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Man Found Burned in West Haven Died of Smoke Inhalation


Police have identified the man whose burned body was found in West Haven on the afternoon of March 27 and said he died of accidental smoke inhalation.

People who were walking near the West River canoe launch off of Boston Post Road found the body around 3:15 p.m. and officials said the man was burned beyond recognition, according to police.

Police used DNA records and determined that the man is Raymond Beauchesne, whose last known address in West Haven.

Police said it appeared that Beauchesne was huddled over a campfire and collapsed into it.


Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

UConn Beats Louisville for 8th National Title


For the first time since 2010, the UConn Huskies are national champions. It's the eighth title for coach Geno Auriemma and Tuesday's 93-60 win over the upstart Louisville Cardinals was a clinical performance from a team that will lose just one starter to graduation.

The biggest fear heading into the game may have been the Huskies coming out flat after an emotional Final Four win over Notre Dame. Those fears never really materialized; Louisville led 14-10 with just under 14 minutes to go in the first half and then UConn caught fire. A 19-0 run made it 29-14 and by the break that lead was extended to 48-29.

The Cardinals cut the lead to 16 with 13 minutes to go in the second half and that was as close as they would get. The Huskies, playing their best basketball of the season, were unstoppable. If it wasn't Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis, Breanna Stewart or Kelly Faris draining three-pointers, it was Stefanie Dolson or Morgan Tuck owning the paint.

Stewart, who arrived in Storrs last summer with lofty expectations, used the tournament as her own coming-out party. Two days after dropping 29 on Notre Dame, Stewart scored 17 points in the first half against Louisville. She finished with 23 and looks every bit the super star Auriemma promised even before Stewart played her first game.

But back in January and February, Stewart wasn't the same player we've seen the last month. She was in a funk and looked like, well, a freshman. Auriemma admitted it was something she would have to work through and she did.

"I just think I played really confident and stopped thinking," Stewart told ESPN's Rebecca Lobo after the game. "When I second-guess myself nothing good comes out of that."

And while Stewart has garnered much of the attention during the Huskies' NCAA Tournament run, the reality is that this team peaked at the right time; Mosqueda-Lewis showed why she is the best pure shooter in the game, and Faris leaves UConn as arguably one of its best defenders. Bria Hartley, who shined the role of sixth man, scored 13 points and handed out four assists in the final. Perhaps most amazing: everyone but Faris is back next season and it's reasonable to expect they will all be better.

"I just think we grew up a little bit," Auriemma said, explaining how his team morphed from a young, mistake-prone group to the well-oiled machine we saw Tuesday night. "A lot of the frustration we had -- we didn't win the regular season and we didn't win the (Big East) tournament … I think our players collectively decided to give up a little bit of themselves. I think before that we were a good team of good players. But right after that, as we talked, we became a great team. It was an amazing transformation."

For an idea of what Auriemma has accomplished, national title No. 8 moves him into second place all-time alongside Tennessee's Pat Summitt, and just two behind legendary UCLA coach John Wooden. And before Auriemma arrived at UConn, the program had never had a 20-win season, never mind an NCAA Tournament appearance. Under Auriemma, the Huskies have 24 20-win seasons, 18 30-win seasons, 26 tourney appearances, 14 Final Fours and now eight championships. Oh, and that last on, the 33-point margin of victory? It's the largest in NCAA history. Seems fitting.

Photo Credit: AP

First Lady to Chicago Youth: You Are "Not Alone"


In an emotional speech, First Lady Michelle Obama on Wednesday issued a call to arms to community and business leaders in her hometown of Chicago, asking them to guide the city's youth to a better future.

''I'm here today because Chicago is my home,'' Obama said. ''My story would not be possible without this city.''

In her speech, Obama talked at length about the hard lessons learned from Hadiya Pendleton's death and address the violence that has plagued the city in recent months. Pendleton,14, was killed in January in what is believed to be a gang-related shooting; Obama attended her funeral.

Obama was joined by Chicago's mayor Rahm Emanuel as well as some of the city's most prominent business leaders at a luncheon hosted by the City of Chicago and community leaders whose aim is to help at-risk youths. 

"I urge you to join me and Hadiya's classmates and young people across this city who are against all odds fighting so hard to succeed," Obama said. "We need to show them with not just words but with action that they not alone in this struggle."

Obama's visit comes at a time when parents are grappling with the shuttering of 54 public schools, an issue that has the community worried will put their children in harms way.

Her speech was also aligned with a impending vote on a gun legislation intended to curb violence with stricter background checks.

"Right now my husband is fighting as a hard as he can and engaging with as many people as he can to protect to our children from gun violence," she said. "These reforms deserve a vote in Congress."

After the luncheon, the First Lady is scheduled to meet with a small group of students and counselors at Harper High School to hear about their experiences.

The White House notes Harper High School has been "profoundly affected by violence" with 29 current or former students shot and eight of them killed in the past year. The Englewood school was featured on a two-part "This American Life" series focusing on Chicago violence.

Emanuel's office said the visit with help raise awareness about successful programs that already help at-risk youth.

“The greatest thing we can do as a city is give our children the support they need to build a successful life," Emanuel said. “We are honored to have the First Lady’s support in this effort. I will work tirelessly to provide safe alternatives that reduce the risk of our kids getting involved with drugs, gangs, and violence.”

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Photo Credit: AP

Stranded Sea Lion Pup Waddles Back to Sea


A woman spotted the stranded sea lion pup in a parking lot in Ocean Beach, Calif.

Above-Average 2013 Atlantic Hurricane Season Predicted


The forecast team from Colorado State University is predicting an above-average 2013 Atlantic hurricane season with 18 named storms and nine hurricanes.

Of those nine hurricanes, four are expected to be major, according to the predictions released Wednesday by Colorado State's Phil Klotzbach and William Gray.

National Weather Service Looks at Hurricane Warnings

They're also anticipating an above-average probability for major hurricanes making landfall along the U.S. coastline and in the Caribbean, mainly due to factors including warm sea surface temperatures and the unlikelihood of an El Nino phenomenon developing this season.

The Atlantic Basin annual average is 12 named storms, six hurricanes and two major hurricanes.

Last year saw an above-average season with 19 named storms, 10 hurricanes and two major hurricanes, highlighted by the massive and destructive Hurricane Sandy.

PHOTOS: Coming Back From Hurricane Sandy

Hurricane season begins June 1 and runs through November. Klotzbach and Gray will issue an update to their predictions on June 3 and again on Aug. 2.

More Weather Content:

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Quinnipiac and Yale Head to Frozen Four


Connecticut college sports teams are continuing to dominate on the national stage and number 1 ranked Quinnipiac and Yale will both be in the Frozen Four in Pittsburgh on Thursday.

This is the first ever final four for the Quinnipiac men’s hockey team and the Yale Bulldogs’ first trip to the Final Four in 61 years and students are hoping for an all-Connecticut championship game.

"We don't get to play against them very often, even though we are really close, so we're really excited to play the final game against them. It'll be really cool," Erin Maher, a junior at Yale, said  "It's pretty much a once in a lifetime experience. My freshman year, we were number one in the country and we thought we'd make it and we didn't, so this year was a total surprise, so we're completely thrilled to be able to skip our classes and head to Pittsburgh."

Yale University is up first, at 4:30 p.m. with a battle against number 3 seed UMass-Lowell.

Then, at 8 p.m., Quinnipiac University will take on Minnesota’s St. Cloud State University.

Students from both universities hopped on buses to make the trip to see their schools. Quinnipiac sent three busloads to Pittsburgh.

But, many students will stay right here in Connecticut and there are several options to watch the game with other Bobcats, including at the Carl Hansen Student Center of the Mount Carmel Campus and the Rocky Top Student Center on the York Hill Campus.

The QU Alumni Association is also hosting several regional game watch parties in several Connecticut cities and towns, as well as in New York, Boston, Rhode Island, Florida and even Arizona.

The parties are free, but registration is required.  

Yale’s hockey team arrived at the airport in Pittsburgh on Tuesday night to students from Pennsylvania playing college fight songs and chanting “Let’s Go Bulldogs,” according to the Yale University site.

Yale Athletics is hosting a special viewing party for fans on Thursday at 4:30 p.m. in the John J. Lee Amphitheater, Payne Whitney Gymnasium.

Admission is free and the first 500 fans will receive free T-shirts. Pizza and beverages provided by Modern Apizza will be available while supplies last.

Are you showing Bobcat or Bulldog pride? Send your photos to photos@nbcconnecticut.com.

Tiger Woods Makes a Comeback

Tiger Woods reclaimed his No. 1 spot as the world's top golfer after winning the Arnold Palmer invitational for the eighth time. Tiger will begin his 19th Masters on Thursday, April 11th for the first round of the year's first major championship. Click to see more of what Woods has been doing.

Rockefeller Impostor Convicted in 1985 SoCal Slaying


A man who blended into wealthy East Coast circles by posing as a member of the famous Rockefeller family was convicted Wednesday of first-degree murder in the 1985 killing of a Southern California man whose remains were unearthed decades later in his family's backyard.

Jurors deliberated for about one day in the case of Christian Gerhartsreiter, 52, who used several aliases that included Clark Rockefeller — a name that allowed him to fraternize with members of high society after he left Southern California following the disappearance of John and Linda Sohus.

John Sohus' remains were found by a construction crew nine years after he and his wife Linda disappeared. A father-son work crew found the remains — Sohus' skull was in two plastic bags — when they were building a pool in the backyard of the Sohus family's San Marino home.

Ellen Sohus, the victim's step-sister, spoke about her brother outside the courtroom. She remembered him as "the original nerd," who would set up electronic equipment and other gadgets for her.

"He was gentle, fun loving and curious — he knew everything," Sohus said.

Linda Sohus has never been located, and defense attorneys attempted to cast her as a suspect in the case.

Prosecutors presented three weeks of circumstantial evidence during the trial. In their closing argument, they told jurors that all the evidence pointed to Gerhartsreiter — not Linda Sohus.

"The jurors rejected what was unreasonable," said Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney Habib Balian. "Sometimes, you're afraid this guy has conned so many people for so many years, that this might be the time he pulls off his last con — that didn't happen."

Jurors who spoke after the verdict was announced said the "weight of the evidence" influenced the decision to convict. The evidence included two bags containing Sohus' skull. One bag was from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and one from the USC bookstore — schools that the defendant attended. 

"The entire weight of the  evidence really put it together," said jury forewoman Kristen Lee. "I can't say that one piece (of evidence) stood out in my mind."

Gerhartsreiter faces a penalty of 27 years to life in prison. Sentencing is scheduled for June 26.

The German national moved to the United States in the late 1970s. He was a tenant on the Sohus' property in the upscale community (map) southeast of Pasadena at the time of the couple's  disappearance.

The couple (pictured, right) lived at the home with Sohus' mother. 

Gerhartsreiter left Southern California for Connecticut in Sohus' vehicle and attempted to assume another life on the East Coast, according to prosecutors. The timeline of events — including Gerhartsreiter's activities in Southern California and on the East Coast — was presented to jurors during the trial in a downtown Los Angeles courtroom.

"What I have now are a lot of answers that I never believed I was going to have," Ellen Sohus said. "What happened to John? Who's responsible? And, what the defendant continued to do after he left San Marino."

He adopted the "Rockefeller" alias in an effort to move in wealthy circles, according to prosecutors. Defense attorneys argued the defendant's aliases have nothing to do with Sohus' death, and that he is just one of many people who moved to Los Angeles to "reinvent themselves."

Gerhartsreiter called himself "Chichester" in the early 1980s when he moved to Southern California. He said he was a film student at USC and claimed he was related to Sir Francis Chichester, a famed British adventurer.

"We feel bad for Mr. Gerhartsreiter," said defense attorney Jeffrey Denner. "We will always believe this case wasn't proven beyond a reasonable doubt."

Gerhartsreiter was serving time for the kidnapping in Boston when investigators connected him to the Sohus case.

Ellen Sohus was asked to comment on what she thought might have been the motive behind her step-brother's slaying.

"The only thing I can imagine happening, is something happened that he felt he needed to protect his mother from — he would have confronted someone," she said.


Suspect in Robbery, Trooper Shooting Died of Gunshot Wounds


The man killed as police were trying to apprehend suspects in an armed robbery in Westbrook on April 8 died of gunshot wounds, according to a news release from state police.

Police have identified the man as Jonathan Alvarado, 24, of Deep River, and said he was one of two suspects in the robbery and shootout with police.

The incident began when Old Saybrook police responded to an armed robbery at the Days Inn at 1430 Boston Post Road around 3 p.m. on Monday.  

Alvarado and another suspect fled the scene and led officers on a chase, police said.

State  troopers joined the pursuit up Route 153 and and the suspects' vehicle collided with the trooper's cruiser on the Westbrook town line with Essex, according to police.

The suspects then exchanged gunfire with Det. Scott Wisner, a 21-year-old veteran of the department, and Sgt. Keith Graham, a 14-year-veteran of the force, police said.

Wisner suffered gunshot wounds to the shoulder and was taken to the Shoreline Medical Clinic in Westbrook. He was released from the hospital on Tuesday and is recovering at home.

The two suspects were also transported to the clinic, where Alvarado died. The Office of the Chief State's Medical Examiner determined the cause of death was gunshot wounds.

The second suspect was transported by LifeStar helicopter to Hartford Hospital for treatment of severe injuries. He remains under 24-hour state police guard and the investigation continues.

Sgt. Graham was assigned to administrative duties pending the investigation into the shooting, which is standard procedure after a police-involved shooting.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Man Leaves Kid in Car, Goes to Class


A father is accused of leaving his kid in the car so he could attend class at the University of Delaware.

Police were called to the campus Tuesday afternoon just before 1 p.m. after passerbys said they saw a young child crying and banging on the window of a parked car with the windows cracked. The witnesses were able to get the 3-year-old to open the door then alerted police, according to Newark Police.

While investigating, Rafig Gurbanzada, 32, showed up around 1:50 p.m. and said that he had left his child in the car around 12:15 p.m. so that he could attend class.

The child was evaluated at the scene, found to be unharmed and released to the child’s mother.

Gurbanzada was arrested and charged with second-degree reckless endangerment and child endangerment. He was released on $2,000 unsecured bond.

It wasn't known which class Gurbanzada was attending. He is listed as a Master of Public Administration major on the university's website.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

911 Tapes Released from Ex-LAPD Officer's Calif. Rampage


Audio of the 911 call a Southern California couple placed Feb. 12 after being tied up by disgruntled ex-LAPD Officer Christopher Dorner was released Tuesday, Southern California Public Radio reported.

Dorner was blamed for the murders of four people, including two police officers, amid a series of vengeful shootings targeting law enforcement and their families. He killed himself last month as police closed in on him in the Big Bear area in the San Bernardino Mountains, following a massive manhunt.

In the partially redacted 911 recording, Karen Reynolds tells a police dispatcher that Dorner entered a condo in Big Bear and held them up at gunpoint before tying them up and taking off in their truck.

"We were tied up by Dorner," Reynolds said during the 21-minute phone call.

Reynolds, who managed to use her cellphone while tied up to call 911, said Dorner had been armed with a rifle that had a silencer.

Complete Coverage: Manifesto For Murder

Minutes after Dorner departed, Karen Reynolds freed herself enough to get to her cellphone, calling 911 in speaker mode with her hands still bound.

She told the operator she believed Dorner had been holed up in her condo just across from the manhunt's command center during much of the search.

"I'm pretty sure he's been here the whole time," Reynolds said.

"You guys are just across from the command center?" the operator said, sounding surprised.

The couple stayed on the call while they waited for deputies. Karen Reynolds at one point falls over and groans in pain.

Dorner was an ex-LAPD police officer and former United States Navy reservist who was charged in connection with a series of shooting attacks on police officers and their families from between Feb. 3 and 12.

Four people were killed in the shootings, including two police officers, and three police officers were wounded.

Dorner was the subject of one of the largest manhunts in LAPD history that spanned two states and Mexico before he shot himself while holed up in an unoccupied cabin in Big Bear during a standoff with police.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Tiger Out to Master Augusta for 5th Time


For the second straight year, Tiger Woods heads into the Masters as the odds-on favorite to win the green jacket. In 2012,  Woods finished five strokes over par, 15 strokes back and tied for 40th place. 

Will he deliver this time?

"Tiger said it best earlier this week when he said he was comfortable with every aspect of his game. If he says he's comfortable, I believe him," said Jay Coffin, editor of GolfChannel.com. "There is nothing that I've seen this year that makes me believe he's not ready to make a valiant run this week for his fifth green jacket."

Woods begins that run at 10:45 a.m. ET Thursday when he tees off at Augusta National, beginning the four-day quest for his fifth Masters title.

But Coffin isn't quite ready to measure Woods for a fitting just yet — after all, it's been eight long years and one dramatic chip-in since he last won at Augusta.

From his historic victory at the 1997 Masters until the night he drove his car into a tree and then a fire hydrant while fleeing his home following an argument with his then-wife Elin Nordegren, Woods never went more than two years without winning a Major. It's now been almost five years.

On Nov. 25, 2009, the National Inquirer ran a story alleging that Woods had an extramarital affair with a New York City nightclub manager. Over the next 10 weeks, his personal life began to unravel in a most public fashion.

A parade of women more than a dozen strong came forward with all manner of lurid claims, and Woods was forced to apologize, ultimately holding a televised press conference during which he admitted, "I was unfaithful, I had affairs and I cheated. What I did was unacceptable," and announced that he was stepping away from the game indefinitely.

"Indefinitely" turned out to be until April 8, at the 2010 Masters, where he shot better than par for all four rounds, but finished tied for fourth, five strokes behind winner Phil Mickelson. In 2011, Woods again tied for fourth at Augusta, but missed the next two Majors with injuries to his knee and Achilles heel, before failing to make the cut at the PGA Championship.

Between the collapse of his marriage, public image and ailing health, Woods looked human for the first time in his career. For years his mere presence on a golf course had made opponents wilt -- he won 49 of 53 tournaments when leading after three rounds. Suddenly he was human, and his fellow golfers were no longer chasing him—they were beating him.

But things are different now. Woods is coming off 2-stroke victory at the Arnold Palmer Invitational three weeks ago, is again the No. 1 ranked golfer in the world for the first time in 2 1/2 years. He leads the tour in earnings, with $3.7 million from three wins in five events.

Woods' personal life appears to have stabilized as well. Last month Woods posted on Facebook photos of himself with his new love interest, Olympic gold medalist Lindsey Vonn.

"Lindsey and I have been friends for some time, but over the last few months we have become very close and are now dating," read the caption on one of the photos. "We thank you for your support and for respecting our privacy. We want to continue our relationship, privately, as an ordinary couple and continue to compete as athletes."

But most importantly, Woods says he's healthy.

"I can still practice all day, that's something I wasn't able to do for a few years there," Woods told ESPN on Sunday.

Woods made it clear early in his career that he had his sights set on Jack Nicklaus' record of 18 Major tournament wins. In the fall of 2008, that goal seemed a forgone conclusion. Just 32 at the time, he was sitting at 14 Major wins with at least a decade of golf ahead of him.

Now, time is running out.

"This is a big week for Tiger," Coffin said. "Sure, he has an eye on 18 majors, always has. But he needs to worry about major No. 15. If he doesn't win this week it'd be a disappointment. If he does, watch out the rest of the year."

Photo Credit: AP

WATCH: Man Facing Battery Charge Curses, Flips Off Judge


A Miami-Dade judge kept her cool when a man facing a battery charge repeatedly cursed her out, gave her the middle finger and grabbed his crotch during a bond court appearance Wednesday.

Jodel Leveille, 24, appeared before Judge Ellen Sue Venzer to face charges of battery on a law enforcement officer and criminal mischief, jail records showed.

Clad in orange prison garb, Leveille appeared calm until Venzer ruled there was probable cause for the battery charge, when he began a profanity-laced tirade.

Woman Flips Lid on Miami-Dade Judge Who Was Flipped Bird

"F--- you, judge," Leveille yelled, before flipping the judge the bird, grabbing his crotch and telling her to die.

Leveille claimed he was stabbed by a woman he had a restraining order against and when officers arrived they beat him. Venzer asked him to calm down, but Leveille refused.

"I ain't gonna calm down, they beat the hell out of me," he said. "You can't judge me."

Woman Who Flipped Off Judge Back in Court

"You know what I'm gonna do, Mr. Leveille," Venzer said.

"I don't care what you do, you can go to hell for what I care," Leveille replied.

Venzer reset the appearance to the afternoon.

"I'm gonna give you an opportunity to calm down, Mr. Leveille," she said.

Records showed Leveille was being held on $11,500 bond. It was unknown whether he has an attorney.

The incident was reminiscent of 18-year-old Penelope Soto's appearance before Miami-Dade Judge Jorge Rodriguez-Chomat in early February, where she was sentenced to 30 days for flipping him the bird. The sentence was later reduced after Soto apologized.


Branford Family Gives Back With Ice Cream Social


Students at Mary R. Tisko Elementary School in Branford had a special ice cream breakfast this morning because a local family wanted to give back to an organization that did something special for them.

The ice cream for breakfast fundraiser was held to benefit the "Give the Kids the World Village" organization, which helps send children with life-threatening illnesses on dream vacations.

The organization sent Christie Moriarty, a first grader, and her family free of charge on a fantasy vacation to Florida and the Moriartys wanted to do something to give back.

"My daughter Christie, she was born with Spina Bifida and she's unable to walk and her kidneys are affected," Kevin Moriarty, Christie’s father, said. "All my kids wanted to do something when they came back and this is something fun to enjoy and everybody loves ice cream."

During the fundraiser, students presented a dollar and then received a bowl of ice cream or fruit as an alternative.

Then, the students were shown a special video explaining how their donations help children.

"It makes me feel really good because they're donating stuff," said Christie’s brother, Peyton Moriarty, who also attends the school.

He hopes the fundraiser will teach his classmates more about kids with disabilities and just what a fun family-getaway means to a child facing a life-threatening illness.

"She got do fun things when she doesn't usually get to do that," Peyton said. "It's a great place and if you have someone with a disability, go there. It'll make your family feel really good."

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

NYC Cardiologist Admits Faking Diagnoses to Collect Medicare Money


A New York City cardiologist admits he intentionally misdiagnosed up to 80 percent of his patients with heart problems so he could collect millions in extra Medicare money. 
Dr. Jose Katz, 68, pleaded guilty to falsifying charts diagnosing patients with angina and other heart ailments so he could prescribe extra tests and treatments when hundreds of patients did not need them.
In court Wednesday, he agreed his actions could have caused "serious bodily harm" to his patients. He and his lawyer disagreed when prosecutors said some patients were at risk of death due to his actions.
In all, Katz admitted his scheme took in over $19 million. 
Katz's crimes went on from at least 2004 through 2012. His résumé said he is affiliated with New York-Presbyterian Hospital, and he had offices on Fifth Avenue and in New Jersey.
U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman said many patients who were exploited went to Katz's clinics, called Cardio-Med Services, in the New Jersey cities of Union City, Paterson and West New York. He also ran clinics called Comprehensive Healthcare in Manhattan and Queens. 
Katz said he performed many so-called EECP procedures based on false diagnoses to overbill Medicare and private insurers like Blue Cross and Aetna.   
In court, Katz told the judge as a doctor he had "done everything he could to help patients." The judge told him he would have time to speak at sentencing set for July 23. After the court hearing, Katz and his attorney, Blair Zwillman, left the courthouse admitting mistakes were made but insisting Katz always cared for his patients.
Katz faces up to 10 years in prison on the conspiracy to commit health care fraud charges. He also admitted creating a no-show job in his office in order to rip off more than $250,000 in Social Security benefits. 
Katz was born in Cuba but is a U.S. citizen. A spokesman for New York-Presbyterian said he would look into the matter when contacted by NBC 4 New York.
Fishman said investigators are attempting to contact all the patients affected by the fraud, who can also reach out to the New Jersey FBI or U.S. attorney's offices for additional information.  

Calif. AG's Star Power Buoyed by Obama Comment


If California Attorney General Kamala Harris is the nation's "best-looking attorney general," as President Barack Obama said last week (before apologizing but not retracting), she's also the most up-and-coming attorney general in the country.

Politically, of course.

Harris, 48, has had her profile increased since Obama's comments at a fundraiser in the San Francisco Bay Area last week, according to the San Jose Mercury News. Which is hard to do — when you're known to Time magazine as "the female Barack Obama," and the New York Times names you as among the women most likely to become president.

According to "most experts," it is "only a matter of time" before the upwardly-mobile Harris — daughter of Stanford professors who catapulted from an assistant district attorney job in Alameda County to elected district attorney to attorney general in 20 years — moves onto a new job, "perhaps to succeed U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, some have speculated, or even to the U.S. Supreme Court," the newspaper reported.

"Her name ID probably went up in Southern California," said Stanford political science professor Bruce Cain.

She has a record to run upon, too. While she angered law enforcement in San Francisco for famously not seeking the death penalty againt a cop-killer, she has made big moves against big banks, mortgage companies and other populist targets while in Sacramento.

She's also clearly close in line with the policies of her friend the president, for whom she campaigned heavily in 2007 and 2008: she filed briefs in support of Obamacare and Obama's repudiation of same-sex marriage ban Proposition 8 is in line with her stance to not defend the law.

In other words, it appears to be going nowhere but up for Harris.

Photo Credit: AP

Creators of Tiny Door in Tree in San Francisco Park Come Forward


Mystery solved.

It wasn't an elf at all, but a father and son team who live on a boat in San Francisco Bay.

Tony Powell and his six-year-old son Rio have taken credit for creating the whimsical tiny front door affixed to a tree in Golden Gate Park, according to the RichmondSF blog.

Tony is a skilled craftsman with the chops necessary to shape and carve wood, the blog reported.

He told the reporter the inspiration for the door came from the ages.

"Of course people have given recognition to the creative spirits of nature for ages. The Greeks called them by such names as Dryads (tree spirits) and Naiads (spirits of stream and lake), and the Irish called them the Sidhe (pronounced 'shee,' as in banshee)," Tony explained.

He said he and his son installed the door around Valentine's Day, after which time the door became an international media darling. Because they live on a boat, they did not see the media coverage.

Media from Europe reported about the mystical wonder the door created for visitors, who flocked to the elm tree and left notes and flowers inside.

The door's creators said they were touched by the offerings people left inside the door. Tony said he even answered one of the questions left on a note left inside the door.

"One of the notes asked whether fairies were real. I had to scrawl upon it in green crayon, 'Yes we are,'" he said.

The city's Recreation and Park Department got wind of the door and removed it — only to replace it with a second door soon after. The door will have to go permanently, as fixtures to trees like hinges cause damage, according to park officials.

But in the meantime, Tony and Rio are enjoying the magic they've created in what is a magical place to them — and many other people.

Photo Credit: Joe Rosato Jr.

Grandmother of Boy Killed in Shooting Angry at Neighbors


The grandmother of a 6-year-old New Jersey boy who died after being shot in the head with a rifle by his 4-year-old neighbor tells NBC 4 New York she's angry at the family of the younger boy for not taking enough caution in keeping their guns locked up.

"I can't believe that they found 11 guns in that house," said Donna Elefante, the grandmother of Brandon Holt. "I mean, with three kids? Give me a break." 

"There's no excuse for it," she said, adding the firearms should have been locked and protected with "keys and keys and keys."

Holt died at Jersey Shore Medical Center Tuesday night, about 24 hours after he was shot. The two boys had been playing outside the 4-year-old's Toms River home when Holt was shot from about 15 yards away. Holt was taken to the hospital with a bullet lodged in his brain. 

It's not clear if the 4-year-old pulled the trigger or if the rifle accidentally discharged. 

Elefante said the parents of the younger boy initially told Holt's family that the gun used in the shooting was a pellet gun and that their son had gotten the gun from under the bed in the master bedroom. They have not reached out to Holt's family since he died, Elefante said. 

"He's my baby. He's my little baby... I took him everywhere," Elefante said, recalling a trip the two took to Disney World. 

As the grieving grandmother put away the bicycle she had given him, a neighbor stopped by with balloons and a teddy bear as an expression of sympathy. 

"I've been crying all day," said the neighbor, who gave her name as Joanne. "What are you going to do? There's no words, nothing."

At St. Joseph's Elementary School, where Holt was in the first grade, counselors were on hand to help the community deal with the trauma. A statement from the school described Holt as exuberant, energetic, happy and well loved by all. 

Police are continuing to investigate how the younger child obtained the rifle from his family's home on McCormick Drive. The boy's father was known to be an avid hunter, and his three children have names associated with hunting terms, according to neighbors and law enforcement sources. 

The case is being turned over to the Atlantic County prosecutor's office because of a potential conflict of interest in the Ocean County prosecutor's office, law enforcement sources said. 

Photo Credit: NBC 4 New York

Girl Stung By Bee, Not Shot With BB Gun: Cops


What police originally reported as an 8-year-old girl being shot by a pellet gun while playing outside in New Britain turned out not to be that at all.

Police said the was playing outside on Wilson Street when she was stung by a bee injury happened around 4 p.m.  The girl first told police she didn't know what happened to her.

Southington High Student Charged With Steroid Possession


Southington police have arrested a high school student accused of having anabolic steroids while he was at school.

Police arrested Brian Cunningham on Wednesday in connection with a possession of a controlled substance charge.  

Cunningham was taken into custody and later released on a $1,000 non-surety bond.

He is scheduled to appear at the Bristol Superior Court on April 22.

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