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Local News

  • Man says he invents pion cleaner

    Alex Garcia of Gonzales Ranch, N.M., has built a better mouse trap, or rather, a better pion cleaner.

    Garcia said he got the idea for his invention when he went picking pion with his wife.

    “I’m missing one and a half fingers, and I have a bad back,” Garcia said. “I got very few pion, and then I accidentally kicked the can over and spilled them. I said to myself, “There’s got to be a better way.”

  • Las Vegas winner celebrated

    The Ross One Stop service station was a sea of colorful Hawaiian shirts Thursday morning.

    That’s because the New Mexico Lottery was holding a celebration for the community’s newest millionaire, Joseph Baca, known for his Hawaiian motif. He recently bought a winning $1 million Powerball ticket at the Ross One Stop.

    After standing in a long line to purchase tickets Thursday, some would walk over to Baca and rub their tickets on his shirt for luck.

  • Michelle Obama talks about vets, health care with Optic

    While campaigning for her husband in New Mexico on Thursday, Michelle Obama took some time to talk with the Las Vegas Optic.

    Obama didn’t take the bait when asked about GOP vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin’s remarks during her speech at the national convention Wednesday evening.

  • Residents get past-due notices

    A collection agency last week started sending letters to Las Vegas utility customers with unpaid bills. That’s resulted in many phone calls and visits to the billing office, an official says.

    “People are attempting to make restitution,” said George DuFour, the city’s utilities director. In some cases, he said, the names have been incorrect, problems the billing office has tried to resolve.

    City Manager Sharon Caballero said the process has revealed errors, but she complimented DuFour for his handling of such issues.

  • Dam may be city's funding priority

    As usual, the City Council seems poised to make water its top annual priority when it approaches the state for funding for projects. But this time around, the city may well focus its efforts on a proposal for a hydroelectric dam on the Gallinas River.

  • Police find body in burned car

    A body was found in a burned car Thursday north of Mora.

    State police say they haven’t identified the body yet because it was burned beyond recognition. They don’t know if the fire was accidental.

    The car was found around noon near N.M. Highway 518 in the Holman Hill area.

    State police Lt. Craig Martin said Mora sheriff’s deputies first responded and they sought the assistance of state police investigators.

    He said the state Office of the Medical Investigator will work to identify the body.

  • Fourth RHS student suspended for year

    A fourth Robertson High School football player has been placed on suspension for the rest of the year in connection with alleged hazing, a hearing officer decided Wednesday.

    A day earlier, the officer, June Romero, issued the same penalty for three other players after holding hearings throughout the day.

    The hearings for two other players have been delayed.

  • City employees get pay increases

    Many city employees will see raises under a union contract approved Wednesday —a deal that both labor and management hailed as a step forward.

    The City Council voted for an agreement between the city and Local 2851 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. Union officials say the contract means a $1.25-an-hour increase for 86 employees covered by the union.

    This agreement comes just weeks after the city approved a contract with the Las Vegas Police Officers Association, which also included salary hikes.

  • Owner says he acted in self-defense

    Michael Romero, the owner of a local auto shop, is facing a second case in which prosecutors allege that he has beaten up someone who owes him money.

    However, Romero contends that in both cases, he was acting in self-defense against troublemakers.

    Romero, 32, owner of Michael’s Precision Automotive, 514 Commerce St., was charged last week with aggravated battery and unlawful taking of a motor vehicle in connection with an incident that allegedly occurred last fall.

  • Suspect veers toward officers

    A suspected drunken driver swerved off the road toward unlikely targets — two state police cars with officers standing next to them.

    The two officers were at 205 Chico Drive when Patrick Trujillo, 24, 820 N. Grand Ave., was speeding on the wrong side of the street shortly after 7 p.m. Monday, nearly wrecking when he rounded a curve, according to a state police report. The car drifted onto the grass shoulder, approaching the squad cars. One of the officers told Trujillo to stop, but he drove away.