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    Texas is a Red state, but Mark Cuban doesn’t care if it affects his bottom line. 

    Some Dallas Mavericks fans don’t like him supporting Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton while continuing his feud with GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump. 

    I asked Cuban about that on my NBC Sports Radio Show Tuesday and he didn’t hold back.

    “You know what, when it’s all said and done, I’d rather lose every penny than have Trump as president because I care more about the future of my family, my children than I do about my pocketbook," Cuban said. "And so if it means we play to empty arenas, I’m down with that."

    Cuban told me he already voted in the election cast his ballot for Clinton. He also said that the Mavericks will not be staying at any Trump hotels this season. 

    For fans who want him to just stay out of politics after the election, he promises he will. He acknowledged his critics on both sides of this contentious presidential election:

    “Maybe I pick up some fans. Maybe I lose some fans. I don’t know," he said. "I’ve heard it from both. I’ve had people say ‘there’s no way I can support you. I can’t go to another Mavs game.’ And I’ve had people say ‘you know what? We’re buying Mavs tickets.' What I’ve heard more often than anything is, ‘are you gonna be this way once the election’s over?’ And the answer is no. You’ve known me forever Newy and I’ve been apolitical my entire adult life and only because I know Donald and I know my feelings about what he would be like as president have I gotten this involved but come November 9, it’s all Mavs all the time.”

    Here's the link to the entire interview.



    Photo Credit: Getty Images

    Donald Trump (left) and Mark Cuban at the first presidential debate of 2016 in Hempstead, New York, on September 26.Donald Trump (left) and Mark Cuban at the first presidential debate of 2016 in Hempstead, New York, on September 26.

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    North Branford High School science teacher Lauren Danner has been selected as the 2017 Connecticut State Teacher of the Year.

    Gov. Dannel Malloy (D) made a surprise visit to her 10th grade science class before a school-wide assembly Tuesday afternoon.

    “This is truly one of the most exciting days of my life ever,” Danner told the packed auditorium.

    A proud graduate of North Branford High School in 1993, Danner took an unconventional path to becoming a teacher. Her first career was as a scientific researcher.

    “While I loved working in a lab I realized I’m too much of a talker and storyteller to be working silently for most of my day,” Danner said, “I found my true calling when I began teaching.”

    For the past seven years, through her passion and positivity, Danner has inspired students like 11th grader Sarah Criscuolo.

    “When a person simply spends a few moments with Mrs. Danner they can understand her combination of her constant enthusiasm, warm smile and loving nature make her remarkable,” Criscuolo said, speaking on behalf of the student body.

    After thanking the students, parents and faculty who recommended her for this award, Danner ended her remarks with some words of wisdom.

    “At the end of life what really matters is not what we bought, but what we built, not what we got, but what we shared, not our competence but our character, and not our success but our significance,” she said.

    Last year’s Connecticut Teacher of the Year Jahana Hayes from John F. Kennedy High School in Waterbury went on to win the National Teacher of the Year award.



    Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

    North Branford High School science teacher Lauren Danner was selected as the 2017 Connecticut State Teacher of the Year.North Branford High School science teacher Lauren Danner was selected as the 2017 Connecticut State Teacher of the Year.

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    A new report offers further evidence that Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 was diving out of control when it vanished more than two and a half years ago, NBC News reported.

    The plane, which plunged into the Indian Ocean in March 2014, has been the center of competing theories of what happened on the flight. The Australian Transport Safety Bureau, which has been leading the search for MH370, said Wednesday that analysis of satellite communications and wing debris revealed that plane likely smashed into the water at a “high and increasing rate of descent.”

    This also rules out the possibility of the plane being configured for a landing or a ditching, eliminating theories that the plane was hijacked or that pilots had control when it crashed. There were 239 passengers and crew on board.



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

    A banner is displayed during a candlelight vigil for passengers onboard the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Monday, April 7, 2014.A banner is displayed during a candlelight vigil for passengers onboard the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Monday, April 7, 2014.

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    An Arizona mom is fighting an insurance company over specialized care for her daughter, who suffers from Prader-Willi syndrome, an extremely rare condition that compels her to eat.

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    The morning after police responded to a Hartford home to investigate three suspected heroin overdoses, including a fatal one, police are investigating another drug overdose. 

    Patrol officers found someone passed out on Broad Street with a needle sticking out of his arm just after 2 a.m. Wednesday, police said. 

    Firefighters and paramedics then arrived, revived the man and brought him to Hartford Hospital, where he is in stable condition. 

    Narcan is an opioid antidote and first responders in several communities have been using it to revive drug users amid a heroin epidemic that continues to sweep the state.


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    A Hartford man was sentenced to life in prison for his role in a 2010 murder case, according to the US Attorney’s office.

    Dominique Mack, also known as ‘Lil Sweets’ of Hartford, was sentenced Tuesday. On April 27, 2016, a jury found Mack guilty of conspiring to commit witness tampering by murdering one person and planning to murder a second.

    In December 2010, Mack was a suspect in a drug conspiracy case and was trying to avoid arrest. Police said that Mack conspired with several others to murder Ian Francis because Mack believed Francis was going to tell authorities where to find him.

    Francis was shot on Dec. 21, 2010 while in his car on Sigourney Street in Hartford. Investigators said that Keronn Miller, an associate of Mack’s lured Francis to that location. Francis died of his injuries on Jan. 15, 2011.

    Mack was arrested on June 15, 2011.

    Before Mack’s trial began, police were tipped off that Mack, who was in a detention center in Rhode Island, was conspiring with another suspect in his case, Tyquan Lucien to have a potential government witness killed. An undercover officer met with Lucien under the guise of being capable of committing the murder to confirm these suspicions. During this meeting, Lucien ordered the witness killed and made “throat-slashing motions to make his intent clear,” investigators said.

    A jury found Mack guilty of two counts of conspiracy to commit witness tampering by committing first-degree murder, and two counts of possession of a firearm by a previously convicted felon, and not guilty of two counts of tampering with a witness.

    Miller pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting in the murder of Francis in December 2014 and was sentenced to 210 months of prison on Aug. 2, 2016.

    Lucien pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit witness tampering by first-degree murder in August 2014 and awaits sentencing.


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    We are less than a week away from Election Day and Wednesday state officials held a news conference about the state’s preparedness for the election and residents casting votes for the next president, as well as other ballot items.

    There are 2.1 million registered voters in Connecticut, which surpasses the number of the 2008 election. Officials are expecting a large turnout. In the 2008 presidential election, Connecticut saw 78 percent voter turnout.

    The deadline to register in advance was Tuesday. Residents who did register in advance should check to make sure it went through properly by visiting myvote.ct.gov. Secretary of the State Denise Merrill said everyone who registered in advance should be listed on the site by Friday.

    Anyone who did not register in advance can register on Election Day, but residents should call their town or city to find out where the voter registration will be located. Registration will be at a separate location from your designated polling place.

    Residents must be registered and in line to vote by 8 p.m. on Election Day or they will not be able to vote. Being in line to register by 8 p.m. will not count. Because state officials expect record turnout, it is likely there will be long lines at some locations.

    Many states offer early voting, but this is not available in Connecticut. The only way to vote in advance is an absentee ballot. Absentee ballots must be physically in by 8 p.m. on Election Day or it will not be counted – a postmark before 8 p.m. will not suffice.

    There are 760 polling places throughout the state and every town and city has emergency plans in place to deal with issues such as power outages to ensure that everyone is able to cast their vote.

    Moderators at every polling location are trained to handle potential issues such as voter intimidation. Anyone who comes across an issue that cannot be immediately solved by a moderator is encouraged to call the Voter Information Election Day hotline at 1-866-733-2463.

    The state is also coordinating with the Connecticut Bar Association and lawyers will be scattered across the state prepared to respond to voting related issues if necessary. There will be 110 volunteer lawyers on call for Election Day.

    Officials said the state is working with with the Department of Homeland Security to address safety and security concerns.

    Merrill stressed that voting machines are not connected to the internet. Towns will upload the data from the tabulators at the conclusion of voting. A paper-based system makes it possible to check back if needed.

    “I can’t say it often enough. No tabulator is connected to the Internet. Not anywhere in the country. So I hope by now we have sort of debunked this theory that there’s going to be some internet explosion,” she said.



    Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

    State officials held a news conference about the state’s preparedness for the election and what residents need to know on Election Day.State officials held a news conference about the state’s preparedness for the election and what residents need to know on Election Day.

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    Libertarian vice presidential candidate Bill Weld said he was "vouching" for Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, NBC News reported.

    On Tuesday night as a guest on "The Rachel Maddow Show," the former Republican governor of Massachusetts said Clinton is "a person of high moral character, a reliable and honest person," despite what Republican nominee Donald Trump says.

    While Weld stopped short of telling people to vote for her, he voiced concern of the possibility of Trump winning on Election Day. Weld's comments are in sharp contrast to running mate Gary Johnson, who recently said Clinton could ultimately be impeached over the FBI review of her emails.



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

    In this file photo, vice presidential candidate Bill Weld and presidential candidate Gary Johnson attend the SiriusXM Libertarian Presidential Forum at the National Constitution Center September 12, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.In this file photo, vice presidential candidate Bill Weld and presidential candidate Gary Johnson attend the SiriusXM Libertarian Presidential Forum at the National Constitution Center September 12, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

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    Thomaston police have arrested two people accused of stealing dirt bikes and ATVs from one local business and shooting the windows of another business in a second attempted burglary.

    Police said that on Tuesday around 4:30 a.m. they received a report that there was a motorcycle on the side of the road. When police responded they came across a black ATV driving on the roadway and a passenger car behind it. Police said the Honda had a tow rope on the back.

    Meanwhile, another Thomaston officer found a motorcycle abandoned on the side of the road.

    Police determined that the motorcycle had been stolen from Superfly Power Sports on North Main Street and arrested the driver of the Honda, identified as Francisco Ramos, 20, of Waterbury.

    According to police, they located more merchandise stolen from Superfly Power Sports in the Waterville section of Waterbury. On scene they found a second suspect, Luis Arzola, 20, of Waterbury, who was taken into custody.

    Later police responded to a report that someone had shot at the windows of Roost Power Sports, located on South Main Street, during an attempted break-in. The weapon used appeared to be a BB-gun style.

    Police said they located all the stolen vehicles as well as the weapon used to damage the windows at Roost Power Sports.

    Ramos was charged with third-degree burglary, third-degree larceny, improper signal and operating a motor vehicle without a license. He was released on a $10,000 bond and is expected in court on Nov. 14.

    Arzola was charged with first-degree larceny, third-degree burglary, first-degree criminal mischief, criminal attempt to commit third-degree burglary, criminal attempt to commit third-degree larceny, and illegal weapons in a motor vehicle. He was held on an $80,000 bond.

    Roost Power Sports was also burglarized back in June. Police did not say if the cases are related. 


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    One man is dead and two others are hospitalized after they apparently overdosed on heroin at the same time in the same room of a Hartford apartment on Tuesday night. 

    Police responded to an apartment at 77 Green St. at 6:40 p.m. after a neighbor who was walking by noticed three men who were unresponsive, police said. 

    “Three people overdosing at the same time in one room, as where they were found, is an anomaly and something that we find alarming,” Deputy Police Chief Brian Foley said. 

    Hartford firefighters and paramedics gave the men the opioid antidote Narcan. 

    The Narcan revived two of the men, but the third was in cardiac arrest and doctors pronounced him dead at Saint Francis Hospital at 7:30 p.m., police said. 

    “The third was transported to Saint Francis. The Narcan did not work. He was transported in cardiac arrest and unfortunately did not survive,” Foley said. 

    Police said the heroin was from a “hot batch” and they are trying to determine where it came from. 

    Major crimes detectives, vice and narcotics detectives and crime scene detectives are responding. 



    Photo Credit: Hartford Police

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    The next chance for rain and thunder comes Thursday as a cold front comes through late.

    Until then, it will be dry and quite warm for the time of year.

    More clouds will be in the mix Wednesday, though temperatures will reach the upper 60s.

    Believe it or not, near 70-degree warmth returns on Thursday ahead of the cold front. The period of rain will begin in the afternoon and last through the evening.

    Given the warm air that will be in place over the state, thunder cannot be ruled out.

    Behind the front, dry weather returns Friday with a breeze. It will be much cooler, only near 50 degrees.

    First Alert forecasters are watching a weak disturbance that will dive out of Canada over the weekend.

    The most likely result is mostly sunny skies Saturday, with perhaps a sprinkle by Sunday.

    Early next week, temperatures return to seasonable levels in the middle and upper 50s with lots of sunshine.


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    An Ansonia man accused of pointing a gun at someone on Interstate 84 in Waterbury has been arrested and police said they found a gun in the car. 

    Someone called 911 at 11:45 a.m. on Tuesday and said someone pointed a gun at him or her on I- 84 East, in the area of exit 23 in Waterbury, and that person stayed on the phone until state troopers stopped the suspect near exit 33 in Plainville, according to state police. 

    Police identified the suspect as 31-year-old William Puro, of Ansonia, and said they found a handgun under the front passenger seat of his car. 

    Puro was arrested and charged with first-degree reckless endangerment and third-degree assault with a dangerous instrument. 

    He was released on a $5,000 non-surety bond and is scheduled to appear in Waterbury Superior Court on Nov. 15.



    Photo Credit: Connecticut State Police

    William PuroWilliam Puro

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    There are delays on Interstate 95 South in Milford after a driver hit a Department of Transportation truck that has been filling pot holes, according to police.

    No injuries are reported.

    Two lanes were blocked, but the scene has cleared.



    Photo Credit: Department of Transportation

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    In NBC News' updated presidential battleground map, Hillary Clinton has 274 electoral votes in her column -- which is more than the 270 needed to win the presidency, but it's down from where it was last month (at 287). Meanwhile, Donald Trump's electoral-vote total has grown to 180, up from 157 in mid-October. And we have 84 electoral votes in the Tossup column.

    The big changes here: We moved Georgia, Iowa, and Maine's 2nd Congressional District from Tossup to Lean GOP; we moved Nevada from Tossup to Lean Dem; and we moved both New Hampshire and North Carolina from Lean Dem back to Tossup. We attribute these changes to the natural tightening of the race, with Republican voters coming back home to Trump. But we will continue to watch any fallout from last Friday's Comey news.



    Photo Credit: AP

    Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks at a rally and concert at The Manor Complex in Wilton Manors, Fla., Sunday, Oct. 30, 2016.Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks at a rally and concert at The Manor Complex in Wilton Manors, Fla., Sunday, Oct. 30, 2016.

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    In most small communities people in charge of local fire departments do it on a volunteer basis.

    The NBC Connecticut Troubleshooters have found one Connecticut fire district where commissioners earn thousands, including bonuses, get free gas and they have taxing authority.

    The Blue Hills Fire District’s three commissioners get credit cards, cellphones, and more. And two of the three commissioners are married to full time firefighters in that department and they have to vote on things like pay, expenses, and working conditions. The mostly volunteer department has an annual budget of $1.5 million and covers half the town of Bloomfield. The board includes Tanya Farmer, former Blue Hills firefighter Jerry Hughes, and Ariel Jaunai.

    Documents obtained by the Troubleshooters show Jaunai gets a $5000 annual stipend. Last year she also received a $6000 fiscal year end bonus, a $2000 Christmas bonus and 20 gallons of free gas per week, worth at least another $2000 per year. Jaunai’s grand total is roughly $15,000 for the most recently completed fiscal year.

    Tanya Farmer, who chairs the board of commissioners, also received the same $5000 stipend, $6000 year end bonus, $2000 Christmas bonus, and gas package worth roughly $2000, which puts her total from the district also at approximately $15,000.

    Jerry Hughes, a retired Blue Hills firefighter, got a little less. He receives the $5000 stipend and got the $6000 year end bonus. His Christmas bonus was $600, and he has not taken the free gasoline, so his perks total close to $12,000. These benefits for the three volunteer commissioners approach $42,000, which is almost 3 percent of the fire district’s budget and money that could have been spent on fire department equipment or training.

    In an email response to one of our FOI requests seeking department bylaws explaining the $5000 and gas allowance, Commissioner Farmer said, “I have been unable to locate any written bylaws that outline what the commissioner's stipend or gas allowance is. Those precedents were set many, many years ago and have been followed traditionally by each administration.”

    In response to our written questions about the thousands in bonuses the commissioners received, the board did not cite bylaws but said “Christmas bonuses for paid employees and commissioners have been in existence for quite some time. Performance bonuses began approximately 3 years ago…for commissioners the Christmas bonus in 2015 was calculated based on relative performance and active participation in business of the district. Commissioners evaluated each other, and the amounts paid out were based on those evaluations. As far as the fiscal year end performance bonuses all commissioners received $6000.”

    Taxpayer Anne Wall has concerns with the perks.

    "That’s ridiculous. The public doesn’t know that," Wall said. 

    Contrast that to what commissioners from the town’s other fire district tell us they receive…only an expense reimbursement of up to $1000 per year.

    We also had questions about this past July when Blue Hills fire commissioners held an executive session out of town at a popular seafood restaurant. The meal cost taxpayers $90, including tip.

    Commissioners wrote us the executive session involved personnel, procedures, and fundraising and, ”We should not have held such meeting outside of the district; nor should our discussion have been in executive session. For many years we have been deficient at compliance with the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act and the meeting at the restaurant is just one example of that. We are seeking advice and guidance to be sure we comply with FOIA rules in the future. No decisions, no votes and no action was taken at this meeting…as for the meal charge, we did charge the expense to the district as we were meeting for the purpose of discussing district business.”

    So who has the final say when it comes to how smaller fire districts in our state are managed? Most answer to their local governments. But more than 50 departments, including the Blue Hills Fire District, have taxing authority and often answer to no one. Bloomfield Mayor Joan Gamble confirms the Blue Hills Fire District gets almost all its funding from the $330 per year it collects from the average Bloomfield homeowner. Gamble adds, "I can voice my displeasure but unfortunately we're shackled. You want to be able to fix everything. And you can basically fix nothing."

    Connecticut Fire Chief’s Association president Mike Thurz tells us there is also no one on a state level overseeing how fire departments are managed.

    "There's got to be some sort of checks and balances applied to any of those situations. Without that it's just chaos!" Thurz said. 

    Mayor Gamble tells NBC Connecticut Troubleshooters she’s looking further into what we uncovered, and has shown up at fire district meetings in the past to voice her displeasure. The next commissioners meeting is Wednesday Nov. 2 at 7 p.m. at the Blue Hills Fire Department headquarters at 1021 Blue Hills Avenue in Bloomfield.

    Find the full interview with Blue Hill here

    Below is the full list of fire departments in Connecticut with "taxing authority."

    NOTE: They are often called “special taxing districts”. This means they levy a separate tax on anyone with property on a town’s grand list. Since they generate their own revenue they often (but not always) do not have to answer to local governments on any decisions they make on staffing, pay, etc. Many of these Fire Tax Districts are run by boards of commissioners.

    Municipality

    Barkhamsted Fire District

    Berlin - Kensington FD

    Berlin -Worthington FD

    Bloomfield, Center FD

    Bloomfield, Blue Hills FD

    Cromwell Fire District

    Enfield Fire District #1

    Enfield Thompsonville FD #2

    Enfield, Hazardville Fire Dist.#3

    Enfield, No. Thompsonville Fire Dist. #4

    Enfield Shaker Pines Fire Dist #5

    Groton, Poquonock Bridge Fire

    Groton, Mystic Fire

    Groton, Noank Fire

    Groton, Old Mystic Fire

    Groton - Center Fire

    Groton, W. Pleasant Valley Fire

    Killingly Attawaugan FD

    Killingly Dayville FD

    Killingly E. Killiingly FD

    Killingly So. Killingly FD

    Killingly Williamsville FD

    Manchester 8th Fire + Sewer

    Middletown, South Fire

    Middletown, Westfield Fire

    Middletown, City Fire

    New Hartford Village FD #1

    New Hartford Pine Meadow #3

    New Hartford South End FD #4

    New Milford Fire Association

    North Canaan Fire District

    Norwich City (Vol Fire)(Town)(TCD)

    Norwich, City of (Paid Fire) (CCD)

    Plainfield FD # 255

    Plainfield Moosup FD

    Plainfield Central Village F.D.

    Plainfield Wauregan F.D.

    Pomfret Fire District

    Redding Fire District One

    Redding Fire District Two

    Redding Georgetown FD

    Simsbury - Fire District

    Sterling, Fire District

    Stonington Mystic FD #239

    Stonington Pawcatuck FD #264

    Stonington Quiambaug FD #378

    Stonington FD #265

    Stonington Wequetequock FD #379

    Stonington Old Mystic FD #366

    Trumbull Long Hill FD

    Trumbull Center FD

    Trumbull Nichols FD

    West Haven, First Center

    West Haven, West Shore (2d)

    West Haven, Allingtown (Third)

    Weston - Georgetown FD

    Wilton - Georgetown FD

    Windsor, Wilson Fire District

    Windsor, Windsor Fire District



    Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut
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    A black church in Mississippi was badly burned in a fire and vandalized with the words "vote Trump" on Tuesday evening, NBC News reported.

    The FBI said it is investigating the incident at Hopewell Baptist Church in Greenville, and federal ATF and Mississippi State Fire Marshal investigators were on the scene as well.

    The fire erupted about 9:15 p.m. Tuesday, heavily damaging the main sanctuary, officials said. The pro-Trump graffiti was written on an outside wall.

    A representative for Greenville Mayor Errick Simmons said this church has not been targeted in recent years.



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

    A black Mississippi church was vandalized with the words A black Mississippi church was vandalized with the words "vote Trump" and set ablaze Tuesday night. The FBI is currently investigating and this is a developing story.

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    Part of Route 8 in Litchfield and Harwinton will be closed Friday for bridge work.

    State police said traffic will be detoured off both directions of the highway starting Friday at 9 p.m. The work should be complete by 8 a.m. Saturday.

    Northbound traffic will be directed off at exit 38. Drivers can take Route 254 north to Litchfield and Route 118 east to get back on Route 8 at exit 42.

    Southbound traffic will be directed off at exit 42. Drivers can take Route 118 west to Litchfield and Route 254 south to Thomaston to reach exit 38.

    Travelers can access Route 6 and Route 222 via Route 254.



    Photo Credit: Getty Images

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    A Meriden dentist has been charged with sexually assaulting patients as they underwent procedures at his office, according to Meriden police. This is the third time he's been charged with sexual assault in the last two months.

    Dr. Jeffrey Krahling, 51, who works at 12 Curtis St., Suite 14, in Meriden was arrested on Oct. 28 and charged with fourth-degree sexual assault.

    Police said this is the third time Krahling has been charged with sexual assault – he was previously charged on Sept. 2 and Sept. 22.

    According to the state's judicial branch website, the incidents happened on Jan. 18, April 12, and May 29.

    Arrest warrant applications detail the allegations against the dentist and one victim went to police in April and told them that Krahling wrapped his legs around her head while she was in his office a couple of days earlier to have a crown filled and began “grinding” on the top of her head. Then he started breathing heavily and moaning, according to the arrest warrant application.

    When the hygienist walked into the room, Krahling quickly moved his chair away from the patient, the arrest warrant application says.   

    On Sept. 8, one of Krahling’s patients went to Meriden Police after seeing article about sex assault charges filed against him and said she believed she was a victim as well. 

    IN an interview days later, she told police that she went to the dentist in January and he “grinded” against her shoulder, stepped away when the hygienist came in, then resumed the same lewd behavior and told her he wanted to give her “the prettiest smile possible,” according to the police report.

    On Sept. 26, another patient who said she’d seen a report that Krahling had been charged with sexual assault went to police to report that the dentist pushed his genitals against her face while she was having a tooth pulled, the arrest warrant application says. 

    She said it happened after he gave her something to make her sleepy and not feel any pain. 

    Krahling lives in Wallingford. He was released on a $100,000 bond and is next scheduled to appear in court on Nov. 21.



    Photo Credit: Meriden Police Department

    Jeffrey KrahlingJeffrey Krahling

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    The Connecticut Office of the Chief Medical Examiner is in danger of losing its accreditation because of budget cuts and staffing levels, according to a letter from the National Association of Medical Examiners. 

    Chief Medical Examiner James Gill received a letter earlier this month saying that an increased workload and the number of autopsies each pathologist is performing will result in what’s called a “Phase II” deficiency, which will lead to the department losing full accreditation and instead being demoted to a one-year provisional accreditation. From there, it must fix the issues to get full accreditation back. 

    “The OCME faces many challenges related to inadequate funding and insufficient staffing. Most notably, there are insufficient numbers of forensic pathologists, medicolegal death investigators, and clerical personnel for the volume of cases in Connecticut,” Barbara Wolf, chair of the inspection committee for the National Association of Medical Examiners, wrote in the letter. 

    In 2010, each pathologist performed 276 autopsies and the chief medical examiner had a 50 percent caseload because of other administrative duties, according to the association. However, the most recent data showed the seven pathologists performing several more – more than 325 autopsies -- and the chief medical examiner with a full caseload. 

    In May, Senate Minority Leader Len Fasano said Connecticut towns would be responsible for processing bodies when a deaths is not a medical examiner case. 

    In the past, the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner would take the bodies of people who had died and not been claimed by family as a courtesy, Fasano said. 

    However, Gill said that "due to budget cuts and storage facility limitations," local municipalities will need to take on the burden.  

    In her letter to Gill, Wolf wrote an insufficient number of investigators and clerical staff will lead to more deficiencies of the same kind. 

    “The office under your leadership has been putting forth maximum effort in order to handle an ever-expanding number of increasingly more complex cases without a sufficient increase in funding and personnel,” Wolf’s letter says. “There is only one chance to perform a complete and thorough initial death investigation, so the importance of maintaining sufficient numbers of trained and competent personnel available at all times cannot be over emphasized.” 

    If the office does not show a “good faith effort” to correct deficiencies, it will lose its accreditation entirely, according to the national association, which could lead to attacks on the office’s credibility in the event of criminal or civil cases. 

    “When an overburdened staff results in the failure of reports of postmortem examinations to be completed within a reasonable time frames, the impact is felt at many levels,” Wolf wrote. “Law enforcement cannot conclude homicide investigations, prosecutors cannot indict cases properly, family members cannot obtain needed insurance money or emotional closure and donor tissues cannot be delivered to patients in need in a timely fashion,” Wolf wrote. 

    The office will have an onsite inspection in January and anticipates losing full accreditation. 

    He said he shared the letter and staffing issues have been shared with the executive and legislative branches of the Connecticut government. 



    Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

    File photoFile photo

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    A recall has been issued for several dehumidifiers that can overheat, smoke and catch fire.

    The manufacturer says no injuries have been reported, but 38 instances of smoke and fire have been reported, totalling roughly $4.8 million in property damages.

    Units under the recall include 25, 30, 40, 50, 60, 65, 70, and 75-pint dehumidifiers, under the following brand names: Airworks, Alen, Arctic King, Arcticaire, Beaumark, Comfort Star, ComfortAire, Continental Electric, Coolworks, Crosley, Daewoo, Danby, Danby Designer, Dayton, Degree, Diplomat, Edgestar, Excell, Fellini, Forest Air, Frigidaire, GE, Grunaire, Hanover, Homestyles, Honeywell, Hyundai, Ideal Air, Kenmore, Keystone, Kul, Midea, Nantucket, Ocean Breeze, Pelonis, Perfect Aire, Perfect Home, Polar Wind, Premiere, Professional Series, Royal Sovereign, Simplicity, SPT, Sunbeam, Sylvania, TGM, Touch Point, Trutemp, Uberhaus, Westpointe, Winix, and Winixl.

    The units were sold at Lowes, Menards, PC Richard and other stores across the country from January 2003 through December 2013.

    Consumers are urged to turn off and unplug dehumidifiers, and to contact the manufacturer, Midea, for either a partial refund, or a replacement. Dehumidifiers purchased before Oct. 1, 2008 will receive a partial refund, but not a replacement. Manufacturing dates are located on the back of the units.

    To determine if you’re eligible for a refund or replacement, visit https://www.recallrtr.com/dehumidifier and enter the information for your product.



    Photo Credit: U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission

    A recall has been issued for several dehumidifiers, including those from popular brands like Honeywell and GE.A recall has been issued for several dehumidifiers, including those from popular brands like Honeywell and GE.

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