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Local News

  • Local GOP leader sees ‘opportunity’

    A local leader of the San Miguel County Republican Party says he and other members of his party see an opportunity in Susana Martinez’s election as governor.

    “(Party) members feel confident that it is a great opportunity for us to strengthen and rebuild our party,” Republican Mel Root said in a statement after returning from Saturday’s gubernatorial inauguration event in Santa Fe.

  • West grad dies in crash

    “Unbelievable” was the single word an 18-year-old man’s mother used to describe her feelings about the death of her son.

    Joseph “Joey” Portillo, 18, died on Wednesday evening as a result of an automobile accident on Interstate 25 south of Las Vegas.

  • New Year’s Baby

    Marcus Barela made his grand entrance at 12:42 a.m. to officially become Alta Vista Regional Hospital’s first baby of 2011. Barela is the son of Mark Barela and Adella Jaramillo of Las Vegas and the brother to 2-year-old Ariana Barela.

    “Pretty exciting,” Jaramillo said in describing the birth of her son on New Year’s Day. “I didn’t expect to have him on New Year’s.”

  • Taking The Plunge
  • Husband facing criminal charges

    A Las Vegas man is facing criminal charges after allegedly choking his wife until she momentarily lost consciousness during an argument in their home on Dec. 17.

    State police have issued an arrest warrant for a 35-year-old Las Vegas man on charges of aggravated battery against a household member, false imprisonment and assault.

    According to records filed in San Miguel County Magistrate Court, the alleged victim told police her husband turned violent in an argument and choked her with his right hand, causing her to “black out.”

  • 2010: A look at the year’s top stories

    1 Over the last year, residents have clashed over how to regulate wind farms in San Miguel County, making it the Optic’s top story for 2010.

    The controversy brought out the issue of economic development.

    Many argued that opening the door to wind turbines would boost the area’s economy and increase tax revenue by hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of dollars every year.

    But others argued that turbines would adversely affect the area’s scenery, create constant noise for neighbors and kill wildlife.

  • Petition calls for vote on wind farm

    Opponents of the San Miguel County Commission wind ordinance are gathering signatures on a petition calling for a popular vote on the matter. But the legality of the petition itself is already being called into question.

    Rock Ulibarri, an opponent of the wind ordinance that passed Dec. 20, said the petition began circulating that day. The petitioners believe they must gather 15 percent of the county’s qualified voters within 30 days to force the matter on a special election ballot.

  • County officials take oath of office

    Newly elected San Miguel County officials took the oath of office Monday as district judges Matthew Sandoval and Eugenio Mathis, in turn, swore in Sheriff Benjamin Vigil, commissioners Ron Ortega and Arthur Padilla, Assessor Elaine Estrada, and Probate Judge Horace Lucero.   

    Sheriff Vigil, a Democrat, won re-election in November with 77 percent of the vote. Vigil was first elected to head the sheriff's department in 2006.

  • Police deal with rash of car break-ins

    Las Vegas has seen an increase in vehicle break-ins over the holiday season, Interim Police Chief Christian Montaño said Monday.

    Residential burglaries, however, are comparatively down, he said.

    In November and December, 28 vehicle burglaries were reported in town, compared to only 13 during the same two months a year earlier. In a news release issued last week, Montaño warned that the break-ins were occurring to “unlocked and unattended” vehicles.

  • Student helps MainStreet increase Artwalk interest

    By Margaret McKinney
    Highlands University

    New Mexico Highlands University business student Jewell Esquibel helped increased Las Vegas business participation in Second Saturday Artwalk through a work- study internship with MainStreet Las Vegas.

    During the fall semester, Esquibel worked as the coordinator for Second Saturday Artwalk. Since 2008, more than 75 local artists have participated in Artwalk by teaming up with local galleries, retail shops, restaurants and other businesses to attract locals and visitors to historic downtown Las Vegas.