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Disney to Remove All Content on Netflix for Own, New Service


Disney wants to own a piece of the streaming pie.

The company announced during its latest earnings report on Tuesday it intends to pull all its content from Netflix for its own streaming service in 2019, CNBC reported. 

CEO Bob Iger told CNBC's Julia Boorstin Disney had a "good relationship" with Netflix, but decided to exercise an option to move its content off the platform. Movies to be removed include Marvel as well as Disney titles.

It will also be making a "significant investment" in exclusive movies and television series for the new platform.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

'Fire and Fury': Trump Blasts N. Korea Over Nuclear Weapons


President Donald Trump says that North Korea "had best not make any more threats to the United States" or "they will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen."

Trump issued the warning during a briefing Tuesday afternoon on opioid addiction at his golf course in Bedminster, New Jersey.

Washington's alarm over North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's pursuit of nuclear capability has intensified after the North conducted two tests of intercontinental ballistic missiles last month.

The latest report that it has produced a miniaturized nuclear warhead would mean North Korea has passed a key threshold in becoming a full-fledged nuclear power.

"[Kim Jong Un] has been been very threatened beyond a normal state," Trump said. "And as I said they will be met with fire, fury and, frankly, power the likes of which this world has never seen before."

Japan's Defense Ministry concluded in an annual white paper released Tuesday that "it is possible that North Korea has achieved the miniaturization of nuclear weapons and has developed nuclear warheads." Japan, a key U.S. ally, is also a potential target of North Korean aggression.

The Washington Post first reported that the nation had such capability, based on a Defense Intelligence Agency assessment read to the newspaper it verified with two U.S. officials. The NBC source did not have that level of specificity.

NBC News' source cautioned that, while the ability to miniaturize is a crucial milestone in North Korea's capability to build a nuclear weapon, the assessment does not mean the country has yet fielded a nuclear-tipped intercontinental ballistic missile. They would still have to make sure that such a weapon could survive re-entry through the atmosphere.

Photo Credit: Getty Images/AP Images

Namaste: Goat Yoga in Manchester


Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Danbury Mayor Recovering After Brain Surgery


Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton is recovering after undergoing brain surgery to remove a cyst doctors discovered during a recent check-up, the mayor’s office said on Tuesday.

Boughton's office said the mayor's medical team is very pleased with the results and are confident in his full recovery.

On Monday, the Republican mayor shared the news about a cyst in his brain. 

“We are confident that the removal of the cyst will be a one-time procedure without the need for additional surgery or medical intervention,” he wrote.

The mayor had surgery this week at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and is expected to return to work within a few weeks.

“As Mayor, I have the responsibility to be a steward of the public trust,” Boughton wrote. “It is with that sentiment in mind that I wanted to share this turn of events with you all.”

The 53-year-old Boughton has been the mayor of Danbury for eight consecutive terms, the longest serving mayor in the city's history. In April, he announced that he was exploring a possible run for governor. He failed to win the Republican nomination in 2010 and 2014.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Trump Vows US Will 'Win' Fight Against Opioid Crisis


President Donald Trump vowed the U.S. would "win" the battle against the heroin and opioid crisis on Tuesday, but did not declare a national emergency as his hand-picked commission recommended, NBC News reported.

Instead, Trump promised to "protect innocent citizens from drug dealers that poison our communities."

Trump also did not announce a new policy in the fight against opioids despite his promise of a "major briefing" in a tweet Tuesday morning.

Last week, the presidential opioid commission, chaired by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, urged Trump to "declare a national emergency" and noted that "America is enduring a death toll equal to Sept. 11 every three weeks."

Photo Credit: AP Photo/Evan Vucci

Kids These Days: Zoning Issues Arise for Conn. Goat Yoga


As people do the downward dog and sun salutation at a farm in Manchester, interspersed with their “oms” are the peeps of baby goats and the squeals of piglets.

Why goat yoga? Aussakita Acres's owner, Tracy Longoria, said, 'why not?'.

"Goat yoga is just a fun wacky way to get people to the farm to interact with the animals,” Longoria said. 

But Manchester Mayor Jay Moran said the concept had gotten someone’s goat.

An anonymous complaint led a town zoning official to send the farm a cease and desist letter.

"I had to read it twice because I couldn’t understand it," Longoria recalled.

Moran said that goat yoga is a health and recreation activity but the location was only zoned for farming, according to his zoning officer's opinion. 

However, Longoria argues what they’re doing isn’t unlike any other Connecticut farm, where customers can pick their own fruit, run through a corn maze or a take a tour.

"People have been coming and doing activities on the farm long before we decided to adopt goat yoga," she pointed out.

That argument seemed to stick with Moran.

"I think what the owners tried to sell to me last night and educate me on is this is an opportunity to be on a farm and interact with the animals," Moran said.

Longoria, who is a member of Manchester's chamber of commerce, said that’s good news not only for her farm but also other local businesses this kind of agri-tourism supports.

"We’ve had people as far as Pennsylvania come. When they leave here they’re asking us, 'Where’s a good place in town to eat?',” Longoria said. 

Longoria said she plans to appeal to the local zoning board which takes its direction from state statute, not the mayor or town council.

However, the appeal buys her more time and she’ll be able to keep holding classes with not only with the goats that call this farm home, but also the sheep and even a piglet or two until a decision is made.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Airbnb Removes Accounts Ahead of Far-Right Rally in Va.


Airbnb has deleted accounts of users who booked accommodations to attend an upcoming the far-right political rally, "Unite the Right."

The Daily Stormer, a white supremacy website, had organized a series of large gatherings rally through the home-sharing site, Airbnb told NBC News. Concerned Airbnb users flagged the thread, leading the company to investigate potential violations of its user contract which calls for unbiased hospitality.

Airbnb said they decided to remove the far-right lodgers because they were "pursuing behavior on the platform that would be to the Airbnb Community Commitment."

Jason Kessler, organizer of the "Unite the Right" rally and self-described "pro-white" activist, said Airbnb's blocking of certain users is "outrageous and should be grounds for a lawsuit." 

Clay Hansen, the executive director of the nonpartisan Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression in Charlottesville, said Airbnb'schoice to terminate accounts does not violate the First Amendment.

"I would say that while Airbnb's actions wouldn't necessarily comport with general free speech principles, they are a private company and are entitled to enact and enforce their terms of service as they see fit," Hansen told NBC News.

The rally, scheduled to take place Saturday, Aug. 12, in Charlottesville, Virginia, is shaping up to be the "the largest hate-gathering of its kind in decades," according to Southern Poverty Law Center.

As of Tuesday, Aug. 8, almost 700 people said they were attending and another 1200 showed interest in the event on its Facebook link. The rally aims to "to affirm the right of Southerners and white people to organize for their interests."

"It the racial targeting of white people for their ethnic advocacy," Kessler wrote in an email to NBC. "Would Airbnb cancel the service of black nationalists or Black Lives Matter activists for their social media activity? Of course not!"

White supremacists gathered in Charlottesville in May to protest the removal of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee's statue. They chanted "All White Lives Matter" while carrying torches. Klu Klux Klan members also protested there in July for the same cause.

The statue has not yet been taken down, but Charlottesville has gained the reputation for hosting white nationalism rallies. 

Photo Credit: Chet Strange/Getty Images, File

N. Korea Mulling Strike on Guam: Reports, Citing State Media


North Korea said on Wednesday it is "carefully examining" a plan to strike the U.S. Pacific territory of Guam with missiles, according to a Reuters report.

The news came just hours after U.S. President Donald Trump told the North that any threat to the United States would be met with "fire and fury."

A spokesman for the Korean People's Army, in a statement carried by the North's state-run KCNA news agency, said the strike plan will be "put into practice in a multi-current and consecutive way any moment" once leader Kim Jong Un makes a decision. 

In another statement citing a different military spokesman, North Korea also said it could carry out a pre-emptive operation if the United States showed signs of provocation.

This is a developing story and will be updated as information becomes available.

Photo Credit: Eugene Hoshiko/AP

Trump Has Sent 'Greetings' to Robert Mueller: Report


Despite his public criticism of the special counsel's investigation into Russian ties, President Donald Trump has sent friendly private messages to the counsel's office through lawyers, NBC News reported.

The exchanges were first reported by USA Today. Trump’s chief counsel John Dowd told the paper that Trump’s team has passed along messages of "appreciation and greetings" to special counsel Robert Mueller.

Such gestures are seen as not very common.

Trump has repeatedly denied campaign collusion with Russia and has slammed the investigation as a "witch hunt" against him. Trump was heavily scrutinized for citing the Russia investigation as a reason he fired former FBI Director James Comey.

Photo Credit: Getty Images, File

Couple Says Deck Paint Doesn’t Work as Advertised


A West Redding couple said a brand name deck stain didn’t live up to its promise.

Mike and Margaret Ammirata have spent much of their summer scraping Behr’s DeckOver stain off their deck.

The couple said it’s hard work and something they never imagined when they applied eight gallons of DeckOver in September 2015.

The label claims the product, "Brings Life to Old Wood," which is exactly what the Ammiratas wanted for their deck, but Mike Ammirata said the finished product was "bland."

They said they followed the directions step-by-step.

"We purchased their recommended stripper. Everything they recommended," Ammirata said.

It went on easily enough and at first, the couple was happy with the way it looked. Then in the spring, they noticed the paint was peeling.

"Coming off in big pieces and little pieces. Pieces the size of your hand and pieces the size of your thumbnail. And sometimes, two-foot long strips would come off," Ammirata said.

The Ammiratas brought their complaint to Home Depot, which is the exclusive retailer of DeckOver and the company referred them to Behr.

Ammirata said a customer service representative told him there was nothing Behr could do.

He went online, posting pictures of the deck on his Facebook page. Family members, friends and even strangers commented. Some shared similar experiences.

"Based on our recommendations, three or four or five of our relatives put it down. Same problem. And they live in different parts of New York and Connecticut." Ammirata said.

Similar complaints prompted five consumers in Illinois to bring a class action lawsuit against Behr and Home Depot in June. The suit claims the product is defective, deteriorates quickly and causes damage. A second class action was filed in Pennsylvania.

In response, attorneys for both companies denied that DeckOver does not perform as advertised. They argue many consumers have not experienced problems with the product and said any issues may be a result of improper preparation, application and maintenance.

NBC Connecticut Responds contacted Behr on behalf of Mike and Margaret Ammirata.

The company offered to send the couple eight more gallons of DeckOver or refund their money, but the Ammiratas declined both offers.

Ammirata said he wants Behr to pay for someone to remove the paint.

"I’m 75 and it’s not easy," he said.

In a statement to NBC Connecticut, a spokesperson for Behr said, “We’re disappointed to learn of Mr. Ammirata’s experience and have been in contact with him consistently since learning of his claim in an effort to address his concerns.”

The two parties are still working on a satisfactory resolution.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Untimely Death of Student Reported at SCSU


A Southern Connecticut State University (SCSU) student was found dead in a campus apartment this weekend. 

Ray Lucas, a junior and sports management major from New Jersey, was found unresponsive in his North Campus apartment around 8:45 a.m. on Sunday, the school said in a statement released to students. 

"Ray was a vibrant and well-liked member of the campus community," said SCSU President Joe Bertolino. "Our deepest sympathies are extended to his family and friends on this untimely loss."

Lucas had been working as a summer associate in residence life since May, the school said. 

The cause of his death has not been determined but police said there was no evidence of foul play. 

Photo Credit: AP

Community Raises $5,000 After Teen's College Fund Is Stolen


The El Segundo community has raised over $5,000 to support a high school valedictorian whose college fund was stolen while she and her parents were away for her freshman orientation.

When Kristin Villanueva, 17, returned home from orientation at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and saw her room had been rummaged through, her excitement for college quickly dissipated.

The $2,000 Villanueva earned from tutoring over the past four years, money that was supposed to go towards tuition and textbooks during her first quarter at Cal Poly SLO, was stolen.

"She would rush from going to her internships, coming back to tutor, and sometimes not eating lunch because she's so busy with school work and engineering club, robotics until eight, nine at night," said her mother, Jane Kihara. "She worked hard for it, every penny."

When the El Segundo Police Officers' Association heard about what happened to Villanueva, they started a GoFundMe page for her. In less than 10 days, they raised more than double the amount of her original college fund.

"She's helped tutor kids in the city, saved up all her money, she's the valedictorian — we felt (she's) someone who's done everything right her entire life, and something terrible happened to her," said Joseph Cameron, an El Segundo Police Department officer. "We felt we could step in and help out."

Villanueva says the community's kindness has boosted her inspiration to do well in school and beyond so she can give back to the place that has given her so much. 

Photo Credit: KNBC-TV

Hartford Employee Accused of Using City Resources During Snowstorm


Taxpayers said they are not happy to hear a former Hartford city employee may have been doing a side job on city time during the aftermath of a snowstorm last winter.

"He's supposed to be doing his job. Taking care of the city, instead, he's doing himself a favor," Wendel Ferreria, a Hartford taxpayer told the NBC Connecticut Troubleshooters.

The impact of winter 2017 could still be felt across Connecticut well into March. City crews across the state, including then-Hartford schools employee Greg Hooper were assigned to clean up efforts, like plowing and sanding school properties for days.

Hartford Public Schools (HPS) landscape mechanic Hooper was accused of taking some of that city time and a truck on a detour to Simsbury, roughly fifteen miles from work back on March 16, 2017.

NBC Connecticut requested the case file from HPS on March 23, 2017. On Monday, August 8, Hartford’s central office provided 60 pages of documentation to the NBC Connecticut Troubleshooters. One letter was Hooper’s termination notice, dated on June 20, citing "egregious conduct."

"You used a Board of Education vehicle to plow a driveway on Stratton Brook Road in Simsbury, Connecticut during a snowstorm. This is against the reasonable work rules for the district," Assistant Superintendent of Hartford Public Schools Peter Dart wrote.

The investigation into Hooper started from an email titled "Use of City Equipment" to Hartford City Hall. The author asked NBC Connecticut to remain anonymous.

The email was dated March 16, 2017, and asked, “Is it proper for a Hartford public schools plow truck #12 with salt dispenser #2 plow a private road in West Simsbury today about 9:45 am?"

The author of the email told the NBC Connecticut Troubleshooters, "I understand it is not the first time he had done that. I did what I thought was my responsibility as a tax payer and a retired Hartford Public Schools teacher."

One day after the plowing incident in question, on March 17, 2017, district officials placed Hooper on paid leave. He continued to receive his $51,771 salary until termination on June 20, 2017.

The district also alleges Hooper was hostile toward a supervisor when confronted about the complaint. HPS school officials provided video of the exchange between Hooper and that district employee. There is no sound on the recording.

Assistant Superintendent Peter Dart added in Hooper’s termination letter, "…You acted aggressively and used profanities toward another district employee..."

Hooper had no comment at his home in Simsbury on Tuesday. In a statement to the Board of Education, Hooper denied accusations of using certain profanity and accused a supervisor of acting aggressively toward him.

In the same letter, Hooper noted he is normally assigned a different truck but didn't know which truck he was assigned that specific day.

Hooper told NBC Connecticut he had an attorney, but would not provide a name.

Hooper’s union representative did not respond to telephone calls or emails.

School District officials also claim Greg Hooper was insubordinate for failing to attend two hearings he was required to, while still getting paid by the city.

Hartford Superintendent Dr. Leslie Torres-Rodriguez released this statement to NBC Connecticut:

"The termination of Gregory Hooper is a confidential personnel matter. Our employees are held to a high standard of conduct and professionalism. In circumstances in which we must consider termination of an employee, we follow processes and procedures that ensure the right decision is made."

Little Movement on Connecticut's State Budget


More than a week after the Connecticut General Assembly approved concessions deal with the state’s labor unions worth $1.57 billion over the next two years, Democrats and Republicans held one of their first meetings.

Governor Dannel Malloy is out of state and did not attend the meeting.

"This isn’t a single party negotiation. This has to take a lot of things into consideration," Rep. Joe Aresimowicz, the Speaker of the House said.

The concessions savings were significant because both Democrats and Republicans factored in some level of labor givebacks in their budget proposals. Republicans factored in even more aggressive savings targets, looking for even deeper savings from the state’s 33 bargaining units.

Aresimowicz would not rule out revisiting an increase in the state’s sales tax to 6.99 percent from the current 6.35 percent. He did concede that the roadblocks were significant to get to 6.99 because both Malloy and Senate Democrats balked at the idea, even though some of the money would have been devoted to city and town aid.

"It’s room for negotiation," Aresimowicz said. "House Democrats still believe 6.99 keeps the municipalities whole and we thought it was a good idea."

House Republicans are opposed to any new taxing proposal, and are lukewarm to moderate increases in rates. Their budget proposal was balanced mainly on the promise of spending cuts and steep union concessions totaling closer to $2 billion, providing even greater savings in later years. Not a single Republican voted for the SEBAC concessions agreement.

“We believe that tax increases and many other structural problems with this state have had devastating impacts on the state of Connecticut and we don’t support any tax increases in regard to that but we are open to see if there are any other ways to move the budget forward without them.”

With more members from both parties being absent during summer vacations next week and Malloy remaining out of state for at least another day, that puts the timeline for approving a budget even later in the summer. The earliest a budget could be passed would be close to Labor Day.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

New Condos Proposed For Fort Trumbull Area in New London


New London could soon see new condos pop up in the Fort Trumbull area.

The development would be the first time that land would generate tax revenue in at least 15 years.

Project manager Anthony Silvestri said the condo complex, called Shipway 221, would include a rock climbing facility, pool, pub, gym, indoor and outdoor movie theaters.

Silvestri listed the train station, ferries and interstate as part of the appeal to the area.

Shipway 221 would be a three building condo complex with about 180 units and an average price tag of just over $200,000 per unit, Silvestri said.

The project is financially backed by the Tagliatela family, who's known for the City Flats project and Harbour Towers in New London.

Shipway 221 would be the first new construction in the Fort Trumbull area.

Silvestri also touted that the Howard Street-site enables residents to walk to Fort Trumbull and Electric Boat (EB).

EB is on a hiring surge and some people who work there said housing within walking distance could be a good thing.

"I think it would help out with the parking as well as the housing issue, and probably create a more family atmosphere," Jason White, who works at EB, said.

Others are concerned about congestion for drivers.

"More people, more houses, more cars, more traffic," said Don Lumpkins of Sprague, who added there is already a lot of traffic around the EB campus.

New London’s city council approved the development agreement on Monday and now the mayor needs to sign off on it before the state does. 

The Renaissance City Development Association (RCDA), New London's development partner, said the developers are paying the city $208,000 for the site, even though the land is assessed at a value of $644,000. Of that number, $129,000 is for land fees and $79,000 is for development fees.

RCDA executive director, Peter Davis, said the developers are only paying a portion of the assessed value of the land because they will also have to pay for the rest of the environmental cleanup.

Davis said RCDA has already used a $400,000 federal grant to partially clean the site.

In the contract, the developers will pay taxes on the property starting next year, no matter whether they start construction.

Davis said the hope is to break ground on phase one of the project by next spring.

"What we're hoping is not only is this a condominium development so people will be paying taxes on the individual condos, but also the disposable income,” Davis said.

The “221” of Shipway 221 is a nod to Hughie's, a former longtime New London restaurant, which used to be at 221 Howard St – part of the project site.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Judge Suppresses Bergdahl Comments Made in Captivity


A military judge in North Carolina agreed Tuesday to suppress statements made by former prisoner of war Bowe Bergdahl while he was in captivity, NBC News reported.

Army Judge Col. Jeffery R. Nance agreed to suppress Bergdahl's statements after his defense attorneys argued the comments are highly unreliable and were coerced, according to NBC affiliate WRAL.

Bergdahl appeared in court Tuesday for a motion hearing. He is facing a court martial after he wandered away from his base in Afghanistan and was captured by the Taliban in 2009.

Bergdahl was returned to the U.S. in 2014 in exchange for five Guantanamo Bay prisoners. Some have criticized the swap, including now-President Donald Trump, who called Bergdahl a "traitor."

Photo Credit: Ted Richardson/AP, File

Drunken Driver Causes Crash at CVS Drive-Through: Police


A woman is accused of driving drunk and causing a chain-reaction crash at a CVS Pharmacy drive-through in Plainfield.

According to Plainfield police, 62-year-old Jane Hokkanen was waiting in line at the CVS Pharmacy drive-through on Lathrop Road just before 5 p.m. Tuesday when she stepped on the gas and hit the vehicle in front of her. That vehicle was forced forward and crashed into another vehicle ahead.

One driver was taken the Plainfield Backus Emergency Care for treatment. No other injuries were reported.

Police said Hokkanen was driving under the influence of alcohol. She was arrested and charged with operating under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.

She was released on a $500 bond and is scheduled to appear in court on Aug. 21.

Photo Credit: Plainfield Police Department

Mario Lopez, Melissa Joan Hart Film Christmas Movie in New Britain and Bristol


Filming is underway for a Christmas movie in New Britain and Bristol and New Britain Mayor Erin Stewart is getting some attention from Hollywood for being the youngest female mayor in the country.

Actor and TV host Mario Lopez is in Connecticut to film “Christmas Hours,” which also stars Melissa Joan Hart, according to the New Britain Herald. The paper reports that most of the filming is happening in New Britain, including at the former Barley Vine gastro pub, the Shaffer Company, Amato's toy store and Central Connecticut State University.

“All right, this is my girl, Mayor Erin Stewart, who happens to be the youngest female mayor in America,” Lopez said in a video posted to his Twitter page.

Lopez included the hashtags #MayorStewart #NewBritianConnecticut #GirlPower

Stewart was elected in 2013 at the age of 26. 

Bristol Mayor Ken Cockayne also shared photos of filming. He posted photos of himself with Hart on Facebook.

Steven Amato, the owner of Amato's Toy and Hobby Shop in New Britain, said the film is about two competing toy stores and film producers chose his family business as the setting.

"It's pretty cool," he said. "You know, I look around and see all of our messes and our imperfections and they're just like, 'Oh, this is great!" They liked it so much they brought the whole movie production to town."   

Filming takes place over the next two weeks.

Photo Credit: New Britain Mayor Erin Stewart
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Man Charged in Beating, Asthma-Related Death in Bridgeport


Authorities in Bridgeport have charged a second suspect in the beating and asthma-related death of a man back in April.

Twenty-year-old Latrel Baker has been charged with first-degree manslaughter in the death of 26-year-old Victor Diaz.

Bridgeport police said Diaz was attacked by a group of people at Dewhirst Street and Baker Street on April 30. He suffered an asthma attack during the assault and died at the hospital three days later.

An autopsy determined that his death was directly related to the assault and was ruled a homicide.

Baker is being held on a $150,000 bond.

Police had previously charged 23-year-old Latia Quarles with first-degree manslaughter in the case. She is being held on a $150,000 bond. More arrests are expected.

Photo Credit: Bridgeport Police Department

Police ID Man Killed in Shooting Outside New Britain Party


New Britain police have identified a man shot and killed outside a house on Park Street in New Britain on Aug. 1.

The victim was attending a family party and was shot around 9 p.m. He has stepped outside to a vehicle in the parking lot and was walking back to the house when he was shot, according to police.

He has been identified as 32-year-old Gabriel Pereira, of Hartford.

Witnesses said people were gathered for a 50th birthday party and children were present when the shooting happened. 

Authorities said the shooting does not appear to be a random act.

“It sounded all together like about seven gunshots and it was so loud, it sounded like it was like right next to my window. That’s how loud it was,” Angel Mercado, of New Britain, said.

Police have not said how many gunshots were fired.

Pereira was rushed to the hospital, where he later died. 

Police have not arrested anyone and they ask people with information about the shooting to call the New Britain Police Department at 860-826-3132 or leave an anonymous tip on the tip line at 860-826-3199 or online at NewBritainPolice.org.     

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com
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