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    One person has died in a crash on Route 2 eastbound in Marlborough, and the highway was shut down for hours while police investigated.

    Police said the victim's car crashed before 3 p.m. in the area of exit 15 in Marlborough.

    The highway was shut down while LifeStar arrived on scene and airlifted one person to Hartford Hospital, according to state police and the helicopter service.

    It's not clear how many people were injured.

    Both lanes of traffic were blocked off until well after 6 p.m. while a state police accident reconstruction team investigated the crash.

    No additional information was immediately available.

    Check back for updates.



    Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

    Route 2 eastbound is backed up for miles following a fatal crash in Marlborough. The highway is shut down in the area of exit 15.Route 2 eastbound is backed up for miles following a fatal crash in Marlborough. The highway is shut down in the area of exit 15.

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    Just days before pride celebrations in San Diego's Hillcrest neighborhood kick off, two bars have received letters that one of the bar's owners is calling hateful because of its anti-gay message.

    Flicks San Diego Gay Bar & Video Bar and Baja Betty’s  on University Avenue received the letters. San Diego police are investigating and are not classifying it as a hate crime.

    The letter, sent to the bars over the past couple weeks, is 15-pages long, much of it handwritten and signed by a man named “Ed.”

    The letter compares the LGBT community to pedophiles, child molesters and rapists. Eddie Reynoso, Baja Betty’s marketing manager, said he didn’t think much of the letter when he first opened it until he realized it wasn’t an isolated occurrence.

    That’s when Reynoso heard Micky’s, a gay club in West Hollywood, also received the letter signed by “Ed.”

    "He wishes bad business upon the business and death upon the owners," Reynoso said.

    The author doesn't make any specific threats against the businesses or staff, but San Diego police still took a report on the incident, but did not refer it to the FBI as a hate crime.

    "We work closely with all our law enforcement partners on alleged hate,” said San Diego police Lt. Kevin Mayer. “The Department investigates and handles most local crimes involving such offenses." 

    While the letters are disappointing, Reynoso said he's confident they won't rain on the upcoming parade.

    "We've come a long way and this is a mindset 45 years old," he said.

    The Pride of Hillcrest Block Party and Pride Parade are July 18 and July 19, respectivel. The celebrations in the uptown neighborhood draw thousands.


    Two bars on University Avenue in the Hillcrest neighborhood received letters one of them is calling Two bars on University Avenue in the Hillcrest neighborhood received letters one of them is calling "hate."

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    Methodist Hospital in Merrillville, Indiana, was placed on lockdown early Friday morning after an elderly patient was fatally stabbed there and another body was discovered at a nearby home in Gary, officials said.

    The hospital patient, 80-year-old Margarine Haywood, was stabbed in an assault at about 12:30 a.m. Officials conducting a well-being check later found her husband, 88-year-old James Haywood,
    slain at the couple's home on the 1500 block of Hovey Street in Gary shortly after 3 a.m., police said.

    One man, described only as a man in his 40s, was located on the 3800 block of Carolina Street, was arrested, and was being questioned at the Gary Police Department. Authorities said the suspect knew both of the victims but did not elaborate.

    "This is completely out of the ordinary and we do want to stress that although it seems as if this is some random act of violence. It is not," said Robert Wiley, the chief of detectives for the Merrillville Police Department.

    It wasn't immediately known which victim was slain first. Gary Police Chief Wade Ingram said officials from the Lake County Coroner's Office were trying to make that determination.

    The hospital facility, on the 8700 block of Broadway, in Merrillville, was put on lockdown immediately after the stabbing. That lockdown was lifted shortly after 5 a.m.

    "I can assure you that the hospital is secure. Everyone is safe. Staff and patients are safe, and that the hospital is operating as usual, business as usual," said Wright Alcorn, the hospital's vice president of operations.

    The hospital lockdown is the second in as many days in the Chicago area. Mount Sinai Hospital, on Chicago's west side, was locked down Thursday morning after what a hospital spokesperson said was a "possible threat."



    Photo Credit: Sky 5 / NBC Chicago

    Methodist Hospital in Merrillville, IndianaMethodist Hospital in Merrillville, Indiana

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    A tractor trailer caught fire on Interstate 91 in Wallingford Friday morning. 

    The incident  happened between Exit 15 and 16.

    The highway remains open in that area. 

    More information will be provided when it becomes available. 

     


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  • 07/11/14--19:26: Another Arm Found in NY Yard

  • Another severed arm was discovered in a Long Island yard Thursday, a day after one was found on a man's lawn in the same town, police say.

    The arm found Thursday was in a yard near the residential area of Stewart Avenue and Cornell Street in Hempstead, about a half-mile from where a Webb Avenue homeowner found an arm he said appeared to have women's clothing attached to it Wednesday.

    The arm was taken to the Nassau County medical examiner's office for examination. 

    Police are looking into whether the arms are related to to the discovery of a partially dismembered body in a municipal parking lot in Bay Shore on Tuesday. 

    The remains discovered in the lot Tuesday were found by two people walking to the ferry on Fire Island.

    Hempstead, Nassau and Suffolk police are investigating. The NYPD is also assisting as they look into whether it's related to a case of a missing Brooklyn mother of four, according to law enforcement sources. 

    That woman, 27-year-old Chinelle LaToya Browne of Brownsville, was last seen at her home Saturday, according to police. 



    Photo Credit: NBC 4 New York

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    Two people were taken to the hospital, one by LifeStar, after their cars collided head-on on Route 6 in Columbia Friday morning.

    Police said Amy Nadile, 42, of Windham, was driving westbound on Route 6 near Roses Bridge Road when a car traveling in the opposite direction crossed into the westbound line and struck Nadile's vehicle.

    Nadile and the other driver, 49-year-old Debra Renouf, of Mansfield, were taken to Hartford Hospital. Both women were treated for broken legs, and Renouf also suffered a chest injury, according to police.

    LifeStar transported Renouf to the hospital, state police said.

    Both their injuries were described as "non-incapacitating."

    Route 6 was closed briefly while authorities responded to the scene.



    Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

    Two people were injured after their cars collided on Route 6 in Columbia Friday morning.Two people were injured after their cars collided on Route 6 in Columbia Friday morning.

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    Police have arrested a Southington teenager in connection to several car burglaries that happened in May.

    Ryan Germaine, 18, turned himself into police on a warrant Thursday morning.

    Germaine burglarized 12 parked vehicles left unlocked on May 18, according to police. GPS devices, electronics, money and other items were reported missing from the cars, police said.

    Germaine is charged with 12 counts of third-degree burglary and fourth-degree larceny. 

    Police released Germaine on a $5,000 non-surety bond and he is scheduled to appear in court on July 21. 

    Germaine has other pending burglary and larceny cases in court in Bristol, according to the state judicial website. 



    Photo Credit: Southington Police Department

    Police charged a Southington teen with burglarizing 12 vehicles.Police charged a Southington teen with burglarizing 12 vehicles.

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    A 63-year-old grandmother is about to embark on the journey of a lifetime - a solo kayak trip from Maine to Guatemala. 
     
    Deborah Walters will depart from Yarmouth, Maine, on Friday, traveling 2,500 miles by next May. Her goal is to raise money and awareness about the devastating poverty in Guatemala. While Walters acknowledges she’s “no spring chicken,” she said the cause she's supporting is worth the challenge.
     
    “It feels like you’re jumping off a cliff - many ‘what if’ questions,” said Walters. Despite the many risks, she said a little bit of fear is a good thing, and that it is important to “be aware of the fear, but don’t let it stop you.”
     
    Nine years ago, Walters visited Guatemala City’s garbage dump community. There, she witnessed the horrifying living conditions of the impoverished Guatemalan families - scarce food supply, air pollution, and a lack of educational facilities. She began volunteering for Safe Passage - a nonprofit organization which makes it possible for Guatemalan children living in the area to attend school. After years of service, she has decided to go the extra mile, or 2,500, by paddling down the coast until next May, stopping along the way to share the story of the children.
     
    Walters is an avid adventurer and has been kayaking for decades. She has gained a boatload of kayaking experience, paddling through regions like the icy Arctic, as well as surviving a hurricane during a solo kayaking trip along the coast of Nova Scotia. In preparation for her excursion, she has been using the 5BX Plan - an exercise program developed for the Royal Canadian Air Force in the late 1950s. 
     
    Many people and experiences have inspired Walters to make a difference. One in particular is named Mira, a Guatemalan mother Walters met on her trip. Walters said Mira was abandoned by her parents as a child, and began working in the dump when she was eight years old.
     
    “She is an inspiration to me”, Walters said, “Her favorite quote is, 'If you believe you can do it, you can do it.'” 
     
    Safe Passage is a non-profit organization, which works to provide children and their families a better life by enrolling impoverished children in schools. It was founded by Hanley Denning, a 1992 Bowdoin College graduate. She opened the doors of Safe Passage in December 1999, selling her computer and her car to enroll 46 of the poorest children in school. Soon after Denning developed Safe Passage into a success, she died in an automobile accident in Guatemala, the Portland Press Herald reported.
     
    Walters, who met Denning and considered her "incredibly inspiring," believes the founder's vision of educating impoverished kids is being fulfilled by supporters of today's journey.
     
    "I think she would appreciate what I am doing," said Walters. It is "a little different, a little out there."
     
    Walters plans to paddle for two-thirds of each day, traveling about 13.3 miles. Planned stops on the trip include Boston, New York City, and Key West. She plans to travel by sailboat from Florida to Belize. Walters' year-long route may be found here.
     
    The children of Safe Passage have made sure that Walters won't travel alone, giving her a rubber-duck companion named Patitio Amistoso meaning "Friendly Duckling."  She will carry a large amount of electronics to connect her to the public, and allow her to update her blog.
     
    Walters is receiving an immeasurable amount of support and attention for her service but she considers herself an "introvert." 
     
    "I am focused on the success of the expedition, but I want the children to have the attention," she said.
     
    Because the journey may push Walters out of her social comfort zone, she plans to stay with host families and volunteers. Many nights are already accommodated by Rotarians and samaritans, but Walters may resort to staying in a hotel on occasion, as well as camping outdoors.
     
    The 63-year-old will cover all her personal expedition expenses, and believes she will save money by kayaking for the year. She will not need airfare or gasoline for her car, and most of her food payment will be covered by volunteers. As for amusement, she "will be entertained by the seals and the fish". She is not focused on what she will spend, but what she will gain throughout this experience. 
     
    The traveler's biggest concern is that her previous kayaking injury in her shoulder will slow her down. Strategically, she plans to use a variety of paddles, working different muscle groups each time she rows. She realizes she may have to rest throughout the voyage to allow her body to recover. Her family and friends are a little nervous, but they fully support her, especially her grandchildren. "They realize I am taking a risk, but that I will be as safe as possible", she said.
     
    Walters hopes to raise enough funds to develop three new grades for the Guatemalan school, with 50-100 students in each grade level. All donations go directly to Safe Passage, and are tax deductible. Money is important, but in Walter's eyes, it is "not the amount of donations" that matters most, but the hope that "her message reaches a larger number of people."


    Photo Credit: Tom Pilla/Deborah Walters

    Deborah Walters will depart from Yarmouth, Maine, on Friday, traveling 2,500 miles by next MayDeborah Walters will depart from Yarmouth, Maine, on Friday, traveling 2,500 miles by next May

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  • 07/11/14--13:49: $76M in Pot Found in Truck

  • Police said they discovered $76 million worth of marijuana when they pulled over a U-Haul truck driver who ran a red light in Bakersfield Wednesday.

    Two officers could smell the marijuana during the Southern California traffic stop, Bakersfield Police Sgt. Joe Grubbs said. A police dog brought to the scene also alerted authorities.

    When officers cut the lock on the truck, they discovered more than 6,700 pounds of packaged marijuana.

    The street value of the seized marijuana is estimated to be $76 million based on a sale price of $25 a gram, Grubbs told NBC. Low-grade marijuana typically sells for $5 to $10, but higher grade marijuana can go for as much as $40 a gram, he said.

    "It's the largest in recent memory that anybody around here remembers," Grubbs said.

    Grubbs said that the Bakersfield Police Department doesn’t usually track drug seizures by the size, but this was an exceptional amount. Grubbs added that the officers promptly destroyed the drugs.

    The 22-year-old truck driver and his 24-year-old passenger were booked into Kern County Jail on suspicion of possession and transportation of marijuana for sale and conspiracy.

    The Associated Press contributed to this report.


    Bakersfield Police seized more than 6,700 pounds of marijuana from a U-Haul truck that had been pulled over for running a red light on Wednesday, July 9, 2014.Bakersfield Police seized more than 6,700 pounds of marijuana from a U-Haul truck that had been pulled over for running a red light on Wednesday, July 9, 2014.

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    Police arrested a Southington teenager they found attempting to climb into a window at an Old Turnpike Road home to burglarize it July 5 and are trying to find the owner of some stolen keys he had on him, police said. 

    Austin Baker, 19, removed an air conditioner unit from a window on the first floor of the home as a means to gain access, according to police, and the first floor resident was home at the time. 

    Officers caught him in the act after responding to a report from a resident  who thought someone was using keys stolen from his car days before to get into the home. 

    Police took Baker into custody without incident and he had several sets of keys on him. 

    The Southington Police Department is trying to identify who the keys belong to and ask residents to call Officer Lamarre at 860-378-1600, extension 2374, or email him at clamarre@southingtonpolice.org if they believe their keys were stolen recently. 

    Police charged Baker with second-degree burglary, two counts of criminal attempt to commit second-degree burglary and possession of burglary tools. 

    Police held Baker on a $75,000 bond and he appeared in court on July 7. 

    Baker has four other pending Southington cases in court in Bristol, including a nighttime burglary and six other counts of burglary from last July, another burglary in town that month, an assault incident from December 2013 and violating a protective order in May of this year, according to the state judicial website.  

     



    Photo Credit: Southington Police Department

    Austin, Baker, 19, was arrested after police said they caught him trying to break into a Southington home.Austin, Baker, 19, was arrested after police said they caught him trying to break into a Southington home.

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    LeBron James on Friday told Sports Illustrated that he is returning home to the Cleveland Cavaliers after four years with the Miami Heat. The news immediately made #BackToCleveland, #TeamCavs, #imcominghome, #TheReverseDecision, #BandwagonFans and the like trending hashtags on Twitter as fans, pro-athletes, companies and sports media mavens voice a mix of support, humor and snark on social media.

    Even James jumped in the fray with his own tweet and Instagram photo. Scroll down to see what people are saying.

    Live Blog LeBron James
     


    Photo Credit: Getty Images

    LeBron James' move back to Cleveland dominated social media on Friday.LeBron James' move back to Cleveland dominated social media on Friday.

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    Police are searching for the man accused of fatally shooting a 44-year-old East Hartford resident the night of July 2 and have obtained an arrest warrant charging him with murder.

    Lawrence Williams, 18, of 1780 Main Street in East Hartford, will be charged with criminal attempt to commit first-degree assault, criminal use of a firearm, first-degree reckless endangerment and second-degree threatening in connection with the shooting death of Michael Mikulse.

    Mikulske was shot three times in a driveway near the VFW post at 1268 Main Street in East Hartford the night of July 2. He died from his injuries.

    Police searched Williams' home on Friday and are looking for the suspect.

    Williams is considered dangerous, and anyone with information on his whereabouts should call East Hartford police at 860-528-4401 or submit an anonymous tip at 860-289-9134.

     



    Photo Credit: East Hartford Police Department

    Lawrence Williams, 18, is wanted for murder in East Hartford.Lawrence Williams, 18, is wanted for murder in East Hartford.

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    Bring on the cosplay. 

    The Connecticut Convention Center will become paradise for gamers and comic book lovers this weekend as ConnectiCon returns to Hartford. 

    The convention opened Thursday and runs through Sunday, July 13 and features many events from a nerd prom and cosplay masquerade to "League of Legends" competitions and cosplay karaoke.

    Alan Oppenheimer, famous for voicing the narrator in"The NeverEnding Story" and several animated characters from cartoons and video games, will reunite with co-star Noah Hathaway, who played young hero Atreju in "The NeverEnding Story. Walter Jones, who played one of the original Power Rangers, will also be there, according to the ConnectiCon website. All three will be available for photos and autographs for a fee. 

    Other guests include Diedrich Bader, who played Oswald in "The Drew Carey Show" and Janet Varney (Kora, Nickelodeon's "The Legend of Kora" ), as well as many voice actors like Jennifer Hale, who has voiced characters from Cinderella to Ms. Keane in "The Power Puff Girls," Maurice LaMarche, who voiced chief Quimby in "Inspector Gadget" and the Brain in "Pinky and the Brain, Richard Horvitz, who voiced Daggett in "The Angry Beavers" and Alpha 5 from the original "Mighty Morphin Power Ranger," Rikki Simons (GIR, "Invader ZIM") and Rob Paulsen (Pinky, "Pinky and the Brain"). 

    Web cartoonists and comic book artists will also be there for meet and greets.

    Various panels featuring industry professionals are scheduled including a "Pinky and the Brain" Q&A, a live art competition and games like the ConnectiCon dating game hosted by "Glee" characters Blaine and Kurt. 

    Evening concerts as part of ConnectiCrawl showcase 16 different musical artists at BlackBear Saloon, Burger Baby and Black-Eyed Sally's

    More information on guests, prices and events is available on the ConnectiCon website. 

    Registration for the convention began Friday at 8 a.m. Only cash is accepted for on-site registration. 



    Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

    Sights from the 2013 ConnectiCon convention in Hartford.Sights from the 2013 ConnectiCon convention in Hartford.

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    A grandmother arrested after her 2-year-old granddaughter drank meth-laced tea late last month has been sentenced in Southern California to four years probation and 60 days in custody, according to court records.

    Cynthia Ann Watson, 51, an Oregon resident, was sentenced after pleading guilty this week to child endangerment and possession of a controlled substance, according to Riverside County Superior Court documents.

    She must also complete a child-abuse treatment program and stay away from her grandchildren.

    Watson was visiting with her family in Garner Valley June 29 when she made the tea and added methamphetamine to it, the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department said in a statement when she was arrested

    She left the drink unattended and her toddler granddaughter drank some of it. Later that night, the little girl was agitated, scratching at her skin and could not sleep. She was taken to a local hospital and later tested positive for meth.



    Photo Credit: Getty Images

    Image of tea being served from a teapot into a teacup.Image of tea being served from a teapot into a teacup.

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    After collecting 52 firearms in its gun buyback in June, the city of New Haven is hosting a second gun buyback in efforts to get guns off the streets and prevent them from being used in future crimes.

    Some of the guns collected at the June event were an AK pistol, an AR 15 and a "Street Sweeper" shotgun, according to New Haven police.

    "Any way we can get guns off the street, it's going to reduce the potential violence," Lt. Rachael Cain, the New Haven Police Department's head of Bureau of Identification.

    The city awarded cash gift cards amounting to $75 per handgun, shotgun and rifle and $150 per assault weapon to people who turned in guns as a part of the program. People were permitted to turn the guns in anonymously with no questions asked and didn't have to show IDs.

    None of the guns will be used in a future crime, police said.

    Mayor Toni Harp's Office, the New Haven Department of Youth Services and police collaborated on the gun buyback. Yale-New Haven Hospital sponsored the program with an $8,000 grant.

    The gun buyback went from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the New Haven Police Academy.

    The city's second gun buyback is scheduled for Saturday, July 12 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Radio Amor at 261 Portsea St.

     

     

     



    Photo Credit: NBC 7 San Diego

    New Haven collected 52 firearms in gun buyback as part of an effort to reduce violence in the city.New Haven collected 52 firearms in gun buyback as part of an effort to reduce violence in the city.

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    The Willimantic native accused of hitting and killing a Norwich firefighter while driving under the influence in 2012 has pleaded guilty and will face sentencing in October, according to the New London Superior Court.

    Willis Goodale, 52, pleaded guilty to second-degree manslaughter in connection with the March 2012 crash that killed 33-year-old Norwich fire Lt. Benjamin DeMond on Interstate 395 in Montville.

    He’ll face 15 years in prison, suspended after eight years, and will be sentenced in October, according to the court.

    Police said after the accident that Demond’s two young children were in the car with him at the time of the crash.

    Goodale was initially charged with assault with a motor vehicle and driving under the influence. He reportedly failed several field sobriety tests.


    Willis Goodale (not pictured) has pleaded guilty to second-degree manslaughter in connection with the DUI crash that killed Norwich fire Lt. Benjamin DeMond in March 2012.Willis Goodale (not pictured) has pleaded guilty to second-degree manslaughter in connection with the DUI crash that killed Norwich fire Lt. Benjamin DeMond in March 2012.

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    Today I woke up to a text from my aunt: “Lebron is back!!!”

    As a native Clevelander, I can’t help but rejoice in today’s announcement that LeBron James, one of the best players in the NBA, is returning home. I’m not the biggest sports fan in the world — especially compared to some hardcore Cleveland fans out there — but I’ve been to plenty of Cavs, Indians and Browns games in my day, and the spirit is in me. LeBron’s decision is huge for the city, and I’m sure most Clevelanders will welcome him home with open arms.

    LeBron’s leaving a beautiful place. I’ve been to Miami, and there’s no doubt it has great food, awesome beaches, fantastic culture and cool people. But Cleveland has all those things too, and much more.

    Here’s what LeBron will be returning to when he heads back to the Big Plum (yes, that’s one of Cleveland’s nicknames).

    1. Realness. Cleveland is not Miami. It never was and never will be. It is what it is. Obviously Miami has plenty of real people living real lives, but in terms of its image, Cleveland is just a humbler, down-to-earth place. It’s been kicked down plenty of times and is well aware of this. LeBron will be returning to a city that is easy to dismiss on the surface but impossible not to love when you get to know it.

    When you leave downtown Cleveland — the Rock Hall, the stadiums, the theaters — you find the real place. It’s not about sports, although with three national sports teams, it is indeed a sports city, and the fans here are passionate. It’s not about rock ’n’ roll, even though people here do love good tunes, and the number of music venues proves it. As a city, it’s about the people. They’re hardened but easygoing, eccentric but unassuming.

    2. Cleveland Metroparks. It can’t be said enough: Cleveland’s park system is an overlooked gem. It’s what outsiders ignore when they take jabs at the city. Clevelanders love the Metroparks, once dubbed the Emerald Necklace, and see it as a source of pride. Its deep forests, crooked rivers and steep ravines are the perfect places for LeBron to take his family — not to mention that Cuyahoga Valley National Park sits just south of the city, near Akron, Ohio, where LeBron was born.

    3. Lake Erie and its seasons. Miami and Cleveland share one thing in common: beaches. And even if Cleveland’s lake is frozen over half the year, that only adds to its charm. You can watch the lake change with the seasons. The trees along it become vibrant and orange in fall. In the winter, strong winds and snow blow off the lake, yielding every kid’s dream, a snow day… maybe two, three or four. 

    4. Food, beer and the West Side Market. Cleveland has become a destination food city. Period. From cutting-edge, nationally acclaimed restaurants to hole-in-the-wall spots that have been around for years, the city is host to a vast selection of old-fashioned and ground-breaking cuisine. And it’s being discovered by more and more food lovers every year.

    The classic cuisine has its roots in German, Polish and Eastern European countries, but don’t be fooled. You can find food here from all over the world. Middle Eastern food is particularly popular, given the city’s proximity to heavily-Arab south Michigan. Cleveland also has a Little Italy, a Chinatown and a hippie enclave with plenty of vegan fare, not to mention a slew of breweries and the West Side Market, a massive century-old indoor farmers' market.

    5. Harvey Pekar and all that he represents. Harvey Pekar, a comic book writer who died back in 2010, is the quintessential Clevelander. If you want to know what Cleveland is at its heart, read his comics and see American Splendor, a 2003 film about his life starring Paul Giamatti. He perfected the comedy about nothing long before "Seinfeld" came along. What he wrote was about everyday life — insights on the ups and downs of working, playing and living. He’s the perfect ambassador for the city. 

    -

    I could talk about Cleveland all day: The views of industry gone to naught. The beauty of Lake View Cemetery and its cavernous hills of headstones. Big Fun, a curiosity shop that is weird, wonderful and a staple of my childhood. All the art, history and science museums that you never hear mentioned when people talk about the Mistake on the Lake.

    But I think Pekar sums up Cleveland and what LeBron will be coming back to in two lines: “I try and write the way things happen. I don’t try and fulfill people’s wishes.”

    That is the Cleveland LeBron will find.



    Photo Credit: Getty Images

    LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat shoots a foul shot during a game against the Phoenix Suns at American Airlines Arena on Nov. 25, 2013 in Miami.LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat shoots a foul shot during a game against the Phoenix Suns at American Airlines Arena on Nov. 25, 2013 in Miami.

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    Connecticut’s two U.S. senators used language unusually emotional to describe the dangers of leaving children locked in hot cars.

    It came as a warning and call for action following the death of a 15-month-old in Ridgefield on Monday.

    “Leaving your kid in a hot car for an extended period of time is criminal, but it's also idiotic,” said Sen. Chris Murphy, who joined Sen. Richard Blumenthal at a press conference on Friday.

    The senators invited the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to target Connecticut with a campaign to raise awareness, a campaign in the works called “Look Before You Lock.”

    “'Look Before You Lock' is common sense," said Blumenthal. "We all do it as parents, but apparently some don't. And a child can suffer heatstroke literally in minutes.”

    In addition to the the ad campaign, Blumenthal called for raising awareness with criminal prosecutions.

    “What ought to happen,” he said, “is a couple of these caregivers should spend some time behind bars. That would send a message. If caregivers spend time behind bars, for keeping their kids locked in a car in the middle of the summer, people will pay more attention. People will look before they lock.”

    Nine times in recent weeks caregivers have left children in hot cars in Connecticut.
     



    Photo Credit: Shutterstock

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    Sailfest is underway in New London this weekend, opening without one of the mainstays of the annual event, the replica slave ship Amistad.

    “I brought my son down here just so he could see it for the first time," explained Melinda Williams of Manchester, expressing her disappointment about the ship's absence. "It's our history; it's important.”

    Williams and her family sat along City Pier right where the Amistad would dock if it weren’t still moored in New Haven.

    Gov. Dannel Malloy is threatening to cut state funding to the Amistad if the ship doesn't make it to New London.

    Authorities are auditing some $8 million in state government money granted to Amistad America Inc. since the ship was launched in 2000.

    Although the Amistad still hasn't shown up, another schooner, the Virginia, is docked at the pier.

     Sailfest also features amusement park rides, more than 200 vendors and fireworks Saturday night, to be launched from Amistad Pier in New London, even if the Amistad doesn’t come up the Thames.


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    A mother with an infant strapped to her chest was kicked out of a country music concert in San Diego after officers told her she was in the pit area much too close to speakers amid a large crowd, endangering her baby.

    The mother herself caught the confrontation on video at the Brad Paisley concert at Sleep Train Amphitheatre on Thursday. She identified herself as Megan Christopherson, 30, in the 10-minute clip.

    Both the mother and Chula Vista Police Department (CVPD) officers have differing accounts of why she was booted from the venue.

    According to the CVPD, concert security reported Christopherson in the pit area near the stage a mere feet away from the speakers. As seen in the mother’s YouTube video, a security officer approached the woman and asked her to move from the pit area due to possible danger to the baby.

    Officers said the child could have been crushed from a potential crowd surge or could’ve been impacted by the loud noise coming from the nearby speakers.

    “Your child doesn’t have hearing protection on. The crowd is going to start surging forward. Where you’re at, your child could get crushed,” a security officer told the mother on the video. “We’re afraid of your child’s eardrums being hurt.”

    Christopherson argued that her 4-month-old baby Gracie, who was fast asleep, was fine. She said she had recently taken the infant to another concert at the venue and experienced no problems with security.

    The security officer continued to inform the mother of the dangers posed to her child if she remained in the pit.

    Christopherson was then given two options: to be relocated to a seated area in the amphitheater free of charge, or to leave and receive a full refund on her concert ticket.

    Ultimately, the mother chose the refund and left the venue.

    However, Christopherson argued she had been targeted by security for breastfeeding her baby in public at the concert, not necessarily for being in the pit, and wondered if that was the reason she was ousted.

    In the video, the mother told the security officer that other security personnel had allegedly told her to stop breastfeeding her child due to complaints from fellow concertgoers.

    “A security guard came and took a picture of me,” the mother said.

    However, the officer insisted, “This has nothing to do with breastfeeding.”

    The CVPD agreed. “The Chula Vista Police Department’s involvement in the incident was due to the welfare and safety of the infant and not due to a mother’s legal right to breastfeed in public," it said in a statement released Friday.

    Still, one of Christopherson's friends told NBC 7 the woman was asked to stop breastfeeding because it was "making others uncomfortable."

    “Security continued to stand next to her and even photographed her, taking the photos to the supervisor,” the friend said.

    NBC 7 spoke with Christopherson on Friday, who maintained that breastfeeding became an issue at the concert.

    “I’m shocked. I’m disgusted at our society that women are shamed into nursing in bathrooms or their cars or feeding their baby a bottle only, because they’re scared to nurse in public,” she said.

    Christopherson believes officers removed her for breastfeeding in public but "covered it up" by claiming it was due to the safety of her baby.

    “It was completely a cop-out. They’re trying to cover this up because they know they legally can’t remove me for nursing," she added.

    The mother insisted baby Gracie was never uncomfortable in the pit or in danger.

    “She was actually on video completely content, sleeping away," said Christopherson. “I trust my motherly instinct that if my baby’s ears hurt, she would cry, and then I would move. She was sleeping contently.”

    Meanwhile, the mom's online video clip is generating quite the debate on YouTube, with some offering support while others question why she brought the infant to the concert in the first place.

    The CVPD said the South Bay Family Protective office was consulted regarding the mother's case.

    In the video, the officer can be heard telling Christopherson that he's contacted the San Diego County District Attorney's office regarding the incident.

    NBC 7 reached out to the DA's office and a spokesperson said they could not comment on the matter and said the office may get the case. A CVPD lieutenant told NBC 7 Christopherson was not cited at the concert and the incident is still under review.

    Christopherson told NBC 7 she plans to seek legal representation and wants the concert security company to come forward with a formal apology.

    “We all parent our children completely different. That’s our right. You’re gonna choose something for your child that I’m not gonna choose for my child,” she added.



    Photo Credit: Artie Ojeda

    Megan Christopherson, 30, with 4-month-old Gracie.Megan Christopherson, 30, with 4-month-old Gracie.

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