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Meth Found Amid Halloween Candy


A Bay Area girl somehow returned home from trick-or-treating on Friday with a real dangerous trick: Hidden in her candy was a small bag of methamphetamine, according to police.

Police in Hercules are trying to determine where the 8-year-old's trick, a .1-gram plastic bag of crystal methamphetamine, came from.

The drugs were discovered after the night of candy-collecting was completed when the girl was sorting through her haul with her parents.

"He had been checking his child's Halloween candy after putting it away on Halloween night, and while checking it found the baggie and suspected it was illegal drugs. He wanted to report it," Hercules Police Sgt. Ezra Tafesse said of the child's father.

Police, who said the child was trick-or-treating in the city's Promenade area, are unsure if the meth found were given to the child intentionally or on accident.

Tafesse said the amount of meth found is enough to have felony charges filed for possession of controlled substance.

The incident has put in question residents' sense of safety. Jazmin Louie said her younger siblings won't be having any more Halloween treats.

"My mom will probably toss it now," she said.

Police said the school resource officer is letting principals know about the drugs, and hope to spread the word that parents need to check their children's candy if they went trick-or-treating in the Promenade area.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area

Route 74 Closed in Ellington


Route 74 in Ellington is closed from Eva Circle to the rotary near Cumberland Farms after a car hit a pole, police said.

Route 74 is also Wappingwood Road.

Girl Plotted School Massacre: Cops


A senior at Radnor High School was arrested Monday after police say she wrote a detailed plan to murder her classmates and a teacher.

Investigators say the 17-year-old girl wrote in her notebook that she wanted to be the first female mass murderer, and specifically described how she would kill several students and one of her teachers at the Philadelphia-area school.

She also allegedly wrote about how much she admired Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, the students behind the 1999 Columbine High School massacre.

"But imagine the power," the girl allegedly wrote. "The bullets leaving the gun with a loud bang, piercing kids around me, the way they collapse, their blood splattering the floor... the screams."

Administrators at Radnor High found the girl’s notebook and reported it to police around 11:30 a.m. Monday.

“There are always warning signs,” said Radnor Township Police Superintendent Bill Colarulo during a press conference Monday afternoon. “If you want to go back and reference the Columbine incident, there were numerous warning signs that went ignored, that went unnoticed and nobody took the proper action and made the report.”

The girl was arrested and will be charged as a juvenile for making terroristic threats. According to investigators, the girl has a history of mental illness. Her parents are cooperating with police. No weapons were found at Radnor High or the teen’s home.

“As soon as it was recognized that these writings were bizarre and dangerous the appropriate steps were taken,” Colarulo said. “That’s what we hope people will do from now on.”

Debbie Singer, a parent of a junior at Radnor High, told NBC10 her daughter and other students knew the suspect had a fascination with the Columbine massacre. The girl allegedly wrote a letter to the parents of one of the Columbine shooters and included detailed notes on how should would execute her own plan.

"It's very said and it's sad for the girl," Singer said. "The rumor was this was going to happen at the pep rally." 

The student is currently undergoing psychiatric evaluation but will remain in custody.

Photo Credit: NBC10.com

Polls to Remain Open for Extra 30 Minutes for 2 Hartford Sites


Two Hartford polling locations will remain open for half an hour.

Gov. Dannel Malloy’s campaign filed a complaint in Hartford Superior Court, asking that voting hours be extended for an hour in Hartford because of delays and other problems at polling locations in the city this morning and the hearing is underway.

The Malloy campaign is asking for polls to remain open until 9 p.m. rather than 8 p.m., but the judge decided polls will remain open until 8:30 p.m. at the L.W. Batchelder Elementary and United Methodist Church, at 571 Farmington Ave.

Malloy campaign officials said they filed for the extension to accommodate voters who could not to vote or were discouraged from voting this morning, the campaign said.

“Currently the polls in Hartford are working smoothly and voters can cast their ballots. We encourage everyone to vote,” the statement says.

A statement from Zak Sanders, the communications director of the state Republican Party, said the issues were resolved and there is plenty of time to vote today without an extension.

"We understand that any issues at Hartford polling locations were resolved by 7:00am this morning. There's still plenty of time left today to get to the polls and we encourage anyone who hasn't already done so to get out and vote before 8:00pm.," Sanders said.

State Republican Party chairman Jerry Labriola said earlier in the day that the party's legal team was reviewing the situation and added that they would "have a high level of concern" if Democrats seek to keep the polls open later.

"It's always the Democrats. It's always the cities. This is right out of the Democratic playbook on how they conduct elections," he said. "It would give the Democrats more opportunity for mischief. We certainly do not want a repeat of the fiasco in Bridgeport in 2010."

In 2010, there were voting problems in Bridgeport and days of recounts before Foley conceded to Malloy.

Prior to that election, Bridgeport city elections officials ordered only 21,000 ballots for a city with 69,000 registered voters and several precincts ran out of ballots. As lines grew in the Democratic stronghold, some voters gave up and left.

"Given this is the voting district of Dan Malloy and Denise Merrill, if there was ever a reason to clean house certainly this is one," Labriola said.

The full statement from the Malloy campaign:

Because of delays and other problems at Hartford polling locations, we are filing a complaint in Hartford Superior Court asking that voting hours be extended to accommodate voters who were unable to vote or were discouraged from voting this morning. Currently the polls in Hartford are working smoothly and voters can cast their ballots. We encourage everyone to vote.

Possible Shipwreck Under NJ Beach


An archaeologist hired by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection will investigate a possible shipwreck found buried in the sand of Normandy Beach in Brick Township recently, officials say. 

Some of the wreckage was dug up by a construction crew building a steel wall to protect Brick and Mantoloking from future hurricanes. As they were trying to drive a steel sheet into the sand, an obstruction some 20 feet down broke the pile driver.

Many ships have been lost off the Jersey coast in the past, but Dan Lieb, the curator at the New Jersey Maritime Museum in Wall, told NBC 4 New York it could be the wreck of the Ayershire.

On Jan. 12, 1850, the ship carrying immigrants and a crew totally 202 people foundered off Squan Beach. But lifesavers, using a new device called a "Frances life car" -- an enclosed capsule hung on a rope from shore to ship -- were able to safely rescue all but one of the people on board.

Lieb said the rescues using the new device were "very, very successful," and the life car went on to extensive use in saving people from groundings near shore.

The state says ground-penetrating radar will be used to determine what else may be buried under the sand.

After determining the mystery object's historical value and whether it needs to be dug up, DEP spokesman Bob Considine said the steel wall protection project will be finished, essentially on time and before winter weather sets in.

CT's Last Dry Town No More: Vote Reverses Alcohol Ban


Voters in the Connecticut town of Bridgewater made the historic decision Tuesday to end prohibition and reverse an alcohol ban in the state's last dry town.

Some residents have bars in their garages but the affluent town, which is home to actress Mia Farrow and a large weekend population of people from New York City, currently does not have a restaurant aside from a village store with a delicatessen.

The question arose last winter when Bridgewater faced the prospect of losing its only school and began searching for a way to breathe life back into the community.

Today, Bridgewater residents passsed the measure allowing alcohol sales at restaurants by a vote of 608 to 226, according to First Selectman Curtis Read.  Absentee ballots still needed to be counted Tuesday night.

The question on the ballot read:

"Shall the Town of Bridgewater adopt the following ordinance: The town of Bridgewater shall allow the sale of alcoholic liquor in all establishments operating under restaurant or café permits only between the hours of 11:00 a.m. and 11:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday; between the hours of 11:00 a.m. and 12:00 midnight on Friday and Saturday; between the hours of 12:00 noon and 10:00 p.m. on Sunday; and between the hours of 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 a.m. on New Year's Eve?"

Businesses with restaurant or café permits will now be allowed to sell liquor between 11 a.m. and 11 p.m., Monday to Thursday, 11 a.m. to midnight on Friday and Saturday and between noon and 10 p.m. on Sunday, as well as 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. on New Year's Eve.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Girl, 10, Can't Use Treehouse: Dad


A 10-year-old Delaware girl with Down syndrome can no longer use her treehouse after a neighbor hired a contractor to take a chainsaw to a supporting tree trunk, her parents say, amid an escalating neighborhood spat over the treehouse. 

"He stood there and said, ‘Cut it, cut it!’" Robert Cole said of his neighbor. He said it is now too dangerous for his daughter Grace to play in the treehouse.

But the neighbor defended his decision, saying he and others community members worried they could be liable if someone got hurt.

The Coles have long been battling their neighbors over the treehouse, which was built years ago and which they admit encroaches on a path owned by the neighborhood association that is located directly behind their home. Robert Cole says liability fears have fueled the argument.

The neighbor stands by his decision to have the treehouse removed permanently, telling NBC10 he is concerned the girl could get hurt on his property and he does not want to be liable for any injuries.

But Grace's family questioned the legality of the neighbor’s actions. “I believe the place where he made the cut is actually on our property," Robert Cole said.

The Cole family is considering legal action, but a survey to determine the exact property lines is needed.

Senate, Soda & Pot: What to Watch on Election Day


Signs point to an electorate that is decidedly disinterested in the 2014 midterm elections, but Tuesday's ballots offer no shortage of contests that will have an impact on policy and politics for years to come.

Here's a look at some of the races, issues and trends to watch this Election Day:

Fate of the U.S. Senate Decided (or Not): Much of Tuesday's drama and suspense is centered on a handful of states where the outcome of close races will determine which party controls the U.S. Senate. Republicans need to pick up six seats to win back a majority. With 10 or more considered in play, including New Hampshire and Virginia, most analysts think they have a good shot.  But there's a chance voters waking up Wednesday won't yet know which way the party pendulum has swung. Competitive races in Georgia and Louisiana could go to a runoff if the winner takes less than 50 percent of the vote. A win by an independent in Kansas or South Dakota or a lag in getting votes counted from parts of Alaska could also delay the outcome if control comes down to just one seat. Still, by 10 p.m. ET we may have a sense of how the night is headed, according to NBC News.

Statehouse Shake-Ups: A near record number of incumbent governors could be looking for work come Wednesday. Eleven sitting governors are facing touch re-election races this year, with polls showing contests in several states, including Connecticut and Florida, in a dead heat heading into Election Day. One governor, Hawaii Democrat Neil Abercrombie, was already ousted in the state's primary and polls are pointing to a landslide defeat for Pennsylvania's Tom Corbett, a Republican. A spate of losses could make 2014 the worst cycle for sitting top state electeds in at least 20 years. The last time five or more incumbents lost was in 1994, according to NBC News, with a record 11 incumbents getting the boot back in 1964.

Pot Politics — and an End to Prohibition? Two states will decide whether to follow the leads of Colorado and Washington in legalizing marijuana for recreational use Tuesday, while voters in other areas will consider relaxing pot laws. Measures on the ballot in Alaska and Oregon seek to allow and tax marijuana for anyone over 21. A number of other state and local measures, including one on the ballot in Washington D.C., would effectively legalize possession of small amounts of pot. Marijuana backers in Florida, meanwhile, are hoping to secure the 60 percent support needed to OK the drug for medical use. Voters in Arkansas are tackling a different sort of prohibition. A ballot initiative aims to end a booze ban still in effect across half of the state’s counties. Supporters face an uphill fight, according to a recent poll.

Another Bush, Carter in Office? A Bush is on the ballot again in Texas and a Carter in Georgia. George P. Bush, son of former Florida governor and possible presidential contender Jeb, is the favorite in Tuesday's race for Texas land commissioner. Leading the somewhat obscure agency, which manages land and mineral rights in the Lone Star State, is widely seen as a political steppingstone for the younger Bush and a chance for the family to extend and rebrand its political dynasty. The rising GOP star's Hispanic heritage — his mother is of Mexican descent — could also help GOP efforts to win over highly coveted Latino voters in 2016 and beyond. Meanwhile, Jason Carter is making bid for Georgia governor, a seat once held by his grandfather, former President Jimmy Carter. Jason Carter, a 39-year-old state senator, was locked in a close fight against Republican incumbent Gov. Nathan Deal. Jimmy Carter, out on the stump for his grandson at age 90, told voters recently, “He was 2 years old when I was president. He wasn’t born when I was governor.”

Soda Wars Head West: The California Bay Area cities of San Francisco and Berkeley have become the latest high-profile battlegrounds in the fight over taxes on soda and other sugary drinks. The beverage industry has spent big to defeat measures seeking to hike taxes on the drinks in the neighboring liberal enclaves, pouring more than $10 million into the campaigns. A win could be a needed boost for backers of what they see as a public health measure following losses at the state and local level and the courts, which rejected former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's attempt to ban supersize sodas there. "If it can’t pass in Berkeley, where is it going to pass? Honest to God, if they can stop us here, they can stop us anywhere. And they know that," Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates told The New York Times.

New Clue in Woman's Abduction


Philadelphia police released two new videos as well as new photos Tuesday of a person of interest in the violent abduction of a young woman off a Philadelphia street.

One video shows a new angle of the person of interest abducting Carlesha Freeland-Gaither Sunday night in the Germantown section of the city. In the surveillance footage, a man walks up to the 22-year-old nurse's aid and appears to reach out to shake her hand. When she tries to get around him, he lunges at her, grabs her and the two disappear from the camera's view.

The first video of the abduction, released Monday, shows the man force Freeland-Gaither into a gray metallic Ford Taurus.

She tried to fight off the 5-foot-10-inch tall man with a medium-heavyset build, but was unable. Once inside the car, she kicked or punched out the car's rear windows in an attempt to escape, witnesses told NBC10.

"We ask the public if anyone saw a vehicle matching this description in the area to contact Northwest Detectives," Philadelphia Police Chief Inspector Dennis Wilson said.

None of the witnesses were able to get a license plate number for the kidnapper's car.

Another surveillance video released Tuesday shows a person of interest inside a Shell gas station convenience store in Aberdeen, Maryland, located right off Interstate 95, around 70 miles south from the scene.

In the video, a man in a black hooded sweatshirt walks to the back of the store and takes a bottled drink from a refrigerated case. He then walks to the front of the store, pays for the item and calmly walks out the same door he came in. The footage shows he was inside the store from 6:02 a.m. to 6:04 a.m. Monday. Federal investigators searched the store and dusted for fingerprints Tuesday night.

The convenience store is located only steps away from a PNC Bank, where investigators said the person of interest used Freeland-Gaither's ATM card. Photos of the man, also dressed in a black hooded sweatshirt, were released earlier Tuesday. According to investigators, he used Freeland-Gaither's ATM card around 6:01 a.m. Monday, less than 8 hours after the abduction.

The man in the surveillance video and photos from Maryland has a similar description to the person in the first surveillance video abducting Freeland-Gaither in Philadelphia on Sunday night, but officials can't be sure they're the same person, Wilson said.

At a news conference asking for the public's help, Philadelphia Police erroneously said the ATM card was used Tuesday morning. They amended their statement later in the day.

Investigators are scouring the neighborhood for additional surveillance video in the direction the car came from and may have fled. Wilson said that based on the audio and video, there's no indication that the woman knew her attacker.

Philadelphia detectives are now working with Maryland State Police and the FBI to investigate leads.

Christian Zajac, Assistant Special Agent-in-Charge of the FBI’s Philadelphia office, said the agency is trying to enhance the surveillance video to garner additional leads.

“We’re leveraging all available resources,” he said.

The agency also helped sweeten the pot for those who may have information that could lead to the arrest and conviction of Freeland-Gaither’s abductor. The FBI is offering a $25,000 reward. The Citizens Crime Commission threw $2,000 into the pile and the Philadelphia Federal Credit Union added $5,00, bringing the total reward to $47,000.

Freeland-Gaither lived in California, Maryland for several years, with her grandmother, and attended high school there before returning to Philadelphia two years ago. Two months ago, she moved out of her grandfather's house. She now works with cancer patients at Penn Presbyterian Hospital in University City, her grandmother told NBC10.

Police have interviewed a number of witnesses, as well as Freeland-Gaither's current boyfriend. No one has been named a suspect. The woman's grandmother, Ana Mulero, has raised suspicions about a man who she said romantically pursued her granddaughter. Police have not commented on these claims.

Wilson said detectives are not sure whether Freeland-Gaither is still in Philadelphia or in another state.

As police search for Freeland-Gaither, the woman’s family made a public plea for the kidnapper to return her safely.

“Please give me back my child. Please give me my baby,” the woman’s mother, Keisha Gaither, struggled to say as tears poured from her eyes.

“I want her to know, ‘I love you,’” she said, speaking to the missing woman. “All you got to do is just get out. Just come home.”

Asked whether they believe their daughter is still safe, her mother defiantly responded “I know she is.”

Philadelphia Police are asking anyone with information to call their tip line at 215.686.TIPS.

Contact Vince Lattanzio at 610.668.5532, vince.lattanzio@nbcuni.com or follow @VinceLattanzio on Twitter.

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Chicago Faces Election Day Turmoil


Voters reported a spate of problems around the Chicago area — from closed polling locations to inoperable voting machines to missing ballot pages — soon after voting kicked off at 6 a.m.

"No election officials. No keys to supplies," voter Mark Nunez wrote to NBC Chicago. "I had to catch a plane, so I will not be able to vote. Very frustrated."

At a polling location on East Wacker Drive, voters Nunez and Ben Kaplan said election workers were not ready for voters. 

“We ran into a number of issues,” Chicago Board of Elections spokesman Jim Allen said, adding that there were staffing issues at some locations because only one or a few judges were present.

One location had to be forced open because it was still closed at 6 a.m.

At Yates School, at 1826 N. Francisco Ave., in Chicago's 1st Ward, voter Kim Lewis said the polling place didn't open until 8 a.m.

"We all had to vote provisional," she said.

Election staffers had to force open a polling location inside Leona's Restaurant, at 6935 N. Sheridan Road, because the restaurant's owner wasn't there. Election officials said that location would remain open for an extra hour, until 8 p.m., because of the delay.

Problems with electronic voting machines were reported at several other locations, including at the Patrick Sullivan Building, at 1633 W. Madison Street, at Robert Black North School, at 7133 S. Coles Ave., and at Francis W. Parker School, at 330 W. Webster Ave.

"Election central not answering and we can't vote right now. People leaving saying their vote will be missed," Matt Haydock told NBC Chicago via Twitter.

Haydock later said voters were able to use "old school paper forms."

In Chicago's 47th Ward, voter Patrick Farrell said he was not given the portion of his ballot that included the non-binding questions. The same thing happened to Melanie Baker, who tried to vote at Jesse Owens Community Academy, at 12302 S. State St.

Allen said he wasn't aware of any instance where full ballots weren't given.

In the 43rd Ward, Twitter user Theresa reported that voters were being turned away from the Commonwealth Apartments, at 2757 N. Pine Grove Ave., "due to untrained volunteers."

Voters who wish to file a complaint or report any voting irregularities should call 312-269-7870.

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Vigil Organized in Memory of Seymour Teen


The Seymour High School community will gather Wednesday to remember a student who died of brain cancer.

Senior Nina Poeta lost her year-long battle with cancer Saturday. The high school is hosting the "Walk of Light Vigil" in her memory.

"Any and all members of the community who would like to participate in this Vigil to honor this courageous young girl are welcome to attend," Rich Kearns, director of security for Seymour Public Schools, said in a news release. "Come out to support our community and the Poeta family during these tough times. Please bring a flashlight or glow stick with you which we will use to light up the night with her spirit. Nina will be remembered fondly as a student who has an unquenchable spirit who will be forever with us. Our community will be Nina Poeta Strong Forever."

The vigil is scheduled for Nov. 5 from 6 to 8 p.m. on the John T. DeBarber football field at the high school at 2 Botsford Road in Seymour.

Man Found Dead, Pinned Under Car


Police are investigating the death of a man who might have been pinned under a car while working on it in West Hartford. 

Police responded to 14 Abbotsford Avenue around 10 p.m. on Monday after receiving a report of a man in his 30s pinned underneath a car and found the victim, Douglas Medeiros, 30, of 14 Abbotsford Avenue, with his neck pinned between the front passenger tire and the curb, police said.

The vehicle was running, appeared to be in gear and there were signs that Medeiros might have been working under the vehicle and it rolled back onto his neck, police said.

Police said there were no witnesses.

The vehicle was towed to West Hartford police.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Obama, Biden Comment on CT Gubernatorial Race


The White House has eyes on the Connecticut gubernatorial race between incumbent Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and Republican challenger Tom Foley. Both the president and vice president gave phone interviews on Connecticut radio stations Tuesday about the race and encouraged people to vote.

"Turnout's high across Connecticut," President Barack Obama said on "The Colin McEnroe Show "on WNPR on the afternoon of Election Day. "It's going to be a close election."

After visiting Bridgeport to stump for Malloy at a campaign event at Central High School in Bridgeport on Sunday, Obama continued to rally support for the governor in his interview with McEnroe.

Obama said that Malloy "deserves four more years" and that "Dan's the guy" for people who care about issues like college education, increased education funding and working families.

Vice President Joe Biden also took the opportunity to throw support behind Malloy in an interview on Chaz & AJ's morning show on 99.1 PLR, right before Foley gave an interview with the hosts.

“You know it is a big deal. There’s a lot of people in your state...84,000 people right now who didn’t have Medicaid coverage, women and children mostly now have it because of the president and because Malloy had the guts to say he’s going to go out there and say he’s going to expand health care," Biden told Chaz & AJ. “Dan Malloy’s out there pushing for a minimum wage. You’ve got 20 million people working 40 hours a week out there…and they’re living in poverty.”

But most of all, Obama and Biden encouraged people to go out and vote in Connecticut and in other elections nationwide.

"Do not give away your power. Do not buy into the idea that it doesn’t make a difference. It really does," Obama said in his interview with McEnroe.

Obama told McEnroe that about a dozen or so gubernatorial races in the country are tied in the polls, which he said "probably speaks to the fact that voters are frustrated with government... The polarization has gotten worse." He emphasized the message he said he sought to spread in Bridgeport that  "that cynicism is something we've got to fight against" and encouraged people to vote to get their views represented. 

Biden told Chaz & AJ that while other states have made voting more restrictive, Connecticut is not one of those states and spoke to the importance of representing the middle class on a national and local level.

“There’s a whole lot at stake. The country’s really poised to do some great things relative to the rest of the world," Biden said. "The economy’s coming back. We just have to deal the middle class back into this. The middle class is getting clobbered.”

Regarding reported voting problems in Hartford Tuesday morning, Obama stressed the importance of making voting "as easy as possible" in his WNPR interview.

Hartford Superior Court began hearing a complaint Malloy's campaign filed to extend voting hours Tuesday afternoon after several issues from delays to missing voter registration books.

On Monday, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) attended a campaign event to rally support for Foley.

Just a day before that, unaffiliated candidate Joe Visconti announced he was suspending his campaign at a Brookfield Republican Town Committee event and asked his supporters to vote for Foley. Visconti's name remains on the ballot.

The polls are scheduled to remain open until 8 p.m. unless the Malloy campaigns complaint results in extended voting hours.

Photo Credit: AP

Police, Bomb Squad Called to Bristol Post Office


Bristol police and the bomb squad were called to the post office at 151 North Main Street after a man brought a backpack inside that he’d seen in the parking lot, police said.

The man moved the bag into the building to avoid someone running over it, but officials thought the bag was suspicious, police said.

The bomb squad from Hartford was called as a precaution. Police said they do not believe the bag contains anything harmful, but they are investigating as a precaution.

Photo Credit: Mark Leimbach

Police Identify Man, Woman Killed in Berlin Fiery Crash


Police have identified the man and a woman who died in a fiery car crash on Kensington Road in Berlin Saturday morning as 37-year-old David Gerent, of Meriden, and 32-year-old Megan O'Grady, of Southington.

Police said Gerent's Mercedes was driving southbound near the 1400 block of Kensington Road when Gerent lost control and struck a tree around 3:45 a.m. Saturday. The car burst into flames.

Emergency crews doused the flames and found O'Grady and Gerent inside.

The Berlin Police Traffic Bureau and the Mid-State Accident Reconstruction Squad are investigating the fatal crash. South Kensington and Berlin volunteer firefighters also responded to the scene.

Investigators determed that Gerent was driving "at a high rate of speed" prior to the crash, according to police. The speed limit in the area is 25 miles an hour, but drivers sometimes speed around the curve, a neighbor told NBC Connecticut.

Two tow trucks removed the charred vehicle from the scene.

Witnesses and anyone with information is asked to contact the police department at 860-828-7080.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

$21M Berlin Police Station Vote Brings Big Numbers to Poll


Voters in Berlin have decided against authorizing $21 million in bonds to build a new police headquarters.

The Berlin Police Department posted on its Facebook page Tuesday night that residents voted down the referendum 3,445 to 2,118.

It was a vote that brought many to the polls.

Ten minutes before the polls opened at 6 a.m., at least 20 people had gathered outside the Berlin Senior Center, waiting to cast their ballots. 

By noon, turnout was shaping up to be as heavy as it usually is for a presidential election, according to the polling station moderator.
“I think it’s a big issue, really,” said Berlin resident Jean Letendre, who hadn’t yet made up her mind. “It’s going to take some time.”
Berlin police have been headquartered in the basement of the town hall for 40 years. With more than double the officers now, the Berlin Town Council voted this summer in favor of a new police station.

Opponents got the issue onto the ballot. Their signs read: “$21,000,000.00, Vote No.” 

Supporters' signs read: “Keep Berlin Safe, Vote Yes.”
Three years ago, voters overwhelmingly approved a $70 million bond issue for Berlin High School after an $83 million plan failed at the polls the year before.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Problems Continue After Switch to Frontier


Dispatchers with Frontier Communications were immediately flooded with calls from customers who had lost elements of their service – including Internet, cable, landline phone service and voicemail – when the company took over AT&T U-Verse more than a week ago.

Residents in Plainville, a town affected by the swap, have been vocal about their complaints.

“I took half a day off and they never showed up,” said Deborah Sirois, venting her frustrations with the new service. “They sent a technician yesterday to install cable that I had already. I still don’t have voicemail.”

“I know it was working and now it’s not,” said Frank Robinson, another Plainville resident. “I’m just going to start looking into other carriers.”

In Plainville, that means Comcast, the parent company of NBC Universal and NBC Connecticut. But Comcast customers have had problems too.

“It’s mostly the service. It just goes in and out,” explained Juan Santos, who said he switched to Comcast from AT&T U-Verse because of the price and quality of Internet access.

On its Facebook page, Frontier is offering explanations, apologies and help to its customers, some of whom are threatening not to pay until their service is properly restored.

Polls Close Across Connecticut


Polls have closed across the state and the waiting game has begun.

Every polling place in Connecticut except two locations in Hartford closed at 8 p.m. as scheduled. Those two exemptions were among several city polling stations hampered by missing registration lists early Tuesday and remained open for an extra half hour.

The extended hours applied to District 6, the Batchelder School at 757 New Britain Avenue, and District 1, the United Methodist Church at 571 Farmington Avenue.

All registered voters who arrived at those polling stations by 8:30 p.m. were permitted to vote, but the turnout during that extra half hour was unimpressive. Only nine voters cast valid ballots after 8 p.m. at the Batchelder School.

"It was the ruling of electoral officials, either monitors or registrars, that denied people the opportunity to vote in an alternative fashion when the voting lists were not ready at 6 a.m.," Judge Carl Schuman explained, referring to voters who were stalled or turned away while waiting for registration lists to arrive.

Malloy campaign attorney William Bloss said at least 10 of the city's 24 polling places opened as late as 7:30 a.m. because voter registration lists weren't delivered on time. Schuman denied the campaign's request to extend voting hours at eight of the 10 affected precincts, because, he said, alternatives were offered.

At the Hartford Seminary, for example, voters wrote their names, addresses and phone numbers on blank pieces of paper before receiving ballots. Moderators looked at voter identification and placed the ballots in an "auxiliary pile" to be checked against the registration lists when they arrived, a witness for the Foley campaign said in court.

That wasn't the case at all polling stations, according to other witnesses. Some city residents who were forced to wait for the registration lists gave up and left for work Tuesday morning without casting their ballots.

"One guy was working in New Haven, another in West Springfield. Another lady was catching an airplane. They're not going to come back. So their votes are lost," explained Lynda Baio, who said she waited more than an hour to cast her vote at the Hartford Senior Center.

"Throughout the city, the right thing that should have taken place this morning was allow the voter to vote, write their names down and issue a ballot. We don't stop the process; I apologize if people, moderators, election officials, did not recall that from the training and put that into practice this morning," said Hartford's Democratic Registrar of Voters Olga Vázquez.

Although representatives from the Foley campaign said the ruling is "not really" beneficial to them, campaign communications director Mark McNulty said Republicans would abide by the judge's ruling.

"These types of snafus end up undermining confidence in elections," McNulty said. "But the show must go on."

Secretary of the State Denise Merrill said after the ruling that her office "is referring these circumstances and the apparent gross dereliction of duty by Hartford's Registrars of Voters to the State Election Enforcement Commission for further investigation to determine if any state election laws were violated."

Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra called the situation "inexcusable and unacceptable."

"In days to follow, we will undertake an investigation to make sure that those who are responsible for that will be held accountable for the actions or lack of actions," Segarra said during an afternoon news conference alongside Malloy. "I think that I really want to do everything possible in the next couple of days to ensure that this never, never happens again."

The governor emphasized the importance of allowing all voters to cast their ballots and said a number of votes were likely lost due to the polling problems in Hartford this morning.

“I think it is fundamental that people have the right to vote and that people have an equal right to vote, which means an equal amount of time and that the polls begin opening at the same time," Malloy said. "That clearly has not opened in here Hartford today and that is a mistake, and one that can affect people’s votes.”

President Barack Obama, who visited Connecticut over the weekend to rally support for Malloy, called into the Colin McEnroe radio show Tuesday afternoon, urging voters to get to the polls. During the interview, McEnroe asked the president about the Malloy campaign's complaint.

"We should make it as easy as possible for as many people as possible to vote," Obama said.

It's the second time Malloy and Foley face off in a battle for governorship. During the 2010 election, voting problems in Bridgeport prompted extended voting hours and days of recounts before Foley conceded to Malloy.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com
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Brief Ballot Shortage in Wolcott


In addition to polling problems in Hartford, which caused many if not all locations to open an hour late, the Tyrrell Middle School polling site in Wolcott ran low on ballots for a brief time Tuesday.

Wolcott Republican Registrar Pat Najarian said voter turnout was bigger than expected this morning, with 300 voters casting ballots by about 8 a.m. About eight people left without voting to get to work, local officials said.

“We told them to just to wait for a minute or two because we were driving,” said Najarian, who brought additional ballots to the miwhen the count was down to 50.

The registrar’s office gave the middle school 500 extra ballots instead of 300 to account for the possibility of another rush and resupplied each of the three polling places.

Najarian apologized for the problem, which she said has never happened before, and said she would ask the polling places to call town hall when the ballot count diminishes to 100.

“I think it’s a good day. It’s a big turnout,” she said. “I think it’s great people are coming out.”

Hartford Police Investigate Suspicious Death


Hartford police are investigating after a 45-year-old woman was found dead in an apartment at 82 Hanmer Street on Tuesday afternoon.

Major Crimes and Homicide Division detectives are investigating the death as suspicious. Police said the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner will conduct an autopsy to determine the woman's cause of death.

More information will be posted when it becomes available.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com
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