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Photos on Social Security Cards?


Civil rights leader Andrew Young is calling on President Barack Obama to issue an executive order allowing a photo option on Social Security cards, ensuring free accessible photo IDs to prevent voter suppression in states adopting voter ID laws.

Adding photos to Social Security cards allows groups less likely to have photo IDs -- senior citizens, minorities, and poor and less educated people -- to still be able to vote, said Young, a former mayor of Atlanta and ambassador to the United Nations.

Young made his remarks Wednesday at the Civil Rights Summit in Austin, Texas, where Obama is set to speak Thursday.

He also wants an update to the Voting Rights Act, citing the blow the Supreme Court dealt it in last year's landmark decision in Shelby County v. Holder.

In that case, the court struck down the formula for determining which states and local governments must get federal approval to change their voting laws and practices, finding the requirement outdated. The decision means no jurisdiction will be subjected to such federal preclearance until Congress enacts a formula based on current data and needs.

Shelby County, Ala., had argued that the blatant racial intimidation and discrimination in voting procedures that existed when the law was written in 1965 and renewed in 1970, 1975 and 1982 no longer exist.

"Last year, the Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and one major repercussion is the increased likelihood of photo identification laws in states across the country," Young said. "I've said in the past that I'm not against photo identification, but only as long as the cards are free and easily accessible. Providing the ability to obtain a photo on a Social Security card will help to prevent voter suppression in states which have or are trying to adopt voter ID laws."

With 1,300 offices located across the country and already tasked with issuing free cards, the Social Security Administration is ideal for providing photo IDs for all, Young said.

"The rights of voters are currently under attack during a time when our nation is already suffering from staggeringly low turnout," he said. "President Johnson, who we honor here today, said he wanted 'to be the president who helped the poor to find their own way and who protected the right of every citizen to vote in every election.' We must honor that legacy today and demand voting be made more accessible."

Photo Credit: Getty Images

NASA Tests "Saucers" for Mars


The flying saucers of science fiction movies might be the shape of things to come for future Mars missions that are expected to involve larger payloads that today's landing vehicles are not equipped to handle.

The saucer-shaped landing systems in development, part of NASA's Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator project, will be sent into near-space in June from the U.S. Navy's Pacific Missile Range Facility in Hawaii. Scientists provided a mission overview Wednesday at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California.

Refresh this page for video from the event.

Current landing technologies rely primarily on parachute designs dating to the 1970s Viking Program. That design placed two landers on Mars in 1976 and the same basic technology was used about 35 years later when the Curiosity rover landed on Mars' surface.

After a parachute deployed high above Mars' surface, rocket thrusters were used to slow Curiosity's landing vehicle. The rover was then dropped by cables from the spacecraft and gently placed on the landing site before the tethers were disconnected and the spacecraft soared clear of the site.

NASA's landing vehicles in development would use the saucer shape to maximize atmospheric drag -- slowing and stabilizing the spacecraft after it enters Mars' atmosphere for final approach, a process described as "six minutes of terror." Increasing drag would save rocket engines and fuel required for complex landing maneuvers.

Friction already slows a spacecraft considerably after it enters Mars' atmosphere during the first four minutes of entry. But the spacecraft is still traveling at about 1,000 mph at that point and decelerates to about 200 mph after parachute deployment, which occurs at about 300 feet from the surface, according to NASA.

Thruster rockets, giant airbag cushions and tethers can all be used for the remainder of the descent, but the larger payloads possible in future Mars missions require something more advanced. The decelerators being developed by NASA -- pufferfish-like inflatable devices and an improved parachute -- can almost double payload mass, according to researchers.

The concept was ground-tested using a rocket sled in June 2012. The balloon-like inflatable devices extend around the vehicle to increase drag. A large parachute would then deploy to scrub off more speed.

The parachute is so large it did not fit in a wind tunnel, so researchers used the rocket-powered sled test at the U.S. Naval Air Weapons Station at China Lake.

The upcoming test flights will give scientists a better idea of how the technology works when the saucer is sent high above Earth. The vehicles could be used in Mars missions as early as 2018, according to NASA.


Photo Credit: NASA

Volunteer Cop Saves Child Under Bus


An unattended school bus could have plowed into a group of school children Monday morning had it not been for Matthew Knight's quick thinking.

Prince George's County Police said the driver of the bus left it running while elementary and middle school-aged children stood in front of High Point High School in Beltsville around 7:30 a.m.

"Preliminarily, we believe the bus driver left the students unattended on the bus, and then for reasons which remain unclear, the bus started drifting and drifted across Powder Mill Road," police spokeswoman Officer Nicole Hubbard said.

Knight, a reserve Baltimore County officer, was driving in the area when he saw the bus rolling. He said he immediately jumped out of his car and ran as fast as he could to reach the kids.

"I saw the bus looking like it was ready to turn onto Powder Mill Road, when I realized there was no one in the driver's seat," Knight explained. "I got there just as the little boy turned to see the bus strike him. I was able to free him from under the bus."

The 7-year-old boy who was struck by the bus was released from the hospital Monday evening. The driver of the school bus, 61-year-old Arturo Harris, was arrested and faces multiple charges.


New Bill Aims to Curb Teen E-Cigarette Use


The debate over e-cigarettes is heating up once again. The state Judiciary Committee took new steps Wednesday to keep them out of kids' hands.

“They don't go together,” said Craig Lomma of West Hartford. “It's emulating a bad behavior.”

Lomma and his wife Deb are former smokers. Both say electronic cigarettes are a slippery slope.

“It's something that is habitual, and it can turn into the cigarettes,” said Deb Lomma.

Governor Malloy agrees. This new bill tackles his recommendations for youth smoking prevention.

SB-24 makes it illegal for anyone under age 18 to buy or publicly possess an e-cigarette. Of the committee members present 35 voted “yea,” eight were absent and did not vote, and one, Republican Representative John Shaban, voted against the bill.

“E-nicotine devices don't contain tobacco, and I am hesitant to begin categorizing them as though they are synonymous with cigarettes," Shaban said in a statement. "I want to ensure there is a reasonable level of oversight for these devices that is consistent with their contents."

E-cigarettes are battery-powered nicotine inhalers, but the jury is still out on the health risks. Some say they're safe, while analysts in one study say they've found traces of dangerous chemicals.

Committee Chair Sen. Eric Coleman says his goal is making certain distributors do everything they can to prevent the sale to minors.

“The importance has to do with the inconclusiveness of the potential ill effects that e-cigarettes on health, particularly of youngsters,” Coleman said.

“I did smoke for a long time. But one day I was walking up the stairs and felt a tightness in my chest, and said today I'm quitting,” said Deb Lomma.

That was more than 25 years ago. And now she and her husband hope the bill, which could face more scrutiny before reaching the full House or Senate floors, gets passed.

“It's not what children should be doing. They should be out there playing soccer,” Deb Lomma said.

New Home for Hartford Magnet School


After spending years in an old supermarket warehouse, a Hartford magnet school has a new home.

Students and faculty at Pathways Academy of Technology and design held a ribbon cutting this morning to mark the move to the new school building.

But this Hartford public school is miles away from the capital city. It sits on Goodwin College's campus in East Hartford on an old Pratt & Whitney airplane engine testing field. Now the new $38 million building is home to almost 400 students.

Principal David Goldblum gave a tour of the 81,000-square-foot magnet school, showing off resources from a music recording studio to a virtualy reality simulator to a television studio. At four stories tall, the building is visible from Route 2.

"Magnet schools were developed to reduce racial, ethnic and economic isolation," said Glenn Peterson during the ribbon cutting ceremony.

Peterson is the director of Sheff programs for the state's Department of Education.

"And if you look around at the student body today, you see that kids are here from Hartford and from the suburbs," Peterson added.

The students come from 34 cities and towns in the greater Hartford area. Nearly half of the students are eligible for free lunch. And boys make up more than half the school's population.

And now all these students have new technology at their fingertips. Inside the art and graphic design studio, students used Adobe Photoshop and InDesign to create children’s books.

Last winter, some of these same students designed album cover art for a holiday album recorded in-house. They plan to continue to implement these new resources to further collaborative project efforts between multiple classes.

Peering outside one classroom you see Goodwin College, and in the distance the Hartford Skyline.

"You get to finally look out the windows," said junior Amanda Rodriguez. "I’m able to take a break when I’m working on a big project."

Rodriguez remembers how only two classrooms in the old building had windows.

Another new benefit of the school's location is being right on a college campus.

"Being able to have that free class period where I’m going to be able to go to Goodwin College and take those classes is going to be phenomenal," said Rodriguez.

It's a new school that proves there are no boundaries for education.

Alleged Gang Member Arrested on Heroin Charges


A 20-year-old Norwalk man has been arrested on drug charges after selling heroin to undercover officers, police said.

Omar Reid, of Fort Point Street in Norwalk, accused of selling “large amounts of heroin” in Norwalk and along the Route 1 corridor in Darien.

Police said Reid sold heroin to undercover officers in multiple places in Norwalk and was arrested April 9 while trying to make another sale in the parking lot at 201 Liberty Square. He’s a self-proclaimed member of the “Rollin 30” Harlem Crip gang, according to police.

Reid was reportedly found in possession of a “bundle,” or 10 folds of packaged heroin. Investigators searched Reid’s home and found two more bundles under his pillow, police said.

Reid is charged with five counts of sale and possession of narcotics to an undercover officer and sale and possession within 1500 feet of a daycare.

His bond was set at $450,000. Reid is due in court April 17.

Photo Credit: Norwalk Police Department

Rockville Man Accused of Setting Porch Fire


A 23-year-old Rockville man is accused of setting a porch fire at a Vernon home the night of April 8.

Joshua Lewis, of Hammond Street, has been arrested in connection with the blaze, which caused minor damage to a home at 52 Hammond Street in Vernon. Authorities arrived to find a comforter burning on the porch and said people were inside the home at the time.

The fire was deemed suspicious and Lewis was identified as a suspect.

He was charged with first-degree arson, third-degree criminal mischief and first-degree reckless endangerment.

Lewis was held on a $100,000 bond and was due in court today.

Authorities are continuing to investigate. Anyone with information is urged to contact Vernon police at 860-872-9126.

Saddest Little Kentucky Fan in Connecticut


While most of Connecticut is thrilled by UConn winning two national titles this week, a little guy from Mystic is not so happy.

Rachel Calton is originally from Kentucky, but lives in Mystic now, and shared this video with us.

When her 4-year-old woke up on Tuesday morning to see who won the men’s UConn vs. Kentucky game, this is what happened.

Teen Steals $47K in Items During Burglary Spree: Police


Police have arrested the Waterbury teen accused of breaking into for Naugatuck homes and stealing more than $47,000 worth of items between October and February.

James Andino, 19, of Temple Street in Waterbury, is charged with burglarizing homes on Andrew Avenue, Longview Terrace, Graham Ridge Road and Walnut Street. The incidents occurred Oct. 26, Nov. 22, Dec. 11 and Feb. 15, respectively.

Police said Andino stole an Xbox, Xbox games, jewelry, boots, sneaker and two suitcases from the home on Andrew Avenue; jewelry, a laptop, a savings bond an iPod totaling $25,859 from the home on Longview Terrace; jewelry, an iPod an iMac totaling $10,430 from the home on Graham Ridge Road and cash, a 50-inch TV, jewelry and clothing valued at $11,156 from the house on Walnut Street.

The stolen items are valued at more than $47,445 altogether.

Police said the home on Andrew Avenue belongs to one of Andino's family members.

He faces a string of charges, including burglary, larceny, criminal mischief, criminal trespass and making a false statement.


Andino’s bond was set at a total of $75,000 and he was due in court April 9.

Photo Credit: Naugatuck Police Department

Naugatuck Man Accused of Burglarizing Glastonbury Home


Police have arrested a Naugatuck man accused of breaking into and trying to burglarize a home in Glastonbury.

William Ross, 29, of Andrews Avenue in Naugatuck, reportedly broke into a home on Redwood Lane Tuesday afternoon. Glastonbury police say the homeowner returned to see a man inside her house from the driveway.

According to police, Ross left in a black Dodge car. The homeowner reported the car’s registration, which was later used to identify Ross.

Ross is currently on probation for six other burglaries, and now faces third-degree burglary and attempted larceny charges. He was unable to post bond, and appeared in Manchester Superior Court on Wednesday.

Photo Credit: nbc10.com

1 Dead After Shooting, Crash on Prospect Avenue in West Hartford


Police are investigating a fatal shooting and car accident on Prospect Avenue near the Hartford/West Hartford line while police investigate a fatal shooting and car accident.

Authorities responded to a crash near the intersection of Prospect Avenue and Kane Street around 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, according to West Hartford police.

The car went through a fence on the Prospect Avenue side of the property at 27 Park Road, West Hartford police said.

Police sources said a man inside the car was found shot in the head and that a woman pulled the trigger.

According to West Hartford police, a man involved in the crash was taken to the hospital and pronounced dead. It's unclear if the woman shot the man in the car and caused it to crash.

The incident came about following a domestic dispute, police sources said.

Prospect Avenue has been shut down during the police investigation.

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Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Centerline Rumble Strips Coming to Connecticut Roads


The Connecticut Department of Transportation is beginning a new pilot program that will bring rumble strips to the centerlines of four rural roads.

The program would bring about 11 miles of rumble strips to sections of Route 202 in Litchfield, Route 6 in Brooklyn and Hampton, Route 34 in Derby, and Route 12 in Groton and Ledyard.

“We are looking to keep drivers from crossing over the centerline, and having a serious head-on and side-swipe opposite collisions that can occur in these rural areas,” said Colin Baummer, a transportation engineer in the Division of Traffic and Engineering.

According to Baummer, these strips are similar to the ones used on the shoulders of many highways throughout the state, but are designed to be shallower, narrower and more spaced out in the center of the road.

Thirty states in the U.S., including all New England states and New York, have already installed centerline rumble strips on many of their rural roads.

Baummer said the DOT chose these four locations based on a number of criteria, including speed limit, amount of traffic, and the pavement’s condition over the last few years.

Construction is said to begin between mid-April and the end of the month, and should finish by the beginning of May.

There are no plans to close the roads entirely. Traffic will instead be maintained on an alternating one-way direction.

Photo Credit: Connecticut Department of Transportation

Rogue Wave Hits Beach, 1 Missing


Rescuers are searching for a young swimmer after a 17-year-old surfer helped pull two others from the water at San Francisco's Ocean Beach.

Firefighters on the scene said two cousins were in the water on Wednesday afternoon when a rogue wave hit the boys and pulled them into the ocean. The father of one of the boys rushed in to try and save them, even though he cannot swim.

One of the cousins, a 14-year-old named Marco, is still in the water, a fire official said.

Surfer Tony Barbero said he was in the water when he noticed some people needed help.

“I took the kid onto my board, and I looked back out and asked the kid if his dad could swim and he said no,” Barbero said.

The boy Barbero helped pull from the sea was actually the man's nephew. Barbero said he didn't see the man's son.

The distressed swimmers were first reported at 3:53 p.m. in the water off of Lincoln Way.

The father was transported to the hospital after being resuscitated by first responders. His nephew is said to be in good condition.

A U.S. Coast Guard boat and helicopter responded to the scene to assist fire crews with the water rescue, the fire officialsaid.

Ocean Beach is known for being one of the most dangerous shorelines in the country. Battalion Chief Marty Ross said “this happens too much.”

“People, they come out here, they take this for granted,” Ross said. “This is very dangerous out here. It’s no joke.”


Bay City News contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: Cheryl Hurd

UConn Suspends Sorority Amid Hazing Allegations


UConn has suspended another sorority while it investigates allegations the sorority members hazed male fraternity students on the Storrs campus.

The university sent a letter to the president of Delta Zeta on Friday, informing her that the sorority had been placed under interim suspension effective immediately.

The letter written by Kimberly Hill, associate director of community standards at UConn, detailed an incident that took place at Mansfield Apartments on March 7.

"The incident is described as the following: members of Delta Zeta allegedly forcing men involved with a fraternity to consume alcohol, to eat dog treats, to paint their bodies, to wear women's thong underwear and to take shots of alcohol off each other's bodies, among other things," the letter stated.

The suspension includes the loss of privileges to host or participate in any chapter activities.

"This action is preliminary in nature and is utilized when information indicates that the presence of your organization on campus could pose a threat to the health and safety of the campus community," the letter stated.

The suspension will remain in effect until the matter is investigated and resolved.

Sorority members were warned that any retaliation against a person for filing a complaint or providing information during the investigation is a violation of "The Student Code" of the university.

The action comes a month after a sorority and a fraternity at UConn were suspended for hazing allegations.

A Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority member came forward last month to say she and others were forced to drink by her sorority members and members of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity.

The student ended up in the hospital after blacking out.

Route 4 Reopens in Torrington


Route 4 was closed by East Main Street in Torrington after a one-car rollover, but the road has reopened.

At least one injury is reported.

More information will be posted as it is available.

Photo Credit: NBC10.com

Police Investigating Homicide in Bridgeport


Detectives from the Bridgeport Police Department are investigating the homicide of a 36-year-old man on Wednesday night.

Someone who was passing by found the victim lying on Davis Avenue, suffering from an apparent gunshot wound, police said.

The victim was taken to Saint Vincent's Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.

Police have tentatively identified him as a 36-year-old New York man because of items he had, but they are waiting on confirmation.

On Wednesday, detectives canvassed the area to look for witnesses, but police said there were no reports of gunfire in the area so it is possible that the victim was shot at another location.


Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Computer Repairman Finds Child Porn


A 61-year-old man was arrested after he brought his laptop to a Best Buy and a technician found "very disturbing" sexually explicit photographs of young girls on the computer, authorities said.

Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said Wednesday that the Queens man brought the computer to the Best Buy in Long Island City on March 26, and a technician began working on it April 1.

When the tech booted up the computer, he saw a slideshow of young girls in sexual poses and engaging in sex acts with adult men, the DA said.

Brown said detectives went to the man's home and he admitted he had been exchanging child pornography for about five years.

He is charged with 15 counts of possession of a sexual performance by a child.


Photo Credit: Getty Images

Al Qaeda Ad of SFO Tram: "Assemble Your Bomb"


A stock photo of San Francisco International Airport featured in an international publication – reportedly run by al Qaeda - is sounding off alarms on Capitol Hill, especially as the year anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombings nears.

At a Homeland Security hearing on Wednesday, Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Dublin, said he was first alerted by a top law enforcement official in the Bay area to the picture of what appears to be the AirTrain at SFO. The caption was what was most alarming, reading in part, “Simply stand up, pack your tools of destruction. Assemble your bomb. Ready for detonation.”

This ad in Inspire Magazine shows an AirTrain, which serves BART and several SFO spots..

The FBI stressed there is no added public safety threat specific to the Bay Area, and that this photo appears to be randomly selected. It is unclear how authorities know that this photo is of the SFO AirTran, but Swalwell's office as well as a TSA agent said they were told it is by "local law enforcement."

Still, Swalwell said the ad deserves attention. It was published in the English-language spring edition of Inspire, which is reportedly an al Queda publication.

“The photo is certainly concerning. It’s calling on al Qaeda members to carry out a terrorist attack,” said Swalwell from Washington D.C. “And a year after the Boston Marathon bombings we should be mindful that rogue individuals inspired by al Qaeda can use household items to carry out these devastating attacks.”

Officials with the FBI, Transportation Safety Administration, and SFO all believe the picture used in the al Qaeda ad was a stock photo, meaning it wasn’t one taken by someone linked to the organization.

Off-camera, one TSA official told NBC Bay Area that the agency believed the ad to be propaganda that just happened to use that backdrop.

Steve Weber, who works at UC Berkeley’s School of Information, specializes in the international and national security. By phone he told NBC Bay Area that it is still something worth taking seriously because propaganda and real recruiting are all the same thing in this environment.

“This is an extremist group for which all those things are the same,” said Weber.

He added that the U.S. government would be able to determine fairly quickly if it was a stock photo or reconnaissance by terrorist, but said if it was the latter, it wouldn’t have been so easily found by Western officials.

Content in the rest of the publication is disturbing. Swalwell said he first saw it, himself, on Wednesday. At a Homeland Security Committee hearing on Capitol Hill prompted by the April 15 anniversary of the bombings at the Boston Marathon, Swalwell brought up concerns about the ad and the publication, which is titled “Inspire.”

“What I’m doing on the Homeland Security Committee is trying to encourage funding for anti-terrorism programs that will better train and equip local law enforcement officials,” Swalwell explained.

It’s training he said was important, pointing to the sniper shooting of the PG&E Metcalf substation almost a year ago as an example of how Bay Area sites are still vulnerable.

It was just after 1 a.m. on April 16, 2013 when snipers took out 17 giant transformers and then disappeared. It was an act former head of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission had deemed the most significant domestic terrorist attack involving the grid in U.S. history. The FBI has never determined it to be a terrorist attack, but it remains an open investigation.

“[It] still has not been solved and we have no further leads to really truly understand what occurred there,” added Swalwell.

He is hoping the fast-approaching anniversaries of the PG&E substation shooting and Boston Marathon bombings, coupled with the al Qaeda ad using SFO as a backdrop will remind people to always keep their eyes and ears open.

“A  terrorist attack is more likely to be stopped because an everyday citizen sees something and then says something.”


Photo Credit: Screen grab from Inspire Magazine

Organic Black Peppercorn Recalled


The Food and Drug Administration announced that Frontier Natural Products Co-op has voluntarily recalled several of its products manufactured with organic black peppercorns due to possible salmonella contamination. 

The products were sold under its Frontier and Simply Organic brands, Whole Foods Market 365 Everyday Value, Nature’s Place and a few others.

So far, no illnesses have been reported related to these products.

Frontier Natural Products Co-op stated that the potential contamination was found after a recent salmonella test returned positive results.

Initially, the product was steam pasteurized at the source and tested negative for salmonella, the company stated.

Salmonella, if consumed, can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Even healthy individuals infected with salmonella often experience fever, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain. 

The recalled products were sold in all 50 states and in parts of Canada to distributors, retailers and consumers.

Check the UPC code on the product bottle to see if it is on the list of recalled products below:



Contact Frontier Natural Products Co-op about a product replacement or refund at 1-800-669-3275.

View the full product recall list here

Photo Credit: FDA.gov

New Haven to Keep 6 Schools Open During April Break


Students at New Haven public schools are on vacation next week for April break, but six schools will remain open so that young people have somewhere to go to be safe, according to a statement from New Haven Public School.

This is part of the city’s broader plan to keep youth positively engaged and safe in the wake of recent gun violence that killed two New Haven teens, Taijhon Washington, 17, and Torrence Gamble, 16.

Washington was killed in a shooting near Lincoln Bassett Elementary School in New Haven last month.

Earlier this month, Gamble, a student of Riverside Academy, was shot in the head on Daggett Street in New Haven.

After the shootings, Mayor Toni Harp said she planned to have teachers, coaches and church leaders go door to door and talk to families to gain a better understanding of how to help New Haven teens.

Harp, Supt. Garth Harries, as well as city leaders, officials from the Parks and Recreation Department and others will hold a news conference at 2:30 p.m. at Wexler-Grant School, which is located at 55 Foote Street, New Haven and release more details on the plan.

They said programs offered at the schools during vacation week will range from Parks and Recreation Department-sponsored sports and activities to workshops facilitated by local community organizations committed job training, youth empowerment and nonviolence.

In addition to giving students a safe place to be, the schools will also be a place where youths can eat a hot meal and engage in positive activities.

No information has yet been released on which schools will remain open.


Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area
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