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Local news briefs

The 2006 Jackie Morales Distinguished Awards for Community Service will be presented during the Fourth Festival Las Américas, Saturday, Sept. 16th, at Sopris Park in Carbondale.The awards are given to four local individuals who exemplify the spirit and dedication Morales demonstrated toward the well being and care of the Hispanic community. Her inspiration and tireless work during the past decade is personified in each recipient of the award. Morales’ motto, which she wanted every Latino to believe, was “Si, se puede!” (“Yes, you can!”).Morales was an inspiring leader of the first organization dedicated to assist Hispanics, Asistencia para Latinos, from 1993 until her death in 2000 from a five-year battle with breast cancer. She was a heroine for her work and inspiration for Latino women fighting the disease. Nominations are being sought in the following categories: student, teacher, volunteer and business person.Submit individual’s name, along with a brief description of how this person supports his/her community to: lpolar@sopris.net or mail to 1030 Grand Ave. Glenwood, CO 81601. Deadline for submission is Sept. 4. Recipients of the 2005 Jackie Morales Award included Arana Contreras, Kathy Williams, Olga Vigil and Marie Munday.

A metalworker died Aug. 6, two days after accidentally ingesting a highly toxic liquid he thought was an energy drink at an Old Snowmass work site.The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating the job-site safety practices of Pitkin Iron, the Glenwood Springs company where Frank Gabossi III worked.Gabossi, a longtime resident of Rifle, was 53. On Friday, Aug. 4, he and a colleague went to a home on Snowmass Creek Road to work on a metal staircase, said Ron Ryan, investigator at the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office.Around noon, Gabossi walked back to their truck and picked up a Gatorade bottle containing Antique Black. The bottle still had the drink label on it, and it was not marked as containing the agent, used to age metal. The substance, which is bright blue, contains selenous acid, which is highly corrosive and for which there is no antidote, Ryan said.Gabossi apparently swallowed half a mouthful before spitting out the other half. He immediately knew what had happened and told his co-worker, who drove him to Valley View Hospital. He was airlifted to St. Mary’s Hospital in Grand Junction, where he died.Gabossi’s death is considered an accident, and no criminal charges are planned, Ryan said.The men put the liquid into the smaller bottle for convenience; it is usually stored in five-gallon drums on the grounds of the Glenwood company.Selenous acid, which Ryan said is also common in “gun bluing” agents found in many homes, devastates the human body at the cellular level.Cells can’t perform normal functions related to energy production and expelling waste, leading to organ failure.

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