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Judge Reinstates Arkansas' Planned Parenthood Funding


A federal judge ordered Arkansas to temporarily reinstate its Medicaid contract with Planned Parenthood after the state's governor, Asa Hutchinson, announced last month he was terminating the contract. 

Planned Parenthood said the cancellation of the contract—which took effect on Sunday— affected Medicaid patients schedules to visit its health centers.

According to the state, Planned Parenthood received more that $51,000 in Medicaid payments in Arkansas over the past fiscal year for family planning and gynecological services—not abortions. 

The cancellation came after concerns about secretly recorded videos released by an anti-abortion group that showed Planned Parenthood employees discussing selling fetal tissue from abortions for profit. Planned Parenthood has said these videos were "highly edited."

Photo Credit: AP

22nd Annual 'Stand Down' Event Supports Veterans


The Rocky Hill Veterans Home turned into a military base camp Friday, offering everything from legal and medical services to housing help for the 22nd annual Stand Down event.

"I was quite impressed. It’s quite a layout and it’s great for the veterans," said Barney Barrett of Oxford.

Barrett received a full eye exam for free. Next door, dozens climbed into a dentist’s chair to have their teeth cleaned.

"Over the years, I think I’ve done every tent here," said Manchester resident Nathaniel Shorter. "I’m a veteran and I need the benefits and these people are here to give me some help."

Long lines formed to pick up necessities like sweatshirts and toothpaste.

Organizers said the event would not be possible without all the volunteers. More than 90 organizations gave away everything from free clothing, to free food, and even foot massages.

"It feels awesome," laughed Bridgeport resident Carmen Roldan, who received a massage.

Roldan came to Stand Down to learn how to get out of transitional housing and into a home of her own. She said the event is special because it’s focused solely on veterans.

"I don’t think that we actually get help, we don’t go seek help, because we were always told that we've got to be strong, and we really don’t want our secrets to be out there that we are weak at something," said Roldon.

The Manchester Emblem Club has been giving away gloves for years and expected to give away 1,000 pairs this year.

"It’s a magnificent experience and you go home and you wonder, 'My God, I have so much to be thankful for,'" said Lee Memire.

Sean Connolly, the Connecticut Department of Veteran Affairs commissioner, called the event a day to celebrate the state’s military men and women. He said no matter how long it’s been since they served, many veterans need to be connected to certain services.

"Make sure they get the benefits that they’ve earned and deserve and well on their way to having a successful life when they’re home," explained Connolly.

Organizers said 40 percent of 800 veterans who pre-registered labeled themselves at risk for becoming homeless.

Earlier this summer, Gov. Dannel Malloy declared an end to chronic homelessness among Connecticut’s veterans. Connolly said the next goal is to end homelessness across the board for the state’s veterans.

Reward Offered in Orange Bank Robbery Case


Authorities have offered a $500 reward for information leading to the arrest of the man who robbed a bank in Orange on Friday afternoon.

Accordin to police, a thin man about 6 feet tall entered the Citizens Bank branch at 222 Boston Post Road in Orange around 4 p.m. Friday.

He demanded money from a teller, according to police, who said the robber did not have a note or a visible weapon.

The man got away with an unknown amount of money. Police said he left the bank on foot.

The Connecticut Bankers Reward Association is offering $500 in exchange for information leading to an arrest.

Anyone with information is asked to call Orange police Det. Harry Burke at 203-891-2138 ext. 216.

Photo Credit: Orange Police Department

Governor Announces $102 Million in Budget Cuts


The governor has announced more than $102 million in budget cuts because of volatility on Wall Street and uncertainty about the future, according to a statement from the office of police and management.

The governor has cut $99.2 million from executive branch agencies, while legislative leaders have been asked to cut $420,000 and the judicial branch had been asked to cut spending by and $3.1 million, which amounts to half a percent of their appropriations, according to the news release.

See the list of cuts here

“OPM’s estimate of capital gains has decreased for the current fiscal year, and it would be reckless to expect these revenues to grow when the S&P 500 is down more than 6% since May,” OPM Secretary Ben Barnes said in a news release. “Only once since 1994 have we seen positive capital gains revenue growth when the market was down.”

“Conversely, five times in the last 20 years a down market has led to significant revenue drops. That’s why we’re taking these smart, strategic, proactive steps. We need to ensure that spending matches the revenue we take in – and we’re always working to plan ahead. While not everyone will be pleased with these decisions, this is the right thing to do to keep our state budget balanced,” the news release says.

Speaker of the House Brendan Sharkey, D-Hamden, released a statement in response to the cuts.   

“I’m disappointed and certainly opposed to what appear to be cuts targeting some of the very areas we sought to protect in the budget. Under our budget agreement, the bipartisan MORE Commission was charged with identifying additional municipal savings, and they haven’t been given the opportunity to do so yet. We also agreed to restore hospital funding the governor proposed to cut, and so these renewed cuts will very likely impact the delivery of healthcare services. Though the governor has the authority to make these cuts at this time, the legislature will continue to monitor the status of the budget, and look to mitigate these cuts next session,” the statement says.           


New London High School Gym Floods and Buckles


Last week's downpours caused flooding of a drainage system that runs beneath the gymnasium floor at New London High School, leaving major water damage behind.

Water seeped up through the floor, causing it to buckle.

"We got a call from the custodial staff saying that there was water coming into the gym," explained Timothy Wheeler, the chief of operations for New London Schools. "We immediately committed all the resources we could to the gym to start sucking up all the water and we realized the water was coming up from underneath – an old drain, due to the construction of the school back in the 60s."

Wheeler said asbestos is present in one of the layers beneath the gym floor, but experts have assured the school system that there is no public health risk. Air quality studies conducted after the flooding came back negative for any carcinogens.

Physical education classes have been moved outside and volleyball practices are now being held at another high school in the city.

The school system is considering several repair options from contractors who have already placed bids for the work. The proposals range from ripping up and replacing the floor to patching the sections in the middle that buckled.

The cheapest option is to use city equipment to flatten the floor and re-balance it.

"We like that option," said Wheeler.

Principal Tommy Thompson said plans are already in the works to replace the gym so any solution will be temporary.

"We’re looking for it to be cost-effective number one for the safety of the students and the safety of the schools is No. 1, make sure they get a good floor to play on for basketball season," he said.

$100,000 Reward Offered for Info in Murder of Darien Officer


Authorities have offered a $100,000 reward for information about the murder of a Darien police officer in 1981.

Officer Kenneth Bateman was killed while responding to the report of a burglar alarm at the Duchess Patio Restaurant at 306 Post Road in Darien on May 31, 1981.

Police said a $100,000 reward is available in exchange for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or people who killed Bateman.

Anyone with information is urged to call Darien police detectives at 203-662-5330.

All calls will remain confidential.

Photo Credit: Darien Police Department
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Man Sexually Assaulted Woman in Forest for Hours: Police


A woman was sexually assaulted in the forest in Moosup over a two-day span in August and police have arrested a suspect.

Police started investigating around 11 a.m. on Aug. 18 when Quinebaug Valley Dispatch alerted officers that the victim of an alleged sexual assault had just been transported to the hospital.

As officers investigated, they learned that the female victim had been sexually assaulted for several hours from Aug. 17 to Aug. 18 in different locations in the forests off of Snake Meadow Hill Road in the Moosup village of Plainfield, police said.

Police identified Keith T. Coolidge, 33, as a suspect and said he often lives in the forests in Moosup, but has a last known address was on Snake Meadow Road in Moosup.

After obtaining a warrant for his arrest, police arrested Coolidge around noon on Friday on Village Center Circle in Moosup and charged him with first-degree sexual assault, unlawful restraint in the first degree and assault in the third degree.

He is being held on a $250,000 bond and is scheduled to be arraigned at the Danielson Superior Court on Monday.

Photo Credit: Plainfield Police

Dog Dies After Being Locked in Car, Thrown in Dumpster


A Groton man is facing animal cruelty charges after locking his Yorkshire Terrier in the car, then throwing the dog's body in a dumpster outside a Manchester supermarket, according to police.

Jason Johnson, 30, has been charged with cruelty to animals, interfering with police and tampering with evidence.

Police said a bystander found Johnson's dog locked in a car in the parking lot of Shop Rite at 214 Spencer Street in Manchester on July 31.

Another person then called to say they had watched Johnson throw the dog into a dumpster, according to police. Investigators found the dog's body wrapped in a blanket.

Authorities determined the dog died of "acute cardiovascular shock and collapse with possible environmental reasons such as heat shock," police said.

Johnson was held on $10,000 bond.

It's not clear if he has an attorney.

Photo Credit: Manchester Police Department

Person Stabbed at Boston Common


One person was hospitalized Friday after being stabbed at Boston Common, police confirmed.

The attack happened at 121 Tremont St. Police say the incident was the result of a fight between some homeless men.

The victim was transported to Boston Medical Center.

There was no immediate word on an arrest or the victim's condition.

Stay with necn as this story develops.

Photo Credit: necn
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Volunteers Clean Headstones at Hartford Cemetery


Some 100 volunteers, armed with brushes and bleach, converged on a military cemetery in Hartford on Friday to clean headstones as part of United Way's Day of Caring.

"They've never been cleaned," said Edward Skopas, a Hebron resident, who joined other United Health Group employees at Northwood Cemetery. "They were covered in black soot, and lichen, and mold and mildew."

Volunteers spread out across the cemetery's Soldier's Field to clean 1,000 headstones marking the graves of Connecticut’s fallen heroes.

"Everybody stops what they're doing for their day job and they come out here, and that's really hard to do sometimes, and everybody gives 110 percent,” said Mary Ellen Ciccio of Southington.

One-hundred volunteers, armed with brushes and bleach, spread out across Soldier's Field in Northwood Cemetery to clean 1,000 headstones.

The stones had been darkened and discolored with age. Some of the fallen soldiers' names weren't even legible.

"It's hard to clean, but it's definitely worth it,” Ciccio said.

The mission became personal for one volunteer, who found the grave of his wife's grandfather.

"About halfway through the job today somebody located it, we made our way over there, and it was awe inspiring," said Skopas.

Leon Styler served in World War I. The headstones of some of his comrades are marked "World War." At the time they were buried, no one knew there would be a second.

"Veterans and patriots who frankly laid a foundation of freedom for us and I think in many respects we owe them a tremendous debt of gratitude," said Skopas, pointing to graves that date all the way back to the Spanish-American War.

The city of Hartford hopes to have all 5,000 of its military headstones cleaned in time for Veterans Day in November.

Police Seek Woman Who Robbed Branford Bank


Police are searching for the woman who robbed a bank in Branford on Friday evening.

According to police, a woman with short hair dyed blond entered People's Bank at 500 East Main Street in Branford and demanded money.

Police said the woman stands 5 feet 4 inches tall and was wearing a pink shirt, dark pants and dark sunglasses.

Investigators believe she got away in a silver or gray four-door compact car.

Anyone with information is asked to call Branford police at 203-481-4241.

Photo Credit: Branford Police Department

Ky. Clerk Kim Davis May Be Violating Judge's Order: Lawyer


Kim Davis, the county clerk in Kentucky who was found in contempt of court and sent to jail, may be violating a federal judge's order to not further interfere with the issuance of marriage licenses, according to the lawyer for one of her deputies in the Rowan County office. 

"Those changes were made in some attempt to circumvent the court's orders and may have raised to the level of interference against the court's orders," wrote Richard Hughes, who represents Brian Mason, a deputy county clerk who has issued marriage licenses under the judge's order.

The changes include deleting her name, all mention of Rowan County, and references to deputy clerks. Only Mason's name is on the form, not his title, with a place for him to initial rather than to use his signature.  
Davis was found in contempt of court for refusing to issue any marriage licenses, claiming that granting them to same-sex couples would violate her religious beliefs. 

Photo Credit: AP

Bomb Hoax Petition Wants Apology


Petitions delivered at Irving Independent School District headquarters in Texas on Friday seek an apology and suspension reversal for MacArthur High School freshman Ahmed Mohamed.

The 14-year-old student was handcuffed Monday for bringing a homemade clock to school that was initially suspected to be a hoax bomb.

“We understand that school safety is very important and we understand that was already taken care of once this interrogation started. Everybody knew this was not a bomb,” said petition supporter Shayan Elahi.

Petition supporters said they gathered 13,000 signatures, 9,000 from Texas and 400 from Irving.

“We send our children to school to be educated, not to be humiliated,” petition supporter Terry Meza said.

Irving ISD Communication Director Lesley Weaver offered no apologies.

“We stand behind our teacher. We believe she followed the correct process when she heard the homemade device beeping in her classroom,” Weaver said.

A group of more than a dozen Mohamed student supporters demonstrated Friday afternoon outside MacArthur High, where the freshman would have been free to return Friday after completing a three-day suspension.

“They’re saying that what they did was right and they didn’t do anything wrong and I think that is ridiculous,” said Muram Ibrahim, a student at Irving ISD’s Singley Science Academy.

A man who declined to give his name interrupted the student protest with comments being voiced in social media on another side of the issue.

“You bring something looks like a bomb, you get what you deserve,” the man said. “This whole thing is stupid. It’s outrageous. It’s stupid.”

Mohamed’s family has been overwhelmed the past few days with mostly social media support and national media attention. He accepted an invitation to visit the White House. He refused to return to MacArthur High School.

His father, Mohamed Elhassan Mohamed, spent another day on the phone Friday receiving media requests and considering school options.

“We cannot sleep, rest, relax, go to work, our job, because of the media. People are so eager to know what is going on and what’s happening. I don’t blame them. All this is caused by this incident,” he said.

The father said his son has received offers from many schools, but will request a week of leave from Irving ISD to rest and consider which school to attend.

The family also had not picked up the homemade clock from Irving police. The President said he wants to see it when the teen visits.

Photo Credit: AP

Wildlife in Danger After Pond Drained in Meriden


The Meriden Humane Society is working frantically to save wildlife stranded in a now-emtpy pond.

According to the humane society, Foster's Dam on Research Parkway was drained "rather fast," and animals living in the water now have nowhere to go.

The humane society is working to relocate those animals, many of whom will die otherwise.

It's not clear who drained the dam or why.

Photo Credit: Google Maps

3 Medical Marijuana Facilities in the Works


The state has received 19 applications from groups hoping to open one of three new medical marijuana facilities in southern Connecticut.

Officials with the Department of Consumer Protection said 19 entities applied ahead of Friday's deadline.

The DCP said they will grant licenses to three of the applicants to open new facilities in New Haven and Fairfield counties.

"We are pleased with the number of applications received and are ready to begin our comprehensive review process," DCP Commissioner Jonathan Harris said in a statement Friday.

Licenses will be granted by early 2016. according to the DCP.

Man Leaves Supermarket With Steak in Pants: Cops


Police have arrested a man accused of stuffing a rib-eye steak into his pants at a West Hartford grocery store, then walking out without paying.

According to police, loss prevention officers watched while George Krawshuk, 56, of Burlington, hid a steak in his pants Tuesday at the ShopRite store on Kane Street.

When they followed Krawsuk out of the store and confronted him, Krawsuk refused to stop, according to police.

Loss prevention followed Krawsuk to a Burger King restaurant down the road, where police took him into custody.

He was charged with sixth-degree larceny and released on a summons, according to police.

It's not clear if Krawshuk has an attorney.

Photo Credit: Associated Press

Dog With Anxiety Attacks Owner: PD


A dog anxious over the departure of a family member in its New Jersey home attacked its other owners Thursday night because it didn't want one of them to leave, authorities say.

The pit bull bit the 50-year-old mother and her 31-year-old daughter Thursday evening after they attempted to leave their house in South Brunswick, according to police.

The dog had apparently been exhibiting signs of anxiety over the recent departure of her owner's 19-year-old daughter, who had left for college recently, according to animal control officials.

When South Brunswick police officers responded, a police body microphone captured the mother's explanation of what happened when she and her older daughter tried to leave the house.

"He jumped on her, so she's screaming something and he bit her, and he turned around and jumped me," the mother told police. "He doesn't like someone to leave the house, that's the thing." 

Both women were bitten on their arms and legs. 

In a recording of the family's 911 call to police, the anguished father can be heard telling the dispatcher, "My dog just bit my daughter. She's bleeding out of one of her veins."

The dispatcher assures the man, "We've got 'em on the way," but the panicked father repeats, "Please get here quick. Please, please, she's screaming. Please, please, please, oh God, please." 

The father was eventually able to get the dog under control and placed it in the garage until police and animal control authorities arrived to take it away to an animal hospital.

Neighbor Latha Nair said she frequently saw the 19-year-old daughter taking out the family's two dogs, and "they're pretty OK." 

South Brunswick Police Capt. James Ryan says this is the second time in the last two weeks or so that a pit bull attacked its owners, though he was not sure what provoked the first attack.

Ryan called the attack surprising.

"Who ever heard of a dog having separation anxiety?" he said.

Animal behaviorist veterinarian Dr. Emily Levine said that as attached as people are to their dogs, animals can be to their owners.

"They may use their mouth to try to grab the shirt or pants to pull them in, they may put their mouth on them and bit down," she said. 

But with separation anxiety, the injuries are usually not severe.

"The intent the animal has is not really to hurt, to harm, but it's really 'please, please stay with me,'" she said. 

Levine said drugs and therapy can ease separation anxiety in a dog. Warning signs are pacing, whining, property destruction and even relieving itself in the home. 

Archbishop of Hartford to Visit Pope in Philadelphia


At this time next week, Pope Francis will be in the middle of his first visit to the United States, joined in Philadelphia by the Archbishop of Hartford.

The Most Reverend Leonard P. Blair sat down with NBC Connecticut's Keisha Grant for an exclusive sit-down interview Friday night to share how the pope helped him find his way to Hartford.

Blair has led a life of faith and service to the Catholic Church, but said he'll never forget the phone call from a papal ambassador that put him face to face with Pope Francis.

"He told me, 'The Holy Father Pope Francis has appointed you Archbishop of Hartford,'" Blair recalled. "So the next day, I was at an audience with the Pope."

Some 250 congregants in the Archdiocese will join Blair next week in making a pilgrimage to Philadelphia to see the pope. Blair said he hopes Francis' visit will strengthen the lives of people of all faiths.

"Hopefully, most importantly, they'll take something from it that helps them to live their daily lives with greater faith, hope and love," he said.

Blair will likely find himself again in the presence of the pope, and if he does, there's one thing he won't do.

"I won't ask the pope for a selfie," he laughed, "because I don't know how that would be received."

Blair plans to keep an online travel log that will allow people here in Connecticut to follow his journey next week. You'll be able to follow along here.

Police Arrest 3 Hartford Armed Robbery Suspects


Police have arrested three men accused of robbing another man with a BB gun in Hartford on Friday night.

According to police, Allen Tiggett, Robert Lindsey and Henry Mena followed the victim up a driveway on Whitmore Street around 9:30 p.m., claiming to be looking for a car that was supposed to be parked there.

One then pressed a BB gun into the victim's back and demanded his valuables. The robbers grabbed his phone, wallet and keys before quickly dropping them when the victim called out for help, according to police.

They drove off, and police found the getaway car a few minutes later.

All three are Hartford residents and were charged wth first-degree robbery.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

New Haven Intersection Closed After Serious Crash


Howe Street is closed at the intersection of South Frontage Road in New Haven while authorities respond to a serious crash, according to the fire department.

Fire officials said the crash was reported around 9:50 p.m.

Police and firefighters are at the scene.

It's not clear how many cars were involved in the crash or how many people were injured.

Check back for updates on this developing story.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com
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