WOONSOCKET, R.I.

Rhode Island man charged in theft of church handrails

Two Rhode Island men are charged with theft after brass handrails worth $10,000 were stolen from a Woonsocket church.

A priest at St. Charles Church noticed the railings were missing while shoveling snow last week. Police said an anonymous tip led them to the suspects.

Timothy Ring, 36, and Robert Ceraolo, 55, were arrested Thursday. Both Woonsocket residents were charged with larceny and conspiracy.

Authorities said the railings were sold to a local scrap metal dealer and cannot be recovered.

NORTH KINGSTON, R.I.

CT scan shows bald eagle suffered gunshot to head

A bald eagle found injured in the area of the state’s Central Landfill in Johnston this month had been shot in the head.

The Providence Journal reported a CT scan of the young eagle convalescing at the Wildlife Rehabilitators Association of Rhode Island shows the eagle has a pellet in the right side of the brain. Earlier exams showed the bird had been shot in the leg, tail and chest.

Jennifer Brooks, the clinic’s director, said veterinarians caring for the eagle, called Eleanor, have given it prednizone to help reduce any swelling in the brain. The eagle also has received treatment for lead poisoning.

Brooks said the eagle’s only hope for survival is to be able to feed itself.

CONCORD, N.H.

Commission working to curb substance abuse in state

A governor’s commission is working to curb substance abuse in New Hampshire, which despite ranking high in income, education and overall health still has one of the highest rates of youth substance abuse in the United States.

At a news conference Friday to announce the state’s new five-year plan to combat substance abuse, speakers said beyond the human cost, it’s a drain on the state’s economy. They cited a recent study that puts the cost of alcohol overconsumption alone at $1.15 billion per year.

The plan focuses on preventing alcohol and prescription drug misuse and marijuana use as well as cutting down on the number of people seeking and not receiving treatment.

DOVER, N.H.

Woman faces assault charge in case of starving child

A New Hampshire woman accused of starving a boy under her care has testified that she never withheld food from him.

Christina Thomas of New Durham is charged with first-degree assault, alleging she failed to provide proper nutrition to the developmentally disabled boy, now 9. The 34-year-old Thomas said Thursday she did everything she could for him.

Foster’s Daily Democrat reported he weighed about 23 pounds when he was taken from Thomas’ home and placed into foster care shortly before he turned 7.

When asked why she reportedly waited nearly two years to take him to the doctor, Thomas said it wasn’t possible because she was traveling.

WORCESTER, Mass.

Scratch-off lottery ticket would help snow budgets

A Massachusetts state lawmaker has come up with a way to help cities and towns boost their strained snow removal budgets.

With a winter storm bearing down on the state for the third consecutive weekend, Worcester Democrat John Bineinda has introduced legislation that would establish a $2 scratch-off lottery ticket, the proceeds of which would go to a statewide snow removal fund. He suggests calling the ticket the “snow bank” lottery.

Cities and towns running snow removal deficits could request funds from the account, subject to review by the state comptroller.

Bineinda says the fund could help smaller towns that often have to cut into other areas of their budget during harsh winters when they blow through their snow removal budget.

PROVIDENCE, R.I.

Providence teacher charged with taking boy to Florida

Miami Beach police say a Providence elementary school teacher faces a criminal charge after allegedly taking a 15-year-old from Rhode Island to Florida without his parents’ knowledge.

The police report shows 56-year-old David Jones of Cranston was arrested Wednesday after the boy was reported missing in Rhode Island. His parents later learned he was in Miami Beach, and the two were located with the FBI’s help. Jones faces a felony charge of “interference with custody.”

The report says Jones admitted taking the boy to Florida without his parents’ consent and exchanging sexually explicit text messages with him. Records show he is being held on $9,000 bond.

Mayor Angel Taveras expressed concern over the arrest and said the teacher has been placed on leave.

WESTFIELD, Mass.

Fighter jet on training flight breaks the sound barrier

A Massachusetts Air National Guard fighter jet flying a routine training mission over the New Hampshire-Vermont border has broken the sound barrier.

The pilot of the F-15C Eagle was completing qualification training in a controlled military airspace when the jet exceeded the speed of sound while flying above 20,000 feet Thursday.

National Guard spokesman Maj. Matthew Mutti said the Air Force and Department of Defense allow supersonic flights only at designated military operating areas.

Residents of the Vermont city of Bradford and those in the New Hampshire communities of Lyme and Orford may have heard the sonic boom after the pilot broke the sound barrier.

Col. Kenneth Lambrich, vice commander of the 104th Fighter Wing, said the National Guard didn’t intend to cause undue concern. The F-15s secure the northeastern U.S. airspace.