Local News

  • SMCC picks new manager

    Vidal Martinez, who formerly served Luna Community College in several positions — including vice president — is the San Miguel County Commission’s choice to fill the county manager post.

    The SMCC made that decision late Monday after conducting interviews of three finalists behind closed doors.

    The other finalists were Morris Madrid, former Las Vegas city manager, and Ronald Lucero, according to SMCC Chairman Rock Ulibarri.

  • Shelter in trouble - Samaritan House in peril

    By Gwen Albers
    For the Optic

    Joseph Untalan recently found himself without a job. Without a home. And with a severely frost-bitten foot after sleeping on the street on a 10-degree December night.

    Things changed for Untalan after moving into the Casa de Samaritan (also known as Samaritan House) homeless shelter in Las Vegas, where he is also paid minimum wage to work as a caregiver 28 hours a week.

    “Without the shelter, I may have died from hypothermia,” the 31-year-old Las Vegas man said last week.

  • Ethics panel gains steam

    The Associated Press

    SANTA FE — A proposed constitutional amendment to create an independent ethics commission in New Mexico picked up endorsements from top legislative leaders on Monday as it moves toward the House floor for a vote.

    Democratic House Speaker Brian Egolf promised to expedite a House vote to ensure time for Senate consideration before the Legislature adjourns March 18, as the House Judiciary Committee unanimously endorsed the plan. Approval by a majority of all lawmakers would put the measure on the statewide ballot in 2018.

  • The bigger they are ...
  • Marchi, Vigil named to regents

    By Margaret McKinney
    NMHU University Relations

    The New Mexico Senate on Friday confirmed Frank Marchi’s reappointment to the New Mexico Highlands University Board of Regents, which also welcomes John Ramon Vigil as the new student regent.

    Marchi, a lifelong business leader in New Mexico, was first appointed a regent by Gov. Susana Martinez in 2011. His second term extends through Dec. 31, 2022. The governor originally nominated Vigil for a two-year term that ends Dec. 31, 2018.

  • Early warning for fire season
  • Weather - March 8, 2017


    HIGH 68° / LOW 37°
    Sunny, with a high near 68. Southwest wind 5 to 10 mph increasing to 15 to 20 mph in the afternoon.
    6:21 a.m. to 6:03 p.m.


    HIGH 71° / LOW 38°
    Sunny, with a high near 71. West wind around 10 mph. Thursday night — clear, with a low around 38.
    6:19 a.m. to 6:03 p.m.


  • Author Bruce Berlin talks about big money in politics

    By Margaret McKinney
    Highlands University

    An expert and author on public-sector ethics will lead a symposium from 6 to 7:30 p.m. on Thursday on big money in American politics.

    Bruce Berlin, bestselling author of “Breaking Big Money’s Grip on America,” said his book and the symposium in Highlands University’s Donnelly Library Annex, Lecture Room G-35, 802 National Ave., is an urgent call to focus attention on the power of huge sums of money influencing U.S. elections and public policy.

  • Chamber shuts doors — for one day

    It came as a notice in social media Thursday morning: the Las Vegas San Miguel Chamber of Commerce is officially closed.

    But the closure lasted one day as officials from the chamber and the city of Las Vegas were finally able to agree to  allow the chamber to continue its operations.

    “I made the decisions yesterday (Thursday) to close the doors because of our budget,” chamber board chair Regina DeNardo-Sena said during a telephone interview Friday morning.

  • Fourteen DWI charges - Vegas man back in legal trouble

    James Romero, 57, of the 400 block of Tecolote Street, has landed his 14th DWI charge. He is also facing a handful of other charges including driving on a revoked license, unregistered vehicle, no proof of insurance, following too closely, and speeding.

    Romero was arrested at his home on Feb. 27 after failing DWI tests conducted by San Miguel County Deputy Eric Esquibel.

    Romero’s Breathalyzer tests calculated a .19 and a .18 — roughly double the presumed level of intoxication for adults in New Mexico (.08 percent).