WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — Strong earthquakes shook central New Zealand on Friday, damaging homes, destroying a bridge and sending office workers scrambling for cover in the capital. No serious injuries have been reported.
A magnitude-6.5 temblor struck just after 2:30 p.m. near the small South Island town of Seddon, and at least six aftershocks were 5.0 magnitude or stronger.
Several homes near the epicenter were severely damaged, with chimneys collapsing and roofs caving in, said police spokeswoman Barbara Dunn. She said a bridge was severely damaged on the main highway near Seddon, and that rocks and debris had fallen onto the road. Police closed a section of the highway.
Some buildings in Wellington, the capital, were evacuated, and items were knocked off shelves in places.
Police said a number of people were freed from Wellington elevators that stopped working. The initial temblor also forced the nation's stock exchange to close for more than an hour.
Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown said there was no major damage to the city's infrastructure or office buildings. She said highways had become clogged as people left the city.
"We think this is business as usual," she said, "but it is going to take a little while for people to get home tonight."
The U.S. Geological Survey said the epicenter of the initial temblor was 94 kilometers (58 miles) west of Wellington at a depth of 10 kilometers (6 miles).
A quake of similar strength in the same area three weeks ago broke water mains, smashed windows and downed power lines.
Caroline Little, a seismologist with New Zealand quake monitoring agency GeoNet, said the series of quakes since July had followed an unusual pattern.
"Normally you get a big quake and then the aftershocks get smaller in magnitude," she said.
Little said the July quake was on a fault line near Seddon that had not previously been mapped. She said it was too early to determine if Friday's quakes were on that same fault.
A different fault line runs through Wellington, and many in the city fear a major disaster if it were to become active.
New Zealand is part of the so-called Pacific "Ring of Fire" that has regular seismic activity. A severe earthquake in the city of Christchurch in 2011 killed 185 people and destroyed much of the city's downtown.
Local authorities issued no tsunami warnings after Friday's quakes.
Three St. Louis Community College employees are looking for work after they were let go on Thursday.
The firings were connected a critical report that examined the attack of a student on the Meramec campus last spring. District Police Chief Robert Stewart, Meramec Campus Police Chief Paul Banta and VP of Student Affairs Linden Crawford were all shown the door.
On April 18, 2013 19 year old Blythe Grupe was attacked in a Meramec campus bathroom. College instructor Aurora Hill heard Grupe's cries for help and interrupted the assault, holding the suspect, 19 year old Jevon Mallory, until police arrived.
In their report, investigators cited the school's failure to notify students and staff about the attack. Campus police were criticized for releasing the suspect, then allowing him to return to campus five days later, and for withholding information from prosecutors.
The Board of Trustees of St. Louis Community College had retained Armstrong Teasdale LLP to perform an investigation after concerns were raised about the school's handling of the attack. The full 18 page report is available on the college's website.
St. Louis city residents have a chance to weigh-in on a proposed saggy pants ban.
Alderwoman Marlene Davis is holding a pair of public meetings on the proposal. She says saggy pants can cause health problems like arthritis or sterility.
Tonight's forum is underway, but another is scheduled for Tuesday evening at Long Middle School.
WAYNESVILLE, Mo. (AP) - Officials in south-central Missouri's Pulaski County say at least 90 percent of their roads were damaged by last week's heavy flooding.
Presiding Commissioner Gene Newkirk tells KOLR-TV the damage to 65 percent of the roadways in the county is considered major. About two dozen low-water crossings were washed out and remain closed.
Pulaski County was among the hardest hit by floods that swamped much of southern Missouri amid several days of rain. A 23-year-old woman and her 4-year-old son died when their car was caught in a flash flood in Waynesville.
The Red Cross and other agencies opened a one-stop relief center Tuesday in Waynesville for homeowners and others needing help with flood-related losses. The Red Cross says more than 200 families had registered for assistance by Wednesday afternoon.