This is your Friday update, which takes a quick look at the week ahead and some developments that El Paso Matters is following.
Benito Juárez Sculpture to be Unveiled: The XII Travelers Memorial of the Southwest will unveil its next sculpture this weekend: a larger-than-life bronze sculpture of Benito Juárez, a Zapotec Indian who served as Mexico’s president from 1861-72. The sculpture, “Benito Juárez: Child to Man,” is the fourth monument in the series and will be unveiled at 1 p.m. Sunday at the Chamizal National Memorial, 800 S. San Marcial St. The piece is by Ethan Houser, son of renowned sculptor and painter John S. Houser. The sculpture has two seated figures, one representing the president as a 12-year-old boy, and other of him as an adult. Juárez died in office at age 66. The other three memorials are Fray Garcia de San Francisco in Downtown, The Equestrian at the entrance of the El Paso International Airport and Susan Shelby Magoffin at Keystone Heritage Park. The next monument will represent the Tigua tribe and be placed near the Ysleta del Sur Pueblo.
Rio Grande Settlement Decision Deferred: The deadline for announcing a settlement between Texas and New Mexico over Rio Grande water sharing came and went this week without any concrete deal. On Wednesday, the parties notified the court that they will announce whether “they are committed to completing the settlement” at a Sept. 27 hearing in El Paso, according to a joint filing in the years-long case. The judge overseeing the case had initially set Wednesday as the deadline to review any settlement agreement, or to schedule a trial date if none was reached. The special master has indicated his preference for a January trial, to be held in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. That trial would delve into expert testimony and be a continuation of the first half of the trial, which covered witness testimony and was held virtually in October 2021.
El Paso Offers New Omicron Boosters: The city has begun administering free, bivalent COVID-19 boosters for people ages 12 and up at its community clinics. The updated booster shots specifically target the BA.4 and BA.5 strains of the omicron variant. These are the most contagious coronavirus strains so far, driving up new infections and reinfections in El Paso. City-County Health Authority Dr. Hector Ocaranza recommends getting the booster dose before the holidays because the body needs time to produce protective antibodies against the virus. While walk-ins are accepted, people can also make appointments at EPCovidVaccine.com or by calling 915-212-6843. The city’s community clinics are open Tuesday through Saturday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 9341 Alameda Ave.; 7380 Remcon Circle; 9566 Railroad Drive; and 220 S. Stanton St.
Free Flu Shots at Schools: Ahead of the fall and winter flu season, the nonprofit health care organization Immunize El Paso is administering free flu shots at schools and community centers through the end of October. September and October are generally good times to get vaccinated, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Updated COVID-19 boosters and pneumonia vaccines are also available. For locations and registration, visit immunizeelpaso.org/flu.