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2 human skulls found at Stamford transfer station


STAMFORD, Conn. (AP) -- Stamford police are investigating the discovery of two human skulls at a garbage-processing station.

 

Police Lt. Diedrich Hohn (home) says the skulls were found Thursday afternoon at a transfer station along with books on Satan and witchcraft.

 

Hohn said Friday that the skulls are at the state medical examiner's office for further examination. He said it remains unclear where the remains came from, how the people died and how their remains ended up at the transfer station.

 

The skulls were found by a worker who was sifting through the refuse. Authorities later confirmed the skulls were human.

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Milford student back in school after Ebola ban


MILFORD, Conn. (AP) -- Milford schools and the father of a 7-year-old girl barred for three weeks because of Ebola fears have agreed to the youngster's return, three days day earlier than planned.

 

A lawyer sued earlier this week on behalf of the third-grader and her father, claiming unjustified fear prompted the decision to keep her out of class.

 

Schools superintendent Elizabeth Feser and the girl's father, Stephen Opayemi, say the lawsuit was settled.

 

The child was to return on Friday. She had been told to stay home for 21 days, the incubation period for Ebola, after returning Oct. 13 from Nigeria for a family wedding.

 

Feser had said her actions were a good-faith response to a public health issue and in the best interest of all students.

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Margarine truck driver in parkway crash ticketed


GREENWICH, Conn. (AP) -- A Florida trucker accused of crashing into an overpass while using a Connecticut-New York parkway restricted to cars faces several New York traffic summonses.

 

Greenwich Time reports the truck driven by Ishad Knight of Miami on Tuesday carried liquefied margarine. He disregarded signs and hit the overpass at the Connecticut line with New York, police said.

 

Knight's GPS device failed to note the parkway's restrictions and overpass, police said.

 

"He told us he relied on Google maps on his cellphone. What he should be using was a commercial-grade GPS," said Westchester County Police spokesman Kieran O'Leary.

 

Knight, 29, was not injured. But the truck caught fire, liquefied margin covered the roadway and commuters were delayed for hours as northbound lanes of the Merritt Parkway were shut through the evening.

 

Westchester County police issued four tickets to Knight. The trucker was unlicensed because his Florida license was invalid, police said. He also was ticketed for disobeying several warning signs.

 

And he was given a ticket for driving a truck on the parkway despite its passenger car restriction and driving a too-tall vehicle on the parkway, police said.

 

Knight does not have a listed phone number and it wasn't known Friday if he's represented by a lawyer.

 

O'Leary said Westchester County will seek repayment of police overtime and towing companies and cleanup businesses also are expected to bill the trucking company.

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Bail denied for convicted former NBA player George


TRENTON, N.J. (AP) A former NBA player convicted in a real estate Ponzi scheme has been denied bail by a federal judge in New Jersey.

Tate George has been jailed since his conviction last fall on four mail fraud counts. His motion to be released on bail was denied by U.S. District Judge Mary Cooper on Wednesday.

George starred for the University of Connecticut and played for the New Jersey Nets and the Milwaukee Bucks.

The U.S. attorney's office contends George persuaded pro athletes and other victims to invest in a purported real estate opportunity. Prosecutors say instead of buying the real estate he'd touted he used the money to pay off earlier investors and to cover personal expenses.

George accuses the government of prosecutorial misconduct. He has filed to have his conviction reversed.

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UConn Waterbury receive $1 million endowment


MIDDLEBURY, Conn. (AP) A $1 million gift from a physician and his wife to the University of Connecticut will help faculty develop curriculum.

The Republican-American reports that the gift from Dr. David Reed and his wife, Joan, will fund the Reed Fellowship.

Reed said the fellows will share teaching techniques in workshops for UConn Waterbury faculty and teach for a semester in Waterbury. The first fellow will be selected in the spring.

Growing up in Naugatuck, Reed attended school at UConn's campus when it was at the former Begnal School in Waterbury. He hopes the fellowship will benefit students who cannot afford to attend college far from home.

Sally Reis, vice provost for academic affairs at UConn's Waterbury campus, said tens of thousands of dollars in interest from the endowment will allow the fellowship to continue perpetually.

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Man who talked about bombings gets 2 years in jail


NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) A Moroccan man living in Connecticut who authorities say told people he wanted to fly bombs on remote-controlled planes into a federal building in Hartford and into Harvard University in Massachusetts has been sentenced to two years in prison, followed by deportation.

Twenty-seven-year-old El Mehdi Semlali Fathi was sentenced Wednesday in federal court in New Haven. The Bridgeport resident pleaded guilty in July to perjury in connection with a bogus refugee application.

Fathi's lawyer says his client was joking and didn't have the means to carry out the bombings, but federal prosecutors say they aren't so sure.

Prosecutors say Fathi's guilty plea to perjury played a role in his avoiding a terrorism charge. They say Fathi filed the false refugee application after his student visa expired in 2009.

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Connecticut family sues over school's Ebola fears


NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) The father of a Connecticut third-grader has filed a federal lawsuit saying his daughter has been unfairly barred from school amid fears she may have been exposed to the Ebola virus while in Africa.

According to the lawsuit filed Tuesday in New Haven, Ikeoluwa Opayemi and her family visited Nigeria from Oct. 2 through Oct. 13. They say when the girl tried to return to the Meadowside Elementary School, she was told she had to stay home until Nov. 3 because of a concern she might have been exposed to the virus.

The family didn't travel to Guinea, Sierra Leone or Liberia, the three nations associated with the current Ebola outbreak.

It seeks an order allowing the girl to return to school and unspecified monetary damages.

A message seeking comment was left for Milford's school superintendent.

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Poll: Connecticut governor's race still deadlocked


HAMDEN, Conn. (AP) The latest Quinnipiac University University poll shows the race for governor in Connecticut remains deadlocked.

The poll released Wednesday shows Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and Republican Tom Foley tied with 43 percent each of likely voters surveyed. That's little changed from a poll released Oct. 22.

Conservative petitioning candidate Joe Visconti was favored by 7 percent. Six percent were undecided.

The poll conducted between Oct. 22 and 27 found that if Visconti were not in the race, Foley would lead by a statistically insignificant 46 percent to 45 percent.

Poll director Douglas Schwartz cited a wide gender gap. Malloy leads Foley by 17 points among women and Foley is ahead by 17 points among men.

The survey of 838 likely voters has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.4 percentage points.

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Feds: Engineer's sleepiness caused derailment


NEW YORK (AP) -- A sleep-deprived engineer nodded off at the controls of a commuter train just before taking a 30 mph curve at 82 mph, causing a derailment last year that killed four people and injured more than 70, federal regulators said Tuesday.

 

William Rockefeller's sleepiness was due to a combination of an undiagnosed disorder - sleep apnea - and a drastic shift in his work schedule, the National Transportation Safety Board said. It said the railroad lacked a policy to screen engineers for sleep disorders, which also contributed to the Dec. 1 crash. And it said a system that would have applied the brakes automatically would have prevented the crash.

 

The board also issued rulings on four other Metro-North accidents that occurred in New York and Connecticut in 2013 and 2014, repeatedly finding fault with the railroad while also noting that conditions have improved.

 

"We truly take to heart all the issues that have been stated," Metro-North President Joseph Giulietti said. As an example, he said the railroad already has begun a test project on engineer sleep apnea that will be expanded.

 

Asked what had happened to Metro-North in recent years, Giulietti replied: "Our focus on on-time performance versus our focus on safety."

 

U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York said the report revealed "a horror house of negligence resulting in injury, mayhem and death."

 

"The last thing that should be on the mind of a commuter on Metro-North is whether they're going to survive the commute," U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut said.

 

NTSB Acting Chairman Christopher Hart, as well as Schumer and U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, criticized the Federal Railroad Administration for failing to order railroads to adopt NTSB recommendations, including a sleep-disorder screening suggestion 12 years ago.

 

The FRA is "much too captive to the industry they are supposed to regulate," Blumenthal said.

 

An FRA spokesman said the agency would respond later.

 

The NTSB had reported Rockefeller's sleep apnea in April, saying tests revealed it interrupted his sleep dozens of times each night. Investigators said Rockefeller told them he had felt strangely "dazed" right before the crash. But until Tuesday, it had refrained from declaring his sleepiness the cause of the crash.

 

It said that less than two weeks before the crash, Rockefeller had switched from a work day that began in late afternoon to one that began early in the morning. The board said that probably compounded his sleep problem.

 

It also noted that the technology known as positive train control was not in use at the time of the crash. Positive train control - another NTSB recommendation on file - can automatically bring a train to a stop if it's exceeding a speed limit. Metro-North has said it is working to install the technology.

 

On the other accidents, the NTSB found:

 

-A May 17, 2013, derailment and collision in Bridgeport, Connecticut, was caused by broken joint bars, which are used to join rails of different sizes. At least 65 people were injured. The board said Metro-North had deferred scheduled track maintenance and lacked "a comprehensive track maintenance program."

 

-A track foreman who was fatally struck by a train in West Haven, Connecticut, on May 28, 2013, was probably due to a mistake by a student rail traffic controller. The controller misunderstood some instructions and canceled the signals protecting the section of track the man was on, the NTSB said.

 

-In a similar accident in Manhattan on March 10, 2014, a worker was killed by a train while trying to re-energize tracks that had been out of service for maintenance. The NTSB blamed the accident of briefings that poorly communicated which part of the track would be safe.

 

-The derailment of a freight train on Metro-North tracks in the Bronx on July 18, 2013, which caused no injuries, was caused by deteriorated concrete ties and other problems compounded by deferred maintenance, the NTSB said.

 

In March, the Federal Railroad Administration issued a stinging report on Metro-North, saying the railroad let safety concerns slip while pushing to keep trains on time. Railroad executives pledged to make safety their top priority.

 

Metro-North is the second-largest commuter rail line in the country. It carried more than 83.4 million riders between New York City and its suburbs last year. The largest commuter line, the Long Island Rail Road, is a sister agency and is benefitting from the lessons Metro-North has learned, Schumer said.

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Bridgeport councilman faces harassment complaint


BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (AP) A Bridgeport City Council member faces a sexual harassment complaint related to his city job.

The Connecticut Post reports that Councilman Richard Paoletto has been placed on administrative leave while the city investigates claims against him by a college intern.

Paoletto, a Democrat, told the newspaper he could not comment because it was a personnel matter.

Paoletto was placed on leave in 2010 as a result of a harassment complaint from an employee. He was suspended without pay for several weeks at the end of the probe.

He also is acting deputy director of housing and commercial code enforcement.

An initial hearing with the city's Office of Labor Relations has been set for Tuesday.

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CCSU player charged in fight with girlfriend


NEW BRITAIN, Conn. (AP) A starting guard on Central Connecticut State University's basketball team has been arrested on accusations he struck his girlfriend while the two were fighting.

The New Britain Herald reports that Kyle Vinales was arrested Friday. He was charged with assault and disorderly conduct.

It was not known Tuesday if Vinales, who is from Detroit, is represented by a lawyer.

A spokesman says the school is aware of the matter and Vinales is away from the team. No other details on his status were available.

New Britain police say the woman accused Vinales of striking her in the head.

According to police, Vinales said the woman hit him in the chest and face and he shoved her face against the window of a vehicle.

His next court date is Dec. 5.

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Ex-Scout leader charged with child sexual abuse


THOMPSON, Conn. (AP) Connecticut State Police say a man has been charged with sexually abusing young people over two decades he was a Boy Scouts troop leader in Thompson.

Police said Monday that 52-year-old David Kress has been arrested on three charges of employing minors in obscene performance. Police said Kress turned himself in to troopers in Danielson on Thursday evening and has been released on $100,000 cash bond. He is to appear November 5th in Danielson Superior Court.

State police said alleged victims and witnesses told investigators the assaults took place during Scout events, at Kress's home and places where he was working. The alleged victims were between 11 and 16 years old at the time.

A telephone listed to Kress was not accepting messages Monday night. It's not known who is representing him.

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Man wakes up to find stranger in bed with him


CLINTON, Conn. (AP) A Connecticut man was arrested after police say he wandered into the wrong home drunk and got in bed with a stranger, who woke up startled and called 911.

Police say the incident happened early Saturday morning at an apartment complex in Clinton. Officers say 26-year-old Tyler Sullivan of Haddam told officers he thought he was at his mother's apartment, which is in the same complex.

A man in the home said he told Sullivan to leave, but Sullivan refused. Police say Sullivan was still there when officers arrived.

Sullivan was charged with trespassing and disorderly conduct. He was released on $1,000 bail and ordered to appear in Middletown Superior Court on Nov. 4.

It's not clear if Sullivan has a lawyer. A phone listing for him couldn't be found.

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Police find driver who struck teen in Plymouth


PLYMOUTH, Conn. (AP) Police in Plymouth say they've found the driver in a hit-and-run accident that injured a 14-year-old boy who was riding his bicycle.

Police say they found the driver in Waterbury on Saturday night with the help of a person who saw the vehicle and got a partial license plate number.

Authorities haven't released the driver's name. No charges have been announced.

Police say the victim was riding his bicycle on North Main Street in Plymouth when he was struck by a minivan Saturday afternoon. Officials say the boy's injuries aren't life-threatening. He was scheduled to be transferred Sunday to Connecticut Children's Medical Center in Hartford from St. Mary's Hospital in Waterbury.

Police say the minivan driver left the scene and dragged away the boy's bike, which was found in Bristol.

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Ballot proposal could open door to early voting


HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) Connecticut residents are being asked in next month's election whether state officials should be given new authority to make major changes to how, when and where citizens can vote.

The lone question on the Nov. 4 ballot asks whether the state constitution should be amended to remove several restrictions that officials say bar early voting measures. If approved, the legislature and governor would be able to approve all voting by mail, online voting, multiple voting days at the polls and expanded use of absentee ballots.

Supporters say such measures could improve voter turnout. Opponents say the amendment would give too much authority to the legislature and governor to make major election changes.

Thirty-three states offer some form of early voting, and in three states all voting is done by mail.

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Sleepwalker files lawsuit over police stun gun use


HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) An Enfield man has filed a federal lawsuit alleging police shocked him 10 times with a stun gun after he entered the wrong home while sleepwalking.

Attorneys for Christopher Demski originally filed the lawsuit this week in state court, but moved it to U.S. District Court on Wednesday.

Demski says he was sleepwalking in his pajamas in October 2013 when he walked into the home of his parents' neighbor. According to the lawsuit, the neighbor called police, but later realized who it was and told officers Demski needed medical attention.

Demski says police instead shocked him with the stun gun and had a dog attack him.

Police Chief Carl Sferrazza says the department has a different version of the events.

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Man convicted in 2004 killing of physicist


NEW LONDON, Conn. (AP) A man has been found guilty of taking part in the fatal beating of a well-known physicist from New Hampshire a decade ago.

Mozzelle Brown was convicted of murder Friday by a New London Superior Court jury that deliberated for more than three days.

Prosecutors say Brown and his cousin, Chad Schaffer, attacked Eugene Mallove in the driveway of his Norwich rental home in May 2004. Mallove was cleaning out the house after evicting Schaffer's family for not paying rent.

Schaffer is serving a 16-year prison sentence. Brown was brought to trial from a federal prison, where he was serving a 15-year prison sentence as a career criminal on drug and weapons charges.

Mallove was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 1991 for a book he wrote on cold fusion theory.

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3 new rail stations set for Conn.-Mass. rail line


HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) Connecticut officials have announced the start of construction of train stations at Berlin, Meriden and Wallingford as part of the New Haven-Hartford-Springfield Rail Program.

The nearly $59 million project announced Friday is scheduled to begin this fall and be completed by the launch of the service in late 2016. The stations will feature high-level platforms, an overhead pedestrian bridge, platform snow melt systems and electric vehicle charging stations.

The new line promises significant new rail service in the Connecticut River Valley.

When the service is launched, the frequency of weekday round trip trains will increase from six to 17 trains between New Haven and Hartford with up to 12 trains continuing to Springfield, Massachusetts.

The 62-mile project is promoted for its potential to spur development and economic activity.

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Milford man held on school threat


MILFORD, Conn. (AP) A 48-year-old Milford man accused of threatening a high school in his neighborhood is held on $250,000 bail after undergoing a psychiatric evaluation.

The Connecticut Post reports James Piccirillo appeared in superior court Wednesday on charges of second-degree threatening, illegal possession of explosives and illegal possession of an assault weapon.

An arrest warrant alleged that Piccirillo said in a Bridgeport bar that he was going to take the Jonathan Law High School hostage. It says Piccirillo told an FBI agent he wasn't serious about the threat, and his mother told the FBI he was depressed after his father's recent death. Police said they found several semi-automatic weapons and low-grade commercial fireworks at his home.

He was sent last week for a mental health evaluation and later transferred to police custody. It's not immediately known who represents him.

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Bridgeport sees no repeat of 2010 voting troubles


BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (AP) Bridgeport elections officials say they're prepared for any potential problems on Election Day to avoid a repeat of troubles that marred vote counting in 2010.

The Republican American reports that Republican registrar Linda Grace said the city has enough ballots. The city has ordered 68,021 ballots, one for each voter registered plus 20 percent, for Election Day registration.

Four years ago, Bridgeport ordered 21,000 ballots despite the state's recommendation the city buy a ballot for every voter. The city at that time had 69,000 registered voters.

More voters than expected showed up at the polls and faced major delays at polling places. A court order kept 12 of the city's 24 precincts open two hours late.

Democrat Dannel P. Malloy narrowly edged out Republican Tom Foley in 2010 after an audit of Bridgeport ballots.

 

 

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