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    Former Secretary of State Dr. Henry A. Kissinger was admitted to NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center for observation on Tuesday after a fall at his home.

    Hospital officials released a statement on Tuesday saying he is expected to be discharged from the hospital later today.

    Hospital officials did not say which residence Kissinger fell at.

    The 89-year-old Nobel Peace Prize winner has a second home in Kent, Connecticut.
     



    Photo Credit: Getty Images

    WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 09: Henry A. Kissinger poses for a photo during President Nixon's 100th Birthday Gala on January 9, 2013 in Washington, United States. (Photo by Kris Connor/Getty Images)WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 09: Henry A. Kissinger poses for a photo during President Nixon's 100th Birthday Gala on January 9, 2013 in Washington, United States. (Photo by Kris Connor/Getty Images)

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    A naked man was arrested in Pennsylvania Sunday after driving a stolen vehicle into the Susquehanna River, bringing an end to a high-speed car chase.

    At 10:15 a.m, Springettsbury Township Police received reports of an erratic driver in a green van with a missing tire. Five squad cars were sent on the chase while Raymond David Kallenberger, a 23-year-old Edgewood, Md. resident, allegedly hit up to 90 mph and tried to ram police twice, according to the York Daily Record.

    Kallenberger, wanted for carjacking and armed robbery in Maryland, crossed three jurisdictions and more than 20 miles throughout the joyride, which concluded with the stolen Plymouth Voyager in 8 feet of water in Goldsboro, Pa., police said. 
     
    "It was a minivan floating down the river with a naked guy on it waving his underwear over his head," local resident and witness to the arrest Michael Shirk told the York Daily Record.

    The man was arrested after swimming to shore. He faces charges of aggravated assault, reckless endangerment, fleeing and eluding police, driving under the influence and possessing stolen property, according to the York Dispatch.

    After the arrest, Kallenberger was taken to York Hospital to have blood tested and treatment for hypothermia. He now awaits extradition to Maryland.



    Photo Credit: FILE - Getty Images

    A bridge crosses the Susquehanna River in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.A bridge crosses the Susquehanna River in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

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    Born as Hugo Rafael Chavez Frias to local schoolteachers in the poor village of Sabaneta, Barinas on July 28, 1954, Chavez went on to lead an impressive military career. Inspired mostly by Venezuelan revolutionary Simon Bolivar, Chavez led an unsuccessful coup to oust Venezuelan then-president Carlos Perez. Although arrested for his attempts, Chavez's vigor and revolutionary zeal ultimately landed him in Venezuelan Presidential seat in 1998.

    Photo Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS

    The leader of the Bolivarian Revolution 2000, officer Hugo Chavez, talks to reporters at the Defense Ministry after he surrendered to the troops loyal to the government of Carlos Andres Perez, in Caracas, Venezuela, this Feb. 4, 1992, photo. Chavez assumed Venezuela's presidency in 1999, vowing to eradicate corruption and the poverty that afflicts 80 percent of Venezuela's 24 million people. He was ousted Friday, April 12, 2002, at age 47. (AP Photo/Ali Gomez)The leader of the Bolivarian Revolution 2000, officer Hugo Chavez, talks to reporters at the Defense Ministry after he surrendered to the troops loyal to the government of Carlos Andres Perez, in Caracas, Venezuela, this Feb. 4, 1992, photo. Chavez assumed Venezuela's presidency in 1999, vowing to eradicate corruption and the poverty that afflicts 80 percent of Venezuela's 24 million people. He was ousted Friday, April 12, 2002, at age 47. (AP Photo/Ali Gomez)

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    The U.S. Transportation Security Administration announced that it will allow small knives and other previously restricted items like golf clubs and hockey sticks on the plane for the first time since the Sept. 11 attacks.

    "This is part of an overall Risk-Based Security approach, which allows Transportation Security Officers to better focus their efforts on finding higher threat items such as explosives," the TSA said in a statement.

    For full U.S. news coverage, visit NBCNews.com.

    Knives must be less than 2.36 inches and less than half an inch at the widest point. Box cutters and knives with locking blades and molding handles are still banned, NBC News reported. The change will take effect April 25.

    Overseas passengers will no longer have to check their knives as they pass through the U.S., according to Bloomberg News.

    Novelty sports equipment like souvenir bats given out at baseball games and Wiffle ball bats will also be allowed as long as they're less than 24 inches long. Lightweight plastic bats are permitted even if they're more than 2 feet long.

    Billiard cues, ski poles and lacrosse sticks will also be permitted.

    “All TSA is doing is catching up with the rest of the world,” Douglas R. Laird, president of aviation consulting firm Laird & Associates and former head of security for Northwest Airlines told NBC News.


    Types of knives permitted by the TSA.Types of knives permitted by the TSA.

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    Facing mounting pressure from Governor Dannel Malloy and legislative leaders, members of a bi-partisan gun safety committee released competing proposals to toughen the state's gun laws after the Newtown tragedy.

    During a hearing Tuesday afternoon at the Legislative Office Building in Hartford, Democrats released one list of ideas and Republicans released another one.

    "It's quite clear that there is consensus on some items and not on others," said Sen. Martin Looney, (D-New Haven), who is one of the panel's co-chairs.

    The committee has been meeting since the shooting spree at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown on Dec. 14. The massacre ended with 20 first grade students and six educators dead.

    "Change doesn't come easy but I think many of us believe that in the area of safety, safe storage, and a number of other things, change is here," said Rep. Craig Miner, (R-Bethlehem), who is the panel's other co-chair.

    There is some agreement between the two lists.  Both include proposals to ban all armor-piercing bullets and require background checks for all gun purchases.

    However, there are many differences.

    Democrats want to expand the state's assault weapons ban and prohibit magazines that hold more than 10 rounds. Republicans have suggested raising the age for purchasing such weapons from 18 to 21.

    Some members of the panel expressed frustration with the lack of consensus.

    "I don't think that we will have fulfilled our mission if we just pass along two lists," said Sen. John Kissel, (R-Enfield).

    Lobbyists for different gun rights groups listened to the presentation from the panel.

    "The biggest concern we have and the biggest disappointment we have is a bi-partisan committee has turned partisan today," said John Hohenwarter, who is a lobbyist for the National Rifle Association.

    "Any gun bill you pass is not going to stop a thing like Sandy Hook," said Robert Crook of the Coalition of Connecticut Sportsmen. "If we expected this committee to come out with one list stating that they were all in concurrence, I think that was dreamland."

    Legislative leaders will now look over the recommendations from the gun panel and two other panels that reviewed school safety and mental health issues. A final bill is expected to be presented to the legislature for a vote later this month.


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  • 03/05/13--16:21: In Memoriam: Hugo Chavez
  • Hugo Chávez, Venezuela’s fiery president and the most prominent leftist leader in South America, died on March 5, 2013. The 58-year-old, who rose through his country’s military ranks and led a failed coup before winning the presidency, died after a long battle with cancer and before being sworn in for a fourth term.

    Hugo Chávez, Venezuela’s fiery president and the most prominent leftist leader in South America, died on March 5, 2013. The 58-year-old, who rose through his country’s military ranks and led a failed coup before winning the presidency, died after a long battle with cancer and before being sworn in for a fourth term.Hugo Chávez, Venezuela’s fiery president and the most prominent leftist leader in South America, died on March 5, 2013. The 58-year-old, who rose through his country’s military ranks and led a failed coup before winning the presidency, died after a long battle with cancer and before being sworn in for a fourth term.

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    Police are looking for vandals who went on a crime spree across three towns over the weekend.

    They targeted a church in Harwinton as well as places in Torrington and Winsted and investigators believe the crimes are connected.
     
    Parishioners at the Harwinton Congregational Church couldn’t ignore the spray painted graffiti on Sunday morning, including the phrase "Crom -- Grant Me Revenge," from Conan the Barbarian.
     
    “It was 6-feet wide and 8-feet high,” Tom Schoenemann said.
     
    The church has since been cleaned. 
     
    “It’s an intrusion if nothing else,” Schoenemann said.
     
    The taggers didn’t stop there. 
     
    Police said the same vandals sprayed obscenities on a giant billboard on Winsted Avenue in Torrington for thousands to see.
     
    Not happy with it at all,” said Charlie Giampolo, whose business was just feet away.  
     
    “We could be next. They could do it to anybody and it's not fair,” he said.
     
    The taggers made their mark at a condominium complex down the way.  They painted satanic symbols on signs and pillars at the front entrance. 
     
    “It’s a little too close to home and it’s not something you want to have in your area,” Giampolo said.
     
    A pizza shop in Winsted spent the day cleaning up graffiti too. 
     
    Investigators said it was definitely similar to the other cases.
     
    “The main thing that annoys us is that someone would do this in our community,” Schoenemann said.
     
    They were images people in these communities weren’t used to seeing and they had a message for whoever did this.
     
    “Get a life,” Schnoenemann said. 
     
    The hope is that police caught them before they could strike again.

     


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    Hugo Chávez, Venezuela's president and the most prominent leftist leader in South America, died Tuesday after a long battle with cancer. Here is a look back at his life.

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    On Tuesday, a judge denied a request by the town of Rocky Hill for a temporary restraining order against the owner and operator of a state funded nursing home for prison inmates and mental patients.

    According to Rocky Hill Mayor Anthony LaRosa, the judge must now rule on a motion made by the facility owner and operator to dismiss a lawsuit filed by the town.

    State officials have plans to open a 95-bed facility at 60 West St. The facility would house terminally ill, extremely sick and mentally ill prison inmates.


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    Farmington police are looking for the man who ran out of Westfarms mall with a $40,000 diamond he did not pay for.

    Michael’s Jewelers called Farmington Police just before noon to report the robbery.

    A man posing as a customer asked a sales clerk to see a specific diamond valued at $40,000, police said.

    When the clerk handed him the gem, he ran.

    Police are looking for a 6-foot-tall thin man in in his late 30s.

    He has a shaved or bald head and was wearing glasses, blue jeans, tan work boots and a blue and white cross-striped shirt at the time of the robbery.

    He had large earrings in each ear described as square clusters of stones.

    The robber left the mall in a black, 4-door Chevy Cruz driven by an older, heavy-set man wearing a white T-shirt, police said.

    The car had Florida registration N274GA, a plate reported stolen in Meriden on March 4.

    Anyone with any information should call Farmington Police dispatch at (860) 675-2400, or Detective Tracy Enns at (860) 675-2463.

    To leave an anonymous tip, call (860)675-2483.
     


    Police said this man stole a $40,000 diamond from a jewelry store at Westfarms mall.Police said this man stole a $40,000 diamond from a jewelry store at Westfarms mall.

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    A 911 dispatcher and volunteer Connecticut firefighter who was recently charged with slave trafficking and sexual assault committed suicide on Tuesday night while out on bail in Vermont.

    Vermont State Police arrested Frank Meyer, 39, a volunteer West Haven firefighter, in Ludlow, Vt., on Wednesday, Feb. 27, after a sting operation in which the victim wore a wire.

    Brett Bartolotta, a 42-year-old former firefighter with the department, was also arrested and charged in connection with the case.

    Police said the firefighters had bribed the boy with money and gifts, including a dirt bike and a hunting bow, since 2001 to get him to perform hundreds of sexual favors over the 12-year span.

    The boy first met Bartolotta when he went to a friend's house to ride dirt bikes and Bartolotta approached the teen to join his racing team, according to documents filed with Superior Court in Vermont.

    Soon after, Bartolotta offered to sell the teen a dirt bike, which he could pay off in weekly installments, according to documents.

    The interaction turned sexual when the teen was unable to make a payment, according to officials. 

    Bartolotta offered himself as someone for the boy to speak with about problems and also to teach him about sex, court reports states.

    Bartolotta paid the teen for sex acts until he paid off the bike, according to court records.

    About two weeks after the bike was paid off, it was stolen.

    The victim told police that he thought, in hindsight, that Bartolotta might have stolen the bike to continue meeting at his house.

    When Bartolotta eventually got married and sold his condo, Bartolotta would take the teen to houses of construction clients in the Ludlow area, according to court documents.

    A year after the first meeting, Bartolotta introduced the victim to Meyer, and the sex acts would occur on Friday nights, prior to Saturday races, according to court documents. 

    Meyer is currently a volunteer firefighter for the West Haven Fire Department at Engine 23. He has been a 911 dispatcher for the city of West Haven since 1999, according to city officials.

    He is also the captain of the explorer program, a department program for youths, and photos online show him standing in front of Explorer Post 3.

    As time passed, Meyer brought teens from Connecticut to Vermont and once asked the victim to perform a sex act on another 17-year-old boy, according to court documents, but the teen refused.

    Police said Meyer also asked the teen to alter his appearance to look young and boyish and offered to pay for a new hunting bow in exchange for sex.   

    Bartolotta was a former volunteer firefighter for the department several years ago and now lives in Cavendish, Vermont, according to O'Brien. He also served as a past president of the Explorers, according to the department's Web site.

    Police made the arrests on Wednesday after the victim recorded a conversation with Meyer at a Vermont restaurant. On the recording, Meyer acknowledged knowing the victim since he was 12, and alluded to sexual acts, police said. After Meyer was taken into custody, police searched Bartolotta's home and took computers and a gray box into evidence.

    When police interviewed Bartolotta, he admitted to a "minor sexual relationship" with the victim over a five-year period, according to police, then later admitted to a more in-depth relationship that involved bondage and sex toys.

    He also told police that the sexual encounters happened when his wife was at work and out of the house so they would not be discovered, according to court records.

    Meyer and Bartolotta were both charged with aggravated sexual assault and slave trafficking. Their bail was set at $50,000.

    They each pleaded not guilty in court.


    Frank Meyer, of West Haven, left, and Brett Bartolotta, of Cavendish, Vt., were arraigned in Windsor County Court in Vermont Thursday. They were both affiliated with the West Haven Fire Department.Frank Meyer, of West Haven, left, and Brett Bartolotta, of Cavendish, Vt., were arraigned in Windsor County Court in Vermont Thursday. They were both affiliated with the West Haven Fire Department.

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    On Tuesday, police in two towns warned shoppers about a scam that is taking place in grocery store parking lots. 

     
    They said the victims have been in Waterbury and Watertown, and they lost hundreds of dollars in the last few weeks.
     
     “I was crying, I was hysterical and crying,” said one victim who didn’t want to give her name. 
     
    She said she was recently caught off guard in a Stop and Shop parking lot on Reidville Drive in Waterbury.  
     
     “I backed up out of the parking space and I heard a thump,” she explained.  
     
    She thought she hit a worker while he was pushing shopping carts, but it was all a scam.
     
    “He starts screaming you hit me you, could have killed me he was holding onto his wrist,” she added.
     
    The man claimed she shattered his cell phone, then demanded her to pay up.  She handed over $140, but the next day she learned she never ran into anyone. 
     
    Police said the man punched the back of her carto make it sound like she hit something.  He made everything up to get some quick cash.
     
    “I can’t explain to you how believable he was I truly thought I hit him,” she admitted.
     
    Police told NBC Connecticut the same thing happened to an elderly woman at Adam’s Supermarket in Watertown on Sunday.  
     
    There was another instance at the Stop and Stop on Chase Avenue in Waterbury late last month. 
     
    “As you’re leaving the parking spot they're hitting your car with a fist,” explained Deputy Chief Chris Corbett with Waterbury Police.
     
    On Tuesday, police didn’t know if the same suspect was responsible for all the crimes. 
     
    They said they were looking through surveillance video from those grocery stores to get some answers and track down whoever had been doing this.
     
    I think the chances are very good we'll catch the person,” Corbett explained. 
     
    Police wanted shoppers to be aware until that happenS.  The victim who NBC Connecticut spoke with said she didn’t want anyone else getting taken.
     
    “Don’t succumb to it like I did,” she warned the public.
               
    Police said if this happens to you in a parking lot, do not give the man money.  They said call them instead, and file a police report.
     
     

     

     


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    A woman from Vernon was hired to be a surrogate and was then faced with an agonizing decision.

     
    The couple whose child Crystal Kelley was carrying asked her to get an abortion. She refused and gave birth to the child last summer.
     
    Kelley has two girls of her own and also has had two miscarriages. She says she wanted to go ahead with it because she understood the heartbreak of not having a child when you’re expecting one.
    “They were fantastic for a long time,” said Kelley describing her first meeting with the couple whose baby she planned to carry.
     
    “They gave me the impression that they definitely cared about their children very much. They were very involved in their kids’ lives.”
     
    Kelley met this couple from New York in mid 2011 at a playground near her Vernon home. They discussed their plans about providing a good home for their children—immediately Kelley wanted to be their surrogate.
     
    “They were very attentive. They wanted to be involved in the pregnancy. She said she really felt like she was living through me in this pregnancy and she wished she could experience it.”
     
    It’s an experience that more than five months into the pregnancy turned negative. After several ultrasounds, doctors at Hartford Hospital determined the baby had a number of medical problems.
     
    “They didn't believe it was fair to bring a child into the world that would only know pain and suffering,” said Kelley.
     
    The couple offered her $10,000 to terminate the pregnancy.
     
    “If I don’t have support of these people what am I going to do with a baby? I didn’t get into this to have a baby. I can't deny that I did say if you give me $15,000 I'll think about doing it,” said Kelley.
     
    A thought she dismissed when she got home from the hospital.
     
    Several lawsuits later, Kelley moved to Michigan to have the child. It’s a state that let her have full control over the child’s rights.
     
    Then on June 25th of last year, Kelley gave birth to a girl who is known to the public simply as “Baby S.”
     
    She says she found a couple from the area--that has the financial means to take care of “Baby-S.” Doctors say that if the child makes it through the first five years of her life she has a great chance of to make it to adulthood.
     
    “I had a very hard time giving her up for adoption. I really wanted to keep her,” Kelley said.
     
    Kelley says she still sees Baby-S, who’s now 9 months old, about once a month.

     


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    Hugo Chávez, Venezuela’s fiery president and the most prominent leftist leader in South America, died today after a long battle with cancer.

    The 58-year-old, who rose through his country’s military ranks and led a failed coup before winning the presidency, died at 4:25 p.m. local time, Vice President Nicolás Maduro said in an address.

    "Much strength, much prayer and this difficulty in life must be carried with the greatest of loves that Hugo Chávez Frías planted in our heart," Maduro said on state television after imploring Venezuelans to avoid violence and hate in the wake of the polarizing leader's death.

    For more on the death of Hugo Chávez, visit NBCNews.com.

    Maduro will assume the interim presidency and will also be the government candidate when elections are called 30 days from now, the country's foreign minister said Tuesday night.

    A seven-day period of mourning will begin Tuesday, the government announced just after the president's passing, and his official state funeral ceremony will take place Friday morning.

    Top government officials from the defense minister to the central bank chief paid tribute to Chávez on Tuesday night and urged national unity.

    "This is a difficult moment, but we need to continue on," central bank chief Nelson Merentes said in an interview. "There were people who were against him, but this is not a moment to concentrate on that. It's one to come together."

    Foreign Affairs Minister Elías Jaua said Tuesday night that Chávez's remains would be moved to the Military Academy of Venezuela in Caracas on Wednesday, and funeral services would begin Thursday, with the official ceremony set for 10 a.m. local time (9:30 a.m. ET) Friday.

    Chávez died Tuesday following a battle with cancer that brought him to Cuba repeatedly and forced the postponement of his inauguration for his fourth term.

    He traveled to Cuba most recently in December after abruptly announcing that he needed emergency surgery for his cancer, which had returned. He underwent a six-hour surgery on Dec. 11, his fourth operation for cancer, and also underwent chemotherapy.

    The details of his illness, first treated in June 2011, had been closely guarded secrets, though Venezuela’s information ministry did reveal Monday that Chávez was facing a "severe" new infection and trouble breathing.

    Before heading to Cuba, Chávez designated Maduro as his preferred successor if he were no longer able to lead. Under the country's constitution, elections should take place within 30 days of a president's death. In the meantime, the vice president assumes power.

    Chávez was set to be sworn in for his fourth term on Jan. 10, but in a last-minute move, and amid growing confusion over the leadership of the country, the Supreme Court ruled that Chávez could be officially inaugurated at a later date, with the expectation that his health might improve.

    During his 14 years in office, Chávez transformed Venezuelan society through a leftist brand of governing that poured money into social welfare programs and offered free medical care and education to the poor, while broadly nationalizing everything from ranches to the country’s largest telecommunications company.

    He famously argued once for the seizure of golf courses, too, to free up land for housing, deriding the sport as a bourgeois pastime on his weekly television program. "I respect all sports," he said. "But there are sports, and there are sports."

    For many of the nation’s poor, he was a hero, and it was their support that won him reelection three times by convincing margins, even as the nation’s crime rate soared, inflation lingered above 20 percent and electricity shortages forced regular rolling blackouts.

    The country’s upper class, professionals and pro-business groups vehemently opposed him, as did press freedom advocates who protested his shuttering of many news outlets and support for laws that would punish "media crimes."

    His ex-wife, Marisabel Rodriguez, even campaigned against his move to eliminate presidential term limits — a battle he ultimately won in a 2009 referendum. She told The Associated Press that her intentions weren’t personal. "This struggle is against the danger posed by leaving a person in power for a long time," she said.

    Chávez’s opponents did manage to topple him in a 2002 coup, though his supporters restored him to the presidency a mere 47 hours later — a shocking turn of events that burnished his legend.



    In spite of his critics, he continued to garner enough support at home to win elections and, thanks to his nation’s vast oil wealth, enough power to be influential overseas.

    The son of schoolteachers, Chávez was born in a small farming town in the western province of Barinas on July 28, 1954. He grew up there with several siblings, in a household that struggled to make ends meet.

    As a teenager, he became a talented baseball player and landed a spot on a national team, the Criollitos de Venezuela, before earning a degree in military arts and sciences at the Military Academy of Venezuela. 

    Chávez joined and quickly rose through the ranks of the country’s armed forces and eventually led an elite unit of paratroopers.

    During his time in service, he became increasingly angered and vocal about his country’s vast corruption and severe economic disparities. By 1992, he had gained a following within the military and led a failed coup against President Carlos Andrés Pérez. The effort landed Chávez in jail, where he remained for two years.

    Four years later, he won his first presidential election by a comfortable margin on a populist platform of radical wealth distribution, anti-corruption and anti-imperialism, becoming the youngest president in the country’s history.

    After taking office he quickly began implementing his vision of nationalization, putting steel mills, farmland and massive chunks of the country’s oil industry under government ownership.

    The United States was Chávez’s top political foe, and he freely and regularly railed against it in colorful televised tirades. In a 2006 speech at the United Nations, Chávez famously referred to President George W. Bush as "the devil," adding that the room "still smells like sulfur" from the American leader’s presence the day before.

    He later defended his rhetoric, claiming in an interview with Time magazine that Bush had called him worse things. "Tyrant, populist dictator, drug trafficker, to name a few," Chávez said. "I'm not attacking Bush; I'm simply counterattacking."

    Chavez also stirred up controversy when he began offering heating oil to poor U.S. communities at steeply discounted rates, earning praise from some U.S. politicians and disdain from others.

    Tensions grew between the two nations after Chávez’s brief 2002 ouster. He swiftly laid blame on the U.S., and CIA documents uncovered nearly two years later revealed that the U.S. was in fact aware that pro-business groups and their military supporters had been plotting to topple the Venezuelan president.

    Though he continued to criticize U.S. foreign policy and capitalist system after President Barack Obama took office, he had warmer feelings for the current commander-in-chief than he did for Bush. In September, he said on state TV that he would vote for Obama if he were from the U.S., adding that he hoped his comments wouldn’t prove harmful.

    Chávez won his fourth reelection Oct. 7 against Henrique Capriles, who campaigned for ending crime and cutting waste. Chávez won 54 percent of the vote in what was expected to be a tighter race.

    "Truthfully, this has been the perfect battle, a democratic battle," Chávez said in a victory address from the balcony of the presidential palace, as he waved a replica of the sword of Simón Bolívar, NBC News reported. "Venezuela will continue along the path of democratic and Bolivarian socialism of the 21st century.”

    As Chávez’s health took a turn for the worse, questions abounded about the future of the Venezuelan president’s so-called Bolivarian revolution — inspired by Bolívar’s 19th-century revolution for freedom from the Spanish Empire — and its growing influence from Brazil and Uruguay to Argentina and Ecuador.

    Fears that his death may embolden opposition groups across Latin America speak to the powerful pull he had gained in the region over his last decade and a half of life.

    Chávez is survived by five children. He was married twice — first to Nancy Colmenares, whom he divorced in 1992, and later to Marisabel Rodriguez, whom he divorced in 2007. 



    Photo Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS

    Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez died Tuesday,Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez died Tuesday,

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    Frank Meyer, a 911 dispatcher and volunteer West Haven firefighter charged with slave trafficking and sexual assault, committed suicide on Tuesday night while out on bail in Vermont.

    Vermont State Police arrested Meyer, 39, a volunteer West Haven firefighter, in Ludlow, Vermont on Wednesday Feb.27 after a sting operation in which the victim wore a wire.

    Brett Bartolotta, a 42-year-old former firefighter with the department, was also arrested and charged in connection with the case.

    Police said the firefighters bribed the boy with money and gifts, including a dirt bike and a hunting bow, since 2001 to get him to perform hundreds of sexual favors over the 12-year span.

    The boy first met Bartolotta when he went to a friend's house to ride dirt bikes and Bartolotta approached the teen to join his racing team, according to documents filed with Superior Court in Vermont.

    Soon after, Bartolotta offered to sell the teen a dirt bike, which he could pay off in weekly installments, according to documents.

    The interaction turned sexual when the teen was unable to make a payment, according to officials. 

    Bartolotta offered himself as someone for the boy to speak with about problems and also to teach him about sex, court reports states.

    Bartolotta paid the teen for sex acts until he paid off the bike, according to court records.

    About two weeks after the bike was paid off, it was stolen.

    The victim told police that he thought, in hindsight, that Bartolotta might have stolen the bike to continue meeting at his house.

    When Bartolotta eventually got married and sold his condo, Bartolotta would take the teen to houses of construction clients in the Ludlow area, according to court documents.

    A year after the first meeting, Bartolotta introduced the victim to Meyer, and the sex acts would occur on Friday nights, prior to Saturday races, according to court documents. 

    Meyer is currently a volunteer firefighter for the West Haven Fire Department at Engine 23. he has been a 911 dispatcher for the city of West Haven since 1999, according to city officials.

    He is also the captain of the explorer program, a department program for youths, and photos online show him standing in front of Explorer Post 3.

    As time passed, Meyer brought teens from Connecticut to Vermont and once asked the victim to perform a sex act on another 17-year-old boy, according to court documents, but the teen refused.

    Police said Meyer also asked the teen to alter his appearance to look young and boyish and offered to pay for a new hunting bow in exchange for sex.   

    Bartolotta was a former volunteer firefighter for the department several years ago and now lives in Cavendish, Vermont, according to O'Brien. He also served as a past president of the Explorers, according to the department's Web site.

    Police made the arrests on Wednesday after the victim recorded a conversation with Meyer at a Vermont restaurant. On the recording, Meyer acknowledged knowing the victim since he was 12, and alluded to sexual acts, police said. After Meyer was taken into custody, police searched Bartolotta's home and took computers and a gray box into evidence.

    When police interviewed Bartolotta. he admitted to a "minor sexual relationship" with the victim over a five-year period, according to police, then later admitted to a more in-depth relationship that involved bondage and sex toys.

    He also told police that the sexual encounters happened when his wife was at work and out of the house so they would not be discovered, according to court records.

    Meyer and Bartolotta were both charged with aggravated sexual assault and slave trafficking. Their bail was set at $50,000.

    They each pleaded not guilty in court.


    Frank Meyer, of West Haven,left, and Brett Bartolotta, of Cavendish, Vt., were arraigned in Windsor County Court in Vermont Thursday. They were both affiliated with the West Haven Fire Department.Frank Meyer, of West Haven,left, and Brett Bartolotta, of Cavendish, Vt., were arraigned in Windsor County Court in Vermont Thursday. They were both affiliated with the West Haven Fire Department.

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    All eyes are focused on a large storm that's dropping heavy snow near Chicago that will develop into a powerful coastal storm. 

    The brunt of the storm will stay southeast of Connecticut but due to its large size we will see fringe effects. 

    Snow flurries and sprinkles with overspread Connecticut during the day on Wednesday. After sunset any rain will quickly change to snow, even down to the shoreline, and a period of accumulating wet snow is expected. 


    Temperatures will be above freezing during the Wednesday evening commute, so impacts will be minimized. 

    Overnight Wednesday into Thursday, things get more complicated.

    Precipitation will pick up in intensity overnight Wednesday into Thursday morning with a couple inches of accumulation possible for the Thursday morning commute. In addition, winds will gust between 40 and 50 m.p.h. along the shoreline by Thursday morning.

    Off and on light snow will continue during the day Thursday with more accumulation possible Thursday night.  By Friday morning total accumulation of 3"-6" is likely across most of Connecticut with more than 6" possible in eastern Connecticut along the I-395 corridor and away from the immediate shore. 

    Isolated power outages are possible from the combination of wet snow accumulating on trees and power lines and gusty winds particularly in eastern parts of the state. 

    Minor coastal flooding is possible during high tide Thursday morning around daybreak. Tides will run 2 to 3 feet above normal but with winds that will be out of the north and northeast wave action will be primarily directed offshore resulting in only modest coastal inundation.



    Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

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    Precious, a dog found severely burned in parking lot in Waterbury, on Monday night is improving and donations have been coming in for her care.

    Waterbury Police said Precious is the victim of a disturbing case of animal abuse.  Officials think the dog suffered a severe case of mange and someone tried to treat it with chemicals, but made the situation worse by burning her. 

    Waterbury animal control officers found the 1-year-old pit bull mix, around 9 p.m. on Monday after receiving a call saying the dog was there and needed treatment.

    She was laying underneath a bush in a little bit of snow in an empty lot on Hopkins Street.

    Precious didn't have any tags on and officials have not found the person who was responsible for her.

    Veterinarians said they are confident Precious will make a full recovery, but treatments take a lot of time and require a lot of money

    Halfway Home, a North Haven-based rescue group, has taken over financial responsibility for Precious’ medical care.

    If you would like to make a donations, make it to:

    Precious Fund
    c/o Halfway Home
    P.O. Box 712
    North Haven, Connecticut 06473

    The pound received several hundred dollars in donations since yesterday and another 31 envelopes have arrived with donations for her care. No one has yet opened the envelope.

    If you make a donation, note that it is for Precious.
     


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    The suspected driver who fled the scene of a grisly crash that killed a pregnant woman, her husband and ultimately the child they were expecting said Tuesday that he planned to surrender, though police continued searching for him and said they would arrest him if they found him.

    Julio Acevedo, 44, told the Daily News that he was speeding away from a gunman who was trying to shoot at him early Sunday when the BMW hit the couple's livery cab.

    He said he fled the scene because he was worried he'd be killed and didn't know the couple had died until he saw it in newspapers.

    "My heart goes out to them," Acevedo told the newspaper Tuesday in a phone call that the paper said was arranged by a friend. "I didn't know they died until I saw the news."

    The friend who arranged the call, Derrick Hamilton, said Acevedo was running for his life after the crash, and called it a terrible accident. "He's meeting with a lawyer right now, they are going to arrange how to turn himself in," Hamilton told The Associated Press.

    Police said later Tuesday they had had no contact with Acevedo.

    "We are still looking to apprehend him," spokesman Paul Browne said. "We have no information that he is going to surrender."

    Police believe Acevedo was in a BMW going at least 60 mph when he crashed into another car carrying Nachman and Raizy Glauber, both 21. They died Sunday, and their premature son died Monday. The cab had a stop sign; it's not clear if the driver stopped.

    Acevedo was arrested last month on a charge of driving while under the influence, and the case is pending. He was stopped by police after they said he was driving erratically around 3 a.m. Feb. 17. He had a blood-alcohol level of .13, over the limit of .08, police said.

    He served about a decade in prison in the 1990s for manslaughter after he was convicted of shooting Kelvin Martin, a Brooklyn criminal whose moniker "50 Cent" was the inspiration for rapper Curtis Jackson's current stage name. Neighbors said his mother lived in the same building, but she did not answer her door.

    Shortly after midnight Sunday, Raizy Glauber, who was seven months pregnant, wasn't feeling well, so the couple decided to go to the hospital, said Sara Glauber, Nachman Glauber's cousin. They called the cab.

    The crash with the BMW reduced the cab to a crumpled heap, and Raizy Glauber was thrown from the wreck. The engine ended up in the back seat. The driver of the livery cab was knocked unconscious but was not seriously hurt.

    The couple belonged to a close-knit ultra-Orthodox Jewish community in Brooklyn, which is home to the largest community of ultra-Orthodox Jews outside Israel, more than 250,000. They were members of the Satmar Hasidic sect. Raizy Glauber grew up in a prominent rabbinical family. Her husband was studying at a rabbinical college; his family founded a line of clothing for Orthodox Jews.

    The child was delivered by cesarean section after his parents were killed. The baby weighed only about 4 pounds when he was delivered, neighbors and friends said. He died of extreme prematurity, the city medical examiner's office said.

    The baby was buried Monday near the fresh graves of his parents, according to Isaac Abraham, a spokesman for the Hasidic Jewish community. About a thousand community members turned out for the young couple's funeral a day earlier. They offered $15,000 reward for information leading to Acevedo's capture and called for murder charges to be filed.

    How Acevedo came to possess the BMW is under investigation. The registered owner, Takia Walker, was arrested Sunday on insurance fraud charges in a scam involving the car, police said, but the Bronx district attorney's office said Tuesday that the case was deferred. Walker was not involved in the crash. A telephone number listed for her rang unanswered.
     


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  • 03/06/13--09:46: MDC Again Warns of Impostors
  • The Metropolitan District Commission is warning customers after people posing as water company employees tried to enter houses.

    Several separate incidents were reported on Tuesday in Hartford and West Hartford, in which people claimed to be from the water company to try and enter homes in Hartford and West Hartford.

    The MDC urges residents, especially those who are home during the day, to be alert for imposters.

    MDC field employees wear clothing and drive vehicles clearly marked with the MDC logo.

    Customers should ask for identification from anyone who comes to their door.  All MDC employees have photo identification badges and will gladly display them upon request. The policy is “No Identification - No Entry.”

    If someone comes to your door claiming to be from the water company and you do not have a previously scheduled appointment, do not allow access to your home until calling the MDC Command Center at 860-278-7850 ext 3600 to verify their identity.

    If you have any doubt about the individual’s identity or motives, or authenticity of their credentials, do not allow them entry into your home and call the police.

    In January, men claiming to be MDC employees robbed a house in Hartford.



    Photo Credit: Tim Graham

    People are posing as water company employees.People are posing as water company employees.

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    A man angry about being sent away from a New Britain Dunkin' Donuts came back wielding an ax.

    According to police, Wilfred Levine, 63, of New Britain, was loitering inside the Dunkin' Donuts at 118 East Main Street on Wednesday afternoon when employees of the restaurant told Levine to leave and escorted him out.

    Levine returned a short time later with an ax, police said.

    He jumped the counter and said he was looking for the two employees who sent him away, according to police.

    Then, Levine began to demolish the inside of the store with the ax before he walked outside and smashed the restaurant's plate glass windows.

    According to police, Levine raised his ax at the first officer to arrive at the scene. The officer drew his weapon and ordered Levine to drop the ax. Levine refused, and officers used a stun gun to subdue him.

    Levine faces charges of criminal attempt to commit assault, criminal attempt to commit assault on police, criminal mischief, criminal trespass, possession of a dangerous weapon, breach of peace, reckless endangerment and interfering with police.

    He is being held on $750,000 bond.

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    Wilfred Levine, 63, is accused of using an ax to demolish a Dunkin Donuts restaurant on East Main Street in New Britain.Wilfred Levine, 63, is accused of using an ax to demolish a Dunkin Donuts restaurant on East Main Street in New Britain.

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