In Brief - News - April 15, 2013

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Staff and Wire Reports

2 honored for fire rescue
Two City of Las Vegas police officers were awarded the department’s Medal of Valor last week for their role in saving an elderly couple from their burning home in January.
Officers Anthony Madrid and Michael Ortega were presented the award by Chief Christian Montaño during Wednesday evening’s Council meeting. The medal of valor is the second highest medal the department awards.
“I don’t believe this has been issued in over 20 years,” Montaño said. He thanked Madrid and Ortega for putting their lives at risk to rescue the people in the home on that January day, despite the fact that they weren’t on duty at the time.
Madrid and Ortega were among several people who rushed to help when they saw that the Litherland home on Lee Drive was on fire shortly before midnight on Jan. 5.
Joyce and Ray Litherland and two international students who were staying with them that night escaped the fire without serious injury.

Larger class sizes OKd
SANTA FE — A new state law will give school districts flexibility for another year to cope with tight finances by having larger classes and taking other steps.
Gov. Susana Martinez signed legislation into law that will allow waivers of certain state educational mandates, such as teaching load requirements and the length of school days, to give districts more leeway in spending state aid and adjusting their budgets in the 2013-2014 school year.
Similar relief has been provided since 2009, when the Legislature cut state spending to cope with a budget shortfall after the economy soured. But that flexibility would have ended this year without legislation to extend it.
Legislative analysts say the new law can help districts with growing enrollments avoid hiring additional teachers.

O’Keeffe’s work on stamp  
SANTA FE — One of painter Georgia O’Keeffe’s famous New Mexico landscapes is part of a new series of postage stamps dedicated to modern art in America.
The Georgia O’Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe will be unveiling the painting “Black Mesa Landscape, Out Back of Marie’s II” in commemoration of its inclusion in the stamp series.
The painting will be installed in the museum’s first gallery.
O’Keeffe painted the piece in 1930 during her second summer in New Mexico. She was staying at a home in Alcalde that was owned by her friend Marie Tudor Garland.
Museum officials say they are honored to have O’Keeffe’s work included in the series.
Other stamps in the commemorative series include the work of Marcel Duchamp, Man Ray, John Marin and Marsden Hartley.

Panel endorses Gonzales for post  
ALBUQUERQUE — The Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday unanimously approved the nomination of U.S. Attorney Ken Gonzales as New Mexico’s next federal judge, making him eligible for confirmation by the full Senate.
New Mexico’s two U.S. senators, both Democrats, applauded the vote.
“Ken has served the people of New Mexico and our country exceptionally well, showing strong judgment and knowledge in his previous civilian and military positions,” Sen. Tom Udall said. “I have no doubt he will continue doing so as a U.S. District Court Judge, and I hope the full Senate approves his nomination quickly so he can begin work in the new role.”
Sen. Martin Heinrich said he will make a great addition to the federal bench.