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Two More Arrests in Bristol School Bomb Threats


Police have arrested two more students, age 10, in connection to the recent string of school bomb threats in Bristol, according to Bristol Mayor Ken Cockayne.

One of the youths is suspected to be responsible for a bomb threat was found scrawled on a bathroom wall at Edgewood School Thursday. The individual is an Edgewood student. That marked the seventh bomb scare in the city in the past 10 days, hours before an eighth at Greene-Hills School.

The other suspect was arrested in connection to a Wednesday evening bomb threat found at Stafford Elementary School. The child is a student at the school.

The school bomb threats in Bristol, Connecticut are taxing emergency resources and officials are holding a public forum on Thursday night to address the issue.

Police announced a public forum to address the problem after responding to the Edgewood bomb threat on Thursday morning.  Just two hours later there was an eighth bomb threat.

Just before 3 p.m., police were called to Greene-Hills School. It was the second threat Thursday.

"I was working and I got here as soon as I could. This is ridiculous. What is this, the eighth school?" Bristol parent Robin Lauzon said. "My kids are done with school until they can prove they're safe."

Parent Jackie Chamberlain was also alarmed.

"It's scary, it's scary. Something's gonna happen. We don't know. We don't know," Chamberlain said. "They told the kids it was a drill."

Though Bristol mother Yolanda Kolb said that decision was "probably better for the students, so that way they don't get all nervous," she said that the situation made her nervous.

"It's a little nervewracking when you come to get your kid from school and all the roads are blocked off and you're told you can't get your kid," she said.

During the first six incidents, students were sent home early, but Bristol Supt. Ellen Solek said on Wednesday night that the policy would change. 

As police checked Edgewood, students waited out in the rain at the nearby Giamatti Little League Complex before being allowed back in.

"The school was evacuated initially. We searched the school – Bristol Police – nothing suspicious was located, and the children were brought back in," Bristol Police Lt. Donn Watson said.

"It just started off as a normal day," Dontay Arnold, a second grade student, said.

When asked if he felt any differently about it after he found out it was a bomb threat, Arnold said, "My stomach hurt. That's all I can say."

Bristol mother Melissa Dunlap shared her frustration and concern.

"We don't know how the kids are. The kids are probably scared and crying and everything, you know," Dunlap said. "We don't know, and it's not right."

The threats started on May 27 at Bristol Central High School. According to the principal, a student found a message on a desk that said a bomb would go off that morning. 

Two days later, there was a bomb threat at Bristol Eastern High School. A female student received a text from a number she did not recognize and reported it, according to police.

On June 3, police responded to Northeast Middle School after a student found a note that said a bomb would go off.

On Wednesday, police responded to three bomb threats, deploying officers to Chippens Hill Middle School, St. Paul Catholic High School and Stafford Elementary School.

During a news conference on Wednesday evening, police said they are looking at charges that involve terrorism.

The costs of emergency response to the bogus bomb threats is adding up.

"This is costing us a minimum of $40,000 per call, between fire, police ambulance," Mayor Cockayne said. "and it's taking away from other emergencies. We have a fire truck sitting here, that could be responding to another call somewhere."

A public forum is planned for 6 p.m. on Thursday in the auditorium of Bristol Eastern High School. Mayor Cockayne, Supt. Solek and Chief of Police Thomas Grimaldi will speak during a public forum.

"This is just copycat kids, that’s all it is," Cockayne said. "They’re seeing that they get a day off from school by putting something out there.

It is open to the public and is being held to share the most up-to-date information, as well as plans for future incidents.

"Once the students see it's not a game anymore, we're wasting a lot of resources," Cockayne said. "We're going to go after the parents for the cost of this and hopefully it will stop."

One person has been charged in connection with the threats.

A 13-year-old student suspected in the Chippens Hill Middle School threat has been charged with first-degree false reporting and first-degree threatening, both felonies, as well as second-degree breach of peach and second-degree reckless endangerment.

Police said they are close to making another arrest.

The city of Bristol is offering a reward of $1,000 per arrest and conviction of any individual involved in the sequence of bomb threats at city schools.

"From my mayor's office, I am saying prosecute fully," Cockayne said. "We will also seek restitution."

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Wrong-Way Driver Sideswipes Car in North Haven


A wrong-way driver sideswiped a car on the Wilbur Cross Parkway (Route 15) in North Haven, causing a crash late Thursday morning, police said.

Michael S. Cohen, of Hartford, 50, was traveling the wrong way on Route 15 North when  hit the side of a vehicle Christopher Adam DeChamps, 34, of Ansonia, was driving between Exits 63 and 64, police said. Cohen's car struck a metal rail at the center divider as a result, police said.

Cohen continued driving and turned around to take Exit 64 into Wallingford, where police stopped him, according to the accident report. Police took him into custody on multiple motor vehicle charges and brought him to State Police Troop I in Bethany. Plunskes Garage, of Wallingford, towed the Acura he was in.

Police said there were no injuries. The Chevrolet Impala that DeChamps was driving was damaged on the left side but in good enough condition to be driven, according to police. The car was registered to Valley Livery and Limo in Ansonia.

Police did not release Cohen's charges but said that he was released on a $1,500 non-surety bond. He is scheduled to appear in Meriden Superior Court on June 13.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

DCF Employees Receive Threatening Texts: Police


Bridgeport police are investigating threatening texts sent to state Department of Children and Families employees on Thursday, police confirmed. 

State and Bridgeport police responded to the offices on Fairfield Avenue around 4 p.m., William Kaempffer, Bridgeport's public information officer, confirmed.

Bridgeport police said that a woman sent the texts and law enforcement is searching for her.

There were no injuries reported, police said.

Mohegan Tribe Signs Deal to Bring Smashburger to Connecticut


The Mohegan Tribe of Indians of Connecticut has entered into a franchise agreement with Denver-based Smashburger to open up 16 restaurants in Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

The franchise has burgers, salads, fries and sandwiches on the menu, as well as "hand-spun" milkshakes. 

The deal is the third business move the tribe has announced in the past few months. The tribe, which has been exploring "diversification opportunities" for years, also has entered into an agreement with Arooga's Franchising, LP to run 15 Arooga's Grille House and Sports Bar restaurants in New England, according to a news release from the tribe. 

Northeast Wood Products, LLC, the tribe's subsidiary business, also recently acquired a wood pellet production operation in Peebles, Ohio and plans to purchase another in Ligonier, Indiana.

"After almost two years of careful diligence on diversification opportunities for the Tribe, we have been able to see the results of our efforts with the addition of the Smashburger franchise to our group of new companies,"  Kevin Brown "Red Eagle," chairman of the Mohegan Tribal Council, said. "We chose this brand because of its superior product offering and its reputation as one of the fastest growing and most successful franchises in the United States."

A Smashburger spokesperson said in a statement that the franchise is enthusiastic expanding its footprint to the Northeast.

“This opportunity was one that is a perfect fit for our brand," Matt Stanton, vice president of development and strategy for Smashburger, said. "With the experience of the Tribe and our desire to find experienced multi-unit operators to grow with, we know this partnership will be one that aligns with our growth plans for Smashburger.”

Under the agreement, Smashburger will open up locations in New London, Tolland, Windham, Litchfield and Middlesex Counties in Connecticut, as well as Rhode Island and Berkshire, Franklin, Hampshire, Hampden and Worcester counties in Massachusetts.

More information about Smashburger is available on the company website.

Judge Unleashes on "Pottymouth"


A fed-up Broward judge went off on a defendant in bond court Thursday, after the man told prosecutors not to "bring that s--t up" from his long list of prior cocaine charges.

"You have a pottymouth in this courtroom. You should be ashamed of yourself — especially with your criminal record, you should be ashamed of yourself," Broward Circuit Judge John Hurley said.

"You've got the gall to use profanity like you're disgusted that we're reading off your criminal record. Well, you've got some chutzpah, you've got some real chutzpah!" Hurley finished, capping a tirade against 46-year-old Kevin Banning, who appeared before him on cocaine and drug paraphernalia possession charges.

The state prosecutor had first read several prior charges from Banning's record, dating back to the 1990s, among them 13 counts of cocaine possession as well as marijuana possession, lewd and lascivious molestation on a victim under 12 years of age and DUI. Prosecutors also said Banning currently has another open cocaine case.

"Don't bring that s--t up. That was a long time ago," Banning said, interrupting as the prosecutor read the charges.

Judge Hurley responded by saying, "Oh, I'm sorry, are we offending you, sir?"

He went on to say Banning seemed like a hardened criminal who's lived a life of crime.

"Reading off someone's criminal record when they're in criminal court again — you know, if it hurts his feelings, I'm sorry, sir," Hurley said. "You keep breaking the law, so I'm sorry if we offend you by reading your criminal record."

Once the prosecutor finished reading the charges, Banning's defense attorney explained that his client's molestation charge had been reduced to child abuse.

"It's not you, Mr. Connor," Hurley responded. "The man standing next to you is rude, he's profane, and he lacks respect for the court. Now I don't care if he has respect for me, I'm just a man in a robe, but he should have more respect for a court room instead of using that profane language."

Banning is being held on $7,600 bond.

Photo Credit: NBC 6 South Florida

Teacher Taped Kids' Mouths: Parents


A substitute teacher in New Jersey won't be allowed to fill in again at an elementary school after she allegedly taped shut the mouths of several students last week, officials say. 

The teacher was working at the Winfield Scott Elementary School in Elizabeth and placed decorative tape over the mouths of five students during a "quiet game" after lunch, according to parents and officials. 

One of the students, Angelique Correa Henderson, said she felt "pressured and scared" as the teacher taped her mouth "because we were jabbering too much." 

"My heart kept on beating fast," she said.

Angelique's father, Munford Henderson, is outraged. 

"I don't understand what she was thinking," he said. "We're talking about kids. You're sworn to protect and teach, not to hurt them and put them in fear." 

Other parents at the school were equally concerned. 

"You don't do that to anybody, especially kids," said Marie Yacinthe. "You don't do that." 

As police and state officials investigate, Angelique's father wants to make sure the teacher is permanently barred from the classroom.

"She does not need to be teaching and being around kids if she can't control her emotions and the way she presents herself around kids," he said.

The teacher has been taken off the list of substitutes for consideration at the school, officials said. She had no previous record of issues or difficulties.

Police Identify Stamford Homicide Victim


A 46-year-old Stamford man was shot to death at Pacific and Woodland streets on Thursday night and Stamford Police are asking to witnesses to come forward as they search for the shooter.

Police identified the victim as William “Buttons” James. He was shot in the head and died at Stamford Hospital, according to police. 

Witnesses said a male walked up behind James, fired a single round and ran east on Ludlow Street.

The intersection was busy at the time of the fatal shooting and witnesses are asked to call Stamford Police Detective Bureau at 203-977-4417.

This was the city's first homicide of the year. The medical examiner will be conducting an autopsy.


Photo Credit: News12

NY House's Key WWII Spying Role


Since the end of World War II many stories have surfaced about the efforts of the United States and Great Britain to deceive the Germans and Japanese about Allied troop movements, invasion plans and atomic research.

But only recently has the world come to know the role that a nondescript, wood-frame house overlooking the Long Island Sound played in that spycraft.

Known as the Benson House, the Wading River home is now used by the Episcopal Diocese of Long Island for meetings and retreats, but from 1942 to 1945 the house was the site of a highly secret FBI counterintelligence operation.

The story of Benson House was discovered by retired FBI agent Raymond Batvinis, who now teaches history at George Washington University, while doing research for a book on wartime counter-intelligence.

Just weeks after the Dec. 7 attack on Pearl Harbor by the Japanese, the FBI began using Benson House as a top-secret radio site transmitting and receiving encoded messages with German intelligence agents in Hamburg, Germany. The Germans believed they were communicating with their espionage agents operating in New York. FBI radio operators transmitted a blend of accurate and false information to the Germans from January 1942 to the end of the war in Europe in May 1945.

As cover for the operation, the FBI moved one of its agents, Donworth Johnson, and his family, into the house. Mrs. Johnson cooked meals for her husband and the other agents who worked on the second and third floors. The other agents working at the house traveled to and from the house at night.

A cover story was developed that Johnson suffered from tuberculosis and was, therefore, deferred from military service. The house was outfitted by FBI technicians with several large shortwave radios and supporting equipment. Antennae were hidden in nearby trees and intruders were discouraged by Clifford, the agent’s large German shepherd, Batvinis says.

The radio equipment drew enormous amounts of electricity and, as Batvinis tells it, not wanting to attract undue attention from the local utility companies, agents powered their equipment using the engine from a Buick which they bolted to the basement floor. The car’s muffler was also used to dampen the sound of the engine.

According to Batvinis, the FBI operation at Benson House played a role in President Roosevelt’s decision in the spring of 1942 to pursue development of the atomic bomb when information received at Benson House indicated that Germany was very interested in developing high explosives from atoms.

In the summer of 1943, FBI transmissions from Benson House gave the Germans bogus information designed to freeze German forces in northwest Europe to prevent their redeployment to strengthen the Italian and Eastern Fronts. In 1944 and 1945, radio transmissions from Benson House fed the Germans a steady stream of truthful and false information to confuse the German military about the size and disposition of Allied forces in Great Britain, along with the time and place of the D-Day invasion.

In addition to misinformation about Allied forces activity in Europe, the radio operators at Benson House also sent to the Germans false information about American military plans and advances in the Pacific.

To commemorate the role Benson House played during World War II the Society of Former Special Agents of the FBI and the Episcopal Diocese of Long Island will dedicate a plaque fixed to the outside of the house at a ceremony this Saturday, June 7, the day after the 70th anniversary of the Allied invasion of Normandy.

Architects Discuss Plans for New Sandy Hook School


The Newtown community on Thursday night got a sneak peek at the new Sandy Hook Elementary and what it will look like when it opens in 2016.

Architects unveiled plans for the school, which is being rebuilt after the December 2012 massacre that left 20 children and six adults dead.

Parents shared security concerns during a community forum at Newtown High School on Thursday night and also raised questions about things including energy efficiency.

Architects and town officials addressed those concerns and reassured residents that the new building will be as safe and as welcoming a school as possible.

Plans show a redesign of Dickinson Drive, where the school will be located. A view of the town is visible from the school's main entrance, as well as a depiction of the geographic landscape of  "Sandy Hook" and an explanation of how the Housatonic River carved the hook.

"There's still a lot of sentimental issues here and hopefully the design of the building will rectify some of that stuff, so that's a concern," said Harry Waterbury, who lives in Sandy Hook. "It still is a sacred site and you heard some of the discussion that they're worried about the trees where they're actually going to do the site."

Other renderings created by architects Svigals and Partners show the courtyard and main lobby.

"What we tried to do was to resonate with what experience we had, what talents we have as architects with their aspirations and to realize them as much as possible in the school," Barry Svigals, of Svigals and Partners, said.

They want the school to be welcoming, nourishing and a place where kids can feel safe and at home.

"What we're still reacting to when we're having this conversation is the emotional hurdle of what happened to us a year and a half ago," Pat Llodra, Newtown's First Selectwoman, said.

Town officials hope to have the designs finalized by fall. Actual construction won't begin until the spring 2015.

Celebrate "National Donut Day"


It’s "National Donut Day," which is actually more than a celebration of donuts – but we’ll get to more on that later.

Dunkin’ Donuts is giving away a free doughnut today when you buy any drink.

While Dunkin’ Donuts is a New England favorite, there are many good doughnut places in Connecticut, including:

Now, more on why this is not just a day about tasty breakfast pastry:

The Salvation Army actually celebrated the first National Donut Day in Chicago in 1938 to help raise funds during the Great Depression, as well as to celebrate the “donut lassies” who fed American soldiers during World War I, according to the Salvation Army.

Now that the history lesson is over, let us know what your favorite doughnut and doughnut shop are.


Photo Credit: Shuttershock

Mom Also Charged After Toddler Son's Death


The mother of a 14-month-old boy who died Tuesday after regularly being punched in the stomach is now facing charges alongside her boyfriend, records show.

Dallas County jail records show Claudia L. Johnson was being held Friday on a charge of injury to a child by omission.

Police on Wednesday arrested Clezel Montague Mughni on a charge of injury to a child in the boy's death.

Johnson's 2-year-old daughter underwent emergency surgery Tuesday afternoon after police said she too had been punched in the stomach by her mother's boyfriend. Authorities on Thursday charged Johnson plus added another injury to a child charge against Mughni, who remains jailed, for the girl's alleged beating.

Johnson originally told police her son had been ill, but later changed her story to say she had witnessed Mughni, a large man who stands 6 feet 1 inches tall and weighs about 325 pounds, strike her son with a closed fist at least 30 times over a two-month period when he thought the boy was misbehaving. The woman said her boyfriend always struck her son in his stomach or his side.

In an interview with police, Mughni said the boy had been punched in the stomach and spanked a few times for whining.

The Dallas County medical examiner discovered the boy suffered numerous injuries including a skull fracture, multiple rib fractures, both old and new, liver damage, split intestines, two black eyes and multiple injuries to the legs, buttocks and arms.  The medical examiner said Johnson's injuries are the result of blunt force trauma and were consistent with the reports from Mughni and the witnesses.

No attorney was listed for Johnson, whose bond was set at $25,000 related to the death of her son, Marquis Johnson. An attorney for Mughni didn't immediately return a message Friday.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News

Crash Closes Route 66 in Middlefield


Route 66 was closed in Middlefield between the reservoir and the Red Dog Saloon after a head-on crash in which a car rolled over, according to State Police.

The road has since reopened.

Police said the crash happened at 8:54 a.m. and there are injuries, but do not believe they are serious.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Felon Arrested After 2-Town Police Chase: Cops


A 25-year-old New Haven man was arrested after a two-hour manhunt that spanned West Haven and New Haven on Friday morning.

Police investigating gun violence in New Haven went an apartment at 170 Shelton Avenue with the SWAT team and agents from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives this morning in search of Darrell Mayes, according to New Haven Police.

Mayes, who goes by “Li’l Moose," was driving by his home when law enforcement arrived, fled and led pursuing officers on a chase along Interstate 95 South into West Haven, police said.

The car chase ended when Mayes lost control of his car, but he then got out and ran, police said.

"The target of the search warrant actually drove by the location, a pursuit ensued, he jumped onto the highway, ended up spinning out on an exit ramp in West Haven," Archie Generoso, the assistant police chief in New Haven, said.

Police closed exit 43 and state and local police searched for Mayes until New Haven Police Officer Sheree Smith found him hiding behind a home at 9 Front Street, police said.

Mayes is a a convicted felon with a lengthy criminal history, including convictions for unlawful restraint, criminal weapons possession, altered firearm and carrying a pistol without a permit, according to police.

When police searched his home, they found a 9mm “Glock” semi-automatic pistol.

Mayes was arrested and charged with criminal possession of a pistol, possession of narcotics, possession of narcotics within 1,500 feet of a school, reckless endangerment in the first degree, reckless driving, disobeying the signal of an officer, engaging an officer in pursuit, operating without a license and criminal trespassing.

He is being held on a $500,000.00 bond.

Mayes’ girlfriend, Latasha Williams. 25, of New Haven. was also arrested for narcotics possession.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Police Presence Continues at Bristol Hospital After Threat


The lockdown at Bristol Hospital is over after a someone placed a phone call at 3:45 a.m., threatening employees, but police will remain on guard at the medical facility for the day.

Bristol Police said three hospital employees had been threatened. The caller also threatened to shoot
shoot people at the hospital, as well as herself.

The lockdown was lifted after authorities searched the building and found it was safe

Ambulances were diverted to other hospitals unless patients needed immediate care and those who needed to use the emergency room when through heavy security.

Police are investigating and ask anyone with information to call the Bristol Police at 860-584-3011.


Police Investigate Assault of Man Reported Missing


Police are investigating the assault of a 21-year-old Waterford man who had been reported missing.

The man’s parents called Waterford police at 5:43 p.m. on Thursday for help to find their missing son.

According to police, the parents allegedly knew that their son would be at a home on West Coit Street in New London.

When police from both New London and Waterford went to the house, they found the man unresponsive with bruises on his face and body.

He has been taken to a local hospital for medical treatment.

Authorities do not think the man was assaulted at the residence where he is found and New London detectives are investigating.

Anyone with information about the incident should call at (860) 447-1481.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Printer Will Replace Misspelled Senior T-Shirts


A local business owner and Oliver Wolcott graduate has agreed to reprint class T-shirts that had a typo.

Graduating students at Oliver Wolcott Technical High School in Torrington were planning on wearing their new senior T-shirts to show school spirit on a class trip at Six Flags on Friday.

But when the boxes were opened in the morning, they discovered that the local printer misspelled seniors as "seniiors" on the shirts. Some chose not to wear them, according to Jennifer Carey, a parent of an Oliver Wolcott senior.

"At first it was kind of funny and then it wasn't when they thought about having to wear them," Carey said of the reaction her son, Zachary Ashe and his friends had.

Earlier in the day, she said she hoped Torrington-based Been Printed, LLC would reprint the shirts with the correct spelling and the owner reached out to NBC Connecticut to say that's just what he plans to do.

A portion of class dues money paid for the cost of the shirts, she said.

"It's a little disturbing because class dues are not cheap," said Carey who pays $60 a year for her son's class dues. "It's not our fault they spelled it wrong."

Been Printed owner Ben Veillieux ssaid that the design was sent back and forth to the student council a few times and approved with no mention of the misspelling. When he found out about the typo through the media, he immediately contacted the school to straighten things out.

Oliver Wolcott Assistant Principal Jeff Dudek confirmed that the shirts were printed incorrectly and declined to comment further. The senior class was at Six Flags for the day Friday.

In the end, Veillieux said that the students will get to keep the original shirts in addition to the new one, so everyone will have two shirts.

Photo Credit: Submitted Photo

Route 44 Reopened in Barkhamsted Closed After Crash


LifeStar transported one person from the scene of a crash at Route 44 and Old North Road in Barkhamsted on Friday and at least one other person was taken to the hospital.

The crash was reported right before 2:30 p.m. and it was not clear how many cars are involved. 

Route 44 has reopened.

No information was available on vicitim's conditions.

Fire Department Makes Boy’s Fire Truck Ride Dream Come True


Six-year-old Connor Davis, who has autism, is a big fan of firefighters and has badly wanted to ride in one.

On Friday, the New Britain Fire Department made his dream come true.

On Friday, his local fire department made that happen.

The fire department picked Connor up from school in a fire truck, drove him through town, brought him to the fire station for a tour and then drove him home in the fire truck.

Connor, who knows a lot about what firefighters do, looked like a small version of his heroes as he wore a fire shirt with the American flag on the sleeve.

Connor had a big smile on his face as he sat behind the wheel of the truck. When the opportunity to use a fire hose arose, he had the focused look of a professional doing the job he loves.  
“We are very proud and honored to help make Connor’s dream become a reality, his mother loves him dearly and his teachers think the world of him,” the fire department said in a statement.


Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Metro-North Service Limited After Bridge Problems


Limited service has resumed in both directions of Metro North's New Haven Line following problems closing the Walk Bridge in South Norwalk for the second time in a week. 

This is the same bridge that there were problems with just over a week ago and the Friday evening commute has been impacted.

Two tracks of four in the eastbound direction from New York to Connecticut are in service, with trains traveling at a reduced speed of 15 miles an hour, according to Aaron Donovan, a spokesperson for the MTA. Train service began again at 6:20 p.m.

The Walk Bridge is closed and service is restored between South and East Norwalk, according to a Metro-North alert. There will likely be further delays and "crowded conditions due to significant congestion in the vicinity of South Norwalk," according to Metro-North. Announcements with updates will be made on the trains.

Routes on either side of South Norwalk were closed earlier as repair crews worked to fix the problem, but Metro-North expect that the repairs might take several hours. MTA officials and police also responded to assist with the crowds, police said.

Twenty-four buses were sent from the Bronx to transport passengers between South Norwalk and East Norwalk, according to Metro-North. Trains are scheduled to run between Grand Central and South Norwalk and between East Norwalk and New Haven. 

Amtrak service on both the Northeast regional and Acela lines are also affected, holding trains at Penn Station as of 4:20 p.m. The projected duration of the delays is unknown.

Service between Stamford and Bridgeport is disrupted because of bridge problems, but the Stamford line to Grand Central wasn't affected.

When this problem happened last Thursday morning, Metro-North said gear failed during overnight testing. The bridge was stuck open for much of the morning commute, which created crowded conditions.

Metro-North officials said the bridge is 118 years old, but the state has invested more than $1.5 million in recent years to improve bridge reliability.

The bridge also had a similar problem in 2011, in some cases keeping passengers on the train for two hours before they could transfer to a bus.

Photo Credit: Julietta Coscia

Chicago Jewish Teen Bullied: Mom


Three students accused of bullying a Jewish classmate are being barred from their eighth-grade graduation at their North Side school.

A 14-year-old Jewish student at Ogden International School says the bullying started earlier in the school year and involved an online game where the students called themselves the “Jew Incinerator.”

The boy's mother, Lisa Clemente, told the local school council Thursday that her complaints to school principal Joshua Vanderjagt had fallen on deaf ears for several months.

"You're all here because I did Mr. Vanderjagt's job," Clemente told the council.

"My son was bullied. There was anti-Semitism," Clemente later told reporters. "It's not brain surgery. You go, you call the parents, they get suspended, they don't walk in the graduation."

The vice president of the Chicago Board of Education, Jesse Ruiz, attended Thursday's meeting and announced the students' ban from graduation. The students were also suspended for a day and forced to write letters of apology.

"The district wants to send a clear message that these actions will not be tolerated at Ogden or any other school," Ruiz said at the school meeting. "We'll use this ugly incident -- and it was ugly -- for helpful dialogue."

Ruiz said the board will also revise the student code of conduct and launch a cultural awareness campaign as well as district-wide sensitivity education and training. It will also begin training the principal immediately, as well as institute other measures.

Clemente seemed satisfied with the district's response, but made it clear that the problem is still not solved. She believes what happened was actually a hate crime.

"I can't forgive until we acknowledge; then we move on. It has to be acknowledged, and he has to understand he didn't do the right things," Clemente said.

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