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Bridgeport Drowning Death Ruled a Homicide


The death of a man who drowned in a creek behind a restaurant on the Bridgeport/Fairfield line in August after a fight broke out has been ruled a homicide.

Wayne Bentley, 42, of West Haven, was one of two people who fell in Ash Creek behind Chubby's Bar & Grill after a fight behind the bar just after 1 a.m. on Aug. 1.

The other person who was involved in the fight fled the scene.

An autopsy was done and the cause of his death was ruled blunt force trauma of the head and neck.

Anyone with information about the case should call the Bridgeport Detective Bureau at (203) 581-5201.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Poor Conditions Likely for Supermoon Lunar Eclipse


The first supermoon lunar eclipse since 1982 will occur this Sunday evening, and it may not be seen from Connecticut.

First Alert meteorologists Ryan Hanrahan and Tyler Jankoski have been tracking a storm over the southeastern states and are concerned that high clouds will be overhead when the eclipse occurs late Sunday evening.

It's not a definite that the entire sky will be cloudy, but trends haven't been in favor of clear viewing conditions.

A total lunar eclipse, by definition, is when the earth blocks all of the sun's direct rays from hitting the moon. Thanks to earth's atmosphere, however, some light reaches the moon and results in an orange- or red-looking moon during a total lunar eclipse.

The supermoon component means the moon is full or new while it makes its closest pass to earth (called perigee). The math shows that a supermoon appears larger than a typical full moon, though it may not be noticeable with a human eye.

This year's lunar eclipse will begin in partial form at 9:07 p.m. when part of the moon will appear dim.

The window of total eclipse falls between 10:11 p.m. and 11:23 p.m. This is when the moon will appear orange or red, if the sky condition permits viewing the moon.

After the total eclipse ends, a partial eclipse will occur again between 11:23 p.m. and 12:12 a.m. Monday morning.

If this weekend's event doesn't provide a great photo opportunity, it will be a few years before the next chance to snap that award-winning photo. The next lunar eclipse that can be seen in eastern North America will happen 2019.

A supermoon and a lunar eclipse, when they happen separately, aren't rare. However, it is rare for the two events to happen simultaneously. According to NASA, after Sunday evening, the combination won't happen again until 2033 – some 18 years from now.

Photo Credit: Tyler Jankoski
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Woman Charged With Abusing, Starving Dog


Bridgeport police have charged a local woman with animal cruelty after finding a limping, malnourished pit bull whose muscles had atrophied to the point where he couldn’t put his leg down.

Police said they responded to Catherine Street in Bridgeport at 12:15 p.m. on Sept. 5 after receiving a report of animal cruelty and met with a witness who said he found the dog when he passed the apartment of Charlene Draper, 29.

The large pit bull, named Cash, was limping and came outside.

He was malnourished and couldn’t put his left hind leg down, according to police, and the witness said Draper abuses the dog and had recently been trying to sell Cash to people on the streets.

The police officer brought Cash to Bridgeport Animal Control and VCA Shoreline Veterinary Referral and Emergency Center treated him and gave him physical therapy for his leg.

On Thursday, police arrested Draper and charged her with animals and failure to comply with dog ownership requirements.

Photo Credit: Bridgeport Police

'Pope Fever': Reaction to Francis' Visit in Central Park


Thousands waited for hours Friday for a chance to catch a glimpse of Pope Francis in New York City's Central Park. Many hoped to get close to the pontiff, but for some, being in the same area as the leader of the Catholic Church was a big honor, too.

Listen to some of their stories below:

Elizabeth Hayes, 39. Teacher at Holy Rosary School in Staten Island. 

Joanna Joseph, 40, Stay at home mom from Brooklyn.

Thomas Wright, 34. Immigration attorney from Manhattan's Upper West Side.

Danny Scheyer, 26. Works in advertising and lives in Brooklyn. 

Johanna Yorro, 33. Paralegal from Queens. 

Hartford Clerk Stole Pot, Pills From Police Property Room: Cops


A former city of Hartford employee has been arrested for allegedly stealing marijuana and pills from the police department's property room, which she was responsible for overseeing.

Liza Aponte, 40, of Hartford turned herself in to police Sept. 23 and was charged with two counts of second-degree larceny and two counts of unlawful removal of records.

Police said Aponte, a civilian city of Hartford clerk who had been hired in January, stole three bags of property from the Hartford Police Department's property room, which stores evidence including drugs, money, jewelry and weapons.

Authorities began investigating Aponte, who was assigned to the property room, after a supervisor noticed a bag of marijuana was missing and contacted the city's Internal Affairs Division.

A full audit revealed two more bags were gone. Police said all three contained small amounts of marijuana. One also contained an unknown type of pills.

Hartford police said all three bags had been submitted as "found property" and were not connected to any criminal investigations or proceedings.

Aponte was transferred during the investigation and was fired Sept. 3 "after the appropriate administrative process," according to police. Authorities said surveillance footage and logging records linked Aponte to the crime.

Police obtained an arrest warrant for Aponte on Sept. 21. She turned herself in two days later, and a judge set her bond at $10,000. It's not clear if she has an attorney.

Hartford police said "further safeguards have been put in place to prevent civilians from misappropriating evidence."

Potential Next House Speaker


Rep. Kevin McCarthy has risen to the upper reaches of House leadership mostly on the basis of his people skills and political smarts rather than his policy chops.

The California Republican, who is the overwhelming favorite to succeed John Boehner as speaker, has relied on those skills to navigate the treacherous waters of the fractious GOP conference.

But they won't change the unpleasant reality of the limits the tea party-driven House confronts in a capital city dominated by a Democratic president — and the resulting frustration for conservatives who stormed Washington on a wave of opposition to President Barack Obama.

Like Boehner, McCarthy is a realist. But conservatives frustrated with Boehner's willingness to strike deals with Democrats see an ally in McCarthy, who cut his teeth as an aide to powerful former Rep. Bill Thomas, whose seat he easily won in 2006.

"Kevin has done a great job of reaching out to conservatives,'' said Rep. Mick Mulvaney, R-S.C., among those who helped push Boehner out. "It's fair to say that if Kevin were to run he would be able to draw votes from across the conference.''

In the hours after Boehner's shocking announcement, McCarthy stayed quiet, but GOP lawmakers said he was a likely bet to win the top job. Unlike Boehner or previous Democratic speakers like Tom Foley of Washington or Jim Wright of Texas, McCarthy has never chaired a committee _ and lacks a signature legislative accomplishment like the No Child Left Behind education law that Boehner help shepherd through Congress during President George W. Bush's first term.

But the 50-year-old McCarthy has thrived in the rough-and-tumble world of House Republicans, raising money for lawmakers across the spectrum, listening on end to the sometimes unreasonable demands of tea party lawmakers and sensing which way the political winds are blowing.

McCarthy has been a loyal lieutenant to Boehner, for instance, backing up the outgoing speaker's plan to remove a controversy over "defunding" Planned Parenthood from a stopgap spending bill that's needed to avoid a government shutdown next week. And he supported Boehner last year as one of only 28 Republicans to vote to raise the so-called debt limit without seeking concessions from Obama.

But McCarthy parted ways with Boehner in early 2013 on a vote to increase tax rates on wealthier filers and, more recently, sided with conservatives who made a cause celebre of opposing the reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank, which helps finance purchases of U.S. exports by foreign buyers. The bank's authority lapsed this summer even though Boehner privately supported extending it.

"He understands what it takes on both the political side and the policy side,'' said Rep. Devin Nunes, a GOP ally from an adjoining district.

"Even before Election Day 2006, McCarthy set about raising money for fellow Republicans. Shortly after arriving in Washington, McCarthy began navigating the leadership waters and secured several lower-profile posts. And when Republicans won back the chamber in 2010 and the No. 3 spot opened up, McCarthy easily moved up. Last year, the unexpected defeat of then-Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., in a GOP primary opened up the No. 2 post, and McCarthy grabbed that, too.

Then, as now, there is no credible alternative to McCarthy's ascent.

There's more to his success than luck, however. Inside leadership, McCarthy's accessibility and open-mindedness has won him friends in all corners of the GOP conference and he's more popular among junior lawmakers than Boehner.

"He is a savant of human relationships and that makes him somewhat unique,'' said Rep. David Schweikert, R-Ariz., who admits their relationship has had ups and downs.

"The reason he's so successful with the members is he knows their districts in addition to knowing them,'' said Erica Elliott, a former aide and confidante. "Kevin knows 100 percent of the time exactly where the conference is.''

Boehner all but endorsed McCarthy on Friday.

"I'll tell Kevin, if he's the next speaker, that his number-one responsibility is to protect the institution. Nobody else around here has an obligation like that,'' Boehner told reporters. "Secondly, I'd tell him the same thing I've just told you. You just do the right thing every day for the right reasons, the right things will happen.''

But Boehner let slip Friday that he had been planning to leave Congress at the end of last year but changed his mind in mid-2014 after Cantor was no longer in line to succeed him. That appeared to tip his opinion that McCarthy, at least back then, needed more seasoning.

Some Democrats aren't sold on McCarthy.

"I don't think he is as dedicated to the institution as John Boehner was,'' said Rep. Bill Pascrell, D-N.J. "Winning is the whole thing."

Photo Credit: CQ-Roll Call,Inc.

Connecticut Pilgrims Travel to Philadelphia to See Pope


Among the pilgrims lining up to take a bus to Philadelphia from Our Lady of Pompeii Church in East Haven Friday morning were friends who have been on past trips to see the pope together.

"You're just like two little ants in this group of a million people," Carol Scussel said, "yelling to the pope, 'Viva Papa,' and you could feel the holiness come from the pope."

Scussel and Judy Esposito attended mass in 1995 with Pope John Paul in Queens and they prayed with Pope Benedict XVI in 2008 in the old Yankee Stadium. Now, they cannot wait to see Pope Francis on U.S. soil.

"Just being in his presence, regardless of how far away we are, we're in his presence so you feel the electricity," Esposito said. "His blessing is so very important to us."

The Archdiocese of Hartford says more than 250 pilgrims form Connecticut boarded three buses for Philadelphia on Friday. The other two departed from Bloomfield and Cheshire.

The pope’s visit to Philadelphia coincides with the World Meeting of Families. For a Branford mother boarding the train at New Haven’s Union Station, this weekend’s pilgrimage will be a family affair.

"I'm going to be carrying everybody in my heart, all the people who have touched my life and my journey in life," said Kathleen Maher.

She will experience seeing the pontiff in person for the first time with three of her daughters.

"This is truly a miraculous thing that has happened," Maher said. "I have had a life full of faith and it has touched my daughters and I've been given the gift to see them share this beautiful faith."

Bob and Katie Weidenmiller are spending the weekend in Connecticut after missing the pope during their stop in New York City.

"If nothing else, there was a positive karma," Bob Weidenmiller said, "the fact he was there and we were there."

A photo Bob Weidenmiller snapped shows an empty Fifth Avenue moments before Pope Francis arrived at St. Patrick’s Cathedral on Thursday.

"We did go into St. Patrick's this morning, so we saw where the pope was last night," Katie Weidenmiller said.

With their papal flags and tickets for both main events in the City of Brotherly Love, Maher and her daughters are ready for their weekend with the Holy Father.

"I feel like his presence here and his visit here is a way to just unite everybody," Paula Maher-Rivera said.

Back in East Haven, Esposito said she had been under the weather.

"I know the Holy Father is just going to watch over me and make me strong to do the walking," she said.

Pope Begins Weekend of Prayer, Celebration in Philly


After whirlwind tours of Washington, D.C., and New York City that included plenty of hugs, handshakes, historic speeches and meetings with honored guests, Pope Francis' U.S. tour continued Saturday in Philadelphia, where he greeted more adoring fans with waves, smiles and, of course, blessings.

As cheering crowds lined the streets of Center City Philadelphia, the pope's signature Fiat 500 pulled up to the steps of the Cathedral Basilica of Sts. Peter and Paul, where he celebrated Mass.

The theme of the Mass, "What About You?", was particularly poignant to those in attendance.  It was a story about St. Katherine Drexel, who was born in Philadelphia and lived most of her life in the area.

An excerpt from Pope Francis' prepared homily:

Most of you know the story of St. Katharine Drexel, one of the great saints raised up by this local Church. When she spoke to Pope Leo XIII of the needs of the missions, the Pope -- he was a very wise Pope! -- asked her pointedly: "What about you? What are you going to do?". Those words changed Katharine's life, because they reminded her that, in the end, every Christian man and woman, by virtue of baptism, has received a mission. Each one of us has to respond, as best we can, to the Lord's call to build up his Body, the Church.

"What about you?" I would like to dwell on two aspects of these words in the context of our particular mission to transmit the joy of the Gospel and to build up the Church, whether as priests, deacons, or members of institutes of consecrated life.

He also called for a more active role for women in the Catholic Church.

"In a particular way, it means valuing the immense contribution which women, lay and religious, have made and continue to make, to the life of our communities,” he said.

Read the full homily as prepared here.

The pope then traveled to St. Charles Borromeo Seminary, where he had a private lunch with Seminary students and rested before a busy afternoon at Independence Hall and at the World Meeting of Families.

Earlier that morning, the pope's plane, an American Airlines 777 dubbed "Shepherd One," landed at Philadelphia International Airport. The Bishop Shanahan High School band played the "Rocky" theme song as His Holiness stepped off the plane and was greeted by many religious and political leaders, including Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf and Philly Mayor Michael Nutter.

Pope Francis waved to the large crowd that had gathered at the airport and, in a touching moment, stopped to give a special blessing to the son of Bishop Shanahan's band director, Chuck Keating.

While in the "City of Brotherly Love" this weekend, His Holiness will attend events both large and small. The biggest events will be a speech on religious freedom and immigration at Independence Hall -- at a lectern used by President Abraham Lincoln when he delivered the Gettysburg Address -- and celebrating Mass on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway with an estimated 1.5 million people.

And all throughout his weekend in Philly, there will be plenty of photo ops, blessings and rides in his black Fiat and his white "Popemobile," which is really a modified Jeep Wrangler.

Just like in D.C. and New York, security will be extremely tight. Several of the city's major highways have been shut down in and around Center City. An 8-foot-tall mesh fence has been erected around the secure zone. The fences, concrete barriers and bike racks line every road in the security zone.  

Those attending the festivities on the Parkway found security to be extremely tight. NBC10 Philadelphia reporter Morgan Zalot said that security officials were checking people's bags in her hotel before they leave -- and that hotel is not even inside one of the secure checkpoints.  And once attendees get to the official security checkpoints in Center City, they were told to throw away any food or drinks they have in their bags.

Cars are restricted in certain areas of the city -- even for residents who live there -- and those that weren't moved out by their owners were towed.

As for businesses, well, they were told weeks ago to stock up with as many supplies as they could, because getting reinforcements in the days leading up to the papal visit was going to be tough.

City officials, however, believe all of the inconveniences are worth it to provide the pope and World Meeting of Families organizers a secure place to congregate, pray and celebrate the event's focus -- the family.

Kim Vinch, a special education teacher from Lawrenceville, New Jersey, and a World Meeting of Families volunteer, got off the Amtrak train at 8:10 a.m. dressed in a bright orange shirt. She worked the Convention Center Friday, and will be on the Parkway Saturday and Sunday.

"I think it's going to be a lot more exciting because the pope is coming in today,” Vinch said. “It's outside, it's a beautiful day."

"I am so inspired," she said. "Even watching the Mass at Madison Square Garden last night, even when he was just in his thoughtful prayer after Communion it's hard not to get emotional. He seems to touch so many people so deeply.

"People from all walks of life, even on my Facebook, I hear people, ‘I'm not religious' or ‘I'm not Catholic' but he's the real deal.' I think so many people are feeling inspired."

Across the Parkway, more than two dozen people who traveled from Fort Pierce, Florida, to see Pope Francis sat bundled up on sleeping bags they set on the asphalt right along a fence of bike racks.

Lauren Hurtado said the group arrived at about 7 a.m. to camp out. A cool, strong at times breeze blew as she talked excitedly about how it would be most of their first time seeing the pope. Their group of 26 ranges in age from 14 to 77.

Photo Credit: AP
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Papal Visit Day 6: Prison Visit, Massive Sunday Mass


Pope Francis' last day in the U.S. could also be the most poignant, as he celebrates Mass in front of his largest North American audience yet. Here's a look at the agenda for Sunday.

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Here's a look at the agenda for Sunday:

St. Charles Borromeo Seminary, 9:15 a.m.

The first part of Francis' day is spent with the clergymen who live in the building where he's staying; he'll reportedly speak with the oldest priest and youngest seminarian, then meet with 300 bishops.

Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility, 11 a.m.

Philadelphia's largest prison hosts the pope for about an hour. Francis is scheduled to helicopter into the 20-year-old facility, where he'll have two meetings: one with 100 young prisoners and their families, another with 30 corrections officers.

The chair Francis will sit in was constructed by inmates and staff at the prison, and his speech will be broadcast to all the roughly 3,000 inmates inside its walls.

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Mass, World Meeting of Families, Benjamin Franklin Parkway, 4 p.m.

About 2 million people are expected to pack the boulevard between City Hall and the Philadelphia Museum of Art for Sunday Mass, the Spanish-language finale of the World Meeting of Families.

Francis will make one more appearance in the popemobile before the service begins. Mass is his last scheduled public event in the country.

Want to Watch the Events?

We will cover all the day's biggest events live with live streams on our website and in our app. Click here for full coverage of the papal visit.

Philadelphia Forecast

Expect a cloudy Sunday with temperatures in the mid-to-high 70's, according to NBC10's First Alert Weather team

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If You're in Town: 

Francis' arrival means the virtual closure of the city's core, major interstates and more. Here's a schedule of what's closing when. But don't despair. Google Maps will help drivers navigate road closures and it turns out that parking may not be so hard to find. For those taking public transit, check out this survival guide. Still have questions? Check out this list of FAQs

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In Case You Missed It

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Photo Credit: AP

Pope To Immigrants: Don't Be Ashamed


Standing at a famous lectern in a location where both the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution were signed, Pope Francis gave a much-anticipated speech Saturday that focused on two hot-button social issues in America today — immigration and religious freedom.

Pope Francis spoke in front of Independence Hall in Philadelphia as a religious leader for whom the treatment of immigrants is central to his doctrine.

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Using the same lectern President Abraham Lincoln used to give the Gettysburg Address, the pope had a specific message to America’s Hispanic population and recent immigrants to the U.S., who he addressed with “particular affection."

“Please don’t ever be ashamed of your traditions. Do not forget the lessons you learned from your elders, which are something you can bring to enrich the life of this American land," he said. "I repeat, do not be ashamed of what is part of you, your life blood."

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He called on immigrants to be "responsible citizens," and to contribute to the life of the communities in which they live.

"I think in particular of the vibrant faith which so many of you possess, the deep sense of family life and all those other values which you have inherited," he said. "By contributing your gifts, you will not only find your place here, you will help to renew society from within.”

Francis, who came out of Independence Hall to Aaron Copeland's "Fanfare for the Common Man," said that the United States was built on the ideas that all men and women are created equal, and that people have certain inalienable right, but that they always have to be "reaffirmed, re-appropriated and defended."

"We remember the great struggles which led to the abolition of slavery, the extension of voting rights, the growth of the labor movement, and the gradual effort to eliminate every kind of racism and prejudice directed at successive waves of new Americans," he said. "This shows that, when a country is determined to remain true to its founding principles, based on respect for human dignity, it is strengthened and renewed."

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The pope also went off script, as he is known to do, when he talked about globalization, saying that a globalizing tendency is good and brings people together.

"But what may be bad is the way this happens," he said. "If globalization would seek to make everyone the same, as if it were a single sphere, that globalization destroys the richness and the particularity, the individuality, of every person and every people. If globalization seeks to bring all of us together, but to do so respecting each person, each individual person’s richness and peculiarity, respecting all people and their own distinctness, that globalization is good and makes us all grow and leads to peace."

Among those in attendance were Jack Shapey, 52, a sales professional, and Steven N. Pyser, 55, a part-time lecturer at Rutgers University in Camden in the School of Business. They are both Jewish, and said they would not have been drawn by previous popes.

"This transcends faith," Pyser said. "It's humanity. It's dignity."

Said Shapey: "He’s inspirational, motivational and very much needed in today's world."

Also in attendance was Erik Sanchez, 14, who is from Brooklyn.

"I thought it was heartwarming," said Sanchez, whose parents are from Mexico. "And true because we should never forget where we come from. It felt good because usually the people don’t have that respect and sometimes the people aren't heard. And for some public figure to say something like that -- a big public figure can make people notice."

On immigration, Pyser said that the way Pope Francis framed the topic invited a conversation and allowed people to momentarily sidestep the polarization that has engulfed it.

"But it's a very knotty subject and it will be vigorously debated," Pyser said.

Said Shapey: "It needs to be addressed."

Before his speech, the pope rode his "Popemobile" through the streets leading to Independence Hall, waving to the crowds and kissing babies along the way. He also blessed a 5-foot-tall cross symbolizing the journey of faith of Latino Catholics.

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The South American son of immigrants himself, Francis is making immigrants one of the focuses of his first visit to the United States. At a time when a top Republican presidential contender, Donald Trump, advocates for a wall along the Mexican border to keep out what he labels rapists and other criminals, Francis urges respecting the reasons that children, women and men leave their homes.

Speaking to the U.S. Congress on Thursday, Francis urged its members to be humane and just as they responded to the migrants pouring into Europe and the immigrants, often undocumented, coming to the United States from Latin America.

"We must not be taken aback by their numbers, but rather view them as persons, seeing their faces and listening to their stories, trying to respond as best as we can to their situation," Francis said.

A volunteer for the pope's visit in Philadelphia on Saturday, Kim Vinch, said Francis' address was coming at the right time given the anti-immigrant rhetoric that has become part of the public discourse.

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"I think it's perfect timing because our country just seems to need it," said Vinch, 51, of Lawrenceville, N.J. "We need reform. We need this kind of guidance."

Nearby on Market Street, Mary Sue Gorman and her 15-year-old daughter, Sarah, stopped to take a photo with a life-sized cut-out of Francis on their way to Independence Hall.

"He says what he wants to say," Gorman, a pension consultant, said of Francis and his views on immigration. "Hopefully people will hear and be compassionate and come to a compromise."

Francis' worldview is from the bottom up, with immigrants at the core of what he cares about, said John Carr, director of Initiative on Catholic Social Thought and Public Life at Georgetown University.

When Francis visited Lampedusa in 2013, the tiny Sicilian island toward which tens of thousands leaving North Africa have fled, he said the drownings of migrants was "a thorn in the heart." Two years later, with masses of Syrians refugees arriving in Europe, he is calling on every Catholic parish, monastery and convent to take in a family.

"For Pope Francis this is personal not political. This is moral not ideological," Carr said.

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Francis' visit is replete with reminders of his appeal for better treatment for immigrants, including meetings with day laborers and children who crossed the border unaccompanied by adults. Francis had talked about arriving in the United States via a border crossing, though in the end he flew into Joint Base Andrews.

"To enter the United States from the border with Mexico would be a beautiful gesture of brotherhood and support for immigrants," Francis said.

Francis’ views on immigration and some other topics are out of step with many in power in the United States. A Gallup poll found that his favorability rating had dropped from 76 percent in February of last year to 59 percent in July, a decline driven by Catholics and conservatives.

In the last Congress, the Senate passed a bipartisan immigration bill that would have offered citizenship for many of the United States' 11 million unauthorized immigrants, but the bill died in the House.

By contrast, this Congress has opposed President Barack Obama’s executive orders to stop the deportation of some undocumented immigrants.

Police Seek Men Who Shot Woman in Bridgeport: PD


Bridgeport police are seeking two men who shot a woman in the city late Friday night.

Officers responded to a reported shooting near Madison Avenue and George Street at about 9:15 p.m. on Saturday. Police discovered a woman with two gunshot wounds, one in her right leg and the other in her right arm/elbow.

She was taken to St. Vincent's Hospital to be treated for the non-fatal injuries. She is listed in stable condition.

Police said the two men who shot her are tall and that one was wearing a black hooded sweatshirt and the other was wearing a dark grey hooded sweatshirt.

Bridgeport police are asking for the public's help in finding the men and ask anyone with information to call the department at 203-581-5201.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Hajj Stampede Death Toll Rises, Iran Calls for Probe


The death toll in a crush outside the holy city of Mecca on Thursday has risen to 769, Saudi Health Minister Khalid al-Falih said on Saturday.

"The latest statistics up to this hour reveal 769 dead. That is an increase of 52 on the previous figures," Falih told a news conference. "Those are the ones who died in various hospitals since the event," he said, adding that 934 people were wounded.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani used a major United Nations speech on Saturday to demand an investigation into the crush at the hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia, signaling Tehran not intend to tone down criticism of its regional rival.

Photo Credit: AP

Florida Woman Arrested for Riding Sea Turtle


A Florida woman wanted after a picture of her riding a sea turtle went viral on social media was arrested early Saturday, police said, NBC News reported.

Stephanie Moore, 20, was jailed on a $2,000 bond on a felony warrant on charges of possessing, selling or molesting a marine turtle or eggs nest, the Melbourne Police Department said on Facebook.

Florida's Marine Turtle Protection Act makes it a third-degree felony to injure, harm, harass, capture or attempt to capture any marine turtles, eggs or nests.

Moore was allegedly one of two women sitting on sea turtles in photographs from early July.  

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Melbourne (Fla.) Pol

National Prescription Drug Take Back Day


Saturday is National Prescription Drug Take Back Day.

If you have old prescriptions you want to get rid of, dozens of locations around the state, including the Bristol Police Department, are collecting unwanted pills Saturday, no questions asked.

To find a location and hours near you , you can visit takebackyourmeds.org.

Photo Credit: NBC 7

Two Shot Early Saturday Morning In Hartford


Two men were shot early Saturday morning in Hartford.

According to Deputy Chief Brian Foley, police were called to 1063 Capitol Ave. at 2:43 a.m. for reports of gunfire.

Police learned that a 31-year-old male from Middletown and a 27-year-old male from Hartford were injured by gunfire to the right foot and right shin respectively.

Both victims were taken to the hospital by private vehicle. Their injuries are non life threatening.

The 31 year old victim has an outstanding warrant for his arrest for narcotics charges. He will be placed under arrest when he is released from the hospital today.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Pope Francis' Remarks From Independence Hall


The following are the remarks by Pope Francis at Independence Hall in Philadelphia, as delivered by Francis and translated from Spanish:

Dear Friends,

One of the highlights of my visit is to stand here, before Independence Hall, the birthplace of the United States of America. It was here that the freedoms which define this country were first proclaimed. The Declaration of Independence stated that all men and women are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, and that governments exist to protect and defend those rights. Those ringing words continue to inspire us today, even as they have inspired peoples throughout the world to fight for the freedom to live in accordance with their dignity. 

But history also shows that these or any truths must constantly be reaffirmed, re-appropriated and defended. The history of this nation is also the tale of a constant effort, lasting to our own day, to embody those lofty principles in social and political life. We remember the great struggles which led to the abolition of slavery, the extension of voting rights, the growth of the labor movement, and the gradual effort to eliminate every kind of racism and prejudice directed at successive waves of new Americans. This shows that, when a country is determined to remain true to its founding principles, based on respect for human dignity, it is strengthened and renewed. 

All of us benefit from remembering our past. A people which remembers does not repeat past errors; instead, it looks with confidence to the challenges of the present and the future. Remembrance saves a people’s soul from whatever or whoever would attempt to dominate it or use it for their interests. When individuals and communities are guaranteed the effective exercise of their rights, they are not only free to realize their potential, they also contribute to the welfare and enrichment of society.

In this place which is symbolic of the American way, I would like to reflect with you on the right to religious freedom. It is a fundamental right which shapes the way we interact socially and personally with our neighbors whose religious views differ from our own. Religious freedom certainly means the right to worship God, individually and in community, as our consciences dictate. But religious liberty, by its nature, transcends places of worship and the private sphere of individuals and families. "Religious freedom isn't a subculture, it's a part of every people and nation.

Our various religious traditions serve society primarily by the message they proclaim. They call individuals and communities to worship God, the source of all life, liberty and happiness. They remind us of the transcendent dimension of human existence and our irreducible freedom in the face of every claim to absolute power. We need but look at history, especially the history of the last century, to see the atrocities perpetrated by systems which claimed to build one or another “earthly paradise” by dominating peoples, subjecting them to apparently indisputable principles and denying them any kind of rights. Our rich religious traditions seek to offer meaning and direction, “they have an enduring power to open new horizons, to stimulate thought, to expand the mind and heart” (Evangelii Gaudium, 256). They call to conversion, reconciliation, concern for the future of society, self-sacrifice in the service of the common good, and compassion for those in need. At the heart of their spiritual mission is the proclamation of the truth and dignity of the human person and human rights.

Our religious traditions remind us that, as human beings, we are called to acknowledge an Other, who reveals our relational identity in the face of every effort to impose “a uniformity to which the egotism of the powerful, the conformism of the weak, or the ideology of the utopian would seek to impose on us” (M. de Certeau).

In a world where various forms of modern tyranny seek to suppress religious freedom, or try to reduce it to a subculture without right to a voice in the public square, or to use religion as a pretext for hatred and brutality, it is imperative that the followers of the various religions join their voices in calling for peace, tolerance and respect for the dignity and rights of others.

We live in a world subject to the “globalization of the technocratic paradigm” (Laudato Si’, 106), which consciously aims at a one-dimensional uniformity and seeks to eliminate all differences and traditions in a superficial quest for unity. The religions thus have the right and the duty to make clear that it is possible to build a society where “a healthy pluralism which respects differences and values them as such” (Evangelii Gaudium, 255) is a “precious ally in the commitment to defending human dignity… and a path to peace in our troubled world” (ibid., 257).

There's a tendency to globalization. Globalization isn't bad, on the contrary, the tendency towards globalization is good, unites us, it can be noble. But if it pretends to makes us all the same, as if we were an sphere, it destroys the individual things (particularidades) of each people and each person.

If globalization tries to unite respecting the person and it's individualities, each people and it's individualities, it's good and led to peace.

If it's an sphere, where everyone is an equal dot, at the same distance from the center, it cancels. If it's like a polihedron, everyone united but with their own identity, it's good and gives rights to the peoples.

Then he repeated this: Don't be ashamed of that wich is an essential part of you. You're also called to be responsible citizens.

The Quakers who founded Philadelphia were inspired by a profound evangelical sense of the dignity of each individual and the ideal of a community united by brotherly love. This conviction led them to found a colony which would be a haven of religious freedom and tolerance. That sense of fraternal concern for the dignity of all, especially the weak and the vulnerable, became an essential part of the American spirit. During his visit to the United States in 1987, Saint John Paul II paid moving homage to this, reminding all Americans that: “The ultimate test of your greatness is the way you treat every human being, but especially the weakest and most defenseless ones” (Farewell Address, 19 September 1987, 3).

I take this opportunity to thank all those, of whatever religion, who have sought to serve the God of peace by building cities of brotherly love, by caring for our neighbors in need, by defending the dignity of God’s gift of life in all its stages, by defending the cause of the poor and the immigrant. All too often, those most in need of our help are unable to be heard. You are their voice, and many of you have faithfully made their cry heard. In this witness, which frequently encounters powerful resistance, you remind American democracy of the ideals for which it was founded, and that society is weakened whenever and wherever injustice prevails.

Among us today are members of America’s large Hispanic population, as well as representatives of recent immigrants to the United States. I greet all of you with particular affection! Many of you have emigrated to this country at great personal cost, but in the hope of building a new life. Do not be discouraged by whatever challenges and hardships you face. I ask you not to forget that, like those who came here before you, you bring many gifts to your new nation. You should never be ashamed of your traditions. Do not forget the lessons you learned from your elders, which are something you can bring to enrich the life of this American land. I repeat, do not be ashamed of what is part of you, your life blood. You are also called to be responsible citizens, and to contribute fruitfully to the life of the communities in which you live. I think in particular of the vibrant faith which so many of you possess, the deep sense of family life and all those other values which you have inherited. By contributing your gifts, you will not only find your place here, you will help to renew society from within.

Dear friends, I thank you for your warm welcome and for joining me here today. May this country and each of you be renewed in gratitude for the many blessings and freedoms that you enjoy. And may you defend these rights, especially your religious freedom, for it has been given to you by God himself. May he bless you all. I ask you, please, not to forget to pray for me.

Photo Credit: NBC10

First Responders Practice Responding to Simulated Plane Accident


Saturday, the skills of first responders were put to the test during a drill that simulated a plane accident at Bradley International Airport.

“Emergency response is a very important component of what we do here at the airport,” said Kevin Dillon, the airport’s executive director.

The scenario was a pilot reporting a fire in the cockpit as he approached the airport. He landed, but veered off the runway. As emergency crews approached, smoke poured out of the plane.

“Some passengers will escape the aircraft, some passengers will still be on the aircraft. The aircraft will be engulfed in fire,” said Dillon.

It was up to the medical crews first on the scene to save them. The 25 agencies taking part in the drill faced a mass-casualty situation.

“It brings these teams together, everybody works together,” said John Lombardi, a member of Granby’s C.E.R.T, one of 25 agencies that participated in the drill.

Those participants included firefighters, paramedics, airport personnel, and dozens of volunteers who laid in a field, awaiting triage.

“Firefighting skills, search and rescue skills, and even the hospitals will be here to practice their patient traffic capability,” said Dillon.

As paramedics and other first responders got hands-on training, they said the biggest take-away was the need to communicate to one another.

“So everyone knows what helps coming, what helps available, and spreading the resources,” said Lombardi.

The airport is required by the FAA to conduct live drills once every three years. Dillon said they conduct tabletop exercises during off years.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Worker Hit by Falling Brick Still in Critical Condition


A construction worker remains in critical condition Saturday after he was hit by a falling brick at construction site Tuesday morning in Hartford, according to the fire department.

Mike Malone was piling pavers when the brick fell from the roof of the building on Capitol Avenue in Hartford earlier in the week.

His father said if Malone hadn't been wearing a hard hat, he likely would have been killed.

"Tuesday it was a touch and go situation," his father, Mike Malone Sr. said. "Today, he's still in extremely critical condition, but he's made a lot of progress. A lot of prayer's going on across this country and they're working."

Fire officials said a brick fell from the roof of a four-story building at 390 Capitol Avenue and struck the worker on the head. He was unconscious when emergency responders arrived at the scene around 11:30 a.m.

He was taken by ambulance to Hartford Hospital and is listed in "extremely critical" condition, according to fire department.

Hartford police, members of the city of Hartford Licenses and Inspections Department and officials from the Occupational Health and Safety Administration responded to the scene.

The 100-year-old building at 390 Capitol Avenue is under renovation.

 A GoFundMe page has been set up to help Malone's wife and children while he recovers.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Route 8 Reopens in Watertown After Crash

Pope Francis: 'Let's Protect the Family'


After hearing a series of people tell their personal stories of faith, love and family, Pope Francis capped the Festival of Families on Saturday by discussing his own vision of the family, talking about the roles that faith and family play together, and the importance of love and commitment. 


"The most beautiful thing that God did, says the Bible, was the family," said Francis, speaking before a huge crowd on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. 

Francis strayed far from his prepared remarks, getting animated as he talked about the role families played in the Bible - from Adam and Eve to Cain and Abel to Mary and Joseph - and how family and love can help overcome problems.

"Some of you might say, ‘Father, you speak because you’re not married,'" Francis said. "Families have difficulties. Families will quarrel. Sometimes plates can fly. And children bring headaches. I don’t want to speak about mothers-in-law. But in families, there is always light.

"In the family, there are indeed difficulties. But those difficulties are overcome with love. Hatred is not capable of dealing with any difficulty, and overcoming any difficulty. Division of hearts cannot overcome any difficulty. Only love is able to overcome.

"Family is beautiful, but there’s effort involved, and there are problems. Husbands and wives quarrel, and end up badly, separated. Never let the day end without making peace. Let’s protect the family, because it’s in the family that our future is at play."

Before the pope's talk, he heard the testimonials of families from around the world. An engaged couple from Australia discussed their struggles with chastity and their fears of marriage. A Ukranian mother with a son with cerebral palsey talked about how her faith provided inspiration, and helped her raise her son. American grandparents talked about the role of grandparents in teaching their children to be good parents. 

After each testimonial, Pope Francis approached the family and spoke to them, shook their hands and gave them kisses. He hugged the boy in the wheelchair with cerebral palsey. And at the final event of the Pope's fifth day in the United States, the focus was clear: The importance of faith in family.

In between the testimonials, musicians sang, dancers danced and Mark Wahlberg served as the Master of Ceremonies. 

"All that is beautiful, all that is beautiful, all that is beautiful leads us to god," Francis said, thanking those who performed at the event. "Because God is good, God is beautiful, God is good."

Earlier in the day, Pope Francis celebrated Mass, gave an important speech on immigration and religious freedom at Independence Hall, kissed numerous babies and blessed many more.

The event caps the fifth day of a whirlwind six-day U.S. trip in which Pope Francis has visited the White House, addressed a joint session of Congress, participated in a multi-religious service at Ground Zero and addressed world leaders at the United Nation's General Assembly.

The Pope took yet another trip in his Popemobile en route to the festival, but this time the inside of the partially enclosed dome was lit so those standing in the Philly twilight could get a good look at the spiritual leader.  

Once at the festival, he was greeted by the thousands of people who have been dealing with strict security measures all day for a chance to catch a glimpse of him. Many people were still trying to get past security lines as the Popemobile was slowly making its way through Philly's streets.

After waving to the crowds, he arrived on stage, where he watched the show and listened to the testimonials. 

Singer/songwriter Marie Miller performed while being accompanied by the Pennsylvania Ballet, as did The Fray.

 With Pope Francis sitting up in his chair on stage and listening intently, the "Queen of Soul," Aretha Franklin, performed a stunning edition of "Amazing Grace" with a choir behind her that drew large cheers from the crowd. As she finished her rendition and exited stage right, she caught the Holy Spirit and did a bit of a praise dance.

Some of the early performers who took the stage before the pope arrived included singer Jackie Evancho and comedian Jim Gaffigan.

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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