Sunday, November 29, 2009

City Offers Living Christmas Tree Program

A Mondale Pine watches lovingly over the home of Linda Chew and Bobby Perel

Before you run to Lowe's to buy your Christmas tree, you may want to consider a living Christmas tree. City of El Paso Arborist, Brent Pearson, has announced that his team will deliver a live 6 to 8 foot Mondale pine to your home and pick it up after the holidays to be planted in the City. The cost is just $100. For $40, his team will plant the tree on your property.

El Paso is in dire need of reforestation. Over the last several decades too many trees have been lost. More is known now about the kinds of trees that are perfect for our desert environment. The Mondale pine is known for its rapid growth and drought tolerance. It averages 3 feet of growth per year.

29 years ago David and Mandy Chew purchased a living Mondale pine for a Christmas tree and then planted it in their yard on Savannah. In 1982 they moved to their new home up the street and sold their house to David's sister, Linda, and her husband, Bobby Perel. The tree is still there and is one of the loveliest and most venerable trees not just in the Newman Park neighborhood but the entire City of El Paso.

Trees create shade that reduces our staggering energy costs during our hot summers. They help clean the air and they manage pollutants in run-offs during storms. In fact, they help minimize flooding far better than the heat-radiating cement that has taken over our urban landscape. They absorb carbon dioxide, the global warming gas.

Here is Brent Pearson's living tree announcement:

Have your Christmas Tree planted at a neighborhood Park

For $100.00 a six to eight foot living Christmas Tree will be delivered to your house and picked up after the New Year to be donated to the City of El Paso, or you can keep it and plant it in your own yard. Make this holiday season an opportunity to leave a living legacy that will last for generations


Tips on

living Christmas trees

Ÿ Delivery and Pick-up included

Ÿ They will not dry out and drop needles


Ÿ Twinkle lights work best instead of screw in bulbs

Ÿ If you want it planted at on private property, $40.00 extra



The Mondale Pine is a selection of tree known

for it’s rapid growth and drought

tolerance. Average rate of growth

is over 3 ft. per year.

This is a great opportunity for us to add much needed tree canopy to our City. Why buy a tree and throw it away, REUSE it and let it be enjoyed by others. Our goal is to have a healthy urban environment.

If interested please call :

Brent Pearson at 588-1562 or 533-2342

To find out more about the benefit of trees and to help re-forest El Paso, contact the West Texas Urban Forestry Council at 915-834-5610.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Western Refinery Promotes Scenic Sundays

View traveling west on Interstate 10

View traveling east on Interstate 10

Western Refinery is now helping to promote Scenic Sundays. A new digital billboard advertisement can be seen by motorists going west or east on I-10 near Airways.

Newman Park Neighborhood Association board member, Becky Ayala, made the display possible. She is also an environmental engineer with WR.

Judy Gutierrez, Assistant to District 2 Representative Susie Byrd, exclaimed: "This is AWESOME!"

The digital advertisement will run during some of the busiest shopping days of the year. Western Refinery will run another promotion for Scenic Sunday in another month. El Paso police have observed that, currently, the same hundred or so people walk or bicycle Scenic Drive on Sunday mornings. The Newman Park Neighborhood Association in conjunction with the District 2 office plans to do more to get the word out about Scenic Sundays to El Pasoans and those visiting the City.

Mandy Chew Sets Sights High for Science Museum

Our very own Mandy Chew is the new Executive Director of Insights El Paso Science Museum. This El Paso institution has struggled for the past few years and the Board of Directors recruited Mandy with the goal of making Insights one of the premier science museums in the United States.

Insights was established in 1980 and opened its doors of the basement of the Anson Mills building then home of the El Paso Electric Company. The museum features a permanent collection of interactive exhibits on nature and science topics ranging from electricity and optics to health and biology. Kids of all ages, and seniors too, will get a jolt of fun out of the Tesla coil that courses with 500,000 volts several times each day. The mind games are also a favorite activity for families to work on together.

The current traveling exhibit is “Giant Worlds – A voyage to the Outer Solar System.” El Paso is only the third city to host this marvelous exhibit developed by the Space Science Foundation with assistance from NASA and the National Science Foundation. Giant Worlds is filled with interactive experiences, models and spectacular murals that reveal the grandeur of these amazing planets. Visitors can learn about gravity in a simulation that assigns a mass to the visitor’s shadow and demonstrates how particles, such as those in Saturn’s spectacular ring system, interact with the shadow. They can design and launch a virtual probe into Jupiter’s crushing atmosphere and see how far their probe gets before it is destroyed. Visitors can also experiment with the properties of visible and infrared radiation and learn how scientists use light to probe phenomena like Jupiter’s Great Red Spot.

Mandy urges all Newmanistas to come and see her soon at Insights . In addition to the exhibits, Insights also hosts summer camps, sleep-overs and birthday parties.

For the holidays, Insights will be featuring a “Drop and Shop” day care for shoppers to leave their children from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm, with lunch and a healthy snack provided.

The Insights is at 505 N. Santa Fe, next to City Hall and free parking is provided. You can reach Mandy by phone at 915-534-0000, Ext 20. Her email is

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

El Paso: Second Safest Big City

Just above New York City and Austin, El Paso has been ranked the second safest city in the United States - population 500,000 or above by CQ Press, the publisher of City Crime Rankings 2009 - 2010. That's progress. Last year El Paso was ranked third.

With modesty El Paso Police Officer Henry Slack gave the credit to the people of El Paso: "I think that the thanks should go to the citizens of El Paso."

Recalling the spate of vandalisms in our own neighborhood awhile back, Representative Susie Byrd put it this way: "A year or so ago, when there was a rash of criminal mischief in the neighborhood, the community and the neighborhood association got organized to stop it. They worked with the police to put an end to mischief and they sent a clear message that crimes would not be tolerated. It is communities working with police that makes El Paso safe."

CQ Press calculates the crime rankings of cities and metropolitan areas using six crime categories: murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary and motor vehicle theft. Law officials do point out that there are many different factors that affect crime rates: "population density, composition of the population, climate, economic conditions, strength of local law enforcement agencies, citizen's attitudes toward crime, cultural factors, education levels, crime reporting practices of citizens and family cohesiveness." Nevertheless, measurements of crime levels are compatible from place to place.

Click on the image below to read the 2009 Crime Rankings:

Friday, November 20, 2009

Save the Mastiffs!

Two enormous, very sweet and friendly dogs are lost and currently waiting for their owner to call. Neither has tags and they were wandering in Newman Park.

They are both mastiffs - probably 135 to 150 pounds each with big block heads.

If you know anything, please call Lynn Coyle at her office 915-532-5546. You can also email me. Lynn cannot hold the dogs for long so time is of the essence.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Patricia Chew Seeks Election as Probate Judge

Probably most of us have seen the "Chew Mobile" in the neighborhood for awhile now. Newmanista, Pat Chew, is running for Judge of El Paso County Probate Court #1. Pat's law firm, Patricia B. Chew and Associates, P.C., is considered to be one of the best in the practice of immigration law. Pat's professional resumé includes a Juris Doctorate from the Thurgood Marshall School of Law.

Pat is the sister of Judges David Chew and Linda Chew - both of whom are also Newmanistas. She has two children: Bailey and Spencer.

She is a member of Texas Women Lawyers, the El Paso County Democratic Party, the Teamsters Union, the Autism Society of America, El Paso Women's Bar Association, LULAC, and the Mexican American Bar Association of El Paso.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

You Are Invited to a "Ghostly" Party

Our good buddy, Jackson Polk, sent us this press release:



Party is open to the public on Saturday, Nov. 21, 2009

El Paso, Texas (Nov. 4, 2009) – Capstone Productions Inc. announces the DVD release of its latest film, “Ghost Stories of El Paso, Vol. 2,” at Monteleone’s Restaurant, 3023 Gateway West from 2- 5 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 21, 2009.

The new DVD is being released just in time for the holiday gift-giving season. At the release party, El Pasoans will be able to purchase the new film for $22.00 plus tax. Producer Jackson Polk and psychic Diana Calamia will also be on hand to sign the new DVDs, and to tour the haunted restaurant, which is featured in the new film.

“Ghost Stories of El Paso, Vol. 2,” presents El Paso history as only spirits can tell it. Viewers go on ghost tours with psychics who talk to spirits – and the spirits talk back – at some of El Paso’s most historic locations.

The film is a follow up to Capstone Production’s successful 2008 film “Ghost Stories of El Paso, Vol. 1." The new one-hour film, “Vol. 2," presents all-new stories and visits more locations, including the Ysleta Mission and a mineshaft in the Franklin Mountains.

“Ghost Stories of El Paso, Vol. 2" goes inside a haunted building on Fort Bliss, and finds ghosts at the L&J Café and Monteleone’s Restaurant. In San Elizario, a psychic confronts a legend about Billy the Kid and the local jail. The program also visits Concordia Cemetery, the Magoffin Home and Sunset Heights Grocery.

“Ghost Stories of El Paso, Vol. 2" is not intended to prove or disprove ghost stories, but to explore some of the legends and folk tales that are a part of El Paso’s rich history.

The public is invited to attend the DVD release party of “Ghost Stories of El Paso, Vol. 2" at Monteleone’s Restaurant, 3023 Gateway West between Piedras and Copia. The cross street is San Marcial. Street parking is available.

DVDs of “Ghost Stories of El Paso, Volume 2" will be available for purchase in stores in El Paso and New Mexico beginning Nov. 23.

For information and a video clip of “Ghost Stories of El Paso, Vol. 2," go online to, where you can also buy 11 different DVDs about El Paso heritage. Capstone Productions will ship DVDs anywhere in the U.S. and Canada.

You can get more information at

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Living Statue Is the Hit of Halloween

Living statue "welcomes" Trick-or-Treaters to Ho Baron's Home

With its surrealistic statues keeping watch over the corner of Piedras and Aurora, the home of sculptor Ho Baron is the favorite of trick-or-treaters each year. Ho estimates that nearly 1,000 people visited his house this year for Halloween. The visitors were greeted by a living statue, Eric Myers, a mime from the El Paso theater group, KIDS-N-CO. Eric worked on his costume for days and then "performed" on Halloween night for 2-1/2 hours.

Ho told me that the "living statue concept is known in larger cities but, as far as I know, new to EP." Indeed, there is an annual competition in the Netherlands and an amateur group in Laguna Beach, California entertains people during the city's Festival of the Arts. The Living Statue Company in the UK performs at all events: weddings, parties and corporate events.

Paul Wegener's living statue in his classic German Expressionist 1920 silent movie, Der Golem, still arouses awe and fear.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Traffic Calming for Altura

At a recent meeting at Austin High School, City traffic engineer, Kimberly Forsyth, presented a plan to neighbors for calming traffic on Altura through the City's Neighborhood Traffic Management Program (NTMP).

The NTMP has several objectives: improve unsafe conditions; provide protection and relief from disproportionate increases in traffic; provide a program format that is responsive to all neighborhoods; incorporate community preferences into design and operation of neighborhood streets.

To be eligible for a NTMP grant, a street must have an 85th percentile speed of 35 mph or higher and have high traffic volumes in a low density (residential) area. Being a bus or emergency vehicle route or having pedestrian facilities (schools, parks) nearby are also considered.

Click on image to enlarge

Altura ranked number one out of 40 citywide applications eligible for physical traffic calming. It has high daily volumes of traffic, has had 3 reported collisions in the past 4 years, and typically sees speeds above 35 mph.

Click on image to enlarge

Traffic engineers propose several traffic calming solutions for Altura: traffic circles at Raynor and Altura and Myles and Altura as well as curb extensions at Byron and Russell.

Click on image to enlarge

Ms. Forsyth called traffic circles the "Cadillacs of traffic calming measures". They slow speeding, reduce the chance of collisions and are attractive. Curb extensions reduce roadway width curb to curb and benefit pedestrian activity at midblock and intersection crossings.

The proposal will now go to engineering for drawing. It will still take months before the entire project is completed.

Not all neighbors have been happy with recent traffic calming measures in the area. A curb extension at Scenic Drive and Wheeling does slow down vehicles turning downhill off Scenic Drive onto Wheeling. However, according to one neighbor, motorists now increase their speed even more after making the turn. What is needed in his opinion are additional stop signs at the corner of Dakota and Wheeling. "The curbs that the City installed have led to neighbors (including me) narrowly avoiding having head-on collisions." Neighbors worry that the City won't act until there is a serious accident.

(All images above were part of the slide show presented by Kimberly Forsyth at Austin High School 10/27/09.)

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Newmanista Conquers the Longhorn Ironman 70.3 Triathlon

Gabriela Gallegos radiates after a 70.3 mile race!

70.3 does not refer to the latest version of a software program. Rather it is the total miles that one endures in a triathlon such as the one recently held in Austin, Texas on October 25th. First one swims for 1.2 miles, then bicycles for 56 miles, and finally runs for 13.1 miles! I would be good for a few yards of swimming before the guys with the gurney haul me out, work on my body while a priest with a purple stole slowly shakes his head and makes the sign of the cross over my blue, adipose anatomy.

Not so with Newmanista athlete, Gabriela "Gabby" Gallegos, who conquered the Longhorn Ironman 70.3 with an official time of 6 hours and 40 minutes! "The course was challenging but great," she told me. "I'm definitely looking forward to doing another next year."

Gabriela, an attorney and daughter of 388th District Court Judge, Patricia Macias, has also begun organizing a sprint-distance triathlon for El Paso, tentatively scheduled for August 29, 2010. This event, which will be produced by Race El Paso, will be sponsored by the El Paso Triathlon Club as well as several other organizations. As part of organizing the sprint-distance triathlon for El Paso, Gabby has become a certified race director with the U.S. Triathlon Club following special training in Salt Lake City. She plans on making the El Paso race special by giving participants more recognitions and by making it a truly "green" event by using the resources of Athletes for a Fit Planet.

Gabby is not just an outstanding athlete, but a reputable scholar. She is a graduate of Cornell University and holds a Masters of Public Policy and a Doctor of Jurisprudence from UC Berkeley. She is an attorney in one of the oldest and largest law firms in the country: Vinson and Elkins.

Congratulations to our very own, Gabriela Gallegos, for her accomplishment at the triathlon in Austin and for bringing greater opportunities for fitness in her hometown of El Paso.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Flu Prevention Tips

Here are what seem to be common sense tips for flu prevention. Gargling with a salt solution is among the tips to minimize proliferation of flu virus. A friend who is a nurse suggested this recipe:
Isotonic salt water solution: one teaspoon of salt, one teaspoon baking soda, mix well in 2 cups of filtered water. Solution is good for about a week. If it gets cloudy before that, throw it out, rinse container with hot water and make new. This works not only against H1N1 but against any virus that first takes hold in the throat/nasal passages. I bought cheap travel containers in different colors for each member of our family and set them on the bathroom vanity. Each of us is gargling with the solution and swabbing the nostirls at least once a day. This deters the virus from proliferating in the throat and nostrils. My daughter has 3 friends at school who have been out with confirmed cases of H1N1 and so far she hasn't come down with it. Perhaps this little hygiene exercise is paying off so I wanted to pass it on.

Of course, see your health professional if you do begin to have flu symptoms. Stay home so you don't spread the virus. And, remember, don't blame the pig: