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East Windsor Casino Could Receive Federal Government's Blessing


Speaking following an event held at the Mohegan Sun Casino, Tribal Chairman Kevin Brown said the governor and the federal government are all on the same page when it comes to authorizing the state’s first casino off tribal land.

Ryan Zinke, the secretary of the Department of the Interior, spoke during the event, a significant appearance for the groups in attendance and for the state, Brown said.

"It was really monumental to see the state of Connecticut’s governor Dannel Malloy stand with the secretary of the interior particularly in the shadow of this agreement that we’ve struck with the state to build a third casino," Brown said.

The Connecticut General Assembly approved legislation last week that would allow the Mashantucket and Mohegan tribes to build and operate a casino in East Windsor. Since there is no tribal land in East Windsor, it would become the state’s first commercial casino.

Malloy said Tuesday that he thinks the legislation and legal reasoning are sound, which will likely to lead his signature on the bill.

The governor said recent guidance from the Bureau of Indian Affairs factored into his and lawmakers’ decisions.

"I don’t think that without the advisory opinion from the BIA to begin with, I don’t think the legislature would have sent that package to me and so you know I think those two things are very much linked," Malloy said.

MGM has been the loudest voice against the process that would allow solely the tribes to operate a third casino. MGM, which will open a new casino north of the Connecticut border in Springfield, Massachusetts later this year, has argued and lobbied for an open competitive bid process.

The vision from MGM’s standpoint, has been for a casino closer to the New York City market.

To that end, MGM employed the law firm of former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, who penned a letter to Connecticut’s Attorney General, warning of "serious questions," and constitutional concerns surrounding the closed casino award process.

Malloy could sign the legislation as soon as it reaches his desk, which could be tomorrow.

Kevin Brown with the Mohegan Tribe said just having Zinke in attendance this week could provide a guide for the future of the third casino.

"Governor Malloy and Secretary Zinke had a very fulsome conversation that identified and recognized the respect that the federal government has for our relationship with the state of Connecticut and they support what we’re doing with the state of Connecticut," Brown said.

Men Hurl Fruit at NYC Deli Clerk, Breaking His Jaw: Police


A deli clerk's jaw was broken after two men pummeled him with avocados and bananas during an argument over food in the Bronx, police said.

Chaos erupted at Stadium Gourmet Deli on East 161st Street after the 21-year-old clerk tried to kick out the two men for causing a scene over their food order.

Police said the suspects were trying to order food, but a deli worker who didn't speak English couldn't understand them. They became angry and the 21-year-old clerk tried to kick the two of them out.

Surveillance video shows one of the suspects casually grabbing several avocados before getting into a pitching position and throwing them at the clerk and other employees.

The other suspect joins in and starts hurling avocados and bananas at the employee. 

Surveillance video shows the clerk grabbing his head after one of the avocados hits him. Another employee tries to dodge the flying fruit. 

The clerk suffered a gash, fractures to his face and a broken jaw. He was listed in serious but stable condition at Lincoln Hospital.

The attack happened late last month, but police released the video Tuesday in the hope of finding the two suspects, who are in their 20s. 

Photo Credit: NYPD

Trump Called Health Care Bill 'Mean' While Meeting Senators


President Donald Trump told Republican senators Tuesday they had his support to change the "mean," House-passed health care bill, NBC News reported.

"He talked about making sure we have a bill that protects people with pre-existing conditions and helps people. We talked a little bit about the tax credit to make that work for low income elderly people," Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., who attended the meeting, said. "And he certainly is fine with us taking a different direction with what the house did."

After the House passed its bill last month, Trump took a victory lap, holding a news conference in the Rose Garden flanked by members of Congress whom he praised for passing a "great plan."

Photo Credit: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Dad of Dead Penn State Pledge: Some 'Laughed' After Hearing


The father of a Penn State University student who died after a bad fall at an alcohol-fueled fraternity event told NBC News that his family was "highly offended" by behavior from frat members facing charges in the boy's death and an insensitive remark by a lawyer in the case.

Jim Piazza, the father of the late Timothy Piazza, alleged that some of the young men accused of not giving proper aid to his dying son "laughed" and "patted each other on the back" after a preliminary court hearing on Monday.

"Following the hearing, most, but not all, of the fraternity brothers and their families got together, laughed, patted each other on the back and hugged as if this was just another fraternity get-together," Piazza told NBC News in an email.

Timothy Piazza, 19, died in a hospital two days after a pledge event at the Beta Theta Pi frat house on Feb. 2.

Photo Credit: Patrick Carns/AP

Beach Street in West Haven Closed After Car Hits Pole


Beach Street in West Haven is closed after a car crashed into a pole early Wednesday morning.

The crash happened near the Third Avenue Extension. Police said two females were inside the car at the time and one may have suffered electrical burns when wires came down. The extent of their injuries is unclear at this time.

Beach Street is expected to be shut down for most of the day between Washington Avenue and Third Avenue as crews make repairs to the pole.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Naked Man Found Burglarizing Putnam Antique Store: Police


Putnam police have arrested a man accused of burglarizing an antique store while naked on Main Street early Wednesday.

Police said around 12:30 a.m. they responded to Front Street and Main Street for reported suspicious activity. When they arrived officers found glass and smashed windows at Antique Marketplace at 109 Main Street.

According to police, when officers went inside they found 50-year-old Sean Morissette smashing display cases and merchandise. Morissette was completely naked, police said.

Morissette was charged with third-degree burglary and first-degree criminal mischief. He was held on a $10,000 bond and is due in court Wednesday.

Photo Credit: Putnam Police Department

'Thoughts and Prayers': Politicians React to GOP Shooting


Politicians across the ideological spectrum called for Americans to keep House Majority Whip Steve Scalise and others who were shot Wednesday morning in Alexandria, Virginia, in their thoughts and prayers. 

The shooting happened during a baseball practice for congressional Republicans.

The gunman is James Hodgkinson, from Illinois, sources told NBC News. He is in his late 60s, Pete Williams reported. According to President Trump, Hodgkinson died from injuries sustained in a shootout with police.

Police say the victims, including Scalise, R-La., were transported to local hospitals.

President Donald Trump was among those to weigh in on Twitter in the hours after the shooting Wednesday morning, writing: "Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana, a true friend and patriot, was badly injured but will fully recover. Our thoughts and prayers are with him." His wife Melania later praised first responders. 

Vice President Mike Pence also tweeted a statement, writing that he and his wife were praying for those injured in the shooting. 

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe also released a statement Wednesday morning, saying in part: "Dorothy and I are shocked and deeply saddened by this horrible act of violence against members of congress, law enforcement and other innocent people who were simply enjoying an early morning baseball practice."

Former Democratic Rep. Gabby Giffords, who was wounded in a 2011 mass shooting, also offered her her thoughts on Twitter, writing: "My heart is with my former colleagues, their families & staff, and the US Capitol Police- public servants and heroes today and every day." 

House Democrats practicing for Thursday's congressional baseball game said a prayer for their colleagues. 

Bernie Sanders said he was "sickened by this despicable act," and said the shooter apparently volunteered on his campaign.

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Photo Credit: @RepKihuen
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CT Congress Members React After Shooting of House Whip


All seven Connecticut Congress members are safe and sending words of support to House Majority Whip Steve Scalise and the other people who were shot this morning during a Congressional baseball practice at a ballfield in Virginia

U.S. Representative Elizabeth Esty (D-5th District) said she and her staff members are accounted for.

“We are praying for our GOP friends & colleagues and awaiting updates,” Esty Tweeted.

U.S. Senator Chris Murphy, who is on the Democratic baseball team, Tweeted his shock after learning about what happened during a baseball practice for congressional Republicans in the quiet Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria.

U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal, a Democrat, was also not at the field, according to his staff, and he said his heart goes out to Congressman Scalise.

“My heart goes out to Congressman Scalise, his staff, and the security officials involved in this horrific shooting. I am especially grateful this morning for the swift action of the Capitol Police, who unhesitatingly disregarded danger to themselves in protecting others. I am hopeful we can put aside politics and support all affected.”

U.S. Rep. Jim Himes (D-Fourth District) said on Twitter that he is horrified by the attack and praying for the people who were injured. 

U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Third District) Tweeted that she is keeping everyone who was at the baseball practice and their families in her prayers. 

Scalise, a Republican from Louisiana, was shot in the hip and is undergoing surgery, according to his office. They said he is in stable condition.

It's not clear exactly how man people were shot, but police and the office of U.S. Rep. Roger Williams (R-Texas) said two U.S. Capitol police officers and an aide to Williams were also shot. 

U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney (D-Second District) said his thoughts and prayers are with everyone who was injured this morning.

“All of my thoughts and prayers are with Steve Scalise, the congressional staff members, and the Capitol Police officers who may have been injured in this morning’s horrific act of violence,” Courtney said in a statement. “Steve Scalise is a loyal public servant who has represented his constituents in Louisiana honorably for many years. It is beyond comprehension why anyone would attack other human beings in this way. Like other Americans, I will be monitoring the news this morning and hoping that all of the injured are able to make a swift recovery.” 

U.S. Rep. John Larson Tweeted that he and his staff stand in solidarity with Republican colleagues and that they are grateful that the first responders were there and acted so quickly.  

The Congressional Baseball Game, a bipartisan tradition that benefits charities in the DC area, was scheduled for Thursday.

The game dates back to 1909, and is one of the most anticipated events of the summer in Washington, DC, with members of Congress sporting the uniforms of their favorite teams as the two parties face off.

Murphy is the only Connecticut member of Congress on either 2017 Congressional baseball team.

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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Vandals Damage Guilford Non-Profit Garden Project Twice


A non-profit organization in Guilford is asking for the public's help after a garden built by volunteers was struck twice by vandals.

Roses for Autism is a non-profit organization based in Guilford. In 2015 they began a project to build a public sensory garden. The group said they raised nearly $12,000 for the project and volunteers spend over 1,000 building the garden.

According to the group’s organizers, on June 2, volunteers discovered plants purchased for the gardens had been stolen and a trellis damaged. The incident was reported to police. Officers later returned with plants they purchased with their own money to purchase to replace what was stolen. Grateful volunteers quickly planted the donations.

However, group organizers said that on Monday when volunteers arrived someone had dug up the plants and stolen garden statues and lawn ornaments.

The garden was scheduled to open on June 24, but it has been postponed until volunteers can raise the funds to fix the damage.

“The vandals don’t realize the ripple effects of their actions,” Michelle Ouimette. The managing director of Roses for Autism said in a release. “The hardest part is trying to explain to our supporters why this has happened twice in the last ten days thus forcing us to cancel our ribbon cutting event until we are able to rebuild.”

Roses for Autism is a registered charity organization in Connecticut. For more information visit their website here.

Photo Credit: Roses for Autism

Congressional Baseball Game, a DC Tradition, Is Still On


Nearly every year for more than 100 years, members of Congress from both parties face off in a friendly, but competitive, baseball game. 

This year's game has been scheduled for Thursday at Nationals Park in Washington. In the first hours after a gunman opened fire on the Republican team's practice in nearby Alexandria, Wednesday morning, it appeared unclear if the game would go on. But House Speaker Paul Ryan announced to cheers in a House members meeting that the charity game would continue as scheduled in spite of the attack, NBC News reported. 

The Virginia shooting left five people hospitalized, including Louisiana Rep. Steve Scalise, the Republican whip, two Capitol Police officers, and an aide to Rep. Roger Williams, R-Texas. The gunman, identified as James Hodgkinson, from Illinois,, was shot by police who responded to the scene and later died, President Donald Trump announced. Congressmen said the gunman had a rifle and fired dozens of rounds before Capitol Police opened fire.

Democrats were also practicing Wednesday morning when word came in that the shooting took place. Rep. Ruben J. Kihuen, D-Nev., tweeted a photo of the team praying for the safety of their colleagues.

The game is one of the most anticipated events of summer in the capital, with Democrats and Republicans splitting the 79 games that have been played over the years 39-39, with one tie. Democrats were on a winning streak for several years before the Republicans won the last game in a squeaker, 8-7. 

"It's a pretty good time for all, except for the fact that the Democrats beat us so much," Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Ala., said on CNN before describing what happened.

Members of the House and Senate take part in the game, often wearing jerseys from their favorite teams back home. 

It dates back to 1909, and became popular enough by 1928 to be broadcast on radio, according to a history of the game listed on a dedicated website. The Depression, Second World War and some speakers of the House have intervened to cancel some games, but it's been a fixture since the '60s and is now a charity fundraiser.

It is now held at Nationals Park, the home of D.C.'s major league team. President Barack Obama attended the game in 2015.

The Republican team's manager, Rep. Joe Barton, R-Tex., was looking forward to a spirited game Thursday, according to Roll Call, which also sponsors the game.

"I think after the election of President Trump, Democrats are going to be motivated to be pretty active in their chants. By the same token, I think our fans will be just as motivated," he told Roll Call last week. Barton was not hurt in the shooting.

The Democrats' manager, Rep. Mike Doyle, D-Pa., reminded his team to "Clear your schedules. I stress that we still have a lot of work to do," he told Roll Call last week.

Photo Credit: Tom Williams/Roll Call/Getty Images, File

Who Is Rep. Steve Scalise, GOP Whip Shot at Baseball Field?


House Majority Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana was fielding balls on second base during a congressional baseball practice when he was shot Wednesday morning in Alexandria, Virginia. 

He crawled into the outfield, leaving a trail of blood that was “10 to 15 yards long,” Rep. Mo Brooks, an Alabama Republican, said. His wounds were not believed to be life-threatening.

The shooting took place about 7 a.m. at Eugene Simpson Stadium Park, a popular park and baseball complex where lawmakers and others were gathered for a morning practice. The team was taking batting practice when gunfire rang out and chaos erupted, lawmakers on the scene said.

Several others were also wounded. The gunman was shot by police and died, President Donald Trump confirmed. 

Scalise’s office says the congressman is in surgery and in stable condition at MedStar Washington Hospital Center. “The whip was in good spirits and spoke to his wife by phone,” the statement read.

Scalise is the No. 3 House Republican leader. He was first elected to the House in 2008 after serving 12 years in the state legislature. He quickly moved up the ranks and won the post of majority whip that opened up following Eric Cantor’s primary defeat in 2014.

The 51-year-old is a member of the Energy and Commerce Committee and formerly served as chairman for the Republican Study Committee, the conservative House caucus.

On the issues, Scalise’s pro-gun stance has gotten him an A+ rating from the National Rifle Association, according to his congressional website.

A self-described “strong supporter of the Second Amendment,” Scalise sponsored or cosponsored bills to require states to recognize each other’s gun permits, and to allow for the interstate sale of firearms through the Firearms Interstate Commerce Reform Act, his website says. Another bill lifts restrictions on firearm possession in the District of Columbia.

“A member of the Congressional Second Amendment Task Force, Congressman Steve Scalise will continue fighting to protect every citizen's Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms,” his website says.

Scalise is a strong proponent of rolling back government regulations, particularly under the Environmental Protection Agency, which he has called “the biggest impediment to job growth in America.” He voted in favor of the controversial Keystone Pipeline, is one of Washington's staunchest defenders of offshore drilling and has called for expanding hydraulic fracking in the U.S.

He was critical of the Obama administration’s green-energy policies, arguing in a 2015 Op-Ed that they would increase costs for middle-class families and accusing the former president of waging a “War on Coal” by “imposing radical regulations.”

“Instead of helping Americans compete on the global stage and benefit from our incredible energy resources, the president and his allies are doing the exact opposite, blocking enormous opportunities and trying to force their own radical agenda on the rest of us,” he wrote in joint Op-Ed with Joe Barton, published in The Dallas Morning News.

Scalise has long championed to repeal and replace Obamacare. More recently, he played a critical role in convincing reluctant conservatives to vote in favor of the GOP's healthcare law, the American Health Care Act.

Scalise came under fire in 2014 after acknowledging he addressed a gathering of white supremacists and neo-Nazis at a 2002 convention of the European-American Unity and Rights Organization, NBC News reported. EURO was founded by David Duke, a former Ku Klux Klan leader. Scalise was serving as a Louisiana state representative at the time.

Scalise told the New Orleans Times-Picayune he didn’t recall the conference and "didn’t know who all of these groups were ... For anyone to suggest I was involved with a group like that is insulting and ludicrous." Scalise did apologize for his speech, saying "It was a mistake I regret, and I emphatically oppose the divisive racial and religious views groups like these hold."

Scalise is a graduate of Louisiana State University where he received a bachelor’s degree in computer science in 1989 with a minor in political science. The father of two worked as a systems engineer before serving in public office.

Photo Credit: Bloomberg via Getty Images

Ill. Man ID'd as Suspect in GOP Baseball Shooting: Sources


The gunman who opened fire on congressional Republicans during a baseball practice in Virginia Wednesday has died, President Donald Trump said during a statement after the shooting.

The shooter was identified by NBC News sources as 66-year-old James T. Hodgkinson of Belleville, Illinois. Multiple police vehicles were seen around Hodgkinson's home in the southern Illinois town located outside St. Louis.

"Authorities are continuing to investigate the crime and the assailant has now died from his injuries," Trump said. "The FBI is leading the investigation and will continue to provide updates as new information becomes available."

Hodgkinson owned a home inspection business, which he dissolved on Jan. 10, according to Secretary of State corporate records. His home inspector license expired at the end of 2016. 

According to online police records, he was charged in 2006 with battery and aiding damage to a motor vehicle. Those charges were dismissed.

Court records reviewed and obtained by NBC News show that Hodgkinson was charged in 2006 with assaulting his girlfriend. At the time police recovered a pocket knife, hair they say was pulled out of his girlfriend's head and a 12-guage shotgun at the scene.

Hodgkinson lived in Rep. John Shimkus' district. Shimkus plays on the baseball team but was not there during the shooting.

Hodgkinson's social media account reflected his support for Bernie Sanders during the presidential primary. Sanders said Wednesday he is "sickened by this despicable act" and noted Hodgkinson apparently volunteered on his campaign. 

House Majority Whip Steve Scalise and several others were injured during the shooting at about 6 a.m. during a baseball practice for congressional Republicans in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, one day ahead of the Congressional Baseball Game.

The five injured include two Capitol Police officers and the gunman, who was shot by police who responded to the scene, Alexandria Police Chief Michael Brown said. An aide to Rep. Roger Williams, R-Texas, was also shot, the congressman’s office said.

A witness described the shooter as a white man, dressed in t-shirt and shorts. His demeanor was "calm," witness Falisa Peoples said.

"He didn’t say anything ... he was just shooting," said Peoples, who was about to teach an exercise class at a nearby YMCA. "They were shooting at each other … I thought it was some exercise."

The Washington Post first reported the suspect's identity.

The special agent in charge of the FBI's investigation said there was no immediate indication of the shooter's motive, and that it was too early to tell if Republicans were targeted.

Scalise, a Republican from Louisiana, had surgery and is in stable condition at MedStar Washington Hospital Center, his office said. "The whip was in good spirits and spoke to his wife by phone," the statement read.

Two of the other people shot were at George Washington University Hospital in critical condition, according to a statement from the hospital.

Sen. Claire McCaskill tweeted early Wednesday that she had spoken to Capitol Police and that the officers "will be ok."

Congressmen Credit Capitol Police for Preventing 'Massacre'


The bravery and quick response of U.S. Capitol Police prevented Wednesday's shooting at a Northern Virginia baseball field from becoming a "massacre," congressmen at the center of the terrifying ordeal said. 

House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, two Capitol Police officers, and an aide to Rep. Roger Williams, R-Texas, were shot and wounded Wednesday morning as the Republican congressional baseball team held an early-morning practice in Alexandria, Virginia. The gunman, identified as James Hodgkinson, from Illinois, was also wounded after trading fire with police. He later died from his injuries, President Donald Trump said.    

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Al., and Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas, recounted their harrowing experiences in television interviews Wednesday morning, saying U.S. Capitol Police officers distracted the shooter and ultimately wounded him, saving more people from being shot. 

“After the first shot, then there was a rapid succession of shots, five or 10 shots,” said Paul, who was in a right field batting cage when shots first rang out. “In the field, I see Representative Scalise is shot but moving and he’s trying to drag himself through the dirt out into the outfield.” 

At the same time, Brooks said he and others near the infield dove into the first-base dugout to hide from the shots. 

Brooks said he and others in the dugout aided a wounded staffer until officers began firing back at the shooter. 

"I hear loud explosions. I Look up and there’s a man with a gun. Fortunately, he’s a good guy," Brooks said of a Capitol Police officer. "He’s shooting back across the in field at the man with the rifle." 

Brooks said the return fire distracted the gunman until he was downed by the officers. 

“The only chance we had was the Capitol Police,” Paul said. “Had they not been there, it would’ve been a massacre… There’s no escaping a guy if he’s got several hundred bullets and we’ve got no weapons and no place to hide.” 

Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas, choking up as he spoke, recounted a similar scene. "Scalise's security detail and Capitol Hill police immediately began to return fire and Alexandria police also immediately came and began to return fire," he said. 

Barton, the team manager, said he took cover behind a dugout when the shooting started. His 10-year-old son was also on the field and dropped to the ground. "I was getting down making sure my son was down," Barton said.

Just prior to the shooting at about 7 a.m. two congressmen who left practice early said they bumped into the man identified as the shooter, and he asked them whether the team practicing was Democrats or Republicans.

Rep. Jeff Duncan, R-Sc., and Rep. Ron Desantis, R-Fl., were getting into Duncan's car when the man asked them about the political affiliation. "I told him they were Republicans," Duncan said. "He said, 'OK, thanks' and turned around. I got in the car and left, and found out later that my Republican colleagues were targeted by an active shooter." 

Two capitol police officers were wounded in the shooting, authorities said. Both are expected to survive. 

Brooks said even after one of the officers was wounded, he limped toward the outfield in an attempt to help Scalise. 

"He’s loyal to the person he’s assigned to protect," Brooks said of the officer. "So even though he’s wounded.. he’s trying to make sure Steve Scalise is going to be ok."

Photo Credit: AP
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State Warns of Dangerous Chemicals in Children's Toys


Could your child be playing with toys that are toxic?

On Wednesday state agencies will unveil a list of substances they believe should be banned along with a warning to parents.

The Connecticut Departments of Consumer Protection, Public Health, and Energy and Environmental Protection have come up with a list of chemicals they say are unsafe.

Wednesday afternoon, they will announce the first three toxic substances they’ve identified and call for the elimination of those chemicals from toys and other children’s products.

They say this is just the beginning of a long-term partnership to develop a longer list of substances that should be banned.

The list should serve as a warning to parents about what toys they buy for their children.

Police Activity Stops Metro-North Traffic at 138th Street


Metro-North delays hit up to 90 minutes Wednesday after an abandoned bag on the 138th Street Bridge prompted a major emergency presence, stalling all train traffic in and out Grand Central Terminal, according to the railroad and witnesses. 

An NBC 4 New York reporter said his train's conductor announced no rail traffic could pass because an unattended bag was hanging off a bridge.

The railroad confirmed in a 9:26 a.m. tweet the bag had sparked an investigation, and said police and ESU were at the scene. 

Chopper 4 footage from the bridge scene showed investigators under the span. At one point, a man in a reflective vest looks at what appears to be a large brownish suitcase, though it's not clear if that was the bag in question. 

Trains were seen rolling over the bridge a short time later, and customers who had been stuck for an hour or more tweeted that their cars had started moving again. 

Metro-North Railroad tweeted shortly before 10 a.m. that service in and out of Grand Central had resumed with extensive delays. The bag was determined not to be a threat, and the railroad said the location of it made it hard to get to, which led to longer than typical delays for such routine investigations.  

Meanwhile, surge pricing was in effect for Uber, with estimates up to $158 for a ride from New Rochelle to 125th Street.

Photo Credit: NBC 4 New York

Hearings to Discuss Proposed Health Insurance Rate Increases


The cost of health care could continue to increase as some families struggle to afford care even with insurance.

Insurance companies request rate increases every year. On Wednesday there will be two public hearings to discuss the increases proposed by Anthem and ConnectiCare, who combined cover 86,000 policies on Connecticut’s individual market.

On average, Anthem is requesting a 33.8 percent increase to both plans on and off the state’s exchange, Access Health CT. ConnectiCare is requesting a 17.5 percent increase for people on the exchange.

Twelve other insurance companies are also asking to raise rates.

According to a recent survey by Bankrate.com, a quarter of American families decided not to seek medical attention last year because of the expense.

The public can comment on the proposals at hearings today at the state Insurance Department, located at 153 Market Street in Hartford. The Anthem hearing began at 9 a.m., and the Connecticare hearing will start no earlier than 1 p.m.

Anthem executive James Augur testified that uncertainties in the market are affecting Anthem's costs and account for the need for rate increases.

Augur pointed to questions about the federal government's decision on the Cost Sharing Reduction (CSR) subsidy funding and the Affordable care Act's Health Insurance Tax.

"If CSR funding is not confirmed Anthem will need to adjust and refile its pricing to ensure its rates remain adequate, as required by law, in light of the changes in the risk pool that are likely to occur," he said.

Augur said the proposed hike takes into account the uncertainties surrounding the status of the Affordable Care Act, and prices could later be adjusted based on decisions that come down from the federal government.

"Premiums must be set to cover this fee, but we can and will remove those costs in the event that federal policymakers repeal the tax or extend the current moratorium through 2018," he said of the ACA Health Insurance Tax.

Residents can also send comments by mail to the Insurance Department at Connecticut Insurance Department, P.O. Box 816, Hartford CT 06142, or post comments online on the Insurance Department’s website. To access online comments, click “ALL CURRENT OPEN FILINGS” and select the one you want to comment on. 

Public comments will be accepted by mail and online through July 1.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

'It Was Scary': Rep. Joe Barton on Baseball Shooting


U.S. Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas, said dozens, "if not hundreds" of shots were fired during the shooting, which lasted five to 10 minutes.

Hartford Expects Heavy Traffic for Concert, Yard Goats Game and Protest


If your Wednesday evening plans will take you in or out of Hartford, make note of what police are calling a “significant impact on traffic.” 

Several events happening around the same time will bring a lot of congestion downtown. 

Twenty-thousand-people are expected to descend on the capital city for the Tom Petty concert alone at the Xfinity Theatre. The venue’s parking lot opens at 4 p.m. 

Then there’s game two of the Hartford Yard Goats against the Trenton Thunder. The Yard Goats dropped the first game 8-1 Tuesday night. Game time is 7:05 p.m. 

The Greater Hartford NAACP March for Justice will take place at 5 p.m. 

Marchers intend to leave the Legislative Office Building and walk down the middle of both Capitol Avenue and Main Street to the skate park. 

Those who work and live in the area say ballgame and concert nights are always busy. 

“Like a hurricane. A tornado. Traffic backed up, the bus stuck, everything off schedule. You might get off at 7 (p.m.) when you’re supposed to be home at 6 (p.m.) It’s horrible,” said Elizabeth Tilman, of Hartford. 

“It’s truly very busy,” added Lise Fentner, of Rocky Hill. “Traffic is the pits in Hartford.” 

Wednesday night will be particularly jam-packed with a concert, baseball game and a peaceful protest planned right in the heart of the city. 

“I sure don’t want to be caught up in it. That’s going to be terrible,” Tilman said. 

Hartford police officers will be set up in the most congested areas, but they need the public’s help. 

“We want people to plan ahead and leave early. You know this is coming,” said Deputy Chief Brian Foley, of the Hartford Police Department.

Police advise those who work or have other plans in the capital city to leave extra time to get to their destinations. 

“You’re looking at between 5:15 (p.m.) and 6:15 (p.m.) we expect to be the greatest impact. If you can get out under that, that’s fantastic,” Foley said. 

The Hartford police department’s best advice is if you’re coming into the city for one of these events. get here early. If you’re trying to exit, leave early. Otherwise, Foley said to stay north of the city to avoid the worst traffic.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Man Charged in Hartford Hit-and-Run


Hartford police have arrested a man accused of taking off from the scene of an accident after hitting a pedestrian with a Polaris Slingshot in April.

Frank Bohorquez, 43, of Vernon, faces charges of second-degree assault with a motor vehicle, evading responsibility, reckless driving and failure to drive in the proper lane.

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Police said that on April 22 just before 10 p.m. a man crossing Park Street near Cedar Street was hit by a Polaris Slingshot motorcycle. The victim was rushed to Hartford Hospital with serious but non-life threatening injuries.

The incident was captured on surveillance video. In the video it appears the pedestrian was crossing near a crosswalk and that other vehicles had stopped to let him pass.

The driver of the motorcycle crossed a double-yellow line, struck the pedestrian and never stopped.

The Slingshot was located and the vehicle was seized, but the involved rider was not immediately located.

On May 24, an arrest warrant was issued for the suspect, identified as Bohorquez. He was arrested Monday. He is currently being held on a $20,000 bond and is next scheduled to appear in court on July 18.

Photo Credit: Hartford Police Department
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Congressman Among 5 Shot at Baseball Practice in Va.


The gunman who police say shot House Majority Whip Steve Scalise and four other people Wednesday morning has died, President Donald Trump said.

The victims were shot during the Republican congressional baseball team's early-morning practice in Alexandria, Virginia.

Witnesses -- including as many as 22 members of Congress who were at the field -- described a terrifying scene, with a gunman who reloaded while standing on the field and the wounded congressman "screaming for help."

The four others injured include two Capitol Police officers. Zack Barth, an aide to Rep. Roger Williams, R-Texas, was also shot, the congressman’s office said.

Matt Mika, director of government relations for Tysons Foods, was also shot, according to a statement from the company.

The gunman was identified as James Hodgkinson, from Illinois, sources told NBC News. Both local and Capitol Police shot at him; he died at a local hospital.

Sen. Bernie Sanders said Hodgkinson had volunteered on his presidential campaign.

"Congressman Scalise is a friend, and a very good friend," President Trump said. "He’s a patriot and a fighter. Steve, I want you to know, you have the prayers of not only an entire city, but an entire nation behind you and, frankly, the entire world."

"Please take a moment today to cherish those you love, and always remember those who serve and keep us safe," Trump said.

Authorities refused to confirm that identification at a mid-morning press conference. It is "too early to tell" if the congressmembers "were targeted or not," said Tim Slater of the FBI, which is now taking over the investigation. 

One witness described the shooter as a white man, dressed in t-shirt and shorts. His demeanor was "calm," said Falisa Peoples.

"He didn’t say anything ... he was just shooting," said Peoples, a fitness instructor at a nearby YMCA. "They were shooting at each other … I thought it was some exercise."

Scalise, a Republican from Louisiana, had surgery and is in stable condition at MedStar Washington Hospital Center, his office said. "The whip was in good spirits and spoke to his wife by phone," the statement read.

Mika is being treated at George Washington University Hospital in critical condition, law enforcement sources told News4. A fourth is also being treated at MedStar, and the location of the fifth victim is not known.

The Capitol Police officers "have not suffered any life threatening injuries," said Capitol Hill Police Chief Matthew Verderosa. "The officers acted, I believe, heroically today."

Rep. Jeff Duncan, R-S.C., said he was leaving practice early when he had an interaction with someone who asked him whether the team playing was a Republican or Democrat team.

"I told him they were Republicans. He said, 'OK, thanks,' and turned around. I got in the car and left, and found out later that my Republican colleagues were targeted by an active shooter."

The congressional baseball team practices daily at Eugene Simpson Stadium Park, located off East Monroe Avenue in a quiet Del Ray neighborhood. Many other congressmembers were there for practice shortly after 7 a.m., including Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky and Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona.

"We were doing batting practice, and all of a sudden, someone came with a rifle. I think he had handguns as well," said Flake, a Republican from Arizona.

"He had a lot of ammo and shot, it looked like indiscriminately, across the field, hitting a member and a couple of staffers," Flake said.

"They were laying down, but then I’m seing the shots hitting the dirt, and they’re trying to make a difficult decision: Do we lay here, stay low and hope he doesn’t hit us … or does the shooter just advance and come close and shoot you?” said Paul. 

“Scalise was on second base, and was crawling out, leaving a trail of blood,” said Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Ala., in an interview on CNN.

Other members of Congress helped him, including Rep. Brad Wenstrup, R-Ohio. He "started doing what you need to do to stop the blood loss,” Brooks said.

President Trump issued a statement: "Vice President and I are aware of the shooting incident in Virginia and are monitoring developments closely. We are deeply saddened by this tragedy. Our thoughts and prayers are with the members of Congress, their staffs, Capitol Police, first responders, and all others affected."

Witness David Woodruff said he was running past the field when he heard 12 to 14 gunshots, a brief pause and then four more shots.

Woodruff said he ducked into a garage and called 911.

"Other witnesses here told me that they heard upwards of 60 shots. Again, it sounded like there was a rather lengthy gun battle between those Capitol protective detail and the assailant...," Woodruff said.

He said he saw a U.S. Park Police helicopter depart with two victims and at least one ambulance leave with police protection.

Reba Winstead lives near the scene of the shooting, and says she heard at least 30 shots as she was getting her daughter dressed for school.

"Boom, boom, boom, boom for the first 10 our so, then there was a pause and then they started up again," Winstead said. "It was just a calm morning and then all of a sudden there's gunfire in our neighborhood."

Witnesses at a nearby YMCA say bullets from the shooting pierced the front windows of the busy facility, but no one inside was injured.

Another witness to the event, Benjamin Childers, posted a live stream of the aftermath of the shooting on Periscope.

“We had three members of Congress take shelter in our apartment,” he said as sounds of emergency vehicles could be heard.

Childers later told NBC News he was on his balcony when he heard the gunshots break out.

He saw the three men running toward his apartment and brought them inside where they called their families to let them know they were okay.

In response to the shooting, Capitol Police "deployed a robust police presence" throughout the Capitol, a spokesman said in a statement. All Capitol complex buildings remained open.

However, no votes are expected in the House today.

Paul pointed out that the reason members of the Capitol Police's dignitary protective unit were at the field Wednesday morning is because of Scalise's role as whip. "Everybody probably would have died except for the fact that the Capitol Hill police were there and the only reason they were there was because we had a member of (House) leadership on our team," Paul told MSNBC.

The Congressional Baseball Game, a bipartisan tradition, will go on  as scheduled Thursday, according to Rep. Martha McSally, R-Arizona. The game dates back to 1909, and is one of the capital’s most anticipated events of the summer, with members of Congress sporting the uniforms of their favorite teams as the two parties face off.

It's become a charity fundraiser. Last year, Republicans broke a long losing streak to beat the Democrats 8-7.

Police confirmed that the suspect is in custody. Though they said there was no longer an active threat, all Alexandria schools were briefly put on "lock-in" status. It was lifted at about 9 a.m.

Stay with us for live coverage of this developing story.

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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