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    The Texas Giant is back open at Six Flags Over Texas in Arlington, two months after a woman fell to her death while on the wooden roller coaster.

    On the night of July 29, Rosa Esparza, 52, fell from a cart as it took a sharp turn. Her family recently filed a lawsuit against Six Flags alleging the park ignored dangers. They're asking for at least $1 million in damages.

    But on Saturday, the ride re-opened with new safety improvements which regular riders say they noticed and say made them feel safer.

    Over the last 56 days the park, engineers and its insurance company investigated Esparza's death and made the safety improvements, which the park allowed the media to see first-hand.

    Park patrons were excited to have one of the steepest wooden roller coaster's on the planet back open for business.

    "Yeah, definitely one my favorite rides, glad they opened it back up today," said Marvin Taylor of Dallas.

    "That was the first ride we rode," said Jay Box, of Dallas. "Went in the gates, went straight to the Texas Giant.

    For park regulars there were hardly an reservations about returning to the Texas Giant.

    "A little at first, until we got there and saw the extra restraints," Box said, "the seat belt and they had the lap bar a little more concave, so it got snug."

    Six Flags won't release the details of its investigation into Esparza's death because her family has filed suit.

    But the park said in a press release earlier in the week that they did add the extra lap belt and new restraint bars.

    At the park on Saturday additional warning signs were noticed, warning that a person's "physical characteristics" may prevent them from riding if the restraint bar wasn't properly in the place.

    The park also added a test chair out in front of the ride's entrance. The chair allows patrons to see if they can fit in the chair with the restraint bar in its proper position. Once the bar is in proper place, a buzzer goes off saying they're good to ride the Texas Giant. A rider must also be four fee tall.

    "We walked right by it," Taylor said.

    Park employees said most people did walk past the chair, but flocked to it when news cameras were present.

    But there was no missing another change, the safety checks after riders had boarded and before they left to experience thrills.

    "They took extra time in loading every car, to double check, triple check, make sure everything is secure," Taylor said.

    "Before it was a lot of kids running the ride, having fun and joking and not taking it serious," Box said. "And this time it felt like it should, it felt safer."

    "Yeah, you felt safer, still the same great ride," Taylor said.

    Everyone NBC 5 was able to speak with said they felt safer.

    Taylor and Box said they did see a woman removed from the ride because the restraints wouldn't get into their proper positions.

    In a press released earlier in the week the park's president said safety was the top priority.

    "We are heartbroken and will forever feel the pain and sadness of this tragic accident. Our sincerest condolences go out to the family and friends of Ms. Esparza," said Steve Martindale, park president of Six Flags Over Texas.

    "The safety of our guests and employees is our company's absolute highest priority and we try to take every reasonable precaution to eliminate the risk of accidents."


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    Two thrill-seeking sisters took to the San Diego skies Friday to celebrate their 65th birthday by jumping 13,000 feet from an airplane.

    Twins Shirley Vos and Sharon Gebauer went skydiving for the first time ever together, taking the plunge over San Diego’s Jamul area with a professional skydiving group.

    Despite the ominous date of their birthday this year – Friday the 13th – the sisters happily boarded the plane and told NBC 7 they were very excited for their airborne adventure.

    “I’m not a bit afraid, which is scary. That’s what makes me afraid,” Shirley Vos told NBC 7 minutes before boarding the plane and taking the plunge.

    Vos said the high-flying birthday activity with her sister meant “excitement, challenge and fun” -- three concepts by which they choose to live their lives.

    Gebauer admitted she was a tad nervous before boarding the plane, and was more scared about landing than actually jumping.

    However, the thought of the excitement and sights ahead calmed her nerves.

    “[I can’t wait] to be able to float like a bird and see the beautiful scenery and live life to the fullest,” she said.

    Gebauer said her husband passed away a few years ago, which made her want to seize life each and every day.

    “You know, life, you have to live it because you never know what’s going to happen the next day, you never know what disease you’re going to get. You have to live life and enjoy it, you only get one,” she said right before the jump.

    Seconds later, she added jokingly, “Did I remember my Depends?”

    Once in the airplane, GoPro footage showed the sisters holding hands (see photo below), anticipating their big jumps while looking out the airplane windows.

    With both strapped to their own skydiving expert, the sisters jumped into the open sky, soaring and flipping about as they descended.

    Vos jumped first because she’s the older twin – born before Gebauer by 13 minutes.

    Once they landed safely, the skydiving sisters were exhilarated.

    “It was awesome! What an experience,” Gebauer told NBC 7.

    “Freefalling is to die for! It was amazing. I’d do it again,” added Vos.

    In the past, the adventurous sisters have celebrated their birthday by doing other thrilling airborne activities including paragliding, parasailing and a hot air balloon ride.

    Naturally, they said it only seemed fitting that they try their hand at skydiving this year.


    Shirley Vos, 65, skydives over San Diego on her 65th birthday on September 13, 2013. Her twin sister, Sharon Gebauer, also joined in on the airborne adventure.Shirley Vos, 65, skydives over San Diego on her 65th birthday on September 13, 2013. Her twin sister, Sharon Gebauer, also joined in on the airborne adventure.

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    The woman accused of killing her two children and leaving their bodies in a Southern California hotel room has been identified as a 42-year-old resident of Scottsdale, Ariz.

    Police were investigating on Sunday why Marilyn Edge was in Southern California when she allegedly killed her two children, left their bodies in a hotel room and then tried to kill herself.

    Edge was in jail on murder charges in connection with killing her son and daughter, ages 13 and 10, respectively, officials said. Their bodies were found Saturday morning in a third-floor room of a Santa Ana hotel, officials said.

    She was expected to appear in court on Tuesday.

    Edge allegedly told police about the children after she crashed her car about 8 a.m. in an apparent suicide attempt behind a Costa Mesa supermarket, police said.

    When officers arrived, she refused to come out of the car and attempted to strangle herself with an electrical cord, police said. 

    She intentionally crashed her gray Honda Accord with a Georgia license plate into an electrical box with propane tanks in her front seat, but the propane did not ignite, Costa Mesa police said.

    "It was clear that it was an intentional act," Costa Mesa Sgt. Tim Starn told the Associated Press.

    Officers had to smash out one of the side windows to get her out.

    While being taken to a hospital, the woman apparently told police about the children in the hotel, police said.

    Police wouldn't disclose how the children died until a coroner's investigation is complete, but there were no signs the children were shot or stabbed, said Cpl. Anthony Bertagna, a Santa Ana Police Department spokesman.

    More Southern California Stories:


    Marilyn Edge, 42, of Scottsdale, Ariz., was suspected of killing her two children, leaving their bodies in a Santa Ana hotel room and trying to kill herself.Marilyn Edge, 42, of Scottsdale, Ariz., was suspected of killing her two children, leaving their bodies in a Santa Ana hotel room and trying to kill herself.

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    The daughter of a Connecticut woman whose 1984 disappearance remains unsolved says state police are planning a new round of witness interview

    Mary Badaracco of Sherman went missing 29 years ago and her body has never been found. She was 38.

    Her daughter, Sherrie Passaro, told The News-Times of Danbury that investigators told her that they soon will be re-interviewing witnesses.

    Authorities say Badaracco's husband, Dominic Badaracco, has long been considered a suspect in the case. He has denied any role in her disappearance, which was classified as a homicide in 1990.

    Seventy-seven-year-old Dominic Badaracco was sentenced to seven years in prison Friday for an unsuccessful attempt to bribe a state judge with $100,000 in cash to influence a grand jury investigation into his wife's death.
     
    Copyright Associated Press/NBC Connecticut



    Photo Credit: JusticeforMaryBadaracco

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    Hartford Police's Major Crimes Division is investigating a stabbing Sunday night.

    According to police, a person was stabbed in the face and bicep at 289 Franklin Ave.

    The victim was taken to the hospital and is listed in critical condition.

    Check back for updates.


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    A manager at a Burger King restaurant was shot during an armed robbery Sunday night, according to police.

    The shooting happened at around 9:30 p.m., inside the Burger King at 1329 Whalley Ave. Police said two black males, wearing dark clothing, entered the restaurant, demanded money, and shot the restaurant manager.

    Authorities said the female manager, whose name was not released, was rushed to Yale-New Haven hospital and is listed in critical condition.

    Police are also investigating a carjacking that occurred a mile away from the scene at Westwood Road, near Central Ave. it is unclear if the carjacking is related to the shooting on Whalley Ave.


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    Noisy trash collection in New Haven has kept residents awake at all hours of the night, and now the waste company has agreed to fix the pick-up problem.

    “You’ve heard of sleepless in Seattle, this is sleepless in New Haven,” said Kyle Williams, who has not been able to get a good night’s sleep since he moved into an apartment on Clark Street.

    Every morning around 4 a.m., residents awake to the sound of rattling dumpsters being emptied at nearby restaurants. They finally decided enough was enough, and caught it all on camera to make their case against waste collection company John’s Refuse and Recycling.

    “It’s garbage, trash, bottles and cans, everything moving around at once,” Williams said. “It’s just unbearable.”

    A similar sound is waking up people on Pearl Street too. They all live near dumpsters being emptied out by John’s Refuse and Recycling.

    City Alderman Doug Hausladen says the company has been violating a noise ordinance by collecting trash so early in the morning.

    “The noise ordinances are very clear,” Hausladen said. “It is 5 a.m. in the downtown and 6 a.m. in the residential areas. You are not allowed to do any trash hauling during those times.”

    Hausladen has been in touch with John’s Refuse and Recycling, which agreed to address the issue.

    NBC Connecticut reached the company by phone, and the assistant manager says they will move the residential streets to the end of their routes so the noise will no longer come so early.



    Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

    The New Haven city alderman says John’s Refuse and Recycling has been violating a noise ordinance by collecting trash early in the morning.The New Haven city alderman says John’s Refuse and Recycling has been violating a noise ordinance by collecting trash early in the morning.

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    A fallen airman was laid to rest today after being killed in the line of duty in Afghanistan last week.

    Friends, family and members of the military gathered to pay their respects and say their final goodbyes to 22-year-old T.J. Lobraico, a staff sergeant in the New York Nair National Guard who died while leading an ambushed patrol on Sept. 5.

    He was serving in the security force at Bagram Air Force Base in Afghanistan, and was on his second tour when he died. Lobraico has previously served in Iraq in 2010 and 2011.

    His body was returned home earlier this week, greeted by more than 800 U.S. Air Force and Air National Guard members who traveled to the Stewart Air National Guard Base in Nuwburgh, N.Y. to salute Lobraico's casket.

    Lobraico, who lived in Sherman and went to school in New Fairfield, was the point-man for a security team that was attacked by enemy gunmen. He died putting himself between enemy fire and the eight other members of his team.

    The funeral was held at Western Connecticut State University, where Lobraico was working toward a degree in law enforcement.

    “I know he wanted to be a police officer,” said WCSU professor George Kain. “He would have been a wonderful police officer.”

    Kain said Lobraico’s gift of connecting with people was evident in today’s service as “the chaplains characterized that he lay down his life for his team.”

    Pallbearers loaded the flag-draped casket into a hearse, flanked by Lobraico’s mother and father, also members of the Air National Guard. Lobraico’s mother, Linda Rohatsch, is a major, and his father, Todd, is a master sergeant.

    Todd Lobraico Sr. is a member of the Stamford Police Department, and his fellow officers know how proud he is of his son.

    “Todd served in Afghanistan as well, so they had a very close relationship,” said Stamford Police Capt. Tom Wuennemann.

    Officers rode motorcycles alongside the hearst as Stamford police gave their salute.

    "T.J. was a rock for his team members, a one-man morale agent," Revell told mourners.

    In a eulogy, Lobraico’s older sister Jessica remembered “the smile that was absolutely life changing.”

    His best friend, Jeff Archer, said, “The best way to honor T.J. is to live, to live long, to live well.”

    A candlelight vigil was held on Sept. 11 at the New Fairfield town green to remember Lobraico and mourn his loss.



    Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

    People are paying their respects for Staff Sgt. Todd People are paying their respects for Staff Sgt. Todd "T.J." Lobraico, who was killed in Afghanistan.

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    Today, members of the Newtown, Conn. group working to curb gun violence are heading to Washington, D.C. and they said their visit is even more significant because it comes one day after another mass shooting.

    The group, Newtown Action Alliance, was formed in the weeks after the school shooting in Newtown last year that took the lives of 20 first graders and six staff members and they have pledged to lobby Congress four times a year.

    "It just strengthens our resolve. We didn't think twice about continuing to go down there," Dave Ackert, of the Newtown Action Alliance, said.

    The activists were originally scheduled to meet with U.S. Senator Dick Durbin, of Illinois, for
    a stand your ground hearing today, but that was postponed because of the shooting in Washington, DC.

    However, the Newtown Action Alliance members said they have plenty of work to do on gun safety laws over the next couple of days.

    “We're nine months ahead of where they're going to be, so we're going to see if we can help in any way possible,” Ackert said.

    "You need to have hope and you need to have a sense of community to pull through things like this. Newtown has been an amazing community. We are coming out of this much stronger than we were before," he said.

    Gina McDade, of Sandy Hook, is a member of the alliance and said she needs to comfort her friend who was in DC during the shootings.

    “She was on her way to work at the Coast Guard and she didn't understand what was going on and so she reached out to me yesterday, because now we're united and it's not a club anybody wants to be in," McDade said.

    As the alliance visits Capitol Hill, they plan to lobby lawmakers about gun safety laws, universal background checks and other issues.

    "I just hope it doesn't happen to anyone else and that's why I'm going to try and change Congress' mind and just get safer gun laws passed," McDade said.

    The Connecticut Citizens Defense League said now is not the time to make a statement about gun control out of respect for the families.

    "We are shocked and saddened by the actions of a disturbed individual who was bent on the Murder of innocent people," Scott Wilson, president of the CCDL, said in a statement. "Our heartfelt sympathies certainly go out to the families of these victims, and also to the 1st responders that laid their lives down trying to protect and save those in harms way.  CCDL feels a statement regarding gun control, is not appropriate at this time. This consideration is out of respect for the families of those lost, and survivors."




     



    Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

    Members of the Newtown Action Alliance are heading to Washington, DC to continue to lobby Congress. This trip comes the day after another mass shooting in this country.Members of the Newtown Action Alliance are heading to Washington, DC to continue to lobby Congress. This trip comes the day after another mass shooting in this country.

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    The gunman suspected of shooting at least 12 people and injuring several more at the Washington Navy Yard Monday was born in Queens, lived in the borough decades later and has close family living in Brooklyn. 

    The suspect, 34-year-old Aaron Alexis, who also died Monday, enlisted in the Navy in New York City in 2007, according to records.

    His mother, his 32-year-old sister and his brother-in-law now live in Bedford-Stuyvesant, the brother-in-law said. Another sister, in her late 20s, lives elsewhere.

    The NYPD and FBI visited the Putnam Avenue home of Cathleen Alexis, the suspect's mother, Monday, to gather information. 

    The family is "very distraught," Anthony Little, the suspect's brother-in-law, told NBC 4 New York.

    "It's a shocking experience, nobody expected this," he said. "No one saw it coming, no one knew anything. So all of this is just shocking."  

    Authorities have not disclosed a possible motive for the shooting.

    Little, who is married to Alexis' sister, said he'd never met the alleged gunman or had contact with him. He said Alexis was not close with the family and that it had been years since his wife had last spoken with her brother. 

    "From what I know, he was a regular guy," said Little. "Went to school, was in the service, from what I know, he was in the Navy." 

    "I didn't really hear anything that would make me feel like, as a newcomer to the family, that somebody should be watching him," he said. "No one mentioned anything about him being aggressive or being this type of way or anything like that." 

    Little implored the media gathered outside his family's home Monday to "back off a little bit, give the family a chance to deal with this process."

    Alexis lived in Flushing, Queens from at least 2000 to 2002, where he was last registered to vote, according to public records. In October 2000, Alexis applied for a shotgun permit, listing his address as 77th Road in Flushing.

    The permit was canceled in 2003 because he failed to renew the permit.  It's not clear whether Alexis actually bought a weapon.     

    A neighbor who lived below Alexis and his family in Flushing said they were "very quiet" and that she couldn't recall "any problems" with them.  

    "You really don't know who you live next to," said Wendy Lopez, a neighbor. "I'm shocked."

    Back in Brooklyn, neighbor Ryan Stoner said Alexis' family was "very quiet" and "very nice." 

    The Navy says Alexis was a full-time reservist from 2007 to 2011, after enlisting in New York in May of 2007. He left the Navy on Jan. 31, 2011, as a petty officer 3rd class, the Navy said. It's not immediately clear why he left.

    Alexis was arrested in Seattle on May 6, 2004 for shooting out the tires of another man's car in a dispute about parking near a construction site, Seattle police said.  Alexis told authorities he shot at the car in an anger-fueled blackout, Seattle police said.

    Detectives later spoke with Alexis' father, who lived in New York City at the time, and he told them that his son was an active participant in rescue attempts on 9/11 and had post-traumatic stress disorder. "Those events had disturbed him," Alexis' father told Seattle police. 

    Investigators say there's no evidence Alexis participated in 9/11 rescue operations, according to law enforcement officials.

    Alexis was arrested in Fort Worth, Texas in September of 2010 for discharging a firearm within city limits -- a Class A misdemeanor.  Alexis told officers he was cleaning the weapon when it slipped and accidentally discharged.  He was not charged in that case because local prosecutors said it did not appear reckless. 

    --Shimon Prokupecz contributed to this story


    Police enter the home of suspected Navy Yard gunman Aaron Alexis' family in Brooklyn Monday, Sept. 16. Alexis had not spoken with his family in years, his brother-in-law said.Police enter the home of suspected Navy Yard gunman Aaron Alexis' family in Brooklyn Monday, Sept. 16. Alexis had not spoken with his family in years, his brother-in-law said.

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    A new report to be released Tuesday by the Department of Health and Human Services reveals that millions of Americans without health insurance will likely pay less than $100 a month once they are able to sign up for government subsidized health insurance under the Affordable Care Act.

    For millions, insurance will cost less than $100/month (USA Today)

    • About 6.4 million Americans eligible to buy health insurance through the new health exchanges will pay $100 or less a month for "silver" insurance plans because of tax subsidies.
    • About 41.3 million people don't have insurance now, according to the HHS.
    • In the 25 states that have chosen to expand Medicaid coverage, 12.4 million uninsured eligible Americans will pay less than $100 a month, the report found. They will either pay nothing or a small premium to take part in Medicaid.
    • If the remaining states decided to expand Medicaid to those who earn below 138 percent of the poverty level, about a quarter of the 41.3 million people without health insurance would qualify for Medicaid, tax subsidies or the Children's Health Insurance Program.

    SeaWorld to cut hours for part-time workers (The Orlando Sentinel)

    • The theme-park owner will reduce hours for thousands of part-time and seasonal workers to 28 hours a week, down from the previous limit of 32 hours a week. The workers will now be classified as part-time under the Affordable Care Act.
    • Under the ACA, large employers are required to offer comprehensive and affordable health insurance to all employees who work at least 30 hours a week.

     



    Photo Credit: AP

    A new report to be released Tuesday by the Department of Health and Human Services reveals that millions of Americans without health insurance will likely pay less than $100 a month.A new report to be released Tuesday by the Department of Health and Human Services reveals that millions of Americans without health insurance will likely pay less than $100 a month.

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    A violent summer prompted the Hartford City Council to demand answers on Monday night.

    Council members held a special meeting to question Hartford Police Chief James Rovella on his plans to curb crime.

    “What do we need to do next to make the city safer?” asked Council President Shawn Wooden as he came face to face with the Police Chief about the recent shootings.

    “The increases hit is us in June, July and August,” Rovella explained.

    Rovella admitted shootings were up 9% from the same time last year.

    He did not have an exact reason why, but said the budget could be to blame. He’s had to cut down on overtime costs, and staffing of the Shooting Task Force.

    “We manage money on a day to day basis. We have to be fiscally responsible,” Rovella said.

    The Hartford Police Chief says that he needs almost 50 more officers to offset a current shortage and dozens of upcoming retirements.

    Neighbors at the meeting backed him up.

    “I want the council members to get their act together and let the Police Chief do his job. Give him the funding to do it,” Hyacinth Yennie explained.


    The City Council did approve 40 new hires; some of the money would come from state grants. The goal was to get them on the force next year. “This council is committed to supporting what we need,” explained Shawn Wooden.


    In the meantime, the Police Chief decided to put a new substation in the North End where most of the crime takes place.

    This will be a way to make police more visible in the area. The plan is to build it near Holcomb and Coventry Streets and start running it in the next few months.

    “We already met with the architects and talked about what kind of staffing levels we'll have there,” Rovella added.


    His main objective is to find new ways to fight crime with fewer resources to make the streets safer. “We're doing the best we can we've had a difficult summer,” Rovella said.

    The Police Chief also told City Council he was focused on his Faith Based Initiative. It’s where law enforcement works with religious leaders to help curb crime in high risk neighborhoods.

     


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    A man accused of punching and choking a woman in West Haven said that he smoked marijuana laced with horse tranquilizer, according to police.

    West Haven police arrested Louis Hubbard, 40, of New Haven, around 1:20 a.m. on Tuesday at Elm street and Kimberly Avenue.

    Police said he choked and punched one of his female acquaintances who picked him up and was driving toward the beach area.

    The woman was able to get away from Hubbard and called police.

    As police were speaking with the victim, Hubbard approached officers, who determined that he looked like he was under the influence.

    Hubbard became combative, according to police, and officers shot him with a stun gun.

    Hubbard was transported to Yale-New Haven Hospital to be evaluated and he told hospital staff he had smoke laced marijuana.

    “I smoked marijuana laced with horse tranquilizer,” Hubbard said, according to police.

    He was charged with strangulation in the second degree, interfering with police, second-degree criminal mischief, breach of peace in the second degree, assault in the third degree, interfering with an emergency call, operating under suspension and improper parking.

    Hubbard is being held on $20,000 bond and will be in court in Milford today.



    Photo Credit: West Haven Police

    West Haven police arrested Louis Hubbard, 40, of New Haven, around 1:20 a.m. on Tuesday at Elm street and Kimberly Avenue.West Haven police arrested Louis Hubbard, 40, of New Haven, around 1:20 a.m. on Tuesday at Elm street and Kimberly Avenue.

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    When police put out a call to reunite lost pets with their owners, they are usually trying to find owners of dogs and cats. In one recent case in Ledyard, police were trying to find the owner of a monitor lizard. http://www.nbcconnecticut.com/news/local/Police-Shoot-Monitor-Lizard-in-Ledyard-221185011.html

    However, South Windsor Police Animal Control has a more fowl missing pet case.

    Animal control is trying to find the owners of a brown chicken found Monday evening near the intersection of Foster Street Extension and Ellington Road, which is Route74. 

    The chicken is cooped up at the Tyler Regional Animal Shelter on Sullivan Avenue.

    Anyone with information about the bird’s owner or why it crossed the road should call South Windsor Police Animal Control officers at 860-648-6239.

     



    Photo Credit: South Windsor Police

    Police are trying to find the owners of a chicken located in South Windsor.Police are trying to find the owners of a chicken located in South Windsor.

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    West Haven Police Officers assigned to the U.S. Marshals apprehended a local man accused of sexual assault and unlawful restraint.

    Police said Brent Wiley, 23, of West Haven, was wanted on a warrant out of West Haven, charging him with first-degree sexual assault and unlawful restraint. 

    He was apprehended at his house early this morning and will be arraigned today in court.
     



    Photo Credit: West Haven Police

    Brent Wiley was arrested and charged with sexual assault and unlawful restraint.Brent Wiley was arrested and charged with sexual assault and unlawful restraint.

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    A New York cyclist did a lot more than get from point A to point B on a Citi Bike recently. 

    Tyrone Williams, a professional BMX biker and co-owner of Dah Shop bicycle shop in Chinatown, stars in a viral video where he does tricks on the shared bicycles.

    The video has garnered more than 1 million plays on YouTube and shows Williams popping wheelies, riding hands-free and doing other tricks on the bikes. 

    Williams said he thought the bike-sharing program could benefit from the viral video.

    "In some ways it's like they're getting a lot of exposure as well, because you have more than a million views of someone riding your bike and doing something you thought couldn't be done," he said.
     
    Citi Bike hasn't responded to requests for comment on the viral video. 
     
    Watch the whole video below: 




    Tyrone Williams rides a Citi Bike without hands or feet in a video published last week.Tyrone Williams rides a Citi Bike without hands or feet in a video published last week.

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    The first batch of items Jesse Jackson Jr. turned over to help fulfill a forfeiture order from the United States District Court is officially up for auction.

    They include nine items of Bruce Lee and Michael Jackson memorabilia, a mink cashmere cape, a mink reversible parka, a black and red cashmere cape and a black fox reversible jacket.

    They are being sold as part of the U.S. Marshals Service Online Collectibles Auction via Gaston & Sheehan. Bidding begins Sept. 17 through Sept. 26.

    The former congressman received the forfeiture order after his criminal conviction for misusing campaign funds. Jackson Jr. was sentenced to two and a half years in prison last month.

    Not only must Jackson come up with $750,000 in cash, which he told the court he will be paying in full, but he also must part with dozens of items, some of them almost comical in nature, which prosecutors said were purchased with his ill-gotten gains.

    He has indicated he hopes to satisfy the money judgment in total by the time he begins serving his prison sentence.

    Information about the U.S. Marshals Service’s auctions of forfeited items can be found at http://www.usmarshals.gov/assets/sales.htm.
     



    Photo Credit: Gaston & Sheehan

    COLLECTIBLE: Framed and matted COLLECTIBLE: Framed and matted "Michael Jackson" & "Eddie Van Halen" autographed Epiphone guitar; full writings "Michael Jackson 2009 Let Love Fall Like Rain" with happy face and rain drops, "Keep on Rock'n Never Give Up Eddie Van Halen 2009" also 3 color photos unsigned, 2 are 5" x 6", 1 is 12" x 7"; brown, white, & black matte w/ metal plate; Epiphone Les Paul 100 Electric Guitar (Vintage Sunburst); black coated wood frame, 24.7" tall x 41.5" wide x 5.1" deep; no COAs. Note: Slight damage present to frame, glass intact.

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    The South Beach mansion once owned by Italian designer Gianni Versace, and the place he was fatally shot, was sold at auction for $41.5 million on Tuesday.

    The auction of the mansion, now called Casa Casuarina, began at 10 a.m. with bidding opening at $25 million.

    The winning bid was placed by VM South Beach LLC, a group owned in part by the Nakash family, which also owns Jordache Enterprises.

    "That's a bargin, we bought history," Chairman Joe Nakash said. "Unbelievable, number one property in Miami Beach."

    Jordache has five other South Beach hot spots including Hotel Ocean, Hotel Barcelona, Hotel Henrosa, the Breakwater and the Thompson.

    Versace was fatally shot on his front steps in 1997 by serial killer Andrew Cunanan. The designer bought the mansion in 1992 and spent $33 million renovating the property, adding another wing and making numerous upgrades.


    VM South Beach LLC will operate the mansion as a hotel.

    We're going to keep it the way it is. We paid 41 and a half million dollars for it and it's going to stay as is," Nakash said. "It's history. You stay here everyday, you will see how many people take a picture of this place and the inside is the most beautiful thing you ever saw."

    The ocean front property was bought by its current owner in 2000 and was most recently used as a hotel. A bankruptcy court appointed Fisher Auction Company to put the property up for auction.


    "We got calls from all over the world, from the highest celebrity to the folks in Dubai," Lamar Fisher said.

    Last year, the 23,000 square foot mansion was listed at $125 million. The estate, which was constructed in 1930, has 10 bedrooms and 11 bathrooms and features a 54-foot mosaic pool lined with 24-karat gold.

    "This is one of the most recognizable properties in the world. It's iconic," said Jill Eber, with the real estate group The Jills.

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    Photo Credit: Getty Images

    A tourist snaps a picture of Casa Casuarina, Gianni Versace''s former residence in Miami Beach.A tourist snaps a picture of Casa Casuarina, Gianni Versace''s former residence in Miami Beach.

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    One woman was injured and as many as 25 people have been displaced after a massive fire ripped through three multi-family homes in Bridgeport this morning.

    The fire broke out around 2:30 a.m. on Tuesday at  at 587-593 Brooks Street and appears to have started in the rear of the building.

    Fire officials said a rookie firefighter lives in one of the buildings and was first to smell the smoke.

    By the time crews got to the scene, the structure was completely engulfed and fire quickly spread to two neighboring houses.

    Fire Chief Brian Rooney said the firefighters' efforts prevented the fire from spreading further and saved other houses from damage.

    "The firefighters did a great job. This could have been much worse," he said.

    The multifamily house where the fire started will likely have to be torn down, according to the mayor's office. The other two houses are uninhabitable, according to officials.

    The entire street was evacuated as a precaution. One woman was taken to the hospital to be treated for burns and several people had to be treated for smoke inhalation.

    Two firefighters issued a "mayday" while battling the blaze and were evacuated, according to officials.

    The Red Cross responded to the scene to assist more than 70 victims, hand out blankets and take them to nearby shelters.

    The city also brought in buses from Greater Bridgeport Transit to keep warm people who were evacuated.

    Mayor Bill Finch met with displaced residents at the fire scene and at shelters the Emergency Operations Center set up at Luis Munoz Marin school and at a facility at 900 Pembroke St.

    "This was a heroic effort by our firefighters during very difficult conditions," he said.

    Crews were at the scene for more than four hours on Tuesday morning, trying to get the fire under control.

    "We're a humble community but people in Bridgeport are awfully resilient," Finch said. "We will help them in any way that we can."

    The cause is still under investigation.
     



    Photo Credit: Sean Tallant, NBCConnecticut.com

    Fire officials said a rookie Bridgeport firefighter lives in one of the buildings and was first to smell the smoke.Fire officials said a rookie Bridgeport firefighter lives in one of the buildings and was first to smell the smoke.

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    A pedestrian has been struck on Interstate 91 North in Meriden.

    Police said there was a crash on the southbound side of the highway and they believe a person who was involved in the crash tried to run on the northbound side of the highway was struck.

    The highway remains open, but several lanes are blocked.



    Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

    A pedestrian was struck while running across Interstate 91 in Meriden.A pedestrian was struck while running across Interstate 91 in Meriden.

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