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Local News

  • Ex-mayor: We were misled

    In October 2004, local and federal officials gathered for the presentation of a blown-up check of $650,000 to pay for the Las Vegas housing authority’s demolition of a subdivision.

    At the time, city officials said they expected to get HUD money to build units to replace the demolished ones.

    At the check presentation, everyone posed for the camera to mark the moment.

    Their smiles faded soon after.

  • Tuesday's election includes very few contested races

    Las Vegas’ polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday for local, state and federal elections.

    Perhaps the most-watched local race is that between Democratic incumbent Richard Vigil and Republican Mel Root for the District 70 seat on the state representatives. But Vigil, as is the case with every other Democrat in a contested race Tuesday, is favored in heavily Democratic northern New Mexico.

    District 68 state Rep. Thomas Garcia is facing Republican Sylvia Olson, but it appears as if Olson hasn’t made any effort in her campaign at all.

  • Woman dies in house fire

    A fire at a house at Douglas Avenue and 12th Street on Saturday night left one woman dead, officials said this morning. The cause is believed to be arson.

    Authorities didn’t identify the woman or say whether they have any suspects.

    The Las Vegas Fire department responded to the fire around 10 p.m. Saturday at a two-story house at 1110 Douglas and almost immediately called all off-duty firefighters, Fire Chief Steve Tafoya said. The firefighters discovered a stairwell engulfed in flames; it then collapsed, Tafoya said.

  • Mayor becomes a Democrat

    Las Vegas Mayor Tony Marquez has decided to become what the great majority of local voters already are — Democrat.

    In a ceremony Sunday, Marquez, a longtime Republican, signed a voter registration to change his party affiliation to Democratic. Lt. Gov. Diane Denish was in attendance.

    “I’ve been thinking about this for a long time,” Marquez said this morning. “I thought yesterday was the right time for it. I’ve been moved by the campaign of Barack Obama.”

  • Officials say new policy is more fair

    A new city policy for budget billing brings more fairness to local utility customers, officials say.

    Last week, the City Council approved a budget billing policy that will be offered to all customers. Previously, it was offered to homeowners, not renters.

    Budget billing allows people to average their last 12 monthly utility bills so that they can pay the same amount each month. This avoids the impact of the huge natural gas bills during the winter.

  • Thousands cast votes

    As of Thursday, 3,126 people in San Miguel County had cast early votes for Tuesday’s election. A total of 2,408 absentee ballots had been requested.

    In the 2004 presidential election, of the 12,832 votes cast, 4,346 were early and 1,670 absentee.

    County Clerk Paul Maez expects as many early votes in this election as there were four years ago.

    He said many people will likely cast their early votes in the last two days — Friday and Saturday — at the county clerk’s office and the alternate site, the San Miguel Senior Center in the Valley.

  • Agency takes over senior centers

    The new agency running the senior centers in San Miguel County says it wants to improve services.

    The agency, SER de New Mexico, is responsible for meals at the senior centers, delivering meals to the homebound and providing transportation services. As of Sept. 15, the organization runs the centers in Las Vegas, Pecos and the village of San Miguel.

    Representatives of SER, a nonprofit group, met with Las Vegas seniors Wednesday to find out about what they want out of the senior center.

  • Block responds to state's allegations against him

    Jerome Block Jr., the Democratic for the state Public Regulation Commission, on Thursday presented an invoice from a Las Vegas band for a performance that never happened.

    The Wyld Country invoice on May 31 was addressed to the Committee to Elect Jerome Block Jr., and it listed a charge of $2,500 for a five-hour performance. The document didn’t indicate which day the event occurred.

    San Miguel County Clerk Paul Maez, a Wyld Country band member, said he was surprised when the campaign paid the group in early June. He confirmed the invoice.

  • City leaders question HUD official

    Las Vegas officials are taking a second look at a top federal housing official after one of his former subordinates accused him of trying to “torpedo” the local housing authority.

    The official, Floyd Duran, had planned to speak to the City Council on Wednesday, but he told the city that he had a last-minute scheduling conflict that prevented him from attending. He has said that he can be at next Wednesday’s meeting.

  • Parent firm not selling for now

    Landmark Media Enterprises LLC, parent company of the Las Vegas Optic, announced this week that, because of difficult credit markets, it has largely suspended the process to sell its remaining businesses.

    The process was launched in January and led to the sale in September of The Weather Channel Companies and some smaller sales. Landmark announced earlier this month that its agreement to sell WTVF-TV in Nashville was canceled because the buyer lost its financing.

    Frank Batten Jr., Landmark’s chairman and CEO, cited the economy as the main reason for the decision.