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Local News

  • After 2 years, woman cleared of battery, child abuse charges

    A Las Vegas woman accused of hitting a child two years ago in a fight with the girl’s mother was found not guilty by a jury last month.

    Renee Maestas, 36, was acquitted of two counts of battery and one count of child abuse on Jan. 25. The charges stemmed from a 2009 fight at the Dollar General store, in which Maestas and the 9-year-old girl’s mother exchanged blows.

    David Silva, attorney for Maestas, said the acquittal effectively ends a two-year “house arrest” for Maestas.

  • Quintana still has his licenses

    From AP and Staff Reports

    Jay Quintana, former Robertson High School teacher and coach, is facing a dozen felony charges of criminal sexual penetration. But he still has his teaching license and has been teaching while out of jail on bond.

    According to a report in the Albuquerque Journal this week, the New Mexico Public Education Department has pulled 22 teaching credentials last year — but Quintana still has his three, for coaching, administration and teaching.

  • Above and Beyond: Fidel Trujillo comes home to Highlands

    Fidel Trujillo’s life has been devoted to family, faith and education.

    A Mora native, he was recently named dean of students at Highlands University. His new position at NMHU seems to be a natural fit — as he was once a student and is now an administrator at the school.

    After graduating from Mora High School in 1994, Trujillo started his higher education at Highlands to stay close to home. When his mother was only 29, she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis — a condition that continues to haunt her.

  • Deputy chief named for PD

    The new chief is assembling his team.

    Capt. Eugene Garcia was sworn in as deputy chief Wednesday at the Las Vegas City Council meeting. Christian Montaño, who was promoted to chief last month after a couple of months as interim chief and more than four years as deputy chief, said he was “very confident with Gene Garcia as my right-hand man.”

    The two officers know each other well. They both came to work for the city police department on the same day 18 years ago.

  • Honored for Service

    This month’s East Las Vegas school board election featured a replacement of faces, with two longstanding members opting not to seek re-election and one who unsuccessfully ran for another term.

    Tuesday’s regular meeting featured the current members taking care of loose ends. The existing board — Gabriel Lucero, Patrick Romero, Elaine Luna, Phillip Vigil and Ramon “Swoops” Montaño — remained in their places to deliver their swan songs.

  • Speeding truck slams into city patrol car

    A Las Vegas patrol car was rammed from behind Tuesday night on Railroad Avenue, slightly injuring both the police officer on patrol and the driver of the other vehicle, police said.

    The incident happened at about 10:24 p.m. Officer Alan Pacheco was on patrol on 700 block of Railroad, travelling north, when he was struck from behind by a Ford F-350 truck driven by Leonard R. Montoya, 44, of 1003 Tilden in Las Vegas.

  • Gearing up for accreditation

    Interim Las Vegas City Schools Superintendent Sheryl McNellis-Martinez notified the school board last week of an upcoming North Central Association accreditation inspection — emphasizing its importance.

    “Accreditation ensures that a Robertson High School diploma meets a standard of excellence that is recognized at universities throughout the nation and worldwide, and help our students qualify for a myriad of scholarship opportunities,” McNellis-Martinez said.  

  • Mentor of the Month: Rock Ulibarri

    Thomas Jefferson once said, “In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock.”

    Rock Ulibarri appears to be an avatar of Jefferson’s dictum. His words, as well as his actions denote his “stand and deliver” approach regarding convictions he holds about society, especially how children can be validated via educational practices.

  • Fashion show touts ‘Army’ accessories

    Reuse, renew, recycle was the message at Sunday’s fashion show.

    This fashion show had a special twist though — the attire was from the Salvation Army, a thrift store on Douglas Avenue.

    “I was so excited for the show to start and now I am still as excited,” Anne Bradford said after the show. Bradford and Judee Williams had a vision several years ago to produce this off the normal fashion show.

    Bradford said, “the show was possibly the first type of show in New Mexico. This is a great way for people to recycle.”

  • Refurbished pool facility to open

    Submitted to the Optic

    New Mexico Highlands University’s renovated natatorium opens with a splash 5 to 8 p.m. Friday when the campus and community can get a look at the pool, and take a dip.

    The university’s Office of Campus Life is hosting the grand opening, which includes light refreshments and music.

    The swimming pool facility is at the northwest corner of Baca Avenue and 11th Street, west of Perkins Stadium and the field house.