Part 2: Spanish language newspaper benefits Texoma

Sherman, TX -- What if you went to the health department for services, but couldn't understand the information? Or to the DMV to get your license, but couldn't read the application? That could become the case for several legal, spanish-speaking Oklahoma residents, and is the case for thousands in other states.

Recently proposed legislation would allow state services to be offered in English. This month, several Oklahoma senators sent the legislation to a conference committee, effectively blocking it for this session.

But that doesn't mean the fight is over to make English the official language of Oklahoma.

One local woman is trying to keep the Hispanic community informed about these proposed laws, and other events in Texoma. She's doing it through a regional spanish language newspaper and the benefits could extend to English speakers alike.

Immigration law, English Only legislation, they're touchy subjects.

"We get calls to the paper saying, 'if they're here, they need to speak English', and I understand and I agree, they need to speak English. But we need to keep their native language."

Luz Roth is helping Spanish-speakers to do both. She's the creator and editor of 'El Tiempo' and makes it her job to inform spanish-speakers about where and how they can learn English, among other things.

"I want it to be an educational newspaper. This is what I can use in case I have to do my income tax. This is what is happening with immigration law right now, if I have an emergency this is where I'm supposed to call," said Roth.

Roth writes and translates articles about business, politics, local and global news, then designs the front page. Then, it's off to the press room at the Herald Democrat.

Through this door is a whole world of information available to Spanish speaking Texomans that many say, was never available to them before.

"We can read in Spanish, not English and understand almost everything, so we can do better things for the community," said Maria Hinojosa, a Spanish speaker who reads 'El Tiempo'.

"I had people calling me before this paper asking me what the English newspaper said. It was sad for me," said Melida Ailshire.

Ailshire has made it her business to help Spanish speakers adapt to Texoma.

She's a freelance interpreter for local hospitals, businesses and the courts. She says this paper provides not only vital information about community services and resources, it motivates readers to learn.

"If you live in a country, you must be aware of what's going on. Especially in politics right now," Ailshire said.

But 'El Tiempo' has an even farther reaching effect, one that impacts Spanish and English speakers alike.

"If Hispanics don't speak English, they don't go into the drug store, they're not going to go into the insurance company," said Roth.

"Many advertisers and individuals are reaching out to the Spanish community, publicizing business here, in spanish, benefiting everyone," Ailshire said.

By providing information in Spanish, Roth hopes to get Hispanics to shop in Texoma, so their money stays in the local economy.

But Roth's main goal is to integrate Spanish speakers into all aspects of life in Texoma, while maintaining their own culture.

"This is happening here in Texas, everywhere in the U.S., so let's take advantage of what we have instead of criticize this, let's solve the problem, give more resources, help them learn English, but teach them also Spanish," Roth said.

'El Tiempo' is available at the following North Texas Businesses:
SHERMAN:
Albertsons
Kroger
Big Lots
Piggly Wiggly (Hwy 56 & 11)
Sunshine Food (Hwy 56 & 11)
Stop & Go (Walnut & King)
El Pueblo
Panaderia (Willow & Lamar)
Wilson N Jones
Public Library
Wal-Mart
Herald Democrat
One Stop (1015 W. Houston)
Sav-A-Lot
Sunset Food (Sunset St.)
Piggly Wiggly (Sunset)
Justice Center
La Placita

DENISON:
Joe's Mini Mart (Crawford St.)
Super Suds (Mirick)
Texaco Armstrong
Herald Democrat Denison
Wal-Mart
KWIK Stop (Austin St.)
Kroger (Armstrong & Crawford)

GUNTER:
Exxon (Hwy 289)

VAN ALSTYNE:
Van Alstyne Post Office

ANNA:
Anna Post Office


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