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    A body has been found in the water in Windham, according to Connecticut State Police.

    State police confirmed they were called to the area of Plains Road in Windham for a report of a submerged body. The body has not yet been identified and no other details were immediately available.

    This is a developing story. Check back for updates.



    Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

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    U.S. intelligence agencies investigating the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi believe it's inconceivable that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had no connection to his death, but still have no "smoking gun" evidence that he ordered Khashoggi killed, multiple government officials tell NBC News.

    Although President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo remain tight-lipped about what they know, Trump finally acknowledged Thursday that Khashoggi is likely dead.

    Behind the scenes, U.S. spy agencies are trying to determine whether the killing was pre-planned or resulted from either an interrogation that went awry or a botched operation to bring him to Saudi Arabia, officials say — and how directly Crown Prince Mohammed was involved.



    Photo Credit: Hasan Jamali/AP (File)

    Journalist Jamal Khashoggi speaks during a press conference in Manama, Bahrain, on Dec. 15, 2014.Journalist Jamal Khashoggi speaks during a press conference in Manama, Bahrain, on Dec. 15, 2014.

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    West Haven City Hall was the victim of a cyberattack early Tuesday morning that cost the city thousands of dollars, according to a statement from the mayor.

    A ransomware attack disabled 23 servers, according to the statement from Mayor Nancy Rossi. West Haven police determined the attack came from outside of the U.S. The attack occurred between 2:49 a.m. and 3:16 a.m. Tuesday, and was contained by 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Rossi said.

    Rossi said the city paid a one-time $2,000 fee to unlock the servers, and critical systems were back up shortly after payment was made. At this stage it does not appear any data was stolen, but a consulting company has been brought in to assess the impact and continue restoration of the systems.

    Local, state and federal authorities are all investigating. Federal authorities said West Haven is the latest victim of a trend of cyberattacks on cities and towns.


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    Police are searching for a suspect they said should be considered armed and dangerous after a shooting in Middletown Thursday that led to schools being placed in secure mode.

    Police identified 22-year-old Kyshone M. Jackson Jr., of Middletown, as a suspect. They said they are familiar with him and are asking for help from the public to find him.

    The victim was shot in the face in the 400 block of Long Lane around 1 p.m. and was transported to Saint Francis Hospital. It’s not clear how severe the injury is.

    Jackson and the victim know each other, according to police, who said this was an isolated incident.

    He had fled from the area before police arrived.

    Schools were placed in secure mode and that has been lifted for all but the Snow School, which remained in secure mode with police stationed as of 3:20 p.m. because of the proximity to the school, police said. There will be extra security at dismissal.

    The road is shut down as police investigate and a police dog has been brought in.

    Police said there is no known threat to the public.

    No additional information was immediately available. Check back for updates.



    Photo Credit: Middletown Police and NBC Connecticut

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    For one hour inside Infinity Hall in Hartford, three gubernatorial candidates made their pitch on some of the state's most pressing issues.

    "You know how we're going to get out of this budget deficit? It's growth," said Republican Bob Stefanowski.

    Throughout the debate, Stefanowski touted his experience as a businessman, saying that the state needs to be run like a business. He says he'd zero out the budget for all departments and start from scratch.

    "No tolls, lower taxes, skilled workforce. A business person running the state, that's what we need to do to keep companies like GE in Connecticut," said Stefanowski.

    "The idea that you can run government like a business is preposterous. That's not what government is for. It's there to help create the environment for job growth for certain, but it's there to invest in transportation. It's there to invest in education," said unaffiliated candidate Oz Griebel.

    "Bob's plan will stop our economic growth dead in its tracks. It will put us through every two years of fiscal hell," said Democrat New Lamont.

    Lamont spoke about fixing the transportation system and working with employers on a daily basis to keep them in the state.

    "I'm going to do everything I can to give you confidence that I'm going to bring down the high-cost of government without raising the income tax, without raising sales taxes, and get it done in that first year," said Lamont.

    When it came to the budget, Lamont criticized raiding the rainy day fund, something Griebel took issue with.

    "If you're not going to use the rainy day fund in a deluge, when are you going to use it? That's what it's there for. We've got to look over this budget over the next three, four budget cycles, and in this first one do as little harm as possible. That's why I would use the rainy day fund," said Griebel.

    To keep businesses in the state, Griebel said the governor has to be the chief marketing officer for the state.

    “Make sure you take the time to listen to them. Make sure you take the time to tell them that they're loved, the taxes they pay are appreciated, the taxes their employees pay are appreciated, that the investment they make in their plant and equipment is appreciated. We've taken the private sector for granted for far too long,” said Griebel.

    When it came to tolls, both Lamont and Griebel spoke about installing tolls in a limited form, something Stefanowski pounced on.

    "We need someone who is going to put taxpayers first, who is going to reduce regulation, and who is going to drive this economy so it can invest in healthcare, education, and all the things we need to do. But it's not putting up tolls, it's not yet another tax, it's fundamental change. I'm going to bring that change. These two are more of the same," said Stefanowski.

    The third and final debate takes place in about two weeks.



    Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

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    Relief is on the way for homeowners in West Hartford after weeks of dealing with the effects of a nasty sewer backup which flooded basements and part of their street. The Metropolitan District held a meeting with those affected Thursday to provide an update and support.

    Thursday night officials said Linbrook Road could be back to normal by the end of the month. The road has been full of activity as crews worked to repair the damage from the blockage and flooding on Oct. 3. The constant racket and the jumble of equipment lining the street have just added to the recent misery for neighbors.

    Crews will be out starting next Wednesday to finish the fix on the sewer line and soon after all the equipment can be taken out.

    “The stress has taken a toll on all of us,” said resident Kelly Proulx.

    Proulx said her home was one of about two dozen affected by a sewage backup on the street about two weeks ago.

    Since then they’ve dealt with cleaning their basements which were flooded, as well as crews trying to repair the line.

    “The underlying worry is always there. I think anxiety has been pretty high on this street because we really don’t know what the next steps are,” Proulx said.

    Thursday was a chance to get some answers from MDC.

    And one big question was what exactly went wrong?

    “We don’t know yet. We’re testing the material,” explained MDC CEO Scott Jellison.

    Jellison believes there was some type of problem with pipe liner that was being installed. Liners support aging pipes and is cheaper than a full replacement. Now crews will insert a different version of the liner where the failure took place.

    Jellison said they don’t believe this will happen again.

    “We’re very confident. We have installed 200 miles of this type of liner,” he said.

    Many homeowners expressed satisfaction with how MDC and the town are handling the issue.

    But some are still nervous about the future, including longtime resident Sheila Ward.

    “They’re trying to reassure us they’ve done a lot of these liners and this is the first time there’s been a problem. So, hopefully it’s some weird fluke and we don’t need to worry,” Ward said.

    MDC estimates this repair will cost more than $1 million, including helping out homeowners with cleanup and replacing items. It hopes to hold the contractor of the project responsible for the cost.



    Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

    Equipment still lines Linbrook Road in West Hartford more than two weeks after a sewer backup caused water to flood into homes.Equipment still lines Linbrook Road in West Hartford more than two weeks after a sewer backup caused water to flood into homes.

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    The Hartford Police Department is investigating a crash involving an evading vehicle at the intersection of Capitol Avenue and Broad Street Thursday.

    Police said two out of the three people inside that evading vehicle are in custody. The driver of the other vehicle and a child passenger were taken to the hospital with minor injuries.

    The crash remains under investigation.

    More information was not immediately available.



    Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

    Hartford police investigating a crash involving an evading vehicle at the intersection of Capitol Avenue and Broad Street Thursday.Hartford police investigating a crash involving an evading vehicle at the intersection of Capitol Avenue and Broad Street Thursday.

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    We’re looking at the coldest nights in months for much of the state and a cold start to Friday morning

    Widespread frost is expected across the state and freeze warnings are in effect. Temperatures Friday morning will be in the 20s and 30s. The day will feature sunny skies and the afternoon will warm up significantly, with most towns flirting with 60 degrees.

    For the latest forecast anytime, click here.



    Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

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    Connecticut State Police are investigating an officer-involved shooting in Meriden Thursday night.

    State police said the injuries to the suspect appear to be non-life-threatening.

    An NBC Connecticut crew reports a large police investigation underway on East Main Street. The CVS parking lot was taped off with police focusing on several cars. Police would not confirm details, but a witness told NBC Connecticut she heard what sounded like gunfire.

    This is a developing story. Check back for updates.



    Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

    A large police presence on East Main Street in Meriden Thursday night.A large police presence on East Main Street in Meriden Thursday night.

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    Middle Street in Bristol is closed after a crash that damaged a utility pole and brought down wires.

    The northbound side of Middle Street, which is also Route 229, is shut down at the Enterprise Drive intersection and the southbound side of the road is closed at the Cross Street intersection.

    Crews from Eversource are repairing the pole and the work is expected to be done late this morning or early this afternoon, according to police.

    Drivers heading north should go left onto Enterprise Drive, and right onto Century Drive, follow the road to Cross Street, take a right onto Cross Street and return to Route 229. 

    Taking a left onto Cross Street will bring you out to Lake Ave. whereupon you take a right and follow Lake Ave. to the RT. 229 intersection.

    For motorists heading southbound on RT. 229, take a right onto Cross Street and then a left onto Century Drive. Follow Century Drive to the Enterprise intersection and take a left onto Enterprise Drive which will return you to RT. 229.

    Motorists are urged to show patience while these repairs are being made.



    Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

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    Warner Workman has met his Virginia congresswoman several times at local events and says he's "always dumbfounded when she actually remembers my name."

    Rep. Barbara Comstock's social media pages are filled with photos of her thanking local first responders at 9/11 memorials, posing with families at county fairs, attending Boy Scout events and opening new police stations in Virginia's 10th Congressional District.

    The Republican congresswoman is "always out there … getting to know people," Workman said.

    Her approach worked in 2016, when she won re-election even as the district voted for Democrat Hillary Clinton by 10 percentage points. But the 2018 midterm election could spell the end of Comstock's tenure in Congress and nearly four decades of Republican control of the district, which stretches along Virginia's northern border from the progressive suburbs of Washington, D.C., into the Blue Ridge Mountains.

    Comstock is running against Democratic state Sen. Jennifer Wexton, a former prosecutor from Loudoun County, which experts see as a crucial part of the district. The wealthy and increasingly diverse county has started swinging toward Democrats, as has the state overall. 

    Comstock, who lives closer to D.C. in neighboring Fairfax County, faces two strong headwinds: the district's burgeoning Democratic bent and those voters' opposition to the leader of her party, President Donald Trump.

    Experts say people are looking beyond the boundaries of their own district to inform how they vote in this election, and that makes Comstock one of the most vulnerable Republicans up for re-election.

    After the two contentious years that followed Trump becoming president, "the Trump agenda is very important to voters," George Mason University political science professor Toni-Michelle Travis said.

    This article, part 3 in a series, examines one of the key battleground races for control of the House of Representatives in the Nov. 6 midterm elections. Carried by grassroots momentum, Democrats must take 23 seats from Republicans to win the balance of power. They are contending with Republicans' experience and organization, and an outspoken but polarizing president.

    Comstock has distanced herself from Trump on some key issues like health care — she voted against the American Health Care Act, which would have repealed "Obamacare" — and imposing sanctions on Russia. At a televised roundtable with Trump in February, she told Trump a government shutdown was a bad idea for her constituents, some of whom work for the federal government.

    "This election is about results versus the resistance," Comstock said at a late-September debate with Wexton, where she touted her support of the Republican tax cut plan and "a booming economy."

    But she's voted in line with Trump's agenda 97.8 percent of the time, putting her among the most consistently pro-Trump members of Congress, according to a tally kept by news outlet FiveThirtyEight. (By contrast, only a few Democrats voted along with Trump 50 percent of the time or more.)

    Wexton's campaign has zeroed in on Comstock's voting record, recently running attack ads that call her "Barbara Trumpstock." This week, The Washington Post endorsed Wexton after backing Comstock in 2016, calling the Republican an "often unquestioning foot soldier in the president's ranks of Republican loyalists."

    In the debate, Wexton hit back at Comstock's resistance remark, saying the Trump administration "is constantly assaulting many of the values that Americans hold dear."

    Travis, the George Mason University professor, said Trump's agenda has been "so disheartening" that many voters don't see a candidate with Comstock's voting record as the best person to represent them in Congress.

    "Comstock's cred has just gone down," Travis said.

    Comstock campaign manager Susan Falconer argued in an email that Comstock is a bipartisan and independent leader who's deeply engaged in the district and "will stand up for what's right for the district, regardless of party." She pushed back on the reliability of the Trump agenda tracker, contending that 82 percent of votes Comstock took had support from some Democrats.

    "She trusts the independent minded men and women of her district who know how important it is to have bipartisan leadership for the region in order to get these important victories," Falconer wrote, referring to the congressional delegation representing the D.C. area — all the others are Democrats.

    But public polling indicates that Wexton is running ahead of Comstock. One poll from the Post this month put Wexton's lead at 12 points. The nonpartisan Cook Political Report rates the race as lean Democrat. Travis argued it would be "very hard" for Comstock to pull ahead, unless something "weird" happens.

    "But Wexton needs to still work at it," Travis added, saying the other party "can always win if you underestimate your opponent."

    Think Nationally, Act Locally
    Tina Stevens-Culbreath, a Democrat from the city of Winchester, west of D.C. in the Shenandoah Valley, is concerned about a "culture of hate" in the country that stems from the 2016 election.

    People "feel they are allowed to do and say basically anything that they want without consequence," Stevens-Culbreath said.

    She and her husband are looking to Wexton to be a unifier, someone "we're going to need to bring this country together," as Rodney Culbreath put it. The couple founded the I'm Just Me Movement, a mentorship nonprofit that aims to promote diversity and inclusion among kids in the area. 

    To win, Wexton may need a strong performance in suburbs like Winchester that are further from D.C., as well as in crucial Loudon County, which is more diverse and more likely to vote Democrat, according to John J. McGlennon, a government and public policy professor at The College of William & Mary.

    Voters in the area are especially attuned to national issues, he said, partly because of their proximity to D.C., which affects their livelihood.

    Seventeen-year-old Ainsley Rucker said that it's become a "moral obligation" to vote in the midterms to "put the Trump administration on check," even if she can't yet cast her own ballot.

    Women's rights, LGBTQ rights and education are among the issues fueling Rucker's political passion. She is the president of the Winchester Young Democrats coalition, which has expanded to every local high school since its inception earlier this year, Rucker said.

    "Since we can't have our voices directly heard through voting, we feel like the only thing we can do to make ourselves heard is ... get other people to understand what we think as young people and influence the people around us," Rucker said.

    Casey Turben, a longtime Winchester resident and local historian, said that Trump's election has sparked local-level activism, and it will be "the lasting story of 2016."

    Rucker also pushed back on the notion that Comstock is deeply involved in the district, saying she was "refusing to answer questions" from her constituents by not holding formal town hall meetings.

    Asked by NBC, Comstock's campaign manager didn't say when Comstock last held a town hall meeting. But Falconer said the congresswoman attended a recent forum on the opioid crisis in Loudon County and emphasized her many visits with local civic, religious and ethnic organizations.

    Workman, the Comstock supporter, argued she just "does things a little differently" in regards to meeting with her voters, saying "she goes to the people instead of having the people come to her."

    Comstock still has support in Winchester, too, a city that was nearly evenly split between Clinton and Trump in 2016.

    Robert Starkey, a local electrician, said she "just seems to care for Virginia and supports guns."

    And as a small business owner, Starkey said he wants a representative who will help him be successful and keep the economy strong.

    "I think Comstock is for helping us with taxes," he said. 

    'Common-Sense Gun Laws'
    Gun rights is one national issue that animates the supporters of both candidates who spoke to NBC.

    Workman, the Comstock supporter, said he's looking to her to protect his Second Amendment rights. A retired CIA technical intelligence officer who owns Minuteman Arms in Lovettsville, in Loudon County, Workman said he respects people who don't want to carry guns or have them on their property.

    He said always will "respect the private property rights of others" and leave his gun in his car, for example, if a person or private business doesn't want firearms on their property.

    Workman worries that so-called "common-sense gun laws" could lead to it becoming more difficult overall to purchase firearms, a right he deeply believes in and which he depends on to keep his shop running. Workman said he donates his store profits to veterans groups and Little League baseball in the area.

    Comstock has an "A" rating from the NRA and is one of the top recipients of the group's political contributions. She has supported bills that address mental illness treatment, which she has said is one of the issues at the heart of gun violence, along with increased funding for school safety and security and strengthening the national gun background check system.

    According to her campaign, she also supports banning "bump stocks," a device used in last year's Las Vegas massacre that increases the rate of fire on semi-automatic rifles, and "red flag" laws that provide a way to take weapons from people who are a harm to themselves or others.

    Rucker and Winchester Young Democrats vice president Niko Christen, 15, are looking to Wexton for her plans to take on gun violence. They were in high school during a year that saw mass shootings at several U.S. schools, including Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida, where 17 people died, and Santa Fe High School in Texas, where 10 died.

    The students said they want "common-sense gun laws that could prevent people who shouldn't have them from getting them," which could include "red flag" laws and a slower process for purchasing firearms.

    Wexton spokesman Ray Rieling said "common-sense" gun legislation is one of the candidate's top priorities, along with affordable and accessible health care and fighting political corruption.

    Wexton most strongly supports universal background checks, a "great first step for tightening up our gun violence prevention measures," Rieling said. The Democrat also supports banning military-style assault weapons and allowing the federal government to study gun violence as a public health issue, according to her campaign website.

    "We may not be able to stop all the school shootings, but shouldn't we at least try to stop some?" Wexton asked the state's General Assembly in February.

    The district has a large population of the kind of voters who recently have turned away from the NRA — college-educated, white-collar workers — and the issue could be what helps tip the balance for Wexton. According to a recent NBC News poll, Americans in suburbs who had a negative view of the NRA increased from 36 percent in April 2017 to 40 percent after the Parkland shooting.

    Can Comstock Come Back?
    Comstock's campaign manager said that the Republican "has never lost a race and always overperforms expectations," noting that Comstock's district was rated as a "toss-up" in 2016 before she won by 6 percentage points.

    While recent public polls put Wexton in front by at least 6 percentage points, a recent internal poll gives Comstock a slight lead, though within the margin of error.

    But Turben, the Winchester historian, said the tides are changing in Virginia's 10th District. He said a Wexton victory would come with "a slump of sure GOP votes in the western boundaries of the district," adding that it would be a "loud and clear" message to Congress that the expectations rural voters have for Washington are shifting.

    William & Mary professor McGlennon said that educated, affluent Loudon County represents a political shift happening in suburbs across the country.

    "Suburbia has become a lot more diverse, and suburban voters have been moving strongly towards Democrats, and that has the potential to transform not just the politics of Virginia, but much of the country," he said.

    While Comstock appears to be "in a very deep hole," McGlennon said, she could still win by finding a way to convince voters that she won't regularly support Trump, that "she will be an independent voice" and more attuned to her voters on social issues than a typical Republican.

    "And I think that's a very tall order," he added.

    It's an issue that the Wexton campaign is latching on to.

    Trump is "certainly part of the conversation about everything," Rieling said, and Wexton's plans for "holding this administration accountable is an enormous issue for voters."

    NBC's Sierra Jackson contributed to this report.


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    A man who was serving a life sentence for the slayings of two teenage girls in the 1980s has died.

    Officials from the state Department of Correction said Pedro Miranda died Wednesday in the hospice unit at MacDougall-Walker Correctional Institution in Suffield. He was in his early 60s.

    Miranda had been convicted in the May 29, 1998, sexual assault of a 24-year-old woman in West Hartford and was required to register on the State of Connecticut Sex Offender Registry.

    Ten and a half years later, in December 2008, an Innocence Project investigation and DNA evidence led to him being arrested and charged in the deaths of Rosa Valentin, 16, Mayra Cruz, 13, and 17-year-old Carmen Lopez.

    Valentin, 16, was last seen alive in Miranda’s car on July 26, 1986. Her body has never been found and she is presumed dead, according to the state Division of Criminal Justice.

    Cruz, 13, was reported missing when she did not return home from school in Hartford on Oct. 8, 1987. Her body was found in a wooded area in East Windsor on Nov. 8, 1987.

    Lopez was found strangled in an apartment on Nelton Court in Hartford on Jan. 5, 1988.

    Miguel Roman, who was wrongly convicted for the slaying of Lopez, spent 20 years in prison until the Cold Case Unit investigation that led to Miranda’s arrest. Roman was released from prison in 2008 and the state awarded him $6 million.

    Miranda was serving a life sentence for the murder of Lopez when he was sentenced to life in prison for the murder of Cruz.

    Valentin’s case was nollied because there was not enough evidence to prove Miranda guilty.



    Photo Credit: CT Department of Correction

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    At least 15 people were injured due to "severe intense turbulence" on an Aerolíneas Argentinas flight Thursday from Miami to Buenos Aires, the airline said in a statement.

    Aerolineas described the injuries as "minor." 

    Flight 1303 departed Miami just after 9 a.m. Thursday with 192 passengers onboard. According to the airline, the incident occurred during the so-called "cruise" phase of the flight. 

    Photos and videos shared on social media appear to show the cabin in disarray, with oxygen masks hanging, damage to the cabin's interior and passengers' items strewn across the floor. 

    "Once the turbulence zone was crossed, the crew in charge of the flight was dedicated to assist the injured passengers and to relieve the general state of the 192 passengers," Aerolineas Argentinas said. 

    The airline said it arranged to have a medical team on hand upon arrival at Ezeiza airport on the outskirts of Buenos Aires.  Eight of the passengers were taken in for a second check-up. 

    Turbulence, which can occur when two air masses of different temperature or speed collide, can generate sudden, forceful movements to an aircraft.



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

    Aerolineas Argentinas says 15 passengers aboard a flight from Miami to Buenos Aires suffered minor injuries after their plane hit turbulence.Aerolineas Argentinas says 15 passengers aboard a flight from Miami to Buenos Aires suffered minor injuries after their plane hit turbulence.

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    A pedestrian has been struck on Whisconier Road in Brookfield and the road is closed. 

    Police said it happened in the 200 block and called it serious. 

    No additional information was immediately available. Check back for updates.



    Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

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    In a video advertisement for his Florida gubernatorial campaign, Republican Rep. Ron DeSantis urged his toddler-aged daughter to "build the wall" with colorful toy blocks. DeSantis, who faced off against an establishment Republican, had already gotten President Donald Trump's endorsement the month before. DeSantis would go on to win his primary in a landslide, the race called within minutes of polls closing. 

    His path hasn't been so easy since. A late September NBC News/Marist poll has him trailing Democrat Andrew Gillum by 5 points.

    Many Republicans pursuing the governor's mansion this cycle face a predicament in the general election: a tie to President Trump may have swayed a primary in their favor, but in closer races, it could impede chances of winning the seat.

    The recipe for a possible blue wave in November, a surge in Democratic wins, includes state specific issues but Trump is another main ingredient. This fall's gubernatorial races could be an indicator of sentiment on the president himself, though incumbency and other factors will also play a role, according to political academics.

    "In any midterm election, the president’s party tends to pay a price," said Barry Burden, a professor of political science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In the 2018 election, Trump has an especially low approval rating, he said. "I think that puts Republicans in particular jeopardy this year."

    Of the nine governor's seats Democrats hold, the Cook Political Report predicts one race is a tossup and one leans Republican. The rest are rated as leaning or likely blue. But of the 26 seats Republicans hold, nine are tossup races, two lean Democrat and one is likely going Democratic. The upshot: many Republican seats are up for grabs this November.

    Nonpartisan Michigan pollster Richard Czuba told The Associated Press that many independents lean Democrat in large part due to "distaste" for the president.

    "The national tide towards Democrats is tilting states like Colorado and Minnesota in the Democratic direction," said Stephen Ansolabehere, professor of government at Harvard University. "Those are pretty competitive states, maybe slightly leaning Democratic, but there are national conditions pushing in that direction."

    "A lot of Republican candidates in other places couldn’t necessarily [distance themselves from Trump] because that's a good way to lose a primary," said Geoffrey Skelley, who worked at Larry Sabato's Crystal Ball when NBC spoke to him and is now an analyst at FiveThirtyEight. "President Trump remains popular among Republicans nationally."

    In Minnesota, GOP nominee Jeff Johnson beat former Gov. Tim Pawlenty in the primary, slamming him for being "anti-Trump" in 2016. He later won Trump’s endorsement even though Pawlenty pointed out Johnson had once called Trump a "jackass." Heading into the general election, Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party challenger Tim Walz has been leading in the polls.

    Similarly, in Florida and Kansas, Ansolabehere noted, Trump-backed candidates are underperforming. DeSantis was behind in September, and Kris Kobach is leading but not by as large a margin as expected for a Republican in Kansas.

    And in Georgia, a tossup race in a state that went for Trump in 2016, the Democrat, Stacey Abrams, faces Trump-endorsed state Attorney General Brian Kemp, who has been sued for putting 53,000 voter registrations on hold. Governors and allies in the Republican Governors Association were frustrated by Trump’s decision to endorse Kemp, The New York Times reported in July.

    Gov. Bill Haslam of Tennessee told the Times: "Our focus at the R.G.A. has always been on making certain we can win the general election."

    The governors association has since backed Kemp, funding TV ads targeting Abrams.

    The majority of the governor's races seen as close contests lean Democrat, according to polls, and are in places where incumbents are not running, such as Florida, Nevada, and Ohio. 

    Open seats present the most promising opportunity for Democrats, even when Republicans are the majority in the state, if the outgoing incumbent is unpopular. 

    "Governors races can be separated from the federal election environment to some extent," Skelley said. "But at the end of the day, there is still a pretty strong connection there, and a Republican president with a mediocre approval rating [has] also helped."

    A comfortable distance from Trump is easier to establish for certain popular incumbent governors. With Congress in Washington and governors more associated with state management issues like infrastructure and education, their races are less bound to presidential approval than federal elections. Moderate first term Republican incumbents Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker and Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan could win reelection in their blue states. 

    "If federal context is the only thing that mattered, Republican governors in Massachusetts, Maryland and Vermont would be done for," Skelley said. "They would have no way of surviving. Yet, they are all heavily favored to win reelection."

    Ansolabehere noted that a "great" economy also balances the effect of Trump's low popularity. Many Democrats have run on, in part, critiques of Republicans' tax bill and efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, measures they say will exacerbate disparities in wealth.

    Beyond Trump's influence, 2018 is expected to result in what many midterm elections have seen in the past — a reaction to the party in power. 

    "This year we’re seeing a corrective," Ansolabehere said.

    Americans voted out the majority party in 2014, as they did in 2010, and in 2006. This round of midterm elections might not be too different, he and others predict.

    "Whereas, for the last several election cycles, the Republicans have been particularly strong, picking up governors mansions, this time around they have a lot of territory to defend and they have to defend it in a political environment that is amid a Democratic wave," said Jennifer Lawless, professor of government at American University. She said that the majority of competitive races "are competitive in a way that would allow Democrats to pick up a seat.”

    Democrats have been arguing in campaigns that if Trump can nominate another Supreme Court justice, tipping the balance of the court further, some issues might revert to the states to sort out. State legislatures become increasingly important when that occurs. Lawless cited Roe v. Wade as an example — if it is overturned, the party controlling the state legislature "becomes far more important than they have been in the past."

    It remains unclear what role Justice Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation fight will have this November in governor's races.

    For Republican gubernatorial incumbents, separating their campaigns from their party's national reputation this election cycle can be difficult, Lawless said. 

    "If this is a change election, and if this is an election cycle where voters want to move in a new direction, that disproportionately benefits Democrats," she said.

    Even incumbents who have been vocal opponents of Trump "are in some ways wearing the national Republican albatross around their neck." 



    Photo Credit: Getty Images

    Gubernatorial candidates endorsed by President Donald Trump include (clockwise from top-left) Ron DeSantis for Florida, Jeff Johnson for Minnesota, Kris Kobach for Kansas and Brian Kemp for Georgia.Gubernatorial candidates endorsed by President Donald Trump include (clockwise from top-left) Ron DeSantis for Florida, Jeff Johnson for Minnesota, Kris Kobach for Kansas and Brian Kemp for Georgia.

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    Ezequiel Alejandro has spent more than four decades volunteering with the American Red Cross, even after suffering a heart attack while he was volunteering. 

    He most recently was deployed to North Carolina for 14 days to help the people affected by Hurricane Florence. 

    “You connect with people and that’s the thing that drives me,” Alejandro said. 

    Alejandro moved from Puerto Rico after college and was a public school teacher in Hartford and has been a security guard at Robertson School in Manchester for the last six years. 

    Over the years, he started to become involved with the American Red Cross, responding to local emergencies like house fires to assist the affected families. 

    He then started volunteering statewide and eventually started traveling nationally and internationally to help people affected by natural disasters. 

    Alejandro has worked in shelters, handed out food and water, done damage assessment and served as a translator. 

    Even after suffering a minor heart attack while volunteering, he deployed again. 

    He said seeing the struggle people face after natural disasters makes him that much more grateful for what he has. 

    “Just to see the faces of the people smiling and saying, ‘Thank you for coming here and helping us,’ that is enough reward for me. I encourage everybody, at least once in your life, get an opportunity to go out on a deployment with the Red Cross. It will change your life forever,” Alejandro said. 


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    A figure emerges from a glistening Swedish lake holding a mysterious sword, crusted over and worn by time.

    No, this is not the opening scene from a new “Thor” movie. Nor is it an excerpt from a Nordic myth about a deity and their magical weapon.

    The figure is an 8-year-old, blond-haired girl named Saga Vaneck who discovered an ancient sword while playing in Vidostern lake in southern Sweden in July. Vaneck reflected on her find in an Oct. 19 essay for The Guardian.

    “I felt like a warrior, but Daddy said I looked like Pippi Longstocking,” Vaneck recounted. “The sword felt rough and hard, and I got some sticky, icky brown rust on my hands.”

    Archeologists have since discovered the relic is an approximately 1,500-year-old, pre-Viking sword sheathed in wood and leather.

    Researchers were prompted to search the lake after Saga’s find and unearthed a broach from between 300 and 400 A.D.

    “I came back from gym class and the whiteboard said, ‘Saga’s sword’ and there were balloons, and the whole class got to have ice-cream,” Vaneck said, describing what happened after news of her discovery broke.

    Vaneck’s fantastical experience has also caused the Internet to compare her to other European mythical figures.

    She’s been called “the queen of Sweden” because in some versions of the King Arthur origin story, the founder of the Knights of the Roundtable receives his sword Excalibur from a mystical lake woman. The gift predicted his position as king.

     “I am not a lady – I’m only eight – but it’s true I found a sword in the lake,” Vaneck said. “I wouldn’t mind being queen for a day, but when I grow up I want to be a vet. Or an actor in Paris.”

    Read the full essay here



    Photo Credit: Jönköping County Museum

    These handout photos show a pre-Viking sword found by an 8-year-old girl in Vidostern lake in the summer of 2018 and archeologists with the Jönköping County Museum scouring the location for more.These handout photos show a pre-Viking sword found by an 8-year-old girl in Vidostern lake in the summer of 2018 and archeologists with the Jönköping County Museum scouring the location for more.

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    A Bloomfield man’s aggressive behavior toward a woman escalated to the point where he said he wanted to rape her and the woman’s father intervened, then fired gunshots into the air to get the man to leave his daughter alone, according to Bloomfield police.

    Police said officers who responded to Mitchell Drive around 1:15 p.m. Thursday to investigate reports of a disturbance involving a gun seized the gun and arrested a man.

    They identified the suspect as 43-year-old Michael Ferrigon, who they said has a history with the Bloomfield Police Department because of mental health issues and drug abuse.

    He got into a 30-year-old woman’s car and started telling her he “loved her, wanted to have her and wanted to marry her,” police said.

    She was frightened when Ferrigon grabbed her wrists as she was trying to get out of the car and shouted about “having her” and marrying her, so she started beeping the horn for help but she was able to break free and run, police said.

    Ferrigon followed the woman and her father confronted him.

    During the altercation, Ferrigon was reported to have been saying that he wanted to rape the woman, police said.

    Police described Ferrigon as a large man -- 6 feet tall and 385 pounds – and said the woman’s father yelled for his wife to get his .44 caliber revolver, then he fired two shots into the air and told Ferrigon that he didn’t what to have to shoot him.

    Farrigon ran to his own home and police found him in his driveway.

    Authorities said he was resistant but passive at first and police took out a stun gun but did not use it.

    They took Farrigon into custody and he was charged with unlawful restraint in the first degree, criminal attempt of sexual assault in the first degree,

    criminal attempt of home invasion, second-degree threatening, third-degree assault, disorderly conduct and interfering with an officer.

    No charges have been filed against the man who fired the revolver. Police said detectives spoke with the State’s Attorney Office and were advised that criminal charges for the father would not be applicable.



    Photo Credit: Bloomfield Police

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    U.S. prosecutors have charged a Russian woman who works for an oligarch close to Russian President Vladimir Putin with attempting to meddle in the 2018 midterm elections, NBC News reported.

    The charges, filed Friday in the Eastern District of Virginia, accuse Elena A. Khusyaynova of St. Petersburg with using social media platforms to create thousands of social media and e-mail accounts — appearing to be from U.S. persons — to "create and amplify divisive social media and political content."

    The content touched on divisive topics like gun control and the NFL anthem debate as well as events like the Las Vegas shooting. The posts adopted several viewpoints, according to the documents, and attacked politicians of both major political parties, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and former President Barack Obama.

    The case is being brought separately from special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation, which brought charges against Russians for attempting to influence the 2016 presidential election.

    Prosecutors said Khusyaynova is the chief accountant for a Russian umbrella effort called Project Lakhta, funded by a Russian oligarch whose Concord companies were named in the July indictment brought by Mueller involving attempted meddling in the 2016 election. Concord Management is owned by Yevgeny Viktorovich Prigozhin, also known as "Putin's chef," who is closely linked to the Russian president. It provides food services at the Kremlin.



    Photo Credit: SkyLine

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    Former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort rolled into a Virginia federal court Friday in a wheelchair and wearing a green prison uniform instead of his signature tailored suit.

    The judge scheduled Manafort to be sentenced Feb. 8 for eight counts of tax evasion and bank fraud and dismissed the remaining charges against him, NBC News reported.

    Manafort, appearing visibly greyer, was pushed into court in a wheelchair, missing his right shoe.



    Photo Credit: AP

    This Thursday, July 12, 2018 photo provided by the Alexandria, Va., Detention Center shows Paul Manafort, who was booked into the William G. Truesdale Adult Detention Center.This Thursday, July 12, 2018 photo provided by the Alexandria, Va., Detention Center shows Paul Manafort, who was booked into the William G. Truesdale Adult Detention Center.

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