This is your Friday update, which takes a quick look at the week ahead and some developments that El Paso Matters is following.
Fred Loya Christmas Light Show Moves: After a two-year hiatus because of the pandemic, one of the city’s most popular holiday traditions, the Fred Loya Christmas Lights Show, is returning — albeit with a different spin and venue. The County of El Paso and El Paso businessman Fred Loya are set to announce on Monday that the musical synchronized light show, which annually drew thousands to Loya’s East Side home before shutting down during the pandemic, is moving to Ascarate Park. The light show will partner with the county’s Lights on the Lake display. The details of the partnership, as well as the dates, hours and overall program, will be announced on Monday.
El Paso Offers Monkeypox Vaccine as Third Case Recorded: El Paso reported its third case of monkeypox on Thursday, a man in his 30s who is recovering at home. The viral disease, which has affected more than 2,500 people in Texas, can cause painful and contagious lesions on the face and body that take weeks to fall off. Although monkeypox is a rare, the city’s recent case won’t be the last, said El Paso health authority Dr. Hector Ocaranza. High-risk individuals should practice safety precautions and get vaccinated, he advised. With limited doses, El Paso officials said the city is working to vaccinate the most vulnerable population: men who have sex with men and have multiple sex partners, have HIV or take PrEP, or have had a sexually transmitted disease within the last year. To screen for eligibility and make a vaccine appointment, call the city’s community health partner Project Vida at 915-465-1191. For updates on the next vaccination event, leave your phone number with MFactor at 915-212-6615.
MacKenzie Scott Gifts $15 Million to Health Foundation: The Paso del Norte Health Foundation received $15 million from philanthropist and author MacKenzie Scott this week. The one-time, unrestricted gift will support the health foundation’s mission to lead and invest in programs and policies that promote health and prevent disease in the borderland. Since its inception in 1995, the Paso del Norte Health Foundation has granted more than $230 million to over 300 nonprofit, academic and community partners to improve health outcomes in El Paso, southern New Mexico and Ciudad Juárez.
Mexican Drug Trade History: University of Warwick professor Benjamin T. Smith will be at the University of Texas at El Paso next week to talk about this new book, “The Dope: The Real History of the Mexican Drug Trade.” Smith is a Latin American studies professor for the university located in England. His presentation will be at 7 p.m. Thursday at the UTEP library in the First Floor Blumberg Auditorium.
City Rep. Candidate Debate: The four candidates seeking the City Council District 8 seat will meet for a debate next week. The debate is being organized by the Student Government Association at El Paso Community College. It will be at 4 p.m. on Tuesday at the Little Temple room of the EPCC campus on Rio Grande Avenue. All four candidates — Bettina Olivares, Chris Canales, Cruz Morales and Rich Wright — are expected to participate.