El Paso homeowners will see their city tax bill increase

EL PASO, Texas – El Paso City Council has unanimously approved the 2017-2018 budget in the amount of $896,357,226.

Homeowners will see their city tax bill increase about five percent. The tax increase impact on a $100,000 home will be $803.43. That is $43.78 more than last year.

At Tuesday’s meeting representatives approved a tax rate of 0.803, which is a little more than 80 cents for every $100 dollars of property value. That number is up from 0.759 last year.

The new budget maintains property tax relief for seniors and disabled homesteads.

El Paso mayor Dee Margo said he had hoped not to have to raise taxes, but the city was left with little choice. Read More

El Paso Chihuahuas top Albuquerque Isotopes

(Photo: Courtesy El Paso Chihuahuas)

The El Paso Chihuahuas formula for a 4-2 victory over Albuquerque Tuesday was reasonably standard.

In a game that started 35 minutes later after a rainless rain delay, they got just enough offense early and enough pitching throughout to hang on to a lead they built in the first four innings and send a crowd of 7,080 home happy.

It was a nice start to the four-game series against the Isotopes that got off to a late start because of threatening skies.

Chris Huffman gave up one run in five and a third innings to get the win and Kevin Quackenbush got a six-out save after Albuquerque inched back in the game. Read More

Funeral arrangements for El Paso Bandido president Juan Martinez are set

EL PASO, Texas – Funeral arrangements for slain El Paso Bandidos president Juan Martinez have been set.

Martinez was one of four men shot inside Mulligan’s Chopped Hog bar on Sunday July 30, he died from his injuries a day later.

El Paso police backed up by Texas state troopers, FBI agents and US deputy marshals arrested the alleged shooter, 34 year old Javier Gonzalez, in San Elizario. Gonzalez is reportedly a member of the Kinfolk outlaw motorcycle gang.

Members of the Bandido motorcycle club sent ABC7 the itinerary for Martinez’s rosary, visitation and funeral.

A rosary and vigil for Juan Martinez is scheduled for Friday August 11 beginning at 6 pm at St. Francis Xavier Mother Cabrini Catholic church at 12200 Vista Del Sol Drive

The funeral mass and interment are scheduled for Saturday. August 12.

The mass begins at ten am at St.Mark’s Catholic Church located at 11700 Pebble Hills followed

by interment at Evergreen East Cemetery located at 12400 East Montana.

A wake for Martinez will be held at Best Western Plus located at 6655 Gateway West following

the burial.

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EPPD: Vehicle burglaries greatly increase in West El Paso, decrease in the Northeast

EL PASO, Texas – The El Paso Police Department reported a significant increase in vehicle burglaries in West El Paso at the same time the Northeast experienced a decrease.

Police Thursday released figures comparing the number of vehicle burglaries this year compared to the same time last year:

East El Paso experienced a 5% increase in vehicle burglaries West El Paso experienced a 46% increase Vehicle burglaries in Central El Paso are down 3% The Lower Valley experienced no change Northeast El Paso experienced an 8% decrease

Although several individuals have been arrested and charged, police said say the number of cases continue to rise on the Westside.

A total of 83% of vehicles burglarized on El Paso’s Westside since June 1, 2017 were either unlocked, unsecured, or no forced entry was used or found.

El Paso police urge vehicle owners to lock their vehicles, remove or hide valuables within the vehicle, and take their keys with them.


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El Paso Journey Concert Delayed for Hours as Band Gets Stuck in Tucson

El Paso Journey concert delayed for hours as band gets stuck in Tucson. (Courtesy: Dahlia Cano-Ruffel)

Journey concert delayed at the Don Haskins Center for over three hours. Courtesy: Ida Ruiz

EL PASO, Texas (KFOX14/CBS4) — Thousands of Journey fans waited “faithfully” for more than three hours as band officials announced the El Paso concert would be delayed because the band had not arrived.

The concert featuring Asia was scheduled to start at 7:30 p.m. but at 11 p.m., Journey still had not made an appearance on stage.

People at the concert were told the band was stuck in Tucson due to technical problems.

Concert organizers announced that the band had landed in El Paso just after 11 p.m. but several people decided not to stick around and left.

Journey finally arrived approximately at 11:30 p.m.

It is unknown if refunds will be given for the concert.

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El Paso Electric Needs Dialogue on Solar: Readers

El Paso Electric officials this week began selling small chunks of solar power to customers as an alternative to rooftop solar systems.

Victor Calzada / El Paso Times

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El Paso Electric needs dialogue on solar

El Paso Electric has again proposed that the solar residences of El Paso should have their own unique rate class.

Solar panels provide members of our city’s faith communities with the opportunity to respond faithfully to the call of our conscience to respect our natural home, by discarding old ways of consuming energy that damage our planet and its atmosphere, and promoting cleaner ways that tap into constantly renewable sources of energy, such as thermal, wind and solar energy.

My own faith community holds the teachings of our shepherd, Pope Francis, in high esteem, along with many other people outside of the Catholic Church, and his encyclical letter on our natural home published two years ago urges dialogue in the search for solutions to global warming and consumerist short-sightedness.

El Paso Electric’s decision to propose a steep rate increase on its customers, and create a special category of solar panel users for its own high rate, doesn’t come from dialogue with the community.

They seem to ignore or forget that they are a public utility, and the common good is a higher priority than profits that grow larger every year for a few beneficiaries. This rate increase proposal keeps many households of our diverse faith communities from living as they know their conscience dictates.

Rev. Robert Mosher
Downtown El Paso

Money is the real point of climate disagreement

The media clamor over the U.S. withdrawal from the Paris climate accord (“G-20 statement on Paris accord excludes Trump,” July 9 El Paso Times) is humorous.

The Paris accord signatories agree to meet “self-defined targets to reduce carbon emissions.”

The Trump administration “affirms its strong commitment to an approach that lowers emissions while supporting economic growth and improving energy security needs.”

It is doubtful that any nation’s “self-defined” emission goals will sacrifice national economic and energy needs.

The real sticking point is that the U.S. is withdrawing its commitment to provide billions of dollars for the climate fund that is part of the accord. The money is supposed to help poor nations claiming injury from climate change that is supposedly caused by the rich nations.

The old saying is “follow the money.” It’s a lot simpler than real climate research.

Andy Sparke
Central El Paso

Lack of student concern by the EPISD board

After looking over the summer offerings by the El Paso Independent School District, it was sadly apparent that the normal student enrichment class and camp offers had been seriously curtailed.

For the first time in the last three years, my daughter did not find a single enrichment course that was suited for her.

Yet, the Board of Trustees found enough dollars to be able to give $45,000 to our superintendent in the form of a raise. Just think, if the trustees had any concern for our students, this amount of money would have paid for 20 to 25 teachers to offer “enrichment courses” during the summer.

It’s easy to see the board’s priorities, and it’s not students.

Claude Henschel
Upper Valley

Promote interim Animal Services director

As usual, the city is throwing taxpayers money away.

Dr. Guy Johnsen, chair of the Animal Services Advisory Committee, and former Mayor Oscar Leeser think the interim director at Animal Services should be the director. Let’s spend the money on the Animal Services Department instead of looking elsewhere when the best fit is already there.

Mike Sanchez
East Side

Thanks to bishop for column on immigration

Bishop Mark Seitz, I am grateful for your column in the July 9 El Paso Times, which had previously been published by Religion News Service.

The article referred to modern day Pharisees, and though no doubt there will be harsh critics, I and friends and family of mine share the sentiments outlined in your comments.

Those of us who consider ourselves “among the faithful” look to leadership from you and your brother bishops in Las Cruces, Juárez and beyond. Thank you.

Maria Elena Castro
Anthony, New Mexico

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Ways To Save Money In El Paso

If you are going to be traveling to El Paso, Texas anytime soon, you want to think of ways in which you might be able to save money. Luckily, there are plenty of different ways you can go about saving money on your entire trip. Below, we will be going over some of the different ways in which you should be able to save a significant amount of money on your trip.

Saving Money In El Paso:

1. Coupons.

One of the best ways to save money while you are on your trip to El Paso is by finding coupons that are available that you might be able to use whether for your flight or your accommodation. There are a lot of different booking websites that you can use when you are looking to book your trip. Therefore, you should be able to find a bunch of different coupons that should work to reduce your trip expenses.

2. Plan Ahead.

Another important thing to do when it comes to saving money on your El Paso trip would be to plan ahead. You want to be sure that you are properly planning ahead of time to ensure that you are going to be getting the best possible prices for everything involving the trip. This includes lodging and flight or travel expenses. The earlier you get these things, the cheaper they are likely going to be. Therefore, you want to try to get everything set ahead of time. That way, you will be able to save a significant amount of money that you otherwise might not be able to save on your trip.

3. Comparison.

Another good thing to do when it comes to being able to save money on your trip would be to run a comparison of the various options that you have to choose from. Never book the first flight or lodging option that you see because you might be able to find a better deal elsewhere.

The El Paso Museum of Art Welcomes Its New Art Director

Victoria Ramirez recently moved to El Paso from Austin to take the helm. She was the director of the Bullock State History museum, which she tells ABC-7 is one of the largest state history museums in the country. According to the El paso Inc., the El Paso Museum of Art has been without an Art Director for almost two years.

Ramirez said she wanted to work again with art and is excited to come to El Paso.

“I have always been attracted to art because it helps me understand the world.” Ramirez said. “I’ve never traveled to every country in the world but through my visits to art museums and through looking at works of arts through different places, I feel like I have an understanding of a wide variety of cultures.”

Ramirez said she has big plans for the museum, which currently features a temporary exhibit called “The Red that Colored the World”. As part of the exhibition there’s a try-on area, where visitors can wear props from the artwork. The exhibit focuses on a unique technique, where the color red is produced from a parasite of the prickly pear cactus.

In September, the museum will open a exhibition called the “Gardens of Earthly and Unearthly Delights.

“It will take a really broad look at the garden theme,” Ramirez said. “There will be many different perspectives, historic work, more contemporary work, we’ll have work by local artists in the exhibition.”

Ramirez said her long term goal is to raise the bar of arts and culture in El Paso, and she’s open to bringing edgier art to the museum.

“I think a lot of times museums need to include works of art that seem a little edgier,” Ramirez said. “I think art needs to prompt people to pause and say what is that and what is that artist telling me and what do I think about it.”

Ramirez said she plans to partner with the Downtown “Artspace” as well as the history museum to bring people to El Paso from around the Southwest. She also says she wants to bring national and international artists to the museums temporary exhibition galleries.

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Raising Cane’s Hiring 90 for 3rd El Paso Location

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Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers on Friday will begin the process of hiring about 90 people for its third El Paso location.

The new West Side location at 2031 N. Mesa St., across the street from The Hospitals of Providence’s Memorial campus and near the University of Texas at El Paso, is scheduled to open Aug. 8.

The Louisiana-based, fast-food chain’s other El Paso locations are on the East Side.

This will be the chain’s 116th Texas location. It has about 340 locations nationwide.

The company will have job interviews Friday through July 24 at the Hilton Garden Inn at 111 W. University Ave., near the entrance to the UTEP campus.

The hiring center will operate from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday during the almost monthlong hiring period.

People also can apply online at caniaccareers.com

Vic Kolenc may be reached at 546-6421; vkolenc@elpasotimes.com; @vickolenc on Twitter.

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El Paso Electric Prepares for Brutal Summer Ahead

EL PASO, Texas – El Paso Electric is preparing for a hot summer ahead as the borderland begins to see triple digit temps.

El Paso electric Spokesman George De La Torre says power outages are more common during the summer than at any other time of the year. Crews began preparations during February, with what they call a “blitz.’ During winter and spring months crews go to as many locations as possible and replace more than 500 pieces of equipment. De La Torre says that includes upgrades on their system and replacing older equipment like transformers, poles and wires.

De La Torre says they try to prepare for the summer, because they start to see issues with transformers. De La Torre says they overheat for two reasons: sustained heat and the large electrical usage. At night, the temps aren’t cool enough and customers still use the same amount of electricity that they use during the day, causing transformers to malfunction.

“It does heat up, it’s prolonged heat. It’s sustained heat that we’re seeing and even at night still high temperatures and the usage of that of the same electricity that’s being used in that home or several homes, doesn’t drop very much. So the combinations of both really causes the transformers to malfunction,” De La Torre said,

De La Torre say that’s why they have crews work 24/7. Their crews work different schedules beginning in May and ending in October so they can respond to outages as quickly a possible. He says the largest use of electricity in El Paso is between 4 P.M-5 P.M.

“People are usually getting home around that time, they’re turning up their air conditioners, turning on televisions or different appliances, so that’s when we tend to see that increase in demand,” De La Torre said.

The heat wave is also affecting electric customers in Phoenix and Nevada, where flights have been canceled and outages are being reported. De La Torre says we’re not alone. El Paso Electric services 411,000 customers from Van Horn, to Hatch, New Mexico and crews have to maintain thousands of transmission and distribution lines.

“What’s happening with the heat wave in Nevada and Arizona also impacts us here because we’re all interconnected in that area, so we’re definitely always in communication with them to see what it is that’s occurring with their grid so that we can maintain and keep the balance here.”

De La Torre says we’re seeing the same issues here and we may continue to see them with triple digit temps on the forecast.

“They’re dealing with the same issues we are with the melting of fuses, transformer issues, with outages caused by animals and wildlife, maybe trying to get into shaded areas at our substations or power lines, so all of those play a factor this time of year.”

De La Torre says they’re keeping a close eye on their grid to avoid major outages.

“We do have oversight of our grid 24/7, we’re supervising the balance and the frequency of our grid throughout the service territory to make sure there’s no imbalance throughout and that we continue to keep the power on for all of our customers.”

De La Torre says in the event of an outage, immediately call or go online to report it. You can track where outages are reported and how many customers are affected. De La Torre says it can take anywhere from 45-minutes to an hour to restore power. In some instances, De La Torre says it can take three hours.

“Our crews are going to do everything they can to speed that up but different issues may occur, let the customers back in, but then there’s another issue that occurs after that’s been fixed, or underground outages as well can take up to three hours sometimes. So it depends on what is happening and how quickly we can identify what the issue is to be able to prepare it.”

De La Torre recommends checking on neighbors and heading to a cool place while crews work. He also recommends keeping an outage kit with flashlights, battery-powered radios, first aid kits. In emergencies always call 911.

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