Monday, May 30, 2016

When Bad Goes To Worse

Bridge 1 vehicular traffic was diverted to the Lincoln-Juarez Bridge on April 29, 2016.  Renovations to the CBP work area will last a year or more.  Downtown merchants in Nuevo Laredo are already feeling the effects of the project: no traffic through Guerrero means less customers.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Another One Disappearing

A vintage photo of the first HEB in Laredo appeared in the Laredo Times on March 15, 2015.  The supermarket giant was commemorating its 110th anniversary.  The original store was situated on the corner of San Agustin and Farragut.  It took up about half a block.  Today the Times informed the public that the store is closing next month.

Photo by Victor Strife

HEB is citing market conditions and the need for extensive renovations as its reasons for closing the downtown landmark.  Store patrons will have to shop at nearby locations.  But it'll be tough since the store caters to a lot of pedestrian traffic.  Elderly residents in the downtown area depend on the varied goods that HEB has to offer; as well as downtown merchants and shoppers from Nuevo Laredo.

A store spokesman said it would provide complimentary bus tickets for those that live in downtown Laredo.  But is that really feasible?  The closest HEB from the Metro bus terminal is the one on Guadalupe.  The bus doesn't exactly stop at the store's entrance.  The public would have to cross a busy Chihuahua St. and Guadalupe St. to get to and from the HEB in the old Heights neighborhood.

Elected officials are planning to meet with store personnel to figure out what can be done to accommodate the downtown public.  But HEB is already thinking of relocating its 80-some employees to other stores.

For the sake of the downtown public, I hope a grocery store sets up shop after HEB is gone.  This may be an opportunity for another provider to meet the needs of those in the historic business district.  Whoever is there in the future, I'll be sure to show my support.

(courtesy photo)

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

More Rubble

Sirloin Stockade served customers until April 17, 2016.  Then it closed; then it was torn down.  A new restaurant will be built at the corner of San Dario and Hillside.

(photo via Google Maps)

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Laredo In The Movies

El Tiempo de Laredo ran an article on May 4, 2016 that detailed Enrique T. DelaGarza's involvement in the filming of "Eddie Macon's Run."  The movie, starring John Schneider and Kirk Douglas, was filmed in Laredo in 1981.  It's a story of a man running from the law, and trying to make it to the border of Mexico.  (Christopher Cross's "Ride Like The Wind" aptly fits the plot; but there's no connection to the movie.)

Mr. DelaGarza explained that it was by chance that he came to meet the movie's producer and director.  He went to visit a friend at the Chamber of Commerce when he was asked if he could help the movie-makers scout the city.  He obliged and the rest is history.

I've obsessed over "Eddie Macon's Run" on this site before.  But a casual blogger can only milk another post from an obscure flick for so long.  Mr. DelaGarza's input, however, adds some new perspective.  I'll be on the lookout for more updates from El Tiempo.

"Lone Star" also has a Laredo connection.  The 1996 movie features the grounds of Laredo Community College in a couple of scenes.  Unfortunately, it doesn't match EMR's nod to our fair city.  But a new feature film may do just that.

The trailer for "Journey" was posted on YouTube yesterday.  Click on the link to get an idea of the movie's plot.  (Hint: it's not about an 80s pop group.)

Our city is seen throughout the movie teaser.  There may be something to Laredo just yet.

Monday, May 16, 2016


The abandoned building pictured above used to be located right beside the bridge that leads to the Azteca neighborhood.

Same building: frontal view.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Brave Acts

Monday marked the anniversary of my father's passing.  The year was 1977.  I recall my mother waking us late at night to tell us the news.  I was in grade school then.  I have a vague memory of somebody handing my mom a folded American flag at the funeral.  (My father served our country in Vietnam.)  Apart from that, there's not much to tell about that pivotal time.

The details of how my father died have always been uncertain.  The official cause was determined to be aspiration.  But my mother didn't know if my father choked on his vomit after a night out drinking; or if he swallowed rain water after falling asleep somewhere near the downtown area.

My father wasn't always around.  Recollections of him are scattered and hazy.  His persona is patched together through a smattering of stories and a few photographs.  On occasion, my father worked in construction -- his specialty being brick laying.  According to my mother, he had a hand in building St. Patrick Church on Del Mar Blvd.  I know I've seen a photo of him wearing khaki work pants and tan boots.  But to this day, I don't know if the building trades was something he enjoyed or simply an accessible form of employment.

My father was far from perfect, but he had his moments.  Whether it was his commendation for being in combat, his contribution to society, or the helping hand he gave those he loved, he somehow managed to show signs of greatness.  One particular event that brought out the best in him was the time he had to carry his nieces home through flood conditions.  My relatives remember the story fondly, of the time one of their own acted like a hero.  My father, it's been said, walked several blocks through knee-high waters in order to get his nieces home.  My cousins were scared, but my dad reassured them that all would be okay.

There might actually be a newspaper clipping in existence showing my father and his nieces on that fateful day.  It may have taken place on May 10, 1972.  It's my mission to hunt down that photo.  It may not be that hard, given that old newspaper issues are on file at the public library.

My father didn't live long enough to boast about the things he did.  And unfortunately, I don't know if he was the kind to blow his own horn.  He had a lot of flaws, but he made up for it with honorable acts that most can't lay claim to.

I salute those who leave their mark on the world, as little as it may be.  (On the other hand, I don't appreciate those who live for the spotlight.)

Courtesy photo: City of Laredo.  [construction site at downtown outlet mall]

Reader submission:  Legend has it that an ugly baby was born before the flood of 1972.  The nurse said, "que bebe tan feo."  And the baby replied, "mas feo va estar el dia de las madres."

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

On This Day In Laredo: May Edition

May 1992 Miguel Angel Martinez enters prison, death row.
May 1982 Danny Valdez elected J.P.
May 1979 Brown Impressions Lowrider Car Club born.
May 1969 Quickie Bakery opened by Alfred J. Rodman Sr. 
May 1, 1954 J.C.Martin Jr. sworn in as mayor.
May 1, 1961 Dyana Ortelli born in Nuevo Laredo. Actress attended Ursuline Academy.
May 1, 2015 Civic Center Pool dedicated as the Dr. Cecilia May Moreno Aquatics Center.
May 2, 2014 Linda Ramirez chosen as temporary commissioner for Mike Montemayor.
May 2, 2016 Bridge 2 canopy (western) demolition starts.
May 3 Happy birthday Adrian Quesada, musician: Black Pumas, Grupo Fantasma 
May 3, 2002 Ed Perales passed away. (Unicorn)
May 3, 1784 Bathing in the river is regulated.  Only men could bath together with their wives or daughters.  Sanctions: jail for ten days and six pesos. (Life in Laredo)
May 3, 2014 Gringo Barrio plays at remodeled Jitney Jungle
May 3, 2017 Rep. Richard Raymond wears Tony Romo jersey at the capitol for Tony Romo Day.
May 4, 2017 City of Laredo unveils Bike & Ride Plaza at El Metro bus stop on Zacatecas. 
May 5, 1926 Dr. Joaquin Gonzalez Cigarroa Jr. born in San Antonio.
May 6, 2015 Bruni Plaza water fountain on again. (blog photo)
May 6, 2016 Fight between exes at the Peter Piper Pizza on San Dario.
May 7, 2015 Constable Rodolfo Rodriguez quoted by KRGV news: Those terrorists are getting ready to hit us again. I don’t know when, but I know they’re getting ready.
May 7, 1942 Federal government acquires Zachary Field to be used as Army Air Corps gunnery school
May 7, 2021 Martin High School's Melanie Duron wins shot put state title. 

May 8, 1919 Mounted Watchman Charles Lloyd Hopkins shot/killed by smugglers on banks of Rio Grande, near Laredo,TX. 

May 8, 1978 J.C. Martin indicted.
May 8, 1980 Juan Gilberto Guerrero Jr. died at Webb County Detention Center. Killed by lightning.
May 9, 2005 Steve Grinnell: “Laredo Town Center will be unlike any other development in this area.”
May 9, 2013 Richard Raymond’s Christmas Bill passes unanimously in TX house. (blog post)
May 9, 2016 Commissioners court votes against CY Benavides' landfill plan. John Galo abstains.
May 9, 2017 Danny Trejo in Laredo to give motivational speech to local students.
May 9, 2017 Kelly's Western Wear on Santa Ursula closing sale. (LMT full-page ad)
May 10, 1972 Flooding on San Bernardo (Woolco picture)
May 11, 1949 "Streets of Laredo" movie was released. 
May 11, 2015 (Monday) Patricia Barrera closed tax office in observance of Mothers Day.
May 12, 2003 "Killer Ds" (50 TX democrats) left for Ardmore, Oklahoma to protest redistricting by republicans.  Richard Raymond was among them.  
May 12, 2015 Ramiro Leal, owner of Retama Bike Shop, passed away. Father owned Leal’s Bike Shop on Convent Ave.
May 12, 2016 Elected officials sign steel beam at outlet mall construction site.  
May 14, 1991 Freddie Benavides debuts with Cincinnati Reds
May 14, 2016 Charter bus going to Eagle Pass casino rolls over on Hwy 83 north.
May 15, 1755 Villa de San Agustin (Laredo) founded.
May 15, 1868 Ursuline Sisters arrived in Laredo. Would teach the young. Opened St. Peters Memorial School in 1898.
May 15, 2016 Alberto S. Suarez passed away. Owner of Suarez Grocery Stores.
May 15, 2017 City Manager Jesus Olivares retires, effectively immediately. Mayor had proposed putting him on administrative leave with pay.
May 16, 2011 “Always A Reason To Celebrate In Laredo” slogan announced.
May 17, 2010 Band of Horses release “Infinite Arms,” includes ‘Laredo’ song.
May 17, 2011 Tape used to cover Nuevo Laredo, Mexico on I-35 sign.
May 17, 2012 Laredo Lemurs play their first game in Laredo. 
May 18, 2015 St. Peters neighborhood fire station closed to deal with mold and asbestos.
May 18, 2010 Tom Herring Sr. passed away.  Founded La Posada Hotel in 1960.
May 18, 2016 Body of woman found at Seven Flags Park, next to J.C. Martin Elem. 
May 19, 2002 Julia Vera appears in last episode of The X Files, “The Truth.”  She played recurring character Lana Chee.
May 20, 1936 Happy birthday Carlos Y. Benavides, Jr (passed away Dec 23, 2020) 
May 21, 1996 Explosion on north side of Walker Plaza. FBI offices located there.
May 21, 2017 Heavy rain storm hit Laredo. "Heatwave" Berler recorded 4" of rain.  Damage throughout city, and one death reported.
May 22, 2018 Rosie Cuellar (municipal court judge) beats Horacio Lopez in runoff election for county tax assessor.   
May 23, 2013 Frank Carter, former LPD sentenced for assaulting handcuffed man in patrol car.
May 23, 1983 The Clash play at the Civic Center. (ticket stub photo courtesy William Nericcio)
May 23, 2018 Border Patrol agent kills undocumented immigrant in Rio Bravo. 
May 24, 2016 Jesse Gonzalez beats Esteban Rangel in Webb Co. runoff election.
May 24, 2016 Two breakfast tacos at Stripes cost $3.88.
May 24, 2018 Three students from Cigarroa H.S. involved in crash on Hwy 59, one week before graduation. One died at the scene; a second student died later in a San Antonio hospital. 
May 26 YouTube video: 1946 Laredo – United States
May 27, 2015 Demolition of interior River Drive Mall started.
May 28, 2015 Man with big cross in downtown Laredo. (blog photo)
May 28, 2017 Police nab driver of black sedan who injured 3 pedestrians at 3 different locations.
May 28, 2020 LMT headline: Plane makes emergency landing on Highway 59.
May (29) 2008 Trojan horse in Laredo (video). Old house moved to north Laredo ‘hood.
May 29, 1897 Yaqui Tribe No. 59 (Laredo chapter) officially recognized.

May 29, 1998 FBI raids D.A. Rubio’s office.  5K files seized.
[[May 30, 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo ratified by Mexico; Laredo now part of U.S.]]
May 30, 2019 St. Peters Catholic School hosts an open house event, marking the last day of existence.
May 31, 1938 Radio station KPAB established with studio on 4th floor of Hamilton Hotel.
May 31, 2017 Judge Palomo grants injunction against Bender Hotel's owner. (safety hazard)
May 31 Happy birthday Armando "Max" Cisneros; passed away December 13, 2020 at the age of 64

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

We Can Guess Who Gave Money

Pictured above is a partial list of donors who gave money to the City of Laredo so they could go to Washington, D.C. in 2012.  Questions are being asked again about the solicited donations for this year's trip.  City hall, however, is dragging its feet on releasing the list of donors.  All they are saying is that the city's legal department sees nothing wrong with taking money from local businesses and business people to use for an extravagant outing to the east coast.

Last night, city hall authorized staff to give Civil Engineering Consultants a contract.  These consultants have donated to the city before.

City hall also considered giving Sepulveda Associates Architects, Inc. a hefty-priced project.  They've been known to help out the city before.

We may never see the list of donors for 2016, but we can guess who paid for the city's food, alcohol, lodging, etc.

UPDATE on 5/5/2016:  Our Laredo got the list of businesses that contributed money to the city.  Accordingly, some of those businesses were awarded city contracts by city council at Monday's meeting.  See list below.