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    This year’s midterm elections ushered into office a wave of Republican candidates. But some of America’s most debated issues were also at the forefront in several states and were a boon for liberals.

    Here's a list of winners and losers in contests you may not have followed and other trends: 

    Marijuana Gets the OK

    Voters in Oregon, Alaska and Washington, D.C., approved limited recreational pot use, joining Colorado and Washington state in letting adults possess and consume marijuana just for fun. But a medical marijuana initiative in Florida failed to pass when it got less than 60 percent of the vote.

    The Oregon measure hands regulatory control of pot to the state’s liquor control agency and allows Oregonians to grow up to four plants at a time. NBC News projected Wednesday that Alaskans had passed a similar initiative by a narrow margin, after two earlier pot-legalization measures had failed.

    The D.C. initiative, meanwhile, allows residents to grow up to six plants in their homes and possess up to 2 ounces for their own personal use.

    Mixed Decisions on Prohibition (Yes, Prohibition)

    Arkansas voters turned down a proposed constitutional amendment that would have legalized alcohol sales statewide. Arkansas is one of a few states that allow local municipalities to make their own decisions on alcohol sales, creating a patchwork of wet and dry counties throughout the state.

    But voters in the Connecticut town of Bridgewater, the state's last dry town, made the historic decision Tuesday to end prohibition and reverse its alcohol sales ban there.

    Political Legacies Come Out Ahead

    Scions of a number of high-profile political dynasties, from Kennedys to Bushes, were on the ballot on Tuesday night, and some of them won.

    Ted Kennedy Jr., the son of the late U.S. senator and nephew of President John F. Kennedy, won his first political race for a seat in the Connecticut state Senate.

    Jason Carter came up short in Georgia’s gubernatorial race, a position that his grandfather Jimmy Carter held before winning the White House in 1976.

    In Texas, another Bush is back in office. George P. Bush, the son of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, was elected Texas land commissioner.

    Historic Firsts for the GOP

    Congress got its first-ever black Republican woman Tuesday and, depending on the outcome of a race whose results are still being counted, could also get its first-ever openly gay Republican member.

    Mia Love, Utah's latest congresswoman-elect, was already Utah's first black female mayor and a widely-touted rising star in the GOP. Now, she will be Congress' first-ever black Republican woman.

    In Southern California, Republican challenger Carl DeMaio was trying to unseat Rep. Scott Peters, and if he does, he could become Congress' first openly gay Republican member. DeMaio was leading there by fewer than 1,000 votes Wednesday, though the race had not yet been called.

    Divide on Abortion

    Coloradans rejected a constitutional amendment that would have modified the criminal code to include fetuses under the terms “person” and “child” in legal statutes, nixing the notion at the polls for the third time in six years. Opponents argued that it could lead to a statewide ban on abortion.

    Similarly, North Dakotans said no to a measure that would have provided “the inalienable right to life” for humans at “any stage of development.”

    But Tennessee voters backed a measure that gives state lawmakers more power to restrict and regulate abortions.

    Minimum Wage Hikes Pass

    Voters in Arkansas, Nebraska and South Dakota all voted to increase their hourly minimum wage.

    Arkansas voted to boost its hourly minimum wage from $6.25, a wage below the federal minimum of $7.25, to $8.50 by 2017. Nebraska will raise its hourly minimum to $9 by 2016 from $7.25. South Dakota will raise its hourly minimum from the federal minimum to $8.50 next year, and tie future increases to inflation.

    Big Night for Women in Politics

    The country marked a milestone in Tuesday’s midterms: There will be 100 female members in the next Congress, the highest number in history. That means women will make up close to a quarter of U.S. lawmakers.

    Democrat Gina Raimondo defeated Republican Allan Fung on Tuesday to become the first woman elected governor of Rhode Island.

    Republican Shelley Moore Capito, a seven-term congresswoman from West Virginia’s 2nd District, became the first woman elected to serve the state in the U.S. Senate.

    In Utah, Mia Love will become the first black Republican congresswoman in American history.

    Gun Control Advances in Washington

    Voters in Washington state approved a measure that requires background checks for all gun sales and transfers, including private transactions. They rejected another that would have prohibited background checks on firearms until a federal standard is established.

    An "American Idol" Runner-Up Again

    Clay Aiken, the 2003 runner-up on “American Idol,” lost yet again, this time in a congressional race.

    Aiken had run against Republican incumbent Renee Ellmers for a House seat in North Carolina. Had he won, Aiken would have become the first openly gay congressman elected from the South.

    Nation's First Voter-Approved Soda Tax

    San Francisco voters defeated a measure that would have taxed sodas and other sugary drinks to fight obesity and related diseases. The measure on Tuesday's ballot to levy the two-cents-an-ounce tax on soft drinks fell short of the two-thirds support needed to pass. 

    But in Berkeley, California, voters became the first in the country to approve taxing sodas (at 1-cent-an-ounce) in an effort to curb consumption. 

    No Drug Tests for California Doctors

    Voters in California rejected a ballot initiative that would require mandatory drug tests for doctors, and an increase on malpractice settlements.

    California's 1975 medical malpractice law was the first in the nation to impose caps on damages for pain and suffering caused doctor negligence.



    Photo Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

    This year’s midterms were about more than just who voters are sending to Congress and their state legislatures —some of America’s most debated issues were at the forefront in several states.This year’s midterms were about more than just who voters are sending to Congress and their state legislatures —some of America’s most debated issues were at the forefront in several states.

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    The Connecticut secretary of the state's race remains too close to call.

    Democratic incumbent Secretary of the State Denise Merrill did release a statement at 1:17 p.m. declaring that she has been re-elected to her post, but her Republican challenger Peter Lumaj has not conceded the race at this time.

    The deadline for the town registrars to report their election results is 6 p.m. Wednesday, according to Merrill, so the numbers are not final. Merrill's campaign said in a news release that she had 50,000 more votes than Lumaj as of 1:17 p.m.

    “I am pleased to declare such a resounding victory, but what I’m proudest of,” Merrill said, “is that I ran a strong campaign focused on the issues. The message of the campaign was a hopeful one about the future of our state, and I am proud to move forward with that positivity in mind."

    Lumaj sent out a press release at 12:56 p.m. stating that the race was tight and too close to call. He thanked his supporters and campaign team.

    "Win or lose, I would like to offer to work together with Secretary Merrill and her staff to examine Connecticut's election results, protocols and safeguards to ensure that the mess that happened with our election last night never happens again," Lumaj said in a statement.

    He agreed to work with Merrill on tackling votoing irregularities.

    "I am a proud Connecticut resident and am deeply troubled by how often our election 'irregularities' are occurring and how that impacts the integrity of our voting process and, ultimately, the perception of our state- and I want to work with Secretary Merrill to fix it," Lumaj said. Finally, I want to thank Denise Merrill. While I disagree with her over some fundamental issues, I have the utmost respect for her service to the people of Connecticut and I wish her well."

    He also addressed the question on the ballot about lessening absentee ballot restrictions.

    "It is my firm hope, however, that she takes note of the defeat of her proposed constitutional amendment and realizes that the people of Connecticut have spoken and it is clear they feel we don't need looser voting laws- they demand integrity! We need our election process to be secure and to function properly; that is why I reiterate my pledge to work with her to help us achieve that goal and make it a reality," Lumaj said.

    Check back for updates.


    FileFile

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    Police arrested a man who is accused of breaking into the Hamden Library and stealing a computer and cash.

    Police responded to the library at 91 Circular Avenue on Oct. 14 and police discovered that someone had broken in through a basement window and proceeded to steal a computer and an undisclosed amount of money.

    Police investigated and obtained an arrest warrant for Desmond Howard, 20, of Hamden, who was spotted walking in the area of Circular Avenue, taken into custody and transported to police headquarters.

    Howard was charged with burglary in the third degree, larceny in the sixth degree and criminal mischief in the second degree.

    Howard was released after posting a $500 bond and is due in Meriden on Nov. 18.

    This was the second time Hamden police have arrested in Hamden in a month.

    Howard is accused of stealing cigarettes and candy during a smash-and grab at Minute Mart at 280 Circular Avenue  on Oct. 17.
     


    Police arrested a man who is accused of breaking into the Hamden Library and stealing a computer and cash.Police arrested a man who is accused of breaking into the Hamden Library and stealing a computer and cash.

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    One person has died in a fiery two-car crash on Route 6 in Andover, according to state police.

    Police said one car burst into flames when the two collided Wednesday afternoon, trapping at least one person inside.

    LifeStar was called to the scene to airlift a victim to the hospital. It's not clear how many people were hurt, but police described the crash as "serious."

    The state highway was closed for several hours at Parker Bridge Road while police investigated.

    Check back for updates.



    Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

    One person died in a fiery collision on Route 6 in Andover on Wednesday.One person died in a fiery collision on Route 6 in Andover on Wednesday.

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    Secretary of the State Denise Merrill will serve another term.

    "I can say with confidence that I have won re-election," the Democratic incumbent said in an email to supporters Wednesday afternoon. "I am honored that the people of Connecticut have chosen me to serve for another four years and I will continue working everyday on behalf of the voters and businesses in our great state."

    Republican challenger Peter Lumaj called Merrill to concede around 2:45 p.m. Wednesday, according to a press release from his campaign.

    "We have worked incredibly hard on this campaign over the past 20 months, but unfortunately the  numbers for a win just don't add up," Lumaj said in a statement Wednesday, extending his congratulations to Merrill "on her hard fought victory."

    The latest numbers show Merill pulling about 50 percent of the vote to Lumaj's 47 percent. Third-party candidate Michael DeRosa is drawing 2 percent.

    Lumaj said he hopes the two can work side-by-side "to return integrity to the process."

    "We need to examine Connecticut's election results, protocols and safeguards to ensure that hte mess that happened with our election yesterday never happens again," he said, referring to snafus in Hartford that delayed some voters and sent others home.

    Merrill has already said her office will file a complaint with the State Elections Enforcement Commission asking for an investigation into the Hartford debacle.

    Full election results are available here.



    Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com
    This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story on our mobile site.

    Secretary of the State Denise Merrill has won re-election.Secretary of the State Denise Merrill has won re-election.

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    A brushfire burned several acres of land in Newtown earlier Wednesday and took firefighters about two hours to knock down.

    Crews received a report of fire at 11:45 a.m. on a ridge behind a home on Sherman Street and said five to seven acres were burned.

    No injuries were reported and no homes were damaged.

    It’s unclear what started the fire.



    Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

    A brush fire damaged several acres in Newtown.A brush fire damaged several acres in Newtown.

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    Authorities are investigating the crash that sent an elderly person to the hospital Wednesday afternoon when a van carrying senior citizens was rear ended in Bolton.

    According to fire officials at the scene, a woman driving her car rear ended the van, which was full of senior citizens coming from Vernon, on Bolton Center Road in Bolton.

    Emergency dispatchers said they received the crash report around 3:30 p.m.

    Firefighters said a senior citizen was taken to the hospital for treatment of back pain. It's not clear how many people were on board the van.

    No additional information was immediately available.



    Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

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    A 90-year-old homeless advocate was once again cited for violating Fort Lauderdale's new ordinance that bans feeding the homeless when he began handing out meals Wednesday.

    Advocate Arnold Abbott resumed his feeding mission Wednesday at Fort Lauderdale Beach Park, three days after he was cited, along with The Sanctuary Church Pastor Dwayne Black, for violating a new municipal ordinance that outlaws groups from feeding the homeless in public.

    "I think I'm grateful they allowed us to feed before they did this. I think that's wonderful.," Abbott said. "I was surpised they hadn't done it much earlier. They were very gentle and I kinda think they felt a little guilty having to do their job."

    Abbott was cited again Wednesday and will have to appear in court.

    Abbott, who runs a nonprofit group called Love Thy Neighbor Inc. and has been feeding the homeless for 23 years, was cited Sunday along with Black. They could face up to 60 days in jail and a $500 fine.

    "You can't sweep the homeless under the rug," Abbott said. "There are 10,000 homeless in Broward County, most of them in Fort Lauderdale, and there isn't a rug large enough to sweep them under."

    Fort Lauderdale Police said they understand the positions of the advocates and are sympathetic to the homeless but have to enforce the laws.

    "We would like to emphasize that the purpose of the ordinance is not to prevent the feeding of the homeless, but to balance the needs of the entire population of the city," Fort Lauderdale Police said in a statement. "The ordinance absolutely allows for the legal, clean and safe distribution of food in the City of Fort Lauderdale."

    Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jack Seiler said the new ordinance is not meant to stop advocates, but to better serve the homeless.

    "We're not a city that lacks compassion or lack kindness," said Mayor Seiler. "We just feel that if someone is homeless on the streets of Fort Lauderdale, we need to get them off the street and in the right places where they can improve their position, their situation."

    Seiler said the city wants to help the homeless in a different way.

    "Let's try to work with who is on the street and why they're on the street and actually address the problem rather than just enabling them to just remain on the street and not receive the assistance they should be receiving," he said.

    Yet Abbott and Black have vowed to continue feeding the homeless.

    "I'm awfully hard to intimidate," Abbott said. "I certainly will follow this through until we beat them."



    Photo Credit: Ari Odzer/NBC6.com

    Arnold Abbott prepares food for the homeless in Fort Lauderdale.Arnold Abbott prepares food for the homeless in Fort Lauderdale.

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    Route 66 has reopened in East Hampton while authorities respond to a two-car crash, according to police.

    Police said the crash was reported shortly before 4 p.m. LifeStar was called to the scene to airlift one person to the hospital.

    Authorities have not released any information on injuries.

    The road was closed at the intersection of Long Crossing Road while crews responded to the scene.

    Check pack for updates.


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    Traffic is backed up on Interstate 84 westbound in Waterbury after a tractor-trailer jackknifed on the highway just past the exit 19 ramp, according to state police.

    All westbound lanes were shut down while crews worked to remove the tractor-trailer from the scene. Police said no one was injured.

    Check back for updates.



    Photo Credit: Department of Transportation

    I-84 westbound is closed in Waterbury after a tractor-trailer jackknifed on the highway.I-84 westbound is closed in Waterbury after a tractor-trailer jackknifed on the highway.

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    State Treasurer Denise Nappier announced her re-election in an email to supporters Wednesday afternoon and Republican challenger Tim Herbst said during a news conference that he had conceded.

    "Yesterday's election was a hard-fought battle on so many fronts, and the real victory belongs to the Connecticut voters who exercised their right and privilege to vote," Nappier said in a statement Wednesday. "I am deeply grateful to the people of our state for their support, and for the incredible energy of so many volunteers who worked hard to get out the vote."

    Recent numbers show the candidates neck and neck, with the Democratic incumbent leading by a mere 2,000 votes.

    "I called Treasurer Nappier to offer my congratulations on a hard-fought campaign and to offer my concession, and I wish her every success in the next four years as our state treasurer," Herbst said Wednesday.

    "I am proud of the campaign we waged," he added. "I am proud of the issues we raised and more imporantly, I am humbled by the tens of thousands of people that I go t to meet."

    Herbst put his arms around his campaign volunteers and thanked them for their hard work and support, calling them "the best campaign team in the state of Connecticut."

    "Even though the ball did not bounce our way last night in to this morning, here's the good news: I still lead the best town in America," Herbst said, of Trumbull, where he serves as First Selectman. "Even though this campaign is over, I'm looking forward to what the future may hold."

    Nappier, whose mother died over the weekend, did not make a public appearance. She will begin serving her fifth term as state treasurer in January.



    Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com
    This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story on our mobile site.

    Democratic incumbent Treasurer Denise Nappier has announced re-election. Republican challenger Tim Herbst is expected to make a statement at 4 p.m.Democratic incumbent Treasurer Denise Nappier has announced re-election. Republican challenger Tim Herbst is expected to make a statement at 4 p.m.

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    The woman caught on camera stealing a stone angel from a Middletown grave site in September is pushing to have the arrest removed from her record through a court service for first-time offenders.

    Jacqueline Baugher applied for accelerated rehabilitation Wednesday morning. As she left the courthouse, she told a questioner who asked her if she had anything to say, "Just, I'm sorry."

    The statue was swiped from the grave of 19-year-old Brandon Reeve, a Middletown High School graduate who died in a motorcycle crash in 2004.

    "I would like to see her prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law," said Reeve's father, Jim.

    The family installed a hidden camera at the Calvary Cemetery grave site two years ago after Brandon Reeve's headstone was defaced.

    "We're just keeping his name and memory alive," Jim Reeve said after the theft first came to light. "I don't know why anyone would want to do this to us."

    Police said Baugher was driving through the cemetery thinking about her own ailing loved ones when she pulled over next to Brandon Reeve's headstone.

    She was "very remorseful" when she returned the statue to police days after the crime, according to Middletown Police Capt. Gary Wallace.

    Court records show that Baugher has been charged with third-degree criminal mischief, sixth-degree larceny and interference with a cemetery, a felony.



    Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

    Jacqueline Baugher is accused of stealing an angel statue from a grave site in Middletown, and now she's asking to have the arrest cleared from her record.Jacqueline Baugher is accused of stealing an angel statue from a grave site in Middletown, and now she's asking to have the arrest cleared from her record.

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    After confusion and delays hampered voting in Hartford, the mayor and city council president are proposing policy changes to prevent a similar snafu from happening again.

    Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra and City Council President Shawn Wooden submitted two resolutions to the City Council on Wednesday.

    The first calls for a “committee of inquiry” to investigate yesterday’s polling problems, which affected at least 10 city precincts and prompted extended voting hours at two of them.

    The second resolution calls on the city’s Operations, Management, Budget and Legislative Committee to “restructure the office of the Hartford Registrar of Voters,” which now comprises a Democrat, Republican and member of the Working Families Party.

    “Given the scale of the problems on Election Day yesterday, there is no excuse not to move ahead with what we tried to do in the past which is to restructure the Registrar of Voters,” Segarra said in a statement Wednesday. “It is unacceptable that in 2014, residents cannot cast their ballots in time and that on the day after an election numbers are still not being reported. Council and I will work in concert to make sure we get to the bottom of what happened and prevent this from ever happening again.”

    The Hartford City Council will take a look at the resolutions during Monday's meeting. A public meeting will also take place in the coming weeks. Segarra's office said lawmakers will review the proposed changes and discuss state law will need to be altered.

    Hartford lawmakers aren't the only ones taking a hard look at yesterday's blunder. Newly re-elected Secretary of the State Denise Merrill announced her intent to file a complaint with the State Elections Enforcement Commission on Tuesday night.



    Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

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    Some services are offline at Webster Bank branches across the eastern seaboard after a primary piece of equipment failed at the bank's data center, a spokesperson said.

    Bank representatives said crews have been working all day to resolve the issue, which arose Wednesday morning and affected systems at 165 banking centers from Boston to White Plains.

    "Site Unavailable" is the message that appears at the top of the Webster Bank homepage.

    "Our web, mobile, and telephone banking systems are unavailable due to network problems in our data center," the message reads. "We apologize for this inconvenience and are working to restore access as soon as possible.

    A bank customers who tried to cash a check at the branch on LaSalle Road in West Hartford this morning said he had no luck because the bank's computers were down.

    Some systems, such as bank ATMs, were not affected by the problem. Others have begun to come back online, but it's not clear when the issues will be resolved.

    A spokesperson for the bank emphasized that the problem results from an equipment failure and not any sort of breach.


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    A toddler was hospitalized Wednesday morning after the family dog ripped off the child's left ear in the backyard of a Riverside County home.

    The dog, identified by authorities as a 2-year-old neutered male pit bull, attacked when the boy was at his Jurupa Valley home with his grandmother, according to officers. The child was in the backyard with the dog about 8 a.m. when the grandmother, who was inside the home, heard screams.

    The boy, identified as Daniel Sanchez, was hospitalized with what authorities described as severe injuries. The severed portion of the boy's ear was placed in a freezer in hopes surgeons could reattach it later, the grandmother said.

    The dog had released the toddler by the time his mother had arrived home from running errand.

    "My daughter was screaming and crying. I called 911, I almost passed out," said the grandmother, Alejandra Martinez. "She called me, 'Mom, why did you let the baby out?' I was in the restroom, he was sleeping in the bed."

    Riverside County Animal Control officers at the home on Pontiac Avenue found neighbors with baseball bats who had responded after hearing the child's screams. It was not immediately clear whether the residents used the bats to fend off the dog, named Poncho.

    "They were standing outside with bats because they heard the attack and went out to help the boy," Animal Services Officer Tiffany Fuller said.

    Officers used a control stick to retrieve the dog, which was surrendered for euthanasia. The dog was licensed and neutered, according to animal services officers who met with the boy's mother at Loma Lina University Medical Center.

    "It just broke my heart -- he's just a baby," Fuller said of the boy. "To see him in that shape, in that condition. He'll be scarred for life."

    The boy's mother told officers she had not experienced previous aggression issues with the dog. Animal services officers said the dog displayed no signs of aggression toward them. The family also surrendered two other dogs.



    Photo Credit: Riverside County Animal Services/Family Photo

    A boy was hospitalized Wednesday Nov. 5, 2014 after an attack involving the family's dog in Riverside County.A boy was hospitalized Wednesday Nov. 5, 2014 after an attack involving the family's dog in Riverside County.

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    Hundreds of students and community members joined the grieving family of 17-year-old Nina Poeta to "light the night up with her spirit" Wednesday in memory of the Seymour High School junior who lost her brave battle with brain cancer.

    "Her story and her spirit, and her battle against cancer that she had, was really inspirational to a lot of people, and it touched a lot of people," said school security director Rich Kearns.

    Poeta died over the weekend following a year-long fight. The cheerleader and prom queen was wheelchair bound by the end, but those who knew her said the illness never broke her spirit.

    In fact, even after her diagnosis, Poeta went on to help the Seymour cheerleading team clinch the state championship.

    Her condition continued to deteriorate until Poeta eventually lost her ability to speak, but that didn't stop her from showing support at the football games, wheelchair and all.

    "We got to watch the crowd chant, 'We love Nina,' and a big smile from ear to ear came across her face," explained cheerleading coach Jessica Young. "Maybe she couldn't tell us she was happy, but you could see it in her face."

    Mourners at Wednesday night's "Walk of Light Vigil" flicked on flashlights and pulled out glow sticks when the sun went down, taking ceremonious laps around the high school track. A bagpipe played over a moment of silence.

    Fellow cheerleaders showed off handmade bracelets emblazoned with "J8," representing the group of eight friends who lost one of their own during their junior year.

    "They would toss her up in the air and she was always dependent upon the people at the base to catch her," said said Seymour High School Principal Jim Freund. "We all realized we became dependent upon her."

    Students constructed a memorial for Poeta, where community members left photos and flowers, and wore shirts emblazoned with the phrase, "Keep Clam and Nina Strong," to raise money and awareness in Poeta's memory.

    "She actually brought the entire town of Seymour together. She fought so hard for everything," said classmate Hope Lanzieri.

    The Seymour superintendent spoke alongside the high school principal, calling up fond memories of the fallen teen and extending their support to Poeta's heartbroken family.

    "She was popular. She was very smart. Always in the top of her class, quite an athlete," Freund described. "It's really a sad thing that happened to her. She was exceptional."

    Her funeral is set for Friday.



    Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com/Viewer Photo

    Hundreds gathered Wednesday night to remember 17-year-old Nina Poeta, a junior at Seymour High School who died of brain cancer over the weekend.Hundreds gathered Wednesday night to remember 17-year-old Nina Poeta, a junior at Seymour High School who died of brain cancer over the weekend.

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    Less than 72 hours after being violently snatched off a Philadelphia street as she walked home from visiting her godson, Carlesha Freeland-Gaither has been rescued from the "vicious predator" police say kidnapped her.

    Now as she recovers from the attack that was caught on video and seen nationally, focus moves to her alleged abductor, who authorities have linked to a similar crime against a teenage girl.

    "I’m taking my baby home. Thank you," Keisha Gaither, the woman's overjoyed mother, told the public at a news conference Wednesday night. Her family erupted into applause as the woman spoke.

    The 22-year-old was rescued from the car of her alleged kidnapper, 37-year-old Delvin Barnes, in a Jessup, Maryland, parking lot Wednesday afternoon, officials said. She suffered some injuries and was taken to a nearby hospital in Columbia, Maryland, for treatment, police said. She was listed in good condition and is expected to recover. 

    “It’s very special for all of us. You hope, you hope, you hope, but you don't really know until you're actually able to get her, and make sure she's OK. So it's very important that this has a happy ending," Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey said.

    Agents moved in quickly after receiving a tip from the ATF Office in Richmond, Virginia, which was investigating Barnes. They believed the man may have been the suspect after seeing surveillance photos in news reports, Philadelphia detectives said.

    Authorities began tracking his gray Ford Taurus through a GPS device placed inside the vehicle by the car dealership where it was purchased, detectives said. The GPS was installed because Barnes had poor credit, officials said.

    Agents honed in on his location, in a shopping center parking lot, and moved in to strike.

    "He was more surprised than anything," ATF agent Tim Jones said of the arrest.

    Barnes and the victim were in the backseat of the car when agents arrived, but he quickly jumped into the driver's seat to try and flee, Jones said. Agents blocked his way and took him into custody.

    Freeland-Gaither screamed hysterically for help as the arrest was taking place, telling the agents she was the woman who had been abducted in Philadelphia, Jones said.

    "Once she had time to process what had happened you could tell she was emotionally distraught," he said.

    Barnes, who has ties to Philadelphia, apparently attacked Freeland-Gaither at random, detectives said. He is being held on an warrant for attempted murder of a 16-year-old girl last month in Charles City County, Virginia.

    "He’s a thug and this is what he does apparently," Ramsey said of the alleged abductor. “He’s a vicious predator. He’s off the streets."

    Barnes will be charged federally in the alleged kidnapping and assault, said Edward Hanko, special agent-in-charge of the FBI's Philadelphia division. Officials said many times that the investigation remained fluid and had a long way to go.

    A Three Day Ordeal

    Freeland-Gaither's rescue puts an end to three intense days of searching by Philadelphia Police, the FBI and her family.

    The nursing aide was grabbed as she walked along Greene Street near W. Coulter Street in the city's Germantown section at 9:40 p.m. Sunday. She was returning home from a visit to see her godson.

    The woman was forced down the street and into a car. She struggled to get away, fighting her attacker and breaking out the car's rear passenger window. But she couldn't escape -- her glasses and smartphone left on the sidewalk.

    The entire ordeal was caught on surveillance video and widely shared.

    An intense manhunt ensued with the search quickly expanding from Northwest Philadelphia to Aberdeen, Maryland, where Freeland-Gaither's ATM card was used by a man early Monday morning.

    Her family made tearful pleas for the woman's safe return and continued posting missing posters through Wednesday, never giving up hope.

    Detectives got a break in the case from a woman living in Havre De Grace, Maryland. In her driveway, the woman found a bag of trash that included a receipt from an ACME supermarket in Northeast Philadelphia, a bag of Herr's potato chips and shattered glass.

    The woman, who asked to remain anonymous, told NBC10 that she initially thought it was just trash, but later called authorities after talking to a friend about the case.

    Investigators were able to use the receipt to hone in on the supermarket and gather clear surveillance video of Barnes from the day of the attack, detectives said. In the video, he could be seen buying the same chips that the woman found, police sources said.

    Officials thanked the public for helping to move along the investigation.

    "We worked tirelessly, around the clock, investigated every lead that we had, and we really appreciate the public coming forward giving us a hand, giving us all the information that we were able to sit there and work on," Philadelphia Police Northwest Detective Division Capt. James Smith said.

    "Problems With Women"

    Barnes has a long history with the law.

    Philadelphia Police arrested the man in November 2005 on a slew of charges including rape, burglary, aggravated assault, making terroristic threats and reckless endangerment, according to court documents.

    Police reports obtained by NBC10 stated Barnes beat, sexually assaulted and held his estranged wife captive -- defying a protection from abuse order. The woman is also the mother of his child, family said.

    He jumped from the woman's closet, grabbed her by the face and dug his nails into her skin, according to the reports. He held her in the home overnight and allegedly forced her to have sex with him, the police report states.

    The next morning, the woman begged Barnes to let her use the phone and call her parents. As she spoke to her mom, she was able to indicate she was in trouble and told her mother to call 911, according to investigators. When the parents arrived, Barnes began to beat them before they were able to escape and call police, according to the reports.

    Barnes was eventually arrested, charged and found guilty of aggravated assault, criminal trespassing, false imprisonment and related charges, the documents show.

    Lamar Barnes, the man's uncle, told NBC10 Wednesday night that his nephew recently was released from prison. He said the man is the son of a minister and that he's had trouble with women in the past.

    “It’s just hard for me to accept the viciousness of it, not necessarily surprised. You know some men grow up having problems with women so they take it out on women. Apparently he’s one of them," Lamar Barnes said.

    The uncle said he's glad to hear that Freeland-Gaither is safe and that Delvin's parents are "devastated" by the allegations.

    "If he’s somebody I didn’t know, I would say whatever they do to him is fine. Well, he’s my nephew, same thing. What am I gonna do," he said.

    Two weeks ago, officials in Virginia dropped charges against Barnes. According to court records, he was arrested in July for making a bomb threat, which is a felony. That charge was amended to trespassing, a misdemeanor, and the case finally dropped on Oct. 24, the records show.

    Four days later, sheriffs in Charles City County, Virginia, linked Barnes to the abduction, rape and torture of a 16-year-old girl.

    Authorities said the girl went missing on Oct. 1 and showed up two days later at a business. She was naked, bloody and covered in burns smelling of bleach and gasoline, officials said.

    DNA tests came back as a match to Barnes on Oct. 28, officials said. A warrant was issued and he was charged with attempted capital murder, abduction, forcible rape, malicious wounding, malicious injury with acid, explosives or fire and intimate object penetration, authorities said.

    Coming Home

    A Philadelphia Police caravan left the city late Wednesday carrying about 15 members of Freeland-Gaither's family to the hospital for a reunion with the victim.

    The family made their way back to Philadelphia early Thursday morning in an effort to help the young woman move past the assault and begin the healing process right away, at home.

    "Thank you so much for having us in your prayers, thank you for keeping me up. Thank you for being there for us," the woman's mother, Keisha Gaither said.

    NBC10 reporters Rosemary Connors, Nefertiti Jaquez, Denise Nakano, George Spencer, Randy Gyllenhall, Tim Furlong and Deanna Durante and investigative producer Jim O'Donnell contributed to this report.


    Contact Vince Lattanzio at 610.668.5532, vince.lattanzio@nbcuni.com or follow @VinceLattanzio on Twitter.



    Photo Credit: NBC10
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    Carlesha Freeland-Gaither, 22, was rescued by federal agents on Nov. 5 following her abduction in Philadelphia three days prior. Her alleged kidnapper, Delvin Barnes, is pictured right in an undated mugshot.Carlesha Freeland-Gaither, 22, was rescued by federal agents on Nov. 5 following her abduction in Philadelphia three days prior. Her alleged kidnapper, Delvin Barnes, is pictured right in an undated mugshot.

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    The man accused of abducting a woman off a Philadelphia street is also a suspect in the abduction and rape of a Virginia teen. 

    Delvin Barnes, 37, was arrested Wednesday along the side of a road in Jessup, Maryland. Barnes was caught on surveillance video abducting 22-year-old Carlesha Freeland-Gaither off a Philadelphia street Sunday, according to investigators. Freeland-Gaither was found alive in Barnes’ car Wednesday at the same location where he was arrested.

    Barnes, who has ties to Philadelphia and Virginia, has an extensive criminal history, including an assault and false imprisonment conviction involving his estranged wife and most recently, charges in the rape and abduction of a 16-year-old girl from Richmond, Virginia.

    The teen girl was reported missing back on Oct. 1. On Oct. 3, the girl arrived at a business on Route 106 in Charles City County, Virginia, two miles from Barnes’ home, investigators said. The girl was naked, bleeding and covered in burns from gasoline and bleach, according to police. 

    After a DNA test was conducted on the girl, investigators identified Barnes as the suspect Oct. 28. Barnes was arrested in Virginia in July after he was accused of making a bomb threat. That charge was amended to trespassing, misdemeanor, and the case was dropped Oct. 24, just four days before he was identified as a suspect in the teen girl’s abduction.

    Barnes was then held on a bench warrant in connection to the teen girl’s abduction, which include charges of attempted capital murder, assault, malicious injury with acid, forcible rape and other related offenses. He will be charged federally in connection to Freeland-Gaither’s kidnapping, police said.


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    Firefighters are responding to the report of a hazardous material at 750 Bridgeport Avenue in Shelton, dispatchers said.

    Authorities have not released any information about the scene. It's not clear if anyone was hurt.

    Check back for updates on this developing story.



    Photo Credit: Monica Garske

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    Fast food chain Chick-fil-A will be opening two new Connecticut locations on Thursday – and to celebrate the occasion, the first 100 people in line at each store will receive free meals for a year.

    One of the new restaurants will be a stand-alone location at 1098 Colony Road in Wallingford, which plans to open around 6 a.m. Thursday. The second is located inside the Danbury Fair Mall, which will open around 9 a.m.

    Last month, the franchise held a similar promotion at the opening of its first Connecticut store in Brookfield.

    Brookfield's first customers lined up well in advance, and at the two new locations, the company is expecting more of the same.

    “Chick-fil-A’s most passionate customers often arrive more than 24 hours in advance,” said a spokesperson for the company, in a statement. “[For those in line], Chick-fil-A provides security, entertainment, games, and of course, plenty of fresh Chick-fil-A.”

    More information is available on the Chick-fil-A Web site.



    Photo Credit: Chick-fil-A

    Customers pass the time Wednesday while waiting for the grand opening of Chick-fil-A in Wallingford.Customers pass the time Wednesday while waiting for the grand opening of Chick-fil-A in Wallingford.

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