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Local News

  • City gas rates to drop

    Mayor Tony Marquez says that Las Vegas city natural gas customers can expect to see lower rates this winter.

    “I am pleased to announce that based on market conditions, my staff has predicted that the cost of natural gas will go down this winter for the residents of Las Vegas,” Marquez said in a press release late last week.

  • How long will mayoral term be?

    It’s unclear whether the victor of next year’s mayoral election will serve four years or two.

    Since the city charter took effect nearly four decades ago, mayors have served two-year terms.

    The charter also called for two-year terms for municipal judges, but the city increased those terms to four years without changing the charter a couple of decades ago. It did so based on legal advice that state law required municipal judges to serve four-year terms.

  • Big insurance payment affects cash flow

    The city is watching its cash flow closely because it paid all of its insurance premiums for the year at once, rather than breaking out the bills into payments, officials say.

    Six city departments are over budget, in part, because of the city’s insurance payment in September. The insurance is for property, liability, workers compensation, law enforcement, and directors and officers.

  • Report: Deputy clutched gun

    The former San Miguel County sheriff's deputy accused of breaking into a man's house and beating him up while on duty clutched her gun for a time, according to a state police report.

    “I really felt that she was going to shoot me,” the alleged victim said in the report.

    Bolivar, 29, is now facing felony domestic violence charges. A week after the incident, Sheriff Benjie Vigil told the Optic that the charges were false, but a day later, he fired Bolivar.

  • Sheriff freed from some transports

    The San Miguel County Sheriff's Department has been freed of one of its bigger responsibilities.

    For years, sheriff’s deputies have taken arrested juveniles to youth jails in other counties for both the Las Vegas and state police. However, because of a July opinion from the state’s attorney general’s office, the department no longer transports just-arrested youths.

  • Grand Avenue project goes out to bid

    After years of planning, the project to improve Grand Avenue has gone out to bid.

    The bidding process is expected to take up to two months, and then work should begin after the winter ends. The project is slated for completion in the late summer of 2010.

    “The crews will work with business owners to provide access during the project,” said Kenny Lujan, a spokesman for the state Department of Transportation.

    The road should be open nearly all the time, although it may be closed for an hour at times, he said.

  • Subdivision gets go-ahead, officials say

    The City Council deadlocked Wednesday on whether to approve a proposed subdivision on New Mexico Avenue, but officials say the developer may have the go-ahead anyway.

    Local developer Phil Warfield wants to divide his property at 2323 New Mexico Ave. into four lots, with modular homes and garages on each.

    But neighbors protested the proposed subdivision, saying it would cause increased traffic and that four was too many homes for six-tenths of an acre.

  • Schools helping student homeless

    West Las Vegas Public Schools recently received 80 backpacks full of food and school supplies.

    The backpacks, provided through the federal McKinney-Vento program, are to meet the needs of homeless students.

    Statewide, it is estimated that more than 8,000 homeless students will be served by the public schools this year.

    Debbie Garcia Tripp, the McKinney-Vento community liaison for the West Las Vegas schools, said the area has a homeless problem, and it does affect youth.

  • Mora official reacts to special audit

    Joseph Griego, chairman of the Mora school board, says the district needs to watch its expenses more carefully.

    He was responding to a special audit released last week that found that $64,000 was improperly diverted into a discretionary account. Griego said the account turned into something of a slush fund.

    The board looked at the special audit, performed by State Auditor Hector Balderas’ office, during a meeting Tuesday night. Griego said the district gave Superintendent Dora Romero a number of directives for internal controls of finances.

  • Audit slams Mora schools

    The state auditor found on Tuesday that the Mora school district didn’t follow procedures in spending thousands of dollars in public funds on leather jackets, snacks and dinners for area state lawmakers and other top officials.

    The district improperly diverted $64,000 in funds to a discretionary account, according to a special audit by State Auditor Hector Balderas.

    His audit states that the district may have violated the state constitution, which bars public money from going toward private causes.