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Local News

  • County can file liens on properties

    San Miguel County has a new tool at its disposal for rural residents who don’t pay their solid waste bills — liens.

    This week, the San Miguel County Commission passed an ordinance allowing the county to assess liens on properties in which owners don’t pay their solid waste bills. The ordinance also increases the fine for illegal dumping from $500 to $1,000.

    Officials said the county would would consult its attorney before filing any liens to make sure all laws are followed.

  • Class features hands-on activities

    Students in Mike Boyle’s Introduction to Engineering class at Robertson High School are getting hands-on lessons.

    This week, they’ve been working on a “puzzle cube” lesson in which they make parts to a cube. First, they must design the parts with a hand-drawn sketch, then do so on a computer.

    “It’s supposed to assemble. Everyone has to do their own individual cube,” said freshman Dillon Martinez. The class is made up of students from every grade — from freshmen to seniors.

  • Gun range closed for now

    For the time being, the city has closed its shooting range to everyone but law enforcement agencies.

    That’s because of vandalism, debris and litter, officials said. Also, some people are shooting at things such as a shack that they’re not supposed to use as targets.

  • Woman loses money in scam

    Monica Valdez thought she was going to make some money as a mystery shopper. It turns out that she lost a bundle as the victim of a scam.

    Valdez recently received a letter from Wilmington, Del., about the opportunity of being a mystery shopper.

    As part of the arrangement, she was to receive a $4,800 check and send $4,400 of that money back to the company, supposedly leaving her $400 in compensation for her work.

  • Jerome Block, new PRC member, pays $21,700 in fines

    SANTA FE — A newly elected member of the Public Regulation Commission paid $21,700 in penalties for lying on a campaign finance report and misusing public funds provided to his campaign.

    Jerome Block Jr. paid the secretary of state's office on Thursday, according to documentation provided Friday by the office.

    Block had complained the penalties were excessive but didn't pursue the option of appealing and requesting arbitration.

  • PRC: No utility winter shutoffs

    SANTA FE — The state Public Regulation Commission says a moratorium that protects low-income New Mexicans from having their utilities disconnected over winter has begun.

    But Las Vegas officials have declined to say whether that moratorium applies here.

    The agency says state law calls for utility customers who may be eligible for the Low Income Heating Energy Assistance Program to be protected from Nov. 15 through March 15. Customers also must have no past due amounts on their billing statements.

  • Ex-interim chief working for sheriff

    William Cruz, the former interim chief of the Las Vegas Police Department, is now a San Miguel County sheriff’s deputy.

    This week, the County Commission unanimously approved hiring Cruz, who spent nearly two decades with the Las Vegas police.

    After Tim Gallegos resigned as chief in late 2006, then-Mayor Henry Sanchez appointed Cruz as the interim chief.

    Cruz applied for the permanent position and was a top candidate, receiving the endorsement of the police officers union.

  • University called ‘fiscally strong’

    Highlands University is “fiscally strong in all respects,” a top official said last week, but the school expects budget cuts because of the declining economy.

    Gov. Bill Richardson has ordered all executive branch agencies to trim spending by 5 percent, a directive that doesn’t apply to the state’s universities.

    However, Highlands President Jim Fries warned the Board of Regents at its quarterly meeting on Friday that the Legislature may reduce universities’ budgets during the legislative session beginning in January.

  • Rancher withdraws water offer

    A rancher who offered to lease wells to the city has withdrawn his proposal, saying he had been mistaken in his belief that the city wanted the water.

    In a letter to Mayor Tony Marquez this week, rancher Alexander Milliken noted that he got a team of professionals “at considerable effort and expense to me” to help in providing the city with all of the information it needed.

    Milliken was responding to a city request for proposals in February 2007.

  • Football assault trial goes to SF

    Criminal proceedings in the Robertson High School football team rape and assault case will be held in Santa Fe.

    The parties agreed Thursday to a change of venue from San Miguel County.

    They concluded that fair proceedings couldn't take place in Las Vegas because the matter is “a singular topic of conversation,” according to one attorney.

    Meanwhile, the school district could face a civil lawsuit from the victims. A notice to seek damages has been issued to the superintendent of Las Vegas City Schools by the attorney for the victims.