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Local News

  • Garcia doesn’t show at his party

    It was to be Ralph Garcia’s last meeting as a West Las Vegas school board member after nearly three decades of service.

    Last week, a cake with his name and punch were available to celebrate the service of the outgoing member, who leaves at the end of the month.

    A plaque was to be presented in his honor.

    Guess who didn’t show up to the meeting.

    Ralph Garcia.

    But all was not lost. There were more than a dozen people in the audience to enjoy the refreshments.

  • DWI charge against man dismissed

    Authorities have thrown out charges of aggravated driving and racing on highways against a Las Vegas man because there was insufficient evidence, according to court documents.

    Earlier this month, Andrew Baca, 29, pleaded guilty in Magistrate Court to a single count of careless driving. A magistrate judge sentenced Baca to 364 days of unsupervised probation, $75 in court costs and up to $1,000 in restitution to the victims in the case.

  • Ghosts in the Plaza

    It was a sometimes eerie peek into Las Vegas’ past. Historic figures began appearing in different windows of the under-construction Ilfeld building, and nighttime passersby were often taken off guard by the sight.

    Everybody knows about the ghost that resides comfortably at the Plaza Hotel, but when the images also began to speak, the gig was up. No, it wasn’t a practical joke, even though there were reports of 911 calls reporting strange and unusual sightings in the darkened building.

  • Family sues railroad, agencies

    The family of a man who was killed trying to cross railroad tracks has sued the railroad, among other entities, for its suffering since the accident.

    The lawsuit, filed Thursday in state District Court in Las Vegas, names as defendants Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway, Amtrak, the city of Las Vegas, San Miguel County and the Ride to Pride Partnership, which owns land next to the crossing.

  • Agency admits official on leave

    It’s official: Isaac Apodaca, the state hospital’s deputy administrator, is on leave.

    On Thursday, the Optic received pay records indicating that Apodaca, who has been in charge of public relations and staff development, has been on paid administrative leave since Jan. 29.

    This information was revealed after the newspaper sent a written public records request to the state Health Department, which oversees the hospital, known formally as the New Mexico Behavioral Health Institute.

  • College of Santa Fe accused of fraud

    SANTA FE — The financially-troubled College of Santa Fe is being accused of fraud for how it handled a 2006 bond transaction.

    The private college, which is on the verge of either closing or being taken over by New Mexico Highlands University, has defaulted on the $25 million bond debt and $2 million in associated fees.

    Radian Insurance, the company that insured the debt, is alleging that the college committed fraud in its insurance application and that the financial statements provided by the college failed to disclose its true financial picture.

  • 1,000 sign petition about RR crossing

    More than 1,000 people have signed a petition asking that area government officials do something about a railroad crossing where two people have died in collisions over the last four months.

    The petition effort was organized by the family of Michael Esquibel, who was killed in January at the crossing near the city’s transfer station. Also giving significant help is the local Ride for Pride Partnership, which is near the crossing and whose young members quickly arrived after the most recent accident to help out.

  • Assault suspects plead

    SANTA FE — A teenager described by victims as the ringleader in the Robertson High School football hazing case pleaded not guilty to 19 felony counts, including multiple counts of criminal sexual penetration.

    Michael Gallegos, 17, was arraigned Thursday over assaults that occurred last August at a preseason camp near Las Vegas, where victims were held on the floor and told to “take it like a man” by assailants.

    When state District Judge James Hall read the counts, Gallegos replied, “I deny all the charges.”

  • Director acts as college leader

    As a Las Vegas City Schools board member, Elaine Luna oversaw then-Superintendent Pete Campos, who has been a Democratic state senator since 1991.

    Now their roles have been reversed.

    On Jan. 9, Campos, in his new role as Luna Community College president, named Luna to serve as acting president while he’s away at the Legislature until its annual session ends in mid-March.

    Campos, who started as president last summer, issued a memo to Luna, designating her as the acting president. The memo was copied to other college officials.

  • Teen arrested on school grounds

    A 18-year-old was arrested this week on drug charges in an investigation on Robertson High School grounds.

    Raphael Lobato, a Robertson student, 735 Dalbey Drive, was charged with trafficking crack cocaine in a drug-free school zone.

    Around 5 p.m. Wednesday, the Region 4 Narcotics Task Force approached Lobato on the Robertson campus to speak with him about his suspected drug activity, which was reported by confidential informants, according to court documents.