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Local News

  • 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.

  • 6 charged with assaults

    Authorities on Wednesday charged six former Robertson High School football players in connection with alleged assaults during a team camp in August.

    The three 17-year-olds and three 16-year-olds have already been barred from attending Robertson. Five of them are on one-year suspensions, while the other is expelled.

    They are accused of sodomizing at least six underclassmen with broomsticks.

  • Official says issue a big waste of time

    Las Vegas City Schools board member Ramon “Swoops” Montao told his colleagues last week that discussions about his residency is a “ridiculous” waste of time.

    During a regular board meeting, Montao said he would not step down from his post and intends to serve out the two years on his third term, which ends in 2011.

  • Obama cutout with noose seen on Fourth Street

    Someone at 909 Fourth St. doesn’t much like Barack Obama.

    In the porch Wednesday was a crude cardboard cutout of the Democratic presidential candidate, hanging by what appears to be a noose. The cutout was labeled with Obama’s name; attached to a hand was a pro-Obama brochure.

    The noose could have been a reference to the lynching of blacks in earlier American history. Obama is black.

    Two men were sitting on the steps. Asked by a couple of reporters whether it was a noose, one of the men replied, “What do you think?”