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San Diego Brewery Expands to Europe


San Diego County’s own Stone Brewing Company is hopping international borders and expanding into Europe, becoming the first American craft brewer to independently own and operate a brewery there.

The Escondido-based company announced plans Saturday to open a production brewery and restaurant in what is arguably the beer capital of the world: Germany.

With a $25 million investment, Stone will transform a two-acre historic gasworks complex in Marienpark – a Berlin suburb – into its World Bistro & Gardens by late 2015 or early 2016.

“This is a historic moment for Stone. I’ve wanted to say these next words for many years now: We’re coming to Europe. We’re coming to Germany. We are coming to Berlin!” said Stone CEO and co-founder Greg Koch in a release.

The space’s main, red-brick hall, built in 1901, will hold a brewhouse, farm-to-table restaurant and retail store for Stone beer and merchandise. The brewhouse should have at least a 70-barrel capacity.

On the same property, a second building will be dedicated to brewing operations, out of which the company’s ales can be packed up and shipped out all over Europe.

A third building will house large gardens to be used as an event space.

Koch and fellow co-founder and President Steve Wagner created Stone in 1996 and have since seen it grow into the tenth largest craft brewer in the U.S.

The duo have wanted to tap into the European market for five years now as demand for Stone brews there grew, and after sending out requests for proposals across the continent, they landed on the Berlin site.

While much of the beer will be made by local ingredients, the founders say they’ll most likely import some American hops to maintain their signature taste.

And with the wealth of competition coming out of Bavaria, Stone’s new brews will be a riff on regional styles as they look for ways to creatively use local ingredients.

But Stone fans don’t need to hop across the pond to drink up the beers brewed in Germany. The company launched an Indigogo crowd-funding campaign to raise at least $1 million. As an incentive, they’re offering three special beers – made in collaboration with other breweries at the Berlin spot –which can be bought at $50 for 1.5 liters.

In addition to its classic IPAs, Stone Berlin will also be pouring craft and specialty beers from other breweries in Germany, Europe and around the word.

Stone is also looking to expand its empire by building an East Coast base of operations, though the exact location has not been released.

Photo Credit: Stone Brewing Co.

Hillary Clinton Signs Books in Madison


Hillary Rodham Clinton is in Madison promoting her new book, "Hard Choices."

Lines were out the door at RJ Julia Independent Booksellers on Boston Post Road close to 3 p.m. as people waited to meet Clinton at a book signing.

Clinton's memoir addresses her inside perspective during her four years of serving as the United States of America's 67th secretary of state, according to amazon.com.

Protesters stood across the street holding signs objecting to her visit.

People had to have a ticket to attend and show identification at registration. Items like "backpacks, purses, bags, hats, jackets, umbrellas, strollers, books" and "items larger than a cell phone" were forbidden beyond the registration checkpoint, according to RJ Julia's website.

Posed photography and "selfies" with the former First Lady were forbidden and books signed would not be personalized, but event goers were permitted to take cell phone photos of Clinton from the line, according to the bookstore's website.



Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Crews Respond to Bridgeport Blaze


Seven people are displaced after fire ripped through apartments on Stratford Avenue in Bridgeport late Saturday afternoon.

Fire officials say the call came in around 2 p.m. The blaze began on the second floor and quickly took over the entire building.

The flames caused live wires to fall on the street, creating additional hazards for firefighters. Additionally, the fourth floor of the building collapsed, forcing firefighters to work only from the outside.

Neighbors say they could feel the heat of the flames.

“I saw fire shooting out of the window like from the first floor and smoke all over the building,” Linda Demetries said.

Despite the damage, no injuries were reported. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

Firefighters have responded to a fire on Stratford Avenue in Bridgeport late Saturday afternoon.

More information will be provided when it becomes available.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

I-84 East Asylum Street Exit to Reopen by Monday


The Asylum Street exit closure on Interstate 84 East has caused traffic delays this weekend during CTfastrak construction, but the ramp is on schedule to reopen by 5 a.m. at latest for the Monday morning commute.

Exit 48A, which gives motorists access to Asylum Street and Hartford's Union Station, has been closed since Friday due to construction of a ramp for the state's upcoming express busway between the capital city and New Britain.

The closure wasn't music to the ears of folks coming to the Greater Hartford Festival of Jazz in Bushnell Park this weekend.

"We didn't know about it," Rick Casciano, the jazz festival's vice president, said. "The city kind of didn't let us know what was going to be open and closed, so it kind of falls on us."

But the exit will reopen Monday at latest if not earlier.


Teen Arrested After Family Found


A Long Island man returned home from a hospital stay to discover his 15-year-old son dead and his wife suffering from severe head wounds, and now his older son is under arrest, accused of attacking his mother, police said Sunday.

Charles Okonkwo Jr., 18, was arrested on an assault charge after the bloody scene was discovered Saturday in the family's Dix Hills home, Suffolk County police said.

At the teenager's arraignment Sunday, Assistant District Attorney Raphael Pearl said he had "made admissions to hurting" his mother and his brother, 15-year-old Bradley Okonkwo, Newsday reported.

The boys' 62-year-old father called 911 Saturday after he found his wife and son lying motionless. His wife, Chinwe Okonkwo, was airlifted to Stony Brook University Hospital in serious condition. Officers found the older son near his green BMW not too far from the home.

According to a criminal complaint, the mother "sustained serious trauma including facial fractures and loss of consciousness." She was found "apparently beaten in a puddle of blood near her car," Pearl said, according to Newsday.

The judge ordered a psychiatric evaluation of the teenager, whose lawyer, Eric Besso, called the case "complicated." The 18-year-old has a history of mental health issues.

"There's a lot to be sorted out, that's all I can say," Besso said, according to Newsday.

The 18-year-old kept his head down during the arraignment and did not speak to the judge. He did not enter a plea, Newsday reported.

At Least 40 Shot in Weekend Chicago Violence


Editor's Note: NBC Chicago includes shootings that took place between 6 p.m. Friday and 12 a.m. Monday in the weekend violence report.

Violence continued to strike the Chicago area this weekend with at least 18 people shot in a little more than 12 hours overnight, bringing the number of people shot since Friday to 40.

Four people, including an 11-year-old girl at a sleepover with friends, have been killed, police said.

Sunday’s first homicide took place just after 2:30 a.m. when a gunman opened fire in a bar on Chicago’s Southwest Side.

The shooting took place in the 4400 block of South Kedzie in the city’s Brighton Park neighborhood, police said.

A 24-year-old man was shot in the chest and pronounced dead at the scene and a man in his 30s was shot in the torso and taken in stable condition to Mount Sinai Hospital, according to authorities.

Five people were shot, one of them fatally, in a drive-by shooting near a block party Saturday night.

Police said a 21-year-old man and a 43-year-old woman were getting into a cab around 6 p.m. in the 900 block of North Mayfield Avenue when they “heard shots and felt pain,” police said.

The 43-year-old woman was shot in the leg and suffered a graze wound to the head and was taken to West Suburban Medical Center and the 53-year-old cab driver was shot in the abdomen and both thighs and was transported to John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital of Cook County. Both were listed in stable condition.

The 21-year-old man suffered multiple gunshot wounds to the body and head and was transported in critical condition to West Suburban Medical Center where he was later pronounced dead, according to Chicago Police News Affairs Officer Jose Estrada.

Police said the shots fired along North Mayfield Avenue also injured two men in the 900 block of North Massasoit Avenue.

The two men, who were playing basketball at the time, said they thought they heard firecrackers but quickly realized they were shot.

A 26-year-old man was shot in the foot and thigh and a 33-year-old man was shot in the foot. Both were taken in stable condition to West Suburban Medical Center.

In another fatal shooting Saturday, a 30-year-old man was found shot to death in a car in the South Austin neighborhood.

The man was discovered unresponsive in the driver’s seat of a car parked in an alley in the 0-100 block of North Laramie Avenue just after 3 a.m. Saturday, police said.

The man suffered gunshot wounds to the back, shoulder and neck and was pronounced dead at the scene, police said.

An 11-year-old girl was fatally shot when a stray bullet pierced a bedroom window on the city’s West Side.

Family members said the young girl was at a sleepover and was preparing to make s’mores with her friends when she was shot.

She was taken to Mount Sinai Hospital and was listed in critical condition.

She was later pronounced dead at the hospital, according to Chicago Police News Affairs Officer Amina Greer.

The Cook County Medical Examiner's office confirmed the girl had died.

At least 11 others were wounded in shootings Saturday night and Sunday morning.

  • Just before 5 p.m., two people, including a 14-year-old girl, were shot in the 2700 block of South Millard Avenue. Police said the two were at a backyard party when they heard shots and felt pain. A 20-year-old man was shot in the right foot and taken in good condition to Mount Sinai Hospital. A 14-year-old girl was shot in the hip and taken in serious condition to Mount Sinai Hospital.
  • Around 9:30 p.m., a 17-year-old boy was shot while riding his bike in the 900 block of West 83rd Street. The teen was dropped off at St. Bernard Hospital with a gunshot wound to the left thigh. He was listed in stable condition.
  • A 26-year-old man was shot in the shoulder around 10:15 p.m. in the 1600 block of North Kedzie Avenue, police said. The man transported himself to Swedish Covenant Hospital where he was listed in stable condition. Details surrounding the shooting were not immediately available.
  • Around 1:30 a.m. Sunday, a 50-year-old woman was shot in the 4400 block of South Prairie Avenue. The woman told police she heard shots and felt pain. She was treated and released at the scene, officials said.
  • About five minutes later, a 20-year-old man was shot while sitting in a car in the 3600 block of South California Avenue. Police said the man was sitting in the back seat of a car when two men yelled gang slogans and fired shots. He was taken to Holy Cross Hospital with a wound to the shoulder and was listed in stable condition.
  • Two people were shot while getting gas at a gas station in the Portage Park neighborhood near Addison and Laramie avenues just after 3 a.m. Sunday. The two were pumping gas at a gas station when a man approached and opened fire, striking both of them, police said. A 24-year-old man was shot in the thigh and a 31-year-old woman was shot in the left hand. The two drove themselves to West Suburban Medical Center in stable condition.
  • Around the same time, a 25-year-old man was shot while standing in the 5600 block of West Division Street. The man was on the sidewalk when he “heard shots and felt pain,” police said. He was taken to Loretto Hospital with wounds to the right buttocks and left shoulder.
  • Just after 5:30 a.m., an 18-year-old man was shot in the left shoulder in the 2500 block of North Sawyer Avenue. He was taken to Illinois Masonic Medical Center in good condition. Details surrounding the shooting were not immediately available.
  • At about the same time a 19-year-old man suffered a graze wound to the shoulder in the 3200 block of West Wrightwood Avenue. The teen was taken to Illinois Masonic Medical Center in good condition.
  • Around 5:45 a.m., a 23-year-old woman suffered a graze wound to the back in a possible drive-by shooting in the 8500 block of South Burnham Avenue. The woman refused medical treatment at the scene, Estrada said.

More than 20 others were shot since 6 p.m. Friday.

3 Dead, 2 Injured in Calif. Crash


A wrong-way driver and two women in another car who appeared to be coming home from a family reunion were identified after a deadly head-on collision on the 210 Freeway in Rancho Cucamonga, California, early Sunday morning.

Reports of a wrong-way, possibly drunk driver were made to California Highway Patrol just after 2 a.m. Sunday, according to the California Highway Patrol.

"Our units started getting in position, and just after, a collision occured here," said Capt. Joe Flores.

The driver, identified as La Habra-resident Mack Jaramillo, 28, was speeding westbound on the eastbound 210 Freeway leading up to the crash, officials said.

A male driver and woman in the silver Hyundai that was struck by the wrong-way driver survived but suffered serious injuries. They were identified as 60-year-old Nitin Shah and his 56-year-old wife, Jyostha. They were taken to Loma Linda University Medical Center. The wife was later released.

Two women in the backseat, identified as Fontana-resident Figuni Shah, 38, and Veena Shah, 52, died, officials said. Veena Shah was visiting from London.

Jaramillo died in the crash.

According to CHP, all lanes on the eastbound 210 Freeway at Day Creek Boulevard were shut down until 7:30 a.m.

Authorities said it appears that the passengers in the silver Hyundai were family members on their way home from a family reunion.

Ronak Patel says the Shahs are part of the congregation of nearly 1,000 people at BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Chino Hills.

"They are regular volunteers here and we are deeply saddened to hear about the tragic car accident they were involved in," Patel said.

A closed prayer was set to take place at the temple at 6:30 p.m. Sunday.

Police Hit Man With Stun Gun


A 41-year-old man died after he was hit by an electronic stun gun when police tried to break up a fight on Chicago's Southwest Side.

Police responded to a fight in the 4200 block of South Richmond Avenue in the city's Brighton Park neighborhood just after 2 a.m., according to Chicago Police News Affairs Officer Jose Estrada.

Officers said they saw a "highly combative" 41-year-old man engaged in a physical altercation with a group of other men.

When they attempted to break up the fight, the man resisted arrest and fought the officers, Estrada said.

A stun gun was used to "secure the offender" and officers called for emergency medical services, Estrada said.

The man was taken to Saint Anthony Hospital where he was pronounced dead, officials said.

The incident is being investigated by the Independent Police Review Authority.

Photo Credit: AP

Paraplegic Kills Brother: Police


A paraplegic man shot and killed his own brother in order to stop him from physically abusing their sister, police said.

Police responded to a West Philadelphia home on the 5800 block of Filbert Street around 3:40 a.m. on Sunday. When they arrived they found 40-year-old John Mapp lying on the street with a gunshot wound to the chest.

Mapp was taken to the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. He was pronounced dead at 6:53 a.m.

Investigators say Mapp's 34-year-old brother, who is a paraplegic, shot and killed him. The brother told police that Mapp was physically abusive towards him as well as his 38-year-old sister. According to police, Mapp was attacking his sister inside the home Sunday morning when his brother took out a gun and opened fire, striking him in the chest.

Investigators say the incident is a domestic situation and the brother has not been charged. The Homicide Division continues to investigate.

Photo Credit: NBC10.com

Two Arrested, Three Injured in Knife Fight: Police


Three were injured and two people were arrested after a knife fight broke out in New Haven late Sunday morning at the corner of Ellsworth Avenue and Chapel Street.

Four men armed with knives got into a fight just after 11 a.m. Police arrested two of them on first-degree assault charges.

Ambulance medics treated three people at the scene who had minor cuts and lacerations as result of the knife fight.

Police have not released the identities of the men involved, injured or arrested at this time.

More information will be provided when it becomes available.

Photo Credit: Wes Duplantier/The New Haven Register

Anti-Jewish Leaflets Found on Cars in Chicago


Anti-Jewish leaflets were found on several vehicles on Chicago's Northwest Side, police said.

Six vehicles were discovered with leaflets containing anti-Semitic threats in their windshields Saturday morning in the 6300 block of North Monticello Avenue, according to Chicago Police News Affairs Officer Janel Sedevic.

According to the Chicago Tribune, residents reported the material contained threats to Jewish people in connection to the rising conflict in Gaza.

The leaflets reportedly threaten violence if Israel does not pull out of Gaza.

The Chicago Police Department's Hate Crimes unit is investigating, Sedevic said.

The incident comes one day before scores of Palestinians are expected to converge in Chicago for a "die-in," demanding an "immediate end to Israel's bombardment of the Palestinians of Gaza."

Thirteen Israeli troops were killed overnight Sunday in Gaza, according to the Israeli Army. An armored troop carrier was hit by a shoulder-launched anti-tank missile in the neighborhood of Shejaia, leaving seven Israeli soldiers dead, and another six were killed in fighting that followed, an Israeli security source told NBC News.

Fifty-two Israelis were injured in the missile launch and fighting, and eleven of the injuries were serious. Israeli shelling on Sunday left more than 100 dead, including women and children.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area

Man Knocks Out Cop's Teeth: NYPD


Authorities are looking for a man who they say attacked an NYPD officer early Sunday, striking her so hard that she fell to the floor, suffered lacerations and lost some teeth.

Police say two officers approached three men and a woman in a lobby at the Gov. DeWitt Clinton Houses in East Harlem shortly after 1 a.m. The officers were stopping the group because of a drug offense, and one man knocked the female officer to the floor, police said.

The officer was taken to the hospital in stable condition and released Sunday afternoon.

Anyone with information about the suspect is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS.

Photo Credit: NBC10

Bomb Squad Seizes $1 Grenade Brought to Fire Station


A State Police bomb squad responded to an Orange volunteer fire station after a citizen brought a grenade there.

An Orange volunteer firefighter purchased a grenade for $1 at a Woodbridge home earlier in the day and brought it there to show people, according to the Woodbridge Fire Department. Firefighers at the Orange station weren't sure whether the grenade might still be live, so a bomb squad was called to the department, Woodbridge fire officials said.

The State Police bomb squad picked up the grenade from the fire station and will destroy it whether or not it is live, State Police said just after 4 p.m. on Sunday. The address where the bomb squad responded is not clear at this time.

There are two stations as part of the Orange Volunteer Fire Department, including one on Boston Post Road and another on Orange Center Road, according to the town of Orange website.

Just before noon in Woodbridge firefighters responded to the Deer Run Road where the individual bought the grenade and checked the home for further explosives, but found none.

More information will be provided when it becomes available.

Woman Dies in New London Motorcycle Accident


A 52-year-old woman is dead after the motorcycle she was driving collided with a commercial box truck in New London.

According to New London police, the crash occurred near 951 Bank Street just after 2 p.m. on Saturday. Police believe the woman was pulling out of a business with the intention of turning right on Bank Street. Instead, the motorcycle crossed the double yellow line and struck a box truck traveling the opposite direction.

The operator of the motorcycle was transported to Lawrence & Memorial Hospital where she died of her injuries.

Bank St. was closed for several hours while the police investigated the incident.

Photo Credit: NBC10.com

Thousands Rally Over Gaza Offensive


Protesters staged a "die-in" and thousands rallied in Chicago Sunday to demand an end to the rising conflict in Gaza.

"Since the offensive began, almost 400 Palestinian people have been killed and many more wounded," said Hatem Abudayyeh with the U.S. Palestine Community Network.

Hundreds gathered around the scattered bodies of protesters, who laid on the ground intending to represent the bodies of those killed in the fighting.

After the die-in, protesters, who came to Chicago in busloads, marched to the Israeli consulate.

Members of the Chicago Coalition for Justice in Palestine said the rally was held to show solidarity with Palestinians and demand an end to the bloodshed.

"Almost 400 homes have been destroyed, thousands displaced," said Abudayyeh. "This is not a war against Palestine, it is a war on Palestine."

Deputy Israeli Consul General Alex Goldman-Shayman said Israel had to start its defensive operation to protect its citizens from Hamas rockets.

"Thirteen days ago we had something to do to stop the firing on our citizens," he said.

Pope Francis on Sunday called for dialogue to resolve conflicts like the one in the Middle East.

Thirteen Israeli troops were killed overnight Sunday in Gaza, according to the Israeli Army. An armored troop carrier was hit by a shoulder-launched anti-tank missile in the neighborhood of Shejaia, leaving seven Israeli soldiers dead, and another six were killed in fighting that followed, an Israeli security source told NBC News.

Fifty-two Israelis were injured in the missile launch and fighting, and eleven of the injuries were serious. Israeli shelling on Sunday left more than 100 dead, including women and children.

"I really hope there can be peace," said Abudayyeh.

LA Native Killed in Gaza


Hundreds of mourners gathered at a candlelight vigil Sunday night for a Los Angeles native who was killed while fighting as an Israeli soldier in the Gaza Strip.

Israeli Defense Forces said Max Steinberg, 24, was one of 13 soldiers in the Golani Brigade that was killed in battle earlier Sunday. The brigade was engaged with Hamas fighters in the Shejaiya neighborhood of Gaza City. One other American who volunteered to fight for Israel, 21-year-old Nissim Sean Carmeli, of South Padre Island, Texas, was also killed in Shejaiya. Carmeli moved to Israel four years ago.

Steinberg was a Woodland Hills native who graduated from El Camino High School and attended Pierce College. News of his death was reported by the Jewish Journal, a Los Angeles newspaper, on its website. 

"I really haven't wrapped my head around this. I can't believe it, I just can't believe it," said his mother, Evie Steinberg at the vigil.

Steinberg's friends and members of the Jewish community huddled together in a West Hills Park to pay their respects.

"He put all of his attention, his focus, his dedication to being the best soldier that he possibly could be," said Steinberg's father, Stuart.

"He was our family's inspiration, our family's spirit and he is worthy of you being here today," he added.

The father said Steinberg visited Israel for the first time in 2012 and decided he wanted to live there. He volunteered to join the Israeli army about a year later. He was a sniper.

The IDF did not immediately report how Steinberg was killed. But it said seven of the brigade's soldiers were killed at 1 a.m. Israeli time, when their armored personnel carrier drove over a bomb.

Three brigade members were killed in a firefight with Hamas, and three others were killed in when the Gaza City building they were in caught fire.

IDF claims that 140 rockets were fired into Israel from the densely-populated Shejaiya district, and that 10 tunnels leading to Israel have been discovered there, the Jewish Journal reported from Los Angeles.

The death toll has climbed to 501 Palestinians and 20 Israelis in 14 days of fighting, NBC News reported

"We mourn the loss of Valley native Max Steinberg who was killed Sunday by Hamas terrorists while serving in the IDF," tweeted Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Sherman Oaks).

Steinberg is survived by his parents and two younger siblings, a brother and sister. His family planned on traveling to Israel on Monday to bury him.

City News Service contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: Facebook

61 Dogs Rescued After Fire


Sixty-one dogs were rescued, and three people were displaced, when a fire burned through a single family home in Woodcrest Saturday, officials with the Riverside County Fire Department said.

Firefighters who responded to the scene reported smoke coming from the attic of the house in the 16400 block of Pick Place, authorities said. 

In all, 27 firefighters assisted in battling the blaze, according to officials. No injuries were reported.

The dogs, which are all Shelties or Sheltie-mixes, were turned over to Riverside County Animal Services by their owner.

John Welsh, a spokesman with the department, said the dogs were all in good health and had no behavioral problems.

Welsh added that the department was working with rescue partners to transfer the dogs and get them adopted.

Riverside municipal code requires a residence with five or more dogs apply for a kennel permit.

Welsh told City News Service that animal control officials were familiar with the home, but it was unclear if the owner had been cited for having so many animals on the property.

Anyone interested in finding out about adopting any of the Shetland sheepdogs can visit the Riverside County Animal Services facility at 5851 Van Buren Blvd., Jurupa Valley or call 951-358-7387.

Photo Credit: Riverside County Animal Services

Girl, 14, Dies In Go Kart Wreck


A day of fun quickly turned tragic near the Texas Motor Speedway when a Go Kart went out of control, fatally injuring the 14-year-old female driver.

The family of Kierstin Eaddy confirmed to NBC 5 that she was the one killed in the accident. They say the Flower Mound resident was an honor student and a volunteer.

They told NBC 5's Catherine Ross that "they're trying to understand why God took such a special little girl today."

According to CareFlite, Eaddy was driving in a solo Go Kart race when something went wrong.

Witnesses said she accelerated as she passed the finish line, a point when she should have been slowing down. The Kart kept going until it hit a braided cable so hard that it took off the helmet she was wearing.

Eaddy was airlifted via CareFlite but emergency crews could not save her.

Witnesses were stunned and horrified.

"It's terrible," said witness Nick Carmell. "I've raced Karts myself. Never seen anything like this happen."

The Texas Motor Speedway shut down all of its events after the wreck on Sunday morning.

The Fort Worth police department is investigating the accident. It's not clear yet what caused the wreck.

Photo Credit: Eaddy Family

FAA Investigates Balloon Crash


The Federal Aviation Administration was on the scene in Clinton Sunday, looking into why a hot air balloon made a crash landing.

The FAA told NECN that the balloon was trying to land in the residential area when it struck power lines and caught fire.

"It was going pretty low, and I thought it was going to land just over the hill," said Erick Peterson, who witnessed the crash.

The balloon ultimately crashed into the power lines at the corner of Brook and Greeley Streets, creating two explosions in a dramatic scene Saturday night.

"You could see the operator was trying to pump up the propane, but it just didn't go up," said Dennis MacDonald, who was at home with his girlfriend.

The balloon was coming right for MacDonald's house.

"She says, 'Look at the balloon,' so I look at the balloon, and it was low, and she says, 'It's not going to clear those wires,'" said MacDonald.

And it didn't. Five people were injured, three were taken to nearby hospitals with burn injuries.

All of them have since been released.

MacDonald ran outside to help those on board.

"First, I wanted to get them out of the basket," he said. "Then, I brought out some ice and towels to apply on the burns."

The FAA is now looking into what happened and why the Colt Balloon, owned by Derald E. Young of Dixfield, Maine, crash-landed.

Photo Credit: Clinton Item

Clippers' Future on Line as Sterling Trial Resumes


The future of the Los Angeles Clippers is closer to decision as testimony resumes Monday in a probate trial over whether a deal negotiated by Donald Sterling's estranged wife to sell the team for $2 billion is authorized under a Sterling family trust.

Sterling, the volatile owner of the team, agreed to the sale but then tried to revoke consent in spite of a signed letter instructing his wife Shelly Sterling to sell for the highest price she could get.

A probate trial to resolve the matter has been under way since last month but was in recess for a week. With three days of hearings ahead, Donald Sterling's lawyers suggested they would call the battling couple back to the witness stand separately to address unanswered questions.

Superior Court Judge Michael Levanas was ambivalent about the need for more testimony from the pair but said he would permit it only if lawyers show that they are raising matters not covered during lengthy testimony by both Sterlings.

"This is a case that has many unusual twists and turns," said the judge, noting that Donald Sterling's lawyers had suddenly come up with "witnesses we've never heard of."

The judge firmly refused to allow Sterling's lawyers to call opposing counsel to testify. He also rejected a bid to strike the testimony and reports of two doctors who found the 80-year-old has Alzheimer's disease and is incapable of acting as administrator of the family trust that owned the Clippers.

The judge's rulings Friday shortened the list of witnesses planned by Sterling's lawyers and both sides were juggling schedules of other witnesses.

The lawyer for the man who wants to buy the Clippers, former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, stressed that time is running out on the contractual deadline for the sale which was supposed to be completed by Aug. 15. Attorney Adam Streisand urged the judge to make a quick decision once testimony ends, anticipating lengthy appeals if Shelly Sterling wins.

If the sale doesn't go through by Sept. 15, the NBA can seize the team and sell it at auction, Streisand said.

Donald Sterling has vowed he'll never sell the team and is suing to block his wife's single-handed deal to do so after the NBA banned him for life for making racist statements. He has denied he is a racist from the witness stand and claims he is the victim of illegally recorded conversations that invaded his privacy.

Outside court, Streisand said Donald Sterling's refusal to sell the team is "a suicide mission by a madman."

Attorney Bert Fields, who cross-examined Sterling, said he revealed himself as "a mean, nasty man who doesn't give a damn about his own family. For his ego, he's willing to give up benefits to his children and grandchildren from this sale."

Outside court, Donald Sterling's lawyer, Bobby Samini, echoed his client's wishes. "We're going to do everything in our power to stop the team from being sold," he said.

"It's not about his ego," Samini said. "He's made it clear he believes his privacy rights were violated and what the league did wasn't legal." 

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