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Local News

  • Highlands University proposes parking permit system

    When motorists are looking for a parking place, it’s always a great feeling to see an open space close to their destinations.

    But with a lot of new construction going on at Highlands University, parking is becoming a major hassle, some say.

    President Jim Fries told the Board of Regents at a recent meeting that the school’s master plan stresses the importance of a permit system for future parking on campus.

  • At 25, woman leads county ag office

    Samantha Ortiz joined 4-H when she was 5. At 25, she now oversees a lot of the organization’s local activities as the San Miguel County 4-H and Agriculture Extension agent.

    Ortiz says she, Mora agent Skip Finley and the fair board all have had their hands full in recent days preparing for the county fair, which begins today and runs through Sunday, but has been in the works since the end of the 2009 event.

    “The work really never ends on the 4-H side, as we guide the kids in the right way, for show-time,” Ortiz said.

  • Official, ex-queen asked to leave

    The embattled Fiesta Council, which began its meeting more than a half hour late Tuesday, closed its doors to the public.

    As a result, members told City Councilwoman Diane Moore, former Fiesta Queen Carmela Montoya and an Optic reporter to leave.

    On Wednesday, city officials expressed concern about the closed meeting.

    The Fiesta Council is an independent nonprofit group, but depends heavily on city’s help to put on the annual Fiestas de Las Vegas, which is held around the Fourth of July every year.

  • City to clean up junkyard

    The city is poised to clear the large junkyard along Interstate 25.

    City Attorney Dave Romero said this week that the city could begin the project in two to three weeks. That’s contingent on the federal government giving the the city the clearance to access the junkyard from the U.S. interstate, which the city expects to happen.

    The estimated price tag is $200,000.

    About three years ago, the city made headway in convincing frequent code violator Tony Ortega to get rid of the junk on his properties on Railroad Avenue.

  • Council member suffers illness

    Councilman David Romero recently suffered a health problem, his family said in a statement this week.

    The family didn’t reveal the nature of the situation, but they said he was in the care of medical experts.

    “The family asks for you to continue to keep him in your thoughts and prayers in this time of recovery and rehabilitation,” the statement said. “We are optimistic for a speedy recovery, and we are confident that the city of Las Vegas will make reasonable accommodations as needed.”

  • Art boosters split in fight with state

    Las Vegas’ Arts and Cultural District is in good standing with the state, despite a dispute between the district’s former chairman and a state official.

    However, the controversy has caused a split among local arts advocates.

    The state has designated six Arts and Cultural districts in New Mexico to promote arts and culture as a way of increasing economic development. Las Vegas got its designation nearly three years ago.

    The local district operates under MainStreet Las Vegas, which focuses on improving the downtown areas, officials said.

  • Wagon Mound mayor: Utility situation 'disturbing'

    The village of Wagon Mound’s list of delinquent utilities accounts failed to include those of a number of city employees and others, the village’s mayor says.

    Mayor Arthur Arguello said in a statement that when he took over as mayor in March, he found a “disturbing situation” in which the utilities weren’t paying for themselves.

    As a result, he said the state had forced the village to transfer “substantial amounts” of money from its general fund to the utilities.

  • Highlands expects more budget cuts

    Highlands University officials say they are facing the same budgetary struggles as other state agencies. But they say they’ve been working on ways to deal with the situation.

    Highlands University President Jim Fries said the school is expecting a 3.2 percent cut, which is the level that state officials have been warning.

    Fries said the reduction of state money would begin in September. He read a memo from state officials that said if future budgetary forecasts improve, budgets could be adjusted upward. The memo also said budgets could be reduced.

  • EDC director plans to leave

    The executive director of Las Vegas’ main economic development group is planning to step down, but he’s not sure when that’ll happen.

    Roberto Rios, director of the Las Vegas-San Miguel Economic Development Corporation, confirmed to the City Council recently that because of personal issues, he would have to leave his position. He has held the job for 13 months.

    He said that given the bad state of the economy, he said it may take some time to find another job, so he may still be at EDC for a while.

  • College seeking six radio stations

    Almost three years ago, Highlands University applied for six low-powered FM radio stations. One of those would include a station for the university’s foundation.

    President Jim Fries said recently that the foundation’s radio station would be in Romeroville, southwest of Las Vegas. The university currently operates KDEP-FM, which is across the street from Ilfeld Auditorium.

    “The Federal Communications Commission has granted Highlands licenses for the communities of Raton, Clayton, Farmington and possibly Milan,” Fries said.