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Local News

  • Man dies in crash on U.S. 84

    A Tecolotito-area man died in a car accident on an icy road Sunday, state police said.

    Valentin Montoya, 69, was pronounced dead at the site of the accident, state police Lt. Craig Martin said. The crash happened shortly before 10 a.m.

    Montoya was headed south on U.S. Highway 84, 21 miles south of Interstate 25, when he lost control of his car because of the icy road, Martin said. Montoya struck a car going north on the highway.

  • Baby arrives shortly after New Year

    Las Vegas’ first baby of the new year was born at 12:59 a.m. New Year’s Day at Alta Vista Regional Hospital. Baby Devon Trujillo weighed 5 pounds, 14 ounces.

    Baby Devon was welcomed by his parents Emarena Buchanan and Richard Trujillo along with sister Kiaya and brother Christian. Devon’s maternal grandparents are Larry and Maryann Buchanan and paternal grandfather William Trujillo, all from Springer, N.M.

    Devon received a gift package from the hospital welcoming him as the first born of the year.

  • Denish to stay in second spot

    SANTA FE — It’s back to second fiddle for Lt. Gov. Diane Denish.

    Denish’s plans and preparations to take over New Mexico’s top job came to a screeching halt on Sunday with Gov. Bill Richardson’s surprise announcement that he won’t be leaving after all.

    The Democratic governor, citing an ongoing federal investigation into how some of his political donors won a lucrative state contract, withdrew as President-elect Barack Obama’s nominee for secretary of commerce.

  • Suazo: Politics influences hiring

    Think hiring decisions in local government agencies are based on politics?

    Some local officials deny that’s the case, but Marty Suazo, San Miguel County’s Democratic Party chairman for the last decade, freely admits that politics plays a role.

    In a Oct. 23 story in the Washington Post, Suazo talked about how government dominates the local economy. He noted that 75 percent of the jobs are government-driven.

  • Habitual offender will go to prison

    Marvin Martinez, after three violent rampages and two DWIs, has been sentenced to prison time.

    Martinez, 22, has engaged in several violent incidents since January 2007, resulting in numerous felony and misdemeanor charges against him.

    According to police reports and court documents, Martinez had at various times kidnapped his girlfriend; beat her with a beer bottle, a telephone and his fists; attempted to run several people over with his vehicle; done extensive property damage; and been caught twice driving while drunk.

  • Polar Bear plungers show bravery

    Longtime Polar Bears Philip Romero and Tito Chavez have spearheaded the annual New Year’s Day plunge into the icy waters at Storrie Lake for years and in recent times it has become an event that brings huge crowds from all over New Mexico.

    Chavez was among a group of seven brave souls, who, on New Year’s Day in 1994, chopped away at the ice and became one of the founding members of the Las Vegas Polar Bears Club. The small but determined group consisted of six men and one woman and has grown in size each year.

  • Local leaders take oaths of office

    The New Year will see changes in local leadership.

    On Tuesday, swearing-in ceremonies were held for a number of local offices.

    Local attorney Matt Sandoval took the oath as the new district judge in the ballroom at Highlands University. Nearly 500 people attended the event.

    Sandoval defeated Gerald Baca in the Democratic primary in June for a judgeship that covers San Miguel, Guadalupe and Mora counties. No Republicans ran for the office.

  • DeHerrera a ‘public servant’

    MORA — He was remembered as “a man for all seasons” and someone who has performed many tasks in life, including 26 years of military service to his country.

    More than that, he was remembered as a “public servant” in his lifelong home of Mora Valley, where he remained active in community affairs, primarily through the schools, sports and, for 37 years, as a correspondent for the Las Vegas Optic.

  • The year in quotes

    A miscellaneous collection of comments taken by Optic reporters over the course of 2008:

    January

    “It was shocking. ... I just didn’t think about it before I jumped in, and it was ‘whoa.’”

    — Rosie Lanphere, who jumped into Storrie Lake on New Year’s Day 2008 with her friends, and quickly emerged to talk about it.

    “We don’t waste any water at all. ... We have multiple kids sharing the same bathtub, and we’re constantly reusing water.”

  • New Year’s event to be in remodeled ballroom

    Attendees at tonight’s New Year’s Eve Black Tie and Blue Jeans Charity Ball will be among the first to enjoy the newly remodeled Ilfeld Ballroom of the Historic Plaza Hotel.

    In addition, the event will benefit El Centro Family Health and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northern New Mexico.

    The event will feature two bands, dancing, psychics, both live and silent auctions, excellent dining, and a midnight buffet with a champagne toast.