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Emily Doe Honored by Glamour


Glamour Magazine on Tuesday named a young woman at the center of the high-profile Stanford sexual assault case one of its women of the year.

Without naming her, the magazine cited the impact of Emily Doe's powerful sentencing statement, which she read after her assailant was sentenced to six months in jail, as the reason for her award. It prompted a national conversation about "rape culture" and drinking on college campuses, as well as a recall movement against the sentencing judge and a California law requiring minimum sentences for sexual assault.

Though Doe's name has not been reported, because she is the victim of sexual assault, her story reached Vice President Joe Biden, who emailed her after the trial. “You are a warrior,” Biden wrote her, in a public letter that urged everyone to believe the victims of sexual assault.

In a companion essay in the December issue, Doe described her amazed reaction at receiving an email from the vice president: "I printed his letter out and ran around the house flapping it in the air."

The young woman also described her frustration with the sentence that Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Aaron Persky handed to Brock Turner, a former Stanford swimmer convicted of sexually assaulting her after a fraternity party in January 2015.

After a jury convicted Turner of three counts of felony sex assault, Persky sentenced Turner to six months in jail, saying a harsher sentence would have a “severe impact” on the young 22-year-old athlete, of which he only served three months for good behavior.

Led by Stanford professor Michele Dauber, millions came out to sign papers saying that they think Persky should be recalled and is guilty of favoring "white privilege." By law, Persky isn't allowed to say much about the case, but he has set up a web site to counter those efforts.

On Tuesday, Dauber said how pleased she was that Glamour recognized the young woman who brought all these issues to light.

"This award recognizes the fact that Emily Doe's letter was both a significant literary accomplishment and a significant political document," Dauber said in an email to NBC Bay Area. "As a piece of literature it moved people and created a tidal wave of compassion and empathy for sexual assault survivors. But its real significance lies in its impact as a political document, as a declaration of the 'End of Business as Usual.' Emily opened a door. Since then survivors have declared that enough is enough."

Still, the door opened through the legal system led to far from a perfect ending for Doe. In her essay, she said she thought the trial would set her free. In the end, she said she didn't feel that way.

“So when it was quickly announced that he’d be receiving six months, I was struck silent," Emily Doe recounted in Glamour. "Immediately I felt embarrassed for trying, for being led to believe I had any influence. The violation of my body and my being added up to a few months out of his summer. The judge would release him back to his life, back to the 40 people who had written him letters from Ohio. I began to panic; I thought, this can’t be the best-case scenario. If this case was meant to set the bar, the bar had been set on the floor.”

Emily Doe also noted that she approved of the recall effort against Judge Persky.

Her deeply personal statement had a major impact in America, Glamour said in its decision to make Doe a woman of the year. 

"Emily Doe’s courageous statement was one’s of the year’s most remarkable events for women – for anybody, really, who cares about justice and the experience of sexual assault survivors,’’ Glamour editor-in-chief Cindi Leive said in a written statement to the Mercury News. “She changed how America sees this experience.’’

Glamour’s past women of the year honorees helped select Emily Doe and the other 2016 women of the year, who include Olympic gymnast Simone Biles; Black Lives Matter founders Patrisse Cullors, Alicia Garza and Opal Tometi; singer and fashion designer Gwen Stefani and, for the first time, a man: Bono.

Photo Credit: Michelle Roberts/NBC Bay Area

Hamden Resident Loses $1,000 in Bail Money Phone Scam


Hamden police are warning residents not to become the victims of a bail money scam directed at elderly residents.

Police said the caller identifies himself as a lieutenant from the New Haven County Sheriff’s office and claims there is a warrant for the victim’s arrest. The caller tells the resident to get a money order or a “Green Dot” gift card and head to Renshaw Road. The caller then asks for the numbers on the money order or gift card before they arrive on Renshaw Road.

At least one resident was scammed out of $1,000, police said.

Police said they're investigated three of these calls.

Hamden police reminded residents that no real law enforcement agency would contact a suspect and ask to meet at a random location with bail money. Police also said no agency would accept a gift card as payment.

Police ask anyone who receives this type of call to contact their local police department and report it.

Babies ‘R Us Employee Took Up-Dress Photo at Store: Police


An employee of a Babies ‘R Us in Milford has been arrested and police said he’s accused of taking a photo up a woman’s dress while he was at work. 

Joseph Matthews, 32, of Stratford, is accused of using his cell phone to take a photo up a woman’s dress without her knowledge while he was at work on Boston Post Road in Milford, according to a police news release.

Police later said Matthews works at Babies 'R Us on Boston Post Road.  

Matthews was arrested on Sunday and charged with voyeurism. He was released on a promise to appear and is due in court on Nov. 22.

Photo Credit: AP Images

I-95 South in Old Lyme Reopens


The southbound side of Interstate 95 was shut down in Old Lyme after a crash involving four vehicles and a tractor-trailer, but it is back open.

State police said there are minor injuries.

Traffic was backed up, so delays might linger.

Photo Credit: Connecticut Department of Transportation

Suspects Stole Leaf Blower from Public Works Vehicle: PD


North Branford police are trying to identify two male suspects who stole a leaf blower from a Department of Public Works vehicle.

Police said the two suspects riding in a white Dodge Ram 1500, pictured above, removed two backpack blowers from a public works vehicle. According to police, an employee saw what was happening and interrupted the theft.

The suspects took off with one of the blowers and left the other behind.

The suspects are described as male, between the ages of 25 and 30. One was described as 5-foot-5, with short dark hair.

The Dodge has Connecticut plates and the last three numbers of the plate are believed to be 084.

Anyone with information on this crime is asked to contact the North Branford Police Department at 203-484-2703 or the Confidential Tip Line at 203-484-2201.

Photo Credit: North Branford Police Department

Rocky Hill Residents to Vote on Funding for Intermediate School


Voters in Rocky Hill will head to the polls next Tuesday to make a decision that could increase their taxes for 12 years. 

The board of education is proposing to build a new intermediate school for fourth and fifth grades because both elementary schools in Rocky Hill are overcrowded. 

Seven portable classrooms have been added to West Hill Elementary and Myrtle H. Stevens Elementary schools over the past few years. The district owns three of the portable classrooms and leases the other 11 for approximately $136,000 annually, according to Supt. Mark Zito. 

If the town votes in favor of a new intermediate school, it would cost $48 million to build on the old Moser School grounds on School Street. There is a state reimbursement available to cover 36.4 percent, or roughly $17 million, which would leave taxpayers with a $31 million bill. 

To pay that $31 million, the mill rate would increase to 1.23 in 2018. So for every $100,000 of assessed property value, residents would pay $123 per year or $10.25 per month. Over a 12-year period, that mill rate would gradually decrease back to .79 by year 2037. 

“Ultimately that overcrowding not only impacts the facilities, but it eventually starts to impact academics and it spills out into the community. And if people perceive Rocky Hill as having a weak school district, they’re going to look to other districts to educate their children,” said Lisa Marotta, the chairperson for Stay Invested, a political action committee educating voters on the issue. 

Parents of elementary school children in the district have watched enrollment increase. In 2013, West Hill had 609 students. Now it is up to 730 students, more students than the number currently enrolled in the high school, according to West Hill Principal Scott Nozik. 

Some of the concerns with the overcrowding are that there’s not enough room in the cafeteria, gymnasium, reading lab or restrooms to accommodate the students and there are no bathrooms in the portable wing of West Hill at all. 

Those parents are urging a ‘yes’ vote on Tuesday. 

“I think Rocky Hill has a great school system, great teachers and administrators. We not only need to give them the space to do their job, but the space for our kids to really have the proper environment to be able to learn and come to school,” said Daniel Reppy, who has a son in kindergarten. 

“I think it needs to pass. It’s long overdue. Our schools are busting at the seams,” said Kristin Casparino, who has a son in first grade. “Your education in your town is very important for the whole community, not just those who have small children. You know, it makes the town desirable.” 

Other residents in town are concerned the trend of growth might not continue and said the tax increase could be tough for seniors. 

“Most seniors are on a fixed income. No matter how much you try to save for retirement, nowadays things keep getting more and more expensive,” Joann Arcata, of Rocky Hill, said. 

Voters will make the ultimate decision on Tuesday, Nov. 8. 

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Starbucks Debuts New Green Cups, Sparking Mixed Reaction


Starbucks' holiday drinks are back -- and so is the controversy surrounding their cups.

The coffee chain unveiled a new paper cup design Tuesday: a green cup with illustrations of the faces of more than 100 people, Business Insider reported. 

"The green cup and the design represent the connections Starbucks has as a community with its partners (employees) and customers. During a divisive time in our country, Starbucks wanted to create a symbol of unity as a reminder of our shared values, and the need to be good to each other," Howard Schultz, the company's chairman and CEO, said in a statement.

The people are connected through one continuous line, drawn by artist Shogo Ota. While the message isn't meant to be divisive, it reignited last year's controversy over the company's red holiday cups, sparking mixed reactions from Twitter users.

Some voiced their annoyance with the cups.

Others, however, took it as an opportunity to poke fun at those who complained.

Last year, Starbucks sparked criticism across social media when it released its red holiday cups devoid of the word "Christmas" or holiday designs, like snowmen or snowflakes.

It isn't clear whether the company's classic red cups will make a comeback this holiday season. Starbucks wouldn't confirm whether the green cups are part of the chain's holiday plans, or if it would also use red cups.

"The rest of our holiday plans are still under wraps," a spokesperson told NBC in an email. 

Photo Credit: Joshua Trujillo, Starbucks
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Crews Investigate Report of Body in Water in New Haven


Firefighters, police and the U.S. Coast Guard have responded to the area of the Grand Avenue Bridge in New Haven to investigate reports of a body in the river, according to police. 

The Twitter account for the New Haven Fire Department said there is a water rescue in the area of 1 Grand Ave. and a person is in the water, but police said nothing has been confirmed.

Marine 1 and the New Haven Police Department underwater search and recovery team have responded.

No additional information was immediately available.

Check back for updates.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Water Line Break Cancels Classes at Manchester Comm. College


Manchester Community College, as well as Great Path Academy, which is located at the college, are closing early Tuesday after a water line break.

According to Manchester Community Colleges website, the Learning Resource Center was evacuated and all classes and activities at the school were canceled for the remainder of the day.

Manchester Community College, IT and facilities staff were asked to remain on campus, but everyone else was asked to be off campus by noon.

Officials from Hartford Public Schools has Great Path Academy will dismiss at 12:30 p.m. and all evening activities at the school are canceled. 

Photo Credit: Getty Images/Blend Images RM

Connecticut Business Community Closely Watching State Election


Business owners and policy watchers in the Connecticut business community are closely watching next week's state elections.

They keep telling their employees and just about anyone who will listen that even though the presidential race is what grabs headlines, but the state election is what will affect the most people.

“You name almost any issue that affects daily life in Connecticut and almost all of those decisions are getting made in Hartford," said Joe Brennan, the President of the Connecticut Business and Industry Association.

Brennan said the state budget has been the at the center of the business community's frustration in recent years, because so often it's small business owners who are told they have to pay more to keep the budget balanced.

He said voters need to ask the right questions of the people they're considering voting for to find out how they would deal with that and related issues.

"We need people to be part of process to make sure you not only vote for the rest of the ballot but learn where they are on the key issues. How are they going to balance the budget? With or without tax increases?" Brennan said

One business owner who is closely watching the election is Douglas Johnson, the owner of Marion Manufacturing in Cheshire. Marion is a metal stamping company that produces components for various industries including the healthcare, automotive, and telecommunications fields.

Brennan employs 24 people, but says his efforts to expand and grow have been cut short because of uncertainty with the state's tax climate.

"It’s paralyzing for us as a company and we’re having a hard time making decisions because what’s next?"

Johnson says the one of the best things the state has to offer right now is the state's economic development efforts through the Department of Economic and Community Development. He's working with DECD on a grant for an equipment purchase, and he's involved with Naugatuck Community College's program to train machinists and future manufacturing employees.

Those are what give him some optimism, even though he still has anxiety about growth.

“We’re heading in the right direction but we’ve got to make that next very difficult step and that’s just to change the direction," Johnson said. "It’s just imperative that we do that.”

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Consumers Weigh In on Health Insurance Plans


The State Department of Insurance’s released its annual Consumer Report Card ahead of the open enrollment period, in an effort to help prospective policyholders choose between plans.

It aims to deliver a side-by-side comparison of various insurers, collected by the companies from a certain percentage of policyholders.

In this year’s report card, which reflects the 2015 climate, Anthem, Cigna and Oxford received high marks for overall member satisfaction. But that only tells part of the picture since ratings will differ based on a consumer’s needs.

For example, a majority of ConnectiCare members— or 65 percent—said they always got an appointment for checkups or routine care when they needed it.

For policyholders who had to see a specialist, Aetna and Oxford Health came out on top.

Dept. of Insurance spokesperson Kathy Walsh said they take the survey results very seriously and also use it to intervene when policyholders are overwhelmingly unhappy with their insurer.

“We track that as well, and also refer that to our market conduct area to see again if there are some patterns,” said Walsh. “And if there needs to be some action taken on the part of our agency, on behalf of consumers.”

You can read through the Consumer Report Card here.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Waterford Pizza Place’s Hat Shows Up On Air During World Series


Lunchtime at Crown Pizza in Waterford is like a baseball game at the bottom of the ninth with bases loaded. It’s a culinary World Series, of sorts.

One of staff’s favorite customers is actually playing in the World Series.

"That's Rajai Davis' pizza. It gets him to the World Series. It's the pizza of champions,” said Taso Vitsas about the restaurant’s taco pizza. His family owns Crown Pizza.

Rajai Davis, an outfielder for the Cleveland Indians, grew up in New London, and graduated from New London High School and the University of Connecticut – Avery Point.

That’s where his and Vitsas almost two decade-long friendship began. The two still work out together, break bread together, text, and Davis still frequents Crown Pizza. He even special orders the Taco pizza to have no olives nor jalapeños.

With the Cleveland Indians on a hot streak this season, Vitsas called in a favor.

"Listen, I need tickets to the Wrigley Field World Series,” Vitsas asked Davis. “After they clinched, he texted me, ‘Which game you want to go to?’ "

As a thank you, Vitsas made Davis a Crown Pizza hat with his name and number “20” on it.

"I believe if he gets me two tickets to the World Series and I get him a hat, I think it's a fair trade,” Vitsas joked.

Davis posed for pictures, even a selfie in the hat and at one point, placed it down in the Indians’ dugout.

That’s when Crown Pizza was thrust into the national spotlight. The hat showed up on TV, on the Indian’s bench, right next to relief pitcher Andrew Miller.

Dozens of missed calls and texts alerted Vitsas to what happened. All he could do was laugh. So did Davis.

"I just couldn't believe it. That (the hat) made it up on the World Series with 20 million viewers. You know, something like that typically cost half a million to get that kind of coverage,” Vitsas said.

Vitsas, who always longed to be a professional baseball player, said his dreams of being in the World Series finally came true. While he wished it was him in the dugout, having his hat there was a surreal experience and it’s all thanks to his friend, Rajai Davis.

"Everything was just right. It was just perfect…this is my world series,” Vitsas laughed.

The publicity happened just in time – Crown Pizza is doubling in size, so it will soon be equipped to handle bigger crowds.

Vitsas said he also ordered a Crown Pizza World Series hat that he plans to debut soon, and is looking to create a special menu item for Davis.

Photo Credit: Taso Vitsas

Family and Friends Send Off National Guard Unit


One hundred members of the 103rd Air Control Squadron stood proudly for a send-off ceremony Tuesday evening.

The airmen will be deployed in support of operations in the Middle East later this month and they'll be there for more than six months.

"I wanted to give back to my community, and I wanted to follow in the footsteps of all my uncles in the Air Force," said Master Sgt. Ryan Key.

Key says leaving his family is not easy but knowing what he's fighting for and being able to keep in touch through technology helps.

"There is no doubt in my mind that you are the best of the best, the bravest of the bravest," said Governor Dan Malloy.

There's a lot of pride in the history of the 103rd ACS. It was first organized in 1946 in Hartford, and it's the oldest unit of its kind in the country. It's been a part of every major air campaign of the last two decades. This is the seventh deployment for the 103rd ACS since 9/11.

"I have a lot of pride being part of this unit. I hear a lot of times among the rest of the ACS community of the Air Force that we're the best, and I believe that," said Tech Sgt. Ryan Alexander.

For Alexander and his wife, Tech Sgt. Amanda Searle, this marks their third deployment together. They met in the Connecticut National Guard, deployed together for the first time while dating, and deployed again as husband and wife.

"I feel very privileged I get to go with her. l know a lot of people are leaving loved ones behind," said Alexander.

Staff Sergeant Edward Clark, Jr. will be leaving loved ones behind for his first deployment.

"They're concerned and obviously sad, especially for the holidays,” said Clark.

Clark says he's wanted to follow in his dad's footsteps who served in the U.S. Air Force for 21 years.

While heading out now means not being home for the holidays, these brave men and women say they're in good hands and are proud to spend the holidays with a unit they consider their second family.

"My family knows I love what I do," said Clark.

Tuesday's ceremony is the first of two send offs for Connecticut Air National Guard personnel. Another 300 will deploy to the Middle East in the next six months. That will make it the largest deployment of the Connecticut National Guard since 2011.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Woodbury Church Gets Facelift


North Congregation Church officials decided to celebrate the church’s 200 year anniversary with a few minor touch ups, but along the way they discovered a problem much bigger than expected.

The Woodbury church was built in 1816.

"When we were preparing to do some renovation work up in the steeple fixing a couple of the columns, as the steeple jacks got up there they realized that the foundation was a little more unstable than we thought,” explains Reverend Sandy Koenig. “So unexpectedly we had to bring the lantern down and are repairing it. It's actually easier to work on on the ground."

But getting the 14,000 pound lantern down was no easy feat.

"Picking up rotted things is one of the scariest things,” explains Jay Southgate of Southgate Steeplejacks. “If you build something new picking it up is easy cause you know, but if something's old and funky and rotted you strap and chain and bolt and screw and try to make it redundant."

The steeple is one of very few still exposed to the elements. Most steeples are protected by shutters, and after 200 years atop the North Congregation Church, the source for the rotting comes down to one thing.

"Water. All these wood buildings rot from water. Well actually it's the process of water drying out,” says Southgate. “Water doesn't rot wood, water drying out rots wood."

But it turns out, the timing of the project, funded in part by a Connecticut Historic Restoration grant, is pretty perfect.

"It's really exciting,” explains Koenig. “The idea that we are kind of recreating the construction of the steeple 200 years after it happened."

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

State Hosts Winter Weather Response Drill


Cities and towns across the state are participating in a winter weather response drill, at the direction of the governor’s office.

Specifically, they’ll be simulating a major ice storm event.

Wednesday is the second day of the statewide drill. Participants include emergency response agencies from the state, local governments and utility companies.

The event is coordinated by the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protections with the goal of trying to improve communications between all state partners in the event of a major weather emergency.

In New Haven, officials will host a dry run of their snow removal strategies and winter weather response Wednesday, ahead of the winter season. The city has already purchased new equipment and made revisions to old plans.

New Haven purchased a second 10-foot snow blower, new snow dump trailers, and new parks vehicles that will all be put to the test this winter.

The city’s plan is to ensure all of the partners involved in responding if the city gets slammed with nasty winter weather are ready to go. This includes city services, staff from Yale University, and local utility companies. This year there is a special focus on communication between the city and its residents and business community.

New Haven’s drill is scheduled to get underway Wednesday morning at the city’s emergency operations center.

Card Skimmers Discovered at Store in Danbury Fair Mall


Primark US Corp. is warning customers to check their credit and debit card statements after discovering card skimmers at several of their locations, including one at the Danbury Fair Mall.

In a post on the clothing company’s website, officials announced that the skimmers were discovered on Oct. 17 at locations in Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Connecticut. The skimmers were immediately removed and law enforcement notified.

Skimmers are devices that steal data from the magnetic strip of payment cards. Criminals can then use the data to make fake cards or to charge purchases online.

The devices are usually smaller than a deck of cards and the average user may not notice them. 

The company believes that some transactions from July 29 through the discovery of the devices in October may be affected. Not all transactions were affected, but authorities are still investigating the scope of the incident.

Primark encourages customers to check credit and debit card statements and their credit report. The company is working with authorities to identify the suspects involved in placing the skimmers.

The company stressed that it does not store customer card data on any of its systems and that there was no attempt to access Primark systems.

“We sincerely regret that this happened and will continue to put the right measures in place to maintain the security of your information,” the company posted.

For more information, visit the Primark website or contact them at 1-866-611-5796.

Photo Credit: AP

KKK Paper Backs Trump; Campaign Rejects It


The Donald Trump campaign rejected an uncomfortable backer Tuesday after the official paper of the Ku Klux Klan warmly embraced the Republican presidential nominee, NBC News reported. 

The Crusader, a quarterly journal that bills itself as "The Premier Voice of the White Resistance," issued a full-page spread supporting Trump.

"Make America Great Again!' It is a slogan that has been repeatedly used by Donald Trump in his campaign for the presidency," the Crusader's Pastor Thomas Robb wrote. "You can see it on the shirts, buttons, posters and ball caps such as the one being worn here by Trump speaking at a recent rally. ... But can it happen? Can America really be great again? This is what we will soon find out!"

In a statement, the Trump campaign said: "Mr. Trump and the campaign denounces hate in any form. This publication is repulsive and their views do not represent the tens of millions of Americans who are uniting behind our campaign."

Photo Credit: AP

Amelia Earhart May Have Died a Castaway


Discoveries from the International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery suggest that Amelia Earhart may have died on an uninhabited island, NBC News reported.

Researchers with The Earhart Project found similarities between the famed pilot and the partial skeleton of a castaway discovered on an uninhabited Western Pacific island, Nikumaroro, in 1940.

Using modern techniques, forensic anthropologists and imaging experts compared measurements of the arm bones in the castaway's skeleton to a historical photo of Earhart and discovered that their measurements were "virtually identical."

Amelia Earhart was an aviation pioneer. In 1932, she became the first woman to complete a solo transatlantic flight. That year, she also became the first woman to fly solo from coast to coast. But it was her disappearance during her second attempt to fly around the world, in 1937, that has fascinated aviation enthusiasts for more than 70 years.

Photo Credit: AP

Analysis: Clinton's Path to 270 Is Stable


There's plenty of hand wringing and stomach churning in Democratic households this week as polls show the presidential race tightening in its final days — and the Hillary Clinton campaign is making a series of moves that some see as panicked desperation.

Meanwhile, campaign officials have seemed unusually agitated in a series of press calls and statements responding to FBI Director James Comey's bombshell on Clinton's email server, NBC News reported.

And after pledging to close the race on a positive note, the campaign rolled out a tough new ad highlighting women who claim Trump sexually assaulted them, while reintroduced former beauty queen Alicia Machado.

But the reality is that Clinton's chances of winning 270 electoral votes have hardly changed from last week. While Democrats' agitation is palpable, it's driven more by anger than panic at what they see as unprecedented and appalling meddling by outside forces in the election.

Photo Credit: Charlie Neibergall/AP

4 Charged in Halloween Attack Near School in Waterbury


Four Waterbury men have been arrested in connection with an assault near an elementary school in Naugatuck on Halloween night.

Police said they responded to the area of Salem Elementary School just before 9:30 p.m. to investigate an assault and found a man and a juvenile who were injured.

The man had been cut on the shoulder and the juvenile had a cut on the chin, police said.

The two victims were taken to the hospital and police said they found the four suspects at a house in Waterbury.

Christopher Gaskins, 25, was charged with first-degree assault and 20-year-old Sakwon Mitchell was charged with second-degree assault. Both are being held in custody.

Gaskins and Mitchell, as well as 19-year-old Haakeen Mitchell and 21-year-old David Williams were charged with first-degree conspiracy to commit assault, risk of injury to a child and breach of peace.

Haakeen Mitchell is being held on bond and no information was available on the online docket about Williams.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com
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