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Today's News

  • Closure tied to loss of state money

    The head of the Rancho Valmora treatment center near Watrous say it’s closing because of a state decision on funding for such services — a change supported by a state lawmaker who represents that area.

    The closure means the loss of 65 jobs, said Bill McKay, president of Social Learning Environments, which runs Rancho Valmora and similar centers in Fort Davis, Texas, and Missoula, Mont. Rancho Valmora was Mora County’s largest employer, he said.

  • Balderas wants audit out

    State Auditor Hector Balderas says that he may have to order the city of Las Vegas and an auditing firm to release a final audit on billing in the utilities department.

    The audit started earlier this year after Mayor Tony Marquez alleged publicly that then-Utilities Director George DuFour and a city councilman, later identified as Andrew Feldman, may have illegally adjusted customers’ utilities bills.

    Recently, Feldman demanded the city release the audit, saying it had cleared him of Marquez’s allegations.

  • Voting project reveals oddities

    Paul Maez, who works in the county clerk’s office, is closely examining registrations to make sure voters are assigned to the right political districts.

    In so doing, he’s finding some oddities.

    At the beginning of the year, Maez, who is now the elections bureau supervisor, essentially swapped jobs with Melanie Rivera, who was elected county clerk. Maez served as county clerk for two four-year terms, but state law bars him from running for a third term in a row.

  • EDITORIAL: Counties are outgunned

    A federal whistleblower lawsuit alleges that Community Health Systems bilked Medicaid at three of its New Mexico hospitals, including Las Vegas’ Alta Vista Regional Hospital.

    The Tennessee-based company has yet to gets its day in court, and its spokesman is not commenting on the litigation.

  • Students get to know each other on first day

    On the first day of school, Memorial Middle School teacher Clarabel Marquez has a way of getting kids to come out of their shell: They are introduced to Global Bingo, a game where they ask a number of questions and at the same time get to know each other.

    Students are given a global bingo sheet with a number of questions like: Who traveled out of New Mexico this summer? Who knows at least 10 names of states in the United States? Who knows the name of the mayor of Las Vegas?

  • West finance official resigns

    Doug Hendrickson, West Las Vegas’ business manager, has resigned from his post.

  • Send a message

    The new dorms have opened up at Highlands University, and they are a showcase for the school.

    As sure as it rains during the Fiestas, local leaders will be contemplating about whom to name the new residence hall after. If history is any guide, it will be named in honor of a professor or a politician.

    Last year, a group asked the Board of Regents to name the hall after state Sen. Pete Campos, D-Las Vegas. We’re not sure why a university building would be named after a state senator, except that he did his job and helped secure the state funding for the project.

  • AS IT IS: Why wasn’t name printed?

    A few readers have wondered why we didn’t publish the name of a man accused of sexually molesting an 8-year-old in a story in the Aug. 3 Optic.

    They note that the name appeared in other news outlets. We didn’t give any special treatment to this suspect; our policy is not to publish the names of those accused of sexual crimes until they are bound over to state District Court for trial. Exceptions are made for public officials and people who are in positions of trust such as police officers and teachers.

  • Advocate: Focus is not divisiveness

    An advocate for a police oversight board says she wants a constructive approach toward the issue.

    Pat Leahan of the Las Vegas Peace and Justice Center, who helped organize a recent meeting dealing with police oversight, told the City Council earlier this month that an Optic headline, “Residents complain about police,” mischaracterized the meeting.

    She said the meeting didn’t focus on complaints, but rather sought solutions.

    “Our goal is partnership, not divisiveness,” she said.

  • LETTER: Office provided great service

    My name is Connie Mack and I want to thank the Department of Vocational Rehabilitation for seeing me though college. I struggled for decades with disabilities I thought I was “just stick with.”

    I was having a difficult time making it through college at age 59 when I discovered the Department of Vocational Rehabilitation.