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Shock, Sadness and Anger After Violent Charlottesville Rally


The death of Heather Heyer to violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, led to counter-protests and vigils condemning racism and white nationalism in cities across the United States.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Hillary Clinton's Pastor Reveals Post-Election Letter


For over 600 days, Hillary Clinton's pastor wrote daily inspirational letters drawn from Biblical scripture during the presidential campaign.

Hundreds of those letters have now been compiled in a book, "Strong For a Moment Like This." The collection features a letter sent in the aftermath of her election loss. 

Rev. Dr. Bill Shillady, the New York-based executive director of the United Methodist City Society, has been a longtime friend and pastor to the former U.S. secretary of state, senator and first lady.  

“I wrote to her on a daily basis. If I was not writing then there was team of writers,” Shillady said during a phone interview with NBC.

The collection, published by Abingdon Press, includes 365 of the more than 600 devotions written for Clinton, along with personal notes, portions of her speeches, and headlines that provide context for that day’s devotion.

“On the difficult days, like the terrorist incidents, we dug deep and found gratitude for life,” he said.

The day after the 2016 election, Shillady sent a letter beginning with the title "Sunday Is Coming" and ending with one of his cherished phrases. 

"You know one of my favorite sayings is 'God doesn't close one door without opening another, but it can be hell in the hallway,'" he wrote in the last paragraph. "My sister Hillary. You, our nation, our world is experiencing a black Friday. Our hope is that Sunday is coming. But it might well be hell for a while."

Here is the letter "Sunday Is Coming": 

According to Shillady, the post-election letter has been shared over 40,000 times on social media. The letter shares the struggle of disciples after the loss of Jesus Christ and the reminder that for Clinton there was more to be grateful for in life.

“Most of the response has been positive and some thought I was comparing her to Christ — that is simply not true,” he said. “If you really read it then you will understand.“

The book, "Strong For a Moment Like This," is due for sale in stores and online on Aug. 15.

Shillady and his team of writers came from different backgrounds, including Presbyterian, Baptist and a clergy of women. All the clergy writers, hopeful about the outcome of the election, used daily news headlines as a source of inspiration for the devotions.

“A German theologian Karl Barth said something like 'a pastor is not worth their weight if they don’t have a newspaper in one hand and a Bible in the other,'” he said. “[The devotions] reminded her that she was child of God and of her strength, qualities this campaign demanded from her.” 

NBC contacted the Clinton Foundation for a comment about the book and have not yet received a response. 

Shillady said each chapter in the book is organized into 12 themes, such as forgiveness, doing good, courage, and women.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Waterbury Man Accused of Home Burglary in Farmington


A 32-year-old Waterbury man has been arrested and charged in connection with a home burglary in Farmington Monday morning.

Police said they responded to a home on West District Road just before 9:30 a.m. Monday after a homeowner interrupted a burglary at the residence.

The man, later identified as 32-year-old Francisco Mendez, of Waterbury, ran from the house and tried to run from officers, but they stopped him near New Britain Avenue, police said.

Mendez was found with items reported stolen from the home during the burglary, according to police.

Mendez is being held on a $200,000 surety bond and is scheduled to appear in Hartford Superior Court on Aug. 15 to face charges including third-degree burglary, second-degree criminal trespass, fourth-degree larceny, third-degree criminal mischief, second-degree reckless endangerment, disobeying an officer’s signal and engage an officer in a pursuit.

Photo Credit: Farmington Police

Plane Makes Emergency Landing at Guilford Fairgrounds

Man Shown Being Struck by HPD Cops in Video Files Lawsuit


The man purportedly shown being beaten by Hartford police officers in 2015 has filed an excessive force lawsuit against the police department, the police chief and city.

Samual Bryant, 36, said he had gone out to buy a wine cooler when he was stopped by Brian Salkeld, Robert Fogg and another unnamed Hartford police officer approached him on June 28, 2015, the lawsuit said. 

The lawsuit said Bryant was leaving a convenience store on Mather Street with a wine cooler in a store bag that had not been open around 6:30 p.m.

Fogg and Salkeld approached Bryant and confiscated his wine cooler without reasonable grounds, the lawsuit alleges. Police at the time of the incident said they saw Bryant drinking the wine cooler and approached him. 

Bryant handed the officers a pocket knife he had in his left pocket and the two police officers proceed to pat the man down while leaning him against a cruiser, the lawsuit said.

However, after the incident in 2015, Hartford police said officers noticed had a pocket knife on Bryant as they questioned him and they thought he may have had a gun and attempted to pat him down and put him in handcuffs, according to police.

When Bryant stumbled while in handcuffs, the lawsuit said, the officers "pounced on him and proceeded to punch, grab and jerk his arms and slam him while he was defenseless until he was eventually able to break away from their clutches in order to defend himself.

In 2015, police said the man then began to struggle with officers and took off. During the fight, Bryant struck an officer in the face and broke his nose, police said.

Both police and the lawsuit said officers fired a stun gun at Bryant several times while pursuing him.

The lawsuit said when the police officers caught up with Bryant, they threw him forcefully to the ground and kicked him in the head. The officers, according to the lawsuit, kicked, punched and hit Bryant while his hands were handcuffed behind his back. They also allegedly struck him with a hard object, such as the butt of a gun or a baton, causing him to lose consciousness, the lawsuit said. 

"They again used force on the Plaintiff, unnecessarily, unreasonably and with deliberate indifference to his civil rights," the lawsuit said.

Bryant sustained cuts, bruises, abrasions and scars to his back, neck, wrist and knees. His wrist and knee were sprained and strained and he had head hematomas and trauma, the lawsuit said. 

Police said in 2015 that Bryant was transported to St. Francis Hospital, where he received two staples to his head. He was later released into police custody.

One of the officers was also taken to St. Francis Hospital for treatment of a broken nose and bruises.

Hartford police also said Bryant is a convicted felon who was out on parole at the time of the incident. Police said they later found seven plastic bags of cocaine in Bryant’s jacket and hundreds of dollars in cash.

"He was screaming, 'Stop, stop, stop! I’m already on the floor. Stop!' The officer did not listen," Hartford resident, Tatiana Serrano, said in 2015.

The recording that purportedly shows Bryant being struck by officers garnered more than 130,000 views within 24 hours after it was posted on Facebook and YouTube.

Police said the video captures the end of an interaction

"I’m not here to condemn the officers’ actions nor am I here to justify the actions at this point," Hartford Police Chief James Rovella said in June 2015. "There’s a lot to consider. It’s not in a vacuum. That video should not be considered in a vacuum."

Bryant faced charges that included public drinking, interfering with police, assault on police, second-degree assault and possession of narcotics following the incident in 2015.

Bryant is demanding monetary damages, including compensatory and actual damages; actual, dignitary and punitive damages; a court order to be entitled to reasonable attorney's fees and costs incurred maintaining this action pursuant and any other relief the court deems proper. 

The City of Hartford provided the following statement on Monday:

"The City of Hartford recently received a complaint regarding alleged misconduct by the Hartford Police Department in 2015. The City’s Corporation Counsel will work with the Police Department to respond appropriately. We don’t have any further comment at this time."

Photo Credit: Hartford Police Department

Man Attempting to Rob Guilford Home Arrested in Marsh: Police


A man attempting to rob a Guilford home on Monday morning was arrested in a nearby marsh after fleeing the scene, police said.

The arrest comes after Guilford police announced that the town had been experiencing an increase of daytime burglaries over the past several weeks.  

Police responded to a reported residential burglary in progress in the area of Seaside Lane just before 10 a.m. on Monday.

The neighbor, who knew the residents were not home at the time, saw a man entering the garage, police said. 

Responding Guilford officers, firefighters, Connecticut State Police troopers, Madison police officers, North Branford officers and DEEP officials responded to the area to search for the suspect.

Units were able to limit the suspect's movement and contain in him a small area with K-9 units, officers on foot and the Connecticut State Police Helicopter, Guilford police said. 

Madison Police Sgt. Bryan Baxter and his K-9 partner, Paco, were able to apprehend the man in the marsh.

The suspect's identity is still be confirmed by Guilford police. He is expected to be charged with burglary and interfering charges. Additional charges may follow.

The investigation into the rash of daytime burglaries continues and police will determine if this suspect had any involvement in other incidents. 

Anyone with information about Monday's incident or similar ones is asked to contact Guilford Police at (203) 453-8061. 

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Connecticut Budget Woes Limit Military Funeral Honors


Paul C. Huber has a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star for serving in World War II.

Which is why his family was both surprised and confused when the Army veteran didn’t receive a traditional three-volley salute at his July funeral service.

Huber’s wish was to be buried with full military honors, but some of the honors many consider customary at military funerals are not federally mandated.

"It’s very disappointing. These people that put their lives on the line for this great country deserve every single honor they have," said the late veteran's son, Dave Huber.

Huber said his father was honored with the playing of taps, and a folding and presentation of an American flag to his next of kin.

Those honors mandated by federal laws for military funerals, but everything else is extra, based on what the state will cover.

"A few of us were looking and waiting," Huber said.

As of July 1, the state stopped paying a stipend to the Honor Guard detail that carries out the rifle salute. The state currently does not have a budget, and the executive order the Governor signed did not include funding for the Honor Guard, according to Chris McClure, a spokesperson for Governor Dannel Malloy.

McClure said a good number of states don’t fund the extra services.

Members of the Honor Guard detail that provide the three-volley salute got a stipend of $50-per-person, per day. McClure said that doesn’t necessarily cover the entire cost of the rifle volley, since the detail does about 3,500 funerals a year, statewide.

Once the state budget is in place, the stipend could be restored, according to McClure.

The state gets an average between $750,000 and $1 million in federal funding to make sure the federal-mandated honors are constantly funded, according to Major Mike Petersen, director of communications for the Connecticut National Guard, that runs the Honor Guard.

"They can’t get the honor they deserve. So our Posts are trying to pick up some of the slack on this," said Ed DeGumbia, the state department commander of the American Legion.

DeGumbia said Legion posts are using their own squads or forming firing squads to provide the service.

"It’s about saying goodbye to our brothers and sisters," DeGumbia said.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut/Family

Former UConn Basketball Coach Could Come Out of Retirement


University of Connecticut's (UConn) former basketball coach Jim Calhoun might be coming out of retirement. 

Calhoun is a Hall of Famer who led UConn's mens basketball team to three national championships.

He's been retired since 2012, but according to the Hartford Courant, he's been offered the head coaching job at the University of St. Joseph, a Division III school in West Hartford that does not have a basketball team currently.

Calhoun would be responsible for creating the school's first basketball program. The St. Joseph BlueJays are scheduled to begin playing in the fall of 2018 when the university admits full-time, traditional male undergrad students for the first time. 

St. Joseph's was formerly an all-female school.

Calhoun told ESPN he wants to clear this job offer with his wife and will make a decision in the next week.

NBC Connecticut reached out to St. Joseph's University for comment.

A spokesperson for the university's president, Rhonda Free, said she is letting the coach's comments stand on their own. However, she said she can't think of a better person to inaugurate a basketball program at the school. 

At his annual golf tournament on Monday, Calhoun talked about how much he missed coaching. 

"It's not a great day. You go in and you play a game, you win it. It feels like 85 degrees, perfect weather and you get on that cause a group of us got up and worked for the last three or four months to get this and we did it. Together we did it, and that's the part that I really miss," Calhoun said.

The athletic director at St. Joseph, Bill Carderelli, coached with Calhoun in Storrs in 1986.

Calhoun built the UConn basketball program and would have to do it from scratch again at St. Joseph.

It's not a done deal by any stretch but it appears Calhoun is ready for a new challenge.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Woman Stabs Victim During Domestic Dispute in West Hartford: Police


A woman stabbed another person during a domestic dispute in West Hartford on Monday.

Officers responded to an apartment building on Hillcrest Avenue at 5:52 p.m.

Responding officers found Naomi Williams-Wal and the victim outside their apartment in the common courtyard area of the apartment buildings.

The victim was transported to a local hospital and is expected to live. 

Williams-Wal was taken into custody and her bond was set at $500,000.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut/West Hartford Police

Bike Riders Cause Nuisance for Drivers in West Haven


West Haven Police are warning the public about the dangers of young bicycle riders performing stunts while cutting in and out of oncoming traffic.

The department shared a photo Monday morning on its Facebook page showing two young bike riders right in front of a car’s windshield followed by a pack of more riders.

Police are asking the parents of the children seen in the photo to speak with them. They are also invited to bring their children to the police station to see other expensive bicycles that have been confiscated.

"This is clearly not only illegal but unacceptable and dangerous behavior," the Facebook post said.

NBC Connecticut spoke to parents in West Haven who are concerned by this problem.

"Obviously, they’re not riding with sense so they shouldn’t be riding at all," resident Beverly Felix said.

"They actually try to antagonize you by going in front of your car," said Terri Borer, who added she has encountered the pack of children seen in the photo.

Borer said the boys in the photo are around the same age as her son between 13 and 15 years old.

"He has a bike, he likes to do wheelies and I talk to him all the time about this," Borer said. "I think there needs to be some kind of repercussions for these kids."

Borer said she supports police confiscating bicycles from children caught riding recklessly through the city’s streets.

"That’s what should happen because it will protect them as well," she said.

Felix pointed out there are safe places in town where the boys can ride their bikes.

"We have West Haven beach," Felix said. "Take your bike down there and ride."

Cheshire School Department Announces District-Wide Reductions


With the state budget still in the balance, the Cheshire public school district is announcing district-wide reductions.

Two weeks before classes begin, the district said it will not be filling positions it budgeted for.

The high school is set to lose a science teacher, while the middle school will lose a social worker.

Perhaps the most noticeable are the changes at the elementary level. According to the district, each of the four elementary schools will lose a fifth-grade teacher, resulting in an increase in class size.

“All four elementary schools losing a fifth-grade teacher across the board -- that is huge and quite concerning,” said 5th-grade parent Casey Stevenson.

The size of each fifth class is expected to jump to 25 students.

Jessica Granahan, a member of the PTA and the mother of a 5th-grade student at Doolittle Elementary, said she moved to Cheshire solely for the schools and is sad to see this new direction.

"I just wanted them to have a better class, better school environment and now it seems like it’s dwindling back, so it is kind of scary," Granahan said.

The district, however, insists this was the best possible option.

"We have reviewed enrollment at each grade and school to identify areas where we could make adjustments and continue to provide our students and families with an excellent academic experience," Cheshire Supt. Jeff Solan said.

In the case of a potential $8 million cut to Cheshire, the superintendent said the move is "prudent without substantially compromising quality."

Both Ganahan and Stevenson are looking for state lawmakers to step up and worry the current budget battle is only the beginning and it is one education won’t win.

"There are always tough cuts that need to be made, but I think first and foremost it can’t always be the children," Stevenson said.

Bear Follows Bicyclist on Farmington Trail: DEEP


A man was followed by a bear while riding his bike on the Rails to Trails path in Farmington on Monday, Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection (DEEP) said.

The bear came out of the woods and followed the man on his bike on New Britain Avenue near the intersection of Oak Ridge Street around 3 p.m., DEEP said. 

"The bear did not make any physical contact with him and broke away from him after a short while," DEEP said.

Farmington Police and DEEP officers responded to the report.

DEEP plans to put a bear trap in the area to see if they can capture the bear.

There have been no previous reports of bear activity in this area. 

Photo Credit: NBC 4 New York

US Attorney Will Not Investigate Crumbling Foundations


For months Connecticut Citizens Against Crumbling Basements (CCACB) said it would ask the feds for help if it didn't get the assistance it wanted from the state.

Last month the group acted. The federal complaint it filed with the U.S. Attorney's Office, however, will not be investigated by that agency.

On Monday, CCACB learned the U.S. Attorney's Office will not take up the case. It said the group had insufficient materials to initiate a federal criminal proceeding. Instead, the U.S Attorney's Office suggested the group ask the FBI to start an investigation.

CCACB tells the NBC Connecticut Troubleshooters it will ask the FBI to initiate an investigation in the very near future. It wants the federal government to look into its claim that the crumbling basements crisis grew for years in Connecticut without any state intervention, while insurers rewrote homeowner policies that do not cover basements that are slowly falling apart

Remediation of Former Somersville Mill Begins


It’s the first week of demolition and construction of the old Somersville Mill on Maple Street in Somers after it caught fire in 2012.

The textile plant was there for about 130 years until it closed in 1969, then sat vacant until the fire left only a metal skeleton of where the building once stood.

First Selectman Bud Knorr said that is when the town realized it needed to take over the property to start remediation efforts.

"The first month will be basically taking down the steel garters, washing them, taking any contaminated material out, which we have an environmental consultant …. helping us with that," said Knorr. "And then the second phase over the next month will take care of the moving and the balance of the fill," Knorr said.

The process will cost about $2.5 million, which is covered by state grants.

Clearing out the property includes moving about 3,500 tons of material, which means several trucks to carry debris and possibly extra traffic outside of Jessica Cannon-Pinney’s home.

"It’s, you know, kind of concerning because it might cause some traffic, but it’s already pretty busy around here so I don’t know how much of a difference it would make you know? As long as I don’t have cars backing up to my driveway," Cannon-Pinney said.

The town’s concern is whether construction will impact schools, which will begin on Aug. 30 in Somers.

The answer to that question is unclear for now, but any potential road delays and closures will be posted on the town’s website. https://www.somersct.gov/

As the remediation of the old mill kicks off, some said they will miss looking at it, but have hope for the future.

"It’s almost artistic but, you know, it’s probably definitely time that it goes and I think it’ll probably be a bittersweet memory that we will remember what it was and hope that they put something there in the future that is beautiful," Lynn Killenbeck, of Somers, said.

Town officials said they will make every effort possible to salvage historical items from the mill and they will be stored at the Department of Public Works.

Photo Credit: NBC Conncticut

Shots Fired on Gilbert Avenue in Rocky Hill


The Rocky Hill Police Department is investigating after shots were fired on Gilbert Avenue Monday night.

Police said they were called to Gilbert Avenue near Silo Drive around 8:18 p.m. for a report of shots fired. Officers found bullet shell casings on scene, but no evidence that anyone or anything had been hit.

One witness reported seeing a light-colored vehicle driving north on Gilbert Avenue at the time.

Anyone with information on the incident is encouraged to call Officer Carpenter of the Rocky Hill Police Department at 860-258-7640.

Photo Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Tractor-Trailer Crash Closed Lane on I-95N in Bridgeport


A tractor-trailer crash on Interstate 95 north in Bridgeport caused lane closures in the area Tuesday morning, according to Connecticut State Police.

The accident happened between exits 28 and 29.

Police said there were no injuries, but there was a fuel spill and the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection was called in.

The right lane was closed for cleanup efforts, but has since reopened.

Photo Credit: Contributed photo

Man Tried to Detonate Bomb in Oklahoma City Sting: US Atty.


A 23-year-old man was in custody Monday, charged in an anti-government bomb plot against an Oklahoma City bank, NBC News reported.

A months-long domestic terrorism investigation led to the arrest of Jerry Drake Varnell on Saturday, just after he attempted to carry out the bombing, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office for Oklahoma's Western District.

Court documents allege that Varnell drove a van containing what he believed to be a 1,000-pound bomb to the bank. But the bomb was fake and Varnell dialed law enforcement with what he thought was a detonator. Varnell's getaway driver was also an undercover agent.

The documents allege that Varnell began discussing his plans in December, talking about attacking the Federal Reserve Building in Washington, D.C., "in a similar manner" to the 1995 bombing in Oklahoma City.

Photo Credit: Oklahoma Department of Corrections

A Driver's Guide to Viewing the Total Solar Eclipse


For travelers looking to get a glimpse of the total solar eclipse next week, rubber-necking delays may be the least of their worries.

The eclipse, due on August 21, has astronomy enthusiasts and summer road-trippers flocking to the "path of the totality," a belt of states across the country that will provide prime viewing of the solar event. But as hotels fill up and time runs out to find a viewing spot, drivers may attempt to watch the solar event while in transit, according to the American Automobile Association.

That's a bad idea. The organization recommends that eclipse-seekers arrive at the location to view the eclipse before it begins and never attempt to watch while driving a car. However, if you must drive during the event, AAA has some tips to ensure you stay safe.

Drivers are advised to keep their car's headlights on and put down the sun visor to block the sun. Stay mindful of people outside the car, too — pedestrians who would normally be looking down at their cellphones may be looking up at the sky instead.

Experts warn travelers against wearing eclipse-viewing glasses while driving. Drivers should not try to photograph or take video of the eclipse, though using your cellphone or camera in the car is never advisable. And although pulling over from moving traffic may sound like a safe way to get a glimpse of the eclipse, AAA says that drivers should not pull over to the side of the road and instead should simply exit the roadway and find a safe area to park.

The solar eclipse could make an already-enjoyable summer vacation astronomically better — but with any event expecting high traffic, safety should always be the priority.

Photo Credit: National Astronomical Observatory of Japan via Getty Images
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Trump Retweets User's 'Fascist' Dig, New CNN Attack Meme


President Donald Trump retweeted a pair of inflammatory tweets Tuesday morning before deleting them about 20 minutes later: one in which a user called the president a fascist and another in which a train bearing Trump's name hits a person tagged as CNN, NBC News reported.

Both tweets were sent in response to a "Fox & Friends" tweet, already retweeted by the president, reporting that Trump is considering a pardon for former Maricopa County, Arizona, Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

@MikeHolden42 replied, "He's a fascist, so no unsual," quickly drawing hundreds of retweets. The other tweet was sent by @SLandinSoCal, and came with the caption, "Fake news can't stop the Trump Train." 

The White House has so far not explained the "Trump Train" tweet on the record. One White House official, requesting anonymity, offered this: "It was inadvertently posted and as soon it was noticed it was immediately deleted."

Trump was criticized in early July for retweeting an edited video showing him wrestling a figure with the CNN logo superimposed on top, and the violent imagery in @SLandinSoCal's post comes days after a counter-protester was killed at a white supremacist rally when a car drove into a crowd.

Photo Credit: Twitter Screenshot

Anniversary of DACA Protections Marked by Fear of Its End


Immigrant rights groups and allies are marking the fifth anniversary of protections for young immigrants with rallies and demonstrations Tuesday, as the future of an Obama-era program remains uncertain under the Trump administration, NBC News reports.

On Aug. 15, 2012, the Obama administration began accepting applications for the deportation relief and work permission program, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA. In five years, about 800,000 people have been granted DACA, which must be renewed every two years.

Texas and nine other states have set a Sept. 5 deadline for the president to end DACA, threatening to take the administration to court unless the program comes to an end.

Despite his tough stance on immigration, President Donald Trump said he would help DACA recipients. However, when White House chief of staff John Kelly was as homeland security secretary, he told members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus last month that the administration would not commit to defending the program.

Photo Credit: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images, File
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