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.