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    Main Street in Rocky Hill is closed after a car hit a utility pole.

    Police said Main Street, which is also Route 99, is closed in both directions in between West Street and Grimes Road. 

    Minor injuries are reported and the road will remain shut down while crews work to repair a utility pole.

    Police are urging drivers who will be traveling in the area to seek an alternate route.



    Photo Credit: Rocky Hill Police

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    Donovan tends to do things on his own terms.

    The white horse who lives on a Malibu ranch was rescued from a rough life of mistreatment about a dozen years ago in Sacramento, which explains why he's always been leary of humans.

    So, it wasn't a surprise to Wendell Phillips, co-owner of Spunky’s Rescue Ranch, that Donovan didn't budge when flames from the 98,000-acre Woolsey Fire started licking at the Decker Canyon property. Phillips and three other horses had to evacuate without Donovan when the fire, which started in Ventura County before quickly burning into LA County and toward the ocean, got dangerously close.

    "I let the horses go and opened the house up and opened the sanctuary up so everybody would have a chance," Phillips said.

    Phillips left food and water out for Donovan, who remained standing near his usual spot near the fenceline.

    His desperate strategy worked. Donovan was there on the hillside when he returned, his white coat standing out against the charred landscape.

    "He's got a couple little burns on his nose and his tail's a whole lot shorter than it used to be," said Phillips.

    And, there's more good news. During the frantic hours of the evacuation, Phillips said he learned Donovan was going to be adopted.

    As of Thursday morning, the Woolsey Fire had scorched through 98,362 acres and was 57 percent contained. It has destroyed an estimated 504 structures and damaged another 96.

    Three deaths have been reported in connection with the fire.



    Photo Credit: KNBC-TV

    Donovan the horse is pictured at a rescue ranch in Malibu.Donovan the horse is pictured at a rescue ranch in Malibu.

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    The MTA plans to propose an 8 percent toll hike -- double the usual percentage increase -- along with a 4 percent hike for commuter rail and express buses while keeping subway base fare the same and eliminating the MetroCard bonus, sources familiar with the plans tell News 4.

    The agency plans to present its proposals at a board meeting Thursday. 

    According to the sources, the 8 percent toll hike is double the typical increase to funnel some more money into the capital plan. One source described that plan as the MTA's "own version of congestion pricing." If the board does not approve that, there's an option for a 4 percent hike instead, the sources say. 

    In another effort to save money, the cash-strapped agency wants to delay the planned launch of Select Bus Service on 96th Street in Manhattan by a year.

    The subway matter, meanwhile, could go one of two ways, the sources say. Option 1: Keep base fare at $2.75 and get rid of the MetroCard bonuses or hike base fare by 4 percent.   

    Officials had said at a board meeting in July that they planned to increase fares twice in the next three years, including a 4 percent hike in 2019 and a second 4 percent hike in 2021.

    The semi-annual increases would constitute the sixth and seventh hikes since 2009 --when base subway and bus fares were bumped from $2 to $2.25. The upcoming hikes have also been part of a long-planned increases every other year dating back to that year.

    MTA officials said in July that even with the planned hikes, it is projecting significant deficits over the next several years. Officials blamed the budget gap on a second straight year of declining ridership as well as lower real estate revenues than expected.

    The proposed hikes come a bit more than a year after Gov. Cuomo declared a state of emergency for the subways. Then-MTA chairman Joe Lhota, who announced his immediate resignation last week, had developed a Subway Action Plan aimed at improving service but had faced significant criticism in recent months over aging infrastructure, communication and frequent delays.



    Photo Credit: NBC 4 New York

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    If you want to see the World Series champions, you’re going to need to spend a bit more next year.

    Tickets for Boston Red Sox games will increase by an average of 2.5 percent for the 2019 season, the team announced Thursday. The team is also introducing a new tier called Diamond, which will cost 10 percent more than the average game.

    The new increase will affect the home opener game against the Toronto Blue Jays on April 9 and their games against the Los Angeles Dodgers on July 12 and July 13. Both are considered Diamond games

    Those who are looking forward to the Red Sox facing their chief rivals will also have to pay extra. The Boston-based team will play the New York Yankees on July 26, July 27 and Sept. 7. These games are also in the Diamond tier.

    Special reduced pricing will continue to be offered for students, clergy, veterans and active duty members of the military. High school and college students can take advantage of $9 tickets.



    Photo Credit: Adam Glanzman/Getty Images

    Fans line up under the Boston Red Sox World Series banners before the Boston Red Sox 2018 World Series parade outside of Fenway Park on Oct. 31, 2018, in Boston.Fans line up under the Boston Red Sox World Series banners before the Boston Red Sox 2018 World Series parade outside of Fenway Park on Oct. 31, 2018, in Boston.

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    The White House is looking for ways to remove an enemy of Turkish President Recep Erdogan from the U.S. in order to placate Turkey over the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, two senior U.S. officials and two other people briefed on the requests told NBC News

    Trump administration officials last month asked federal law enforcement agencies to examine legal ways of removing exiled Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen in an attempt to persuade Erdogan to ease pressure on the Saudi government, the four sources said. Gulen has been living in Pennsylvania since the late 1990s.

    Career officials at the agencies pushed back on the White House requests, the U.S. officials and people briefed on the requests said. 

    "At first there were eye rolls, but once they realized it was a serious request, the career guys were furious," said a senior U.S. official involved in the process. 

    Click here for NBC News' full report. 



    Photo Credit: Chris Post/AP

    In this July 2016 file photo, Islamic cleric Fethullah Gulen speaks to members of the media at his compound, in Saylorsburg, Pa.In this July 2016 file photo, Islamic cleric Fethullah Gulen speaks to members of the media at his compound, in Saylorsburg, Pa.

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    Two elite Navy SEALs and two Marine Raiders were charged with felony murder in the June 2017 strangulation death of U.S. Army Green Beret Staff Sgt. Logan Melgar, NBC News reports.

    The U.S. Navy brought the charges against the four service members on Tuesday, painting a gruesome picture of the effort to kill Melgar, 34.

    The suspects are accused of driving to Marine quarters to obtain duct tape, breaking into Melgar's room while he was sleeping, restraining him with the duct tape, and strangling him in a chokehold. The four U.S. service members, which include two members of the famed SEAL Team Six, killed Melgar "while perpetrating a burglary," according to their charge sheets.

    In addition to felony murder, the charges against the four men include conspiracy, obstruction of justice, hazing and burglary.



    Photo Credit: U.S. Army

    A U.S. Army official photo shows Staff Sgt Logan J. Melgar, the Green Beret who died under suspicious circumstances in Mali in June.A U.S. Army official photo shows Staff Sgt Logan J. Melgar, the Green Beret who died under suspicious circumstances in Mali in June.

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    Five years after bringing swift justice to Gotham-themed San Francisco as Batkid, Miles Scott is enjoying a much more typical life for a 10-year-old boy.

    Back in 2013, the shy youngster and leukemia survivor from Tulelake, California, captivated the Bay Area and beyond, busting criminals in the city by the bay, rescuing the San Francisco Giants mascot and earning a key to the city as part of his day-long Make-A-Wish Foundation experience.

    Scott, now 10 and in the fifth grade, has taken a break from his crime-fighting duties to return to school, play baseball and help out on his family's farm, according to Make-A-Wish, the nonprofit organization that grants dream-come-true wishes to children suffering from critical illnesses. 

    Undoubtedly the best part of Scott's young life is the fact that he's been in remission from leukemia for the last five years, according to Make-A-Wish. He was first diagnosed with the cancer at the age of one.

    While Scott enjoys his normal life nowadays, his life was anything but five years ago Thursday. Donning his Batkid mask, a flowing cape and an all-black superhero ensemble, Scott stymied villains such as the Riddler and the Penguin to the cheers of thousands of people who crowded the streets of San Francisco to partake in the wish.

    Scott's memorable day received the attention of, among others, the San Francisco Chronicle, which transformed its front page to showcase the wish, and even then-President Barack Obama, who delivered a special message via Vine to the crime-fighting boy.

    More than 16,000 people RSVP'd to volunteer to help with the spectacle, according to Make-A-Wish. The number of tweets featuring the hashtags #SFBatkid or #Batkid soared beyond 545,500. The entire phenomenon was said to be discussed in at least 117 countries. 

    Scott's monumental day was so illustrious it inspired a full-length documentary coined "Batkid Begins: The Wish Heard Around the World."



    Photo Credit: Getty Images

    Leukemia survivor Miles, 5, dressed as BatKid, runs the bases as part of a Make-A-Wish foundation fulfillment at AT&T Park November 15, 2013 in San Francisco. The Make-A-Wish Greater Bay Area foundation turned the city into Gotham City for Miles by creating a day-long event bringing his wish to be BatKid to life. (Photo by Ramin Talaie/Getty Images)Leukemia survivor Miles, 5, dressed as BatKid, runs the bases as part of a Make-A-Wish foundation fulfillment at AT&T Park November 15, 2013 in San Francisco. The Make-A-Wish Greater Bay Area foundation turned the city into Gotham City for Miles by creating a day-long event bringing his wish to be BatKid to life. (Photo by Ramin Talaie/Getty Images)

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    The northbound lanes of the Merritt Parkway are closed in Stamford because of deteriorating road conditions. Heavy snow is falling in Fairfield County.

    State police say the parkway is shut down between exits 35 and 36.

    They are awaiting DOT trucks to arrive with sand and plows.



    Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

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    The New Jersey couple and a homeless veteran at the center of a long-running $400,000 GoFundMe controversy have been charged with conspiracy and theft by deception for an alleged scheme that "hoodwinked an awful lot of people," authorities said Thursday.

    GoFundMe said immediately after charges were filed that all 14,000 donors to the campaign last year would be refunded in full.

    NBC10 first reported that Johnny Bobbitt Jr. and the South Jersey couple, Kate McClure and Mark D'Amico, would all face criminal charges of conspiracy and theft by deception on Thursday for the GoFundMe campaign that began in 2017.

    Burlington County, New Jersey, Prosecutor Scott Caffina alleged the three conspired with one another to make up a story and raise more from online donors. The GoFundMe campaign garnered national headlines and news segments, eventually raising more than $400,000.

    Authorities believe the three met at least a month before the campaign was launched, possibly on one of many trips McClure and D'Amico made to SugarHouse Casino.

    Bobbitt was homeless and often stayed near an Interstate 95 off-ramp near the casino.

    Caffina said that, within hours of the three launching the campaign on the GoFundMe website last November, McClure texted a friend that the majority of the story was fabricated.

    "Ok, so wait. The gas part is completely made up. The guy isn't," McClure allegedly texted the friend after the campaign went live Nov. 10 with a photo of a smiling McClure and Bobbitt.

    "So shush about the made up stuff," she added, according to Caffina.

    D'Amico and McClure turned themselves in Wednesday to Burlington County prosecutors, the source said. On Thursday, James Gerrow, another attorney for McClure, released a statement on her behalf.

    “I’m confident that in the end the evidence will reveal that Kate had only the best intentions," Gerrow said. "She was used by Mr. D’Amico and Mr Bobbitt and she thought throughout that this money was going to a homeless veteran. She was unaware that they had concocted this scheme. It wasn’t until September when meeting with prosecutors that she came to realize that she had been used by both of them.”

    The backbone of the story was that Bobbitt used $20 to help McClure get gas when her car ran out on I-95 at the Girard Avenue exit. McClure and D'Amico then launched a GoFundMe page to supposedly raise money for Bobbitt, and the page brought in over $400,000 from 14,000 contributors.

    At first, the account led to appearances for Bobbitt and McClure on national TV programs. But it turned into a dispute over the money.

    Bobbitt accused the couple of dipping into the funds and using them as a "personal piggy bank" to bankroll a lifestyle they couldn't afford.

    Bobbitt later sued the couple over mismanagement of the funds and a judge ordered sworn statements to determine what happened to the cash, which Bobbitt's attorney, Chris Fallon, said had disappeared.

    The couple denied any wrongdoing and accused Bobbitt of spending $25,000 in less than two weeks last year on drugs as well as paying for overdue legal bills and sending money to family.

    The couple's lawyer, Ernest Badway, later said Bobbitt had gotten about $200,000. But Fallon said his client had received only about $75,000.

    The couple also bought Bobbitt a camper with some of the cash and parked it on land McClure's family owns in New Jersey. But Bobbitt became homeless again after D'Amico told him in June that he had to leave the property.

    In September, police raided the couple's home in Florence, New Jersey, hauling away a new BMW on a flatbed truck. Badway said that all the couple's personal and business financial statements, along with jewelry and cash, were seized in the raid.

    At that point, officials said the couple was under investigation, though no charges had been filed.

    D'Amico was arrested in September in Burlington County on an unrelated $500 warrant for an October 2017 traffic stop, according to officials. At the time, he was driving on a suspended license and also had a broken tail light. He also failed to appear in court on two separate occassions, according to court records.



    Photo Credit: Burlington County Prosecutor's Office
    This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.

    Pictured left to right: Mark D'Amico, Johnny Bobbitt, Jr., and Kate McClurePictured left to right: Mark D'Amico, Johnny Bobbitt, Jr., and Kate McClure

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    President Donald Trump’s support has put Congress within reach of passing the most sweeping set of changes to the federal criminal justice system since the 1990s, when fear of crime drove the enactment of draconian sentencing practices that shipped hundreds of thousands of drug offenders to prison.

    This is no small feat. Reformers have been trying to get this done for years, but something always got in the way: partisan bickering, election-year politics, ambushes by opponents. Amid Washington gridlock, the First Step Act stands out.

    The measure, which could go to a vote during the lame-duck session of Congress between now and January, contains several changes to the way the federal government treats drug offenders, both those who are in prison now and those who will face a judge in the future, NBC News reports.

    If it is passed, thousands of federal prisoners would have access to more help preparing for life after the end of their sentences. Thousands of well-behaved prisoners would win freedom earlier. And thousands of people who are arrested for drug crimes in the future would become eligible for exemptions from harsh mandatory-minimum sentencing laws.



    Photo Credit: Bloomberg via Getty Images

    U.S. President Donald Trump, left, shakes hands with Paul Cell, president of the International Association of Chiefs of Police, during a signing ceremony for H. R. 5682, First Step Act, in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2018.U.S. President Donald Trump, left, shakes hands with Paul Cell, president of the International Association of Chiefs of Police, during a signing ceremony for H. R. 5682, First Step Act, in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2018.

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    The Defense Department has failed an audit almost three decades in the making, the Pentagon's No. 2 official said Thursday. But the results were expected and showed what the agency already knew — that "more work lies ahead of us."

    Congress first required the Defense Department to undertake a comprehensive audit in 1990, but the agency didn't manage to get around to it until late last year, NBC News reported.

    "Everyone was betting against us that we would even do the audit," Deputy Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan told reporters, adding: "It was an audit on a $2.7 trillion organization. The fact we did the audit is substantial."



    Photo Credit: AP

    President Donald Trump gestures while speaking during his meeting with members of his cabinet in Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, July 18, 2018. Looking on is Deputy Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan.President Donald Trump gestures while speaking during his meeting with members of his cabinet in Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, July 18, 2018. Looking on is Deputy Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan.

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    A video surfaced Thursday of Republican Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith of Mississippi saying it might be a "great idea" to make it harder for some people to vote, and her campaign quickly responded that she was "obviously" joking, NBC News reported.

    Hyde-Smith, who is in a runoff against Democrat Mike Espy on Nov. 27, made the remark at a campaign stop in Starkville, Mississippi, on Nov. 3. It was posted to Twitter on Thursday by Lamar White Jr., publisher of The Bayou Brief. Smith earlier this week posted video of Hyde-Smith making a comment on Nov. 2 about a "public hanging" that started a controversy.

    "And then they remind me that there's a lot of liberal folks in those other schools who ... maybe we don't want to vote," Hyde-Smith is heard saying. "Maybe we want to make it just a little more difficult. And I think that's a great idea."



    Photo Credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

    In this file photo, Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS) arrives for a hearing of the Senate Appropriations Committee's Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Subcommittee with U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke in the Dirksen Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill May 10, 2018 in Washington, DC.In this file photo, Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS) arrives for a hearing of the Senate Appropriations Committee's Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Subcommittee with U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke in the Dirksen Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill May 10, 2018 in Washington, DC.

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    The timing of Thursday’s snowfall made for a messy evening commute in much of the state.

    Snow began falling in Fairfield County around 3 p.m. and quickly moved across the state. Some schools opted for early dismissals. The University of Connecticut closed at 3:30 p.m. and sent all non-essential personnel home.

    Slippery conditions led to multiple crashes across the state. The Merritt Parkway was shut down in Stamford and part of Interstate 84 was closed in Farmington.

    Police departments also received multiple calls for disabled vehicles stuck in the slippery conditions. West Hartford police closed Route 44 at Avon Mountain after multiple vehicles were unable to clear the hill. The Arrigoni Bridge in Middletown was also shut down due to poor conditions.

    Bradley International Airport reported a small number of cancellations and delays due to the storm. Customers should check with their airline to confirm their flight status.

    Most of the state can expect to see 4 to 8 inches of snow, while extreme southeastern Connecticut can expect 2 to 4 inches.

    See any Friday school delays here. 

    Get the latest forecast anytime here. 



    Photo Credit: Scott Miller

    The Arrigoni Bridge in Middletown was heavily backed up around 6 p.m. Thursday.The Arrigoni Bridge in Middletown was heavily backed up around 6 p.m. Thursday.

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  • 11/15/18--21:21: CT Do Better: Exit Left!

  • For Connecticut motorists, having to exit to the left when driving on our highways can rattle nerves, slow traffic and lead to close calls. So why does our state have more of these exits than other states? 

    Of the 880 exits in Connecticut, 56 of them are on the left, according to the state Department of Transportation. That figure includes four left exits from High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes, and two from mainline routes to HOV lanes. 

    Massachusetts is the only other state in New England with a high number of left exits. Drivers will encounter 39 left exits in the Bay State, according to MASSDOT. 

    By comparison, New Hampshire has five left exits. There are two in Rhode Island and Maine and Vermont do not have any. 

    Current guidelines from the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) say, “Except in highly special cases, all entrance and exit ramps should be on the right.” 

    The reason is driver expectation, according to John Ivan, PhD, head of the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering at the University of Connecticut. 

    “We want to avoid surprising the driver because that just leads to unexpected maneuvers and that can be an unsafe condition,” Ivan said. 

    But those guidelines didn’t exist when many of Connecticut’s main routes were built. 

    "At that time there wasn't a lot of thought yet about how to design highways. They built them as they went," Ivan said. 

    In addition, Ivan said a lot of Connecticut’s left exits were intended to connect to proposed highways that were never built. 

    While right-hand exits are preferable, the DOT says there are challenges involved in moving a left exit to the right side of the highway.

    “Stand-alone, we generally don’t eliminate a left hand exit just for the sake of doing it. It can be costly, and have major impacts to established property owners, businesses and existing traffic operations,” DOT spokesperson Kevin Nursick wrote in an email.

    But Nursick said large-scale reconstruction projects are a different story.

    The $2 billion reconstruction of the Interstate 95 corridor in New Haven included shifting the traffic pattern at the Interstate 91 interchange to remove the left exits.

    “They were completely rebuilding it and so they had the opportunity to do whatever they wanted. And they had the land to take care of it," Ivan said.

    One of the designs under consideration for the reconstruction of Interstate 84 through Hartford, known as the Lowered Highway Alternative, would eliminate all left exits from Sisson Avenue to the tunnel. 

    “It depends on how much we’re willing to pay for our highways,” said Ivan. “It’s always going to be a cost/benefit calculation.”



    Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

    The Sisson Avenue exit off Interstate 84 east in Hartford is one of many left exits in the area.The Sisson Avenue exit off Interstate 84 east in Hartford is one of many left exits in the area.

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    A 75-year-old Norwalk man is missing and police have issued a Silver Alert for him.

    Police said Alan Sonnichsen has been missing since Thursday and is believed to be driving a 2011 gray Subaru Outlook with Connecticut registration Al35729. 

    Sonnichsen has white hair and blue eyes. He is 5-feet-10.

    Anyone with information is asked to call the Norwalk police department at 203-854-3113.



    Photo Credit: Connecticut State Police

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    A pedestrian was struck on Interstate 95 North in Milford early Friday morning and has serious injuries. 

    State police said two vehicles were involved in the crash between exits 39B and 40 just before 3 a.m. and it’s not clear why the pedestrian was on the highway. 

    The left and center lane of the highway are closed and state police said the investigation could take a few more hours.



    Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

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    Education Secretary Betsy DeVos began receiving around-the-clock security from the U.S. Marshals Service days after being confirmed, an armed detail provided to no other cabinet member that could cost U.S. taxpayers $19.8 million through September of 2019, according to new figures provided by the Marshals Service to NBC News.

    It remains unclear who specifically made the request, but former Attorney General Jeff Sessions granted the protection on Feb. 13, 2017. It came just a few days after DeVos was heckled and blocked by a handful of protesters from entering the Jefferson Academy, a public middle school in Washington. DeVos was confirmed as education secretary on Feb. 7 of that year.

    "The order was issued after the Department of Education contacted administration officials regarding threats received by the Secretary of Education," the Justice Department said in a statement. "The U.S.M.S. was identified to assist in this area based on its expertise and long experience providing executive protection."

    In fiscal years 2017 and 2018, the cost of DeVos' security was $5.3 million and $6.8 million, respectively. The estimated cost for fiscal year 2019 is $7.74 million. 

    An Education Department spokeswoman said DeVos had not personally requested the protection. 



    Photo Credit: Jacquelyn Martin/AP, File

    In this Feb. 22, 2018, file photo, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos speaks during the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), at National Harbor, Md.In this Feb. 22, 2018, file photo, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos speaks during the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), at National Harbor, Md.

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    On the first snowfall of the season, Bei Bei the giant panda at the National Zoo tumbles and plays in the fresh powder. Two inches of snow fell at the zoo, Storm Team4 says. 



    Photo Credit: Smithsonian/National Zoo

    Bei Bei the giant panda.Bei Bei the giant panda.

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    A Washington Examiner reporter who posted a photo of newly elected Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez that he claimed was proof she was not "struggling" for money deleted the post after backlash from thousands of Twitter users on Thursday, NBC News reported.

    Reporter Eddie Scarry's tweet followed Ocasio-Cortez telling The New York Times last week she would have difficulty paying for an apartment in Washington, D.C., until she starts collecting her congressional salary next year. Twitter users proceeded to blast Scarry for the tweet, with many mocking Scarry for focusing on her clothes. One user called the post a "creep shot" and an "insult."

    By 6 p.m. ET, the tweet had more than 5,000 replies compared to roughly 50 retweets and 200 likes, creating what is known online as a "ratio" of more replies than retweets and likes.

    Ocasio-Cortez responded to the tweet hours after it was posted, saying her opponents would criticize her no matter what she chose to wear. Scarry later said he was merely trying to say the Congresswoman "looked well put together" and his original meaning was misconstrued.



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

    This Nov. 12, 2018, photo shows Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., in Washington.This Nov. 12, 2018, photo shows Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., in Washington.

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    Madison police have taken a man into custody after he barricaded himself in a home and threatened to kill an officer and the officer’s family, police said.  

    The incident started around 8:30 p.m. Thursday, SWAT responded and the man was barricaded until around 4 a.m. Friday, according to police. 

    Police said they took a man who has mental health issues into custody and he was charged with threatening and interfering with police. 

    His name has not been released.



    Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

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