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Connecticut College cancels classes over racist graffiti

NEW LONDON, Conn. (AP) The president of Connecticut College has canceled classes for Monday following the discovery over the weekend of racist graffiti.

WVIT-TV reports that the graffiti including the use of the N-word was found scrawled in the bathrooms of a student center.

College President Katherine Bergeron said in a letter to students Sunday that immediate action is necessary to ``eradicate this ignorance and hatred.'' She said classes were canceled to ensure ``these events receive the proper attention.''

A message seeking comment was left Monday by The Associated Press with a college spokeswoman.

The episode follows a controversy earlier this month over a professor's Facebook post that roiled campus by comparing Gaza Strip to a ``rabid pit bull.''

A campus-wide meeting is planned Monday night at the New London college.



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More dead goats found at farm of pair charged with cruelty

CORNWALL, Conn. (AP) The melting snow has revealed the frozen carcasses of more than a dozen more dead goats at a Cornwall, Connecticut, farm whose operators have been charged with animal cruelty.

More than 70 dead animals have been found at the Butterfield Farm Co. since the state Department of Agriculture seized 74 sickly goats from the property in January.

Farm owner Buddy Hurlburt tells The Republican-American that carcasses have been turning up in ``nooks and crannies'' of the property.

Tara Bryson and Michael Hearl, both of West Suffield, are facing prosecution an animal cruelty charges in Bantam Superior Court in Litchfield. They are free on bond and have declined to comment.

The dozens of animals taken from the farm are now at a state animal rehabilitation facility in Niantic.



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East Haven police seek man involved in domestic dispute

EAST HAVEN, Conn. (AP) Police in East Haven are advising some people to stay in their homes as they search for a person who was involved in a domestic dispute.

Authorities say the man is armed and could be a danger to the community.

Police began searching for the man after receiving a call about a domestic incident around 3:30 Monday morning. Details about the dispute were not released.

Police sent out phone messages to people in the area urging them to use caution and report any suspicious activity.



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Report: Man charged in Bridgeport killing is hospitalized

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (AP) The arraignment of a man charged with killing a road construction worker in Bridgeport has been delayed while he is hospitalized.

The Connecticut Post reports Gregory Weathers Jr. was supposed to be arraigned Friday in Bridgeport Superior Court, but the hearing was postponed because Weathers is under a suicide watch at Bridgeport Hospital.

Police say the 33-year-old Weathers opened fire with a handgun at a road construction site near his home Thursday morning after asking the foreman for a job. Thirty-year-old Jose Araujo of Milford was killed.

Authorities told the Post that Weathers was desperate for money to hire a lawyer. State court records show Weathers has two convictions for driving under the influence and three pending DUI cases.

Weathers' public defender didn't immediately return a message Friday.



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New Haven officer cleared of wrongdoing in arrest of teen

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) New Haven's police chief says a city officer has been cleared of wrongdoing in the arrest of a 15-year-old girl that sparked protests.

Chief Dean Esserman announced the finding Friday as both police officers and critics of the arrest rallied outside City Hall.

Esserman said Officer Joshua Smereczynsky acted according to his training when he responded to a fight at a downtown restaurant and took the girl to the ground during the city's St. Patrick's Day parade March 15. The girl suffered a fractured shoulder and a cut near her eye.

A video of the arrest shows the officer forcing the teen to the ground and officers removing what appeared to be a knife from her. The girl was charged with carrying a dangerous weapon and other crimes.



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Bill would require immunization opt-outs to be notarized

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) Connecticut parents and guardians who want their children exempted from certain immunizations would need their wishes to be notarized under proposed legislation.

Hartford Rep. Matthew Ritter, co-chairman of the legislature's Public Health Committee, supports the bill. He said Friday that if parents are going to ``claim something this serious, it should be notarized.'' He listed a number of documents requiring a notary's signature, including notice of an abandoned vessel.

He said religious exemptions from immunizations in Connecticut have climbed from 300 to 1,400 in the past decade.

Numerous parents have balked at the bill, saying it infringes on their freedom to exercise their religious beliefs. The legislation stems from concerns surrounding a recent measles outbreak in California.

The committee forwarded the bill to the House on a 23-4 vote Friday.



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Police: woman's death in Colchester was a homicide

COLCHESTER, Conn. (AP) State police say the death of a woman in Colchester has been ruled a homicide and are asking for the public's help in identifying her and finding suspects.

The woman's body was found Wednesday afternoon at the intersection of Cato Corner Road and Pine Street. The medical examiner's office determined she was killed in a homicide.

State police say the woman was 25 to 35 years old with dark hair that was dyed red. She had multiple facial piercings, a tattoo on her left bicep that reads ``Jayden'' and more tattoos on her right bicep of a butterfly and the name ``Nicole.''

Anyone with information about the woman and her death are urged to call state police.



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Man found dead in Torrington was husband of shooting victim

TORRINGTON, Conn. (AP) A man found dead in a Torrington home destroyed by fire has been identified as the husband of a woman who was shot multiple times at the house.

Police said Thursday that the medical examiner's office identified the man as 41-year-old Kevin Thompson. Authorities say a .45-caliber handgun was found near his body and they suspect he shot his wife. The cause of his death remains undetermined.

Thompson's wife, 45-year-old Kelly Thompson, was found with several gunshot wounds Wednesday morning as the house was burning down. She's listed in stable condition at Waterbury Hospital.

What motivated the shooting isn't clear.

Police say Kelly Thompson called 911 shortly after 7 a.m. Wednesday and neighbors heard gunshots.

After the home burned down, authorities got a search warrant and found Kevin Thompson's body.



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Stamford man held in fatal beating of mother over medication

STAMFORD, Conn. (AP) A 76-year-old Stamford woman who police say was severely beaten by her son has died.

Maryann Anderson died Thursday after being hospitalized three days. Doctors removed part of her skull to reduce swelling of her brain.

Her son, 42-year-old Timothy Anderson, has been charged with first- and third-degree assault, unlawful restraint and disorderly conduct. He's being held on $500,000 bail.

It was not known Friday if he's represented by a lawyer.

Police say manslaughter or murder charges could be filed against Anderson, depending on autopsy results and the investigation.

Police say he went into a rage Monday after being confronted by his mother and brother about his failure to take medication for psychological problems. Police say he grabbed his mother's collar and repeatedly punched her in the face.



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Man sentenced to prison for stealing late mother's benefits

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (AP) A Milford man has been sentenced to six months in prison for stealing nearly $300,000 in Social Security payments issued to his deceased mother over more than a quarter century.

Sixty-nine-year-old William Chase was sentenced Wednesday in federal court in Bridgeport.

Chase's mother died in November 1988. Federal prosecutors say Chase had access to her checking account and continued to collect the Social Security payments for himself until May 2014. Authorities say he did not take any steps to stop the monthly benefit payments.

Chase pleaded guilty last December to one count of theft of public funds.

In addition to the prison term U.S. Judge Stefan Underhill sentenced Chase to three years of supervised release. He was also ordered to pay full restitution.



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Store clerk shot, killed in 2nd Bridgeport homicide of year

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (AP) A clerk has been shot and killed inside a store in Bridgeport.

City police say the shooting Wednesday morning killed 32-year-old Hakeem Joseph of Bridgeport. The suspect fled on foot and remains at large.

It was the year's second homicide in Connecticut's largest city.

Police say a masked man wearing a hood and sweatshirt with tan-colored camouflage pants fired multiple shots at Joseph, striking him once. Joseph was pronounced dead at a hospital.

The circumstance surrounding the shooting are still under investigation.



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Body pulled from house where woman previously had been shot

TORRINGTON, Conn. (AP) A body was pulled from a Torrington house destroyed by fire and where a woman had earlier been shot multiple times.

Police say the unidentified woman was in stable condition Wednesday at Waterbury Hospital.

Firefighters found the body in the basement. Police said the medical examiner will identify the body.

Fire crews who arrived at about 7:15 a.m. were told to not enter the burning house because of what sounded like gunshots. The fire quickly spread and the house collapsed and was declared a total loss.

No other details were immediately available.



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Parole board changes mind, won't free cop killer amid outcry

SUFFIELD, Conn. (AP) -- A parole board that ruled a man who killed a police officer in 1977 could go free rescinded that decision Wednesday after an outcry from the victim's family and prosecutors.

 

The inmate, Gary Castonguay, is serving a sentence of 25 years to life in prison for fatally shooting Plainville police Officer Robert Holcomb while fleeing from a burglary.

 

Holcomb's niece Maria Weinberger read a letter from his widow, Nancy Holcomb Searles, during the hearing at the MacDougall-Walker Correctional Institution, where Castonguay is imprisoned. Weinberger said Searles was too distressed to attend the meeting and face her husband's killer.

 

"Castonguay should remain incarcerated for the remainder of his natural existence," Searles said in the letter.

 

At the hearing attended by dozens of police officers from around Connecticut, a panel of the Board of Pardons and Paroles voted 3-0, without any discussion, to reverse the decision made in January.

 

Asked if he had anything to say at the hearing, Castonguay said: "I guess not."

 

The hearing was scheduled after Holcomb's family and prosecutors said they were not aware of the meeting in January when board members voted to release Castonguay in July.

 

Holcomb's relatives and prosecutors said the earlier decision was made with inadequate information about Castonguay's background, including other violent incidents and threats directed at law enforcement. Parole board officials contend that they did have that information.

 

Holcomb, 28, had been a Plainville police officer for five years and was married with a 3-year-old son when he was killed.

 

As Holcomb chased Castonguay after a home burglary, police said, Castonguay's first gunshot knocked him down, then Castonguay shot him three times in the chest at close range.



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Connecticut bill capping fixed electric rates moves forward

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) A bill that would cap charges for electric services paid by residential customers is moving through the Connecticut General Assembly.

The legislature's Energy and Technology Committee on Tuesday approved a bill capping the monthly, fixed charge at $10. The bill now awaits further action in the Senate.

Politicians and consumer groups voiced concerns about a recent state decision to increase the fix charge imposed by Eversource Energy from $16 to $19.50. Eversource originally requested a $25.50 charge, saying the revenue is needed to cover the utility's expenses.

Some lawmakers voiced concern that some customers might ultimately bear the financial burden of the proposed cap. Rep. Lonnie Reed, the committee co-chairman, said the bill is still being negotiated.

The panel also voted to prohibit variable electric rate contracts for residential customers.



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Work to begin in $300 million widening of I-84 in Waterbury

WATERBURY, Conn. (AP) A nearly $300 million project widening Interstate 84 in Waterbury is about to begin.

The Republican-American reports rebuilding the 2.7-mile stretch of highway that Governor Dannel Malloy has called one of the most infamous bottlenecks in Connecticut will begin Monday.

The state Department of Transportation's contract requires the project to be complete by June 25, 2020.

Construction and utility work and other work will cost $298 million, with a little less than half paid by the state and the rest by the federal government.

The highway will be widened to three lanes from two in each direction, exits will be reconfigured, 12-foot-wide shoulders will be added and an access road will be built.

The work includes replacing nine bridges, six culverts and 20 retaining walls. Two waterways must be realigned.



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Worm found in Wallingford school lunch fruit cup

WALLINGFORD, Conn. (AP) A Wallingford school food services director says a review has begun to find out how a worm ended up in a fruit cup served for lunch.

The Record-Journal reports that parents of Sheehan High School students expressed concern on Facebook Monday after parent Kimberly Davidson posted photos taken by students showing worms and a moldy loaf of bread served for lunch.

Davidson said her daughter sent her a picture of a worm in her fruit cup several weeks ago via Snapchat and last week overheard several other students complaining about finding bugs in their food.

Food Services Director Sharlene Wong said the distributor was contacted and a review has begun. She said the distributor said pesticide use is limited and as a result, `organic matter' can appear.



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Connecticut farm worker killed when corn collapses on him

LEBANON, Conn. (AP) A Connecticut farm worker has died after a pile of milled corn collapsed on him.

Police say the collapse happened when 54-year-old Donald Merchant, of South Windham, was using equipment to move corn from a large mound at the Square A Farm on Monday. When he got off the equipment, some of it toppled onto him.

Merchant was found unresponsive by other farm workers, who dug him out. He was taken to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead shortly before 5:30 p.m.



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Walker takes himself out of running for US Senate

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (AP) David Walker, the former U.S. comptroller general, has taken himself out of the running to challenge Senator Richard Blumenthal.

Walker tells the Connecticut Post he does not plan to oppose the Democratic incumbent next year. He was an unsuccessful candidate last year for the Republican nomination for lieutenant governor.

The 63-year-old Walker took a job as a senior strategic adviser at accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers in Virginia.

Walker also has put his Bridgeport home up for sale.

Connecticut Republicans haven't won a statewide election since Governor M. Jodi Rell was elected in 2006.

A year before he seeks a second six-year term, Blumenthal has an approval rating of 64 percent. He hasn't yet announced re-election plans, but has warned supporters of Democrats' losses in 2014 and that there is no safe seat.



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Lawmakers split on bill banning felons from public office

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (AP) The two chairmen of a key committee of the legislature differ over a proposal that would ban politicians convicted of felonies from the ballot.

The Connecticut Post reports that state Sen. Eric Coleman, Senate chairman of the legislature's Judiciary Committee, said voters are the best judge of who qualifies for public office.

Rep. William Tong, the committee's House chairman, says public officials should not ``have the opportunity to betray us again.'' He says qualifications already impose limits on public office.

Former Gov. John G. Rowland and ex-state Sen. Ernest E. Newton II of Bridgeport were both sentenced recently over campaign scandals. Each was convicted twice.

Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch promotes the ban. He says sex offenders shouldn't work in day care centers and corrupt politicians shouldn't be in government.



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New Britain police arrest son in death of man in apartment

NEW BRITAIN, Conn. (AP) Police say a 32-year-old New Britain man has been charged with murder in the death of his father, whose body was found Saturday at their apartment.

Police said Antoine Green was taken into custody at police headquarters without incident on Sunday.

Fifty-nine-year-old William Green was found in the first-floor apartment on Short Street at about 8 a.m. Saturday. Police had said the death was suspicious.

The state medical examiner's office on Sunday ruled the death a homicide from sharp force injury to the neck.

Police said Antoine Green is held on $1 million bond and is to be arraigned Monday in New Britain Superior Court. It is not known who is representing him.

Police said the investigation is continuing.



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