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Local News

  • Ex-Vegas officer acquitted

    A former Las Vegas police officer was acquitted of charges of making inappropriate advances toward a woman while in uniform.

    On Wednesday, Robert Ortega, 36, was acquitted by a six-member jury in Magistrate Court on two petty misdemeanor charges of battery.

    According to state police, a woman reported that she was working at a service station on Jan. 24, 2009, when Ortega, who was filling up his car, asked her what was wrong. She told the officer that her former boyfriend had been harassing her.

  • Highlands hikes tuition rates

    As officials hiked tuition rates at Highlands University last week, they said the school still had the best price for a quality education.

    President Jim Fries recommended a 7.7 percent increase for resident students or a $8.80 increase per credit hour. Non-residents and international students will see a 7.5 percent hike, to $166 and $216 per credit hour respectively.   

  • Police watching for traffic violators near mayor's house

    Motorists may want to slow down and obey the stop sign at Tecolote and Chavez streets. The police are watching.

    On Thursday, an officer pulled over violators of traffic laws at that intersection, which is next to Mayor Alfonso Ortiz’s house. The officer was stationed on Chavez, far enough away that drivers on Tecolote couldn’t see him.

    Chavez and Tecolote is a T-intersection, with Chavez ending in front of the mayor’s four-bay garage.

  • Man gets seventh DWI, police say

    A Las Vegas man was arrested earlier this week for his seventh DWI offense, state police said.

    Dennis Barela, 48, 116 Independence, was also charged with driving on a suspended or revoked license and weaving between lanes.

    According to a state police report, an officer stopped Barela shortly after midnight Tuesday on N.M. Highway 518 north of Las Vegas. The officer stated in his report that he saw Barela drive over the double-painted center divider line.

  • County says it's saving tax dollars

    San Miguel County is seeing big savings as it improves roads, thanks to the new crusher plant north of town, an official said.

    Harold Garcia, the county’s public service foreman, said the county put new base course on nearly two miles of Pork Chop Hill Road about four months ago.

    The improvements cost $30,000, far less than the estimated $150,000 it would have taken to hire a contractor for the same job, Garcia said.

  • Mora sheriff fires rival candidate

    Taking on the boss can often be a risky strategy.

    Mora County resident Timothy Marquez knows that firsthand. As the county’s undersheriff, he decided to run against Sheriff Roy Cordova in the June 1 Democratic primary.

    Shortly after, Marquez found himself without a job.

    On March 16, Marquez, Cordova and two others filed their Democratic candidacies for sheriff. A Republican entered the GOP primary.

  • Highlands regents delay decision

    Highlands University has been given a little more time to find ways to save its wrestling and rodeo programs.

    On Wednesday, the school’s Board of Regents voted to delay a decision on the administration’s recommendation to do away with wrestling and rodeo because of budget cuts.

    This happened before a large crowd of wrestling and rodeo enthusiasts.

    During the meeting, student regent Greg Rael announced that he would have a forum at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Kennedy Hall to look for ways to save the programs.

  • College may ax two sports

    Highlands University’s wrestling and rodeo programs may be destined for the chopping block.

    On Wednesday, the school’s Board of Regents will consider the administration’s proposal to cut the two sports. The university has seen its athletics budget drop by nearly 15 percent since fiscal year 2009 — the result of statewide spending cuts.

    “This isn’t an easy decision to make. It’s not as if people are jumping up and down to get rid of these programs,” Highlands spokesman Sean Weaver said.

  • Montano elected to lead board

    Ramon “Swoops” Montaño was seated as Las Vegas City Schools board president for the second time in a yearly reorganization of the board at a recent meeting. 

    He replaces Phillip Vigil as the leader of the board.  

    Montaño was also elected as president of the state school boards association.

    Gabriel Lucero replaces Montaño as vice president of the local board, and Patrick Romero remains as secretary.

  • County to tackle turbine rules

    San Miguel County officials will likely take a look at wind-farm regulations at its meeting next month. But no action is expected at that time.

    It’s an issue that has caused division in the Valley since a company expressed interest in putting up wind turbines on the mesa near Bernal a few years ago.

    Some hope to benefit economically from such a project, while others contend turbines are unsightly, noisy and damaging to wildlife.