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Columns

  • Nuestra Historia - Kirby Benedict’s inebriate judgeship

    Kirby Benedict was a close friend and former colleague of President Abraham Lincoln, and was among the earliest of the famed judges who occupied the Las Vegas bench. He remains New Mexico’s most notorious inebriate, and was district judge for Las Vegas from 1858 until 1866, when he was removed from the bench by President Andrew Johnson.

  • Work of Art - Fjords, and Chevies too

    We’re booked. In late July it’ll be our turn to fly across the Atlantic to visit our son, Stanley Adam, wife Lizbeth, and daughters Ellen, 3, and June, 5 months old.

    It’s our exchange for their having flown here; they’re in Washington, D.C, visiting one of my nephews, and they were due in Albuquerque on Tuesday night, a few hours after the deadline for this column.

  • Editor's Note - Farewell, our David Romero

    Here’s a tribute to a great pressman, who left this past weekend for a new life in Arizona:

    David Romero had been around the Optic for years before 1997, when his stepfather, Stuart Beck, hired him to run the circulation department.

    Then tragedy struck the family- owned operation, when Beck died suddenly of a heart attack. His wife, Delia, David’s mother, took over the operation.

    “When I was publisher, he was really my right-hand man,” she said of her son. “David was always there for me.

  • Nuestra Historia - The stories of the Las Vegas judgeship

    Having concluded the Centennial series — bringing it home to Las Vegas with the story of Gov. Ezequiel C de Baca — we now begin another titillating narrative. We will recount the history of the district judgeship in Las Vegas, and tell the story of the fascinating men who occupied that position through 1965.

    Our self-imposed terminal date is the year legendary District Judge Luis E. Armijo passed away, after serving almost 40 years on the Las Vegas bench.

  • Work of Art - Watching with a nude eye

    Two medieval beings chatted about the science of astronomy in the late 15th century.

    One marvelled, “The Renaissance is just barely beginning, and soon we’re supposed to become great painters, poets, scientists and philosophers, and already, scientists know the names of most of the planets. Without having traveled into outer space, how could anyone know these things?”

  • Editor's Note - The parent-teacher disconnect

    As a parent, I sometimes find it’s been easy to be supportive of my children’s public school education. Other times, not so easy.

    The difference lies in the teacher. I have a great affinity and want nothing more than to support the good ones, but my patience has been tested with the bad ones. And, yes, I’ve had to deal with both.

  • Nuestra Historia - Gov. Ezequiel C de Baca’s last days

    It was a Sunday morning on Feb. 18, 1917. Surrounded by his family, Ezequiel C de Baca died peacefully at age 52, after 49 valiant days as New Mexico’s second governor.

    C de Baca had not sought the Democratic nomination for governor in 1916.

    He genuinely resisted attempts to draft him, protesting that he did not have the funds to wage a campaign. As well, he was feeling in persistent poor health, due to some unexplained ailment.

  • Work of Art - Election reaches new heights

    An article in the New Yorker once told of competition among purveyors of steaks along the tollways.

    My first experience with tollways — long before the Interstate network developed — was getting on the Turner Turnpike in Oklahoma, which in those days, the ‘60s, was the only way to drive across the state in less than a week.

  • Editor's Note - School daze in May

    May is always a crazy month. The end of a school year can come at a dizzying speed for a lot of people.

    Now comes a big question about how best to shape the 2012-13 school year in the Las Vegas City Schools district.

    Of course I’m talking about East Superintendent Sheryl McNellis-Martinez’s proposal to move the district from a five-day-a-week classroom schedule to four days, with Fridays set aside for teachers to improve their skills and some miscellaneous student activities, including tutoring and various extracurricular activities.

  • Nuestra Historia - Ezequiel C de Baca fought to protect land grant

    After Felix Martinez left Las Vegas in 1900, La Voz del Pueblo continued under Ezequiel C de Baca and Antonio Lucero. The weekly newspaper had a circulation of about 3,000 throughout New Mexico, and was the Territory’s leading Spanish language periodical.

    C de Baca and Lucero continued their Hispanic-oriented populist advocacy on the pages of La Voz, and between 1900 and 1912, the weekly became the alternative (Democratic) newspaper, fiercely critical of the established Republican order of the time.