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    Officers who have been investigating an untimely death in Vernon have arrested the victim’s former roommate and charged him with tampering with evidence, as well as drug and weapons violations.

    Armand Cyr was found dead from a gunshot wound to the head at Mountainview Condominiums in Vernon just before 6 p.m. on Sunday, July 13, according to police.

    Police investigated the untimely death and have now arrested Cyr’s former roommate, John Dybowski.

    He was arrested at his current home in Ashford and charged with three counts of criminal weapon possession, tampering with evidence, first-degree reckless endangerment, second-degree false statement, two counts of possession of narcotics, possession of narcotics with intent to sell, two counts of possession of illegal drugs and possession of less than half-an-ounce of marijuana,

    Bond was set at $100,000.

    Dybowski was arraigned at Rockville Superior Court.

    No additional information was released on the case.
     



    Photo Credit: Vernon Police

    Officers who have been investigating an untimely death in Vernon have arrested the victim’s former roommate and charged him with tampering with evidence, as well as drug and weapons violations.Officers who have been investigating an untimely death in Vernon have arrested the victim’s former roommate and charged him with tampering with evidence, as well as drug and weapons violations.

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    In the days following the arrest of a Wilton preschool aide on child pornography charges, school officials have reassured parents that students were never harmed or in danger, but an attorney representing the family of one preschooler says that wasn’t the case.

    Attorney Paul Slager, of Silver Golub & Teitell LLP, said in a statement Wednesday that Eric Von Kohorn inappropriately touched a preschooler while helping the child in the bathroom in January 2013, prompting the child’s parents to file a complaint with the school system.

    Slager said the complaints “were corroborated by physical symptoms in the genital area.”

    Von Kohorn, 33, was arrested Aug. 20 and charged with first-degree possession of child pornography and promoting a minor in an obscene performance. He had worked as a paraprofessional at the Miller-Driscoll School and resigned in June, when the school system learned of a police investigation into his conduct.

    Wilton Supt. Dr. Kevin Smith said the alleged misconduct took place at Von Kohorn’s home in Bridgeport and that educators had no evidence to suggest it had carried over to the school.

    “While he was an employee of Wilton Public Schools, he was not inappropriately touching students,” Smith told parents at a public meeting Monday night.

    But Slager said the superintendent’s “reassurances are false” and “run the risk of minimizing legitimate concerns about whether Wilton schoolchildren were victimized, which could result in under-diagnosis and under-treatment of child victims."

    According to Slager, Smith acknowledged the complaint against Von Kohorn at Monday night’s meeting but said the school system “had concluded definitively that Von Kohorn was not involved in the toileting of the child.”

    “This is not true,” Slager said, explaining that, in a written report, Von Kohorn admitted to helping the child in the bathroom but said he stayed outside the stall.

    Slager said this is a violation of school policy, which requires school personnel to wait outside the bathroom door. He said Von Kohorn continued working with preschoolers after the incident and that no disciplinary record was added to his personnel file.

    Parents, too, question Von Kohorn’s behavior. Many at the Monday meeting wondered whether their children may have been potential targets.

    “I was shocked,” said Paige Ridley, whose 3-year-old child was in the classroom with Eric Von Kohorn last year. “I knew he had close contact with her, so I was very upset.”

    “Obviously, I worry about my daughter’s safety,” she added.

    She and other parents are pressing for more information from police and asking what else the investigation may have uncovered.

    They’re also questioning how and why the school hired Von Kohorn in the first place. District officials have said he passed state and federal background checks and had no criminal or arrest history at the time he was hired.

    Smith countered Slager's allegations in a statement Wednesday afternoon.

    "I am distraught that a family would conclude that I am misleading the community regarding Mr. Von Kohorn," he said, emphasizing his goal of transparency and open communication.

    Smith said school officials have contacted Wilton police and the Department of Children and Families to investigate the claim that Von Kohorn inappropriately touched a preschooler.

    "I am firmly committed to working with this family, and with all families, to ensure that they are supported, their concerns are addressed and that the record is accurate," Smith said.

    Von Kohorn is out of jail on bond and will face a judge Sept. 3.

    NBC Connecticut previously knocked on Von Kohorn's door for comment, but no one answered, and his attorney could not be reached immediately for comment.


    School officials have said former preschool paraprofessional Eric Von Kohorn, who was arrested on child porn charges, had no inappropriate contact with students, but an attorney for one child's parents says otherwise.School officials have said former preschool paraprofessional Eric Von Kohorn, who was arrested on child porn charges, had no inappropriate contact with students, but an attorney for one child's parents says otherwise.

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    Milford police have arrested a man accused of making threats on a public bus over bus fare.

    Police started investigating when they received a complaint about a disturbance on a public transportation bus on Boston Post Road just before 7 p.m. on Wednesday.

    They said Thomas Gooding, 40, of Milford, is accused of causing a disturbance on the bus and threatening to get a gun because of a dispute with the bus driver on the amount of the bus fare, police said.

    Gooding was arrested and charged with second-degree breach of peace and second-degree threatening.

    He was held on $1,000 bond.
     


    Milford police have arrested a man accused of making threats on a public bus over bus fare.Milford police have arrested a man accused of making threats on a public bus over bus fare.

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    What’s your favorite pizza place?

    The Daily Meal has just compiled its latest list of the top 101 pizzas in the country, and coming in at No. 1 is – you guessed it – Frank Pepe’s in New Haven.

    Pepe’s white clam pie has been named the best pizza in the country. It’s one of five Connecticut establishments to snag a spot in the to 100, including two others in the top 15.

    Local pizza shops to make the cut include:

    • Frank Pepe's, of New Haven, at No. 1
    • Sally’s Apizza, of New Haven, at No. 7
    • Modern Apizza, of New Haven, at No. 11
    • Colony Pizza, in Stamford, at. No. 27
    • Roseland Apizza, in Derby, at No. 76

    Not surprisingly, many of the other top pies hail from pizzerias in New York, but also listed are restaurants in Boston, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Chicago and Washington, D.C., among others.

    Some 77 pizza experts selected the top picks from a pool of more than 700 pizzas, according to the Daily Meal.



    Photo Credit: Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana

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    A North Bay mother arrested three months ago, accused of choking her daughter's so-called bully, won't be charged.

    After the brief court hearing at the Sonoma County courthouse in Santa Rosa, Delia Garcia-Bratcher smiled as she turned away from the judge, fanning her hands in front of her face in nervous excitement.

    She spoke to a crowd of reporters waiting for her in the hall.

    "I was just really scared," the 30-year-old mother of six said in the hallway. "I'm really glad this is over and done with. I'm done with this. They put it over so long, I didn't know what to expect."

    Garcia-Bratcher made national headlines in May when a Sonoma County sheriff's deputy arrested her on one felony charge of inflicting injury on a child. The deputy said Garcia-Bratcher came onto the campus of Olivet Elementary School and choked a 12-year-old boy, leaving red marks on his throat.

    “The simple story is, I talked to the boy – I didn’t want to get him in trouble, I didn’t want to make it a big issue, and it backfired on me,” Garcia-Bratcher said outside the courtroom.

    After court Thursday, Chief Deputy District Attorney Bill Brockley said he declined to charge Garcia-Bratcher because "I only file cases I feel I can prove." He said many of the 25 witnesses corroborated both the story of Garcia-Bratcher and her 9-year-old daughter, and with all the "diametrically opposed" testimony, he didn't feel he could prove to a jury beyond a reasonable doubt that a crime had occurred.

    In a previous interview with NBC Bay Area, Garcia-Bratcher's lawyer, Ben Adams, said the boy had been making "racial slurs" at his client's 10-year-old daughter, who is part Native American. “Everyone rushed to judgment that she was guilty,” Adams said Thursday, “and then they had to cover their tracks and try to come up with some sort of story that she actually was.”

    Adams said he believes the investigation took three months because the district attorney was running for re-election and didn’t want to dismiss the case before Election Day.

    Garcia-Bratcher has steadfastly claimed that she talked to the fifth grader about the alleged bullying and told him to stop, but never put her hands on the boy's throat. At the time, the sheriff's office stated they couldn't find evidence that Garcia-Bratcher's daughter was ever bullied. On Thursday, Brockley said his office never looked into the original bullying allegations, because that wasn't in the prosecutorial scope of the case.

    After the arrest, Adams launched a zealous defense of his client. He hired a private investigator who wrote in a seven-page report that the boy actually choked himself and then blamed her for the red marks on his neck, which were photographed at school.

    The investigator for Whitestar Group wrote that he interviewed another boy at school who imitated what he saw the 12-year-old do on the day in question by placing "both thumbs together on the center of his neck with his palms facing upwards and grabbing his owns cheek bones." This boy said he told a teacher and a deputy, but he didn't think the deputy believed him. Brockley said that his own investigation found this self-choking allegation to be "inconclusive."

    Adams forwarded this report to the district attorney's office, where prosecutors reviewed it and conduction their own investigation.

    While Adams said he's never seen a "simple assault case" take three months to investigate, he's ultimately glad "they made the right decision in not filing charges. A lot of people rushed to judgement that she was guilty."

    In an interview, Brockely countered it wasn't a simple assault, and took so long because of the gravity of the charge on school grounds and the age of the boy. Also, his office added that it was hard to interview everything because many were on summer vacation.

    Garcia-Bratcher, who lost the $3,000 bail money she had to put up, said she learned a grave lesson from this experience. "I talked to the boy. I didn't want to make it a big issue and it backfired on me. I'll never do that again. Next time, I'll just make complaints, complaints, complaints."

    She said this entire ordeal has been awful for her – and her kids.

    "My kids have been stressed out thinking their mother would be in jail," she said. "They're going to be happy when I get home." 

    Copyright Associated Press / NBC Connecticut



    Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area

    Delia Garcia-Bratcher speaks to reporters after prosecutors decline to charge her with felony assault. Aug. 28, 2014Delia Garcia-Bratcher speaks to reporters after prosecutors decline to charge her with felony assault. Aug. 28, 2014

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    A 77-year-old daycare worker and school aide in Plymouth is facing charges after kissing an 8-year-old girl on the lips on at least five occasions, according to police.

    John Wunsch, of Terryville, was arrested July 23 and charged with risk of injury to a minor and impairing the morals of children.

    According to the warrant for his arrest, Wunsch kissed the victim during an after-school program held at the Plymouth Center School on North Street.

    School administrators told police Wunsch divided his time between the Plymouth Center School and the Terryville Learning Center, where he began work in 2000.

    According to police, the most recent incident happened April 28 in a stairwell near the school gymnasium. The 8-year-old victim said Wunsch kissed her five or six times that afternoon and that it had happened several times before, starting on her last day of first grade.

    Another school worker told police she and Wunsch were taking a group of 10 students to the gym when one of the boys began acting up. The child ran into a stairwell and Wunsch followed, bringing the victim along to help his coworker “manage the number of kids left in the gym,” the warrant says.

    That’s when he allegedly kissed her on the lips. “We’re alone and we can kiss,” he told her in the stairwell, adding that they better “hurry up and do it,” according to the warrant. Wunsch’s coworker said the two reappeared two or three minutes later.

    In a May 29 interview at the Plymouth Police Department, Wunsch said the victim had “accidentally kissed him” in February while running and jumping into his arms. He said he “viewed the accident as an embrace between friends” and that it happened on several other occasions over the next month, according to the warrant.

    The victim, on the other hand, told a clinical supervisor at Saint Francis Hospital that Wunsch would kiss her on the lips when they were alone and on the top of the head when other people were around.

    According to the warrant, she told her parents she wanted it to stop but didn’t say anything to Wunsch because she “didn’t want to hurt his feelings.”

    School workers and administrators said there had never been evidence of misconduct in the past, the warrant says.

    Wunsch was arrested July 23 and released on $25,000 bond. He appeared in court Aug. 4 and has been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of an internal investigation.



    Photo Credit: Plymouth Police Department

    John Wunsch, 77, is accused of kissing an 8-year-old on the lips during an after-school program in Plymouth.John Wunsch, 77, is accused of kissing an 8-year-old on the lips during an after-school program in Plymouth.

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    A body found on the outskirts of an Israeli forest has been identified as that of a New Jersey student who went missing nearly a week ago, police sources say. The remains were confirmed by his parents, sources say, who were holding out hope that the man was still alive.

    The body of 23-year-old Aharon Sofer was discovered around 3:30 p.m. Israeli time on Thursday just a few kilometers from where the Lakewood, New Jersey, man was last seen while hiking with a friend in the Jerusalem forest.

    There were no reasons to believe foul play was involved after the body was found, officials said. They believe the man may have slipped and fell while navigating difficult terrain.

    The discovery came a day after emotional pleas from Sofer's family as they prayed for his safe return. Chulda and Moshe Sofer had flown from the U.S. to Israel over the weekend to join the search for their son.

    "We believe he is still alive and out there," his mother, Chulda Sofer, said from Jerusalem after being briefed there by police.

    "And if everyone could think of him as their own," she said, "we really beg everyone, and we plead with everyone, if anyone knows any lead to where Aaron is, if you could please contact the police immediately."

    Sofer, who is one of 10 children, grew up in an ultra-Orthodox family in the Ocean County, New Jersey, town. He went to Jerusalem to study and was between semesters on Friday when he went hiking with a friend in the woods. The two got separated, and Sofer hadn't been seen since.

    Former Lakewood Mayor Meir Lichtenstein said Sofer wasn't an experienced hiker.

    "He actually called his mother and asked her permission," he said.

    There were fears the yeshiva student may have been abducted due to the Israeli war in Gaza. But no group ever took credit for the disappearance.

    As dictated by the Jewish faith, Sofer's body must be laid to rest within 24 hours. A family friend says the burial will take place at 9:30 a.m. Israeli time on Friday.

    Audio from the service will be fed back to New Jersey so family members at home can take part.

    Copyright Associated Press / NBC Connecticut



    Photo Credit: Family Photo

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    President Barack Obama sported a tan suit Thursday at a press conference, and scores of self-appointed fashion police and Twitter analysts took note.

    The comparatively summery shade marked an unusual style choice for the president, usually clad in sober navy and shades of gray, and instantly sparked a flood of comments on Twitter, as well as its own Twitter account, @Tan_Suit.

    Obama may have had his reasons. Labor Day is fast approaching, as one Twitter user noted, and along with it some old-fashioned rules of fashion.

    Some people were quick to point out that the tan suit was not exactly unprecedented among presidents. 

    Obama had busted out the dapper look back in the spring, too.

    And one user noted that the kind of scrutiny Obama's attire was being subjected to was just a daily reality for many women in the public eye.



    Photo Credit: AP

    President Barack Obama in his tan suit at a press conference Thursday.President Barack Obama in his tan suit at a press conference Thursday.

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    Whalley Avenue reopened Thursday in the Westville section of New Haven after a three-alarm fire destroyed a popular pub and the five apartments upstairs.

    The wooden building – which went up more than a century ago at 882 Whalley Avenue and is listed in the National Historic Registry – has been deemed a total loss.

    City leaders convened Thursday morning to "reaffirm with one another and reassure the public that Whalley Avenue and the rest of their commercial district is safe, secure, and once again open for business," according to a spokesperson for the mayor's office.

    A spokesperson for the mayor's office said 78 firefighters used 3 million gallons of water and 300 bottles of oxygen while battling the blaze.

    Four were injured injured, including at least two who were taken to the hospital for treatment of smoke inhalation and one who was under observation for chest pains.

    The fire, which broke out around 5 p.m. Monday and raged overnight, displaced nine adults and one child, according to the mayor's office. Everyone made it out safely and firefighters rescued a cat named Molly.

    "Because of the way the structure is made, [the fire] took off into the walls and we were basically chasing it all over the place," said New Haven Fire Chief Allyn Wright.

    Demolition of the building began Tuesday and a stretch of Whalley Avenue remained closed near Fountain and Blake streets until late Thursday afternoon.

    A one-block section of Central Avenue is still closed between Fountain Street and Whalley Avenue until demolition is complete, according to the mayor's office. The area could remain shut down for another week while workers secure the site.

    Natural gas service was shut off to 43 customers, and 45 homes lost electricity after a power line snapped outside the building. All services have since been restored, the mayor's office said.

    City leaders will meet again next week to update the public and respond to any issues that arise.



    Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

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    A fight over a reclined seat was what forced an American Airlines flight to divert to Boston on Wednesday night, federal and local prosecutors said Thursday, just days after a heated fight over a seat recliner forced a United Airlines flight to divert earlier in the week.

    A French man who was on the American flight en route from Miami to Paris on Wednesday now faces federal charges in that altercation, after prosecutors say he became furious at the passenger who reclined the seat in front of him and then angrily grabbed a flight crew member.

    Sixty-year-old Edmund Alexandre of Paris was arraigned at Massachusetts General Hospital on charges of interfering with a flight crew. Prosecutors recommended $500 cash bail and the judge imposed personal recognizance.

    The Suffolk County District Attorney's Office said Alexandre became upset when the passenger in front of him reclined her seat. When a flight crew member tried to calm him, he allegedly became angrier and followed the crew member down the aisle of the plane and grabbed him by the arm. The D.A. said an air marshal on board American Airline Flight 62 subdued Alexandre and handcuffed him while the plane landed at Boston's Logan Airport.

    Officials say Alexandre was taken to Massachusetts General Hospital for treatment of a pre-existing condition. His next court date is Dec. 29. Alexandre is being represented by attorney Janet Macnab, who did not immediately return a call.

    Earlier this week, two United Airlines passengers got into a heated argument over one passenger using a Knee Defender, a device that prevents another person from reclining in an airline seat, which resulted in the plane, which was traveling from Newark, New Jersey, to Denver, being diverted to Chicago.

    Copyright Associated Press / NBC Connecticut



    Photo Credit: Getty Images

    FILE - An American Airlines flight was forced to land in Boston Wednesday night after a French passenger, irate over a reclined seat in front of him, confronted and grabbed a flight crew member, federal prosecutors say.FILE - An American Airlines flight was forced to land in Boston Wednesday night after a French passenger, irate over a reclined seat in front of him, confronted and grabbed a flight crew member, federal prosecutors say.

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    As he prepares to leave his three-year post as Connecticut’s Commissioner of Education, Stefan Pryor says he’s perhaps most of proud of how the dialogue has shifted in and around schools.

    “I'm hearing a lot from parents who are saying, 'You know what, we shouldn't be settling for good enough in Connecticut. We should be reaching for true excellence,'” Pryor said during an exclusive interview Thursday.

    Pryor announced last week that he will not serve for second term if the opportunity presents itself. He was appointed by Gov. Dannel Malloy in September 2011.

    He did face his fair share of challenges throughout his term, including implementing the Common Core State Standards into Connecticut schools. He also grappled at times with the state’s influential teachers unions like the Connecticut Education Association.

    “I think that overall it’s been a working relationship with us and with the governor’s office and the commissioner for the improvement of public education,” said Mark Waxenberg, the current Executive Director of the CEA. “We did disagree on issues but we always had the same goal in mind which was always students, teachers, and public education but we did come from a different perspective. I wouldn’t say I was happy to see him go.”

    Pryor touted accomplishments like education reform and increasing the amount of funding for and the number of students enrolled in the state’s First Class Pre-K program.

    On Common Core, however, is where Pryor found disagreement when it came to implementation with some teachers, but he defended the way the state handled the standards.

    “In Connecticut, we've taken the time listening to stakeholders. We can always do more of that but there's been teacher voice, there's been parent voice in the process so we've adjusted our method,” Pryor said.

    Waxenberg said he would prefer to see Connecticut-based standards incorporate the Common Core rather than take a mandate from Washington on what’s best for the state.

    “Instead of replacing the Connecticut standards with common core, we should be melding them together to make that Connecticut’s are the most rigorous in the country because they have been over the past years,” Waxenberg said.

    Pryor said he’s not sure of his last day but has the option to work until the end of 2014.


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    “It sent the wrong message.”

    That's how the Hartford Police Union is describing Chief James Rovella’s participation in a protest Wednesday night against the tasing of 18-year-old Luis Anglero on Aug. 19.

    “Walking with the protesters conveying anti-police sentiments and calling for the arrest of Det. Ware conveyed a message to the rank and file that politics will overshadow the facts,” said union president Sgt. Richard Holton.

    Rovella described his intentions in a letter to the department.

    “I am trying to diffuse any continued animosity towards the police," he wrote. "It is important to support their freedom of expression. It is equally important to explain the police’s side.”

    The department maintains that Anglero was ignoring commands to leave the site of a disturbance at Garden Street and Albany Avenue, saying he was uncooperative and aggressive.

    Anglero’s family, on the other hand, insists the teen was complying with police when the officer tased him.

    “This is a tragedy and we need to view it as such,” said Rabbi Donna Berman, one of the protest organizers, who said she walked side by side with Rovella on Wednesday.

    Though not sure of his motive when he arrived, by the end of the night, Berman was happy he came, she said.

    “We really need to look each other in the eye and talk about things,” she said. “That is what he did and that is leadership.”

    Rovella isn’t the only one the union is calling into question.

    The union said in a statement that “a rush to judgment before all of the facts are known by anyone, especially by leaders in high positions of influence, is reckless and inflammatory.”

    “It has become politically fashionable to criticize and prejudge a police officer’s decision,” said Sgt. Holton.

    The union said it's standing behind the detective who tased Anglero and that he's handling the backlash as well as can be expected.

    Others continue to call for the charges against Anglero to be dropped and for the detective to be taken off the street.

    They say this story isn’t about to go away and that Rovella’s presence at the protest is the only hope they have of working toward a real resolution.



    Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

    The Hartford Police Union addresses concerns about recent demonstrations and meetings stemming from an Aug. 19 incident during which police tased a teen.The Hartford Police Union addresses concerns about recent demonstrations and meetings stemming from an Aug. 19 incident during which police tased a teen.

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    A motorcyclist died after crashing on Interstate 95 southbound near exit 40 in Milford late Thursday afternoon, according to state police.

    The exit 40 off-ramp is closed while authorities investigate.

    Police said the accident was reported around 4:30 p.m. No other vehicles were involved in the crash.

    Police have not released the identity of the driver.

    No additional information was immediately available.

    Check back for updates.


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    In executive session Thursday night, the New London Board of Education voted unanimously to rescind the job offer to embattled superintendent candidate Terrence Carter, who was days away from signing a contract when questions about his background came to light.

    Carter was set to receive his doctorate degree from Lesley University in Massachusetts earlier this week, but – for reasons still unclear – was denied his Ph.D., according to a university spokesperson.

    School officials learned earlier this summer that Carter did not have his degree, despite having referred to himself as a doctor for years. Amid mountin uncertainty, the board postponed a vote on his contract.

    The state Department of Education asked Carter to withdraw his application, and school leaders commissioned a local law firm to investigate his background.

    District spokesperson Julianne Hanckel said Thursday night that the school board voted 6-0 to rescind Carter's offer of employment.

    New London native Richard Foye has been named interim superintendent and will serve for 90 days.

    Carter has declined to comment.


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    The city of Hartford has launched a new Web site designed to share raw municipal data through an open portal, the first of its kind in Connecticut.

    Mayor Pedro Segarra announced the rollout at a news conference Thursday evening. The interactive site has already published 80 sets of data, including finance, education, public health and safety, housing, development and Freedom of Information requests.

    The site will provide building maps, trade permits, housing code violations and information on police and fire incidents.

    It serves to streamline the sharing of information both internally and with members of the public, according to the mayor’s office.

    “Hartford is developing at a faster pace than it has in years,” Segarra said in a statement Thursday. “To keep up with that growth, we need to come up with ways to work faster, smoother and more efficiently.”



    Photo Credit: data.hartford.gov

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    Authorities have confirmed the Massachusetts Air National Guard pilot flying a military jet to New Orleans was killed in Wednesday's crash in the remote mountains near Deerfield Valley, Virginia.

    Officials at the Barnes Air National Guard Base in Massachusetts are not releasing the pilot's name pending notification of the pilot's family.

    The investigation into the crash is ongoing, officials said, and it may be several weeks before more information is released.

    Search and rescue teams were able to make it to the remote crash site Thursday morning, 104th Fighter Wing Commander Col. James Keefe said, adding that he received an indication that crash investigators found the pilot, who did not safely eject from the plane.

    The experienced pilot, a member of the 104th Fighter Wing, was flying alone to New Orleans to upgrade the military jet's radar system when he reported an in-flight emergency before Washington lost radio contact just after 9 a.m. Wednesday, according to officials.

    "Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and we are doing all we can to support them during this very difficult time," Col. Keefe said.

    Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick said it was a sad day for the Bay State.

    "Throughout the last couple of days, as we learned the circumstances of this accident, we held out hope that the pilot would be found and returned safely to his family. Our prayers and condolences are with his family, the Wing Command and all the Members of the Massachusetts National Guard," his statement read.


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    West Hartford police have arrested an accused prostitute and one of her male clients after a dispute over money prompted the woman to steal a hookah pipe from her patron's smoke shop, authorities said.

    Authorities were called to Smoker's Discount World at 33 Crossroads Plaza on Thursday evening to investigate a shopliting complaint.

    Police interviewed store owner Malik Moheed, 24, and two female customers – identified as 18-year-old Mattei Yamilet and 21-year-old Danielle Santos – and determined that Yamilet had stolen the hookah pipe following a disagreement with Moheed "over a fee for sexual services" she had rendered.

    Police said Moheed and found Yamilet's listing on Backpage.com, an online platform for classified ads similar to Craigslist.

    Yamilet was charged with prostitution and sixth-degree larceny. Malik was charged with patronizing a prostitute and falsely reporting an incident.

    Santos was charged with third-degree mischief. Her involvement in the incident wasn't immediately clear.


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    Two accused drug dealers are facing charges in Watertown after officers found them with 465 bags of heroin, 3 grams of crack cocaine and more than $4,300 cash, according to police.

    Police arrested 27-year-old Henry Vargas and 22-year-old Andre Heffler outside a home on Franklin Avenue in Watertown on Thursday afternoon.

    According to police, the two were sitting in a car outside the house and made a hand-to-hand transaction while officers were watching. Police approached the car and saw marijuana inside.

    Vargas, the driver, and Hoffler, his passenger, were both arrested after officers found them with large amounts of heroin and crack cocaine, along with $4,348 cash, police said.

    Hoffler and Vargas were charged with two counts of possession of a narcotic, two counts of possession with intent to sell and possession of marijuana. They were each held on $200,000 bond.



    Photo Credit: Watertown Police Department

    Henry Vargas (left) and Andre Hoffler (right) were arrested on drug charges in Watertown.Henry Vargas (left) and Andre Hoffler (right) were arrested on drug charges in Watertown.

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    State lawmakers on Thursday passed a bill that would make California the first state to define when "yes means yes" while investigating sexual assaults on college campuses.

    The Senate unanimously passed SB967 as states and universities across the U.S. are under pressure to change how they handle rape allegations. The bill now goes to Gov. Jerry Brown, who has not indicated his stance on the bill.

    Sen. Kevin de Leon, D-Los Angeles, said his bill would begin a paradigm shift in how California campuses prevent and investigate sexual assault. Rather than using the refrain "no means no," the definition of consent under the bill requires "an affirmative, conscious and voluntary agreement to engage in sexual activity." Earlier versions of the bill had similar language.

    "With this measure, we will lead the nation in bringing standards and protocols across the board so we can create an environment that's healthy, that's conducive for all students, not just for women, but for young men as well too, so young men can develop healthy patterns and boundaries as they age with the opposite sex," de Leon said before the vote.

    Silence or lack of resistance does not constitute consent. The legislation says it's also not consent if the person is drunk, drugged, unconscious or asleep.

    Lawmakers say consent can be nonverbal, and universities with similar policies have outlined examples as maybe a nod of the head or moving in closer to the person.

    Advocates for victims of sexual assault supported the change as one that will provide consistency across campuses and challenge the notion that victims must have resisted assault in order to have valid complaints.

    Some critics say the legislation is overreaching and sends universities into murky, unfamiliar legal waters.

    Gordon Finley, an adviser to the National Coalition for Men, wrote an editorial asking Brown not to sign the bill. He argued that "this campus rape crusade bill" presumes the guilt of the accused.

    "This is nice for the accusers — both false accusers as well as true accusers — but what about the due process rights of the accused," Finley wrote.

    The bill passed the state Assembly on Monday by a 52-16 vote. Some Republicans in that house questioned if statewide legislation is an appropriate venue to define consent.

    There was no opposition from Senate Republicans.

    "This bill is very simple; it just requires colleges to adopt policies concerning sexual assault, domestic violence, gang violence and stalking," said Sen. Anthony Cannella, R-Ceres. "They should have already been doing that."

    The bill would apply to all California post-secondary schools, public and private, that receive state money for student financial aid. The California State University and University of California systems are backing the legislation after adopting similar consent standards this year.

    The bill also requires colleges and universities to adopt "victim-centered" sexual-assault response policies and implement comprehensive programs to prevent assault.

    In January, President Barack Obama vowed to make the issue a priority. He announced a task force that created a website providing tips for filing complaints, www.notalone.gov, and issued a report in May naming 55 colleges and universities across the country facing investigation for their responses to sexual abuse and violence. The University of California, Berkeley was included on the list.

    Copyright Associated Press / NBC Connecticut



    Photo Credit: AP

    New students at San Diego State University watch a video on sexual consent during an orientation meeting Friday, Aug. 1, 2014, in San Diego. Defining consensual sex is a growing trend by universities under pressure to do more to protect victims. Throughout the country, schools have been adopting policies on their own that set the parameters for distinguishing when consent was given for a sexual activity and when it was not.  (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)New students at San Diego State University watch a video on sexual consent during an orientation meeting Friday, Aug. 1, 2014, in San Diego. Defining consensual sex is a growing trend by universities under pressure to do more to protect victims. Throughout the country, schools have been adopting policies on their own that set the parameters for distinguishing when consent was given for a sexual activity and when it was not. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

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    Police have arrested a North Haven dad accused of hitting his 3-year-old daughter across the face, leaving the child with bruises and a bloody nose, according to police.

    Officers found Elliot Sanchez, 44, lying on his back in a gas station parking lot on Quinnipiac Avenue near Middletown Avenue on Wednesday evening. His daughter was with him and her face was bloody, according to police.

    Police said Sanchez had struck his daughter across the face, causing a nosebleed and bruising around both eyes and her right ear. Her arms were also marked with “finger-shaped bruises,” according to police.

    The child was taken to a local hospital for treatment.

    Police arrested Sanchez and charged with him with assault, risk of injury to a minor and breach of peace.

    He was held on $50,000 bond.


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