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Trump's History Undermines New Outreach to Black Voters


Donald Trump began to reach out to African-American voters over the past week and boasted that he would win 95 percent of the black vote in a theoretical re-election bid in 2020. Don't count on it. 

Right now the Republican presidential nominee receives the support of just 8 percent of black voters, according to the latest NBC News Survey Monkey weekly election tracking poll.

Allegations of racism have rocked Trump's campaign from the beginning. NBC News has broken down several reasons why black voters appear cool to the candidate.

Among the reasons: Trump and his father were accused in the past of systematically discriminating against black tenants seeking rentals in their buildings; his past support of the so-called Central Park Five, a group of wrongfully convicted black and Latino teens accused of beating and raping a white female jogger; More recently, Trump retweeted an image of a gun toting, unidentified African-American next to bogus crime statistics; and Trump's break with precedent by ignoring or turning down invitations from predominately black groups.

Photo Credit: AP

Massachusetts Man Accused of Stealing Car from West Haven


Branford police came across a stolen vehicle before the owner realized it was gone.

Around 4:30 a.m. Tuesday, Officer Chris Cope noticed a vehicle parked in the Branford Shell Gas Station at 49 Leetes Island Road. The vehicle did not have any morning dew on the windows. As Cope approached the vehicle, a man, later identified as Esteban Melendez, 18, of New Bedford, Mass. popped up from the driver’s seat and immediately put his hands in the air.

According to police, the man gave Cope what was determined to be a false identity. Cope observed the column under the steering wheel was missing and wires were hanging out. The car was also running with no keys in the ignition.

A second officer, Officer Bryan McGinnis, arrived on scene to assist. Police determined that the car was from West Haven and reached out to the owner. The owner then realized that the car had been stolen from his home.

Melendez was arrested and faces multiple charges including criminal trover, larceny, possession of under half an ounce of marijuana, and interfering with an officer’s investigation. He was held on a $10,000 bond and scheduled to appear in New Haven court Tuesday.

Photo Credit: Branford Police

East Hartford Homicide Suspect Arrested in New York


The suspect in a fatal shooting in East Hartford has been arrested in Syracuse, New York, East Hartford police said.

James Burrill, 38, was wanted in connection with the shooting death of Jerome Mack, 33, on March 25. On that day, East Hartford police responded to Smith Drive for reports of a shooting. Responding officers found Mack suffering a gunshot wound to the chest. He was pronounced dead shortly after.

Burrill was arrested by warrant Tuesday morning. He is charged with murder, criminal use of a firearm, criminal possession of a pistol/firearm, carrying a pistol/revolver without a permit, and unlawful discharge of a firearm. He is being held as a fugitive from justice pending extradition.

Photo Credit: East Hartford Police

Realtor's Romantic Rendezvous Interrupted by Cops


Police in Friendswood, Texas, say it was a late-night realtor rendezvous that landed real estate agent Kayla Marisa Seloff and Joshua Gene Leal behind bars on Saturday. When neighbors called police after they spotted suspicious activity at a vacant home, officers showed up to find the pair lying on the floor inside. Investigators say Seloff initially claimed the two were married and had just bought the home a day prior. Then, police asked for ID and the two led them to their car, where officers found a glass pipe and marijuana. Officers said shortly after talking with police, Selofff admitted she was actually the realtor, and not the new homeowner who had just closed on the house a day before.

Ken Doll in a Dress Spurs Debate for Bakery


A Sacramento bakery is getting a lot of buzz over a specialty cake. A customer ordered a Ken doll cake, and Freeport Bakery delivered, putting a twist on its popular Barbie doll cake. Co-owner Marlene Goetzeler posted an image of the cake on the Freeport Bakery Facebook page, which generated a lot of attention, both sweet and sour. She said initially, they even lost some followers.

Five New Cases of Zika Found in Florida, Miami Reduces Affected Zone


Five new non-travel related cases of Zika were found in Florida, Gov. Rick Scott announced on Tuesday, even as most of the Wynwood section of Miami was removed from the area in which officials say the virus is being transmitted.

Scott said that, following testing from the Department of Health, just a half square mile remains in the Wynwood zone. Four of the new cases were in Wynwood and one in Pinellas County, the first in the state outside Miami-Dade. 

"While this investigation is ongoing, DOH still believes that ongoing active transmissions are only occurring in the two previously identified areas in Wynwood and Miami Beach," Scott said at a meeting in Clearwater. "As we've seen in Wynwood, our aggressive mosquito control and public education efforts are working which is why DOH was able to clear a significant area in Wynwood today."

In all, the Department of Health has cleared about 76 blocks of Wynwood, a neighborhood that draws arts lovers from across the world to its galleries and large outdoor murals. 

The five new findings bring the total number of locally transmitted cases in Florida to 42 since the outbreak began earlier this summer.

Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez said that one more scheduled spraying is planned in the area this Saturday.

Zika can cause microcephaly and other severe birth defects and the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention continues to warn pregnant women not to travel to the affected areas. Pregnant women who live in the affected areas should be tested for the virus. 

On Tuesday, the CDC added a travel notice for the Bahamas. Other countries on the list include Cape Verde, Mexico, and ones in Central and South America, the Caribbean and the Pacific Islands. 

Scott said that Florida was committed to ensuring that every county had the resources it needed to fight the virus and was ready to assist residents and visitors.

Miami-Dade and Pinellas counties sprayed and took other abatement steps against the mosquitos responsible for transmitting Zika, Aedes aegypti.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Teens Taken to Hospital After Vehicle Rollover in Plainfield


Two teens were taken to the hospital after the car they were in rolled over in Plainfield and went down a hill. 

Police received several 911 calls at 9:41 a.m. about a one-car rollover on Squaw Rock Road, near the bottom of the hill where it intersects with Prospect Street, and learned that a 16-year-old Putnam girl driving a 2012 Subaru Outback south on Squaw Rock Road went down an embankment, flipping the vehicle over.

The teen and her 15-year-old passenger were transported to Day Kimball Hospital for minor injuries. 

Members of the Moosup Fire Department and American Legion Ambulance responded to the scene. Police are investigating.

Photo Credit: Plainfield Police/Twitter

US Will See First Total Eclipse in Decades in 2017


The first total eclipse in North America in decades will occur next year, and some people are already considering booking hotel rooms to get the best view.

According to NASA, a solar eclipse happens when the moon crosses between the earth and the sun, blocking the light of the sun out. A partial eclipse looks as though the moon shadows part of the sun, while the maximum phase of a total eclipse appears as though the sun is blocked completely.

The last total eclipse seen in the continental United States occurred in February 1979, according to NASA’s website.

The total eclipse will occur on August 21, 2017 and will last around two minutes and 41.7 seconds. From Connecticut, viewers will only see a partial eclipse, which, according to NASA’s predictions, will be best viewed around 6:45 p.m.

The Charleston, South Carolina area will have the some of the greatest views on the east coast. According to NASA’s calculations, one of the best locations to see the total eclipse might be the Francis Marion National Forest, which also boasts a variety of outdoor activities for those who want to plan an eclipse-viewing vacation.

Those willing to travel a little further for a prime viewing spot should head to the midwest. The spot for views of the greatest eclipse, which is the instant when the Moon’s shadow cone passes closest to earth’s center, is in Kentucky. The greatest duration, the location where the total eclipse lasts longest along the path, is in southern Illinois.

It's important to remember when viewing an eclipse, never look directly into the sun with a naked eye or using devices like binoculars or telescopes. The only time it is safe to look is when the sun is completely blocked.

For more information, check out NASA’s eclipse map or eye safety tips.

Photo Credit: AP

Body Pulled from Pond in Meriden


A body was pulled from a pond near apartments in Meriden on Tuesday, according to the fire department.

Officials from the fire department said the victim was dead when crews arrived and his body was recovered from a pond off Yale Avenue near the entrance of the Meetinghouse Village.

Meriden police said at this time the death does not appear to be criminal in nature.

The victim, described as a middle-aged male, has not been publicly identified.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Det. Sgt. Steven Burstein at (203) 630-6272.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Danbury Man Accused of Unemployment Fraud


A former Derby school employee is accused of unemployment compensation fraud after investigators said he under-reported his wages while working for the Derby public school system.

According to the state Division of Criminal Justice, Jeffrey Smith, 57, of Main Street in Danbury, faces charges of first-degree larceny by defrauding a public community and first-degree larceny by unemployment fraud.

Investigators said Smith under-reported wages from when he worked as a school climate specialist for the Derby Board of Education and fraudulently collected around $22,931 in unemployment benefits from September 2012 to June 2014.

The case is being prosecuted by the state Unemployment Compensation Fraud Unit.

Smith was released on a $10,000 bond and is scheduled to appear in New Britain Superior Court on August 30.

Company Files Lawsuit Over State Alcohol Pricing Laws


Total Wine & More has filed a lawsuit challenging the state’s minimum price requirements for wine and spirits.

In a press release, the company announced the lawsuit, filed Tuesday in United States District Court for the District of Connecticut. The company said the suit is in response to customer demands for fair prices on wine and spirits.

Current Connecticut law states that wholesalers and retailers must together set the minimum price consumers pay.

The current law also prohibits unfair pricing practices, which is defined as selling "at a price the intent of which is to destroy or prevent competition with any other permittee holding a like permit." The Department of Consumer Protection can pull permits of anyone it finds, after a hearing, of committing unfair pricing practice.

Gov. Dannel Malloy has been trying for the past two legislative sessions to change the laws, but the measures were not passed.

"There is no question - Connecticut consumers artificially pay more in our state for products that they can easily obtain for less in neighboring states. The laws are backwards. That's why Governor Malloy has supported changes to Connecticut's minimum bottle law to address this very issue almost every year he's been in office. He stands with consumers," a spokeswoman for the governor, Meg Green, said in a statement.

The lawsuit claims that Connecticut’s mandatory minimum pricing rules result in prices that can be more than 25 percent higher than prices in neighboring states. It also argues that setting a minimum price by wholesalers and retailers is a violation of the federal Sherman anti-trust act.

Photo Credit: Getty

Eversource Checks Power Lines By Helicopter


Eversource crews are using helicopters to make sure the energy company’s power lines can keep pumping power into homes and businesses around the state.

They are checking for potential obstructions, damaged equipment and other issues that could potentially disrupt service to customers.

“They’re looking for insulators that are cracked, broken wire issues, pole issues -- anything that could cause a potential problem. They can see things that on a fast fly by, you would not pick up on,” JC Zwick, a transmission line supervisor with Eversource, said.

The MD500 helicopters are capable of hovering right at the power line level, so the three-person teams inside can get an up-close look at any issues that might be on the lines.

“Literally, the public will think that we’re in their backyards, but it’s just looking at the power lines. We’re basically looking for maintenance issues, any discrepancies on the towers, on the insulators,” said James Lee, an inspector with Haverfield Aviation, the operators of the helicopters.

Eversource has done these aerial inspections in the past, but now the choppers have cameras that can take high-definition pictures of issues so crews can get them fixed.

“They check the line. They scan the line very closely with binoculars. If they see issues, they take pictures and enhance,” Zwick said.

The inspections are scheduled to take place between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. around the state and will often be upwards of 100 feet in the air.

Texas Teacher Eliminates Homework for 2nd-Graders


A North Texas teacher's letter to parents about her new homework policy has gone viral.

You've likely already seen it on social media, but maybe didn't realize the teacher is from right here in the Dallas Fort Worth area.

Brandy Young is a second grade teacher at Godley Elementary School in Johnson County.

Before school started today, Young sent a letter home to parents of her students, basically telling them their children will not have homework this year.

Young explained her extensive research has been "unable to prove that homework improves student performance."

So, instead, Young is asking parents to spend their evenings doing things that helps with their child's school success.

She also requests that the children eat dinner as a family, read, play outside and go to bed early.

The letter was posted on Facebook by one mother, Samantha Gallagher, who wrote that her daughter was loving her new teacher. The post has been shared more than 69,000 times.

The superintendent of the Godley Independent School District, Rich Dear, said that teachers were encouraged to be innovative and to do what was best for their pupils.

"And Brandy and some of our second-grade teachers felt like that reducing assigned homework was good for our kids," he said. "And I support them for putting our learners first."

Dear said that a half dozen second-grade teachers were dropping homework for the year and would evaluate the results in their classrooms.

"We're not saying we won't ever assign homework," he said. "We're just saying we aren't assigning homework just for the sake of assigning it. Meaningful homework will always have its place."

One education professor, Harris M. Cooper of Duke University, disagreed with Young's assessment of homework. It can improve achievement for second-graders if it covers vocabulary, spelling, math and other subject matter that children learn through practice, he said.

Homework can be beneficial in other ways too, he said. It can show children that what they learn at school can apply to what they enjoy doing at home. It lets them know that they can learn anywhere. It can help them develop strong study and time management skills. And it allows parents to keep up with what their children are doing in school.

Assignments for children that age should take 20 minutes and should be short, simple and lead to success, he said. Children can be asked to read the back of a cereal box and discuss it in school or to apply math to sports that they like, whether goals scored in soccer or a batting average.

"Make it relevant, make it fun and make it part of what kids want to do," he said. "That's her challenge, not cut it off entirely."

A Met Life survey done in 2007 found that 60 percent of parents thought that schools were giving the right amount of homework, according to Tom Loveless, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and the author of The Brown Center Report on American Education, an annual report analyzing trends in education. Twenty-five percent said the amount was too little and only 15 percent said too much.

Another poll conducted by Public Agenda in 2006 reported similar numbers: 68 percent of parents finding the amount of homework about right, 20 percent saying too little and 11 percent saying too much. And a third poll, by AP-AOL in 2006, had the highest percentage of parents saying too much homework was assigned, 19 percent, to 23 percent too little and 57 percent about right, Loveless said.

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Woman Who Stole $380K from Employers Sentenced


An Easton woman who pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud after stealing $380,000 from her employer for high-end personal gifts has been sentenced to one year and a day in prison, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office. 

Dawn Mininberg, 48, was sentenced on Tuesday to prison time, followed by a year of home confinement and two additional years of supervised release.

Federal officials said she worked for a Greenwich company, where she provided financial services. Over a two year period, she charged $380,000 in personal expenses on her corporate American Express card, including lavish clothing, theater tickets, children's parties and lessons, vacations, an $11,000 jungle gym and charitable donations, according to federal officials.

As part of her duties, Mininberg would justify charges on expense reports, including her own.

While doing expense reports, she admitted to using her position to hide her expenditures by categorizing personal purchases as office supplies, meals, meetings or lodging for the company, according to federal authorities.

Miniberg was also ordered to pay $386,907.77 in restitution.

Mosquitoes in Fairfield Test Positive for West Nile Virus


Mosquitoes in Fairfield have tested positive for West Nile Virus, according to a post on the town’s website.

State testing results announced Tuesday revealed that mosquitoes in Fairfield tested positive for the virus. This is the first report of West Nile in Fairfield this year. Nine other towns, West Hartford, Hartford, Darien, Stamford, Easton, Bridgeport, Stratford, Newington, and West Haven, have identified infected mosquitoes since June.

State officials said there have been no human infections so far this year.

Town health officials remind residents to take precautions against mosquito-borne illnesses by wearing insect repellent or long sleeves or pants at dawn or dusk when mosquitoes are most active. They also recommend getting rid of standing water on your property such as what collects in bird baths, boats, buckets, tires, unused pools, roof gutters or other containers.

For more information residents can contact the Director of Health at (203) 256-3020.

No Legionnaires' Disease Found in 2nd Person at CVH


A second person linked to the first Legionnaires' disease case at a Middletown hospital tested negative for the infection, state officials said. 

Earlier this month, the Department of Public Health confirmed one case of the infection at Connecticut Valley Hospital

"I am pleased to report that the second individual suspected of having Legionnaires’ disease did not, in fact, have the disease and that both individuals are doing well. This appears to be an isolated case of legionellosis, which is not uncommon in Connecticut, where we see 50 to 80 cases each year," DPH commissioner Dr. Raul Pino said.

Legionnaires’ is a bacterial infection that causes pneumonia-like symptoms caused by legionella. The bacteria grows best in warm water and is typically found in cooling towers, hot tubs, hot water tanks, large plumbing systems, air conditioning units and decorative fountains, DPH said.

When the infection becomes airborne, it can cause a serious form pneumonia and is particularly dangerous to individuals with underlying lung conditions or compromised immune systems. 

The disease is treated with antibotics and cannot be spread person-to-person, health officials said. 

Photo Credit: AP

Mylan Execs Got Raises and Hiked EpiPen Prices


EpiPen prices aren't the only thing to jump at Mylan. Executive salaries have also seen a stratospheric uptick, NBC News reported.

Proxy filings show that from 2007 to 2015, Mylan CEO Heather Bresch's total compensation went from $2,453,456 to $18,931,068, a 671 percent increase. During the same period, the company raised EpiPen prices, with the average wholesale price going from $56.64 to $317.82, a 461 percent increase, according to data provided by Connecture.

In 2007 the company bought the rights to EpiPen, a device used to provide emergency epinephrine to stop a potentially fatal allergic reaction and began raising its price. In 2008 and 2009, Mylan raised the price by 5 percent. At the end of 2009 it tried out a 19 percent hike. The years 2010-2013 saw a succession of 10 percent price hikes.

And from the fourth quarter of 2013 to the second quarter of 2016, Mylan steadily raised EpiPen prices 15 percent every other quarter.

Photo Credit: AP

Remains of Connecticut Soldier Returned Home After 65 Years


Inside the Byles Memorial Home in New London lie the remains of Sergeant James Campbell, killed in North Korea in 1950, home in Connecticut only Tuesday afternoon.

Campbell was 18 when he was last seen alive, at the battle of Chosin Reservoir in December 1950. But with police escort, Campbell's remains finished a long trip to Connecticut and his family in Waterford.

"It's very overwhelming," said Brittany Campbell. "We're just glad he's home with us. It's a bittersweet moment. We're sad that his three other brothers can't be here."

His sister, Doris Smith, was there. The Army said her DNA helped identify Sergeant Campbell from hundreds of soldiers' remains turned over decades ago by North Korea.

The family says Mrs. Smith doesn't hear very well but relatives spoke for her.

"My grandmother for many years has talked about she wished she could be here with him,” said Michael Smith. “And so to have this moment actually come true and all the work the Army and all these people have done for us, like Brittany said, is amazing. It's overwhelming."

Patriot Guard motorcyclists also made the trip from TF Green Airport in Rhode Island to New London.

Michael Graichen, a Patriot Guard rider, said, "a lot of the times when we're doing the missions, other motorists don't realize what we're doing. All they see is bikes riding in a pack."

What they did was help a soldier go home with honor, to his family. In West Neck Cemetery in Waterford on Friday, Sergeant Campbell will be buried with full military honors.

"And it's a long time coming but we're just happy that he can be home, and with his family, and his mom and dad," said Brittany Campbell.

The Defense Department's POW/MIA Accounting Agency says 7802 Americans remain unaccounted for from the Korean War. Identifications continue.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Graduate Students Working at Private Universities Can Unionize


The National Labor Relations Board ruled on Tuesday that graduate students who work as teaching and research assistants at private universities are entitled to unionize.

The Board said the decision reverses a 2004 ruling that concluded workers were not entitled to collective bargaining because they were students at the universities, according to Inside Higher Ed.

The ruling came from a case involving a bid by the United Auto Workers to organize graduate students at Columbia University.

"The board has the statutory authority to treat student assistants as statutory employees, where they perform work, at the direction of the university, for which they are compensated. Statutory coverage is permitted by virtue of an employment relationship; it is not foreclosed by the existence of some other, additional relationship that the [National Labor Relations] Act does not reach," says the decision.

Photo Credit: AP

New Haven Police Looking to Identify Armed Robbery Suspect


New Haven police are looking for two people in connection with an armed robbery on August 12.

On that day, police responded to the New Haven Inn at 100 Pond Avenue for reports of a robbery. The suspect wore a light blue hooded sweatshirt with a reflective emblem on the chest, black knee-length pants or sweats and black and white sneakers.

According to police the robber, who is suspected to be male, had an accomplice who knocked at the office door to distract the clerk. Police said the woman then signaled for the armed accomplice to enter. The woman wore a medium blue hooded sweatshirt that read “Albertus Magnus College” across the front. She wore a white T-shirt and some kind of dark pants or jeans.

The video surveillance did not capture an image of the armed person’s face.

The female accomplice is pictured above. Anyone who recognizes this person is asked to contact detectives at (203) 946-6304. Tips can be made anonymously.

Photo Credit: New Haven Police Department
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