In the News
by NPT Staff
Posted on April 17, 2006
Carry Flags, Sensibly, Diario Urges
El Diario de El Paso, a Spanish-language daily read by thousands of workers who stream into the United States each day from Ciudad Juarez, urged demonstrators in a front-page editorial not to "wave Mexican flags in the noses of proud Americans. The most sensible thing to do would be to carry both flags: the United States flag as a sign of respect for that country and the Mexican flag to represent the pride demonstrators feel for their roots."
From Washington Post article: “In parts of Mexico, especially along the border, the immigration rallies being held in Washington and elsewhere in the United States were big news, accompanied by blaring headlines and front-page editorials. But elsewhere in the country, the reportage was decidedly subdued.”
“In Nearby Mexican Towns, Rallies Are Big News,” b y Manuel Roig-Franzia, Washington Post, April 11, 2006 [link]
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Mexican Official Seeks Life Sentence, Not Death, for “Railroad Killer”
Ángel Maturino Reséndiz, now 45, turned himself in to a law enforcement official in El Paso, Texas, in 1999. During his May 2000 trial, Resendiz asked for the death penalty. After his conviction he pledged to drop all his appeals to hasten his execution, but later changed his mind.
José Luis Soberanes, president of Mexico´s National Human Rights Commission, asked the Texas parole board to commute a death sentence to life in prison for Resendiz, who is scheduled to be executed on May 10 for the 1998 murder in Houston of Dr. Claudia Benton, 39. Reséndiz is known as the "railroad killer" because he has been linked with 14 murders in Texas, California, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky and Illinois - all near railroad tracks.
“Soberanes pleads case of death row prisoner in Texas,” El Universal, April 11, 2006 [link]
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Coulda Been a Contender
“Tell him next time you see him if he had come out of here, he might be in the NBA,” Don Haskins, Naismith Memorial Hall of Famer and legendary Texas-El Paso basketball coach, said by phone Monday.
Haskins offered Kansas City Royals second baseman Mark Grudzielanek a scholarship to play basketball. Grudzielanek was all-city most valuable player in El Paso his senior year in 1989 at J.M. Hanks High School.
“Grudzielanek was offered basketball scholarship at UTEP; Hoops wasn't Royals second-baseman's dream,” by Howard Richman, The Kansas City Star, April 11, 2006 [link]
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UTEP, Providing Context for Yalies
At Susquehanna University, student leaders threw out the 2004 election results after finding evidence that a candidate sent misleading e-mails, according to an account in the student-run newspaper, The Crusader. University of Texas at El Paso invalidated its 2002 election after officials found evidence that someone used student identification numbers to cast votes for others.
A cloud of election rule violations is hanging over student elections this week at Yale University, one of the nation's most politically active campuses where presidential hopefuls have been groomed for generations. All five candidates for the school's top office were cited for breaking the student government's strict rules on how candidates can campaign and when.
“Presidential ballot cited for violations in Yale student race,” by Matt Apuzzo, Associated Press in the Boston Globe, April 11, 2006 [link]
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Pipeline Company, Expanding from El Paso to Phoenix, Promises Safety
“They've gone from last place to first place in our eyes,” said administration spokesman James Wiggins. “They are in agreement to make their system operate better.”
Kinder Morgan Energy Partners has agreed to improve its pipeline maintenance under a consent agreement with the U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration announced Monday. The company said it will spend $90 million to upgrade safety in six Western states in the next five years. The system has suffered 44 breakdowns in recent years. The program is in addition to a $210 million project to expand the company's pipeline between El Paso and Phoenix.
“Kinder Morgan OKs safety deal,” b y Ed Taylor, East ValleyTribune (Ariz), April 11, 2006 [link]
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Transportation: Railroads Expanding Capacity
“If we had that bridge today, we'd be flowing,” said Matthew Rose, chairman and chief executive of Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corp., of a plan to complete a second 1,500-foot bridge across Pecos River in 2008, at a cost of $30 million, as part of a years-long campaign to increase capacity on the transcontinental route.
The import boom has put more pressure on Burlington Northern to improve its major Los Angeles-Chicago route and on Union Pacific Corp. to expand its line from L.A. to El Paso, where it connects with tracks heading farther east. Union Pacific will convert half its Los Angeles-to-El Paso line to double track by the end of this year.
“Railroads seek to fix last remaining bottlenecks,” by David Koenig, the Associated Press in the Lincoln (Neb.) Journal Star, April 10, 2006 [link]
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Transportation: Daily Shipping Service to El Paso
"El Paso was the last major market in Texas that we were not serving with daily line haul," says Greg Dippel, president and CEO of Texas Land & Air. "Our customers have pushed us into new markets, and this expansion is no different."
Texas Land & Air, an Austin-based company, started a daily overnight service to El Paso. The firm also serves Dallas, Houston and the Rio Grande Valley. The company provides shipping for expedited, less-than-truckload service in Texas, and ships containers from the port of Houston.
“Texas Land & Air creates El Paso route,” Austin Business Journal, April 4, 2006 [link]
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The River Disappoints
The first time I visited my brother in El Paso, Texas, we drove along the border on Interstate 10. “There's Mexico,” he said, pointing to the city of Juarez. Between us and Mexico was the famous Rio Grande River, but for an Easterner raised on John Wayne westerns, the river was a disappointment. It is channeled by concrete, and running parallel to it on both sides are several rows of chain-link fence and razor wire. That's the old way of securing our borders.
The Homeland Security Department believes that what is needed is a high-tech solution, one that includes cameras, sensors and networks. But as Staff Writer Alice Lipowicz explains in her cover story on the Secure Border Initiative, the department has drawn a broad vision, and now it is up to the competing contractors to propose ways to achieve it. [secure border initiative]
“Rio not-so-Grande,” by Nick Wakeman, Washington Technology, April 10, 2006 [link]
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Gaming the WTO
“Yesterday our request to have meaningful negotiations was rejected,” said Mark Mendel, Antigua's counsel. “They have come to the mind-boggling conclusion that they are in compliance and have been in compliance all along, and they need not do anything.”
The US has apparently told Antigua that it will take no action to comply with the WTO's ruling on the US/Antiguan gaming dispute; the WTO's deadline expired last week.
The ruling by the WTO Appellate Body in April 2005 upheld one of Antigua and Barbuda's complaints over US prohibitions, which prevented US banks and major Internet search engines from doing business with gambling firms on the island.
“Antigua To Defy US Over WTO Gaming Ruling,” by Mike Godfrey, Tax-News.com, April 11, 2006 [link]
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El Paso 22, Albuquerque 30, Southwest Neighbors in Between
Tucson fell near the middle, with 24 percent of adults having bachelor's degrees and 82 percent with high school diplomas. Regional neighbors had similar percentages of adults with bachelor's degrees, with Phoenix at 25 percent, Albuquerque at 30 percent and El Paso at 22 percent.
College graduates are flocking to America's big cities, chasing jobs and culture and driving up home prices. Though many of the largest cities have lost population in the past three decades, nearly all have added college graduates, an analysis by The Associated Press found.
“College graduates boosting big cities,” by Stephen Ohlemacher, Associated Press in the Arizona Star, April 11, 2006 [link]
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Nevena Christi, co-owner of Rocketbuster Boots of El Paso, Texas, once inlaid color images of Steven Spielberg, his wife Kate Capshaw and their seven children into a pair given to the director by composer John Williams. And Tres Outlaws in El Paso, Texas, once clocked a customer for $75,000 for a pair whose mind-boggling design traced the history of Mexico, including $18,000 worth of gold and silver coins from various historical eras.
“Most Expensive Cowboy Boots,” by Neal Santelmann, Forbes.com, April 4, 2006 [link]
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Unsafe Public Service
"Mr. Solano betrayed the people he was supposed to serve," U.S. Attorney Johnny Sutton said. " … [H]is greed landed him in federal prison. The United States Attorney's Office will root out and prosecute public corruption whenever and wherever we find it."
Mario Martin Solano Jr., the former area assistant director for OSHA in El Paso, Texas, will spend the next 2 years in a federal prison after pleading guilty to conspiracy to accept bribes. In 2002 he steered employers seeking to reduce their OSHA fines to a company run by Jose Campos for job-safety training. Campos paid Solano, who was working for OSHA at the time, about $30,000 in bribes for the referrals.
“Former OSHA Official Sentenced to 2 Years in Prison,” by Josh Cable, Occupational Hazards.com, April 4, 2006 [link]
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