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State Headlines

Man backs into pump, ignites blaze at Farmington gas station


FARMINGTON, Conn. (AP) Two cars were engulfed in flames and several others were damaged after a 70-year-old motorist crashed into a pump at a Farmington gas station.

The fire was reported around 6:45 p.m. Monday at the Food Bag/Citgo station on Main Street.

Police say the driver backed into the pump after accidentally hitting the gas instead of the brake. The impact tipped the pump onto another car and ignited the blaze.

In all, two cars were left completely burnt and three others were damaged. The flames also charred the canopy above the pumps.

Police say everyone had time to evacuate following the crash. No injuries were reported.

It's unclear if the motorist will face any charges. An investigation is ongoing.

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Connecticut woman gets 4 years in fatal hit-and-run


WATERBURY, Conn. (AP) A Connecticut woman who ran from the scene of a crash that left a young mother of two dead has been sentenced to four years in prison.

The Republican-American reports that Clara Hinton was sentenced Monday after pleading no contest to evading responsibility in which there was a death. She has been in jail since her arrest in January shortly following the accident.

Prosecutors say the 24-year-old Hinton was in a car that wasn't registered or insured and had a license plate that belonged to a camping trailer.

They say she struck a parked car and the woman standing next to it. That woman, Genesis Baez, died, leaving behind two children.

Hinton, meanwhile, crawled from the wreckage, and ran away on foot.

Hinton apologized in court.

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Hartford shooting leaves man in critical condition


HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - Police say a 27-year-old man was seriously injured after he was struck several times in the upper body during a nighttime shooting in Hartford's north end.

Officers were dispatched to the scene near the intersection of Magnolia and Mather streets following reports of the shooting around 10 p.m. Monday.

The victim, who wasn't identified, was found suffering from multiple gunshot wounds. He transported to St. Francis Hospital in critical condition.

The circumstances of the shooting remain unclear. It's unknown if police have any suspects in custody.

Hartford police's Major Crimes Division is handling the investigation.

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Gene Wilder, star of Mel Brooks movies, dies at 83


Gene Wilder, the star of such comedy classics as ``Young Frankenstein'' and ``Blazing Saddles,'' has died. He was 83.

Wilder's nephew said Monday that the actor and writer died late Sunday in Stamford, Connecticut from complications from Alzheimer's disease.

The frizzy-haired actor was a master at playing panicked characters caught up in schemes that only a madman such as Mel Brooks could devise, whether reviving a monster in ``Young Frankenstein'' or bilking Broadway in ``The Producers.''

But he also knew how to keep it cool as the boozy sheriff in ``Blazing Saddles'' and as the charming candy man in the children's favorite ``Willy Wonka the Chocolate Factory.''

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Navy gets $2.7B attack submarine sponsored by Michelle Obama


A Connecticut company has delivered to the U.S. Navy an attack submarine that is sponsored by first lady Michelle Obama and will be named for her home state.

General Dynamics Electric Boat delivered the submarine that will become the USS Illinois on Saturday after more than five years of construction.

The first lady will be involved in the life of the submarine and the lives of its sailors and their families.

The submarine will begin its active service at a commissioning ceremony on Oct. 29.

It took thousands of shipyard employees in Connecticut, Rhode Island and Virginia and submarine supply businesses nationwide to build the $2.7 billion submarine.

Electric Boat is based in Groton and has been designing and building submarines since 1900.

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Police identify Stamford teen gunned down in Bridgeport


BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (AP) - Police have identified a Stamford teen who was fatally shot in what investigators believe may have been a drug deal gone bad in Bridgeport this past weekend.

Officials confirmed Sunday that 18-year-old Shane Slinsky was killed at a home on Wood Terrace around 4:30 p.m. Saturday. Slinsky was found shot twice in the head and was rushed to St. Vincent's Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Police say Slinsky had no apparent ties to Bridgeport and it's unclear what he was doing in town.

The incident is being investigated as the city's sixth homicide this year. No shell casings were found in the area.

Detectives have not identified a suspect or clear motive for the shooting.

An investigation is ongoing.

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Connecticut fugitive awaiting extradition in Delaware


CHESHIRE, Conn. (AP) - Authorities say a Connecticut man wanted as a fugitive from justice after he skipped town following a domestic dispute last week has been apprehended in Delaware.

Police say Bradley Michaels was taken into custody Saturday afternoon in Wilmington, Delaware. The Cheshire man was wanted on charges of second-degree assault and second-degree strangulation stemming from an Aug. 23 incident in the town.

A warrant for Michaels' arrest was issued on Wednesday following his disappearance. He remains held in Delaware while awaiting extradition to Connecticut.

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Malloy says I-84 widening ahead of schedule by 10 months


WATERBURY, Conn. (AP) - Gov. Dannel P. Malloy says the widening of Interstate 84 in Waterbury is ahead of schedule.

The Democratic governor announced Friday the plan to expand the highway with an additional travel lane in each direction is currently 10 months ahead of schedule. The project started in March 2015 and is scheduled for completion in June 2020.

The wide-ranging project includes 20 retaining walls, realigning the roadway to eliminate the exiting "S'' curve, reconfiguring interchange ramps, relocating a sanitary sewer, a river and a brook.

John Dunham, the I-84 Waterbury district engineer, says the Department of Transportation is "seeing real progress every day."

State officials expect the project will remain ahead of schedule and on budget by sustaining the same pace of work and continued good weather.

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Connecticut agency still awaits river water testing results


HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - Connecticut officials are still awaiting the results of water and soil sediment tests taken after an estimated 300 gallons of chemicals spilled into the Quinnipiac River in Southington.

Department of Energy and Environmental Protection spokesman Dennis Schain said Friday the agency expects to receive the results over the weekend. Staff will review them on Monday and make a decision about whether the continuing environmental cleanup has been sufficient or whether more work needs to be done.

In the meantime, Schain says people still should not eat fish taken from the river between West Queen Street and downstream to Route 10 in Southington.

DEEP is also still advising the public to stay away from the river banks in the area where chemicals were released from a metal plating company.

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Public pool proposal makes waves on Connecticut "Gold Coast"


The latest plan to build the first public pool in the wealthy Connecticut town of Darien is making waves.

The turbulence developed over the past several months after a consultant recommended an outdoor, seasonal pool at the town-owned Weed Beach Park, which sits on Long Island Sound next to multimillion-dollar houses.

Nearby property owners are voicing concerns over security, traffic, noise, cost, and building in a wetlands area vulnerable to damage from storm surges.

But a survey of 2,100 residents shows 66 percent support building a pool at the park.

The town's Parks and Recreation Commission has decided to go back to the drawing board and evaluate several possible locations, including Weed Beach, as part of Darien's master park plan.

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Prison: Man convicted in deadly home invasion tried suicide


HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - A man convicted in the slayings of a mother and her two daughters during a home invasion in a wealthy Connecticut suburb has tried to kill himself in prison.

Department of Correction spokeswoman Karen Martucci says Joshua Komisarjevsky tried to hang himself Aug. 18. She says it happened shortly after Komisarjevsky and accomplice Steven Hayes were transferred to the SCI Camp Hill Correctional Institution in Pennsylvania.

The men recently had their death sentences changed to life without parole.

Martucci says Komisarjevsky didn't require medical attention outside the prison and is receiving mental health treatment.

The men were convicted of the 2007 murders of Jennifer Hawke-Petit and her daughters at their Cheshire home, which was set on fire. They blamed each other. Husband and father William Petit survived.

Komisarjevsky's lawyer hasn't returned a message left Thursday seeking comment.

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Waterbury police employee on leave over handling of 911 call


WATERBURY, Conn. (AP) A civilian employee of the Waterbury Police Department has been placed on leave while the way she handled a 911 call about the shooting of a food delivery driver is investigated.

Police on Thursday said seven-year department employee Nicole Scarino is on leave.

Two people who worked for a Chinese restaurant were ambushed Tuesday night while making a delivery. Fifty-nine-year-old Helena Vargas was shot in the neck and killed. Her male companion was beaten. Four teenagers face murder charges.

In the 911 call, there appears to be a frustrating language barrier between the caller and the person handling the call. The person handling the call shouts and groans.

Mayor Neil O'Leary tells The Republican-American the person who took the call showed ``a lack of compassion and a lack of professionalism.''

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Connecticut man pleads guilty in friend's death


NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) A New Haven man has pleaded guilty to strangling an acquaintance and setting fire to his apartment.

The New Haven Register reports that Demetrius Robinson on Thursday pleaded guilty to reduced charges of first-degree manslaughter and second-degree arson in exchange for a 25-year prison sentence.

He had originally faced a murder charge in connection with the May 2015 death of 56-year-old Willie Evans.

Police say Robinson killed his friend then set fire to his public housing apartment to cover up the crime. Investigators initially thought Evans died from smoke inhalation, but the medical examiner determined Evans died from ``neck compression homicide.''

Prosecutors say the men knew each other and records show multiple phone calls between the two.

Formal sentencing was scheduled for Nov. 3.

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Police: 13-year-old boy driving stolen car dies in crash


HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) -- Police in Connecticut say a 13-year-old boy driving a stolen car has died in a fiery early morning crash.

 

Hartford Deputy Chief Brian Foley tells the Hartford Courant the crash was reported at about 3 a.m. Thursday.

The severely burned driver was pronounced dead at the scene.

 

Foley says a 15-year-old passenger was taken by a private vehicle to St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center, then transferred to the burns unit at Bridgeport Hospital where he was "alert and conscious."

 

Both the car that crashed and the vehicle that dropped the other victim at the hospital were reported stolen from an apartment complex in Middletown.

 

No names were released.

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League official: No Hartford team if stadium isn't completed


HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) -- Hartford could lose its minor league baseball team if there isn't immediate action to resume completion of its ballpark.

 

Eastern League President Joe McEacham issued the ultimatum Thursday during a news conference outside Dunkin' Donuts Park. He says construction delays have already forced the Hartford Yard Goats play the entire 2016 season on the road and the league won't risk that for 2017. He didn't announce specific deadlines.

 

The Yard Goats are the Double-A affiliate of the Colorado Rockies. They were supposed to open play in the new $60 million stadium in April after moving from New Britain. Construction delays pushed back the opening date and the city eventually fired the developer.

 

Construction has been suspended amid an insurance investigation and lawsuit by the developer.

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Maine Gov: Most drug dealers arrested are black, Hispanic from CT, NY


NORTH BERWICK, Maine (AP) - Maine Gov. Paul LePage is in hot water once again for comments about drug dealers arrested in the state, saying photos he's collected show more than 90 percent of them are black or Hispanic.

The Portland Press Herald reports the Republican governor made the reference Wednesday at a town hall in North Berwick. A businessman asked how he could bring a company to Maine, "given the rhetoric you put out there about people of color."

LePage says he keeps a three-ringed binder of photos from drug busts and most "are black and Hispanic people from Waterbury, Connecticut; the Bronx; and Brooklyn."

Some called his comments racially charged. LePage, who's white, says he's not racist.

In January, LePage said drug dealers with names like "D-Money, Smoothie, Shifty" are getting Maine's white girls pregnant.

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Woman delivering Chinese food is fatally shot during robbery


WATERBURY, Conn. (AP) -- Police say a woman delivering Chinese food in Connecticut has been shot and killed during a robbery.

 

Waterbury police say the attack was reported at around 9:30 p.m. Tuesday.

 

Responding officers found a man and a woman injured. Police say the two worked for a Chinese restaurant and had been robbed while making a delivery.

 

The man had been assaulted, and the woman had been shot in the neck.

 

The woman was identified as 59-year-old Helena Vargas. She died at a hospital.

 

Police made four arrests Wednesday morning on murder charges. The suspects are 19-year-old Anthony Wright, a 16-year-old boy, a 16-year-old girl and a 17-year-old girl.

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State trooper, 2 men pull crash victim from burning car


PLAINVILLE, Conn. (AP) - With the help of two bystanders, a Connecticut State Police trooper successfully freed a man trapped inside a burning car in Plainville.

State police say 58-year-old David Bartlett was traveling east along state Route 72 when he lost control of his Pontiac Grand Prix and struck a metal guard rail before slamming into a bridge.

The impact of the collision caused Bartlett's car to burst into flames with him still inside.

 

 

Working a construction detail nearby, Trooper Thomas Karanda responded immediately. Karanda smashed the driver's side window of Bartlett's vehicle, and he was able to pull him from the fiery wreck with help from a construction worker and a passing motorist.

Bartlett was transported to Hartford Hospital for evaluation of his injuries.

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Construction worker dies following accident at Westport site


WESTPORT, Conn. (AP) Police say a 69-year-old construction worker has died from injuries sustained in an accident at a work site in Westport.

Lt. Eric Woods says Westport officers were dispatched to the scene at around 12:20 p.m. Tuesday.

The man, identified on Wednesday as Herbert Grant, of Stratford, was supervising the pouring of concrete at a Country Lane home when he was fatally struck in the upper body by the boom extending off of the front of a concrete truck.

He was taken to Norwalk Hospital, where he later died.

Grant was an employee of Suzio-York Hill Asphalt and Concrete Suppliers of Meriden.

Police say the investigation is ongoing with help from the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

This story has been corrected to change the name of the street on which the accident occurred, per police.

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UConn freshman class most diverse in school's history


STORRS, Conn. (AP) - The University of Connecticut's incoming freshman class is the most diverse in school history.

UConn released its annual enrollment figures Tuesday morning.

The freshman class includes 5,100 students, 3,800 of whom will attend the main campus in Storrs. A record 37 percent of those come from minority backgrounds.

The percentage of minority students continues an upward trend from 14 percent in 1996, with the biggest growth coming in the school's Hispanic population.

The freshman class also is among the most accomplished in school history with 181 valedictorians or salutatorians, up from 42 students 20 years ago.

Classes begin next Monday.

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Crews battle blaze at sewage treatment facility in Cromwell


CROMWELL, Conn. (AP) - It took seven hours for firefighters from four departments to knock out a blaze that tore through a sewage treatment plant in Cromwell.

The fire was reported in the incineration wing of the Mattabassett District sewage treatment facility at about 7:30 a.m. Monday. Crews from Cromwell, Middletown, Westfield and Rocky Hill responded.

Executive director Arthur Simonian says staff called in the blaze after noticing that a tank that stores granular carbon was too hot and starting to smoke.

Officials say water treatment is not affected but sludge burning has been temporarily halted.

Simonian says it's too soon to know how much repairs will cost, but they are expected to take between three to five months to complete. The full extent of the damage to the facility is not yet known.

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Name of Meriden crash victim released; search on for driver


MERIDEN, Conn. (AP) - Police have released the name of the person killed when a stolen car struck a tree in Meriden last week, but say they are still looking for the other occupant of the vehicle, who fled on foot after the crash.

The victim of the pre-dawn crash Friday was identified Monday as Deshawn Jones, the vehicle's passenger.

Sgt. Christopher Fry says no arrests had been made but investigators have "identified a juvenile person of interest."

Just minutes before the crash, officers had responded to report of two men "checking" cars in a nearby residential neighborhood. Officers saw a vehicle fleeing the area at a high rate of speed.

The medical examiner says Jones died from blunt force injury to the head, neck, torso and extremities suffered in the crash.

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Teacher faces arraignment in fatal pedestrian accident


NEW BRITAIN, Conn. (AP) - A fifth-grade teacher in Connecticut accused of running a red light and killing a pedestrian in her hometown of Newington is facing her first court appearance in the case.

Alyssa Santos is scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday in New Britain Superior Court on charges of negligent homicide with a motor vehicle and failing to obey a traffic signal.

Authorities say Santos struck 63-year-old Walter Arnett, of Newington, on Cedar Street in February. He died about two weeks later.

Police say Arnett was intoxicated and entered the crosswalk before the pedestrian signal indicated it was OK to cross. Santos tested negative for alcohol and drugs. Newington police arrested Santos on July 21.

Santos teaches at Prudence Crandall Elementary School in Enfield.

Santos' lawyer has not returned messages seeking comment.

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Police seek suspects in house party shooting that injured 13


BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (AP) - Police are seeking at least two suspects in a shooting at a crowded Connecticut house party that left 13 people wounded.

Bridgeport police say they believe the shooters were hiding behind bushes alongside the house, and while the party was going on early Sunday morning, opened fire on more than 100 people.

Most of the victims suffered gunshot wounds to their legs. By Sunday afternoon, only five remained hospitalized.

Police say the people who threw the party had gone to the police department at one point to try to apply for a permit to sell alcohol, which was denied.

Police say they believe they charged for alcohol anyway, and could face criminal charges.

A motive for the shooting remains unclear. Police are investigating whether the suspects were partygoers.

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2 people shot, injured at house party on reservation


LEDYARD, Conn. (AP) - Two people were shot and injured at a house party on a Native American reservation in southeastern Connecticut.

Connecticut State Police say it happened around 2:30 a.m. Saturday at a home on land belonging to the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation in Ledyard. Witnesses told police there was a large party in the home's basement and a disturbance occurred.

A 24-year-old woman was shot in the hand and a 21-year-old man was shot in the shoulder. Police say their injuries were not considered life-threatening.

The investigation is ongoing. Anyone with information is asked to contact state police.

The Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation owns the nearby Foxwoods Resort Casino.

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Thousands miss vehicle renewals due to computer glitch


WETHERSFIELD, Conn. (AP) - Connecticut's Department of Motor Vehicles says it discovered about 8,340 vehicle owners have not renewed registrations due last February because they didn't receive a renewal notice.

The registrations were flagged for renewal in the department's computer system but notices were never printed, the agency announced Friday. The DMV says the mistake was discovered during an ongoing review of its troubled computer upgrade.

The department says it's now sending out revised renewal notices. Drivers are being urged to carry the notice in their vehicle to show police, if stopped.

Affected vehicle owners will have 30 days to complete their registration renewals. Any late fees associated with the overdue notices will be waived. Renewals cannot be done online.

The DMV is providing an envelope with the notices to help customers avoid visiting a branch office.

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Malloy's budget office releasing funds to watchdog agencies


HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy's budget office is releasing $183,000 in state funds it withheld from the state's three watchdog agencies.

Leaders of the Office of State Ethics, State Elections Enforcement and Freedom of Information commissions have argued the Democratic governor was prevented by law from reducing their budgets, pointing to legislation passed in 2004 to protect the agencies' independence.

Office of Policy and Management Secretary Ben Barnes has disagreed.

But on Friday, following a meeting with the agency heads, Barnes says he has ``voluntarily agreed that it is in the best interest of the watchdog agencies and the state to release the holdback of their appropriations.''

Colleen Murphy, executive director of the FOI commission, says this agreement means her agency no longer faces having to lay off another worker.

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High court sides with employee fired for smoking pot at work


HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - Connecticut's top court has ruled that a state worker fired for smoking marijuana on the job in 2012 was penalized too harshly and should get his job back.

The Supreme Court justices said Friday that a lower court judge was wrong to overturn the decision of an arbitrator. The arbitrator had ordered University of Connecticut Health Center maintenance worker Gregory Linhoff suspended without pay for six months and subjected to random drug testing for one year. Officials fired Linhoff after the judge's ruling.

State officials said allowing Linhoff to return to work would violate public policy against drug use in the workplace and send a bad message to other workers.

The Supreme Court said Linhoff deserved to be disciplined, but state policy doesn't require firing him.

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1 dead, 1 missing after Connecticut car crash


MERIDEN, Conn. (AP) - Meriden police say one person has died in an early morning crash but they are still looking for another occupant of the vehicle who apparently fled after the crash.

The crash was reported at about 2:40 a.m. Friday on Maple Avenue.

Police say the car, which they confirmed had been stolen, struck a tree.

Just minutes earlier officers had responded to report of two men "checking" cars in a nearby residential neighborhood. Officers saw a vehicle fleeing the area at a high rate of speed.

One of the vehicle's occupants was dead at the scene.

Police dogs were called to the scene in an attempt to locate the other person.

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Ex-Connecticut death row inmates transferred to Pennsylvania


HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - Two former death-row inmates convicted of killing a mother and her two daughters during a 2007 Connecticut home invasion have been transferred to separate facilities in Pennsylvania.

Joshua Komisarjevsky and Steven Hayes were convicted in the slayings of Jennifer Hawke-Petit and her two daughters in a home invasion in Cheshire.

Both were recently resentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole after the Connecticut Supreme Court ruled the death penalty in the state was unconstitutional.

State prisons officials gave no reason for the Aug. 16 transfers, other than saying it was done as part of an interstate corrections compact for "reasons of safety and security." The compact, in effect since 1973, allows for the transfers between states.

The state Correction Department says both men will be housed out of state for an indefinite period of time.

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Sailor gets year in prison for taking photos in nuclear sub


BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (AP) - A U.S. Navy sailor has been sentenced to a year in prison for taking photos of classified areas inside a nuclear attack submarine while it was in port in Connecticut.

Kristian Saucier, of Arlington, Vermont, was sentenced Friday in federal court in Bridgeport.

Saucier pleaded guilty in May to unauthorized detention of defense information.

He also must serve six months of home confinement.

Saucier compared his case to Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server when she was secretary of state. The FBI declined to charge Clinton for her handling of classified information while using the server.

Saucier took six photos inside the USS Alexandria in 2009 when it was in Groton. The photos were on a phone that was found at a waste transfer station in Connecticut.

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Woman charged with hitting other woman with carton of eggs


MILFORD, Conn. (AP) - A Connecticut woman is facing charges after police say she hit another woman in the head with a carton of eggs during an argument.

The New Haven Register reports Crystal Strain, of Milford, is scheduled to appear in court Wednesday. The 22-year-old Strain is charged with disorderly conduct.

Milford police Officer Joseph Dempsey says officers were called to Strain's home around 12:30 p.m. Tuesday for a report of possible domestic violence. Responding officers found that Strain hit the other woman inside the home. It's unclear how the women are acquainted.

Strain was arrested and released on personal recognizance.

It's unclear whether Strain has a lawyer who could comment.

A public records search did not turn up a home phone number for Strain.

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Loan manager sentenced to prison for embezzlement


HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - A Connecticut woman has been sentenced to prison for embezzling more than $840,000 from the credit union where she worked as a loan manager.

The U.S. Attorney's Office says 43-year-old Pamela Mallory, of Enfield, was sentenced Wednesday to 21 months behind bars and ordered to pay full restitution. Mallory pleaded guilty in May to federal embezzlement.

Prosecutors say Mallory took the money from five home equity lines of credit that she had opened in the name of a customer at the Windsor-Locks-based 360 Federal Credit Union.

Prosecutors say the customer wasn't aware of the loans. They say Mallory made interest payments on the lines of credit from her own checking account to avoid detection and used the proceeds from the embezzlement to pay her own creditors.

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Electrical malfunction blamed for injuries at amusement park


NEW LONDON, Conn. (AP) - An electrical malfunction has been identified as the cause of the electric shock that sent five people on a ride at a Connecticut amusement park to the hospital.

A man and four children ranging in age from 4 to 10 were shocked on the Scrambler ride at Ocean Beach Park in New London on Tuesday.

Deputy Police Chief Peter Reichard said Wednesday an issue in the wiring for the lighting of another ride was the problem. Because the Scrambler's electricity feeds from the other ride, the other ride's faulty wiring fed electricity through the Scrambler and to the aluminum handrails around it.

A 10-year-old boy suffered burns to the palm. All the injured have been released from the hospital.

The rides temporarily closed while the wiring was repaired before reopening.

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Teen falls 20 feet from rope swing at Torrington pond


TORRINGTON, Conn. (AP) State Environmental Conservation police are investigating after a 17-year-old boy was injured in a fall at a Torrington pond.

Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection officials say the teen fell 20 feet from a rope swing at Stillwater Pond on Tuesday afternoon.

The boy was rushed to Waterbury Hospital for treatment. The extent of his injuries is unknown at this time.

Stillwater Pond is not a guarded swim area and does not have lifeguards on duty at any time. It is mainly used for fishing and boating.

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Police: Norwalk man shot oxygen tank outside Greenwich home


GREENWICH, Conn. (AP) Greenwich police have issued an arrest warrant for a Norwalk man they say tried to blow up an oxygen tank by shooting at it.

Police say 35-year-old Matthew Ilchert went to the home of acquaintance Ed Koller on Monday, placed an oxygen tank against a pillar and fired a pistol at it in an apparent attempt to cause an explosion.

Koller says he had been helping Ilchert try to win back an ex-girlfriend, but their relationship soured.

Police say after the shooting, Ilchert struck Koller with his car while fleeing. Ilchert crashed near the Westchester County Airport in New York and was arrested. He remains in custody there.

Greenwich police are working with New York authorities on his extradition.

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6 injured by electric shocks from amusement park ride


NEW LONDON, Conn. (AP) Police say six people were hospitalized for injuries they received when a ride at an amusement park in Connecticut shocked them.

Officers in New London were dispatched to Ocean Beach Park shortly before 2 p.m. Tuesday following reports of the injuries.

The operator of ``the Scrambler'' told police he felt a tingling sensation when he hit the stop button on the ride. The six victims, who were all treated for minor injuries at Lawrence and Memorial Hospital, said they felt the same tingling.

One of the children injured touched a metal fence on his way off the ride and was shocked, suffering a minor burn on his hand.

All rides at the park have been shut down as New London's electrical inspector and the state fire marshal investigate.

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Embattled New Haven police chief goes on sick leave


NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) - New Haven Police Chief Dean Esserman is going on temporary sick leave after finishing a paid disciplinary period following allegations he berated staff at a local restaurant.

Democratic Mayor Toni Harp announced the move Monday. Harp says Esserman will use earned and accrued sick time. She didn't say how long the chief will be out.

Esserman agreed on July 25 to go on three weeks of paid leave, which ended Monday. He may face additional discipline. He declined to comment Monday.

Harp reprimanded Esserman two years ago for his angry confrontation with an usher at the Yale Bowl. He also was suspended without pay for a day when he was chief in Providence, Rhode Island, in 2011 for reportedly threatening to throw coffee in the face of a sergeant.

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State police: Skull, skeletal remains found in East Lyme


EAST LYME, Conn. (AP) - Connecticut State Police are investigating after a human skull was discovered by a passerby on the property of an active adult community in East Lyme.

State police troopers and East Lyme officers were dispatched to the scene near Van Winkle Way just before 7 a.m. Monday following reports of a "suspicious item." Shortly after, Eastern District Major Crime Squad detectives and staff from the chief medical examiner's office were called for assistance.

The investigation soon shifted to a wooded area on Sleepy Hollow Road, where state police say more skeletal remains were found.

The bones and skull were taken to the medical examiner's office in Farmington, where investigators hope to identify the victim and determine the cause of death.

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State putting millions into renovating tennis stadium


NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) - Tennis stars arriving next week for the Connecticut Open will be greeted with a newly renovated players' center.

It's the first major renovation to the Connecticut Tennis Center since the stadium opened in 1991, but it won't be the last.

The state bought the struggling WTA tournament in 2013 for $618,000 to prevent it from moving to North Carolina. Since then, the state Bond Commission has approved spending more than $2 million on improvements, including a new press facility and heating system.

Ben Barnes, the state budget director, says improvements are needed to help the tournament become self-sufficient.

Others, including Republican state Rep. Christopher Davis, a member of the commission, say the state is wasting taxpayer money on a facility that holds just one major event a year.

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3 people facing charges for armed robbery at I-84 rest stop


WILLINGTON, Conn. (AP) - Three people are facing charges after police say they committed an armed robbery at a Connecticut highway rest stop.

The Hartford Courant reports 19-year-old Walter Kirksley and 27-year-old Benjamin Cooper, both of Alabama, and 23-year-old Karanda Clemons, of Massachusetts, are each charged with first-degree robbery and related offenses. Kirksley and Cooper are also facing weapons charges.

State police say Kirksley and Cooper approached the victim Saturday morning at an Interstate 84 rest stop in Willington and demanded money. One of the men pointed a gun at the victim and the other sprayed the victim with pepper spray before fleeing in an SUV driven by Clemons.

All three are being held on $250,000 bond and are due in court Monday.

It's unclear whether they have lawyers who could comment.

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Rescuers free squirrel with head stuck in cup


ENFIELD, Conn. (AP) - Emergency responders in Connecticut have come to the rescue of a squirrel that was caught in a nutty situation.

Members of Enfield Emergency Medical Services responded Friday after the rodent got its head stuck in what appeared to be a plastic or paper cup.

Video posted on the Enfield EMS Facebook page shows the critter wildly jumping and flipping into the air in an effort to dislodge the cup.

Responders' first attempt to remove the cup was unsuccessful. The wily rodent hopped out of one officer's hands and through the legs of another.

The second attempt proved more successful. An officer covered the animal with a blanket and held its body steady while another officer removed the cup before the critter scampered away into some nearby bushes.

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Malloy faces questions about FBI probe amid election


HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy faces challenges back home as he makes political pitches for presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and fellow Democratic governors on the campaign trail.

There's a federal investigation into fundraising for his 2014 re-election campaign, besides his low approval numbers.

It's unclear, however, whether those challenges will make Malloy a less appealing surrogate as the election season heats up. Malloy appeared on MSNBC last Tuesday to take aim at Donald Trump, despite having the probe raised during a recent Fox News interview.

Malloy says he won't be "pulled into an ongoing regular discussion on this stuff," noting how he shouldn't be commenting anyway.

Federal authorities are looking at whether funds raised by state Democrats for federal candidates were illegally spent to benefit Malloy's campaign.

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Sacred Heart president defends decision to host Trump event


FAIRFIELD, Conn. (AP) The president of Sacred Heart University in Fairfield says Donald Trump's planned weekend appearance is by no means a political endorsement, and the Catholic school has a long-standing policy of opening its doors to a variety of speakers and promoting an open dialogue.

In a blog post that appeared Friday, John Petillo wrote how Sacred Heart has received a great deal of feedback, both positive and negative, since the campaign for the Republican presidential nominee announced Thursday it's holding a 7:30 p.m. rally on Saturday at the school's William H. Pitt Center.

Petillo says the school has made its facilities available to community leaders, politicians and presidential candidates from across the political spectrum.

He says the school was asked to rent out the venue due to proximity, accessibility and availability.

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Arrest made after nearly yearlong inquiry into fatal crash


HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) Police have made an arrest after a nearly yearlong investigation into a fatal crash.

Connecticut State Police say 50-year-old Penny Ann Woodbury, of Woodstock, Connecticut was killed Sept. 9 when her motorcycle was hit by a car.

Police say the car was at fault and a warrant was issued for the driver.

The driver, 21-year-old Omar Velez, of Charlton, Massachusetts, surrendered at Troop D in Danielson on Thursday.

Velez was charged with negligent homicide with a motor vehicle, failure to obey a stop sign and possession of marijuana.

At his arraignment in Danielson Superior Court Friday, his case was continued to Sept. 19.

It's unclear if Velez is represented by an attorney who could comment on his behalf.

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Connecticut highway where a man shot himself reopens


HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - A Connecticut highway where a man shot himself has reopened.

Firefighters responded to a van fire on Interstate 84 east in Hartford, near exit 46, Friday morning.

The man was walking near the burning vehicle when firefighters and state police arrived, then he shot himself.

No one else was injured.

Police say the man is from Bristol, but have not publicly identified him.

He was taken to a Hartford hospital.

A section of the highway was closed in both directions, snarling traffic for hours. Authorities urged motorists to avoid the area.

Both sides of the highway have reopened.

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Inmate attempts escape from York Correctional Institution


NIANTIC, Conn. (AP) A 25-year-old inmate's attempt to scale the perimeter fence of the York Correctional Institution was thwarted by prison staff.

Connecticut State Police responded to the Niantic prison following an alert of the attempted escape on Thursday afternoon. Department of Corrections officials say the inmate, identified as Nicole Goldin, never made it past the fence.

Goldin has been at the correctional facility since July 21 because she has not yet been able to post a $20,000 bond on charges of criminal violation of a protective order.

No injuries were reported following the incident. The prison remained on lockdown throughout the evening. An investigation is ongoing.

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Connecticut man imprisoned for sexual assaults on teen girl


HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) A Windsor Locks man who sexually assaulted a teenage girl and sent sexually explicit messages to a teenage boy has been sentenced to nearly eight years in prison.

Andrew Cotton was also sentenced Thursday to 10 years of special parole.

The Hartford Courant reports that the 26-year-old Cotton pleaded guilty in June to second-degree sexual assault and two counts of risk of injury to a minor.

Prosecutors called Cotton a controlling, manipulative, narcissistic man with violent tendencies who is unable to accept responsibility for his crimes and directs blame to others.

Authorities said previously the girl was a family friend and the sexual contact occurred when she was 14 and 15.

The 14-year-old male victim was described as ``lower functioning'' and all contact was via the Internet.

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Evaluation sought for man accused of nursing home arson


HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) A public defender representing a 73-year-old man accused of setting fire to his room at a Connecticut nursing home has requested that her client undergo a competency evaluation.

The Hartford Courant reports attorney Claudia Jones told Harford Superior Court Judge Carl Taylor on Thursday that she was having difficulty communicating with her client, Rodrick Peters.

Peters has been charged with first-degree arson in connection with the June 18 blaze at Touchpoints in Bloomfield. Authorities say Peters used two rolls of toilet paper to set fire to a wood cabinet in his room at the nursing home.

Jones said Peters is showing signs of dementia and doesn't appear to understand what is going on.

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Trump to rally supporters in Fairfield on Saturday


FAIRFIELD, Conn. (AP) Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump is bringing his campaign to Connecticut once again.

Saturday's planned 7 p.m. rally at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield marks the first time the businessman has campaigned here since he became the GOP's nominee.

The Connecticut Republicans say the visit shows the state's importance in this year's presidential election.

A June 7 Quinnipiac University Poll showed Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton leading Trump among registered Connecticut voters, 45 percent to 38 percent. That survey had a margin of sampling error of 2.7 percentage points.

Sacred Heart says the rally is not a university-sponsored event.

Trump's Connecticut campaign director contacted former Senate candidate Linda McMahon, the vice chairman of the school's board of trustees, for the right contact to use the university's facilities.

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Connecticut police officer dies suddenly in South Carolina


NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) - The New Haven, Connecticut, Police Department is in mourning after the sudden and unexpected death of a veteran officer while visiting family in South Carolina.

The department said in a statement that 49-year-old Matthew Myers died Tuesday.

Myers attended high school in Georgetown, South Carolina, and went on to earn a bachelor of science degree from South Carolina State University, where he was involved in the ROTC program. He's been an officer in New Haven since 1998.

New Haven Officer David Hartman says "the New Haven Police Department has lost a caring officer and an amazing human being." Hartman called Myers a "dear friend."

No cause of death was given, but police did not indicate that it was suspicious.

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Ex-dentist ordered to pay $700k for Medicaid billing scheme


HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) A former Connecticut dentist and his practice have been ordered to pay more than $700,000 in restitution and civil penalties for improperly billing the state Medicaid program for pediatric dental cleanings and fluoride treatments.

Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen says a Superior Court judge ruled that Dr. Douglas Macko and his practice violated the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act. Jepsen announced the judge's ruling Wednesday.

Jepsen says the court determined that Macko unlawfully allowed the cleanings and treatments to be performed by unlicensed assistants and at times demanded that his patients or their parents perform the services themselves.

Macko entered an agreement with the state Department of Social Services in 2010 to suspend his participation in the Medicaid program for 10 years. Macko is no longer practicing in Connecticut.

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Weak tornado touches down in North Haven, winds reach 70 mph


NORTH HAVEN, Conn. (AP) Weather officials say a small tornado passed through North Haven that knocked over trees and power lines and left several homes damaged in its wake.

The National Weather Service confirmed that the tornado touched down in a two-mile stretch of the town at about 1:30 p.m. Wednesday.

The tornado was classified as an EF-0, the lowest grade on the scale of intensity. It had wind gusts of up to 70 miles per hour.

Gary Lessor, a meteorologist with the Weather Center at Western Connecticut State University and WLAD-AM, says the tornado was about 12 feet wide and had a path about a half-mile long.

Officials say the tornado was powerful enough to lift an 8-foot by 10-foot shed, which was dropped about 15 feet up into a tree.

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UConn adds housing at Stamford satellite campus


STORRS, Conn. (AP) - The University of Connecticut's Board of Trustees has approved a plan to add student housing to its satellite campus in Stamford.

Under the plan approved Wednesday, the school will spend $2.7 million to lease a six-story residence hall with 116 apartments that can house up to 290 students.

It's the first time UConn has offered housing outside its main campus in Storrs.

School spokeswoman Stephanie Reitz says UConn found that only 100 out of the 1,565 students enrolled in undergraduate classes in Stamford actually lived in the city and most traveled more than 20 miles to school.

The residence hall is currently under construction and is scheduled to open in September, 2017. The school says student housing fees will offset the cost of the lease.

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Man pleads guilty to defrauding car insurance companies


NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) - A Connecticut man has pleaded guilty to his role in a scheme that involved staging car crashes to defraud automobile insurance companies.

Connecticut U.S. Attorney Deirdre M. Daly says Frandy Dugue, of Norwich, pleaded guilty Tuesday to one count of wire fraud.

Prosecutors say the 39-year-old Dugue conspired with others to stage approximately 50 car crashes in eastern Connecticut between April 2011 and February 2014 for the purpose of defrauding car insurance companies. Dugue and his co-defendants would file fraudulent property damage and bodily injury claims with various companies following each crash.

Prosecutors say Dugue and others collected $10,000 to $30,000 per crash.

Scheduling is sentenced for Nov. 1. Dugue faces a maximum term of 20 years in prison.

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Man charged in heroin overdose death of 18-year-old man


NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) - A Connecticut man is facing federal charges after authorities say he distributed heroin connected to the overdose death of an 18-year-old man.

Connecticut U.S. Attorney Deirdre Daly says Kerry Scanlan, of Avon, was arrested Tuesday. A federal magistrate in New Haven ordered Scanlan detained.

Daly says the 20-year-old Scanlan was charged as a result of an ongoing statewide initiative targeting narcotics dealers who distribute heroin, fentanyl or opioids that cause death or serious injury.

Prosecutors say state police responded to a home in East Haddam on March 19 for a report of an "untimely death." The victim was pronounced dead at the scene.

An investigation revealed that the victim drove Scanlan to Hartford to purchase the heroin.

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

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Stamford day care center owner charged in infant's death


STAMFORD, Conn. (AP) - The owner of a Stamford day care center has been charged in connection with the death of a 2-month-old girl last month who was left in her care.

Thirty-four-year-old Nydia Carrillo-Maldonado was charged Monday with first-degree manslaughter and risk of injury to a minor in the July 12 death of Bella Redondo.

Redondo was rushed to the hospital from Little Bears Daycare after she stopped breathing. Police say Redondo was pronounced dead at the hospital after attempts to resuscitate her failed.

The medical examiner classified Redondo's death as a homicide after finding that she died from blunt force trauma to the head.

Carrillo-Maldonado's attorney says his client has a "long and personal relationship" with the Redondo family and she didn't harm the baby.

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Judge revokes probation in UConn mac and cheese case


VERNON, Conn. (AP) -- A judge has revoked the special probation given to a former University of Connecticut student who went on a drunken tirade about jalapeno-bacon macaroni and cheese.

 

The Journal Inquirer of Manchester reports Luke Gatti pleaded under the Alford doctrine Monday to misdemeanor breach of peace and was fined $100. Under the doctrine, a defendant doesn't admit guilt but acknowledges there's enough evidence for a conviction.

 

He was also removed from the probation program, which could have resulted in the dismissal of charges if he stayed out of trouble. But Gatti was arrested at a Florida substance-abuse rehabilitation center in May and charged with battery on a police officer.

 

Gatti was charged at UConn last October after he belittled a food service manager in a confrontation that was recorded and widely viewed online.

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Windsor man pleads guilty in basketball tournament shooting


HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - A Connecticut man cut a deal with prosecutors and agreed to plead guilty in the fatal shooting of an innocent bystander following an outdoor basketball tournament in Hartford last year.

The Hartford Courant reports 24-year-old Roosevelt Holmes pleaded guilty to charges of first-degree manslaughter with a firearm on Monday as part of the deal that will have him serve 25 years in prison for the crime.

The incident began in June 2017 when Holmes got into an altercation with another man at the "Heat on the Street" basketball tournament at Rawson Elementary School.

Holmes claimed the man grabbed his Cartier sunglasses off his face and he went after him. After the unidentified man allegedly began shooting, Holmes returned fire and ultimately struck 41-year-old James Headen Jr. in the head.

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Connecticut to hold 16th annual sales tax-free week


HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - Connecticut back-to-school shoppers will soon get a break at the cash register.

The state plans to hold its 16th annual "Tax-Free Week," beginning Sunday, Aug. 21. It will run through Saturday, Aug. 27.

During that week, most individual items of clothing and footwear that's priced under $100 will be exempt from the state's 6.35 percent sales and use tax. Connecticut expects to exempt about $4.5 million in taxes during the special week.

For items costing more than $100, sales tax is calculated on the full purchase price.

Department of Revenue Services Commissioner Kevin Sullivan is reminding shoppers that many retailers schedule sales to coincide with the sale tax-free week, which helps families save additional money. He says the "tax holiday" has become a staple of the state's back-to-school shopping season.

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Stamford elementary school heads into new year with no name


STAMFORD, Conn. (AP) - With the first day of classes rapidly approaching, Stamford's newest elementary school is set to open the new school year without an official name.

The Advocate reports the school will be known by the temporary name of New School at 200 Strawberry Hill when it first opens its doors to students on Sept. 1.

A statement issued by the school board said they are more concerned with having the school and its staff prepared than figuring out a name.

Stamford's NAACP chapter has advocated for naming the school after Jackie Robinson. Robinson, famous for breaking Major League Baseball's color barrier in 1947, was a Stamford resident later in life until his death in 1972.

School board officials say they won't consider any names for at least a few months.

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Connecticut DMV launches automatic voter registration effort


HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - Connecticut residents will soon be automatically registered to vote when they apply for a driver's license.

Starting Monday, the state Department of Motor Vehicles says every application or renewal of a driver's license or non-driver identification will also function as a voter registration application unless the customer opts out.

The new initiative is the result of an out-of-court settlement between the state and the U.S. Department of Justice following a civil rights investigation.

The justice department found the state wasn't compliant with the so-called "motor voter" provision of federal National Voter Registration Act of 1993, which requires states provide voter registration opportunities for federal elections at DMV offices.

Connecticut Secretary of the State Denise Merrill called the initiative a "major step" toward ensuring every eligible resident can vote.

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Hartford man convicted in 2011 killing of rival


NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) - A Hartford man has been convicted in the 2011 killing of a suspected rival and faces a mandatory life prison sentence.

A federal court jury in New Haven convicted Karl "Eagle" Roye on Thursday of conspiracy to commit a violent crime in aid of racketeering and committing a violent crime in aid of racketeering. Sentencing is set for October.

Federal prosecutors say Roye and Jimel Frank opened fire with 9 mm handguns on Anthony Parker as Parker sat in a car in Hartford. Authorities say Parker was shot multiple times and later died at a local hospital.

Officials say Roye and Frank were members of the Wall Street gang, which later became known as Team Grease, and Parker was a rival.

Frank pleaded guilty in November and awaits sentencing.

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Airport authority touts 'captive audience' in casino pitch


HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - Newly released documents show the Connecticut Airport Authority touted how a casino at Bradley International Airport could "capitalize on a captive audience," with more than 17,000 passengers passing through the Windsor Locks facility daily.

The pitch was part of a proposal submitted last year to the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribes, who are reviewing locations for a proposed satellite casino to help blunt competition from MGM Resorts International's planned casino in Springfield, Massachusetts.

MGM released a copy of the proposal Friday after obtaining it through an open records complaint.

MGM says it shows how the proposed, approximately 200,000-square-foot casino is much larger than suggested by the tribes.

The authority pulled plans in June to locate a casino at its new transportation center, but said there are other possible airport sites.

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Connecticut death row inmate resentenced to life in prison


WATERBURY, Conn. (AP) - A Connecticut man on death row for killing a 22-year-old woman in 1989 has been resentenced to life in prison without the possibility of release because the state abolished the death penalty.

Sedrick Cobb appeared Friday in Waterbury Superior Court. He's the fourth of the state's 11 death row inmates to be resentenced to life since the Connecticut Supreme Court ruled last year that the death penalty violated the state constitution's prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment.

Cobb kidnapped Julia Ashe of Watertown from the parking lot of a Waterbury department store and forced her to drive to a remote location.

Prosecutors said Cobb taped Ashe's mouth, wrists and ankles and raped her before throwing her into an icy culvert. Her body was discovered two weeks later on Christmas Day.

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2 men plead guilty in deadly series of New Haven overdoses


HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Two men have pleaded guilty to drug charges connected to a series of overdoses in June that led to three deaths in New Haven.

 

Fifty-seven-year-old Frank Pina and 48-year-old Steven Whaley pleaded guilty Thursday in federal court in Hartford to possession and distribution of controlled substances.

 

The two men were arrested within a few days of the overdoses that affected 17 people in New Haven. Authorities say the users believed the substance was cocaine, but an investigation showed it was laced the powerful opioid fentanyl.

 

Federal prosecutors say Pina supplied drugs to several people who overdosed on June 23 and Whaley was identified as an associate of his who sometimes served as a middleman.

 

Each man faces a maximum prison term of 20 years at sentencing in the fall.

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Connecticut house explosion injures 7, sends debris flying


VERNON, Conn. (AP) — Investigators are trying to determine what caused a house to explode in Connecticut, injuring seven people, including four children, and sending debris flying.

 

Police, fire and rescue crews responded to the home in Vernon Thursday afternoon.

 

Three of the victims were outside when they arrived, while four more remained trapped in the rubble. Crews dug through what was left of the house to pull them to safety.

 

Four children were among the victims. Police say a 7-year-old boy appeared to suffer the most serious injuries.

 

The force of the blast blew the front door of the home across the street into a neighbor's yard. Glass and other debris littered the roadway.

 

Connecticut State Police troopers and K-9 teams assisted Vernon police and fire.

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Enfield teacher charged in accident that killed pedestrian


NEW BRITAIN, Conn. (AP) — A fifth-grade teacher accused of running a red light and killing a pedestrian in Newington has been charged with negligent homicide and failing to obey a traffic signal.

 

Newington police on Wednesday disclosed they arrested 26-year-old Alyssa Santos on July 21. She was scheduled to be arraigned Thursday in New Britain Superior Court, but the case was continued to Aug. 23.

 

Authorities say Santos struck 63-year-old Walter Arnett of Newington on Cedar Street in February. He died about two weeks later. Police say Arnett was intoxicated and entered the crosswalk before the pedestrian signal indicated it was OK to cross, and Santos tested negative for alcohol and drugs.

 

Santos teaches at Prudence Crandall Elementary School in Enfield and lives in Newington.

 

Santos' lawyer didn't immediately return a phone message Thursday.

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Cleanup company faces fine after workers sickened by mercury


SCHENECTADY, N.Y. (AP) - Federal investigators say a hazardous material cleanup company faces a $142,000 fine after several workers suffered mercury poisoning during work at General Electric's main campus in Schenectady.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration says Wednesday that Environmental Remediation Services of Rotterdam didn't provide proper safeguards to workers removing mercury from a building at GE's 640-acre plant. The site is on the state's Superfund priority cleanup list.

An OSHA investigation launched in March found several employees inhaled mercury vapor or absorbed liquid mercury through their skin. OSHA's biological monitoring confirmed symptoms of mercury poisoning, which can include neurological impairment, fever, fatigue and memory loss.

Environmental Remediation Services has 15 days to respond to the OSHA action.

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Watchdog groups to seek opinion on budget cuts


HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - The executive directors of Connecticut's three watchdog agencies want Attorney General George Jepsen to weigh in on whether Gov. Dannel P. Malloy can cut their budgets.

Carol Carson, executive director of the Office of State Ethics, told The Associated Press on Wednesday that she and the leaders of the State Elections Enforcement Commission and Freedom of Information Commission plan to ask Jepsen for an advisory opinion.

The planned request comes after Malloy's budget director, Ben Barnes, sent a letter to the agency heads rejecting their claim that Malloy is barred by a 2004 law from reducing their budgets. Barnes says Malloy was granted authority to hold back funding in the new state budget.

The General Assembly passed legislation in 2004 that prohibits governors from reducing the agencies' annual budgets.

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Zoning commission nixes East Haven paintball facility


EAST HAVEN, Conn. (AP) - East Haven's Planning and Zoning Commission has rejected an application to construct a new paintball and Airsoft park less than a mile away from two area schools.

The commission denied Steven Serio Sr.'s application Wednesday after finding it was in violation of Board of Education policy.

Serio applied for a special exception for an outdoor recreation center in July to be built on a 50-acre site that was formerly a Girl Scouts camp.

But opponents arguing against the project pointed to a school board regulation stating that any facility where the use of any type of gun is permitted needs to be at least 1,000 feet from school grounds.

Commission Chairman Peter Cianelli ruled that since Serio's proposal didn't follow those rules, his application could not be approved.

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University of Connecticut loses track of 15 skulls, skeleton


FARMINGTON, Conn. (AP) - Fifteen human skulls are among more than 100 items that went unaccounted for in a routine inventory at the University of Connecticut Health Center.

The Hartford Courant reports UConn officials submitted a report last month to the state auditor's office saying the skulls could not be found during two internal searches and an independent inventory by a private company.

But a UConn spokeswoman, Stephanie Reitz, said Wednesday that the skulls have since been accounted for and were never lost. She says some skulls did not have tags saying when they were acquired but they were always part of a larger collection.

She said it is difficult logistically to add inventory tags to skulls, which are used by UConn Health's medical and dental schools for teaching purposes.

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Budget director: Governor can cut watchdog agencies' funding


HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy's budget director has rejected a claim by Connecticut's three watchdog agencies that the governor can't reduce their budgets.

Office of Policy and Management Secretary Ben Barnes says Malloy has the legal authority to withhold funding, despite a 2004 law prohibiting governors from reducing the annual budgets of the State Elections Enforcement Commission, the Office of State Ethics and the Freedom of Information Commission.

In a letter dated Tuesday, Barnes says the agencies "were not unfairly or disproportionately targeted" by the cuts aimed at fixing the state's deficit.

The leaders of the three agencies last month sent a letter to Barnes questioning the legality of the cuts, saying the General Assembly passed the 2004 legislation to protect the agencies' independence. They requested the funding be restored.

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3 top Malloy staff members to leave administration this fall


HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - Three top members of Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy's staff are leaving the administration.

Brian Durand, the Democratic governor's chief of staff, announced Wednesday that Deputy Chief of Staff Mark Bergman, Communications Director Devon Puglia and Senior Director of Policy and Government Affairs Paul Mounds "will each be leaving our office to pursue new professional opportunities."

The planned changes to Malloy's senior staff are expected to take place early in the fall.

Malloy praised all three as "outstanding key members of our team," and wished them well in their new endeavors.

Replacements are being named for Mounds and Puglia. However, Durand says there's no immediate plan to replace Bergman as the deputy chief of staff.

Malloy is currently midway through his second four-year term in office.

This story has been corrected to show there are no immediate plans to replace Bergman, not Durand.

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Woman who saw husband fatally crushed can't sue for distress


HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - The Connecticut Supreme Court says a woman who found her 77-year-old husband crushed to death under an all-terrain vehicle when she brought him lunch at work cannot sue his employer for emotional distress.

The unanimous decision came Monday in the appeal filed by Jenny Velecela. Her husband, Austin Irwin, was repairing the ATV at All Habitat Services in Branford in July 2011 when it slipped off a lift and killed him. Velecela found him a short time later.

The high court upheld a lower court ruling that Connecticut's workers compensation law bars Velecela from suing for negligent infliction of bystander emotional distress because she received $300,000 in workers' compensation benefits for her husband's death.

Velecela's lawyer argued the workers' compensation law doesn't prohibit bystander emotional distress claims.

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