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Trump Losing Some Support From Key Parts of His Base: Poll


President Donald Trump's approval with American voters has slipped in recent weeks, including among key groups that helped to fuel his electoral win last year, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday.

Only 36 percent of voters approved of how Trump is handling the presidency, while 58 percent disapproved, CNBC reported. That compares to 40 percent approval and 56 percent disapproval in an April 19 survey.

The poll was conducted from Thursday to Tuesday, meaning most, if not all, of the voters responded before Trump fired FBI Director James Comey.

Photo Credit: AP

Preston Schools Cuts All After-School Programs, Sports


With budgets tight, the Preston Board of Education is making significant cuts, including elementary school Spanish and all extra-curricular activities, including sports.

With less funding expected from the state, the chair of the Board of Education said the cuts are heartbreaking, but it's the only option.

“Kids should be a priority,” said Floyd Overton whose child attends Preston Plains Middle School. “They say the kids are our future. So why don't they put some money aside for our future?”

Some Preston Plains Middle School parents are peeved about the cuts.

“There’s nothing for the kids to do in this area. There's no YMCA no more. And there's nothing to do for the kids but get in trouble,” Overton said.

Board representatives eliminated almost $312,000 from its budget this week. Chair Jan Clancy said the cuts include after school programs, the late bus, removing Ledyard High School as a high school option, elementary school Spanish class and letting go of the school's Spanish teacher.

Preston's school district does not have its own high school.

"What do the kids do? Go to school, go home and then what,” asked Christina Lallier, whose grandson goes to Preston Plains Middle School.

The cuts have been in talks for month, Clancy said, adding each and every one was made with a heavy heart.

“But it really bothers us to cut anything because a well-rounded student needs not only the core academics but what used to be called 'extras,’” Clancy said.

Clancy is hoping Preston is still awarded money through the state's education grant formula. The grant would mean the town gets $220,000 more than last year. Clancy would like that money to go back toward restoring some of the cut programs.

When it comes to sports, the board is considering a play-to-participate model, she added.

According to parents and grandparents, the cuts impact their involvement with the schools, too.

"We all go to the games, it's very good involvement for parents and grandparents. It just nice,” Lallier said.

For people who want to voice their opinion about the cuts, there will be a public meeting at Preston Veterans’ Memorial School on May 25.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Former Governor Weicker Says Comey Firing Not Like Watergate


Former Connecticut Governor and Senator Lowell Weicker said the first four months of the Trump presidency has been, “a disaster.”

Weicker said that talks of firing an FBI director investigating the president rising to the level of the Watergate scandal is premature.

NBC Connecticut sat down with the former three term Republican Senator and one term Independent governor at his home in Old Lyme.

Weicker said his time on the commission that investigated and found evidence of wrongdoing was a journey toward his eventual decision that President Richard Nixon had not only committed crimes, but worked even harder to cover them up.

“I started out on the Watergate very much believing in Nixon’s innocence, it was only after fact after fact after fact rolled in that I came to the conclusion that this was a bad man,” Weicker said in his study. “I’m not quite there with Trump yet.”

President Donald Trump fired FBI Director James Comey Tuesday and defended the move Wednesday, telling reporters, "Because he wasn't doing a good job, very simply.”

Comey, according to NBC News, had asked for more money and staff for his agency’s investigation into Donald Trump’s campaign and its ties to Russia.

Weicker said he can see why the episode frustrated the president.

“No chief executive wants to have people rummaging around in his backyard and that is going on and I suppose the problem with Trump is that it’s been going on for quite a while, since the moment he stepped into office, so I imagine he’s quite sensitive to the whole Russian connection, but that being said, we don’t have an answer to the Russian connection,” the former governor said.

Weicker said a special prosecutor is needed to look into the matter, separate from Congress and the White House, and said only that prosecutor could inform the American people of whether there was anything improper between Trump, his associates, and Russia.

“Until we have more explicit reason for the firing of Comey, we’re all sort of doing a guessing a game.”

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Carjacking Results in 5-Car Crash in New Haven

New London Preparing for President Donald Trump’s Visit


Preparations for President Donald Trump’s visit for the U.S. Coast Guard Academy Commencement Ceremony next week are already underway.

Representatives from the City of New London are meeting with the secret service Thursday to finalize security plans for the May 17 visit.

"I'm excited," New London resident, Anne Hunziker, said about the president’s visit. "I think everybody gets excited when the president of the country comes to their city!"

The streets of New London are buzzing about the president’s visit to deliver the commencement address at the Coast Guard Academy.

"When you get the president in town, it's a pretty neat thing. So, coming to New London's a pretty neat thing. I think Trump, more than other presidents in the past, is going to attract more interest," Barry Neistat, owner of Muddy Waters Cafe, said.

The owner of the downtown New London restaurant is looking forward to the extra crowds.

"I think they'll be in town probably the day before or the day of,” Neistat said.

With an expected boost of people in the city, comes a boost in security, which means hefty overtime costs for New London Police.

"We're projecting it's going to be a large number turning out because of what we've seen around the country and the outcry that's going on with this president,” said Acting New London Police Chief Peter Reichard.

All 66 New London officers are asked to be on the clock for the president's visit.

"Because it's an event with the federal government, we don't get reimbursed for this,” Reichard said.

Groton, Waterford, Norwich, Stonington, East Lyme and state police officers are also lending a hand, Reichard said, adding the city can't sign off on any permit requests to rally or protest for the event, until they consult with the president's secret service.

The acting police chief is meeting with the secret service Thursday to shore up all the details.

Reichard also said to expect Deshon Street and Riverside Park to be blocked off for the entire event, including some of the streets leading into the park.

Additionally, the motorcade will temporarily shut down part of I-95 and Route 32 by the Coast Guard Academy.

City representatives said no matter the cost, the visit is an honor and they realize the responsibility.

"We are going to be prepared to provide protection for the President, the community, and for anyone who wants to come and support him, or anyone who wants to come and protest,” said Steven Fields, chief administrative officer for New London.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Did Sessions Violate Recusal by Advising on Comey Firing?


President Donald Trump's firing of FBI Director James Comey based on advice from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and Attorney General Jeff Sessions has raised questions about whether Sessions violated his own recusal from the Russia investigation, which Comey was leading.

As NBC News reported, legal experts say the answer depends on the scope of Sessions' recusal and the true reasoning for Comey's dismissal. The White House has insisted Comey was fired for his mishandling of the investigation into Hillary Clinton's emails.

One legal ethics expert from New York says the scope of his recusal is very broad, and Sessions therefore flatly violated it.

However, a former federal prosecutor drew attention to the fact that Sessions chose to recuse himself and was not instructed to do so by the Justice Department. Therefore, the expert said, Sessions is allowed to change his mind if he wants.

Photo Credit: Mark Wilson/Getty Images, File

5 Names Being Considered for Interim FBI Director


In the wake of Tuesday's firing of FBI Director James Comey, a Justice Department official told NBC News that candidates are being considered to serve as interim director until the role is permanently filled.

Andrew McCabe was Comey's deputy director and is now serving as the acting head of the FBI. Meanwhile, Paul Abbate holds a top FBI position as well, leading the agency's criminal and cyber investigations and international operations.

Adam Lee is in charge of the FBI's Richmond, Virginia, office. Michael Anderson is also with local FBI, leading the Chicago division since 2015.

William Evania is the head of the Office of the National Counterintelligence Executive, meaning he looks at insider threats and spying on the U.S. from a broad policy perspective.

Photo Credit: Mark Wilson/Getty Images, File

2nd Confederate-Era Monument Taken Down in New Orleans


Authorities in New Orleans on Thursday took down a statue of Confederate President Jefferson Davis as protests both for and against the removal mounted in recent days, NBC News reported. 

The statue is the second of four monuments relating to the Confederacy that's in the process of being removed by the city, after the protests and legal challenges.

To conceal their identities, workers wore masks and protective helmets when they removed the statue in the dead of night.

Demonstrators carrying Confederate flags and chanting "President Davis" argued with protesters shouting "take 'em down," referring to the monuments they see as totems of racism and white supremacy.

Some of the pro-monument demonstrators chanted "Mitch for prison" — a reference to New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu, who is backing the monuments' removal.

Photo Credit: AP

Berman Family ‘Overwhelmed’ by Love, Sympathy


Messages of sympathy and support for the family of ESPN sportscaster Chris Berman have been coming in from across the country after his wife was killed in a crash and the family has released a statement, saying they are overwhelmed by the outpouring. 

Berman’s 67-year-old wife, Katherine Berman, of Cheshire, and Edward Bertulis, 87, of Waterbury, were killed in a two-car crash in Woodbury Tuesday

“We are overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and sympathy from so many folks we know, and so many others we look forward to knowing. Kathy Berman had a huge heart, and this would have warmed hers beyond belief. It certainly warmed ours. All of us need to keep the family of Edward Bertulis in our thoughts and prayers as well,” Chris Berman and his children, Meredith and Doug, said in a statement ESPN released. 

The couple had been married for 33 years and the tragic crash happened the day before Chris Berman’s 62nd birthday.

The family of Edward Bertulis said he was returning from the cemetery, where he visited his late wife every day since she passed away last year, when the crash happened.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

College Students, Staff to Protest Over Budget Cuts


Students, faculty and staff members from the state’s colleges and universities will hold a protest today over budget cuts in the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities system.

Connecticut State Colleges and Universities President Mark Ojakian has said a tuition hike and budget cuts are both needed to deal with a big budget shortfall: $38 million next year, $55 million for the following year and $70 million the year after that

Faculty, staff and students plan to protest during the Board of Regents meeting and rally outside to call for action and answers because they are unhappy about proposals, including one to consolidate community colleges to one centrally managed college with campuses statewide.

Ojakian said the consolidation would save the system $28 million.

He also plans to consolidate administrative personnel to save $13 million.

Faculty members said they are outraged over the plans.

The protest is expected to start at 10 a.m. in Hartford.

Photo Credit: AP

Crews Battle Car Fire in New London

Route 44 in Putnam Reopens After Rollover

Study Identifies Root Cause of Gray, Balding Hair


Scientists in North Texas have identified the cells that cause hair to turn gray and to go bald – findings that could one day help identify possible treatments.

Researchers from the University of Texas Southewestern Medical Center accidentally stumbled upon the discovery while studying a rare genetic disease that causes tumors to grow on nerves. 

"When we saw the mice that we were expecting to form a tumor turned gray, we were really excited!" said Dr. Lu Le, an associate professor of dermatology at UT Southwestern.

The researchers found that a protein called KROX20, more commonly associated with nerve development, switches on in skin cells that become the hair shaft.

These hair cells then produce another protein called stem cell factor (SCF). In mice, these two proteins turned out to be important for baldness and graying.

When researchers deleted the SCF gene in mice, the animals' hair turned white; when they deleted the cells that produce KROX20, the mice stopped growing hair and eventually went bald, according to the study.

"We were really excited because as a dermatologist, I treat patients with hair disease, so when we found the root cause of why hair turns gray and hair loss, we just cannot let it go," Le said.

More research is needed to understand if the process works similarly in humans, and Le and his colleagues plan to start studying it in people.

Le hopes that, armed with this knowledge, scientists can develop a topical compound or transplant the necessary gene to hair follicles to correct these cosmetic problems.

Researchers say the findings could one day also provide answers about why humans age in general as hair graying and hair loss are among the first signs of aging.

At Hair Revival Studio in Dallas, clients say the possibility of a treatment for gray hair and baldness sounds remarkable.

"Everyone wants to have a good head of hair. There's a lot of confidence that comes with that," said Brandon Stewart.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News

PyeongChang? Pyongyang? Olympic Host City Easily Confused


A few letters make a big difference.

As the 2018 Winter Olympics approach, some soon-to-be spectators are confusing the host city of PyeongChang, South Korea, with Pyongyang, North Korea. In one case, a man who planned to go to the South Korean ski town accidentally went to the capital of one of the most repressive countries in the world.

"There's a lot of confusion between the two," Daniel Olomae Ole Sapit said.

In October 2014, Sapit, a Kenyan member of the Maasai tribe, was registered to attend a United Nations conference in PyeongChang. But a travel agent who bought his ticket unwittingly sent him to Pyongyang instead.

Sapit said he was held in North Korea for more than four hours, forced to pay about $500 for a plane ticket out of the country and ordered to sign a pledge saying he would never return to North Korea without a visa.

"I signed that very fast," he said Wednesday, speaking from Bonn, Germany, where he was attending another conference. The 40-year-old father of three travels around the world to advocate for indigenous groups.

Several visitors to the National Mall whom News4 spoke with said they weren't clear on what country PyeongChang is in.

"PyeongChang sounds like somewhere in Asia," one woman said.

"PyeongChang? Korea. North Korea," a man said.

Ed Hula, the editor-in-chief of the Olympics news website Around the Rings, said he's found that many people are still foggy about whether PyeongChang is in the prosperous, democratic south or the impoverished, authoritarian north, led by Kim Jong-un.

"It's still a big mystery, where PyeongChang is," Hula said. He's covered every round of the Olympic Games since 1992.

"PyeongChang, South Korea -- that means nothing to them," he said. "But I think people don't know what Pyongyang is for the most part either."

People familiar with both cities have been quick to quip on Twitter.

Sapit, who first told his story to the Wall Street Journal, said he first suspected something was wrong as the plane descended and he failed to see the huge city of Seoul or its neighbors from his window seat. Instead of seeing a modern terminal, he said he saw a "ramshackle" building with a metal roof. People outside the small airport dug trenches and carried heavy loads on their backs.

"By the time we were getting off the plane, I had an eerie feeling that this was not Seoul," he said.

He started asking fellow passengers if they were in South Korea. They told him they were in North Korea.

Sapit approached officials at the airport, and hours of discussions began about what had happened.

"They told me I was in North Korea illegally and had no visa," he said. He was terrified.

Finally, a woman who spoke English better than other officials told him he could pay for his plane ticket, sign the pledge promising to never return illegally and leave.

"He was sent back to Kenya with a $500 fine, and after that, we capitalized the C," said Songjae Lim, a spokesman for the PyeongChang Olympic organizing committee.

Previously known in English as Pyongchang, officials rebranded the city as PyeongChang, with an "e" and capital "C," to highlight the difference between the locations.

Despite the risk of confusion, interest in travel to PyeongChang -- known for its ski resorts, Buddhist temples and cuisine -- appears to be way up.

The travel search engine Kayak is seeing 20 times more searches for travel to PyeongChang during the 2018 Winter Games than the website had for the same period last year, a spokeswoman said earlier this year.

"While we have seen a handful of searches to Pyongyang, North Korea, for those same travel dates, folks are predominantly getting it right," the spokeswoman said.

A U.S. embassy official in Seoul said the chances are low that an American will accidentally fly to the wrong place; it's difficult to get a plane ticket or visa to North Korea.

Some Americans may head there on purpose. 

The manager of Koryo Tours, a Beijing company that organizes trips in North Korea, said the company has received a handful of inquiries from Americans who want to travel to the north since they'll be in the south. 

A number of Americans have been detained in North Korea. An American was detained on suspicion of "hostile acts" on May 6, taking to four the number of U.S. citizens being held by Kim's regime.

Sapit said he shudders whenever he hears the government has detained someone. 

"Anything could have happened to me," he said. He hopes his story will help other people.

Sapit had this advice for anyone planning to go to PyeongChang but not Pyongyang: "Look at your ticket the way you do an insurance contract. Confirm, confirm, confirm."

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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May 2016 Norwalk Fatal Hit-and-Run Remains Unsolved


A fatal hit-and-run on this day last year in Norwalk remains unsolved and the state is offering a reward for information that leads to an arrest.

The hit-and-run happened on Van Buren Avenue, near Bedford Avenue, around 9:30 p.m. on May 11, 2016 and police said the driver was behind the wheel of a gray BMW.

The two people the driver hit were transported to Norwalk Hospital and the female victim, Jaime Lane, later died from her injuries, police said. A man was also injured and was hospitalized after the crash.

The BMW was seen fleeing south on Van Buren Avenue and police believe it has front and right side damage. Officers found the right side mirror at the scene.

The state is offering a $50,000 reward for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the person or people responsible for the death of Jaime Lane.

Anyone with any information is asked to call Officer Wasilewski at 203-854-3035 or email cwasilewski@norwalkct.org. Anonymous tips can be left through the Norwalk Police Tip Line at 203-854-3111, online or by typing "NPD" into the text field, followed by the message, and sending it to CRIMES (274637).

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Trump Says He May Release Tax Returns After Leaving Office


President Donald Trump may release his tax returns after all, but not until he's out of office, NBC News reported.

In an interview published by The Economist Thursday, Trump said he didn't see a reason to make his tax returns public — even if it means getting Democratic support for his tax plan.

A Pew survey in January found 60 percent of Americans thought he should release his tax returns.

Trump said nobody cares about his tax returns besides reporters, but added that he'll release them at "some point."

"Maybe I'll release them after I'm finished because I'm very proud of them actually. I did a good job," Trump said.

Trump has dodged requests to release his tax returns throughout his campaign and presidency thus far. He's said that he’s under IRS audit and implied to The Economist that his taxes wouldn't be done anytime soon.

Photo Credit: AP, File

NBC News' Lester Holt Interviews Donald Trump


President Donald Trump sat down for an exclusive interview with NBC News' Lester Holt on Thursday, NBC News reported.

Holt will anchor "NBC Nightly News" from Washington, D.C., Thursday evening, and the interview will air during the 6:30 p.m./5:30c broadcast. Excerpts of the interview will air on the "Today" show Friday morning, as well. 

The interview is Trump's first sit down with Holt since he moderated the first presidential debate in September. It also comes in the midst of a major controversy over Trump's dismissal of FBI Director James Comey.

Photo Credit: NBC News
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State Trooper Layoffs Possible: Union


The Connecticut state police union said it is being called to a meeting today to discuss the possibility of state trooper layoffs. 

The office of labor relations is holding the meeting this afternoon, according to the union. It's not clear how many positions could be eliminated. 

The meeting comes a day after Gov. Dannel Malloy submitted a budget proposal to the legislature, which includes draining the state’s $235.6 million rainy day fund and making millions of dollars in cuts. 

Light Falls in Manchester Intersection


A traffic light came down right in the center of the Hillstown Road and Spencer Street intersection in Manchester and traffic will be allowed to go through the intersection, but it could be hours before the lights are working again.

Captain Chris Davis said the light came down shortly after 10 a.m.

“One of the guide wires holding the lights together snapped and, luckily the lights came down in a very slow manner, so no cars were impacted. It didn’t fall on anybody, didn’t cause any injuries,” he said.

It did, however, impact traffic. Crews are working to fix the problem and it might be a couple hours before the lights are operating again.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

NJ Standoff Enters 2nd Day After Shooting Leaves 1 Dead


A tense police standoff in New Jersey's capital city has stretched past 24 hours as authorities continue to negotiate with a gunman who opened fire on U.S. Marshals attempting to serve a warrant, killing a bystander and injuring three officers.

Through the early hours of Thursday, officers on a bullhorn could be heard pleading with 35-year-old Tyleeb Reese to leave the Trenton home where he's been holed up since Wednesday morning.

Police surrounded the Trenton home on Centre Street, near Furman Street, after U.S. Marshals came under fire around 6:20 a.m. Wednesday, Trenton Police Lt. Stephen Varn said. Trenton Police told NBC10 members of the U.S. Marshals Service Joint Regional Fugitive Task Force were initially at the house to serve a warrant when Reese opened fire.

A bystander, 56-year-old Robert Powell Jr., of Lamberton Street in Trenton, was shot and killed outside the home. 

Cellphone video obtained by NBC10 shows several armed officers braced against parked cars with their guns pointed at a nearby building. A bystander is then seen crawling on the ground to safety when several shots are fired and the man scrambles for cover. At least one bullet appears to strike the bystander, who lies motionless on the ground. An officer arrives after about two and a half minutes to help the man and drags him to safety. Another shot can be heard before the video ends.

Police have not confirmed if the bystander is the man in the cellphone video. Three Mercer County sheriffs officers also suffered minor injuries, police said. Officials said they were struck by projectiles and were taken to the hospital where they were all treated and released.

Police used a loudspeaker to try and coax the 35-year-old suspect out of the home. The barricade situation -- with state police, local police, SWAT teams, US marshals and prosecutors on the scene -- continued into early Thursday morning, gunfire ringing out overnight.

"You come down with your hands up in the air and I promise you, I give you my word, that you will walk away from here," a hostage negotiator could be heard saying over a bullhorn.

A negotiator later said, "Do you see any guns pointed at you?"

Some families in the area were evacuated from their homes while others were told to remain inside for their own safety after a reverse 911 call went out. A 7-year-old boy was alone in a home across from the barricaded house. Police were able to get him out safely and reunite him with his mother. 

One resident told NBC10 she is a close friend of Reese, a father of two.

"We talked to him a few times on the phone," Tamara Reaves said. "I asked him just to come out."

Reaves said the suspect is well-known and liked in their community.

"It's almost a suicide attempt to me and I love him very much," she said. "He wants somebody to take him out. He doesn't have the courage to kill himself. We want it to end in a good way, not the cops getting hurt or him getting hurt."

This story is developing. Stay with NBC10.com for updates.

Photo Credit: AP
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