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    Children are biologically hard-wired to eat sugar during periods of growth when their bodies demand high-calorie foods, according to scientist Julie Mennella, a researcher with the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia, NBC News reported.

    "[Kids] are attracted to foods that give us calories. In the past, it was fruits: dates, honey," she said. "Now children are living in environments where sugar's everywhere."

    Sugar consumption has been linked to health issues by numerous studies, in a country where 28 percent of Americans are clinically obese. Nearly 30 percent of children and teenagers in the U.S. are obese or overweight — up from 19 percent 35 years ago.

    The industry argues that calories coming from sugar don't contribute to obesity any more than calories from other sources.



    Photo Credit: Getty Images for IT'SUGAR

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    An Ohio woman whose death in police custody is being investigated, may have been improperly medicated by authorities, newly released documents show.

    Ralkina Jones, 37, was found dead in a jail cell on July 26 after being arrested by the Cleveland Heights Police Department two days earlier following a fight with her ex-husband outside of a bar.

    On Wednesday, authorities released Jones' prisoner medication log as well as the main jail log — and officials admit there is a discrepancy: Jones' prisoner log indicates that she was given medications twice over the course of about 24 hours, while the jail log indicates that drugs were dispensed three times.



    Photo Credit: Getty Images

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    Part of the ceiling collapsed during a concert at a famed Minneapolis club on Wednesday night, sending at least two people to the hospital, NBC News reported.

    Canadian rock band Theory of a Deadman were playing a set at local landmark First Avenue when, witnesses say, smoke and the sprinklers went off in the rear of the venue before a portion of the ceiling fell at around 10:15 p.m. local time (11:15 p.m. ET).

    The Minneapolis Fire Department said three to four people were hurt, with two transported to a hospital for further evaluation.

    Rolling Stone placed First Avenue at No. 3 on its list of "The Best Big Rooms in America." The musician Prince frequently played there in the 1980s and featured the venue in his movie "Purple Rain."



    Photo Credit: Sara Boccia
    This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.

    Photo of scene outside the First Avenue.Photo of scene outside the First Avenue.

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    A bicyclist was airlifted to the hospital in serious condition after being struck by a car Wednesday night on Route 16 in Colchester, according to state police.

    Police said the collision was reported around 7 p.m. near the intersection of Route 16 and Silver Meadow Drive in Colchester. Route 16 was closed between Cabin Road and Bulkeley Hill Road while authorities investigated.

    A LifeStar medical helicopter airlifted the bicyclist to the hospital. Police have not released the name of the victim.

    Check back for updates on this developing story.


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    A judge denied an Easton man's motion to reopen a case appealing more than $2.2 million in debt on a Guilford home just over a week before he and his wife disappeared.

    Jeffrey Navin, 56, who runs a Westport sanitation company, and his wife, Jeanette Navin, 55, a Weston school library worker, have been missing for more than a week.

    They were last seen Tuesday, Aug. 4 and were reported missing Friday, Aug. 7, according to Easton police, who believe the two recently moved to town.

    "We are shocked and saddened at the unexpected disappearance of Jeff and Jeanette Navin. There are no words to describe the impact this has had on their parents, siblings, and children. We wish only for their safe return and we ask for anyone who has seen either of them since Tuesday, August 4th, to contact the Easton police," a statement from the family says.

    Easton Police Chief Tim Shaw said that although the couple often travels, it's unusual for them not to tell family members where they are going.

    According to court records, Jeffrey Navin owed $2,228,799.90 in debt on his 7 Hart Landing home in Guilford, including $350 in attorney fees, as of his last notice of judgment of strict foreclosure dated Dec. 22, 2014.

    Jeffrey Navin also owed $139,001.49 in unpaid energy bills for the Guilford property to Connecticut Light & Power, now known as Eversource, according to the decision for the court proceedings for that debt dated June 17, 2015.

    "Financial issues recently reported by the media have not been proven to be a factor for our family members’ disappearance," a statement from the family says. "Information from the authorities indicates that there are available funds still in their bank accounts that are untouched. We, the entire Navin family, ask for privacy and respect during this overwhelming and troubling time."

    Although there has been no sign of the missing couple, investigators found their truck empty Sunday in a commuter lot near exit 42 off the Merritt Parkway. Police said one of the windows was broken.

    "Now we're on day seven. The longer this gets... the more nervous the family is – rightfully so – and the more suspicious it gets," said Shaw. "At this point, we're still looking at it as a missing person. We don't have anything that leads us to foul play as of yet."

    Police are combing the car for clues and looking into the Navins' careers. They are also looking into their financials and social media activity, according to Shaw.

    Jeanette Navin works as a paraprofessional in the library resource center at Weston Intermediate School, according to the superintendent, who sent an urgent alert to staff members on Tuesday.

    Superintendent Dr. Colleen Palmer described Navin as a "beloved employee" who has worked with the school system for 18 years.

    Police said Jeffrey Navin runs J&J Refuse, a waste management company in Westport. A recorded message on the company's phone line says, "Due to a family emergency, some collections have been delayed."

    The Easton Police Department is working with other law enforcement agencies to figure out what happened to the couple. Federal agencies have been alerted about the disappearance. Police believe there is no danger to the public.

    Anyone with information on the Navins' whereabouts is urged to call Easton police at 203-268-4111.



    Photo Credit: Easton Police Department

    Jeffrey and Jeanette Navin, of Easton, were last seen Tuesday, Aug. 4.Jeffrey and Jeanette Navin, of Easton, were last seen Tuesday, Aug. 4.

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    At least 76 people were killed and 212 wounded in a bomb attack on Thursday at a popular food market in Baghdad's Sadr City district, police and medical sources said.

    According to local police, a refrigerator truck packed with explosives blew up inside the Jamila market at around 6 a.m. local time (11 p.m. EST).

    There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the blast in the Shi'ite Muslim neighborhood, but ISIS militants, who seized swathes of northern and western Iraq last year, regularly send bombers into the capital.

    The bombing was one of the largest attacks on the capital since Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi took office a year ago. 



    Photo Credit: AP

    Civilians inspect the scene of bomb attack in Jameela market in the Iraqi capital's crowded Sadr City neighborhood Baghdad, Iraq, Thursday, Aug. 13, 2015.Civilians inspect the scene of bomb attack in Jameela market in the Iraqi capital's crowded Sadr City neighborhood Baghdad, Iraq, Thursday, Aug. 13, 2015.

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    A courtroom artist whose gaunt sketches of Tom Brady at the first "Deflategate" civil suit hearing in Manhattan federal court led to a Twitter flurry says it's her job to show what's going on.

    Jane Rosenberg's drawings of the New England Patriots quarterback Wednesday were compared with everything from "Lurch" in "The Addams Family" to the figure in Edvard Munch's "The Scream."

    Rosenberg, who's been sketching high-profile court cases for 35 years, says she was working under pressure and working fast.

    "I have to apologize to Tom Brady and all of his fans," she told necn.

    "He's obviously a famous personality, and everyone expected me to make him more beautiful or as beautiful as he is, and when I'm under such pressure I tend to just grab onto certain lines and I don't flatter people," she said.

    After her sketches were released Wednesday, humorous images depicting the sketches went viral on social media. Rosenberg says some of the backlash was funny, but some of it was "just mean." She also said it hadn't all "sunk in yet."

    "I did a wide shot with 100 people in it, and people are just pulling into this little picture of Tom Brady and I'm working with pastels, it's very hard to get the likeness when you work so small," she explained.

    In one GIF, or animated image, Tom Brady morphs through the years into the sketch from today. In another, his head on the Mona Lisa.

    Rosenberg has been sketching for decades on major federal cases- most recently the Boston Bomber case.

    She says she's not on social media, but was informed of the viral photos and videos through email right away.

    "Some of it's funny. Some of it's just mean," she said. 



    Photo Credit: Jane Rosenberg

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  • 08/13/15--04:52: 1 Injured in Bethlehem Crash

  • One person was injured in a crash in Bethlehem early Thursday morning.

    Officials said the crash was on East Street, or Route 132, just east of Main Street, Route 61.

    No additional information is available.


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    Willimantic Police arrested a 39-year-old woman who is accused of confronting her ex-boyfriend and chasing him around with a kitchen knife.

    The man was not injured, nor were the two juveniles in the home at the time, police said.

    Police found the suspect soon after she left the apartment.

    Authorities have identified her as Mariceli Livsley, of Willimantic, and charged her with disorderly conduct, threatening and risk of injury to a minor.

    She was released on a $2,500 non-surety bond and is due in Danielson Superior Court on Aug. 15.
     



    Photo Credit: Willimantic Police

    Mariceli Livsley is accused of chasing her ex around with a large kitchen knife.Mariceli Livsley is accused of chasing her ex around with a large kitchen knife.

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    Emergency crews searched the water at Riverside Park in Hartford on Thursday morning after receiving reports of a swimmer in distress, but did not find anyone.

    Someone who was driving on Interstate 84 called authorities 7:52 a.m.  to report a swimmer in distress near the Bulkeley Bridge, so crews from the Hartford Fire Department responded and Hartford Marine One was launched.

    After sweeping the area and going as far south as Wethersfield Cove, they did not find anyone.

    Kayakers in the area told authorities did not see anyone in distress.

    Crews had left the scene at 9:30 a.m.



    Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut

    A search is underway at Riverside Park in Hartford.A search is underway at Riverside Park in Hartford.

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    A motorcycle has been involved in a crash on Route 4 East in Farmington at the jug handle to Interstate 84 and there are heavy delays.

    No additional information was immediately available.



    Photo Credit: @lohshow

    A motorcycle has been involved in a crash in Farmington.A motorcycle has been involved in a crash in Farmington.

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    Elementary school students get three times more homework than is recommended for children their age, according to a new study published in The American Journal of Family Therapy.

    The study, which surveyed nearly 1,200 parents on issues of homework and family stress, revealed that children in kindergarten, first grade and second grade, may be hitting the books too hard in their after-school hours, Today.com reported. It showed that kindergartners are spending an average of 25 minutes on homework, and the homework load for first and second-graders is just shy of 30 minutes.

    Education leaders recommend a "10-minute rule" that increases gradually as students age: no homework for kindergartners, 10 minutes for first-graders, 20 minutes for second-graders, 30 minutes for third-graders and on up to the 12th grade, when students could handle about 120 minutes of homework a night.

    Authors of the study pointed out that 25 minutes of homework for kindergartners "may be both taxing for the parents and overwhelming for the children."



    Photo Credit: File/The Washington Post/Getty Images
    This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.

    Education leaders recommend a Education leaders recommend a "10-minute rule" that increases gradually as students age: no homework for kindergartners, 10 minutes for first-graders, 20 minutes for second-graders, etc.

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    Family members of an Easton couple who has been missing for more than a week are asking anyone who has seen the husband and wife to call police and say there are no indications that financial issues are factors in the disappearance.

    Jeffrey Navin, 56, who runs a Westport sanitation company, and his wife, Jeanette Navin, 55, a Weston school library worker, were last seen on Tuesday, Aug. 4 and were reported missing Friday, Aug. 7, according to Easton police, who believe the two recently moved to town.

    "We are shocked and saddened at the unexpected disappearance of Jeff and Jeanette Navin. There are no words to describe the impact this has had on their parents, siblings, and children. We wish only for their safe return and we ask for anyone who has seen either of them since Tuesday, August 4th, to contact the Easton police," a statement from the family says.

    Easton Police Chief Tim Shaw said that although the couple often travels, it's unusual for them not to tell family members where they are going.

    According to court records, Jeffrey Navin owed more than $2.2 million on his 7 Hart Landing home in Guilford, including $350 in attorney fees. A week before the couple disappeared, a judge denied his motion to reopen the case appealing the debt.

    Jeffrey Navin also owed $139,001.49 in unpaid energy bills for the Guilford property to Connecticut Light & Power, now known as Eversource, according to the a court decision dated June 17, 2015.

    "Financial issues recently reported by the media have not been proven to be a factor for our family members’ disappearance," a statement from the couple’s family says. "Information from the authorities indicates that there are available funds still in their bank accounts that are untouched. We, the entire Navin family, ask for privacy and respect during this overwhelming and troubling time."

    Although there has been no sign of the missing couple, investigators found their truck empty Sunday in a commuter lot near exit 42 off the Merritt Parkway. Police said one of the windows was broken.

    Police are searching the car for clues and looking into the Navins' careers. They are also looking into their financials and social media activity, according to Shaw.

    Jeanette Navin works as a paraprofessional in the library resource center at Weston Intermediate School, according to the superintendent, who sent an urgent alert to staff members on Tuesday.
    Superintendent Dr. Colleen Palmer described Navin as a "beloved employee" who has worked with the school system for 18 years.

    Police said Jeffrey Navin runs J&J Refuse, a waste management company in Westport. A recorded message on the company's phone line says, "Due to a family emergency, some collections have been delayed."

    The Easton Police Department is working with other law enforcement agencies to figure out what happened to the couple. Federal agencies have been alerted about the disappearance. Police believe there is no danger to the public.

    Anyone with information on the Navins' whereabouts is urged to call Easton police at 203-268-4111.
     



    Photo Credit: Family Photo

    Jeff and Jeanette Navin have been missing for more than a week.Jeff and Jeanette Navin have been missing for more than a week.

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    Police have issued Silver Alerts for a 15-year-old Hartford girl and a 15-year-old West Hartford boy who have been missing for almost three months.

    Leeanne Madera, of Hartford, and Armani Banks, of West Hartford, have been missing since May 22, according to Silver Alerts, and police said they might be together.

    Both are considered endangered runaways.

    Leeanna has black hair, hazel eyes, stands 5-feet-6 and weighs 155 pounds. She was last seen wearing a Northface jacket.

    Armani is 6-feet-tall and weighs 265 pounds. He was last seen wearing blue jogging pants, a blue sweatshirt and gray and white shoes.

    Anyone with information on where Leeanna is should call Hartford Police at 860-757-4000.

    Anyone with information about Armani should call 860-523-5203.



    Photo Credit: Silver Alert

    Leeanna Madera has been missing for almost three months.Leeanna Madera has been missing for almost three months.

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    Route 83 in Ellington was closed after a one-car crash, but it has since reopened.

    A car went down the embankment near the intersection of Kibbe Road and Route 83, or Somers Road, according to state police.

    The driver was conscious, breathing and alert when emergency crews responded.



    Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

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  • 08/13/15--07:57: Airbnb Host Fined $15K

  • A San Diego woman may have to pay more than $15,000 for renting rooms in her home through the home-sharing website Airbnb despite a city order to cease operations.

    On Aug. 5, an administrative hearing officer ruled Rachel Smith, a 70-year-old retired schoolteacher, violated the city’s law against operating a bed and breakfast without permit.

    In her decision, hearing officer Catriona Miller wrote that Smith had accrued $22,400 in civil penalties, but she would only have to pay $15,000 — plus $2,968 in city investigation fees — if she stopped renting her rooms and has no similar offenses for two years.

    Smith began listing her 1912 Craftsman home located in Burlingame, east of Balboa Park, on Airbnb in May 2012, offering two rooms for $80 each per night. While she initially considered opening up her house as a bed and breakfast, she liked the discretion that the website offered.

    “The beauty of Airbnb is, unlike bed and breakfasts and hotels, that you can screen your guests. They’re reviewed by prior Airbnb hosts,” Smith told NBC 7 in February.

    But neighbors soon took a disliking to what they called the “revolving door” of strangers taking up parking and roaming about their area. By September 2013, they started taking their complaints to the city of San Diego.

    After two visits from a city inspector in October 2013 and May 2014, the city mailed Smith a civil penalty notice and order (CPNO) in August 2014, telling her that she must cease operation of the bed and breakfast.

    However, Smith vehemently denied that her Airbnb rentals qualified as a bed and breakfast. As she tried to determine where Airbnb fell into city codes, Smith continued to rent out her rooms until Nov. 23, 2014, when her attorney advised her to halt until the matter was settled in court.

    According to Miller’s decision, Smith made about $13,800 from room rentals since the October 2013 inspection.

    “She did not feel she should have to cease renting through Airbnb unless and until a judge told her she could not,” Miller wrote in her findings. “She believed the city was wrong in its application of the Bed and Breakfast law to the Airbnb rentals and did not have the authority to stop her.”

    While the city has no specific code addressing short-term rentals, Miller said Smith’s case does fall under the bed and breakfast code, which requires a conditional use permit, because she used her primary residence to provide lodging for less than 30 days to paying guests.

    Smith was ordered to pay $200 for every day she did not comply with the city’s order to cease and desist: 112 days. She will have to pay $15,000 of that to the city treasurer in the next 60 days.

    Smith’s attorney Omar Passons said they are still evaluating options to appeal.

    He sent NBC 7 the following statement on the Aug. 5 decision:

    “The issue in my client’s case is not whether you believe people should be allowed to rent their primary home (or rooms in their home) on a short term basis in residential zones. That is a policy issue. The issue in my case is whether the law the city used to go after my client actually makes her use illegal.

    “The city collected transient occupancy tax from my client while at the same time hitting her with penalties for the very use the tax was for. I am surprised about the recent Airbnb tax deal with the city given its position about listing on Airbnb.

    “Fearing huge fines, my client stopped doing Airbnb three months before the hearing and the city kept pushing anyway. My client’s house was never a party haven or one of those overcrowded menaces in the beach communities.”

    Miller’s ruling is considered a draft final decision, and city attorney spokesman Gerry Braun told NBC 7 a final ruling still must be made.


    Rachel Smith and her homeRachel Smith and her home

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    A Stafford man has been arrested after calling police to report a man with a gun, knowing full well that the armed person was an on-duty state trooper, according to police.

    A man called 911 around 6 p.m. on July 25 and said a car was parked the wrong way on Fiske Avenue and the person inside of the car had a gun, police said.

    The dispatcher asked the man if the person was showing the gun, but the caller just repeated that a person in a car had a gun, asked that troopers respond immediately and hung up, police said.

    Police said they called the man back to get more information, but he told police to go see for themselves, then hung up again, police said.

    At that point, troopers responded to the scene and a state trooper who was heading to another call was diverted to Stafford.

    Shortly after hearing the broadcast for a person with a gun, the state trooper parked at Fiske Avenue for motor vehicle enforcement notified Troop C that he was at that location and conducting motor vehicle enforcement.

    Police then identified the caller as Joseph Gagne, a 52-year-old Stafford man who lives near Fiske Avenue, police said. They also determined that he was fully aware that the person inside of the car with a gun was an on-duty Connecticut State Trooper and that the car was a Connecticut State Police cruiser, police said.

    Police obtained an arrest warrant for Gagne, who turned himself in to police on Monday and was charged with falsely reporting an incident and misuse of emergency 911 system.

    He was released on $1,000 bond and is due in Rockville Superior Court on Aug. 26.
     


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    Massive explosions that rocked the port city of Tianjin in China were so strong that residents miles away thought they were experiencing an earthquake, witnesses said Thursday as the death toll climbed to 50.

    Buildings had collapsed, homes were littered with shattered glass and smoke was still visible across the scene more than 16 hours after the explosion.

    Twelve firefighters were among those killed in the twin blasts, which sent massive fireballs into the sky and devastated a warehouse district as well as nearby homes. More than 520 wounded were being treated at hospitals.

    Chinese authorities did not say what caused the blasts. 

    "I felt the ground shaking and my door was making a big noise," local resident Tang Lei told NBC News. "I thought it was an earthquake."



    Photo Credit: ChinaFotoPress via Getty Images
    This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.

    Burnt car debris continues to burn following the explosion of a warehouse in Binhai New Area on August 13, 2015 in Tianjin, China.Burnt car debris continues to burn following the explosion of a warehouse in Binhai New Area on August 13, 2015 in Tianjin, China.

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    Hartford police are investigating on Barbour Street this morning.

    No information was immediately available on what police are investigating, but a black car was towed away and police transported one person in a cruiser.

    Check back for updates.



    Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

    Police are investigating on Barbour Street in Hartford.Police are investigating on Barbour Street in Hartford.

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    Video obtained by NBC News and smuggled out of the ISIS stronghold of Raqqa, Syria, offers a rare glimpse into everyday life under the militants. The city has been under ISIS control for nearly two years and serves as the Sunni extremists' de facto capital.

    Despite the war waged outside by ISIS, life inside the Syrian city appears surprisingly normal: scooter engines revving, horns honking as a woman in a black abaya — or full black veil — walks by. 

    There's little reminder of the militants controlling the city— until a group of men jump out of a taxi, strapping guns to their backs.


    This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.

    This undated file image posted on a militant website on Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2014, which has been verified and is consistent with other AP reporting, shows fighters from the al-Qaida linked Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), now called the Islamic State group, marching in Raqqa, Syria. When Islamic State fighters routed Syrian government forces and took control of the ruins of Palmyra Thursday, May 21, 2015 morning, the ancient city became the latest archaeological heritage site to fall into the hands of the militant group.This undated file image posted on a militant website on Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2014, which has been verified and is consistent with other AP reporting, shows fighters from the al-Qaida linked Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), now called the Islamic State group, marching in Raqqa, Syria. When Islamic State fighters routed Syrian government forces and took control of the ruins of Palmyra Thursday, May 21, 2015 morning, the ancient city became the latest archaeological heritage site to fall into the hands of the militant group.

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