At least 90 hospitalized during concert featuring Chance the Rapper

With thousands of teens and partiers in their 20s, the party was madness. Authorities reported at least 90 were hospitalized for intoxication. There were also some 50 underage drinking referrals.

The cases were all at a concert in Hartford, Connecticut featuring Chancelor Johnathan, better known as Chance the Rapper.

Hartford Deputy Chief Brian Foley said Saturday the Friday night Hot 93.7′s Hot Jam concert at Xfinity Theatre was busy for police officers. Binge drinking, he said, was “extremely prevalent.” 

Kyle, PnB Rock and ANoyd were also performing.



You’re the one @chancetherapper! Great show tonight! #xfinitytheatre @therealhot937 #hartford #hotjam2017

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Mother residing in church as lawyers seek to stay her deportation

In what some lawmakers are calling a “morally repugnant” incident and a “humanitarian nightmare,” a single mother of four who has been living in the United States for 24 years is now seeking refuge in a New Haven, Connecticut, church in an attempt to avoid deportation.

Nury Chavarria, a Guatemala native, and her four daughters must wait as her legal team attempts to secure some kind of relief for her. Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy and Senators Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy, all Democrats, have rallied around her in support, along with community activists and volunteers.

“I want the President of the United States to come here and meet her,” Murphy said in a news conference Friday afternoon outside Iglesia De Dios Pentecostal church, where he and Blumenthal met with Chavarria Friday afternoon. “This is not right. This is not what this country is about.”

Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) said in a statement to CNN that Chavarria did not adhere to a voluntary deportation issued by a federal judge in 1998. In 2010, the agency said that it deferred her removal one year on humanitarian grounds.

“As a current exercise of discretion and after an exhaustive review of her case,” the statement said, “the agency had allowed her to remain free from custody while finalizing her timely departure plans.”

“Since she did not depart as instructed, she is currently an ICE fugitive,” the statement added.

A clean record and a check-in gone awry

Chavarria first fled Guatemala in 1993 with her family and sought asylum in the United States, which was denied, according to her attorney, Glenn Formica.

In June, 24 years after she arrived, immigration officers told her she had to buy a plane ticket and leave the United States by July 20.

Chavarria attended her regular ICE check ins annually since 2011, according to Formica. According to Murphy, she had previously received multiple deferrals by ICE to allow her to stay in the United States.

While Chavarria was supposed to board a flight at Newark International Airport bound for Guatemala on Thursday, she instead fled to the Iglesia De Dios Pentecostal church in New Haven from her home in Norwalk. In its statement, ICE said that its current policy “directs agency personnel to avoid conducting enforcement activities at sensitive locations” like places of worship.

While both the Obama and Trump administrations have said that deporting criminals is a priority, lawmakers say that there has been no sign of a criminal record in Chavarria’s past.

“I have yet to find anything in this woman’s background that indicates that she is a criminal,” Malloy told reporters on Friday. “And a point of fact is that she showed up for all of the appointments that she was supposed to show up for.”

Murphy and Blumenthal also noted that she contributed economically to the community and paid her taxes.

“Because of the election last November, all of that changed for her,” Murphy said. “She was a marked woman.”

‘I want her to stay because I love her so much’

Chavarria has four children and is their sole caretaker. Her eldest son, who is 21 years old, has cerebral palsy, according to Formica. Her youngest daughter, Hayley Gabriella Chavarria, is 9 years old, and she publicly appealed to President Trump not to separate her family.

“My mother, Nury Chavarria, is someone I love more than anyone in the world,” her youngest daughter, Hayley told reporters Thursday night outside of the church. “She’s not a criminal, she has a positive attitude about everything. I want her to stay because I love her so much.”

The church’s pastor, Hector Otero, told reporters that he hopes his church’s support highlights the significance of Chavarria’s case.

“It’s a humanitarian matter in which we cannot be excluded in helping the Chavarria family,” Otero said in Spanish, with the help of translators. “Our church has decided to serve as sanctuary and I am thankful to all of those who have united in this effort, including Governor Dan Malloy. I think there is an opportunity for us to work to keep the family together.”

Other community activists spoke on Chavarria’s behalf Thursday night.

Jesus Morales Sanchez, an activist associated with Unidad Latina en Acción and the Connecticut Immigrants Rights Alliance, said his groups stood in support of Chavarria, calling her “someone who is resilient, hardworking, and someone who embodies what a lot of immigrants pursue in this country: The American Dream.”

Others face similar fate

Chavarria’s deportation case is one of several that have captured the attention of activists and lawmakers across the United States, after President Donald Trump issued an executive order earlier this year that expanded the powers of immigration officers.

The order laid out a series of categories of undocumented immigrants that immigration law enforcement officials should prioritize for removing from the country, a reaction to what was criticized by the right as lax enforcement of immigration law by former President Barack Obama.

But experts say the descriptions include virtually every person in the country illegally and give broad latitude to individual immigration officers to decide who should be detained for deportation.

Roberto Beristain, an Indiana restaurant owner, was deported to Mexico in April after living in the United States for nearly 20 years. Like Chavarria, his attorney says that he attended all necessary check ins.

Francisca Lino went to her twice-annual ICE check-in in Chicago earlier this year and told relieved family outside the office that she was set for at least another year. Five minutes later, though, Lino was told there had been a mistake and that she would have to depart the United States in 28 days.

“There were changes,” Lino said, her face grim. She was originally scheduled to be deported on July 11, but she is now scheduled to check in with ICE in August.

But Chavarria’s fate is still to be determined.

Kica Matos, who represents Chavarria, said that she is in much better spirits than on Thursday and is overwhelmed by the support she has received.

“She feels really uplifted by all of these people who are coming forward to fight on her behalf,” Matos said.

Chavarria spoke on Friday to CNN affiliate WTNH, telling them that her connection to her children was a main reason why she wanted to stay in the United States.

“If I left my country, I wouldn’t have had the same opportunities to see my daughter and my other kids,” I do everything for my kids, for (sic) see them, for be (sic) with them,” she said.

Malloy, Blumenthal and Murphy pledged that they would continue to support Chavarria’s legal team and their efforts.

“ICE needs to step back and think about a path forward, there is a better way,” Murphy said.

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New Jersey raises smoking age to 21

New Jersey is set to become the third state to raise its smoking age to 21, after Republican Gov. Chris Christie signed a bill Friday that hikes the minimum age to buy tobacco products from 19.

We “are giving young people more time to develop a maturity and better understanding of how dangerous smoking can be and that it is better to not start smoking in the first place,” Christie said in a statement. “My mother died from the effects of smoking, and no one should lose their life due to any addictive substance.”

A reduction in smoking-related health problems also would ease the strain on the state’s health care system, Christie said.

Cities, states jump on board

New York City in 2013 raised its smoking age to 21, making it the largest of a cadre of local jurisdictions to raise the standard.

Hawaii, in 2015, became the first state to do so. California followed suit a year later. A bill that raises the minimum age to 21 to purchase tobacco products in Oregon State is awaiting the signature of Gov. Kate Brown, a Democrat.

Raising the minimum age to 21 nationwide would result in almost 250,000 fewer premature deaths and 45,000 fewer lung cancer deaths among people born between 2000 and 2019, a 2015 study by National Institute of Medicine found.

New Jersey’s new law applies to e-cigarettes, as well as conventional tobacco products, and triggers fines against anyone who sells, gives or offers such products to someone younger than 21. It goes into effect November 1.

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‘Home Alone’ actor John Heard dies

Actor John Heard, best known for playing the father in the “Home Alone” movies, has died, the Santa Clara County, California, medical examiner’s office said.

The medical examiner’s office said the actor was 71, but other reports list his age as 72. He died Friday.

While his role as Peter McCallister endeared him to generations of moviegoers in a singular way, Heard had a versatile and prolific career on stage as well as in movies and television.

Heard was a successful theater actor before transitioning to film, where he had a supporting role in the 1988 Tom Hanks film “Big,” and he appeared in several other well-known films, including “Beaches,” The Pelican Brief,” and “Sharknado.”

Heard’s TV credits included appearances on “CSI: Miami,” “Law & Order,” “Battlestar Galactica,” “Prison Break” and “Elementary.”

“Bad guy” and “official” roles seemed to suit him, and he spun both into an Emmy-nominated guest arc on “The Sopranos.”

Heard was married three times, most notably to “Superman” star Margot Kidder.

Though Heard found enduring success with a long line of supporting roles, he could never shake his “Home Alone” character. In an interview with the AV Club in 2015, Heard said he hoped a role in the viral “Sharknado” movie would move his image along.

“This is going to be a huge hit,” he said of the film. “That is going to put to rest the ‘Home Alone’ dad image.”

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Hawaii to test nuclear warning system amid North Korea’s threats

Hawaii is set to become the first state in the US to test an “attack- warning” system in the event of a North Korean nuclear missile strike.

Starting in November, Hawaii’s disaster warning plan will include a new protocol in case of a nuclear attack, CNN affiliate KNHL reports. But some are concerned the announcement will scare off tourists from visiting the island.

A “guidance summary” from the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency says residents will be alerted of nuclear detonation through siren alarms and flashing white lights. An Emergency Alert System will broadcast over television and radio frequencies as well.

There are 4,661 miles of ocean between Hawaii and North Korea, making the island one of the closest US territories to Kim Jong Un’s regime after Guam and Alaska.

Despite plans for testing a nuclear warning system, there is no need to panic, Vern Miyagi, an administrator with the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency, told the affiliate.

“When I see stuff like, ‘Hawaii prepares for nuclear attack,’ that’s way overboard. We’re not preparing for a nuclear attack,” he said. “This is just a hazard, like tsunamis and hurricanes that Hawaii faces. It’s not impending.”

Miyagi added the threat of a nuclear strike is “not mature.”

‘Odds are so small right now’

Despite the alert system’s label as “just a hazard,” some are wondering why it was announced at the height of Hawaii’s tourist season.

“The odds are so small right now and the possibility of this happening is so remote,” Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa told the affiliate. “It’s not worth getting everybody into a major economic situation to plan for a major attack.”

Hawaii is a critical outpost for the US military, hosting naval and air force bases. US Pacific Command, the military’s headquarters for the Asia-Pacific region, is on the island of Oahu.

While Hawaii is the first state in the US to prepare for a North Korean attack, it’s not alone on the world stage. Japan implemented a similar alert system after four North Korean missiles landed off its northwest coast in March, one landing just over 100 miles from the city of Oga.

Hawaii Lodging and Tourism Association president Mufi Hanneman told the affiliate that the system should only make tourists more comfortable traveling to the island.

“We certainly have marketed ourselves as one of the safest places to visit if not in America, in the world,” he said. “If I were a visitor, I’d be pleased to know that Hawaii is taking steps and that I can continue to go there and feel safe.”

In case of an actual nuclear strike, residents are instructed to go inside and remain sheltered for 14 days or until they are told it is safe to leave. While in shelter, residents should listen to local AM-FM radio stations for official information.

But despite the possibility of a decline in tourism, Miyagi says it’s still worth testing the new system, even if an attack isn’t imminent.

“Probability is low,” he said. “But we just want to get ahead of it.”

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