Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Language: It's easy to date yourself

If I'm not mistaken, Tom Terrific appeared on "Captain Kangaroo"

Renowned veteran journalist Sam Donaldson was on the radio this morning and giving his take of the current Republican Primary race in Florida. He's of the opinion that if Rick Santorum places third (as he very well may), that he will most likely drop out of the race.

In regards to Ron Paul, Donaldson mentioned that the cranky Paul is probably in for the long haul. The reason: according to Donaldson, Paul has followers that are very loyal to him and will stick with him "like flypaper".  Flypaper?

Yes, I know what it is and certainly remember seeing it many a time-but that was many years ago. I'm sure that it's still being manufactured and used but personally, I havent' seen any for a while.

The point being, I increasingly know what it feels like to allude to some person, event, song, movie or character only to have others look at me with a sort of blank stare. I forget that not everyone knows who Underdog or Tom Terrific was. The same goes when I mention Dr. Zeko, Ramirez Mini-Max, Gibson Discount Center and other assorted names of Laredo's history.

Red Ventures looking to hire bilingual personnel (In San Antonio)

"Buenos Dias, en que le puedo ayudar?"

I was listening to KTSA San Antonio (55AM on your radio dial) this morning and they were talking about some company named Red Ventures. It turns out this company is like Convergy's in a way and they are looking to expand the work they do on behalf for Direct TV. The interesting (and Laredo related) part of it is that what they're specifically looking for is about 100 bilingual and/or Spanish speaking representatives to handle the increased business that Direct TV is apparently experiencing.

With well over 90 per cent of it's population being Hispanic, this is exactly the type of labor force that the Gateway City can readily provide. Alas, Red Ventures, some time back, chose San Antonio as the place they wanted to set up shop so it's unlikely any Laredoans will move to the Alamo City just to secure this type of particular job.

From RedVentures website: San Antonio bilingual job vacancies posting

Preferred Qualities :
• Strong communication skills in both English and Spanish
• Previous sales experience is preferred but not required
• Competitive spirit and the drive to be at the top of the sales board
• Team player who is assertive, goal-oriented, positive and self-motivated
• Desire to work in a dynamic, fun, and fast-paced environment
• Strong ability to multi-task, including conversing while navigating our CRM system simultaneously
• Proficiency in using computer applications
• High level of integrity
• Excellent communication skills
• Sense of humor
• Flexibility to work evening and/or weekend hours: we are open from 7am – 2am EST - this is a full-time position and we take calls nationwide.

What we offer:
• Average annual compensation range of $35,000 to $65,000 which is comprised of a $10/hour base plus uncapped commission
• Extra bonus pay and incentives (think- trips, TVs, Ipads, gift cards galore!)

Monday, January 30, 2012

Tacoville, Texas


When does a convenience store become a gasolinera and when does a gasolinera truly become a taqueria? Well, I recently stopped at the Stripes on the corner of Jacama Road and Loop 20 and I found out in a hurry. As I walked in, there were at least 15 people in line for those delicious mariachitos from the Laredo Taco Company.

A fellow customer ahead of me in line answered his cell phone and told the person on the other end "Aqui estoy, en la gasolinera". That's when I thought to myself "you mean taqueria".  Admittedly, the pompas de gas   outside were all going full speed but I still say more people were there for the tacos than for the gasolina.


Sunday, January 29, 2012

Etymologists shed light on origins of "jamboozie"

Remember that Jamboozie aspires to one day become "just" like Mardi Gras

Now that it's been a smashing (see smashed) success, Jamboozie revelers are no doubt recovering from various stages of hangover. Even one local visitor to the festivities explained that he takes his family "early" because he knows full well that the party crowd (see borrachines) comes out at night!

It all makes sense when we consider the orgin of the word for which the festival is named. Jamboozie appears to derive from the French phrase J'aime booze which literally translates into I love booze.

The meaning is a little bit clearer if we translate it from French to Spanish: In French, we say "J'aim booze", in Spanish it's "Yo amo booze" and of course here on the border it's Jamboozie or I love boozie!

Who would've thunk, drunk!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Unlike Laredo, Eagle Pass elected officials to fight for their town's health and environment

Dos Republicas coal mine to be reopened by Texas RRC ?

San Antonio Express News is reporting:

— A two-decade old plan to mine tons of low-quality coal in South Texas for Mexican power plants has been revived.

The San Antonio Express-News (http://bit.ly/zLYw6e) reports a Texas Railroad Commissioner will begin hearing evidence Monday on an application by the Dos Republicas Coal Partnership to strip-mine coal just north of Eagle Pass. The border city is 130 miles southwest of San Antonio.

The coal is such poor quality that it cannot be used in the United States, but it can be used in Mexico's federally owned power plants just outside Piedras Negras. Those plants near the Mexican border city across the Rio Grande from Eagle Pass are not under any pollution restrictions. Eagle Pass-area elected officials and community leaders have mobilized to fight approval of the coal mine

Friday, January 27, 2012

Texas A&M recognizes "promotoras" work in Texas' colonias

From Bryan-College Station's KBTX.com

“Promotoras are the heart and soul of what we do,” said Jorge Vanegas, dean of the Texas A&M College of Architecture, which oversees the Colonias Program for the state.

“This is a celebration of 20 years of programs, projects, events and activities planned, organized, executed and delivered with more than 100 regional partners, 50 of whom are represented here today,” Vanegas, who also heads the Colonias Program, told the Weslaco crowd. “One thread that has forged a solid bond among us all,” he added, “is an unwavering commitment to serve the needs of people who live in the colonias of the Lower Rio Grande Valley.”

Also at the event, U.S. Rep. Rubén Hinojosa, the keynote speaker, presented a congressional proclamation honoring the program’s “outstanding service in the most vulnerable communities” and commending its “efforts to build stronger Texas communities through partnerships and to provide a better quality of life for their residents.”

“It is amazing what you have all achieved,” Hinojosa told the celebrants. "A hand up — not a handout."
There are currently 2,333 colonias in the United States, home to half a million people, and most are located throughout the Texas borderland between El Paso and Brownsville, said Oscar Muñoz, director of the Colonias Program. Though characteristics of these small, rural, unincorporated communities vary, they all generally lack one or more of the physical infrastructure amenities most take for granted: running water, sewer systems, paved roads and storm drainage. Because of their remote locations, poor economic conditions and cultural segregation, colonia residents tend to be isolated from government services and the various social safety nets that provide education, job training and placement, health care, and programs for the young and elderly.

Name the City Council Mascot

Post entries in comments section. Please refrain from using the expletives that will no doubt come to mind.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

But it's only wine-tasting!

The official Washington Birthday's Celebration Association guide to the Wine-Tasting Gala, Noche de Agave, The Border Beer Fest, Jamboozie and of course,the Jalapeno Eating Contest

File:The Drunkard's Progress - Color.jpg
WBCA alcohol imbibing flowchart template

Pro8News sheds light on "illuminating" incident at local gym

Tax Credit Clearance Sale!

City leaders add Tax Credits to list of things they're willing to sell

Several local news sources are reporting on a multi-million dollar affordable housing development in Mike Garza's district. The usual cast of characters have been seen all over the TV and in print turning over the first shovel of dirt at the seemingly mandatory ground-breaking.

Upon reading the Laredo Morning Times article, I admit I had to scratch my head when it came to the part about how the entire thing was made possible. First of all, the article states that Mike Garza was approached by some San Antonio company about the idea. This is a recurring theme: out of town companies coming to our city council will all sorts of proposals.

The questions that comes to mind immediately is "what's in it for them"?  Are these companies just doing it out of the kindness of their hearts or are they cashing in on our city leaders' proven willingness to bend over backwards anytime $$ money $$ is involved?

Here's some of LMT"s article:
NRP Group approached Garza about two years ago with the property in mind and the housing development just an idea.

Those discussions led to the formation of the Laredo Public Facility Corp.

“There isn’t enough housing here, and there certainly isn’t enough housing for those looking to purchase a home,” said Dan Markson, senior vice president of NRP.

“We need not hundreds but thousands of more units throughout South Texas.”
As I said, the fact that the so-called NPR Group approached Garza is what gives the impression that this is just another in a long-list of out of town interests swooping down to take advantage of Laredo's proven track record of caving in to economic carpet-baggers. 

Who can forget the tag team of former mayor Betty Flores-Arena Ventures or the ongoing shenanigans from the Salinas-Ventura Group team of pile drivers.   

“This project will have essentially advanced our housing efforts almost 13 years,” said Councilman Mike Garza, whose district includes most of South Laredo.

The federal HOME Investment Partnerships Program allows the city to pay for the construction of 10 homes annually.

By leveraging $1.2 million in annual HOME funding to pay for the project, the city will complete nearly 13 years of possible housing units in a single year.

Okay, does this mean there will me no more HOME funding for the next 13 years?? Or will Laredo will now be able to build 13 years of housing every single year??

The complex funding process involved cooperation from the public and private sectors and a competitive application for federal low-income housing tax credits through the state.

The Laredo Public Facility Corp. and Ejido Holdings, a subsidiary of Clower Interest, jointly applied for the tax credits through the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs.

The tax credits were then sold to generate about $14.1 million in private equity for the project.
Okay, the selling of public tax credits to private companies is apparently legal but so was the trading of derivatives and see where that got us.

Lucky for readers of LaredoTejas, I really don't have any idea of how this all works and I'm sure our city leaders are looking out for the best interests of all of the Gateway city's taxpayers and residents.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Brace yourself ! Even tiny Benavides, Texas eats our lunch, hosts football championship

Article Image
Photo from Omaha World Herald Sports

From The Omaha World Herald

On again. Off again. On again.

Won again.

That's the story of the Omaha Jackals youth football team's thousand-mile trip nearly to Mexico for a tournament and a dream adventure to cap a dream season for the club of mostly north and northwest Omaha boys.

The journey ended Monday when the chartered bus of kids from Millard, Bellevue and Council Bluffs pulled into a parking lot at Omaha Northwest High School.

They piled out in the frigid wind carrying a tall trophy, shoulder pad-high to some of their smaller guys.
"What did we tell you?!" one of the boys yelled.

What they told us, in a story in these pages Thursday, was that they would represent Nebraska well. They wanted donors who stepped forward to make the trip possible when it twice appeared doomed to know their money would not be wasted. One anonymous donor was so taken with the boys, ages 12-14, that he or she gave them new uniforms.

The Jackals won the eighth-grade division of the South Texas Football Championships, played at a high school stadium in Benavides, Texas, about halfway between Corpus Christi, Texas, and Nuevo Laredo, Mexico.

They beat two Texas teams — the Edcouch-Elsa Yellow Jackets, by a score of 13-0, and the Harlingen Cardinals, 6-0 — to claim the big trophy.

"We went to the beach, went out to eat, walked around the Mexican territory, and then we just had fun and took care of business," said running back Camm Brewer, 14, a Lewis & Clark Middle School student.

Laredo Proud: Booze Boom underway

Setting the example!

Fueled by the attention-seeking partiers appearing weekly in Laredo Morning Times' Que Pasa, booze-driven businesses are thriving in our humble, albeit intoxicated, town.  Perhaps its time for a new Temperance movement.

I remember when cigarette commercials were pulled off the air because of smoking's link to health problems but alcohol continues to ravage our nation. So is it time for 21st century version of the Temperance movement? I'll drink to that!

From The Laredo Sun

LAREDO, TX .- One of the fastest growing businesses that have been recorded in Laredo for the past three years are those related to nightlife.

In 36 months 160 permits were granted for those establishments where alcoholic beverages are sold.
Gustavo Guevara Jr., City Clerk, said that due to the rise in the application of these special permits, a guide was developed to provide guidance to employers on all the steps you must follow to obtain license from the municipality, county and state.

Although the process seems complicated by the large number of units involved, the fact is that if the applicant meets the requirements in less than three months, they can have everything ready to begin operations.
Until recently Laredo nightlife has little activity but about five years ago, the nightlife began to increase and reach it’s peak during the years of 2009 and 2011.

In 2009, 48 licenses were issued for the sale of alcohol in businesses such as restaurants, bars and nightclubs. In 2010 there were 64 permits and in 2011 the figure again reached 48, a total of 160 in three years.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Fees, Fees, Fo Fum

So how do we get more money to spend?? Think! Think!!

It appears that our city leaders are once again coming down with a touch of revenue fee-ver. In the last couple of weeks, our illustrious leaders have managed to come up with some ways to fatten the city's coffers. Chances are that our seedy council is getting a little bit worried that they might actually have to watch what they spend and of course, they'll have no part of that.

One particular new source of (increased) revenue is the City of Laredo's firefighter training facilities. City council figured it was time to raise the rates charged to those coming into our fair city to improve their fire-fighting skills.

So much for drawing visitors and putting more heads in beds. The rather substantial increases in training fees are sure to make former clients think twice before heading back to the Gateway City.

As an example, check out the change in fees below.
                                                                Old Fee                                 New Fee

1. Emergency Medical Services and related fields
Course: EMT                                          $750                                      $1,400

              Paramedic                                 $2,900                                   $4,000

Moving right along, council Mike Garza came up with the big idea of charging every single person (kids) who use the city's baseball parks some sort of fee so that they are registered into the city's system.  Naturally, Garza made it seem as if his main concern was to make sure that everyone using the parks is actually a resident of Laredo.

In the meantime, Airport Director Jose Flores has brought up the possibility of charging a fee for any company that leaves broken down planes at the airport for an extended amount of time. Perhaps some of these ideas do deserve to be at least considered but...........so does the need to cut back on spending.

What say you Seedy Council?

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Are you smarter than an 8th grader? Take the quiz

From The Amarillo Globe-News

Amarillo-area teachers are working to prepare their students to take new state-mandated tests this year. As the first test dates in March approach, teachers will soon find out if their efforts have paid off.
The State of Texas Assessment of Academic Readiness tests are supposed to be more rigorous and require students to use more critical-thinking skills to answer questions.

Check out Wednesday’s Amarillo Globe-News for a story about how teachers feel about the tests and what they have done in their classrooms to make sure their students are ready.

Take a quiz based on sample STAAR test questions to see if you are smarter than an eighth-grader.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Thanks WBCA for growing numbers in hard-liquour event

Your right to get drunk shall not be infringed

Call it what you may, WBCA's Noche de Agave is still an event driven by the infamous hard liquour,Tequila. Congratulations to those in charge of WBCA event for continuing to expand the role that alcohol plays in their celebrations.

From putting the "booze" in Jamboozie to the new Border Beer Fest and the increased popularity of wine and Tequila indulging events, it seems clear that the next WBCA event to be added to the festivities will be a much-needed treatment center for all those that lack the fortitude to stop at 1, 2 or 3 glasses of their favorite intoxicating adult beverage.

Excerpted from The Laredo Morning Times

In 2011, the WBCA invited the bar association to become an associate member and the night was named “Noche de Agave,” Quintanilla continued.

Before that, it had been known only as a tequila tasting, he said, adding the goal for Friday evening was to sell every ticket — which happened.

According to Quintanilla, a tequila tasting can be like a wine tasting.

You look for the same characteristics and properties as you would for wine, said Quintanilla, noting guests are provided with a variety of tequila types, from reposado (slightly aged) to extra añejo (aged more than three years).

Tequila starts taking on the color and flavor of the barrel in which it’s stored, whether oak, cherry or another type, he explained.

“It’s a matter of preference,” Quintanilla said.

And many Laredoans preferred the tasting event to being anywhere else.

With more than 400 guests in attendance, the night boasted double the numbers from 2011.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Do kids still serve as safety patrol guards in Laredo?

School safety patrols for San Antonio's Lanier elementary circa mid 1960s

To be honest, I don't know if Laredo has any school kids who serve as school safety patrol guards. From what I've been able to gather, this service is now performed mostly by adults who go by the term "crossing guards".

I remember when I was attending Leyendecker elementary school way back when, I was one of the elite. You had to be either a 5th or 6th grader to serve. Yes, back then, elementary school included all the way up to the 6th grade. Also, you were issued a yellow raincoat, a whistle and of course each team (of 3 students) was issued two long bamboo flags.  I vaguely remember that the one serving as the lead guard for any particular week wore some serve of badge and was the one who got to signal (whistle) when to lower and raise the flags.

One of the trappings of power that "patrols" had back then was that they could report anyone who was crossing at unauthorized points or engaging in any other sort of mischief.  Many times, you could convince the would-be-culprit to behave by simply uttering the phrase "Hey!, te voy a reportar! (Hey, I'm gonna report you!)".

Our reward for a full year of dedicated service was the end-of-the-year picnic held at the City of Laredo Waterworks picnic grounds, or as we called it "la planta del agua" at the West end of Jefferson street. That was before fajitas were discovered so I'm pretty sure we had hamburgers or something like that.

Taco Palenque garners many positive reviews

More from online reviews of some of the Gateway City's places popular with tourists and visitors to our humble town. Following is the take by some guy by the name of Levi H. from Vicksburg, Virginia. As it turns outk, he offered this rather generous review of Taco Palenque on Laredo's historic La Sanbe (La Sanber).

How have I never heard of Taco Palenque before?

I was in Laredo on a business trip when a co-worker suggested Taco Palenque.  I love Mexican food, so I was on-board.

The meat was well-seasoned and full of flavor.  The meat was tender and not full of gristle and fat.

The tortillas were fresh and very tasty, in fact all the condiments, rice, salsa, pico de gallo, and guacamole were all made fresh.

I wolfed down the meal and helped myself to the salsa bar.

The food reminds me of the type of mexican food I would find in Southern California and my few trips south of the border.

The restaurant was clean and is on par with an older fast-food restaurant motiff.

It helps if you speak a little spanish, as they call out your order number in spanish and once you get above 10....I'm lost.

I will definitely stop in Taco Palenque again when the opportunity arises.

Mayor continues his photo-op streak

Laredo's mayor was in full camera view at the national council of mayors. True to form, Salinas always manages to get in front of the camera-whether it be for still or moving pictures. In this case, it's a sitting picture.

Mayors (from left) Mark Stodola of Little Rock, Ark., Andre Pierre of North Miami, Fla., and Raul Salinas of Laredo, Texas, discuss cities' role in immigration reform Wednesday with Angela Maria Kelley (center) of the Center for American Progress.
Mayors (from left) Mark Stodola of Little Rock, Ark., Andre Pierre of North Miami, Fla., and Raul Salinas of Laredo, Texas, discuss cities' role in immigration reform Wednesday with Angela Maria Kelley (center) of the Center for American Progress.
Photo by Dustin Volz

US-Mexico trade booming:jobs coming back from China

trade mexico us.jpg

From Fox News Latino

Rising wages in China, currency appreciation, and ocean-freight costs from Asia are a major factor for overall production costs, according to research conducted by AlixPartners, a global business-advisory firm. And that means more and more manufacturing work is going to the US/Mexico border area.

“We are still not back to pre-recession levels,” said Dr. Pablo Camacho, assistant professor of economics at Texas A&M University International, referring to jobs directly-related to trade in Laredo, Texas, a city with the busiest port of entry in the country.

Camacho said that the Bureau of Labor Statistics recorded that in 2008 there were over 10,500 transportation-related jobs, including truck drivers and transportation support staff workers in the Laredo area. In 2010, that number dropped to 9,483.

There were also a dip in the number of warehouse employees, from 764 in 2008 to 684 in 2010 in the Laredo area.

Read more: http://latino.foxnews.com/latino/news/2012/01/19/mexicous-trade-booming-after-china-ups-costs/#ixzz1jyE76Kfu

New HEBs on the way in Texas and Mexico;none for Laredo

From The Houston Chronicle

H-E-B will open its largest store in San Antonio this year and several in northern Mexico as part of a plan that includes new construction, upgrades and expanded facilities, executives said this week.

The grocer will expand or open 22 stores in Texas and remodel 33 other locations, said Craig Boyan, H-E-B president and chief operating officer, including 15 in the city.

In Mexico, the company plans to open five stores, despite contending with hijacked truck trailers, parking lot security issues and the devaluing peso.

The San Antonio-based company, which has nearly 300 stores in Texas, said it surpassed the $1 billion mark in annual sales in Mexico, where it has had a presence for 15 years.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Tejano Monument scheduled to be compeleted by late March, 2012

From Austin's Fox affiliate

Tejano Monument Groundbreaking Today: MyFoxAUSTIN.com

KCS (Tex-Mex) business keeps right on track!

Kansas City Southern Chief Executive David Starling looks forward to a good year for the railroad and is pursuing new opportunities.
"Hello Laredo, we've got brand new KCS engines to block your streets with & there's not a dang thing y'all can do about it!"
 From Investor.com

David Starling, chief executive of railroad holding company Kansas City Southern (KSU), can tell you all about it. KCS is a hot shot in the freight-hauling game. In the U.S., it has the shortest north-south rail route between its home base of Kansas City, Mo., and several key ports along the Gulf of Mexico.

South of the border, its Kansas City Southern de Mexico's core route runs along the shortest, most direct rail passageway between Mexico City and Laredo, Texas. KCSM's lines provide exclusive rail access to the U.S. and Mexico border crossing at Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, the largest rail freight interchange point between the two nations.

Internet Addiction may cause brain damage & emotional problems

From CBS News- January 17,2012

We throw around words like “crackberry” to describe how dependent we are on high-tech devices.

But now, a study finds that Internet addiction may actually damage the brain—the same as too much alcohol or drugs.

For the study, published in the Jan. 11 issue of PLoS One, researchers studied 17 men and women who were diagnosed with Internet addiction disorder (IAD) and compared scans of their brains to scans of 16 healthy people who weren’t addicted to the web.

Study participants were between the ages of 14 and 21 and lived in China.

The researchers found more patterns of “abnormal white matter” on brain scans of Internet addicts, compared with scans of non-addicts.

White matter areas in the brain contain nerve fibers that transmit signals to other parts of the brain.

These changes showed evidence of disrupting pathways related to emotions, decision-making, and self control.

Physician and best-selling author Dr. Deepak Chopra called the study "very valid" on "CBS This Morning".

"Addictive behavior means that you’re compulsively repeating that behavior at the cost of everything in your life. You can’t sleep. You miss out on relationships, social interactions, health, well-being. Any addictive behavior will cause the same damage in the brain at the receptors as a drug will do. The study is very valid. Once there’s damage, then that perpetuates the behavior. It becomes a vicious cycle. The behavior damages the brain. The brain then reinforces the behavior. And soon, it spins out of control."

Guest not too thrilled with local hotel stay

From TripAdvisor.com, comes this scathing review on one of the local hotels. In this particular case, it appears that the Eagle Ford Shale actually contributed to the visitors' miserable Laredo experience as you'll soon see.

Courtyard by Marriott Laredo

A recent visitor to the Gateway City had the following to say about their stay at the Mariott Courtyard on historic La Sanbe Avenue, right across from the soon-to-be-sold Civic Center

We have stayed here numerous times over the decade we have been married...probably at least three or four trips annually of about two or three nights each. Never again.

Firstly, there were bedbugs in our room!!! They bit our children, my husband and me!. The one who was attacked the worst was our 15 month old baby! His torso, and around his diaper are covered in bites! SO THAT was one bad thing...The beds are worn out. A few years ago, they renovated and the beds were so comfy...the beds are no longer plush--but very worn out. Not to mention, infested with BED BUGS!!!

THE OTHER is that apparently, Hallibruton has a rather large project in Cotulla. The guys are all staying at the Marriott Courtyard. When we were there, they were not working because they were waiting on a part to be delivered. They would hang out around the hotel--which really has no place to hang out-- drinking beer all day. Several would sit on the bench outside the fron of the property with a box of beer on the ground beside them. All. Day. Long. It's a tiny property so there really isn't a place to hang out--other than the bench in the front and the pool.

Like I said, we have spent MANY nights at this hotel, and this was by far the very worst experience we have ever had. Disappointed and disgusted. I'm thinking next trip, we will be at the Holiday Inn.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Gateway City tax sales & use allocations up almost 14 % from last January

"mmm let's see how should we squander these $Millions?"

From the Texas State Comptroller's office:

Laredo's January,2012 sales & use tax allocation  & comparison summary

Jan,2011                   Jan,2012                change
$2,973,111               $2,613,188             13.77 increase

Comptroller Susan Combs added that, statewide, sales and use revenues have increased for the 21st consecutive month.

I can almost see the seedy council & mayor salivating with anticipation of how to spend these millions of taxpayer's hard-earned money. Is there some sort of immunization shot for that kind of foaming at the mouth?

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Laredoans-to-be ask "Is it safe?"

Below is an entry from Yahooanswers.com. It's a question from a prospective Laredoan about the state of the Gateway City in regards to safety. Following is a response from someone who identifies him/herself as a 28-year Laredo resident.

Moving to laredo, tx. is it safe?

I am 7 weeks pregnant and my boyfriend and I are relocating from fort worth to laredo. I have heard it is dangerous...should I be worried? Please tell me about this town, even if t scares me
Response:  Here are the facts:
Ft. Worth has a crime index of 441, Laredo is a little higher with 475. The national average is 319. People that just talk and don't listen to the news think that Laredo and Nuevo Laredo Mexico are the same place. Those folk must also think that Rome Georgia, and Rome Italy are the same. Nuevo Laredo is the unsafe place, Laredo is nothing special when it comes to crime. As the other writer noted, try to get a place on the west or north side of town, stay away from the south side. What crime we have seems to be out there mostly.

About El Paso...... it is one of the 10 safest cities in the US!

Source(s): 28 year Laredo resident

US regains role as World's leader in Clean Tech Investment

From Spectrum.ieee.org

The United States accounted for almost a fifth of global clean tech investment in 2011, regaining a lead it had lost to China two years before. That tidbit prompted the Financial Times to lead its Friday paper with the Bloomberg report. But it is by no means the only significant detail of the report and arguably not the most important by a long shot.

Perhaps the most significant finding was that investment in solar far surpassed wind last year. With solar investment up 36 percent last year and wind investment down 17 percent, spending on photovoltaic and thermal solar installations was almost twice as great as turbine outlays. 2011 solar investment came to $136.6 billion--more than half the global clean tech total of $260 billion--while wind investment was $74.9 billion.

Cautioning green energy  boosters and potential investors, Bloomberg Clean Energy Finance pointed out that the high U.S. clean-tech totals have been heavily driven by Federal incentives for solar and wind that have just expired, and that another U.S. tax credit for wind could be terminated at the end of this year.

WBCA continues its descent into debauchery

Will a sign like this welcome visitors to the LEA?

Here we go again!  The Taste of Los Dos Laredos has just ended its ability to tout itself as a fun for the whole family event. They have decided to go the crooked route (DWI) of the Border Beer Fest, Noche de Agave and the WBCA Wine Tasting Gala and will now offer alcohol in the form of more beer and wine.

Borrachines will now be able to surreptiously mingle with Laredo families who are out to simply enjoy what used to exclusively a food-tasting affair. So much for family entertainment. Will the event devolve into an indooor version of Jamboozie ?

From The Laredo Morning Times

This year’s Taste of Laredo has added international beer and wine tasting to the array of food options available Feb. 7 at the Laredo Energy Arena.

Doors open at 6:45 p.m. for a ribbon-cutting ceremony, with the festivities following at 7 p.m.

This is a first for the Taste of Laredo, a major celebration within the Washington’s Birthday Celebration Association festivities.

For a small additional fee, patrons can taste an international variety of beer and wine.

“We are adding more excitement to this ever-popular event,” said Xavier Villalon, general manager of the LEA, which is managed by SMG.

“In addition to great food, music and fun, local beer and wine distributors are partnering up with us to expose patrons to international flavors,” he added.

In a related story, Pitchforks & Torches outlet is now open

Yes, at Pitchforks & Torches, we also carry rope for all ocassions

Thanks to a brand new "Pitchforks & Torches" outlet now open in Laredo's West Side, Laredoans of all walks of life will now have plenty to do during the high-brow WBCA festivities. Forget income-inequality: this is a time for all Gateway City residents to celebrate.

Although most of the commoners or barriofolk will be kept outside the gates of many an oppulent WBCA event, La Raza can now fully enjoy the goings on under the flickering warm flames of their authenic, hand-made torches while simultaneously jabbing their pitchforks up and down in the air. You could say it's a scene straight out of the French Revolution, or at least straight out of a 1930s Frankenstein Movie.

Pitchforkes and Torches always carries a complete line of peasants' garb at a low-brow price. For those who wish to partake of some adult beverages during the storming of the Martha's Ball, check out our vintage drinking vessels and gourds.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Attention BTB : Martha's Museum Opens!!

If there's anyone that's more eager than myself to get in line (yes, loooong line) for the Washington Birthday Celebration's museum it's has to be fellow-blogger BorderTown Blues. Not even our yearly George & Martha candidates can exude as much sheer joy and anticipation as the WBCA month-long festivities are just around the corner.

So here's to you, BTB. You've waited all year for this incredible time of year and, in deference, to your love of the WBCA, I'll keep this post short. We will all eagerly await your full coverage of the dazzling array of events as they unfold.

A City of Two tales: Laredo & The Eagle Ford Shale

Always hawking jobs over virtually any other concern, Mayor Salinas was probably very happy with yesterday's Eagle Ford Shale Job & Vendor Fair at the Laredo Energy Arena.  Salinas has always focused on the economic $$ positives of the Eagle Ford Shale play while turning a dear ear/blind eye to the many documented cases of pollution and toxic spills on the roads and highways of the Gateway City.

It was therefore fortunate that Pro8News last night ran a rather "fair and balanced" report that presented both the negative and positive aspects of the Eagle Ford Frenzy.  LaredoTejas salutes the Rio Grande International Study Group's Tricia Cortez for pulling off this much-needed service so that our public is well-informed on the wider picture of the ongoing Oil & Gas boom.

The Streets of laredo: Predators continue to attack joggers

A few years ago, as I was walking around Ryan Elementary School, a young lady came running towards me, rather hysterical. It turns out she had nearly been abducted by a predator who unsuccessful tried to get her into his car. Luckily, she was unhurt. I walked her to her car and kept an eye out for the villain but by then he was long gone.

Around that same time, there had been reports around nearby Milton Elementary concerning similar incidents. More than likely, it was the same culprit.

Now, the Laredo Morning Times is reporting that some predator (is it the same one?) tried unsuccessfully abduct another female jogger around Century City.  It's always advisable to walk or jog accompanied.

From The Laredo Morning Times
Joggers beware.

A woman jogging at about 7 a.m. Friday ran to a house on Horizon Loop in the Century City Subdivision asking for help, claiming she had been attacked.

“Apparently, there was a male subject who attacked her while she was jogging,” said Investigator Joe E. Baeza, Laredo Police Department spokesman.

 “She fought back and was able to get away from her attacker.”

Preliminary reports indicate the woman was knocked to the ground and sustained minor injuries.

Detectives with the crimes against persons division, CAPERS, are investigating.

No one has been arrested in connection with the attack.
“Be aware of all the surroundings and who’s around

at all time,” Baeza said.

Baeza added that if possible, people should go out exercising with another person
To provide information on the case, call police at 795-2800 or Crime Stoppers at 727-TIPS (8477). Information leading to an arrest may be rewarded.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

DPS sniffs out Snoop: No wonder his vision is blurred

"I reckon' ol' smokey gots you too huh Snoop!"

EL PASO, Texas — Rapper Snoop Dogg is facing a minor drug charge in Texas after border agents say they found several joints on his tour bus.

Hudspeth County sheriff’s office said in a statement that Snoop Dogg, whose name is Calvin Broadus, was arrested Saturday at the Sierra Blanca highway checkpoint and cited for possession of drug paraphernalia, a misdemeanor typical in cases involving small amounts of marijuana.

According to the sheriff’s office, a border agent smelled marijuana smoke coming from the bus and ordered everyone off so that a dog could inspect the vehicle. A prescription bottle with several marijuana cigarettes was found in a trashcan, and more marijuana was found in two other containers. In all, 0.13 pounds of the drug were found.

Broadus admitted the drug was his and was released, the sheriff’s office said. Broadus’ agent didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment Monday. In interviews, the rapper has said he has a license to use medical marijuana in his home state of California because he suffers from migraines and blurred vision.

What happened to TOPS, COPS, VIDA and CUT-FAT?

Laredo overdue for another cane-waiving Watchdog group

Over the years, there have been several citizens' groups who have taken up the mantle of protecting the taxpayer from unscrupulous politicians.  Some of these have included  Taxpayers Organized for Public Service (TOPS), Citizens Organized for Public Service (COPS), Volunteers In Democratic Action (VIDA) and more recently Cut-Fat, a taxpayer fiscal watchdog group. 

LaredoTejas political insiders could not determine if any of these groups are still active locally.  That being the case, it's obvious that a vacuum exists for just such a group; one dedicated to holding our city and county politicos accountable. This is especially true in these times of constant shenanigans at both City hall and our County courthouse.

The mood certainly seems to be appropriate for such a citizens group to keep our local bigwigs in check but what might make for a good name?

For starters, there could be a Citizens Restricting Amoral Politics (CRAP), or perhaps an organization of cane waivers (i.e. Keyrose); Community Against Negative Ethics (CANE). Other possibilities could include Laredoans Organized to Negate Canoneros' Hurting Elections (LONCHE) or even Publicly Engaged Laredoans Organized for New Ethics & Standards (PELONES).

It's easy to see that there's a plethora of excellent names for any group(s) that may form to carry on the proud Watchdog tradition.  LaredoTejas, for one, would certainly be willing to help spread the word.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

More Alcohol at WBCA events

Jammin' George says "The right to imbibe into a drunken stupor shall not be infringed"
From the WBCA website: The Boys and Girls' club wine tasting event
Live entertainment, auctions, dancing, and fine wine abound in this black tie affair that benefits the Boys and Girls Clubs of Laredo.

Guests sample delectable hor d’oeuvres and delicious gourmet as they are wined, dined and encouraged to dig deep into their hearts and pockets for a good cause.

Prizes that range from romantic getaways to hunting gear make this event an attractive destination for adventurers and philanthropists alike.
And, don't forget another source of alcohol, Tequila! Please be sure to dress formally while you (hic) sample the various Tequilas at this festive, black-tie event.

Oye!, Wait! Don't we have more sun than San Antone???

Ahhh! look at all those trees so peacefully co-existing with Solar Energy!

Yes, I know you've heard it before but here it goes again: San Antonio is eating our lunch!  In this particular case, it's eating our lunch under clear, bright sunny skies, thumbing its sunburned nose at us all the while. As the following excerpt from an article appearing today in MySA.com alludes to, the Alamo City is about to embark on a solar energy venture which should eventually yield 800 jobs.

This 800 jobs will be clean, renewable energy jobs as opposed to the fossil-fuel driven jobs associated with the not-so-clean, water-intensive, sludge-spewing fracking jobs belching their way around the Eagle Ford Shale throughout South Texas.

From MySanAntonio.com

CPS Energy is expected to announce today that OCI Solar Power, whose parent is a South Korean chemical company, has been selected to build 400 megawatts of solar power and bring more than 800 jobs to San Antonio, sources close to the deal say.

CPS Energy on Tuesday would not confirm the identity of the company, which it will announce at an 11 a.m. news conference. A call to OCI Solar Power, headquartered in Atlanta, was not immediately returned.

The CPS project, which would be one of the largest in the country when it's complete — 400 megawatts is enough to power 80,000 homes — will be built in small chunks around San Antonio and Bexar County

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Tailor-made logo for upcoming Border Beer Fest

"Aqui, yo mando! Vieja!, otra bironga!"

One thing that the organizers of the upcoming Laredo Border Beer Fest can save money on is securing a logo for the event. Thanks to the Mexican Loteria game, a logo is ready to go. This is especially true in a copy wright-free trade zone as our Bordertown.

The only change that some gifted photo-shopper would have to do is multiply the number of birongas the poor, disheveled Borracho is imbibing. This would be the right thing to do since the Beer Fest is, after all, simply a beer-sampling, highbrow occasion.

"Hoodies" popping up all over crime scenes

More and more often, we are learning from Pro8News that a common threat among more than a few recent crimes is that "the suspect was wearing a hoodie".  For example, in the Max The Laredo Dancing Bird theft, at least one of the culprits was sporting the dreaded "hoodie". 

In doing a scant bit of research, there have been some places in the US that have considered banning the hooded sweatshirts; referring to them as criminal accessories.

Even in this viral youtube video from last year, it was evident that hoodies were becoming the garnment of choice among assorted ne'er do wells.

Laredo continues as the copywright infringement capitol of the US

We've all seen countless Warner Brothers and Disney ripoffs throughout the Gateway City. LaredoTejas even dedicated a post to the Walter Lantz/Chilly Willy spinoff also known as Los Pinguinos .

It therefore comes as no surprise that the Austin American Statesman is reporting a rather sizeable confiscation of counterfeit goods at the Laredo port of entry. I guess the word has spread throughout the world, that when it comes to copywright infringement, Laredo has no equal.

From The Austin American Statesman

Friday, January 6, 2012

Local, local news: waiting in line at the HEB

Hey Ms. Gump, HEB is like a box of chocolates. You never know what service you're gonna get!

A couple of days ago, I was at the HEB stocking up on on some post-holidays supplies. As it turns out, I had quite a bit more than 10 items in my cart and therefore could not use the express lane(s).  I thought I was in luck when I noticed one of the regular lanes almost empty. A customer at that station was paying as I approached with my groceries in tow. Well, the cashier flicked off the light at his station and said "sorry sir, esta cerrado".

 He proceeded to immediately pull out the register's cash box and set out to count its contents. I froze momentarily, surprised by the un-partner like treatment I was getting. It was obvious that the holidays were over since I certainly was not getting more cringle for my jingle.

I looked around to find that the lines were starting to get long and so I walked around until I found a manager. "Yes sir, may I help you" : At least this guy seemed like he was willing to listen and hopefully help out.

"Yes, I was about to check out my cart but, for some reason, the cashier closed his station and the lines are starting to get pretty long". No dice, the best he could come up with was "how about the express lanes?". I glanced over to my cart and told him "No, no I've got more than 10 items for sure. Why are they closing registers with people lining up?". He pointed over "Ayi esta el ocho/There's register 8".

"Nevermind, gracias como quiera/thanks anyway" I said as I walked away. Register 8 had a lady with a full cart being checked out and another right behind her.  

So much for the HEB: Here's Everything's Better slogan. On this particular day, it just didn't ring true.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Make that two witnesses

Pro8News reported today on the unfortunate abduction of Max, the Petland Mascot along with several puppies. Let's hope that these pets are returned safely to those who will take care of them.

One minor correction to the Pro8news story: it mentions that there might have been one "witness" to the crime. Come to think of it, make that two possible witnesses. The dictionary defines witness as someone who can give a first hand account of something seen, heard or experienced. Don't put it past Max to be able to provide some valuable info on his abductors. Of course, first of all, he has to be found. Good Luck to the PetLanders. We hope you find Max and his entourage.  

From The Archives: De-evolution

This post originally ran in LaredoTejas back in November of 2010. Naturally, the De-evolution of many American traditions continues.  So, I figured I'd run  it again. Well that and just being lazy; sort of like the people depicted in the above picture on the right.  See, it's contagious!

Local, local news

"Willie Bote" photo compliments of Que Fregados

In local, local news, trash pick-up is finally back on regular schedule today (Thursday). During the Christmas and New Year Holidays, it was pretty near impossible to predict whether or not there was going to be any garbage pick-up at all.

Case in point: Monday, December 26th was officially a city holiday and thus I fully expected all the wrappings and packages from those Christmas treasures would not be picked up until that Thursday. Well, for some reason, I decided to call 311 to just make sure. I was really surprised when the lady told me that there were some "volunteer" city workers picking up trash in certain locations. She suggested we take out the trash and if it had not been picked up by 12 Noon, to bring it back in.  Pos, dicho y hecho, the volunteers showed up around 11am, zipping up and down our street. Sad to say, many of the neighbors assumed there was going to be no pick up and missed out.

Fast forward to Monday, January 2nd: I told some neighbors that there might, again, be some volunteers out picking up our trash that day even though the city was officially on Holiday.  Nambre, ni pa' que! almost no one heeded my advice. Well, come 10am , there's the whirrr of the truck again, just as I had mentioned and sure enough, several neighbors scurrying around in a hurry, rolling their "Willie Botes" to the curb.

I tell you, some Laredoans just have to be so stubborn that they can't take even the smallest piece of advice.   Well, that's all for Local, Local news for now.  Thanks for reading.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Prediction: Dallas Cowboys 27, NY football Giants 20

If Romo throws only 1 pick, Dallas should win
 OK, after much research, data analysis and number crunching, I've arrived at a scientifically-based (hunch) prediction for tonight's game between Los Vaqueros de Dallas and the NY Giants. Tony Romo will probably through an interception but he'll be able to avoid one of those games where he's thrown 4 or 5 or even 6 turnovers. Jones and Morris will probably combine for about 150 yards rushing and of course Witten will be a key player in the victory. Don't forget, either Austin, Bryant or number 81 (his name escapes me) will catch a touchdown pass or two.

The defense is where the problem is. They have been very inconsistent. They'll allow a couple of touchdowns but might be able to hold NY to field goals beyond that. Terrence Newman, no 41 will have to step up his play in order to be taken advantage of.

Anyways, it should be Dallas by anywhere from 4 to 7 points. If the game doesn't come down to the wire, I'll be surprised.