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Local News

  • Molten Metal

    Dozens of spectators took in the spectacular site of 2,200-degree metal heated for a performance casting demonstration on Thursday evening.

    The molten metal created dramatic effects of fire and movement. The demonstration was part of New Mexico Highlands University’s Iron Tribe, a biannual event featuring the work of U.S. and international iron artists in an exhibit in the university’s Burris Hall Gallery.

    The event, which has gained widespread reputation, was started by fine arts professor David Lobdell.

  • Child abuse charges filed in DWI case

    A Holman woman was arrested and booked into the San Miguel County jail Friday after she was caught drinking and driving with two young children in her vehicle, court documents state.

    The arrest marked the third time Patricia Tafoya, 33, has been charged with drinking and driving. State police found an open bottle of beer on the driver’s side floorboard of the black Ford pickup she was driving. The children in the vehicle were ages 2 and 4, according to the statement of probable cause filed by patrolman Ronald Duran.

  • Gold chosen to lead West board

    A large crowd of family and friends attended Monday’s West Las Vegas school board meeting to watch Gary Gold and newly elected board members Henry Abeyta and Marvin Martinez take their ceremonial oaths of office.

    After members were sworn in, the board reorganized its leadership, electing Gold as the new chairman, David Romero the new board vice president and Christine Ludi secretary.

  • Officials crack down on peddlers

    The city of Las Vegas plans to begin cracking down on people going door to door peddling their wares and services without a proper business license.

    The vendors can be selling anything from magazines to flowers, and sometimes go door to door offering to replace a roof or do other jobs, City Attorney Dave Romero said.

  • Mariachi Extravaganza

    Mariachi music has been alive and well in the area for years.

    This past week the strumming of the guitars, guitarrones, vihuelas, violins and trumpets filled music rooms with their melodies and rhythms during the Second Annual Youth Mariachi Conference.

    Mariachi Tenampa taught more than 130 students at the three-day conference held at New Mexico Highlands University.

  • West chief: Funding to be bleak

    West Las Vegas superintendent Ruben Cordova briefed board members on a number of topics during a special meeting at Valley school last week, including how much state money the district can expect after the 60-day legislative session ends later this month.

  • Suspicious dorm fire displaces 11 students

    The state fire marshal’s office and Highlands University police are investigating a suspicious fire the broke out Tuesday evening inside a university dorm room.

    The small fire at Connor Hall was contained to a single room, said Highlands spokesman Sean Weaver. It was quickly extinguished by the building’s sprinkler system, he said.

    No one was injured in the blaze, which apparently started with either a towel or a T-shirt, Weaver said.

    The woman who lived in the dorm was not there at the time.

  • LV man gets drug conviction

    A Las Vegas man has been convicted of multiple drug charges — for the second time in the last 10 years.

    On Feb. 8, a San Miguel County jury found Michael Strand Sr., 52, guilty of trafficking crack cocaine, a first-degree felony.

    Fourth Judicial District Attorney Richard Flores said he will “definitely” seek the maximum 18-year sentence for Strand.  The sentencing hearing is set for 10 a.m. March 21 in the courtroom of District Judge Eugenio Mathis, who also presided over the jury trial.

  • Mora county man gets 18 months

    A Mora County man who allegedly tried to get out of trouble by pretending to be his own brother is headed to prison for identity theft.

    Joseph B. Vigil, 39, has been sentenced to 18 months in prison after pleading guilty to using his brother’s identity for a second time, 4th Judicial District Attorney Richard Flores told the Optic.

  • Quintana trial stalled ‘til fall

    The former Robertson High School teacher and coach accused of carrying on a yearslong sexual relationship with a student will have to wait several more months for his day in court.

    A trial for Jay Quintana had been scheduled to begin in late February. But delays in the case have pushed back that trial date. He likely won’t go on trial until the fall, Sandoval County District Judge George Eichwald told attorneys during a hearing this week in Bernalillo.