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    Vernon police have arrested a man accused of choking his girlfriend while intoxicated.

    Police said Tyree Alford, 23, of New York City, showed up at his girlfriend’s apartment on Terrace Drive intoxicated around 4:52 a.m. Saturday. Alford allegedly became upset with his girlfriend and choked her. He also told her he wanted to kill her, police said.

    The victim was able to call 911 and when officers arrived Alford confronted them outside the apartment. Police said he was intoxicated, agitated and yelling at officers. Alford was also found with a large kitchen knife in his hand, police said.

    According to police, Alford resisted arrest and had to be tackled to the ground before they took him into custody.

    Alford was charged with second-degree strangulation, first-degree unlawful restraint, first-degree reckless endangerment, risk of injury to a minor, disorderly conduct, second-degree threatening, interfering/resisting an officer, and carrying a dangerous weapon. He was held on a $150,000 bond and scheduled to appear at Rockville Superior Court on Sept. 12.



    Photo Credit: Vernon Police Department

    Tyree Alford, 23, of New York CityTyree Alford, 23, of New York City

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    Hartford Police say at least one person has died in a motor vehicle accident early this morning.

    Deputy Police Chief Brian Foley says the accident happened on Park Street in Hartford at 4:30 a.m.

    The accident is still under investigation at this time.

    As of this writing, the road is expected to remain closed for a few more hours.

    This is a developing story. Check back for updates.



    Photo Credit: Hartford Police Department

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    New London police have arrested three people accused of attacking a man Friday night.

    Twenty-five-year-old Rachell Garcia, of New London, 28-year-old Domonique Shankle, of New London and 30-year-old Joseph Mendoza, of New London all face charges in connection with the incident.

    Police said around 9:30 p.m. they received a report of two females and one male attacking an "elderly" man near 78 West Street. When officers arrived they found the suspects nearby on Connecticut Avenue.

    Police allege that the 58-year-old victim got into a verbal argument with one of the women at a convenience store at 255 Broad Street. The argument turned physical when the suspects began assaulting the victim, according to police.

    The man fled the scene and ran into an apartment at 78 West Street, but the suspects pursued him. One of the female suspects, later identified as Garcia, kicked open the door and the group dragged the victim out of the apartment to continue the beating, police said.

    The victim was transported to Lawrence an Memorial Hospital for treatment of his injuries.

    Garcia was charged with home invasion, first-degree burglary, first-degree assault, interfering with police and breach of peace. Shankle was charged with first-degree assault, interfering with a police officer and breach of peace. Mendoza was charged with first-degree assault, breach of peace and possession of marijuana with intent to sell. Each was held on a $50,000 bond.



    Photo Credit: New London Police Department

    Rachell Garcia, 25, Domonique Shankle, 28, and Joseph Mendoza, 30Rachell Garcia, 25, Domonique Shankle, 28, and Joseph Mendoza, 30

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    A water main break near Federal and Huntington Streets in New London left several customers without water and the road closed for several hours Saturday afternoon.

    New London city officials notified residents of the water main break around 12:30 p.m. The intersection of Federal Street and Huntington Street was closed for several hours and drivers were forced to find alternate routes to get downtown or to access Interstate 95.

    More information was not available.



    Photo Credit: Getty Images

    File photoFile photo

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    The nurse kissed by an ecstatic sailor in New York’s Times Square celebrating the end of World War II, has died, her son Joshua Friedman confirmed to NBC News. She was 92.

    Greta Zimmer Friedman died Thursday at a Richmond, Virginia, hospital of what her son called complications from old age.

    Friedman was thrust into the spotlight in 1980 when Life magazine published the iconic photo in an issue asking for the sailor, later identified as George Mendonsa, and nurse to come forward. Mendonsa, a sailor on leave overjoyed that Japan surrendered, grabbed Friedman as she entered Time Square. She was a 21-year-old dental assistant at the time.

    Unbeknownst to either, noted Life magazine photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt captured the moment on Aug. 14, 1945, and published it a few weeks later. It became one of the most famous photographs of the 20th century.

    "I realized the photo means a lot to so many people," Joshua Friedman said. "My mother always felt like it wasn't anything she did, it was something that happened to her."

    She married Misha Friedman who served as a general infantry in the military and is interred in Arlington Cemetery, her son told NBC News.

    "She'll be put in there next to him," Joshua said. "It seems fitting."



    Photo Credit: AP
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    POSTWAR END OF WWII TIMES SQUARE STREET SCENE PEOPLE REACTING LAUGHING COUPLE KISSING SAILOR NURSE CELEBRATING JAPANESE SURRENDER V-J DAY VICTORYPOSTWAR END OF WWII TIMES SQUARE STREET SCENE PEOPLE REACTING LAUGHING COUPLE KISSING SAILOR NURSE CELEBRATING JAPANESE SURRENDER V-J DAY VICTORY

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    One person was transported to the hospital after a fire at a retirement community in Southbury.

    Southbury Fire Chief Dan Tomascak said that firefighters were called to the Watermark at East Hill, located on East Hill Road, around 11:50 a.m. Saturday.

    When firefighters arrived on scene they found a small fire contained to one of the units at one of the independent living buildings. The building’s sprinkler system had gone off to prevent the fire from spreading.

    Tomascak said it was a quick knockdown and no other units were affected by the fire, though there is water damage to some areas caused by the sprinkler system.

    C. Jill Hofer, a spokesperson for Watermark Retirement Communities, said one resident was transported to the hospital as a precaution to be treated for smoke inhalation, and has already been released.

    “The safety and security of our residents is our top priority and we are grateful that the fire was small, quickly contained and no one was seriously injured,” Hofer said in an email.

    The fire marshal is investigating the cause of the fire, but Hofer said it appears to have been started by microwaved popcorn.



    Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

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    Interstate 395 north is closed because of an accident involving a tractor trailer.

    State police said Saturday evening that the northbound side of the highway is closed near exit 29 in Plainfield.

    Lifestar emergency dispatchers said they were initially called to the scene but then cancelled.

    More information was not immediately available. Check back for updates.



    Photo Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

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    Rocky Hill police are responding to a crash involving two motorcycles and another vehicle, dispatchers confirmed Saturday evening.

    Police dispatchers said the accident was on Cromwell Avenue. Lifestar dispatchers said they were initially called to the scene but then canceled.

    The road was closed near the Cromwell line.

    More information was not immediately available. Check back for updates.



    Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

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    An amateur prospector struck gold – literally – when he discovered a nugget the size of a T-bone steak in Central California.

    Oscar Espinoza of Modesto was panning near the town of Jamestown in Tuolumne County when he made the discovery, according to NBC affiliate KCRA. The gold nugget weighs about 18 ounces and is estimated to fetch as much as $70,000.

    “He had a grin from ear to ear," Espinoza’s friend Charlie Morgan told KCRA. "He was in heaven."

    Espinoza wants to keep a low profile after his find so he has entrusted Morgan with safeguarding the gold nugget. 

    “He felt a little bit more secure with it being out of his hands and that way no one will know exactly where it is,” said Morgan, who has some canine help.

    Some in Jamestown believe the find could spur a modern day gold rush.

    "It's going to put Jamestown on the map," Morgan said.



    Photo Credit: KCRA

    A prospector found a T-bone steak-sized gold nugget in Central California. (Sept. 8, 2016)A prospector found a T-bone steak-sized gold nugget in Central California. (Sept. 8, 2016)

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    If Donald Trump is elected president, some experts fear he could cause unnerving on U.S. allies and he could push for an American foreign policy that is more favorable to Russian President Vladimir Putin's goals and interests.

    Trump's praise for Putin's "strong" leadership has already caused issues, said Evelyn Farkas, a former deputy assistant defense secretary for Russia, Ukraine, Eurasia in the Obama administration. 

    "He's already done damage to us vis-a-vis Russia as a candidate. I frankly shudder to think what he could to U.S. interests as commander-in-chief and president," Farkas, a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, told NBC News.

    Trump's effusive admiration for Putin, who Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, referred to on Thursday as "a thug, a dictator, an autocratic ruler who has his opposition killed in the streets of Russia" has baffled many, including some in his own party. 

    Nina Khrushcheva, a great-granddaughter of former Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev and a professor of international affairs at The New School, feels the Trump-Putin rapport could go one of two ways should Trump become president.

    "It will supposedly be a very positive relationship," she told NBC News. "But since Putin and Trump in some ways are similar — that is, they say it like it is and really don't mind the consequences — it also is entirely possible and likely that that relationship will collapse quickly because one will insult the other and try to show each other who's the better man."



    Photo Credit: AP
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    Donald Trump and Vladimir PutinDonald Trump and Vladimir Putin

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  • 09/10/16--21:09: Muslim Moms Attacked in NYC

  • A woman faces a number of hate crime charges after she attacked two Muslim women and tried to rip one their hijabs off as they pushed their toddlers in strollers on a Brooklyn sidewalk, authorities said. 

    Emirjeta Xhelili approached the two women at about 1:30 p.m. near 20th Avenue and Cropsey Avenue in Bath Beach on Sept. 8, according to court documents. 

    She punched one of the women in the head and tried to rip her hijab off while screaming, "get the f--k out of America b----s, you don't belong here," according to the criminal complaint. 

    Xhelili then allegedly pushed the woman's stroller, which had her 3-month-old baby inside, toward the ground before turning to attack her again.

    "This is the United States of America," Xhelili is alleged to have shouted while punching the woman in the face and trying to rip her hijab off her head. 

    She then tried to grab the second Muslim woman's stroller, which had her 11-month-old baby in it, away from her, court documents allege. 

    Xhelili faces a number of charges for the alleged hate crime, including assault, menacing and endangering the welfare of a child. 


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    Firefighters responded to Milk Lane in Newington for a report of a fire and explosions at a dairy plant Saturday morning.

    An employee at Saputo Dairy Foods at 100 Milk Lane made a 911 call reporting a fire on the outside of the building just before 7 a.m.

    Heavy smoke was coming from the building at it was evacuated as firefighters arrived. No injuries were reported.

    As a precaution, emergency crews treated the fire as a hazmat situation because the plant houses large amounts of ammonia.

    The fire was electrical in nature and the explosion that was reported was actually an electrical popping sound, according to fire officials.

    Eversource crews were also called to cut power to the plant.

    It took firefighters about 45 minutes to extinguish the fire and damage was contained to the outside of the building. The fire marshal is investigating the cause.



    Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

    A fire broke out at Saputo Dairy Foods in Newington on Saturday morning.A fire broke out at Saputo Dairy Foods in Newington on Saturday morning.

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    Members of a South Jersey high school football team knelt during a rendition of the national anthem before a game Saturday to draw attention to social injustices and economic disparities.

    Players and coaches from the Woodrow Wilson Tigers carried out the silent demonstration as a recorded version of "The Star-Spangled Banner" played at the team's field in Camden before a match-up against Highland High.

    Tigers coach Preston Brown initially planned to take a knee alone and informed his team about the decision Friday. When the anthem played over the PA system Saturday morning, most of his team joined in the protest.

    “I am well aware of the third verse of the national anthem which is not usually sung, and I know that the words of the song were not originally meant to include people like me," he told NBC10 Saturday night.

    The anthem's third stanza, which is hardly ever performed, reads in part "No refuge could save the hireling and slave / From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave."

    That specific section has been cited as a symbol of racial oppression and has been central to high-profile protests by San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick and other sports stars. The protests  have sparked  a national debate about freedom of expression and the true meaning of the lyrics and added to the continued debate over racial inequality in America.

    Brown told NJ.com, which first reported the story and also recorded video of the demonstration, that he stood for the anthem as a "formality" all his life. He went on to say that he loves America and the military.

    Woodrow Wilson's student population is almost exclusively non-white with Hispanics and black students being the most represented respectively, a state census shows.

    Two students chose not to kneel, Brown said, adding each student had the right to "exercise what they thought was right."

    The Camden City School District agreed with Brown's sentiment. In a statement, spokesman Brendan Lowe said while the district supports standing for the flag, they "strongly respect" students exercising their First Amendment rights.

    "Whether our students choose to stand, kneel, or otherwise, we're proud of their engagement with what is more broadly a very important social justice issue."



    Photo Credit: Bill Evans/NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
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    Football players and coaches for Camden's Woodrow Wilson Tigers kneel as the national anthem is played before a game Saturday. They chose not to stand for the anthem as a demonstration over social justice.Football players and coaches for Camden's Woodrow Wilson Tigers kneel as the national anthem is played before a game Saturday. They chose not to stand for the anthem as a demonstration over social justice.

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    In the days immediately after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, J. Chester Johnson volunteered at St. Paul's Chapel, the historic church in the shadow of the World Trade Center that became a respite center for workers digging for bodies in the rubble of the twin towers. He helped to feed and tend to the firefighters, police officers and others.

    Today, Johnson, a poet and a retired consultant, is working to build a memorial to the victims of a race riot near his hometown in Arkansas — an endeavor he says he took on after seeing what could happen when a group of people come together to grieve.

    Dr. Cindy Otto, a veterinarian at the University of Pennsylvania, arrived in Lower Manhattan as a member of a FEMA search and rescue task force, providing medical care for the dogs on what the workers called "the pile." Otto was inspired to start the Penn Vet Working Dog Center, which is focused on developing top-rate rescue dogs.

    Fifteen years after the attacks, they and psychologists, chaplains, family members and others are continuing to honor the spirit that prevailed after the attacks, when thousands reached out to friends and strangers to help New York City recover. They say their work was life-changing, influencing them in ways that they had not anticipated.

    "While we came to help, actually our being volunteers, it began to heal us," Johnson said.

    At St. Paul's Chapel, Johnson was among cooks and chiropractors, musicians and massage therapists working under a banner that read: "To New York City and All the Rescuers: Keep Your Spirits Up…Oklahoma Loves You!!" Podiatrists treated the workers' feet where George Washington prayed on the day he was inaugurated president — an appropriate tribute, they decided, because so many of Washington's troops fought without boots at Valley Forge.

    "There was a such an outpouring of love, care and generosity reflected during that time," said Johnson, whose poem about St. Paul's was reproduced on a memento card from the chapel.

    Later, after he learned of the massacre of African-Americans during the Elaine Race Riot of 1919 — and that one of his grandfathers had participated — he became determined to create a memorial to the killings in Phillips County, Arkansas.

    "It created a possibility in me to do things that I had not envisioned for myself," he said. 

    On Sunday, the names of first responders, recovery workers and volunteers who have since died will be called out in St. Paul's churchyard, a ceremony organized by another of the volunteers, Barbara Horn. She returned to New York City from graduate school in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, after the attacks.

    "It was like a homing device went off," she said. "I had to get home."

    Horn found her way to St. Paul's and went on to befriend some of the relatives — and become a liaison to one family in Japan — and to help create the Sept. 11 walking tours conducted by survivors, rescue and recover workers and family members.

    "That's something that changed my life," she said.

    Otto monitored the health of the search and rescue dogs — the last one, Bretagne, died in June at the age of 16 — and four years ago opened the center at the University of Pennsylvania. Most of the rescue dogs fared well afterward, she said, little affected by the lung problems many of the workers have had, for example. At the center, researchers train search dogs and investigate what makes them successful. 

    Amy Attas, another of the veterinarians who volunteered near ground zero, said that the handlers would open up as their dogs were treated for cuts, burns and dehydration, prompting the vets to ask psychologists to sit with them.

    "A lot of the handlers told us that their dogs were really depressed, because they were search and rescue dogs and they weren't finding anybody," said Attas, a house call veterinarian in New York City. 

    Donna Bassin, a psychologist and an artist, accompanied the first family members to travel to ground zero, visiting the remnants of the twin towers by boat down the Hudson River. She quickly realized that she was unprepared for the enormity of the tragedy and six months later was consulting with military veterans about handling such overwhelming traumatic grief.

    "I think all of us were in a very disassociated state," she said. "There was a gunner boat with us, that came down alongside of us. I remember staring at it and trying to get into my head that this was a war situation."

    She has now made two documentaries about veterans back from the wars in Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq: "Leave No Soldier" and "The Mourning After." She wanted to learn from them, particularly the way veterans formed a community to take care of each other, she said.

    More than 1,000 chaplains served at ground zero, said Peter Gudaitis, the executive vice president of the New York Disaster Interfaith Services and the president of the National Disaster Interfaiths Network. Some were ordained, credentialed disaster chaplains — meeting standards set by the national Red Cross — but others were simply volunteers who showed up without particular training.

    "A lot of it was a lot of good will and unconditional love and a good mix of crazy -- and self-serving, self-promoting, proselytizing, problematic people," he said.

    Some pushed themselves too hard, later leaving the ministry, developing post traumatic stress disorder or problems with substance abuse, he said. Marriages broke up.

    In New York City now, a disaster chaplain always partners with a mental health professional. Special training is required. Proselytizing is forbidden. The goal is to help rescue workers and others to draw on their own emotional and spiritual resilience, and to make sure the chaplains take care of themselves, he said.

    "The body retrieval and relief process, recovery process went on for 10 months," he said. "So it was in many ways a laboratory for how we do trauma work over a prolonged period of time."

    The Islamic Circle of North America was among the groups participating in the interfaith organization, working with Muslims who were falling through the cracks or other survivors who were not being served. Muslims tried to counter Islamophobia with civic engagement, said Adem Carroll, the group's director for Sept. 11 programs. The Islamic Circle of North America went on to create separate programs for U.S. disasters such as Hurricane Katrina and Sandy, and younger Muslims in particular are taking part, he said.

    "They have a sense, many of them, of their being part of a larger society with responsibilities whether it's to confront climate change or to deal with racial justice issues, whatever they're aware of and concerned about," Carroll said.

    The Rev. Willard Ashley and Rabbi Stephen Roberts both deployed chaplains after the attacks and later they edited a book together — "Disaster Spiritual Care: Practical Clergy Responses to Community, Regional and National Tragedy" — when they realized there was not one available.

    Ashley, the dean of the New Brunswick Theological Seminary in New Jersey, had worked to keep clergy healthy in the months after the attacks.

    "The premise was if you're healed, you can help your congregation heal," he said.

    Roberts, the president of Chaplain Distance Learning, said he was motivated by the sound in the emergency room at New York Presbyterian Hospital after the World Trade Center collapsed. It was silent.

    "There's nothing worse than thinking you're going to be able to save lives and in the emergency room, there was no one to save," he said.

    Glenn J. Winuk was a lawyer at Holland & Knight and a volunteer firefighter on Long Island, who on Sept. 11 raced from his office a block and a half away to help evacuate the south tower. He died when it collapsed.

    "I knew my brother," his brother, Jay Winuk, said this week, standing at the World Trade Center's memorial pools. "I knew where his office was. And I knew there was no way he wasn't coming over here."

    With no body to mourn -- Glenn Winuk's remains were not found until the following year -- his family placed some of his possessions in a pine box and at first buried those, including a small fire truck. And in his memory, Jay Winuk encourages people to volunteer in some way on the anniversary.

    Winuk and a friend, David Paine, co-founded a nonprofit organization that has come to be known as 9/11 Day or more formally, the September 11th National Day of Service and Remembrance. Last year, more than 28 million people commemorated the day with charitable work or good deeds, Winuk said.

    "There is no other larger annual day of charitable engagement," said Winuk, who owns a public relations firm in Carmel, New York.

    The group urges people to choose their own projects, whether writing letters to U.S. troops, giving blood or cleaning a beach. Its success comes from its flexibility, Winuk said, and over the years, the organization has worked with the American Red Cross, the National Football League and corporations such as American Express.

    On Sunday, 2,000 volunteers from a coalition it put together called Tomorrow Together will pack a half a million meals for those who are hungry. 

    "Even 15 years later, people want to do something to mark the day," he said.



    Photo Credit: Sarah Glover
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    Jay Winuk co-founded 9/11 Day, a day of service, in honor of his brother Glenn Winuk who died in the Sept. 11 attacks. Jay Winuk stands at the memorial where his brother’s name is inscribed.Jay Winuk co-founded 9/11 Day, a day of service, in honor of his brother Glenn Winuk who died in the Sept. 11 attacks. Jay Winuk stands at the memorial where his brother’s name is inscribed.

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    A woman was killed after losing control of her car while apparently racing, according to state police.

    Police said Shauna Julian-Trombley, 20, of Thompson, was driving her Nissan Maxima south on Interstate 395 near exit 94 in Killingly around 2:30 p.m. Friday. A second vehicle was also traveling in the same location. Witnesses reported to police that both vehicles were traveling very fast and appeared to be racing.

    Julian-Trombley’s car was in the left lane just south of Exit 94 when the second vehicle swerved into the left lane, causing Julian-Trombley to overcorrect and lose control. The Nissan struck a guard rail, crossed into the median and up an embankment before rolling over.

    Police said Julian-Trombley was ejected from the car. Her passenger, Kerissa Marquis, 20, of Thompson, was partially ejected but was able to get herself out of the vehicle.

    Julian-Trombley suffered fatal injuries and was pronounced dead on scene. Marquis was transported to Day Kimball Hospital for treatment.

    The second vehicle fled the scene traveling south on I-395. The vehicle is described as a newer silver sedan, possibly a Honda. Anyone with information on this incident is asked to contact Troop D at (860) 779-4900 ex 2052. State police are investigating.



    Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

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    As many as 30 to 40 people were injured after a deck collapsed at an off-campus party at Trinity College in Hartford on Saturday night.

    Police and firefighters responded to the house at 1715 Broad Street just before midnight.

    A third-floor balcony collapsed onto the second floor balcony, which then collapsed on the first floor, according to Deputy Police Chief Brian Foley.

    There were no major injuries, Foley tweeted.

    Families concerned about students who may have been injured in the collapse can call Trinity Campus Safety at 860-297-2222.  Trinity will attempt to contact each family directly involved, according to Foley.



    Photo Credit: Hartford Police
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    Dozens were injured after a deck collapsed at an off-campus party near Trinity College in Hartford on Saturday night.Dozens were injured after a deck collapsed at an off-campus party near Trinity College in Hartford on Saturday night.

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    When chief of staff Andrew Card knelt down and told George Bush "America is under attack" 15 years ago Sunday, the words he whispered in the president's ear in a Florida classroom launched what was supposed to be a planned, orderly response to a national emergency.

    But what followed instead was chaos, a breakdown in communication and protocol that risked international conflict and could have made Sept. 11, 2001, a still bigger tragedy.

    Based on a review of newly unclassified documents, memoirs and other published accounts, and interviews with U.S. officials, NBC News has learned that top U.S. officials couldn't talk to each other or to anyone else due to inadequate communications equipment and procedures, and that only one top official followed the emergency “continuity of government plan.”



    Photo Credit: AP

    President Bush's Chief of Staff Andy Card whispers into the ear of the President to give him word of the plane crashes into the World Trade Center, during a visit to the Emma E. Booker Elementary School in Sarasota, Fla., Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2001.President Bush's Chief of Staff Andy Card whispers into the ear of the President to give him word of the plane crashes into the World Trade Center, during a visit to the Emma E. Booker Elementary School in Sarasota, Fla., Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2001.

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    Connecticut state police are investigating after a shooting victim was found on Interstate 84 Sunday morning.

    State police said the victim, who has not been publicly identified, was found on I-84 east near exit 70 in Willington. The individual was taken to Hartford Hospital for treatment of non-life threatening wounds.

    Police are not sure exactly where or when the victim was shot.

    State police major crimes detectives are investigating.

    This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

     



    Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

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    A 3-month-old baby has died after a car accident on I-395 in Plainfield Saturday afternoon.

    According to state police, they received calls about a an accident involving a car and tractor trailer near exit 29 in Plainfield around 2:15 p.m. Saturday.

    When they arrived, they discovered an Oldsmobile driven by Erica Bedard, 25, of Danielson, had been rear ended by a tractor trailer driven by Edward Stratton, 44, of Glastonbury.

    Ciera Dube, 3 months, was located in the backseat of the Oldsmobile in a rear facing car seat.

    Ciera was transported to William Backus Hospital where she was later pronounced dead. Bedard was also transported to the hospital where she was treated for non-life threatening injuries and released.

    Stratton was not injured.

    Traffic was detoured off the highway for approximately seven hours while police investigated. Any with information regarding the accident is asked to contact Trooper Teft at 860-779-4900.



    Photo Credit: Shutterstock

    Two firefighters have been injured when two San Antonio fire trucks collided while responding to an emergency call.Two firefighters have been injured when two San Antonio fire trucks collided while responding to an emergency call.

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    Members of a South Jersey high school football team knelt during a rendition of the national anthem before a game Saturday to draw attention to social injustices and economic disparities.

    Players and coaches from Woodrow Wilson High School in Camden carried out the silent demonstration as "The Star-Spangled Banner" played over the loudspeaker before the Tigers' home opener against Highland High.

    Tigers coach Preston Brown initially planned to take a knee alone and informed his team about the decision Friday. When the anthem played over the PA system Saturday morning, most of his team joined in the demonstration.

    “I am well aware of the third verse of the national anthem which is not usually sung, and I know that the words of the song were not originally meant to include people like me," Brown told NBC10 Saturday night.

    The verse has been cited as a symbol of racial oppression and has been central to high-profile protests by San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick and other sports stars. The protests  have sparked  a national debate about freedom of expression and the true meaning of the lyrics, adding to the continued debate over racial inequality in America.

    Brown told NJ.com, which first reported the story and captured video of the demonstration, that he stood for the anthem as a "formality" all his life. He went on to say that he loves America and the military.

    Woodrow Wilson's student population is predominantly African-American, a state census shows.

    Two students chose not to kneel, Brown said, adding each student had the right to "exercise what they thought was right."

    The Camden City School District agreed with Brown's sentiment. In a statement, spokesman Brendan Lowe said while the district supports standing for the flag, they "strongly respect" students exercising their First Amendment rights.

    "Whether our students choose to stand, kneel, or otherwise, we're proud of their engagement with what is more broadly a very important social justice issue."



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

    Players and coaches from Woodrow Wilson High School in Camden carried out the silent demonstration as Players and coaches from Woodrow Wilson High School in Camden carried out the silent demonstration as "The Star-Spangled Banner" played over the loudspeaker before the Tigers' home opener against Highland High.

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