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Features

  • Krystle King and Tamara Naranjo are the head coaches of the 2009 varsity cheerleader squads for the East and West school districts. Both have championship rings and great histories in their own right and lead their perspective squads to do what cheerleaders have always done — lead.

    “A cheerleader means taking academics seriously, it means making sure when someone is down, you get them up. It is an honor, a responsibility and a privilege to wear that uniform,” King said.

  • During the renovation of Don Cecilio Martinez Elementary School, kids were left without a playground, having to use the gym for recess.

    But Principal Martha Johnsen last week announced a new playground area was  open. 

    “We’ve been without a playground since December of last year when they separated us and filtered us into other schools. Even the remaining students couldn’t go outside, but I’ll tell you what, it was worth waiting for,” Johnsen said.

    Physical education teacher Michael Nava agreed.

  • A U.S. Army Blackhawk helicopter swept through the blue skies above a crowd of Las Vegans during Veterans Day services.

    David Salazar, a veteran and County Commission chairman, reminded the audience of sacrifices made by veterans.

    “I have had the opportunity to speak to a variety of audiences, but I have never spoken to an audience that represents those people who have given up more and done more for our country than American veterans. We all know or have heard of the men and women who went off to fight and never returned.”

  • A 10-foot banner pinned to the wall of the Elks Lodge 408 welcomed veterans to a mid-day lunch on Sunday in appreciation for the sacrifices they have made for their country. The meal included spaghetti, garlic bread and all the fixings.

    Elks leader Angela Sanchez said this is the third year her organization has been honoring veterans with a free lunch. She said through the year, Elks members sponsor many events to help veterans and their families.

  • The lion is still with us; you just can’t see him.

    Last month, a construction crew surrounded New Town’s lion fountain statue with a small wooden building, complete with a pitched roof.

    This was done after a study found that the statue in Lion’s Park was in poor condition. Officials feared that cold weather would further damage it.

    The lion statue, which is at Lincoln and Grand avenues, has taken a beating over the years, its tail broken off and upper lip removed. Graffiti partially covers it.

  • Tito and Mary Chavez are celebrating a quarter century at their business, Tito's Gallery, on Bridge Street, where they sell jewelry.

    “This week we had an order from the United Kingdom,” Mary said. “The best part about our gallery is the people we get to meet, and all the friends we make by being here — that’s the best part.”

    “And then we’re surrounded by all this beautiful art, and it doesn’t stay the same, it changes. So, our motto is, “An art show every day, and we really believe that,” Tito said.  

  • Civil War Pvt. Chauncey Flower was remembered for his service to his country in a tribute that included the always stirring playing of taps.

    Las Vegas veterans representing Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1547, along with Flower’s great grandchildren and a few guests, honored the fallen soldier who is buried in the state hospital’s cemetery.

    Enlisting as a private in Company G, 56th Infantry Regiment, Pennsylvania Volunteer Militia of 1863, Flower came forward during a moment of pressing need. But his life was also colorful and at times tragic.

  • People stood shoulder to shoulder at times to see the third annual Dia de los Muertos Art Exhibit at Burris Hall and the Ray Drew Gallery on the Highlands University campus last week.

    Casa de Cultura Executive Director Miguel Angel said many schools and clubs participated in the exhibit that commemorates the celebration of life.

    As people learn more about Dia de los Muertos, they are less likely to connect it with the American holiday Halloween, which is celebrated with a lot of ghoulish good cheer, organizers said.

  • Martha Johnsen says she’s a “hometown girl,” and with the exception of working for NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston for about year and a half, she has always lived in Las Vegas.

    “This town has everything. We have history, we have the really fun notoriety, we have the architecture, many natural resources that are accessible and close by, and I just love the people. I love going out and running into somebody I know — I love that feeling and I don’t think it can be equaled,” Johnsen said.

  • Sage Harrington is living her dream as she performs her songs at venues around town.

    The singer-songwriter has a contagious laugh and a quirky sense of humor that she often uses when writing her brand of lyrics.

    In the sitcom, “Friends,” one of the unforgettable characters was Phoebe, played by Lisa Kudrow. Some of Phoebe’s song titles were “Smelly Cat,” “Crazy Underwear” and “Cremated Mother.”

  • Highlands University’s refurbished engineering building on 11th Street will go a long way in helping students who often struggle with math and science, officials say.

    “This is going to be a building that’s really going to help our students learn to some basic math and science skills, and go on to better their lives.,” said Bill Taylor, the university’s vice president for finance and administration.

  • Whether he’s walking down the street or sitting at his favorite eatery, Arthur LaCombe Vargas might not strike one as the typical lawyer. Depending on our own experiences with legal situations, each of us probably has a preferred generalization.

  • Ten local dancers got to show off their moves far away from the Meadow City.

    In August, the dancers between the ages of 12 and 15 attended a weeklong global dance conference in Kingston, Jamaica. Sponsored by Dance and the Child International and hosted jointly by the University of the West Indies and Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts, the conference was open to dancers and dance companies.

    The dancers are members of the Las Vegas Children’s Dance Theater under the direction of Kathleen Kingsley.

  • Handmade masks by Paul D. Henry Elementary students hang on the walls outside Patricia Mendoza’s classroom after being displayed at the New Mexico State Fair. Ribbons from contest sponsor KRQE television station are alongside each mask.

    “Last year, my third-graders prepared papier-mache masks as part of a special project. They worked with local artist Faith Gelvin on the history of masks in world cultures, as part of their bilingual education and social studies lessons,” Mendoza said.

  • Registering for classes at Luna Community College has become easier, and online classes aren’t what they used to be either, officials say.

    Students will now be able to register for classes at the college using the Internet now that Luna has begun its online registration.

    A student answering a survey wrote, “I really like the new updated registration process, it’s self explanatory.” Another said, “It’s better than having to come to campus.”

  • Gardeners and even farmers often approach their planting from an egocentric rather than a land-based view. That is to say, they often plant what they like and try to find a way to make their chosen plants thrive. That's challenging, and all too often unsuccessful.

    There are others who simply grow the traditional crops that have grown here forever. There's nothing wrong with that, but there is a third way, which opens up the possibility of cultivating non-traditional crops predisposed to do well on your land.

  • Las Vegan Savannah Lujan has won many music awards and has taken part in pageants. But her parents say school comes first.

    The West Las Vegas Middle School seventh-grader won the Youth Artist of the Year and Youth Song of the Year at the 2008 New Mexico Hispanic Music Awards.

    Her parents, John and Paula, said she remains grounded.

    “During the school year, her mommy and I want Savannah to concentrate on her school work and school activities. We just want her to be a little girl — the music will always be there,” John said.

  • It’s time to kick up your heels at the annual Ride to Pride barn dance set for Friday Oct. 16, at the Night Owl.

    Organizers are pumped up about the benefit dinner, dance and auction, which will feature a Western theme that includes a chuck-wagon dinner catered by Lee Daniels, a theater performance, a barn dance with live music by The Bill Hearne Trio, and a silent and live auction with many items.  

  • A labyrinth is being created in the yard of St. Paul’s Peace Church in Las Vegas. The labyrinth was commissioned by St. Paul’s Peace Church pastor John Ridder as a memorial for his late wife, Jane A. Ridder.

    It is being constructed by his son, John E. Ridder, in conjunction with  Gaye Goodman of Faux Real, a company specializing in the acid staining of concrete, and Sean Medrano of Northeastern Construction, who did the actual concrete work.

  • If you’re the one whose life or property is saved, it is a big deal. But there are those who work in jobs where saving life, limb and an occasional cat stranded in a tree is pretty much normal and routine duty.    

    Since it’s their job to look out for the welfare and well-being of their community, Las Vegas firefighters were wondering what all the fuss was about after administering life- saving CPR to a heart attack victim.