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    A pride celebration planned for tonight in Hartford will go on, but there will be an extra police presence at the event after the tragic shooting in an Orlando nightclub that was created as a safe haven for the city’s gay community.

    Tonight is the June Creative Cocktail Hour at Real Art Ways. Members of the arts organization and Hartford Capital City Pride have been planning it for months to celebrate the beginning of summer and celebrate pride, then the horrific events happened on Sunday morning.

    A gunman went into Pulse and shot several people early Sunday morning, killing 49.

    In the shock and sadness, organizers of the Hartford event talked about what to do and decided to go ahead with the event.

    “We’ve talked about what to do this Thursday, and we’ve decided we will continue to celebrate pride, and we will stand together to reaffirm our support and love,” a statement on the Real Art Ways website says. “The LGBTQ community is beloved; we are families, friends, colleagues and neighbors. We are proud. And we are together.”

    The event starts at 6 p.m. and there will be a moment of reflection at 7:30 p.m.



    Photo Credit: Joseph Kaczmarek

    File photoFile photo

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    A JetBlue flight crew helped a grieving woman who was traveling to be with family after losing her 20-year-old grandson in the Orlando massacre, NBC News reported. 

    As they were taking beverage orders, two flight attendants passed around a piece of paper to the other passengers, asking them for signatures to cheer the woman up on the plane ride. But passengers began writing paragraphs, filling up pages.

    Once the flight ended, the crew held a moment of silence in memory of her grandson, Luis Omar Ocasio-Capo. 

    Passengers, on their way out of the plane, gave condolences to the grandmother and stopped to talk to her. 

    Flight attendant Kelly Davis Karas, from Maine, wrote about the experience on a Facebook post, which has since gone viral. She said she wanted to share her story so that people could know that even after such unspeakable evil, there can be good.



    Photo Credit: Omar Capo via Facebook/Handout via Reuters

    An undated photo from the Facebook account of Luis Omar Ocasio-Capo, who police identified as one of the victims of the shooting massacre that happened at the Pulse nightclub of Orlando, Florida, on June 12, 2016.An undated photo from the Facebook account of Luis Omar Ocasio-Capo, who police identified as one of the victims of the shooting massacre that happened at the Pulse nightclub of Orlando, Florida, on June 12, 2016.

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    The rising cost of higher education has some students seeking new ways to pay for college.

    According to the Project on Student Debt, college students in Connecticut graduated with an average debt of nearly $30,000 in 2014.

    So it's no surprise many are now turning to crowdfunding sites to help pay their tuition.

    Bianca Alexis of New London recently walked across the stage at the College of Mount Saint Vincent in Riverdale, New York.

    A double major, Alexis earned degrees in psychology and religious studies. She was allowed to walk at graduation, but her diploma holder is empty. The college is withholding Alexis’ diploma until she pays the remaining $16,000 balance on her tuition.

    "I feel like that diploma is a symbol of everything that I've been through. And not to receive it is very heartbreaking," she said.

    Since graduating, Alexis has gotten a job and is working to pay off her balance. When a friend suggested she try to raise the money through the crowdfunding site Go Fund Me, Alexis was skeptical.

    "I can't ask people for money. Everybody has their own problems, why would they want to donate to me of all people?"

    Ultimately, Alexis decided she had nothing to lose by starting a GoFundMe campaign.

    "It's one of those situations that if it's meant to be, it will be. If it's not, then it's not. But I'm going to try my hardest to get there," she said.

    Recent high school graduate Wadlet Jean Baptiste is also using GoFundMe to help pay for college. The 18-year-old moved to the U.S. from Haiti six years ago.

    "When you're in Haiti all you hear talk about is coming to America. The big dream. Coming to America is what everyone wants. Our dream came true," he said.

    His new dream is to study nursing at Southern Connecticut State University, where he’s been accepted for fall 2016.

    "Imagine going to a nursing home, and you only speak Creole. And nobody else speaks it. So I could help out," he said.

    Like Alexis, Baptiste has a job and is saving up for his tuition. One of his high school teachers suggested GoFundMe.

    "He told us that there's a lot of people out there that's willing to help so all we have to do is ask for help," he said.

    A few friends have donated to his campaign, and he’s grateful for each one.

    "If you could donate $5, $6, it's as important as $100. Anything possible," he said.

    Donations made through GoFundMe’s website are encrypted. For your own safety, GoFundMe recommends donating only to people you know and trust.

    Alexis and Baptiste said people who don’t feel comfortable donating to an online campaign can send the money directly to their respective schools.



    Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

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    Passengers heading out of Bradley International will notice new posters and videos regarding awareness of the Zika virus.

    The posters and videos, paid for with federal dollars, will be available in both English and Spanish.

    Health experts said the virus carried by mosquitos, can be transmitted sexually and could cause birth defects.

    State health officials said 300 people in Connecticut were tested for the virus and 26 people tested positive. Of those 26, eight were pregnant. An undisclosed number of the pregnant virus infected women had miscarriages, which officials said is a cause of the virus.

    "We so far have seen birth defects of the Zika virus, but we have not seen microcephaly yet. It's just a matter of when we will see it in Connecticut," said Connecticut Commissioner of Health Dr. Raul Pino.

    Governor Dannel Malloy said there has been more than 600 cases of Zika in San Juan. Each passenger heading to Puerto Rico will receive an individual pamphlet on Zika prevention and protection.

    "We will see more cases here in Connecticut as the summer travel season ramps up. It's essential for people to take precaution when traveling to regions impacted by the virus," said Malloy.

    Zika videos can be seen over the TSA screening areas. Informative posters are decorating selective gates.



    Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

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    Police said they found a meth lab when they raided a home in Manchester on Thursday and have arrested a resident.

    After a lengthy investigation into the illegal manufacturing of methamphetamines, authorities searched 33 Canterbury St. on Thursday and said Wayne Newbury Jr. 41, is accused of cooking meth.  

    The DEA clandestine lab enforcement team and the Connecticut DEEP Emergency Response Unit assisted in the search.

    Police said they seized precursor chemicals for the manufacture of methamphetamines, a small quantity of methamphetamine, n handgun with a suppressor and several drug paraphernalia items.

    Newbury has been charged with operating a drug factory and manufacturing of a restricted substance.

    He was held on a $150,000 surety bond.

    Police said they served a separate arrest warrant for Newbury and the East Central Narcotics Taskforce will be applying for an additional arrest warrant.



    Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com and Manchester Police

    Wayne Newbury Jr. is accused of cooking meth at a Manchester home.Wayne Newbury Jr. is accused of cooking meth at a Manchester home.

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    Waterbury police are searching for a group of men stealing tires and car parts from earlier in the week.

    A surveillance photo shows the men stealing tires from Jim Juliani Motors on Homer Street Monday morning.

    Owners said a few weeks ago another one of their cars were damaged when thieves stole fog lights and tore up the interior. The parts stolen are costing drivers and business owners thousands of dollars in repair.

    "They took the side view mirrors off, broke the glass, broke into the interior, cut the dashboard up and did some significant damage to that car in order to get some parts out of it," said Manager of Jim Juliani Motors Michael Giordano.

    Police said the men drove away in a grey colored SUV. Anyone with information is urged to contact Waterbury police.


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    Crews rescued a woman from the Thames River in New London early Thursday morning after a sunset swim turned disastrous.

    On Wednesday, a 20-year-old woman went for an evening swim at Mitchell College Beach in New London. When she didn’t return by 10:30 p.m., her mother called the New London Police Department to report her daughter missing.

    According to a press release from the Coast Guard Sector Long Island Sound, the mother reported her daughter usually returns home around the same time and that this was, “highly unusual and very concerning.”

    Police found the missing woman’s clothes on the sand of Mitchell College, about a mile from the mouth of the Thames River.

    The Coast Guard sent out a 29-foot response boat and started searching the water.  The search area expanded toward Long Island Sound and kept expanding more than a mile, all the way to Ledge Light.

    Around 12:30 a.m. Thursday, the woman was found clinging to the ledge in her wetsuit. The Coast Guard pulled her aboard the boat.

    According to Chatwin, “She was OK, obviously a little cold, a little tired. Grateful to see the crew. And they gave her a ride back to shore.”

    After being in the water for about four hours, the swimmer was brought to L&M Hospital for treatment. She is expected to be okay.

    The Coast Guard reminds residents even experienced swimmers may struggle with strong currents. “Something that a lot of people don't realize is the effect the current can have on you when you're actually swimming in the water,” Nate Chatwin of the Coast Guard, said. “The tide was going out and the current was strong. If someone were to try to swim back against the current it'd be considerably more difficult.”



    Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

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    There was a heavy police presence at the Westfield-Meriden Mall after reports of shots fired Thursday night.

    Meriden Police Captain Sal Nesci says around 8:25 p.m. police received a 911 call from a female claiming shots may have been fired. When police arrived they found no evidence of an active shooter or shots fired. Police began evacuating the mall and went store to store searching the building.

    During the search police found people hiding in bathrooms and dressing rooms.

    No injuries were reported in the incident.

    Witnesses who were inside the mall described the lights going out and people running for the exits. Police say it appears a transformer in the area went down, causing power to go out and making a noise that may have sounded like a gunshot. This is still under investigation.

    Mayor Kevin Scarpati praised police for the quick response.

    "Hats off to Meriden police. We really came together on this one, we acted swiftly to make sure the Meriden community was safe all the residents inside mall, all the businesses," Scarpati said.

    Police, fire and paramedics all initially responded to the scene.


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    Hartford Police are investigating a homicide in the city's North End Thursday night.

    They say the victim, a 22-year-old male from South Windsor, was shot near the intersection of Main Street and Earle Street. He was pronounced dead Thursday night.

    The Hartford Police Major Crimes Detectives and Shooting Task Force are investigating. Anyone with information should contact Hartford police.


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  • 06/17/16--01:47: Bulger Items Being Auctioned

  • Houses, diamond rings and even a plastic Christmas tree are among the former possessions of convicted mobster James "Whitey" Bulger that will be auctioned off late next week.

    Hundreds of items that belonged to the mob boss will soon be on the auction block.

    "This is just a terrible yard sale," said Naeemah Smith of Boston's Dorchester neighborhood when she saw the items.

    The items range from watches to sun hats to jewelry.

    "It's kind of creepy," said Kathleen Bombino of Somerville. "I feel like his stuff doesn't really represent anything good, at least not for me."

    There's a boxing mannequin, books on the mafia and a pencil cup in the shape of a rat.

    "I think that would gross me out," said Janet Griffin of Walpole. "The diamond ring was kind of nice ... but I wouldn't want to wear that."

    The items belonged to Bulger and his long-time girlfriend, Catherine Greig.

    Proceeds will go to the families of Bulger's victims.

    The starting bids begin at $15, up to thousands for some of the jewelry.

    The auction will take place on Saturday June 25 at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center.

    It will also be live online.



    Photo Credit: AP

    A federal appeals court rejected the request for a new trial on March 4 for James A federal appeals court rejected the request for a new trial on March 4 for James "Whitey" Bulger.

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    The first funerals for the victims from Sunday's massacre were held Thursday, the beginning of a long procession of grief through the heart of Orlando, NBC News reported.

    Kimberly "KJ" Morris' family held a packed funeral service at Osceola Memory Gardens Funeral Home for the 37-year-old who they said will always be remembered for her "big, bright smile."

    "This past week we've been watching so many videos of our loved Kim and it just rings out in my mind as we are watching those videos, 'Go Kim! Go Kim! Go Kim!' and that was her personality: smiling, laughing, music, let's dance," her uncle, Bryant Johnson recalled. "Kim loved to have fun and she was often the source of it."

    Several friends and family members stood before Morris' white casket counting the ways she will be missed.



    Photo Credit: Getty Images

    Kimberly KJ Morris, one of victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting to be laid to rest, is carried to the grave site Kissimmee, United States on June 16, 2016.Kimberly KJ Morris, one of victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting to be laid to rest, is carried to the grave site Kissimmee, United States on June 16, 2016.

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    Officials in Voluntown want one man's tribute to Donald Trump to be removed.

    The large signs tower above Route 138, a busy road to and from Rhode Island.

    After receiving complaints, the town selectmen and zoning enforcement official determined the signs are much larger than local law allows. There are other political signs up in town, just not this big.

    The head of the Voluntown Planning and Zoning Commission said he'd like to rewrite the zoning rules to permit all political signs no matter how big, based on the first amendment.

    "We were just driving down the road and I saw my cousin posted a picture on the internet of this and I wanted to take a picture of my Jeep in between them. You can't miss it!," said Evan Lepage, of Lisbon. "Everyone's driving by every day. It's just awesome."

    The man who put them up was unavailable to speak to NBC Connecticut but he told the Norwich Bulletin he may have received the cease and desist letter from Voluntown but hasn't opened it yet.



    Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

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    Three people were attacked an injured by a pit bull in Norwich Thursday afternoon.

    One of the victims was a 6-year-old child, according to police.

    Officers responded to the Golden Street area around 1:30 p.m. for a report of a roaming pit bull that had attacked people. They found the three victims with bite wounds. One victim had a severe injury to their ear, police said.

    The victims were taken to the hospital for treatment.

    An animal control officer found the dog at its owner's house and took it into custody for quarantine, according to police.

    The owner, 50-year-old Regina Barnhill, was cited for failure to vaccinate, failure to license, allowing dog to roam, nuisance/vicious disposition and violation of chain/tethering regulations, according to police.



    Photo Credit: Shutterstock

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    Dozens of State Department employees have signed an internal document that calls for airstrikes against the government of Syria's President Bashar Assad, a position that's in contrast with the White House policy, NBC News reported.

    The "dissent channel cable" was signed by 51 State Department officers who have been involved with U.S.-Syria policy, an official familiar with the memo told The Wall Street Journal.

    The document repeatedly called for "targeted military strikes" against Assad, who has been fighting rebels and ISIS for over five years, the newspaper reported.

    Former U.S. Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford told Reuters the dissent channel cables are not unusual but the number of signatures on this latest document is very large. 



    Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images

    Syrian President Bashar al-Assad gestures during an exclusive interview with AFP in the capital Damascus on Feb. 11, 2016.Syrian President Bashar al-Assad gestures during an exclusive interview with AFP in the capital Damascus on Feb. 11, 2016.

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    A motorcyclist sustained serious injuries in a crash with a truck in Norwich on Thursday night.

    Police said the motorcycle and a truck collided in the area of 109 Salem Turnpike around 6 p.m. and the motorcyclist was initially brought to Backus Hospital, but LifeStar then brought the person to Hartford Hospital.

    Police have not released the motorcyclist’s name because they are notifying family members.

    Anyone who witnessed the crash is asked to call Officer Scott Meikle or Officer Thomas Lazzaro at 860-886-5561.


    File photoFile photo

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    Police are investigating a bank robbery at Berkshire Bank in Vernon.

    A stocky man in his 50s implied he had a gun, handed the teller a note, then jumped over the counter and took cash, according to police.   

    He then fled on Route 30 in a silver car.

    No one was injured the robbery.



    Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com and Vernon Police

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    Police have arrested one man suspected of stealing more than $300,000 in a credit card fraud spree targeting stores throughout the northeast and they are looking for one more suspect.

    Police responded to the Wal-Mart on Gold Star Highway in Groton around 4:30 p.m. on Thursday to investigate a report of larceny by fraud.

    The man had fled, but the description was familiar, police said.

    It matched a description of a person who is suspected of similar crimes throughout the North East that have resulted in the loss of $300,000.

    Officers who were responding to investigate saw a car speeding off that matched the description and chased it into the Copp Property Dog Park parking area, where two people who were in the car ran into the woods.

    Police were called in from Ledyard, Groton City, New London, Stonington, Waterford, Connecticut State Police, and the Regional Community Enhancement Task Force to help with the search and the Groton Emergency Communications Center sent out a reverse 911 call to area residents alerting them to what was happening and urging them to call police if they saw either suspect.

    Police located one suspect in the area of Route 117 and Interstate 95 and identified him as Kashif T. Louissaint, 24, of Brooklyn, New York. He was charged with criminal attempted larceny in the fourth degree, criminal attempt illegal use of a credit card and interfering with an officer.

    He was wanted by the FBI in Newark New Jersey on wire fraud charges and was also charged as a fugitive from justice.

    He is being held on $200,000 bond, and will appear in court in New London today.

    Officers are still searching for the second suspect.



    Photo Credit: Groton Police

    Kashif Louissaint is suspected of credit card fraud in the northeast. He's accused of stealing more than $300,000.Kashif Louissaint is suspected of credit card fraud in the northeast. He's accused of stealing more than $300,000.

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    A beautiful weekend is shaping up as high pressure maintains control of Connecticut's weather.

    The lack of humidity will also last for several more days, making for great sleeping weather as temperatures fall back into the 50s at night.

    The weekend looks stupendous, with sunny skies both days.

    Highs will be in the middle 80s Saturday, but upper 80s inland come Sunday. Shoreline areas will remain in the lower 80s on Sunday.

    Temperatures will push 90 degrees come early next week, as the dry weather continues.

    The next chance for rain comes with thunderstorms on Tuesday, when there will be some humidity in the air.


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    Firefighters have responded to a home on Cartpath Drive in Meriden as a precaution after Eversource crews broke a small gas line, according to the fire department and crews at the scene.

    The utility company was doing work when the line broke and there is a gas leak.

    Eversource is working on repairing the line and the fire department is at the scene as a precaution.

    The road is open, according to the fire department.



    Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

    Crews respond to gas leak in Meriden.Crews respond to gas leak in Meriden.

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  • 06/17/16--10:28: Full Moon This Weekend

  • A full moon will occur early Monday morning.

    Given the clear weather expected this weekend, it will be a prime time to snap photos of the moon.

    This month's full moon is also known as the full "strawberry" moon.

    Send your photos to shareit@nbcconnecticut.com or click here!


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