Local News

  • Exchange signups very low

    By Barry Massey
    The Associated Press

    SANTA FE — Fewer than 200 New Mexicans signed up for health insurance plans through a troubled federal online marketplace during its first month of operation, the Obama administration reported Wednesday.

    The announcement by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services confirmed the disappointing enrollment that New Mexico officials had expected because of computer glitches that hampered the start of the federal health insurance exchange.

  • Gov seeks funds to recruit nurses

    By Barry Massey
    The Associated Press

    SANTA FE — Gov. Susana Martinez proposed Wednesday that New Mexico launch an advertising campaign to aggressively recruit nursing professionals from other states to help deal with a shortage of primary care providers.

  • BREAKING: Local coach dies unexpectedly

    Many members of the Las Vegas community are in shock due to the unexpected death earlier today of West Las Vegas High School teacher and volleyball coach Mary Bustos.

    West Las Vegas Superintendent Gene Parson said students and staff in his district are devastated. Bustos was well known throughout the area. She had previously taught and coached at Robertson High School and in the Pecos school district.

    For more on this developing story, pick up a copy of Friday's Optic.

  • Group surprised with $7K grant

    Volunteers at El Valle Community Center in Villanueva got a special surprise on Monday afternoon from Betul Ozmat of the New Mexico Community Foundation.

    In the entrance room into the old school house now turned community center, Ozmat presented Patricia Gallegos with an award and a $7,000 check for the facility. The center, located in the heart of Villanueva just off NM 3, is one of the 10 organizations across the state to receive the 2013 Chispa Award. Ozmat’s visit was a surprise to Gallegos and the other volunteers.

  • Murder conviction upheld

    The Associated Press

    SANTA FE — New Mexico’s highest court has upheld the murder conviction of a Las Vegas man for the 2009 shooting death of another San Miguel County man.

    Louis Benavidez was sentenced in January 2012 to life in prison for killing Kevin Duran outside of the home where the victim lived with his girlfriend and her six children, including a teenage son who fought with Benavidez two days before the shooting.

  • Devastating fire - Most of family’s possessions lost

    In the early morning hours of Nov. 1, three members of the Lujan family stood outside and watched their home burn to nothing.

    But for the Lujan family was heartened by what happened next. Friends and even complete strangers stepped up to help them. Donations started pouring in, clothes for their teenage daughters were purchased and given to them by friends, and a bank account was set up to help the Lujan family rebuild after the devastating fire.

  • Luna unveils new veterans center

    Officials at Luna Community College marked Veterans Day by holding a grand opening ceremony for the school’s new Veterans Resource Center.

    “When we work together, we accomplish things,” said Luna board member Ernie Chavez, who has advocated for increased services to veterans.

    Chavez, a veteran of the Vietnam War himself, said veterans have a hard time transitioning from a war zone to civilian life, and he expressed hope that the new center would help veterans through that process.

  • In Brief - New Mexico News - Nov. 13, 2013

    The Associated Press

    Blue Cross buying Lovelace  
    ALBUQUERQUE — Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Mexico announced Monday that it is acquiring Lovelace Health Plan in a deal both companies said should give Lovelace’s 108,000 members access to a larger network of providers.
    Health Care Services Corp., the nation’s largest nonprofit health insurance company, is buying Lovelace though its New Mexico Blue Cross division. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, and the sale is subject to regulatory approval.

  • Looking Back - Nov. 11, 2013

    In 1963

    Monday, Nov. 18 — Joe Allen Hardy, son of Mr. and Mrs. John Rackley of Las Vegas, and a graduate of Highlands University, has achieved the hope of every young drama director — a hit on Broadway. The show is a musical, “The Streets of New York,” adapted from a century-old melodrama, with book, and lyrics by Barry Allen Grael and music by Richard Chodosh. The show has drawn rave reviews. Hardy received his B.A. and M.A. degrees from Highlands in 1951 and ‘54, respectively.

  • Looking Ahead - News - Nov. 13, 2013

    Book sale set for Saturday
    Friends of Las Vegas Carnegie will host a used book sale Saturday, Nov 16, at the corner of Seventh and University from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Books will sell for $1 a bag.