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Columns

  • Nuestra Historia - Temple Montefiore and the Taicherts

    By the late 1800s the Jewish presence in Las Vegas was robust and thriving, with the largest population of German Jews in all New Mexico. Most had become successful merchants and had been joined by extended family members emigrating from their old home lands in western Europe.

  • Orgullo del Norte - Kit Carson: hero or villain?

    “Thanksgiving is nothing but a toast to genocide.”
    — Stephen Evans

    The European invasion on the Americas began with Columbus in 1492. At this time there were an estimated 75 million natives, 25 million in North America.

  • Work of Art: Armageddon tired of waiting

    It would have been great if people who predict the end of the world had been a wee bit more accurate. Even though the prediction of the coming rapture was a few ticks off, it certainly drew a lot of attention.

    Presbyterian Pastor Randy Campbell, for one, opened his Sunday sermon by announcing, “I’m here!” Doubtless many others said the same thing.

  • Publisher's Note: Great debates

    A couple of weeks ago I was asked to be a judge at a series of debates at West Las Vegas High School. What I experienced was both frustrating and inspiring.

    First, the frustration. I found it difficult to sit there without speaking up about the issues under debate. The questions posed were relevant and timely and the wannabe teacher in me wanted to jump into the fray. But I maintained my role and kept quiet — not such an easy thing to do for an inky pundit like me.

  • Another Perspective: Living on the edge

    By Andrew Feldman

    For the Optic

    Our water problem can basically be broken into two parts — water infrastructure (expensive) and actual water supply (scarce). The infrastructure will take a great deal of money to fix. The supply is more uncertain and no amount of money can make it rain or snow. If we fix the infrastructure and do some other innovative things we can hedge our bet against drought.

    In the past when the water situation became dire, previous city administrations would talk, but then it would rain and nothing would get done.

  • Nuestra Historia - Charles Ilfeld built business empire

    The most well known of the early Jewish settlers of Las Vegas was Charles Ilfeld, who came here in 1867, when he was only 20. He had arrived in Santa Fe two years earlier, emigrating from Homburg vor der Hohe, a town in Germany near Frankfurt, then part of the Prussian Empire. According to Ilfeld family history, Charles arrived in Santa Fe with only $5 in his pocket.      

  • Orgullo del Norte - Connecting our herencia with our heroes

    “Spontaneous combustion of grassroots politics is the future.”
    — Dick Morris

    Mexico won its independence from Spain in 1821. Now that Mexico had control of the church, it began to call back all missionaries from El Norte. This move left just a handful of priests to hold mass throughout the many villages. Most rural villages went up to a year without seeing a priest from the Catholic church.

  • Work of Art: This TV runs on kerosene

    “Please leave the humor to me.” I’ve used that line many times, especially toward my brother-in-law, Jeff Romero, a lawyer  who used to be the district attorney in Albuquerque.

    He’d start in with lawyer jokes (yes, lawyers know them all; they hear them, spread them, laugh at them and feel unloved if someone fails to tell a lawyer joke in their presence).

    One thing about Jeff, a man who has made quite a good living, was his reluctance to buy new stuff.

  • Publisher's Note: CAVE dwellers

    Last week I told you about my tour of the spaceport near Truth or Consequences, following a New Mexico Press Association meeting down there, but I didn’t say anything about TorC itself.

  • Nuestra Historia - The Jewish merchants

    When introducing the most recent articles in this column, we noted that between annexation in 1846 and the arrival of the railroad in 1879, there were three transformative developments in Las Vegas. We have related two of them, the Americanization of the Old Town Plaza and the emergence of the Romero dynasty.