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Local News

  • West board says it's being underpaid

    West Las Vegas board members sparred with their business manager last week, saying they were being underpaid.

    Business Manager Dawn Biagianti said the district paid board members for 18 meetings, but that it is supposed to pay for one meeting a month.

    “That’s why I budgeted what I did,” Biagianti said during a school board meeting.

    Board members disagreed.

  • Council keeps workers' perk

    The City Council last week rejected a proposal that would have ended the benefit in which employees can use the recreation center for free.

    Sixty to 80 employees use the rec center each month — a free benefit for both workers and city retirees. But officials proposed that employees and retirees pay a discounted price for the services.

    Under the officials’ proposal, city employees would pay $15 a month to use the rec center, instead of the $30 rate for other customers. Additional family members would get in for $10 a month.

  • RHS grads claimed victories, suffered 'unthinkable blow'

    At Robertson High School’s graduation on Friday night, speakers noted the winning sports teams and academic achievements. And they gave particular credit to the nationally acclaimed FFA club.

    But Leah Lucero, a graduating senior and a top academic achiever, also talked about the “unthinkable blow” to Robertson at the beginning of her class’ junior year.

  • Budget includes raises for officials

    The West Las Vegas school board approved a budget last week that includes hefty raises for two top district officials.

    Members Caroline Lopez and Kenny Lujan voted against the document. They protested giving pay hikes to the two officials when the district was asking others to sacrifice in lean times.

    “This will hurt morale in the district. People who have heard about this are upset,” Lopez told the Optic.

    Superintendent Jim Abreu disagreed.

  • West class keeps its spirit to the end

    West Las Vegas High School Principal Gene Parson said his heart was with the class of 2010. A major reason for that was his son, Spencer Parson, was among its graduates.

    Another reason was the class’ spirit, the longtime principal said during Saturday’s commencement ceremony.

    Just a day before, a dozen seniors painted the D (for Dons) on a hill near town — an annual ritual.

    They had scheduled the painting a few times before, but bad weather prevented them from going up the hill.

  • Hazing ringleader admits crimes

    SANTA FE -- Michael Gallegos, the ringleader behind the sexual assaults on his fellow Robertson High School football players nearly two years ago, admitted to the crimes Monday.

    In Santa Fe’s District Court, Gallegos pleaded guilty to counts of criminal sexual penetration, attempted criminal sexual penetration and conspiracy.

    Gallegos, the son of former City Councilman Michael Gallegos, apologized to his family and his former teammates. He said he could imagine how hard it has been for the victims.

  • Applicant mired in controversy

    One of the candidates for West Las Vegas superintendent is in jeopardy of losing her licenses. But she’s fighting the allegations against her.

    Kaye Peery, who is on paid leave as the superintendent of Zuni Pueblo schools, is among seven applicants for the West position. She makes $130,000 a year.

    She was placed on leave in January 2009 after allegations of misspending and improper hiring surfaced. The Zuni district, which is south of Gallup, has had an interim leader since that time, in effect paying for two superintendents.

  • Police: Suspect holds beer can to end

    Abel Herrera still had a can of Budweiser in his left hand after he crashed over the weekend, state police said.

    Herrera, 37, was being pursued by a couple of state police officers when he got into the accident on the Eighth Street Extension in Los Vigiles, authorities said.

    Abel Anthony Herrera, 37, was pronounced dead soon after the crash, police said.

    Officers believe he was intoxicated at the time of the accident on late Saturday night.

  • Alleged ringleader expected to enter deal

    Michael Gallegos, the alleged ringleader in the assaults at a 2008 Robertson High School football camp, is expected to enter a plea agreement next week, a victim’s parent says.

    A hearing for Gallegos is slated for 9 a.m. Monday in Santa Fe’s District Court.

    Gallegos and five others were accused of sodomizing underclassmen during the camp in 2008.

    A father of one of the victims said he had been informed this week that Gallegos will be entering a plea agreement. He referred a reporter to prosecutor Henry Valdez for details; Valdez declined to comment.

  • AG: City may have broken law

    The state attorney general’s office says the Las Vegas City Council may have violated the state’s open meetings law in early 2009.

    The Open Meetings Act requires governing bodies in New Mexico to discuss most of their business in public at advertised meetings. The intention of the law is to ensure the public knows what’s going on with their taxpayer-supported entities.

    However, the attorney general’s office believes two e-mail discussions among then-Mayor Tony Marquez and a majority of council members appeared to be in violation of state law.