Local News

  • State stocks river with trout

    On Monday afternoon, a few Highlands University students saw something interesting happening along the Gallinas River. And true to their generation, they texted the information to others.

    The news: The state was putting rainbow trout in the river.

    As part of a pilot project, the state Game and Fish Department put 400 trout into the river — the average length being 13 inches. It was the first time in years the state has stocked the river in town with trout.

  • Candidate says signs are stolen

    Tony Valdez, a candidate for the Luna Community College Board of Trustees, said last week that three of his campaign signs had been stolen in recent days — one on El Llano Road and two on Hot Springs Boulevard.

    He said he got the permission of the owners to place his signs in those places.

    “I spoke to the owners, and they’re very upset because people have no right to come onto their properties,” Valdez said. “I pay a lot of money for my signs.”

  • Garcia doesn’t show at his party

    It was to be Ralph Garcia’s last meeting as a West Las Vegas school board member after nearly three decades of service.

    Last week, a cake with his name and punch were available to celebrate the service of the outgoing member, who leaves at the end of the month.

    A plaque was to be presented in his honor.

    Guess who didn’t show up to the meeting.

    Ralph Garcia.

    But all was not lost. There were more than a dozen people in the audience to enjoy the refreshments.

  • DWI charge against man dismissed

    Authorities have thrown out charges of aggravated driving and racing on highways against a Las Vegas man because there was insufficient evidence, according to court documents.

    Earlier this month, Andrew Baca, 29, pleaded guilty in Magistrate Court to a single count of careless driving. A magistrate judge sentenced Baca to 364 days of unsupervised probation, $75 in court costs and up to $1,000 in restitution to the victims in the case.

  • Ghosts in the Plaza

    It was a sometimes eerie peek into Las Vegas’ past. Historic figures began appearing in different windows of the under-construction Ilfeld building, and nighttime passersby were often taken off guard by the sight.

    Everybody knows about the ghost that resides comfortably at the Plaza Hotel, but when the images also began to speak, the gig was up. No, it wasn’t a practical joke, even though there were reports of 911 calls reporting strange and unusual sightings in the darkened building.

  • Family sues railroad, agencies

    The family of a man who was killed trying to cross railroad tracks has sued the railroad, among other entities, for its suffering since the accident.

    The lawsuit, filed Thursday in state District Court in Las Vegas, names as defendants Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway, Amtrak, the city of Las Vegas, San Miguel County and the Ride to Pride Partnership, which owns land next to the crossing.

  • Agency admits official on leave

    It’s official: Isaac Apodaca, the state hospital’s deputy administrator, is on leave.

    On Thursday, the Optic received pay records indicating that Apodaca, who has been in charge of public relations and staff development, has been on paid administrative leave since Jan. 29.

    This information was revealed after the newspaper sent a written public records request to the state Health Department, which oversees the hospital, known formally as the New Mexico Behavioral Health Institute.

  • College of Santa Fe accused of fraud

    SANTA FE — The financially-troubled College of Santa Fe is being accused of fraud for how it handled a 2006 bond transaction.

    The private college, which is on the verge of either closing or being taken over by New Mexico Highlands University, has defaulted on the $25 million bond debt and $2 million in associated fees.

    Radian Insurance, the company that insured the debt, is alleging that the college committed fraud in its insurance application and that the financial statements provided by the college failed to disclose its true financial picture.

  • 1,000 sign petition about RR crossing

    More than 1,000 people have signed a petition asking that area government officials do something about a railroad crossing where two people have died in collisions over the last four months.

    The petition effort was organized by the family of Michael Esquibel, who was killed in January at the crossing near the city’s transfer station. Also giving significant help is the local Ride for Pride Partnership, which is near the crossing and whose young members quickly arrived after the most recent accident to help out.

  • Assault suspects plead

    SANTA FE — A teenager described by victims as the ringleader in the Robertson High School football hazing case pleaded not guilty to 19 felony counts, including multiple counts of criminal sexual penetration.

    Michael Gallegos, 17, was arraigned Thursday over assaults that occurred last August at a preseason camp near Las Vegas, where victims were held on the floor and told to “take it like a man” by assailants.

    When state District Judge James Hall read the counts, Gallegos replied, “I deny all the charges.”