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Heavy Rains Cause Flash Flooding in Areas


After a short break between storms, raining is pouring down again in parts of the state.

An area of disturbed weather is producing showers and thunderstorms and heavy rain has caused street flooding in and around Hartford.

Poor drainage and urban street flooding is possible with this next batch of potentially heavy rain as well.

Track storms through our interactive radar.

If you take weather photos, send them to photos@nbcconnecticut.com or submit it online here.

Photo Credit: Jorge Alva

NJ Mayor Apologizes for Calling Residents "Annoying"


The mayor of Toms River apologized Tuesday night for comments he made about an area battered by Sandy, but not all residents were satisfied.

Last week, Mayor Thomas Kelaher told Bloomberg News that he thought residents of Ortley Beach, where many are still without homes, were "annoying." 

"I certainly never intended to be disrespectful to the people who live in Ortley beach," Kelaher said at a meeting Tuesday.

Some residents said they didn't think his apology was sincere.

"I think it was disgraceful," said Peter Suriani. "He addressed the council members; he never looked at the people of Ortley."

The mayor explained that the "annoying" comment referred to people who accused the town of doing nothing, which he says is untrue, and people who made demands that are rude.

Kelaher was expecting a big public backlash at the meeting, but it didn't materialize.

"The remarks hit me as insensitive," said Mike Shumsky, another Ortley Beach resident. "But the fact is, it's over with and we're beating a horse to death here I think we need to move forward."

More New York-Area Stories:

Police Release Names Connected to Meriden Police-Involved Incident


State police have released the name of the local man who died after an altercation with Meriden police on Sunday, as well as the name of the officer involved in the incident.

The man who died has been identified as Noel Mendoza, 44. Officer Jeff Witkins has been identified as the officer who shot Mendoza with a Taser.

Meriden police said Mendoza drove into the gated back lot of the police department on Sunday night.  He was bleeding from the hands and acting erratically and irrationally.

Mendoza was despondent and paranoid, according to police.

He told officers that people he did not know were chasing him, trying to take his vehicle and also admitted to having smoked crack and swallowed cocaine earlier in the evening, according to police.

Police called for an ambulance.

As officers helped EMTs get Mendoza into the ambulance, he fought them.

He was flailing and yelling about forgiveness and how people were watching him, according to police.

When police handcuffed Mendoza, he spit saliva and blood at officers and EMTs and tried to bite them, police said.

Police said Witkins used a Taser on Mendoza to get him to stop fighting. Mendoza then grabbed the Taser and would not let go.

As he was being transported, Mendoza fought emergency workers in the ambulance and continued fighting while being placed into a hospital room, police said.

Some time after Mendoza arrived at the hospital, medical staff indicated that the he had died, according to police. The medical examiner will perform an autopsy to determine the cause of Mendoza's death.

The State Police Central District Major Crime Squad has been called in to investigate the incident.

State police originally called this a “use of force death” and said a local police officer killed someone outside the station. 

Witkins has been with the department since 2006 and is on administrative assignment.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Group Lobbies Congress 6 Months After Newtown


Almost six months have passed since the tragic shooting at Sandy Hook School and a group is traveling to Washington, D.C. today to meet with members of Congress and continue the fight for gun control legislation.

Local parents and members of the Newtown Action Alliance boarded a bus and left from Newtown this morning to meet with members of Congress and ask them to strengthen background checks.

On Dec. 14, 26 students and educators were killed at the shooting at the Newtown elementary school. In the six months since, 4,500 Americans have died because of gun violence, according to the Newtown Action Alliance.

The group is making the trip to D.C. to honor the lives lost in Newtown, as well as victims of gun violence.

Among the people making the trip is Nicholas Payne, of New Milford, whose 22-year-old daughter, Rebecca, was shot and killed in Boston in 2008.

Police said it was a case of mistaken identity. Payne was found shot multiple times in her Boston apartment just after returning home from a shift at Legal Seafoods, a popular seafood restaurant in Boston.

"We understand what you're going through and we ought to help you and everyone else in this position to never have to go through this again. This has been going on long enough and it's time," Payne said.

Once the group arrives in the nation’s capital, the members will hand-deliver letters to key lawmakers.

The letter to the Senate asks senators to resurrect the Safe Communities Safe Schools Act 2013 and the Manchin-Toomey Amendment, which closes loopholes in the background check system.

The letter for House members targets potential co-sponsors of the Public Safety and Second Amendment Rights Protection Act 2013.

Included with the letters will be a list containing the names of the 4,500 victims of gun violence since December 14.

The group will also make a human Ribbon of Remembrance in front of the U.S. Capitol ,followed by a moment of silence. 

For more information, go to www.NewtownAction.org.

When the group returns from Washington, there will be a ceremony on Friday to mark the six-month anniversary of the Newtown shootings.

Gosnell Expected to Plea in Pill Mill Case


A Philadelphia abortion doctor already serving a life term in the deaths of three babies is due in federal court to plead to drug charges.

Authorities say Dr. Kermit Gosnell ran a “pill mill” by day and a rogue “abortion mill” by night.

His high-profile murder trial this spring came after federal drug agents raided his West Philadelphia clinic in 2010. They charged him with selling prescriptions for OxyContin and other painkillers to people who lined up at the front desk.

Dr. Gosnell, 72, was convicted on May 13 of murdering three newborn babies born alive during late-term abortion procedures. He was also found guilty of involuntary manslaughter in the 2009 overdose death of patient Karnamaya Mongar and for more than 200 abortion law violations. He is serving three consecutive life terms for the crimes.

Defense lawyer Jack McMahon has said Gosnell will plead guilty to the drug charges, given the outcome of the murder case.

Federal prosecutors allege Gosnell started running a pill mill out of his clinic, the Women's Medical Society, in July 2009.

Gosnell would charge patients $20 -- if they were paying cash -- to write prescriptions for narcotics such as oxycodone, alprazolam and cough medicine with codeine, according to the indictment. Customers with insurance would pay $10.

Patients would also pay tips to clinic employees of $10 to $20 per set of prescriptions. The patients would then go to pharmacies and have them filled.

Prosecutors say in February 2010 Gosnell wrote as many as 200 prescriptions in one night for controlled substances. In all, thousands of narcotics prescriptions written by the doctor were filled at pharmacies from 2008 through 2010, according to the indictment.

The indictment alleges patients did not need to speak with Gosnell to obtain a refill.

Gosnell made more than $200,000 from the alleged acts, according to prosecutors.

It was agents from the Drug Enforcement Agency and the Federal Bureau of Investigations who initially alerted Philadelphia authorities to the crimes going on in his clinic.

Agents raided the facility at 3801 Lancaster Avenue on February 10, 2010 to investigate a tip that the doctor was running a pill mill. Once inside, they found unsanitary conditions -- including blood-stained rooms, old equipment and untrained staff.

Aborted fetuses were stored in a basement freezer in plastic food containers and bags next to employee lunches. Severed feet from aborted babies were found preserved in jars around the clinic.

The conditions found inside the clinic led Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams to call the clinic a "house of horrors" in a 2011 grand jury report.

Gosnell was charged with first-degree murder in the deaths of seven babies. Prosecutors said he delivered the babies alive during late-term abortions, before snipping their necks with scissors.

Microscope Solves Musical Mystery


Inside the Stanford Linear Accelerator, a microscope the size of a room, de-codes parts of a 1797 opera by Luigi Cherubin. NBC Bay Area's Scott Budman explains.

Smartphones Help Trappers Wrangle Feral Hogs


As feral hogs continue to barrel into suburban and urban areas -- and even into Dallas' city limits -- trappers are turning to smartphone technology to help catch the animals.

Locations such as Kiest Park in Oak Cliff, the Keeton Park Golf Course in Pleasant Grove and White Rock Trail have all seen damage from hogs within the last year, said Don Burns, Dallas parks and recreation project manager.

Osvaldo Rojas, currently the only trapper contracted to capture feral hogs in Dallas, said the hog problem is getting worse.

"The more you trap, the more places you find that need trapping," he said.

Rojas uses large pens equipped with cameras that link to his smartphone to remotely and humanely catch hogs. He then sells the hogs to a meat-processing company.

His contract with the city allows him to keep the proceeds of the sale.

Don Gresham has captured 44 hogs in one night at his family ranch in Forestburg, Montague County, which is approximately 10 miles north of Decatur.

"They destroy everything," he said. "They'll come in, they'll make a field ... look like a plowed field. In Dallas, they're destroying people's yards. They were knocking the air conditioners off of our pad sites up here."

Necessity was the mother of invention for Gresham. He helped to design a 30-foot hog trap that, like the one Rojas uses, employs Web cameras that send live video to his smartphone, allowing him to trigger the trapdoor with the touch of a button.

His company, Goin Fencing, now sells the traps to farmers around the country.

In the Dallas area, feral hogs travel from place to place along the banks of the Trinity River or, as Burns describes it, "Hog Highway." The animals use the Trinity's creeks and tributaries as exits to access suburban and urban neighborhoods, he said.

According to estimates from researchers at Texas A&M University, the number of feral hogs in the state may range from 1.8 million to 3.4 million, with the population growing between 18 percent and 21 percent each year.

The Texas A&M Institute of Renewable Natural Resources study also estimates that feral hogs cause $52 million in damage to agriculture in the state every year.

There are no known estimates for how many hogs are living in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

Part of the problem in reducing the numbers of feral hogs is that they reproduce at an exponential rate. A sow can birth a litter of six to eight pigs twice per year, and those piglets can become fertile at the age of six months.

Dallas recently opened up a bidding process for more trappers to help corral the problem. The city expects to select a trapper and have that company on the ground and working by the end of the summer, Burns said.

Photo Credit: Goin Fencing

Sex Slave Trial Begins In Federal Court


The trial began Tuesday for civil lawsuit filed by a Chicago woman who claims her ex-husband abused and kept her as a sex slave.

Kimberley O’Brien, 51, filed the $60 million suit against 57-year-old Kevin Anderson, a rare coin dealer, seven years ago.

O'Brien claims Anderson started beating and sexually assaulted her on their honeymoon in 2005, and later forced her to abide by the rules of a master-slave contract, which included walking naked around their Chicago and Wisconsin homes, and agreeing to be tied up, whipped and beaten if she refused. O’Brien came forward with her claims in 2006

Anderson, 57, has maintained in court filing that O'Brien was a former prostitute, and while his attorney, Charles Cole, didn't use that exact word in court Tuesday, he described her as a "woman of means" who escorted men all over the world.

Anderson says O'Brien was not only a willing participant in rough sex, but was the one who introduced him to it.

Cole showed jurors a four-foot-tall photo of a naked and smiling O’Brien allegedly taken the morning after she claims she was beaten unconscious on her honeymoon, telling the jury it's "a case driven largely by revenge and greed."

NBC 5 obtained a copy of the contract, which refers to Anderson as "Master KJ" and O'Brien as "Slave Elizabeth O."

It explicitly states the types of discipline that could be metered out, such as bondage and leash training. Offenses that required discipline included cockiness or rudeness and lack of respect.

In court Tuesday, O'Brien's lawyer, Dean Dickie, portrayed Anderson as a Jekyll and Hyde character who didn’t reveal his true nature until after the couple had wed.

"No man should ever be able to treat the woman he claims to love -- or any woman, like this," Dickie said in opening arguments.

O'Brien also took the stand Tuesday, telling jurors that when she first met Anderson, she thought she had met her soul mate.

The federal court trial, which begins seven years after the lawsuit was originally filed, is expected to last two weeks.

Suspect in 2001 Milford Murder Extradited


On May 25, 2001, Kelsey Monahon, a pregnant 28-year-old, was strangled and beaten in her home on Bittersweet Avenue in Milford. Now, 12 years later, the man suspected of killing her has been extradited to Connecticut to answer to charges.

Luis A. Rodriquez, 53, has been charged with murder.

It was Memorial Day weekend in 2001 when the attack happened.

Monahon’s hands and feet had been bound. Her husband was the one to find her, just days before they were to celebrate their second wedding anniversary.

Their anniversary celebration never happened. Three days later, Kelsey died of injuries she sustained during the attack.

Kelsey’s death was ruled a homicide.

In 2011, police made an arrest in the case. On January 13, 2011, an arrest warrant was issued, charging Luis Rodriguez, 50, with murder. He was currently incarcerated in Oklahoma on unrelated charges at the time.

On Tuesday, Rodriquez was extradited and Milford Police took him into custody. Police said he targeted the Monahon’s home for a robbery or burglary.

He has been charged with murder and felony murder and is being held on $2 million.

Rodriquez was arraigned on June 12 and the case has been transferred to Part A. The warrant is sealed.

Photo Credit: MIlford Police

Terrifying Anti-Drunk Video Goes Viral


A viral British anti-drunk driving campaign video is receiving a lot of attention for a sobering strategy that aims to literally scare the crap out of potential offenders. The #PubLooShocker video, just 52 seconds long, features "unsuspecting" drinkers in a bar bathroom. Check it out.

No Structure Fire at East Hartford School


The East Hartford Fire Department went to the Hockanum Elementary School for a report of a structure fire on Wednesday, but found nothing.

An NBC Connecticut crew went to investigate and said the fire department was leaving the scene.

Group Home Official Charged in Alleged Abuse Case


East Hartford police have made a second arrest in cases of alleged abuse at a group home.

Police started investigating on July 10, 2012 when video surfaced, showing what appeared to be an attack on a developmentally disabled resident at a King Street group home managed by Options Unlimited, Inc.

On July 12, Angelica Rivera, a former employee of a group home, was arrested. Police said video showed her kicking the woman in the stomach and dragging her by the hair.

Investigators said Rivera admitted to being the worker seen in the video and led them to a co-worker's home on Tolland Street, where detectives seized a computer and sent it to the state forensics lab to be analyzed.

Police have since arrested Stephanie Jones, 43, of East Hartford.

She was the assistant manager at the time the abuse occurred and became a suspect, police said.

Witnesses told police that Jones knew about the abuse occurring at the group home and had video recordings of staff abusing the residents saved to electronic devices at her Tolland Street home in East Hartford.

Last year, police seized video recordings from Jones’ home.

On Tuesday, she was arrested on a warrant for inciting injury to persons for two separate incidents.

She has been released on two $25,000 non-surety bonds.

Options Unlimited is contracted by the State of Connecticut and the commissioner of the state Department of Developmental Services called this one of the worst cases of abuse he has ever seen.

Following allegations of abuse, DDS put all seven homes run by Options Unlimited on special monitoring to make sure residents were not in danger.

"We are saddened and shocked by this video. We had no knowledge of its existence prior to yesterday and are now working closely with the authorities who are taking immediate action," Warren Sparrow, Executive Director of Options Unlimited said after the allegations surfaced. "This is unacceptable and we will continue to cooperate and assist in this investigation as well as take all the necessary steps to safeguard against this happening again."


Photo Credit: East Hartford Pplice

Electronic Cigarettes: What You Need to Know


The electronic cigarette industry is on fire.

Marlboro cigarette maker Altria Group announced on Tuesday that it's getting into the $1 billion dollar e-cigarette business. And on Monday, another manufacturer Njoy, Inc. said it raised $75 million in funding from Facebook investor Sean Parker and musician Bruno Mars to be used for clinical trials and R&D.

Experts say electronic cigarettes could lap tobacco cigarette sales in the next decade. So what is behind these gadgets that have more and more of the country’s 45 million smokers swapping out their leafy nicotine for these battery-powered devices? Here is what you need to know about e-cigarettes:

What are electronic cigarettes?
Electronic cigarettes look just like regular cigarettes - some come complete with a faux brown filter and orange light to mimic the end of a cigarette butt - except smokers do not need a fire source to light them. The electronic version holds a battery, a vaporization chamber and a cartridge that contains a dark liquid nicotine that heats up and changes into vapor. Smokers inhale them as they would regular cigarettes and there is no smell because nothing is burning.

Smoke anywhere?
Since e-cigarettes do not pose a threat of second hand smoke inhalation, some manufacturers are trying to market their products as a smoking alternative that can be consumed in places where regular cigarettes are not acceptable, such as bars, offices, restaurants and movie theaters. Some countries like Brazil and Norway have outright banned them, but Britain is now trying to regulate e-cigarettes as medicine to improve its quality and allow doctors to prescribe them to smokers who are trying to quit.


Nicotine levels
The amount of nicotine an e-cigarette delivers is dictated by the cartridge installed and controlled by the smoker’s preference. Nicotine levels range from full flavor to ultra light much like regular cigarettes do. There are also cartridges that have no nicotine to give smokers the sensory experience without the nicotine high.

Electronic cigarette smoking is not a cheap habit. A starter kit, which comes with a smoking device, cartridges, batteries and accessories can run about $60. A pack of five cartridges (one cartridge is equivalent to about one pack of regular cigarettes) runs about $10.

The Government
Manufacturers claim that e-cigarettes are a safe alternative to their conventional counter parts, but the Food and Drug Administration is not sold on these high-tech devices yet. Officials say they don’t know if e-cigarettes are safe and if there are any health benefits to the products. In fact, back in 2010, the administration issued a number of warnings to e-cigarette distributors for violating certain rules FDA including “violations of good manufacturing practices, making unsubstantiated drug claims, and using the devices as delivery mechanisms for active pharmaceutical ingredients.”

Photo Credit: AP

Friday Is Day of Remembrance in Newtown


Many will gather in Newtown on Friday for a day of remembrance to mark the six-month anniversary of the tragic December school shootings at Sandy Hook School, where 20 students and six educators, were killed on Dec. 14.

Family members, first selectmen, faith leaders and community members will gather at Edmond Town Hall on Friday as names of victims of gun violence are read.

A moment of silence will be held at 9:30 a.m. ET and then there will be a rally and new conference that includes Newtown survivors.

In April, the U.S. Senate rejected universal background checks and the Mayors Against Illegal Guns organization continues to lobby for stricter gun laws. They will launch the No More Names: National Drive to Reduce Gun Violence tour from Newtown on Friday.

The tour will stop in 25 states over 100 days to rally for similar gun violence prevention efforts to representatives in Washington.

The remembrance event will continue until 9:30 p.m.


Photo Credit: AP

13-Year-Old New Haven Girl Reported Missing


A Silver Alert has been issued for a missing 13-year-old New Haven girl.

Jisela Villanueva was last seen today, according to the alert from police, and she is frequently in the Fair Haven area and on Prospect Street.

Jisela is about 5-feet-tall, weighs 125 pounds and wears brown rimmed glasses.

Police do not know what she was wearing when she was last seen.

If you have information on Jisela’s whereabouts, call New Haven Police at (203) 946-6316.

Photo Credit: New Haven Police

Student Accused of Trying to Get Her Boyfriend to Murder Her Ex


A University of California -- Riverside student has been arrested on suspicion of ordering her current boyfriend to murder her ex-boyfriend, according to jail and court records.

Barbara Wu, 21, allegedly told her boyfriend to kidnap her ex-boyfriend, break his legs with a baseball bat and kill him. But the boyfriend was cooperating with police and recording the conversation, according to a restraining order against Wu he filed after her May 29 arrest.

Wu faces charges of soliciting murder, stalking, online harassment, terrorist threats and other misdemeanor and felony crimes, according to the Riverside County Sheriff's Department. She was being held in a Riverside County jail on $500,000 bail.

The restraining order said Wu was abusive and impulsive, called him "her dog," and made him fear for his life. NBC4 is not naming the boyfriend.

"Barbara wanted me to get some people to kidnap her ex-boyfriend," he wrote in his petition for a restraining order. "She made me promise that I would go through with it. She wanted me to tie him up, use a bat to break his legs, kill him, then discard the body. She wanted us to leave the country after we did all this to him."

Neighbor Nicole Clark said Wu seemed like a regular college student, friendly and quiet.

Another neighbor, however, said she heard strange and loud noises coming from Wu's apartment.

"Screaming," said Maira Actual. "And you would just hear the noises of things being moved around."

More Southern California Stories:

Cop Catches Suspect By Calling Him


New Haven police said they captured a suspect in a car break-in just by dialing a phone number and that was enough to catch him red handed.

Police responded to South Orange Street and Columbus Avenue at 10:44 a.m. on Tuesday to investigate a burglary from a car.

The complainant told police that she was walking toward her car and noticed two men who appeared to be a bit too close to her vehicle. She saw one man open the door, reach inside and run to the Church Street South public housing complex, police said.

Once the woman got into her car, she realized she'd forgotten to lock her doors and that two cell phones that had been in her center console were missing.

She provided police with a description of the men who she had spotted at her car and police went to search for them.

Minutes later, officers saw a man matching the woman's description.

Police played it cool to prevent the man from running off, according to police, and one officer grabbed his phone, dialed the victim’s phone number and heard ringing from the man’s pocket.

Police said Alexis Rivera, 31, of New Haven, had both of the stolen phones on him and one showed the officer's number on the caller ID.

The victim identified Rivera as the person she'd seen reaching into her car.

He was arrested and charged with burglary in the third degree and larceny in the sixth degree.


Photo Credit: New Haven Police

2 Workers Rescued from Dangling Scaffold


Two maintenance workers trapped on a broken scaffold dangling outside the top of the 46-story Hearst Tower were pulled to safety in dramatic fashion Wednesday afternoon.  

The middle motor on the scaffolding lost power while the workers were servicing the window-washing equipment, according to sources, causing the V-shaped buckling of the structure. 

The technicians for Tractel Harness were left dangling on the scaffolding 500 feet above Eighth Avenue when firefighters and NYPD emergency service unit officers were called to the scene shortly after 2:30 p.m.

Rescuers removed windows on the 44th floor of the building and brought the workers in through the open space. Emergency workers had dropped down additional safety harnesses to the trapped workers, who were already strapped in with their own lines.

"We were just worried about getting them, making sure they were on their ropes and just getting them in," said Firefighter Tom Gayron when asked about a rescue 500 feet in the air. 

The workers had been in no danger of falling, according to FDNY Assistant Chief William Seelig. The 90-minute rescue consisted of several technical operations, including cutting open the heavy glass in the building.

The two workers -- a 26-year-old Bronx man and a 49-year-old Brooklyn man -- underwent a medical evaluation once they were brought inside. Moses Nelson, one of the attending FDNY paramedics, said the workers were fine and in good spirits.

"They were all smiles, thankfully," said Nelson. "No major injuries, no complaints." 

The men declined medical aid and were not transported to the hospital.  

Seelig said the high-angle rescue was "not an everyday event, but it's not something new to us," noting that FDNY's Rescue 1, who were among the responders, are highly skilled in all aspects of technical rescue and are trained on an ongoing basis.

The scaffold failure will be investigated by the city Department of Buildings and state Department of Labor, fire officials said.

Portions of  the area remain closed to traffic.

Photo Credit: NBC 4 New York/Julie Pukelis

1 Hurt in Wolcott Crash


A woman was taken to the hospital after a crash involving a school bus at Ransom Hall and Woodtick roads in Wolcott on Wednesday afternoon.

Around 2 p.m., a woman driving a Kia Sportage hit the back of a Wolcott school bus near the intersection of Woodtick and Ransom Hall Roads and ran off the side of the road, officials said.

She was taken to the hospital with injuries that aren’t believed to be serious. 

A driver and two children were on the bus when the crash happened and were not injured.

A viewer sent in photos showing a school bus on the road, a Kia vehicle down the embankment and several emergency vehicles .

Photo Credit: Rick Kulmann

Lake McDonough Recreation Area Closed


The Lake McDonough Recreation Area in Barkhamsted will be closed effective Thursday, June 13 because of the forecast for more rain.

The heavy rainfall expected on Thursday could cause spillage from Saville Dam, causing Lake McDonough to spill over to the east branch of the Farmington River, prohibiting all recreational activities until further notice.

This is an MDC area and they said this is necessary to ensure the safety of recreational users.

For more information, visit the MDC website at www.themdc.com. 

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