NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) An attorney for a Connecticut woman disfigured by a friend's pet chimpanzee says he plans to appeal a decision denying her permission to sue the state for $150 million on her claim officials knew the chimp was dangerous but didn't do anything about it.
The state claims commissioner on Friday approved the state's motion to dismiss Charla Nash's claim, saying the law at the time allowed private ownership of chimpanzees and didn't require officials to seize legal animals. The state generally is immune to lawsuits, unless allowed by the claims commissioner.
Nash's lawyer, Charles Willinger Jr., told The Associated Press on Tuesday he plans to appeal the decision to the state legislature.
Nash was blinded, lost both hands and underwent a face transplant after being mauled in Stamford in 2009.
SALEM, Conn. (AP) State police say a man shot by a trooper near a burning home and garage in Salem has died.
Police and firefighters responded to a fire on Witter Road Tuesday evening. Authorities say a log cabin and detached garage were engulfed in flames and several vehicles were blocking the property entrance.
During the fire, troopers were called to a wooded area behind the home on reports of a man with a gun. State police say the man charged the troopers while wielding a club-like object and a trooper shot him after he refused orders to drop the object.
Authorities say the man later died at Rhode Island Hospital in Providence.
Police haven't released the names of the man and trooper.
Officials say the fires appear to have been intentionally set.
NORWALK, Conn. (AP) A police search in Darien and Norwalk for a reported gunman has come up empty after officials temporarily suspended Metro-North train service and asked local residents to stay indoors.
State police received a report at about 7 a.m. Wednesday about a man displaying a handgun at the Interstate 95 rest stop in Darien, but officers didn't find anything. All Darien schools were placed on a 90-minute delay.
A Metro-North worker later reported seeing a suspicious man wearing camouflage shorts on the tracks near the Darien-Norwalk line. Train service was stopped temporarily while police searched the tracks, but nothing was found. Metro-North reports delays of five to 10 minutes because of the search.
Searches of the Rowayton and South Norwalk train stations also came up empty.
State police are still investigating.
NORWALK, Conn. (AP) A Greenwich middle school teacher accused of threatening to ``shoot up'' the school has been ordered by a judge to undergo mental health counseling and to stay away from the building.
Forty-six-year-old Stacey Goodnow of Norwalk was arraigned on a disorderly conduct charge Monday in Norwalk Superior Court. She was held on $100,000 bail after her arrest Friday, but a judge lowered her bond to $5,000 and she posted it Monday.
Goodnow is a teacher at Western Middle School. Police say she left a phone message for a colleague on June 7 threatening to shoot up the school. Officials placed her on paid administrative leave.
Goodnow told The Hour newspaper that she was only joking and made the comment in frustration over her colleague being denied tenure.
CLINTON, Conn. (AP) A Connecticut man is accused of asking other people for breath samples so he could bypass a DUI ignition device installed in his car after he was convicted of drunken driving.
Clinton police charged 67-year-old Kenneth Palifka of Westbrook on Monday with avoidance of an ignition interlock device, which requires an alcohol-free breath sample to start a car.
Police say Palifka and a friend went boating on Long Island Sound and drank alcohol Monday. Authorities say when the two men returned to a marina, Palifka couldn't start his vehicle and asked others for breath samples.
A phone message seeking comment was left at Palifka's home Tuesday. It's not clear if he has a lawyer.
Court records show Palifka is serving two years of probation for two DUI convictions.
BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (AP) Police say a man charged with murdering a Connecticut college student threatened to kill her after she tried to break off their relationship shortly before she disappeared in April.
Arrest and search warrant affidavits were released Monday in the murder case against 30-year-old Jermaine Richards of Bridgeport. He's charged with killing 20-year-old Eastern Connecticut State University sophomore Alyssiah Wiley.
Wiley was last seen in Willimantic on April 20 and her dismembered remains were found a month later in Trumbull.
Authorities say in the warrants that Richards told a friend he was going to ``get rid'' of Wiley after she tried to break up with him. He also said he knew how to dispose of Wiley's body.
Richards is being held on $1 million bail. His lawyer declined to comment.
FAIRFIELD, Conn. (AP) A man found dead of an apparent drowning in a Fairfield marsh was a 59-year-old artist whose work was admired by former President Bill Clinton and actress Kathleen Turner.
Fairfield police say Nikolay Papp was found dead Saturday morning in the Ash Creek marsh. Police don't suspect foul play, but they're waiting for autopsy results from the chief medical examiner's office.
Papp was a painter and local business owner. A biography posted on the website rogallery.com says Papp came from Ukraine to the United States in 1990 and his works are in the private collections of Turner and the Ukrainian president, who received them from Clinton.
Papp's wife, Irina Simeonova, says on her Facebook page that her husband loved drawing the ocean and he was taken by the ocean.
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) Connecticut drivers can now skip the line at the DMV by checking in online from a laptop, smartphone or tablet computer.
The DMV last week launched a new online portal which enables customers to check in before heading to a local service office in person.
The services available for online check-in include registering a vehicle, obtaining a license or handicap parking permit, getting copies of records, requesting a duplicate title, and making changes to the name on a registration or license.
The site shows waiting times and allows customers to choose which office they want to visit. The DMV says the online times are within 10 minutes of the wait times generated by an automatic computer system in its local offices.
LAS VEGAS (AP) A 25-year-old contestant from Connecticut has won the title of Miss USA in Las Vegas.
Erin Brady won the beauty pageant at the Planet Hollywood hotel-casino last night after strutting in a white sparkly gown and answering a question about the U.S. Supreme Court's decision upholding widespread DNA tests. Asked if she agreed with the decision, Brady said she did.
The Central Connecticut State University finance major could not contain her excitement at the prospect of telling her bosses at Prudential Financial she wouldn't be coming in today. Brady gets the crown and a New York apartment for one year.
She is expected to spend her title reign on a nationwide speaking tour and raising breast and ovarian cancer awareness, the organization's official cause.
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) Federal agents and Hartford-area police have arrested 15 people and seized drugs, guns and money during a long-term undercover investigation.
Authorities announced the arrests and seizures Friday. They say law enforcement officials fanned out across the Hartford area Thursday and served 15 arrest warrants and seized five firearms, 210 grams of crack cocaine, 200 bags of heroin and about $1,400 in cash.
The raids were conducted by police from Hartford, East Hartford and West Hartford and officials with the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the IRS and the U.S. Marshals Service.
Police say the investigation is called ``Operation Sham-Roc'' and has targeted people running a heroin and crack cocaine distribution network in the Hartford area. It remains ongoing.
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) A Connecticut woman disfigured in a chimpanzee attack was denied permission Friday to sue the state for $150 million.
The state is immune to lawsuits unless they're allowed by state Claims Commissioner J. Paul Vance Jr., who denied permission and announced his decision in a news release.
Nash was blinded, lost both hands and underwent a face transplant after being mauled in Stamford in 2009. She reached a $4 million settlement last year with the estate of chimp owner Sandra Herold, who died in 2010.
Her lawyer said the state should be held responsible for not seizing the animal before the attack, because it was warned the animal was dangerous. State Attorney General George Jepsen said the state shouldn't be held liable for the mauling.
Nash, 59, had gone to Herold's home on the day of the attack to help lure her friend's 200-pound chimpanzee, Travis, back inside. But the chimp went berserk and ripped off Nash's nose, lips, eyelids and hands before being shot to death by a police officer. Nash now lives in a nursing home outside Boston.
Travis had starred in TV commercials for Old Navy and Coca-Cola when he was younger and made an appearance on "The Maury Povich Show." The chimpanzee was the constant companion of the widowed Herold and was fed steak, lobster and ice cream. The chimp could eat at the table, drink wine from a stemmed glass, use the toilet, and bathe and dress itself.
Travis had previously bitten another woman's hand and tried to drag her into a car in 1996, bit a man's thumb two years later and roamed downtown Stamford for hours in 2003 before being captured after escaping from Herold's home, according to Nash's lawsuit against Herold.
The $4 million settlement covers a small fraction of Nash's medical costs, according to her lawyers, who have said she requires care and supervision around the clock. She is facing another surgery for hand transplants and will need to be on antibiotics for the rest of her life.
Nash holds the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection responsible for not seizing the animal before the attack despite a state biologist's warning it was dangerous.
"I hope and pray that the commissioner will give me my day in court," Nash told reporters following a hearing last year before Vance. "And I also pray that I hope this never happens to anyone else again. It is not nice."
State Attorney General George Jepsen has said the state should not be held liable for the mauling. He has acknowledged that a state biologist had warned that the chimp was "an accident waiting to happen" before the attack. But Jepsen said state law on the issue was ambiguous and difficult to enforce, and there was no guarantee a court hearing would have led to a seizure order.
MIDDLETOWN, Conn. (AP) Judge Patrick L. Carroll III will become Connecticut's next chief court administrator when Judge Barbara M. Quinn retires in October.
Chief Justice Chase T. Rogers announced Carroll's promotion Friday during the state judges' annual meeting in Middletown. The chief court administrator is responsible for the day-to-day management of the Judicial Branch.
Carroll has been deputy chief court administrator since 2007. Rogers said Superior Court Judge Elliot N. Solomon will succeed Carroll in the deputy's job.
Quinn has been the chief court administrator for the past six years. She will reach the mandatory retirement age of 70 for judges in December and is retiring effective Oct. 1.
Carroll was appointed as a Superior Court judge in 1996 after having served in private practice and as a state prosecutor.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) Four U.S. senators are asking Nickelodeon to ban ads targeted at children that promote and sell junk food and sugar.
Joining West Virginia's Jay Rockefeller in the letter sent this week to Nickelodeon and its parent company, Viacom, were Sens. Dick Durbin of Illinois, Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut and Tom Harkin of Iowa. Rockefeller says the letter is aimed at taking steps to ensure kids can live healthy lives.
Nickelodeon says in a statement it is committed to fighting childhood obesity but will ``leave the science of nutrition to the experts.''
Last June, the Walt Disney Co. banned junk food ads on its television channels, radio stations and websites.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 28 percent of West Virginia children are considered either obese or overweight.
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) The mayor of Hartford, Conn., is allowing a barber to continue giving haircuts in a city park despite orders for him to leave from police and health officials.
A spokeswoman for Mayor Pedro Segarra says he is granting Anthony ``Joe the Barber'' Cymerys a special dispensation in light of his years of charitable work. The spokeswoman, Maribel La Luz, said Thursday the city will help Cymerys obtain a state barber's license if he likes.
The 82-year-old Cymerys has been giving free haircuts to the homeless in exchange for hugs for 25 years at Bushnell Park. He says officials confronted him this week and ordered him to leave because he did not have a permit.
City officials say residents had expressed concerns about sanitation.
BRISTOL, Conn. (AP) Bristol police have condemned a multi-family home after an electrical worker found water pouring from a basement ceiling onto the building's electrical panel.
Police say four families were evacuated from the building on High Street. They are being relocated with the help of the American Red Cross.
Police say the Connecticut Light Power employee had been called to the building after it lost power during Thursday's heavy rains.
He called authorities. The city's building inspector conducted an investigation and ordered the building condemned.
GROTON, Conn. (AP) A spokesman for Electric Boat says a minor equipment fire at a dock at the submarine maker caused some damage to equipment, but caused no injuries.
Spokesman Robert Hamilton said Wednesday that the fire at a dock used for repairs and construction was put out minutes after it was reported.
Hamilton said the USS Toledo was in the same basin at the shipyard but was not involved in the fire.
No other details were immediately available. The cause of the fire is being investigated.
Electric Boat in southeastern Connecticut is a subsidiary of General Dynamics Corp.
MILFORD, Conn. (AP) A 53-year-old man serving time in a federal prison in Oklahoma has been extradited to Connecticut to face murder charges.
The New Haven Register reports Luis Rodriguez was presented in Superior Court Wednesday morning, charged in the May, 2001 strangulation of 28-year-old Kelsey Monahon.
Monahan, who was one month pregnant, was found bound, gagged and unconscious by her husband in their Milford apartment on May 25, 2001.
She died three days later at Bridgeport Hospital.
Prosecutors identified Rodriguez as a suspect in 2011, but he was already behind bars, serving time in Oklahoma on an unrelated weapons charges. They have not said what led them to Rodriguez.
He was extradited to Connecticut on Tuesday. It was not immediately clear if he has obtained an attorney.
STAMFORD, Conn. (AP) Stamford police have suspended two officers without pay after finding text messages they allegedly sent to a 16-year-old girl.
Police Chief Jon Fontneau tells The Stamford Advocate that 43-year-old Robert Macari and 28-year-old William Garay engaged in conduct unbecoming officers.
Macari has been suspended for 30 days. Garay's suspension is for 10 days.
Fontneau says the girl reported in May she was sexually involved with Macari, but later declined to cooperate in an investigation. Police say a forensic examination of the officer's cell phones found sexual texts to the teen.
Neither officer has been charged with a crime. The age of consent in Connecticut is 16.
Attempts to reach the officers for comment Thursday morning were unsuccessful. No working phone numbers for either officer could be found.
NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) A New Haven mother has been arrested after her 2-year-old was found wandering naked in the street.
Police tell the New Haven Register the girl was wandering near the intersection of Chapel Street and Ellsworth Avenue Monday when neighbors pulled her to safety and called police.
They charged 23-year-old Amada Sellers with risk of injury.
Police say Sellers told them she had fallen asleep and that her daughter knew how to let herself out of their apartment. Police say they found the apartment door open and the common door to the building unlocked.
Sellers could not be reached for comment Wednesday. A phone listed for her residence had been disconnected.
Authorities say the Department of Children and Families has placed the child in the care of a relative.
CROMWELL, Conn. (AP) A police chase in Cromwell has ended with a pickup truck crashing into a building and gunshots being fired.
Police Chief Anthony Salvatore told reporters that officers began pursuing an erratic driver early Wednesday morning after he struck several cars and structures on town streets.
The truck eventually jumped an embankment on Route 372 and struck the wall of a brick office building.
Salvatore says shots were fired, but it was not immediately clear who fired or whether anyone was hit.
The truck's driver was taken to Hartford Hospital with unspecified injuries. His condition was not immediately available.
Cromwell police called in the state police to investigate.