MARCH 2017
I first met Brian Notzon when he was my student in my 9th grade English class in 1957 at Christen Jr. High School in Laredo, Texas, where I started my public school teaching career. And now we keep in touch because of the magic of  e-mail. Brian is a regular world traveler, and his latest escapade took him to beautiful Martinique, an experience he shares with us now:
 Martinique was very enjoyable to visit. It’s a relatively safe place, and with very good food. I was surprised that many people there speak very little English. Considering that so many Americans visit the Caribbean, the tourism mainstays for the island appear to be France and Quebec. The island is fertile and green, and there’s many birds. Mt. Pelee’s (no connection with Hawaii’s Pelee — in Martinique the word comes from the French word for “peeled”) last big eruption was in 1902, when about 28,000 people were killed, and the island has earthquakes.
One sees evidence of the island’s violent past in the rocks and broken cliff faces. It’s still the dry season there, so showers were generally brief, although we did have one day with more rain than sunshine. The last two days were very hot and humid, although evenings were pleasant. People drink lots of rum (which they spell rhum), and it’s common to be served fruit punch lightly spiked with rhum. Another note on languages: A Creole dialect is commonly spoken, and locals seem equally fluent in French and Creole.
Pay and prices in Martinique are relatively high, and the locals maintain European standards of living. Martinique considers itself a part of France, rather than simply one of the French Overseas Territories. There’s a degree of competition with Guadaloupe. The Elderhostel (d.b.a. Road Scholar) programs did well this season, and next season Elderhostel will be doubling the number of offered trips to 14. I don’t know if airfare between the U.S. and Martiniques will be included in the price of these tours next year. Norwegian Air’s low airfares allowed Elderhostel to offer the tours this season at an attractive price, although participants still had to pay for transportation to New York (or Boston, or Newark, depending on program timing).




 NEO NOTE: Now Brian tells us about his beginnings, when he lived in Laredo and after:
My first 8 years of schooling in Laredo, Texas, were at St. Peter’s Parochial School. I was at L.J. Christen from fall 1957 thru spring 1958, and then went on to Martin High School, graduating in 1961. I think that it was probably the fall 1957 semester that I was in Dr. Neo’s English class, but I can’t be certain that it wasn’t the spring 1958 semester. But it seems that it was only one semester, and I can’t remember who my English teacher was for the other semester. Dr. Neo was an excellent teacher, and he was one of the teachers who I considered myself fortunate to have had.


After graduating from MHS, I interspersed working and attending classes at Laredo Jr. College. I left Laredo just short of having two full years of college credits. I worked at Falcon Dam, in the power plant, for 7 1/2 months, and then because of the remoteness of Falcon Dam, left the area to work in Shreveport, Louisiana, to take a job with a company there, working first in their print shop, and then in an accounting department. After a little more than a year of working there, and taking college classes at night, I enlisted in the Marine Corps, with the intent of finishing college on the G.I. Bill.


In the USMC, after finishing boot camp in San Diego and infantry training in Camp Pendleton, I was sent to 43 weeks of electronics training in San Diego, and Twentynine Palms, CA. My first duty station was the Marine Air Station at Cherry Point, NC, but I was there for only a few months before the equipment I was working on was moved out. I was then sent back to Camp Pendleton for advanced infantry training, and from there to Vietnam, where I again worked on the equipment I had been trained on. In Vietnam, I was stationed on Monkey Mountain, near Da Nang. At the end of my 13 month tour in Vietnam, I had just a little over two months to go in my 3-year enlistment, and I accepted the option of an early discharge.


I finished work on a Bachelor’s Degree at Louisiana Tech University in Ruston, LA, getting a B.S. in 1971, with a major in economics, with the stress on international economics. Using the G.I. Bill, I was able to obtain an M.S. in economics at Texas A&M in 1973.
I had the chance to take a job in the economics field in Boston, but the pay offered would have been difficult to live on. I was offered a better paying job in Long Beach and Torrance, CA doing quality assurance work for the Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR), and accepted that one. Eventually, I moved into contracts and pricing work. I took some additional job tests, and was hired at NAVAIR HQ offices in Arlington, VA, where I was a management intern for one year, and then worked in government contracting for two years, in nonnmanagement jobs.


I left the government for a year, and did additional college work, before working again for the government at the Air Force Plant Representative Office at the Boeing Company in Seattle, where I did pricing and negotiation work. That office transitioned from the Air Force to the Defense Contract Management Agency.
I’m now retired from the civil service.


Living in the Pacific Northwest has provided opportunities for mountain climbing, snow shoeing, and cross country skiing, amongst other sports, including kayaking and canoeing.

In 1983, I survived crush injuries from a tree, which I found out later that I wasn’t expected to survive, and I’ve also survived cancer and a heart attack. So, by the grace of God, I’m still here, and was able to give you that Martinique travel report.

Martinique (French pronunciation: [maʁ.tinik]) is an insular region of France located in theLesser Antilles in the eastern Caribbean Sea, with a land area of 1,128 square kilometres (436 sq mi) and a population of 385,551 inhabitants as of January 2013. LikeGuadeloupe, it is an overseas region of France, consisting of a single overseas department. One of the Windward Islands, it is directly north of Saint Lucia, southeast ofPuerto Rico, northwest of Barbados, and south of Dominica.

As with the other overseas departments, Martinique is one of the eighteen regions of France (being an overseas region) and an integral part of the République française(French Republic). As part of France, Martinique iand virtually the entire population also speak Antillean Creole (Créole Martiniquais).[4]s part of the European Union, and its currency is the euro. The official language is French,

Part of the archipelago of the Antilles, Martinique is located in the Caribbean Seaabout 450 km (280 mi) northeast of the coast of South America and about 700 km (435 mi) southeast of the Dominican Republic. It is directly north of St. Lucia, northwest of Barbados, southeast of both are Puerto Rico and Dominican Republic and south of Dominica.

The total area of Martinique is 1,100 square kilometres (420 sq mi), of which 40 square kilometres (15 sq mi) is water and the rest land. Martinique is the 3rd largest island in The Lesser Antilles after Trinidad and Guadeloupe. It stretches 70 km (43 mi) in length and 30 km (19 mi) in width. The highest point is the volcano of Mont Pelée at 1,397 metres (4,583 ft) above sea level.

The island is volcanic in origin, lying along the subduction fault where the South American Plate slides beneath the Caribbean Plate.[ Martinique has eight different centers of volcanic activity. The oldest rocks are andesitic lavas dated to about 24 million years ago, mixed with tholeiitic magma containing iron andmagnesium. Mont Pelée, the island’s most dramatic feature, formed about 400,000 years ago.[ Pelée erupted in 1792, 1851, and twice in 1902.[8] The eruption of 8 May 1902, destroyed Saint-Pierre and killed 28,000 people in 2 minutes; that of 30 August 1902 caused nearly 1,100 deaths, mostly in Morne-Red and Ajoupa-Bouillon.

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Today’s fun topic came via email from an ex-Laredoan lifetime friend, Linda Meeade Augustine, who wrote:


 Hi there, dear Neo! 

Re: our history:  Well, we were dancin’ and prancin’ in Laredo  from about 1957 through 1959. ( the year I graduated from MHS).  We rode on floats, entertained at the Washington Celebrations, and even entertained the Gov. of TX. at the Stockman’s Ball.  I also “assisted” as you taught the St. Joseph School boys in a ballroom class at Galo studio, I think in ’58 or’59..  I was lucky enough to also have taken Spanish Dance from Eduardo Cansino when he came to Laredo.   Eduardo Cansino was Rita Hayworth’s father, and also a famous Hollywood dance teacher.  My friend Mary Moore had studied with him in Hollywood.)  I don’t know if you remember, but I was honored to have worked with you in the early 70s when you were doing choreography for some theatre productions in Thousand Oaks, CA….. Fiddler on the Roof etc.  I lived in Thousand Oaks from 1970 until the late 80s, and since have lived in Glendale,CA, St. Augustine, FL, and finally retired to my Mother’s old family home, here in Covington, TN,  (built in 1879)

This info below was sent to me by a good friend (financial planner). 

Please take care of yourself…. stay well and happy!  Love & blessings to you,

Linda Meade Augustine

Covington, TN

PS: One hundred years ago, my Mother was 5 years old and daddy was 17. What follows will boggle your mind !


Subject: What Was Happening In 1916–one hundred years ago:


What a difference a century makes! Here are some statistics for the year 1916:

The average life expectancy for men was 47 years.

Fuel for cars was sold in drug stores only.

Only 14 percent of the homes had a bathtub.

Only 8 percent of the homes had a telephone.

The maximum speed limit in most cities was 10 mph.

The tallest structure in the world was the Eiffel Tower.

The average US wage in 1910 was 22 cents per hour.

The average US worker made between $200 and $400 per year.

A competent accountant could expect to earn $2000 per year.

A dentist $2,500 per year.

A veterinarian between $1,500 and $4,000 per year.

And, a mechanical engineer about $5,000 per year.

More than 95 percent of all births took place at home

Ninety percent of all doctors had NO COLLEGE EDUCATION!

Instead, they attended so-called medical schools, many of which were condemned in the press AND the government as “substandard.”

Sugar cost four cents a pound.

Eggs were fourteen cents a dozen.

Coffee was fifteen cents a pound.

Most women only washed their hair once a month, and, used Borax or egg yolks for shampoo.

Canada passed a law that prohibited poor people from entering into their country for any reason.

The five leading causes of death were:
1.  Pneumonia and influenza
2.  Tuberculosis
3.  Diarrhea
4.  Heart disease
5.  Stroke

There were about 230 reported murders in the ENTIRE U.S.A.

The American flag had 45 stars .

The population of Las Vegas, Nevada was only 30.

Crossword puzzles, canned beer, and iced tea hadn’t been invented yet.

There was neither a Mother’s Day nor a Father’s Day.

Two out of every 10 adults couldn’t read or write

And, only 6 percent of all Americans had graduated from high school.

Marijuana, heroin, and morphine were all available over the counter at local corner drugstore Back then pharmacists said, “Heroin clears the complexion, gives buoyancy to the mind, regulates the stomach, bowels, and is, in fact, a perfect guardian of health!”  (Shocking?)

Eighteen percent of households had at least one full-time servant or domestic help.

There were about 230 reported murders in the ENTIRE U.S.A. !

 It is impossible to imagine what it may be like in another 100 years.

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This January, San Antonian Pepe Aguilar hit the road again, with a major concert in Oakland, California, to restart his career, which has been on hold for a while.


Pepe Aguilar
Ranchera Artist
‘Jose Antonio Aguilar, better known as Pepe Aguilar, is an American singer-songwriter and actor, who works in ranchera, mariachi and pop music.
Born: August 07, 1968, San Antonio, TX
Height: 6’ 5″ (1.96 m)
Social Links: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube
Genre: Mariachi, Ranchera, Pop music
Parents: Antonio Aguilar, Flor Silvestre
From Wikipedia we learn more about him:
Jose Antonio Aguilar (born August 7, 1968), better known as Pepe Aguilar is an Americansinger-songwriter and actor.

He is the son of Mexican singer Antonio Aguilar and Mexican actress Flor Silvestre. Aguilar has won four Grammy Awards and four Latin Grammy Awards.

His debut as a singer was at the age of three, when his father (Antonio Aguilar) had a concert in Madison Square Garden in the city of New York.

As a teenager, Aguilar was a rock music fan and had a band called “Equs”. The band did not last long, but that led him to make his first album. Aguilar’s musical influences were Pink Floyd and The Who, among other rock bands.

Nevertheless, while leaving his teenage years behind, he turned to Tejano music once again, mixing the traditional style with his modern pop influences and becoming a strong identity in the Latin scene, in addition to developing a successful acting career.

Aguilar received the 2,474th star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on July 26, 2012, located at 7060 Hollywood Blvd., which was placed next to the star of his father.

Aguilar began his career as a solo artist in 1989 with a CD with tambora titled “Pepe Aguilar Con Tambora”. To this CD there would be a volume 2 and 3.

In 1992 he recorded his first album with mariachi. A production of Joan Sebastián titled “Recuérdame Bonito”, this CD reached number one in many countries and important markets in the continents, becoming the first of many of Pepe’s discography to make it to that top position.

“Que Bueno”, in 1993, was the next recording to come out to the market, this being the first production that was incharged by Pepe, with mariachi and 12 new songs. The arrangements were made by Rigoberto Alfaro.

“Chiquilla Bonita” in 1994, made music with Banda. A production and arranged by him. In this work the promotions are “Chiquilla Bonita” y ” “El Lengua Suelta” being colacated last in the most popular places.

On 28 July 1998, after years of not taking a new album out by legal problems with his record company (Musart), the album “Por Mujeres Como Tú” that took him to reach again the top charts. Selling more than two million copies in less than a year. From this work the popular songs are “Por Mujeres Como Tu y Directo al Corazón” (author Fato) these songs where located in the popular of Billboard in 52 consecutives.

On 9 February 1999, the album “Por El Amor De Siempre” was promotionated. A CD made of old songs of the 70’s. Singers like Camilo Sesto, Napoleon, Ricardo Cerato y José José, and others. What Pepe did was get those old songs and make them newer. This CD also reached the millions and was about 40 weeks in the radio and the market.

On 19 October 1999, this album is the one that confirmed Pepe Aguilar’s career. Millions of copies and tour by all territory. Lots of singles played on the radio and “Por Una Mujer Bonita” becoming the winner to almost every award. First Grammy on the category of “Mejor Álbum Regional Mexicano.”

In the year 2000, he does a tribute to the greatest artist before him. Pepe did this CD as a thank to “las voces más representativas de la época de oro en el género ranchero.” for example, Jorge Negrete, Pedro Infante, Javier Solis, Miguel Acevez Mejia, Vicente Fernandez.

The first CD to record “Lo Mejor De Nosotros” again with unedited songs and making teamwork with Fato. His song “Me vasa extranar” occupies the first places in the territories where there was promotion.

On 25 March 2003 he produced “ Y Tenerte Otra Vez” becoming his first work with his own recording studio “Equinoccio Records” and his licence with Univision includes songs like “Me Falta Valor,” “Yo La Amo” y “A Pierna Suelta.”

In 2003 he marks a special “Con Orgullo Por Herencia” tribute to his parents. Small recognition of songs of his parents Antonio Aguilar y Flor Silvestre. In 2004 produced the song official for Big Brother México “Miedo” becoming a big production of pepe that had not sung an original song in 15 years.

“No Soy De Nadie” a CD published on 31 August 2004. “El Autobús” is in the popularity list. This Cd has great sDe Mi Tierra” makes a tribute to, el corrido. Songs like, “Dos Amigos,” “El Federal De Caminos,” and “El Corrido de Chihuahua” are included in this work. The cd gives Pepe another Latin Grammy for ‘Mejor Álbum Ranchero’ and gives Pepe another American Grammy for ‘mejor álbum Mexicano Americano’.

On 15 August 2006, the CD “Enamorado” is the second part of “Por el amor de siempre” (1999)and in it is includes the main song of the Novela “Destilando Amor” called “Por Amarte” the CD is given another Latin Grammy in the category of ‘Mejor Álbum Ranchero’ in 2007. In 2009 Pepe asked his fans not to buy his albums from the company (Musart) they were only copies and had no beneficial.ongwriters like Juan Gabriel, Luís Demetrio, Jesús Monarrez and his own song writing.


Like a businessman and Artist that is independent he has his own record label (Equinoccio Records) and studio with the highest technology in Latin America. His vision like artist has taken him to the movement of fashion. In 2009 he took out his own fashion line called “Pepe Aguilar Línea de Calzado”, debut made by him for men and women.To celebrate this and share yet another aspect of his life with his fans, launching his Pepe Aguilar Signature Collection through WSS Warehouse Shoe Sale retailer in the United States. In addition, his dream of helping his native Mexico in some way has given way to an eco-friendly agricultural project in which Aguilar will strengthen and promote the organic production of crops in communities in Zacatecas, utilizing traditional or technology that will have a positive impact on the environment.

Pepe Aguilar comes from both of his parents being very famous. His father Antonio Aguilar and his mother Flor Silvestre. His father was a very known ranchera singer and came out in many movies. His mother was also a singer and came out in movies also. He has four siblingsAntonio Aguilar Jr. · Dalia Inés · Marcela Rubiales · Francisco Rubiales. He has a wife called Aneliz Aguilar Alvarez. One of his brothers and wife were actually kidnapped for money in Mexico. He has four children Emiliano Aguilar, Aneliz Aguilar, Leonardo Aguilar, and Angela Aguilar. They are also singers like their father.

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Well, it’s happened again ! After the first show of Dancing With the Stars every season I pick who will win 11 weeks later.  And this past Season 23, I did it again !
Laurie Hernandez, only 16 years old and already an Olympics winner in gymnastics, did it !
For your delight, read on :


Laurie Hernandez and Val Chmerkovskiy wowed “Dancing With the Stars” fans and judges for 11 consecutive weeks with their fancy footwork. On Tuesday, they were officially crowned the winnersof Season 23.

In his final vlog for Peoplemagazine, Val said that Season 23 coming to a close was “a bittersweet kind of feeling.” He told the publication that he was “grateful” to have been partnered with Laurie on the ABC series, and that winning after her grandmother’s tragic death ahead of Week 10 was among their greatest feats during the competition.

“Last week was a very difficult week for us…Laurie definitely had a rough week, and it was awesome to see her prevail,” Val said. “At such a young age to have the maturity and poise to get through everything she’s gone through this season is really awesome and I’m genuinely proud of her. I’m proud of the young woman that she turned out to be. The grace that she’s shown all season has been awesome. You forget that she’s only 16 years old.”

The pair were announced as the winners at the end of Tuesday’s show, after performing two dances. The first afforded them and their remaining competitors an opportunity to revisit a favorite dance from Season 23 of “DWTS” before performing one last original routine. Laurie and Val’s pick — theirWeek 10 trio dance with Maksim Chmerkovskiy — which also happened to be a hit among fans and judges. They performed it with the same precision and grace that they did the first time around, but were not scored in the finale.

For their second dance of the night Laurie and Val, dubbed Team Valaur, performed a Foxtrot/Argentine Tango combination. Before their performance, the duo shared one last sweet moment in their rehearsal space. Laurie was moved to tears after seeing her and Val’s photos on the walls, telling him how sad she was to no longer be spending day after day learning new moves with him. Their Season 23 finale dance was filled with flips and tricks that elicited quite the response from the “DWTS” judges. Bruno Tonioli immediately jumped from his seat to rave about Laurie and Val. They received a perfect score — as did their competitors.

While everyone brought their A-game to the “DWTS” finale, only one team could win it all. Hosts Tom Bergeron and Erin Andrews announced that Calvin Johnson Jr.and Lindsay Arnold were the first of the Season 23 final three out of the running. With just James Hinchcliffe and Sharna Burgess up against Laurie and Val — and just one point separating them in the judges scores — it was anyone’s guess who would take it. Ultimately Laurie and Val were announced the winners, which they were elated to learn.

Their road to bringing home the Mirror Ball trophy was a long one, but it sure was fun for fans to watch. During their time on “DWTS,” Laurie and Val performed a number of impressive routines. They received more than five perfect scores — an astounding feat for a novice dancer. The olympic gymnasttook to the ballroom just as she would the balance beam, rising to the occasion and taking down the competition with ease.


10 Things You Need to Know About Team USA’s Latina Gymnast, Laurie Hernandez

Lauren (aka Laurie) Hernandez is breaking all kinds of barriers as one of the youngest gymnasts to everjoin Team USA at the Olympics.

The 16-year-old Latina powerhouseis headed to Rio as a member of agroundbreakingly diverse group of young athletes that truly represent the cultural makeup of America, including veterans Gabby Douglas, 20, and Aly Raisman, 22, as well as fellow newcomers Simone Biles, 19, and Madison Kocian, 19.

While we’ll obviously be rooting for the entire team when the intense competition commences on Aug. 5, we’re especially excited to watch Laurie represent our culture in front of a global audience. If, like us, you’re itching to learn even more about her before she takes center stage, read on to discover 10 superinteresting facts, straight from her enlightening NBC Olympics profile.

  1. She was born in New Brunswick, NJ, on June 9, 2000.
  2. She’s second-generation Puerto Rican.
  3. She began her gymnastics career at the age of 5 years old.
  4. She has been home-schooled since she was in the third grade.
  5. She’s the first US-born Latina to make Team USA for the Olympics since Tracee Talavera in 1984.
  6. She’s also the first elite gymnast her coach, Maggie Haney, has ever taught.
  7. She had to take six months off in 2014 after a series of injuries, including a fractured wrist, torn patella ligament, and dislocated knee.
  8. She has more than one nickname.GymCastic, a podcast about gymnastics, affectionately dubbed her “babyShakira,” whileInternational Gymnast Magazineopted for “human emoji.”
  9. Her favorite book isThe Maze Runner.
  10. She gave up her NCAA student athlete eligibility to become a professional gymnast, foregoing her previous commitment to the University of Florida.
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Renato Ramirez, financial business magnate and community art philanthropist of Zapata, Texas, has done it again. He’s got the cover story and foto in this months’ issue of TODO AUSTIN Magazine. I am personally so proud of him !  He’s my first cousin–his father and my mother were brother/sister !

First, some notes from the staff of TODO AUSTIN, telling us who they are:

 About TODO Austin

TODO Austin is a free-distribution, full color monthly newspaper and online journal for all of Austin, highlighting our multicultural heritage and promoting the concept of community in an ethnically diverse city, through events, arts, music, and advocacy.

TODO Austin and its partner website todoaustin.com celebrate our common heritage while closely mirroring the changgroups, organizations and events that present a positive vision in the community.ing demographics of Austin. We aim to provide a platform to profile the individuals,

 By the way, the young lady in the foto with Renato  is Mimi Marziani, executive director of  the Texas Civil Rights Project.

 Renato wrote in his email to me:

 The magazine has hit the newsstands in Austin.  Tremendous PR for IBC, me, and obviously for the TCRP.!


Native Texan Renato Ramirez, South Texas IBC Bank’s chief executive officer, is no stranger to the struggles of the most vulnerable groups in our community. Born in Zapata in 1940, then a small rural town in the Rio Grande border, Ramirez has grown up close to the issues that Tejanos face.

Ramirez’s parents owned and ran an automotive shop in Zapata, and his grandparents’ had a ranch that harvested melons, tomatoes, onions and hay. He recalls his father’s work dressing up the eight-mile bridging road to Ciudad Guerrero on the other side of the river without much care for using county equipment on the Mexico side. Ramirez remembers Ciudad Guerrero and Zapata being one community back in the day. Flooding after the construction of Falcon Lake in Zapata led the whole town to move four miles east of the river. The small town’s schools were not college accredited back then and graduates had to take a test for college admission. That’s when the Ramirez family decided to move to Laredo for better educational opportunities.

Ramirez obtained a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering at Texas A&M University, a master of business administration at The University of Texas at Austin and a doctorate in finance and economics at the University of Tennessee. His financial management teaching jobs led him to a career in banking.

“Over the past 40 years, I have enjoyed serving communities in rural Texas as well as in Mexico,” Ramirez states. “In 1983, I accepted an offer to become the CEO of a start-up in Zapata.  The expectation was that we could grow the bank to $75 to $100 million asset base.  The next 33 years, we grew the bank to over $500 million and earned over $100 million.”

Ramirez has dedicated many years of his life and career to the recognition of Tejanos in our state’s culture and history.  He is one, if not the most, valuable member of the team that made the 12-year journey to build The Tejano Monument on the front lawn of the Texas Capitol grounds a reality in 2012.

In the early 2000s, Ramirez joined the board of the Texas Civil Rights Project, an organization that uses legal advocacy to empower Texas communities and create policy change. He recalls the dismantling of the Texas Youth Commission due to children abuse as one of TCRP’s biggest accomplishments. “That was a good battle,” he said. “Many others, such as family abuse, wage theft, voting rights, abusive law enforcement agents, and many others need to be challenged.”

This year’s 26th Annual Bill of Rights Dinner, TCRP’s major fundraising event that celebrates the accomplishments of the year, will be held on Thursday, Nov. 10. An important component of this annual ceremony is the Renato Ramirez Community Empowerment Award, which recognizes notable members of the private sector for their commitment to community empowerment and a fairer and just society.

The 2016 award recipient is Alamo Drafthouse Founder and CEO Tim League. League and his team at the Alamo Drafthouse partnered with the League of Women Voters and the Travis County Tax Assessor-Collector Bruce Elfant’s office to find new and innovative ways to register voters and encourage civic participation. The initiative included donating space and resources for voter registration and sponsoring a PSA contest for high school students.

Other event special guests will include James C. Harrington Social Justice Award Honoree Burt Neuborne and TCRP Rising Leader Award Honoree Nik Sallie Franklin.

“[TCRP] relies on the good heart of our constituents to get funded,” Ramirez states. “I wish more people would understand that the work of the TCRP is very important to the less fortunate.”

Contact information for Renato:

Renato Ramirez

Chairman of the Board/CEO


Office: 956-765-8361

Cell: 956-251-3224

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For years LA Dodgers baseball games have been a favorite for me to watch on cable television.  But in the first week of this October, when Vin Scully retired as the commentator for the Dodgers’ games on tv and radio, I suddenly realized that Vince’s commentary during the games is what I enjoy most about watching the Dodgers. He always includes great human interest comments about the players and baseball history, as he progresses through every broadcast.
Indeed,he can be called the greatest all-time baseball sportscaster in the history of America! At age 88 now, his retirement age, he has been in sportscasting for 67 years. For the Dodgers he has been commentator 53 years.  Now he will be appearing in person  as part of the Distinguished Speaker series, with all presentations made in the greater Los Angeles geographic area, as listed below.

Vin Scully



Beloved Hall of Fame LA Dodgers Broadcaster

  • Beverly Hills: Sunday, March 19, 2017 at 7:00 p.m.
  • Pasadena: Monday, March 20, 2017 at 8:00 p.m.
  • Thousand Oaks: Tuesday, March 21, 2017 at 8:00 p.m.
  • Redondo Beach: Wednesday, March 22, 2017 at 8:00 p.m.

Vin Scully is widely regarded as not just one of the greatest baseball announcers of all time, but perhaps the greatest voice in all of sport. Arguably the most popular figure in Southern California, Scully came west with the Dodgers in 1958 and has broadcast their games on radio and television ever since. His unparalleled story telling ability, timing, and mellifluous tones have been a uniting force in a geographically massive region. In 1982 Scully was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame – that was 33 years ago which in and of itself is longer than most broadcasters’ entire careers but less than half of Scully’s. He was named the top sportscaster of the 20th century by the American Sportscasters Association in 2000 among countless other well-deserved awards and honors.

He is now set to retire after he completes his 67th consecutive season as the “Voice of the Dodgers.” and signature introduction to Dodger games: “It’s time for Dodger baseball! Hi everybody, and a very pleasant good day to you, wherever you may be,” will be missed when this season is over.

Scully continues to rewrite the record book of his trade each and every time he goes on the air. The Dodgers were formed 127 years ago in Brooklyn are currently in their 53rd year in Los Angeles with Scully in the booth. He joined Red Barber and Connie Desmond on the Brooklyn Dodgers’ broadcast team in 1950, one year after graduating from Fordham University. In 1955, Scully had his most memorable moment behind the microphone, as he called the Dodgers’ first and only championship in Brooklyn. At the age of 25, he became the youngest person to ever announce a World Series game.

During his unmatched career, Scully has called three perfect games, 25 no-hitters, 25 World Series and 12 All-Star Games. Iconic moments called by Scully include Kirk Gibson’s miraculous Game 1 home run in the 1988 World Series, Dan Larsen’s perfect game in the 1956 World Series, Hank Aaron’s record-setting 715th home run, Sandy Koufax’s four no-hitters (including a perfect game) and the scoreless-innings streaks of Dodgers greats Don Drysdale and Orel Hershiser. In Los Angeles, Scully has called Dodgers World Series championships in 1959, ’63, ’65, ’81 and ’88.

In addition to his legendary career in baseball, Scully has called play-by-play of the National Football League and PGA Tour events on CBS-TV from 1975-82 and play-by-play for Major League Baseball’s Game of the Week, three World Series and four All-Star Games on NBC-TV from 1983-89. Scully also called play-by-play for the World Series on CBS Radio from 1990-97. In all, he has called 25 World Series and 12 All-Star Games.

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2016 Musical theater productions on Broadway in New York  City are probably the best in the world. And now dancer/singer/actor Mark  Ballas of Houston, will star in the lead role of the last season of “Jersey  Boys,” which has been running on Broadway for 11 years.  The show will  close in January 2017. Mark joins the show this October and will stay till it  closes. By the way, Mark’s  father, Corky Ballas,  now runs a dance studio in San Antonio, Texas. His grandmother, Maria Luisa  Marulanda Ballas, originally was a dancer/teacher in Laredo, Texas around  1950. Maria Luisa went to heaven in 2004 at age 88. I remember seeing Maria  Luisa dance a pachuco boogie dance with her sister Cata, at the Martin High  School gym stage. I was 14 yrs. old then…  From FOX  NEWS LATINO SEPT. 2016 we learn:     Mark Ballas has traded in the ballroom for  Broadway. The longtime “Dancing with the Stars” pro dancer revealed on  social media on Tuesday that he has joined the final cast of “Jersey Boys”  as the Tony Award-winning musical brings down the curtain after 11 years on  Broadway. “I couldn’t be more excited,” the 30-year-old Ballas said in  a short video on Instagram. “This role is an absolute dream come  true.” Ballas, who won the “Dancing with the Stars” mirror ball  twice, will play the title role of Frankie Vallie. The news comes just days after it was revealed that he would  not be returning for season 23 of the hit ABC dancing  show. In a letter to fans he posted on social media, Ballas opened  up about not returning to the show.  “I wanted to hand write this letter to personally thank each  and every one of you for the support over the years. I am incredibly moved +  grateful for all of your messages over the past 24 hours. I know many of you  are concerned + curious. I want to wish my DWTS comrades luck this season.  I’ll miss competing + creating outside the box, however I am looking forward  to this new chapter + venture that is beginning shortly,” he  penned. The letter continued: “I will soon have news for you all on  where you can find me. I hope to see you there.” Ballas, who is of Mexican and Spanish descent on his father’s  side, will make his Broadway debut in the show on Oct.  18. The Broadway show’s producers announced that the musical  based on the career of the rock group the Four Seasons is closing in January  after 11 years. Producers said Tuesday the show will hold its final  performance on Jan. 15 after 4,642 shows at the August Wilson Theatre. It is  the 12th-longest running show in Broadway history. The musical tells the story of Valli, Bob Gaudio, Tommy  DeVito and Nick Massi and features 20 Four Seasons songs, including  “Sherry,” ”Big Girls Don’t Cry,” ”Can’t Take My Eyes Off You” and “Oh,  What a Night.” It won the Tony for best musical, a Grammy Award for best  cast album and has been seen by over 13 million people across the world and  grossed over $2 billion worldwide. A film adaptation by Clint Eastwood came  out in 2015 but failed to live up to the buzz. The show has in the past few years seen a gradual decline in  ticket sales Last week, it pulled in about $540,000 over eight  performances, a typical haul for the past few months but far less than its  $1,150,000 potential. The last time it broke the $600,000 mark was  April.FROM TOOFAB:

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JULY 2016
On July 22, 2016 at 7PM Pacific Time on the Disney Channel you will be watching the Premier of Princess Elena of Avalor television series.
And Laredo’s gift to Hollywood, Julia Vera Andrews, is part of the production, as her voice was used for one of the characters in the series.
Julia explains:
On January 2015 I auditioned for the Voice of Grandma Luisa. On Febuary of 2015 I received a call from my agent telling me that I had the job. I almost fell backwards. So many women from all over had been seen for that role . They next day I received  several scripts with my time schedule .
I presented myself to the sound studio in Burbank, California, and was presented with 4 contracts. Each episode has its own contract . All this was new to me never ever having work on a Voice gig. I do not suffer from nerves and I am always having fun . The welcome was warm and friendly . A young lady asked me if I needed anything, a cup of hot tea. With honey. Yes, thank you that will be wonderful .

I go into the booth and a young man, the engineer, adjusts the mike, the stand for the script and the earphones. I learn as I go. The director says Ready and I answer yes . Give us three readings of the first line with different intentions each one. Okay.

And that was the way it went . In total I have recorded 30 episodes.

One day I get a call from the producer telling me that they are sending Music and Lyrics for a song I am suppose to sing . Okay.

There is a music and voice teacher not too far from my home. I went by there and asked her for help. She was available and we started to work on the Song. For half an hour and for 3 days in a row we worked on the song. Got to the studio and there was this beautiful lady presented to me as the Musical director. She got in the booth with me and we sang together a couple of times. She timed me and she said I was ready . After I finished recording the song for about 5 times. The writer/producer said that when the song goes on the air I am going to get royalties. Say What !

I get the part in The Ridiculous Six movie and I called the producer about my gig and he tells me not to worry that they can work around me. I called them as soon as I got back and they arranged for me to come in and catch up . Nice, very nice people . So easy going and calm .

Last Thursday Disney released the names of the Cast of Princess Elena of Avalor. As Luisa, Julia Vera . My joy was immense.

On July 22, 2016 at 7PM Pacific Time on the Disney Channel you will be watching the Premier of Princess Elena of Avalor television series
Princess Elena is the first Latina/Hispanic Princess in all of Disney’s history . Elena is brave and fair . She strong and fearless. She is beautiful of body and spirit . Finally our Latina/Hispanic little girls will have someone they can identified with because Elena looks like them .

 She invites other kingdoms with different traditions and cultures.  Research was done of all the different cultures and traditions enjoyed by the many Latin countries of North, Central and South America. No one is ignored .

Daily I give thanks to God for I truly believe that He grants  me the desires of my heart.

NEO  NOTE: Am I proud of Julia? Imagine my feelings, as I remember her as my dance student at Christen Jr. High School in Laredo, where I started my teaching career when I was 19 years old…


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Deaf Dancer Wins Season 22 of “Dancing With The Stars”




JUNE   2016


Nyle DiMarco has to be one of the most incredible people on earth today.  He is deaf, and on May 24 he won the coveted title of best dancer in Season 22 of “Dancing With The Stars” television spectacular. Every season, in my own mind, I select in the first show of the season who I think is going to win. And I did it again !  Let’s find out more about this unbelievable young artist:


Nyle DiMarco will have people talking this spring on Dancing With the Stars. Season 22 will feature Nyle along with a bevy of buzzworthy contestants and this is shaping up to be a very competitive group. What do DWTS fans need to know about this new contestant?

Fans of America’s Next Top Model are already familiar with Nyle DiMarco, as he competed on cycle 22 last year and won, notes People. DiMarco is deaf, which will make him the second deaf Dancing With the Stars contestant the show has had. Many will remember that actress Marlee Matlin competed on season 6 with pro Fabian Sanchez. Nyle is partnered with pro Peta Murgatroyd for his spin around the dance floor.

After winning America’s Next Top Model, DiMarco said that he hoped his win would inspire others in the deaf community to pursue the careers they desired, and he indicated that he hoped to further pursue modeling and other entertainment industry gigs after the show. He has appeared in several episodes of the ABC Family show Switched at Birth, and has expressed an interest in tackling other television gigs as well.

The Queens, New York-native comes from a multi-generational deaf family, his website details. Nyle attended Gallaudet University, a liberal arts university in Washington, D.C. for deaf students. In addition to his modeling and acting, DiMarco has done a great deal of advocacy work related to literacy, bullying, and in connection to the deaf community.As Entertainment Tonight shared, Nyle was just the second male winner of America’s Next Top Model across 22 seasons, and he was ultimately the final winner for the show, as that was the last cycle put together. After his win, he said he was intent on breaking more barriers and America’s Next Top Model star Tyra Banks said that DiMarco was beautiful both on the outside and on the inside.

Some Dancing With the Stars fans will surely wonder if Nyle is single or involved with someone. After his win was revealed in December, DiMarco said he was single and focused on his career. Nyle has described his sexuality as “fluid,” and though he had been in a long-term relationship on-and-off for a decade, DiMarco recently indicated that right now he doesn’t feel that he can give a relationship what it needs to succeed.

Nyle has a twin brother named Nico, Bustle notes, and this new Dancing With the Starscontestant says that he has an interest in someday getting a master’s degree and turning to teaching. He has a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and he worked with a developer to create the ASL App that helps teach American Sign Language.

What about DiMarco’s partner on Dancing With the Stars? Peta Murgatroyd had to sit out season 21 due to ankle surgery, but she was a pro in seasons 13 through 20 before that. She won with Donald Driver in her second outing with the show, and came in fourth with James Maslow on his season. Additional partners have included Bachelor Sean Lowe, Tommy Chong, Michael Sam, Brant Daugherty, Metta World Peace, and Gilles Marini. DWTSfans also know that she is now engaged to former pro Maksim Chmerkovskiy, Val’s brother.

Could Nyles and Peta score the season 22 mirror-ball trophy this spring? It will be a tough competition this time around, as other contestants include football great Doug Flutie, Fuller House star Jodie Sweetin, Good Morning America star Ginger Zee, and a host of others. However, fans of Nyle DiMarco are ready to vote and cannot wait to see how he does with Peta Murgatroyd this spring on Dancing With the Stars.



Nyle DiMarco is an actor, model and spokesman. He is a native New Yorker and was born into a large multigenerational Deaf family. He is an alumni of Gallaudet University, the only liberal arts University in the world for the Deaf. 

Nyle was modeling prior to being selected as a contestant on America’s Next Top Model Cycle 22. As an actor, Nyle’s castings have included: the lead in the independent film In the Can, an ASL Films production and as Garret on ABC Family’s Switched at Birth

Nyle is a signer and creative collaborator on The ASL App(by Ink & Salt), an App created by native Deaf signers to teach conversational American Sign Language (ASL). 

As an honorary spokesman for Language Equality and Acquisition for Deaf Kids (LEAD-­K), Nyle is passionate about literacy, anti bullying campaigns and advocacy within the Deaf Community. 

Nyle DiMarco is Deaf and uses American Sign Language. American Sign Language requires the use of facial expressions and body movements, his Deafness amplifies his natural talent. His Deafness is an asset and not a limitation, he is amicable and able to communicate easily.  


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