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New System Allows People With Disabilities to Vote Independently and Privately


Voters who have disabilities will now be able to vote independently and privately for the first time in Connecticut. 

A new Accessible Voter System is being offered this year at every polling place and allows voters with disabilities to vote using a touchscreen or by listening to the candidates and punching in their choices. 

The computer system then shows a summary of their selected candidates or it repeats it through the headphones before printing the ballot. 

Once the ballot is printed, the voter can physically feed it into the tabulator, where the ballots are counted. 

In the past, there was an electronic system, but the votes would be counted by hand. 

“It allows them to participate in their democracy just like everyone else and we encourage everyone to vote, that’s the most important part. It’s an important part of everyone’s life and this is them fully participating in their community,” said Kevin Zingler, the executive director of MARC Inc. of Manchester, a non-profit organization that advocates for people with disabilities.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Montana Judge Criticized for 60-Day Sentence for Incest


Thousands are calling for the impeachment of a Montana judge for what they argue was a too lenient sentence given to a father who admitted to committing incest with his 12-year-old daughter, NBC News reported.

The judge, John McKeon, sentenced the man to 60 days in prison when the sentence could’ve been as long as 25 years. NBC News is not identifying the father in order to protect the identity of his daughter.

A Change.org petition has accumulated more than 62,000 signatures of people demanding the judge’s impeachment.

McKeon defended his decision, stating that the psychosexual evaluation during the trial revealed the man could be safely treated and supervised.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Groton Police Make Third Arrest in Shooting Outside 99 Restaurant


Groton police have arrested a third teenage suspect in connection with the shooting of another teen outside a 99 Restaurant on Sunday, Oct. 2.

Timothy McKoy, 18, of New London, has been charged with first-degree conspiracy to commit robbery, first-degree accessory to commit robbery and first-degree accessory to commit assault.

Groton police previously arrested another two 17-year-olds accused in this case.

Police said that they received a reports of a shooting from employees at the 99 Restaurant at 117 Long Hill Road around 4:30 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 2 and found a 17-year-old boy with a gunshot wound to the abdomen.

The victim was taken to Lawrence and Memorial Hospital, then transported to Yale-New Haven Hospital for emergency surgery.

Police said this was not a random act of violence and those involved were not connected to the restaurant.

McKoy was arrested while making an appearance on an unrelated charge. 

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Democratic Strategist Refutes Trump's Claims of Paid Protests


A longtime Democratic activist said that contrary to Donald Trump’s allegations at Wednesday's debate, he had no role in any secret plan to instigate violence at Trump rallies.

Robert Creamer told NBC5 Investigates, “Aside from the fact that we didn’t want to--why would we provoke the crowd? Donald Trump did it from his own podium.”

At issue: rowdy confrontations between pro-and-anti-Trump forces outside his campaign events, including a notable rally at the UIC Pavilion last March which became so raucous that the candidate canceled his appearance. Conservative activist James O’Keefe claims in a new video to have secretly recorded Creamer and his associates discussing the plants they supposedly placed in the crowds to goad Trump supporters into violence.

“We have mentally ill people that we pay … make no mistake,” activist Scott Foval is heard boasting on the tape. “If you’re there and you’re protesting and you do these actions, you will be attacked at Trump rallies. That’s what we want.”

“I was wondering what happened with my rally in Chicago and other rallies where we had such violence,” Trump declared during Wednesday evening’s debate as he pointed across the stage at his Democratic opponent. “She’s the one, and Obama, that caused the violence.”

On the tape, Foval appears to brag of his association with Creamer, a longtime Democratic strategist who is married to Illinois congresswoman Jan Schakowsky.

“Bob Creamer is diabolical and I love him for it,” he says. “There’s a script of engagement. Sometimes the crazies bite, and sometimes the crazies don’t bite.”

But Creamer, chief of the firm Democracy Partners, adamantly disavows Foval’s claims.

“He was not a contractor at the time he made the statements in April,” he told NBC5. “The things he described were contrary to the policies of Democracy Partners---never happened.”

He would not speculate about why Foval made the claims he did, in conversations which he was not aware were being recorded.  Creamer accused the Trump forces of committing dirty tricks of their own.

“James O’Keefe, the discredited individual behind this well-orchestrated spying scheme directed at our firm, uses methods that would make Richard Nixon and the Watergate burglars proud,” he said in a statement. “O’Keefe executed a plot that involved the use of trained operatives using false identification, disguises, and elaborate false covers to infiltrate our firm and other consulting firms, in order to steal campaign plans, and goad unsuspecting individuals into making careless statements on hidden cameras."

The Associated Press reported that O'Keefe and Project Veritas often target Democratic groups with hidden cameras and false identities. O'Keefe filmed hidden camera footage at an office of community organizing group ACORN, portraying workers there as engaging in criminal activity, which led to the end of the group.

His 2010 scheme to film illegally at the office of Mary Landrieu, then a Democratic U.S. senator for Louisiana, resulted in O'Keefe being convicted, according to the AP.

In excerpts on the edited video that Project Veritas recently released, Foval seems to boast of the ease with which campaign events can be disrupted.

“It’s a matter of showing up, to want to get into the rally with a Planned Parenthood t-shirt,” he said. “Or Trump is a Nazi, you know? You can message to draw them out, and draw them to punch you.”

Two police officers were injured and five protesters arrested at the Chicago event, with the taxpayers shelling out over $100,000 in police overtime. As a result of the fallout from the video, Creamer severed his relationship with Foval, and announced he was “stepping back” from his responsibilities working with the Clinton campaign.

“Because I did not want to be a distraction from this campaign in the last two and a half weeks,” he told NBC5. “I did not want to be a lightning rod.”

Creamer made news of his own 10 years ago, when he was convicted of fundraising irregularities surrounding his former consumer group, Illinois Public Action. He was sentenced to five months in prison for bank fraud and an associated tax charge. He is a longtime Democratic consultant, working on the campaigns of, among others, former Gov. Rod Blagojevich and now congressman Mike Quigley.

The news website DNA Info reported Thursday that Twitter was bursting with anti-Trump posters who facetiously wondered where their paychecks might be.

“Trump, Chicago didn’t need to be paid to express our dislike for you,” Christopher Mikell said in a tweet posted Wednesday night. “We just ain’t got none.”

Activist Jedidiah Brown put it even more succinctly.

“I need Donald Trump to please tell me where I can get my $1,500 for standing against him at the Chicago rally.”

Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images

Willimantic Police Seize Almost a Pound of Marijuana During Traffic Stop


Willimantic Police seized almost a pound of marijuana when they stopped a Taftville man who was speeding on Route 32, according to police.

Police said they stopped 23-year-old Corey Fowler at 1:45 a.m. Friday because he was going 53 miles per hour in a 35-mile-per-hour zone.

He was held at Willimantic Police Headquarters on a $50,000 bond and charged with possession of more than 4 ounces of marijuana and possession of marijuana with intent to sell.

Photo Credit: Willimantic Police

With Women as Key Planners, Events at Trump Venues Are Down


There is growing evidence that Donald Trump's mud-slinging is tarnishing his gold-plated name, and industry observers say the Republican presidential nominee risks doing permanent damage to his brand.

"There are certainly groups and event planners shying away [from Trump-related venues] just because they don't want to offend anybody," said David Loeb, managing director and senior real estate research analyst at Robert W. Baird & Co.

Already, the Susan G. Komen Foundation is considering relocating an annual fundraiser held at Trump's Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, NBC News reported. In addition, the PGA announced this summer that it was moving the WGC-Cadillac Championship from the Trump National Doral in Florida to Mexico City next year.

"The majority of the meeting planning community is female, and when you have a candidate who's been very polarizing… it just kind of makes sense that might impact their decision-making," said Kevin Iwamoto, a senior consultant at GoldSpring Consulting. "Planners and buyers are going to vote with their dollars." 

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Meriden Asks Residents to Reduce Water Use


The city of Meriden is asking residents and employees who work in the city to reduce water use because of the drought in the hopes that voluntary measures will prevent mandatory restrictions in the future.

The Department of Public Utilities is asking residents to check your home or business for leaking fixture, including toilets; to dispose of food and solid waste in a trash bin, rather than flushing it down the toilet; and not to leave the water running while brushing teeth.

They are also asking residents to refrain from watering lawns, power washing houses or buildings and washing your car at home. Instead, they recommend using a commercial car wash to clean your vehicle.

They are also asking residents to take showers rather than baths and to avoid using a garden hose or power washing equipment to clean your driveway, sidewalk, deck or patio.

For more tips and to see how much water everyday activities use, click here

Photo Credit: AP

Pentagon IDs US Sailor Killed by Roadside Bomb in Iraq


A sailor with the U.S. Navy based in Coronado, California, was the American service member killed in Iraq Thursday, Defense Department officials confirmed Friday.

Chief Petty Officer Jason C. Finan, 34, died Thursday from injuries suffered by an "improvised explosive device," or roadside bomb, officials said.

Finan was from Anaheim, California, and was serving in Iraq with Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit 3 in an advisory capacity, according to the Pentagon. 

"The entire Navy Expeditionary Combat Command family offers our deepest condolences and sympathies to the family and loved ones of the Sailor we lost," said Rear Adm. Brian Brakke, commander of the Navy Expeditionary Combat Command/NECC Pacific, in a news release.

Finan was the first U.S. service member to die in combat since the launch of a massive operation to retake the Islamic State-held city of Mosul earlier this week.

More than 100 U.S. special operations forces are embedded with Iraqi units, and hundreds more are playing a supporting role in staging bases.

As of early this month, there were 4,565 U.S. troops in Iraq, according to the Pentagon. That doesn't include another 1,500 troops considered there "on temporary duty," whose number changes daily, according to the U.S. officials.

Three other service members have died in Iraq since the U.S.-led coalition began launching airstrikes against IS in August 2014.

Masked Men Steal Entire ATM from Mall in Trumbull


Two men stole an entire ATM from Westfield Trumbull Mall on Thursday morning and police are trying to figure out who did it. 

The two men, cloaked in ski masks and dark clothing, drove a minivan onto the sidewalk of the mall -- near the entrance by Macy’s and JC Penney -- around 9 a.m. yanked the ATM free, put it onto a handcart, wheeled it out into the vehicle and sped away. 

The van appeared to be a dark maroon or burgundy and might have had New York plates. 

Anyone with information should call Trumbull Police at 203-261-3665 or leave anonymous and confidential tip online

Photo Credit: Trumbull Police

2 Hospitalized Following Serious Crash in Mansfield


Two pedestrians were struck by a car Mansfield on Friday.

State police said troopers and Mansfield firefighters are responding to the crash on Eagleville Road and Westwood Road. 

Two people were walking on Westwood Road when they were hit by a car, police said. 

Both were transported to Windham Hospital and police reported non-life threatening injuries. 

Eagleville Road was closed but has since been reopened. 

Pediatrics Group Lifts 'No Screens Under 2' Rule


The American Academy of Pediatrics issued new screen media guidelines for parents with infants and young children, amending its previous recommendation that outright banned screens for children under the age of two.

In its policy statement released Friday, the AAP says it’s OK for children under the age of 18 months to Skype or Face Time with grandma and grandpa, and for older children and teens to do some of their socializing, learning and playing online – as long as they put down their devices long enough to sleep, exercise, eat, and engage in rich offline lives. 

The nation's leading group of pediatricians recommends children under 18 months, with the exception of video chatting, should avoid screens. Children between 18 months and 24 months should only be introduced to digital media that is high-quality and parents should watch it with their children in order to help them process what they’re seeing.

For children ages 2-5, digital media use should be limited to one hour a day. The guidelines again recommend high-quality, education media suited for children, such as Sesame Street and PBS.

Overall, parents should avoid using media to calm a child or replace physical activity. Parents are also recommended by the AAP to have media-free time with their children and media-free zones in the house. Parents should also have conversations with children about online safety and respecting people both on and offline.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Time Warner Jumps on Report It Could Sell to AT&T


AT&T is in advanced talks to acquire Time Warner in a deal that could be announced shortly, CNBC reported Friday, citing sources. 

An announcement could come as soon as Monday before the opening bell, as the boards are expected to meet over the weekend, CNBC has learned.

Time Warner could be seeking more than $100 billion, The Wall Street Journal reported. That's about in line with $110 a share, according to Bloomberg.

Sources also told CNBC that AT&T could pay well north of $90 a share for Time Warner, and speculated it could be up to $110 a share. Alan Gould, an analyst at Brean Capital, wrote in a research note that such a deal could hit the $110 to $125 a share range.

Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images

New Haven Police Close to Outfitting Officers With Body Cameras


Val Jean-Ashe from New Haven is concerned about the number of police shootings making national headlines.

“There’s been too many instances where people have been killed for no reason at all and I think the body camera not only helps the police, but it helps the person that’s involved in the altercation," she said.

Jean-Ashe is pleased to learn the 452 police officers in her city will be outfitted with body cameras in 2017.

“Me personally, I would love it, the earlier the better,” New Haven Police Department interim chief Anthony Campbell said.

Chief Campbell's target date for officers to start wearing body cameras has been pushed back while the city applies for state funding.

“There’s a grant out there that would allow us to buy the cameras and get 100 percent reimbursement," Campbell said, "we want to take advantage of that.”

The city will use the reimbursed money, which is about half a million dollars, to set up a system to store and distribute the video to the public when requested, Campbell said.

New Haven Police Union President Craig Miller said a majority of members support the move to wear body cameras

"You have accusations brought up against you and then when you have something on camera instead of someone else’s cell phone you getting the true story instead of their side of the story which they can manipulate the filming,” Miller said.

The union and police administration are in talks on establishing protocols for how an dwhen officers would be required to use them.

“There’s certain laws and statutes that say can’t use it with children, can’t use it with sexual assault victims, etc.,” Campbell said.

For a department that prides itself on community policing, Campbell said body cameras will improve transparency and build better trust with residents.

“Far too often the civilians or community members feel like well the police officer’s word is going to be taken over mine," he said, "whereas you have a body camera, it levels the playing field."

Mayor Toni Harp said she hope the city sets up a large enough video storage system that other police departments may use it as well.

Neighboring police departments such as Hamden, East Haven and Yale are already utilizing body cameras.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

15-Year-Old Wright Tech Student Dies After Getting Ill at School

Connecticut Is Among 10 States With Lowest Rates of STDs


Cases of sexually transmitted diseases, including chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis, are on the rise nationally, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, but the number of cases is down in Connecticut and the state is one of the 10 with the lowest rates of sexually transmitted diseases.  

Officials from the state Department of Health said there were 13,126 cases of chlamydia in the state in 2015, 2,088 cases of gonorrhea and 92 cases of primary and secondary syphilis.  

In 2014, there were 13,590 cases of chlamydia and 2,390 cases of gonorrhea, but an increase in new cases of infectious syphilis, at 84 cases.  

While the CDC report ranks Connecticut in the top 10 of states with the lowest rates of these diseases, DPH Commissioner Dr. Raul Pino warns that STDs remain a significant health challenge in Connecticut. 

“With approximately 20 million new sexually transmitted infections (including HIV) occurring every year nationally, half among our younger population, it is imperative to continue our efforts to increase STD screening and to identify and focus on at-risk populations,” Pino said in a statement. “In addition to the health impacts on those infected with these preventable diseases, STDs inflict significant health care costs on individuals and the community at large.  Last year alone, STDs nationally accounted for $16 billion in health care costs.” 

State public health officials said these diseases impact certain populations disproportionately.  

Nationally, as well as in Connecticut, the majority of people to contract chlamydia and gonorrhea are women and men who are younger than 25 years old.  For syphilis, the main group affected is men who have sex with men.  

“It is important for people to know their risk and to get themselves tested,” Dr. Lynn Sosa, coordinator of the sexually transmitted diseases program at DPH, said in a statement. “All three of these diseases can be asymptomatic but still be transmitted to others and cause long-term health complications. Fortunately, these are all infections that can be treated when caught early.”

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News

Brothers Arrested After Police Find 190 Marijuana Plants


State police said they seized almost 200 marijuana plants from a Sharon home after finding a marijuana farm and arrested two brothers.

State troopers and the state police aviation unit investigated and found a large marijuana growing operation at 484 Cornwall Bridge in Sharon, according to state police.

When state troopers searched the property, they found 190 marijuana plants, cultivation equipment and around five pounds of processed marijuana, state police said.

Ronald Rodriguez, a 27-year-old resident of the house, and his 25-year-old brother, Maximillian Rodriguez, of Caroline Drive in Sharon, were arrested and charged with illegal sale of a controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia in a drug factory, drug paraphernalia, illegal sale of a controlled substance by a non-drug dependent person and tampering with or fabricating evidence.

They were each held on $50,000 and will be arraigned today.

Police said they are still investigating.

Photo Credit: Connecticut State Police

Simsbury TD Bank Suspect May Be Serial Bank Robber


The man who robbed a bank in Simsbury last Friday may also be the suspect in other robberies in Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

On Oct. 14, a bank robbery happened at TD Bank on 714 Hopmeadow St. at 10:19 a.m., police reported. 

The robber showed a note demanding money and left on foot after getting some, according to police, who said he made no threats of a weapon. 

Simsbury Police said the man appears to be the same suspect at bank robberies in Norwich, Connecticut, Brattleboro, Vermont and Westerly Rhode Island. 

The man police are looking for appears to be in his 30s. He is around 5-feet-6 tall, and has a salt and pepper beard. 

Police said the TD Bank robbery in Brattleboro happened on Oct. 7.

Simsbury Police ask anyone with information or anyone who recognizes the man in the photos to call them at 860-658-3145.

Photo Credit: Simsbury Police

CT Elections Chief: Integrity of Ballot is Near-Certain


Secretary of the State Denise Merrill said Friday that the state is taking every precaution possible to ensure that election day goes off without any issues.

Specifically, she said any notion that Connecticut’s elections can somehow be manipulated or altered is a scare tactic because of the mechanics involved.

First of all, local elections in Connecticut use very little modern technology when it comes to actual voting an tabulating.

"We don't use the electronic system on election day,” Merrill said. “So anyone who is worried that the lists are going to be altered or hacked, we're still voting on paper lists. Those lists are printed one week in advance."

Even the vote tabulating machines aren’t connected to the internet and they provide reports on all activity of the machine itself, meaning state election officials could analyze the data and very quickly see whether something has been done to the internal mechanism.

Merrill added, “There are many many checks and balances that ensure that in Connecticut we are using every best practice."

Concerns over the sanctity of the election process have been raised in the last week by GOP Presidential nominee Donald Trump who said he would not accept the results of the election, “unless he won.”

Trump later said he would accept any result and added that he would reserve his right to challenge results in court.

Connecticut GOP Chairman JR Romano said he, too, reserves the right to challenge elections that may have seen issues arise, but said he’s confident in a legitimate outcome.

“I love this country. I love our process. This is how the Republic works.”

Photo Credit: AP

2 Dead After Hydrant Collapse Floods Street


The bodies of two construction workers have been recovered after a hydrant collapse flooded Dartmouth Street in Boston's South End on Friday afternoon.

Boston Police said they received a call at 12:56 p.m. for a hydrant collapse at 10 Dartmouth St., with two people possibly trapped in a 12-foot hole.

Boston Fire said two people were in the hole, which was filled with water. They were presumed dead, and their bodies were recovered later in the evening. The workers were employed by a private company called Atlantic Drain.

Occupational Safety and Health Administration documents obtained by necn Investigates show that at a previous construction site, Atlantic Drain was fined $30,800 for not protecting an employee from potential cave-ins.

"An employee was exposed to cave in hazards while working in a 9.1 feet [sic] deep trench that had straight cut walls with no cave in protection," OSHA determined.

Boston Emergency Medical Services said on Twitter that they have multiple units on scene at a construction site and that two people have been evaluated.

Photos and videos from the scene show a section of the street covered by water and numerous emergency vehicles blocking off the area.

"My thoughts and prayers are with these two people's families," Mayor Marty Walsh said. "It's a tough situation. Construction is a difficult job."

He said Dartmouth Street will be shut down for some time. "Not hours - I would say it's gonna be days."

Police Commissioner William Evans clarified, saying Dartmouth Street from Warren to Tremont streets will be shut down for the rest of the day Friday, and won't reopen until Saturday at the earliest.

"It's going to be a recovery, and it's going to be a slow process," he said.

Though foul play is not suspected, Evans said the homicide unit was brought in and will work with OSHA and the fire department to investigate.

"It looks like an accident," he said.

Evans said he isn't sure if a police detail was stationed at the construction site.

"I heard officers screaming on the air very quickly to get fire and everyone down here," he said. "I think they realized very quickly we had workers trapped in the hole."

Photo Credit: David Henck
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Tenants Fed up With Mold, Roaches at New London High-Rises


Mold, cracks in the foundation and roach infestations are just some of the conditions the tenants of the Thames River Apartments are living in.

"(It’s) frustrating because I have a 5-year-old who can pick (pieces of the crumbling walls) up and put it in his mouth," said Angela Franceschi, who lives in one of the Crystal Avenue high-rises.

Several walls of her apartment are coming apart.

According to Franceschi, each problem she calls the building management about, is never really fixed. Like the mold on her bathroom ceiling. Next to her stove is more mold and a roach infestation. She said she’s had a mouse problem, too.

"It’s just heartbreaking," said Jeanette Parker, choking back tears. "And knowing that there’s kids in here…"

That's a concern of most people living in the Crystal Avenue buildings: the children.

Parker lives in one of the high-rises and serves as the resident commissioner for the New London Housing Authority Board of Commissioners.

"Look at this. (Mice) run all along here along the pipes," Parker said in one of the laundry rooms. She also showed rotted ceilings and lint traps.

The Thames River Apartments are subsidized housing.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development recently downgraded the New London Housing Authority to "substandard," in part because of the conditions in the apartments.

Executive Director Sue Shontell said she knows the apartments have many problems, but projects need to be prioritized. A new boiler system went to the top of the list.

"Man power is an issue and that goes directly back to budget," Shontell said, adding that the Housing Authority is working to get new housing for over 100 tenants.

"It takes time."

Kathleen Mitchell, a commissioner on the Housing Authority Board said the commissioners are new to the job and realize that nothing is getting done. It’s now a priority to fix these apartments -- or find a more livable option.

There will be a meeting Tuesday night to come up with more ideas.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut
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