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Obama Weighs In on Kaepernick


For the first time since 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick whipped up a national firestorm by sitting down during the national anthem, President Barack Obama weighed in on the controversy, using the international stage of the G20 Summit in China to address the situation.

And he sided with Kaepernick's stance. Or lack of it.

"He’s exercising his constitutional right to make a statement," Obama told a bank of reporters on Monday, noting that Kaepernick is among many sports figures who have used their positions to effect change.

Obama added that he suspects that Kaepernick will "refine how he's thinking about it," and "maybe some critics will see he has a point around justice and equality. Sometimes it's messy. But that’s how democracy works."

Laurie Valdez, a Santa Clara resident who lost her partner during a 2014 shooting involving the San Jose State University Police Department, praises Kaepernick for his stance and believes that the quarterback has stirred the pot of a national conversation that needs to be addressed.

"If he has that platform, he can use it to help us make change happen quick," she said. "Hopefully the other athletes will follow."

Since losing her partner Antonio Lopez in 2014, Valdez has been pressing the San Jose Police Department to implement more training and education for its officers.

"We're trying to help so no other family goes through this," Valdez said.

All the debate stems from Kaepernick's decision to not stand during the national anthem out of his sense of injustices in the United States against people of color.

"I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color," Kaepernick told NFL Media in an exclusive interview after a preseason game at Levi's Stadium last month. "To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder."

The biracial player specifically took aim at police in describing what he said is too much brutality meted out against African Americans in this country. He's also been spotted wearing anti-police socks at practices. In turn, some police officers have demanded an apology from Kaepernick. And in Santa Clara, where police escort the 49ers, the union wrote a letter saying their members might boycott the games, NBC Bay Area first reported.

Obama noted that the flag holds symbolic importance to many Americans, especially for those men and women in uniform, and said that it may be a "tough thing for them to get past to what his concerns are."

But Obama added that he believes Kaepernick "cares about some real legitimate issues" and that "he's generated some more conversation around topics that need to be talked about."

What Obama credited Kaepernick most for is his "active citizenry." He said that he’d "rather have young people who are engaged in the argument than people who are just sitting on the sidelines and not paying attention at all."

The president's statements were in stark contrast with how Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump bashed Kaepernick on a Seattle radio station, saying "maybe he should find a new country that works for him." To date, Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton has not weighed in on Kaepernick's stance.

NBC Bay Area's Michelle Roberts contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area

Service Dog Is Boy's New Best Friend


Hunter Baker has a new best friend that could be a lifesaver.Hunter was recently introduced to Waggs, his new service dog."Hunter couldn't be getting this dog with out everybody's help and I thank everyone so much. It means the world to me," says his mother, Missy Vaughn.Hunter is non verbal, he will have to learn hand gestures to communicate with Waggs, his new service dog. "It's a want, not a need. Pets are usually something you want, this is a need. He needs this dog to go on through his daily life," said trainer Alfredo Aguayo.The process is more complex than a family would face with a typical pet. Waggs has a special mission when it comes to Hunter."A lot of time Hunter falls during his seizures. This is going to help us catch him before he falls. We swipe our magnet and get him out of the seizure faster. It's going to be a great thing," says Vaughn.

Block Island Ferry Services Canceled Due to Weather


Block Island Express has canceled service between New London and Block Island Monday due to weather conditions brought on by Hermine.

Clouds rolled in and wind speeds increased along the Connecticut shoreline Monday morning. The storm threatened to cancel Labor Day plans, and while the day started dry, the weather conditions are leaving some wondering how they’re return home.

“"I came back for a big family party we have every Labor Day and just wanted to get out here quick this morning, I don't know what's going to happen later on today,” said Brett Flynn of Manorville, New York.

Stan Mickus, Cross Sound Ferry marketing coordinator, said that ferries between New London and Orient Point are still running as scheduled, and travelers looking to get back to Long Island were happy to see it.

"Just hoping that it's not too rough over there, but I got to get back, get back to work and I didn't want to drive all the way around," said Danielle Leef of South Hampton, New York

Block Island Ferry, which operates ferries to and from Block Island from Newport, R.I., Narragansett, R.I. and Fall River, Mass. also canceled services Monday.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Police Officer Hit by Vehicle in East Hampton


A police officer was hit by a vehicle in East Hampton on Sunday night.

Connecticut State Police responded to West High Street (Route 66) to assist East Hampton police after the officer was hit.

The officer has been identified as Hardie Burgin, 29.

A LifeStar medical helicopter transported Burgin, according to a LifeStar dispatcher.

The officer was conscious and alert at Hartford Hospital, though he suffered what appeared to be serious injuries, state police said.

State police said the accident occurred around 8:17 p.m. Burgin was in the road helping an Eversource crew with emergency work when he was struck by a Toyota Rav4, driven by Michael Fraulino, 29, of Portland. Fraulino was not injured.

The state police accident reconstruction team is investigating the incident.

Photo Credit: American News

Missing 15-Year-Old Girl From Naugatuck Found

Man Tried to Take Photos Up Woman's Skirt: Police


Vernon police have arrested a man accused of trying to take photos up a woman’s skirt.

Michael Tedford, 32, of Hartford, was arrested Sunday and charged with voyeurism and several other charges.

Police said the arrest is in relation to an incident on July 7 where he allegedly shot “upskirt” photos of a female victim.

According to police, on that date a female customer at the Salvation Army Store at 295 Hartford Turnpike reported to police that Tedford walked by her several times while in the store. The victim said when she stopped to look at an item, Tedford bent down next to her holding his phone, with the camera on. She called police, who stopped Tedford as he was leaving.

Police said they obtained a warrant to search the suspect’s cellphone and found photos consistent with the alleged crime. Tedford also did not have a valid license when he drove to the store, and was in possession of a marijuana smoking bowl, police said.

Police are not aware of any other victims.

Tedford posted a $1,000 bond and is scheduled to appear in Rockville Court on Sept. 13.

Photo Credit: Vernon Police Department

Milford Police Investigate Vandalism at Eisenhower Park

'Dangerous' Rip Tides, Force Closure of Ocean Beach Park


Ocean Beach Park in New London closed Monday because of dangerous rip tides and currents.

Park officials posted on Facebook that over the last two days the conditions have been “progressively more dangerous.” Lifeguards did have to help someone caught in a current on Sunday.

In light of this, officials made the decision to close the park for the safety of visitors and lifeguards.

The 98.7 WNLC Classic Car Cruise that was scheduled for Monday is also canceled.

For more information, visit the Ocean Beach Park Facebook page.

Photo Credit: NBC 7

Suspicious Brush Fire in Lebanon Burns 5 Acres of Land


A suspicious brush fire in Lebanon burned acres of land on Monday, fire officials said. 

"It's suspicious," Chief John Lyon of the Lebanon Fire Department said. "There's no electricity. There was no campfire around in the area."

Lyon is asking anyone in the neighborhood who may have seen activity, like a car parked off on the side of the road, to contact the fire department immediately. 

The brush fire burned about five acres of land but has been contained, Lyon said. 

Nearly 65 firefighters from Lebanon, Bozrah, Colchester, Columbia and South Windham, all came to battle the fire, the chief said. 

The fire marshal said no injuries were reported and the fire was knocked down before it could damage the house located nearby.

Hungry Thieves


Police are looking for three thieves they said made off with hundreds of cartons of ice cream and energy drinks from pharmacies and convenience stores in Manhattan over the last several months.

Duane Reade, CVS and Rite Aid stores have been hit 14 times during business hours between November and January, according to the NYPD. In each instance, thieves pilfered dozens of cartons and boxes of Haagen Daaz, Ben & Jerry’s or Talenti ice cream.

Authorities said they made off with nearly 1,200 ice cream bars and cartons.

They also stole Red Bull, 5-Hour Energy, Muscle Milk and cold medicine.

One store, a Duane Reade on Sixth Avenue between West 26th and West 27th streets, was hit four times over the three-month span.

Police have previously told DNAinfo that thieves have taken to targeting pharmacy chains for high-end ice cream cartons. They then turn and resell the ice cream to bodegas and corner stores throughout the city.

And earlier this month, Gristedes owner and former New York City mayoral candidate John Catsimatidis offered a $5,000 reward for thieves caught on camera loading up carts with Ben & Jerry’s and Haagan Daas at a Chelsea location of his supermarket chain. They were later arrested.

Anyone with information about ice cream thefts should call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS.

Photo Credit: Provided by the NYPD

Hartford Fire Department Rescues Kittens From Burning House


Hartford Fire Department was able to rescue two small kittens from a burning house that displaced nearly a dozen people.

Crews responded to the fire on 9 Deerfield Avenue on Monday afternoon.

Deputy Chief Brian Foley of the Hartford Police department said firefighters were able to rescued two kittens that were in the 2.5 story building.

The fire was out by 5 p.m. on Monday afternoon and 11 people were displaced. Captain Raul Ortiz of the Hartford Fire Department said they had gotten a report of a child being trapped inside but was able to make it out on their own. 

Foley said the firefighters temporarily nicknamed the two kittens Deerfield and Smokey.

The kittens are reportedly doing fine, the fire captain said. 

There were no reported injuries for tenants in the building but a firefighter was transported to St. Francis hospital for heat exhaustion. 

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut
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600 Marijuana Plants Found in Backyard of Day Care: Police


West Haven police found around 600 marijuana plants growing in the backyard of a day care, police said.

According to police, officers responded to 159 Norfolk St., a licensed day care, on Friday after being called by state child care inspectors.

The inspectors called police when they were denied access behind a tall wooden fence in the backyard which they found suspicious, according to the Connecticut Office of Early Childhood.

Police obtained a search warrant and found about 600 plants, each between 6 and 10 feet tall, growing in a garden in the backyard, police said.

City housing inspectors shut down the facility and the day-care license was suspended.

State records indicate that the day care license is registered to Rosalee Miller.

Maggie Adair, a spokeswoman for the Office of Early Childhood, confirmed that Miller is the day care operator and said that the license is on summary suspension, which Miller can request a hearing to appeal. The state suspended the license because Miller denied inspectors access to the garden when they came on Friday.

The suspension is separate from the criminal investigation, Adair said.

Police said arrests are forthcoming but did not name any suspects or detail potential charges. 

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

Photo Credit: West Haven Police Department

Baghdad Bomb Kills 10; ISIS Claims Responsibility


At least 10 people were killed in Baghdad late Monday in a car bomb attack claimed by ISIS near a hospital in a central district, police and hospital sources said.

A suicide bomber had targeted a gathering of Shi'ite Muslims in the Karrada district, according to a statement circulated online by the Amaq news agency, which supports the ultra-hardline Sunni militant group.

The police sources said at least 39 people were wounded in the blast and they expected the death toll to rise, NBC News reported.

The fight against ISIS, which seized a third of Iraq's territory in 2014, has exacerbated a long-running sectarian conflict in Iraq, mostly between the Shi'ite majority and the Sunni minority.

Monday's blast occurred not far from the site of an ISIS suicide attack in July that killed 324 people.

Photo Credit: AP

Old Saybrook Left in Dark From Hermine's Wind Gusts


Some residents in Old Saybrook were caught off-guard on Monday night when wind gusts from what was left of Tropical Storm Hermine began to pick up.

College Street was off-limits after wires came crashing down and caused a few small fires following a transformer exploding, according to Old Saybrook fire officials.

"The lights started flickering on and off," Melissa Panek of Old Saybrook told NBC Connecticut. "I looked out my window and saw a huge explosion."

Houses in the neighborhood were left with no lights. Even players at a mini golf course near by were left in the dark.

"It's kind of fun," Ayden Riendeau, 7, of Manchester said.

Riendeau and her parents had the course all to themselves on Monday night after the electricity cut out.

"It just went right off," Craig Riendeau, Ayden's father, said.

It's unclear when the power will be back on. No injuries were reported.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

British Airways Check-In Problems Cause Lengthy Delays at 'Multiple Airports'


Tens of thousands of British Airways passengers experienced long lines and hours-long delays at airports around the world overnight after a computer failure affected check-in systems, NBC News reported.

Airline employees had to manually process passengers at airports including San Francisco, Seattle and Phoenix, delaying the departures of dozens of London-bound transatlantic flights.

Angry passengers shared photos of long lines in Atlanta and Mexico City.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Turner's Welcomed Home With Arms


Convicted sex offender Brock Turner is back in his hometown in Ohio, but many neighbors have been anything but welcoming.

Some of them even brandished rifles, carrying the guns under the state's open carry laws to send the message that what Turner did will not be forgotten.

"No one is going to shoot him unless we see him victimizing people," said Micah Naziri, one of several Greene County residents protesting Turner's lax punishment for a sexual assault conviction.

The former Stanford University swimmer was released from Santa Clara County jail Friday morning after serving three months of a six-month sentence for sexually assaulting an unconscious woman after a fraternity party at Stanford in January 2015.

Judge Aaron Persky issue the sentence in June and has since been under fire for being too easy on Turner, who could have received a 10-year prison term for his crimes.

Now back at his parents' home, Turner is serving three years probation. He must register as a sex offender and will be monitored by law enforcement as such for the rest of his life.

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Several groups have been protesting Turner's choice of residency. The armed protesters stress they are not threatening to harm Turner, unless they catch him committing another crime. They say it's their form of justice and a way to keep Turner on edge.

"Even if the justice system fails, the community is not going to fail," Naziri said.

Meanwhile, the committee working to recall Persky is blaming the judge for the gun patrols, saying his light sentence for Turner is having a trickle-down effect. The group said it doesn't agree with the armed protesters but believes Persky is responsible for creating a more vigilante environment.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area
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Swastikas Spray Painted at Eisenhower Park in Milford


Vandals struck a park in Milford over the weekend, police said.

Milford Police said they were aware of reports of vandalism at Eisenhower Park and the incident is under investigation. 

On Monday afternoon, NBC Connecticut went to the scene and found swastikas spray painted on a bulletin board at the park. 

There were no other details immediately available. 

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Crews Respond to Motorcycle Crash on I-384


State police and Bolton fire crews are responding to a motorcycle accident on Interstate 384 west in Bolton.

According to Tolland County dispatch, the motorcycle reportedly struck a guardrail before Route 44. Details on injuries are not known at this time, but it appears serious.

The right lane of the highway is currently closed, police said.

Officials from LifeStar said the medical transport helicopter was not available.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

Photo Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Yosemite Wedding Photo Mystery


This wedding snapshot just might put every other couples' big day photos to shame.

The photographer's snapshot of the mysterious newlyweds who didn't know they were being photographed shared the photos online in an effort to find out who they are. By Tuesday, they were found, but a photographer who shot their wedding said they wish to remain anonymous.

The viral image was taken by photographer Mike Karas, of Hawaii, who was simply enjoying the sunset in Yosemite this week. He said he happened to be in the right place at the right time when the couple, dressed for a wedding, emerged from the shadows.

That's when Karas snapped a once-in-a-lifetime photo of the duo as they embraced on top of a Yosemite cliff with the golden sun setting behind them.

The photo Karas took of the unforgettable photo is one of his favorite works.

"It was surreal," he said. "We had seen the bride and groom walking down, but all of a sudden we saw them out on the ledge as we were shooting other photos and that 'Eureka!' moment just unfolded."

Karas shared the photo on Instagram and Facebook in hopes of hunting down the couple so that he could share the priceless picture with the newlyweds.

As he waited, he was grateful to the mysterious tandem for allowing him to share in an extraordinary moment that was captured with just one frame.

"Thanks for adding to an already amazing sunset photo opportunity and I would love to be able to share this with you," Karas said. "As much of an amazing moment it was for me to capture, it was clearly an even more special moment in your life."

The couple in the photo wants to remain anonymous, Derek Copenhaver, one of the photographers who photographed the wedding, told NBC Bay Area.

Copenhaver added that the ceremony was performed in Yosemite Valley before the bride and groom hiked up to Taft Point to snap some candid shots. And yes, the bride sported her white dress during the ascent, a trek that Copenhaver noted is actually "relatively easy."

The photo was taken at sunset on Sept. 1 at Taft Point along the Pohono Trail in Yosemite National Park.

Photo Credit: Mike Karas / Instagram
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Suspects Attempted to Steal $4K Worth of Tires: Police


Milford police have arrested two men accused of stealing tires off cars at a local dealership.

Ismael Mercado, 29, and Luis Rodriquez, 30, both of New Haven, were arrested Saturday.

Police said they were called to Courtney Honda, located at 767 Bridgeport Avenue, around 3:45 a.m. Saturday for reports of two suspicious men walking around the parking lot. According to police, surveillance video showed the men taking tires off some of the vehicles and leaving the cars on cinder blocks.

Police located the two suspects, who were trying to hide in the lot, with the help of K9 Zar.

Mercado was injured trying to flee K9 Zar. He was treated on scene and brought to the emergency room for evaluation.

Both men were charged with third-degree larceny, criminal attempt to commit larceny, criminal trespassing, tampering with a motor vehicle, criminal mischief, and interfering with an officer/resisting arrest.

Police said the pair tried to steal $4,000 worth of tires and did $500 worth of damage to a fence around the lot.

They were each released on a $10,000 bond. They are scheduled to appear in court on Sept. 27.

Photo Credit: Milford Police Department
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