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Hearing to Continue in Malloy Mailings Dispute


Lawyers for state elections officials and the state Democratic Party will be returning to court in a dispute over whether the party illegally spent money on Gov. Dannel P. Malloy's re-election campaign last year.

The State Elections Enforcement Commission is investigating if the party improperly paid for a mass mailing supporting Malloy's campaign with money from an account designated for federal office campaigns. Democrats say the mailing was a get-out-the-vote effort allowed by federal law.

A hearing that began in October is set to continue for a third day Tuesday in Hartford Superior Court. A judge will decide if election regulators can subpoena Democratic Party records.

Republicans say the Democrats' federal campaign account included money from state contractors, who can contribute to federal office campaigns but not state office campaigns.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Turkey Recovers Body of Pilot From Downed Russian Jet


Turkey recovered the body of a Russian pilot from northern Syria and presented it to Russian diplomts on Sunday, five days after shooting down his warplane in an incident that wrecked relations between two of the main powers invovled in Syria's war. 

A coffin carrying Oleg Peshkov arrived by ambulance on the tarmac of Hatay Airport in southern Turkey near the Syrian bordder, a Reuters photographer said. 

The shooting down of the Russian fighter jet by NATO-member Turkey, the first known incident of its kind since the Cold War, has damaged efforts to forge a united front against ISIS in the weeks since militants claimed responsibility for mass killings in Paris and blowing up a Russian airliner.

Photo Credit: AP

Governor's Mansion to Open for Holiday Tours


Connecticut residents will have an opportunity to tour the Governor's Residence in Hartford.

This year's holiday open house will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Dec. 4 and Dec. 5, and from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Dec. 6.

Admission is free and tickets are not needed. Donations will be accepted for Operation ELF, an annual effort by the Connecticut Military Department to help families of soldiers and airmen deployed during the holiday season.

About 30 volunteers will be on hand to provide tours of the residence, which will be decorated with six Christmas trees and other holiday adornments. The trees, wreaths and seasonal plants have been donated by Connecticut growers.

The residence is located at 990 Prospect Ave.

Photo Credit: State of Connecticut

Victims of Colorado Planned Parenthood Shooting Identified


The two victims of an attack on a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs were identified Sunday as an Army veteran and a lovable mother.

Officials said Jennifer Markovsky, 36, and Ke'Arre Marcell Stewart, 29, were killed along with police Officer Garrett Swasey in the hours-long attack Friday. Each of the victims had two children.

Family members said Markovsky was originally from Hawaii, according to NBC affiliate KHNL of Honolulu. Markovsky was at Planned Parenthood on Friday supporting a friend, her family said, when suspected gunman Robert Dear rushed in and started shooting.

Stewart was an Iraq war veteran who had recently left the military, a friend, Amburh Butler, told The Associated Press.

Photo Credit: KHNL

Hundreds Attend Waterbury Tree Lighting


The Waterbury Green is a lot more colorful now.

On Sunday, hundreds of people turned out for festivities which culminated in a tree lighting.

The annual event included a band playing favorite holiday songs.

There were also hay rides for the kids.

People were asked to bring a non-perishable food item for a local food pantry.

That or a cash donation got people a Frankies hot dog.

“It has been phenomenal. People have just been coming out in droves and families that just bring everything and anything they can. And it’s wonderful to see it,” says Caroline Colaci, an worker at Frankies.

Now the main act was the tree lighting.

After a countdown, a group of kids had the honor of officially flipping the switch to light the tree on the Green.

This dazzling event was sponsored by the City of Waterbury and the Arts and Tourism Commission.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

4 People Dead in Apparent Louisiana Murder-Suicide


Four people, including boys ages 2 and 4, were found dead Sunday morning inside a home in Marrero, Louisiana, authorities said.

The bodies were discovered about 11 a.m. (noon ET) when an 18-year-old woman returned home from a hunting trip, Jefferson Parish sheriff's Col. John Fortunato said Sunday afternoon.

All of the victims had stab wounds, Fortunato said. They were identified as David Mata, 46; Kelli Mata, 40; Caden Mata, 4; and Liam Mata, 2.

The woman who found them wasn't immediately identified, and sheriff's officials wouldn't provide any further details early Sunday night. 

Photo Credit: Getty Images/File

Threat Cancels Ill. College Classes


Classes at University of Chicago’s Hyde Park campus are canceled Monday after an unknown individual posted an online threat of gun violence, according to the University.

President Robert Zimmer sent a letter to the campus community Sunday to announce the cancellation of all classes and activities on the Hyde Park campus through midnight on Monday.

In the letter, which was also posted online, Zimmer wrote that the University was informed by FBI counterterrorism officials that someone posted a threat of gun violence online. The individual reportedly mentioned specifically “the campus quad” on Monday morning at 10 a.m., according to the letter.

“Based on the FBI’s assessment of this threat and recent tragic events at other campuses across the country, we have decided in consultation with federal and local law enforcement officials, to exercise caution by canceling all classes and activities on the Hyde Park campus through midnight on Monday,” Zimmer wrote.

All non-medical faculty, students and non-essential staff are asked not to come to the Hyde Park campus on Monday. The letter also asked those who will be on campus to remain indoors as much as possible, including students in College Housing.

The University of Chicago will have an increased police presence on and around the campus, according to President Zimmer.

U of C security personnel are working closely with the FBI, which is continuing to investigate the threat.

The University of Chicago Laboratory Schools, the University libraries, the Quadrangle Club, and other campus facilities will also be closed on Monday.

The University of Chicago Medical Center will remain with added security measures, according to the University.

The school expects to resume normal University operations on Tuesday.

Anyone who sees anything unusual should contact University of Chicago Police at 773-702-8181.

Bats Tied To Poles With Chains


San Francisco police are investigating why a set of spiked baseball bats were chained to telephone poles around San Francisco on Thanksgiving, which a spokesman said was "very strange."

As many of 27 of these bats, some of which had nails protruding from them, were found in a number of locations around the city, Sgt. Michael Andraychak said.

The bats were discovered throughout Thursday, beginning in the morning. The last one was found at around 4:45 p.m. at 19th Avenue and Buckingham Way, Andraychak said. Gerrie Burke snapped a photo of the odd sight -- a bat attached to a pole meter as if it were a sleeping dog.

"I thought it was someone trying to be sick, then I thought it's an art project," Burke said. "And then I thought maybe they are trying to freak people out."

Andraychak said there are no indications currently of who placed the bats or why. Police are investigating various aspects of what Andraychak described as a "very strange" episode.

Police said possession could be considered a probhibited deadly weapon with a felony charge.

Bay City News contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: Gerrie Burke

Man Hid Roommate's Body in Suitcase


A man faces criminal charges after police were tipped off to a "foul odor" coming from the basement of an apartment building in Midlothian, Illinois, only to discover his roommate's body hidden in storage, according to police. 

On Friday night, Midlothian police were flagged down by a resident of an apartment building in the 14500 block of Keystone Ave. The resident reported a foul odor from the storage area and escorted police downstairs. 

There, the police found a suitcase inside a storage unit that contained the decomposing body, later identified as Kimberly Putterlik. Her official cause of death is pending the results of a toxicology report, but when officers interviewed her roommate, 23-year-old Alexander Acevedo, he stated that Putterlik died of an overdose on or around Nov. 13. 

Acevedo said he was afraid of calling the police and being kicked out of the apartment, so the following day he placed Putterlik in the suitcase downstairs where authorities found her. 

Acevedo has been charged with concealment of death and obstructing justice.

Photo Credit: Midlothian Police Department

Japan's Whaling Fleet Set to Embark on Hunt for 333 Minke Whales


Japan is sending a whaling fleet to the Antarctic on Tuesday for a three-month hunt, according to the country’s government.

Under its proposal, Japan plans on catching up to 333 minke whales each year for the next 12 years, according to a government statement.

The hunt will be the first since the hunts were deemed not truly scientific, forcing Tokyo to revise its whaling plans, according to The Associated Press.

The International Whaling Commission has banned whaling since 1986, but Japan can continue killing whales under an exemption for research.


Planned Parenthood Victim Tried to Save Others


The 29-year old Iraq War veteran killed in the Planned Parenthood attack ran back inside after being shot to warn others to take cover, his brother told NBC News.

Ke’Arre Stewart was hit after stepping outside the Colorado Springs clinic because he didn’t have cellphone service, brother Leyonte Chandler said.

Chandler said his brother tried to run back into the building and tell the others to take cover. Asked whether Stewart, a father of two, was a hero, Chandler said: “Definitely, definitely.”

Stewart was one of three people fatally shot by Robert Lewis Dear, who allegedly opened fire at the clinic Friday.

Photo Credit: Tony Fisher

SF Home Seller Demands Culture Vow


A San Francisco woman fed up with the Mission District’s rapid gentrification sold her home for hundreds of thousands of dollars under market value – but with a caveat.

Prospective buyers went through an application process designed to weed out people who didn’t respect the neighborhood or its diverse culture.

Catherine Lee sold her two-bedroom, Edwardian condo with garage parking and a marble fireplace on 23rd and Alabama streets for a non-negotiable $650,000. That's a steal when you consider that a veritable shack sold for $408,000 in the Mission District just a month ago.

Comparable houses in the same area have sold for more than $1 million, according to real estate website Zillow. 

Lee, who is a filmmaking teacher living on a modest income, told San Francisco Magazine that she was flooded with potential buyers. None of them, however, seemed to understand that she was serious about the culture-centric application.

"I had a couple of real estate agents come by — you know, long, clicky nails and stiletto heels – who told me they had clients who would go way over asking price," she told the magazine. "I said, ‘OK, so what’s their cultural contribution?’ I never heard back."

That contribution, referred to as a "10-year cultural promissory note," asked prospective buyers to write about their ties to the city and enter a binding, decade-long commitment to provide something of cultural value to the community or to Lee herself.

The new owners also had to promise that they would abstain from griping about the the Mission District's Dia de los Muertos festival, the "Day of the Dead" holiday with roots in Mexico that celebrates the lives of friends and family members who have died. Out-of-area transplants had recently criticized the longstanding neighborhood event, much to Lee's dismay.

"The people showing up were maybe more professional," Lee told the magazine about her preference for the future owners. "I was really thinking, like, the doorman at Slim’s (music club)."

Still, solid offers poured in.

Applicants promised to create a local choir, donate to various foundations and give free legal help to immigrants.

One prospective buyer even met the cultural demands and offered an additional $100,000 on top of the asking price.

But no application seemed to beat that of writer Malena Watrous and her husband, composer Matt Shumaker, who eventually won the moneyless bidding war.

The couple offered free writing conferences, tickets to cultural events for Lee, and a generous donation to the Mission-based nonprofit La Cocina, among other culturally-sound gifts. It also didn’t hurt that the couple had strong ties to the neighborhood – both have lived in the city for a long time, and their son went to a nearby daycare.

"I knew then that they were a family who really lived in the Mission," Lee told the magazine.

Though her story has a happy ending, Lee admits that not everyone can afford to sell their house under market value. She told the magazine that the opportunity she had was one that ultimately worked well for her, and the unique goals she had for her former home.

As for the Shumaker-Wastrous clan, it appears the deal worked for them, too.

"That fear that we would be pushed out of the city was getting to us, even if we didn’t admit it," Wastrous told to the magazine. "Now we can’t wait to get home — and stay home."

Photo Credit: Zillow

San Francisco 'Hot Cop' Arrested for Hit-and-Run


The San Francisco police officer who social media dubbed the "Hot Cop of Castro" last summer was arrested Sunday for a hit-and-run that seriously injured two men whom a family friend said had just left a musical performance.

According to a San Francisco Police Department news release, officer Christopher Kohrs, 38, rammed his Dodge Charger into two men who were crossing near Broadway and Montgomery streets in the city's North Beach neighborhood. Kohrs was off duty at the time on medical leave, police said.

Authorities say Kohrs ditched the car and fled from the scene after the crash, which was reported at 2:20 a.m. Police, however, were able to identify Kohrs as the driver and later arranged for the officer to turn himself in. He was arrested on two counts of felony hit-and-run. On Monday, he had been released from San Francisco County Jail. Efforts to immediately reach him were unsuccessful. NBC Bay Area left a voicemail at the San Francisco Police Officers Association seeking a comment early Monday morning.

Trey Bellomy saw some of the aftermath: "I looked out my window and there was a black and orange Dodge Charger right there. It looked like someone had pulled up and parked it. I didn't see anybody get out."

Surveillance video obtained by NBC Bay Area on Monday shows one person running away from the scene of the accident shortly after it happened and. The identity of that person isn’t clear.

The two victims -- both men in their 40s -- were taken to the hospital and are expected to survive, according to police. On Monday, one of the victims was upgraded to "fair condition," according to the hospital.

Kevin Cochran, who works at a nearby club, saw the men hurt in the street and called 911.

"I heard the impact," he said. "From what I understand, they were crossing the crosswalk, and they ended up 20 yards away."

Americo Diaz, who said he is friends with one of the victims, said one of the men has a broken leg and jaw, and is suffering from severe bruising to his body and head.

"We all ask everyone to keep him in their prayers," he said.

The pair of men had just seen a musical performance, Diaz added.

Kohrs has been a popular officer whose "appreciation page" on Facebook had 52,371 likes as of Monday morning. His superiors said he has never even worked in the Castro, a traditionally gay neighborhood, but has always been assigned to the park district.

He became a local celebrity after amateur photographer Mark Abrabson snapped photos of him in the Castro neighborhood in July 2014, which later got posted them on social media, usually with the hashtag #HotCopofCastro.

Kohrs has since modeled in calendars and also performed the Ice Bucket Challenge shirtless for an Officer Down Memorial Fund.

NBC Bay Area's Stephanie Chuang and Nanette Miranda contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: Steven Kyle Weller via Facebook
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Dog on Plane Goes Missing in Texas, Turns Up in Hawaii


A dog that went missing in North Texas during a trip from Seattle to Mississippi will be reunited with her owner after airline officials said they found her in Hawaii.

The dog, named Bethany, was headed back to D/FW International Airport on Monday and will be reunited with her owner on Tuesday, said American Airlines spokeswoman Andrea Huguely.

"We want her to be well-rested," Huguely said.

Bethany disappeared Saturday on her way from Seattle to Jackson, Mississippi. But her owner, Paul Chen, said she never made it to Mississippi.

Chen reported the Pembroke Welsh Corgi missing Sunday afternoon.

Airline officials quickly found her -- in Hawaii.

"She took a little bit of a vacation to Honolulu," Hugely joked. "She has been well taken care of the entire time."

Bethany has been under the care of a veterinarian, she said.

Chen said airline officials told him they found Bethany in Honolulu late Sunday.

"Don't know how or why she got there, but I am glad she is safe and sound," he said in an email.

Huguely said the airline will look into what happened with "the misconnect" but has been focused on returning Bethany to her owner.

Photo Credit: Paul Chen

1 Injured in Haddam Fire

Men Attack Teen Outside New Haven Hotel


A 19-year-old man is in critical condition after he was stabbed outside a New Haven hotel on Sunday afternoon.

Police responded to the La Quinta Inn & Suites, at 400 Sargent Drive, at 2:59 p.m. on Sunday after an employee called 911 to report a stabbing.

Officers who went to the scene found a 19-year-old man who had been stabbed several times in the torso, head and right calf, police said.

The person who called 911 didn’t see the assault and said the victim was bleeding from the head when he came into the hotel.

Police reviewed video surveillance, which showed the victim standing alone when two men confronted him outside the hotel’s back door.

After assaulting the victim, the attackers left, went through the parking lot toward a silver four-door car parked toward the IKEA property.

The victim was rushed into the operating room, where he is listed in critical condition. Detectives haven’t yet been able to speak with him and believe the victim was the intended target. They have not identified the attackers, have been following up on a lead and ask anyone who witnessed the attack or has information to call 203-946-6304.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Man Trying to Slow Down Speeding Car Struck by Other Vehicle


A man suffered minor injuries when he was hit by a car near the Gift Cottage in Bethel and police have not charged the driver.

Bethel Police said Larry Craybas stepped into the road along Greenwood Avenue to stop a speeding driver when another vehicle struck him.

Craybas was transported to Danbury Hospital to be treated for minor injuries.

Craybas was not in a crosswalk and police said speed was not a factor in the accident. They have not charged the driver who struck Craybas.

Photo Credit: necn

Target Website Temporarily Crashes for Many on Cyber Monday


Cyber Monday's digital door-busting sales broke more than purchasing forecasts, causing at least one of the country's biggest retailer's website to crash for many users.

Target's website went down at 10:00 a.m. ET on Monday, according to Catchpoint Systems, a web performance monitoring company. Around 10:40 a.m. ET the website began to come back "intermittently," but customers continued to encounter a "problem" message, Catchpoint spokesman Frank Cioff said, adding that "technically" the site was back up, but content wasn't available.

"Please hold tight. So Sorry, but high traffic's causing delays. If you wouldn't mind holding, we'll refresh automatically and get things going ASAP (sic)," the message read on Target.com. A corporate spokeswoman said customers were put in a "queue" and asked to check back later. 

Many expressed their frustration on social media, chiding the company for not being better prepared to handle the traffic surge that was expected to come on one of the largest online shopping events of the year.


In a statement, Senior Group Manager for Target communications Molly Snyder said, "We are seeing a tremendous response to today’s 15 percent off sitewide offer. The volume is already twice as high as our busiest day ever. We continue to receive and process thousands of orders from guests who are shopping the entire site and taking advantage of the discount coupled with free shipping. As we experience spikes in traffic, our systems place guests in a queue and prompt them to access the site later. We apologize to guests who experience any delays, we appreciate their patience, and encourage them to try again in a few minutes by refreshing their browser."

The company kicked off its "Cyber Week" of sales Monday, calling it Target's "biggest and boldest yet."

"Target.com's site-wide 15 percent discount is pretty aggressive and likely the best offer we've seen," Keith Anderson, vice president of strategy and insight at Profitero, an e-commerce analytics firm, told NBC News

In addition to the site wide savings of 15 percent off, a first for the company, clothing is discounted at 30 percent, home goods at 40 percent, 30 percent off hundreds of toys. Target is also offering gift cards with certain big-ticket purchases and gave early-bird consumers nearly 75 percent off "e-door-buster" deals. 

Photo Credit: Courtesy Target.com
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Impaired Driver Charged in Crash That Killed Dog: Police


A 31-year-old Naugatuck woman has been charged with driving under the influence after a crash that killed a dog, police said.

Kayla Lashway, 31, of Naugatuck, is accused of causing a crash on School Street at PT Barnum Square just before 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, according to a news release form police.

The Bethel Fire Department extricated both people who were in the other vehicle and they went to the hospital.

Their injuries are not life-threatening, according to police, but a dog in the vehicle died because of the crash.

Lashway, who was not hurt, was charged with operation under the influence, failure to drive right and improper lane.

She was released on bond and is due in court in Danbury on Dec. 7.

It’s not clear if she has an attorney.

Photo Credit: Bethel Police

U.S. Embassy in Kabul Warns Americans of 'Imminent Attack'


The U.S. Embassy in Kabul warned Americans in Afghanistan on Monday about "credible reports of an imminent attack" on the country's capital in the next 48 hours and urged that they "exercise extreme caution if moving around the city," NBC News reported. 

The embassy said in a statement entitled, "Emergency Message for U.S. Citizens," that it had "received credible reports of an imminent attack" but added there were "no further details regarding the targets, timing, or method."

However, a security source within the embassy said the attack "may involve multiple assailants and car bombs" and was "classified as credible."

The warning came two days after a suicide bomber unsuccessfully targeted a senior member of Afghanistan's election commission during the morning rush hour in Kabul, Reuters reported.

Photo Credit: AP
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