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    Three bodies were found and seven people were rescued after a boat capsized 75 miles northeast of West Palm Beach Thursday, officials said.

    Seven suspected migrants were seen atop the hull of a 24-foot center console vessel off the Florida coast at about noon, when Coast Guard officials said they were called to the scene.

    Rescuers are searching for two more people, officials said.

    Stay with us for updates.


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    About forty-five minutes southwest of Washington, D.C. sits Warrenton, Va., a small town with a very big connection to a famous bobsled team.

    George Fitch, one of the men behind the Jamaican bobsled team that inspired Disney's "Cool Runnings," has served as mayor of the northern Virginia town for the last 16 years.

    Portrayed by John Candy in the 1993 movie, Fitch's life before the creation of the bobsled team varied greatly from what was seen on-screen.

    "I was personally offended by the film because I'm not a disgraced Olympic bobsledder who's a drunk, who's spending the rest of my life in some pool hall. But that's Hollywood," Fitch told ESPN.

    In actuality, Fitch was an American businessman living in Jamaica, who after watching a local pushcart derby felt Jamaica's top sprinters would be a perfect match for bobsledding. After the sport's dangerous nature failed to win the country's Summer Olympians over, Fitch, along with William Maloney, held an open tryout for the 1988 Olympic Winter Games in Calgary, Alberta.

    The team's inspiring run went on to be adapted into the Disney film.

    In 1998, Fitch became mayor of Warrenton, Va., where he's currently serving his last term.

    But his team's legacy continues to inspire, as the popularity of the 1988 team and the more widely-known movie make evident today. Since qualifying for the 2014 Olympic Winter Games, supporters have helped make the team's trek to Sochi possible.

    Funding issues were the first hurdle the team faced, but they quickly raised the $178,000 needed to make the trip before telling fans and friends to stop donating. The delayed arrival of their equipment also hindered the team's first practice in the Russian resort town. The team's equipment eventually arrived, and they were able to practice on the second day of "unofficial" training. The Jamaicans are competing in the Winter Olympics for the first time since 2002.

    Perhaps this year's run will inspire a sequel. "Cool Runnings 2," anyone?

    The Associated Press contributed to this report.



    Photo Credit: Washington Post/Getty Images

    George Fitch (Photo by Tracy A. Woodward/The Washington Post/Getty Images)George Fitch (Photo by Tracy A. Woodward/The Washington Post/Getty Images)

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    Thursday marked the first day of competition at the Sochi Winter Olympics, and while the Opening Ceremony doesn’t happen until Friday, plenty of remarkable story lines emerged.

    Here are a few.

    America’s Alpine veterans are peaking

    In Thursday’s downhill training runs, two of Team USA's superstars, Bode Miller and Julia Mancuso, shone in what could be their final Olympics.

    Miller, 36 and racing in his fifth Winter Games, took an aggressive approach to Sochi’s Rosa Khutor course, beating Patrick Kueng of Witzerland by 0.03 seconds. Miller, who injured his knee on the same course two years ago, has been getting faster and faster this season, despite having lost quite a bit of weight. There are no medals for top finishes in training runs, but Miller, who already has a gold medal, three silver medals and a bronze medal from past Olympics, is signaling that he’s ready to challenge his younger rivals for one last gold.

    Mancuso, 29, is competing in her fourth Olympics, another milestone in a career that has already earned her a gold medal and two silver medals. On Thursday, skiing a difficult downhill course that has already been altered once, Mancuso finished third in the women’s trial run, behind Anna Fenninger of Austria and Fraenzi Aufdenblatten of Switzerland.

    Still, neither Miller nor Mancuso get the attention they used to. The focus has turned to younger Alpine teammates Ted Ligety and Mikaela Shiffrin. But the two veterans give no indication that they will fade out quietly.

    Beware the Russian skaters

    By many accounts, Russian figure skating is beginning to blossom, perhaps in a way not seen since the collapse of the Soviet Union. Thursday’s performances in the new team competition showed that could very well be the case.

    Former Olympic champion Evgeny Plushenko and reigning European pairs champions Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov delivered passionate, near-flawless routines in the opening two events, thrusting the Russians into first place. The home crowd roared with approval, as if tasting gold. There are still several rounds to go in the team competition, but momentum is clearly on the Russians’ side.

    And this is just the beginning. Still to come are the individual and pairs competitions, in which Russia has several legitimate medal contenders.

    Slopestyle goes on, without Shaun White

    American Shaun White, two-time snowboard gold medalist and an ambassador of the sport, dropped out of the new slopestyle competition a day before Thursday’s opening rounds. But the competition didn’t suffer.

    Under perfectly blue, windless skies, two of White’s teammates, Jamie Anderson and Karly Shorr, secured spots in Saturday’s finals in the women’s competition. Among the men, American Charles Guldemond missed the cut but still has a chance to earn one of four final spots. Many athletes have criticized the conditions of the course, but much of that was forgotten as organizers tweak the layout.

    Kearney is again the woman to beat on the bumps

    American freestyle skiier Hannah Kearney, the reigning Olympic champion in the women’s moguls competition, has 25 World Cup wins. She is 27 years old, more than a decade older than some of the teenagers she races against. But no matter. On Thursday, she showed why she remains the favorite to win another gold in Sochi.

    Kearney finished first in the qualifying round, scoring a 23.05 out of a possible 30 points. She’ll take on her closest nine rivals in a day of knockout rounds on Saturday. “I’ve never been in better shape,” she told NBC Olympics. “So bring it on.”

    Indeed.

    Sochi remains a work in progress

    Many journalists, and some athletes, have gone public to gripe about the substandard conditions in the Olympic Village: unfinished hotel rooms, mixed-up reservations, dirty water, broken doorknobs, missing soap and trash cans. The complaints have inspired a Twitter hashtag, #SochiProblems. Already, though, there has been a social media backlash, with critics suggesting that the complainers could be in much worse conditions than at the Winter Olympics at a tropical resort.



    Photo Credit: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

    Moguls champion Hannah Kearney finished first in Thursday's qualifying round in Sochi.Moguls champion Hannah Kearney finished first in Thursday's qualifying round in Sochi.

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    Nine members of the Connecticut Army National Guard bid farewell to their families and friends today and traveled to Fort Bliss, Texas, where they’ll finish training ahead of a nine- to 12-month deployment overseas.

    The 242nd Engineer Detachment left Bradley International Airport for Texas this afternoon, where they'll complete their training. After that, the unit will head to Southwest Asia as part of Operation Enduring Freedom, according to Col. John T. Wiltse of the Connecticut Army National Guard.

    This construction management team, based in Niantic, specializes in planning and managing engineering projects, Wiltse said.

    The unit includes a technical engineering specialist, horizontal construction sergeant, construction operations sergeant and public works construction management officer, according to Wiltse.

    The detachment will deconstruct and consolidate bases overseas and will also work to train Afghan National Army engineers.

    This is the unit’s first deployment since it received federal recognition in Sept. 2011. It has its roots in the former 242nd Engineer Battalion, a coastal artillery corps unit founded in Bridgeport in 1922, according to Wiltse.

    The 242nd Detachment is the first Connecticut Army National Guard unit to deploy in 2014.



    Photo Credit: Connecticut National Guard

    Gov. Dannel Malloy and Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman present the members of the Connecticut National Guard's 242d Engineer Detachment with a Connecticut flag to fly over their overseas duty location in Southwest Asia. The 242d is the first Connecticut Army National Guard unit to deploy overseas in 2014.Gov. Dannel Malloy and Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman present the members of the Connecticut National Guard's 242d Engineer Detachment with a Connecticut flag to fly over their overseas duty location in Southwest Asia. The 242d is the first Connecticut Army National Guard unit to deploy overseas in 2014.

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    Bridgeport police are asking for the public’s help in identifying the man who robbed a Rite Aid pharmacy  last week.

    Police said the suspect entered the Rite Aid at 1060 East Main Street in Bridgeport on Jan. 31 and displayed a weapon. He took an unknown amount of money and fled.

    According to surveillance footage, the robber was wearing a blue hooded sweatshirt, camouflage pants and a yellow cloth over part of his face.

    Anyone with information is asked to contact Bridgeport Police Det. James Borrico at 203-581-5294.



    Photo Credit: Bridgeport Police Department

    Bridgeport police are looking for the man who robbed a Rite Aid pharmacy Jan 31.Bridgeport police are looking for the man who robbed a Rite Aid pharmacy Jan 31.

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    Access Health CT will hold six free enrollment fairs starting this week to help residents sign up for insurance plans on the state's new health insurance exchange.

    Customers can meet with insurance brokers or certified assistants who will answer questions about coverage and help them to enroll in the appropriate plans.

    Access Health CT is a quasi-public agency created under the Affordable Care Act to help increase the number of insured residents in Connecticut.

    For more information and to register for the upcoming events visit learn.accesshealthct.com/events.

    • East Haven: Saturday, Feb. 8 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at First Congregational Church of East Haven, 251 Main Street
    • Manchester: Saturday, Feb. 8 from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Manchester Memorial Hospital Conference Room, 71 Haynes Street
    • Danbury: Monday, Feb. 10 from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Danbury Public Library Program Room, 170 Main Street
    • Meriden: Tuesday, Feb. 11 from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Meriden Public Library, Cook Room, 105 Miller Street
    • New Haven: Wednesday, Feb. 12  from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. at  AHCT New Haven Enrollment Center, 55 Church Street
    • Bridgeport: Thursday, Feb. 13 from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Bridgeport Public Library, 925 Broad Street

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    CVS announced Wednesday that its pharmacies will stop selling tobacco products.

    By Oct. 1, the chain will phase out cigarettes, cigars and chewing tobacco. It's a move that has some Connecticut residents fuming.

    "I disagree with it. People have a right to smoke," said Donna Brannick of Newington, who has been buying cigarettes at her local pharmacy. "I come here every day for cigarettes so they're definitely going to lose my money."

    CVS said this move will cost them money – $2 billion, in fact, because of lost cigarette sales.

    "I don't think it's a good business decision because they will lose money," said Juliana Teles, another Newington resident. "Sometimes people come just to buy a cigarette or tobacco and they buy something else too."

    The company has set an Oct. 1 deadline to stop selling cigarettes and tobacco products at its 7600 stores nationwide. The pharmacy giant said this decision positions them as a major player in the health care industry.

    "There are other drug stores that sell them so if they really want to smoke they'll find another convenience store to go so I don't think it'll be an issue," said Tony Scelazar of Newington.

    CVS said tobacco should not be sold where pharmacists and nurses work every day to help patients get well.

    A spokesperson said the move also won't hurt cigarette companies much, as drugstores account for only 4 percent of cigarettes sold.

    "I think in the long run less and less people are going to smoke as the years go on so I think it's a move you'll see most pharmacies going toward in the future," said Scelazar.

    Walgreens issued a statement saying it's also evaluating the possibility of making such a change.

    Sen. Richard Blumenthal applauded the decision as did the American Cancer Society.



    Photo Credit: AP

    CVS has announced that it will phase out tobacco products by Oct. 1.CVS has announced that it will phase out tobacco products by Oct. 1.

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    Days before more snow is expected to arrive in Connecticut, the salt shed at the Seymour Department of Public Works is getting replenished thanks to a shift in funds that covers the new materials.

    Seymour First Selectman Kurt Miller said $104,000 were moved from the town's fund balance to cover road treatment and overtime hours worked during and after snowstorms.

    Miller said Seymour's Board of Selectmen voted to declare a state of emergency through the storm expected to arrive this weekend.

    Under the town charter, it was the only way the funds could be moved out of the town's fund balance without requiring approval from the Board of Finance and a town meeting.

    “If that money is not spent, it falls immediately back to the bottom line, and goes immediately back to the fund balance,” said Miller.

    Miller said planning the snow budget is always a best guess scenario, and the town looks back five years to get an average of what should be spent.

    “Some years you're going to get a lot of snow, some years you're not. We try to limit the amount of taxes that people pay, so we put a certain amount in the budget every year with the understanding that we may need to come back and get more,” said Miller.

    New Haven also uses the five-year average. This year, city officials are hoping the Board of Aldermen will approve $3.5 million in bonding for new DPW trucks.

    “We think that the new trucks are calibrated and use computers to actually adjust the amount of salt and sand that actually can go on the streets, so hopefully, we'll be able to reduce the amount that we use,” said New Haven Mayor Toni Harp.

    New Haven already moved money this winter to cover materials and private contractors. Harp said that money is covering the snow clean up now, but it could be depleted if the storms continue.


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    All lanes on Interstate 91 southbound near exit 21 in Cromwell have reopened following a two-car crash.

    The left and center lanes were closed Thursday evening. LifeStar was called to the scene but canceled. It's not clear if anyone was injured.

    Check back for updates.



    Photo Credit: Shutterstock

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    People across Hartford spent hours on cleaning up after the snowstorm Wednesday night.

    Kumar Ramanan was one of dozens digging out. A foot of snow piled up on the driveway outside his Fairfield Avenue home. Ramanan said he spent the day shoveling.

    “I’m exhausted," Ramanan said. "It’s never ending it goes on and on."

    Crews worked non-stop to haul truckloads of snow from downtown Hartford parking lots in time for the Thursday morning commute.

    Plows were also out treating the roads.

    Getting around after the storm was a challenge for many, and many cars ended up stuck in the snow, including one on Maple Avenue.

    “It’s a little difficult," said driver Anthony Rodriguez. "You've got to take it easy on the roads.”

    Fabio Rosario was taking care of sidewalks at city schools. Kids would be back in a matter of hours and there was still a lot to do.

    "We've got to do it to keep the schools safe,” Rosario said.


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    Route 2 westbound has reopened between exits 8 and 10 in Glastonbury after a car fire shut down the highway this evening, according to state police and the Department of Transportation.

    It's not clear if anyone has been injured.

    No additional information was immediately available.



    Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

    Route 2 westbound is closed between exits 8 and 10 in Glastonbury due to a car fire.Route 2 westbound is closed between exits 8 and 10 in Glastonbury due to a car fire.

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    This time last year, gasoline prices were averaging close to $4 per gallon in Connecticut, and AAA expects the price per gallon to climb again this spring when refineries shut down for seasonal maintenance.

    According to AAA, last spring's prices reached between $3.85 and $4.05 per gallon. This year, AAA estimates prices could range from $3.55 to $3.75 per gallon, on average.

    Spokesperson Aaron Kupec said prices typically rise in the spring when maintenance on oil refineries cuts production and limits gasoline supplies.

    Residents say they're not looking forward to paying more at the pump.

    "Four dollars? It makes me stay home more," said Chris Savard, also of Waterbury.  "Makes it harder to go to work. It makes everything just harder."

    Connecticut gas prices are among the highest in the nation.



    Photo Credit: Getty Images

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    Many people have stories of driving behind tractor-trailers and having sheets of ice crash onto the highway in front of them – or worse, right into their lines of vision.

    "It just hit the windshield and scared me," said Aneasha Iverson of Waterbury.

    In an effort to prevent that from happening, Connecticut has adopted a law, nicknamed the "ice pellet" law, requiring snow and ice to be removed from all vehicles before they reach the highway. Violations are punishable by tickets of $120.

    Since New Year's Day, state police logged 86 such tickets. Sgt. John Netkovick wrote two early in the day Thursday, after a substantial storm dumped several inches on the state.

    "I found one car that had accumulated snow completely covering its rear window, and another with six to eight inches of snow on top of the car," Netkovick said.

    Authorities urge drivers to budget time to clear their cars and trucks after a storm.


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    We could probably write a book about the ins and outs of the Olympics — it's a unique event, especially the winter version. Instead, however, check out the answers to 11 burning questions as the Olympics get underway.

    What is the super-G?
    This race, along with the downhill, is classified as a speed event in Alpine skiing. It’s essentially a longer and faster version of the giant slalom. Designed to combine the speed of the downhill with the giant slalom’s technical aspects, the super-G made its Olympic debut in 1988.

    What does Nordic combined combine?
    Nordic combined consists of two events: Cross-country skiing and ski jumping. Within the discipline there are the normal hill, large hill and team events. The first two include one ski jump and a 10km cross-country race, while the team event has four skiers jump and then participate in a 4x5km cross-country relay.

    Why do curlers yell?
    Curling certainly has its quirks, from the funny pants (read: the Norwegians) to the brooms. But what’s with the yelling? After the skip (the team captain) releases each stone, he communicates to his sweepers on when to brush the ice. Sweeping makes the stone go faster and can even alter its course.

    Where did biathlon come from?
    Biathlon, which combines cross-country skiing and rifle-shooting, has its roots in Scandinavia. For centuries, hunters in the snow-covered corners of the Earth had to strap on a pair of skis, sling a rifle over their shoulders and head out to provide their family with food. In more recent history, military forces would deploy on skis in Sweden and Norway. Biathlon became an official Olympic sport in 1960.

    Do figure skaters ever get dizzy with all those spins?
    Newer skaters experience dizziness, which is why their coaches limit them to one or two revolutions when they spin. But elite and more experienced skaters are able to keep their balance and ward off dizzy spells by focusing on a fixed point when a spin ends. Since that’s not a foolproof solution, though, they often add a dance move of some sort — a jump, for example — after the spin to bridge them over to relative stillness. Like anything else, it’s all about practice.

    Why do skiers wear tight outfits?
    Alpine skiing is not a fashion contest, although gear designers come out with some pretty stylish stuff these days. These athletes, like swimmers, speed skaters, swimmers and cyclists, must be as aerodynamic as possible when they hit the slopes. The suits worn by top skiers these days are slippery, in that they create hardly any wind drag. They’re also seamless, which helps the skiers cruise down the mountain at speeds of 80 MPH and above.

    How high off the ground do ski jumpers get?
    Believe it or not, ski jumpers are never more than about 20 feet above the ground once they leave the ramp. The curve of the slope is similar to the in-run, so that as the jumpers are flying down the hill, the ground is never too far away.

    How do bobsledders train in the summer?
    Bobsled athletes must have strong legs and fast-twitching muscles to push their sled at the start of their run. When there’s no snow, they train on a push track. On a push track, a bobsled with wheels fits into a metal track, and the athletes work on pushing the sled as fast as possible.

    What are clap skates?
    Clap skates are what long-track speed skaters wear. The blades are longer than those on typical skates, and only the front of the blade is attached to the boot. That construction lets the blade stay on the ice longer, letting the skater get the maximum forward momentum out of each stride. As for the name? Once the rear portion of the hinged blade snaps back into place, it makes a “clap” sound.

    Clap skates are used only in long-track events, however. They aren't used in short track events because of safety reasons, since athletes race closer together and in large groups.

    How tall is a halfpipe?
    At its highest point, the halfpipe used for snowboarding and freestyle skiing is 22 feet tall. In case you were wondering, in Sochi, the top of the pipe stands at about 3,600 feet above seal level, giving them a pretty great view, even if they are upside down.

    How did the Olympics end up in Sochi?
    The bidding process for hosting the 2014 Winter Games officially started in 2005, when the potential cities had to submit their applications to the International Olympic Committee.

    Of the three cities in the final bidding process — Pyeongchang, South Korea; Salzburg, Austria; and Sochi — Sochi received 34 votes in the first round of voting and then 51 in the second to win the Games on July 4, 2007. Salzburg was eliminated after the first round of voting, and then Sochi edged Pyeongchang, 51 to 47, in the decisive vote.



    Photo Credit: AP

    Why don't Russian figure skaters Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov — shown here competing on Thursday, Feb. 6 in the team pairs short program competition in Sochi — get dizzy? Here's why.Why don't Russian figure skaters Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov — shown here competing on Thursday, Feb. 6 in the team pairs short program competition in Sochi — get dizzy? Here's why.

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    A Fairfield man has been arrested, accused of sexually assaulting a teenage autistic boy at his grandmother's wake in Stratford.

    A warrant was issued for Robert Purcell, 74, of Fairfield, charging him with second-degree sexual assault, fourth-degree sexual assault, indecent exposure and risk of injury to a minor.

    On Tuesday, he turned himself at the Stratford Police Department, posted a $100,000 bond and was released. 

    Police said the incidents are alleged to have occurred in Stratford at a local funeral home and a private residence.

    The arrest stems from an investigation initiated by the Wallingford Police Department, police said.

    Fairfield police arrested Purcell in January after Wallingford police reached out to them about a sexual assault there.

    Fairfield police said the child’s parents said they believed someone the family knew committed the crimes in Wallingford, and more crimes in Fairfield and Stratford.

    Wallingford police interviewed Purcell at the Fairfield Police Department and determined that he had assaulted the minor more than 12 times over four years, police said.

    Working with an inspector at the Bridgeport Superior Court, Wallingford Detectives and the State’s Attorney’s office in New Haven, Fairfield police they found evidence that Purcell had assaulted a boy in February 2011 at his Fairfield home, police said. It was described as the most serious of all the events, police said.

    Stratford police said detectives worked in conjunction with investigators from Wallingford and Fairfield.

    Purcell is due in court for pretrial hearings. He will appear in court on Feb. 10 for the Fairfield case and on Feb. 26 for the Wallingford case.
     


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    The Opening Ceremony in Sochi has yet to happen, and already the Russians have established themselves as an intimidating force on the ice.

    Former Olympic champion Evgeny Plushenko and reigning European pairs champions Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov delivered passionate, near-flawless routines in the opening two events of the figure skating team competition on Thursday, thrusting the Russians into first place and offering a taste of what could be many medal-worthy performances from the country over the next few weeks.

    Plushenko, who finished second with 91.39 in the men’s short program, and Volosozhar and Trankov, who won the pairs short program with 83.79, brought the home crowd at the Iceberg Skating Palace to its feet, taking adulatory laps around the rink following their routines. The crowd chanted their names and waved Russian flags, as if expecting gold.

    "It felt great. I feel so happy," Plushenko said afterwards.

    But it is still early in the team competition, one of 12 events added to the Winter Games this year, and there is plenty of time for Russia’s rivals to catch up. Competition continues on Saturday and concludes on Sunday.

    The team competition begins with 10 countries, who put forth representatives in men’s singles, women’s singles, pairs and ice dance. The short skate rounds come first, after which the top five countries move on for a round of free skates.

    Each individual score counts toward the team’s total, with the highest total winning gold.

    Closest to the Russians are the Canadians, no slouches themselves. Three-time world champion Patrick Chan finished third in the mens’ short program, followed by a solid second-place in the pairs short program from Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford. They trail the Russians by just two total points, 19 to 17.

    In third are the Chinese, with 15 total team points.

    The Americans are in seventh, largely due to a shaky routine from national champion Jeremy Abbot, who tumbled in his short skate.

    Abbott, trying to rebound from a ninth-place performance in Vancouver four years ago, started his routine flashing a competitive snarl. But within seconds, he’d lost his composure, falling on his first jump, and sliding into the boards. When he finished, he skated off the ice with his hands locked behind his head. After the judges delivered the verdict — a score of 65.65 — he hung his head.

    "There are times when you say you wish you could do it again, I feel that way now,” Abbott told reporters.

    In the pairs event, Marissa Castelli and Simon Shnapir performed respectably, stumbling on a side-by-side jumps and nailing a throw triple. They scored 64.24, their best of the season.

    The men's short skate also showcased a rising talent from Japan. Nineteen-year-old Yuzuru Hanyu, skating to a blues rock song, nailed all his jumps and complex footwork with the coolness of someone who thrives under pressure. He finished ahead of Plushenko, in first place with a 97.98, bowing to his coach and teammates.

    In the end, however, the focus, deservedly, was on the Russians, who are out to show that their skating program, which has faltered in recent years, is back.

    Nowhere was that more apparent than in the showing by Volosozhar and Trankov. They nailed a huge triple twist that sent her sailing and spinning above his arms. Then they landed a near-perfect side-by-side triple toe, followed by a huge throw triple loop.

    They received a roaring standing ovation, first place, at least for the day, assured.



    Photo Credit: AP

    Maxim Trankov and Tatiana Volosozhar's led Russia to first place in the opening rounds of the figure skating team competitionMaxim Trankov and Tatiana Volosozhar's led Russia to first place in the opening rounds of the figure skating team competition

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    African American police officers working in New Haven are outraged about a series of racially discriminatory incidents they say have happened within the department.

    The officers, along with the New Haven County Silver Shields, the New Haven Guardians and the National Association of Black Law Enforcement Officers gathered Thursday at New Haven City Hall to discuss the situation.

    The meeting was called after an incident last month during which a racial slur was reportedly transmitted over a police radio transmission.

    “It should be very clear that black officers are not just outraged over this one incident, that being the use of the N-word over the radio transmission,” said John Williams, an attorney representing the group. “Over the past 18 months, under Chief Esserman's administration, there has been a series of disturbing racially discriminatory incidents that range from blatant officer misconduct to acts of intimidation.”

    A statement from the group as a whole lists four separate racially discriminatory events dating as far back as the beginning of 2012, including the N-word incident.

    The first alleged incident occurred just six months into Esserman’s term as chief.

    A white male officer allegedly posted racially inflammatory comments on his personal Facebook page and also referred to a female lieutenant using a racial slur.

    According to the group, the officer was not reprimanded and was promoted to detective.

    Just three months ago, more than 30 officers were investigated by internal affairs after a Nazi swastika was found etched into the side of a city-owned police car that was parked in a secure police garage.

    Finally, a white male sergeant working the police department front desk allegedly made a sexually and racially insensitive comment to a male coworker in front of a black female civilian staff member.

    Group members say they are “outraged” with the past and current conditions that surround their day-to-day work place. They have asked that the chief and the city—mainly new mayor Toni Harp—give these issues their immediate attention.

    In response to the press conference, Esserman said  he welcomes working with any and all New Haven police officers to address the issues in a real, honest and direct way.

    “Racist behavior in any form of expression will not be tolerated in the New Haven police department neither to the citizens we serve or amongst one another in rank and file,” Esserman said in a statement. “Each case was and is very thoroughly investigated promptly. These issues are issues of racism and cultural sensitivity are real in America.”


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    A 59-year-old music teacher was gunned down opening the door of her Alexandria home Thursday. 

    According to police, an older man with gray hair and a beard knocked on the door of a home in the 2400 block of Ridge Road Drive just after 11:30 a.m. and opened fire when two women opened the door.

    Ruthanne Lodato, 59, was hospitalized in critical condition and later pronounced dead. She lived at the home, according to police. Another woman, around the same age, was shot in the arm and hospitalized with non-life threatening injuries.

    Police say she worked as a caretaker at the home for Lodato's elderly mother, who was also inside the home during the shooting but was not injured.  

    According to her online resume, Lodato worked as a music teacher and organ player in Northern Virginia for decades.

    The gunman remains on the loose. Police said they have not determined a motive for the shooting, and have added patrols in the neighborhood.

    The shooting occurred in a low-crime neighborhood of Alexandria, though several months ago, 69-year-old Ronald Kirby was gunned down inside his home. No arrest has been made, and police have said there were no signs of forced entry. 

    Kirby was the director of the department of transportation planning for the Council of Governments, an interstate association that helps counties around D.C. with development, growth and transportation planning. 

    In 2003, real estate agent and wife of Sheriff Jim Dunning, Nancy Dunning was gunned down inside her Del Ray home. No arrests have been made in her death.

    Stay with NBCWashington.com and News4 for the latest on this developing story.


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    In the latest battle over the separation of church and state, the ACLU of Southern California has filed a lawsuit challenging a decision by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors to restore a cross to the county's official seal.

    In the lawsuit filed Thursday in federal court, the ACLU claims adding the religious symbol violates the constitutional guarantee of the separation of church and state.

    Supervisors voted 3-2 last month to put a cross atop the seal's depiction of historic San Gabriel Mission.

    “Supervisors Antonovich and Knabe have attempted to get around our constitutional guarantee of separation of church and state by claiming that the cross is a symbol of history, not religion,” said Mark Rosenbaum, chief counsel of the ACLU SoCal. “But Mr. Antonovich and Mr. Knabe are historians in the same way SNL’s Father Guido Sarducci is a priest. These supervisors have exacerbated the constitutional slap at all religions by reinserting a Christian cross on the seal by means of a Pinocchio-style fib.”

    The original seal had a cross over the Hollywood Bowl, but it was removed when the seal was redesigned in 2004 after the ACLU threatened legal action.

    The latest redesigned seal went into effect on Friday.

    Knabe said in a statement that he was disappointed over what he called a “frivolous” lawsuit.

    “Our motion to add the cross to the County seal was in the name of historical correctness, not political correctness,” Knabe said.



    Photo Credit: LA County

    The LA County seal (left) depicts Mission San Gabriel without a cross. This seal was adopted in September 2004. Between 1957 and 2004, the LA County seal (right) had an image of a cross, which according to the LA County website, The LA County seal (left) depicts Mission San Gabriel without a cross. This seal was adopted in September 2004. Between 1957 and 2004, the LA County seal (right) had an image of a cross, which according to the LA County website, "represents the influence of the church and missions in California."

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    Police are looking for the man suspected of robbing a credit union in Enfield on Thursday.

    The man walked into the 360 Federal Credit Union at 385 Enfield Street around 2:15 p.m. and handed the teller a note asking for at least $3,000.

    According to police, the man left in a green and gray or silver Ford pickup truck and was last seen driving north on Route 5 toward I-91.

    No weapon was shown, police said.

    The man is described as being 6 feet to 6-feet two-inches tall and about 180 lbs.

    Police earlier said they were questioning a suspect in the case, but it was unclear if that person was involved.



    Photo Credit: Enfield Police Department

    Surveillance footage captured this image of the man who police say robbed an Enfield bank Thursday afternoon.Surveillance footage captured this image of the man who police say robbed an Enfield bank Thursday afternoon.

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