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Man Seriously Injured in Forklift Accident in Ansonia


A worker was critically injured in a forklift accident in Ansonia Saturday.

Police said the accident happened around 8:45 a.m. on North Prospect Street Extension. Police said a 47-year-old man working for a subcontractor of Lowe's Home Improvement suffered a serious head wound when the forklift he was operating rolled over. The man was delivering wood at the time.

The victim was taken to Griffin Hospital and transferred to Yale-New Haven Hospital for treatment. He was listed in critical condition.

The cause of the accident is under investigation by Ansonia police and OSHA. The victim has not been publicly identified.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

NJ Teen Recalls Moments of Terror After Barcelona Attack


Valeria Syanchuk should have been celebrating her 18th birthday on Thursday, but instead the Bergen County, New Jersey, resident took cover in a cafe with her mother and grandmother moments after a driver plowed into one of Spain’s most popular destinations.

What should have been a joyous celebration turned into hours of horror and uncertainty, she said. This was her first visit to Barcelona, and terrorism was not on her mind.

"I was panicking," she said. "People kept looking at us like something was wrong, and we had no idea what they were saying."

Witnesses described hordes of people running and screaming in the moments after the attack. One tourist from Argentina saw a 3-year-old boy die on the street. A brown stain is all that remains two days later.

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Syanchuk and her family landed in Barcelona around 11 a.m. By that evening, the three women were tired from wandering the Gothic Quarter’s serpentine streets. Her grandmother asked if they could stop and rest somewhere. As they entered a cafe, the employees scrambled to shut the gates.

"Do they know what happened?" asked one employee to another, Syanchuk said.

The cafe workers explained they had received an alert from the Spanish government to remain inside because a terrorist attack was underway. Terrified, the employees wanted to get home and advised Syanchuk’s family to return to their hotel.

The women hurried through the maze-like streets, but police had the area on lockdown. The cafe was already closed and their hotel entrance was blocked. Instead, the women were forced to wait in the street as armed guards descended onto the area.

"We got lucky because my mother wanted to sit down," Alena Ansolis, Syanchuk’s mother, said. "We were heading back to the hotel. It happened right outside there."

Hours passed and the only information available was that the driver remained on the loose.

"I kept searching news and kept refreshing every couple of minutes," Syanchuk said. "You have no idea who these people are, if they’re standing right next to you."

When the immediate threat passed, Syanchuk and her family asked police to escort them back to the hotel. Since then, the three have stayed close together but decided to continue their journey through Europe. Syanchuk will be meeting relatives for the first time in Germany, and she doesn’t want to miss the opportunity to experience something positive after the events of this week.

"Walking down the street is so emotional," she said, adding that the increased police presence and outpouring of sympathy makes her family feel safer.

"I saw a man driving a garbage truck and he got out to put a rose on a memorial. Everyone has come together. It doesn’t matter who."

The streets of Las Ramblas are brimming with memorials dedicated to the 13 people who died and the more than 100 who were injured in Thursday’s attack. Tourists and residents continue to offer signs, flowers, candles and other mementos for the fallen.

An American from California was among those who died in Thursday's attack. Jared Tucker, 42, and Heidi Nunes-Tucker, 40, were celebrating a belated honeymoon with sangria when Tucker stopped for a bathroom break. A mere minute passed before chaos erupted in the streets, Nunes-Tucker told NBC

The dozen other fatalities included tourists from Canada, Belgium and Italy. A three-year-old Spanish boy also died. 

On Saturday, two days after the attack, dozens of taxis paraded into Las Ramblas bringing with them giant wreaths to place at a large memorial where the rampage first started. Some wept while they addressed a sea of onlookers.

"I am Muslim and these people don’t represent us," said one driver. "Criminals have attacked us, but true Muslims stand here with you today and always will."

After presenting the wreaths, these taxis paraded down Las Ramblas honking their horns and waving. Spectators clapped and sang, including Syanchuk, whose balcony faces one of the memorials.

"There are so many more people than when we first arrived," Syanchuk said. "People have been chanting and marching. I’ve never seen anything like it."

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Photo Credit: Valeria Syanchuk
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Microsoft Co-Founder Says He Found USS Indianapolis Wreckage


The co-founder of Microsoft Paul G. Allen announced that his expedition crew has discovered the wreckage of World War II era ship USS Indianapolis in the Philippine Sea.

The Indianapolis was found 5,500 meters below the North Pacific Ocean's surface, the expedition team said. Allen's expedition team used T/V Petrel, a 250-foot research and exploration vessel, and advanced underwater equipment capable of exploring to 6,000 meter (3.5 miles) deep.

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The cruiser was en route from Guam to Leyte with over a thousand sailors and Marines on board when it was torpedoed and sunk by Japanese submarine I-58 on July 30, 1945, according to the Naval History and Heritage Command.

Only 317 of those aboard the ship survived.

"To be able to honor the brave men of the USS Indianapolis and their families through the discovery of a ship that played such a significant role during World War II is truly humbling," Allen said.

The ship had just completed a secret mission that directly contributed to the end of World War II before it sank, according the the NHHC.

Photo Credit: Photo Courtesy of Paul G. Allen
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Monuments Fight Heats Up in Capital of the Confederacy


As a wave of U.S. cities have moved to topple their Confederate statues in the wake of violence at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, Richmond — which was once the capital of the Confederacy — could become the next flashpoint in the debate over what to do with its monuments.

In the heart of Richmond, five statues depicting Confederate figures line a two-mile stretch of Monument Avenue, NBC News reported. The monuments are of Robert E. Lee, J.E.B. Stuart, Stonewall Jackson, Jefferson Davis and Matthew Fontaine Maury. 

On Wednesday, Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney pointedly reversed course and announced that he felt the Confederate statues should be removed. The marked change came days after the deadly protest in Charlottesville, where a woman was killed and 19 others were injured after a driver slammed his car into counter-protesters as white nationalists rallied against the planned removal of a Confederate monument.

"I wish they had never been built," Stoney said in a statement, later adding, "These monuments should be part of our dark past and not of our bright future."

Photo Credit: Chuck Myers/MCT/Getty Images, file

First DC Corpse Flower Begins to Bloom; 2 More Ready


The first of three corpse flowers in Washington, D.C., started blooming late Saturday night, and two more of the stinky blossoms are still waiting to go.

Three corpse flowers, also called "the stinky plant," were predicted to reach peak bloom between Aug. 17 and 22 at the U.S. Botanical Garden. The plant's signature stench has been described as a combination of garlic, fish, diapers and rotting meat. Their scientific name is amorphophallus titanum.

"Not really something you'd want around dinner time," USBG plant curator Bill McLaughlin told NBC4 during another peak bloom in 2013.

The plant, native to tropical rainforests in Indonesia, doesn't follow a set schedule. They can take anywhere from years to decades to store enough energy to bloom. Once they're fully open, they’ll collapse between 24 and 48 hours later.

The flowers were first discovered in 1878. They hold the record for the world's largest unbranched inflorescence -- flower structure -- growing up to 12 feet tall. Each has one giant bud, made up of hundreds of tiny, stinky flowers. Their scent attracts carrion beetles and flies.

A corpse flower last bloomed in D.C. in 2016. Thirty-two corpse flowers bloomed around the world last year in the U.S., India, Australia and more, BBC reported.

You can watch the plants bloom in real time on the USBG's livestream here.

Photo Credit: United States Botanical Garden
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23-Year-Old Killed in Norwich Motorcycle Crash


A 23-year-old man was killed in a motorcycle accident in Norwich Saturday, according to Norwich police.

Police said the motorcycle was traveling in the area of 82 Chelsea Harbor Drive around 11:35 p.m. when it left the road and hit a wall. The motorcyclist was pronounced dead on scene.

The victim has been identified as Anthony Caruso of Stagecoach Drive.

The crash remains under investigation. Anyone who may have witnessed the crash is asked to call Officer Anthony Marceau at 860-886-5561.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Interfaith Group Plans Rally Against Hate in Hartford


Groups across the country continue to rally against racism, and Sunday an interfaith rally is scheduled at the State Capitol in Hartford, with organizers hoping to send a message of unity after the violence in Charlottesville.

It’s been a week since the events unfolded in Charlottesville.

And tomorrow an event here at the Capitol hopes to prevent that violence from happening again.

“We have a very real threat facing American, facing Connecticut, and that threat is hate,” said Joel Leyden of the Interfaith Coalition Against Racism.

To combat that fear Joel Leyden joined forces with Zahir Mannan, of the Baitul Aman “House of Peace” Mosque.

About a month ago, they met as both surveyed a Jewish cemetery which had been vandalized in Hartford. That’s when the idea of a new group was born.

“This coalition formed where we were like we’re all children of the same human family,” Mannan explained.

The Interfaith Coalition Against Racism brings together people of various religions with a mission of promoting tolerance over hate. It’s an ideal that seemed more urgent after the deadly violence in Virginia last weekend.

“There are a lot of things that we as a humane, civilized society can do in terms of standing up against real threats,” Leyden said.

On Saturday, there was an overwhelming turnout of counter-protesters at a controversial “Free Speech Rally” in Boston, which provided hope and faith to members of the Connecticut group.

And now they think it’s our state’s turn to send a message.

“This is not against a particular person or really any group but it’s against injustice and hatred in general,” Mannan said.

The Interfaith Rally Against Racism will take place at the State Capitol Sunday at 2 p.m.

NU Professor, Oxford Staffer Charged With 1st Degree Murder


Wyndham Lathem, a Northwestern University microbiologist accused of stabbing a man to death, and Andrew Warren, an acquaintance from Oxford University, have been charged with first degree murder after being extradited to Chicago. 

Wyndham Lathem, a Northwestern University microbiologist accused of stabbing a man to death, and Andrew Warren, an acquaintance from Oxford University, have been charged with first degree murder in connection with a brutal stabbing in Chicago last month. 

Lathem and Warren returned to Chicago on Friday night after being extradited from California.

A press conference has been scheduled by Chicago police at 11:30 Sunday morning to outline the charges, and both men will appear in bond court following the press conference, police announced Saturday. 

The two men turned themselves in to police on Aug. 4, following a two-week manhunt that began after the body of Trenton Cornell-Duranleau was discovered in Lathem’s River North apartment. 

Cornell-Duranleau, a hairstylist who was in a relationship with Lathem, was found dead inside Lathem’s apartment on July 27. Authorities said that Cornell-Duranleau was stabbed over 40 times, and that the attack was so violent that the blade of the knife they believe was used in the attack was broken. 

Photo Credit: Chicago Police

Man Shot on Hillside Avenue in Waterbury


Waterbury police are investigating after a 43-year-old man was shot on Hillside Avenue Saturday night.

Police said it happened around 8:25 p.m. in front of 123 Hillside Ave. The victim was shot in the abdomen and the groin. He was taken to Waterbury Hospital for treatment and has not been publicly identified.

The Waterbury Police Detectives Bureau and Forensics responded to investigate.

More details were not immediately available.

Anyone with information on this crime should contact Waterbury police.

CT Tax-Free Holiday Runs from Aug. 20 to Aug. 26


Whether you need to do back-to-school shopping or you’re looking to update your wardrobe, the week of Aug. 20 is the best time to do it.

The annual Connecticut tax holiday runs from Sunday, Aug. 20 through Saturday, Aug. 26.

This means there is a one-week sales and use tax exclusion for clothing and footwear costing less than $100. Learn more about what is exempt and what’s not here: 

Here are some examples of clothing and shoes that are exempt during the tax-free week when they are sold for less than $100

Examples of Clothing or Footwear That Are Exempt When Sold for Less Than $100:

  • Antique clothing
  • Aprons (kitchen)
  • Arm warmers
  • Athletic socks
  • Bandannas
  • Baseball hats
  • Bathing caps
  • Belts, suspenders, belt buckles
  • Bicycle sneakers (without cleats)
  • Blouses
  • Chef uniforms
  • Children’s bibs
  • Clerical vestments and religious clothing
  • Diapers (cloth or disposable, adult or child)
  • Dresses
  • Ear muffs
  • Employee uniforms (such as police, fire, mechanics, nurses, postal)
  • Formal wear gowns
  • Formal wear rentals
  • Foul weather gear
  • Garters
  • Gloves
  • Golf dresses and skirts
  • Golf jackets
  • Golf shirts
  • Graduation caps and gowns
  • Gym suits
  • Handkerchiefs
  • Hats, caps
  • Fashion boots
  • Jeans
  • Jogging suits, sweat suits
  • Leg warmers
  • Leotards, tights;
  • Lingerie
  • Nylons, hosiery -- Support hose specially designed to aid in the circulation of blood purchased by persons with medical need for the hose are exempt under Conn. Gen. Stat. §12-412(19) regardless of their cost.
  • Overclothes
  • Overshoes, rubbers, boots
  • Painter pants
  • Ponchos
  • Rain jackets, rain suits, rain wear
  • Rented uniforms
  • Robes
  • Sashes
  • Scarves
  • Scout uniforms
  • Shirts
  • Shoelaces
  • Shoes: aerobic, basketball, boat, running (without cleats), safety (suitable for everyday wear)
  • Ski sweaters, ski jackets
  • Sleepwear (nightgowns, pajamas)
  • Slippers
  • Sneakers
  • Socks
  • Square dancing clothes
  • Swim suits
  • Tennis clothing (dresses, hats, shorts, and skirts)
  • Ties (men’s and women’s)
  • Undergarments
  • Wedding gowns, headpieces, and veils
  • Work clothes

Photo Credit: Connecticut Department of Revenue Services

America Still in Turmoil a Year After Kaepernick's Protest


What started as a protest against police brutality has mushroomed a year later into a divisive debate over the future of a football player who refused to stand for the national anthem and now faces what his fans see as blackballing for speaking out in a country roiled by racial strife.

Supporters of former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick demonstrated outside the Los Angeles Rams' Aug. 12 preseason opener against the Dallas Cowboys, part of calls for boycotts of the upcoming NFL season. Film director Spike Lee is promoting a rally on his behalf.

On the opposing end of a wide range of opinions, some fans say Kaepernick shouldn't have sat or kneeled during the national anthem, while others argue the quarterback's lack of a job is more about his talent.

The once-rising star and Super Bowl quarterback has been unemployed since March, when he opted out of his contract and became a free agent who could sign with any team. At least three NFL clubs have openly discussed the idea of signing him, but the embattled quarterback has yet to sign a contract with training camps well underway.

Just weeks away from the regular season, he has become a symbol of the clash of celebrity, sports and social issues as more people —including players, fans, politicians, team owners and pundits — invoke his name to debate thorny issues of patriotism and race. Other prominent NFL players have sat out or demonstrated during anthems this preseason, one saying his decision was bolstered by a recent white supremacists' rally in Virginia that turned deadly.

"There's a lot going on inside people's hearts right now," said Dan Rascher, a sports business professor at the University of San Francisco. "This may have been a catalyst for that even though it's not about Colin Kaepernick, but about our country and who we are."

Other players who joined Kaepernick in protest are still employed. Philadelphia Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins pledged to continue his protests this season, tight end Martellus Bennett signed a free agent contract with the Green Bay Packers and linebacker Brandon Marshall stayed with the Denver Broncos even as he lost two endorsements for kneeling during the anthem.

Still, some fans say they believe Kaepernick has been passed up as punishment for his actions, which initially went unnoticed until the third preseason game last year.

The chorus gets louder every time a quarterback vacancy is filled on an NFL team, such as when the Miami Dolphins brought 34-year-old quarterback Jay Cutler out of a short-lived retirement to lead its franchise. Cutler was out of work — like Kaepernick, Robert Griffin III, and others — and planned to work as a television analyst before the Dolphins reunited him with coach Adam Gase.

"Either some owners and/or the NFL are punishing him for speaking out, or they've decided that it's best for business to sweep these valid issues under the rug in order not to upset fans who, in our opinion, don't have a valid reason to be upset about Colin Kaepernick being on their team," said Tim Clark, who is organizing boycotts of all 32 teams for the NFL's regular season opener.

Color of Change, an online civil rights organization, flooded Baltimore Ravens headquarters with telephone calls when the team didn't quickly sign him as it openly considered options to react to an injury. The Los Angeles chapter of the National Action Network, which demonstrated over the weekend, says it will boycott the Rams and Chargers games at Memorial Coliseum. A change.org petition calling for a season-long boycott of the NFL has collected more than 170,000 signatures.

"We understand the NFL is very important to you. We also understand the purpose of Colin Kaepernick's protest is FAR more important than any games you will ever watch," the petition said.

Elie Mystal, an editor at the "Above the Law" legal commentary website, agreed with the proposed boycotts.

"Kaepernick doesn't have a job because he spoke out about race," Mystal said. "That's the thing you're not allowed to do in our sporting culture and most of our popular culture, unless you're so over-the-top talented that they need you for winning."

Oakland Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch sat during the anthem while Rams defensive end Robert Quinn raised his right fist during Saturday's game between the two teams.

Seattle Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett, Martellus Bennett's brother, sat during the singing of "The Star-Spangled Banner" for the second straight week on Friday. He was joined by two teammates standing by him. Bennett said the death of a young woman protesting white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia, underscored his decision.

"First of all, I want people to understand I love the military. My father was in the military. I love hot dogs like any other American. I love football like any other American, but I don't love segregation," he said. "I don't love riots. I don't love oppression. I don't love gender slander."

Some fans say Kaepernick has not been signed because he's had an inconsistent career. He played in the 2013 Super Bowl but faded in the seasons leading up to the protests, winning just three games in his last 19 starts.

He had two seasons where he was the starting quarterback for all 16 of his team's games, including the 2014 season that ended with San Francisco missing the playoffs. He suffered from a shoulder injury for half of 2015 and began the 2016 season as a backup, then started 11 games. The 49ers finished in last place for the second season in a row.

"Do these people (complaining) about Kaepernick going unsigned not understand that he sucks, and he's a liability/distraction?" tweeted Joe Patterson, a business management major at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte.

Henry Schafer, executive vice president of Q Scores Marketing Evaluations, said Kaepernick's popularity has plummeted.

"He's very polarizing and much more in the consciences of the general population as well as sports fans and, creating, I would think, a pretty big dilemma for the NFL teams as to where he's going to go," Schafer said.

The fallout wasn't all negative: Kaepernick inspired a movement as high school athletes across the country kneeled during the anthem. Kaepernick had the 17th highest jersey sale in May and came in 39th in all merchandise from May through July 31. He's the only player in the top 50 in sales without a job.

Kaepernick, who is white and African-American, took a stand that was unpopular among many whites, which is what boxing great Muhammad Ali did when he refused to be drafted into military during the Vietnam war.

Ali was convicted of draft evasion, which was later overturned, banned from boxing and stripped of his heavyweight title.

It's uncertain how history will treat Kaepernick. But just as Ali was linked to the "black power" movement, Kaepernick has become linked with the Black Lives Matter movement, says Soyica Diggs Colbert, a Georgetown University professor who is writing a book on black movements.

"When we think about how Black Lives Matter as a political movement gets woven into sports," Kaepernick's certainly the key figure in that conversation, she said.

Photo Credit: AP Photo/Butch Dill

Drunk Driver Slams into Pole in West Hartford: Police


West Hartford police arrested a drunk driver who crashed into a utility pole and knocked out power on South Main Street Sunday, according to police.

Police said Edwin Vincens, 22, was driving a Jeep Grand Cherokee down South Main Street around 7:25 a.m. when he left the road and smashed into a utility pole in the 340-block.

Vincens was not hurt, but the car was totaled and the pole broke into three pieces, tripping a breaker and taking out power.

Police said Vincens blood alcohol concentration tested at .117 and later .111. The legal limit in Connecticut is .08.

Vincens was charged with DWI and failure to drive right. He was released on bond and is scheduled to appear in court on Aug. 31, 2017.

South Main Street was shut down in the area while crews repaired the damage.

Photo Credit: West Hartford Police Department

Solar Eclipse 2017 and What to Expect in Connecticut


On Monday, August 21 a rare total solar eclipse will be visible from coast to coast in the United States for the first time in 99 years. In fact, the total solar eclipse will be the first in the continental United States since 1979!

Here in Connecticut we will not be in the path of totality (you'll have to wait until 2079 for that) but there is still plenty to see!

What to Expect

The solar eclipse in Connecticut will start around 1:25 p.m. when a small sliver of the sun will be masked by the moon. By 2:45 p.m. about 2/3 of the sun will be obscured by the moon making which is the most we'll see. By 4:00 p.m. the solar eclipse will end. This is known as a partial solar eclipse and has occured in Connecticut most recently on December 25, 2000 and May 10, 1994.

The total solar eclipse will occur only in a narrow path from Oregon to South Carolina including Charleston, SC where I'll be for the event!

How to View

The only way to safely view a solar eclipse is through special glasses that block damaging radiation from your eyes. You can purchase these glasses at many stores including CVS, Best Buy, and Lowes. Be sure to only purchase glasses with an ISO label ensuring they're safe for using.

A pinhole or projection method can be used and is a nice idea for a project to do with kids. I remember making one of these in school to observe the 1994 eclipse in Guilford. 

Another option is shade 14 welding glasses - though these are likely to be sold out at many hardware stores.

Looking at the solar eclipse with sunglasses or the naked eye can lead to permanent eye damage or even blindness. While it is safe to take your glasses off during totality Connecticut is outside the path of totality.

What is an Eclipse Anyway?

Solar eclipses occur during a new moon when the moon's shadow is cast on earth. During a new moon the sun, moon, and earth are in line with each other. The reason there isn't a solar eclipse every new moon is because the moon's orbit around earth and the earth's orbit around the sun are not in the same plane. Only once in a while do these planes intersect and a solar eclipse occurs.

The moon's shadow is made up of a penumbra and a umbra. Only under the umbra is the moon's shadow complete resulting in a total eclipse (occasionally even with the umbra the moon is too far from earth resulting in an annular solar eclipse where a ring of the sun is still visible around the moon). In totality, a dramatic temperature drop (as much as 10 degrees) will accompany full darkness. From daylight to midnight in moments - a truly remarkable sight. Legendary WRC-TV meteorologist Bob Ryan described his first (Nantucket in 1970), and subsequent, solar eclipses in this wonderful Washington Post piece.

In the penumbra (where we'll be) part of the sun will be obscured by the moon and less solar radiation will make it to us than we typically see in the afternoon. A temperature drop (likely several degrees) will accompany this as we enter in a portion of the moon's shadow. 

How Common Are They?

Partial solar eclipses happen with a fair amount of regularity (2000 and 1994 being our most recent) while total solar eclipses are rare. The last total solar eclipse in Connecticut was in 1925 and the next isn't until 2079! 

If you're thinking there's no way you won't be around for the next total solar eclipse in Connecticut (check this calculator to see how old you'll be!) a total eclipse on April 8, 2024 will just miss us and plunge portions of Vermont and upstate New York into total darkness. We'll only be a tank of gas away from totality!

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Jerry Lewis: A Complicated King of Comedy


In his “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde”-inspired comedic master work, “The Nutty Professor,” Jerry Lewis gave fans two characters for the price of one: sweet, ineffectual scientist Julius Klemp and his chemically conjured alter ego, the obnoxious lounge singer and ladies’ man, Buddy Love.

But through his eight-decade career, Lewis, who died Sunday at age 91, presented many other sides of his personality as he spurred laughter, tears and even anger on the way to becoming a deceivingly complicated entertainment icon.

There was the manic man-child who propelled Lewis’ zany 1940s and 1950s buddy comedy hits with straight-man crooner Dean Martin (the best of the bunch include “Artists and Models” and “Sailor Beware”). There was the solo, would-be auteur who, with mixed success, attempted to transform himself into the Chaplin of his era (“The Bellboy” and “Cinderfella” rank among the standouts – just ask his many French fans).

There was the selfless, indefatigable humanitarian whose annual Labor Day TV telethons drew awareness  – and celebrities – to the battle against muscular dystrophy, raising about $2.5 billion on behalf of “Jerry’s Kids” over 44 years (Lewis lived up to the pledge he sang at the end of each installment: "You'll Never Walk Alone").

There was the Lewis who also could get serious on the big screen – no more so than in Martin Scorsese’s underrated 1982 gem “King of Comedy,” in which the actor portrayed a top comedian kidnapped by a deranged fan (Robert DeNiro).

Then there was the Lewis, who eventually became the cranky old man of comedy – foolishly declaring, variously, that women couldn’t or shouldn’t be funny.

Unlike Prof. Klemp, Lewis didn’t have to chug a secret formula to summon his multiple personalities – bouncing in latter-day stage and TV talk show appearances from the overgrown, rubber-faced kid yelling “Hey, Lady!” to singing schmaltzy songs designed to make his audience – and himself – shed a tear to occasionally letting his ego and blind spots get the better of him. 

For whatever faults he possessed, Lewis' influence is everywhere – from every buddy-comedy flick made since the 1950s to the careers of Jim Carrey and Eddie Murphy, who most folks probably think of these days when they hear the words “Nutty Professor.”

Still, it’s hard to beat the 1963 original, especially the climax when slick Buddy slowly turns back into the buck-toothed and bespectacled Julius, who delivers a speech by turns corny and devastating:

“I didn’t like being someone else,” Julius declares mid-transformation, his voice part whiny Klemp, part grating Buddy – and all Jerry Lewis. “At the same time, I’m very glad I was. Because I found out something I never knew: You might as well like yourself.

“Just think about all the time you’re going to have to spend with you.”

Fans around the word were lucky enough to spend time with Jerry Lewis in all his incarnations – through the heartfelt to the infuriating to the inspiring to the hilarious – during an at-times nutty, but ultimately unforgettable comedic journey.

Hester is Director of News Products and Projects at the City University of New York Graduate School of Journalism. He is also the author of "Raising a Beatle Baby: How John, Paul, George and Ringo Helped us Come Together as a Family." Follow him on Twitter.

Photo Credit: AP Photo/Joel Ryan

'Black Lives Matter' Sign Vandalized in Hamden


Hamden police are investigating after someone vandalized as “Black Lives Matter” sign outside a local church.

Police said they received a call about the vandalism at the Unitarian Society of New Haven, located at 700 Hartford Turnpike around 9:52 a.m. Sunday. According to police, someone had cut off the word "Black" and folded over the piece to make the sign read “Lives Matter.”

The damage is estimated to be around $150.

Anyone with information should contact the Hamden Police Department at 203-230-4000.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Interfaith Group Hosts Rally Against Hate in Hartford


Dozens of people from various faiths rallied against hate outside the State Capitol in Hartford on Sunday.

The event was the first put on by a new group called the “Interfaith Coalition Against Racism.” And with recent events, organizers say its mission is even more needed.

“Precious Lord, take my hand, lead me on, let me stand,” the group sang.

Among those who spoke were religious and political leaders from across the state.

“The same way people learn how to hate they can learn how to love, how to forgive,” said Meriden City Councilor Miguel Castro (D).

This event was organized following the deadly violence in Charlottesville last weekend. But for some here hate is personal and nothing new.

“I am surrounded by racism because people do like at school or something they look at me and then make a weird face,” said Esther Hernandez of Enfield.

Esther Hernandez and her mother among others hoping to spread a message of tolerance and support.

“She can’t hide from it. So yeah, I’m here for her,” Sarah Hernandez added.

The group that organized this event was founded after vandalism at a Jewish cemetery in Hartford last month. While police have said they did not think it was a hate crime, many are concerned about what they see unfolding across the country.

“We are at a pivotal time for great work and great change in our nation,” Faith Jackson, president of the Middlesex County NAACP said.

The group is pushing for the federal government to designate some right wing groups as terror organizations. That could limit their free speech and ability to recruit.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Ill. Slaying Was Part of Murder-Suicide Sex Fantasy: Prosecutors


Warning: Details in this story are graphic and may be disturbing to some readers.

Prosecutors alleged Sunday that the men charged in the "gruesome" stabbing death of a 26-year-old hairdresser committed the crime as part of a sexual fantasy of "killing others and then themselves."

A judge ordered former Northwestern University professor Wyndham Lathem, 43, and Oxford employee Andrew Warren, 56, held without bond after prosecutors detailed a pre-meditated attack they said the suspects plotted in an online chat room.

Authorities said Warren admitted that the two met on the internet and communicated about their shared fantasy for several months before Lathem paid for him to come to Chicago from England in late July to carry out their plan.

Prosecutors said Lathem picked Warren up at O’Hare Airport a few days prior to the brutal killing of Trenton H. James Cornell-Duranleau, who was found dead inside Lathem’s River North condo on July 27.

After Warren arrived in Chicago, the men "discussed who they would kill and when," authorities said, settling on Cornell-Duranleau, who was Lathem’s boyfriend, to be their first victim.

Prosecutors allege that the men ultimately planned to kill one another – with Warren shooting Lathem as he stabbed him – after committing several murders.

On July 26, authorities said Lathem rented a room for Warren at the Palomar Hotel, within walking distance of his home at the Grand Plaza Apartments, located at 540 N. State St.

Cornell-Duranleau arrived at Lathem’s residence that evening, according to police, who said the two were seen on surveillance video entering the building together.

After Cornell-Duranleau fell asleep, prosecutors said Lathem texted Warren "that it was time to kill" and to come to his apartment.

Surveillance footage captured Warren entering the lobby of Lathem’s building at around 4:30 a.m., officials said – roughly a half hour before witnesses told detectives that they heard "what sounded like a fight and screaming."

Once he arrived, Warren told investigators that he and Lathem conferred in the bathroom, where Lathem allegedly took a drywall knife out of its packaging before authorities said he handed Warren a cell phone, telling him to record the murder.

Prosecutors said Lathem then left the bathroom, entering the bedroom to repeatedly stab Cornell-Duranleau, who woke up and "began to scream and fight back."

Lathem called to Warren for help in controlling Cornell-Duranleau, authorities allege, at which point Warren placed his hand over the victim’s mouth, then struck him in the head with a heavy metal lamp.

Warren then went to get two kitchen knives, prosecutors said, and returned to join Lathem in continuing to stab the victim – using so much force that the blade of one of the knives broke.

Cornell-Duranleau was stabbed 70 times in total, prosecutors said the Cook County Medical Examiner’s office found.

According to prosecutors, the victim’s last words to his boyfriend and alleged killer were, "Wyndham, what are you doing?"

Authorities said Lathem and Warren then showered and attempted to clean up the scene before leaving the apartment at around 5:24 a.m., at which point they were once again seen on surveillance footage exiting the property together, according to police, who said they fled Chicago shortly thereafter.

The men rented a car and left an anonymous cash donation of $5,610 to the Howard Brown Health Center in Cornell-Duranleau’s name before driving to Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, authorities allege.

That evening, Lathem donated another $1,000 in the victim’s name to the Lake Geneva Public Library, according to CPD Detective Commander Brendan Deenihan, who said he then requested to use the phone and anonymously called his apartment building, alerting security to check a residence on the 10th floor "because a crime may have been committed."

"What I can tell you is it was not domestic in nature like a husband-wife, or boyfriend-boyfriend, or a love triangle; that was not the motive," Deenihan said at a news conference on Sunday, before the suspects appeared in court. "It was a little bit more dark and disturbing, as far as I’m concerned."

Around 8:30 p.m., a doorman and Chicago police officers entered the apartment to discover the body of Cornell-Duranleau, who authorities said had been dead for more than 12 hours.

When the victim’s body was moved, he appeared to have been nearly decapitated, prosecutors said, and he had sustained multiple wounds that would have been mortal in and of themselves.

An autopsy found Cornell-Duranleau died of multiple sharp force injuries, according to the Cook County Medical Examiner’s office, and his death was ruled a homicide. A toxicology report released Friday found that he had methamphetamine in his system at the time of his death.

Warren and Lathem fled, sparking a nine-day, nationwide manhunt, during which officials said Lathem sent a video message to friends and family members, allegedly apologizing for his involvement in the crime.

In the video, prosecutors said Lathem claimed "he is not the person people thought he was," admitting that Cornell-Duranleau trusted him completely and that he had "betrayed that trust."

Both men were taken into custody separately in northern California on Aug. 4. Warren was arrested in San Francisco, while Lathem later surrendered at the federal courthouse in Oakland after communicating with authorities, according to the U.S. Marshals office.

Once in custody, prosecutors said Warren confessed to plotting the murder-suicide fantasy, and admitted that there was a plan to kill another victim the morning after Cornell-Duranleau’s death – though he didn’t know if the person showed up at Lathem’s condo after they fled.

"I can only describe the course of events that lead to Mr. Duranleau’s murder as unquestionably tragic," Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said Sunday, the day after Lathem and Warren were extradited to Chicago

Upon arrival, authorities said detectives interrogated the men, who were then formally charged with first-degree murder

Photo Credit: Chicago Police

RI Woman Charged with DUI After Crashing into Liquor Store


A Rhode Island woman was arrested on a DUI charge after crashing her car into a liquor store in North Stonington, according to Connecticut State Police.

State Police said that 48-year-old Katrina Oliver, of West Kingston, Rhode Island, crashed her vehicle into the Cork and Barrel Liquor store at 270 Clarks Falls Road around 3:50 p.m. Saturday. No injuries were reported.

According to police, Oliver failed field sobriety tests and was arrested and charged with operating under the influence of drugs/alcohol.

Oliver was issued a $500 bond and is scheduled to appear in court on Sept. 5.

Photo Credit: Connecticut State Police

Boater Cut by Boat Propeller in Accident off Fairfield Coast


Emergency crews came to the aid of a boater who was injured when his steering cable snapped and he was thrown from his boat near the Penfield Lighthouse in Fairfield Sunday.

According to police, 69-year-old Wigberto Mendez was returning to the Dolphins Cove launch ramp in Bridgeport when the steering cable on his vessel snapped and it turned sharply, throwing him from the boat. The boat then circled around and Mendez was cut by the propeller.

Two other people on the boat pulled Mendez back onto the boat and were performing first aid when police arrived. 

Police said Mendez bleeding heavily when first responders arrived. He was taken to St. Vincent’s Medical Center for treatment.

Police said there was no alcohol detected at the time of the accident.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

How to Make a Pinhole Projector to Watch Solar Eclipse


If you have not found solar eclipse glasses at this point, you are probably out of luck because there was a scramble to get them. However, you can make your own projector to safely view the eclipse this afternoon.

NASA says pinhole projectors and other projection techniques are a safe, indirect viewing technique for observing an image of the sun.

The Stanford Solar Center offers tips on pinhole projections.

You'll need:

  • Two sheets of stiff white paper
  • A pin


  • Using the pin, punch a small hole in the center of one of your pieces of paper.
  • Go outside. With your back to the sun, hold the paper up and aim the hole at the sun. (Don't look at the Sun either through the hole or in any other way!)
  • Find the image of the sun coming through the hole.
  • Move your other piece of paper back and forth until the image looks best. What you are seeing is not just a dot of light coming through the hole, but an actual image of the sun.

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