Nova Scotia giving us five Christmas trees this year

In addition to the standard giant tree on the Common to be lit up on Nov. 29, the province is sending us four smaller trees, for the Pine Street Inn and Rosie's Place, the Parks and Recreation Department reports.

Nova Scotia sends us an annual tree as thanks for the trainload of doctors, emergency workers and supplies we sent to Halifax in 1917 after a relief ship rammed a munitions ship, causing what was at the time the largest manmade explosion ever. Some 2,000 people died, 9,000 more suffered injuries and downtown Halifax was completely destroyed.

Efforts were made this year to educate the public about how the annual gift-giving tradition from Halifax began. One class at the Mather Elementary School in Dorchester began a pen pal relationship with children their age at St. Stephen’s School in Halifax. The students spoke with each other via Skype on two occasions. In addition, photographs taken following the 1917 explosion are on display during the month of November at Boston City Hall.

Boston paramedic indicted on charges he stole drugs from his ambulance

Brian Benoit, 40, of South Boston, faces arraignment in Suffolk Superior Court on charges he stole the contents of 106 vials and syringes loaded with painkillers and sedatives in late summer, 2011, the Suffolk County District Attorney's office reports.

The city offered drug screening to 57 people who received shots from the tampered containers, which contained fentanyl, lorazepam, midazolam or morphine. Benoit was suspended from his job earlier this year, after an investigation by Boston EMS and police tied him to the alleged thefts. The DA's office says Benoit agreed to be tested for communicable diseases, and was found to be clean.

According to the DA's office, Benoit was formally charged with "one count of larceny by scheme and 26 counts of larceny of a controlled substance for allegedly stealing prescription painkillers and sedatives from more than 100 vials and syringes; 24 counts of creating a counterfeit substance for allegedly replacing some of those medications with other clear liquids; and 22 counts of manufacturing Class B, Class C, and Class E controlled substances for allegedly replacing some of those medications with different liquids, transforming the contents into different or diluted controlled substances."

Benoit received a Boston EMS citation for helping to grab and secure a suicidal man threatening to jump off the Mass. Ave. Bridge in May, 2011.

Innocent, etc.

North End reaches a tippling point reports the North End/Waterfront Residents' Association has put its foot down and is saying no more liquor licenses for the North End.

With 91 restaurants and bars already pouring libations, the group voted recently to oppose any new pouring licenses. It will refuse to meet with anybody seeking a new license and will instead file an automatic letter of opposition with the Boston Licensing Board.

The licensing board requires applicants for liquor licenses to try to meet with neighborhood groups but is not bound by local recommendations. In May, board Chairwoman Nicole Murati Ferrer said she would no longer automatically comply with a similar moratorium request from the Back Bay.

Police release sketch of Lower Roxbury attacker


Boston Police say this is the man who sexually assaulted two teens in the Camden Street area this week, one on Monday and one on Tuesday.

Although an earlier report suggested separate attackers - one victim described him as a Spanish speaker, the other said he had a Haitian accent - police say just one man is likely responsible for both attacks. In both cases, police say, the man commented on his victim's appearance - and in both cases, the victims managed to escape him.

If he looks familiar, contact the Sexual Assault Unit at 617-343-4400 or the anonymous tip line by calling 800-494-TIPS or by texting TIP to CRIME (27463).