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Google Doodle Celebrates Claude Debussy's Birthday


Google debuted an animated Google Doodle tribute to classical French composer Claude Debussy Thursday to commemorate the musician's 151st birthday.

The animated doodle features a moonlit riverside scene set to the tune of "Clair de Lune," perhaps Debussy's most famous and recognizable piece.

The doodle begins with floating balloons that transition to a slow-moving riverside panorama of cars, cyclists and a windmill, highlighted by a full moon and flickering lights. The flickering lights correspond to the cadences of the song.

The doodle eventually follows a boat and then transitions to two lonesome boaters crossing paths that end up sharing a red umbrella as a light rain begins.

Debussy was born on Aug. 22, 1862 in Saint-Germain-en-Laye, France. His revolutionary musical structure in the 20th century is often compared to the work of Impressionist and Symbolist painters, according to The Guardian.

The eldest of five children, Debussy's father owned a shop that sold crockery and his mother was a seamstress, according to The Independent. He was apparently encouraged to pursue music by Madame Mauté de Fleurville, who claimed to have studied with Polish composer Frédéric Chopin.

Debussy entered the Paris Conservatory in 1873, where he studied piano and composition. He later won the Grand Prix de Roma in 1884 at the age of 22.

He died of colon cancer at his home in Paris on March 25, 1918, at age 55.


Rivals Sharpen Attacks on de Blasio in 2nd Debate


The crowded field of Democratic New York City mayoral hopefuls met in a second major televised debate Wednesday, with Christine Quinn turning her attacks on a surging Bill de Blasio and Anthony Weiner struggling to remain relevant in a rapidly shifting campaign.

The first volley between the top contenders came during a discussion of efforts to prevent financially troubled hospitals from closing. Quinn mocked de Blasio for fighting against the shuttering of Long Island College Hospital in Brooklyn while aligning himself with celebrity activists like Susan Sarandon, who opposed a plan to renovate St. Vincent's Hospital in Greenwich Village before it closed in 2010.

Quinn, the city council speaker, invoked her favorite line of attack against de Blasio, a former city councilman and current public advocate. She called him a flip-flopper.

"You have to be what you're for all the time," Quinn told de Blasio.

He responded by accusing Quinn of creating a "smokescreen" to divert attention from the fact that the closure of St. Vincent's happened in her city council district.

NBC 4 New York hosts the next mayoral debate for the Democrats on Sept. 3, to be televised live at 7 p.m. The Republican candidates face off next on Aug. 28.

To a certain extent, the opening segments of Wednesday's debate were merely a prelude to inevitable questions about an issue that had preoccupied the campaign much of the day: comments by de Blasio's wife, Chirlane McCray, that suggested Quinn wasn't reliable on children's issues because she wasn't a mother herself.

"I don’t see her speaking to the concerns of women who have to take care of children at a young age or send them to school and after school, paid sick days, workplace, she is not speaking to any of those issues," McCray was quoted as telling columnist Maureen Dowd.

Asked about it by debate moderator Errol Louis, Quinn -- a married lesbian and the race's only childless candidate -- said the comments were "very hurtful and upsetting because they basically raised the question of whether the fact that I have children is relevant to how hard I fight for families."

De Blasio, who has been emphasizing his interracial family in his campaign, said his wife did not intend to offend Quinn, and was trying to respectfully critique Quinn's stances on policies affecting children and families.

"It is not personal, it is substantive," de Blasio said.

Former Comptroller Bill Thompson, who has struggled for traction despite having won the Democratic nomination in 2009, showed signs of trying to escape his conciliatory image. His strategy was to go after de Blasio, who has surged past him in recent polls.

First, Thompson lampooned de Blasio's proposal to raise taxes on the rich to finance universal pre-kindergarten as "a tax in search of an idea." Then, Thompson invoked a controversial de Blasio campaign advertisement, since debunked, that claimed he was "the only candidate to end a stop and frisk era that targets minorities.”

Then, Thompson took a page from Quinn's campaign book, accusing de Blasio of switching sides on term limits and the council appropriations known as “member items," which became the target of a federal investigation that resulted in criminal charges against several lawmakers and staffers.

"Will the real Bill de Blasio please stand up?" Thompson said.

Under attack from both Quinn and Thompson, de Blasio said that he felt like he was in a professional wrestling match, getting tag-teamed.

With the Sept. 10 primary drawing closer, and small margins separating the leading candidates, it seems likely that none will receive the 40 percent of votes needed to avoid an Oct. 1 runoff.

For all the sniping the candidates made against each other, much of their criticism was focused on Mayor Bloomberg, particularly his unwavering defense of the NYPD's stop-and-frisk tactics, which a federal judge recently found to be unconstitutional.

The candidate most associated with Bloomberg is Quinn, who helped the mayor change city laws to run for a third term and has expressed support of Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly. Quinn's rivals have accused her of siding with Bloomberg on stop and frisk.

A key moment in that argument will come Thursday, when the council will vote on whether to override Bloomberg's veto of two bills meant to rein in stop and frisk. One would create a position of inspector general to oversee the police. The other would make it easier to sue for racial profiling.

De Blasio asked Quinn how she would vote on the profiling measure. Quinn sidestepped the question at first, saying she'd done more than any of the candidates to end racial profiling. She accused de Blasio of misrepresenting her positions. But when de Blasio pressed her, she said she would not vote in support of the profiling bill.

Weiner, the disgraced former congressman, watched much of the wrangling with his arms crossed, unable to get a word in. This was the first major debate in which he was a sideline act rather than a headliner. His support has been dwindling since he admitted last month that his online sexual relationships with women continued after he resigned from Congress in 2011.

So, late in the debate, when he was given a chance to ask another candidate a question, Weiner lobbed a bomb. He challenged Quinn to release council documents related to the 2008 council appropriations scandal. Thompson had made a similar demand earlier this month, but Weiner added an inflammatory footnote: he asked Quinn to say whether de Blasio, then a councilman, had been "implicated in any way."

Quinn, looking aghast, said she didn't know what Weiner was talking about. Then, in a twist, she defended de Blasio, saying he'd never been implicated.

"Casting aspersions on the public advocate like that is just outrageous," Quinn said.

De Blasio later thanked Quinn.

The other Democratic candidates in the debate were Comptroller John Liu, whose campaign has suffered from allegations of illegal fundraising, former City Councilman Sal Albanese and Bronx pastor Erick Salgado.

Liu spent a good portion of his speaking time criticizing Thompson's work as his predecessor in the comptroller's office, which monitors city finances. One of Liu's targets was CityTime, a highly touted project to modernize municipal payrolls that ultimately cost the city hundreds of millions of dollars and ended with allegations of fraud. The scandal unfolded while Thompson was in office.

"What happened, Bill?" Liu asked.

Thompson admitted he could have done more, but added that Bloomberg and the council could have done more, too.

Albanese and Salgado, the most marginalized of the Democratic candidates, struggled to be heard. At one point, after going several minutes without being asked a question, Albanese shouted out: "Do I get to talk at all? This is ridiculous."

Salgado added: "I may have an accent, but I can talk."

After that, the panel of questioners asked for their opinions more often.

The debate concluded with a "lightning round," in which the candidates were asked a series of yes-or-no questions. The session produced the evening's lightest moments, with the most laughs coming at the expense of Weiner, although he didn't seem to mind.

The candidates were asked if they'd ever texted while driving. When his turn came, Weiner blurted, "Yes," and the audience howled.

Photo Credit: AP

14-Year-Old Bicyclist Dies After Crash


A 14-year-old boy who suffered serious injuries in Manchester during a collision involving his bicycle and a car has died, according to police.

Police said the teen was trying to cross the intersection at Oakland Street and Sheldon Road at 11:42 p.m. on Monday when the bike collided with a car traveling north on Oakland Street.

The boy was taken to Connecticut Children’s Medical Center to be treated for serious injuries, according to police, and has passed away.

The Manchester Police Traffic Services Unit and the Metro Traffic Reconstruction Team responded to the crash.

Anyone who witnessed the collision should call Officer Jason Moss at 860-645-5560.  

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Man Accused of Holding Ex-Girlfriend Captive


West Haven police have arrested a 38-year-old local man accused of holding his ex-girlfriend captive for hours, assaulting her and threatening her with a knife.

Police responded to Joselito Rosario Tirado’s Canton Street home around 11:30 p.m. on Wednesday to investigate a report of a domestic dispute and a woman told investigators that Tirado held her captive for more than two hours, police said.

She said he repeatedly assaulted her and hit her several times as she attempted to flee, police said.

She finally managed to escape and called police. Emergency crews then brought her to an area hospital to be treated for facial lacerations and other injuries.

Police said Tirado is on probation. He has been convicted 14 times for crimes including assaults and attempted murder, according to police.

Responding officers on Wednesday night saw Tirado running from the apartment and chased him.

The Orange Police K9 Team assisted with the chase and cornered Tirado in a wooded area behind 1088 Boston Post Road, where he surrendered, police said.

Police recovered a large knife from the apartment and said they believe it was used as a weapon during the alleged assault.

Tirado was arrested and charged with several assault charges, first-degree unlawful restraint, larceny and Interfering with police. 

He was held on $150,000 bond and is due in court in Milford on August 22.

Photo Credit: West Haven Police

Juveniles Suspected in Moosup Barn Fire


Six juveniles are suspected to being involved in a fire at an abandoned farm in Moosup yesterday.

Members of the Moosup, Central Village, Atwood Hose, Oneco and Plainfield fire departments, as well as American Legion Ambulance, responded to a structure fire at Barber Hill Road in the Moosup section of Plainfield at 3:37 p.m. and found the barn engulfed in flames.

Witnesses told investigators that several youths were spotted walking from the property about half an hour before the fire. 

Police obtained descriptions of the juveniles and located six people, who they referred to as suspects, and said arrests are pending. 

Crews continue to investigate.

No one was injured in the fire, which was contained to the abandoned structure and did not spread to the fields or other abandoned structures on the property. 

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Baby Left in 119-Degree Car Dies, Dad Arrested


A 7-month-old baby left for 30 minutes in a car where the temperature had reached 119 degrees died Wednesday, and his father was arrested, a police source said.

The 25-year-old dad, Devon Fenner, returned to his Hempstead home on Long Island after taking his girlfriend to work and dropping off two other kids, a 7-year-old son and 4-year-old girl, at day camp. He parked and went inside.

Police say he called 911 at about 1:30 p.m. Tuesday to report he had accidentally left the baby in the car, and when he went to get the boy, he wasn't breathing.

The baby was pronounced dead an hour later at the hospital.

The child was in his car seat behind the driver's seat. All the windows were closed, except for the driver's, which was cracked open about 2 inches, the source said.

The temperature inside the car about half an hour after the baby was removed was 119 degrees.

Fenner was charged with criminally negligent homicide. 

An attorney for Fenner did not immediately respond to a request for comment. 


Man Pistol-Whipped Dunkin' Employee Over Order: Video


Video released by authorities on Wednesday shows an irate customer pistol-whipping a Florida Dunkin’ Donuts employee during a fight after authorities said he was given the wrong coffee order.

Employee Rajay Hall said that when Jeffrey Wright, 27, and his wife Alexis Longo, 22, of Plantation came through the drive-thru, he provided the wrong flavored coffee. He said he offered to fix the mistake.

"I asked them what do they want in the coffee. She was like I don't know – like, just make back the coffee," Hall said, adding that Longo was cursing at him.

Wright struck Hall multiple times against his head with his 9mm Taurus Slim handgun, Lauderhill Police said in a probable cause affidavit. He faces a charge of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon for hitting the employee in the incident, which happened early Tuesday afternoon at the Dunkin’ Donuts at 7125 W. Oakland Park Boulevard, the affidavit said.

Woman Pistol-Whipped in Robbery in West Park

Broward Circuit Judge John Hurley ordered Wright held on $20,000 bond Wednesday.

Police said that after Wright received his coffee, the couple went inside. Hall said Longo threatened to punch him in the face. When he said go ahead, she allegedly lunged at him. That is when Wright allegedly punched Hall.

The ensuing fight went on for two minutes. The manager was in between Wright and Hall amid the flurry of punches, surveillance video shows. Longo was also involved in the fight, the affidavit said.

VIDEO: Robbers Shoot Miami Clerk, Pistol-Whip Miramar Employee

While police initially said that the video showed Wright hitting the manager in the head with his gun, Hall said it was him being pistol-whipped.

Wright's firearm was loaded with seven bullets in the magazine and one in the chamber, the affidavit said.

"It was busy at 1:00 in the afternoon. Several of them do indicate that the wife did mention that he should shoot the actual manager,” Lauderhill Police spokesman Lt. Mike Butkus said.

Names Released of Pair Arrested in Landlord-Tenant Dispute

Customers jumped in to break up the fight, and police said the situation had the potential to get really ugly.

"(He) does have a concealed weapons permit and is licensed to be armed, but enters the gun in the situation by striking the victim with the gun,” Butkus said of Wright.

Longo, who is charged with battery, is being held on $1,000 bond, online jail records said.

More Local Stories:


Photo Credit: NBC 6 South Florida

Bridgeport Principal Accused of Being Abusive to Kids


Two Bridgeport school employees have testified that an elementary school principal was abusive to students, including hitting a boy who suffers seizures in the head and dragging a crying girl by the hood of her jacket to the office.

The Connecticut Post reports that the employees testified before the city school board this week at the termination hearing of Tisdale School Principal Carmen Perez Dickson.

Dickson declined to comment on the allegations. Her lawyer said she might testify next month when the hearing continues.

Dickson is on paid administrative leave.

Last year, the state Supreme Court overturned a $1.3 million verdict awarded to Dickson in her lawsuit accusing the district of harassment and discrimination.

Dickson's supporters said she's a no-nonsense principal who has brought order to Tisdale School.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Torrington High School Sets New Social Media Rules


After a scandal rocked the Torrington High School Football team last year, student athletes will have new rules to follow off the field and on the internet.

The Torrington Board of Education has approved new guidelines for social media. The handbook, which contains a code of conduct for social media websites, will be given out to players on every sports team.

The change comes after Torrington High School got national attention when 4 football players were arrested and accused of sexual assault.  The victims were ridiculed online for coming forward.

“Society generally holds athletes to a higher standard this sort of addresses that,” said Chairman Ken Traub.

Rules from the handbook state students can’t bully or haze anyone, taunt students from opposing schools or use offensive language.  The first offense could get them suspended from the team for a few weeks.  If it happened a second time, they would be kicked off the team for the season.

“I don't think they should be held to any different standard as any other student,” said Bill Battle.

His son planned to play football at Torrington High School in the fall, and he thought the district had gone too far by singling out a specific group of kids. “No we cannot just say athletes at all.  I think its unfortunate and unfair,” Battle explained.

The school district might consider a new policy to deal with student athletes who get in trouble off campus.  Students could be kicked off the team for good if they’re charged with a crime.  That policy is just an idea, and the district planned to discuss it further during the next few months.

The idea isn’t sitting well with some parents. “You’re going to tell me if a student on the chess club does something he will have a different outcome from a kid on a football team?” questioned Bill Battle.

The social media policy will apply to student athletes when school starts next week.

Yahoo Beats Google in U.S. Web Traffic


Maybe it's more Mayer magic.

For the first time since 2008, Yahoo! has topped Google in U.S. web traffic, according to the latest monthly figures from ComScore. Those numbers show Yahoo! sites edging out Google sites for the month of July, with Microsoft, Facebook and AOL sites rounding out the top five.

Now, before you unload all that Google stock, this doesn't mean the balance of power has completely shifted. After all, it's how much money Google pulls in that really wows investors - that's something Yahoo! has to do better no matter how many people are watching.

That said, it's the first time in five years that Yahoo! has such bragging rights, and they're probably feeling pretty good in Sunnyvale.

ComScore says it still counts recent Yahoo! purchase Tumblr as its own entity, but Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer has been on a buying spree lately, and that's likely brought many new viewers into the fold.

Yahoo! (YHOO) shares have also been on a roll lately, doubling over the last 12 months.

Scott can be viewed on Twitter: @scottbudman


Photo Credit: Getty Images

Gas Leak Forces Evacuation of Glastonbury Building


A gas leak at 320 Western Boulevard in Glastonbury has been secured, according to police.

Buildings at 320 and 310 Western Boulevard were evacuated just before noon because of the leak.  Western Boulevard was closed while crews worked to fix the leak

Police said the gas leak was outside one of the buildings and no injuries were reported.

Connecticut Natural Gas and Connecticut Light & Power crews were called to the scene.

The buildings were checked and determined to be safe, according to police.  The road reopened and workers were allowed to return to the buildings around 1 p.m., police said.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Fort Worth Zoo Welcomes Another Baby Elephant


In spectacular fashion, the Fort Worth Zoo announced Thursday that a second Asian elephant had been born at the zoo this summer.

Over the last few days, the zoo had hinted that an animal had been born at the zoo, and that whatever the animal was was a boy, but they wouldn't reveal what the animal was until Thursday morning.

The mystery bundle of joy was revealed to be a 230-pound Asian elephant named Bowie, who was born six weeks early and delivered Aug. 5 by first-time mommy Bluebonnet. 

Bowie is only a month younger than his Aunt Belle, who was born at the zoo on July 7 to Rasha, his grandmother. Bowie is only the third to be born at the zoo in their 104-year history.  His mother Bluebonnet, also Rasha's daughter and Belle's full sister, was the first.

With Bowie's birth, Asian elephants at the zoo now span three generations. 

"There's a number of things that make this significant; Most especially for this herd, that it truly is beginning to mimic what happens in the wild.  We have three generations of elephants in this yard now, and so grandmother is here, aunt is here ... so people are going to see how a herd behaves in the wild," said Alexis Wilson, with the Fort Worth Zoo.

Thursday is the first day Bowie will be visible to zoo visitors.  He is expected to be seen, and heard (zookeepers say he has been very vocal since birth), at various times of the day as he gets acclimated to his home. The zoo said Rasha, Belle, Bluebonnet and Bowie can be seen daily at the following times (subject to change): 10:15 a.m. to noon, and briefly at 1:30, 2:30 and 3:30 p.m.

The Fort Worth Zoo is now home to seven Asian elephants, four females and three males.

In other zoo baby news, Asha, a young rhino, celebrated her first birthday at the Fort Worth Zoo on Aug. 16.  Meanwhile, across town at the Dallas Zoo, a rare ocelot was born to new parents on June 26.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News

Dozens Injured in Tour Bus Crash


At least 50 people were injured Thursday when a casino-bound tour bus rolled over on the Foothill (210) Freeway near the San Gabriel (605) Freeway about 20 miles east of Los Angeles in Irwindale, Calif., the CHP said.

NBC4 I-Team: Tour bus company behind I-210 crash has mutiple safety violations. Watch on NBC4 at 6.

The crash was reported just after 10 a.m. on the eastbound 210, the CHP said.

Aerial footage showed a large emergency response off the side of the freeway with firefighters tending to people on green, yellow and red triage tarps. The color-coded tarps indicate severity of injuries, with red being the most severe.

Of the 55 injured, 52 were bus passengers. The other three people involved were from other vehicles that were involved in the collision.

A majority of the injuries were minor. Some were moderate and a few suffered major injuries.

All were adults, ages 60 to 80.

The crash shut a major Southern California freeway. It prompted some motorists to get out of their cars to get a look as some victims were carried away in stretchers and a heavy tow vehicle was sent in to pull the bus from a ditch.

The bus, Da Zhen out of Monterey Park, was due to arrive at the San Manuel Indian Bingo & Casino at 10:30 a.m. on a day trip, a casino spokesman said. Da Zhen is a Chinese tour bus company that frequently offers day trips to casinos in California and Las Vegas.

None of its nine buses have been involved in crashes in the last two years, according to the U.S. Transportation Department's Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

The CHP's Multidisciplinary Accident Investigation Team, which investigates all major crashes throughout the state, was leading the probe.

"It's a little early to determine whether it was driver error," said Saul Gomez, a CHP spokesman. "We are worried more about the injured people than the actual investigation itself."

Lt. Mark Garrett of the CHP said officers would conduct a "very thorough mechanical inspection" of the bus.

Traffic was backed up for miles as both sides of the freeway were shut down.

NBC4's Phil Drechsler, Chris Henao, Nyree Arabian and Rosa Ordaz contributed to this report.

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Suspect in Fatal Delivery Truck Crash Held on Bond


Victor Morales, 21, is being held on $250,000 bond, accused of running over and killing an 82-year-old woman as he was backing up a van at the C-Town Supermarket on Park Street in Hartford.

According to police, Morales was backing up the van on July 11 when he went over the curb and hit Maria Santos, pinning her down. 

Lt. Brian Foley, of the Hartford Police Department, said emergency responders had to use a forklift to remove the van and free Santos.

“It was a difficult situation for everybody,” Foley said after the crash.

Police said that Morales did not see Santos and ran inside the store to alert a manager that an accident had occurred. 

Santos was transported to the ICU at St. Francis Hospital, where she was originally listed in critical condition. She was updated to stable condition a week later but succumbed to her injuries. 

Police had released Morales on a promise to appear, but he was then taken into custody on another warrant, believed to be related to his immigration status.

Authorities have also said that Morales did not appear to have a driver’s license and was carrying a Mexican passport.  Morales’ manager also said that he did not know why Morales was in the truck and should not have been making deliveries. 

“Our prayers and thoughts are with the victim, Mrs. Santos.  This is nothing more than a tragic accident.  My client did call 911, did go to his employer to render assistance.  At no time did he try to flee from the scene of the accident,” said Corey Brinson, Morales’ attorney.

Morales was charged with reckless driving, evading responsibility, unsafe backing, operating without a license and driving on a sidewalk. He has also been charged with negligent homicide with a motor vehicle.

Police said he could face additional charges.

Feds Send Jesse Jackson Jr. $750,000 Bill


Imagine getting a bill for $750,000 from the federal government. Former congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. got one Thursday, in the form of a forfeiture order from the United States District Court, stemming from the criminal conviction for which he was sentenced to two and a half years in prison last week.

Not only must Jackson come up with $750,000 in cash, which he told the court last week he will be paying in full, but he also must part with dozens of items, some of them almost comical in nature, which prosecutors said were purchased with his ill-gotten gains.

That means more than $10,000 worth of Bruce Lee memorabilia must be turned over immediately to the federal government, along with a $5,000 football signed by American presidents. He will have to fork over Martin Luther King memorabilia valued at more than $15,000, as well as more than $18,000 in Michael Jackson souvenirs (including two of the King of Pop’s famous hats). There’s a $4,000 guitar signed by Michael Jackson and Eddie Van Halen, Jim Hendrix memorabilia valued at $2,775, and Malcolm X souvenirs priced at $2,200. Also furs, valued at $5,000.

According to the US Attorney’s office in Washington, Jackson has turned over 13 items so far, including nine items of Bruce Lee and Michael Jackson memorabilia, a mink cashmere cape, a mink reversible parka, a black and red cashmere cape, and a black fox reversible jacket. 

He has indicated he hopes to satisfy the money judgment in total by the time he begins serving his prison sentence.

As for what happens to the things Jackson turns over, they go to the US Marshal’s service, which typically holds periodic auctions of ill-gotten property.

Information about the U.S. Marshals Service’s auctions of forfeited items can be found at http://www.usmarshals.gov/assets/sales.htm.

Photo Credit: AP

Ex-Senator's Brother in Court for Impersonating Police


The brother of former U.S. Sen. Scott Brown of Massachusetts is not allowed to possess weapons or law enforcement paraphernalia, after he was arrested and charged with impersonating an officer in Old Lyme, Conn.

A judge Thursday ordered Bruce Browne, 47, of Wolcott, to stay away from the Point O' Woods beach community where he is accused of having been found armed and impersonating a police officer.

Old Lyme police and state police troopers had responded to the community just before 6:30 p.m. on August 8 after a caller reported a man was walking on Sea View Drive wearing military-type clothes and carrying a gun. The caller told police the man had been seen earlier in the day driving a "police-type vehicle."

Officers located the vehicle at 32 Sea View Road. According to police, the 2004 blue Ford Crown Victoria was equipped with antennae on the trunk and "hide-away" lights.

After speaking with several people at the home, police determined the car belonged to Browne. They said Browne admitted to walking on Sea View Drive wearing a black, nylon gun belt with a loaded 9mm pistol in a holster.

The chief of police in Wolcott said that Bruce Browne is the brother of the former U.S. senator from Massachusetts.

State police said Browne's identifying documents spelled his last name with an "e."

Scott Brown also addressed the arrest on his Facebook page:


For those of you who are asking about the news reports on my estranged half brother, I only know as much as you. I read about it in the news this morning. As you many of you know, my mom and my late father were married and divorced 4 times each. Unfortunately, we were not close as a family. These are serious charges and he will need to answer them. I feel badly for his children and I am thankful that no one was injured.


Troopers searched Bruce Browne's car and found three 9mm handguns, a nylon duty belt with two sets of handcuffs and 12 magazines fully loaded with more than 200 bullets, according to police.

A black tactical bullet-proof vest with the word "POLICE" embroidered on the front and back was also found. A silver TSA badge was attached to the vest, police said. Browne was also in possession of an expired Coast Guard ID card from when he was a member of the Coast Guard Reserve, police said.

During their investigation, authorities learned Browne had commandeered a boat earlier in the day by identifying himself as a police or Coast Guard official, according to state police. He is accused of stopping three boats off the coast of Point O' Woods and asking the operators for their registrations and boater safety certificates.

Investigators contacted both TSA and the Coast Guard and determined Browne was not affiliated with either agency.

He was arrested and charged with impersonating a police officer, breach of peace, interfering with a police officer and possession of a dangerous weapon in a motor vehicle. He was released on a $50,000 bond and appeared in court today.

Browne is due back in court on Oct. 1. 

Photo Credit: State Police and NBCConnecticut.com

EEE Confined to Voluntown


With the next test results from Connecticut's mosquito traps not due til Monday afternoon, all the campgrounds in the state, including the biggest at Hammonasset Beach State Park, will be open this weekend, except for the two campgrounds closed in Voluntown.

The forty campsites there have been off limits since Wednesday, when test results at the agricultural experiment station revealed two batches of human-biting mosquitoes trapped there had been infected with EEE, Eastern Equine Encephalitis.

Seventeen of 47 people who have had EEE died, said Theodore Andreadis, chief medical entomologist, and survivors suffer brain damage.

"We certainly don't want anybody coming down with this particular virus," Andreadis said.

Connecticut has had no human cases of EEE, even though Massachusetts struggles to contain the disease and Vermont has also seen human cases.

"Right now we're quite confident that this is highly focal," Andreadis said, explaining that the species of infected mosquito doesn't fly far. "So I don't think there's any serious concern in other areas of the state right now.  It's always prudent though to avoid contact with mosquitoes."

Photo Credit: NBC10.com

Taxi Crash Victim's Parents Hope She Is "On Her Way to Recovery"


The parents of the woman whose leg was severed when she was hit by a taxi in midtown Manhattan said in a statement Thursday that they hope she is on her way to recovery, and thanked those who helped her after the crash.

Jason and Sonia Green thanked David Justino, the plumber who used his belt as a tourniquet on Sian Green’s leg after she was struck Tuesday, and TV personality Dr. Mehmet Oz, who was also on scene because his office is nearby.

"We hope Sian will soon be on her way to recovery and will be able to personally thank all the kind people of New York City," the parents said.

Green's left leg was amputated below the knee after the accident, according to Dr. Spiros G. Frangos, director of the the surgical intensive care unit at Bellevue Hospital. Frangos said the leg was too badly damaged for replantation.

Green's right leg was also wounded deeply in several places, said Frangos. The cuts were cleaned and repaired, and Green "will likely regain most functionality with time and physical therapy."

Witnesses told NBC 4 New York that 24-year-old Mohammad Himon’s cab swerved to avoid a bike messenger when it ran up on the curb at 49th Street and Sixth Avenue on Tuesday and hit Green, who had just arrived in New York City for vacation. 

Justino and other people nearby jumped into action after the crash in the busy plaza. A halal food vendor put the 23-year-old’s severed leg on ice in a cooler. Oz arrived on the scene after Justino applied the tourniquet. 

"They saved her life," Oz said. 

Himon said Wednesday he felt "very, very" bad after the horrific crash.

"I feel sorry about that," said Himon, who immigrated to the U.S. from Bangladesh five years ago. "I always pray for her to God."

The cabbie wouldn't go into details of the crash, which he said happened “very, very quickly.”

Investigators are probing whether the bike messenger may have startled Himon by banging on his trunk, and when he turned around, he hit the gas pedal instead of the brake.

Police are looking for video and sending technicians to determine what happened in the crash, including how fast the driver was going, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said Wednesday..

"These collisions and accidents take some time to reconstruct, so that investigation is still going forward," he said. The driver has received summonses not related to the crash, and the investigation "is certainly not closed as of yet," Kelly said.

The driver and the bicyclist, who suffered minor injuries, were given alcohol breath tests at the scene and neither tested positive, a law enforcement official told NBC 4 New York.

Photo Credit: NBC 4 New York/Instagram

Bus Crash: Company Had Safety Violations


The Da Zhen bus company, whose tour bus rolled off a Southern California freeway on Thursday, is on “Alert Status” with the federal government, the NBC4 Los Angeles I-Team found while reviewing the company’s federal safety inspections.

Dozens Injured in Southern California Tour Bus Crash

“Alert Status” means the company has been flagged for its poor performance record and could be subject to more frequent surprise inspections, transportation experts tell the I-Team.

“It’s a poor safety record,” says Paul Hedlund, an engineer and lawyer who litigates transportation accidents. “It’s not horrible, but it should be better.”

The I-Team found that the Da Zhen bus company had three violations for “unsafe driving” during inspections this year, conducted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Two violations were for speeding, one was for following too close behind other cars.

“There’s no excuse for a tour bus speeding like this,” Hedlund said.

In the “Unsafe Driving” category, the feds gave Da Zhen a score of 56.3 percent, meaning that the company is worse than the majority of other tour bus operators. If a company scores over 50% in that category, the FMCSA puts them on “Alert Status.”

In terms of the maintenance of its buses, the I-Team found that Da Zhen has had 28 inspections in the last two years, with 11 of those inspections resulting in 25 violations. In two cases in 2012, the company’s buses were put out of service.

The company has passed all of its driver fitness inspections, including drug and alcohol tests. In one inspection in 2012, a driver was cited for “falsely reporting drivers record of duty status.”
The I-Team found that before Thursday's crash, Da Zhen has had no history of crashes in the last two years.

The I-Team called Da Zhen for comment about it’s safety record, but a woman named “Tiffany” who answered the phone said no one was around to speak.

Rim Fire Sparks "State of Emergency" Near Yosemite


With the Rim Fire burning near Yosemite National Park at near lightning speeds, the number of evacuations grew on Thursday, as did the number of acres of forest. The size of the fire nearly tripled in a day's time, sparking an urgent "state of emergency" plea.

Thursday afternoon, California Gov. Jerry Brown issued an emergency proclamation for the Rim Fire in Tuolumne County.

As of 2 p.m. Thursday, the fire's acreage in the Stanislaus National Forest stood at nearly 54,000 acres, or 84 square miles, up from 16,000 acres, or 25 square miles, on Wednesday. In other words, the fire is now nearly twice the size of San Francisco.

Also, the containment dropped to 2 percent from 5 percent the day before, and the cost to date to fight it is $2.8 million.

Jessica Cannon of Oakland, who was supposed to have headed up to Camp Tawonga, five miles away from the fire, worried for the camp property. The family camp she has attended for years canceled its program this weekend.

"It's definitely in my mind," Cannon said, referring to the camp she has attended for years. "It's a beautiful place, I hope everything's OK."

Many who live closer to Tuolomne and Mariposa counties, where people have been asked to leave if they live too close to the fire, were praying firefighters would soon get a handle on the flames. The latest voluntary evacuations came Wednesday for the 2,800-person community of Pine Mountain Lake.

“I’m hoping it will stop,” said Robin Temple, who lives nearby. “My grandson is helping fight it.”

Others were trying to put the blaze – and living in the wilderness – in perspective.

"There are things that aren't replacable, but that's the way it is," John Ziomek of Groveland, Calif., told NBC Bay Area. "As long as you get out with your health."

The city of San Francisco officially declared a State of Emergency due to the fire. City officials said the fire damaged power and communications assets owned by the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) as part of the Hetch Hetchy Water and Power System.

The Hetch Hetchy Reservoir in Yosemite National Park provides water to 2.6 million Bay Area residents and businesses, as well as hydroelectric power for City services.

“This measure ensures we do everything we can to support those fighting this fire and protect city property," San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee said.

City officials said so far there are no impacts to water quality, water delivery, and water supply for the Bay Area.

It is seeking additional power supplies to replace any hydropower plants that have been knocked off line because of the fire.

On Wednesday afternoon, the Tuolumne County Board of Supervisors held an emergency meeting  saying in a resolution that the fire "is now directly threatening various communities and businesses within the County and is beyond our capabilities," according to the Modesto Bee. 

In addition, 2,500 structures remain threatened because of the hot flames ripping through the tinder-like brush and oak and pine trees. Temperatures have been in the high 80s and low 90s, and the humidity has been about 50 to 60 percent.

Earlier this week, officials closed a four-mile stretch of  Highway 120 into Yosemite National Park, though the park itself remained opened.  Visitors could take a detour into the park using state Routes 140 and 4. Those closures were still in effect on Thursday.

Below is the area impacted by the flames.

On Tuesday, camps frequented by Bay Area residents such as Camp Tawonga, San Jose Family Camp, Berkeley Tuolumne Camp and San Francisco’s Mather Camp were also asked to evacuate and shut down their programs.

Why and how the fire started is still under investigation.

According to an incident command page,  the fire is a bear to fight. The terrain is “inaccessible” and steep, and the smoke within the deep drainage of the Clavey River is a cause of concern for firefighters. The fire is spreading up the Tuolumne River canyon.

More than 1,350 personnel - up from 900 on Wednesday - were braving the fire. Those include several units from the Bay Area, including firefighters from Berkeley, Redwood City, San Francisco, as well as crews from Alameda, Santa Clara, Marin and Contra Costa counties. Teams from the California National Guard’s 129th Rescue Wing from Moffett Field in Mountain View have also been dispatched to help.

The fire was among the nation's top firefighting priorities, according to the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, Idaho.
Fifty-one major uncontained wildfires are burning throughout the West, according to the center, including in California, Alaska, Arizona, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming. More than 19,000 firefighters were fighting the fires.
But the U.S. Forest Service, the nation's top wildfire-fighting agency, said Wednesday that it is running out of money to fight wildfires and is diverting $600 million from timber, recreation and other areas to fill the gap. The agency said it had spent $967 million so far this year and was down to $50 million - typically enough to pay for just a few days of fighting fires when the nation is at its top wildfire preparedness level, which went into effect Tuesday.
There have been more than 32,000 fires this year that have burned more than 5,300 square miles.
On Wednesday, the National Interagency Fire Center listed two fires in Montana as the nation's number one priority.
At least 19 other notable fires were burning across the state, leading Montana Gov. Steve Bullock to declare a state of emergency, which allows the use of National Guard resources ranging from personnel to helicopters.
In Oregon, a fire in the Columbia Gorge about 10 miles southwest of The Dalles grew to 13 square miles, forcing evacuations and burning a third home. The fire was 15 percent contained. Strong winds continued to fan the blaze, pushing it into the Mount Hood National Forest.
Firefighters in southwestern Oregon braced for a return of lightning storms that started a series of fires last month that continue to burn in rugged timberlands.
In Idaho, progress was reported in the fight against the nearly 169-square-mile Beaver Creek fire, which forced the evacuation of 1,250 homes in the resort area of Ketchum and Sun Valley. That fire was 47 percent contained, authorities said.  
In Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming, officials reopened a 7-mile section of road closed briefly by a wildfire. As of Wednesday, the Alum Fire had burned about 12 square miles and was spreading slowly, leading park officials to make preliminary evacuation plans for a community on the shore of Yellowstone Lake.

NBC Bay Area's Kris Sanchez and Christie Smith, along with AP writers Gozia Wozniacki, Jeff Barnard in Grants Pass, Ore., Matt Volz in Helena, Mont., and Mead Gruver in Cheyenne, Wyo. contributed to this report.


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