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  • 07/01/15--19:24: Amnesia Patient Finds Family

  • Nearly five months after showing up in a San Diego-area emergency room without any recollection of her name, age, family, or friends, a woman who called herself “Sam” has finally rediscovered who she is.

    Ashley Menatta, 53, never married and has sisters in Colorado and Maryland. She was born in Pennsylvania, lived in Flagstaff, Arizona, and several years ago found her way to Southern California, where she lived in La Jolla, Vista, and Carlsbad.

    The woman’s plight captured attention worldwide after our NBC 7 post went viral with a Facebook reach of 21.2 million people as of Wednesday afternoon. Facebook users shared the post nearly 200,000 times, leading to thousands of tips and suggestions.

    Menatta’s nephew watched the NBC 7 story online and immediately called his mom to tell her about the mystery woman: Aunt Ashley.

    The FBI took the tip to Menatta and her friend Debbie Rough, her nurse from Tri City Medical Center in Oceanside, who championed the initial search for relatives. The phone call led to tears and details of her forgotten past.

    “It was extremely emotional. We were all sobbing. They’re so sorry I had to go through what I did during this time without them,” said Menatta.

    The FBI did not officially confirm Menatta's identity, but investigators felt comfortable with the information they've provided to help facilitate a reunion. Menatta's family did not provide independent verification of her identity.

    Carlsbad firefighters responded to an emergency call on February 1 and found her  in dire shape. Her blood pressure was so low, she was barely conscious. She couldn’t tell paramedics anything about herself.

    Doctors at Tri City Medical Center diagnosed her with ovarian cancer, telling her the antibodies from the tumor possibly caused “retrograde amnesia."

    Carlsbad police and the FBI got involved in an effort to help identify her. They said more pressing responsibilities kept them from devoting the many hours needed to solve the case.

    Searches of their fingerprint database turned up empty.

    “He [the FBI agent] said you must be a good girl, otherwise we’d have records of you,” said Menatta.

    FBI agents posted Menatta’s picture and story to the Interpol website in an effort to attract global attention.

    She spoke with an English/Australian accent and had vivid dreams about time spent in Perth.

    "Apparently I have a long time of visiting Australia for extended trips. I’ve been going there throughout my life,” said Menatta. The family lost track of her in 2013, around the same time she showed up in Southern California and attended St. Patrick Catholic Church in Carlsbad.

    The FBI said NBC 7’s Facebook post and subsequent stories generated numerous tips, which helped put the pieces of the puzzle together.

    Menatta plans to fly back to Maryland and live with one of her older sisters.

    “She was just telling me she has a four-bedroom, large house and a lovely king-size bed waiting for me."

    Menatta thanks the millions of people around the world who watched her story and prayed and tried to help with leads and suggestions.

    The story seems almost too remarkable to be true.

    The FBI can’t confirm or deny the circumstances, but feels comfortable with the information they’ve provided to help facilitate a reunion. 

    Menatta’s close friends and the nurse who championed her story call her a genuine and sweet human being.

    They believe she has the genuine faith in God which was the first thing she remembers feeling in the emergency room.

    “I had peace where there should be none and I believed He would bring me back together with people that that were family and I trusted Him," she said.

    Ashley Menatta will need to continue with chemotherapy to treat the aggressive cancer, but with family and faith she says “she knows where she is going” and now, finally, where she came from too.



    Photo Credit: NBC 7, Family photo
    This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story on our mobile site.

    "Sam," the woman found Feb. 1 in Carlsbad, has been identified as the woman in the family photo on the right, whose name is Ashley.

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    Bridgeport police are searching for two men who robbed a city market at gunpoint Saturday night.

    According to police, the two robbers entered George's Market at 175 Pequonnock Street around 10:45 p.m. June 27. One pulled out a handgun and demanded money from the cash register. The store clerk handed over an undisclosed amount of cash and the robbers got away.

    The perpetrator with the gun was described as a stocky man wearing a baseball cap with a sticker on the brim and a dark-colored Army style jacket.

    Police said the second robber has a medium build and was wearing a dark-colored sweatshirt with a white logo on the front. He appeared to act as a lookout while his accomplice grabbed the money.

    Both men left the scene on foot.

    Anyone with information is urged to call Det. Vincent Lariccia at 203-581-5229.
     



    Photo Credit: Bridgeport Police Department

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    A sex offender is facing charges after police say they found him driving ice cream truck in West Hartford with a 13-year-old in tow.

    Tylon Jarrett, 37, of Hartford, was behind the wheel when police stopped him Wednesday evening on New Britain Avenue. He gave officers the name Andrew Evans, but fingerprints revealed his true identity, according to police.

    Jarrett was on supervised release from the Hartford Adult Sex Offender Unit and was forbidden to contact with anyone under the age of 16, police said Wednesday night.

    According to a Hartford Courant story published in 2002, a man of the same name pleaded guilty to second-degree sexual assault of a minor and was sentenced to 15 months in prison.

    The 13-year-old boy told police the ice cream truck belonged to his mother, and police called her to the scene. It's not clear how Jarrett ended up driving the truck.

    Jarrett was charged with one count of criminal impersonation and one count of interfering with an officer. Police said he will also be arrested for violation of probation.

    He was held on $10,000 bond and is due in community court on July 8.
     



    Photo Credit: West Hartford Police Department

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    Police are investigating the untimely death of a 6-week-old baby girl in Ansonia.

    Police said they received a 911 from a resident of Myrtle Avenue at 7:36 a.m. on Wednesday reporting a young child was unresponsive.

    Emergency medical personnel and police arrived to find the baby girl was not breathing, according to police. Medics transported the baby to Griffin Hospital, but she could not be revived.

    Ansonia police are investigating and said an autopsy will be performed on July 2.

    Police said the child’s death should be considered an untimely death until the medical examiner makes an official ruling. At this point, the child's death does not appear to be criminal in nature.

    No additional information was immediately available.



    Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

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    A staff member at the Community Partners in Action halfway house in Hartford was taken to the hospital following an assault Wednesday evening, according to state police.

    State police said troopers were called to the property around 6:50 p.m. Wednesday. One staff member was taken to Hartford Hospital for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries.

    No additional information was immediately available.

    Check back for updates on this developing story.
     



    Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

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    State police are stepping up patrols for the 4th of July weekend as many people travel on Connecticut roads to go to cookouts, the beach and fireworks for the holiday.

    The state Department of Transportation and state police are trying to get the message out to motorists not to drink and drive. It's part of Operation C.A.R.E. (Combined Accident Reduction Effort).

    From midnight July 3 through midnight July 5, there will be dozens of DUI checkpoints across Connecticut. State police will be focusing on areas where there have been alcohol-related crashes in particular.

    “We ask all Connecticut residents to obey the rules of the road: Wear a seatbelt, keep both hands on the steering wheel and your eyes on the road, drive the speed limit and please be courteous to other drivers,” Dr. Dora B. Schriro, commissioner of the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection said in a statement. “Your participation and cooperation matters.”

    State police are also putting up laser speed measuring units on highways and secondary roads in effort to reduce speeding.

    Connecticut's new driving under the influence law went into effect on Wednesday. Anyone charged with driving under the influence will have his or her license suspended and will be required to have a mandatory breathalyzer in his or her car. The ignition interlock device requires drivers to blow into the breathalyzer every time they start the car and the vehicle will only run if the person doesn't exceed the legal limit for alcohol.

    “Connecticut drivers can help State Troopers keep our highways safe by setting an example. Drive the speed limit, don’t drink alcohol and drive, and immediately report a suspected drunk drivers to police by calling 911, as this is a true emergency," Col. Brian Meraviglia, commander of the state police, said.

    Between 2009 and 2013, 40 percent of all traffic fatalities Independence Day weekend were related to alcohol.

    Last year during 4th of July weekend, state police issued 1,559 tickets for speeding, 297 seatbelt violation tickets and made 42 DUI arrests. They issued 3,841 tickets for other hazardous moving violations. There were 312 motor vehicle crashes, including 47 with injury. State police said there were no fatal crashes for the holiday weekend last year.

    The DOT cautions people to make alternate plans to safely return home if you are drinking like calling a cab, having a designated driver or taking public transportation.

    Click here for the full list of state police sobriety checkpoints and roving patrol locations.



    Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

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    A Massachusetts man was arrested in connection with a December road rage incident and crash in South Windsor, police said.

    Police arrested Benjamin Clickner, 28, of Uxbridge, Massachusetts, on Wednesday on several charges, including reckless endangerment.

    In December 2014, police responded to a call that was initially reported as a car crash on Oakland Road near Felt Road.

    Upon further investigation, police learned that two drivers were involved in a road rage altercation.

    Another vehicle rammed Clickner's car from behind, causing a crash with a third driver, police said. Police did not elaborate on what led up to the road range incident.

    Police obtained an arrest warrant and Clickner returned to Connecticut and turned himself in on Wednesday.

    South Windsor police charged him with first-degree reckless endangerment, reckless driving, speeding, failure to drive a reasonable distance apart and improper passing.

    Police released him on a $50,000 surety bond and he is due in Manchester Superior Court on July 9.



    Photo Credit: South Windsor Police Department

    Police arrested Benjamin Clickner, 28, of Uxbridge, MA, Wednesday on multiple charges including reckless endangerment in a road rage incident, police said.Police arrested Benjamin Clickner, 28, of Uxbridge, MA, Wednesday on multiple charges including reckless endangerment in a road rage incident, police said.

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    A Metro-North train headed from New York City to Stamford, Connecticut, lost power early Thursday, stranding passengers on the tracks for about two hours.

    The train, which left Grand Central Terminal Wednesday at 11:39 p.m., lost power near Woodlawn at some point after midnight due to damage to the third rail, the MTA said.

    Passengers said a rescue train arrived after about 90 minutes and it took another 40 minutes to get to Woodlawn, where passengers were taken to a transfer train. Although there was no food service on the train, conductors passed around emergency boxes of water.

    “It was boring and there was no food, there was just was just water in boxes,” passenger Jaci Cirillo said. “It was brutal.”

    One passenger caught the train after attending Wednesday night’s Mets game in the city.

    “I stayed through all 11 innings of the Mets game, they didn’t score a single run,” passenger Josh Warhit said.

    He said all his friends left the game early, but he caught the late train home and figured he would get home to New Rochelle by midnight. But the rescue train didn’t pull into Woodlawn until after 2 a.m.

    Trains starting running again around 3 a.m. and the morning commute wasn't affected.


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

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    A 19-year-old Stafford Springs man was airlifted to the hospital after a crash in Ellington early Thursday morning and the driver of the car he was in was on the loose for hours after fleeing on foot from the scene, according to state police.

    Police said the driver, a 22-year-old Rockville man, hit a pole in the area of 106 Shenipsit Street just after 1:30 a.m. on Thursday and the crash injured a passenger.

    The passenger was able to get out of the heavily damaged car before police arrived and LifeStar transported that person to Hartford Hospital because of the extent of his injuries.

    However, the driver left the scene.

    Authorities found the person around 4:30 a.m. at a home on Mountain Street in Vernon and an ambulance transported him to Rockville Hospital to be treated for non-life-threatening injuries.

    The crash knocked down wires, causing at least 44 power outages in the area, but power had been restored to all but one customer as of 7 a.m.

    Firefighters, Ellington police and state police all responded to the scene.

    An accident reconstruction team was called to the scene, state police are investigating and charges are pending.

    Police said they expect the road will be shut down for most of the morning while crews do repair work.

    Drivers can take Mountain Street, which runs parallel to Shenipsit, as a detour.

    Anyone with information is asked to call state police at 860-896-3200.



    Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

    A driver fled after hitting a pole in Ellington, police said.A driver fled after hitting a pole in Ellington, police said.

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    Vernon police arrested two brothers accused of home improvement fraud and stealing from the woman who hired them to do contracting work at her house.

    Glastonbury police tipped Vernon police off in March about an incident of possible fraud involving an elderly resident.

    Brothers Wesley, 26, and David Zaino, 27, approached a woman who turned out to be in her 60s and who lives by herself in Vernon about doing home repairs, police said.

    She paid them nearly $49,485 to do repairs at her home between June 2014 and March 2015, including replacing the roof, painting, putting up curtains up, doing flooring, fixing sidewalks, installing electrical wiring and doing other upgrades around the house, police said.

    The Zaino brothers are also accused of stealing jewelry from the woman while they were in her house and sold the jewelry at pawn shops in the area, police said. Wesley Zaino took about $5,700 in jewelry and David Zaino stole about $1,000 in jewelry, police said. Vernon police were able to recover some of it.

    They were operating under the name Zaino Construction and did little of the work the promised to do. The work they did do was poor quality and didn't pass an inspection. Investigation revealed they were not licensed contractors and did not have the required permits necessary to work on her home.

    They stripped shingles from half of the woman's roof and covered it "haphazardly" with a tarp, leading to water damage in the home, police said.

    The brothers also couldn't account for most of the money the woman paid them even though most of the promised repairs were not done.

    The Hebron Resident Trooper's office took the brothers into custody on Thursday on the outstanding Vernon arrest warrants.

    The case remains under investigation and police believe there are other victims.

    Vernon police ask anyone who thinks he or she was a victim of the Zaino brothers to contact Det. Charles Hicking at 860-872-9126 at extension 224.

    Police caution residents that they should verify contractors' credentials before they hire them. Any home improvement contractor is required to be licensed through the state's Department of Consumer Protection. You can verify licenses through the state website.

    Vernon police charged both brothers with first-degree larceny, conspiracy to commit first-degree larceny, second-degree larceny, conspiracy to commit second-degree larceny, third-degree burglary and making home improvements without a license. Wesley Zaino was also charged with third-degree larceny and David Zaino was charged with fifth-degree larceny.

    The brothers are scheduled to appear in Rockville Superior Court on Thursday. Wesley was issued a $100,000 cash/surety bond and David Zaino was issued a $75,000 cash/surety bond.



    Photo Credit: Vernon Police Department

    Vernon police arrested two brothers accused of home improvement fraud and stealing from the woman who hired them to do contracting work at her house. Brothers Wesley, 26, and David Zaino, 27, approached a woman who turned out to be in her 60s and who lives by herself in Vernon about doing home repairs, police said.Vernon police arrested two brothers accused of home improvement fraud and stealing from the woman who hired them to do contracting work at her house. Brothers Wesley, 26, and David Zaino, 27, approached a woman who turned out to be in her 60s and who lives by herself in Vernon about doing home repairs, police said.

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    A 16-year-old Waterbury boy has been arrested and charged with second-degree manslaughter in connection with a crash that killed a 15-year-old girl and sent a 13-year old to the hospital.

    Police said the 16-year-old was driving a 2002 Nissan Maxima stolen from a Wolcott home, crashed into a utility pole at Wolcott Street and Dallas Avenue in Waterbury on Wednesday morning. The car was cut in two and the passengers were ejected, police said.

    A 2012 Subaru Legacy stolen from Plymouth then hit the front part of the other car. The drivers of both cars fled the scene in a third car, police said.

    Sajenae Winfrey, 15, of Waterbury, was pronounced dead at the scene. Police said Winfrey was a back seat passenger in Maxima.

    Police officers eventually caught up with the driver of the Maxima, who is facing charges, including second-degree manslaughter, leaving the scene of a crash and third-degree larceny. Police believe speed was a factor in the crash. The teen's name has not been released.

    The 13-year-old boy who was sitting in the back seat of the Maxima suffered head trauma and is in critical condition at Connecticut Children's Medical Center. 

    Flowers now line the intersection where the crash happened.

    Police are now looking into whether the teens went on a car burglary spree in the Wolcott neighborhood the car was stolen from before the fatal crash.

    More arrests are expected.

    They said someone went through five cars and stole scratch tickets and golf clubs.



    Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com/Family Photo

    Flowers line the spot where Sajenae Winfrey, 15, of Waterbury, was killed in a crash Wednesday morning.Flowers line the spot where Sajenae Winfrey, 15, of Waterbury, was killed in a crash Wednesday morning.

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    A feud between two woman over a man escalated into a road rage stabbing and the arrest of both of them in New Britain Friday afternoon, according to police.

    Jessica Davis, 35, of First Street in New Britain, is charged with stabbing Tiffany Bass, 41, of Hartford, multiple times with a barbecue fork and then ramming into her and her vehicle with her car near the junction of North and Main streets, police said. Bass was also charged in the incident.

    Davis texted Bass several times that day and then her boyfriend called Bass to let her know Davis had a sharp weapon and was coming to see her, police said.

    Bass tried to flee in her car, but Davis rear-ended her car when she stopped at a red light at the intersection of North and Main streets, police said. Davis then got out of her car and stabbed bass with a fork at least three times, witnesses told police. Then Bass slashed one of her attacker's tires, police said. Davis drove into Bass and pinned her between the women's vehicles before driving further. Davis sideswiped the other car as Bass was still pinned between them. Witnesses gave police the same account Bass told them.

    Bass was treated at the scene for arm puncture wounds and other injuries she got when the car hit her, police said. Police located her car unoccupied near the 1500 block of Stanley Street with a flat tire and damage to the front of the car, police said.

    After finding Davis at her home, police charged her with attempted first-degree assault, second-degree breach of peace and reckless driving. She posted bond and was released and will be arraigned in New Britain Superior Court a few weeks from now.

    Police issued Bass a summons on charges of second-degree breach of peace and third-degree criminal mischief.


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    A middle-aged man whose brother found him dead in a well at his home in Watertown on Thursday may have been there for days, according to police.

    Investigators said the 58-year-old man's brother hadn't heard from him for several days and went to check on him at his house on French Street. There he found the man face-down in a well.

    Police said the man apparently fell in and became lodged about 5 feet down into the well, which extends at least 25 feet into the ground. Investigators believe he was dead for at least a day or two before his brother discovered his body.

    While the incident is still under investigation, police said it was likely an accident. The man apparently had a rope with him to retrieve water from his garden when he fell in. The well's wooden cap had been removed and police found tools nearby.

    The medical examiner is working to determine the man's cause of death. Police speculate he may have drowned.



    Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

    Police are investigating after a body was found in a well in Watertown.Police are investigating after a body was found in a well in Watertown.

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    Joe Rosenthal’s historic photograph depicting five Marines and a Navy corpsman raising the flag on Iwo Jima is one of America’s most iconic war-related images. It is also one of the most parodied images, but a recent depiction of the event sparked fury on social media. 

    On June 26, photographer Ed Freeman posted a picture he took more than a decade ago for the cover of Frontiers, a gay magazine, that shows four male models planting a gay pride flag similarly to how the six soldiers planted the flag at Iwo Jima 70 years ago. Freeman’s Facebook post celebrated the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark decision to allowing same-sex marriage nationwide. 

    “When I took this picture almost ten years ago, it never, never occurred to me that it would someday come to symbolize the victory we are celebrating today,” Freeman said in the post. “Congratulations to all of us! Love to you all.”

    The backlash against the photograph was fierce, according to The Washington Post, with many social media users saying that comparing the sacrifice of American soldiers in World War II with the struggle for gay rights was disrespectful. 

    "Altering the American flag colors && trying to remake the "Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima" photograph with the gay pride flag is degrading," one user said.

    "I get all that gay marriage stuff but to replace the American flag from the iconic Iwo Jima picture, just no," another post read. 

    Freeman, whose studio is in Los Angeles, told the Post he even received a death threat that he reported to the FBI.

    "This picture was just a flashpoint for a lot people who are looking for a reason to lash out, so I guess I get to be the whipping boy,” Freeman told the Post about the backlash. “I’m fine with that if that’s what it takes.”

    The Iwo Jima motif has appeared elsewhere, including to sell beer and promote the Hard Rock Cafe, and its use has been similarly criticized. In 2008, Time magazine was criticized for using an altered version of the Iwo Jima photograph showing soldiers planting a tree. That cover, which was meant to compare the struggle to win the war to the struggle to combat climate change, even drew condemnation from some fellow journalists.


    Army soldiers raising the American flag at Iwo Jima, Japan in 1945, left. On the right, Ed Freeman's take on the iconic photo.Army soldiers raising the American flag at Iwo Jima, Japan in 1945, left. On the right, Ed Freeman's take on the iconic photo.

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    New London police have arrested a man in connection with an investigation into a student bringing a gun to Bennie Dover Jackson Middle School in April and firing it.

    Richard Velazquez, 39, of New London was arrested on Wednesday morning.

    An 11-year-old student brought a gun to the middle school in April and fired a shot in the building, according to police and school administrators. Someone found the weapon in a second-floor boys' bathroom and the school was placed in lockdown at the time.

    Police said Velazquez was responsible for the firearm before the student somehow obtained it.
    Velazquez has been charged with criminal possession of a firearm and risk of injury to a minor after an investigation into eth incident.

    Police ask anyone with information about the incident to call New London Police Department at 860-447-5269 or anonymous information can be submitted via the Internet at the New London Tips 411 system.
     



    Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

    Richard Velazquez has been arrested after student brought a gun to a school in New London and fired a shot.Richard Velazquez has been arrested after student brought a gun to a school in New London and fired a shot.

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    A man stabbed his older brother on Cedar Island in Clinton after a day of drinking escalated into a violent argument and the victim's 10-year-old son witnessed part of the fight, police said.

    Matthew Voog, 37, is facing charges after police say he stabbed his 38-year-old brother several times in the chest and arm on Wednesday July 1. His friend, Eddie "Scoobie" Herger, 45, of Golden Bridge, New York, was also arrested after threatening officers on scene, police said.

    Clinton police and firefighters responded to the island after receiving a report that someone was injured. The victim's injuries were serious, so an ambulance took him to Yale-New Haven hospital.

    Police learned in the investigation that the brothers were drinking throughout the day. The brothers started quarreling and got into a physical altercation before Matthew Voog stabbed his brother several times, police said.

    The victim's son, who was on vacation visiting his father, saw part of the brawl. Police released him to his mother who came to pick him up from out-of-state.

    Their friend, Herger called 911 and helped the victim back to the dock as they waited for police and firefighters to arrive.

    Meanwhile, Matthew Voog showered to wash off the blood on him, police said. When police got there, they said he wasn't wearing a shirt and there was a shirt on fire on the ground. He told them he did stab his brother but in self defense, claiming his brother punched him in the face and attacked him first. When questioned about the burning shirt, Herger told police that he didn't know why the shirt was on fire, where the knife was or anything about the incident, police said.

    Herger threatened to take two responding police officers' guns and kill them, lunging at one of the officers, so he had to be physically restrained, police said.

    Voog and his brother didn't cooperate with police and wouldn't let them search the home they were in for the knife, police said. But police applied for a search warrant. While they were waiting, Herger returned to tell them he helped the suspect burn the shirt that had the victim's blood on it, police said. He had also washed the blood off the knife and put it in the sink before police arrived.

    Police charged Matthew Voog with first-degree assault, risk of injury to a minor, tampering with evidence and interfering with police. Herger was charged with tampering with evidence, providing a false statement to police and two counts of interfering with police.

    Police held Voog on a $1-million bond and Herger was held in custody on a $25,000 bond. Both men appeared in Middletown Superior Court on Thursday.



    Photo Credit: Clinton Police Department

    A man stabbed his older brother on Cedar Island in Clinton after a day of drinking escalated into a violent argument and the victim's 10-year-old son witnessed part of the fight, police said.A man stabbed his older brother on Cedar Island in Clinton after a day of drinking escalated into a violent argument and the victim's 10-year-old son witnessed part of the fight, police said.

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    A petition is circulating to have Yale University change the name of one of its colleges because it is named after a supporter of slavery.

    The petition posted on the Yale Alumni Magazine's Facebook page comes in the wake of a shooting massacre at a Charleston, South Carolina church.

    Calhoun College at Yale is named after John C. Calhoun, a former United States vice president under John Quincy Adams and Andrew Jackson, former secretary of state, former U.S. senator in South Carolina and former U.S. representative, according to the U.S. Department of State office of the historian. He graduated from Yale College in 1804 and went to Litchfield Law School after that, according to the U.S. historian's office. He was controversial because of his support of slavery, according to office of the historian.

    The petition addressed to the Yale administration states, "It is deeply upsetting that it has taken a tragedy such as the shooting in Charleston to initiate the removal of symbols of white supremacy from public spaces.."

    "But public displays of the Confederate Flag throughout the South are finally in peril," the petition states. "Multinational corporations such as Amazon, eBay, Sears, and Walmart have ceased selling merchandise featuring the flag. The Confederate flag, however, is not the only symbol of white supremacy to confront. The monumental task of eliminating the vestiges of racism must include all monuments and symbols dedicated to people and institutions that fought to preserve slavery and white supremacy."

    The petitioners request that Yale changes the name of Calhoun College because while he "was respected during his time as an extraordinary American statesman," he also was "one of the most prolific defenders of slavery and white supremacy in American history."

    "At a time when many of his southern colleagues viewed slavery as a necessary evil, Calhoun infamously defended the institution as 'a positive good,' " the petition said. "His legacy is built on his vociferous defense of a state’s right to enslave blacks. And during his tenure in Washington, he sharpened racist rhetoric, bolstered the political clout of slave owners, and drove the nation irreversibly toward dissolution and war. Most pertinently, he was a proud champion of the view that blacks were not equal, could never be equal, and would always be subservient to whites."

    The petition states that Yale honors Calhoun "with a beautifully renovated college on the corner of Elm and College Street, which its own website refers to as 'truly the best residential college at Yale.'"

    "Every day, undergraduates, graduate students, and New Haven residents who pass by see Calhoun’s name, emboldened beneath the Yale insignia," the petition reads. "It has previously been suggested that the name be changed from Calhoun College to Calhoun-Bouchet College, in honor of Edward Bouchet, the first African-American to attend Yale College. We adamantly believe, however, that Calhoun’s name must be removed entirely."

    The petitioners said that people need to see the world through others' eyes in order to progress socially.

    "Respect for history in the eyes of some is the tolerance of white supremacy in the eyes of others," the petition states. "Like the official display of the Confederate flag in South Carolina, Calhoun College represents an indifference to centuries of pain and suffering among the black population. It conveys disrespect toward black perspectives, and serves a barrier toward racial inclusiveness. Calhoun College will always preclude minority students from feeling truly at home at Yale."

    In closing the petition said that changing the college's name and removing Calhoun's would be just "one step of many in the continuing battle to achieve racial equality and racial justice here at Yale, but it is an important symbolic one."

    "We respectfully request this change," the petition says.

    Yale University could not be immediately reached for comment.

    Click here to read the full petition.
     


    La famosa universidad de Yale University, en New Haven, CT, ocupa el quinto lugar.La famosa universidad de Yale University, en New Haven, CT, ocupa el quinto lugar.

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    The swimming area at Lake Waramaug State Park in Kent is closed on Thursday because of water quality.

    The water will be retested today and results are expected on Friday, according to the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.

    All other swimming areas at state parks are open.
     



    Photo Credit: Getty Images

    The swimming area at Lake Waramaug State Park in Kent is closed on Thursday because of water quality.The swimming area at Lake Waramaug State Park in Kent is closed on Thursday because of water quality.

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    Route 32 is closed at Plains Road in Windham while authorities respond to a crash, according to Willimantic dispatchers.

    Police said it happened around 3:30 p.m. Thursday.

    Wreckers are working to clear the scene. There has been no word on injuries.

    No additional information was immediately available.



    Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

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    A motorcycle driver was killed in a crash on Killingly Avenue/Route 12 in Putnam Thursday evening, according to state police.

    Authorities said the motorcycle drove off the road around 5 p.m. in the area of 375 Killingly Avenue.

    State police shut down the road, and dispatchers said an ambulance and medic were called to the scene.

    Police are investigating. They have not publicly identified the motorcyclist.

    Route 12 reopened shortly before 10 p.m., according to the Department of Transportation.

    No additional information was immediately available.

    Check back for updates on this developing story.



    Photo Credit: Shutterstock

    Two firefighters have been injured when two San Antonio fire trucks collided while responding to an emergency call.Two firefighters have been injured when two San Antonio fire trucks collided while responding to an emergency call.

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