<![CDATA[NBC Connecticut - Connecticut News]]> Copyright 2015 http://www.nbcconnecticut.com/news/local http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/NBC_Connecticut.png NBC Connecticut http://www.nbcconnecticut.com en-us Mon, 25 May 2015 07:46:15 -0400 Mon, 25 May 2015 07:46:15 -0400 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[D.E.E.P. Reminds Boaters to Stay Safe]]> Sun, 24 May 2015 20:49:55 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/DEEP_Reminds_Boaters_to_Stay_Safe_1200x675_450516035979.jpg

On this holiday weekend, many people are getting outside to enjoy the nice weather.

For many people, boating is the best way to spend Memorial Day Weekend. But state officials are urging people who head to the water to be careful.

“We had a great time. We went fishing. Didn’t do real well. But we enjoy the weather,” says Wayne Halvorson of Haddam.

But the waters can be like the roads and something can easily go wrong.

“A moment’s distraction can lead to an accident or something worse,” says Mark Chanski, DEEP boating resource technician.

On Sunday, Chanski was out patrolling and reminding boaters about safety.

“It all comes down to keeping a proper lookout, going slow if you’re not sure about what somebody is going to do, just stop and wait for them to pass, give people plenty of space,” says Chanski.

Chanski says officials will be looking for issues including speed, safety, and people boating under the influence. He also has a reminder for people not in motor boats.

“Now between October 1st and May 31st anyone on a manually propelled vessel actually needs to be wearing their life jackets. All the other times during the year, they need to carry them,” says Chanski.

While the weather this weekend was good, things can quickly change.

“Always keep an eye on the weather, check it before you go, check it under way,” says Chanski.

Chanski suggests checking your smartphone for the weather.

The NBC Connecticut Weather app will give you all the warning you need of approaching bad weather.
 

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<![CDATA[Family Makes It Out Safely After Fire at Home in Orange: Report]]> Sun, 24 May 2015 19:07:58 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/fire+truck+generic.jpg

A house in Orange caught fire Saturday, but everyone got out safely, News 12 reported.

Firefighters responded and discovered a blaze at the back of the house that spread to the roof, News 12 reported. Crews put out the fire and checked for hot spots, the news station reported.

Neighbor Caroline DelVecchio told News 12 that the fire happened quickly and caused a lot of damage.

The homeowners and family dogs made it out of the home safely, neighbors told news 12.

Woodbridge, Derby and Milford firefighters responded for mutual aid, News 12 reported.

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<![CDATA[One Person Hospitalized in Branford All-Terrain Vehicle Crash]]> Mon, 25 May 2015 04:51:49 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/police-lights-shutterstock_542372566.jpg

One person was hospitalized after an all-terrain vehicle accident in Branford on Saturday night.

The accident was reported at 6:40 p.m.

One person was transported to the hospital to be treated for non-life-threatening injuries, Branford fire officials said.

No further information was immediately available.



Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[Fire Damages Waterbury Home]]> Sun, 24 May 2015 18:47:53 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/52315+Waterbury+fire+1200.jpg

A fire seriously damaged a Waterbury house on Saturday afternoon.

The blaze broke out at 34 Maynard Avenue and the fire department received the call at 12:02 p.m. The fire spread to the attic.

No injuries were reported.

There was significant damage to the house and the residents were most likely displaced.

This happened at a two-and-a-half-story house.

The cause remains under investigation.



Photo Credit: Rick Kulmann (@rickbryce) ]]>
<![CDATA[One Person Burned in Burlington House Fire]]> Sun, 24 May 2015 18:51:25 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/52315+Burlington+Fire+2+1200.jpg

One person suffered burns in a house fire on Saturday in Burlington.

The fire broke out at a single-family home at 22 Woodside Street and the fire department was called at about 7:20 p.m.

Firefighters discovered a house fully engulfed in flames when they arrived.

Everyone made it out of the home, but one person did suffer from first and second degree burns. They were transported to the hospital for treatment. The age and gender of the person hurt are uknown.

The house was deemed a total loss.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

Unionville and Canton firefighters responded for mutual aid.



Photo Credit: James Swanson]]>
<![CDATA[Memorial Day Weekend Drunken Driving Arrests Decrease Since 2014]]> Sun, 24 May 2015 18:34:47 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/connecticut+state+police+cruiser+lights.jpg

State police have made 17 drunken driving arrests so far over Memorial Day weekend, marking a drop in comparison to last year.

In increased traffic enforcement that started at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, May 22, state police have been targeting drunken driving, aggressive driving, distracted driving and speeding offenses. Sobriety checkpoints were set up across the state and the enforcement will run through 11:59 p.m. on Monday, May 25.

As of 7 a.m. on Saturday, state police issued 679 speeding tickets, 811 seatbelt violation tickets and 202 hazardous moving violation tickets for offenses like unsafe lane changes, following too closely, cell phone use and texting, Seventeen have been arrested on driving under the influence charges.

There have been 96 accidents, including 13 with injuries and one fatal crash.

By comparison, in 2014, police issued 1,248 speeding tickets, 954 tickets for seatbelt violations and 4,142 tickets for hazardous moving violations.

Fifty-four people were arrested for drunken driving Memorial Day weekend in 2014. There were 201 crashes investigated that year, including 54 with injuries, but none were fatal.



Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Metro-North Running on Sunday Schedule for Memorial Day]]> Sun, 24 May 2015 18:24:52 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/6pmetronorthstill021215.jpg

Metro-North trains will operate on a Sunday schedule for Memorial Day.

Grand Central North will be closed on Monday.

Many connecting trains won't be running on Monday, but the Tappan Zee Express will be running on a Saturday schedule.

More information is available on the Metropolitan Transit Authority's website or click here for the train schedules for the routes you are looking to take.



Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Route 82 in East Haddam Reopens to Marine Traffic Due After Bridge Issue]]> Sun, 24 May 2015 17:58:49 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/police-lights-shutterstock_542372567.jpg

Route 82 has reopened to marine traffic in both directions after a bridge was stuck in the closed position, according to the Department of Transportation.

The bridge was briefly closed to marine traffic.

No further information was immediately available.



Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[Avon TD Bank Armed Robbery Suspect Arrested]]> Sun, 24 May 2015 19:37:38 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Patryk+Kornas+mug+shot+1200.jpg

Police have arrested a man suspected of robbing the TD Bank in Avon at gunpoint last Sunday and believe he may be tied to another bank robbery that happened in town days later.

Patryk Kornas, 40, is facing robbery and drug charges.

A man entered the 255 West Main Street bank along Route 44 at about 1:30 p.m. last Sunday and displayed a black handgun before taking off in a black SUV with an unknown amount of cash, police said.

Police suspect Kornas is that bank robber and said they anticipate additional charges.

Police believe he may also be connected to a second bank robbery that happened in town this weekend, but no charges have been filed yet in that case. Officers responded to Northwest Community Bank at 101 Simsbury Road (Route 10) on Saturday after a man displayed a black handgun and robbed an undetermined amount of cash from the bank. It's not confirmed at this time whether the two robberies are connected.

Police obtained a search and seizure warrant for an apartment in New Britain based on information received in a collaborative investigation involving Avon, Newington and Wallingford police as well as local FBI authorities. Avon, North Central Municipal Emergency Services Team  and New Britain Emergency Services Team officials and New Britain police searched the address and arrested Kornas on a possession of narcotics charge.

Then police applied for and obtained an arrest warrant tying him to the armed robbery at TD Bank in Avon, charging him with first-degree robbery, conspiracy to commit first-degree robbery and third-degree larceny. He is being held on a $500,000 surety bond.

Police ask anyone with information on the Northwest Community Bank robbery to call Det. Jason Reid at 860-409-4232.



Photo Credit: Avon Police Department ]]>
<![CDATA[Car Fire in Avon]]> Sun, 24 May 2015 15:56:20 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/fire+truck+generic.jpg

Avon police and volunteer firefighters responded to a car fire Sunday afternoon.

The car fire happened in the area of 16 Daventry Hill Road in Avon at 2:29 p.m.

It's unknown whether there were any injuries.

The scene has been cleared and the fire is out.

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<![CDATA[New Haven's Pearl Harbor Memorial Bridge Closer to Completion]]> Sun, 24 May 2015 15:37:09 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/New+Haven+City+Hall+Edited.jpg

The Pearl Harbor Memorial Bridge in New Haven is a step closer to carrying traffic.

The southbound portion of the span is now solid from end to end after crews poured concrete on the last unfinished section of the deck.

Matt Briggs, project director for the state Department of Transportation, told the New Haven Register that it was a good feeling to have the engineering plan for the bridge go as expected.

It will be several more months before traffic flows on the bridge, as roads still have to be connected.

The massive project includes the bridge construction and rebuilding of the interchange of Interstates 95 and 91 and Route 34 near New Haven Harbor. The total price tag is estimated at more than $1 billion.



Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[CrossFit Milford Places Second at Regionals]]> Sun, 24 May 2015 19:31:14 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/CrossFit+Milford+1200.jpg

It’s the quest to find the "Fittest on Earth." The 2015 CrossFit Regionals are underway across the globe during the month of May, and this weekend, the Eastern regional competition at the XL Center in Hartford has come to a close.

Competitors vied for a spot at the worldwide CrossFit Games this summer in Carson, California. Connecticut had six individuals and two teams in the mix. CrossFit Milford placed in second, qualifying them for the CrossFit Games.

The event was formerly held at Reebok world headquarters outside Boston. This is the first time the East Regional has been held in Hartford.

"It’s a big plus, having the community support and having my fans up there I get to point at and they cheer me on, I feel the energy on the floor so it’s been great," Zachary Moran, of Columbia, said.

CrossFit Games Director Dave Castro, also a former Navy Seal, does all the workout programming for CrossFit HQ and said the XL Center was the perfect venue for the growing sport.

"The reason we made the move was we wanted all of our venues to be indoors," he said. "In the past we've had regionals held outdoors and those are very demanding on individuals in terms of heat, in terms of tears, in terms of exposure

The CrossFit Games are a three-stage journey, beginning with the Open, a five-week competition held in early spring in CrossFit gyms around the world. Anyone can enter, and this year, more than 270,000 athletes put themselves to the test.

Although the increasingly popular sport of CrossFit attracts people of all fitness abilities, the road to the worldwide CrossFit Games is only for the elite. Less than one percent – only 660 people – qualified to advance from the Opens to the next step: Regionals.

Hartford hosted the Eastern regional, where 40 individual men, 40 individual women and 30 teams from the Northeastern United States and East Canada competed over three days. Only the top five individual men and women advanced to the Crossfit Games. Three teams advanced to the CrossFit Games Affiliate Cup.

"It's been been great from what I've seen and from what I've heard from the fans is they're really enjoying it," Castro said.

Connecticut’s Contenders
Connecticut’s entries to the Eastern regional include six individual athletes – three men, three women – and two teams.

NBC Connecticut’s Heidi Voight was covering the CrossFit Regionals all weekend. Follow Heidi on Twitter or Facebook to see all of her updates.

CONNECTICUT INDIVIDUAL ATHLETES – FEMALE:
Megin Oczkowski, Shoreline CrossFit
Kaleena Ladeairous, CrossFit Milford
Sarah Scholl, CrossFit Stamford

CONNECTICUT INDIVIDUAL ATHLETES – MALE:
Craig Kenney, Branford CrossFit
Kurt Garceau, North Haven CrossFit
Zachary Moran, Columbia CrossFit

CONNECTICUT TEAMS:
CrossFit Brickyard, South Windsor
CrossFit Milford, Milford
 

DAY THREE RESULTS

Connecticut Individual Men:

Branford's Craig Kenney came in 6th on the overall leaderboard. He finished 5th in event 6, the second to last event, which includes 25 calorie rows, 16 chest to bar pull-ups, 9 strict deficit handstand push-ups with a 16 minute cap.

Zachary Moran, of Columbia, finished 17th in his first regional CrossFit competition. Forty of the fittest men from the Northeast U.S. and Canada competed. Moran came in as a rookie people were unfamiliar with and caught attention by smashing two word event records.

But he will also be remembered for one of the East Regionals' most heartbreaking-turned-inspiring moments. The last athlete still on the course for the final event, Moran tried but failed multiple times to complete the final 265 pound squat clean. With his family in the stands and his competitors by his side cheering him on, Moran refused to quit. He took a moment, composed himself, made the sign of the cross on his chest... and walked forward to nail the lift as the entire XL Center roared.

Connecticut Individual Women:

Milford's Kaleena Ladeairous finished in seventh overall. She competed in the worldwide CrossFit Games back in 2013.
 
CrossFit Milford finished second overall in the Team Division and advances to the worldwide CrossFit Games that will be held this summer in Carson, California.

Here are the results from earlier in the weekend.

DAY TWO RESULTS

Connecticut Individual Men:

Columbia's Zachary Moran emerged from obscurity as a first-timer to smash world records in two events, flirting with the top five ahead of seasoned veterans.

"It’s nice to be in the same league as those guys, and have those big names next to you," Moran said.

Connecituct Individual Women:

In a stunning victory, CrossFit Milford's Kaleena Ladeairous became the fifth woman in the world to finish event three, the "Chipper."

In CrossFit lingo, a Chipper is a grueling, long-format event, which included two different Olympic lifts, a mile run, double unders, GHD situps and box jumpovers.

Ladeairous finished 28 seconds before the 26 minute cap, bringing the crowd at the XL Center to its feet.

"It was good. I like that workout. I wanted to finish it," she said.

Team highlights:

CrossFit Milford was in third place on Saturday after events four and five, which included the snatch, an Olympic lift and handstand walks.

"So to do well in an event like this that’s so skill-oriented that we’ve been working on all year is a big accomplishment," Elizabeth Warren, of CrossFit Milford said Saturday. "It’s still only one event, we have to stay consistent the whole weekend, we’re trying to move up

DAY ONE RESULTS

Here's how the Connecticut competitors stacked up after two events on day one Friday.

Connecticut Individual Women:

  • Kaleena Ladeairous, 3rd
  • Megin Oczkowski, 24th
  • Sarah Scholl, 32nd

Connecticut Individual Men:

  • Zachary Moran, 5th
  • Craig Kenney, 7th
  • Kurt Garceau, 32nd

Athletes from South Windsor's CrossFit Brickyard and CrossFit Milford continued on in the teams division too.



Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Conn. Residents Arrested for Trafficking Heroin in Vt. ]]> Sun, 24 May 2015 14:09:02 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/vsp+arrest+baxter+garcia.jpg

Two Hartford, Connecticut, residents were arrested on drug charges in Vermont Saturday night.

Around 8:55 p.m., Vermont State Police stopped a vehicle for speeding in the town of Rockingham. The motorist and passenger consented to a search of the vehicle.

Troopers initially located a bag containing PCP. Further search of the vehicle yielded 980 bags of heroin and ten grams of raw, unpackaged heroin.

Darnell Baxter, 35, and Maria Garcia, 35, were arrested and transported to the Rockingham State Police barracks. Baxter was held on $50,000 bail and issued a citation for trafficking heroin, trafficking heroin into the state of Vermont, and possession of a stimulant, narcotic, or depressant. Garcia was also charged with trafficking heroin and trafficking heroin into the state of Vermont. She was held on $40,000 bail.

The suspects are set to appear in court on May 26. 



Photo Credit: Vermont State Police]]>
<![CDATA[Firefighters Rescue Puppy Trapped in Culvert]]> Mon, 25 May 2015 06:15:24 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/New+Haven+Puppy+Rescue+collage+1200.jpg

New Haven firefighters rescued a puppy who was trapped in a culvert late Saturday night.

A firefighter climbed down a ladder into the culvert with lights shining a spotlight in the area to locate the pup.

Once retrieved, he carried the puppy up the ladder to safety.

No further information was immediately available. It's unknown how the puppy got there or how long it was there.



Photo Credit: New Haven Fire Twitter]]>
<![CDATA[Car Crashes on Route 9 North in Berlin]]> Sun, 24 May 2015 12:50:18 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/connecticut+state+police+cruiser+lights.jpg

A one-car crash on Route 9 north in Berlin shut down the highway overnight.

The accident happened near exit 21 and the highway reopened early Sunday morning.

No further information was immediately available.



Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Connecticut Beaches Expected to Be Packed Memorial Day Weekend]]> Sun, 24 May 2015 12:08:33 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Hammonasset+Sunrise+1200.jpg

It's expected to be a busy day at Connecticut's beaches as temperatures are on the climb Memorial Day weekend and the state's campgrounds are full too.

Hammonasset Beach State Park in Madison was calm and quiet in the morning, with waters  cool at 51 degrees. But, with the campground full, the park is expected to be packed.

If you are planning to head there for the day, remember to plan for the holiday and weekend parking fees that start this weekend.

There is some construction going on, including new bathrooms and a 4,000-square-foot nature center, but park officials said it shouldn't impact your plans.

If you want to check out the activities going on at the different state parks or reserve a campsite for later this summer, you can download the state's official pocket ranger app and you'll have everything you need to know before you pitch your tent.
 



Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[I-95 Reopens in East Lyme ]]> Sun, 24 May 2015 09:55:29 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/connecticut+state+police+cruiser+lights.jpg

Interstate 95 north has reopened in East Lyme after closing early Sunday morning.

All lanes were blocked as a tow truck was called to remove a 28-foot boat that was overturned on the highway. By 7 a.m., the highway reopened.

There is no word on how the boat got there.

No further information was immediately available.



Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Pastor Shot Outside Church]]> Sun, 24 May 2015 22:41:21 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/52415+Hartford+pastor+shot+1200.jpg

Hartford police are investigating two early morning shootings Sunday that happened minutes apart, sending two victims to the hospital, including a beloved pastor shot outside a church while putting out Memorial Day flags.

The pastor shot was identified as Rev. Dr. Augustus Sealy, 54, of Shrewsbury, Massachusetts. The victim of the second shooting was Robert Jones, 27.

Police responded to the first shooting at 932 Capitol Ave. near Newton Street around 6:30 a.m. Sunday after receiving multiple 911 calls. When they arrived, they discovered a male victim shot multiple on the road outside the First Church of the Nazarene. The man, Sealy, had two gunshot wounds to the right leg and one to the left shoulder.

Shortly afterwards, at about 6:41 a.m., police responded to 402 Garden St. for a report of a male victim who had been shot at least six times. He was initially listed in critical condition at St. Francis Hospital's emergency room after multiple gunshot wounds to the torso and arms, but now he was later listed in serious but stable condition. Police found him on Mather Street near Garden Street and confirmed a crime scene at the address given.

Witnesses saw a vehicle possibly connected fleeing the scene in the southbound direction on Garden Street from Mather Street.

According to church official Elton Adams, Rev. Sealy was outside the church placing flags from different countries in the yard as part of an annual tradition for the church's Memorial Day celebration when he was shot multiple times in the arms and legs. A special service had been planned for Sunday in honor of Sealy's fifth anniversary at the church.

Witnesses told police they saw a black car heading west on Capitol Avenue, slow down as it passed by the victim and that they heard five gunshots. Seven shells were found at the scene.

Police confirmed the car was a Nissan Altima last seen speeding in the eastbound direction on Capitol Avenue.

Sealy was transported to St. Francis Hospital where he underwent surgery and is listed in critical condition. He is expected to survive, Adams told NBC Connecticut. The pastor, also a licensed psychologist, counsels a lot of people, so Adams said he believes the shooting had to be random.

Members of the church learned about the shooting involving their pastor when they arrived for Sunday services.

"There’s so many mixed emotions right now. It’s hard," Myrna Springer, a secretary at the church, said. "People’s sprits are low. We just don’t know.”

She said that the pastor is a "very caring" and "comfortable person" who is "easy to get along with."

NBC Connecticut spoke to Sealy’s wife Sharon, who says he was in a lot of pain, but expected to recover.

“He hasn’t lost any hope,” she said. You know, this is something that happened that was really terrible and shouldn’t have happened and we’ve already prayed for that person who actually committed the crime.”

For now, the family is focused on Sealy’s recovery, which is expected to take at least six weeks.

“In spite of adversities, you know we look to God for strength and that’s what my family is doing right now,” Sharon said.

Reverend Henry Brown of Mothers United Against Violence was outraged by the news.

"This is sickening. This is ridiculous," he said. "A pastor? You've got to be kidding me. Who would want to shoot a pastor?"

Brown says a vigil has been planned for Sealy. The event will take place at the scene of the shooting, First Church of the Nazarene, at 6 p.m. on Tuesday.

The Major Crimes Division is investigating both shootings. Police say that it is an odd time for two shootings to come in and it is unknown if they are related at this point. No arrests have been made at this time.

As the number of homicides climbed to double digits in Hartford last week, there's growing concern about two shootings on one Sunday morning. Hartford Police Deputy Chief Brian Foley called it an "anomaly" and said that having two shootings in a small time frame "obviously sends up some red flags."

In regard to the recent wave of violence in Hartford in the past few weeks, Foley said the department is addressing any preventative measures, including necessary increases in patrols.
 



Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com/First Church of the Nazarene]]>
<![CDATA[New Haven Police Seek Armed Carjackers]]> Sat, 23 May 2015 20:41:47 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/nhpdfoundation04232015.jpg

Police are investigating an armed carjacking that happened Friday afternoon in New Haven.

The victim, Nathan Quaye, 28, of New Haven, told police two men approached him when he returned to his girlfriend's black Subaru Legacy, moments after parking it near Ferry and Peck Streets while he stopped at the corner bodega. The men asked for a ride and he agreed to take them to a stop on James Street and then Wolcott Street.

But when they got to Wolcott Street, the man riding in the front passenger seat pulled a pistol on him and ordered him to get out of the car. Once he did, the back seat passenger hopped in the driver's seat and drove off.

Detectives reviewed surveillance footage, which corroborated Quaye's story.

Police are still investigating the case and looking for the car, which bears the license plate, 311-ZEW. No description was provided of the carjackers.



Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Hiker Injured After Fall While Taking Photos at Meriden Park]]> Sat, 23 May 2015 17:34:54 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/fire_truck_generic_wavy.jpg

A 42-year-old male hiker was injured when he slipped and fell 10 feet while taking photographs off a trail at Hubbard Park in Meriden Saturday afternoon.

He complained of knee and back injuries and firefighters rescued him and tended to him until EMS personnel arrived to take over. A call reporting the incident came in around 3:30 p.m. Saturday.

The man was transported to Midstate Medical Center with non-life-threatening, minor injuries.

The scene is clear and no one else was injured.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[CT Woman Is 5th Globally to Finish "Chipper" CrossFit Challenge]]> Sat, 23 May 2015 17:07:59 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Kaleena+Ladeairous+1200.jpg

The CrossFit Regionals are underway as athletes from across the globe compete for the title of "Fittest on Earth" and one of the Connecticut participants is just became the fifth woman in the world to finish one of the challenges to put her on top of the female leaderboard for the regional event.

The XL Center was roaring when CrossFit Milford's Kaleena Ladeairous became the fifth woman globally to complete the third event at this weekend's competition, the "chipper." The grueling workout includes a one-mile run, followed by 50 overhead squats at 95 pounds, 100 GHD sit-ups, 150 double unders, 50 sumo deadlift high pulls at 95 pounds and 100 18-inch box jump-overs.

The workout has a time cap of 26 minutes. Most do not finish and are then scored based on how many reps they can do. Ladeairous finished in 25:32.

Danae Brown, of Melbourne, Australia holds the world record at 24:31:09, which she set in the Pacific regionals.



Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Firefighters Rescue 2 From Deck Fire]]> Sat, 23 May 2015 20:39:02 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/fire+truck+generic.jpg

Middletown firefighters rescued two people inside a residential building during a structure at 6 Alsop Avenue late Friday night.

The fire happened around 11 p.m. When crews responded they discovered a fire on the deck of the two-and-a-half-story residential building that was spreading to the roof along the exterior of the structure.

Two people were still inside and firefighters helped the residents down the stairs to get out. Firefighters extinguished the blaze and cleared the scene soon after.

Westfield and South District firefighters also responded for mutual aid.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

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<![CDATA[1 Killed in Crash on Route 10 in Granby]]> Sat, 23 May 2015 20:43:14 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/granby+route+10+crash.jpg

One person was killed and another was injured in a serious crash on Route 10/Salmon Brook Street in Granby late Friday afternoon, according to police.

Anthony Mazziotti, 71, of Granby, died at Hartford Hospital of injuries sustained in the two-vehicle crash. He was driving a 2006 Lexus sedan northbound on route 10 when he collided with an oncoming 2006 Honda Odyssey driven by Natalie Lynch, 45, of Southwick, Massachusetts.

Police responded to the crash near Rickwood Lane at about 4:41 on Friday.  A LifeStar helicopter was called, but couldn't fly due to high winds.

Mazziotti was taken to the hospital, where he died. Lynch was transported to St. Francis Hospital to be treated for non-life-threatening injuries. There is no word on her condition.

It's not clear if the drivers were traveling alone.

Route 10 was closed in the area while police responded to the crash.

The North Central Municipal Accident Reconstruction team is helping investigate the crash.

Granby police ask any witnesses to contact the department at 860-844-5335.

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<![CDATA["Superman" Sends Bogus Hostage Threat to New Haven PD]]> Sat, 23 May 2015 15:10:06 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/new+haven+police+generic1.jpg

"Superman" sent New Haven police a letter demanding $800,000 in ransom money, claiming he was holding all department substations and vehicles hostage, but police determined it was a bogus threat.

The letter about the hostage situation, signed "Superman 2000," had a return address  for a ministry in Meriden, but police don't think it's connected to the threat. Investigators inspected the New Haven Police Department building and all of the department's substations as a precaution and didn't find anything suspicious.

There were "bizarre drawings" and "annotations" in the letter, so police belive it was written by someone who suffers from a mental illness.

Police are holding onto the letter as evidence.

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<![CDATA[Police Look for Missing South Windsor Man, 52]]> Sat, 23 May 2015 14:35:13 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Gregory+Burnham+Silver+Alert+1200.jpg

Police are looking for a missing 52-year-old South Windsor man and a Silver Alert has been issued.

Gregory Burnham, 52, was last seen leaving his home on foot on Friday at about 8:24 p.m. and he might require immediate medical attention, police said.

Police described Burnham as a white male who stands at 6-foot-1 and weighs 210 pounds. He has "salt and pepper" hair and was last seen in a dark T-shirt and jeans, police said.

State police are assisting South Windsor police with the search.

Police ask anyone with information on his whereabouts to contact the South Windsor Police Department at 860-644-2551.



Photo Credit: South Windsor Police Department ]]>
<![CDATA[West Haven Dedicates Eighth Phase of Veterans Walk of Honor ]]> Sat, 23 May 2015 19:13:37 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Walk+of+Honor+1200.jpg

Members of the West Haven Veterans Council and city officials dedicated the eighth phase of the brick Veterans Walk of Honor project on Saturday night, just days before Memorial Day.

Veterans were invited to be a part of the ceremony at Bradley Point Park, which included a presentation of colors, invocation and wreath-laying. West Haven Mayor Edward M. O'Brien and Dave Ricci, president of the council, gave remarks.

"They come from all services, all branches, all veterans," Ricci said. "It’s not limited to veterans that have been to war. This is for all veterans."

Officials dedicated a granite stone by West Haven's Giordano Bros. Monuments in memory of Lorelee "Lori" Grenfell on the Walk of Honor, the one who came up with the idea of selling the bricks to memorialize veterans. Grenfell was a longtime president of the council and died Feb. 19 at 60 years old. She was a veteran of the U.S. Arma from the Vietnam War era.

The council launched the first of eight campaigns in 2006 to sell bricks for $75 a piece in memory of veterans on the Walk of Honor that spans 100 yards between the William A. Soderman and Vietnam Veterans memorials in town.

Organizers say Grenfell's service, as well as all the other veterans, will not be forgotten.

“It’s a place where you can come down and look at the name and remember," Ricci said. "It’s almost a sacred thing.”

About 105 bricks were dedicated at the ceremony of the 2,000 bricks there are on the walk.

“To see it up front is pretty amazing," Linda Casini, of Derby, said, snapping a picture of a brick with the name of her father, Orlando Sparenzi engraved in it.

Butch, as he was known, served in the Army in World War II.

“He never really talked about it but yeah we’re really proud of him. So, this is a great honor," Casini said.

State Rep. Charles J. Ferraro (R-West Haven) was scheduled to present the Grenfell family with a General Assembly citation that the city's delegation has signed recognizing "Grenfell's devotion to her fellow veterans," according to a news release.

The park is off of Captain Thomas Boulevard and the ceremony started at 5 p.m. West Haven's Memorial Day parade is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. on Monday, May 25 and will also be dedicated to Grenfell.

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<![CDATA[Silver Alert Issued for Missing Hartford Boy, 11]]> Sat, 23 May 2015 12:22:13 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Albert+Edole+Silver+Alert+1200.jpg

State police have issued a Silver Alert for an 11-year-old Hartford boy who is missing.

Albert Edole, 11,  was last seen Friday, May 22 and state police are calling him an "endangered runaway."

State police described Edole as a black male with black hair and brown eyes who is 4-foot-11 and 105 pounds. He was last seen wearing a dark blue jacket, green polo shirt, khaki pants and black, grey and red Nike hightop sneakers, state police said.

Hartford police ask anyone with information on his whereabouts to call the department at 860-757-4000.



Photo Credit: State Police]]>
<![CDATA[Car Catches Fire in Route 9 Essex Crash]]> Sat, 23 May 2015 12:07:06 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Policelightsgeneric.jpg

A car crashed and caught fire on Route 9 south in Essex early Saturday morning.

The crash caused one lane closure near exit 5, but traffic continued to move through the area on the highway.

No further information was immediately available.



Photo Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto]]>
<![CDATA[Route 9 Reopened After Crash That Closed Highway Overnight]]> Sat, 23 May 2015 12:07:39 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/connecticut+state+police+cruiser+lights.jpg

Route 9 south in New Britain has reopened after a single-car crash that closed the highway overnight.

The Department of Transportation issued a closure notice for Route 9 at 11:42 p.m. on Friday after the accident between exits 29 and 28 near Central Connecticut State University.

The highway has since reopened.

No further information was immediately available.



Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Avon PD Seek Robber in Another Armed Bank Robbery]]> Sat, 23 May 2015 20:37:52 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Avon+Simsbury+Road+Robbery.jpg

Police are investigating the second armed bank robbery in Avon in less than a week and have released surveillance photos showing the robber.

Officers responded to Northwest Community Bank at 101 Simsbury Road (Route 10) after a man displayed a black handgun and robbed an undetermined amount of cash from the bank.

“That’s just so sad. This is a great community," Stephanie, of Hartford, said.

Police said he was wearing blue pants, a hooded sweatshirt with the hood over his head, a baseball hat with tan rim, a dark, puffy jacket and a dark bandana covering his face.

He left the scene in a vehicle, but no vehicle description was provided to police and it's unknown what direction he may have headed in.

Just last Sunday, a man robbed the Avon TD Bank at gunpoint on Route 44 in the plaza where Walmart and Big Y are located.

People in Avon and the area were stunned to hear about a second bank robbery in the past week.

“I’ve never of anything like this happening," Taylor Alfeld, of Simsbury, said.

Police have not released information on whether they identified or apprehended a suspect. Investigators are looking into any possible connection between the two robberies.

“In this day and time, I mean people are just so desperate and they’re willing to do anything that’s pretty crazy," Freeman said.

Avon police ask anyone with information on the most recent robbery to contact Det. Jason Reid at 860-409-4232.

“I just hope that they catch the person because it’s just disheartening. I really like the community," Freeman said.



Photo Credit: Avon Police Department]]>
<![CDATA[Speed a Likely Factor in Crash That Critically Injured Driver: PD]]> Sat, 23 May 2015 11:58:26 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/New+Haven+Sargent+Drive+Rollover+Crash+1200.jpg

Police are looking into whether drag racing and speed were factors in a rollover crash that sent a driver to the hospital with critical injuries in New Haven early Saturday morning. 

William Rivera Jr., 24, of East Haven, was driving an Acura on Sargent Drive when he was involved in a rollover crash and his car struck a utility pole.

Police and firefighters responded at about 2:19 a.m. to what turned out to be the crash site on Sargent Drive near Hallock Avenue after a 911 caller reported hearing what sounded like a gunshot.

Firefighters used "special equipment" to rescue Rivera, who was trapped in the vehicle and needed to be extricated, police said.

No evidence has been found to support the report of gunfire or that the car or driver were struck, but police said the loud bang the witness heard could have come from one of the tires bursting.

A witness told police that the car, a small, red Acura, was moving at a "high rate of speed" with "another vehicle on the straightaway," police said.

"Drag-racing has not been ruled out as a factor, although there is no evidence yet to support that theory," Officer David B. Hartman, spokesperson for the New Haven Police Department, said.

The driver, the only one in the car at the time of the crash, was taken to Yale-New Haven Hospital to be treated for grave injuries. Rivera is listed in critical condition.

Sargent Drive was closed from Long Wharf Drive to Hallock Avenue earlier in the morning.

Police are looking for evidence to determine the cause of the crash, but the initial investigation shows that speed was likely a factor. Officers will review any surveillance footage available.



Photo Credit: New Haven Fire Twitter]]>
<![CDATA[Five Arrested After Gas Station Shooting, Brawl]]> Sat, 23 May 2015 20:40:50 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/farmaveshootingedit.png

Five people are under arrest after a large fight and shooting broke out in a gas station parking lot early Saturday morning, sending a man to the hospital with serious injuries from multiple gunshot wounds in his torso.

Police arrested Sterling Cole, 25, Jeremy Cole, 24, and Alisha Holmes, 22, all of 16 Evergreen Avenue in Hartford, as well as Androl Warsop, 26, of 31 Evergreen Avenue in Hartford, and Kiara Rosario, 22, of 655 Broad Street in Hartford in connection to the shooting brawl. Sterling Cole is the only one facing weapons and assault charges.

Police responded to the Mobil Mart in the 500 block of Farmington Avenue near Evergreen Avenue around 3 a.m. Saturday to investigate a report of shots fired. They discovered a male victim suffering from multiple gun shot wounds to the torso after a shooting in the parking lot.

Surveillance video showed a large fight that broke out between a group of women, the man shot, his friend and the suspect(s), police said. The suspect(s) ran into a nearby building and returned with a .22 caliber automatic firearm, shooting the victim multiple times, police said they saw on surveillance video. At least two suspects took turns firing the same gun at him, police said.

The attendant inside the gas station convenience store watched the fight play out on the security monitor.

"I saw seven or eight people. First there was fighting, then one guy came with a gun and he just opened the shooting and one guy was shot seven or eight times," said the clerk at the Mobil Mart, who did not wish to give his name.

The clerk immediately called 911 after hearing the gunfire and said that police arrived less than a minute later.

When asked if he was scared, the gas station attendant said no.

“That happening is like every other day around here, you know? So this is like kind of normal," he said.

Some neighbors said the west end of Hartford near the shooting site is normally safe. Dominique Dupui, of Hartford, said that "this is the west end" and that "nothing like that ever happens here." Hartford resident Jacqueline Starks said, "I think this area is very safe" and that "people walk their dogs all the time."

"Everyone seems to get along," Starks said.

However, others say it's no suprise.

“I’ve been here 15-20 years and you hear a lot of incidents around this area, mostly drug related," Raymond McFarland, of Hartford, said.

The victim was transported to St. Francis Hospital's emergency room and is listed in serious but stable condition. His name has not been released at this time.

Police reviewed the surveillance video of the fight as evidence in their investigation, which is ongoing.

As of 8:07 a.m., the police tape cordoning off the area had been taken down and one police cruiser remained on scene.

Sterling Cole was charged with first-degree assault, criminal possession o fa firearm and unlawful discharge of a firearm and Warsop, Rosario, Jeremy Cole and Alisha Holmes were charged with second-degree breach of peace. Holmes also faces an interfering with police charge.

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<![CDATA[Hamden Calls on Quinnipiac to Help Prevent Party Problems]]> Fri, 22 May 2015 23:35:03 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/quinnipiac+party.jpg

Town officials in Hamden are calling on Quinnipiac University leadership to take responsibility for an off-campus party problem that has been an issue for years.

Most students are finished with classes for the school year and town leaders say something needs to change before those students return.

“They continuously refuse to take responsibility for the off-campus behavior of their students," said Acting Hamden Mayor James Pascarella.

Pascarella is asking university leaders, including President John Lahey, to take action. Lahey was caught on video at an off-campus "May Weekend" party on a microphone in front of hundreds of college-aged revelers. Days after that video surfaced, Lahey issued an apology.

Pascarella and others had hoped the incident would be a turning point in the often rocky relationship between Hamden residents and the university.

"We just need their leadership to be responsible stakeholders," said Curt Leng, chief administrative officer for the town of Hamden.

Leng, a Democrat, is currently running for mayor of Hamden. A special election is scheduled for next week.

In a news release sent out Friday, detailing plans to add 300 more beds on its York Hill Campus, the university called on Hamden to change its town rules to permanently restrict college students from living in primarily residential neighborhoods.

Pascarella called such a ban "questionable" and "possibly unconstitutional."

"They’re placing the entire onus of disciplining off-campus student behavior on the town of Hamden," said Pascarella. "They’re accepting no responsibility whatsoever themselves."

Town officials said they want to keep the dialogue with the university going in hopes of making some progress on this issue.

A spokesperson from Quinnipiac said there would be no response from the university or its president on this matter.



Photo Credit: YouTube]]>
<![CDATA[Newington Police Warn Residents of Car Break-In Spree]]> Fri, 22 May 2015 23:35:53 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/214*120/newington+police+department.JPG

Normally quiet and safe Newington neighborhoods have found themselves the target of thieves.

Police say recently they've received several reports of vehicle break-ins occurring during the evening and midnight hours. Some of the areas hit include Vincent Drive, condo complexes by Willard Avenue and Richard Street and roads off busy New Britain Avenue.

"It's a bit unsettling because you usually don't hear about things like that," said neighbor Jeanne Picklesimer.

Police are asking residents to be on the alert and take precautions to avoid becoming the next victim. Along with locking all the doors, authorities advise against leaving valuables in the car and putting items out of sight before reaching your destination. Avoid leaving spare keys, your driver's license or car title in your vehicle.

"You got to have a little bit of common sense. You cannot leave your car unlocked or your house unlocked when you leave," said neighbor Regan Lessard.

If you see any suspicious activity or have any information on the break-ins, call police.



Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Memorial Day Parades and Ceremonies Around Connecticut]]> Fri, 22 May 2015 22:45:55 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/bandera-estados-unidos.jpg

Cities and towns around the state are holding Memorial Day parades and ceremonies to honor Connecticut's veterans and fallen troops.

Danbury Memorial Day Parade

The Danbury Memorial Day Parade will step off at 9:30 a.m. Monday, May 25 at Kennedy Park. The parade will proceed to Rogers Park. After the parade, parachutists will land on the baseball field and a ceremonial service will take place at the Rose Memorial Garden.

East Hartford Veteran's Memorial Remembrance Ceremony

The ceremony will take place from 6 to 7 p.m. Sunday, May 24 at Bicentennial Park. The park is located at the corner of Forbes Street and Scotland Road. The ceremony will feature the East Hartford Police Department color guard and guest speakers, along with Taps and a roll call for fallen service members.

East Hartford Memorial Day Parade

The parade steps off at 10:30 a.m. at East Hartford Middle School at 777 Burnside Avenue. The parade turns west on Burnside Avenue, south on Hillside Street and ends at Hillside Cemetery.

East Lyme Memorial Day Parade

The parade will step off Monday at 2 p.m. Route 156/Main Street will close to traffic at 1 p.m. between Columbus Avenue and Route 161/Pennsylvania Avenue. Traffic will be diverted to East Pattagansett Road, then to Hope Street and onto Route 161.

Fairfield Memorial Day Parade

The Memorial Day parade will begin at 10 a.m. in downtown Fairfield and will be held rain or shine. The parade kicks off on South Pine Creek Road and will travel east to Post Road and the library, then south along Old Post Road to Flint's Corner, east past the town green along Old Post Road and beyond South Benson Road.

A full list of Memorial Day events in Fairfield is available here.

Hamden Memorial Day Parade

The 79th annual Hamden Memorial Day Parade kicks off at 10 a.m. Monday at Hamden High School. The parade will travel northbound along Dixwell Avenue to the Memorial Town Hall. A wreath ceremony will be held after the parade at the Veterans' Memoorial in front of Hamden Middle School. The mayor and parade marshal will deliver remarks and wreaths will be laid at the memorial.

Madison Memorial Day Parade

The parade, which takes place from 10 a.m. to 11:15 a.m., will march from downtown Madison to West Cemetery. A ceremony at the town green flagpole will be held at 10:15 a.m.

Mansfield Memorial Day Parade

The parade will step off at 9 a.m. Monday at the intersection of Route 195/Storrs Road and Bassetts Bridge Road in Mansfield Center. The route proceeds northbound on Route 195 and down Cemetery Road before ending at the new Mansfield Center Cemetery, where a ceremony will be held.

The Mansfield Middle School Band and E.O. Smith Regional High School Band will perform, three volleys will be fired and Taps will be played to honor fallen service members. The parade then returns to Bassetts Bridge Road.

In the event of inclement weather, an abbreviated ceremony will be held at Mansfield Middle School's gymnasium at 9 a.m. Monday.

Middletown Memorial Day Parade

Middletown's Memorial Day parade will begin at 10:30 a.m. Monday on Main Street. The parade will proceed down Main Street from St. John's Square to Union Street.

Washington Street/Route 66 will be closed between High Street and DeKoven Drive starting at 9:30 a.m. Traffic from the Arrigoni Bridge will be diverted down Hartford Avenue to Route 9. Police expect Main Street to reopen to traffic around noon Monday.

North Stonington Memorial Day Parade

The North Stonington Memorial Day Parade will kick off at 10 a.m. at the North Stonington Fairgrounds at 21 Wyassup Road.

Norwalk Memorial Day Parade

The Norwalk Memorial Day Parade will begin at 10 a.m. Veterans Park in East Norwalk and proceed east on Van Zant Street and northbound on East Avenue. The parade will end at Norwalk Green.

Van Zant Street, East Avenue south of Route 1 and the Interstate 95 ramps at exit 16 will be closed from 10 a.m. through 12:30 p.m. Monday in light of the parade.

Old Saybrook Memorial Day Parade

A dockside naval ceremony with a rifle salute and wreath-laying ceremony will be held at 9 a.m. Monday, preceding the parade. The parade will kick off at 10 a.m. on Elm Street and will march to the Veterans Memorial Monuments. A memorial program will take place on the town green following the parade.

Suffield Memorial Day Parade

The parade will kick off at 9 a.m. at the Veterans' Memorial next to the Kent Memorial Library. The parade will march down Bridge and Main streets and will end at 10:30 a.m. A ceremony will take place afterward at the Veterans' Memorial.

West Hartford Memorial Day Parade

The West Hartofrd Memorial Parade will kick off at 10 a.m. Monday on Farmington Avenue at the intersection of Woodrow Street. The parade will then march east on Farmington Avenue, turn south onto South Main Street, then continue to Goodman Green, Burr Street and into the town hall parking lot.

A memorial service will follow the parade at the West Hartford Veterans Memorial at the corner of Farmington Avenue and North Main Street.

West Haven Memorial Day Parade

The procession will step off at 10:30 a.m. Monday at Captain Thomas Boulevard. The parade will then proceed up Campbell Avenue to Center Street.

The following roads will be closed during the parade: Campbell Avenue from Captain Thomas Boulevard to Center Street, Savin Avenue between Center and Main streets, Main Street between Savin and Campbell avenues, Center Street between Campbell and Savin avenues and Captain Thomas Boulevard between Washington Avenue and Altschuler Boulevard.

Westport Memorial Day Parade

The parade kicks off at 9 a.m. at the Saugatuck Elementary School on Riverside Avenue and ends at Parker-Harding Plaza. Memorial services will take place on Veterans Green after the parade.

If the parade is canceled due to weather conditions, memorial services will take place at the Westport Town Hall auditorium at 10 a.m. To find out if the parade has been canceled, call the Parks & Recreation Cancellation Line at 203-341-5074 or go to www.westportrecreation.com.

Wethersfield Memorial Day Parade

The Wethersfield Memorial Day Parade will step off on State Street at 9 a.m. Saturday, May 23. A ceremony will take place after the parade at the Village Cemetery on Marsh Street. Hartford Avenue to State Street will be closed to non-parade traffic beginning at 8:30 p.m. State Street will be close in both directions shortly before the parade begins. See the full parade route here.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Missing Hamden 2-Year-Old Found Safe]]> Sat, 23 May 2015 09:52:57 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/hailie+sierra+2.jpg

A 2-year-old Hamden girl who went missing Thursday has been found safe, state police said.

Authorities issued a Silver Alert for 2-year-old Hailie Sierra on Friday. Hamden police said they suspected the child's mother, Jasmine Hernandez, 22, took Hailie from her home at 33 Webb Street around 5:45 p.m. Thursday and were possibly headed for the Bronx in New York, so police began looking for her that day.

Hailie's father has custody of the toddler and has obtained a protective order against Hernandez. Hailie also has a restraining order against her mother, according to police.

The child has black and brown eyes. Police said she had last been seen wearing a brown hooded sweatshirt, blue jeans and gray Air Jordans sneakers.

Hernandez stands 5 feet 5 inches tall and weighs 145 pounds. Police said she has dark red hair and a tattoo on her chest that reads "RIP Carlos." She had last been seen wearing black-and-white sneakers, ripped jeans, a black shirt and a black leather jacket.

A 2-year-old child named Hailie Sierra was also reported missing with her mother Jasmine in November of 2014 but was later found safe. Police said the two left Hamden following a domestic dispute between Jasmine and the child's father.



Photo Credit: Hamden Police Department]]>
<![CDATA[Firefighters, Police Could See More Workers' Comp]]> Fri, 22 May 2015 19:03:54 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/COPSPTSD00000000.jpg

Late Thursday and early into Friday the Connecticut Senate debated and eventually passed a measure that would increase workers' compensation for cancer diagnoses and post-traumatic stress disorder for first responders.

"What it will do is allow people to go out and feel inspired as police officers, going out into the field and facing the things that we do and seeing the things we do," said Connecticut State Police Union President Andy Matthews.

The measure received bipartisan support. If the House approves the bill and the governor signs it, professional firefighters with five years of service will be covered. Volunteers will need 15 years of service and certification to fight interior fires.

For police, the victory is in the form of coverage for post-traumatic stress disorder. It came within hours of a state labor board siding with a Newtown officer who suffered mental anguish during the Sandy Hook school shooting. He'll be more than $380,000 until he reaches retirement age, at which time he will collect on his pension.

Cities and towns argue they were shut out from negotiations on the bill, which they say could cost taxpayers and town budgets millions of dollars due to abuse and waste.

"Think about all of the detectives who go to crime scenes and say, 'Well, you know what, I was very upset with that,'" said South Windsor Town Manager Matthew Galligan, who serves as the current President of the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities.

Galligan says the new coverage amounts to an unfunded mandate that puts firefighters and police on a different benefit scale.

"We have veterans come home from Iraq, Afghanistan and Iraq, who are coming home with real, serious issues, we’re doing nothing for them, they’re out there in the streets, with no helping hand, and now because somebody walks into a crime scene, we’re going to pay through the nose for the rest of our lives," he said during an interview Friday.

Police unions in Connecticut are thrilled with the passage by the Senate.

They argue that coverage for PTSD, which they say amounts to mental health improvements, will only make the police force stronger and is good for the communities they serve.

“Wouldn’t the towns want their police officers to be mentally healthy carrying a gun and a badge, being able to respond to a critical incident where they may have to save someone’s life or their own?" said Matthews with the State Police Union. "There’s no price tag for that, right?"

Matthews says any talk of abuse is meant as a scare tactic aimed at killing the bill.

"Not every bad scene we go up to will we put in for a workman’s comp benefit for post traumatic stress. Everybody handles it differently," he said.

Galligan says he's uncertain as to how the Connecticut House will view the legislation. His fear is that the organized labor groups who pushed the bill in the Senate will have similar success, which may lead to millions in payouts for firefighters and police.

“We understand government and what it takes to care for people and firefighters and what they do," Galligan said. "[Firefighters] go to the state legislature with these people who are backed by the unions and they know they are going to be able to not negotiate with us and get their negotiations done."

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<![CDATA[Metro-North Branches Back on Schedule]]> Fri, 22 May 2015 21:32:52 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/6pmetronorthstill021215.jpg

The New Canaan Branch of Metro-North's New Haven Line was delayed up to 50 minutes, while the Danbury Branch was delayed by 20 minutes Friday afternoon and into the evening, according to the railroad.

A service alert issued by the the railroad said a circuit problem caused delays of 45-50 minutes along the New Canaan Branch. Passengers taking the 7:28 p.m. train out of New Canaan boarded a bus to Stamford, according to Metro-North.

The Danbury Branch was experiencing residual delays of up to 20 minutes after a tree came down in the Branchville section of Ridgefield earlier Friday, according to the railroad.

Both branches were back on schedule as of about 9 p.m.



Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[19 Americans Naturalized During Groton Ceremony]]> Fri, 22 May 2015 18:24:44 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Naturalization00000000.jpg

Nineteen people from 16 countries and 17 Connecticut towns were sworn in as American citizens alongside the Nautilus Submarine at Navy Base New London Friday morning.

Many of them had ties to the military. Aivi Randes, who was born in Estonia, has a husband in the U.S. Coast Guard. The couple live in Glastonbury with their daughter.

"I think for us it means – my husband is a U.S. citizen, my daughter is a U.S. citizen – we are all almost under the same umbrella," Randes said.

The new citizens took an oath and received official paperwork recognizing them as naturalized American citizens during Friday's ceremony, which took place along the Thames River.

According to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, 654,949 people were naturalized last year and 777,416 the year before.

Congressman Joe Courtney, whose district includes eastern Connecticut, said it means a lot to be able to honor those in the military and their families with citizenship.

"To see them double down on that with them becoming full citizens, you know, again, it’s just a great reminder of what a special country we have," Courtney said.

Marine Aizar Bula was born in Panama and raised in Miami, Florida. After he graduated from high school, he immediately entered the Marine Corp. Bula said he only started the citizenship process several months ago.

Having served a tour of duty in Afghanistan, Bula didn't realize how special the day he gained citizenship would be for him.

"Pretty big." Bula said, "It didn’t feel like it as the day was approaching, but today makes a difference. It’s definitely an accomplishment and I feel like for everybody else who became a citizen here today, it’s the same kinds of feelings.”

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<![CDATA[Brush Fires Break Out Around State]]> Fri, 22 May 2015 19:20:02 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/taftville+brush+fire.jpg

Brush fires have kept firefighters busy around the state Friday.

Taftville

Firefighters in the Taftville section of Norwich battled a large fire behind the property at 101 Merchants Avenue around 11 a.m. and said a discarded cigarette was likely the cause.

Fire officials said steady wind fanned the flames, which consumed dry leaves and brush and crept toward a home on Sheas Lane. Crews managed to keep the fire from spreading to a large pile of brush and two sheds near 100 Merchants Avenue.

Firefighters doused the flames with 1,000 gallons of water to prevent the area from reigniting, according to the fire department.

Stafford

Four fire companies were sent to the scene of a brush fire off Gulf Road in Stafford shortly after 5 p.m. Emergency dispatchers said crews from Stafford, Crystal Lake, Somers and Staffordville responded and are still working to put out the fire.

Farmington

Firefighters in Farmington were called to a brush fire along Route 6 around 5 p.m. The Farmington Fire Department dispatched two engines and a ladder truck, while the East Farms Volunteer Fire Department sent out one engine, Farmington fire officials posted on the department Facebook page.



Photo Credit: Taftville Fire Co. 2]]>
<![CDATA[Improvements Underway at Hammonasset Beach]]> Fri, 22 May 2015 18:43:22 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/beach052215.jpg

State government officials went to Hammonasset Beach State Park this afternoon with shovels, not for the sand but for a major groundbreaking.

Two projects are under way at the beach in Madison using state government funds. The larger project – building new facilities at West Beach on higher ground, safe from flood tides – is costing $8 million.

The other project is the $3.5 million Meigs Point Nature Center, big enough to host 100,000 visitors per year. The Friends of Hammonasset organization has raised money for the exhibits, including a $100,000 touch tank.

"When you walk into the touch tank room, it's going to be like you're going underwater into Long Island Sound," said Russ Miller, known as Ranger Russ at the current Meigs Point Nature Center. "There's going to be a boat suspended over your head and fish tanks all around you."

Gov. Dannel Malloy called for continued reinvestment in the state parks, "these great properties that we have either set aside or our forebears have set aside."
 



Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA["Inconsistencies" Found in New London Police Evidence Room: Cops]]> Fri, 22 May 2015 16:42:17 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/new+london+police+department.JPG

The Connecticut State Police Central District Major Crime Squad is investigating the actions of a New London police officer after an audit revealed inconsistencies in the department's evidence room, according to state police spokesman Sgt. Shane Hassett.

Hassett said the office of the New London state's attorney is also investigating. He declined to elaborate on the case, citing an "active and ongoing investigation."

The New London Police Department directed all questions to state police.



Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Boaters Urged to Look Out for Belugas in Long Island Sound]]> Fri, 22 May 2015 18:04:04 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Belugas+long+island+sound+1.jpg

Mystic Aquarium is keeping tabs on a trio of Beluga whales spotted several times in Long Island Sound and asking residents to respect them and help keep them safe.

The three young whales, less than 8 feet long, were first seen near Rhode Island on May 10. A group of local college students encountered them Wednesday while fishing off the coast of Fairfield.

Most recently, a bay constable caught sight of the whales in Manhasset Bay, according to the Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation. The whales were spotted around 9 a.m. swimming toward Long Island Sound.

Riverhead spokeswoman Rachel Bosworth said the whales were very curious and swam right up to the bay constable's boat.

As the holiday weekend rolls around, officials with both Riverhead and Mystic are urging boaters to keep an eye out for the whales and avoid getting too close. Federal guidelines mandate boaters to stay at least 100 feet away, according to a spokesperson for Mystic.

"At Mystic Aquarium, our first priority is the safety and well-being of these animals," a spokesperson said in a public service announcement released Friday. "We ask residents up and down the shoreline to share in our desire to keep these animals safe, especially during this busy holiday weekend."

Boaters should avoid following the whales or interfering with their movements. Slow down if you see them and put the boat in neutral if they approach. Make sure the area is clear before starting your engine and avoid interacting with or feeding the whales.

Mystic is asking boaters to report whale sightings to the NOAA Fisheries Stranding and Entanglement Hotline at 866-755-6622 and the Mystic Aquarium Animal Rescue Hotline at 860-572-5955 ext. 107.

If you see someone harassing the whales, call the NOAA Office of Law Enforcement Hotline at 800-853-1964.



Photo Credit: Mystic Aquarium]]>
<![CDATA[Prison for Finance Director Who Stole to Build Doll Collection]]> Fri, 22 May 2015 16:56:41 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/David+Bertnagel+photo+and++house+1200.jpg

The former finance director for the town of Plymouth has been sentenced to prison time for embezzling more than $800,000 from the town, much of which officials said he used to buy designer purses and doll collections.

David J. Bertnagel, 41, of Thomaston, will serve 30 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release. He has also been ordered to perform 1,500 hours of community service, according to the U.S. attorney's office.

He has also agreed to pay $808,029.94 in restitution to Plymouth, to forfeit more than $45,000 that he held in bank accounts, as well as jewelry, stamps, coins and other collectibles that were seized on the date of his arrest in January. Bertnagel must cooperate with the IRS to pay outstanding taxes, penalties and interest.

Bertnagel pleaded guilty to federal theft and tax charges in Feburary.

Officials said Bertnagel embezzled $808,030 from the town. According to federal court records, Bertnagel used the funds to build something akin to a museum in his home and fill it with Hummel figurines, Annalee dolls, coins, stamps and more than 200 Coach purses, among others.

When investigators questioned one of Bertnagel’s friends, she described the house Bertnagel shares with his mother as a "museum" full of collections.

Bertnagel served as finance director from July 2014 until Oct. 31, 2014, when town officials suspended him after discovering "improprieties" in the finance department. He previously worked as a part-time employee in the department.



Photo Credit: New Britain Herald/Bristol Press and NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Downtown Crossing Project to Impact Memorial Day Traffic]]> Fri, 22 May 2015 15:49:31 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/new+haven+police+generic1.jpg

Construction on New Haven's Downtown Crossing development will impact traffic patterns on Memorial Day weekend and into next month.

Friday, May 22 through Sunday, May 24

The left two lanes of South Frontage Road will be closed between College Street and York Street from 11 p.m. Friday, May 22 through 6 a.m. Sunday, May 24 due to construction on the building at 100 College Street.

Police said the pedestrian sidewalk west of College Street between MLK Boulevard and South Frontage Road will also be closed until further notice. The service driveways to 100 College Street and the Air Rights Garage are also closed.

Tuesday, May 26 through Friday, June 5

Crews will be clearing the drainage pipe along South Frontage Road between College Street and Orange Street from Tuesday, May 26 through about Friday, June 5 in an effort to prevent street flooding. The left lane on South Frontage Road will be closed intermittently during this time.

Tuesday, May 26 through Wednesday, May 27

An overhead sign will be installed along Route 34 westbound at Orange Street. The left and center lanes will be closed between 6 p.m. Tuesday and 6 a.m. Wednesday.

Thursday, May 28 through Friday, June 5

Workers will be marking bike lanes along MLK Boulevard, Church Street and College Street from Thursday, May 28 through the week of June 1. Expect closures.

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<![CDATA[Bristol Man Charged in Sex Assault at Southington Motel]]> Fri, 22 May 2015 15:38:55 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Kevin+Goulbourne.jpg

A 42-year-old Bristol man is facing charges in connection with a sexual assault that took place last summer at a Southington motel.

Kevin Goulbourne, of Bristol, turned himself in to police on May 20 after learning there was a warrant for his arrest.

He has been charged with first-degree sexual assault and first-degree unlawful restraint.

Southington police said the charges stem from a sexual assault at the Motel 6 on Queen Street in Southington that happened around July 30, 2014. The warrant has been sealed by court order.

Goulbourne was released after posting $50,000 bond and is due in court June 2.



Photo Credit: Southington Police Department]]>
<![CDATA[Hartford Man Found Dead in Water in Glastonbury ]]> Fri, 22 May 2015 15:47:00 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/glastonbury+body+web.jpg

Glastonbury police have identified the man whose body was pulled from the Connecticut River on the night of Saturday,  May 9.

Police said boaters found the body of Noel Hernandez, 49, of Hartford, floating in the water in the area of 252 Welles St. and called police at 6:52 p.m that night.

Authorities are not sure how Hernandez got into the river and the cause of his death is not known.

The results of the autopsy are pending.
 



Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Large Tent Falls on Wires in Oxford]]> Fri, 22 May 2015 15:20:51 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Route+67+Oxford+tent+on+wires+1200.jpg

Route 67 was closed near Dutton Road in Oxford after wind lifted a large tent, which brought down wires, according to state police, but the road has reopened.

Dispatchers said a gust of wind lifted the large tent, which was on private property, and carried it onto wires that snapped.

Utility crews responded. No injuries are reported.



Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Nik Wallenda Makes 80-Foot-High Tightrope Walk at Foxwoods]]> Fri, 22 May 2015 18:02:29 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/nikwallendaorlandoeye.jpg

A month after walking the 400-foot Orlando Eye untethered, renowned daredevil acrobat and Guinness Book of World Records holder Nik Wallenda completed another dangerous feat in Connecticut.

Wallenda, of the Flying Wallenders, traversed a 711-foot long tightrope, 75 to 80 feet in the air, in 13- to 14-mile per hour winds on Friday afternoon, as a crowd watched from below.

The tightrope was suspended between the fifth floor of the Rainmaker garage and the roof of Tanger Outlets mall, and Wallender stopped in the middle to do a ribbon cutting for the new mall.

Later during the tightrope walk, Wallenda even got down onto the rope and laid down.

“We like to leave our guests breathless with anticipation when visiting the Northeast’s largest resort casino destination, and nobody in the world leaves them quite as mesmerized as Nik Wallenda,” Felix Rappaport, president and CEO of Foxwoods Resort Casino. “He’s an amazing performer who has been leaving audiences astonished for decades. We’re thrilled to have him here during the grand opening weekend celebration for our new Tanger Outlets at Foxwoods. It will be thrilling as he walks high above the buildings of the 8.6 million square-feet of Foxwoods, North America’s largest resort.”

The stunt also benefits the United Way of Southeastern Connecticut, with Foxwoods vowing to donate $7.11-worth of clothing from the Tanger Outlets to the organization for every foot Wallenda walked.

Wallenda is a seventh-generation Flying Wallenda's Family member, has multiple Guinness World Records and was the first person to walk over the Grand Canyon and Niagara Falls, according to a news release about the grand opening.

He set a Guinness World Record in 2010 for the longest and highest bike ride on a high wire in New Jersey and another one in 2011 for his "Wheel of Death" performance on on top of the Tropicana Casino and Resort, which is 23 stories high, according to the news release. He recently set two more Guinness world records doing a two-part tightrope walk in Chicago between two skyscrapers. 

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