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Columns

  • Nuestra Historia - A tale of two cities

    As in the Dickens classic, it was the best of times, it was the worst of times, as East and West Las Vegas grew along the Gallinas River after the railroad arrived in 1879.

    For almost a century — except for a permutation from 1882 to 1884 — the twin cities existed as separate and independent municipalities, each with its own mayor, council, administration, police and fire departments. Though separated only by a modest river, their evolution would be strikingly dissimilar, always accentuated by a stark racial divide which set the two towns apart.

  • Another Perspective - City, acequias still wrestling over water rights

    Historically, there has been a thriving agricultural community in and around Las Vegas, based on the acequias — which can be understood as both physical structures to deliver water and communities of people with a proud tradition.

    In the 1950s, the New Mexico Supreme Court gave the City of Las Vegas the right to take as much water as it needed from the Gallinas River under the so-called Pueblo Water Rights Doctrine. Using this decision, the city gradually increased the amount of water it diverted from the river until it was sometimes taking all the water available.

  • Work of Art - A psshh-ing expedition

    “Let’s go over that again, Phillip, and this time, try to get rid of the excessive tire pressure.”

    That was part of a bit of coaching I once did as a teacher of beginning speech in high school and college. My 33 years of teaching that subject yielded some interesting trivia.

    First, I learned that students in this area have peculiar speech mannerisms. How many times have you heard it said that people in Las Vegas specifically, and northern New Mexico generally, have their own style of talking?

    Let me explain:

  • Editor's Note - Good educators and ideas

    Call me the hard sell. I don’t think East’s four-day school week is going to improve teaching methods or better prepare students for the larger world, and it’s going to take more than a spin doctoring to change my mind.

    Nevertheless, the four-day schedule is now in place, and I wish students, teachers and administrators the best in the 2012-2013 school year.

  • Nuestra Historia - The judgeship since 1965

    For more than a half century between statehood and Judge Luis Armijo’s passing in 1965, only three men occupied the district court bench in Las Vegas — Judge Armijo himself claiming 34 of those years. Ten judges have served in the half century since.

  • Work of Art - Cute and cuddly porkers

    Lora M. Shields, a professor after whom a science building on the Highlands University campus is named, once told a class I was in about some amazing properties of pigs and piglets.

    She said a farmer could fill a pail of milk and let the pig drink it all, then lift that same pig into the same bucket and even have a little room to spare. It took some of us a while to catch on.

  • Editor's Note - Touring two watersheds

    For a couple of days last week, I was a watershed tourist.            

    But not just me, of course. On Monday, about 20 Las Vegas movers and shakers took a ride into the Gallinas Canyon, stopping at various points along the way to learn from experts about the condition of the river, the woodlands and how Las Vegas collects, stores and uses the watershed’s most valuable resource.

  • Nuestra Historia - El Juez Luis Armijo

    A 1949 article in Time magazine featured Luis Armijo as one of the few Catholic judges in the United States willing to say publicly that he would not obey the edict issued that year by Pope Pius XII, prohibiting Catholic jurists from granting civil divorces in any marriage solemnized by the church. Judge Armijo told Time, “I may be Catholic, but I am a citizen of the United States first.”

  • Work of Art - Can you find another?

    Teaching an honors course in Cuba, N.M., I had the pleasure of being surrounded by some extraordinarily perceptive students. There’s no particular reason why Cuba, of all places, would have had such a bumper crop of bright students; it must have just happened.

  • Editor's Note - Good Samaritans and pigs

    The Samaritan House is one of our better community organizations. It reflects one of the best characteristics of Las Vegas — our willingness to share with and help those who are down on their luck.

    Board member Rosie Lopez recently filled me in on the four major programs that make up the Samaritan House’s mission. They are:

    • Food distribution, which takes place on the second Wednesday of each month at the main office at 220 Bernalillo St.