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Mar-A-Lago's Neighbor Has Same Crime Rate as Chicago


Chicago is the poster city for violent crime to President Trump, but he's got some mean streets right in his Florida backyard, NBC News reported.

The city of West Palm Beach, which sits just across the Intracoastal Waterway from Trump's palatial Mar-a-Lago Resort — aka the Winter White House — on exclusive Palm Beach, had a violent crime rate in 2015 that was equal to that of the Windy City, according to federal crime records.

There were 23 homicides in a city of just 104,919 residents. And the rate of violent crime, which also includes rapes, robberies and aggravated assaults, was 9 for every 1,000 residents — the same as the far bigger Chicago, records show.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

DNC Race Shakeup: Ray Buckley to Exit, Endorse Keith Ellison


In the biggest shakeup of the Democratic leadership race in months, New Hampshire Democratic Party Chairman Ray Buckley plans to drop his bid to be the party's national chairman and throw his support behind Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison, NBC News reported.

With just a week left before Democratic National Committee members gather in Atlanta to cast their ballots, the move could have far-reaching consequences both for the election and the future of the party.

"While it was a tremendous honor to run for DNC Chair over the past few months, I am proud to throw my support behind Keith so we can ensure that the next Chair of the DNC is dedicated to investing in and strengthening state parties and ensuring that the DNC is an accountable organization," Buckley said in a statement. "As I've talked to the DNC membership, it's clear Keith has widespread support, and I know as our next DNC Chair Keith will successfully unite and grow our party."

Photo Credit: AP

Blind Sheik Convicted in World Trade Bombing Dies


Sheik Omar Abdel-Rahman, who was convicted in connection with inspiring terror plots in New York City, has died in a prison hospital in South Carolina, senior law enforcement officials said Saturday.

Abdel-Rahman was convicted and sentenced to life in prison for his role in the 1993 World Trade Center Bombing, and later plotted to blow up the Holland and Lincoln Tunnels in addition to other city landmarks. He was one of six suspects convicted in the attack that killed six people and injured more than 1,000 others.

The blind Egyptian cleric was the spiritual leader of Al-Gama Al-Islamiyya. The Islamic group was believed to have been behind other terror attacks such as the 1997 massacre that killed 62 people in Luxor, Egypt.

Former Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi voiced support for Abdel-Rahman's release in 2012, inciting backlash from New York political leaders such as Democratic Senator Charles Schumer and Republican Congressman Peter King.

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The Obama administation denied the then-73-year-old sheik's release, despite pressure from international government officials. Former U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey said his release would be "a gross betrayal of public trust."

An FBI informant warned the U.S. not to release the ailing sheik because he still posed a threat to national security, Emad Salem told the I-Team in an exclusive 2013 interview. The one-time Egyptian military officer became Abdel-Rahman's bodyguard and personal assistant, which allowed him to record him ordering the killing of Americans during his time in Jersey City and Brooklyn.

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A son of the sheik, Saif, was killed in a drone strike while on the frontlines of Afghanistan in 2011.

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‘I Am a Muslim Too’: Russell Simmons Headlines Unity March


Hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons is feeling "zen" about a multifaith and multiethnic unity rally he's headlining Sunday — organized in response to the uncertainty and anxiety that was created by President Donald Trump's controversial travel ban, NBC News reported.

The entrepreneur has been trying to bridge religious and cultural divides for years, and said he is eager to lend his celebrity to the "I Am a Muslim Too" march through Times Square in his native New York City.

"Believing that people are the same takes you a long way," Simmons told NBC News this week. "I love doing this work. It's purposeful. It makes me happy."

Photo Credit: AP

Bill Would Allow Hunters to Target Bears, Wolves in Alaska


Hunters could once again go after bears, wolves and other predators in national wildlife refuges across Alaska if an Obama-era federal law is overturned by Congress and gets the president's approval, NBC News reported.

Supporters of repealing the rule, which was issued by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in August, got a boost Thursday when the House voted 225-193, mostly along party lines, to undo the law.

Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska, is behind the resolution to strip away some of the federal government's control over Alaska's 76 million acres worth of federal wildlife refuges. Under the federal law, hunters are prohibited from shooting or trapping wolves while at their dens with cubs, using airplanes to scout for potential grizzly bear targets, trapping bears with wire snares and luring bears with food to get a point-blank kill.

Photo Credit: AP

Tesla Under Fire After Explosive Crash


Tesla has come under fire in the wake of an explosive crash in Indianapolis involving a Model S battery-electric vehicle that took the life of a young woman and her boss, NBC News reported.

The automaker had previously taken steps to prevent the lithium-ion batteries used in its vehicles from inadvertently catching fire, but the crash raises questions not only about whether Tesla has gone far enough, but whether Tesla's battery technology is inherently safe. Lithium-ion chemistry came under close scrutiny last year as a result of fires and meltdowns involving Samsung's Galaxy Note 7 smartphone.

"Had she been in another vehicle she would have been alive for me to yell at her for driving after drinking," Jon Speckman, the father of victim Casey Speckman, said during an interview with the Indianapolis Star.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

'That's How Dictators Get Started': McCain Defends Press


In an exclusive interview with Meet the Press, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) points to the lessons of history to show how important a free press is for a strong democracy, NBC News reported.

Photo Credit: AP
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Several Mailboxes Set on Fire in North Stonington


Connecticut state police are investigating after several mailboxes were set on fire in North Stonington early Saturday morning.

Police said the incidents occurred on Wintechog Hill Road and were reported to police around 10 a.m. Anyone with information on this crime is asked to contact Trooper Abely at Troop E in Montville at 860-848-6500, or the North Stonington Resident State Trooper’s Office at 860-535-1451.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Racial Slur Found on Granby Memorial Schools Sign


Granby police are investigating after someone rearranged the letters on a Granby school sign into a racist message.

Someone rearranged a message on a sign at the Granby Memorial School campus off Route 10 to include the racial slur which was spotted by Anna Rogers, who driving through town around noon Saturday. Rogers snapped a photo and called police. Rog told NBC Connecticut when she drove by again about a half hour later, the slur had been removed.

Capt. William Tyler confirmed that police were informed of the message and that the situation is under “active and vigorous investigation.”

Residents were surprised by the news and said hateful speech isn't what they expect from their town.

“I think Granby is a welcoming town and a very tight town. So I don’t know if it’s some kind of prank. But I think it’s concerning the rise of racist things we’ve seen across the United States,” said Granby resident Katie Dunnington.

“I usually think of Granby like nothing bad ever happens here,” said Hannah Council, who is a sixth-grader in Granby.

NBC Connecticut has reached out to Granby Public Schools for comment but have not yet heard back.

Anyone with information on this should contact Granby police at 860-844-5335.

Photo Credit: Anna Rogers

‘Not My President’s Day’: Thousands Plan Anti-Trump Rallies


Thousands of people nationwide have vowed to spend their Presidents Day Weekend protesting President Donald Trump and his policies at "Not My President's Day" rallies scheduled to take place in at least 25 cities across the country, according to NBC News.

On Saturday, more than 1,000 people marched in downtown Dallas in solidarity with refugees and immigrants.

Religious leaders, activists, and refugee resettlement agencies participated in the march which started at the Dallas City Hall and ended at JFK Memorial Plaza.

In Los Angeles, a coalition of groups and activists marched through downtown in protest of Trump's immigration policies, and to call on city leaders to make Los Angeles a sanctuary city, according to a statement about the event.

In New York City's Washington Square, hundreds attended a mock funeral for President's Day. Protesters dressed in black, listened as a eulogy was delivered for the American presidency.

On Sunday, five thousand people are expected to come together in Chicago to resist the Trump administration's agenda of "racism, sexism, bigotry, and war," John Beacham, rally coordinator, said.

In Salem, Oregon, more than 1,200 people have pledged to show up to protest on the steps of the Oregon State Capitol.

On Monday, several rallies are expected across the U.S.:


Photo Credit: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Winning Numbers Drawn for $349 Million Powerball Jackpot


The winning number's for the Powerball jackpot that topped $349 million were drawn Saturday night.

The winning numbers are 9, 3, 33, 7, 31 and the Powerball number is 20.

That's the biggest jackpot since 20 company co-workers in Tennessee took home a combined $420.9 million right after Thanksgiving.

There hasn't been a jackpot winner in 2017, according to a list maintained on the game's website. It's been a year and a month since three winning tickets were sold for a $1.59 billion jackpot.

The odds of winning the grand prize are pretty slim, according to the game's website: 1 in 292,201,338.

Saturday's pot has a cash value of $213.1 million. The $349 million would be paid out over an annuity.

Photo Credit: AP

Iraq Launches Push to Reclaim Western Mosul From ISIS


Iraq's prime minister on Sunday announced an offensive to seize control of the western coast of the city of Mosul from the terror group ISIS, NBC News reports.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said on state television Sunday morning that the new push has begun. Hours earlier, Iraq's military said planes dropped leaflets into the area, urging those who joined ISIS to surrender and warning that the military would move into the western coast of the city, which straddles the Tigris River. 

"I announce today the start of military offensive to liberate the western coast of Mosul," al-Abadi said. He added, "our mission is to liberate people before land."

Photo Credit: Matthias Schrader, AP

Thousands Dance it Out for UConn's HuskyTHON Fundraiser


UConn students pulled an all-nighter as they hit the dance floor and rack up serious cash.

This was the 13th annual HuskyTHON Dance Marathon, a major fundraiser for the Connecticut Children’s Medical Center.

The event started at 6 p.m. on Saturday, went until noon on Sunday, and when all was said and done the students raised a little over $836,000.

HuskyTHON is the largest student-run philanthropy event in New England and in 2016 it was named the 11th top collegiate fundraiser in the nation by Children’s Miracle network Hospitals. Student teams organize year-long fundraising events leading up to the dance marathon.

“It’s good. Already feeling hyped up,” Hope McMoran, a UConn junior, said.

Year after year the fundraiser breaks records as it raises money for the Connecticut Children’s Medical Center.

Thousands of dancers raised about $716,000 for the hospital last year.

“Like we say, it’s all for the kids,” Cara Geary, a UConn sophomore, said.

Students say this fundraiser is unique because teams sponsor a child who shows up for the party.

“This is amazing what they’re doing and I’m so proud of them. And it’s just great,” Ally Klinkowsky, a patient at CCMC, said.

“The stuff that they do for our kids it carries them through their hardest days throughout the whole year. I mean our kids literally count down every moment to get here,” Heather Klinkosky said.

“Last year’s event, the success of it, they were able to name the newest addition to the hospital in HuskyTHON’s honor,” Eliza Kanner, HuskyTHON’s vice president of communications, explained. “It helps kids pre-operation, comfort them.” 

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Suffield Police Corral Runaway Cows


Suffield police know how to see the humor in a situation.

The department took to Facebook after they corralled some runaway cows Sunday morning.

“Early this morning officers responded to a complaint of 2 suspicious males going door to door trying to sell dairy products. Officers determined that the 2 individuals did not have a solicitors permit and were apprehended after a short foot pursuit. We would like to remind everyone to NEVER open your doors to any unfamiliar cattle,” the post on the Suffield Police Department Facebook page read.

For more news from Suffield police, visit their page. 

Photo Credit: Suffield Police Department

East Windsor Police Seek Suspected Car Thief


East Windsor police are searching for a man accused of stealing a car from the Mercury Fuel on South Main Street Friday.

According to police, the owner of the car left it running when he went into the store and the suspect hopped in and drove away. The car has Connecticut plate # AF66578 and is a red 2006 Ford Taurus. Police believe the suspect was heading to Enfield.

The same man is a suspect in the theft of a coin jar from the 7-11 at 183 South Main Street and police think he frequents the area. Anyone who recognizes the suspect is asked to contact East Windsor police at 860-292-8240.

Photo Credit: East Windsor Police Department

Aircraft Incident Reported at Ellington Airport


Emergency crews responded to the Ellington Airport Sunday morning after a pilot reported a landing incident Sunday morning.

According to Connecticut State police, they were called to the airport at 360 Somers Road around 11 a.m. the pilot of a Mooney single-engine plane reported he had an issue with his landing gear. The pilot told police he landed his plane on its belly on the runway. The plane slid about 183 yards along the paved runway then stopped.

No injuries were reported and the aircraft had only minor damage, police said. There was no fuel spilled or damage to the runway.

The plane was removed from the runway and the FAA was called in for further investigation.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

DA: Investigators at 'Messy' Scene Where 2 Found Slain


Authorities are still investigating the "messy" scene where a man and a woman were found slain inside a home in Peabody, Massachusetts, according to the Essex County District Attorney's Office.

Law enforcement has been at the home at 19 Farm Ave. since Saturday night when a resident who lives there flagged down a motorist to ask for help. Police said the motorist took the resident to state police barracks then authorities returned to the home where they discovered the gruesome scene.

Officials say one body was found in the cellar and another was found in the main part of the house. The DA says they are waiting to notify family members before identifying the victims. The scene is described as "messy" and an x-ray machine was brought in to help assist with the investigation.

The district attorney said a medical examiner is also on the way to the scene to help determine what kind of trauma the victims underwent.

Peabody police say they believe all parties knew one another and it was not a random act. Authorities also said they have been called to the home multiple times over the years, but would not specify as to why.

No one is in custody but the district attorney’s office confirms there is an active search for suspects.

Stay with us as this story develops.

Dog Left at Shelter Comes With Heartbreaking Letter From Kid


Rhino Lightning arrived at the Humane Society of Utah last week, with a spiral notebook filled back to front with a child's notes about the dog — a "striped dream," as the adoring author put it, the Today Show reported.

Addressed to Rhino's new family, the letter says the animal's "cheeks make a lot of slobber." He is "a good dog and he loves cuddles," and is a "very amazing puppy." Rhino "hates snow & swimming," but he "loves to run around" and to sleep under the blankets.

"The family told our receiving staff the notebook was written by one of their kids," Humane Society of Utah spokesperson Guinnevere Shuster told TODAY in an email. "It was​ filled with information about Rhino for his new​ ​family​."

Photo Credit: AP
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Photos: Inside Trump's Palatial Mar-a-Lago Resort


Look inside the palatial Mar-a-Lago estate where President Donald Trump has spent his weekends since taking office.

Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images

Man Arrested After Striking State Police Cruiser on I-95: PD


The Connecticut State Police have made an arrest after a vehicle struck a cruiser on I-95 North in Guilford Saturday night.

According to police, troopers from Troop-F Westbrook were assisting with a disabled tour bus.

The bus had broken down in the median on I-95 North in the area of exits 56 and 57 in Guilford around 9:18 p.m. Saturday.

While assisting, troopers shut down the left lane of traffic, positioning their cruisers in the lane with their emergency lights on.

The accused vehicle traveled towards troopers in the left lane and failed to stop, yield or move over for the emergency vehicles before striking an unoccupied cruiser.

The vehicle briefly stopped before accelerating away down I-95 North. Troopers located the vehicle a brief time later on the highway.

The driver, Genaro Claussels, 49 of Hamden, was arrested and charged with operating under the influence, evading responsibility and failure to reduce speed/move over for emergency vehicles.

He is being held on a $10,000 bond and is scheduled to appear in New Haven court on February 21.

No injuries were reported.

Photo Credit: Connecticut State Police
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