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    A nursing assistant is under arrest, accused of sexually assaulting a patient at St. Vincent's Medical Center in Bridgeport.

    Gonzalo Flores, 53, was arrested Tuesday and St. Vincent's said he was terminated shortly after his arrest.

    Police began investigating June 10 after receiving a complaint from a man who said Flores touched him inappropriately at the hospital.

    The patient told police he was asleep and woke up to find Flores touching his genital area, according to investigators. He said that Flores made him uncomfortable before the incident, police said.

    The patient waited a few days before reporting the incident to police.

    Flores spoke with investigators, but when asked if he was willing to take a polygraph test about the incident, he told them he "would not do well," according to police.

    Flores faces fourth-degree sexual assault charges.

    Police said the hospital was not made aware of the assault until after it was reported to authorities, and that the hospital has been cooperative throughout the investigation.



    Photo Credit: Bridgeport Police Department

    Gonzalo Flores, 53, is accused of sexually assaulting a patient at Saint Vincent's Medical Center as he was working as a certified nursing assistant.Gonzalo Flores, 53, is accused of sexually assaulting a patient at Saint Vincent's Medical Center as he was working as a certified nursing assistant.

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    A former science teacher at Miss Porter’s School in Farmington was indicted today on federal charges stemming from his alleged sexual contact with a teenage student.

    Joseph Rajkumar, 44, was arrested in March of 2013 after allegedly having sexual relations with a 16-year-old during the 2011-2012 school year. Federal authorities said he contacted the student online and enticed her to engage in sexual activity.

    A federal grand jury indicted him Wednesday on one count of using an interstate facility to persuade a minor to engage in sexual activity.

    According to the 2013 warrant for his arrest, the teen told police what started as groping turned into sexual intercourse in a classroom closet. She said she was afraid to report it because she her diploma would be taken away and she would be forced to leave college.

    The investigation was launched after a school guidance counselor contacted the Department of Children and Families to report inappropriate conversations and text messages between Rajkumar and at least five students ages 15-18, the warrant says.

    Rajkumar was subsequently charged with three counts of sexual assault, one stemming from the November 2011 incident and two others from May 2010 and February 2012, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

    He pleaded guilty in Connecticut court to second-degree sexual assault and, in January 2014, was sentenced to 10 years in prison suspended after 18 months and followed by 10 years of probation. Rajkumar is currently in the custody of the state Department of Corrections.

    If convicted on federal charges, Rajkumar could spent anywhere from 10 years to life behind bars.



    Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com/Farmington Police

    Joseph Prem Rajkumar, a former science teacher at Miss Porter's, has been indicted on federal charges stemming from the alleged sexual assault of a teenage student.Joseph Prem Rajkumar, a former science teacher at Miss Porter's, has been indicted on federal charges stemming from the alleged sexual assault of a teenage student.

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    Summoning a driver at a push of a smartphone button is a lot easier than trying to hail a cab during rush hour, so it’s no wonder that Uber, a ride-sharing app that connects passengers and car services within minutes, has become so popular.

    The San Francisco-based startup, which launched in 2010, is the biggest of the car-hailing apps (others include Lyft, Sidecar and Wingz), operating in 120 cities, across 37 countries. Uber relies on a surge-pricing model, which means the fares increase during high-demand periods. The company has come under fire from traditional taxi drivers who say the service is not fair and might even be illegal. This battle between upstart and establishment is likely to continue, and may benefit riders from a cost perspective.

    Meantime, here’s what you need to know about Uber:

    • How Does Uber Work?

    A customer requests a car using a smartphone app and Uber sends its closest driver to their location, using the phone’s GPS. The fare is charged directly to your credit card. Uber provides five types of services: UberX, the cheapest option which allows for the hiring of livery car drivers with a smartphone; Uber Taxi, which lets you e-hail a yellow cab; Uber Black, a private hire car; Uber SUV, the car seats up to six people and Uber Lux, which features the priciest cars.

    • Who Drives Uber Cars?

    UberX drivers are not licensed chauffeurs and they use their own cars. They also use their personal auto insurance policy while driving for Uber and they are not required to get commercial liability insurance. According to the compnay website, all ride-sharing and livery drivers are thorougly screened and the compnay conducuts ongoing reviews of drivers’ motor vehicle records throughout their time with Uber.

    The review process may be flawed.  A three-month investigation by NBC4 I-Team found that convicted felons passed Uber background checks across the country. And in an undercover investigation, NBC Chicago hired several UberX drivers and ran their own background checks on them and found numerous tickets for speeding, illegal stops and running lights.

    • Is Uber Safe?

    States are warning riders who hail an Uber or another ride-sharing cab that they may not be covered by insurance if the driver gets in an accident. But Uber and other ride-sharing companies say that is not the case.

    "There's no insurance gap at all on any trip on the Uber system," Uber spokeswoman Nairi Hourdajian told NBC News. She said the company's $1 million policy, provides suffiicent coverage in case a driver's personal insurance fails to do that.

    • How Much Is Uber Worth?

    Uber was valued in June at $18.2 billion, less than a year after being valued at $3.5 billion. The valuation was the highest-ever for a venture-backed start-up and experts say Uber is positioned to become one of the most powerful companies in the world.

    • Uber Capping Fares in Emergencies

    Uber announced Monday that it will cap fares during emergencies and disasters in all U.S. cities. The company said prices may still rise higher than usual during an emergency, but the increase will be limited. The price will always stay below that of the three highest-priced, non-emergency days of the preceding 2 months, according to Uber's website.

    The company was accused of price gouging when it applied surge pricing after Hurricane Sandy, in some cases doubling the normal fares.

    • Uber Slashing Fares in Some Cities

    Uber also said Monday that it was temporarily cutting UberX rates by 20 percent in New York City, making its service cheaper than taking a yellow taxi.

    An UberX ride from New York’s City’s Grand Central Terminal to the Financial District will now cost about $22, down from about $28. The same ride in a city cab will cost about $24, according to Uber’s blog.

    Uber has reduced fares in Atlanta, San Francisco, Boston and Chicago.

    • Uber Banned in Some Cities

    While taxi operators often shell out more than $1 million for a medallion to operate in some cities, Uber drivers don’t. At least six cities (Omaha, Neb., Lincoln, Neb., Ann Arbor, Mich., San Antonio, Austin, Texas, and Miami) as well as the state of Virginia have banned ride-sharing companies. Another seven cities and three states (California, Connecticut and Pennsylvania) are trying to regulate them.

     

     



    Photo Credit: Getty Images

    In this photo illustration the new smart phone taxi app 'Uber' shows how to select a pick up location on July 1, 2014 in Barcelona, Spain.In this photo illustration the new smart phone taxi app 'Uber' shows how to select a pick up location on July 1, 2014 in Barcelona, Spain.

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    When police in Connecticut announced this week that a child had died alone inside a hot car, it was the latest in a string of such deaths across the nation over the past month.

    Six children died in June under similar circumstances in the U.S. The case receiving the most national attention is unfolding in suburban Atlanta, where a father is charged with murder for intentionally leaving his 22-month-old son alone in the back of the family SUV. The father, Justin Ross Harris, wanted a "child-free life," according to authorities. Harris claims he was unaware his son was in the back seat when he drove to work.

    The six reported deaths last month are down from nine deaths that occurred last June. Still, advocates say the rate remains troubling and more should be done to educate parents and protect kids.

    So far in 2014, 15 children have died from heat stroke because they were left in hot cars, according to KidsAndCars, a national nonprofit that works to prevent harm to children in and around vehicles. By their count, 44 children died of vehicular heat stroke last year, up from 33 in 2012.

    Advocates say studies have not identified why some years see more deaths than others.

    “Out of sight can mean out of mind,” said Janette Fenton, founder and president of KidsAndCars.

    On Tuesday, Connecticut State Police sent a public message warning drivers to be attentive to their own children as well as others they see unattended in cars.

    "We wanted to ensure that people understood the dangers involved in not only leaving a child unattended in a car, but even in leaving a car unlocked," Lt Paul Vance of Connecticut Police's department of emergency services and public protection said. He added that kids in the summer play outdoors more often, where they have increased access to cars.

    There have been six reported incidents of children being locked hot cars in Connecticut in the last two weeks, the one in Ridgefield on Monday resulting in death. Up until last month, Connecticut had a record of only four reported hot car child deaths since data began being collected in 1990, according to KidsAndCars' data.

    "This is a parent's worst nightmare," said Amy Jones, a 32-year-old Connecticut mother and middle school teacher. Her child turned 2 in May.

    "It's sad no matter what their age, but especially when you hear about a child of similar age to your own," Jones said.

    Twenty states have unattended child in vehicle laws on the books, according to Golden Gate Weather Services. Connecticut's law charges guardians who endanger their children in hot cars with a felony depending on the circumstances. Tennessee, which already had a law in place, added a good Samaritan bill in June that allows a stranger to break into a car if they see an unattended child in danger.

    "What we are truly asking is for the public to be our eyes and ears," Vance said. "When you pull into the supermarket and see a child locked in a car, contact law enforcement. We can determine if it's a true emergency, especially in these days of hot, humid, horrific weather."

    But even in milder temperatures children are still at risk. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration warns that even on days with temperatures in the 60s, a car's internal temperature can rise above 110 degrees, and children's bodies warm faster than adults.

    "Studies on thermal injury to children show that 'dry heat' temperatures, within a closed vehicle, can become dangerous to small children and infants in only minutes,” Connecticut State Police said in Tuesday's statement. "A high level of humidity can reduce that time by one half."

    Could Technology Fix the Problem? 

    Fenton wants to see more proactive approaches to the issue.

    “The child should never be left there in the first place. You’re waiting and hoping for a perfect stranger to help your child,” she said. “It is going to take technology to change this.”

    Cars alert drivers and passengers when their seatbelt is unbuckled, when their door isn’t fully closed, or when the gas is running low, Fenton said. But they don’t alert you when you leave a child in the car.

    “If you back away and look at it, it’s more important to save a dead car battery than a dead baby,” Fenton said.

    The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration has found that current warning systems to detect children left in cars are unreliable, according to research from July 2012.

    "I don't know if there's technology that will ever exist," Jones said. She suggests parents should get into the habit of leaving things that are important to them, such as a phone or wallet, in the backseat of the car so the driver won't leave the car without looking in the back. 

    "Leave something that belongs to you, not something for your child. You can just as easily forget your diaper bag," Jones said.

    That's the message that CarsAndKids and similar organizations, including SafeCar.gov, are spreading through the awareness campaign Look Before You Lock. They are encouraging drivers with children in the car to adopt simple routines, such as leaving an object in the back seat that the driver will reach for before leaving the car.

    "There have been 15 deaths this year. We don't want to contribute to that," Vance said. "We want people to understand that defenseless children need to be taken care of, they need to be remembered, they can’t be forgotten. Certainly that keeps them out of harm's way."



    Photo Credit: Getty Images

    So far in 2014, 15 children have died from heat stroke because they were left in hot cars, according to KidsAndCars, a national nonprofit that works to prevent harm to children in and around vehicles.So far in 2014, 15 children have died from heat stroke because they were left in hot cars, according to KidsAndCars, a national nonprofit that works to prevent harm to children in and around vehicles.

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    A 9-year-old from Manchester got the surprise of his life today when his dad returned from a 13-month deployment and surprised him at summer camp.

    Major Timothy Christensen is a member of the Army Reserves and has spent the past year in Afghanistan.

    His first stop after flying into Bradley International Aiprot today: the YMCA's Science Detectives Camp in Ellington.

    The children were watching the camp's annual magic show when 9-year-old Ethan was called up to help the magician. Some of the kids were handed hats, and Ethan was given his father's.

    He didn't make the connection until the magician asked whose hat Ethan was wearing and the boy noticed his last name was spelled out across the front.

    It was only then, when Ethan turned around, that he realized who was standing behind him. He jumped into his father's arms and didn't let go.

    "That was the greatest feeling in the world," Christensen said, " to get to hug your son."

    After the show, Ethan said he was excited to wrestle and have push-up contests with his dad, then ordered him down for 20 push ups and climbed onto his father's back.

    It was a happy homecoming filled with laughter and tears. Christensen was recently awarded the Bronze Star and has just completed his third deployment.



    Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

    Major Timothy Christensen surprised his 9-year-old son at summer camp after 13 months overseas.Major Timothy Christensen surprised his 9-year-old son at summer camp after 13 months overseas.

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    Firefighters rescued at least two rabbits and two cats from the burning basement of a Fairfield home Wednesday morning, and although the house is damaged, everyone is safe, according to the fire department.

    Crews responded to the house at 464-466 Knapps Highway around 10:15 a.m. Wednesday after residents noticed smoke emanating from the basement and called 911, according to the fire department.

    The residents made it out but told emergency responders that family pets were still in the basement. Firefighters rescued all the animals and knocked down the fire after about half an hour on scene, fire officials said.

    Firefighters said the basement sustained smoke damage and the house had no working smoke detectors.



    Photo Credit: Fairfield Fire Department

    Firefighters rescued family pets from the basement of a burning home in Fairfield.Firefighters rescued family pets from the basement of a burning home in Fairfield.

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    An abandoned dog was found with the words "free" and "I need a home" written on it in permanent marker in a typically dog-friendly Northern California community last week.

    Shannon Bettencourt just finished her shift at the Chill Wine Bar in downtown Benicia on July 3 when she saw the dog standing by a tree.

    "She was scared, shaking and kind of whimpering," Bettencourt said.

    She couldn't believe someone just left the dog on the side of the street with words written directly on it.

    "I was heartbroken, it was really sad," Bettencourt said. "Nobody wants to see an animal like that ever."

    Bettencourt took the dog home, where her fiance, Chris Franco, was waiting.

    "(The dog) was obviously well taken care of. You could have easily found a home for a dog like this if you really gave it half an effort," he said.

    The couple tried to find clues as to what happened through Facebook, with no luck. So they kept her.

    "The first night I let her sleep in the bed with me because I knew she needed something, and she just slept on my stomach the whole night," Bettencourt said.

    Bettencourt named the dog Libby, short for Liberty. She thought it was appropriate since she found Libby the day before the Fourth of July.

    She says Libby is well-mannered and likes to play with other dogs. Libby also seems to like Bettencourt, too.

    "She's super well-trained, and it just doesn't make sense why somebody would dump her," Bettencourt said.

    Bettencourt plans to formally adopt Libby this week. The Benicia Police Department says the original owner could face dog abandonment charges. They're asking witnesses to call them.


    The words The words "Free" and "I Need a Home" were written on an abandoned dog found in Benicia.

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    A limousine company based in Berlin will pay $500,000 in damages and back wages to nearly 200 drivers who the Department of Labor says were not properly compensated for the overtime they worked.

    The Department of Labor and S.D. Transportation Services LLC, the parent organization of Premier Limousine, settled a lawsuit today that the government agency filed in March 2012.

    The suit was sparked by a Dept. of Labor Wage and Hour Division investigation revealing that the company had underpaid drivers in violation of the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act, according to a release from the DOL.

    Investigators reportedly learned that sedan, limousine and SUV drivers had been paid straight time for time worked beyond 40 hours per week, rather than the legally mandated time-and-a-half overtime compensation, according to the DOL.

    The DOL also alleges that Premier Limousine payroll records did not accurately document employees’ daily and weekly hours.

    Premier Limousine released the following statement in response to the settlement:

    “Premier Limousine has always hired the best chauffeurs and treated them as professionals with the respect that they deserve, and we greatly value their service and contribution to our success. We have always operated in good faith and in compliance with all applicable wage and hour laws. During the past 30 years, our chauffeurs have been exempt from overtime and have benefited from the freedom to work the hours that met their needs. Premier Limousine will continue to work to accommodate employee schedules and ensure that customer satisfaction remains a top priority. Despite Premier’s vigorous defense and the fact that the law throughout the country is still unsettled, we have entered into this settlement to put this matter behind us and will comply fully with its terms.”


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    The death of a baby girl found unresponsive in her Naugatuck home in April has been ruled accidental, according to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.

    The child was found unresponsive in an apartment at 20 Diamond Street on April 22. Emergency responders arrived and tried to revive her to no avail.

    The medical examiner’s office said the baby girl’s death was accidental and has been listed as “overlaying,” which happens when someone sleeping with the child accidentally rolls over onto the baby, causing suffocation, according to the National Center for Child Death Review Policy and Practice.

    Local authorities responded to the apartment to investigate, along with the Connecticut State Police Major Crime Unit.



    Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

    The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner has ruled that a baby girl found unresponsive in her Naugatuck apartment died of a form of suffocation known as The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner has ruled that a baby girl found unresponsive in her Naugatuck apartment died of a form of suffocation known as "overlaying."

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  • 07/09/14--19:07: Thunderstorms Moving Out

  • The last of Wednesday night's thunderstorms is moving out and once again leaving downed trees and power lines in its wake, and lightning even sparked a shed fire in Shelton.

    Severe thunderstorm warnings and watches issued for the western and central parts of the state expired by 10 p.m. as storms weakened and moved to the north.

    But the storms made their mark. Trees and limbs are down around in Fairfield, Litchfield and New Haven counties.

    Ridgefield Road in Wilton and West Prospect Street in New Haven are blocked off while crews work to clear fallen trees. A tree also blocked off Toddy Road in Sandy Hook earlier tonight.

    More than 1,100 homes are without power in Cornwall, according to the Connecticut Light & Power outage map.

    A shed on High Ridge Road in Shelton caught fire after being struck by lightning, and a neighbor was reportedly shocked while holding onto a metal garage railing.

    It's the third night in a series of severe storms that brought down trees and power lines in western Connecticut earlier this week.

    When you see severe weather, send photos to shareit@nbcconnecticut.com.


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    Police are investigating after a 35-year-old Bridgeport man was stabbed Tuesday night.

    The victim told police he was in the area of Harral Avenue and James Street when an unidentified male walked up to him, asked him for a cigarette and some money, then went pulled out a knife and stabbed him in the upper chest and leg.

    He was treated at St. Vincent’s Medical Center for non-life threatening injuries, according to police.

    Anyone with information are encouraged to contact Bridgeport police.



    Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

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    An 18-year-old woman is facing charges after allegedly stabbed a relative in the stomach Wednesday morning in New London.

    Nicole Rivers was arrested shortly after noon today on Clover Street, about two hours after the incident. She's accused of stabbing a male relative in the stomach during a dispute.

    Rivers has been charged with third-degree assault as well as disorderly conduct.

    The victim was taken to Lawrence + Memorial Hospital and treated for non-life-threatening injuries.

    Rivers is being held on $50,000 bail.



    Photo Credit: NBC10.com

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  • 07/09/14--16:42: Man Trapped in Chicago Jail

  • Authorities are investigating after a man was accidentally trapped inside Cook County Jail for more than 30 hours while attempting to visit his son over the weekend.

    The man was visiting his son, who is awaiting trial on a drug case, early Saturday evening and was taken to a part of the Chicago jail he'd never been after his son was moved.

    After being directed to "go down the hallway and turn to the right," he entered a door that had been propped open and shut it behind him, according to Cook County Jail spokesperson Cara Smith.

    The man thought he was entering the visiting area to see his son, but the room is reportedly where people visit the “highest classification” super-maximum security prisoners and is not used on the weekends, according to the Chicago Tribune.

    The door was propped open because contractors were installing cameras, Smith said.

    Smith called the incident “the perfect storm” and said “a set of bizarre circumstances” allowed it to take place.

    The man was stuck in the room for roughly 30 hours. He was rescued after he broke a sprinkler head and was found by firefighters with the Chicago Fire Department around 1 a.m. Monday.

    The man needed stitches on one of his thumbs from breaking the sprinkler and was treated at Rush University Medical Center.

    “I met him at the hospital and he was exceptionally gracious and grateful to be out of the room,” Smith said. “We expressed how sorry we were and gave him a ride back to his vehicle [at the jail].”

    Smith said an incident like that has never happened before and hopes it never happens again.

    The Cook County Department of Corrections says its facility is one of the largest of its kind in the country. It covers eight city blocks and houses about 9,000 inmates.


     



    Photo Credit: Getty Images / Scott Olson

    Two women walk toward a visitor's entrance of a maximum security detention area of the Cook County jail February 12, 2006 in Chicago, Illinois.Two women walk toward a visitor's entrance of a maximum security detention area of the Cook County jail February 12, 2006 in Chicago, Illinois.

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    The Los Angeles Dodgers organization must pay millions of dollars in damages after it was found negligent Wednesday in the beating of San Francisco Giants fan Bryan Stow, severely injured when he was attacked by two men in the Dodger Stadium parking lot after the 2011 opening day game.

    A lawsuit filed on behalf Stow accused the Dodgers organization and the team's former owner of failing to provide adequate security on the night of the attack. Payment of the $18 million in damages will be divided among the Dodgers organization and the two men who accepted plea deals in the criminal case.

    Former owner Frank McCourt was absolved by the jury.

    "I think it's going to be good," said Stow attorney Tom Girardi after the decision was announced. "It's going to take some pressure off his mom and dad. We're going to get some help for that."

    The jury's decision means the Dodgers organization will pay about $14 million in economic losses and a quarter of the pain and suffering sum, adding about $1 million more, according to Girardi.

    The verdict was reached after nine full days of deliberations that included testimony from Stow's friends and family members, Dodgers security officials and McCourt. Stow's parents said they were appreciative of the time and consideration jurors gave the case.

    "I don't even understand what happened in there, but Bryan will understand that he got some help today," said father David Stow.

    Jurors told the judge last Wednesday that they were deadlocked and could not reach a decision, but the judge asked them to continue deliberations. The panel told the judge members were unable to reach a consensus of at least nine jurors on the question of whether there was negligence by former Dodgers owner Frank McCourt.

    The case appeared headed for a possible deadlock, until jurors indicated late Wednesday morning that they reached a decision.

    "It's an amazing turnaround," said NBC4 legal analyst Royal Oakes. "There are dozens of questions they had to answer when it comes to damages, and that's probably why it took so long to do this.."

    Girardi asked in closing arguments that Stow be paid $36 million for his lifetime care and double that amount for pain and suffering. That figure would cover his out-of-pocket medical and other expenses and help relieve the family's burden of care, Girardi said.

    "This is a solid thing for us," Girardi said of the final amount.

    A lawyer for the team and McCourt said Stow should get nothing and claimed the only people to blame are the two men who pleaded guilty to assault in the case's criminal trial.

    Stow, 45, did not testify at either trial. He was in a wheelchair when he appeared in court twice during the civil trial.

    The case drew strong reaction from players and fans, including members of the Stow family, who called for an end to violence at sports venues. That "culture of violence" and failures by the Dodgers organization to control it led to the parking lot attack, according to attorney's for Stow.

    "Dodger Stadium got to a place where it was a total mess," Girardi told jurors during his closing argument. "There was a culture of violence. Beer sales were off the charts."

    But an attorney for McCourt and the team countered that there was more security than at any other Dodgers opening day in history. He also said Stow helped set the chain of events in motion, citing testimony that Stow's blood-alcohol level was .18 -- more than twice the legal limit for driving -- and a witness account of Stow yelling in the parking lot with his arms up in the air.

    "There were things Mr. Stow did that put these things in action," attorney Dana Fox said.

    Stow's lawyer countered that the only thing Stow did was wear a Giants jersey on a day when emotions were running high among fans. The jury found that Stow was not liable in the attack.

    Louie Sanchez and Marvin Norwood, who were not named in the lawsuit, accepted plea deals in February. Sanchez, 31, pleaded guilty to a felony count of mayhem and was sentenced to eight years in prison for the attack on Bay Area paramedic and father. Norwood, 32, pleaded guilty to assault by means likely to produce great bodily injury and was sentenced to four years in prison.

    As part of the plea agreement, all other charges against the men -- whom a judge "complete cowards" at their sentencing hearing -- were dropped.

    Norwood and Sanchez were arrested after a man initially identified as the prime suspect was exonerated months after his arrested in connection with the attack. A lawsuit against the LAPD by Giovanni Ramirez, held on a probation violation involving access to a firearm, was dismissed in January 2013.



    Photo Credit: KNBC-TV

    Bryan Stow outside a Los Angeles courthouse June 25, 2014.Bryan Stow outside a Los Angeles courthouse June 25, 2014.

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    The Bridgeport school system plans to terminate its partnership with the Family Urban Schools of Excellent as the state Department of Education investigates the charter school management organization.

    Acting Bridgeport Supt. Francis Rabinowitz announced the decision Wednesday and said she plans to go before the city Board of Education tomorrow to present her proposal. State Commissioner of Education Stefan Pryor is backing the decision, according to a release from the Dept. of Education.

    FUSE has been managing Dunbar Elementary School. Hartford Public Schools severed ties with FUSE late last month, cutting off its three-year charter with Jumoke Academy, which had been running Milner Elementary School.

    It all began when FUSE and Jumoke CEO Michael Sharpe was terminated in June amid questions about his background and qualifications. Authorities learned that “Dr. Sharpe,” as he had called himself for years, had not completed his doctorate studies.

    Pryor and Rabinowitz released the following joint statement on Wednesday:

    “Recent revelations regarding FUSE have given rise to significant concerns regarding the organization’s ability to continue working with Dunbar. Teachers, students and parents have demonstrated commendable resolve to turn around Dunbar. They deserve a partner who will be able to provide the attention and support necessary for the work that lies ahead. Therefore, we will actively explore a partnership with Cooperative Educational Services (CES) to help support the school’s effort to implement its turnaround plan.”

    Pryor said a couple weeks ago that the Dept. of Education planned to investigate FUSE and Jumoke, and chose Hartford attorney Frederick Dorsey of Kainen, Escalera & McHale, P.C. as the man for the job.

    On Wednesday, he went before the state Board of Education to launch a department analysis of charter school oversight.

    According to a release from the state Board of Education, the analysis will make recommendations for the improvement of:

    • Transparency
    • Employee background checks
    • Student performance accountability
    • The development of charter school expectations when the partnership is first formed
    • The charter renewal process
    • The process in which schools are expanded, put on probation or shut down

    “At the Governor’s direction, the Department is proceeding with a review of the state’s charter school policies and practices, as well as an analysis of best practices nationwide. Our goal is to improve our state’s oversight of charter schools in order to help ensure a strong system that safeguards against problems in the future,” Pryor said in a statement Wednesday. “As the special investigation regarding FUSE and Jumoke proceeds, we will also conduct an examination of improvements to the system as a whole.”

    The National Governors Association, National Association of Charter School Authorizers and Connecticut Association of Boards of Education will be contributing to the analysis, along with charter school parents, other education departments and state and national organizations.

    Pryor expects to complete the review by Aug. 11.



    Photo Credit: Getty Images/Flickr RF

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    Price Chopper supermarkets are recalling apple pies sold over the past few weeks due to the possible presence of plastic wrap, according to a release from the supermarket chain.

    Eight-inch Double Crust Apple Pies sold beginning June 26 with the UPC code label 41735-23516 could contain bits of blue plastic wrap in the pie and are being recalled, the release says.

    Price Chopper has notified customers who purchased the affected pies and have signed up for the supermarket's AdvantEdge loyalty card.

    If you bought one of these pies, return it to your local Price Chopper for a full refund.

    More information is available online or by calling 1-800-666-7667.



    Photo Credit: Getty Images

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    Many commuters traveling on the Danbury Branch of the Metro-North New Haven Line will be boarding buses instead of trains on Saturdays for the rest of the month.

    Six trains will be taken out of service due to testing of a new signal system at crossings in the area, according to a release from the Department of Transportation. The testing will take place July 12, 19 and 26.

    Southbound buses will run 12 minutes earlier than trains are normally scheduled to depart and will leave Danbury at 7:37 a.m., 10:37 a.m. and 1:37 p.m.

    Three northbound buses will replace trains traveling from South Norwalk to Danbury and will depart 6-8 minutes earlier than usual, at 9:09 a.m., 12:07 p.m. and 1:07 p.m.


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    Police are searching for the tried to rob a Hamden businessman at gunpoint, then ran off when they realized his pockets were empty.

    According to police, two masked men approached a 33-year-old carpenter near 100 Columbus Street while he was unloading his work van around 2:15 a.m. Wednesday. One put a gun to his head while the other searched his pockets.

    They fled the scene after failing to find any valuables, police said. The suspects were last seen on foot heading northbound on the Farmington Canal Line. No one was injured and nothing was stolen.

    Building owner Chris O'Connor said the carpenter recently moved to Connecticut from New York and doesn't believe the attack was targeted.

    "I think it was somebody walking down the Canal Line that saw him and [thought], 'There's an opportunity right there, let's do it,'" O'Connor said. "I don't think anybody would have ever staked him out because there's rarely anybody here late at night."

    Police are working to identify the suspects. One is described as a dark-skinned man with a heavy build standing about 5 feet 8 inches tall and wearing dark clothing. The second is described as a dark-skinned man, thin and about 5 feet 11 inches tall, wearing a shiny “Halloween-type mask.”

    Anyone with information is urged to call Hamden police at 203-230-4040.



    Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

    Police said two suspects targeted a man working in this Hamden building and held a gun to his head while they searched his pockets for valuables.Police said two suspects targeted a man working in this Hamden building and held a gun to his head while they searched his pockets for valuables.

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    Cosey Beach in East Haven has become so popular that people from other towns are parking on streets nearby, much to the dismay of neighborhood residents.

    "They have a right to use the beach," said Jack Watrous, "but we don't have to supply them with parking."

    Watrous said from his porch on Hobson Street, four blocks from the beach park, that he can't leave his house on the weekends because he would have nowhere to park when he came home.

    Signs in two parking lots say space is for East Haven residents only, beach permits required. Some property owners have erected no parking signs of their own to go along with a couple of no-parking signs on Cosey Beach Avenue.


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    Three young adults are facing charges after allegedly firing shots in East Hartford late Wednesday morning.

    Kevin Hairston, 20, of Hartford, Julius Marcano, 22, of New Britain and Raphael Cruz, 19, of New Britain, have been identified as suspects.

    Police said shots were fired in the area of 49 Park Avenue around 11:30 a.m. Wednesday. No one was injured, but police tracked down the suspects’ car and a chase ensued before officers stopped and arrested them.

    Authorities recovered one gun and believe a second may have been thrown off the Founders Bridge into the Connecticut River, according to police. A dive team will search the area.

    The suspects are each facing numerous charges, including narcotics, robbery and firearms offenses, along with engaging officers in pursuit.


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