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Officials: UK Bomber Had al Qaeda Ties, Terrorist Training


Salman Abedi, the 22-year-old man suspected to have killed 22 people in a suicide-bomb attack, had ties to al Qaeda and had received terrorist training abroad, a U.S. intelligence official told NBC News on Tuesday.

The U.S. intelligence official, who has direct knowledge of the investigation, said Abedi was identified by a bank card found in his pocket at the scene of the explosion at Manchester Arena following an Ariana Grande concert. 

Abedi had traveled to Libya within the last 12 months, one of multiple countries he had visited, the official said. And while he had "clear ties to al Qaeda," the official said, Abedi could have also had connections to other groups.

His own family, of Libyan descent, had even informed on him in the past, telling British authorities that he was dangerous, according to the intelligence official.

Photo Credit: AP

Security Top Priority at Summer Events in New Haven


Before the latest terror attack in Manchester, England, following an Ariana Grande concert, organizers for major summer events in New Haven were focused on security.

While organizers work with local, state and federal law enforcement to secure these events, Mayor Toni Harp has a message for anyone coming to New Haven this summer.

"If you see something that doesn’t look right to you, let our police department know let officials know so we can take care of it," Harp said. 

The suicide bombing that killed 22 and injured more than 50 people outside the Manchester Arena after the Ariana Grande concert is the latest in a series of terrorist attacks on a large crowd at a vulnerable soft target.

"Even the ones that escaped will have this trauma for the rest of their lives," Harp said. "It’s terrible."

Security is a top priority for Connecticut Open Tournament Director Anne Worcester.

"It’s a very, very important part of putting on a large scale international sporting event," Worcester said. "We take it very seriously."

Worcester said high security standards need to be in place in order for the Connecticut Tennis Center at Yale to host the international women's tennis tournament.

"So there are security experts constantly in touch with us about things happening at sporting events and entertainment events around the world, all year long, including but not limited to the tragedy last night and it’s so heartbreaking," Worcester said.

Before New Haven welcomes tennis fans in August, thousands of people will attend events during the three-week International Festival of Arts and Ideas in June.

"The New Haven Police Department and our office is in constant touch with the FBI," said Chad Herzog, the interim co-chair of the International Festival of Arts and Ideas.

The sharing of information among local, state and federal law enforcement happens daily, Harp said.

"We know of no threats at this time," the mayor said. "That should one arise we’ll be prepared."

1 Seriously Injured After Car Strikes Pedestrian in East Granby


A car struck a pedestrian in East Grandby on Tuesday night.

One person was transported to the hospital with serious injuries.

Connecticut State Police said the accident happened on Spoonerville Road but NBC Connecticut crews at the scene said it appears the accident happened where Hatchett Hill Road meets Seymour Road. 

No other information was immediately available. 

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Wrestlers, Autism Charity Want Answers After Donated Funds Seem to Disappear


Money from a professional wrestling event in April was supposed to benefit a charity that helps people who have autism, but the charity has yet to receive any money. Now the wrestlers and the charity want answers and the person who organized the event said his costs quickly added up and he has nothing to donate. 

Mario Mancini, of Paradise Alley Pro Wrestling, said plans for the event began when James Raymond, of New Haven, reached out to him in January. 

Raymond told Mancini his daughter is autistic and he wanted to host an event for Wallingford-based Autism Services and Resources Connecticut, according to Mancini. 

“This is our hook. He brought her here,” Mancini said about meeting Raymond’s daughter. “We all fell in love with her -- all carrying her around. We brought her into the ring, we’re all holding her and playing with her.” 

Paradise Alley Pro Wrestling agreed to bring their wrestlers on board and 600 seats were sold for “Wrestling for Autism,” which was held in East Haven on April 22. Some of the professional wrestlers who stepped into the ring donated their pay for the night. 

Raymond promised he’d donate the proceeds from the event’s ticket sales, according to Mancini, who estimates them to be at least $5,000. 

Paradise Alley Pro Wrestling was supposed to collect a $1,800 fee after the show to cover the costs of the ring, concession equipment and chairs. 

“I said, ‘James, it’s time to settle up’ and he said, ‘I’m going to give you a check.’ And I’m like, ‘Is the check good?” And he’s like, ‘Oh yeah, it’ll be fine,’” Mancini said. “I actually put it through the ATM that night at midnight of the show, then Tuesday the funds were released and I paid some bills.” 

A few days later, the check bounced, Mancini said, and he could not reach Raymond to ask it about it. 

So Mancini went to police to file a complaint. 

“Shame on you. You took advantage of a lot of good-hearted people that wanted to help you, help kids with autism,” Mancini said. 

Lois Rosenwald, the executive director of Autism Services and Resources Connecticut, said she’ll file a complaint with police against Raymond as well. 

She said Raymond had emailed the non-profit, offering the wrestling fundraiser. He said he wanted to use their name and promote the event and asked if Autism Services and Resources Connecticut could get the information out to families and people in their database, Rosenwald said. 

“When someone wants to do a fundraiser for us, it’s a big deal and we were thrilled,” she said. “Just why, why would you have the need to do something like this? Isn’t there a better way.” 

Sarge Ralph Murray, another partner at Paradise Alley Pro Wrestling, said he was surprised at what happened as well. 

“My real job is a correction officer and I thought I’d seen it all and he never gave me inkling that he was hustling us,” Murray said. 

The NBC Connecticut Troubleshooters stopped by Raymond’s home a few times to speak with him about the allegations and he initially declined to speak about them, but sent a statement to the NBC Connecticut Troubleshooters, saying he praises the autism community and wanted to help raise awareness. 

There is no money left to donate, he said, and blamed the high cost of putting on the event.

“I realized during the process I did not set a proper budget in place to help me control the expenses as the event was shaping up. I thought with getting bigger name wrestlers it would help me raise more awareness and help me possibly make more net proceeds. I was not taking in to consideration the higher cost a bigger name wrestler would be or where I would be having to fly them in from and hotel costs for these wrestlers,” the statement says.

See the full statement at the bottom of the article.

Raymond added that there were also costs associated with the online ticket site, promotional materials and food for concessions.

“All these costs added up fast. I was trying to put together a great event for a great cause. With all the costs of the event though we ended up having no net proceeds to donate,” Raymond said.

East Haven police said there are specific actions that Mancini and Rosenwald would have to take, such as sending a certified letter demanding the monies owed, before police can fully investigate.

Mancini said Paradise Alley Pro Wrestling will hold another wrestling match on June 25 and all proceeds will go to Autism Services and Resources Connecticut. He said they’ve also been collecting thousands more dollars from around town to add to whatever they make next month.

The NBC Connecticut Troubleshooters also reached out to the Department Of Consumer Protection and Lora Rae Anderson, the director of communications, offered the following tips on ways to protect yourself while trying to raise money for charity.

If you are working with a charity to raise money, or if you are a charity partnering with another individual or organization to raise money:

  • Make sure your agreement with one another is in writing
  • If you are not a charity, but are using their logo to advertise for an event, you must have the charity’s permission
  • If you have questions, contact the Department of Consumer Protection by emailing dcp.charities@ct.gov

For consumers donating to charity:

  • You can verify that a charity or paid solicitor is registered appropriately by visiting www.elicense.ct.gov
  • Research a charity’s mission, and ask questions before you give so you know where your money is going
  • If you get a solicitation, never give in to pressure tactics or deals that sound too good to be true. It could be a scam.
  • If you need to a file a complaint, email the Department of Consumer Protection at dcp.frauds@ct.gov.

Following is the full statement from James Raymond:

“On April 22nd 2017 I threw an event called Wrestling for Autism in East Haven, CT. This event I had spent 5 months preparing for. I wanted to help raise awareness and acceptance for autism and donate any net proceeds to a charity to help out in anyway possible. I have a daughter who is autistic and we had a lot of help and support from the autism community. So this was one way for me to try and give back to a community who has helped my daughter grow with continued support. With out this community I do not know where we would be right now with my daughter. So this was a great opportunity for me to try and do something to give back.

“I realized during the process I did not set a proper budget in place to help me control the expenses as the event was shaping up. I thought with getting bigger name wrestlers it would help me raise more awareness and help me possibly make more net proceeds. I was not taking in to consideration the higher cost a bigger name wrestler would be or where I would be having to fly them in from and hotel costs for these wrestlers. Along with all the costs of the wrestlers I still had other costs that would come into play. those costs would be the cost of the e-commerce site to sell the tickets, promotional materials, food for the concession stand, event costs for promotional events leading up to the initial event, t-shirts for the event, graphic design for all the event posters and online promotions of the event. All these cost added up fast. I was trying to put together a great event for a great cause. With all the costs of the event though we ended up having no net proceeds to donate.”

Photo Credit: Michael Avitable

CT Venues Talk Safety Following Fatal Manchester Explosion


Venues around the state are talking safety following the fatal bombing at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England.

"Safety and security is always on our mind for every event," said Hartford Yardgoats General Manager Tim Restall.

Restall said keeping thousands of visitors safe at Dunkin Donuts Park is an effort constantly being assessed.

"When you have 6,000 people come in your home you always have procedures on your mind," Restall said.

Some procedures include PA systems, bag checks and extra staff keeping a watchful eye, while also working closely with Hartford Police.

"We are always going to try and adjust and monitor, you're going to see increased security at events I'm sure there's going to be a lot more searching getting into events so,” said Hartford Police Deputy Chief Brian Foley.

Venue visitors like Sarthick Gowdar like the sound of more security in the wake of yesterday’s deadly explosion at the Ariana Grande concert in England.

"Whatever we can do to eliminate it, do it,” Gowdar said.

XL Center management released a statement saying:

"We are following these tragic events closely and we will respond appropriately as we move forward."

Gowdar said news of an attack is always somber to hear. But news of increased security is welcomed.

"When you hear about these types of things, and you definitely want to see as much security as possible," Gowdar said.

Hartford Police said they have no indication of threats in the city. They do say they will have increased police presence at venues and events.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

New Video Of Car Crashing Through Outdoor Seating At New Haven Restaurant.


Newly released surveillance video shows the moment of impact as a car crashes onto the sidewalk outdoor seating area of a downtown New Haven restaurant.

The incident unfolded Friday afternoon on College Street near the intersection with Crown Street.

A typically busy area, especially on the Friday before Yale University’s commencement weekend, had cleared out moments earlier.

No one was injured.

"It really was by the grace, I believe, of God that no one really was hurt," said Kim Soto, owner of Queen Zuri New Orleans Delicacies restaurant on College Street.

"If someone was sitting there, it just would’ve been tragic," Soto said.

Witnesses said the driver tried to avoid someone in the street, possibly a skateboarder and instead collided with tables, chairs, umbrellas and a lamppost before coming to a stop outside Pacifico restaurant.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Governor and State Union Leaders Reach Tentative Deal


Governor Malloy and state union leaders came to a tentative agreement Tuesday that could save the state billions of dollars in coming years.

Officials said the deal is expected to save about $1.5 billion over the next two years alone, money that can help close the state’s budget deficit.

The deal includes a three-year wage freeze and increases employee contributions for pensions and health benefits. Employees will contribute 2 percent more to their pensions. The redesign to the health insurance plan means employees will pay about 3 percent more for premiums, and more for co-pays on prescription drugs.

The deal also rescinds layoff notices issued since April, and provides job security protections through 2020.

The deal is expected to save $710 million in 2018 and gradually increase so that in the next 10 years the state will save around $10 billion.

Union leaders still need to take the deal to union members for a vote.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Homeless Men Rushed to Help Manchester Attack Victims


Crowdfunding campaigns have been launched to help two homeless men who reportedly rushed to help victims in the moments after a blast from a suicide bomber killed 22 at an Ariana Grande concert in England Monday night. 

Stephen Jones was sleeping near the venue in Manchester when he heard the blast, he told NBC News’ partners ITV. 

Jones told ITV he saw children bloodied, then helped to remove nails that were lodged in victims. 

“It was just instinct,” Jones told ITV. 

NBC News has not yet independently verified Jones’ account. 

Another homeless man, Chris Parker, 33, also rushed to help victims after the blast, according to a report in the Guardian newspaper. 

Parker said he wrapped an injured girl in a T-shirt and tended to a woman with a serious leg injury after the blast, the Guardian reported. 

“I haven’t stopped crying. The most shocking part of it is that it was a kids’ concert,” Parker said, according to the report. 

The crowdfunding campaign for Parker had raised more than 28,000 pounds ($36,300) by Wednesday; donations for Jones were near 20,000 pounds ($26,073).

Photo Credit: AP
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Scammer Uses Fake 'Movie Money' to Dupe Maryland Student


A Maryland college student thought a man she met online paid her $450 cash for her old iPhone -- but he actually gave her an envelope full of fake "movie money" used in film shoots.

The 18-year-old no longer has the phone and is out $50 in real money after her encounter with the scammer.


Hannah Buehrle, of Frederick, wanted to sell the old phone to help finance a Memorial Day weekend trip to the beach. Earlier this month, she used an app to advertise it for $400. Before long, she was contacted by a man who called himself Xavier.

Xavier said he would pay Buehrle $450 if she would meet him in Germantown, about 30 miles from where she was in Walkersville. She said she wasn't suspicious when he offered to pay more than the listed price.

"I think it was mostly because I was taking the time out of my day to drive all the way to Germantown, from Walkersville, so I think maybe he wanted to be nice," she said, making air quotes around the word "wanted."

They met in the parking lot of a Kohl's store. Xavier handed Buehrle the envelope. She gave the contents a quick look and saw what appeared to be five $100 bills.

Buehrle handed over the phone and Xavier's $50 change.

They went their separate ways, and Buehrle headed to deposit the payment. She inserted the bills into an ATM, but the machine kept spitting them out.

Then, she looked at them closely.

"I saw at the bottom of one of the bills 'for prop use only,'" she said.

Montgomery County police are investigating.

The movie money looks a lot like real cash. The fonts are the same. The design is largely the same. But if you look closely, warnings appear all over it.

A real $100 bill says "federal reserve note" on the upper left. The movie money says "for cinematic use only." A real bill says "the United States of America" on the upper right. The phony bill says "for motion picture use only."

Benjamin Franklin also has a slight smirk on his face on the movie money and eyebrows are much higher on his forehead.

One company that sells the fake cash, Prop Movie Money LLC, says its bills are designed to look like the real thing on camera. But they say again and again on their website that they will not modify the bills to look and feel exactly like the real thing, with working holograms and the same feel as real cash.

"Our prop money is solely designed for TV, film, photography, training and media productions," the site says. "It will not pass as real currency and cannot be modified to look exactly like real USA currency."

A stack of fake $100 bills costs $25.

Police warn that you have to be careful when making cash deals with strangers. Many police departments suggest doing handoffs outside police stations.

Photo Credit: Hannah Buehrle
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Families Fear Fallout from Health Care Changes


Peter Hodge’s two daughters fight cystic fibrosis daily, their medications, doctor visits and hospitalizations costing about $1 million in health care benefits a year. Should the Republican-controlled Senate upend insurance similarly to what the House of Representatives has already approved, their lives could be jeopardized, he said.

Hodge worries that his older daughter could end up on a newly defined Medicaid, with spending and other limits determined by the states. His younger daughter could face lifetime caps on the amount his insurance plan would pay for her treatment.

"People with cystic fibrosis and their families are terrified, absolutely terrified," said Hodge, who works in technology in South Florida.

Congressional attempts to revamp the health care system have been overshadowed by the drama centered on the White House: the Russian meddling in the U.S. presidential election, President Donald Trump's firing of FBI Director James Comey and the appointment of a former FBI director, Robert Mueller, as a special counsel. But even as some political analysts say Trump's problems threaten the GOP legislative agenda, senators have begun discussing health care.

And as they do, people across the country are trying to make sense of what Republican efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare will mean for them and those with pre-existing conditions are particularly anxious.

The House-approved American Health Care Act dismantles many of Obamacare's provisions, which has resulted in an additional 20 million people receiving insurance. It allows insurers to reinstate caps on lifetime coverage, loosens protections for people with pre-existing medical conditions, rolls back state expansions of Medicaid and slashes more than $800 billion from the joint state-federal program over 10 years as it moves from an open-ended federal guarantee to one that gives states control over how to spend a set amount. The Medicaid cuts would affect about 10 million people, according to an estimate from the Congressional Budget Office.

Trump's $4.1 trillion budget proposal for 2018, released on Tuesday, includes $600 billion in decreases to Medicaid, apparently on top of the House cuts. Medicaid provides health care not only to the poor, but also to elderly and disabled Americans, which makes up some 60 percent of its spending.

The House vote was taken before the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office analyzed the effects of the revised legislation. Its report on an earlier version found it would shrink the federal budget deficit significantly but leave 24 more million Americans without insurance after 10 years. The new analysis is expected out on Wednesday, May 24.

Republicans have been pledging to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act since it was signed by former President Obama in 2010. Some have philosophical disagreements over what role government should play in health care, others want to repeal taxes it imposed on the wealthy or argue that too many insurers are pulling out of the marketplaces. Trump has repeatedly insisted Obamacare is collapsing, a characterization disputed by his critics.

Negotiations in the U.S. Senate will begin in full now with the release of the new Congressional Budget Office report. Some senators are trying to work across party lines, but conservatives remain committed to more radical changes, and a group of Republicans picked by the party leadership has been meeting in private, with no plans for public committee hearings.

"Your morning reminder that under the cloud cover of the FBI story, 13 GOP Senators are still secretly writing a bill to destroy the ACA," Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut tweeted on May 15 as news organizations focused on Comey’s firing.

The changes already approved by the House would be devastating to twin sisters Anastasia and Alba Somoza of New York City, particularly any decreases in Medicaid, according their mother, Mary Somoza. 

The twins, now 33, were born prematurely with cerebral palsy, and though unable sit up on their own, Alba Somoza works as an artist who teaches children in New York City and Anastasia Somoza as an advocate for others with disabilities. She also spoke on behalf of Hillary Clinton at the Democratic National Conventional last summer, when she said she feared Trump’s election. 

Everything they have accomplished could be at risk, Mary Somoza said.

"They will require from-womb-to-tomb assistance," she said. "And I'm not always going to be around to provide it."

In 2004, the Centers for Disease Control estimated that the lifetime cost to care for a person with cerebral palsy at $1 million. Both women need extensive assistance from aides to live as independently as they do, and Alba Somoza, who cannot speak, communicates through a $10,000 computer that must be updated every five years. However progressive New York is as a state, it cannot cover the costs that the federal government does, Mary Somoza said.

"They both do extraordinary things and all of that would come to a halt if anything happened to their Medicaid coverage," she said.

United Cerebral Palsy, which advocates for independent lives for those with cerebral palsy, fought the House bill, calling it potentially devastating to anyone who relies on Medicaid for health coverage and longterm services.

"We are hopeful that as the Senate deliberates, more information about the projected impact of the House bill will become known and that the Senate will not pass a bill that would bring harm to our community," it said in a statement.

It is among the major health organizations that have take positions against the House bill, including the American Medical Association, the American Hospital Association, the American Academy of Family Physicians, and the American Academy of Pediatrics. Even the chief medical officer of Medicaid, Dr. Andrey Ostrovsky, tweeted his opposition in March.

"Despite political messaging from others at HHS, I align with the experts from @aafp @AmerAcadPeds @AmerMedicalAssn in opposition to #AHCA," he tweeted.

According to a Quinnipiac University poll released on May 11, 56 percent of American voters disapprove of the plan passed narrowly at the beginning of the month by House Republicans under Speaker Paul Ryan.

Norma Brockman, the director of a pre-school in New York City, has already had one of her knees and a hip replaced, but needs the same operation for her other hip.

Brockman is insured through her job, plus she bought supplemental coverage, but fears that what had cost her $500 would no longer be covered and be more than she could afford, she said. The cost of a hip replacement in New York City can be as high as $69,654, according to a 2015 report done by Blue Cross, Blue Shield. 

"I will be in a wheelchair for the rest of my life if this happens," she said.

The changes approved by the House would allow states to waive the requirement that insurers not penalize people with pre-existing conditions, provided they have had a lapse in coverage. High-risk insurance pools would be available but critics say they are often under-funded. Six million Americans with pre-existing conditions could face significant premium increases, according to an analysis done by the Kaiser Family Foundation.

"We cannot afford to let people die," Brockman said. "We cannot afford to let people be sick. I don't understand how they look us in the eye and say, 'Oh you have choice.' If you can't afford it, you just don't have it."

Delilah Talbot, a mother from Kearny, New Jersey, was covered by a corporate insurance plan when she was diagnosed with what was thought a very early stage of breast cancer. But various rounds of testing revealed that the then 32-year-old actually had advanced breast cancer that had already moved into her lymph nodes and one of her hips. Talbot's treatment — surgery, chemotherapy and radiation — was covered by her plan and whenever her insurance company balked, her doctor was able to petition successfully, she said.

"I had a very experienced oncologist who understood the nature of breast cancer at a young age," she said. "As he calls it, it's a vicious monster and it really doesn't let up."

She went into remission for two-and-a-half years. Early last year her cancer returned, this time as lesions in her spine. For six months she was able to keep the tumors from spreading through medication but by December she was in too much pain, and now her chemotherapy is so debilitating, she is often not able to leave her home. She is fighting for her life for her son, she said, who lives with his father.

"Everything that I do is for him," she said. "Every bit of work that I did, every penny that I earned was to provide a life for him."

This time, she is insured through Obamacare, with premium costs of just under $600 a month, which she offsets with a $300 credit. She is eligible for Medicare, but out-of-pocket costs would be higher. Were the Republican changes to take effect, she would not be able to get insurance she could afford and the treatments she needs, she said.

"I believe people creating these policies have no absolutely idea how it affects your life from A to Z — not just from the point of your health and your physical health and how you have to treat that but your mental health and your finances and trying to recover from that and possibly having to file for bankruptcy," she said. 

Hodge's daughters, now 24 and 16, are insured through his employer but he is apprehensive about lifetime caps, which he said his daughters' drugs alone could exhaust in a year or two. Equally worrying to him are the cuts to Medicaid, through which half of children with cystic fibrosis and a third of adults receive care.

Hodge's eldest daughter will turn 26 in two years and will no longer be eligible for coverage under his insurance. If she is assigned a high-risk pool, there is little likelihood that she will be able to get affordable, adequate treatments, he said. Or if she finds herself on Medicaid, she will be at risk if her treatments are restricted.

"The American Health Care Act is woefully inadequate for people with cystic fibrosis," said Mary Dwight, senior vice president for policy and patient assistance programs at the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. "To be clear, the legislation does not protect people with pre-existing conditions. In fact, it undermines vital safeguards against being charged more for insurance based on health status."

Currently, Hodge's daughters receive care at centers that offer multidisciplinary teams, an approach that has been successful for people with cystic fibrosis. It helps to keep them out of hospitals and emergency rooms, where they can be exposed to bacterial infections that will do further damage to their lungs, he said. Kalydeco, a drug that both daughters take, and which has allowed his elder daughter to live and work in Washington, D.C., costs more than $300,000 a year. Copay programs could be in jeopardy, he said.

"There is absolute potential in there for the protections that we have for existing conditions to go away," he said. "As much as Paul Ryan wants to stand up and say that isn't the case, he should read his own bill."

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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Service Shut Off After Water Line Break at Middletown Bank

State Senate Votes in Favor of East Windsor Casino Proposal


State lawmakers voted in favor of a proposal Tuesday night that puts Connecticut yet another step closer to a new casino.

The Senate voted on SB 957, which lays out how the state would regulate a casino facility in the state, and authorizes MMCT Venture, LLC, a joint venture between the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribes, to operate a a casino facility off tribal lands.

SB 957 passed 24 to 12, which means both Democrats and Republicans voted in favor of the casino.

The bill states that the facility would pay a 25 percent tax on slots and 25 percent on table games – with the revenue from table games being split - 15 percent going to statewide tourism marketing and 10 percent going directly to the state.

East Windsor has already approved plans for a third casino to be built by MMCT Venture. The site would be at the abandoned Showcase Cinema property along Interstate 91. Tribal leaders said the facility would bring more than 1,700 jobs and $8.5 million annually to the town of East Windsor.

The tribes are pushing for quick action on the casino amid concerns of competition from a new MGM Resorts Management facility scheduled to open next year in Springfield, Mass.

One holdup is to make sure this new deal doesn’t violate the current compacts with the tribes and change the existing revenue sharing agreement regarding the two casinos currently operating in the state.

Following the vote, Tribal chairs Kevin Brown of the Mohegan Tribal Council and Rodney Butler of the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Council released as statement that read in part:

“The state faces serious financial challenges. This overwhelming, bipartisan vote shows we can be part of the solution.”

MGM Resorts Management, which is building a new casino in Springfield, Mass., also released a statement that read in part:

“If the Senate bill were to ultimately become law, numerous national gaming operators - including MGM - would be precluded from offering a competitive bid for consideration. To shut down that opportunity would seem to be a disservice to Connecticut’s hardworking taxpayers.”

The bill still needs approval from the House and from the governor to become law.

There are also two proposals that would open the bidding process to the competition, allowing other tribes or commercial casinos to make an offer. 

Photo Credit: Tecton Architects

Off-Duty State Trooper Helps Deliver Baby in Commuter Lot


An off-duty state trooper helped deliver a baby in a commuter lot in Lebanon Tuesday evening.

Onstar notified state police that a woman who was pulled over on the side of Route 2 was in labor just before 6:30 p.m. Tuesday. Then, Onstar notified police that she was in the commuter parking lot, according to state police.

Troop K dispatched several troopers to the area, but an off-duty trooper was the first to get there, provided first aid and helped with the birth until troopers who were on-duty and an ambulance responded.

Police said the woman was transported to Backus Hospital.

Suspect in Donation Jar Theft Arrested


Waterford police have arrested a man accused of stealing a donation jar for a dog rescue.

Police said 34-year-old Joseph Tonelli is suspected of stealing a jar filled with donations meant for Friday’s Rescue Foundation, a non-profit dog adoption organization in Southeastern Connecticut, from the counter of the Hess gas station at 124 Boston Post Road around 8:15 p.m. on Tuesday, May 16.

After releasing surveillance photos, police received several calls and direct messages identifying a suspect.  

Police said Tonelli is being charged with sixth-degree larceny. 

Several addresses are listed for Tonelli and he was previously arrested on failure to appear warrants, according to police. 

Photo Credit: Waterford Police

Man Tosses 2,000 Bags of Heroin While Running from Authorities: Police


Police and the FBI arrested a Worcester, Massachusetts man who they said threw 2,000 bags of heroin trying to get away from authorities in Norwich on May 15. 

Members of the Norwich Police Department narcotics unit, the detective division and the patrol division assisted the Federal Bureau of Investigation in the arresting 34-year-old Elias Escarraman, of Worcester, Massachusetts, on federal narcotics charges, according to Norwich police.

They said the arrest was part of a joint investigation into the trafficking of significant amounts of heroin in Connecticut and Massachusetts.

When he was arrested, Escarraman was on supervised release for a 2014 narcotics arrest in Lowell, Massachusetts after police found him with more than a kilogram of cocaine and $87,000 in cash, according to a news release from Norwich Police.

Photo Credit: Norwich Police

DOT Worker Struck on Wilbur Cross Parkway in North Haven


A state Department of Transportation employee has been was struck on the southbound side of the Wilbur Cross Parkway in North Haven. The road is closed and injuries are reported, but they are not life-threatening.

Police said the person was struck between exits 63 and 64 and motorists should avoid the area or expect delays.

No additional information was immediately available.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

No Prison Time for Woman in Crash That Killed Bethany Teen


A Cheshire woman has pleaded guilty to driving under the influence in connection with the crash that killed a Bethany teen on Christmas in 2015 but she will not serve prison time.

Barbara Ross, of Cheshire, was accused of driving the car that hit Bobby Weidig Jr., 18, of Bethany, as he was walking to a music festival on Route 69, according to police. Weidig’s friends said the Amity Regional High School graduate was walking across the street with his brother when he was hit.

Ross pleaded guilty and was sentenced to six months, suspended, and was ordered to pay a $798 fine. 

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Ariana Grande Fans Suffered 'Same Injuries' as Kids in Syri


After a brutal suicide bombing that left 22 dead and dozens injured Monday night by the entrance of a Manchester arena in the U.K., a local doctor came face to face with injuries that were reminiscient of his time as volunteer doctor in Syria, NBC News reported.

Dr. Mounir Hakimi is a surgeon who lives in Britain. But he grew up in Syria and has returned to the Middle Eastern country regularly to help train doctors and carry out operations during its years-long civil war. 

"I never expected that I would be treating patients who have the same injuries that I saw in Syria," he told NBC News immediately after the operation on Wednesday morning. "I never thought I would experience a terror attack so close to my house. I never thought it would be close to my family and my kids."

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Trump Team Stands by Budget’s $2 Trillion Math Error


President Donald Trump's newly unveiled budget contains a massive accounting error that uses the same money twice for two different purposes, NBC News reported. 

Based on its supersized projections of 3 percent GDP, the president's budget forecasts about $2 trillion in extra federal revenue growth over the next 10 years, which it then uses to pay for Trump's "biggest tax cut in history." 

But then it also uses that very same $2 trillion to balance the budget. 

Experts say the numbers just don’t add up. 

Former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers wrote on his blog, "It appears to be the most egregious accounting error in a presidential budget in the nearly 40 years I have been tracking them."

But White House budget director Mick Mulvaney said Tuesday he stands by the numbers. 

"I'm aware of the criticisms and would simply come back and say there's other places where we were probably overly conservative in our accounting," he said. "We stand by the numbers."

Photo Credit: AP

Trump Praises Philippine Leader for Drug Crackdown: Report


When President Donald Trump called Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte in April, he said Duterte is doing "a great job" handling his nation's drug problems, which have been widely condemned as a bloody, extrajudicial campaign against suspected dealers, according to a Washington Post report.

Trump told Duterte he was doing an "unbelievable job on the drug problem," according to a transcript of the call the Post obtained after being circulated by the government, NBC New reported. 

Trump also revealed sensitive military information — two U.S. nuclear submarines were near North Korea — on the call, in which he and Duterte call North Korean leader Kim Jong Un a "madman."

A senior White House official confirmed to the Post that the transcript is accurate. NBC has reached out to the White House for additional confirmation.

Photo Credit: AP/ Getty Images, File
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