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Features

  • Keith Salazar is considered the most decorated student that has passed through the halls of West Las Vegas Middle School.

    He won two national titles, was a national finalist in four events, earned 10 state championships and has four state runner-ups to his credit. But he said three years ago, he wanted nothing to do with Business Professionals of America.

    “I did not want to join it. I didn’t want to come to school dressed in a business suit. I didn’t want anything to do with it,” Salazar said.

  • It’s easy to catch their enthusiasm, if you can keep up with Miguel Angel and Georgina Ortega, as the couple work on a seemingly unending list of projects at one time.  

    Their personal stories are compelling, but they don’t want to talk about themselves.

    Angel and Ortega are passionate about talking about their work with Casa de Cultura, whose mission is to foster trust and cohesion among diverse ethnic and social groups, by getting involved in educational and cultural activities.

  • Major Gen. Kenny Montoya of the New Mexico National Guard told the audience at the 2009 Employer Appreciation Day luncheon last week that New Mexico soldiers are as busy as ever around the state. He also said fewer men and women from the state are being sent to Iraq.

    Montoya said a year ago, about 1,000 area troops were in combat. Now, there are 550 New Mexicans deployed.

  • On Thursday June 11, two speakers made presentations on Wind Turbine Noise to the Sustainable Las Vegas group. This meeting was part of SLV’s current efforts to inform the public about sustainable issues. This topic is especially timely since San Miguel County is currently revising their county wind ordinance to more adequately address the issue of the siting of large turbine wind towers.

  • Obviously proud of his family, heritage and service to his country and his fellow man, Erminio  “Ermie” Martinez radiates satisfaction and gratitude for the various opportunities afforded him during his 80 years of life.

    Born in Holman May 18, 1929, Ermie recalls his early years of schooling at Agua Negra Presbyterian School. Noting that his parents, aunts and uncles had attended this school, he says, “ It was not only the imposed discipline of the atmosphere” that impressed him, “but that they got the students interested.”

  • Weeds. We hate ‘em. It’s really a statement which is true based on definition of terms. “Weeds” is not a term which is meaningful in biological terms.

    A “weed” is simply a plant we don’t like. So when we label a plant a “weed,” we are actually communicating more about ourselves than we are about the plant of which we are speaking.

  • Local food is on the rebound, and I'm glad.

    We have an independent, mom and pop produce market on Grand Ave. They are selling local, free range eggs, and hope to be offering more local produce as they get established.

    Two years ago I couldn't find local, free range eggs.  Last year they were sporadically available at the Tri-County Farmers Market and through the Barter Hours program.

  • West Las Vegas Food Services Director Dean Gallegos says food at the schools aren’t typical of cafeterias. Students are served fresh fruits and vegetables, freshly baked biscuits, and hand-prepared entrees, he says.

    Gallegos doesn’t buy crates of frozen foods that just need to be thawed and heated or stuck in the microwave before serving.

    Before the West school board took formal action on food service bids for the coming year, Gallegos outlined his philosophy on serving the district’s students tasty and healthful meals.

  • For the past six years, Highlands University Spanish Professor Lillian Gorman has been taking a group of students on an adventure that is partly academic and partly an exploration of a new world.

    And it’s with an intense focus on the Spanish language. 

    Each summer, Gorman and about a dozen students spend two weeks immersed in the Spanish language at Casa Xalteva, a small orphanage and school in Nicaragua.

    Each year, the students return home with many stories and fond memories of the special time they spent there.

  • ROCIADA — Many people around here have heard of Pendaries Village in Rociada, but few know about Camp Davis, which is a few miles down the road.

    The camp, celebrating its 70th anniversary this year, features eight cabins, a dining hall and a recreation building, as well as opportunities for fishing, hiking and horseback riding.

    In the summer of 1939, Coach J. Mule and Liz Davis founded Camp Davis. In the 1940s, ‘50s and ‘60s, the Davises had hundreds of kids from Texas stay at the camp throughout the summers.

  • This year’s theme for the Las Vegas Fiestas is Nuestras Tradiciones, Nuestros Tesoros — Our Traditions, Our Treasures. Many Las Vegans consider Cipriano Aguilar one of the Meadow City’s great treasures.

    For the last 47 years, this mild-mannered educator and longtime radio personality has acted as the Fiestas master of ceremonies and historian.

    Aguilar began his master of ceremonies duties after Jesus Lopez Sr. turned the microphone over to him in 1962.

  • The 21st Century Summer Program has ended with a flourish of fun, games and a picnic for the 180 kids who participated in the month-long, activities packed program.

    “The kids had a blast, today was the last day of our summer program, and this was a way to end it with a lot of fun,” assistant coordinator Theresa Chavez said.

    Program Director Michell Aragon she wanted to treat the children to a nice time on the final day.

  • Roberto Rios, the new executive director of the Las Vegas-San Miguel Economic Development Corp., expects the group to take strong stands under his management.

    But he said the EDC would study issues closely before making any decisions.

    Rios took his new job June 1. Just two days later, he witnessed one of the bigger controversies that pit one part of the business community against another.

    At issue was a proposed film moratorium, which would have stopped all movie productions in Las Vegas until the city revised its regulations to better deal with them.

  • Cancer survivor Lisa Briggs-Valdez said she is lucky, because there are many people who lost their battle with the disease.

    “There are many that are still struggling, many that have fought and won and will fight for the rest of their lives. Everybody knows a family member or friend, because cancer knows no boundaries, no class, or race, nothing,” Briggs-Valdez said. “I know many people that have fought and won, and some who lost the fight.”  

  • Dozens of cars followed a West Las Vegas bus through town Monday evening, honking and cheering for a successful middle school club.

    West Las Vegas Middle School Business Professionals of America sponsor Brian Gurulé and his young team of champions stepped off the bus to a large crowd, who had caravaned from the Interstate 25 exit through town, led by police cars with sirens and lights blaring in honor of the two national titles they were bringing home.

  • The doorway seemed an odd shape, but once inside, everything was conventional — sort of.

    Ignacio “Nash” Lucero, Las Vegan, contractor, builder, broker, home inspector, looks like a regular guy, but is far from it.

        Get this — Nash’s first “job” at the age of 6 was building a porch. Today, 85 on June 14, he’s still building, but much more than porches. Give him that hammer, some nails, a rough idea of what you have in mind, and he’ll build it, or tear it down, if that’s what you want.

  • If you happen to be a music fanatic like I am,  you probably have noticed that there are many different genres of music, ranging from soul and blues to the darkest and heaviest heavy metal. I like many different kinds of music but I draw the line at pop. (I have an exception for Pop because there are only a few singers that I like.)

    I am a huge fan of rock. It can be the oldies but goodies or the new rock that is coming out. Every band that is out there sounds different and the music is real.

  • ‘Carthago delenda est!” cried Cato the Elder, “Carthage must be destroyed!”

    And so the Romans did, reportedly by leveling the city, selling its surviving citizens into slavery, and then sowing the land with salt.

    The Spanish adopted a similar practice. When a landowner was convicted of treason, salt was poured upon their lands, spelling death not only for the resident plants, but also humans, and any animals, birds and insects that depended on those lands for their habitat.

  •  Residents of New Mexico will celebrate Arbor Day 2009 on March 13. While National Arbor Day is held on the last Friday in April, New Mexico, similar to several other states, observes the holiday at a time best suited for tree planting.

    The Arbor Day Foundation encourages everyone to plant a tree to celebrate this special holiday. The Foundation’s Web site (www.arborday.org) offers many helpful tips from how to plant a tree to selecting the right tree for the right place.

  • As most readers probably already know, the Optic is downsizing, going from five to three editions per week.

    The end to the Optic’s long tradition as a daily paper is slated for early March.

    The Muchas Cosas is  also being discontinued. This edition is the last.