<![CDATA[NBC Connecticut - Connecticut News]]> Copyright 2014 http://www.nbcconnecticut.com/news/local http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/NBC_Connecticut.png NBC Connecticut http://www.nbcconnecticut.com en-us Fri, 31 Oct 2014 10:27:35 -0400 Fri, 31 Oct 2014 10:27:35 -0400 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Wife Killed, Husband Injured in Hamden Hit and Run]]> Fri, 31 Oct 2014 10:02:44 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/hamden+hit+and+run+dixwell.JPG

A 67-year-old woman was killed and her husband was injured when a car struck them as they were walking home in Hamden last night. 

Police said the driver fled the scene after hitting Emilio Gonzalez and his wife Doris Gonzalez, both 67, as they were crossing Dixwell Avenue near Haig Street at 8:10 p.m., police said.

Doris Gonzalez was transported to Yale-New Haven Hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

Emilio Gonzalez was also taken to the hospital and has been released.

The couple was walking to their Hillcrest Avenue home when they were struck.

Police are looking for a dark Saturn with damage to the front right windshield and hood.

Anyone with information about the crash should call Sgt. Edward Armeno of the Hamden Police Department Traffic Division at (203) 230-4036 or 230-4000.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Car Hits School Bus at School in Ellington]]> Fri, 31 Oct 2014 10:10:11 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Ellington+bus+crash+1200.jpg

A school bus was rear ended while pulling up at Ellington High School on Maple Street  this morning and the school nurses is evaluating the students as a precaution.

The superintendent said the students and the driver of the car were not injured.

Police said an ambulance was called.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Human Skulls & Witchcraft Books Found at Stamford Dump]]> Fri, 31 Oct 2014 09:55:57 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/stamford+dump+skulls+found.jpg

Two human skulls, a jawbone and several books on Satan and witchcraft were found at the Stamford Refuge Transfer Station on Thursday and police are investigating. 

An employee found the skulls while sifting through garbage and police responded to the station at 1 Pumping Station Road after being alerted about the remains just before 1:30 p.m.

Officers closed off the area to investigate and secured the two skulls, which the medical examiner determined are human, police said.

Officers continued to search the area where the skulls were found and also found a mandible along with several books on Satan and witchcraft.

The remains were taken to the state’s medical examiner’s office this morning to examine further.

Police are trying to determine where the remains came from, the cause of death and how they ended up at the transfer station.

Anyone with information on the remains should call the Stamford Police Stamford Police Detective Bureau at 203-977-4417.

Photo Credit: Stamford Police]]>
<![CDATA[I-95 South Congested from Bridgeport to Stratford]]> Fri, 31 Oct 2014 09:41:41 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/I95+closed+in+Bridgeport+1200.jpg

Only the center lane of Interstate 95 South in Bridgeport is getting by after a multi-vehicle crash at exit 27A.

Traffic is already backed up to Stratford.

State police said troopers just arrived at the scene and it’s not clear how long the highway will remain closed.

Check back for updates.

Photo Credit: Connecticut DOT Traffic Cameras]]>
<![CDATA[Newington Schools Step Up Security After Threats]]> Fri, 31 Oct 2014 08:38:09 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Ruth+Chafee+Halloween+1200.jpg

Officials have increased security at Newington schools for Halloween after the district received threats from extremists groups following a decision to cancel costume parades at two elementary schools.

The Newington Board of Education convened a special meeting on Wednesday night, the night after receiving threats from "national extremist groups" after deciding to cancel Halloween parades at Ruth Chaffee and Anna Reynolds elementary schools, according to superintendent Dr. William Collins.

Collins wrote a letter to families clarifying that Halloween celebrations at school were never canceled altogether and that costumes will be permitted at after-school activities, but not during school hours.

Board members in favor of no costumes and no parades cited the time it takes away from learning.

“It’s not just about a half hour parade,” said Beth McDonald. “It’s about the anticipation and distraction leading up to it.”

Those opposed argued in favor of tradition and lobbied to let kids just be kids.

The decision to ban costumes during the school day has sparked controversy around the country.

Collins said he has received threatening calls from as far away as Washington state, prompting the request to beef up police security on Friday.

Collins said extra patrols will keep an eye on the town's four elementary schools.

"The threats I received are in no way meant to harm any of our children," Collins said.

The board apologized on Wednesday for its timing and the way the ban was communicated to parents. Board members promised improved communication going forward.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Man Thwarts Burglary at Neighbor’s House]]> Fri, 31 Oct 2014 07:27:46 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/bristol+police+crusier_1200.jpg

A Bristol man stopped a burglary at his neighbor’s house by calling 911 after seeing two suspicious people last night.

Police said a man and woman tried to force a door open at a home on Chippenwood Lane in Bristol just after 5 p.m. on Thursday, so a neighbor called 911.

Bristol officers responded and found two suspects and their vehicle at 20 Edgewood Street, police said.

Joseph Saluski, 39, of 20 Edgewood Street in Bristol, and Jamie Newberry, of the same address, were both arrested.

Saluski, a convicted felon, was charged with criminal attempt at burglary in the third degree, conspiracy to commit burglary in the third degree, criminal attempt at larceny in the sixth degree, criminal trespass in the third degree and conspiracy to commit criminal trespass in the third degree, police said. 

He posted the $75,000 bond, was released and is due in court on Nov. 10.

Newberry was charged with conspiracy to commit burglary in the third degree, conspiracy to commit criminal trespass in the third degree and conspiracy to commit larceny in the sixth. 

She posted the $25,000 bond, was released and is also due in court n Nov. 10.

<![CDATA[SCSU On Alert After 2 Armed Robberies on Campus]]> Fri, 31 Oct 2014 09:22:26 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/214*120/SCSU+sign.jpg

Southern Connecticut State University students are on high alert after a man robbed one student at gunpoint early Friday morning on campus and tried to rob another.

The incidents occurred just after midnight near the Jess Dow Field football field.

School officials said the students were not injured. The robber stole one student's backpack and wallet and tried to steal another's cell phone, according to school officials.

SCSU Police are searching for a man in his 20s who is between 5-feet-6 and 5-feet-8. He was wearing a black ski mask and gray and orange sweater, police said.

The school sent a campus-wide alert to students shortly after the robberies occurred, advising students to stay in their dorms and to use extreme caution when returning to their residence halls.

The robber is still at large and campus police are investigating.

Classes and university operations will go on as scheduled, according to school officials.

Anyone with information should call University Police at 203 392-5375. If you are in an emergency, call 911.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Tactic Pushing Voter Turnout Irks Voters]]> Thu, 30 Oct 2014 23:19:30 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/vote+flier.jpg

With the latest Quinnipiac Poll putting the governor's race at a dead heat, both political parties are putting out all the stops.

But some voters say they're going too far.

"Instead of this being an attack on another candidate, this was an attack on me and my privacy," said Mansfield Center resident Paul Veilleux.

Veilleux, a U.S. Army veteran, said that when he checked his mail on Thursday, he couldn't believe what he saw. Inside was a letter from the Connecticut Democratic Party that Veilleux said came across like a veiled threat.

"I believe it is our responsibility, everybody's responsibility to vote, not just our right, but this is ridiculous," said Veilleux.

The letter reads, "We're sending this mailing to you and your neighbors to publicize who does and does not vote."

You can see the name and street numbers are hidden, but the voting records for Veilleux and neighbors are clear as day. At the bottom it says if you don't vote this year, party officials will be "disappointed."

"Shaming someone into voting, but not just voting, voting in a particular way because they say they may call and they're going to check," said Veilleux.

Voting records are public but how you vote is not. NBC Connecticut reached out to the state Democratic party and they sent the following statement in response:

"The foundation of our democracy is a citizens' right to vote – and it's our hope that every Democrat exercises that fundamental right on Tuesday. While Tom Foley wants to restrict access to voting to protect his $5 million yacht, two million-dollar-fighter jets, seven-bedroom mansion, and zero percent tax rate, we believe every registered voter should show up to the polls."

State Republicans are also sending out their own mailers. NBC Connecticut was emailed an example of one which informs voters they've missed previous elections that the public can see who votes and who doesn't.

In a statement, campaign officials for Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Foley said they "hope that everybody who has the right to vote exercises that right on November 4th."

"This is not good politics. This is not positive politics," said Dr. Paul Petterson, political science professor and chairman at Central Connecticut State University.

Experts said it's not only manipulative but disappointing. It's a trend that's been seen across the country, but Veilleux says it's not the right way to do it.

"Reminding folks to vote, that's great, but don't try to look over my shoulder with what I'm doing," said Veilleux.

Veilleux said the mailer will in no way impact whether he votes or how, but that it does have him wanting to talk to politicians about the tactic.

Other experts have called this sort of strategy a "hail mary" that can significantly increase voter turnout, which is what both sides are desperate for Nov. 4.

<![CDATA[Connecticut Ghost Town Sells for $1.9 Million]]> Thu, 30 Oct 2014 22:46:59 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/johnsonville+ghost+town.jpg

A ghost town nestled in the Moodus section of East Haddam has a new owner and, hopefully soon, new life.

The village of Johnsonville, originally marketed for $800,000, sold for $1.9 million at a worldwide auction that ran from Oct. 28 to 30, according to Eat Haddam First Selectman Mark Walter.

Walter said the town is waiting for the auction house to identify the highest bidder and new owner of the long-abandoned 62-acre property.

Johnsonville is situated between two state parks and has been desolate for decades.

"We're excited," Walter said. "Hopefully now it will come back to life."

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[New Haven Receives $21.5M to Redevelop Old Coliseum Site]]> Thu, 30 Oct 2014 22:14:50 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/New+Gaven+Coliseum+1200.jpg

More than seven years after the New Haven Coliseum came crashing down, the city received a $21.5 million financial boost to redevelop the site.

Transforming the old Coliseum site is the second phase of New Haven's Downtown Crossing project, which has been in the works for the past few years and aims to bridge two parts of the city that are now separated by Route 34.

The state announced on Thursday that it will contribute $21.5 million to the redevelopment of the former Coliseum site on Orange Street.

"It will allow us to really develop a vibrant and thriving urban neighborhood for New Haven and the state of Connecticut," said Max Rein, co-managing partner of site developer Live Work Learn Play.

What’s now an empty parking lot will eventually transform into a space containing a four-star hotel, restaurants, shops and residences.

The redevelopment project will also bring about a major change to the Route 34 corridor, knocking out the highway to create a more walkable, connected space that bridges the Hill neighborhood with Ninth Square.

“It’s been a long time coming,” said Robert Greenberg, of ACME Furniture in the Ninth Square. “The whole Ninth Square area is really excited for it, and I think it’s going to change the whole dynamic of downtown New Haven and the way that people enter our city.”

Greenberg said he’s hopeful the project will get up and running soon. The developer anticipates shovels in the ground next summer, and with those shovels, about 4,700 construction jobs.

The completed project retain 2,800 permanent jobs, which translates into more customers for downtown businesses.

“It’s going to bring a lot of jobs,” explained Neville Wisdom, owner of Neville Wisdom Designs. “It’s going to bring housing for a lot of people who will live here, who needed dresses and garments that we design for our business. So it’s a win-win situation.”

The total bill for the development will reach about $395 million, with not only the state contributing but the federal government and the city pitching in as well.

<![CDATA[Suspected Biohazard Turns Out to Be Vinegar]]> Thu, 30 Oct 2014 21:48:00 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/160*120/vinegar.jpg

Police said a possible biohazard reported in Rocky Hill turned out to be a container of vinegar.

Authorities were called to the state testing lab at 395 West Street around 7:30 p.m. to investigate after someone found a "drum of an unknown substance," according to police.

Lab tests conducted as a precaution showed the substance to be non-hazardous, police said.

That substance turned out to be vinegar, and the drum, a gallon container.

<![CDATA[Passengers Seriously Hurt in 4-Car Pileup in New Canaan]]> Thu, 30 Oct 2014 20:32:58 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/tlmd_police_tape_lights_generic2.jpg

Several people are in the hospital with serious injuries, some possibly life threatening, after four cars collided in New Canaan on Thursday evening.

Police said the crash happened around 5:30 p.m. on Silvermine Road near the intersection of Clapboard Hill Road. One person was ejected from a car and others were trapped inside.

Paramedics and fire officials from New Canaan and Norwalk responded to the scene to extricate the passengers and bring them to the hospital.

Authorities are investigating the crash. Police have not specified how many people were hurt or identified the injured passengers.

<![CDATA[Yale Doctoral Student No Longer Quarantined]]> Thu, 30 Oct 2014 20:00:37 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/yale+ebola.jpg

Two weeks ago medics in protective gear brought a Yale doctoral student recently returned from Liberia to Yale-New Haven Hospital for Ebola testing. Although his test acme back negative, state officials ordered him quarantined at home until Thursday morning.

Two of the state's four quarantine orders, one of which affected Yale student Ryan Boyko, expired at midnight Thursday, according to the state Department of Public Health.

The state has put in place a total of four quarantine orders on nine people, including a family of six from West Haven, Boyko and a second doctoral student who traveled to Liberia.

Boyko left his apartment building on Edwards Street on Thursday and couldn't be reached for comment. He told interviewers earlier in the week he felt unfairly confined.

"It was purely a political move to look like Gov. Malloy was leading — science be damned, basically," Boyko said in an interview with the Associated Press on Tuesday. "Instead of leading by teaching people about the disease and trying to reduce the fear in a way that was productive and based on science, it was a decision to take what felt like the easier path."

Boyko, an epidemiology student at the Yale School of Public Health, said he had not been in contact with anyone showing Ebola symptoms while in Liberia. Ebola is only transmitted through infected individuals who are showing symptoms.

The 30-year-old doctoral student said earlier this week he had gotten involved with activists lobbying for consistent guidelines for people returning from Ebola-stricken areas.

<![CDATA[3rd Grader Back to School After Ban Over Ebola Concerns]]> Thu, 30 Oct 2014 20:17:00 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/milford+meadowside+school.jpg

The third-grade student whose family sued the sued the Milford school system for keeping her out of class over Ebola concerns will return to school Friday, school officials said.

Milford school superintendent Dr. Elizabeth Feser released a joint statement with the 7-year-old's father on Thursday explaining that the two had reached an agreement.

The student was banned from school earlier this month after returning from a two-week trip to Nigeria where she attended a family wedding with her father. Her dad filed a lawsuit Oct. 28.

Although Nigeria has been declared Ebola-free and the student showed no symptoms of illness, administrators told the girl's family that she must stay home from Meadowside Elementary School until Nov. 3 “due to concern from certain parents and teachers that she could transmit Ebola to other children,” according to the lawsuit.

The suit was filed Oct. 28, four days after the girl completed a health assessment with her pediatrician which found her in good health and able to "participate fully in the school program," the suit says.

Although the lawsuit says Feser initially warned that the girl would be "removed from the school by police" if she showed up prior to Nov. 3, school officials agreed to allow the girl to return to school Oct. 31.

"The student does not present any health risk to any individual," the joint statement says.  "The parties are pleased to announce that the student will return to school on October 31. The parties wish to announce that the lawsuit in this matter will be settled."

The terms of the settlement will not be disclosed.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[New Haven Has New Eyes on City]]> Thu, 30 Oct 2014 21:29:08 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/180*120/CAMERAS10302014.jpg

Surveillance video is nothing new to the city of New Haven, but the number of the cameras and where the camera feeds are directed have changed.

Thanks to grants through Homeland Security and Traffic and Parking, 250 cameras now keep watch over the city.

Emergency Management Deputy Director Rick Fontana said the need for the cameras was evident when flash flooding hit New Haven.

“We had cars under water on the Route 34 connector, and before you know it, we couldn't see it. So we immediately went to management and said we need to have that capability, that capacity, and literally in three months, as you can see, we were up and running,” said Fontana.

Now there are cameras in every neighborhood, some of which pan and zoom automatically to keep an eye on busy streets. City officials hope that the extra set of eyes will also be a deterrent for bad behavior.

“If people know that you're watching them, they might think twice before they spray paint something, or it could be more than that,” said Fontana.

In downtown New Haven, it seems to be working. The Town Green District helped purchase four of the cameras, which are now displayed at the downtown police substation on Chapel Street.

Executive Director Win Davis said he's already noticed people watching the cameras and changing behavior.

“The cameras have given us an increased ability to research any wrongdoing that may have occurred, but really what we're seeing is people by and large kind of behaving a little bit better,” said Davis.

The camera feeds are visiblke in the Emergency Operations Center, the New Haven Police Department and the city’s dispatch center. The feeds are also recorded so officials can play them back to review an incident.

<![CDATA[Stonington Teacher Charged With DUI: Report]]> Thu, 30 Oct 2014 17:58:48 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/police-lights-generic-0311.jpg

A first-grade teacher at West Vine Street School in Stonington was arrested after flipping her car Wednesday night and has been charged with driving under the influence, according to police and The New London Day.

Police said 52-year-old Ann Collette, of Pawcatuck, was involved in a rollover crash at Route 1A in Stonington around 8:45 p.m. Wednesday. She was charged with driving under the influence and failure to drive right.

Collette was transported to Lawrence + Memorial Hospital for treatment of minor injuries, according to police.

The New London Day reports that Collette is a first-grade teacher at West Vine Street School. The school Web site lists a first-grade teacher by that name.

Neither the Stonington superintendent nor the Vine Street School principal have returned requests for comment.

<![CDATA["Mystery Signs" Share Kind Words]]> Thu, 30 Oct 2014 17:56:03 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/mystery+sign.JPG

What if the nicest thing you heard all day came from the back of a telephone pole?

It may sound strange, but “mysterious signs” leaving compliments for strangers are getting a lot of attention in southeastern Connecticut.

The small act of kindness is making a big difference.

Words of encouragement – including "People like you" and "You're a beautiful person" – are popping up on phone poles along Main Street in Mystic, and similar signs have also been spotted in other towns.

“I just saw the sign this morning as I was taking my daughter to music class,” said Mystic resident Merin Troutman. “It said, ‘Being nice is fun,’ and I think that’s a great message. That’s what I tell my daughter every day before she goes to Kindergarten.”

They’re simple ideas, and they’re also a mystery. Residents said the signs have been up for several days and no one knows how they got there or who to thank.

Town leaders said they don't have a clue.

Although residents may never know where the signs came from, most people say it doesn't matter who put them there. This random act of kindness is contagious.

“I think whoever is doing it, I think it’s the right message to send,” said Troutman.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[3 Officers Hurt During Police-Involved Shooting]]> Thu, 30 Oct 2014 22:22:17 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/new+britain+batterson+park+scene+with+mug+2.jpg

Three New Britain officers suffered injuries when gunfire erupted and a suspect tried to get away during an arrest late Thursday morning, according to the police department.

Police tracked accused criminal Richard Moore, 43, to the area of 456 Alexander Road around 11:30 a.m. to serve an arrest warrant charging him with felony offenses, authorities said.

Moore, who they found in a parked car near the Batterson Park boat launch, "became combative" when police approached and sped off through a parking lot, dragging an officer behind him, according to police.

Police said the officer was able to break free of the car as Moore accelerated toward other police nearby. The officer who was dragged pulled out his gun and fired at the car "in an attempt to stop further violent assaults."

"Turning a motor vehicle toward an officer, or any person, it's a deadly use of force," explained New Britain police Chief James Wardwell. "It certainly could have resulted in something a lot more serious."

Moore was not shot. Authorities said he crashed the car into a large boulder and struggled with officers who tried to arrest him. Police took him into custody and brought him to the hospital for treatment of injuries sustained during the crash.

The officer who was dragged was taken to the Hospital of Central Connecticut, where he was treated for minor injuries and later released, according to police and the mayor's office.

Two additional officers were hurt during the encounter, one of whom suffered a fracture. The other injured officer is still undergoing a medical evaluation, police said.

"Their injuries are significant, but they're going to recover and I'm thankful for that," Wardwell said.

Moore was charged with three counts of assault on police, criminal attempt to commit first-degree assault, interfering with police and motor vehicle and narcotics offenses, because officers found drugs in his car, according to police.

Police said officers had been attempting to arrest Moore in connection with an incident on Oct. 28 when police found him slumped over the steering wheel, sleeping in a running car.

Officers reached into the vehicle and put it in park, at which point Moore woke up and sped off, hurting one of the officers' arms, according to police.

He was charged with two counts of assault on police, reckless driving, interfering with police and driving with a suspended license in connection to the Oct. 28 incident.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com/New Britain Police]]>
<![CDATA[What Happened After the Treasurer's Debate?]]> Thu, 30 Oct 2014 18:17:36 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/nappier+herbst+treasurer+debate.jpg

The spirited debate between Democratic state Treasurer Denise Nappier and Republican challenger Tim Herbst continued after their time was up Thursday night, leading many online viewers to question what transpired between the heated political rivals while the credits rolled.

Raw video from the end of the debate shows the two passionately arguing their policies as they left the NBC Connecticut studios Thursday evening.

Tune into NBC Connecticut's "Decision 2014" for more on the debate and the tension between Nappier and Herbst this Sundy at 10 a.m.

This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story on our mobile site.]]>
<![CDATA[Hedge Fund Controller Accused of Embezzling Millions]]> Thu, 30 Oct 2014 18:16:23 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/police_generic21.jpg

A former controller of a Greenwich hedge fund has been arrested on federal charges, accused of embezzling millions of dollars.

Lawrence J. Herzing, 45, of Greenwich, was arrested on Thursday.

Federal authorities said he used his position at Greenwich-based Contrarian Capital Management, L.L.C to wire funds from the hedge fund to accounts that he controlled, federal authorities said.

He is accused of wiring money on 32 occasions between 2004 and 2013, with a total amount of $2.4 million.

Herzing was charged with wire fraud, appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge William I. Garfinkel in Bridgeport today and was released on a $5.6 million bond.

Of the bond amount, $2.6 million will be secured by Herzing’s Greenwich home, according to federal authorities.

Information on an attorney for Herzing was not immediately available.

<![CDATA[10 Years in Prison for Man Who Planted Bombs in Ex's Car]]> Thu, 30 Oct 2014 21:29:02 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/bottle-bomb-083011.jpg

A 53-year-old Florida man will spend 10 years in prison after stalking an ex-girlfriend who lives in Stamford and planting bombs filled with hydrochloric acid in her car, severely burning her, prosecutors say.

"I don't know what possessed me to do what I did," Frank Mendoza wrote in a letter to the court just before he was sentenced Thursday, apologizing and saying he had intended only to "scare" his victim.

Mendoza was sentenced to 10 years followed by three years of supervised release, after he pleaded guilty to one count of interstate stalking in June. His plea deal had stipulated a sentence ranging from seven to 10 years.

Mendoza, formerly of Jacksonville, Florida, was arrested in Jacksonville on Aug. 17, 2012, almost two years after he is accused of having planted the bombs that left his ex-girlferiend with severe burns.

Prosecutors said Mendoza began dating the victim in 2008 and “became emotionally and psychologically abusive” toward her. The victim told authorities Mendoza had a lengthy criminal background and claimed to be part of a gang, and that she also noticed him carrying a gun.

The victim tried to break off the relationship and told Mendoza she was moving to Rhode Island for work-related training in September 2010, prosecutors said. In reality, she moved to Stamford.

A month later, Mendoza discovered her real address and began making harassing phone calls to the victim and her friends and colleagues, according to prosecutors. He allegedly traveled to Connecticut in November and showed up at her home and workplace, then returned home to Florida.

Mendoza returned on Dec. 8, 2010, when he flew into New York City and rented a car to drive to Connecticut, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said. He drove to the victim’s home in Stamford and planted two bottle bombs in her car containing hydrochloric acid and aluminum foil wicks, according to prosecutors.

The victim went out to her car around 11 p.m. and noticed the interior was wet. She opened the driver’s side door and noticed a bottle on the floor, which began to “smoke and fizz” when she picked it up, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Prosecutors said the victim put it down, and the bottle exploded behind her as she ran away. Investigators learned that the first bottle had blown up before she arrived at her car. As a result, the victim “nearly suffered a horrible, disfiguring injury at [Mendoza’s] hands,” prosecutors said.

Photo Credit: YouTube]]>
<![CDATA[LifeStar Called to Crash at I-95, Route 9 in Old Saybrook]]> Thu, 30 Oct 2014 17:20:35 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/crash+95+old+saybrook.jpg

LifeStar airlifted a crash victim to the hospital Thursday after a car struck a bridge on Route 9 near Interstate 95 northbound in Old Saybrook, according to state police.

All northbound lanes on I-95 were closed while authorities responded to the crash. At least two lanes of travel have since reopened to traffic.

One person was airlifted to the hospital for treatment. Police have not released any information on the victim's condition.

Avoid the area if possible and check back for updates.

Photo Credit: Connecticut Department of Transportation]]>
<![CDATA[81-Year-Old Woman Struck, Killed in New Haven]]> Thu, 30 Oct 2014 15:59:02 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/olive+and+green+new+haven.png

Police are investigating after an 81-year-old woman was struck and killed on Olive Street near the intersection of Greene Street in New Haven on Thursday.

Authorities said the elderly woman was crossing the street when she was hit. The offending driver stayed at the scene, and police are working to determine who is at fault.

No charges have been filed.

Police have not publicly identified the victim. Neighbors said she had lived in a nearby apartment for decades.

Check back for updates.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Firefighters Rescue 1 of 3 Cats From Milford Fire]]> Thu, 30 Oct 2014 14:46:26 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/SD-Fire-Engine-Generic.jpg

Firefighters in Milford managed to rescue one of three cats trapped in a burning condo Thursday morning, according to the fire department.

Authorities said a homeowner living at 52 Greenview Lane suffered smoke inhalation and was taken to Bridgeport Hospital for treatment. No one else was hurt, but two cats are missing.

Flames were heaviest in the laundry and furnace room, according to the fire department. Firefighters were called to the scene around 10:20 a.m. and quickly extinguished the blaze.

Firefighters said the affected condo suffered serious fire and heat damage. A common stairwell was also damaged.

Crews used ventilation fans to clear smoke and carbon monoxide from adjoining units.

The Milford Fire Marshal's office is investigating the cause.

Photo Credit: Monica Garske]]>
<![CDATA[Route 6 Reopens in Farmington After Crew Hits Gas Main]]> Thu, 30 Oct 2014 13:12:39 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/tlmd_police_line_generic722.jpg

Route 6 was closed between New Britain Avenue and Hyde Road in Farmington after a construction crew hit a gas main by mistake, according to police, but it has reopened.

There were no evacuations and no injuries are reported.

<![CDATA[Troopers Use Narcan to Save Person After Drug Overdose]]> Thu, 30 Oct 2014 18:26:37 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/narcan+naloxone.JPG

A month after being trained to use a drug that can counteract a drug overdose, a Connecticut state trooper used Narcan to save a life.

Medical responders were called to the report of a drug overdose in Griswold on Oct. 29. They arrived to find a 40-year old man unresponsive, so Trooper Steven Gardner was dispatched to assist, police said.

When Gardner administered a dose of Narcan, the man woke up and was taken to William Backus Hospital for treatment. Police said he's expected to make a full recovery.

Intranasal Naloxone, or Narcan, is given to counteract the overdose of opiate-based narcotics.

State troopers were trained to administer the drug in September following the passage of a new state law earlier this year.

“The Connecticut State Police and our fellow first responders experience first-hand the devastating effects of illicit drugs on individuals and families, and now, we can do something about it,” Department of Environmental Safety and Public Protection Commissioner Dora Schriro said in a statement Wednesday. “This initiative gives State Troopers and others on the front line the tools and training to help prevent drug overdoses and save lives.”


<![CDATA[Injured Hartford Firefighter Released From Hospital]]> Thu, 30 Oct 2014 17:25:46 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/214*120/jason+martinez+hartford+fire.jpg

A Hartford firefighter who was critically hurt in the blaze that killed his colleague earlier this month was released from Bridgeport Hospital on Thursday, according to a hospital spokesperson.

Jason Martinez, 29, is recovering at home in Manchester.

"I do know his family – and Jason himself – is overwhelmed with the outpouring of support they have received," Hartford Fire Capt. Helene Lynch said during a press conference Thursday.

The president of the firefighters' union, Vincent Fusco, said in a letter to Hartford firefighters on Tuesday that Martinez is "up and able to move around" and has been working hard to get better.

"He is very determined to make a complete recovery and is focused on his therapies," Fusco wrote.

According to the Hartford Firefighters Association, flames forced Martinez to jump from a second-floor window while fighting a two-alarm fire on Blue Hills Avenue on Oct. 7.

He suffered burns over 10 percent of his body and remained in critical condition at the Connecticut Burn Center at Bridgeport Hospital for days after the fire.

"We continue showing our support for Firefighter Jason Martinez and his Family [sic] as he works toward recovering from his injuries in the Bridgeport Burn Center," Fusco wrote in the letter. "They are and will continue to be in our thoughts and prayers."

Fellow firefighter Kevin Bell died in the blaze, and Colin McWeeny and Kevin Burke received treatment for minor injuries. Both McWeeny and Burke were treated and released from Saint Francis Hospital.

"Firefighter McWeeny has burns on his head that are healing, and they don't want infection and are monitoring him," Lynch said at the media briefing.

McWeeny, of Engine 14, has not yet returned to work. Burke is back on the job at Engine 5, according to fire officials.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com/Hartford Fire Department]]>
<![CDATA[LifeStar Responds After Fall at Construction Site]]> Thu, 30 Oct 2014 13:12:29 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/lifestar+flying_fixed.jpg

LifeStar is responding to Dog Lane in Mansfield after someone fell from staging at the site of new

Officials from Tolland County Dispatch said the person fell 25 feet and the Mansfield Fire Department is responding.

No information is available on injuries.

Check back for updates.

<![CDATA[Man Arrested After Firing Gun in Middletown: Police]]> Thu, 30 Oct 2014 11:15:19 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/middletown+police+department.JPG

Middletown police have arrested a convicted felon who is accused of firing a gunshot during a domestic incident on Wednesday.

Police responded to 17 Wall Street just before 9:30 p.m. after someone called to report hearing a gunshot. As officers looked into the report, a neighbor said Curtis Thigpen, 23, was beating on a family member soon after the shot was heard, police said.

As police continued to investigate, they determined there were outstanding arrest warrants for Thigpen as well as the victim, who has not been publicly identified.

Police believed both people involved were in the home, so they searched and found Thigpen hiding with a gun, police said. He had no permits for the weapon and tests revealed that he’d shot it, police said.

Thigpen has prior convictions, including for first-degree burglary and second-degree assault with a weapon, and there are also arrests warrant for probation violation, police said.

Thigpen denied firing the gun and was uncooperative, police said. When asked about the weapon, he said he “didn’t remember” where he got it, according to the arrest warrant application.

He was charged with carrying a pistol without a permit, unlawful discharge of a weapon, carrying a dangerous weapon, interfering with an officer, breach of peach, criminal possession of a pistol or revolver and reckless endangerment.

Thigpen was held on $500,000 bond and is due in court today.

The victim was nowhere to be found and a family member said there person was OK, but would not provide police with a location, according to police.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Hartford Student Brought Airsoft Pistol to School]]> Thu, 30 Oct 2014 14:16:50 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Thomas+J+McDonough+Elementary+Hartford+1200.jpg

Police are investigating after a seventh grader showed up at Thomas J. McDonough Elementary School in Hartford with an Airsoft pellet pistol in his backpack this morning, police said.

Administrators learned Thursday morning that a seventh grade boy might have had a gun, so they called school security and Hartford police. Officers opened his bag and found the pellet pistol, police said.

The student was referred to juvenile court and suspended. Police said the student did not make any overt threats.

It's not clear what the student was plan on doing with the pistol.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Car Fire Caused Backups on I-84]]> Thu, 30 Oct 2014 09:35:33 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Car+fire+on+I-84+in+Plainville+1200.jpg

There were heavy backups on Interstate 84 East in Plainville and Southington after a car fire this morning, but the scene has cleared.

The car caught fire near exit 34 in Plainville and traffic was backed up to exit 30 in Southington.

The driver is OK, according to state police.

Photo Credit: Connecticut Department of Transportation]]>
<![CDATA[Cigarette Thief Strikes at Vernon Mobil: Police ]]> Thu, 30 Oct 2014 08:01:16 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Vernon+Mobil+burglary.jpg

A man forced his way into a Vernon gas station early this morning and stole what police described as a “large amount of cigarettes.”

Vernon Police responded to a burglary alarm at the Vernon Mobil, located at 447 Hartford Turnpike, at 3:50 a.m. and said the man forced his way into the building.

Police believe this is not the first time he struck here. They believe he burglarized this same business on Tuesday as well.

The burglar was described as thin to average build and was wearing a distinctive black and white motorcycle helmet, eye glasses, a light colored coat, dark pants and dark sneakers with light laces. He also wore a dark glove on his right hand and a light glove on his left hand.

Police said a sport-style motorcycle with a driver matching the description of the burglar was seen traveling north on West Street in Vernon at the time of the burglary.

If you recognize the man, call Officer Michael Anthony at (860)872-9126, extension 253.

Photo Credit: Vernon Police]]>
<![CDATA[Fire Damages House in Windsor]]> Thu, 30 Oct 2014 14:24:29 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Fire+on+Seymour+Street+in+Windsor+1200.jpg

A family is safe, but will likely not be able to stay in their home tonight after fire broke out at 62 Seymour St. in Windsor this morning.

Three children were home when fire started out in their two-story home, according to Assistant Fire Chief Steve Bianchi, and one of them said the mother's sheets were on fire.

The fire is now out, but it caused heavy damage to a second-floor bedroom.

The fire department will remain at the scene to check for hotspots and the fire marshal will be investigating the cause of the blaze.

The two-story, three-bedroom 1,600 square-foot home was built in 1930, according to assessor's records.

Casey Coughlin noticed the flames and took this photo this morning.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Changes Coming to Coliseum Site in New Haven]]> Thu, 30 Oct 2014 15:54:00 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/New+Gaven+Coliseum+1200.jpg

Changes are coming to the former New Haven Coliseum site and officials announced $21.5 million in state funding for the second phase of the Downtown Crossing project.

The funds will go to infrastructure improvements necessary for the $395 million redevelopment, according to the governor's office.

“The Coliseum site redevelopment is a vital component of the Downtown Crossing project and is a once in a generation opportunity to rebuild 5.5 acres of prime land in the heart of New Haven,” Gov. Dannel Malloy said in a statement. “We have worked hard to establish Connecticut as a world-renowned life sciences hub.  New Haven has had that foresight to plan and provide support for this growing workforce.  As a result, the city has a prominent global presence in these expanding fields and is front and center in creating quality, high-paying jobs for its residents.”

Phase II of the Downtown Crossing project will remove a highway and replace it with urban boulevards. 

The state funding will rejoin South Orange Street across the current Route 34 toward Union Station and allow Union Station, the Medical District and the Hill neighborhood to connect with Downtown New Haven.

New Haven Mayor Toni Harp said the old Coliseum site off Orange Street will be made more walkable by shifting blocks from the corner of the downtown area into the middle of it.

The project is expected to bring in 35 to 40 new small to mid-sized year-round businesses and up to 25 seasonal incubator businesses. It will also bring a mix of housing, ranging from market rate, low, moderate, workforce and affordable housing, according to the governor's office. 

This will be a major change along the 34 corridor, but business owners said they welcome the new development.

"It's going to create a density back into the area that's going to be fabulous for all the business people here," Robert Greenberg, of ACME Furniture, said.

The announcement will be made at 11:30 a.m.

Photo Credit: Gov. Dannel Malloy's Office]]>
<![CDATA[Newington Schools to Step Up Security on Halloween]]> Wed, 29 Oct 2014 23:40:35 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/newington+school.JPG

Officials will step up security at Newington schools on Halloween after the district received threats from extremists groups in light of a decision to cancel costume parades at two elementary schools.

The Newington Board of Education convened a special meeting Wednesday night the night after the district received threats from "national extremist groups" in light of a decision to cancel Halloween parades at Ruth Chaffee and Anna Reynolds elementary schools, according to superintendent Dr. William Collins.

Collins wrote a letter to families clarifying that Halloween celebrations at school were never canceled altogether and that costumes will be permitted at after-school activities but not during school hours.

Board members in favor of no costumes and no parades cited the time it takes away from learning.

“It’s not just about a half hour parade,” said Beth McDonald. “It’s about the anticipation and distraction leading up to it.”

Those opposed argued in favor of tradition and lobbied to let kids just be kids. They attended the meeting wearing black-and-orange ribbon stickers in support of the spooky holiday.

“You have to understand the importance of holidays to children and their families,” said Karen Petersen.

The decision to ban costumes during the school day has sparked controversy around the country. Collins said he has received threatening calls from as far away as Washington state, prompting the request to beef up police security on Friday.

Collins said extra patrols will keep an eye on the town's four elementary schools.

"The threats I received are in no way meant to harm any of our children," Collins said.

The board apologized Wednesday for its timing and the way the ban was communicated to parents. Board members promised improved communication going forward.

<![CDATA[Buzz Kill? Fireball Whiskey Recalled in Europe]]> Fri, 31 Oct 2014 10:26:35 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/fireball+image.jpg

When the wedding video featuring a Go-Pro camera and a bottle of Fireball Cinnamon Whisky went viral this week, it only added to the buzz surrounding the enormously popular liquor. With a market share of $61 million last year, the product zoomed past other popular beverages in a very short timeframe.

But news out of Europe may throw a little water on the Fireball party: The product is now recalled in Finland, Sweden and Norway over concerns in the amount of an ingredient that's allowed in certain amounts in the U.S., but is more strictly regulated in Europe.

Propylene glycol, a chemical used in a wide range of products including several foods, drinks, cosmetics, and anti-freeze and de-icing solutions, was found in higher amounts in the whiskey than is permitted by the European Union and Norway.

The beverage owners say it was an “oops” of sorts, stating the bottles were mistakenly shipped to Europe instead of the U.S. The company said it uses a different recipe for bottles shipped to Europe than it does for bottles in North America.

The news prompted some questions about the differing amounts in the company’s U.S. and European versions.

Propylene glycol is considered by the Food and Drug Administration to be a GRAS substance, which stands for “generally recognized as safe.”

NBC5 Investigates has covered questions on the ingredient before, previously finding the chemical in popular water enhancers like Mio, in amounts doctors said were likely of little or no concern, unless ingested in copious quantities.

The owner of Fireball released a statement Wednesday:

Fireball Cinnamon Whisky assures its consumers that the product is perfectly safe to drink. There is no recall in North America. Fireball fans can continue to enjoy their favorite product as they always have.  Late last week Sazerac, the makers of Fireball, was contacted by its European bottler regarding a small recipe-related compliance issue in Finland.

Regulations for product formulation are different in Europe, which explains why recipes for products like soft drinks, alcohol/spirits and even candies and confections are slightly different than their North American counterparts. Fireball, therefore, has a slightly different recipe for Europe.

Unfortunately, Fireball shipped its North American formula to Europe and found that one ingredient is out of compliance with European regulations. Finland, Sweden and Norway have asked to recall those specific batches, which is what the brand is doing.

Fireball anticipates the product being back on shelves for fans in these countries within three weeks.

The company said there would be no recall in the United States, noting they only use 1/8 the amount of propylene glycol the FDA allows in the U.S. They would not comment on how much of the chemical is used in the European product, only confirming they adhere to the stricter guidelines.

<![CDATA[Frontier to Give Customers $50 Credit]]> Wed, 29 Oct 2014 23:39:46 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/frontier+communications.JPG

After receiving complaints from customers who were switched from AT&T Connecticut to Frontier Communications this week, the company says it will issue $50 credits to all FrontierTV Powered by U-Verse customers.

The switchover began on Saturday and almost immediately, some customers complained about internet and phone service, as well as problems with accessing high definition and standard definition channels, including NFL Redzone and Cartooon Network.

The company has been posting updates on its Facebook page.

"We are aware that customers are continuing to see pixelation and audio issues. Our engineers are reconvening to look into the issue and we will provide status updates here as soon as they are available," the company posted on its Facebook page on Wednesday morning.

Frontier announced the credit Wednesday night.

"Connecticut: You spoke, we listened. Because some of our FrontierTV Powered by U-verse customers have experienced service interruptions, ALL [FrontierTV Powered by U-verse] customers will automatically receive a $50 billing credit by year-end. You do NOT need to contact us to receive this credit. Customers who experienced any substantial broadband disruption will receive a bill credit for the time without service," a Facebook post said.

The company 99 percent of customers experienced no service interuptions during the switchover, and for those who did, the problems are being addressed as quickly as possible.

<![CDATA[Man Frames Ex-Roommate in Fake Threat to Obama]]> Thu, 30 Oct 2014 07:49:13 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/obama+westchester+aug+28.jpg

A 30-year-old New York man accused of calling in a fake threat on the life of President Barack Obama told investigators he framed his former roommate, a New Haven resident, because he didn’t approve of the man’s romantic relationship and wanted to get him in trouble, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Prosecutors said Juan Medina, of Yonkers, used a prepaid cellphone to call police during Obama’s trip to Westchester County for a fundraiser Aug. 29.

Medina identified himself as “Hassan” and said his former roommate, who lives in New Haven, was traveling to New York to shoot the president with an AK-47, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Authorities said Medina gave police his roommate’s name and address in New Haven, along with a description of the man’s car. Secret Service agents flocked to the neighborhood and searched surrounding towns to track him down. Hamden police spotted the man’s car in a city parking lot and found him at a home nearby.

A searched turned up no evidence to corroborate the threat and prosecutors said the man was surprised to learn the Secret Service was looking for him.

He directed agents to Medina, who admitted to making the call because he didn’t approve of his former roommate’s relationship and wanted to get him in trouble, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Medina faces federal charges and could face up to five years in prison if convicted. He was released on a $25,000 bond.

<![CDATA[New Jersey Governor to Make 5th Trip to Connecticut]]> Wed, 29 Oct 2014 21:43:07 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/christie+foley.jpg

Just days after New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's fourth trip to Connecticut to stump for GOP gubernatorial candidate Tom Foley, the Republican Governors Assocation has announced that Christie will make a fifth and final trip to the state the day before the polls open.

Christie will travel to Windsor Locks on Monday, Nov. 3 to attend a rally for Foley, according to the Republican Governors Association. The two will meet at 5:15 p.m. at Bobby V's Restaurant and Bar on Schoephoester Road.

It's the New Jersey governor's fifth and final appearance alongside Foley in the days leading up to the election.

Christie appeared alongside Foley at a rally in Groton on Tuesday and has previously appeared alongside the Republican candidate in Stamford and Greenwich.

Foley hopes to unseat incumbent Gov. Dan Malloy in next Tuesday's election. The latest Quinnipiac Poll released Wednesday shows the two in a dead heat, each drawing 43 percent of the vote, with unaffiliated candidate Joe Visconti pulling

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[East Lyme Elementary Student Diagnosed With Viral Meningitis]]> Wed, 29 Oct 2014 19:28:06 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/niantic+center+school+2.JPG

The school superintendent in East Lyme is alerting parents after an elementary school student was diagnosed with viral meningitis.

Superintendent Dr. Jim Lombardo said the student went home sick from Niantic Center School last week and that the student's parents informed him of the diagnosis Tuesday night.

Lombardo notified Niantic Center School parents and sent them information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Although the CDC says most cases of viral meningitis are caused by enteroviruses, Lombardo said the illness is typical among children and that it's "very treatable."

"The East Lyme Public Schools' medical advisor, Dr. Vijay Sikand, has informed us that these types of viruses are not uncommon, and that the school does not need to take any additional steps beyond our normal protocols of contacting parents if and when a child becomes ill at school," Lombardo wrote in the letter to parents Wednesday.

The child is out of school and receiving treatment.

Lombardo said he wants to keep parents informed but emphasized that there is no cause for alarm.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Burglar Bails Out Window to Elude Police: Cops]]> Wed, 29 Oct 2014 17:50:14 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/stephen+tsolis.jpg

Police have arrested the 26-year-old man accused of breaking into a home in the Taftville section of Norwich and jumping from a side window when officers surrounded the house.

According to police, Stephen Tsolis, of West Warwick, Rhode Island, broke into a house on Maennerchor Avenue around 11 a.m. Wednesday and stole jewelry, cash, coins and prescription medications, among other items.

A neighbor called police after noticing a suspicious person on the property and hearing glass break while the residents were away, according to police.

Tsolis was taken into custody outside the home and charged with third-degree burglary, fifth-degree larceny and second-degree criminal mischief.

He was held on $25,000 bond and is due in court Oct. 30.

Photo Credit: Norwich Police Department]]>
<![CDATA[City of Derby to Launch TV Infomercial]]> Wed, 29 Oct 2014 17:38:25 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/derby+connecticut.JPG

You never know what you'll see on infomercials, but the government in Derby hopes you'll see the state's smallest city and consider moving or working there.

Derby is buying five minutes of promotion time on television for $19,800. Mayor Dr. Anita Dugatto calls the infomercial, which is produced by Communities of Distinction, "a marketing tool."

Residents are divided on the issue.

"I don't think it's worth it," said Derby resident Ralph Drobnak. "In Derby, there are a few shopping centers, but there's really nothing for the people to be drawn to."

Just across the town line in Orange, Al Robles has a different perspective.

"Any advertising is good. It shows they're interested in making it better," Robles said.

One man who spent his teenage years in Derby, then moved across the Housatonic to Shelton said Derby has more to offer than people might realize.

"It's very small. It's not on the map," said David Atkins. "So a lot of people don't know about Derby, so when they come out here they get to see what it's like."

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Anniversary of Superstorm Sandy, October Snowstorm]]> Wed, 29 Oct 2014 18:22:27 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/penfield+pavilion.jpg

Wednesday marks the anniversary of two major storms that hit Connecticut and left behind a trail of damage from which the state is still rebounding.

It's been two years since Superstorm Sandy ravaged the Connecticut coast and three years since the October snowstorm knocked out power to most of the state for days on end.

East Haven resident Billy Porto said Sandy left his neighborhood permanently changed.

"It's different. People have raised the houses, but it's like the neighborhood is quiet. It was more active," explained Porto, who moved down the street after Sandy knocked his home off its foundation.

Houses along Fairfield Beach are still in the process of being raised and the process to rebuild is slow after the storm destroyed homes in the neighborhood.

"It's still kind of a mess, but compared to what it was right after Sandy, it's a tremendous improvement," said Fairfield resident Tim Hapgood.

“Our state continues to recover but there’s more work to do. In the months that have passed since Super Storm Sandy, Tropical Storm Irene, and the October Nor’easter of 2011, we have taken steps to make sure our state can weather the effects of climate change," Gov. Dan Malloy said in a statement on Wednesday.

"We’ve created the nation’s first microgrid program, providing town centers with the capability of sustaining power during large-scale outages. We’re holding utility companies accountable by imposing penalties on them if they don’t take proper precautions or if they don’t restore service in a timely manner," Malloy said.

The state also established Shore Up CT to help shoreline residents protect their homes from storms and flooding and has also preserved open space along the shoreline "as a coastal buffer against storm waters," according to Malloy.

"Sandy was important to us because we have never seen that kind of storm surge that Sandy had produced," explained New Haven Emergency Management Deputy Director Rick Fontana. "We now have new mapping that's been put into place, so our evacuation areas are going to be a little more identified."

How did the storms affect you and your family? Tell the comments and send your photos from the historic storms to shareit@nbcconnecticut.com.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Treasurer Candidates Trade Jabs in Only Debate of Election]]> Thu, 30 Oct 2014 00:27:43 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/nappier+herbst+treasurer+debate.jpg

Tempers flared at the only debate between the four-term Democratic state treasurer and her Republican challenger, who each accused the other of making false claims and lying to the public.

Incumbent Treasurer Denise Nappier squared off Wednesday night against GOP candidate and Trumbull First Selectman Tim Herbst at the NBC Connecticut studios Wednesday night.

"My job is all about the money, about maximizing investment return while minimizing risk. It's about reducing the cost of government," Nappier explained at the beginning of the debate, when asked why voters should care about this race. "Every dollar saved by the treasurer's office is a dollar the state does not have to collect from taxpayers."

Herbst brought up the question of retirement savings and said Standard & Poors has rated Connecticut as having the "second most underfunded pension fund in the country." He added that the state has also been ranked in the bottom 50th percentile of return on investments.

"Here in Connecticut, we have an obligation to honor the commitments we've made to our retirees while at the same time reducing the burden to the taxpayer," Herbst said. "We're clearly not performing where we should be."

Nappier defended her record and said her administration has "done that well," citing the more than $19 billion generated since she took office in 1999.

"We are now at an all-time high. The market value of our assets is $30 billion; that is the largest ever in history," she said. Nappier added that "the treasurer can only invest what she receives" and that Herbst has been blaming her for things beyond her control.

It wasn't long before the debate got personal.

"Tim likes to repeat untruths. But it doesn't make it true. The fact remains that he wants to blame me for things that I have nothing to do with whatsoever," Nappier explained. "To the extent that I have had those funds and could invest them, we’re doing extremely well."

Herbst challenged that statement, alleging that the pension fund was stable Nappier took office and has declined over the years during her administration.

"We're not getting it done and the proof is in the numbers," Herbst said. "This treasurer has not met her own benchmarks and when you're not meeting your own benchmarks, we have a problem. .. Independent economists, financial experts have said we are sitting on a ticking time bomb."

The incumbent said she has met those benchmarks and reiterated the claim that Herbst is blaming her for things that aren't her fault.

Nappier said her administration has saved taxpayers $944 million in city-issued bonds and that the pension fund for the 2014 fiscal year experienced a net increase of $3 billion.

"Our system of pension fund governance is sound," she said. "Those things that I do command, we are doing well, and the reason why he likes to steer the conversation to things that I have no control over is because he knows that we are performing extremely well."

When asked about government transparency, Nappier emphasized the importance of being honest with the public but said she would "absolutely not" sign a petition against a law that makes it harder for the public to access government information. Herbst has already signed that petition.

The candidates' heated exchange lasted beyond the 25 minutes allowed in the debate. The contenders continued their policy disagreements after the cameras stopped rolling.

The two had previously scheduled a debate, but Nappier canceled her appearance due to what her campaign said were personal reasons.

This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story on our mobile site.]]>
<![CDATA[Groton Seafood Staple is Shutting its Doors]]> Wed, 29 Oct 2014 17:34:24 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/grossmans+seafood.jpg

Its been around as long as anyone can remember, but now Grossman's Seafood in Groton is closing.

"I think its terrible. They've been here a long time," said Faye White, one of many long-time customers disappointed by the news.

Grossman's general manager confirmed that the Mystic location was already closed and the outlet on Gold Star Highway would be closed by the week's end.

Barbara Swec has been coming to Grossman's from New London for years.

"It's always worth the trip across the bridge," she said.

Ellen Fossum, who said she counts on Grossman's cod cakes, is now counting on the closure being temporary.

"Everyone's going to miss them and wants them to reopen for sure," Fossum said.

Grossman's longtime owner died in 2012 but the general manager, his son-in-law, would not comment on any plans for the future.

In the meantime, loyal customers will have to find another place to buy their seafood.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[West Haven High School Students to Work the Polls]]> Wed, 29 Oct 2014 16:56:46 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/west+haven+political+volunteers.jpg

Most students in West Haven will stay home from school on Election Day, but for 48 high schoolers, it's a class day.

Students taking Advanced Placement Government and Politics are required to volunteer with a political campaign and work at least two hours when the polls open.

"Doing lit drops, canvassing, making phone calls, doing stuff at headquarters, boiler room activities – that's American politics," said Mark Consorte, who has taught the class since 1997.

When Consorte began teaching, campaign offices would feature banks of telephones. Now a volunteer at the Democratic headquarters in West Haven, student Destiny Halapin uses her own smartphone to make calls.

"It's a lot of talking to the people and trying to be like, 'What are your views here?'" she explained.

Another student, Kendall Griffiths, has worked closely with a Republican candidate for the state legislature in Orange, logging data from the most recent canvassing on a laptop.

"Honestly, even if it wasn't required, I probably would have come out," Griffiths said. "It's just something that I like to do.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Teen Brings 2 BB Guns to Eli Whitney Tech in Hamden]]> Wed, 29 Oct 2014 18:32:02 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/eli+whitney+tech.jpg

State police responded to the Eli Whitney Technical School early Tuesday afternoon after a 17-year-old student brought two BB guns to school, according to a spokesperson for the department.

Police arrived at the school around 12:30 p.m. to investigate. The teen was taken into custody and charged with possession of a weapon on school grounds.

State police said someone else at school reported the gun and that the arrested student did not make any overt threats.

Although other students said rumors were circulating that the boy who was arrested also had a knife, but police dispelled those rumors.

A spokesperson for the state Department of Education could not comment on specifics but said all students were safe.