<![CDATA[NBC Connecticut - Top Stories]]> Copyright 2014 http://www.nbcconnecticut.com/news/top-stories http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/NBC_Connecticut.png NBC Connecticut http://www.nbcconnecticut.com en-us Sun, 20 Apr 2014 04:16:18 -0400 Sun, 20 Apr 2014 04:16:18 -0400 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Family Escapes Fire in Rocky Hill Home]]> Sat, 19 Apr 2014 11:14:00 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/rocky+hill+fire+saturday.jpg

A family escaped a fire in their home in Rocky Hill early Saturday morning.

Firefighters responded to the home at 3189 Main Street just after 1 a.m. after family members smelled smoke and saw flames coming from the kitchen area.

The fire house is just around the corner from the home, so firefighters arrived in just minutes. Firefighters did have some concerns because of the size of the property on which the house sits.

"It’s a very secluded location. We’ve got about a 500 foot driveway to get up here all uphill and we had to lay out a lot of hose just to guarantee our water supplies up here, said Michael Garrahy, of the Rocky Hill Fire Department.

It took a few hours for the fire to be completely put out.

The fire marshal is investigating to determine what started the blaze.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut]]>
<![CDATA[Father of Slain Boy Seeks Justice]]> Sun, 20 Apr 2014 00:15:42 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/%5BNECN%5DJeremiah_Oliver.jpg

The father of 5-year-old Jeremiah Oliver is seeking justice for his murder.

Jose Oliver, Jeremiah’s father,  is sad, angry and demanding answers as to how his young son ended up wrapped in a blanket, stuffed in a suitcase.

“I want answers,” said Oliver, outside his New Britain home just hours after receiving the news from the medical examiner. “It brings some kind of peace but not no closure because he’s dead. I didn’t get to enjoy him.”

The Worcester County District Attorney confirmed today that the body found along Interstate 190 in Sterling, Massachusetts was that of missing 5-year old Jeremiah Oliver.

Jeremiah was last seen by relatives in September but wasn't reported missing until December after his 7-year old sister told school counselors she hadn’t seen him in weeks. Authorities have said they feared he was dead.

The active, happy-go-lucky kid lived with his mother, two siblings and his mother’s boyfriend.  His father says it’s been two years since he last saw his children.

“He was always happy. He had that puppy dog look in his eyes and that smile. Just innocent. An innocent kid.”

According to police, Jeremiah’s demeanor hid an allegedly tumultuous home life. His mother, Elsa Oliver and her boyfriend, Alberto Serra have been held in jail since December on charges of assault and child endangerment.

The fallout from Jeremiah’s disappearance  also got three Massachusetts Department of Children and Families employees fired.

DCF monitored Jeremiah’s family for two years after allegations of abuse and neglect first surfaced.

An investigation following the disappearance found that the assigned social worker missed mandatory monthly visits for months leading up to the disappearance.

The grieving father places a lot of blame on the state.

“The three people from DCF that got fired? I don’t think that’s enough. I believe they should go to jail too for neglect on my son,” says Oliver, who refused to discuss the potential of any future lawsuit against the state.

Olga Roche, DCF Commissioner, released a statement saying they’re deeply saddened by the tragic loss of Jeremiah and their focus is now on his two remaining siblings.

However, with the shock still settling in  Jose is left to only wonder what could have been.

“I asked him once, ‘what do you wanna be when you grow up?’  He said, “I wanna be a police officer,” Oliver said, holding back tears.  “They took that away from him.”

Oliver says he’s heading to Fitchburg on Sunday. No funeral arrangements have been made at this point.

<![CDATA[Police Make 3rd Arrest in Strip Club Shooting ]]> Sat, 19 Apr 2014 22:12:18 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Rayshan+Smith+1.jpg

Waterbury police have made a third arrest in connection with a shootout outside a strip club.

Rayshan Smith, 35, of West Haven is accused of opening fire in the parking lot of Pandora's Cabaret the morning of March 22 at 141 Washington Ave.

Police say  three of the shooters were bouncers contracted by the strip club.

The incident began with a brawl inside the club that bouncers forced into the street, police said. The suspects then fired into the crowd, wounding three.

Just days after the melee, Mayor Neil O'Leary asked that the venue be shut down and urged the state Liquor Control Commission to deny its application for a liquor permit.

Investigators believe drugs and alcohol contributed to the incident.


Photo Credit: Waterbury Police Department]]>
<![CDATA[Man's Legs Severed by Train]]> Sat, 19 Apr 2014 20:50:17 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/SEPTA+Generic+Train.JPG

A man had both of his legs severed on Friday after being run over by a SEPTA Regional Rail train.

The unidentified 47-year-old man was struck by a Manayunk-Norristown train near Ross Road, not far from the Bridgeport Station in Plymouth Township, Pa. around 9:30 p.m. on Friday, a SEPTA spokesperson told NBC10.com.

SEPTA said the conductor tried to stop but couldn't in time.

The victim was taken to the hospital in extremely critical condition -- both of his legs amputated, according to the spokesperson.

Several trains on the Manayunk-Norristown line were canceled Friday night due to the incident. By Saturday morning all train service returned to normal.

Plymouth Township Police and SEPTA investigated the incident.

Police told NBC10 that the incident appeared to be an attempted suicide and that the man threw himself in the path of the train.

Photo Credit: NBC10.com]]>
<![CDATA[New Britain Man Charged with Murder]]> Sat, 19 Apr 2014 18:55:58 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Luis+Velez.jpg

New Britain police have made an arrest in an early morning murder.

Officers responded to an apartment building at 40 Newfield Street around  2 a.m. after receiving a call that a man living at that address was despondent and may be a danger to himself and others, police said.

Authorities said Luis Velez, 41, of New Britain, strangled a 33-year-old woman to death in a second floor apartment.

According to police, Velez and his victim have a domestic relationship. Police have not identified the woman.

Velez is charged with one count of murder and is being held on a $750,000 bond. He is scheduled to appear in Court on Monday.


Photo Credit: New Britain Police Department ]]>
<![CDATA[Del Taco Charges Thousands]]> Sat, 19 Apr 2014 16:43:47 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/179*120/del-taco-web.jpg

When Austin Dillon checked his bank statement online Friday morning and found thousands of dollars missing from his account, he thought for a moment that he might be a victim of identity theft.

It only took a couple of scrolls for the 33-year-old Oxnard, Calif., man to realize where the missing money went: His trip to a Santa Paula Del Taco fast food restaurant cost him $4,260.

“On my actual receipt it said $4.26,” Dillon said. “I thought it was funny. I figured it would be an easy fix.”

A quick call to his bank and Dillon’s money was back in his account, but he soon found out that other affected customers weren’t so lucky. About 10 customers gathered at the restaurant Friday morning with complaints of being overcharged, and some had gone into negative balances after a technical error affecting ATM and credit card transactions tacked on thousands of dollars to bills.

“I had the money in my account,” Dillon said. “If it had been before Christmas it might have knocked me out of the water.”

About 150 people who ordered from the food chain were mistakenly charged, but a spokesman with Del Taco said all charges will be refunded.

"They were really cool about it," Dillon said. "They were super apologetic."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: Flickr]]>
<![CDATA[D.C.'s Snowy Owl Gets New Home]]> Sat, 19 Apr 2014 16:27:54 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/snowy+owl+released.jpg

A rare snowy owl whose plight drew national attention after it was apparently hit by a bus in the nation's capital has been released to the wild.

The injured owl was found in downtown Washington in late January and taken to the National Zoo before being transferred to a Washington, D.C., wildlife rehabilitation center. It underwent rehabilitation at The Raptor Center at the University of Minnesota, which has expertise in replacing damaged feathers.

The owl was released on Saturday into an area where a significant number of snowy owls have been observed over the past few winters.

"The snowy flew off with strong steady wingbeats, showing off the new flight feathers supplied by The Raptor Center,” said executive director Julia Ponder. “He is in great condition and will hopefully head back north in the coming days," said Ponder.

Snowy owls are native to the Arctic, but were seen all along the East Coast this winter as far south as Florida.

Photo Credit: The Raptor Center, University of Minnesota]]>
<![CDATA[Electronics Recycling Drive Held in Bristol]]> Sat, 19 Apr 2014 16:14:16 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Electronics+Recycling+Event+1.jpg

People lined up outside the United Bank branch in Bristol to drop off old electronics like TV's and computers. NBC Connecticut partnered with Green Monster E-Cycling out of West Hartford, Energize Connecticut and United Bank for three hours Saturday morning to  provide an environmentally friendly way for people to get rid of their unwanted electronic items.

“We have TV’s, computers, CD players, VCR’s, everything we have.  We’re moving and this was ideal!  We didn’t know what we were going to do with all our electronics,” said Debra Johnson of Derby.

With a crash, old electronics got tossed, and houses got rid of the extra items that had been piling up for years.

“When you have your computers, printers and televisions recycled in Connecticut’s infrastructure, you’re actually making sure that these materials go back into commerce to be used again,” said Diane Duva with DEEP.

According to Connecticut law, you can no longer leave electronics on the side of the road for trash pick-up.

“You can’t leave TV’s, CRT’s, computers and printers on the side of the road,” said Joe Galiatsatos, CEO and President of Green Monster E-Cycling.

Instead, Green Monster E-Cycling will take them, break them down and recycle the materials.  For computers, that means going as far as destroying the hard drives that may have sensitive information.

“I had already done that, but it’s nice to know that they’ll do that as well,” said Mickey Goldwasser of Bristol.

The drive provided a convenient way for many to finish up their spring cleaning.

“Two computers, actually a tower computer and a television that was haunted.  It just kept turning on by itself and we decided we didn’t want it anymore!” said Martha Kurilec of Wethersfield.

If you couldn’t make it to the drive, you can still get rid of your old electronics by seeing when your town has pick-ups.  You can find more information at www.ct.gov/deep/e-waste.

To get in contact with Green Monster E-Cycling, visit www.greenmonsterecycling.com.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut]]>
<![CDATA[NBC Connecticut 2014 Electronics Recycling Drive ]]> Sat, 19 Apr 2014 15:26:30 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/WEB+Computers.jpg

Don't throw out your old electronics - recycle them!

Don't miss the NBC Connecticut Earth Week 2014 Electronics Recycling Event on Saturday, April 19,  from 9 a.m. to noon at  United Bank, 4 Riverside Drive in Bristol. United Bank  and Energize CT are the proud sponsors of the recycling event.

Recycle your unwanted home electronics and get rid of them in a responsible way to help the environment. (No businesses, please.)

Special thanks to Green Monster eCycling for its support of this community event.   The electronics are broken down and disposed of in away that is safe for the environment.

If you can't make the event on April 19, Green Monster will take donations of old electronics at its West Hartford location, 150 Brook Street,  for free anytime. They are open from Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Saturdays, from 8 a.m. to noon.

Below is a complete list of accepted items.

  • Answering Machines
  • Laptops
  • Tape Players
  • CD & DVD Players
  • Modems
  • Telephones
  • Cell Phones
  • Pagers
  • Televisions
  • Computers & Equipment
  • Printers
  • Testing Equip.
  • Copiers & Duplicators
  • Printed Circuit Board
  • Transparency Makers
  • Electric Typewriters
  • Radios
  • VCRs
  • Fax Machine
  • Remote Controls
  • Hard Drives
  • Stereos


Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Submerged Truck Linked to Cold Case]]> Sat, 19 Apr 2014 12:49:58 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/vlcsnap-000053.jpg

The discovery of a submerged pickup with skeletal remains in Lake Granbury, Texas, on Thursday may have solved the mystery of a woman who disappeared 35 years ago.

The truck was found near the Lake Bridge on Business 377 in Granbury.

Investigators believe the remains are those of Helen Hollady who disappeared in September 1979.

According to Sheriff Roger Deeds, a city employee first spotted the truck partially submerged in the lake as they were driving near the bridge on Pearl Street and called police.

"The first thing we were thinking was, 'We've been looking for Miss Holladay for years.'"

Sheriff Deeds said the front and rear of the pick-up truck were sticking out of the water.

"When we pulled the vehicle out, we found the skeletal remains of a person and also found identifying information with the body to tie it to Miss Holladay," said Deeds.

Deeds said old police reports said there was some disturbance at the weekend home of Holladay in the Whippoorwill Bay subdivision north of the lake.

The disturbance was between Holladay and her husband Herman. Herman Holladay was a suspect when Helen was reported missing, according to police. 

"Miss Hollady left the home after the disturbance and was last seen heading South towards Granbury on Highway 51." said Deeds. And that was the last time anyone heard from her or saw Helen Holladay.

Holladay's husband died in the 1980s.

Two surviving daughters have been informed about the discovery, the sheriff said.

Deeds also said over the past 35 years the have been searching for Holladay but couldn't find the 1970s model Chevy truck because it was covered in sediment which has built up on the vehicle over the past 35 years.

Deeds guessed the pickup was submerged in 15 feet of water until the lake levels recently began dropping and was about the same distance from the shore.

He said DNA testing to confirm the identify of the body could take weeks.

"It's not a total closure but at least the question of where mom has been all these years, we think we just solved that," Deeds said.

NBC 5's Scott Gordon contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News ]]>
<![CDATA[Thousands Cast Lines on Opening Day of Fishing Season]]> Sat, 19 Apr 2014 11:37:51 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/opening+day+fishing+season.jpg

Fisherman and families alike celebrated Opening Day for fishing in Connecticut on Saturday.

The gates to Stratton Pond State Park in Simsbury opened at 6:00 a.m. and people were already patiently waiting to get in and set up in the right spot along the water line.

Stratton Pond is one of 11 designated “trout parks” across the state, which are categorized as fishing areas for families, and young, aspiring anglers. To many it has become a shared tradition.

“When I was a kid I went with my father and my brothers and they stopped coming,” said Tom Hawran of Enfield. “Now I have two boys and they’ve probably been coming seven or eight years, ever since they were old enough.”

The state has more than 400 ponds and rivers where people can catch fish and getting ready for trout season has been no easy task. The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection expected to stock almost 390,000 trout in waters across the state, despite having to suspend their efforts several days this spring due to morning temperatures in the single digits.

A fishing license is required for those who wish to take part in Opening Day or the duration of the trout season. There is also a daily “creel” limit – or the amount of trout a person can keep from their catch, which is two per day.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut]]>
<![CDATA[Pedestrian Struck and Killed in East Hartford ]]> Sat, 19 Apr 2014 17:08:57 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/east+hartford+roberts+accident.jpg

A woman was killed after being struck by a car in East Hartford Saturday morning.

The woman was walking on Chester Street, not far from the intersection when a car jumped the curb at Forbes Street.

The busy intersection was closed to traffic while police investigated the fatal accident.

Police said Roberts Street is shut down between Forbes Street and Old Roberts Street due to an accident involving one vehicle. 

Police believe the driver first struck and hit a car on Roberts Street, near Rogo Distributors. Shards of glass littered the road.

The identities of the woman killed and man behind the wheel have not been released.

Police  said the intersection could remain closed for several hours. 

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut]]>
<![CDATA[Vandals Strike Camp for Kids in Lyme]]> Sat, 19 Apr 2014 06:57:32 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/camp+claire+vandalism.jpg

State police are looking for the person or people who vandalized a non-profit kids’ camp in Lyme.

Vandals smashed windows and televisions in several buildings at Camp Claire on Oakland Avenue.

"They broke into a lot of the cabins through the glass and the doors," said Steve Mattson, the camp's treasurer. "They went in and smashed TVs for no reason."

Camp organizers estimate the damage may run as much as $3,000 to repair.

The non-profit camp, which has been around for nearly 100 years, serves boys and girls ages 6-14.

"It's very disappointing. We run on a shoestring and this time of year as we're getting ready to open camp, any disruption really hurts us," Mattson said. "We immediately thought 'do we have the money to fix what's wrong? Can we afford the insurance increases if we make a claim?'"

The non-profit camp, which has been around for nearly 100 years, serves boys and girls ages 6-14.

Mattson hopes members of the community might pitch in to help cover the costs of the repairs. For information on how to make donations, click here.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Woman Awakens to Prowler ]]> Sat, 19 Apr 2014 11:23:20 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/anna+thompson+prowler+victim.JPG

An Oceanside, Calif., woman said she had a rude awakening Friday morning when she found a man standing over her bed.

Anna Thompson told NBC 7 the situation is one she's only seen in movies but never imagined would happen to her.

She woke up just after 6 a.m. Friday to a man covering her mouth in her home on Vine Street. She immediately started fighting the man off.

"I fought back as much as I could until I got to a point where my dog woke up, and he was laying right next to me, and he started going after the intruder and chased him out of my house," said Thompson.

Thompson received a scratch to her chest and an injured lip.

She believes the suspect came through the side gate to her home, took off his shoes and went inside. He left those shoes behind when he fled.

In the scuffle, she knocked his hat off. Oceanside Police later took the hat as evidence to get DNA from it, Thompson said.

Investigators said there was no forced entry into the house. They believe the suspect is in his 30s, but they have not released any other information.

She said the incident has prompted her to put an alarm system in her home as soon as possible.


<![CDATA[Heroin Dealer Gets 30 Years]]> Sat, 19 Apr 2014 06:57:31 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/general+prison+tamms.jpg

A D.C. man who distributed heroin that resulted in the deaths of at least three people in Fairfax County, Va., was sentenced Friday to 30 years in prison.

Eugene Asomani “Shine” Williams pleaded guilty in January. He admitted distributing heroin in Virginia, Maryland and D.C. between 2004 and September 2013.

Williams, 35, also admitted Joshua Pearson, 33; Kara Schachinger, 22; and Timothy Huffman, a 23-year-old solider at Fort Belvoir, each died from using heroin he distributed.

Ann Schachinger's daughter Kara drowned in her bathtub in early 2012 after taking heroin she got from Williams, her dealer.

"I can't put all the blame on him, but he certainly does bear a responsibility," Schachinger said.

“Williams peddled a dangerous drug and inflicted untold damage to the victims, their families, and our communities,” U.S. Attorney Dana Boente said. “This case exemplifies the cooperative efforts of federal, state and local law enforcement to combat this pernicious crime.”

Williams' defense attorney, Todd Baldwin, is planning to appeal the judge's decision.

"To sentence someone based on the unforeseeable, unintended outcome, more than what normal drug dealing gets a sentence for, I think is just unfortunate," he said.

<![CDATA[LA E-Cig Ban Takes Effect]]> Sat, 19 Apr 2014 11:09:11 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/E-Cig-I-Team.jpg

E-cigarette smokers took their final legal puffs as the ordinance that bans the device from bars, nightclubs, restaurants and other public places took effect at midnight Saturday.

One club made an event out of the ban and threw a vapor smoke-filled party while it was still allowed -- but the night wasn't all smiles.

"It is frustrating only because customers aren't going to be happy," said Richard Park, owner of the Cindy Club on Beverly Boulevard. "They're going to have to be vaping outside, which I think is really ridiculous, because they're considering it the same as cigarettes right now."

The club's event for the final legal puff came after months of debate into the controversial use of the vapor devices.

Tensions heated up earlier this year when Angelenos butted heads over what to do with the growing mainstream tobacco alternative.

LA Councilmen Mitch O'Farrell and Paul Koretz motioned for Los Angeles’ chief legislative analyst to review a policy proposal related to the general use and classification of e-cigarettes on Jan. 14.

"We need to do all we can with what we know now to protect the public health," O'Farrell said. "It became a real issue in public schools. Youth were sneaking e-cigarettes and vaping under their desks. We don't want to expose a whole new generation to normalizing e-cigarette use."

The ensuing report from CLA Gerry F. Miller recommended actions that would essentially treat e-cigarettes as traditional tobacco products.

Based on Miller’s recommendation, a strict proposal was put before the Arts, Parks, Health, Aging and River Committee and passed unanimously during a LA City Council meeting on Feb. 24.

Read: Teacher in Fight With Student Reinstated

“For anyone to say that e-cigarettes are not harmful, I think they are taking us down the same path that the tobacco industry said in 1954 that cigarettes were not harmful,” Councilman Bernard Parks said during that meeting.

Proponent Mark Burton, who spoke during the council meeting, cited a Drexel University study.

The research “found that contaminate levels of the vapor, if you will, were far below what would be considered harmful,” he said.

On March 4, the ban was approved unanimously by the LA City Council, and endorsed by the LA mayor’s office the following day.

The use of e-cigarettes has been widely controversial as well as popular across the country with similar contentions in New York City.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration currently regulates cigarettes, cigarette tobacco, roll-your-own tobacco, and smokeless tobacco. Only e-cigarettes marketed for therapeutic purposes are regulated by the agency.

"I'm struggling with this because I want to make sure we are solving a problem based on actual facts and justification," said Councilmember Paul Krekorian during the March 4 meeting . "There are a variety of different views on the impact of what that second-hand vapor may be.”

"There's a well-developed body of evidence on smoking. But, from everything I've heard, I don't think a case has been made that adult exposure should be something that this council acts on absent regulation by one of these agencies... equipped to make those difficult assessments."

The new law does not affect vaping lounges or stores, which as of late have been raking in big business. E-cigarettes would also still be allowed for "theatrical purposes.”

<![CDATA[Boy Electrocuted in Pool Remembered]]> Sat, 19 Apr 2014 06:58:07 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/160*120/swimming3.jpg

A 7-year-old boy who died while swimming in a North Miami pool was laid to rest Friday.

Police said the boy may have been electrocuted by a light that sent charges through the water.

Calder Sloan died Sunday after he was shocked as he swam through the pool, police said. An officer attempted CPR before fire rescue transported the boy to Jackson Memorial Hospital where he later died.

Friends and family gathered at a public memorial in Miami Beach to honor the life of Calder Sloan.

"He was a superhero. As he grew up, he amazed us with his atheltic ability," Chris Sloan, the boy's father said at the memorial service.

The boy was swimming with his brothers, ages 5 and 22, under the watch of his nanny when the older brother first felt a shock and urged the others to get out of the pool, The Miami Herald reported. Calder apparently did not hear and was jolted out of the water.

A neighbor who performed CPR on the child, Fabian Pesantes, told NBC 6 he was also shocked by the water.

"The minute I saw him, I just started doing what I know how to do and I started performing CPR on him," Pesantes said.  "I cleared the vomit and water out of his mouth and when I was cleaning my mouth I stuck my hand in the pool. When I stuck my hand in the pool, I got shocked."

While police are still investigating the cause of the electrocution, the family suspects a malfunctioning pool light may have been to blame. A contractor was hired to fix the light after it stopped turning on about nine months ago, according to the boy's father, and electricians told the boy's uncle that a problem with the light switch suggested the power was going directly to the pool instead of being diverted from it, The Herald reported. The steel surrounding the light is now rusted and burned, according to the paper.

A fund has been set up at Sloan's school to establish a foundation in his honor. Click here to donate.

<![CDATA[Armed Robbers Shoot at Cops in NJ]]> Sat, 19 Apr 2014 10:07:42 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/armed+robbery+scrap+metal+yard+nj.jpg

The owners of a scrap metal yard in New Jersey were tied up, beaten and threatened with guns when a group of armed robbers stormed the business looking for cash and valuable platinum, then fled while shooting at police officers, authorities say.

The five robbers went into the Bayway Scrap Metals on Amboy Avenue in Elizabeth Friday afternoon and tied up several employees, including owner Carol Navarro and her husband. They were threatened and held at gunpoint for 90 minutes. 

"One of them asked how long we were married," said Navarro. "I told him 45 years, and he said, 'Well, you're going to die together.'"

"I could hear him keep telling my husband, 'Shut up or I'm going to shoot you, I'm going to kill you,'" she said. 

The men were after $20,000 in cash and a pile of catalytic converters worth an estimated $250,000 because of the platinum inside. When they got what they wanted, Navarro said they told her, "Today is your lucky day."

Police spotted the robbers two miles away with a U-Haul truck full of stolen catalytic converters. They allegedly fired at officers as they tried to get away, two of them in a stolen vehicle, but four of them were eventually caught. No officers were injured.

Michael Howard, 22, and Rafael Clemons, 27, Sharod Saunders, 30, and Steven Chambers, 47, have all been charged with first-degree robbery, first-degree kidnapping, first-degree carjacking, aggravated assault and multiple weapons offenses, officials said Saturday.

Bail for each defendant was set at $1 million.

Information on attorneys for Howard, Clemons, Saunders and Chambers was not immediately available.

One suspect remains at large and is believed to be heavily armed and dangerous. Police are offering a $20,000 reward for information leading to the suspect's capture and conviction. 

Police recovered an AK rifle and three handguns from the arrested suspects. 

Navarro helped identify the suspects in a lineup. Her husband needed stitches but he and the other hostages are going to be OK, she said. 

Navarro said she immediately called her son Jamie Navarro after the robbery. He believes his family's scrap metal business was targeted. 

"They absolutely, 150 percent, they planned this," he said. "This was planned, premeditated." 

"I think they're a bunch of scumbags, and I hope they rot in hell," he said. "I hope they get a long time in prison because that's what they deserve." 

-- Brian Thompson contributed to this report. 

<![CDATA[Police Address Dangerous Swatting Trend ]]> Sat, 19 Apr 2014 00:01:27 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/216*120/Hart_Dispatch_Racial_Slur_PKG_072413.jpg

Authorities have grown increasingly concerned over false emergency calls or reports made by unknown assailants. It's called "Swatting" and police in Connecticut say it's becoming all too common.

In the last month swatting hoaxes have been reported in at least five different communities. In all these instances police can't figure out a motive.

It's happening across the state and on Thursday night it put one Greenwich neighborhood on edge.

Greenwich police said they received a call just before 8 p.m. from someone who called 911, claiming to be armed and holding people hostage at a home on Round Hill Road.

"She couldn't approach from either direction," Larry Posner of Greenwich said. His wife ran into a heavy police presence that night.

"She spent a couple of hours sitting in a diner in Greenwich while this unfolded and in the end we learned it was purely a hoax the house was empty and the police left," Posner said.

Officers went to the private home and said no one was inside. Police said  they are trying to find the person behind the call.

"Swatting is using some sort of computerized technology to make it look as if a 911 call or any other emergency call is coming from here when in fact it's coming from somewhere else," said Officer Joseph Race of the Madison Police Department.

Police in Madison have dealt with three such incidents in town. All of them came over a two week span in January.

"One call was for a suspicious vehicle the other ones were threats of violence or an act of violence occurring which prompted a tremendous response," Race said.

Police swarmed the area around Horsepond Road for both incidents, but it turned a teenager from Long Island had made the fake call.

Investigators in Watertown, Willimantic and Old Saybrook have also dealt with these cases of swatting.

"It puts not only responding officers in danger, the motoring public in danger because now it's other cars that have to get out of the way for our emergency lights but also the homeowner," said Race.

Residents are hopeful police will find the prankster who put their Greenwich neighborhood into lockdown.

"It's still a little uncomfortable that someone would make a call like this," said Jason Kaltz who also lives on Round Hill Road in Greenwich. "It's just very quiet this is the first we've had any experience like this."

<![CDATA[Woman Died of OD at Coachella: ME]]> Sat, 19 Apr 2014 06:57:31 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/203*120/kimchi-Truong-coachella-death.gif

A 24-year-old woman hospitalized after attending the Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival last weekend died of an apparent overdose of illicit drugs and alcohol, according to the Riverside County Coroner's Office.

The office's report, released Friday, indicates the Oakland woman died Thursday -- five days after attending the Southern California music festival. Kimchi Truong died at Desert Regional Medical Center, according to the coroner's report.

Truong went to a medical tent at the outdoor music and arts festival early Sunday morning, authorities told KMIR News. Details regarding what treatment she received were not immediately available.

She became unresponsive after going to a taxi pickup area, the station reported.

Festival promoter Goldenvoice issued a statement:

"Last weekend, a festival attendee suffered an apparent drug overdose. The individual was seen by on-site medical staff and later transferred to JFK Memorial Hospital and later to Desert Regional Medical Center. We are saddened to learn the individual has died. We believe this to be an unfortunate but isolated incident.

Our thoughts and condolences are with the family and friends."

Toxicology test results could take up to six weeks.

The two-weekend event in the Riverside County community of Indio continues Friday, Saturday and Sunday.


<![CDATA[What to Know About the Pot Industry]]> Sat, 19 Apr 2014 08:53:49 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/97541776.jpg

April 20, once a counterculture holiday when potheads would gather to celebrate and smoke pot, is turning into a blockbuster event that could potentially bring in millions in tax and tourism dollars for states where it's newly legal.

Denver is playing host to its fifth annual Cannabis Cup this weekend, and this year's event is expected to be city's the largest yet in the wake of legalization.

An estimated 30,000 visitors were expected at the two-day event, according to The New York Times. At the start of the month, event organizers had already sold about 10,000 more tickets than they had last year, when pot wasn't yet legal in the state except for medical use.

Searches for hotel rooms in Denver on Hotels.com for the 4/20 weekend were up 73 percent over last year, too, according to The Cannabist -- a spike the company attributed in part to the state's legal recreational pot sales.

Scroll down to read some facts and figures about marijuana legalization and usage in the U.S.

4/20's hazy history

While there are no shortages of theories about how the “high" holiday came to be, several published reports give the credit for 4/20's creation to a group of Northern California high school students. The friends say they started using the term as code for pot-smoking in 1971, after planning to meet at 4:20 p.m. one day to smoke and search out a rumored pot crop.

The term spread, eventually reaching, through mutual acquaintances, members of the Greatful Dead rock band, the friends claim. The lingo was picked up by High Times magazine in 1990, according to BBC News, after an editor saw the term on a Grateful Dead concert flyer.

While others have also come forward to claim they are parents of the pot phrase, the friends, who call themselves the Waldos, say they have letters and other documents to back their story.

America's favorite illicit drug

Marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug in the country, a 2012 government survey found. An estimated 18.9 million Americans aged 12 and older -- or 7.3 percent of them -- said they had used marijuana in the past month.

And the numbers of Americans who say they have tried pot are far higher. A Pew Research survey taken in February found that nearly half of Americans polled, or 47 percent of them, admitted to having used marijuana at some point in their lives.

Medical research ramps up

The casual use such numbers suggest was the target of a study, published this week, that analyzed the effects of recreational pot-smoking on two neural regions that regulate emotions and motivation.

That study, a collaboration between researchers from Harvard's and Northwestern's medical schools, found the size, shape and density of both the amygdala and the nucleus accumbens significantly altered, even in people smoking as little as once a week. Those who smoked pot more regularly had abnormally large nucleus accumbens.

"When we saw that there was a consistent abnormality and that it was directly related to the amount of cannabis one took in, it gave us some significant pause," the study's co-author said. "Seeing these differences raises a cautionary flag that we need to do more research."

Seeing green

That need for more medical research hasn't stanched the interest in pot's profit potential.

Pot is already doing a brisk business in Colorado alone, and the taxes could provide a windfall for the state. A Moody's report predicted that the state will add an estimated $98 million to its tax coffers this year from taxes on recreational pot use on Jan. 1.

One group of industry investors seeking to capitalize on legal pot estimated in a recent report that the current market value is about $1.53 billion, a figure that includes all states that have active sales to those who are allowed to possess marijuana under state law.

That group, ArcView Market Research, also projected that Washington and Colorado would add $253 million and $455 million respectively their markets in 2014.

As for other states? The national pot market has a potential to swell to $10.2 billion in five years, according to the report. (To provide some perspective, the world's best-selling drug Lipitor at one point peaked at $13 billion in annual profit.)

Sweeping changes 

Americans' attitudes toward marijuana are evolving, too, with a recent Pew study finding that a majority of Americans — 54 percent — now think pot should be legal.

Voters in both Colorado and Washington signed off in 2012 on steps to legalize marijuana for personal recreational use, while other states rethink their own laws on a smaller scale.

Forty states have eased their drug laws since 2009, a recent Pew Research Center analysis found. In addition to Colorado and Washington, another 15 states and the District of Columbia have decriminalized certain amounts of possession, while even more have legalized it for medicinal use.

The Justice Department appears to be giving such efforts the green light. Attorney General Eric Holder has given Washington and Colorado the go-ahead for their state legalization initiatives, as well as called for major changes to federal drug sentencing guidelines.

Those signals from the feds, coupled with polls suggesting more Americans support legal pot, may mean more states could be poised to head in a similar direction.


Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Stunt Pilot Bails by Parachute Just Before Fiery Crash]]> Fri, 18 Apr 2014 21:27:58 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/1060158.jpg

An aerobatic stunt pilot narrowly escaped by parachute Friday when his single-passenger plane crashed in a fireball onto a northern Vermont interstate, charring the ground beneath it.

Dan Marcotte, an experienced aerobatic stunt performer, bailed from the plane in the nick of time, before it crashed into a lane of Interstate 89 North in Highgate, Vt., near the Canadian border and the Franklin County State Airport, NECN's Jack Thurston reported.

Firefighters found him dangling in his parachute from a tree and cut him down. He was not seriously injured, police said.

"Something happened to the plane; he knew something was wrong," Lt. Garry Scott of the Vt. State Police told NECN. "These high speeds; we're pretty lucky no one else was injured."

The section of I-89 was shut down twice during this emergency: once during the initial frenzy, once as the wreckage was cleared away. At times during the removal of the wreckage, one lane of slow travel was allowed. No drivers were hit when the plane hurtled to the ground.

Marcotte is a well-known pilot who performs tricks at events like the Independence Day celebrations on the Burlington waterfront. His Facebook page identified him as the plane's pilot.

He was practicing when he had to jump from his plane, and he is now doing okay, a loved one explained on Facebook. "Thank God for our STRONG parachute!" the page administrator wrote.

"He was very upset, emotionally upset," Lt. Scott said of Marcotte. "But no real significant injuries. He was able to walk. He came back to the scene and talked to investigators."

Scott said the Federal Aviation Administration, out of Maine, will look into what went wrong.

Police and a towing service gathered as much of the wreckage as they could find.

Mike Cota of Cota's Towing said this wasn't the first response of its kind for him, though. "We have about one a year or so; somebody goes down up here," he said.

The Facebook page of Dan Marcotte AirShows was lighting up with well-wishes Friday afternoon, with folks very glad their friend lived through this, likely still with more thrill-seeking left in him.

Photo Credit: Jack Thurston, NECN]]>
<![CDATA[Baby-Snatching Suspect in Custody]]> Sat, 19 Apr 2014 12:15:46 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/214*120/woman-baby-chelsea.JPG

Police say the woman suspected of trying to abduct a baby in a stroller as the child's nanny was pushing it down a Chelsea street Thursday afternoon is in custody. 

The NYPD said Friday they were looking for a woman named Tara Ann McDonald, who sources said has seven previous arrests for attempted kidnapping.

McDonald was picked up in midtown Friday afternoon and was in police custody. She was undergoing psychiatric evaluation at Bellevue Hospital Saturday, police said.

Police say the nanny was pushing the 8-month-old in a stroller near 17th Street and Eighth Avenue Thursday afternoon when a woman in her 50s approached the nanny and began talking to her. 

The woman, who may be homeless, then began pushing the carriage away, police said.

William Marte, a UPS driver who was eating his lunch while on break in his truck, told NBC 4 New York on Friday that he saw the woman grab the stroller by the handle.

"The other lady was saying 'oh please, help me, help me," Marte recalled. "That's when I decide to come out and tell the lady, 'Please, let her go, leave her alone.'"

Marte said the suspect cursed and fled.

He says the baby slept through the whole ordeal. The father of two says he's not a hero, and did what anyone would do.

"I consider myself like just another New Yorker, and I did what I'm supposed to do," he said. "I did the right thing in the right moment."

Marte said the nanny thanked him over and over. 

--Marc Santia contributed to this story 



<![CDATA[Fire Guts Jersey Shore Homes]]> Sat, 19 Apr 2014 22:47:55 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/sea+isle+fire+brendan+c.jpg

A fast-moving 7-alarm fire, fanned by strong ocean winds, burned million dollar homes to the ground and damaged nearly a dozen others in Sea Isle City, N.J. on Good Friday.

As the rubble smoldered Saturday morning, crews returned to the 7800 block of Pleasure Avenue at the beach to put out some hot spots.

Flames began to flicker around 4 p.m. Friday and quickly spread to a total of three structures sharing the same lot, city officials said. In total five homes were consumed.

"It was just amazing how fast the first house went up in flames," said witness Daniel O'Connell, who is staying on the island with his family for the Easter holiday. "I followed the smell [of smoke] and speeding police cars to the house where there was just a small amount of smoke coming out of the basement of one of the houses."

Within minutes, however, O'Connell said the fire simply erupted.

"The police were attempting to put out the fire with fire extinguishers, but at that time it was too late," the 15-year-old Jenkintown, Pa.-native told NBC10.com. "The house started pouring black smoke out of the basement, so I rode around the block [on my bike] to get up wind of the fire and out of the smoke. From here, I could see the flames erupting and traveling up the house."

The structures were side-by-side townhouses, each about 2,000 square feet, according to Sea Isle City Mayor Leonard Desiderio. According to data on the real estate website Zillow.com, the beachfront homes were listed for more than $2 million.

"The wind was blowing hard from the beach, going towards the bay," said Loretta Giello, who has a summer home on 85th Street. "And I kept hearing sirens and sirens, and I saw so much black smoke that I started to run down there to see what was happening."

NBC10 First Alert Weather Meteorologist Sheena Parveen said onshore winds were gusting near 15 to 20 mph at the time of the fire, which is pretty typical.

Giello said multiple fire engines have responded from different shore towns but that Sea Isle City is not as easy to access because the bridge coming in from Avalon is closed.

"So the fire trucks had to go all the way down Route 9, or the Parkway, until they get into Sea Isle and that's another 15 or 20 minutes," Giello said. Mayor Desiderio said however, he did not think the bridge being out affected response time.

Cape May County fire dispatch radio, posted to YouTube, shows the first call went out at 4:27 p.m. and that the Sea Isle Fire Department requested mutual aid from nearby fire departments about five minutes into the response, before Sea Isle crews were on scene.

A total of 14 fire companies from up and down the Jersey Shore responded to the blaze, fire officials said.

Mayor Desiderio said there were no injuries, but that 11 nearby homes were also damaged due to the intense heat from the fire. He said the homes that burned are vacation homes, not year-round homes.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

Sea Isle City is a small Cape May County city of around 2,000 year-round residents that swells in the summers when vacationers flock to its beaches. But like much of the Jersey Shore, it was hit hard by Hurricane Sandy in 2012.

That storm damage cost the city an amusement park just this year, when the owner of Gillian's Funland said the severely damaged park would have to close.

Photo Credit: Brendan C.]]>
<![CDATA["Thrones" Post Taken as Threat]]> Sat, 19 Apr 2014 16:09:30 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/game-of-thrones-shirt-professor.jpg

A New Jersey college professor was placed on unpaid leave after posting online a photo of his 6-year-old daughter wearing a shirt with a quote from "Game of Thrones" that administrators took as a threat.

The shirt says "I will take what is mine with fire & blood," and the photo was posted on Google+ by the Bergen Community College professor, Francis Schmidt, in January, around the time HBO released a trailer for the new season of the show.

After a college dean saw the post, and perceived it as a "threatening email," Schmidt was ordered to meet with administrators and was then placed on unpaid leave. The dispute in January came to light this week after Inside Higher Ed referred to it in an online post.

Schmidt on Friday shared an email with NBC 4 New York that he said was from a human resources employee at the college at the time of the dispute.

"You are not to be on campus for any reason," the email says. "The safety of all of the members of the community is taken very seriously."

Schmidt was allowed to return to teaching later that month after he was cleared by a psychiatrist. He says he missed crucial time with students he was advising.

He says he can't imagine why anyone would think he's capable of violence.

"They claimed to have never heard of 'Game of Thrones,' and so I tried to explain it to them," he said Friday.

College spokesman Larry Hlavenka Jr. said in a statement that the matter was a private personnel issue, but added that the college takes seriously any perceived threats of violence.

"Since Jan. 1, 2014, 34 incidents of school shootings have occurred in the United States," Hlavenka said. "In following its safety and security procedures, the college investigates all situations where a member of its community – students, faculty, staff or local residents – expresses a safety or security concern."

Schmidt believes he was targeted because he filed a grievance against the school when he was not granted a sabbatical.

The faculty union has also been embroiled in contract negotiations with the college; last week the union cast a no-confidence vote in the school's president. 

--Jen Maxfield contributed to this story

Photo Credit: PA Wire/Press Association Images]]>
<![CDATA[Crash Closes Part of Route 83 in Ellington]]> Fri, 18 Apr 2014 14:50:21 -0400

At least one person was injured in a crash on Route 83 in Ellington and part of the road is closed.

Police said one patient has been transported after a two-car crash that happened just before 2 p.m. in the area of 100 West Road.

A second person might have to be transported as well.

Lifestar was called but could not fly.

Route 83 is closed from Autumn Chase to Lower Butcher Road.

<![CDATA[Part of Route 1 in Darien Closed ]]> Fri, 18 Apr 2014 14:42:38 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Route+1+in+Darien+1200.jpg

Route 1 in Darien is closed at exit 11 of Interstate 95 South because of a three-car crash.

Police said there is one possible injury.

A photo from police shows a car up an embankment and at least one ambulance at the scene.

No additional information was immediately available.

Photo Credit: Darien Police]]>
<![CDATA[Route 2A Closed at Route 12 in Preston]]> Fri, 18 Apr 2014 14:09:41 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Route+2A+in+Preston+closed.JPG

Route 2A is closed at Route 12 in Preston due to emergency pole replacement after an earlier crash.

Police did not have any information on when the road is expected to reopen.

<![CDATA[Good Friday Walk Helps Fight Poverty and Homelessness]]> Fri, 18 Apr 2014 13:32:17 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/goodfridaywalk041814.jpg

More than 100 people spent their Good Friday morning walking in an effort to fight poverty and homelessness.

The 20-mile Rockville United Methodist Church's annual walk is a physical and emotional journey to provide for people who are less fortunate.

“Well, the Lord walked for us and we can walk for him,” said Jack Wilkie, of Rockville, who joined fellow church members on the walk.

Wilkie said it makes him feel good that he did something for somebody else on Good Friday.

“I can take that two minutes, or seven hours, or whatever time it takes to walk with my friends and be with the Lord on Good Friday,” he said.

The walk raises nearly $15,000 each year.

Judy Culy, the co-chairperson  of the walk said the event sends money to Sharing Inc. which helps daycare centers and farm co-ops in Mississippi and Alabama.

"To understand how valuable this money, how valuable the support is, and some of it money goes to the town shelters, which is also a good part of it, so it’s been a lot of fun," Dave Howe, of Vernon, said.

The money raised will also go to the Tri-Town Homeless Shelter in Rockville and other nonprofit organizations to help the homeless and those living in poverty.

“Because that's the way it should be on a religious day like this, and leading up to Easter it’s, just part of what we do for the last 30-35 years,” Wilkie said.

<![CDATA[Large Fire Damages Tobacco Barn, 5 Houses]]> Fri, 18 Apr 2014 12:11:09 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/East+Windsor+fire+tobacco+barn+destroyed.jpg

The East Windsor Fire Department and firefighters from several nearby communities spent hours battling a large fire that has damaged a tobacco shed and nearby mobile homes, displacing five families.

Just after 1 a.m., the fire department responded to the intersection of Elm Street and Grove Drive for a fire.

The blaze has damaged a large tobacco barn that sits directly behind the Red Hill Park Community.and five nearby mobile homes.

According to the East Windsor Fire Chief, propane tanks at the mobile homes caught fire and two of them are still under a controlled burn.

"The whole trailer park was affected for a little while due to the power issue," Warehouse Point Fire Chief James Barton said, "But we were able to isolate it and get power back to the remaining trailers."

Tammy Schmidt and her daughter Caitlin escaped from their burning home and ran to knock on neighbors’ doors to wake them up.

"And everybody kept saying, 'Oh it’s only going to go two houses, and then it went three. And then, 'Oh it’s not going to go there.' And then next thing you know, it went four. Next thing you know, five houses," she said.

Laurie Goodhue, a resident, said a neighbor woke her up by pounding on the door because he thought the propane tanks were going to blow up.

"So he's like 'Get out of the house!' Then I just looked across the street and the barn was just engulfed," Goodhue said.

Main Street was closed for several hours as crews responded and mutual aid was called in from several fire departments, including Warehouse Point, Broad Brook, Enfield, Windsor Locks and South Windsor. Firefighters left the scene a little after 7 a.m.

East Windsor Ambulance and officials form the Windsor Locks Police Department also responded.

Fortunately, no one was hurt and the American Red Cross is helping four families find shelter.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.


<![CDATA[Man Who Drowned in Lake Wepawaug Walked Away from Crash: Cops]]> Fri, 18 Apr 2014 09:17:53 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/orange+body+scene.jpg

Police have released the name of a man who drowned in Lake Wepawaug in Orange on Saturday afternoon.

The body of Vaughn Porteous, 27, of Hamden, was spotted about 15 feet from shore in off Grassy Hill Road, an area where people frequently fish.

Authorities believe Porteous had walked away from a car crash on Route 15 North in Bethany on March 19, but when officers got to the scene of that accident, no one was in the vehicle.

Police do not suspect foul play.


<![CDATA[WATCH: Golfer Flees Hornet Attack on Course]]> Sat, 19 Apr 2014 09:35:49 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Larrazabal.jpg

A Spanish golfer jumped into a nearby lake to escape a swarm of hornets then continued on despite his stinging injuries.

Pablo Larrazabal was in the fifth hole's fairway during the Maybank Malaysian Open when he swatted away a stray hornet, which then prompted a swarm to attack him. The golfer attempted to fight them off, but had to run to the lake to escape the angry wasps.

“They were huge and like 30 or 40 of them started to attack me big time,” Larrazabal said in a statement to ESPN. “I didn’t know what to do. My caddie told me to run, so I start running like a crazy guy, but the hornets were still there, so the other players told me to jump in the lake.”

The scene could have been reminiscent of Chris Farley's character fleeing a bee attack in the 1995 film "Tommy Boy."

Larrazabal suffered more than 20 stings and had to receive medical attention. He described the encounter as the “scariest moment" of his career.

However, he returned to play his last five holes in a borrowed shirt, reversing his luck by finishing the 14th hole – the same one where he was attacked – with a birdie putt and finishing overall with two under.

He later tweeted out thanks to supporters and joked that golf is a dangerous sport.

Photo Credit: Ian Walton/Getty Images)]]>
<![CDATA[Silver Alert Issued for Missing Elderly Hartford Man ]]> Fri, 18 Apr 2014 11:47:25 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/mateo+collazo+silver+alert.jpg

Hartford Police have issued a Silver Alert for a missing 85-year-old man.

Mateo Collazo was last seen at 403 Capitol Avenue around 7:30 a.m. on Friday. Collazo was wearing a blue jacket, black or tan pants, a brown hat and he was carrying a white shopping bag, according to police.

Collazo suffers from mild dementia, police said. He frequents the Park Street area of Hartford and may also attempt to get to the Ellis Manor at 210 George Street where his deceased wife used to live, police said.

Anyone who sees Collazo is asked to call Hartford Police Detective Arroyo at 860-757-4232 or Sergeant Liappes at 860-757-4482.

Photo Credit: Hartford Police]]>
<![CDATA[NoRA Cupcakes Make List of Best in the U.S. ]]> Sat, 19 Apr 2014 10:37:10 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/NoRa+50+Shades+of+Chocolate.jpg

Cupcakes from NoRA in Middletown are heavenly. If you’ve ever had one, we’re pretty sure you’ll agree. The Daily Meal certainly does.

They have ranked the local cupcakery’s sweets among the 101 best cupcakes in America.

NoRA came in 63 and is the only Connecticut cupcake shop to make the list. 

“NoRA Cupcake Company proudly boasts over 100 cupcake flavors on their full menu, and promises their sweets will blow you away,” Daily Meal says.

NoRA is not what you might think of when you think of a “typical” cupcake shop. The company was actually born in a bar, Eli Cannon’s, which is located across the street, and the influence is clear in the selection of cocktail cupcakes, as well as some of the rockstar cupcakes.

The boozy-inspired creations include the Bourbon Blackberry Fizz, Jack Daniels cake bakes with blueberries; the cosmopolitan; the Oreo mudslide and more. Um? Yum!

“We are most intrigued by their cocktail-inspired line of cupcakes that harken to flavors found behind the bar. The “bourbon apple crumble cupcake” features a butterscotch chip cake, Jack Daniels simmered apples, vanilla buttercream, butterscotch drizzle and crumb topping that is fabulous for a more developed palette,” Daily Meal pointed out.

There are also Butterfinger cupcakes; the Funky Monkey, with banana chocolate chip cake, peanut butter frosting and chopped peanuts; the Fat Elvis, with banana, marshmallow, peanut butter frosting and candied bacon; and many, many more. (Don’t be afraid of the candied bacon. We’ve tried it. Trust us, your mouth with thank you.)

NoRA Cupcake is located at 700 Main Street in Middletown. 

Photo Credit: NoRa Cupcake Company]]>
<![CDATA[Stafford Springs Couple Killed in Massachusetts Crash]]> Fri, 18 Apr 2014 10:05:56 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/ambulance-shutterstock_12161325.jpg

Two Stafford Springs, Conn. residents were killed in a crash on the Mass Turnpike in Framingham early Wednesday morning.

Massachusetts State Police responded to several calls reporting a serious crash on Route 90 in Framingham at 5:13 a.m. and found that a tractor-trailer had hit the side of a minivan driven by William Barnett, 20, of Stafford Springs.

Barnett and his passenger, Alyssa Grenier, 19, also of Stafford Springs, were killed in the crash. They had been dating for about five months, according to their Facebook pages.

The tractor-trailer driver was transported from the scene to Metro-West Medical Center with injuries that are not life-threatening.

Police said preliminary reports indicate that the van spun out and was hit by the tractor -trailer.

Troopers are looking at the possibility the crash was weather-related however, but said it is under investigation.
The left and middle travel lanes were closed for close to five hours after the crash.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[Man Accused of Trying to Steal Purse, Knocking Victim to Ground]]> Fri, 18 Apr 2014 09:38:15 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Richard+Labouliere1200.JPG

Bristol police have arrested a local man who is accused of trying to steal a 57-year-old woman’s purse and knocking her to the ground in the process.

The victim was walking on Gridley Street at 10:50 p.m. on Thursday when a man attempted to pull her handbag from her, police said. The woman was knocked to the ground and sustained minor injuries.

The victim screamed, but kept grip of the handbag and the assailant ran off, police said. 

The victim’s husband, who was on his way to meet his wife, shouted at the suspect as he fled.

A police officer was able to detain the man at Gridley and West streets and the victim and her husband identified him as the person who tried to steal the purse.

Police identified the suspect as Richard Labouliere, 29, of Bristol. 

He was charged with criminal attempt at robbery in the third degree, criminal attempt at larceny second degree, assault in the third degree, breach of peace in the second degree, illegal possession of narcotics and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Labouliere was held on a $50,000 surety and is due on Monday at the Superior Court in Bristol.

Photo Credit: Bristol Police]]>
<![CDATA[Secret Service Threatened to Shoot Mr. Met: Book]]> Fri, 18 Apr 2014 09:11:15 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/mr-met-cohen.jpg

A Secret Service agent once threatened to shoot Mr. Met if he approached the president during a baseball game at Shea Stadium, according to a man who once worked as the baseball-headed mascot.

AJ Mass, who was the Mets’ mascot from 1994 to 1997, said a member of former President Bill Clinton’s security detail told him they’d “go for the kill shot” if he tried to pal around with the then-commander-in-chief at a Mets-Dodgers game on April 15, 1997. The account comes from an excerpt of Mass’ new book, “Yes, It’s Hot in Here: Adventures in the Weird, Woolly World of Sports Mascots,” published on Sports Illustrated’s website this week.

Mass wrote that he had planned to make his way to see Clinton, who was at the game commemorating the 50th anniversary of Jackie Robinson’s first major-league appearance, calling the photo-op "the holy grail for all mascots."

Before he could make it to the president’s box, Mass wrote, he was stopped by an agent in a dark suit and a businesslike demeanor.

“We have snipers all around the stadium, just in case something were to happen,” the agent told Mass. “Like I said, do whatever it is you normally do. Nobody will bother you. But approach the president, and we go for the kill shot. Are we clear?”

Then the agent, who Mass wrote was staring into the mouth of Mr. Met’s head to make eye contact with the man inside, repeated himself.

“Approach the president, and we go for the kill shot,” the agent said to Mass. “ARE-WE-CLEAR?”

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>