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RNC Chairman to Trump: 'Give Us All a Break'


The Republican National Committee's chairman, Reince Priebus, battled back against Donald Trump's claims that the party's process for selecting president is "stacked against me."

The Republican front-runner has been outmaneuvered by rival Ted Cruz in a series of recent state meetings to select national convention delegates, and says the process was set up to protect party insiders and shut out insurgent candidates.

"The Republican National Committee, they should be ashamed of themselves for allowing this to kind of crap to happen. The rules are no good when they don't count your vote ... like in Colorado," Trump said on Tuesday at a rally in Rome, New York. "The rules are no good when you have to play dirty tricks to pick up delegates."

Priebus tweeted late Tuesday: "Nomination process known for a year + beyond. It's the responsibility of the campaigns to understand it. Complaints now? Give us all a break."

Photo Credit: AP

Ex-DSS Worker Stole Clients’ Identities for EBT Cards: Officials


A former state Department of Social Services employee is accused of issuing himself debit cards in the names of clients and using the cards to steal nearly $5,000 in public assistance benefits.

Inspectors from the Statewide Prosecution Bureau in the Office of the Chief State’s Attorney arrested Reinaldo Ruiz, 45, of Glastonbury, on Wednesday and he has been charged with one count of first-degree larceny, four counts of second-degree larceny and five counts of third-degree identity theft, according to the Division of Criminal Justice.

Ruiz worked as an eligibility services worker at the Middletown regional office from October 2010 through October 2013 and DSS filed a complaint in February 2014.

According to the arrest warrant affidavit, Ruiz used the identities of five DSS clients to issue electronic benefit transfer cards, which he then used to withdraw $4,901 in benefits.

None of the clients whose names the cards were issued in was aware that their identity had been used or that the cards were created in their names, according to the warrant.

Ruiz was released on a written promise to appear in Hartford Superior Court on April 18.

Photo Credit: Office of the Chief State's Attorney

Trump Spokeswoman Takes Swing at Zuckerberg


Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is drawing criticism from one of Donald Trump’s spokeswomen after he made a subtle reference to her candidate’s positions, NBC News reports.

"Self-righteousness isn't very proactive: We can talk about taxes, we can talk about jobs and even immigration, but that doesn't really put food on the table and save lives," Katrina Pierson said.

Zuckerberg spoke Tuesday from Facebook’s F8 developer conference against those who want to build physical and digital walls. Trump has regularly spoken about building a wall between the U.S. and Mexico. Ted Cruz says building “a wall that works” is part of his immigration plan.

“I hear fearful voices calling for building walls and distancing people they label as others. For blocking free expression, for slowing immigration, reducing trade, and in some cases around the world even cutting access to the Internet."

Photo Credit: AP

Coach Says He Was Fired Over Fruit


Chanting and carrying flyers for a second day, students protested the firing of a coach at a Southern California middle school over alleged violations involving his collecting and re-distributing food service fruit.

Arnold Villalobos said he was gathering only unwanted fruit that otherwise would have ended up in the garbage at Center Middle School in Azusa.

In the wake of his termination, students and their families were demanding Villalobos be reinstated by the Azusa Unified School District. Villalobos coached football, basketball, and softball teams, served as a proctor during lunch hour, and in the past year had also worked as a special education assistant.

Villalobos said he thought he was providing a service by keeping fruit from going to waste, and giving it to student-athletes and others on campus who wanted it. He said he was unaware of public health restrictions on re-serving unsealed food.

A Marine Corps veteran who served in Iraq, Villalobos said it troubled him to see so many students not eating the apples, oranges and bananas the school district's food service provided everyday as part of lunch at Center Middle School.

"They were just going to throw it away, so I thought I would do something good," said Villalobos, explaining that he placed an open box in the lunch area where students could leave unwanted fruit they had planned to throw away.

What he collected, he distributed around campus, earmarking some for members of the student sports teams that practiced each day after the final bell. Villalobos said he distributed all of the collected fruit at school and never took any home.

After three years of collecting fruit, food service told Villalobos for the first time last month he should not be doing so, according to the now-former coach. He said the day he received a written notice, he stopped.

In following weeks, some students brought him bags of fruit they had collected, which Villalobos said he threw away. By his own account, he was placed on suspension, and at a meeting last Friday at district headquarters, he was informed he was being terminated, because "taking" fruit from the students was not permitted.

Angel Olivares, a student-athlete, said he looked forward to the snacks after basketball practice, and his parents approved.

"Who wouldn't want to save that?" said Angel's mom, Amy.

But the school district told Villalobos he had violated the law by gathering students' lunch-line fruit and re-serving it, Villalobos recalled.  

Azusa Unified Superintendent Linda Kaminski, EdD, declined to discuss the case with NBC4, calling it a personnel matter. Kamininski did speak of the district's commitment to adhering to government requirements and providing students nourishing meals. She said the district has a program to collect uneaten fruit and clean it to meet requirements for re-serving, but could not provide details on when that program was launched, nor how much fruit has been re-served.

Villalobos said he had seen no evidence of such a program, other than what he was doing.

Several of the students Villalobos coached, along with their parents, protested the coach's termination.

"We want Arnold," chanted one group of students. Some printed fliers calling for his reinstatement and displayed them at school Tuesday. Parents backed them, praising Villalobos for mentoring students, encouraging them to keep up their grades and even helping them with homework.

"He's there for the kids," said Angel's father, Juan Olivares, recalling that Villalobos always made sure his student-athletes got home from games safely.

Parents prodded Azusa Unified to reverse course.

"I think they're making a really big mistake if they don't bring him back," Amy Olivares said.

The California School Employees Association intends to look into the case, a spokesman said.

"My kids are everything for me," Villalobos said.

Photo Credit: KNBC-TV

Liquor License Suspended for Bridgeport Bar Where College Students Drank


The state Department of Consumer Protection has suspended the liquor license for a Bridgeport bar where dozens of college students were found drinking.

Police raided Golden Star Café, at 3915 Main St. in Bridgeport, on Tuesday, April 6 hours after police arresting a man suspected of sexually assaulting a 19-year-old Sacred Heart University student he met there.

Officers raided the bar because they suspected it was serving people who are underage, and charged 100 people for underage drinking, including 85 Sacred Heart students. They also cited the bar owner for liquor violations, police said.

Bridgeport Police Captain Brian Fitzgerald said police and the State Liquor Commission had already been planning an unannounced visit to this bar in a because of suspected underage drinking but moved the operation up after the report of the sexual assault.

Officials from the Department of Consumer Protection said they issued a summary suspension at the request of Bridheport Police.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Glastonbury Man Accused of Possessing Child Porn: Police


A Glastonbury man is being accused of possessing child pornography on his personal computer, police said. 

An investigation in March led to the arrest of Joseph Sconzo, 54, on Wednesday.

Police and digital investigators seized Sconzo's computers from his home on Whitney Lane. Police said they had been investigating child porn found on a peer-to-peer network. 

It was revealed that Sconoz had several files of inappropriate images on the seized computers. 

Sconzo faces one charge of first-degree possession of child pornography. His bond was set to $100,000 and he is expected to appear in court on April 14. 

Photo Credit: Glastonbury Police

Student Stabbed With Scissors


A teenager was stabbed with scissors during a fight between girls at a Philadelphia school Wednesday morning, authorities said.

Officers and medics were called to Jay Cooke Junior High School along West Loudon Street in Logan around 8:45 a.m after a girl was stabbed in her right shoulder and arm during a fight in a third-floor hallway, according to Philadelphia police.

Medics found the 14-year-old girl in a second-floor nurse's office at the K-8 school, said Philadelphia firefighters. Medics took the girl to nearby Einstein Medical Center where she was treated for non-life-threatening injuries.

There has been no word on what led to the stabbing, but Philadelphia School District spokesman Fernando Gallard said the girls know each other.

"There has been a history between these two students before," said Gallard.

Police took a 14-year-old into custody and recovered the scissors used in the attack, said investigators. NBC10 cameras captured the girl being taken out of the school in handcuffs.

Concerned parents rushed to the school to check on their children after hearing about the fight that put the school on a temporary lockdown. The district also notified parents.

Photo Credit: NBC10 - Matt Schaffer

Russian Jets Fly Close to US Navy Destroyer


Two Russian attack planes few dangerously close to a U.S. Navy destroyer on Monday and Tuesday, NBC News reported, citing defense officials.

The crew of the USS Donald Cook radioed the two Russian Su-24 attack planes, but the jets didn’t respond. U.S. official said the actions were "unsafe," "unprofessional" and among the "most aggressive" acts committed recently by Russia.

The planes created a "wake in the water" because they flew so close, according to the official, who confirmed the Cook was in international waters at the time of the incident. The planes were operating about 70 miles from the Russian province of Kaliningrad.

In October, Russian warplanes flew near the USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier in the Sea of Japan and the Navy was forced to send U.S. fighter jets in response. 

Photo Credit: AP

De Niro Defends Support for Anti-Vaccine Film


Actor Robert De Niro defended Wednesday the controversial anti-vaccine documentary "Vaxxed: From Cover-Up To Catastrophe" that he pulled from this year's Tribeca Film Festival.

Speaking on NBC's "Today" show he noted that he is not anti-vaccine, "but I want safe vaccines."

"I think the movie is something that people should see," the Oscar winner said. "There's a lot of things that are not said. I, as a parent of a child who has autism, am concerned. And I want to know the truth."

"Vaxxed" was originally set to screen Sunday, April 24 at the 15th annual Tribeca Film Festival, but was pulled after other filmmakers threatened to leave the festival. 

Scientists have repeatedly debunked many of the assertions De Niro makes in the interview. Decades of study have also shown no link at all to vaccines and autism, leaving scientists increasingly impatient with the refusal to accept their findings, NBC News reported. 

Photo Credit: "Today"
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Enfield Teachers Learn Their Jobs Are in Jeopardy


Seventy five teachers in the Enfield school district learned on Tuesday night that their jobs are in jeopardy.

The potential layoffs target non-tenured teachers, or those with less than four years of teaching experience.

State law requires districts to give them advanced noticed that they might not have a job come next school year.

“I was a non-tenured teacher. I’ve lived it. I’ve been on that side of the coin," Enfield Superintendent, Dr. Jeffrey Schumann, said.

That made Tuesday's news that much more difficult for Schumann to deliver to his teachers.

“Without having our budget set or knowing what the state is going to give us for dollars for grant money, the board cannot in good faith extend contracts to everyone," he said.

Education makes up 52 percent of the town’s budget and Enfield's town manager said the state has proposed cutting Enfield's state aid by $327,000.

“Any cut in state aid will likely impact both sides of the budget," Lee Erdmann said.

“I would ask the state lawmakers to hold us harmless and to fully fund ECS," Schumann said when asked about his message to state lawmakers.

Erdmann is calling for a tax increase to make up part of the gap.

Schumann said the district might be able to extend those contracts after the town council passes their budget in two weeks.

Teachers will be notified by the second week of May whether the layoffs will remain permanent. At that point, it might be too late even if all of their jobs are saved.

“Worst case scenario for us is they find other employment in other districts and we lose good teachers," said Schumann, who explained that's happened in the past.

While the district will consolidate its two high schools next fall, leaders said that has nothing to do with Tuesday night's action.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Presidential Candidates Spending Time, Money in Connecticut


Connecticut voters have a unique opportunity ahead of the presidential primary at the end of the month. For the first time, political candidates are spending their time and money to get the attention of Connecticut Voters.

According to FCC fillings, Senator Bernie Sanders' campaign has spent $765,000 on ads on Connecticut TV stations, while former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's campaign has spent $250,000.

“Usually we feel ignored in Connecticut," Central Connecticut State University Political Science Department Chair Dr. Paul Petterson said.

With delegates still up for grabs, the Nutmeg state is now being courted by political heavy weights.

This week, both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders began spending money to bring their message into your home including on NBC Connecticut.

Meanwhile, Republican John Kasich is the first candidate to make a public appearance in the state, spending time to meet with voters face to face.

“We expect and anticipate both Donald Trump and Ted Cruz to come through Connecticut," JR Romano, chairman of Connecticut's Republican Party, said. “We’re excited. Connecticut is relevant.”

“I think the people of Connecticut are really getting an opportunity here to have an influence that they normally don’t have on the national scene," Petterson said.

Connecticut Democrats said they’re not surprised.

“We’ve been saying throughout this process that the Connecticut voters would have their voices heard, and that appears to still be the case," Leigh Appleby, the communications director for Connecticut's Democratic Party, said.

Sanders and Clinton have opened up campaign offices in Hartford.

On Wednesday, Republican front-runner Donald Trump will open up his Connecticut headquarters in Berlin.

There are 71 Democratic delegates up for grabs; 28 Republican.

“Though it’s a small voice it’s a voice that could matter," said Petterson.

More Racist Police Radio Comments


Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has asked that a hate crime investigation be launched after someone accessed police radio frequencies numerous times over the last month and used racial slurs.

The most recent incident happened Tuesday, when someone interrupted an officer describing a shooting suspect and said "shoot the god---- n----- and get it over with," police confirmed.

The incident is not the first of its kind and the city said an investigation into the comments is ongoing. 

"The Office of Emergency Management and Communications and the Chicago Police Department, together with our federal partners, continue to investigate the unauthorized use of the City's radio frequencies that have occurred over the last month," the Office of Emergency Management and Communications said in a statement Wednesday. "The comments are absolutely unacceptable and we do not condone them nor the unauthorized use of the radio frequencies."

Officials said they do not believe the comments were made by a Chicago officer and it does not appear the comments come from a city-programmed radio.

"We have filed a complaint with the FCC regarding the transmissions and Mayor Emanuel has asked Cook County State's Attorney and U.S. Attorney for Northern Illinois to launch a hate crime investigation," OEMC said.

The police department began investigating similar incidents after racial slurs, including the n-word, were heard on police radio channels last month.

Audio from the calls revealed a man saying "typical f---ing n-----s" on the radio channel as a dispatcher and officer communicated. Another person on the radio also said, "All black lives matter man, f---ing n-----s."

At the time, Emanuel called the comments "absolutely unacceptable."

The incidents come as tensions between police and the city's black community continue to rise following the release of footage showing the fatal police shooting of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald.

Photo Credit: NBC Chicago

Man Suspected of Kidnapping Girlfriend Found in New Jersey


Police have found the man who is suspected of abducting his ex-girlfriend before she was able to escape at a gas station on Tuesday. 

John Robinson, 46, of West Hartford, is accused of kidnapping his ex-girlfriend while the pair were at a home on Woodlawn Street in West Hartford just after midnight on Tuesday.

Robinson turned himself into Newark, New Jersey, police on Thursday. Police said he was driving the victim's vehicle. He will be extradited to West Hartford Police as soon as possible. 

He showed up at her home, despite a restraining order, took the woman and her car after what appears to be a violent, physical encounter, police said.

After "a lengthy period of time," police said the victim was able to get away while Robinson was getting gas at a rest stop along Interstate 95 South in Milford on Tuesday afternoon. 

Robinson was sought on charges including second-degree kidnapping, first-degree unlawful restraint, violating a restraining order, second-degree strangulation, third-degree larceny and third-degree criminal mischief. 

Photo Credit: West Hartford Police

New Haven Student Brought Gun to School: Police


New Haven police are searching for the student who brought a gun onto the grounds of the New Light High School on Wednesday. 

New Light High School and Conte/West Hills Magnet School were in lockdown mode after the student threatened to get the gun, police said. The lockdowns have since been lifted. 

Police said there are conflicting reports on what happened, but an argument or a fight might have broken out at the school at 2:10 p.m.

After the fight broke up, someone reported a student said they were going to retrieve a gun, then left the school, police said.

The student came back to the school with a firearm but did not enter the building. When they were confronted by school security, the student ran away, police said. 

Police remained on school grounds until dismissal was complete. 

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Kerry Denounces Using 'Torture in Any Form'


Secretary of State John Kerry denounced the use of torture in his department’s annual human rights report on Wednesday, NBC News reported. 

"I want to remove even a scintilla of doubt or confusion that has been caused by statements that others have made in recent weeks and months," Kerry told reporters. "The United States is opposed to the use of torture in any form, at any time, by any government or non-state actor." 

Kerry’s comments come after CIA Director John Brennan told NBC News recently that the agency will not participate in "enhanced interrogation" practices such as waterboarding, even if a future president gave an order to do so. 

Donald Trump said he would authorize the technique if elected president, while Texas Sen. Ted Cruz said he doesn’t consider waterboarding torture.

Photo Credit: AP

La. Governor Bars Discrimination Against LGBT Residents


Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards signed an executive order Wednesday barring state discrimination against the LGBT community, NBC News reports. 

Edwards' order overturns an order enacted last year by his predessor, Bobby Jindal, which protected employers and agencies that wouldn't serve LGBT community members. Local groups and corporations put pressure on Edwards, saying his predecessor's order would create a "hostile environment" for their employees. 

The governor called the rule “bad for business, tourism and the Louisiana economy.”

Edwards' order protects state employees from discrimination over race, religion, sexual orientation and gender identity.

Photo Credit: AP

Bedbug Case Found at Hillhouse High


There has been a case of bedbugs at Hillhouse High School in New Haven and the board of education and health department reached out to parents through a letter earlier this week in an attempt to put them at ease.

“Governing protocols were immediately implemented with board of education and health department staff in conjunction with other city departments in order to address the issues within the school as well as to properly investigate and treat the source,” the letter said.

They said this is an “isolated incident” and there is no reason to believe it “poses any risk to the larger building or student and staff population."

Bedbugs hide in a several places around the bed, but can also hide in the seams of chairs and couches, between cushions, and in the folds of curtains, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine. They come out to feed about every five to 10 days but they can survive over a year without feeding. 

The state has listed a few ways on how to get rid of bedbugs.

To prevent bedbugs in your home:

Check secondhand furniture for any signs of bedbugs before bringing it home, use a protective cover that encases mattresses and box springs and check it regularly for holes and reduce clutter in your home so they have fewer places to hide.

After taking a trip, unpack directly into your washing machine and check your luggage carefully. When you stay in a hotel, put your suitcases on luggage racks instead of the floor and check the mattress and headboard for signs of bedbugs.

To get rid of bedbugs:

Wash and dry your bedding and clothing at high temperatures; use mattress, box spring and pillow encasements to trap bedbugs and help detect infestations; and use pesticides if needed.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

A Convention Savior Unlikely for GOP


The idea of finding a consensus nominee outside the Republican Party’s 2016 candidate pool won’t disappear, and neither will the massive hurdles for any such effort, according to NBC News.

If no one clinches the nomination after the first round, the stalemated delegates could move in to break the deadlock. According to party rules, most of the delegates can vote for whomever they choose after the first round, which can open up the possibility for a candidate not currently running to be the nominee.

Trump and Cruz’s unpopularity among the establishment has led to the idea of a "savior candidate." Last week, one in three GOP voters said they would abandon the party if either candidate becomes the nominee.

But even if another candidate is chosen, he or she would face logistical challenges facing a Democratic candidate who’s raised money and deployed a ground operation.

Paul Ryan said Tuesday he will not run for president.

Photo Credit: AP

Gas Shut Off For Hundreds in Willimantic: Eversource


The gas has been shut off for hundreds in Willimantic as Eversource deals with a service issue. 

A third-party contractor was doing work on a gasline when air got into the line. Air in a gasline could blow out pilot lights in homes. Out of caution, Eversouce turned off the gasline to address the problem. 

Eversource said they have 50 employees going door-to-door in order to fix the issue. 

About 250 customers will be without gas for most of the night, Eversource said, but they will have crews working on repairs all night. 

Customers should expect an update from Eversource in the morning about what to expect when the gas is turned back on. 

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Hartford Administrator Accused of Inappropriate Texts in Custody


An administrator from Hartford Public Schools who resigned amid a police investigation has been brought into police custody, the NBC Connecticut Troubleshooters have learned.

Eduardo Genao faces one count of risk of injury to a minor and his bond was set at $50,000.

Last week, Genao resigned last week as executive director for compliance.

Sources said the investigation involves allegations of inappropriate text communication with a minor out of state.

"He began texting her. I guess she ignored it at first because she thought it was him being nice," the victim's mother told Jill Konopka last week. 

The text messages soon became inappropriate, the mother said. 

"It became very graphic," she told NBC Connecticut Troubleshooters.

Last week, after his resignation, a school spokesperson said they were fully cooperating with investigators and the investigation does not involve any other staff members or students in Hartford.

"The Hartford Police Department has informed Hartford Public Schools that Mr. Eduardo Genao is under investigation and the district is fully cooperating with this investigation. As of April 5th, Mr. Genao is no longer employed by Hartford Public Schools. Mr. Genao was employed by Hartford Public Schools since 2005, and his most recent position was Executive Director for Compliance. The alleged victim of this investigation is not a staff member or student of Hartford Public Schools. For further inquiries, please communicate with the Hartford Police Department," a statement from the school department says.

Genao worked for Hartford schools since 2005.

Photo Credit: Hartford Public Schools Website
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