Today's News

  • Officials recount response to fire

    When the Las Vegas Fire Department asked for help during a recent fire, the community responded, a top fire official says.

    On Nov. 1, a fire destroyed one house in the 1100 block of Douglas Avenue and severely damaged another. A woman, Connie “Cuca” Vigil, perished in the fire, and Maria “Esther” Bartee-Ortega, has been charged with murder for allegedly starting the blaze.

    It was the first major fire in town for more than a year.

  • Gun range closed for now

    For the time being, the city has closed its shooting range to everyone but law enforcement agencies.

    That’s because of vandalism, debris and litter, officials said. Also, some people are shooting at things such as a shack that they’re not supposed to use as targets.

  • Many benefit from Viles scholarships

    Emiteria “Matie” Martinez Robinson Viles died 47 years ago, but the foundation she created to help orphaned children from Las Vegas, Mora, Wagon Mound and Pecos go to college celebrated its 50th anniversary in October.

    Since its inception, the foundation has awarded more than $2 million in scholarships to more than 800 students from West Las Vegas, Robertson, Mora, Pecos and Wagon Mound high schools.

  • City says it is addressing issue of loud boom boxes

    Las Vegan Lalo Sanchez has some concerns about the city’s handling of certain issues, including boom boxes, speeding on North Gonzales Street and parking on sidewalks.

    Last week, the city gave him a response.

    Sanchez has spoken at many council meetings in recent months about boom boxes in cars. At last week’s council meeting, he suggested the council ban such stereos from cars.

    “I doesn’t matter what the city ordinance is. There’s no way to control it but ban them,” he told the council.

  • City says it wants policy on shutoffs

    Mayor Tony Marquez has directed city staff to draft a moratorium on winter shutoffs of natural gas to help the needy and the elderly.

    Such a moratorium would target customers who are eligible for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, or LIHEAP, a federally funded program that is administered by the state.

    A few years ago, the state passed a law calling for a moratorium of winter shutoffs of natural gas to LIHEAP-eligible customers.

  • City yet to fill director posts

    In June, the City Council voted to dismiss six city directors. More than four months later, none of the positions have been filled.

    City Manager Sharon Caballero said the city is purposely “dragging our feet” because the open positions have created vacancy savings in a tight budget year.

    She said that hasn’t affected morale because “most of the people like the interim directors we have. They have worked with them for a long time.”

  • Owner of house offended by cutout

    Greg Olyphant is a registered Democrat and says he proudly supported Barack Obama for president.

    So he wasn’t happy to find out that someone hung a cutout of the president-elect with a noose around the neck on the front porch of a house at 909 Fourth St., which he purchased earlier this year.

    Olyphant, a professor of geology at Indiana University, plans to move into the house. Meanwhile, a contractor is doing improvements.

    Last week, the Optic ran a photo of the cutout, which seemed to harken back to the times when blacks were lynched in the United States.

  • City gets officers to patrol housing

    The housing authority has started paying city police officers to patrol public housing subdivisions.

    The officers are being paid from authority funds, and the patrols are separate from their regular duties.

    At last week’s City Council meeting, Lori Gonzales, the authority’s interim director, reported that the security program began Oct. 3 and the officers have patrolled a total of 69 hours. They have responded to 45 calls and have submitted five reports to the Police Department, she said.

  • Jerome Block Jr. wins in PRC contest

    ALBUQUERQUE — Jerome Block Jr. won a seat on the state Public Regulation Commission in the Democratic-leaning District 3, while Democratic PRC Chairman Jason Marks held on to his seat in a district that represents Albuquerque.

    Block took nearly 56 percent of the vote against Green Party candidate Rick Lass, with 99 percent of the precincts reporting.

    The District 3 seat in northern New Mexico drew unexpected interest when Lass filed for the seat at the last minute, then Block ran into trouble for finance reports.

  • No big surprises in local races

    As expected, San Miguel County Democrats performed well in Tuesday’s general election.

    Some thought state Rep. Richard Vigil, D-Ribera, who has served for a decade, was vulnerable because he faced two opponents in the Democratic primary and didn’t get past 50 percent.

    But Vigil proved his detractors wrong. In his District 70, which is made up of San Miguel and Torrance counties, he pulled in 70 percent of the vote against his Las Vegas Republican opponent, Mel Root, a retired educator who got 30 percent.