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Local News

  • Area students get ag lessons

    Instead of arithmetic and spelling, area elementary students got to learn about cows and bugs recently.

    It was all a part of the sixth annual Kids and Kows and More Expo at Zamora Arena. The event was sponsored by the Southwest Dairy Farmers Association.  

    Tonya Collins of the New Mexico Beef Council said during the expo that children rotate to a number of stations where they learn about America’s breadbasket, and about the farmers and ranchers who essentially feed the world.

  • Faculty criticizes Fries’ remarks

    The leader of Highlands University’s faculty union is accusing the school’s president of giving “false and misleading” information about labor negotiations.

    Kathy Jenkins, president of the Faculty Association, made the charge in a mass e-mail to around 90 union members earlier this week. She was responding to Jim Fries’ statements to the Optic in which he contended that the school was trying to get the union to the bargaining table but that the union had canceled the last few meetings.

  • Girls find out about opportunities

    Arianna Romero and other fifth-graders in the Las Vegas City Schools district were finding out firsthand that girls can do anything in the workforce that boys can do.

    “I learned that every job isn’t just for guys; girls can do carpentry and contracting. We can become scientists, archaeologists, biologists and attorneys,” Romero said. “I want to be a veterinarian when I grow up.”

  • East board OKs expulsion

    After an hour behind closed doors, the Las Vegas City Schools board voted unanimously to uphold the expulsion of an 18-year old student arrested on drug charges in an investigation on Robertson High School grounds.

    Board President Phillip Vigil called for a vote, with Patrick Romero and Ramon “Swoops” Montaño offering a first and second on the motion. Romero, Montaño, Gabriel Lucero, Elaine Luna and President Vigil all voted yes to expel the student.

  • Agencies seek to aid rape victims

    A Highlands University student says she struggled to get clear answers on what to do after she was raped earlier this year.

    That’s the type of situation local officials want to change.

    The woman said she didn’t immediately report her assault to authorities. She said she wanted to clean up first.

    “I was in such shock,” she said.

    The student knew the terminology and asked Alta Vista Regional Hospital if it had a sexual assault nurse examiner, or SANE. The hospital didn’t, she was told, but it had rape kits available.

  • School fund for breakfast dries up

    State funding for the West Las Vegas school district’s breakfast program has dried up, an official said last week. It’s not clear whether the programs will continue next year.

    The district was hit with a 2.5 percent reduction in the 2008-09 allocation, the district’s budget director, Doug Hendrickson, told the school board at a meeting.

    Board President Christine Ludi asked if there was a way to make sure the program continues.

  • Dem chief beats challenge

    A statewide Democratic Party committee on Saturday rejected a challenge to the San Miguel County party chairman’s recent re-election.  

    But the attorney for the challenger promised to seek a court’s determination on whether the party should seat certain delegates.

    Earlier this month, Chairman Martin Suazo, who has headed the local party for eight years, was elected to another two-year term, getting 84 delegates’ votes to Ambrose Castellano’s 10.

  • Lujan visits Vegas

    U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Lujan, D-N.M., was in Las Vegas Friday to open a constituent office that will be headed by Pam Garcia.

    The office is on the the Highlands University campus across the street from Ilfeld Auditorium. Lujan said the office is one of six he is opening in the 3rd Congressional District.

    “We are opening up offices throughout the district that will be accessible to the constituency and in areas that we can provide a high level of service. We have offices opening in Santa Fe, Tucumcari, Gallup, Farmington, Rio Rancho and Las Vegas,” Lujan said.

  • County won’t take over road

    The U.S. Forest Service has officially backed off from a petition asking the county to take over a forest road in the Pecos area.

    This week, the County Commission unanimously voted to accept the federal agency’s request to withdraw the petition.

    In November, the Forest Service requested the county take over Forest Road 223. But a county road-viewing committee recommended against doing so, saying the agency needed to obtain the proper easements from landowners and settle all issues involving the road.

  • 2006 election may have been illegal

    In late 2006, then-Las Vegas City Councilman Michael Gallegos was the subject of a recall election, but he beat it back.

    Now it turns out the recall election may have been illegal in the first place. An expert in municipal government told the council last week that the city wasn’t supposed to have provisions to recall an official in the city charter.

    Randy Van Vleck, an attorney for the New Mexico Municipal League, said that the city is not a home-rule community, so it is limited by state law about what it can have in its charter.