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    New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft said Tuesday that the team will not appeal the penalty handed down by the National Football League in the wake of the Deflategate controversy.

    Speaking from the NFL owners' meetings in California, Kraft said he decided to accept the punishment in an effort to "end the rhetoric." He said that while he still believes the penalty handed down was "unreasonable and unprecedented," he respects Commissioner Roger Goodell.

    "The entire process has taken way too long," he said. "I can try to end it, or extend it."

    Kraft also acknowledged that his position on how to handle the situation has changed.

    "I think maybe if I made the decision last week it would be different than it is today," Kraft said.

    The NFL fined the Patriots $1 million and took away two draft picks as punishment for the deflation of footballs below the league-mandated minimum for the AFC championship game. 

    Quarterback Tom Brady was also issued a four-game suspension, which he has already appealed. His appeal must be heard within 10 days of its filing on May 14.

    The NFL Players Association formally requested Goodell recuse himself as an arbitrator in Brady's appeal later Tuesday afternoon and asked for a neutral party to set in.

    "If the NFL believes the Ted Wells report has credibility because it is independent, then the NFL should embrace our request for an independent review," the union said in a statement.

    If it is upheld, Brady would miss the first four games. The Patriots open the NFL season at home against Pittsburgh on Sept. 10, then travel to Buffalo before a home game against Jacksonville. After a bye week, their fourth game will be in Dallas.

    Brady would be eligible to return for the fifth game on Oct. 18 at Indianapolis. The probe began after the Colts complained that Brady used deflated footballs in their 45-7 loss to the Patriots in the AFC title game.


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    Crews are responding to a hazardous material call in Tolland after a propane leak, according to Tolland County dispatch.

    The propane leak is at 200 Merrow Road.

    The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection has been requested at the scene.

    It's unknown whether there are any injuries or road closures.

    No further information was immediately available.


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    A couple wanted for identity and credit card theft in Stamford was arrested in New York, where authorities found equipment used to make fake drivers licenses and credit cards, according to Stamford police, who had a role in the case.

    Ferne Deans, 36, and Phillip Deans, 36, were suspected of stealing IDs from Stamford residents and were arrested at their home, 100 Dekruif Place, Bronx, New York, on outstanding arrest warrants from Stamford and held as fugitives from justice.

    Stamford police went to New York to arrest the suspctes and found an illegal credit card making lab, according to police. Officers seized several fake Florida licenses, blank credit cards and forged credit cards, as well as several pieces of commercial equipment that are used to manufacture credit cards.

    Authorities seized a Datalink credit card embossing machine, which banks use to create debit and credit cards, an MSR card reader and writer, and a laptop with links to a website known for selling stolen card information, police said.

    The New York Police Department charged Phillip and Ferne with several counts of felony forgery, criminal possession of a forgery device and criminal possession of a forged instrument.

    They are awaiting extradition to Stamford to be formally arrested on warrants in Connecticut.

    Stamford police credited investigators Sean Coughlin and Mike Stempien with helping to bust the suspected credit card lab.



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

    Ferne Deans and Phillip Deans  are accused of stealing credit card information and IDs.Ferne Deans and Phillip Deans are accused of stealing credit card information and IDs.

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    President Obama shattered a Twitterverse record when his new account @POTUS got one million followers in less than five hours, according to Guinness World Records.

    The Monday Twitter record beat one previously held by actor Robert Downey Jr. It took him 23 hours and 22 minutes to reach the same milestone in April 2014.

    Guinness World Records notes that for his third tweet Obama bantered with former President Bill Clinton about the presidential hopes of Hillary Clinton.

    Obama sent the inaugural tweet from @POTUS with his second term halfway through.

    The verified account, which attracted more than 146,000 followers within 30 minutes of posting the first tweet, carries the bio "Dad, husband, and 44th President of the United States."

    Obama's account followed all major Chicago sports teams except one — the Cubs. 

    The official @WhiteHouse account retweeted the message and posted confirmation of its own.

    The tweet wasn't the first 140-character missive sent from the 44th president. The White House's existing practice was to sign tweets from the president on the @BarackObama handle with his initials, "-bo." That @BarackObama account, launched in March 2007 and with nearly 60 million followers, is run by the staff of Obama's non-profit Organizing for Action group. 



    Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images
    This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story on our mobile site.

    President Barack Obama shows his Blackberry as he walks on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, D.C.President Barack Obama shows his Blackberry as he walks on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, D.C.

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    State police have arrested a Gales Ferry man who is accused of sexually assaulting a girl for six years, from when she was 3 until she was 9.

    State police started investigating Philip Denning, 50, when they received a complaint on April 22, 2014 from the Department of Children and Families, reporting suspected child sexual. Police said the alleged sexual assaults occurred while the victim was visiting Denning at a home in Canterbury.

    After a lengthy investigation, police received an arrest warrant from Danielson Superior Court on Tuesday and arrested him at his home around 9:50 a.m.

    He was brought to Troop D, where he was held on $25,000 bond.

    Denning has been charged with sexual assault in the first degree, third degree and fourth degree, as well as risk of injury to a child.
     



    Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

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    There's a happy ending for a 9-month-old husky puppy stolen from a pet store at the Westfield Meriden Mall. Police helped tracked down the pup and returned him safe and sound.

    According to police, someone took the puppy from the Gentle Jungle store. The Record-Journal reports that the dog was stolen from a play pen on May 9 and that police and mall security returned him the next day.

    Meriden police wrote in a Facebook post Monday that Officer Jeff Witkin found the puppy and brought him back in good condition. He posed for a quick photo with the rescued pup and a Gentle Jungle staff member before handing over the dog.

    It's the second time in a year Witkin has helped return a stolen dog, according to the police department.

    Meriden police said the owner of the pet store has declined to press charges.



    Photo Credit: Meriden Police Department

    Meriden Police Officer Jeff Witkin helped return a husky puppy stolen from a pet store at the Westfield mall.Meriden Police Officer Jeff Witkin helped return a husky puppy stolen from a pet store at the Westfield mall.

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    The first national bill to stop what is known as “conversion therapy” was introduced in Congress on Tuesday by California Rep. Ted Lieu, a month after the White House denounced psychiatric treatments meant to “cure” young people of being gay.

    The practice is a dangerous scam and abusive to those who are lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender, Lieu, a Democrat, said in a statement. The therapy sessions and materials cost families thousands of dollars with no results, he said.

    “The truth is that being LGBT cannot be and does not need to be cured,” he said. “The irony of the conversion therapy industry is that the same people who are telling LGBT kids that they’re diseased are the same ones conveniently offering a high-priced, high-risk, ineffective cure.”

    The Therapeutic Fraud Prevention Act would amend the Federal Trade Commission Act to classify paid therapy that claims to change sexual orientation and gender identify as fraud. The bill provides protection for religious liberty and freedom of speech, Lieu said.

    Lieu wrote the first statewide ban on conversion therapy three years ago in California.

    The federal bill comes two weeks after the U.S. Supreme Court upheld New Jersey’s ban on gay conversion therapy for those under 18. Last year, the justices left California’s ban in place.

    Oregon's governor signed a similar ban on Tuesday and the District of Columbia also has one.

    Therapy proponents presented the ban as a restriction on the free speech rights of doctors and counselors.

    The White House formally supported ending conversion therapy after receiving a petition signed by more than 120,000 people. It followed the death of transgender teen Leelah Alcorn of Union Township, Ohio, who committed suicide in late December by walking in front of a semi-trailer. Alcorn left a note on Tumblr blaming her parents for forcing her to attend conversion therapy.

    In response to Lieu’s bill, the government affairs director of the Human Rights Campaign called conversion therapy a demeaning and destructive practice.

    “This vitally important legislation has the potential to save countless lives across this country by helping to end a practice that uses fear and shame to tell LGBT people the only way to find love or acceptance is to change the very nature of who they are,” David Stacy said in a statement.

    The American Psychiatric Association removed homosexuality as a mental disorder from its official diagnostic manual more than 40 years ago.
     



    Photo Credit: Leelah Alcorn

    Transgender teen Leelah Alcorn killed herself late last year, blaming her parents for forcing her to attend conversion therapy.Transgender teen Leelah Alcorn killed herself late last year, blaming her parents for forcing her to attend conversion therapy.

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    A Columbia University student who has carried her mattress around the Ivy League campus all year in protest of the school's handling of her sexual assault case graduated on Tuesday — and the mattress crossed the stage with her.

    Emma Sulkowicz, who claimed she was raped in her dorm room on the first day of her sophomore year, earned applause from the audience when she crossed the stage with the mattress, NBC News reported.

    Columbia administrators said in an email to students Monday that “graduates should not bring into the ceremonial area large objects which could interfere with the proceedings or create discomfort to others in close, crowded spaces shared by thousands of people," Columbia's student newspaper reported.

    Teo Armus, a student reporter for the Columbia Spectator, reported before the ceremony Tuesday that a school official had asked Sulkowicz to leave her mattress in a room and pick it up after the event. But Sulkowicz was ultimately allowed to bring the mattress into the tent, Armus told NBC News.

    In September, Sulkowicz started carrying the mattress wherever she went on campus to protest the way she said the university mishandled her rape complaint. She said the case against her alleged abuser was dismissed.

    “It’s an art piece but also a protest,” said Sulkowicz, a visual arts major, who called the project "Carry That Weight."

    Sulkowicz said she was raped on Aug. 27, 2012, but waited until April 2013 before telling campus authorities because she was scared to talk about it. She ultimately reported the sexual assault after other female students told her they had been raped by the same person, she said.

    The student she accused of rape, Paul Nungesser, sued Columbia in April, saying the school failed to protect him against harrassment when Sulkowicz publicly claimed he raped her.

    After Sulkowicz and 22 other students filed a Title IX complaint against Columbia, the school unveiled a revamped sexual misconduct policy this summer. It includes a new office aimed at making sex crime reporting easier for students.



    Photo Credit: Columbia Daily Spectator

    Emma Sulkowicz, a Columbia University student who carried a mattress around the campus all year to raise awareness of sexual assault, graduated Tuesday — with her mattress in tow.Emma Sulkowicz, a Columbia University student who carried a mattress around the campus all year to raise awareness of sexual assault, graduated Tuesday — with her mattress in tow.

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    Thirty-two-year-old Massachusetts inmate Dennis Dicato is just a month away from finishing up doing time for larceny — but now his life in defined by much more than that.

    On Monday, Dicato, four other Essex County inmates and their corrections officer, Sgt. Dennis Laubner, had a hand in saving a man's life.

    "I'm just glad to be able to change the direction of the karma in my life because it was going the wrong way for a long time," Dicato said.

    Laubner said he and the inmates had just finished up a work detail picking up trash along the 114 onramp to 495 North when the victim's girlfriend pulled up asking for help.

    "She exits the vehicle and I know there's a problem. She's got a cell phone, she's frantic and I remember her saying 'Help me, my boyfriend's dying, he just overdosed!'" Laubner said.

    As someone who has used heroin before and had witnessed friends overdosing on it, Dicato jumped into action.

    "I seen him slumped over in the car, proceeded to open the door, take him out, lay him down on he ground, the other guys helped me take him out, put him down, and tipped his head back, proceeded to give him rescue breathing," Dicato said.

    Laubner began sternum rubs as they tried to keep the 22-year-old man, known to them only as Carlos, breathing until rescue personnel could get there with Narcan.

    "It wasn't sergeant, inmate, drug addict," said Sgt. Laubner. "It was human being, human being, trying to save another human being."

    For Laubner, the encounter hit close to home: Last June, he found his 30-year-old son Christopher dead of a heroin overdose in his bedroom.

    "I was thinking something made that girl — she saw the blue lights — and I find comfort and solace thinking... maybe that's Chris' way of saving somebody that shouldn't have died at that time," Laubner said.



    Photo Credit: necn

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    A Norwegian Dawn cruise ship that was returning to Boston ran aground off the coast of Bermuda, officials confirmed.

    The ship went aground just after 5 p.m. Tuesday as it was leaving Bermuda, according to the U.S. Coast Guard.

    The Coast Guard says there were no injuries, adding that the situation is stable and no water is getting in. The Department of Marine and Ports Service says they're still accessing the situation and whether they will evacuate.

    A tug and dive team have been sent to the scene.

    According to Norwegian Cruise Line, the ship temporarily lost power as it departed King's Wharf in Bermuda, adding "The ship's propulsion was affected and, at the time, the vessel made contact with the channel bed. All guests and crew are safe."

    The power has since been restored.

    There are more than 2,700 passengers and 1,000 crew members on board.

    According to the Norwegian Dawn's website, this cruise ship leaves out of Boston during the summertime. They say the ship departed on Friday, May 15 and was originally scheduled to return on Friday, May 22.

    Rachel Hansen, a passenger, also tweeted that guests were not permitted to go back to their rooms.

    Stay with necn and necn.com as this story develops. 



    Photo Credit: PortBermudaWebcam.com
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    The fight between firefighters and cities and towns they serve is reaching a critical stage as lawmakers approach the end of the legislative session.

    At issue is whether there should be a "rebuttable presumption" that firefighters who are diagnosed with cancer contracted the disease as a direct result of doing their jobs.

    Research from the CDC concludes that there is a "causal association" between firefighters and an increased risk for cancer as a result of their proximity to burning carcinogens; however, experts urge "cautious interpretation" of the data.

    Cities and towns, through their association the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities, paid for radio advertisements this week criticizing the measure as an "unfunded mandate" they can't afford.

    "A bunch of us are quite confident that this particular legislation is going to end up costing the property tax payer a lot," said Scott Shanley, Manchester's town manager. "It’s not about insurance. Employees have insurance. They have retirement, pensions."

    The "rebuttable presumption" is a legal position that would require cities and towns to prove in court that a firefighter's cancer was not caused by his or her job. They argue that public employees like firefighters and police already have wide levels of coverage through insurance and workman's compensation.

    Supporters of the legislation in the general assembly have said they support the legislation for volunteer firefighters who do not have the same benefits as professional firefighters.

    Mark Hopkins, a professional firefighter in Waterbury, had been living with Hodgkin's Lymphoma since August and was recently declared cancer free. He went through chemotherapy for treatment.

    "I don’t care what they say about keeping your mask on, when you’re in a fire there’s smoke everywhere," Hopkins said of how he believes he got cancer. "It gets in your turnout everywhere. Pretty much if you’re in a fire, everything is black and it’s everywhere, where the seams meet, and stuff like that."

    Cities and towns want to hold off on any legislation before there is more conclusive scientific evidence that links cancer to firefighters.

    Until then, Shanley says he wants to see more closer analysis of the lifestyles of all public employees.

    "I think we need better awareness but you have to be careful what you wish for because if you’re going to make the property tax payer and the employer responsible for somebody’s cancer, then we need to take a look at the person’s lifestyle," Shanley said.

    Sources in the Connecticut legislature say they won't allow the measure to be brought up for a vote unless and until cities and towns and firefighters reach some kind of compromise on the legislation.



    Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

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    During negotiations behind closed doors, lawmakers in the Connecticut Senate have decided over the past month that a new casino in Connecticut will have to wait at least another year.

    "This has really become a two-step process and we need to make sure we do that process to save the 9,000 jobs that we’re so concerned about," said State Sen. Bob Duff, a Democrat from Norwalk and the second-ranking member in the Connecticut Senate.

    The two steps would clear the way for tribes that already operate casinos to work with municipalities that have approved them, then allow for construction to begin next year. A vote could come as soon as Wednesday on the measure.

    The original proposal included the possibility of three new casinos, one each along sections of Interstates 95, 91, and 84. Now, the most likely location for a third casino in Connecticut is in between Springfield and Hartford. The aim is to cut off traffic to a new casino being built in Springfield that should be finished by 2017.

    Opponents fear legal issues with the new plan.

    "We potentially open a can of worms, a Pandora’s box of due process and equal access among other potential Indian tribes and the Steve Wynns and the gambling establishment as a whole," said State Sen. Tony Hwang, a Republican from Fairfield who has been outspoken on some of the other pitfalls of gambling.

    "The fact is we have not done a thorough analysis of the societal cost of gambling," he cautioned.

    Hwang said the deal being worked on in Hartford would allow for a casino outside of tribal land, which the attorney general has warned could jeopardize the existing compact that sends millions to the state in tax revenues.

    The Mashantuckett Pequot and Mohegan tribes endorsed the deal with a statement Tuesday through spokeswoman Patty McQueen.

    "Our goal from the outset has been to protect the 9,300 jobs and revenue that will be lost to competition on Connecticut's borders, and we believe this bill, if approved, will give the Mohegan and Mashantucket Pequot Tribes the ability to begin to take action to do so," McQueen said.

    Duff, who's been involved with negotiations from the start, said the entire effort is meant to maintain the workforce of casino employees in Connecticut while keeping the state in a solid legal position when it comes to other tribes and efforts.

    "We want to make sure that we save those jobs and do it in a way that we protect the state of Connecticut and in a way that respects the process," Duff said.


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    Police in Naugatuck are increasing their presence near the Town Green after two men were arrested in two separate incidents involving teenage girls.

    On May 5, Brendan Burns, 27, of Seymour, tried to pick up a 17-year-old girl after he was arrested for threatening a group of teens with a baseball bat, police said.

    Police said Burns tried to follow a 14-year-old girl after school earlier that day.

    Less than two weeks later, police arrested Ryan Havican, 39, of Naugatuck. Police said touched a 16-year-old inappropriately after she turned down alcohol on May 15.

    Police are now increasing their bicycle and foot patrols of the area, as well as motorized patrols.

    “We want to be on top of those things, not just reacting when they happen,” Lt. Bryan Cammarata, of Naugatuck Police, said. “If we can prevent them, that’s the goal.”

    Police said they usually add patrols in that area as the weather gets warmer because of all of the foot traffic. They will be keeping a close eye on the nearby basketball court and playground as well.

    They are also encouraging parents to enforce curfews and ensure their children know not to hang out in the Town Green after dark.



    Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

    Police are adding patrols on the Naugatuck Green after two teens were approached.Police are adding patrols on the Naugatuck Green after two teens were approached.

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    New details are emerging in the case of a Waterbury elementary school principal placed on leave following a student trip to China.

    Principal Kevin Brennan was placed on paid administrative leave days after returning from the school trip in April. School officials said he went to China with 10 students in kindergarten through eighth grade and several adult chaperones.

    Superintendent Dr. Kathleen Ouellette said Tuesday that Brennan took a female student to Taiwan after the rest of the group returned home. The school district was not aware of the side trip at the time.

    The Waterbury Republican-American reports that Brennan was helping the student find her maternal relatives in Taiwan and that her father approved the trip. Parents told the newspaper the student had planned to stay with family there.

    Parents told NBC Connecticut the news of Brennan's suspension came as a surprise.

    "It was pretty much of a shock to me only because I've known him for so long and he's a great principal," said parent Diane Crespo. "When it comes to being the principal of the school, he's been absolutely phenomenal. He's been very, very involved with the children, with the parents, and always made us feel very, very welcome at the school."

    Ouellette said the investigation is ongoing but that the district is not at the liberty to release any other details at this point.

    Neither Brennan nor his union could be reached for comment at the time he was placed on leave. Supervising vice principal Karen Renna has been appointed to lead the school in his absence.



    Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

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    Hartford police have arrested two siblings accused of trying to murder a man and stealing his car, prompting a police chase that briefly put a Hartford magnet school on lock-in mode Tuesday morning.

    Police said Brian Perry, 23, a convicted felon from Meriden, stole the man's car at gunpoint outside 123-125 Martin Street a little after 8 a.m. and tried to fire several rounds into the victim's chest.

    The victim told police he was picking up a friend – Perry's sister – when Perry approached him in the driveway and ordered him out of the car. After he got out, Perry pointed the gun at the victim and pulled the trigger several times, police said.

    The gun didn't go off, so Perry loaded a second round into the chamber. The victim, who feared for his life, started running. Perry chased him for a while and tried again to shoot him, according to police. Officers later found a live .22-caliber round at the scene.

    Meanwhile, Perry's sister, identified as Paula Brown, 25, got into the driver's seat of the stolen Nissan Versa and picked up Perry. The victim's dog, King, had been riding in the car with him and jumped out, according to police.

    Hartford officers from the department's Traffic Division spotted the Nissan driving southbound on Main Street. Police said they chased the car from Main Street to Mather Street, then onto East Street and into a parking lot on Seyms Street.

    Officers tried to block the car into the parking lot. Perry, who was now alone in the driver's seat, sped away through the city. Police said he hit a curb while turning from Walnut Street onto Edwards Street, causing the car to grind to a stop.

    Perry got out and started running toward the parking lot of the Global Communications Academy magnet school and Quirk Middle School on Edwards Street. Police said the schools share a campus with the Hartford Police Shooting Task Force and Hartford Police Academy.

    "Especially when anybody approaches our schools, we're going to double down, but to have our officers waiting there, it certainly helped," Foley said.

    As police chased him, Perry pulled a gun from his waistband. He tripped and dropped it in the parking lot, according to police. Officers took him into custody soon after. The magnet school was put in lock-in mode for about 35 minutes during the chase.

    Police found the victim's dog hiding under a car behind the Hartford Police Department and returned him to his owner.

    Perry has been charged with carrying a pistol without a permit, criminal possession of a firearm, criminal attempt at murder, carjacking, first-degree robbery, second-degree larceny, carrying a weapon in a motor vehicle, engaging police in pursuit, reckless driving, second-degree criminal trover, sixth-degree larceny, interfering with police and conspiracy charges.

    Brown was taken into custody on Huyshope Avenue, with help from the U.S. Marshal's Fugitive Task Force. She was charged with carjacking, first-degree robbery, second-degree larceny, sixth-degree larceny, second-degree criminal trover and conspiracy charges.

    Police said Perry, who has 11 prior arrests in Hartford, is being held on $800,000 bond. Brown, who has been previously arrested in Hartford seven times, was held on $250,000 bond.

    No one was hurt during the incident.



    Photo Credit: Hartford Police Department

    Hartford police said a carjacking suspect threw this gun on the ground while he was being taken into custody on May 19, 2015.Hartford police said a carjacking suspect threw this gun on the ground while he was being taken into custody on May 19, 2015.

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    Watertown Police have arrested a Waterbury man who is accused of trafficking a 16-year-old girl for sex and plying her with cocaine.

    Watertown Police Detectives arrested Michael Smith, 33, of Waterbury, and formerly of Oakville, on Friday.

    The investigation began when the state Department of Children and Families contacted Watertown police about a 16-year-old girl who had been trafficked for sex and prostituted out of the apartment of 21 Arcadia Avenue, Apartment 1, in Oakville.

    Police investigated, identified Smith, a convicted felon, as the suspect. Police said he’d been staying at the home with another occupant and two sex acts had taken place in the residence, while a third took place in a vehicle in Waterbury.

    Smith is accused of providing two 16-year-old girls, including the victim, with cocaine while they were at the house.

    Police said the teenage victim is safe and has no relation to Smith or Gibbs.

    During a separate investigation into the home, police executed a search warrant on April 21 and they arrested the other resident, Jason Gibbs, on drug charges.

    Smith, who was not at the home at that time, was charged with trafficking in persons, promoting prostitution in the first degree and two counts of reckless endangerment. He was issued a court-set $100,000 bond.

    He was also charged with the possession of narcotics and possession of drug paraphernalia and another $10,000.00 bond was issued.

    Smith is being held on a combined $110,000.00 bonds and is expected to be arraigned at the Waterbury Superior Court on May 20.
     



    Photo Credit: Watertown Police

    Michael Smith is accused of trafficking a teenage girl for sex and prostituting her.Michael Smith is accused of trafficking a teenage girl for sex and prostituting her.

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    The man accused of stabbing another man as he waited in line at a Dunkin' Donuts in New Haven faced a judge Tuesday.

    Witnesses said there was no exchange of words, and suspect Holger Ojeda, 34, was not provoked. Prosecutors allege the attack was racially motivated.

    According to documents released in court, Ojeda told officers he stabbed the victim because he hates black people. Ojeda's public defender said she's still looking into the crime and how it all played out. She mentioned a self-defense claim in court.

    During his arraignment, the court was told Ojeda suffers from mental illness and is currently being seen at a local facility.

    Those who frequent the Dunkin' Donuts call the ordeal frightening.

    "I come to this Dunkin' Donuts a lot. They're real good people inside. They treat you with respect. Then, for an incident like that to happen, you know, especially to someone who's not in their right state of mind, who do you blame for that?" said one woman, who only wanted to be identified as Sheila.

    Ojeda is being held on $250,000 bond and is ordered to have no contact with victim William Sweat or the Dunkin' Donuts if he is able to post bail. He's due back in court on June 2.
     


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    Did you know Connecticut's country roads are among the most dangerous in the nation? The fatality rate on back roads in Connecticut is six times higher than those on all other roads in the state, according to a study released Tuesday by a group of insurance companies and road builders.

    The new report pins the death rate on rural roads in Connecticut at 3.57 per 100 million miles traveled in 2013, the highest in the country. Rural roads in South Carolina, Florida, Montana and Arizona also rank high on the list.

    Standing near Route 44, a highway disguised as a country road between Interstate 384 and the University of Connecticut in Storrs, Connecticut resident Bob Laughran said the numbers don't surprise him.

    "It's heavily traveled; there's a lot of traffic. And people drive too fast," he explained.

    Laughran said he could think of five fatalities at one intersection alone, where Route 44 meets North River Road.

    The study also found 25 percent of the state's rural pavement is in poor condition. Connecticut ranks No. 11 on that list, topped by Michigan, Rhode Island, Hawaii, Idaho, Kansas, West Virginia, Oklahoma, Maine, Alaska and New Mexico.

    Department of Transportation spokesman Kevin Nursick said the roads, however, are not to blame for crashes that can prove fatal.

    "Many of those roads are not state roads," Nursick said in a statement Tuesday. "As for the state roads, there is nothing wrong with them. There is something wrong with drivers and that is the crux of the issue, irresponsible and dangerous behavior, which is the cause of virtually all crashes in the state."

    Nursick said the state "cannot design roadways to account for motorists who regularly fail to obey basic and fundamental rules of the road. Until we get cooperation from drivers, there will be no such thing as a safe roadway."

    Read the full report here.


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    Parts of the state are seeing some rain after a three-week dry spell, but is it enough to bring relief to certain crops and plants?

    Those in charge of Millane Nurseries say no. The 250-acre nursery in Cromwell received less than two-tenths of an inch of rain Tuesday, and the sprinklers stayed on throughout the morning.

    "We’re still out watering today because we didn’t get enough rain. We haven’t gotten enough rain in weeks!" said Millane Nurseries president Michael Millane.

    Without enough rain, growers here are having to throw out a lot of their plants. The after-effects of last winter are also causing them to die.

    Warm weather vegetables are also delayed because of how long the snow stayed on the ground.

    "The ground is taking a very, very long time to warm up," said Lisa Lancia, who works at the nursery. "A lot of your vegetables need at least 50 degrees soil temperature to do anything."

    Planting vegetables before it’s warm enough will cause them to die or not grow at all, Lancia said. Luckily, Millane Nurseries is seeing signs of some bulbs.

    "They’re actually starting to produce some peppers," said Lancia.

    With winter behind them and sunny days ahead, the nursery is hoping for more rain – at least a half inch to get them by and save thousands of dollars in irrigation expenses.

    "Our water bill last year was about $20,000 for the year. For the year! Now, we also have 250 acres, but that’s a lot of money," said Millane.

    Growers recommend planting crops after Memorial Day weekend. They say it's best to water more often than not.


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    A man shot in the North End of Hartford on Tuesday night is in critical condition at the hospital, according to Hartford police.

    Police said the victim, whose name has not been released, was shot in the area of 122 Irving Street. An ambulance brought him to Saint Francis Hospital, where he's listed in critical condition.

    Hartford police spokesman Deputy Chief Brian Foley said the victim's prognosis is "not looking positive."

    According to Foley, ShotSpotter technology detected 17 gunshots in the area. Neighbors said they heard a "spray of bullets."

    No additional information was immediately available.

    Check back for updates on this developing story.



    Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

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