We’re on the list!

Guess what Texas city is home to one of the 28 friendliest neighborhoods in the country, as listed by National Geographic?

Yes, it’s El Paso, and the neighborhood is Chihuahuita/El Segundo Barrio.

Nat Geo writes: “Nestled against the Mexican border are two of El Paso’s oldest neighborhoods, Chihuahuita and El Segundo Barrio, developed in the late 19th century by immigrants fleeing the Mexican Revolution.” It also mentions the many outdoor murals, Jalisco Café and menudo.

Out of this world!

Congratulations to El Paso native Alyssa Saenz, who is now a robotics flight controller at NASA. Last Thursday, she sent her first command to the International Space Station.

She’d been training at NASA for more than a year, and was officially certified as a flight controller in June.

Saenz started work as a NASA intern two years ago, after graduating from Texas A&M with a degree in aerospace engineering and a minor in astrophysics. The Hanks High School graduate got a full-time job at NASA in 2018.

Happy Father’s Day

A touching Father’s Day story straight from El Paso was featured Friday during NPR’s “Morning Edition” on KTEP.

In a StoryCorps segment, El Paso sisters Estela and Candi Reyes spoke lovingly about their father, Juan Reyes, who died in 2010.

Estela told how she cooked the last meal he ate – shrimp enchiladas and black beans – and how he winked at her to show his appreciation.

They described him as tough and formidable, a proud Mexican immigrant who worked in the bracero program. “Papito era lo máximo,” Estela said. “He was everything to us.”

Candi said even when he died, they knew he wasn’t leaving them. “He’s in our soul,” she said. He would be tickled pink to know that his story is now in the archives of the Library of Congress, Estela added.

If you missed the segment, you can listen to it online at npr.org.

She’s back

Lauren Villagran, who was a reporter at this fine publication back in the 2000s, has returned to El Paso. She is now covering immigration issues for the El Paso Times.

She’s also worked at the Albuquerque Journal and Searchlight New Mexico, a nonprofit focused on investigative reporting and data journalism.