Catholic diocese urges state to reject gay marriage

The leader of Rhode Island’s Roman Catholic Diocese has again entered the debate over gay marriage, calling it “immoral and unnecessary.”

Bishop Thomas Tobin released a statement Monday urging lawmakers to drop legislation to allow gay and lesbian couples to wed.

Tobin says the Catholic church rejects the “homosexual lifestyle” and says gay marriage threatens religious freedom.

Tobin argues Rhode Island should wait for the U.S. Supreme Court to weigh in. He adds that if the state must consider gay marriage, it should be placed before voters as a referendum.

Meanwhile, a coalition of more than 100 leaders from other religious groups issued a statement Monday supporting gay marriage.

Lawmakers are expected to consider gay marriage legislation this year. The five other New England states allow same-sex couples to marry.


Conservative pastor seeks dismissal of civil litigation

A federal judge is deciding whether to dismiss a lawsuit against a Massachusetts evangelist for what an East African gay advocacy group claims has been his long campaign of persecution against gays in Uganda.

The judge heard arguments Monday from lawyers for Springfield pastor Scott Lively and from Sexual Minorities Uganda, the plaintiff behind last year’s civil action.

Lively’s lawyer says the case is an attack on the U.S. Constitution and the right of free speech.

The plaintiff’s attorney says Lively conspired with others in Uganda to persecute gays.

The arguments come as Uganda’s Parliament could consider an anti-gay bill in February.

While the bill would include jail for some offenses, the lawmaker who authored the original bill told The Associated Press in November that it wouldn’t punish some homosexual acts with death, as the earlier legislation had proposed.


Prosecutors get more time to prepare a homicide case

A judge has granted prosecutors more time to build their case against a man charged with killing a University of New Hampshire student.

Seth Mazzaglia of Dover is accused of suffocating or strangling 19-year-old Elizabeth “Lizzi” Marriott Oct. 9.

Foster’s Daily Democrat reports a judge signed off on the state attorney general’s office request for an extension of the time by which they must bring an indictment against Mazzaglia.

Prosecutors now have until the end of February to present their case to a grand jury.

In December, Assistant Attorney General Peter Hinckley wrote in a motion the state was requesting additional time to interview witnesses and finish “certain investigative steps.”

Last month, 19-year-old Kathryn McDonough was accused of lying to police about her whereabouts and interaction with Marriott.


Stray bullet causes minor wound to innocent man

A Brockton man says he’s lucky to be alive after a bullet fired in the apartment above came through the ceiling and struck him in the head as he watched TV in the unit below.

Seth Bouldry says the bullet that struck him as he visited his fiancee Sunday night “literally bounced off my head.”

The 23-year-old Bouldry says at first he didn’t know what happened, he just heard a pop. Then he put his hand to his head and felt blood.

He was taken to the hospital where he received four stitches.

There was an argument in the unit above before the gun was fired.

Police are investigating but did not immediately make an arrest.

Police told him the bullet was slowed down coming through the ceiling.


State receives $378,000 in federal preservation grants

Vermont has been awarded nearly $378,000 in historic preservation grants.

The grants are part of $22.9 million in historic preservation grants awarded nationwide. Vermont has received 1.6 percent of the total award.

State officials may use the grants to fund projects such as nominations for the National Register of Historic Places, preservation education, architectural planning, repairs and other subjects.

The grants were announced Monday by Vermont’s congressional delegation.


Harvard Medical School plans series of e-books

The publishing arm of the Harvard Medical School is planning a series of short, original e-books on work, parenting, yoga and how to be a surgeon.

The eight books launched Monday by Harvard Health Publications are part of a new series, “A Harvard Medical School Guide.” They will be distributed by RosettaBooks, a digital publisher. The books have a list price of $5.99.

Titles include “Your Brain on Yoga” and “Taming Your Child’s Temper Tantrums.” Rosetta also publishes books by Kurt Vonnegut, Ray Bradbury and Arthur C. Clarke.


Stolen parrot recovered, suspect faces charges

A $600 parrot police say was stolen from a Pittsfield pet store has been found unharmed.

Police say the South American parrot — known as a sun conure — was recovered from a city apartment at about 7:30 p.m. Sunday after officers received a tip that it was there.

Police tell The Berkshire Eagle it appears the woman in whose apartment the bird was found did not know it was stolen and she has not been charged.

Meanwhile, the man charged with stealing the bird on Friday and trying to sell it faces arraignment Monday in Central Berkshire District Court on charges of larceny and animal cruelty.

Police say 52-year-old Charles Williamson stole the bird from a Petco store and tried to sell it in city bars.


State police disbanding units, redeploying troopers

The commander of the Massachusetts State Police has disbanded the department’s drug diversion unit and auto theft strike force and redeployed those troopers and resources to what he considers more critical assignments.

Col. Timothy Alben says the dissolution of the two squads at the end of December allowed him to shift 25 troopers to the Massachusetts Turnpike and Logan International Airport, both areas where police vacancies have gone unfilled and more forces were needed.

He tells The Boston Globe it will also help him reduce a $3 million deficit in this year’s budget because their salaries will come from the highway and airport budgets.

Alben says he has to be diligent with taxpayer money.

Critics of the move say tackling prescription drug abuse should be a priority.