Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Sierra Club President Bill Addington writes:

"Borderistas & other friends:
You are invited to Michael Chertoff's Retirement Party in El Paso, Texas!
Of course Michael is NOT invited... Come and celebrate the last days of Michael Chertoff at the Chamizal National Memorial Park in our beloved El Paso- January 10!
I am proud to say my idea for Michael's Retirement Party has resonated. There will also be public Chertoff Retirement parties Jan 10 in Tucson, Arizona and Brownsville, Texas!

The end of DHS policies of "Muro de Odio" are hopefully near. May 2009 become the year of tearing down Walls and building bridges on our beloved frontera. Thank you for everything you all have done to fight for environmental and economic justice in 2008.
!Feliz año nuevo!
Yer friend,bill addingtonGuerra Farm & RanchSierra Blanca, Texas"

Monday, December 22, 2008

Soy de El Paso

Newmanistas (and everyone else in El Paso and everyone else coming to or wanting to know more about El Paso): check out Soy de El Paso, Patty Garcia's new blog. She describes her interest as "El Paso. Nothing else." And, in a recent entry she writes: "you know what’s even better than just getting it done? Doing it and doing it local." She is highlighting El Paso businesses, entertainment, culture, fashions and much more. Bookmark her blog . . . and do it local!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Cement Prices Holding Up NIP Project for Newman Park

Here's the good news: Newman Park is in the queue for new swing sets this spring. Likewise, our Neighborhood Improvement Project funds have been granted and a bid went out in November to put in the concrete pads needed for exercise stations and so forth. However, the bids that came in were over what the estimate for the project is by a bit over $5,000. City engineers believe that the reason for the difference is the price of concrete. That commodity did go up in 2008 especially during the month of November. We could take out items from our improvement plan or try to come up with the $5,000 that the City is short or we could wait and see if the price of cement goes down which is what City engineers think might happen in January. Obviously, it is better to wait and re-bid even if that holds our project up for a month more.

However, the cost of cement may not be going down at all. A spokesman for an engineering firm told me:
"We have not heard of any decrease in concrete coming up – if anything it may continue to rise. I don’t know where City engineers are getting that info. It’s true that contractors are lowering some of their other costs – like profit – in order to be more competitive. The City is just as capable of building a data base and tracking the cost of materials, and unit prices. Maybe if they did they would be more realistic about budgets versus wish list. But then who knows who they call to check prices – some of their buddies - or legitimate businesses."
The best that we can do right now is wait and re-visit this again in January.

The latest Portland Cement Association forecast of cement, concrete, and construction predicts a 12 percent decline in cement consumption in 2008, followed by another 6 percent drop in 2009. Consumption may be down but what about supply? With Jobe frantically supplying cement so that the border wall can be built, supply may remain fairly constant in our area. If so, prices will go up and not down.

Again, all we can do is wait a month and see.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Can Girls Compete?

Mayor Pro-Tem Susie Byrd asks an interesting question: Should girls under the age of 12 be allowed to compete on boys' teams? You can read her blog entry here. She has the following item on the next City Council agenda (December 23, 2008):
"Discussion and action on allowing girls under the age of 12 to play on boys' teams in city leagues . . . "
Go to her site and take her poll or just take the same poll on our site.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Art in the Park

Every now and then we discuss the idea of doing some really cool, permanent art at Newman Park. It doesn't hurt that El Paso has an ordinance that encourages public art and the person in charge of that committee is a Newmanista: Pat Dalbin.
Here's what many of us don't know: we are already blessed with the art of Luis Villegas here in our neighborhood. Lee and Bobby Byrd have been patrons of his art for a long time. Their front porch has a painted design by Villegas. Their bathroom has a ceramic tile snake design also by this great local artist. There is a Villegas mural in their backyard and now an old, dead tree became the medium for carved fish sculptures. Luis is also the genius behind the brightly painted Cinco Puntos Press building on Texas.

Recently the Byrds had a backyard party to honor Luis and to celebrate his art. El Paso photographer and blogger, Carolyn Rhea Drapes (aka "chacal la chaise") did a lovely entry about Luis and the party. She gave me permission to use some of her photos from the event on this blog as you can see above. (That's Luis with the grand, gray beard.)
By the way, Drapes is quite the photographic artist. Please see her flickr photostreams of her collections of scenes in and around El Paso. You can see her photographs from Luis' party here. There is now a permanent link to her blog from this site: El Paso Daily Photo Blog by Chacal La Chaise.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Prestigious Award Given to Newman Park Neighbor, the Honorable David Wellington Chew

Our neighbor, the Honorable David Wellington Chew was the recent recipient of the highest honor given by the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association: the Trailblazer Award. His Honor serves on the 8th Court of Appeals of the State of Texas. Sister and mountain climber, Linda Chew, presides over the 327th District Court. Their father, Wellington Yee Chew, was the first Asian Pacific American to be licensed to practice law in Texas. Here is the complete press release:

Contact: Denise Pacheco
December 2, 2008
(915) 546-2240

The Eighth Court of Appeals is pleased to announce that the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA), the national association of Asian Pacific American attorneys, judges, law professors and law students, announced the 2008 recipients of NAPABA’s highest honor, the NAPABA Trailblazer Award, at an awards ceremony on Friday, November 22, at the Experience Music Project during its 20th Annual Convention in Seattle, Washington. Chief Justice Chew was honored as one of the nine trailblazers for 2008.

The Trailblazer Award recognizes the outstanding achievements, commitment, and leadership of NAPABA lawyers who have paved the way for the advancement of other Asian Pacific American attorneys. Each year, NAPABA honors a member from each of its nine membership regions who meets these criteria. Awardees are selected by the regional governors and the affiliates of each region and represent diverse paths and achievements. Each of the award recipients has demonstrated vision, courage, and tenacity in their careers, and has made substantial and lasting contributions to both the Asian Pacific American legal community and the broader Asian Pacific American community.

Hon. David Wellington Chew – Southwest RegionChief Justice Chew is the first Asian Pacific American justice (1995) and chief justice (2006) of the court of appeals of Texas. He is the highest ranking Asian Pacific American elected official in Texas. Chief Justice Chew is the son of Wellington Yee Chew, the first Asian Pacific American to be licensed to practice law in Texas.

The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) is the national association of Asian Pacific American attorneys, judges, law professors and law students. NAPABA represents the interests of over 40,000 attorneys and approximately 57 local Asian Pacific American bar associations. Its members represent solo practitioners, large firm lawyers, corporate counsel, legal service and non-profit attorneys, and lawyers serving at all levels of government. NAPABA continues to be a leader in addressing civil rights issues confronting Asian Pacific American communities. Through its national network of committees and affiliates, NAPABA provides a strong voice for increased diversity of federal and state judiciaries, advocates for equal opportunity in the workplace, works to eliminate hate crimes and anti-immigrant sentiment, and promotes professional development of minorities in the legal profession.

Use Reusable Bags!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Holiday Safety Tips, Shoplifting, Auto Theft

"The El Paso Police Department would like to suggest the following holiday safety tips during the upcoming Christmas season:

Dress comfortably.
Lock your house when leaving.
Take a companion with you.
If shopping at night, park in a well lit area.
Use your credit card, carry as little cash as possible.
Don’t overload, you’ll expose yourself to theft.
When walking toward vehicle, have keys ready in hand.
Look inside vehicle prior to entering, front and back.
If you see any suspicious activity anywhere report it to security/police.

Merchants can avoid thefts/robberies during the Christmas Holidays by doing the following:

Have adequate staffing.
Legible signs/pricing will give you less distractions and explanations during peak hours.
Have security/loss prevention measures present.
If theft occurs, DO NOT GET IN THE WAY, let security/loss prevention handle the situation.
If no security, be a good witness, and get physical description, male/female, white/black, height/weight, clothing description, and vehicle description, if involved with direction of travel.
Call police for assistance, 9-1-1.


Take Your Keys. 50% of stolen vehicles in Texas have the keys in them.
Lock your car. 75% of stolen vehicles in Texas are unlocked.
Park in well-lighted areas.
Place valuables out of sight.
Use anti-theft devices such as alarms, ignition kill switches, locking devices for the steering wheel, or brake pedal.






Also register in the Texas H.E.A.T. Program (Help End Auto Theft).
By registering in the H.E.A.T. Program ,the owner of a vehicle gives Law Enforcement officers in the State of Texas permission to stop their vehicle between the hours of 1:00AM and 5:00AM to verify the ownership. Anytime the vehicle is crossing from Texas into Mexico, and law enforcement officers are present, the vehicle may be stopped to verify the owner knows it is going into Mexico.

Thank you.

Officer H. Slack #2106, CPO"

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Recycle Leftover Cooking Oil, Grease from Your Kitchen

Here's a press release from the Environmental Services Department of the City of El Paso:

Recycle Leftover Cooking Oil, Grease from Your Kitchen
Thinking of frying a turkey for the holidays? Not sure what to do with the leftover used cooking oil and grease?

Citizens can now take used frying and cooking oils to a City of El Paso Citizen Collection Stations. The City of El Paso Environmental Services Department has partnered with Global Alternative Fuel, LLC, to provide residents with a way to recycle used cooking and frying oils.

Residents should never wash cooking fats, oil or grease down the drain, as they can cause the sewer line to back up into your home or in the storm drains, which flow to our wastewater treatment plants.

The goal of the partnership is to convert the spent cooking oil and grease into biodiesel. The service is being offered as a pilot project. The service is free and available solely to residents, who pay a solid waste disposal fee to the City of El Paso. Used cooking oils from businesses, including restaurants, will not be accepted.

Residents can dispose of up to 15 gallons of used cooking oil per person, per visit to a Citizen Collection Site.

The sites also accept many household hazardous wastes, such as old paint, pesticides, and fluorescent lamps. For a list of household hazardous waste accepted at the sites visit or call 621-6700.
Citizen Collection Stations are open 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. They are located at:


The sites will be closed on Thanksgiving Day but they will resume operations on Friday.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Mayor John Cook's State of the City Address

At the Neighborhood Associations Coalition meeting this past Monday (November 17, 2008) we were fortunate to have Mayor John Cook join us and give us his “State of the City” address. It was so important to him to be with us that he was almost 2 hours late to his father’s 88th birthday party. I think that we are blessed to have John Cook as our Mayor – the man who says that he is “blessed” whenever you ask him how he is. (I threw him off when we shook hands. I asked him, “How’s it going?” He stumbled for his answer – with a smile, of course.)

You can see a final draft of his address. Here is my summary of his address given to the Coalition:

To become a great city we need to strive to have greatness in 3 areas:

1. A great downtown
2. Great parks and open spaces
3. Great mass transit

There are challenges facing El Paso:

Asarco: Because of plummeting copper prices, the lack of interest in the plant as an asset or liability, and a new EPA under the Obama administration, there is a good chance that this major polluter will not open again.

Ft. Bliss Realignment and Expansion: The upside is the creation of new jobs. The challenge is the need for more housing – apartments as well as single family homes. Because of the desalination plant, the water problem has been resolved. We also need more medical facilities and schools. Good employment opportunities for young people today include jobs in medical services and teaching and educational support.

Medical services have greatly improved with the 4-year Texas Tech Medical School here in El Paso. The new Children’s Hospital will be a big plus. The Medical Center of the Americas is also part of the vision to make El Paso the medical Mecca for West Texas, Northern Mexico and Southern New Mexico.

The big downtown improvement so far has been the remodeling of the old International Hotel to a beautiful Doubletree – a good first impression for visitors traveling along I-10. Paul Foster’s redevelopment of the Mills Building and the old Plaza Hotel will add to the quality of downtown El Paso.

Since 2003 17 new companies offering nearly 7,000 jobs have come to El Paso. Another large (yet unnamed pharmaceutical) company may soon come and provide 600+ jobs. El Paso’s economy continues to consistently grow in spite of the downturn in the rest of the country.

A big advantage of having more companies is the tax relief they will bring to homeowners. To attract more companies requires working on the quality of life in El Paso. Some ideas for improving the quality of life are:

1. An Aquarium

2. An IMAX Theater

3. Preserve historic buildings

4. Have income generating parking in our downtown

5. Good International Relationships

6. Police and Fire: El Paso is not short on police and the Fire Department has recently earned a Class 1 ISO rating which means 8.2% lower insurance premiums. (Talk to your agent and review your homeowner’s policy.)

7. An efficient Sun Metro: The model comes from Orange County California where the bus mass transit is run like a subway. Passengers pay to get on a platform not on a bus. Have routes that go a mile at a time and shorter routes for stops at every other block. TXDOT has already shown how lights can be synchronized to the moment a bus leaves a station so that there are fewer or no stops.

8. Parks and Open Spaces: Developers must build communities/neighborhoods and not just houses. These communities must have real parks with swings, lighting bathrooms.

A big improvement for the City came when the voters said “yes” to a City Manager form of government that allows for professionals and not just a Mayor’s cronies. Another big change in government was going from 2-year terms to 4-year staggered terms for the City Council.

Help Save Rio Bosque Wetlands Park

Today I am reprinting an article by Rick LoBellow from You may also want to check out fellow blogger No Border Wall and

Help Save Rio Bosque Wetlands Park – Give Our Congressman a Call

Rick LoBello,

Congressman Silvestre Reyes should get on the phone now and start talking to President-elect Obama about how his administration needs live up to what he said he would do when he debated Senator Clinton on February 21, 2008 and said he would "reverse that policy" of building a wall on our US Mexico border. This past weekend I joined hundreds of other El Pasoans who came out to Rio Bosque Wetlands Park, many to help support protecting the future of the park by demanding that Homeland Security reverse its present course of building a border wall right through our largest city park. Our city has entrusted UTEP and Friends of Rio Bosque volunteers to restore this nationally important wildlife refuge and for our leaders not to speak out loudly about current plans to destroy the integrity of the park by blocking access from the Rio Grande to many species is a sad statement about how many do not value protecting our native wildlife. The wall being built in El Paso is only days or hours away from the park. It’s completion will seriously hurt the habitat of Rio Grande beavers and other native species. There is still time to stop it and we all need to call our elected officials and ask for their help.
Congressman Reyes is on record of voting against the Security Fence Act of 2006. Last week I read in the El Paso Times about how Congressman Reyes' clout should help our city under Obama.
I say we should ask for that help now by giving him a call this week and ask that he use some of that clout to save our Rio Bosque Wetlands Park. His local number is (915) 534-4400 and you can send him an email from his website at

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Art in the Hood: Our Lady of Guadalupe

Donna Stephens took this picture and sent it to me. She wrote: "Jim, I am sure you have seen this mural at the corner of Elm & Memphis Ave. I too have seen it many times and yet just the other day I really stood and looked. The cactus and the integrated iron fence fascinated me. Just a bit of our area's hidden treasures."
There are many other such "treasures" in the neighborhood. Many beautiful icons and murals.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Redefining Walls: An Exhibition Interpreting the Contemporary Relationship between the U.S. and Mexico

Newman Park Neighborhood resident Dave Ford will be part of a group show this Thursday at the UTEP Union Gallery, from 7-9 p.m. The show Redefining Walls is a group exhibition that sets out to interpret the contemporary relationship between the United States and Mexico.

Ford is a conceptual sculptor ( who moved to El Paso in 2000. Working out of garage studios, Ford has produced and shown several bodies of work, most recently the Evaporosions Exhibit 9/2007. For this show, Ford has created three site-specific installations; two of the pieces are interactive.

Redefining Walls will be on exhibit at the UTEP Union Gallery, 2nd floor Union East, from November 20, 2008 to January 5, 2009 with reception to take place on the evening of November 20, 2008 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Other artists featured are Kelly Eoff, Jason Lucero, Zeque Pena and Keith Allyn Spencer. For more information about the show, visit or call 915.747.5481.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Tech Talk with Marty: Testing Your Remote

Have you ever had a remote control that you knew just wasn't working right? You know, you point it at the TV and press the buttons, but nothing happens. You try new batteries, but you still get no response. So, how do you know if the remote is broken or not? After this check you will be able to tell if your remote is bad or if the TV remote sensor is not working right. Here is a visual check you can perform and you can show off to your family.

In order to test the remote, you need is a regular digital camera with a screen on the back or a cell phone with a built in camera will work. Here is what you do:

1. Turn on the digital camera or the cell phone to camera.

2. Point the remote at the lens of the camera so that you can see the remote on the camera's digital screen.

3. Then, press a button on the remote any button will do, and look at the camera screen. If the remote is working, you should be able to see a light blinking on the end of the remote each time you press the button. Again, if you see the light, the remote is working. This is a good indication that your TV sensor is bad.

How does that work, you ask? Well, remote controls use infrared light to send the signal to your TV, but human eyes cannot see the light. If you look at the end of your remote, you will see absolutely nothing. I do not know if this is harmful but do not get to close to the light emitting diode or the remote, it could cause some harm to your eyeballs.

Digital cameras pick up a lot more light or (here is some Tech Talk) have a greater sensitivity to the light spectrum. So, when you point the remote at the camera and press a button, the lens on the camera sees the infrared light and displays it on the camera screen. Cool, huh? Go and give it a try.

If you do not have a bad remote you can still "WOW" your friends and neighbors just don’t tell then where you got this information say "I discovered it."
Marty Martinez

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

She's Off and Running

Our district representative and the Mayor Pro-Tem of El Paso, Texas, Susie Byrd, announced last evening that she is running again to be the Representative for District 2. Her announcement came at a pizza party at House of Pizza on Piedras and Louisville. There were many dignitaries there: the Mayor (who tells you he is "blessed" when you ask him how he is), Representatives Beto O'Rourke, Ann Lilly, Steve Ortega and Emma Acosta. Lynn Coyle, the President of the Newman Park Neighborhood Association was there as was her husband, Francisco "Paco" Dominguez. Hal Marcus, complete with trademark hat, was there along with other who's who of El Paso. Lisa Degliantoni and her husband were there. Lisa is the editor of The Newspaper Tree and also a Board member of the Newman Park Neighborhood Association.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Discover the Bosque - Last Chance Before the Wall

Discover the Bosque – Last Chance Before the Wall!
Saturday 15 Nov, 11 AM to 3 PM. Walks through the park to the site of the Border Wall will start every hour on the half hour (11:30, 12:30, 1:30, and 2:30). Many local organizations will have exhibits about the local flora and fauna.

Visit El Paso’s Rio Bosque Wetlands Park,, and see the city’s largest park before the Border Wall changes it forever. This is a national and international issue with a huge impact on our local ecosystems. See history in the making.

John Sproul, Program Coordinator/Manager of the Rio Bosque Wetlands Park wrote comments regarding the Impact of the Border Fence on Rio Bosque Park that were published in Newspaper Tree in April 2008. Sproul said, “At Rio Bosque Wetlands Park, our management goal is to re-establish over time approximate examples of native plant and animal communities historically found in the river valley. The proposed fence would compromise our ability to achieve that goal.” ( )

“At the Park, the visual impact of the fence will be immediate and obvious. The ecological impact will be gradual and more subtle, but no less real. For many animals, the fence will be a barrier to movement between the Rio Grande and the Park and a barrier to genetic exchange. Over time, the fence will affect what species get established at Rio Bosque and, for some species, the long-term health and viability of the populations present. Visit the border-fence page on our website to learn the current status ( .”

See Sierra Club new video, "Wild vs. Wall," which documents the ecosystems threatened by the project.

If you can help with planning or during this event, please contact judy Ackerman, 915-755-7371, Cell: 703-622-0661, . Please share this information with all your friends.

Please share this information with members of your organizations. If your organization would like to have an exhibit, please contact Rick Lobello,, 915-474-1456.

Directions from I-10: Take the Americas Ave. (Loop 375) exit (Exit 34) and head southwest towards the Zaragoza Bridge. Enter the freeway portion of Loop 375 and take it to the exit for Alameda Ave., Socorro Rd., Pan American Dr. and Zaragoza Rd. Exit to the frontage road and continue straight ahead, crossing both Alameda Ave. and Socorro Rd. At Pan American Dr., turn left. After driving approximately 1.1 mile on Pan American, you'll cross a bridge over the Playa Drain. At 1.5 miles, you'll reach a second bridge, which crosses the Riverside Canal right before the gated entrance to the Jonathan Rogers and Roberto Bustamante water-treatment plants. Proceed about 2.5 miles to the Visitor Center. For a map,

Donate Your Reusable Bags

PRESS RELEASE – November 4, 2008
CONTACT – Katherine Gunter-Palafox @ 472-2985


WHO: Keep El Paso Beautiful in partnership with Community
Scholars, El Paso Fire Department and Environmental
Services are coming together for Border Cities Recycle Day
and a cleaner El Paso!

WHEN: SATURDAY, November 15, 2008 – 7 am to 7 pm

WHERE: Neighborhood Fire Stations throughout El Paso

WHY: We are united and committed to working together towards a cleaner El Paso. On Saturday, November 15, 2008 our community will be celebrating Border Cities Recycle Day! In an effort to re-duce the use of plastic bags in our community, KEPB and our partners feel it is imperative to empower every shopper in El Paso with a reusable bag. So clean out your closets and bring those extra, gently used, reusable bags (anything but plastic) to one of the many neighborhood fire stations throughout El Paso. Drop them in the Blue Recycle Bins on display. All of the donated reusable bags will be donated back to community members in need of reusable bags at a Don’t Promote “BAG BEHAVIOR” event coming soon.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!

As the pictures suggest, we had a very successful Second Annual Pumpkin carving last Saturday. If you want to see more of these pictures, go to
Thanks to Lynn and Paco Coyle-Dominguez for the photos.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Native Plant Sale and Oktoberfest a Must Do

The Native Plant Sale at Keystone Heritage Park (4200 Doniphan in the Upper Valley) is followed by another Oktoberfest event from 3:30 until 9. Enjoy food, fine wine, premium beers. Stay for a fabulous sunset. Admission is only $10.

Friday, October 17, 2008

The Wall Versus Our Environment

Mark your calendars now for a very special event: Discover Rio Bosque on Saturday morning, November 15. At the Rio Bosque Wetlands Park the once prevalent ecosystem along the Rio Grande is being restored. Unfortunately, it is in danger because of the Homeland Security wall that is now being rapidly built. (If you get the chance, drive along the border highway some day and see what is going on.) The negative impact of the wall on the environment is documented in the above video.

Health and Safety Fair

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Keep El Paso Beautiful!

Join thousands of volunteers in an effort to clean up our community!
Need tools?
No worries!
You can find them at ANY KEPB Community Tool Shed located at your nearest Fire Station!
For more information, please call Keep El Paso Beautiful at 915.546.6742.

On Saturday, October 18th:

· Clean up front and side yards and driveways
· Mow, edge, weed, gather trash
· Clean grass and weeds from sidewalks and medians
· Clean alleys – let’s all try to help with this!
· Bag or bundle all trash/debris
· Bag or bundle all trash and debris
· Take the bags to Richmond & Newman Park by 12:00 Noon

Join the official KICK OFF for PRIDE DAY
Host – Central Regional Command Center
When – Friday, October 17, 2008
Where – Grande View Park located at 3100 Jefferson
Media interviews – 4:30 pm
Official Pride Day Kick-Off Celebration – 5 to 6:30 pm
Food and Drinks provided City Representative Susie Byrd
Desserts provided by Albertsons and KEPB

Click on the Let's Get To Work Logo above!!!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Ben Sáenz to Read at El Paso Art Museum

Cinco Puntos Press announces: "The El Paso Museum of Art Store is hosting a book reading, reception and book signing for Ben Sáenz. This event is celebrating Ben's newest bilingual children's book, A Perfect Season for Dreaming / Un tiempo perfecto para soñar. When: Saturday, October 11 @ 2 PMWhere: El Paso Museum of Art Store."

The El Paso Museum of Art is located in the Arts Festival Plaza near the Plaza theater and across from the Camino Real.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Newman Park Neighborhood Association September Board Minutes

Minutes for Newman Park Neighborhood Association Board Meeting, September 26, 2008 at Cinco Puntos Press, 701 Texas Avenue, El Paso, TX.

In attendance: Becky Ayala, Lee Byrd, Lynn Coyle, Lisa Degliantoni, Abbie Majerczyk and Jim Tolbert.

President Lynn Coyle called the meeting to order at 8:15 a.m.

Minutes of August 23, 2008 meeting were approved.

Treasurer Lee Byrd reported that we have $1095.37 in the bank of which $400 is dedicated for bench memorials. We received $500 for the Romance Latino event from the City. Our expenses for that event were $363. So we netted $137.

Board members gave feedback about the Romance Latino event attended by 230 people. Reasons given for success included getting flyers out early, pitching the event in email, having an event that attracted more families.

The Board next discussed its participation in Pride Day on October 18th beginning at 8 a.m. Lisa said that she would ask for flyers and a dumpster for the event. Lisa will also make copies of the flyer and get to distributors. Jim will talk to the President of the Rim Area Neighborhood Association, Richard Teschner, about working together to pick-up trash along Scenic Drive. The following is our calendar for the publicity for this event:

October 10 (or prior) Electronic file of Pride Day flyer to me
October 11 Hard copies of Pride Day Flyers to board members/distributors
October 18 Pride Day

There was considerable excitement when discussing the Halloween event on October 25th beginning at 4 p.m. Becky F. has volunteered to get the pumpkins again this year. Abbie and Lisa said that they would get some kits for doing face painting. Becky A. and Lisa will bring extra tables. Abbie will bring buckets and Becky A. will bring soap for washing up. Lynn and Abbie will bring some things for collecting seeds, etc. Lee will see if Bobby Byrd will read a scary story or two. We will not encourage kids to come in costume this year. As we did last year, we will promote safe trick-or-treating in the neighborhood by asking people to keep their lights turned on. Lee agreed to prepare the Halloween flyer. We will ask Sergio if he will prepare the Spanish version for this flyer. Lee will copy flyers and get to all distributors. The following is our calendar for the publicity for this event:

October 16 Deadline to complete bilingual Halloween Event flyer
October 17 (or prior) Electronic file of Halloween Event flyer to me
October 18 Hard copies of Halloween Event flyer to board members/distributors
October 25 Halloween event

The Board began discussing CDBG grants for the neighborhood. The deadline for application is in November. Different ideas for the grant were discussed: new playground equipment, a basketball court, or a natural (e.g., Texas Sage) border along Alabama. Lynn suggested that we discuss these ideas via email.

There will be a community meeting on September 30 at 6 p.m. at the Memorial Garden Center, 3105 Grant. to discuss the Wheeling Street changes and the impact of those changes on traffic on Richmond and Louisville.

Jim will follow-up with Richard Garcia about the status of new swings for the Park.

The McKee Mansion (2630 Richmond) will be auctioned off by the Trustee at the County Courthouse on October 7 at 10 am.

Meeting was adjourned a few minutes past 9 a.m.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Storm Detention Pond Gets Makeover

The storm detention pond beautification project is moving along. New trees and other plants have been planted; new sidewalks have been put in; a rock facade will add beauty to an old retention wall. Let's just hope that vandals will leave the plants alone. (After new trees were planted at Newman Park this spring, a couple were pulled out of the ground.) Let's also hope that graffiti thugs will also stay away or be caught if they commit their vile vandalism.

Changes at Wheeling and Scenic Drive

After a second meeting with neighbors, the City of El Paso traffic engineers will propose that traffic coming off of Scenic Drive onto Wheeling can be slowed down by extending the curb and rock wall to more of a 90° angle.

District 2 Representative Susie Byrd sent out this report:
"I know that this was a hot neighborhood topic so I wanted to make sure that I reported back to you on the information that was requested by the neighborhood and on the outcome of our last meeting.

Some background. For many years, the residents that live on the first two blocks of Wheeling coming off of Scenic have complained about excessive and dangerous
speeding as people drive off of Scenic. Last month, the Traffic Department presented an option to help solve the problem. They suggested that we close access on the eastbound lane of Wheeling coming off of Scenic. The solution would mean that you could go up Scenic on Wheeling but not down Wheeling from Scenic.

We had a well attended first meeting and lots of emails, questions and concerns from the neighborhood in response to that solution. Here was what was requested before we made any changes: speed data on Richmond, Louisville and Wheeling; traffic volumes on Richmond, Louisville and Wheeling; accident history on Wheeling and other options that might solve the problem.

Additional information. Based on those requests, the Traffic Department went back and gathered that information. For your review, I am attaching a document summarizing those findings. [See graphic above.] The big news was that they discovered that the speeding was primarily limited to taking the turn. On average people were taking the turn from Scenic onto Wheeling at about 26 mph, when you really want to limit turning motions to about 10 to 15 mph. This situation is made more dangerous because of the low visibility when making the turnand the steep change in elevation. As people begin to anticipate the stop sign at Kentucky, they start to slow down and are then moving at safe neighborhood speeds. They also found that there are relatively few trips on this street, about 371 eastbound trips off of Scenic. No accidents have been reported in the last seven years on this stretch.

The second solution. Based on all of this new information and based on neighborhood concerns that closing this access would add more traffic to other streets and create an inconvenience to residents of the neighborhood, the Traffic Department recommended a second option which seemed to be more acceptable to the residents at the second meeting and seems more responsive to all of the follow up emails that I received. They are suggesting that we extend the curb and the rock wall on the south side of the road so that it requires a sharper turn, more of a 90 degree angle. Right now, it is a very wide turn that doesn't require a drive to slow to take the turn. The new 90 degree angle curb would require the drive to take this turn at much lower speeds.

I wanted to make sure that all interested parties who didn't have a chance to attend the meeting had a chance to review the information and to put in their two cents. Please let me know what you think. I will gather all of the responses and submit them to Traffic on Wednesday. They can proceed fairly quickly once they get the go ahead."

Friday, September 26, 2008

Ciclovia Is Back in 2008: Month Long Event Celebrates Fitness and Fun in El Paso

The Parks and Recreation Department just issued this press release:

"The City of El Paso Parks and Recreation Department will be “Taking the Parks to the Streets” with the second annual Ciclovia from 7:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. each Sunday in October. (Actual dates are October 5, 12, 19, and 26.) East El Paso will be the location for the Ciclovia as the event will coincide with the booming population in the area providing a fun, festive, family oriented event each Sunday in October.

Bogota, Columbia began the Ciclovia in 1987 by reserving selected streets for pedestrian use only. Now, nearly a million people fill the roads of Bogota every Sunday morning. Ciclovia is a temporary urban space in which neighbors regularly interact with one another and their community through exercise. Streets are closed off to car traffic so that pedestrians, cyclists, rollerbladers and walkers can take over.

El Paso, Texas was the first large city in the United States to host a Ciclovia in May of 2007. The city received awards for Ciclovia last year from the Governor’s office and the Texas State Senate as over 5,000 people participated."

Scenic Sundays was an extremely popular event. Of those who responded to a recent poll on this blog an overwhelming 63% participated most or every week in the 2008 Scenic Sunday program. Whether the City can continue to pay for the program is a matter of concern. According to Open Space Coordinator Shamori Whitt, "the Parks Department does not have the funding to take [Scenic Sundays] on internally. Police absorbed their expenses this year and cannot afford to the same for an entire year."

Mayor Pro-Tem and District Representative Susie Byrd says:

"We didn't track the number of users of the event. I do have a bunch of emails from folks who definitely appreciated it. It is not budgeted for next year. I would like it to be a year round event but the costs for policing it are very expensive. I'm working with police right now to develop a more realistic budget without compromising safety. Once we get that worked out, I would like to look for sponsors for an annual event."

Anyone want to be a sponsor? Contact Representative Byrd.

Chertoff Wall Endangers Wildlife

The Southwest Environmental Center released this statement in opposition to the Chertoff Border Wall:
"The Southwest Environmental Center is opposed to the proposed fence along the entire U.S.-Mexico border--currently being built with exemptions to state and federal environmental laws--because it will block the movement of wildlife, leading to habitat fragmentation, isolation of populations, and declining wildlife numbers--in a word, extinction. If you don't believe this is a real threat, please see the attached photos of a mountain lion attempting (unsuccessfully) to cross the border.These photos were taken this month at the Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge in Arizona. Surely there must be a better way to address border security and illegal immigration issues. Let your representatives know!"

Children Benefit from Nature Excursions

One of the objectives of our Newman Park Neighborhood Association is to be concerned about our beautiful desert environment. In fact, as we interact with that environment there may be some real health benefits. The following research summary came to me from a listserv of Tree, an organization that seeks to empower people to enable cities to promote urban and community forests:

Children With Attention Deficits Concentrate Better After Walk in the Park.
Faber Taylor, A. and Kuo, F.E.
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Objective: In the general population, attention is reliably enhanced after exposure to certain physical environments, particularly natural environments. This study examined the impacts of environments on attention in children with ADHD.
Method: In this within subjects design, each participant experienced each of three treatments (environments) in single blind controlled trials. 17 children 7-12 years old professionally diagnosed with ADHD experienced each of three environments - a
city park and two other well-kept urban settings - via individually guided 20-minute walks. Environments were experienced one week apart, with randomized assignment to treatment order. After each walk, concentration was measured using Digit Span Backwards.

Results: Children with ADHD concentrated better after the walk in the park than after the downtown walk (p=.0229) or the neighborhood walk (p= .0072). Effect sizes were substantial (Cohen's d=.52 and .77, respectively), and comparable to those reported for recent formulations of methylphenidate.

Conclusion: 20 minutes in a park setting was sufficient to elevate attention performance relative to the same amount of time in other settings. These findings indicate that environments can enhance attention not only in the general population but in ADHD populations as well. "Doses of nature" might serve as a safe, inexpensive, widely accessible new tool in the toolkit for managing ADHD symptoms.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Mayor Pro-Tem Susie Byrd Announces Community Meetings Schedule

El Paso's District 2 Representative has announced her fall schedule of community meetings including a new format of breakfast meetings at Gerardo's (6099 Montana). Her legislative aide, Rene Leon says: "The new breakfast meetings will be very informal; there will be no pre-determined format and no guest speakers. The meetings simply will be an opportunity for residents to bring forward their concerns and receive updates from Rep. Byrd over coffee and breakfast."

Here is the full schedule of meetings:


Saturday Sept. 20 10:00 A.M. Memorial Park Library, 3200 Copper
Thursday Sept. 25 8:00 A.M. Dona Lupe’s, 2919 Pershing


Thursday Oct. 2 7:30 A.M. Taco Cabana, 4810 Hondo Pass
Thursday Oct. 9 8:00 A.M. Tierra del Sol, 4201 Alabama
Thursday Oct. 16 8:00 A.M. Gerardo’s, 6099 Montana
Saturday Oct. 18 10:00 A.M. Memorial Park Library, 3200 Copper
Thursday Oct. 23 8:00 A.M. Dona Lupe’s, 2919 Pershing


Thursday Nov. 6 7:30 A.M. Taco Cabana, 4810 Hondo Pass
Thursday Nov. 13 8:00 A.M. Tierra del Sol, 4201 Alabama
Saturday Nov. 15 10:00 A.M. Memorial Park Library, 3200 Copper
Thursday Nov. 20 8:00 A.M. Gerardo’s, 6099 Montana
Thursday Nov. 27 8:00 A.M. Dona Lupe’s, 2919 Pershing

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Neighborhood Beautification Projects Begin

Perhaps you have noticed all of the heavy equipment grading the perimeter of the storm retention ponds between Nashville and Mobile and Sacramento. You also may have seen similar work being done on Alabama and Harrison at the retention pond across the street from Clendenin Elementary School.
Some very lovely neighborhood beautification projects have begun. The designs came from Sites Southwest.
The top picture shows the areas to be landscaped along Louisiana and the bottom shows areas to be landscaped across from Clendenin. The middle picture is a "dream" image sketched for the retention pond in our neighborhood when design work was first begun.

Look also for storm water improvements soon at the Altura Pond. This is the ponding area that culminates with a dam facing the entrance to Scenic Drive at Richmond Avenue. There is about 8 feet of sediment at the mouth which needs to be removed. The work there will be done without even touching the slopes of the beautiful arroyo where foxes and even skunks make their homes.
You will also see work near our neighborhood at the Kentucky Pond, Ohio Street Pond, Tremont Pond and Magnolia Pond. All of this work is meant to slow down water run-off from the mountain that can cause flooding along I-10.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Trees and Stormwater Management

This Thursday the El Paso Water Utilities Stormwater Master Plan Community Advisory Committee will hold its first meeting at the Carlos M. Ramirez TecH2O Water Resources Learning Center. Some of us have repeatedly requested that a "tree" person be part of that committee since there are solid reasons for incorporating trees into any stormwater management plan.

Below is my email to members of the City Tree Board and other interested persons regarding the need to advocate for trees with the Public Service Board as it works to formulate a stormwater master plan. This email is an introduction to an email to URS consultant, Karen Stearns in which I direct her to online information about trees and stormwater management.

Since the new stormwater utility is of much interest to Newman Park Neighborhood Association members, I'll try to keep you updated. Hopefully, you can find time to look at some of the information below.
"Trees (and other water smart plants) should be part of any stormwater management plan. In progressive cities across the United States, trees are being utilized along with engineered infrastructures to manage stormwater runoff and erosion.

Unfortunately, as the Public Service Board of the City of El Paso begins to form a master plan for stormwater management, they do not seem to be either aware of or interested in the use of trees and other native vegetation. Recently a Stormwater Master Plan Community Advisory Committee was put together. By resolution, members of the City Council could only choose persons from a list of names given them by the PSB as “qualified nominees”. No arborist, no ecologist, no native plant person nor horticulturist was considered to be a “qualified nominee”. I am also
unaware of anyone on the advisory committee who is LEED certified.

Fortunately, there are several persons on that Advisory Committee who share interest in and a value of open space, conservation and the preservation of native habitats and the promotion and expansion of native plants.

Below is my email to Karen Stearns of the URS Corporation, the consulting firm advising the Public Service Board about stormwater engineering issues. The letter is a re-write of an earlier letter addressed to Mayor Pro-Tem Susie Byrd. In it are links to more information about the use of trees in stormwater management.

It is my hope that each of you will take some time to review the information.

I serve on the Tree Board of the City of El Paso and am a board member of the West
Texas Urban Forestry Council. I care deeply about our beautiful desert, native plants, and the use of trees in any program for stormwater management. It is my hope that the Advisory Committee will hear and understand this information and will incorporate language regarding trees in a final master plan document. To use such language will mean that the value of trees will be recognized from the inception of an ambitious stormwater management plan. It will also be a big step in the direction of smart land management with a focus on protecting our natural environment in El Paso for people and wildlife.

Please take a few minutes more to read the email below and please find some time to visit the indicated sites and glean the information.

Please share this information with others so that more and more people will come to understand and appreciate the use of trees in an effective stormwater management program.

I have also attached information about the upcoming Advisory Committee meetings. These are public meetings and public input is essential.

As more information becomes available on the use of trees in stormwater management, I will forward that information to you, if I may.

Thanks and all my best . . .

Jim H. Tolbert
915-613-4902 Direct Office Number
425-577-9808 Cell Number425-696-0279 Fax
Printing and Promotional Products and Services
See promotional products catalog at

From: Jim H. Tolbert [] Sent: Thursday,
August 14, 2008 11:40 AMTo: Karen Stearns

Hi Karen,

It was a pleasure meeting you the other day at the Open Space meeting. Thank you for your presentation to our City Council as well. I really appreciate how you handle all the various concerns and comments.

The concern many of us have and that I share as a board member of the West Texas Urban Forestry Council is this: trees (as well as other water-smart desert plants)
should be but are not currently being considered when it comes to an overall
stormwater management strategy, master plan, and infrastructure.

The fact is that research data supports the fact that trees are a valuable part of a city’s infrastructure and should be incorporated into storm water management and planning.

There are two excellent online sources that I hope you can find time to view and

The Urban Natural Resources Institute has archived its June 2008 webcast: “Stomwater Management and UrbanWatersheds” ( Since the archived file can be downloaded in a WMV format, you do not need to use your phone for the audio.

Janis Keating has written an excellent article for The Journal for Surface Water Quality Professionals – Trees: The Oldest New Thing in Stormwater Treatment, available at

The bottom line: Trees are an effective means to reduce stormwater runoff.

Along with being an efficient method for cleaning up pollutants that are picked-up by running water, trees can be used to intercept rainfall and help decrease the amount of runoff thereby limiting flooding that can damage homes, businesses and city streets and other infrastructure.

Thanks again for all your great work for the City of El Paso.

All the best,

Jim H. Tolbert"

Friday, September 5, 2008

Cuter Than Baby Rats

Actually, these Chihuahua pups are as cute as they come. Azucar is the proud mother and Newman Park Neighborhood Association Board member, Sergio Guerrero, is the proud grandfather.

Friday, August 29, 2008

The Cure for the Common Chihuahua: GET A CAT!

Here is the difference between dogs and cats:

A dog says, “These people feed me and give me a warm home and love me. They must be gods.”

A cat says, “These people feed me and give me a warm home and love me. I must be a god.”

Get a cat! Tonkinese are the best although a Tabby will do as well.

Cats don't poop in the yard or at Newman Park. (By the way, there are doggy poop bags available now at Newman Park.)
Cats don't bark incessantly when a happy hiker should stroll by - they just disappear up a tree or behind a bush.
Cats don't escape to run with the pack with lascivious abandon.
You really can replace that Queen Anne couch that the cat has reupholstered. And what's a little pissing match between two or more cats. There are perfectly good "green" household products you can purchase to manage . . . spraying. Nondescript and quite descript corpses of playthings are easily removed from under the bed or on the kitchen floor with a broom and dustpan.
Millions of years of feline evolution have produced these lovable little animals. They purr. Do Chihuahuas purr? No, Chihuahuas yap and yap and yap.

Case closed. GET A CAT!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

The Adoration of the Chihuahua

I am sure that all of you are familiar with the classic painting by the 17th Century French painter, Nicolas Poussin: The Adoration of the Golden Calf. You are probably also familiar with the story of the golden calf in the Biblical Book of Exodus (Chapter 32). The image of the golden calf readily came to mind as I gawked at the City of El Paso's striped Chihuahua - a sculpture that sits on the first floor of the City building. It is a gift from the City of Chihuahua and is entitled Dada Can. The artist is Edgar Palomino González. It was part of a recent Chihuahua Dog Parade - an exhibition of colorful Chihuahua sculptures in the City of Chihuahua. You can see a collection of these sculptures here.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Newman Park Neighborhood Association August Board Minutes

Minutes for Newman Park Neighborhood Association Board Meeting, August 23, 2008 at Cinco Puntos Press, 701 Texas Avenue, El Paso, TX.

In attendance: Becky Ayala, Lee Byrd, Lynn Coyle, Lisa Degliantoni, Becky Friesenhahn, Sergio Guerrero, Abbie Majerczyk and Jim Tolbert.

President Lynn Coyle called the meeting to order at 8:05 a.m.

New board member, Abbie Majerczyk, was introduced. She replaces Diana Erickson who recently resigned from the Board.

Sergio Guerrero gave a report on the recent Neighborhood Coalition Summit. He and Jim Tolbert attended. The name of our Association did not appear on the list of Neighborhood Associations. Jim was tasked with making sure that Mark Alvarado and Bill Sparks are made aware of this oversight.

Jim recommended that we begin attending Coalition meetings on the third Monday of every month. He said that he would attend as often as he could.

Jim Tolbert brought up the Neighborhood Leadership Academy. It was decided that the Academy was good for new Associations who weren’t as familiar with City government. It was agreed that we are pretty knowledgeable about the City departments and that they are pretty familiar with us.

The Board next heard a report from Jim about the Traffic Calming/Greening Committee. The Board discussed the proposed traffic changes at Wheeling. Lynn said that she would attend the follow-up meeting at the City regarding this change. Becky Friesenhahn urged that others attend as well.

The Board also had a lengthy discussion about planting more trees in the neighborhood. Lisa Degliantoni and Sergio Guerrero said that they would assist with a grant proposal through the West Texas Urban Forestry Council to the Neighborwoods Tree program sponsored by the Alliance for Community Trees.

The Board next discussed the upcoming September 13th music in the park event. Lee remarked that the City will soon have a program that will pay for neighborhood association concerts. Lee was tasked with finding a band for September 13th.

At the end of the meeting, the following calendar in preparation for the 13th was agreed upon:

Prior to September 4 Band Selection
Thursday, September 4 Info to Becky F. for Flyer
Translation into Spanish by Sergio
Monday, September 8 Flyers Distributed

The Board briefly discussed the Halloween event. It was agreed that the event should be expanded to include other activities. As Halloween falls on a Friday this year and not on a school night, it was suggested that Trick or Treaters could return to the Park for a scary story.

The Board continues to be concerned about the deterioration of the McKee Mansion (2630 Richmond). Lee will contact Gary Williams at the El Paso Community Foundation to see if they have interest in the property. She also mentioned contacting the McKee Foundation as well.

Becky Friesenhahn next reported on the last Neighborhood Improvement Program update. She and Jim met with Lorrine Quimiro in the Neighborhood Services Department on August 13th. Final placement of benches, tables, exercise stations, etc. were discussed. Flexibility was given to City engineers for the best possible positioning of items. Becky left Lorrine a copy of the engineering drawing from the Parks Department showing where the new swings would be placed. An onsite meeting at Newman Park will be scheduled. We are on the fast track and should see the improvements completed by spring of 2009. Becky also asked that the City take responsibility for engineering estimates if too much. A major contention with the City centers on the fact that 50% of the grant for neighborhood improvements includes engineering/permitting costs. A $50,000 grant is in essence only a $25,000 grant.

Lynn asked Board members to consider that future events in the Park be advertised on a banner in the Park similar to one used at Madeline Park. A twice yearly printed bi-lingual newsletter was also suggested. It was also suggested that an event flyer be sent out to the e-letter list prior to an event. Becky Ayala will check to see if Americorp or other groups will leaflet the neighborhood for us.

Meeting adjourned at 9:32 a.m.

Monday, August 25, 2008

A Cold Day in Hell

Our monthly Newman Park Neighborhood Association board meeting was held this past Saturday morning at Cinco Puntos Press on the corner of Ochoa and Texas Avenue. I arrived there at 7:53 a.m. and promptly deposited 3 quarters in the parking meter for one and a half hours of parking. Our meetings never go too much beyond an hour. However, this Saturday we did run a bit longer. When I got to my car around 9:40, there was a parking ticket waiting to greet me. The ticket was written at 9:37 - 14 minutes after the meter had expired.

Now I know that everyone wants to visit the outskirts of downtown El Paso on a Saturday morning. It is so bustling with traffic that people have to circle blocks over and over just for parking.
Above are photos I took after being dutifully cited for my blatant greed at taking up a precious parking spot near downtown by a diligent meter cop whose salary is probably solely derived from such raptor-like watchfulness for the City of El Paso.
The top photo was taken in the middle of the intersection of Texas and Ochoa looking west toward downtown. Note the heavy traffic of people sightseeing the empty buildings of downtown El Paso.

The second photo is taken from the same spot but looking east. It's amazing that I wasn't run over.
The third shot was taken from several blocks farther east.
The fourth shows two hours parking in front of businesses not much farther east on Texas. I wonder how a little business such as Cinco Puntos Press might be able to procure such favoritism from the City as well.

I can understand passing out parking tickets when parking is at a premium. The problem is - it isn't even a premium on weekdays in downtown El Paso. This is merely another way to frisk the El Paso taxpayer.
I don't know where I'm going with all of this but I know one thing: It will be a cold day in hell before I pay a cent of this $11 ticket. It will be the temperature at which nitrogen freezes in fact.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Anti-Graffiti Community Task Force Recommendations

At the recent 4th Annual Neighborhood Summit El Paso County Attorney José Rodríquez summarized the proposals made by the Anti-Graffiti Community Task Force.
The Legislation Committee recommends harsher penalties for repeat graffiti offenders. It also suggests that the City adopt an ordinance that allows government officials to enter private property to remove graffiti when property oweners fail to sign a consent form. The Committee also propses that the City adopt another ordinance that requires business owners to lock up or place spray paint behind a counter.

The Community Outreach Committee in response to a request from the El Paso Police Foundation began a public awareness campaign addressing graffiti issues. It also issued the following recommendations as part of the 2008 Final Report of the Anti-Graffiti Community Task Force:

1. Maintain one telephone number for reporting graffiti clean-up.
2. Create a graffiti public information campaign.
3. Maintain a goal of twenty-four hour graffiti removal.
4. Adopt funding for additional field supervisor and trucks for adult probation.
5. Create an annual wipeout graffiti day.
6. Support and participate in annual graffiti wipeout car show.
7. Establish a mural contest.
8. Increase law enforcement support.
Finally the School Education Committee of the Task Force made these 3 recommendations
1. Create a comprehensive community-based education program.
2. Conduct school poster and video contests.
3. Promote campus "Crime Stoppers".

With School Starting Think Safety

Our children start school again this coming Monday, August 25th. Officer Henry Slack gives these safety tips:

"School is about to start, so let's talk about SCHOOL ZONES.

First, here is a review of some definitions:

STOP: the complete cessation of movement.

STOP, STOPPING OR STANDING: when prohibited means any stopping or standing of a vehicle, whether occupied or not, except when necessary to avoid conflict with other traffic or in compliance with the directions of a police officer or traffic control sign or signal.

SCHOOL CROSSING ZONES: for the safety of school children, shall be appropriately marked by traffic control signs or devices, indicating school is in session 45 minutes before the start of the first class and 30 minutes at the end of last school class. Whenever signs indicate that the regulations are in force, no vehicle shall pass any other vehicle proceeding in the same direction between the signs designating the school crossing zone, and all vehicles shall come to a complete stop at the school crossing when the crosswalk is occupied by any person.

First day of School is August 25th for both the El Paso Independent School District and for Ysleta Independent School District. Make time by leaving home earlier, typically the first day of school is a bit hectic for parents, teachers and students. If you are planning to walk your child to school, park near the school (legally) walk and talk to your child.

Talk to them about Stranger-Danger, Drugs, Bullies. Have a Secret Pass Code that only you and the child know, teach them that only those person who know the code can pick them up from school.

First day’s of school should be a memorable one, so please drive carefully and be courteous to others."

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Perfect Vehicle for El Paso Floods

Flooding got you down? Storm water higher than your car? Can't get to your Chihuahua to rescue him? Here's the perfect vehicle for El Paso floods.

Someone call Dick Poe.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Green Tips from Laura Z

It's mosquito season! They lay their eggs in any standing water, so change your pet's water and the birdbath water daily. Check around the house for any thing else that collects water when it rains and empty them. If mosquitoes are buzzing your ear while you're trying to sleep, put the ceiling fan or another fan on in the room, because they can't fly when it's windy.

I have heard that you can put some apple cider vinegar and water in a bowl and place it outside by your picnic table to keep them at bay. Also, the old favorite citronella candles placed around the picnic area help. Dab lavender oil on your wrists and elbows, or spray Skin So Soft by Avon on your skin to keep the insects off. Mosquito nets also work great. I found a mosquito net tent that hangs over the bed (like the good old days) at the secondhand store.

Here are some other green tips: Turn the water heater to low when on vacation, and in the summer. When you brush your teeth, wet the tooth brush and turn the water off while you brush. You will save at least 10 gallons of water! How about when shaving or doing the dishes? Run the water only when you need to.

When buying supplies for your next picnic, remember that Styrofoam lasts 500 YEARS or is NOT biodegradable.

Does your office recycle paper? If not, maybe you can arrange it. Also see if they use paper that has been recycled. GREENPEACE recently wrote an article about using recycled paper products whenever possible, especially toilet paper and Kleenex (the KLEENEX brand does NOT use ANY recycled paper in their Kleenex, which means that they are destroying hundreds of acres of our beautiful virgin forests daily so we can blow our noses!).

Speaking of blowing noses...anyone with allergies, or sinus problems should use the neti pot for relief. It works wonders! Walgreen's sells something cheaper that works the same. It is a saline solution that you put in a plastic container. You squeeze it so it goes in one nostril and out the other.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Traffic Calming at Wheeling and Scenic Drive

Mayor Pro-Tem Susie Byrd summarizes the actions at a recent meeting (July 29th) regarding a proposal to change the traffic pattern at Wheeling and Scenic Drive:

"Because of the high speeds coming off of the mountain onto Wheeling, traffic engineering is recommending closing access on the south side of Wheeling at the topof Scenic. So basically you could go up Wheeling to Scenic but could not leave Scenic on Wheeling. You would have to go down to Richmond or Louisville to access the neighborhoods.

Comments and concerns ranged at the meeting: several people are anxious to get this done quickly because of long time concerns about safety. Other people who often use this access wanted some more information about the actual speeds on this and other streets and what the impact would be on Louisville and Richmond. Everyone agreed that this closure should not include a sort of pocket park as it would encourage loitering in this area. Traffic is pretty adamant that this is the only solution (while admitting it as a drastic solution) that would really seriously slow traffic down this portion of Wheeling.

Traffic engineers agreed to gather some additional information to distribute to all impacted and interested parties which would include: speeds on Wheeling, Louisville and Richmond; traffic counts on these three streets to get a better idea of how diverting traffic from Wheeling would impact Louisville and Richmond and an assessment of whether a temporary solution could be put in place so that people could get a feel for the long term impact of this solution.

The resurfacing of Wheeling will happen in the fall so they would like to get all feedback and ideas back as soon as possible. I will forward you the information when it becomes available to me."

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Newman Park Neighborhood Association July Board Minutes

Minutes for Newman Park Neighborhood Association Board Meeting, July 26, 2008 at Cinco Puntos Press, 701 Texas Avenue, El Paso, TX. The remnants of Hurricane Dolly were causing area wide flooding in El Paso as well as Dona Ana, Otero, and Lincoln Counties of New Mexico.

In attendance: Becky Ayala, Lee Byrd, Lynn Coyle, Lisa Degliantoni, Sergio Guerrero, and Jim Tolbert.

President Lynn Coyle called the meeting to order at 8:13 a.m.

Lee reported that we have $976.12 in the bank of which $400 is designated for park bench memorials. $195 has been collected for membership dues including a membership from a Kern resident.

The Board began with reflection about the good things and bad things of the recent Annual meeting. Although some people who have regularly attended events in the past were missed, looking at attendance across several events the overall attendance at events has been good. Having a “membership” table and committee sign-up sheets worked well. Suggestions included: post signs at Park to join the Association, reach out to renters, invite people who use the Park but who may be beyond our boundaries, offer a Yoga/exercise class, and target micro-communities.
There will be a Neighborhood Association Summit on August 16th 8:00 AM - 2:00 PM at the Ysleta Independent School District Administration and Cultural Arts Center, 9600 Sims Drive.
Sergio and Jim will attend.

The Board next discussed beginning to work with committees. There were several people who signed-up to be on a committee at the annual meeting. Quick follow-up with these people was encouraged. The Board proposed good ideas for each of the committees.

The Board with regret accepted the resignation of Diana Erickson. Lisa D proposed Abbie ? as a replacement. The Board agreed to Ask Abbie.

The next board meeting will be August 23rd. Our next Park event is scheduled for August 23rd. The Board discussed possible movies for that night. Lynn asked that board members email each other with suggestions for movies. A concert is scheduled for September 13th. A Tejano band was recommended. Keeping to an acoustic group seemed to be the preference of board members. It was also suggested to add events to our pumpkin carving: a reading of La Llorona or El Cucuy for example.

Meeting adjourned.

Newman Park Neighborhood Association June Board Minutes

Minutes for Newman Park Neighborhood Association Board Meeting, June 21, 2008 at Doña Lupe Cafe, 2919 Pershing, El Paso, TX.

In attendance: Lynn Coyle, Diana Erickson, Lee Byrd and Jim Tolbert.

President Lynn Coyle called the meeting to order at 7:49 a.m.

Lee reported that we have $981.96 in the bank of which $400 is designated for park bench memorials. $300 has been collected for membership dues. Lynn agreed to write a “pitch” for dues for the newsletter.

There has been no report back from the City yet regarding traffic calming.

Feedback was given about the past movie night. There was concern that the movie (“The Love Bug”) was too long and too dated. It was also hard to hear.

The Board next discussed the upcoming annual meeting and picnic in July. Mayor Pro-Tem Susie Byrd’s office will supply hamburgers and hotdogs. People will bring a favorite side dish.

It was suggested that the September 13th concert include a fundraiser. Most felt that a group such as Ceiba or Los San Patricios would attract the most people to the fundraiser. Diana Erickson suggested getting donations as with a silent auction. However, people purchase tickets that go for a drawing for each donated item. [N.B. If we are going to do this, we need to start ASAP getting donations.]

The Board liked the plan for the placement of the swing sets as presented by Ric Garcia to Becky Friesenhahn and Jim Tolbert.

Questions were raised about the NIP funds – when would those improvements be made.

The City has no plans to replace the playground equipment in the foreseeable future.

Finally, the Board discussed painting tables and benches. Lynn said that she preferred that such painting be part of a bigger plan for art in the park along the lines of that done at the El Paso Botanical Gardens/Keystone Heritage Park. There was some discussion about painting tables and benches now and re-doing them later when money is available to do the larger art projects. Lynn was going to speak with Pat Dalbin about Public Art funding.

Food was great.

Meeting adjourned.