Local News

  • Forest Service district ranger takes Washington job

    Joe Reddan is leaving his post after more than five years as the Forest Services district ranger for Las Vegas and Pecos.

    Ive truly enjoyed my past five years serving the people of New Mexico, especially the residents and communities that make up the Pecos-Las Vegas Ranger District, Redden said in a statement.

    He has accepted a promotion as a legislative affairs specialist with the Forest Service in Washington, D.C.

    In his new assignment, Reddan will be tracking hearings and legislation in Congress for the Forest Service.

  • City moves to clean properties

    The city of Las Vegas last week entered agreements to clean up properties owned by the community’s two most prominent alleged code violators.

    Bob Dalton has entered an agreement to clear the rubble of the old Center Block building, which collapsed in August 2006. Under its terms, the city has the right to remove the piles of bricks and other debris after June 1 if Dalton doesn’t do it himself. But the city has to give a seven-day notice before entering the property.

  • Students mark Black History Month

    Marching and singing old-time spirituals like “Amazing Grace,” “Go Tell It on the Mountain” and “Sweet Chariot,” Highlands University students celebrated Black History Month by parading around the city spreading the message of freedom last week.

    Sponsored by the Black Student Association at Highlands, the group’s president, Levell Lee, said, “Students created posters and signs to celebrate and we’re singing songs of freedom and hope as we walk through the city celebrating our heritage.”

  • Mayor defends city on gas issue

    Mayor Henry Sanchez on Friday apologized for what happened with Las Vegas’ natural gas rates over the last few years, but he added “what we did was right.”

    Sanchez fended off criticism from his four rivals in the March 4 municipal election during a 2-1/2-hour mayoral forum on KNMX radio, the majority of which was devoted to the natural gas issue.

  • Dad says he saw coach hit son

    A parent of a Robertson High School sophomore said he was reluctantly coming before the Las Vegas City Schools board because he had received no answers or satisfaction concerning incidents of violence directed at his son.

    Michael Gallegos, a city councilman, told the board that over a month’s time, a group of students were playing pranks by coming to his home, banging on his front door and then speeding away. He said at one point he followed the youths and took down their license plate number and was able to identify them.

  • Assessor invites state to attend forum, then changes mind

    Mora County Assessor Angela Romero earlier this week invited state property tax officials to a public forum about the state’s enforcement of tax rates.

    On Wednesday, she pulled the invitation.

    “Your presence at this forum is no longer necessary. Thank you for your consideration in attending this forum,” she wrote in a letter to Rick Silva, the director of the state Property Tax Division.

  • Audit: City violated ordinance

    A special audit released Thursday found that the city violated its ordinance for setting natural gas rates, overcharging customers by more than $10 million.

    However, the independent auditor said the rate-setting decisions were “economically prudent” because of an average deficit of more than $1 million in the natural gas utility for the last seven years.

  • Outgoing council members honored

    With political season at high tide, Mayor Henry Sanchez and others on Wednesday honored the five departing City Council members, Macario Gonzalez, Eugene Romero, Michael Gallegos, Louie Trujillo and Tony Marquez.

    The mayor gave albums to each departing member, with pictures of them in action through the years.

    “You took a lot of abuse. People don’t understand all that you do,” Sanchez said. “Why you do it, who knows?”

  • Manager gets severance pay

    With the mayor’s tie-breaking vote, City Manager John Avila will get two months of severance pay when he leaves his job Friday.

    The City Council on Wednesday debated whether Avila should get more than $12,000, which amounts to two months of his $75,000 annual salary.

  • 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.