Five students collapse after dedication ceremony

Fire officials say five New Hampshire high school marching band students collapsed after performing at a dedication ceremony for a new highway connecting to the Manchester-Boston Regional Airport.

Londonderry Fire Capt. Jim Roger said authorities believe the Merrimack High School students had been standing for some time Thursday and were dehydrated. He said three were evaluated at the scene and two were taken to a hospital as a precaution.

The highway connecting the Everett Turnpike to the airport was dedicated to Raymond Wieczorek, an executive councilor who once served as Manchester’s mayor. The 1.75-mile road will be open to traffic today.

The average daily traffic is estimated at 26,000 vehicles, growing to 34,500 vehicles per day by 2025


N.H. households receive $1 million in disaster aid

Federal and state agencies say New Hampshire households have received over $1 million of disaster assistance to help in the post-Irene recovery effort.

At the Nov. 7 registration deadline, 513 applicants in the designated counties of Carroll and Grafton had registered with FEMA since President Obama issued a major disaster declaration for New Hampshire on Sept. 3.


Three more victims report falling for ‘black money’

Authorities in Rhode Island say three more people have come forward as victims of a “black money” scam after the Secret Service last week issued a warning about the scheme.

Thomas Powers, Secret Service resident-agent-in-charge of the Providence office, said Thursday that two people from Massachusetts and one from Connecticut reported being ripped off. He said the victims reported losing more than $77,000.

At a Nov. 3 news conference, Powers said authorities knew so far of three victims who lost $170,000. Two men were arrested in Providence last month on charges they were involved.

Investigators say con artists convince victims to pay for chemicals to wash bank note-sized paper they claim to be real currency dyed black to avoid detection. In reality, the black money is usually construction paper.


Woman enters guilty plea to embezzlement charges

A woman charged with embezzling $173,000 over five years from the town of Bethel, where she worked as a cashier for a solid waste facility, has pleaded guilty to the charges.

Tonya Drury, 37, pleaded guilty Wednesday to federal embezzlement charges. WCAX-TV reported she faces up to 10 years in prison and $250,000 in fines when she is sentenced in February. Drury first pleaded not guilty in July.

Prosecutors said that between 2005 and 2010 she misappropriated cash payments to the Bethel/Royalton Solid Waste Facility and altered the facility’s records to hide her actions.


Church closings approved by Vatican’s highest court

The Vatican’s highest court has upheld the decision of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield to close three western Massachusetts parishes.

But the Vatican ruled against downgrading the churches from their holy status to secular buildings, saying the diocese did not justify the “relegation for profane use” for St. Stanislaus Kostka church in Adams as well as St. Patrick and St. George of Chicopee.

Diocesan spokesman Mark Dupont said Thursday that the Vatican findings mean the churches cannot be actively used for any non-religious purpose.