<![CDATA[NBC Connecticut - National & International News]]> Copyright 2015 http://www.nbcconnecticut.com/news/national-international http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/NBC_Connecticut.png NBC Connecticut http://www.nbcconnecticut.com en-us Tue, 06 Oct 2015 18:30:09 -0400 Tue, 06 Oct 2015 18:30:09 -0400 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[6,000 Federal Prisoners to Be Granted Early Release: Report]]> Tue, 06 Oct 2015 15:48:48 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/ObamaPrison1.jpg

The Justice Department will grant early releases to about 6,000 federal inmates within weeks, according to a report published Tuesday, NBC News reported. 

The inmates will be freed between October 30 and November 2, according to the Washington Post, which said the move was an attempt to reduce overcrowding and support drug offenders who had received stiff sentences.

It is the largest ever one-time release of federal prisoners, the newspaper said.

Photo Credit: File--AFP/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Missing Cargo Ship: Who Are the Americans Aboard?]]> Tue, 06 Oct 2015 13:19:18 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/missing-cargo-ship-splitscreen.jpg

Family members of the 28 Americans aboard a container ship believed to have sunk when Hurricane Joaquin swept the Bahamas are sharing the stories of their missing loved ones.

El Faro's American crew members range in age from 23 to 53 and include the ship's captain, second mate, several engineers and merchant marines and a cook, among others, NBC News reported. Many live in Florida but have ties to other areas of the eastern seaboard, including Maine, Massachusetts and New York.

Authorities have only recovered one body so far, and family members are holding out hope that the others are still alive.

Click through below for more on their stories.

Photo Credit: Family Photos Provided to NBC]]>
<![CDATA[Guards Played Solitaire as 'El Chapo' Fled: Report]]> Tue, 06 Oct 2015 12:56:47 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/AP_4877262150541.jpg

The men guarding Sinaloa cartel chief Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman were playing solitaire doing when he escaped from a high-security prison earlier this year, according to a Mexican newspaper. 

A pair of security guards had claimed that at 8:48 p.m., four minutes before it is believed the drug lord escaped on July 11, their computer monitors froze, according to Mexican newspaper El Universal.

The guards originally claimed they then made more than two dozen calls to alert Almoloya prison's monitoring center — and that when they finally rebooted their equipment, the kingpin had vanished, according to journalist Carlos Loret de Mola.

Now a judge says, citing security video, the screens never froze but were probably turned off — and that guards Carlos Sanches Garcia and Jose Daniel Aureoles Tabares lied in their initial account of that night, according to the paper.

Photo Credit: Mexico's Attorney General's Office]]>
<![CDATA[Extreme Weather: South Carolina Flooding]]> Fri, 02 Oct 2015 14:47:33 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/extremeWeather-AP_453581428642.jpg See photos of extreme weather from the U.S. and around the world.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Chicago's Top Cop Addresses Critics, Says He'll Stay on the Job]]> Tue, 06 Oct 2015 18:03:07 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/190*120/168171599%281%29.jpg

Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy faced tough questions at a City Council budget hearing Tuesday afternoon, one day after several city aldermen publicly called for his firing following another violent summer in the city.

"I can't worry about what people say," he said. "I understand their frustration and I am frustrated too. I can only control what I can control, which is working hard and keeping my nose to the grindstone."

The comments come in response to a press conference Monday, where 15 members of the Black Caucus called for Chicago's top cop to be fired. McCarthy has held the top spot for five years.

"Supt. McCarthy has had five years, he has failed," said Ald. Roderick Sawyer, chairman of the Black Caucus.

Many of the aldermen in Tuesday's budget committee meeting were openly hostile, saying the department is not meeting the needs of their communities.

"Not once have you come and walked and marched in my community since you have been superintendent," Ald. Anthony Beale said. "Not once have you called to say, 'How can I partner with you to make the community better?'"

At Tuesday's meeting, members of the Black Caucus continued citing data to back their calls for McCarthy's removal. Ald. Howard Brookins (21st Ward) compared the number of shooting incidents in Chicago this year to last. According to Brookins, there were 1,581 incidents in 2014 and 1,870 incidents already in 2015.

The comments come on the heels of a particularly violent September, which saw two consecutive weekends with more than 50 people shot.

"My constituents get sick and tired of hearing about statistics and no action," Ald. Carrie Austin said.

Despite the violent end to summerfewer people were reportedly shot last weekend than any since February.

Ald. Brookins and Ald. Anthony Beale (9th Ward) also pointed to the number of African-American officers in the police department as one of McCarthy's failures, saying 23 percent of the department and 32 percent of the command is African-American.

On Monday, McCarthy announced the retirement of his trusted second-in-command, Alfonza Wysinger. Wysinger is the highest-ranking African American in the Chicago Police Department. 

Ald. Beale also accused McCarthy of "systematically denying" the ability of African-American officers in the department to be promoted.

Despite the complaints, McCarthy has supporters both in the council chamber and on the fifth floor of City Hall. Mayor Rahm Emanuel was among those defending him Tuesday.

"My focus, and everyone's focus should be on gangs and guns, not on Garry," Emanuel said. "The problems related to gun violence are about too easy access to guns, too few penalties and not enough access to job opportunities." 

McCarthy said he did not take the criticism from the aldermen personally, adding that he has the resources he needs to get the job done and he has no plans of going anywhere. 

Photo Credit: File - Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Man Paints 'Trumpkin']]> Tue, 06 Oct 2015 17:43:13 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/candidate+pumpkins.jpg

What started out as a $5 pumpkin from Walmart became a viral Internet sensation after an Illinois man painted Donald Trump's face on the pumpkin and dubbed it "Trumpkin." 

John Kettman, of La Salle, Illinois, has since painted two more pumpkins with candidates' faces — Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. The three candidates were chosen in part because the excitement they were generating on his Facebook feed.

"This year is very political," Kettman said. "We've got a lot of important topics that are representing different people, too. We've got a surgeon, we've got a billionaire, we've got Hillary Clinton." 

Inspired by his sister, Kettman, who a portrait artist, painted his first pumpkin 22 years ago, he said. He picked up the hobby again about six years ago, and this year he turned political with his gourd art.

Kettman wasn't a complete newcomer to the art form, however. In the past, he dabbled in political cartoons, and he also has a collection of portraits he painted on single grains of rice, including one of Abraham Lincoln and another of Jimmy Fallon.

After the "Trumpkin" went viral, Kettman decided his next candidate portraits would be painted on foam pumpkins instead of real ones, so they'll last longer.

Kettman said he'll likely paint a few more candidates' likenesses on pumpkins, but he hasn't decided on which ones. Ben Carson is a contender, but Kettman said he wants to see what the next poll numbers show.

Photo Credit: John Kettman]]>
<![CDATA[Giants Player Diagnosed With MRSA]]> Tue, 06 Oct 2015 17:58:40 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/mrsa+daniel+fells+ny.jpg

The Giants scrubbed down their locker room, meeting areas and training rooms out of an abundance of caution this week after tight end Daniel Fells was diagnosed with MRSA, a potentially deadly antibiotic-resistant staph infection that can be transmitted by skin-to-skin contact or sharing towels, the team confirmed Tuesday.

Fells, a 32-year-old tight end signed by the Giants last year after stints with half a dozen NFL teams, including the Patriots, was placed on injured reserve Monday with an ankle injury. Doctors treating him for that issue discovered the staph infection, which turned out to be MRSA.

MRSA, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, is notoriously difficult to treat because it has become resistant to many antibiotics traditionally used to treat staph infections.

While one type of MRSA occurs primarily in hospitalized populations, another form occurs in healthy people -- and can spread easily through cuts and abrasions, skin-to-skin contact and sharing facilities or certain equipment.

The infection may become life-threatening, causing complications in one's bloodstream, lungs, heart, bones and joints. It is diagnosed by checking a tissue sample or nasal secretions for signs of drug-resistant bacteria.

In a statement Tuesday, Giants spokesman Pat Hanlon said, "We are working with infectious disease specialists, and we have defined protocols that we are following in consultation with the Duke Infection Control Outreach Network and local infectious disease specialists. Those protocols are being followed carefully."

Fells caught just six balls for 60 yards in two active games for Big Blue this season. His condition Tuesday wasn't immediately known; he had been hospitalized Monday, though it wasn't clear if he had been discharged.

Though the Jets and Giants share a home stadium, they use different practice facilities and locker rooms so Gang Green wasn't expected to be affected by Fells' diagnosis.

Two years ago, three players with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers contracted MRSA during an outbreak at one of the team's training facilities. One of the players, Carl Nicks, a high-profile guard in the league, had to permanently step away from football because of the illness. The infection also ended the career of Lawrence Tynes, a former Giants kicker who was diagnosed with MRSA during his tenure with the Bucs. The third player affected recovered and remains with the team.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Manny Pacquiao Announces 2016 Senate Run in Philippines]]> Tue, 06 Oct 2015 16:25:18 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/MannySenate.jpg

Boxing champion Manny Pacquiao announced Monday he will run for Senate in the Philippines in 2016, NBC News reported.

Pacquiao, who is currently a member of the Philippine House of Representatives, confirmed his plans to GMA News Online, saying he would formally announce his senatorial bid within the week.

According to GMA News Online, Pacquiao made the announcement during his state of the district address.

The 36-year-old athlete and politician has served in Congress since 2010, after a landslide victory in the district of Sarangani. Pacquiao has also been active in U.S. politics, making endorsements for Nevada Senator Harry Reid and California Governor Jerry Brown in 2010.

Photo Credit: File--AP]]>
<![CDATA[Toddler Contracts E. Coli and Dies]]> Tue, 06 Oct 2015 16:24:28 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/guay.jpg

The father of a toddler who contracted E. coli at the Oxford County Fair in Maine says his son has died.

Jon Guay told The Sun Journal of Lewiston that his 20-month-old son Colton may have contracted Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome after being exposed to E. coli bacteria while petting farm animals at the fair.

"It is believed that he contracted it through simple interaction with farm animals at a local fair," Guay said in a Facebook post Tuesday. "It began with severe diarrhea and ended with massive brain seizures that ultimately took his life."

Public health officials in Maine confirmed that two children who recently attended the fair contracted E. coli and said they are working to determine whether there are any other common links to the two cases. Authorities are not releasing any further information, citing confidentiality laws. 

The fair was held from Sept. 16 through Sept. 19.

E. coli is rare but has been connected to a number of fairs across the country in recent years, including cases in North Carolina, Oregon and Washington.

The bacteria can be found in the environment, foods and intestines of people and animals.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, many people get sick every year because of visiting animal exhibits.

To prevent becoming ill, the CDC recommends the following:

  • Wash your hands often: In fact, wash your hands when leaving an animal area, even if you didn't touch an animal.
  • Eat and drink safely: Keep food and drinks out of animal areas, and do not share your food with animals.
  • Keep children safe around animals: Never allow a child to put their thumbs, fingers or objects in their mouth while interacting with animals.

The CDC also suggests leaving strollers, bottles and pacifiers outside of animal areas.

[CLICK HERE for more information on how to protect your family from E. coli exposure.]

Photo Credit: Jon Guay/Facebook
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<![CDATA[Rap Group's Gun-Behind-Cops Video Ends in Arrest: LAPD]]> Tue, 06 Oct 2015 16:40:55 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/214*120/lapd_social_media_threat.PNG

A person was arrested in connection with the posting of a video, initially investigated as a possible threat to police, that shows someone holding a gun in a car parked behind a Los Angeles Police Department patrol vehicle. 

LAPD Chief Charlie Beck announced the arrest involving a firearms violation at Tuesday morning's police commission meeting. Details regarding the arrest were not immediately available, but investigators determined that the video, made by members of "an early 1990's rap group no longer in fashion," was made for entertainment purposes and not part of a "credible threat" to officers.

The police statement did not identify the artists.

The person arrested in Downey is considered a "secondary suspect," Beck said. Investigators have identified the primary suspect and are negotiating with the individual's attorney to surrender, the chief added. Three people were in the vehicle at the time the video was created, according to a police department statement.

"The film was made and posted on social media to ignite a comeback by the rap group," the statement continued. "One suspect was identified who had a prior conviction for carrying a firearm. A felony warrant for his arrest for carrying a firearm in a vehicle with a prior, accompanied by a search warrant was obtained by investigators and was executed by SWAT in the city of Downey."

The video, which was posted to Instagram, shows a man holding what appears to be a handgun while sitting in a car parked behind an LAPD patrol car. In the video, an officer can be seen exiting the vehicle in the video that says, "(expletive) the police."

NBC4 is attempting to confirm a police news blog's report that the original Instagram post was on the account of Brownside, a Los Angeles-based hip-hop group.

The video ignited concern among LAPD officers and was initially investigated as a possible threat.

"We notified our officers. We're taking this threat -- and any threats like this -- very seriously," Cmdr. Andy Smith said Monday night.

Jamie McBride, director of the Los Angeles Police Protective League, a union organization which supports police, also shared his feelings on the video.

"It's very troubling to see this kind of activity. Obviously, this person is a coward. I can guarantee you if he does another stupid act like this again, and actually pulls the trigger in front of an LAPD officer, he will be shot," McBride said Monday.

The video, which was previously posted to Instagram, was later removed but the account remained active.

NBC4's Corey Arvin and Robert Kovacik contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: Video still/LAPD]]>
<![CDATA[Do Tweets Reveal Your Income?]]> Tue, 06 Oct 2015 15:55:11 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Trump+tweet.jpg

What do your tweets say about you? It turns out, according to a new study by a University of Pennsylvania researcher, a lot more than you may think.

Tweets reveal income and social status of Twitter users, the study shows. Penn researcher Daniel Preotiuc-Pietro, who conducted the study along with scholars from Johns Hopkins University in Maryland and University College London, determined the correlation by mining through more than 5,000 Twitter users and more than 10 million tweets, according to Penn Current.

"For this study, we wanted to look at something more personal and kind of unexpected to show up based on what people post," Preotiuc-Pietro told NBC10. "We were thinking another goal of our study is for people to understand just how much they say about themselves on Twitter. And they're not aware that companies, for example, could use this information."

The content of the tweets, according to the study, hints at more than just what a user is thinking or feeling: Lower-income users were found to use profanity more, while higher-income tweeters were more likely to talk politics or corporate America in their tweets. Researchers also found that people who tweet about Christianity often earn less than their counterparts who don't tweet about religion, according to Penn.

Preotiuc-Pietro said one surprising finding of the study, to him, was that while higher-income people in general tend to tweet more objectively, they also were more likely than lower-income people to express fear and anger in their tweets. He said lower-income people were found to use Twitter more to socialize, while higher-income people tended to use it more to discuss politics and share news.

He said if people don't want their tweets to reveal so much information about them, they can take one simple step: "More objective messages rather than subjective messages," the researcher said. "News as opposed to updates on what they do day by day."

The study is the first of its kind. Earlier this year, a different group of Penn researchers found that a person's tweets can predict heart disease.

Photo Credit: @realDonaldTrump/Twitter]]>
<![CDATA['Sadistic' CA Jail Attack Lawsuit]]> Tue, 06 Oct 2015 15:51:02 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/180*120/D+TZ+SONOMA+COUNTY+JAIL+LAWSUIT+VO+-+00000414.jpg

Two former inmates filed a federal suit on Monday alleging that a group of Northern California jail guards orchestrated a five-hour "sadistic" attack on nearly two dozen men, some of whom they allegedly beat, forced to wear tiny underwear and allowed to sit in feces for more two days, among other claims.

The suit claims between 20 to 25 inmates were “sadistically attacked" on a single day – May 28 – in the male special module of the Sonoma County Main Adult Detention facility in Santa Rosa, California.

Marqus Martinez and Daniel Banks say their Fourth and Eighth amendments were violated and jail supervisors are liable for the "deliberate indifference" of policy, according to the suit, filed by attorney Izaak Schwaiger in U.S. District Court in San Francisco on their behalf. Sonoma County Sheriff Steve Freitas, a sergeant and lieutenant are named as defendants. 

The Sonoma County Sheriff's Department "categorically" denied the "outrageous and inflammatory accusations delineated in the complaint" and hinted there might have been some sort of riot situation in process that day, Sgt. Cecile Focha wrote on the department's Facebook page.

The North Bay facility is not the only Bay Area jail accused of deputy abuse. The Santa Clara County Jail and its sheriff have been in the spotlight since the August beating death of Michael Tyree, a mentally ill Santa Clara County inmate, allegedly at the hands of three guards who have been charged with his murder. Two more guards have since been arrested during ongoing investigations, but not necessarily related to Tyree’s death.

As the Sonoma County jail lawsuit claims, the five hours of inmate abuse began at 10:30 a.m. on May 28 with "soap call," where inmate get shower supplies. One of the inmates, Giovanni Montes, was "heavily medicated" and sleeping and didn’t wake up when the guards told him to, the suit alleges.

That escalated into a verbal exchange and Montes getting thrown to the ground, stunned with a Taser, slammed to the floor, and being called a "bitch," the suit claims. Then, deputies allegedly dressed Montes in underwear many sizes too small to humiliate him, slammed his face into an elevator, strapped him into chair and placed a mask over his head, even though he screamed he couldn’t breathe, the suit alleges.

Another inmate, Jesus Lopez, is said to have witnessed what was happening and and screamed that what deputies were doing was wrong, the suit alleges. Six more deputies arrived, handcuffed Lopez and threw him down and grinded his face into the floor, the suit alleges. Deputies took him to yard, and jumped on is back, left him with injured right food and serious abdominal pain.

In its response on Facebook, the Sonoma County Sheriff's Department said the allegations of "torture, sadistic actions, and patterns of egregious constitutional violations or human suffering" are unfounded, based on what was in the lawsuit.

"The correctional deputies were responding to the actions of a seemingly coordinated mass disturbance by inmates housed in administrative segregation. The inmates' collective actions interfered with the safe operation of the facility and the security of staff and inmates," Focha wrote in part.

The department couldn't say much more, Focha wrote, because of the pending litigation, but she added: "The Sonoma County Sheriff's Office takes very seriously our obligation to treat all inmates with dignity and respect, and is confident that we will prevail in this lawsuit."

The allegations take up 15 pages, documenting more inmates’ allegations of being punched, stripped naked and in the case of one inmate, covered in his own feces for two days.

In the case of the first plaintiff, Marqus Martinez, whom the Santa Rosa Press Democrat reported was in jail on a domestic violence charge, is said in the suit to have a history of anxiety and grew panic-stricken as he heard the violence, alleged screaming from his cell and calling to deputies for help.

Instead, deputies burst into Martinez’ cell and beat him, allegedly forcing him to repeat, "This is our house!" while kicking, punching and kneeing him, the suit said. He was left with an injured and abdominal pain, the suit claims.

The last to be beaten was Banks, the second plaintiff, who lay face down on his mattress with his hands behind his back in a show of submission, the suit said. Still, four deputies kneed and punched him, the suit said.

When Banks, whom the Press Democrat reported was serving time for probation violation, turned to look at the guards, one is accused of spitting in his face and yelling, "That’s right. Get a good look at me you punk bitch. This is our house!" according to the suit.

Schwaiger said Martinez and Banks have since been released from jail and other inmates may be added to the suit as they finish serving their sentences or are freed.

He said federal law prohibits inmates from suing while they are in custody until they have gone through an internal complaint process. 

These allegations come after a jail staff video was released in 2015, showing the arrest and subsequent tasing of inmate Esra Wroth.

In that case, Schwaiger's firm is seeking $3 million in damages, alleging excessive force.

NBC Bay Area's Mark Matthew contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area
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<![CDATA[New FDA Anti-Smoking Ads Target Black and Latino Youth]]> Tue, 06 Oct 2015 14:52:41 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/214*120/FDAKids.jpg

The Food and Drug Administration, never known for its cachet with the youth of America, is reaching out with a new hip-hop themed anti-smoking campaign, NBC News reported.  

Featuring YouTube videos of up-and-coming artists, it's seeking to discourage black and Hispanic youths from using tobacco.

"I reject anything including tobacco that tries to control me," one teenager after another says in one of the videos.

"We are working with DJs and musicians and artists that we hope will really help us to get the message out locally," said Kathy Crosby of the FDA's Center for Tobacco Products.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Gunman Threat Locks Down College]]> Tue, 06 Oct 2015 16:05:00 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/200*120/CCP+Community+College+of+Philadelphia+Arrest.JPG

Students at Philadelphia's community college sheltered in place Tuesday morning after police said a man threatened a student with a gun and then ran into a campus building. 

The main campus of the Community College of Philadelphia was put on lockdown around 9:30 a.m. as SWAT officers swept the Winnet Student Life Building along 17th Street near Spring Garden Street, Philadelphia Police said.

About two hours later, Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey said that police apprehended a 17-year-old suspect in a classroom inside the business school. He didn't, however, have a gun on him. Video from inside the school showed police leading a zip-tied young man from the building. Officers, one carrying a backpack, later led the hoodie-wearing suspect into Central Detectives.

Witnesses told officers that two males who knew each other got into an argument on the street outside the Winnet Building. At some point the suspect pulled a gun on the other man, who is a student, said Ramsey.

“He was seen going into that building,” said Ramsey.

Officers searched the building and found no gunman, said Ramsey. They expanded the search to include other classroom buildings and a parking garage.

The incident happened a day after the ATF and FBI told Philadelphia area colleges and universities to be on alert after a nondescript online threat of violence. That threat came to light following a shooting at a Oregon community college where a gunman killed nine people and injured nine others.

Ramsey said he didn't believe the man's motive had anything to do with the threat. There were no reports of shots fired or of any injuries.

It's not immediately clear if the suspect discarded a weapon or never had one. Police continued to search the campus Tuesday afternoon.

Initially, the college only announced that the Winnet Building was put on lockdown. By 11 a.m., the lockdown spread to the entire main campus as officials asked students to shelter in place.

As SkyForce10 hovered overhead multiple law enforcement vehicles could be seen blocking roads outside the college. You could also see students with backpacks leaving buildings on campus ahead of police locking down the rest of campus.

After noon, students and staff were released at 18th and Spring Garden as police said the campus would slowly reopen. The lockdown was officially lifted around 12:30 p.m.

Police tweeted out directions on how students could pick up their belongings.

Julia R. Masterman School and the Colonnade Condos, both directly across the street of the campus, were locked down as well. Nearby, St. Joseph's Prep was put on lock in — meaning no one could enter the building.

Students told NBC10 that while they were told to remain in nearby campus buildings, they were able to move around on the floor.

More than 34,000 students attend CCP. The college canceled main campus classes for the rest of the day and night.

This isn't the first gun scare at CCP. Back in May 2014 a student brandished a gun in the West Building of the college's main campus because he was allegedly upset over another student ratting on him. The gunman in that case Ryan Fitch is serving four years of probation on weapons charges.

Photo Credit: SkyForce10
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<![CDATA[Driver Flees With Body on Car]]> Tue, 06 Oct 2015 12:35:02 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/adrian+harris.jpg

A Chicago man accused of fatally hitting a person on the Eisenhower Expressway over the weekend was pulled over after police spotted him driving with the victim’s body still on his car.

Adrian Harris, 33, appeared in court Monday, where a judge set his bail at $400,000.

Harris was charged with reckless homicide in the death of Jess Rodriguez, who was fatally hit while trying to cross Interstate 290.

Rodriguez was struck at about 4 a.m. Saturday in the westbound lanes of the interstate near the Western Avenue exit.

Prosecutors said Rodriguez had gotten into an argument with his girlfriend when the woman exited the vehicle and started walking on the left shoulder. Rodriguez pulled over on the right shoulder and was attempting to cross the expressway to reach the woman when he was hit, officials said.

Prosecutors alleged Harris pulled over briefly after hitting Rodriguez but then continued driving with the body still on his rear windshield.

Harris did not stop driving until the Homan exit, police said at the time.

Harris exited the expressway and was pulled over after a sheriff’s officer saw him driving with the body on the car, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors claimed Harris was intoxicated at the time of the accident.

It was not immediately clear if Harris had an attorney.

He is expected to appear in court next on Oct. 23.

Photo Credit: Cook County Sheriff's Office]]>
<![CDATA[Carson: Loss of Gun Rights 'More Devastating' Than Bullet Wounds]]> Tue, 06 Oct 2015 11:56:59 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/AP_388941844272.jpg

In one of his signature Facebook Q&As Monday night, Ben Carson again weighed in on the Oregon school shooting, writing that he had operated on victims of gun violence "but I never saw a body with bullet holes that was more devastating than taking the right to arm ourselves away," NBC News reported. 

Responding to a question on whether he changed his position on the Second Amendment, Carson suggested new gun-control laws wouldn't solve the problem and accused Democrats of "us[ing] these tragedies to advance a political agenda."

In a separate interview with USA Today released Tuesday, Carson suggested that, if he had a child in kindergarten, he would want school security guards - and even possibly that child's teacher - to be armed.

"If the teacher was trained in the use of that weapon and had access to it, I would be much more comfortable if they had one than if they didn't," he said.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Mother, 1-Year-Old Found Dead in Hollywood; 2-Year-Old Survives]]> Tue, 06 Oct 2015 13:15:02 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/197*120/hollywiood-100515.PNG

A mother and her toddler were found dead in Hollywood Monday night, leaving a 2-year-old to fend for himself by rummaging through lower cabinets for days, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.

The surviving child, who had been recently adopted with his brother, is now an orphan again, investigators said.  

The LAPD said the mother likely died of a pre-existing medical condition while feeding the 1-year-old boy. The toddler choked on the food and also died, police said. 

The 2-year-old was found alive, but very dehydrated. 

"Very tough situation for LAPD and LAFD responding units," said Lt. John Jenal of the LAPD. "This mother had just opened her heart and home and adopted these two children."

Police initially responded to the call of a possible screaming child at an apartment in the 1600 block of N. Fuller Avenue at 4:30 p.m. 

"The bottom cupboards had been ransacked by this 2-year-old trying to survive," Jenal said. "They found water running in the house."

The boy survived oppressive heat in the apartment for days while foraging for food in the lower cabinets, investigators said.  

A friend said the 43-year-old single mom had suffered respiratory issues.

"They were wonderful people," Estella Avendano said.

<![CDATA[2016 Election: Is Rubio the New GOP Favorite?]]> Tue, 06 Oct 2015 08:03:59 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/AP_105374863179.jpg

A series of strong performances on the campaign trail and in the two debates as well as missteps by other candidates have helped improve Marco Rubio's presidential prospects, and some top party operatives say the Florida senator is for now the favorite to win the GOP presidential nomination, NBC News reported. 

The withdrawal of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker eliminated one of the Republicans who, like Rubio, had the potential to appeal to both the establishment and conservative wings of the party. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush has not overcome reluctance from the GOP to elect a third president from the same family and has made a number of gaffes on the campaign trail.

Senior Republicans say they still think it is unlikely the party will turn to Donald Trump or Ben Carson, who have led in many polls but have little political experience and have made a number of controversial statements that could hobble them in a general election.

Republicans say Rubio must now withstand media scrutiny of his years as member and eventually speaker of the Florida House of Representatives and as a U.S. senator.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Day Care Worker Gets 40 to Life in Child Abduction, Sex Assault]]> Mon, 05 Oct 2015 23:05:52 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Christina-Regusters-New-Pic.jpg

A 22-year-old woman will serve 40 years to life in prison for kidnapping a kindergartner from a West Philadelphia school, holding her captive and sexually assaulting her.

After a slew of delays in her sentencing, 22-year-old Christina Regusters learned her fate on Monday in front of Philadelphia Common Pleas Judge Jeffrey Minehart.

Regusters was sentenced to 20 years to life on the charge of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse causing serious bodily injury. For aggravated assault and kidnapping charges, she was sentenced to another 10 to 20 years on each charge, to be served consecutive to her other sentences, NBC10's Doug Shimell reported from Philadelphia's Criminal Justice Center.

Regusters was convicted last year of kidnapping the 5-year-old girl from Bryant Elementary School, in the city's Cobbs Creek section, Jan. 14, 2013, holding the little girl captive and raping her. Regusters, a day care worker at the time of the kidnapping, posed as the little girl's mother and signed her out of school that day, prosecutors contended.

She then led the child to a house in the neighborhood, carried her upstairs in a laundry bag and sexually assaulted her using a sharp object while she held her captive for several hours, prosecutors said. The little girl was later found half-clothed, dumped in an Upper Darby park and badly injured, but alive.

The little girl took the stand at Regusters' high-profile three-week trial last year and testified about her ordeal. An attorney for Regusters, who underwent a mental-health evaluation as part of her trial, argued that while she may have been involved in the kidnapping, she did not sexually assault the child and actually set her free.

A jury didn't believe that argument and in September 2014 found Regusters guilty of aggravated assault, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse causing serious bodily injury, kidnapping, unlawful restraint of a minor and concealment of the whereabouts of a child.

Regusters' sentencing, originally scheduled to take place in December 2014, was postponed five times

Photo Credit: Philadelphia Police]]>
<![CDATA[S.C. Flood Death Toll Climbs, Dam Breaks Feared]]> Tue, 06 Oct 2015 09:25:39 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/AP_454516223767.jpg

The deadly, record-smashing rainfall that soaked South Carolina may have finally passed, but the threat was far from over Tuesday, NBC News reported. 

Three more deaths were announced Tuesday afternoon, bringing the death toll from the flooding to at least 16 — 14 in South Carolina and 2 in North Carolina — in what experts have deemed a "1,000-year flood event," meaning in any given year there is a 1-in-1,000 chance of that much rain.

Much of the state was still underwater, with more than 20 rivers flooded and 10 dams breached. Gov. Nikki Haley warned residents on Tuesday about the next 36 to 48 hours.

"Don't let the sunshine fool you," she said.

Forecasters warned that some areas could still see rising water levels as the flooding flowed down to the coast. 

Photo Credit: AP
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<![CDATA[Nurse Reuses Syringe: Officials]]> Tue, 06 Oct 2015 16:00:30 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Syringes-Reused-at-Clinic.jpg

Alerts were sent to dozens of employees of a pharmaceutical company after officials say a nurse reused a syringe while giving them flu shots at a New Jersey clinic.

Officials with TotalWellness told NBC10 a nurse they contracted to administer flu vaccinations to 67 employees of Otsuka Pharmaceutical “failed to follow proper medical procedures and safeguards.”

The flu shots were given to the employees at the Otsuka Pharmaceutical offices on the 500 block of Carnegie Center in West Windsor, New Jersey, back on Sept. 30. In a letter to an Otsuka employee obtained by NBC10, an NJ Department of Health official states the nurse who administered the flu shots reused the syringe.

“The needles were changed between each patient but the syringe was reused multiple times,” the official wrote. “Syringe reuse may have exposed you to infected blood. At this time NJDOH is not aware of any disease transmission, but you may be at risk for developing an infection as a result of this improper practice.”

Officials say that the risk for infection is “low;” however, they are still recommending that the employees undergo testing for hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV.

The Health Department, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and TotalWellness offered free blood tests to all of the employees. The tests began Monday and continued at 3 p.m. Tuesday at the West Windsor Township Senior Center on 271 Clarksville Road in West Windsor, NJ. Officials also say the employees will need to be re-tested in four to six months since viruses can take time to show up in blood tests.

In addition to reusing the syringes, officials also say the nurse gave a dose of the flu vaccine that was less than recommended. As a result, they advised that the employees get another flu shot.

“Receiving less than the recommended amount is not harmful, but you might not be fully protected against the flu,” the officials wrote. “We are recommending that you get another flu shot this season to ensure that you are completely protected.  There will be flu shots available to you at the testing and vaccination clinic in West Windsor, should you decide to get revaccinated.”

Officials also set up a phone line for the employees to call with questions.

Officials have not yet revealed whether any disciplinary action was taken against the nurse. A spokesperson for TotalWellness released the following statement to NBC10, however:

On September 30, 2015, TotalWellness was alerted that a nurse it had contracted to administer flu vaccinations to 67 employees for an employer group in New Jersey failed to follow proper medical procedures and safeguards to properly administer vaccinations to potentially all 67 participants.

TotalWellness, the employer group, and the New Jersey Department of Health are proactively working together to inform all participants and provide them the necessary resources and a plan to mitigate any potential medical concerns and exposure risks.

TotalWellness is dedicated to ensuring all participants receive any and all appropriate screenings, care and counseling until this matter is resolved.

<![CDATA[11-Year-Old Boy Killed in New Britain Fire]]> Tue, 06 Oct 2015 15:16:00 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Cade+Townsend+Fire+on+East+Street+in+New+Britain.jpg

An 11-year-old boy died in a two-alarm fire that engulfed a multi-family home in New Britain, Connecticut this morning, injuring a firefighter and forcing a resident to jump from a window. 

Police have identified the boy as Cade Townsend Jr., who lived on the third floor. He tried to escape from the buring building, but was overcome by heavy smoke and firefighters found him, unresponsive.

Firefighters frantically tried to save Cade, but medics pronounced him dead at the scene.

Eleven other residents were able to get out of the building without serious injuries, including Cade's family members, who watched, screaming, from the street below. 

Cade was a fifth-grade student at Chamberlain Elementary School and the school district is bringing in a crisis team to help students and staff begin to cope with the tragedy.

"There are various ways that we allow students to do this. Some will write a note about the child if they knew the child, some will write a message to the family," Paul Salina, chief operations officer for the New Britain School District said.

"This is an absolute horrible tragedy for the city of New Britain, for our school district, and our prayers go out to the family,” New Britain Mayor Erin Stewart said.

Emergency crews received the first report of the fire at 756 East Street and Sunrise Avenue at 1:21 a.m., then several 911 calls came in. 

When firefighters arrived, they found the three-story home engulfed and the inside of the charred home was much worse than it was outside. The fire chief said fire burned through parts of the floor.

As firefighters tried to put out the fire, they began searching for Cade, who was trapped, but they had to leave the building because the conditions were getting worse, according to a news release from police.

Once the fire was under control, firefighters went back inside and found Cade on the third floor. He was unresponsive and was pronounced dead at the scene. 

One of the residents said he jumped from a a window of the burning home after hearing his cousin calling to him from below.

"The lights went off and I got scared because there was more black smoke and I couldn’t go out through either side because there was more black smoke and it was getting hot," Kenneth Anderson said. "I had to jump out the second floor window. I was dangling there until I really got up the courage to let go."

A firefighter was taken to the hospital to be treated for minor injuries sustained while fighting the fire and was released a short time later.

Steven Ayala lives nearby and said he saw the flames and heard the yells for help.

"I was shocked, stunned you know, especially hearing screams that I've never heard in my life. Horrific yelling," he said.

The road is partially closed.

The house has working smoke detectors and police investigators said it looks like the first started on the first-floor porch and traveled up. There is no sign of criminal activity, police said this morning.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com and submitted]]>
<![CDATA[Man's Tweet Saves Kitten]]> Tue, 06 Oct 2015 17:57:45 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/penelope+rescued+storm+drain.jpg

A kitten’s meow for help got the attention of one Queens resident who took to Twitter to save the tiny feline.

Vahan Avagyan, a small business owner in Queens, said he heard the kitten “rapidly meowing” as he was walking his dog on 72nd Street and Penelope Avenue in Middle Village around 6 p.m.

The meowing was coming from a storm drain, but the grate was pinned under a car, Avagyan said.

He tried calling 3-1-1 and several animal rescue groups, but he said no one offered to rescue the cat that night.

“One organization said they would send someone in the morning, which was ridiculous to me,” Avagyan said.

That’s when he took matters into his own hands.

“I ended up tweeting because there was no way I could go home and go to sleep knowing the cat was down there,” Avagyan said.

He tweeted at the NYPD’s 104th precinct, using his handle @vahanavagyan, and cops sent him a direct message saying they would send a rescue team.

Responding officers were able to find the car’s owner and get him to move the car so they could remove the storm drain grate, but the kitten was stuck deep inside. Neighbors tried to lure the cat out with pet food, to no avail.

Another rescue team was called in and they were eventually able to scare the cat out by making noise with a compressed air machine. Avagyan caught the kitten as she ran out of the storm drain.

The entire rescue mission took almost four hours, Avagyan said.

The kitten, which was soaking wet, was taken to Blue Pear Vet in Forest Hills by animal rescuer Phyllis Taiano of Four Paws Sake NYC. She was named Penelope, after the street where she was rescued.

Taiano said in an email that Penelope has a good disposition.

"She's adoptable," she wrote. "There's not hissing, there's no clawying, she's totally accepting love."

Anyone interested in adopting the kitty can visit Four Paws Sake NYC's website.  

Photo Credit: @NYPD104Pct/Twitter & Four Paws Sake NYC
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<![CDATA[Rihanna: Rachel Dolezal Is 'a Bit of a Hero']]> Tue, 06 Oct 2015 12:13:22 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/AP_924587167782+%281%29.jpg

Former NAACP chapter leader Rachel Dolezal sparked debates about racial identity earlier this year after her estranged parents said she was white and was pretending to be black, but for one pop star she's become "a bit of a hero." 

Rihanna told Vanity Fair that Dolezal should be praised for sparking the discussion on racial identity.

"I think she was a bit of a hero, because she kind of flipped on society a little bit," Rihanna told the magazine for their November cover story. "Is it such a horrible thing that she pretended to be black? Black is a great thing, and I think she legit changed people's perspective a bit and woke people up."

Dolezal, 37, admitted in an interview on NBC's "Today" show that she has indulged in "some level of creative nonfiction" in how she's described her life but still identifies as black.

"I definitely am not white. Nothing about being white describes who I am," she told "Today's" Savannah Guthrie. "I'm more black than I am white. That's the accurate answer from my truth."

She said that at the age of 5 she would draw her portrait with the "brown" crayon, instead of the "peach," colored one and would depict herself with curly hair.

Dolezal's mother, Ruthanne Dolezal, directly disputed those claims.

Dolezal resigned from her NAACP position in Spokane, Washington, as well as a part time teaching position at Eastern Washington University in the African-studies program.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Families of Sunken Ship Crew Cling to Hope]]> Tue, 06 Oct 2015 09:13:15 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/EL_FARO.jpg

The stepfather of one of 33 people, including 28 Americans, missing after a cargo ship sunk amid Hurricane Joaquin told NBC News that he was refusing to give up hope.

The Rev. Robert Green's stepson LeShaun Rivera was a merchant seaman and cook aboard the El Faro which vanished Thursday. Green believes the 32-year-old father of three is hanging tough.

"I believe he's fighting with everything he has in him," Green said Monday. "If there's a fight to be fought, he's fighting it. He is a fighter."

On Monday, the Coast Guard said they discovered one unidentified body in a survival suit, after scouring a 300-square-mile debris field in the Atlantic that included a heavily damaged lifeboat.

The search was being relaunched at daybreak on Tuesday.

Photo Credit: Capt. William Hoey]]>
<![CDATA[Snowden: I've Offered to Go to Jail in U.S.]]> Tue, 06 Oct 2015 07:12:27 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/snowden-time-AP249291078917.jpg

Former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden says he’s still waiting to hear from the American government about his offer to serve time in a U.S. prison.

Snowden told the BBC in an interview which aired Monday night he would be willing to serve time or take a plea bargain.

"I've volunteered to go to prison with the government many times," he told the program.

The Department of Justice did not immediately respond to NBC News with a comment.

Snowden, who leaked classified documents about government surveillance, has been living in Moscow since June 2013.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Wash. State HS Football Player Dies From Game Injury]]> Tue, 06 Oct 2015 08:56:50 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Kenney_Bui.jpg

A high-school football player from Washington state has died from injuries sustained in a game, officials said Monday, the second game-related death in just over a week, NBC News reported. 

Highline Public Schools said in a statement that Kenney Bui, a senior at Evergreen High School, was "critically injured" during Friday night's game. He underwent surgery at Harborview Medical Center but died late Monday morning, the school district said.

Bui's age and the nature of his injuries weren't immediately clear. His death comes just over a week after a New Jersey high-school quarterback died after being injured in a varsity football came.

Photo Credit: Highline School District]]>
<![CDATA[McDonald's Rolls Out All-Day Breakfast Menu]]> Tue, 06 Oct 2015 06:46:12 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/McDonald%27s_breakfast.jpg

McDonald's officially rolled out its all-day breakfast options nationally on Tuesday.

But the menu will depend on where you live, as the company will only offer select breakfast sandwich items in different locations.

“All Day Breakfast will have a limited menu that focuses on either McMuffin or Biscuit items. This decision is made at the local level based on customer preference,” the company said on its website.

McDonald's said the limited all-day breakfast menu is due to the fact that there aren’t enough grills to be rotating through both morning and day-time menus.

Aside from breakfast sandwiches, each market menu will also include hotcake platters, sausage burritos and sides.

The restaurant says customers will also be able to mix breakfast items with lunch and dinner options.

McDonald’s tested out the all-day breakfast menu in certain markets for several months before rolling out the menu nationally.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Russian Airspace Violations Are Deliberate: NATO]]> Tue, 06 Oct 2015 06:58:28 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/AP_696064886316.jpg

Russia's violations of Turkish airspace appear to be deliberate, NATO's chief said Tuesday after the second such reported incident in as many days, NBC News reported. 

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said the incursions were "unacceptable" and called on Moscow to "avoid escalating tensions" with the U.S.-led alliance.

"Russia must deconflict its military activities in Syria," he said and added that an initial assessment of the incidents indicated "that it doesn't look like an accident."

The United States and NATO denounced Russia over the incidents late Monday, raising the prospect of direct confrontation between the former Cold War adversaries.

"Had Turkey responded ... it could have resulted in a shootdown, and it is precisely the kind of thing we warned against," Secretary of State John Kerry said.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Pilot Who Died in Flight Was 'Loving' Dad of 8]]> Tue, 06 Oct 2015 08:11:39 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/michael+johnston.jpg

American Airlines Capt. Michael Johnston died of a heart-attack mid-flight from Phoenix to Boston early Monday morning, his wife Betty Jean Johnston told NBC News.

The 57-year-old veteran pilot and a father of eight had a double-bypass heart surgery in 2006, but had otherwise been in good health, his wife said, adding that the airline required Johnston to have a physical every six months to continue piloting.

"He loves flying," Johnston said. "He is very loving and caring, and he'll do anything for anybody - bend over backwards, try and help out anyone as much as he can. He's always been that way."

Johnston's final flight, which carried 147 passengers and five crew members, was diverted to Syracuse, New York. The airline said the co-pilot landed the jet safely at 7 a.m. ET Monday.

Photo Credit: Betty Jean Johnston
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<![CDATA[Police Probe Death of Doctor, 38]]> Tue, 06 Oct 2015 12:27:37 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/kiersten+cerveny.jpg

The 38-year-old Long Island doctor found dead in the vestibule of a Manhattan apartment building had been using cocaine inside an apartment there with a boyfriend and another man before they left her in a lobby to be picked up by EMS, multiple law enforcement sources say. 

An autopsy was conducted Monday on Dr. Kiersten Cerveny, a dermatologist who lived in Manhasset and was a married mother of three, according to sources and a post on her Facebook page. The medical examiner's office said late in the afternoon that they were awaiting toxicology and other tests for more clues about her death.

Law enforcement sources told NBC 4 New York Monday that Cerveny became ill after consuming cocaine inside an apartment of a five-story walk-up building on West 16th Street. The two men she was with tried to carry her to a cab downstairs, but she collapsed, the sources said.

The men called 911, and when EMS arrived, the man believed to be her boyfriend fled back upstairs, the sources said.

Emergency medical technicians attempted to resuscitate Cerveny as they loaded her into the ambulance and took her to the Lenox Health emergency room in Greenwich Village. She died at the hospital.

Investigators initially said they were looking for an unidentified man who was thought to have spotted the unconscious Cerveny in the vestibule and flagged down an ambulance before fleeing. Police said Monday the man now believed to be Cerveny's boyfriend was questioned, but neither he nor the other man is expected to face charges. 

Cerveny's father told the Daily News that she had told her husband she was headed out from their home in Manhasset to spend the night in the city with a friend.

Cerveny had been drinking at a Lower East Side nightspot before arriving by cab with a man at the apartment building around 4:30 a.m. Sunday, police said. Investigators recovered security video that showed the man and another person carrying her into the entryway about four hours later.

Cerveny, who was originally from Washington Township in Gloucester County, New Jersey, had been an assistant professor of clinical dermatology at Weill Cornell Medical College, according to a Dec. 12, 2009, announcement of her marriage to Andrew Cerveny Jr., also a dermatologist, in The New York Times. She graduated magna cum laude from Duke University and earned her medical degree at Tulane University.

She met her husband in 2004 while both were residents at the Medical Center of Louisiana at New Orleans. No one would comment at his Long Beach office Monday. 

"It's just mind-boggling,'' said Thomas Nicotri, one of Cerveny's professors during her residency in New Orleans and who had seen her and her husband at dinner two months ago. "They looked healthy and happy. It seemed like they were on top of the world. They had everything.''

"She was intelligent, caring and very professional,'' Nicotri said. "I never had any concerns about her at all.''

Scott Wyosota, a neighbor of the Cervenys in Manhassett, said she was "a very vibrant, very alive, dedicated mom." 

Cerveny's achievements included winning the 1995 America's Junior Miss competition as a teenager from Blackwood, New Jersey. The prize was a $30,000 scholarship she used to attend Duke.

An outpouring of grief from friends and acquaintances was evident on Cerveny's Facebook page Monday morning.

"So saddened to hear of this news. Our hearts and prayers go out to your family Kiersten Rickenback Cerveny especially your three beautiful children," wrote one poster. "Rest in peace."

Another woman wrote of knowing Cerveny since they were young girls taking gymnastics together; she called her a beautiful and intelligent woman who had a gorgeous family.

Still another referred to Cerveny as "the light of our pledge class."

Several women expressed shock and anger on Cerveny's Facebook page over what they described as a "tragic loss." One said, "My heart is breaking."

"I think back to those first days at Randolph. You were so stunning it was intimidating," another woman wrote. "But, as we all quickly learned, your inner beauty trumped any physical beauty."

Cerveny's work as a doctor also drew praise on the social media app Yelp. Posts there called her "a beautiful soul," "friendly, helpful, awesome" and a "doctor with a great bedside manner, very kind and encouraging."  

Photo Credit: NBCNewYork.com/Facebook]]>