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Police Searches Drop in States That Legalized Marijuana


Traffic searches by highway patrols in Colorado and Washington dropped by nearly half after the two states legalized marijuana in 2012, NBC News reported.

In Colorado, the change occurred gradually, with searches dropping initially by 30 percent, and then flatting out to a more than 50-percent drop within a year.

In Washington, there was a drop of more than 50 percent in searches within three months of legalization. The search rate remained low thereafter. The 12 states in the Stanford study that did not pass marijuana decriminalization legislation during the period did not experience significant drops.

The drop in searches also reduced the racial disparities in the stops, according to a new analysis of police data, but not by much. Latino and Black Americans are still searched at higher rates than whites.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

How the Proposed Healthcare Bill Will Impact Connecticut


The latest healthcare bill cuts deep into Medicaid funding, defunds Planned Parenthood, eliminates the mandate requiring people to buy health insurance and cuts taxes on the wealthy. 

Connecticut's U.S. senators Chris Murphy and Richard Blumenthal traveled around the state on Friday to spread the word that the healthcare overhaul bill is a bad move.

"This would be a humanitarian catastrophe for Connecticut if it passed, and it would be a fiscal disaster for the state," Murphy said. 

Both Senators call the impact devastating, saying potentially hundreds of thousands of people could lose coverage in the state. The two traveled to New Haven and spoke to a large crowd, calling the bill cruel, costly and unaffordable.

"This Republican proposal should be called the Un-American Unaffordable Health Care Plan," said Blumenthal.

On Thursday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell spoke in Washington and directly addressed the criticism from Democrats.

"They were wrong before, they're wrong again now. Because Obamacare isn't working by nearly any measure it has failed and no amount of eleventh hour reality denying or buck passing by democrats is going to change the fact that more Americans are going to get hurt unless we do something," said McConnell.

Reaction from residents in Connecticut vary: Some believe the bill would end up causing more harm if it passed.

"I think it's definitely going to hit a lot of Americans hard," Elizabeth Carlos from Waterbury said.

Others believe any change is better than the current healthcare law.

"It's not working. It's costing too much money, especially for those who already had healthcare. My premiums went up," Heather Florio from Ellington said.

But with the bill aimed at defunding Planned Parenthood, director of Public Policy and Advocacy, Gretchen Raffa, said it could hurt 30,000 Connecticut patients who depend on Planned Parenthood.

"Simply put, it's the worst bill in a generation for women's healthcare," Raffa said. "What this bill will do is block people that rely on Medicaid for health care coverage from coming to Planned Parenthood for preventative services."

Linda Masci from Clinton attended the gathering in New Haven with Connecticut's U.S. senators. She said she knows how critical health insurance is. Her daughter was diagnosed with cancer at a young age. Masci said she was fortunate to have health insurance and knows not everyone is.

"I saw parents going out to do fundraisers to get money for children with cancer. That's unacceptable in the United States," Masci said.

It's expected the Senate could take up the bill as soon as next week, but no vote can happen until the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office's analysis comes out, which is expected early next week.

With no Democrats expected to support it, Republicans can only lose two on their side. Already four conservative senators have publicly said they oppose the current form of the bill. Senator Murphy doubts that opposition will stand. He says for them, they're focused on convincing moderate Republicans it's a bad move.

"I don't think Mitch McConnell has the votes today, but he is really close," Murphy said.

Photo Credit: Getty Images/OJO Images RF

Child Loses Hand From Lawnmower Accident in Berlin


Connecticut parents and grandparents learned the hard way to never have a child on a lawnmower. 

A Columbia couple's son, Rocco Mongillo, accompanied his father, Jeff, to mow the lawn at his grandparents Berlin home on June 3.

"Jeff is in the seat and Rocco is in between his legs with an arm on each side so he can’t go anywhere and we thought he was safe," the 4-year-old's mother, Jennifer Mongillo, said.  

The mother said it was a split second later when Rocco slipped from in between his father’s legs and arms. She said her son’s hand got caught under the lawnmower and the family rushed the little boy to the hospital. 

But it was already too late: The injuries were so severe, the boy's hand and wrist had to be amputated.

Since the incident just three weeks ago, Rocco has had a total of five surgeries.

Rocco will need future surgeries and more physical therapy as he grows, but his doctors and family said something like this could’ve been prevented.

"It really is important to keep kids away from the lawnmower when you’re operating it. It’s very easy for young children to get behind you, without you even knowing it, because we know how noisy lawnmowers can be,” Dr. Brendan Campbell, director of pediatric trauma at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center, said.

A warning on the lawnmower Rocco was on stated the lawnmower should not be operated around children.

But still, it’s a practice so many parents still do. The Mongillo family hopes others can learn from what happened to Rocco.

"If we could just prevent one kid from going through what Rocco went through and one family from going through what we went through then we’ve served a good purpose," Mongillo said.

Rocco is already in the process of received a prosthetic hand, which is expected to take at least four months.

Photo Credit: Mongillo Family

Bristol Man Exposes Himself to 4 Children Through Window: PD


A Bristol man is accused of exposing himself to children in Bristol on Thursday.

A naked man inside his home was seen making a "lewd act" in front of his window on Bittersweet Lane and seen by four children, Bristol Police said. 

Police responded and were able to identify the 51-year-old man as John Truiolo.

Truiolo was charged with risk of injury, breach of peace and public indecency. 

Photo Credit: Bristol Police Department

2 Hikers in Penwood State Park Found After Search


A search was underway at Penwood State Park in Bloomfield for a pair of hikers, but officials say the pair has been found. 

Simsbury police said a 911 call prompted the operation in the dark.

No information about the hikers were released or how long they have been missing, but they were found late Friday night. 

Searchers headed out into this 800-acre park which straddles the Simsbury-Bloomfield town line.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Man Charged After Charity Wrestling Donations Disappear


The promoter of a highly publicized wrestling event to benefit autism is under arrest.

James Raymond was arrested on Friday afternoon after it was alleged that in April thousands of dollars in donations promised to a local autism charity from a professional wrestling event were never received.

Raymond was released on a promise to appear from the East Haven Police Department. He was charged with one count of issuing a bad check.

Police and wrestlers with Paradise Alley Professional Wrestling (PAPW) said Raymond's $1,800 check to PAPW ring fee bounced. That was shortly after an autism fundraiser to benefit the Autism Services and Resources Connecticut (ASRC) last April. Wanting to give back to the community, Raymond said, has helped his autistic daughter.

"Why did you do this to our people? It's just not ok, it's not ok. It's completely cruel to our folks to take advantage of," the co-director of the ASRC, Leslie Simoes, asked.

"He took money from children you know what I mean? From charity. You know, as they say in the law, you break the rules you're gunna have to pay," Wrestler Mario Mancini, a co-owner of PAPW, said. 

"He used individuals with autism as a ploy," Simoes added.

Now, there are new allegations.

"It was perfect timing, the rent got paid, and all of the insurance got paid,” small business owner, Bobby Farland, said.

Farland, of Massachusetts, reached out to the NBC Connecticut Troubleshooters about Raymond’s wrestling fundraiser in April. 

"The check was for $800. We deposited the check, we paid some bills and a week later got notification the check bounced," Farland said. 

Farland owns the Healthy Body Feeling Station right outside Cape Cod and he agreed to be a vendor for the event. 

"It's just a shame, you know, it really is a shame. To use, to pull at the heart strings of people, and to use your family," Farland said. 

The potential and expected proceeds, plus possible expenses, included eighty front row seats tickets sold at $20 a piece, three hundred floor seats sold at $15 a piece and three hundred general admission entries at $10 each for a total of $9,100.

A referee said he paid nearly $400 for hotel rooms for wrestlers that were flown in for the event.

Four performers said Raymond verbally promised a total of $500 with different fees, but said they never got their money.

Half a dozen wrestlers tell NBC Connecticut Troubleshooters they were paid an undisclosed amounts for their services.

Last month, Raymond initially emailed to say there's no money left to donate, blaming the high cost of putting on the event, like online ticketing, promotional materials and food.

Adding by email: “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."

On Friday, the wrestlers said they're looking forward to a make-up wrestling event on Sunday to benefit the ASRC at the East Haven hockey rink at 3 p.m.

Ralph Murray is a wrestler and co-owner of PAPW, “We're gunna put on a heckuva’ show. And we're gunna make this right. We're gunna give these folks their money."

East Haven Police Lt. Joseph Murgo told NBC Connecticut, "We don't want this incident to discourage people from supporting a cause like this in our community. East Haven always comes together to help support people in need, and we don't want this to discourage anyone from doing that in the future."

The new wrestling fundraiser is this Sunday at 3 p.m. at the East Haven hockey rink. Already, they said they've gathered more than $6,000 for ASRC ahead of this new wrestling event.  Raymond told NBC Connecticut he'd get us a new statement Friday, but needed time. 

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Two Area Crews Battle House Fire in East Hartford


Crews from two area fire departments spent Saturday morning battling a house fire in East Hartford.

A neighbor first noticed the flames at the home at 94 Sisson St. around 3 a.m and called 911.

When crews arrived, flames were coming out of the side of the unoccupied home. Fire officials say that because of the old construction at the home, there was nothing to stop the flames from spreading quickly.

Crews say the fire started in the basement and traveled up, catching every floor of the home on fire.

John Oates, East Hartford Fire Chief says it took crews 90 minutes to get the fire under control.

Oates said there is significant damage to the home, but he doesn't believe it will have to be torn down.

The owner of the home passed away last year and her daughter says that her belongings were still inside of the home. Family has been trying to sell the home.

The fire marshal is working to determine the cause of the fire.

Trump WH Has Taken Little Action to Stop Next Election Hack


The Trump administration has taken little meaningful action to prevent Russian hacking, leaking and disruption in the next national election in 2018, despite warnings from intelligence officials that it will happen again, officials and experts told NBC News.

Former FBI Director James Comey recently told senators during Congressional testimony that Trump never asked him about how to stop a future Russian election cyberattack. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who sits on the National Security Council, testified that he has not received a classified briefing on Russian election interference.

Dozens of state officials told NBC News they have received little direction from Washington about election security. White House spokesman Sean Spicer said this week he had never addressed the matter with Trump.

That apparent indifference, coupled with a failure to fill key federal agency jobs, has resulted in a government paralyzed by inaction when it comes to protecting the next election, experts and government officials told NBC News.

Photo Credit: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

North Haven Police Mourn Death of K-9


The North Haven Police Department is mourning the death of its first K-9.

Zeus, an 8-year-old German shepherd, was recently diagnosed with a tumor in his abdomen, according to the department's Facebook page.

He is credited with many successful searches as well as tracking down several suspects.

Zeus was a member of the North Haven Police Department for more than six years.

Photo Credit: North Haven Police

Police Identify Women Killed in Waterbury Crash


Police have identified the two people killed in a crash near the Exit 35 ramp off Route 8 and East Aurora Street in Waterbury on Friday.

Katherine Wadman, 73, of Waterbury and 25-year-old Samantha Mallette, of Watertown, were killed when a pick up truck slammed into their car was turning onto East Aurora Street, according to police.

Witnesses described the crash as horrifying.

Both vehicles were towed to the Waterbury police headquarters for further investigation, police said.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut,com

Texas Mom Charged in Deaths of Children Found in Hot Car


A North Texas woman has been arrested in connection with the deaths of her two children from extreme heat exposure after they were found locked inside a car last month, the Parker County Sheriff's Office says.

Cynthia Marie Randolph, 25, was charged Friday with two first-degree felony counts of injury to a child causing serious bodily injury.

The children, 2-year-old Juliet Ramirez and 16-month-old Cavanaugh Ramirez, were found deceased May 26 inside a vehicle on the 200 block of Rambling Loop, near Lake Weatherford.

In Randolph's initial statements, the sheriff's office told NBC 5, she said the two children had been playing and when she couldn't find them in the house, she started searching the property, eventually locating them in the car.

However, investigators said Randolph in subsequent interviews "created several variations of the events which lead to the death of her children," and in an interview on Friday she implicated herself.

The sheriff's office said Randolph told them she found her children playing inside her car at about 12:15 p.m. and ordered her daughter out of the car using profanity. When the 2-year-old refused to get out of the car, Randolph said she shut the car door to teach the girl a lesson and believed "she could get herself and her brother out of the car when ready," according to a sheriff's office statement.

Randolph allegedly then went inside the house, smoked marijuana and fell asleep for two to three hours.

She said she later broke the car window to make it look like an accident, the sheriff's office said.

Authorities were called to the home at about 4 p.m. when the mother said she had discovered them unresponsive in the car.

At the time, the temperature outside was hovering around 96 degrees. The children were pronounced dead at 4:33 p.m.

No bond has been set yet for Randolph, and it is not clear whether she has an attorney.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News / Parker County Jail
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Body Discovered in Long Island Sound


A body was found in the Long Island Sound today around 11:30 a.m.

Clinton police said two boaters discovered a male body and contacted authorities.

Police said the body appears to have been in the water for a few days.

According to police the body is of thin to medium build, has no tattoos or visual external injuries and is wearing a black and blue bathing suit and a black tank top.

The Medical Examiner took possession of the body.

The identity of the deceased is unknown at this time.

Police are asking anyone with information to contact the Clinton Police Department.

Poll: Dems, GOP Divided on Virginia Shooting Motivation


Data from this month’s NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll shows that partisan identity significantly affected how Americans viewed the shooting on Republican lawmakers at a congressional baseball practice in Alexandria, Virginia, last Wednesday.

By a 20 point margin, 52 percent to 32 percent, more Republicans than Democrats called the shooting a result of political rhetoric. A majority of Democrats — 55 percent — called it an isolated incident, while 37 percent of Republicans said the same.

The public overall was closely divided. Forty-one percent cited political rhetoric, while 46 percent said the shooting was an isolated case.

The NBC/WSJ poll was conducted June 17-20 of 900 adults — including more than 400 by cell phone — and it has an overall margin of error of plus-minus 3.3 percentage points.

Photo Credit: AP Photo/Alex Brandon

State Trooper Taken to Hospital after being Hit


A state trooper was taken to the hospital for evaluation after his vehicle was hit on I95 Northbound in Fairfield.

State police said the trooper was not injured after being hit on Saturday afternoon.

Other details were not immediately available.

Check back with NBC Connecticut for updates.

San Francisco to Honor WWII Victims by Blowing Kisses From Pink Triangle


The Pink Triangle may be a byproduct of the Holocaust, but San Francisco on Saturday will light up its iconic installation with 150 rainbow-colored kisses, effectively turning its symbolism on its head.

“We’ve totally flipped the meaning of the Pink Triangle – it’s about love and not death,” said co-founder Patrick Carney.

Obscura Digital, known for projecting lights on the Conservatory of Flowers for Summer of Love and on the Empire State Building to raise awareness about animal extinction, will help give San Francisco’s beloved homage to the LGBTQ community a real smacker during Pride 2017.

“We’ve photographed hundreds of people blowing kisses so it’s going to be kisses to the world from the Pink Triangle,” said Carney, visibly excited about the project known as “Kisses from San Francisco.”

The much-awaited light show on the Pink Triangle will be visible from nightfall through 2 a.m., said Obscura Digital.

A week that was marked by a record-breaking heat wave gave way to an overcast and gloomy Saturday, but that didn’t stop nearly 200 volunteers, who flocked to the north hill of Twin Peaks.

Blanketed by Karl the Fog, they helped set up the iconic Pink Triangle, which every year honors gay people who were persecuted and slain in Nazi Germany during World War II.

“They had a series of triangles for their undesirables and pink was for the gays,” Carney said.

The Rainbow Flag was created in 1978 by artist Gilbert Baker when then-San Francisco city supervisor Harvey Milk asked his friend to use his skills to make banners for gay and anti-war street protests.

The bright colors have since become synonymous for the gay rights movement. Carney described the Rainbow Flag as “entirely new and beautiful and wonderful.”

In contrast, he said, “The Pink Triangle has a tragic history and part of acknowledging and celebrating where we are for 2017 is remembering where we’ve been.”

Seeking to add a pop of color to San Francisco’s Pride Parade, Carney remembered looking up at Twin Peaks over 22 years ago and seeing a “big, blank canvas.”

So Carney and a friend went out and bought tarp and paint. With the help of eight others, painted it bright pink “in the dark of the night so we wouldn’t be arrested.”

Fast forward to 2017 and San Francisco police officers and elected officials were on hand to help construct the Pink Triangle, which now spans one acre and 175 pink tarps and is held in place with 5,000 12-inch long steel spikes.

Carney said that he didn’t expect his “renegade project” to last more than a year or two. However, realizing that people didn’t know the meaning or importance of the Pink Triangle, Carney came up with the idea of a yearly ceremony. Educating people enabled the movement to pick up steam. Decades later, the Pink Triangle continues to resonate.

“Especially in this administration, we’re not sure what’s going to happen with our rights,” Carney admitted. “We’ve had a lot of gains in recent years, but in some states they’re trying to roll back or ignore those gains.”

This year, he said, the Pink Triangle symbolizes resistance from its perch on the highest point of San Francisco, which can be seen for 20 miles away on a clear day, according to Carney.

It’s “barrels of fun,” he said.

The Pink Triangle will overlook downtown San Francisco and the Castro district through Sunday evening. Volunteers are needed to break it down between 4:30 p.m. and 8 p.m. More information is available online.

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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Police Investigate Possible Attempted Murder/Suicide


Fairfield police are investigating a possible attempted murder/suicide.

Police said they were called to Barlow Road Saturday morning for an incident that occurred Friday night.

A young girl woke up Saturday to find her mother dead and ran to her neighbor’s house, according to police.

Police Chief Gary MacNamara said, “We’re looking to interview the daughter. Obviously she survived, but there’s trauma. There’s some memory issues with regard to exactly what occurred last night.”

Investigators said it appears that the 8-year-old’s mother may have tried to harm her daughter and ultimately took her own life.

After further investigation, police said they found the girl had redness on her face and strangulation marks. Police said she is suffering physical trauma.

Police are continuing to investigate and are hoping they can help the girl in any way they can.

1 Dead After Plane Crashes Into Fla. Day Care Building


A plane carrying two people crashed into a day care building in Fort Myers, Florida, and killed one of the passengers, police said.

A Piper PA-28 aircraft went down during an attempted takeoff at Page Field, according to the Federal Aviation Administration. The crash happened shortly before 8 a.m. Saturday morning at Chico's Early Education Center campus, directly across from the Metro Commerce Center along Metro Parkway.

Port Authority spokesperson Victoria Moreland told NBC affiliate WBBH that no one was inside the building when the plane crashed into it.

Witnesses told WBBH that the plane clipped some trees before crashing into the daycare building. Smoke billowed up from the plane.

The surviving passenger of the plane was injured, according to the Lee County Sheriff's Office. No other information was immediately available about the person's condition.

The Federal Aviation Administration said they plan to investigate the incident. 

Photo Credit: John Ballard

Trump Acknowledges Russian Election ‘Meddling’ in Tweet


President Donald Trump appeared to acknowledge Russian meddling in the presidential election on Twitter Friday, attacking former President Barack Obama.

"Just out," Trump tweeted, "The Obama Administration knew far in advance of November 8th about election meddling by Russia. Did nothing about it. WHY?"

Trump may have been referencing a Washington Post report that the CIA had confirmed Russian President Vladimir Putin’s direct influence on his government's alleged interference in the 2016 election.

Trump on Saturday tried to shift the attention on the Obama administration for Russian interference. "Focus on them, not T!" the president tweeted.

Photo Credit: Evan Vucci/AP

'Lets Not Rush This': Senators Urge Health Care Vote Delay


Senators on both sides of the aisle can agree on at least one thing: rushing a vote on health care would be ill-advised, NBC News reported. 

Republican senators unveiled their version of the health bill on Thursday, and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has indicated he wants to see a vote before the end of this week. 

Both Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wisc., and Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., who each have expressed serious reservations with the bill for very different reasons, said during exclusive interviews on Sunday's "Meet The Press" that rushing a vote before the July 4th recess would be unwise. 

“There’s no way we should be voting on this next week,” Johnson told host Chuck Todd. “I have a hard time believing my Wisconsin constituents or even myself will have enough time to evaluate this for even a motion to proceed... let’s not rush this.”

Sanders added: "There is no way on God’s Earth that this bill should be passed this week. The people of Wisconsin don’t know what’s in it, the people of Vermont don’t know what’s in it. We need a serious discussion."

Photo Credit: AP

Tanker Truck Crashes into Home in Suffield


Police are investigating after a tanker truck crashed into a home in Suffield Sunday morning.

The accident happened at 916 Mountain Road around 10:30 a.m. Police said a milk tanker truck struck the home.

The truck doesn’t appear to have penetrated inside the building, but rather hit the outside of the structure. According to police, there is no structural damage to the building, just debris outside.

The driver of the truck was taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

The Department of Motor Vehicles Commercial Vehicle Safety Division was requested to the scene. Police said drivers should expect delays in the area for several hours while officials investigate.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut
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