Saturday , April 29 2017
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Tag Archives: city of el paso

Dept. of Health: Tuberculosis Testing Yields Positive Results at Local Adult Day Care Center

The City of El Paso Department of Public Health (DPH) has received preliminary results of 199 individuals tested during an investigation of a possible Tuberculosis (TB) exposure at a local senior day care center.

A total of 199 people were tested using blood samples, with 65 of those tests coming back positive for TB infection.

None of the people tested showed signs or reported symptoms of having active TB and further testing will be conducted as part of the investigation process to determine their status.

“While this is a relatively high rate of positivity, we must also consider, among other factors, that any elderly population will likely have higher positivity rates due to prior exposure so a positive test could be unrelated to this particular exposure event,” said Robert Resendes, Public Health Director. “What we want the attendees and the community at large to know is that there is a systematic process in place to ensure everyone’s safety.”

The next step in the investigation will be providing test results to those who were tested at the day care facility. Those who tested positive will then require further workup including physical evaluations by DPH TB nurses as well as chest x-rays. For those with no insurance or means to pay, the Department will arrange for them to obtain their chest x-ray at no cost to them. It is expected that completion of the x-ray phase of the investigation will take about two weeks.


Tuberculosis is caused by a bacterium called Mycobacterium tuberculosis. The bacteria usually attack the lungs, but TB bacteria can attack any part of the body such as the kidney, spine, and brain. Not everyone infected with TB bacteria becomes sick. As a result, two TB-related conditions exist: latent TB infection (LTBI) and TB disease.

If not treated properly, TB disease can be fatal. TB bacteria are spread through the air from one person to another. The TB bacteria are put into the air when a person with TB disease of the lungs or throat coughs, speaks, or sings. People nearby may breathe in these bacteria and become infected.

TB is NOT spread by

  • shaking someone’s hand
  • sharing food or drink
  • sharing toothbrushes
  • kissing
  • touching bed linens or toilet seats

When a person breathes in TB bacteria, the bacteria can settle in the lungs and begin to grow. From there, it can move through the blood to other parts of the body, such as the kidney, spine, and brain. TB disease in the lungs or throat can be infectious. This means that the bacteria can be spread to other people. TB in other parts of the body, such as the kidney or spine, is usually not infectious.

People with TB disease are most likely to spread it to people they spend time with every day. This includes family members, friends, and coworkers or schoolmates.

City, First Hartford Realty Corporation Join Forces for East El Paso Development

During Tuesday’s city council meeeting, members approved a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with First Hartford Realty Corporation related to the development of an entertainment and retail district located near Interstate 10 and Zaragoza in the city’s Mission Valley.

Via a news release, city officials say, “The City is confident that the creation of a mixed-use development consisting of destination retail and entertainment will spur new economic development opportunities along this portion of the interstate, while also helping increase the city’s regional draw.”

The MOU acknowledges that the City and First Hartford will work jointly to identify and create a development that may include: retail, dining, hospitality and entertainment uses.

The memorandum also identifies the various infrastructure improvements which will need to be completed in order for the development to occur. And lastly, the MOU acknowledges that First Hartford will be seeking an incentive and development agreement from the City within one month.

The valuable 30 acre site in question currently sits unused and has been vacant for decades.

Photo courtesy Google Earth
Photo courtesy Google Earth

City Celebrates Community Development Week

The City of El Paso will celebrate Community Development Week April 17-22, 2017 by highlighting community Housing and Urban Development (HUD) funded projects aimed at improving the quality-of-life of low-income residents and neighborhoods.

“The federal funds the City of El Paso receives through the Department of Housing and Urban Development provide a much needed funding source to improve the quality of life of many low and moderate income families and neighborhoods. Without this funding many physical projects and public services would not be realized in our community making it more challenging to nurture a healthy, sustainable community,” said Verónica R. Soto, Director for the Department of Community and Human Development. “We want to invite all El Pasoans to celebrate with us these investments in our community and showcase what great work these federal funds and city staff provide to improve our shared quality of life.”

The National Anthem will be performed by Elia Esparza, contestant from NBC’s “The Voice”, at the events on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday.

Since 1975, the City of El Paso has used over $85 million in HOME Program funding to create decent and safe affordable housing opportunities and over $384 million in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds to provide essential public services, economic opportunities, street and drainage improvements, public facility and infrastructure improvements and other quality of life improvements to low- and moderate-income neighborhoods.

HOME’s main purpose is to provide decent, safe and sanitary housing, while CDBG’s main purpose is to provide a suitable living environment and expanded economic opportunities for low- and moderate-income people.

Funded projects include parks, public facilities, housing, street and drainage improvements, and social service programs. CDBG/HOME projects change the face of low- and moderate-income neighborhoods, increase recreation opportunities and enhance neighborhood pride.

The projects are part of the City of El Paso’s commitment to enhance the community’s quality of life while nurturing and promoting a healthy and sustainable community. The events are free and open to the public.


Monday, April 17 at 11:00 a.m.

YWCA Sara McKnight Transitional Living Center Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

Sara McKnight TLC – 3700 Altura Avenue

Renovations funded by CDBG in the amount of $235,390


Tuesday, April 18 at 8:00 a.m.

Community Development Week Proclamation

A special recognition to the Community Development Steering Committee will be held.

City Council Chambers – 300 N. Campbell Street

Wednesday, April 19 at 12:00 p.m. (noon)

Eddy “Hirby” Beard Park Improvements Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

Special performances by El Dorado High School Mariachi Azteca and Ballet Folklorico

Eddy “Hirby” Beard Park – 4701 Ramon Vega Lane

Renovations funded by CDBG in the amount of $480,225

Thursday, April 20 at 10:00 a.m.

Project Vida – New Affordable Housing Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

Sunrise Housing – 4418 Sunrise

Investor-Owned project utilizing HOME Program funds in the amount of $2,150,000

Friday, April 21 at 5:00 p.m.

Grandview Spray Park Ribbon Cutting Ceremony and Grand Opening

Event filled with family-oriented activities

Grandview Spray Park – 3100 Jefferson Avenue

Renovations funded by CDBG in the amount of $882,300


Health Foundation partners with City of El Paso, El Paso Water to Develop Playa Drain Trail

The Paso del Norte Health Foundation announced Tuesday afternoon a partnership with the City of El Paso and El Paso Water to build a linear trail along the Playa Drain in South Central El Paso.

The City of El Paso approved a Donation, Development and License Agreement authorizing the Health Foundation to design and construct a 3.4 linear trail on the Playa Drain from Ascarate Park to Riverside High School. The Playa Drain Trail will offer opportunities for recreation and physical activity (walking/biking) for use by residents throughout the region and as an alternative to driving for near-by residents.

“We are excited to partner with the City of El Paso and El Paso Water to develop the Playa Drain Trail for residents in our region,” said Tracy Yellen, CEO for the Paso del Norte Health Foundation. “It will provide safe, well-designed walking and biking areas that connect neighborhoods to important amenities like parks and schools, improve the built environment, and contribute positively to our quality of life.”

“Partnerships like these further the vision of the City and Parks Department to expand recreation opportunities for residents and visitors, promote physical activity, and enhance the ability of residents adjacent to the Trail to enjoy recreational activities within close proximity to where they live,” said Tracy Novak, City Parks and Recreation Director.

The Health Foundation’s Board of Directors approved up to $2,000,000 to fund the design and construction of the linear trail under its Healthy Eating and Active Living priority area that works to make healthy eating and active living the easy choice for individuals and families in the region.

The City of El Paso had previously earmarked $300,000 for trail amenities such as benches and shade structures as part of their 2012 Quality of Life Bond. The Playa Drain is owned by El Paso Water.

In a separate agreement, El Paso Water granted the City use of the Playa Drain for a trail with the City agreeing to maintain it.

The Health Foundation will seek input from the public during the design-phase of the 3.4-mile linear trail. Completion of the trail is set for March 2019.

playa trail

Video: Your City in 5 – Week of March 17th

In this edition of Your City in Five, Rick Isaias has your information on the City begining open-house style public meetings to inform the community about the Multipurpose Cultural and Performing Arts Center; there’s a new playground for kids and parents to enjoy; and the police department provides tips for drivers during road construction areas.

Plus, there’s a look at how Vector Control officers trap and test mosquitoes before hot weather arrives and also on dunking recycle items now that the NCAA Basketball Tournament has started.

These stories and other services provided by the City of El Paso are available at

City Adds $44.6m to Fix Streets needing ‘Critical’ Repairs

On Monday the City Council, following a Street Capital Improvement report, voted to modify the plan’s list of street improvement projects.

City officials recalibrated the $210 million Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) for Streets. The new direction calls for completing resurfacing and reconstruction projects currently under contract and to add an additional budget of $44.6 million to streets listed as in need of “critical” repairs.

The vote included committing funding for a citywide pavement assessment to produce data needed to prioritize future funding for street pavement management. The City last conducted a pavement assessment in 2008.

Prior to Monday, pavement management decisions for the Street CIP had been based solely on the 2008 pavement assessment study. As a result of the limited factors considered for pavement management decisions, the City ended up resurfacing mostly residential streets instead of the most heavily traveled arterial roadways.

Street reconstruction candidates were prioritized by drainage damage, subgrade and pavement problems.

The life cycle of a street in El Paso under the City’s current pavement management program is about 140 years. The typical industry standard for the useful life of a street without any preventive maintenance is 25 years.

The report presented Tuesday included a recommendation, which council approved, for the development of a pavement management program that would improve the life cycle of El Paso streets by centering decisions on various factors including:

  • Updated pavement assessment data
  • Traffic volumes
  • Other technical factors, such as lighting, drainage, utility issues, median landscaping, bus routes, need for right-of-way acquisitions, pedestrian connectivity, etc.

The recalibrated street listing will serve as a guide for the city departments that manage street improvement projects – the Capital Improvement Department and the Streets and Maintenance Department.

 “Council’s action today supports our efforts to continue to carry out the 2012 Streets CIP designed to fund improvements centered on extending the pavement life of our most heavily traveled streets and reconstructing those that cannot be resurface,” Capital Improvement Department Director Andy Goh said.

The original $210 million Street CIP plan was funded through certificates of obligation and approved in 2012. About $18 million of the funds were spent on street improvements and other projects not included in the original Street CIP plan. The majority of the remaining funds are allocated to street reconstruction projects.

The presentation included a recommendation to find a way to replenish to the Street CIP the approximate $18 million in funds that were used for street improvements and other projects, such as the rehabilitation of the Mulligan building.

City to Install Angled Parking on Raynor, San Marcial starting Monday

The City of El Paso Streets and Maintenance Department will install angled parking on two streets in Central El Paso.

Starting on Monday, February 27, 2017, crews will begin a project to install angled parking on:

  • Raynor between Montana and Pershing
  • San Marcial between the alley north of Montana and Pershing

The Streets and Maintenance Department recently installed angled parking on Tularosa between Piedras and Estrella and had programmed the installation of angled parking on Pershing between Cebada and Piedras. Due to an increase in the scope of work for the Pershing project, angled parking will not be installed on Pershing at this time.

The plans to increase parking options on Raynor and San Marcial streets is intended to help satisfy the demand for additional parking in the Five Points area.

The work may include new pavement markings readjusting travel lanes, consolidating loading zones, and relocating and removing traffic signs to accommodate the new parking spaces and loading zones.

The entire project is expected to take about a week to complete. The schedule may be modified due to weather or other unforeseen events.

City, Metropia Team up to Improve Tracking of Border Crossing Wait Times

The City of El Paso has partnered with Metropia, Inc., and the Camino Real Regional Mobility Authority (CRRMA) to launch a beta test of a new app designed to improve the border crossing experience for all travelers at El Paso-Juárez ports of entry.

The free Metropia app will provide border crossers with the best routes and ideal times to travel by tracking border wait times at the international ports of entry. The app was developed to empower users with information to improve their travel time across the border.

“We’re excited to deliver this new technology to the El Paso-Juárez border. The free Metropia app will help commuters, both traveling for leisure and commercial purposes, to reduce their wait times at the ports of entry. Beta testers through their use of the app will contribute border wait time data that will help us make improvements that will benefit the entire region,” said Mathew McElroy, City of El Paso International Bridges Department.

The Metropia app will go beyond providing users with current wait times and traffic congestion levels. By predicting and displaying how those conditions will change throughout the day, border crossers will be empowered to choose the ideal times to cross the border and guide them through the fastest port of entry along least-congested routes.

The ability to disburse the demand more evenly across six of the bridge crossings and at more varied times, will help Metropia and the City of El Paso reduce wait times and traffic conditions for all border crossers, not only those who utilize the app.

Those who sign up to become beta testers will get exclusive early access to this new technology and will be compensated each time they use the Metropia app to cross the border at the designated ports of entry. Compensation will be up to $10 per day. Data collected throughout the beta test will optimize the app’s predictive capabilities in preparation for a full launch this spring.

Motorists interested in becoming a Metropia port of entry beta tester should visit, to enroll. Motorists are encouraged to sign up as soon as possible as space is limited for the number of beta testers who may receive monetary compensation.

Those who sign up for the beta testing program but are not selected to participate will still receive an exclusive invitation to use the app before it goes live next month.

“The increasing wait times across our border have a profound daily impact on our economy and the quality of life for the residents of El Paso and Juárez,” said Tania Chozet, Metropia’s community manager in El Paso. “Through this innovative partnership with the City of El Paso and the CRRMA, Metropia is eager to reduce wait times at the Port of Entry and increase access to both of these wonderful cities.”

The international bridges wait time feature is an extension of Metropia’s existing services in El Paso. Metropia officially launched in El Paso last October to provide city-wide travel options to motorists.

Since then, the company through its technology has helped thousands of El Paso’s commuters save nearly 2,000 hours of driving time and plant nearly 9,000 trees as part of their reforestation program with American Forests.

AARP Providing Free Income Tax Preparation at Parks and Recreation Locations

The AARP Foundation is offering free income tax preparation for low to moderate-income taxpayers at various City of El Paso Parks and Recreation senior centers through April 17.

Any person, of any age, may use this service and does not need to be an AARP member. Each individual tax return usually takes volunteer tax preparers about half an hour to complete. The free service is on a first come, first served basis so early arrival is encouraged.

“Last year AARP did more than 7,000 tax returns through the various locations,” said AARP Foundation Coordinator Carol Baker. The following senior center locations offer the tax preparation service:

Tax Preparation Locations

Memorial Senior Center                                 1800 Byron St.

(Mondays and Wednesdays)                               562-4260

Polly Harris Senior Center                             650 Wallenberg Dr.   

(Tuesdays and Thursdays)                                  581-9525

Eastside Senior Center                                   3200 Fierro Dr.          

(Wednesdays and Fridays)                                  591-4292

Hilos de Plata Senior Center                          4451 Delta Dr.

(Fridays)                                                           533-3207.

Website Ranks El Paso as 3rd of ‘Most Recession-Recovered Large Cities’

A recent study from personal finance website has ranked El Paso 3rd in its list of 2017’s Most Recession-Recovered Large Cities. The Sun City also ranked among the best when looking at cities of all sizes, coming in at 13th.

 According to the website, the purpose of the study is “to measure the progress of local economies since the financial crisis.” WalletHub did this by comparing 505 U.S. cities of varying sizes across 18 key economic indicators, which include unemployment rate, home ownership rate, poverty rate, number of businesses, and gross metropolitan product (GMP) to name a few.

WalletHub officials said,” For many Americans today, the Great Recession is nothing more than the distant shadow of a troubled economic past. After all, the longest downturn since the Great Depression officially ended in June 2009, and cities coast to coast have completely bounced back. Some have even surpassed their pre-recession economic levels, thanks to lucrative industries that helped them rebuild or stay afloat through the crisis.

 The study also revealed that El Paso ranked 3rd in its list of cities with the highest decrease in poverty rate.

 “The results of this study shows that El Paso continues to move in the right direction,” said Mayor Oscar Leeser. “We’ve worked hard to address issues like unemployment and business growth, which is exactly what this study analyzed to determine which economies have grown in strength. It is reassuring to see an outside entity recognize the outcome of our efforts and hard work.”

2017’s Most Recession-Recovered Large Cities (

Overall Rank               City

          1                 Austin, TX

          2                 Denver, CO

          3            El Paso, TX   

          4                 Fort Worth, TX

          5                 Corpus Christi, TX

To view full study, click HERE.

To measure the progress of local economies since the financial crisis and how much work remains to be done in the name of recovery, WalletHub compared 505 U.S. cities of varying sizes across 18 key economic indicators. The data set ranges from “inflow of college-educated workers” to “share of households receiving public assistance” to “homeownership rate.”

Mayor, Council Release Emails Detailing Theft of $3.2m via Phishing Scam

Tuesday night, the City of El Paso released a limited number of emails about the events related to the theft of approximately $3.2 million via an email phishing scam.

City officials said the release was “at the request of Mayor and Council to enlighten the community (and) to assure the public that the City’s financial management system was not compromised.”  They add that the entire matter is “the subject of an ongoing criminal investigation and efforts to recover the misdirected funds are underway.”

The names and contact information of the potential witnesses, victims and suspects have been redacted to protect their identities during the ongoing criminal investigation.

The investigation of the misdirection of funds and steps to recover the funds are continuing.

According to city officials, the first misdirected payment occurred on September 28, 2016, and involved approximately $2.9 million in state funds for a project managed by the Camino Real Regional Mobility Authority (CRRMA). The second misdirected payment took place on October 4, 2016, and involved approximately $312,000 earmarked for city projects.

To date, approximately $1.9 million of the funds have been recovered – a sum of $1.6 million of the approximate $2.9 million and a sum of $293,000 of the approximate $312,000.

The CRRMA is an independent governmental entity that was formed by the City of El Paso in March 2007 and is regulated by the Texas Transportation Commission. The City was granted authority to create the CRRMA and its board by the Texas Transportation Commission to study, evaluate, design, finance, acquire, construct, maintain, repair, and operate transportation projects.

The CRRMA has a seven-member board – six members are nominated by the Mayor and appointed by Council and its presiding chair is appointed by the governor.

The City of El Paso provides the CRRMA organization with support services for its daily business operations, such as accounting, auditing, procurement and accounts payable, however the ultimate authority for approval of payments rest with the CRRMA executive director.


  • August 22, 2016 – The Imposter Granite Construction Company exchanges a series of emails with CRRMA. During these emails, the fictitious checking account information is submitted and changed from the legitimate Paso Del Norte Trackworks Checking Account information. The differences in vendor name are caught by a Purchasing Department employee who brings it to the attention of CRRMA. CRRMA instructs the Purchasing employee that the vendor is just changing their checking account and to process the change.
  • September 19, 2016 – The Imposter Granite Construction Company contacts CRRMA, the Comptroller’s Office, and the Purchasing Department to inquire about when the next payment will be processed. An accountant in the Comptroller’s Office questions the payment inquiry and forwards the inquiry to CRRMA. CRRMA responds to the Accountant and tells him he (CRRMA) has instructed Granite to contact him regarding all payment inquiries.
  • September 29, 2016 – The real Granite Construction Company contacts CRRMA to inform him that they have not been paid. CRRMA does not contact the Comptroller’s Office.
  • October 12, 2016 – The Comptroller’s Office contacts the real Granite Construction Office and asks if they received the $2.9 million payments. When the Comptroller is informed by the real Granite Construction that they did not receive the payment, the Comptroller submits a request to Wells Fargo to recover the payment.

To view the emails click either of the file links below:

Attachment – Limited Redacted Emails Related to Misdirection of Funds

Attachment – Additional Emails Related to Misdirection of Funds

Your City in 5: San Jacinto Plaza set to Open

In today’s ‘Your City in 5’, we have the information on the newly renovated San Jacinto Plaza. It details what the plaza has to over and all the unique features people can expect.

The video also highlights other of quality of life projects and free mulch for residents. For more information on all of these stories, visit

City Names Deputy City Manager to Oversee Public Works

The City of El Paso announced on Friday the addition of longtime engineer Khalil Zaied as the newest member of its Leadership Team.

Mr. Zaied currently serves as the Deputy City Mayor of Operations for the City of Baltimore, a position he was appointed to by the Mayor of Baltimore. Baltimore is a municipality with a strong-mayor form of government.

“Mr. Zaied brings a wealth of experience and a valuable skillset. We look forward to the talent and leadership he will bring to the City and know he will be a significant asset to the organization,” City Manager Tommy Gonzalez said.

In El Paso, he will be stepping into the newly created position of Deputy City Manager of Public Works and Transportation. His start date with the City of El Paso is June 30, 2016.

He will provide leadership to the departments of Capital Improvement, Streets and Maintenance, Environmental Services and Mass Transit – Sun Metro, and will serve as the liaison to the Metropolitan Planning Organization, the Camino Real Regional Mobility Authority and utilities.  Mr. Zaied will work part of the months of May and June in El Paso as he transitions from his current role to the City’s Leadership Team.

As the Deputy City Mayor of Operations for the City of Baltimore, a role he has held since 2012, Mr. Zaied leads the City’s daily operations and oversees many of its major initiatives, including the Department of Public Works, Department of Transportation and the Department of General Services and Parking Authority, among others.

In that capacity, he has led many of the initiatives for the Mayor of Baltimore including Public-Private Partnerships, municipal advertisements and the constant drive to promote the Red Line rail project.  In 2010, he was appointed to lead one of Baltimore’s largest and most dynamic agencies, the Department of Transportation.

He led their DOT team to expand the award winning Charm City Circulator program, expand the in-house paving program to 40 percent of the total paving Citywide, convert street lighting to LED, establish the largest bridge repair and replacement program in the City’s history, and construct the race track for the inaugural Grand Prix race.

“Deputy Mayor Zaied has repeatedly proven himself to be a skilled and innovative leader, and he has used his talents to successfully execute a number of my administration’s major initiatives,” said Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake. “Our loss in Baltimore will be El Paso’s gain.”

Mr. Zaied has also served as head of General Services and established the first building assessment and occupancy program for the City, expanded the role of the Energy office beyond buildings, and instituted the Envista program to better manage the permitting process.

Other roles in government include; Director of Planning, Design and Construction for Baltimore City Schools, Chief of Conduits, and Chief of Highways.  He also served as a commissioner on the Governor’s Commission on Middle Eastern Affairs. He earned a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Maryland College Park.

Your City in 5: Barron Park, New Wolf at the Zoo & Huachas!

In this week’s Your City in 5, new information on the opening of Barron Park in Northeast El Paso and a new animal at the El Paso Zoo. There is also information on the “Huachas” tournament that is part of the 2016 El Paso Senior games.

Your City in 5 provides a weekly snapshot of your City government.

For more information on all of these stories, visit

Your City in 5: Planes, Pets and More!

In this week’s update, you will find information on a new airline at the El Paso International Airport that will provide $49 non-stop flights from El Paso to Orlando, Florida.

Plus, the City’s new commitment to fix El Paso streets and an upcoming pet adoption promotion at the City’s animal shelter.

Your City in 5 provides a weekly snapshot of your City government. For more information on all of these stories, visit