Inter-City News Proudly serving our citizens A publication of the Customer Service Office October 2005 Larry Dovalina, City Manager Laredo, Texas Mario A. Gutierrez is October Employee of the Month His compassion towards helping In his free time, he reaches out to the less fortunate and those in need the elderly by helping them clean have earned M ario A. Gutierrez the their lots and picking up litter, and October Employee of the M onth together with a group of youth, he honors. removes graffiti around town. M ario, a Code Enforcement “M ario is a valuable employee Insp ect or in t he Community who performs his tasks with zeal and D evelop m ent D ep art ment , is ent hus ias m,” s aid Roy G arcia, assigned to the graffiti removal M ario’s s upervisor. “H e is an division and has been employed with exceptional employee who is valued the City for five years. both as a friend and subordinate.” Although his M onday through As an employee, M ario is Friday job is to enforce codes that a ct i v ely i nv ol v ed w it h h is help ensure Laredoans live in a department’s Operation Clean-Up, clean, healthy and safe environment, Block of the M onth, Keep Texas Mario Gutierrez M ario goes the extra mile and Beautiful Campaign and the Youth volunteers his time during the weekend in helping Development Program. those who need it most. Congratulations, M ario! Skilled employee places 2nd in national rodeo Working at the landfill has its rewards. Just ask T eofilo Estevis, Jr., a Solid Waste Department employee who was recognized nationally for skills that are applied to the trash everyday. Estevis captured a coveted 2 nd place finish at the National Solid Waste Association of North America Rodeo Finals held in Hickory, North Carolina, two weeks ago. “ I am very happy with second place and honored to have represented the City of Laredo,” said an excited Estevis. “The competition was very stiff. I didn’t have an idea I was going to win second place.” Estevis competed with a scraper in the Landfill Division, where he was challenged with several obstacles, including backing up and maneuvering the oversized vehicle between 55-gallon drums. Page 2 Inter-City News October 2005 Binational Health Week raises awareness Dr. Jose R. Antu and Veronica Gutierrez, wearing blue blouse, both of the Health Department, perform blood pressure checks and sign up people for a Buena Vida exam, respectively, as part of the Border Binational Health Week, held October 10-16. Border Binational Health Week was designed to promote health activities and to raise awareness of health issues and availability of care and treatment along the U.S.-M exico border region. Several activities were held during the week to address health concerns such as diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease, as well as cancer and adult/child immunizations. It’s All About Customer Service To cust omers apologizing is just one element of customer before beginning the who have been the recovery process. resolution and recovery process. inconvenienced by “Whenever there is friction or “ Cus t omers r es p ond t o services that could conf li ct , t hat ’s t he bes t common courtesy,” she says. not be offered by the opportunity for you to be a hero or So next time you are in this City of Laredo, the ’she-ro,” says Leslie Charles, situation, use phrases such as: words “I’m sorry” really make a author of The Customer Service “Thank you for bringing that to my difference in the way they view our Companion. attention,” or “Thank you for organization. When dealing with a customer letting me know.” But words alone do not convey who has a problem or complaint, (Part of this script derived from The Customer a sincere apology. Customer an important first action on your Community newsletter, published by the s ervice e xp ert s agree t hat part should be to thank the Customer Service Group.) Employees go the extra mile in helping those in need Samaritan: a person who voluntarily offers help or sympathy in times of trouble. And who better to fit this definition than three City employees who recently went out of their way to help others in need. We’re talking about Jerry Piña and Jerry Cantu, of Environmental Services, and Jorge Rodriguez, of the Health Department. Both Piña and Cantu rescued a pregnant woman from rising waters during a recent downpour. Both were out in the Jerry Piña field identifying streets with flooding problems when they noticed the woman with two children inside the vehicle. T hey ran to their aid and brought all three to safety. Rodriguez, on the other hand, offered help to a Hurricane Rita evacuee and her Jorge Rodriguez four legged friends. It turns out that the moment Rodriguez and his mother learned about the woman, who did not want to seek refuge at a local shelter because no pets were bein g accepted, they immediately offered her and the two animals their home. The woman agreed to the offer and stayed at the Rodriguez’s for three days. Jerry Cantu Page 3 Inter-City News October 2005 Make-A-Difference Day activities hailed a great success Las Palmas Trail/Just Penn Park gets a facelift Budget Director Martin Ale- man, wearing light blue shirt with white mask, directs vol- unteers. The Make-A-Difference Day motto — Recyling Photo helping neighbors — truly lived up to neighbors its expectation Saturday, October 22, as hun- dreds of local residents, including many City em- ployees, teamed up to clean one of Laredo’s best hidden treasures, the Las Palmas Trail/Justo Deputy City Manager Cynthia Penn Park. Collazo levels the mulch that has The trail and park, located near the banks of been laid on the trail. the Rio Grande, immediately east of Interna- tional Bridge #2, extend through a number of micro-ecosystems, including a palm growth, a wetland, carrizzo trails, and other species of na- tive trees. Sponsored by the City of Laredo Keep Laredo Beautiful, the Lamar Bruni Vergara Envi- ronmental Science Center and the Rio Grande International Study Center, the clean-up attracted 428 volunteers -- both young and young-at-heart. Bridge Employees Sylvia Immediately after the clean-up, 72,000 lady- Lynne Nava, Keep Laredo Beautiful bugs and dozens of monarch butterflies were re- Director, and Blasita Lopez, Public Martinez and Fidel Martinez, leased on the trail as a reminder that the nurtur- Information Officer, pose while Sr., pose for a photo while di st ri buti ng l adybugs t o t he working on the trail. ing of the environment is in our hands. volunteers. Planning Director Keith Selman and an unidentified volunteer, left photo, carry a 90-gallon can full of mulch. Sandra Martinez, of Solid Waste, and her husband Josue, right photo, are about to devour a fajita place with rice and beans. Page 4 Inter-City News October 2005 Police officers lend a hand in Louisiana PARD Tournament benefits Katrina victims The recently-held Parks and Recreation Department Softball Tournament netted $1,695.60 for Hurricane Katrina victims. In the photo, Mike Pescador, fourth from left, Laredo Police officers front row, from left, Luis Raines, Guadalupe presents a check to Peter Ortegon, of the Peña, Mario Villarreal, Allen Jarrell Jr., and back row Tomas American Red Cross. Also in the photo are Rodriguez traveled to Louisiana immediately after hurricane Katrina PARD employees Veronica Gaytan, Jose to deliver supplies and offer police protection. The items delivered Renteria, Celina Rivera, Graciela Briones, to the hurricane victims were collected by Police employees through Angie Perez and Rosalba Hernandez. various collection drives around town. Inter-City News is published monthly through the Office of Customer Service. For more information or for story ideas, feel free to contact Eddie Zavala, Customer Service Coor- dinator, at 791-7312 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org . Let’s Talk Trash We’re all aware of how much trash we throw out Always keep in mind that the following items can during the holidays. And by reducing waste, we can be recycled: paper, cardboard, plastic containers, save our natural resources and give a gift to the Earth. aluminum cans, and tin steel cans. Select a gift and give it with waste reduction in However, never place the following items into mind! Start by planning ahead what you will do with your recycling bags: Styrofoam cups and plates, used all the possible recyclable items that will be left food wrappers or other used food containers, used behind from the holidays and how you will dispose of paper towels, used facial tissues or used disposable them. diapers. For the second year in a row, Laredo Public Library staff members are serving as volunteers for the Help One Student to Succeed (HOST S) program with the Laredo Independent School District. As mentors, they volunteer their time and work with one student throughout the academic school year on an individual basis to improve the child’s reading skills. In the photo from left are Homero Vazquez-Garcia, Hilary Frazier, Anne Seddelmeyer, and Jane Goodman. Not pictured, but also volunteering their time are Robert Brown, Rena Ren, Felipe A. Sanchez, Eloisa Vedia, Sylvia Gonzalez, Irma Gonzalez, Maria G. Soliz, Diana Fullerton.