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US Sen. John McCain Diagnosed With Brain Tumor


Arizona Sen. John McCain, the 2008 Republican presidential nominee with a well-known maverick streak that often vexes his GOP colleagues, has been diagnosed with a brain tumor, his office said in a statement Wednesday.

The 80-year-old lawmaker has glioblastoma, an aggressive cancer, according to doctors at the Mayo Clinic in Phoenix, where McCain had a blood clot removed from above his left eye last Friday. The senator and his family are reviewing further treatment, including a combination of chemotherapy and radiation.

"Subsequent tissue pathology revealed that a primary brain tumor known as a glioblastoma was associated with the blood clot," his office said in a statement.

About 20,000 people in the U.S. each year are diagnosed with a glioblastoma, a particularly aggressive type of brain tumor. The American Cancer Society puts the five-year survival rate for patients over 55 at about 4 percent.

The tumor digs tentacle-like roots into normal brain tissue. Patients fare best when surgeons can cut out all the visible tumor, which happened with McCain's tumor, according to his office. That isn't a cure; cancerous cells that aren't visible still tend to lurk, the reason McCain's doctors are considering further treatment, including chemotherapy and radiation.

It's the same type of tumor that struck McCain's close Democratic colleague in legislative battles, the late Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts.

The senator and chairman of the Armed Services Committee had been recovering at his Arizona home. His absence had forced Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., to delay action on health care legislation. McCain had been slated to oversee debate of the sweeping defense policy bill in the coming weeks.

As word spread of his diagnosis, President Donald Trump, former rival Barack Obama and McCain's Senate colleagues, Republicans and Democrats, offered their prayers and support.

"Senator John McCain has always been a fighter. Melania and I send our thoughts and prayers to Senator McCain, Cindy, and their entire family. Get well soon," Trump said.

Obama, who dashed McCain's dreams of the presidency, said in a tweet: "John McCain is an American hero & one of the bravest fighters I've ever known. Cancer doesn't know what it's up against. Give it hell, John."

A Navy pilot, McCain was shot down over Vietnam and held as a prisoner of war for 5½ years.

McConnell called McCain a "hero to our conference and a hero to our country. He has never shied from a fight and I know that he will face this challenge with the same extraordinary courage that has characterized his life."

Democratic Sen. Chris Coons of Delaware said McCain "is a fighter, and I am hopeful he will once again beat the odds."

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey described McCain as "undoubtedly the toughest man in the United States Senate."

Politics aside, McCain and Bill Clinton developed a strong friendship, and the former president said: "As he's shown his entire life, don't bet against John McCain. Best wishes to him for a swift recovery."

McCain's office disclosed the removal of the blood clot late Saturday and said the senator was awaiting pathology reports. In the past, McCain had been treated for melanoma, but a primary tumor is unrelated. Doctors said McCain is recovering from his surgery amazingly well and his underlying health is excellent.

In a statement on Twitter, his daughter, Meghan McCain, spoke of the shock of the news and the anxiety over what happens next. "My love for my father is boundless and like any daughter I cannot and do not wish to be in a world without him. I have faith that those days remain far away," she said.

With his irascible grin and fighter-pilot moxie, McCain was elected to the Senate from Arizona six times, but twice thwarted in seeking the presidency.

An upstart presidential bid in 2000 didn't last long. Eight years later, he fought back from the brink of defeat to win the GOP nomination, only to be overpowered by Obama. McCain chose a little-known Alaska governor as his running mate in that race, and helped turn Sarah Palin into a national political figure.

After losing to Obama in an electoral landslide, McCain returned to the Senate, determined not to be defined by a failed presidential campaign. And when Republicans took control of the Senate in 2015, McCain embraced his new job as chairman of the powerful Armed Services Committee, eager to play a big role "in defeating the forces of radical Islam that want to destroy America."

Throughout his long tenure in Congress, McCain has played his role with trademark verve, at one hearing dismissing a protester by calling out, "Get out of here, you low-life scum."

He tangled with McConnell over campaign finance, joined forces with Democrats on immigration and most recently had a very public spat with Sen. Rand Paul. McCain said the Kentucky Republican was working for Russian President Vladimir Putin after he blocked a vote on allowing Montenegro into NATO. Paul said McCain had gotten "unhinged."

In 2016, McCain stuck by Trump at times seemingly through gritted teeth — until the release a month before the election of a lewd audio in which Trump said he could kiss and grab women. Declaring that the breaking point, McCain withdrew his support and said he would write in "some good conservative Republican who's qualified to be president."

He had largely held his tongue earlier in the campaign when Trump questioned his status as a war hero by saying: "He was a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren't captured."

Photo Credit: AP

Doctor Accused of Running 'Pill Mill' Faces Judge


One of two Norwalk physicians accused of writing illegal prescriptions, defrauding the state’s Medicaid program out of millions of dollars and money laundering faced a judge in Bridgeport on Wednesday. 

The court granted a continuance so that the Connecticut's U.S. Attorney’s Office has more time to explore Dr. Bharat Patel’s assets. Patel owns three properties in Connecticut and a condo in Mumbai.

His attorney, Alexander Schwartz, wanted him released on a $250,000.00 bond and recommended that he be ordered to stay at home with his family, and have electronic monitoring. Federal officials are concerned Patel is a flight risk, having traveled nearly two dozen times since January of 2012.

The federal criminal complaint alleges in that time frame, Patel wrote 200 post-dated prescriptions for 32 patients, who they said received more than 12,000 narcotics pills fraudulently.

More than 50 friends, family members and patients showed up at the hearing on Wednesday, to stand in support of Patel. He’ll remain in federal lock up in Rhode Island. Schwartz has concerns with his high blood pressure and high cholesterol, and the fact he is 70 years old.

On Wednesday, Patel’s younger brother, Subhash Patel, told NBC Connecticut "I don’t believe it. He’s been accused incorrectly or wrongly. And, you know, I have been his patient since 1981. On several occasions, he already refused to give me a prescription for certain medicines. I don’t believe the charges at all."

“Just because it’s in the affidavit, doesn’t mean it’s true or accurate," Schwartz said. "The safety issue comes from the nature of the charge. Because of the drug charges, there’s the presumption that he cannot be released into the community, and I think I rebutted that well because he cannot write prescriptions for what he’s charged with prescribing."

The prosecutor stated that Patel admitted to earning $5,000 a month in writing prescriptions in this way. Also announcing a claim that the doctor’s wife knew what was going on. At the liquor store his wife once owned in the same location as the urgent care facility Patel worked at in Norwalk, the prosecutor said, prescriptions were left for patients pick up.

Federal officials located the other doctor, Dr. Ramil Mansourov, accused of fleeing the country after being named a suspect in an investigation into what authorities are calling the largest ever health care fraud enforcement action by the federal Medicare Fraud Strike Force in the country last week. He was found outside a hotel in Montreal, Canada. Canadian authorities said Mansourov had a hearing and is slated to have another hearing in the coming days.

Patel, 70, of Milford, and 47-year-old Mansourov, of Darien, are accused of running this “pill mill” and selling prescriptions for drugs, including oxycodone and hydrocodone, to addicts and drug dealers.

In all, 412 defendants have been charged across the country, including 115 doctors, nurses and other licensed medical professionals, for alleged participation in health care fraud schemes involving approximately $1.3 billion in false billings.

The local investigation began after allegations that the two doctors might be writing prescriptions outside the scope of legitimate medical practice.

Patel and Mansourov operated out of Family Health Urgent Care, at 235 Main Street in Norwalk, which is closed until further notice.

Some of those addicts they are accused of selling to referred to the defendants’ medical practice as “The Candy Shop,” according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Patel owned the previous practice, which was known as Immediate Health Care, and sold it in 2012 to Mansourov, who renamed it, according to the United States Attorney’s Office.

Authorities said Patel regularly provided prescriptions for narcotics, including oxycodone and hydrocodone, to patients he knew were addicted or had been arrested for distributing or possessing controlled substances.

On several occasions, he sold the prescriptions to patients under the table for $100, including to some who used a state Medicaid card, then distributed the drugs, officials said.

In some instances, Patel wrote prescriptions for people who were not his patients in exchange for cash, federal officials said, and Mansourov provided Patel’s patients with unnecessary prescriptions.

In 2014 alone, more than $50,000 in cash was deposited into Patel and his wife’s bank accounts and some of that money went to buy the house Patel currently lives in, according to federal authorities.

Mansourov is accused of defrauding the state’s Medicaid program of more than $4 million between November 2013 and December 2016 and moving some of that money to a bank account in Switzerland.

He is accused of billing for home visits he never made, billing for nursing home visits he never made, billing for office visits that never happened and billing for visits that he claimed took place on dates on which he was actually out of state or out of the country, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

“Too many trusted medical professionals like doctors, nurses, and pharmacists have chosen to violate their oaths and put greed ahead of their patients,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a statement about the nationwide crackdown.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com and the U.S. Department of Justice

2 Teens Accused of Fatally Shooting 63-Year-Old in Hartford


A 16-year old and an 18-year-old were arrested on Wednesday for shooting death of a man in Hartford this week. 

Both teens have been charged with murder and conspiracy to commit murder and are being held on $1,000,000 bonds. They are expected in court on Thursday. 

Two Hartford police cruisers were damaged and several police officers were nearly struck Tuesday morning as a person wanted for questioning in a Sunday homicide fled from authorities, according to police.

Patrol officers responded to Coleman Drive Tuesday morning to investigate the report of a suspicious vehicle after someone wanted for questioning in the shooting death of 63-year-old Jeffrey Worrell, police said.

Worrell was found at Westland Street and Garden Street just before 2 p.m. with a gunshot to the head on Sunday, according to police. He was transported from the scene to St. Francis Hospital, where he later died.

Police said officers noticed the driver from a wanted bulletin on Tuesday morning. As officers approached the vehicle, the driver fled, ramming a marked cruiser, causing it to hit another cruiser.

The vehicle was stolen from Southington.

The driver then backed up, crashed into a light pole and nearly hit several officers while driving away, according to police.

The driver then drove directly at a patrol unit on Coleman Drive, forcing police to drive onto a curb to avoid being hit, police said.

The driver was able to get away, but police were able to locate the stolen car in New Britain.

After interviewing the person of interest, police were able to obtain arrest warrants for the two teenagers. 

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Quinnipiac Students Using Summer to Sharpen Business Skills


Seventy-two high school students are proving the summer is no time for slacking.

This week they are participating in Quinnipiac’s Summer Entrepreneurship Academy with the hopes of building their resumes and a bright future.

"Essentially what we want to do teach the kids the process of being an entrepreneur and help them understand the process of formulating ideas and going through all the steps," Academy mentor Marlon Pirre-Louis said.

The students represent every high school in New Haven. Darryl Willis just graduated from Metropolitan Business Academy and will be attending Quinnipiac in the fall. He is confident the skills he is learning while developing a sneaker app at the academy, will translate at the college level.

"It helps with all the knowledge I need and it helps with teamwork," Willis said. "I’m working with a lot of different people, I can’t do it on my own."

The sneaker app isn’t the only idea circulating this week. Other team projects include a solar freezer, voice activated sunglasses and makeup stickers.

"There are some really good ideas," Pirre-Louis said.

They may be a bunch of high school students, but they mean business.

"Every single person here, the materials and the products that we are making, it could sell. We are a really smart group of people," Madison Mickey said.

In total there are 16 projects being worked on. They will be presented to a special panel on July 21.

'Stunned' Puppeteer Says He Did Not Transform Kermit


Puppeteer Steve Whitmire on the "Today" show Thursday pushed back on allegations that he was difficult to work with and that he transformed Kermit the Frog into a negative personality during his more than 15-year tenure as the voice of the beloved character. 

Jim Henson's daughter Cheryl Henson alleged this week that Whitemire turned the iconic children's character into "a bitter, angry, depressed victim."

On "Today," Whitemire responded, saying that's an "arrogance that’s not in my body."

As for the charge that he was difficult to work with, Whitmire said he was in talks to become a producer of the show and was "stunned" when he learned he was fired. 

"I offered notes, I don’t think that makes someone difficult," he said.

In response to a blog post last week, in which Whitmire said he had been “devastated” by his termination, Cheryl Henson reportedly posted on Facebook saying his story was “ridiculously self serving [sic].”

“Steve’s performance of Kermit has strayed far away from my father’s good hearted [sic], compassionate leader of the Muppets,” Henson, who is a Jim Henson Company board member, wrote. “Steve performed Kermit as a bitter, angry, depressed victim.”

Cheryl Henson went on to say that Whitmire's portrayal was no longer “funny or fun,” and that re-casting the character was long overdue. A screenshot of Henson's Facebook post was published by Deadline and NBC News could independently verify the writing.

Photo Credit: Tonya Wise/Invision/AP

Accused Killer in Pa. Slayings Was Banned From His High School, College


When Cosmo DiNardo showed up to an open house at Holy Ghost Preparatory School, his alma mater, last October, school administrators noticed he was acting odd.

The event, designed to attract potential new students, did not include the 2015 graduate as part of the program.

School spokesman William Doherty wouldn't elaborate on what exactly transpired that Sunday other than saying, "the behavior was enough for us to be concerned."

When he was asked to leave, DiNardo became disruptive and police were called.

Doherty said the school filed a police report and called DiNardo's parents, Antonio and Sandra DiNardo, to let them know Cosmo was banned from the prep school's Bucks County campus.

The incident at Holy Ghost Prep coincides with a separate episode at a Montgomery County college that resulted in his banning from that institution.

The new information about DiNardo's past continues to paint a picture of a troubled young man who graduated to the murders of four men he admitted to shooting and burying on his family's sprawling rural estate in Solebury Township, according to authorities. Three of the bodies were doused in gasoline and lit on fire inside what was described in court documents as a "pig roaster."

DiNardo, who has been diagnosed with schizophrenia, was involuntarily committed to a mental institution in the past. The circumstances surrounding that committal remain unclear. He was barred from having a firearm.

Last fall, the 20-year-old was banned from Arcadia University in Glenside, Montgomery County. He spent a semester at the school in the fall 2015 and tried to return the following fall, but school officials said he was not welcome.

A university spokesperson said DiNardo had verbal incidents with members of the university community and made some people uncomfortable. They added that the matter was considered a public safety issue.

DiNardo was informed he would be trespassing if he stepped foot on school grounds, a university spokesperson said. DiNardo and his parents were notified of his banning via a certified letter that was also sent to Cheltenham police.

About half a year after DiNardo was banned, he killed Jimi Taro Patrick, 19; Dean Finocchiaro, 19; Mark Sturgis, 22; and Tom Meo, 21, prosecutors said. DiNardo allegedly admitted to the killings in a confession last Thursday to avoid the death penalty.

Prosecutors said DiNardo's 20-year-old cousin, Sean Kratz, also participated in the murders. Both have been charged in the case. Kratz's attorney, Abby Leeds, told NBC10 Tuesday that her client is "presumed innocent."

Both remain jailed in Bucks County.

Photo Credit: Bucks County District Attorney's Office
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Malloy Holds Bill Signing for Legislation Authorizing East Windsor Casino


Gov. Dannel Malloy held a bill signing ceremony this morning for legislation that authorizes the operation of a casino gaming facility in East Windsor.

The legislation, Public Act 17-89, An Act Concerning the Regulation of Gaming and Authorization of a Casino Gaming Facility in the State, specifies that the casino will be owned and operated by MMCT Venutre, LLC, a joint venture of the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribes. 

The act comes with certain conditions. First, a $1 million initial payment will be made by the tribes to the State of Connecticut. Second, the state will receive 25 percent of gross gaming revenue from video facsimile games and 25 percent of GGR from all other authorized games, with 10 percent of that amount going to the state’s tourism efforts and the remaining 15 percent toward the state’s general fund, Malloy's office wrote in a statement.

MMCT will be responsible for paying $300,000 a year to address problem gambling. Additionally, the tribes will also handle costs of regulatory oversight conducted by the Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection.

Finally, the towns of Ellington, Enfield, South Windsor, Windsor Locks, East Hartford and the City of Hartford will be paid annual grants from the state of $750,000.

The legislation gives DCP oversight, licensing, and regulation over the East Windsor casino, and any other casino that may be authorized by the Legislature in the future.

The bill signing ceremony will take place at 11 a.m. in the State Capitol.

Photo Credit: Tecton Architects

Trump's First 6 Months: His Wins, Losses and Stalemates


President Donald Trump took office promising a pivot for the country on everything from health care to immigration, a transfer of power not from one administration to another but from Washington, D.C., to the American people.

In his inaugural address, Trump said the United States must protect against other countries stealing companies and jobs, and vowed prosperity and strength.

"From this day forward, it’s going to be America first -- America first," he said. "Every decision on trade, on taxes, on immigration, on foreign affairs, will be made to benefit American workers and American families."

Anne Norton, the chairwoman of the political science department at the University of Pennsylvania, said that, symbolically, Trump has met the expectations of his supporters and those who voted for him as a protest.

"They believe he is 'sticking it to the man' both in Washington and abroad," Norton said. "When he tweets things his critics regard as offensive or ridiculous or outright falsehoods -- that's all to the good for them. The more provocative he is, even the more he profits from his office, the better they like it."

But for those looking for policy changes, he has not met expectations, Norton said.

"He hasn't displaced the elites, he hasn't built the wall, he hasn't done a whole series of things that they want him to do and most importantly, he hasn't found them jobs," she said. 

Trump and the Congressional Republicans had a significant and very public failure this week when the U.S. Senate failed to repeal Obamacare and replace it with an alternate health care bill. Plus, Trump's administration has been rocked by revelations of contacts with Russian officials and clashes in the federal courts. His $4.1 trillion spending plan, with deep domestic spending cuts, has little chance in Congress.

His promises of tax cuts and infrastructure projects are still to come. Observers are saying that Trump needs a win in tax reform to show a legislative success.

Though the legislative scorecard is lacking, Trump has had other victories, particularly on the U.S. Supreme Court.

Here's a look at his progress so far.


Repeal and Replace, or Just Repeal?
Republicans failed to come through on their promise, and Trump’s, to repeal and replace "Obamacare" when the U.S. Senate version for a replacement bill collapsed on Tuesday. Two senators — Mike Lee of Utah and Jerry Moran of Kansas — announced they would not support the new health care bill, a vote on which had been delayed while Sen. John McCain recovered from surgery, which led to a brain tumor diagnosis for the senator.

Two other senators, Rand Paul of Kentucky and Susan Collins of Maine — had already come out against the bill — which would have allowed insurers to sell low-cost, bare bones plans but included deep cuts Medicaid. Only one additional defection was needed to doom it because Senate Democrats all opposed it. The House bill, narrowly approved in May, would leave 23 million more people without insurance than under the Affordable Care Act. 

A fallback plan to pass a straight repeal also fell apart. 


ISIS' Shrinking State
Trump saw the defeat of ISIS in Mosul, Iraq's second largest city and one of ISIS's strongholds, last week after a nine-month battle. But the terrorist group still holds significant territory in Syria and in Iraq, particularly the Syrian city of Raqqa, which it declared its capital.

During the campaign, Trump once said he would "bomb the hell" out of ISIS and ordered his generals to submit a plan for defeating ISIS within 30 days. The Pentagon sent him a preliminary one on Feb. 27.

Iran's Nuclear Deal
During the campaign, Trump criticized the nuclear agreement with Iran as "the worst deal ever." But since taking office, he has twice certified its compliance with the deal.

He continues to say that his administration wants to strengthen the deal. His administration is preparing new economic sanctions against Iran because of its ballistic missile program and its adding to regional tensions.


Jobs, Jobs, Jobs, Jobs
Trump got good news on one of his main campaign pledges when the government reported that 222,000 jobs had been added in June, though some manufacturers will continue to send jobs overseas. Ford Motors, for example, announced it would produce its Focus model in China. And though the jobless rate rose slightly, that was because job seekers who had given up returned.

Other Economic Measures
Put the stock market in the positive column for the Trump team, as it's hit record levels several times during his presidency, including last week. And a report from the Federal Reserve at the beginning of July found that the U.S. economy was growing steadily, though still faces problems: Investment levels remain low, productivity is growing slowly, and pay is rising slowly.

The Associated Press disputed Trump's contention that "no matter where you look, the economy is blazing." "At best, it's a controlled burn," an AP fact check said. The economy grew at a sluggish annual rate of 1.4 percent during the first three months of the year and Federal Reserve officials are predicting the economy will grow by 2.2 percent this year, leaving the 4 percent annual growth Trump has predicted elusive.


Tilting Right on the Supreme Court
One of Trump’s clear victories has been the confirmation of Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court. Trump had promised to nominate federal judges “in the mold of Justice (Antonin) Scalia.”  Gorsuch, who voted to allow an Arkansas inmate to be put to death and was in favor of allowing all of Trump’s travel ban to take effect while the court considers it, has already been one of the most conservative justices on the high court.

He replaced Scalia after Republicans in the U.S. Senate refused to consider President Barack Obama’s pick, Merrick Garland. Trump has the chance to fill more than 120 openings on the federal courts — a result of the slow pace with which Republicans took up Obama’s nominees.


Walling off Mexico
Throughout the campaign, Trump promised a wall along the more than 1,900-mile U.S.-Mexico border that Mexico would pay for. That wall recently shrunk to 700 to 900 miles after Trump told reporters on July 13 that natural barriers and other factors make a longer one unnecessary. There is already a fence along nearly 700 miles of the border. The wall, for which House Republicans have budgeted $1.6 billion to begin construction, could include solar panels and would need to be transparent so drugs couldn’t be thrown over it, Trump said. So far, Mexico is refusing to pay.

Banning Travel from Mostly Muslim Countries
Trump’s campaign call for barring all Muslims from entering the United States has been scaled back and the administration would now ban people from certain predominantly Muslim countries. But even that has run afoul of the federal courts, which blocked implementation of the initial ban and a subsequent revised version.

At the end of June, the U.S. Supreme Court allowed some parts to go forward until it could hear arguments on the policy but left the details to the Trump administration. On July 13, a federal judge in Hawaii expanded categories to allow in grandparents and other close relatives, a decision the U.S. Supreme Court upheld on Wednesday. The case pits the president’s authority to limit immigration against protection from discrimination based on religious beliefs or national origin.

Arresting Undocumented Immigrants
Arrests of immigrants jumped 40 percent, according to a government report released in May, with the largest arrest spike in immigrants with no criminal offense other than being undocumented.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers have arrested more than 41,000 people since January — at an average of 400 arrests a day, according to a report by ICE.

The increase came though Trump had said that his immigration crackdown would focus heavily on criminals, "bad hombres" and public safety. 


Methane Regulation
The Trump administration’s efforts to roll back dozens of environmental regulations put in place by President Barack Obama hit a legal setback at the beginning of July when a federal appeals court ruled that the Environmental Protection Agency could not suspend a rule to restrict methane emissions from new oil and gas wells. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt had imposed a two-year moratorium on parts of the regulation, but the court ruled that his decision was unreasonable, arbitrary and capricious. The EPA must instead go through a new, exhaustive rule-making process.

Paris Agreement
Trump made good on his campaign pledge to cancel the Paris climate accord last month when he announced the United States would withdraw from the agreement. And though he said he wanted a better deal for the United States, the leaders of France, German and Italy responded that the 2015 pact was not open for renegotiation.

Trump described the agreement, adopted by 195 countries, as “draconian” and said it imposed unfair standards on the U.S. businesses. The United States was to have cut its greenhouse gas emissions 26 to 28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025. It also would have committed up to $3 billion in aid for poorer countries by 2020.

Keystone XL Pipeline
Trump approved the Keystone XL Pipeline in March, reversing a decision by President Barack Obama on the controversial project opposed by environmentalists and some Native Americans.

Trump said the pipeline's construction would bring new jobs, lower energy costs and reduce U.S. reliance on foreign oil.

Photo Credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Boil Water Advisory Canceled for North Stonington


Residents in part of North Stonington were stocking up on bottled water after being urged to boil their tap water, but the boil water advisory is now over.

The notice went into effect after tests revealed E.coli in one location and total coliforms in three others, according to the Southeastern Connecticut Water Authority.

Josh Cansler, the general manager of the water authority, said the findings came during routine testing last week.

“Most likely it was the heavy rains last week brought in some type of bacteria into the system, which is common during especially heavy rains,” he said.

A boil water order was immediately put into effect and customers were notified, according to Cansler.

“I ended up getting a text from my mother telling me to pick up some water on the way home because our water may be contaminated,” Crystal Picard, of North Stonington, said.

Cansler said the Department of Health was notified, work began to flush the system and there was no evidence of E.coli during a second round of tests.

The boil water order was issued out of an abundance of caution, but residents could bathe without risk of health, according to the Southeastern Connecticut Water Authority.

“Some people might be affected by the coliform and get a mild sickness. It’s very rare to get a serious sickness from coliform,” Cansler said.

The areas affected included Kingswood Drive, Laurel Wood Road, Hewitt Road and a portion of Main Street.

Staff at Buon Appetito used bottled water to replace tap and said they were thankful that this did not happen during a busy weekend.

“We just had to go out and get ice for all of our beverages -- all the sodas, lemonades, juices we carry,” Lauren Whitmore, a Buon Appetito employee, said. “We have bottled water available as well as we’re doing jugs for just house water for everyone.”

Total coliforms are a group of related bacteria that are -- with few exceptions --not harmful to humans, according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency.

The EPA says a variety of bacteria, parasites, and viruses, known as pathogens, can potentially cause health problems if humans ingest them. EPA considers total coliforms a useful indicator of other pathogens for drinking water. Total coliforms are used to determine the adequacy of water treatment and the integrity of the distribution system.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Top 'Trump' Google Searches Reveal Country's Curiosities


A look at a person's search history can reveal their genuine curiosities. A country's search history has the power to unveil what's on the minds of an entire nation.

Americans have a lot of questions about President Donald Trump, who completes his first six months in office this week. It turns out that a much smaller group of people have Googled "Trump Russia" than say "George Clooney Trump." 

The Clooney-Trump search did show up on Connecticut's list.

Google Trends is a tool offered by the search engine that looks at data from searches. A team from Google News Labs compiled search data for NBC related to the topic "Donald Trump" from January 20, 2017, to July 14, 2017, and included searches with a reference to the president. The service then broke down the search results by major cities and states for a glimpse at what people around the country want to know about Trump.

Patterns emerged from the top Trump-related Google searches, in both English and Spanish, in the president's first six months in office. For both languages, people wanted to know most about news related to the president.

A recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll revealed that 62 percent of people who live in counties that carried Trump to victory oppose his use of Twitter. But that doesn't mean Americans aren't interested in what he has to say on the platform. "Trump Twitter" was the second most popular Google search.

The times where "Trump news" and "Trump twitter" searches peaked often came in the wake of blockbuster news stories, such as the aftermath of the firing of FBI Director James Comey and the appointment of Special Counsel Robert Mueller in May. 

Along with searches like "approval rating" and "inauguration speech," some celebrity searches also made it into the top 10.

"George Clooney Trump" appeared third on the top Google searches in English and even beat out "Trump Twitter" for Spanish searches, a reference to the actor's interview with French outlet Canal+ where he called the president a "Hollywood elitist" in February. "Kathy Griffin Trump" came sixth on the English list, perhaps due to people's curiosity about the comedian's controversial photo shoot where she held a mock decapitated head of the president.

"Trump impeachment" appears in the top five English searches in most major cities in the U.S., while Spanish lists do not include searches for impeachment. And in certain places, the searches cross a line into the unusual.

Dover, Delaware's, list includes a "Trump moves things" English search in its top five. "Snoop dogg Trump," came in third on Atlantic City, New Jersey's list of top English searches, referring to the controversy over a Snoop Dogg music video that shows the rapper pointing a fake pistol at a Trump-like clown.

For Spanish speakers, searches on the president often included the names of Spanish-speaking countries, such as Cuba, Mexico and Venezuela. While both English and Spanish searchers sought information on immigration, Spanish searches had more specific inquiries rise to the top that were not present on the English lists, such as searches on D.A.C.A., sanctuary cities, the travel ban, and mass deportations.

Searches related to President Trump and an immediate family member were virtually absent from the English search lists, while Spanish speakers searched for first lady Melania Trump and the president's son, Barron in places like Chicago, and Fort Lauderdale, Florida. (For the purpose of this exercise, a search on a family member like Donald Trump Jr. would be filtered out of the lists unless the search also included the word "son.")

With news about possible collusion between President Trump's campaign and Russia a fixture in national media, a relatively small number of American cities included in Google's search roundup appear to be looking for information on the subject the same way. Russia-related Trump searches were among top searches in Philadelphia, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Washington, D.C., Boston and Salt Lake City. The issue did not make the national Top 10 list in either language. 

Some Google users are looking for humor amid the Trump presidency.

"SNL Trump" appears in the top searches for English users in America, while "memes" related to the president are among the most popular searches for Spanish speakers.

Photo Credit: Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP
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Prospect Man Killed in Motorcycle Crash on Route 8


A 27-year-old Prospect man was killed in a motorcycle crash on Route 8 South in Waterbury late Wednesday night.

Police said Christopher Jeannin was driving a Yamaha motorcycle and was thrown from his bike when he struck a Honda Civic near exit 34 just before 11:30 p.m.

Jeannin was transported to St. Mary’s Hospital, where he was later pronounced dead.

The other driver, a 23-year-old New Jersey woman, was taken to Waterbury Hospital to be evaluated.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Former Director of Substance Abuse Recovery Center Accused of Embezzlement


The former director of a women’s substance abuse recovery center in Canaan is accused of embezzling nearly $100,000 or more from the facility.

State police began the investigation into 35-year-old Tara Desjardins, of Meriden, on Feb. 16, 2016, when the owner of the Eden Hill Recovery Retreat for Women contacted them and revealed suspicions that a former employee made several unauthorized purchases over a span of years.

The owner of the facility reported confronting Desjardins in October 2015 and asked about a lack of profits. Desjardins’ response was that there were extra expenses that month and that there would be an improvement the following month, according to the police report, and the owner of the facility fired Desjardins just after Christmas.

The owner of the facility and Desjardins communicated over the next two months about the money and Desjardins admitted to using the company credit card to make personal purchases and promised to repay $16,400, according to the court documents.

The owner of the facility, however, determined that $28,747 was missing, according to police.

When detectives reviewed financial information, however, they determined that much more was missing, including excess payments to Desjardins’ boyfriend, who did some work at the facility, according to police.

Authorities believe Desjardins embezzled between $99,650.29 and $158,263.74.

She has been charged with first- and third-degree larceny, embezzlement and bond was set at $100,000.

Desjardins could not post bond and was held, according to police.

Photo Credit: Connecticut State Police

Norwalk Mother Facing Deportation Seeks Refuge at Church


A Norwalk mother who has lived in the United States for 24 years is refusing deportation and won't board a plane back to Guatemala on Thursday. 

Nury Chavarria left her native Guatemala in 1993, when she was 19, and applied for asylum. Her application was denied, but she remained in the U.S., with nothing to go back to at home.

Chavarria is currently seeking asylum at the Iglesia De Dios Pentecostal church in New Haven.

"We have been informed that Nury Chavarria has opted to seek refuge in a local church through sanctuary," Chavarria's former attorney, Sidd Sinha, said.

Sinha said he will continue to represent Chavarria on the Immigrations Custom Enforcement (ICE) portion of her case, however, she is retaining new counsel regarding sanctuary. 

Since 2011, she has had yearly check-ins with immigration officials. Each year she was given the approval to remain in the U.S.

Chavarria said she has no criminal record, works as a housekeeper, and pays taxes. She believed those factors would allow her to remain in the U.S., despite President Donald Trump's administration’s focus on deportations. All that changed at her June check-in, when ICE officials told her in five weeks she would have to pack up her life and leave.

“I told him I’m not a criminal. I’m a mother with four children. They are citizens. USA. I want to stay here to help them and keep my family together,” she said.

ICE issued Chavarria an ankle-monitor to track her movements ahead of her removal. Meanwhile, her 9-year-old daughter has a plea for President Trump.

“Please let my mom stay, because she has four children, and I’m one of themand I really want her to stay,” Hayley Chavarria said.

New Haven attorney Glenn Formica and volunteer activist group Connecticut Shoreline Indivisible have taken on Chavarria's case.

"The current policy doesn’t allow common sense adjudication…. Doesn’t allow them any discretion to say 'Yeah, it doesn’t make sense to force Nury to leave her four children here and become burdens on the state,'" Formica said.

“This is just inhumane. Things have to change. This is not who we are as a people. We have compassion, we care about people,” added Charla Nich of Connecticut Shoreline Indivisible.

NBC Connecticut reached out to ICE on the case, and they released the following statement Monday:

"Nury Chavarria was allowed to voluntarily depart by a federal immigration judge in 1998, and failed to comply, rendering her subject to final order of removal in 1999. In 2010, the agency deferred her removal for one year on humanitarian grounds.

As a current exercise of discretion, the agency has allowed her to remain free from custody while finalizing her timely departure plans. The agency will continue to closely monitor her case to ensure compliance."

Chavarria's request to stay was denied Tuesday.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

$5 Burritos at Moe’s Southwest Grill New Location in Norwich


Next Wednesday, Moe’s Southwest Grill will be offering $5 burritos at the grand opening of their new Norwich location. There will also be a raffle in which two guests have the opportunity to receive free burritos for a year at the Norwich site.

Moe’s guests design their own tacos, burritos, nachos, stacks, quesadillas, or salads. They offer a variety of ingredient options ranging from all-natural chicken to organic tofu and every meal comes with free chips and salsa.

There are more than 700 Moe’s locations across the country and the Norwich location will be the 23rd Moe’s restaurant in Connecticut.

The day before the grand opening there will also be a fundraiser for the Norwich Little League. Attendees will receive a free entrée, drink, and t-shirt for $10.

Photo Credit: Moe's Southwest Grill

Elon Musk Claims 'Verbal' OK for NY-Philly-DC Hyperloop


New York to Washington in 29 minutes? Elon Musk says it's possible and he has the government's approval to do it (though it's anyone's guess which government or how long it would take to build). 

"Just received verbal govt approval for The Boring Company to build an underground NY-Phil-Balt-DC Hyperloop. NY-DC in 29 mins," the billionaire inventor and entrepreneur tweeted Thursday afternoon.

"City center to city center in each case, with up to a dozen or more entry/exit elevators in each city," he said in another tweet. The Boring Company is Musk's tunneling venture. 

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It was not clear which government gave Musk an approval -- and Musk did not answer multiple tweets from people around the world asking him the same. 

"Still a lot of work needed to receive formal approval, but am optimistic that will occur rapidly," Musk said about an hour later. 

In a statement to News 4 New York, a Boring Company spokesperson said in a statement that the company has had a number of promising conversations with local, state and federal government officials. 

"With few exceptions, feedback has been very positive and we have received verbal support from key government decision-makers for tunneling plans, including a Hyperloop route from New York to Washington." 

The spokesperson added that the company hopes to "break ground later this year." 

Passengers traveling via Hyperloop would board magnetically levitating pods moved by electric propulsion.

The U.S. Department of Transportation referred inquiries about the project to the White House. The Trump administration acknowledged Musk's tweet while not getting into any specifics about a possible project.

"We have had promising conversations to date, are committed to transformative infrastructure projects, and believe our greatest solutions have often come from the ingenuity and drive of the private sector," a White House spokesman said.

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Representatives for both the New York City and Washington, D.C. mayors said they were unaware of approvals for the project. 

"This is news to City Hall," tweeted Eric Phillips, a spokesman for New York Mayor Bill de Blasio.

"This is the first we’ve heard of it, but we can't wait to hear more," said LaToya Foster, spokeswoman for D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser. 

The D.C. Department of Transportation did not immediately respond to an inquiry. The Federal Transit Administration deferred to the Transportation Department.

In February, Musk tweeted photos from a tunnel in D.C., sparking a flurry of speculation. NBC Washington learned he toured the 2 1/2-mile-long Anacostia River Tunnel and saw the tunnel-boring machine that created it. A spokesman for Musk declined to speak at the time about the purpose of the tour.


Skeptics wasted no time in challenging Musk on the details of his announcement Thursday, including the BBC's Silicon Valley reporter, who asked whether the CEO was announcing prematurely in a bid to drum up support.

"Support would be much appreciated!" he replied. 

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In a later response to an inquisitive follower, Musk did say the work on the New York-to-Washington tunnel would run in parallel to an existing project to build tunnels in Los Angeles.

"Then prob LA-SF and a TX loop," he tweeted. He gave no estimate for how long any of these projects would take or what they might cost. 

Musk is best known for his electric car company Tesla and his space venture SpaceX, as well as co-founding PayPal.

The inventor first proposed the Hyperloop electromagnetic tube system in 2013. Earlier this year the California tech company Hyperloop One unveiled a plan for a NY-to-DC system.

Musk's system appeared to be different from theirs, though.

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In April, former D.C. Department of Transportation head Gabe Klein said he thinks Hyperloop will happen.

"I think it's going to become a reality," he said. "I think it may take longer than people think to get through all the right-of-way clearances and the sort of government regulations. But I think we are in for a sea change in terms of long-haul transportation."

A Few Evening Showers and Thunderstorms


Temperatures once again surged into the 90s throughout Connecticut. 

A heat wave is when there are three or more consecutive days with temperatures at or above 90 degrees. 

Norwich Public Utilities has issued a power alert and urges its customers to conserve power. For more on the power alert click here.

The high heat and humidity has also led to several cities and towns opening cooling centers. Click here for a list of cooling center throughout the state.

The chances for showers and thunderstorms increase as we head into the evening hours. The thunderstorms could include heavy rain, lightning, and gusty winds. While it doesn't appear the storms will be severe there is a chance a few of them could be on the stronger side.

Conditions dry out for Friday and Saturday before a rain threat moves in by Sunday afternoon.

Right now we're forecasting showers and thunderstorms to develop Sunday afternoon and continue into Monday.

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Dump Truck Takes Down Wires on Southington Road in Berlin


Southington Road in Berlin will be closed for the rest of the day after a dump truck took out power lines and utility poles.

The truck was traveling down the road with its bed up, ripping down the wires and snapping some of the poles, according to police.

The road is closed between the Chamberlin Highway (Route 71) and Stockings Brook Road.

Police said the road will be closed through at least 7 a.m. on Friday.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Renee Hall Makes History as Dallas' First Female Police Chief


The City of Dallas named U. Renee Hall the next chief of the Dallas Police Department Wednesday. Hall, the daughter of a murdered Detroit police officer, is the first woman to hold the position in the department's 136-year history.

"I am honored to be chosen to lead the Dallas Police Department at this critical time in its history,” Hall said in a prepared statement. "I look forward to building on the successes of the past, preserving community trust and ensuring the safety of our officers and the entire Dallas community."

Her appointment means women of color now hold the top three law enforcement positions in Dallas County. Hall joins Sheriff Lupe Valdez, the first openly gay Latina to be elected Dallas County sheriff, and District Attorney Faith Johnson, the first black woman appointed to the position.

Before coming to Dallas, Hall spent more than two decades with the Detroit Police Department, most recently as deputy chief. Under Hall's leadership in Michigan, the city of Detroit experienced a 40-year low in homicides and double-digit reductions in violent crime for three consecutive years.

She is expected to begin work in Dallas on Sept. 5.

Dallas City Manager T.C. Broadnax said Wednesday Hall is a proven leader with a stellar background and a passion for public service.

"My belief is Renee Hall will be a dynamic chief and do great things in this community," Broadnax said. "She's going to have a great impact, not just on the police department, but the entire city."

City officials said that while Hall was in Detroit she "developed and implemented comprehensive community policing and mentor programs, forged partnerships and established trust within minority communities while also building strong relationships between officers of all ranks and community stakeholders." 

In an exclusive interview with NBC 5 Investigative reporter Scott Friedman, Hall said she will work to implement these same types of programs in Dallas. Among her objectives, she said, is having officers more involved in the community, doing service projects, feeding the homeless and working with teens, because "officers can't police a community they don't understand."

"What I've learned from being in the city of Detroit, as you know the city of Detroit went through bankruptcy, we went through pension reform, pay cuts for the officers — they even had holidays taken away, and morale was very low. We did have mass exodus, much like Dallas had, but when we got down to talking to the officers, officers don't necessarily leave just about money. It's not always monetary. They just need to have an environment where they have unwavering support from their leaders, creating an environment of excitement," Hall said.

Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings welcomed Hall to the city in a series of tweets where he said, "I knew we would get many great candidates, and we did because of the great opportunity. We needed an excellent leader and we got a proven one. I'm pleased with our choice."

"We’ve done our homework on her. We were told that she was very strong in the community that even as a chief level officer in the city of Detroit she gets out and engages the community and actually gets involved in police incidents and maintains a presence in the community,” said Thomas Glover, president of the Black Police Association of Greater Dallas.

The city launched a nationwide search for a new police chief last fall after Chief David O. Brown abruptly announced his retirement. Brown, who grew up in Dallas and attended UT, had led the department for six years, but had spent decades on the force. His departure came only a few months after five law enforcement officers were ambushed and gunned down in downtown Dallas near the end of a peaceful protest.

Since Brown's departure on Oct. 22, the department has been led by interim Chief of Police David Pughes who said early on that he was not seeking to fill the position permanently.

During an event earlier this month in Dallas, Hall joined seven other finalists at City Hall to meet with stakeholders and greet the public. She said then she recognized the city's need to heal after the ambush attack last summer and that she could help do that.

"This job is about skill. It's about the ability to lead, boost morale and fight crime," Hall said. "To bring a city that needs to heal together as a whole. I bring that."

Hall, who was promoted to deputy chief in Detroit in May 2014, was one of two black women among the eight finalists for the job. She edged out five local finalists, four from within the Dallas Police Department, including Dallas Assistant Chief of Police Gary Tittle; Dallas Deputy Chief Malik Aziz; Dallas Deputy Chief Rick Watson and Grand Prairie Chief of Police Steve Dye.

Both Johnson and Valdez released statements of support following Wednesday's announcement.

“I want to welcome our new Chief of Police, Ulysha Renee Hall to Dallas ... it’s exciting that she will serve as the first female chief at the Dallas Police Department. I am proud that she is joining me and Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez on the growing list of females in top law enforcement positions in Dallas County," Johnson said. "There is much work to be done building bridges between law enforcement and our communities, and I am looking forward to all of us working together to ensure success."

"The Sheriff’s Department congratulates Dallas City Manager T.C. Broadnax on the selection of Dallas Police’s new chief.  It was a tough decision because any one of the seven candidates would have made an excellent chief. We welcome Chief U. Renee Hall and look forward to working with her. I am personally aware of the challenges that the first female chief will face. My staff and I stand ready to help in any way that we can," said Valdez.

Hall has a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Grambling State University and Master’s degrees in Security Administration and Intelligence Analysis from the University of Detroit Mercy. A graduate of the FBI National Academy, she also completed the Police Executive Leadership Institute and is a member of the International Association of Chiefs of Police.

According to the Officer Down Memorial Page, Hall was 6 months old when her 27-year-old father was gunned down while working a prostitution and gambling case. After failing to report in for 12 hours, his body was discovered only after a man reported finding a person had been shot in the chest. To date, his murder remains unsolved.

"I know what it's like to grow up without a parent who died at the hands of a violent crime. And I know what the citizens feel when their loved one has been taken away from them," she told NBC 5. "So it's important for me to make sure that those individual are brought to justice so there's closure in their lives. Because I never received that closure," she said.

She told The Dallas Morning News that closure was important to her family and that she believed she was finishing what her father started.

During a lighter moment with the media, Hall was asked Wednesday if she'd continue to support the Detroit Lions after moving to Dallas. She said though she was a lifelong Lions fan, she'd be wearing a Dallas Cowboys hat on Sundays -- except for when the Cowboys play the Lions. There will be no conflict this year unless the team's meet in the postseason -- the Cowboys and Lions are not scheduled to play in the 2017 season.

Hall is expected to begin work in Dallas on Sept. 5.

NBC 5's Ashleigh Barry, Ken Kalthoff, Scott Friedman and Eva Parks contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: Detroit PD/NBC 5 News
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Truck Stuck Under Bridge on Campbell Avenue in West Haven

Police Investigating Armed Robbery at Thomaston Xtramart


Police are investigating an armed robbery at the XtraMart in Thomaston.

Police said the robber went into the store at 2:20 a.m. Wednesday, indicated he had a weapon and demanded the clerk empty the drawer.

He is described as around 5-feet-6 and he was wearing a black hooded sweatshirt.

Anybody with information is asked to call the Thomaston police department 860-283-4343.

Photo Credit: Thomaston Police Department
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