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

Wednesday, March 4, 2020: Health department staff members meet with LISD nurses.

Sunday, March 8: city leaders travel to Washington, D.C. as part of their yearly jaunt.

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.

Friday, March 13: LISD teachers send extra work home with students, in case that Spring Break is extended.

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.

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.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Grassroots He Ain't


Photo via Twitter

The primary is on March 3, 2020 and Henry Cuellar is in a mad rush with TV ads, mailers to constituents, social media posts, etc.  It's like nothing he's done before.  We have his challenger, Jessica Cisneros, to thank for that.

In the photo above, the Cuellar team throws around the word grassroots.  Rich, considering the corporate insiders that donate to his re-election.  There is nothing grassroots about Cuellar.

There have never been any town hall meetings to speak of.  He's never visited with voters in Laredo's older neighborhoods.  He's never made time for anything, except photo ops and a lot of personal boasting.  It's time for a change.


Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Chicken Buildings Gone


The building where Kentucky Fried Chicken used to operate out of is gone.  It was located on the corner of Bartlet and Laredo.


The KFC restaurant that was on Santa Ursula and Washington had a different design.


(image via Google Maps)

I remember the Santa Ursula location more fondly, because it was closer to my stomping grounds.  The building was demolished several years ago.  Now it's just flat surface area.

Monday, January 6, 2020

Different Worlds For Henry


Last week, a high-ranking Irani official was killed by an airstrike ordered by Donald Trump.  The death of Gen. Qassem Soleimani was followed by concern of the retaliation that would be directed at U.S. forces abroad.  Criticism of Trump arose from acting hastily and from not consulting Congress about the attack.  Henry Cuellar, currently in the middle of being primary'd, said this about the killing of Soleimani:

There is no doubt the record of Major General Gassim Suleimani proves he was an egregious and dangerous military leader.  Suleimani is responsible for the death of thousands of innocent civilians and threatened our national security.  The death of Suleimani could diffuse the power of the Quds Force and is a necessary step in combating the threat of Iran.  The administration should work with Congress to ensure we continue to protect our national security and international interests.

Cuellar went straight to the boogeyman description and rationale, instead of raising any concern about the inevitable pushback by Iran.  Republicans were doing the same in the days following the killing of Soleimani.


Today Cuellar was in San Antonio to speak of the millions of dollars that were dedicated for projects around military bases.  (Photo/story via the San Antonio Current.)

Cuellar was joined by Major General (Ret) Juan Ayala.

In San Antonio, Cuellar took on a different tone regarding the strike against Qassem Soleimani:

If there was an immediate danger, I can understand, but I hope the president will disclose that.  You can't just say that's the case and change the subject.  I'm hoping the president can be more cooperative.  My thing is the United States cannot be a lone cowboy and patrol the world.  

A different tone and a different posture from the congressman.  It's interesting how Cuellar appears deflated at his press conference in San Antonio.  In Laredo, when he has a press conference, there is a lectern -- sometimes emblazoned with a congressional seal -- and there are numerous local officials by his side, all fawning at the congressman's grand exploits.  In San Antonio today, he had to do with a retired military official and no props.

Cuellar is incredible at showboating when he's in town.  And local officials are all too eager to oblige him with his theatrics.  It seems that no one ever questions Cuellar's beliefs or his tactics.  Because of that, he can get away with a middling statement in regards to an act of war in our name.



UPDATE: I posted a tweet about Cuellar's press conference yesterday and Colin Strother took exception.


UPDATE on March 1, 2020: another tweet from Strother. This to show what an asshole he is.  Enjoy.