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Widower Shares Tornado Footage


An Illinois man is using his personal tragedy to ensure that others don’t suffer the way he has after a tornado ripped through his home last April and killed his wife.

The twister struck April 9, 2015, while 85-year-old Clem Schultz was in an upstairs bedroom in Fairdale, getting lanterns for what he was sure would simply be a loss of power amid tornado warnings, according to the Daily Herald.

He looked out the window and spotted the tornado looming in the distance. Assuming it would stay to the south, he began to record the storm on his cellphone, Schultz told the Herald.

But the tornado grew closer, and by the time he realized his house was in its path, it was too late to go downstairs and join his wife Geri in the kitchen. The tornado tore through his home, and he suffered serious injuries. 

A neighbor dug him out of the rubble, telling him not to look down, the Herald reported.

"Why?" Schultz asked.

"Because your wife is right under you. She’s dead," the neighbor responded.

Nearly a year later, Schultz released the video he shot that day, as a warning to others.

The video, shared by a meteorology student studying the tornado, begins with a word of caution.

"PLEASE do not attempt to video or take photos of a tornado as it approaches your location. PLEASE follow National Weather Service warning advice: 'Move to an interior room on the lowest floor of a sturdy building. Avoid windows. If in a mobile home, a vehicle, or outdoors, moe to the closest substantial shelter and protect yourself from flying debris.'"

The video then cuts to footage of the twister bearing down, moving closer to the camera and destroying everything in its path.

Schultz shared video of the tornado that forever changed his life with the intention of saving others from his tragedy.

"I'm proud of it," Schultz told the Daily Herald. "My video is saving lives."

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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4 Hurt When Bus, Cruiser Crash


Two middle school students, a police officer and another adult were hurt when a school bus and police cruiser crashed Thursday afternoon in Fairfax County, Virginia, police said.

Students from Mark Twain Middle School in Alexandria were headed back from a field trip to Lake Accotink when their Fairfax County Public Schools bus crashed with an unmarked Fairfax County Police Department cruiser, police and school officials said.

The crash occurred at Backlick Road and Floyd Avenue in Springfield, Virginia.

The students, officer and a field trip chaperone were taken to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, a police department representative said.

Police said the officer driving the police cruiser had the right of way when the school bus driver entered the intersection. No information was released immediately on any charges against the driver.

Police initially said four students were hurt.

Stay with News4 for more details on this developing story.

Photo Credit: NBC Washington

Employee Accused of Stealing from South Windsor Restaurant


An employee of a South Windsor restaurant is accused of stealing money from the restaurant he worked in and has been arrested.

The burglary was reported last month and police said surveillance footage showed Geoffrey Weaving, 44, of Bristol, taking $900 from an office.

Employees recognized Weaving, who had recently been hired.

Detectives interviewed him and he admitted his involvement in the crime, police said.

Police recovered the money and obtained an arrest warrant for Weaving, who was charged with third-degree burglary and third-degree larceny.

He was held on $40,000 surety bond and will appear at Manchester Superior Court.

Photo Credit: South Windsor Police

9 Fairfield University Students Arrested on Drug Charges


Nine Fairfield University student have been arrested on drug charges.

The Fairfield University Department of Public Safety investigated and arrested the students on charges including possession of narcotics and controlled substances.

“Fairfield University expects all students to uphold the University’s code of conduct at all times. We continue to work with the Fairfield Police Department in this matter,” the school said in a statement.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Budget Trims $570 Million, Shifts Funds


The budget approved Wednesday by the General Assembly's Appropriations Committee trims more than $570 million across the board, while also shifting funds to be paid for by other accounts.

Even though the spending plan restored funding to hospitals, higher education, and social service programs, the cuts hit just about every state agency, and they're deep.

“Believe me, the ax is falling," said Sen. Beth Bye, (D - West Hartford), who chairs the committee. "There’s nobody that’s not hurt in this budget.”

One item that saw changes is the Special Transportation Fund, with expenditures added there, to ease the burden on other agencies.

Last year, the General Assembly approved one half of one percent to get devoted to transportation and infrastructure projects. Sen. Bye said she and the others who crafted the budget saw other ways to use those funds.

“With new revenue, the tens of billions of dollars for transportation infrastructure, we feel like the highway patrol is an important part of that. School bus transportation is part of that, too. They move people around Connecticut so I think they’re a part of that infrastructure,” she said.

The budget approved by the committee falls more than $340 million short if deficit estimates last month, but is on par with Gov. Dannel Malloy's budget that he presented in February. Bye described the move as "responsible" as the state waits for the April consensus revenue report.

Sen. Len Fasano, the top Republican in the Senate sharply disagreed.

"They didn't do their job," Fasano said. “That’s a disservice to the state of Connecticut. Everyone in this state knows we’re in trouble but them and until they wake up and see the reality, we’re going to be in trouble each and every time they get behind the wheel when it comes to the budget.”

Malloy's office released a statement announcing he will present a revised budget proposal to the General Assembly next week, roughly three weeks before the legislature will adjourn.
He said about the Appropriations spending plan, "tries to do things the way they've always been in done" in state budgeting.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

State Lawmakers Consider Paid Family and Medical Leave System


Josh Elliott’s mother opened the Thyme & Season natural food grocery store in Hamden in 1997. Nearly 20 years later, he is a co-owner and he is supporting a bill to create a statewide paid family and medical leave system,

“This has been the reason I’ve had the opportunities I’ve had,” Elliott said.
“As ownership, if I want to take a week off or weeks off, I can.”

Elliott is supporting SB 221, so more than 40 employees who work for his business can receive paid family and medical leave too.

“If we aren’t protecting those people who work -- day in day out -- to make organizations like this exist, than we are not upholding our side of the bargain,” Elliott said during a news conference Wednesday with activists from the CT Campaign for Paid Family and Medical Leave and Connecticut Working Families.

If passed, the program run by the labor department would compensate workers up to $1,000 a week when they take time off to recover from medical emergency, care for an ill family member or welcome the birth or adoption of a child. Employees could take up to 12 weeks off and the program would be funded by a percentage contribution of worker’s weekly earnings.

“This would give families financial stability at a time when they need it most,” Lindsay Farrell, executive director of Connecticut Working Families, said.

Not everyone in the state’s business community is on board, including the Connecticut Business and Industry Administration, which said many Connecticut businesses already offer this type of benefit to workers.

“The program is great if it works for the individual employer but mandating that all employers with three or more employees offer the 12 weeks of paid leave could spell financial disaster,” said Eric Gjede, assistant counsel for the Connecticut Business and Industry Administration. “While the bill outlines that the program will be employee-funded, there are startup and administrative funds that could cost the state up to $32.1 million in its first year and an additional $18.5 in annual salaries for the 120 state employees who will run the program after that.”

Elliott said he is hopeful Connecticut will join New York, which passed paid family leave legislation last week.

“It’s fair,” Elliott said. “Ultimately, it’s just what’s fair.”

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Berlin Police Investigating Rash of Car Break-Ins, Thefts


Police said there has been a number of car break-ins- even some thefts- in Berlin.

The thefts have been happening at all hours of the night over the last several months, Berlin Police said.

Suspects are ransacking cars that are unlocked and stealing any with keys left inside, according to police. The department was able to pull an image from a local survellieance video of a masked suspect entering unlocked cars on March 17 and 18. 

The suspect is wearing a "unique" sweatshirt.

Anyone with information on the suspect or thefts is asked to call police at (860) 828-7066. 

Photo Credit: Berlin Police

81-Year-Old Pedestrian Struck in Bristol


An 81-year-old woman was struck by a car in Bristol on Wednesday, police said.

Mary Dutcher, of Bristol, was walking across North Main Street by City Hall when a driver heading northbound struck her. 

Dutcher had been legally crossing the street at a crosswalk going westbound. She was transported to Hartford hospital for minor injuries. 

The driver of the car, Frederic Fasano, 69, of Watertown was not injured.

Fasano was charged with two violations: failing to yield to a pedestrian within a crosswalk and failing to exercise due care to avoid a pedstrian. 

Man Arrested After Bomb Threat Called Into Hartford Police Dept.


One man was arrested after police said he called in a bomb threat to the Hartford Police Department headquarters on Thursday. 

"I am going to place a bomb at the Hartford Police Station," the caller told dispatch at approximately 12:30 p.m., according to police.

The caller also said he would harm a particular officer if he doesn't speak to the "court jury", police said.

The station was searched and determined to be safe. 

Police were able to determine the location of the call and were dispatched to the McKinnley Shelter on Huyshope Avenue.

Douglas Cameron, 34, who has 31 previous arrests, faces a first degree threatening charge. 

Photo Credit: Hartford Police

Texas Student Killed on Campus


Austin police are searching for a person of interest in the on-campus killing of University of Texas dance and theater student Haruka Weiser.

A $15,000 reward has been offered for information leading to an arrest.

Weiser, an 18-year-old freshman from Portland, Oregon, was reported missing by her roommates late Monday morning. Her body was found in a creek Tuesday near the campus alumni center and the football stadium.

UT President Gregory L. Fenves described Weiser as a "beloved member" of the school's dance community who was "liked and admired by her classmates and respected by professors for her intelligence and spirit."

"The unthinkable brutality against Haruka is an attack on our entire family. Law enforcement is fully engaged to do everything to bring the perpetrator who committed this crime to justice," Fenves said in a prepared statement Thursday.

The Travis County medical examiner has ruled Weiser's death a homicide — but other than to say she was assaulted, Austin police would not reveal details of the attack, citing the ongoing investigation.

Weiser left the drama building between 9:30 p.m. and 9:45 p.m. Sunday and was attacked while walking to her dorm, police said Thursday.

University police began investigating when Weiser's roommates reported her missing the next morning. The Austin Police Department and Department of Public Safety joined the probe when Weiser's remains were discovered Tuesday.

Austin police said Thursday they have not identified a suspect, but do have a person of interest in mind. Authorities said a man was recorded on nearby surveillance video around the time of the attack.

Police are asking for the public's help in identifying him. They described the person in the video as a man standing about 6 feet tall and riding a red or pink women's bicycle.

"At this time, we do not know the identity of the suspect and we definitely will need the support of our community," Austin Police Assistant Chief Troy Gay said Thursday. "We know that the public will step up as they do in every case and help us identify the suspect."

During Thursday's news conference, Fenves read a statement on behalf of Weiser's family saying she was a "passionate and dedicated dancer and student" who hoped to soon perform again at the university.

"In theater and dance we care for and love for each other," said Jaelynn Blount, former classmate of Weiser's. I did know she was a lovely person inside and out. I can remember her sharing to us her love for dance and it just seemed so beautiful and passionate. She definitely is a person you never forget and although I didn't get to know her as much as I would like too. She will live in me."

In response to Weiser's slaying, the university has increased safety measures for the campus of roughly 50,000 students, including putting more university police officers on patrol.

Weiser's death is the first on-campus homicide investigation since 1966, when Charles Whitman killed 14 people and wounded 32 others while shooting from the UT Tower, according to the Austin American-Statesman.

Anyone with information about the person's identity is asked to call the Austin Police Department's Homicide Unit at 512-974-5372. The U.S. Marshal's Service, Texas Department of Public Safety and State Crime Stoppers is offering a combined $15,000 reward for information leading to the identification and arrest of the person responsible for Weiser's death.

NBC's Ari Mason contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News/Haruka Weiser's Facebook page
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George Mason Faculty Oppose Naming Law School for Scalia


George Mason University's decision to rename its law school after late Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia is facing internal backlash, with dozens of professors and staff members signing a petition that warns the move would be harmful to the school and insulting to many students and employees.

The open letter, written by cultural affairs professor Craig Willse, says "the values that Scalia affirmed from the bench do not reflect the values of our campus community."

It also criticizes George Mason for agreeing to name the school for the late Supreme Court justice, at the request of an anonymous $30 million donor, without input from people who study or work there.

The signatories span a variety of departments at the Fairfax, Virginia-based university, but as of mid-afternoon Thursday, none represented the law school.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Foreign Leaders 'Dumbfounded' by Trump Policies: Graham


Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham said he reassured foreign leaders that Donald Trump is nothing to worry about because "this is the silly season and this will pass," NBC News reported.

"Everybody asked me about Trump in terms of policy changes. I said he is an outlier, don't look at him," Graham told reporters Thursday about a trip to the Middle East last week.

Graham said leaders were most concerned about Trump’s proposal to temporarily ban all Muslims from entering the United States. He said they were also uncomfortable with Trump’s suggestion that the U.S. allow Russian President Vladimir Putin to play a bigger role in fighting ISIS in Syria.

The South Carolina senator, who ran for president, is a fierce critic of Trump. He originally backed Jeb Bush, but is now reluctantly supporting Ted Cruz. 

Photo Credit: AP

Fire Causes Extensive Damage at Southington Pizza Shop


Only a shell of a Southington pizza shop is left after fire broke out early this morning and spread from the back of the building to the roof.

The fire at Renaldo's Pizza on North Main Street was reported around 1:30 a.m. and crews are boarding up the restaurant and beginning to clean up the damage fire caused.  

“I almost want to cry, like literally. It’s a shame. It’s a well-known place in town, it’s been here forever. Just speechless,” Adam Scheck, a Renaldo’s employee, said.

It was a difficult fight for firefighters, who had to punch holes through the roof to put out the flames.

"We couldn’t get at it with our hoses. We had to open it up, cut multiple holes in the roof and multiple access areas in the ceiling to get at the fire,” Captain Mark Soucier said.

He said smoke caused extensive damage to the inside of the restaurant, particularly the kitchen.

No one was inside when the fire broke out and an investigation is underway to determine what caused it. 

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

US Falls Behind on Pledge to Accept 10K Syrian Refugees


The United States is falling behind in its pledge to increase the number of Syrian refugees it accepts, NBC News reported.

Only 1,285 new refugees have been approved for resettlement halfway into the fiscal year, according to data released by the State Department. That’s less than 13 percent of the 10,000 the U.S. agreed to accept.

Officials say they haven’t been prepared for the increase in applicants, and they don’t have enough resources to vet them properly. But federal agencies say thousands of refugees would be cleared for travel to the U.S. by October.

The State Department and the Department of Homeland Security have started to increase their capacity to interview refugee applicants in a process that typically takes 18 to 24 months to complete in full. Final interviews are expected to wrap up for many by the end of April.  

Photo Credit: AP

Police Nab Suspects Who Did Donuts


Officers pursued a reckless driver of a convertible Mustang connected with a home burglary in a bizarre top-down chase on Southern California streets and freeways Thursday afternoon.

The blue Ford Mustang with a black convertible top was driving at high speeds and was initially reported in the Cerritos area. At least two people were in the car.

Both the driver and the passenger taunted police and CHP officers, often driving on the wrong side of the road, doing donuts, fishtailing on dangerously wet streets, standing up and looking around at the helicopters overhead as the chase moved from South LA to East LA, through Hollywood, the Hollywood Hills and back to Hollywood.

A TMZ tour bus even tried to block the car as it drove on the 101 Freeway. Only the tour bus operator was aboard.

Initially, LAPD made several attempts to pull over the car, and continued to track the vehicle while staying just short of a full pursuit on downtown freeways.

Just after 2 p.m. CHP officers began a pursuit as the car transitioned to the 101 northbound.

Around 2:20 p.m., the car exited to surface streets, doing donuts on a rainy Hollywood Boulevard. The passenger repeatedly stood up in the convertible, appearing to smile at overhead helicopters and at one point talking on the phone.

In the rainy conditions, the car struck at least one other vehicle on the 101 Freeway and clipped another on the 110 Freeway.

Around 2:30 p.m., the car headed up windy Laurel Canyon, fishtailing somewhat on the wet roads before turning on to Mulholland Drive and heading southbound on the 101 Freeway.

By 3 p.m., the car was in the USC area, and bystanders were running up to the Mustang as the it drove by.

Just before 3:30 p.m., the passenger's side front tire went flat, and the pair eventually came to a stop in a South LA neighborhood. Dozens of bystanders came out and the two embraced several people before sitting in and on the car waiting for officers.

Sheriff's deputies arrived at 3:30 p.m. and took the driver, passenger and an unknown third man into custody.

A large crowd gathered near where the men were arrested.

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Yard Goats Win First Game Ever


The Hartford Yard Goats have won their first game ever on Thursday.

The team defeated the Richmond Flying Squirrels 5-4 at the Diamond in Virginia on Minor League Baseball Opening Day.

Kyle Freeland let up only one run in five innings. After trailing 1-0 for four innings, the Yard Goats scored twice in the fifth to take the lead. Rosell Herrara, an outfielder, had four hits and his RBI tied the game.

Shortstop Pat Valaika's RBI single brought Herrera home and gave the team a 2-1 lead at the bottom of the fifth.

Hartford got three more runs in the sixth off Pedro Casilla. Konnor Wade's bunt brought home Ryan McMahon before Herrara was able to hit a two-run double to right center field. 

At the top of the eighth, the Squirrels slammed a two-run home run and another solo home run in the ninth but couldn't catch up to the Yard Goats.

The Yard Goats and Flying Squirrels will play again on Friday night at 7:30 in Richmond. 

Despite Harford's full-blown budget crisis, the city said it will finance $5.5 million of the $10 million shortfall to complete the Yard Goat's new stadium by May 17.

Photo Credit: Yard Goats

Trump's Manager Once Fought Obama's $5K Security Cost


Donald Trump’s campaign manager once launched an effort to force President Barack Obama’s campaign to reimburse a New Hampshire town for security costs, NBC News reported.

Corey Lewandowski recorded a robo-call, demanding that the town of Windham, New Hampshire, be reimbursed for putting up $5,490 worth of expenses, which included 10 firefighters, five police officers and one dispatcher. The city’s board voted 3 to 2, opposing sending Obama an invoice.

Lewandowski is now on the other side, serving as campaign manager for Trump’s campaign. The GOP front-runner’s most recent rally, held in Long Island on Wednesday, cost the county of Nassau at least $300,000 in security expenses, according to Police Commissioner Thomas Krumpter.

Photo Credit: File/AP

SCOTUS Flap Is 'Dangerous': Obama


President Barack Obama told faculty and students at the University of Chicago Law School Thursday that a Republican push to block his Supreme Court nomination is "dangerous."

"It’s not just that the Republican majority in the Senate intend to vote against a highly qualified judge, we now have a situation where they’re saying we simply will not consider the nomination," Obama said.

During the discussion, the president continued to make his case for fellow Chicago native Merrick Garland and touched on the Senate’s constitutional responsibility to give a fair hearing to the qualified nominee, whom Obama nominated to the Supreme Court at a White House Rose Garden ceremony in March.

"If the question is qualifications and excellence, it is uniformly viewed by not just Democrats but also Republicans, those who served, judges, legal scholars, members of the Supreme Court that he is as good of a judge as we have in this country right now," Obama said. "That he’s fair, he’s smart, he’s objective."

Republican lawmakers are pushing to block Obama’s nomination until a new president is elected next year. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called Garland after he was nominated to inform him the Senate would not move forward with the confirmation process.

"If you start getting into a situation in which the process of appointing judges is so broken, so partisan, that an immensely qualified jurist cannot even get a hearing, then we are going to see the kinds of sharp partisan polarization that have come to characterize our electoral politics seeping into our entire judicial system," Obama said Thursday. "That erodes the institutional integrity of the judicial branch."

"If confidence in the courts consistently breaks down, then you start seeing our attitudes about democracy generally start to break down, legitimacy breaking down in ways that are very dangerous," he added.

Garland met with Illinois Republican Sen. Mark Kirk last Tuesday, who lobbied for other Republican senators to meet with the nominee and vote. Garland also visited with Illinois Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin, who was at the University of Chicago Law School with Obama Thursday. 

"What a good moment for us to have somebody who is respected by both sides," Obama said.

Obama, who taught constitutional law at the university for over a decade, also discussed topics including criminal justice reform, diversity in politics and even policies involving drone strikes during the discussion Thursday.  

He called out some students who were using their phones, saying they may not be allowed to have those in court if they become lawyers. 

"I'm just saying you guys might want to practice," he said. 

Photo Credit: AP

Chuck Grassley Won't Budge on Supreme Court Pick


The Republican chairman of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary said Thursday he and others would not hold hearings on President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, NBC News reported.

"When I make a decision on sound principle, I am not about to flip-flop because the left has organized what they call a pressure campaign," Sen. Chuck Grassley said on the Senate floor.

The Judiciary Committee holds hearings on nominees, and then sends the nomination to the Senate for a vote. Grassley said he and others opposed to hearings will not budge on Obama's choice to nominate Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court.

Grassley, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and other GOP leaders say the next president should make the nomination.  

Photo Credit: AP

Man With Rope, Tape Grabs Teens


A man accused of grabbing three teenage girls from behind and dragging one into the woods in Worcester, Massachusetts, was carrying rope, duct tape and pliers, according to prosecutors.

Fredy Cruz, 22, of Worcester, has been charged with three counts each of kidnapping and assault and battery, along with one count of enticing a child under 16.

The teens — two sophomores at South High School and an eighth grader at Sullivan Middle School — were accosted on three separate occasions. Police said all the incidents happened between 7:15 a.m. and 8:15 a.m. Wednesday on Apricot Street.

Cruz was arrested Thursday morning in the same location, wearing the same clothing and carrying the same backpack, prosecutors said. 

"There were a number of cell phones," said Assistant District Attorney Courtney Price. "Rope - two different types of rope - five different sets of pliers, a pocket knife, a large roll of duct tape and what appears to be somewhat of a drill."

The judge allowed Cruz to not show his face in court over possible identification issues, because witnesses and the victims described him as a white male in his 50's, while Cruz is 22 and his attorney says he is Hispanic.

"Well, it sounds a little different," said defense attorney Tom Vukmirovits. "A 50-year-old versus a 22-year-old, well, that sounds like a bit of an age discrepancy."

Cruz was charged in 2012 with indecent exposure in Auburn, but those charges were dismissed after a court clinician found him incompetent.

In this case, the two 15-year-olds and 14-year-old all described a similarly frightening encounter with the suspect.

"When she was walking on Apricot Street in Worcester, the man came up behind her, grabbed her arm and tried to pull them into the wooded area," said Price. "She wasn't able to get him off of her until she turned around and punched him."

And Cruz allegedly admitted to police that he was involved.

"I'm not sure what he said — I can just tell you that he has some English barriers," said Vukmirovits.

Cruz is being held on $500,000 cash bail. He is due back in court May 5.

Photo Credit: necn
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