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Local News

  • Murder suspect found guilty

    SANTA ROSA — The family of murder suspect David Levi Chavez thought it had good news when the judge read the jury’s verdict Friday afternoon — not guilty of first-degree murder.

    They erupted in loud cheers — prematurely as it turned out.

    District Judge Abigail Aragon then announced that the jury had found Chavez, 22, guilty of second-degree murder in the 2008 death of 6-year-old Jasmine Garcia. She had been sleeping in a house on Las Vegas‘ Union Street when she was struck by gunfire.

  • State report blasts West

    The West Las Vegas school district is top-heavy and needs to shift more money to the classroom, according to a state report released this week.

    The Legislative Finance Committee unveiled an analysis of five small school districts — West Las Vegas, Las Vegas City Schools, Bernalillo, Bloomfield and Aztec. It was most critical of the West district.

    The staff report was presented to the committee Thursday morning in Santa Fe.

  • Fire destroys northside home

    A fire destroyed a mobile home north of Las Vegas on Sunday night.

    It started while its renter, Andrea Torres, an inserter for the Optic, had left for awhile. She is now staying at her cousin’s house.

    Torres said her bedroom set was saved, but nearly everything else was lost.

    “My clothes were smoke-damaged. My couches were water-damaged,” Torres said.

    She said she had been gone for an hour and a half when her brother called to tell her that fire trucks were at her house.

    Torres had lived there for the last three years.

  • Property values drop near Las Vegas

    A dropping water table southwest of Las Vegas is apparently taking a big toll on some home values.

    Last month, a San Miguel County panel decided to lower valuations for four properties in the Ojitos Frios subdivision, where some residents have been without water. This will likely mean reduced property taxes.

    A recent market estimate for Jack and Betty Thompson’s property came in at $275,000. But the county has since reappraised the property at $22,000 — a loss of more than 90 percent.

  • Lead witness testifies in murder case

    SANTA ROSA — "I didn't think he was going to do it."

    That's how prosecution witness Chris Romero explained why he drove accused killer David Levi Chavez and his shotgun to the trailer where Chavez allegedly shot through the wall of the trailer, killing 6-year-old Jasmine Garcia as she lay in bed in June 2008 in the 300 block of Union Street.

  • Boxing promoter wants city money

    A local boxing promoter is seeking city money to help with a youth tournament set for next month.

    Carlos Crespin of Crespin’s Boxing has applied for $1,500 in lodger’s tax funds. The money would help pay for advertising and trophies for winners — all of which would include the city’s logo.

    Crespin said the three-day tournament would bring up to 100 boxers to Las Vegas, giving business to motels, restaurants and other local businesses.

    “This will bring money into the city. I’m not making any money off this,” he said.

  • Council favors idea on runoffs

    The City Council has taken another step toward getting a new municipal constitution before voters.

    Last week, the council voted 2-1 to include instant runoff elections in the proposed city charter, which a panel of citizens drafted.

    Council members have said they wanted some type of runoff in the charter to make sure that the mayor and council members get the support of a majority of voters. As it stands, only Councilwoman Diane Moore got more than 50 percent.

  • Woman reports shooting on campus

    A 19-year-old woman reported that someone fired shots at her on the campus of Highlands University last week, state police said.

    The alleged shooting occurred around 8:30 p.m. Wednesday.

    Capt. Toby Dolan said the state police couldn’t substantiate many of the woman’s claims. Officers couldn’t find casings and the woman couldn’t produce the book she was holding that she said was struck, Dolan said.

    “There were no witnesses who heard the gunshots. We are continuing the investigation,” Dolan said.

  • Decision on propane tank delayed

    The Mora County Commission is delaying a decision on whether to allow a large propane tank near houses in Mora.

    Earlier this month, the county Planning and Zoning Committee approved the tank in the area of the Allsup’s convenience store. But nearby residents appealed that decision to the commission. They argued that it threatened their safety and ruined the area’s scenery.

    County commissioners last week decided to put off a decision until next month so that they could get a chance to review all of the documents associated with the tank.

  • City studies utilities rates

    The city of Las Vegas’  utility department has hired consultants to do a utility rate study.

    Andrew Feldman, a Las Vegas city councilman and utilities committee member,  said the study is being performed not so much to study existing rates but to assess the true cost of producing water so that the city can revise its rate structure. The new proposed rate structure would not have a floor of 2,000 gallons as the current one does.

    He said people would no longer get billed automatically for at least 2,000 gallons when they use less.