Local News

  • Ex-Vegas officer accused of fraud

    A former Las Vegas police officer is accused of double-dipping while working for the city and taking gas for personal purposes.

    Shawn Montoya, 37, 25 Flagstone Road in Las Vegas, was charged April 13 with one count of fraud and 19 counts of forgery in connection with his work for the city.

    The alleged criminal activity occurred from October 2007 to March 2008. Montoya resigned quietly from the local police department in late March 2008. State police said that Montoya took nearly $1,100 in value from the city.

  • HOMETOWN HEROES: Key Clubbers advocate service to community

    West Las Vegas Key Club members are always on the go, participating in community events and volunteering their time to worthy causes. Members say doing good works is also good for the soul.

    Club President Angelique Arguello said, “It’s such a great reward knowing that you helped someone and knowing that you’re making a difference in someone’s life. It’s a great feeling.”

    Key Club sponsor Christine Rodriguez said the organization is the oldest and largest club for youths in the world.

  • City gets mixed report on water

    Not much has changed over the last six months in efforts to improve Las Vegas’ water situation, but the city has undertaken a few initiatives that show promise, according to a report released recently.

    The Las Vegas Community Water Board, a nonprofit group that started a couple of years ago to keep water on local officials’ minds, reported that the city has no new storage capacity for water and that water conservation ordinances don’t appear to have a high priority in city government.

  • Area students get ag lessons

    Instead of arithmetic and spelling, area elementary students got to learn about cows and bugs recently.

    It was all a part of the sixth annual Kids and Kows and More Expo at Zamora Arena. The event was sponsored by the Southwest Dairy Farmers Association.  

    Tonya Collins of the New Mexico Beef Council said during the expo that children rotate to a number of stations where they learn about America’s breadbasket, and about the farmers and ranchers who essentially feed the world.

  • Faculty criticizes Fries’ remarks

    The leader of Highlands University’s faculty union is accusing the school’s president of giving “false and misleading” information about labor negotiations.

    Kathy Jenkins, president of the Faculty Association, made the charge in a mass e-mail to around 90 union members earlier this week. She was responding to Jim Fries’ statements to the Optic in which he contended that the school was trying to get the union to the bargaining table but that the union had canceled the last few meetings.

  • Girls find out about opportunities

    Arianna Romero and other fifth-graders in the Las Vegas City Schools district were finding out firsthand that girls can do anything in the workforce that boys can do.

    “I learned that every job isn’t just for guys; girls can do carpentry and contracting. We can become scientists, archaeologists, biologists and attorneys,” Romero said. “I want to be a veterinarian when I grow up.”

  • East board OKs expulsion

    After an hour behind closed doors, the Las Vegas City Schools board voted unanimously to uphold the expulsion of an 18-year old student arrested on drug charges in an investigation on Robertson High School grounds.

    Board President Phillip Vigil called for a vote, with Patrick Romero and Ramon “Swoops” Montaño offering a first and second on the motion. Romero, Montaño, Gabriel Lucero, Elaine Luna and President Vigil all voted yes to expel the student.

  • Agencies seek to aid rape victims

    A Highlands University student says she struggled to get clear answers on what to do after she was raped earlier this year.

    That’s the type of situation local officials want to change.

    The woman said she didn’t immediately report her assault to authorities. She said she wanted to clean up first.

    “I was in such shock,” she said.

    The student knew the terminology and asked Alta Vista Regional Hospital if it had a sexual assault nurse examiner, or SANE. The hospital didn’t, she was told, but it had rape kits available.

  • School fund for breakfast dries up

    State funding for the West Las Vegas school district’s breakfast program has dried up, an official said last week. It’s not clear whether the programs will continue next year.

    The district was hit with a 2.5 percent reduction in the 2008-09 allocation, the district’s budget director, Doug Hendrickson, told the school board at a meeting.

    Board President Christine Ludi asked if there was a way to make sure the program continues.

  • Dem chief beats challenge

    A statewide Democratic Party committee on Saturday rejected a challenge to the San Miguel County party chairman’s recent re-election.  

    But the attorney for the challenger promised to seek a court’s determination on whether the party should seat certain delegates.

    Earlier this month, Chairman Martin Suazo, who has headed the local party for eight years, was elected to another two-year term, getting 84 delegates’ votes to Ambrose Castellano’s 10.