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Local News

  • Top Mora school official gets pay hike

    A top Mora school district official is getting a raise because he is taking on extra duties, an official said last week.

    For the fiscal year starting July 1, Roger Gonzales, the district’s director of institutional support and advancement, will see his pay increase from $71,000 a year to $79,000, said Joseph Griego, chairman of the Mora school board.

  • Firefighters work on fire in Tecolote area

    Extreme fire behavior and high winds throughout the day made it unsafe for firefighters to get containment of the Tecolote fire on Saturday, state officials said.

    Large smoke plumes were visible since Saturday morning, which made it hard to adequately size up the fire, officials said.   

    The use of airtankers was halted due to strong winds, but a Type 1 helicopter continued to make water drops.

    No structures were immediately threatened and no evacuations were ordered.  

  • Apartment complex opens

    A housing complex on Ridge Runner Road has been completed.

    The Supportive Housing Coalition of New Mexico and the Vista Gallinas Community Partnership recently celebrated the official grand opening of the Vista Gallinas Apartments, a 15-unit permanent supportive housing project. The project provides affordable housing to citizens of Las Vegas who have struggled with homelessness and disabilities.  

  • Co-op plans for more reliable power

    A rural electric project that is expected to reduce the number of power outages is slated to start next month.

    The Mora-San Miguel Electric Cooperative recently received approval to move forward with the project from the state Transportation Department.

    As it stands, power outages frequently leave more than 5,000 area residents in the dark. The cooperative serves customers in rural San Miguel, Mora, Santa Fe and Guadalupe counties.

  • Winner's residency at issue

    San Miguel County Commissioner-elect Arthur Padilla signed an affidavit three months ago listing his residence at 711 Legion Drive. It was made under oath.

    But new information indicates that he has been living in Rociada, about 30 miles northwest of Las Vegas.

    When an Optic reporter knocked on the door at 711 Legion last Monday, Padilla’s son came out. Asked if Padilla lives at the house, he said his father lives in Rociada.

  • Man's check largest single donation

    Longtime teacher Lottie Wood Washburn’s educational legacy continues through a $1 million endowment her son, Beverly W. Washburn, established with the New Mexico Highlands University Foundation.

    The endowment is the largest single donation ever made to the university, officials said.

  • Lawmaker gets Mora post

    State Rep. Thomas Garcia will be the new superintendent of the Mora school district.

    Garcia beat out two other candidates interviewed during a Mora school board meeting Tuesday night. The board unanimously approved Garcia as the new superintendent, with member George Trujillo making the motion.

    Garcia, whose District 68 includes Mora County, lives in Las Vegas much of the time but lists his official residence as Ocate, which is in Mora County.

  • 9-year-old girl struck by car

    A 9-year-old girl is in serious condition after being hit by a car while riding her bike Tuesday, city police said. The motorist may have been on his cell phone at the time.

    Madison Holley, 1309 First St., whose mother is Pamela Bustos, was taken by helicopter to University of New Mexico hospital in Albuquerque on Tuesday night.

    According to police, Holley was apparently riding across First Street in front of her family’s house when Peter J. Salazar Jr., 33, 2514 Carmean Drive, accidentally struck her. Other children were reportedly in the area.

  • City follows AG's advice on openness

    What was once secret at City Hall is now public.

    Last year, then-City Attorney Carlos Quiñones told the City Council that one of its members couldn’t be trusted because someone had released e-mails among council members to the public.

    In a confidential memo, Quiñones said an Optic story in March 2009 made clear that someone was releasing the e-mails in violation of the ethics code and his legal advice.

    Last week, however, the new city attorney, Dave Romero, read some of those very same e-mails into the record at a City Council meeting.

  • Students argue issues, but still show respect

    Back in the 1930s, a teacher at a small school in the South told his students they could compete with anyone if they learned the proper skills.

    Teacher Melvin Tolson’s students came from historically black Wiley College in the time when Jim Crow laws were common, and lynch mobs were a pervasive fear for black men and women in the United States.

    Eight decades later, a movie staring Denzel Washington was made based on Tolson, his debate team and their efforts to get on an equal footing with whites in a segregated nation.