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Local News

  • No-bid process divides board

    The West Las Vegas school board has approved a request for a new fire alarm system at Armijo Elementary, but one member dissented, objecting that the district wouldn’t be going out to bid for the project.

    Jerry Maestas, the district’s construction manager, said even though bond money had been approved for an upgrade and the system had been functioning, it’s slowly got to the point where it needs to be replaced. 

  • Details emerge of hours before death

    Las Vegan Chriselda Lopez says she was the only witness to her friend’s death in Colorado last week, other than her boy-friend, who has been charged.

    At first, Joseph Daniel Mascarenas, 18, of Las Vegas was charged with second-degree murder in the death of his sister, 16-year-old runaway, Destiney Monique Mondragon.

    But authorities in Adams County, which is part of suburban Denver, downgraded the charge to second-degree assault. The Adams County Sheriff’s Office wouldn’t provide an immediate explanation for that decision.

  • Mayor: No inquiry into leaks

    The city attorney may be interested in pursuing a “leak” of city e-mails, but Mayor Tony Marquez is not.

    Marquez told the Optic in an e-mail Thursday that the e-mails should have been released under the state Inspection of Public Records Act. Marquez also said he drafted a new policy in early September in response to concerns raised by the state’s attorney general.

  • ADA upgrades planned

    The mayor’s ADA committee, a group of volunteers appointed by the mayor, helps the city with compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

    The group also serves to address the needs of citizens with disabilities and to increase awareness in our community of the issues of handicapped people.

  • County puts liens on properties

    San Miguel County plans to slap liens on more than 100 properties for unpaid solid waste bills.

    Last week, the San Miguel County Commission voted to authorize its staff to file the liens, with officials calling the measure a “last resort.” Some of the unpaid bills go back a decade.

    Commission Chairman David Salazar said the county has been dealing with the issue for years.

  • County handles road dispute

    The County Commission this week agreed to abandon a mile of road in the Ribera area — a move that angered nearby residents who contended they needed it for access.

    After an hour of discussion, the commission voted to vacate one mile of the more than four-mile-long County Road B-41-E, which is in the area of the Corruco Bridge.

  • Luna official alleged to have hit teen

    Luna Community College Trustee Ambrose Castellano is under investigation for allegedly throwing a punch at a teenager during last week’s West Las Vegas football game.

    According to a Las Vegas police report, witnesses told officers that Castellano, 37, yelled at the 17-year-old victim and then punched him in the face. The incident allegedly took place near the concession stand.

    The alleged victim told officers that Castellano asked him if he had been “messing” with Castellano’s teen son. Both teens reportedly had had an ongoing feud for years.

  • Mora official braces for angry people

    Mora County Assessor Angela Romero is expecting to see a lot of angry people in her office next month.

    On Nov. 1, the assessor’s office will be sending out annual property tax bills, and many will be seeing big increases.

    Others, however, will enjoy significant drops in their bills.

    Since 2008, the office has changed the designation for many properties that had been classified for grazing, which were eligible for significantly lower tax rates.

  • Blaze put out on west side

    Las Vegas firefighters put out a blaze at a house on New Mexico Avenue last week.

    When the firefighters arrived Saturday morning at 2214 New Mexico Ave., they evacuated two people from the house, Fire Chief Phillip Mares said. The fire started in the attic and was mostly confined to that area, he said.

    “The firefighters saved most of the structure,” he said.

  • Longtime leader dies at 84

    Ray Leger, a former state senator and West Las Vegas schools superintendent, died Tuesday. He was 84.

    Leger, who had been ill for some months, is believed to be the superintendent with the longest reign in northern Mexico. He served in the 1960s and 1970s.

    “That’s a job that is hard to hold for that long,” local attorney Jesus Lopez, a former West board member, said during Wednesday’s County Commission meeting.  “He was quite an educator. He worked hand in hand with Tiny Martinez (longtime local leader) in building West.”