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Man Sicked Dog on Mother of His Child: Cops


A Connecticut man was arrested after he allegedly sicked his dog on his daughter's mother during an argument over a tire, Middletown police said. 

Police responded to a home on Highland Avenue around 9:15 p.m. to investigate a domestic complaint after Allen Joseph Walden, 42, of Middletown, and the 36-year-old mother of their 17-year-old daughter, got into an argument, police said.

The arraignment report says Walden was acting aggressively and the woman threw a tire at him, cutting his hand. Walden then hit the woman and she kicked down the door of his house to get their daughter, who had gone inside during the argument, police said.

When the woman got into Walden’s home, he gave commands for his 50-pound dog to attack and the dog bit the woman several times until her daughter “ripped” the dog off, according to police.

Walden was taken into custody and charged with third-degree assault, risk of injury to a child and disorderly conduct.

He was released on a $2,500 bond and is due in court this morning. It's not clear if he has an attorney.

The woman was treated at Middlesex Hospital and charged with disorderly conduct, which is a misdemeanor.

Photo Credit: Middletown Police

Man Made Up Police Brutality Claims: Officials


An Ansonia man who went to the FBI, claiming that Derby police beat him, pleaded guilty to making it all up, according to federal officials.

Edward Minerly, 52, of Ansonia, pleaded guilty today in Hartford federal court today to one count of making a false report of police brutality to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and waived his right to indictment.

According to federal officials, Derby police arrested Minerly on May 18, 2013 on an outstanding probation violation warrant.

Weeks later, he spoke with agents from the FBI in New Haven, and claimed Derby police placed him in a holding cell and taunted him; tipped him backward and out of his wheelchair, threw him into a wall, flashed the lights on and off; and kicked him in the head and other parts of his body.

On Tuesday, Minerly pleaded guilty to making false statements, according to federal officials.

“The Department of Justice is committed to investigating and prosecuting civil rights abuses by members of law enforcement,” U.S. Attorney Deidre Daly said in a statement. “We are equally committed to prosecuting false reports of police brutality as these reports not only waste valuable federal law enforcement resources, but they have the potential to indelibly stain the police department and its officers that are unfairly maligned.”

Minerly is scheduled to be sentenced on February 10.

Derby Middle School Closed Over Threat


Derby Middle School is closed Tuesday as police continue to investigate a threat found in the girl's bathroom Monday, according to Derby police.

A message scrawled on a bathroom stall was found around 11:45 a.m. on Monday and school officials implemented a "lock-in," according to Derby superintendent Dr. Matthew Conway.

Police said they deemed the threat low level because it was written out instead of delivered, so they conducted a search and gave the "all clear" by about 2:40 p.m. yesterday, according to a news release from police.

Investigators are working to identify the person who wrote the threat, Conway said.

He said that there was no threat to the middle school or any other school in the district, but that school officials were taking "every precaution and utilizing every resource available" to make sure "students, staff and parents feel safe reentering the school," Conway said in a written statement.

"We treat every threat as real and have taken the immediate and necessary actions to ensure all students are safe," Conway said. "While we regret parents were not notified earlier in the day on Monday, all students arrived home safely."

The building was not evacuated and police began focusing on a small number of individuals.

Then, Monday night, the board of education decided to close the middle school for Tuesday and requested help from the state police bomb squad.

"As a result of an extreme abundance of caution, a sweep of the building was conducted by explosive detection canines this morning with negative results," a news release from police says.

This morning, school officials posted a statement on the district website:

"Yesterday a threatening statement was discovered on a bathroom wall at the middle school.  While the police have determined there is not a credible threat, they are working today to identify the source of the statement. In the meantime we are taking every precaution and utilizing every resource available to us to ensure students, staff and parents feel safe reentering the school.  There is no threat to the middle school or any other school."

91-Year-Old Woman Attacked By Dog Dies


A 91-year-old woman who was mauled by her own dog in Stamford died this morning, according to officials from Bridgeport Hospital.

Police said the woman suffered serious arm injuries when the dog attacked around 4 p.m. on Friday at her home on Judith Terrace in Stratford.

The dog mauled her in the kitchen and, although the victim was gravely hurt, she was conscious and managed to call 911 on her own, police said.

First responders rushed her to Bridgeport Hospital, where she died, hospital officials said.

According to the woman's daughter, the victim owned the black-and-white Keeshond mix for eight years and had never before had a problem with the animal.

Neighbors described the victim as a quiet and kind woman and said they were reeling from the news.

Animal Control officers brought the dog to an animal shelter in Stratford following the attack. The animal's future remains uncertain.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com
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21-Year-Old Shot to Death in New Haven


Police are investigating the shooting death of a 21-year-old man in New Haven.

Authorities found Isaiah Conyers, 21, was suffering from a gunshot wound at 61 Warwick Street in New Haven around 2 p.m. Tuesday. Police said they believe Conyers was shot inthe doorway to the apartment.

Conyers was taken to Yale-New Haven Hospital, where he was pronounced dead, police said.

Authorities are investigating his death as a homicide. Police said they have not received any information about possible suspects.

Anyone who witnessed the crime or has knowledge of the incident is urged to call New Haven police at 203-946-6304.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Man Hung Dead Cats From Trees: Cops


A 60-year-old Yonkers man has been accused of putting more than two dozen dead cats in plastic bags and then hanging them from tree branches, authorities say.

Rene Carcamo was arrested this week after investigators found 25 dead cats hanging from trees and the carcasses of several more felines on the ground near Overlook Terrace in Yonkers on April 24.

At the time, SPCA officials said the cats had apparently been killed by blows to the head. Examiners performed necropsies and found that at least three animals had blunt-force trauma to the head.

“The SPCA of Westchester is pleased that an arrest has been made in this case, after many months of investigation, interviews and hard work,” said SPCA spokesman Eric Lungaro.

The SPCA says investigators questioned Carcamo several times about the dead cats.

On one occasion, in July, investigators asked the man to take several of his kittens that appeared to be sick to the veterinarian and took them when he didn't.

A vet later found that the kittens had been severely neglected and diagnosed both with conjunctivitis, a discharge from the nose and mouth.

Carcamo is charged with violating city environmental conservation laws for allegedly disposing of the cats in Overlook Terrace and two counts of animal abuse for his alleged treatment of the kittens, police say.

It's not immediately clear if Carcamo has an attorney.

Photo Credit: Westchester SPCA

Global Warming Labels at Gas Pumps?


First, they took on big soda – and won. Now, Berkeley is poised to tackle big oil.

The city council is scheduled to vote Tuesday night on whether to move forward with a plan that could make the city the first in the country to require gas pumps to warn customers that burning fuel contributes to climate change. They'll vote on whether to draft an ordinance within the next three months, knowing full well they'll likely be sued by the Western States Petroleum Association.

"I think the science is clear we have to reduce buying gasoline and treat it as though it's a neutral activity," said Jack Fleck, a member of 350BayArea.org, which has been spearheading this issue. "Consuming gasoline is causing climate change. It's a serious problem."

For the record, Fleck drives a Chevy Volt powered with solar panels

The oil-industry lobbying group has already told the Berkeley Energy Commission the fuel station carbon dioxide labels "violate the First Amendment’s prohibition against compelled speech.”

But Berkeley has battled industries successfully before. Most notably, Berkeley became the first city in the nation on Nov. 4 to pass  a city law taxing sodas, 1 cent per ounce. San Francisco also tried such a measure and lost, but like Berkeley, is considering a similar gas pump warning labeling measure. On Thursday, a committee in San Francisco is expected to vote on a draft of an ordinance, which the Board of Supervisors could vote on by next spring.

"We get sued all the time," Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates said with a laugh. Berkeley hasn't gotten sued by the soda industry yet, but that will happen in the near future. That's not a reason not to fight the good fight, he said.

"This is just a friendly reminder," he said of the stickers. "It's just information for consumers."

Not all are enamored with the Berkeley labeling proposal, which is estimated to cost $20,000 to set up the first year - not to mention the unknown costs that would need to be spent on fighting the highly likely oil industry lawsuit, according to city documents.

Fred Schlachter, a Berkeley energy commissioner, wrote a dissenting opinion arguing that the global warning labels are a "well meaning and sincere attempt to increase social awareness of the well-known link between combustion of gasoline and the release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere."

But, he argued that "there is a possibility of an adverse reaction, as some citizens will no doubt not like being preached to when fueling their cars." He said that Berkeley drivers may have such a negative reaction to being "lectured at the pump," they may choose to fill up elsewhere.

He also added that fueling up isn't generally a "moment of choice," it's a decision between filling up or running out of gas.

Still, the labeling proposal passed unanimously this summer at an advisory committee level. Those who like the idea say the labels will bring awareness, and hopefully, lack of use. They liken the effort to warnings on cigarette packages, “click-it-or-ticket” billboards for use of seat belts, alcohol consumption and nutrition labels on packaged food.

The grand goal of the labels, the supporters argue, is to reduce the city's greenhouse gas emissions – 50 percent of which come from transportation in Berkeley – by 33 percent between 2000 and 2020.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area
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Bus Carrying Plainville Elementary Students Involved in Crash


Elementary students suffered minor injuries when the bus bringing them to school was involved in a crash in Plainville on Tuesday morning.

Police said 10-12 students were aboard the bus when another car passed the bus illegally at the intersection of Woodford and Dallas avenues in Plainville around 8:30 a.m.

Some students sustained "very minor injuries." Police said the bus was headed to Linden Street Elementary School at the time of the crash.

The driver was cited for passing in a no-passing zone, according to police.

Western N.Y. Digs Out From Huge Snows


Western New Yorkers may already be winter-weary a week before Thanksgiving, as a fresh blast of winter weather dumped as much as 5 feet of lake-effect snow on cities like Buffalo.

Meteorologists said Buffalo could get throttled with 6 feet of snow, as bone-chilling temperatures descended on a broad swath of the United States.

A state of emergency was declared in Buffalo's suburbs of Orchard Park and West Seneca, which had already seen 47 inches of snowfall by 10 a.m. ET.

On Tuesday evening, Gov. Andrew Cuomo deployed the National Guard to help those affected, just as he urged drivers to stay off the road for their own safety.

About a third of flights at Buffalo/Niagara International Airport were cancelled, according to Flightaware.com, as noted by USA Today.

Lifelong Buffalo resident Nick Giammusso, 46, explained that "impassable" snow has snarled traffic in the area.

"We're used to the snow but not this," Giammusso said. "There's 5 feet of snow outside my house. A friend has snow up to his shoulders at his home."

The National Weather Service said that snow off the Great Lakes would continue at least through Wednesday. 

The National Guard will be deployed to Erie County to provide additional plows, tow trucks, and other assistance to aid in the cleanup from the snow storm, County Executive Mark Poloncarz announced Tuesday.

Below, you can see some photos people in and around Buffalo have shared on social media: 

Photo Credit: AP Photo/ Carolyn Thompson
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Former Miss Porter's Teacher Pleads Guilty in Student Sex Case


The former boarding school teacher accused of having a sexual relationship with an underage student has pleaded guilty to a child pornography charge, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

Joseph Rajkumar, 44, was arrested in March 2013 after allegedly having a sexual relationship with a 16-year-old girl during the 2011-2012 school year at Miss Porter's School in Farmington. Federal authorities said he contacted and enticed the student online.

According to federal prosecutors, Rajkumar, a science teacher and Science Olympiad team adviser, pressured the teen to create an anonymous email account and use it to expose her chest to him through video chat.

A few months later, in November 2011, the two began having a sexual relationship, prosecutors said.

Federal prosecutors said Rajkumar also began to harass other female students both in person and through text message, making comments on their physical appearances and urging them to do "naughty things" in "secret."

According to the U.S. Attorney's Office, Rajkumar had inappropriate conversations with at least half a dozen female students and had sexual intercourse with one of them.

He pleaded guilty in federal court Tuesday to one count of attempted receipt of child pornography.

Rajkumar previously pleaded guilty in state court to second-degree sexual assault and was sentenced to 10 years in prison, suspended after 18 months, followed by 10 years of probation.

He could face an additional 5-20 years behind bars and will be sentenced in federal court Feb. 6.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com/Farmington Police Dept.

Head of North Haven Housing Authority Accused of Sex Assault


The chairman of the North Haven Housing Authority has been arrested, accused of forcing a male party guest to perform sex acts at his home last year.

Police arrested Ralph Cook, 49, on Tuesday after a year-long investigation. 

Cook is the director of the local housing authority, which is a volunteer position, according to the first selectman.

Cook, who is not an elected official, is also a mortgage broker, according to police.

Police said he hosted a party at his house on Mountain Brook Road in October 2013 and one guest reported to authorities that Cook forced him to perform sex acts during the party.

Police have identified the victim as an adult man.

Investigators obtained a search and seizure warrant and went to Cook’s home to collect evidence, then obtained an arrest warrant for him after a DNA analysis.

On Tuesday morning, Cook was arrested and charged with sexual assault in the first degree and unlawful restraint. NBC Connecticut went to Cook's home and there was no answer. Officials from the housing authority also had no comment.

He is being held on a $250,000 court-set bond and will be arraigned in Meriden Superior Court.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Woman Wants Rosie the Riveter Day


As if it couldn't get better for 93-year-old Phyllis Gould and her small band of Rosie the Riveters.

Not only did she and a handful of octogenarians meet President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden at the White House in April. Now, there's a push in Congress to turn one day of the year into National Rosie the Riveter Day.

"I thought of the idea while I was in the shower one morning," the Fairfax woman told NBC Bay Area on Tuesday. "And it just started rolling."

She initially contacted U.S. Rep. Jared Huffman. And the idea grew. U.S. Rep. Jackie Speier then enlisted the help of Huffman and outgoing U.S. Rep. George Miller – all Democrats from California – to draft a formal letter to request a day be marked on the U.S. calendar to honor the women who are "among our nation's greatest living heroines."

So far, the request has about 30 co-signers, and the deadline to sign before sending it to the White House is Wednesday. There is no required number for the president to act, and no specific date has been set or suggested.

The congressional letter highlights the role women played during World War II, when 6 million women went to work, "literally providing the weaponry and ammunition to end the war."

For her part, Gould was a welder during World War II. And she was one of six Rosie the Riveters — all in their 70s, 80 and 90s — from the San Francisco Bay Area who flew to Washington, D.C., at Biden’s special invitation, after Gould had written one of her many letters to the White House seeking recognition for the role of women during the war. Biden didn't ignore her and, in a conversation captured in a radio chat, invited her and her pals to D.C.

For Gould and her friends, it was a trip of a lifetime. She hugged the leaders of the free world and felt that she finally got respect from the very top.

But Gould said she's still not completely done with her mission. She now wants every city to post Rosie the Riveter acknowledgments at veteran memorials throughout the country.

"I'm obsessed with women being recognized," she said. "Because it won't happen once we're gone."

Photo Credit: Courtesy of U.S. Rep. Jackie Speier

Your Health Insurance Enrollment Questions Answered


As open enrollment gets underway through the state's health insurance marketplace, groups are working across Connecticut to help meet goals to halve the state's uninsured population.

Access Health CT announced last week that it aims to enroll 140,000 people in health care plans through the state exchange.

Numerous Facebook users responded to posts on the NBC Connecticut page addressing questions about signing up for coverage under the Affordable Care Act.

One of the most common questions was, “How do you balance what plan is the right option for you, especially when financial considerations are so important?”

Deb Polun, who handles government relations for the Community Health Center Association of Connecticut, said consumers need to know one basic, important piece of information when considering health care plans.

The coverage options are organized based on premium levels which also corresponds to the amount of coverage provided. Plans are bronze, silver, gold and platinum. As the level of precious metal gets more expensive, so, too, does coverage.

"If you're generally a healthy person who doesn't tend to need a lot of medical care, you're going to be fine on either a bronze or a silver plan,” Polun said. “If you're somebody with a chronic condition like diabetes, or multiple sclerosis, even asthma, then you're going to want to go toward the gold or platinum plans so that you can get the comprehensive coverage."

Another common question has to do with how people will be able to pay for plans.

“Who qualifies for subsidies and who doesn't?” Facebook users asked.

Polun said income is the biggest factor when it comes to getting assistance to pay for coverage. If a family of four with annual earnings of less than $95,000 applies for coverage, then it will qualify for federal assistance.

Families and individuals also need to consider that their entire health care cost could be covered by the state.

"There are people who are going to be able to get on Medicaid for the first time, which is going to provide them with really comprehensive coverage at no cost," Polun said.

For help signing up, Polun recommended that people show up in person to one of the Access Health CT retail locations or go to places like health centers and public libraries where they can find certified application counselors who are well-versed in all facets of the Affordable Care Act.

Man Robs Manchester Toy Store With Child in Tow


Police are searching for the man who stole hundreds of dollars in toys from a Manchester toy store and nearly left behind a little girl who accompanied him.

According to police, the man took a $700 toy train set and two $100 remote-control helicopters from the Time Machine store on Hilliard Street in Manchester between 2:50 an 3:30 p.m. Sunday.

The man rushed to the door after grabbing the toys and paid no regard to a little girl who struggled to keep up as he ran through the parking lot and around the side of the building, police said.

Anyone who recognizes the suspect or has any information on the incident is urged to call Manchester police.

Photo Credit: Manchester Police Department

State Investigates Hartford Voting Problems


The State Elections Enforcement Commission voted Tuesday to consider a recommendation from the secretary of the state, who filed a complaint over voting operations following an Election Day snafu in Hartford two weeks ago.

"Staff will move forward with that,” said Michael Brandi, the Executive Director of the SEEC. “It's a confidential process but we will move forward to complete the investigation and report it back to the commission for the commission to then determine whether any violations of election law have occurred."

The complaint – and resulting recommendation – comes after precincts in Hartford were unprepared for the polls to open at 6 a.m. Election Day, causing delays. Voters milled around in frustration while waiting for registration lists to arrive late from the office of the Registrars of Voters in Hartford.

Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra said he welcomes the SEEC investigation.

"These were state elections and they have a legitimate interest in ensuring that they get to the bottom of the situation,” Segarra said.

In a statement released to NBC Connecticut last week, the Hartford Democratic Registrar of Voters apologized to voters and took responsibility for the failures on Election Day.

The Working Families Party Registrar, Urania Petit, also apologized. Both have remained in their positions despite some calls to resign.

The investigation into the Hartford registrars will begin immediately. It will take anywhere from three to six months to complete, but could be expedited.

"It's a priority case for us, so we will be committing the necessary resources to move through this process as quickly as we can," said Brandi. "But as with any investigation, it's very difficult to determine a time frame until you actually get into the documents and the details of the case.”

Segarra said he won't jump to conclusions about personnel decisions the investigation results are returned.

"I think at this point, the best that can happen is for folks that are disinterested in this to review the situation, to conduct the investigation, to gather all of the facts," Segarra said, "and then once they have a handle on exactly what happened, we can talk about what actions need to follow."

The Hartford City Council has launched an investigation of its own.

Bridgeport Man Stabbed During Armed Robbery


Police are investigating after a Bridgeport man was stabbed in the chest during an armed robbery Monday night.

According to police, two teens approached the 43-year-old victim in the area of Oak Street and North Avenue and demanded money. When he told them he didn't have any, one of the teens stabbed him in the torso.

Police said the victim was "uncooperative" when police continued to probe the incident. He said he hitchhiked to Bridgeport Hospital, but authorities later learned a friend drove him to the emergency room.

Investigators later found a kitchen knife at the scene of the crime, according to police.

Anyone with information is urged to call Bridgeport police.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

New London Man Charged in Robbery Attempt


Police have arrested the man accused of trying to rob a convenience store on Bank Street in New London.

Police said Kirk Skinner, 49, tried to rip off the Ravi Mart at 268 Bank Street in New London early Tuesday morning.

Authorities took him into custody at his apartment on Pearl Street and charged him with first-degree criminal attempt at robbery and criminal possession of a firearm.

Police said Skinner has previous robbery convictions and is currently on probation.

Photo Credit: New London Police Department

9/11 Firefighter's Daughter in FDNY


A New York woman who lost her father on Sept. 11 took the final step in carrying out his legacy when she graduated from the FDNY Academy Tuesday. 

Josephine Smith, 34, of Mastic, is one of four women in this year's FDNY class of 280, and the first-ever daughter of a firefighter killed in the World Trade Center attacks to join the FDNY. 

Speaking at the ceremony, Smith said she felt "proud, happy, excited... sad that my father couldn't be here." 

Kevin Smith, 53, lost his life when the north tower fell. Josephine was 21 at the time, and she first heard it on the radio -- but her desire to be a firefighter like her father started years before.

She recalled "going to work with my dad, playing on fire trucks, even telling my dad how I was going to work with him one day."

Her mother, Angelina Clay, now remarried, said she never doubted.

"I bought her a bottle of champagne before she even started the academy because I knew she'd make it," she said. 

Smith's first assignment is Engine 39 on Manhattan's East Side. Her father was with Haz-Mat Company 1. 

She carries a picture of him under her uniform hat, and wears his bracelet, too. She said she'll go to work with him every day. 

"There's not a second that goes by that I don't think about my father," she said. "There's so much that reminds me of him, there's so much I wish I can tell him about, to come home and tell him what I learned that day." 

Six Flags Settles in Woman's Death


The family of a woman who fell to her death from a Six Flags Over Texas roller coaster last year has reached a settlement with the theme park and the coaster's German manufacturer.

All three parties announced the settlement in a joint statement Tuesday, saying Six Flags and Gerstlauer Amusement Rides had reached the deal with Rosy Esparza's family. Terms of the settlement weren't disclosed.

Esparza, 52, plummeted 75 feet to her death as she rode the Texas Giant in July 13.

"Our deepest condolences, thoughts and prayers will forever be with the Esparza family," said Steve Martindale, park president via a statement Tuesday. "We are thankful that all parties could reach an agreed settlement."
"The Esparza family is very pleased with the settlement and appreciates the condolences offered by Six Flags and Gerstlauer," said both Frank Branson and Garret Chambers, attorneys representing the family.

The statement said that Gerstlauer is also very pleased with the settlement.

Soon after the accident, seat belts were added to the Texas Giant, and there was a test seat put out, so people could see if they could safely get on the ride.

Gerstlauer Amusement Rides said that seat was provided for the park two years prior to the accident, but never used.

Read the court filing in its entirety below.

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Man Assaults 73-Year-Old at Pharmacy Counter


Police are searching for the man who attacked a 73-year-old at the pharmacy counter of a Target store in Orange earlier this month.

Surveillance footage from the morning of Nov. 7 shows the suspect walking up behind the 73-year-old man and shoving him to the ground, unprovoked. Police said the victim hurt his knee when he fell.

An employee tried to follow the suspect out of the store but lost sight of him in the parking lot, according to police.

Police are asking for help in identifying the suspect. Surveillance video shows him to be about 30 years old with a stocky build and thin beard. He was wearing a gray baseball cap and workout clothes at the time of the attack.

Anyone with information is urged to call Orange police Officer Rob Cafaro at 203-891-2130.

Photo Credit: Orange Police Department
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