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Sarah Palin Sues New York Times Over Editorial


Sarah Palin, the former governor of Alaska and 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee, sued The New York Times on Tuesday alleging that the newspaper defamed her in an editorial, NBC News reported.

The editorial in question appeared to link her to political violence after the shooting of House Republican Whip Steve Scalise earlier this month.

The Times said it would "vigorously" fight the action.

Citing the 2011 shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Arizona, in Tucson, the editorial said: "Before the shooting, Sarah Palin's political action committee circulated a map of targeted electoral districts that put Ms. Giffords and 19 other Democrats under stylized cross hairs."

Photo Credit: AP, File

Small Cell Phone Tower Not Installed in West Haven


Elected officials in West Haven are crediting homeowners for stopping a proposed project that would have brought a small cell phone tower to their neighborhood.

Verizon proposed putting up a wireless canister atop a utility pole near the intersection of Ocean Avenue and Morris Street.

But after people who live nearby spoke up, cities and towns will now have more say before similar cell phone antennas can go up in one of their neighborhoods.

"We’re very proud of our little corner of West Haven," said Alicia Glagowski, who has lived in her home since 1979.

Her neighbor Nhan Tran’s yard is just 96 inches away from where Verizon proposed adding a small cell phone antenna on top of an existing utility pole. Tran alerted his neighbors about the plan by passing out fliers.

"I think the radiation, the emissions, the proximity in a residential area, the proximity to his yard and his 1 ½ year old at the time," said Glagowski of the safety concerns she shared with Tran.

In the past year, Glagowski said two car accidents that damaged a utility pole showed the busy intersection is too dangerous for a wireless canister.

"If there was a fallen or dangling cell canister, all involved would be exposed to five times the allowable FCC radiation levels," Glagowski said at a Tuesday afternoon press conference. "This was our fear when we first started opposing the poll."

Glagowski and her neighbors got their city and state elected officials involved.

"And I said to all of you very honestly we are fighting a giant, we may lose," Senator Gayle Slossberg.

But the residents relentless efforts, including speaking out a number of meetings, paid off.

"Eventually, they did deny it," Glagowski said.

PURA, the state’s Public Utilities Regulatory Authority, has agreed to notify and consult city and town officials before deciding where small wireless towers are installed.

"I’m a happy to say a year later we’re here the laws have been changed," West Haven Mayor Ed O’Brien said. "We will all get notice."

"You did something for every other citizen in the state of Connecticut," Slossberg said. "Together, we made sure our voices will be heard."

The neighbors encourage other Connecticut residents to be vigilant in their cities and towns as more of the small cell phone towers are being installed.

Man Held Without Bail on Weapons Charges, Impersonating Cop


A Massachusetts man is being held without bail for allegedly stockpiling weapons and impersonating a police officer.

Duxbury Police issued an arrest warrant for Christopher Barlow, 20, and arrested him Monday at his home on Back River Way after a lengthy investigation that involved Massachusetts State Police, Connecticut State Police, the FBI and Homeland Security.

Police said as a result of a search warrant, authorities found a number of illegal weapons and fake federal ID's at his home and in his vehicle. They also discovered a cardboard box containing chemicals that can be used to make explosives.

"Very troubling that a young man, an unlicensed individual, had that type of weaponry," said Duxbury Deputy Police Chief Stephen McDonald.

At his arraignment Tuesday in Plymouth District Court, prosecutors said a family member of Barlow's had handed over one of his guns to police earlier this month. Barlow wanted it back so he allegedly used a a fake Homeland Security ID to try and trick police.

"He refused to provide any information in regards to who his supervisor was and also would not allow them to copy the ID," said Elizabeth Mello, Plymouth County Assistant District Attorney.

NBC Boston learned that Barlow was arrested during his EMT shift with Brewster Ambulance. The company released a statement saying that he has been removed from his shift and placed on unpaid leave pending an internal investigation.

"We are working with authorities and assisting law enforcement during their investigation including any patient contact. We are taking this very seriously," read a statement from Johnathon Bobbitt-Miller, Shift Commander for Brewster Ambulance.

Barlow is being held without bail pending a dangerous hearing Wednesday.

Connecticut Ranked #6 in United States for Overall Safety


The National Safety Council (NSC) has released their annual report that grades each state for safety and Connecticut was ranked as #6 in the nation for overall safety.

The report wraps up June’s National Safety Month to draw attention to eliminating preventable deaths – including from poisonings like drug overdoses, car crashes, falls, drownings, fires and choking. The NSC said about 140,000 people die each year from events that could be prevented.

When it comes to road safety, Connecticut ranks #15 in the nation. Of the 24 items listed in the NSC report that said makes roads safe – such as having a state sobriety program, having a primary seat belt law, and having an urban interstate speed limit of 55 miles per hour – about 50 percent of them were used in Connecticut.

"One of the main complaints in our city and in a lot of cities throughout the state would be the speed that people are traveling down our roadways and it’s one of the biggest factors of fatalities. So it’s important that we get people to slow down, obey the speed limits and keep our roadways safe," Officer Michael Diana of the Hartford Police Department said.

In 2015, there were 286 fatalities on the road in Connecticut

There were also 35 deaths in the state caused by a lack of workplace safety. That ranks Connecticut at #11 in the nation for that category – with a state enhanced 911 program and a workplace wellness law in place.

Connecticut was ranked #2 in the nation for Home and Community Safety, after Maryland.

The NSC report said there were 1,500 deaths that could have been prevented in 2015 related to safety in the home and in the community.

That report suggested barriers required around residential pools to prevent drownings, requirements to have a gun license to purchase a gun and concussion awareness training for coaches.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Old Saybrook Woman Upset With TSA 20-Pound Lobster Photo


The owner of an Old Saybrook fish market is a little crusty about the way the 20-pound crustacean she packed was handled by a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) screener at Boston’s Logan Airport.

The pictures posted on Twitter and Instagram by the TSA on Monday has been share thousands of times.

Part of the Instagram caption reads that an officer "needed to remove this giant lobster from its container to resolve a checked baggage alarm."

According to TSA guidelines, live lobsters are allowed in carry-on and checked bags.

But the owner of Atlantic Seafood Market in Old Saybrook, Lisa Feinman, who packed the lobster, is calling the post a violation of personal property.

"The idea that a TSA agent is manhandling our things, that wasn’t part of the equation when I was filling the cooler," Feinman said.

Fienman special ordered the 20-pound lobster and about a dozen other lobsters for a customer from Georgia. She packed the crustaceans in a special, non-leak cooler that was labeled that live lobsters were inside.

The seafood market owner said she understands the TSA has a job to keep travelers safe, but doesn’t understand why a picture needed to be taken.

"For me it became, 'wait, these are our personal belongings. Who’s taking pictures of our stuff and what other stuff are they taking pictures of?'” Feinman said.

The officer didn’t handle the lobster properly, either, Feinman added. She said a lobster is supposed to be held by its body, underneath the arms, to support the weight – especially a 20-pound lobster that holds most of its weight in its arms.

"(My customer) opened up his cooler. The biggest lobster was sitting at the top, all the other lobsters were underneath it, no more paper to keep it cool. You know, it was just improper," she said.

Feinman took to Facebook about the picture and said she called the TSA. NBC Connecticut made multiple calls to the agency Tuesday.

Feinman also called Sen. Richard Blumenthal’s office.

Blumenthal told NBC Connecticut that he will be demanding answers from the TSA, calling the incident an invasion of privacy done for the officers’ amusement.

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6 People Displaced After New Britain Fire


Six people are displaced after a fire in New Britain on Tuesday. 

Smoke poured out of the home on East Street, forcing those who live inside and nearby to scramble for an exit. 

There's extensive damage to the attic and third floor of the home. Neighbors say it's lightning that started it all. 

"(I heard a) loud bang. Sounded like a freight train," one resident inside the home, Jeff Fournier, said. 

Fournier lives on the second floor and said he didn't know what to make of the noise.

"I smelled smoke and I heard people down on the street saying that the house is on fire," Fournier said. 

Firefighters had to fight the fire during a storm that produced heavy rains and lightning. The storm brought intense rainfall and hail

"Quite a storm. Came out of nowhere really quick," neighbor, Scott Rector, said.

When the storm blew through New Britain, Rector thought for a moment lightning struck his home. 

"There was just a loud boom, instant flash and boom, and few seconds later the whole area filled up with smoke," Rector said. 

When New Britain firefighters arrived to the scene, rain poured and lightning flashed in the sky, making it tough and dangerous for emergency crews.

"The rain makes it more difficult to move and move our equipment," New Britain Fire Department Deputy Chief Paul Walsh said. "The guys did a great job and saved the building."

Walsh said no one was injured and everyone self-evacuated from the home. 

The cause of the fire remains under investigation. 

Photo Credit: Scott Rector

Hartford Blight Concerns to Be Discussed at Meeting Tonight


Ongoing blight concerns in Hartford will be discussed Wednesday at a town hall meeting.

Walk through Hartford and you’ll find vacant homes with windows boarded up and grass overgrown.

In February, Mayor Luke Bronin proposed stricter rules for the city’s “anti-blight” ordinance.

The rules he proposed would have prohibited leaving trash on the properties, leaving windows or doors boarded for more than a year, and letting grass grow more than a foot tall.

Violations would have resulted in a $100 dollar fine, per violation, per day.

These blighted and neglected properties that have become eyesores across the city will be discussed Wednesday night at a town hall meeting. It starts at 6 p.m. at the Parker Memorial Community Center, located in the 2600-block of Main Street.

Bucket Truck Collides with Jeep in Waterbury


Two people were taken to the hospital after a Comcast bucket truck collided with a Jeep in Waterbury Tuesday night.

Police said the truck was driving east on Bunker Hill Avenue around 8:45 p.m. when it collided with a Jeep that was traveling west near Bamford Avenue.

The impact tore the left side of the truck off, sending debris, tools and electronics across the road.

The driver of the truck reported no injuries but was taken to the hospital as a precaution. The driver of the Jeep suffered some cuts on her face and was taken to the hospital for treatment. Police said the injuries are minor.

The road was closed while crews cleared the debris. Police continue to investigate.

Road Closed After Car Strikes Pole in Tolland


Part of Crystal Lake Road (Route 30) in Tolland is closed after a car struck a pole overnight.

Fire officials said around 2:15 a.m. that crews were responding to the 200 block of Crystal Lake Road for an accident. Minor injuries were reported.

The pole was snapped in half and Eversource was requested to the scene, fire officials said.

The road remains closed between Eaton Road and High Ridge Drive while crews work to repair the pole.

No other information was immediately available.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Trump's Footloose Foreign Policy Keeps His Own Team Guessing


When the White House issued a statement Monday evening threatening to exact "a heavy price" in response to a potential chemical attack by the Syrian government, senior national security officials were caught off guard, NBC News reported.

White House officials say there were consultations, but key officials who help make Middle East policy at the Pentagon and the State Department had no idea the statement was coming, multiple U.S. officials told NBC News. Many of them knew about the intelligence suggesting possible preparations for a chemical attack, but they weren't aware the White House was going to issue a public threat of military action — a major step.

The disconnect underscores the extent to which President Trump is making foreign policy on the fly, with little regard for the opinions of the diplomatic and military establishments, and with a freewheeling style that couldn't be more different from the lawyerly approach of the Obama team, current and former U.S. officials told NBC News.

Under Obama, coordination was mandatory, so much so that senior officials, including former CIA and Defense chief Leon Panetta, complained about micromanagement. With Trump, it's not clear who is weighing in on major decisions, and how.

Photo Credit: Win McNamee/Getty Images, File

'Tremendous Challenge': Parents of Captured Reporter Speak


The parents of a U.S. journalist being held captive in Syria spoke exclusively to NBC News’ “Today” show Wednesday morning, saying their son’s disappearance in 2012 has turned their lives "inside out and upside down.” 

The interview comes less than a week after the New York Times reported the U.S. government held a secret negotiation in February with the Syrians in an effort to free Austin Tice. 

“It prevents us from giving our other children the attention they deserve,” Marc Tice, Austin’s father, told “Today” host Matt Lauer. “It’s been a tremendous challenge.” 

Austin’s mother, Debra Tice, told Lauer that beyond him being an award-winning journalist, he was always just part of their family. 

“To us, he’s the oldest son, the big brother. He loves being a big brother,” she said.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Chances for Budget by July 1 Slim After Fast-Moving Tuesday


Budget developments changed by the hour Tuesday inside the halls of the Connecticut State Capitol. 

Early in the afternoon, Senate Republican President Pro Tem Len Fasano warned that “people would suffer” in Connecticut if a budget wasn’t approved by July 1, and the state was to be run by executive order. 

He said lawmakers need to expect a public backlash if more than a billion dollars in cuts are authorized after the fiscal year ends. 

“I think you’re going to see an outcry from the public, slow at first, but it will reach a pinnacle in September,” said Sen. Fasano, (R–Durham). 

Later in the day, Senate President Pro Tem Martin Looney announced his support for Gov. Dannel Malloy’s “mini-budget,” a plan that adds more than $300 million in revenue, but also would be a spending a document for the first three months of the fiscal year. It would allow for money to be sent to cities and towns for operating and education expenses.

“I am prepared to sign an emergency certified bill today calling the Senate into session on Thursday, June 29 to vote on the proposed “mini budget” for the first quarter of the fiscal year,” Looney said in a statement Tuesday.

“No one wants the governor to run the state by executive order,” Sen. Looney (D–New Haven) also added.

The delay appears to be in the House of Representatives. Republican Leader Themis Klarides was non-committal over whether she’d support a partial budget for the 2018 fiscal year, but did say it wasn’t her first choice when given the option of a full budget.

Speaker of the House Joe Aresimowicz would not say he or his caucus would vote in favor of a mini-budget, much less bring his caucus into session to debate or vote on such a measure, since he was told recently by members that they wanted to see a full budget approved by the end of the fiscal year.

“Is it putting another Band-Aid on a situation that requires us to do a surgery?” Aresimowicz asked.

He said the only way he can say for himself, or House Democrats for that matter, supporting a partial spending plan was if it was part of a larger negotiation over two-year spending.

“I’m not going to artificially move the goal line, being a football coach, to say everything is going to be OK for another few months,” said Rep. Aresimowicz (D–Berlin), who is also the Berlin High School football coach.

Malloy expressed concern that lawmakers can’t get on the same page to support the mini-budget when there appears to be bipartisan support for it.

“Going into July 1 without a budget will cause bigger problems, not smaller problems,” Malloy warned.

He said the mini-budget will make sure school systems, non-profit groups, and cities and towns will be in a far better position with some kind of law authorizing spending in place, rather than the uncertainty of sweeping cuts without a law in place. 

“All of that can be avoided. It can be avoided by a complete budget or a mini-budget and it’s not avoided if I’m left simply to do what I’ve laid out for you to do,” he said.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Montgomery Ward Building in Putnam Flooded After Drain Fails


Several businesses were damaged when heavy rain flooded the Montgomery Ward building on Main Street in Putnam Tuesday evening.

Putnam fire officials said a roof drain for the building failed, causing water to come gushing in during a downpour Tuesday evening. The water leaked down into the basement and flooded the area.

“It was just chaos. There’s was water every everywhere, pouring down from the third floor all the way through,” said Laureen Clauson, owner of August & March Home.

The fire department responded to cut the power and vacuumed up as much water as possible.

No one was hurt during the flooding.

Roughly ten businesses housed in the building were affected.

Clauson said the business that was hit hardest was Green Hair Company on the third floor.

“It’s gone. Ceiling tiles are on the floor, the electric fan just fell. It was very sad,” she said.

Wonderland Comics also had significant damage inside and ruined merchandise. Several other businesses, including Flying Carpet Studio, suffered minor damage.

Fire officials said all the water has been removed from the building, but repairs to the ceiling and walls are needed before the building can reopen.

Business owners were told they could lose a couple of days to a week of business, if not more.

“It’s a shame. And the time that we’re losing is really the big problem for us. We depend on our summer and weekend travelers here,” said Ann Monteiro of Flying Carpet Studios.

Photo Credit: WINY Radio

Middletown Will Not Renew MAT Contract Unless Demands Are Met


City officials in Middletown and an area transit service are going head-to-head for an agreement that could affect hundreds of thousands of riders. 

The mayor's office announced Tuesday that the city will not sign a contract it has with Middletown Area Transit if the bus company does not meet a list of the city's demands. 

Middletown Mayor Dan Drew presented the list to the public after a closed door meeting with MAT officials. 

The list is as follows: 

First, the city wants the resignation of some of management personnel and consultants working at MAT. 

Second, the city wants MAT to trim down its board from six members to two. 

Third, MAT must request help from the Department of Transportation, including a request for the DOT to provide an emergency manager, which will be appointed by the board. 

Lastly, the MAT must bring back H and I bus routes and continue to provide evening bus service, which MAT threatened to eliminate. 

If MAT does not comply, the city will not renew its contract with the bus service and MAT will lose more than $300,000 subsidy the city provides. 

"I will withhold the city's subsidy. Because I have no confidence any longer in the administration's ability to carry out the functions of the organization, or its handling of finances. These demands need to be met in order for the city to release its portion of the subsidy," Drew said. 

The MAT said financial strain is the reason for the cuts. We reached out to the MAT but they did not respond. 

City officials are hoping for an agreement by July 1, the end of the fiscal year.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut,com

Several Marijuana Plants Seized from Clinton Home


Police raided a home on Cow Hill Road in Clinton Tuesday, seized several marijuana plants and arrested a resident. 

Police said they served the warrant around 5:30 and found several marijuana plants in various stages of growth as well as others that had been harvested and were in the process of drying. 

They also seized were several items commonly used in the growth and distribution of marijuana, according to police. 

Andrea Tiffany, 53, was charged with possession of marijuana, possession of marijuana with intent to sell, operating a drug factory and cultivation of marijuana. 

She was released on a $2,500 non-surety bond and is scheduled to appear at Middlesex Superior Court in Middletown on July 10.

Photo Credit: Clinton Police

Willi Bowl in North Windham Closes Down

Ford Issues Recall for Close to 400,000 Vehicles


Ford on Wednesday announced a safety recall that will impact about 400,000 vehicles that were manufactured in a Kansas City plant between 2014 and 2017, CNBC reported. 

The recall was issued for the 400,000 2015-17 Ford Transit van or bus vehicles, according to the report. No injuries or accidents have been caused by the vehicles subject to the recall. 

"In the affected vehicles, continuing to operate a vehicle with a cracked flexible coupling may cause separation of the driveshaft, resulting in a loss of motive power while driving or unintended vehicle movement in park without the parking brake applied," Ford said. 

"In addition, separation of the driveshaft from the transmission can result in secondary damage to surrounding components, including brake and fuel lines. A driveshaft separation may increase the risk of injury or crash."

Photo Credit: AP

2 CSX Workers Killed by Train Outside Station in DC


Two CSX railroad employees were fatally struck by an Amtrak train after stepping onto tracks outside Union Station in Washington, D.C., Tuesday night.

The victims were aboard a CSX train approaching Union Station when an alert instructed crew to stop and check part of the train, said a National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) official. A detector triggered an abnormality in the CSX train, likely with the wheels.

The two victims were struck by the Amtrak train after getting off their freight train.

"We heard the horn blow, and about three seconds later, we heard a clunking sound. My wife thought she heard something hit the window next to her," passenger Walter Duncan said.

The victims were killed on an active track on which Amtrak was operating passenger trains, near the 1200 block of New York Avenue NE. Emergency personnel were called to the scene around 11:55 p.m. Tuesday.

The victims' names have not been released.

No one was injured aboard Amtrak Train 175, which was traveling to D.C. from Boston and New York. The train had 121 passengers aboard, according to an Amtrak release. There was no information immediately available on the number of crew.

An Amtrak spokesperson previously said the victims appeared to be trespassers, but CSX spokesman Rob Doolittle confirmed Wednesday morning that the victims were CSX employees.

"Our thoughts are with the families and friends of our employees," Doolittle said in a statement.

The victim's CSX train was carrying mixed freight and was traveling from Baltimore. The accident happened in an area where there were two CSX tracks and two Amtrak tracks.

The NTSB official said the agency will assess all conditions on the tracks to see what went wrong. The NTSB will be able to review video footage as part of its investigation.

Amtrak service between Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia was suspended for several hours Wednesday morning due to the incident. Service has been restored, but trains will continue to run at speeds under 10 mph until further notice, the NTSB official said.

MARC commuter rail service into Union Station was suspended on the Penn and Camden lines Wednesday morning, but MARC said that Wednesday afternoon trains will operate at full service. Camden Line trains are expected to run on schedule, but Penn Line riders may encounter delays, MARC said on its website.

Metrorail will honor MARC tickets Wednesday afternoon, MARC said. However, this does not include any charges at Metro parking facilities.

Stay with NBCWashington.com and NBC4 for more on this story.

CORRECTION (June 28, 2017, 11:27 a.m. EST): An earlier version of this story said there were 175 people aboard the train. In fact, there were 121 passengers and an unknown number of crew members on the train.

Gelatinous Sea Creatures Invade Northern California Coast


People aren’t the only ones flooding the beaches along the coast of Northern California this month.

In recent weeks, seemingly alien creatures have been found washed up in Monterey Bay, according to SF Gate. The animals look harmless, but they have caused issues within the fishing communities and may also be a sign of a more ominous issue. So what are these mysterious sea dwellers and what does their appearance mean?

Pyrosomes, also referred to as “sea pickles” or “fire bodies,” are made up of multicellular creatures called zooids. National Geographic reported that the fire bodies can be recognized by their cucumber shape and transparent, Jell-O like exterior. Researchers have also noted that the organisms are asexual, as stated in The Guardian.

They are more commonly found in tropical waters but have been spotted since 2015 in increasing numbers along the Northern California Current, which spans Northern California to Oregon and Washington, according to  the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Researchers from NOAA Fisheries’ Northwest Fisheries Science Center have partnered with universities in Oregon to explore why the creatures have surged off that state's coastline after having rarely been seen there before. Some pyrosomes — which can glow in the dark — have even been spotted as north as Alaska, according to Reuters

The Guardian reported that NOAA research biologist Rick Brodeur, along with marine biologist expert Dr. Lisa-ann Gershwin, suspect increasing water temperatures may be related. Further studies would need to be conducted though to discover if there is a definite link between climate change and the pyrosome’s appearance.

The influx of the creatures has already had a pronounced impact in some areas.

National Geographic stated that one research net pulled up around 60,000 of the pyrosomes within a five minute window. A crew of Alaskan fishermen also had to give up after being unable to remove all the sea cucumbers from their hooks, the site said.

Those who were able to catch anything noticed some fish were regurgitating sea cucumbers. National Geographic said it was unknown whether the creatures had been intentionally eaten or consumed because the fish were unable navigate through the masses of pyrosomes.

Natural predators have been bony fish, dolphins and whales, according to NOAA. 

Photo Credit: NOAA/Hilarie Sorensen/University of Oregon

Mom's Boyfriend Gets Life in Prison in 'Baby Doe' Case


A Boston man who was convicted of second-degree murder in the death of 2-year-old Bella bond was sentenced Wednesday.

The judge sentenced Michael McCarthy, 37, to life in prison with the possibility of parole after 20 years.

Bella Bond's biological father, Joe Amoroso, spoke before McCarthy's sentencing, saying he was "robbed of my chance" to be Bella's father.

"No justice on Earth fixes the grief," he said.

McCarthy was found guilty by jurors on Monday after five days of deliberation and 15 days of testimony. 

His defense attorneys plan to appeal his conviction, insisting that Bella's mother, Rachelle Bond, is the one responsible for the young girl's death. 

After Bella's body washed ashore on Deer Island in Winthrop in June 2015, she was only known as "Baby Doe" until three months later, when a tip led to the arrests McCarthy and Bond. Both McCarthy and Rachelle Bond were arrested in September 2015 after Bond told a friend that McCarthy killed Bella, the friend then calling investigators with the tip. 

Bond was scheduled to be sentenced to time served on Tuesday after pleading guilty to accessory charges in February in connection with her daughter's death. However, the judge postponed it to July 12 after they were unable to secure an bed at an inpatient substance abuse recovery center.

Photo Credit: NBC Boston
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