Local News

  • Saturday detention planned at school

    Oh, no, not Saturday school!

    Yes, it’s official. West Las Vegas Middle School students will now be required to attend school on Saturday for discipline purposes.

    The school may not be all that bad. Remember the 1985 John Hughes classic, “Breakfast Club” where five students meet in Saturday detention and discover they have more in common than they thought?

    Principal Steve Sandoval told the school board last week that sometimes noon detention is not sufficient.

  • Vegas man killed at home

    A Las Vegas man was killed at his house late Friday night, and authorities have already arrested another man in the murder, police said Sunday.

    Kevin Duran, 32, 814 Chavez St., was shot two or three times in the stomach area, Police Chief Gary Gold said.

    Gold said police have arrested Louie Benavidez, in his late 40s, on an open count of murder. He said Benavidez was apprehended at mile marker 219 on Interstate 25, which is in the southern part of Albuquerque. Benavidez lives on the west side of Las Vegas, the chief said.

  • Police burglary task force formed

    The Las Vegas Police Department has created a burglary task force in light of a string of burglaries in eastside neighborhoods.

    “We’re working aggressively to protect citizens and their property,” Deputy Police Chief Christian Montaño told the City Council last week.

    He said the department is using undercover tactics to try to solve the burglaries, but he said he didn’t want to release the details for fear of compromising investigations.

  • Union backs state proposal

    The head of a local union representing state employees is happy with Gov. Bill Richardson’s plan to deal with a more than $400 million budget deficit.

    The governor is proposing 3 percent across-the-board cuts, excluding schools.

    Patrick Gutierrez, president of Local 1380 of the American Federal of State, Municipal and County Employees, said his union appreciates that Richardson isn’t calling for layoffs or furloughs.

  • Leader: Most want easing of dress code

    If you like a good argument, all you have to do is get in the middle of a discussion about dress codes that are in place at area schools.

    After Las Vegas City Schools Superintendent Rick Romero said at a earlier meeting that he opposed dress codes, he promised school board members that he would survey middle school parents on the issue.

    Romero went through the unscientific survey where respondents were pretty much split on whether a dress code is necessary or if they thought the code prevents problems. 

  • Official criticizes utilities audit

    A city councilman on Wednesday criticized an audit into credits for utilities bills, calling it inadequate and urging the city to finish the job itself.

    Earlier this month, State Auditor Hector Balderas approved the audit, which was performed by Albuquerque-based Accounting and Consulting Group. But City Councilman Morris Madrid said the audit left many questions unanswered.

    In particular, Madrid questioned whether the auditing firm interviewed key people involved in an $81,000 credit for Luna Community College’s natural gas bill.

  • Stories differ in dog bite case

    A victim in a local dog bite incident said the city is lying to protect a prominent family. Her account, and the city’s, differ strongly.

    On Aug. 21, Deborah Barrera was walking her dogs down Seventh Street. That much Barrera and the city agree on.

    But from that point on, versions of events differ. Barrera, in an interview with the Optic, said that a bull mastiff owned by Carlos Sandoval charged through an open gate, attacking Barrera’s terrier and biting her hand when she attempted to intervene.

  • Sierra Vista Elementary may be demolished

    Sierra Vista Elementary is a relatively new building, but it’s No. 40 on a state list of buildings to be demolished.

    Also, at Robertson High School, the boiler is old, with dangerous cracks that could cause an explosion, officials say.

    Regarding conditions at Sierra Vista, Las Vegas City Schools Superintendent Rick Romero said that during the spring, inspectors from the state Public School Facilities Authority spent quite a bit of time surveying the school’s deteriorating roof.

  • Mora County loses its manager

    The Mora County government is in a familiar position -- without a county manager.

    John Garcia resigned after four months in that job, a day after the Sept. 8 meeting of the Mora County Commission.

    He said he and the commission had a difference in opinions and management styles.

    “Maybe they weren’t happy; maybe I wasn’t happy,” he said this week.

    Garcia, a Mora County resident for the last decade, said he didn’t want to be negative about his departure, saying “there isn’t anything negative.”

  • Luna may have to pay anyway

    A year ago, the city forgave Luna Community College for more than $80,000 in natural gas charges to end a billing dispute.

    On Monday, however, City Manager Timothy Dodge said the school may have to pay up that money anyway. That’s because the city didn’t follow proper procedures in issuing the billing credit, he said.

    But he said the city would let Luna make its case before the City Council if it disagreed with having to pay the money. The billing dispute started after it was discovered that the city had misread Luna’s meter for a couple of years.