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NATION IN BRIEF: New England digs out from winter storm

New England digs out from winter storm

BOSTON — New Englanders dug out from under more than 2 feet of snow and children in hundreds of communities enjoyed a second day off from school Thursday as power companies worked to restore energy to homes and businesses darkened by the region’s third snowstorm in three weeks.

The winter storm that crippled the South earlier this week joined forces with a system from the Midwest as it moved over the Northeast on Wednesday. The storms announced their arrival in New England with claps of thunder and record amounts of snowfall in some cities. Observers in the Berkshires in western Massachusetts reported as much as 3 feet of snow.

Winter-hardy New England was working its way to normal one day after the storm. Many major Massachusetts highways were cleared, but many secondary roads remained slick and mountains of snow obstructed views at many intersections.

Police find bag holding ammo in Ariz. shooting

TUCSON, Ariz. — A man walking his dog has found a black bag holding ammunition that authorities believe was discarded by a gunman accused of trying to assassinate an Arizona congresswoman.

Chief Rick Kastigar with the Pima County Sheriff’s Office told The Associated Press that an 18-year-old found the bag Thursday morning in a neighborhood near where the suspect lives. He went to get another man, who looked inside and saw ammunition.

Authorities have said the suspect, Jared Loughner, and his father got into a confrontation over the bag at their home in the hours before the shooting.

Postal rates going up but not most letters

WASHINGTON — Postal rates will go up in April, but the cost of sending the basic letter will remain the same.

The Postal Service said Thursday that most rates will go up on April 17 under a formula that allows the agency to increase prices within the rate of inflation.

The post office said the 44-cent price of a first-class stamp will remain unchanged, but heavier letters will cost more. The basic rate is for the first ounce, and the price for each extra ounce will rise from 17 cents to 20 cents.

Jury hears closing arguments in Uzi death trial

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — A jury is hearing closing arguments in the manslaughter trial of a gun fair organizer charged in the death of an 8-year-old boy who accidentally shot himself with an Uzi submachine gun in Massachusetts.

The defense lawyer began her closing on Thursday in Hampden Superior Court in the case of former Pelham, Mass., Police Chief Edward Fleury.

Fleury’s company co-sponsored a 2008 machine gun expo in Westfield where Christopher Bizilj of Ashford, Conn., fired a micro Uzi that kicked back and shot him in the head.

Prosecutors said Fleury recklessly and illegally allowed minors to shoot machine guns at the expo, leading to Christopher’s death.

Fleury’s lawyer said he wasn’t reckless, and the boy’s father bears responsibility.

Brett Favre’s sister arrested in Miss. meth bust

KILN, Miss. — The sister of Vikings quarterback Brett Favre has had her bond set at $40,000 on two drug charges during a brief court appearance in Mississippi.

Thirty-four-year-old Brandi Favre was in the courtroom less than 10 minutes Thursday. Hancock County Justice Court Judge Tom Carver Sr. set the bond on charges of manufacturing methamphetamine and generating hazardous waste.

If convicted, she faces up to $1 million in fines and up to 30 years in prison on each count.

She was among five people arrested Wednesday during a drug raid at a condo in Diamondhead, Miss. About nine grams of methamphetamine — worth about $1,000 — were recovered.

Woman, 80, convicted of $8,900 jewel theft

SAN DIEGO — An 80-year-old woman who claims to be an international jewel thief with a five-decade career has been convicted of stealing an $8,900 ring from a San Diego store.

Doris Payne, of Long Beach, was found guilty Wednesday of burglary and grand theft. She could face more than 51⁄2 years in prison.

Prosecutors said Payne walked away with the diamond ring from a Macy’s jewelry counter last year and told authorities she sold it.