Saturday January 19, 2013

BENNINGTON -- A teenager is facing two felony charges for allegedly hitting and threatening his younger brothers.

Phillip E. Dessert III, 18, of Sage Street, pleaded not guilty to felony second-degree domestic assault in violation of a court order, misdemeanor domestic assault, and violating conditions of release. He was released on conditions he not have contact with his two younger siblings.

According to an affidavit by Bennington Police Sgt. Michael Plush, on Jan. 8 at 4:09 p.m. he went to a home where a neighbor had reported loud noises and banging sounds. Plusch said when he arrived he met with Dessert’s father, who said his 4-year-old son had been throwing things and may have hit Dessert, which caused him to become upset and hit the 4-year-old in the head with his fist. He said Dessert also became upset with his other sibling, a 14-year-old, and punched him in the arm.

Plusch wrote he did not see any injuries on either child.

In November, Dessert pleaded not guilty to a felony count of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. According to police, Dessert’s mother called police on Sept. 21 to say Dessert had been in a physical fight with the then 13-year-old brother and was still upset after it ended. She told police Dessert then became upset with the then 3-year-old and held a baseball bat over his head in a threatening manner.

Flu declining in Mass., but still above average

BOSTON (AP) -- State public health officials say reported cases of the flu have dropped in Massachusetts for a second consecutive week, yet remain higher than at this time in recent years.

New state figures released on Friday show the percentage of people visiting health care providers with flu-like symptoms dropped to 2.4 percent after reaching nearly 4.5 percent earlier in the month. A small decline in flu-related hospitalizations was also reported.

Health officials say while the decline is encouraging, they point out that the flu can be unpredictable and that it too soon to say whether flu season in Massachusetts has peaked.

Officials say it also not too late to get a flu vaccine.

A widespread outbreak of flu in Boston prompted the city to declare a public health emergency last week.