<![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 Sat, 28 Feb 2015 01:52:47 -0500 Sat, 28 Feb 2015 01:52:47 -0500 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Crews Respond to House Fire in Vernon]]> Fri, 27 Feb 2015 23:28:29 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/SD-Fire-Engine-Generic.jpg

Emergency crews are responding to a house fire at 6 Davis Avenue in Vernon, according to emergency dispatchers.

Dispatchers said authorities received a report of smoke coming from the house.

Firefighters were just arriving on scene around 10:30 p.m.

No additional information was immediately available.

Check back for updates.

Photo Credit: Monica Garske]]>
<![CDATA[54-Year-Old Man Hit by Car While Crossing Street in Seymour]]> Fri, 27 Feb 2015 22:32:01 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/seymour+pedestrian+ax.jpg

A 54-year-old man was seriously hurt when he was struck by a car while crossing the street in Seymour on Friday evening, according to police.

Police said the man was walking westbound on New Haven Road/Route 67 around 6:45 p.m., pushing a grocery carriage he often uses to help carry his personal belongings.

He began crossing the street by the Webster Bank at 15 New Haven Road when he was struck by a car driving eastbound, according to police.

The man was rushed to Yale-New Haven Hospital for treatment of serious injuries. The driver, a 63-year-old Seymour resident, was shaken up but not hurt, police said.

Part of New Haven Road was closed to traffic while police responded to the scene.

Investigators are working to determine whether poor lighting conditions, snow and ice or the victim's clothing played a part in the crash.

Anyone with information is urged to call Seymour police at 203-881-7600.

Photo Credit: Seymour Police Department]]>
<![CDATA[Silver Alert Canceled for 91-Year-Old From Trumbull]]> Fri, 27 Feb 2015 23:19:32 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/donald+murray+missing.jpg

Police have canceled a Silver Alert issued Friday night for a 91-year-old man from Trumbull.

Donald Murray, 91, was reported missing Friday. Police said he may have been driving a blue 2008 Lincoln Continental with Connecticut license plates MAXM.

He stands 5 feet 7 inches tall and weighs 160 pounds. Murray has white hair and blue eyes.

The Silver Alert was canceled Friday night.

No additional information was immediately available.

Photo Credit: Connecticut State Police]]>
<![CDATA[Wolcott Man Outfits Igloo With Wood Stove and Bar]]> Fri, 27 Feb 2015 21:44:12 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/igloo+wood+stove+crop.jpg

When winter just won't let up, there's only one thing to do – build an igloo.

If you're Wolcott resident James Waugh, you make it 6 feet tall, string holiday lights, set up a wood stove and carve out a bar.

"When I said some people never grow up... he told me better than sitting on [the] sofa," said his sister, Katie Waugh, who over some photos.

We have to admit, we're impressed.

And with more snow in the forecast, it looks like James' igloo is going nowhere fast.

Send your winter weather photos to shareit@nbcconnecticut.com.

Photo Credit: James Waugh]]>
<![CDATA[Wesleyan Student Will Survive OD "Against All Odds": Family]]> Fri, 27 Feb 2015 20:17:29 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/WESLEYAN02232015.jpg

A Wesleyan University student who remains hospitalized nearly a week after overdosing on MDMA, or "Molly," is slowly recovering, according to a statement from family members.

"It is difficult to put into words how deeply grateful we are for the generous outpouring of love and support that we have received over the last few days," the student's family said in a statement Friday. "We are profoundly grateful to the teams at Hartford Hospital that went above and beyond to save our child's life. Thankfully, against all odds, our child will survive this terrible ordeal."

The student, who has not been publicly identified, was critically injured after overdosing last weekend and remains at Hartford Hospital.

"We would also like to express our deepest gratitude to the Wesleyan community — the administrators, faculty, and students — for their concern and support. And we are thankful as well for the expert work of the Middletown Police Department," the family added.

Ten of the student's peers also received medical treatment. After being rushed to Middlesex Hospital on Sunday, two were airlifted to Hartford Hospital and two more were transferred by ambulance, officials said.

Only one student is still in the hospital.

Four of their peers were arrested on drug charges earlier this week, accused of selling the MDMA that sickened them.

Eric Lonergan, 21; Andrew Olson, 20; Zachary Kramer, 21; and Rama Agha Al Nakib, 20, were immediately suspended from the school.

Olson is the founder and co-president of Students for Sensible Drug Policy at Wesleyan. According to the warrants for their arrest, Kramer, Lonergan and Nabik are known as drug dealers among their peers.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[West Hartford Smash-and-Grab Part of 6-State Robbery Spree]]> Fri, 27 Feb 2015 23:32:58 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Lux+Bond+and+Green+west+hart+1200.jpg

Six people are facing federal charges after stealing Rolex watches worth $250,000 from the Lux Bond & Green store in West Hartford, and authorities have linked them to a group of thieves behind jewelry store heists in at least five other states.

Michigan residents Ernie Thomas Evans, 25, Darrick Adams, 29, Brandon Mayes, 20, Bria Jackson, 22, Shaquita Wyatt, 24, and Bria Stanford, 21, were arrested Thursday.

Police said they smashed display cases and stole $250,000 in Rolex watches from the Lux Bond & Green store at 46 LaSalle Road in West Hartford on Oct. 8 of last year.

According to West Hartford police, the suspects returned to Michigan with the stolen merchandise and sold it on the black market.

All six have been charged with conspiracy to interfere with commerce by robbery and will be prosecuted in federal court in Michigan.

According to the FBI, the group is tied to a network of thieves – all Michigan residents in their 20s – believed to have carried out similar robberies in New York, Maryland, North Carolina, Mississippi and Nebraska.

Group members traveled across the country, entered jewelry stores during business hours and used sledge hammers to smash glass cases, according to the FBI. They stole Rolex watches and escaped in getaway cars that brought them back to Michigan.

The FBI said Thursday's arrests come as part of an investigation into 40 smash-and-grab robberies that occurred around the country in 2014.

A $45,000 reward is being offered in exchange for information leading to the arrests of the other 11 robbers who have been identified by name.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[The Dress Debate: It's All About Perception]]> Fri, 27 Feb 2015 18:43:09 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/the-dress-B-1l26HXAAEJ48-.jpg

Whether you are gung-ho "white and gold" or a big believer in "blue and black," there is no question the great dress debate is dividing homes and offices across America.

Wallingford Eye Associates is no exception.

With his employees are dealing with quite the color conundrum, Dr. Thomas Conrod believes it all has to do with our visual perception.

“Our eyes just receive the images, but our brain processes the information, and sometimes our brain uses addition information, background information, to affect what we see,” said Conrod.

According to Conrod, the varying visuals are less about the dress and more about everything around it, from the background to the lighting and, in this particular picture, even the jacket.

“People perceive the amount of lighting on the dress to be different, so your visual cortex says ‘Well, there is more lighting in that room,’ so the color our eyes is actually seeing is affected by the information our brain is putting in as well,” Conrod said.

Conrod explained that an individual's visual perception can actually change, which is perhaps why some people just can't commit.

“I think each time I look at it, it looks different to me,” said Cheshire resident Jennie Flavell.

The company that designed the dress says it's made in blue and black.

But a picture is worth a thousand words and when it comes to this one, people clearly are not done talking.

<![CDATA[Animal Cruelty Charges Filed After Goats Found Dead, Emaciated]]> Fri, 27 Feb 2015 18:17:18 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/CORNWALL+GOATS+NIANTIC.jpg

Two residents of West Suffield are facing animal cruelty charges after more than 30 goats were found dead last month and dozens more were malnourished, according to the state Department of Agriculture.

Farm owners Tara Bryson, 40, and Michael Hearl, 43, of West Suffield, are each facing 63 counts of animal cruelty.

Officials said more than 30 goats were found emaciated at Butterfield Farm on Hautboy Hill Road in Cornwall on Jan. 16. The other half of the herd was already dead.

The Department of Agriculture seized the malnourished goats and brought them to an animal rehabilitation facility in Niantic.

Bryson and Hearl are accused of failing to provide proper food, water and shelter to their herd of goats.

State officials said "the inadequate care left the goats unable to maintain a healthy body weight needed for growth and maintenance" and also took a toll on their "ability to handle cold weather, resist parasites and disease and deal with other stressful conditions such as pregnancy."

Bryson was arrested Thursday in West Suffield and was released after posting $60,000 bond. Hearl turned himself in to Suffield police on Friday, according to the state Department of Agriculture.

Bryson and Hearl could each face up to 63 years in prison and be ordered to pay a $63,000 fine.

Photo Credit: Steve Jensen/State Dept. of Agriculture ]]>
<![CDATA[Water Main Leak Reported in West Hartford]]> Fri, 27 Feb 2015 20:37:09 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/water+main+leak+roberts+lane+crop.jpg

Crews are responding to the report of a water main leak in the area of 35 Roberts Lane in West Hartford.

Officials with the Metropolitan District Commission said a 6-inch water main sprang a leak Friday evening.

It's not yet clear how many homes may have been affected.

No additional information was immediately available.

Check back for updates on this developing story.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Missing 82-Year-Old Found Safe in Wisconsin]]> Fri, 27 Feb 2015 20:27:43 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/john+line+danbury.jpg

An 82-year-old New York man who went missing from Danbury on Feb. 23 has been found safe in Wisconsin, according to police.

State police said John Line rented a gray 2014 Mazda with Connecticut license plates 3AMDN1 to travel to his home in Fairport, New York.

He never made it to New York and was found in Wisconsin on Friday night, according to Danbury police. It's not clear what he was doing there, but police said he was not hurt.

Photo Credit: Connecticut State Police]]>
<![CDATA[Body of German Shepherd Found in North Stonington]]> Fri, 27 Feb 2015 23:32:37 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/north+stonington+dog+body.jpg

Police are investigating after the body of a German Shepherd was found near a lake in North Stonington, according to town officials.

First Selectman Nicholas Mullane said the dog was spotted Thursday afternoon near a lake on Wyassup Road.

Mullane said it's not clear if the animal was a stray or if the body was intentionally placed on a snowbank, but a delivery worker who spotted the dog said fresh tire marks led directly to the body.

"It was fresh marks yesterday morning at the time, and there was [sic] no footprints," said Mike Rabbitt, a courier who has worked the route for a dozen years.

Rabbitt said he called town officials right away.

"This is a spot where buses turn around, and I don't want kids to see, middle of the day, the bus turns around and they see the dog on there," he said.

State police said they were notified around noon Thursday and contacted animal control to remove the dog's body.

It's not clear what killed the dog. Mullane said the animal shows no signs of abuse and does not appear to have been very old when it died.

"We're shipping it off to the state lab to determine cause of death," he explained. "Whatever happened, whether somebody hit it and moved it off to the side, or whether it just passed away and they left it there, dumped it – we don't know."

No witnesses have come forward and no one has claimed ownership of the dog. Officials are working to track down the dog's owner but the investigation has proven difficult due to the lack of a collar and microchip, according to Mullane.

"Hopefully there's not a dog owner out there that doesn't know where their dog is or what happened to it," said Rabbitt.

Anyone with information is urged to call the North Stonington Town Hall or contact State Police Troop E at 860-848-6500.

Photo Credit: Kayleigh Maine]]>
<![CDATA[Craft Beer Shop Opens in West Hartford]]> Fri, 27 Feb 2015 15:44:24 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/craft-beer-brewery-generic.jpg

Craft beer aficionados can head to West Hartford this weekend for the grand opening of a store dedicated to quality brew.

On Saturday, Feb. the first Craft Beer Cellar will open in the state of Connecticut and beer lovers will have a wide variety of beer to select from and a knowledgeable staff to pose questions to.

Craft Beer Cellar is located at 1026 Boulevard in West Hartford. The grand opening begins at 10 a.m.

<![CDATA[18-Year-Old Student Arrested in Hamden School Bomb Threat]]> Fri, 27 Feb 2015 17:03:01 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/hamden+high+silva+mug.jpg

An 18-year-old student is facing charges after calling in a bomb threat to Hamden High School on Friday morning, prompting a two-hour evacuation of the school, according to police.

Police said Dyshawn Silva, 18, of Hamden, placed the threatening call around 8:30 a.m. Friday from a second-floor bathroom at the high school.

"There's a bomb at Hamden High School," he allegedly told police.

Students were evacuated to the nearby Louis Astorino Ice Arena for about two hours while authorities responded and searched the property.

Investigators found a piece of the cellphone used to place the call in the second-floor bathroom. They traced the phone back to Silva with the help of Hamden High School Security, according to police.

Authorities did not find any explosives, and students were allowed back in the building after about two hours, police said.

About three hours later, the Whitney High North school on Skiff Street in Hamden also received a bomb threat, according to police. No threat was found and students went back inside after a half-hour evacuation.

It's not clear if Silva is also tied to the second threat.

He has been charged with first-degree threatening, second-degree breach of peace and falsely reporting an incident in connection with the threat at Hamden High. Silva is being held on $5,000 bond at Hamden Police Headquarters.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com/Hamden Police Department]]>
<![CDATA[Willimantic Man Arrested on Drugs, Gun Charges]]> Fri, 27 Feb 2015 17:06:33 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Kenneth+Rodriguez+Sr.+1200.jpg

Willimantic police arrested a 41-year-old local man on drugs and weapons charges after a drug bust at his home on Friday morning.

Police, armed with a warrant, searched 191 Southridge Drive early Friday morning and arrested the homeowner Kenneth Rodriguez Sr., 41, on a variety of charges, including weapons and narcotics possession. Exactly what police seized and how much is not clear, but authorities said they have been working on the case for a couple of months and called the bust substantial.

Rodriguez was charged with narcotics possession of narcotics, possession of narcotics with intent to sell, operation of a drug factory and criminal possession of a firearm.

Rodriguez is currently being held at Willimantic Police Headquarters on a $250,000 cash or surety bond and is due in Danielson Superior Court on March 2.

Photo Credit: Willimantic Police]]>
<![CDATA["TODAY" Show Surprises West Haven Mom With Trip to Bahamas]]> Fri, 27 Feb 2015 17:19:59 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Aida+Cordero+1200.jpg

One West Haven mom got the surprise of a lifetime on Friday morning, when Dylan Dreyer, of the "TODAY" show, showed up at her doorstep with tickets to paradise.

Aida Cordero, a bus driver, entered "TODAY"’s Hot Ticket contest for a trip to the Bahamas, hoping to escape the 45 inches of snow West Haven has gotten so far this season. The single mother of two said she has always had the vacation days, but has never had the money to use them.

“I really needed this,” Cordero said. “I haven’t been on vacation in five years and I do everything for my kids, everything.”

Cordero and a friend will enjoy three nights in the Bahamas, and she said the first thing she plans to do is put her feet up while enjoying a margarita on the beach.

More than 9,000 people entered the "TODAY" show contest. The first winner was in Buffalo, New York, the second was in Scituate, Massachusetts and Cordero was the third and final winner.

“I’m very emotional and just so appreciate of NBC and the 'TODAY' show,” Cordero said.

However, Cordero was not the only one to be surprised on Friday morning.

The "TODAY" show hosts surprised Dreyer with her own hot ticket too. After being on the road the last 23 days covering snow, they said she has earned it.

“I haven’t even processed it yet,” Dreyer said. “I just cannot wait to not answer my phone about when the next storm is coming and just enjoy every second of this.”

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[3-Alarm Fire Decimates 3 Buildings in Bridgeport]]> Fri, 27 Feb 2015 19:14:18 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Hanover+Street+Bridgeport+fire+1200.jpg

Firefighters rescued three people and one pet from a three-alarm blaze that broke out at a home under construction and quickly decimated three buildings on Hanover Street in Bridgeport, according to a spokesperson for the city.

Flames ignited Friday morning on the second floor of 350 Hanover Street and quickly spread to three adjacent buildings, the fire department said. City officials said 10-12 families lost their homes as a result.

Dominick Carfi, deputy chief of operations for the Bridgeport Fire Department, said the house was undergoing renovations to repair damage from a previous fire two years ago. Firefighters received reports that construction crews were working at the time the fire broke out.

Homes on Hanover Street were built in close proximity, some only 15 feet apart, and fire officials said intense heat caused the houses next door to auto-ignite.

"The source of the fire was in the basement in that home, and it jumped to the house that was just a few feet apart," said Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch.

The home at 350 Hanover Street had already collapsed by the time crews arrived at the scene, city officials said. Footage from the scene shows only the shell of a home remains.

Video from viewer Marcello Scolari shows massive flames shooting from the roofs and heavy smoke rising into the air.

No injuries have been reported. City leaders are praising firefighters for their hard work.

"One of the most important things that the fire department prevented here was this entire block going up," said Finch. "We're lucky it wasn't worse than it was."

Firefighters described the scene as a "labor-intensive fire" and said the presence of overhead wires prevented them from being able to use certain equipment. Snowbanks have also narrowed streets in the area.

Volunteers from the American Red Cross are working to help residents who lost everything. An evacuation center has been set up at the Cesar Batalla School on Howard Avenue, where displaced families can go to get help and stay warm.

The cause of the blaze is under investigation.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com
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<![CDATA[Man Accused of Dragging Officer Released From Hospital]]> Fri, 27 Feb 2015 16:50:42 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Erik+Kuranko+Photo+1200.jpg

A man accused of dragging a New Canaan police officer who was trying to help him on Thursday night has been released from the hospital and will be arraigned in Norwalk Superior Court.

Police said the officer responded to Old Stamford Road in New Canaan around 6:10 p.m., where a man was driving with his headlights off and threatening suicide.

Authorities stopped the car and approached to talk to the driver, who was later identified as 24-year-old Erik Kuranko, but Kuranko would not roll down the window or open the door, police said.

One officer broke the window and reached inside the car to take off Kuranko's seat belt, but the driver hit the gas, launching the car forward, police said. The officer's arm became tangled in the seat belt and he was dragged 35 feet until the car hit a snow bank and stopped.

The officer was taken to Norwalk Hospital for treatment of injuries to his knees, neck and back, police said. He was treated and released from the hospital Thursday night.

Kuranko was also taken to Norwalk Hospital with minor injuries. He was arrested and charged with assault on a police officer, interfering with police, carrying a weapon in a motor vehicle and reckless driving.

Kuranko is being held on $15,000 bond and will be arraigned today.

<![CDATA[Water Main Break in Rocky Hill]]> Fri, 27 Feb 2015 12:50:30 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Rocky+Hill+water+main+break.png

Police responded to a water main break on Woodland Road in Rocky Hill on Friday morning.

The break is near Dividend Road.

No additional information was available.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Firefighters Respond to Fire in Southington]]> Fri, 27 Feb 2015 12:37:41 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/southington+brush+fire_fixed.jpg

Firefighters are responding to a fire at 455 Atwater Street in Southington.

Officials said there is fire in the ceiling and there are no reports of injuries.

Check back for details.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut]]>
<![CDATA[2 Arrested in 2012 Assault on Trinity Student]]> Fri, 27 Feb 2015 15:07:58 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/trinity+college+generic.jpg

Hartford police have arrested two people tied to the 2012 assault of a Trinity College student who was attacked while walking home from a party near campus.

Pedro Carillo, 20, and Veronica Marquez, 27, both of Hartford, were charged on Thursday with second-degree assault and conspiracy to commit second-degree assault.

At the time of the incident, police said three women and two men jumped Trinity sophomore Chris Kenney while he was walking on the outskirts of campus March 4, 2012. The attack sent him to the hospital with a broken cheekbone and jaw.

"The victim was walking from a party in the early morning hours just off campus. A car drove by, words were exchanged, the female got out, we believe, and struck the male victim," Foley said.

A spokesperson for the college said Kenney has since recovered and graduated.

Although these arrests are the first, police said the case never once went cold.

"Early on in the investigation, we received an anonymous tip from our Crime Stoppers line identifying some of the suspects involved," explained Hartford police spokesman Deputy Chief Brian Foley. "Last week, our detectives were involved in an investigation where they received information from a cooperating witness."

Foley said Trinity has been cooperative and worked closely with police every step of the way. He explained that campus security has advanced over the years and said Trinity is much safer than it was at the time of the incident.

"Our detectives were relentless," said Foley.

In the wake of the incident, Kenney's family offered a $10,000 reward for information leading to the suspects' arrests.

Carillo has six prior arrests in Hartford and is currently in custody on unrelated charges, according to police.

Marquez has nine previous arrests in Hartford. She appeared in court on Friday, where the judge ordered her held on $250,000 bond.

She was ordered to have no contact with her codefendants and to stay away from Trinity. 

Marquez does not have criminal record in Connecticut, but has prior arrests in Ohio, officials said. 

She is due back in court on March 19.

<![CDATA[Missing 9-Year-Old West Haven Boy Found Safe]]> Fri, 27 Feb 2015 13:29:04 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/west+haven+police+station+generic.jpg

A 9-year-old West Haven boy who was reported missing on Friday morning has been found and he's safe, according to police.

Police issued a Silver Alert for Idun Obeng-Dapph this monring and said this afternoon that he was found near his home.

<![CDATA[Intruder Busted When Homeowner Gives Him Wrong Keys]]> Fri, 27 Feb 2015 16:50:21 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/rashonne+anderson.jpg

A West Haven man who stole a car and used it to rob a Dollar Tree in East Haven, then broke into a North Haven home and tried to steal a second car was arrested after a homeowner gave him the wrong set of keys, according to police.

Police said Rashonne Anderson, 32, of West Haven, stole a blue Pontiac Montana and drove it to the Dollar Tree at 32 Frontage Road in East Haven the night of Feb. 26.

He implied he had a gun and ordered the employees to the ground. Anderson took money from the cash register and left in the stolen Pontiac, according to police. The employees were shaken up but not physically hurt.

Police spotted the stolen Pontiac driving northbound on Maple Avenue in East Haven shortly after 10 p.m. When they tried to pull Anderson over, he led them on a chase that ended when he crashed into a snow bank, police said.

Anderson got out the passenger door and ran through the backyard of a home nearby. He forced his way inside a house on Maple Avenue and demanded keys to the resident's car, according to police.

A resident told police she was in her bedroom when she heard Anderson banging on her door. She got up and found him in her living room.

"All I want is your keys," he told her, according to police.

She directed him to her purse and he grabbed a set of keys. It turned out to be the wrong set, and Anderson couldn't get into the Toyota parked outside, police said.

With no access to a car, Anderson again ran. Officers chased him into the yard of a home on Laydon Avenue, where they arrested him, according to police.

He was charged with home invasion, first-degree burglary, reckless endangerment, interfering with police, second-degree criminal mischief, third-degree larceny, sixth-degree larceny, third-degree criminal attempt to commit larceny, engaging in a pursuit and other motor vehicle charges.

Anderson was held on a $250,000 bond and faced a judge in Meriden Superior Court on Friday.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Route 8 South Closed After Crash in Naugatuck]]> Fri, 27 Feb 2015 10:45:32 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Route+8+in+Naugatuck+1200.jpg

Route 8 South in Naugatuck is closed near exit 29 after a truck went down an embankment.

Traffic is intermittently being allowed by.

<![CDATA[Testimony: Hernandez Texts Missing]]> Fri, 27 Feb 2015 21:55:35 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/214*120/Hernandez+0218.jpg

Aaron Hernandez watched in court Friday as his phone records were shown for all to see.

Ricardo Leal, an official with Sprint, hashed through the complicated details for hours.

At the end of the day, even Hernandez was laughing, as things got tense between Leal and his attorney.

Also Friday, jurors caught an inside look at text messages Hernandez sent to his alleged "right hand man," Ernest "Bo" Wallace of Bristol, Connecticut.

Just hours before Odin Lloyd was killed, Hernandez frantically texted Wallace, "Get ur [expletive] up here," and "Hurry ur [expletive] up [expletive]."

Earlier in the day, before Hernandez allegedly drank and smoked pot at a Providence, Rhode Island, bar, he sent a message to Wallace, presumably about his fiancee Shayanna Jenkins.

"All yall trying to step tonight my girl getting on my nerves," read the text. "Waddup Hey jus don't be too late my [expletive] please cuz with trying to b stuck wit her all day an nite."

A mystery also unveiled Friday, as Hernandez, according to phone records, appeared to have deleted two texts he sent to Wallace on June 15, one day after Hernandez went clubbing with Lloyd and one day before Lloyd was killed.

Just days before Lloyd was killed, Hernandez allegedly made a reference to gun clips, texting Wallace, "U grab everything out of the car...clips and cds and everything?"

Wallace replied, "Yes, sir."

In another text days before Lloyd was killed, Hernandez seemed to apologize to Wallace, texting him, "Love u [expletive] I wanted to kill u but u know I love u hit me tomorrow get some rest and tell the rest I love them."

Wallace wrote, " K. One love. My bad today."

Later in the day, Hernandez's defense team filed a motion to stop prosecutors from showing a gun to jurors. While the prosecution alleges the defendant was seen in surveillance footage holding a Glock .45, which they say was the murder weapon, the gun itself was never found.

Hernandez's attorneys argue that an upcoming witness may infer to jurors that the suspect was holding the murder weapon in the video.

Judge Susan Garsh has not yet made a decision on the matter.

Photo Credit: necn]]>
<![CDATA[Would-Be Car Thief Couldn’t Drive Standard: Police]]> Fri, 27 Feb 2015 11:41:57 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Troy+Matthews+1200.jpg

A suspected would-be car thief was busted when he ran off because he could not drive a standard, according to police.

Police responded to Sam’s Food Mart on Campbell Avenue in West Haven around 11 p.m. on Wednesday to investigate a report of a car theft in progress.

When police arrived at the shop, they obtained a description of a man who’d tried to leave in a customer’s car, but he apparently couldn’t drive a standard and ran off, police said.

Officers found Troy Matthews, 25, of West Haven, in the back parking lot of a Campbell Avenue office building, but he ran as police approached.

After a brief foot chase, Matthews was arrested and charged with larceny and interfering with police.

It was the second time he was arrested under suspicion of stealing a car this month. He was also arrested and charged on Feb. 4.

Photo Credit: West Haven Police]]>
<![CDATA[Record Cold Likely, Snow Moving in Sunday]]> Fri, 27 Feb 2015 23:23:27 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/feb+27+snowmap.jpg

We'll see record cold overnight into Saturday, and snow beginning Sunday evening will bring up to 6 inches to the state.

With just one day left before March arrives, February is on track to become the coldest month on record in Connecticut.

Temperatures will run 15 to 20 degrees below normal on Saturday, with daytime highs around 25 and morning lows near or below 0.

Chief First Alert Meteorologist Brad Field said he expects us to break cold weather records in Bridgeport both Friday and Saturday nights. Right now, the record for this time of year stands at 9 degrees.

We could also break the record of -1 degree at Bradley International Airport.

Snow is expected to start up around dinnertime Sunday and continue through the night. We'll see 3-6 inches of accumulation by Monday morning.

The storm will likely impact the morning commute and lead to some school delays.

Sign up for school closing alerts here.

Send your weather photos to shareit@nbcconnecticut.com.

This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story on our mobile site.]]>
<![CDATA[1 Person Was Trapped Briefly During Hartford Fire]]> Fri, 27 Feb 2015 07:51:25 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/53+Webster+Street+Hartford+1200.jpg

One person was briefly trapped in an apartment when fire broke out at 53 Webster Street in Hartford on Friday morning.

Officials said the fire started in the hallway and was minor.

Firefighters escorted the trapped person out of the building and residents were going to be allowed back into the building this morning.

This was the second apartment fire Hartford firefighters responded to on Friday morning.

One person was hospitalized after fire broke out at an apartment building on Asylum Avenue in Hartford.


Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Nurse's Aide Hired Prostitute While Working: Cops]]> Fri, 27 Feb 2015 19:14:05 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Richard+Sarpong+Raechelle+Carmona+John+Erdman.jpg

West Hartford police have arrested three people after a certified nursing aide allegedly hired a prostitute to perform sex acts while he was supposed to be caring for an elderly man, police said.

Police started investigating just after 9 p.m. on Thursday when a resident noticed a suspicious vehicle in a driveway on Glenwood Road.

When officers responded, they found John Erdman, 30, of Bethel, who told officers he was picking up “Jessie” from a house that he could not identify, police said.

Investigators didn’t think Erdman’s story made sense and his GPS was programmed for a house a few hundred feet away, so they went to the home and no one answered, police said. 

Then officers noticed Raechelle Carmona, a 26-year-old Cromwell woman, walking toward Erdman’s car.

Her version of the story was that Erdman had given her a ride to see a friend named Johnson, police said.

As officers investigated, they realized there was a warrant for Carmona and Erdman eventually admitted he’d driven her to the area to perform sex acts on a certified nurse’s aide who was working at a home in the area in exchange for part of the proceeds, police said.

Police identified the certified nurse‘s aide as Richard Sarpong, 27, of East Hartford, who was working for Companions & Homemakers and was supposed to be caring for an elderly man, according to a news release from police.

Police contacted the company and they provided a replacement CNA for the evening.

NBC Connecticut reached out to Companions & Homemakers and the corporate attorney issued the following statement.

“The caregiver is a Connecticut CNA in good standing, that received favorable reports from the family he served. The allegations represent an unacceptable mistake in judgment, if proven,”  David Denvir,
counsel for Companions & Homemakers, said.  

Carmona was charged with prostitution and failure to appear. She is being held on a $7,500 bond.

Erdman was charged with third-degree promoting prostitution and is being held on $5,000 bond. He has no criminal record was was ordered held on a $10,000 non-surety bond. He was ordered to stay away from the other suspects and is due back in court on March 26.

Sarpong was charged with patronizing a prostitute and is being held on $2,000 bond.

Photo Credit: West Hartford Police ]]>
<![CDATA[1 Hospitalized After Hartford Fire]]> Fri, 27 Feb 2015 07:04:08 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Fire+on+Asylum+Avenue+in+Hartford+1200.jpg

One person is hospitalized and others are displaced after fire broke out in a second-floor laundry room of an apartment building on Asylum Street in Hartford.

Fire broke out on the second floor of 887 Asylum Ave. early Friday morning and extended to a small portion of the third floor, according to officials.

The fire has been knocked down and one person was taken to the hospital to be evaluated for possible smoke inhalation.

Only a portion of one side of the building is affected, but residents of a few apartments on the second and possibly third floor will be displaced because of smoke and water damage and a city bus arrived to keep them warm.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Officer Dragged While Trying to Help Suicidal Man: Cops]]> Fri, 27 Feb 2015 05:07:26 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/police-lights-generic-0311.jpg

A New Canaan officer was taken to the hospital Thursday night after he was dragged 35 feet while trying to help a driver who was reported to be suicidal, according to police.

Police said the officer responded to Old Stamford Road in New Canaan around 6:10 p.m., where a man was driving with his headlights off and threatening suicide.

Authorities stopped the car and approached to talk to the driver, who was later identified as 24-year-old Erik Kuranko. Police said Kuranko would not roll down the window or open the door.

One officer broke the window. As he was reaching inside the car to take off Kuranko's seat belt, the driver hit the gas, launching the car forward, police said. The officer's arm became tangled in the seat belt and he was dragged 35 feet until the car hit a snow bank and stopped.

The officer was taken to Norwalk Hospital for treatment of injuries to his knees, neck and back, police said. He was treated and released from the hospital Thursday night.

Kuranko was also taken to Norwalk Hospital with minor injuries. He was arrested and charged with assault on a police officer, interfering with police, carrying a weapon in a motor vehicle and reckless driving.

Kuranko is being held on $15,000 bond.

<![CDATA[Police Uncover Tobacco Violations at Bristol Stores]]> Thu, 26 Feb 2015 22:54:57 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Tobacco-Cigarettes-generic.jpg

Bristol police have uncovered tobacco violations – including the sale of individual cigarettes and untaxed cigarettes – at four convenience stores in the city.

Police searched five stores in Bristol on Feb. 26 as part of a routine compliance check. All but one of the five were found in violation of state tobacco regulations, police said.

Investigators searching La Familia Super Deli at 485 Farmington Avenue found untaxed tobacco and cigarettes, along with "loose cigarette sales," according to police. Items were seized and one person was arrested.

Police found untaxed tobacco at the Tropical Market at 152 School Street and Shop & Save at 143 Divinity Street. Tobacco was seized from both stores and one person was arrested in connection with the Tropical Market search, according to police.

Loose cigarette sales were found at Bristol Brothers at 1 Divinity Street, police said. Nothing was confiscated and no charges were filed.

Discount Tobacco at 123 Farmington Avenue was found to be in full compliance.

<![CDATA[Winter Takes Major Toll on Seafood Industry]]> Thu, 26 Feb 2015 22:47:00 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/214*120/milford+marina+frozen+edit.jpg

Commercial fishermen in Connecticut say this is the worst winter for the state's shellfish industry in at least 35 years.

Cold temperatures have caused thick ice to form, locking in boats at many ports.

Larry Williams runs commercial oyster and clam boats out of Milford and said he hasn't seen a winter this bad since at least about 1978.

Williams said the conditions have brought business to a halt.

The effect is felt from the dock to dining tables across the state.

“We can’t even get all the fresh shellfish we normally get. So it’s like a big chunk of what we do is missing,” explained David Borselle, chef and owner of Avert Brasserie in West Hartford.

With mussels, clams and oysters hard to come by, chefs and restaurant goers are left looking for other options.

“I’ve been doing this for 16 years. This is the first time there’s been a major shutdown of all shellfish in the New England, Canada, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia area,” said Borselle.

Shellfish are also in short supply at the Blue Lobster Restaurant in Berlin, and the owner said the price of lobster has skyrocketed too.

“They haven’t been this bad in probably 10 years. They are just very hard to get, you know. They’ve increased about four dollars a pound,” said Blue Lobster owner Gregory Goodrich.

Even if the boats weren't trapped by ice, only part of the problem would be resolved. In these conditions, working on the deck can be difficult, if not downright dangerous.

Ice on the deck is a safety concern, and equipment doesn’t work as well in the frosty environment.Shellfish that are caught could freeze.

Seafood workers are yearning for the days of open water and warmer temperatures.

“Business has slowed a lot because of it. We’re looking for that summer, summer to melt all this snow for sure,” said Goodrich.

Fishermen have asked the Coast Guard for help breaking up the ice near the Milford Lisman Landing Marina.

A cutter is expected back in the area next week.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[February on Track to Become Coldest Month on Record]]> Thu, 26 Feb 2015 19:59:44 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/cold-weather-stock-AP373144186169.jpg

February is on track to become the coldest month on record in Connecticut.

As of midnight Wednesday into Thursday, the average temperature in the Hartford area this month has been 15.7 degrees, according to First Alert Meteorologist Ryan Hanrahan. That’s an entire degree below the current record of 16.5 degrees, which was set in February 1934.

This month is also expected to break the record in Bridgeport, which stands at 21.9 degrees and was set in 2004. The average temperature in the Bridgeport area so far this month is 19.7 degrees.

Other cold months of note include the following:

16.8 degrees in Hartford, January 1970
16.9 degrees in Hartford, January 1961
17.4 degrees in Hartford, January 1918

21.9 degrees in Bridgeport, January 2004
22.1 degrees in Bridgeport, January 1981
23.1 degrees in Bridgeport, January 1982
23.3 degrees in Bridgeport, December 1989

Records date back to 1948 in Bridgeport and 1905 in the Hartford area.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[New Haven a Key Part of Transportation Overhaul]]> Thu, 26 Feb 2015 23:04:00 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/new+haven+transpo+presser.JPG

One of the cornerstones of Gov. Dannel Malloy's transportation proposal is improving infrastructure along the Interstate 95 corridor.

Widening I-95 in both directions from New Haven could transform how people view the city and compare it to others in the region, according to New Haven economic development officials.

“The extra lane going all the way from New Haven to Greenwich to the New York border will change people’s perception of being 70 miles from New York City," said Matt Nemerson, who handles economic development for the city.

Increasing travel speeds and adding a lane could make New Haven closer to suburbs just by improving access.

Nemerson said just getting people through Greenwich and Bridgeport faster would make travel much easier and better for recruiting employers.

"If we can get it down to 45 minutes, it means that the high quality of life and the low cost of real estate means that we can compete with White Plains, with Stamford, and all of those places and all of the businesses that need to be back and forth to Westchester and the downtown New York area," said Nemerson.

Malloy said he wants to replace the electrical system along the Metro-North New Haven Line, adding that the ramp-up of his $100 billion transportation proposal includes a commitment to rail because plans have already been complete.

“We'll continue as fast as we can, the modernization of the Metro-North line. The Walk Bridge (in Norwalk) is paid for," Malloy said.

<![CDATA[State Police Spokesman Lt. Paul Vance Reassigned]]> Thu, 26 Feb 2015 20:47:53 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/186*120/158376114.jpg

State police spokesman Lt. J. Paul Vance, who has served as public information officer for the past 16 years, has been reassigned to the department traffic division, according to a spokesperson for the state Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection.

Law enforcement sources said Vance has been selected to serve as commander of the State Police Traffic Services Division. No replacement has been named.

DESPP spokesman Scott DeVico said the change will happen on or around March 20. He could not give a reason for Vance's reassignment.

Vance has been a state police trooper for more than three decades and served as the department mouthpiece during and after the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Budget Cuts Affect Funding for Maritime Heritage Festival]]> Thu, 26 Feb 2015 18:31:55 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/5pnewlondonstill022615doug00000000.jpg

Plans for the Connecticut Maritime Heritage Festival in New London hit a pothole thanks to tourism cuts outlined in Gov. Malloy's proposed budget, but promoters say they'll approach legislators to get the money they need.

"We're gonna talk some more with them and make sure that our requests stay intact, and get carried through into the final budget," said John Johnson, of OpSail Connecticut.

Johnson said OpSail is raising $255,000 for the September festival and wants $200,000 more from the state government. Without the state's help, he doubts the festival could go on.

But he is confident it will.

"This year, we're after the big schooners, and we've got a 200-foot schooner coming from the state of Rhode Island, the Oliver Hazard Perry," Johnson said. "We've got a 160-foot, brand new ship coming from Florida."

He said there will also be a Chowder Challenge, a proven draw to the New London waterfront.

The festival, Sept. 9-12, is separate from Sailfest, which takes place earlier in the summer in New London. Both are observing the 225th anniversary of the U.S. Coast Guard.

<![CDATA[Fisherman Rescued After Falling Overboard]]> Thu, 26 Feb 2015 18:24:06 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/214*120/new+london+water+rescue.JPG

Freezing cold water in New London harbor just about did in a fisherman who fell in Wednesday evening, but he caught the attention of a man on a boat nearby.

The man was clinging to the piling on the southeast corner of City Pier, said Pat Kennedy, whose brother John coaxed the man off the piling with a "life sling" over to the ladder up to the pier.

"He was in shock so he couldn't get up the ladder," Kennedy said, from the bow of the boat he then brought over, the John F. Kennedy.

"And I grabbed his belt, and my son Paddy too – we lifted him up and put him on the transom," Kennedy said. "We had blankets here and a sleeping bag. We covered him and raced right over to Station New London."

There, the Coast Guard helped get the man to the dock and a waiting ambulance. At the hospital, the man told authorities he had been fishing alone and fell in.

"If you're going to be near the water, operate with someone so you're not alone in case an accident does happen," said Lt. Dan Tavernier, the station commander. "In this case, the victim was fishing off the pier, fell in the water, and nobody even knew he was there."

"That poor guy. I felt so bad because he was moaning," Kennedy recalled. "He was suffering. He could hardly even talk."

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[12 Homes Affected by Middletown Water Main Break]]> Thu, 26 Feb 2015 17:17:26 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/middletown+police+department.JPG

Water service has been shut off to 12 homes in Middletown while crews respond to a water main break on Congdon Street, according to Guy Russo, of Middletown Water & Sewer.

The break was reported late Thursday afternoon. Russo said service should be restored by Friday morning.

Police described the break as minor and said no road closures are in effect.

Check back for updates.

<![CDATA[Icy Gas Meter Prompts House Fire in Westport]]> Thu, 26 Feb 2015 16:08:21 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/SD-Fire-Engine-Generic.jpg

An ice-covered gas meter prompted the boiler to catch fire at a home on Lees Lane in Westport on Thursday morning, according to the fire department.

Firefighters said the homeowner used a fire extinguisher to put out flames on the outside of his boiler around 9:30 a.m. Thursday.

He told the fire department the boiler hadn't been working properly and the burner on his gas stove wasn't igniting fully.

Firefighters turned off the gas meter and noticed the pressure regulator was covered in ice that had formed due to a dripping gutter overhead, according to the fire department.

They ventilated the home to remove any gas or smoke that had escaped into the air and called a fire inspector and gas company worker to the property.

The fire department is reminding homeowners to service their heating equipment every year and call professionals if they suspect a problem with any of their equipment.

Keep gas regulators and outside equipment free of snow and ice, and make sure all carbon monoxide detectors are working properly.

Photo Credit: Monica Garske]]>
<![CDATA[Wethersfield DMV to Reopen Friday]]> Thu, 26 Feb 2015 15:04:18 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/wethersfield+dmv+water+main+break+2.jpg

The Wethersfield Department of Motor Vehicles will reopen on for business as usual on Friday after a water line break flooded part of the building earlier this week, according to DMV spokesman Bill Seymour.

While the branch will be open, delays are expected after being shut down for three days, and the DMV is recommending residents go to offices in Enfield or New Britain or use a AAA office if possible.

Administrative offices in the DMV were evacuated around on 2:45 p.m. Monday after extreme cold caused a break in the water line, sending water into the DMV office at 60 State Street.

Employees were sent home and utility workers cut the power to the facility. The DMV was closed Tuesday and Wednesday while crews continue repairing electrical problems and other issues stemming from the break.

"We are attempting to make sure that the building is both safe and ready to serve customers without any further unexpected shut downs,” DMV Commissioner Andres Ayala Jr. said in a statement on Wednesday. “We also understand that having the office closed has caused inconveniences for many of our customers and we are working as quickly as possible to make repairs.”

Customers are encouraged to check for updates on the DMV website and call 860-26305700 or 800-842-8222 to reschedule road tests.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Hamden Man Robbed at Gunpoint While Shoveling Snow: Cops]]> Thu, 26 Feb 2015 15:53:02 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/malik+hanna.jpg

Police have arrested an 18-year-old linked to the armed robbery of a Hamden resident who was shoveling the stairs to his home.

According to police, a gunman approached a 53-year-old resident of Fairfiew Avenue while the man was shoveling snow on his front steps on Feb. 17.

The suspect pointed a gun at the  man and demanded his belongings. He took the victim's wallet, credit cards and cash before running off, according to police.

Investigators arrested Malik Hanna, 18, on Feb. 25. He was charged with conspiracy to commit first-degree robbery and conspiracy to commit second-degree larceny.

Police have not elaborated on his role in the case.

Hanna is being held on $250,000 bond.

Photo Credit: Hamden Police Department]]>
<![CDATA[1 Student Remains Hospitalized After Wesleyan Molly ODs]]> Thu, 26 Feb 2015 14:43:43 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/hartford+hospital+emergency+room.jpg

Of several Wesleyan University students who were hospitalized after overdosing on MDMA, or "Molly," over the weekend in Middletown, one remains at Hartford Hospital, according to Middletown Police. 

Officials started receiving calls for medical help from the Butterfield and Foss Hill dorms, as well as 200 High Street at 7:30 a.m., 8:21 a.m., 12:26 p.m., 1:21 p.m. and 1:30 p.m. on Sunday, according to Middletown Fire Battalion Chief David Anderson said.

Several students were transported to Middlesex Hospital, then LifeStar transported two students to Hartford Hospital and an ambulance transported two more, according to police. Two of the four students were listed in critical condition and two were listed in serious condition.

As of Thursday afternoon, one student remains at Hartford Hospital. The student's name has not been released and no information has been released on the student's status. Police said they believe the students taken to Middlesex Hospital were released on Monday.

Wesleyan students Eric Lonergan, 21; Andrew Olson, 20; Zachary Kramer, 21; and Rama Agha Al Nakib, 20, were arrested on drug charges Tuesday and immediately suspended from the school pending a formal hearing. Police said none of the students arrested was among those hospitalized. At least three of whom were studying neuroscience.  

Lonergan, Kramer and Nakib appeared in court Wednesday. Olson, founder and co-president of Students for Sensible Drug Policy at Wesleyan, posted bond following his arrest and is due in court next week.

All three students were known to deal drugs among their peers, according to the warrants.

Investigators are also working to identify chemicals included in the MDMA that sickened students on Sunday.

Police have been working to find out how the drug got to campus and believe they've identified the source of the "Molly," which they said is information that could help the ill students recover.  

A spokesperson for the university said Wesleyan is taking steps to keep students both informed and safe.

"The drug ‘Molly’ is widespread and becoming increasingly more prevalent on college campuses nationwide. Following the student hospitalizations in September, Wesleyan's Health Services Department emailed information to all students warning about the dangers of the drug," Lauren Rubenstein, Associate Manager of Public Relations at Wesleyan, said in a statement Tuesday.

Doctors call MDMA a designer amphetamine that users take to feel euphoric.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Toll Brothers Ends Cedar Mountain Development Plan]]> Thu, 26 Feb 2015 21:43:02 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/CEDAR+MOUNTAIN_722_406.jpg

Toll Brothers has dropped its plans to build dozens of homes on a 73-acre site on Cedar Mountain in Newington, according to town officials. Now, the town is looking to acquire that land and preserve it as open space.

In the years since Toll Brothers asked the town public and zoning commission to rezone the land from commercial to residential so they could build luxury condos, several groups have fought the proposal.

In 2011, hundreds of Newington residents attended a public hearing about the proposal and the town inland wetlands commission voted 4 to 1 to deny the company’s proposal.

On Thursday, Mayor Steve Woods issued a news release, saying Toll Brothers has terminated its agreement with Tilcon to buy the property on the Cedar Mountain and is withdrawing its court appeal.

"When it was clear that the people in town were very passionate about this piece of property, we wanted to protect it," Woods explained.

The next step is for economic development director Andy Brecher to begin discussions with Tilcon for the town to acquire the 85-acre property.

"I would envision down the road possibly trails for the townspeople to be able to use," Woods said.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut]]>
<![CDATA[Spanish Company Buying US Utility Serving Northeast For $3B]]> Thu, 26 Feb 2015 13:28:36 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/185*120/lightbulb73167733.jpg

Spain's leading electricity and natural gas utility, Iberdrola, said it will buy the northeastern U.S. utility company UIL Holdings Corp. in a deal valued at about $3 billion.

Iberdrola SA and UIL said in a statement that the deal values UIL shares at $52.75, including $10.50 to be paid in cash for each share.

Shares of Iberdrola USA will be listed in the United States and UIL shareholders will receive a share for each UIL share they own.

The company will serve 3.1 million electric and natural gas customers in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts and New York.

The statement released on Thursday said Iberdrola USA's utilities will be Berkshire Gas, Central Maine Power, Connecticut Natural Gas, New York State Electric & Gas, Rochester Gas & Electric, Southern Connecticut Gas and United Illuminating.

UIL’s current President and Chief Executive Officer, James Torgerson, will become the company’s CEO and he will select and lead a U.S.-based leadership team from among the UIL and Iberdrola USA business leadership.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[$460,000 Settlement for Windsor Locks Sergeant Goes to Voters]]> Thu, 26 Feb 2015 18:22:29 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/koistinenpic_722x406_2186083144.jpg

Days after the police commission and board of finance in Windsor Locks voted to pay a $460,000 settlement to a police sergeant who was acquitted of hindering the investigation into a fatal crash that sent his son to prison it is heading to the voters.

The Windsor Locks Police Commission voted 5-0 Tuesday night to send a settlement agreement between Robert Koistinen and the town of board of finance.

"I think it would be in the best interests of the police department and in the town as well," said Police Commission Chair Michael Royston. "It's a lot of money, but at this point, our options are limited."

On Wednesday, the Board of Finance signed off on the settlement with a 6-0 vote.

On Thursday afternoon, the Windsor Locks Board of Selectmen voted to put the agreement to a referendum and set a town hearing for 7 p.m. on March 5, followed by a town meeting. The referendum is set for March 17.

Sgt. Robert Koistinen’s son, Michael Koistinen, who was also a police officer, was off-duty in October 2010 and had been drinking when he struck and killed Henry Dang, a 15-year-old boy who was riding a bicycle, according to police.

Michael Koistinen is now serving a five-year prison sentence.

Robert Koistinen was fired from the department in January 2012 and charged with hindering prosecution in the investigation into that crash. He was found not guilty in October 2012.

The case then went to the state Labor Board, which decided Koistinen should get his job back.

“This settlement has been years in the making and is the result of many hours of negotiation. The Police Commission unsuccessfully litigated the termination of Robert Koistinen before the State Labor Board and the state had also unsuccessfully tried Robert Koistinen for hindering prosecution and interfering with police,” the police commission said in a statement Tuesday.

The proposed settlement includes giving Robert Koistinen $265,000 in back pay from January 2013 to April 1, 2015, and $195,000 to waive all claims, past and future, including in accrued vacation time and sick time.

“It is time to put this sad and tragic event behind us and move on as a department and town,” the commission said.

Should Windsor Locks residents vote in favor of the settlement, Koistinen would resign, according to the board.

A “no” vote would reinstate Koistinen to active duty, making him the fourth-ranking member of the department and costing the town at least $347,000 for back pay, retraining and re-certification.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Norwalk Officer Saves Driver From Imminent Train Crash]]> Thu, 26 Feb 2015 21:32:18 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Officer_Saves_Driver_From_Train_Collision_1200x675_405158467890.jpg

A Norwalk police officer’s quick thinking prevented a possible tragedy Tuesday afternoon as he helped usher traffic out of the way of an oncoming Metro-North train.

Officer Neil Robertson had just finished investigating a crash on Route 1 around 12:30 p.m. Tuesday and traffic was bumper to bumper when the train gates lowered. Robertson saw an SUV stopped within the area of the closing gates, police said.

"I'm looking at the train that's coming and I realize there's no way this train is going to clear this intersection without hitting this car," Robertson explained.

With a train approaching, Robertson raced to the SUV and quickly directed the vehicles ahead to pull ahead, allowing the SUV to inch forward seconds before the train raced by, police said.

"The entire time, I'm yelling at the cars, the horn's blaring on the train," Robertson described. "And I think everybody knew that an accident was about to happen."

A witness reported the good deed to Chief Thomas Kulhawik in the following e-mail:

“One of your officers deserves praise as he saved a lady from being hit by a train. The woman in a blue SUV stopped on top of the tracks in front of the Cablevision building due to heavy traffic ahead. Very shortly after her halt on the tracks, the lights and bells starting going off and the gate comes down for the approaching train. Lucky for her, one of your officers saw this unfolding and quickly jumped out of his car and ran to the cars in front of the woman to have them move up. He managed to save the day with about 2 seconds to spare.”

Kulhawik is praising Robertson for his actions.

“Had Officer Robertson not been there and taken swift action, the incident would have likely ended tragically,” the chief said in a statement Thursday.

Residents are calling him a hero.

"Thank God there are people like him," said Norwalk resident Jake Russell. "It's awesome."

The near-miss was caught on camera, and the Norwalk Police Department posted the footage on its Facebook page.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Firefighter Died When Tank Ran Out of Air: Officials]]> Thu, 26 Feb 2015 19:09:45 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Funeral+for+Kevin+Bell+1200.jpg

The medical examiner has determined that the death of a Hartford firefighter killed while battling a massive blaze in the city's North End in October was accidental.

Kevin Bell, a 48-year-old husband, father and cousin of retired Fire Chief Charles Teale, died of asphyxia due to lack of breathing gas, according to the office of the chief state medical examiner. Cardiac hypertrophy is also listed as a contributing condition.

"We are grateful to the OCME for their diligence and pleased that the Bell family is beginning to get answers they deserve," Hartford Fire Chief Carlos Huertas said in a statement Thursday. "This is still an open and active investigation and there are still more questions that need to be answered."

Bell, a Hartford native and six-year-veteran of the department, responded to the two-alarm fire at 598 Blue Hills Avenue around 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 7, 2014 and died at Saint Francis Hospital after being pulled from the fire in cardiac arrest.

Bell, a member of Engine 16, was the first Hartford firefighter killed in the line of duty in 40 years.

In October, the NBC Connecticut Troubleshooters learned that investigators were taking a close look at a “mayday” call that went unanswered during the fire and the fact that Bell was low on air before he went down.

In December, sources told the NBC Connecticut Troubleshooters that investigators determined Bell was low on air before collapsing on the night of that fire.

Following Bell's death and the unrelated arrests of several Hartford firefighters, Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra launched a task force to make recommendations for the department.

The task force, which includes an advisory group comprised of former fire chiefs, is reviewing the department command structure, examining department resources and equipment and leading the investigation into Bell's death.

A memorial fund has been set up in Bell's honor. To donate, visit the Hartford Firefighters Credit Union at 776 Maple Avenue in Hartford, or send donations to:

Kevin L. Bell Memorial Family Fund
C/O Hartford Firefighters Survivors' Fund
Farmington Bank
669 Hebron Avenue
Glastonbury, CT 06033

<![CDATA[Weather Suspected in Structural Problems at Stratford School]]> Thu, 26 Feb 2015 21:41:13 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/stratford+high+school.JPG

Stratford High School students were dismissed early Thursday after the structural safety of the building's oldest wing was called into question, according to the mayor's office.

The mayor's chief of staff said teachers noticed some of the whiteboards were bowing slightly, and ceiling tiles appeared to have shifted in the upper wing.

He added that engineers believe dramatic temperature changes over the past 24 hours may have played a part.

It was enough to call into question the structural integrity of the building, and engineers were called in to inspect it, the mayor's office said.

The superintendent's office said students and staff were never in danger and Thursday's early dismissal was a precautionary measure.

"There is no threat to students or staff, but as always, we strive to put first and foremost the safety and well-being of our students and staff while the Engineers do the work they need to do," school officials posted on the public schools website Thursday morning

Town engineers have deemed the building safe and classes will resume Friday.

Continuing education classes scheduled for Thursday have been canceled and will resume Monday, according to the town.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Family Displaced by Fire in Wallingford]]> Thu, 26 Feb 2015 10:11:54 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/wallingford+deer+run+fire.jpg

A family has been displaced by a fire in Wallingford.

The fire was reported at the home on Deer Run Road around 9 a.m. on Thursday.

It appears the fire started in the basement near the furnace, according to the fire chief.

No one was injured.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut]]>