KTEP - El Paso, Texas

Angela Kocherga

News Director

Emmy winning multimedia journalist Angela Kocherga is news director with KTEP and Borderzine. She is also multimedia editor with ElPasoMatters.org, an independent news organization.

Pandemic Christmas Decorations
Angela Kocherga / KTEP News

EL PASO-- The holidays during the pandemic are filled with anxiety and heartache that extends to both sides of the border.  In Juarez, the Castillo family is in mourning confronting the first Christmas without their patriarch. “He had this gift of helping others,” said Michell Castillo remembering her father.

In El Paso COVID-19 nearly claimed the Perez family matriarch.  “We’re terrified,” said Jennifer Perez about the current deadly surge in cases. Her mother was sickened by COVID this summer.

“I almost died,” said Inocencia Perez.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Businesses remain open amid shutdown order
Angela Kocherga / KTEP News

EL PASO --A district court judge in El Paso upheld a county order to shut down non-essential businesses to slow the spread of Covid.

Judge William Moody reject a request for a temporary injunction on Friday saying while there is no legal precedent there is a historical one. He used the 1918-1919 pandemic as his guide and actions taken by local officials in Texas cities and counties. 

Social gatherings
Angela Kocherga / KTEP News

EL PASO -- The governor of Texas is helping El Paso set up a field hospital at the convention center and the county judge has imposed a nightly curfew from 10pm to 5am to keep more people at home and stop rampant community spread.

But the night before the curfew took effect as officials urged El Paso residents to stay home amid a record-breaking surge in COVID-19 cases and hosptializations, social gatherings continued.

UTEP mobile COVID testing site
Angela Kocherga / KTEP News

EL PASO -- El Paso is struggling with contact tracing, a crucial means of slowing the spread of COVID-19, as it experiences one of the nation’s worst outbreaks of the disease.

In recent weeks, the number of people notified within 48 hours that they were exposed to someone who tested positive for COVID-19 plummeted from 88 percent on Oct. 1 to 32 percent on Oct. 23, the day a record 1,216 El Pasoans tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

Young voter
Angela Kocherga / KTEP News

EL PASO -- Social justice, racism, and hate crimes have become hot-button issues on the presidential campaign trail and debate stage.  Voters in predominantly Latino El Paso are paying attention. They know the horror and heartache caused by a hate crime.  This August marked a year since a gunman from North Texas traveled to border city and went on a shooting rampage inside a Walmart.

Early voters in line
Angela Kocherga / KTEP News

In this in-depth interview El Paso County Elections Administrator Lisa Wise talks to KTEP's Angela Kocherga about early voting, polling places including extended hours, voting by mail or absentee drop box and election day vote centers available to anyone from any precinct. Also she discusses efforts to combat disinformation during this election season as a record number of voters cast ballots.  

Border Shutdown Paso del Norte Bridge
Angela Kocherga / KTEP News

CIUDAD JUAREZ --It’s been more than six months since the U.S. and Mexico border closed to all but essential travel to slow the spread of COVID-19. The disruption of lives and livelihoods has been widespread on both sides during the pandemic. 

Marco Antonio Corral, 60, has watched it all unfold from the middle of the Paso del Norte Bridge where just over the borderline on the Mexican side he peddles potato chips and cold water to drivers and passengers stuck in idling cars calling out “Papitas! Agua!”  

Acting CBP Commissioner Mark Morgan interviewed at border wall
CBP / CBP

El PASO --KTEP's Angela Kocherga interviews Acting U.S. Customs and Border Protection Mark Morgan during a stop in El Psao to tour a section of border wall.  Morgan talked about what he calls the "wall system" and answered questions about a private barrier built by "We Build the Wall." The founder of that organization and president Trump's former adviser Steve Bannon were indicted for fraud and money laundering tied to the fundraising for the private wall.

Copyright 2020 KTEP. To see more, visit KTEP.

SACHA PFEIFFER, HOST:

William Englisbee holds a photo of his mother Angelina Maria Silva de Englisbee
Angela Kocherga / KTEP News

 

EL PASO -- William Englisbee embodies the quiet strength of the city he calls home. 

 

“Every day’s a struggle,” said Englisbee at Evergreen Cemetery east recently where he was paying respects to his mother. Angelina Maria Silva de Englisbee was among 23 people gunned down at an El Paso Walmart a year ago.  She was 86.

 

Ringside Seat to a Revolution by David Romo
David Romo / Cinco Puntos Press

KTEP's Angela Kocherga and guest co-host Alfredo Corchado, Mexico border correspondent for The Dallas Morning News  based in El Paso continue their series of COVID-19 conversations with authors, historians and researchers. Borderland historian and author of Ringside Seat to the Revolution David Romo discusses the health, economic and political implications of pandemics then and now and lessons as El Paso and the region copes with COVID-19.

 

UTEP College of Liberal Arts Dean Denis O'Hearn
Denis O'Hearn / UTEP

KTEP's Angela Kocherga begins a series of conversations about COVID-19 that go beyond the grim numbers to examine some of the issues and disparities exposed by the pandemic. Angela and guest co-host Alfredo Corchado, Mexico border correspondent for The Dallas Morning News based in El Paso, interview authors, historians and researchers.

Google Earth

The following story was produced in partnership with El Paso Matters

The frantic phone calls came in a cluster. In less than 24 hours multiple women reached out to me from inside the Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention center in El Paso. They expressed a mix of emotions from fear to frustration to helplessness as they talked about a COVID-19 outbreak in the El Paso processing center.

El Paso George Floyd protest at police headquarters
Angela Kocherga / KTEP News

EL PASO – Hundreds of protestors gathered in El Paso Sunday night chanting “I can’t breathe” as they marched to El Paso Police Department headquarters. 

“I want to be out here with my brothers and sisters that I go to school with and make sure that we all have a voice for later on in life,” said 21-year-old Zachary Greenhoward.

Carmen Lugo and her dog Bunny in the courtyard of the apartment complex where they live.
Angela Kocherga / KTEP

El Paso -- Carmen Lugo cannot imagine being cooped up during the COVID-19 quarantine without her best friend. 

“She’s turned out to be the best little dog. She does everything but talk,” Lugo said. 

Bunny was a “ball of fluff” puppy when she arrived Easter morning 2013. Lugo and her white poodle terrier mix have been inseparable ever since.

“Don’t ever underestimate the power of a pet. They make you think. They make you move. They give you a lot of love,” said the 75-year-old retired hairdresser.