In the Nation

Posted: January 24, 2013

School district buys 14 rifles

FONTANA, Calif. - The school police force in this Southern California city has acquired 14 high-powered semiautomatic rifles for officers to bring to campuses.

Fontana Unified School District police purchased 14 of the Colt LE6940 rifles in the fall, delivered the first week of December, a week before the massacre at a Connecticut elementary school.

"I think it just further solidified the need to give our officers the tools they need to respond to an active shooter on campus," schools Police Chief Billy Green said Wednesday about the tragedy.

The rifles were purchased to address a "critical vulnerability," the chief said, although there has never been such an attack at any of the 45 Fontana campuses. - AP

Parachute saves plane, 3 aboard

DANBURY, Conn. - A parachute that softened the landing of an airplane that encountered mechanical problems saved the lives of the three men on board, an airport official said Wednesday.

The single-engine Cirrus SR-20, which was traveling from Groton to Danbury, was two miles from the Danbury Municipal Airport on Tuesday night when the pilot alerted authorities he planned to deploy the parachute, airport operations manager Mike Safranek said.

"The plane, with the parachute deployed, touched down majestically right in the middle of a parking lot," Safranek said. "It clearly saved their lives." - AP

Pair plead guilty to box discipline

STEUBENVILLE, Ohio - An eastern Ohio couple have pleaded guilty to punishing their three children by forcing them into plastic storage boxes sealed with duct tape and only a square cut in the top for air.

The children, ages 5, 6 and 8, were crammed into the boxes as punishment June 16 at the family home in Steubenville while the parents went to the grocery store and left two uncles at home with them, authorities said. A friend of the family arrived at the house, got the children out of the boxes, and contacted police.

Authorities said the children were in the boxes for about 15 to 30 minutes, with square holes cut out of the lids to expose the top part of their faces. Water was dumped on top of the children while they were restrained in the totes, officials said. - AP

Last sisterly act of elderly nuns

MENANDS, N.Y. - They were born sisters and worked as Roman Catholic sisters for decades before spending their last years in the same upstate New York residence for nuns.

And their sisterly love for one another lasted until the very end: When Sister Jean Marie Wheeler, 98, and Sister Elaine Wheeler, 96, died a day apart last week, a stash of cookies was found in the younger sister's room - a touching reminder of their nightly ritual of sweets before sleep down the hall from one another at Saint Louise House near Albany, where they had lived for the last eight years.

They were among the seven Wheeler girls raised in the Bronx of New York after their family moved from Chicago, and they were the last of five siblings who became Catholic nuns, four in the Daughters of Charity order. The other two Wheeler sisters married and had children. - AP

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