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Columns

  • Editor's Note - Newspaper war stories

    I think it was one of the greatest newspaper wars of our time — the battle between two Little Rock, Ark., newspapers, the Arkansas Gazette and the Arkansas Democrat.

    I’m not sure the story I’m about to tell supports that contention, but I’ll tell it anyway. Just for the fun of it.

    It was my first journalist job off campus. I was hired at the Gazette to take down scores and stats and write brief high school football game summaries.

  • Nuestra Historia - Armed deputies guard Carl Magee trial

    As Carl Magee went on trial in June of 1923, Sheriff Lorenzo Delgado posted armed deputies in Judge Leahy’s courtroom — and their presence was unmistakable and intimidating. As later remembered by an Optic reporter who covered the trial, “heavily armed deputies constantly walked back and forth across the well of the court between the jury room and Judge Leahy’s chambers.”

  • Work of Art - Nothing to do here?

    It really seemed easy. I watched as three grandchildren tried the ridiculously easy task of kicking a sponge ball through a space of about two feet square. What’s the big deal?

    Carly, Celina and Arthur Roland, my grandchildren,  couldn’t knock the ball through; in fact, most of the time they missed the ball completely. The catch? Jennifer Ballen, of the San Miguel County DWI task force, had them wear goggles that simulate how an intoxicated person would see things.

  • Editor's Note - The rises and falls of the Vigils

    Last week I offered up some post-election tidbits based on the results of the June 5 primary elections, but I saved this one for a column of its own. Put into context, it’s much bigger than a tidbit.

    Two primary elections resulted in the defeat of two Vigils from the Valley. Richard Vigil, a state representative since 1999, was beaten by Tomás Salazar, who received 56 percent of the vote. Rep. Vigil will serve out his term and Salazar is poised to take his place in January 2013.

  • Nuestra Historia - ‘Abandon hope all ye who enter here’

    On June 11, 1923, Judge David J. Leahy issued an arrest warrant for Carl Magee, ordering Sheriff Lorenzo Delgado to “take the body of Carl C. Magee and keep him safely so that you have his body forthwith before the District Court within and for San Miguel County.”

    Secundino Romero had set in motion the wheels of San Miguel County justice — his justice. Carl Magee’s Albuquerque newspaper would be silenced, and Magee himself punished. The stage was set in a town controlled by a family whose very name meant Las Vegas and San Miguel County.

  • Work of Art - How do we define ‘excessive’?

    When does a celebration become “excessive”? All of us who watch football have seen a number of flags tossed to penalize players or teams whose jubilation becomes disruptive.

    Defining “excessive” becomes a problem. Many dislike the look-at-me attitude of some players who, while on their way to a touchdown, begin their strut, an in-your-face gesture that fans and — especially — opposing teams loathe.

  • Editor's Note - Election postmortems

    The turnout wasn’t great in San Miguel County or statewide, but there’s still plenty of interesting tidbits to consider, given the results from last week’s elections. Here are a few:

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  • Nuestra Historia - Judge Leahy, Carl Magee and Sec Romero

    It was Friday, June 22, 1923, at 4:13 in the afternoon, when a jury returned a verdict against Carl C. Magee, editor and publisher of the Albuquerque Tribune — finding him guilty of criminal libel.

    Surrounded by the most capable lawyers in New Mexico, Magee stood before the court, as District Judge David J. Leahy sentenced the publisher to a year in jail.

  • Work of Art - Girls are smarter, aren’t they?

    Girls are smarter than boys, aren’t they? It depends on who’s asking and who’s being asked. My experience is that the first person to ask is considered “right.”

    Let me explain:

    Back in my childhood, I believed that girls were smarter. Why? Well, because they raised their hands faster when Sister Mary Muy Catolica of Immaculate Conception School would ask, for example, “Who knows the first commandment?”

  • Editor's Note - The primary finales

    Why, you may have asked on Friday, did the Optic editorial board feel compelled to endorse senatorial candidates in both party races, rather than just one candidate over all the others?

    I’ll tell ya, in a round-about way.

    I’m referring to our editorial endorsements of Democrat Hector Balderas and Republican Heather Wilson, who are running for their party nominations to be New Mexico’s next U.S. senator, replacing Jeff Bingaman, who opted not to run for a sixth term.