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    Six inmates who served time in a Southern California jail are seeking $150 million each in a lawsuit, alleging deputies beat and tortured them in a lockup last year, according to a federal lawsuit filed this week.

    The plaintiffs allege they were subjected to electric shocks to their genitalia, were deprived of sleep, had shotguns placed to their heads and were sodomized.

    The inmates said in court documents that they were handcuffed with their arms behind their backs, causing extraordinary pain while they were jailed at the West Valley Detention Center in Rancho Cucamonga between Jan. 1, 2013, and March of this year, the lawsuit said.

    "The conduct of the defendants was willful, malicious, sadistic and designed to inflict pain and suffering upon the plaintiffs," court documents said.

    They are seeking millions of dollars. Named in the lawsuit are San Bernardino County Sheriff John McMahon, Jeff Rose, the commander of the West Valley Detention Center, and Deputy B. Teychea.

    Jodi Miller, a Sheriff's spokeswoman, said the county will respond in court once officials have been served with the lawsuit.

    "The department and the FBI are in full cooperation in order to ensure a comprehensive investigation  is completed," she said. 

    In April, the FBI launched its own investigation into alleged civil rights abuses at the jail, officials said.

    McMahon said in a statement at the time that members of the Sheriff’s Department command staff received information about possible misconduct by department personnel at the West Valley Detention Center and launched an investigation.

    "As department officials delved into the issue deeper, they learned of a similar inquiry by the Federal Bureau of Investigation," the Sheriff said.

    He said the allegations are being taken seriously.

    "I will not tolerate any misconduct by department personnel," he said.


    The West Valley Detention Center in Rancho Cucamonga, California.The West Valley Detention Center in Rancho Cucamonga, California.

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    Manchester police are searching for the people who pistol-whipped and tied up workers at a pawn shop in Manchester this morning.

    Police responded to the Silk City Exchange pawn shop at 634 Center St, in Manchester at 10 a.m. on Thursday to investigate the report of an armed robbery.

    Police said robbers, armed with guns, went into the shop as workers opened, pistol-whipped one employee, tied the workers up and stole money from the safe.

    The robbers then ran down Olcott Street.

    Anyone with information about the robbery and attack should call police at (860) 645-5510.
     



    Photo Credit: Manchester Police

    Police are looking for the people who robbed a Manchester pawn shop and pistol-whipped an employee.Police are looking for the people who robbed a Manchester pawn shop and pistol-whipped an employee.

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    A Massachusetts police trooper on Thursday cited a driver for traveling in the carpool lane with what appeared to be a mannequin in the passenger seat.

    The vehicle was traveling northbound on Route 93 in Quincy, Massachusetts, when the trooper discovered the driver had propped up a work jacket with a mannequin head to create the appearance of a passenger, New England Cable News reported.

    The driver of the vehicle was cited for operating on an excluded way.

    Drivers are permitted to drive in the carpool lanes -- known as HOV lanes -- if the vehicle is carrying at least two people.

    For more New England coverage, visit NECN.com.



    Photo Credit: Mass. State Police

    The trooper discovered  driver had propped up a work jacket with a mannequin head to create the appearance of a passenger.The trooper discovered driver had propped up a work jacket with a mannequin head to create the appearance of a passenger.

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    President Barack Obama touched down in the Bay Area Thursday as part of a two-day visit to attend campaign fundraisers and discuss energy efficiency.

    The president arrived at Moffett Field in Mountain View just after 4 p.m. PT after visiting Southern California.

    From there, Obama traveled to a roundtable discussion for the Democratic National Committee at a private residence in Los Altos and a fundraiser at the Fairmont Hotel at 170 S. Market St. in San Jose, according to the White House.

    The visit marks Barack Obama’s 17th visit to the Bay Area during his presidency.

    Obama was greeted by protestors as he arrived at the Fairmont Hotel at 6:38 p.m. Members of the group 350 Silicon Valley were on hand to call on the president to reject plans for the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, a controversial project opposed by environmental groups.

    Other demonstrators wanted to put an end to "drone warfare."

    On Friday, Obama will visit a Walmart in Mountain View to talk about the importance of energy efficiency. The retail giant employs 1.3 million Americans and has been criticized for low pay and opposing labor unions.

    Walmart has been telling customers the company is working on saving energy.

    The speech is scheduled to begin at about 10 a.m.

    Walmart employee Pam Marley plans to attend Friday's visit. She is hoping to hand Obama a letter she wrote about what it's like living pay check to pay check in the Silicon Valley.

    Marley said Walmart's low wages, inadequate benefits and unreliable work hours make it tough to get by.

    Protesters from "Raise the Wage Mountain View Coalition" also plan to attend Obama's Walmart visit. The group said it does not make sense for a president who is supporting an effort to raise minimum wage to have a photo opportunity at Walmart.

    After visiting Walmart, Obama will depart the Bay Area from Moffett Field later that morning, White House officials said.

    Obama during his Bay Area visit also is scheduled to be the guest of honor at two fundraisers for the Democratic National Committee.

    One fundraiser is an exclusive round table event in Los Altos with a $32,400 per person price tag for attendees.

    The other fundraiser will be held in Mountain View, with tickets for the event starting at $1,000 and ending up to $32,000 a piece.

    Bay Area commuters should anticipate traffic backups as a result of the president's visit.

     

     

    Bay City News contributed to this report.



    Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area

    President Obama shakes hands with people on hand to greet him at Moffett Field in Mountain View, Thursday, May 8, 2014.President Obama shakes hands with people on hand to greet him at Moffett Field in Mountain View, Thursday, May 8, 2014.

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  • 05/09/14--07:45: Family Sues Vet for $1M

  • A Fort Worth couple filed a $1 million lawsuit against the vet who secretly kept their dog alive for six months after he was supposed to have been euthanized due to a diagnosed congenital spine defect; a defect another vet says the dog never suffered from.

    In their lawsuit, Jamie and Marian Harris allege their vet, Millard Lucien "Lou" Tierce III, DVM, said he had discovered in an X-ray that the dog had a birth defect that could not be fixed. The couple, after consulting with the vet at his Camp Bowie Animal Clinic, determined the best course of action for their 170-pound Leonberger was euthanasia.

    Six months later, the couple was tipped off by a vet tech at Tierce's clinic that Sid was being kept alive, caged in deplorable conditions and being used for blood donations.

    The Harrises rushed to the clinic and retrieved their dog. As they left, they said Tierce tried to explain why he had kept the dog alive.

    In the lawsuit, the family said they immediately took Sid to another clinic where they learned he had been "abusively kenneled," "had stressed-induced mange," and "had atrophy in his leg muscles, due to gross inactivity and the abusive kenneling," "had veins consistent with him having been used as a regular blood donor," and "definitively had no congenital spine defect."

    The family said, as a result of his kenneling and abuse, Sid now requires surgery for bulging discs and is suffering from a degree of paralysis yet to be fully determined.

    After placing their dog in the care of another veterinarian, the Harrises alerted law enforcement and the media to the conditions at the Camp Bowie Animal Clinic.

    Tierce admitted during an investigation by the Texas Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners that he had kept five dogs alive that should have been euthanized, including his own personal pet. The board temporarily suspended the doctor's veterinary license.

    Tierce was also arrested and currently faces an animal cruelty charge stemming from the lack of care given to his own dog, a border collie.

    The Harris family is suing Tierce for $1 million in monetary relief for Sid's care and their family's pain and suffering.



    Photo Credit: NBC 5 News

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    A Chicago mother is in line for a pretty sweet Mother's Day present this weekend.

    Daniel Stojak won $2.5 million from a $10 Illinois Lottery scratch off ticket that his mother, Shirley, bought for him on April 1.

    "I had given my mother some money to play the lottery for me because she's really, really lucky," Daniel Stojak said.

    Shirley bought the ticket, scratched it off for him and couldn't believe her eyes.

    "When she showed me the ticket, it was April Fool's Day and I thought she was playing a joke on me, and I almost didn't believe it for a day and a half that it was actually real until I made a couple of calls to the lottery office and they assured me it was a winning ticket," Stojak said.

    Stojak, 46, says he plans to go on vacation and do some home repair and maybe buy a new car. And of course, he says he'll do something nice for his mom on Mother's Day.


    Shirley and Daniel Stojak.Shirley and Daniel Stojak.

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    A Meriden family lost their pet dog, Napoleon, in a fire in Meriden on Friday morning.

    The 11-year-old Jug -- Jack Russell Terrier/Pug mix, was missing after fire broke out at 14 Glen Place in Meriden around 5:30 a.m. Officials have since said the dog has died.

    When firefighters arrived this morning, the house was engulfed.

    Crews were able to put the fire out quickly, but officials said the house is inhabitable.

    Fortunately, the residents evacuated without injury.

    The road was blocked as emergency crews respond.



    Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

    A pet is missing after a fire in Meriden.A pet is missing after a fire in Meriden.

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    Police in Bridgeport are looking for the thieves who stole a wheelchair ramp from the home of a 10-year-old boy who cannot get to school in his wheelchair without it.

    "I lost my independence, my freedom," Isaiah McLaughlin said.

    The family has had the ramp for five years, but it was stolen on the Saturday before Easter.

    Isaiah’s mother, Gloria Ramirez, said she went to work that Saturday and it was gone when she came home.

    “Whoever it was really needed it, because who would do that on a holy weekend?" Ramirez asked.

    Ramirez searched around her block, but has not been able to find it. 

    Isaiah, who has a rare congenital joint condition called arthrogryposis, was forced to stay home for days because he had no way to get his 450-pound mechanical wheelchair to school.

    That changed when a security employee at Isaiah's school decided something had to be done.

    Kelly Mason called a tow truck driver to get the wheelchair to school and reached out to a local motorcycle club to volunteer the manpower to build a new chair.

    “When I saw Isaiah, he just didn't look like himself. He's usually happy go lucky and cheerful. He brightens up everybody's day," Mason said.

    "You know what it was? A blessing, because it showed me how the building I work in came together as a school," Mason said.

    The ramp is still missing. Ramirez wants to know who stole the ramp, but she is not letting it dampen her spirits.

    "I just keep smiling because of this little guy," she said of her son.

    Police are investigating, and the family believes the thieves stole the ramp to sell as scrap metal.

    If you'd like to help, you can make a donation on the GoFundMe page set up for the wheelchair ramp fund.



    Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

    Police are looking for the people who stole a wheelchair ramp, and a boy's freedom along with it.Police are looking for the people who stole a wheelchair ramp, and a boy's freedom along with it.

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    Noah ended Jacob's 14-year reign as the top baby name for boys in 2013, according to the Social Security Administration. Sophia remained on top as the most popular name for girls for the third straight year.

    Noah unseated Jacob, which occupied the top spot from 1999 to 2012. Before that, parents favored the name Michael for nearly four decades from 1960 to 1998. Jacob fell to No. 3 in 2013, while Liam was the second most popular boys name last year.

    The Social Security Administration compiles the baby names list each year from all the Social Security applications received from parents. There were approximately 4 million births in 2013, acting commissioner Carolyn W. Colvin told Today.com.

    Top names for boys in 2013:

    1. Noah
    2. Liam
    3. Jacob
    4. Mason
    5. William
    6. Ethan
    7. Michael
    8. Alexander
    9. Jayden
    10. Daniel

    Top names for girls in 2013:

    1. Sophia
    2. Emma
    3. Olivia
    4. Isabella
    5. Ava
    6. Mia
    7. Emily
    8. Abigail
    9. Madison
    10. Elizabeth

    The top baby names are out.The top baby names are out.

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    President Barack Obama announced new executive actions to reduce carbon pollution and global climate change in remarks Friday at a Walmart in Silicon Valley, as labor unions protested outside.

    Obama touted the retail chain for its renewable energy efforts in the last decade and spotlighted his own administration's commitment to solar energy, saying that new jobs to cut carbon pollution would help boost employment.

    Obama specifically lauded the specific Walmart store on Showers Drive in Mountain View for replacing lightbulbs with LEDs, providiing charging stations for electrical vehicles and installing solar panels on its roof.

    But he did not choose Walmart to pick up a pair of cheap sweats after his speech, where the backdrop to his podium boasted signs offering "low prices of $4.77."

    He addressed the crowd with a friendly "Hello, Mountain View," mentioning that he's been in California the last few days, attending fundraisers and wrapping up visits in Los Angeles and San Diego. He quipped he needed to return home to Washington by Sunday — Mother's Day — or Michelle Obama would not be a happy woman.

    Obama said his new executive actions will lead to an additional $2 billion in energy efficiency investments, better buildings and smarter appliances and will cut carbon pollution by more than 380 million metric tons — equivalent to taking 80 million cars off the road for one year.

    They will also save businesses nearly $26 billion on their energy bills and support training programs at community colleges nationwide to help 50,000 workers enter the solar industry by 2020, he said.

    The site Obama chose to talk about his renewable energy efforts drew swift criticism from labor unions who are arguing that the retailer isn't kind to its workers.

    Walmart employee Pam Marley said she hoped to hand Obama a letter she wrote about what it's like living paycheck to paycheck in the Silicon Valley. Marley said Walmart's low wages, inadequate benefits and unreliable work hours make it tough to get by.

    Outside the store, protesters from Raise the Wage Mountain View Coalition and OUR Walmart held signs to protest his Walmart visit. It doesn't make sense for a president who is supporting an effort to raise the minimum wage to speak at Walmart, they said.

    Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer is on Walmart's board of directors, and she also is hosting Obama on this trip, his 17th visit to the Bay Area during his presidency.

    While Walmart stores across the country have gained a dubious reputation for selling cheap products and paying non-union workers low wages, the chain is also credited for its more recent renewable energy efforts.  

    The company's first solar project took off in 2005, and last year, Walmart had more than 335 renewable energy projects in operation or under development across the world, according to its website.

     

     NBC Bay Area's Nannette Miranda and Mark Matthews contributed to this report.



    Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area

    President Barack Obama speaks at Walmart in Mountain View, May 9, 2014.President Barack Obama speaks at Walmart in Mountain View, May 9, 2014.

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    A mother and her 1-month-old daughter survived the collapse of their mobile home as it was buffeted by straight-line winds during Thursday's storms in North Texas.

    The strong storms that swept through Johnson County destroyed Kelsey White-Fryer's home on Jan Lane in Joshua, ripping off its entire back side and causing its roof to cave in on her and her 1-month-old Alexis.

    The baby suffered only minor injuries, including a cut on her nose. White-Fryer was not hurt and said was more concerned for her daughter's safety than about the damage to the home.

    "It scared me worse that something flew off and hit her," she said. "It scared me more about that than it did about the house blown over."

    Deputies attributed the damage to straight-line winds. The home was the only one significantly damaged in the neighborhood.

    White-Fryer and her daughter are staying with family while they recover.


    One-month baby Alexis in her mother's arms following the damage that blew down their mobile home.One-month baby Alexis in her mother's arms following the damage that blew down their mobile home.

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    Two Virginia children, ages 8 and 10, fought off their next door neighbor who was attacking their mom with a metal baseball bat, police said.

    The melee Tuesday in Arlington left their mother with a black eye and their neighbor in custody.

    Police documents say that 27-year-old Kendra Owens repeatedly struck Jennifer Robinson with a baseball bat. The attack didn't stop until Robinson's children wrestled Owens to the ground, took the bat and then struck her with it, police said.

    When authorities arrived on the scene just after 6 p.m. Tuesday, the two women were on the ground, and the kids were holding the bat.

    Robinson spoke through her lawyer, Deborah Kane, to News4's Pat Collins Thursday.

    “She's extremely traumatized. She was attacked," Kane said. "She just underwent eye surgery [Wednesday]. She currently has a tube in her eye."

    Kane credited two of Robinson's children with coming to her rescue.

    "They were there while the attack was going on, and her son, particularly, tried to get in the way to try to defend her and help her," Kane said.

    Police said they are aware of a dispute between the two women, who live in the 2400 block of S. Lowell Street in Arlington.

    "This is a long-standing feud between neighbors," Dustin Sternbeck with Arlington County Police said."We’ve been called out to that area before for disputes, issues amongst them, but it never escalated to this type of physical confrontation."

    Both women were transported to a local hospital after the fight.

    Owens is facing malicious wounding charges. She remained in police custody as of Thursday night. It is not yet known if she has a lawyer.

    People who live in the area say this kind of neighbor-on-neighbor violence is not typical.

    "It makes no sense," said neighbor Brenda Garner. "I mean, this is a very family-oriented community, and usually, if there is an altercation or disagreement, everyone usually tries to talk it out and work everything out."


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    State police seized almost $40,000 worth of heroin during a bust in Montville on Thursday and bond for one of the suspects was set at $600,000.

    Members of the Statewide Narcotics Task Force searched 622 Route 163 in the Oakdale section of Montville on Thursday after an investigation that went on for several months.

    Police seized at least three vehicles, more than 380 grams of heroin, scales, cutting agents and $13,676 in cash.

    Cristian Caba, 28, and Krista Raffo, 29, both of   622 Route 163, were arrested.

    Caba was charged with possession of narcotics, possession of narcotics with intent to sell, operation of a drug factory and risk of injury to a minor. He was released after posting $600,000 bond.

    Raffo was charged with possession of narcotics and risk of injury to a minor. She was released on $25,000 bond.
     



    Photo Credit: Connecticut State Police

    Police seized almost $40,000 worth of heroin in Montville.Police seized almost $40,000 worth of heroin in Montville.

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    The 14-year-old who police say shot two people outside the National Zoo had more than 100 absences this school year.

    The shooting happened April 21, which was Easter Monday. Shots were fired into a large crowd that had gathered outside the Smithsonian National Zoo in Woodley Park. Two 18-year-old men were wounded, one in the arm, one in the hand. Both are expected to be okay.

    Police say the shooting stemmed from a neighborhood dispute between a group from D.C. and another from Prince George's County, Maryland.

    The suspect — who is not being named by police because he's a juvenile — is facing 14 charges, including two counts of attempted murder in connection with the attack. He's pleaded not guilty, and his trial is set to begin in mid-June.

    Last week, News4 learned the teen had been arrested twice — once for an armed robbery and another time for making felony threats.

    In court Thursday, it was revealed the teen had been chronically absent from school, missing months of classes. Testimony revealed he had 3 suspensions for fights and threats, 35 unexcused absences and 108 excused absences. 

    D.C. schools are required to report students who have more than 10 unexcused absences to the city's social services department. It's unknown if that notification was ever made.

    His mother testified Thursday, saying she "pleaded with the system for help and they failed him."

    Communication between city schools and social service workers has recently come under fire, following the disappearance of 8-year-old Relisha Rudd.

    The zoo has said it will conduct a complete overhaul of security as a result of this incident and two other violent incidents on Easter Monday. In 2011, a 16-year-old stabbed a 14-year-old at the zoo. In 2000, a 16-year-old shot seven people near the zoo entrance. 

     


    One of the injured at the April 21 shooting at the Zoo.One of the injured at the April 21 shooting at the Zoo.

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    A person was struck and killed by an Amtrak train just before 11 a.m. on Friday in Milford, according to officials from Metropolitan Transit Association.

    The train involved left Boston at 8:15 a.m. and was headed to Washington D.C., due to arrive at 4:15 p.m.
    Passengers on the train were transferred to a Metro-North train, Aaron Donovan, a spokesperson for MTA, said.  

    The pedestrian was hit just west of the Milford station.

    Amtrak officials said 344 passengers were on the train and no one who was onboard was injured.

    Trains are getting through on one open track. Travelers should expect delays.

    Metro North is experiencing about 10 minute delays while police investigate.

    Just after 11 a.m., Metro-North sent out an alert saying the New Haven Line Service is delayed near Milford due to police activity.

    Amtrak posted on its Web site that there is a service disruption on the 171 Northeast Regional.
     



    Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

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    How would you describe your mom?

    In honor of Mother’s Day, Twitter published a list on its blog of the top 10 words and phrases people have tweeted this year about their mothers.

    "Happy" topped the list, which was ranked by the number of times a word or phrase has been used in a tweet since Jan. 1. Here's the full list:

    1. Happy
    2. The best
    3. My life
    4. My everything
    5. Beautiful
    6. Proud
    7. Pretty
    8. Amazing
    9. My world
    10. Strong

    Twitter also shared an interactive map to show the popularity of tweets about mothers in countries around the world. The geotagged tweets were based on Mother's Day mentions in 10 languages.

    Mother’s Day is Sunday in the U.S. Other countries celebrate their own version of the holiday at different times from February through March.

    In other Mother's Day social news, the hashtag #MomQuotes began trending on Twitter on Wednesday after “Tonight Show” host Jimmy Fallon asked viewers to send in tweets of “funny, weird or embarrassing” things that their moms have said.

    Check out the best ones that he featured on Thursday's show here.


     



    Photo Credit: Ryan McVay/Getty Images

    Mother's Day is on Sunday, May 11th, 2014.Mother's Day is on Sunday, May 11th, 2014.

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    The San Francisco 49ers' Chris Culliver has been sued by an SUV driver accusing the cornerback of threatening a 15-year-old with brass knuckles and using a racial slur, in the midst of trying to flee the scene of a crash.

    Culliver, 25, has already been arrested and pleaded not guilty to hit-and-run and weapons charges in connection with that March 28 collision in San Jose, in which police say he hit a cyclist and then, in trying to flee, the SUV as well.

    The SUV driver Marc Santos' family's suit accuses Culliver of assault, battery, intentionally inflicting emotional distress and negligently using his car and brass knuckles. It demands damages and punitive damages.

    Attempts to locate a lawyer for Culliver were not immediately successful. A lawyer for Marc Santos and his family, Braid Pezzaglia, told NBC Bay Area he is not yet aware of a defense lawyer in the suit he filed for the Santos family.

    A 49ers spokesman declined to comment on the litigation to NBC Bay Area on Friday. Culliver's public relations company, Creative Edge, emailed NBC Bay Area on Friday that "we are not at liberty to have any comment at this time."

    The Santos family filed its lawsuit April 15 in Santa Clara County Superior Court.

    According to the suit, Culliver was near the Santa Clara County fairgrounds on March 28 when he got into his white Ford Mustang and started doing doughnuts and racing around.

    Soon after, he hit a bicyclist near Tully Road and South 7th Street, according to police and to the suit. The cyclist suffered minor injuries.

    Culliver tried to flee, the suit claims — striking the Santos family's SUV in the process, their suit says. Santos and his wife Angelica Cortez were in the car with their three children, a 15-year-old, a 4-year-old and a 2-month-old.

    Santos called 911 and then followed Culliver to Mekler Drive and Senter Road, where he blocked Culliver's car in a cul-de-sac until police arrived, according to the suit.

    According to the suit, that prompted Culliver to lunge in his Mustang toward Santos' family, "holding his hand inside a bag" and pointing it at them "in a manner that suggested he was holding a gun" while shouting "profane and hostile epithets," including a racial slur.

    Culliver also took out brass knuckles, the suit claims, and said he would hurt the Santos family if they didn't get out of his way. Police have also said Culliver threatened the witnesses with brass knuckles.

    The Santos family, its suit says, fell victim to "violent, reckless, oppressive, malicious, depraved, despicable and morally reprehensible crimes" by Culliver, who by "way of self-centered arrogance, fueled the conscious disregard of the rights or safety of others."

    The lawsuit takes personal aim at Culliver's behavior and moralizes about societal values, decrying the "hostile" environment of football where "injury-producing behavior is condoned."

    "We live in a civilized society... governed by rules" that demand the "respect for the inherent dignity of mankind," the suit says. "Thus, we do not strike a man down and leave him for dead. Nor do we brandish brass knuckles upon 15-year-old children."


    San Francisco 49ers CB Chris Culliver was arrested in San Jose on March 28.San Francisco 49ers CB Chris Culliver was arrested in San Jose on March 28.

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    An elderly woman was assaulted in Stratford on Thursday night and remains hospitalized.

    She was assaulted just before 7:30 p.m. on Canaan Road near Weber Avenue and remains in a local hospital, where she is in stable condition.

    Stratford Police Detectives are looking for the attacker. He is thin and was wearing a gray hooded sweatshirt and dark pants, according to a news release from police.

    Anyone with information on the attack should call Detective Sergeant David Gugliotti at 203-385-4119. 

    You can leave an anonymous tip on the Stratford Crime Tip Hotline at 203-375-TIPS (8477) or through the iWatch application available at www.iWatchStratford.com.
     


    The woman was assaulted just before 7:30 p.m. on Canaan Road near Weber Avenue and remains in a local hospital, where she is in stable condition.The woman was assaulted just before 7:30 p.m. on Canaan Road near Weber Avenue and remains in a local hospital, where she is in stable condition.

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  • 05/09/14--10:37: CL&P Files to Raise Rates

  • Connecticut Light & Power is seeking a rate increase to customer electric bills for the first time since 2010.

    The power company has filed with Connecticut's Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) to increase electricity rates to 5.9 percent, CL&P announced late Friday morning. CL&P said the rise in rates is necessary to cover  increases in equipment and material costs, property tax hikes and "targeted investments" to improve the reliability of the power grid. For the average customer using 700 kilowatt hours a month, that would amount to $6.76 more a month, according to CL&P.

    “Last year, we had our best reliability year in over a decade, thanks to changes we’ve made on the system,” Bill Herdegen, CL&P president, said in a statement. “Our targeted investments are helping to build the electric grid of the future – one that is more reliable, more resilient and more efficient. In addition, we have worked hard to hold the line on rising operating costs, which has resulted in overall savings for our customers.”

    PURA needs to review and approve the request before CL&P can raise its rates.

    Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen said in a statement that his office will be at the hearing to "urge PURA to approve rates that are no more than just and reasonable, as required by law."

    "Connecticut's electricity rates remain extremely high. Any and every proposal to increase those rates must be thoroughly scrutinized," Jepsen said. "While I understand the need to upgrade infrastructure and resiliency following the major storms our state has experienced, every proposed expense must be – and will be – carefully reviewed and evaluated."

    CL&P identified capital investments in "electric infrastructure" as the source of the power company's "$117 million operating deficiency," according to CL&P. That includes costs incurred to install "new and stronger poles," wires and transformers, as well as upgrades to substations, according to the news release. CL&P also spent funds on "smart switches" to decrease power outages. The power company plans to spend more than $726 million on installing and upgrading electric distribution facilities in the 149 Connecticut towns it serves.

    CL&P said that power outages have decreased and that the state's power system "performed at its highest level in 2013" since 2000. The company has reduced $36 million in operating and maintenance costs as a result since 2012, CL&P said.

    The rate change request takes into account PURA mandates following major catastrophic events like the October snowstorm in 2011 and Hurricane Sandy in 2012 that caused thousands of power outages, CL&P said.

    "Those storms wiped out power to hundreds of thousands of customers across the state. Although PURA disallowed a portion of CL&P’s storm costs, it ultimately approved storm recovery over a six-year period beginning on December 1, 2014, with $89.5 million in the first year as part of this rate request," the news release stated.

    Herdegen praised CL&P employees' work to improve "service and reliability" to customers since "the devastating storms of 2011."

    “We look forward to working with regulators to ensure we continue these higher standards and meet growing customer expectations in today’s digital age," Herdegen said.

    If approved, the increase will take effect Dec. 1.



    Photo Credit: NBC 5 News

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    An Amber Alert has been canceled for 2-month-old Addalie Grace Christensen. She has been found safe.

    A stranger snatched the infant directly from her car seat as her mother unloaded the car in front of their North Texas home Friday, police say.

    Police have not provided additional information about how the child was found. They plan to hold a press conference at 6:30 p.m.

    The abduction happened as the child's mother pulled up to their home on the 1200 block of N. Kight Street in Stephenville, and as she unloaded another child from the car, a woman walked up, grabbed the infant from the car seat and ran away, police said.

    Sgt. Sha King of the Stephenville Police Department said the suspect is not related to the child, and there is no known connection between them. King described the woman as a stranger.

    Police described the suspect as a white woman in her late 30s to early 40s, weighing 200 to 300 pounds, with shoulder-length light brown or dark blonde hair. She was described as wearing a long-sleeved white top and blue jeans.

    The woman and child were last seen at about 9:45 a.m. at 1070 W. Lingleville Road.


    Stephenville police shared this image of the reportedly abducted girl.Stephenville police shared this image of the reportedly abducted girl.

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