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Home | Tag Archives: el paso

Tag Archives: el paso

New ‘All-America City’ Signs to Welcome Drivers to El Paso

New signs at the five entrances into El Paso will showcase the community as one of the great cities in America.

“To maximize our visibility and promote our achievements we are replacing old signs by the highways with new ones highlighting our status as an All-America City. This effort should entice travelers to take a closer look at our City of Champions,” said Mayor Dee Margo.

On average, each day more than 300,000 vehicles pass through the city limits of El Paso, the nation’s 19th largest city and the sixth largest in Texas. Last year alone the economic impact of visitors to El Paso exceeded $3 million.

El Paso has earned three All-America titles, the most recent one awarded this year by the National Civic League. The organization recognizes communities each year for outstanding civic accomplishments.

To earn the recognition, each community must demonstrate innovation, inclusiveness, civic engagement, and cross sector collaboration by describing successful efforts to address pressing local challenges.

The City earned the other awards in 1969 and 2010.

Installation on the new 6-feet wide and 3-feet tall aluminum roads signs has begun and should be completed by early December. The work is being done by the City’s Streets and Maintenance Department.

Audio: Testify Sidebar – Child Crisis Center of El Paso

In light of their latest episode, Deserted, Charlie and Andra sought out advice from the Child Crisis Center of El Paso.

Executive Director Lorraine Gomez shared her insightful thoughts into the needs of the El Paso community when it comes to caring for children who are at risk for neglect or abuse.

The center has been in operation since 1980 and offers many services that El Pasoans may not be aware of. One of their most important services is drop in, no questions asked, childcare for parents who are in need of a break from their children.

If you would like to donate or help the Child Crisis Center, or if you are in need or their assistance, please visit their website or call them at (915) 562-7955.

You can also help the Child Crisis Center of El Paso by supporting their Discovery Thrift Shop located at 9122 Dyer Street in the Bradley Shopping Centre.

Testify Closing Arguments: Deserted with Genevive Curtis

This week, Andra and Charlie invited KFOX 14 Investigative Journalist Genevive Curtis about the 2013 death of Jackson Farrey.

Curtis recalls the mood and approach to coverage surrounding the disappearance of the Farrey family and the fallout from the subsequent discovery of Jackson’s body in an isolated New Mexico desert.

For more information on how to subscribe to Testify visit our website www.testifypodcast.com.

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In partnership with the Herald-Post, users can listen to Testify Podcasts via their webpage, or via Patreon or via the sites below.

  

 

‘Grand Tour’ of El Paso Border History Set for Sunday

Residents and visitors alike are invited to take a grand tour of the El Paso border with Mexico and learn about 175 years of El Paso border history, thanks to Celebration of Our Mountains.

A map with directions of the tour will be distributed at the American Dam and the tour begins promptly at 9 a.m.

To access the International Boundary and Water Commission (IBWC) field office at 2616 West Paisano, take Executive Boulevard. to Paisano and go left. Get into the right lane as quickly as you can. The first turnout on the right will take you to the office and parking is available along the roadside.

The tour will begin at the American Dam Field Office of the International Boundary and Water Commission (IBWC), Tour members will take a short walk across the American Canal to Boundary Marker #1.

As tour particpants read the marker and listen to guide Mike Landis of the IBWC, they can straddle the border with one foot in the U.S.

Photo courtesy Celebrating our Mountain

and the other in Mexico.

From there the tour will continue east on Paisano to Old Fort Bliss, Hart’s Mill and the historic La Hacienda Restaurant.

There, Robert Diaz, President of the El Paso Historical Society, will talk about the border history from 1840 to 1900.

Finally,  the tour winds its way down Paisano to the Chamizal National Memorial. There, Ranger Rodney Sauter will explore and share the history of how the Chamizal Convention of 1963 finally ended a century-long border dispute.

Photo courtesy Celebrating our Mountain

After the tour, participants are invited to have a taste of border food history, as the newly re-opened Amigos Restaurant – located at 2000 Montana Avenue – was established after La Hacienda closed.

The chef and waiters from La Hacienda moved there and the menu is the same.

For more information visit the Celebration of Our Mountains website.

 

IEDC Awards City ‘Silver Award’ for Regional Economic Development Strategy

The City of El Paso’s Economic and International Development Department received a Silver Award for Regionalism and Cross-border Collaboration from the International Economic Development Council (IEDC), the largest organization of professional economic developers.

“El Paso has always been a leader in promoting regionalism and collaboration. Not only is this because of our geographic proximity to Mexico and New Mexico, we also have a leadership and staff that focuses on supporting and building relationships with all our regional allies,” said Jessica Herrera, Director of Economic and International Development.

The award recognizes a City for innovative approaches to regionalism and other forms of cross-border cooperation across a city, county, state, and internationally. The City of El Paso was honored for its strategy and efforts to create a world-class medical center at the Medical Center of the Americas (MCA).

“Our goal at the MCA is to create a regional biomedical industry that will foster and accelerate innovation, create new employment opportunities and meet the healthcare needs for the entire Paso Del Norte region,” Herrera said.

Eddie Garcia, Assistant Director of the Economic and International Department, accepted the award at IEDC’s Annual Conference in Atlanta, Georgia on October 3, 2018.

While at the conference, Garcia passed a certification test making him the first Certified Economic Developer in the City of El Paso.

Area Bands ‘Tune Up’ For UIL Competition at EPISD Invitational at Franklin High

27 bands took the field at Franklin High School Saturday, as El Paso ISD hosted their invitational contest for area marching bands.

Serving as adjudicators for the event were Valentino Leyba, Kevin Moreman, and Shawn Silva, all band directors in the Las Cruces Public Schools. Instrumental Coordinator Julio Castillo was the contest organizer.

Due to the large number of bands entered, the contest was divided into morning and afternoon sessions. An awards ceremony was held at 11:30 after the first 13 bands performed. After a lunch break, the afternoon saw another 14 bands take the field, capping the day with an awards ceremony for these bands at the final conclusion of the contest.

Receiving first divisions, which denotes a “Superior” performance, were Franklin, Riverside, Parkland, Hanks, Bel Air, Eastlake and Del Valle High Schools in the morning session, and Irvin, Burges, Americas, and Coronado High Schools in the afternoon.

Bands receiving second divisions, denoting an “excellent” performance, were Horizon, Eastwood, Ysleta, and Socorro High Schools in the morning, and El Paso, Andress, Jefferson Silva, and Chapin High Schools in the afternoon.

Bands receiving a third division, or “good” performance, were Canutillo, Anthony, Fabens, Clint, Bowie, San Elizario, and Austin High Schools.

This contest served as a tune up for the bands and was great for getting some last minute pointers from the judges before the UIL contest next Saturday. All the El Paso-area bands will compete in the state- sanctioned contest which this year will advance 2-, 4-, and 6-A bands to the Area marching band contests for each respective class.

Those contests will take place in Amarillo for the 2-As, Lubbock for the 4-As, and Odessa for the 6-As on October 27th.

Locally, there is plenty more action coming up in Band-tober. The aforementioned UIL contest is next Saturday, October 13, at the SAC. This contest will be for ratings, just as today’s contest was, with qualifying bands advancing to the Area round of contests on the 27th.

On October 20, bands from Texas and New Mexico will take the field again at the SAC for the SISD Marchfest. The Marchfest contest uses a 7- person judging panel and is a two-round contest.

After prelims, 6 bands from the small band class will advance to a finals round, while 8 bands in the large band class will advance. No division ratings are given at this contest. Instead, the bands are given numerical scores and ranked in first place, second place, and so on.

The experience of competing for those rankings will come in handy for the last weekend in October. The advancing bands attending the Area contests will be ranked, and the highest -placing bands will advance to the State marching band contest.

This contest is held at the Alamodome in San Antonio on November 5,6, and 7.

Meanwhile, most of those bands not advancing to Area contests will instead journey up to Las Cruces for the NMSU Tournament of Bands, also taking place on October 27th. This contest, too, uses a 7-person judging panel and a prelims/finals format.

The Tournament of Bands for many years has served as the penultimate contest for bragging rights around the area, and promises some amazing marching show action for local band fans.

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Author – Lorraine Kubala

The complete schedule can be viewed on the ‘Musical Notes- The Blog’ page on Facebook.  

Click here for a complete listing of all the ‘Bandtober’ Events

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Once again, the El Paso Herald-Post will be providing band fans with LIVE, STREAMING coverage of SISD’s Marchfest on October 20, 2018!   Our day-long coverage starts at 7:20 and goes on through the finals!

EPISD Students get Nuggets of Wisdom From Chick-fil-A Leadership Program

For Chick-fil-A, it’s not all about cooking chicken. The fast food franchise has teamed up with area high schools to serve up some nuggets of wisdom through its Leader Academy.

The nationwide Chick-fil-A Leader Academy engages students in monthly Leader Labs with a focus on important leadership skills that they will use to create student-led community impact projects.

Franchise owners throughout El Paso have adopted neighboring campuses to offer the Leader Academy. Burges, Silva Health Magnet, Coronado, Franklin, El Paso, Chapin and Andress are among the high schools sponsored by an area Chick-fil-A in EPISD.

“Our vision at Chick-fil-A is to make a positive impact on the lives of others and so we believe that our youth are tomorrow’s leaders,” said Joy Martinez, who owns the Airway location with her husband Anthony Martinez. “It is important to invest our time and energy so that we can give them the tools that they will need to be better equipped for the world tomorrow.”

The Martinez’s kicked off the 2018-19 Leader Academy at Burges High School on Friday with 30 students at an orientation for the year-long program. The day began with some ice breakers, an introduction to the curriculum, a boxed lunch with the famous Chick-fil-A sandwiches and a visit from Cow, the restaurant’s mascot.

The curriculum taught in the academy focuses on servant leadership – a style deeply rooted in the Chick-fil-A organization and modeled by its founder, the late S. Truett Cathy.

“Our servant-leader spirit, in which we put others first, really comes from a sense of mission to serve others with compassion dignity and respect,” Joy Martinez said. “The same compassion dignity and respect that we would want others to offer us. We want to encourage all Chick-fil-A Leader Academy students and help them in any way that we can because Anthony and I had many mentors, family members, friends who encouraged us and believed in us and helped us in our journey.”

Last year, Burges’ project created a more inclusive environment for special education students in the Community Readiness Classroom (CRC), nicknaming them “the cool kids.”

“I think this year we will just make a larger impact and keep growing the relationships we already have,” said senior Lailani Chehedeh. “I’m really excited to see the way the new students start and the way they end. Last year, even for myself, just being able to see the way I grew and began understanding different types of people and just growing relationships was really a unique experience.”

Student Activities Manager Ruth Bohlin saw the leader academy as a great opportunity for Burges students to develop virtue and civic responsibility.

“While we have our leader academy kids go through the curriculum, they also have an opportunity to build relationships with our CRC kids,” Bohlin said. “And that in itself was a wonderful opportunity for each of them – both enriching for the CRC kids and the leader academy kids.”

Joy Martinez saw first-hand how successful the program was at Burges last year.

“What I noticed was that the energy, the spirit and enthusiasm was just remarkable – truly remarkable,” she said. “Seeing the cool kids just have so much fun and feel the love was just so heartwarming. You saw all these students come together and bring a ray of sunshine to the lives of kids.”

Story by Reneé de Santos | Photos by Leonel Monroy – EPISD

El Paso ISD Ranked Third in State for High-Performing Schools; 11 Campuses Honored

According to new figures released by the Texas Education Agency (TEA), El Paso Independent School District (EPISD) has 11 campuses that earned all available distinction designations available to them during the 2018 accountability ratings period.

“Our focus on Active Learning has helped us reach unprecedented goals in student outcomes,” said Superintendent Juan Cabrera. “EPISD is one of the best school districts in the state, and our students and teachers are showing that innovation in the classroom works.”

With 11 total campuses on the list, EPISD has the most high-performing schools in the region and is third in the state for districts with schools earning all available distinctions given by the Texas Education Agency this year.  Only two school districts – Houston and Dallas ISDs — have more schools with all distinctions in the state.

The distinctions show students in those campuses are performing at elevated levels in all tested areas, and show academic growth that puts them on track to be college and career ready by the time they graduate high school.

The schools that earned all academic distinctions are: El Paso, Silva Health Magnet and Chapin high schools; Wiggs Middle School; and Hughey, Lamar, Milam, Collins, Cielo Vista, Polk and Green elementary schools.

“Earning one or several campus-level distinctions is notable and should be applauded by a community as an outstanding achievement,” Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath said. “For a school to earn every potential distinction applicable to their campus is difficult, but a reflection of some truly amazing work by our educators.”

The distinctions include measurements of proficiency and growth based on student performance on the State of Texas Assessment of Academic Skills (STAAR) and End of Course exams.

The distinctions measure academic achievement in English, math, science and social studies, as well as growth in categories like college readiness and closing learning gaps.

UTEP, El Paso, Juárez Among Finalists for Cross-Border Art Project Funding

The Stanlee and Gerald Rubin Center for the Visual Arts, along with the Cities of El Paso and Juárez, are in the running for an award that will provide funding for a joint cross-border art installation.

Bloomberg Philanthropies announced that El Paso is one of 14 cities that could receive up to $1 million as part of the Bloomberg Philanthropies Public Art Challenge.

“The Rubin Center has a dynamic history of presenting contemporary art that involves artists and audiences from both sides of the border,” said Kerry Doyle, director of the Rubin Center at The University of Texas at El Paso.

“This partnership with the City of El Paso, the El Paso Community Foundation and our partners in Juárez highlights the strong connections we have with our sister city, and the importance of building bridges for the future.”

The proposed art installation is titled “Border Tuner.” The project, led by artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, includes a series of light and sound installations that will connect El Paso and Juárez with robotic searchlights that make a bridge of light. The light sources open bidirectional live sound channels that allow people from each side of the border to communicate with each other from three stations at Juárez’s Chamizal Park and three at Bowie High School in El Paso.

In February, Bloomberg Philanthropies invited mayors from U.S. cities with a population of 30,000 or more to submit proposals for temporary public art projects. More than 200 cities applied with proposals that fostered creative collaboration, addressed civic issues and supported local economies through public art.

Bloomberg Philanthropies will select at least three winners among the 14 finalists in the fall to execute their projects over the course of 24 months. The grants will cover project-related expenses but will not fund 100 percent of the total project costs.

Other participating foundations for the El Paso/Juárez art project include the El Paso Community Foundation, Fundación Comunitaria Paso del Norte and the state government of Chihuahua.

City Awarded $100K Grant to Support Growth of Local Minority-Owned Businesses

El Paso is one of five cities selected for this year’s expanded City Accelerator program, an initiative helping communities create jobs by growing their network of local minority-owned local businesses.

El Paso and other cities chosen to participate in the program by the Citi Foundation and Living Cities will receive a $100,000 grant and other services such as coaching, technical assistance, and implementation resources to advance entrepreneurial efforts aimed at growing locally minority-owned businesses.

Other cities selected for the program include Atlanta, Long Beach, Newark and Rochester.

“This grant presented a unique opportunity for the City to expand services that support our regional entrepreneurs,” said Jessica Herrera, Economic and International Development Director.

Throughout the next year, El Paso as part of this program will focus on expanding small business services offered through the El Paso Public Library.

“The El Paso Public Library System is a support mechanism within our community that aims to enhance economic and educational opportunities, especially for our minority population. El Paso has over 54,000 minority-owned local businesses and with the City Accelerator Program we will enhance and cultivate the business community to support regional entrepreneurial efforts,” said Mayor Dee Margo.

For additional information, please visit Governing Magazine, Citi’s blog to follow the progress of the City Accelerator participants.

Website Ranks El Paso Among Top 10 ‘Best Places to Live’

The City of El Paso ranked #7 in the Best Places to Live in 2018 in the Top 10 Best Cities by Areavibes.com.

 

“El Paso continues to be recognized for the great City we are,” said Mayor Dee Margo. “In the past year alone, the City was awarded the Governor’s Achievement Award, was selected as an All-America City, was named the best managed city, was second highest in job and wage growth, and has been named the 5th Best Small City in America.”

The Sun City ranked above Irving, Lincoln, Austin, and just behind Gilbert, Arizona.

“City staff has worked hard to continue helping El Paso become the best place to live,” said City Manager Tommy Gonzalez. “El Paso residents and businesses deserve the best, and we are striving to provide them with an improved quality of life and continued economic growth.”

According to the Areavibes website, their ranking process begins with collecting more than 100 cities with populations over 200,000. Then they apply their Livability Score  – using a number of factors to establish each city’s score, including the city’s cost of living, employment figures and crime rates.

The Best Places to Live were selected on:

  • Amenities: Higher scores for more nearby amenities like: grocery stores, restaurants, coffee shops, schools, parks, libraries, etc.
  • Cost of Living: Higher scores for lower cost of goods and services, groceries, health care, housing, transportation and utilities.
  • Crime: Higher scores for low violent crime and property crime. Violent crimes are more heavily weighted.
  • Education: Higher scores for high test scores and low student to teacher ratio.
  • Employment: Higher scores for high median household income and low unemployment rates.
  • Housing: Higher scores for low housing price to median household ratio and high appreciation rates.
  • Weather: Higher scores for average temperatures between 70°-75° and low precipitation.

The list for 2018 saw a few changes over last year’s rankings, including the addition of two new cities.

For more information, visit areavibes.com.

City Recognized for “Ask Laura” App

The City of El Paso was recognized as a 2018 Best of Texas Awards Winner by the Center for Digital Government at the annual Texas Digital Government Summit.

“Ask Laura,” the City of El Paso’s virtual information officer, was recognized as the Best Application Serving the Public. The Center for Digital Government identified the customizable look and voice and the software providing analytics and reporting as reasons for the recognition.

“The City of El Paso was honored for implementing ‘Ask Laura,’ a chatbot avatar with audible and on-screen messaging,” said Department of Information Technology Services (DoITS) Director Enrique Martinez. “Four departments are currently using ‘Ask Laura’, and we have plans to expand this customer service avatar to other departments to deliver outstanding customer service to the citizens.”

“Ask Laura” is currently available on the Purchasing and Strategic Sourcing, Tax Office, Planning and Inspections, and Airport websites.

The Best of Texas Awards program recognizes public-sector professionals and local government organizations for their dedication and contributions to advancing information technology in Texas.

Winners are selected based on a number of criteria, including collaboration among agencies, innovative use of technology, economic benefits and improving public services and business processes.

Visit govtech.com for more information.

El Paso Featured in Where to Retire Magazine

El Paso has been selected a top retirement destination by Where to Retire, the only magazine in America geared toward helping people with retirement relocation decisions.

El Paso is profiled in a feature titled “8 Cities for Downtown Living” in the July/August 2018 issue, available nationwide on June 12.

According to Annette Fuller, Editor of Where to Retire Magazine, many retirees like to carve out a niche for themselves in a larger city’s lively, walkable downtown.

“Retirees often look for locales that provide easy access to dining, shopping and entertainment, and downtown districts often afford these and more within a confined area. The popularity of these cultural cores is sparking revitalizations across the country, but El Paso’s officials began revamping the downtown area more than a decade ago,” Fuller said.

“The renovation is evident in the conversion of the historic Blue Flame building into housing, bringing in the Triple-A El Paso Chihuahuas baseball team and redoing the city’s center, the San Jacinto Plaza. One retiree told our writer, ‘The cost of living, specifically housing, makes it the most affordable small big town in Texas.’”

The article sites research that,  “700,000 Americans relocate to new towns to retire. Generally, relocating retirees are healthier, better educated and more affluent than those who choose to not relocate. They bring significant economic benefits to their new states and hometowns. Nationally, two dozen states and hundreds of towns seek to attract retirees as a source of economic development.”

Where to Retire, now in its 26th year of print, is published six times a year. The magazine covers the best retirement regions, towns and master-planned communities, and recently released its 10th biennial list naming the 50 best master-planned communities in the U.S.

8 Cities for Downtown Living:

Charlotte, NC

El Paso, TX

Little Rock, AR

Madison, WI

Richmond, VA

St. Petersburg, FL

Sarasota, FL

Tempe, AZ.

City to Celebrate 145th Birthday Thursday

 The City of El Paso is hosting a birthday celebration in honor of its foundation 145 years ago.

The free celebration at the convention center in Downtown is open to the public. Organizers say there will be special guests, free refreshments, music and cake.

In addition, IBF World Featherweight Champion Jennifer Han will be signing autographs and taking pictures with fans.

After the celebration, party goers are invited to the Chihuahua baseball game with fireworks and more. Tickets are available online, and fans can use the Promo Code: EPBDAY

A portion of these tickets will help send community champions to participate in the All-America City Presentation in Denver.

Who: City of El Paso, Destination El Paso

What: El Paso’s 145th Birthday Celebration

When: Thursday, May 17, 2018 5 PM

Where: El Paso Convention Center Plaza

The Doctor and the Marketer: Duo Teams Up to Promote the Possibilities of El Paso

I often tell people that El Paso is a city unlike any other. There is nothing to compare us to. The people, the food, the sunsets. Even the way we do business is different than the rest of the world. We are unique in a million different ways.

One of the things that’s different about El Paso, as I said, is business. What works in Austin, NYC, Chicago, or even Smallville, USA, is not going to work here. (Well, that’s my opinion at least.)

“In El Paso,” said Gilbert, “the way things are done is not the standard. It’s a standard we made ourselves. What is standard is what they do in Hollywood. How they do national spots, that’s a standard.”

Gilbert continued, “I think we try to bring that here.”

Gilbert Jorgenson and Dr. Benjamin Leyva are the partners behind Leo Marketing. Both bring a wide range of skills to bear, having worked the gamut of television in the case of Gilbert, and creating his own marketing in the case of Benjamin.

What makes them special? What makes them worth writing about? Let me tell you.

“I had an opportunity, so did Ben,” says Gilbert. “It’s not often that young extraneous partner up to do something great.”

Gilbert goes on to say that a lot of people when they open their business, become complacent. They tend to think that they are an island unto themselves, excluding all else. They become overly comfortable in what they are doing, and that it.

The sad part is, I know what Ben is talking about. When I opened my first business, I thought what I had, the customer base I had was enough. I didn’t need anyone else. The problem was, most of them moved away, and by the time I realized I needed to reach out to the community for new customers, it was already too late.

“When Ben came along,” Gilbert told me, “I instantly saw his vision. That he thinks big.”

Like Gilbert, Ben is not satisfied with mediocrity. Both have had businesses in the past. Both have a shared vision to change the El Paso paradigm.

Leo Marketing is suffering growing pains, with it’s ever expanding client base – Wing Daddy’s, BRAVO Chevrolet, Bell Sucre, and more – they are poised to take El Paso by storm.

“People don’t talk like that in El Paso,” says Gilbert, of Ben’s vision. “Most people talk about what they could have done, would have done, can do, or may do in the future one day.”

“We are about to do something very big,” says Benjamin. “We are out to change the game in marketing. We are going to change it, and it’s going to be impressive.”

Both Benjamin and Gilbert exemplify certain values. Hard work, commitment, drive. Both can and will take your vision and bring it to life. As I said, they want to see each of their clients succeed. That is a rare thing indeed.

“We have a specific strategy, but it’s a little bit of secret sauce,” is how Benjamin, all smiles, responded when I asked him how they planned to change the game.   What is that secret sauce?

“It all starts with getting people to work together, and get them to realize their potential,” says Gilbert.  “I think that too often people get complacent,” continues Gilbert. “We have as a community; myself included have at times. We need to snap out of that. We are a big city, and we need to start acting like it.”

They have a point. Anything and everything they have in Hollywood, the cameras, lights, lenses, they can be found right here in El Paso. I’m always surprised by the number of filmmakers we have here, the number of professional photographers we have here.

We hold on to a way of thinking from the 80’s – El Paso is a big city with a small-town feel – and that is what works against us often.

“We can do high-level stuff here,” said Gilbert. “I think there is a stigma about El Paso, that we are a poor border town. That we are a bunch of cow ranchers, poor. It’s not true. There is a lot of talent here.”

Gilbert mentioned that sometimes, whether we like it or not, El Paso is pulled kicking and screaming into progress, into the future. I know I don’t like the idea of moving out of my rut either, but we do need to move forward, collectively. If we want better restaurants, better stores, better event venues, we need to grow up a bit.

“We need to set an example of what can be done,” said Gilbert. “There’s every excuse as to why it can’t happen here. We’re too poor; we’re too dumb-“

“There’s a lot of stereotypes,” said Benjamin.

“I’m tired of hearing that,” says Gilbert, “I really am.”

“There are a lot of positive things people say about El Paso,” says Benjamin. “I think people that live here love the city, people who have been here, love El Paso. There’s a lot of love. Sometimes someone can say something negative, and it resonates a little more than all that love. What we want to do is tell that loving story just a little bit more.”

There is a lot of negativity of late. I’ve been told that I’ll never get anywhere with my writing or the documentaries I am making with survivors of the Holocaust. It’s hard. I’ve been told it will never happen, can’t motivate people to support my vision. El Paso is hard on its children, and I mentioned this fact to Gilbert and Benjamin.

“If you are from El Paso, you can be held accountable in many ways,” Benjamin began. “Your aunt, your uncle, your mom will get on you if you didn’t do a good job. That’s unique. That doesn’t happen in other cities.”

Benjamin went on to say that people in El Paso tend to have higher standards than most places. They mentioned community. We are a community driven city. If one person makes it, we all do. That’s where those standards come from. That’s why it’s hard to make it in El Paso. Everyone wants you to be your best, to shine brighter than anyone else.

“If you do well,” says Benjamin, “the whole community backs you. The community expects you to do well. They have high expectations. If you don’t do well, then the opposite happens.”

“El Paso is unique in a sense that it’s not known for embracing young entrepreneurs,” says Gilbert.

Boy isn’t that the truth. When I started my first business, a million years ago when I was just seventeen, no one was there. In fact, all I heard was that I was too young to do anything.

We should not look at that age. “In big cities,” says Gilbert, “they embrace that. In El Paso, youth is not seen as an asset.”

“I want to talk about the possibilities of El Paso. That’s the story I want to tell,” says Benjamin. “The possibilities of being born here, what you can do, what you can accomplish, the lack of limits. If you truly believe that, no matter what age you are, you can achieve whatever’s in your heart, your mind.”

“Don’t fear what you don’t want,” says Gilbert, sharing a quote from Leo Cancellare, his principal from Cathedral High.

Both Gilbert and Benjamin strike me as a pair that won’t show fear in the face of what they want. It is easy to see how this pair will inspire you, cause you to grow, and share your story, your vision with the world.

“Never give up on your dreams,” says Benjamin. “Don’t let other peoples opinions of you define you.”

“Be the best,” says Gilbert.

At the beginning of this article, I had two questions: What makes them special? What makes them worth writing about? Let me give you my answer.

Gilbert and Benjamin are not satisfied with the status quo that has defined El Paso over the past few decades. They can see the potential of the city, and every individual they encounter. They know for a fact that El Paso and every one of us here can shine. And they are ready to make that happen.

We are going to be hearing about them a lot. Not just locally, no. It won’t be long before we see them in the Wall Street Journal or the New York Times Business section. Mark my words.

You can learn more about Leo Marketing by visiting their web page or on Facebook.

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