Local News

  • Pssssst! Vegas is now 175 years old

    On Tuesday, Las Vegas very quietly passed its 175th anniversary as a community.

    There were no celebrations, no ceremonies, no parties to mark this milestone.

    Las Vegas was established on April 6, 1835, soon after settlers received a land grant from the Mexican government.

    At Wednesday’s City Council meeting, Matt Martinez, the chamber’s president, unveiled a blueprint for his group’s plans to celebrate the 175th anniversary. It is organizing Las Vegas Grandes Celebration Weekend, which is tentatively set for Sept. 24-26.

  • Suspect's charges disputed

    Richard Baca, who is accused of killing another man last November, was charged with voluntary manslaughter.

    Now the district attorney wants to add another charge — shooting at or from a motor vehicle.

    But Baca’s defense attorney says the two sides already agreed to limit the charges to voluntary manslaughter.

    During a hearing Monday, former Deputy District Attorney Gerald Baca said he was assigned the case involving Richard Baca, 21, who allegedly shot and killed Benito Lemos, 22, on National Avenue in central Las Vegas.

  • Wagon Mound crime alleged

    The state police are looking into alleged embezzlement in Wagon Mound’s village hall.

    Last week, the agency sent a uniformed officer to the village hall to obtain initial information in the case, state police Lt. Craig Martin said.

    Around the same time, village officials served employees with papers informing them they were on administrative leave.

    “They probably picked that time because the officer was there,” Martin said.

  • University plans spending reductions

    Highlands University officials say they are looking at a number of ways to cut expenses, including starting an early retirement plan.

    President Jim Fries said his administration is taking a comprehensive look at the university’s budget to make sure it balances. He said the last time Highlands had an early retirement plan was in 2005.

  • State police making many DWI arrests

    Local state police officers made eight DWI arrests over the Easter holiday weekend.

    Four of the DWIs involved first offenders, while three recorded their second offenses and another a third, state police Lt. Craig Martin said.

    The state police have been encountering many repeat DWI offenders lately. In the weeks leading up to Easter, state officers caught offenders with their fourth and seventh DWIs, officials said.

  • THURSDAY STORY: Storrie may get fenced; state responds to local group

    Soon, if you’re going to fish at Storrie Lake, you’ll need a boat.


    By as early as next week, the Storrie Project Water Users Association may begin making arrangements to fence off the lake and large portions of the park, association officials say. That’s because the state refuses to renew its lease with the group on the same monetary terms and conditions as its previous lease, they said.


  • Ex-Vegas officer acquitted

    A former Las Vegas police officer was acquitted of charges of making inappropriate advances toward a woman while in uniform.

    On Wednesday, Robert Ortega, 36, was acquitted by a six-member jury in Magistrate Court on two petty misdemeanor charges of battery.

    According to state police, a woman reported that she was working at a service station on Jan. 24, 2009, when Ortega, who was filling up his car, asked her what was wrong. She told the officer that her former boyfriend had been harassing her.

  • Highlands hikes tuition rates

    As officials hiked tuition rates at Highlands University last week, they said the school still had the best price for a quality education.

    President Jim Fries recommended a 7.7 percent increase for resident students or a $8.80 increase per credit hour. Non-residents and international students will see a 7.5 percent hike, to $166 and $216 per credit hour respectively.   

  • Police watching for traffic violators near mayor's house

    Motorists may want to slow down and obey the stop sign at Tecolote and Chavez streets. The police are watching.

    On Thursday, an officer pulled over violators of traffic laws at that intersection, which is next to Mayor Alfonso Ortiz’s house. The officer was stationed on Chavez, far enough away that drivers on Tecolote couldn’t see him.

    Chavez and Tecolote is a T-intersection, with Chavez ending in front of the mayor’s four-bay garage.

  • Man gets seventh DWI, police say

    A Las Vegas man was arrested earlier this week for his seventh DWI offense, state police said.

    Dennis Barela, 48, 116 Independence, was also charged with driving on a suspended or revoked license and weaving between lanes.

    According to a state police report, an officer stopped Barela shortly after midnight Tuesday on N.M. Highway 518 north of Las Vegas. The officer stated in his report that he saw Barela drive over the double-painted center divider line.