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Team CT Finishes 5th in PGA Junior Golf Championship


This past weekend, Team Connecticut placed fifth at the PGA Junior League Golf Championship in Duluth, Georgia.

Eight teams from across the United States participated in the tournament, which ran from Oct. 23 to 26, including Texas, Indiana, Iowa, New Jersey, California, Tennessee and Georgia.

The Connecticut team, coached by Suzy Whaley, consisted of 10 children from across the state.

“The kids are working together as a team – good or bad, win or lose,“ said Whaley. “What we’re building here is something incredible. We’re building people, young men and women, who are going to play golf for a lifetime.”

In the championship round on Sunday, Team Connecticut beat out Team Texas 8-4, to secure a fifth place finish.

Team member Maisie Filler said that she enjoyed playing and improving alongside her teammates.

“We worked together this week and that was really cool,” said Maisie. “I like playing with other people – you can help each other and get better.”

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Canseco Accidentally Shoots Own Finger Cleaning Gun


Former baseball star Jose Canseco accidentally shot himself in the finger while cleaning what authorities say is a large-caliber handgun in his Las Vegas home Monday afternoon, police told NBC News.

Canseco shot a finger on his left hand, apparently unaware that a bullet was in the chamber, Las Vegas Metro Lt. Mark Reddon said.

"It was a serious hand injury," but not a serious medical injury, Reddon told NBC News. "There was nothing suspicious. There was no alcohol involved, just a misstep with a handgun."

Canseco began his long major league career in the 1980s playing for the Oakland Athletics, before going on to play for the Rangers, Red Sox, Yankees, White Sox and other teams.

He has admitted to using performance-enhancing drugs during his MLB career and after retiring also competed in mixed martial arts and boxing.

Check back for updates.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Board Backs Teacher Transferred Over Same-Sex Marriage


Relief flooded the face of a New Britain teacher forced to switch schools over her same-sex relationship when the Board of Education unanimously voted to move her back to the elementary school where she has spent the past nine years of her career.

Teacher Stephy Cho said she was "involuntarily transferred" from Jefferson Elementary School after marrying her same-sex partner of six years, who also teaches at Jefferson.

Cho and Alice Badecker, who has spent 13 years with the school, tied the knot in July.

The New Britain superintendent subsequently sent Cho a letter explaining that she would be moved to the North End Elementary School that New Britain teachers union president Sue Truglio read aloud at a school board meeting Tuesday night.

"While the district supports positive interactions between coworkers, relationships of a romantic nature may have a tendency to interfere with the work environment," Supt. Kelt Cooper wrote in the letter, according to Truglio. "I am concerned that the nature of your relationship could result in claims of impropriety which I would like to protect you from."

Cooper explained that the decision should not be considered punishment and does not reflect Cho's work performance.

"This decision is simply a proactive measure to ensure that our work environment continues to run smoothly and that you can continue your personal relationship without any negative impact," Cooper wrote.

When Truglio asked Cooper if the relationship has caused problems in the past, the superintendent couldn't point to specifics.

"Mr. Cooper says he was concerned the nature of Stephy's relationship could result in claims of impropriety," Truglio said at the meeting Tuesday. "There have been no concerns for nine years, yet as soon as Stephy marries Alice, there is a concern."

Cho said at the meeting her sexual orientation has no bearing on her ability to do her job.

"I am dedicated to the success of students in this district and I'm committed to making New Britain a first-class educational district," Cho explained. "I am also gay."

She said that when a new administration took over at Jefferson last year, she began to feel that school leaders were treating her differently.

"Alice and I have the utmost sensitivity and have not displayed our relationship at all," Cho said. "The involuntary transfer has affected me in many ways. It's impacted negatively on my economic potential to earn extra income, increased my commute, caused unnecessary stress and emotional turmoil."

New Britain's chief human resources officer Bob Stacy told a different story Tuesday night. Stacy said he had "no idea" Cho had gotten married and that the decision to move her had nothing to do with her sexual orientation or relationship status.

"I think people are reading way too much into this. They are presuming there is only one reason this could have happened, and that's just not the case," Stacy said, adding that Cho's salary and benefits remained unchanged. "It's also not a unique situation in a district where people get involuntarily transferred for a variety of reasons."

Regardless of the reason for Cho's transfer, the Board of Education threw her its support Tuesday night, voting unanimously to move Cho back to Jefferson.

"I love my job, I love this district, I love the children I teach, and it is for that reason I am here," Cho said.

But the battle is still ongoing. Cho has also filed a grievance with the Connecticut Commission of Human Rights and Opportunities, which is currently pending.

"The reasons the administration gave for her involuntary transfer were nonsense," said Cho's attorney, Richard Padykula.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com
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NYer Beheads Woman, Kills Self: PD


A man beheaded a woman, then jumped in front of a moving Long Island Rail Road train in what's being investigated as a brutal murder-suicide, law enforcement officials say. 

The officials said police found the body of a woman in her 60s outside a Farmingdale apartment complex on Secatogue Avenue Tuesday night. Her head was severed. 

The body of a man in his 30s, who investigators believe may be the woman's son, was found nearby about a mile away on a section of LIRR tracks after he apparently jumped in front of an eastbound LIRR train, according to officials. 

Passengers on the train were being loaded onto another train, and will be taken back to another station and bused to their destinations from there, officials said. 

The section of the LIRR track is expected to be closed while officials investigate.

Officials say the incident appears to be domestic, and not terror-related. 

Windsor Locks Subway Restaurant Robbed at Knife-Point


Police are searching for the man who robbed a Subway Restaurant in Windsor Locks at knife-point Tuesday night.

According to police, a man brandishing a knife entered the restaurant at 92 Main Street around 9:10 p.m. He stole money and took off running northbound on Oak Street.

It's not clear how many people were inside the restaurant at the time of the robbery.

Police said the suspect is still at large. Anyone with information is urged to call Windsor Locks police.

Nurse Won't Self-Quarantine: Report


Lawyers for a Maine nurse who was quarantined in New Jersey after returning from West Africa told the Bangor Daily News that she will not abide by health officials' recommendation that she stay quarantined for 21 days at home.

Kaci Hickox's lawyer, Steven Hyman, told the newspaper she only agreed to not going out for two days.

Hickox treated Ebola patients in Sierra Leone and shows no symptoms of the deadly virus. She was released from a New Jersey hospital on Monday after being isolated against her will.

The Maine CDC's recommendation is a 21-day self-quarantine with daily monitoring, which is more stringent than federal guidelines. However, state health officials said on Tuesday they're preparing to legally enforce Maine's "voluntary" quarantine on health care workers who've treated Ebola patients.

Northern Maine Medical Center reported earlier that Hickox had agreed to a 21-day quarantine at an undisclosed location.

Coming back to the United States after volunteering with Doctors Without Borders, Hickox was the first person forced into the state of New Jersey's mandatory quarantine at Newark Liberty International Airport for people arriving from three West African countries. She spent the weekend in a quarantine tent despite saying she never had Ebola symptoms and tested negative in a preliminary evaluation.

Stay with us as this story develops. 

Teens Suspended for Airsoft Photo


A picture posted to Facebook is stirring up controversy at a Massachusetts high school after two high school sweethearts posed with large airsoft guns before their homecoming dance last week.

"We took them with the airsoft guns because it's our hobby, and we wanted to include them," now-suspended  Bristol-Plymouth Regional Technical School student Jamie Pereira said.

The guns only shoot plastic pellets, but school officials say the Middleborough teenagers, including Pereira and Tito Velez, caused a disruption at the school.

Dr. Richard Gross, superintendent of the school district, said his problem is not with the guns. He says he defends free speech, but that he takes issue with the caption below the photo that reads "Homecoming 2014."

"When you tie that to a school event, that's something to be concerned about," said Dr. Gross.

School officials say the dance Friday was uneventful, but people Monday in school were fearful and parents were concerned.

Pereira and Velez defend themselves, saying they often play with the pellet guns with friends at local fields, and that the photo was taken by Velez's dad at home on private property. In the comments below the picture, they say they made it clear the guns were fakes.

Now they're upset with what they call a 10-day suspension and how they were allegedly treated by both police and school officials before their State Cross Country meet Monday.

"We were brought into separate rooms and then questioned by a police officer without parental consent there," Pereira said.

"They took me to an empty room, searched everything I had on me, my bag, my clothes," Velez said.

The suspended students and parents are meeting with school officials to figure out what's next on Wednesday.

NECN also put a call into Taunton Police, who said they had minimal involvement in the case. 

Photo Credit: NECN

Soccer Coach Who Sent Lewd Video Can Be "Creepy or Weird": Player


The former E.O. Smith High School girls' soccer coach accused of sending a lewd video of himself to members of his team also made "inappropriate comments" to his players about their bodies, team members told police.

Jeffrey Sirois, 57, of Lebanon, was arrested earlier this month after he admitted to sending an inappropriate video to players on his team through the smartphone app Snapchat, police said.

According to the warrant for his arrest, several of Sirois' team members were at a pizza restaurant in Mansfield when the message crossed one of their cellphones.

The recipient and four other teens looked at the message together, then reported the incident to school officials, who in turn contacted police, the warrant says.

Sirois told investigators he meant to send that video to his girlfriend but instead sent it to his entire Snapchat group, according to the warrant. Students said Sirois has sent them private Snapchats in the past but none that were obscene.

Team members told police that Sirois had also made "inappropriate comments" to girls on the team about the size of their breasts and rear ends, the warrant says.

"Coach can make people uncomfortable at times because he can be creepy or weird," one player told police.

A student serving as the goalkeeper during practice one day said she was dancing and "fooling around" when Sirois told her, "Now all you need is a pole," according to the warrant. The girl told police the comment surprised and embarrassed her.

Sirois was arrested Oct. 3 and charged with impairing the morals of a child, obscenity and breach of peace. He pleaded not guilty in court Tuesday.

“My client is profoundly remorseful that this is alleged to have occurred and we’re gonna get to the bottom of this and he hopes to get back to his first love in life which is soccer,” defense attorney John O’Brien said Tuesday.

School officials said they fired Sirois from his job after the allegations surfaced. His attorney said Sirois been suspended from other coaching jobs as well.

According to the warrant for his arrest, Sirois was also ordered to stay off school grounds and have no "unsupervised contact" with anyone under the age of 16.

Sirois left court without comment on Tuesday. He’s due back before a judge in December.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com/Southeast Soccer Club

Milford 3rd Grader Banned From School Over Ebola Concerns


The father of a third-grade student in Milford is suing the school system for banning the 7-year-old from her elementary school over concerns she may have contracted Ebola during a trip to Nigeria.

According to the lawsuit filed Tuesday, a third-grade girl traveled to Lagos, Nigeria, to attend a family wedding with her father from Oct. 2-13.

Although no new cases of Ebola have been reported in Nigeria since Aug. 31 and the World Health Organization has declared the country Ebola free, Milford officials told the girl's family that the girl must stay home from Meadowside Elementary School until Nov. 3 “due to concern from certain parents and teachers that she could transmit Ebola to other children,” the lawsuit alleges.

The girl has not displayed any symptoms of the virus and did not spend any time in the Ebola-stricken counties of Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia.

Pediatricians found her to be in good health during an Oct. 24 medical evaluation and cleared the girl to "participate fully in the school program," according to the lawsuit.

Nonetheless, Milford superintendent Dr. Elizabeth Feser warned that if the girl showed up at Meadowside Elementary before Nov. 3, the girl would be “removed from the school by police,” the suit claims.

A spokesperson for Gov. Dan Malloy's office told the Associated Press on Tuesday the decision did not come from the state's health commissioner, who has enacted a three-week quarantine order for anyone returning from countries affected by the outbreak.

"This was a decision by the town's public health officials," spokesperson Andrew Doba told the Associated Press. "The state did not play a role in making this determination, and this family is not under any quarantine orders."

Neither the school superintendent nor the Board of Education have returned requests for comment. Milford Public Health Director Dr. Dennis McBride declined to comment, citing the pending legal case.

Parents admitted concern over the possibility of Ebola but said the measures taken are extreme.

"As a parent, I'd have concerns, but I don't know if it's necessarily fair to keep her out for that long and then send a tutor there," said Kristin Pikul, whose son attends Meadowside Elementary. "If the health department says anything, I think that's what I'd go by, and not necessarily just parents that are worried."

The lawsuit alleges that the student "has suffered severe emotional distress and has been denied access to receiving an education at her elementary school."

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Police Investigate Armed Robbery at Enfield CVS


Police are investigating an armed robbery at an Enfield CVS.

The robber showed a weapon upon entering the store on Route 190 and fled the scene. Police were on scene as of 5:08 a.m.

It doesn't appear that anyone was injured.

More information will be provided when it becomes available.

Photo Credit: Bloomberg via Getty Images

Police Investigate Robbery at Hartford Convenience Store


Police are investigating a robbery at a convenience store in Hartford that happened at 6:20 a.m. Wednesday morning.

Officers were on scene just before 8 a.m. at the Broadstreet Mart at 1180 Broad St. and said that major crimes investigators have been called to the scene.

There is no word on any injuries.

More information will be provided when it becomes available.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Farmington Students to Boycott School Lunch Program


Many Farmington High School students are fed up with their school lunch program and hundreds of them are planning to bring their own lunch to school next week in protest.

Chartwells has run the school's cafeteria services for about three years, according to administrators. While the food quality, portion size and price are all concerns students are raising on a Chartwells Boycott Facebook page created to boycott the cafeteria lunches, student Sarah White said there's a policy Chartwells has that she finds humiliating.

“I was told I didn't have enough money left in my account to charge it and they threw it out in front of me," White said.

As a result, students who experience this are going home hungry, according to student Christy Rosario. The dumping of food, which White said has happened to a lot of kids, was the last straw, so she and some peers decided to organize a boycott. Nearly 300 people are signed up to participate in the boycott next week.

“That’s what everybody does…in history class you hear about Rosa Parks and that sort of thing," she said.

Student Rachel White said that it hasn't always been this way with school lunches.

“We used to have a really good lunch program and there were healthy options," she said.

But Rachel White expressed dissatisfaction with the way school lunches are now.

“The food’s not even cooked. I know some people who have gotten food poisoning. There's mold in it.” she said.

Rosario agreed.

“It’s really disappointing to not have any other options other than that kind of food," Rosario said.

Farmington Superintendent Kathleen Greider said in a statement that district officials "deeply respect our students' opinions and honor the dignity of every student that attends the Farmington Schools."

"The Farmington school district works closely with Chartwells to provide healthy, nutritious and appealing meals to students that meet national dietary guidelines," Greider said. "These guidelines changed the year that Chartwells joined the Farmington school district. Even with these changes, we are currently experiencing very favorable participation levels in our lunch program, especially at the high school level. Students are provided a significant number of food options at the high school level and Chartwells strives to continuously enhance these options. In fact, Chartwells sends out periodic surveys to determine strengths, needs and to determine ways to deliver food options that are locally grown, fresh and nutritious."

Students organizing the boycott have met with high school administrators to discuss their concerns and are planning to meet with the school principal and a Chartwells representative later this week to talk about their complaints and requests to improve the school lunch program.

Greider said that administrators at the district values feedback from students and that the Farmington district "serves as a leader in ensuring student voice is a centerpiece of our continuous improvement efforts actross all schools."

"Again, we deeply respect our students’ opinions and honor the dignity of every student in our schools," Greider told NBC Connecticut. "In turn, FHS administration and Chartwells are working closely with the group of students that expressed concern and we are investigating the issue highlighted in your broadcast on the procedure followed by Chartwells at FHS when unpaid lunch balances exceeded the district’s established level."

Chartwells could not be reached immediately for comment.

Serial Rapist Captured


A Massachusetts man accused of fleeing child rape charges and going on a nationwide crime spree that authorities say included at least six sexual assaults was apprehended Tuesday after crashing a car into a New York river.

Gregory Lewis of Southbridge was arrested shortly before midnight Tuesday in the village of Fort Edward.

Police say a New York State Police trooper observed Lewis driving with a missing license plate. When the officer attempted to stop the vehicle, Lewis fled.

Police received calls that Lewis crashed his vehicle into a river, emerged from the river and pulled a gun on a witness to the crash. Police arrived on scene and took Lewis into custody.

A firearm recovered from Lewis matches the description of one he’s accused of stealing from a family member in September.

Lewis was initially arrested in Massachusetts back in August for statutory rape of a child under 14, ordered to stay under house arrest.

Since cutting his GPS ankle bracelet and fleeing the state on Sept. 15, police say, Lewis is suspected of committing six or more sexual assaults in different states.

Ten days after he allegedly fled, police say Lewis returned to Massachusetts, broke into his stepfather's home, tied him up and stole a gun.

Police in Denver announced earlier Sunday that Lewis was wanted in Colorado for sexual assault, kidnapping and aggravated robbery.

Officials in North Carolina said they believe Lewis kidnapped, robbed and assaulted a woman in Charlotte on Sept. 23.

Lewis is believed to have been in Denver earlier this month. Police say he was in Portland, Oregon, around Oct. 13. The next day, officials say he was in Boise, Idaho. On Oct. 17, according to police, he was in Salt Lake City, Utah.

He was held without bail at the Washington County jail in New York and arraigned in that county. Massachusetts State Police said he is expected to be in New York at least until Friday.

The investigation into his other alleged crimes is continuing.

Photo Credit: Massachusetts State Police

Man Arrested in Manchester Stabbing


Police arrested a man Tuesday in connection to a stabbing that happened over the weekend.

Edward Walker, 26, of Manchester, is accused of stabbing someone he knew several times Sunday during a dispute at a Foster Street home, according to Manchester Police Capt. Christopher Davis.

The 34-year-old man stabbed was seriously injured, but his wounds are non-life-threatening, police said.

Police held him in custody on a $350,000 bond and he was due in court on Wednesday morning.

Photo Credit: Manchester Police Department

Just 6 Cars: Ferrari Sells Out of New "Sergio"


Ferrari is rolling out a new car, but only a few people will be able to own one.

The luxury automaker is creating only six models of Ferrari Sergio. Designed in partnership with Italian firm Pininfarina, the car is expected to cost several million each (the price hasn’t been disclosed).

But if you thought you could be one of the six lucky owners, it’s probably too late. Ferrari has already pre-sold all Sergio cars, according to CNBC. Only long-standing Ferrari clients got the invites to purchase the limited sports car. Their names have not been reveled.

A spokesperson from the automaker told CNBC the production on new models will start "shortly” with deliveries expected next year.

The Sergio is modeled on the Ferrari's 458 Spider mechanical base and technologic components. The doors rise up and the car can accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h in less than 3.4 seconds, the company said. It's named in honor of Sergio Pininfarina, an Italian automobile designer who died in 2012.

The car made its debut at the 2013 Geneva Motor show as a concept, with no windshield or mirrors. The design will be tweaked to comply with road laws.

Ferrari, which is owned by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, has built a world-class brand by limiting the number of vehicles it produces to 7,000 per year, making its cars all the more desirable.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles announced Wednesday it plans to spin off Ferrari into a separate entity and sell 10 percent of Ferrari's shares in a public offering in the United States and Europe, The Associated Press reported. The remaining 90 percent will be distributed to its own shareholders.

The company said the move was part of a plan to raise capital to support the new merged carmakers' growth plans, according to the AP.

Photo Credit: Pininfarina

Man In Obama Mask Robs Dunkin' Donuts


A man wearing a Barack Obama mask, black gloves and carrying a handgun robbed a Dunkin' Donuts in Salem, New Hampshire, on Tuesday.

The suspect demanded money from the register, left the establishment, and got into the passenger side of a dark-colored Toyota with no rear plate.

The vehicle left the parking lot, and headed towards Pelham.

The suspect is also said to have been wearing a black Adidas sweatshirt, black pants, and black shoes.

Similarly, a bank robber wore an Obama mask and carried a Walmart shopping bag, when he robbed a Merrimack, New Hampshire, bank last year, according to the Union Leader.

Anyone with information is asked to contact police.

Photo Credit: Salem Police

State Announces $10M Loan for Electric Boat


Gov. Dan Malloy visited General Dynamics Electric Boat in Groton on Wednesday morning to announce a $10 million economic development loan that the governor said will help meet increased hiring and industry demands at the submarine base.

As part of the upcoming $31.5 million expansion project into an old Pfizer building on Kings Highway, Electric Boat expects to hire up to 200 employees to join its existing in-state work force of 8,700.

Electric Boat President Jeffrey Geiger, Sen. Richard Blumenthal and Rep. Joe Courtney joined Malloy at a press conference announcing the loan.

"I feel very good about," said Geiger, explaining that the loan is a critical subsidy toward the plan to make capital and technological improvements to the new building, which will support the engineering and design of new submarines.

Geiger said the loan will "support what we project to be pretty significant growth in our workload."

Malloy said the $10 million loan is fully forgivable if Electric Boat meets certain employment benchmarks.

"We know that submarines are the preferred platform going forward and we want those to be made here, we want them to be designed here, we want as much as possible to be assembled here," Malloy said.

With Election Day less than a week away, some question the timing of the governor's announcement, suggesting that it may be more about securing his future as governor than the future of Electric Boat, but Geiger said he's grateful for the support no matter when it comes.

Police Arrest Man Accused of Sexually Abusing Pit Bull


Police have arrested a 22-year-old male suspect accused of sexually abusing a Waterbury resident's rescue dog.

Lorenzo Monzillo, 22, of Waterbury, is facing multiple charges including sexual assault and animal cruelty, according to the state judicial website.

Alice Woodruff, of Waterbury, told The Republican American that she held Monzillo at gunpoint after catching him naked near her back porch performing a sexual act on her 12-year-old pit bull named Layla.

The man said he was involved with ISIS and that he was the anti-Christ, Woodruff told the Rep-Am, adding that he claimed to have given the dog Ebola. The reported incident happened at 10:30 a.m. on Oct. 21.

Waterbury police are investigating the incident and have taken a 22-year-old suspect into custody. Police said the man, who lives nearby, was taken to the psychiatric unit at St. Mary's Hospital in Waterbury for an evaluation.

Police charged Lorenzo with fourth-degree sexual assault, cruelty to animals and second-degree preach of peace.

He is next scheduled to appear in court on Nov. 25 and is being held on a $15,000 court-set bond. Lorenzo hasn't entered a plea yet.

Photo Credit: Waterbury Police Department

Made Pariahs for Helping? Ebola Aid Groups Struggle


Courtney Clark is back in the United States after spending 20 months in Guinea as a public health volunteer. The 24-year-old Michigan native would like to return to Ebola-stricken West Africa, but now fears she'd be quarantined when she comes home.

"When I returned in August, it was low-key, and there wasn’t a hysteria in the U.S.,” Clark told NBC. “If I were coming now, I would be worried about how airport officials would treat me. I would also be hesitant to tell people outside of my family.”

As a handful of states enact strict new quarantine protocols, and other groups including schools respond with great caution if not fear about Ebola, aid organizations are concerned that such measures will be a deterrent to other prospective West Africa volunteers like Clark.

On Oct. 24, New York and New Jersey announced a 21-day quarantine for anyone traveling from Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea who had been in contact with an Ebola patient. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention this week revealed new, altered guidelines for how the U.S. should handle travelers from Ebola-affected countries, but said that some measures taken by states go too far.

“We are concerned about some policies that we have seen … that might have the effect of increasing stigma or creating false impressions,” CDC Director Dr. Thomas Frieden told reporters Monday.

"Stringent quarantine requirements will be a deterrent for doctors and nurses who otherwise might be able to go and volunteer there,” Dr. Irwin Redlener, a special advisor to New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio for emergency management and planning said in a statement. “I know for a fact that there are doctors who are saying if I knew that I had to be mandatorily interred for three weeks I wouldn't have gone."

Some say the mandate is based more on fear than on fact.

“We are dismayed that it was put into effect without consultation with health authorities,” said Miranda Sissons, executive director of Doctors of the World USA. The international humanitarian organization provides emergency and long-term medical care to countries all over the world, including West Africa.

“The protocols in effect now keep the community safe. If you follow the protocols of self reporting, you keep the public safe,” Sissons said.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie defended the new protocols in an interview on NBC's "Today" show Tuesday, saying that the move was aimed at protecting people in his state. He also said Kaci Hickox, the nurse who penned a critical first-person account after she became the first person quarantined in the Garden State under the mandate, had been discharged after being "symptom-free."

Hickox had no symptoms other than an initial 101-degree temperature taken by a forehead scanner when she was "flushed and upset" by her treatment at Newark Liberty International Airport, she wrote in her Dallas Morning News article.

On Wednesday, Hickox told Matt Lauer on "Today" that she will not abide by Maine health officials' recommendation that she continue to comply with a 21-day quarantine at home.

“I truly believe this policy is not scientifically nor constitutionally just, and so I’m not going to sit around and be bullied around by politicians and be forced to stay in my home when I am not a risk to the American public,” Hickox said.

The organization she volunteered for, Doctors Without Borders, said in a statement to NBC News Wednesday it “strongly disagrees with blanket forced quarantine for health care workers returning from Ebola affected countries.” The group said it respected Hickox’s right to “challenge excessive restrictions being placed upon her.”

Sissons said that people who aren't discouraged by the quarantine protocols may still be discouraged by the possible perception they may encounter when they return to the U.S. from an Ebola-stricken region.

"Aid workers in this epidemic risk their lives and stigma associated to their work," Sissons said.

Organizations fighting Ebola in West Africa have emphasized that volunteers are desperately needed to combat the virus.

The president of the World Bank said on Tuesday that West Africa needs more than 5,000 additional health care workers to control its outbreak. In early October, Global aid agency Doctors Without Borders (MSF) also said  it had even rejected a donation from Australia of more than $2 million and asked the country for volunteers instead, saying even a small amount of healthcare workers would have a "very significant impact.”

The death toll in the Ebola epidemic has risen to 4,922 in eight countries through Oct. 23, the World Health Organization reported.

“I wish the U.S. could redirect all of this energy to the people of West Africa,” said Angela Dunn, epidemic intelligence service officer at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "They are the ones with the true crisis. The disaster is in West Africa. We need to do everything we can to stop the suffering. Not only because it will help Americans stay safe, but more importantly because it is the right thing to do. Unfortunately, I fear the current situation in the U.S. will only extend the suffering in West Africa.”

President Barack Obama said on Tuesday that the American volunteers going to Africa to fight Ebola were doing "God's work" and need to be supported. Obama repeated the message Wednesday at the White House surrounded by health care workers who have been in West Africa: "What we need right now is these shock troops that are out there leading globally. And we can't discourage that, we need to encourage it, and applaud it," Obama said.

The stricter rules haven't deterred all volunteers. Hickox said on "Today" she planned to eventually return to Sierra Leone, where she volunteered for four weeks.

Ohio native Alexa Gudelsky, 24, who served as a public health volunteer for the Peace Corps in Guinea for nearly two years, also said she would return to the region despite the protocols and possible stigma she would face upon her return.

"These people need help and it’s not like when you step out of the plane you are going to die," Gudelsky said. "We’re obligated to help them because they are part of the human race. When we have thousands of people dying and the capabilities to help — we should."

Scholarship Honors Sacred Heart Student Killed in Crash


The H.W. Wilson Foundation has donated $100,000 to Sacred Heart University to establish an scholarship in memory of a student who died when she was struck by a car while walking to campus over the summer.

Kaitlyn Doorhy, 20, was set to begin her junior year. She was crossing the street with a friend on Madison Avenue in Bridgeport the afternoon of Aug. 24 when a car driving northbound swerved to avoid Doorhy's friend and hit her instead, according to police.

The scholarship will be awarded annual a junior from Long Island, where Doorhy lived, with financial need. Officials expect the first award to be given out during the 2015-2016 school year.

“We are very grateful to the H.W. Wilson Foundation for this generous gift in Kaitlyn’s memory,” Judite Vamvakides, director of Annual Giving at SHU, said in a statement. “It will ensure that Kaitlyn is remembered each year and that future students will learn about all that she meant to Sacred Heart.”

Doorhy's four roommates honored her memory recently by planting a tree outside the Chapel of the Holy Spirit on the SHU campus.

They dedicated the tree during Family Weekend and placed a plaque nearby before a crowd of about 70 of Doorhy’s visiting friends and family members.

Photo Credit: Elizabeth Mastrocola
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