Rate of suicide attempts highest in Rhode Island

A new study concludes that Rhode Islanders attempt suicide at a higher rate than residents of any other state.

The Centers for Disease Control reported Thursday that one in 67 Rhode Island residents had attempted suicide in the past year. Nationally, one in 200 Americans attempted suicide.

Yet Rhode Island also has one of the nation’s lowest suicide death rates. Advocates say that suggests people who attempt suicide are getting treatment that prevents future attempts.

The CDC study used 2008-2009 data to create a state-by-state look at suicidal thoughts and attempts. Suicide was the 10th leading cause of death in 2008.

Brown president favors keeping ban on ROTC

Brown University President Ruth Simmons is supporting a recommendation to maintain the campus ban on ROTC, though she backs a possible expansion of students’ options for participating in the military officer training program at other institutions.

A committee studying the university’s ROTC policy recommended continuing an existing program allowing students to participate in the program at Providence College. Simmons says she also supports discussing with the Defense Department other off-campus opportunities.

The repeal last year of the military’s “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, which prevented gays from serving openly, prompted Brown to reconsider its ban on ROTC. Harvard University lifted a similar ban earlier this year.


Striking teachers turn down board’s latest contract offer

Striking teachers have rejected the latest offer from the school boards in southwest Vermont, in the third round of negotiations in three days.

The two sides failed to reach agreements in meetings Tuesday and Wednesday, prompting teachers to go on strike Wednesday morning.

The Southwest Vermont Supervisory Union and the union representing teachers started meeting again Thursday morning, but the union said in the afternoon that the negotiators rejected the board’s latest offer, calling it insulting.

Issues separating the two sides include salaries, health insurance and time spent with students


N.H. auto dealer to pay penalty for misleading ads

A New Hampshire auto dealer will pay an $8,500 penalty to the state of Vermont for misleading ads saying consumers could buy cars at employee or dealer prices.

The Vermont Attorney General’s office says Subaru of Keene ran radio and newspaper ads in 2010 offering the cars at the special prices. However, the office found there was no such pricing and that employees and consumers negotiated the sale price for their car with no special reductions.

The dealer also did not disclose the dealer rebates received on car sales.


Judge rejects death penalty, orders new sentencing trial

A federal judge on Thursday threw out the death penalty sentence of a man convicted of killing three people in Massachusetts and New Hampshire during a weeklong crime spree in 2001 and ordered a new trial to determine if he will be put to death.

Chief U.S. District Judge Mark Wolf said Gary Sampson was denied his constitutional right to have his sentence decided by an impartial jury.

Sampson, a drifter who was raised in Abington, pleaded guilty to car-jacking two Massachusetts men after each picked him up hitchhiking. He said he forced both men to drive to secluded spots, assured them he only wanted to steal their cars, then stabbed them repeatedly and slit their throats.

He then fled to New Hampshire, broke into a house in Meredith and strangled a third man.

In a motion for a new trial, Sampson’s lawyers argued that three jurors had given inaccurate answers to questions they were asked during the jury selection process.