Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Finishing Touches

The work is just about done. Newman Park has new exercise stations, colorful benches and tables and even a new dog waste stand. (It's called a "Pet Waste" stand; but do you think intelligent cats need it?)

The swings are hung and a thick layer of mulch covers the ground below the swings.

Of course, there will have to be a walk through and a punch list made before the job is really done. NPNA Vice President, Becky Friesenhahn, and Jim Tolbert drew up a list recently of items that need to be rectified.

The good news is that the job is just about done.

You can see more pictures of park improvements at the Newman Park Neighborhood Association Facebook page.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Yard Sale Scheduled

The Newman Park Neighborhood Association is making it easy for El Pasoans to find great yard sale buys.

NPNA is organizing a Neighborhood Yard Sale. The date for the event is August 15, 2009. The event will start at 7 a.m. and end at 11 a.m. Participants will set up in their own yards and run their own sales. NPNA is graciously offering the advertisement. Participants can start earlier and end later. Board member and organizer Becky Ayala says: " We just ask that, if someone commits to having the sale, they set up during the advertised times. "

Each address of participating homes will be listed in the NPNA e-letter and this blog. The Newspaper Tree has said that it will publish the event if 10 homes commit to holding a sale. Western Refining has donated advertising for the event on an electronic billboard facing I-10 near Airways.

Each participating home will be given a flyer with a list of all the homes having a sale to give out to visitors. "This is just a way for all of us to make some extra cash," says Ayala.

If you are interested in participating please contact Rebecca Ayala at 562-2505 or

Here are the addresses of the homes currently committed to participating:

2809 Richmond

2631 Altura

2500 Savannah

2716 Savannah

2405 Altura

2715 Lebanon

2715 Savannah

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Finishing the Jobs at Newman Park

Contractors were putting in the last of the 4 exercise stations at the park today. The new benches and tables have already been installed. The swings have arrived and will be assembled once the mulch gets delivered - hopefully tomorrow.

The Newman Park Neighborhood Association has asked the City to be part of the punch list team. The response from City officials is that public participation is not customary. How come? Shouldn't it be the standard operating procedure? Representative Byrd has sent out word asking that all be involved.

City Clinics Offering Back-To-School Immunizations

Here's a press release from the City of El Paso Department of Public Health:

City Clinics Offering Back-To-School Immunizations

New Requirements for Students Take Effect Aug. 1

July 22, 2009 – The City of El Paso Department of Public Health is offering back-to-school immunizations.

The department through its Immunization Program is offering vaccines for school-age children, including the vaccines students must have under new state requirements to take effect Aug. 1.

The vaccines are provided by appointment or on a walk-in basis at the program’s five health centers: Henderson, 721 S. Mesa; Northeast, 5587 Transmountain; Tigua, 7862 San Jose; Ysleta, 110 Candelaria; and Westside, 5195 Mace. The health centers are open 7 a.m. to 11:15 a.m. & 12:30 p.m. to 4:15 p.m. Tuesdays through Friday with alternating Saturdays.

The cost is $10 for one vaccine or $20 total if two or more vaccines are provided during the same visit. To make an appointment at any of the health centers or to find out more about the school vaccines required by the Texas Department of State Health Services call the City’s Immunization Program at (915) 771-5822.

According to the state, the changes to school immunization requirements mainly affect students entering kindergarten and seventh grade. The changes include:

  • Students entering kindergarten must have had two doses of the Hepatitis A vaccine.
  • Students entering kindergarten must have had two doses of the Measles, Mumps, Rubella (MMR) vaccine. Students in grades 1 through 12 must continue to meet the current requirements of two doses of a measles-containing vaccine and one does each of mumps and rubella vaccine.
  • Students entering kindergarten and seventh grade must have had two doses of the Varicella vaccine. Students in grades 1 through 6 and 8 through 12 must continue to meet the current requirement of one dose of the Varicella vaccine.
  • Students entering seventh grade must have had one does of Tetanus, Diphtheria, Acellular Pertussis-Containing (Tdap) Vaccine. In addition, seventh-graders must have had a booster dose of Tdap, but only if it has been five years since their last dose of tetanus-containing vaccine. Students in grades 8 through 12 must have had a booster dose of Tdap if it has been 10 years since their last dose of a tetanus-containing vaccine.
  • Students entering seventh grade must have had one dose of the Menigococcal vaccine.

For more information, visit the Department of Health web page.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Newman Park Neighborhood Association Board Hard at Work

Pictured clockwise from far left: Becky Friesenhahn, Lee Byrd, Abbie Majerczyk, Becky Ayala, Lynn Coyle, Lisa Degliantoni. Not pictured: Jim Tolbert (behind the camera)

The newly re-elected Newman Park Neighborhood Association Board members were hard at work this past Saturday morning beginning at 7:30 a.m. They re-elected their officers: Lynn Coyle, President; Becky Friesenhahn, Vice President; Lee Byrd, Secretary; and Abbie Majerczyk, Secretary. All were excited about the success of the membership drive and annual meeting. Over $750 was collected and that's just a beginning.

Along with committee reports and other pressing business on the agenda, the Board is also getting ready for the return performance of Romance Latino on Saturday, August 22, at Newman Park.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Newman Park Projects Will Be Completed by Next Wednesday

Newman Park Neighborhood Association VP, Becky Friesenhahn, met with the contractor working on the NIP project at Newman Park today. It appears that benches, tables and exercise stations will be placed as the neighborhood association specified. Moreover, there seems to be confirmation that the products ordered will indeed be installed.

According to City engineers, the exercise equipment will be received tomorrow and installed by next Wednesday. City engineers also said that the swings will be installed by the same date.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Peace Activists Schedule Newman Park Rally

It will be interesting to see just who shows up when the Great American Peace March comes to Newman Park this Friday night from 7 to 8 p.m. Led by "Lady Liberty" alias "Mary Hath Spokane", the march purports to have quite a entourage of invited guests. When she visited Long Beach, there was no indication that anyone besides herself would speak.

Besides the lack of information about the march, there is also no information about "Mary" other than a video seen by less than 300 people.

Google "Lady Liberty" or "Mary Hath Spokane" or any of her other monikers and you get nothing of note. Especially there is a total lack of news stories.

So I don't know what to expect when this quixotic character comes to our neighborhood this Friday to gather signed United Nations Peace Pledge petitions which she authored.

The advanced notice of her appearance has been circulated online by the Unitarian Universalist Community of El Paso, a group of dedicated, good and honest people. Their word is good enough for me. Here is their emailed announcement:
"Lady Liberty , alias Mary Hath Spokane, a Peace Prophet, MAW (Mother Against War) and author of the 2002 United Nations Peace Pledge, will bring her Great American Peace March 40 Days/40 Cities to El Paso July 17th. She invites all El Paso citizens to bring their petitions to her at Newman Park (Alabama at Richmond) between 7pm-8pm evening of Friday July 17th. Lady Liberty will lead a 45 min. Peace March Sing-along and discussion. She will present the petitions from the 40 Cities to the General Assembly of the United Nations on Aug. 14th. She is asking them to adopt the pledge and present it through the 202 member states to each citizen of our world to contemplate. Bring your petitions and your singing voice to this fun event."

I'm still curious though why "Mary" has received little press or media notice especially given the fact that her Great American Peace March has meant 40 cities in 40 days.

UUCEP is also promoting a more visible peace contingency: the Pastors for Peace. They will precede "Mary" by a day:
"On Thursday, July 16, UUCEP will be hosting the Pastors for Peace Caravan that will be taking medical, building and educational supplies to Cuban citizens. Bring your favorite dish to share during a potluck and presentation at 6 p.m. in the Sanctuary. A donation jar will be available and mojitos will be for sale during the meal. Ceiba will play during dinner! Donations are needed to help defray the cost for this band; please see Janet Kincaid. Childcare will also be available."

The Unitarian Universalist Community is asking for help to provide home hospitality for Thursday night to 26 members of the caravan. "If you can lend air mattresses, help with set-up, or help in any other way to make this a great event, please contact Janet Kincaid, 539-8851 as soon as possible."

Monday, July 13, 2009

Will NIP Project Actually Get Done This Week?

The contractor has begun putting in the foundations for the new benches, tables and exercise stations. And, according to Javier Reyes, P.E., of the City's Engineering Department:

"We spoke to the contractor today. He stated that he is still awaiting the 4 exercise units. He stated that he will have an answer from the manufacturer today. He did state that he will have all the picnic tables, benches, and site work done by this Friday July 17. As soon as I get an answer from him on the exercise equipment I will provide the info to you. If he does not provide the exercise equipment by the 20th he will be considered late."
Still neighborhood leaders are wondering if the plans that they agreed to will be followed. Will the placement of all the new equipment be correct? Will the new equipment come as specified? Will neighborhood leaders have an opportunity to review these matters with the City and contractors in the next couple of days?

Friday, July 10, 2009

Why Mexico Matters, Midnight Basketball and Other Updates from Representative Byrd

Representative Susie Byrd just sent us this update:
I just updated my blog at I included some information about the impact of Mexico on our tax base. I am also looking for people who would volunteer for our Midnight Basketball program and provide some information about the program.
I wanted remind you that the billboard issue hits council this week and will be scheduled for discussion at 1 P.M. on Tuesday in the City Council Chambers.
We are starting budget hearings. If there is a particular department that you are interested in knowing more about, budget hearings are a good forum to get information about the budgets of a department and what our expectations are for that department. Also, a good time for you to talk to us about your expectations for a department. You can get a schedule of the budget hearings for each department at and get individual presentations for each department at

City Council Representative, District 2

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

We Have PayPal!

The Newman Park Neighborhood Association now has PayPal! This means that Newman Park members and friends can donate to the Association just by clicking on the Donate button at the top of the right hand column of this blog.

It doesn’t get easier than this.

Be assured that PayPal is safe.

Lee Byrd, your Newman Park Neighborhood Association Treasurer, says:

“PayPal is really easy, that’s the nice part about it. It’s much easier and more inexpensive than a check. And it’s very simple on our end because the money goes directly into the Newman Park Neighborhood Association bank account, ready for our use as we seek to improve the park and build a community around it.”

Association dues are just $15 per household per year. However, anyone can donate more or give a little less.

Friday, July 3, 2009

There's Almost a Wall but Where Are the Swings?

And where are the benches, the new tables, the exercise stations? Remember the park improvements funded by the NIP money are supposed to be installed by July 20th - just 10 working days away. I've been told that no concrete pads or work on re-routing irrigation will begin until the new equipment actually is delivered. Hmmm . . .

There are some real heroes (or heroine) regarding the two year saga with the NIP project. More on that when the new equipment has finally been installed.

As you can see by the above picture, the perimeter wall for the new swings is almost complete. It is slow going with 2 or 3 men working slowly throughout almost all of the day.

David Almonte's Expertise Benefits All El Pasoans

It's tough times at the City of El Paso. With revenues down (sales tax down 4.5%, bridge revenue down 12%, building permits down 25%), keeping essential services while trying to protect jobs is just not easy. Knowing where to cut and where to save and knowing how to get there is overseen by the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, David Almonte.

Mr. Almonte spoke yesterday at Representative Byrd's District breakfast at Tierra del Sol restaurant. Ms. Byrd always has good speakers - but Almonte is one of the best. He knows his subject well, communicates well and connects with his audience. Budgets and numbers are just not the most exciting topics to most of us. Yet, Almonte personalizes the subject by mixing anecdotes with hard numbers. When he tells you that his first responsibility is to the taxpayers and that he will find the best product at the best price, you know that he is not just sincere but expert.

Whether it is collective bargaining with fire and police unions, crunching numbers, analyzing staff levels or ensuring that public safety and health are indeed the first priorities, Almonte's expertise benefits all El Pasoans.

I was sad that more were not at the breakfast to hear him. With the 4th of July holiday weekend upon us, many regulars just weren't there yesterday. Hopefully, Representative Byrd will ask him back to speak again soon.

Be sure to read City Manager Joyce Wilson's budget message and see the schedule of budget hearings. Let's hope that Lisa Turner isn't the only citizen of El Paso who cares to attend the budget hearings.

Celebrate the Fourth by Joining the Gratitude Campaign

Scott Truitt of Seattle found a simple way to say "thank you" to those who serve in our military. We party on the 4th, have barbecues, listen to concerts and watch fireworks. We can also join the Gratitude Campaign started by Scott.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

El Paso Symphony Orchestra Will Headline July 4th Music Under the Stars

Music Under the Stars and Alfresco Fridays are very popular events here in El Paso. Below is a press release from the City of El Paso's Department of Museums and Cultural about the 4th of July Fireworks Spectacular with the El Paso Symphony Orchestra conducted by the masterful and beautiful Sarah Ioannaides.

El Paso Symphony Orchestra

To play at the

Music Under the Stars 4th of July Fireworks Spectacular

7:30 pm, SATURDAY, July 4, 2009 at the Chamizal National Memorial

The City of El Paso Museums and Cultural Affairs Department (MCAD) is pleased to present the El Paso Symphony Orchestra as part of the Music Under the Stars 4th of July Fireworks Spectacular. The El Paso Symphony Orchestra will play patriotic selections with a fireworks finale at 9:15 pm. This is the only FREE fireworks display in the city on the 4th of July.

The concert will be held Saturday July 4, 2009 from 7:30 pm to 9:30 pm at the Chamizal National Memorial located at 800 South San Marcial Street. Grills are allowed at the park except in the inner part of the park known as the bowl. The first 5,000 visitors will receive complimentary 3D glasses for fireworks courtesy of the Museums and Cultural Affairs Department. Please note that glass containers or pets are NOT allowed at the park!

Park and Ride!

Concert goers may park at the El Paso Zoo and take a shuttle to the park for free! Shuttle hours are from 6:30 pm to 10:00 pm.

About Music Under the Stars

Music Under the Stars Festival began in 1983 as a program of the City of El Paso Arts and Culture Department. The summer music festival has had twenty-five successful seasons and attracts more than 100,000 people annually. This makes Music Under the Stars Festival the largest free outdoor concert in the Southwest!

About the El Paso Symphony Orchestra

The El Paso Symphony is currently celebrating it 77th season. Established in the 1930's, it is the oldest performing arts organization in El Paso and the longest continuously running symphony orchestra in the state of Texas. The El Paso Symphony has received both national and international recognition as a result of its very successful tours of Germany in 1996 and Turkey in 2000, and continues to represent the El Paso region with pride and distinction.

This presentation is supported by the Texas Commission on the Arts and local companies and individuals throughout Texas.

MCAD would like to thank the Chamizal National Memorial, What’s Up Weekly, the El Paso Electric Company, the El Paso Zoo, the Holiday Inn Airport, LocoHec Productions the El Paso Fire Department, the El Paso Police Department, Juvenile Probation Department and Sunwest Charters for their support!

For additional information call or visit the City of El Paso Museums and Cultural Affairs Department at (915) 541-4481, or call Chamizal National Memorial at (915) 532-7273.

Contact Victor Guerrero at (915) 541-4942 or (915) 434-6743 for media inquiries.

Tom Lea Month Educational Programs

Here's a press release from the City of El Paso Department of Museums and Cultural Affairs:

The El Paso Museum of Art announces

Tom Lea Month Educational Programs

Please join us at the El Paso Museum of Art for Family Workshops and Sketch in the Gallery sessions during Tom Lea Month – July, 2009.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Family Workshop from 1:00 pm -3:00 pm

Tom Lea told his and his family's story through his artwork and the history of his hometown in his murals. Bring your family to EPMA to visit Tom Lea's work on display and learn how he used light and subject to tell a story. Then work together with your family members to incorporate what you learn and create 'Your El Paso Story' artwork.

Free to members and the general public

Space is limited, pre-registration is required.

Thursdays, July 2, 9, 16, 23, and 30, 2009

Sketch in the Gallery from 5:30 pm -8:45 pm

Enjoy a rare opportunity; sketch in the EPMA Tom Lea Gallery under the guidance of professional artists. No skill is required, just a desire to be creative in an inspiring environment. At each session, the first 30 minutes will be a discussion of Tom Lea's techniques, composition, and style. Then sketch from Tom Lea's paintings and drawings on display under the guidance of a professional artist. Join us for just one session or all five. Bring your own sketch pad size 9” x 14” and pencils. Only pencils are allowed in the galleries.

Free to members and the general public

Space is limited, pre-registration is required.

Please call 532-1707 to register or for more information.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Susie Byrd Will Host Director of El Paso's Office of Management and Budget

Representative Susie Byrd will host her bi-weekly community meeting this Thursday July 2 at 7:30 a.m. at Tierra Del Sol Restaurant, 4201 Alabama.

This week, Rep. Byrd will host David Almonte, Director of the city’s Office of Management and Budget. Mr. Almonte will speak to audience members on the city’s upcoming budget presentations, presenting important information on how the city plans to deal with a large deficit.

According to David Crowder with the Newspaper Tree: “The proposed El Paso city budget for fiscal 2010 starting Sept. 1 shows a $3.6 million or 1.13 percent decrease in spending from last year’s $315.8 million in local taxes, fines and fees.” You can read Crowder’s story in full here.

Mr. Almonte’s important discussion of the city’s finances comes at a very critical time and all of us are invited to hear him.

You will be getting those taps on the door soon. Even if you have previously given to the Association, please do so again. Our dues are yearly. They are just $15 per household. You can also print out the document that you previously got in email and send it in with your check. (Please fill it out again even if you have done so once before. It will help us be sure that we have your contact information correct and up to date.) If you need me to re-send that application document, just respond to this email.

¡Vaya con Dios!

¡Hola Vecinos! Midweeker Edition© An official emailed newsletter of the Newman Park Neighborhood Association is written and published by Jim Tolbert. To subscribe or unsubscribe, just reply to this letter or email

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This is Volume 3 and Number 31 published on July 1, 2009.