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Second wave of milder flu hitting Northeast

NEW YORK (AP) - A second, milder wave of flu is hitting the Northeast.

Months ago, the flu season seemed to be winding down. But health officials on Friday reported widespread flu-like illnesses in six states. Rhode Island is the latest to join the list which includes Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, New Jersey and New York.

Officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say the flu season started in December and peaked by mid-January, and most of the illnesses were swine flu.

But, as happens some years, there's a second wave of a milder flu strain.


APNewsBreak: Vengeful note left in 2 boys' murder

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - A Connecticut woman who shot and killed her two young grandsons before committing suicide last year left a note to the boys' parents saying they did not deserve to have the children.

The letter described in a police report suggests a vengeful motive for the shootings by 47-year-old Debra Denison. The report was obtained by The Associated Press through a Freedom of Information request.

Denison picked up 2-year-old Alton Perry and 6-month-old Ashton Perry at a day care center in North Stonington on Feb. 26, 2013, drove to a nearby lake and killed them. Family members said Denison struggled with mental health problems and had attempted suicide several times.

Denison's husband told police that the revolver used in the shootings belonged to him and was left unloaded in their house.


Woman upset by wedding pleads guilty to arson

STAMFORD, Conn. (AP) - A woman has pleaded guilty to setting fire to a Stamford home that belonged to her ex-boyfriend's mother.

Authorities say 34-year-old Felicia Langley of Norwalk set the fire days after discovering that her ex-boyfriend had married her cousin.

The Advocate of Stamford reports that Langley pleaded guilty Wednesday to third-degree arson. She also pleaded guilty to a third-degree burglary charge for breaking into her old boyfriend's apartment and stealing the dress her cousin was married in.

The fire set in August 2012 caused more than $100,000 in damage.

Langley told detectives that she could not eat after learning of her ex-boyfriend's marriage and became even angrier when the couple would not return her calls and her cousin changed her telephone number.

She faces a year in prison.


Bid to save Connecticut aviator's house wins delay

FAIRFIELD, Conn. (AP) - Activists hoping to save a Connecticut aviator's house from demolition have been granted at least a temporary reprieve.

The delay was prompted by new information that could prove the house of Gustave Whitehead is 100 years old and therefore subject to an ordinance requiring a 60-day stay on demolitions.

Fairfield First Selectman Michael Tetreau tells the Connecticut Post that on Monday the tax assessor will review documents that suggest the house was built in 1918.

A demolition permit was issued last week for the empty house that activists say was foreclosed.

Whitehead was credited last year in state legislation for the first successful flight. His supporters say he flew two years before the Wright brothers lifted off from Kitty Hawk, N.C., in 1903.


Metro-North: Railroad has implemented reforms

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) - A spokeswoman for Metro-North says the nation's second-largest commuter railroad has made tremendous strides in improving its safety culture after two derailments last year.

Marjorie Anders says Metro-North did a thorough inspection of its tracks and other infrastructure and tightened safeguards on when tracks are put back into service. She says it is implementing other improvements such as anonymous reporting of near-accidents.

She spoke as U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal announced that Metro-North has been fined $552,000 over the past decade for safety violations and defects. The Connecticut Democrat says there were 139 violations since 2004.

Anders says Metro-North shares Blumenthal's goals to have a safe railroad.

A derailment in New York City left four passengers dead and one in Bridgeport injured dozens.


UConn recognizes new graduate assistants union

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - The University of Connecticut is officially recognizing the new union that will represent more than 2,100 graduate assistants working throughout the UConn campuses.

Julie Kushner, a leader with United Auto Workers, said Friday the union organization process was unusually smooth and fast. She said the students began signing up co-workers in February, calling the group well-organized.

The State Board of Labor Relations on Thursday determined that more than 50 percent of the graduate students had signed the petition seeking collective bargaining rights. That prompted UConn, which remained neutral throughout the process, to sign a form officially recognizing the union.

Kushner said contract negotiations with the university are expected to begin "very quickly."

As of April 7, UConn employed 2,135 graduate students in assistantships across all campuses except UConn Health Center.


New Haven teen charged in killing

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) - A New Haven man has been charged in the shooting death of a teenager and wounding another youth in March.

Police said Thursday that 18-year-old Jeffrey Covington has been charged with first-degree murder, assault and weapons violations in the shooting death of 17-year-old Taijohn Washington and and the shooting assault of 16-year-old Travon Washington at Lilac and Butler Streets.

Police say an investigation uncovered evidence which identified Covington as the lone shooter.

Covington was being held on a $2 million bond. It was unclear if he had an attorney.

Police Chief Dean Esserman says the department is "committed to the families of our community with the hope that we have brought justice and relief to these grieving families."


Boston mayor objects to casino licensing process

BOSTON (AP) - Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh's administration is calling on the state's top gambling regulator to recuse himself from the casino licensing process in eastern Massachusetts.

In a letter Thursday, the administration accused Massachusetts Gaming Commission Chairman Stephen Crosby of making "prejudicial" statements critical of the city's request to be declared a host community for proposed casinos in nearby Everett and Revere.

Walsh's administration also objects to a May 1 hearing in which the commission is likely to rule on the request. It says the hearing violates the city's due process rights.

If granted host community status, Boston residents would have an opportunity to vote on casino proposals by Mohegan Sun in Revere and Wynn in Everett.

A commission spokeswoman said it remains focused on implementing the casino law in a "transparent and fair" manner.

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