All posts by Trissean

JOURNALIST & BLOGGER. Follow me on Instagram at: TrisseanM.

Tequila AMAN Offers Scholarship for Students

By Trissean McDonald

Academic pathways toward success get rather pricey. However, what if some of those expenses were paid for with tequila? Gerardo Madrigal, a statistics professor at East Los Angeles College, has a plan to create his very own tequila and use a percentage of the revenue to sponsor a scholarship for ELAC students.

Tequila grant money? It does sound a bit far fetched. But, Professor Madrigal has an agave farm in which he envisions creating the spirited beverage. Not only that, he even chooses to share his hard work’s profit with students who have the same strife and ambition to bring about success. Anahy Vilchis, a student majoring in biochemistry, thinks that the scholarship is a great resource for students. “It would give us more resources in order to prosper. A lot of us students start here with the intent of wanting to continue on. So that would be really good,” Vilchis said.

Madrigal said that the tequila bottle could take nearly six months for completion. Therefore, at the moment, it is unclear as to when the scholarship will be funded. A Linkedin article written by Madrigal details the future plans of the company as well as its history. The name of his brand is Tequila AMAN. Certified by the Agricert México, this tequila is 100 percent USDA organic Blue Weber Agave Azul.

Tequila AMAN’s mission is to educate the public by displaying how the company “affirms” to the soil by dedicating their farming method to soil-carbon sequestration. Therefore, the name AMAN means “to affirm,” according to the Linkedin article “Tequila AMAN: The First and Only Organic Tequila Dedicated to The United Nations Climate Action Sustainability Goal #13.” Carbon sequestration is the process of capturing and storing atmospheric carbon dioxide, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. It is a method of reducing the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere with the goal of reducing global climate change.

Madrigal said that he has been fascinated with the idea of creating his very own tequila since the age of 10. “My family could never afford growing it. I told myself I would own my own someday,” Madrigal said. His father, who was a minimum wage blue collar worker, would annually save money in order to take his family to Nayarit, México. Madrigal’s father managed to eventually save enough money and decided to take his family on the anticipated trip. “When we landed in Guadalajara on the way to Ixtlán Del Rio Nayarit, [we passed] the “paisaje agavero” (Spanish for agave landscape) -millions of hectares filled with blue agave,” Madrigal said. “I remember being fascinated with those plants. I’m not sure [if] it’s because I’m an earth sign and love to evoke a deep connection [with] the earth.”

Tequila AMAN works closely with research scientists to collaborate documents of progression with sequestering carbon into their soil. “I’ve done my homework. I don’t trust distilling companies because they steal agave.” Madrigal said. He continued saying, “in the time of scarcity, distilling companies are stealing agave. I have to make my own tequila.” Some regenerative organic agriculture methods that the company practices are composting, ground mulching and crop rotation. These methods assist in restoring the health and livelihood of degraded soils in order to increase abundant harvests.

Madrigal elaborated more about the tequila brand as well as the future sponsored scholarship. He said that the root behind the idea for wanting to own his own tequila company stemmed from his father. “I owe it to him,” Madrigal said. His father is battling with cancer. However, “if it wasn’t for his foundation, I wouldn’t be doing this,” Madrigal said.

Students should expect to wait approximately three years in order to apply for the scholarship. However, Madrigal would rather have it to be sooner. “The bottle is still being created. My goal is within a year. It’s kind of out of my control at the moment.” The scholarship grant could range from between $100 or more. However, Madrigal said that he cannot make any confirmations about the time frame in which students can apply or even have an idea of the exact amount of money. For students who are bilingual, however, Madrigal said that the scholarship opportunity could possibly be raised. The requirements are:

Students must have a 2.5 GPA

Students must be a STEM major

Students are required to take 10 or more units at ELAC

Students must have completed 15 or more units

Students must give a statement describing personal focus in STEM as well as a community contribution.

These are all approximations. “I have to think of the account of things,” Madrigal said. He continued saying, “I can’t really say until I have a financial idea.” Half of the scholarship funds would come from the professor’s own pocket. The other half would be governmentally funded. “Student loan debt continues to rise into the trillions of dollars per year. The cost of going to college continues to climb and more and more students dropout of college because of long work hours,” Madrigal said. He continued, “why not help mitigate this issue? My products will be Fair Trade, a global movement to alleviate poverty in ways that are economical, socially and environmentally sustainable.”

The professor understands that some staff, as well as students, will be disturbed by the fact that the scholarship comes from the profits of a tequila company.

Maria Macias, a student majoring in communication, is rather bent on the concept. She thinks that the scholarship is both a good and bad idea. “I think it’s both. It’s a good ideas because it’s helping another student continue to keep going to school. You know, they probably have financial problems. The fact that he’s trying to help another student, I think that speaks more than where it’s coming from,” Macias said. She continued saying, “I don’t think it’s bad that its from a tequila company. He’s using that money for good. It’s not all necessarily bad.”

In response to all opinions, Madrigal said, “I respect their beliefs. This is more than just another brand. It’s the culture, heritage, and people.” He continued saying, “the product is not illegal and the brand will not only be tequila. I will be selling agave plants, organic agave syrup, and agave inulin. This brand is about the relationship with my farmers, agriculture, and preservation of our ecosystem.”

Madrigal then left a few words of wisdom for all ELAC students, “Hard work puts you where good luck can find you,” Madrigal said. For more information about the company you should visit Madrigal’s Instagram page @Tequila_aman.

La Parcela Del Abuelo- Farmers take a break after a hard day’s work of preparing the agave for tequila production in Ixtlán Del Rio Nayarit.
Grandpas Lot- Madrigal’s farm in Ixtlán Del Rio Nayarit has 20,000 plants, enough to produce 75,000 liters of tequila.

Photos Courtesy of Gerardo Madrigal

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White Man Pulls Out Gun On Black Kids Calls Them The N-word.

By Trissean McDonald

Mark Allen Bartlett was arrested after pulling out a pistol on a group of black kids and calling them ni**ers Monday afternoon in Miami Brickell district, according to Dream Defenders. The incident apparently stemmed from a white woman accusing the kids of blocking the road with their bikes. The woman even claims to have gotten run over by one of them. ”You just ran over my foot with your tire!” That was when Bartlett got involved in the incident, ”Who did it?! Who did it?!” he asked the woman before confronting the kids with the gun. ”Get the f*ck out of here, you f*cking piece of sh*t.” He continued by calling them, ”Stupid ni**ers.” Bartlett was arrested Monday night on a $5,000 bond.

Video: Dream Defenders

White Man Attacks Black Female Employee at McDonald’s

By Trissean McDonald

Pinellas County Jail

A McDonald’s employee is witnessed being assaulted. Apparently, the kerfuffle between the aggressor and employee allegedly transpired behind a straw, according to Kinie Biandudi. Biandudi recorded the incident then posted it to her Facebook page. TJ Biandudi, the brother of Kinie Biandudi shared the post on Facebook and the video began to go viral on multiple social media platforms. Daniel Willis Taylor, 40-years-old of Clearwater, Florida, has been charged with two counts of 1st-degree battery after attacking Yasmine James and Tateona Bell on New Year’s Eve. Taylor assaulted Bell by kicking her in the stomach.

Rumors have circulated social media about James being fired from McDonald’s. She was not fired. In fact, McDonald’s welcomed James back to work. However, James says that she feels unsafe. She is holding McDonald’s accountable for not properly handling the situation as it transpired. James said that she had to call 9-1-1 herself because of the fact that management apparently failed to know what to do about the situation. James has since hired an attorney.

McDonald’s released a statement:

“Our highest priority is always the safety and well-being of our employees and customers at our restaurants,” said McDonald’s Spokesperson Keisha Boyd. “We have been in contact with the police department and are fully cooperating with their investigation.”

Store Location:

4595 34th St S, St.

Petersburg, FL 33711

(727) 866-2370

Suspected DUI in East Hollywood Left Pedestrian Dead

By Trissean McDonald

A fatal crash occurred on Dec. 31, 2018, at about 2:30 a.m. on Vermont Avenue and Santa Monica Boulevard. The unidentified victim was a Hispanic male believed to be in his 30s. He was pronounced dead at the scene. Gankuyag Nyamdorj, the driver of a 2017 Lexus RX350 was reportedly under the influence at the time of the incident, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. He was arrested on suspicion of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated.

Any person with further information is asked to contact the Los Angeles Police Department at 213-833-3713. If you choose to remain anonymous, call crime stoppers at 800-222-8477.

Person Plummets From Building Dies Under Bus

By Trissean McDonald

Parts of Downtown Los Angeles was closed off for several hours after investigators tried to piece together how a pedestrian manage to get trapped underneath a bus causing the person to succumb to their injuries. The incident was reported around 1:18 p.m. on 12/26/18 in the area of 735 W. Sixth Street, according to ABC7. The deceased individual’s age and gender were undisclosed. Apparently, the individual committed suicide by plummeting from a building before getting trapped underneath the [bus], according to local authorities.

video: @victorparknews via Instagram

12-Year-Old Killed in Drive-By Shooting

By Trissean McDonald

Clinton Howell was killed Tuesday evening in a drive-by shooting outside of his home in Bridgeport, Connecticut. Howell was 12-years-old.

The incident occurred shortly after 9 p.m.

Apparently, two shots were fired at Howell causing him to collapse on the floor.

”As he was coming up the steps, someone came by and just started shooting and two of the bullets hit him and he ended up just falling inside the house on the floor,” said Gamel Dawkins, Clinton Howell’s brother.

Detectives have processed evidence and have a person of interest, according to Bridgeport police.

It is believe that Howell was not the initial target. However, it is possible that the target was somebody walking with him at the time the shooting occurred, according to the department.