Region Briefs

Fort Carson soldiers return from Afghanistan

COLORADO SPRINGS – About 165 soldiers based at Fort Carson near Colorado Springs have returned home after spending nine months in Afghanistan.

The soldiers assigned to the 4th Infantry Division’s 3rd Brigade Combat Team were greeted during a homecoming ceremony Saturday.

The brigade trained Afghan forces on national security in an effort to ensure they can watch after their country by the end of 2014, when most coalition forces are scheduled to leave.

More than 100 additional soldiers were expected to return home Saturday night.

Wild horse roundup plans change in N.M.

ALBUQUERQUE – Plans for rounding up wild horses in northern New Mexico have changed.

The Bureau of Land Management says it is reprioritizing the horse gathers based on drought conditions and the condition of the animals.

Trapping on Jarita Mesa has been canceled because conditions there aren’t as bad as they are in other areas.

Fewer horses will be gathered from the Jicarilla Wild Horse Territory because of limited holding space.

The BLM is nearing capacity at its holding corrals and pastures. That means officials have less ability to remove animals from overpopulated herds and drought-stricken rangeland.

There are an estimated 405 mustangs roaming the Jicarilla territory in the Carson National Forest and BLM-controlled land in the Carracas Mesa area. Managers have said the herd should be much smaller because there’s not enough forage to keep the horses healthy.

Wind-turbine maker lays off more workers

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – A major manufacturer of small wind turbines has laid off 14 more employees from its plant in northern Arizona and several employees from its offices in Colorado.

Officials with Southwest Windpower informed the Coconino County Career Center about the layoffs last week.

Company officials did not respond to a call and email seeking comment from The Associated Press.

Last December, Southwest Windpower opened a branch office in Broomfield, Colo., where it relocated its engineers to focus on development of a wind-testing site and commercial sales.

That came after multiple rounds of layoffs, including one in 2009 in which more than 10 percent of its staff members were let go because of the slowing economy.

Ariz. company opens vehicle-charging station

PICACHO, Ariz. – A Scottsdale-based company is opening the first of 26 planned charging stations for electric vehicles along Interstate 10 in Arizona.

Officials with GOe3, Secretary of State Ken Bennett and members of the Clean Cities coalitions held a ribbon-cutting ceremony Saturday at the Bowlin Travel Centers’ Picacho Peak Plaza between Phoenix and Tucson.

The company says travelers can make a 20-minute stop at Picacho to charge up their electric vehicle with either a DC fast charger or 70 amp charger.

GOe3 officials say the Arizona charging stations will be part of a network of 1,000 stations that will stretch along I-10 as well as I-8 and I-40. They say they want to make coast-to-coast travel by electric vehicle a reality by 2015.

Associated Press