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    A Long Island mother has been accused of driving her 15-year-old daughter to fight another teen at a park Thursday afternoon and then joining in on the scuffle once they arrived, police say.

    Dorka Lopez, 41, is charged with endangering the welfare of a child and two counts of harassment for her role in the fight at Regis Park in Brentwood, according to the Suffolk County Police Department.

    Police say that after driving her daughter to fight another 15-year-old girl, Lopez watched the brawl along with 20 to 30 other teens.

    At one point, the mother allegedly grabbed the other girl’s head and pushed her to the ground.

    Lopez pleaded not guilty at her arraignment Friday. Bail was set at $3,000 cash.

    Her attorney, Lawrence Carra, said the scuffle was a misunderstanding.

    "It was blown out of proportion," he said. "My client went there to avoid conflict, not to generate conflict." 

    The girls in the video weren't seriously hurt and neither has been arrested. Neighbors said fights like the one on Thursday are a problem at Regis Park.

    "There's a school on the next block, and usually when they solve their fight problems, they do it over here," said Christian Lugo. 

    Another teenage neighbor, Briana Gonzalez, saw the crowd gathering on Thursday and after seeing cellphone video of the fight, said, "I think it was pretty cruel of her. She should have just never brought her daughter here if it was going to get into a big altercation like that." 

    -- Michael George contributed to this report. 


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    The owner of a $24 million yacht that caught fire in a Chula Vista boat yard Thursday said he cried when he saw online video of the vessel going up in flames.

    “Am I angry? No. Anger is not the right word,” said Larry Jodsass in a phone interview with NBC 7. “It was my toy, my wonderful, beautiful piece of equipment. I think it’s the most beautiful boat that ever has been built.”

    Jodsass, 79, is a retired electrical engineer, entrepreneur and former chairman of a successful semiconductor company who now lives in Minnesota.

    He said the news of his yacht catching fire at a dry dock was nothing short of devastating.

    Jodsass said the yacht he named “Polar Bear” is worth $24 million, took him five years to build and has been in the water for three years. Jodsass said the yacht was dry docked in Chula Vista after a winter journey to Costa Rica.

    On Thursday at around 9:15 a.m. a fire broke out on the yacht, engulfing the vessel and sending flames and plumes of smoke into the air near the dry dock in the 900 block of G Street.

    Dispatchers said there was a lot of fuel aboard the vessel, so fire crews were warned of the risk of a possible explosion. Firefighters doused the 100-foot-plus yacht with water from all directions, but with little success because a yacht is designed to keep out water.

    Police opened fire on the boat with high-powered rifles to blow out the windows so the water could be more effective.

    A hazmat team was also called to the scene.

    The shipyard was evacuated as a precaution. Fire officials said two workers suffered minor smoke inhalation injuries.

    Fortunately, the fire did not spread to other nearby vessels. However, the yacht sustained heavy damage.

    A witness told NBC 7 he and his crew were doing welding work on the yacht when it caught fire. Fire investigators' initial assessment is that the welding started the blaze. As of Thursday night, the burned-out yacht was still smoldering.

    Jodass said his yacht was his haven, which he enjoyed to the fullest.

    Pictures and video of the Polar Bear posted online show an elegant and opulent interior, mostly with wood-finished floors and walls. There is a widescreen TV in a bedroom. A bathroom has marble countertops.

    “The beautiful part with this piece of equipment was that no matter who looked at it, it was like, ‘Wow, how in the hell could you have a boat like that?’” Jodass said.

    The cause of the fire is under investigation but fire officials confirmed a welder was working on the vessel at the time of the fire.

    That news did not sit well with Jodsass, who said he will question the shipyard until he gets some answers.

    “I don’t have enough data to make any positive or negative comment as to why somebody who’s doing their job obviously didn’t get it done because it would not have caught on fire,” he added.
    Jodsass said it was a terrible event that took away something he truly loved.

    “Do I love that boat? It’s a helluva boat, I just think it was wonderful, I enjoyed it tremendously and I think it was worth the money that I put into it,” he lamented.


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    Three cars collided and one rolled over on Route 66 in Middletown Friday night, according to state police.

    The crash happened near the intersection of Route 66 and Park Place. The road was shut down while emergency officials responded to the scene but has since reopened.

    There has been no word on injuries, but witnesses said ambulances arrived on scene.

    No additional information was immediately available.



    Photo Credit: Maria Appell

    Three cars collided and one rolled over on Route 66 in Middletown Friday night.Three cars collided and one rolled over on Route 66 in Middletown Friday night.

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    There's a moose on the loose in Southington!

    Police are warning drivers to be careful after a giant moose was spotted roaming around town.

    There have been multiple moose sightings in Southington over the past couple days.

    Most recently, it was seen near the center of town and the west side of town, police said.

    Moose sightings in Connecticut have increased from an average of four per year in the 1990s to 69 in 2007, according to the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.

    If you see a moose, don't approach it.



    Photo Credit: Meghan Lembo

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    Lawyers for Aaron Hernandez want him transferred jail closer to Boston, saying they have concerns about his safety at the Bristol County Jail where he's currently being held on murder charges.

    They argue that Bristol County Sheriff Thomas Hodgson has exploited the former New England Patriots tight end for publicity and has a conflict of interest that jeopardizes Hernandez's safety.

    "This dynamic is simply untenable!" Hernandez's lawyers said in their court filing Thursday.

    But Hodgson denied those allegations in an interview with New England Cable News.

    "It's just absolutely not true. We're doing exactly what we would be doing with anyone else that's in our custody," he said.

    Read more at NECN.

    Hernandez's lawyers also argued in their motion that their client has had his right to privacy violated, and that because he is also charged in a separate murder case in Suffolk County, they currently have to drive too far back and forth to meet with him in jail.

    Hernandez has pleaded not guilty to all three murders — in both last year's killing of semi-pro football player Odin Lloyd, with which he's charged in Bristol County, and a 2012 drive-by shooting that killed two men.

    A tentative trial date of Oct. 6 has been set in the Lloyd murder case. The judge did not immediately rule this week on his motion to dismiss the murder charge.

    In a separate case, Hernandez pleaded not guilty Monday to charges that he assaulted another inmate and threatened a guard and his family. He is accused of punching fellow inmate Andrew Booker while Booker was in handcuffs.

    Hernandez is also charged in the 2012 drive-by shooting in Boston's Theater District that killed Daniel Abreu and Safiro Furtado while they were stopped at a red light, just after they had left the Cure Lounge.

    Hernandez pleaded not guilty to those murders in May.

    He is being held without bail.



    Photo Credit: AP

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    Alonna Beard is battling an autoimmune disorder called sarcoidosis, and doctors aren’t sure what the future holds for her. But today, the 7-year-old from Milford got to forget all that – she was given a royal treatment like the Disney princesses she’s about to go visit.

    It was a parade fit for a queen at Milford’s Connecticut Post Mall on Friday afternoon. Thanks to Make-A-Wish, Alonna was pampered at Sundae Spa before climbing into a horse-drawn carriage with her sister, Skyler, and waving goodbye to all her fans as she heads to Disney World.

    “I feel excited and happy,” Alonna said.

    It’s a welcome distraction from the uphill battle Alonna faces with her health. Her diagnoses didn’t come until last year, although Alonna has been sick on and off for most of her life.

    “The prognosis is different for everyone,” said her mother, Barnetta Haywood. “Some people can have [sarcoidosis] and it can go away and never come back. Some people have it and it never goes away.”

    But today, the family thought only about their little princess and the exciting adventures that await.

    After the parade, Sundae Spa offered free pink hair extensions to parade-goers and community members who helped make Alonna’s dream come true.

    And that it did – Alonna was thrilled by her magic coach, shaped like a pumpkin in true Cinderella style.

    The only thing missing? A pair of glass slippers.



    Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

    Seven-year-old Alonna Beard is battling an autoimmune disorder but got to forget her problems today. She road a horse-drawn carriage through Milford before heading to Disney World, thanks to Make-A-Wish.Seven-year-old Alonna Beard is battling an autoimmune disorder but got to forget her problems today. She road a horse-drawn carriage through Milford before heading to Disney World, thanks to Make-A-Wish.

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    In a month’s time, nine out of 25 members of the Poquonock Bridge Fire District in Groton will lose their jobs because of financial constraints.

    The cause of those constraints is the subject of much debate – and firefighters say the cuts could be politically motivated.

    In an effort to determine how these cuts might affect public safety, NBC Connecticut reached out to the fire chief, president of the firefighters union, president of the Poquonock Bridge District Board and the Groton town manager, all of whom declined to comment.

    The president of the board referred to the situation as a “sensitive matter at this time.”

    Poquonock Bridge is Groton’s largest fire district by far, and according to the Associated Press, the department will need help from other districts after the cuts.

    Firefighters say the layoffs will be made according to seniority.

    Taxpayers last month approved a budget of $3.9 million for the fiscal year that begins July 1, $700,000 less than the district had this fiscal year.



    Photo Credit: Monica Garske

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    A jury has found a San Diego County man guilty of first-degree murder and assault with a deadly weapon in the death of his neighbor over a tree-trimming feud last year.

    Defendant Michael Vilkin of Encinitas showed little emotion as the verdict was read in a Vista court Friday afternoon, capping his trial for the shooting death of his neighbor, filmmaker John Upton.

    Vilkin is set to be sentenced Aug. 27 and could face 50 years to life in prison.

    "It's not a happy day. It's just that the truth came out," said Upton's good friend Elizabeth Bailey.

    The verdict followed nearly a week of deliberations that saw one juror replaced with an alternate due to misconduct.

    The trial had wrapped Monday, and jurors began deliberating Tuesday morning. On Thursday, the court said a juror had been dismissed for misconduct, following a hearing with both sides present, and was replaced by an alternate juror. The jury resumed deliberations Thursday afternoon.

    Vilkin fatally shot Upton in March 2013 after a year-long dispute that began over tree-trimming.

    Last week, Vilkin testified that Upton’s body language had become threatening over time and said he even saw Upton with a gun once. Vilkin testified that he feared his neighbor would hurt him.

    On the day of the confrontation that led to Upton’s shooting, Vilkin said he “prepared for the worst.”

    That day, as Vilkin was working on some property he owns next door to Vilkin’s Encinitas home, Vilkin testified that Upton approached him angrily and holding what looked like a gun.

    Vilkin was armed and shot Upton on the stomach and head. Prosecutors said Upton was not armed at all, but was instead carrying a phone in his hand.

    Last Friday, Vilkin took the stand once more and said he wasn’t happy about killing Upton and called the shooting an “automatic action to protect my person.”

    Bailey told NBC 7 the trial was emotionally draining for everyone sitting in the courtroom, but with this guilty verdict, justice has been served. 

    "He was just my dearest soul friend," said Bailey, tearing up as she remembered Upton. "He was very supportive and fun and a good friend. I would call him a fierce Leo, lion protector because he truly was a protector."



    Photo Credit: NBC 7

    Michael Vilkin heard the guilty verdict against him on June 20, 2014.Michael Vilkin heard the guilty verdict against him on June 20, 2014.

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    She dropped out of high school to serve our country, and now 70 years later a World War II veteran finally has her high school diploma.

    Ninety-one-year-old Rosalie Kone stood in the middle of the Windsor Locks High School graduation and waved proudly to the cheering crowd. She says it's a moment she never thought she'd get.

    "It's fantastic. I just like the fella who said I stole the show. I didn't steal the show. I said they hollered hello. I'll take the hellos," said Kone.

    In 1944 with her brothers already fighting in WWII, Pfc Kone left high school to serve in the Women's Army Corp for two years.

    "I drove a truck all over the country. Wherever the supplies were needed, that's where I went," said Kone.

    Kone served in England, France, and Germany and received several medals including three bronze stars. Because of her service, she never got the chance to graduate until an anonymous call was made three weeks ago asking the Windsor Locks Superintendent if he'd be willing to grant a diploma to a WWII veteran.

    "Is there a better example that learning is constant and time is a variable than Rosalie Kone? I don't think so," said Superintendent Wayne Sweeney.

    "I thought it was quite an honor," said Kone.

    Seventy years after leaving to fight in the war the great grandmother of three donned her cap and gown and walked the stage with cane in hand to a standing ovation. Her family was there for the emotional moment.

    "She's amazing. Everything about her is amazing. She's my everything," said daughter Cindy Kone.

    For many, high school graduation is just the beginning. For Kone, it took a lifetime to achieve, and she hopes other graduates don't take it for granted.

    "You just have to get out and push because no one is going to hand out anything to you because, like I said, if anybody knows, I do," said Kone.



    Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

    Ninety-one-year-old Rosalie Kone graduated from Windsor Locks High School with the rest of the class of 2014.Ninety-one-year-old Rosalie Kone graduated from Windsor Locks High School with the rest of the class of 2014.

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    The Hartford Police Bomb Squad responded to a home on Fairview Drive in Farmington on Friday after Connecticut Light & Power workers found what appeared to be a military tank shell or mortar in the yard, according to Farmington police.

    Officers arrived on scene and evacuated two neighboring homes as a precaution. The bomb squad removed the device, which is thought to be inert and part of a previous homeowner's collection of antique firearms and military ordinances, police said.

    It's not the first time police were called to this home.

    The bank foreclosed on the house in Jan. 2013 and officers seized more than 100 antique firearms, which were later returned to the homeowner, according to police.

    Authorities also discovered "numerous inert grenades and military ordinances," which the bomb squad investigated and deemed inert at the time, police said.

    Police believe the mortar found today was part of the original collection, but authorities treated the situation as though there were a real threat as a precaution.



    Photo Credit: Mark Leimbach

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    Two people were stabbed at the closing of a night club in Hartford early Saturday morning.

    According to police, they were called to 130 New Britain Ave. When they arrived, there was a large crowd on the street outside.

    Police located a woman with a serious stab wound to the abdomen.

    Another victim suffered a minor stab wound to the abdomen. This victim told police that after exiting La Garsa nightclub, he was approached by eight males who stated " You think we gonna forget what happened last week." 

    The victim said the group then began to punching him and knocked him to the ground. 

    Both victims were transported to Hartford Hospital and immediately taken to surgery. They are both listed in stable condition

    The Major Crimes Division is investigating.

     


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    Two teenage cousins who jumped into the Bronx River Friday afternoon to cool off quickly went under water, and one of them later died in the hospital after being pulled from the river by rescuers, police say.

    One teen was pulled from the water near E. 172nd Street after 3 p.m. and another was pulled from the water after 4 p.m. The two were taken to St. Barnabas Hospital in critical condition, and the second teen, identified as 13-year-old Erickson Villa of the Bronx, later died, police said. 

    The other teen remained in critical condition Saturday morning, according to a representative at Montefiore Hospital, where he is now receiving care. He and Villa were cousins, according to a relative, Kennedy Pacheco. 

    Witnesses said the teens were part of a larger group of children at Starlight Park who decided to go into the water. The two struggled to stay afloat, and their friends took to safety and rushed to call 911. 

    Richard Ferrano said he was playing baseball nearby when the victims' friends ran to him.

    "They were saying their friends jumped in the water, two kids, and they were drowning," he said. "So we came over here -- at first there was nothing -- and they called NYPD, and everyone started jumping in the water to look for the kids." 

    Fire officials said rescuers were able to pinpoint the area where the teens went under and quickly recovered the first victim. It took rescuers an hour and a half to find Villa because of poor visibility in the water. 

    -- Jonathan Vigliotti contributed to this report. 



    Photo Credit: NBC 4 New York/Facebook

    Erickson Villa (inset) died after being pulled from the Bronx River Friday, June 20Erickson Villa (inset) died after being pulled from the Bronx River Friday, June 20

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    Up to three people are missing and two others dead after a boat capsized in the Cal-Sag Channel near Palos Hills, Illinois, Friday night, officials said.

    The Coast Guard suspended their search and rescue Saturday afternoon and said they would "support other agencies as they continue to use sonar equipment."

    The 19-foot boat collided with a 66-foot commercial towing vessel around 11 p.m., according to the Coast Guard.

    Police said someone called authorities after hearing a loud a noise near Southwest Highway and the Canal Bridge.

    First responders were able to locate the barge and the small pleasure craft but did not see anyone in the water.

    Officials confirmed at least three people were on board the boat at the time of the collision, but said there may have been two others.

    "We're still looking at it like there were five people on board until we prove otherwise," said Jason Neubeuer with the Coast Guard.

    The bodies of a man and a woman were recovered from inside the boat without life vests on. The bodies were identified as Jeremy Muzika and Viengsavanh Bielarz, according to Sergeant Bill Shannon with the Illinois Conservation Police.

    The Cook County Medical Examiner's office confirmed the two bodies were recovered.

    Officials said they are still searching the area for one to three other boaters.

    "In 26 years it doesn't get any easier," said Shannon.

    Several emergency crews responded to the scene but fog prevented air crews from being able to help in the search.

    It was not immediately clear what caused the crash, but officials said they are investigating the actions of both the boat and the barge.

    According to Sergeant Jeff Crowley with the Palos Hills Police Department, the area is a frequent route for barges.

    “I don’t think it is very typical for a pleasure craft to be out this late at night,” Crowley said. “You don’t see a lot of pleasure crafts to be out this late at night.”

    Officials said the vessel the boat collided with was a UTV Bill Arnold, which had a cargo of six barges.

    According to Chief Warrant Officer Mark Stevens, runoff from this week's rain has left the water murky and makes locating objects difficult.

    The channel has been closed to traffic between mile markers 308 and 315, according to the Coast Guard.

    Coast Guard officials said three vehicles were found at a nearby boat ramp, two of which were registered to the same address as the capsized boat.

    Another vehicle was registered to a person in the same neighborhood.

    Police conducted a wellness check at the boat owner’s residence but there was no response, according to authorities.

    Greg Bielarz believes the capsized boat belongs to his brother.

    “They go out boating every week, have fun,” Bielarz said. “They know there’s barges, they know the dangers, but things happen.”

    Authorities were not releasing the names of the missing boaters, but Bielarz said he believes both his brother and his brother’s wife were on the boat.

    “That’s my brother,” he said. “We’re hoping for the best.”



    Photo Credit: Lauren Petty/NBCChicago

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    Fans turned out in force for the third day of the Travelers Championship in Cromwell.

    Many fans arrived early for the competition and the weather and the players didn't disappoint. Fans came from Connecticut.

    "We've been here several days so we've really seen the crowds start to swell, see the respect with which everybody shows the golfers, it's a neat atmosphere. It's a neat sport," said Camille Dolansky of Higganum.

    Others came from out of state.

    "There's not a lot in the local area from a sports team perspective in Pittsfield, a nice opportunity to get out. Come out to the Travelers and just enjoy a couple days of golf," said George Betti of Pittsfield, MA.

    Many fans stopped by the warm up area to get a look at their favorite fans in action. Some even got a chance to meet their favorites in person.

    "There's an opportunity to talk with some of the players especially on Wednesday for the celebrity pro-am. Today's more of they're down to business so there's a good opportunity to watch some quality golf," said Betti.

    Tournament Director Nathan Grube says the picture perfect weather is contributing to strong crowds.

    "You plan all year for an event like this and the one thing you can't control, the weather, is something that can really effect your event and we're really fortunate to have a good week," said Grube.

    It was a fun day for fans on the golf course as the Travelers Championship goes on.

    "I actually like seeing the talent that the pros have. They play a game that I'm not familiar with, the skill, the power, and really appreciate a lot of the big names showing up," said Greg Dolansky of Higganum.

     



    Photo Credit: Getty Images

    CROMWELL, CT - JUNE 20: Matt Kuchar of the United States watches his tee shot on the 12th hole during the second round of the Travelers Championship golf tournament at the TPC River Highlands on June 20, 2014 in Cromwell, Connecticut. (Photo by Jeff Haynes/Getty Images)CROMWELL, CT - JUNE 20: Matt Kuchar of the United States watches his tee shot on the 12th hole during the second round of the Travelers Championship golf tournament at the TPC River Highlands on June 20, 2014 in Cromwell, Connecticut. (Photo by Jeff Haynes/Getty Images)

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    Mourners paid their respects Saturday to the six family members who died in a Newark house fire on Father's Day.

    A funeral was held at the Solid Rock Baptist Church in Irvington for the six, who died when a fast-moving fire roared through the single-family home of Salome and Reginald Stewart, both 58. Prosecutors have said the blaze was sped along by highly flammable plastic flowers that decorated the front of the house.

    Salome Stewart's daughter, 43-year-old Noreen "Michelle" Johnson, was visiting with her 15-year-old son, Stephon Sydney, from Crawford, Georgia, when the fire broke out. Zion Forbes, 11, was staying with his grandmother for the night to see the visiting relatives. Natasha Kinsale, 35, was also caught in the blaze.

    "It hurts," said Cheryl Sydney, a relative. "You feel like something has been taken out of your chest."

    All six deaths were ruled accidental. Authorities said the home didn't appear to have working smoke detectors.


    Mourners paid their respects Saturday to the six family members who died in a Newark house fire on Father's Day.Mourners paid their respects Saturday to the six family members who died in a Newark house fire on Father's Day.

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  • 06/21/14--20:11: Lombard Street Closing

  • San Francisco's world-famous crooked street will be temporarily off limits to cars starting this weekend.

    Lombard Street, between Larkin and Leavenworth streets, will be closed Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 6 p.m until July 13. It will also be closed on the Fourth of July.

    The closure is part of a pilot program put in place after Lombard homeowners complained about traffic in the area.

    After the experimental closures, officials will decide if the tourist attraction should be shut down on a more regular basis.

    The SFMTA board, at the request of Supervisor Mark Farrell, voted last month to approve the temporary weekend shutdowns.

    Some neighborhood residents would like to see the road closed for more than just a few weekends a year. A neighborhood spokesman said their goal is for the road to be closed most of the summer and half of all weekends.

    Some residents said in recent years it had gained an amusement park atmosphere, with people blocking their driveways and snapping photos as they drove the street.

    One resident, who wished not to reveal her name, said all the pedestrians clogging the street Saturday was more than she bargained for.

    "I think I'm more concerned right now about the pedestrians," she said. "First of all, I'm angry, but secondly, people have a split second or they think about moving or not moving."

    Local traffic, taxi cabs and pedestrians will still be allowed.

    The issue has been formally debated since 2000, according to an SFMTA report. Other possible solutions that have also been proposed include gating the street, creating a pedestrian mall, privatizing the street, prohibiting right turns on Hyde Street, and closing Lombard between Van Ness and Polk Streets during peak traffic periods.

    Summer 2014 Lombard Street shutdown dates:

    •  Saturday and Sundays in June: 21, 22, 28, 29
    •  Friday 4th of July
    •  Saturday and Sundays in July: 5, 6, 12, 13


    Photo Credit: Getty

    A car drives down Lombard Street in San Francisco, California, in this file photo.A car drives down Lombard Street in San Francisco, California, in this file photo.

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    New York City's first family is embracing the colorful spirit of Coney Island's Mermaid Parade.

    Mayor de Blasio's office tweeted a photo of the family in costume for the wacky procession Saturday at the city's most famous beach. 

    The mayor donned a pirate costume, complete with a ruffled white shirt, while his wife, Chirlane McCray, put on a blue wig and blue mermaid costume.

    Their children, Dante and Chiara, went all out with blue skin. The teenagers are serving as King Neptune and Queen Mermaid for this year's parade.


    The first family, in costume for the Mermaid Parade, posing in a photograph released by the New York City mayor's office.The first family, in costume for the Mermaid Parade, posing in a photograph released by the New York City mayor's office.

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    Three off-duty officers on a fishing trip rescued a couple who had been treading water for 14 hours after falling off their boat in Key Largo, Fla.

    The Broward Sheriff's Office said two detectives and a firefighter/paramedic were fishing for dolphin Saturday morning about seven miles offshore of Hallandale Beach when they saw what looked like fish jumping or birds feeding on the surface of the water.

    As they got closer, they saw it was actually a man treading water and waving his T-shirt at them. Next to him was an exhausted woman.

    The three officers and a civilian who was fishing with them helped the couple onto their boat.

    The couple told them they fell off their boat in Key Largo about 14 hours earlier. The boat was in gear and pulled away from them, leaving them stranded.

    The couple appeared to have mild hypothermia and some jellyfish stings, BSO said.



    Photo Credit: Broward Sheriff's Office

    A couple was rescued by Broward Sheriff's officers after treading water for 14 hours.A couple was rescued by Broward Sheriff's officers after treading water for 14 hours.

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    A torched body with a gunshot wound was found behind a Budget rental facility in Fort Myers has been identified by police as Eddie James Owens, 31. The body was so badly burned, witnesses said only a little bit of Owens shoes were recognizable.
     
    NBC affiliate WBBH found Owens' stepmother, Shannon Adams, at the charred wall where the body was found. She said Owens was a cross-dresser who had been in and out of trouble with the law before. 
     
    "He's different but you know, everybody deserves to live their life the way they want," Shannon Adams told reporters.
     
    Warehouse workers found Owen's remains on Thursday at 8 a.m. A witness nearby the rental facility said they heard screaming and yelling early that morning. Hank Morroni was returning a vehicle when he said he smelled something and saw the horrific scene.
     
    "I just took one quick glance, there was a charred body. You couldn't recognize if it was male or female or anything and it was still smoldering," Morroni said. 
     
    Police believe this was an isolated incident and have opened a homicide investigation. To find more clues, police are looking at surveillance cameras belonging to warehouses surrounding the crime scene. 
     
    Owens has been arrested several times in Lee County including two times for prostitution, WBBH reported. Anyone with information is asked to call the Fort Myers Police Department at 239-321-7700 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-780-TIPS or text message C-R-I-M-E-S (274637) Keyword FMPD. 

    A torched body with a gun shot wound was found behind a Budget rental facility in Fort Myers has been identified by police as Eddie James Owens, 31.A torched body with a gun shot wound was found behind a Budget rental facility in Fort Myers has been identified by police as Eddie James Owens, 31.

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    An arrest has been made in the triple-homicide mystery that has enthralled San Diego since Christmas Eve 2013, San Diego police and family members of the victims confirmed Saturday.

    The San Diego Police Department said Carlo Gallapo Mercado, 29, was arrested Friday in the 8700 block of Westmore Street in San Diego. He was booked on three counts of first-degree murder in connection with the slayings of Ilona Flint, 22, and brothers Salvatore Belvedere, 22, and Gianni Belvedere, 24.

    Mercado was booked into San Diego Central Jail. Inmate records indicate he's scheduled to appear in court for the first time Wednesday.

    At a quick media briefing held Saturday, Antoinette Belvedere, sister of Gianni and Salvatore, said the family had gotten a phone call from detectives Saturday morning telling them an arrest had been made in all three of the killings.

    She said the family did not know the suspect tied to the triple-homicide case.

    "We ask that you please respect our privacy as we process this new information," said Antoinette. "Our families want to extend our deepest appreciation and thanks to the men and women of the San Diego Police Department."

    Antoinette said the family feels "relief" at this point, but is still trying to process the news.

    "We're holding up. You know, it's a sense of relief to get this information that somebody's been caught, and we just got the news, so we're still processing everything," she added.

    Flint and Salvatore were gunned down in a parking lot outside a Macy's department store at Mission Valley Mall in the early hours of Dec. 24, 2013. Flint died at the scene, while Salvatore died a few days later from injuries sustained in the shooting.

    Gianni -- Salvatore's brother and Flint's longtime boyfriend-turned-fiance -- went missing following the shooting of his loved ones. The San Diego Police Department launched a missing person search for Gianni over the next several weeks.

    Finally, on Jan. 17, 2014, Gianni's body was discovered in the trunk of his car in Riverside, Calif., about an hour-and-a-half north of San Diego County. He, too, had been fatally shot.

    The case has remained opened and unsolved for nearly six months.

    The families of the victims have tried diligently to increase the reward for information on this case in hopes of bringing forward fresh leads. The San Diego Crime Stoppers reward fund for this case increased to $10,000 earlier this year.

    The San Diego Police Department said Chief Shelley Zimmerman plans to hold a news conference on these latest developments on Monday at 11:30 a.m. NBC 7 will stream that briefing live on our website.



    Photo Credit: Facebook

    (L-R) Gianni Belvedere, Ilona Flint and Salvatore Belvedere in a Facebook photo.(L-R) Gianni Belvedere, Ilona Flint and Salvatore Belvedere in a Facebook photo.

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