Local News

  • 16 Memorial Middle School students qualify for national conference

    Submitted to the Optic

    Sixteen Memorial Middle School Business Professionals of America students qualified to attend the Business Professionals of America National Leadership Conference to be held in Boston in early May.

    They are Julian Montoya, Nicholas Marrujo, Dylan Moore, Deandre Gutierrez, Cody River, Jayden Jenkins, Isabel Lopez, Kyle Conway, Leena Martinez, Elizia Montoya, Tameera Montoya, Carli Marrujo, Viana Chung, Mikaella Sena, Isaiah Probst, and Jacob Smith.

  • Mentally ill women forced to have sex

    A 75-year-old Las Vegas man is facing multiple felonies for allegedly  forcing two mentally ill women to have sex with him and then paying them with cigarettes, sodas and cheese.

    Benjamin Baca, of the 1000 block of Jackson Street, was arrested on Wednesday. He is accused of targeting residents of boarding homes on New Mexico Avenue and Ninth Street.

    The case was investigated jointly by the Human Trafficking Unit of the state Attorney General’s Office and the Las Vegas Police Department.

  • Board member asked to resign

    By Mercy Lopez and Martín Salazar

    A member of the West Las Vegas School Board has been in office for nearly a year despite the fact that he has a felony conviction and isn’t eligible to hold public office, the Optic has learned.

    An attorney for the school district is recommending that board member Anthony “Leroy” Benavidez resign immediately, saying that his presence on the board could “dramatically affect the district’s ability to operate” and even result in a lowered bond rating.

  • Paul D. Henry 4th grader spells his way to state bee

    It was the correct spelling of “conglomerate” that made him a champion in countywide spelling bee competition, qualifying him for state, the next level.

    The winner at this level, Sherlock Chen, is a fourth grader at Paul D. Henry Elementary School. He leaves Saturday for Albuquerque to compete in the State Spelling Bee at Albuquerque’s Sandia Prep, with the winner advancing to the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington.

  • Locals protest Alta Vista decision

    The closing of Alta Vista Regional Hospital’s obstetrics department remains a hot issue for many. Wednesday afternoon, roughly 25 people demonstrated their dismay to the closure as they marched along Mills Avenue and Seventh Street.

    The closure of the obstetrics unit, which took place earlier this month, six days after the announcement, also prompted San Miguel County Commissioner Nicolas Leger to draft a resolution that he hopes the Commission will pass. The resolution would create a task force to look into community health issues.

  • Jail Log Mar. 18, 2016

    The following individuals were booked into the San Miguel County Detention Center between March 4 and March 15:
    Pablo Pacheco, 31, 2 counts battery on health care worker, assault on health care worker, criminal damage to property
    Euligio Maestas, 36, district court warrant - failure to appear
    Helen Rivera, 34, holding for investigation
    Michael Dominguez, 31, Adult Probation Office warrant - absconding
    Carlos Valencia, 32, failure to report, failure to appear
    Henrieta Lovato, 42, failure to appear, improper use of equipment

  • Accused serial rapist takes plea

    A 53-year-old San Miguel County Man pleaded no contest on Monday to multiple counts of rape and false imprisonment stemming from the abduction of three women from Santa Fe and Albuquerque.

    Under the terms of the plea agreement, Eddie Medrano, who has been locked up at the San Miguel County Detention Center since September of 2014, faces up to 18 years in prison. Sentencing will take place at a later date.

  • 2 area DOT workers struck, killed

    The Associated Press and Optic Staff

    ROY — New Mexico authorities say two state Department of Transportation workers were killed when a 92-year-old motorist’s vehicle struck the workers’ parked vehicle and shoved it into the workers.

    State Police on Tuesday identified the motorist as Celestin Clavel of Roy and said he was seriously injured in the crash Monday in Harding County in northeastern New Mexico.

  • Body found in bed of pickup

    Las Vegas Optic

    A retired Highlands University professor was shocked on Monday when he discovered the body of a deceased male in the bed of his pickup.

    Ron Maestas, a retired Highlands business professor and former part-time coach, had parked his truck on Bridge Street on Monday. He said he was stunned when someone pointed out that there appeared to be a body in the bed of his pickup.

    Upon seeing the body, Maestas began trembling and immediately called 911.

  • Legislature, AG at odds over records

    The Associated Press

    The New Mexico Legislature has refused to turn over records subpoenaed by the Attorney General’s Office earlier this month.

    The Albuquerque Journal reports that Attorney General Hector Balderas wants the records for his office’s criminal case against former Sen. Phil Griego. Griego was recently charged with nine crimes related to a real estate deal, including bribery, fraud and perjury.