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Local News

  • Balderas wants audit out

    State Auditor Hector Balderas says that he may have to order the city of Las Vegas and an auditing firm to release a final audit on billing in the utilities department.

    The audit started earlier this year after Mayor Tony Marquez alleged publicly that then-Utilities Director George DuFour and a city councilman, later identified as Andrew Feldman, may have illegally adjusted customers’ utilities bills.

    Recently, Feldman demanded the city release the audit, saying it had cleared him of Marquez’s allegations.

  • Voting project reveals oddities

    Paul Maez, who works in the county clerk’s office, is closely examining registrations to make sure voters are assigned to the right political districts.

    In so doing, he’s finding some oddities.

    At the beginning of the year, Maez, who is now the elections bureau supervisor, essentially swapped jobs with Melanie Rivera, who was elected county clerk. Maez served as county clerk for two four-year terms, but state law bars him from running for a third term in a row.

  • West finance official resigns

    Doug Hendrickson, West Las Vegas’ business manager, has resigned from his post.

  • Advocate: Focus is not divisiveness

    An advocate for a police oversight board says she wants a constructive approach toward the issue.

    Pat Leahan of the Las Vegas Peace and Justice Center, who helped organize a recent meeting dealing with police oversight, told the City Council earlier this month that an Optic headline, “Residents complain about police,” mischaracterized the meeting.

    She said the meeting didn’t focus on complaints, but rather sought solutions.

    “Our goal is partnership, not divisiveness,” she said.

  • Las Vegas gets new radio station

    Las Vegas country music lovers have another option.

    The operators of KNMX have launched a new radio station, Real Country 92.7 KQBL-FM “The Bull.”

    Listeners can enjoy musicians such as George Strait, Alan Jackson, Toby Keith and Kenny Chesney, along with the legends of country such as Merle Haggard, George Jones, Reba, Dolly, Willie Nelson, Hank Williams Jr., according to a press release. The station will run 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

    The operators of the station, Matt and Martha Martinez, also run KNMX (540 AM) and KMDZ (96.7 SAM FM).

  • More protests filed this year

    The San Miguel County assessor’s office saw a big increase in the number of tax protests this year.

    Residents and businesses were required to file their protests to assessed property values in June.

    This year, the county received 324 protests, Assessor Elaine Estrada said. One of the reasons for the spike, she said, was that the assessor’s office conducted the first mass appraisal of commercial properties and vacant land since 1998, Estrada said. As a result, many saw increases in their property values, which could well mean hikes in tax bills.

  • Residents may see taxes drop

    Some residents southwest of Las Vegas may see big drops in their tax bills if they convince the San Miguel County assessor that their property values have declined.

    Six property owners in Ojitos Frios have filed tax protests, saying that a decreasing water table means that their properties are worth much less than when they bought them.

    For years, residents in Ojitos Frios and other communities southwest of town have blamed their water situation on the city’s increasing use of its nearby Taylor Wells.

  • Local students set goals for the new school year

    West Las Vegas sixth-grader Brian Gonzales may be new to middle school, but like most of his classmates, he has goals for the year.

    While standing in the lunch line, Gonzales said he had a lot of fun playing baseball with the Athletics and La Plaza All Stars this summer.

    “I’m sort of glad to be back at school,” he said. Now that he is, his goal is to get straight A’s.

    Taylor Paul was also standing in the sixth-grade lunch line.

  • Suit alleges Medicaid fraud

    ALBUQUERQUE —A federal whistleblower lawsuit alleges Tennessee-based Community Health Systems Inc. made improper donations to local governments to make millions of dollars off the Medicaid program at its three New Mexico hospitals over eight years.

    Alta Vista Regional Hospital is one of the three. Community Health Systems took ownership of the nonprofit local hospital in 2000.

  • Victim: I didn’t provoke attack

    A recent stabbing victim said this week that he did nothing to provoke the attack, despite what the suspect is telling the police.

    Apolinario Gonzales, 26, got out of the hospital on Friday after more than a week there. He said the suspect, Louis G. Paredes, 23, stabbed him twice, in the upper and lower torso.

    “I’m in severe pain. I won’t be able to work for a long time,” said Gonzales, whose business is Gonzales Handyman Services.

    Paredes faces a charge of aggravated battery.