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Budget Deal Offers Stability to Pentagon Spending

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Working-age military retirees would see fewer dollars in their federal pensions and the Pentagon would get some long-sought stability in spending under Congress' budget deal.

The agreement eases some of the pain of the automatic, across-the-board spending cuts that senior military leaders and Congress' defense experts have railed against for months. It reverses a $20 billion financial hit that the Pentagon faced next month, although the robust military spending through wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is clearly over.

Under the deal, defense spending in the current fiscal year would be capped at $520.5 billion, up from the current level of $498.1 billion.

Defense leaders and members of Congress' military panels welcomed the certainty promised in the deal, even though numbers weren't exactly what they wanted.

A House vote is likely Thursday.

 

Train Track Reopens near Speedway After Derailment

LAS VEGAS -- Union Pacific has reopened the tracks where a train derailed Sunday night near the 215 Beltway and Range Road.

The tracks reopened at 7:25 a.m., less than 12 hours after the derailment involving one locomotive and 19 cars. The cars were loaded with coal. No one was hurt.

The cars were part of 103 cars and four locomotives traveling from Utah to California.

Heavy equipment arrived Monday morning to move the rail cars and put the locomotive back on the track, Union Pacific said.

Train Derails Near Las Vegas Motor Speedway

LAS VEGAS -- Crews are working to remove train cars that derailed Sunday night near the 215 beltway and Range Road near the Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

According to a spokesperson with Union Pacific Railroad, one locomotive and 19 cars derailed at about 9:45 p.m. The cars were loaded with coal. No one was hurt.

The cars were part of 103 cars and four locomotives traveling from Utah to California.

Heavy equipment arrived Monday morning to move the rail cars and put the locomotive back on the track, Union Pacific said. The line is expected to be open at 4 a.m. Tuesday.

The derailment is under investigation.

Adopt a Family Program Helps Air Force Families

Staff Sgt. Jeffrey Janelle

LAS VEGAS -- Members of the U.S. Air Force work year round to keep this country safe, but sometimes they can use help from the people they protect, especially during the holidays.

That is where Operation Warmheart's Adopt-a-Family program can help.

Military families at Nellis and Creech Air Force bases are just like any other family unexpected medical bills or new expenses can add up quickly, putting a damper on the holidays.

Staff Sgt. Jeffrey Janelle moved his wife and two sons into a new home off base last year. That is when things started to pile up, unexpected bills came in and his oldest son was diagnosed with autism.

"Having to drive back and forth between therapies, child care to cover the time he needed the therapies. Also trying to get down to my mother in California, she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis," F-16 crew chief Staff Sgt. Janelle said.

To make matters worse, it was the holidays.

Hagel Says Staff Cutbacks Will Save $1 Billion

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Wednesday that cutting his Pentagon staff by 20 percent will save at least $1 billion over five years.

At a Pentagon news conference, Hagel laid out details of the plan, which was announced in broad terms last summer. It is part of a larger proposal to reorganize his staff and trim the budgets of various civilian defense headquarters.

Hagel also called on Congress to avoid another year of forced budget cuts known as sequestration. He has said that forced reductions in 2013 have put at risk the military's ability to carry out its future missions.

"Congress must be a full partner in our efforts to responsibly bring down defense spending and to implement needed institutional reforms that maximize the use of our resources," Hagel said.

 

Three Juveniles Hit by Motorcycle

LAS VEGAS -- Metro Police are investigating a crash involving three children and a motorcycle.

According to police, the crash happened at around 4:30 p.m. Tuesday near Nellis and North Las Vegas boulevards.

The father of the children had picked them up from school and was crossing outside a crosswalk when the motorcycle hit the children, police said. The motorcycle rider tried to avoid hitting the kids by putting his motorcycle on its side.

A 6 and 10 year old suffered broken legs. A 9 year old has a possible head injury. The motorcyclist suffered no injuries.

Police say the children's injuries are not life threatening. The children's father is being cited for jaywalking.