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2014 Governor Race Heating Up


You might not be paying attention just yet, but the 2014 race for governor is on.

Two Republicans have expressed interest.

In July John McKinney, the Republican leader in the state senate, announced he was running.

Last week Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton said he was forming an exploratory committee.

If you think it's too early, one expert says, it's not.

"They have to declare," Kenneth Long, a professor of political science from the University of St. Joseph, said. "They'd be foolish to wait much longer than this."

That's because, Long said, lesser-known candidates like McKinney and Boughton need more time to get their campaigns organized to see if they are able to raise enough cash.

A poll Quinnipiac University conducted in June shows both Boughton and McKinney trailing presumptive Republican frontrunner Tom Foley.

"I think it's most important for candidates who have more work to do to declare early and be organizing and see how far they can get," Long said.

Gov. Dannel Malloy, a Democrat, has yet to say whether he will run for a second term.

Foley, who narrowly lost to Malloy in 2010, has yet to declare either.

Professor Long said if Foley makes it past his Republican opponents in the primary, he has a better chance of beating Malloy than he did in 2010 mainly because Linda McMahon won't be on the same ballot.

McMahon, a well-funded candidate, was running as a Republican for U.S. Senate that same year.

"That brought in a lot of anti-McMahon voters who wouldn't be there otherwise who mostly chose Malloy," Long said. "Foley will get a more typical turnout for a midterm election and that's his best chance to do well."

Still, Long said, the incumbent always has an advantage, especially a Democrat in an already blue state. The economy and jobs will be center stage both in the primary and general election, he said.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Hartford Mayor To Investigate City's Dispatch Center


Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra has just launched an investigation into the city’s Emergency Dispatch Center after a series of high profile problems.  
“I’m very concerned,” Mayor Segarra explained.  

Those concerns have prompted him to look into the operations of that dispatch center and get some answers.

“To ensure our citizens get exactly what they're entitled to…and that's the best,” Segarra explained.
Segarra says that he just started to analyze all of the workers including supervisors after at least three highly publicized issues.  

Last week on Linnmoore Street a dispatcher sent police to a wrong address almost a mile away from the correct location after reports of gunshots. The correct address was audible on the 911 call.  
Officers eventually showed up and found nothing, but neighbors discovered a body in a yard the next morning.  

Those cops are currently being looked into and well as the dispatcher.  

In the 911 call, the female dispatcher hung up on a woman in the neighborhood who called for help because the caller wouldn’t give her name.
In July, another civilian dispatcher made a racial slur over a police radio.  

Lastly, two years ago Hartford Police missed a body in a home on Goodrich Street.  

When they showed up, a dispatcher made a mistake and turned them away.  

Officers found the body months later when someone dialed 911 again.  
 “I’m conducting a re-calibration of these departments going into their operations to see how efficient or not efficient they might be doing,” Mayor Pedro Segarra said.  

He said that the issues cannot continue and he could make some major changes when his investigation is complete.  

“Based on what I determine, I will take swift and appropriate action to make sure our citizens are getting the services they're entitled,” Segarra added.
He expected to complete this investigation by the end of next week.


March on Washington Shaped Prince George’s Leader's Life’s Work


As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of a key moment in the civil rights movement, one Washington-area leader who was at the March on Washington is working to connect his community with the importance and struggles of that historic day.

“We didn't have the Internet or a cell phone, but we always got the word of what was going on in your home, and we always cheered for the underdog, and we knew we were the underdogs,” NAACP Prince George’s County, Md., Chapter President Bob Ross said.

Fifty years ago, Ross was a 19-year-old from Philadelphia.

“Even though we were in Philadelphia, we had boundaries that we didn’t cross, streets we didn’t cross, and that’s how we knew something needed changing,” he said.

The conditions most black Americans were living in at the time brought Ross and his mother to Washington, D.C., Aug. 28, 1963.

“We came by bus, and the first sight was the number of African-Americans that we saw,” he said. “It was just overwhelming. A lot of people like us.”

The profound impact of that day, of those experiences, has shaped his life's work.

“I guess I’ve been on a journey ever since that day,” Ross said.

Ross met with politicians, community organizers and residents Tuesday to harness the collective strength of the county to stir up excitement and participation for Saturday’s march. At 7 a.m. Saturday, Ross and County Executive Rushern Baker will meet the Prince George’s County delegation at the Washington Monument and march to the Lincoln Memorial as a group.

The goal is to use the day not only as a celebration, but as a launching pad for the work that still needs to be done.

“The dream is not complete,” he said.

Photo Credit: NBCWashington.com

State Police Investigating Fatal Motorcycle Crash


Candles and teddy bears were placed on Dixwell Avenue near Munson Street in New Haven to mark the spot where a young father of two crashed his motorcycle and eventually lost his life.

Maurice Adams, 27, of New Haven, crashed his motorcycle early Saturday morning after he was involved in a chase with a Hamden police vehicle, witnesses said.

Witness say they saw Adams being pursued by Hamden police on Dixwell Avenue when Adams' bike locked up and he fell.

The officer then allegedly drove up to Adams, saw him on the ground and fled the scene.

"Hamden Police came right after him," said a witness who only wanted to go by his first name Nick, "They seen him fall. As soon as they seen him fall, they turned off their lights, turned two corners, and went back to wherever they were going they never stopped or anything."

Nick said he ran over to Adams to check on him and called 911.

"I was talking to him and he looked at me and was just moaning, and I said, 'Everything is going to be OK. They're on their way,'" said Nick.

State Police confirm they are investigating a fatal crash but would not release any further information.

On Wednesday, police sent out a news release stating that Adams lost control as the bike approached the fork in the road and the bike went down.

NBC Connecticut reached out to Hamden Police, the Hamden mayor and city council officials multiple times and did not hear back on Tuesday. On Wednesday, Chief Thomas J. Wydra released a statement:

"I have directed the Hamden Police Department Ethics and Integrity Unit to conduct a comprehensive and thorough internal investigation to determine if any department policies, rules, or regulations were violated by the police personnel who were involved in a brief motor vehicle pursuit with a motorcycle for motor vehicle violations on Dixwell Avenue on August 17th.  It is believed that the pursued motorcycle is the same one that was eventually involved in an accident that occurred in the area of Dixwell Avenue and Munson Street in New Haven a short time later, and resulted in the unfortunate death of the operator.  I want to offer my sincere condolences and prayers to the family of the victim."

"Critical components of the investigation will be the determination of whether or not the motorcycle was being actively pursued at the time of the accident, whether the pursuit was justified, as well as an examination of the overall actions and conduct of the police personnel throughout the entire incident."  I understand that the Connecticut State Police is conducting the motor vehicle accident investigation.  The Hamden Police Department will do everything possible to cooperate with that investigation." 

"In an effort to protect the integrity and objectiveness of the internal investigation process, there will be no further comment at this time."

Adams' father, Bruce Corwell, said that he just wants to know what happened.

He has many questions that have gone unanswered and has not heard much from police officials since the crash, he said.

Corwell said that he does not even know the simplest of details.

"If I didn't view his body for myself; that's the only confirmation (of the accident) I can make," said Corwell. "Other than that, I don't know the time, place, weather, or who was there, or how he left here."

The grieving father also questioned how he is supposed to write an obituary for his son if he doesn't even know how he died.

Using Art to Fight Crime


Some New Haven residents feel a little art might help clean up and fight crime in their neighborhood.

"It does make the place look nicer," said Steve Bean, a Wooster Square Resident, as he walked by the pictures on Chapel Street, an array of decorative images on the dog park around the corner.

"Appearances are 80% of everything."  Appearances are what some Elm City residents are trying to work on specifically about Lower Chapel Street--an area some feel has long been forgotten.
The idea is to put a mural in the area between Church and Orange Streets

"It really can turn that section, that block around," said Bill Bowden of Wallingford who presented his vision for the wall next to Foot Locker at Tuesday's downtown community management meeting. "They can bring attention and a different vibe to the city by putting their work up because it does draw a crowd and it really brings an area up."

An area long known to be forgotten compared to the other end of Chapel Street heading toward Yale. Some say a mural next to the shoe store could bring up the vibrancy of the neighborhood and deter crime

"You do that by creating that sense of feeling, that sense of connection to the buildings you're surrounding yourself with," said Alderman Doug Hausladen of Ward 7.  "It feels like more people are around so probably those looking to do crime where no one else is watching, so they then skip that street," said Erin Gustafson of Wooster Square Block Watch.

Residents pointed to other murals at Lenzi Park off of St. John Street as well as the big project down by Water Street.

"You take these drab buildings that don't really offer a lot and you put color on them and it beautifies the city," said Ryan Christenson of Wallingford who also helped design the Water St. murals.

Another thing coming to that part of Chapel Street as they have on Water Street are new L-E-D lights to make it safer to walk around.  As of now the mural will be funded privately.

Students Build World's Tallest LEGO Tower


A team of students from Wilmington, Del., spent their entire summer vacation breaking a Guinness World Record.

The students from John Dickinson High School erected a 112-foot tower of more than 500,000 LEGO bricks – breaking the previous record set by the city of Prague in the Czech Republic, who built a 106-foot tower, according to Gizmodo.

Instead of going to camp or on vacation, the students spent their entire summer vacation building the tower. The last brick was put into place Monday in front of Guinness World Record Book representatives.


Photo Credit: AP

Firefighters Remain on High Alert Under Red Flag Warning


Firefighters on Tuesday battled several blazes in the region and will stay on high alert while the Bay Area remains under a red flag alert.

A San Jose family camp was forced to evacuate its quarters due to the rim fire near Highway 120, near Yosemite. Firefighters on Tuesday night were struggling to contain the blaze, which grew from 2,500 acres to more than 11,000 acres.

In addition, 2,500 structures are threatened from the blaze.

All students and staff who were staying at the camp returned safely to the Bay Area on Tuesday night.

Also on Tuesday, about 160 acres burned at the Camp Parks Military Base near Santa Rita Jail in Dublin.

Fire crews from CAL FIRE, camp parks, and Alameda County responded and called in two fixed-wing air crafts and a helicopter to battle the blaze.


I-291 West Reopens in Manchester


Interstate 291 West has reopened in Manchester after a six-vehicle crash between exits 5 and 4, according to state police. 

The crash caused a backup on Interstate 84 West during the morning commute.

The highway reopened around 9:45 a.m.

Photo Credit: Connecticut Department of Transportation

Trayvon Martin's Mom Collaborates on New Song


"My name is Sybrina Fulton. I'm Trayvon Martin's mother," starts the song "Joy Comes in the Morning.”

Those words are spoken by Fulton as the chorus kicks in for the single, which debuted on South Florida radio station Hot 105 on Tuesday. Fulton, sitting behind a radio microphone, told listeners about her initial reaction to to George Zimmerman being found not guilty in the shooting death of her son.

"We couldn't believe that people didn't see it our way and think he was guilty. We got a lot of work to do. Listen I can't be mad or angry about it, I have to move forward," she said.

The CD project is a collaboration between Fulton and Gospel hip-hop artist T-D.O.G.G.

"I wanted to do something to inspire other people, other families who have been victims of senseless gun violence," Fulton said.

The song's lyrics were inspired by the sadness T-D.O.G.G saw in the mother's face, as Fulton did countless television interviews following her son's death.

"I went back and watched her segments on TV and said 'I'm going to step outside of myself and see what she would be feeling,'" T-D.O.G.G said.

Callers who listened to the song thanked Fulton.

"Your song is so touching," said one woman who shared that she had lost her mother five years ago.

For another Miami Gardens family, the wound is still fresh. Twelve-year-old Tequila Forshee, who was excited about the upcoming school year, was shot and killed while at her grandmother's home last Wednesday.

"She should be in school right now, but she died. Senseless violence in the city of Miami Gardens," DJ Rick Party told his listeners.

Fulton and Trayvon's father Tracy Martin met with Tequila's family through the Trayvon Martin Foundation.

"It’s just sad, because they're actually sitting where we were last year at this time. And the hurt and the pain it doesn't go away," Fulton said.

Fulton told the family to cry when they needed to, and to surround themselves with positive people. She hopes the song will offer families like the Forshees the motivation to continue on.

The song ends with Fulton speaking these words: "My angel Trayvon is watching over me and a peace of my heart is in heaven.”

Fulton said proceeds from the sale of the CD will go towards making more copies of the song.

Listen to the track below.

Photo Credit: NBC 6 South Florida

Anderson Family Denies Kidnap Suspect Paternity Claim


The sister of murder and arson suspect James DiMaggio hopes the family of teenage kidnap victim Hannah Anderson will agree to a DNA test to rule out paternity rumors a family spokesperson said. 

Lora Robinson, DiMaggio’s only sister, is not contesting her brother’s decision to leave thousands of dollars to a grandparent of the Lakeside teenager.

She wants to know more about the relationship between her brother and Hannah in the hopes it may offer answers into what caused the deaths of Christina Anderson, 44, and her 8-year-old son Ethan.

“There’s an odd similarity between Hannah and her appearance and Lora’s appearance,” DiMaggio family spokesperson Andrew Spanswick explained. “[DiMaggio] knew the family for over 20 years. It’s possible he could have been the father of either child."

Robinson (pictured in comparison photo with Hannah below right) requested samples of DiMaggio’s hair in the hopes of determining paternity, Spanswick said.

A family spokesperson said in a statement Tuesday night that Brett and Christina "Tina" Anderson had not met DiMaggio until they were already expecting a child.

"Brett and Tina Anderson did not meet Mr. DiMaggio until the sixth month of Tina's pregnancy with Hannah. Brett Anderson's DNA was used to identify the body of his dead son Ethan Anderson," the statement said.

Spanswick questions why Brett Anderson is returning to Tennessee and Hannah plans to stay in California. Instead, the teenager will stay with a grandmother in Lakeside where she attends El Capitan High School.

“What’s going on with that family that the father can’t keep control of his own daughter,” Spanswick asked. “How does that point to the fact that Jim had to step in and act as the father figure all this time."

Several Anderson family members have said they considered DiMaggio an uncle figure to Hannah. He lived with the teenager’s grandmother Bernice Anderson for several years while he saved up money to buy a home.

DiMaggio designated Bernice Anderson as the beneficiary of his $112,000 life insurance policy in 2011.

Once Hannah was recovered by federal agents, Bernice Anderson described DiMaggio as a nice guy and said she loved him.

“I keep asking myself and all of us, all of us who knew him and loved him are saying the same thing. How does this happen? What happened? What caused this to happen? We don’t know and if we ever will know we’re not sure,” she said after learning of DiMaggio's death. 

Spanswick said the choice was made because DiMaggio shared concerns with family members about the ability of Brett and Christina Anderson to manage the money.

Robinson also wants answers to what led to the death of her brother in a shootout with FBI on Aug. 10.

The family has not seen the rifle DiMaggio was said to be carrying when he was shot by federal agents, according to the family spokesperson. Neither the FBI nor the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department have contacted Lora to go over the findings in the case, he added.

Robinson feels a responsibility to clear her brother’s name.
“The whole thing just is sort of spiraling out of control continually. She’s looking for more closure from the investigators,” Spanswick said.

“As Hannah continues to make statements… her affect and behavior don’t seem appropriate for someone that’s been through trauma and just lost her mother and brother. We’re beginning to become more suspicious about what really happened,” he told NBC 7. “We definitely don’t want to see James as the sole scapegoat in this story.”


Spanswick also believes that James DiMaggio is being treated unfairly in the media, where television analysts have poured over details from search warrants — and jumped to conclusions he believes are false.


“It’s trying a dead man in the media without giving him the right to any sort of due process of justice. Just because he’s dead doesn’t mean he still doesn’t have rights to have his name cleared.”


For Lora, whose kids played with Ethan and who was a longtime friend of Christina Anderson, she’s looking for closure in the deaths as well.

“We find it very strange that nobody’s talking about the double homicide. It’s like it just got washed under the table and everybody’s just concerned about Hannah who doesn’t appear to really be a victim of anything more than the trauma of a double homicide,” Spanswick said.

As for the letters listed as evidence seized by deputies from DiMaggio’s Boulevard property on search warrants, Spanswick said those should be considered personal affects and returned to the family.

Sheriff’s department spokesperson Jan Caldwell described the letters as those written by Hannah to DiMaggio. While the suspect’s sister believes they may hold some insight into what happened to her brother, deputies say they will not be made public.

“It’s an investigation we can’t discuss in detail. We don’t discuss any of our investigations in detail. Hannah is a minor and Hannah was a victim,” said Caldwell.

Timeline: Hannah Anderson Abduction

The San Diego County medical examiner has reported Christina Anderson died of blunt trauma to the head. Homicide investigators have not released details on the cause of Ethan’s death.

According to search warrants, detectives uncovered explosives and incendiary devices inside the log-cabin style home DiMaggio owned in Boulevard along with a map, handwritten letters and military-style ammo.

Firefighters were called out to the home on Sunday, Aug. 4 for a house fire that had spread to a detached 3-car garage. When they stumbled on a body in the rubble, they called in homicide investigators.

Investigators revealed Tuesday that the 40-year-old DiMaggio and Hannah Anderson were captured on the cameras at a highway checkpoint traveling westbound on Old Highway 8 at 12:10 a.m. Sunday, Aug. 4.

“We knew he had about a 20-hour head start on us at that point,” sheriff’s spokesperson Caldwell told NBC 7.

On Saturday, Aug. 10, Hannah Anderson was recovered by federal agents at a campsite near Morehead Lake in northern Idaho. DiMaggio was shot "at least" five times according to a coroner’s report. The FBI said it is weeks away from releasing details on the shooting.

In the days after Hannah Anderson returned home to Lakeside, she spoke publicly about her abductor and said he "deserved what he got."

She also appeared at a fundraiser held at the Boll Weevil restaurant on Aug.15 and at a carwash held Aug. 17. At the latter, she spoke to an NBC 7 camera saying "thank you" to those supporting her and her family.

Sheriff Bill Gore has said publicly that Hannah Anderson was a victim in the kidnapping and in the murder of her family members.

Her father Brett Anderson has asked the media to give Hannah time to heal from what he described as a “horrific ordeal.” 

A public memorial service for Christina and Ethan Anderson is scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 24 in Santee. 

Men Supplied Drugs to Teen Girls to Deal: Police


West Haven police have arrested two men accused of supplying two 15-year-old girls with drugs to deal.

Police noticed the two girls approach drivers in the parking lots of Dunkin' Donuts and Sam’s Food Mart on Campbell Avenue around 10:30 p.m. on Tuesday, then quickly walk away, police said.

Officers were there to conduct a drug investigation after receiving several tips and determined that the girls were selling narcotics.

Police detained the teens, who cooperated with police, and investigators set up a controlled purchase.

It was during that part of the investigation that police said they determined that two men had been supplying the drugs to the juveniles to sell.

Officers arrested Joseph Gravelin, 34, and Leighton Morris, 48, both of West Haven. 

When police searched Gravelin’s house, they found additional marijuana and packaging material and seized 107.2 grams of marijuana, police said.

Gravelin and Morris were both charged with several drug charges, as well as risk of injury to minor.  Both are due in court in Milford on September 3.

A juvenile was also charged.

Photo Credit: West Haven Police

Newtown Dad: Georgia Case "Frighteningly Similar"


Eight months after the horrific school shooting in Newtown, Conn., parents in Georgia rushed to reunite with their children after a man with an AK-47 rifle walked into an Atlanta-area elementary school Tuesday.

The man surrendered peacefully, according to reports, and Georgia officials said they are “lucky” no one was killed in the school, according to NBC News.

Wednesday morning, the father of a little boy killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School was on the "Today" show and called the two incidents “frighteningly similar.”

Mark Barden’s 7-year-old son, Daniel, was killed in the Newtown shooting. The little boy who dreamed of becoming a firefighter was one of 20 first graders and six staff members killed in the shooting.

“It is frighteningly similar, and I just feel so deeply for those parents and those children who had to endure that horrific scenario, and we’re just so thankful that everybody emerged OK from that,” Mark Barden told Savannah Guthrie.

Officials have identified the suspect in the Georgia case as Michael Brandon Hill, 20.

When asked whether the incident and the images of children running in terror brought up feelings of fear, sorrow or anger, Barden said he feels like he needs to keep going. 

After the shooting, Barden joined several other families affected by the tragedy and became a voice for gun control legislation, both the state and national level. 

“For me, I feel I need to really keep going. There are so many … issues that need to be addressed. You know, this is an epidemic and it’s a huge problem here in our culture. We need to address a lot of different items, holistically,” Barden said.

He said this includes addressing mental health issues and the need for better access to mental health care, firearms safety issues, legislation and community outreach.

“We just need to look at our society as a whole and evolve from this place,” Barden said.

When asked if things have changed, or whether the moment of Newtown has passed, Barden said he does not think the moment has passed.

“I continue to speak to people and people are still very touched and very aware of what happened in Newtown and unfortunately, there are situations that continue to happen, so I think people are aware of this epidemic,” Barden said.

He added that organizations, including Sandy Hook Promise and Americans for Responsible Solutions, are doing great work.


Two-Alarm Fire in New London


Residents have been displaced from 18 units after a 2-alarm fire at 130 State Street in New London, above Monica's Diner and Zambela grocery store.

One firefighter suffered a twister ankle and two others suffered heat exhaustion.

The American Red Cross has also responded.


Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Man Beat Girlfriend After Mistaken Release From Jail: Police


A Chicago man arrested in July for beating his girlfriend attacked her again this week after he was mistakenly released from Cook County Jail, authorities said.

Steven Derkits, 30, of the 4400 block of South Talman Avenue, was taken back into custody Tuesday after police realized their mistake when Derkits failed to show up for a court date.

Cook County Sheriff's Department spokesman Ben Breit said police arrested him less than three hours later.

Derkits was previously arrested on July 9 for alleged domestic battery and aggravated battery to a peace officer among other charges. Five of the six charges were dropped, Breit said, except for battery to the police officer.

Breit said the mistake likely was human error, pointing to sheriff's office staff overlooking the remaining charge.

Derkits is now accused of attacking the woman who filed charges against him in July. He was being held at Sheriff's Police headquarters in Maywood Wednesday before being transferred back to the jail.

Breit said the department is looking into taking disciplinary actions against those involved in the mistaken release.

In a statement, the sheriff's office said the incident points to a larger, systemic problem in an overcrowded jail where more than 1,200 inmates are transported daily from their cells to court hearings.

"Working with more than a thousand paper files each day invites mistakes that can have serious consequences for public safety. There is no excuse for this antiquated system to continue in an electronic age."

Derkits' release marked the second time this year an inmate was mistakenly discharged.

Photo Credit: Cook County Sheriff's Department

1 of 2 Houses Damaged in Plane Crash to Be Demolished


One of the two houses damaged in the East Haven airplane crash earlier this month will be demolished tomorrow morning.

On the morning of August 9, a plane fell from the sky, striking 64 and 68 Charter Oak Avenue, killing four people.

Sisters Sade Brantley, 13, and Madisyn Mitchell, 1, were both killed when the plane struck their home. 

William Henningsgard, of Medina, Washington, was operating the plane and his son, Maxwell, was a passenger, according to officials. Both were also killed.

The house at 64 Charter Oak Avenue was directly hit by the plane, according to East Haven Mayor Joseph Maturo and he said the town is working with the insurance company to facilitate the demolition of that property “in the coming days.”

Early tomorrow, Cherry Hill Construction Companywill demolish 68 Charter Oak Avenue.

Maturo said the company has the demolition permits. Environmental testing was completed on the property late last week and the State Health Department, along with the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection and local utilities gave the necessary clearances.  

Officials have not said when 64 Charter Oak will be demolished.

“Environmental concerns from the jet fuel deposited on 64 Charter Oak Avenue have made the process of demolishing that property a bit more complex than the one being taken down tomorrow.  Nevertheless, the Town has indicated to the insurance company handling the matter that if the home is not taken down expeditiously, the Town will exercise its authority to have the home demolished,” Maturo said in a statement.
Maturo is asking people to be sensitive at this stage in the process.

“Precious lives were lost on August 9th and I’d ask everyone, including the media, to continue to be sensitive to that. As painful as it is for the homeowners to watch their homes come down, the raising of these homes is a difficult but important step in the healing process for these families and for the neighborhood,” Maturo said.

Photo Credit: AP

Mayor Filner Mediation Could Take Weeks: Expert


Negotiations between San Diego’s mayor and city leaders determined to oust him from office could take several weeks, not days, one expert told NBC 7.

Special Section: Mayor Under Fire

Despite the optimism of some participants, University of San Diego professor Orly Lobel said residents may need to wait weeks to learn the outcome of mediation between Mayor Bob Filner, City Attorney Jan Goldsmith, City Council President Todd Gloria and City Councilmember Kevin Faulconer.

Participants have been unwilling to share details of what's being discussed at the table, citing a request from the mediator, retired federal Judge Lawrence Irving. 

“It's going to be an expensive process,” Lobel predicted. “It's going to be something like half a million dollars.”

While the San Diego City Council has already voted unanimously not to pay for the mayor's defense in a sexual harassment lawsuit brought by a former employee, Lobel suggests that may be where city leaders have to compromise.

“He will want some kind of promise from the city that he will pay possibly attorneys’ fees and possibly any damages,” she said.

Windows at the AT&T building where the negotiation sessions have taken place have been blacked out. But NBC 7 News has learned Filner and Goldsmith, two men who have fought publicly in the last 8 months, were seated on opposite ends of a long conference room table in Monday’s session.

Lobel says this is not how ordinary mediation takes place.

“The sides are caucusing separately in separate rooms so there is probably going to be three different rooms,” she said describing other mediation sessions.

Several experts have predicted that Filner will use his resignation as a bargaining chip.

Filner’s top aide said last week that she expected Filner to return to work Monday after three weeks away from the office.

Staffers and attorneys said Filner completed two weeks of therapy and took one week off of personal time.

Until Monday, Filner hadn't been seen in public since he held a news conference on July 26 announcing he would seek treatment for an undisclosed disorder or behavioral problem.

Interactive Timeline: Mayor Under Fire

NBC 7 News filed a Public Records Act request on July 15 to obtain the mayor’s appointment schedule. The station has made repeated requests to get the information from the mayor’s staff.

On Tuesday, the mayor’s office told an NBC 7 Investigates producer that they could not fulfill the request filed because of the number of media requests for the information.

Filner promised to make his appointment scheduled available online when he campaigned for mayor.

Photo Credit: NBC 7 News

Store Bans "Sex Toys for Filner" Recall Sign


A San Diego woman has refused to remove her handwritten sign seeking donations of new or used sex toys for embattled Mayor Bob Filner.

“Save the women of S.D. Donate your new + gentley [sic] used sex toys to Filner,” reads the sign posted by Valorie Matthews of Allied Gardens on her petition table in front of a grocery store.

Matthews has been collecting signatures as part of the effort to recall Mayor Filner.

Filner, who has been in mediation with city leaders this week, has been accused of sexual harassment by a former employee, operating “pay to play” schemes involving developers and misusing his city-issued credit card.

More than a dozen women have also spoken publicly about unwanted sexual advances they experienced when meeting Bob Filner at public events or private meetings while he was mayor and congressman.

Matthews has been sitting outside the Albertsons grocery store on Waring and Zion every day since the recall effort kicked off on Sunday.

Her petition stand includes a bucket that reads “Sex Toys for Filner.”

On Tuesday, Matthews was told to stop by Albertsons' corporate attorney.

When NBC 7 News contacted the store, they offered this statement:

“Ms. Matthews has also chosen to put a sign that has an adult theme which is not appropriate for children or our family-friendly environment. We've explained to Ms. Matthews that she can continue to collect petition signatures at our stores if she removes the sign. Unfortunately, she has refused.”

Interactive Timeline: Mayor Under Fire

“This is the United States of America. I can say anything I want, anywhere I want to anyone I want,” Matthews said.

Matthews told NBC 7 she plans on returning Wednesday, signs and all. She also claims she’ll go to jail if necessary.

“I'm the rarest of all women,” Matthews said. “I have a mouth, a brain to back it up and the guts to use both.”

She described herself as a little old lady who’s surviving on Social Security who is hoping to get a good lawyer to offer services pro bono.

So far Matthews has collected 300 signatures for the “Recall Bob Filner” campaign and zero sex toys.

Photo Credit: NBC 7 News

Antibiotics Defeat Brain-Eating Infection in Boy


Antibiotics administered to a 12-year-old Florida boy have defeated a rare brain-eating infection and now his family is praying for brain activity, Zachary Reyna's dad said Wednesday.

"Extensive damage was done to his brain and we need to pray for any form of activity to come from his brain. I feel like Zac was in a slump, all ball players go through them. We all do," said Jesse Reyna, through a Facebook page for the boy. "As his Dad and Coach I do all I can to help him get out of it by giving him extra training and making adjustments to his swing. We all go through tough times and we need to find God and prayer to get through theses slumps of life."

The family continues to hold hope and pray for the boy’s condition, a rare brain infection known as PAM, which stands for primary amebic meningoencephalitis.  Tests showed negative activity from the amoeba, Jesse Reyna said.


"God has sent Zac an army of coaches and through prayers Zac is ready. He's ready to battle now. His slump is over. We will battle together with Zac and know that we are prepared for God's decision. A victory is coming. Zac I love you and I know you are doing your best. Leave it all on the field son. I'm proud of you. We all are," he wrote.

Zachary Reyna is in the intensive care unit after being transferred there from Glades County, where they believe the boy was infected with the amoeba.

His family says Zachary had been knee boarding in a water-filled ditch by his home. Then he became very ill.

The brain-eating amoeba that causes this infection is commonly found in warm fresh water such as lakes, rivers, canals and ponds. This is the middle of the peak season, which runs from July through September.

The amoeba can enter through the nose into the brain. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, from 2003 to 2012 there have been 31 reported cases of PAM. Of those, 28 have been linked to recreational water, three from nose irrigation with contaminated water. These infections are more likely in Southern states but are extremely rare.

Nevertheless the CDC says you should assume the amoeba is present in warm fresh bodies of water.

“Please pray for Zac and pray that God continues to give us strength these last few days of treatment,” Jesse Reyna wrote. “The enemy is trying to make us lose hope and we need your prayers.”

Photo Credit: NBC 6 South Florida

Pedestrian Killed in Crash on I-84 West in Danbury


One person is dead after being struck by a tractor-trailer on Interstate 84 West in Danbury that afternoon, according to state police. 

The crash happened at exit 5 and tied up traffic for hours.

The highway reopened around 3:45 p.m.

Photo Credit: CT DOT Traffic Cameras

Surgeon Pleads Not Guilty to Liposuction Death


A former Southern California cosmetic surgeon has been charged with involuntary manslaughter after allegedly giving a deadly cocktail of drugs during a liposuction procedure, authorities said.

Ehab Aly Mohamed, 46, was also charged with elder abuse in a separate incident involving a different patient. Mohamed is already jailed on previous burglary and forgery convictions, according to a Los Angeles County District Attorney's office statement.

Mohamed pleaded not guilty Wednesday to all charges and denied any and all special circumstances, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Sept. 6.

Mohamed's involuntary manslaughter stems from the Aug. 21, 2010 death of Sharon Carpenter. Carpenter, 61, died in Mohamed's Encino office after a 10-hour liposuction procedure.

During the surgery, she was given a combination of liocaine, fentanyl and oxycodone. She died in Mohamed's office after midnight, according to the statement.

LAPD Detective Joel Price told NBC4 that Mohamed never showed any signs of remorse for his patient's death.

And the detective offered another bizarre detail about the case.

"He was, in fact, performing medical procedures on himself," adding that when police officers arrested Mohamed, the surgeon was hospitalized and "in bad shape."

On May 21, 2010, a 77-year-old patient of Mohamed's passed out during a liposuction procedure and still suffers from related health problems, according to the District Attorney's statement.

Mohamed faces up to 10 years in prison if he's convicted.

NBC4's Toni Guinyard and Robert Kovacik contributed to this report.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article erroneously reported that the surgeon's arraignment was delayed until Sept. 6. The surgeon entered a not guilty plea Wednesday, and is scheduled to appear for a preliminary hearing on that date.

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