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Rare Zika Complication Hits 30 in Puerto Rico; CDC Expects More


Thirty people have been diagnosed with a rare paralyzing condition caused by Zika virus infection in Puerto Rico, the territory's health department said Thursday.

And Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director Dr. Thomas Frieden says he expects even more cases of Guillain-Barre syndrome in Puerto Rico because the virus is infecting so much of the population, NBC News reported. 

"We think there will be as many as 200 additional cases, given the overall number of infections there," Frieden told NBC News.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

New Britain Woman Sexually Assaults 13-Year-Old: Police


A woman is accused of sexual assaulting a teenager in New Britain, police said. 

Ivette Gonzalez-Feliciano, who lives on Pleasant Street, has been charged with second-degree sexual assault and risk of injury to a minor, police said. 

Police said the incident occured on Aug. 16 with a 13-year-old victim whom she is familiar with.

No other information was provided because the warrant is sealed. 

Gonzalez-Feliciano's bond was set at $100,000. 

Photo Credit: New Britain Police

Lolo Jones' Mom Dreaming of a Bolt Baby


The spectators cheer on Usain Bolt. The fellow athletes flock to take selfies with him whenever possible.

And the moms, well, they want him to get married and start a family.

Bolt’s own mother, Jennifer, recently told CNN that she would hope “he’ll settle down, get married and start his family” once he stops competing.

But she isn’t the only track mom that hopes wedding bells are in Bolt’s immediate future.

Lolo Jones, who has competed at both the Summer and Winter Olympics, posted a video on Twitter Thursday of her own mom pondering a future for her daughter and Bolt, complete with “an Olympic baby.”

Judging by the look on Jones’ face at the end of the video, she wasn’t amused.

For his part, Bolt told a UK media outlet earlier this year that he has a girlfriend and that he wants to get married, but not before he’s 35. Bolt turns 30 on Sunday.

Photo Credit: Valery Sharifulin/TASS
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The World of 'Right Now' College Freshmen: USA Has Always Been at War


The majority of students entering college this year have grown up in a world where the beloved cartoon sponge, the mobsters from "The Sopranos," and the cocktail-sipping women of "Sex in the City" were the biggest TV icons of their defining years, NBC News reported.

And because they've never known life without a DVR, they never had to miss an episode.

Most of this year's freshmen, The class of 2020, were born in 1998, according to the Beloit College "Mindset List," an annual project that analyzes the cultural influences on the lives of incoming college students. In their lifetime, the U.S. has always been at war, John Elway and Wayne Gretzky have always been retired, and a Bush or a Clinton has always been campaigning for the presidency.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

#LochMess: Ryan Lochte Memes Sprout Up on Social Media


American Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte's tale of a robbery in Rio seemed to unravel after his teammates were detained by Brazilian authorities and interviewed in Rio Thursday afternoon.

The story was a lie, according to Fernando Veloso, Rio's civil police chief. Authorities interviewed witnesses, including off-duty police officers, and determined that there was no robbery.

"We can confirm at this time that they were not victims of the crimes they alleged occurred," Veloso said.

Lochte told authorities that he had been robbed at gunpoint after he and his swimming teammates Jack Conger, Gunnar Bentz and James Feigen left a party early Sunday morning en route to the Olympic Village.

Earlier in the week, during an interview with NBC’s Billy Bush, Lochte said he and his friends were pulled over by police with just a badge, and that they told the group to get on the ground, but Lochte refused. Then he said an officer pulled out a gun, cocked it, put it to his forehead, and took his money and wallet.

Lochte, who donned platinum blonde hair through the Olympics, returned to the United States before Brazilian authorities could stop him from leaving the country — a judge ordered his passport and Feigen's to be seized. Conger and Bentz were unable to leave Brazil, detained by authorities after boarding their plane so they could be questioned.

Social media users began posting memes, such as Lochte as Pinocchio and the movie poster for "Liar Liar 2." See more of the memes here: 

Photo Credit: AP Images
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Henderson Shares Gold Medal With Ailing Mother


Jeff Henderson returned to his native Arkansas on Wednesday a gold medalist, and he had a special celebration at home with his mother.

Henderson promised his mother, who is in the final stages of Alzheimer’s disease, that he would win gold in the men’s long jump in Rio, and he delivered.

On Wednesday he delivered the medal to his mom. With friends and family around, Henderson placed the medal on an American flag draped across his mother’s legs as she rested in bed.

Earlier in the week, the 27-year-old who now lives in San Diego explained how special winning gold for his mother was.

"The medal is for her, because she’s the one who raised me when I was young,” Henderson told NBC. “She got sick when I was 17, 18 years old, and that was hard for me to do that, and leave her there. Everything I did was for her — for God and for her and my family.”

Photo Credit: AP
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New Haven Mayor Opens Up About Police Chief Esserman


As the New Haven Police Union and several community groups continuing pressuring Chief Dean Esserman to step down, Mayor Toni Harp spoke to NBC Connecticut for the first time since the embattled chief began sick leave on Tuesday.

"I did not ask him to resign," she said. "He is looking at all of these things that happened and is considering his options."

Harp hasn’t spoken with Esserman since last Friday, she said, adding they discussed conditions he must meet before returning to his job as the city’s top cop.

"There are some conditions that he has to fulfill," Harp said. "When we discussed them he indicated no problem fulfilling all of those, so that is not a barrier, it is really up to him when he returns."

Critics said Esserman should not be credited for New Haven’s declining crime rates, but Harp specifically points to the sharp drop in deadly shootings since he became chief five years ago.

"He knows how to prevent crime and reduce crime in the community and he has helped us do that here," Harp said. "We're a much safer city since he's been here."

After Esserman berated a waitress at Archie Moore’s Restaurant, the mayor placed him on a 15 working day paid leave of absence for behavior she called "unbecoming of a public official."

Two years ago, Esserman apologized for arguing with an usher and threatening to shut down a football game at the Yale Bowl.

Police Union Members voted 170-42 "no confidence" in Esserman earlier this summer, citing his public outbursts, plus low morale, intimidation and a hostile work environment.

Tuesday, a group of protestors marched from the Police Department to City Hall demanding the removal or resignation of Essesrman, at times chanting: "Hey, ho Esserman has got to go."

"Any idea how long this sick leave will last?" NBC Connecticut asked the mayor.

"I really don’t," Harp said. "It’s really up to Chief Esserman."

As for filling the New Haven Fire Chief vacancy, the mayor said she is hoping to make an announcement next week.

The three final candidates she interviewed are from North Haven, New Jersey and Kansas City, Missouri.

Photo Credit: AP

'One Day': Olympics Inspiring Young Connecticut Boxing Hopefuls


Seventeen-year-old Jacob Marrero of Bridgeport is quick on his feet and even faster with his hands.

"I feel like if you don't have pain while you're training, you're not gaining anything," said Marrero. "It keeps me out of trouble because where I live at, you're surrounded by trouble."

After seeing her son always fighting in the streets, Marrero's mom pushed him into boxing seven years ago. The push opened a new path for Marrero as an Olympic hopeful. He now has a long list of accomplishments and wins under his belt including becoming a Region One Junior Olympic Champion.

"One day you will see me in the Olympics getting gold for the USA," said Marrero.

It's a story and a journey shared by many at USA Boxing-certified gyms, not just in Hartford but across the country.

Thirteen-year-old Isaiah Deas of Hartford has been boxing for two years and calls it the hardest sport he knows.

"I live in a bad neighborhood, and a lot of stuff in my neighborhood is bad. It helps me not be in the streets," said Deas. "I want to become the best boxer in the world."

Deas is a Northeast Regional Champion and fell in love with boxing watching Floyd Mayweather.

Fifteen-year-old Nathan Loura of Wethersfield is a Northeast Regional Champion too and hopes to win the national tournament this year. He decided boxing was his sport after watching the movie "Rocky."

"Everybody thought I wouldn't take it serious in the beginning, but I wanted to try to prove people wrong," said Loura.

Learning to box is about a lot more than what happens in the ring.

"Our goal is not to turn kids pro but to turn kids into champions in the ring and champions of life," said Johnny Callas, Connecticut USA Boxing Junior Olympic Chairman. USA Boxing is the governing body for all amateur boxing in the US and puts together the Olympic and international teams.

Callas said boxing teaches discipline, self-esteem, and humility. He said it shows kids how to handle the ups and the downs, the wins and the losses. He adds that those who are part of a USA Boxing-certified gym must also be tutored, mentored, and participate in drug and gang prevention programs.

"Taking one day off is taking three days off," said Loura. "I try to stay with it every day, so every day is pushing yourself."

"As far as we're concerned, the Olympic gold medal is the end all. Olympic boxing is the purest form of the sport," said Callas.

And Olympic boxing inspires many kids. They take what they see in Rio, find role models, and push forward.

"When I'm watching the Olympics, I study it," said Deas.

It takes dedication and determination, and these athletes said you better pay close attention because soon enough you'll see them on the world stage.

"Of course I want to be an Olympian. That's my dream," said Deas.

"I want to be there someday hopefully, and if I work hard enough and train hard enough, I'll be there too," said Loura.

"It would be a dream come true. Coming from where I come from, a lot of people don't make it. It would be a dream come true. I feel like if I make it, my whole city makes it," said Marrero.

For those interested in learning more about boxing, you can head to the USA Boxing website here.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Donald Trump Aide Paul Manafort Scrutinized for Russian Business Ties


Donald Trump's campaign chairman was a key player in multi-million-dollar business propositions with Russian and Ukrainian oligarchs — one of them a close Putin ally with alleged ties to organized crime — which foreign policy experts say raises questions about the pro-Russian bent of the Trump candidacy.

"The relationships that Trump's advisors have had with pro-Russian forces are deeply disturbing," said David Kramer, a former senior State Department official in the George W. Bush administration and a former adviser to Marco Rubio's presidential campaign. "Trump's attitude on Russia is not in line with most Republican foreign-policy thinking. Trump has staked out views that are really on the fringe."

In 2008, according to court records, senior Trump aide Paul Manafort's firm was involved with a Ukrainian oligarch named Dmytro Firtash in a plan to redevelop a famous New York hotel, the Drake. The total value of the project was $850 million. Firtash's company planned to invest over $100 million, the records say.

Photo Credit: AP

Homeland Security Chief Visits Flooded Louisiana


Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson visited a devastated Louisiana on Thursday as the state's governor said that at least 13 people had died and that more than 86,000 people have registered for federal disaster assistance in flooding that has ravaged the state for days, NBC News reported.

"The federal government is here. We will be here as long as it takes to let this community recover," Johnson said at a news conference Thursday afternoon in Baton Rouge, the state capital. Johnson, who arrived Thursday in Louisiana, said he met with state and local officials to discuss the extent of the flooding.

Johnson and Gov. John Bel Edwards both defended President Barack Obama against criticism for continuing vacation in Martha's Vineyard, Mass., instead of visiting Louisiana.

Edwards said he had been in close contact with the administration since the disaster and that the extra security and police presence needed during such high-profile visits could take away from recovery efforts.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Trump Admits Regret, Wrongdoing for 'Heat of Debate'


Donald Trump just made one of his biggest changes yet: he expressed regret and admitted wrong doing - though it's unclear for what, NBC News.

In prepared remarks given Thursday night in battleground North Carolina, Trump explained his past year of controversy-filled remarks remarks as misspeaks in the "heat of debate."

"Sometimes, in the heat of debate and speaking on a multitude of issues, you don't choose the right words or you say the wrong thing," Trump said. "I have done that. And believe it or not, I regret it. And I do regret it, particularly where it may have caused personal pain. Too much is at stake for us to be consumed with these issues."

In a moment apparent self-reflection Trump said "sometimes I can be too honest" — which, he is not — but then called Clinton "the exact opposite: she never tells the truth."

Photo Credit: AP

Relive Ashton Eaton's Decathlon Gold


Ashton Eaton has defended his Olympic decathlon title, equaling the games record with a surge on the last lap of the 1,500 meters -- the last event in the two-day competition. Relive Eaton's two-day highlights, event by event.

Photo Credit: Julio Cortez/AP

Norwich Golf Club Left Without Irrigation System Over Weekend


A failed irrigation system sent the maintenance crew at Norwich Golf Club into action in the searing heat of Saturday and Sunday.

Irrigation is the key to keeping the golf course going the way players want it and the grass can't be left alone.

"Literally it's like taking care of a baby," said the supervisor, Bruce Morse.

"As much as they tried they had three guys out here on Saturday and Sunday and they couldn't keep up with it," said the longtime chairman of the club, Barney Caulfield.

After a circuit board failed in the radio controlled sprinkler system, the golf club had to run the sprinklers from each control box. Workers were not always able to see whether anyone was playing when the water came on.

"We're doing better. We had our system back running Tuesday morning so we had a rough weekend," Morse said.

The golf club is looking at a water bill of a hundred thousand dollars this year.

"This is the worst," said Caulfield, of his twenty years at the helm of the club. "Cool nights, cool mornings - that makes grass a lot easier to grow."

Tom Lavery of Wethersfield hit a tee shot and said, "Most of 'em are doing pretty well, most of the ones that we've been playing. We played a lot of different places and most of 'em are in very good shape."

The golf courses don't stay green on their own, not this summer.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Four Injured in Waterbury Shooting


Four people were shot in Waterbury early Thursday morning and one of the victims is in critical condition, according to police.

Police responded to reports of a disturbance in the East Main and Cherry streets area at 12:57 a.m. and found a large group of people who appeared to be fighting in the area of 402 East Main St.

Most of the people in the crowd were patrons of a nearby bar, according to a news release from police.

As officers approached, several gunshots were fired and four people were struck, police said.

All the victims were transported to St Mary’s Hospital. One male victim is in critical condition and three others are in stable condition, police said.

The investigation is ongoing.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Bolt Bummed After Gold: 'I Really Wanted to Run Faster'


Usain Bolt already owns the world record in the 200m, setting it at the 2009 World Championships with a time of 19.19 seconds.

On Thursday night in Rio, with a gold medal on the line, it appeared that Bolt was really, honestly trying to break his own record.

Unlike the 100m final earlier in the week, where he seemed to coast at the end after realizing he had no competition, he ran Thursday’s race hard from start to finish, even though he was once again out in front by a comfortable margin. 

• WATCH: Bolt Wins Gold Again in 200m Final

There was no doubt about the gold medal. Bolt easily defeated the field with a time of 19.78 seconds. The silver went to Canadian water bug Andre De Grasse, who finished with a time of 20.02 seconds.

But after the race, Bolt seemed to have some regret that he couldn’t find that next level of speed.

“I felt good,” he told NBC. “But when I came into the straight my body wouldn’t respond to me. I really wanted to run faster.”

Bolt thought that if he had some competition he could have gone faster, even if his body was saying, “no.”

“I think it would have helped if I had someone in front of me,” he said.

No matter, Bolt still enjoyed the victory in grand style, sporting his signature pose on the track and taking selfies with the fans in the stands.

Bolt still has one more race to go in Rio. He is scheduled to take part in the 4x100m relay on Friday, where he could win his ninth — and final — Olympic gold medal.

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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'Lose-Lose': Daughter of Victim Attacked by Pitbulls Speaks


 The daughter of the woman attacked by two pitbulls in Hartford on Tuesday morning said that she hopes the animals' owner will come forward. 

"I want to thank the Hartford community and especially firefighter Mercado for the outpouring support in connection with my mother's attack on Sunday morning involving two pitbulls which killed her two small dogs, as well. It’s a horrific ordeal and hopefully the dog owners will come forward and take full responsibility. It’s a lose lose situation and no one should have to go through this. We just want to prevent this from happening again in the future," The victim's daughter, Lisa Santini, told NBC Connecticut. 

Hartford Police are searching for the owner of two pitbulls that mauled a woman and her two dogs on Flatbush Avenue.

Santini's mother,52-year-old Maria Ortiz was walking her dogs, Gizmo and Kira, in the neighborhood Tuesday around 5 a.m.

The dog walk turned gruesome when two pitbulls attacked Ortiz's pets.

Police said as she tried to defend her two service dogs, she was mauled by the pitbulls and bitten on her hands, feet and chin.

Neighbors heard the attack and that's when they came to the rescue, including an off-duty firefighter.

"I heard her screaming with the dog in the fetal position and then I started hitting," said Nicole Mercado, the firefighter who told NBC Connecticut she used a bat to attempting getting the dogs off the woman.

"I ran back in the house, my brother handed me a stick and we tried to get the dogs off her and they wouldn’t let her go," neighbor, Terry Thornton, said.

"And then a guy came over here with a bigger stick and then got one of them loose and then the other one got loose and he was looking like he was going to attack us."

Hartford Police located the pitbulls, who are being quarantined, a block away from the attack.

Deputy Chief Brian Foley believes the dogs have an owner, but they've been unable to locate them.

"The reasons we believe they have an owner were that both dogs had collars; how they responded to humans; they’re well-fed and in good condition and the fact the victim says she believes she has seen the dogs," said Deputy Chief Foley.

Ortiz was taken to the hospital and released the same day of the attack. Her pets were taken to the veterinarian, but they had to be put down because of their injuries.

According to family, Ortiz had to return to the hospital because one of her injuries was infected.

Police said the incident is still under investigation and whether the pitbulls will be euthanized with be dependent on locating the pitbulls' owners, who could face charges.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Parents and Employees Upset About Saint Mary School Closure


With only two weeks before school starts, families and some school employees are scrambling to find jobs and enrollment after Newington's Saint Mary School announces it's closure.

"I'm sad because they struggle to bring their children to a catholic school because they have faith in god, because they have faith in the church, and look what happens," former enrollment director at Saint Mary, Carmen Rodriguez, said.

Wednesday, Saint Mary School administrators announced financial strain is to blame for the closure. They said they are $300,000 in debt and will be $200,000 more if they remained open for another year.

"Last year they closed Saint Augustine and we came here. Again it's closed. It's real crazy," said one of the parents, Maria Lopez.

Financial woes is an all too familiar story for Lopez. This is her second school for her daughter in two years. Hartford's St. Augustine School closed because of the millions of dollars needed in repairs.

"It's very sad. It's very worrying," said Lopez.

The school recommends that the 109 students enrolled at Saint Mary School consider attending St. Brigid-St. Augustine Partnership School, which is located 2.9 miles from Saint Mary’s. The West Hartford school would honor tuition, scholarships, and even uniforms.

But Lopez disagrees.

"I don't like it, I don't like it" said Lopez.

On Wednesday night, parents and upset students protested outside of the school with signs that read, 'What would Jesus do?'

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Fairfield County Residents Asked to Avoid Lawn Watering


Aquarion Water Company is asking residents of Greenwich, Stamford, New Canaan and Darien not to water lawns through Sunday because of dry conditions. 

They are also asking customers to limit lawn watering to a maximum of twice a week for the rest of the season if you use a sprinkler or soaker hoses. They said use of handheld hoses for watering is acceptable at any time. 

Aquarion will also be reminding customers about water conservation with automated phone calls as well. 

“We are asking our customers in Greenwich, Stamford, New Canaan and Darien to continue to conserve water and reduce non-essential outdoor water use,” Charles Firlotte, president and CEO pf Aquarion, said in a statement. “We have met with town and city officials and are in agreement that we need to work together to ensure that everyone in the area has the water they need, when they need it.” 

Aquarion officials said reservoirs are below normal and continue to decline amid below average rainfall and high water demand compared to the same period last year. 

They said Connecticut is currently experiencing a “moderate drought” due to an extended dry spell, citing the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. 

Aquarion also offered tips on using water more efficiently:

  • Sprinkler heads that are more than five years old use more water; upgrade your sprinkler heads to new, more efficient models 
  • Check for and fix water leaks, including where sprinkler heads connect to pipes or hoses 
  • Upgrade your irrigation system from a standard clock timer to a WaterSense-labeled controller that measures moisture levels in the ground 
  • Allow grass to grow longer; taller grass is healthier and requires less water 

Get more tips on Aquarion’s web site.

Photo Credit: AP

Suspect Sought in Fatal Hartford Shooting


Police are looking for the suspect who shot and killed a man in Hartford on Thursday night. 

At about 8:20 p.m., police responded to a report of a someone lying on the road near Main Street and Cleveland Street, Hartford Police said. 

When police arrived, they began performing CPR on an unresponsive man in his 30s with gunshot wounds. 

The victim was transported to the Hartford Hospital's trauma center where he was pronounced dead. 

Police said the victim did not have identification on him. 

The suspect is at large.

Any witnesses or anyone with information on the shooting is asked to contact Hartford Police Department.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Groton Man Charged in New London Home Burglary


A Groton man has been arrested in connection with a home burglary in New London and police said they found items stolen in other burglaries in the region. Now police are trying to identify other victims. 

Police responded to a New London home on Wednesday to investigate a burglary in progress after a resident said someone was inside his home, police said. 

When officers arrived, they determined that the burglar had just left the home, so they started searching the area. 

One of the victim’s neighbors recalled seeing the man at a local convenience store earlier in the day, so detectives used the store’s surveillance system and identified 43-year-old Henry Rogers as the suspect. 

Then police said they found other items taken from other regional burglaries and they are working with other regional police departments to identify additional victims. 

Rogers was held on a bond overnight, then transported to court, where he broke away from officers and lead them on a brief foot chase, police said. 

Authorities soon found him in the back yard of a home on Brainard Street and shot him with a stun gun to subdue him and take him back into custody. 

Rogers was initially charged with third-degree burglary and third-degree larceny and then charged with escape from custody and interfering with police. 

He is being held on a $150,000 bond and is scheduled to appear in court on Aug. 19. 

No police officers were injured. 

Photo Credit: New London Police
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