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Clinton, Sanders Make Promises on Immigration at Debate


Bernie Sanders sparred with Hillary Clinton on immigration at a debate in Miami Wednesday night, ahead of Florida's primary Tuesday.

With a central part of the debate revolving around immigration policies, the two faced questions in English and Spanish since it was hosted by Univision and The Washington Post. Clinton and Sanders drew a sharp line in the sand on deportation policies, which could haunt them down the road. Both pledged they would not deport children nor undocumented adults without criminal records.

Univision host Jorge Ramos notably pressed Clinton, who in the past took a hard line in calls to deport a surge of migrant children. Asked if her newly compassionate approach toward deportation policies extended toward adults, the former secretary of state appeared to include even immigrants caught entering the U.S. illegally in the past.

"Of the undocumented people living in our country, I do not want to see them deported, I want to see them on a path to citizenship," Clinton said.

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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Trump: 'I Think Islam Hates Us'


Donald Trump said Wednesday that he thinks "Islam hates us," when asked whether the religion was "at war with the West."

"I think Islam hates us," the Republican front-runner told CNN's Anderson Cooper. "We have to get to the bottom of it. There is an unbelievable hatred of us — anybody."

He added: "And we can't allow people coming into this country who have this hatred of the United States."

In December Trump sparked outrage when he called for a "complete shutdown" of Muslims entering the country.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Wethersfield Teen Thanks Responding Officer Hit by Car


As a Wethersfield police officer recovers in the hospital after being hit by a car, a teenage driver who he was there to help is taking the time to say thank you.

Officer Peter McGee was responding to a minor fender-bender on Wells Road near Wolcott Hill Road Tuesday night. While he was responding, he was struck by another vehicle.

“When a man is hit by a car, you definitely hear it,” Atlee Myers said. “The whole experience for me was very overwhelming. It was overwhelming for everyone involved.”

Myers, 16, of Wethersfield was waiting in the car for Officer McGee to do the report on her accident when she heard the other. While those around her panicked, she says Officer McGee stayed calm.

“He really did help the whole situation, which is surprising because he was the one on the ground,” Myers said.

While Officer McGee was rushed to the hospital with injuries to his leg and back, Myers went home and started to write a letter.

“I would like to send my best wishes for a speedy recovery and thanks to this amazing man and all those in service at the department,” Myers said while reading the letter. 

After she sent it to the Wethersfield Police Department, they shared it on their Facebook page.

Dozens of comments followed from residents who say Officer McGee has been there for them too.

“He made my day so the least I could back is try and give the same respect,” Myers said.

She hopes to say thank you in person once Officer McGee is out of the hospital. He is expected to make a full recovery.

As for the driver who hit him, so far no charges have been filed. Investigators were back on the scene Wednesday night doing a traffic study. Police are asking for any witnesses to come forward.

9 Injured, 4 Critical in West Hartford Fire


Nine people have been injured, including four who are in critical condition, after a blaze at the Westwood Apartments at 140 Kane St. in West Hartford.

Firefighters also rescued several people and animals from the fire that broke out on the second floor at 2:16 a.m. and displaced around 100 residents.

"I couldn't see anything. I was about to fall from the stairs and the fire department helped us. That was really nice of them. They picked up the kids and we just got out from the house. All of the smoke, everything went inside the house,"Razia Babajan, a mother of three, said.

The residents who were taken to the hospital sustained smoke inhalation and respiratory burns, officials said.

At one point, flames were shooting from the Oakwood Avenue side of the building and mutual aid from Hartford and Newington was called in to assist.

Firefighters said the fire spread the way it did because there were no sprinklers in the building. 

This building was renovated about 15 years ago and we attempted to get sprinklers in this building and the owner applied for a modification," fire chief Gary Allyn said. "(I)f we had sprinklers, we could've contained it to that one apartment." 

Firefighters will not know until this afternoon when the residents will be able to return home, if they are able to at all.

Leaked ISIS Files Paint Picture of Recruits


Thousands of documents were apparently leaked from inside ISIS, revealing a detailed picture of the terror group's personnel. Among the recruits is a 20-year-old from Minneapolis with just a high-school education.

NBC News was among several media organizations to obtain a trove of recruitment forms from a man who claims to be a disillusioned ISIS fighter who recently defected.

The documents included 23-question forms that resemble a standard job application — save for the black ISIS logo in the top right corner. Fields ask about previous fighting experience, blood type, special skills, level of obedience and whether the applicant is interested in fighting or becoming a suicide attacker.

The forms also ask for "countries traveled" to clarify the route to ISIS' caliphate and who can vouch for the recruit. More than 22,000 jihadis are named in the files and some 51 nationalities represented, according to Britain's Sky News.

Photo Credit: NBC News, Getty Images

Platt Tech in Milford Sending Students Home Early After Threat


Platt Technical High School in Milford is sending students home early on Thursday after an unspecified threat this morning.

The school was evacuated because of a threat and state police said the preliminary investigation revealed no threat, but the school decided to send students home as the investigation continues.

State police said they responded to the school at 9:30 a.m.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Child Was in Car With Marijuana Smoke, Other Drugs


A child was found in a car filled with marijuana smoke, as well as crack cocaine, 15 bags of heroin, PCP and additional drugs, according to Watertown, Connecticut, police.

Police said they were conducting surveillance on Eustis Street around 10 p.m. on Wednesday after receiving drug complaints and police found Jerimiah Palmer, 38, and Joseph Aitchison, 36, in the front yard. They were believed to be living out of a vehicle on the property and involved in the activity, police said.

Police said Michael Mendez, 28, of Waterbury, was behind the wheel of a blue Honda Accord and refused to obey officers’ commands, so they removed him from the vehicle.

Mendez’s young child, who is between 5 and 10 years old, was in the front seat with him and the odor of marijuana was emitting from the vehicle, police said.

When police searched the car, they found around five grams of gold-ball size crack cocaine, 15 bags of heroin, a small bag of suspected PCP, a marijuana cigarette, synthetic marijuana and a Suboxone sublingual strip – an opioid -- within reach of the child.

Mendez was charged with two counts of sale of illegal drugs, two counts of possession of narcotics, possession of PCP, possession and sale of drugs in a school zone, interfering with an officer and risk of injury.

Bond for Mendez was set at $75,000 and he is due court today.

Police notified the state Department of Children and Families and the mother, who was not involved, took custody of the child.

Police said Palmer had a glass pipe or stem and was charged with the possession of drug paraphernalia. He was later released on $500.00 non-surety bond.

Police said Aitchison had failed to appear on a warrant issued out of the Waterbury Police Department. He was arrested and was issued a court set $2,500 bond.

Photo Credit: Watertown Police

Highest Paying Jobs in US for 2016


Jobs in technology, law, finance and healthcare command the highest salaries, according to a new roundup of the 25 best-paying positions by job search site Glassdoor.

Physicians make the most, with a median annual salary of $180,000. Lawyer and research and development manager come int at numbers two and three, with median annual salaries of $144,500 and $142,120, respectively.

Jobs that call on science, technology, engineering or math skills dominate, but the list also includes some outliers such as creative director, engagement manager and design manager. 

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Car Into Water in Waterbury


A car has plunged into water in the area of 1575 South Main St, in Waterbury and all the occupants are out of it, according to dispatchers for the Waterbury Fire Department.

This is near Eagle Street and everyone was out when emergency crews arrived.

Crews from the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection have been called to check on fluids from the car that might have leaked into the river.

No information was immediately available on injuries.

Photo Credit: NBC 7

Chamberlain Highway in Berlin Reopens After Motorcycle Crash


A man in his 20s was flown to Hartford Hospital after sustaining serious head injuries when he crashed his motorcycle on Chamberlain Highway in Berlin on Thursday afternoon.

Police said speed was a factor and it's not clear whether the motorcyclist was wearing a helmet. He was thrown 20 to 25 feet from his bike and was not wearing a helmet when police arrived.

The crash was reported just before 1 p.m. and the road was closed between Southington and Orchard roads for several hours, according to Berlin Police.  It reopened around 4 p.m.

The motorcyclist was in and out of consciousness after the crash.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Nancy Reagan Lies in Repose Before Funeral


A second day of mourning at the Ronald Reagan Library and Museum began Thursday with long lines as visitors honored former first lady Nancy Reagan one day before her funeral at the hillside property northwest of Los Angeles.

Library visitors walked quietly in a circle around Reagan's casket, brought to the lobby Wednesday and covered in white roses and peonies -- her favorite flower. Officials said they were surprised by Wednesday's public viewing turnout and started with four buses each carrying 50 passengers from the guest lot to the presidential library, but within a matter of hours had grown to nearly a thousand. Officials added a dozen additional buses to shuttle passengers.

A similar crowd is expected Thursday.

Many visitors came and recalled fond memories of living through the Reagan era and the couple's mark on American history.

"The end of the greatest generation to me. It's like my dad, my parents, my aunts, my uncles," said  Snooky O'Leary of Simi Valley.

Roy Dillard drove more than 100 miles with two of his daughters and his 3-year-old great-granddaughter to pay their respects. Dillard's daughter Bobbie Eldridge said she admired how the first lady "stood by her man, the great and beautiful love that they had and how she became his caretaker" in old age. She and her 80-year-old father drove from Bakersfield to the library in Simi Valley.

Retired teacher Mary Ellen Gruendyke drove nearly as far from her Riverside home, appearing with a colorful Ronald Reagan souvenir scarf around her neck.

"Ronald Reagan was one of the best presidents we've ever had," Gruendyke said, "and I admired them both as a couple for their love story and the support they showed to each other."

Many cited that love story as most in their thoughts as they stood at the casket, including Daniel Blatt of West Hollywood, who left in tears after paying his respects.

"He wouldn't have been anything without her by his side," Blatt said.

Reagan, who died in her sleep in her Bel Air home of congestive heart failure at the age of 94 on Sunday, will be interred in front of invited guests in a ceremony scheduled to start at 11 a.m. Friday. The Reagan library will remain closed to the general public until 10 a.m. this Sunday.

The one-time actress and former first lady helped plan many of the details of her memorial and funeral service, from the pallbearers to the guest list to the exact location of her interment at her husband's side.

A trio of former first ladies, including Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton, are expected to attend the service, along with current first lady Michelle Obama, although President Barack Obama is not expected to be there.

Former President George W. Bush and his wife, Laura, are expected, along with former first lady Rosalynn Carter, according to Reagan Library officials. Tricia Nixon Cox, a daughter of President Richard Nixon, is also expected.

Other expected guests, according to the Reagan Foundation, are Capt. Christopher Bolt, the commander of the USS Ronald Reagan; Katie Couric; Sam Donaldson; Chris Matthews; Newt and Callista Gingrich; Wayne Newton; Anjelica Huston; Melissa Rivers; Tina Sinatra; and Mr. T, the burly actor who took an active role in Nancy Reagan's "Just Say No" anti-drug campaign in the 1980s.

Beginning at 1 p.m. Wednesday, doors to the museum were opened for people to view the casket, which was placed on a pedestal in the lobby, draped with yellow flowers and encircled by black velvet ropes.

During Wednesday's visitation, 65-year-old Los Angeles Times photographer Ricardo DeAratanha was arrested on suspicion of resisting and obstructing a law enforcement officer, a misdemeanor, while transmitting photographs of the funeral motorcade, the newspaper reported today.

Simi Valley police said he refused to identify himself and balked at providing identification, but the photographer's attorney denied it, saying DeAratanha provided press credentials, including identification cards issued by The Times and the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.

The attorney said officers swarmed DeAratanha, threw him to the ground and cuffed him. He was later taken to a hospital, where he was treated for a sprained elbow, according to The Times.

Ronald Reagan Foundation officials, noting that tight security has been ordered, advised people not to bring large bags, cameras or strollers to the viewings. Gifts and flowers again will only be accepted today at the bottom of Presidential Drive and at the shuttle pickup location.

According to the Reagan Foundation, Nancy Reagan requested that in lieu of flowers, contributions be made to the Ronald Reagan Memorial Fund at www.reaganlibrary.com.

Until Wednesday morning, the casket was at the Gates, Kingsley & Gates Moeller Murphy funeral home in Santa Monica, where relatives gathered around 9 a.m. for a private service conducted by the Rev. Stuart A. Kenworthy, the vicar of Washington National Cathedral and the man who will lead Friday's funeral service. He was assisted by the Rev. Donn Moomaw, the Reagan's family minister.

Shortly before 10 a.m. Wednesday, Nancy Reagan's casket was placed in a large black hearse to begin the trek to the Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley. Her casket was attended by eight pallbearers -- all U.S. Secret Service agents who worked for her or her husband over the years.  

As the motorcade made its way north on the San Diego (405) Freeway, onlookers could be seen on overpasses to watch the procession below. The Los Angeles Fire Department displayed large American flags at a pair of locations along the route. When the motorcade transitioned to the westbound Ronald Reagan (118) Freeway, about a dozen LAFD firefighters stood at attention along the shoulder of the roadway and saluted as the hearse passed.

Nancy Reagan was the woman behind the "Just Say No" campaign and a first lady known for adding glamour to the White House.

The Reagans were married in March 1952 and lived in Pacific Palisades until they moved to Sacramento in 1966. They had two children together, Patti and Ron Jr., and she also helped raise Ronald Reagan's two children with his first wife, Jane Wyman.

Ronald and Nancy Reagan were both actors, but "Hellcats Of the Navy" in 1957 was the only movie in which they appeared together, although she later continued to act in TV and minor movie roles.

Her biggest roles, however, were not on the screen, but as Ronald Reagan's adviser, counselor and fierce protector when he was in public life, and later, as his chief caregiver after he became stricken by Alzheimer's disease. Reagan died in June 2004.

City News Service and Annette Arreola contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: AP

Mountain Lion Suspected of Sneaking Into LA Zoo, Killing Koala


A koala in a Los Angeles Zoo enclosure was mauled to death, and the beloved Griffith Park mountain lion P-22 is believed to be the animal responsible, the zoo's director said Wednesday.

The koala caretakers were doing a head count last Thursday and discovered one was missing.
As they searched the area, they found a tuft of hair.

Hours later, zoo workers discovered the body of a 14-year-old female koala about 400 yards away, John Lewis, director of the Los Angeles Zoo, said.

A month before, zoo workers were reviewing surveillance footage that monitors outside wildlife, and were surprised at what they saw.

"We were actually looking for bobcats, and what we found on that night was P-22," Lewis said. "That was the first time we knew he was getting into the zoo."

After reviewing the footage the night that the koala was killed, they saw P-22. 

The mountain lion is believed to have been born in the Santa Monica Mountains and made the trek across the 405 and 101 Freeways to the Griffith Park wilderness.

"We don't know how he's getting in or how he's getting out [of the zoo], but he was also seen the night the koala disappeared," Lewis said.

Lewis said P-22 has not killed zoo animals before, and is believed to have been eating raccoons that get inside the zoo.

Zoo workers were taking extra precautions after the incident, like locking up smaller animals in their barns at night.

"The koalas are all off exhibit. They're in a safe place," Lewis said.

Despite the sad news of the koala's death, Lewis said he doesn't believe P-22 should be moved from his home in the wilderness of Griffith Park.

"There's a lot of native wildlife in this area. This is their home," Lewis said. "So we'll learn to adapt to P-22 just like he's learned to adapt to us."

The office of LA Mayor Eric Garcetti released a statement to NBC4 via email regarding the incident.

"Unfortunately, these types of incidents happen when we have a zoo in such close proximity to one of the largest urban parks in the country," Barbara Romero, deputy mayor for city services, said. "We are investigating the circumstances of the koala's disappearance but in the meantime, we are taking action to ensure that all of our animals are safe. The koalas have been removed from their public habitats for now and other animals are being moved to their night quarters when the zoo closes."

Los Angeles City Councilmember Mitch O'Farrell said that P-22 should perhaps be resettled as his interactions with the city and residents become more frequent.

"Regardless of what predator killed the koala, this tragedy just emphasizes the need to contemplate relocating P-22 to a safer, more remote wild area where he has adequate space to roam without the possibility of human interaction," O'Farrell said. "P-22 is maturing, will continue to wander, and runs the risk of a fatal freeway crossing as he searches for a mate. As much as we love P-22 at Griffith Park, we know the park is not ultimately suitable for him. We should consider resettling him in the environment he needs."

"This is not a situation where we can get rid of the native wildlife and not expect this to happen again," Kate Kuykendall of the National Park Service said.

This wasn't the first time the beloved mountain lion was in a place where some believe he shouldn't be. P-22 was spotted in a Hollywood Hills backyard in November.

Photo Credit: Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area

Former Celtics Player Shares Story of Addiction to Help Students


Windham Technical High School brought former NBA player Chris Herren in on Thursday to talk with students about the dangers of drug addiction and they said his message resonated.

Herren was a promising athlete who started abusing drugs and alcohol at a young age.

Drinking alcohol and smoke marijuana quickly escalated to taking pain killers, then using cocaine, OxyContin and heroin, he said.

But instead of just sharing the lows of how he overdosed four times, he also wanted to share with students how it all began.

“I think we all start off with red Solo cups. I think we all start off in some parent’s basement who thinks it is safe because you are not driving around town. But the reality is some kids get stuck in the basement,” Herren, a former NBA player who played with the Denver Nuggets and Boston Celtics.

Herren said adults often forget how hard high school was at times, as well as the battles kids face with self-esteem and peer pressure.

His message is to challenge students to be themselves.

“I often ask the kids, ‘What is it about you on a Friday night that you have lost the ability to just be happy with being you?” Herren said.

Tia Claus, of the Willington Substance Abuse Support group, arranged for Herren to speak and said she hopes the message sinks in to prevent another child from overdosing and dying like her son, Brandon Quinones.

“This is so prevalent in today’s society. Parents really need to make sure they are talking to their children about how dangerous this is,” Claus said.

The powerful message for students hit home for Shanel Grer, a senior at Windham Technical School who has family members who have battled addiction.

Herren’s speech inspired her.

“I have friends who do things they should not. So I just feel like I can be an example you know, and tell them what you are doing is not right. Kind of what he said, just be a good friend and not let them fall,” Grer said,

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Barbershop Refuses to Serve Patron


When Kendal Oliver booked an appointment at a Southern California barbershop to have his hair cut, the Army veteran who served six years in Afghanistan didn't expect to be turned away.

Oliver, who said he identifies as "more of a man than a woman, was refused service by The Barbershop in Rancho Cucamonga.

"I have religious convictions that prevent me from cutting women's hair," said owner Richard Hernandez.

Hernandez said he belongs to the Church of God and his religious beliefs do not allow him to cut any woman's hair, even if they identify themselves as a man.

"I identify as male, I just feel more comfortable with that way... They said, 'It doesn't matter ma'am, we still won't cut a woman's hair,'" Oliver said.

It's the reason why every customer in the barber chair at the shop is a man, according to Hernandez. 

"People go against what God has created, you start getting everything all out of whack," he said. "It's a shame for a man to have long hair, but if a woman has long hair, it's her glory and it speaks to being given to her as her covering, and I don't want to be one who is taking away from her glory."

Oliver didn't agree with Hernandez's decision.

"I don't see how that should affect a business. I'm a customer here, you provide a service, and everyone is entitled to that service," Oliver said.

Oliver said the barbershop owner's policy is wrong.

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination by privately-owned places of public accommodation on the basis of race, color, religion, and national origin. In addition, California's Unruh Civil Rights Act covers gender and sexual orientation.

Hernandez and Oliver had a civil discussion outside of the business, but disagreed.

"These are my religious convictions and they would violate my conscience," Hernandez told Oliver.

"It's hurtful, it's embarrassing," Oliver said in response. 

NBC4 contacted the Church of God, and there are several variations across the country.  Hernandez's church in Upland did not return NBC4's calls, however the church of God in Garden Grove did return calls and said there was no doctrine that does not allow a man to cut a woman's hair in their church.

Photo Credit: KNBC-TV

Route 69 in Waterbury Closed After Fatal Crash


One person is dead after a two-car crash on Route 69 in Waterbury.

The road will be closed for a few hours for the investigation.

State police said a state trooper from Prospect is at the scene of the crash on.

No additional information was immediately available.

Check back for updates.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Volunteer Firefighters Accused of Setting 14-Acre Brush Fire


State police have arrested two volunteer firefighters accused of setting a large brush fire at a state forest in Torrington that ignited 14 acres of land on Wednesday afternoon.

Vincenzo Michael Marino, 21, and David Gregory Korot, 19, both of Torrington and volunteers with the Drakesville Volunteer Fire Department, are accused of setting two brush fires at Paugnut State Forest on Wednesday.

The brush fires were reported at 12:27 p.m. and the Torrington Fire Department, Drakeville Fire Department, Burrville fire Department, Torrington Police Department, Connecticut Wildland Fire Forestry Division and Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection responded and were at the scene through the night, according to state police.

“People trust us to go in their homes every night and every day and expect us to treat their property with respect, not treat it the way it was treated yesterday,” Torrington Fire Chief Gary Brunoli said.

In an interview with NBC Connecticut, Marino apologized, but did not admit to setting the fire. He says Korot was in his car while he was driving through Paugnut State Forest Wednesday and told him to pull over so he could start a fire.

“It wasn’t worth it,” Marino said. “I was just not thinking and decided to stop my car. It was the worst mistake of my life.”

Korot had no comment on the case. Both are accused of intentionally setting the fire.

Marino was charged with 53 counts of kindling fire in the open without authorization and breach of piece and Korot was charged with one count each of kindling fire in the open without authorization and breach of piece.

“If I could take it back I would. I didn’t mean any harm for anybody,” Marino said.

Bond for both was set at $5,000. They are due in court March 28.

Photo Credit: Connecticut State Police

Miss. Fugitive Shot, Killed After Taking Family Hostage


A husband and wife being held hostage by a suspected murderer fatally shot him Thursday morning - ending the multi-agency manhunt for the armed and dangerous felon, police said. 

The intruder, Rafael McCloud, 34, broke into the home and struggled with the couple for hours before they somehow managed to shoot him, NBC News reported.

McCloud escaped from the Warren County jail by overcoming an officer with a homemade shank on March 2. He faced capital murder charges in the kidnapping and slaying of 69-year-old Sharon Wilson .

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Man Seriously Injured in Fall From Cliff in State Park


Emergency crews rescued a man who fell from a cliff at Devil's Hopyard State Park in East Haddam on Thursday afternoon.

The man was sitting with friends at the top of a high and rocky cliff when he fell into a heavily wooded and rocky area, according to the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.

DEEP Environmental Conservation officers, state police and firefighters from East Haddam and Lyme trekked about a mile into the woods to reach the victim and carry him out, the DEEP said.

The 24-year-old victim was flown by LifeStar to Hartford Hospital with serious injuries.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Warmer Temps Make Ticks More Noticeable


If you’ve been outside the past few days, you might notice that in addition to the warm temperatures, it's the season for bugs!

"The tick is out and the risk for Lyme disease is here early this year," says Chief Scientist and State Entomologist Kirby C. Stafford III.

Stafford told me its not necessarily that the ticks ever went away, but with the warm temperatures and people being more active outside, their presence is significantly more noticeable.

"With this beautiful weather so early in here March people are getting outdoors and we're getting calls of people picking up ticks," explains Stafford.

But do you know what to look for checking checking yourself or your pets for ticks?

Being able to identify the bugs, symptoms caused be a tick bite, and where they are commonly found is something everyone should be aware of.

Francesca Dowd knows when she walks her family dog, "There's are certain area in the woods and a certain time of the year that I know she can't go in there cause there's lots of ticks there."

And ticks aren't all you should be on the look out for this time of the year

Entomologist Gale Ridge explains, "There are insects that are home invaders that come into people's homes in the fall and then overwinter and with the early spring they're becoming active in people's homes particularly the brown stink bug."

The state entomologist told me a few precautions you can take are making sure your pet is vaccinated for lyme disease and also applying products at a veterinarians suggestion to protect your dog or cat.

Crews Respond to Restaurant Fire at Strip Mall in Windsor

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