in solar energy.

Big Moon Saturday

Hello, Laredo!!!

It's great to be back.  I missed you and I hope you missed me.  To show my appreciation, I give you:  sunless Saturday podcast.  Arriba!

       

                       
   
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Thursday, March 17, 2011

Alert


We interrupt today's regularly scheduled program to report a house floating down the ocean..

Kitchens for the Outdoor


It is spring break. As a true Laredoan I cooked out yesterday. I thought I was pretty good with my Home Depot grill until I looked around and realized that some people really put some time and effort and money into their outdoor kitchens.

Pura palapa all the time.

In my case its just about getting the meat and sausage grilled. Some neighbors break out the shish ka bobs and everything in between.

Maybe for next year.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Name the Team Contest

SPECIAL TO THE TIMES
Published: Monday, March 14, 2011 1:13 PM CDT
Ventura Sports Group, the partnership bringing independent baseball to a new state of the art $18 million baseball and multi-use stadium in Laredo, has announced the finalists in the Name-The-Team contest.

The six finalists are: Javelinas, Lynx, Lemurs, Lobos, Generals and WhipTails.


Damn. I guess La Sanbe's entry--Los Flojos de Laredo--did not make the final cut.

Teal

Soothing to the eyes or an eyesore?

Car Wash


It's Spring Break. Make sure you wash your cars.

Downtown Sign


Like the sign says.

La Colonia



La Colonia Guadalupe in case you didn't know.

Silver Spurs


The Silver Spurs Dancers are in town for a clinic. Just an FYI.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Lanier High School Fiasco


Just to show you anti Hispanic feelings are alive and well in Texas, let's go to San Antonio Lanier High and a recent basketball playoff game against Austin Cedar Park.

Read what the San Antonio Express News had to say:

Some basketball seasons are legendary at Lanier High School for the winning ways they've ended. This year's march to the University Interscholastic League's state 4A finals will be remembered for the Voks' hard work on the court, certainly, but also for something that never should have happened — not at a sporting event, not anywhere.

The TV website kens5.com first reported the March 4 incident that took place at Blossom Athletic Center's Littleton Gym, the site of the Voks' unsuccessful regional game against the Cedar Park High School Timberwolves. According to the account and to several people I talked to who were there, a group of 15-20 Cedar Park students hurled disparaging cheers at the Lanier team, teasing the boys for their Hispanic ethnicity and questioning their citizenship.

Lanier Principal Miguel Elizondo said the first of a series of chants began late in the first quarter, after a Cedar Park player scored. “USA, USA, USA,” the students shouted.

“I thought that was the kid's nickname,” Elizondo told me Friday. “But when it continued, I knew it was something else.”

You need only look at the basketball team's all-Hispanic roster to understand what that “something else” was. But in case the jeers had missed their mark, the Cedar Park students continued with, “Arizona, Arizona, Arizona,” in apparent reference to Arizona's legislative assault against illegal immigrants and, “This isn't soccer, this isn't soccer.”

By Wednesday, the incident had drawn an apology from the Leander Independent School District and Cedar Park High School's principal, Barbara W. Spelman. And on Friday, San Antonio Independent School District Athletic Director Gil Garza filed a formal complaint with the UIL about the Cedar Park students' poor sportsmanship.

In her letter to Elizondo, Spelman relayed that Leander officials had addressed the students' behavior and planned to use the incident as a learning opportunity. Cedar Park, whose student body is mostly white, recently started a “No Place for Hate” organization, Spelman wrote.

I hope the lessons stick. The students responsible for the boorishness obviously need to learn empathy and respect — principles that are valued in the USA.

My concern is greater, however, for the Voks team. The assault they endured was relentless and degrading. I'm not so sure a Voks win that night would have been a salve. The insults weren't intended as motivation.

Voks head basketball coach Rudy Bernal has counseled the team, assuring them this pocket of ignorance wasn't representative of the entire Cedar Park community. Elizondo addressed the issue with the Lanier student body during Friday morning's announcements, essentially offering the same message. SAISD's top administrator for high schools, meanwhile, also met with the Voks team Friday morning in a meeting that featured Cedar Park's athletic coordinator on speakerphone again expressing apologies.

The close community support will help players get past the hurt and, with any luck, show them how to do so with forgiveness and grace.

“They understand that not everybody's like this,” Elizondo said. “If they don't think that, then everybody loses out.”

Getting Fit in Spring Break


It is day 2 of spring break. I have eaten fajitas, steak, pasta and a bunch of stuff that is not good for me but tastes all so good.

I could feel the waistline expanding as I type.

Time to get fit!

I will sign up for a gym membership, spend over a hundred bucks in fees, go for two weeks and then start eating fajitas, steak, pasta and a bunch of stuff that is not good for me but tastes all so good.

Budget Solutions


Bordertown Blues has posted a solution to the whole LISD/UISD budgetary mess. Bordertown Blues' solution? Eliminate all athletic programs and save millions!

La Sanbe expects a swift and thorough backlash.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Dry Cleaning

Its Spring Break. Be sure to clean your closets.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Laredo Railroad Crossings

KGNS featured a YouTube video of a man doing something very interesting:  he was lifting the train crossing barrier to let cars pass by.  Oh, and he was doing it for a small fee.  Take a look.



I don't know what I find more funny outrageous -- the man lifting the barrier for cash, or the man filming the deed, not giving the man any money, but crossing anyway.

Thanks for bringing this to our attention, John Q. Public.  And one other thing, you're under arrest for disregarding that train alert.  Have a good day.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Japanese Engineering

Lost in some of the news and pictures coming from Japan is some of the remarkable design, techniques and practices implemented in their buildings and infrastructure. Here is Japanese engineering put to the test and on full display.

Rally Trip

LaSanbe wishes a lot of luck to those going to participate in the rally tomorrow in Austin.  Educators will be travelling to the Capitol to protest the proposed cuts to education.  For those wanting to go, a bus will be waiting at the HEB Plus (Loop 20 and McPherson) early tomorrow morning; it will leave at 7:30 a.m.

And it looks like the Laredo delegation will have company, especially after Rick Perry said that the state is not responsible for layoffs at school districts.
Reacting to Perry's comments, some teachers and support staffers said Thursday they were angry and discouraged but mostly emboldened to publicly oppose billions of dollars of cuts in education.
Rally!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Webb County Gas

A reader brought to my attention the increased drilling activity seen in Northern Webb, and LaSalle County.  He's referring to the bounty that the Eagle Ford Shale has afforded the area:  jobs, infusion of money into small communities, natural gas deposits, wealth for land owners, etc.  In the previous post's comments section he wrote:
I am looking at how the oil boom in Encinal are missing Laredo. Several very large oil and gas yards on Oil Road (hwy 359) are moving to Encinal and surrounding cities with the new boom.
The Express-News brings up some attractive numbers.
Since the first well was drilled in the Eagle Ford in 2008 until 2010, oil and gas drilling has directly supported about 6,800 full-time jobs in the region, paid $311 million in salaries and benefits to workers and generated almost $2.1 billion in total economic output.
This all sounds exciting.  Next time I drive by Encinal, it might look like a totally different town -- all the residents are going to be driving Cadillacs and wearing fur coats, in July!!!
But all this sound too good to be true.  Que Fregados posted a story about a quake experienced in Alice, TX which was being attributed to drilling.  And LaredoTejas brought up the issue of "fracking" recently.  Fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, is the process used by drillers to get natural gas to rise to the surface.  Water, chemicals and sand are introduced into the (shale) rock at high pressures, thus breaking the material and allowing the gas to escape.

The video below explains the process and features the reactions of residents in North Texas.



A lot of people are making a ton of money off of this but it's coming with a price.  Thankfully, people are noticing.  Encinal and Cotulla might be experiencing a rebirth but at what cost?
Check out the trailer for "Gasland."  My favorite part is where the homeowner turns on his faucet and lights the water on fire.  Hallelujah!








 

What To Do

While new baseball stadiums and golf courses won't ruin us financially, we should set our sites on more practical ventures.  We should take advantage of our natural resources so we don't look like every other town in Texas.

Loss

Boy shot, killed

Victim died at friend's house; details scarce
By CÉSAR G. RODRIGUEZ
LAREDO MORNING TIMES
Published: Thursday, March 10, 2011 1:33 AM CST
Confusion reigned in a north Laredo neighborhood after a 12-year-old boy was shot to death at the home of a friend late Wednesday afternoon.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

This Trip They Speak Of

City pushes for funding in D.C. trip

By Andrew Kreighbaum
Laredo Morning Times
Published: Wednesday, March 9, 2011 1:54 AM CST
In their second day of federal lobbying, City of Laredo officials pushed for funds to staff border entry points and for an early warning infectious disease surveillance project.
The items were part of a raft of funding needs the city will emphasize in meetings with federal agencies during its annual legislative trip.
Laredo has already seen some success this week after the Department of Justice said it would fully fund 22 local police positions through the Community Oriented Policing Service program.

Of course, this is nothing new.  The COPS program has been helping Laredo since the 90s.
The City of Laredo has made it a goal to enhance the quality of life in Laredo by providing optimum police services. In 1995, the City of Laredo received a grant from the U.S. Department of Justice to begin the implementation of the Community-Oriented Policing (COPS) philosophy. Through this grant, the Laredo Police Department was able to hire six new police officers that concentrated on community policing initiatives.
And Henry Cuellar is none too shy from taking credit for keeping the COPS funding coming our way.
Washington, Feb 24 - Today, Congressman Henry Cuellar (TX-28) announced he voted to prevent 22 police officers with the Laredo Police Department from losing their jobs by supporting an amendment to H.R. 1, the Full-Year Continuing Resolution Act of 2011. The amendment ensures $298 million are made available to the COPS Hiring program across the nation, including the 28th Congressional District of Texas.
Frankly, I don't know what our city officials are doing over there, except for taking credit for COPS funding that's been there all along.

Done As Chief

El Manana reports that Rick Flores will not renew his contract as police chief in San Luis, Arizona.  Apparently, Flores caused quite a stir as chief that his vehicle was set ablaze at his residence.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

There's Trouble

Trouble comes looking for ranchers.
He says his Catarina ranch has attracted drug smugglers before, who continuously knock down fences as they look for a way to enter the United States.
However an encounter over the weekend between a neighboring rancher and smugglers turned violent, leaving him outraged and fearing for his life.
How soon before this news hits the neocon media?  It's got all the right ingredients for a juicy story:  ranch invasions, border communities, hard-working ranchers, evil smugglers.  Obama!!!



The LMT has a story on it too.

UPDATE:  (3/9/11)

Ranch hand: Man shot at me Sunday

By Denise Blaz
Laredo Morning Times
Published: Wednesday, March 9, 2011 1:54 AM CST
A ranch hand was shot at over the weekend as he was driving on an undisclosed property near the Dimmit County line, according to the Webb County Sheriff’s Office.
No injuries were reported, though there were at least three shots fired at him.

And the last line in the LMT story:

No casings were recovered on the scene.

The Week Before

Coastal communities must be making arrangements for spring breakers.  What could Laredo officials be doing to prepare for the throngs about to descend on the Gateway City?

It's new music Tuesday.  Lupe Fiasco has an album out.



Not Lupe's best tune but it's dancy.

Where's Duckie?


With all the Carlos Sheen insanity, El Duckie has gone quiet. That seems sorta surprising considering he was the co-lead on the same show. Well, never at a loss for words, Carlos Sheen(verguenza) has let his former co-worker have it. Here are Carlos' words for Duckie:

"Jon has not called me. He's a turncoat, a traitor, a troll. Clearly he's a troll."

.. and he didn't stop there, asked if Duckie should call now, Carlos went on:
"What's there to say? I'll tell him 'You're a little late. Goodbye, troll,' " said Sheen. "When I'm starring in multimillion-dollar films and he's begging me for a supporting role I'll say, 'You left me out in the cold with all of your guilt and stupidity.' "

Pobre buey. What should Duckie do now?

Field Trip Continues

Laredo officials lobby feds

By
Special to the Times
Published: Tuesday, March 8, 2011 1:04 AM CST
On its first day in Washington, the Laredo delegation divided itself into three teams: public safety, environment, and transportation infrastructure.
The public safety team was composed of Mayor Raul Salinas, Mayor Pro Tempore Johnny Rendon, City Manager Carlos Villarreal, Deputy City Manager Cynthia Collazo, and police Chief Carlos Maldonado. That team met with the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security.

Instead of traveling to Washington, city leaders should've stayed home to promote civility.  In their absence we've had people pointing guns at each other and ex-girlfriends menacing relatives with crowbars.
That's not going to do anything for Laredo's pride.  Our mayor and city manager should check out of the Comfort Inn, hop back into their coach seats and get back to doing whatever it is they do.

LaredoTejas has his own objection to this field trip.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Laredo Proud Campaign

City officials are encouraging people to come up with something that points to Laredo's pride.  Bordertown Blues has an idea for the contest.

Here's a video that used to air back in the early 90s.

Done

The effects of time.
Collins, who lives in Switzerland, adds: "I'm sorry that it was all so successful. I honestly didn't mean it to happen like that. It's hardly surprising that people grew to hate me." 
How can anyone hate him?

 

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Drugs?

Candies And Coke

Wow.  It looks like either Richard Raymond follows deLaredo or deLaredo knew something was coming down the pike.  Pro8news reported last night that Rep. Raymond wants to introduce a bill that would deny food stamp recipients from buying chips, candies and soft drinks with their Lone Star card benefits.  Take a look.



Yes.  It's only poor people that are driving up medical costs.  And for that, they can't buy any treats.

This is politics at its most cynical.  At a time when more pressing issues are before us, Raymond decides to penalize the poor because, or course, they don't deserve any of this.  Naturally, the majority of people are going to go along with his shortsighted plan out of pure spite.  And this will do nothing to curb childhood obesity and soaring medical costs.

Migration

It's for different reasons now.
“In general what we found is that maybe the reasons for Mexicans to come to the U.S. now include insecurity and they are not only related to economic factors and social factors — the common explanations,” Meza said.

Friday, March 4, 2011

High Profile

KGNS reported tonight on a rumor that Mayor Raul Salinas had been injured/shot.  The mayor appeared on camera to reassure everybody that he was fine.  In doing so he referred to himself as a high profile individual.

I don't think that makes it so just because it comes out of your mouth.

I hope KGNS provides the video of the story so we can all get some context. 

Downtown Laredo


Last week, the architects who were awarded the contract to work on downtown's revitalization presented some ideas to city council.  Some of the plans looked adventurous, like the one to create an underground passage for traffic heading to and from bridge two.

The marketplace sketch, pictured above, looks interesting.

Anyway, after the artwork was looked over, Councilwoman Cindy Liendo-Espinoza had some choice words for the architects.  Apparently there was a lack of communication and she tried to have this agenda item before moving on.  The majority of council voted to move on. 



You would think that she would be kept in the loop since a lot of the work being proposed is in her district.  After all was said and done, everybody promised to have more open dialogue in the future.  I hope that's true because I really want to see a fresher downtown.

Kudos to the councilwoman for speaking up.






 

Friday Thread

What's on your mind?

Thursday, March 3, 2011

No Aprende


Never count out the former county judge.  If there are votes to be had, you can bet that he's jumping in to the fray.  Unfortunately, the public at large wants nothing to do with him.

Anti-Union Sentiment

In an earlier post, Dan pointed to this video in the comments section:



Wisconsin, Ohio and New Jersey leaders are going at it with their respective public employee unions over benefit cuts to balance their budgets.  The derision directed at teachers has been especially fascinating.  Apparently there is little love out there for them.  That tells me that a lot of people didn't have a good experience being educated; and their bad grammar only reinforces my suspicion. 

With the news of the Laredo Bucks moving, we got this little nugget from the team's owner.  (via the LMT)
Late last week, Bucks owner Glenn Hart told Laredo Morning Times that a move to the CHL was under “serious consideration.” He cited the CHL’s “economic model” as its primary flaw, specifically noting the arrival of the players' union a few years ago that ultimately drove up costs.


Yes.  Everything that is wrong with the world can be attributed to unions.  The fact that a professional hockey team couldn't make it work in an arid climate had nothing to do with it.  Oh, and don't forget the average wage around here.  Forget that, it was the union

Road Trip

The City of Laredo will travel to our nation’s capitol, advocating for federal

funds and policy changes to help with various local issues in the community that have a
regional or national impact, such as health, security, environmental or water or
transportation issues. Because of the many relationships that have been established by
local leaders with U.S. senators and representatives, as well as the many federal agencies,
federal funds continue to pour into Laredo coffers to help fund various projects and move
the city forward. Leading the delegation will be Mayor Raul G. Salinas; Council Member
Esteban Rangel; Council Member Alex Perez, Jr.; Council Member Johnny Rendon;
Council Member Jose A. Valdez, Jr.; and Council Member Cindy Liendo Espinoza.

Big Announcement Today!!!

WHO: The City of Laredo and the Laredo International Airport

WHAT: New air service announcement
WHEN: Thursday, March 3, 2011
Arrive at 9:30 a.m. for press conference.
WHERE: Laredo International Airport

The City of Laredo sent out this press release several days ago.  What could it be?  Well, maybe it has something to do with this:
Allegiant Air will begin nonstop seasonal service between Laredo, Texas, and Orlando via Orlando-Sanford International Airport, May 20 through mid-August.
Cool, I guess. 

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Bucks Leaving

Odessa: Bucks are leaving CHL (Updated, 3/2, 11:51 a.m.)

By DENNIS SILVA II
LAREDO MORNING TIMES
Published: Wednesday, March 2, 2011 3:07 PM CST
The element of wonder appears to be gone. The Laredo Bucks are leaving the Central Hockey League for the North American Hockey junior league, according to a late-night report in the Odessa American.

I know a lot of friends and family who aren't going to be happy about this.  I'll leave it at that.

Tiger Blood Adonis DNA

Iguana eggs are said to be aphrodisiacs.  Perhaps this is what Charlie Sheen is high on.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Replay

Our leaders still have to pay the powers that be a visit to remind them of the importance of funding security measures.  You would think that some issues are agreed upon by everybody, that security gets a concensus.  Theatrics still have to be played out. 
Somehow we have to stop guns from going there and drugs from coming here.  Manpower is always brought up but I want to hear somebody say 'giant metal detector.'  I just want to hear something different in the discussion.

Fight

Two men arrested after dispute in bar restroom

By Denise Blaz
Laredo Morning Times
Published: Tuesday, March 1, 2011 2:24 AM CST
Two men were arrested by police early Monday morning after authorities allege that a shot was fired in the men’s restroom at Coyote Creek, a local bar and grill.