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Good Morning El Paso Weekend 04.16.16

is the day finally here? a look inside as the long, long anticipated downtown square is set to fully open. a woman with special needs left without her longtime companion… after a shocking crime. guilty – and not guilty. what a convicted gang member now faces after a jury decides his crimes for a double homicide. this is all the news you need to start your saturday, april 16th. abc-7’s “good morning el paso weekend” starts right now! how proud are you of this? i’m very proud of it, it looks great … i mean, once you are in here it’s a different feeling that you get being in the park … it looks modern, the buildings in the background, it looks great … got a lot of green areas, a lot of plants, a lot of flowers … it’s beautiful, it’s a great park … after over a year and a half’s worth of delay, the day is finally here. san jacinto plaza will finally reopen to the public. the city is holding a dedication ceremony this morning at 9-30. and entertainment and actitvities will be held throughout the day for the whole family until 7 in the evening. last week the city set high expectations for the park, one city rep saying it even brought her to tears: “and i’ll tell you i was brough to tears by it, because everything the el pasoans said they wanted is out there now and it shines like a brand new penny.” good morning and thank you for joing us… i’m andrew j. polk. we’ll have live coverage with iris lopez over at the plaza with a live look only at abc-7. cooler air was working into the area this morning and we will see below normal temperatures for the next couple of days. there will be a slight chance for precipitation in area mountains both today and sunday. for most of next week we will see a warming trend so that by next tuesday and wednesday we will see highs temperatures well above normal. since talk of the renovation plan began about five years ago, san began about five years ago, san jacinot underwent numerous some changes. at first it called for the removal of the los lagartos statue, but that all changed at a city council meeting back in 2011. abc-7’s darren hunt takes a look back at the redesign process: “the committee consensus is the plan does not represent in general the character of inherent architectural and historical cultural elements of el paso.” at this city council meeting five years ago, local historian miguel juarez objected to a san jacinto plaza redsign plan paid for by el paso billionaire paul foster. the initial plan from s-w-a removed the los legartos statue from the plaza. “we had a park that didn’ function like a good central urban park should.” city re cortney niland recalls that meeting, which turned the focus back toward keeping the statue in its original spot. “originally it was a private- public partnership and i thank mr. foster for actually being the catalyst to get the ball rolling … the community got involved and was very emphatic about the designs and the preservation of the legartos and the things they wanted to see in their downtown … and i think what ultimately what they will see is their vision has come to fruition and its absolutely fabulous.” “one of the features of the new san jacinto plaza that was original to its design are these pathways, that extend all the way from the los legartos statue to the outskirts of the park, allowing people to enter it from any angle.” “the alligators i feel represen the soul of the community.” juarez said looking back, that 2011 meeting on the foster plan proved a turning point for the project. “he wanted something good for e paso but at the same time there need to be community input and there wasn’t … the whole intent was for us to provide input because it’s our plaza … the city council accepted about 90 percent of those recommendations.” “so the people are getting th park that the people wanted?” “absolutely … i think the ultimate design that we came up with now, pays homage to that but kicks it up on a metropolitan level that’s really state of the art.” dh — abc-7. the plaza’s reopening can’t come soon enough for businesses in the area. francis luera is manager of the coffee box. she set up shop across from the plaza during its lengthy reconstruction. and luis camacho is set to open the new pallets bar on mills street, which features a balcony overlooking the new san jacinto plaza:s “we thought it was a great idea to be here before everything finally opens up to the public and being able to add something unique to the area.” “a lot of stores closed and mostly because of the closing of the streets … all the businesses are anxious for it to open and we’re hoping the best.” a woman is seeking justice after she says a man stabbed her service dog. now she’s left with the medical bills and possibly without a dog. it all happened tuesday on the 15- hundred block of george dieter in east el paso. abc-7’s jerry najera has her story … the owner of the dog tells me her service dog was stabbed in the neck and there’s a chance she could be suffering from nerve damage that can prevent the dog from performing her duties. “she’s everything to me. she goes absolutely everywhere with me. without her i can’t leave my house ” emotional and heartbroken — jeanette katt tells me her dog harley has changed her life. katt she says harley isn’t just a pet she’s her security. katt has been diagnosed with ptsd and agoraphobia, an anxiety disorder caused by situations where the suffer feels the environment to be dangerous. in most cases they stay locked in their homes for weeks. “i was severely tortured and abused. i had an ex husband that kidnapped me, locked me up in a basement for two weeks, tortured me and put a gun to my head and pulled the trigger” a therapy dog wa prescribed to katt. she’s had harley for a little over 7 years and on a normal day rushing to get her grandaughter to karate class harley got away from her. “she pulled out fro my hand and i heard her bark maybe three four times maybe if that” katt says when she got to the bottom of the stairs “i heard her squeal i turned an saw him stab her in the neck i saw her drop lifeless i thought she was dead” katt tells me a maintenance worker at the apartment complex stabbed harley with a utility knife and left the scene. harley is trained to sense siezures, panic attacks and to keep katt safe. “she is trained to alert me tha there is somebody that i do not see that i do not know” here’ a few pictures of harley at the carnival, the zoo, and at carls junior. where she said she never had issues with the dog. katt says harley never made contact with the worker and the worker attacked her dog. now she’s left with taking care of a service dog who at this point can’t walk. “i would like to see something happen if it doesn’t i need help with her medical bills” katt tells m police said they couldn’t press charges because she’s a dog. i also spoke to witnesses who tell me harley never made contact with the worker i did speak to the manager of the maintenance company who told me she’s out of town and she hasn’t spoken to her employee about the incident until then she will hold-off on making a comment a go fund me acount has been set up for harley we’ll have the link to that following this story on an accused barrio azteca gang member is now waiting to hear his sentencing, beginning next week. yesterday a jury found luis rodriquez both guilty — and not guilty. he was found not guilty of capital murder. rodriquez was accused of killing two men in 2012 over a power struggle within their own gang. however — the jury convicted him of engaging in organized criminal activity. he faces 25 years to life on those charges. abc-7 was in the court room as the jury handed down the verdict. the jury deliberated for 12 hours. family members in the courtroom gasped when the verdict was announced but rodriguez showed little emotion. neither of the legal teams was willing to speak on camera after the verdict came down. the jury will no longer be sequestered but was told to not look at any media until they resume the sentencing phase monday morning at 9 a-m. a trial for a man charged with first- degree murder, aggravated burglary and tampering with evidence has now been set. last year, five teenagers were accused of trying to break into a mobile home in dona ana county. one of the suspects — 17-year- old jaycob alba — was shot and killed during a shooting inside the home. from our new mexico mobile newsroom … it’s still unclear who shot alba … but there are four surving suspects — including adrian hortelano, seen here. yesterday, hortelano was in court to learn his punishment for a previous conviction. hortelano was sentenced to 18 months behind bars on an aggravated burglary charge, this was completely unrelated to the murder. hortelano has been behind bars for the past 11 months. he’s been taking classes and attending therapy. his sentence comes at a time when the defense and prosecution are setting up the pending murder trial. the defense says that was a factor in his punishment: jeff lahann: “if there wasn’t a pending murder charge i think we would be looking at a much different situation i think it increase the likelihood that we would get probation but we respect the judges decision.” adria hortelano: “i’m sorry i was doing bad out there i was hooked on drugs when i did this the dumb mistake and i promise it won’t happen again.” the murder trial is set for june. don’t forget to pick up your copy of the el paso inc. in it and only in el paso inc you’ll find: what’s behind plans for a 22-story building in west el paso. they have details on the proposed hotel and apartment tower. also find out about some really big ideas for el paso, like new life for an old car lot, and building a park over i-10. and why local cab companies say de- regulating the vehicle-for-hire business could make for fraud and abuse. el paso inc. is online at, and available for home and business delivery. call 534- 4422 to subscribe. there have definitley been some heavy winds in the borderland… but coming up on good morning el paso weekend… nearby states dealing with much more from mother nature. and later – open carry is the law across our region… but examples of it are still causing some concern as people adjust. it is , right now we’ll take a live look at traffic this morning: stormtrack weather is next! you’re watching abc-7… where news comes first!

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