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HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - Since federal authorities have dropped a contentious proposal for high-speed rail through shoreline Connecticut communities, state and local officials will now focus on locally acceptable ways to upgrade the line and plan for the future.

Old Lyme First Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsynder says she's confident Connecticut's Department of Transportation will take into account concerns of the communities as new options are reviewed for improving track capacity and speed in the 100-mile stretch from New Haven to Providence, Rhode Island.

The federal government's proposed plan for rebuilding the congested Northeast Corridor between Boston and Washington, D.C. was released Wednesday but dropped its suggestions for high-speed tracks through Old Lyme's historic district and other communities.

Reemsynder says residents couldn't sell their homes in the village because of the rail project.

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NORTH STONINGTON, Conn. (AP) Officials say a man was likely struck by lightning on what was supposed to be opening day for a Connecticut town's fair.

Stonington Fire Marshal George Brennan says the 30-year-old man was working at North Stonington Fairgrounds during a thunderstorm Thursday afternoon.

Brennan says the man was leaning against a metal panel when there was a crack of thunder, and he fell to the ground unconscious.

The man regained consciousness while an ambulance transported him to the hospital. His injuries have not been reported.

The town's agricultural fair was canceled Thursday night due to weather conditions. Fair officials say they have inspected the area, and the grounds and equipment have been deemed safe.

The fair will host its opening day schedule Friday.

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BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (AP) Officials have filed for an emergency demolition after a fire engulfed the site of a former rubber factory in Connecticut.

Bridgeport firefighters responded to the blaze at the former AGI Rubber Company Wednesday afternoon. The fire was under control by 5 p.m.

The emergency order was issued less than 24 hours later, with city spokeswoman Rowena White citing fire and safety hazards as the cause.

White says the city had been planning to demolish the building before the emergency order. At least five fires have been reported at the site between 2012 and 2015.

Fire officials say police are interviewing people of interest in connection with Wednesday's fire.

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BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (AP) Officials say no injuries have been reported after massive a blaze broke out at a former rubber factory in Connecticut.

Bridgeport firefighters responded to the fire at the former AGI Rubber Company around 4 p.m. Wednesday.

The flames were visible from Interstate 95, and Bridgeport Police Chief Armando Perez tells NEWS-TV heavy smoke obscured nearby traffic.

Bridgeport Fire Chief Richard Thode says the fire was under control around 4:45 p.m. He says crews are continuing to put out hot spots.

Thode says there have been numerous fires at the site in the past.

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STAMFORD, Conn. (AP) - The largest internet job site in the world says it plans to spend $26.5 million to expand its offices in Stamford, growing the workforce from about 700 employees to more than 1,200 in the coming years.

Dave O'Neill, the chief financial officer of Indeed, is crediting Connecticut's "great talent pool" with helping the internet grow into a global presence, with more than 200 million users a month.

The company's expansion was announced Wednesday. The Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development will provide a 15-year, $7 million low-interest loan to support the expansion, which includes more leased space.

State funds may also be used for new equipment and improvements. Indeed is also eligible for up to $15 million in tax credits and loan forgiveness if it meets certain employment obligations.

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NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) A 26-year-old woman has pleaded guilty to three bank robberies in Connecticut.

The U.S. attorney's office says Courtney Worthington, of West Haven, pleaded guilty in federal court to the charges Wednesday.

Worthington was charged with robberies between December 2016 and January 2017 during which officials say she handed a teller a threatening note demanding money.

She was arrested at an East Haven hotel Jan. 5.

Worthington faces a maximum of 20 years in prison during sentencing.

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GLASTONBURY, Conn. (AP) Police in Connecticut say a detective posed as a record producer to arrest a local rapper suspected of stealing credit cards from cars.

Glastonbury police say Zoe ``Gangstalicious'' Dowdell was arrested Friday on theft charges. It couldn't be determined Tuesday if he has an attorney.

Police began investigating in April. Police say surveillance video captured two men using a card that had been taken from an unlocked car. They say one of the men was arrested but officers had trouble finding the other man, identified as Dowdell.

Police say they found Dowdell's rap videos online and a detective contacted him, posing as a record producer interested in his music.

Police say Dowdell agreed to meet with him Friday at his ``office,'' which was a local shopping center. Dowdell was arrested.

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STAMFORD, Conn. (AP) - A 19-year-old man faces 10 years behind bars and will likely be deported to his native Guatemala after pleading guilty to sexually assaulting a 3-year-old girl he was baby-sitting.

The Stamford Advocate reports that Douglas Hus-Flores pleaded guilty Monday to sexual assault. He will be formally sentenced next March.

Prosecutor Maureen Ornousky says the evidence against Hus-Flores was overwhelming, and pressed for the 10-year mandatory minimum sentence on the charge to avoid calling the victim as a witness at trial.

Hus-Flores' attorney, Howard Ehring says "there is no question he will be deported."

According to a police report, Hus-Flores told police that he sexually assaulted the child last March in Stamford.

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NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) New Haven officials say City Hall had to be evacuated after a phoned in bomb threat.

City spokesman Laurence Grotheer says police and fire responded to investigate the threat around 4:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Grotheer says a fire alarm was sounded so personnel would leave the building, and nearby streets were closed to traffic.

The bomb squad did a sweep and gave an all-clear after 6 p.m.

Grotheer says there is no evidence the call was a credible threat. An investigation is ongoing.

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MIDDLETOWN, Conn. (AP) Police in Connecticut say a man has been charged with assaulting an 11-year-old girl.

The Hartford Courant reports that 24-year-old Amilcar Lopez was arrested over the weekend on charges of third-degree assault and risk of injury to a minor. He is scheduled to appear in court on Monday.

Police say officers were called to a Middletown home on Saturday for a report of an emotionally disturbed person threatening family members. They say officers determined Lopez had punched the girl in the stomach.

Police say Lopez denied any wrongdoing.

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WATERFORD, Conn. (AP) Fire officials in a Connecticut town say their only ladder tower truck is out of commission after a firefighter backed into the fire department building.

Cohanzie Fire Chief Todd Branche tells The Day the firefighter took the truck out Sunday to refill its fuel tank.

Branche says the firefighter was pulling the truck back into one of the building's bays when he hit a brick column, damaging the bucket on the back.

A police report identifies 39-year-old Mark Parker as the driver. The report states Parker was not injured.

Branche says the truck has been sent to a center for repairs. Town building officials have ordered the department's vehicles to be moved outside until repairs can be made to the building.

Branche says the town's insurance will cover costs.

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WEST HAVEN, Conn. (AP) Fire officials say dozens of cats were killed and five were rescued during a house fire in Connecticut.

West Shore Fire Chief Stephen Scafariello says multiple fire departments responded to the blaze at a West Haven home Monday afternoon.

Scafariello says three adults and one child were able to escape unharmed, but he estimates 40 cats died from smoke inhalation.

The house sustained significant damage, and it has been deemed uninhabitable. The American Red Cross is helping the residents find temporary housing.

Police are advising residents to avoid the area as the fire is still under investigation.

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WATERBURY, Conn. (AP) - A man is headed to prison for the fatal beating of a Connecticut man on New Year's Day in 2015.

The Republican-American reports that 24-year-old Johnathan Pape was sentenced Friday to 40 years behind bars for his role in Donald Curtis' death.

Pape pleaded guilty to robbery and felony murder in the killing of Curtis, who was found dead in Waterbury. Pape's brother, Joseph, pleaded guilty to felony murder under a plea deal.

A witness told police the brothers had bragged about beating and robbing multiple people for fun on New Year's Eve. Police say Johnathan Pape told officers he had just left his apartment following an argument with his girlfriend, and felt he needed to "take his anger out on someone" when he decided to rob Curtis.

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BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (AP) - Connecticut State Police say a New York woman who left her vehicle to tend to a child in the backseat on Interstate 95 was fatally struck by another car.

Troopers say 31-year-old Emma Torres exited the vehicle Saturday night in Bridgeport in the southbound lane. Torres, of Mamaroneck, New York, was then sideswiped by an oncoming vehicle.

Torres was taken to Bridgeport Hospital where she later died of her injuries. No one else was hurt.

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STRATFORD, Conn. (AP) A man has been arrested for driving under the influence after police say he crashed into a Connecticut home.

The owner of the Stratford home, Paulo Jorge, tells WVIT-TV he was awoken around 2:30 a.m. after the house began to shake.

The car struck the front porch of the home, causing significant damage.

The home sits on an intersection where police say cars easily lose control after taking a nearby curve too fast.

Jorge says he hopes for a barrier and warning signs, as his 5-year-old granddaughter often reads on the front porch.

No injuries were reported in the crash Sunday.

The driver has been charged with driving under the influence and failure to drive right.

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HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - A Connecticut developer has been convicted of defrauding Hartford taxpayers of hundreds of thousands of dollars in a failed effort to build a professional soccer stadium.

The Hartford Courant reports James Duckett Jr. was found guilty on 12 of the 13 charges, including multiple counts of wire fraud.

The federal jury in Bridgeport reached the verdict after deliberating less than two hours and following a six-day trial.

Prosecutors allege Duckett and another developer of Dillon Stadium never paid subcontractors and used city money to support a lavish lifestyle before Hartford cancelled their contract and sued.

But Duckett's lawyer portrayed him as an ambitious businessman who earnestly tried to bring professional soccer to the Connecticut capital.

The Major Arena Soccer League dropped the team before a game was played.

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BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (AP) - Jury selection has been scheduled for a third trial in the case of a Connecticut man charged with killing and dismembering his college student girlfriend after she broke up with him.

The first two trials of Jermaine Richards ended in mistrials after the juries deadlocked. Jury selection for the third trial is set to begin Friday.

Richards is charged with murder in the 2013 death of Alyssiah Wiley, of West Haven.

Wiley was a student at Eastern Connecticut State University in Willimantic. Her partial remains were found in Trumbull about a month after she was last seen with Richards outside of her dorm. Police say Wiley tried to break up with Richards via Facebook shortly before her death and he became upset.

Richards denies killing Wiley.

 

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Three Connecticut transgender teens have committed suicide in the last three months.  That has prompted calls from advocates in Connecticut to put an end to bullying.  True Colors and others also denounced efforts to rollback protections for LGBTQ youth, including the Department of Education rescinding protections for transgender students.

 

Robin McHaelen of True Colors says almost 10-percent of bullying complaints that the state Department of Education gets are not about youth bullying other youth, they're about adults bullying youths.  She says adults spend so much of their time making certain groups feel like "the other", including refugees, people with disabilities, Muslims and people who are transgender.  McHaelen says it's been generations since people have felt so free to act on their biases.

 

Some of their mottos are "words fly and kids die" and "when you hear mean, intervene".

 

Steven Hernandez, Executive Director of the legislature's commission on Women, Children and Seniors, says the state has led in protections for the most vulnerable.  As a result of youth suicides, the state enacted the first and strongest anti-bullying law in the country in 2011.  The law included a school climate component.  Hernandez says they have to start preventing rather than just reacting.

 

State Child Advocate Sara Egan says leadership and character should be modeled by adults for children.

 

Connecticut participated in an "adolescent risky behavior" study through the CDC.  Some of the most recent results show that a third of Connecticut students reported feeling sad or hopeless almost every day for two weeks or more during the 12 months prior to the survey.

 

Nationally, the age of children who feel sad, hopeless or anxious is getting younger.

 

Egan says half of those students said they seriously considered attempting suicide.  21-percent reported that they weren't sure who to talk to about that.

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WEST HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - Police say a Connecticut man wrote threatening anti-Trump graffiti on an elementary school with the hope it would look like "liberal hate speech."

The Hartford Courant reports 32-year-old West Hartford resident Steven Marks has been ordered to stay off Morley Elementary School property. He's charged with third-degree criminal mischief and breach of peace, and a judge will hear his case Aug. 2.

Police say Marks wrote several phrases threatening President Donald Trump and praising the "left" on areas of the playground June 15. Police say Marks told officers he vandalized the school in West Hartford "out of anger toward liberals."

Marks previously told the Courant he was sorry, saying it was a "stupid thing." He declined to comment after his Wednesday court appearance.

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GROTON, Conn. (AP) - The University of Connecticut and Mystic Aquarium have announced a research partnership.

The five-year agreement will allow Mystic Aquarium's researchers to use laboratory and office space inside the UConn Department of Marine Sciences, which is located on the school's Avery Point campus on Long Island Sound.

The school and aquarium say the partnership will provide unique teaching and learning opportunities to both institutions in the study of ocean health, biodiversity and the sustainable use of aquatic resources.

Stephen Coan, the president and CEO at Mystic Aquarium, says the partnership will bring together some of the best marine scientists in the world to collaborate on projects.

The aquarium says it also will celebrate UConn Avery Point's 50th anniversary with special events and promotions throughout the year.

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