Channel: NBC Connecticut
Browsing All 57608 Browse Latest View Live
Mark channel Not-Safe-For-Work? cancel confirm NSFW Votes: (0 votes)
Are you the publisher? Claim or contact us about this channel.

Governor Announces New State Police Commissioner


Gov. Dannel Malloy has announced the new commissioner of the new Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection.

The governor said he is nominating Dora B. Schriro, who is the current Commissioner of the New York City Department of Correction.

"The doctor is immensely qualified and has proven herself to be an exceptional leader across the country. Her efforts working directly with victims of crime and developing innovative, state-of-the-art processes to reduce violence and keep offenders from returning to jail will be of great value to our state as we continue to implement these types of techniques in our state," Malloy said.

Schriro is expected to begin work in Connecticut at the end of the month and will earn a salary of $178,000.

She will take over from Commissioner Reuben Bradford, who plans to retire on February 1.

The state police union supports the appointment.

Malloy said he believes Schriro is the first woman to take on the role. 

"It is a great honor and an exceptional opportunity to be selected to serve as the commissioner of the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection.

The Permament Commission on the Status of Women released the following statement about Schriro's appoitment.

"For years, the PCSW has challenged the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection (DESPP), formerly the Department of Public Safety, on its historically poor track record when it comes to the promotion and retention of women to leadership positions. So we welcome the appointment of Dora Schriro to this critical and highly visible appointment, and we look forward to working with her on policies and procedures that will help remedy gender inequity among the DESPP’s ranks and leadership."

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg appointed Scriro to direct the New York jail system on September 21, 2009.

Before that, she was special advisor to Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano on Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Detention and Removal and director of the Office of Detention Policy and Planning for the Department.

Prior to that, she served for six years as the director of the Arizona Department of Corrections. From 1993 to 2001, she was the director of the Missouri Department of Corrections.

In each state, she was the first woman selected to lead the agency.

During his announcement, Malloy said crime in Connecticut is at a 44-year low.

"In every community, there are good people, raising families and operating businesses, wanting to live free of crime and the fear of crime. And in every place, there are crime victims who want no one else to experience all that they have endured. In every place, there are opportunities for both improvement and innovation," Schriro said. "In my opinion, there is no better place than here, right here, right now, to serve."

She said her plan is to start by going around the state and meeting with members of the department and members of the communities they serve and form a plan of action.


Photo Credit: Governor's office

U.S. Department of Ed Gives Newtown Schools $1.9 Million Grant


The U.S. Department of Education is giving Newtown’s public schools another $1.9 million to help with recovery efforts after the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in December 2012. 

The grant comes from the Department’s Project School Emergency Response to Violence program, which provides grants to schools that have experienced a significant traumatic event and need resources to respond, recover and re-establish safe environments for students. Twenty students and six staff members were killed during the shooting.

Newtown received a $1.3 million grant in May and this second grant will go toward additional grief support services for siblings and those who lost their peers, as well as classroom-based psychoeducation and skill-building strategies. Other programs to be funded by the grant include skill-based interventions for affected students identified as needing assistance for posttraumatic stress reactions, traumatic grief, separation anxiety and other behavioral and functional problems. It will also go toward tutoring for students demonstrating academic decline since the shooting; additional security; additional nursing services; and more.
“We will do whatever we can to continue assisting and supporting the healing and recovery of Newtown,” U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said in a statement. “This additional grant will help students, teachers, families, school district and community move forward after such an unimaginable tragedy.”
The Project SERV grant program has awarded more than $34 million through 113 grants, including Newtown’s additional grant, since the program began in 2001. http://www2.ed.gov/programs/dvppserv/index.html.

Photo Credit: AP

One Dead in Crash on I-95 in Old Saybrook


One person is dead and several were injured in a crash that closed the left and center lanes of the Baldwin Bridge on I-95 South in Old Saybrook on Monday.

The crash involved three cars and a box truck and happened just before 11:30 a.m., according to state police.

Officials said at 2:30 p.m. that the highway should be reopened within the hour.

No additional information has been released.

Photo Credit: Connecticut DOT

JetBlue Shuts Down in NYC, Boston to Catch Up


JetBlue is shutting down all flights at Kennedy, LaGuardia, Newark and Boston airports until Tuesday to catch up after bad weather forced major delays over the weekend.

A spokeswoman told NBC 4 New York the airline needs to halt service to recover from the backup.

All JetBlue operations at those airports will end by 5 p.m. Monday and start resuming at 10 a.m. Tuesday, with full service expected to be up and running by 3 p.m. on Tuesday, the airline said.

"This plan allows for 17 hours of rest for our equipment and crew members and time to service aircraft," JetBlue said.

"We regret the impact to our customers," the airline said.

Bradley Airport is not among the airlines where flights are calncelled, but Kevin Dillon, executive director of the Connecticut Airport Authority, said the airport is still waiting on guidance from JetBlue and the airport will be impacted.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

JetBlue Halts Flights to Catch Up After Storms


JetBlue is shutting down all flights at Kennedy, LaGuardia, Newark and Boston airports until Tuesday to catch up after snowy, icy weather caused major delays over the weekend.

The airline said in a statement that it needs to halt service to recover from the backup.

All JetBlue operations at those airports will end by 5 p.m. Monday and start resuming at 10 a.m. Tuesday, with full service expected to be up and running by 3 p.m. on Tuesday, JetBlue said.

"This plan allows for 17 hours of rest for our equipment and crew members and time to service aircraft," JetBlue said.

"We regret the impact to our customers," the airline said.

JetBlue said planes not being used in the Northeast would be added to other cities where they're most needed Monday.

"This isn't the sort of operation we're happy about," JetBlue said on its website.

JetBlue warned passengers that there are long wait times to speak with agents through its call center. Checking flight status online is recommended. Passengers can also request a refund online.

"I don't know when I'm going to get out of here," said one Philadelphia-bound woman stranded in Boston. "I'll probably be here until tomorrow."

Bursting Pipe Floods West Hartford Basement


A relative who went to check on a family member’s home today found feet of water in the basement from a burst pipe.

The family who lives in the house on South Quaker Lane was away, so another family went to check on the property and found 6 feet of water in basement.

The pipe that feeds the outdoor spigot had burst.

This problem has been all-too-common since last week. Today, two schools and the Stamford-Norwalk courthouse are closed today because of pipes bursting.

The Branford Fire Department offers the following tips to prevent the problem from happening at your home or business.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Arrest After Chinese Consulate Fire


Five days after the Chinese Consulate was torched by a person seen pouring two buckets of gasoline on the San Francisco building, the FBI announced the arrest of a 39-year-old Daly City Chinese national in connection with the blaze.

The FBI named Yan Feng as the person agents arrested following the Jan. 1 blaze at 1450 Laguna Street in the city's Lower Pacific Heights neighborhood. Feng self-surrendered to Daly City police by calling them on Jan. 3, according to the FBI.

Special FBI Agent in Charge David Johnson told reporters at a news conference on Monday that authorities do not believe there are any ties to terrorism, and that the fire was "an isolated incident."

The FBI did not state any possible motive for why Feng - a Chinese national but a permanent U.S. resident - would have allegedly set the fire. The minivan that was seen in security video outside the building the night of the fire has been recovered, agents added.

Feng was charged with "maliciously" damaging by means of fire or explosives property belong to a foreign establishment and arson.

Following the arrest, state Senator Leland Yee (D-San Francisco) stated, in part: “I am relieved to hear an arrest has been made in the arson at the Chinese Consulate in San Francisco. Such acts of violence cannot and will not be tolerated in our community."

MORE: Fire, "Violent Crime" at Chinese Consulate in San Francisco

According to the consulate, a person was seen coming out of a minivan parked in front of the consulate's main entrance at about 9:25 p.m. on Jan. 1 and spotted pouring two buckets of gasoline onto the front door before setting it on fire.

The consulate didn't say how officials know about the suspect in the minivan, but there are 12 security cameras on the property.
According to a fire dispatcher, the fire was reported at 9:33 p.m. and was brought under control by firefighters at 9:42 p.m. Chinese Central Television provided photos of the fireball raging at the front door. And on Thursday morning, the front door was charred, and glass shattered all over the sidewalk. One of the two stone decorative lions in front of the building was blackened, another was not. No one was hurt in the fire that charred the building's doorway, damaged the lobby and burned toward the roof.
Still, the Chinese took the fire as a serious "despicable" affront.
"We strongly condemn this vicious, destructive act of arson towards the American consulate of China, which severely damaged the facilities and threatened the safety of consulate personnel and others," the statement said following the attack.
On Monday, Consul General Wang Xiang issued this statement: "We have noted the efforts made by the U.S. side to investigate into the arson attack and require that the perpetrator be brought to justice."
Xian added: "We urge the U.S. side to learn lessons from this incident, take effective measures to ensure the safety, security and dignity of Chinese diplomatic and consulate missions and staff in the U.S. and prevent the recurrence of similar incidents.''
In March 2008 the Chinese consulate in San Francisco was similarly attacked, when a group of people poured a flammable liquid onto the building's back gate and set it ablaze. As of right now, the FBI does not believe there is a connection between the two attacks.

NBC Bay Area's Sam Brock and Christie Smith contributed to this report.

Teen Shot 7-Year-Old With BB Gun: Police


New Haven police have arrested an 18-year-old accused of shooting a 7-year-old boy with a BB gun.

Police were sent to Fair Haven just before 5 p.m. on Sunday and a group of children said they'd been on their way from a local bodega, when they heard a pop.

The 7-year-old boy said he heard something wiz by his ear, then felt a sting, police said.

The children led police to Carl Gee Jr.  and identified him as one of the two young men they said were shooting at them, police said.

Officers found Gee at a Blatchley Avenue house.

He denied knowing anything about the incident at first, police said, then accused the person he'd been with of being the shooter.

When police asked where the BB rifle was, Gee said he didn't know, but his father retrieved a long black Daisy lever action BB rifle from the teen’s bedroom and handed it over to the officers.

Gee was arrested and charged with carrying a dangerous weapon, four counts of risk of injury to children, four counts of reckless endangerment and breach of peace and conspiracy.

Police said they are looking for his accomplice.

The victim's injury was not considered serious.

Photo Credit: New Haven Police

Pipes Burst at Hartford Nightclub


It was tough day for Up Or On the Rocks in Hartford after pipes burst this morning.

Connecticut Light & Power responded  to pump out a manhole so they could turn off power.

Tips to keep your pipes from bursting.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Wolcott Teen Has Been Missing for 2 Weeks


Wolcott Police are asking for help to find a 15-year-old boy who ran away more than two weeks ago.  
Cory Feitel ran away from  a group home in Wolcott and was last seen on Dec. 21, police said.

The department issued a Silver Alert and has been in contact with Cory’s family members,  but the teen is still missing.

Police said Cory  could be heading to his uncle’s residence in Florida.

He is 5-feet-10, weighs 120 pounds and has brown hair, blue eyes.

Anyone with information should call the Wolcott Police Department at 203-8791414.

Photo Credit: Wolcott Police

Trauma Not Cause of Yale Professor's Sudden Death


The sudden death of a Yale professor who was being held in a cell at the Union Avenue Detention Facility in New Haven in November was drug-related, according to the medical examiner.

Samuel See, 34, of New Haven, was arrested on the night of Saturday Nov. 23. The next morning, he was found unresponsive in his cell and later pronounced deceased.

See died of acute methamphetamine and amphetamine intoxication with recent myocardial infarction, according to the medical examiner. His death was ruled an accident.

Police said See and officers fell during the arrest and See suffered a cut over his eye, but the preliminary autopsy report ruled out trauma as a cause of death. 

Police went to See's home after receiving a complaint of a domestic dispute at 5:15 p.m. on Nov. 23.

According to police, there was a demoestic dispute when See's husband, Saunder Ganglani, 32, of New Haven, went to See's home to retrieve his belongings despite a protective order that was in place.

Police said there were court orders prohibiting the men from contacting each other. 

When police mentioned to See that there was also a protective order for him to stay away from Ganglani, he “became enraged," police said.

He yelled that it was his house, said he shouldn't be arrested and fought with the officers when they tried handcuffing him.

As he was being brought to the cruiser, he yelled "I will kill you. … I will destroy you" to one of the officers, police said.

An ambulance transported See to Yale-New Haven Hospital, where he was treated.

After being released, he was placed in police custody, taken to the detention facility at 9:10 p.m. and charged with violating a protective order, interfering with Police and threatening in the second degree.

According to police, state marshals said they routinely checked See, who was alone in his cell, throughout the night, spoke with him and made eye contact with him.  

At 6 a.m., on Sunday, November 24, marshals found See unresponsive, started CPR and called for medical assistance.  EMS arrived and pronounced See deceased at approximately 6:15 am.

Detectives from the New Haven Police Department have been investigating the death.

"Mr. Samuel See was delivered to the detention center on Nov. 23 at approximately 9:10 p.m. by New Haven Police and was alert and communicating with Judicial Marshals throughout  his detainment until Marshals assigned to the detention center found him non-responsive in his cell at approximately 6 a.m. on Nov. 24. Marshals  immediately provided CPR and other lifesaving efforts, until relieved by New Haven Fire and Rescue," Rhonda Stearley-Hebert, program manager of communications for the Connecticut Judicial Branch, said in an e-mailed statement. 

Police Chief Dean Esserman also ordered an Internal Investigation of the circumstances surrounding See's death.

“I am deeply saddened by the death of New Haven Resident and Yale Professor, Samuel See.  Most importantly, I offer my sincere and heartfelt condolences to Mr. Sees family and the Yale community, as they deal with the passing of their beloved son, husband and Professor," Esserman said.

"I also apologize for the Police Departments late reporting of the incident, this is not the standard that the New Haven Police Department holds itself to, and we will work to ensure that this does not happen again,” Esserman said.

See was an assistant professor of English and American Studies who was on leave this semester.

"The University community is deeply saddened to learn of the death of Samuel See. Our condolences go out to his family, faculty colleagues, and students, and his friends at Yale and elsewhere," a statement from Yale says.

Sub-Zero Wind Chills Expected Tonight, Tuesday Morning


Connecticut was bracing for another night of freezing temperatures and sub-zero wind chills on Monday night.

Wind chill advisories are up around the state and single-digit temperatures with wind chills anywhere from -15 to -20 were expected overnight, according to NBC Connecticut Chief Meteorologist Brad Field.

After a day of warmer temperatures and rain, plummeting temps Monday night are causing concerns about icing conditions on roads and highways statewide.

"Any time you get a drop off like this you're concerned about the potential for a refreeze, especially when temperatures will drop into the single digits," said Kevin Nursick, a spokesperson for the Connecticut Department of Transportation.

DOT trucks were prepared to hit the highways Monday night to drop rock salt and liquid magnesium chloride to help keep ice from forming, according to Nursick.

Several schools and organizations canceled events Monday night in anticipation of slick conditions. See a list of cancellations here.

Dangerous wind chills are predicted for Tuesday morning as well. Single-digit temperatures and wind chills in the -15 to -20 range will make conditions difficult for kids waiting for buses early Tuesday morning.

The bitter weather is part of a polar vortex that dropped brutal cold into the Northern Plains and the Midwest over the weekend and into Monday. Parts of the country saw wind chills that reached 50 to 60 degrees below zero on Monday. Schools closed due to the extreme cold in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Indiana, Illinois and Iowa.

Photo Credit: AP

Fire, Building Collapse in Shelton


Five people were rushed to the hospital to be treated after a fire and a building collapse in Shelton.

Fire crews responded to the building at 446 Howe Avenue around 11:45 p.m. on Sunday.  Firefighters are still at the scene 11 hours later and roads are closed in the area.

Pictures from the scene showed flames shooting from the windows and roof of the multi-unit apartment building before the structure collapsed.

Twenty-eight people were evacuated from the building where the fire broke out and another across the street. The injuries the five people who were taken to the hospital sustained are not life-threatening, officials said.

Everyone has been accounted for, officials said.

"Firemen came in, started pounding on our doors to evacuate everybody and make sure nobody was in the building," said Theresa Cassone-Glick, who lives in the building across the street.

The building houses six businesses, including two restaurants, in addition to the apartments.

By 10 a.m. on Monday, firefighters were trying to keep a structure near the site of the fire from collapsing too.
"You had three floors of a building fall into another building, so the integrity of the structure is definitely compromised. How much, we don’t know," said Verdicchio. 

Liquid Lunch is one of businesses. It will be closed until further notice, but and the fire marshal told the owner he believes that part of the building can be saved.

"This is our baby. This is where it all started for us and that's what makes it how amazing this community is. They've supported us for almost 10 years," said Michele Bialek, who owns Liquid Lunch Restaurant.

Everything else is pieces as crews investigate what caused the fire. While the cause of the fire remains under investigation, the assistant fire chief said it appears to have started in the basement.

When the side of the building came down, a street sign hit a firetruck, according to Nick Verdicchio. assistant fire chief of Shelton.

"We saw the collapse was imminent, so we pulled everybody back to sacrifice the truck for life safety," he said.

There had been a water main break in the area before the fire and many of the hydrants were not working, so tanker trucks were brought in to help fight the fire, according to officials at the scene.

Firefighters also said a couple hydrants were frozen.

Displaced residents are being housed at the Echo Hose Firehouse and is asking for donations of gift cards, clothing and other non-perishable items.You can drop donations off at the firehouse.

The American Red Cross is also helping residents.


Firefighters from at least six nearby towns were called in to assist Shelton Fire Department.

Several roads are impacted:

Howe Avenue between Center and White streets remains closed.

The Derby/Shelton Bridge is also closed on the Shelton side. Motorists coming from Derby will be detoured onto Canal Street to Howe Avenue.

Motorists coming from Shelton will be detoured from Canal Street to the bridge.

All other roads are currently open. 


Photo Credit: Chris Goldspink

Boaters Save Plane Vics Off Calif.


Four miles from Catalina Island, Michael Anthony Naffziger was on a boat with his brother and his brother’s wife when they spotted a small two-seat plane above them with engine problems.

Naffziger heard no engine noise then saw the plane plunge into the ocean.

"I was just thinking, ‘We’re going to help these people. We’re going to help these people at any cost,’” he said. “Thank God we were there. It was divine intervention.”

Read: Restaurant Employee Fires On Would-Be Robbers

The boaters pulled the pilot and his passenger out of the water after they were seen clinging to the plane as it floated in the chilly waters.

The pilot, David Prizio, who has 40 years experience flying, only suffered a scratch on his face and a broken finger. His passenger was not hurt.

Read: Three Stabbed at House Party in Orange County

They were on their way to Avalon from Chino when the unthinkable happened.

“We’re just flying along, cruising towards Catalina," he said. "Things were peachy and the engine just stopped, kind of surged a little bit, then just stopped for good.”

Prizio had no other choice but to ditch the plane in the ocean.

“Obviously the situation was serious,” he said. “I wouldn't say I freaking out or panicking or anything.”

The tail hit the water, the wheels caught and the plane flipped. It went into the air before coming back down.

That’s when the boaters, in the right place at the right time, were able to help pull them out of the water and summon authorities.

“I’m sure the lord had a hand in this,” Prizio said.

Girl's Cause of Death Complicated


The three-week battle to keep a brain-dead Oakland girl on a ventilator could complicate efforts to determine Jahi McMath's precise cause of death, some experts say.

The Alameda County Coroner issued a death certificate for the 13-year-old girl Friday, 23 days after Jahi was declared brain dead, but said the document is incomplete because no cause of death has been determined pending an autopsy, which has yet to take place.

"It does make it more difficult," Alameda County Sheriff's Sgt. J.D. Nelson told NBC Bay Area when asked if delaying an autopsy could affect figuring out how someone died. "It can change a lot of things when the bodily functions continue. In fact, we may not be able to determine a cause of death."

Nelson, who serves as spokesman for the medical examiner's office, shares this sentiment with a prominent bioethicist, who says the delayed autopsy could also affect any future legal proceedings in the case.

"When you don't get an exam relatively quickly, it puts everything into dispute," said Arthur Caplan, head of the Division of Bioethics at New York University Langone Medical Center in New York City and a regular NBC News contributor. "The evidence into what caused the bleeding will be harder to determine, and the ability to show what happened - and the liability - will become way more difficult. The more time you delay, the more difficult it is to establish cause of death because you've lost control of some of the evidence."

Q&A: Jahi McMath Case Raises Questions About Brain Death

It remains to be seen whether any of this evidence will make its way into a lawsuit and affect the outcome of one if a suit is ever filed.

Jahi's family attorney, Chris Dolan, a well-known Bay Area malpractice attorney, has not sued Children's Hospital and told NBC Bay Area on Monday he "didn't plan to sue." But he stopped short of saying that he would not sue sometime down the road.

Jahi's uncle, Omari Sealey, added that his family "may sue" but isn't "concentrating on suing" right now, "just concentrating on saving Jahi."

MORE: Jahi McMath's Family "Thankful" for Transfer; Critics Abound

Late Sunday, Jahi was moved from Children's Hospital to an undisclosed "Catholic facility" that offered to take her after doctors at the Oakland hospital said there was nothing they could do for Jahi, who died on Dec. 12 following complications with a Dec. 9 surgery to cure her sleep apnea. She suffered unknown complications after a series of three simultaneous tissue and tonsil removal surgeries, which caused bleeding and a heart attack.

Because her heart is beating, her family insists that she is alive. Dolan, however, on Monday said Jahi was in "bad shape" after her stay at Children's Hospital and was being given potassium, antibiotics and other nutrients at her new facility.

P. Michael Murphy, past president of the International Association of Coroners and Medical Examiners Association and the current Coroner of Clark County in Las Vegas, acknowledged that there can be subtle to pronounced changes that occur to a body after brain death. He has no personal knowledge of Jahi's case, but has been following it closely in the media.

But he added that forensic pathologists are typically "very good at deciphering" how people died in various "degrees and conditions." Murphy also added that, in most cases, hospitals keep meticulous details of a patient's records, which often aid medical examiners on what led up to death.

"The quicker the exam, the better, certainly," Murphy said by phone on Monday. "But they are trained to report on what they find."

Robert "Rocky" Shaw, San Bernandino County Coroner and president of the California State Coroners Association, agreed with Murphy in that in this case, the hospital's medical records would be ample in determining a cause of death; a body would not have to be opened up.

Some of what has already happened in Jahi's body has been documented in federal court filings written by Children's Hospital doctor Heidi Flori, a pediatric critical care physician who has overseen some of Jahi's care. These filings would have been argued in court on Tuesday, as Children's Hospital did not wants hospital doctors to perform a tracheostomy or put a gastrointestinal tube into Jahi before moving her out of the hospital. That argument is now moot, because Jahi has left the hospital.

Still, Flori described Jahi's current condition as one of slow deterioration. (PDF)

"While allowing post-morten bodies to be supported for over three weeks after declaration of death appears to be unprecedented, it is the medical team's complete conviction that nothing can be done to stop the natural progression of Ms. McMath's post-mortem bodily deterioration which is already underway," Flori wrote.

Flori stated that Jahi has lost all brain function, from emotions and sight, to the ability to maintain heart rate, temperature and breathing. She stated that Jahi is not like Terri Schiavo or Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, who were or are in vegetative states, because Jahi did not simply sustain a brain injury.

Since her declared death, Jahi has not had a real bowel movement in weeks, Flori wrote, she can not regulate her body temperature, her blood pressure has dropped tremendously, and her bodily secretions are becoming "malodorous."

In fact, Flori wrote that any medical intervention to try to "help" Jahi may actually be detrimental.

"They simply will not bring her back to life nor enable others to do so," Flori wrote. "Indeed, such measures may be well counterproductive, perhaps even resulting in expedited cardiopulmonary cessation."

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area/Jahi McMath family

Tito Ortiz Charged with DUI


UFC Hall of Famer Tito Ortiz was arrested on charges of driving under the influence after crashing his luxury car in West Los Angeles early Monday.

Ortiz, of Huntington Beach, was driving on the northbound 405 Freeway around 3:50 a.m. when he lost control of his 2012 Porsche Panamera and struck a concrete center median, according to a an arrest report from the California Highway Patrol.

Kelly Thomas Trial Resumes After Holiday Break

Officers responded to the crash and found Ortiz, along with two passengers, on Sepulveda Boulevard south of Santa Monica Boulevard. The Porsche received moderate damage to its right side, but no injuries were reported in the wreck.

Authorities investigated the crash and arrested Ortiz on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol, a misdemeanor. Ortiz was taken to a police station for medical clearance and chemical testing.

Ortiz, whose nickname is the Huntington Beach Bad Boy, is a former UFC light heavyweight champion and collegiate wrestler. He was champion from 2000 to 2003, making five title defenses before losing his belt to Randy Couture.

Ortiz was inducted to the UFC Hall of Fame in July 2012.

In 2010, Ortiz was arrested on suspicion of domestic violence of then-girlfriend, ex-porn actress Jenna Jameson.

Teacher Tells 1st-Grader: No Jesus


A Southern California school district is under fire for preventing a first grader from handing out to his classmates candy canes with religious messages, a lawyer for the student said.

Caught on Camera: Man Runs Over Pet Chihuahua

After conferring with the principal at Merced Elementary School in West Covina on Dec. 13, a teacher told the student, 6-year-old Isaiah Martinez, “Jesus is not allowed in school."

“I was shocked,” he said. “I was like, ‘Wow, they really just said no.’”

He said the teacher then threw the messages in the trash before handing the candy back to him to pass out to his classmates.

Study: Dogs Align with Magnetic Field While Pooping, Urinating

He “then nervously handed the candy canes to his classmates in fear that he was in trouble for trying to bring a little Christmas cheer and ‘good tidings’ to class,” said his lawyer, Robert Tyler, an attorney for the Advocates for Faith & Freedom, which works to preserve religious liberty in the legal system.

Tyler sent a letter to the West Covina Unified School District demanding a written apology and the implementation of a new policy to prohibit school officials from “bullying and intimidating” Christian students and religiously affiliated students, he said.

School officials said they are reviewing the matter.

More: Mother Arrested After Baby Left Alone on Sidewalk

“The district’s overriding concern was and is to honor and respect the beliefs of all students in matters of religion,” Debra Kaplan, the superintendent of the West Covina Unified School District, wrote in a statement. “At the present time, we do not have any reason to believe that the teacher or any other district employee had any intention other than to maintain an appropriate degree of religious neutrality in the classroom and to communicate this to the child in an age-appropriate manner.”

Each gift consisted of a traditional candy cane with a message attached that recited the legend of the candy cane. The legend references a candy maker who created the candy cane to symbolize the life of Jesus Christ.

The student’s older sister told him about the legend of the candy cane and he asked if he could share it with his teacher and his classmates.

The student and his sister then purchased candy canes, printed the candy cane message and tied a copy to each candy cane.

Tyler said the advocacy group has seen a surge in phone calls from students and their parents across the country who he says are victims of “religiously motivated bullying,” not by students but by teachers and school officials.

A similar case in Texas in which a third grader was prevented from handing out a "candy cane ink pen" with a religious message has been winding its way through court for years.

“The pendulum has swung so far in the opposite direction that public schools are becoming a place of hostility toward Christian and other religiously-based worldviews,” Tyler said. ”It’s time to push the pendulum back in the right direction where kids can experience true tolerance without religiously motivated hostility from their teachers and school officials."

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Police Evacuate Farmington Condo Complex


Farmington Police evacuated a condo complex after they believe a  dangerous man barricaded himself inside.

Police along with the SWAT team responded to 70 Songbird Lane just before 8:30 p.m.for a domestic disturbance between husband and wife.

According to police, the woman left the home and when she returned the man would not let her back inside.

The male party inside the home had access to firearms in the residence and made statements that he was not coming out.

After a period of time, the EST Negotiators  were able to draw the man out unarmed and without further incident.


Metro North President Stepping Down, Sources Say


The president of the Metro-North Railroad is stepping down, sources tell the New York Times.

According to the publication, Howard Permut announced his plans at a meeting on Monday afternoon.

Permut has been a member of the Metro-North team since 1983. He became president in 2008.

In the last year, Metro North has encountered some troubling times. There was a train collision, a worker's death and the first passenger fatalities in the company's three decade history after a train derailment.

According to the New York Times, Permut said at the  meeting that the derailment was "something that I will always take with me."

Calif. Enacts Transgender Law


On Jan. 1, California became the first state in the country to enact a law protecting the rights of transgender students.

Students who identify as the opposite sex can now choose which restroom to use, which locker room to use and whether to play on boys’ or girls’ sports teams.

New Laws of 2014

The San Diego Unified School District says it has already been doing this on a case-by-case basis.

“We don’t anticipate a lot of change at San Diego Unified,” school board member Richard Barrera said. “We’ve been doing this work for a number of years. The point is we care about each student. We feel everyone is stronger when we have a chance to participate and fully engage.”

The district already has anti-bullying and anti-discrimination policies in place to accommodate a few transgender students, according to board president Kevin Beiser. Beiser says there is a process involving counselors, parents and staff to determine who is eligible for the accommodations.

A coalition of conservative groups is collecting signatures to put the issue on the November 2014 ballot. If the referendum to repeal the law qualifies, the law could be suspended.

One of those opponents is Finn Laursen, Executive Director of the Christian Educators Association International, a group that represents Christian teachers. He says the law goes beyond anti-bullying and sex equality policies, where he says it’s clear who the boy is and who the girl is.

This law, Laursen says, is based on self-determination of gender.

“It doesn’t say there is a process to go through to identify with sexual orientation you believe you have,” he said. “It’s wide open. I think there are enough challenges in our schools without warring the sexes.”

“I think it’s unfortunate there’s a lot of fear and hysteria whipped up around this policy because this is really about doing what’s right for kids,” Beiser said.

San Diego Unified is currently making small language revisions to its existing policies. The board will consider the changes at a school board meeting Jan. 14.

Browsing All 57608 Browse Latest View Live