Report: Rhode Island has lowest gun death rate in U.S.

A nonprofit that advocates for gun control has found that Rhode Island has the lowest gun death rate in the nation.

The Violence Policy Center said Wednesday that Rhode Island’s gun death rate was 3.14 per 100,000 people. The nationwide gun death rate was 10.38 per 100,000 people.

The center said it analyzed data released this week from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and overall gun death rates in 2011, the most recent year for which that data is available. It concluded that states with the lowest overall gun death rates have lower rates of gun ownership and stronger gun violence prevention laws.

The center said Louisiana had the highest per capita gun death rate, at 18.91.


UMass trustees approve freeze on tuition and fees

For the second year in a row, there will be no increase in tuition and mandatory fees for in-state undergraduate students at the University of Massachusetts.

The school’s board of trustees unanimously approved the freeze on Wednesday, crediting an increase in state support for the university.

Officials said it was the first time in UMass history that tuition and fees have not gone up for two consecutive academic years.

Under the freeze, in-state undergraduate students at the university’s flagship campus in Amherst would pay $13,258 in the academic year beginning in September. The total cost including room and board would be $24,215.

House OKs bill for victims of childhood sexual abuse

The Massachusetts House has approved a bill to extend by more than 30 years the statute of limitations for victims of childhood sexual abuse to file lawsuits against their alleged attackers or the institutions that employed them.

The measure passed Wednesday on a unanimous vote and now goes to the Senate.

Current state law only gives victims until age 21 to file civil actions against alleged abusers. The bill would raise that age up to 53.


Teen with dueling diagnoses returns to her parents’ home

A teenager at the center of a 16-month custody dispute based on conflicting medical diagnoses has returned to her parents’ home in Connecticut.

A Massachusetts judge ordered the release of Justina Pelletier to the custody of her parents, who took her from a facility in Thompson on Wednesday to their home in West Hartford.

Tufts Medical Center had treated Justina for mitochondrial disease, a disorder that affects cellular energy production. But Boston Children’s Hospital later diagnosed her problems as psychiatric.

When her parents rejected that diagnosis and tried to take her back to Tufts, the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families took custody.


Two report setting blaze to evade bear, police say

Police say two people reported that they started a fire at a camp in Milton to escape an attacking bear.

A dispatcher said that the two were able to escape and called police from their home to report the attack and fire.

The Milton fire chief said the fire was put out by Wednesday afternoon. The bear has not been found.

— From news service reports