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Fund for First Responders Traumatized by Sandy Hook

They ran into danger the day 20 students and 6 educators were gunned down inside Sandy Hook Elementary, but now the first responders, teachers and others who have suffered the effects of post-traumatic stress are getting some much needed help.
The Newtown Police Department continues to cope with the horror they experienced on December 14 and the days and weeks that followed.
Most of the officers have returned to work but many continue to have challenges.
"Some of us come back too early and realize we should have stayed home and rested a little longer," Det. Jason Frank, a 17-year veteran of the Newtown Police Department, said.
Current workers compensation laws don't allow first responders and others to take time off for post-traumatic stress disorder.
That's why a bipartisan group of state lawmakers formed The Sandy Hook Workers Assistance Fund. It will be administered by the state but funded through private donations.
AT&T, Dominion Resources, Covidien, WWE, CT Trial Lawyers, Northeast Utilities, CT Bar Association as well as The New England Cable Television Association are contributing to the fund.
Companies have already pledged several hundred thousand dollars.
"I cannot imagine the horror and tragedy that these first responders, teachers, I can't imagine what they saw and went through," Stephanie McMahon, of Stamford-based WWE, said. "It is incredibly important to unite together to support this community."
WWE pledged $10,000 and McMahon said she will personally match that amount.
It's estimated that between 150 and 200 people could be helped by this fund. The United Way will also take donations from the public.
Both the House and Senate easily passed the bill Wednesday. 
"This fund reflects the generosity, compassion and appreciation of people throughout the state and shows how Connecticut can come together as a community," Speaker of the House Brendan Sharkey, said.
Governor Malloy expressed full support for the fund and said he will sign it into law.

“While eighty-two days have passed, the anguish of that day is still raw for many," Malloy said in a statement. "In the depth of that anguish, we in government have undertaken a critically important debate, one where complete consensus will be difficult if not impossible.  But that should not stop us from doing the good and decent things that honor those who serve our communities, especially those who have done so admirably in our darkest hour." 

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Cuts in Federal Funds to Affect 6 Airports Statewide


Federal funding will be cut to six airports in Connecticut forcing the closure of the airports' air traffic control towers, according to members of the Connecticut Congressional delegation. The closures would include Tweed-New Haven Airport.

The federal money might be terminated on April 7 if the government cannot reach a deal to end the sequester.

The delegation released this joint statement Wednesday:

"We received word from the Federal Aviation Administration today that federal funding for the air traffic control towers at Sikorsky Memorial, Danbury Municipal, Groton-New London, Hartford-Brainard, Tweed-New Haven and Waterbury-Oxford airports may be terminated on April 7 as a result of the sequester."

The sequester, which went into effect March 1, is a trigger which led to automatic federal spending cuts after federal lawmakers could not reach a deal on deficit reduction measures and increased revenue. The $85 million in across-the-board cuts in military and domestic programs are the beginning of a $1.2 trillion reduction in spending over 10 years.

Funding cuts are expected to affect airports nationwide and could lead to flight delays, according to aviation experts.

Oxford Woman Investigated for Animal Cruelty


The state has filed a petition to permanently obtain ownership of dozens of animals taken from a woman in Oxford after authorities say some appeared malnourished and neglected.

Forty-one animals, including horses, chickens, dogs and turkeys, were taken in late February from Karen Desrosiers’ home on Condon Road.

Animal Control arrived at Desrosiers’ home after a complaint came in that some of the animals were roaming the street.  

“They found the animals not having the proper food. They didn’t have proper water. They were living in mud and manure,” said Ray Connors, with the Deparment of Agriculture’s Animal Control Division.

Court documents reveal that investigators also saw a dead chicken on the property lying on the ground with birds feeding on its carcass.

“They’re doing much better. They’re getting the proper diet. They’re in a dry environment with the proper bedding,” said Connors.

A judge will decide whether the state can permanently seize the animals next week.

Desrosiers hasn’t been charged, but that might change, according to the agriculture department.

“It’s still under investigation. We’re waiting for some veterinary reports to come back, but our department will probably move forward with criminal charges,” said Connors.

However, this isn’t Desrosiers’ first run-in with animal control. In 2010, she was investigated after reports that some of her animals were sick and uncared for.

“Our department worked with her, had a veterinarian come out … and (got) the animals back in shape, and she was headed down the right road at that time,” said Connors.

However, the state no longer wants to take chances. They’ve filed a civil petition to take ownership of the animals, who are slowly recovering.

Photo Credit: Dept. of Agriculture

Firefighters Fight High Winds While Battling Blaze


Firefighters fought high winds while trying to put out a house fire Wednesday night.

Multiple crews responded to a single family home at 381 Lakeshore Drive in Middlebury just after 8:00 p.m.

Watertown and Southbury  Fire Departments were called to assist. High winds made made it difficult for firefighters and contributed to the spread of the blaze, said fire officials.

Two people were found outside of the home, unhurt.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.




Thousands of Sharks Migrate Off South Florida Coast


Several beaches along South Florida's coastline were closed after thousands of sharks were seen migrating in the waters.

Dozens of sharks were seen migrating in waters off Deerfield Beach on Thursday, and parts of the beach were shut down for part of the day. Ocean Rescue Capt. Mike Brown broke the news to beachgoers.

"Some people were grateful, 'thank you, I can't believe. Oh my God, there're sharks out there?'" he said. "And then, others' reactions were like, 'I want to go swimming, there are no sharks out there.'"

The sharks were a mix of blacktips and spinners, Brown said. Lifeguards raised red flags around 11 a.m., forcing beachgoers ashore. They were allowed back by the afternoon, but warned to be cautious.

"Someone out there in the water splashing around, they're splashing around, drawing attention to themselves, it attracts the sharks," Brown said. "They think it's an easy meal, something in distress."

Sharks have been migrating from Boca Raton to Jupiter since the beginning of March, according to marine biologists.

Biologists said the sharks are going north after migrating to the south for the winter.

Lifeguards at Midtown Beach saw spinner sharks in the waters and put up red flags to tell beachgoers they couldn't enter the water.

"It's dangerous. It's not what you would expect. Families come out here to enjoy the weather, beach, and sand, but now they can't.They have to travel a little bit further than they should," said beachgoer Guirlene Exantus.

Great White Shark Spotted Near Hamptons

Doctors at St. Mary's Medical Center in West Palm Beach told WPTV that they see about five to six shark bite victims annually. These bites are usually minor, but can put the victim at risk for infections.

Swimmers are advised to swim close at beaches with lifeguards and take jewelry off before getting in the water as experts say sharks are attracted to silver, yellow and gold.

Great White Sharks Protected off Calif. Coast

Tourist Tori Bradshaw just arrived in South Florida from her home state of Washington.

"Well, we don't have sharks in Washington," she said "I really wanted to go swimming."

"If there are sharks, you aren't going to find me in there, haha. Only in Las Vegas," said Burt Abrams, visiting from Cleveland, Ohio.

They've actually enjoyed being in the water on the their vacation and were surprised to hear they may have not been swimming alone.

"The water has been beautiful. It's been warm. I don't think they come in this shallow, but I'm not going to test it," Bernice Abrams said.

Gore Sued Over Current TV Sale to Al-Jazeera


A television consultant claims that former Vice President Al Gore and others at Current TV stole his idea to sell the struggling network to Al-Jazeera.

Los Angeles resident John Terenzio is demanding more than $5 million in a lawsuit quietly filed in San Francisco Superior Court Tuesday.

Al-Jazerra announced Jan. 3 that it would pay $500 million for San Francisco-based Current TV.

Terenzio alleges he first brought the idea of the Qatar-owned Al-Jazeera's purchase of Current TV to board member Richard Blum in July, and he expected to be paid if his plan was used. The lawsuit claims Blum was open to the plan, which Terenzio laid out with a detailed PowerPoint presentation but feared Gore would find such a deal with the oil-rich government of Qatar "politically unappealing."

Neither Gore or Blum, nor their representatives, could be reached for comment late Wednesday.

Gore co-founded Current TV in 2005 with Joel Hyatt, with each receiving a 20 percent stakes in Current, a politically left leaning news and talk network. Comcast Corp. had less than a 10 percent stake. Another major investor in Current TV was supermarket magnate and entertainment industry investor Ron Burkle, according to information service Capital IQ.

Blum, a venture capitalist and husband of California Sen. Dianne Feinstein, is also an investor in Current TV.

Terenzio claims he presented to Blum "a step-by-step approach for making the sale of the liberal media outlet to Al-Jazeera palatable to U.S. lawmakers, pro-Israel factions, cable operators and, most importantly, the American public."

Terenzio claims he created the English version of China Central Television and reprogrammed it for American audiences. He said he planned to use the same strategies in rebranding Current TV into Al-Jazeera America.

"Blum greeted Terenzio's proposal with enthusiasm, indicating that he and other investors were eager to salvage their multi-million investment in the floundering cable network," Terenzio claims in his lawsuit.

Terenzio said he believes Gore did turn down the deal in July and was "adamant" in rejecting it.

Terenzio's attorney, Ellyn Garofalo, said an "insider" told her client of Gore's rejection but refused to identify that person in a brief email interview Wednesday night. Garofalo represented Dr. Sandeep Kapoor when a jury acquitted him of illegally funneling prescription drugs to Anna Nicole Smith.

Terenzio said Al-Jazeera's January announcement of the sale was the first he heard of it.

Photo Credit: AP

Facebook's Revamped News Feed Features Bigger Photos


Dressed in his trademark hoodie and jeans, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg took the stage today at the company's headquarters to unveil the social networking giant's new News Feed, which has been overhauled to reflect the new ways in which people are using the site.

During an hour-long presentation in Menlo Park, Calif., featuring Zuckerberg and three of his top people, Facebook announced a number of new changes that will be progressively rolling out, including bigger pictures, a choice of feeds and a consistent mobile experience.

The changes will appear to Facebook's tablet and mobile sites in the coming weeks. On the web, a small number of people will be migrated to the new site at first, so the company can collect feedback and put a final shine on the new experience.

"Our mission is to make the world more open and connected," Zuckerberg said in his opening remarks. "What we're trying to do is give everyone in the world the best personalized newspaper... it should have socially and locally relevant updates... let you drill into any topic you discuss, that you want to go over."

One of the reasons for the change, he said, was the change in which people were using the site. Since News Feed launched, the percentage of posts that are photos has nearly doubled, to just less than half of all posts.

The company is focusing on the News Feed because that's what people care about, Director of Design Julie Zhou said. Everyone they talked to told them, "This is what matters to me, these are things that my friends are saying and seeing and doing," Zine said.

Changes to the news feed will include:

Links posted by multiple friends will show more prominently.

  • Bigger photos and more prominent galleries. In galleries, one photo will be featured, and thumbnails of others will appear below. Profile photos of friends of friends will be bigger, too.
  • Check-ins will include a map and a description of the location. Third-party apps will get better treatment, with bigger photos.
  • Videos will play inline, with photos of the posters running alongside. And you can read their comments by putting your mouse over their profile photo.
  • Upcoming Events will appear in your News Feed, selected from things your friends are doing, as well as based on place where you've checked in in the past.

"We've really spent a lot of time over the last year...trying to understand what we could do to make their experience with the product better," said Chris Struhar, Facebook's tech lead. "And we really heard from people that they wanted more choice and more control over the stories they were seeing on their homepage."

To do that, Facebook is giving the user a choice of feeds to display, using a the "switcher" at the top-right of the page to toggle between them. The choices include All Friends, Most Recent, Close Friends, Music, Photos, Games and Following.

The Music Feed will show photos, concert and album info, stories and posts related to your favorite artist. The Photos Feed will show you all the different pictures you're friends are posting. The Following feed will show you what's happening with the people, places and periodicals you follow.

"The story we're trying to adhere to here is really about getting Facebook out of the way as much as possible," said Chris Cox, Facebook's VP of product. "On the web that really meant pushing the content to the front of the experience and trying to pull back the 'chrome' around it as much as possible."

The team focused on the mobile app, Cox said, because that's where content dominated the Facebook experience. The tablet and smartphone navigation will look mostly the same, while the PC will begin to match their look.

"We're gonna start rolling this out on the web today," announced Cox. "And you're gonna see these design show up on your phone and tablet over the next few weeks. Because this is a big change on the web, we're going to be very, very careful and slow about how we roll it out.

"What we're likely to see over the next period of time is a small amount of people moving into the experience, us getting a lot of feedback, and as soon as we've got it to a super polished and good place, we'll be rolling it more broadly."


Photo Credit: AP

Ex-NFLer’s Tech Startup Aims to Connect Pro Athletes with Gamers


While in training camp with the Chicago Bears a few years ago, Hunter Hillenmeyer noticed a large chunk of the team was obsessed with “Words With Friends,” the popular Facebook mobile game that pits friends against each other in a Scrabble-like environment.

At that moment, Hillenmeyer wondered what it would be like if fans could also join in with players on the fun.

A few years later, with an eight-year NFL career behind him, Hillenmeyer’s dream is almost a reality. OverDog, the app he’s currently developing, allows gamers to play their favorite games with their favorite athletes.

The way it works is simple. After the free app is downloaded, gamers share their gamertag for their gaming system and tell OverDog what teams they root for. After that, the player, once they become a subscriber and pay a monthly fee, can see challenges made by professional athletes. Hillenmeyer said that the yearly free would be sold for $20 on Kickstarter and once the campaign is over, a yearly subscription would cost $25. Once the gamer clicks on an active challenge, they will be placed in a random drawing to see who gets to play with the athlete. If they win, the game begins.

Ever wanted to play a virtual game of your favorite sport or even “Halo” or “Call of Duty” with your favorite athlete? OverDog wants to make it happen.

“We want to build a platform for connecting people for any fun activity,” Hillenmeyer, who attended Vanderbilt University, where he graduated summa cum laude with a double major in Human & Organizational Development and Economics, said. “Playing Guitar Hero with Slash or some trivia game with Ken Jennings just sounds like too cool of an experience for someone not to be providing.”

Although the project has not yet been completed, NFL veterans Randy Moss, Matt Forte and Madden 13 cover athlete Calvin Johnson have already pledged their allegiance to it. Football players aren’t the only ones interested in the project. MMA star Heath Herring, Tampa Bay Rays pitcher and MLB 2K13 cover athlete David Price and USA Olympic Gold Medalist Swimmer Conor Dwyer have agreed to back OverDog.

In the process of gaining funds via Kickstarter, in a week, OverDog has already raised $28,614 of the $100,000 it needs to get the project fully functional. Hillenmeyer, 32, who became a tech entrepreneur and has also written financial columns for The Street.com is confident this new path will be a worthwhile one.

“I'm all about pursuing your passions,” said Hillenmeyer a former draft pick of the Green Bay Packers. “For me, that involved a lot of things, family and faith first, but I have always the start-up itch and getting the chance to build a company like this in the sports space is just too cool not to embrace.”

Hillenmeyer however admits that he didn’t play video games with fans during his playing days.

“I think part of the reason for that is there is no easy way to make that happen right now,” Hillenmeyer said. “The athlete has to share his gamer tag publicly, risks getting harassed, once he does and that still leaves all the steps of friending each other on the console, and getting the game started. OverDog automates all of that.”

But if the funding for the project is successful, Hillenmeyer doesn’t see any reason why he wouldn’t jump in on the fun himself.

“I will definitely be on there trying to play against guys from teams I like,” he said. “I might try to take down a few Packers players too, just to put them in their place.”

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Police Search After Report of Gun at MCC


Police responded to Manchester Community College for a report of a person being spotted with a gun.

A female student reported seeing another student with what she believed to be a gun in his waistband and was concerned enough to call police.

Manchester police went room to room, clearing the campus as they searched for someone matching the description of the individual in question.

Police said the witness described the person as being a heavy-set Hispanic male, about 5'8-5'10, wearing a red short sleeved shirt.

Most students were kept off campus, but some remained locked down inside classrooms for hours. 

Students have been told to stay off campus until further notice.

Classes were canceled for the day and students have been told to leave campus.

The school issued the following alert:

"This is an emergency message from Manchester Community College.  An emergency has been declared on campus.  Do not attempt to gain access to the campus.  An order to shelter-in-place has been issued.  Additional information will be broadcast as soon as it is available."

Police searched the campus and did not locate anyone with a gun.

A Manchester police officer searching buildings on campus was shot in the foot when his weapon accidentally discharged, according to police.  The officer was taken to Hartford Hospital where he was taken into surgery.  Witnesses at the hospital said the officer was holding his leg and was in obvious pain as he was brought into the emergency room.

School officials sent a notice to faculty saying it might take until early evening to wrap up the situation, even after all the buildings are cleared.

Great Path Academy, a Hartford school district magnet school for grades 9 through 12 at the college, was on lockdown, but it has been lifted. 

David Medina, spokesperson for Hartford Public Schools, said the students are safe.

According to a message from Manchester Community College, students can now return to campus and the college will be open normal hours Thursday. 

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut/Debra Bogstie

Suspect Tries to Escape from Custody in South Windsor: Cops


A 35-year-old South Windsor man wanted on several warrants is in more trouble after trying to escape from custody, according to police.

When police were arresting Corey Ouimette, 35, of South Windsor, on Tuesday he told them he was having chest pain and needed medical attention so an officer went with him when an ambulance brought him to Manchester Hospital.

During the medical screening, Ouimette pushed the officer and ran toward the door, police said.
The officer subdued him with a stun gun.

When Ouimette was later released from the hospital, he was brought back to police headquarters and charged with escape from custody, two counts of failure to appear in the second degree and violation of probation.

He was held on $82,500 surety bond and appeared in Manchester Superior Court on Wednesday.

Ouimette has prior convictions for reckless driving, second-degree breach of peace and sales of a controlled substance charges, according to court records. 

Snow Brings Crashes


Snow coated roads Thursday morning, which led to several crashes across the state.

Interstate 84 Eastbound in Tolland was closed between exits 68 and 69 after three trucks, including two FedEx trucks, crashed within a few feet of each other. State police said 10 to 12 passenger cars were also involved.

A tandem FedEx truck lost the back trailer and another FedEx truck flipped over the median.

State police said an ambulance was called to the scene.

The state Department of Transportation is used a crane to try and flip one truck over and move it, but it might take up to 12 hours to clear the scene.

Police diverted traffic, off the highway at exit 68. 

Lt. Paul Vance, of Connecticut State Police, said state police have responded to more than 600 calls for service since 5 a.m., including spin-outs and cars getting struck.

Even a trooper's cruiser was struck, Vance said.

Route 9 North was closed in Newington between exits 28 and 29 briefly because of a car fire, according to the Department of Transportation. Traffic is moving again.

There was also a crash on the Portland side of the Arrigoni Bridge. One lane was getting by, but traffic is moving again.

There was another tractor-trailer crash just before exit 74 near the Massachusetts line and traffic was backed up to exit 71.

There was another tractor-trailer crash on Interstate 395 North in Thompson.

Roads are slick between Tolland and the border of Massachusetts.

Elsewhere, the roads are wet. 

John Carey, of the state Department of Transportation, said crews are out all over the state and advised motorists to drive slowly.  

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Waitress Handed Her Own Stolen ID By Alleged Thief


What do you do when you come face to face with the person who stole your identity?

A woman in Colorado was arrested after she attempted to use a fake ID at a restaurant that belonged to the waitress serving her.

Brianna Priddy was working as a server at an Applebee’s in Lakewood when one of her customers handed her a driver’s license that Priddy knew she had to report. "Four people come in, walk in sit down. They start ordering drinks, this girl hands me my ID as a fake ID," she told NBC Colorado's 9News.

Priddy’s wallet was stolen on February 13 during a night out with friends, and she lost cash, credit cards and her driver’s license, police say. Someone had also been “writing hundreds of dollars in bad checks” under Priddy’s name, police told 9News.

Priddy said that tried to act nonchalant during the bizarre encounter and handed back her own ID before later calling police.

"I put on my server smile and tried to take care of them, but I was shaking like crazy,” she told 9News.

The name of the woman arrested has not been released.

However, police spokesman Steve Davis said narcotics were found in the woman’s possession, “so she’s in quite a bit of hot water.” Interestingly enough, the woman accused of using Priddy’s stolen ID is 26-years-old and did not need a fake ID to buy alcohol, according to Davis.

The woman was charged for theft, identity theft and criminal impersonation.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Lego Spill Clogs Up West Virginia Highway


Lego cleanup needed on highway 79!

Commuters on Interstate 79 in West Virginia faced at least an additional hour wait in traffic Sunday, WDTV reported. As drivers approached mile marker 117 in Harrison County, they saw thousands of tiny Lego building blocks scattered across the highway.

Firefighters and cleanup crews were there to pick up the pieces. Eric McClain, a firefighter on scene of the toy disaster, posted a photo of the highway littered with thousands of colorful bricks.

At least one person claimed responsibility for the spilt Legos. Tiffany Lantz posted on Facebook, “Those legos belonged to my 11 yr old son they where in totes strapped to the top of the durango they fell off strap came loose he cried it seemed like forever but I tried to recover as many as I could cause I don't have the money to buy him anymore." Lantz added an apology to those commuters stuck in traffic because of the Legos.

WDTV reported that traffic was down to one lane until crews could clean up the mess.

Turns out you really can build anything -- even a traffic jam -- with Legos.

More Weird Stories

Photo Credit: Eric McClain/North Central and Central WV Working Fires

No Injuries in Chester Fire


There were no injuries in a residential fire at 39 Castle View Drive in Chester on Thursday morning and, but the family went to a clinic as a precaution.

The Chester Hose Company responded to the two-alarm fire early on Thursday morning and departments from Deep River, Essex and Haddam-Killingworth provided mutual aid.

Dozens of firefighters helped contain and knock down the fire in 30 minutes.

Deputy Chief James Grzybowski said the cause is still under investigation.

The snow was not a factor, Grzybowski said, but the department had to bring in extra equipment because the closest fire hydrant was more than 2,000 feet away.

Hartford Mayor in PSA Against Illegal Guns


Mayors Against Gun Violence posted a new public service announcement for its “Demand Action” campaign and Hartford Mayor  Pedro Segarra is one of 30 mayors featured in it. 

The announcement calls on U.S. residents to call their Congress members to encourage them to pass gun control legislation.

“Our efforts cannot bring back the 20 innocent children murdered in Newtown, CT -- or the 33 people murdered with guns every day in America. But we can prevent future tragedies by passing common-sense legislation that will: that would require a criminal background check for every gun sold in America, ban assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines and make gun trafficking a federal crime, with real penalties for “straw purchasers.”


Michelle Obama's Campaign Comes to Connecticut


The Hispanic Health Council, Inc. of Hartford is among the winners of the "Let's Move!" Communities on the Move Video Challenge First Lady Michelle Obama announced last month.

The Hispanic Health Council, Inc. created "Puppets & Peers …..On the Move!," a video that focuses on prevention of childhood obesity through healthy eating, physical activity and access to affordable healthy foods.

The video covers a pre-school program, as well as the breastfeeding: heritage and pride peer counseling program, which encourages breastfeeding and provides support for low-income women.

The first prize winner was a church in Florida. Other winners come from California, Colorado, New York, Pennsylvania and Tennessee.


Where Rand Paul Ranks in Filibuster History


Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul stood up shortly before noon Wednesday and announced his intention to filibuster President Barack Obama's nomination of John Brennan to lead the CIA.

"I will speak until I can no longer speak," he said. And so he did.

While it was far cry from South Carolina Sen. Strom Thurmond's 1957 filibuster that went on for more than 24 hours, Paul's dilatory tactic earned him a spot in Senate history.

In a move out of the "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington" playbook, the tea party Republican, for 12 hours and 52 minutes, criticized the Obama administration's lethal drone program, which has vastly expanded under the influence of Brennan, the president's counter-terrorism adviser.

While Paul's style veered occasionally into wacky territory — like when he re-imagined a portion of "Alice in Wonderland" to make a point about the American justice system — he remained focused on his chief gripe: Attorney General Eric Holder's refusal to rule out the hypothetical targeted killing of Americans on U.S. soil — something Holder said the government had no intention to carry out but would keep on the table for "extraordinary circumstances."

"It is possible, I suppose, to imagine an extraordinary circumstance in which it would be necessary and appropriate for the President to authorize the military to use lethal force within the territory of the United States," Holder initially wrote in a letter to Paul.

On Thursday, however, Holder sent the senator a follow-up letter clarifying that the president does not have the authority to kill Americans that are not engaged in combat on U.S. soil, according to White House Press Secretary Jay Carney, who read excerpts from the letter to the press.

If the U.S. were under attack or if there were an "imminent threat," however, the president had the authority to protect the country from that assault, Carney added.

Though Brennan was expected to and eventually did win confirmation, Paul's filibuster garnered plenty of publicity and achieved what was surely one of his goals — turning the spotlight on the controversial program that has become one of the U.S. military's key tools in the war against terror.

His political move divided Republicans but won him rare support from Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden and other liberals and praise from the American Civil Liberties Union.

It was the country's eighth-longest filibuster and one of the first in recent history to stick to the traditional procedure — blocking or delaying a vote by refusing to yield the floor to anyone else. Of late, lawmakers have been engaging in a softer style of filibustering, wherein they essentially vote to not vote (which was the case with the recent Republican move to delay a vote on Chuck Hagel's confirmation to lead the Pentagon).

But Paul did what no other U.S. lawmaker had done since Sen. Bernie Sanders in 2010: He spoke until he absolutely could no longer. "I would go for another 12 hours to try to break Strom Thurmond's record, but I've discovered that there are some limits to filibustering," Paul said in a comical conclusion. "And I'm going to have to go take care of one of those in a few minutes here."

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Here's a look at the seven lawmakers who somehow surpassed Paul's biological limits:

STROM THURMOND: 24 hours, 18 minutes
In 1957 the South Carolina senator tried to thwart a vote on the Civil Rights Act of 1957 with the lengthiest filibuster in history. The senator reportedly took steam baths to dehydrate himself in preparation for his epic talkathon that Sen. William Knowland referred to as "cruel and unusual punishment."

ALFONSE D'AMATO: 23 hours, 30 minutes
In 1986, the New York senator protested a military spending bill that would cut off financing for planes built by a Long Island-based company. The New York Times wrote that "even the threat of missing the opening game of the World Series between the New York Mets and the Boston Red Sox on Saturday would not deter the Republican of New York from continuing a filibuster."

WAYNE MORSE: 22 hours, 26 minutes
The Oregon senator filibustered the Tidelands Oil legislation in 1953, which ultimately handed U.S.-owned swaths of the Gulf of Mexico to the state of Texas. According to reports, his longest speaking break lasted just two minutes when he paused to allow a colleague to make a statement. While he was permitted to lean against the desk behind him, he was called to order when he tried to sit down.

ROBERT LA FOLLETTE: 18 hours, 23 minutes
In 1908 the Wisconsin senator launched a filibuster to block debate on the Aldrich-Vreeland currency bill, which established the National Monetary Commission and gave the Treasury the authority to lend to banks during financial crises.

WILLIAM PROXMIRE: 16 hours, 12 minutes
The Wisconsin Democrat in 1981 tried to halt a debt limit hike with what he called a "genleman's filibuster." He agreed in advance not to delay regular Senate business, which was scheduled to begin at 10:30 a.m. the following day, and he ended his long talk with an apology to "the chief presiding officers, the pages, the reporters and all the people who have just been so courteous and so helpful and so gentle in spite of the fact that I've been such a trial to them," the Washington Post reported.

HUEY LONG: 15 hours, 30 minutes
In 1935, the senator from Louisiana  delayed a vote on a bill that would require Senate confirmation for the National Recovery Administration's senior employees. The senator, in what he called "the greatest speech in history," according to the New York Times, read the entire U.S. Constitution aloud, told stories about his uncle and provided recipes for fried oysters and potlikker.

ROBERT BYRD: 14 hours, 13 minutes
West Virginia Sen. Bob Byrd was part of a group of Democrats who tried to roadblock passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and kept the bill pending in the Senate for 57 working days.

Photo Credit: AP

SimCity Launch is a Disaster


SimCity residents might have to put their city-building dreams on hold.

A reboot of the popular video game launched on Tuesday in North America and it has been rife with bugs and connectivity issues, leaving fanboys waiting for hours before they can begin building their cities. The game was released in Europe on Wednesday and in the U.K. on Thursday.

Gamers have taken to Electronic Arts' forum to air their grievances about overloaded servers, error messages and the unimaginable -- losing entire cities.

"That I can't play at 7am in the morning two days after launch because the servers are 'full' seems ludicrous" wrote one user on EA's forum.

Amazon temporarily stopped selling the digital version of the game. And while they continue to sell the boxed version, the online retailer is warning potential buyers of its issues.

"Many customers are having issues connecting to the SimCity servers," the note says. "EA is actively working to resolve these issues, but at this time we do not know when the issue will be fixed."

SimCity requires players to be connected online to play the game so they can share resources with other players. This is unlike other games where players can play portions of the game offline if there are Internet issues, according to USA Today. This feature also safeguards the company against software piracy.

The problem is exacerbated by the lack of resources needed to accomodate the surge of gamers logging on for a highly anticipated and popular video game, according to CNET.

SimCity is a simulation game where players, or "mayors," are tasked with building and maintaining a virtual city. The game was first launched in 1989 and has inspired different versions sold worldwide.

Senior Producer Kip Katsarelis issued a statement on the forum to assuage users lobbing complaints.

"We have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of support and enthusiasm from our fans which has made it even more upsetting for us that technical issues have become more prominent in the last 24 hours" he wrote on Wednesday. "We are hitting a number of problems with our server architecture, which has seen players encountering bugs, and long wait times to enter servers. This is, obviously, not the situation we wanted for our launch week and we want you to know that we are putting everything we have at resolving these issues."

But as of Thursday, the complaints kept pouring in with many asking for refunds and compensations in the form of additional special buildings.

"EA launched what was supposed to be one of the most anticipated games of 2013, and it doesn't even work properly," one person wrote. "Here's an idea: shut all servers down until you actually get it fixed, and those of us who have already purchased the game, compensate us with the European buildings pack upon actually getting the game to where it works."

Photo Credit: SimCity

Bonefish Grill Coming to Connecticut


Bonefish Grill, a restaurant that specializes in fresh fish cooked on a wood-burning grill, is coming to Connecticut later this month.

The chain, which started in St. Petersburg, Florida in 2000, has been expanding and will open at Evergreen Walk in South Windsor on March 25.

The menu includes Band Bang shrimp, mussels, crab cakes, Mahi Mahi, Chilean sea bass, several other seafood entrees, as well as chicken and meat dishes, burgers, tacos and a full bar.

Clinton Girl Comes to Elderly Couple’s Rescue


When a teenager went on the attach in a parking lot in front of 960 Main Street in Branford on Monday night, a Clinton girl did not hesitate before racing to their rescue and police are recognizing her for her heroic acts.

Police said a 19-year-old man who has mental illness was uncontrollable and outraged when an elderly man who was trying to parallel park accidentally hit the teen’s car around 4 p.m. on Monday, police said.

When the elderly driver and his wife got out of their car to check the damage, the 19-year-old, who police said was very large, pushed the man to the ground, causing a head injury, then pushed his wife to the ground and kicked her in the face, police said.
Jordan Ledyard, 13, of Clinton, was in a car nearby with her mother, Jennifer, when she saw the teen push the elderly man to the ground and immediately ran to the man’s aid.

As she was trying to help, the teen punched her in the face too, police said.

Jordan, the couple, and another person who was injured were able to get to a doctor’s office and away from the teen,, police said.

In addition to Jordan running to the couple’s assistance, several people called 911.

Chief Kevin Halloran commended everyone who helped the couple.

“However,” Halloran said, “I know that I, along with all of the officers that responded, are astonished by the gallant act of bravery that Jordan exhibited, putting herself in harm’s way of someone who is at least three times her size to assist others during this crisis is truly a noble act.”


Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut/Amanda Raus
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