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Las Vegas Barbary Apes Get New Exhibit

LAS VEGAS -- The Las Vegas Zoo has made some big changes to one of its exhibits. The zoo has expanded the area which houses its family of Barbary Apes.

The apes had been living in two separate areas, now they have been brought together in a habitat that is 10 times larger then the one they were living in before.

The exhibit is part of the zoo's expansion plan which will take place over the next few years. "Everything in here at the Las Vegas Zoo needs improvement" said Pat Dingle, the zoo's director. "That's been our attitude and I can assure everyone in our 30 year history, we have never had the momentum and public support we have today. So we are very hopeful over the next year or two we will be able to have that gem of a Las Vegas zoo we all deserve."

The Las Vegas zoo is home to a variety of endangered species. In fact the Barbary apes at the zoo are the last family of their kind in the entire United States.

Las Vegas Schools Facing 1,000 Layoffs

LAS VEGAS  -- Cash-strapped Clark County school trustees are poised to lay off more than 1,000 employees by July 1 unless the Las Vegas-based district can find another way to close a big budget shortfall.

Board members of the nation's fifth-largest school district approved a tentative spending plan late Wednesday that aims to close most of a $140 million budget gap left by reduced state funding and declining property tax revenues. The board has until June 8 to submit a final balanced budget to the state.

Administrators say classroom and administrative positions are on the block. But specifics haven't been made public. Officials say they hope the district's four employee unions will agree to concessions including salary reductions and furlough days to reduce the number of layoffs.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

First-Time Unemployment Claims Increased

WASHINGTON -- The number of newly laid-off workers seeking unemployment benefits rose last week, a sign that jobs remain scarce even as the economy recovers. The Labor Department said Thursday that first-time claims increased by 18,000 in the week ending April 3, to a seasonally adjusted 460,000. That's worse than economists' estimates of a drop to 435,000, according to a survey by Thomson Reuters.

The report covers the week that includes the Easter holiday, and a Labor Department analyst said seasonal adjustment for Easter can be difficult since the holiday occurs in different weeks each year. California also closed its state offices for a holiday March 31, the analyst said, which likely held down the claims figures. On an unadjusted basis, claims rose by 6,500 to nearly 415,000.

North Las Vegas, Firefighter's Union at Odds Over Layoffs

NORTH LAS VEGAS, Nev. -- The City of North Las Vegas says it has no choice but to start laying off firefighters by the end of the week unless the Firefighter's Union agrees to forfeit, rather than postpone, their cost of living raises.

Both sides agree laying off firefighters would jeopardize public safety, but both also claim the other is to blame for the impasse.

The North Las Vegas City Council held a special closed door personnel session where this issue was discussed.

At least one North Las Vegas City Council member said publicly he believes the only way to avoid firefighter layoffs is to get the union to agree to forfeit altogether, not defer, a 4.25-percent cost of living raise.

Without an agreement, 16 firefighters are expected to receive pink slips by the end of the week.

I-Team: Officer on Paid Leave Involved in Hit and Run

NORTH LAS VEGAS, Nev. -- A North Las Vegas police officer who says his badge saved him from a fatal gunshot is now accused of disrespecting that badge and all it stands for.

Police say Officer Brian Kolstad caused a hit-and-run crash while he was on paid administrative leave for firing his weapon. Officer Kolstad has been on leave since mid-February pending the outcome of an investigation into his officer involved shooting.

In early March, during his taxpayer-funded time off, Kolstad headed to a bar to meet some buddies, according to a police report, when he side-swiped another driver. Instead of waiting for police to arrive, the report notes after 30 minutes Kolstad left the scene.

Read the hit and run police report

He later opened his front door to the investigating officer with a beer in his hand.

Expert Says Las Vegas Housing Market Healing

LAS VEGAS -- The Greater Las Vegas Association of Realtors says home sales jumped 33 percent in March as buyers rushed to beat the deadline for the home buyer tax credits.

The group unveiled its latest numbers at a panel discussion on the Las Vegas housing market Wednesday morning.

Panelists say the emphasis in the coming year will be on short sales. GLVAR President Rick Shelton says he also expects there to be more foreclosures on the market because banks are not willing to work with homeowners on reducing their loans. He says that will result in more homeowners opting to do a short sale. Currently, short sales make up about half of the houses that are for sale in the market.

The panel says home prices are beginning to stabilize with the median home price for a single-family home at $136,000 which is up slightly from February. There has been an increase in home sales for the past 15 months.

Budget Deadline Nears for Clark County School District

LAS VEGAS -- Some big changes are expected for the Clark County School District in the coming months. School board members meet Wednesday to adopt a tentative budget designed to cut $123 million.

One of the proposals -- eliminating year round schools -- would save $18 million. Already school board members have agreed to change 21 schools from a year-round schedule to a nine-month schedule.

"I think it'll give them a chance to save money," said Shaunrice Hill, a former student.

Even with that change, there are still 55 schools operating 12 months a year. Some parents want that to change.

"I have older kids who are in a traditional nine month school, so we're able to take our vacations the same if we are all on a nine month school," said Delilah Ascencion, parent.