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    East Hartford Police have charged a 9-year veteran of the department with computer crimes and said he is accused of inappropriately using a police computer system to access personal information of his ex-girlfriend and her sister.

    Hartford police arrested Juma on Jan. 11 during a domestic violence incident, police said. On Jan. 17, Chief Mark Sirois initiated a criminal investigation into the possibility that Officer Juma Jones might have inappropriately accessed the Connecticut Online Law Enforcement Communication Teleprocessing computer system for personal use.

    Police investigated and said Juma is suspected of using the COLLECT computer system while on duty on Dec. 17 to access the women’s personal information.

    Police obtained an arrest warrant and Jones turned himself in to the East Hartford Police Department on Tuesday.

    He was charged with three counts of violation of computer crime in the third degree, which is a class D Felony.

    He was released after posting a $75,000 court-set bond and is scheduled to appear in Manchester Court on Feb. 25.

    Jones, who is assigned to the Patrol Division, is on administrative leave because of the domestic
    violence charge and the East Hartford Police Department is conducting an internal investigation.
     


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    Get your sweet tooth ready, there’s a new place to get your fix of classic candy, sugar-free and even homemade chocolates.

    The Candy Jar in Newington Center is now open.

    For your Valentine’s Day needs, they have gift baskets and bears for the special person in your life.

    The store at 1068 Main St. even has gluten-free foods.

    The Candy Jar is open Monday through Friday, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and on Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
     


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    An eighth person involved in a tour bus crash on a two-lane mountain road east of Los Angeles has died three days after the bus collided with two other vehicles before flipping onto its side on an embankment.

    The death toll increased to eight after 72-year-old Fred Bailey Richardson, of San Bernardino, was pronounced dead at 6:39 a.m. Wednesday. Richardson, hospitalized at Loma Linda Medical Center since Sunday, was driving a pickup that was struck by the tour bus on Highway 38 near Yucaipa.

    Seven other victims were pronounced dead at the scene. They were identified earlier this week as 61-year-old Guadalupe Olivas, of San Diego; 40-year-old Elvira Garcia Jimenez, of San Diego; 13-year-old Victor Cabrera Garcia, of San Diego; 38-year-old Aleida Adriana Arce Hernandez, of Tijuana, Mexico; 34-year-old Rubicelia Escobedo Flores, of Tijuana; 32-year-old Mario Garcia Santoyo, of Tijuana, Mexico; and 24-year-old Liliana Camerina Sanchez Sauceda, of Tijuana, Mexico.

    For full U.S. news coverage, visit NBCNews.com.

    At least 15 people were hospitalized after Sunday night's crash. The bus driver,  Norberto B. Perez, 52, of San Ysidro, was among the hospitalized victims with severe injuries.

    Passengers told NBC4 he told them before the 6:32 p.m. crash that the brakes were not working and asked them to call 911. The bus struck two vehicles, including a sedan and Richardson's pickup, before flipping and coming to stop on an embankment.

    Aerial video after the collision showed Richardson's damaged landscaping service pickup on the side of the road near the tour bus.

    The California Highway Patrol, the National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Carrier Safety Administration are investigating the crash, according to an NTSB spokesman.

    Federal records show the carrier -- Scapadas Magicas, which has officers in National City — has history of brake-maintenance problems. Investigators will inspect the bus at an Ontario tow yard as part of a probe that might require months to complete.

    The tour bus' passengers were returning from a trip to the Big Bear area. Thirty-eight people were aboard the bus when it left Tijuana, Mexico Sunday morning for the daylong trip.

     

     



    Photo Credit: AP

    San Bernardino  Investigators examine wreckage Monday Feb. 4, 2012, after a tour bus accident in the Southern California mountains near San Bernardino.San Bernardino Investigators examine wreckage Monday Feb. 4, 2012, after a tour bus accident in the Southern California mountains near San Bernardino.

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    In the days after the tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary school, plans began to develop for a special race to honor the lives of the20 first graders and six staff members who were killed on Dec. 14.

    The original site for the Sandy Hook Run for the Families in Danbury could accommodate 10,000 participants, but the interest quickly exceeded that.

    The response has been so overwhelming that race organizers have had to move the race to Hartford to accommodate the growing crowd. Eight thousand people have signed up and the estimated crowd is around 15,000.

    The Hartford Marathon Foundation is hosting the race and it will be held at 10 a.m. on March 23.
    Those who cannot physically attend, but still want to participate in the run can register as a “Virtual Runner.”

    The fee is $25 for adults and $10 for children 17 and under. One hundred percent of registration fees will go toward The Sandy Hook School Support Fund to support all of those affected by the shooting.

    The Hartford Marathon Foundation is asking for support to assist with volunteers, sponsorship and in-kind donations of products and services.

    You can find more information about the race on the Hartford Marathon Foundation Web page or the foundation’s Facebook page.
     


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    A cable car accident in San Francisco left seven people injured Wednesday morning. 

    The injured included five passengers and two cable car workers.

    One of the injuries was originally considered life-threatening, according to San Francisco fire officials. That passenger, an elderly man, is now listed in serious condition.

    The car's conductor and gripman also suffered minor injuries.

    The cable car was at the corner of Washington and Powell streets when it made an abrupt stop at about 10:15 a.m., according to reports. The cable car may have hit an obstruction on the tracks.

    One person fell off of the cable car during the hard stop.

    A bolt in the tracks appears to be the cause of a San Francisco  Municipal Railway cable car accident this morning, a Muni spokesman told Bay City News. A bolt was reportedly found stuck in the trackway, which caused the inbound Powell-Hyde cable car to stop suddenly at Powell and Washington streets.

    NBC Bay Area's helicopter flew over the scene and showed the cable car upright and surrounded by maintenance workers. It was being towed to the maintenance yard at 11:30 a.m.

    Cable cars are the most popular with tourists, but it was not immediately known who was injured or how many people were on the car at the time.


    The cable car was about to make a turn prior to the accident.The cable car was about to make a turn prior to the accident.

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  • 02/06/13--11:36: It's Chocolate Festival Time
  • It does not matter if you are getting into the spirit of Valentine’s Day, or just love chocolate, Willimantic is the place to be on Saturday for the beginning of 9th annual chocolate festival

    Take in the Chocolate Lovers’ Soiree and Cabaret or take part in a cake-baking contest.

    If you indulged too much, work off the chocolate during the 2-mile Cupid shuffle race.

    The event runs through Tuesday, but the grand finale of the festival is on Valentine’s Day, when the Romantic Willimantic Cupid will be crowned at Windham Town Hall at 10 a.m.

    Like the Facebook page for additional information about the festival. 
     



    Photo Credit: Getty Images

    WEST LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 24:  The chocolate fountain at the AMP Awards on April 24, 2004 at The Village in West Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Amanda Edwards/Getty Images)WEST LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 24: The chocolate fountain at the AMP Awards on April 24, 2004 at The Village in West Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Amanda Edwards/Getty Images)

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    Julio Vallejo is recovering at a friend’s home in southern California after being treated for numerous injuries he suffered in Sunday's deadly bus crash in the mountains east of Los Angeles.

    "This was the worst minutes of my life," Vallejo told NBC 7 San Diego in an exclusive interview.

    Groggy from a long day sightseeing at Big Bear Lake, Vallejo was sleeping on the bus ride home when his friend told him to wake up.

    He recalls looking at his friend's terrified face and hearing, "the bus, I think there's something wrong, I think the bus don't have brakes."

    The friend explained that as the bus approached a curve, passengers smelled smoke and heard a grinding sound when the bus driver pressed on the brakes.

    But the bus wasn't slowing down.

    Vallejo was seated in the last row of seats, which was perched a little higher than the others.

    "I can see all the seats," he said. "All the people was praying."

    Vallejo said people gripped each other tightly and many cried as the bus continued down the two-lane mountain road, gaining speed with every second.

    For approximately five minutes, he said, the bus swayed left and right as the driver dodged cars and tried to keep the bus from crashing. The driver tried to avoid guardrails separating the road from steep cliffs.

    At one point, desperate passengers screamed at the driver to stop the bus any way he could.

    "Some people say, ‘Crash with something, the rocks, with anything,'" he said.

    Moments later the bus slammed into a car and then a truck, causing the bus to flip twice according to Vallejo.

    He gripped the seat in front of him but quickly found himself tumbling with others like clothes in a dryer.

    He was ejected through a window onto the roadway, landing on his hands knees and face.

    "I touch my legs my arms, my head, and I say, 'Thank you, God,' because I'm alive," he said.

    Vallejo suffered several bruises on his face and said he believes the people killed in the crash would still be alive today if the bus were equipped with seatbelts.

    Right now, laws do not require large tour buses to have seatbelts. Vallejo said that needs to change



    Photo Credit: NBC 7 San Diego

    Julio Vallejo recalls the moments just before the bus crashed.Julio Vallejo recalls the moments just before the bus crashed.

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  • 02/06/13--12:19: Police Find Gun in Diaper
  • New Haven police arrested a 31-year-old parolee after finding a gun tucked into a diaper in the back pouch of a car seat, according to a news release from police. 

    New Haven Officers Justin Marshal and Kyle Malloy were patrolling Washington Avenue near Morris Street at 8:16 p.m. on Tuesday when they spotted a Dodge Durango with an extinguished license plate light, pulled the truck over and approached the driver, Jerry Cruz, of New Haven, police said.

    Cruz told police his license had been suspended and that he was on parole for a narcotics crime, according to police.

    Police arrested Cruz and confiscated the bag of cocaine he had on him, police said.

    When police looked through the passenger compartment of the car, they found a child's diaper that contained a Kel-Tec P3AT .380 caliber handgun in a seat back pouch, police said.

    The gun, the origin of which wasn't available in the report, had been previously reported lost.

    Cruz has no gun permit and is not allowed to have a weapon because he is a convicted felon who is on parole, police said.

    Cruz was charged with criminal possession of a pistol, carrying a pistol without a permit, weapon in a motor vehicle, possession of narcotics, possession of narcotics within 1,500 feet of a school, operating a motor vehicle while under suspension and failing to have the license plate illuminated.


     


    Police said Jerry Cruz is on parole and was not supposed to have the gun they said was hidden in a diaper.Police said Jerry Cruz is on parole and was not supposed to have the gun they said was hidden in a diaper.

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    South Windsor Police have arrested three additional suspects in an attack last month on the owner of Forced Induction Motor Sports, LLC on Edwin Street, and an employee.

    Last month, police arrested Nathaniel “Nate” Chambers, 27, of Meriden. a former Sergeant in the Connecticut Army National Guard. Chambers was honorably discharged from the Guard in September 2012, according to Col. John Whitford.

    The victims were identified as Robert Lareau, 28, of Enfield, the business owner; and his employee, Ryan Kelleher, 21, of Windsor.

    Kelleher called police at 9:20 p.m. on the night of the attack to report that he and his boss had been beaten at the business, which is located at 51 Edwin St., police said.

    Lareau was not responsive when police arrived.

    Both had head and facial wounds and were taken to Hartford Hospital, police said. Lareau is in intensive care, according to police.

    No guns were used, police said.

    Police previously said they are pursuing information on other possible suspects.

    On Wednesday, Jose Ramos, 40, of Meriden, was charged with assault in the first degree, robbery in the first degree, stealing a firearm, unlawful restraint in the first degree, threatening in the second degree, and larceny in the sixth degree.  He was held on $400,0000 surety bond and will be presented at Manchester Superior Court on Thursday.

    Police served an arrest warrant on Luis Ruiz, 20, of Meriden, charging him with robbery in the first degree, assault in the second degree and larceny in the sixth degree.  He was held on $75,000 surety bond and was presented at Manchester Superior Court on Wednesday.

    Francisco Ruiz, 24, of Meriden, was charged with reckless endangerment in the second degree and breach of peace.  He was held on $10,000 surety bond and was also presented at Manchester Superior Court on Wednesday.
     

     

     

     


    From left to right, Francisco Ruiz, Jose Ramos and Luis Ruiz. They are accused in attacks at Forced Induction Motor Sports in South Windsor.From left to right, Francisco Ruiz, Jose Ramos and Luis Ruiz. They are accused in attacks at Forced Induction Motor Sports in South Windsor.

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    Hartford police have arrested a man wanted for a violent attack on a woman.

    Jeffrey Acosta, 22, is accused of critically injuring the woman by smashing her over the head with a brick January 10. The attack took place at 69 James Street.

    The attack was not random and is believed to be drug-related, according to police.

    Acosta is charged with first-degree assault. He is being held on $500,000 bond.



    Photo Credit: Hartford Police

    Jeffrey Acosta, 22, is accused of violently attacking a woman with a brick in Hartford Jan. 10.Jeffrey Acosta, 22, is accused of violently attacking a woman with a brick in Hartford Jan. 10.

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    Monroe police have charged a homeowner with arson in connection with a fire that destroyed the house at 62 Hunter Ridge Road in 2008.

    Police said charged Amanda Azevedo, 37, with arson in the first degree, criminal attempt to commit insurance fraud and criminal attempt to commit larceny in the first degree and arrested her in Clearwater, Florida on Jan. 23 was arrested as a fugitive of justice. She was brought back to Connecticut on Tuesday.

    Police have also charged Diniz DePina, of Bridgeport, with conspiracy charges connected to the fire.

    Police said Amanda Azevedo and her son were living in the home and the family had fallen on difficult financial times, incurring large debt, both personal and with the family business and Amanda relocated to the state of Florida shortly after the fire.

    Firefighters responded to the fire at 9:52 a.m. on Jan. 28, 2008 when a resident reported that her neighbor’s house was on fire and found the house fully engulfed.

    Putting out the fire was complicated by the windy conditions and the lack of fire hydrants on the street, so water had to be brought to the scene by tanker trucks. The home was a total lose. 
    Police said the homeowner and family were not home at the time of the fire and three of the family’s dogs were found roaming the yard. A neighbor took them in.

    Fire investigators determined that the fire started in the front center of the home, but they could not determine the cause, and the case went to the State’s Attorney’s Office, Fairfield Judicial District in Bridgeport because of suspicion of arson.

    The house has since been demolished, according to the assessor's records.

    In late 2012, inspectors of the State’s Attorney’s office and the Monroe Police Detective Bureau examined the cold case and Amanda Azevedo became the focus of the investigation, police said.
    Her husband, Jao Azevedo, was excluded as a suspect and police said he had since passed away on Dec 17, 2010.

    Monroe Police detectives obtained an arrest warrant, charging Amanda Azevedo with arson in the first degree, criminal attempt to commit insurance fraud and criminal attempt to commit larceny in the first  degree.

    On Jan. 23, Azevedo was arrested in Clearwater, Florida as a fugitive of justice and she was transported back to Connecticut on Feb. 5, after an extradition hearing in Florida.

    She is being held on a $250,000 bond and will appear in Bridgeport Superior Court on Feb. 6.
    Police said DePina is a known associate of the Azevedo’s and was arrested on Jan. 23 and charged with conspiracy to commit arson in the first degree and conspiracy to commit insurance fraud. 

    DePina posted a court-set $100,000 bond.




     


    Amanda Azevedo was charged with arson in Monroe.Amanda Azevedo was charged with arson in Monroe.

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  • 02/06/13--13:54: Major Storm Possible Friday
  • A major winter storm will impact Connecticut during the day Friday and into Friday night.

    A strong disturbance riding north from the Gulf of Mexico will phase with a piece of energy diving south from Canada. The result will be a powerful nor’easter off the coast of New England.

    While it’s too early to give specific numbers, it is likely that snowfall totals might exceed one foot inland.

    Along the shoreline, slightly lower amounts are possible with a mix with sleet possible.

    The snow will begin falling around mid-morning on Friday, with the snow becoming steadier and heavier during the day. Gusty northeasterly and northerly winds may approach 50 mph during the height of the storm.

    The peak of the snow will be on Friday afternoon and evening, with near blizzard conditions possible. The storm will slowly wind down after midnight and during the wee hours of Saturday morning.

    Winter storm watches are in effect from late Thursday night through Saturday morning. You can view them here.

    See the full forecast here.

    Track tonight's snow on the radar here.


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    A Hartford man is charged with larceny four years after he stole another man's life savings from a Department of Motor Vehicles counter in Wethersfield, according to police.

    Edgardo Casas, 55, of Hartford was arrested for larceny last week after a lengthy investigation.

    Casas was caught on tape walking out of the DMV office with a black bag containing more than $40,000 in cash that Zbignew Malecki accidentally left behind in October 2008, according to police.

    "I'm very happy," Malecki said about the arrest.  He said he never thought police would find a suspect. 

    Malecki, of Southington had just returned from his native Poland and was planning to deposit the cash into his bank account after stopping at the D.M.V., he said. He set the bag of cash down as he filled out paperwork and then forgot to pick it up.

    "This woman from the window called me. I forgot those bags," Malecki said.

    By the time he returned minutes later, the money was gone.

    Police initially focused on two other people as suspects, but later realized they were not involved in the crime, according to police.

    The case was re-opened in the fall. A detective reviewed the video and quickly realized Casas was to blame.

    "He was able to track down the woman who the suspect was with at the D.M.V. and through some good detective work was able to find out the name of the suspect," said Lt. Andrew Power of the Wethersfield Police Department.

    Police did not recover any of the stolen money.

    Casas was arraigned on the larceny charge in New Britain Superior Court. He was released on a $20,000 bond.



    Photo Credit: Getty Images

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    A high school trespassing incident in Maryland has led to a weapons seizure at a man's home — though school officials stressed that no threats were made against students.

    On Monday, 25-year-old former student Justin Matthew Beaumont came onto the grounds of North County High School in Glen Burnie, a suburb of Baltimore, at around dismissal time, according to police.

    School staff alerted school resource officers, who grew suspicious after talking to the man. They called police.

    Lt. J.D. Batten of Anne Arundel County Police told NBC Washington News4 that Beaumont mentioned he had been bullied when he was a student at the school and that he seemed curious about the school's security.

    "My understanding from police is that the man, who spent two months at our school in 2002, made some comments ... that warranted further investigation," Principal William Heiser said in a letter to parents obtained by News4. "As a result, the man's vehicle was searched and police later conducted a search of the man's home."

    At Beaumont's home, police found several guns: An AK-47, which was loaded with a 30-round magazine; an unloaded Uzi; two unloaded, 8-millimeter bolt-action rifles; an unloaded .22-caliber handgun; a loaded .380-caliber handgun with a laser sight; a 9-millimeter barrel and silencer; and numerous boxes and magazines of ammunition.

    All these weapons appear to be legally owned by Beaumont, who did not have weapons at the school or in his car. The weapons were seized for safekeeping pending his evaluation by mental health professionals, police said.

    Beaumont is charged with trespassing on posted property, a misdemeanor. He is currently undergoing medical treatment, police said.

    "While this is alarming, I want to be emphatically clear that at no time did the man speak to any students and at no time did he make any threats whatsoever toward our school, our employees, or our students," the letter from Heiser read.

    Check back for more on this developing story.


    Aerial view of North County High School (Photo: Google Earth)Aerial view of North County High School (Photo: Google Earth)

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    Plainville Police arrested a mother accused of threatening a group of young children during basketball practice.

    Police said Cari Penta, 41, of Plainville, was upset because she thought someone elbowed her son during basketball practice at the Linden Street School on Tuesday.

    A child told police that Penta threatened to slap him and two adults said reported that the Plainville woman was screaming profanities at 7-year-old children, according to police. 

    Penta was charged with second-degree breach of peace.

    She is expected to appear in Bristol Superior Court on Feb. 19.

     


    Cari Penta, 41, was arrested Tuesday.Cari Penta, 41, was arrested Tuesday.

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    Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed remembers visiting President Barack Obama’s re-election headquarters in Chicago last year and noticing how young everyone was — not just the entry-level volunteers, but seasoned aides in their 20s and 30s who ran the meetings and made key decisions.

    He left thinking he may have witnessed the future of the Democratic Party: a new generation of leaders who’ve molded themselves in Obama’s image, and could one day represent the president’s legacy, either behind the scenes or as elected officials.

    For full politics coverage, visit NBCNews.com.

    "I can give you name after name of people (from Obama's campaign) who for the next 30 years will be influencing the political process," Reed said. "You have a political operative class that won what was probably the most difficult modern election for a sitting president. So a lot of people in America are going to want to speak with them about what they did and how they accomplished it."

    As Obama embarks on his second term, he is looking for ways to make a lasting impact on American life: not only by shaping its policies and politics, but also by creating opportunities for potential torchbearers who share his ideological focus on center-left pragmatism.

    Some of this is done explicitly, as in Reed’s example, with the president recruiting a bench of young talent to join his campaign or White House staff. There are also established politicians whose aspirations have become more plausible with Obama's rise. Finally, there are countless others who have been moved to seek public office one day.

    Historians and political analysts caution that with four years still left in Obama's presidency, it is too early to judge how well he is cultivating this aspect of his legacy. But the results could help determine whether the first black president, already a breakthrough leader by virtue of who he is and what he represents, ends up a transcendent political figure as well.

    "One of the things people think about when they consider great presidents is whether they created people in their mold," historian and writer Jelani Cobb said.

    Take Ronald Reagan. Whether you agreed with him or not, Reagan was a president "who produced this whole generation of people inspired by what he did," Cobb said.

    "I don't think we can tell with Obama that quickly," he added, "but I think that will be a measure of whether he goes down as a good president or… someone who was a great president."

    Obama represents a new political model because he came to power without feeling beholden to the black civil rights-era politicians, said Michael Dawson, director of the Center for the Study of Race, Politics, and Culture at the University of Chicago.

    Those older leaders adhered to progressive ideologies framed by the experiences of poor and working-class African-Americans, Dawson said. Obama, by contrast, appeals to a more middle-class demographic, including people, black and white, who are willing to embrace centrist or even slightly conservative policies, such as charter schools.

    There are already several politicians who fit that mold and whose profiles have risen during Obama's time in the White House. They include Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, California Attorney General Kamala Harris, Newark Mayor Cory Booker, San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro and Reed, the Atlanta mayor.

    Some of these politicians have been nurtured by Obama, but most were already well into their careers by the time he ran for president and are now benefiting from his appeal.

    At the same time, there are many others, much younger, who have worked for Obama and can be considered his protégés.

    Among the names offered by people interviewed for this story were Michael Blake, who helped organize Obama's campaign in Iowa and worked in the White House Office of Public Engagement; Tharon Johnson, a former Reed operative who assembled Obama's southern strategy; Michael Strautmanis, a longtime Obama confidante who worked in the White House Office of Public Engagement; and Chicago Alderman William Burns, who's been working on Obama campaigns since his 1995 run for Illinois state Senate.

    Maya Rockeymoore, a political consultant and policy analyst, said that Obama's greatest impact won't be known for many years, as younger Americans, particularly black ones, grow up wanting to follow the president's footsteps.

    "We will probably never be able to quantify the number of individuals across the country who have been inspired by a man who overcame great odds to become the first African-American president in history," Rockeymoore said. "There are children across the country who see they have the capability to do that, and consider it."

    That sense of widened opportunity for minorities and women was a key aspect of Obama's successful re-election strategy, and will be fundamental to his political legacy, Reed said. "Fundamental fairness and inclusion: that is the ideology that is going to prevail over the next decade. The cadre of leaders who emerge in Obama's wake will be people who believe in this 'politics of addition.'"

    Andra Gillespie, a political scientist at Emory University who has written extensively about "post-racial" black leaders, pointed out that in 2008, when Obama was first elected president, many African-American officeholders who seemed poised to rise — former Tennessee Rep. Harold Ford Jr., former Alabama Rep. Artur Davis, former Washington, D.C., Mayor Adrian Fenty — lost re-election campaigns in part because in their attempts to appeal to voters of other races they failed to pay enough attention to blacks.

    There are many critics who believe Obama committed the same sin in his first term — but that didn't hurt him at the polls in November.

    Nonetheless, Gillespie said, Obama will likely motivate more minorities and women to take a chance at politics, and that is a profound legacy unto itself.


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    Even on a chilly winter day, you can find people enjoying Hammonasset State Park in Madison, so when two back-to-back storms took the sand away from the shoreline, park officials at Hammonasset knew it would need to be replenished. 

    Cue the Army Corps of Engineers. 

    Crews are dredging the Clinton Harbor and sending over the sand that has been dug up, funneling it  through pumps onto East Beach at Hammonasset, all at no cost to the park.

    “We suffered a lot of damage from storms, losing a lot of our beaches. This is really going to benefit us,” Hammonasset State Park Supervisor Henry Alves said.

    While the work is going on, East Beach is closed to the public. It will reopen when work is done in about a month.

    “For those people who use the beach, I think it's absolutely great. I think it's a wonderful idea,” Rivard said.

    There's just one thing that might take park-goers off guard. While the sand is being pumped in, it might not look like the typical sand you see on the beach.

    “It comes up as very dark, but once it hits the atmosphere and has a chance to bleach out, it will look just like the rest of the beach. There are no concerns. It's very, very clean.  Everything's been tested,” said Alves.

    “I think Hammonasset is an asset to Connecticut,” said Ron Rivard, of Madison. 



    Photo Credit: Amanda Raus, NBC Connecticut

    Hammonasset State BeachHammonasset State Beach

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    After years of negotiating and two years without a contract, New Haven police officers have voted in favor of a new deal. 

    “We brought back the best package that we feel we could right now. That's what the membership asked for and that's what we're voting on today,” New Haven Police Union President Louis Cavaliere said.

    But not everyone is happy with the agreement. 

    On Wednesday afternoon, the New Haven firefighters union took a stand and say it's a bad deal that will set a bad precedent.

    “This goes well beyond an honest correction based off economic factors. There was another robbery added to New Haven's crime statistics if this passes today. These cops deserve better,” Frank Ricci, vice president of the New Haven Firefighters Union, said.

    The fire union said the contract would cut too many benefits and create a tier system where new officers don't get the same benefits as veterans.

    “They're pitting the old guys against the young guys. These new police officers will never be able to retire. They're taking them out of the middle class. It's a disgusting attempt to slash the benefits,” Jim Kottage, president of the New Haven Firefighters Union, said. 

    However, Cavaliere said the contract keeps 80 percent of existing benefits.

    “We understand there's going to be a tier system and our question is, do you want us to break down a tier for you, or do you want an arbitrator to break down a tier?” he asked.

    He also said this contract is a better solution than leaving it up to arbitration, which is what will happen if the contract isn't passed.

    “The fire department should mind their business right now, because when we had 16 officers being laid off from this department, what did they do? They put on DeStefano shirts and endorsed him for governor and we were a little upset about that,” Cavaliere said.

    The fire union doesn’t have a contract either and will be going through arbitration to settle the contract dispute with the City of New Haven.
     


    A vote took place on the police union contract Wednesday night.A vote took place on the police union contract Wednesday night.

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    Attorneys for Eddie Ray Routh, the Marine reservist accused of murdering former Navy Seal and best-selling author Chris Kyle and his friend Chad Littlefield, want Routh to have a court-appointed psychiatric evaluation to see if he's fit to stand trial.

    Routh's mental health is critical to his defense. His attorneys said just days before he was arrested for shooting Kyle and Littlefield to death at a north Texas gun range, Routh was discharged from inpatient care for mental health issues at the Dallas VA Hospital over the objections of his family.

    "My client served his country exactly like Mr. Kyle did," said Routh's attorney, Warren St. John. "My client is still a Marine reserve. He's still actually part of the U.S. military and, for some reason, because of his possible mental health issue, he was kind of pushed to the side where other folks might not have been, and that really bothers me quite a bit."

    Routh's mental stability has already impacted him while an inmate at the Erath County Jail.  His decision to not to return a dinner tray to jailers led to officers using a stun gun on him and placing him in a restraint chair. That was followed by a "suicide watch" being placed on him and Routh continues to be held in segregated housing for his safety and the safety of other inmates.

    Routh has had a mental health evaluation since arriving at the jail and has access to prescribed medication to help with his mental and emotional health. 

    The Erath County Sheriff, Tommy Bryant, said Routh refused to take his medication Wednesday and Tuesday, refused to meet with his family and attorney St. John.

    "The case is new, and he's got some things he's dealing with, so we agreed with the sheriff's office that it wasn't anybody's best interest to try and compel him to talk to us," said St. John. "Which he doesn't have to do anyway, but he will have to eventually."

    St. John said he's hopeful that meeting will take place sometime next week. 

    Saturday, funeral services will be held for Littlefield. A public memorial service for Kyle is scheduled for Feb. 11 at Cowboys Stadium at 11 a.m. A trust fund for the families of both victims has been established. The public can make donations at http://www.thecraft.com.

    Routh continues to be held on a single count of capital murder and two separate murder complaints. His bond is set at $3 million.



    Photo Credit: NBC 5

    Routh's attorney, Warren St. John.Routh's attorney, Warren St. John.

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    One of the men who was viciously attacked last month at a South Windsor business has been released from the hospital and is sharing his story for the first time.

    Ryan Kelleher and business owner, Bob Lareau, were beaten at Forced Induction Motorsports on Edwin Road last month. Lareau is still fighting to stay alive. 

    Kelleher was just released from the hospital after being hit in the head twice with a rifle.

    He said the attack was the worst thing that ever happened to him in his entire life.

    One of the suspects in the attack was upset because the owner didn't fix his car after he paid upfront, Kelleher told NBC Connecticut on Wednesday.

    "I kept saying, 'I don't want to die, I think I'm going to die,'" Kelleher said.

    Kelleher said he was with Lareau inside the shop at around 9 p.m. on Jan. 8, when a group of men suddenly attacked them.

    "I just remember calling 911 and trying to resuscitate my friend," Kelleher said.

    When police showed up to the auto shop, Kelleher tried his best to speak up.

    "I kept yelling 'Nathaniel Chambers,'" he said.

    Police tracked down and arrested Nathaniel Chambers quickly and said Chambers was upset because the owner didn't fix his car after he paid upfront.

    Soon after that, police arrested three more suspects, who police said are Chamber's alleged accomplices. 

    Jose Ramos and brothers, Luis and Francisco Ruiz, were arrested and charged with the beating.

    Kelleher is relieved about the arrest and thankful the suspects are all behind bars.

    "They need to pay for what they've done," he said.

    He also expressed his hope for his friend's recovery.

    "I'm very hopeful. I pray. I have faith," Kelleher said.

     


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