Two loaded guns stolen from cars in same area

Police in New Hampshire are investigating a rash of thefts – including two loaded handguns – from cars in the same Concord neighborhood.

The guns and other items were discovered stolen earlier this week by a Mulberry Street man leaving for work who noticed his glove compartment was open.

Also taken, according to police, were an Army-issued folding knife, an iPod Nano, a pack of cigarettes and about $10 worth of lose change.

Police said it’s the latest in a series of thefts this week from vehicles in the same neighborhood. They say all the vehicles appear to have been unlocked at the time of the thefts.

The guns stolen Dec. 23 were a 9mm Glock and a Ruger semi-automatic handgun.


Thief replaces baby Jesus with severed head of pig

Haverhill’s mayor says he’s outraged that someone stole a baby Jesus statue from a Nativity scene and replaced it with a real pig’s head.

Mayor James Fiorentini said Friday that the desecration has “all the elements of a hate crime.”

Authorities say the parish priest noticed that the statue had been stolen from the creche at Sacred Hearts Roman Catholic Church on Christmas morning.

Police said the pig’s head appeared to have been recently severed and investigators are seeking help from local butcher shops and pig farms. Police said the perpetrator could face animal cruelty charges.

Meanwhile, a neighbor replaced the baby Jesus with one from her own creche.

The baby Jesus figurine was also stolen from the Nativity scene on Greenfield Town Common, likely before dawn on Christmas Eve.


Snowy owls back at airport, prompt use of scare tactics

Snowy owls have returned to New Hampshire’s Manchester-Boston Regional Airport.

The owls live in the Arctic, but when their population spikes or food is scarce, young ones fly south. Bird-watchers spotted a flock in New Hampshire last winter, including at the airport, and several have shown up there in recent weeks.

Deputy Airport Director Brian O’Neill told the Concord Monitor that for airport safety, the owls must be kept away from the runways and surrounding area. Airport personnel are using a variety of tactics to scare the birds away.

A July report from the federal government said that bird strikes are a serious aviation issue, and that 243 aircraft worldwide were destroyed by bird and other wildlife strikes from 1988 to 2013.


Falcon has limited vision after surgery for cataracts

A falcon in New Hampshire that had eye surgery to remove cataracts is doing well with her new synthetic lenses but has limited vision and isn’t flying.

Banner, a 4-year-old falcon, hasn’t been able to fly or hunt since losing her sight more than a year ago. In September, a team at Capital Veterinary Emergency Services in Concord performed the surgery, which Banner’s owners said was the first time such a procedure had been done on a falcon.

Nancy and Jim Cowan of the New Hampshire School of Falconry in Deering told the Concord Monitor that Banner can see well enough to live outside, but a wrinkle in one lens means she has limited vision in that eye, and there is scarring from the cataracts in the other eye.


Ice cream shop owner denies role in vandalizing competitor

The owner of a Cape Cod ice cream parlor has been charged for allegedly having his teenage employees vandalize a competitor in exchange for alcohol.

The Cape Cod Times reported that David Ariagno, owner of Lazy Sundaes Ice Cream in Bourne, was released on personal recognizance this week after pleading not guilty to charges including malicious or wanton damaging of property, malicious destruction of property and contributing to the delinquency of his workers.

Police started investigating six months ago after windows at Somerset Creamery were broken by rocks several times.

Police eventually traced the vandalism to three teens, who pointed the finger at their boss. The teens are charged with malicious destruction of property.

The phone at Lazy Sundaes, which is closed for the season, was out of service.


Trooper returns to full duty after pepper-spraying video

A Massachusetts state trooper videotaped appearing to pepper-spray a protester during a Boston demonstration has returned to full duty.

State police said on Friday that the apparent victim has not filed a complaint or responded to requests to be interviewed.

Kin Moy of Cambridge has said he was pepper-sprayed while trying to record a man being arrested on a highway on-ramp Dec. 4 as hundreds protested the killings of unarmed black men by police in Ferguson, Missouri, and Staten Island, New York.

State police say they attempted to visit Moy at home, reached out to a relative, left contact information at “a location he frequents” and sent a written request by certified mail.

The trooper, whom police have not identified, was initially placed on restricted duty.


Vermont ranks in top five for disease preparedness

A new report says the state of Vermont is among the best prepared states in the country to manage disease outbreaks.

The Vermont Health Department said the report by the Trust for America’s Health and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation found that Vermont was one of only five states to score eight out of 10 on the report.

Half the states and Washington, D.C., scored five or lower out of 10 key indicators related to preventing, detecting, diagnosing and responding to outbreaks.

State epidemiologist Patsy Kelso said that the state is well-prepared for emerging threats.

The report reviewed the core abilities of public health systems to prepare for – and prevent and control the spread of – infectious diseases. It considered containment strategies, investigative capabilities, and drilling and training for hospitals.

— From news service reports