<![CDATA[NBC Connecticut - National & International News]]> Copyright 2014 http://www.nbcconnecticut.com/news/national-international http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/NBC_Connecticut.png NBC Connecticut http://www.nbcconnecticut.com en-us Fri, 31 Oct 2014 10:09:30 -0400 Fri, 31 Oct 2014 10:09:30 -0400 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Made Pariahs for Helping? Ebola Aid Groups Struggle]]> Wed, 29 Oct 2014 16:48:14 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/newark+quarantine+controversy.jpg

Courtney Clark is back in the United States after spending 20 months in Guinea as a public health volunteer. The 24-year-old Michigan native would like to return to Ebola-stricken West Africa, but now fears she'd be quarantined when she comes home.

"When I returned in August, it was low-key, and there wasn’t a hysteria in the U.S.,” Clark told NBC. “If I were coming now, I would be worried about how airport officials would treat me. I would also be hesitant to tell people outside of my family.”

As a handful of states enact strict new quarantine protocols, and other groups including schools respond with great caution if not fear about Ebola, aid organizations are concerned that such measures will be a deterrent to other prospective West Africa volunteers like Clark.

On Oct. 24, New York and New Jersey announced a 21-day quarantine for anyone traveling from Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea who had been in contact with an Ebola patient. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention this week revealed new, altered guidelines for how the U.S. should handle travelers from Ebola-affected countries, but said that some measures taken by states go too far.

“We are concerned about some policies that we have seen … that might have the effect of increasing stigma or creating false impressions,” CDC Director Dr. Thomas Frieden told reporters Monday.

"Stringent quarantine requirements will be a deterrent for doctors and nurses who otherwise might be able to go and volunteer there,” Dr. Irwin Redlener, a special advisor to New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio for emergency management and planning said in a statement. “I know for a fact that there are doctors who are saying if I knew that I had to be mandatorily interred for three weeks I wouldn't have gone."

Some say the mandate is based more on fear than on fact.

“We are dismayed that it was put into effect without consultation with health authorities,” said Miranda Sissons, executive director of Doctors of the World USA. The international humanitarian organization provides emergency and long-term medical care to countries all over the world, including West Africa.

“The protocols in effect now keep the community safe. If you follow the protocols of self reporting, you keep the public safe,” Sissons said.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie defended the new protocols in an interview on NBC's "Today" show Tuesday, saying that the move was aimed at protecting people in his state. He also said Kaci Hickox, the nurse who penned a critical first-person account after she became the first person quarantined in the Garden State under the mandate, had been discharged after being "symptom-free."

Hickox had no symptoms other than an initial 101-degree temperature taken by a forehead scanner when she was "flushed and upset" by her treatment at Newark Liberty International Airport, she wrote in her Dallas Morning News article.

On Wednesday, Hickox told Matt Lauer on "Today" that she will not abide by Maine health officials' recommendation that she continue to comply with a 21-day quarantine at home.

“I truly believe this policy is not scientifically nor constitutionally just, and so I’m not going to sit around and be bullied around by politicians and be forced to stay in my home when I am not a risk to the American public,” Hickox said.

The organization she volunteered for, Doctors Without Borders, said in a statement to NBC News Wednesday it “strongly disagrees with blanket forced quarantine for health care workers returning from Ebola affected countries.” The group said it respected Hickox’s right to “challenge excessive restrictions being placed upon her.”

Sissons said that people who aren't discouraged by the quarantine protocols may still be discouraged by the possible perception they may encounter when they return to the U.S. from an Ebola-stricken region.

"Aid workers in this epidemic risk their lives and stigma associated to their work," Sissons said.

Organizations fighting Ebola in West Africa have emphasized that volunteers are desperately needed to combat the virus.

The president of the World Bank said on Tuesday that West Africa needs more than 5,000 additional health care workers to control its outbreak. In early October, Global aid agency Doctors Without Borders (MSF) also said  it had even rejected a donation from Australia of more than $2 million and asked the country for volunteers instead, saying even a small amount of healthcare workers would have a "very significant impact.”

The death toll in the Ebola epidemic has risen to 4,922 in eight countries through Oct. 23, the World Health Organization reported.

“I wish the U.S. could redirect all of this energy to the people of West Africa,” said Angela Dunn, epidemic intelligence service officer at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "They are the ones with the true crisis. The disaster is in West Africa. We need to do everything we can to stop the suffering. Not only because it will help Americans stay safe, but more importantly because it is the right thing to do. Unfortunately, I fear the current situation in the U.S. will only extend the suffering in West Africa.”

President Barack Obama said on Tuesday that the American volunteers going to Africa to fight Ebola were doing "God's work" and need to be supported. Obama repeated the message Wednesday at the White House surrounded by health care workers who have been in West Africa: "What we need right now is these shock troops that are out there leading globally. And we can't discourage that, we need to encourage it, and applaud it," Obama said.

The stricter rules haven't deterred all volunteers. Hickox said on "Today" she planned to eventually return to Sierra Leone, where she volunteered for four weeks.

Ohio native Alexa Gudelsky, 24, who served as a public health volunteer for the Peace Corps in Guinea for nearly two years, also said she would return to the region despite the protocols and possible stigma she would face upon her return.

"These people need help and it’s not like when you step out of the plane you are going to die," Gudelsky said. "We’re obligated to help them because they are part of the human race. When we have thousands of people dying and the capabilities to help — we should."

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<![CDATA[Court Orders Restrictions on Maine Nurse's Movements]]> Fri, 31 Oct 2014 10:07:09 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/tlmd_kaci_hickox2copy.jpg

Maine officials have obtained a court order to restrict the nurse at the center of an Ebola quarantine battle from public places.

Kaci Hickox of Fort Kent has been defying the state's recommendations to self-quarantine after treating Ebola patients.

The district court order allows Hickox to leave her home, but she must maintain a three-foot distance from others when engaging in non-congregate public activities, not be present in any public places and not leave Fort Kent without permission from public health authorities.

Hickox has insisted that she is perfectly healthy and has been defiant of the state's "voluntary" quarantine recommendations, recently going on a bike ride Thursday morning.

The state did not ask for a home quarantine in its petition, but wanted Hickox to follow certain guidelines.

A hearing will be held on the restrictions within three to 10 days.



Photo Credit: NBC]]>
<![CDATA[How Is Ebola Spread?]]> Fri, 24 Oct 2014 05:37:37 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/456202288.jpg

The latest case of a positive Ebola test in the United States sparked immediate concerns about who may have been exposed and helped shed light on how the potentially deadly virus is, and isn't, spread.

Craig Spencer, a doctor who recently returned from West Africa, where he was on an Ebola assignment for Doctors Without Borders, tested positive for the virus Thursday at Bellevue Hospital Center in New York reporting a fever and gastrointestinal symptoms, a source familiar with the results told NBC New York.

Ebola can only be spread by infected people who show symptoms, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said. If an exposed person does not develop symptoms within 21 days of exposure, the person will not become sick with Ebola, according to the CDC.

"There is no risk to people who have been in contact with those who have been sick with Ebola and recovered, or people who have been exposed and have not yet shown symptoms," the CDC's director Dr. Thomas Frieden explained last month, after the first patient tested positive in the United States.

That patient, Thomas Eric Duncan, recently flew to the United States from Liberia, one of the West African countries now grappling with a deadly Ebola outbreak. Because he showed no signs of sickness until four days after landing in the U.S., however, officials are not worried about travelers who were on the plane with him. Duncan died on Oct. 8 in a Dallas hospital.

The initial spread of the Ebola virus to humans is unknown, although researchers believe that "patient zero" in the recent West Africa outbreak became infected through contact with an infected animal, possibly a bat, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

How Ebola Is Spread:

Once a person is infected, the CDC said there are several ways Ebola can spread to other people:

  • Touching the blood or body fluids of a person who is sick with or has died from Ebola, including urine, saliva, breat milk, feces, vomit and semen. To become infected with the virus, you would need to get some of the ill person’s bodily fluids into your mouth, nose, or eyes, or into your body via a cut or a needle stick. Doctors say that there is no evidence anyone has ever been infected via sweat.
  • Touching objects contaminated with the virus, like syringes or other medical equipment
  • Touching infected animals, by contact with blood or fluids or infected meat
  • A cough from a sick patient could infect someone close enough to be sprayed with droplets of mucus or saliva. People dealing with anyone who may be ill are told to stand at least three feet away, preferably six. Being within three feet of a patient for a prolonged time, without wearing protective gear, is considered direct contact, according to Frieden.
  • According to a new Ebola situation assessment issued by the World Health Organization on Monday, saliva and tears may also carry some risk. "However, the studies implicating these additional bodily fluids were extremely limited in sample size and the science is inconclusive, W.H.O. said. "In studies of saliva, the virus was found most frequently in patients at a severe stage of illness. The whole live virus has never been isolated from sweat."

Direct contact through broken skin or mucus membranes is key, as the CDC said Ebola cannot be spread through the air (the virus doesn't drift through the air like germs that cause measles or tuberculosis) or by water or food. However, that may not have been the case in some cases in Africa, where Ebola may have been spread through the handling of wild animals hunted for food and contact with infected bats, according to the CDC.

What Are the Symptoms of Ebola:

The following symptoms can appear from two to 21 days after exposure:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Stomach pain
  • Unexplained bleeding or bruising
  • Muscle pain

Generally, after 21 days, if an exposed person has not developed symptoms, he or she will not become sick, the CDC said.

However, the Ebola virus has been found in semen for up to three months after exposure, so those who have recovered from the virus are advised not to have sex, or else only to have sex using condoms, during that time, according to the CDC.

Are Patients Who Recover From Ebola Immune for Life?

Evidence shows that people who recover from Ebola infection develop antibodies that last for at least 10 years, or longer, according to the CDC. But it's not known if people who recover are immune for life or if they can become infected with a different species of Ebola.

Can Ebola Be Passed on the Subway?

Spencer rode the subways, A, L and No. 1 since arriving in New York on Oct. 17, according to officials. Until Thursday morning, his temperature was normal and he was not experiencing any of the early symptoms of Ebola disease.

No one has conduced tests on Ebola transmission on subways, according to The New York Times, but no case of transmission to a human from a dry surface has ever been confirmed and there are no known instances of transmission on public transport in Africa. The C.D.C. has said there is “no epidemiological evidence” for transmission from hospital surfaces, including bed rails and door knobs – which are similar to subway poles and a bus handles.  

Can Ebola Mutate to Become Aiborne?

According to experts, it is very unlikely that the virus would mutate to become airborne. The Ebola virus has not previously mutated in this way, and experts say there is no other virus that has changed from non-airborne to airborne in humans.

Can Mosquitoes Spread Ebola?

There is no evidence that mosquitos or other insects can transmit the virus, according to the CDC. Only mammals (for example, humans, bats, monkeys and apes) have shown the ability to spread and become infected with Ebola virus.

How Long Does the Ebola Virus Live:

The virus can survive for a few hours on dry surfaces like doorknobs and countertops, according to the C.D.C. It can, however, survive for several days in puddles or collections of body fluid at room temperature. It is not clear how long it may survive in soiled linens and clothing.

A thorough cleaning with hospital-grade disinfectants (such as household bleach) will kill Ebola.

How Can Travelers Protect Themselves:

The CDC said travelers can do several things to protect themselves when visiting the area where the outbreak is occurring, including:

  • Wash your hands frequently or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Do not touch the blood and body fluids of an ill person or the body of someone who has died from Ebola.
  • Do not touch bats and nonhuman primates or their blood and fluids and do not touch or eat raw meat prepared from these animals.
  • Avoid hospitals where Ebola patients are being treated. The U.S. Embassy or consulate is often able to provide advice on facilities.
  • Seek medical care immediately if you develop fever (temperature of 101.5oF/ 38.6oC) and any of the other following symptoms: headache, muscle pain, diarrhea, vomiting, stomach pain, or unexplained bruising or bleeding.

There is no vaccine for the Ebola virus, but researchers are currently testing two.



Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Women Steals Dead Mom's Benefits]]> Fri, 31 Oct 2014 08:30:57 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/52182315.jpg

A Maryland woman who continued to receive her mother's Social Security benefits for 16 years after her mother's death pleaded guilty to theft of government property Thursday.

Yvonne Isadora Whiteman, 69, of Laurel admitted stealing almost $300,000 in social security checks, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

Whiteman and her mother had a joint bank account to which the benefits were sent. After her mother moved to Trinidad in the summer of 1997, Whiteman would send the money there until her mother died in October of that year.

After that, the Social Security Administration continued to deposit the monthly benefit, which totaled $299,951 over 16 years. 

In 2013, the SSA presumed Whiteman's mother was dead because she had not used Medicare services. Whiteman met with a SSA specialist and turned in a forged a death certificate that said her mother died in October 2013. When Whiteman became aware the specialist would obtain the true death certificate, she confessed that she had lied about her mother’s date of death.

Whiteman faces a maximum of 10 years in prison, and has agreed to pay $299,951 in restitution. 

In a similar, unrelated case, Baltimore man Allen Thomas Wilson, 72, pleaded guilty to the same charge Thursday. Wilson spent his dead mother's retirement benefits, totaling $127,000, from the time of her death in 1997 until January 2014, when the benefits were terminated.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[10 Years in Prison for Man Who Planted Bombs in Ex's Car]]> Thu, 30 Oct 2014 21:29:02 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/bottle-bomb-083011.jpg

A 53-year-old Florida man will spend 10 years in prison after stalking an ex-girlfriend who lives in Stamford and planting bombs filled with hydrochloric acid in her car, severely burning her, prosecutors say.

"I don't know what possessed me to do what I did," Frank Mendoza wrote in a letter to the court just before he was sentenced Thursday, apologizing and saying he had intended only to "scare" his victim.

Mendoza was sentenced to 10 years followed by three years of supervised release, after he pleaded guilty to one count of interstate stalking in June. His plea deal had stipulated a sentence ranging from seven to 10 years.

Mendoza, formerly of Jacksonville, Florida, was arrested in Jacksonville on Aug. 17, 2012, almost two years after he is accused of having planted the bombs that left his ex-girlferiend with severe burns.

Prosecutors said Mendoza began dating the victim in 2008 and “became emotionally and psychologically abusive” toward her. The victim told authorities Mendoza had a lengthy criminal background and claimed to be part of a gang, and that she also noticed him carrying a gun.

The victim tried to break off the relationship and told Mendoza she was moving to Rhode Island for work-related training in September 2010, prosecutors said. In reality, she moved to Stamford.

A month later, Mendoza discovered her real address and began making harassing phone calls to the victim and her friends and colleagues, according to prosecutors. He allegedly traveled to Connecticut in November and showed up at her home and workplace, then returned home to Florida.

Mendoza returned on Dec. 8, 2010, when he flew into New York City and rented a car to drive to Connecticut, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said. He drove to the victim’s home in Stamford and planted two bottle bombs in her car containing hydrochloric acid and aluminum foil wicks, according to prosecutors.

The victim went out to her car around 11 p.m. and noticed the interior was wet. She opened the driver’s side door and noticed a bottle on the floor, which began to “smoke and fizz” when she picked it up, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Prosecutors said the victim put it down, and the bottle exploded behind her as she ran away. Investigators learned that the first bottle had blown up before she arrived at her car. As a result, the victim “nearly suffered a horrible, disfiguring injury at [Mendoza’s] hands,” prosecutors said.



Photo Credit: YouTube]]>
<![CDATA[Day Care Owner Arrested ]]> Fri, 31 Oct 2014 03:27:24 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/baby+lou.JPG

A home day care owner has been arrested in the mysterious 2012 death of an infant in his care.

San Diego Police say James Patrick Nemeth, 38, has been booked into jail on suspicion of murder charge more than two years after baby Louis "Lou" Oliver died.

The 11-month-old was alert and healthy when his mom dropped him off at the San Diego Daycare, also known as the James Nemeth Family Childcare, in Clairemont on May 23, 2012.

Just a few hours later, Lou's mother Cristina Oliver got an alarming text message from Nemeth telling her to "come quickly, Lou did not wake up from his afternoon nap," Oliver told NBC 7 in February.

Lou was rushed to Rady Children's Hospital by ambulance, but at 1:30 a.m. the next morning, he was declared dead.

Three months later, after an autopsy had been performed and analyzed, the San Diego County Medical Examiner's Office ruled Lou's death a homicide, stating he suffered head and spine trauma.

The report states injuries were consistent to "shaken baby syndrome." 

Nemeth moved from his Clairemonth home and day care shortly after the death. The state of California later decided to shut down his San Diego Daycare facility, a move Nemeth appealed.

The suspect was arrested on Thursday, Oct. 30 at about 3:30 p.m. and was booked into County Jail.

NBC 7 Investigates reported that before Lou's death, Nemeth had a lengthy history of serious violations, including allegations that he was physically rough with his own child.

It's unclear if the suspect has obtained an attorney. However last November, Nemeth emailed a statement to NBC 7, saying in part: "I cared for Louis, he was an amazing child. I tried everything I could to save him and the fact I failed is something that will be with me forever."

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<![CDATA[Abuse Victim Awarded $13.5M ]]> Fri, 31 Oct 2014 09:36:59 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/jose_lopez_pic_1200x675_350249027562.jpg

A $13.5 million judgment was awarded Wednesday to a San Diego man who says he was the childhood victim of “very aggressive abuse” at the hands of his Bible study teacher.

Jose Lopez, now 35 years old, came forward as one of eight children who accuse Gonzalo Campos of sexually abusing them between 1982 and 1995, according to his lawsuit.

Campos served in the leadership of the Linda Vista Spanish Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses and Playa Pacifica Spanish Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Pacific Beach, Lopez’s attorney Irwin Zalkin told NBC 7.

In about 1986, when Lopez was 7 years old, Campos was first introduced and portrayed to him as a fatherly figure who could teach him about the Bible.

Instead, the accused perpetrator used his position and time alone with Lopez to groom him, according to Zalkin.

"After a period of grooming him, which Campos was very adept at, one day he took him and he seriously molested him in a private residence," he said.

The attorney believes Campos would take his victims to a home his mother cleaned in La Jolla.

Although the alleged molestation happened on one occasion, the high amount awarded by a judge reflects the severe consequences Lopez has faced as a result, including post-traumatic stress disorder, addiction and trust issues, Zalkin explained.

But the lawsuit does not seek damages from Campos himself, or even the Linda Vista congregation.

Instead, it names the defendant as the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York, the entity that oversees Jehovah’s Witness churches.

Zalkin said $10.5 million of the amount was for punitive damages as a result of the Watchtower’s response to the Campos scandal.

"Damages that reflect the reprehensible conduct of the Watchtower in how they covered this up for years and allowed multiple children to be injured,” said Zalkin. “They protected and harbored a criminal."

The Watchtower told NBC 7 it plans to appeal the judgment, saying the award given after a hearing at which it was barred from participating.

“Jehovah’s Witnesses abhor child abuse and strive to protect children from such acts,” the organization said in a statement. “The trial judge’s decision is a drastic action for any judge to take given the circumstances of the case. We will seek a full review of this case on appeal.”

As for Campos, Zalkin said he is in Mexico, where he moved as soon as they started investigating this case.

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<![CDATA[Dad of Boy Who Shot Pal Dead Pleads]]> Thu, 30 Oct 2014 20:44:14 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/anthony+senatore+guilty+plea.jpg

The father of a then-4-year-old New Jersey boy who fatally shot his 6-year-old neighbor with his father's unsecured gun has pleaded guilty to two counts of endangering the welfare of a child in exchange for less jail time, NBC 4 New York has learned.

Anthony Senatore of Toms River pleaded guilty Thursday to the charges in connection with the April 2013 shooting death of Brandon Holt. Senatore's young son shot Holt once in the head with Senatore's gun -- a .22-caliber rifle the father was accused of keeping loaded, unsecured in his bedroom.

Senatore's lawyer previously said his client was "deeply horrified over what took place and feels awful about it," but that the case should've been tried in civil, not criminal, court.

Last November, Senatore rejected a plea deal that would've required him to serve seven years in prison. In exchange for the guilty plea Thursday, Senatore will serve two three-year jail terms simultaneously when he is sentenced Feb. 5.

Senatore had originally faced six counts of child endangerment -- one for each of the five unsecured firearms investigators say they found accessible to his three children and one for endangering the welfare of Holt by leaving his gun in a place where his own child could get it. . 

The Holt family has filed a lawsuit against the Senatores accusing Senatore and his wife of recklessness that led to their son's death. .  



Photo Credit: NBC 4 New York]]>
<![CDATA[Gore Still on Pole Days After Crash]]> Thu, 30 Oct 2014 20:27:41 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/214*120/human+remains+midtown.JPG

A Manhattan resident is frustrated by the runaround she says she's gotten from the city while trying to get gore removed from the scene of a gruesome midtown crash last week. 

Cassandra Dunn first contacted NBC 4 New York with photos of what appear to be small bits of remains spattered on a light pole at 33rd Street and Lexington Avenue.

Dunn said she believes the remains were left from a crash involving an SUV, taxi cab and several pedestrians last Thursday. The FDNY confirmed two pedestrians were hurt in the crash. 

She said the carnage included fat, blood and hair.

"It's pretty gross, definitely a major biohazard," she said. "People are walking by with their dogs, their children." 

Though the remains haven't been tested, biowaste worker Sal Pain of Bio Recovery Corporation said at the scene Wednesday he's positive they are human.

"You have human hair, all different types of fluids," said Pain, whose company has several high-profile contracts with the city, including for potential Ebola waste removal. 

Pain said the remains will likely "just sit there until someone decides to hose it down." 

Dunn has been on a mission to get the scene cleaned up since the accident, but can't find anyone to help. She called 311, who referred her to the NYPD, who referred her to the sanitation department. 

She then called the state health department, who referred her to the medical examiner -- who then referred her to the forensics department. 

She tried the CDC, who pointed her back to the state health department.

Dunn finally emailed the mayor's office, and she said she's still waiting for a response. 

"Basically, I've been run around and no one wants to help me with this," she said. 

NBC 4 New York's attempts to reach the same departments and agencies yielded the same results: each department referred questions to another. 

A spokeswoman at the city's sanitation department said it was their understanding that "NYPD generally calls a medical waste removal company to crime/accident senes to remove any potential medical waste." 

The NYPD did not respond to a message Wednesday. The FDNY said in certain instances, it hoses down accident scenes as a courtesy but they are not responsible for doing so. The department said it was not asked to do that in this case.

But the mayor's office said Thursday the FDNY typically does wash down the street in those situations and that it cleaned the scene the night of the accident, despite evidence of remains still there Wednesday night. A spokeswoman said a fire battalion went back after NBC 4 New York's report aired and washed it down a second time. 

-- John Chandler contributed to this report. 

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<![CDATA[Apple CEO Tim Cook: "I'm Proud to Be Gay"]]> Thu, 30 Oct 2014 20:41:28 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/tim-cook.jpg

Apple CEO Tim Cook spoke out publicly about his sexuality in an op-ed for Bloomberg Businessweek, saying, "I'm proud to be gay" and that he hoped to inspire others.

"While I have never denied my sexuality, I haven’t publicly acknowledged it either, until now," Cook said in the article, entitled "Tim Cook Speaks Up" published on Thursday. "So let me be clear: I’m proud to be gay, and I consider being gay among the greatest gifts God has given me."

Cook, who was named CEO in August 2011, has never publicly acknowledged his sexual orientation, but he said many of his colleagues at Apple already knew. He said the choice to come out wasn’t easy as privacy is important to him, but he hopes his public declaration helps others.

“I don’t consider myself an activist, but I realize how much I’ve benefited from the sacrifice of others,” Cook wrote. “So if hearing that the CEO of Apple is gay can help someone struggling to come to terms with who he or she is, or bring comfort to anyone who feels alone, or inspire people to insist on their equality, then it’s worth the trade-off with my own privacy.”

Although Cook had never acknowledged he is a gay man, he spoke out against discrimination against the LGBT community in the past.

In June, he tweeted his support for the White House’s decision prohibiting federal contractors from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, calling it “a matter of basic human dignity." And in February, he applauded a coach of his hometown college football team for saying he would welcome a gay player on the team.



Photo Credit: Getty]]>
<![CDATA[City's Site Hacked After Dog Shot]]> Thu, 30 Oct 2014 21:32:05 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Cleburne+TX+city+hall.jpg

The FBI is investigating a cyber attack on the city of Cleburne, Texas, that shut down the city’s website and appears to be motivated by a police officer’s controversial shooting of a dog, the mayor said Wednesday.

"We're under attack as we speak,” said Cleburne Mayor Scott Cain. "We consider an attack on the city an attack on the residents, and we're not going to put up with it."

Video showing a police officer shooting a dog has been viewed more than 200,000 times on YouTube. The officer was dispatched to a report of three vicious pit bulls and shot one of them.

The officer is on paid leave while an investigation is underway.

Hackers are using a “denial of service” attack to overwhelm the city’s servers, slowing emails and all but shutting down the city’s website, which residents use for everything from paying utility bills to reporting potholes.

"Our IT guys are working on it around the clock,” Cain said.

Cain promised a transparent investigation into the dog shooting.

"When the review is completed we are going to let the chips fall where they may,” he said.

Regardless of what happens with that, he said whoever is behind the hacking is picking on the wrong city.

"If somebody thinks that they are going to send a message to an officer or the city of Cleburne, don't mess with Cleburne, Texas,” he said. “We will prosecute you to the fullest extent of the law. And we're not going to put up with it."

Katherine Chaumont, a spokeswoman for the FBI’s Dallas office, confirmed the bureau is assisting Cleburne with the cyber-crime investigation.



Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Suspect Arrested in Road Rage Death]]> Thu, 30 Oct 2014 16:21:13 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/th-perla-road-rage-16x9---00002804.jpg

Police have arrested the man they say gunned down an Oakland mother of four in a road rage shooting as she and her husband returned from grocery shopping Sunday.

Carlos Stephen Dubose, 20, of Oakland, was arrested Wednesday in Elk Grove on a murder charge, Oakland Police Chief Sean Whent said at a Thursday news conference.

"Perla's life mattered," Whent said. "All life matters in Oakland."

Not many details were released on why police suspect Dubose of being linked to the shooting death of Perla Avina, 30. She was shot on 98th Avenue as she and husband Mando Lopez had just bought breakfast ingredients near their home about 12:30 p.m. She died of her wounds shortly afterward.

Lead investigator Leo Sanchez said he was limited in what he wanted to release about the "road rage" death, which is "still unfolding." Dubose was arrested in connection with a murder, but as of Thursday morning, he was not formally charged.

Sanchez said there are no other known suspects and would not comment on how many other people may or may not have been in Dubose's car at the time.

Police did confiscate a silver four-door Volvo and a firearm from Dubose. He added there was some type of "confrontation" involving Dubose, though he wasn't specific. Police credited "a significant amount" of surveillance video and community tips for the arrest.

Since Sunday, police had been looking for who fired bullets into Lopez's 1998 Toyota Camry in what police spokeswoman Johnna Watson said was likely related to some type of road rage.

Earlier this week, Lopez, whose full name is Luis Armando, told sister station Telemundo that he remembers a car tried to veer in front of him on the way back from the market, and "I guess I didn't let him go."

Avina and Lopez have four children, ages 1 to 14. She was a medical receptionist and, according to neighbor Dwyane Jackson, who performed CPR on Avina before she died, "the heart of the family."


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<![CDATA[Bear at SoCal Pet Grooming Shop]]> Thu, 30 Oct 2014 16:18:43 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/214*120/10-30-2014-lancaster-bear-rmg.jpg

A bear visited a Lancaster business district early Thursday in an early morning search for food in trash bins at a pet grooming store before using storm drains to head back toward the wilderness.

The black bear was reported near 15th Street West and West Avenue K in the northern Los Angeles County community in the Antelope Valley. A security guard patrolling the area responded to a report of someone knocking on the business' back door.

"I heard the noise so I know something's out there, but I don't want to meet it face to face," said Lupe Telles, who works in the area.

The security guard arrived to find the bear, which appeared to have a scratch by its eye, going through trash. Deputies arrived before the bear ran down a street and into a storm drain channel.

At about 5:45, the NBC4's crew in Lancaster caught the bear on video as it climbed an embankment above the channel.

Witnesses told NBC4 they think the bear has probably made previous visits. The bear has been seen searching for food at a homeless encampment.

One lifelong Lancaster resident said bears do not usually come "this far down" from nearby mountains.

California's black bear population is at about 25,000 to 30,000, with most living in mountain areas above 3,000 feet, according to what the CA Department of Fish and Wildlife calls conservative estimates. In 1982, the statewide bear population was estimated at between 10,000 and 15,000.

Less than 10 percent of the state's black bear population lives in the central western and southwestern California region, according to agency estimates. About half of the population resides in an area north and west of the Sierra Nevada Mountains.

Increased bear sightings -- and other wildlife -- might be partially attributed in recent years to the state's ongoing drought as animals are forced to search for food in areas outside their usual habitat, according to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. California has just finished its third-consecutive dry year with no end in sight to the dry spell.



Photo Credit: RMG]]>
<![CDATA[Man Frames Ex-Roommate in Fake Threat to Obama]]> Thu, 30 Oct 2014 07:49:13 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/obama+westchester+aug+28.jpg

A 30-year-old New York man accused of calling in a fake threat on the life of President Barack Obama told investigators he framed his former roommate, a New Haven resident, because he didn’t approve of the man’s romantic relationship and wanted to get him in trouble, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Prosecutors said Juan Medina, of Yonkers, used a prepaid cellphone to call police during Obama’s trip to Westchester County for a fundraiser Aug. 29.

Medina identified himself as “Hassan” and said his former roommate, who lives in New Haven, was traveling to New York to shoot the president with an AK-47, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Authorities said Medina gave police his roommate’s name and address in New Haven, along with a description of the man’s car. Secret Service agents flocked to the neighborhood and searched surrounding towns to track him down. Hamden police spotted the man’s car in a city parking lot and found him at a home nearby.

A searched turned up no evidence to corroborate the threat and prosecutors said the man was surprised to learn the Secret Service was looking for him.

He directed agents to Medina, who admitted to making the call because he didn’t approve of his former roommate’s relationship and wanted to get him in trouble, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Medina faces federal charges and could face up to five years in prison if convicted. He was released on a $25,000 bond.

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<![CDATA[Caught on Camera: Large, Hungry Bear Visits Family Home, Eats Pumpkin on Porch]]> Thu, 30 Oct 2014 12:44:49 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/214*120/La+Canada+bear.PNG

A large and hungry bear was caught on surveillance video rummaging through a La Cañada Flintridge family’s trash and eating their Halloween pumpkin on their porch.

The approximately 500-pound black bear targeted a home on the 1200 block of Flintridge Circle. The bear ripped off slats from the home’s fence, entered the Andersen family’s backyard and rummaged through the trash.

The bear then sauntered to the front of the home and waited for about 20 minutes before he picked up a pumpkin from the front porch and began eating it in a Winnie the Pooh-like fashion. 

"The bear sat down and made itself at home and started carving the pumpkin basically, scratching it, opened it up and ate out the seeds," homeowner Carol Andersen said.

Andersen told NBC4 the family plans on adding a candle and using the "carved" pumpkin as their Halloween jack-o-lantern.

After the bear sighting, Andersen’s neighbors are considering storing their trash cans inside their garages.

California's black bear population is at about 25,000 to 30,000, with most living in mountain areas above 3,000 feet, according to what the CA Department of Fish and Wildlife calls conservative estimates. In 1982, the statewide bear population was estimated at between 10,000 and 15,000.

Less than 10 percent of the state's black bear population lives in the central western and southwestern California region, according to agency estimates. About half of the population resides in an area north and west of the Sierra Nevada Mountains.

Increased bear sightings -- and other wildlife -- might be partially attributed in recent years to the state's ongoing drought as animals are forced to search for food in areas outside their usual habitat, according to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. California has just finished its third-consecutive dry year with no end in sight to the dry spell.
 

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<![CDATA[Texas School Bans Football T-Shirt]]> Thu, 30 Oct 2014 18:10:25 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Martin+football+t-shirt.jpg

The Arlington Independent School District has banned a high school football team T-shirt with the slogan "Shhhhhhh just let it happen" after the school newspaper's editorial staff questioned whether the message were a rape innuendo.

Martin High School's bi-monthly newspaper The Warrior Post raised concerns about the shirt, designed by senior football team members and printed by the football booster club, in a staff editorial headlined "Out of Bounds" in its most recent edition.

"Can this saying be easily misunderstood? Yes. Though it certainly was not the goal of the shirt, its slogan connotes rape culture. This is not what we want to display as a slogan for our Varsity football program," the editorial read in part.

The shirt reads "Martin Football" in big gray letters above an image of a Native American man that represents the school's Warrior mascot. To the left of the man is a pirate flag, with a skull and crossbones, along with the words "We take what we want," and below the flag is the phrase "Shhhhhhh just let it happen."

The Warrior Post's editor-in-chief Jerred Osterman, 18, a Martin senior, told NBC 5 that the paper's staff was motivated to write its editorial after a female student approached a news staff member with concerns over the T-shirt.

Osterman said neither he nor his staff questions the motivation of the players or their message of team unity behind the shirt — only the wording of the message and how it might be perceived.

"It's inappropriate, and it's not something that you want to represent Martin with," Osterman said.

Both Martin coach Bob Wager and booster club president Kevin White told NBC 5 they never considered the message on the shirt to be potentially inappropriate, saying that if they had, they would have never allowed it to be made or worn. Wager said the shirt's pirate theme denotes the team's mentality of trying to force turnovers.

"Certainly the booster club and the coaches, nobody construed it in that manner," said Leslie Johnston, director of communications for Arlington ISD, who estimates that around 50 of the shirts were printed. "They just thought it was a football shirt. And when that was pointed out, that it could be taken in that way the students have, they are no longer wearing them.

"They would never want to condone any kind of behavior like that," Johnston added.



Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Sandy Survivor Describes Struggle]]> Thu, 30 Oct 2014 12:14:14 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/199*120/sandy+survior+staten+island.JPG

A Staten Island woman who lost her husband and daughter during Sandy says she survived for a reason.

"It's very important I can't curl up in a corner, I have to get up every day and try," said Patricia Dresch of Tottenville, two years after Sandy.

"It's a miracle. I survived for a reason," she said. "Maybe to help someone down the road, give somebody courage to go on."

Dresch and her family ignored evacuation orders on Oct. 29, 2012, because their home had been looted when they left before Irene. So they stayed. They soon realized it was a mistake.

"I saw the waves are coming up across the street," she said. "I said 'Oh my God, what's happening?'"

She said she tried to grasp her 13-year old daughter Angela, but the storm waters soon became too intense. One wall of her Yetman Avenue home collapsed and her husband George was killed after getting whisked away in the flood.

“I'm holding onto Angela, and the water’s coming up over us, and we went under. I thought we were going to fall through the floor," she recalled.

"All of a sudden the wall just opened up, and we went out -- the whole yard," she said. "I don't know if I let go of her or she let go of me -- she just slipped away from me.”

Her daughter was found dead right in front of the property.

Hours later, somehow, firefighters found Dresch hundreds of yards away, still breathing in the rubble. Her body temperature had dropped to 81 degrees. She was bruised and battered but had no broken bones.

Her spirit — and her heart — would need healing.

For months, she slept on a cot in her church, while working to keep her mind off the nightmare. Then the city bought her old property, and she used the money to buy a new house, about a mile north of where the tide surged.

She’s working, day by day, to recover emotionally -- thanks to friends, family and a new grandson. Her older daughter recently gave birth to baby Shea, named after the stadium.

But she’s never been back to her old block.

"Maybe 10 years from now. Right now I can't," she said. "I want to remember the block the way it was. I want to remember it in my mind the way it was."

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<![CDATA[1 Dead in CA Military Plane Crash]]> Thu, 30 Oct 2014 14:18:55 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/141029-point-mugu-military-plane-crash.jpg

The pilot of a military jet was killed when the aircraft crashed in a field in the Point Mugu area on Wednesday, the Ventura County Fire Department said.

The Hawker Hunter MK-58 came down about 5 p.m. just off Highway 1 and Hueneme Road, said Allen Kenitzer of the Federal Aviation Administration.

A witness told NBC4 that the jet just "nosed down" and described the scene as a "tremendous crash."

Responders located the pilot seat in the field with the deceased pilot belted in.

"They saw a parachute in the debris field. It is unknown whether he tried to eject or whether that was just part of the field,” Ventura Co. Fire Capt. Mike Lindberry said. 

The jet crashed about a mile short of the Naval base runway. 

The Ventura County Medical Examiner's office identified the pilot as 45-year-old Charles Rogers, of Utah.

Naval Base Ventura County spokeswoman Kimberly Gearhart said the single-seater jet was a contract aircraft that flew out of Point Mugu and was operated by the company ATAC. The Navy uses the aircraft for training missions as the enemy in mock aerial operations. The jet was returning from an offshore exercise when it went down. 

Both the FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board were investigating, Kenitzer said.

"The investigation for this is going to be a lengthy one," Ventura Co. Sheriff's Capt. Don Aguilar said. 

Two and a half years ago, the pilot of another Hunter Hawker had been killed when it also went down on a training mission. A temporary grounding of the fleet was later lifted. It will be the responsibility of federal investigators to determine what went wrong in Wednesday's crash.

The name of the pilot who died in the crash is being withheld until his family is notified.

Willian Avila and Rosa Ordaz contributed to this report. 

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<![CDATA[Scientists ID Debris as Piece of Amelia Earhart's Plane]]> Thu, 30 Oct 2014 13:16:20 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/TIGHAR.jpg

A group of scientists says it has identified a piece of famed aviator Amelia Earhart's twin-engine Lockheed Electra, 77 years after her ill-fated flight around the world, Discovery.com reported.

The piece of debris — a custom-made, aluminum window patch — was discovered back in 1991 on the uninhabited atoll of Nikumaroro, part of the southwestern Pacific republic of Kiribati.

Researchers from The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR) say that its new analysis suggests Earhart and her navigator, Fred Noonan, made a forced landing on a small, sandy island in the southwest Pacific before dying as castaways there. It has long been believed that Earhart's plane crashed in the Pacific Ocean after running out of fuel.

According to TIGHAR, the patch is "as unique to her particular aircraft as a fingerprint is to an individual." On top of that, TIGHAR says, its 10 archaeological expeditions to Nikumaroro have yielded strong circumstantial evidence that castaways were once present there.

TIGHAR has been trying to unravel the mystery of Earhart's doomed flight for years, and it called its latest identification a breakthrough in the case.

Its researchers are set to return to Nikumaroro in June 2015 to explore a mysterious object 600 feet underwater that it says could be Earhart's plane. The expedition will also search for smaller objects at shallower depths.

Earhart was the first female pilot to fly across the Atlantic Ocean alone. Her plane disappeared over the Pacific Ocean on July 2, 1937, while she was attempting to circumnavigate the globe. She and Noonan, who was also on board, were never seen again.



Photo Credit: TIGHAR]]>
<![CDATA[Nurse Steps Out, Slams Quarantine]]> Thu, 30 Oct 2014 07:01:17 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Kaci-Hickox.jpg

Nurse Kaci Hickox, who recently returned from treating Ebola victims in West Africa and has challenged the legality of a quarantine, spoke outside of her Maine home after health officials announced they are seeking a court order to force her to stay home in quarantine for three weeks over public health concerns.

Hickox walked out of her Fort Kent home Wednesday night, defying the Maine CDC's protocol for health care workers who have treated Ebola patients.

"We have to make decisions based on science," she told reporters while standing outside with her boyfriend, Ted Wilbur. "You could hug me. You could shake my hand and not get Ebola."

The state wants people who have had direct contact with Ebola patients to remain home and avoid public contact until the virus' 21-day incubation period had passed, and it will seek court orders to force them to if they don't of their own accord, officials said at a Wednesday press conference in Augusta.

"Our true desire is for a voluntary separation from the public. We do not want to legally enforce an in-home quarantine unless absolutely necessary," Maine Commissioner of Health and Human Services Mary Mayhew said. "However, we will pursue legal authority if necessary to ensure risk is minimized for all Mainers."

Mayhew defended the state's effort to enforce what it continued to call a "voluntary" quarantine, saying it reflected a "common-sense approach" that would "guard against a public health crisis in Maine."

The court order seeking to force Hickox to remain home will ideally be filed Wednesday, Mayhew said.

Officials also said state troopers are outside of her door waiting to tail her and see who she comes into contact with if she leaves home.

Earlier on Wednesday, Hickox, a nurse who had first been quarantined in New Jersey's Newark Liberty International Airport over the weekend and was released after showing no symptoms, told Matt Lauer on "Today" that she wasn't abiding by Maine CDC's recommendation; the state's CDC recommendation is more strict than federal guidelines.

"I truly believe this policy is not scientifically nor constitutionally just, and so I’m not going to sit around and be bullied around by politicians and be forced to stay in my home when I am not a risk to the American public," Hickox said. 

Gov. Paul LePage said in a statement earlier on Wednesday that while he's concerned with the safety and health of Hickox and the community of Fort Kent, the state is "exploring all of our options for protecting the health and well-being" of Hickox and the community.

"While we certainly respect the rights of one individual, we must be vigilant in protecting 1.3 million Mainers, as well as anyone who visits," LePage's statement said.

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<![CDATA[Man Fatally Shoots Would-Be Robber]]> Thu, 30 Oct 2014 04:59:47 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/aldi-grocery-store.jpg

A 71-year-old man fatally shot a would-be robber who knocked down his wife and tried to steal her necklace in a Dallas grocery store parking lot Tuesday night, police say.

“My first thing was screaming, “who shot him, who shot him?””, said Yadira Juarez, a witness, “That’s when the older guy was like I did.”

Police said Ronnie Lummus and his wife were in front of Aldi Food Market in the 3100 block of Forest Lane in North Dallas Tuesday Night.

Officers said a man suddenly grabbed a gold necklace from the woman's neck and knocked her to ground in an attempt to rob her.

“Her neck was all red, I guess from him, I guess he was choking her and pulled her down because she had scrapes and she had one bruise, but it all just happened so fast,” Juarez said.

Lummus had a concealed handgun and fired multiple times at the man as he tried to get away, according to police.

The man, who has not been identified, was 36-years-old, according to police. He was able to flee to a nearby vehicle, but witnesses say he crashed shortly after in the same parking lot.

Juarez said a 911 operator told her and another woman who rushed to help to check the man who was shot for a pulse.

“We called the cops and they said 'well check if he’s breathing or if he’s ok,' but that’s when he was just laying like this, and he had a hole here and he was like his mouth was full of blood and he wasn’t moving so I was like I’m guessing he’s dead,” Juarez said.

Dallas Police Department officials said Lummus has a valid concealed handgun license.

He, his wife and witnesses told police that the shooting was in self-defense.

Lummus was released on his own recognizance, and police said the shooting will be referred to the grand jury.

NBC 5's Jocelyn Lockwood contributed to this story.



Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Dem's Hubby Swipes GOP Signs: Cops]]> Thu, 30 Oct 2014 11:55:41 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/198*120/Dana+Long+Campagin+Sign+Theft.JPG

The husband of a Democratic incumbent lawmaker now up for re-election in Delaware stole Republican campaign signs under the cover of darkness, according to police.

And Republican party supporters, concerned about a series of recent thefts of GOP party signs, captured the heist on cellphone video.

Middletown, Delaware, police issued an arrest warrant Wednesday for misdemeanor theft charges for Dana Long following the thefts at Middletown Odessa and Silver Lake roads.

"My husband is the man depicted in the video," said state Sen. Bethany Hall-Long (D-Middletown) in a prepared statement.

Police say Dana Long stole signs with slogans such as “Delaware Needs Jobs, Vote Republican” and “Fix the Economy, Vote Republican” written on them.

Hall-Long, who took office in District 10 in 2009, is currently running for re-election against Republican challenger John Marino, a retired New York City police officer. Hall-Long served in the state House before serving in the Senate.

"Sadly, this race has become tough and personal," said Hall-Long. "I was not aware that he had allowed his frustration over the campaign attacks to get the better of him. Of course I'm disappointed and wish that it had not happened."

On her campaign website, Hall-Long says that she married her high school sweetheart Dana, a U.S. Navy veteran, 27 years ago.

Hall-Long withheld further comment citing potential legal action by the GOP.

Wednesday’s incident was the third time the Republican signs placed along Middletown Odessa Road went missing, according to investigators. On Sunday about 28 went missing, were replaced and by Tuesday morning were missing again.

Police said that local Republicans put the signs back up and waited to see if anyone came by to take the signs. The Republicans captured him removing the signs and returning to his car around 4 a.m. Wednesday, according to investigators.

In video the local GOP supplied to NBC10, you can see a man rush back into his car after being approached by the Republican advocates.

“Those aren’t your signs, bud,” said one man.

“There’s no name on these signs,” replied the man with an armful of signs.

The GOP says that the signs do state that they are the property of the Republican Party of Delaware.

Long, 54, surrendered to police Thursday morning.

The leader of Delaware’s Democratic Party denounced any theft of signs.

"The bottom line is that this is not a Republican or Democratic issue -- this is a campaign issue happening by all parties, and it must end," said Democratic Party chair John Daniello.

"Each campaign season, we deal with candidates removing their opponents signs. This behavior is absolutely unacceptable. There are more positive ways in which to support your candidate regardless of party affiliation," he said. "Candidates, their supporters, and their campaigns must lead by example and discourage this behavior. We understand that this election is coming to a close and tensions are high, but Democrats shouldn't waste their time on such senseless acts."

Delaware Republican Party chairman Charlie Copeland called the incident a "new low" in state politics.

"It is unfortunate that the 2014 political campaign is marred by this event, and Republicans and Democrats alike should condemn this type of behavior across the board," said Copeland. "It simply has no place in the democratic process. We are better then this."



Photo Credit: YouTube.com - Republican Party of Delaware]]>
<![CDATA[Maine Nurse Slams Quarantine: I'm Not Going to Be Bullied]]> Wed, 29 Oct 2014 16:02:50 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Kaci-Hickox.jpg

The nurse released after kept in a New Jersey isolation tent for three days upon her return from West Africa said that she will not abide by Maine health officials' recommendation that she continue to comply with a 21-day quarantine at home.

Kaci Hickox said that if Maine’s restrictions are not lifted by Thursday, “I will go to court to fight for my freedom.”

Hickox spoke out against her quarantine on NBC’s “Today” show via Skype, saying she is thankful to be “out of the tent in Newark” but has found herself in “yet another prison” at home in Fort Kent.

Her lawyer earlier told the Bangor Daily News that Hickox has only agreed to not going out for two days.

“I don’t plan on sticking to the [quarantine] guidelines,” Hickox said on "Today." “I remain appalled by these home quarantine policies that have been forced upon me, even though I am in perfectly good health and feeling strong and have been this entire time completely symptom free.”

Hickox has shown no symptoms of the deadly virus since she treated Ebola patients in Sierra Leone for four weeks. An initial 101-degree temperature taken by a forehead scanner upon her return to the U.S. was because she was "flushed and upset" by her treatment at Newark Liberty International Airport, she has said.

Maine’s health officials said on Tuesday they're preparing to legally enforce the state’s "voluntary" quarantine on health care workers who've treated Ebola patients. Hickox's would end on Nov. 10.

“I truly believe this policy is not scientifically nor constitutionally just, and so I’m not going to sit around and be bullied around by politicians and be forced to stay in my home when I am not a risk to the American public,” Hickox said.

Hickox said that the organization she worked with, Doctors Without Borders, already had “reasonable” steps in place, including self-monitoring, taking one’s temperature twice a day and getting tested for Ebola if symptoms like fever develop.

Doctors Without Borders, also known as Médecins Sans Frontières, said in a statement to NBC News Wednesday it “strongly disagrees with blanket forced quarantine for health care workers returning from Ebola affected countries.” The group said it respected Hickox’s right to “challenge excessive restrictions being placed upon her.”

"Kaci Hickox has carried out important, lifesaving work for MSF in a number of countries in recent years, and we are proud to have her as a member of our organization," the group said.

Hickox said quarantines are a deterrent to other would-be volunteers aiming to combat Ebola in West Africa. But Hickox said she plans to eventually return to Sierra Leone.


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<![CDATA[Teen Wins $4M on B-Day Lotto Ticket]]> Wed, 29 Oct 2014 20:43:06 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/208*120/ocampo+lottery+win.jpg

When a Chicago teenager opened her birthday gifts, she never anticipated she’d wind up with $4 million.

Deisi Ocampo said her dad gave her two $100 Million Money Mania instant tickets for her 19th birthday.

“It turned out to be the best birthday present ever,” she told Illinois Lottery officials.

Ocampo said she scratched off the tickets on Oct. 7 while on her way to work. She didn’t win anything on the first ticket she scratched, but when she finished scratching the second ticket, she realized she had won $4 million.

“I started sweating. I couldn’t believe it was possible,” she said. “I worked the whole day without saying a word to anyone.”

The Chicago native lives with her parents and sister. When she got home that day, she said her parents didn’t believe it either.

“When I told my dad I won he asked, ‘How much? $500?’ and I said, ‘No, Dad, $4 million,’” she said.

Ocampo, who works at a clothing store while attending college, says she plans to use the money to help pay for school and buy her family a new house.

“This lottery win will make it easier to pursue my dream of completing my degree and becoming a nurse,” she said.

The tickets were purchased at the Austin and Montrose Citgo at 5959 West Montrose Ave. in Chicago.



Photo Credit: Illinois Lottery]]>
<![CDATA["Operation" Inventor Needs Help Paying for an Operation]]> Wed, 29 Oct 2014 20:37:54 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/160*120/operation-game.jpg

Nearly 50 years ago, John Spinello invented the popular board game “Operation.” Now, he needs help paying for his own operation.

Spinello’s friends and fellow game inventors Tim Walsh and Peggy Brown have launched a fundraiser in hopes of raising money to help pay for the board game creator's procedure.

The site is asking for $25,000 in donations. As of Wednesday afternoon, they had already raised more than $17,000.

“Much has changed in 50 years. John has had a good life, but has admitted to us that he is struggling to pay his bills and is in need of a medical procedure without sufficient insurance coverage,” the fundraiser on Crowdrise read.

While they are asking for any type of donation or even words of encouragement, they are also offering for supporters to purchase an autographed copy of “Operation” for $60, while supplies last.

Spinello first created “Operation” as a student at the University of Illinois, ultimately selling his idea to a toy invention firm for $500 to help pay for his tuition, he says in a video posted to the fundraising page.

Since then, millions have tried their hand at using a metal wand to remove plastic ailments from Cavity Sam without lighting up his bright red nose and hearing that dreaded buzz.

“Because of the deal John cut when he was 20 years old, he’s not entitled to royalties,” Walsh says in the video.

Brown said Spinello isn’t bitter about the deal he made and instead “tries to celebrate his invention however he can.”

“I’m overwhelmed,” Spinello says in a video thanking his supporters. “I can’t tell you how thankful we are for receiving this. It’s going to go a long way.”



Photo Credit: Google Images]]>
<![CDATA[Just 6 Cars: Ferrari Sells Out of New "Sergio"]]> Wed, 29 Oct 2014 14:58:24 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Ferrari_Sergio.jpg

Ferrari is rolling out a new car, but only a few people will be able to own one.

The luxury automaker is creating only six models of Ferrari Sergio. Designed in partnership with Italian firm Pininfarina, the car is expected to cost several million each (the price hasn’t been disclosed).

But if you thought you could be one of the six lucky owners, it’s probably too late. Ferrari has already pre-sold all Sergio cars, according to CNBC. Only long-standing Ferrari clients got the invites to purchase the limited sports car. Their names have not been reveled.

A spokesperson from the automaker told CNBC the production on new models will start "shortly” with deliveries expected next year.

The Sergio is modeled on the Ferrari's 458 Spider mechanical base and technologic components. The doors rise up and the car can accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h in less than 3.4 seconds, the company said. It's named in honor of Sergio Pininfarina, an Italian automobile designer who died in 2012.

The car made its debut at the 2013 Geneva Motor show as a concept, with no windshield or mirrors. The design will be tweaked to comply with road laws.

Ferrari, which is owned by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, has built a world-class brand by limiting the number of vehicles it produces to 7,000 per year, making its cars all the more desirable.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles announced Wednesday it plans to spin off Ferrari into a separate entity and sell 10 percent of Ferrari's shares in a public offering in the United States and Europe, The Associated Press reported. The remaining 90 percent will be distributed to its own shareholders.

The company said the move was part of a plan to raise capital to support the new merged carmakers' growth plans, according to the AP.
 



Photo Credit: Pininfarina]]>
<![CDATA[Serial Rapist Captured]]> Wed, 29 Oct 2014 15:54:56 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Gregory+Lewis+102514+Indianapolis+Thumb.jpg

A Massachusetts man accused of fleeing child rape charges and going on a nationwide crime spree that authorities say included at least six sexual assaults was apprehended Tuesday after crashing a car into a New York river.

Gregory Lewis of Southbridge was arrested shortly before midnight Tuesday in the village of Fort Edward.

Police say a New York State Police trooper observed Lewis driving with a missing license plate. When the officer attempted to stop the vehicle, Lewis fled.

Police received calls that Lewis crashed his vehicle into a river, emerged from the river and pulled a gun on a witness to the crash. Police arrived on scene and took Lewis into custody.

A firearm recovered from Lewis matches the description of one he’s accused of stealing from a family member in September.

Lewis was initially arrested in Massachusetts back in August for statutory rape of a child under 14, ordered to stay under house arrest.

Since cutting his GPS ankle bracelet and fleeing the state on Sept. 15, police say, Lewis is suspected of committing six or more sexual assaults in different states.

Ten days after he allegedly fled, police say Lewis returned to Massachusetts, broke into his stepfather's home, tied him up and stole a gun.

Police in Denver announced earlier Sunday that Lewis was wanted in Colorado for sexual assault, kidnapping and aggravated robbery.

Officials in North Carolina said they believe Lewis kidnapped, robbed and assaulted a woman in Charlotte on Sept. 23.

Lewis is believed to have been in Denver earlier this month. Police say he was in Portland, Oregon, around Oct. 13. The next day, officials say he was in Boise, Idaho. On Oct. 17, according to police, he was in Salt Lake City, Utah.

He was held without bail at the Washington County jail in New York and arraigned in that county. Massachusetts State Police said he is expected to be in New York at least until Friday.

The investigation into his other alleged crimes is continuing.



Photo Credit: Massachusetts State Police]]>