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    A Farmington family is coming to grips with the death of their 28-year-old son, who was stabbed to death just days before finishing a bicycle trip down the East Coast, family members said.

    Kevin Adorno, 28, of Unionville, was at a McDonald's restaurant on U.S. Route 1 in Vero Beach, Florida, when he was stabbed around 9:30 p.m. on Monday. Police said he had stopped to buy food and charge his phone.

    Authorities have identified his suspected attacker as 59-year-old Rene Herrera Cruz, a homeless man who had recently arrived in Vero Beach from Miami, according to the arrest affidavit.

    Cruz told police he was in the parking lot when a motorcycle pulled up near him. According to the affidavit, "Cruz had felt as if people kept watching him" so he walked away and took a filet knife from his backpack.

    He told police Adorno was sitting in the restaurant looking at him. When Adorno went outside to use his cellphone, Cruz thought Adorno was taking pictures of him and "directing people to go after him," according to the affidavit.

    As Adorno approached, Cruz pulled out the knife and slashed him, the affidavit says.

    Authorities found Adorno lying on the floor near the restaurant bathrooms. Police said he'd been stabbed several times in the chest and arm and collapsed inside McDonald's while witnesses applied pressure to his wounds.

    Adorno was pronounced dead a short time later at Indian River Medical Center, according to police.

    According to the affidavit, Cruz had tossed the murder weapon into the bushes while running from McDonald's and threw his shirt and a second knife into the trash at Burger King. Police took him into custody there.

    Police said Cruz admitted to stabbing Adorno and said it wasn't their first encounter with him.

    "We dealt with him actually the night before. He called us from Burger King right across the street and he told responding officers that individuals were looking for him or were after him," said Vero Beach Police Chief David Currey.

    Family members said Adorno biked from Maine to Maryland with his sister last summer. He was two days and 100 miles away from completing the second leg of his trip, from Maryland to Miami.

    They said Adorno, an athlete and animal lover who owned a graphic design company, was planning to propose to his girlfriend and was on the phone with her when Cruz attacked.

    Cruz has been charged with first-degree murder and is being held without bond.



    Photo Credit: Indian River County Sheriff's Office/Facebook

    Rene Herrera Cruz, 59, who is homeless (right), is accused of fatally stabbing Farmington resident Kevin Adorno (left) at a rest stop in Vero Beach, Florida.Rene Herrera Cruz, 59, who is homeless (right), is accused of fatally stabbing Farmington resident Kevin Adorno (left) at a rest stop in Vero Beach, Florida.

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    A Hartford teen made his first court appearance today after his arrest in a highly publicized incident during which police shot him with a Taser two weeks ago.

    Luis Anglero, 18, faces charges of second-degree breach of peace and interfering with an officer. He was arraigned in Hartford Community Court on Wednesday.

    Anglero was tased while police were breaking up an unruly crowd near the Garden Street and Albany Avenue intersection at 2 p.m. on Aug. 19. He was taken to the hospital for treatment.

    Surveillance footage shows a teen, identified as Anglero, walking toward an officer, then stopping and standing as the officer approaches him with a Taser. The officer shoots him with the Taser and Anglero falls to the ground.

    Family members are fighting the accusations against Anglero.

    "We're confident that once the laws of this state are applied to those truths, that my client will be exonerated of all the charges before him," said defense attorney Jamaal Johnson.

    Community activists have protested the officer's use of the Taser, and members of the NAACP rallied outside the courthouse Wednesday before Anglero's appearance.

    "All too often we are the victims of those who are protecting us," said Deacon Arthur Miller, of Hartford.

    Hartford police spokesman Deputy Chief Brian Foley said Anglero "was a clear aggressor and agitator" who ignored officers' commands to leave the area.

    The officer involved in the incident is now the subject of an internal investigation, which Hartford Police Chief James Rovella said will be "fair" and "complete."



    Photo Credit: Seashore Jamaican Restaurant/Family Photo

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    Someone caused more than $10,000 damage at a house in North Stonington over the holiday weekend and state police are investigating.

    Police said someone broke into 96 Wintechog Road between Thursday and Tuesday, vandalized the three-bedroom home and caused property damage.

    Police ask anyone with information about the break-in and vandalism to call Trooper Timothy Donahue at 860-848-6500, extension 5033.
     


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    Fire destroyed a home on Bittersweet Lane in Stamford early Wednesday morning.

    The fire department responded to 29 Bittersweet Lane just before 12:30 a.m. and the 3,000 square-foot single-family home was already engulfed, according to the Stanford Fire Department.

    Two adults were home when the fire started and were not hurt, but the family’s two dogs are missing.

    There were also reports of explosions. Firefighters said the explosions could have been secondary to the fire because there were gas grills on the back deck.

    The cause of the fire has not yet been determined.

    Fire investigators remained at the scene as of 8 a.m.


    Fire destroyed a home on Bittersweet Lane in Stamford early Wednesday morning.Fire destroyed a home on Bittersweet Lane in Stamford early Wednesday morning.

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    Naugatuck police have arrested a 52-year-old Naugatuck man who is accused of inappropriately touching a juvenile girl.

    Police arrested Daniel Hartshorn, of Naugatuck, at 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday and charged him with second-degree sexual assault, fourth-degree sexual assault and risk of injury to a child.

    The news release from police says the incident happened on July 9 and Hartshorn was arrested on a warrant on his 52rd birthday.

    He was released on a court-set $150,000 surety bond and he is due to appear in Waterbury Superior Court on Sept. 17.
     



    Photo Credit: Naugatuck Police

    Naugatuck police have arrested a man accused of inappropriately touching a girl.Naugatuck police have arrested a man accused of inappropriately touching a girl.

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    A Naugatuck couple was charged with animal cruelty after leaving their 3-and-a-half year olf German Shepherd in a hot car in the parking lot of a supermarket on Monday, according to police.

    An officer responded to the Stop and Shop plaza at noon on Monday after Lisa Stumpo, 48, and David Stumpo, 51, had left their dog in the car with the windows partially down while they were in the store, police said.

    Someone noticed the dog around 11:45 a.m. and called police because the dog appeared to be panting and looked hot by noon, according to police. Police said the dog was in car for more than 25 minutes and looked overheated.

    The temperature was in the mid-80s, but it felt like low-90s because of the humidity, police said. 

    The dog's owners told police that they did not see the difference between a parked car with windows half-way down and moving car with windows half-way down, according to police. 

    Both were released on a written promise to appear and are due in Waterbury Superior Court on Sept. 10.

    Police urge dog owners not to leave animals alone in hot cars.  When the temperature is 70 or above, the temperature in the car can exceed 100 degrees.
     



    Photo Credit: Shutterstock

    A Naugatuck couple was charged with animal cruelty after leaving their dog in a car in the parking lot of a supermarket on Monday, according to police.A Naugatuck couple was charged with animal cruelty after leaving their dog in a car in the parking lot of a supermarket on Monday, according to police.

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  • 09/03/14--13:19: 3 Bird Strikes at LaGuardia

  • Three planes landing at LaGuardia Airport struck birds within a four-hour period Wednesday morning, the FAA said. All the aircrafts landed safely and no damage was reported. 

    The first plane, an ExpressJet Airlines flight, reported striking a bird while it turned to approach the runway. The bird hit the plane's nose gear, the Federal Aviation Administration said.

    Less than two hours later, another ExpressJet Airlines flight struck a bird while taxiing, the FAA said. 

    About four hours after the first bird strike, an Air Canada plane reported a bird strike about 12 miles northeast of the airport. It landed safely.

    The FAA is investigating. 

    Fifteen bird strikes have been reported this year at LGA, according to the FAA, but with September being peak time for migration, this time of year could see more collisions. 

    "In September what we're looking at is the birds that have hatched over the summer, plus their parents, so the most birds ever are flying around in September," said Christine Sheppard, a bird collision expert with the American Bird Conservancy.

    Birds are also most active in the morning, and LaGuardia's location nestled near the marshlands raises the potential for collisions, Sheppard said.  

    "These are all animals that are using the habitat and trying to coexist with planes, and sometimes they're looking at the wrong place at the wrong time," she said. 

    Across the country, collisions between planes and wildlife are climbing. In 1990, there were 1,851 reported strikes. In 2013, there were 11,315 strikes. Nearly all the collisions involved birds. 

    Despite the growing number of bird strikes, travelers say they're confident airports are doing everything possible to keep passengers safe while also preserving wildlife.

    "It's like getting hit by a meteorite -- you can't worry about it," said Pete Hunsinger of Connecticut. 

    "We're never going to eliminate the collisions between airplanes and birds, it's just not possible," said Sheppard. "But we can definitely try to reduce it and minimize the impact on both people and wildlife." 

    In 2009, a US Airways flight had just taken off from LaGuardia airport when a flock of geese disabled the engines. Capt. Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger III safely glided into a water landing in the Hudson River. 



    Photo Credit: clipart.com

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    West Haven police are asking for help to identify the men who robbed the Greater West Haven Federal Credit Union around 3 p.m. on Aug. 29.

    Officials released a surveillance photo and said this man, along with another, robbed the bank.

    Anyone with information is asked to call the Detective Division at 203 937-3907.



    Photo Credit: West Haven Police

    Police are investigating an armed robbery at a bank in West Haven.Police are investigating an armed robbery at a bank in West Haven.

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    The case of a state trooper charged with drunken driving and crashing on Route 140 in Ellington has been continued.

    Christopher Powers, 42, is suspended of his police powers pending an internal investigation after crashing on Aug. 15 and failing sobriety tests, according to state police. He is due in court again on Oct. 7.
     

    State police say that Powers was driving his state police car west on Route 140/Sandy Beach Road on at 7:40 p.m. Friday when he failed to negotiate a curve and struck a car traveling in the east bound lane. Powers’s car flipped over and came to a rest on its roof. Powers was transported to Rockville General Hospital where he was treated and released for non-life threatening injuries.

    A passenger in the second car, Deborah Walker, 49, of Jacobs Hill Road in Ellington, was transported to Johnson Memorial Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. She was later released. The driver of the second vehicle, John Haley, 49, of Andover Road in East Hartford, was not injured.

    Powers, a veteran trooper, was not on duty at the time of the accident. His police powers have been suspended and he is on administrative duty with no contact with the public. He is charged with a DWI and failure to drive right. He was released on a $500 non-surety bond and is expected to appear in court on 8/25/14.

    Route 140/Sandy Beach Road was closed at Jacobs Jill Road for several hours following the crash.

     


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    A clerk was hit in the head during an armed robbery at a Southington Burger King early Wednesday morning.

    Police said three to four men went into the back of the fast-food restaurant at 1850 Meriden Waterbury Turnpike as the employee was taking out the garbage just after midnight and hit the man over the head.

    One of the robbers had a gun and the group fled in a silver Acura with tinted windows, heading south on Knotter Drive toward Cheshire. 

    The victim was taken to a local hospital to be treated for a non-life-threatening head injury.

    A description of the vehicle was broadcasted to surrounding towns as well as state police, but police have not found the car.

    How much cash was taken is not known.

    Anyone with information should call Southington Police at 860-621-0101.  
     


    A clerk was injured during an armed robbery at a Burger King in Southington.A clerk was injured during an armed robbery at a Burger King in Southington.

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    More police officers will be on the roads in many Connecticut towns starting Wednesday as part of a statewide initiative to reduce texting and driving habits.

    Hand-held cell phone use is illegal in the state and Connecticut was the only state nationwide to receive $2.3 million in federal funds to curb distracted driving. The Connecticut Department of Transportation Highway Safety Office and local police departments are teaming up for the "U Drive. U Text. U Pay" campaign.

    Seeing drivers texting at a light or covertly under the steering wheel if far from uncommon, but those are habits police want to eliminate entirely by making those people pay.

    Hartford resident Peyton Miller knows all too well the consequences of distracted driving.

    She said, "I was holding my cell phone and I wasn't on it and he said 'if it's in you're hand while you're driving' and then handed her a $150 ticket. The fine is increased for second offenders.

    "I know I won't pick up my phone for $150," she said.

    It's the first time the state has used dedicated federal funds intended to eliminate unsafe driving behaviors, according to a news release from Branford police, one of the participating departments. 

    "Our goal will not only be to ticket motorists who disobey the Connecticut Statute -- we also hope to save lives by changing people's behavior and deterring this all too common activity," Chief Kevin Halloran said in a statement.

    Other police departments involved in "U Drive. U Text. U. Pay" include New Haven, Danbury, Manchester, Norwalk, Newington, Westport, Hamden, Farmington, Orange, Bristol, Norwich, Bridgeport, Stamford, Derby, Stratford, Plainville, Trumbull, Wethersfield, Vernon North Haven, Bloomfield, West Hartford, Southington and Wallingford. 

    The campaign runs through Sept. 24.



    Photo Credit: Getty Images

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    The author of “Orange is the New Black” has become a well-recognized face of prison reform and she is putting her clout behind a push to speed up renovations at the women’s prison in Danbury, Connecticut.

    Piper Kerman spent 11 months in the women’s federal correctional faciity here in Connecticut before being moved to high-security federal jails in Chicago and called the experiences like “night and day.”

    She participated in a conference call with Senators Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy on Wednesday in which they discussed a report from the Liman Program at Yale, which exposed consequences of delays on the renovation.

    Fixes to the prison were supposed to take 18 months, but they will now take at least 30.

    As the renovation is underway, the prison is holding around 200 women, which is above its rated capacity of 146, according to the Liman report.

    Many other women have been moved to facilities in Brooklyn, New York and Philadelphia, where they have no access to residential drug treatment programs or to the Federal Prison Industries work program.

    Murphy said around 60 percent of female prisoners in Danbury have children under the age of 21 and those who have moved are much further away from their children and families.

    Blumenthal, Murphy and nine other U.S. senators have written to the Bureau of Prisons, calling into question the delay as well as the decision not to offer a residential drug abuse program.

    “We are frustrated by the lack of communication regarding both of these critical issues and deeply concerned by the impact they may have on the female inmates and their ability to successfully reenter our communities,’ the letter says.

    Blumenthal said keeping the women from their children will lead to a cycle of crime perpetuated not only by the inmates, but also by their children.

    “We lose the chance to give them justice,” he said, adding that it can create wounds that might never heal and cause life-long damage to the children.

    “It’s impossible to retain that relationship of you are 500 miles away from your children,” Murphy said.

    “A year in a child’s life is like a century,” Blumenthal said.

    Kerman put the spotlight on the overall conditions of women’s prisons and said jail facilities are “simply not appropriate places” for women to spend their sentences” because of the physical restraint, the idleness and the sensory deprivation.

    No one benefits when people come home from prison brutalized, she said.

    The women are deprived of access to family, access to work and access to programs in federal facilities, said the woman who inspired the hit Netflix series.

    “They are in a crisis situation,” Kerman said.

    “These jails are, in effect, holding facilities not designed for long-term incarcerations,” Blumenthal said.

    The issue the senators mentioned several time was that the Bureau of Prisons says they need more money, but the senators said no additional expenditure is needed.

    ‘There is no adequate explanation,” Blumenthal said of the delay.

    “This is pennywise and pound foolish,” Murphy said.
    Murphy:

    U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, both of New York; Patrick Leahy, of Vermont; Ed Markey and Elizabeth Warren, of Massachusetts; Jeanne Shaheen, of New Hampshire; Bernard Sanders, of Vermont; Robert P. Casey Jr., of Pennsylvania; and Angus King, of Maine; signed the letter.
     
    Following is the letter in full:
     
    The Honorable Charles E. Samuels, Jr.
    Director
    Federal Bureau of Prisons
    320 First Street, NW
    Washington, DC  20534
     
    Dear Director Samuels:
     
    We are writing to express ongoing concerns about the Federal Bureau of Prisons’ (BOP) plans to change the use of the Federal Correctional Institution (FCI) in Danbury, Connecticut from a women-only facility to a facility devoted primarily to men. We were pleased last November when BOP announced plans to provide beds for women at FCI-Danbury following an 18-month transition period during which the Danbury facility would be renovated. Now, we have learned that BOP revised its timeline without informing us and estimates that the 18-month transition period will actually last longer than 30 months. Further, it appears that BOP may have decided not to provide a Residential Drug Abuse Program (RDAP) in the Northeast, contrary to what our offices had been told to expect.
     
    We are frustrated by the lack of communication regarding both of these critical issues and deeply concerned by the impact they may have on the female inmates and their ability to successfully reenter our communities.
     
    Early on in the transition process, out of concern for the welfare of the female inmates, we requested information on the situation from faculty and law students in the Arthur Liman Program at Yale Law School. Their report, released today, documents the continuing harm that the transition imposes on women. While BOP delays, women are being detained in facilities that were not designed to house them on a long-term basis. Additionally, women in the Northeast may be forced to move far from their families to access essential programming, such as RDAP, which has been proven to reduce recidivism and enhance public safety. We urge BOP to expedite the Danbury transition and to mitigate the harm caused by any delay. In the meantime, we request that BOP clarify its new plans and explain what is being done to minimize harm to female inmates, their families, and their communities by answering the following questions:
     
    Transition Timeline and Relocation

    • What is the basis of BOP’s current transition timing estimate? Please provide as much information as possible regarding each phase of the transition process.
    • Does BOP have any reason to believe that there might be additional delays? What might the possible causes be and how much longer could the timeline be?
    • What efforts has BOP undertaken to expedite the transition?
    • Please identify and describe in detail any obstacles to expediting the transition timeline.
    • Has BOP explored alternatives to the metropolitan jails in Brooklyn and Philadelphia as temporary locations for female inmates during the renovation?

    Programming Changes

    • What programming that has been available to female inmates at FCI-Danbury will be unavailable to them during their temporary relocations during the renovations?
    • What programming and job opportunities can be made available to women during their temporary stays at the metropolitan jails?
    • What programming that has been available to female inmates at FCI-Danbury will be unavailable to them when they return to FCI after the renovations?
    • After the transition, will RDAP be available to female inmates in the Northeast?
      • If not, what are the reasons for terminating RDAP programming in the Northeast?
      • If not, what barriers will women in the Northeast who wish to participate in RDAP and meet eligibility requirements face in receiving permission to relocate in order to participate in RDAP?
    • What are BOP’s plans for ensuing that the new facility at FCI-Danbury will be responsive to women’s needs? Have construction and job readiness programming plans, for instance, taken account of women’s needs? 

    Notice to Judges and Female Inmates

    • What information is being provided to judges sentencing women to incarceration in the Northeast?
    • Are you providing female inmates who expect to be transitioned to FCI-Danbury with updates about the transition process?
      • If so, what form of notice is BOP providing and with what regularity?
      • If not, what are the reasons for withholding this information? Do you plan to provide notice in the future? In what form and with what regularity?

    We appreciate your commitment to making this transition as quickly as possible. We expect that you will provide prompt and comprehensive responses to our questions so that we can work together to ensure that the transition minimizes harm to the female inmates and their families and encourages successful reentry to our communities.
     



    Photo Credit: NBC4

    Piper Kerman spent 11 months in the women’s minimum-security prison here in Connecticut before being moved to high-security federal jails in Chicago and called the experiences like “night and day.”Piper Kerman spent 11 months in the women’s minimum-security prison here in Connecticut before being moved to high-security federal jails in Chicago and called the experiences like “night and day.”

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    A drunken New York man was arrested in Greenwich early Tuesday morning when he grabbed a pair of garden shears and threatened people at a house party, police said.

    Police responded to 71 Indian Harbor Drive in Greenwich just after 1:30 a.m. on Tuesday when someone reported a man and a woman were fighting and a knife was involved.

    Officers found Vinicius Debarros, 21, of Port Chester, New York, drunk and pointing the garden shears at “fearful guests,” according to the police report.

    He barricaded himself in the house and refused to communicate with police.

    Police arrested Debarros and charged him with second-degree threatening, disorderly conduct and interfering with a police officer.

    He was held on $25,000 bond and is due in court on Sept. 10.



    Photo Credit: Greenwich Police

    Vinicius Debarros is accused of threatening guests at a party with gardening tools.Vinicius Debarros is accused of threatening guests at a party with gardening tools.

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    Authorities responded to Hardwood Road in Plainville on Wednesday after a man placed a bottle containing some sort of liquid and medication in the driveway of a home and made strange comments to a resident, according to police.

    Plainville police, firefighters and the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection were called to the scene Wednesday afternoon. Police said a 50-year-old resident of the street showed up at a neighbor’s house with a bottle full of an unknown liquid and set it down in the driveway.

    According to police, the man – who is believed to be taking some sort of made disconcerting comments, telling the homeowner to call authorities and have them figure out what was inside.

    Officials arrived and chased the man into the woods, where they followed him into a body of water and took him into custody, police said. He was taken to the hospital for a medical evaluation and is believed to be taking psychotropic medication.

    The neighborhood was blocked off as a precaution while authorities investigated.

    They determined that the contents of the bottle were not hazardous, according to the DEEP.



    Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

    Plainville police responded to a home on Hardwood Drive Wednesday after a man left a bottle containing an unknown liquid in a resident's driveway and made suspicious comments.Plainville police responded to a home on Hardwood Drive Wednesday after a man left a bottle containing an unknown liquid in a resident's driveway and made suspicious comments.

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    A third American aid worker who has contracted Ebola has been identified as Dr. Rick Sacra, 51, of Massachusetts, according to officials with the aid group SIM.

    The news was announced at an 11 a.m. news conference with SIM officials in Charlotte, North Carolina.

    Francis Anthes, president and CEO of Family Health Center in Worcester, Massachusetts, confirmed Wednesday that Sacra worked there. He said they last had contact with Sacra's family on Tuesday when they were notified that he had contracted Ebola.

    Sacra, who is from Wayland, Massachusetts, was in Liberia with SIM, the aid group that has been at the forefront of the fight against Ebola in West Africa. He was reportedly delivering babies in the SIM hospital's obstetrics unit in Liberia and not treating Ebola patients. He also headed up a residency program there.

    How he came down with the disease is still a mystery.

    SIM president Bruce Johnson said that Sacra returned to Liberia about a month ago, after SIM Dr. Kent Brantly and missionary Nancy Writebol became ill with Ebola. Both survived after treatment at Emory University in Atlanta. Brantly and Writebol both learned that Sacra had been infected on Tuesday.

    "My heart sank. I just didn't have any other words but 'oh, no,'" Writebol told NBC News. "They are part of the family. To hear the news is very sad, (knowing) the whole cycle of the progression of the disease and how that story might end."

    Sacra is currently in isolation in Liberia. Johnson said it isn't clear yet if Sacra will return to the U.S. for treatment, as the other two Americans did. He is said to be in good spirits and is able to email.

    His brother, Doug Sacra, said the family remains hopeful that he will be OK.

    "We're obviously sad," Doug Sacra said. "He figured out he had it and went straight to the isolation ward and they are giving him IV treatments and doing everything they can for him right away."

    Doug Sacra said his brother went to Liberia because he wanted to make sure the Ebola patients were receiving the necessary treatments, and that others in the area had medical attention.

    "Rick has a real heart for the people in Liberia, and he said, 'You know, I'm a doctor. No hospital is open. I'm going to go reopen the hospital so kids with Malaria and women needing emergency C-sections can get care.' And that's why he went."

    He is a 1989 graduate of UMass Medical School, which issued the following statement on Wednesday:

    "Our thoughts are with Dr. Rick Sacra today, as we learn that he has reportedly contracted the Ebola virus while working overseas in Liberia. Dr. Sacra is a 1989 graduate of UMass Medical School and on the medical staff of the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health at UMass Memorial Medical Center since 2010. Though he has spent much of his career working overseas, including nearly two decades in Liberia, he has a voluntary faculty appointment as an assistant professor of family medicine and community health at UMass Medical School, as a consequence of teaching in the medical school’s residency program when he returns to the US for periodic respite visits."

    The World Health Organization announced Wednesday that Ebola's death toll in West Africa has shot up to 1,900 - 400 more than the previous count. The virus is spread by direct contact with blood or bodily fluids, not through casual contact.

    The Associated Press contributed to this report.



    Photo Credit: SIM USA

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    Cramped airline seats and too little leg room rank among flyers' top complaints, so maybe it’s not surprising that fights over reclined seats have broken out three times since last week.

    “The general public seem to be voting with their fists,” said Ranga Natarajan, a senior product manager with TripAdvisor’s SeatGuru, a website that helps passengers find the best seats.

    Ask passengers or airline experts or even Miss Manners about modern airline travel and a common theme emerges: too little space for too many people. The result is squashed laptops, spilled drinks and when disputes become especially tense, flights diverted on their way to their destinations.


    Even as passengers grumble about uncomfortable trips, more space does not seem to be in the offing. Though some U.S. airlines are now the world’s most profitable, extra leg room often comes with a fee.

    “You want space, I’ll make you pay for it,” Natarajan said.

    The first of the three recent altercations, all of which ended in planes being diverted, occurred on a United Airlines flight out of Newark, N.J., on Aug. 24. A passenger used a gadget called a Knee Defender to prevent the woman seated in front of him from reclining her seat.

    Three days later, an American Airlines flight from Miami to Paris landed in Boston after a man angry about a reclined seat allegedly grabbed a flight attendant.

    Then Monday night, on a Delta Air Lines flight from LaGuardia Airport to West Palm Beach, a woman who was knitting tried to recline her seat, angering a woman resting her head on the tray table behind.

    Seats Too Small

    The likelihood of conflict increases when airlines cram more people into a confined space, Sara Nelson, the president of the Association of Flight Attendants union, told NBCNews.com.
                                             
    And as the airlines squeeze more seats into their planes, seats have become narrower and closer together, says Kathleen Robinette, who worked for 30 years at the U.S. Air Force Research Lab and is now head of the Design, Housing and Merchandising Department at Oklahoma State University.

    The minimum seat measurements are typically based on the 95th percentile of men, leaving one in 20 too large for the distance between seats, she said.

    Plus, the body measurements being used are the wrong ones, Robinette said. Women are usually wider across the hips than men, and both women and men are wider across the shoulders, she said. The single most important factor for comfort in any seat is the ability to move, she said.

    “Virtually everybody on the plane is shoulder to shoulder -- a lot of people with someone else's arm basically in your lap,” she said.

    Should Seats Recline?

    Until now there has been no incentive for airlines to make seats wider or farther apart, just the opposite, she said. The more seats an airline gets on a plane, the less they need to charge per seat.

    Some airlines have seats that do not recline, Spirit Airlines among them, a solution popular with some passengers. In a survey from the travel Web site Skyscanner, 91 percent of travelers said seat reclining should be banned or at least allowed only during set periods on short fights.

    But Robinette does not think such bans are the solution. Rather, regulations are needed to ensure more room, she said.

    “They’re still selling the tickets for the seats, but consumers are starting to revolt,” she said.

    Matt Miller, a spokesman for American Airlines, said that although the airline was retrofitting its aircraft to increase the number of seats on board, the space from one row to another was not shrinking.

    “There’s not less leg room per se because of the retrofits that we are working on currently,” Miller said.

    He also said it was rare for the airline to divert a flight because of a disruptive passenger.

    United Airlines and Delta Air Lines did not immediately respond with a comment.

    Defending the Knee Defender

    The Federal Aviation Administration does not prohibit the use of the Knee Defender, though all major U.S. airlines say they do.

    “That’s their problem,” said the gadget’s inventor, Ira Goldman, whose company, Gadget Duck, has been in business for 11 years. “It’s a customer service issue.”

    If airlines do not protect passengers from being battered, the Knee Defender will, the company’s website says. Business is up since the first dispute was reported last week, Goldman said, but he declined to say by how much.

    “I’d rather have plastic stop your seat than my knee cap stop your seat,” Goldman said. “That’s why I came up with it.”

    Airlines could solve the problem without reducing capacity by installing seats that move forward when they recline, he said.

    According to a survey from TripAdvisor, 73 percent of the 4,300 respondents reported uncomfortable seats and limited leg room as their top complaint. Costly airline fees and ticket prices came in second at 66 percent.

    As far as the etiquette concerned, Miss Manners has weighed in, suggesting in a 2004 column in The Washington Post that a compromise providing comfort for everyone would be appropriate, reclining only part way for example.

    “The real culprit here is the airlines, who install their seats so closely together that the reasonable attitude of reclining a seat that is designed to recline constitutes a nuisance to the passenger behind,” wrote Miss Manners, a pen name for Judith Martin. “However, this deeper problem, of setting minimal comfort standards -- or even minimal health conditions -- for long-haul flights, is not one that etiquette can solve.”

    Copyright Associated Press / NBC Connecticut


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    Police are investigating after a Hartford elementary school teacher found 17 BB or pellet marks on the window of his classroom.

    The teacher called police Tuesday afternoon after he discovered the chipped glass on a first-floor window of the John C. Clark Elementary School at 72 Clark Street in Hartford, according to police.

    Police said someone had shot at the window with a BB or pellet gun over the weekend. The glass was marked up but intact.

    Authorities are working to determine who is responsible. Police have not identified any suspects.
     



    Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

    Police are investigating after a Hartford elementary school window was shot 17 times with a BB or pellet gun over the weekend.Police are investigating after a Hartford elementary school window was shot 17 times with a BB or pellet gun over the weekend.

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    A fetus was found at the sewage treatment facility on Harbor View Drive in Stamford over the weekend, according to police.

    Police said a machine operator at the Stamford Water Pollution Control Authority found the body around 4 p.m. on Sunday and the man’s shift foreman called dispatchers.

    Authorities and the state medical examiner responded to the scene. Police said the fetus was not viable and had most likely been miscarried.

    Officials said on Wednesday that the mother might have flushed the fetus down the toilet.



    Photo Credit: Stock Image

    A fetus was found at the sewage treatment facility on Harbor View Drive in Stamford around 4 p.m. on Sunday.A fetus was found at the sewage treatment facility on Harbor View Drive in Stamford around 4 p.m. on Sunday.

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    Greene-Hills School in Bristol was evacuated after a message reading "bomb school" was found scrawled on the wall of a girls' bathroom, and a suspect is in custody, according to school officials and Bristol police.

    Authorities were called to the scene at 718 Pine Street around 1:45 p.m. Wednesday to investigate the bomb threat. The school serves students in Kindergarten through eighth grade.

    Police had taken someone into custody for questioning by 3 p.m. Wednesday, according to town officials. They said surveillance footage helped authorities identify a suspect.

    It's not clear if that person is a student or whether any charges have been filed.

    Students were ushered out after the threat was reported and were sent home early, according to police, who said it all transpired toward the end of the school day.

    Police said a bomb squad was not called out and authorities have since cleared the scene.

    It's not the first bomb threat reported at Greene-Hills. Law enforcement and school officials dealt with a string of threats toward the end of last school year, including one at this school.

    At one point, police responded to a total of three bomb threats in just one week. At least three Bristol students were arrested in connection with the threats.

    According to the school district Web site, Friday, Aug. 29 was the first day of class in Bristol.



    Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

    Bristol police responded to the Greene-Hills School on Pine Street after a bomb threat was found in the girls' bathroom.Bristol police responded to the Greene-Hills School on Pine Street after a bomb threat was found in the girls' bathroom.

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    A convicted felon with a lengthy record is facing new charges after stealing more than $2,400 from a disabled Fairfield resident and pawning his Sacred Heart University class ring, according to police.

    Angelo Younger, 49, was arrested at Bridgeport Adult Probation on Sept. 3. He’s accused of taking cash and checks amounting to $2,442.25 from a man with special needs in Fairfield on July 10.

    According to police, Younger sold the victim’s class ring at a Bridgeport pawn shop four days later, pocketing another $170.

    Police said Younger used his “intimidating size” to take advantage of the victim, and “coerced” him into handing over the money.

    Younger is charged with second-degree larceny, second-degree burglary, third-degree stalking, second-degree harassment and disorderly conduct and is being held on $50,000 bond.

    He has a criminal history in both Connecticut and North Carolina, the latter of which dates back to 1989, according to police.

    Younger was also arrested in 2011 for posing as a home health aide at Sullivan-McKinney Elder Housing in Fairfield and stealing from senior citizens there, police said.

    He's due in court Sept. 23.



    Photo Credit: Fairfield Police Department

    Angelo Younger, 49, a convicted felon, is accused of coercing a disabled man into giving him more than $2,400 and his Sacred Heart University class ring.Angelo Younger, 49, a convicted felon, is accused of coercing a disabled man into giving him more than $2,400 and his Sacred Heart University class ring.

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