Channel: NBC Connecticut
Browsing All 57608 Browse Latest View Live
Mark channel Not-Safe-For-Work? cancel confirm NSFW Votes: (0 votes)
Are you the publisher? Claim or contact us about this channel.

Police ID Man Body Found Inside Burning Car in Milford


The body of a 72-year-old man was found inside a burning car in Milford Friday night and police have identified him as Richard Weir, of Milford.

Fire officials said firefighters responded to a reported car fire at 1 Milford Point Road around 10:30 p.m.

When crews arrived, they found a car on fire near the Connecticut Audubon Society Building.

When crews put out the flames they found Weir's body in the the car, fire officials said.

Milford Police, the Milford Fire Marshal, Connecticut State Police Fire & Explosion Unit and the State Medical Examiner’s office are all investigating.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

[[396406451, C]]

Photo Credit: Getty Images/File
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.

NTSB Says East Hartford Plane Crash Appears Intentional



The National Transportation Safety Board says it’s initial investigation of Tuesday’s aircraft crash in East Hartford, Connecticut, indicates the crash is the result of an intentional act and the FBI will be leading the investigation.

The  twin-engine Piper PA 34 crashed around 3:30 p.m. Tuesday near the headquarters of military jet-engine maker Pratt & Whitney, killing a student pilot who was onboard.

There is no indication of terrorism, NBC News’ Pete Williams reports, citing a senior law enforcement officials.

Arian Prevalla, the owner of Connecticut Flight Academy in Hartford, survived the crash and was able to get out of the wreckage on his own. He is now at the Bridgeport Burn Unit, NBC Connecticut has learned.

He is expected to survive and is speaking with detectives who are investigating the crash, officials said.

Williams reported this morning that a federal official said several agencies are investigating whether the crash was intentional based on what little the crash survivor has said.

The body of the student pilot remains in the charred plane and is being treated as evidence, police said Wednesday. Authorities have not released his name, but said he's an adult.

Prevalla and the student pilot were in the plane on its final approach to Brainard Airport when it crashed on Main Street and burst into flames, according to the FAA.

Prevalla was able to get out of the plane on his own after the crash, according to officials.

The NTSB is handing over the investigation to the FBI and said they stand ready to provide support.

East Hartford Police said during a news conference Wednesday that they contacted the FBI because of the proximity of the crash to structures in the area, including to Pratt & Whitney.

Williams, citing a senior federal law enforcement official, reports investigators interviewed the survivor of the crash, who is a flight instructor, and he told them that the student pilot was at the controls at the time of the crash.

There was some kind of argument or struggle for the controls, and the plane crashed, but the instructor does not know why it happened, Williams reports.

The student pilot was living in the Hartford area and a search of his residence turned up nothing to indicate any terrorist interest or sympathies, a senior federal official told Williams, and the FBI will seek a search warrant for any computers the student pilot had to see what clues they might hold.

Pratt & Whitney said the crash did not appear to involve any of its employees or contractors.

"We are aware of the incident that occurred this afternoon on Main Street. Our thoughts are with the people affected. It does not appear at this time that any Pratt & Whitney employees or contractors were involved. Additionally, there is no impact to our operation here in East Hartford other than restricted traffic flow to the facility's main entrance on Main Street. We stand ready to assist local officials as needed. Additional queries should be directed to the appropriate local officials."

Main Street remains closed between Willow Street Extension and Ensign Street until further notice.

The crash was also near American Eagle Financial Credit Union, which will be closed to the public until the street reopens.

An investigation in Hartford is also connected to the investigation into the plane crash, according to Hartford Police.

Police have been at an apartment complex at 29 Annawan St. in Hartford through the night. The FBI is also at that scene, NBC Connecticut has learned.

While local police, SWAT, as well as other Connecticut police officers and federal authorities are there, police wanted to reassure neighbors that the scene is safe and secure.

Witnesses who saw the crash Tuesday afternoon reported seeing the plane hit power lines before the crash.

Lt. John Litwin, of East Hartford Police, said two people who were in a car at the time of the crash were also transported to the hospital but they were not linked to the airplane crash.

Investigators said it's fortunate there were no additional deaths.

"The path that the plane took could have been much worse, so we're fortunate in that sense," Scott Sansome, of East Hartford Police, said.

Photo Credit: Rob N Jaye Amirault
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.

Hartford Rail Line Construction on Track for 2018


A machine the size of several rail cars has been doing the hard work when it comes to building the Hartford Line, a rail corridor that will connect 13 stops from New Haven to Hartford to Springfield.

The $1.1 billion rail line will provide commuter rail services to thousands of projected passengers starting in January 2018. State taxpayers will cover at least $435 million, the federal government will cover $204 million, and the final $517 million will have to be determined.

Governor Dannel Malloy praised the project and its progress during a press event that showed off the track Construction Machine in Wallingford.

"When you think of all of the great work that is going on in New Haven when it comes to healthcare and all of the work that is going on in the Hartford area in healthcare but on the insurance side, linking those two places with a simple train ride is going to be very exciting for a whole bunch of folks," Malloy said. 

The rail line is part of the state’s transportation overhaul. Some of the stations on the train line will be replaced while others will remain as stops but have new buildings for passengers. The Wallingford stop is an example of getting a new station.

The governor says Connecticut residents are already adjusting their habits to live in more accessible areas where they don’t need cars and the new train line should contribute to that trend.

"What we are seeing along this route are decisions by communities regarding what they’re allowing to be built along the line, like transit oriented development," Malloy said.

Amtrak, which has been handling design and construction in conjunction with the Connecticut Department of Transportation, has had to build the line essentially from scratch.

Rodrigo Vitar, Amtrak’s chief engineer, said the project has seen some difficulties, but it has remained on schedule to start handling passengers.

"As you know you guys have a very harsh winter over here once or twice and that really threw a curveball into the planning aspects of the project but everything has been working perfectly at this point in time," Vitar said. 

State transportation officials said they can’t yet discuss what company would operate the rail line. The operation was put out to bid last January.

The governor also said the line will not pay for itself with just ticket sales. He said providing a rail line has a cost similar to paving and plowing highways.

"Each kind of travel has a standard. Rail has a standard, buses is another standard, cars have another standard. Transportation costs money. That’s why we have different transportation related taxes and fundraising," Malloy said. 

Torrington Employee Stole City Property: Police


Torrington police arrested a city employee on Wednesday, charging him in connection with the theft and sale of city-owned property.

Robert Lizotte, 60, of Bethlehem, is Torrington's Superintendent of Streets.

Detectives began an investigation in August after receiving a complaint that members of the Department of Public Works were stealing city-owned property.

The investigation is ongoing and more arrests are possible, according to police.

Lizotte was charged with first-degree larceny. He was released on $2,500 bond and is expected to be in court on October 24.

Photo Credit: Torrington Police

Sharon Man Who Fled Police Beat 2 Women Before Manhunt: Docs


The man who was arrested after he fled police when they tried to serve him a warrant had violently beat two women before the manhunt in Sharon last month. 

New York State Police said they were investigating 28-year-old Raymond Sprague, of Sharon, Connecticut, on Sept. 3 because of a domestic dispute in the town of Northeast and obtained a warrant charging him with third-degree criminal mischief, fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon, second-degree menacing and second-degree criminal trespass.

On Sept. 28 around 8 p.m., Connecticut State Police received a report of a disturbance in Sharon. They identified Sprague as the suspect and obtained a warrant for him on assault-related charges, according to police. He was later arrested after leading police on a day-long manhunt. 

According to witnesses, Sprague had become violent with two women prior to the manhunt and even encouraged his dog to attack one of the women.

The victims say they were having dinner together at one of their homes in Millerton, New York, with a mutual friend. One of the women had recently dated Sprague but their relationship ended a week before the incident. One witness said Sprague kept calling and threatening the ex-girlfriend, according to the arrest warrant.

The mutual friend had left his car at Sprague's place in Sharon, Connecticut, so they went to go pick it up. While the two women waited in the car, Sprauge came out of the house and began punching his ex-girlfriend in the face several times, the warrant said. 

Sprague began punching the second woman when she tried to get him to stop attacking his ex-girlfriend. When Sprague went back to punching the ex-girlfriend, the other woman was attacked by the man's dog and dragged about 7 feet, the documents said.

The witness said she thought she was going to die and that she heard Sprauge say "Get her, get her." 

After the attack, Sprague got in his pickup truck and left, the victims told police.

Sprague was charged with second-degree assault, third-degree assault, two counts of threatening and disorderly conduct. 

Photo Credit: Connecticut State Police

Dump Truck Hits Bridge on I-84 in Hartford


A dump truck hit a bridge on Interstate 84 in Hartford on Wednesday night. 

Police said the dump truck going west bound hit the bridge on Asylum Street near exit 49. 

The highway is open but the left lane is closed.

Police are waiting for DEEP to get to the scene for hydrolic fluid spilled on the highway. 

No other information was immediately available. 

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Feds Plan to Fight Zika With Drones


The latest plans to help fight the Zika virus include unmanned aerial vehicles — drones — that can drop Zika-fighting mosquitoes or transport lab samples to and from remote regions, according to an NBC News report. WeRobotics and Vayu, the two companies who received federal funding for the project, will develop the drones.

Flooding mosquito populations with sterile mosquitos has been shown to greatly reduce their rates of reproduction and thus, population size. Delivering such Zika-fighting mosquitos to hard-to-reach areas, like Brazil's favelas, has proven an obstacle for those battling the virus. Drones could navigate to areas that ground vehicles can't reach.

Funding comes from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), borrowed from Ebola-fighting efforts after Congress failed to approve $1.9 billion in new funding earlier this year.

Photo Credit: Felipe Dana, AP

83-Year-Old New Haven Man Missing


A Silver Alert has been issued for an 83-year-old man who went missing in New Haven on Wednesday. 

Michael DiMaggio was last seen wearing a black zip-up jacket with two red stripes on each side, a blue button up sweater and faded blue jeans.

DiMaggio has the name "Mickey" tattooed on his left wrist.

The New Haven man is described as being 5 feet 11 inches tall with gray hair and blue eyes, weighing about 160 pounds.

Anyone with information on his whereabouts should call New Haven Police at (203) 946-6321. 

Photo Credit: New Haven Police

Bridgewater Associates in Westport Clear After Bomb Threat


Police said no explosive was discovered at a law firm in Westport after being notified of a bomb threat at the establishment.

On Wednesday at 3 p.m., Westport officers responded to Bridgewater Associates on Glendinning Place. 

Officer assisted Bridgewater Associates security to evacuate people from inside the building, police said.

The Stamford Police Bomb Squad and the state police bomb squad came to search the building but found no evidence of an explosive device on the property, police said.

The incident is still being investigated by the Westport Police and FBI. 

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Groton Police Say Heroin, Opioid Overdoses Have Not Decreased


A heroin epidemic is still plaguing New London County and it's not on the mend, according to Groton police.

Police Chief L.J. Fusaro said in the first nine months of 2016 the number of heroin overdoses has doubled the total number of heroin overdoses in 2015.

In January, Lawrence and Memorial Hospital saw several overdose cases and those occurrences are still at a high, Fusaro said.

The drugs are coming from Central America, even as far as Afghanistan, according to Fusaro, who added the problems in Groton spills over into neighboring communities.

It's not a problem law enforcement can solve on its own, said Fusaro, who suggested there needs to be more longterm treatment.

"I hate to say we've gotten used to it. We accept it, we know that there's a problem, but it's a multifaceted issue," the police chief said. 

Related crimes, like shootings and burglaries, link back to drug use, Fusaro said.

New London Police told NBC Connecticut that they're seeing the similar trends.

Members of the community have also realized it takes much more than policing to solve the drug problem.

"It was definitely knee buckling when we went through it," said Joe de la Cruz about learning of his son Joey's addiction.

de la Cruz is a co-founder of the group Community Speaks Out. It's a group for families and friends facing addition to support and educate one another, distilling the sigma of addiction.

The group holds monthly meetings at the Groton Public Library.

"When you come together and realize it's a disease, just like cancer is, you fight it a different way," de la Cruz said. "It's a different approach that we all need to take as families."

His son Joey is addicted to Percocet and at one time was stealing tools to feed his habit, according to de la Cruz. He's now been pill-free for eight months.

Groups like Alliance for a Living in New London are also stepping up to help. Representatives tell NBC Connecticut that after the heroin overdose surge, they've handed out 300 naloxone kits to families, friends and other organizations who might need to use them.

US Strikes in Yemen After Missiles Aimed at Warships


The U.S. military launched Tomahawk cruise missiles against coastal radar sites in Yemen early Thursday, following two incidents this week in which missiles were fired at a U.S. Navy ship from a rebel-controlled area of the country, NBC News reported.

The missiles were launched from the destroyer USS Nitze at around 4 a.m. Thursday local time (9 p.m. Wednesday ET), and initial assessments were that all three sites in rebel Houthi-controlled areas were destroyed, the official said.

Pentagon press secretary Peter Cook said in a statement that President Barack Obama authorized the strikes on the recommendation of Secretary of Defense Ash Carter and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs General Joseph Dunford.

Photo Credit: AP

Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf Retires Amid Scandal


Wells Fargo's embattled CEO John Stumpf is stepping down as the nation's second-largest bank is roiled by a scandal over its sales practices.

The San Francisco bank said Wednesday that Stumpf is retiring effective immediately and also relinquishing his title as chairman. He won't be receiving severance pay and the bank announced earlier that he will forfeit $41 million in stock awards.

Wells Fargo's chief operating officer, Tim Sloan, will succeed Stumpf as CEO and join the company's board. Sloan has been with Wells Fargo for 29 years. Stephen Sanger, the bank's lead director, will serve as the board's non-executive chairman.

Stumpf's end at Wells Fargo comes a little over a month after the bank was fined by California and federal regulators $185 million over its sales practices.

The regulators alleged employees trying to meet aggressive sales targets opened bank and credit card accounts, moved money between those accounts and even created fake email addresses to sign customers up for online banking — all without customer authorization. Debit cards were issued and activated, as well as PINs created, without customers' knowledge.

"I wish I could snap my fingers and make everything all right again, but it's going to take time," said Sloan said in an interview. "We are going to make it right by our customers and we are going to work to win that trust back."

Stumpf, a 34-year veteran of the bank who took over as CEO in 2007, had previously gained acclaim for navigating Wells Fargo through the financial crisis and keeping it free of scandal. But he came under withering pressure over the alleged misconduct, believed to have gone on at the bank for years. Some 5,300 lower-level employees were fired.

"While I have been deeply committed and focused on managing the company through this period, I have decided it is best for the company that I step aside," he said in a prepared statement Wednesday.

Among Stumpf's critics, Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts told him at a Senate Banking Committee hearing last month that he should resign and "give back the money you took while the scam was going on."

News of Stumpf's departure, however, did little to quell some lawmakers' anger over the affair or their demands for information from the company on how harmed customers and employees will be made whole.

Senate Banking Committee Chairman Richard Shelby, R-Ala., and the panel's senior Democrat, Sherrod Brown of Ohio, said Wednesday that Stumpf's retirement doesn't answer important questions.

"We are still waiting for answers as to how Wells Fargo plans to right its wrongs against customers and the low-paid employees who weren't given the benefit of a retirement package when they were fired for refusing to cheat," Brown said in a statement.

Stumpf earned $19.3 million last year. But he and Carrie Tolstedt, the executive who ran the retail banking division, will forfeit millions.

Tolstedt announced in July that she would retire from the bank this year and had been expected to leave with as much as $125 million in salary, stock options and other compensation. She was stripped of $19 million of her stock awards, and her departure was made immediate.

The revelations have sparked investigations by federal agencies. The bank's independent directors have also launched their own investigation.

Wells Fargo is scheduled to report its quarterly results Friday morning. In after-hours trading, its stock rose 76 cents, or nearly 1.7 percent, to $46.08.

Photo Credit: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Weed Farmers Brace for Market


The morning sun was playing catch-up with Casey O’Neill, who had already spent hours tromping around his hillside farm in Mendocino County near Laytonville. Alongside rows of tomatoes and green beans, O’Neill gingerly tugged at a six-foot marijuana plant bearing buds thicker and longer than his wrist.

“To us cannabis is a powerful special, unique thing,” O’Neill said snipping off a bud and tossing it in a plastic tub.

It’s been a transformational year for farmers like O’Neill who grow and sell weed permitted under California’s medical marijuana regulations. Recently, new laws signed by Governor Jerry Brown kicked-in creating a new state agency with new rules and licensing for medicinal weed growers.

And now this November, state voters will weigh-in on Prop 64 which would legalize recreational marijuana for the first time in the state and create a new tax system for it.

“It feels good to start to move out of the closet, out of prohibition,” O’Neill said in a voice that sounded like a gravel road. “At the same time it’s scary.”

With the prospect of a legal recreational marijuana industry in the state, O’Neill and other small-time farmers fear a storm of large commercial interests will move-in and kick them to the curb. O’Neill said he is already seeing signs of the industrial stampede.

“We’re seeing a huge rush of venture capitol, of investors coming in,” O’Neill said leaning into a large plant. “The bigger the business the harder it’s going to be for the small farmer to survive.”

With the writing on the wall, O’Neill and other farmers in the three-county farm belt of Mendocino, Trinity and Humboldt Counties — known as the Emerald Triangle — have begun forming agricultural marijuana co-ops to take-on any weed-growing Goliaths.

“It’s incumbent upon us to work together,” O’Neill said, “and try to band together and participate in the marketplace that helps us survive.”

Michael Steinmetz, who owns the Flow Kana medical marijuana company and buys from several farms including O’Neill’s, is helping Mendocino County pot farmers organize themselves into a cooperative. The farms plan to band together to create a single interest, which could operate on a similar scale as a large company.

“As a cooperative they can act like a big grower,” Steinmetz said. “They can act like a really big player.”

But for all the coming together, Steinmetz said the state’s pot growing industry is split over Prop 64. O’Neill is tepid in his support of the proposition which will create a new set of regulations for the industry and allow people to grow up to six plants at home. Steinmetz sees it as a positive progression with plenty of possibility.

“We have to find the way within this framework to exist and to survive,” Steinmetz said, “and to embrace this new future and new era of cannabis.”

Further South near the town of Willits, Micah Flause and Johanna Mortz covered the hillside of their home with a forest of weed plants — some topping out at eight feet. The couple is also helping to organize the local cannabis co-op, attending regular meetings and writing up plans for a coalesced attack.

“I think that the cooperative is really a very good model for small farms,” Flause said, “to protect themselves from the onslaught of capital that is coming into the cannabis industry.”

Both Flause and Mortz share misgivings about the potential for voters to create a recreational market in the state. The couple, who also supply medicinal marijuana, fear the state isn’t ready to handle a recreational market — especially on the heels of the new medical pot regulations.

“I do lean toward hoping that it doesn’t pass quite yet,” Mortz said. “I think that we could use a little more work.”

Steinmetz said he understands the trepidation among farmers even though Colorado, Washington and Oregon have already passed laws legalizing some forms of recreational marijuana.

“There is a diversity of opinion,” Steinmetz said. “I think it stems from people trying to be more protective and want change slower.”

O’Neill hoisted his plastic bin of freshly picked buds and let his gaze sweep across the hills where he was born and continues to farm. He said whichever way the Prop 64 vote goes, he believes the public’s acceptance for cannabis has lifted it from the shadows.

“Last two years there’s been such a transition in the conversation,” O’Neill said, “everybody can actually talk about it now.

Photo Credit: Joe Rosato Jr./NBC Bay Area

Trump's Campaign Is 'Pulling Out of Virginia'


Donald Trump's campaign is "pulling out of Virginia," a move that stunned staff in the battleground state, three sources with knowledge of the move told NBC News.

The decision came from Trump's headquarters in New York and was announced on a conference call late Wednesday that left some Republican Party operatives in the state blindsided. Two staffers directly involved in the GOP's efforts in Virginia confirmed the decision.

The move to pull out of Virginia shows Trump is "running essentially a four state campaign," with the focus now shifting to battlegrounds critical to his chances in November: Pennsylvania, Florida, North Carolina, and Ohio, a source with knowledge of the decision told NBC News.

Photo Credit: AP

2 Cops Shot in East Boston


Two police officers were shot in an East Boston neighborhood late Wednesday and the suspect, who had an assault-style rifle and a ballistic vest, is dead, authorities said.

Both of the officers underwent surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital and are in critical but stable condition, Boston Police Commissioner William Evans said.

The officers were identified Thursday as 28-year department veteran Richard Cintolo and 12-year veteran Matthew Morris.

"They're two outstanding officers," Evans said. "We're very fortunate."

He said Morris suffered a severed artery, and only the actions of one of his fellow officers who put his hand inside his wound to help stop the bleeding saved his life.

"He knows how close he was to death," Evans said of Morris.

Nine other officers were taken to Tufts Medical Center to treat minor injuries and emotional stress.

"Police work is a difficult job," Boston Mayor Marty Walsh added. "This is another example of our police officers doing the right thing - doing their job."

The suspect has been identified as Kirk Figueroa, 33, of East Boston, a bounty hunter who lived with two other roommates. According to his website, he offered security and private investigation services. He was also a sworn constable in Boston.

Authorities said officers were responding to a dispute between two roommates at 136 Gladstone St. just before 11 p.m. and when officers arrived, one of the roommates who was armed fired on police. The second roommate was not injured in the shooting. Evans said he heard the dispute centered around the apartment's thermostat.

Figueroa was described to NBC News by a senior Boston police official as "heavily armed," and may have had as many as three firearms, including a weapon described as a "long gun/rifle."

Evans said Thursday that Figueroa had at least one assault-style rifle and a ballistic vest. He said Figueroa did not have a criminal record in Massachusetts, but did have a record in other states, including charges of arson and impersonating a police officer.

According to Evans, several officers entered the building after hearing gun shots and dragged out the injured officers while exchanging gunfire with Figueroa.

Residents were asked to shelter-in-place or stay away from the area as police briefly searched for a possible second suspect. The shelter-in-place was later lifted and residents were escorted back to their homes.

Evans asked Boston to "please pray for our injured officers."

"We're hoping they make a full recovery," Walsh said.

Suffolk District Attorney Dan Conley pledged Thursday that his office "will do a fair and thorough investigation."

Area residents described the chaos in the immediate moments after the shooting.

"I saw a whole bunch of guns, and the shooting kept going, and (police officers) were running," resident Eric Dicrescenzo said.

He added, "I've never been that close to a shooting in an uncontrolled area, so I was kind of freaking out."

Tiara Willdigg, whose car was parked near the scene of the shooting, said she got a phone call from a friend about the shooting.

"I was coming outside and ran out of the house and I went up there, and as I'm up there, there's mad SWAT, just ran, ran, 'Get off the street, get off the street,' heard shots popping off," she said.

Evans said it's likely no officers in the East Boston shooting were wearing body cameras because the district isn't part of the department's pilot body camera program.

Gov.  Charlie Baker and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito released a statement Thursday morning and said they were "shocked and saddened to learn of last night's horrific incident and their thoughts and prayers are with the police officers and their families."

Photo Credit: Boston Police
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.

Miss USA Contestant Details Unwanted Encounters With Trump


Temple Taggart McDowell, who represented Utah as a 21-year-old in the 1997 Miss USA pageant in Shreveport, Louisiana, told NBC News about two encounters similar to the behavior Donald Trump boasted about in a 2005 hot-microphone vide, as a flood of new allegations against the Republican presidential candidate emerged Wednesday. 

"It was at that time that he turned to me and embraced me and gave me a kiss on the lips," McDowell said. 

Later, McDowell said, Trump offered to help her get contracts with elite modeling agencies, and during a visit to Trump Tower in Manhattan at Trump's invitation, he again embraced and kissed her on the lips.

Trump strongly disputed McDowell's claim Wednesday night, telling NBC News that he couldn't remember her. 

The extensive interview with NBC News adds many new details to an accusation Taggart first made to The New York Times in May.

Photo Credit: NBC News
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.

22 Years of Nobel Peace Laureates


Colombia's President Juan Manuel Santos, winner of the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize, joins a long list of laureates that includes President Barack Obama, Pakistani activist for female education Malala Yousafzai, former President Jimmy Carter and South Africa's anti-apartheid revolutionary Nelson Mandela. Here is the list from the past couple decades. The first award dates back to 1901.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Lockdown Over at Westside Campus of WestConn


The lockdown is over on the Westside campus of Western Connecticut State University.

School officials said they heard gunshots or what sounded like gunshots near the campus and police found a hunter nearby.

No classes will be affected.

'House of Cards' Causes Stir in Iran


Iran's government has long tried to keep out American pop culture, but it seems happy to let Iranians watch the backstabbing, deceitful machinations of fictional U.S. politician Frank Underwood in "House of Cards." 

Iran's hard-liners point to the show and say: This is what America is really like. 

The sudden arrival of the Netflix series, which stars Kevin Spacey as a South Carolina congressman who connives his way to the presidency, illustrates the reach and popularity of Western television and film. It also offers a window into the thinking of Iran's censors, who have approved the dark portrayal of power politics and even murder in the corridors of Washington — but not the bedroom scenes. 

"It shows how politics is dirty in the United States," said Mohammad Kazemi, a student of mechanics at Tehran's Azad University. "They do anything to reach power." 

Every night at 11 p.m., the state-run Namayesh channel airs the program dubbed into Farsi, calling it "Khaneh Poushaly," or "Straw House." It started playing the show in late September, beginning with its first season, which follows Underwood as the manipulative House majority whip. 

The arrival of "House of Cards" has caused something of a stir in Iran, where American programming is extremely rare, and where authorities routinely denounce Western pop culture as decadent and un-Islamic. The government blocks many websites, but a ban on satellite dishes is rarely enforced. Many Iranians, particularly the young, watch foreign shows on the internet or purchase pirated DVDs of movies and TV series, which are widely available at street markets. 

Farnaz Rahmani, a 17-year-old high school student, said she thinks state TV is showing "House of Cards" to prove that U.S. politicians are deceitful. 

"For me it is a chance to fill my spare time with a good TV series. Maybe it is also a chance for the TV to attract more people to Iranian channels," she said. 

Iranian media have also noted its arrival, with the conservative website Tabnak praising Spacey's "brilliant portrayal" of Underwood, who conspires with his wife to amass power in Washington through blackmail and betrayal. On social media, users have shared a clip of Spacey and co-star Robin Wright dubbed over in Farsi, discussing how to navigate the halls of power. 

The drama offers a jaundiced view of American politics that plays well in a country long suspicious of U.S. intentions. Iranians still blame America for the CIA-engineered coup in 1953 that installed the shah, and fury at the United States boiled over during the 1979 Islamic Revolution, leading to the seizure of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran. 

Nearly 40 years on, Iranian hard-liners still portray the United States as the "Great Satan," hatching conspiracies involving everyone from Israel's Mossad spy agency to the Islamic State group — in other words, as the Frank Underwood of the Middle East. 

"'House of Cards' has been able to skillfully show the deception in the complicated political sphere of liberal American civilization, as well as treason, power-hungriness, promiscuities and crimes behind those ruling in the country," the hard-line website Mashregh wrote. 

The show was approved by the massive Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting corporation, whose chief is directly appointed by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Iranian television previously broadcast the British series that inspired the show. 

Neither Namayesh nor the IRIB have commented publicly on the decision to air "House of Cards," and there are no figures for viewership. Calls to the IRIB were not immediately returned this week. 

It's also unclear what deal, if any, Iran struck with the show's producers. Iran and the U.S. have no official agreements on copyright protection, and Netflix is not available in Iran. 

Netflix, based in Los Gatos, California, said it did not have a global license to sell "House of Cards," without commenting on its newfound home on Iranian state television. A public relations firm for Media Rights Capital, the production house behind the show, did not respond to requests for comment. 

The IRIB is happy to show Iranian viewers the seductions of power, but not the more literal variety. 

The show has been edited to remove the steamier scenes between Underwood and young reporter Zoe Barnes, played by Kate Mara, in line with Islamic sensibilities.

Photo Credit: AP

3,000 Strollers Recalled


Mamas & Papas has recalled nearly 3,000 strollers due to a fall hazard.

The company recalled its Armadillo Flip and Flip XT strollers after reports that a loose latch can cause the seat to tip back unexpectedly, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

No injuries have been reported.

The strollers were sold at Albee Baby, Babies ‘R’ Us, Buy Buy Baby and other stores nationwide and online at Amazon.com from December 2014 through July 2016. Lot numbers for recalled Flip strollers are 00814 through 00416 and for Flip XT are 01214 through 00416.

The company advised consumers to immediately stop using the strollers and contact Mamas & Papas for a free repair. Customers can call 800-309-6312 any time or visit www.mamasandpapas.com and click Recall Notice.

Photo Credit: Mamas & Papas
Browsing All 57608 Browse Latest View Live