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Rally, Petitions Signal Filner Recall Kick-Off


The effort to recall embattled Mayor Bob Filner officially kicked into high gear on Sunday with several recall-related events held around San Diego.

At around 2:15 p.m., supporters of the campaign to recall Filner gathered at the Civic Center Plaza in downtown San Diego for the “Freedom From Filner” recall rally.

Short speeches were delivered by organizers of the rally before the group took to the streets to march.
“Are you ready to take back our city?” one organizer asked the enthusiastic crowd of hundreds. “Bob Filner, the citizens of San Diego have a message for you: It’s time to resign.”

“You have brought disgrace upon our city,” she added.

Famed attorney Gloria Allred, who represents some of the victims accusing Filner of sexual harassment, also spoke at the rally.

READ: Key Players in Bob Filner Scandal

“Mayor Bob Filner, you do not share our dream of gender equality,” said Allred.

“City Hall is not your personal sexual playground,” she continued. "It is a seat of power and responsibility, and you have abused that power. The people of San Diego will have their voices heard. There is no excuse for abuse -- and no excuse for you to stay in power.”

Allred was flanked by alleged victims Peggy Shannon – a 67-year-old great-grandmother who claims Filner kissed her and made sexually explicit remarks to her in the workplace – and Katherine Ragazzino, a U.S. Marine who claimed the mayor used her situation with the VA as a bargaining chip to get a date with a nurse.

Neither Shannon nor Ragazzino spoke out at the rally.

Before the march began, a rally organizer had specific instructions for San Diegans who would like to support the recall.

“For the recall effort, we ask, find someone with a petition, and sign it,” she said.

From there, the crowd -- many equipped with creative signs -- began their march in downtown San Diego.

One sign read, "To err is to human, to resign is devine."

Earlier in the day – and to get the ball rolling quickly on a process dictated by deadlines -- recall volunteers passed out petitions and gathered signatures at the finish line of America’s Finest City Half-Marathon in Balboa Park Sunday morning.

Wearing bright yellow shirts with the words “RECALL FILNER” scrolled across the front, recall volunteers walked around the race collecting signatures from San Diegans who want Filner out of City Hall.

San Diego resident Kathryn Lopez said she signed the recall petition because, in her opinion, Filner is simply not fit to run the city.

“[I signed] because our city needs a mayor with no controversy, and someone who can lead the city. Right now, he’s not capable of doing that,” Lopez told NBC 7.


Kathleen Dang said put her signature on the petition because she believes harassment in the workplace is inexcusable.

“I signed the petition because a person in power should not be disrespectful to anyone. Everyone is equal and that kind of harassment in the workplace is not acceptable anywhere else, so it shouldn’t be acceptable in the mayor’s office,” said Dang. “I believe Filner should step down. He needs to take responsibility for his actions.”

After running the marathon, resident Brent Edwards took time to sign the petition.

“I just think it’s a matter of principle. Someone shouldn’t just be allowed to essentially intimidate and treat women, or any person really, the way the mayor has. I just think it's despicable that someone in his position of power can use and abuse that power to intimidate women. It’s inappropriate,” Edwards told NBC 7.

“Anyone in any other position would’ve been let go, and I don’t think it should be any different for someone in a political position,” he continued.

“[Filner] knows he’s not doing right, treating ladies like that. He needs to have more respect for women,” said San Diegan Miguel Garcia.

Other residents who signed the recall petition early Sunday morning said they simply no longer wanted Filner to be the face of their beloved San Diego.

“I don’t want to be represented by the man [Filner]. I don’t think he deserves to be in public office. There are a lot of them, and he’s one of them,” said Debbie Simas. “He has problems; he should just stay home.”

“I’m thrilled to sign this today because I’m embarrassed to have Bob Filner as my mayor for the City of San Diego. I’m a native San Diegan – this is a huge embarrassment for me,” said local Francesca Thiem.

After that, from 1 p.m. until 4 p.m., recall organizers hosted a “Recall Signature –Gathering” kick-off event in the Pacific Ballroom at the Town & Country in Mission Valley.

There, attendees were able to learn how to become a volunteer for the recall effort, as well as pick up petitions to sign and mail back to organizers.

An event notice created on the official Recall Bob Filner Facebook page prior to that gathering read:

“We need your help to prove that it's NOT impossible for the public to rise up and remove from office a man that has proved he is not worthy or capable of leading our city. Let's show Filner the door.”

Recall organizers need to collect and turn in more than 101,000 valid signatures by Sept. 26 to qualify for the ballot.



Photo Credit: NBC 7 San Diego

Serious Car Crash In Branford


One person is in the hospital fighting for their life after a serious car crash early Sunday morning.

Branford Police and fire responded to the crash on Hosley Ave. at 1:21 Sunday morning. Upon arrival, police found a car that had crashed into a tree.

The driver of the vehicle was out of the car and the passenger was trapped.  The vehicle was on fire when crews first arrived.

Emergency crews were able to remove the female passenger and carry her to safety. She was transported to Yale New Haven Hospital with life threatening injuries. The driver was also transported with non life threatening injuries.

The police department is  investigating the accident. Anyone with any information is asked to call 203-627-9045.

Podium Kiss Between Two Russian Female Athletes Sparks Debate


It was a gold medal win, sealed with a controversial kiss.

Two female athletes on the Russian track and field team shared a kiss that was caught on camera at the World Athletics Championship on Saturday.

The gesture has launched a debate on whether 4x400 meter relay winners Kseniya Ryzhova and Tatyana Firova were protesting their country's new anti-gay law or if the pair were merely exchanging celebratory kisses.

The subject of gay rights has been hotly debated since the Russian government in June adopted a law that made it illegal to give minors information about homosexuality. Critics have since called for a boycott of the Winter Olympics in Sochi as well has the consumption of Russian vodka.

The contentious kiss comes on the heels of another Russian gold medalist's comments about her stance on the new law. Pole-vaulter Yelena Isinbayeva sparked an angry reaction when she criticized athletes who rallied against the law.

Isinbayeva later backtracked and said she was "misunderstood."

"What I wanted to say was that people should respect the laws of other countries particularly when they are guests," she said in a statement. "But let me make it clear I respect the views of my fellow athletes, and let me state in the strongest terms that I am opposed to any discrimination against gay people on the grounds of their sexuality (which is against the Olympic charter)."

The World Athletes Championships, taking place in Moscow, ends on Sunday.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Up in Smoke: The Best of Hempfest 2013


The annual Hempfest kicked off in Seattle on Aug. 16.

Photo Credit: AP

2 Dead in Miami Beach, Due to Rip Currents: Rescue


An elderly man and a woman died after being caught in rip currents in Miami Beach, officials said Sunday.

The two were swimming at the beach on Collins Avenue and 64th Street when they were likely pulled under, according to Miami Beach Fire Rescue.

They were transported to Mt. Sinai Hospital after they both went into cardiac arrest and were later pronounced dead, authorities said.

The two have not yet been identified and their relationship is unknown.

Weather Forecast: Hot and Mainly Dry Sunday in South Florida

Officials said there were more than 50 other incidents related to rip tides in Miami Beach Sunday, one on 49th Street and one on 60th Street.

Additional details were not immediately available.

The National Weather Service in Miami warns that there is a very high risk of rip currents along the Atlantic beaches in South Florida for the remainder of the day.

Stay with NBC6.com and NBC 6 South Florida for updates.

More Local Stories:


Photo Credit: NBC 6 South Florida

Zurich Unveils Drive-In "Sex Boxes"


The oldest profession in the world is getting a modern makeover.

Zurich is opening up its first sex drive-in -- also called "sex boxes"-- later this month in an effort to keep tabs on its sex workers.

Partially enclosed stalls that resemble those at self-service car washes are equipped with decorative lights -- for ambiance -- and alarms, so prostitutes can contact police quickly if they are in danger.

Patrons drive in through a marked route where up to 40 prostitutes will be stationed, according to The Local, Switzerland's English-language news site. Once a rate is negotiated, they will drive into one of the stalls to have sex.

Voters approved the so-called "sex box" business model in March 2012 and the site cost $2.2 million to build. It will officially open on Aug. 26.

Prostitution is legal in Switzerland and the sex stalls are the country's latest effort in ensuring the safety of prostitutes while fighting the underground sex trade. Its remote location in an industrial zone also satisfies residents who grew tired of sex workers plying their trade in the streets, according to The Local.

Man Survives Being Hit by Chicago-Bound Train at 110 MPH


A Michigan City-area man reportedly survived with just a few broken bones after being struck by a Chicago-bound Amtrak train traveling 110 mph Friday.

Darryle See, 22, was alert and talking to police after being thrown 20 feet from the tracks near U.S. 12 east of Michigan City, Ind., according to LaPorte County Police Maj. John Boyd.

See was listening to music with headphones while walking west on the tracks around 11:45 a.m. Friday, officials said.

Police said conductors claim they sounded the train’s horn multiple times before the emergency brakes were applied and See was hit by the locomotive.Train officials said they were traveling at 110 mph at the time of the accident.

Police were alerted to the accident after someone ran into the streets to flag down a patrolling officer saying they saw a body near the tracks and heard screaming.

Boyd said that during his career in law enforcement he’s never heard of anyone living after a full-impact hit by a train while on foot.

“It was absolutely amazing,” he said. “I’ve seen a number of people get hit by trains and it’s never a good thing."

He said See had what appeared to be a broken arm and was bleeding, but was sitting up and was able to tell them what happened.

Family told the Northwest Indiana Times that See was at a hospital in South Bend, Ind. on Saturday with “one or two” fractures to his pelvis and injuries to his neck, but said his injuries were non-life threatening.

The train was reportedly heading from Port Huron, Mich. to Chicago, according to Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari.

Boyd said the high-speed train route from Detroit to Chicago was implemented in the area just over a year ago.

 More Local Stories:


17 Punished for Placing Sex Ads While Deployed


The Marine Corps says 17 people have been punished for placing ads on the Internet seeking sex while they were deployed to Afghanistan.

Those punished included 11 military personnel and six civilian employees of the Department of Defense.

The ads were discovered during a 2012 investigation. Those who placed the ads were deployed to Camp Leatherneck in Helmand province, which was then under the command of the Camp Pendleton-based 1st Marine Expeditionary Force.

The investigations were revealed by the Marine Corps Times, which noted that military personnel were specifically told not to place sex ads on websites.

Punishment for the military personnel was meted out by their unit commanders, with possible loss of rank, extra duty, fines and restriction of privileges.

More Southern California Stories:

Louis Vuitton Race Included Shout: "Man Overboard"


In a sailing race that basically had only one competitor, the series opener of the Louis Vuitton Cup finals Saturday had moments of high drama when the call of "man overboard" was made by Team New Zealand.

The Emirates 72 foot boat plunged momentarily into the chilly bay waters as it made a tight turn. Two men were tossed into the bay. The dive also tore the tarp in the center of the massive catamaran.

The incident didn't cost the Kiwis the race as they easily beat the Italian Team Luna Rossa who barely got off the starting line. 

The announcers of the race were clearly shaken as the hull of the sailboat went under water followed by the alert "man overboard."

Both crew members were lifted out of the water by a rescue boat within a minute and Emirates finished the race with nine men, instead of 11.

The two men who went overboard were not hurt.

"We're thankful all the guys are OK. It's just part of racing,'' Emirates skipper Dean Barker said.

Team New Zealand won the first race of the day. The second planned race was cancelled due to high winds.

The Italians weren't ever in race Saturday, and benefited by the second race cancellation.

Team Luna Rossa scrambled to repair lines around the right dagger board of their 72-foot catamaran just before the start.

During the race, Luna Rossa's broken board wobbled up-and-down within seconds, and the team fell far behind as they made more repairs.

The Kiwis quickly had their boat foiling above the water, and they seemed to be flying away with the win until the front of the hulls dipped under water and two men tumbled overboard during a sharp turn.
The crew members could've been crushed by the hulls that crashed down after they tumbled overboard.

Both teams will work long hours overnight trying to make repairs ahead of the 1 p.m. start.

The winner of the best-of-13 Vuitton Cup advances to the America's Cup match against Oracle Team USA.

Bear Shot and Killed by Police in Berlin


A black bear roaming in a residential area was shot and killed by police in Berlin Sunday evening.

According the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, police received a call from a resident who said a bear was in a yard and showed signs of being aggressive.

A sergeant from the Berlin Police Department responded to the home near the intersection of Lincoln Street and Mooreland Road, at around 7:00 p.m.

A DEEP official said the police sergeant had to shoot the bear because it was a threat in the neighborhood.



Job Seekers Sleep on Manhattan Street


Hundreds of people hunting for work are spending the night on a Manhattan street, lining up for a chance to get into a carpenters' union training program.
Some job seekers brought folding chairs, sleeping bags and tents Sunday ahead of a 9 a.m. Monday deadline to submit applications for the 750 available spots, others brought just cardboard mats.
Some hopefuls have spent days outside the New York District Council of Carpenters' lower Manhattan office.
Union spokesperson Kwame Patterson said some people will get training spots right away. Others will be called later.
Once working, a union member can earn as much as $99 an hour, with benefits.
Nicholas Foreman, a 39-year-old man from Brooklyn was first in line. He said it felt "awesome'' to be there because he really wants the job.

Sales Tax-Free Week Begins


Start going through your closet and make your back-to-school list. The annual sales tax-free week started yesterday.

Between now and August 24, you will not have to pay tax on some clothing and footwear costing less than $300.

Jeans, certain uniforms, bathing suits, sneakers, socks, formal wear, rain jackets, hats, gloves and scarves are among the tax-free items, according to the state Department of Revenue Services’ Web site.

So are square-dancing clothes, if you’re in the market.

You will still have to pay tax on jewelry, purses, sports uniforms, certain types of shoes and other items, even if you are under the $300 mark.

Click here to print out the list to determine what will be taxed and what will not.

Find more on the tax holiday here.


Photo Credit: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Quinnipiac Medical School Opens


Quinnipiac University’s $100 million medical school has opened its doors and welcomed the inaugural class.

The White Coat Ceremony was be held on Friday at the TD Bank Sports Center Hamden and Dr. David Hill, director of the Global Public Health Institute in the School of Medicine, led the Hippocratic Oath.

The recently completed Frank H. Netter MD School of Medicine is located in the Center for Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences at Quinnipiac’s North Haven Campus.

Sixty students from around the country will attend the first day of classes on Monday.

Quinnipiac announced its plans for the medical school in 2010.

Photo Credit: Adam Berry/Getty Images

No Criminal Charges in Deadly Bay Area Limo Fire


The deadly limousine fire that killed five women on the San Mateo Bridge in May "was accidental in nature," the California Highway Patrol announced Monday. Officials announced no criminal charges will be filed.

CHP held a news conference to release the results of its formal investigation, including how the fire started and whether any laws were broken. CHP Captain Mike Maskarich said the fire was the result of a "catastrophic failure of the rear suspension system."

LISTEN: 911 Calls Reveal Desperate Pleas for Help

The San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said there was no basis for filing criminal charges. "This is a tragedy that is not a crime," Wagstaffe said.

Five women, including the bride-to-be, were killed May 4 when the 1999 Lincoln Town Car they were riding in on their way to a bridal party burst into flames. Four of the nine women inside the limo survived. Most were mothers and nurses in the East Bay.

“The failure of the suspension system…allowed the drive shaft to contact the floor board,” Foster City Fire Chief Michael Keefe said. “The heat and possible sparks generated from the friction from the rotation drive shaft and the underside of the floor plan beneath the leading edge of the rear seat ignited the materials covering the floorboard.”

Smoke and fire blocked access to rear doors, leaving the passengers a small pass-through into the driver’s compartment as the only escape option, Keefe said.

Dramatic recordings of 911 calls at the scene of the fire reveal desperate pleas for help outside the burning vehicle.

RAW VIDEO: Officials Announce Investigation Results

"We need help on the San Mateo Bridge!" cried a female voice at 10:07 p.m. on May 4 in the first of more than a dozen emergency calls about the fire that were released Monday by the California Highway Patrol. "Oh my God, oh my God. I cannot open the door!"
A male voice then yelled, "Get out, get out, get out!"

Three days after the crash, the CHP announced that the limo was authorized to carry eight passengers, not nine, and that the company, Limo Stop, could be fined by the California Public Utilities Commission. Officials announced Monday the company will face a $7,500 citation for operating with too many passengers.

The five women killed were among nine passengers in the limousine celebrating the wedding of Neriza Fojas, 31, of Monterey.

Killed in the fire were Fojas; Jennifer Balon, 39, of Dublin; Anna Alcantara, 46, of San Lorenzo; Michelle Estrera, 35, of Fresno; and Felomina Geronga, 43, of Alameda.

San Mateo Coroner Robert Foucrault said all five died of smoke inhalation and their deaths have been ruled accidental.

Those who survived the fire are Jasmin Deguia, 34, of San Jose; Mary Guardiano, 42, of Alameda; Nelia Arellano, 36, of Oakland; and Amalia Loyola, 48, of San Leandro.

Eight of the nine women in the limo were current or former employees at the Fruitvale Health Care Center in Oakland.

Orville Brown was driving the limo and became the focus of the investigation after his estranged wife claimed the two were arguing on a cell phone while he was driving as the fire erupted. Maskarich disputed those allegations Monday, saying Brown was not on his cell phone in the moments leading up to the fire.

In July, Rachel Hernandez-Brown told NBC Bay Area in an on-camera interview, that she was in a volatile relationship with Brown and had been arguing with him on the phone just minutes before the limo burst into flames. The couple had split up a month before the fire, she said, and the day of the fire, police were called to break up an argument between the two.

VIDEO: Family of Limo Victims Talk About Their Loss

"They were beautiful ladies," Orville Brown told NBC Bay Area in May after the tragedy. He said he did not understand at first what was going on when one of the women yelled "Smoke." He thought at first that the women wanted a cigarette.

He said only when he understood the gravity of the situation was when he he pulled over and got on the phone - only to call for help.

Officials also disputed reports that the vehicle’s airbags ruptured and that the failure of the rear suspension system caused the vehicle to come in contact with the road.

MORE: "I Saw Smoke in the Back of the Car," Limo Survivor

RAW VIDEO: Limo Driver Describes San Mateo Bridge Tragedy


Bay City News contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: AP Photo/Oakland Tribune-Bay Area News Group, Jane Tyska

Newington Gas Station Robbed at Gunpoint


A man with a gun robbed a Shell Gas Station in Newington last night and police are searching for him.

Police responded to the Shell Gas Station at 1593 Southeast Road at 9:51 p.m. to investigate an armed robbery.

The robber was described as 6-feet tall and was wearing a gray short-sleeved collared shirt, black pants, a black face mask and black gloves, police said.

He showed a handgun and took off with an undetermined amount of money.

The police investigation included a K9 search of the area, but investigators did not find anyone.

If you have information about the robbery, call the Newington Police Department at 860-666-8445 and refer to case number I20132746.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Police Presence Questioned at Showing of "The Butler"


A Maryland woman says she felt racially profiled when extra police officers were on hand for the showing of "Lee Daniels' The Butler" at a downtown Silver Spring movie theater.

Tiffany Flowers tweeted about her outrage, which is now gaining international attention.

Flowers tells News4 she saw the movie Saturday night at Regal's Majestic Theater, where three police officers were verifying tickets and escorting moviegoers in and out of the theater.

She says she felt profiled by the added security because the crowd was predominantly African-American.

"A lot of people feel that an overwhelmingly African-American audience getting three police officers to guard and manage our entrance and exit from the theater is very, very suspicious," she said. "So I'm hoping that they come up with an answer that we can all deal with...."

Regal Cinemas released a statement on the matter that reads, "Regal Entertainment Group routinely employs security personnel to ensure the safety of all our guests and staff. When a theater experiences sold-out showings of any feature, security will assist with crowd control and guest assistance throughout the facility, including auditoriums."

Flowers said she's never seen officers at the theater before. She's received a lot of support for her stance via social media, of which she said, "I think it's great. I think that Regal should be on high alert because it's really about how this makes them look and how they're being portrayed in the community."

"Lee Daniels' The Butler" tells the story of a man (Forrest Whitaker) who worked at the White House during six presidential administrations. It was loosely based on the life of Eugene Allen, a Virginia man who worked in the White House for 34 years and was ultimately promoted to the highest rank, maître d'.

The film -- which features an ensemble cast that also includes Oprah Winfrey, Cuba Gooding Jr. and Robin Williams -- premiered Friday and was the highest-grossing movie last weekend, bringing in $25 million.

UConn Opens New Avery Point Student Center


On Wednesday, UConn will hold a ceremony to open new student center at the UConn Avery Point campus.

The new $9.3 million student center and auditorium replaces the previous outdated center in an old Coast Guard building.

The center was built to wrap around the newly renovated 300-seat theater and includes areas for student dining, seating and studying.

The ceremony will take place at 3 p.m. on Wednesday at the student center


Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

WATCH: Football Pass Hits Sideline Reporter in the Face


The pass was a perfect spiral -- to the face.

Fox Sports sideline reporter Pam Oliver played a good sport after backup Indianapolis Colts quarterback Chandler Harnish's errant throw during a pre-season NFL game against the New York Giants Sunday landed a direct hit on the side of her face.

"Toughest person in this stadium," one of the game's announcers observed after airing the instant replay.

"Thanks for you guys hitting me in the face with the football," Oliver jokingly shot back.

Harnish apologized after the blooper, according to Fox News.

Video showed the pair making nice with a hug.

Check out video of the incident below:

Photo Credit: NFL.com/Screenshot

Norwich Drug Factory Operating Near 2-Year-Old: Police


A Norwich parolee was arrested this morning after police discovered that he had been selling drugs from his Goldberg Avenue apartment while a toddler was around, authorities said.

Michael T. O’Brien, 26, of 9 Goldberg Avenue, was arrested this morning after detectives found heroin, packaging and processing materials and more than $1,200 in cash in his apartment, according to police.

Police said there was also a two-year-old child “located in close proximity” to the drugs.

O’Brien, who is currently on parole for unrelated firearms charges, was taken into custody. He was charged with possession of heroin, possession of heroin with intent to sell, operation of a drug factory and risk of injury to a minor.

O’Brien is due in court Sept. 5.

Photo Credit: Norwich Police Department

WATCH: Freshman Wins Free Tuition with Half-Court Shot


Incoming Ball State freshman Markus Burden's college days are off to a great start.

At a "Welcome Week" event for the Indiana-based university, the 18-year-old sank a half-court ball and won free tuition for his spring semester.

Burden was randomly selected from the crowd. He said he missed three times before sinking the shot, sending the crowd into a frenzy. The shot was caught on camera.

"It was an overwhelming feeling," Burden told the Indianapolis Star.

The school has been sponsoring the contest for several years, but Burden is the first to make the shot and win the tuition money, valued at $11,084.

 Check out Burden's winning shot below:

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