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Las Vegas Optic Newspaper Archives Sep 2 2015, Page 2

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Las Vegas Optic (Newspaper) - September 2, 2015, Las Vegas, New Mexico2 Las Vegas OPTICWednesday, September 2, 2015 facebook.com/Savethelion1896 to show progress and update Las Vegans on how the community can donate and volunteer, or you can contact me at mainstreetdelasve- gas@gmail.com Chris Wilson, in Architecture & Preser- vation in Las Vegas, described the history of Lion Park this way: “Fountain Park” (The Triangle, Lion Park) started as an open patch of ground where wagons parked. In 1896, the Women’s Christian Temperance Union employed a local stonemason, Angelo de Tullio, to design and sculpt a fountain. “They hoped to offer an alternative watering hole to the neighboring saloons. De Tullio’s fountain is dominated by an angelic-looking lion. “This stiffly-rendered piece of folk sculp- ture spurted water from its mouth into a trough below. The fountain represents one work of the local community of immigrant Italian stonemasons, and as Lynn Perrigo has suggested: ‘is emblematic of the past interplay of two facets of local culture — the excesses of the boom era and the determi- nation of dedicated local women to create a wholesome environment in Las Vegas.’” The Lion Fountain consists of a base, pedestal, basin, plinth block and lion sculp- ture all carved from local reddish-brown sandstone typically referred to as “Romero- ville Stone.” It suffers from “spalling,” the delamination of the stone from freezing and thawing during the seasons. The upper lip, right paw and tail are in need of repair, and graffiti needs to be cleaned. The fountain pipes are all intact and could possibly be restored to a water fountain. “The Lion is an important feature and the only public statue in Las Vegas,” said Lindsey Valdez, the city’s community development director. “We want to high- light Lion Park as a welcoming feature to our city. “When the Lion was covered it was dead, now it’s alive again and we can focus on how to provide a structure to protect it from rain and snow and let everyone see how special it is,” added Allan Affeldt, owner of the Plaza Hotel & Castañeda Hotel. MainStreet board member Stella Burcia- ga, owner of Buena Vida Health and Well- ness, has begun steps to “adopt” Lion Park. “I want to help in any way I can to improve the landscaping of the park and add nice benches and trash receptacles,” she said. “I feel like the Lion has been let out of jail and can breathe again.” Matthew and Lindsey Behrs of Lion’s Heart Gifts said they were elated and will join in the effort to improve the Lion and the park’s beautification. Cecilia Roybal noticed the activity and said, “I was born in the ‘50’s and remember when the Lion still had ears. I also remem- ber that in the ‘70’s, we referred to Lion Park as ‘make out park’ where couples met to kiss!” Sam Minner, Highlands president and MainStreet de Las Vegas board member, joined the group to offer assistance from NMHU to create a Facebook page and promote the effort with a sign, “SAVE THE LION” to attract attention. NMHU Media Arts student Ivana Vidal immediately volunteered to create and manage the Face- book page. We are just beginning and want ideas from the community. The price estimates for a structure range from $20,000 to $50,000. A lot can be done with volunteer time, and we may start a crowd funding campaign. As Stella said, “let the lion roar again!’” Editor’s note: Bricks & Mortar on Main- Street is an occasional series highlighting Down- town renovation projects from the Railroad Depot to the Plaza Park. Cindy Collins is execu- tive director of MainStreet de Las Vegas. Lion From Page 1 Lawmakers to discuss impeaching Duran By Susan Montoya Bryan The Associated Press Democratic leaders in the House of Representatives on Monday raised the possibility of impeachment proceedings against New Mexico’s top elections official after allegations of fraud, embezzlement and money laundering were leveled against her by the state attorney general. House Minority Leader Brian Egolf, D-Santa Fe, said the charges against Republican Secretary of State Dianna Duran are serious and if the House decides to pursue impeachment, the pro- cess needs to be a bipartisan effort. The decision by Democrats to start the conversation was reached over the weekend. Egolf informed Republicans, who hold the majority in the chamber, in a phone call Monday. Pointing to the detailed criminal com- plaint filed late Friday in state district court, Egolf suggested that Duran at least step aside while the criminal case is pend- ing and appoint a deputy to oversee her office. “I think it is fair for the people of New Mexico to wonder whether or not Sec- retary Duran is capable of enforcing the Governmental Conduct Act,” he said. “Is she capable of enforcing the state’s ethics laws? Is she capable of enforcing cam- paign laws — the very laws she’s accused of violating in a very serious way? Duran, a two-term secretary of state and former state lawmaker, is facing a 64-count complaint stemming from allegations she funneled campaign dona- tions into personal bank accounts and withdrew large sums of money from those accounts while frequenting casinos around the state. Duran’s attorney has said she hopes the case isn’t politically motivated and she’s looking forward to addressing the allega- tions in court. The secretary of state’s office declined to comment on the charges and news of impeachment discussions, saying only that the professional staff would continue to carry out the duties of the office. The secretary of state administers elections statewide as well as campaign finance and lobbying laws. The office also is in charge of the registration of corpora- tions. If the House were to move on impeach- ment now, either the governor would have to call a special session or members would have to call themselves back for an extraordinary session. The next regular legis- lative session begins in January. Under the state constitution, a majority vote in the 70-mem- ber House would be required to impeach Duran. If that happens, the Senate would hold a trial and a two-thirds vote would be necessary to convict Duran — permanently removing her from office. The constitution provides for the impeachment of state officers and judges for “crimes, misdemeanors and malfea- sance” in office. No state elective officer has ever been impeached in New Mexico. Duran Sena was taken off life support on May 22 and died the following day. According to the affi- davit, police were able to obtain video from the Allsup’s, and they inter- viewed witnesses. A store clerk told police that Sena was intoxicated and being bel- ligerent toward other cus- tomers in the store. The clerk was able to point out the man she saw fight- ing with Sena outside the store. Through that video, police determined that the man who fought with Sena was Saiz. Charged From Page 1 required to issue a public notice about the situation. “I’m recommending we do it next week,” he said. “It has to be approved by the Environment Department.” Garcia said the city has increased its chlorine levels to counter the fact that the treatment plant isn’t work- ing at its optimal level. Chlorine is a disinfectant. He said the Utilities Department is continuing to troubleshoot the cause. “It could be a number of reasons why we do not have the optimal dosage of chemicals,” he said, add- ing that a number of things influence water quality and treatment. Among the things the Utilities Department is doing is ordering new chemicals in case the prob- lem is related to the chemi- cals the city is currently using. He said the Utilities Department is hoping to have the problem resolved in the next couple of weeks. “The state is aware of our situation and working closely with us,” he said. Water From Page 1 Eli Crowe/Optic photo Several community members showed up to Lion Park last week to kick off a “Save the Lion” campaign. Pictured in the front row from left are Matthew Behrs, Stella Burciaga, Lindsey Valdez, Sam Minner, Cindy Collins and Allan Affeldt. Back row: Micah Stege, Jorden Grimm and Red Whiting.

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