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Local News

  • Official: West 'in heck of a pickle'

    West Las Vegas school board member Caroline Lopez told her colleagues late last week that she agreed with most of the findings in a scathing state report on the district.

    The board’s regular meeting was on Thursday night, just hours after the state Legislative Finance Committee released its report on West and four other districts, including the Las Vegas City Schools.

    For five hours of the meeting, nothing was said about the state analysis. But shortly after 11 p.m., Lopez voiced her opinion on the committee’s 28-page report.

  • Union, city struggle to strike deal

    An official from the city’s biggest union says it’s having a difficult time reaching a new agreement with the city.

    Chris Armijo, a representative of the city chapter of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, tried to air the union’s views during the public input portion of Wednesday’s City Council meeting.

  • Co-op maintaining power lines

    The Mora-San Miguel Electric Cooperative is working with contractors to maintain its infrastructure.

    A recent memo from the co-op said that Sundance Power Pole Inspections has been hired to test power poles for structural integrity along the coop’s more than 1,800 miles of lines.  The company uses global positioning site technology along with Google Earth imaging to alert the co-op’s management to critical issues, hopefully reducing system failures.

  • Hunters angered with state's planned land swap

    Elk season is on at White’s Peak, but a proposed land swap may eventually remove some portion of that prime hunting ground from public use.

    And that’s angering some hunters.

    The State Land Office is proposing to give a portion of the White’s Peak land to the Express UU Bar Ranch and the Stanley Ranch in exchange for other land. The White’s Peak land, opponents say, has been used by area residents for hunting and herb gathering for generations. They fear that hunting that land would become a privilege of the rich if it were given to the ranches.

  • MONDAY ONLINE STORY: Power restored in Las Vegas

    Power was restored in much of Las Vegas at 9:40 a.m. Monday after being out for nearly an hour.

    The outage stated at 8:52 a.m., according to Public Service Company of New Mexico, the electric utility for Las Vegas.

    Power is reportedly out at Highlands University, among other places.

    A PNM spokeswoman said a cause hasn't been identified yet, but she said crews are working on the problem.

  • Chamber lets go of its marketing coordinator

    The local chamber of commerce let go its marketing coordinator last week — a decision that is angering some members.

    The board of directors unanimously voted against renewing the contract for Vince Howell, who has served as the coordinator since September 2008.

    This week, Howell called the action “retribution through association.”

    Matt Martinez, president of the Las Vegas-San Miguel Chamber of Commerce, said the contract was too pricey.

    “We want to get the best bang for the buck,” he said.

  • Murder suspect found guilty

    SANTA ROSA — The family of murder suspect David Levi Chavez thought it had good news when the judge read the jury’s verdict Friday afternoon — not guilty of first-degree murder.

    They erupted in loud cheers — prematurely as it turned out.

    District Judge Abigail Aragon then announced that the jury had found Chavez, 22, guilty of second-degree murder in the 2008 death of 6-year-old Jasmine Garcia. She had been sleeping in a house on Las Vegas‘ Union Street when she was struck by gunfire.

  • State report blasts West

    The West Las Vegas school district is top-heavy and needs to shift more money to the classroom, according to a state report released this week.

    The Legislative Finance Committee unveiled an analysis of five small school districts — West Las Vegas, Las Vegas City Schools, Bernalillo, Bloomfield and Aztec. It was most critical of the West district.

    The staff report was presented to the committee Thursday morning in Santa Fe.

  • Fire destroys northside home

    A fire destroyed a mobile home north of Las Vegas on Sunday night.

    It started while its renter, Andrea Torres, an inserter for the Optic, had left for awhile. She is now staying at her cousin’s house.

    Torres said her bedroom set was saved, but nearly everything else was lost.

    “My clothes were smoke-damaged. My couches were water-damaged,” Torres said.

    She said she had been gone for an hour and a half when her brother called to tell her that fire trucks were at her house.

    Torres had lived there for the last three years.

  • Property values drop near Las Vegas

    A dropping water table southwest of Las Vegas is apparently taking a big toll on some home values.

    Last month, a San Miguel County panel decided to lower valuations for four properties in the Ojitos Frios subdivision, where some residents have been without water. This will likely mean reduced property taxes.

    A recent market estimate for Jack and Betty Thompson’s property came in at $275,000. But the county has since reappraised the property at $22,000 — a loss of more than 90 percent.