Local News

  • Report: State water project funds from 2014 remain unspent

    The Associated Press

    SANTA FE — Nearly 80 percent of New Mexico’s budget for water projects from 2014 remains unspent at a time of increasing need for updated systems across the state, according to a new report from a key state legislative committee.

    A staff report by the New Mexico Legislative Finance Committee it’s the highest percentage of idle money of its kind in the nation, the Santa Fe New Mexican reported.

    The report is triggering another call for reform in handling capital construction initiatives.

  • Looking bacK

    Looking Back
    In 1966
    Thursday, July 28, 1966 — Approximately 27 years ago, in about 1929 when automobiles were a rare sight on the old dirt roads led only to major cities, the Hangman’s Tree at Romeroville would have been removed to make room for the highway except for the work of a spirited citizen. Secundino Romero . . . protested the destruction of the tree, explaining that the tree had historical value because several men had been hung there. Because of the construction of the highway making Highway 85 four lanes, the tree may have to be removed.

  • College Bound

    Eager to get on with his life, Miguel Martinez was on the verge of dropping out of Robertson High School.

    When Las Vegas City Schools Superintendent Kelt Cooper heard about the 17-year-old’s plans, he interceded, offering the high school junior a better alternative.

    Contrary to what one might think, Miguel was actually a good student with a respectable grade point average who was on track to earn his diploma in a year. But Miguel wanted to leave his high school years behind and start his life.

  • BREAKING: Robert Witters appointed to West board

    Editor's note: After our story on Roberta Vigil applying to be on the West Board went to press, the state Public Education Department selected Robert Witters for the position.

    Witters, in his resume, states that he has 42 years of experience in engineering, marketing, finance, accounting, procurement, operations and senior management with a blend of government and private sector experience in profit and non-profit organizations. He states that he and his wife moved to Las Vegas after he retired in 2010.

  • Lawmaker eyes ‘right to die’ bill amid court loss

    By Russell Contreras
    The Associated Press

    A New Mexico lawmaker is pushing for a law to allow terminally ill patients to end their lives with help from doctors a month after advocates for the practice suffered a court defeat.

    Rep. Bill McCamley, D-Las Cruces, discussed his proposal earlier this month before a Legislative committee in Albuquerque and could launch the beginning of a heated debate going into the next legislative session.

    Five other states allow residents to end their lives legally with medication prescribed by a doctor.

  • Clinton to nation: It’s a ‘moment of reckoning’

    By Lisa Lerer
    The Associated Press

    PHILADELPHIA — Hillary Clinton capped a four-day convention celebration with a plea for national unity and tolerance. Now, one of the most divisive and distrusted figures in American politics must convince voters that she, rather than Republican rival Donald Trump, can bring deeply divided nation together.

  • HU’s new recruitment director has wealth of experience

    By Sean Weaver
    Highlands University

    There was never a doubt in Jessica Jaramillo’s mind about the importance of an education. Her mother was a New Mexico Highlands graduate and enjoyed a 30-year teaching career. Her favorite aunt is a pharmacist.

    “My mother always stressed education, and I really looked up to my aunt,” Jaramillo said. “I wanted to have a great career and have great opportunities.”

  • We must change our world

    In my last column, I wrote about trying to make a positive difference in our increasingly frustrating and frightening world with my little project to smile as I pass people on the street or meet them in elevators. So far 62 people have responded with a smile or just that look that says, “I see you.”

  • Local santero featured in ‘Shrines and Wonders’

    Submitted to the Optic

    If the eyes are the windows to the soul, then a new book is giving residents and tourists a glimpse into the soul of Las Vegas and its Hispanic heritage.

    Titled “Shrines and Wonders: The Pilgrim’s Guide to Santa Fe and Northern New Mexico,” the book features the Plaza Park bulto of Our Lady of Sorrows in Las Vegas and its creator Margarito R. Mondragón, a local santero.

    Mondragón carved the bulto in 2012 from a dying Chinese elm as a gift to the community.

  • Collaboration helps kids gain confidence

    By Carl-Martin Nelson

    MONTEZUMA — Ten-year-old Cadey Estrada looks up at the rock climbing wall in the Lansing Fieldhouse on the United World College-USA earlier this month.

    “I’m here to have fun!” she declares, apparently not intimidated by the challenge ahead of her.

    UWC-USA, in partnership with the city of Las Vegas Recreation Department, is sponsoring a rock climbing class as part of the city’s day camp program.