El Paso-centric info and commentary from the Center of North America

Archive for August 2009

If you don’t learn anything about health care, at this point, it’s your own fault

Three opportunities for people to learn and/or debate and/or make noise (at UTEP, with state Sen. Shapleigh, and with Conservative Grassroots EP), presented in order as they came in to the NPT Inbox, most recent first:

AMA, NMA and NHMA Presidents Gather at UTEP to Discuss Health Care Disparities; AMA and NMA headed by UTEP alumni

As the debate over national health care reform gains momentum, The University of Texas at El Paso will welcome the presidents of the nation’s leading physicians’ organizations to discuss health care disparities and border health issues.

The American Medical Association’s Commission to End Health Care Disparities will hold a three-day meeting from Wednesday, Sept. 2 through Friday, Sept. 4 on the UTEP campus.

Dr. James Rohack, president of the American Medical Association (AMA); Dr. Willarda Edwards, president of the National Medical Association (NMA); and Dr. Elena Rios, president and CEO of the National Hispanic Medical Association (NHMA) will attend the meeting, which will focus on health care along the U.S.-Mexico border.

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Written by newspapertreeelpaso

August 25, 2009 at 12:47 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Rats! Err,rodents! So until it’s cleaned up and inspected, no cafeteria food at South Loop Elementary

From the NPT Inbox:

UPDATED Aug. 26:

Officials with the City’s Food Inspection Program re-inspected South Loop Elementary today. Inspectors found a few rodent droppings in the food service facility. The school is continuing to take corrective measures to come into compliance with food safety regulations. Our inspectors are scheduled to conduct another inspection of the facility on Monday (Aug. 31, 2009).

August 25, 2009 Department of Public Health For Immediate Release

Food Inspection of South Loop Elementary

El Paso – The Food Inspection Program of the City of El Paso Department of Public Health today is continuing with its inspection of South Loop Elementary, at 520 Southside Drive.

Officials with the Food Inspection program on Monday (Aug. 24, 2009), responded to a complaint about the sanitation of the campus’ food service facility. After a review of the premises, inspectors determine the facility had a rodent infestation.
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Written by newspapertreeelpaso

August 25, 2009 at 12:36 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Mental health services waiting list, other county updates

From the NPT Inbox, a review of the county meeting provided by the county PIO office:

Court Informed about New Guidelines for MHMR

(El Paso, Texas) – Due to lack of funding, the state-designated Mental Health/Mental Retardation Authority for El Paso County will close its doors to new consumers and establish a waiting list for services affecting 1,500 people with mental illness.

El Paso MHMR officials explained to the court about their hope of receiving monies from the state during its 81st legislative session to prevent a waiting list, but albeit legislative efforts no additional funding was granted.

As a result, selected consumers will no longer be receiving services such as medication and therapy beginning September 1, 2009.

During this morning’s update, MHMR officials assured Commissioners Court that teams are working to determine which consumers will be released from services. Those patients to be released are individuals who have been stable and have been receiving services for a long period of time.

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Written by newspapertreeelpaso

August 24, 2009 at 5:15 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

PSB chairman resigns effective Aug. 31

From the NPT Inbox:


EL PASO – The Public Service Board meeting this Wednesday, August 26, will be the last for Chairman Ruben Guerra. After nearly six years of service on the PSB, Guerra has decided to resign from his second term effective August 31, 2009. In addition to giving an enormous amount of his time to El Paso Water Utilities, he is also President and CEO of Guerra Investment Advisors, a family run investment advisor firm.

“This is a very important time for me personally and for my business and for the further development of the next generation of leaders within our firm. I am firmly committed to their success,” said Guerra.

Guerra adds that serving on the PSB has been an incredible experience, and it gave him the opportunity to give back to the community he cares so much about. He complements President and CEO Ed Archuleta, and his colleagues on the Board for all of their accomplishments.

“We have accomplished so much together. Thank you so much for asking me to serve as your Chairman for the past two years,” said Guerra.

Guerra will attend this Wednesday’s Board meeting. The Board will decide at a future meeting whether to appoint a new chair or to allow current Vice Chair Fermin Acosta to serve in the interim. Guerra’s seat was set to expire in December of 2011.

Written by newspapertreeelpaso

August 24, 2009 at 5:10 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

The Chico’s Kiss in context

The Chico’s kiss incident was one of several in the U.S. that caught some national attention. Around the same time there was a “kiss incident” in Utah, and then there was the Rainbow Lounge incident in Fort Worth. Here’s an update on that, from last week’s Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Rainbow Lounge bar check was caused by ‘flawed policy,’ Fort Worth police chief says:

FORT WORTH — Police Chief Jeff Halstead said Tuesday that “flawed policy” led to a controversial bar check at the Rainbow Lounge in June and that a new policy being implemented will ensure that such an event never happens again.

“I am apologizing for the actions and the reflection that this gave our community because they perceived it as a bar raid, and all our interviews with our officers and the other agents, they never, ever intended this to look that way,” Halstead told Fort Worth City Council members Tuesday morning during a progress report on his department’s investigation.

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Written by newspapertreeelpaso

August 24, 2009 at 1:08 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Shapleigh, Marquez on ethics commission: Do it

From the NPT Inbox:

Márquez And Shapleigh Urge County to Implement Ethics Bill Hard Fought County Legislation Ready for Local Action

EL PASO, TX- State Representative Marisa Márquez (D-El Paso) and State Senator Eliot Shapleigh (D-El Paso) held a joint press conference today urging citizens, governmental agencies and especially the El Paso County Commissioners Court to act immediately for effective reforms that will combat public corruption. Next week, El Paso County Commissioner’s Court will work to implement the El Paso County ethics bill, which becomes effective on September 1, 2009, but requires further action from the county to become effective in El Paso.

“We all have a stake in building a better El Paso and reforming the way government goes about its business. Capital and talent will not come to a community that carries the brand of corruption.” said Shapleigh. “Let’s start now by creating an effective ethics commission at the County of El Paso.”

The county ethics bill, SB 1368, which is the legislative companion to HB 2301, a contentious bill that State Representative Marisa Márquez (D-El Paso) authored and passed through the Texas House of Representatives, uses the power of state law to create a special authority for El Paso County to establish an independent ethics commission. The commission will have subpoena power and will adopt, publish, and enforce an ethics code governing county public servants. The commissioners court can either adopt an order or call a county-wide election to create the ethics commission.

“This bill paves the way for real progress in El Paso County, a way for us to become transparent, responsive, and accountable. El Pasoans deserve clean government and I am proud of the coordinated efforts of the Commissioners Court, Sen. Shapleigh and our offices in getting this important legislation passed. Now is the time for El Paso to lead the state once again and adopt the first ever county ethics commission in Texas,” said Marquez.

The ethics bill is unique in being the first bill to allow a county to create its own ethics commission. Under the new law, the county could create a ten member ethics commission that would review complaints and impose civil penalties of up to $4,000 for each violation. The County has scheduled a Special Session of the Commissioner’s Court to act on the Ethics Bill at 9am, September 1, 2009, at the Commissioners Court.

Written by newspapertreeelpaso

August 24, 2009 at 10:40 am

Posted in Uncategorized

County Cmmsr Escobar: Special meeting to implement Ethics Commission

From the NPT Inbox:

August 21, 2009

Dear Friends,

I wanted to make sure you are aware of a very important community issue that the Court will discuss and take action on: implementation of the Ethics legislation. Please read this email, let us know what you think, and attend the special meeting if you can.

A Quick History

For the past year, the effort to create an ethics commission at the County has been underway. The idea started with our Board of Ethics; eventually, they brought forward language for legislation that came to Commissioners Court for approval (and was passed unanimously a total four times); the legislative request went through the legislature (with great work by our sponsors, Representative Marisa Marquez and co-sponsor Representative Chente Quintanilla, Senator Eliot Shapleigh and ultimately gained support of every member of our delegation including Reps. Joe Pickett, Norma Chavez and Joe Moody); finally, a bill authorizing us to create an ethics commission was signed by the Governor on June 19, 2009.

Quick Highlights

The bill that is now in the hands of the County allows us to create an Ethics Commission that will be able to apply consequences to those who violate our ethics code (our code already exists). Here’s what the bill would allow us to do:

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Written by newspapertreeelpaso

August 22, 2009 at 11:08 pm

Posted in Uncategorized