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Features

  • United World College student Jen Kim says she didn’t invent the Empty Bowls Project, a program whose mission is to feed the hungry.

    But her energy brought her love of ceramics and concern for world hunger together at a local event. 

    “I took ceramics in ninth grade, and I really loved the class. It was one of my favorites. We also did an Empty Bowls fundraiser, which is an organization that fights world hunger, so when we I came to UWC, I wanted a pottery activity, but they had discontinued it,” Kim said.

  • When it comes to school, Bonita Baca has always been marked as present. She’s never been a no-show since the beginning of kindergarten.

    Not one single day.

    “I just love school, I love learning,” said the West Las Vegas senior.

    Baca is also a year into her college career, having taken dual-enrollment classes at Highlands University. She maintains a 4.1 grade point average as a senior, and has earned a 4.0 GPA in her studies at Highlands University.

    West Las Vegas Principal Gene Parson said everything about this teenager is impressive.

  • Sometimes dreams do come true, especially as Joe Cocker once sang in his song, “With the help of my friends.”

    Until 6 p.m. Friday, Las Vegans can help a favorite son realize his dream marriage with a click of their mouses.

    For the last three years, a statewide contest has offered a lucky New Mexico couple a $50,000 wedding that includes wedding attire, the ceremony and the reception at the Hyatt Regency Tamaya Resort near Albuquerque, and a seven-day honeymoon in Paris.

  • Buses from Belen, Cobre, Pojoaque, Bernalillo, Springer, Maxwell, Santa Rosa and other schools dropped off students to attend College Night on Tuesday.

    The event began a dozen years ago when Luna Community College invited students from Las Vegas and the surrounding area to bring in their juniors and seniors to see what the college offered.

    Highlands University joined Luna the following year, and officials say it has grown every year since.

  • Robertson High School’s Marr Gym was recently packed with students and parents.

    They weren’t there for a sporting event. Rather, they were honoring academic achievement of the school’s 275 students who have been making good grades this year.

    Superintendent Rick Romero said he thought it was important that people have an opportunity to see the good in the district. He said in recent times the school has received its share of bad publicity because of the actions of a few misguided people.

  • A generalization holds that one learns by interacting with others -- listening, speaking, reading, but what if one cannot hear? We might conclude that being unable to use one of these modalities would result in a disability.

    Not necessarily.

    Take Las Vegas’ Clarence and Faye Falvey. They stress that deafness or being hard-of-hearing is not a handicap, but rather -- a difference. Both were born into hearing and speaking families.

  • Minnijean Brown-Trickey says despite what many people say, she wasn’t courageous in walking past angry mobs to attend Little Rock’s Central High School in 1957.

    She just wanted to go to school.

    Brown-Trickey spoke to several hundred people at United World College on Sunday night, talking about her experiences as one of the Little Rock Nine, the black students who desegregated the Arkansas school under the protection of federal troops.

  • Unveiling a mural two days before Martin Luther King Day, Casa de Cultura Director Miguel Angel quoted King as saying, “Our goal is to create the beloved community, and this will create a qualitative change in our souls, as well as a qualitative change of our lives.”

    Angel said people must become more active in their community.

    “The youth are our focus. Dr. King used to say, ‘A community that does not esteem its youth has no future,’ and we take that to heart,” Angel said.

  • Dolores Maese told a large audience of family and friends that for the last 32 years she loved to go to work because every day she worked with heroes.

    “I have so much respect for those who lay their lives on the line, those who are on the front lines fighting fires, and those who manage the forests and state parks,” Maese said.

    Maese started with the U.S. Forest Service in 1978, rising from a clerk-typist at the Las Vegas Ranger District to a public affairs officer at the regional office in Santa Fe.

  • The words became more difficult as the spelling bee progressed at Paul D. Elementary School last week. And the younger kids began to drop out.

    But third-grader Austen King finished in the top three and stood with fifth-graders A.J Larrañaga and Connor Houdek, who won took first and second places respectively.

    In all spelling bees, there are lessons learned even when kids misspell a word. For example, one of the younger children spelled “honest,” O-N-E-S-T, which makes perfect phonetic sense, and was a lesson in silent consonants and vowels. 

  • Click here to view the School Consolidation Study in PDF format

  • Wendy Armijo doesn’t claim to be a teetotaler. And she won’t tell you to never drink.

    But she draws the line at drinking and driving.

    For the last eight years, Armijo has served as the coordinator for the San Miguel County DWI Planning Council. She says she comes to that role with an understanding.

  • Unlike many dog lovers, Leslie Moniot isn’t looking for purebreds. She prefers mutts.

    That’s because she’s interested in rescuing canines, and plenty of places exist for purebreds. Not so for mixed breeds.

    Over the summer, she moved from a small town in southern California to Romeroville. Since 2001, she’s been providing homes for dogs.

    She takes in large dogs from animal shelters, usually just before they are about to be put down.

  • The dapper gentleman wearing a steel-gray ascot that matches his suit waits at his front door.

    I fumble with my writing tools, exit the car and cross the street. Per his cachet of impeccable elegance, he kisses my hand in true gentlemanly fashion. I feel that “I have arrived.” I had looked forward to talking with this couple — the word was out that they are the essence of the true meaning of volunteerism.

  • I have walked the path on the Gallinas River from Bridge street to Independence street many times. It is a place which could be the better in some respects if we did less with it, or more to the point, less TO it.

  • There are a few vantages from which to view our current economic malaise.

    Some see it as an isolated bump in the road that can be fixed by the gummint doling out largesse to Wall Street and other failed ventures.

    Others, like myself, see  our current economic troubles as the first, spreading crack in an edifice on the verge of collapse.

    Let me tell you why.

  • When it comes to government, Robertson High School teacher Brenda Ortega-Benavidez’s students know much more than what the three branches of government are. They’re something of experts in political science.

    Her students have just returned from the state Capitol, where they took part in a Constitution Mock Congress competition. It was the first time RHS students placed in the statewide “We the People” Congress, tying for fourth place.

  • Students at Sierra Vista Elementary School found that a small gesture of kindness can create a lot of magic.

    Teacher Tom Conklin spearheaded a schoolwide drive for UNICEF raising $416.50 for underprivileged kids in many countries. He said the donations help with vaccinations, food, clean water, blankets, school books and many other necessities.  

    First-grader Amor Roybal said, “It made me feel good to collect money for the kids who are sick and don’t have any money or clothing.”

  • A unit of the New Mexico National Guard last week held an exercise with local agencies to prepare for the possibility of a hazardous materials incident.

    The 64th Civil Support Team from Rio Rancho supports state and local authorities for manmade and natural disasters and incidents involving weapons of mass destruction and hazardous materials.

  • Carmen Baca teaches both American and British literature at West Las Vegas High School. And she has a clear favorite between the two.

    “British literature. I’m more comfortable with it. I don’t know why,” she said. “American literature is dry.”

    A Las Vegas native, Baca has spent her entire 32-year teaching career in the West district. She spent her first six years at Valley Junior High, but she moved on to the high school in 1983.