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    Moments after a Michigan man made the heart-wrenching decision to take his wife off life support, she started breathing on her own.

    Michele De Leeuw, 57, was rendered nearly brain dead by a heart attack in August while at home with her husband. Days later, one of her doctors told her husband, Karl De Leeuw, that, "the woman that you know as your wife is not there anymore," he said.

    Less than four months later, she's made an almost full recovery, NBC News reported.

    On Tuesday, the Sterling Heights Fire Department awarded her its "Survival Coin" at an event for heart attack survivors and the first responders who treated them.



    Photo Credit: Courtesy: Myles De Leeuw

    Michele De Leeuw recovers in the hospital, with her friend by her side.Michele De Leeuw recovers in the hospital, with her friend by her side.

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    Vernon police are looking for help locating a 27-year-old woman reported missing on Wednesday.

    Aroob Mallhi left Vernon Wednesday morning and headed for Bloomsburg University in Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania, but never arrived, according to police.

    Mallhi's family is concerned for her well-being because it is not usual behavior for her, police said.

    She is described as 5 feet 7 inches tall and approximately 107 pounds and is of Pakistani descent. She is believed to be driving a 2012 blue Nissan Versa with Connecticut license plate AR-96597.

    Mallhi has ties to Drums, Pennsylvania and she may also have recently been in Westchester, Pennsylvania, according to police.

    Anyone with information is asked to call Vernon police at (860) 872-9126.



    Photo Credit: Vernon Police

    Aroob Mallhi, 27, was reported missing to Vernon police on Wednesday.Aroob Mallhi, 27, was reported missing to Vernon police on Wednesday.

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    NBC Connecticut is now available on Roku. Our new Roku app lets you browse current news videos, get the most up-to-date forecast from the First Alert Weather team and watch our top stories on your TV whenever you want. 

    The app refreshes with new videos throughout the day, giving you access to the latest local story highlights, breaking news, weather and consumer investigative reporting from our award-winning journalists.

    You can download the NBC Connecticut app from the Roku Channel Store and stream on-demand content on your Roku TV or a Roku streaming player for free. 

    Simply search for "NBC Connecticut" in the Roku app using your remote and the on-screen keyboard.

    We hope you enjoy our new app. Please rate it in the Channel Store and send us your feedback to WVITdigitalfeedback@nbcuni.com.  Your comments will help us improve the app experience.


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    Justin Timberlake has postponed the rest of his 2018 Man of the Woods Tour dates, including two that were scheduled for Mohegan Sun later this month, and those shows have been rescheduled for 2019.

    Timberlake told fans on Instagram that he needed to postpone the remaining shows because of bruised vocal cords.

    The two-night show at Mohegan Sun Arena has been rescheduled to Friday, April 12 and Saturday, April 13, according to a statement from Mohegan Sun.

    Tickets for the originally scheduled shows will be honored at the 2019 events. If you require a refund, you can get one where you bought the ticket, according to Mohegan Sun.



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

    Justin Timberlake performs onstage during the 2018 iHeartRadio Music Festival at T-Mobile Arena on September 22, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. He had to postpone the rest of his current tour.Justin Timberlake performs onstage during the 2018 iHeartRadio Music Festival at T-Mobile Arena on September 22, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. He had to postpone the rest of his current tour.

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    Julia Lempeck is a World War II veteran, and the epitome of a proud American.

    So much so that the 101-year-old wanted to see the flag waving in the breeze in her front yard when she looked out the window.

    House of Heroes Connecticut made that happen for her this past spring.

    “I’m very happy about it. I see a beautiful flagpole and a nice new flag that’s beautiful,” Lempeck said.

    NBC Connecticut caught up with Lempeck again at the Elks Lodge in Manchester Thursday. She was joined by many other veterans representing every war since World War II, all sharing memories, celebrating the holidays together and marking the fact that it’s been 100 years since women have been allowed to enlist.

    “I signed up because I wanted to serve my country,” Lempeck explained.

    And serve she did, along with some of her siblings.

    “I lost a brother in France,” she told NBC Connecticut.

    Lempeck’s job was in administration. She prepared men, like her brothers, to go overseas to fight on the front lines. Her husband was also a veteran, though that’s not all they shared. They built a family home together.

    Her daughter Eileen Keefer said there’s nothing her mother can’t do.

    “She has the strongest will, and is the most independent person out of all of us,” Keefer said.

    Lempeck still lives along and looks at the flag she loves every single day. Many years have passed and life has certainly changed, but how she feels about her country has not.

    “It’s the best one in the world,” she said as she laughed.


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    Connecticut’s sole remaining survivor of the attack on Pearl Harbor attended a special ceremony Thursday recognizing the creation of a new memorial park.

    State and local officials held a dedication for the Pearl Harbor Memorial Park in New Haven. It’s located in the shadows of the Pearl Harbor Memorial bridge over the Quinnipiac River. The park honors the more than 2,400 lives lost during the attack on the naval base in Hawaii on Dec. 7, 1941. 

    Ninety-seven-year-old Floyd Welch from East Lyme was on board the USS Maryland, which was damaged during the Japanese bombing.

    “The next day after that attack I could see it was horrible, so many at once, so many left our world at once,” Welch said.

    Friday marks 77 years since the surprise attack that led the US to enter World War II. The bridge is lit up red, white and blue in memory of that day.

    The new park, located at the corner of East Street and Forbes Avenue, includes panels where people can view the bridge and learn more about the memorial aspects of the site. The park features a center island with a flag pole surrounded by pathways containing 17 benches to represent the Connecticut servicemen who lost their lives during the attack. The sidewalks leading up to the park was designed to reflect the shape of a submarine sitting in the harbor.

    The park was created as part of the I-95 New Haven Harbor Crossing Corridor Improvement Program.



    Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

    State and local officials held a dedication for the Pearl Harbor Memorial Park in New Haven Thursday, on the eve of the 77th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor.State and local officials held a dedication for the Pearl Harbor Memorial Park in New Haven Thursday, on the eve of the 77th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor.

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    A new study found the state’s college and university system has an annual economic impact of more than $11 billion, based on analysis of data from the 2016-17 fiscal year.

    “We are from Connecticut, we stay in Connecticut and we provide the economic engine for the future of Connecticut,” CSCU President Mark Ojakian said, adding more than 75 percent of the system’s graduates find a job in the state.

    According to the analysis by the firm Emsi, the state gains an added $11.70 in state revenue and social savings for every $1 invested in the state’s 17 colleges and universities.

    “My education at Housatonic prepared me very well for what I do here,” said Jeramine Burke from Bridgeport.

    For Burke, working at Balding Precision in Milford is a second change.

    “I was in prison at 21 facing some pretty rough charges,” he said, “but the grace of God I was given the opportunity to go back to school where I did manufacturing.”

    In 2016, Burke completed Housatonic Community College’s year-long advanced manufacturing program.

    “It was very in-depth preparing us for the workforce,” he said, “dealing with the machines.”

    Burke said an internship led to his job at the sub-contractor that makes parts for the aerospace and medical industries.

    “It’s a very lucrative business and the experience is everything,” he said. “It’s done me justice, it’s really put me on a better path.”

    The bulk of the $11.1 billion the CSCU system contributes annually to the Connecticut economy comes from the $9.9 billion in alumni earnings, according to the first-ever system-wide study.

    “The higher education the institutions are providing for its students,” Emsi economist Hannah Ruffridge told NBC Connecticut after her presentation Thursday morning at Gateway Community College in New Haven. “It’s alumni are then entering the Connecticut workforce and they’re making more money positively impacting the Connecticut economy.”

    Ojakian said the findings should send a message to the new governor and General Assembly when it comes to allocating funding for the CSCU system.

    “As we tell our story about why we should be viewed as an investment in the future of the state of Connecticut and not simply as an expenditure or a line item in a budget,” he said.

    First generation college student Jesus Garzon is in his second year at Gateway. He said next year he plans to transfer to Southern Connecticut State University to earn a bachelor’s degree in political science.

    “The fact that we are living in a very education driven economy its absolutely a no-brainer,” Garzon said. “It’s pretty hard to just get away with a high school diploma now.”

    State Rep. Toni Walker (D-New Haven) chairs the Appropriations Committee and she is part of Governor-elect Ned Lamont’s transition team. She told NBC Connecticut the study should be helpful for her colleagues in Hartford.

    “I think this is a good way of giving us better information as we look at the budget where the areas that we can, impact the state in a positive way,” Rep. Walker said. “Looking at the actual return on investment for all of the different aspects, the students, the community or the university, those impacts are translate down to dollars.”



    Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

    According to a new study, the CSCU system contributes $11.1 billion annually to the Connecticut economy. The bulk comes from the $9.9 billion in alumni earnings.According to a new study, the CSCU system contributes $11.1 billion annually to the Connecticut economy. The bulk comes from the $9.9 billion in alumni earnings.

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    There is a heavy police presence in East Hartland for what Connecticut State Police are describing only as an “ongoing, active investigation.”

    There is a large scene on Fox Brook Road including a State Police major crimes van.

    State Police have not released any details of the incident.

    This is a developing story. Check back for updates.



    Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

    Connecticut State Police blocked off a section of Fox Brook Road off of Granville Road in East Hartland for an investigation Thursday.Connecticut State Police blocked off a section of Fox Brook Road off of Granville Road in East Hartland for an investigation Thursday.

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    Students in Torrington are working together to help those in their community in the greatest need.

    At The Care Closet in Torrington high school student volunteers are sorting through boxes of clothing and personal items.

    The doors to the room, located right inside the school, are now always open, in order to help students struggling with homelessness.

    “I think it just makes life easier. They don’t have to come to school and worry you know that they don’t have certain things,” said Jessica Power, a senior.

    School social worker Claire Pepper says homelessness is a real problem. She estimates that as many as one out of every eight students is suffering.

    “They might be at different friend's houses different nights. Different relatives houses some might be in a hotel situation cut, some might be in a shelter and some are actually on the streets,” Pepper said.

    While The Care Closet has plenty of clothes and toiletries, it is in need of gift cards so students can buy food.

    “They can’t prepare food on their own. This way with the grocery gift cards they can go and get food that they can just take and go,” Pepper explained.

    The Care Closet recently received a small grant from the Connecticut Coalition Against Homelessness to purchase some gift cards, and they continue to take donations.

    “The more we can get their basic needs met build relationships with our students, The more are students are going to be vested in their education, and really best in school, and that’s what we want,” Pepper said.

    Students can take whatever they need from The Care Closet. It’s all confidential.


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    Nearly six years after the Sandy Hook school shooting, gun safety advocates are still looking for ways to prevent gun violence.

    December 14 will mark six years since 20 first-graders and six adult staff were shot and killed inside Sandy Hook Elementary School.

    “During the last six years there have been more than 600,000 gun deaths and injuries, and more than 1,800 mass shooting incidents. This is just a small fraction of the grief we are seeing across this nation,” said Po Murray of the Newtown Action Alliance.

    On Thursday representatives from the Newtown Action Alliance, lawmakers and victims of gun violence from across the country rallied for stricter national gun laws at the nation’s capital.

    “If we can put a man on the moon we can darn well figure out how to have our children safe at school, on the playground, at work, at country music concerts, in bars and at home,” said Rep. Elizabeth Esty (D-Conn.)

    Among those present, parents of Ethan Song, the Guilford teen who accidentally shot and killed himself last January. They said they attended to honor their son through action.

    After the Democrats won the U.S. House of Representatives last month, Democrats and gun control groups now feel they have the momentum to pass changes to the law – like universal background checks and bans on 3D-printed guns.

    “We have never been closer to meaningful gun reform in this country,” said Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.)

    “We will get a bill passed through the House of Representatives,” said Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.)

    The pair promised to push change through come January.

    Scott Wilson, president of the Connecticut Citizens Defense League, released a statement in response to the renewed push that read, in part:

    "While everyone wants society to be safe from any type of violent crime, there was virtually nothing in today's press conference that addressed criminals who commit actual crimes with firearms and increasing penalties."


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    Mystic Aquarium is home to two new Steller sea lions.

    The aquarium is one of just two facilities in the nation that houses them.

    Eden, 17 and her daughter Perl, 2, were recently transported from Alaska to bring the aquarium’s Steller sea lion population to four.

    Mystic Aquarium is part of the international Steller Sea Lion Consortium to help better understand population declines and threat to the species’ survival.

    Steller sea lions are the largest species of sea lions in the world.

    Mystic Aquarium’s Curator of Marine Mammals and Birds, Laurie Macha, accompanied Eden and Perl from Alaska SeaLife Center. She said Eden weighs around 400 pounds; Perl is just around 200. But some Steller males can weigh close to 2,500 pounds.

    Eden was at Mystic Aquarium from 2008 to 2010 before she was sent to Alaska SeaLife Center to participate in a breeding program, Macha said. There she produced four pups.

    “So she really helped to contribute towards the understanding of the reproductive process of Steller sea lions and what may be happening with them and why the decline,” Macha said. “A lot of them are not surviving long enough to breed.”

    Part of that has to do with fish availability, according to Macha.

    Steller sea lions are listed on the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List as near threatened. The National Marine Fisheries Service lists the Western population of Steller sea lions in Alaska as endangered, according to Mystic Aquarium.

    Laura Midura, of North Granby, took her kids to see Astro and Sitka, the two other Steller sea lions at Mystic Aquarium.

    In the coming weeks, Eden and Perl will eventually assimilate with the two 12-year-old Stellers.

    “It’s nice to be able to see these animals and to learn about them,” Midura said.

    “I think it’s amazing just being able to see animals that you probably wouldn’t see in the wild or you have to travel so far,” said Andrew Koval, who visited from Philadelphia.



    Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

    Eden, 17 and her daughter Perl, 2, were recently transported from Alaska to bring Mystic Aquarium’s Steller sea lion population to four.Eden, 17 and her daughter Perl, 2, were recently transported from Alaska to bring Mystic Aquarium’s Steller sea lion population to four.

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    President Donald Trump is expected to announce he will nominate State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert to be the next U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, officials familiar with the plans said Thursday.

    Two administration officials confirmed Trump's plans. A Republican congressional aide said the president was expected to announce his decision by tweet on Friday morning. The officials were not authorized to speak publicly before Trump's announcement.

    Trump has previously said Nauert was under serious consideration to replace Nikki Haley, who announced in October that she would step down at the end of this year. If Nauert is confirmed by the Senate, she would be a leading administration voice on Trump's foreign policy.

    Trump told reporters last month that Nauert was "excellent," adding, "She's been a supporter for a long time."

    Still, with Trump, no staffing decision is final until he makes the formal announcement, since he has been known to change course in the past.

    Nauert did not respond to requests for comment.

    She was a reporter for Fox News Channel before she became State Department spokeswoman under former secretary Rex Tillerson.

    Plucked from Fox by the White House to serve as State Department spokeswoman, Nauert catapulted into the upper echelons of the agency's hierarchy when Tillerson was fired in March. Nauert was then appointed acting undersecretary of state for public diplomacy and public affairs and was for a time the highest-ranking woman and fourth highest-ranking official in the building.

    Nauert, who did not have a good relationship with Tillerson and had considered leaving the department, told associates at the time she was taken aback by the promotion offer and recommended a colleague for the job. But when White House officials told her they wanted her, she accepted.

    That role gave her responsibilities far beyond the news conferences she held in the State Department briefing room. She oversees public diplomacy in Washington and all of the roughly 275 overseas U.S. embassies, consulates and other posts. She is in charge of the Global Engagement Center that fights extremist messaging from the Islamic State group and others, and she has a seat on the U.S. Agency for Global Media that oversees government broadcast networks such as Voice of America.

    Just 18 months ago, she wasn't even in government.

    Nauert was a breaking news anchor on Trump's favorite television show, "Fox & Friends," when she was tapped to be the face and voice of the administration's foreign policy. With a master's degree from Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism, she had come to Fox from ABC News, where she was a general assignment reporter. She hadn't specialized in foreign policy or international relations.

    Shut out from the top by Tillerson and his inner circle, Nauert developed relationships with career diplomats. Barred from traveling with Tillerson, she embarked on her own overseas trips, visiting Bangladesh and Myanmar last year to see the plight of Rohingya Muslims, and then Israel after a planned stop in Syria was scrapped. All the while, she stayed in the good graces of the White House, even as Tillerson was increasingly on the outs.

    White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders described Nauert in March as "a team player" and "a strong asset for the administration." 



    Photo Credit: Alex Brandon/AP (File)

    FILE - State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert speaks during a briefing at the State Department in Washington, Aug. 9, 2017.FILE - State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert speaks during a briefing at the State Department in Washington, Aug. 9, 2017.

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    Police are investigating a phoned bomb threat at the Time Warner Center, a building that houses CNN's offices in Manhattan, just moments after President Donald Trump tweeted about "fake news."

    The NYPD are asking the public to avoid Columbus Circle as they investigate the bomb threat at the Time Warner Center Thursday night.

    A police official said an unsubstantiated telephone threat came in to the building, claiming there were five bombs in the building. 

    Security officers evacuated the building as a precaution and called police. A preliminary search by in-house security did not turn up anything, but the NYPD was searching as a precaution. 

    No evidence of any device was found, police said. An all clear was given just before midnight. 

    The threat came less than an hour after Trump tweeted about "FAKE NEWS," which he has often labeled CNN.

    "FAKE NEWS - THE ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE," Trump tweeted just after 10 p.m.

    The cable news network had to air taped programming as the facility was evacuated, on-air personnel including Don Lemon and Brian Stelter tweeted.  

    The timing wasn't lost on many. One person noted on Twitter, "A CNN building was just evacuated because of a bomb threat not even half an hour after Trump calls the media the enemy of the people again." 

    "Trump tweets 'FAKE NEWS - THE ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE!' Now the CNN building is being evacuated and taped programming is airing," said another. 

    It's not clear, however, whether the unsubstantiated phone threat was aimed at CNN in particular. 

    CNN host Chris Cuomo tweeted that everyone was "fine" after being ordered to leave the building: "Thanks for all the well-wishing, but even more so for not making stupid jokes empowering such a threat. People will re-enter ASAP. Onward." 

    In October, the building was partially evacuated after a suspicious package containing a crude pipe bomb was delivered to the company.

    Jonathan Dienst contributed to this report. 


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

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    A Cheshire art teacher is accused of assaulting several police officers in Simsbury last month.

    Simsbury police arrested 40-year-old Byron Pierce after an incident on Nov. 30.

    According to police, officers reported to a report of a possibly intoxicated person sitting in a vehicle at The Riverview and found Pierce. Police allege that Pierce resisted arrest and injured several officers in a struggle.

    The officers suffered non-life threatening injuries.

    Pierce was charged with three counts of assault of public safety personnel, interfering/resisting arrest, and breach of peace.

    Cheshire Public Schools Superintendent Jeffrey Solan confirmed that Pierce works as an art teacher for the district but declined further comment.



    Photo Credit: Simsbury Police Department

    Byron PierceByron Pierce

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    Don’t think about starting the SantaCon festivities this weekend while riding NJ Transit, Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North.

    All participating “Santas” riding NJ Transit will have to wait until arriving at their final SantaCon destinations — either New York City or Asbury Park — to get their drink on as the transportation agency has officially banned all beverages on its trains, light rails and buses from Saturday, Dec. 8, and Sunday morning, Dec. 9.

    “No beverages of any kind, in any type of container, open or closed, will be permitted on board trains, buses or light rail vehicles during this time,” NJ Transit said, adding that the policy “will be strictly enforced.”

    The ban was implemented due to rowdy incidents that took place in past SantaCons.

    Meanwhile, LIRR and Metro-North announced it will impose a 24-hour ban on alcohol starting Saturday, Dec. 8 at noon in an effort "to maintain safe and orderly travel during this weekend's SantaCon event," the MTA said in a statement, adding that its police officers will be on duty at Penn Station, Grand Central Terminal and other stations in the area, as well as on trains, to enforce the ban, confiscate alcoholic beverages and issue summonses.

    The MTA's ban on alchohol has been in effect for the past five years. 

    SantaCon is a massive annual bar crawl in which participants dress in red and white resembling jolly old St. Nick, elves and other holiday-themed costumes.



    Photo Credit: Getty Images

    File Photo: SantaCon is New York CityFile Photo: SantaCon is New York City

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    A sewage problem has forced the closure of one lane of Wakelee Avenue in Ansonia and part of Mary Street as well.

    Police said the northbound lane of Wakelee Avenue is closed at Mary Street and Mary Street is closed to through traffic until further notice.

    They are urging drivers to use caution while traveling in the area.



    Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

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    Hartford police said they have arrested a father after his 6-year-old brought marijuana to school. 

    Police said officers responded to the Global Communications Academy on Edwards Street just after 3 p.m. Thursday to investigate and school staff told them that a 6-year-old student was seen showing a bag that contained what was suspected to be marijuana to friends in class. 

    The item was confiscated, both parents were notified, the child’s father admitted the marijuana belonged to him and he was arrested, police said. 

    Jeffery Faniel Sr., 37, of Hartford, was charged with risk of injury and possession of cannabis.

    The state Department of Children and Families was notified. Police said the child was not harmed.



    Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

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    White House chief of staff John Kelly's long-expected departure will occur in the days ahead, four sources tell NBC News.

    His tenure has been marred by controversy since he became chief of staff in the summer of last year, amid reports of tension with the president and West Wing staff.

    Reports of recent clashes with first lady Melania Trump made his already tenuous position only more so.

    Among the leading candidates to replace him is Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff, Nick Ayers.



    Photo Credit: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images, File

    This Oct. 11, 2018, file photo shows White House chief of staff John Kelly in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in Washington, D.C.This Oct. 11, 2018, file photo shows White House chief of staff John Kelly in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in Washington, D.C.

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    Want to get a massage while gambling on the floor of a casino?

    MGM Springfield is now offering massages to guests while they are gambling.  The massages, which cost $2 per minute, are available at slot machines and tables.

    If you are interested in a massage while playing, you can contact a Casino Massage Coordinator to schedule a visit from a masseuse at your table or slot machine.  You can also request a massage from a Pit Boss or Slot Attendant who will reach out to the available therapists.

    Currently, the casino has two people on the casino floor providing massages to guests, but the massage company is in the process of hiring more therapists.

    The therapists come from A Touch of Luck, which describes itself on its website as the "'premier while-you-play' massage experience in the gaming industry."


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    A distraught mom has sent a letter to Amazon pleading with the company to help stop the bullying she says her 6-year-old daughter has experienced from sharing the same name with its virtual assistant device Alexa.

    “Mr. Bezos, I write to you as a father and human being rather than the CEO of Amazon,” she said. “We are not asking for wealth or recognition from this request. We just want to correct an error we believe was a giant mistake.”

    The Lynn, Massachusetts, woman, who wanted to be known by her first name Lauren to protect her child's identity, wrote to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos last week after saying she witnessed her 6-year-old daughter being bullied at school and in public, with kids ordering her daughter to complete tasks and laughing at her.

    “Kids are telling her, ‘Turn on my T.V., tell me today’s weather…,” Lauren wrote in the letter. “They laugh at her and treat her like a servant, and this has been an ongoing issue, everywhere we go.”

    The letter went on to describe that everywhere the family goes, people acknowledge the name her daughter shares with the Amazon device, and often makes jokes asking if her daughter “Can do the same things the Alexa device does?” The letter was originally sent three weeks ago, but Lauren sent it again early last week, and told NBC 4 she got an apology from a member of technical support on behalf of the CEO. 

    Lauren says these incidents have occurred numerous times throughout the last year, constantly making her daughter Alexa upset, and she was at a loss of what to do. “It’s the world we live in,” she said. “And people mean no harm. But Alexa is a person, not a machine, and people have to stop referring to her like she is one.” She says companies should not be using women's names to name their products. 

    Lauren claims her daughter is not the only Alexa that this has happened to, and says she is aware of at least one other seven-year-old whose mother shared the same grievance as her. With 11 million Amazon Echo and Dot products now in homes worldwide since its launch in 2014, Alexa is inescapable.

    Many women around the world have reported how problematic it is to share their name with the Amazon homing device. An article in The Seattle Times found four women who considered changing their own names just to escape the jokes. Last year, the Wall Street Journal reported a story of a woman whose daughter named Alexa often thinks her mom is talking to her, when in fact she is trying to address the artificial intelligence.

    “This is everywhere,” Lauren wrote to Bezos. “You’ve already ruined the name, but you don’t have to continue to hurt these girls and women. I ask, make an apology and start a movement. I am.”

    An Amazon representative named Patricia, from Amazon's Tech Support Customer Relations Team, replied to Lauren's letter last week "on behalf of Jeff Bezos." She apologized for the experiences Lauren and her family had been going through.

    "I'm very sorry to hear about the experience you're having. I definitely understand this has been frustrating," Patricia wrote. "I really appreciate the time you've taken to voice your concern and let us know about the issues you've run into. I have sent your feedback on to our internal teams. Thanks for making sure we're aware of your experience."

    Lauren said that she assumes this will be the only response from the email she sent, but said it was a start.

    Amazon did not respond to NBC New York's request for comment. 



    Photo Credit: Getty Images

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