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Today's News

  • Contract gives HU profs raises

    The Highlands University Board of Regents last week approved a new contract that gives increases to faculty, a day after the professors union voted for the pact.

    In recent weeks, the Faculty Association had complained about the administration publicly, alleging that the school is top-heavy and that professors lagged behind their peers at other colleges.

  • Teachers: It was a dinner, dance

    In 2005 and 2006, the West Las Vegas school district held events that were billed as training workshops.

    But a number of teachers testified Friday that each function was nothing more than a dinner and a dance. And attendees could buy alcohol if they wanted.

    Did the teachers learn anything? They said they didn’t.

    Friday was the second day in the jury trial of former West bilingual coordinator Roberta Vigil and former school board member Ralph Garcia. The state is trying to prove that the two took part in a scheme to fraudulently misspend public money.

  • Half of HU grads at master’s level

    Highlands University President Jim Fries welcomed a full house Saturday at the Wilson Complex for the 2009 commencement ceremony, calling it a day of celebration, transition and new beginnings.

    “Graduates, what a wonderful gift you are giving your mothers, just one day before Mother’s Day. I can’t think of a better Mother’s Day present. I would advise, however, that you not forget to make a phone call or send a card in addition to this,” Fries said to applause.

  • ONLINE-ONLY STORY: Trial of ex-West officials begins

    SANTA FE -- Attorney Sam Bregman fired off the first volley of protest before District Judge Stephen Pfeffer as the trial for former West Las Vegas officials Roberta Vigil and Ralph Garcia got under way Thursday in Santa Fe. The trial stems from charges filed in connection with parties thrown by the West Las Vegas bilingual department in 2005 and 2006. In June 2006, the Optic revealed that nearly $10,000 was spent for an April 2006 adults-only, invitation-only party put on by West's bilingual department, then led by Vigil. That led to a sta

  • LATEST ONLINE UPDATE: Teachers say they went to party, not workshop

    SANTA FE — In 2005 and 2006, the West Las Vegas school district held events that were billed as training workshops.

    But a number of teachers testified Friday that each function was nothing more than a dinner and a dance. And attendees could buy alcohol if they wanted.

    Did the teachers learn anything? They said they didn't.

  • Teacher investigation continues

    The Las Vegas police have turned over preliminary reports to the district attorney’s office on the Robertson High School teacher who allegedly sexually abused a student for years.

    But the DA’s office has yet to get the final results of the investigation.

    Police Chief Gary Gold was under the impression earlier this week that his department had turned in the full packet to the DA’s office. But he said his agency had actually turned in only the preliminary reports.

    “We have a lot of leads to follow up on,” the chief said.

  • COLUMN: An aggressive press

    For about four years now, Optic readers have been exposed to aggressive and fearless news reporting, and incisive, no-holds-barred editorials. Optic readers were not accustomed to a forceful press, and this has caused a not-so-quiet dialogue on the question of whether the Optic is too negative.

  • Graduations set for this weekend

    Both Highlands University and Luna Community College will hold graduations Saturday.

    Luna’s commencement is set for 10 a.m. in a large tent on campus, while Highlands’ will be at 2 p.m. at Wilson Complex.

    The commencement speaker at Luna will be Ana Pacheco, a Santa Fe native and publisher of La Herencia Magazine.

  • THUMBS: Our high country lowdown on the news

    GRADUATING TO THE NEXT LEVEL. This weekend will be the Highlands University and Luna Community College graduations. Then, on May 22 and 23, East and West will hold commencements. Congratulations to all who will walk across the stage to receive their diplomas and degrees.

    It’s a time of transition for a lot of our young people — and their parents, who must let them go on to the next stage of life. The economic times may be tough, but there’s still a lot to look forward to, and our best wishes go out to all.

  • Officials: Drunks kept off streets

    Since last July, San Miguel County’s Safe Ride program has taken 784 people home from bars and parties.

    The program is paid for through a state fund coming from fees assessed to DWI offenders, so to most taxpayers, it’s free.

    The county started the program to provide rides home for intoxicated people, so they could stay off the road. The service is available Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights.