This is your Friday update, which takes a quick look at the week ahead and some developments that El Paso Matters is following.
City to Name Community Center After Wayne Thornton: A new recreation center in Central El Paso will be named after Wayne Thornton, who worked with the city’s Parks and Recreation for 42 years before retiring in 2020. Thornton served as the programming director at Lincoln Center and later in marketing and special promotions where he was instrumental in the creation of the Gus & Goldie Learn to Swim program, Art in the Park, and the annual Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony, among many other initiatives. He was also integral in establishing Midnight Basketball, a successful initiative for at-risk youth with the Junior League of El Paso during the 1990s.
The City Council on Tuesday unanimously approved renaming the Grandview Senior Center, 3134 Jefferson Ave, as the Wayne Thornton Community Center at Grandview. The community center is under construction at the site of the senior center, which will become a multi-use complex.
State Rep. Moody to Chair Committee: State Rep. Joe Moody, D-El Paso, will chair the House Committee on Criminal Jurisprudence. “I’ve spent the last decade and a half working on criminal justice policy, so this is an area of law I’m passionate about,” Moody said. “In El Paso, we recently saw just how much damage can be done when criminal justice decisions are made without a firm grounding in policy and management.” Moody will also serve on the committees on Judiciary and Civil Jurisprudence, House Administration, and Redistricting. Judiciary and Civil Jurisprudence covers the remainder of our court system: civil litigation as well as the Texas judges who oversee courts. The 88th Texas Legislative Session runs until May 29.
Pope Francis Names First El Paso Auxiliary Bishop: The Rev. Anthony C. Celino, pastor of St. Raphael Catholic Church in East El Paso, has been named as the new auxiliary bishop for the Diocese of El Paso by Pope Francis. The episcopal ordination for Celino, who also serves as the judicial vicar for the Diocese, will be held at 2 p.m. March 31 at St. Patrick Cathedral. He’s the first priest to be appointed to the position since the Diocese was established in 1914, and only the third person of Filipino descent elected as a bishop in the United States, the Diocese said in a news release. Celino, 50, immigrated directly to the El Paso area from the Philippines in 1993 and was ordained as a priest in 1997. He will remain in his current position until later this spring.
“He brings a unique experience as a Filipino immigrant serving our border community as a priest for the past 25 years, a steadfast dedication to pastoral ministry, and fidelity to the Gospel,” El Paso Bishop Mark Seitz said in a statement.
Memorial Art for El Paso Police Chief Greg Allen: As part of the 2023 Public Art Plan, the city will plan a public art piece in memory of the late El Paso Police Chief Greg Allen. No details were provided on what type of art would be dedicated to Allen or where and when the piece would be completed. The first African American police chief in the city, Allen led the department for nearly 15 years. He died on Jan. 17 at the age of 71 following an undisclosed medical procedure. The City Council on Tuesday approved the annual art plan, which is funded through a 2% set aside from the budgets of every capital improvement project within the city. First implemented in 2006, the program has completed 85 projects citywide. Another 24 projects are in progress, city officials said in a news release.