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State Headlines


NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) - New Haven officials are declaring a public health emergency after nearly 20 people overdosed on tainted heroin or cocaine and at least three died in the city and surrounding towns.

Officials issued the warning Friday. They said there have been up to 16 heroin or cocaine overdoses in New Haven since Thursday and several more in surrounding communities.

Two people died in New Haven and at least another died in another town. Officials said the numbers will likely rise.

Police are trying to determine if the powerful painkiller fentanyl or another substance is responsible.

State health officials said they're sending 700 doses of the overdose reversing drug Narcan to New Haven.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said the situation is dangerous and the state is working to address the overdose problem.

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STAMFORD, Conn. (AP) - Police have killed a gray fox after they say it attacked a Stamford woman and chased a family.

The Stamford Advocate reports the woman was walking with her toddler Thursday when she saw what looked like a small dog. When she realized the animal was a fox and was following her, police say she grabbed her son and began walking away.

But authorities say the fox kept chasing her until she kicked it in the head and hid from it in a FedEx truck. Capt. Richard Conklin says the woman had a scratch or bite on her ankle and eventually went to a hospital.

Police say a family in the same neighborhood also reported an aggressive fox. Police found the animal and shot it.

It's being tested for rabies.

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HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - State officials say they've found a way to ensure thousands of needy Connecticut families will still receive a child care subsidy.

The Office of Early Childhood announced Friday that instead of cutting off coverage to existing families who didn't meet new eligibility rules, the program will be closed to new applications for low-income working parents as of Aug. 1.

New applicants who qualify as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families recipients, former TANF recipients from the last five years and certain 18- and 19-year-old parents will remain eligible for the child care subsidy.

The office originally planned to toughen eligibility for the state's Care4Kids program due to changes in federal block grant funding rules. The office estimated 4,500 families representing about 6,100 children would no longer be eligible on July 1.

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WILLIMANTIC, Conn. (AP) Police in Connecticut have arrested a woman they say held up a doughnut shop at gunpoint and a man who allegedly pedaled her away from the scene on a bicycle.

A worker at a Willimantic Dunkin' Donuts called 911 at 3 a.m. Thursday to report that he had been robbed by an armed woman who was whisked away on a bike.

Officers with a police dog searched the area and found a fake gun and a man with a bicycle in an alley. The woman was found in a trash can.

Kiara Wilson is being held on $150,000 bail on charges including robbery. Daniel Henderson is being held on $100,000 bail on charges including conspiracy to commit robbery.

Both face arraignment Friday. It could not be determined if they have lawyers who could comment on the accusations.

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HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) Legislative leaders are blasting the University of Connecticut for moving forward with raises for its senior staff despite the state's budget problems.

The school says the raises, approved in 2013 and 2014, are meant to bring the salaries of top staff in line with those at peer institutions.

But House Speaker Brendan Sharkey (D-Hamden), House Republican Leader Themis Klarides (R-Seymour) and Senate Minority Leader Len Fasano (R-North Haven) say going forward with the pay increases is tone deaf given large-scale state layoffs and budget cuts that have led to tuition hikes at UConn.

UConn President Susan Herbst is on track to receive $194,500 in raises and bonuses this year under her contract.

The university's general counsel, chief architect and Herbst's deputy chief of staff all are receiving raises this year.

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HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - Two developers have been charged with allegedly pocketing hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars meant to redevelop Hartford's Dillon Stadium and lure a new professional soccer franchise to the Connecticut city.

James Duckett and Mitchell Anderson face 26 federal counts, including conspiracy and fraud.

Prosecutors allege the Connecticut residents had been contracted by the city but never paid subcontractors and used city money for personal and other purposes.

Hartford ultimately cancelled their contract and filed civil suit. The Major Arena Soccer League dropped the proposed team -- Hartford City FC -- before a game was played.

Anderson was released on a $100,000 bond after appearing in New Haven federal court Thursday. His lawyer didn't immediately comment. Duckett is expected to appear in Las Vegas federal court Friday.

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NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) - Officials in New Haven have declared a public health emergency following a string of overdoses linked to a batch of heroin mixed with fentanyl.

Officials say more than a dozen overdoses were reported on Thursday. City spokesman Laurence Grotheer says that at least one overdose was fatal.

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid 50 times more potent than heroin.

Deputy Director of Emergency Management Rick Fontana tells the New Haven Register the city has a "critical" shortage of the overdose reversal medication naloxone - also known by the brand name Narcan.

Fontana says Mayor Toni Harp's office is working with police, fire and health officials to address the emergency.

He says officials will meet on Friday to discuss how to combat the emergency.

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PLAINFIELD, Conn. (AP) - Plainfield police say a 7-year-old girl found in her family's swimming pool has died.

Isabella Costanzo was found submerged in the above ground pool by her mother around 1:30 p.m. Wednesday. She was taken to an emergency medical center where she was pronounced dead.

Police say Isabella had been playing in her room when she apparently wandered outside.

An autopsy is scheduled for Thursday.

Plainfield police remind residents that town regulations require installed pools to have an audible alarm system and a self-latching, self-closing gate system.

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HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy's budget office says 724 positions have been eliminated so far from Connecticut's executive branch of government and more layoffs are expected.

The figure announced Wednesday by the Office of Policy and Management does not include cuts in higher education positions. It does include the jobs eliminated at many other state agencies, from 139 at the Department of Children and Families to one at the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.

Meanwhile, the state's judicial branch said last week it had eliminated 239 permanent full-time employees so far and released 61 temporary employees.

The policy management office says there will be more job cuts to help balance the state budget.

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NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) - Police have identified a construction worker who was killed after being struck by a backhoe at a construction site in New Haven.

Authorities say crews from West Haven-based Pereira Sons Construction were working on a sewer line on Boston Post Road along the West Haven border Tuesday afternoon when 56-year-old Donald "Cary" Smith was hit by the equipment.

The Bethany man was taken to an area hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

An autopsy was performed Wednesday morning. The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner says the cause of death was blunt trauma of the head, torso and lower left extremity.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating the incident.

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NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) - A former Connecticut state lawmaker has pleaded guilty to a felony charge of conspiracy to commit bank fraud in connection with a mortgage application.

Victor Cuevas, of Waterbury, who served in the state House of Representatives until his resignation in March, acknowledged in federal court Monday that he conspired to put down false information on a mortgage document for a home in Bristol.

The Republican-American reports that the false information included describing $7,000 used for the transaction as a gift, when in fact it was a loan, and falsely describing his relationship with the people who had offered the funds.

Cuevas apologized in court but said no one was hurt.

Cuevas is a longtime city employee and youth sports coach.

He is scheduled to be sentenced in September.

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NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) - Officials say a woman was seriously injured after being attacked by two pit bulls outside a New Haven home.

City spokesperson Laurence Grotheer says the attack happened around 7:45 p.m. Monday.

The dogs' owner and the woman were both attacked and taken to Yale-New Haven Hospital to be treated.

Officials say the woman suffered critical injuries. WFSB-TV reports that the owner identified as Hamilton Hicks sustained injuries not considered life-threatening.

The dogs were taken to an animal shelter and placed in quarantine. The woman wasn't immediately identified.

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HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - Two Massachusetts men who pleaded guilty in a Connecticut home invasion during which two children hid and called their mother are headed to prison.

The Hartford Courant reports that 29-year-old Clinton Mitchell and 27-year-old Michael Walters were each sentenced this week to seven years in prison.

Mitchell previously pleaded guilty to first-degree burglary. Walters pleaded guilty to second-degree burglary and risk of injury to a minor.

Prosecutors say the Springfield, Massachusetts men broke into the Manchester home on Dec. 22, 2015, and thought the house was not occupied. They say an 11-year-old girl and 12-year-old boy were home.

Police said the children hid when they heard the men breaking through a door. They remained on the second floor and called their mother while the men searched the house.

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NORWICH, Conn. (AP) A Department of Homeland Security report says federal immigration officials could have done more to deport a Haitian national convicted of killing a Connecticut woman.

The report released Monday by the department's inspector general details the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's unsuccessful efforts to deport 41-year-old Jean Jacques.

Haitian officials wouldn't take Jacques back after he served prison time for a 1997 attempted murder conviction. The report says the country refused as recently as February 2016 because he lacked identification documents.

The report says immigration officials could have prevailed upon the U.S. State Department to pressure Haiti by suspending visas for those traveling to the U.S.

It says they didn't because they believed the department would only have acted if Jacques committed acts of terror or human rights violations.

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BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (AP) Police say they expect to file charges in connection with a fatal weekend car crash in Bridgeport that tore one vehicle in half and left a 600-foot long debris field.

Police identified the victim of the crash at about 5 a.m. Saturday as 31-year-old Felipe Soto, of Stamford.

The Connecticut Post reports that Soto was on Fairview Avenue when his car was struck by another vehicle traveling south on Main Street.

Soto's car was split in two, and he was pronounced dead at the scene. The other car struck a pole and rolled onto its roof.

The driver, a 62-year-old Bridgeport man, was taken to the hospital, where he is listed in critical condition.

The crash remains under investigation but police say speed appears to be a factor.

 

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WEST HAVEN, Conn. (AP) A construction worker was killed after being struck by a backhoe at a construction site in West Haven.

Authorities say crews were working on a sewer line near Boston Post Road on Tuesday afternoon when the 55-year-old worker was hit by the equipment.

The man was taken to an area hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Authorities haven't released the man's identity.

The incident remains under investigation.

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NORWALK, Conn. (AP) - The death of a woman found in her Norwalk apartment last week has been ruled a homicide.

Police found the body of 52-year-old Marian Alexander on Friday after arriving at her residence on a medical assistance call.

Her body underwent an autopsy Saturday at the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Farmington.

Police say Alexander died on Friday. Authorities haven't identified her cause of death, but say she wasn't shot or stabbed.

It's not clear if police have identified a suspect.

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CHESTER, Conn. (AP) - Authorities have recovered the body of a man who went missing after the canoe he was in capsized on a Connecticut lake.

State environmental conservation police said the body of 48-year-old Manchester resident Paul Haney was pulled from Cedar Lake in Chester around 11:15 a.m. Sunday.

Haney and Chester resident Carol Bremser were thrown into the water when their canoe overturned on Saturday evening. The 49-year-old Bremser was rescued by a passing boat. She was taken to an area hospital for treatment.

Police say Haney's body was found a short distance from where the canoe turned over.

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ROCKY HILL, Conn. (AP) - Police say two people were killed after a driver who was pulled over for speeding tried to flee the scene.

It happened around 5:30 a.m. Sunday in Rocky Hill. Police say an officer saw the car driving at a high rate of speed. They say the driver pulled over, but fled when the officer approached the car and hit a tree.

The passenger was pronounced dead at the scene. The driver died from injuries at Hartford Hospital. No one was immediately identified.

The crash remains under investigation.

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BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (AP) - Six people have been arrested following a fight outside the Main Street courthouse in Bridgeport.

The Connecticut Post reports the fight broke out Friday morning following the sentencing of 40-year-old Efraim Rivera of Bridgeport.

He had pleaded guilty to manslaughter and assault in the May 2015 fatal shooting of 34-year-old Miguel Martinez, and the wounding his younger brother, Jose.

Assistant State's Attorney Michael DeJoseph said the shooting was the result of a long-standing feud between the Riveras and the Martinez brothers.

Police say members of the Martinez family, upset with Rivera's 10-year sentence, began arguing with members of Rivera's family outside the courthouse.

Police say several people then began wielding wrenches and baseball bats.

The names of those arrested Friday and the charges they face were not immediately available.

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HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - The Connecticut Supreme Court has upheld the murder convictions of a man who killed a Waterbury police officer in 1992, but has overturned his death sentence because of the court's earlier abolishment of capital punishment.

Justices ruled Friday on the appeal of Richard Reynolds and ordered a lower court to resentence Reynolds to life in prison without the possibility of release.

Reynolds fatally shot Waterbury Officer Walter Williams.

Reynolds' appeal said his public defenders failed to question jurors about racial biases and failed to introduce evidence that Reynolds suffers from an anti-social personality disorder.

The Supreme Court abolished the death penalty last year. One death row inmate, Steven Hayes, has already been resentenced to life in prison. The 10 men remaining on death row also will be resentenced to life.

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HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - A man who shot at a Connecticut mosque out of anger on the night of the deadly attacks in Paris has been sentenced to six months in prison.

Ted Hakey Jr. was sentenced Friday in federal court in Hartford.

Nobody was hurt when he opened fire on the empty Baitul Aman Mosque in Meriden in a drunken burst of anger Nov. 13. Investigators said he struck the mosque at least four times from his property next door to the building.

Hakey pleaded guilty to destruction of religious property, a federal hate crime. He apologized to the mosque and said he had acted in fear. Congregation members forgave him and urged the court to spare him from prison.

Federal guidelines called for Hakey to serve eight to 14 months in prison.

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NORWALK, Conn. (AP) Norwalk police say they have arrested a high school student after discovering she created a ``hit list'' of 29 other students.

Authorities disclosed Thursday that the girl was charged Monday with 29 counts of misdemeanor breach of peace. Her name was not released because of juvenile offender laws.

Lt. Terrence Blake says Norwalk police began investigating Saturday after someone found a letter the girl wrote in January that listed the 29 other Norwalk High School students and threatened to harm them.

Blake says it was a ``veiled'' threat and authorities don't believe the girl had access to weapons. He says it's not clear why she was upset at other students.

School officials say they contacted parents of students mentioned in the letter Sunday night.

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BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (AP) Authorities say they stopped alleged gang members from shooting an 18-year-old man outside a state courthouse in Bridgeport.

City Police Chief Armando Perez told the Connecticut Post that city officers and judicial marshals foiled an apparent ``hit'' Thursday on Fabian ``Fab'' Francis outside Superior Court on Golden Hill Street.

Police say they arrested three would-be shooters and seized two loaded handguns.

Authorities say Francis was in court Thursday to face criminal charges when he was confronted in the lobby by members of the 150 Marina gang. Police allege Francis is a member of a rival gang who was acquitted four months ago of a gang-related shooting.

Authorities say marshals forced Francis and the opposing gang members outside, where other gang members waiting with guns in a car were arrested.

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HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) A federal appeals court has upheld the political corruption conviction of former Connecticut Gov. John Rowland. A three-judge panel of the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York City rejected Rowland's appeal Friday.

 

Rowland was sentenced to a 2 .5-year prison term last year following his conviction on a charge of conspiring to disguise work he did on a failed 2012 congressional campaign. He is free on bail. His attorney, Andrew Fish, said the government withheld evidence that would have benefited the defense and has misapplied a federal law. Fish didn't immediately return messages Friday. Prosecutors denied those charges and argued the conviction should stand.

 

Rowland resigned from office in 2004 amid a corruption scandal and served 10 months in prison for taking illegal gifts.

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STAMFORD, Conn. (AP) - A Peruvian national has pleaded guilty to arranging the kidnapping and murder of the manager of a Stamford restaurant that he failed to buy.

Twenty-nine-year-old Larry Talledo-Torrejon entered the plea Wednesday in Hartford to racketeering conspiracy involving a murder. He faces up to 10 years in prison when he's sentenced Sept. 7.

Federal authorities say the Stamford man was unable to raise the $300,000 purchase price for the Peruvian restaurant. They say he told a man who owed him $5,000 to tail the restaurant's manager to his home and kill him after the sale wasn't finalized.

The man instead notified law enforcement and told Talledo-Torrejon that he kidnapped the manager and was holding him.

Authorities say Talledo-Torrejon was arrested Dec. 8 after paying the man a $500 partial payment.

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HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - An East Hartford woman charged in a fatal hit-and-run that killed an 8-year-old boy last year is seeking a special form of probation that would allow her to avoid prison.

Police say Hawa Pabai's vehicle fatally struck 8-year-old Carlos Hernandez April 16 after it was hit from behind by another car. They say she fled the scene. She's charged with evading responsibility and driving without a license.

The Hartford Courant reports that 31-year-old Pabai's lawyer has asked a Hartford judge to grant Pabai accelerated rehabilitation.

He argued Pabai isn't responsible because her car's airbag deployed and her vehicle was forced forward after it was hit from behind.

Prosecutors argue Carlo's death makes the incident too serious to qualify for the program. The judge didn't immediately rule on the application.

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NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) One of two men sentenced to death for the slayings of a mother and her two daughters during a 2007 home invasion in Connecticut has been resentenced to life in prison.

Steven Hayes is the first of 11 death-row inmates to be resentenced since the Connecticut Supreme Court ruled in August that their sentences violated the state constitution's prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment.

State lawmakers abolished Connecticut's death penalty in 2012, except for those already sentenced to death.

A judge on Wednesday imposed six consecutive life sentences on Hayes for the murders of Jennifer Hawke-Petit and her daughters, 17-year-old Hayley and 11-year-old Michaela, in Cheshire. Hawke-Petit's husband and the girls' father, Dr. William Petit, was badly beaten but survived.

He didn't immediately respond to a message seeking comment Wednesday.

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BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (AP) - A Connecticut man who enticed hundreds of young boys to perform sexual acts over the Internet has been sentenced to 20 years in prison.

Federal prosecutors say 46-year-old Keith Haessly, of East Hampton, was also sentenced Tuesday to a lifetime of probation upon completion of the sentence.

Authorities say between April 2013 and June 2015 Haessly posed as a young girl on video chat programs and using previously recorded videos of girls, enticed the boys to engage in sexual activity on their webcams.

Analysis of his computer revealed images and videos that depict more than 950 victims.

He also distributed some of the videos to another person.

Haessly was arrested a year ago.

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MIDDLETOWN, Conn. (AP) - Wesleyan University has established a scholarship honoring alumni Lin-Manuel Miranda and Thomas Kail, the creative forces behind the Broadway smash "Hamilton."

The school announced the Wesleyan University Hamilton Prize for Creativity on Wednesday.

The four-year, full-tuition scholarship will be awarded to an incoming student who submits a creative written work judged to "best reflect originality, artistry and dynamism." Miranda and Kail will serve as honorary chairmen of the judging committee.

Miranda is the show's star and creator. He says he hopes the prize will help other young writers get their start. Kail directs "Hamilton" and says he's delighted the school is "encouraging young people to persevere as writers."

Kail and Miranda graduated from Wesleyan in 1999 and 2002, respectively.

The hip-hop-flavored "Hamilton" has won 11 Tony Awards, including best musical.

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HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - The Connecticut Democratic Party and State Elections Enforcement Commission are settling a case involving Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy's 2014 re-election campaign.

The party has agreed to make a $325,000 payment to end the dispute over whether it illegally spent money from a federal account on mailers to benefit Malloy, who was participating in the state's public campaign financing program. The federal account can accept political contributions from state contractors, unlike the party's state account.

The commission voted 2-1 in favor of the settlement on Wednesday. The agreement comes as a superior court judge is expected to decide whether to compel the Democrats to comply with the commission's investigative subpoena and turn over certain documents.

State GOP Chairman JR Romano says the Democrats have "gotten away with illegal campaign spending."

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TORRINGTON, Conn. (AP) A Connecticut woman who was berated by a man who called her ``disgusting'' for breastfeeding her baby in public at a Target store is thanking customers and employees who defended her.

Jessie Maher captured part of the confrontation Monday in the cafe of a store in Torrington on video and posted it to Facebook. The video was viewed nearly 3 million times and shared nearly 43,000 times by Tuesday afternoon.

Maher says the man swore at her and insulted her. Maher says on video that she's shaking.

One woman comes to her defense, saying: ``You shouldn't be ashamed of feeding your baby.'' Two male Target employees then confront the man and escort him away from the cafe.

Connecticut state law and Target policy protect nursing in public.

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ENFIELD, Conn. (AP) - Authorities say a woman was killed and a man seriously hurt in a motorcycle crash on Interstate 91 southbound in Enfield.

Caroline Mcallister of Milford died in the crash early Monday morning. State police say the 48-year-old woman was a passenger in a motorcycle driven by 49-year-old Randal Ruelle of Milford.

Police say a vehicle hit the motorcycle while changing lanes near exit 48 just after midnight. The driver wasn't injured.

Mcallister was taken to Bay State Hospital where she was later pronounced dead. Ruelle was hospitalized with serious injuries.

Authorities are investigating.

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STAMFORD, Conn. (AP) - Authorities are investigating after an investment banking analyst at Goldman Sachs collapsed and died after participating in a weekend triathlon in Connecticut.

Police tell the Stamford Advocate that 24-year-old Samuel Fisher collapsed about 10:30 a.m. Sunday after receiving his medal for participating in the KIC IT Triathlon in Stamford.

Medics on scene started working on Fisher immediately and he was taken to the hospital where he died.

Police are investigating and an autopsy is being performed to determine the cause of death.

Police say Fisher grew up in Newton, Massachusetts, graduated from Harvard University and was living and working in New York City.

Goldman Sachs said in a statement it was "deeply saddened by the loss of our colleague Samuel Fisher."

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) - General Electric executives say they're already reaching out to Rhode Island universities with plans to recruit 100 people for a new digital technology office in Providence.

GE Chief Financial Officer Jeffrey Bornstein visited the State House on Monday with the state's political leaders and college presidents.

Bornstein credits Democratic Gov. Gina Raimondo for convincing GE to open a branch office in the state, describing her efforts as relentless.

The company's GE Digital division announced Thursday that it's opening a Providence office to develop advances in supercomputing and internal software applications used by GE workers.

Raimondo had been in talks with GE since the company began looking a year ago to relocate from Connecticut. It eventually settled on Massachusetts, where it will employ about 800 workers at a new Boston headquarters.

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HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - Police in Connecticut say they're being extra vigilant after the shooting at a gay nightclub in Florida that left at least 50 people dead.

New Haven police say they're paying close attention to public gatherings and LGBTQ venues.

While there is no known threat of violence to New Haven or other Connecticut communities, New Haven police say they're "responding with an abundance of caution."

Democratic Gov. Dannel Malloy has ordered all flags in the state to be lowered to half-staff in honor of the victims of the shooting early Sunday in Orlando.

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FARMINGTON, Conn. (AP) - Police have released the names of the three people shot outside a Farmington bar over the weekend, but have not announced an arrest.

Police responded just before 2 a.m. Sunday to the Tavern at the Exchange for a report of shots fired in the parking lot.

Responding officers found two men and one woman suffering from gunshot wounds.

They were identified Monday as 28-year-old Christopher Solis, of Bristol; 26-year-old Angel Albelo, of Waterbury; and 26-year-old Rosalinda Rojas, of Terryville.

Their injuries are not considered life threatening.

Police think the shooter may have targeted the victims but there's no word on a motive.

The investigation is ongoing.

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HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - It appears unlikely the House of Representatives will attempt to override Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy's rare $22 million line-item budget veto.

A veto session is scheduled for Monday, but House Majority Leader Joe Aresimowicz says the House Democrats, who control the chamber, only plan to hold a closed-door caucus meeting to discuss "a host of issues."

Malloy, a Democrat, issued the line-item veto after lawmakers failed to pass his criminal justice bill in special session. It was expected to save $15 million in the new budget. The bulk of the cut, $20 million, comes from a reduction in state aid to municipalities.

Minority Republican leaders have urged the majority Democrats to override the veto, saying the cuts add "an insurmountable" burden to towns who've already received funding reductions.

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WATERBURY, Conn. (AP) - State police say one man has died in an early morning crash on Route 8 in Waterbury.

Police say a minivan driven by 35-year-old Roy Gruner, of Beacon Falls, was heading south at about 2:15 a.m. Friday when it veered off the road, went down an embankment and struck a tree.

Gruner was taken to Waterbury Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

The reason the vehicle went off the road is under investigation.

Police are asking any witnesses to the crash to contact them.

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NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) - The search for a new president of Southern Connecticut State University is down to three finalists.

The school in New Haven announced Friday that the finalists are Joe Bertolino, president and special assistant to the chancellor at Lyndon State College in Vermont; S. Alan Ray, a visiting scholar at Harvard Law School and former president of Elmhurst College in Illinois; and Selase Williams, provost and vice president for academic affairs at Lesley University in Massachusetts.

All three candidates are scheduled to visit campus the week of June 20 to meet with faculty, students, staff, and community stakeholders.

The national search was conducted by the Regents Search Committee with assistance from the University Advisory Committee.

A final decision is expected in July.

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HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - Six of seven men sued in connection with the sexual assault of a 13-year-old girl at a New Year's Eve party in Connecticut in 2009 when they were all middle school students have settled claims against them made in the victim's lawsuit.

Court documents show three settlements came within the past month. All seven men's parents also were sued for being liable for their children's actions and all have settled, according to documents. Details of the settlements were not disclosed.

Claims remain pending against a seventh man in New Haven Superior Court.

Several attorneys in the case declined to comment.

Five of the men were arrested as juveniles and sentenced to probation.

The lawsuit says six of the men inappropriately touched the girl, while the other took a photograph.

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HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - Thousands of Connecticut families will no longer qualify for a child care subsidy because a federal grant was changed.

The Office of Early Childhood estimates approximately 4,500 families, representing about 6,100 children, won't be eligible for funds to offset the cost of child care and afterschool care starting July 1. Approximately 19,000 families are served annually.

Changes to the federal Child Care Development Block Grant, which helps fund Connecticut's Care4Kids program, are being blamed.

Congress made reforms that many advocates support, such as allowing needy parents to keep receiving the subsidy even if their income improves. However, those changes will cost more money, meaning fewer families can now be served.

OEC Commissioner Myra Jones-Taylor will testify June 15 before a U.S. Senate committee about Connecticut's need for more federal funds.

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WORCESTER, Mass. (AP) - Prosecutors have dropped charges against a Connecticut man who had been charged in connection with the theft of human bones from a Massachusetts cemetery.

Felix Delgado was one of two men charged with stealing the remains from Hope Cemetery in Worcester.

A spokesman for the district attorney's office tells the Telegram Gazette that forensic analysis found that the bones from Delgado's Bridgeport home were not consistent with the remains stolen from Hope Cemetery.

Delgado and the other man said they were Santeria priests and the bones were used for religious purposes. Santeria is a mix of Christianity and African faith practiced in the Caribbean.

Delgado, who had been held on $100,000 bail since his February arraignment, was turned to authorities in Springfield, Massachusetts, where he faces unrelated charges.

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KILLINGLY, Conn. (AP) - A Connecticut man has been charged with sexually assaulting a teenage girl who worked for him at horse riding stables in Killingly.

State police say 41-year-old Michael Sobieniak, of Brooklyn, was arrested Thursday after police launched an investigation at the Valley View Riding Stables.

The investigation began after a complaint was filed in October. Police say the alleged victim, now 22, told troopers the assaults happened when she was 13 until she was 15.

She told police she worked for Sobieniak to pay for riding lessons.

Sobieniak faces charges including second-degree sexual assault. He was held on $100,000 bond pending arraignment. It's not clear if he has an attorney.

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STAMFORD, Conn. (AP) A 16-year-old Connecticut boy charged in a fatal stabbing that police say began as a fight over spilled coffee has been offered a plea deal.
 

Stamford prosecutors offered a deal to Marquest Hall. The defense will accept or reject the offer at the next court appearance on June 29. Details of the offer weren't discussed.

The Stamford teen has been charged as an adult with murder in the March 2015 stabbing death of 52-year-old Antonio Muralles. He pleaded not guilty.

Police say it happened after Muralles bumped into Hall and may have spilled coffee on him outside a McDonald's.

Police say witnesses told them Hall and a co-defendant were hanging out in front of the restaurant looking for a fight before they attacked Muralles.

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GROTON, Conn. (AP) Two Connecticut residents have been charged in connection with the May overdose death of a 17-year-old girl.

The U.S. Attorney's office announced Wednesday that 40-year-old Ramon Gomez, of Uncasville, and 42-year-old Adele Bouthillier, of Groton, face charges including conspiracy to distribute heroin.

Police say Olivia Roark was found unresponsive of a suspected heroin overdose at a Groton hotel on May 29. She was taken to the hospital where she was later pronounced dead.

Authorities allege Bouthillier gave the victim heroin that had been purchased from Gomez.

Gomez also faces a prostitution charge for allegedly bringing Roark to the hotel to prostitute her.

It wasn't immediately known if Gomez or Bouthillier have attorneys who can comment on the charges.

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LITCHFIELD, Conn. (AP) A state judicial marshal assigned to Waterbury Superior Court has been charged with bilking an 86-year-old Torrington man out of thousands of dollars.

Authorities say 38-year-old Michael Jones used the older man's Social Security number to obtain a credit card that was used to buy bunk beds, gas, and a down payment on a $28,000 motorcycle.

The bank that issued the card tipped off the alleged victim.

Police say Jones knows the older man. Jones told police he was the older man's nephew and the credit card was a joint account which he had permission to use. Police say that's not true.

Jones, who faces charges including larceny, identity theft and criminal impersonation, remains free but has been suspended from his job without pay.

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HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy's popularity rating has hit a new low, with a majority of registered voters disapproving of how the Democrat has managed the state's economy, jobs, budget and taxes.

A new Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday shows just 24 percent of registered voters approve of how Malloy is handling his job, while 68 percent disapprove. It's a drop from Malloy's prior lowest rating of 32 percent in October.

Poll director Doug Schwartz says Malloy's numbers appear to be linked to the state's economy. Eighty percent of those surveyed say the state's economy is "not so good" or "poor," while 74 percent say jobs are difficult to find.

The survey of 1,330 voters has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 2.7 percentage points.

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STAMFORD, Conn. (AP) - A former Connecticut probation officer who pleaded guilty to taking a bribe is headed to prison.

The Chief State's Attorney's office says 38-year-old Alphah East of Meriden was sentenced Tuesday in Stamford to 18 months in prison.

Officials say the former Norwalk officer pleaded guilty in March to accepting a $5,000 check from the father of a woman he was supervising. They say he promised to get her probation terminated in exchange for the money.

Officials say the father had already given East $13,500 before the incident and had complained to the Chief State's Attorney.

East's attorney says his client became a drug addict after he was prescribed pain medication for a back injury in 2008. East was arrested in 2010.

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EAST HADDAM, Conn. (AP) - State police say a 20-year-old man died and his 47-year-old father was seriously injured when the motorcycles they were riding crashed on a winding stretch of road in East Haddam.

Police say the Meriden men were riding in Devil's Hopyard State Park at about 3:30 p.m. Tuesday when Stephen Palermo lost control of his bike, went off the road and onto the right shoulder, and struck a large tree stump.

His father, Jorge Palermo, also lost control and went off the road. Police say he suffered a broken arm, broken ribs and a punctured lung.

The crash remains under investigation.

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HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - The Connecticut Supreme Court has upheld the burglary and assault convictions of a man who claimed he was denied a fair trial because the judge ordered him to remain shackled.

Justices released a 7-0 ruling Monday rejecting Michael Brawley's appeal.

The court said the judge should not have ordered the former Waterbury man to remain shackled during trial, but there was no evidence jurors ever saw the shackles. The judge told the Supreme Court that he could not recall with certainty but believed Brawley only wore leg shackles that weren't visible to the jury.

Federal and Connecticut court rulings say defendants generally have a right to appear in court free of restraints because it may prejudice the jury.

Brawley is serving a 30-year sentence for a 2008 Naugatuck home invasion.

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HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - A Connecticut court has overturned the conviction of a man serving life in prison for the 1996 rape and murder of a 15-year-old girl whose body was never found.

The state Appellate Court on Monday ordered a new trial for George Leniart, saying the trial judge improperly excluded key evidence including a videotaped interview of a prosecution witness and expert testimony on the reliability of jailhouse informants.

Police said Leniart sexually assaulted and killed April Dawn Pennington, of Montville, in May 1996. Authorities said the girl snuck out of her house to meet with another teenager and Leniart, who was 30 at the time.

Leniart was arrested in 2008 while serving a prison sentence for raping a 13-year-old girl. Authorities said he told other inmates he killed Pennington.

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HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) The Hartford Stadium Authority is terminating its contract with the developers of a $63 million minor league baseball stadium under construction near downtown.

The Hartford Courant reports Mayor Luke Bronin announced Monday that city officials received emails from Centerplan Cos. and DoNo Hartford LLC last week saying they estimated it would take 60 days or more until the ballpark is building-code compliant.

The developers have already missed two deadlines for ``substantial completion'' of the 6,000-seat stadium. The most recent deadline was May 17. The delays have kept the Hartford Yard Goats from playing in the city.

Jason Rudnick, president with Centerplan and a principal in Do No Hartford, has said work could be halted for six months or more if the city terminates them from the project.

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HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - Connecticut's Department of Insurance is reviewing rate increase requests filed by 14 health insurance companies that range on average from 2.1 percent to 32 percent.

The private plans, offered on and off the state's health insurance exchange, provide coverage to more than 330,000 state residents.

Public comment on the proposed increases began Monday.

Insurance Commissioner Katherine Wade has called for public hearings in August on three requests for individual plans offered by some of the state's largest health insurers, Anthem Health Plans, ConnectiCare Insurance Co. and Aetna Insurance Co.

Those hearings will be held in Hartford.

The Department of Insurance says the proposed increases are being driven by several factors, including rising health care costs, such as increases in pharmacy costs and a greater demand for medical services.

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MILFORD, Conn. (AP) - A Connecticut teenager has been sentenced to 25 years in prison for fatally stabbing a classmate after she turned down his invitation to prom.

A judge handed down the sentence to 19-year-old Christopher Plaskon on Monday in Milford Superior Court.

Plaskon pleaded no contest to murder in March in the killing of 16-year-old Maren Sanchez inside Jonathan Law High School in Milford on the day of the junior prom in April 2014.

Plaskon's family and friends say he was upset with Sanchez for rejecting his invitation.

But his lawyer said the stabbing wasn't related to prom. His attorneys said he showed signs of psychosis and they considered an insanity defense.

Sanchez's parents are suing Plaskon, his parents and the Milford school system.

 

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NEW LONDON, Conn. (AP) A Haitian national whom federal authorities tried to deport repeatedly before he fatally stabbed a Connecticut woman last year has been sentenced to 60 years in prison for her murder.

A state judge in New London imposed the maximum sentence Monday on Jean Jacques.

The 41-year-old Jacques was convicted in April of murder in the June 2015 killing of 25-year-old Casey Chadwick. Her body was found in a closet in her Norwich apartment.

Federal authorities had tried repeatedly to deport Jacques, who was living in the U.S. illegally. But Haiti officials wouldn't take him back after he served 17 years behind bars for a 1997 attempted murder conviction.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials released Jacques from jail in early 2015. Chadwick was killed six months later.

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MERIDEN, Conn. (AP) Authorities say one person has died in an early morning house fire in Meriden that may have been caused by a stove burner being left on.

The blaze on Pettit Drive was reported at about 3:30 a.m. Friday.

A male resident of the home escaped, but a woman had to be rescued by firefighters from a rear bedroom.

Both were taken to the hospital, where the woman died.

No names were immediately released.

Fire Chief Ken Morgan says it appears the blaze originated in the stove. He says there were no working smoke alarms in the home. The fire is not considered suspicious.

Neighbors reported hearing an explosion but officials say that was likely a propane tank that went off after the fire started.

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MIDDLETOWN, Conn. (AP) Connecticut firefighters made an unexpected rescue after a Great Dane became trapped on the roof of a home.

Firefighters were called to the Middletown home around 7:30 a.m. Friday. They say the dog got on the roof by pushing through the screen on a window.

Neighbors heard the dog barking and called for help.

Firefighter Mike Souza says he was able to guide the dog back through the open window. No injuries were reported.

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SOMERS, Conn. (AP) The doctor who bought a Connecticut home that's a replica of Thomas Jefferson's Monticello says he's a history buff and admirer of the founding fathers.

Dr. John Papale, who currently lives in Longmeadow, Massachusetts, made the high bid of $2.1 million for the home in nearby Somers at auction this week.

He tells The Courant he plans on moving his family into the home later this year.

He first saw the interior of the 10,000-square foot mansion at a charity event a month ago, and visited several more times.

S. Prestley Blake, co-founder of the Friendly's restaurant chain, is a longtime admirer of Jefferson who had the home built for $7.7 million in 2014 just before his 100th birthday.

Papale says he's now inspired to see the real Monticello in Virginia.

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STAMFORD, Conn. (AP) A Connecticut man will be sentenced to serve 30 years behind bars after he admitted to fatally stabbing a Norwalk cab driver in December 2014.

The Stamford Advocate reports 34-year-old Ramiro Arcos-Garcia pleaded guilty Wednesday in Stamford Superior Court murdering 51-year-old Jackson Pierre-Louis on Dec. 8, 2014.

Prosecutors say Arcos-Garcia stabbed Pierre-Louis in the chest and twice in his stomach before fatally slashing him on the right side of his neck.

Arcos-Garcia gave police multiple stories about the murder, the last involving a sexual encounter between the two men.

The Norwalk man was also charged with attempted escape approximately six weeks after his arrest when guards found loose window latches, two prison-made knives and 60 feet of rope fashioned from bed sheets in his jail cell.

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STAMFORD, Conn. (AP) A former aide for Republican U.S. Senate candidate August Wolf claims that the politician and ex-Olympian made unwanted sexual advances toward her and violated election laws.

The woman, a political consultant and finance director hired by Wolf in March, filed the 12-page sexual harassment lawsuit Wednesday in Stamford Superior Court.

The complaint alleges that Wolf inappropriately touched the woman and asked if she had ``ever been sexually satisfied by a real man,'' among other accusations.

Wolf has vehemently denied the claims.

The embattled politician's campaign has been plagued by staff shakeups, the threat of election sanctions and allegations of a homophobic work environment.

Wolf must collect signatures from 8,079 registered Republicans by June 7 to qualify for a primary against state Rep. Dan Carter, the GOP's endorsed candidate.

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NORWICH, Conn. (AP) Police in Connecticut say they were able to apprehend a suspect they were running after thanks to a passing motorist who saw the foot pursuit and offered an officer a ride.

The Bulletin of Norwich reports that two Norwich officers on Wednesday pulled over a vehicle that was suspected of being involved in an earlier road rage incident.

The driver fled on foot and officers gave chase.

During the pursuit, an unknown citizen driving by offered a ride to one officer, who accepted. The officer was dropped off in front of the suspect and arrested him.

The anonymous driver then left the scene, but police issued a public thank you.

The suspect, meanwhile, faces a charge of driving a motor vehicle while under suspension, and drug offenses.

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NEW BRITAIN, Conn. (AP) A Massachusetts man has been charged with using a Texas man's Social Security number to fraudulently collect nearly $24,000 in unemployment benefits in Connecticut.

Daniel Cordova, of Holyoke, Massachusetts, was arraigned Tuesday in New Britain Superior Court on charges of larceny in the first degree by defrauding a public community and unemployment compensation fraud. The 35-year-old Cordova had been arrested in Massachusetts and was returned to Connecticut authorities.

Investigators say Cordova, who previously worked for a Connecticut company, used the Social Security number assigned to a Texas man to fraudulently collect approximately $23,591 in unemployment benefits from November 2008 through May 2011.

Cordova's bond was set at $1,000 cash. His case was continued to June 16.

It's unclear whether Cordova has a lawyer who could comment on the charges.

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HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) A former Connecticut group home operator has agreed to pay $1.5 million to settle allegations it received overpayments from the state's Medicaid program.

Authorities announced Tuesday that REM Connecticut Community Services Inc. entered into a civil settlement agreement with the federal and state governments.

REM, formerly located in Middletown, operated various group homes that provided services to the intellectually disabled and at-risk youth.

The government alleges that REM between June 2007 and June 2014 incorrectly reported certain interest expenses as allowable costs under the state's cost standards, resulting in the overpayments.

REM ceased operations in late 2014.

The Mentor Network, a Boston-based organization of which REM was a part, said in a statement that REM billed according to contract and only for services delivered. It says REM's closure in 2014 was unrelated.

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HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) A 23-year-old Connecticut man has been convicted of raping and fatally beating a Manchester woman before setting her body on fire in a January 2014 attack.

A Superior Court jury on Tuesday returned guilty verdicts on all six counts against Steven Durdek in connection with the death of 56-year-old Sarah Kelloway.

Durdek faces a maximum sentence of 130 years in prison after being convicted of murder, felony murder, first-degree burglary, first-degree sexual assault, first-degree arson and tampering with evidence.

Police say Durdek did not know Kelloway before the attack.

Prosecutor David Zagaja says DNA evidence collected from Kelloway's charred body and a doorknob on her Park Street apartment placed Durdek and no one else at the crime scene.

Durdek is scheduled to be sentenced on Sept. 6.

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HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - A Waterbury man facing federal child pornography charges is asking a judge to dismiss the case based on what he says was an illegal search.

John Eastman is charged with coercion and enticement of minors and possession of child pornography. Prosecutors say he pretended to be a member of a famous musical group and used Skype to communicate with teenage girls, in one case persuading a girl between 13 and 16 to pose in sexually explicit ways.

The New Haven Register reports that Eastman in his motion to dismiss says police entered his home without permission and seized his computer without a warrant.

Authorities say the 48-year-old Eastman consented to the search and voluntarily surrendered the computer.

The parties are scheduled to meet Tuesday in court to discuss the case.

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NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) Neighbors and pet lovers are up in arms after a dead dog was found in a crate put out for trash collection in New Haven on Memorial Day.

Police were called to a residence on Blake Street after the dog was found Monday among bagged leaves and other trash left for pickup.

District patrol Sgt. Steven Teague says the canine is a small white ``lap dog'' with no noticeable signs of trauma.

Police are investigating, although Teague says it's likely the incident is a case of someone whose pet died and they didn't know how to properly deal with its disposal.

It's unclear who the dog belonged to or how it died. Police are attempting to locate the owners of the home where the dog was found in front of.

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SOMERS, Conn. (AP) - A Connecticut home that is a replica of Thomas Jefferson's Monticello is about to go on the auction block.

The sale of the 10,000-square-foot home in Somers is set for Tuesday.

The co-founder of the Springfield, Massachusetts-based Friendly's restaurant chain had the house built for $7.7 million in 2014 ahead of his 100th birthday. No one has ever lived in the home, and it failed to sell for a reduced listing price of $4.9 million.

S. Prestley Blake had the home built because he's a fan of Jefferson. Jefferson's Monticello was built over 28 years in Charlottesville, Virginia.

The copycat home mimics the original from the outside but has an updated interior that includes an elevator, gourmet kitchen and lights and heating that can be controlled from a phone app.

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WASHINGTON (AP) - Democratic officials have rejected Bernie Sanders' request to remove two high-profile Hillary Clinton supporters from leadership positions at the party's summer convention.

Sanders' presidential campaign said in a letter Friday to the Democratic National Committee that Dannel Malloy, Connecticut's governor, and Barney Frank, a former Massachusetts congressman, couldn't be relied upon to perform their roles "fairly and capably while laboring under such deeply held bias."

Malloy is Platform Committee co-chairman. Frank is co-chairman of the Rules Committee.

Democratic officials responded to Sanders' request on Saturday, saying in a letter that Malloy and Frank were elected under party rules and that Sanders wasn't alleging any violations of that process.

The DNC says it reviewed the challenge, found it failed to meet the criteria and "we are compelled to dismiss it."

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BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (AP) - A former Connecticut state employee and professional tax preparer has been sentenced to prison for tax evasion.

Authorities say East Hartford resident Shaukat Dalal was sentenced Friday to four months behind bars, followed by six months of home confinement and three years' probation.

Dalal pleaded guilty to tax evasion on Dec. 2.

Dalal was a fiscal administration assistant for the state of Connecticut and the owner of a tax preparation business, Tax Preparation SVS, Inc. He and his wife also owned a holding company, Ameen LLC.

Prosecutors say the 55-year-old Dalal failed to report nearly $400,000 in income from his businesses between 2009 and 2011. They say he didn't deposit many of the receipts from both businesses into business bank accounts.

He was ordered to report to prison July 20.

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HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - Connecticut's health insurance marketplace is helping up to 18,000 people who no longer qualify for Medicaid health coverage to enroll in private insurance plans.

Access Health CT says it will begin reaching out on June 2 to help enrollees find and enroll in new plans before the July 31 deadline.

Legislation passed last year reduced the income limits for parents and caretaker relatives of children enrolled in the state's HUSKY health insurance program. Eligibility for the HUSKY A program dropped from 201 percent of the federal poverty level to 155 percent. The change is expected to save the state $87 million.

The 18,000 affected enrollees must move to a plan offered through Access Health CT or apply for coverage through a different Medicaid plan.

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HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - Gov. Dannel P. Malloy has signed into law the latest legislative effort to combat opioid abuse in Connecticut.

This year's bill, which he signed during a ceremony Friday at the Legislative Office Building, limits first-time prescriptions for adults to seven days. That change will take effect starting July 1.

The bill also requires cities and towns to amend their emergency service plans by Oct. 1 to ensure first responders are trained and equipped with drugs to help reverse opioid overdoses.

Malloy was surrounded by lawmakers, advocates and families who've lost loved ones to drug abuse. They included Sue Kruczek, whose 20-year-old son Nick died in 2013 from a heroin overdose. He previously took pills.

Holding up a picture of her family, Kruczek said the seven-day prescription limit will help save lives.

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WATERBURY, Conn. (AP) - A Connecticut man charged with robbing several teenagers waiting in line to buy Air Jordans has been sentenced to up to eight years in prison.

The Republican-American reports that under a plea deal, 24-year-old Angel Cintron pleaded to first-degree robbery under the Alford Doctrine in connection with the theft at about 1:30 a.m. last July while the victims waited outside a Waterbury sporting goods store to buy Air Jordan Bourdeaux sneakers.

The deal means he doesn't agree with all the evidence but acknowledges there's enough to convict.

Authorities say Cintron was one of three people who stole cash, phones and a laptop from at least six teens. Two of the robbers had guns.

The same trio was suspected of two other robberies.

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SUFFIELD, Conn. (AP) - Authorities are investigating the theft of a $25,000 oil painting from a Connecticut home.

Police say the burglary is believed to have happened sometime last weekend at the Suffield home.

The owner was in the process of moving, so the home was apparently unlocked when the artwork was taken.

Lt. Ryan Burrell says the unidentified owner told police he has no interest in pressing charges. He just wants it back and is offering a reward for its return.

Burrell says police have contacted local art dealers and auctions to report the theft and ensure the painting won't be sold.

Detective Justin Fuller says the signed oil painting was an original work of Henry Farny, a renowned artist of the late 19th and early 20th century.

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SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (AP) - A Connecticut man who was caught with more than 100 pounds of marijuana and $1 million cash in a storage locker he rented in Massachusetts has been sent to prison for a year.

A federal judge on Thursday also sentenced 31-year-old Connor Cipolla, of Granby, Connecticut, to three years of probation and fined him $15,000.

Cipolla pleaded guilty in February to possession with intent to distribute marijuana.

Prosecutors say when Cipolla went to his storage locker in Agawam in October 2014, he saw federal agents conducting a search of another locker. Mistakenly believing agents were searching his locker, Cipolla fled, eventually abandoning his car in an effort to evade police.

Agents later obtained a search warrant for Cipolla's locker and discovered the pot and cash.

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