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School Bus Driver Suffers Major Injuries in Hamden Crash


The driver of a school bus that hit a tree in Hamden on Wednesday morning suffered major injuries, according to the Hamden Fire Department.

The school bus crashed at Brook Street and Wintergreen Avenue around 8 a.m. and it took firefighters around 45 minutes to extricate the female driver because of severe damage to the front of the bus.

She was conscious when an ambulance transported her to the hospital, but firefighters described her injuries as major.

The driver was the only person on board at the time of the crash and it's not clear why the bus went off the road.

Brook Street is closed between Wintergreen Avenue and West Side Drive.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Poor Air Quality Closes Bristol Clerk’s Office


When workers at city hall in Bristol spotted some strange black dust, authorities brought in air quality testers and what they found has shut the clerk's office.

Inside that office, samples of the air near the floor were the cause of concern, Mayor Ken Cockayne said.

"There was a number of different things. One of them showed a little elevation of some lead, so that was our main concern," he said.

Dawn Mattei drove from Middletown on Wednesday to get a copy of her daughter's birth certificate only to meet a worker inside city hall who helped her, but warned her there's lead in the air.

"So she told me to take my kid away from the area and she dropped her pacifier on the floor and they said, ‘Don't let her put it in her mouth.’ So I was in tears!," she said.

The clerk has temporarily moved her office to the public library, but all the records people want copies of are at city hall.

"We understand it's an inconvenience but in an emergency case like this, and we're calling it an emergency, we have to protect the public and our employees," Cockayne said.

He explained that workers cleaned the ductwork two weeks ago and dust from the whole building settled at the lowest part of the ductwork system, the clerk's office.

Testing and cleaning continue. Meanwhile the clerk's employees are in the computer lab at the library, handling phone calls at 860-584-7787, extension 2030.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

eBay Partners With Shyp for On-Demand Shipping


EBay, the biggest resale marketplace in the world, announced this week it is expanding a partnership with on-demand shipping startup Shyp. 

The move comes just in time for people doing their annual spring cleaning to turn their clutter into cash. For the companies, it broadens a relationship aimed at simplifying the shipping process.

Shipping is the "biggest pain point of online selling," eBay said in a joint press release with Shyp.

To help people mail out their items with minimal hassle, eBay sellers in New York, Chicago, San Francisco and Los Angeles can now use Shyp's mobile app, available on iTunes and Google Play, to hail a courier who will come pick up items they sold within 20 minutes.

Shyp will professionally pack the items and mail them straight to the buyer on the seller's behalf. In addition to offering expert packaging, Shyp also compares prices across carriers to find the lowest available shipping rate, according to the Tuesday release.

The company's pickup and packaging fees, typically about $5, will be waived for eBay sellers through June 30.

“We’re so excited to expand our integration with eBay to streamline the shipping experience for sellers in our markets,” Shyp CEO Kevin Gibbon said in a statement. “Starting Shyp was inspired by my experience as an eBay seller — my goal was to create a service catered to their unique needs. We’re proud to offer sellers this optimized experience, and it’s thrilling to come full circle in such a personal way.”

Shyp and eBay launched a pilot program in New York, Chicago and San Francisco in December, though they avoided promoting the effort while they worked out the kinks in the service.  

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Man Charged In Heroin Death of Pregnant Woman, Unborn Child


The DEA has arrested a man they say gave heroin to a pregnant woman, killing both the woman and her unborn child, NBC News reported.

Anthony Vita of Virginia Beach, Virginia, faces charges of dealing drugs in the Syracuse, New York, area, and causing the overdose death of 24-year-old Morgan Axe of Camillus, New York, who was five months pregnant when her family found her dead next to a syringe and a bag of heroin last November.

Axe's iPad revealed messages between the mother-to-be and Vita. The DEA said he told her, "Call me I got the best of it all"  and "They are called the king of torts."

According to the affidavit the bag of heroin found next to Axe was labeled "king of torts."

Four Arrested Near Paris Amid Terror Plot Fears


Four people were arrested in the Paris region Wednesday morning and France's interior minister says there were fears that they were planning an attack, NBC News reported.

French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said the four were taken in for questioning, including one man under house arrest, who was suspected to be in contact with Islamic State extremists.

Judicial and police officials, who requested anonymity to discuss the detentions, said one of the four was a woman and all were born in France. They were between 21 and 30 years old, the officials said.

A subsequent search found an unused Kalashnikov cartridge, SIM cards, USB cards and a gun for firing blanks. 

Photo Credit: AP

9-Year-Old Girl With Cancer Helps Patrol Streets of Waterford


A 9-year-old girl battling cancer helped the Waterford Police Department patrol the streets.

Madeline Guarraria, of East Lyme, became an honorary officer with the department last year

Guarraria came in for the evening shift on Tuesday night. She started with roll call where she took notes with other officers before heading out with Sergeant Seymour in her patrol car. 

The pair patrolled the mall area and Guarraria stoped a person who was littering, according to Waterford Police. 

After putting a stop to littering in town, Guarraria made the tough decision of pulling over one of her teachers who "ran a red light." As her duty, Guarraria had to give her a ticket. 

Later, Guarraria observed real traffic stops and even one arrest, police said on their Facebook. Officers allowed Guarraria to speak with dispatchers from the car radio. 

"We appreciated having the backup today Madeline, thanks so much for your hard work, we look forward to seeing you on another shift!" Waterford Police wrote on their Facebook page. 

Photo Credit: Waterford Police
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Nikki Haley Throws Her Support Behind Cruz


South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley is throwing her support behind Texas. Sen. Ted Cruz, NBC News reported.

Haley said “my hope and my prayer” is that Cruz wins the Republican nomination, according to The Post and Courier newspaper. The Cruz campaign has yet to comment.

Haley endorsed Marco Rubio before the South Carolina primary last month, and wouldn’t say whether she would support Donald Trump if he becomes the nominee, according to the newspaper.

The South Carolina governor has campaigned heavily against Trump, saying in February that Trump is "everything a governor doesn't want in a president."  

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Man Caught After Robbing Animal Wellness Center in Vernon


A man who police said tried to rob an animal wellness center in Vernon with a Wii remote to get  pain medication on Wednesday afternoon was caught after a search along the Hockanum River, according to police.

Employees of the Animal Wellness Center on Route 83 called 911 at 1:42 p.m. on Wednesday and said a man wearing a ski mask and black clothing demanded pain medication and he was holding what looked like a gun -- but actually turned out to be a remote contol for a Wii gaming system. It was hidden in the sleeve of his black sweatshirt to imply he was concealing a handgun, police said.

The staff said they didn't have what the man was looking for, so he ran off toward Pleasantview Drive, police said. 

Moments later, a woman called 911 and said she saw a man dressed in black running through yards and thought he'd just done something, so she followed him and provided police with information on where he was, police said. 

The man, identified as Jason Rivera, 32, of South Windsor, had run into the woods and along the Hockanum River, police said, and officers found him hiding in a field.

A Manchester Police K9 Unit came in to help and Manchester Police K9 Officer Kaczerski and his work dog, K9 Drago, found a shirt and ski hat police said Rivera tossed away in the woods as he fled from police.

Rivera was charged with first-degree robbery, criminal attempt to possess narcotics and interfering with police.

Rivera is being held in lieu of bond and will be arraigned at Rockville Superior Court today.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Accused Michigan Shooter Sues Uber


A man charged with killing six people in a series of shootings in southwestern Michigan has filed a lawsuit against Uber seeking $10 million.

The civil suit was filed in Michigan’s Eastern District Court just days after police said Jason Dalton told investigators he was being controlled by the Uber app through his cellphone.

“I’m currently in prison because of Uber,” Dalton wrote in a letter. “Uber doesn’t care about its drivers, we are peasants and pawn pieces to Uber’s bottom line. Defendants manipulate all Uber drivers. My life is ruined because of Uber.”

The letter states Dalton is seeking $10 million in punitive damages and emotional distress, claiming the company fostered a "hostile work environment" and caused "psychological damage." It also claims he will seek a jury trial.

"It's hard to know how to respond to someone who refuses to take responsibility for his own actions," an Uber spokesperson said in a statement. "Our hearts go out to the victims' families who have to live with the consequences of his terrible crimes."

Dalton is charged with murder and attempted murder in the Kalamazoo-area shootings that took place Feb. 20 outside an apartment complex, a restaurant and at a car lot. Two people survived.

Authorities have said Dalton carried out the shootings in between driving for Uber. According to the report released Monday, Dalton told authorities, "it feels like it is coming from the phone itself and he didn't know how to describe that."

According to police, Dalton said in the report "he is not a killer and he knows that he has killed."

Despite claims by Dalton that he worked for the ride-sharing company "for years," Uber has said Dalton was approved as a driver at the end of January 2016 and was on the platform for less than a month. 

Police reports also said Dalton warned his wife that she wouldn't be able to return to work and their children couldn't go back to school — and she'd understand everything by watching TV news.

Earlier this month, a judge ordered Dalton to undergo a mental competency exam. 

Investigators say Dalton didn't know the victims. They still are trying to determine a motive.

Photo Credit: WMAQ

U.S. Navy Finds Puppy


A missing puppy that fell off a fishing boat nearly five weeks ago in the waters off Southern California was found by the U.S. Navy Tuesday and reunited with her family in San Diego.

U.S. Navy officials say Luna – a 1-and-a-half-year-old German Shepherd – was presumed to be lost at sea after falling overboard near Naval Auxiliary Landing Field San Clemente Island (SCI) in Southern California on Feb. 10.

That day, Luna's owner, Nick Hayworth, called officials at SCI from his fishing boat to report that he and his crew were bringing in traps from a fishing vessel when Luna vanished. Hayworth said one minute the pup was there and the next she was gone.

Hayworth and his crew were about two miles off the coast of San Clemente, and he told Naval officials he thought Luna may try to swim to shore.

Navy staff at SCI searched the island for the dog to no avail. Hayworth stayed at sea for two days looking for Luna. And still, no luck.

After about a week of searching for the pup, she was presumed dead, Navy officials said.

Nearly five weeks passed.

Then a miracle happened.

On Tuesday morning, as Navy staff headed to work at SCI, they spotted Luna sitting next to the road. The pup, as her owner hoped, had somehow managed to make it ashore.

When the pooch saw staffers, she ran right up to them.

"They were shocked," Naval Base Coronado PAO Sandy DeMunnik told NBC 7.

DeMunnik said Luna was examined by a Navy wildlife biologist who found her to be undernourished but otherwise unharmed. The pup was in "good spirits."

The Navy flew Luna to Naval Air Station North Island in Coronado (NASNI) Wednesday afternoon, where was turned over to a family friend of her owner. Hayworth, a commercial fisherman, was out of town for work, but was soon due to return home to San Diego to be reunited with his beloved companion.

Hayworth's family friend, Conner Lamb, went to pick up Luna on Wednesday afternoon in Hayworth's place and the reunion was joyous.

Lamb has worked on a fishing boat with Luna often and was ecstatic and amazed she's alive. He scooped her up and embraced the pup as soon as he saw her. Luna's tail wagged.

"[It's] just really mind blowing to tell you the truth," he said. "When I got the call this happened, [I] never even though this would be possible."

Photo Credit: United States Navy

DC Metrorail to Reopen Thursday


Metrorail reopened Thursday morning after it was closed all day Wednesday for emergency inspections of 600 power cables -- and after repairs of at least 26 cables that were frayed and damaged.

The damage at three locations was so severe that those parts of the track were "showstoppers," where "we would not be running trains if we came upon these conditions," said Metro General Manager Paul Wiedefeld at a press conference Wednesday.

Frayed power cables are believed to have been the cause of a fire on the tracks early Monday and of an emergency in January 2015, when smoke filled a Metro tunnel, dozens of passengers were sickened and one woman died.

Wiedefeld showed a picture of one torn cable that he said Metro officials were afraid would break.

"Clearly this is a hazardous condition that we cannot accept," Wiedefeld said.

Sources told News4 that Wiedefeld walked to work on Wednesday.

Metrorail has never shut down completely for equipment problems, and the surprise announcement Tuesday that it would left hundreds of thousands of commuters, visitors and residents of Washington, D.C. scrambling to figure out how to get around the region

Experts say Washington’s Metrorail shutdown is a good example of transportation-related safety issues nationwide. A quarter of the nation's roads are in disrepair and the country’s bridges are also in need of billions of dollars in extreme maintenance. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx has asked congressional lawmakers for more money to fix the nation’s infrastructure woes. 

At a transportation hearing on Capitol Hill Wednesday, Maryland Sen. Barbara Mikulski called the Metro shutdown a disruptive move, but a necessary one.

Sec. Foxx put the blame squarely on the shoulders of Maryland, D.C. and Virginia for what he calls a lack of oversight.

"We took over state safety oversight temproarily to give them time to get it stood up correctly and yet we have no concrete movement on the part of these jurisdictions. That would be a good start," Foxx said.

As of 10 p.m., Metro said workers have completed inspections of approximately 600 jumper cables. Twenty-six issues were found that require repair or replacement, Wiedefeld said. All but four of those repairs were done by 9 p.m. and the rest of the repairs are underway, Metro said.

Metro announced Wednesday night that trains on the Red, Yellow and Green lines will operate on a regular schedule Thursday, while there is a chance of service changes on the Blue, Orange and Silver lines due to ongoing repair work at the Foggy Bottom station.

In the event that repairs are not completed in time, Metro said trains will be single-tracking between Clarendon and Foggy Bottom, running Orange Line trains between Vienna and New Carrollton and Silver Line trains between Wiehle-Reston and Largo. The Blue Line would be rerouted over the Yellow Line bridge.

Wiedefeld acknowledged the traffic caused by the shutdown to Metro, saying, "I know today's presented hardship to the region."

"We are sorry this had to happen," said Jack Evans, chair of the Metro Board of Directors, who then called upon the responsibility that the rest of the region has to the aging system. "I think it's important to remember that Metro is not some standalone organization."

Metro workers were joined along miles of underground tracks by electrical engineers from Amtrak and other commuter rail systems.

All of the crews' findings on the state of the third-rail equipment will be shared with the Federal Transit Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board, Metro said.

Those agencies helped investigate the smoke incident at L'Enfant Plaza in Jan. 2015 which killed one person and injured dozens of others. In that incident, a Metro train filled with smoke while it was stopped in a tunnel near the L'Enfant Plaza station. Carol Inman Glover, 61, of Alexandria, Virginia, was a beloved mother and grandmother who had just won her company's employee of the year award.

A similar problem with cables caused a fire at the McPherson Square station early Monday, according to a preliminary investigation.

Many travelers Wednesday said they understood the life-or-death stakes of keep the rails safe. But in a region that is growing quickly, and trying to become less dependent on cars, the sudden shutdown of the commuting backbone threw many for a loop.

"I mean, there are a lot of people traveling, like myself, working. We depend on the Metro," commuter Kevin Williams said Wednesday. "It just never occurred to me to think about an alternate route to get there, and then I have to think about that, so it's making it really difficult."

Commuter Peggy Delaney said her commute wasn't too difficult Wednesday morning, and she appreciated Metro's efforts to ensure the system is safe.

"It's really not that bad," she said. "The bus takes about an extra 15, 20 minutes [longer] than the train, so it's really not that bad. Safety first, so that's cool. I can get around."

On NBC Washington's Facebook page, commuters chimed in about their plans for the day, which ranged from making early commutes to taking a day off from work.

"Sharing a ride with a neighbor and making a new friend," Patty Stephenson posted.

"Commute[d] from bed to computer without incident. Thanks OPM!" Judy Warner Weixel wrote.

Twitter user @stephaniedmv wrote, "Traffic from Rosslyn into DC is definitely heavier than normal."

However, many other roads were experiencing normal or even lighter traffic than usual.

"I was braced for disaster, but the 50 buses were actually not that much more crowded than a normal day," Twitter user @wholenewedu tweeted.

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Walmart in Derby to Close


A Walmart store in Derby is expected to close this year, a spokesperson confirms.

The store at 656 New Haven Avenue is slated to close on Jul. 29, Philip Keene with Walmart told NBC Connecticut. This location has about 150 employees. 

“It’s kind of sprung on them. People have built their careers around WalMart here and it’s kind of sad for them," a shopper Kylee Germain of Derby told NBC Connecticut.

The decision was made to close the location after analyzing a "variety of factors," Keene said. 

According to Keene, the company is focused on transferring employees to one of the three Walmart stores within a 10 mile radius of Derby. The company is hopeful no one will be losing their jobs.

Keene said this is an isolated decision unrelated to the consolidation announcement back in January. Walmart does not anticipate more closures in the area.

Photo Credit: AP

Los Angeles Police Car Chase Ends


The driver police say was behind the wheel in a wild stolen cruiser pursuit across Southern California that ended in a fatal police shooting was identified Wednesday.

West Covina police identified the driver as Gevork Alachadzhyan, 45, of North Hollywood.

He was fatally wounded by police and died at the scene after the high-speed pursuit of the stolen police cruiser came to a dramatic end in an alley in Glendale, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.

Investigators said Monday morning that the bizarre sequence of events began late Sunday in West Covina when a man, who had earlier requested police assistance, was given a ride in the West Covina patrol car. The man, later identified as Alachadzhyan, somehow commandeered the vehicle, according to the sheriff's department.

It was not immediately clear why the man requested police, but investigators said the man made "peculiar" statements.

Authorities began pursuing the stolen police cruiser in the West Covina area Sunday at 9:45 p.m. The driver hit speeds in excess of 100 mph, as well as drove on the wrong side of the road, weaving on and off freeways. 

The pursuit came to a dramatic end at Jackson and Colorado Streets in Glendale as the driver pulled into an alley. Officers rammed the car in an attempt to get the cruiser wedged up against a trash bin.

The driver hit reverse and sped backward through they alley before officers wedged the cruiser with their patrol units. The driver hit the gas, and the tires began smoking as they burned rubber. 

Officers approached the cruiser with guns drawn at 10:45 p.m., an hour after the chase started, and opened fire.

West Covina police later said that Alachadzhyan was allegedly trying to arm himself with the weapons inside the police car.

No officers were hurt in the shooting, the LA County Sheriff's Department said.

Photo Credit: KNBC-TV

Malloy Cuts Construction Payment for Sandy Hook School


Construction on the new Sandy Hook Elementary School is going so well, both on schedule and more importantly under budget, Gov. Dannel Malloy says a $2.3 million payment for construction is unnecessary, so he included it in more than $350 million worth of bond payment cuts.

The school has been under construction since 2014 and sits on the site of the former Sandy Hook Elementary School, the site of the shooting deaths of 26 students and staff at the school in 2012.

Gov. Malloy says the public should not misconstrue the payment cut as any kind of slight to the school or to Newtown.

"Give me a break," Gov. Malloy said during a news conference Wednesday.

He says his administration has been in touch with the town every step of the way and has been kept abreast of the school's progress.

“We were in contact before this became a public issue because we wanted to make sure that in point of fact this was the appropriate thing to do."

The project was approved at a cost of $50 million and is scheduled to be open before school starts at the end of the summer. The building is considered to be a state of the art facility.

Sen. Tony Hwang, (R - Fairfield), who represents Newtown, says the state should continue with the payments because that was part of the deal.

"We're literally putting the cart before the horse," Hwang said.

“This project is not complete and until its completed we want to be sure that the money is there to ensure proper compliance and proper construction completion so it really was a frustrating exercise.”

Pat Llodra, Newtown's First Selectman said the decision by the governor was not a surprise, and said she's been assured that if there are any unexpected cost issues, that the state will address them.

"I am confident that the state decision-makers will work with local officials to make the final steps proceed with the same integrity as has been in place throughout. The governor, state leadership, legislators, and all Ct taxpayers have treated us honorably and with sacrifice on their parts, too."

Gov. Malloy said as a matter of fiscal responsibility, taxpayers should be happy with the decision. The school will be done on time, and it won't cost them anything extra, he said.

"When the cost of completion is less than the initial expectation, we shouldn’t be spending that money," he said.

Photo Credit: AP

Obama to Visit Cuba Next Week


President Barack Obama will visit Cuba next Monday and Tuesday, becoming the first sitting president in 88 years to set foot on the island, NBC News reported.

Obama will speak to the Cuban people on Tuesday. The speech will be broadcast widely and has not been met with any resistance from Cuban officials, according to Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes.

Administration officials laid out the first family’s plans for the three day visit, which includes a visit to Old Havana’s cathedral to meet with Cuban Cardinal Jaime Ortega, a meeting with young people and entrepreneurs, and a baseball game between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Cuban National Team.  

Photo Credit: AP

Will Torrington High School Propose Cutting Spring Sports?


The future of Torrington High School’s Spring sports season is the talk of the town. Parents and students want to know whether cutting spring sports will be recommended in the school system’s budget.

School system officials told NBC Connecticut tonight’s meeting is related to this year’s budget.

“It would affect my son who runs track so I’m hoping that it doesn’t happen and that there’s probably other cuts that could be made,” Said Melissa Scheerer, who told us she heard about the possibility.

“I heard about it by several teachers are talking about it and it’s going around to other students. A lot of people have asked administrators about it and they’ve confirmed it so,” Said Torrington High School student, Danny Scheerer, a freshman at Torrington High School who plans to run track this year.

Dozens attended Wednesday night's meeting.

Interim superintendent Lynda Reilman recommended to the board that they do not cut spring sports.

One budget committee member proposed layoffs to help with the budget. Another said going through recommendations will take the team until April. 

Based on the discussion of the meeting, it's presumed that this year's spring sports are safe from being cut.

Felony Charge for Egging


An Ohio man faces a felony charge after he egged an elderly man’s house more than 100 times, police said.

Jason E. Kozan, 30, was arrested and charged with felony vandalism after a lengthy investigation by the Euclid Police Department.

Albert Clemens, Sr. told Cleveland.com the eggings started March 2014 and haven’t stopped.

"The accuracy is phenomenal," Clemens said. "Because almost every time when it's nice weather and they launch five or six of these at a time, they almost invariably hit the front door."

Clemens told the publication his home had been pelted several times a week in the past, sometimes more than once a day. The eggings usually happened after dark and lasted around 10 minutes. He also said he felt the eggs were somehow being launched at the house.

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Clemens and his wife bought the two-story house 60 years ago, he told Cleveland.com. Although she has since passed away, he still lives there with his 49-year-old daughter and 51-year-old son.

The arrest brings an end to a lengthy investigation by police. According to the publication, authorities visited local restaurants and businesses to find the suspect’s supply. They traced the eggs used in the attack to an Amish farm, but weren’t able to link them to anyone. They even tried getting fingerprints, but once the eggs crack, protein dissolves any possible prints.

"I like the neighborhood," Clemens told Cleveland.com. "I like the city of Euclid. I would live and die in this house — but it's been kind of a nightmare."

Kozan appeared in front of a judge Wednesday and bond was set at $2,000, police said. The case will be forwarded to the Cuyahoga County Grand Jury. It was not known if Kozan has an attorney.

Photo Credit: Euclid Police Department
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Bank Robbing 'Bad Grandpa'


A man known as the “Bad Grandpa” bandit, a serial robber who has struck 10 banks across Southern California, is suspected in a Costa Mesa heist on Tuesday.

Costa Mesa police said the robbery at the First Bank and Trust in the 3000 block of Harbor Boulevard in Orange County was reported just before 3:30 p.m.

A suspect described as white, in his 50s and wearing green scrubs with black sleeves and a Washington Redskins cap presented a demand note to a teller.

He took off with an undisclosed amount of cash and a witness reported seeing his speed off in a white compact SUV, police said.

FBI agents suspect he is the “Bad Grandpa” bandit, who has been responsible for robberies in San Diego, Riverside and Orange Counties since Feb. 12. He’s nicknamed because he wears an elderly looking disguise, including a wig and glasses, and carries a cane.

He is described as about 50 years old, 6 feet 1 inch tall and between 150 and 180 pounds.

Photo Credit: Photo courtesy of the FBI

GOP Begins Battle Against SCOTUS Pick


As the GOP gears up to battle President Barack Obama’s pick for the U.S. Supreme Court, Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch’s words may come back to haunt him.

"[Obama] could easily name Merrick Garland, who is a fine man," Hatch, a former chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, told the website Newsmax before a luncheon hosted by the Federalist Society on Sunday. 

"He probably won’t do that because this appointment is about the election,” Newsmax quoted Hatch as saying. "So I’m pretty sure he’ll name someone the [liberal Democratic base] wants."

But on Wednesday, Obama did nominate Garland, the 63-year-old chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, widely seen as a centrist. In his announcement, Obama noted that in 2010, Hatch had urged him to nominate Garland, saying, "He would very well be supported by all sides."

Obama’s choice of Garland to succeed the late Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court sets up a fight with Senate Republicans, who are determined to block any nomination until next year in the hopes that a Republican will end up in the White House.

The GOP leadership has insisted that the American people must have a say in who the next justice should be. Democrats counter that Republicans should act on the president’s nomination as the Constitution requires them to.

Reactions to Garland’s nomination fell predictably on party lines.

Wednesday morning, Hatch acknowledged that he thought highly of Garland, but went on to say, "I remain convinced that the best way for the Senate to do its job is to conduct the confirmation process after this toxic presidential election season is over."

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, of Kentucky, said on the Senate floor that he and Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, of Iowa, believed the American people deserved a part in what was a momentous decision, whomever they elected as president.

"Either way, our view is this: Give the people a voice in filling this vacancy," he said.

Before the announcement, Republican Utah Sen. Mike Lee reaffirmed the GOP position, saying he and his colleagues on the Judiciary Committee had already given their advice and consent.

“We will not have any hearings or votes on President Obama’s pick,” he said.

And Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts tweeted, "The next justice will have an effect on #SCOTUS for decades to come and should not be rushed through during an election year."

Among Democrats, Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York called Garland a bipartisan choice.

"If the Republicans can't support him, who can they support?" Schumer asked.

Vermont’s Sen. Patrick Leahy cited Garland’s experience leading the prosecution of two of the country’s most notorious cases of domestic terrorism, the Oklahoma City bombing and the Unabomber case, in calling him one of the most accomplished judges on the federal bench.

"Chief Judge Garland is undeniably fair-minded and independent, and it is no wonder that he has received praise from across the political spectrum," Leahy said in a statement. "He should be confirmed without controversy."

And Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, of Nevada, called on the Republicans to act.

"[Obama] is doing his job this morning; they should theirs," he said. 

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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Bumble Bee Tuna Recall


Bumble Bee Foods has voluntarily recalled some canned tuna over possible contamination that could lead to life-threatening illness.

The company said “process deviations” at a third-party facility during the sterilization process could result in contamination by spoilage organisms or pathogens.

That possible contamination could lead to life-threatening illness if the tuna is consumed, the company said.

Bumble Bee said the products are being recalled out of an abundance of caution and that there have been no reports of illness associated with the affected tuna.

The three products that fall under the recall are: 5oz Bumble Bee Chunk Light Tuna in Water, 5oz Bumble Bee Chunk Light Tuna in Oil, and the 4-pack of 5oz Bumble Bee Chunk Light Tuna in Water.

 The products have one of the following three UPC labels: 8660000020, 8660000021 and 8660000736.

Customers who purchased the recalled products are advised to throw them away.

Bumble Bee has created a page for the recall on its website. 

Photo Credit: Moment Editorial/Getty Images
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