Local News

  • City enacts tougher penalties

    The city’s new water conservation ordinance increases penalties for violators and urges big users to install water-friendly fixtures.

    Last week, the City Council passed the ordinance after going through several versions over the last few months.

    The ordinance is considered the first of a two-part strategy for conservation. The second is expected to bring more progressive water rates — in other words, even higher rates as a customer uses more water. Those new rates are slated to come before the council later this year.

  • Deputies, jailers vote for union

    San Miguel County’s jailers and deputies on Wednesday unanimously voted for a union to represent them.

    It may well be the first time in the county government’s history that workers have formed a union, officials say.

    All 22 employees who took part in the election supported having the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees as their representative in negotiations with county officials.

    Twenty-eight were eligible to vote; probationary employees, who have been with the county for less than a year, couldn’t take part.

  • Official criticizes Optic over editorial

    San Miguel County Commission Chairman David Salazar promised that the county’s oil and gas task force’s meetings would be open to the public.

    He also criticized the Optic for not making that fact known to the public.

    A few weeks ago, Alex Tafoya, the county’s planning and zoning supervisor, told the Optic he wasn’t sure if the public would be allowed in the task force’s meetings.

  • Police: DWI suspect had kid in car

    An area man didn’t try to hide the fact that he had been drinking after the state police stopped him Sunday, reports state.

    Madio Michael Trujillo, 30, of Rociada, who was stopped on Grand Avenue shortly after 10 p.m., acknowledged to a state police officer that he had had two shots and four beers not long before driving, police said.

    In the back seat was a 6-year-old girl. The other passenger was Valerie Quiñonez of Española, who gave her name as Jessica Hill, police said.

  • Code cops making progress

    The city’s two new uniformed code enforcement officers are making headway on the issues of loose animals and illegal parking, officials say.

    The city recently transferred such responsibilities from the Community Development Department to the Police Department.

    Police Chief Gary Gold said that in a recent two-and-a-half week period, the two officers, Jacob Herron and Rodney Perea, had issued 50 citations, including  warnings.

    They also captured 42 loose animals, the chief said.

  • Woman celebrates 100th birthday

    Lucille Frances Katherine Duran celebrated her 100th birthday Sunday with many family and friends.

    After services at Our Lady of Sorrows Church, Duran was presented a bouquet of flowers as the Rev. John Brasher and the congregation sang “Happy Birthday” and “Las Mañanitas.”

  • Assault victims file suit

    A lawsuit filed by seven victims in the Robertson High School football team assaults allege that the coaches and school officials acted recklessly and with indifference.

    The lawsuit names 30 defendants, including top officials, the former coaching staff and the attackers and their parents.

    Both former and current superintendents Pete Campos and Rick Romero were named as well. Campos wasn’t superintendent when the assaults happened in August 2008 at a team camp, but the litigation alleged that he allowed the atmosphere in which they were allowed to occur.

  • Allegedly intoxicated woman accused of striking 71-year-old

    An intoxicated woman was arrested after she hit a 71-year-old man with a glass last week, state police said.

    Patricia Y. Sanchez, 49, 1222 Sixth St., was charged with aggravated battery against a household member, using a deadly weapon, a third-degree felony.

    According to a criminal complaint filed in Magistrate Court, the 71-year-old man told officers that he was at his house in the early morning hours of Friday when he got into a dispute with Sanchez.

  • Parts of county flooded

    New Mexico Homeland Security Secretary John Wheeler and other state officials visited San Miguel County on Friday, helping emergency management officials with damage assessments from flash flooding along the Pecos River.

    The floods hit Bernal, a village just south of Las Vegas, N.M., on Thursday night. The National Weather Service estimated up to 3 inches of rain fell over a very short period.

    Initial reports indicated there was bridge damage and road closures.

    Other villages affected include Corruco, Ojitos Frios and San Rafael.

  • City initially overlooked low bid for housing contract

    The city’s housing authority had already picked a firm to handle an electrical project, but officials forgot to open one of the bids.

    LM Electric was originally considered the low bidder, but after the bidding process, the city discovered that it hadn’t opened JR Electric’s bid. JR had the lowest bid.

    Last week, the housing authority asked the council to approve JR as the electrical contractor.