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RBI Hits Homerun


12 players from Hartford's Mayor Mike little league program have spent the last 5 days taking part in all star Week festivities at Citi Field in New York. Their trip culminated Monday night with watching the home run derby.

Ill. Ex-Gov. Blagojevich Appeals Corruption Conviction


Lawyers for Rod Blagojevich filed an appeal Monday challenging the imprisoned former Illinois governor's corruption conviction and stiff, 14-year prison term.

The lengthy filing with the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago comes more than two years after the Chicago Democrat's retrial and 16 months after he entered a federal prison in Colorado.

The appeal cites a juror who allegedly expressed a bias against Blagojevich who was seated despite the objections of defense attorneys. It also raises longstanding claims that Judge James Zagel barred FBI wiretap evidence that might have aided the defense and argues the judge miscalculated the appropriate prison term.

The appeal was filed about 30 minutes before a midnight deadline to do so.
The deadline to appeal Blagojevich's corruption conviction already has been pushed back several times. Attorney Lauren Kaeseberg told the Associated Press the appeal will be filed in Chicago's 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals but declined to comment on its contents.

Appeals can take years to play out, and defendants rarely prevail.

The deadline to appeal Blagojevich's corruption conviction already has been pushed back several times. Attorney Lauren Kaeseberg told the Associated Press the appeal will be filed in Chicago's 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals but declined to comment on its contents.

Jurors convicted Blagojevich on 18 counts in 2011, including charges that he tried to sell or trade President Barack Obama's vacated U.S. Senate seat. He reported to a Colorado federal prison on March 15, 2012.

Kaeseberg said in March the former governor has found a variety of ways to occupy his free time, including teaching Civil War history, learning to play the guitar and keeping a journal.

"He's been doing a lot of reading. He's actually, you know, been sort of tinkering with different musical instruments with other inmates," she said.

Blagojevich's scheduled release date is May 23, 2024. If he stays in prison until then, he'd be 67 years old upon release.

Photo Credit: AP

Arrests After Violence Mars LA Protest


Los Angeles police made arrests after a peaceful prayer vigil gave way to violence at Leimert Park on Monday, the second night of unrest after the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin in Florida.

Fourteen people were arrested -- most for failure to disperse -- in connection with the violence, Los Angeles Police Department officials told NBC4 Tuesday morning. Aerial video caught some throwing rocks, attacking people and clashing with police. No serious injuries were reported, police said.

A prayer vigil began peacefully about 6 p.m. before a group broke off from the vigil and incited chaos in the streets. Just before 10 p.m., the Los Angeles Police Department declared the protest an unlawful assembly and dispersed the gathering, an LAPD spokesman said.

"The rights of the many have been abused by the actions of a few," said LAPD Chief Charlie Beck.

The area quickly cleared and officers detained several people. Beck said officers will be out in force Tuesday night to prevent a repeat of the violence

"The best way to honor (Trayvon Martin) is in a nonviolent manner," said Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. "The Martin family didn't ask anybody to break car windows. They didn't ask anybody to take little kids' scooters. They didn't ask anybody to attack businesses. And they certainly didn't say to take over traffic in the streets."

Protesters showed disapproval of a jury's not guilty verdict in the case of George Zimmerman, a 29-year-old neighborhood watch captain who fatally shot Trayvon Martin, an unarmed black 17-year-old in a Sanford, Fla., gated community.

The Zimmerman trial fueled a national debate about race, guns and Florida's "stand-your-ground" law that broadens the definition of self-defense and the legal scope of the use of firearms in exercising it.

On Monday night, a majority of protesters were gathered at Leimert Park (map), but a violent group split off and walked up and down surrounding streets, rushing into businesses, attacking pedestrians and bicyclists, breaking windows and throwing objects at police.

LAPD officers appeared to use rubber bullets or bean bag weapons against some of the protesters at one point.

Cameras also captured an attack on a CBS2/KCAL9 news crew as they conducted an interview. The crew members were treated for minor injuries, according to the station.

As a violent group split off from the peaceful prayer vigil, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti tweeted: "I commend the prayer rally attendees in Leimert Park for practicing peace. I call on people in street on Crenshaw to follow their example."

LAPD Chief Charlie Beck tweeted: "Violence is never the answer. Urging all protestors around LA 2let peace prevail.This is OUR City and we need to work 2gether 2 preserve it"

In Oakland on Monday, a group of protesters briefly blocked Interstate 880.

On Sunday night in Los Angeles, police made arrests and issued citations during demonstrations across the city.

At one point, protesters blocked Interstate 10 at Arlington Boulevard for more than 30 minutes. At another, a group broke off and walked into the W Hotel, causing some $15,000 in damage to the lobby, said LAPD Cmdr. Andrew Smith, a department spokesman.

On Monday night, Smith said, the protests began peacefully but a group broke off and turned violent.

"It originally started out as a peaceful protest, as they all have, and we certainly support that - in fact encourage people to peacefully protest, exercise their First Amendment rights," LAPD Cmdr. Andrew Smith told NBC4. "But what happened here unfortunately is some people took this as an opportunity to break into buildings, to jump on cars, to commit acts of vandalism, to assault other people and to commit some thefts from some of the buildings here."

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NJ Grad Killed in Street Fight Sparked by Mistaken Identity


A 20-year-old New Jersey man is charged in the murder of a recent high school graduate in an altercation sparked by an apparent case of mistaken identity, authorities said.

The dispute began when Jonathan Lafontaine of Totowa, with three friends inside a Jeep, pulled up alongside a Mercedes on Union Boulevard in Little Falls, prosecutors said. The Mercedes was filled with a group of five young people, including 18-year-old Brian Topoleski, returning from a night out at a local restaurant. 

The people inside the Jeep thought they recognized someone in the Mercedes and began to yell out to get their attention, according to prosecutors. They quickly realized they were mistaken but the exchange set off an altercation between the two groups. 

The Jeep took off toward a house in Little Falls, and the Mercedes followed. Once the Jeep arrived at its destination on Jacobus Avenue -- the home of a friend of Lafontaine -- the groups again exchanged words, prosecutors said. Lafontaine walked out of the Jeep and went inside his friend's home.

Meanwhile, the group inside the Mercedes, including Topoleski, walked out of the car and went toward the Jeep where the rest of the occupants -- a boy and a girl -- were still inside, according to prosecutors. 

At that point, Lafontaine reemerged from his friend's home with two steak knives and approached Topoleski and his friends, who by that point were preparing to leave. That's when Lafontaine punched Topoleski and stabbed him in the chest, prosecutors said. 

Lafontaine retreated into his friend's home after the stabbing, then hid in the backyard, authorities said. SWAT teams were called to the house, and eventually took him into custody without incident.

Topoleski was declared dead at St. Joseph's Regional Trauma Center.

Lafontaine is charged with first-degree murder and two counts of criminal possession of a weapon. Attorney information wasn't immediately available.

Prosecutors said the friend inside the Jacobus Avenue home had tried to stop Lafontaine as he left the home with the knives, and that the friend sustained cuts to his hand in his attempt. 

Topoleski had just graduated Cedar Grove High School and was set to attend Montclair State University this fall, his family said.

"My brother was just a nice, kind, caring kid," said Topoleski's brother Robert. "Anytime my sister had to go to swim practice, he would be the first to take her. My dad needed help at work, he would be there. Anytime his friends needed anything, he would drop anything for them."

-- Brian Thompson contributed to this report. 

Contagious Disease Spreading Among Philly Children


With Philadelphia in the midst of another heat wave, many children seek relief in fountains, pools and spray parks. But local doctors are warning that the water is helping to spread a highly contagious disease that puts children, particularly infants and toddlers, at risk.

It’s called hand, foot and mouth disease, and it's caused by the coxsackie virus. Symptoms of hand, foot and mouth include fever, headache, loss of appetite and painful blisters that form on the palms of hands, soles of feet and lips -- hence the name (not to be confused with foot-and-mouth disease, a virus that can cause lockjaw in cattle and be fatal).

Doctors say children spread it in fountains, pools daycares, playgrounds and at home. They also say it’s extremely contagious among toddlers who haven’t been exposed to the virus before.

“It’s ubiquitous,” said Dr. Wenonah Nelson, a pediatrician at Bryn Mawr Hospital. “It spreads all over the place. It’s spread by respiratory droplet and probably spread by fecal route. So we ask people to be careful about hand wiping after diaper changes.”

Brooke Mailhiot of Mount Laurel, NJ says her 9-month-old son Chase was diagnosed with the virus.

“He had a loss of appetite and was very fatigued,” she said.

Mailhiot believes her son caught the virus after playing at a water park. Doctors also say however that children can catch it by picking up a shared toy that went from hand to mouth.

“The kids put everything in their mouth,” she said. “I just carry anti-bacterial wipes and wipe everything down.”

Doctors say the virus is rarely life-threatening and normally lasts about a week. They recommend parents follow Mailhiot’s example and wipe toys down with anti-bacterial wipes. They also say it can be treated with over the counter pain relievers. Other than that, they say, it’s best to just let it run its course.

Photo Credit: NBC10 Viewer

$2K Reward Offered After Dog Dies From Poisonous Meatball


Oskar, a 7-year-old dachshund who ate poisoned meatballs that were left strewn about a San Francisco neighborhood earlier this month, has died.

His owner, Dorothy Schechte, said Oskar had a seizure minutes after consuming a meatball poisoned with strychnine. He was sickened and died Thursday of organ failure.

Schechter said the silence in her San Francisco home is heartbreaking.

"He would know when I came in either in front or in back," she said. "He'd bang against the door — I still wait to hear that."

Police said nearly 100 poisoned meatballs — apparently intended for local dogs — have been collected since July 3.

Animal Care and Control, along with police, posted warning signs in the San Francisco neighborhoods of Twin Peaks and Diamond Heights.

Authorities said testing reveals the meatballs are also lethal to humans. The Animal Legal Defense Fund is offering a $2,000 reward for information leading to a conviction in the case.

Schechter is eager to see an arrest so dog owners can relax and someone will be held responsible for Oskar's death.

"It's extremely important to show you can't get away with something like this and so Oskar didn't die in vain," she said. "I feel like my insides have been torn up because it was such a horrible way to go."




Woman Ran Down Boyfriend's Ex-Girlfriend With Car: Cops


Hamden police have charged a woman with running down her boyfriend's ex-girlfriend.

Officers responded to 1245 Dixwell Avenue around 11:30 a.m. Sunday after a report of an assault with a car. When police arrived, they found a 46-year-old woman who had been struck by a car while riding her bicycle in a parking lot.

According to police, witnesses told them the car was being driven by 24-year-old Jacita Candelario, and that Candelario intentionally drove into the victim and a high rate of speed. Candelario drove off with the bike stuck under her car, police said.

Officers found Candelario a few minutes later with her car on Newhall Street. The car had sustained a flat tire.

Candelario's boyfriend and her 6-year-old daughter were inside the car.

The investigation led police to determine that the 46-year-old victim was the ex-girlfriend of Candelario's current boyfriend. The victim was taken to Yale-New Haven Hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

Candelario is charged with second-degree assault, reckless endangerment, criminal mischief and risk of injury to a minor. She is scheduled to appear in court July 29.

Photo Credit: Hamden Police

Hazmat Spill on I-84


There is a haz-mat spill on Interstate 84 East near exit 68 in Tolland, according to police.

State police said the fire department is responding to a spill from a tractor trailer.

The highway is open.

Photo Credit: Connecticut Department of Transportation Traffic cams

Mountain Fire Grows to 8,000 Acres


A fast-moving wildfire in Southern California's San Jacinto Mountains grew to 8,000 acres by late Tuesday morning after prompting mandatory evacuations and destroying an unknown number of structures.

Despite firefighters battling flames overnight from the ground and in the air, the Mountain Fire was just 10 percent contained as of 9 a.m. Tuesday, according to a news release from the U.S. Forest Service.

An incident report had noted the growth potential of the blaze was "extreme" in steep and rugged terrain. Heavy smoke had spread into the Coachella Valley, the forest service tweeted.

A night-flying helicopter and Air Attack aircraft worked overnight on the fire, which had broken out at 1:43 p.m. Monday on private property off State Highway 243. The ignition point is a few miles south of the resort town of Idywild in a community called Mountain Center (map).

Flames were spreading east over the mountains.

Structures were damaged and destroyed in the Pine Springs Ranch area in Apple Canyon, and investigators were assessing the loss, the forest service said. It wasn't clear how many or what type of buildings were damaged.

Norm Chaffin, an area resident who was evacuated, told NBC4 Monday night that a neighbor had seen a nearby home in flames.

"We have no idea what's going to be there," Chaffin said.

Mandatory evacuations remained in effect for Fleming Ranch, Bonita Vista and Pine Springs Ranch, said the Forest Service, which manages much of the region where the blaze was burning.

The area -- the San Bernardino National Forest and adjacent Mount San Jacinto State Park -- is a popular destination for hikers, rock climbers and campers. San Jacinto Peak, the second-highest point in Southern California, is about eight miles north-northeast of where the fire began.

The Pacific Crest Trail was closed from State Highway 74 to Saddle Junction, as were the South Ridge Trail, Carumba Trail, Spitler Peak Trail, Fobes Trail, and Cedar Springs, according to an online fire incident report.

The wildfire was under attack from 650 firefighters, six helicopters and 10 air tankers.

Highway 243 was closed between State Highway 74 and Saunders Meadows Drive.

Evacuation centers were set up at the following locations:

  • Hemet High School, 41701 E. Stetson Ave, Hemet
  • Hamilton High School, 57430 Mitchell Road, Anza - Can accept small animals
  • Large and Small Animals can be taken to Lake Hemet Campground in Garner Valley
  • Small animals can be brought to the SanJacinto Animal Shelter, 581 S. Grand Ave, San Jacinto.

Photo credit: AP/The Desert Sun.

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Photo Credit: Debi Andersen

Student Candidate Jailed for Stealing Votes


A San Diego student who was found guilty of stealing identities and passwords of fellow students to rig campus elections and win the presidency was sentenced to one year in prison on Monday.

Matthew Weaver, who ran for president of the Associated Students last year, tried to win the Cal State University San Marcos Associated Students presidency by stealing identities of more than 700 students. But just hours before the voting ended, employees found Weaver using a university computer to cast votes for himself and four friends.

The 22-year-old old Huntington Beach resident was arrested in February after the FBI led a year-long investigation of Weaver on suspicion of wire fraud and access device fraud.

If the plan had succeeded, Weaver and his friends would have received a total stipend of $36,000 for their work in the student government. He also would have been in charge of a $300,000 budget for CSUSM.

Weaver pleaded guilty in March to wire fraud, unauthorized access of a computer and identity theft. He also admitted that he used small electronic devices to steal 745 student passwords, using it to check student’s email and Facebook accounts for passwords.

“Weaver determinedly and repeatedly spied on his classmates, stole their passwords, read their secrets, and usurped their votes – and he did it with his eyes wide open,” read the sentencing memorandum. “Weaver actually researched the legality of his scheme beforehand…and then, when he knew it was completely illegal, he researched how to blame someone else.”

U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy said Weaver’s behavior serves as a warning to others who believe they won’t get caught for a similar crime.

“Weaver ran roughshod over the privacy rights of hundreds of people so that he could indulge his vanity,” Duffy said in a statement. “If privacy is to mean anything in a digital age, it has to be protected.”

Photo Credit: Getty

White Powder Found on Plane at Bradley Airport


State police are investigating after white powder was found on a plane that landed at Bradley Airport on Monday night.

A flight attendant discovered a small amount of white powder on the bathroom of aircraft, police said. The plane taxied on the runway as normal and the 135 passengers and five crew members were allowed to get off the plane.

According to Bradley Airport officials the Jet Blue 460 flight from Fort Lauderdale, Florida landed at the airport around 8:30 p.m. and the flight crew had to take decontaminating showers as a precaution.

"Initial reports indicate Jetblue flight 460 from Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood to Hartford with 135 customers and 5 crew, encountered a security incident onboard. Out of an abundance of caution, local authorities met the flight upon arrival at 8:18 p.m. at Bradley International Airport. All Customers have deplaned safely and securely at this time," JetBlue Airlines said in a statement.

The incident did not affect any airport operations or cause delays to any incoming or outgoing flights.

The State Police Emergency Services team is on site investigating.

Gold Cup Soccer Games at Rentschler Tonight


The heat is not keeping world-class soccer players from competing in the Gold Cup games in East Hartford tonight.

Rentschler Field is one of 13 venues across the United States where games are being held.

Cuba and Belize will play at 5:30 p.m., followed by team U.S.A, taking on Costa Rica at 8 p.m.

This is the first time since 2006 that the U.S. men's soccer team is playing in Connecticut.

More information about tickets is available online.

Sailors Charged With Fireworks Possession


Two members of the U.S. Navy have been charged with possession of fireworks and additional charges after police found fireworks in a storage facility in the Gales Ferry section of Ledyard.

Ledyard police were on patrol at 10:15 p.m. on Saturday when the found a car parked in a hiking area off of Avery Hill Road and found a small amount of explosive material, police said.

The investigation led officers to a storage facility in the Gales Ferry section of Ledyard, where they found more materials, police said.

State troopers responded and secured the materials.

John Mallow, 22, of the submarine base in Groton was charged with possession of explosives, manufacture of bombs, and possession of fireworks. He was held on a $50,000 bond.

Gary Braun, 19, also of the submarine base in Groton was charged with possession of explosives and possession of fireworks. He was held on a $10,000 bond.

Police said the manufacture charge is for mixing compounds together that are capable of creating an explosion and there was no indication that the men had any intent to cause damage or harm to anyone.

Stanley Cup Comes to Connecticut Today


Bruins fans might still be a little bitter about losing the NHL championship to the Chicago Blackhawks, but the Stanley Cup is coming to Connecticut today.

Ben Smith, a 28-year-old righ wing, was called up from the AHL team and joined the Blackhawks for the final came.

The Avon resident is a 2006 graduate of Westminster School in Simsbury.

Smith has invited players from the Norther Lights and the Simsbury and Avon youth hockey programs to join in the festivities.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Rocky Hill High School Evacuated


Rocky Hill High School is evacuated because of a small nitrate acid spill.

A science program was being held at the school and the custodial crew cleaning the science lab knocked over a beaker, according to the superintendent.

No one was injured and the students have been moved to the middle school.

"We didn't want to take any chances with anyone's safety. Anytime there's a chemical spill we're following the OSHA protocol," Superintendent Dr, Mark Zito said.

The school will not reopen until the cleanup is taken care of.



Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

DMV Norwich Branch Closed Today


The Department of Motor Vehicles is closing the Norwich branch office for the rest of today because of a malfunctioning air conditioner.

The office is expected to open on Wednesday.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Water Main Break in West Hartford


The Metropolitan District is investigating a break in a 6-inch water main in front of 65 Oakwood Ave. in West Hartford.

At 11:30 p.m., the street was closed between Crosby and Gillette streets and the water was turned off.

Thirteen houses were affected and the water wagon was brought in to provide water to any residents who needed it.

The repairs should be finished between 3:30 p.m. and 5 p.m.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Darien Man Found With Heroin: Police


Wilton police have arrested a 35-year-old Darien man after finding him with several bags of heroin and drug paraphernalia in a car stopped in the middle of the street, police said.

Police said Nicholas J. deSpoelberch, 35, of Phillips Lane in Darien, was stopped in the middle of Old Highway Extension in Wilton at 8:30 p.m. on July 11 when police stopped to investigate.

They found several bags of heroin, drug paraphernalia and pills in a plastic bag, police said.

deSpoelberch was charged with possession of narcotics, drug paraphernalia and retention of pills in original container.

Bond was set at $2,500 and deSpoelberch is due in court on July 22.

Photo Credit: Wilton Police

2 Wesleyan Public Safety Officers Accused of Videotaping Student


Middletown police have arrested two Wesleyan public safety officers accused of videotaping a student.

Middletown police received a complaint on April 8 alleging the videotaping and turned the case over to a special investigations detective.

Richard Hodge, 35, of Hartford, told the detective that he did videotape a student, police said, and Michael Anderson, 34, of Middletown, told investigators that he received video of the student from Hodge.

Based on statements Hodge and Anderson made, as well as the physical evidence police obtained, Middletown police applied for arrest warrants for both parties.

Hodge and Anderson turned themselves in to the police department at 7 a.m. on Tuesday.

Hodge has been charged with two counts of voyeuristic recording of another person and disseminating voyeuristic material. 

Anderson was charged with disseminating voyeuristic material.

Bond was set at $5000 non-surety for both and they are due in court on July 26.

Police said no additional information will be available because this is a pending criminal case.

Photo Credit: Middletown Police

David Beckham Could Bring MLS Back to Florida


It has been over a decade since the Miami Fusion disbanded and South Florida was left without a Major League Soccer franchise, but that could change soon thanks to international soccer legend David Beckham.

Beckham's 2007 contract with the LA Galaxy included a provision that would allow him to buy a new MLS franchise for $25 million, an unprecedented provision that could help bring the MLS back to Florida.

The 38-year-old Beckham announced his retirement in May, and visited a number of stadiums in South Florida last month with Bolivian billionaire and soccer club owner Marcelo Claure. The two toured Sun Life Stadium, and FIU's football stadium, and also met with numerous local politicians (including Miami-Dade mayor Carlos Gimenez and county commissioner Jose Diaz).

Beckham told UK paper The Sun that an official announcement regarding his plans is looming. "It will be in a few months maybe but it's important to get it right," he said.

"This is a big decision where I'll have my franchise and how I'm going to do it. It's something I'm excited about."

Florida used to have two MLS franchises, the Miami Fusion and Tampa Bay Mutiny. The Fusion played from 1998 through 2001 at Lockhart Stadium in Ft. Lauderdale, winning the Eastern Conference regular season title in 2001 as well as the Supporters' Sheild, given to the team with the highest point total.

But the Fusion and Mutiny both disbanded after the 2001 season, as the league contracted from 12 to 10 clubs due to poor attendence and insufficient corporate sponsorships. But MLS has grown in popularity in the intervening decade, helped by strong World Cup showings from the US Men's National Team and the continued growth of youth soccer in America.

MLS does not have any franchises in the southeast - the closest teams to Florida are the Houston Dynamo and DC United. In June, MLS executive vice president of communications Dan Courtemanche hinted at plans to expand into the southeast.

"We're going to start to formulate our plan for the future and potential growth for beyond 20 teams," Courtemanche told the Sun Sentinel in June. "We certainly believe that an MLS team could be very successful in both South Florida and Central Florida."

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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