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Fire Breaks Out on Main Street in West Haven

Gas Leak Near Trinity College Over


Crews from Connecticut Natural Gas responded to Trinity College in Hartford on Friday to contain a gas leak. 

The leak is capped and no one was injured. 

The college is located at 300 Summit Street and there were no evacuations. 

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Police Searching for Missing Newington Man


Police are searching for a missing 55-year-old Newington man and ask anyone who sees him or his car to call authorities.

Boguslaw “Bugs” Koniarz has been missing since Wednesday and his family told police he might be a danger to himself and have a .22 caliber rifle.

Koniarz left his home at 6:20 p.m. on Wednesday in his 2008 blue Scion XB, with Connecticut license plate number UL8366, police said.

He is 5-feet-11, weighs around 250 pounds, has salt-and-pepper colored hair, a mustache and blue eyes.

Police said he also has a scar on the front of his neck.

When he was last seen, he was wearing a gray sweatshirt, blue jeans, and black loafers.

Anyone who sees Koniarz or his vehicle should call their local police department, and anyone with information on where he is should call Newington police at 860-666-8445.

Photo Credit: Newington Police

Stepped-Up Security at Howard Continues After Threat


Howard University is continuing increased security on campus and at nearby Metro stations on Friday, after officials learned of an online threat to harm people on campus.

The threat was made against the university and its students, Howard officials said Thursday. 

The threat was posted on the website 4Chan, which allows users to post anonymously. The post spewed racial slurs and threatened to harm anyone still on campus after 10 on Thursday. Users of the site have a history of posting incendiary comments or threats, many of which turn out to be bogus.

While officials are taking the threat seriously, they said late Thursday night that the threat was "not followed by any additional threats or suspicious activity." Nonetheless, increased security will continue.

"We strongly denounce the sentiment expressed in the online threat becaise it speaks against the very freedoms that Howard University and our community stand for," the officials said.

Students, faculty and owners of surrounding businesses say they're staying vigilant.

The owner of the poplar family-owned Howard Delicatessen, located across the street from campus, said he's proud of how the Howard community has handled the threat.

Owner Kenny Gilmore said people who post online threats "get gratification from seeing us scared or reacting."

The Howard community held a rally Friday morning, after what's been a challenging week on campus. Students planned to hold a 10-minute moment of silence to show solidarity with other universities that have been dealing with similar threats and racial tensions.

Howard students also held a rally on campus Thursday night for a similar purpose.

One student said it was painful to hear about the threat made to the community.

"It's hurtful, just knowing that this is an HBCU [historically black college or university]," she said. "People take pride in this school."

Howard officials said security has been increased out of an "abundance of caution." Students were not penalized if they chose to skip classes on Thursday because they were concerned, officials said.

Howard asked anyone who sees something suspicious to call the Howard University Department of Public Safety at 202-806-1100 or D.C. police at 202-727-9099.

The FBI is taking the lead in the investigation into the threat.

"We are aware of the online threat, and have made appropriate notifications..." the FBI said in a statement. "We urge anyone with information on the threat to contact the D.C. police department or the FBI."

Although the post was anonymous, former FBI criminal profiler Clint Van Zandt said the FBI usually can track down the person responsible.

"Everything has a date/time stamp on it, so as soon as the authorities identify the device that it came from and the date and time, then they do the normal shoe-leather type of investigation," he said. 

Photo Credit: Meagan Fitzgerald, News4
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Power Outage Prompts Early Dismissal at Nonnewaug High


Nonnewaug High School in Woodbury is dismissing at 1 p.m. on Friday after a nearby transformer blew, knocking out power.

There are more than 500 power outages in Woodbury, according to the Web site for Eversource, which is 11 percent of the customer base. 

Eversource is reporting 1,142 power outages as of 1 p.m. 

Photo Credit: Getty Images/Blend Images RM

Foley's Family Reacts to Strike


The family of an American hostage killed by ISIS is reacting to news that one of the terrorist group’s most notorious militants was targeted by a U.S airstrike.

A U.S. drone strike targeted a vehicle in the ISIS stronghold of Raqqa, Syria, believed to be transporting the masked Islamic State militant known as "Jihadi John," defense officials said. It is still yet to be determined if the Kuwait-born British citizen, who appears in several videos depicting the beheading of hostages, was killed.

"It will take time to definitely declare whether we had success," Col. Steve Warren, spokesman for the U.S. military operation against ISIS, told reporters during a briefing, adding that officials are "reasonably certain" Mohammed Emwazi was killed.

One of the Americans executed by the extremist was 40-year-old New Hampshire journalist James Foley. He was beheaded in August 2014, two years after he was abducted in Syria.

"I'm not impressed at all that we may have eliminated Jihadi John," said James Foley's father John.

They were strong words from the father of murdered New Hampshire journalist James Foley, as news that a U.S. airstrike in Syria targeting his son's killer "Jihadi John" may have been successful.

"Jihadi John makes no difference to us, Jim is dead, bombing him won't bring Jim back, it won't change the war, we need eliminate ISIS," said John Foley.

Foley spoke outside his Rochester, New Hampshire home Friday, saying he fears this may only inspire others within ISIS to step up to replace Mohammed Emwazi, the British man videotaped beheading several hostages nicknamed Jihadi John.

"It glorifies his existence which facilitates potentially further recruitment," Foley said.

Foley says were his son still alive, he would not be satisfied with this attack either.

"Jimmy would say the same thing," said Foley, "he would want justice for all the people who are dying."

Foley says he doesn't think it's something the U.S. should be boasting about.

"If that's our accomplishment, God bless us," said Foley, "if that's all we've done, give me a break."

John and Diane Foley released the following statement Friday: 

"It is a very small solace to learn that Jihadi John may have been killed by the U.S. government. His death does not bring Jim back. If only so much effort had been given to finding and rescuing Jim and the other hostages who were subsequently murdered by ISIS, they might be alive today. Our focus is on Jim's life and all the good that he did in the world. We remain humble and proud of his unwavering commitment to give voice to the voiceless as a journalist, a teacher and a friend. As we continue to honor Jim's life, we are grateful to the thousands of people who supported Jim throughout his captivity and who continue to support his legacy today through The James W. Foley Legacy Foundation. The Foundation is committed to defending the rights of every American citizen by advocating for the safe release of Americans kidnapped abroad, advancing safety measures for freelance journalists in conflict zones, and providing underprivileged youth with access to education."

Foley's death was recorded and released in one of numerous propoganda videos made by the Islamic militants. The beheadings of American-Israeli journalist Steven Sotloff, U.S. aid worker Abdul-Rahman Kassig, British aid workers David Haines and Alan Henning and Japanese journalist Kenji Goto were also recorded.

Photo Credit: AP/File

Nordstrom Pulls Holiday Sweater


Just days after Target went under fire for a highly contested Christmas sweater and hours after Bloomingdale’s issued an apology for offending customers in a misleading catalog ad, Nordstrom is now the latest retail giant to get heat for a product they were offering shoppers this holiday season.

Earlier this week, talk about Nordstrom’s Faux Real ‘Chai Maintenance’ Hanukkah sweater started circulating on social media, with customers flooding to Nordstrom’s Facebook page to express their disgust in the item.

“I'm disappointed to see that Nordstrom is selling such an offensive item that perpetuates negative stereotypes of Jewish women,” wrote one user. “I hope you remove it from your inventory.”

The festive blue shirt, being sold in the retailer’s "ugly holiday sweater" lineup, shows a large menorah across the front emblazed with the words “Chai Maintenance” at the top. Many Jewish women believed it to be distasteful towards their faith, as the Hebrew word chai – meaning life – is pronounced “high,” alluding that Jewish woman are high maintenance.

Nordstrom responded by pulling it from shelves. By Thursday morning, the product was no longer able to be found on their website.

“I'm glad Nordstrom took it down,” one Facebook user wrote. “Cute and kitschy is one thing but perpetuating negative stereotypes as supposedly cute or fun holiday wear is disgusting. I expect more of a large high end retailer such as Nordstrom. Especially when the version for men is just cute, why is the version for women derogatory?”

Some customers, on the other hand, were not offended by the ensemble.

“Hey Nordstrom, I'm Jewish and a huge fan of these sweaters, where can I get one from now you've stopped selling?” another shopper wrote.

But it was too late, with the company responding: “We appreciate your interest, however, the sweater is no longer available for purchase.”

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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Jared Fogle's Attorneys Ask for 5-Year Prison Term


Disgraced former Subway pitchman Jared Fogle is "profoundly sorry" and will ask for leniency when he is sentenced next week on child pornography and sex crime charges, his attorneys said in a filing Friday, NBC News reported.

Attorneys for Fogle want the federal judge in Indianapolis to give him a five-year prison term — less than the 12 years and seven months that federal prosecutors are seeking. In addition, the government wants the 38-year-old father of two to get a lifetime of supervision following his release.

Fogle agreed in August to plead guilty to possession of child pornography and traveling to pay for sex with minors — a stunning admission that brought disgrace to the sandwich pitchman.

Subway severed its relationship with Fogle after the allegations surfaced. 

Photo Credit: AP

Woman Charged in Disney Ticket Scam


A 22-year-old California woman is accused of posing as a Disney employee, complete with bogus Mickey Mouse business cards, and selling fake tickets to more than a dozen people.

Jennifer Anne Cardema, who used to live in San Jose and now lives in Pacifica, was charged Friday with grand theft, identity theft, and aggravated white collar crime enhancements, according to Santa Clara County Deputy District Attorney Jennifer Deng.

Cardema is being represented by a public defender, but she did not enter a plea on Friday and neither commented about the case. Her bail was set at $332,000 for one set of charges, including the Disney-related counts, and $150,000 for another set of charges.

According to prosecutors, her scam lasted more than two years, and investigators tracked down at least 14 acquaintances or friends of acquaintances who were targeted.

During several scenarios, Cardema allegedly pretended she was a Disney employee who had the ability to sell discounted annual passes and hotel reservations. She tricked her customers, prosecutors said, by creating a fake LinkedIn page, Disneyland passes, Disneyland emails and business cards decorated with pictures of Mickey Mouse and Elsa, the main character in the hit film "Frozen."

Deng said several families in Silicon Valley traveled to Anaheim, California; or Orlando, Florida; only to find that their Disney passes were not valid and their rooms were not booked. One victim called Santa Clara police, several people called San Jose police, and one person contacted the District Attorney, Deng said. During the investigation, more victims were discovered.

Cardema conned other victims, Deng said, by leading them to believe she was hiring them at Intel or YouTube so they would provide personal information in job applications. A few days later, Cardema would allegedly open credit cards under their names and go on shopping sprees, according to prosecutors.

When many of the victims demanded their money back, Cardema would send them checks which were returned for insufficient funds, prosecutors said.

This Disney scam is not the first.

In February, Mountain View police arrested 25-year-old David Kao of San Francisco on charges of selling Park Hopper tickets to Disneyland for $500 on Craiglist. When the family showed up at the Anaheim theme park, they presented their tickets at the counter only to find out they were fake, authorities said.

NBC Bay Area's Robert Handa contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: Santa Clara County District Attorney

Ben Carson Dismisses Trump's 'Gratuitous Attack'


Ben Carson dismissed the "gratuitous attack" leveled against him by presidential rival Donald Trump, who likened the former neurosurgeon to a child molester, NBC News reported.

Trump delivered a blistering critique of Carson during a campaign rally in Iowa on Thursday in which he said the former neurosurgeon has a "pathological disease" that cannot be cured.

"If you're a child molester, there is no cure. They can't stop you." Trump said. "Pathological, there is no cure."

Carson fired back at the media while talking to reporters in South Carolina Friday, saying he does not believe Trump called him a child molester.

“I always find it amusing what people in the press like to say,” Carson responded. “You compare this, therefore you said this. I don’t buy all that stuff.”

On Friday, Trump released an Instagram video again calling into question Carson's story about attempting to stab a friend in his adolescence.

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Basketball Coach Inspires Players to Keep Them on the Right Track


Basketball is the sport James Decrisantis, of West Hartford, loves to play and Kevin Kirksey is the coach James Decrisantis loves to play for.

On Wednesday nights, you can find both of them working hard for their future with other members of the Greater Hartford Pro-Am Youth Basketball teams.

“We can’t mess around at all,” Decrisantis said. “We have to give 110 percent and stay focused.”

These practices have become a priority for the young players, many of whom have hopes of playing in the pros and know the GHPA has helped create some of the greats.

Ray Allen, Kevin Ollie and Marcus Camby have all played in the program and, while Coach Kevin is a part of their story, his own story has truly changed the game.

In 2008, Kirksey became seriously ill. He was diagnosed with a liver disease and went into full-blown cirrhosis.

“I had 10 percent of my liver left and they were like, ‘You need a transplant,’” Kirksey said.

At the time, Kirksey did not fully comprehend how bad his situation was.

He was in and out of the hospital for days, sometimes weeks at a time. It was exhausting, but it was also eye opening.

In 2010, Kirksey received the transplant he had been waiting for, and with the new liver came a new outlook.

“While I was in the hospital, I decided I wanted to work with the youth more,” he said.

In the years following his transplant, Kirksey has expanded the youth program from three teams to seven, and from 25 players to 70. He has invested in their overall well-being and made it his mission to keep the kids on track, not only on the court but also in the classroom.

“It is incredibly bigger than basketball. It is really a way of life. It is about being part of something larger than yourself,” he said

The player’s families have seen Kirksey’s influence firsthand.

Maxine Stewart said she has witnessed her grandson become a better player and a better person, thanks to Kirksey’s coaching, and thinks he has been firm, but fair.

Stewart said she wouldn’t have it any other way.

“He is one of the few people out there that truly cares. Not for fame, not for success and not for himself. He is very much into what is good for the children,” Stewart said.

To Kirksey, that means being present and passionate, not only at every practice but also for whatever his players need.

It is not uncommon to see him on the sideline at another sporting event or checking in on homework assignments and their home life.

“I am not trying to limit myself to being a coach,” Kirksey said. “I am not trying to call myself a mentor; I’m just trying to call them my family.”

Coach Kevin’s players said he is all of the above and because of that, they are forever grateful.

“I can’t thank him enough. It is an honor to play for him,” Decrisantis said.

To learn more about the GHPA, Coach Kevin and the youth program check out the GHPA High School Basketball Classic.

The event takes place on Dec. 19 at Trinity College.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

San Diego Zoo Welcomes Birth of Rare Pygmy Hippo Calf


A rare pygmy hippo calf was born at the San Diego Zoo on Wednesday—the first surviving hippo birth at the zoo in over a decade. 

The little hippo weighs about 12 pounds and was born to its mother, Francesca.

The significant birth adds to the world's smallest species of hippo which is currently on the endangered species list. There are approximately 2,000 pygmy hippos left in the world, according to the San Diego Zoo. 

"Bringing species back from the brink of extinction is the mission of San Diego Zoo Global," the zoo said in a press release. 

As of now the sex and name of the calf is unknown. Francesca and her baby will be alone in a private barn until the calf is ready to swim in the larger pool on exhibit, the zoo said. 

Photo Credit: San Diego Zoo

Police Bust Suspected Identity Theft Team


Stamford police have arrested two suspects in separate identity theft investigations and said they are connected.

In of the two cases, the identities of around 20 employees of a Stamford financial business were compromised, police said.

As police investigated, they learned an employee left behind a book of the company’s employee’s personal information and someone got his hands on it and opened several fraudulent bank accounts, as well as phone, and credit card accounts in the names of several employees without their knowledge, police said.

Police identified Reginald Boyd, 22, as the suspect. Police searched his house in October and said evidence linked him to the accounts.

On Nov. 12, police somehow convinced Boyd to come to the police department, under the guise that he would be getting the items back, but police instead arrested him and charged him with trafficking in personal identifying information, 19 counts of third-degree identity theft, second-degree identity theft and first-degree computer crimes.

A $100,000 court-set bond was set for Boyd.

The investigation into the other case began during the week of Nov. 9, when a victim reached out to police and investigators learned that someone had bought three Apple iPhones online and was planning to pick them up at the Sprint Store in Stamford.

When the suspect arrived, officers were there, posing as store employees, and took Tosheim Newkirk, 21, into custody and charged him with criminal impersonation, second-degree forgery, third-degree identity theft, fourth-degree larceny and credit card theft.

Bond was set at $20,000.

Police said Boyd and Newkirk had been working together, conducting the identity thefts as a team.

Photo Credit: Stamford Police

About 100 Dead at U.S. Band's Paris Concert


About 100 people were killed at a Paris venue that became the scene of a deadly hostage situation after a California rock band played a concert Friday, NBC News reported.

As the band, Eagles of Death Metal, performed on stage for a sold out nightclub, gunmen came in firing automatic weapons at fans before holding hundreds hostage for hours, according to NBC News. The venue holds about 1,500 people.

A U.S. official briefed by the Justice Department told the Associated Press that all members of the band are safe. Two members of the band's crew had earlier told NBC News that a band member died in the attack.

It was unclear how many were inside the theater, located in eastern Paris near the trendy Oberkampf area. At least 120 people were killed in total in the shootings and explosions outside the nightclub at multiple sites that rocked the city Friday night, officials said.

An eyewitness at the concert told NBC News that the shots started about a half hour into the show. They saw two gunman in plainclothes with machine guns firing into the crowd.

"We all (dove) to the ground, panic, screaming, the firing continued," the witness recounted. "We saw people on the floor and terrorists firing into people as they were on the floor."

The crowd rushed to the open doors and waited on the stairs before a man in his apartment opened his window allowing people to escape to the roof, according to the witness.

"We stayed there waiting for it to be over," the witness said about standing on the roof. "We heard explosions, gunfire, screams."

Emily Hall Dorio, the wife of drummer Julian Dorio, told NBC News that she briefly spoke to her husband and he had said all the members of the band were safe at the police station. She thinks there are other crew members still unaccounted for, but those on stage managed to get away.

"I'm grateful and heartbroken at the same time," Dorio told NBC News. "I'm grateful he's alive."

The band, formed in 1998 in Palm Desert, California, was celebrating the October release of "Zipper Metal" with an European tour. It's their first album in seven years.

Josh Homme — the frontman and founder of Queens of the Stone Age — formed Eagles of Death Metal with his best friend, Jesse Hughes. Though their name is Eagles of Death Metal, the band's sound is a mix of blues rock and garage rock.

Their website lists about two dozen dates planned for the year, including stops in Munich, Stockholm, Rome and Barcelona. Reports indicate Homme was not with the band in Paris.

In an interview in June with The Associated Press, the band spoke excitedly about releasing new music and heading on tour.

"You know, I'm telling you the truth, but this is the coolest job in the world," Hughes said, sitting next to Homme. "Right now I'm sitting in an interview with my best friend in London at Koko's Ballroom talking about myself. It doesn't really get much better than this!"

Hours before the show, the band's bassist, Matt McJunkins tweeted a photo of the stage. [[347946971, C]]

"We are still currently trying to determine the safety and whereabouts of all our band and crew. Our thoughts are with all of the people involved in this tragic situation," management for Eagles of Death Metal posted on the band's official Facebook page at 8:00 pm EST on Friday.

The Irish band, U2, has postponed its Saturday night concert in Paris in light of the deadly attacks. 

Photo Credit: Reuters
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Man Fleeing from Officer Crashes Into Cruiser: Police


Two Trumbull police officers went to the hospital after a man who was fleeing from another officer hit their cruiser early Friday morning, police said.

Police said a Trumbull police officer was trying to stop a Jeep Grand Cherokee driven by Jose Rey, 50, of Bridgeport, for a motor vehicle violation and Rey led him on a chase.

Rey got onto Route 25 south at Daniel’s Farm Road and continued until he reached exit 6, at Old Towne Road at 1:40 a.m., where he proceeded to pull off the road and hit a police cruiser that two Trumbull police officers were in to attempt to block Rey's car, police said.

WARNING: The mug shot of Jose Rey is graphic and might be disturbing to some people. It is included at the bottom of this article. 

Both officers were injured, but were able to take the suspect into custody.

They were then taken to the hospital to be treated for minor head and facial injuries, but are expected to be OK.

Rey was also taken to the hospital to be treated before he was placed under arrest.

Rey was charged with first-degree reckless endangerment, interfering with a police officer, possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of a controlled substance, possession of narcotics, possession of a lost or stolen license plate, reckless driving, engaging an officer in pursuit, failure to obey a red light and several other motor vehicle violations.

At the time Rey was arrested, he was also wanted by the Stratford Police Department for failing to appear in court for prior motor vehicle and drug charges.

He is being held on a $75,000 bond and is charged with the following violations:

The exit 6 off of Route 25 South was closed, but has since reopened.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut,com
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Paris Attacks Come 10 Months After Deadly Attack on Charlie Hebdo


For the third time in 11 months, Paris was ripped apart by gunfire and bloodshed, and the city was held in the grips of terror.

Friday's attacks — explosions near a soccer stadium, Stade de France, a shooting at a restaurant and hostages taken at a theater — came at the end of a year that began with terrorist attacks on the satirical magazine, Charlie Hebdo, and later at a kosher grocery store.  Over those three bloody days in January, 17 people were killed.

On Jan. 7, masked gunmen armed with AK-47s and shouting “Allahu Akbar” stormed the magazine’s offices, leaving 12 people dead, including the paper’s editor, Stephane Charbonnier, known as Charb. Charbonnier was on an al Qaeda hit list.

The assailants, two French-born brothers of Algerian descent, Cherif, 32, and Said Kouachi, 34, were killed three days later at a printing plant where they were holding a hostage.

The younger brother had been sentenced to prison in 2008 for helping to funnel fighters to Iraq. The older of the brothers had traveled to Yemen and gotten training from al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, U.S. counterterrorism officials told NBC News.

Meanwhile an associate, Amedy Coulibaly, who was also born in France, booby-trapped a kosher supermarket and killed four of his hostages. He was demanding the release of the Kouachi brothers before being killed.

President Francois Hollande called that week’s violence the worst terrorism in France since the Algerian War from 1954 until 1962 and denounced the attack on the store for its anti-Semitism.

The magazine was known for its religious barbs; for example, it published the Danish cartoons of Muhammad that sparked riots in the Middle East in 2005. Its offices were firebombed in 2011. 

An attempted attack on an Amsterdam-to-Paris train was foiled in August, when a gunman was overpowered by a group of passengers that included three Americans. The suspect, Ayoub El Khazzani, opened fire in a carriage of the train, according to French officials. They said the Moroccan man might have links to radical Islam, but his lawyer said he was merely trying to rob the train.

Photo Credit: AP

I-84 East Closed at Tolland/Willington Line


Interstate 84 eastbound is closed on the Tolland/Willington line because of a crash involving a tractor trailer, according to the Department of Transportation.

State police say the highway was closed between exits 69 and 70 around 7:30 p.m. after a tractor trailer rolled over onto a passenger car. The driver of the passenger car had to be extricated from the car. That driver was transported to Hartford Hospital via Lifestar while conscious and alert. No other details on the victim’s condition are available at this time.

Police say they are investigating reports that a wrong-way driver was involved in the crash. It is unclear at this point exactly how many vehicles were involved.

The highway is expected to be shut down for hours while police investigate. Traffic is being diverted off the highway. Drivers should try to avoid the area and expect extended delays.
Check back for updates.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Airbnb Attendees Tweet Paris Attack


Airbnb employees and hosts tweeted from Paris about the deadly attacks during the hospitality company's first conference ever held outside of San Francisco.

They described the chaos and the horror, including how many of them were barricaded in restaurants, some lying on the floor.

The company canceled all events for tomorrow, according to a tweet from Brian Chesky, Airbnb CEO and co-founder. "We are heartbroken and our thoughts are with the people of Paris, the victims of this terrible attack and their families," Chesky wrote.

More than 6,000 attendees from over 100 countries are at Parc dela Villete, the third largest park in Paris from Nov. 12 to 14 as Airbnb announces new features and services for hosts. Airbnb is working to account for all employees and event attendees who are in Paris right now. The company did not immediately return calls requesting comment.

Airbnb employee and occasional Airbnb host Scott Raymond rushed back to his apartment in the 10th arrondissement in the middle of all the chaos.

“I was at dinner with my wife near Place Sainte-Catherine and got a text from a co-worker,” Raymond told NBC Bay Area from Paris. “Uber was unavailable — a taxi told us he could not take us past a blockade. We took the Metro through Republique — without stopping — and got back to our listing safely.”

Raymond said he could hear sirens in the distance everywhere. “Some Metro stations around Republique were not allowing stops as we came home,” he said.

Raymond describe the situation as tense: “Everyone in our small restaurant was suddenly staring at their phones as the news began to break. The subways were fairly empty and sober/determined."

Dozens died Friday in shootings and explosions across Paris, French officials said. The city’s deputy mayor said more than 100 people died in the attacks, which come just 10 months after the Charlie Hebdo carnage.

French police had control of the hostage situation at a Paris concert hall, which was scheduled to play host to a band from California on Friday night. Officials described “carnage” inside the building.

Michael Endelman, who does content strategy for Airbnb was also tweeting updates.

“In #paris, terrorist incidents around the city, hostages at Eagles of death metal concert, bombs at a bar, more tk,” he tweeted at 1:54 p.m. PST.

Then a few minutes later: “Hunkered down with fellow #airbnb coworkers, hope that the 4k @airbnb in the city this week are safe.”

His last tweet was at 2:17 p.m. PST which described the scene: “Police cars everywhere, many @airbnb friends barricaded in restos, some lying on the floor. Word is 35 dead @EODMofficial show #Paris”

If you are concerned about a US citizen in Paris you can call 1-888-407-4747 (from the US) or 202-501-4444 (from overseas) for assistance.

Photo Credit: EFE
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GOP Rolls Out Budget Fixes


House and Senate Republicans unveiled their proposed fixes to the state budget, which faces a deficit in the hundreds of millions of dollars, and even more in later years.

Top Republicans were visibly frustrated Friday because pieces of their proposals had been linked to members of the press the previous day.

"It's disheartening" said Sen. Len Fasano, (R - North Haven), the top Republican in the Senate.

He said he thought what was said during negotiations that started two weeks ago with Republicans, Democrats, and Democratic Gov. Dannel Malloy would remain private.

In all, the GOP budget plan cuts existing spending by more than $300 million, and proposes several initiatives to get spending under control in later years.

Fasano and Rep. Themis Klarides (R - Derby) unveiled an $80 million short-term savings idea to entice retirements from about 1,800 state employees who are eligible to retire but haven't.

Republicans also want to restore cuts made by the governor to hospitals, mental health, and disability services, while also allowing him to identify another $90 million or so in new cuts.

They proposed trimming the governor's infrastructure and transportation spending plan by roughly 30% from $100 billion over 30 years to $67 billion over the same time span.

In long term savings, they want to see increased payments from state workers for health insurance Gov. Malloy said Friday that he looks forward to hearing ideas from Democrats, who are expected to unveil their budget plans next week.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

World Leaders, Politicians Express Condolences and Shock for Paris


World leaders expressed shock after a series of attacks rocked Paris, where at least 120 people were killed at six locations.

President Barack Obama vowed to stand by France in the midst of this "heartbreaking situation."

"Once again we've seen an outrageous attempt to terrorize innocent civilians," Obama said. "This is an attack not just on Paris; it's an attack not just on the people of France, but this is an attack on all of humanity and the universal values that we share. We stand prepared and ready to provide whatever assistance that the government and people of France need to respond. 

"France is our oldest ally. The French people have stood shoulder-to-shoulder with the United States time and again. And we want to be very clear that we stand together with them in the fight against terrorism and extremism. Paris itself represents the timeless values of human progress. Those who think that they can terrorize the people of France or the values that they stand for are wrong. The American people draw strength from the French people's commitment to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness."

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she is "deeply shaken by the news and pictures that are reaching us from Paris." The German leader issued a statement that said her thoughts are with the victims of the "apparent terrorist attack."

Jens Stoltenberg, the Secretary-General of the NATO alliance, said he is "deeply shocked by horrific Paris attacks," and wrote on Twitter that "We stand together with the people of #France. Terrorism will never defeat democracy."

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned "the despicable terrorist attacks" in Paris.

Senate Intelligence Committee Vice Chairman Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) released the following statement on the terrorist attacks in Paris:

“I’m following the terrorist attacks in Paris closely. These attacks are diabolical; an effort to kill perfectly innocent people in different locations and situations. There’s no question these are terrorist attacks. The United States stands with France and we’ll do whatever we can to help.”

Pope Francis shared a message of solidarity and condemned the "homicidal hatred" of the attack, writing:

"Here in the Vatican we are following the terrible news from Paris. We are shocked by this new manifestation of maddening, terrorist violence and hatred which we condemn in the most radical way together with the pope and all those who love peace. We pray for the victims and the wounded, and for all the French people. This is an attack on peace for all humanity, and it requires a decisive, supportive response on the part of all of us as we counter the spread the homicidal hatred in all of its forms."

Secretary of State John Kerry echoed President Obama, and said: "We stand with the French people tonight, as our peoples have always stood together in our darkest hours."

He condemned the taking of hostages as "heinous, evil, vile acts," calling for "those of us who can must do everything in our power to fight back against what can only be considered an assault on our common humanity."

Kerry also noted that the U.S. embassy in Paris is making every effort to account for the welfare of American citizens in the city and stood ready to provide whatever support the French government may require in the days ahead.

Vice President Biden expressed his condolences, calling the attacks "savagery" and calling for the U.S. to stand alongside the people of France:
"I join President Obama in offering my deepest condolences to all those wounded and to the families who lost loved ones in today’s terrorist attacks in Paris.  It’s heartbreaking. Outrageous. The American people understand and share the pain the people of Paris are going through. As these tragic events unfold, the investigation continues, and we learn all of the details of what’s happened, the United States stands ready to support the French government and the people of Paris.  And, as we’ve done before, in the face of dangers and threats, we will look out for one another. We will stand together. We will never bow. We will never break. That’s the character of our two nations. We are bound by timeless democratic values that the cowardice and perverse ideologues of extremist networks can never match, wherever they are. Such savagery can  never threaten who we are. We will respond. We will overcome. We will endure."

Other politicians and celebrities went to Twitter to express their sympathies and thoughts.

World Leaders:

François Fillon, Former Prime Minister of France

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David Cameron, British Prime Minister

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Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the EU Commmission

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Presidential Candidates:

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Photo Credit: Bloomberg via Getty Images
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