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    An MTA worker who stripped down to his underwear for the annual No Pants Subway Ride staged by Improv Everywhere was written up and reprimanded by a supervisor for engaging in "conduct unbecoming" even though he was off the clock when he participated in the January event, according to a published report.

    More than 4,000 people in New York, along with MTA motorman Christopher Chase, participated in the 13th Annual No Pants Subway Ride Jan. 12, according to Improv Everywhere. The event, where random passengers board trains in the middle of winter with gloves, hats and scarfs but no pants, is held in more than 60 cities worldwide each year, and New York city officials have continued to sanction it.

    According to the Daily News
    , a co-worker saw a picture of Chase on the 14th Street subway platform wearing a hooded sweatshirt, socks and green, white and blue briefs on Facebook and complained. The 39-year-old subway worker then was scolded by an MTA boss and told to vow in writing that it would not engage in similar conduct -- conduct that could tarnish the agency's reputation -- in the future.

    Chase, a 13-year MTA veteran, also had to review the MTA's code of conduct, the paper said. Within that code is the rule that he is alleged to have violated. It states employees must “avoid behavior which would tend to create adverse criticism of the Authority or of the System. Their conduct, whether on or off duty on System Property, is required to be such as to merit the confidence and respect of the public and their superiors.”

    But since Chase was off-duty -- he told the News he was on vacation -- when he participated in the event, union officials want any mention of a reprimand erased from his employment record. Transport Workers Union Local 100 lawyer Betzabeth Sanchez complained in a letter to the MTA that him getting written up was "plainly unreasonable" and violated his right to free speech, the News reported.

    MTA spokesman Kevin Ortiz confirmed to the News that Chase was written up, but said he "was not disciplined." He had no further comment to the paper other than, "We received a complaint and had to look into it."


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    South Main Street in Middletown was closed near Pameacha Avenue for around seven hours after a car hit a utility pole and then slammed into a liquor store around 11:30 p.m. on Wednesday.

    Police said a 32-year-old Middletown man was driving an Infinity FX  down South Main Street when he lost control of the car, struck and severed a pole and slammed into "The Wine Cellar," a liquor store.

    The driver was not seriously injured, but the crash caused extensive damage to the shop, according to police.

    The street reopened a little after 6:30 a.m.

    The cause of the crash is under investigation. Anyone who witnessed it is asked to call Middletown Police at (860) 638-4063.

     


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  • 04/03/14--09:08: Mayor of Winsted Resigns

  • Winsted Mayor Lisa Smith sent her resignation letter to the Selectmen this morning, according to officials at town hall, and the resignation is effective immediately.

    They said no reason was given. 

    The Register Citizen reports that Smith was elected for the first time in November.
     


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    Connecticut officials released new details about the state's first six medical marijuana dispensary facilities today, announcing the approval of sites in Branford, Bridgeport, Bristol, Hartford, South Windsor and Uncasville.

    The facilities can legally dispense Connecticut-produced marijuana products to seriously ill patients who have registered with the state’s Medical Marijuana Program. 

    Four marijuana producers received licenses in January. These six dispensary facilities were chosen from 27 applicants.

    The selected dispensary facilities are:

    • Arrow Alternative Care, Inc., at 92 Weston Street in Hartford
    • Bluepoint Apothecary, LLC, at 469 East Main Street in Branford
    • D & B Wellness, LLC, at 2181 Main Street in Bridgeport
    • Prime Wellness of Connecticut, LLC, at 75 John Fitch Boulevard in South Windsor
    • Thames Valley Apothecary, LLC, at 1100 Norwich-New London Turnpike (Route 32), in Uncasville
    • The Healing Corner, Inc., at 159 East Main Street in Bristol

    “With the selection of dispensary facilities, all necessary pieces of the medical marijuana program are in place and we are poised to provide patients with a safe and secure source of needed medicine,” Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection Commissioner William M. Rubenstein said. “As retail points from which products are dispensed and educational materials are provided to patients, the dispensary facilities will be the public face of Connecticut’s medical marijuana program, and therefore, careful thought and deliberation went into selection of the most qualified applicants.”


    These dispensaries must pay a $5,000 license fee and submit final documentation within 30 days. 

    All are expected to be ready to open and serve patients by the time marijuana products are available from licensed producers sometime this summer.
     


    Details on the first six Connecticut medical marijuana dispensary facilities were released today and they will be in Branford, Bridgeport, Bristol, Hartford, South Windsor and Uncasville.Details on the first six Connecticut medical marijuana dispensary facilities were released today and they will be in Branford, Bridgeport, Bristol, Hartford, South Windsor and Uncasville.

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    Mozilla's newly-appointed CEO Brendan Eich has stepped down following calls for him to resign over his support for California's anti-gay marriage bill Prop. 8.

    Mitchell Baker, Mozilla's board chairman, announced Eich's resignation in a blog post on Thursday.

    "Brendan Eich has chosen to step down from his role as CEO. He’s made this decision for Mozilla and our community," Baker said.

    Eich -- who created the JavaScript programming language -- came under fire for a $1,000 donation he made in 2008 to support Prop. 8.

    Eich's donation came under intense scrutiny over the last two weeks, and a number of people -- including Mozilla employees -- took to Twitter to criticize him. The dating site OKCupid joined the protest, calling for a boycott of the FireFox browser.

    "Mozilla prides itself on being held to a different standard and, this past week, we didn’t live up to it," Baker's post said. "We know why people are hurt and angry, and they are right: it’s because we haven’t stayed true to ourselves. We didn’t act like you’d expect Mozilla to act. We didn’t move fast enough to engage with people once the controversy started. We’re sorry. We must do better."

    The Guardian reported that Eich has "repeatedly refused to discuss his donation to the Proposition 8 campaign, saying that to do so would violate Mozilla’s principle of inclusiveness."

    “I agree with people who say it wasn't private, but it was personal,” he said of the donation in a Wednesday interview. “But the principle that I have operated by, that is formalised in our code of conduct at Mozilla, is it's really about keeping anything that's not central to our mission out of our office."

    The Guardian also reported that Eich donated thousands of dollars to Right Wing Republicans such as Ron Paul and Pat Buchanan in the 1990s.

    In a March 26 post on his website, Eich addressed lingering concerns about his stance on marriage equality.

    "I am deeply honored and humbled by the CEO role. I’m also grateful for the messages of support," Eich said. "At the same time, I know there are concerns about my commitment to fostering equality and welcome for LGBT individuals at Mozilla. I hope to lay those concerns to rest, first by making a set of commitments to you. More important, I want to lay them to rest by actions and results."

    Eich went on to detail Mozilla's commitment to inclusiveness, adding that he was committed to ensuring that "Mozilla is, and will remain, a place that includes and supports everyone, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, age, race, ethnicity, economic status, or religion."

    In her post, Baker underlined the importance of "diversity and inclusiveness."

    "Mozilla supports equality for all," she said. "While painful, the events of the last week show exactly why we need the web. So all of us can engage freely in the tough conversations we need to make the world better."

    Twitter immediately reacted to news of Eich's resignation, with some asking asking whether the resignation was the best way to address the issue.

    Others hailed the power of "clicktivism," praising OKCupid for its call to action.


    Brendan Eich.Brendan Eich.

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    John Rowland has resigned from his WTIC AM radio show, effective immediately.

    He made the announcement at the end of his show tonight.

    The radio station released a statement, saying he would be “leaving his show to take care of some personal issues.”

    This comes two days after Gov. Dannel Malloy said he believes former Gov. Rowland should be taken off his afternoon radio show in light of a new corruption scandal, but Rowland was on the air on Tuesday afternoon.

    On Tuesday, Rowland said he would not be discussing the federal probe.

    The former candidate, Lisa Wilson-Foley, and her husband, Brian Foley, pleaded guilty in a scheme that authorities say involved creating a fictitious contract for work with Foley's nursing home company.
    Rowland resigned as governor amid another scandal in 2004.

    “We accept Mr. Rowland’s decision to step down at this time.  Pastor Will will take over the 3-6 show beginning on Monday,” a statement from the station says.

     


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    An online petition is demanding that the military reconsiders its most recent guidelines regarding soldier appearance, saying the new rules for hair length discriminate against women of color who choose to wear natural hairstyles.

    Under the new guidelines, certain styles are prohibited because, according to the military, they can interfere with headgear and other equipment.

    For example, women in uniform cannot wear locks and twists, dreadlocks, buns or braids with loose hair at the end or multiple braids not braided in a straight line.

    "These new changes are racially biased, and the lack of regard for ethnic hair is apparent," the petition charges. "This policy needs to be reviewed prior to publishing to allow for neat and maintained natural hairstyles."

    Stylist Deborah McCampbell knows firsthand the struggle between trying to balance a professional look that is within military regulations while at the same time, keeping a style that’s efficient for busy women and not too expensive.

    “I really understand the plight, you know. It is a struggle,” McCampbell told NBC 7 San Diego.

    She offered to put the petition in her San Diego salon as a show of support.

    The petition was created March 20 and needs approximately 89,000 people to sign it to reach the goal of 100,000 by April 19.

    According to The Grio, an Alabama woman who serves in the Georgia National Guard launched the online effort.

    “I’ve been in the military six years, I’ve had my hair natural four years, and it’s never been out of regulation. It’s never interfered with my head gear,” Sgt. Jasmine Jacobs told the Army Times.

    McCampbell agrees, saying that natural hair can and should be considered a professional look.

    For African-American women, natural hair length needs to be longer than what's considered regulation for short hair (2 inches from the scalp), according to the stylist.

    “What is the problem with our natural hair?” she asks. “It’s not straight by nature. It comes in curly.”

    “When you’re telling me this is not acceptable, you’re telling me I’m not acceptable,” she said, referring to her curls.

    The Grio also points out that many women serving overseas don't have access to the chemicals and procedures to straighten or relax hair.

    One customer in McCampbell's salon said she was newly natural and can sympathize with those women who may be having difficulties with the new regulations.

    “I can’t imagine having to be put in a box or compared to other people who might have a different hair texture,” she said.

    Army spokesman Paul Prince told the Army Times that grooming guidelines are necessary to maintain military uniformity.

    “When you start censoring a person of who they are, then they can’t be who they're supposed to be,” McCampbell said. “Serving my country should not be about me having to be disrespected for who I am."


    The need to wear specific headgear is one of the reasons for uniformity in hair styles, according to an Army spokesperson.The need to wear specific headgear is one of the reasons for uniformity in hair styles, according to an Army spokesperson.

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    At least two tornadoes have been confirmed to have touched down in North Texas Thursday as severe thunderstorms push across the Metroplex.

    The tornado was spotted on the ground at about 7:40 p.m. in Farmersville along state Highway 78 by members of the Farmersville Fire Department. 

    NBC 5 has received reports of power flashes east of Farmersville after the tornado is believed to have passed by.  NBC 5's Randy McIlwain, who is chasing behind the storm, reported spotting some light damage in Farmersville, lightning and power flashes.

    A few minutes before, at about 7:30 p.m. a tornado was confirmed to have touched down near Princeton, though the severity of damage and injuries are not yet known.

    Farther to the west, in Denton County, a second round of severe weather led to officials issuing a flash flood warning and a severe thunderstorm warning.

    In the southern part of the Metroplex, a strong storm pushed northeast out of Parker and Hood counties and into Tarrant and Johnson counties.

    A tornado watch remains in effect until 9 p.m. for much of the Metroplex, but NBC 5 Meteorologist Rick Mitchell expects that to be extended.

    Earlier in the evening NBC 5 storm spotters reported hail ranging in size from quarter-sized to softball-sized, including some that shattered car windows in Denton. (Photos are available in the slideshow to the left.)

    The Denton County Sheriff's Office and National Weather Service retracted a previous report that the storm spawned a tornado that touched down near Krum. There have been no reports of significant injuries or damage in the area.

    As the first wave of the storm passed through Denton County, the Denton Municipal Airport recorded gusts of 82 mph; that wind speed is equivalent to an F0 tornado.

    Refresh this page for the latest weather information.

    NWS Issues Tornado Watch Until 9 P.M.

    The National Weather Service placed much of North Texas under a tornado watch until 9 p.m. Thursday.

    The Tornado Watch includes 41 Texas counties including the following in North Texas: Bosque, Collin, Cooke, Dallas, Denton, Ellis, Erath, Fannin, Grayson, Hill, Hood, Hunt, Johnson, Kaufman, Navarro, Palo Pinto, Parker, Rockwall, Somervell, Tarrant and Wise.

    The watch extends into Northeast and Central Texas.

    Get up-to-the-minute weather information in our Weather app, available for iOS and Android. Click here for more information and to download.

    Finfrock said Thursday afternoon that though the Tornado Watch is in effect until 9 p.m., the threat for DFW will end at about 7 p.m.

    Finfrock added that a cold front will arrive Thursday evening and bring cooler temperatures tonight through the upcoming weekend. Another chance of rain will return Saturday night into Sunday.

    A Fire Weather Warning has been issued Erath, Hood, Somervell and Comanche counties until 8 p.m. due to strong winds and low humidity. Any fire that develops is expected to spread rapidly and will have the potential to endanger lives and property.



    Photo Credit: NBC 5 News

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    Firefighters from several fire departments have been battling a huge fire at a tire business at Taylor and Albert streets in Torrington, Conn. for hours and expect to be at the scene until tomorrow.

    Around 100 residents have been evacuated as a precaution. The mayor safety is the important thing and has urged people to stay in their homes and keep the windows closed.

    The fire is started this morning at a warehouse that houses tires for Toce Brothers and O and G Industries in Torrington. The fire was about 85 percent contained as of 3 p.m. and much of the building has collapsed, Fire Chief Gary Brunoli said. 

    Brunoli said a company is monitoring the air in all areas south of the fire.

    Officials from the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection said the water runoff from battling the fire is impacting the Naugatuck River.

    DEEP officials said they have deployed three foam trailers because plastics act like flammable liquids when they burn.

    There is an "extremely minor" sheen and some solid debris, according to DEEP, and they are using booms.

    Mutual aid was brought in from several communities to help put the fire out. Twenty departments are assigned to the fire, 16 of which are working in the city.

    Officials said no injuries are reported. Crews expect to remain at the scene until this evening.

    The Southwest School in Torrington is being affected. They have cancelled afternoon kindergarten and the students from morning kindergarten will remain in the building until this afternoon.

    Home on Lewis, Albert and Barrins streets have been evacuated and people have been brought to the Coe Park Civic Center as a precaution because of air quality.

    Fortunately, five homes within 20 feet of the fire have not been damaged.

    Several roads are closed in the area and police are asking drivers and pedestrians to avoid the area so emergency vehicles have the access they need.

    The cause of the fire is under investigation.

     


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    Classes have resumed on the UConn campus in Storrs, Conn. after determining that a bomb threat to the admissions building this morning was not credible.

     

    School officials said a caller made a threat about a bomb. The building was evacuated this morning and a campus alert was issued.

    Then, as police investigated, they determined that the threat might have involved a firearm, which led to school officials advising people on campus to shelter in place. 

    After sweeping the building, the threat was deemed not to be credible and normal operations resumed.

    As emergency crews were investigating, UConn asked faculty, staff and students traveling to campus to stay away.

    Police continue to investigate and ask anyone with information about the threat to call UConn police at 860-486-4800. 


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    Police are investigating an armed robbery caught on camera Wednesday afternoon and are using the surveillance video to try and identify a suspect.

    Police said the robbery took place at the Hess Gas Station at 345 Elm Street just after 1:00  p.m. 

    According to authorities, a manager was leaving the store to make a bank deposit when a masked man forced her back in at gunpoint and took the money.

    No one was injured during the robbery. Police said the suspect fled in a dark colored, four- door vehicle with chrome trim around the windows.

    Anyone with information is urged to contact West Haven Police Detectives at 203-937-3905, or text a tip. Anyone providing information can remain anonymous.

     




    Photo Credit: West Haven Police Department

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    SELF magazine is getting a new editor-in-chief, Condé Nast has announced, just one week after a huge public backlash over the magazine bashing a cancer survivor’s tutu.

    In a news release Thursday, Condé Nast announced that Joyce Chang will take over as editor-in-chief of SELF on May 1. Chang, who was previously executive editor at Cosmopolitan, will replace Lucy Danziger.

    The company did not give a reason for the change.

    Danziger led the magazine’s public apology to San Diego runner and cancer survivor Monika Allen.

    In the April issue of SELF, a picture of Allen running a marathon in a tutu appeared on the magazine’s “BS Meter.” Allen gave SELF permission to use the photo, which also pictures friend Tara Baize, not knowing the magazine would use it to poke fun.

    What the magazine did not mention is that Allen makes the tutus and sells them to benefit the Girls on the Run charity in San Diego. Further, Allen has brain cancer and ran that L.A. marathon, dressed up as Wonder Woman, while going through chemotherapy treatments.

    After what Twitter dubbed as #tutugate, Danziger issued several apologies promising change. She said SELF would be getting rid of the "BS Meter" after the May issue.

    The public outrage started after NBC 7 San Diego first reported Allen's story on March 26. Angry readers took to Twitter and inundated SELF magazine's Facebook page.

    Allen's tutu company Glam Runner went from a little more than 1,000 Facebook likes before the story broke to now nearly 37,000. The publicity also led to $5,000 in donations for Girls on the Run, Allen said in a phone interview with NBC 7 on Thursday.

    "I had no intention for anyone to lose their job. I just wanted an apology, which I received," Allen said in response to Danziger's departure, which Condé Nast has not linked to the tutu backlash.

    Allen also said she's happy to see the magazine do away with the "BS Meter" feature.

    "It's just not good for a self-empowerment publication," she said.

    Vice president and publisher Laura McEwen will also be leaving SELF magazine, according to the news release.


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  • 04/04/14--03:55: 3 Die of Meningitis in LA

  • A day after health officials said at least eight cases of the most dangerous form of meningitis hit Los Angeles County since January, officials reported that three men died from it.

    The three men, between 27 and 28, who died, contracted meningitis through sexual contact with other men, officials said. They were HIV positive.

    Half the confirmed eight cases were among gay men, according to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.

    Of the remaining five, four have recovered. The condition of one is still unknown.

    Invasive meningococcal disease, or IMD, is highly contagious and is the most severe form of meningitis, health officials said.

    The health department came under fire when asked why officials hadn't reported that three men had died in the rash of cases this year.

    "If people at home knew that these infections ended in fatalities, I think it would ramp up their interest, and perhaps urgency, of seeking out information about the disease," said Ged Kenslea, a spokesman for the AIDS Healthcare Foundation.

    Health officials said they were not hiding anything. They said they only wanted to urge gay and bisexual men to get the meningococcal vaccine regardless of HIV status, especially those who share cigarettes, marijuana or use illegal drugs, officials said.

    Symptoms may include:

    • High fever
    • Stiff neck
    • Altered mental state
    • Skin rash
    • Severe headache
    • Low blood pressure
    • Aversion to bright lights
    • General muscle pain

    Symptoms usually occur within 5 days of the exposure, but may present as many as 10 days after exposure. The disease progresses rapidly and officials urge immediate diagnosis and treatment.

    People who do not have health insurance can get free vaccinations through the health department beginning Thursday.

    For a listing of clinics, call the LA County Information Line at 211 or visit http://publichealth.lacounty.gov/.


    Invasive meningococcal disease, or IMD, is highly contagious and is the most severe form of meningitis, health officials said.Invasive meningococcal disease, or IMD, is highly contagious and is the most severe form of meningitis, health officials said.

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    A downstate Illinois soldier was among the victims killed in Wednesday's Fort Hood shooting.

    U.S. Army Sgt. Timothy Owens, 37, an Effingham native, was fatally shot in the chest during the attack. He was working as a counselor at the time of the shooting.

    Owens' mother, Mary Louise Muntean, said she called Owens' wife when she first saw news of the shooting on TV. She was initially told her son was in the hospital, but later learned the terrible news that he had passed.

    "I can't believe this has happened. I just can't. I just talked to him Sunday night," Muntean said.

    Owens had recently remarried and was the father of two teens.

    Muntean said she always worried that her son would get hurt when he was stationed in places like Kuwait, but never dreamed he'd be a victim of violence on home soil.

    "I'm very proud of him because he was fighting for our country," Muntean said.

    Three people died and 16 were wounded when an Iraq war veteran who suffered from mental health issues opened fire on fellow service members before committing suicide, authorities said. The attack was the latest mass shooting at the post since a 2009 massacre that left 13 people dead.

    Texas Rep. Michael McCaul, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee identified the shooter as Ivan A. Lopez. But the congressman offered no other details.

    Officials said there was no indication the shooting was terrorism-related. The gunman's motive remained unknown, officials said, although NBC News reported that the rampage may have resulted from an argument with other soldiers in the motor pool.

    Fort Hood covers a total of 340 square miles and supports multiple units, a corps headquarters and a robust mobilization mission. It is home to two full divisions, the 1st Cavalry Division and 4th Infantry Division (Mechanized) and 12 additional units.

    Around 50,000 soldiers work at Fort Hood, and there are an additional 150,000 civilians who support the base.

    The post is about 60 miles north of the capital city of Austin, 50 miles south of Waco, 160 miles south of Dallas and 150 miles north of San Antonio.


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    State police have arrested two people who they said were trying to sell stolen firearms, including an assault weapon.

    Police said a state trooper “developed information” that Chaz J. St. George, 25, of Griswold, a convicted felon who should not have weapons, and a woman were looking to sell AR-15-style rifles that were in the car they were driving.

    Police approached the St George and Falicia Viscione, 20, of Montville, as they were walking to a car on Thursday and determined that two rifles were in the back passenger compartment of the car, according to a news release from state police.

    One of the rifles was an assault rifle, state police said.

    St. George and Viscione had allegedly taken them from one of her acquaintances without the person knowing, according to police.

    Troopers took St. George and Viscione into custody.

    Both were charged with firearms trafficking, possession of an assault weapon, weapons in a vehicle and stealing a firearm.

    St. George was also charged with two counts of sale/transfer of an assault weapon. He was held on $100,000 bond and is due in court in Norwich today.

    Visicone was also charged with one count of sale/transfer of an assault weapon, conspiracy/discussion/intent/act toward commission of a crime and attempt to commit a crime.

    She was released on a non-surety bond and is due in court in Norwich on April 17.

    State police ask anyone with information to call Troop E in Montville at 860-848-6500.



    Photo Credit: Connecticut State Police

    Police said two people have been arrested, accused of trying to sell stolen guns.Police said two people have been arrested, accused of trying to sell stolen guns.

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    The Hamden Police Department was temporarily evacuated and people were asked to avoid the area of Dixwell and Whitney avenues in Hamden after someone brought a mortar shell in to police headquarters.

    Police said someone was trying to turn the mortar shell into police.

    The shell was moved outside the building and the Connecticut State Police Bomb Squad responded.

    The scene is clear and traffic can flow as normal.  


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    Those cronut dreams will have to wait: The Health Department closed the SoHo bakery that makes the trendy pastries for a "severe mouse infestation."

    The department investigated after a video posted on YouTube by Dominique Ansel Bakery patron Cody Pickrodt showed a little mouse scurrying across the floor of the Spring Street store as employees kneaded dough and prepared orders behind the counter. 

    The bakery was closed Friday afternoon for a "severe mouse infestation that requires professional pest control services," according to the Health Department. 

    The bakery plans to re-open Monday after extermination, said spokeswoman Amy Ma. She said any whole larger than a ballpoint pen is considered "not vermin proof."

    Pickrodt told Gothamist the mouse "ran all over the place in plain view for a good 20 seconds" before he started shooting the video. He said the employees seemed to be aware of the mouse, but kept working. 

    He told the website he tried to show the critter to a couple waiting in line behind him, but they didn't believe him. When he showed them the video he took, he said they left the store.

    An official statement from the bakery that started croissant-doughnut hybrid craze says:  

    "As a small one-shop bakery, we often feel like we're being looked at under a tremendous microscope. The news was dramatically sensationalized. A lot of time people don't see the larger ramifications of their actions and how a tiny video of a mouse running across the screen for 3 seconds can cause harm and damages to an honest, small business that people's livelihood depends on."

    Ma told NBC 4 New York that staff spent seven hours cleaning the store Thursday and found just the one mouse. She said cleanliness is of utmost importance and the shop has received nothing but As on its health inspections in the nearly three years it's been open.   

    Ma also said she wished the customer who filmed the video had notified an employee so the issue could have been addressed more swiftly to "help improve the experience for all our guests rather than try to make a news story about it." 
     



    Photo Credit: Getty Images

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    Chicago Transit Authority officials on Friday moved to fire the operator of a Blue Line train that crashed into O'Hare International Airport as they almost simultaneously announced changes in the scheduling of rail operators.

    Eight of the 32 passengers who were injured in the March 24 crash that had an eight-car train catapulting out of a rail pocket and onto an escalator have since filed lawsuits against the transit agency.

    A termination notice was delivered to Brittney Haywood Friday morning, NBC 5 INVESTIGATES learned. That termination is effective immediately.

    Haywood was fired because "she incurred two serious safety violations in the short time she has been an operator," the CTA said. Two serious violations is subject to discipline, up to and including termination, according to the collective bargaining agreement.

    Haywood admitted she nodded off moments before the crash. She also dozed off while operating a train in February and passed the station at Belmont on the Blue Line.

    Amalgamated Transit Union Local 308 president Robert Kelly has publicly defended Haywood and blamed the way the CTA schedules motormen as a factor in the crash. The union vowed to fight efforts to terminate Haywood.

    Haywood's schedule changed every day, and she was required to call in to find out about her upcoming shift. CTA officials said Haywood worked 55 hours in the seven days prior to the crash but had 18 hours off before that shift. Union officials disputed that, saying she'd worked 69 hours in the week prior.

    As a result, the CTA on Friday proposed changes in the way rail operators would be scheduled.

    Among the proposed changes:

    • Operators would only be allowed a maximum of 12 hours of actual train operations in a 14-hour time period. There currently is no maximum.
    • The minimum rest time between shifts would increase from eight hours to 10 hours.
    • Rail operators would be mandated to have at least one day off in any seven day period. There currently is no limit.
    • New train operators would be limited to 32 hours of train operation per week for their first year of duty. There currently is no limit.

    Haywood had been working as a motorman for about 60 days before the crash. She started with the CTA last year as a flag operator. She worked both jobs for the transit agency, depending on manpower needs.

    The crash took the station out of commission for commuters for six days. NTSB investigators said an emergency stop system activated properly but failed to stop the Blue Line train. The crash caused an estimated $6 million in equipment damage.


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    Former President George W. Bush said Russia's President Vladimir Putin sees the United States as its enemy and he tried to convince Putin to change his opinion while president.

    “I got to know him very well,’’ Bush told his daughter and “Today” correspondent Jenna Hager Bush on Friday’s show. “I had a good relationship throughout. It became more tense as time went on.”

    He added: “Although he wouldn’t say that, I felt he viewed the world as either U.S. benefits and Russia loses, or vice versa. I tried to, of course, dispel him of that notion.”

    Bush, who found painting as his new passion after leaving the White House in 2009, painted a portrait of Putin and 23 other world leaders. Those paintings will go on display Saturday as part of the exhibit "The Art of Leadership: A President's Personal Diplomacy” at the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum on the campus of Southern Methodist University in Dallas.

    On “Today,” Bush also recounted a meeting with Putin he thought revealed a lot about the former KGB officer.

    “As you know, our dear dog Barney, who had a special place in my heart — Putin dissed him and said, ‘You call it a dog?’’’ Bush told Hager. “A year later, your mom and I go to visit and Vladimir says, ‘Would you like to meet my dog?’ Out bounds this huge hound, obviously much bigger than a Scottish terrier, and Putin looks at me and says, ‘Bigger, stronger and faster than Barney.’

    Bush said he “just took it in” and didn’t react.

    “I just said, ‘Wow. Anybody who thinks ‘my dog is bigger than your dog’ is an interesting character.’ And that painting kind of reflects that,” Bush said.

    The exhibit is Bush’s first as an artist, and also includes portraits of his father, former President George H. W. Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair, as well as artifacts, photographs and personal reflections. It runs through June 3.

    "I don't think he has [seen it],'' Bush said about Blair’s portrait. "No telling how these people are going to react when they see their portrait. I think I told Tony I was painting him, but he kind of brushed it off, so to speak.

    "He said, 'You painted my portrait?' I hope he likes it. I like it because it conveys a compassionate person and a strong person and a reliable friend."

    Bush said his favorite portrait to paint was that of this dad.

    "I watched him very carefully through his presidency," Bush said. I always admired him as a man. It was a joyful experience to paint him. I painted a gentle soul."

    Bush said former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, also a painter, was his inspiration to pick up a brush and hire an instructor.

    "She said, 'What's your goal?' and I said, 'Well, there's a Rembrandt trapped in this body,''' Bush said. "Your job is to unleash him."

    “Has she?” Hager asked.

    “Time will tell,” Bush replied.



    Photo Credit: TODAY

    Former president George W. Bush unveiled his paintings of world leaders during an interview with daughter Jenna Bush Hager on TODAY.Former president George W. Bush unveiled his paintings of world leaders during an interview with daughter Jenna Bush Hager on TODAY.

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    A 16-year-old Riverside Academy student died on Friday morning, hours after being shot in the head in New Haven.

    Police identified the victim as Torrence Gamble, 16, of New Haven.

    New Haven police spokesman Officer David Hartman said the shooting happened just after 9:30 p.m. on Thursday on Daggett Street.

    Gamble had been shot once and was unresponsive when police and emergency medical technicians arrived, police said.

    He was rushed to Yale-New Haven Hospital, went into surgery and died at 3:15 a.m. on Friday.

    Gamble is the second teen killed in a shooting in New Haven in two weeks.

    Taijhon Washington, 17, of New Haven, was killed in a shooting near an elementary school in the area of Butler and Lilac streets on Monday, March 24.

    Mayor Toni Harp is meeting with high school principals today to try to come up with ways to stop this from happening.

    The New Haven Police Department Major Crimes Division and Bureau of Investigation are investigating.

    Anyone with information about the case should call  the Investigative Services Division at 203-946-6304 to speak with a detective. You can call anonymously.

     

     

     




    Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

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