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Postal Truck Driver Robbed at Gunpoint in Hartford


Two masked men robbed a postal truck driver in Hartford on Tuesday and the U.S. Postal Service is offering a $25,000 reward for information to nab the people behind it.

The robbery happened on the back loading dock of the Barry Square Post Office, at 645 Maple Avenue around 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, according to the post office.

Both men involved appeared to be in their mid-20s, according to police.

One is 5-feet-6 with a small build and was wearing black pants, a black hooded sweatshirt, black and blue shoes and a black face mask, police said. He had a handgun.

The second man is 5-feet-8 to 5-feet-9 and was wearing blue jeans, a black hooded sweatshirt, black shoes with red shoelaces and a black face mask.

Anyone with information about the robbery should call the U.S. Postal Inspection Service 24-hour toll-free number at 877-876-2455. All information will be kept confidential.

Armed robbery of a postal employee carries a penalty of up to 25 years imprisonment.

Photo Credit: NBC10

From the Archives: 9/11 Survivor Recalls Viral Email


Editor's Note: This story was first published on the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

Adam Mayblum worked on the 87th floor of the north tower, just below where American Airlines Flight 11 struck, and he was one of the few who made it out.

Shortly after he walked down all those flights of stairs, past firefighters going the other way, he wrote an email to family and friends describing his experience. It quickly went viral, and Mayblum's words resonated around the world as people were able to relive those moments he spent inside the tower.

NBC New York met up with Mayblum nearly 10 years later, and found how how his life has changed.

You can read his email in full below. He titles it "The Price We Pay."

My name is Adam Mayblum. I am alive today. I am committing this to “paper” so I never forget. SO WE NEVER FORGET. I am sure that this is one of thousands of stories that will emerge over the next several days and weeks.

I arrived as usual a little before 8am. My office was on the 87th floor of 1 World Trade Center, AKA: Tower 1, AKA: the North Tower. Most of my associates were in by 8:30m. We were standing around, joking around, eating breakfast, checking emails, and getting set for the day when the first plane hit just a few stories above us. I must stress that we did not know that it was a plane. The building lurched violently and shook as if it were an earthquake. People screamed. I watched out my window as the building seemed to move 10 to 20 feet in each direction. It rumbled and shook long enough for me to get my wits about myself and grab a co-worker and seek shelter under a doorway. Light fixtures and parts of the ceiling collapsed. The kitchen was destroyed. We were certain that it was a bomb. We looked out the windows. Reams of paper were flying everywhere, like a ticker tape parade. I looked down at the street. I could see people in Battery Park City looking up. Smoke started billowing in through the holes in the ceiling. I believe that there were 13 of us.

We did not panic. I can only assume that we thought that the worst was over. The building was standing and we were shaken but alive. We checked the halls. The smoke was thick and white and did not smell like I imagined smoke should smell. Not like your BBQ or your fireplace or even a bonfire. The phones were working. My wife had taken our 9 month old for his check up. I called my nanny at home and told her to page my wife, tell her that a bomb went off, I was ok, and on my way out. I grabbed my laptop. Took off my tee shirt and ripped it into 3 pieces. Soaked it in water. Gave 2 pieces to my friends. Tied my piece around my face to act as an air filter. And we all started moving to the staircase. One of my dearest friends said that he was staying until the police or firemen came to get him. In the halls there were tiny fires and sparks. The ceiling had collapsed in the men’s bathroom. It was gone along with anyone who may have been in there. We did not go in to look. We missed the staircase on the first run and had to double back. Once in the staircase we picked up fire extinguishers just incase. On the 85th floor a brave associate of mine and I headed back up to our office to drag out my partner who stayed behind. There was no air, just white smoke. We made the rounds through the office calling his name. No response. He must have succumbed to the smoke. We left defeated in our efforts and made our way back to the stairwell. We proceeded to the 78th floor where we had to change over to a different stairwell. 78 is the main junction to switch to the upper floors. I expected to see more people. There were some 50 to 60 more. Not enough. Wires and fires all over the place. Smoke too. A brave man was fighting a fire with the emergency hose. I stopped with to friends to make sure that everyone from our office was accounted for. We ushered them and confused people into the stairwell. In retrospect, I recall seeing Harry, my head trader, doing the same several yards behind me. I am only 35. I have known him for over 14 years. I headed into the stairwell with 2 friends.

We were moving down very orderly in Stair Case A. very slowly. No panic. At least not overt panic. My legs could not stop shaking. My heart was pounding. Some nervous jokes and laughter. I made a crack about ruining a brand new pair of Merrells. Even still, they were right, my feet felt great. We all laughed. We checked our cell phones. Surprisingly, there was a very good signal, but the Sprint network was jammed. I heard that the Blackberry 2 way email devices worked perfectly. On the phones, 1 out of 20 dial attempts got through. I knew I could not reach my wife so I called my parents. I told them what happened and that we were all okay and on the way down. Soon, my sister in law reached me. I told her we were fine and moving down. I believe that was about the 65th floor. We were bored and nervous. I called my friend Angel in San Francisco. I knew he would be watching. He was amazed I was on the phone. He told me to get out that there was another plane on its way. I did not know what he was talking about. By now the second plane had struck Tower 2. We were so deep into the middle of our building that we did not hear or feel anything. We had no idea what was really going on. We kept making way for wounded to go down ahead of us. Not many of them, just a few. No one seemed seriously wounded. Just some cuts and scrapes. Everyone cooperated. Everyone was a hero yesterday. No questions asked. I had co-workers in another office on the 77th floor. I tried dozens of times to get them on their cell phones or office lines. It was futile. Later I found that they were alive. One of the many miracles on a day of tragedy.

On the 53rd floor we came across a very heavyset man sitting on the stairs. I asked if he needed help or was he just resting. He needed help. I knew I would have trouble carrying him because I have a very bad back. But my friend and I offered anyway. We told him he could lean on us. He hesitated, I don’t know why. I said do you want to come or do you want us to send help for you. He chose for help. I told him he was on the 53rd floor in Stairwell A and that’s what I would tell the rescue workers. He said okay and we left.

On the 44th floor my phone rang again. It was my parents. They were hysterical. I said relax, I’m fine. My father said get out, there is third plane coming. I still did not understand. I was kind of angry. What did my parents think? Like I needed some other reason to get going? I couldn’t move the thousand people in front of me any faster. I know they love me, but no one inside understood what the situation really was. My parents did. Starting around this floor the firemen, policemen, WTC K-9 units without the dogs, anyone with a badge, started coming up as we were heading down. I stopped a lot of them and told them about the man on 53 and my friend on 87. I later felt terrible about this. They headed up to find those people and met death instead.

On the 33rd floor I spoke with a man who somehow new most of the details. He said 2 small planes hit the building. Now we all started talking about which terrorist group it was. Was it an internal organization or an external one? The overwhelming but uninformed opinion was Islamic Fanatics. Regardless, we now knew that it was not a bomb and there were potentially more planes coming. We understood.

On the 3r floor the lights went out and we heard & felt this rumbling coming towards us from above. I thought the staircase was collapsing upon itself. It was 10am now and that was Tower 2 collapsing next door. We did not know that. Someone had a flashlight. We passed it forward and left the stairwell and headed down a dark and cramped corridor to an exit. We could not see at all. I recommended that everyone place a hand on the shoulder of the person in front of them and call out if they hit an obstacle so others would know to avoid it. They did. It worked perfectly. We reached another stairwell and saw a female officer emerge soaking wet and covered in soot. She said we could not go that way it was blocked. Go up to 4 and use the other exit. Just as we started up she said it was ok to go down instead. There was water everywhere. I called out for hands on shoulders again and she said that was a great idea. She stayed behind instructing people to do that. I do not know what happened to her.

We emerged into an enormous room. It was light but filled with smoke. I commented to a friend that it must be under construction. Then we realized where we were. It was the second floor. The one that overlooks the lobby. We were ushered out into the courtyard, the one where the fountain used to be. My first thought was of a TV movie I saw once about nuclear winter and fallout. I could not understand where all of the debris came from. There was at least five inches of this gray pasty dusty drywall soot on the ground as well as a thickness of it in the air. Twisted steel and wires. I heard there were bodies and body parts as well, but I did not look. It was bad enough. We hid under the remaining overhangs and moved out to the street. We were told to keep walking towards Houston Street. The odd thing is that there were very few rescue workers around. Less than five. They all must have been trapped under the debris when Tower 2 fell. We did not know that and could not understand where all of that debris came from. It was just my friend Kern and I now. We were hugging but sad. We felt certain that most of our friends ahead of us died and we knew no one behind us.

We came upon a post office several blocks away. We stopped and looked up. Our building, exactly where our office is (was), was engulfed in flame and smoke. A postal worker said
that Tower 2 had fallen down. I looked again and sure enough it was gone. My heart was racing. We kept trying to call our families. I could not get in touch with my wife. Finally I got through to my parents. Relived is not the word to explain their feelings. They got through to my wife, thank G-d and let her know I was alive. We sat down. A girl on a bike offered us some water. Just as she took the cap off her bottle we heard a rumble. We looked up and our building, Tower 1 collapsed. I did not note the time but I am told it was 10:30am. We had been out less than 15 minutes.

We were mourning our lost friends, particularly the one who stayed in the office as we were now sure that he had perished. We started walking towards Union Square. I was going to Beth Israel Medical Center to be looked at. We stopped to hear the President speaking on the radio. My phone rang. It was my wife. I think I fell to my knees crying. The she told me the most incredible thing. My partner who had stayed behind called her. He was alive and well. I guess we just lost him in the commotion. We started jumping and hugging and shouting. I told my wife that my brother had arranged for a hotel in midtown. He can be very resourceful in that way. I told her I would call her from there. My brother and I managed to get a gypsy cab to take us home to Westchester instead. I cried on my son and held my wife until I fell asleep.

As it turns out my partner, the one who I thought had stayed behind was behind us with Harry Ramos, our head trader. This is now second hand information. They came upon Victor, the heavyset man on the 53rd floor. They helped him. He could barely move. My partner bravely/stupidly tested the elevator on the 52nd floor. He rode it down to the sky lobby on 44. The doors opened, it was fine. He rode it back up and got Harry and Victor. I don’t yet know if anyone else joined them. Once on 44 they made their way back into the stairwell. Someplace around the 39th to 36th floors they felt the same rumble I felt on the 3rd floor. It was 10am and Tower 2 was coming down. They had about 30 minutes to get out. Victor said he could no longer move. They offered to have him lead on them. He said he couldn’t do it. My partner hollered at him to sit on his butt and schooch down the steps. He said he was not capable of doing it. Harry told my partner to go ahead of them. Harry had once had a heart attack and was worried about this mans heart. It was his nature to be this way. He was/is one of the kindest people I know. He would not leave a man behind. My partner went ahead and made it out. He said he was out maybe 10 minutes before the building came down. This means that Harry had maybe 25 minutes to move Victor 36 floors.

I guess they moved 1 floor every 1.5 minutes. Just a guess. This means Harry wad around the 20th floor when the building collapsed. As of now 12 of 13 people are accounted for. As of 6pm yesterday his wife had not heard from him. I fear that Harry is lost. However, a short while ago I heard that he may be alive. Apparently there is a web site with survivor names on it and his name appears there. Unfortunately, Ramos is not an uncommon name in New York. Pray for him and all those like him.

With regards to the firemen heading upstairs, I realize that they were going up anyway. But, it hurts to know that I may have made them move quicker to find my friend. Rationally, I know this is not true and that I am not the responsible one. The responsible ones are in hiding somewhere on this planet and damn them for making me feel like this. But they should know that they failed in terrorizing us. We were calm. Those men and women that went up were heroes in the face of it all. They must have known what was going on and they did their jobs. Ordinary people were heroes too. Today the images that people around the world equate with power and democracy are gone but “America” is not an image it is a concept. That concept is only strengthened by our pulling together as a team. If you want to kill us, leave us alone because we will do it by ourselves. If you want to make us stronger, attack and we unite. This is the ultimate failure of terrorism against The United States and the ultimate price we pay to be free, to decide where we want to work, what we want to eat, and when & where we want to go on vacation. The very moment the first plane was hijacked, democracy won.

26 Kids Taken to Hospital After Drinking Cleaning Agent: Cops


More than two dozen children at a New Jersey day care center were taken to the hospital after being served water from a pitcher that apparently had a cleaning agent, possibly bleach, mixed in, police say.

Three adults were transported along with 26 children from The Growing Tree II Learning Center on Fifth Street in Jersey City shortly before 11 a.m. Thursday.

Police said they were inadvertently served from a pitcher that was supposed to be used to clean art materials.

Police said none of those taken to the hospital are showing any symptoms of illness, but they are still being evaluated.

According to its website, The Growing Tree II Learning Center provides day care services for children between 6 weeks and 4 years old. 

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Connecticut

Photo Credit: NBC 4 New York

Connecticut Remembers 9/11


As we arrive at the 13th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, people are coming together in every corner of the state to remember the lives lost.

In the wake of the tragedy, Connecticut constructed a memorial at Sherwood Island State Park in Westport, where residents gathered to watch the smoke billow from Manhattan that morning in 2001.

Some 161 people with Connecticut ties fell victim to the attacks.

Gov. Dan Malloy and Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman led the state’s annual remembrance ceremony at Sherwood Island on Wednesday evening, ahead of the anniversary.

The governor has proclaimed Thursday “Honor Our Heroes and Remembrance Day” and has directed that flags be flown at half-staff.

Municipalities around the state are holding remembrance ceremonies of their own.

Hartford County

Hartford will hold a memorial and bell-ringing ceremony in the State Capitol lobby at 8:46 a.m. tomorrow – the exact time the North Tower was struck.

The Avon Volunteer Fire Department will hold its annual 9/11 memorial service at fire headquarters at 25 Darling Drive at 8:30 a.m.

Meriden firefighters will gather at City Hall at 142 East Main Street at 8:30 a.m.

Central Connecticut State University will hold a remembrance ceremony at 8 a.m. at the "Peace Pole" at the student center on campus in New Britain.

Fairfield County

The Town of Bethel will also hold a small ceremony at 8:40 a.m. on the Municipal Center lawn and Bethel’s Fire Department will hold a 9/11 Remembrance Service at 6 p.m. at Bethel Municipal Center.

Brookfield will hold a candlelit vigil at 7 p.m. at the Brookfield Town Hall in the Rotary Memorial Garden. All who attend should bring a candle. In the case of bad weather, the vigil will be held in the Brookfield Town Hall lobby.

Community members in Newtown and surrounding towns will gather at the American Flag Memorial, painted across a grove of maple trees, at 8 a.m. at 68 Dodgingtown Road, the home of stock broker Howard Lasher, who lost nine close business associates in the attacks.

Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton will join Newtown First Selectwoman Pat Llodra, community and spiritual leaders and local residents at Lasher's home.

Bridgeport firefighters at every fire house will sound their sirens followed by a 30 second moment of silence at 8:46 a.m. and a ceremony honoring 9/11 victims will be held at 9 a.m. at Margaret E. Morton Government Center, 999 Broad St.

Ridgefield's 9/11 Memorial Service will be held at 6:30 p.m. in front of the 9/11 Memorial at 195 Danbury Road.

New London County

The Norwich freedom bell will ring at 8:46 a.m. tomorrow at Norwich City Hall.

The Southeastern Connecticut Navy community will hold a flag retirement ceremony at the Historic Ship Nautilus & Submarine Force Museum at 11 a.m. on the Naval Submarine Base New London in Groton.

New Haven County

Milford will hold a remembrance service at City Hall at 70 West River Street at 5 p.m.

The New Life Church will hold a memorial service at its Mountain Ridge Campus at 350 High Hill Road in Wallingford at 7 p.m.

A September 11th tribute will be held on the Madison Town Green from 5:30 p.m. to 6:15 p.m.

Milford's September 11th Memorial Service will be held at 5 p.m. at City Hall, 70 West River Street, Milford.

New Life Church will hold a Community September 11th Memorial Service at 7 p.m. at Mountain Ridge Campus, 350 High Hill Road, in Wallingford

Photo Credit: AP

Police ID Man Found Dead After Manchester Fire


One person is dead after fire ripped through an apartment building at 54 Chestnut Street in Manchester early this morning.

Police said on Thursday afternoon that Thomas Lafontaine, 26, was found dead in an apartment at the Centennial Apartment complex.

Firefighters responded to the complex around 12:30 a.m. to battle a two-alarm fire.

Firefighters tried to rescue Lafontaine, who was inside a first-floor apartment, but they could not get in because furniture was placed against the doors.

Lafontaine's friends said he'd gotten a new mattress and the old one was leaning on the door because the units are small and there was nowhere else to put it.

When firefighters were able to get inside, they were driven out by exploding ammunition, according to fire officials.

Lafontaine's friends described him as a sweet, soft-spoken man who worked hard all week at a moving company in New Britain. He had guns because he enjoyed going to the shooting range on weekends, they said. 

Police found six or seven guns in a safe or otherwise secured, according to police. 

The State Police Bomb Squad was called in to secure the scene before firefighters could search the apartment. 

They removed ammunition and other munitions from the apartment, according to fire officials.

The Red Cross and Manchester Human Services Department are assisting residents who are displaced and The Red Cross is operating a shelter at the Manchester Senior Center.

Firefighters said on Thursday morning that around 60 people were displaced. As of Thursday afternoon, the fire chief said residents from about half the units have been allowed back in. Eight of the units might be uninhabitable for a long-period of time. 

The fire is under investigation.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Police Need Help to ID New Haven Shooter


New Haven police are trying to identify the man who they said is responsible for gunfire in the parking lot at the Grand Cafe on April 18.

The department released photos on Thursday afternoon.

Anyone who knows who the man is, should call the detective division at 203-946-6304.

Photo Credit: New Haven Police

Thousands of Bikers Converge on DC


Thousands of motorcyclists from around the country roared into Washington, D.C., Thursday as part of the annual "2 Million Bikers to DC" ride.

The ride and a subsequent rally honor the victims, survivors and first responders of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, as well as members of the armed forces who have sacrificed themselves for the United States.

Early Thursday, bikers gathered in the suburbs before leaving for the District, creating a thunderous rolling convoy on blocked-off routes. They began reaching the National Mall around 11:30 a.m. for an honor rally on the National Mall, which began at 2 p.m. and will end at 8 p.m. 

The rally is free and open to the public, who can find it between 12th and 14th streets and Madison and Jefferson drives.

"Builds me up," said one motorcyclist at the staging area in Fort Washington, Maryland before leaving for the ride. "Well worth the trip."

Another rider, Vietnam veteran Tom Secor, bought his Honda motorcycle just two weeks ago and rode in from Wisconsin. He said he had "the honor of being part of this group and being just one of thousands of riders that will be here that are honoring those that are no longer with us."

Red, white and blue was on display everywhere -- even on a set of high-heeled boots worn by Amy White.

"I skipped chemo to be here today," she said. "I'm dying of lupus, but I'll rock and roll until I can't go no more."

Before revving up for their ride, each motorcyclist received a name tag displaying the name of at least one person who perished on 9/11. Rider Rebecca Harris of Indiana received the name tag of Edward Calderon.

"God bless him. I mean, it's hard to -- you're going to get us emotional now," Harris said as she teared up. "But God bless him. I don't even know who they are." She reconsidered, then said, "I do know who they are. Right here." Harris touched her hand to her heart.

Around 10:45 a.m., motorcyclists began rolling out from Fort Washington Harley-Davidson along the blocked-off streets heading into the District.

Other riders left from staging areas at Battley Harley-Davidson in Gaithersburg, Maryland; Coleman Power Sports in Falls Church, Virginia, and Patriot Harley-Davidson of Fairfax, Virginia.

Prince George's County Police warned drivers about the riders from Fort Washington. There were some temporary road closures for safety reasons.

Mass. Ebola Doc Steadily Improving


A Holden, Massachusetts, doctor diagnosed with the Ebola virus is improving significantly.

Dr. Rick Sacra has been in an isolation unit at Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha since Friday after contracting the deadly disease in Liberia. While he's still very weak, he's been getting better everyday.

His wife, Debbie, is keeping in touch with him through a video conference system and says there's been ups and downs.

"He was very pale, his eyes were red, he did not have a lot of energy," she said at first.

However, during the news conference, doctors explained how the blood transfusions he's getting from Dr. Kent Brantly, another ebola survivor, may be helping him. The theory is that people who have survived the often-deadly virus develop antibodies to it, and those anti-bodies may kick start another person's immune system.

He's also taking another experimental drug, but doctors refuse to identify it, saying it's uncharted territory.

"We thank God for his mercy in preserving Rick's life. We are also thankful for the research drug and excellent supportive medical care that was available, because he could be evacuated," Debbie Sacra said.

His wife also spoke about when Dr. Sacra was in Liberia, he couldn't even find a single pair of rubber gloves or protective boots for his staff. He eventually acquired them, but she said this shows just how bad the situation is there.

When asked, if he will go back, she said, "I'm sure that when he gets his strength back, he's going to be ready to go back and I'll have to allow that."

Sacra is the third American aid worker with the virus to be flown to the U.S. for treatment. A fourth worker, who's name isn't known, is now at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta.

Photo Credit: SIM USA

2-Alarm Fire Breaks Out in Danbury


Emergency crews are responding to a two-alarm structure fire in the area of Taagan Point and Moody Lane in Danbury, according to Mayor Mark Boughton.

No additional information on the fire was immediately available.

Check back for updates.

Photo Credit: Monica Garske

More Than 1 Million Smoke Alarms Recalled


Three Kidde smoke alarm models were recalled Thursday due to the possibility of alarm failure following a power outage, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

The recall applies to about 1.2 million residential smoke alarms in the US and 112,000 in Canada. No injuries or incidents have been reported.

The models are the Kidde i12010S with manufacture dates between December 18, 2013 and May 13, 2014; combination smoke/CO alarm il2010SCO with manufacture dates between December 30, 2013 and May 13, 2014; and combination smoke/CO alarm model KN-COSM-IBA with manufacture dates between October 22, 2013 and May 13, 2014.

The smoke alarms are hard-wired into a home's electric power. Two of the models come with sealed 10-year batteries inside.

The alarms are round, white, and 5 to 6 inches in diameter, with "Always On" engraved on the front of models with sealed 10-year batteries inside.

Amazon.com, HomeDepot.com and shopkidde.com are a few of the retailers who sold the alarms, from January 2014 through July 2014 for between $30 and $50.

Consumers are advised to keep using the recalled alarms until they install replacement alarms.

Consumers can call Kidde at (844) 553-9011 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET Monday through Friday to request a replacement or go online at www.kidde.com and click on "Recalls" for more information.

Photo Credit: Consumer Product Safety Commission

Former VA Supervisor Steals $15K From Government


A former facilities management supervisor at the VA medical center in West Haven has been sentenced to four years of probation, including six months of home confinement, after stealing between $15,000 and $20,000 from the government while on the job, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Venita Godfrey-Scott, of New Haven, pleaded guilty to one count of theft of government property in May and learned her fate in court today, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

She was sentenced to four years of probation and will spend the first six months on home confinement with electric monitoring. Godfrey-Scott is also required to perform 120 hours of community service and pay $15,000 restitution, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

She’s accused of directing VA employees to perform home improvement projects at her private residence from 2010-2013, while serving as a supervisor for the center’s facilities management service.

The department is responsible for carpentry, painting, locks, doors and minor construction projects at the VA facility.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office said VA employees worked on a deck in Godfrey-Scott’s backyard, installed carpet at her home and made improvements to her kitchen, bathroom and basement. They purchased construction materials for the projects using her government-issued credit card.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Godfrey-Scott sometimes instructed her employees to work on projects around her home during the regular work day while the VA was paying them.

Investigators found that she stole between $15,000 and $20,000 from the government.

Information on an attorney for Godfrey-Scott was not available.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Connecticut

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Yoga Studio Slammed for 9/11 Deal


An Arlington hot yoga studio triggered a Twitter frenzy Thursday after offering a Sept. 11-themed discount on yoga classes, the Washington Post reports.

Bikram Arlington, located just four miles away from the Pentagon, tweeted Thursday morning: "9 + 11 = 20% OFF! PATRIOT DAY SALE on Bikram Yoga."

The studio deleted the tweet soon after outraged responses began flooding in.

Before deleting the tweet, however, the Bikram Arlington account tried to defend its promotion, tweeting, “The goal was to point out what date it was and associate to patriotism and to remember it. Its a shame some of you go to the negative.”

Minutes later, the company tweeted again, advising users to search the term "911 building 7," referring to a conspiracy theory about the 9/11 attacks. That tweet has been deleted as well.

Owner Zahra Vaezi, 33, told the Washington Post, "I didn’t realize people would be so 'roar,' you know?"

“It’s like that man who punched his wife,” she said, referring to ex-Ravens player Ray Rice, who appears to punch his then-fiancee in a video released earlier this week. "I mean, that’s upsetting. But I think it kind of gets blown out of proportion."

Vaezi’s husband, Frank, who wrote the promotional tweet, has taken to Twitter to apologize for the tweets, several times.

"I wrote that stupid post at 1am with yoga brain. I’m sure some of you know what I mean. Z fought against it don’t blame her!!" read one tweet.

"Please accept our sincerest apologies, we did not mean to cause any harm to anyone," read another.

Vaezi also told the Post that the promotion is still valid.

The studio's voice mailbox was full, and NBC Washington was unable to leave a request for a comment.

The criticism of Bikram Arlington comes after similar outrage last year over a 9/11-related promotion by a Wisconsin golf course.

The owner of Tumbledown Trails Golf Course was bombarded with a backlash and even death threats after he advertised nine holes of golf for $9.11 to mark the anniversary of the attacks.

Photo Credit: @cameron_gray

Teen Missing From Vernon Foster Home


Authorities are searching for a 15-year-old girl from Vernon who ran away from a foster home Aug. 20 and has been missing ever since, according to police.

Police issued a Silver Alert for 15-year-old Anahicha Mendez after she left a Department of Children and Families foster home late last month.

Her whereabouts are unknown.

Anahicha is described as a white female standing 5 feet 5 inches tall and weighing 130 pounds. Police said she has brown eyes and reddish blonde hair.

Anyone with information on her whereabouts is urged to call Vernon police at 860-872-9126 or the DCF hotline at 800-842-2288.

Photo Credit: Vernon Police Department

4 Teens to be Charged With Murder in Enfield Slaying


Four teens will face new charges, including felony murder, in the fatal shooting of an 18-year-old Enfield man earlier this month, according to police.

Police have obtained arrest warrants for four teens, aged 16, 17 and 18. The 16-year-old is believed to have pulled the trigger.

The suspects, first taken into custody the night Jonathan Torres was shot and killed on Prospect Street, were previously charged with the theft of a motor vehicle and weapons offenses, police said.

They were apprehended in Windsor within half an hour of the shooting and will be formally charged Friday, police said.

The two 18-year-old suspects have been identified as Takai T. Brown, of Bridgeport, and Cheyenne Concepcion, of Enfield.

All four teens will be charged with felony murder, first-degree robbery, conspiracy to commit first-degree robbery, second-degree larceny and conspiracy to commit second-degree larceny.

The 16- and 17-year-old suspects will also be charged with theft of a firearm, according to police. They have been held at a juvenile detention facility in Hartford.

The teens are accused of driving a stolen car to the scene. Police said Brown was behind the wheel.

The day after the shooting, Brown and Concepcion were charged with third-degree larceny, carrying a pistol without a permit and carrying a weapon in a motor vehicle.

Police said detectives obtained seven search warrants to examine property and DNA, which helped them link the teens to the crime.

School Drops "Arab" Mascot, Almost


The Southern California high school that had come under fire for its "Arab" mascot and logo, widely denounced as racist, now has a new mascot: the "Mighty Arab." 

"The new mascot is a distinguished-looking Arab gentleman in historical dress," Superintendent Darryl Adams Coachella of the Valley Unified School District told KPCC. "It's a stoic figure but a very classy figure."

The school district approved Coachella Valley High School's new logo and nickname after an anti-discrimination group objected to the old one, which depicted a scowling man with a scraggly beard, hooked nose and headscarf.

The new "Mighty Arab" mascot and logo will represent the school in Riverside County with a trimmed beard and kaffiyeh featuring the initials "CV."

The new mascot was approved at the district's Board of Trustees meeting earlier this week, about a year after the Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee voiced objections to the old mascot. Mascot discussion occurred in a closed-door meeting Tuesday before the unanimous vote in favor of the new logo and nickname.

The old nickname was just "the Arabs," minus the "Mighty."

District officials said last week that the old mascot costume, which included the scowling face on an enlarged head, will no longer appear at events. The costumed mascot appeared at events such as football games, alongside a costumed belly dancing genie character.

The new logo will be featured on uniforms and physical education shirts. The old logo will be removed from murals on several school buildings and signs on the campus, school officials told KPCC.

Abed Ayoub  of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee said the group fully supports the new mascot and image.

"We're very happy with this," Ayoub told KPCC. "It's something that could be on the murals and on the gym floor without offending anybody. It's not a caricature based on stereotypical, Orientalist views of who Arabs are."

Ayoub  is planning to attend a joint news conference Friday with school officials, KPCC reported.

The Arab mascot has existed since the 1920s to recognize the desert region's reliance on date farming, a traditionally Middle Eastern crop. Opposition to the change had come mostly from the school's alumni, but the president of the alumni association Rich Ramirez welcomed the move.

"All the alumni want to keep it as it was," Ramirez told The Desert Sun. "But I've written a lot of retorts saying, 'It's not up to us any longer in today's society. If you offend one of 10, you've got to do something about that one."

New Charges for Mauled Boy's Dad


The father of a 4-year-old Miami boy who was found mauled to death in a dog attack has now been charged with manslaughter.

Charges for Javon Dade Sr., 30, were upgraded from child neglect causing great bodily harm to manslaughter at his arraignment Thursday. His girlfriend, 26-year-old Alessandra Carrasco, who was also arrested on child neglect charges, is also being charged with manslaughter.

It is unclear if either has an attorney.

The body of Javon Dade Jr. was found in overgrown grass in the family's back yard after he was reported missing on Aug 13. He had been mauled to death by a dog or dogs in the yard, police said.

According to Miami-Dade Police arrest reports, Dade Jr. was found with "severe head trauma and neck trauma consistent with a dog mauling."

In court, prosecutors said Carrasco "brought the dog into the property" and that she "was in charge of the child."

Carrasco and Dade Sr. had spent the night and early morning smoking marijuana cigarettes laced with cocaine, the reports said.

When Dade Sr. went to check on his son around 9:20 a.m., he wasn't in his bedroom, the report said. Police arrived and found the body in the yard.

Police said Animal Services workers took six dogs from the scene and one, a blue and white adult pit bull, was later euthanized.

The Department of Children and Families had warned of the dogs three years before the incident, officials said.

Photo Credit: NBC 6 South Florida

Crash Vic Pays for Stolen E-ZPass?


A Fairfax County, Virginia, woman has been left to pick up the tab after someone racked up more than $1,000 on her E-ZPass when her transponder was stolen following a severe car accident.

After the head-on crash back in February, Mindy Gaertner feels lucky to be alive — let alone walking.

"The last thing I knew, there were headlights right in front of me," Gaertner said. "And the worst sound I ever heard in my life."

Gaertner was left in critical condition following the wreck, and her car was totaled.

Since then, she's focused on one thing: recovering. She doesn't really remember the first month after the crash. "I was heavily, heavily medicated and had a lot of injuries from head to toe," Gaertner said.

Over the past several months, she's been in and out of intensive rehab. But a few weeks ago, while going through her bills, she found a charge on her American Express credit card statement that didn't quite make sense.

Gaertner found out that her E-ZPass transponder, linked to her credit card, had paid for tolls up and down the East Coast, from Virginia to Massachusetts. The total over the course of several months: $1,003.78.

"It never occurred to me that the E-ZPass would've even survived the accident, much less [that] anyone was using it," she said.

But someone was using it — a lot.

"This person was driving all over," Gaertner said. She called E-ZPass, and the company canceled the transponder. But a few more charges came through. She said that "even though E-ZPass stopped it, these people were still driving around and added up another $108 after I stopped it."

Mindy then called the tow truck company, Henry's Wrecker Service.

"I said, 'Look, this is what happened, I need to know when the car was taken away and who took it.' And the response was, 'Have a happy Henry's day,' and I was hung up on."

Henry's told News4 they are investigating. The first of the fraudulent charges came the day the car was moved to a salvage yard, the company said.

Gaertner then contacted Fairfax County Police, but they said it's out of their jurisdiction.

"We would say, treat those E-ZPasses like a credit card," said Lucy Caldwell of Fairfax County police. "Call the E-ZPass company and cancel it immediately."

Gaertner thinks the condition of her car made it easier for a thief to target.

"When you look at the picture of the car, it's easy to understand that that was a great target," she said. "That whoever was in that car was not going to be in a situation to be thinking about the E-ZPass."

With a hospital bed in her living room, it's clear that Gaertner's rehab has been intense. And now in addition to medical bills, she's on the hook for someone else's joyrides.

"It's not ending. It's constant," she said. "I mean, I didn't even know you could rack up charges like that."

Arnold Portrait Touch-Up Questioned


There could be much more to the Governator’s official portrait than meets the eye, according to multiple reports.

An obvious blotch on former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s recently unveiled portrait might be the result of a hurried cover-up job to scrub his ex-wife Maria Shriver out of the picture, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.

Sources told the Chronicle that Shriver’s face originally appeared on a small lapel pin in the painting. But it's now apparently covered with a sloppy blue smudge.

Schwarzenegger’s former assistant Clay Russell told the Chronicle he first saw the portrait with the pin on an easel in the then-governor's Santa Monica office.

The only thing that struck out to Russell at that time: “It was unusual for a portrait to be done so soon — a couple of years into the administration," he told the Chronicle.

Russell said he didn't blame Schwarzenegger for hanging the portrait in the Capitol without Shriver's lapel pin. “Considering everything, it’s not that odd,” he said. “It would have been weirder if it was already up and he had removed it.”

The portrait was done by Austrian artist Gottfried Helnwein. Schwarzenegger revealed the portrait Monday, nearly four years after he left office.

Schwarzenegger and Shriver separated when it was revealed in 2010 that he fathered a child out of wedlock with their longtime housekeeper.

Photo Credit: Getty

3 Babies Found Dead in Filthy Home


A woman is in custody after three infants' bodies were found in a filthy, infested Massachusetts home Thursday, two weeks after four other children living there were taken into state custody.

Thirty-one-year-old Erika Murray will be arraigned on intimidation of a witness and other charges Friday morning in Uxbridge District Court, police in Blackstone say.

The chief medical examiner will determine the cause and circumstances surrounding the three infants' deaths, whose ages and genders are not yet known, and their bodies are being removed from the home immediately, Worcester District Attorney Joseph Early said.

A 6-month-old, a 3-year-old, a 10-year-old and a 13-year-old were taken out of the home by DCF two weeks ago, Early said. The child welfare agency said that someone reported the conditions, and it is working with investigators.

A neighbor contacted police after one of the children approached the neighbor saying that the 6-month-old child was crying, authorities said. Early said the child was filthy.

Detectives were investigating a case of reckless endangerment when the infants' remains were found, Early said.

Hazmat crews were on the scene at the 23 St. Paul St. home Thursday. Early said that there were flies, bugs and feces in the home. Used diapers were piled over a foot and a half high in some places.

Crews blocked the road off during their investigation.

Chief Atstupenas of the Blackstone Police Department said there is no danger to the public associated with the case.

According to the town assessor, the home is owned by Kristina Rivera, who currently lives in Woonsocket, Rhode Island.

The Blackstone Police Department, Massachusetts State Police detectives, and the Worcester County District Attorney's office continue to investigate.

Stay with NECN as this story develops.

Photo Credit: Matt Gregoire

New Haven Brings Life to Blighted Neighborhood


A new campaign is offering financial incentives to New Haven residents who move into restored homes in an effort to revitalize once-blighted neighborhoods.

Alicia Malloon just moved into her home on Putnam Street in August.

“It's been great. I mean, working in New Haven, and not being from New Haven, I was a little intimidated, but it's pretty good. The neighbors are so welcoming, and so nice,” said Alicia Malloon.

She, like many of her neighbors who moved into restored homes, received $10,000 from the city's RE:NewHaven campaign, which hopes to entice people to settle down in the city. The money will help with her down payment and closing costs.

“It really helps people who think they don't have a chance to become homeowners," said Malloon. "It really does help them, gives us a head start on things.”

However, she is also helping the city, because her homeownership helps to rebuild a New Haven neighborhood where houses sat vacant for years. Now, they're filled with families.

“We know homeownership and owner occupancy contribute mightily to stable neighborhoods. In stable neighborhoods, residents take care of their property and they take pride in that result,” said New Haven Mayor Toni Harp.

The city is hoping that this Putnam Street Revitalization Project is just one of many success stories.

“We're telling everybody that we want you to be homeowners in New Haven, we want you to fix up your properties, we want you to be part of this community,” said Livable City Initiative Director Erik Johnson.

Incentives are also being offered for homeowners who make their homes more energy efficient.

More information is available online.

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