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Painting Depicting Founder of Planned Parenthood Vandalized


A painting depicting Mother Teresa along with the founder of Planned Parenthood and other historical figures was vandalized Wednesday at a library in Trumbull, Connecticut, during a meeting to discuss the fate of the artwork.

Police said they are searching for a woman who was seen near the painting during the meeting. After she left the library, people noticed purple markings across the face of Margaret Sanger.

“I heard commotion in the main library. I went outside to see what was going on. Two of the employees at the main circulation desk advised me that the painting had been defamed,” First Selectman Timothy Herbst said.

"Onward We March," a painting by artist Robin Morris, shows Mother Teresa and other women, including Abigail Adams, Gloria Steinem and Clara Barton, marching, holding signs with messages including "Planned Parenthood," "Mission of Charity," "Feed the Poor," "Remember The Ladies," "Hospital Reform" and "Right to Vote," among others.

It’s been on display at the public library for months as part of the “Great Minds” exhibit, but last week, Trumbull officials temporarily removed it after organizations raised concerns that the painting depicted Mother Teresa in the same image as Sanger, who fought to legalize birth control.

Last week, Herbst said the town opted to remove the painting because the library lacked a written agreement with Resnick to protect the town against "any potential liability" from a copyright violation allegation.

The ACLU also weighed in on the issue, raising constitutional concerns about the decision to order the removal of a painting and said it was taken down amid pressure from the Catholic fraternal organization, Knights of Columbus and its supporters.

The painting has since gone back up, but it has marks scrawled across Sanger’s face.

Police said they are looking for a woman in her mid-30s, with dark hair, who was near the painting. She reached into her bag and waved her arms around the painting before leaving the library.

Town leaders said they want to ensure whoever is responsible isn’t able to do something like this again.

“I think we have to make sure that we bring the person to justice who did this. They need to be held accountable. They vandalized property in a public building,” Herbst said.

The painting is worth an estimated $10,000, but no estimate was immediately available on the damage to it.

Anyone with information is asked to call Trumbull Police at 203-261-3665.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Hillary Clinton Popular as Presidential Choice in CT: Poll


Despite the hullabaloo about Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton using her private email account for official business when she served as the Secretary of the States, Connecticut voters would choose her in the 2016 race for the White House, according to a new Quinnipiac University poll.

Clinton leads among possible Democratic candidates and is more popular than any of the potential Republican choices.

The poll has Clinton with 53 percent, followed by U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts with 15 percent and Vice President Joseph Biden with 8 percent, among the Democrats.

"In blue Connecticut, Hillary Clinton has big double-digit leads against top Republican contenders," Quinnipiac University Poll Director Douglas Schwartz, said in a statement. "Despite the current e-mail controversy surrounding Clinton, she is well-liked in Connecticut while the Republican contenders get either mixed evaluations or negative ones from voters."

Clinton also leads Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, 52 to 34 percent, New Jersey Gov. Christopher Christie, 52 to 34 percent and U.S. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, 54 to 32 percent. 

She leads 56 to 31 percent over former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, 53 to 34 percent over U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, 53 to 33 percent over U.S. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky and 55 to 30 percent over U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas.


Photo Credit: Yana Paskova/Getty Images

Man Pulled Fake Gun on Ex While Child Was Nearby: Cops


West Haven police arrested a man who’s accused of pointing what appeared to be a gun at his ex-girlfriend’s head and threatened her while the couple’s child was in the next room.

Police responded to a Coleman Street home at 9:45 a.m. on Wednesday to investigate a domestic dispute and found the door to the apartment kicked off its hinges, police said.

Police said Michael Miller, 34, of West Haven, had kicked the door off the hinges, entered the apartment and took items.

During an argument with his ex-girlfriend, Miller pulled what the woman thought was a gun from his waistband, placed it to her head and threatened her, all while their child was in the next room, police said.

Several hours later, police found Miller’s vehicle at an area hotel, went in and spotted Miller, who ducked into his hotel room, police said.

Police took Miller into custody and found narcotics, money and what appeared to be an AR-15 style rifle and a Beretta style automatic handgun. As police looked more closely at the guns, they determined the weapons were actually BB guns.

Miller was arrested and charged with first-degree threatening, first-degree reckless endangerment, risk of injury to a child, drug possession charged and additional offenses.

Photo Credit: West Haven Police

Police Identify Watertown Toilet Part Thief


Police have obtained an arrest warrant for the man accused of taking apart toilets at stores in Watertown and stealing the metal flushers.

Jason Taylor, 32, is accused of stealing toilet parts from bathrooms at Stop & Shop and McDonald's stores on Straits Turnpike in Watertown last month.

Police said he targeted both stores within hours of one another on Feb. 10, causing one of the bathrooms to flood.

Following the thefts, police released surveillance footage showing the culprit. Tips from the public helped investigators identify Taylor as the man in question, according to police.

Police are searching for Taylor and expect to charge him with two counts of sixth-degree larceny and two counts of third-degree criminal mischief.

Anyone with information on his whereabouts is urged to call Watertown police at 860-945-5218 or submit a tip to through Crimestoppers line by calling 860-945-9940.

Police said they are only seeking information and are cautioning residents not to contact Taylor.

Photo Credit: Watertown Police Department

Thief Stole Donation Box from Wilton Church


Police are looking for the person who stole a donation box from a Wilton church.

Officials from Our Lady of Fatima Parish called police on Monday to report that a donation box was taken sometime between Friday and Sunday and surveillance footage shows a man who police said might be involved. He was near the donation box on Friday, acting suspiciously, police said.

The man is between 40 and 50 years old, with a medium build and is around 5-feet-8, police said. He was wearing a green jacket and blue sweatpants with a stripe down the side.

Police released surveillance photos and asked police to call police at 203-834-6260.

Photo Credit: Wilton Police

TD Garden Stabbing Suspect Arrested


A suspect has been arrested in a stabbing that occurred Wednesday night during a Boston Celtics game at the TD Garden.

Twenty-year-old Brandon Jones of Braintree was arrested, Boston Police announced Thursday afternoon.

Police were notified of the attack late in the fourth quarter of the game between the Celtics and the Memphis Grizzlies.

The victim, a man in his early 20s, was transported to Massachusetts General Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

Jones was charged with assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, which police confirm was a knife. He will be arraigned Friday.

Stay with necn as this story develops.

New Britain Guide Dog Nominated for 2015 Hero Dog Award


The 5-year-old German Shepherd who serves as the right-hand man (or pup, as the case may be) of the visually impaired New Britain Parks & Recreation director has been nominated for the 2015 American Humane Association's Hero Dog Award.

Parks & Rec director Bill DeMaio, 56, partnered with his guide dog Izaac three years ago. DeMaio was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa when he was 30 years old. The degenerative eye disease has no cure.

"When I received Izaac from Fidelco, there was an immediate love and bond established between us. Izaac has been the greatest hero that I could have ever have imagined," DeMaio said in a statement. "I totally underestimated, when I was making the decision to get my first guide dog, that Izaac would increase my sociability and security."

The Hero Dog Award contest comprises eight categories and three rounds of voting, the first of which began Monday and runs through May 15.

Three entrants from each category will win $2,500, and the grand prize winner will win $7,500 toward the non-profit organization of his or her choice.

DeMaio said he plans to donate the $2,500 to Guide Dog Users Inc. if Izaac wins, along with $5,000 to the Fidelco Guide Dog Foundation in Bloomfield if he brings homet he grand prize.

"He gives me freedom and independence and he enables me to move quickly and to get where I need to be safely. He’s my hero," DeMaio said.

Connecticut State Police K-9 Hero has also been nominated for the Hero Dog Award in the law enforcement category. You can vote for Hero here and Izaac here.

Photo Credit: City of New Britain/Kevin Bartram

New Data Shows Crime is Down in Connecticut


Newly released data from the state shows criminal arrests are down in Connecticut by 12 percent over the past year and 24 percent over the past decade.

According to the governor's office, statistics from the state Division of Criminal Justice's Policy and Planning Division shows that arrests are down from 6,175 in January 2014 to 5,976 in January 2015 and 5,175 in February 2014 to 5,478 in Feburary 2015.

Pretrial jail admissions in February 2015 were the lowest in 11 years, and crime has dropped by 23 percent, according to the data.

The governor's office said violent crime in the state's three biggest cities – Hartford, New Haven and Bridgeport – dropped 15 percent from 2012 to 2013.

“Credit to the trends we’re seeing in crime reduction must go to the close collaboration between local, state and federal agencies, and their partnerships with community leaders who are working together day in and day out to reduce crime,” Gov. Dannel Malloy said in a statement Thursday.

“These numbers are moving in the right direction, and we must continue enforcing thoughtful criminal justice initiatives that ensure our frontline law enforcement have the tools they need to keep our communities safe, while also focusing on efforts that break the cycle of crime,” the governor added.

You can read the full Crimnial Justice report online.

Hartford Businesses Hope for Boost From AAC Tournament


Eleven eateries in Hartford have adopted 11 fan bases as the American Athletic Conference basketball tournament gets underway, hoping to cash in on what they hope will be a $4 million boost.

When Seth Goldberg came to Hartford to see his beloved South Florida Bulls play in a women's basketball tournament, he remembered streets jammed with fans and no place to eat between games because of the crowds.

Now he's back for the American Athletic Conference championship, the men's basketball tournament this weekend in Hartford.

"Win or lose, it'll still be a good time, and there are a lot of other teams that are on the bubble there. The games will have some meaning across the board. I just hope we can pull out at least one upset," he said, after a 17-hour drive from his home in St. Louis.

That upset would have to be against UConn, the defending national champion seeded sixth in the tournament. The number one seed is Southern Methodist University.

"Well, it was probably colder in Dallas when I left," said Kevin Knox, from the SMU Business School's alumni association. "I can't wait for the tournament. I can't wait."

Until Burger Baby went belly up, it was supposed to host fans from University of Houston. A sign on the window directs them to Salute.

"Well we're offering 20 percent discount to all Houston fans and actually anyone and everyone that's going to the tournament, for the whole weekend," said Jimmy Cosgrove, of Salute. "The biggest thing is we're going to try to treat them like they're back home."

Out on Asylum Street, Malcolm Archibald with the Angry Bull Saloon said the economic impact is no bull.

"It's going to be insane," he said. "This is the best weekend of the year for us. Unfortunately, Saint Patrick's Day got canceled, but this is going to revitalize Hartford."

Hospitals Lift Flu Season Visitor Restrictions


Lawrence + Memorial Hospital in New London and Westerly Hospital in Rhode Island have lifted visitor restrictions imposed in January at the height of flu season, according to hospital officials.

The restrictions, which were put in place Jan. 30, limited visitors to healthy guests ages 18 and over. The number of flu cases nationwide soared at the beginning of the month, and the virus was now considered widespread in 43 states.

Although guest restrictions were lifted Thursday, hospital officials are encouraging anyone who exhibits flu symptoms to stay home and refrain from visiting patients until flu symptoms have been dispelled.

The hospital is reminding everyone to wash their hands regularly in an effort to prevent the spread of disease.

More information on the flu is available online through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Crash Causes Hundreds of Power Outages in Ledyard


Nearly 800 homes are without power in Ledyard following a crash on Iron Street late Thursday afternoon.

Police said Iron Street is closed between Route 117 and Spicer Hill Road. Eversource Energy is reporting 777 outages in Ledyard.

Ledyard police said crews are at the scene working to restore power.

There has been no word on injuries.

No additional information was immediately available.

Check back for updates on this developing story.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

American Ebola Victim Heads to NIH


An American healthcare worker infected with Ebola in West Africa will be transferred to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Maryland, the NIH announced Thursday afternoon.

The patient had been volunteering at an Ebola treatment unit in Sierra Leone, the NIH said. He or she will transported to the United States on a chartered flight and is expected to arrive at the NIH in Bethesda on Friday.

The patient will be treated at the NIH Clinical Center's Special Clinical Studies Unit (SCSU), which is designed for high-level isolation capabilities and is staffed by specialists in infectious diseases and critical care, the NIH said.

NIH has not released any further information on the patient.

The person will be the second to be treated for Ebola at NIH. Last fall, Texas nurse Nina Pham was treated there after contracting the disease while treating the first Ebola patient diagnosed in the U.S.

The NIH has also cared for two other people who had high-risk exposures to Ebola, but were later determined to not be infected.

Photo Credit: FILE/Getty Images

Man Stole $55K in Wire, Cable From Monroe Tower: Cops


Police have arrested the Monroe resident accused of stealing copper wire, communication cable and metal parts worth $55,000 from the town radio tower in December, then running from officers who arrived to arrest him.

Jason Klein, 30, of Monroe, cut copper grounding wire from the WMNR tower and town emergency radio system site on Old Newtown Road in Monroe on Dec. 28, according to police.

Authorities said the stolen items are valued at $55,000, and Klein caused another $20,000 in damage to the site.

DNA evidence collected at the scene led them to Klein, who is also accused of stealing $27 in items from Stop & Shop on Route 111 in Monroe on Dec. 13. He's facing charges out of violation of probation out of Newtown and failure to appear in Norwalk as well.

Klein ran from his home on Stanley Road when police arrived to arrest him the night of Feb. 27 on a larceny warrant out of Monroe and the two warrants from Newtown and Norwalk, police said.

He bolted into the woods, and K-9 team tracked him into a vacant home at 31 Stanley Road owned by Klein's parents, according to police.

Investigators found Klein hiding inside the unheated home and took him to Bridgeport Hospital for treatment of exposure.

Klein was arrested in connection with the radio tower thefts on March 15 and charged with first-degree larceny, first-degree criminal mischief and third-degree criminal trespass.

Photo Credit: Monroe Police Department

Teachers' Union Pushes for Testing Changes


The union that represents about 40,000 educators in the state proposed legislation Thursday that could lead to widespread changes in the way students are tested in Connecticut.

Connecticut Education Association Executive Director Mark Waxenberg said the proposal intends to do away with high-stakes tests.

“We’ve taken too much time and learning away from the classroom. Our position and our proposal puts it back to the classroom," he explained. "It still maintains standardized testing and accountability but does it in a way that maintains teaching and learning inside the classroom.”

The Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, or SBAC test, has been a source of contention around the state. The exam was crafted in part by more than 200 Connecticut teachers and is in line with the Common Core State Standards.

“Our students deserve an education that sets them up to succeed in an increasingly demanding world. That's why we raised the bar for what they should know and be able to do," a spokesman for the Connecticut Department of Education said in a statement. "And when we set higher expectations, our students rise to meet them. We also owe our students, parents and teachers a way to measure student progress towards these goals.”

The spokesman also said the department is always willing to sit down with groups like the CEA and parents to discuss how to improve student performance.

Progress tests are shorter, 20-minute examinations that take place several times a year.

Waxenberg says the CEA approach is the one that should be embraced because it puts the focus on what the teacher is capable of accomplishing with students, rather than dropping everything for one exam.

“Our teachers are telling us that everything stops when SBAC participation comes into play and whenever that’s going to happen we see really a deterioration of the teaching and learning that’s necessary in the classroom,” he said.

Group Beats, Stabs Man to Death in Stamford


A 52-year-old Stamford man is dead after a group beat him and stabbed him in front of a McDonald’s on Wednesday night.

Police said a group of three to five males and females beat Antonio Muralles, 52, of Stamford, with a stick in front of the fast-food restaurant at 25 Bedford Street, on Wednesday evening. During the attack, one of the males pulled a knife and stabbed Muralles several times in the arms and torso. After the attack, the group ran off.

Emergency medical service crews who were responding to another unrelated matter found Muralles at the corner of Broad and Bedford streets at 8:17 p.m. and noticed a stab wound to the chest while treating him.

Muralles was then transported to Stamford Hospital, where he went through emergency surgery for several hours, but died at 1:07 a.m.

Police have notified Muralles’ family, including family members in his native country of Guatemala and an autopsy will be performed today.

Police will be recovering video and believe there are witnesses because the area was heavily travelled and well lit at the time of the attack.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Stamford Police Detective Bureau at 203-944-4417. All calls will be kept confidential.

This is the first homicide in Stamford of 2015.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

23-Year-Old Stratford Man Facing Child Porn Charges


A 23-year-old Stratford man is facing charges after investigators found child pornography files on his computer, according to police.

John Cotto was arrested March 11 and charged with possession of child pornography.

Police said Cotto has recently moved to Stratford from Pennsylvania, and Pennsylvania State Police were the first to obtain a warrant for his arrest.

Cotto was released on bond and is due in court March 18.

Photo Credit: Stratford Police Department

Woman Tied and Robbed of Cash, Handgun in New Haven


Police are searching for the men who rushed into a home office in New Haven late Wednesday morning, tied up a woman who answered the door, shut her in the bathroom and stole money and a 380-caliber handgun.

The 50-year-old victim told police she heard the doorbell ring around 10:30 a.m. She opened the front door and came face to face with a robber pointing a gun at her.

Police said he ordered her on the floor while the man's accomplish pushed his way into the house and demanded money.

The pair tied her up with a phone cord and took about $1,000 from her bag before shutting her into the bathroom, according to police.

She didn't move until she heard them leave, and when she opened the door, she found they had taken company checks and a 380-caliber handgun.

The robbers were last seen walking on Alden Avenue near Woodbridge Avenue.

One is described as a medium-complexioned man standing 5-foot-6 and weighing 170 pounds. He wore all black clothing with a hooded sweatshirt and carried a light-colored bag, according to police.

The second stands 6 feet tall and was wearing a dark-colored fitted cap and hooded sweatshirt at the time of the crime, police said.

Anyone with information is urged to call New Haven police.

Partially Naked Man Set Fire to Home, Rolled Car


A man covered in religious tattoos set fire to his own house, crashed his car, ran around half naked, knocking on doors, and identified himself to police as Lucifer, according to the police chief in Wolcott.

What came in as a report of a possible house fire turned into a much more bizarre story as police gained more information about the suspected series of events.

The report of a possible fire in the Edgemont Lane area came in at 7:52 a.m. Just a few minutes later, police received a report of a car that was rolled over on Cole Road, about a mile and a half away from the fire.

Wolcott Police Chief Edward Stephens just happened to be on Wolcott Road, so he started heading in that direction to help when jet another call came in. This one was about a half-naked man banging on doors at the Clearview Hills Condo complex.

“Being I was right there, I pulled into the complex and sure enough there was a gentleman there who we later arrested,” Stephens said. “His pants were down, his exposed buttocks covered with tattoos, banging on doors.”

Figuring the man, since identified as Alex Chambrello, 23, had been involved in the crash, Stephens approached him and asked his name.

Chambrello, who has a massive tattoo that says "Conquer All Evil" with depictions of Jesus with a crown of thorns and the Virgin Mary, identified himself as Lucifer, according to police.

“He said he was Lucifer from Hell the Inferno and he’s talking all kinds of gibberish,” Stephens said.

Then Stephens asked where he lived and Chambrello said 9 Edgemont Lane, which was where the fire was.

Police said Chambrello is suspected of setting fire in the basement of 9 Edgemont Lane in Wolcott, which caused the death of a cat.

A second cat reported missing after the fire was found safe and in good health, aside from some cuts to its face, according to Stephens.

Chambrello has been charged with arson and breach of peace and is held on $100,000 bond. He is set to be arraigned tomorrow at Waterbury Superior Court.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com and Wolcott Police

8 Guns, $8K in Jewelry Stolen During Home Invasion


Police are searching for the person who broke into a house on Front Street in New Haven on Tuesday and stole eight firearms while the homeowner was way.

The 46-year-old resident told police he came home from work Tuesday evening to find that someone had smashed through the front door.

According to police, the culprit stole three shotguns, a rifle and four handguns and jewelry valued at about $8,000.

Police said robbers stole another gun and $1,000 in cash from a home on Alden Avenue the next morning, but investigators do not believe the cases are connected.

Anyone with information is urged to call New Haven police.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Fairfield Welcomes FEMA Review of Sandy Claims


Two and a half years after Superstorm Sandy, some homeowners are still waiting for money, and others didn't receive the amount they were expecting, according to Fairfield First Selectman Mike Tetreau.

"Part of the issue is, in the flood insurance payouts, the underwriters came through. On one hand, they came through pretty quickly. On the other hand, almost nobody got as much as they were anticipating," Tetreau said. "This is Fairfield County, it's not Louisiana, it's not Mississippi. This one-size-fits-all claim doesn't help up here."

FEMA will review 144,000 Sandy claims in light of allegations that insurance companies in New York and New Jersey fraudulently put in claims that were too low.

The insurance companies have denied the allegations and approximately 2,000 lawsuits have been filed.

Elected leaders in Connecticut said they aren't aware of any fraud here, but they welcome a review.

“Everybody I've talked to, they felt they were underpaid in this. So I don't want to suggest there's fraud involved, I don't want to suggest there's a conspiracy involved, but I am thrilled that FEMA is coming back and looking at that,” said Tetreau.

Tetreau also said he's working with the congressional delegation and the attorney general's office to make sure all claims in Fairfield were handled correctly.

"A lot of people are still caught in what I'll call the financial dilemma: 'I know what my payout is from the insurance company; it's not enough to rebuild. What do I do – do I sell it at a loss? I can't move into my house; what do I do next?'" he said.

FEMA said it will not systematically review claims, and the burden falls on policyholders to submit their claims for review.

The agency will be contacting policyholders within the next few weeks to instruct them on how to submit their claims.

Photo Credit: AP Photo
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