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Today's News

  • ONLINE BREAKING NEWS: Case against Ralph Garcia thrown out

    SANTA FE — A state district judge on Tuesday threw out the case against former longtime West Las Vegas school board member Ralph Garcia, who was accused of fraudulently spending public money in connection with two parties.

    District Judge Stephen Pfeffer decided to dismiss charges of fraud and conspiracy after the state finished presenting its case. He did so in response to arguments by Garcia's attorney, Anna Aragon.

  • Vegas officials headed to LA

    Three Las Vegas officials are planning to take a trip to Los Angeles in June at a cost of $1,800 each. But one of them says she may not go if she isn’t satisfied there is money in the budget for it.

    In late June, City Manager Timothy Dodge, Mayor Tony Marquez and Councilwoman Diane Moore are expected to go to the annual conference of the National Association of Latino Elected Officials.

  • Sheriff criticizes county official

    San Miguel County Sheriff Benjie Vigil contends the county government isn’t giving his department the resources it needs. And he said that’s largely because the county manager controls the County Commission.

    The sheriff went public with his criticism of County Manager Les Montoya after the commission decided last week against Vigil’s request for high-voltage stun guns for his deputies.

  • Mayor to governor: Water is priority

    Las Vegas Mayor Tony Marquez told Gov. Bill Richardson on Friday that water was the city’s priority for funding.

    Rich-ardson met with local officials at City Hall to talk about federal stimulus funding that was available to communities such as Las Vegas.

  • Luna students urged to have hope

    Debra Gage was among 161 students who received their degrees, certificates or GEDs from Luna Community College on Saturday.

    Getting her associate’s nursing degree, Gage, a former Army medic, plans to go on to get her bachelor’s degree in nursing.

    Gage had plenty of company at Luna, where nearly 40 percent of graduates received some type of degree or certificate in nursing. And more than three-quarters of graduates were women.

  • 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.