<![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, 29 Aug 2014 20:14:20 -0400 Fri, 29 Aug 2014 20:14:20 -0400 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Secret Service: Man May Pose Threat]]> Fri, 29 Aug 2014 20:12:22 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/obama+westchester+aug+28.jpg

Police in Westchester and Secret Service were investigating a report of a "potentially suspicious person and vehicle" near where President Obama visited Friday for a set of fundraising events, authorities say.

An official with the Secret Service told NBC News the agency was working with local police to determine the validity of the report. 

The official did not elaborate on why the person and vehicle were considered suspicious.

Obama landed in Air Force One at Westchester County Airport shortly before 2 p.m. Friday, and the presidential motorcade headed toward Sound Shore for the first fundraising site. The president then headed to Purchase later in the afternoon to attend a DNC Labor Day barbecue. 

Area streets were closed off as the president made his way through the area. He left the area at 5:30 p.m. for another fundraiser in Rhode Island. 

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<![CDATA[Taxi Hits, Kills Woman in NYC]]> Fri, 29 Aug 2014 20:11:30 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/shane+kennedy.jpg

A 58-year-old woman died after being hit by a taxi SUV as she tried to cross a Manhattan street Friday afternoon, police say.

Police say the 30-year-old taxi driver was making a left turn onto East 79th Street from Madison Avenue on the Upper East Side around 2 p.m. when he hit the woman as she was crossing the street, pinning her underneath the cab.

"Everybody was screaming. We just wanted to know what happened," said Guillermo Silva, a construction worker who was working nearby. 

Silva and at least six other construction workers lifted the taxi and pulled the woman from under it, their only thought to "gotta get her outta there, gotta get her outta there," said Silva. 

Witness Stephanie Knepper said: "I saw them lift up the car to bring a woman who was trapped under the car." 

Despite the good Samaritans' attempts, the woman was pronounced dead at Lenox Hill Hospital, according to police. 

Silva said he would do it all over again if there was any chance the woman could have been saved.

"We would do that for anybody. Nobody wants to see stuff like that, you know?" he said. 

It wasn't clear if the driver of the taxi was hurt, or if he will face charges. 



Photo Credit: @SeamusPK via Twitter]]>
<![CDATA[Fetus Found at High School: Police]]> Fri, 29 Aug 2014 20:13:38 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/214*120/woodrow.JPG

Authorities are investigating after they say a human fetus was found in a girls restroom Friday afternoon at Woodrow Wilson High School in East Dallas.

A staff member made the discovery, officials said, and responding medical authorities determined the remains to be a human fetus.

Dallas police said surveillance video at the school is being reviewed, and they tweeted that the investigation is in the preliminary stages:

Monday was the first day of the school year for Dallas ISD.

Dallas ISD said parents and guardians of Woodrow Wilson students will be notified, and they encourage families to discuss the situation. Counseling support will be available to students and staff members into next week.

Officials ask that if any student knows who the fetus may belong to or has any other information that could help, they should contact Dallas police.

NBC 5 has a crew at the scene and we'll update this story with more information as soon as it's available.  As this story is developing, elements may change.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Connecticut



Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Gang Ties in Abduction, Murder Case]]> Fri, 29 Aug 2014 19:32:38 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Schuylkill+River+Abduction+Police+Search.JPG

Police have narrowed their search for the suspects who killed two brothers -- slitting their throats before dumping their bodies in the Schuylkill River -- and critically injured another man over a $100,000 debt.

"We'll be coming to get you shortly," said Philadelphia Police. Capt. James Clark when asked if he had a message for the five people suspected in the abduction and double homicide.

Authorities learned of the barbaric crime Wednesday morning when the surviving victim, 23-year-old Thanh Voong, climbed from the banks of the Schuylkill River and began screaming for help around 4 a.m.

Hours earlier, the abductors were holding the three men -- who have ties to gangs and are well-known to authorities -- at a home on the 2400 block of 72nd Street, according to investigators.

The suspects were holding the brothers -- both in their late 20s and originally from Vietnam -- captive after they gambled away $100,000, which they were given to buy drugs, according to reports.

Voong showed up at the house with $40,000 to pay off the debt, but it was not enough to satisfy the suspects, sources said.

Early Wednesday morning, investigators found the bodies of the two brothers submerged in the water. Their throats were slit and both were bound with tape and tied to buckets.

Investigators removed similar buckets filled with roofing materials from the home on the 2400 block of 72nd Street Thursday.

Neighbors told NBC10 a woman and five children lived in the home. But they fled in an apparent rush since food was still on the stove when police arrived, according to reports.

Authorities also towed away an Audi A8 sedan Thursday as part of the investigation. They did not disclose how the vehicle,which was found on the 22nd Street overpass above the Vine Street Expressway, was related to the crime.

Police said they know who committed the crimes, but they are still searching for the suspects.

"They have obviously means, they have a lot of money, " Clark said. "They have a lot of different locations they've lived at through the years so right now we don't know where they're at or where they're headed."

As the investigation continues, Voong is recovering from seven stab wounds at Hahnemann University Hospital.



Photo Credit: NBC10.com]]>
<![CDATA[1 Giraffe Survives Twin Birth]]> Fri, 29 Aug 2014 20:13:02 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/180*120/giraffe+calf+31.jpg

Rare twin male giraffe calves were born at the San Francisco Zoo Tuesday morning, but only one survived, zoo officials said Friday.

The stronger calf weighed 100 pounds and is 5'6" tall and was "immediately healthy, alert and nursing," zoo spokesperson Abbie Tuller said. The second giraffe was described as "much smaller and weak at birth and was not able to nurse or function independently on his own," Tuller said.

Despite efforts by the zoo's medical staff, he passed away due to post-birth complications.

Twin reticulated giraffe births are an extremely rare occurrance -- the birth at San Francisco Zoo is only the tenth recorded live birth of both twins in zoos worldwide.

“This is a bitter-sweet announcement to make, but this very unique twin birth is something for all of the Bay Area to take pride in,” SF Zoo president Tanya Peterson said.

The surviving calf is yet to be named, Tuller said.

His mother is 11-year-old Bititi, who was born at the Oakland Zoo and went across the bay to call San Francisco Zoo her home in 2005. His father is 12-year-old Floyd, who was born in Albuquerque at the Rio Grande Zoo.

Bititi and her calf will be outdoors in the south corral of the Osher Family Giraffe Lodge on Friday. Keep checking the zoo's website, Facebook and Twitter for more information on the new calf.

 

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<![CDATA[Sheriff Office Lost Military Rifle]]> Fri, 29 Aug 2014 19:30:22 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/napa+county+-+Frank+Deanrdo+-+Crown+Vic.jpg

The Napa County Sheriff's Office has been suspended from a federal military-surplus program after an M-16 military rifle was stolen out of an employee's vehicle in May, information released by the Pentagon reveals.

As a result, the agency can no longer obtain military gear from the Defense Department's 1033 Program. The department is one of two Bay Area law enforcement agencies that have been suspended from the program.

The Pentagon program distributes surplus military gear, including weapons and vehicles, to local law enforcement agencies around the nation. It's the same program responsible for outfitting the police in Ferguson, Missouri, with tactical gear such as armored trucks and assault rifles.

Napa County Undersheriff Jean Donaldson confirmed Friday that the agency was suspended on May 6 of this year. He told NBC Bay Area that the weapon was "stolen from a vehicle" but could not recall what specific model it was, saying only that it was a "military-grade" rifle.

According to The California Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES), the weapon in question was an M16A1. That's a 5.56mm assault rifle capable of sem-automatic and automatic fire. According to Department of Defense data obtained by the New York Times, Napa County law enforcement agencies received 10 5.56mm rifles in 2008.

Donaldson could not say how long the suspension will last but said the agency would have to undergo a federal inspection of its storage and safety procedures.

The Pentagon data also indicated that nine other California law enforcement agencies have been suspended, including the San Mateo County Sheriff's Department. CalOES told NBC Bay Area that each agency was suspended because it was "unable to account for some equipment acquired through the 1033 program."

According to CalOES, San Mateo County Sheriff's department could not account for two M16A1 rifles and was suspended on October 23, 2013. Calls to the Sheriff's office were not immediately returned.

All told, 148 local law enforcement agencies are currently suspended around the country as of August 25th, 2014 when the data was obtained. About 8,000 agencies participate in the program nationwide.

A "suspended" agency does not have to return previously obtained military equipment, but cannot obtain new gear until the Department of Defense considers the agency in "good standing" again. More egregious handling of military gear could result in a rare "termination," meaning the agency has to actually return the equipment. At this time, only seven agencies have been terminated.



Photo Credit: Frank Deandro / Flickr]]>
<![CDATA[Teacher Tweets About Wanting to Stab Students]]> Fri, 29 Aug 2014 15:23:48 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/215*120/newark7.JPG

A teacher in California's Bay Area has been reprimanded after she reportedly tweeted that she wanted to stab some students and that her "trigger finger is itchy."

The Oakland Tribune reported Newark Memorial High School administrators disciplined teacher Krista Hodges with a written reprimand, but she remains in the classroom as the new school year begins. The tweets, which were sprinkled with obscene language, were posted before the end of the last school year, in June. The tweets have since vanished from her account.

Some parents said they found the posts insulting. One tweet allegedly insinuated that Hodges wanted to dump hot coffee on some of her students.

“I have a student here. He was expelled when he was a freshman for saying something to a teacher. They kicked him out of school. So now this is going on with this teacher, and I don’t feel it’s acceptable," parent Angela Newell said. “I feel that she should be able to receive the same punishment he did – get expelled from the district.”

Hodges told the newspaper she has apologized, saying she was only kidding, and realizes she acted unprofessionally.

The district had no comment on the issue, but one parent told NBC Bay Area on Thursday that she plans to start a campaign to get the teacher fired.

"I know the kids love her, but I think she should be fired," parent Vanessa Chavez said. "She should not work in the school -- it's not OK, it's unacceptable."

On Twitter, fittingly, Hodges appeared Thursday to be getting some support from students, including one who wrote that the "tweets were blown up into a bigger deal than what it was. Everyone vents."

Meanwhile, the Newark Police Department is taking the incident seriously and investigating.

"I think the concern is safety of everybody -- the admin, students, teacher, faculty," Cmdr. Mike Carroll said. "Concerned about everybody's safety. It doesn't matter where the threat is coming from."

NBC Bay Area's Cheryl Hurd contributed to this report.

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<![CDATA[Kids in Car as Parents Gambled: PD]]> Fri, 29 Aug 2014 18:33:30 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/082914+tyrell+johnson+josephine+laidler.jpg

Two young children were left in a car outside a South Florida casino while their parents gambled inside early Thursday, police say.

The children, ages four and one, were found in a car in the parking lot of the Hialeah Park Casino at 2200 E. 4th Ave., said Hialeah Police spokesman Carl Zogby.

The kids were spotted by casino employees in the unattended car just after midnight, Zogby said.

"The kids were subject to anything happening to them. They could've walked out of the car, or someone could've come in — who knows what could've happened," Zogby said.

He said the parents had been inside gambling, possibly for over an hour, while their children sat in the car, which had the engine running and the air conditioning on.

The parents, Tyrell Johnson and his girlfriend Josephine Laidler, were both charged with child neglect, Zogby said.

Footage showed the man and woman being detained by police at the scene and the two young children playing with officers.

Hialeah Police and the Department of Children and Families are investigating the incident.

The children were put into the custody of their grandparents by a family court judge Thursday afternoon. If the parents bond out of jail, they are not allowed to go near the kids.

The Hialeah casino also banned the couple for life.



Photo Credit: Miami-Dade Corrections]]>
<![CDATA[Infographic: Labor Day by the Numbers]]> Fri, 29 Aug 2014 16:32:57 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/thumb-Labor+Day+by+the+Numbers1.jpg

Labor Day weekend is considered the symbolic end-of-summer and the start of the back-to-school season. Here are a few facts about the holiday.

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<![CDATA[15 Hurt in Bus Accident Near O’Hare, Some Travelers Walk to Airport]]> Fri, 29 Aug 2014 19:41:06 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/215*120/bus+crash+ohare.jpg

A bus driver has been cited after at least 15 people were injured when a shuttle bus crashed on Interstate 190 near O'Hare Airport Friday morning.

The accident blocked traffic and forced some travelers to walk to the airport heading into one of the busiest travel weekends of the year.

Queshonyas Eubanks, 43, was cited for failing to produce a driver's license and failing to remain in her lane.

The shuttle bus crashed into a median around 6:30 a.m. just before Terminal 1, according to Chicago Police News Affairs Officer Jose Estrada.

Police and fire officials, citing preliminary information, said 15 people were injured in the crash.

Fire Chief Timothy Sampey said the driver of the bus was left pinned by the crash and rescued by an airport employee and a firefighter, who witnessed the accident while on his way to work.

That firefighter, identified as Rory Williams, was also hurt during the rescue, but his injuries were non-life threatening, officials said.

"He wouldn't stop [treating passengers] until he was ordered to go to the hospital," Sampey said.

Robert Gembala, another firefighter who also witnessed the crash, immediately rushed onto the bus and began assisting injured passengers.

"It was unbelievable what they did," said firefighter Steve Siavelis, who was on the first truck to arrive at the scene.

Injuries varied, Sampey said, with passengers at the front of the bus experiencing the greatest impact.

"People were thrown around the bus," he said. "Some were more critical than others."

Fire officials said four people were transported in critical condition, five in fair-to-serious condition and four in good condition. Two people refused treatment.

At least 10 ambulances were called to the scene and victims were reported to be taken to Our Lady of the Resurrection Medical Center, Resurrection Medical Center, Swedish Covenant Hospital, and Loyola University Medical Center.

Sampey said fluids were leaking from the bus following the crash. Details surrounding the cause of the crash were not immediately available.

With traffic blocked by the crash early Friday, some heading to the airport ditched cars and began walking along the freeway to the terminal.

Sampey said several ambulances were delayed by passengers walking along the shoudler attempting to make their flight.

"People were basically bailing on their vehicles in an effort to get to their flight," he said. "It’s understandable but at some point in time we had to gain control of them to get them off the shoulders where the emergency vehicles were trying to get to the scene."

The crash threatened to snarl travel plans for some of the millions of people hitting the roads and sky for Labor Day weekend. The Chicago Department of Aviation expects to see more than 1.2 million passenger at O’Hare International Airport and Midway Airport in the days surrounding Labor Day weekend.

Airport officials said Friday was set to be the busiest travel day of the holiday weekend with about 225,000 passengers traveling at O'Hare.

Check back for details on this developing story.



Photo Credit: Sky 5/NBCChicago]]>
<![CDATA[California Uproots Grassy Lawns]]> Fri, 29 Aug 2014 16:13:33 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/AP36505113488.jpg

Daniel and Joanne Azarnoff had the quintessential, grassy green lawn outside their house in the San Francisco Bay area -- until this bone-dry summer.

With the help of the Solano County Water Agency, they ripped up turf and replaced it with a mix of slate, stones, redwood mulch and drought-resistant plants more suitable to Rio Vista's Mediterranean climate.

“We did it because California has a drought, and we thought it would be a good way to reduce the amount of water which we use,” Daniel Azarnoff said.

Their decision is one California officials wish more residents would make. Communities and water agencies across the state have been paying to encourage homeowners and businesses to replace grass with more appropriate and less thirsty plants. Now, with California in its third year of a severe drought, the so-called “cash for grass” programs are bursting in popularity, if still small in size.

In the city of Long Beach, about 1,500 homeowners have taken advantage of the 4-year-old program there, which pays $3.50 per square foot — but that is out of the owners of about 60,000 single-family homes.

“A lot of people love their lawn,” said Joyce Barkley, the city’s water conservation specialist. “It’s a challenge.”

Instead of grass, Barkley tries to interest residents in sages, blue fescue, lion’s tail, lilacs, lavenders, olive trees and other drought-tolerant plantings.

The hope is that other homeowners will imitate the gardens made up of plants that thrive in Long Beach's annual 12 inches of rainfall, rather than lawns that need seven times that amount, Barkley said.

Water-greedy irrigation

In many ways, Californians do well conserving water, with most of the state's water going toward irrigating crops, said Hadley Arnold, executive director of the Arid Lands Institute at Woodbury University in Burbank.

One exception? Lawn irrigation. In Los Angeles, 54 percent of residential water consumption is used outdoors, according to the 2010 Urban Water Management Plan from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Works. Add in commercial, industrial, governmental and multi-family consumption and that number is 39 percent.

“Where we’re still water-greedy is irrigation,” she said. “You can irrigate with recycled water.”

At least 26 water agencies across the states are offering rebates, according to the Association of California Water Agencies. There has been a surge of interest this summer, said Lisa Lien-Mager, the association’s director of communications.

The number of requests for turf removal the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California has received since January are nearly double the total number of requests over the last five years, the district says.

In July, it got requests to remove 2.5 million square feet of turf — the equivalent of 1,665 typical front yards, and up from 99,000 square feet in January.

The rise in requests from businesses was even more significant: 4.7 million square feet, or the equivalent of 82 football fields, up from 22,000 square feet.

In May, the district, a cooperative of cites and water agencies serving nearly 19 million people, doubled its rebates from $1 to $2 per square foot for consumers and businesses.

Nurturing wildlife, conserving resources

Water restrictions put in place as a result of the drought have left lots of dead lawns and have prompted homeowners to think about what to do with a much more limited water supply, said Bart O’Brien, director of the Regional Parks Botanic Garden in Berkeley.

“Everyone has taken water supply pretty much for granted until this unprecedented, longer, drier drought than we’ve had in historic times,” he said.

Gardeners are taking new interest in native California plants, which not only use less water but also can help sustain insects, birds, lizards and other wildlife that have become endangered by the loss of natural areas.

"Through the act of thoughtful gardening, we can make a rather significant difference," said Carol Bornstein, the director of the Nature Gardens at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County.

The Solano County Water Agency's program is four years old, but 65 percent of its 282 participants signed up in the last fiscal year, according to the agency. Since July, 56 projects have been completed. It pays $1 per square foot for up to 1,000 square feet for environmentally friendly landscaping.

"I think it's opening up a lot of people's eyes especially right now," said Lara Remitz, a landscape architecture student at the University of California, Davis, who has been working with the program. "It helps people understand that there is an issue with water."

But she has noticed that some homeowners still leave a patch of dirt that they plan to return to lawn if the drought eases.

"There's still a large resistance to the idea," she said.

In Rio Vista, the Azarnoffs are happy with their new landscaping. They had liked their lawn, but it was maintained by a sprinkler system, Daniel Azarnoff said. By switching to a drip system that targets only the plants, they are using much less water, he said.

“And it still looks very beautiful,” he said.
 

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Connecticut



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Feral Cat Prompts School Closure]]> Fri, 29 Aug 2014 18:43:34 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/2014-08-29_1135.jpg

A feral cat got into a Maryland elementary school Friday morning, and after early attempts to capture it failed, officials sent students home for the day.

Animal Control officers brought traps for school staff to use inside Richard Henry Lee Elementary School in Glen Burnie.

School was dismissed at 9:45 a.m. Friday.

Children who normally take the school bus were taken home on their the normal routes. School officials said pupils who walk or are usually driven to school needed to be picked up by a parent or guardian at the gate on Fourth Avenue.

Students were supervised until they were picked up, officials said.



Photo Credit: @NewsChopperBrad]]>
<![CDATA[Croc Nabbed After Florida Attack]]> Fri, 29 Aug 2014 17:58:33 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/082614+coral+gables+crocodile+poncho.jpg

A crocodile that attacked two swimmers in Coral Gables died after it was caught in a canal, officials said Friday.

The crocodile, which measured a whopping 12-foot-10, was nabbed after traps were set Thursday night in a canal near the area in Miami-Dade County where the two swimmers were bitten last weekend, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission spokesman Jorge Pino said.

Pino said the crocodile had been weak and exhausted and later died at the facility where it was being held Friday morning before it was expected be relocated to a permanent spot.

It's the same crocodile responsible for the Sunday morning attack on 26-year-old Alejandro Jimenez, who was bitten while swimming in the brackish water around 2:30 a.m. in the Gables By the Sea neighborhood. Jimenez was taken to South Miami Hospital with lacerations to his arm, shoulder and back.

A second swimmer, Lissett Rendon, was also bitten but suffered only minor injuries.

Pino said it was the first reported crocodile attack in the United States.

Residents in the area said one crocodile, which they've nicknamed "Poncho," has been living in the area for 10 years. He's believed to be between 8 and 9 feet long and weighs about 350 pounds.

A second crocodile was also spotted in the area after the attack, officials said. Signs are posted throughout the neighborhood warning residents to beware of crocodiles and cautioning them against swimming.

American crocodiles live in coastal areas of the Caribbean and South Florida and are listed as a threatened species.

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<![CDATA[Off-Duty Paramedic Delivers His Daughter on Chicago Expressway]]> Fri, 29 Aug 2014 13:00:35 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/baby+mary+lynch.jpg

An off-duty paramedic delivered his daughter on a Chicago expressway early Friday morning, officials said.

Daniel Lynch and his wife Elizabeth Lynch welcomed their baby girl Mary Margaret Lynch around 5 a.m. Friday.

Daniel Lynch was taking his wife, who was in labor, to the hospital via Interstate 94 when she began having her baby, according to the Lincolnwood Fire Department.

Daniel Lynch, an off-duty Evanston paramedic, delivered the baby girl then drove his wife and child to Evanston Hospital, officials said.

Evanston Hospital said Mary Lynch was healthy and weighed 8 pounds, 7 ounces.

"Everyone is doing great," said Phil Rosen, spokesman for NorthShore University HealthSystem Evanson Hospital.

The family refused treatment from Lincolnwood fire officials at the scene. Illinois State Police said they received a report of a woman giving birth on the expressway at Touhy Avenue and arrived at the scene as the man was driving away.

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<![CDATA[Boy With Leukemia Stars in Movie]]> Fri, 29 Aug 2014 07:40:52 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Madzilla.jpg

Make-A-Wish Illinois helped grant a unique wish for a 5-year-old boy Thursday.

Maddex was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia in 2013, and while undergoing his cancer treatment, the Chicago boy bonded with his father and grandfather over the monster movie "Godzilla."

The organization helped to make a sci-fi adventure movie starring Maddex called "MADZILLA!"

The film was premiered Thursday night at the Music Box Theatre in Chicago, complete with a blue carpet reception and plenty of pomp and circumstance.

"He knows what he wants," "MADZILLA!" director Jonathan said. "His pitch that I got for what he wanted in the movie, to take a bit out of a train, bus or a car. To scare civilians."

"He's well beyond his years -- he's 5 years old, going on 6. He's like a 30-year-old," producer Mo Wagdy said.

Maddex (pictured, right) performs his own stunts in the movie and even gets to devour a taxi with Mayor Rahm Emanuel behind the wheel.

The boy also got to meet the director of the real Godzilla movie, Gareth Edwards, another wish that came true on a magical night.

"When they see that that many people care about them and want to make something happen for them, and want to listen to what they're thinking about and make it come to life, that's pretty awesome," Illinois Make-A-Wish CEO Stephanie Springs said.

Maddex will also get an invite to visit the set of the "Godzilla" sequel when it goes into production.
 

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<![CDATA[CA Lawmakers Pass "Yes Means Yes"]]> Thu, 28 Aug 2014 22:23:13 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/AP254939745717.jpg

State lawmakers on Thursday passed a bill that would make California the first state to define when "yes means yes" while investigating sexual assaults on college campuses.

The Senate unanimously passed SB967 as states and universities across the U.S. are under pressure to change how they handle rape allegations. The bill now goes to Gov. Jerry Brown, who has not indicated his stance on the bill.

Sen. Kevin de Leon, D-Los Angeles, said his bill would begin a paradigm shift in how California campuses prevent and investigate sexual assault. Rather than using the refrain "no means no," the definition of consent under the bill requires "an affirmative, conscious and voluntary agreement to engage in sexual activity." Earlier versions of the bill had similar language.

"With this measure, we will lead the nation in bringing standards and protocols across the board so we can create an environment that's healthy, that's conducive for all students, not just for women, but for young men as well too, so young men can develop healthy patterns and boundaries as they age with the opposite sex," de Leon said before the vote.

Silence or lack of resistance does not constitute consent. The legislation says it's also not consent if the person is drunk, drugged, unconscious or asleep.

Lawmakers say consent can be nonverbal, and universities with similar policies have outlined examples as maybe a nod of the head or moving in closer to the person.

Advocates for victims of sexual assault supported the change as one that will provide consistency across campuses and challenge the notion that victims must have resisted assault in order to have valid complaints.

Some critics say the legislation is overreaching and sends universities into murky, unfamiliar legal waters.

Gordon Finley, an adviser to the National Coalition for Men, wrote an editorial asking Brown not to sign the bill. He argued that "this campus rape crusade bill" presumes the guilt of the accused.

"This is nice for the accusers — both false accusers as well as true accusers — but what about the due process rights of the accused," Finley wrote.

The bill passed the state Assembly on Monday by a 52-16 vote. Some Republicans in that house questioned if statewide legislation is an appropriate venue to define consent.

There was no opposition from Senate Republicans.

"This bill is very simple; it just requires colleges to adopt policies concerning sexual assault, domestic violence, gang violence and stalking," said Sen. Anthony Cannella, R-Ceres. "They should have already been doing that."

The bill would apply to all California post-secondary schools, public and private, that receive state money for student financial aid. The California State University and University of California systems are backing the legislation after adopting similar consent standards this year.

The bill also requires colleges and universities to adopt "victim-centered" sexual-assault response policies and implement comprehensive programs to prevent assault.

In January, President Barack Obama vowed to make the issue a priority. He announced a task force that created a website providing tips for filing complaints, www.notalone.gov, and issued a report in May naming 55 colleges and universities across the country facing investigation for their responses to sexual abuse and violence. The University of California, Berkeley was included on the list.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Connecticut



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA["It Was My Life": Lightning Strike Survivor Thanks Brave Daughter]]> Fri, 29 Aug 2014 10:21:42 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/212*120/bob+kilroy+lightning+strike+survivor.JPG

One month and one day after lightning struck Venice Beach and killed a 20-year-old, a Southern California man who survived tearfully thanked his teen daughter and the lifeguard who helped save his life.

Emily Kilroy and her dad, a part-time lifeguard, were in the surf just south of Venice Pier when they were jolted by the lightning that struck July 27.

"I was scared, honestly," 15-year-old Emily Kilroy said of the day she helped save her father. "I didn't know if he was OK, I didn't even know how I knew it was a lightning strike."

The strike temporarily stunned some lifeguards.

"My vision went white from the actual flash," lifeguard Benjamin Gottlieb said. "The whole tower shook, and my next thing I was looking at was everyone running out of the water."

Kilroy, too, said her mind blanked.

"I woke up underwater and I did not know what had happened," she said.

Then Kilroy saw her dad floating in the water unconscious.

"I have no recollection what happened after I was struck by lightning," said her father, Bob Kilroy.

Emily Kilroy grabbed him and yelled for the lifeguards.

"I'm very proud for her that she's got that kind of an instinct," Bob Kilroy said.

Bob Kilroy, a chiropractor and part-time lifeguard, was in no condition to save himself. The jolt had stopped his heart, and arriving lifeguards took over. His daughter prayed as Gottlieb began CPR.

"I could hear (his daughter's) voice in the back of my mind saying, 'Daddy stay here, daddy be OK,' and I just wanted that to happen, and I think we all heard that," Gottlieb said. "And when you blinked your eyes, Bob, that was...that was really amazing."

Bob Kilroy had long known Gottlieb and would wave to him almost every morning when going for a swim, but it was not until after his heart started beating again that Gottlieb realized who it was.

He needed five days of intensive care at UCLA, but one month later he's already itching to return to lifeguarding with a new appreciation for what it can mean.

"This time, it was my life, and the significance of it just came home to me in a whole new way," he said.

Now, his daughter wants to learn CPR.

"With all the work we put in to keep him here, he better stay," Emily Kilroy said. "So I'd like to help make sure of that."

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<![CDATA[Obama's Tan Suit Lights Up Social Media]]> Fri, 29 Aug 2014 09:56:25 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/AP771102705823.jpg

President Barack Obama sported a tan suit Thursday at a press conference devoted to foreign policy challenges, and scores of self-appointed fashion police and Twitter analysts took note.

The comparatively summery shade marked an unusual style choice for the president, usually clad in sober navy and shades of gray, and instantly sparked a flood of comments on Twitter, as well as its own Twitter account, @Tan_Suit.

Obama may have had his reasons. Labor Day is fast approaching, as one Twitter user noted, and along with it some old-fashioned rules of fashion.

Some people were quick to point out that the tan suit was not exactly unprecedented among presidents. 

Obama had busted out the dapper look back in the spring, too.

And one user noted that the kind of scrutiny Obama's attire was being subjected to was just a daily reality for many women in the public eye.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Apple to Unveil New Products ]]> Fri, 29 Aug 2014 06:58:46 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/2014-08-28-apple-invitation-thumbnail.jpg

Apple has made it official: The next gadget event will be September 9th.

The Cupertino company sent out official invitations to the press Thursday morning, with a date (September 9th), time, and place (10am, Cupertino). The invitation also came with a brief message: 'Wish We Could Say More."

The tech press is already saying plenty about the event, speculating that we'll see a new iPhone, a new iPad (both reportedly larger), and maybe even the long-guessed about iWatch. Apple is not saying anything beyond its emailed invitation.

Investors like the drama, though; shares of Apple stock (AAPL), on a tear lately, hit a new all-time high this morning, as the invitations arrived in boxes.

A quick note about the venue: Cupertino's Flint Center is historic in Apple lore. It's the place where Steve Jobs first showed off the Mac computer back in 1984.

Scott will be at the event, with updates on Twitter: @scottbudman



Photo Credit: Apple]]>
<![CDATA[NIH Scientist Martin Rogers Missing]]> Fri, 29 Aug 2014 12:27:27 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/WRC_0000000007674630_1200x675_323048515662.jpg The family of 54-year-old Martin Rogers set up a command center at a Gaithersburg church Thursday, hoping they won't have to go another day without the beloved NIH scientist. News4's Shomari Stone reports.]]> <![CDATA[Treasure Hunter Returns Wedding Ring Found on NY Beach]]> Fri, 29 Aug 2014 10:12:37 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/lost+ring+found.jpg

When Erin Carrazzo lost her wedding ring while vacationing with her family on Fire Island a few weeks ago, she wished aloud on Facebook that "some metal detector dude" could find it. 

Little did she know a treasure hunter had in fact found her ring and was looking for its owner on his own Facebook page.

Retired fireman Mike Cogan, who says he's always wanted to be a pirate, was using his metal detector on Robert Moses Beach when he found the ring just 2 inches below the surface.

"I took it out of my scoop and it was very heavy," said Cogan, of East Northport. "I saw it was inscribed, and I said, 'This isn't a kid's ring. This is platinum and these have to be real diamonds.'"

"I knew how empty she had to feel. I don't want anybody to feel like that, so I started my search," he said. 

Cogan turned to Facebook and posted pictures of the ring. Those photos were shared by friends and mommy-group pages in Queens, where Carrazzo lives in Flushing. Ten days later, the strangers connected, first on the phone.

"Getting in touch with her was as good as finding the diamonds," he said. 

Cogan and Carrazzo's meeting was captured by NBC 4 New York Thursday. The two hugged warmly, and Carrazzo slipped the ring back on her finger, noting it felt "amazing."

"I'm amazed how much good there is in the world," she said. 

It turned out that the wannabe pirate's real treasure was seeing the mom of three smile.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Connecticut



Photo Credit: NBC 4 New York]]>
<![CDATA[Officers ID'd in Fatal Shooting of Mentally Ill Man in Los Angeles]]> Fri, 29 Aug 2014 11:11:15 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/ezell+ford+lapd+ois+victim.PNG

The officers involved in the fatal shooting of a mentally ill man have been identified, Los Angeles police said Thursday.

The officers involved in the shooting of Ezell Ford in South LA on Aug. 11 were Officers Sharlton Wampler and Antonio Villegas, both assigned to the Newton Area Gang Enforcement Detail, police said in a statement.

The officers shot him after they said he ignored their instructions and went for one of their guns during a struggle.

Earl Ofari Hutchinson, the president of the Los Angeles Urban Roundtable, said conflicting accounts of the shooting have emerged.

Witnesses said that Ford was not resisting, that he had mental challenges, and that police officers in the area aware of him and his condition, Hutchinson said. A family member has said that Ford had schizophrenia and other disorders.

Hutchinson called the release of the names a "first step in insuring an transparent and impartial investigation."

Hutchinson said he had made the call for officer identification in two meetings with Assistant LAPD Chief Earl Paysinger and other LAPD officials.
 
"The identification of the officers involved in the Ezell Ford slaying allows us to determine if the officers performance record and that includes discipline for any prior instances of or pattern of misconduct or involvement in other officer shootings," Hutchinson said in a statement, adding that Wampler was involved in a prior use of force civil lawsuit. "The report that one of the officers was the subject of a civil suit for force is of major significance. This could be major factor in the investigation to find whether excessive force was used in the Ford killing."

Wampler was named in a civil rights lawsuit filed three years ago that claimed he, along with other officers, entered a family's home without probable cause, the lawsuit stated.

The suit alleges that the officers subjected them to unlawful searches, intimidation and assault.

"The majority of the family, the adults in the family, were abused, like physically hit and beat," the family's lawyer, James Segall Guttierez, told NBC4. "One of the brothers was being, his head was being held underwater in a kiddie pool."

Wampler was commended years before the suit for his role in the arrest of a double-murder suspect, the Los Angeles Times reported.

When asked for comment, LAPD Cmdr. Andy Smith said the department is prohibited by law and policy from discussing personnel complaints.
 
A funeral for Ford is planned for Saturday. The incident came two days after the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. The Brown shooting touched off days of protests.

Robert Kovacik contributed to this report.

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<![CDATA[Pilot Killed in Va. Plane Crash]]> Fri, 29 Aug 2014 11:36:25 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/214*120/VA+fighter+jet+crash.jpg

Authorities have confirmed the Massachusetts Air National Guard pilot flying a military jet to New Orleans was killed in Wednesday's crash in the remote mountains near Deerfield Valley, Virginia.

Officials at the Barnes Air National Guard Base in Massachusetts are not releasing the pilot's name pending notification of the pilot's family.

The investigation into the crash is ongoing, officials said, and it may be several weeks before more information is released.

Search and rescue teams were able to make it to the remote crash site Thursday morning, 104th Fighter Wing Commander Col. James Keefe said, adding that he received an indication that crash investigators found the pilot, who did not safely eject from the plane.

The experienced pilot, a member of the 104th Fighter Wing, was flying alone to New Orleans to upgrade the military jet's radar system when he reported an in-flight emergency before Washington lost radio contact just after 9 a.m. Wednesday, according to officials.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and we are doing all we can to support them during this very difficult time," Col. Keefe said.

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick said it was a sad day for the Bay State.

"Throughout the last couple of days, as we learned the circumstances of this accident, we held out hope that the pilot would be found and returned safely to his family. Our prayers and condolences are with his family, the Wing Command and all the Members of the Massachusetts National Guard," his statement read.

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<![CDATA[Body Is Missing NJ Man's: Sources]]> Fri, 29 Aug 2014 07:40:20 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/215*120/Missing+Yeshiva+Student+Aaron+Sofer.JPG

A body found on the outskirts of an Israeli forest has been identified as that of a New Jersey student who went missing nearly a week ago, police sources say. The remains were confirmed by his parents, sources say, who were holding out hope that the man was still alive.

The body of 23-year-old Aharon Sofer was discovered around 3:30 p.m. Israeli time on Thursday just a few kilometers from where the Lakewood, New Jersey, man was last seen while hiking with a friend in the Jerusalem forest.

There were no reasons to believe foul play was involved after the body was found, officials said. They believe the man may have slipped and fell while navigating difficult terrain.

The discovery came a day after emotional pleas from Sofer's family as they prayed for his safe return. Chulda and Moshe Sofer had flown from the U.S. to Israel over the weekend to join the search for their son.

"We believe he is still alive and out there," his mother, Chulda Sofer, said from Jerusalem after being briefed there by police.

"And if everyone could think of him as their own," she said, "we really beg everyone, and we plead with everyone, if anyone knows any lead to where Aaron is, if you could please contact the police immediately."

Sofer, who is one of 10 children, grew up in an ultra-Orthodox family in the Ocean County, New Jersey, town. He went to Jerusalem to study and was between semesters on Friday when he went hiking with a friend in the woods. The two got separated, and Sofer hadn't been seen since.

Former Lakewood Mayor Meir Lichtenstein said Sofer wasn't an experienced hiker.

"He actually called his mother and asked her permission," he said.

There were fears the yeshiva student may have been abducted due to the Israeli war in Gaza. But no group ever took credit for the disappearance.

As dictated by the Jewish faith, Sofer's body must be laid to rest within 24 hours. A family friend says the burial will take place at 9:30 a.m. Israeli time on Friday.

Audio from the service will be fed back to New Jersey so family members at home can take part.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Connecticut



Photo Credit: Family Photo]]>
<![CDATA[Seat Fight Forced AA Flight to Land]]> Thu, 28 Aug 2014 19:12:42 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/American_Airlines_generic.jpg

A fight over a reclined seat was what forced an American Airlines flight to divert to Boston on Wednesday night, federal and local prosecutors said Thursday, just days after a heated fight over a seat recliner forced a United Airlines flight to divert earlier in the week.

A French man who was on the American flight en route from Miami to Paris on Wednesday now faces federal charges in that altercation, after prosecutors say he became furious at the passenger who reclined the seat in front of him and then angrily grabbed a flight crew member.

Sixty-year-old Edmund Alexandre of Paris was arraigned at Massachusetts General Hospital on charges of interfering with a flight crew. Prosecutors recommended $500 cash bail and the judge imposed personal recognizance.

The Suffolk County District Attorney's Office said Alexandre became upset when the passenger in front of him reclined her seat. When a flight crew member tried to calm him, he allegedly became angrier and followed the crew member down the aisle of the plane and grabbed him by the arm. The D.A. said an air marshal on board American Airline Flight 62 subdued Alexandre and handcuffed him while the plane landed at Boston's Logan Airport.

Officials say Alexandre was taken to Massachusetts General Hospital for treatment of a pre-existing condition. His next court date is Dec. 29. Alexandre is being represented by attorney Janet Macnab, who did not immediately return a call.

Earlier this week, two United Airlines passengers got into a heated argument over one passenger using a Knee Defender, a device that prevents another person from reclining in an airline seat, which resulted in the plane, which was traveling from Newark, New Jersey, to Denver, being diverted to Chicago.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Connecticut



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Man in Pulled LA From High Surf]]> Fri, 29 Aug 2014 11:55:28 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/211*120/chicago+vacationer+pulled+venice.JPG

A man vacationing from Chicago was in grave condition Thursday night after being pulled from high surf by friends at Venice Beach and resuscitated by lifeguards, according to the Los Angeles County Fire Department.

The 27-year-old was swimming in the water with his friends when he became separated from the group, LAFD Capt. Rex Vilaubi said.

The man's friends had not seen him for about 10 minutes and went to look for him. They found him face down in the water about 6 p.m., Vilaubi said.

Lifeguards gave him CPR, and fire officials arrived to help perform CPR and take him to the hospital. While en route, the man regained a pulse, Vilaubi said.

He was hospitalized in grave condition, officials said.

The incident comes during a week with Southern California's high surf described as "the most significantly southerly swell event" in 18 years.

A surfer died in Malibu on Tuesday, and dozens of rescued were performed across the region as waves from then-Hurricane Marie, now a tropical storm, pounded the coast.



Photo Credit: Mingo]]>
<![CDATA[Woman's Body Found in San Jose Church Parking Lot]]> Fri, 29 Aug 2014 18:06:57 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/sj-car-body.jpg

San Jose police found a woman who was apparently stabbed to death inside a car parked in a church parking lot Thursday morning.

Sgt. Heather Randol said a passerby called police about 11 a.m. to report the body in the 2600 block of Aborn Road. The victim was pronounced dead at the scene. Police had previously reported the female victim appeared to have suffered a gunshot wound, but later said she had been stabbed at least once and had not been shot.

No arrests have been made.

NBC Bay Area cameras spotted the vehicle in the back of the parking lot of Grace Church of Evergreen at 2650 Aborn Road, a residential area in a normally quiet part of the city. The car appeared to be a late model gold-colored Honda.

The circumstances of the death "are unknown at this time," Randol tweeted. SJPD's Homicide Unit was called to the scene to investigate.

“There is some indication that the vehicle has been there for at least a few hours,” Randol said. “We don’t know anything more than that.”

Police haven’t released any details on a possible suspect or the identity of the victim.

The homicide is San Jose's 25th of 2014. (Correction: An earlier version of this story said the death marked the 26th homicide. It is the 25th, according to police.)

Kent Wilhoite contributed to this report.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Connecticut



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Ousted Market Basket CEO Returns]]> Thu, 28 Aug 2014 16:07:43 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/214*120/Artie+T.jpg

Market Basket's restored chief delivered heartfelt words of thanks to his supporters Thursday, just hours after his return to the helm of the grocery chain was announced.

Arthur T. Demoulas, whose June firing as CEO sparked weeks of protests and boycotts, told a cheering crowd of hundreds of employees that he is in "awe of what you have all accomplished.

"I've always believed that we are born into this world at a certain time and a certain place to be with certain people for a reason and a purpose. Everyone has a destiny and because of you I stand here with a renewed vigor and a sense of purpose," he told those gathered outside the company's Tewksbury, Massachusetts, headquarters.

"And may we always remember this past summer, first as a time where our collective values of loyalty courage and kindness for one another really prevailed and in that process we just happened to save our company." 

Demoulas and the board announced late Wednesday that an agreement has been reached for him to buy for $1.5 billion the 50.5 percent of the company owned by his rival cousin Arthur S. Demoulas.

The restored chief credited employees' grassroots efforts for his victory, saying workers and supporters "displayed to everyone your unwavering dedication and desire to protect the culture of your company.”

“You have demonstrated that everyone here has a purpose," he said. "You have demonstrated that everyone has meaning and no one person is better or more important than another, and no one person holds a position of privilege."

The standoff had prompted intervention by Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick and New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan.

Trucks have started making deliveries to the New England supermarket chain.

"Let's get to work and have lots of fun," said Demoulas.

Watch his full speech below: 



Photo Credit: NECN]]>
<![CDATA[Couple Marries Amid Quake Damage]]> Thu, 28 Aug 2014 17:44:27 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/napa-quake-wedding.jpg

After a damaging earthquake altered plans for their dream wedding in Napa, a La Mesa couple says the shaky start only reinforced what's truly important to them.

Newlywed Caitlin Rasmussen recalls the moment a magnitude-6.0 earthquake struck on her wedding day. But despite the rubble and the wreckage, her love and commitment weren't shaken. There was no way she was not going to marry the love of her life.

Thanks to the creative spirit of her friends and family, the bride and groom got to just that. And the Big Day was even better than they expected.

“I seriously thought I was going to die,” she said. “I thought the building was going to fall over just because I thought it was swaying.”

Sunday’s earthquake caused an estimated $300 million in damages and left hundreds of homes and private buildings red- or yellow-tagged in the community east of San Francisco.

Caitlin and her then-fiance, Matt Rasmussen, immediately checked in with family and friends to make sure they were okay. Many reported damage in or around their homes.

Just hours before they were to say their vows, the young couple didn’t know if the 125-year-old home they had picked for a venue had survived.

Churchill Manor had sustained damage. However, the management offered to host the ceremony if most events were held outside.

With manor employees unable to work, wedding guests cleaned up the outside of the venue and set up the tables and chairs before the ceremony.

When the restaurant hired to cater the wedding suffered so much damage they had to cancel, friends and family stepped up.

Instead of the obligatory meat, fish and vegetarian wedding entrees, the Rasmussens had a barbecue food truck.

Their wedding cake - something many couples discuss and plan for well before the ceremony - was purchased last-minute.

“They were literally stopping at a Costco and Whole Foods picking up desserts for us,” said Matt.

Caitlin says the day really put things into perspective for her.

“None of those things matter. Getting married is really about us and our family,” she said.

“Disasters bring communities together.”



Photo Credit: Courtesy photo from the Rasmussens]]>
<![CDATA[Mom Not Charged With Choking Bully]]> Thu, 28 Aug 2014 22:11:44 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/08282014-delia-bratcher.jpg

A North Bay mother arrested three months ago, accused of choking her daughter's so-called bully, won't be charged.

After the brief court hearing at the Sonoma County courthouse in Santa Rosa, Delia Garcia-Bratcher smiled as she turned away from the judge, fanning her hands in front of her face in nervous excitement.

She spoke to a crowd of reporters waiting for her in the hall.

"I was just really scared," the 30-year-old mother of six said in the hallway. "I'm really glad this is over and done with. I'm done with this. They put it over so long, I didn't know what to expect."

Garcia-Bratcher made national headlines in May when a Sonoma County sheriff's deputy arrested her on one felony charge of inflicting injury on a child. The deputy said Garcia-Bratcher came onto the campus of Olivet Elementary School and choked a 12-year-old boy, leaving red marks on his throat.

“The simple story is, I talked to the boy – I didn’t want to get him in trouble, I didn’t want to make it a big issue, and it backfired on me,” Garcia-Bratcher said outside the courtroom.

After court Thursday, Chief Deputy District Attorney Bill Brockley said he declined to charge Garcia-Bratcher because "I only file cases I feel I can prove." He said many of the 25 witnesses corroborated both the story of Garcia-Bratcher and her 9-year-old daughter, and with all the "diametrically opposed" testimony, he didn't feel he could prove to a jury beyond a reasonable doubt that a crime had occurred.

In a previous interview with NBC Bay Area, Garcia-Bratcher's lawyer, Ben Adams, said the boy had been making "racial slurs" at his client's 10-year-old daughter, who is part Native American. “Everyone rushed to judgment that she was guilty,” Adams said Thursday, “and then they had to cover their tracks and try to come up with some sort of story that she actually was.”

Adams said he believes the investigation took three months because the district attorney was running for re-election and didn’t want to dismiss the case before Election Day.

Garcia-Bratcher has steadfastly claimed that she talked to the fifth grader about the alleged bullying and told him to stop, but never put her hands on the boy's throat. At the time, the sheriff's office stated they couldn't find evidence that Garcia-Bratcher's daughter was ever bullied. On Thursday, Brockley said his office never looked into the original bullying allegations, because that wasn't in the prosecutorial scope of the case.

After the arrest, Adams launched a zealous defense of his client. He hired a private investigator who wrote in a seven-page report that the boy actually choked himself and then blamed her for the red marks on his neck, which were photographed at school.

The investigator for Whitestar Group wrote that he interviewed another boy at school who imitated what he saw the 12-year-old do on the day in question by placing "both thumbs together on the center of his neck with his palms facing upwards and grabbing his owns cheek bones." This boy said he told a teacher and a deputy, but he didn't think the deputy believed him. Brockley said that his own investigation found this self-choking allegation to be "inconclusive."

Adams forwarded this report to the district attorney's office, where prosecutors reviewed it and conduction their own investigation.

While Adams said he's never seen a "simple assault case" take three months to investigate, he's ultimately glad "they made the right decision in not filing charges. A lot of people rushed to judgement that she was guilty."

In an interview, Brockely countered it wasn't a simple assault, and took so long because of the gravity of the charge on school grounds and the age of the boy. Also, his office added that it was hard to interview everything because many were on summer vacation.

Garcia-Bratcher, who lost the $3,000 bail money she had to put up, said she learned a grave lesson from this experience. "I talked to the boy. I didn't want to make it a big issue and it backfired on me. I'll never do that again. Next time, I'll just make complaints, complaints, complaints."

She said this entire ordeal has been awful for her – and her kids.

"My kids have been stressed out thinking their mother would be in jail," she said. "They're going to be happy when I get home." 

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Connecticut



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Woman Dies at Burning Man After Falling Under Bus: Sheriff]]> Thu, 28 Aug 2014 16:19:25 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/BURNING-MAN-VO---00000618.jpg

A woman died at Burning Man early Thursday morning after falling under a bus carrying attendees of the weeklong gathering in northern Nevada's Black Rock Desert, authorities said.

The Pershing County Sheriff's Department in Nevada confirmed the death, referring all other questions to Burning Man's promoter, who said the 29-year-old woman from Wyoming died just after midnight near the Central Camp Area.

Event organizers said Alicia Louise Cipicchio was killed afterapparently falling underneath a "large vehicle" at the festival.

The last time a person died at Burning Man was seven years ago when a woman died when she fell under a trailer being pulled by a bus, promoter Jim Graham said.

"This is a terrible accident," Burning Man co-founder Marian Goodell said on the blog. "Our thoughts and prayers are with her family, friends and campmates. Black Rock Rangers and Emergency Services Department staff are providing support to those affected."

According to her Facebook page, Cipicchio worked at a Jackson Hole art gallery and previously studied art at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

At its peak, Burning Man had 68,000 "Burners" attend this year, Graham said.

The festival describes itself as a gathering of those who "dedicate themselves to the spirit of community, art, self-expression, and self-reliance."

Bay City News contributed to this report.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Driver Tries to Sexually Assault Mom in Front of 3 Kids: NYPD]]> Thu, 28 Aug 2014 17:45:04 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Sex-Assault-Mother-Elmhurst-Queens.jpg

Police are looking for the driver they say told a 26-year-old woman he was a cabbie before driving her and her three children to a homeless shelter, where he allegedly tried to sexually assault her in front of her children.

The driver picked up the woman and her children on 207th Street in Manhattan early on Sunday, police say. The woman asked the driver to take her and her kids -- ages 1, 3 and 5 -- to the shelter at Queens Boulevard near 51st Avenue, the site of the former Pan Am hotel.

When they got there, police say the man drove around the back of the building and started to assault the woman and her children.

Surveillance footage released by the NYPD (above, warning: some may find the footage disturbing) shows the man pulling the 5-year-old out of the car and putting the child on the sidewalk.

The suspect is then seen trying to grab at the woman, who fights him off. Then, the man is seen grabbing the 3-year-old out of a back seat and tossing the child to the sidewalk.

The man gets in the car, and he and mother tussle briefly before the he puts the car in gear and drives off.

The children were taken to Elmhurst Hospital with minor injuries. It wasn’t clear if their mother was hurt.

Aaron Ling, whose family called 911 after hearing screaming, said the mother was panicking.

"She kept screaming, 'Policia! Policia!'" Ling said. "I just ran over here because I thought someone was dying."

Anyone with information on the driver is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS. 

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<![CDATA[Gay Couple Sues Cab Company ]]> Thu, 28 Aug 2014 02:33:37 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/McCrea_White.jpg

A gay Chicago couple is continuing their fight against a cab company after they claim a driver tried to kick them out of his taxi for kissing in the backseat.

Matthew McCrea and Steven White filed the lawsuit against Sun Taxi this week. Their original complaint, filed with the Illinois Department of Human Rights in October, was dismissed because the department said it had no jurisdiction over corporate entities.

"It's ludicrous to suggest that a cab company is not responsible for the discrimation enacted by its drivers," the couple's lawyer, Christopher Clark, said. "They should be liable under the law for the conduct of their agents."

The suit claims the driver, who is not named in the suit, complained the men were "making sex" in the cab in May 2013. McCrea and White, who were heading into the city from O'Hare, say the driver began flashing the interior lights of the vehicle and then swerved on to the shoulder of the Kennedy Expressway and demanded they get out miles before their intended destination.

The couple says they refused to get out and called police, prompting the driver to get off at the nearest exit and park in a grocery store lot until officers arrived.

"This is a clear violation of the Illinois Human Rights Act which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation," Clark, said.

The Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection, which regulates Chicago taxis, scheduled a hearing for the driver last summer, which he skipped. He was issued several violations, including unsafe driving, refusal of service and discourteous conduct, and was fined around $2,000.

Neither Sun Taxi or its attorneys responded to requests for comment.


 

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Connecticut

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