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Downtown Fallas store closed for fire danger reopens in historic Trost-designed building

Vic Kolenc, El Paso Times Published 6:00 a.m. MT March 2, 2019 | Updated 12:59 p.m. MT March 2, 2019CLOSE The Fallas Discount Store in a historic Downtown El Paso building reopens March 1, 2019, after a city inspection finds fire hazards were corrected. Vic Kolenc, El Paso TimesThe Fallas Discount Store, inside one of…

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Vic Kolenc, El Paso Times
Published 6:00 a.m. MT March 2, 2019 | Updated 12:59 p.m. MT March 2, 2019

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The Fallas Discount Store in a historic Downtown El Paso building reopens March 1, 2019, after a city inspection finds fire hazards were corrected.
Vic Kolenc, El Paso Times

The Fallas Discount Store, inside one of Downtown’s historic landmark buildings, reopened Friday afternoon after being closed five months ago as a fire danger by the El Paso Fire Marshal’s office.

City officials Friday notified the Los Angeles-area company that owns the Fallas store and the building in which it’s located, at 301 E. San Antonio Ave., that the store could reopen because fire safety problems were corrected on the four floors occupied by the store, said Tony De La Cruz, assistant director of the city Planning and Inspections Department.

The building was declared an “imminent danger” and closed Sept. 11 by the Fire Marshal’s office after inspectors reported finding evidence of an electrical fire in the building.

The store, which reopened at 1 p.m. Friday, was bustling with shoppers by late afternoon.

Mario Lozano, a Juárez resident who frequently shops in Downtown El Paso, said he’s happy the store is open again.

“They have good offers (prices) here. I like this store,” said Lozano, who, along with his wife, were walking by the store when they noticed it had reopened. They had frequently shopped at the store before it closed last year, he said. They purchased clothes and other items from the store Friday.

De La Cruz said city inspectors and Fire Marshal officers inspected the building Feb. 28 and determined the corrections necessary to reopen the store had been completed.

Work had to be done on the fire sprinkler system and fire alarm system for the basement and three floors housing the store, De La Cruz said. Additional exit lights also had to be installed in the store areas, he said.

Electricity had to be disconnected to the unoccupied upper floors of the 10-story building to reduce the fire risk, De La Cruz said.

More: Building owners ordered to fix code violations in 4 historic Downtown El Paso properties

The city Building and Standards Commission in 2018 determined the building had many city code violations that needed fixed. An update on the building’s condition and the owner’s corrective actions are to be taken up by the commission at its March 27 meeting, De La Cruz said.

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Michael Fallas, owner and chief executive officer of Los Angeles area-based National Stores, which operates the Fallas discount clothing and home furnishing stores, in 2008 bought the 200,000 square-foot building, which once housed The Popular department store.

In 2016, Fallas told the El Paso Times that he planned to restore the 100-year-old building, designed by the late, iconic El Paso architect Henry Trost, and possibly put loft apartments on the upper floors. However, that plan never materialized.

Fallas and the El Paso lawyer representing his company in its dealings with city officials were not available Friday for comments about the Fallas store reopening.

National Stores has fallen on hard times. It filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization last year, and has closed most of its 344 stores, which operated under several different brand names. The Fallas chain now has 85 stores nationally, according to its website. Most of the El Paso Fallas’ stores were closed last year.

Sergio Velazquez, loss prevention manager at the Downtown Fallas store, said the store’s operations were back to normal, with the store scheduled to be open daily 9 a.m.-7 p.m., including Sundays.

Vic Kolenc may be reached at 546-6421; vkolenc@elpasotimes.com@vickolenc on Twitter.

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Dona Ana

Car accident kills three, including an El Paso man, Sunday in New Mexico

Sun-News report Published 9:00 a.m. MT March 26, 2019 | Updated 9:01 a.m. MT March 26, 2019CLOSE Do you know what to do if you’re in an accident? WochitHIDALGO COUNTY — A fiery crash along Interstate 10 in western New Mexico claimed three lives, including an El Paso man.New Mexico State Police responded to the fatal…

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Published 9:00 a.m. MT March 26, 2019 | Updated 9:01 a.m. MT March 26, 2019

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Do you know what to do if you’re in an accident?
Wochit

HIDALGO COUNTY — A fiery crash along Interstate 10 in western New Mexico claimed three lives, including an El Paso man.

New Mexico State Police responded to the fatal head-on collision at mile marker 19, near Lordsburg, about 3:30 p.m. Sunday, March 24.

Police said a 2015 Freightliner semi-truck was traveling east on Interstate 10, when, for unknown reasons, it crossed the center median and hit a west-bound 2013 Kenworth semi-truck head on. The Freightliner’s trailer hit a 1999 Dodge pickup that was also traveling west. Both semi-trucks caught on fire.

Three people died in the crash: Sean White, 50, of West Covina, California, was the driver of the Freightliner; Jose Apodaca, 47, of El Paso, was the driver of the Kenworth; and Susan Rojo, 47, of Sierra Vista, Arizona, was a passenger in the Dodge.

A 51-year-old male driving the Dodge and a 13-year-old female passenger in the pickup, both believed to be from Arizona, were transported to an area hospital with critical injuries.

Alcohol is not believed to have been a factor and seat belt use has not been determined. Police are continuing to investigate.

More: A train hit a pedestrian in an El Paso crash Tuesday morning

More: Car accident kills 11-year-old boy Sunday in East El Paso

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Beto campaign manager was aide to Barack Obama in 2012, signals shift in O'Rourke strategy

John C Moritz, El Paso Times Published 6:03 p.m. MT March 25, 2019 | Updated 7:37 a.m. MT March 26, 2019CLOSE Linguist Roberto Perezdiaz sheds light on the pronunciation and mispronunciation of the nickname ‘Beto.’ Mark R Lambie, El Paso TimesThe move signals the former El Paso congressman is willing to invest in top political…

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John C Moritz, El Paso Times
Published 6:03 p.m. MT March 25, 2019 | Updated 7:37 a.m. MT March 26, 2019

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Linguist Roberto Perezdiaz sheds light on the pronunciation and mispronunciation of the nickname ‘Beto.’
Mark R Lambie, El Paso Times

The move signals the former El Paso congressman is willing to invest in top political talent as he seeks to emerge from a crowded field of Democrats seeking the 2020 presidential nomination.

A former top strategist for Barack Obama’s 2012 re-election effort is joining Texan Beto O’Rourke as a campaign manager for his 2020 presidential bid.

The addition of Jen O’Malley Dillon gives O’Rourke a seasoned, high-level operative as he attempts to distinguish himself in a crowded field of candidates seeking to challenge President Donald Trump next year.

“We’re exited that Jen O’Malley Dillon has joined our team,” O’Rourke said Monday in text message forwarded by his campaign. “Her leadership and creativity will be a great addition to a campaign that is already doing so much to bring people together to overcome the greatest set of challenges this country has ever faced.”

I’m so excited to join the @betoorourke team and get to work building a campaign that will lift people up and unite them to meet our challenges, and that will show up everywhere and listen to & value every voice.

— Jen O’Malley Dillon (@jomalleydillon) March 25, 2019

O’Malley Dillon was Obama’s deputy campaign manager. She said in a series of tweets that as a mother of two she wants to make a better world for her children. Her hiring was first reported by the New York Times.

“I’m so excited to join the @betoorourke team and get to work building a campaign that will lift people up and unite them to meet our challenges, and that will show up everywhere and listen to & value every voice,” she said in one of the tweets.

MORE: Beto O’Rourke campaign announces location for El Paso rally

She added, “and not gonna lie, pretty excited for our kids to get a chance to live in El Paso, where” her husband grew up.

Her husband, Patrick Dillon, was the deputy director of political affairs and special assistant to Obama.

O’Malley Dillon is a co-founder of the political communications firm, Precision Strategies, which worked for Obama in 2012 and also represents the John F. Kennedy Library and Foundation, according to its website.

Brandon Rottinghaus, a political science professor at the University of Houston, said the hiring of O’Malley Dillon is a signal O’Rourke recognizes that he cannot run his presidential bid with the same seat-of-the pants style that became a trademark in his narrow loss to U.S.Sen. Ted Cruz in Texas last year.

“Getting someone who knows what it takes to win, especially an old Obama hand, is huge,” Rottinghaus said. “Going from a U.S. Senate campaign to a presidential campaign is like going from the minor leagues to the major leagues. This says Beto knows he needs top talent.”

MORE: Beto fundraising record: $6.1 million from donors is an ‘important number’ for O’Rourke

O’Rourke, a former three-term congressman, gave up a safe Democratic seat representing El Paso to challenge Cruz. He entered the presidential race March 14 and immediately hit the road to campaign in Iowa, New Hampshire and other early primary and caucus states on next year’s political calendar.

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Days after saying he would join the presidential race, O’Rourke said he had raised $6.1 million in the first 24 hours after his formal announcement — the biggest first-day haul of any of the announced Democrats. He edged Bernie Sanders’ $5.9 million, raised from 223,000 individual donors. The O’Rourke campaign said later that it received 128,000 unique contributions.

O’Rourke plans what he’s calling a “launch” on Saturday with a morning rally in El Paso to be followed by two more home-state rallies — one in Houston that afternoon and a nighttime event in Austin, a block from the Texas Capitol.

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A train hit a pedestrian in an El Paso crash Tuesday morning

Aaron Martinez, El Paso Times Published 7:32 a.m. MT March 26, 2019 CLOSE If you know the man who on March 12 walked into the Walgreens at the Fountains at Farah and stole more than $600, you could earn a reward. Courtesy Crime Stoppers of El Paso, El Paso TimesA pedestrian was struck by a…

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Aaron Martinez, El Paso Times
Published 7:32 a.m. MT March 26, 2019

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If you know the man who on March 12 walked into the Walgreens at the Fountains at Farah and stole more than $600, you could earn a reward.
Courtesy Crime Stoppers of El Paso, El Paso Times

A pedestrian was struck by a train early Tuesday morning in the Upper Valley, officials said.

The incident happened at Spur 16 and Doniphan Drive near Canutillo High School, El Paso Police Department officials said.

The pedestrian’s current condition and name were not released.

The El Paso Police Department’s Special Traffic Investigations unit is investigating the accident.

No further information has been released.

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Aaron Martinez may be reached at 546-6249; aamartinez@elpasotimes.com; @AMartinez31 on Twitter.

Read or Share this story: https://www.elpasotimes.com/story/news/crime/2019/03/26/train-hit-pedestrian-el-paso-crash-tuesday-morning/3275396002/

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