July 25, 2008 Issue 45  
Feature Story
 

Tens steps to beautify your neighborhood

beautify your neighborhood

Beautifying the community starts with taking care of your property. To keep your neighborhood looking sharp and free of city code and ordinance violations, the City of El Paso Environmental Services Department recommends that the public follow these rules.

  • Yard maintenance: Don’t let your grass, weeds or uncultivated plants grow taller than 12 inches. Remember that the maintenance of vegetation in parkways and alleys is also the property owner’s responsibility.
  • Junked vehicles: Don’t store an uncovered junked vehicle or junk vehicle parts in a residential area where visible from the street or other public or private property.
  • Open storage: Don’t store materials that would not be generally used outdoors, such as indoor furniture or appliances, outside.
  • Sidewalk obstructions: Keep your tree branches, foliage, hedges and shrubs trim so that there is at least eight feet of clearance between their overhang and sidewalk.
  • Illegal dumping: It is against the law to dispose of solid or hazardous waste, such as garbage, construction materials and used tires, in any non-permitted area
  • Auto repairs: Auto repairs in residential areas are limited to minor emergency repairs unless the work is conducted within a building.
  • Commercial Vehicles: Don’t park or store more than one commercial vehicle, such as semi-trucks, per residential property. Oversized commercial vehicles parked or stored in residential areas should not exceed two tons capacity, 26 feet in length, 9 feet in height, and 7-foot-8 inches in width.
  • Prohibited signs: Don’t place signs on utility poles, traffic control devices, sidewalks, medians or other public property. Free standing signs constructed out of wood, metal, plastic, or hardboard, which are not larger than 5 square feet and 36 inches in height, are allowed in a parkway between the hours of 10 a.m. and 7 p.m.
  • Pets: Do clean up after your pets. State law mandates that property owners or occupants of a home clean up after their pets.
  • Curbstoning: Don’t sell your vehicle on a public right-of-way. This activity is prohibited.
For more information about code or ordinance regulations or to report violations, call 774-4500.

City News

Flash Flood Safety Tips

Perhaps the biggest cause of flood-related deaths and injuries is the lack of respect for the severity and danger associated with floods and flash floods. El Paso Fire Department officials offer the following tips that can help protect El Paso residents during flood events:

  • Many people are killed while trying to drive or walk on roads and bridges covered by water. Though the water may look only inches deep, the pool could be far deeper and have very strong currents. It only takes two feet of water to carry away many cars and only six inches of swiftly moving (6 mph) water can sweep a person off their feet.
  • Trucks, two wheel- as well as four-wheel-drive, and sports utility vehicles are also susceptible to the dangers of pooled water. Such vehicles often give motorists a false sense of security, believing the vehicles are safe under all hazardous conditions. This is simply not true. For instance, large tires add to the vehicle’s buoyancy and can cause it to lose traction sooner. Simply put, do not allow overconfidence in your vehicle to cost you your life.
  • Consequently, if you are approaching a flooded roadway, turn around and take an alternate route. Though vehicles in front of you may have passed through the high water, you may not be as lucky.
  • If your car stalls, abandon it immediately and climb to higher ground. Many deaths have resulted from attempts to move stalled vehicles.
  • Never let children play near storm drains when the water is rising or is high. Every year, deaths or injuries occur as a result of people being swept away. Sadly, the most frequent victims are children.
  • If you live in a low-lying area, pay close attention to water levels during heavy rain events. Water levels rise rapidly during flash floods, often surprising victims. Be prepared to move quickly to higher ground if water levels begin rising. Sandbags are available at all city fire stations and are free to the public.


Heat Related Emergencies and Safety Tips

With temperatures expected to be in the high 90’s for the month and hotter than normal temperatures being forecast for the month of August, El Paso Fire Department Officials are asking the public to take the following safety precautions when conducting outdoor activities.

Dress for the heat. Wear lightweight, light colored clothing. Light colors will reflect away some of the sun's energy. It is also a good idea to wear hats or to use an umbrella.

Drink plenty of water. Carry water with you and drink continuously even if you do not feel thirsty. Avoid alcohol and caffeine, which dehydrate the body.

Eat small meals and eat more often. Avoid foods that are high in protein, which increase metabolic heat. Avoid using salt tablets unless directed to do so by a physician.

Slow down. Avoid strenuous activity. If you must do strenuous activity, take plenty of breaks in a shaded area or do it during the coolest part of the day, which is usually in the morning between 4:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m. Stay indoors when possible.

The public is also asked to continue supporting the El Paso Fire Department and the Extreme Weather Task Force Fan Drive. People can donate and drop off new fans at any fire station in the city. The donated fans are given to the elderly, disabled and needy families throughout the El Paso area. Anyone needing a fan can call 211.

Extreme Weather Task Force members are also asking the public to practice the Buddy system. A Buddy can be a relative, friend or neighbor who checks up on an elderly or disabled person on a daily basis.

For more information, please contact the El Paso Fire Department Fire Prevention Division at (915) 771-1090.


Rabies: Protecting you, your family and your pets

Rabies is an infectious disease that affects the nervous system of humans and other mammals. Rabies may be transmitted through bite or contact with saliva of an infected animal. Any wild mammal, such as a raccoon, skunk, fox, coyote, or bat can have rabies and transmit it to people or their pets.

Animal Services asks the public to stay away from bats or other wild animals in order to avoid infection with rabies. Parents should inform their children about the steps they should follow if they encounter a bat or other wild animal. Let the child know that he/she should stay away and inform an adult immediately. If bitten by a bat or wild animal, citizens should immediately call 911 and animal control officers will respond.


Food Establishment Inspections

Did you know that the City of El Paso Department of Public Health inspects over 7,000 food establishments in El Paso County? They inspect not only restaurants but public schools, day care centers, concession stands, and also issue temporary permits for special events and festivals – basically, anywhere food is served to the public.

With our new website, the public will have 24-7 access to this valuable information. You can now find out how your favorite restaurant scored on their inspection by logging onto http://www.elpasotexas.gov/health/ and clicking “Food Establishment Inspections”.

You can also let us know what you think about our site by clicking on the “Contact Food Establishment Inspection Program” link in the top right hand corner.


Library receives grants to encourage reading in both El Paso and Juarez

The National Endowment for the Arts recently announced that they would grant the El Paso Public Library $20,000 to organize a reading initiative with Mexico. The Big Read Mexico, as it’s called, is a pilot program in which communities from both the United States and Mexico will be asked to take part in reading the same book together.

To enhance the reading experience, the Big Read will help sponsor several cultural events, including a public presentation by NEA Chairman, Dana Gioia. Mr. Gioia is a highly sought after and compelling public speaker who holds the distinction of having given the commencement address at Stanford University. There will also be several book discussions and author presentations throughout the community. These programs will run between September 19 and October 31, 2008.

The book that will be read as part of the festivities is called Sun, Stone and Shadows: 20 Great Mexican Short Stories. It contains stories by Octavio Paz and Carlos Fuentes among others. The book will be available at Public Libraries throughout El Paso, as well as book stores.

El Paso is one of only two communities to be selected for this honor. For more information, call 543-5468.

Employee Recognition

Branch Manager Norice Lee earns 2008 ULC Leadership Grant

Norice Lee Norice Lee, manager of the Dorris Van Doren Regional Branch of the El Paso Public Library, has been awarded the 2008 Urban Libraries Council (ULC) Joey Rodger Library Leadership Grant. Ms. Lee will attend the Brookings Institution’s “Leadership Lab,” offered through its Executive Leadership Program. ULC’s Joey Rodger Grant program aims to seed the library industry with innovative public sector leadership training.

“An important way to strengthen our members is support them as they hone their organizations’ leaders,” said Martín Gómez, president of the ULC. “We’re delighted to fund continuing education that will not only impact Norice’s branch, but El Paso and our membership at large.”

Ms. Lee began her career in academic libraries, but moved to public libraries to have a greater community impact. The Brookings Institution’s training will expand upon work she has completed at the University of Texas at El Paso’s Institute for Policy and Economic Development (customized for City employees), where she improved her knowledge on ways libraries can position themselves to be considered essential assets.

“The buzz phrase we most typically hear in our business is the value of ‘library as place,’” said Ms. Lee. “I believe that ‘the place of the library’ -- where we are positioned, our status, our ranking within the larger organization -- is what will help us get the resources we need to perform important work. It takes strong leadership to strategically position the library to its best advantage.”

Grants from The Joey Rodger Fund for Library Leadership require recipients to share the knowledge gained from their leadership experiences with ULC members. Ms. Lee will present what she learned at ULC conferences. “Librarians are increasingly unable to attend training sessions and conferences away from their libraries,” said Ms. Lee. “I continuously strive to share and distribute information as broadly as possible.”

Leadership development is a key initiative of ULC’s effort to build its members’ organizational strength. The Joey Rodger Grant, one of a number of programs available to ULC members, was established in 2004 to honor Eleanor Jo “Joey” Rodger, who led the ULC from 1992 to 2004. Fund organizers raised more than $50,000 in donations from individuals and institutions.

To learn about this and other awards, visit ULC at www.urbanlibraries.org.

About the Urban Libraries Council

For more than 30 years, the Urban Libraries Council (ULC) has worked to strengthen public libraries as an essential part of urban life. A membership organization of North America’s premier public library systems and the corporations that serve them, ULC serves as a forum for sharing best practices resulting from targeted research, education and future forecasting. ULC’s programs are acclaimed for inspiring new organizational models that invigorate urban libraries and enrich the areas surrounding them. ULC is headquartered in Chicago. For more information, visit the group on the Web at www.urbanlibraries.org.


Kudos to our Inspectors!

We extend a much deserved congratulations to Edward Martinez, Alberto Santa Anna and Zuleika Davila with the Development Services Department for recently obtaining the following certifications from the International Code Council (ICC):

ICC Intl. Property Maintenance & Housing Inspector
    Edward Manuel Martinez - El Paso

ICC Residential Building Inspector
   Alberto Santa Anna - El Paso

ICC Residential Plumbing Inspector
   Zuleika C. Davila - El Paso

ICC Residential Mechanical Inspector
   Edward Manuel Martinez - El Paso

The International Code Council, a membership association dedicated to building safety and fire prevention, develops the codes used to construct residential and commercial buildings, including homes and schools. Most U.S. cities, counties and states that adopt codes choose the International Codes developed by the International Code Council.


Statewide honors

ROAD E-O 2008 ROAD E-O 2008


City of El Paso Environmental Services employees brought home three awards after showcasing their skills in operating heavy machinery at the annual TXSWANA Road-EO in Houston in June.

Martin Olivas earned second place in the dozer competition. Joe Ortega placed third in a scraper event. Juan Trivizo earned third place honors in a compactor challenge. Other competitors from Environmental Services included Robert Rodriguez, Vicente Carreon and Rene Fragoso.

The annual event draws competitors from all over the state to showcase their skills in operating heavy machinery, driving trucks and repairing all manner of equipment.


Giving Back

The Air Quality Monitoring staff of the City’s Environmental Services Department has received an award from the Silva Health Magnet High School.

The Air Quality Monitoring staff was presented with an award praising them for their support and guidance to the school’s students. For the past four years, the staff has been enlightening the students about air quality standards aimed at protecting public health.

The students learn about air quality services during visits to the Tillman Health Center in Downtown. At the center, the students get to tour the Air Pollution room where they learn about carbon monoxide and about other air pollutants.


Street Department: Carrera enjoys GIS work

Fermin Carrera Mapsco, Google Earth and Fermin Carrera have one thing in common – they can produce amazingly detailed maps.

Carrera, a senior technician for the City of El Paso Street Department, admits he’s pretty savvy with a computer but attributes much of his abilities to the state-of-the-art software and hardware he’s provided at work.

“I like to come to work because I like to work with computers and here I’m able to work with the latest in technology,” he said.

Carrera works with the Street Department’s geographic information system technology. GIS is an information system capable of storing, analyzing and managing data on an electronic map. The Street Department uses GIS to track infrastructure, pavement condition and work orders. “Every day is a different task, something new that I’m able to discover. I like getting requests for research and finding the results,” Carrera said. “I like working with computers. When you like something, you enjoy it so it doesn’t feel like work.”

Carrera is on his second stint with the Street Department. He returned to the Street Department in 2000, after several years as an equipment operator with the El Paso Water Utilities. He first joined the Street Department in 1989. Back then he was a laborer with the signs and markings section. Before rejoining the Street Department, Carrera earned an associate degree in drafting and design technology from El Paso Community College.

He originally enrolled at EPCC because it was his lifelong dream to become an architect. While in college he began working with computers. Eventually, that fascination with technology led him to make working with computers his livelihood, passion and hobby.

The GIS work that Carrera does reaches across all areas of the Street Department. The GIS technology layers information on a map allowing the Street Department to detect trends related to service requests, work orders, and other aspects of its operations, which allows the organization to optimize its use of its staff, equipment, and funding.

Carrera, a self-described workaholic, said he spends a large chunk of his time at home on a computer. He says his wife, Lupe, is supportive of his hobbies, which also include off-roading. Carrera said when he’s not using a computer, he can usually be found in riding his dune buggy or an all-terrain vehicle in the El Paso desert.


Making change with a smile

Maria De Jesus Rosales When Maria De Jesus Rosales is working, pedestrians making their way over the Santa Fe International Bridge are guaranteed two things – a warm smile and accurate change.

For 28 years, this toll booth collector better known as “Mary” has been making change for those headed across the border into Juárez.

Though working for the City of El Paso has provided her with the means to pay her bills, it has given Rosales more than a steady paycheck. Rosales said because her duties require that she deal face to face with the public, she’s been able to get to know her community.

“I love it. I’ve been very happy and comfortable here,” she said.

As a longtime toll booth collector, Rosales has seen people at their best and at their worst.

She can tell you stories about tourists eager to experience Mexico for the first time or about people trying to scam their way out of paying the toll fees. She even has heart-wrenching tales about people in a hurry to get to the side of a dying relative.

But her favorite stories involve people who use the bridge on a regular basis; those people who come to El Paso to shop or work and then stop for short conversation with her as they make their way home to Juárez.

“I like seeing the families. I like it when the little kids grow up and when they come back they remember me. It feels really nice for them to say that they’re glad I’m still here,” she said.

Rosales has three children of her own. Her children are now adults and they’re all “proud” of their mother’s work, mostly because they realize that it is risky.

Since 9-11, the federal government has heightened its security measures to ensure that people entering the country are not a threat to the country. Rosales said she is aware of the potential dangers of working on the bridge but she doesn’t let herself become consumed by those thoughts because she enjoys her work and she feels safe.


Employee News from Parks and Recreation

Joel McKnight Joel McKnight has joined the El Paso Parks and Recreation Department as an Assistant Director. McKnight was previously the Park Operation Manager in Lancaster, Texas (outside of Dallas). He has a BS degree from Texas A&M University and over 20 years of experience in the leisure industry.

Judy Weiss Judy Weiss, CPRP, (Certified Parks and Recreation Professional) has joined the El Paso Parks and Recreation Department as Assistant Director. Judy comes from Scottsdale, Arizona where she served as the Parks and Recreation Division Director. Judy is a member of the National Recreation and Park Association having contributed as a member of the Board of Directors for the American Park and Recreation Society, and as Chair of the National Commission for Accreditation of Park and Recreation Agencies. Judy is also a member of the American Academy of Park and Recreation Administration.


Ramón Barraza, Business and Financial Manager at EPIA Retires

Ramon Barraza Ramón Barraza, Business and Financial Manager, dedicated 28 years of service to the City of El Paso, from which 20 were at the EPIA accounting department.

Mr. Barraza retired in February 2006 and served two more years as a contract employee with the Airport; in June 10, 2008 Ramón officially retired. The El Paso International Airport was fortunate to have him as part of our team, and wishes him the best on his retirement.

As a sweet ending side note: Before his retirement, Barraza made a hole-in-one at the Underwood Golf Complex, on May 29. The feat was made with a 7 iron at the Sunrise Course, hole no. 15, and was witnessed by Gordon Cook.

“Ramón is one of the most analytical people I have had the privilege to work with; I’m sure his hole-in-one was no coincidence,” said Mr. Patrick T. Abeln, Director of Aviation.


2008 Graduates

Congratulations to all 2008 graduates from high school, college and universities.
At El Paso International Airport, Marisol Hernandez, Public Relations VOE graduated from Parkland High School as well as Alisa Rodriguez, Properties VOE who graduated from Montwood High School. From UTEP, Lili Gutierrez, Administrative Analyst received her Masters in Public Administration and Lolita Fierro received her Bachelors of Art in Graphic Design, with a minor in Marketing.


Specialty Sections

TAKE ADVANTAGE

TSA Travel Tips

TSA
TSA Air travelers may now carry liquids, gels and aerosols in their carry-on bag when going through security checkpoints. With certain exceptions for prescription and over-the-counter medicines, baby formula, breast milk, and juice, and other essential liquids, gels, and aerosols, the following rules apply to all liquids, gels, and aerosols you want to carry through a security checkpoint.

Zip-Lock bags are being distributed at the Transportation Security Administration table by the escalator, courtesy of El Paso International Airport.

TSA All liquids, gels and aerosols must be in three-ounce or smaller containers. Larger containers that are half-full or toothpaste tubes rolled up are not allowed. Each container must be three ounces or smaller.

TSA All liquids, gels and aerosols must be placed in a single, quart-size, zip-top, clear plastic bag. Gallon size bags or bags that are not zip-top such as fold-over sandwich bags are not allowed.
Each traveler can use only one, quart-size, zip-top, clear plastic bag.

TSA Each traveler must remove their quart-sized plastic, zip-top bag from their carry-on and place it in a bin or on the conveyor belt for X-ray screening. X-raying separately will allow TSA security officers to more easily examine the declared items.


Take advantage of offers from Butterfield Trail Golf Club

July Special Savings & Events at BTGC
Butterfield Trail Golf Club is excited to offer sizzling summer savings. Starting July 1, 2008 through July 29, 2008, Tournament and Outing rates will be reduce to $45.00 on both Monday's and Tuesday's. Rates include green fees, cart fee, range balls, personalized scorecards, cart signs and score boards. If you have a group of 16 or more golfers, come in and play a round. Offer valid for a limited time only.

Starting July 1, 2008 through July 31, 2008 Tournament and Outing rates will include your very own customized yardage books. That's right! You can impress your Golfers with personalized Butterfield Trail Yardage Books. Simply call today to make your outing/tournament reservations, Wednesdays through Sundays in July. Rates include green fees, cart fee, range balls, personalized scorecards, cart signs, score boards and Personalized Butterfield Trail Yardage Books. If you have a group of 16 or more golfers come and play a round. Promotional item valid for a limited time only.

Brunch at Butterfield Trail Golf Club
Join us Sunday July 27, 2008 for Brunch at Butterfield Trail Golf Club. Come bring the family to enjoy our delightful menu which includes, Butterfield Deviled Eggs, Chef's Egg Omelet Bar, Potatoes O'Brien, Homemade Country Sausage and much more.

Catering/Banquet Events
Experience the Wedding of Your Dreams
Butterfield Trail Golf Club Butterfield Trail Golf Club is the perfect location in El Paso to host your next corporate or charity event, dinner party, holiday party, rehearsal dinner or wedding. Our spacious 8,800 square foot clubhouse features indoor and outdoor seating which can accommodate groups of many sizes.

Butterfield Trail Golf Club Loyalty Program
Butterfield Trail Golf Club is excited to announce the unveiling of our new loyalty program for golfers. The 6-Shooter and Golfer’s Dozen offer a variety of benefits including preferred weekday and weekend rates. In addition to the preferred rates you will also receive exclusive invitations to Butterfield Trail Golf Club events, complimentary USGA GHIN handicap service for 2008 and a club bag tag. These cards will be an optimal way for El Paso area golfers to make Butterfield Trail Golf Club their home golf course.

El Paso residents can purchase their 2008 6-Shooter for $266.76 and/or a Golfer’s Dozen Loyalty card for $533.52. Butterfield Trail Golf Club loyalty cards also offer these preferred rates to seniors, Military, Tri-Residents and Non-Residents as well.

Contact information:
Lisa B. Marquez
915-772-1031
1858 Cottonwoods
El Paso, TX 79906
www.butterfieldtrailgolf.com

Joyce's Corner


Joyce Wilson

I consistently mention in Joyce’s Corner columns the fact that we as a City organization are always looking towards improving the way we do business, the way we operate and the customer service we offer our citizens.

A large part of the way we perform our jobs has to do with how we feel about the job itself and how we see the City. In order to better gauge these perceptions to improve City government, it is important to get your input.

You may have already seen, heard about or even completed the Employee Attitudes Survey. A third-party company named BLR is conducting this survey among all our employees. You’ll be directed to a short questionnaire that can be done in about 15 minutes. It will ask you to rate how we’re doing in various aspects of our operation.

When it’s completed, the questionnaire will go back to BLR, not the Human Resources department. Your department management will never see your individual answers. Only group results will be reported.

That means that your answers will be absolutely confidential. So, please, be as honest as you can! Tell us what we do well. Tell us where we can do better. Most questions ask you to mark a number from 0-10. But you can write in additional comments, if you’d like, and we encourage you to do so.

So please, take some time to complete this survey and give us your insights into the City organization. To complete the survey, click on either of the following links: here for English or here for Spanish. The deadline for completion is August 8, 2008.

Thank you! And if you have any questions about the survey, please contact Organizational Development at 541-4043.

On a side note: I would also like to give a quick thanks to all of the Department Heads and staff that were instrumental in creating the proposed budget for FY 2009, especially the Office of Management and Budget. Your hard work and long hours are appreciated!!



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