<![CDATA[NBC Connecticut - National & International News]]>Copyright 2017http://www.nbcconnecticut.com/news/national-internationalhttp://media.nbcnewyork.com/designimages/NBC_Connecticut.pngNBC Connecticuthttp://www.nbcconnecticut.comen-usTue, 21 Feb 2017 18:24:46 -0500Tue, 21 Feb 2017 18:24:46 -0500NBC Owned Television Stations<![CDATA[Bull in Wild NYC Chase Dies Hours After Capture]]>Tue, 21 Feb 2017 15:18:02 -0500//media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/runaway+cow1.jpg

The rogue bull that escaped from a Queens slaughterhouse and led police on a wild, hours-long chase through neighborhood streets Tuesday, ducking under caution tape and sidestepping cops, has died, NYPD officials confirmed.

The bull, which was seen with at least a dozen tranquilizer darts in its side over the course of the miles-long chase, died at some point before 2:30 p.m., nearly three hours after it escaped a Beaver Road slaughterhouse and went on a free-for-all through Queens, dodging police in Jamaica and South Ozone Park before it was captured in someone's backyard.

A cause of death for the animal wasn't immediately clear, but a spokeswoman for Animal Care Centers of NYC said it died during transport. It wasn't clear where the animal was being taken at the time and city officials had no further comment. The remains will now be taken to a crematorium, officials said. 

The animal's demise culminates a wild chase that featured daring efforts by police and passersby to bring the bull into custody. Live video from Chopper 4 showed the bull penned between two houses at one point Tuesday as authorities attempted to wrangle it. Chopper footage then captured the animal outmaneuvering law enforcement, dodging an officer who had jumped atop an emergency response vehicle, and ducking under yellow caution tape as it galloped down the middle of a street and onto a sidewalk.

Passersby appeared to give chase as police, on foot and in department-issued vehicles, pursued the animal. Several times it appeared officers had managed to corral the animal, but each time the bull shot through makeshift barriers and started running down the street again.

The bull appeared exhausted by about 12:15 p.m., settling in the middle of a street as officers armed with tranquilizer equipment tried -- and failed -- once again to take the animal into custody. About 10 minutes later, the animal was apprehended in someone's backyard; its legs were tied to keep it immobile as at least a half-dozen police officers crowded around it. 

Cows escaped slaughterhouses at least twice last year, in January and April. In the second case, comedian Jon Stewart took possession of the bull and transferred it to an animal sanctuary he owns. 

Tuesday's crazy chase vaulted the bull to the stuff of Internet legend in a manner of hours. It becomes the second "viral" animal to die in the city in the last few months. In December, a white-tailed buck who was granted a last-minute reprieve from euthanasia after a days-long back and forth between the city and state died in Harlem. The one-antlered buck died while state officials from the Department of Environmental Conservation were arranging relocation. The city blamed the state for its death; the state blamed the city.

Photo Credit: NBC 4 New York
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<![CDATA[Top News Photos: Escaping ISIS, Pipeline Camp and More]]>Tue, 21 Feb 2017 12:16:58 -0500//media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/AP_17052464978919-sm.jpgView daily updates on the best photos in domestic and foreign news.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Policing the Schools]]>Tue, 21 Feb 2017 10:54:48 -0500//media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/policing-schools-th.jpg

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<![CDATA['Refugees Welcome' Banner Unfurled at Statue of Liberty]]>Tue, 21 Feb 2017 18:14:57 -0500//media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/statue+of+liberty+refugee+welcome.jpg

National park police officers are investigating how a banner reading "Refugees Welcome" got on to the Statue of Liberty Tuesday afternoon.

The banner, measuring about 3 feet by 20 feet, was unfurled atop the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty just before 1 p.m., according to the National Park Service. 

It was affixed by nylon rope to the wall of the public observation deck at the base of the statue, according to the NPS. Rangers took it down more than an hour later.

Attaching banners to national monuments is prohibited. The United States Park Police is working to identify the suspects.

Someone running a social media account named Alt Statue of Liberty has claimed responsibility for the stunt. A person using the same email told NBC 4 New York, "We have no formal group -- just private citizens who felt like we needed to say something about the America we believe in." 

The stunt happened the same day the Homeland Security Department announced expanded immigration enforcement policies. 

Alt Statue of Liberty said in the email to NBC 4, "Speaking personally -- my grandparents met in a refugee camp after WWII, and my mother immigrated. So this touches close to home. But almost every American knows an immigrant or a refugee. We wanted to send a reminder about America when we're at our best -- the country that's a beacon of freedom to the world,  built by immigrants. Walling off countries or entire religions is against our values." 

The Statue of Liberty has regularly been invoked in the national discussion about immigration, particularly after President Trump instituted a federal travel ban barring nationals from seven Muslim-majority countries. An appeals court has refused to reinstate the executive order. 

Photo Credit: Alt Statute of Liberty (left photo)]]>
<![CDATA[Suspect ID'd in Officer Slaying]]>Tue, 21 Feb 2017 17:55:28 -0500//media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/knbc-whittier-police-officer-keith-boyer.jpg

As emotions continued to run high and a memorial continued to build in honor of slain Whittier police Officer Keith Wayne Boyer, the reputed gang member suspected of killing him was identified Tuesday as a man with a lengthy rap sheet.

Boyer, 53, was killed about 8 a.m. Monday while responding to a traffic crash near Colima Road and Mar Vista Street. The grandfather, school resource officer and drummer in a classic-rock tribute band was a 27-year veteran of the department.

Another officer, identified by Whittier police Chief Jeff Piper as a three-year veteran Patrick Hazell, was injured in the shooting, but had stable vital signs.

The 26-year-old alleged gunman, identified by sheriff's officials as Michael Christopher Mejia, was wounded in the shootout and was last reported hospitalized in an intensive care unit.

"It looks like he's going to live," sheriff's homicide Lt. John Corina told reporters Monday.

Boyer's body was taken Monday from UCI Medical Center to the Orange County coroner's office in Santa Ana. On Tuesday, his body was taken in a police procession from the coroner's office to Rose Hills Memorial Park in Whittier in preparation for funeral services, which are expected to be held early next week.

Boyer is the first Whittier officer killed in the line of duty in about 37 years.

Meanwhile, a memorial of flowers and balloons continued to grow outside the Whittier Police Department.

Corina said witnesses identified the shooter as possibly the gunman involved in a murder earlier Monday involving a stolen car the gunman ultimately crashed in Whittier. That homicide and car theft occurred about 5:30 a.m. Monday at a home in the 1400 block of Volney Drive in the East Los Angeles/City Terrace area, according to Deputy Kimberly Alexander of the Sheriff's Information Bureau.

The victim in that shooting was identified as Roy Torres, 49, who was reported to be a cousin of the gunman.

The Whittier shootout began shortly after the suspect rear-ended some motorists near Colima and Mar Vista, disabling the vehicle he was driving, authorities said. He then asked people in the car he struck to help him move the disabled vehicle, according to Corina.

Officers arriving at the scene around 8 a.m. were told by motorists that the suspect was around the corner with the disabled car, Corina said.

When officers approached the suspect, he was sitting in his car. As they asked him to get out of the car and prepared to pat him down for weapons, he pulled out a semi-automatic handgun and began firing at the officers, at least one of whom returned fire, wounding the suspect, Corina said.

The sheriff's lieutenant said the suspect was a resident of Los Angeles, who had been released from custody about two weeks ago. The suspect's gun was recovered at the scene, Corina said.

"Here you have a case where two officers walk up on a vehicle where they believe someone needs medical assistance and they end up in a gunbattle fighting for their lives,'' Sheriff Jim McDonnell told reporters.

Boyer was a divorced father of grown children, a drummer who played in bands for nonprofit events and a "personal friend of mine for 25 years,'' Piper said, adding he had occasionally played guitar with Boyer in that band.

"He was the best of the best," Piper said. "He was humble, smiling, positive. He was a great guy and recently talked to me about retiring."

The impact of this shooting will "last for years. But we're gonna get through it. This makes us stronger. And everyone needs to know what these officers face on a daily basis," Piper said as he broke down in tears.

"We have been grieving since 10 a.m. this morning," Piper said Monday. "I didn't think I had any more tears left to cry but obviously I do."

As Whittier officers mourned Boyer's death, officers from neighboring law enforcement agencies including Los Angeles and South Gate stepped in to patrol Whittier streets.

According to court records reviewed by the Los Angeles Times, Mejia was sentenced in 2010 to four years in prison for robbery, then convicted in July 2014 of auto theft and attempted vehicle theft, leading to a two-year sentence.

He was arrested last summer for violating the terms of his probation and spent 10 years in jail. He was arrested again in September and in January. He was ordered to spend 40 days in jail, but was released in 10, The Times reported. He was arrested again Feb. 2 and sentenced to 10 days in jail. He was released Feb. 11.

It was unclear if recent legislation and voter-approved measures that reduced sentences for some offenders, made other convicts eligible for early release and funneled some defendants into county jails instead of state prison played a role in any of Mejia's releases from custody.

Piper suggested Monday that Mejia shouldn't have been on the streets.

"We need to wake up," Piper said during the emotional Monday news conference. "Enough is enough. Passing these propositions, you're creating these laws that is raising crime. It's not good for our communities and it's not good for our officers. What you have today is an example of that. So we need to pull our head out of the sand and start realizing what we're doing to our communities and to our officers who give their life like Officer Boyer did today."

"You have no idea how things have changed in the last four years," Piper added. "People don't want to follow rules, don't care about people."

Piper's concerns were echoed by Los Angeles County Sheriff Jim McDonnell who spoke about the passage of new laws that put convicted criminals like Monday's shooter out on the street with an early parole.

"AB 109 provides for some early releases. Prop 47 stops people from entering the system and Prop 57 accelerates their release," McDonnell said.

"County jail has become a default state prison," McDonnell said. "But people need to be rehabilitated before they get released on to the streets.

There also needs to be drug treatment and treatment for mental illness first.

Right now, we are putting people on the streets who are not ready to be on the streets."

The state Senate was expected to adjourn Tuesday in honor of Boyer, according to Sen. Tony Mendoza, D-Artesia.

Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda Solis offered prayers for the injured officer and the community.

"The brave men and women of our law enforcement agencies go to work every day knowing that they may find themselves in danger's path, yet they never turn their backs on protecting our community," Solis said. "Los Angeles County stands with the fallen officer and we hope for a speedy recovery of the other injured officer. Our prayers are with the community of Whittier."

Photo Credit: Whittier Police Department
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<![CDATA[5 Rescued From Flooded Golf Course in Northern California]]>Tue, 21 Feb 2017 17:14:38 -0500//media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/190*120/golf19.JPG

On Tuesday, fire crews rescued five homeless people from the Los Lagos Golf Course in San Jose after a swollen creek flooded the area. 

A series of storms in the South Bay, combined with runoff from nearby hills and water spilling from the Anderson Reservoir has overwhelmed Coyote Creek, triggering a swift-moving torrent of water to flow right through the golf course.

Rescue crews waded through waist deep water to save those stranded at a homeless encampment along the Coyote Creek river, including two who were inside a tent on the third hole tee box. One rescued man said he was surprised by the rising flood waters.

"Everything was surrounded," he said. "It rose so fast."

San Jose Fire Department Capt. Mitch Matlow said city officials have actively warned people to move their encampments away from waterways since the beginning of this season's "wet-winter."

That message was made even more urgent this past week when water started spilling out of the Anderson Reservoir in Morgan Hill, swelling waterways to flood levels. 

"I don't know if the individuals who were trapped today ever heard the message or if they simply chose to disregard it," Matlow said.

Residents living along low-lying areas near the Coyote Creek were also rescued Tuesday and an evacuation order was in effect for the San Jose neighborhood inundated with flood water. 

Rescue crews and residents had to rinsed off to prevent them from being sickened by floodwaters that had traveled through garbage, debris and over sewer lines. The conditions of the people rescued were not immediately clear.

A Calfire helicopter assisted in the search of several people believed to be trapped in trees on the golf course.

The once-drought-stricken region has been saturated by a series of storms and left about half the state under flood, wind and snow advisories.

Several homeless people were rescued Monday from rising flood waters throughout the South Bay.

Dry weather was expected to return Wednesday.

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<![CDATA[Who's Who in Trump's Brain Trust]]>Wed, 07 Dec 2016 10:48:52 -0500//media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/223*120/trump-cab-adv-th.jpgHere's a look at the people who will be closest to Donald Trump in the White House, his advisers and his picks for the top jobs in his administration. The nominees for Cabinet positions will need Senate approval.
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<![CDATA[Model Risks Her Life for the Perfect Photo ]]>Tue, 21 Feb 2017 15:54:40 -0500//media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/201*120/Dubai_Photoshoot_Stunt.png

A video clip of Russian model Viki Odintcova posted on her Instagram account went viral after the fearless model was shown dangling from a Dubai skyscraper from one arm without safety harnesses. (Video courtesy Alexander Marvin)

<![CDATA[Trump's Cabinet Picks In Their Own Words]]>Mon, 09 Jan 2017 18:41:48 -0500//media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/AP_16345069714951-Trump-Wisc-win.jpg

President-elect Donald Trump promised to repeal Obamacare, defeat ISIS, withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement, create 25 million jobs over the next decade and "drain the swamp" in Washington, D.C. How well do his Cabinet nominees reflect his governing philosophy? Here they are in their own words. 

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The retired neurosurgeon and unsuccessful candidate for the Republican nomination grew up in Detroit and has no experience in elected office or in running a large bureaucracy.

"These government-engineered attempts to legislate racial equality create consequences that often make matters worse. There are reasonable ways to use housing policy to enhance the opportunities available to lower-income citizens, but based on the history of failed socialist experiments in this country, entrusting the government to get it right can prove downright dangerous."The Washington Times, 2015

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Former secretary of labor under President George W. Bush, deputy transportation secretary under President George H.W. Bush, Chao is married to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

"If vehicles already meet an acceptable level of safety on a particular aspect of vehicle performance without being required to do so by regulation, I believe the Department should devote its resources to other issues rather than engage in rulemaking simply to affirm the existing level of safety."Statement before DOT deputy secretary confirmation hearing, 1989

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A keen advocate for school vouchers and charter schools, influential in Detroit, where charter schools have a poor record and state legislators rejected calls for more oversight, she engages in political battles to help advance God's kingdom, she told a religious gathering in 2001.

"We are stuck in a partisan rut. The political parties are dead-enders when it comes to education revolution. As long as we think political parties might solve the problem it will never be solved. Oddly enough education choice is very unique in that some conservative Republicans and some liberal Democrats are actually on the same wavelength….But those are exceptions. The vast majority of the political class is committed to defending and protecting the status quo." — SXSW in Austin, 2015

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The governor of South Carolina and the daughter of immigrants from India, Haley led the drive to remove the Confederate flag from the statehouse and during the Republican primary accused Donald Trump of "irresponsible talk."

"During anxious times, it can be tempting to follow the siren call of the angriest voices. We must resist that temptation." -- Speaking of Donald Trump and others in the Republican response to President Barack Obama’s State of the Union speech, 2016

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A retired four-star Marine general, he oversaw the Guantanamo Bay military prison and efforts to stop drug trafficking and other smuggling into the United States.

"In my opinion, the relative ease with which human smugglers move tens of thousands of people to our nation’s doorstep also serves as another warning sign: These smuggling routes are a potential vulnerability to our homeland. As I stated last year, terrorist organizations could seek to leverage those same smuggling routes to move operatives with intent to cause grave harm to our citizens or even bring weapons of mass destruction into the United States."Testimony to the Senate Armed Forces Committee, 2015


Nicknamed "Mad Dog," the retired Marine Corps general and former commander of U.S. Central Command blames President Barack Obama's policy in the Middle East for adding to the rise of extremism.

"Is political Islam in the best interest of the United States? I suggest the answer is no but then we need to have the discussion. If we won't even ask the question, then how to we ever get to the point of recognizing which is our side in the fight. And if we don't take our own side in this fight we're leaving others adrift."— The Heritage Foundation, 2015

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Donald Trump's campaign finance chairman, a former partner at Goldman Sachs, and Hollywood financier, he and partners took over failed mortgage lender IndyMac Bank and operated it under the name, OneWest Bank. He pledged to tackle mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

"It makes no sense that these are owned by the government and have been controlled by the government for as long as they have. In many cases this displaces private lending in the mortgage markets, and we need these entities that will be safe. So let me just be clear— we'll make sure that when they're restructured, they're absolutely safe and they don't get taken over again. But we've got to get them out of government control." — Fox Business, November

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Perry, the former governor of Texas, has promoted the state's oil industry and has questioned climate change. He has advocated eliminating the department he would head though famously could not name it during a presidential debate in 2012.

"I do believe that the issue of global warming has been politicized. I think there are a substantial number or scientists who have manipulated data so that they will have dollars rolling into their projects. I think we're seeing, almost weekly or daily, scientists are coming forward and questioning the original idea that manmade global warming is what is causing the climate to change. Yes, our climate has changed. They've been changing ever since the earth was formed." -- Town Hall in Bedford, N.H., 2011

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Republican congressman from Georgia, an orthopedic surgeon and persistent critic of Obamacare, he has repeatedly introduced his own legislation for replacing it.

"It's a fundamental philosophical difference that we have with the other side …. They believe that government ought to be in control of health care. We believe that patients and families ought to be in control of health care. And sadly what we're seeing right now is that government control that we've seen ramped up over the past six or seven years has resulted in a decrease in quality that's being seen by patients. People have coverage, but they don't have care. They're priced out of the market." American Enterprise Institute, June

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Attorney general of Oklahoma, one of the Republicans leading the legal fight against President Barack Obama's attempts to curb carbon emissions, Pruitt questions how much human actions are contributing to climate change, a point disputed by the vast majority of the world's climate scientists.

"Healthy debate is the lifeblood of American democracy, and global warming has inspired one of the major policy debates of our time. That debate is far from settled. Scientists continue to disagree about the degree and extent of global warming and its connection to the actions of mankind. That debate should be encouraged — in classrooms, public forums, and the halls of Congress. It should not be silenced with threats of prosecution. Dissent is not a crime." — with Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange, Tulsa World, May

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The CEO of CKE Restaurants, the fast-food company that owns burger chains Carl's Jr and Hardee's, Puzder is an opponent of the Affordable Care Act, which he said created a "government-mandated restaurant recession" and of raising the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour, which he argues would lead to fewer jobs.

"I like our ads. I like beautiful women eating burgers in bikinis. I think it's very American. I used to hear, brands take on the personality of the CEO. And I rarely thought that was true, but I think this one, in this case, it kind of did take on my personality." Entrepreneur, 2015

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Turnaround specialist who became rich buying struggling steel, textile, coal and other companies and restructuring them, Ross came under criticism for a deadly explosion at a mine his company had bought.

"Clinton will raise taxes. Trump will cut taxes. Clinton will increase regulation. Trump will decrease regulation. Clinton has vowed to kill the coal industry. Trump will leverage America's energy resources to create new jobs and growth." — with Trump adviser Peter Navarro, CNBC, August

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U.S. senator and former U.S. attorney from Alabama who failed to win confirmation to a federal judgeship because of concerns about racially charged comments he was accused of making, he has opposed immigration reform and the legalization of marijuana.

"You have to have leadership from Washington. You can't have the president of the United States of America talking about marijuana like it is no different than taking a drink, saying I used marijuana when I was in high school and it is no different than smoking. It is different. And you are sending a message to young people that there is no danger in this process. It is false that marijuana use doesn't lead people to more drug use. It is already causing a disturbance in the states that have made it legal. I think we need to be careful about this."Senate floor speech, April 2016

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Tillerson, the CEO of ExxonMobil, has what he has called "a very close relationship" with Russia's Vladimir Putin, which could be problematic during his confirmation hearing. Although he does not have a political or diplomatic background, he has broad experience negotiating deals for ExxonMobil in troubled spots around the world.

"We do not support sanctions, generally, because we don't find them to be effective unless they are very well implemented comprehensively and that's a very hard thing to do," he said, adding, "We always encourage the people who are making those decisions to consider the very broad collateral damage of who are they really harming with sanctions."ExxonMobil shareholders' meeting, 2014.

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Montana's sole representative in the House, Zinke would end a moratorium on federal coal leases on public lands. He is also a hunter and fisherman who opposes transferring public lands to the states.

"It's not a hoax, but it's not proven science either. But you don't dismantle America's power and energy on a maybe. We need to be energy independent first. We need to do it better, which we can, but it is not a settled science."Campaign debate, 2014

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Photo Credit: AP
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<![CDATA[Tom Brady's Stolen Super Bowl Jersey Valued at $500K: Report]]>Tue, 21 Feb 2017 13:16:30 -0500//media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-634604296.jpg

Houston police have released an official report for the theft of the jersey New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady wore during Super Bowl LI.

The jersey — valued at $500,000, according to the report — was reportedly stolen after the Patriots' 34-28 comeback victory over the Atlanta Falcons in overtime on Feb. 5.


Brady, who was named the game's MVP, noticed his No. 12 jersey was missing from his bag in the team’s designated locker room inside NRG Stadium after the game. He told a team equipment manager he remembered putting it in his locker and that "someone stole it."

After searching, Brady told the team's owner Robert Kraft that the jersey had been stolen. Kraft replied, "You'd better look online."


While Brady walked to the team bus, a reporter asked the quarterback if he had recovered the jersey. Brady later joked with a reporter that it would "be on eBay at some point."

Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick asked the Texas Rangers to help the Houston Police Department locate the jersey.

"Tom Brady's jersey has great historical value," Patrick said in a statement. "It will likely go into the Hall of Fame one day. It is important that history does not record that it was stolen in Texas."

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Couple Fined for Not Removing Racial Slur Spray-Painted on Home]]>Tue, 21 Feb 2017 12:23:07 -0500//media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/STAMFORD+COUPLE+FINED+FOR+VANDALIZED+HOME+CT+VO+11P+-+00003214_+copy.jpg

A Connecticut couple whose garage door was spray-painted with a racial slur now faces hundreds of dollars in fines for refusing to remove it

Lexene Charles, 56, and his common-law wife, Heather Lindsay, 59, discovered the graffiti on their Stamford home last month.

"Our civil rights are being violated," Lindsay told a local newspaper when the garage was first vandalized

Police had originally placed a tarp over the door, but it had been removed. 

The couple says they’ve left the slur scrawled across their garage so the community doesn’t forget what happened. 

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The move hasn’t been sitting well with police, who have issued a blight citation. The City of Stamford has fined the couple $100 for each day the slur stays on their garage door.

Stamford Chief of Police Jonathan Fontneau also visited their home and said they face arrest in addition to the fines. 

Charles and Lindsay say they aren’t changing their minds and will fight the fines in court.

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Lindsay said this isn't the first time there has been problems with the property. 

"We aren’t going to let it bother us, because from what we are understanding as it sinks in, as we cry, and as we talk about it, this is just saying the way we have been treated," said Lindsay. "This is how Stamford, Conn. is treating us."

Photo Credit: Lexie Charles/Heather Lindsay
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<![CDATA[Video Captures Dramatic Central Park Ice Plunge]]>Tue, 21 Feb 2017 15:43:17 -0500//media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/central+park+ice+rescue+watermark.jpg

Dramatic video captured by a woman and her daughter shows the moments before and after a group of seven young people plunged through the ice on a pond in Central Park Monday. 

Lourdes Cuevas and her daughter Maia Ramirez, tourists from Paraguay who say they had never seen so much ice, were taking a selfie as the group of kids, ranging in age from about 10 into the teens, climbed onto the ice-covered water on an unseasonably warm February holiday. Their photo shows the kids huddled on the ice behind them. 

"At the beginning, they were throwing rocks, testing the ice, and then decided to step on it," said Cuevas. 

"They just go, 'Come guys, let's take a selfie. The ice is solid,'" said Ramirez. "But the moment that they step on the spot, the ice starts breaking down, and they fell in the water." 

Footage exclusively obtained by NBC 4 New York shows the group floundering about, some struggling madly to grip the crumbling edges of ice, others screaming, as they tried desperately to escape. 

Cuevas said one of the kids completely disappeared under water. 

Two skateboarders who happened to be nearby raced to their rescue, and by the time firefighters arrived at the park by 59th Street and Central Park South, the kids had been pulled out of the water, witnesses and officials said. Some of the children and teens were recovering from hypothermia-related injuries at Bellevue and two other area hospitals on Tuesday morning, officials said. 

The good Samaritans, Bennett Jonas and Ethan Turnbull, told reporters they saw the kids dancing on top of the ice, then suddenly plunging into the water. 

"I look over, I saw six heads just trying to get to the shore," said Jonas. "The back one was probably a good 20 yards from dry land." 

Jonas dived in as Turnbull stood by to grab them. 

"The last two at the end, the kid at the end was unconscious," said Turnbull. "[Jonas] got him out, he was kind of out of breath, and [Jonas] threw him to me. I just kind of minded him until he came to." 

Jonas, of San Clemente, California, who now lives in midtown, and Turnbull, of Sydney, Australia, say they happened to be in the right place at the right time. 

"I was in the park for a reason tonight," he said. "I could have been anywhere right now, but I was 100 yards away, from kids who were drowning." 

Photo Credit: Lourdes Cuevas and Maia Ramirez]]>
<![CDATA[Bodies of 74 Migrants Wash Ashore in Libya]]>Tue, 21 Feb 2017 07:52:35 -0500//media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/migrants-wash-ashore-libya.jpg

Dozens of migrants have died in the Mediterranean Sea, the latest victims of the perilous route, NBC News reported.

Seventy-four bodies washed ashore in Libya, seen in photographs posted to Twitter by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies Tuesday.

Migrants generally attempt crossing from Libya to Italy in flimsy inflatable boats loaded with small amounts of fuel, intended to get within reach of European rescue vessels in international waters. Last year, a record 181,000 migrants made the crossing.

Libyan coast guard spokesman Ayoub Gassim said more than 500 migrants were rescued at sea on Friday and Saturday. He said smugglers are starting to use larger rubber boats to pack in more migrants.

"This is going to be even more disastrous to the migrants," Gassim added.

Photo Credit: IFRC MENA]]>
<![CDATA[Out-of-Service Commuter Trains Collide Outside Philadelphia]]>Tue, 21 Feb 2017 14:19:18 -0500//media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/236*120/Upper+Darby+69th+Street+SEPTA+Crash+MFL+4.JPG

An out-of-service SEPTA Market Frankford Line subway train crashed into two other trains at the 69th Street Terminal just outside Philadelphia Tuesday morning, injuring four people and knocking seven cars off the track during the busy rush-hour commute. 

The collision left the operator of the No. 57 train critically injured, the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority said. Another operator and two passengers were also injured in the crash but the injuries did not appear life-threatening.

It was not clear why the passengers were on the train since it wasn't in service, said SEPTA spokesman Andrew Busch. Busch didn't have details on their injuries but said they have been described as non-life threatening. The second train operator was treated and released, he said.

Upper Darby police asked commuters in a tweet to avoid the busy terminal after the three-train wreck on looping turnaround tracks, where trains turn around at the end of the line.

Investigators said the No. 57 train slammed into the back of the No. 67 train -- both trains were waiting to make the return trip to Philadelphia -- and the wreck then sideswiped the No. 51 train traveling in the opposite direction on another track. The trains were out of service at the time of the crash, SEPTA said. 

SEPTA said seven cars were derailed. SkyForce10 footage showed one car tipped over at a 45-degree angle -- its wheels dislodged from the body of the train -- and six other cars partially off the track as crews responded.

A man who lives near the scene told NBC10 Philadelphia's Pamela Osborne he heard a loud noise followed by the sound of fire engine sirens. 

"I heard a big bang...I knew something big happened but I didn't know what until I got here and saw this mess," William Stamm said.

The wreck left the 69th Street stop out of service for hours as state officials and National Transportation Safety Board investigators investigate the crash, SEPTA said.

SEPTA used shuttle buses to get passengers from 69th Street to 63rd Street. Passengers could be seen boarding the buses around 9 a.m. The agency said delays of up to 10 minutes are expected on the line that runs from Upper Darby to the Frankford section of Northeast Philadelphia.

The crash impacted West Chester Pike, Market Street and Victory Avenue at one point, police said.

SEPTA got trains moving again early Tuesday afternoon. The trains would operate out and back into the terminal as the loop remained closed so investigators could sort through the scene. SEPTA warned riders to expect delays and crowded conditions during the evening rush.

The Market-Frankford Line is equipped with advanced signaling technology called Automatic Train Control, or ATC, which should prevent two moving trains from the same section of tracks, former SEPTA spokesman, and current NBC10 employee, Manny Smith said. A SEPTA headquarters dispatcher would also be controlling the line and giving permission to engineers to move into and out of the loop.

The systems in place ensure optimal turnaround times at the terminal since trains at peak hours arrive at least every four minutes, Smith said.

The max speed on the curve is 10 mph, SEPTA said.

The MFL Line has been operating with limited cars due to under-body crack concerns.

This crash comes nearly two years after a deadly Amtrak derailment in Philadelphia's Frankford neighborhood.

Photo Credit: SkyForce10
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<![CDATA[4 Americans Killed as Plane Crashes Into Australian Mall]]>Tue, 21 Feb 2017 00:12:13 -0500//media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/AP_17052006872002.jpg

Four Americans were among five people killed when a light plane crashed into the roof of a shopping mall in Melbourne, Australia, the U.S. State Department has confirmed. 

NBC News reported that the twin-turboprop Beechcraft King Air plane suffered engine failure and crashed into the mall near the end of the runway at Essendon Airport around 5 p.m. ET Monday (9 a.m. Tuesday local time). 

The assistant police commissioner for Victoria state said there were no fatalities other than those five people on board the aircraft. NBC Dallas-Fort Worth reports that two of the victims were from Texas.

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"We extend our deepest condolences to the families and loved ones of all those who died in today's tragic crash," a State Department official told NBC News. "The U.S. Embassy and Consulate in Melbourne are working closely with local authorities. We stand ready to provide all appropriate consular assistance to the families of the victims," the official added, without identifying the victims.

Photo Credit: Joe Castro/AAP Image via AP]]>
<![CDATA[An Egg Has Landed! Eagle Cam Shows Egg in Nest at National Arboretum]]>Sun, 19 Feb 2017 22:48:53 -0500//media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/DC+Eagle+Egg.jpg

An eagle egg has landed at the National Arboretum. 

Eagle parents Mr. President and The First Lady welcomed one egg to their newly built nest Sunday night.

The D.C. region was captivated last spring as a live stream showed two eaglets chip out of their shells, gulp down tiny bites of fish from their parents and learn to fly.

The 2016 eaglets, named Freedom and Liberty, are now grown and off on their own -- but their parents returned to the nest in the fall and have been busily preparing for the possibility of a new batch of babies, the American Eagle Foundation said.

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The DC Eagle Cam went live in December to stream the new breeding season, with a major upgrade: The cams now include live sound.

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In addition, the cams went live much earlier in the season. Last time, they didn't begin streaming until mid-February, at which point the parents were already incubating their eggs, the foundation said.

The eagles are the first pair to nest in the National Arboretum since 1947. They had one baby in 2015 and two this past year. Eagles typically lay one to three eggs each year, the foundation said.

The foundation said the DC Eagle Cam has had more than 60 million views during the five months the camera was live in 2016.

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Photo Credit: @dceaglecam/American Eagle Foundation
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<![CDATA[Lights Go Out Again at Washington Monument]]>Mon, 20 Feb 2017 15:43:26 -0500//media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Washington+Monument2.jpg

The lights surrounding the Washington Monument were out for a brief time Sunday night, marking the third time the monument has gone dark this year.

A spokesperson for the National Mall and Memorial Parks said about 7 p.m. the red aviation warning lights were functioning normally, but the lights that illuminate the monument did not come on Sunday night.

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National Park Service electricians restored the lights a short time later, about 7:40 p.m., the spokesperson said.

Lights at the monument went out two separate times in January. An outage the night of Jan. 9 was traced to a ground fault, the National Park Service reported.

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That problem was unrelated to another issue a week earlier, officials said.

On Jan. 3, the lights went off due to the clock in the Washington Monument's automated lighting system, officials said. Officials said the lighting system's clock was likely out of sync.

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The lights aren't the only aspect of the monument that's been having trouble lately.

The 555-foot monument has been closed since August because the elevator has been plagued by mechanical, electrical and computer problems. Problems with the elevator trapped visitors several times and led to numerous temporary closures of the monument.

In December, officials announced they will spend $2 million to $3 million to fix the elevator. They plan to reopen the monument to visitors in 2019.

The trouble with the elevator began roughly after the reopening of the monument in 2014, following a 5.8-magnitude earthquake in 2011 that cracked and chipped the monument.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Another Storm Slams SF Bay Area]]>Mon, 20 Feb 2017 23:08:03 -0500//media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/0220-2017-Traffic.jpg

Evacuations were ordered in Northern California on Monday and flash-flood warnings were issued elsewhere as downpours swelled creeks and rivers to troubling levels in the already soggy region.

About 500 people were ordered to evacuate in California's Central Valley Monday night because of a levee break as the area endures yet another storm.

A dispatcher in San Joaquin County said the levee on the San Joaquin River was breached Monday afternoon. The breach is near the town of Manteca and the evacuation area is mainly farming and ranch land.

There were no immediate reports of damage or injuries in San Joaquin County late Monday.

In Monterey County, people living along a section of the Carmel River were told to leave, as were those in a neighborhood of Salinas near Santa Rita Creek and a few people in rural Royal Oaks, where a mudslide encroached on a home.

In Lake County, northwest of Sacramento, about 100 homes in two mobile home parks and nearby streets were ordered to be evacuated because nearby Clear Lake was a foot above flood stage, county Sheriff Brian Martin said. No injuries were reported.

San Jose opened two evacuation centers and one overnight shelter for residents who choose to voluntarily evacuate their homes in low-lying areas along Coyote Creek:

  • Roosevelt Community Center, 901 E. Santa Clara Street (now open)
  • Shirakawa Community Center, 2072 Lucretia Avenue (now open)
  • James Lick High School, N. White Road (overnight shelter opens at 7 p.m.)

In the Bay Area, the powerful storm toppled trees and caused flooding, mudslides, power outages and road closures.

Heavy downpours and gusty winds pounded much of the region and prompted flood and high wind warnings.

Flood warnings were in effect for Santa Clara, Solano and Sonoma counties as of Monday afternoon. Residents living in Alameda, Santa Clara and San Mateo counties were also alerted to flash flood warnings.

High wind warnings were also implemented Sunday evening for all nine Bay Area counties. Those warnings, which stated that gusts could reach 15 to 50 mph at times, were extended into Monday.

View the latest weather alerts here.

The latest round of powerful winter weather proved to cause a host of problems, especially for drivers traversing an already saturated region. Highway 17 in the Santa Cruz Mountains was temporarily blocked near Summit Road because of a fallen tree. Southbound lanes of Highway 17 near Los Gatos were also blocked late Monday due to a rock slide, prompting the California Highway Patrol to issue a traffic SigAlert.

Also in the South Bay, southbound lanes of Interstate 280 near Winchester Boulevard in San Jose were partially impassable because of flooding.

Paradise Drive in Tiburon, Palomares Road in Castro Valley and Niles Canyon State Route 84 were completely blocked off because of mudslides and flooding.

Earlier in the day, northbound Highway 101 at Redwood City was closed due to flooding, CHP announced around 5:50 a.m. Monday. Those lanes reopened just before 9:30 a.m.

Air travelers also encountered headaches at San Francisco International Airport. The airport reported 100 canceled flights (56 arrivals and 54 departures) as of Monday afternoon at 4 p.m. Nearly 300 flights, both coming and going, were also delayed.

Pacific Gas and Electric officials said late Monday more than 20,000 people were still without electricity in the South Bay. In the East Bay, 2,300 customers were without power, with 1,600 customers without electricity in the Peninsula, according to PG&E. About 1,000 customers were without power in San Francisco and 400 customers were without electricity in the North Bay.

The heavy rainfall has caused already swollen creeks and rivers to rise yet again.

The Belmont Creek in Belmont hit flood stage on Monday.

The Russian River at Guernville is expected to reach 33.5 feet by Tuesday afternoon. The Coyote Creek near the San Jose neighborhood of Edenvale was expected to hit 12.4 feet by Tuesday afternoon. The San Lorenzo River at Felton was also expected to hit flood stage Monday.

    High flooding potential will also likely exist along the Uvas/Llagas Creek and San Francisquito Creek. Officials are also keeping a close eye on the Guadalupe River and creeks in the North Bay.

    By the time Wednesday rolls around, East Bay rainfall totals from the most recent storms could top out around three to four inches. Three inches of rain is expected to accumulate along the Peninsula. South Bay locations could see two to three inches. Roughly one to two inches is expected to fall across the North Bay. San Francisco could pick up approximately two inches of precipitation.

    Forecasters said rainfall in San Francisco has already surpassed the normal annual amount for the wet season that begins in October.

    The city has logged 24.50 inches of rain since Oct. 1, said National Weather Service forecaster Bob Benjamin. The average rainfall for the year ending Sept. 30 is 23.65 inches.

    Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area
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    <![CDATA[New Wave of Threats to JCCs]]>Mon, 20 Feb 2017 22:24:17 -0500//media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Police_Investigating_Bomb_Threats_at_JCCs_in_Connecticut_1200x675_857380419667.jpg

    A Jewish community center in Buffalo was one of 10 evacuated around the country on Presidents Day amid a rash of bomb threats targeting JCCs.

    Federal authorities are investigating the threats, the FBI said Monday.

    In a statement, the bureau said it was helping investigate the threats as possible civil rights violations. The Justice Department's Civil Rights Division was also investigating, as NBC News reports.

    In addition to the Buffalo JCC in New York, centers in Birmingham, Cleveland, Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul,  Tampa,  Albuquerque,  Nashville and Houston reported phoned-in threats, the Jewish Community Center Association of North America told NBC News. 

    No one was injured, and the threats appeared to be hoaxes, the association said.

    White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said earlier that "hatred and hate-motivated violence of any kind have no place of any kind in a country founded on the promise of individual freedom."

    Meanwhile, Ivanka Trump, the president's daughter, wrote this on Twitter: "America is a nation built on the principle of religious tolerance. We must protect our houses of worship & religious centers. #JCC"

    The events come just weeks after another round of bomb threats targeted 53 Jewish community centers across 26 U.S. states and one Canadian province during three days in January.

    Ryan Lenz, a senior writer with the nonprofit Southern Poverty Law Center, which monitors hate groups, told NBC News that the threats coincided with what appeared to be a spike in hate speech and hate group activity since Donald Trump's election.

    "We don't know who's behind these threats," Lenz said. "We don't know if groups are organizing them. We do know they're in line with an increase in hate incidents and bias incidents over the last three months." 

    The center counted 1,094 incidents in the 34 days after Nov. 8, from anti-Semitic and anti-immigrant to anti-LGBT and anti-black expressions.

    An SPLC report released last week found that anti-Muslim hate groups operating in the United States had grown the most in recent years — up from 34 in 2015 to 101 last year. Lenz said the bomb threats were "the logical next step as this continues to escalate." 

    On Monday, the Anti-Defamation League issued a security advisory, warning Jewish institutions across the United States to review the organization's security manual and bomb threat guidance assembled by the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security. 

    "We look to our political leaders at all levels to speak out against such threats directed against Jewish institutions, to make it clear that such actions are unacceptable, and to pledge that they will work with law enforcement officials to ensure that those responsible will be apprehended and punished to the full extent of the law," the group's chief executive, Jonathan Greenblatt, added in a statement.

    <![CDATA[2016 an 'Unprecedented Year for Hate': SPLC]]>Wed, 15 Feb 2017 15:44:10 -0500//media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/hategroupsfeuerherd.jpg

    The Southern Poverty Law Center reported an increase in U.S. hate groups in 2016—the second year in a row the number has risen.

    The total number of organizations considered hate groups by the SPLC rose from 892 in 2015 to 917 in 2016. 

    The number of anti-Muslim hate groups saw the greatest rise, ticking up to 101 from 34 in 2015, according to the annual census of hate groups by the SPLC.

    President Donald Trump's election and rhetoric during the campaign is, in part, responsible for this rise of anti-Muslim hate groups, according to the report. 

    "The increase in anti-Muslim hate was fueled by Trump’s incendiary rhetoric, including his campaign pledge to bar Muslims from entering the United States, as well as anger over terrorist attacks such as the June massacre of 49 people at a gay nightclub in Orlando," the SPLC wrote. 

    Asked about a rise of anti-Semitism and racism in the U.S. at a press conference with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Trump did not offer specifics about how he'll work to curtail it. 

    Instead, he referenced his electoral victory then later pointed out that he has Jewish relatives, including his daughter, and said, "we're going to have peace in this country."

    His response drew criticism from the Anti-Defamation League, who tweeted it's "troubling that @POTUS failed to condemn real issue of anti-Semitism in US today." 

    Mark Potok, an editor of the report called 2016, "an unprecedented year for hate."

    “The country saw a resurgence of white nationalism that imperils the racial progress we’ve made, along with the rise of a president whose policies reflect the values of white nationalists," Potok said in a statement. 

    The report also notes that an increase in anti-Muslim hate crimes coincided with the increase of these hate groups. 

    The SPLC pointed to the latest FBI statistics, gathered in 2015, that showed hate crimes against Muslims increased by 67 percent.

    Click here for a map that tracks hate groups by state. 

    Photo Credit: AP
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    <![CDATA[Student Grades Ex's Apology Letter]]>Tue, 21 Feb 2017 07:34:09 -0500//media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-553200253.jpg

    A University of Central Florida student's reaction to his ex-girlfriend's plea for forgiveness is making the rounds on social media.

    Nick Lutz received a hand-written, four-page letter from his ex, who apologized for the mistakes she made in their relationship.

    But the lovelorn woman's effort did not make the grade for Lutz. He marked up her apology letter, gave it a D- and said he sent it back to her.

    The college student posted the letter to Twitter on Friday with all of his corrections and suggestions in red ink. The tweet has since garnered more than 311,000 likes and 106,000 retweets.

    He first noted an indention error and criticized the long introduction. Then, he scrutinized the body and statements made throughout the letter.

    His ex blamed herself while admiring her former lover. However, she made one detail clear: "I never cheated on you."

    Lutz wrote in response: "Strong statement. No supporting details to support your hypothesis."

    The UCF student corrected a misspelling too: "loose" to the more appropriate "lose."

    At the end of the four-page letter, Lutz pointed out that his ex had a "strong hypothesis but nothing to back it up." He added that "details are important" and that she needs "to stop contradicting your own story and pick a side."

    Lutz signed the letter, "good luck."

    We're not sure if his ex has moved on, but it sure does look like Lutz is not interested in rekindling the love.

    Photo Credit: Westend61, Getty
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