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    Police discovered about 12 tons of marijuana worth more than $7 million hidden inside a tractor-trailer after two men posing as law enforcement officials tried to pull the vehicle over in Orange County Monday, officials said.

    Officers responded about 8 a.m. to reports of a possible attempted cargo theft in the 1100 block of Warner Avenue, according to the Tustin Police Department.

    The driver of a big rig carrying electronics from San Diego to a Tustin business told police that two men in a white panel van pulled alongside him and demanded he pull the vehicle over, police said. The passenger of the van displayed an unknown chain or badge around his neck.

    Police said the driver of the big rig was suspicious of the unprofessional look of the men, and instead pulled into a local business that had an armed security guard stationed. Police were notified, but the van left before officers arrived.

    When inventory and inspection of the truck was conducted, about 24,000 pounds of marijuana was found packaged in bricks, hidden inside boxes, officials said.

    During their investigation, officers found that no law enforcement agency was involved in trying to stop the truck, officials said.

    The driver of the big rig is not a suspect in knowingly transporting illegal cargo, police said.

    The driver of the van is described as a male Hispanic, approximately 30 years old with a shaved head wearing gray plaid shorts. The passenger is described as a Hispanic man with a thin build wearing what appeared to be a black ballistic-type vest, officials said.

    Anyone with information regarding the illegal cargo is asked to call Detective Haug at 714-573-3246.
     


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    Donations to the New Jersey waitress who claimed she received an anti-gay note instead of a tip at the restaurant where she worked are being refunded after her story was questioned, NBC 4 New York has learned.

    Dayna Morales, a server at Gallop Asian Bistro in Bridgewater, posted a photo on Facebook last month showing the bill with a line through the tip area. The photo of the receipt showed someone had written, "I'm sorry but I cannot tip because I do not agree with your lifestyle."

    But days later, a New Jersey couple came forward to NBC 4 New York, claiming the receipt was theirs and that they had left a tip and did not write a note, suggesting it was used for a hoax. The handwriting, they said, was not theirs, and they also supplied what they said was a credit card statement showing they were charged for the total plus the $18 tip.

    After Morales' initial Facebook post, her story got national attention and she began receiving money from all over the world. She said at the time that she planned to donate some of it to the Wounded Warriors Project.

    This week, three people who sent money to a PayPal account set up in her name say their electronic donations were refunded. 

    Brittney Stilgenbauer of Tuscon, Ariz. was one of hundreds of supporters across the country who immediately rallied around Morales after reading her story on Facebook. She told NBC 4 New York over Skype Friday, "I felt awful for her, and I thought it would be great if people could come together and donate a dollar each and make up for her tip that she lost."

    Stilgenbauer said she and others on Facebook encouraged Morales to set up a PayPal account to accept donations.

    On the same day, Nov. 13, a PayPal account in Morales' name was set up and publicized on Facebook, and Stilgenbauer donated $1 to the account, according to time stamps on the Facebook photo and the receipt emailed to Stilgenbauer after she made the donation.  

    Over three weeks later, on Friday, Stilgenbauer received another email from PayPal informing her that her $1 donation to Morales' account was refunded. 

    Two other people told NBC 4 New York in phone interviews they also saw their electronic donations refunded. However, one man who mailed cash to Morales at the restaurant said he has not gotten the money back. 

    Morales did not respond to requests for comment Friday but in her last interview with NBC 4 New York, maintained she had been telling the truth: "All I know is what I've been saying." 

    Gallop Asian Bistro, meanwhile, suspended Morales from her job last week and says its internal investigation is still ongoing. 

    Stilgenbauer said she would like Morales to "return all the funds." 

    "Hopefully her heart was in the right place and she's sorry," she said. 

     


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    The family of a U.S. Marine who committed suicide inside a U.S. Embassy in Greece says their son was buried without a heart, after the Greek government performed an illegal autopsy on his body and “harvested” the organ.

    Craig and Beverly LaLoup, of Coatesville, Pa., filed a lawsuit in federal court on Friday against the U.S. Department of Defense, U.S. Navy and U.S. government for negligence, emotional distress and alleged mistreatment of their son’s body.

    U.S. Marine Sgt. Brian LaLoup, who was stationed at the U.S. Embassy in Athens, Greece, shot himself following a night out drinking in the Greek capital on Aug. 12, 2012, according to the court filing. The 22-year-old allegedly had been at an off-duty party when he told a fellow officer he was considering ending his life.

    “I don’t have anyone who loves me,” he allegedly said. He then apparently told the officer he was planning to shoot himself in the face with a shotgun.

    That officer notified a superior, listed in the suit as Staff Sgt. Martinez, about Brian’s intentions. But instead of getting him medical care, the commander allegedly took him out to drink more – a violation of Marine Corps protocol, the lawsuit claims.

    Later that night, Brian went into an unlocked room inside the embassy, where weapons were stored, and committed suicide. According to court documents, he was visibly drunk and distraught and passed a guard on his way through the building.

    Brian was taken to an Athens hospital and pronounced dead. The family says his body was left unguarded and because of that, the body was moved to a Greek morgue where, several days later, an illegal autopsy was performed. It was during that autopsy that Brian’s heart was removed, according to the complaint.

    The sergeant’s body was flown back to the United States and upon arrival at Dover Air Force Base, a second autopsy was performed. The LaLoups say that’s when officials realized the heart was gone. However, the family claims they were never told their son’s heart was gone until after he was buried.

    “Instead of being honest and up-front with the family and taking the appropriate action to have the heart returned, [the] Defendants decided to lie and conceal this fact from the Plaintiffs,” the suit says. “As a result of Defendants’ failure to act, Sgt. LaLoup’s heart was destroyed by the Greek government.”

    According to the lawsuit, the family said they were told only parts of their son’s scalp were missing and they didn’t realize his heart was gone until after another officer told them “by accident."

    “He extended to me a piece of paper as he stated it was his heart that was missing. I asked him why were we told it was parts of his scalp. His reply was, ‘that they were not going to tell us because that is not something you tell a grieving mother,’" Beverly LaLoup stated in the filing.

    After the LaLoups lodged complaints about the situation, the lawsuit claims the Greek government sent a heart they claimed was Brian’s to the United States. However, DNA testing showed it was not his organ, according to the filing. The heart still remains missing.

    The couple believes officials violated several protocols and intentionally lied to them about the missing heart, the suit states. They are asking for more than $75,000 in damages.


    Contact Vince Lattanzio at 610.668.5532, vince.lattanzio@nbcuni.com or follow @VinceLattanzio on Twitter.



    Photo Credit: NBC10.com

    U.S. Marine Sgt. Brian LaLoup, 22, had his heart removed following an autopsy in Greece. His family says the heart was illegally removed and has now gone missing.U.S. Marine Sgt. Brian LaLoup, 22, had his heart removed following an autopsy in Greece. His family says the heart was illegally removed and has now gone missing.

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    Stamford Police have issued a Silver Alert for a teenager and her one-year-old son who have been missing since Friday.

    Police say that Ashley Exantus, 16, was last seen with her son Zaher Paul at a local mall. The last contact that was made with her was by phone at 10 p.m.

    Exantus has black hair and brown eyes. Police say she is very petite and is described as 4'5" tall  weighing 110 pounds.

    She was last seen wearing gray jeans, a black sweatshirt and gray and pink sneakers. Paul was wearing a navy jacket and pink sneakers.

    Anyone with information is asked to call the Stamford police department at 203-977-4958.

     


    Ashley Exantus, left and Zaher Paul.Ashley Exantus, left and Zaher Paul.

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    She helped save lives by rushing 15 first-graders into a closet-sized bathroom at Sandy Hook Elementary, and now Kaitlin Roig-DeBellis is on a new mission – to spread kindness to classrooms across the country.

    Almost one year later, Roig-DeBellis still remembers the agonizing minutes when she didn't know if she and her students would make it out of the school alive.

    “There aren’t words for how terrible it was,” she said. “I’m still so aware that it could have been my life, so aware.”

    In the days following the tragedy, Roig-DeBellis began to notice the donations pouring into her classroom, and she had an idea.

    “I just knew I wanted to find a way to share that kindness so that other students could experience it,” Roig-DeBellis said.

    Her non-profit organization Classes 4 Classes connects those who want to help with those in need. Classes can sign up online and help raise money for other classes to purchase things like iPads and field trips. Anyone can donate, and once the class has received, they are encouraged to pay it forward.

    “It’s our mission to teach kids that in life we’re all connected, and it’s our job to teach kids that we have to care about one another,” Roig-DeBellis said.

    Her mission has been featured in magazine spreads, and Glamour recently named her Woman of the Year. Roig-Debellis said it's an incredible honor, and also a reminder of just how much time has passed.

    “What I’ve really learned in the past year is that you can always have hope, and for me, Classes 4 Classes is my healing,” she said

    In August, her year-long sabbatical will come to an end and after that, she will go back to teaching in a new classroom, sharing the same lesson of kindness.



    Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

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    As the world remembers anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela, a Southern California family is honoring a historic figure who played a very personal role in their lives.

    Linda Biehl said after her 26-year-old daughter was killed in South Africa two decades ago, Mandela taught her that no matter how deep the pain, everyone needs to heal.

    Amy Biehl was a Fulbright Scholar and at her Stanford graduation wrote the words "Free Mandela" on her mortarboard. Her mother said Amy wanted the same thing Mandela and countless South Africans want: equality in South Africa.

    But she did not live to see it.

    The Newport Beach woman was killed by a mob in 1993, as she drove through Guguletu, targeted because she was white.

    “They threw a brick in (her car), smashed the windows and then she was stunned but she managed to get out and of course her friends said, ‘Run, Amy, run!'” Linda Biehl said.

    The young woman who had hoped to make a difference in the deeply divided nation had been stabbed to death.

    The men accused of killing her confessed and then were granted amnesty through the newly established Truth and Reconciliation Commission. The idea came from Mandela's hope that his country could reunite, after apartheid – exactly what Amy Biehl believed as well.

    “It was definitely his approach to negotiating and how you had to work with your so-called enemy, and that was very much what Amy talked about,” Biehl said.

    The Biehls were with Mandela when he received the Congressional Medal of Honor from then-President Bill Clinton.

    After their loved one’s death, the Biehl family created the Amy Biehl Foundation to empower young Africans in South Africa. Two of the men convicted of killing Amy currently work there.

    “We really do have the spirit of hope that we can aspire to do maybe something more than we think we are,” Biehl said.

    More Southern California Stories:



    Photo Credit: Linda Biehl

    From left to right, Linda Biehl, Nelson Mandela and Molly Biehl meet after Linda's daughter and Molly's sister, Amy, was killed in South Africa in 1993.From left to right, Linda Biehl, Nelson Mandela and Molly Biehl meet after Linda's daughter and Molly's sister, Amy, was killed in South Africa in 1993.

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    An emotionally disturbed man set off panic inside a subway train when he assaulted a woman, prompting riders to jump in and subdue while another pulled the emergency brake, cell phone video shows.

    The man began screaming in a violent, hate-filled tirade that began on the subway platform at 34th Street and continued on a Brooklyn-bound D train Thursday evening, according to witness Jessica Valencia. 

    He yelled racial slurs at random straphangers and "he was pushing people, almost pushed people off the platform," said Valenica. 

    "He started screaming, saying everyone should die," she said. "We were all slaves, his slaves." 

    When a woman on the train challenged the man's rant, he hit the woman in the face, video taken by Valencia shows.

    She hit him back before other straphangers jumped in, but one panicked rider tugged on the emergency brake, trapping riders with the apparently disturbed man underground. 

    The conductor ushered riders out of the car, isolating the man in a car by himself until the train reached the Brooklyn DeKalb station, where police took him into custody. 

    Former NYPD detective Bo Dietl, who's now a private security expert, says riders did the right thing by working together to subdue the unarmed man, but says they should have avoided pulling the emergency brake. 

    "It's not a good thing. There's no one there to help you" when the train is stuck underground, he said.

    The man was taken to Woodhull Hospital for a psychological evaluation. Charges were pending, according to police. 


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  • 12/07/13--08:28: Boy Escapes NJ Home Invaders

  • A 10-year-old boy managed to run and alert a neighbor when two robbers broke into his New Jersey home and tied up his mother as his sibling watched, police say. 

    The boy was inside the Brick, N.J. home on Montclair Drive Thursday evening when the two men broke in, according to police. The child ran out and went to a neighbor, who called police. 

    Responding officers found the boy's mother bound and gagged on the floor, and the boy's younger sibling inside the home. Neither was hurt. 

    The mother, who owns the home, told police that the robbers were dressed in all black and wearing scarves over their faces, and may have been armed with long guns. The robbers ransacked the home and ran away. 

    While canvassing the area, police arrested a trespasser several blocks from the home, a man from Neptune, but it's not clear if he was one of the two home invaders. 

    Neighbors in the quiet neighborhood were upset to learn of the violent intrusion.

    "I've been here 38 years, we've never had anything like this happening here," said neighbor Iris Chiesa. 

    "I need to lock my doors tonight, that's what it makes me think," said another neighbor, Jim Hicks. 

    Brick police believe they're making progress in their investigation. They won't say if the home was targeted, but Chief Nils Bergquist said he believes the incident is isolated. 


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    The 13-year-old driver in a crash that killed a 12-year-old boy and injured four others last month in a Chicago suburb was officially charged this week.

    The girl, whose name is not being released because of her age, is charged with reckless homicide, reckless conduct and possession of a stolen motor vehicle, according to the Cook County State's Attorney's Office.

    The crash happened Nov. 27 in the 600 block of Brookwood Terrace in south suburban Olympia Fields. Police say the car was traveling at a high rate of speed when it crashed into a tree.

    Olympia Fields resident Armani Creamer was killed in the crash. The other passengers, all under the age of 16, were treated and released from area hospitals.

    Creamer's mother said he was supposed to be grounded but sneaked out for a joyride with friends.

    The driver was arraigned Thursday and released to her mother's custody.

    Creamer will be buried on Saturday.


    Police say the car veered out of control and hit this tree.Police say the car veered out of control and hit this tree.

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  • 12/07/13--12:30: Man Stabbed Kissing Couple

  • A Florida Keys man was arrested after he stabbed a couple with a box cutter at an outreach mission facility because they were kissing, authorities said.

    Andrew Sullivan, 53, was arrested on an aggravated battery charge following the stabbing at the Star of the Sea Outreach Mission on Stock Island Friday night, the Monroe County Sheriff's Office said.

    Deputies responded to reports of a stabbing at the outreach mission and found a man and woman sitting on a bench covered in blood. The woman had been cut on the arm and the man had several wounds, including one to his upper right chest, authorities said.

    The couple said they had been watching movies and drinking with Sullivan at the woman's living quarters when Sullivan became angry because they kissed, authorities said.

    Sullivan pulled out the box cutter and stabbed the man then stabbed the woman when she intervened, authorities said.

    Sullivan fled the scene but was found hiding in a small space behind a shed on the property, authorities said. He complained of neck pain and was hospitalized along with the stabbing victims.

    Jail records showed Sullivan was being held without bond Saturday. It was unknown whether he has an attorney.



    Photo Credit: Monroe County Sheriff's Office

    Andrew SullivanAndrew Sullivan

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    Philadelphia librarian and social justice advocate Marion Marguerite Stokes spent 35 years of her life recording nearly every minute of every program on every local and national news network on VHS and Beta Max cassette tapes.

    Now, her commitment to tracking television news may result in a searchable collection of more than 800,000 uninterrupted hours of historical news footage.

    Stokes' son, Michael Metelits says the creation of the enormous collection was a life-dominating and often arduous task for his mother, who died of lung disease in December, 2012.  But despite criticism from observers, Stokes maintained that the time she spent operating as many as 8 recorders at a time, swapping out one 6-hour tape after another, would not be in vain.

    "I don't think anybody escaped helping her with this process. As you'd imagine a process like this, it just dominates family life and it just kind of structures pretty much everything else that goes on," Metelits said. "But she was really a kind of uncompromising person; she knew what she wanted and this was very important to her."

    In an effort to honor his mother's life's work, Metelits has teamed up with non-profit digital archive company The Internet Archive with hopes of converting Stokes' 140,000 video cassette tape collection into a digital, searchable archive that would be made available to the public via the internet.

    Director of television archive at the Internet archive Roger Macdonald said Stokes' archive could be a very useful addition to the company's ever-growing digital news collection.

    "If we’re able to successfully digitize this, it will open up a big window on local and national news, that’s unprecedented," Macdonald said. "At the Internet Archive we’re working to record and open up U.S. television news for research purposes and we’ve been recording since late 2000; but the addition of this collection would extend our archive back three decades."

    Metelits recovered his mother's video cassette collection after she died. Shortly thereafter, he reached out to the Internet Archive and the process of preserving the tapes began.

    Many of the tapes were stored in Stokes' old home in Boston, where she'd lived for nearly 8 years or in one of three storage areas in Warminster, Pa. So, the first step for Metelits was to get all of the tapes in one place, to have them organized and packaged to ship.

    It took Metelits and a team of family and family friends a full year to gather all of the video tapes into one storage unit and organize them by recording date. Finally, last Friday, the collection was shipped from a Philadelphia storage unit to the Internet Archive offices in San Francisco, Calif. The cost of shipping was roughly $16,000, but it’s a cost Metelits says was well worth the effort.

    "It's been hard work but we're just delighted that there's an institution like the Internet Archive that's able to accept them and that's actually going to do something with them that my mother would actually approve of," he said.

    According to Metelits, his mother's urge to record the news began with her observation of news coverage surrounding the Iranian hostage crisis of 1979 and the emergence of CNN as a 24-hour news channel. Stokes was interested in documenting the way various networks' coverage of news stories would change over time. When people questioned her dedication to the peculiar hobby, Metelits says Stokes eventually stopped fighting to explain her motives and settled in to saying, "I’m archiving. Leave it at that."

    Metelits described Stokes as a kind but firm woman who cared deeply for social causes and enjoyed collecting all sorts of things. In the 1960s, Stokes participated in several civil rights marches, including the march to integrate Girard College in 1965, and produced what was then considered a groundbreaking discussion show called Input, which aired on a then WCAU station channel.

    In addition to her massive collection of video cassette recordings, Metelits says his mother possessed a collection of innumerable boxes of newspapers, some 192 Macintosh computers (in their original boxes), and a collection of toys and dollhouses that he's currently working to find private collectors for.

    Macdonald says digitizing the video collection will be nearly as expensive and time consuming as Stokes' original process, so it may be years before the collection is actually made available to the public in digital form. For now, the organization is focusing on fundraising and awareness.

    "We've had estimates of needing 10-15 decks running simultaneously, and one to two people manning those and entering the meta-data of dates and times but we’re really not sure how many people or how many years it will take," Macdonald said. “The Stokes family contributed the transport fees and they will make an initial contribution from the Stokes estate to get us started on the digitization process. And we’ll look to let others know about this remarkable collection and our attempt to make it available for research and hopefully they'll be willing to contribute."

    Metelits said he believes his mother would be proud of the digitization project.

    "She faced a bit of opposition, not just from her family members who thought it was strange, but from lots of other people about how worthwhile this project was, whether it would ever amount to anything, whether anyone would ever find it useful," he said. "So, I think she’d feel a great deal of vindication at the interest that’s been shown in this archive.”



    Photo Credit: The Estate of Marion Stokes

    Marion Marguerite Stokes, 83, died of lung disease Friday, Dec. 14, at her home in Rittenhouse Square. Her collection of 140,000 VHS recordings of local and national news programs may soon be made available to the public in a digital, searchable format.Marion Marguerite Stokes, 83, died of lung disease Friday, Dec. 14, at her home in Rittenhouse Square. Her collection of 140,000 VHS recordings of local and national news programs may soon be made available to the public in a digital, searchable format.

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    A Florida man was arrested after he left an infant inside a locked car in a Fort Myers strip club parking lot, police said.

    Andrew Sosa, 21, was arrested on a child neglect charge after he left the four-month old girl inside a Kia Optima at Lookers strip club, according to NBC 2.

    Fort Myers Police said an officer was flagged down after the baby was spotted in a car seat in the back of the vehicle just after 10:30 p.m. The officer couldn't find the car's owner so he smashed the window to get the baby out.

    The baby was sweating and covered in vomit, and was taken to a nearby children's hospital for mild dehydration, NBC 2 reported. She is expected to be fine.

    Detectives later discovered the baby girl had been left inside the car for three hours while Sosa was inside the strip club, police said.

    Sosa, of Cape Coral, appeared in court Saturday, where his bond was set at $100,000. It was unknown whether he has an attorney.

    The Department of Children and Families is handing the case.



    Photo Credit: Lee County Sheriff's Office

    Andrew SosaAndrew Sosa

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    The day of sentencing has come for San Diego’s former embattled mayor, Bob Filner.

    Filner – who was caught up in a massive scandal earlier this year involving a multitude of women and allegations of sexual harassment – will be sentenced on criminal charges stemming from that scandal Monday at 9 a.m. in a downtown San Diego courtroom.

    On Oct. 15, Filner pleaded guilty to several criminal charges including a felony charge for false imprisonment and two misdemeanor counts of battery.

    The charges involve three separate victims identified by court officials as “Jane Does 1, 2 and 3” who said Filner sexually harassed them while in office earlier this year.

    Mayor Under Fire: Interactive Timeline

    By pleading guilty, Filner admitted he “used force to restrain” Jane Doe 1 “against her will” at a Mar. 6 fundraiser, using “additional force to overcome her resistance.”

    At a “Meet the Mayor” event on April 6, Filner admitted he kissed Jane Doe 2 on the lips without her consent.

    On May 25, he attended a Fiesta Island rally and cleanup event where he was asked to take a photo with Jane Doe 3. The woman said the mayor grabbed her buttocks just before the photo was taken. In court, Filner admitted the count was true.

    On Oct. 19 Filner went through the formal booking and release process in jail. Filner was booked at 7:11 a.m. that day, and released at 8:57 a.m. at Central Jail in downtown San Diego.

    In October, state prosecutors said that under the terms of Filner’s plea agreement, the former mayor will serve three years of probation, as well as three months of home confinement. He’ll also have to undergo treatment by a mental health professional while on probation.

    The accusations against Filner first went public in July when many of his former allies, including Donna Frye, exposed his behavior and demanded he step down from office.

    From there, a multitude of women came forward with stories of sexual harassment at the hands of Filner, including former communications director to the mayor, Irene McCormack Jackson, who filed a lawsuit against the city.

    After weeks of controversy, recall efforts and more accusers, Filner finally resigned on Aug. 23.

    On Nov. 19, San Diego held a special election to fill the mayor’s seat left vacant by Filner.

    Councilmember Kevin Faulconer held a strong lead in the mayoral race, securing his spot for the February runoff, and Councilmember David Alvarez received enough votes to face off against Faulconer in February.



    Photo Credit: Getty Images

    Filner – who was caught up in a massive scandal earlier this year involving a multitude of women and allegations of sexual harassment – will be sentenced on criminal charges stemming from that scandal Monday at 9 a.m. in a downtown San Diego courtroom.Filner – who was caught up in a massive scandal earlier this year involving a multitude of women and allegations of sexual harassment – will be sentenced on criminal charges stemming from that scandal Monday at 9 a.m. in a downtown San Diego courtroom.

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  • 12/08/13--05:46: School Fires Gay Teacher

  • High school teacher Michael Griffin was fired from his position at Holy Ghost Preparatory School in Bensalem on Friday after applying for a marriage license in New Jersey with his partner, a move that the school says “contradicts the terms of his teaching contract.”

    Griffin, an alumnus of the private all boys liberal arts Catholic high school, had taught Spanish and French at the school for the past 12 years. He first  posted about his termination on Facebook Friday morning.

    “Today I applied for a marriage license since NJ now has marriage equality,” Griffin wrote. “After 12 years together I was excited to finally be able to marry my partner. Because of that, I was fired from Holy Ghost Preparatory School today. I am an alumnus of the school and have taught there for 12 years. I feel hurt, saddened, betrayed and except for this post, am at a loss for words.”

    Griffin says an email he wrote to school administration informing them of he and his partner's plan to obtain a marriage license is what opened the can of worms and ultimately lead to his firing.

    He says that he was blindsided by the school's reaction and that his relationship with his partner had never been a secret to faculity and administration.

    "I've been with my partner for more than 12 years, the entire time I've been teaching at the school," said Griffin. "He's been to numerous school functions with me, he's even been to McCloskey's house."

    When contacted for comment, the school’s headmaster, Fr. James McCloskey, said in a statement that Griffin’s termination was due to his obtaining a license to marry his same-sex partner, a violation of the school’s teaching terms and the contract that Griffin was under.

    “At a meeting in my office yesterday, teacher Michael Griffin made clear that he obtained a license to marry his same sex partner,” McCloskey wrote in a statement obtained by NBC10. “Unfortunately, this decision contradicts the terms of his teaching contract at our school, which requires all faculty and staff to follow the teachings of the Church as a condition of their employment. In discussion with Mr. Griffin, he acknowledged that he was aware of this provision, yet he said that he intended to go ahead with the ceremony. Regretfully, we informed Mr. Griffin that we have no choice but to terminate his contract effective immediately.”

    He believes this section of the teachers code of conduct is the one that led to his firing:

    "That, although, the School welcomes teachers from other denominations and recognizes their rights to religious freedom, as employees of a Catholic institution, all teachers are expected to uphold lifestyles compatible with the moral teaching of the Roman Catholic Church."

    On Saturday, following an outpouring of support across social media sites,  Griffin posted another statement on his Facebook page:

    “Thank you to everyone for all of your messages of love and support since yesterday," Griffin said. "It is so overwhelming and my heart aches over everything that has happened. Holy Ghost helped form me to be the person that I am today. Even though I am no longer employed there, I wanted to share their mission and philosophy, because I feel like I have tried to make it my life's philosophy as best I can, even now. I am trying to move forward with a peaceful heart and wish nothing but the best to my colleagues and students who mean the world to me.”

    "I really did love working there, I went to school there, they formed who I am. I'm sure I'll find employment at another school, hopefully rather sooner than later."


    Editor's Note: Lou Dubois is a graduate of Holy Ghost Preparatory School



    Photo Credit: Getty Images

    When contacted for comment, the school’s headmaster, Fr. James McCloskey, said in a statement that Griffin’s termination was due to his obtaining a license to marry his same-sex partner, a violation of the school’s teaching terms and the contract that Griffin was under.When contacted for comment, the school’s headmaster, Fr. James McCloskey, said in a statement that Griffin’s termination was due to his obtaining a license to marry his same-sex partner, a violation of the school’s teaching terms and the contract that Griffin was under.

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    Another weak storm will pass south of Connecticut Sunday night and is expected to produce a light mixture of snow, sleet, and freezing rain.

    The storm is not expected to be large but may cause a few slick spots early Monday morning especially.

    Light snow is expected to develop after dark Sunday evening and quickly transition to a light wintry mix. Snow and sleet accumulations will be minor – on the order of a coating to one inch. As warmer air moves in between 5,000 and 10,000 feet above the ground the snow and sleet will transition to light freezing rain.

    While less than a tenth of an inch of freezing rain is expected any amount of freezing rain can cause untreated surfaces to be slippery.

    While many main roads should be in good shape Monday morning secondary roads, sidewalks, and driveways may be slick as temperatures will remain near or below freezing. During the day temperatures will warm above freezing first at the shoreline and by midday in the greater Hartford area.

    Overall this storm is expected to be a low impact storm but the timing is such that you should plan on leaving a bit of extra time to get to work and school on Monday. A few school delays are possible, especially in inland Connecticut, due to the wintry mix.

    Click here for more forecast details
     


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    Police are investigating after three women were found dead in a Manchester apartment Saturday night

    According to authorities, officers were called to the Dye House Apartment Complex at 190 Pine Street at around 9:40 p.m. for a report of multiple gunshots.

    When police arrived, they were met by the suspect outside the apartment building in the parking lot. The suspect, a male, was armed with a handgun and was carrying a 13-month-old child.

    After a brief confrontation with officers, the suspect placed the child on the ground and shot himself. One officer also discharged their firearm, but it does not appear that the suspect was struck by the officer's bullet.

    The 13-month old child was unharmed.

    Following the confrontation, police began checking the apartment complex. They located three females deceased from apparent gunshot wounds. The identities of the victims is  being withheld at this time.

    This incident remains under investigation by the Manchester Police, The Hartford State's Attorney's Office and The Connecticut State Police Central District Major Crime Squad as standard protocol for Officer involved shootings.
     

    Investigators said they are not searching for a suspect at this time. Authorities believe the person responsible for the shootings is one of the deceased.

    Pine Street is closed as police investigate.

    State Police Major Crimes Division  are assisting Manchester police with the investigation.

     




    Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

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    Crowds of fans and car enthusiasts are expected to gather Sunday at the crash site of Paul Walker and friend Roger Rodas to hold an unofficial memorial rally and car cruise to remember the pair, and officials warned area residents of the massive turnout.

    A Facebook page for the memorial, “Paul Walker/Roger Rodas Memorial Meet (SoCal),” listed more than 7,000 people who said they planned to attend Sunday afternoon in the Rye Canyon Loop of Santa Clarita. People were already gathering at the site Saturday night.

    "This is not an event sanctioned by the city (of Santa Clarita) or sheriff’s department," the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department said in a news release Saturday. "However, residents need to anticipate the impact that an overwhelming number of cars will have on the area."

    Officials said Kelly Johnson Parkway would become a one-way street west of Constellation Road, and Alta Vista Drive would be a one-way street eastbound to Copperhill. No westbound traffic will be allowed on Alta Vista Drive or Constellation Road, officials warned Saturday.

    Sheriff’s officials had been warning days before the planned memorial that mourners needed to clear the area as their presence was interfering with the crash investigation.

    Two men had also been accused of stealing a part of the wrecked 2005 Porsche Carrera GT, that smashed into a light pole and tree in the 28300 block of Rye Canyon Loop before exploding in flames and killing Walker and Rodas on Nov. 1.

    As the car was being towed to an impound yard for further investigation the night of the crash , a witness saw someone take a piece of the wreck from a flat-bed truck as it was stopped at a red light.

    The tow truck driver reported the theft and an investigation was launched. Police identified Jameson Witty, 18, of Tujunga, as one of the suspects in the case. A second man, described only as 25 and from outside of California, was is in communication with sheriff’s detectives making arrangements to surrender, authorities said.

    The two were in the community of Valencia, about 30 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles, to attend a fundraiser benefiting victims of the recent typhoon in the Philippines. The event was held by Walker's Reach Out Worldwide, a charity he founded in 2010 to aid victims of natural disasters.

    An autopsy released Tuesday cited the cause of death for Walker as combined effects of trauma and burn injuries in the fiery crash. The cause of death for Rodas, 38, confirmed to be the driver, was determined to be multiple traumatic injuries.

    The injuries resulted from the car striking a "fixed object," according to the autopsy report.

    The coroner confirmed that Walker, 40, was alive -- but likely unconscious -- after the crash, then died in the subsequent fire. Authorities told NBC4 there was evidence of smoke inhalation.

    Los Angeles County sheriff's officials said speed was a factor in the crash, but there was no evidence the pair was involved in a street race. Investigators were still trying to determine exactly what caused the crash and whether there was a mechanical reason for Rodas to have lost control of the vehicle.



    Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images

    A photo of actor Paul Walker is seen December 1, 2013 among flowers and candles left by fans at the site of the car accident in which the A photo of actor Paul Walker is seen December 1, 2013 among flowers and candles left by fans at the site of the car accident in which the "Fast and Furious" actor and another man died the previous day, in Santa Clarita, California.

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    Norwalk Police have arrested a man they believe is responsible for the 1988 kidnapping and sexual assault of a teenage girl.

    On Friday, Dec. 6, police arrested Osvaldo Muniz, 66, at his place of work in Bridgeport.

    According to police, on August 4, 1988 at approximately 4:50 a.m., the 19-year old victim was staying with friends at 129 Wolfpit Avenue, Norwalk.

    The young woman was awoken by footsteps upstairs and went to see if it was her friend arriving home.

    When she exited the basement, she was grabbed from behind. A hand was placed over her mouth and a knife put to her throat.

    Police say she was dragged out of the house, across the front yard and across a second lawn with a wooded edge where she was sexually assaulted.

    Police investigated the incident and a sketch of the suspect was released to the public. Police followed several leads but never named a suspect and the case went cold.

    In 2011, Lt. Art Weisgerber reviewed the case file and noted that some of the evidence might be suitable for DNA analysis that was not available in 1988.

    The evidence that was originally collected was brought to the Connecticut Forensic Laboratory in Meriden in August 2013.

    The lab was able to develop an offender DNA profile from the evidence. That profile was entered into the CT Offender DNA Database and received a hit on the DNA on October, 15, 2013.

    That hit identified Muniz as the offender. Norwalk police collected an additional DNA sample from Muniz. That DNA sample identified and confirmed Muniz as the potential offender.

    Muniz was taken into custody and charged with Kidnapping and Aggravated Sexual Assault. He is being held on a $500,000 bond and is scheduled to appear in Norwalk Superior Court on Dec. 16.


     


    Osvaldo MunizOsvaldo Muniz

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    Firefighters, including some from nearby towns, battled a three-alarm fire that destroyed an historical Church Saturday afternoon. 

    Crews found the 300-year-old First Congregational Church of Pomfret fully engulfed in flames. The church dates back to the 1700s. 

    The fire broke out at Church Road at around 1:30 p.m.  It took several hours for firefighters to get the fire under control. They were confronted with heavy smoke conditions.

    Pomfret Fire Chief Derek May said it appears the fire began on the first floor and they believe the building was unoccupied. There were no reported injuries.

    A concern for firefighters was the steeple of the church collapsing. When it did fall into the church, first responders made sure everyone stayed back.

    Reverend Thomas Crumb, pastor of the First Congregational Church of Pomfret, said he's extremely grateful to the firefighters and thankful that no one was injured.

    "This is an historic building. It's irreplaceable as a building, but it is just a building. And that is the most important thing to remember right now as sad as we are about it. the church is the people," said Crumb.

    A state fire marshal is investigating the cause of the blaze.

    Reverend Crumb said Pomfret School has offered its chapel to the congregation and that they will be worshiping there Sunday morning at 10.30 a.m.
     



    Photo Credit: Gary Osbrey -WINY

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    A Chicago bar sparked controversy with its plans for remembering Pearl Harbor.

    Murphy’s Bleachers, in the city's Wrigleyville neighborhood, posted a message to its marquee telling patrons to commemorate Pearl Harbor with drink specials.

    "Remember Pearl Harbor with bombs & kamikazes," the sign read, according to photos posted on Twitter.

    The sign quickly stirred up a controversy on social media. Some said the sign was "awful" and "terrible."

    The bar quickly amended the sign to read "Remember Pearl Harbor" and declined to comment, but later sent out a tweet apologizing.

    Another apology posted to the bar's Facebook read:

    "We couldn't be more embarrassed and ashamed by the actions of our staff this morning. The sign has been removed and we cannot start apologizing enough for the thoughtless disregard for decency."

    Another Twitter controversy was sparked after Spaghetti-Os asked its followers to "take a moment to remember Pearl Harbor with us" and included a picture of its mascot holding an American flag.

    The tweet prompted a wave of social media backlash and has since been deleted. The company later tweeted an apology.

    Saturday marked 72 years since the 1941 Japanese attack that launched the U.S. into World War II.

    Thousands gathered at Pearl Harbor to remember those killed in the attack that launched the U.S. into World War II.

    About 50 survivors returned to Pearl Harbor for the ceremony.
     



    Photo Credit: Paul Sullivan/Twitter

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