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Attorney General Kamala D. Harris Issues Bulletin to California Law Enforcement Agencies Detailing Eviction …

Posted: Thursday, April 28, 2016 4:29 pm

Attorney General Kamala D. Harris Issues Bulletin to California Law Enforcement Agencies Detailing Eviction Protections for Californians


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LOS ANGELES – Attorney General Kamala D. Harris today issued an information bulletin to California law enforcement agencies to reinforce integral eviction procedures under the California Homeowner Bill of Rights. Under current California law, occupants of a foreclosed property who are not named in eviction documents – such as tenants – can present a “Claim of Right to Possession” form to temporarily stop the eviction process up to and including when the Sheriff comes to remove them from the property.

Following the 2012 national mortgage settlement, Attorney General Harris sponsored the landmark California Homeowner Bill of Rights (HBOR), which took effect on January 1, 2013. The legislation package included additional protections for homeowners and tenants facing foreclosure. Although HBOR has been in effect since 2013, advocacy groups have reported cases in which Sheriffs proceed with the eviction process despite being presented with a Claim of Right to Possession form. This bulletin provides guidance for Sheriffs performing evictions following a foreclosure.

“This bulletin clarifies integral protections and due process available under the Homeowner Bill of Rights,” said Attorney General Harris. “I sponsored this bill to provide a fair process for vulnerable Californians who are facing the loss of their homes. I thank the advocacy organizations for their tireless work on behalf of those affected by the foreclosure crisis.”

Prior to HBOR, occupants who were not named in an Unlawful Detainer Complaint were required to respond to a “Prejudgment Claim of Right to Possession” within 10 days of service. This is no longer the case. Under HBOR, certain post-foreclosure occupants, such as tenants, can temporarily stop the eviction process by presenting a Claim of Right to Possession, including at the time of the lockout, to the Sheriff at the property. Once a claim is presented, the Sheriff should take no further action until notified by the court. The bulletin further instructs Sheriffs on how to respond when presented with a Claim of Right to Possession.

“HBOR provides critical protections for tenants in foreclosed properties. Western Center on Law Poverty is grateful to the Attorney General for providing guidance to the sheriffs who play a key role in implementing these protections and ensuring that innocent tenants will not be evicted without notice,” said Madeline S. Howard, Senior Staff Attorney at the Western Center on Law and Poverty.

“Over 1 million California tenants suffered displacement after their landlords’ foreclosure from 2008-2012. The tenant protections of HBOR helped address this crisis, and the Claim of Right to Possession gave tenants a new tool to assert their rights. However, many tenants have had difficulty using this procedure because it was new and education was limited. Tenants Together believes that this Bulletin will significantly improve the use of the Claim of Right to Possession and ensure that Sheriffs across the state are able to properly follow the legal process,” said Leah Simon-Weisberg, Legal Director at Tenants Together.

Western Center and Tenants Together have received calls asking for assistance with the prejudgment claim process and reports of post-foreclosure eviction abuse from tenants in the Central Valley, Inland Empire, and the San Francisco Bay Area.

Attorney General Harris has worked to ensure that California’s homeowners are treated fairly and with consideration during the foreclosure process. In 2011, she created the Mortgage Fraud Strike Force, which was tasked with the responsibility to investigate and prosecute misconduct related to aspects of the mortgage process. In February 2012, Attorney General Harris secured more than $20 billion for struggling California homeowners from the nation’s five largest banks.

The Attorney General has also taken steps to improve relations between the public and law enforcement agencies. In 2015, she directed a review of her Division of Law Enforcement’s policies on implicit bias and the use of force. Following the 90-day Review, Attorney General Harris created the first POST-certified course on Procedural Justice and Implicit Bias in the United States. In 2016, she sponsored legislation that would create a stand-alone course for peace officers on principled policing, procedural justice and implicit bias. She later formed the 21st Century Policing Working Group, which has convened several times to discuss its current progress and strategies to improve policing policies to fit the needs of today. In addition, Attorney General Harris sent a bulletin to law enforcement making clear that federal immigration detainers are voluntary and that law enforcement agencies should direct resources in a manner that best serves their community.

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Thursday, April 28, 2016 4:29 pm.

Article source: http://www.highlandnews.net/news/political/attorney-general-kamala-d-harris-issues-bulletin-to-california-law/article_12160ab2-0d99-11e6-83c6-5b95e95734eb.html

DOT Implements Hostile Takeover Of Sheepshead Bay Road, Surprising Community Leaders

Traffic cones closed traffic on East 15th Street between Sheepshead Bay Road and Avenue Z. (Photo: Alex Ellefson / Sheepshead Bites)

Traffic cones closed traffic on East 15th Street between Sheepshead Bay Road and Avenue Z. (Photo: Alex Ellefson / Sheepshead Bites)

Community leaders say they were blindsided this week when the Department of Transportation (DOT) moved forward on a controversial plan to transform part of Sheepshead Bay Road into a Times Square-style pedestrian plaza.

The agency sprung the project on the community Sunday, haphazardly sprinkling orange traffic cones around East 15th Street and Jerome Slip to close the streets to traffic. The B36 bus stop was also moved to Avenue Z and a section of Sheepshead Bay Road, between East 15th Street and Jerome Avenue, was made into a one-way.

The plan, part of the mayor’s Vision Zero campaign, was introduced to the community board last year. However, many assumed the project was dead after board members voted it down.

But last month, DOT announced they were reviving the proposal, partly because a pedestrian was struck and killed by an MTA bus in December. However, Community Board 15 Chairwoman Theresa Scavo said the board was given no notice the plan would be implemented Sunday.

“We received no direct correspondence from DOT about when the work would begin or when it would be completed,” she said.

The MTA posted a sign informing commuters the B36 bus stop has been moved to Avenue Z. (Photo: Alex Ellefson / Sheepshead Bites)

The MTA posted a sign informing commuters the B36 bus stop has been moved to Avenue Z. (Photo: Alex Ellefson / Sheepshead Bites)

The community board did receive an email April 4 from DOT that the plan would be implemented at the end of the month, but there were no details about what date the project would begin or what the changes would look like, Scavo explained

“They should have given us another presentation. All we received was: ‘It’s being done, goodbye,’ she said.

The plan also calls for creating a taxi stand a block away from the subway station, putting pedestrian islands where Sheepshead Bay Road meets Jerome Avenue and East 14th Street, and adding crosswalks throughout the roadway. A DOT spokesperson said the agency had no timeline for when it would follow through on the rest of the proposal.

sheepshead bay road

Instead, commuters coming out the subway station glared at the sign posted at the old bus stop for the B36 bus — informing them it had been moved to Avenue Z. Cars swerved around the traffic cones littering the roadway. To some, the move felt more like a hostile takeover considering it was such a huge change for one of the community’s major roadways.

Traffic cones at the intersection with Jerome Avenue prevent cars from heading west on Sheepshead Bay Road. (Photo: Alex Ellefson / Sheepshead Bay Road)

Traffic cones at the intersection with Jerome Avenue prevent cars from heading west on Sheepshead Bay Road. (Photo: Alex Ellefson / Sheepshead Bay Road)

Steve Barrison, president of the Bay Improvement Group, said he found out the project was underway at a Bayfest planning meeting on Tuesday.

“Everyone feels like we’ve been ambushed,” he said. “What’s the rush? This is going to have a tremendous impact on our community, on our visitors, on our shoppers, on our businesses, and on our commuters.”

Scavo said DOT should have made more of an effort to communicate with the neighborhood after they announced the plan was moving forward.

“They should have come to the community board again, made a presentation, and listened to the community. I don’t think they were exactly following procedure that’s been established,” she said.

New street signs were installed on Sheepshead Bay Road. (Photo: Alex Ellefson / Sheepshead Bites)

New street signs were installed on Sheepshead Bay Road. (Photo: Alex Ellefson / Sheepshead Bites)

A DOT representative is expected to speak next week at the Sheepshead Bay-Plumb Beach Civic Association. However, the group’s co-president, Cliff Bruckenstein, said it was odd his group was selected for the presentation considering Manhattan Beach Community President Judy Baron had been hounding the agency to visit her group;

“They don’t want to make a big showing. So since my community group is the smallest one at the moment, I believe they’re coming to me,” he said.

Bruckenstein said he was also caught off guard when DOT rolled out the project this week.

The Sheepshead Bay-Plumb Beach Civic Association will meet Tuesday, May 3, at 7:45pm in the at Waterford on the Bay, 2900 Bragg Street, near the corner of Emmons Avenue.

Neighbors are encouraged to attend and ask questions about the traffic changes.

“We’re going to have many, many questions,” Bruckenstein said.

Related Posts

Article source: http://www.sheepsheadbites.com/2016/04/dot-implements-hostile-takeover-of-sheepshead-bay-road-surprising-community-leaders/

A look into the new Charlotte Observer offices

People are taking their desk lamps home.

One reporter was spotted wearing shades, indoors.

Others brought in binoculars, even a telescope.

Yes, there is just that much glass and sunlight inside the new Uptown headquarters of the Charlotte Observer.

In case you missed it, we completed our move last week, our first in 89 years. Our new address is 550 S. Caldwell St., a mere three blocks south of our former address at 600 S. Tryon.

But the setting is another world, all together. Our old place (the current building went up in 1971) was a massive factory with offices wrapped around and over it. The building and its outcroppings sprawled for more than a city block, housing huge presses, loading docks and enough underground storage for thousands of tons of newsprint, ink and lead.

Thanks to technology, we now produce and distribute our printed newspapers from a modern press facility inside an industrial park in University City. We also need fewer newspapers, since three times more people now read us in a digital format (3 million monthly) than in print.

So, as much as we cherish the memories inside our block-shaped building on Tryon, we’ve been overdue for a new environment that matches our growing digital reality. Most now experience us on a phone, tablet or desktop. Our greatest assets for the future are talented people, computers and software. And all fit nicely on three floors of a modern office tower in NASCAR Plaza.

We’re on floors 10, 11 and 12, occupying 68,500 square feet. But we’re also all over the community. Reporters, visual journalists and ad executives fan out across the region each day, working among you. They may or may not return to our new headquarters, now that they can send stories, videos and advertising orders remotely, using phones and iPads.

But inside the tower? It’s a very nice space.

Let’s start on Floor 10. The elevators open within our new lobby. You’ll find Cherri Foster there during business hours (8:30 a.m.-5 p.m.), weekdays. She knows how to find everyone else. Last week, Foster still sat among construction workers because this floor needed the most renovation to fit our needs.

Floor 10 will feature three conference rooms, a training room and a meeting room with seating for 75 that we call The Outlook. Here you get the stunning effect of floor-to-ceiling windows that wrap the entire building. This room offers a spectacular view of the city’s skyline. The sensation is about as close as you can get to being outdoors while still inside a building.

Floor 10 also has offices for Publisher Ann Caulkins, our divisions for Finance, Audience and Human Resources, Technology Support and the regional operations of the Associated Press.

The space is “just what we wanted and needed,” Caulkins says. “It is set up for the way we do business in the digital world. We made a large investment in the technology. Our new offices fit the needs of the media company we are today.”

Next stop, Floor 11. Here you find our Advertising division, as well as offices for our magazines: Lake Norman, South Park and Carolina Bride. Our vice president for advertising, Kelly Mirt, says his staff is thrilled to be in a new setting with both creative spaces and state-of-the-art technology.

That includes wide-screen monitors in every meeting room that toggle easily between presentations and live Google hangouts.

“It’s such a creative environment,” Mirt says. “Our people are in these fresh spaces, brainstorming and collaborating.”

Donna Robinson joined the Observer’s advertising division in 1981 when the former building was only 10 years old. Miss the old building? Sure, she said. But it was time for a change, and this is better.

“We came in here, and it is like starting all over again,” Robinson said.

On to the 12th floor, inside the newsroom. It’s not the top of the building (there are 20 floors), but plenty high enough to see much of this region.

To the west, low-rise apartments in South End. Jets taking off and landing at Charlotte-Douglas International Airport. Carowinds. Crowders, Spencer and Kings mountains. To the south, Cotswold, SouthPark. To the east, Elizabeth, Independence Boulevard. To the north, Charlotte’s spreading skyscrapers.

Kevin Siers, our Pulitzer-Prize-winning editorial columnist, works in a corner that lets him to scan the city’s skyline. He marvels at his natural light, and then some.

“I started out drawing for newspapers in the basement of the journalism school in Minneapolis,” Siers said, “and I often called my (former) Charlotte Observer office my cave, with the narrow gun slits for windows, and dark walls. Now I feel like I’m up in the sky, more of a falcon’s nest, where I can look out my window over to the Government Center, ready to pounce on my prey.”

Inside, reporters are adding personal touches to cubicles. It’s the sort of stuff that amuses visitors to every newsroom: Checkered race flags, a dancing chicken, postcards, bumper stickers, crime scene tape. Reporter Mark Price tacked up a sign from our old lobby: “Escalator out of service. Please use the elevators or the stairs.”

Our food writer, Kathleen Purvis, was inspired to set up a telescope her son wasn’t using at home. It’s in position to magnify the giant video screen now visible inside Bank of America Stadium.

“We’re watching the planes go by,” Purvis said. She grins.“We hear there is a rooftop pool going in next door.”

But the biggest show on this floor is a newly installed “media wall” facing the news desk, the newsroom’s nerve center. This is our window to the rest of the world. Twelve 60-inch monitors aid our own reporting by providing 24-hour access to broadcasts, websites and social media.

That’s never been more important as we transition to a new era of journalism. We’re still committed to the in-depth reporting you rely on. But the Observer’s deadline once was a fixed point in the night. Now, it’s minute by minute. You need to understand news as it happens, through videos, live feeds and continuous updates. Our new workplace positions us to deliver on that, too.

Not that it wasn’t hard to say goodbye to our former building. Generations of Observer employees toiled endlessly there so all of us could grasp the perils of Brown Lung, the birth of the city’s professional sports, the scandal that was PTL, and the deceit that fueled our nation’s foreclosure crisis.

Their good works endure. And we aspire to add to them in this next chapter.

Reach Rick Thames at rthames@charlotteobserver.com, on Twitter @rthames, on Facebook (/rthames.obs), 704-358-5001.

Article source: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/news/local/article74518127.html

Police report: UFO sighting, ‘finger gun’ threat, stolen fragrances

• An Inver Grove Heights man “pointed with a finger gun” while threatening to shoot employees at Foot and Ankle Clinics, located in the 500 block of Bielenberg Drive. He came to the clinic wearing a blaze orange construction outfit, after not getting his desired results from the billing department, according to Woodbury Public Safety’s initial complaint report. After arguing with staff, a doctor asked the customer to leave and he is no longer welcome at the clinic. The call came to police at 1:19 p.m. March 23.

• Five Woodbury residents in three cars were involved in an accident that caused injuries at 3:20 p.m. March 23 at Lake and Ojibway Park roads. Slippery conditions and snow on the road contributed to the crash. One driver lost control of his Honda Odyssey and struck a Mitsubishi Eclipse head on, injuring both drivers. One was transported to the hospital. The cars were thoroughly damage and towed. They slid into a Ford Escape, which was stopped at a stop sign and suffered minor damage to the driver’s side of the front bumper.

• At 9:03 a.m. March 24, near the intersection of Radio and Tower drives, a 911 caller reported seeing a coyote walking on the sidewalk and then toward a pond. Police, unable to locate the animal, advised the resident to call back if he sees the coyote again.

• Two girls were cited for possession of a small amount of marijuana during an incident that occurred at 10:40 p.m. March 24, near the intersection of Valley Creek Road and Currell Boulevard. They both admitted to smoking the drugs after police saw them in Tamarack Nature Preserve after hours and a community service officer smelled marijuana and found 2.55 grams during a search of their car.

• At 11:44 p.m. March 24, police stopped a vehicle near the intersection of interstates 94 and 494 because its owners was listed as having an active warrant. The driver, the owner’s brother from Minneapolis, was arrested for driving after revocation and an uninsured vehicle. The driver was found to have a small amount of marijuana in his pocket and also admitted to having firearms in the vehicle. Police located a .22-caliber pistol in the center console and a 9mm handgun and AK-47 in cases in the trunk. St. Paul police are familiar with the driver, and Woodbury officers attempted to search the St. Paul home of the man’s girlfriend. St. Paul police believe the man has a large cache of weapons at the house.

• Unregistered people were using three rooms at the Red Roof Inn at 2:16 a.m. March 25. Police reported suspicious activity—including smokers outside of two rooms and beer cans in the open window of another unrented room—to the crime-free multi-housing program.

• At 8:09 a.m. March 26, police were called to a possible burglary at a vacant home in foreclosure along Cochrane Drive. The garage door appeared to have been pried open, the 911 caller said, but police believed the door was propped open for ventilation purposes. It was not open enough for anyone to get in, according to the initial complaint report. Police contacted the bank, and neighbors offered to keep an eye on the house for any other suspicious activity.

• After running a red light at 2:46 p.m. March 26, near the intersection of Woodlane Drive and Lake Road, two Woodbury residents received citations for possession of a small amount of marijuana. Officers found 2.3 grams of drugs in the vehicle and 2 grams and drug paraphernalia on the passenger’s person. The tabs on the blue Chevy Impala were expired, and the driver’s driver’s license had expired.

• Police were called at 11:47 p.m. March 27 to the 7000 block of Robinwood Trail for a report of an unknown object in the sky. The 911 caller said it was a bright light, not a star, way up there, according to the initial complaint report. The complainant told police it was white and it seemed to move in an irregular pattern, lower than a plane but higher than a kite or unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). The light didn’t appear to be a danger to anything or anyone, so the officer took the report as information only.

• At 7:25 a.m. March 28, near the intersection of Bailey Road and Pioneer Drive, a Lakeland man was cited for failure to stop at a red semaphore after his vehicle crashed with a car passing through a green light. Woodbury emergency medical technicians evaluated the other driver for injuries.

• At 3:43 p.m. March 28, at Ulta, $1,043 of women’s and men’s fragrances were stolen by a thief who’d been there before—on March 9 and March 18. A white female thief was captured on video. The suspect has auburn hair and is 5-foot-2, with a thin build. She was wearing a red stocking cap, black jacket, gray hoodie, tennis shoes, and blue jeans with either gems or stripes along the seams.

Article source: http://www.woodburybulletin.com/news/crime-and-courts/4019190-police-report-ufo-sighting-finger-gun-threat-stolen-fragrances

Attorneys at Consumer Action Law Group Successfully Stop Foreclosure Immediately for Their Clients

Apr. 27, 2016 / PRZen / LOS ANGELES — One of the worst things that can happen to a homeowner is losing their home after receiving a foreclosure notice. Foreclosure can be devastating financially, impairing credit, making it impossible to buy a house or car immediately afterwards, and the emotional strain is intense. A large percentage of homeowners are unaware that a foreclosure attorney can stop a foreclosure and save their homes. In many cases, borrowers rely on their lenders to help them save their homes without understanding that their lender may be taking advantage of them. The best way to stop a foreclosure is to get legal help from a foreclosure lawyer.

In the state of California, the Homeowners Bill of Rights protects homeowners from losing their homes and fighting fraudulent mortgage practices. When it comes to stopping illegal foreclosures, the California foreclosure law limits what lenders can do before starting the foreclosure process. The foreclosure laws in California make it illegal for mortgage lenders to start the foreclosure process without first offering alternative solutions such as loan modifications. Foreclosure attorneys use the law to protect homeowners against wrongful foreclosure.

As soon as a notice of foreclosure is received, the best advice is to call a foreclosure attorney at Consumer Action Law Group. Their foreclosure attorneys have a long and successful track record of stopping foreclosure and giving free legal advice to stop foreclosure immediately.

https://youtu.be/azwmdHNKXQI

How to Stop Foreclosure
There are several legal options that a foreclosure lawyer will consider depending on the borrower’s specific situation. The most common legal strategies to stop foreclosure include filing a lawsuit or a bankruptcy.

Filing a Lawsuit
Foreclosure lawyers are specially qualified to stop and reverse wrongful foreclosure. They search for evidence of a wrongful foreclosure and file a lawsuit against a lender. The most common illegal practice in California is “dual tracking”. When a borrower is in the process of applying for a loan modification, a lender cannot move forward with foreclosure. If the lender sends a notice of default or notice of trustee sale while a borrower is applying for a loan modification, it is best to immediately contact a foreclosure lawyer.

Filing Bankruptcy
A lawyer can immediately stop foreclosure by filing Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. A borrower that qualifies for bankruptcy can save their assets, eliminate their debts, and stop the foreclosure process. Chapter 7 bankruptcy is not the same as chapter 13 bankruptcy, and it is important to talk to a lawyer to understand how bankruptcy works and whether it makes sense to file or not.

A foreclosure lawyer may advise a homeowner to file Chapter 13 bankruptcy if the borrower can afford to start making mortgage payments after filing. A Chapter 13 bankruptcy will stop the foreclosure process and allow the homeowner to catch up on missed payments. Bankruptcy is not available for everyone; a homeowner will need to prove that they have enough income to be able to file Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

For detailed information on how to stop foreclosure immediately, visit http://ConsumerActionLawGroup.com or call 818-254-8413.

Source: consumeractionlawgroup.com

Press release distributed by PRZen

Article source: http://www.digitaljournal.com/pr/2918633

Laid-Off Oil Workers Struggle to Pay Loans, Credit Cards

The slump in crude prices is starting to show up as missed payments by consumers in the oil patch.

In states from Oklahoma and Texas to North Dakota and Wyoming, rising unemployment in the energy sector is pushing up loan delinquencies and raising the risk of new losses for banks.

Wells Fargo Co. this month reported an increase…

Article source: http://www.wsj.com/articles/texas-oklahoma-wyoming-oil-woes-start-to-hit-hard-1461749401

How contractors can use mechanic’s liens to avoid getting ‘burned’

Getting paid in the private construction business  whether it involves a particularly evasive general contractor or an owner who’s in a tight financial spot  can be a challenge. Fortunately, no matter the size of their legal budgets, contractors have an alternative to waiting out a check indefinitely, and it’s called a mechanic’s lien.

Mechanic’s liens, usually the collection tool of last resort, protect a contractor’s interests by creating an encumbrance, or monetary claim, on the project property, be it commercial or residential. The lien is public record, and, much like a loan on a vehicle or a mortgage, it must be satisfied  paid  before the owner can provide clear title to a buyer or another lender in case of a refinance. Unlike a home or auto loan, however, mechanic’s liens exist specifically to ensure that those who provide services and materials to a construction project are paid.  

Steps to filing a lien

In most states, the right for contractors to file a mechanic’s lien is not automatic, as there are some legal hurdles to jump. Usually within a certain timeframe, contractor must let the owner know in writing that they are providing services to the project, and notice has to be given in a way that can be proven down the road — such as certified mail, overnight delivery or hand delivery with a signed receipt.

If the owner or general contractor makes timely payments throughout the course of a job, then that’s as far into the mechanic’s lien process they will get. If not, then welcome to the next round of paperwork. If the payments stop coming, and a contractor has met the notice requirements, it’s time to consider filing a mechanic’s lien.

If a contractor files a lien, the process still isn’t complete, though. Most states do not allow a mechanic’s lien to just hang out in the public record forever. At some point, the contractor who filed the lien has to pull the trigger and foreclose on the lien, forcing the sale of the property in order to ultimately get paid.

Variations between states

While the mechanic’s lien option is available in every U.S. state, each has its own variations on the process, so we took a general look at the laws in California, Florida and New York.

California

Attorney Mark Johnson, partner at Snell Wilmer in Los Angeles, said that since the California mechanic’s lien laws underwent an overhaul in 2012, it’s slightly easier for contractors to perfect, or record and enforce, mechanic’s liens.

The mechanic’s lien process in California begins with a preliminary notice, Johnson said. “The preliminary notice attaches from the time you serve the notice,” he said, limiting lien rights to work performed after the notice is filed. “Let’s say you’ve worked on a job 100 days (without filing a preliminary notice). You have no rights to a mechanic’s lien for (work performed) the first 100 days, but you do have rights after you serve the notice.”

If contractors don’t serve a notice at all, Johnson said, they have no mechanic’s lien rights. A contractor also has no lien rights, he said, if not properly licensed for the trade they are working in.

Johnson said that once a contractor has filed a preliminary notice, “prudent” owners require lien releases be executed with every payment. A lien release is a signed statement from the contractor that it has been paid through a certain date, generally releasing the owner from any payment obligation for work performed before that date.

Nevertheless, even if a contractor meets all of the notice and filing obligations, Johnson said, that doesn’t always mean smooth sailing through the foreclosure process. For example, he said, the most common owner defense to foreclosure is a claim that the contractor’s work was defective in some way. Still, Johnson said, it’s normally the preliminary notice requirements and subsequent filing requirements that prevent a contractor from completing a successful lien action. “The procedural hiccups are the biggest problems that mechanic’s lien claimants have,” he said.

Johnson said that while contractors of every size can have issues meeting the statutory lien requirements, smaller contractors who don’t have the internal staff to cover their legal bases are the ones who will most likely miss out on the protections liens can offer.

Florida

Edward C. Lohrer with Becker Poliakoff, P.A. in Ft. Lauderdale, FL, said the lien laws in Florida are “broad and expansive,” but, aside from minor “tweaks” with each legislative session, the process has remained largely the same for many years.

In Florida, Lohrer said there are no significant notice requirements for a contractor in “direct privity” with the owner, meaning that there is a direct contract with the owner. “Your most important deadline,” he said, “is you have 90 days from the date you last performed work on the project to record your lien.” If the contractor does not record the lien within that window of time, “you lose your lien rights altogether,” he added.

If a contractor does not have a direct contract with the owner, such as a subcontractor, he said, the contractor must file a Notice to Owner within 45 days of starting work or lose his lien rights. “Depending on how big the project is,” Lohrer said, “there could be dozens of different people doing work, all of them with potential lien rights.”

The same 90-day lien recording deadline applies to this tier of contractors as well, and, like most states with preliminary notice requirements, notices must be sent or served in such a way that provides proof the owner received it. “The lien law is strict compliance, and, if you mess up, you lose your lien rights.”

New York

In contrast, attorney Andrew Richards of Kaufman Dolowich Voluck, LLP in New York said the state of New York has no preliminary notice requirements that must be met in order to file a mechanic’s lien.

“You have eight months to file a mechanics lien from the last day you perform labor or supply materials,” he said. That generous timeframe shrinks to four months for residential projects. “You also have to serve notice on the owner, commercial or residential,” he said, “either five days before filing a lien or within 30 days thereafter.”

Once a mechanic’s lien is filed, Richards said, the contractor has one year to foreclose on the lien. However, it can be extended for additional one-year periods before the contractor is required to foreclose. In Florida, that deadline is also a year unless the lien is contested, but California contractors must act to enforce their liens within 90 days.

In the cases of subcontractors who file liens, Richards said, the owner is required to withhold the amount specified in the lien from the general contractor. “If they don’t,” he said, “(the owner) could have to pay the sub later on again.”

In lieu of the owner withholding payment, Richards said, the general contractor can put up a bond for 110% of the disputed amount.

Risk of ruining a relationship

A major obstacle to contractors availing themselves of their lien rights, however, is not a legal one. Many contractors, experts noted, are hesitant to file a lien and potentially ruin a business relationship.

“I think that there is a lot of hesitation,” Lohrer said, “especially if there’s repeat business or there’s a long-term relationship because, of course, you could risk upsetting the owner. At the same time, those deadlines are set in stone, and if you wait longer than the 90 days after you’ve stopped doing work, you lose your lien rights.”

Richards said owners will sometimes try to persuade contractors not to file a lien, but Richards said that’s never a good idea for contractors. “They’re a good security. Don’t waive your rights,” he said.

Richards added, “If you look the other way, and you just hope for the best, that’s not a very good way to run a business, and chances are that you’re probably going to get burned. In six months or a year down the road, when you’re out tens of thousands of dollars or more on that project, you probably won’t be saying what a good person that guy was.”


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Legal

Article source: http://www.constructiondive.com/news/how-contractors-can-use-mechanics-liens-to-avoid-getting-burned/418037/

HOA orders man to remove zombie statue from yard

(Photo: WKRN)
(Photo: WKRN)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – A south Nashville man says it’s “ridiculous” that his homeowners association is ordering him to remove a statue of a zombie from his front yard.

Jim Grinstead has lived on Harbor Lights Drive for nearly 10 years and says the zombie he and his wife call “Clawed” has been in his yard for five of those years.

He was surprised when he recently received a letter from the homeowners association ordering him to get rid of the statue.

Jim Grinstead (Photo: WKRN)
Jim Grinstead (Photo: WKRN)

The first sentence of the letter says, “During a recent inspection of the community on April 19, 2016, it was noted that there is a zombie in your yard that needs to be removed.”

Grinstead says what’s even more surprising is that he recently spent $12,000 on new landscaping to improve the looks of his home yet the HOA chose to focus on a piece of yard art.

“I think the homeowner’s association needs to lighten up a little bit,” Grinstead said.

He added the statue is a reflection of his personality.

“We have a sense of humor and that is how we want the world to think of us. It’s how we think of ourselves. People will stop sometimes and take pictures of Clawed. Our friends get a kick out of it when they come over and we’ve never had a complaint about him,” explained Grinstead.

(Photo: WKRN)
(Photo: WKRN)

News 2 obtained a copy of the letter from the Bayview Homeowners’ Association which states:

The Covenants, Conditions Restriction for Bayview state, ‘Section 6. Duty to Maintain Lot. From and after the date construction of a single family residence on a lot is begun, it shall be the duty of each lot owner to keep the grass on the lot properly cut, to keep the lot free from weeds and trash, and to keep it otherwise neat and attractive in appearance. Should any owner fail to do so, the declarant, or the association, may take such action as it deems appropriate, including mowing, in order to make the lot neat and attractive and the owner shall, immediately upon demand, reimburse declarant or the association for all expenses incurred in so doing, together with interest at the rate provided herein, and declarant or the association shall have a lien on that lot and the improvements thereon to secure the repayment of such amounts. Such lien may be enforced for foreclosure against that Lot and the improvements thereon, but such lien shall be subordinate to any mortgage or deed of trust thereon.”

The letter does not specifically mention yard art or statues. During a drive through the neighborhood, News 2 noticed yard art in other neighbors’ yards.

While the letter does not give Grinstead a deadline, he says he plans to remove Clawed this week.

“I’ll take my beating and go ahead and do it,” Grinstead said.

News 2 contacted the HOA and is waiting to hear back.

Article source: http://wkrn.com/2016/04/25/hoa-orders-man-to-remove-zombie-statue-from-yard/

Jimmy Anderson paralyzed five years ago by drunk driver now running for office

A man from Wisconsin who lost his entire family in an horrific car crash in 2010, is now running for office in a bid to improve the lives of others. 

Jimmy Anderson, who is 29, and from Fitchburg near Madison, ended up being paralyzed from the chest down after the California car crash. He is now campaigning by going door-to-door in his electric wheelchair.

In the five years since the accident, Jimmy has managed to complete his law degree and start a support group, called Drive Clear, to help the victims of drink-driving accidents.  

Gone but not forgotten: Jimmy Anderson on his wedding day, with brother Andrew, dad James, wife Ashley and his mom Emma  who all died in a horrific car crash in 2010

Gone but not forgotten: Jimmy Anderson on his wedding day, with brother Andrew, dad James, wife Ashley and his mom Emma who all died in a horrific car crash in 2010

Giving back to the community: Five years since the accident, Jimmy wanted to do something meaningful with his life and is now campaigning for office

Giving back to the community: Five years since the accident, Jimmy wanted to do something meaningful with his life and is now campaigning for office

On the trail: Jimmy is seen with his wife, Ashley by his side as they go from door to door

On the trail: Jimmy is seen with his wife, Ashley by his side as they go from door to door

Jimmy was a 24-year-old student at the University of Wisconsin Law School and visiting his family back in Patterson, California when tragedy struck.

A van travelling at more than 60mph slammed into the side the family car, flipping them over multiple times before it was crushed as it landed on some palm trees. 

Firefighters used the jaws of life to extricate Jimmy from the wreckage. But his family couldn’t be saved. The drunk driver was also killed.

Jimmy wrote graphically about the moment of the crash on his website where he describes his feelings in the moment after impact. 

‘Things are slowly coming into focus. I am facing towards the inside of the vehicle and I see what’s left of my little brother. Parts of the car are jamming through his body. There is so much blood. One of his arms is unnaturally bent. But worst of all are his eyes. I’m staring into them. They stare right back at me…’

After being in a coma for several days, it was left to his wife, Ashley, to tell him the awful news that his entire family had been killed.

‘I feel so bad for my wife. She shouldn’t have to say those words. I want nothing more than to hold her, to console her, but I can’t. I’m trapped in my own body, pinned to the hospital bed,’ Jimmy wrote soon after the tragedy.

His injuries included a collapsed lung, concussion and blood loss. A piece of the car went straight through his knee and his first four vertebrae were crushed leaving him in intensive care for three weeks.

Back in the chair: Jimmy spent almost three weeks in the Intensive Care Unit in Modesto, as doctors surgically fused numerous vertebrae located in the spinal column of his neck, which was severely broken

Meeting the voters: Jimmy graduated from law school, and started a charity to help victims of drunk driving before deciding he could help more people by trying to get elected to the State Assembly

Meeting the voters: Jimmy graduated from law school, and started a charity to help victims of drunk driving before deciding he could help more people by trying to get elected to the State Assembly

Telling his story: Jimmy speaks to high school students, OWI offenders, and other groups to highlight the impact that drunk driving can have on individuals, families and communities. Here, pictured with wife, Ashley

Telling his story: Jimmy speaks to high school students, OWI offenders, and other groups to highlight the impact that drunk driving can have on individuals, families and communities. Here, pictured with wife, Ashley

Doctors told him that he would be a quadriplegic, paralyzed from the chest down for the rest of his life.

After months of intense physical therapy including having to learn how to breathe and swallow again. 

Although he regained some movement below the neck, he has limited use of his arms and hands. It takes him longer to do things physically, but his mind is as sharp as ever.

Jimmy says that although time has healed many of his visible scars, the accident has given him a renewed determination to make his life a useful one, and to make a difference in the lives of others.

‘I owe it to my family to prove that I can succeed,’ said Jimmy. ‘Because of that, I know I will be more motivated than most to do a good job.’

After completing his law degree, he was determined to use his story to try to keep others from having to suffer.

He began speaking to high school students and drunk driving offenders. It led to him setting up a non-profit group, Drive Clear, to honor the memory of his family and help the victims of drunk driving. 

The group’s goal is get personal breathalyzers into the hands of as many people as possible to cut down on the number of drink drive incidents. 

‘I wanted to do something to honor the memory of my family. If my story could save someone from being killed by a drunk driver, then I owed it to them to get my story out there,’ he told MailOnline. ‘

My family would’ve wanted me to take this tragedy and try to make some good out of it.’ 

Love of his life: Jimmy grew up in Patterson, southwest of Modesto in the central valley. When he was 16, he met his future wife, Ashley (pictured here) while working at an ice cream shop in the next town over

Love of his life: Jimmy grew up in Patterson, southwest of Modesto in the central valley. When he was 16, he met his future wife, Ashley (pictured here) while working at an ice cream shop in the next town over

Driving force: Jimmy started Drive Clear, a nonprofit dedicated to preventing drunk driving but he wanted to do more than to just ask people to drink responsibly but to give people the tools to take responsibility

Driving force: Jimmy started Drive Clear, a nonprofit dedicated to preventing drunk driving but he wanted to do more than to just ask people to drink responsibly but to give people the tools to take responsibility

‘After my nonprofit was well-established. I thought to myself, how could I help more people? I saw how I benefited from good public policy, and so I wanted to pay that forward,’

Paying it forward is the reason, Jimmy says, is his reason behind his campaigning for political office.

He is running for the 47th State Assembly District seat which covers Monona, McFarland, as well as parts of Fitchburg, Madison and Cottage Grove in Wisconsin.

‘I want to spend the time I have left helping others. I want the people in my district to have true progressive representation.’

Jimmy was always interested in politics, and always saw himself as a progressive, but events following the crash showed him how important decisions made by politicians are to the most vulnerable in society. 

Only months before the crash Congress passed the Affordable Care Act (also known as Obamacare) and the provisions in that that stopped insurance companies having lifetime coverage limits made sure Jimmy got the care he needed without forcing him and his wife into financial ruin.

Jimmy notes, ‘There were many politicians, including Wisconsin’s own Russ Feingold, who took brave votes in support of that law because it was the right thing to do — without politicians showing strong leadership and taking a stand for their core values my story would have been very different. Special interests have enough of a voice in our politics, I want to fight for the underdog and those who most need help.’

Law school, done! Jimmy, pictured at his swearing in ceremony when he became a lawyer, along with Ashley

Law school, done! Jimmy, pictured at his swearing in ceremony when he became a lawyer, along with Ashley

Face time: Jimmy is now committing himself to politics, announcing his candidacy for the 47th State Assembly District seat which covers Monona, McFarland,  Fitchburg, Madison and Cottage Grove, Wisconsin

Face time: Jimmy is now committing himself to politics, announcing his candidacy for the 47th State Assembly District seat which covers Monona, McFarland, Fitchburg, Madison and Cottage Grove, Wisconsin

His campaign has already attracted the support of prominent progressives in the district, including the mayor of the largest city in the district.

Jimmy told MailOnline that he is running specifically because he’s convinced that he is the best person to serve the people of the 47th District which is one of the most liberal in the state, typically giving Democrats 65-70 percent of the vote in November elections.

‘I know I can win this thing. I often joke, I literally have the steel in my spine to win this fight. I’m going door-to-door nearly every day meeting with hundreds of voters and plan on meeting thousands more. I really believe this district is looking for a more progressive representative who they can trust and who shares their values. 

‘I stumbled across an article about Robb Kahl and that he had voted for Scott Walker in 2010 – and I was kind of shocked,’ said Jimmy.

Rep. Kahl (D-Monona) has represented the 47th Assembly District since 2012 and previously served as the mayor of Monona.

Jimmy believes that Rep. Kahl hasn’t done enough to push forward liberal reforms, and that is giving him the motivation to run. 

Asked if his disability would make it hard for him to serve in the Assembly Jimmy laughed ‘If FDR could get us out of the depression and see us through World War II from a wheelchair, I don’t think it’ll stop me from taking on a playground bully like Scott Walker.’ 

‘I think I’m a better fit for this district and as long as the batteries in the wheelchair hold out, I’ll keep going.’

Clever couple: Ashley, earned a degree in environmental science, was headed to graduate school for cell and molecular biology while Jimmy chose law school. Ashley is now a vet while Jimmy is running for office

Clever couple: Ashley, earned a degree in environmental science, was headed to graduate school for cell and molecular biology while Jimmy chose law school. Ashley is now a vet while Jimmy is running for office

THE CRASH THAT CHANGED HIS LIFE: JIMMY’S STORY, IN HIS OWN WORDS

Somewhere in Patterson, California, a man got drunk and climbed behind the wheel of his van.

My family and I were on our way to go celebrate my birthday at a cheesy Mexican restaurant. I hadn’t seen my family in a little over a year. I was studying at the University of Wisconsin, two whole time zones away, which made it too expensive to fly home except for special occasions.

My last real memory before the accident was pulling into the driveway of my parents’ rental home. I felt awful. The house I grew up in, the only home I had ever known, was lost in foreclosure after my dad was laid off. This new place, painted an ugly shade of brown, had a cracked driveway and a saggy roof.

‘Hijo, I’m so embarrassed,’ my mother told me through sobs the night before I flew in. ‘If you don’t want to stay here, it’s okay.’

I told her to stop worrying and that everything would be fine. But looking at the house in person, with the summer sun baking it on a 100° day, I felt deflated. I remember thinking I hope my dad doesn’t feel ashamed about the house. And about losing his job.

That was my last memory before the accident.

Carnage: A drunk driver who’d gone through a stop sign at 60 mph, crashed into the side of their vehicle

Carnage: A drunk driver who’d gone through a stop sign at 60 mph, crashed into the side of their vehicle

I hear a loud smack. It’s quick, like when you drop a textbook and it lands flat on the ground. A van doing over 60 miles per hour has slammed into the side of our car. We flip over multiple times and the car is crushed into some palm trees.

I’m hanging upside down. I feel like the inside of my body is on fire. I feel the tickle of something running up my neck and face. The seatbelt is holding me up. It feels like I’m floating. I’m confused and it’s hard to see. I feel a light touch running up my neck, around my jaw, and now it’s tickling my cheek. Something starts to drip into my eye and it stings. I want to wipe it away but my arms are stuck.

I blink hard a few times. Things are slowly coming into focus. I am facing towards the inside of the vehicle and I see what’s left of my little brother. Parts of the car are jamming through his body. There is so much blood. One of his arms is unnaturally bent. But worst of all are his eyes.

I’m staring into them. They stare right back at me.

‘Andrew,’ I call out. My voice is raspy. ‘Please, Andrew, say something. Tell me you’re okay.’

His eyes just keep staring.

I start to panic. Something inside me starts to break. I can’t see my parents in the front seats. ‘Mom? Dad? Say something.’

Silence.

My little brother keeps staring. His eyes are dull. Lifeless. ‘Andrew! Just blink. Please! Just blink! Just close your eyes!’

I know he’s dead. I know they all are dead. Something inside me shatters. I grow frantic. He won’t stop staring. I want to look away but I can’t seem to move. I begin to scream for help. And then I’m just screaming. Something inside me dies. It’ll take another 10 minutes before I pass out from blood loss. 

Smashed: Trapped in the back of the vehicle, Jimmy was the only person to survive the crash

Smashed: Trapped in the back of the vehicle, Jimmy was the only person to survive the crash

Recovering: Jimmy faced weeks of intensive care and months of physical therapy

Recovering: Jimmy faced weeks of intensive care and months of physical therapy

I wake up from a coma several days later. The first thing I see is my wife sitting in a chair next to my hospital bed. Some friends come in with their new daughter. The drugs make it really hard to focus.

My wife looks nervous.

I ask her when my family is going to visit. She starts crying. I don’t understand. She tells me that there was a car crash. She says that my entire family died in the crash, and that I am paralyzed from the neck down. I just shut my eyes.

I imagine my mom misty-eyed, asking me, ‘Adonde quieres a comer for your birthday.’

She’s blending her English and Spanish like she does when she’s excited. I tease her about it. I imagine my dad asking about school. He wants to know if I memorized the criminal code yet. He never understood what I did in law school but he was proud that I was there. Picturing my little brother is the hardest. He recently turned 14. All I can see is the pudgy little kid I taught to ride a bike. He is smiling. He was always smiling.

I feel so bad for my wife. She shouldn’t have to say those words. I want nothing more than to hold her, to console her, but I can’t. I’m trapped in my own body, pinned to the hospital bed.

I have a collapsed lung, a concussion and significant blood loss. A piece of the car went straight through my knee. My first four vertebrae were crushed. The doctors say I will be a quadriplegic, paralyzed from the chest down for the rest of my life.

Mentally, I am gone. I want to hide. When reality would try to creep in, I would just run into the comfortable embrace of intravenous narcotics. It’s warm and safe and I can just dream of my family. But I know I can’t hide forever. I owed it to my family to be more than just a sad endnote on an already depressing story.

There was a month in the ICU, a handful of bolts and screws to reset and fuse my spine, a flight back to Wisconsin for insurance purposes, another collapsed lung, a tracheotomy, and a couple months of intense physical therapy. I had to learn how to breathe again. I had respiratory therapy every four hours, every day for over a month. My lungs were so badly bruised that nurses had to push a vacuum tube into the hole in my trachea and suck fluid out several times a day. I had to learn to swallow again. This included a week where all I could eat was hospital meatloaf.

Rehabilitation was hard work but I eventually came out the other side well enough to go home. Not perfect, but well enough.

They say time heals all wounds. In the time since the crash, I have found that to be true. If it weren’t, I would have bled to death in one way or another. The real problem is the scars. The ones on my skin are ugly and painful. The ones on my spine will leave me physically broken for the rest of my life. Those on my memory haunt my nightmares. But the ones on my heart, those are the most difficult to live with.

But my scars also give me purpose. By showing you my scars maybe I can save you or someone you love. Maybe my scars will give someone pause before driving drunk or encourage someone to get help for their drinking problem. If sharing my scars can save someone’s life, then the pain of reliving that day is worth it. And when I see my family again, I know they will be proud.

                                                                                         Source: Jimmy Anderson, driveclear.org 

Article source: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3560506/Man-paralyzed-five-years-ago-drunk-driver-crash-killed-parents-brother-running-office-finishing-law-degree.html

Trump says he’s ‘not toning it down,’ drawing Clinton barbs

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (AP) — A confident Donald Trump told supporters on Saturday that he’s not changing his pitch to voters, a day after his chief adviser assured Republican officials their party’s front-runner would show more restraint while campaigning.

“You know, being presidential’s easy — much easier than what I have to do,” he told thousands at a rally in Bridgeport, Connecticut. “Here, I have to rant and rave. I have to keep you people going. Otherwise you’re going to fall asleep on me, right?”

Trump declared to the crowd that he has no intention of reversing any of his provocative policy plans, including building a wall along the length of the Southern border.

“Everything I say I’m going to do, folks, I’ll do,” he said.

Trump’s new chief adviser, Paul Manafort, met Thursday with top Republican officials and told them his candidate, known for his over-the-top persona and brashness, has been “projecting an image” and that “the part that he’s been playing is now evolving.”

Democrat Hillary Clinton, speaking at a rally in Central Falls, Rhode Island, warned voters that Trump is attempting to modify his positions as he seeks to appeal to a broader audience beyond the Republican primaries.

“Trump keeps saying things like, ‘You know, I didn’t really mean it. It was all part of my reality TV show. Running for president will be on your screen,’” Clinton said. “Well, if we buy that, shame on us.”

Clinton said Trump wants to “go after every one of the rights we have.” She also ripped into Trump and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz’s ability to conduct foreign policy, telling the rally inside a steamy high school basketball gym, “What they say about the world is not only offensive, it’s dangerous.”

At a rally in Waterbury, Connecticut, earlier Saturday, Trump joked about how it’s easy to be presidential, making a series of faux somber faces. But he said told the crowd he can be serious and policy-minded when he has to be.

“When I’m out here talking to you people, I’ve got to be different,” Trump said.

The Republican and Democratic front-runners and their rivals campaigned Saturday across the quintet of Northeastern states holding primaries on Tuesday: Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Rhode Island and Connecticut. For the Republicans, in particular, the stakes are high as Trump looks to sweep the remaining contests and reach the 1,237 delegates needed to clinch the nomination. Cruz and John Kasich look to thwart Trump’s efforts and force the race into a contested convention.

Trump revived his “birther” criticism of Cruz, which he has previously used to suggest the Texas senator is ineligible to run for president because he was born in Canada. Cruz’s mother is an American citizen, and most experts say that Cruz is eligible.

“Rafael! Straight out of the hills of Canada!” Trump declared, referring to Cruz by his given name.

Cruz addressed around 1,000 supporters in a high school outside Pittsburgh, and though the reception was raucous, the crowd didn’t know how to react to the Texas senator’s opening: “Let me say something that is profoundly painful for someone who grew up as a fan of the Houston Oilers. God bless the Pittsburgh Steelers.”

Cruz also rebuked Trump’s recent suggestions that building separate transgender bathrooms is “discriminatory” and costly, saying that it should be “the choice of the given location, of the given local government to allow that, to provide for that.”

Cruz said Tuesday “is going to be a pivotal day,” but he also traveled Saturday to Indiana, which doesn’t vote until next month. Trump is thought to be favored in Pennsylvania, while Cruz’s deep evangelical roots could give him a boost in Indiana. He spoke to nearly 1,000 people at the Boone County Fairgrounds in Lebanon, Indiana, promising to protect religious liberty if he were in office.

Clinton campaigned in Connecticut before her visit to Rhode Island. At a round-table event in New Haven with working families, she discussed ways to raise wages, promote early childhood education and reduce the pay gap between men and women.

“Equal pay — we shouldn’t be talking about it in 2016. It is almost embarrassing,” she said.

Workers describe their struggles with employers, home foreclosure and low wages. Clinton said it was “way past time that we have a raise in the nationwide minimum wage” of $7.25 an hour and said the nation should support cities and states like New York and California “that are willing to put a higher floor under low-wage workers.”

Clinton’s rival, Bernie Sanders, spoke to a boisterous crowd of mostly young people in Baltimore and railed against big banks and highlighted his differences with Clinton on everything from the minimum wage to free-trade agreements.

Sanders hammered at “disastrous trade policies,” describing them as not a sexy issue but an important issue, saying that “we are seeing corporation after corporation shut down in the United States throw millions of workers out in the street, people who are earning a living wage.”

In an interview for NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Sanders said he’s trailing Clinton because “poor people don’t vote.” He added: “That’s just a fact. That’s a sad reality of American society. And that’s what we have to transform.”

___

Associated Press writers Ken Thomas in New Haven, Connecticut; Susan Haigh in Waterbury, Connecticut; Aric Chokey in Lebanon, Indiana; and Vivian Salama in Washington contributed to this report.

Article source: http://elections.ap.org/content/trump-says-hes-not-toning-it-down-drawing-clinton-barbs