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Today's News

  • Official's absences attract attention

    Councilman Eugene Romero, who missed nearly a third of council meetings over a more than two-year period, was the subject of a TV news report Wednesday night.

    An Optic investigation last year found that Romero had missed 31 percent of meetings but still collected his salary of $19,854 a year. No other councilman missed that many meetings.

    In the KOAT report, Romero said he wasn’t overpaid, even though he was often a no-show. When KOAT asked about his absences, Romero explained that he is a businessman.

  • Optic criticized during meeting

    The Las Vegas City Council received much praise at its meeting Wednesday. The Las Vegas Optic, meanwhile, took some criticism — to the delight of a crowd filled with council supporters.

    Las Vegas resident Patricia Navarro singled out the mayor and every council member for praise and then turned to an Optic reporter sitting across the room. She told the Optic to stop spreading untruths, which she didn’t specify.

    “Lay off the mayor,” she said to loud applause from the audience. Councilman Eugene Romero clapped loudly, smiling broadly at the reporter.

  • Police issuing warnings

    As of last week, the city police have issued 12 warning citations to motorists violating the city’s new ban on talking on cell phones while driving.

    The police haven’t issued a ticket involving fines.

    “The officers have been authorized for full enforcement; however, in instances such as this with a new ordinance, a gradual approach is often best to gain cooperation and compliance,” Deputy Police Chief Christian Montao said.

  • Manager says he's resigning from job

    At first, City Manager John Avila said his pending departure was not a resignation. Now, he says it is.

    Some City Council members have been wanting a clarification, wondering whether he is being fired or resigning.

    Two weeks ago, Mayor Henry Sanchez told the City Council about Avila’s departure, but council members questioned whether it was a resignation or firing. The mayor didn’t directly answer.

    Shortly after the council meeting, Avila said his departure wasn’t a resignation, but he wouldn’t elaborate.

  • Firm says it's picking up materials

    Recycling is alive and well in Las Vegas, and since 2000, A/C Recycling has been picking up reusable materials that would otherwise go to a landfill, its owner says.

    “We started recycling about eight years ago picking up recyclables on a daily basis using one trailer. Currently, we have 42 customers that we service daily — picking up cardboard, shredded paper, newspaper, plastics, steel, and aluminum and tin cans,” said A/C owner and manager Charlene Jiron.

  • Forum on gas audit this week

    The city plans to release an audit of its natural gas rates during a public forum on Thursday.

    State Auditor Hector Balderas said he planned to release the audit to the city Tuesday. Under state law, the city can wait 10 days to release the audit to the public, but the city apparently decided to waive that right.

    On Tuesday, confusion surrounded the scheduling of the event. The city sent a legal advertisement about the forum to the Optic on Friday, which ran in Tuesday’s paper.

  • State: Suspending official possible but unlikely

    State officials said they have the option under law to suspend Mora County Assessor Angela Romero under a worst-case scenario, but they “don’t want to go there.”

    On Monday, Romero asked three employees of the state Property Tax Division to stop changing property values until they got a written directive from their superior to do so.

    She said she didn’t ask them to leave, although they did shortly after.

  • Mora assessor asks state to leave

    Mora County’s tax assessor on Monday said she ordered three state employees to leave her office until they got a written directive from their superior to change property values.

    San Miguel County is seeking a similar directive.

    Officials from both counties fear big increases in taxes for many residents.

    At issue is a recent state effort to crack down on properties that are inappropriately classified for grazing, which are eligible for much lower tax rates.

  • Two men charged with trafficking cocaine

    Authorities said they confiscated an estimated $8,000 to $10,000 worth of powder cocaine and crack cocaine during a recent operation.

    Undercover Region 4 Narcotics Task Force officers conducted an operation on Feb. 4 that covered San Miguel and Bernalillo counties, according to a news release.

    Task force commander Sgt. Mack Allingham said in a statement that agents found out that Joseph Leyba, also known as Joseph Evenson, 27, 500 S. Grand Ave. No. 24, was to meet with a drug supplier in Albuquerque and buy a large amount of crack cocaine.

  • Manager may get severance income

    The Las Vegas City Council is expected to consider giving outgoing City Manager John Avila more than $12,000 in severance pay, but it’s still unclear whether Avila is leaving voluntarily or involuntarily.

    Councilman Morris Madrid, a former city manager himself, is asking that the council consider giving Avila two months of pay after he leaves Friday, but other council members question the proposal.