Local News

  • Students show up at Highlands

    Statewide, national and international students, many seeing Las Vegas for the first time, checked in for orientation and housing assignments over the weekend at Highlands University.

    Margaret Mary Makoge left her home in sunny Cameroon and saw the snowflakes falling as she arrived in her new hometown.

    Makoge and other students spent Sunday afternoon moving their belongings and settling into their dorm rooms around campus with the help of new friends and university staff.

  • MONDAY MORNING STORY: Highlands expected to OK takeover; Santa Fe school approves letter of intent

    The College of Santa Fe has approved a proposal to let Highlands University take it over.

    On Friday, the college’s board of regents voted for a letter of intent to make the acquisition happen.

    Marcia Sullivan, the college’s spokeswoman, said this morning that the regents essentially approved the letter of intent presented by Highlands, making only a couple of small changes.

    “We’re confident that Highlands will be agreeable to the letter of intent,” she said.

  • Luna hit with federal lawsuit

    Luna Community College is being sued by the U.S. Department of Justice for allegedly discriminating against the college’s former academic director.

    Charlene Ortiz-Cordova has accused the college’s former president of sexual harassment, saying he allegedly touched her and made inappropriate comments between October 2005 and April 2006.

    The lawsuit, filed in federal court Friday, claims the harassment resulted in a hostile work environment and that Ortiz-Cordova was forced to step down from her position.

  • BREAKING NEWS: Highlands takes step toward acquiring Santa Fe school

    Highlands University signed off on a letter of intent Monday as an official first step toward taking over the College of Santa Fe — a major expansion for the local four-year institution.

    The acquisition is contingent upon the approval of the state Legislature and the state Board of Finance, among other agencies.

    After an hourlong closed session, Highlands' Board of Regents voted 3-0 in favor of the letter, which gives the university a 120-day window to buy the financially struggling Santa Fe school.

  • Mayor says city working with county to get funds

    Mayor Tony Marquez says the city and San Miguel County are working in collaboration to get federal funding for a number of projects that would improve the quality of life for residents.

    “I, along with County Manager Les Montoya, have submitted a request to the Economic Development District’s ready-to-go projects for improvements that would be good for both the city and the county. We have jointly submitted a proposal for consideration in the infrastructure and economic stimulus bill presently being considered by Congress,” Marquez said.

  • Roybal defends 'roundtable at Hillcrest'

    Councilman Cruz Roybal took exception to comments by Mayor Tony Marquez recently about the “roundtable at Hillcrest.”

    In an interview with the Optic, Marquez was referring to the group of politicos who have been known to meet in the morning and have coffee at the popular local restaurant. One of the politicos is Marty Suazo, the chairman of the San Miguel County Democratic Party.

    Suazo told the Washington Post last year that loyal Democrats can get a bump in the hiring process at local government entities if they consult with party leaders.

  • City may target sex offenders

    A proposed city ordinance would provide tougher restrictions than state law on where convicted sex offenders can live.

    This week, the City Council took the first step toward passing an ordinance proposed by Mayor Tony Marquez.

    State law requires that sex offenders live at least 1,000 feet away from a school or daycare center. The city’s proposed ordinance would expand that to playgrounds, parks and the city’s recreation center.

    Under state laws, all convicted sex offenders must register with the county sheriff when they change their residences.

  • City mulls rules for sales on sidewalks

    The city is considering an ordinance that would regulate sidewalk sales.

    “This is something we’ve been thinking of for quite awhile,” Elmer Martinez, the city’s community development director, said during a meeting with Bridge Street business owners Thursday. “The city sidewalk is city property, and there’s liability there.”

    Martinez said that creating a permitting process in the downtown business area for sidewalk sales would create an “environment of activity” in the area.

  • Couple says broken bridge cuts off access to land

    Lorenzo Sanchez says he and his wife want to move to their inherited property in Los Vigiles, which is north of Las Vegas.

    But he said there’s a problem with access.

    Maps show that a county road goes past the Sanchezes’ nearly five acres, but a bridge over a canal owned by the Storrie Project Water Users Association is rotted, preventing cars from continuing on the road. Signs posted on both ends of the bridge read, “Danger — Restricted Area.” It’s been that way for years.

  • Message planned for customers

    Customers at liquor stores may be getting some sticker shock soon, but it won’t be a result of the prices.

    The San Miguel DWI Program is launching a program in which it will place stickers on multi-packs of alcoholic beverages warning people that it’s against the law to provide alcohol to those younger than 21.

    So far, a number of liquor stores have agreed to take part in the program — Dick’s Liquor, Ray’s Discount Liquor, 77 Liquors and Legers Package Liquor Store. Officials expect more stores to take part soon.