<![CDATA[NBC Connecticut - Top Stories]]> Copyright 2015 http://www.nbcconnecticut.com/news/top-stories http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/NBC_Connecticut.png NBC Connecticut http://www.nbcconnecticut.com en-us Tue, 03 Mar 2015 02:21:50 -0500 Tue, 03 Mar 2015 02:21:50 -0500 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[More Snow Moving in Tuesday]]> Mon, 02 Mar 2015 23:35:54 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/march+2+snow+map+new.jpg

Winter weather advisories have been issued statewide ahead of another storm that will drop 2-4 inches of snow across Connecticut tomorrow night before changing over to ice.

Light snow will begin to fall in the Waterbury region around 4:30 p.m. and will move west across the state by 6 p.m., according to Chief First Alert Meteorologist Brad Field.

Snow will fall at a moderate to heavy rate through the evening before turning to ice. We'll receive another 2-4 inches of snow, sleet and freezing rain by the time the storm moves out early Wednesday morning.

Road conditions will deteriorate quickly once snow begins to fall and will make for slippery travel during the Tuesday evening commute and into the night.

Highs will hover around 30 degrees Tuesday and 40 degrees on Wednesday. We could see some rain showers Wednesday and are keeping an eye on another, possibly more significant storm that will impact the state Wednesday night into Thursday.

Send your snow photos to shareit@nbcconnecticut.com.

<![CDATA[Greek Orthodox Priest Killed in Norwich Crash]]> Mon, 02 Mar 2015 22:02:09 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Matthew+Baker+Norwich+crash.jpg

A 37-year-old Greek Orthodox priest died in a crash on Route 2 in Norwich on Sunday afternoon, according to state police.

Police said Matthew Baker, of Danielson, was driving a 2002 Dodge Caravan west on Route 2 just prior to 4 p.m. Sunday when he lost control. He was thrown from the van when it crossed into the snow-covered median and rolled several times before stopping on the east side of the highway.

The Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Boston has identified him as the Rev. Fr. Matthew Baker and said he was recently reassigned to the Holy Trinity Parish of Norwich.

Baker was traveling home from the parish with his children, according to the church. Police said Baker's six kids, ages 2 to 11, all suffered minor injuries and are being released from the hospital.

Baker became a Greek Orthodox priest in January 2014. He made a name for himself in the orthodox community, as well as the parish in Norwich, gaining a reputation as an intellectual and a man committed to the spiritual needs of his parish.

"He was very quick to form deep relationships. It was very easy to talk to him, and to feel as if you had known him for a very long time," said Fr. Nick Dellermann, of St. Nicholas Church in Norwich.

Fr. Dean Panagos, of St. Sophia Church in New London, said Baker was the kind of man and priest who connected quickly with worshipers.

"We went to lunch one day and an hour and a half lunch ended being almost four and a half hours of talking as if I knew him all my life," Panagos said. "That's a kind of loving priest, a scholar, but very personable."

A GoFundMe page set up to support Baker's family raised almost $181,000 in 16 hours. The goal is to collect $250,000.

Baker's widow, Presvytera Katherine Baker, posted an update on the crowd-funding page Monday evening.

"The kids and I are in very good hands. We have been cared for & loved beyond believe," she wrote. "We have everything we need right now... mostly I need prayers and I need your outpouring to still be there down the road a bit... it's overwhelming right now... we may need to spread it out over time."

Baker's wake will be held from 6-9 p.m. Friday, March 6 at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in Norwich, followed by the funeral at 11 a.m. Saturday, March 7 at the Church of the Annunciation in Cranston, Rhode Island.

Police ask anyone with information about the crash to call State Police Trooper Scott Pierce at 860-848-6500, ext. 5075.

Photo Credit: Photo of Father Baker from Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Boston]]>
<![CDATA[Norwich Parish Mourns Priest Killed in Norwich Crash]]> Mon, 02 Mar 2015 23:36:49 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/candles+for+father+baker.jpg

The Greek Orthodox community in Norwich is mourning the death of its recently installed priest, who died in a crash on Route 2 over the weekend.

Rv. Father Matthew Baker was supposed to have led Monday’s service at the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church, but instead it became a memorial to him.

“We’ve only known him five weeks but the man just loved Christ and it just exuded from him. He was just a wonderful, wonderful priest,” said Bozrah resident Kay Booth.

According to police, the 37-year-old priest drove off Route 2 and into the median just west of Norwich during Sunday's snowstorm.

Baker was thrown from the minivan and died. His six children, who were also in the van, suffered minor injuries but are expected to be fine.

“He had a lovely family, just angelic, beautiful children,” said Booth.

A GoFundMe page has now raised more than a quarter-million dollars for Baker's widow and children. His wife posted an update Monday night, thanking community members for their support.

“We have everything we need right now... mostly I need prayers and I need your outpouring to still be there down the road a bit... it's overwhelming right now... we may need to spread it out over time,” she wrote.

The family did not attend Monday’s service, which was emotionally charged and difficult for the priest who is now temporarily filling in for Baker.

After years of studying, Baker was ordained about a year ago.

“It’s a brotherhood and when a brother dies it affects all of us especially one who was so young,” said Father Dean Panagos, of St. Sophia Church in New London.
The wake is set for Friday, March 6 from 5-9 p.m. at the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in Norwich. A funeral will be held the next morning at the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church in Cranston, Rhode Island. Viewing will take place beforehand.

A friend of the family says Baker’s wife is searching for 10 icons that went missing from the van and were likely lost in the snow during the crash. If someone finds them, the family would like them returned to the church.

Photo Credit: Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Boston/NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Company Fined $89K for Chemical Spill in Wallingford]]> Mon, 02 Mar 2015 19:49:41 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/osha-600.jpg

A nationwide shipping company is facing up to $89,000 in fines after failing to protect its workers from a dangerous chemical spill and potential explosion in Wallingford last October, according to the Occupational Health and Safety Administration.

Authorities said employees of R+L Carriers Shared Services LLC were using a forklift to move barrels of highly flammable tetrahydrofuran on Oct. 6, 2014 when a 55-gallon drum was punctured. The barrel began leaking through a truck bed and onto the floor, according to OSHA.

Employees roped off the area and tried to mop up the spill but had no guidance, no training and no equipment to protect them, OSHA said, asserting that the spill exposed them to chemical, fire and explosion hazards.

OSHA also said the forklift was not being used properly.

R+L Carriers was cited for two repeat violations and four serious violations, indicating employees faced potentially life-threatening situations that could have been prevented by proper oversight. The repeat violations stem from prior incidents at the company’s Chicago terminal.

The company employees 9,000 workers, 45 of whom are based in Wallingford, and is headquartered in Ohio. R+L Carriers has 15 days to meet with OSHA or contest the findings.

<![CDATA[Woman Raped After Meeting Man Through Dating App: Police]]> Mon, 02 Mar 2015 21:30:58 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Timmy+Turner+Junior+Rape+Suspect+1200.JPG

New Haven police have arrested a Waterbury man accused of raping a woman he met through a dating app in what authorities are calling a "pretty horrific crime."

The victim, a 22-year-old Massachusetts woman, contacted police at 1:50 a.m. Monday to report that she’d been raped at a multi-family home on Edgewood Avenue in New Haven.

She told officers she’d met a man, later identified as Timothy, or "Timmy," Turner Jr., 26, of Waterbury, through an app called “Tagged,” and he invited her over, according to police.

As Turner was leading the victim upstairs, he pulled out a gun and raped her on the second floor landing, police said.

While the woman was on the phone with police, she told them she believed Turner was still in the building. Officers arrived to see Turner open a door on the third floor. He closed it when he saw police and stayed inside for a while before surrendering himself, according to police.

Police said Turner was visiting a relative at the home on Edgewood Avenue.

He was arrested and charged with aggravated sexual assault in the first degree, unlawful restraint in the first degree, threatening in the first degree, reckless endangerment in the first degree and breach of peace in the second degree.

Authorities are warning residents of the potential dangers of dating apps.

"This is unfortunately something we're seeing a little bit more of," said New Haven police spokesman Officer David Hartman. "We don't blame the app or dating site itself, but they do become an avenue for criminals to meet their victims."

If you choose to meet up with someone from a dating app, go to a public place and make sure a friend or family member knows where you'll be. Whenever possible, have someone available to help if anything goes wrong.

"She was dropped off as if nothing could go wrong, and obviously, and unfortunately, something went terribly wrong," Hartman said.

Photo Credit: New Haven Police]]>
<![CDATA[Female Serial Bank Robber Escaped From Custody: Cops]]> Mon, 02 Mar 2015 16:53:39 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/jennifer+labbe.jpg

Police have identified the woman accused of holding up banks in Cromwell, East Hartford, Vernon, Wallingford and Wethersfield as 27-year-old Jennifer Labbe, who was recently released from prison and escaped custody.

Cromwell police said during a news conference Monday afternoon that DNA evidence has linked Labbe to the crimes. She was released from the York Correctional Institution in Niantic on Jan. 20 and disappeared days later from a Hartford residential facility.

Labbe, a convicted felon, was imprisoned for committing a home invasion and is wanted by Connecticut State Police for escaping custody, according to the Cromwell Police Department.

She is held responsible for nearly half a dozen robberies in the capitol region since Feb. 6 and is believed to be working alone. Cromwell police said Labbe has never shown a weapon but implied to bank tellers that she was carrying a gun.

Police have described Labbe as transient and said she's known to frequent Waterbury, Thomaston and Hartford.

The Mid-State Detective Squad is investigating, and the Connecticut Bankers Reward Association is offering a $2,000 reward for information leading to her arrest.

Anyone with information on her whereabouts is urged to call Cromwell police at 860-635-2256.

Photo Credit: Cromwell Police Department]]>
<![CDATA[Parent's Message to Middle Schoolers Perceived as Threat]]> Mon, 02 Mar 2015 15:42:35 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/askfm+screenshot.jpg

The parent of a Southington Middle School student posted an anonymous comment online over the weekend warning students they would be "in for a surprise come Monday," and someone else followed up with a second message urging students to stay home, according to police.

Police said the mother posted the warning on the anonymous website ask.fm after reading comments posted to her child's page. She told investigators she intended only to bring attention to some of the things students were writing and had plans to report the comments to school officials.

Another person, who has not been identified, responded to the mom's post by writing, "Don't go to School Monday," according to police. It's not clear if that person knew anything about the mother or her motive.

Police said they notified the Southington Board of Education of their investigation.

<![CDATA[Man in Critical Condition After Hartford Shooting]]> Mon, 02 Mar 2015 15:25:05 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/3215+hartford+shooting+edited.jpg

A 30-year-old man is in critical condition after being shot several times after an altercation in Hartford on Monday afternoon. 

The shooting happened at 150 Albany Avenue, near East Street, according to city officials, and the victim has been taken to Saint Francis Hospital.

The victim's injuries are believed to be life-threatening.

A lockdown at Saint Francis Hospital was also connected to the shooting.

The hospitalw as locked down at 12:44 p.m., but has since been lifted,

Patients were still admitted to the emergency department during the lockdown and ambulances were not diverted.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[AG Raises Concerns About Software on Lenovo Devices]]> Mon, 02 Mar 2015 15:58:59 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/lenovo.JPG

Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen is looking into Lenovo and the software company Superfish amid concerns that some personal computers come pre-installed with software that could potentially expose them to hackers.

Jepsen sent letters to executives at Lenovo Group Ltd. and Superfish, asking for information about software that tracks users' web searching and browsing activity to place ads on the sites they visit.

According to published reports, Superfish Visual Discovery is in the operating system of certain Lenovo personal computers sold from about September 2014 to January 2015, making it difficult for common antivirus products to detect or remove it. Many people don’t know it exists on their personal computer, Jepsen said, but yet the software allegedly facilitates the ability of hackers to access a user's computer.

"It's extremely concerning that, based on published reports, Lenovo installed this software – which appears to have no meaningful benefit to the consumer – on devices without the purchaser's knowledge," Jepsen said in a statement. "It is bad enough that the company sold consumers computers pre-loaded with software designed to track their browsing without alerting them. Even more alarming is that the software reportedly has a significant security vulnerability, putting computer users at risk of hacking. After consultation with technical experts, I have opened an investigation and asked both Lenovo and Superfish to provide information in order for me to determine if they have violated Connecticut's laws prohibiting unfair and deceptive trade practices."

According to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Lenovo personal computers with the pre-installed software contain “a critical vulnerability” through a compromised root CA certificate.

Lenovo has indicated in public reports that it has stopped preloading the Superfish software on its devices and has created a fix to purge the software and the certificate from computer systems.

"While I'm pleased that Lenovo has taken steps to remedy this problem, the fact remains that it intentionally sold an as yet unknown number of Connecticut consumers computers loaded with software to track their Web activity without telling them and, in the process, endangered their personal information," said Attorney General Jepsen.

Assistant Attorneys General Jonathan Blake and Matthew Fitzsimmons, chair of the Attorney General's Privacy Task Force, are assisting Jepsen.


Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Tsarnaev's 4th Venue Change Motion]]> Mon, 02 Mar 2015 20:13:22 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/TLMD-tsarnaev-maraton-boston-2.JPG

The United States District Court denied the fourth change of venue motion filed Monday by lawyers for the surviving accused Boston Marathon bomber, just days before opening statements are slated to begin in the trial.

In addition, the court denied the defense motion to dismiss Tsarnaev's indictment. 

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's lawyers argue in this motion and earlier motions have argued it isn't possible for their client to receive a fair trial in Boston. In this latest filing, they say that the voir dire of prospective jurors hasn't cured any presumptive prejudice in the case.

Tsarnaev has pleaded not guilty to planting two bombs near the Boston Marathon finish line in April 2013, killing three people and injuring more than 260 others. His older brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, was killed in a shooting between authorities days later in nearby Watertown.

Opening statements are slated to begin Wednesday at 9 a.m. 

Photo Credit: Art Lien]]>
<![CDATA[Hail Blankets SoCal Beach Shoreline]]> Mon, 02 Mar 2015 18:46:48 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/HuntingtonBeach_sm.jpg

The white stuff blanketing Southern California’s Huntington Beach on Monday was not powdery sand.

It was hail.

People of all shapes and sizes flocked to the beach to snap images of the white stuff covering the Orange County shoreline.

But Eric Boldt, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, said despite the Twitter frenzy of photos, this is not all that unusual.

“Any time a thunderstorm moves over and there’s a little bit of ice,” this phenomenon happens, he said. “For once, we’re having a normal winter precipitation.” He also insisted that it was hail dotting the beach, not snow.

Other parts of California saw weird weather over the weekend as well. In the Bay Area, it hailed in San Jose on Sunday, and even snowed a bit on the hillsides.

Boldt said that weather conditions should warm up by Tuesday.

Photo Credit: Sam Archaga, @SamArchaga
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<![CDATA[Talenti Recalls Sea Salt Caramel Gelato]]> Mon, 02 Mar 2015 18:45:54 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/talenti+gelato+sea+salt+caramel.jpg

Stop & Shop is pulling Talenti Sea Salt Caramel Gelato from its shelves following a company recall over possible peanut traces, according to a news release from the supermarket chain.

The gelato may contain peanuts not listed on the label and is safe to eat for everyone who does not have a peanut allergy. Stop & Shop said the supermarket has not received reports of any allergic reactions.

The affected gelato comes in a 1-pint container with UPC 18685200024 and an expiration date of May 19, 2016, according to Stop & Shop.

Allergy symptoms can include hives, rash, itchy or tingling mouth, facial swelling, vomiting and diarrhea, abdominal cramps, coughing or wheezing, dizziness, swelling of the threat, trouble breathing and even loss of consciousness.

Anyone who purchased the product is urged to throw it out and bring the receipt back to Stop & Shop for a refund.

More information is available by calling Talenti/Unilever customer service at 877-270-7393 or Stop & Shop customer service at 800-767-7772.

Photo Credit: Flickr/Lee LeBlanc]]>
<![CDATA[Massive Blaze Rages at Pa. Plant]]> Tue, 03 Mar 2015 01:08:27 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/philly-fire-3.gif

Heavy flames and plumes of black smoke could be seen for miles Monday as firefighters battled a massive, explosive fire at a Montgomery County sheet metal plant.

The five-alarm fire began at Trico Metal Products, a sheet metal fabricator business on the 2300 block of Wyandotte Road in Upper Moreland around 5:20 p.m. Officials said there were reports of an explosion prior to the blaze.

A front wall and back wall of the facility collapsed as numerous explosions from overheated compressed gas cylinders inside the plant put responding firefighters at risk.

"There are no hazardous materials or anything that affected the community," said Willow Grove Fire Chief Brian Focht. "However, as a danger to firefighters there were multiple explosions and a building collapse."

The entire building as well as surrounding businesses and homes were evacuated. No injuries were reported.

Firefighters were finally able to bring the flames under control around 8 p.m. The business, which stood for more than 50 years providing sheet metal to manufacturers, was gutted after the fire consumed the roof and all of the first floor. 

The plant is located next to the Pennsylvania Turnpike and caused major backup as well as delays on I-276 in all directions between Exit 339 - PA 309 and Exit 343 - PA 611.

"The Turnpike eastbound is running very slowly between Welsh Road and 611," said NBC10 Photo Journalist Jim Friedman, who was at the scene of the fire. "When I got off the 611 Interchange there were just cars everywhere. There are detours set up all over the place." 

Friedman told NBC10 one of the hydrants was frozen during the fire, making it difficult for firefighters to fight the massive flames. Friedman also took photos of two aerial nozzles, one of which was not working.

Around 900 PECO customers in the area were without power due to the fire. Power was restored to all but 42 of the customers as of 8:45 p.m.

The Montgomery County Fire Marshal is investigating but has not yet been able to access the building to determine a cause.


Photo Credit: NBC Philadelphia]]>
<![CDATA[Hartford Schools Consider Changing Snow Policy]]> Mon, 02 Mar 2015 18:02:31 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Some_Question_No_School_Call_in_Hartford_2_1200x675_406801987542.jpg

Another winter storm Sunday meant another parking ban in Hartford, prompting the city to cancel school so residents could park in school lots. Now the city is considering a policy change.

"We may look for a different policy," explained the mayor's spokesperson, Maribel La Luz.

Carlos DelValle has two children in Hartford schools. We caught up with him as he cleared his car at Bulkeley High School, where he parked during the city's latest parking ban.

"Kids in school and no parking ban, yes. I mean, I can see if it was nine, 10 inches of snow... but for something like this? No. No. Kids should have been in school," said DelValle. "They did not need this parking ban last night, no."

Hartford was one of only a few districts in Connecticut that canceled classes because of the storm, which dropped about four inches in the city.

Most districts opened late.

Because residents are allowed to keep their cars in school lots during citywide parking bans, plows were unable to clear the parking lots, preventing access to schools.

City officials said they consider the impact on schools every time they implement a parking ban, which likely means schools will close so streets can be cleared for public safety reasons.

"We're asking for a little more patience. We have been hit with a lot of snow," said La Luz.

La Luz said discussions between city and school district officials about the parking policy will take place soon.

Not all residents were upset with the city's decision to implement a parking ban and close schools Monday.

"There was a lot of snow yesterday, so I think whenever there's a lot of snow it's necessary so they can clean up the streets and everything can be cleaned up," said Chris Bogle, a Hartford resident who also parked at Bulkeley High School during the ban.

La Luz said the city also has to consider the condition of sidewalks and the safety of people on board the 500 buses that transport children to and from Hartford schools every day.

"No one really wants schools closed," she said.

A spokesman for Hartford Public Schools did not return a request for comment.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Police Respond to Crash by Ethel Walker School]]> Mon, 02 Mar 2015 17:49:49 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/police-lights-shutterstock_1318124123.jpg

Bushy Hill Road is closed near the Ethel Walker School in Simsbury following a crash Monday evening, according to police.

Police said a car is being towed from the scene. The road is shut down between Sand Hill Road and Deer Park Road and is expected to reopen by 6 p.m.

There has been no word on injuries.

Check back for updates.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[Chicago Man Delivers Baby on Road]]> Mon, 02 Mar 2015 17:57:17 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Eisenhower_Baby_Camila_3_2_15_B.jpg

A Chicago man rushing his pregnant wife to the hospital delivered their 8-pound, 1-ounce baby girl on the side of the road after Mom suddenly went into labor in the car en route Monday morning.

Javier Sanchez was headed to McNeil Hospital in Berwyn overnight after his wife started having contractions around 3 a.m. But on his way to the hospital, Sanchez said the family had to exit the Eisenhower Expressway at South Austin Boulevard when the contractions grew faster.

He pulled over in the 800 block of South Austin Boulevard and delivered his baby girl.

"I'm on the highway, so I come out," Sanchez said. "I tried to make it to the hospital, but I can't. The baby's come out."

An ambulance met them and took the mother and baby girl to West Suburban Medical Center.

"The call was that mom delivered in the car, she was not finished with the afterbirth process," said Donald Reese, a doctor at West Suburban Medical Center.

Reese said his biggest concern was the newborn's possible exposure to cold during the frigid March morning.

"The baby was only a little cold," he said. "Mom did a wonderful job of keeping her warm."

Camila Sanchez weighed 8 pounds, 1 ounce. Officials say she and her mother are both in good condition.

Photo Credit: West Suburban Medical Center and Westlake Hospital]]>
<![CDATA[2 Killed in Fla. Small Plane Crash]]> Mon, 02 Mar 2015 18:57:41 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/planecrashpbc.jpg

Two people were killed when their small plane crashed in the Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge in Palm Beach County Monday, officials said.

The single-engine plane went down just before 1 p.m. in a marsh area near Lee Road and State Road 7 in Boynton Beach, and sheriff's officials responded, fire officials said.

The plane had taken off from Palm Beach County Park/Lantana Airport with two people on board, FAA officials said.

Two bodies were found at the crash scene, Palm Beach County Fire Rescue later confirmed in a tweet. The victims haven't been identified.

Footage showed firefighters at the scene spraying water on the wreckage. Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officials were also at the scene.

The FAA and NTSB have been notified, fire rescue officials said.

No further details were immediately available.

<![CDATA[New Milford Man Arrested on Attempted Murder Charge]]> Mon, 02 Mar 2015 17:12:26 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Johnny+Cruz+mug.jpg

Police in Danbury have arrested a 36-year-old New Milford man on charges of attempted murder.

Johnny Cruz was arrested at his home on Summit Drive in New Milford on Sunday evening. He has been charged with criminal attempt at murder.

Cruz's bond was set at $500,000 ahead of his arraignment Monday.

Police said Bridgeport detectives helped with the investigation, but since the arrest warrant is sealed, they have not released any details of the allegations against Cruz.

Photo Credit: Danbury Police Department]]>
<![CDATA[WATCH: Truck Pursuit in SoCal]]> Mon, 02 Mar 2015 21:53:35 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/224*120/budget+truck+stolen.jpg

A brazen thief led police on a 60-mile, slow-speed pursuit Monday in a stolen moving truck filled with old junk to be recycled before police spike strips punctured the tires and the driver surrendered peacefully.

The pursuit began on a report of a stolen Budget truck at Sheldon Street and San Fernando Road in Sun Valley, police said. It ended on a freeway transition road near Fontana.

The truck was rented Friday from Budget rentals.

Sharon Pereida said it was filled with used furniture and an old clothes dryer she got from an abandoned storage unit.

The truck was stolen when she had gone to Sun Valley Paper Stock to recycle a load of paper. When she went inside to get her money, the thief took off with the truck. An employee of the recycling company jumped into a car, tried to chase him and reported to police the truck's location.

"I come to the door and Marco, my son, goes running and says, 'They stole our truck,'" she said. "I said, 'No! Never, ever leave your keys, even for a half minute.'

"Luckily nobody lost their life and everything was replaceable."

Pereida said her assistant left her cellphone in the truck — and the thief called her from that cellphone twice but never spoke. Finally he threw the phone out the window.

When he finally made his way onto the northbound 15 near Fontana, the CHP used a spike strip to flatten the truck's tires. He surrendered when police approached the truck with guns drawn and a police dog on a leash.

Pereida said she doesn't care about the belongings inside the truck and is mostly unhappy her assistant lost her cellphone.

The thief, who has not been identified, is behind bars facing a felony evading charge.

Asher Klein contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: KNBC-TV]]>
<![CDATA[Mechanic Dies in DFW Airport Mishap]]> Mon, 02 Mar 2015 23:52:52 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/AA-OSTANG.jpg

A mechanic who had worked for American Airlines for 30 years died Monday after falling from a jet bridge at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport.

NBC 5 has learned the mechanic was closing and locking the door on a Boeing 767 at about 10:30 a.m. when he somehow slipped and fell about 14 feet from the jet bridge to the ground below.

The plane, sources said, had just been moved from a maintenance hangar to Gate D30.

Emergency responders with the airport treated and transported the man to a hospital, airport officials said.

Transport Workers Union Local 591 identified the man as aircraft maintenance technician Dave Ostang and asked for thoughts and prayers for his family.

American Airlines has confirmed the employee's death, but did not confirm his name or specifics about the incident in a statement released to the media Monday.

"We extend our deepest sympathies to our co-worker's family and friends, and our hearts go out to our entire team of DFW airport and maintenance colleagues. Our focus is on taking care of his family and friends during this difficult time,” the airline said in a statement.

A jet bridge is the elevated gangway used by passengers to walk from the terminal to an airplane.

Ostang was remembered by friends Monday night at a Knights of Columbus meeting he likely would have attended.

“We all have this hole in our heart, this sadness of loss,” said Eric McKuzes, Grand Knight and friend.

Ostang, a father and veteran, was a member of the group for years.

“I just couldn't believe it. I didn't believe it when they told me,” said McKuzes. “As the day goes on, you find out the facts, it’s just sad he’s not here.”

The Knight of Columbus are known for supporting the church and families in need. Now, one of their own families is in need of support.

“That’s what we'll be doing, looking at ways so that we can help his family get through this,” said McKuzes.

NBC 5's Ray Villeda and Katy Blakey contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: www.local591.com]]>
<![CDATA[Group Jumps Man at Norwalk Gas Station]]> Mon, 02 Mar 2015 16:07:24 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/norwalk+assault+suspects+edit.jpg

Police are searching for three people who attacked a man at a Norwalk gas station early Wednesday morning.

According to police, the victim was targeted because he was carrying a large amount of cash.

The suspects confronted him at the Mobil gas station at 219 East Avenue in Norwalk around 4:45 a.m. Feb. 28. They hurt him but didn't take anything, according to police.

One suspect was wearing a black-and-white hooded jacket with black sleeves with white stars and some sort of graphic and strips across the front.

Another wore a white jacket with black stars on the sleeves, and the third was wearing a black hooded sweatshirt and jeans, according to police.

They got away in a newer-model gray four-door sedan, possibly a Honda Accord, according to police.

Anyone with information is urged to call Norwalk police Det. Justin Bisceglie at 203-854-3181 or send an email to jbisceglie@norwalkct.org.

Photo Credit: Norwalk Police Department]]>
<![CDATA[LAPD Body Cam Shooting Video Probed]]> Tue, 03 Mar 2015 01:08:07 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/150301-downtown-la-ois-skid-row.jpg

A man shot dead by Los Angeles police had "forcibly" tried to grab for one officer's holstered weapon during the fatal Skid Row struggle captured on body cam video, Los Angeles' police chief said Monday.

A screengrab from one of several witness videos shows that the man, the subject of a 911 call to report a robbery, reached for an officer's waist where his holstered weapon was located Sunday during the altercation before officers shot and killed him, Chief Charlie Beck said at a Monday morning news conference.

The slide of the officer's gun was partly engaged, and its magazine was dislodged, indicating it was part of struggle, Beck said as he displayed pictures of the weapon.

He also said an officer in the video said "He has my gun" several times before three other officers opened fire in what the chief described as a tragedy.

"He forcibly grabbed one of the officers' holstered pistols," Beck said, adding that a round had been partially ejected from the gun's chamber. "This is indicative of a struggle over the weapon.

"This is an extreme tragedy. We feel great compassion in the LAPD for people who live in conditions of homelessness and, often, mental illness with no treatment. We prepare our officers to deal as best we can with them, but the reality is this much more than a problem that police along can solve."

Mayor Eric Garcetti was expected to discuss the case at a 1 p.m. meeting with staff members.

Two Los Angeles Police Department officers involved in Sunday's altercation that led to the fatal shooting were wearing a body cameras, providing police with another video for review in the department investigation, Beck said Monday.

Video from the camera was being obtained Sunday night by the LAPD's special Force Investigative Division, LAPD Commander Andrew Smith said Monday morning.

Several witness videos also show the midday shooting that occurred after the victim of the robbery report pointed officers to the man on Skid Row. Officers responding to the robbery report encountered the man in 500 block of South San Pedro Street, outside of the Union Rescue Mission.

The man can be seen on a bystander's video recording swinging his arms as officers approach. The man repeatedly refused to comply with officers' commands and a stun gun had "little effect," Beck said.

"While on the ground, the suspect and officers struggled over one of the officer's handguns and then an officer-involved shooting occurred," the LAPD said in a statement.

Officers first used a stun gun on the man, whose identity was not released early Monday. At least five rounds were fired, police said.

"They struggled with him, they tried to Tase him a couple of times," said Smith. "That was ineffective. Eventually, the struggle occurred where the officers were struggling with the individual over the officer's weapon."

The subject died at the scene. Two officers suffered minor injuries.

Video from the Rescue Mission's security camera reveals the man was involved in an earlier altercation with another person some 40 minutes before police arrived.

It was not immediately clear whether the body camera video would be released. In December, the city announced it would purchase 7,000 of the cameras, worn on the front of an officer's uniform. The announcement was an expansion to the existing pilot program that provided 600 body cameras through private donations.

Police also plan to interview witnesses and have asked others with video to come forward. LAPD also has contacted Union Rescue Mission to determine whether its camera system captured the shooting.

President Barack Obama announced late last year that he wants $263 million in federal funds to go toward training police officers and buying body cameras. The request came in the wake of protests over a grand jury's decision not to indict the white police officer who killed Michael Brown, an unarmed, 18-year-old black man, in Ferguson, Missouri.

Photo Credit: KNBC/KVEA]]>
<![CDATA[Farmington K-9 Retires After 9 Years of Service]]> Mon, 02 Mar 2015 14:50:16 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/farmington+police+k-9+drak+edit.jpg

A Farmington police K-9 is retiring after nine years of service, and the department is sending him off with a reception Tuesday afternoon.

The police department will say goodbye to "Drak" at 2 p.m. Tuesday, thanking him and his handler, Officer Capodiferro, for nearly a decade of police work.

Farmington police will also introduce their new K-9 team of "Ryker" and his partner, Officer Mortensen.

Photo Credit: Farmington Police Department]]>
<![CDATA[SoCal Teens Find Teacher Hanging]]> Mon, 02 Mar 2015 23:26:35 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/199*120/3-2-15-jillian+jacobson.jpg

Crisis counselors were called to an Orange County high school Monday morning after a group of students discovered their teacher hanged herself inside a locked classroom, officials said.

The students at El Dorado High School in Placentia found the photography teacher, 31-year-old Jillian Jacobson, about 8:30 a.m., Placentia police said.

The students arrived before school started to find the classroom door locked, Placentia Police Lt. Eric Point said. They got a teacher to unlock the door, when they then found the woman inside.

"She was just really involved in her students' lives," student Lacie Urquhart said. "She would ask everybody how their weekend was. If you were down, she would try to help you. She was just a very kind, loving person."

Jacobson worked at the high school since 2008, and she taught art camp during summer at Cal State Fullerton.

Parents of students at the school told NBC4 Jacobson, a wife who lived in Anaheim, had empathy for her students because her own father committed suicide.

The district sent crisis counselors to the school to comfort the students and staff and provide support, and they will remain available through the week.

Point said the students from her class were sent home for the day.

Photo Credit: El Dorado High School]]>
<![CDATA[Man Attacked Cops, EMT After Drunken Car Jumping]]> Mon, 02 Mar 2015 14:53:54 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Milford+Police+cruiser1200.jpg

Milford police have arrested two brothers after police officers and medics were assaulted during a drunken rampage on Saturday night, police said.

Police responded to a Spring Street home at 11:48 p.m. on Saturday to investigate reports that a drunken man was jumping on parked cars, police said and found Michael Assad, 23, and Anthony Assad, 24, who became combative with police, police said.

Michael is accused of hitting one officer with a door, hitting another in the face and throwing a car battery and other objects at the officers, police said. He also head-butted and kicked an emergency medical services employee who was treating him for injuries he sustained while damaging a window at the home, police said.

Police said Anthony Assad fled from the area and refused to comply the officers.

Michael Assad has been charged with two counts of assault on emergency personnel, second-degree breach of peace and interfering with police.

He was held on $100,000 bond.

Anthony Assad has been charged with second-degree breach of peace and interfering with police.
He was released on a promise to appear and is due in court on March 24.

<![CDATA[Women Jumped From Burning Bridgeport Home]]> Mon, 02 Mar 2015 16:13:41 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Fire+at+Lindley+and+Winston+streets+Bridgeport+LS+1200.jpg

Two women suffered head and back injuries when they jumped from the second floor of a burning home at 100 Lindley Street in Bridgeport on Monday morning.

Officials said they received calls around 9 a.m. reporting that people were trapped and jumping from the 2-story home. They rushed to the scene and found heavy fire coming from the front and left of the building.

A total of four people were injured in the blaze. Authorities said another female resident was hurt when she slipped on ice, and firefighters brought out a male resident who was disoriented. Fire officials said everyone is expected to survive.

The fire was under control by about 10:40 a.m., but the front porch of the house collapsed. The home has been deemed uninhabitable, according to the fire department. Eight residents have been displaced.

Officials said the blaze did not spread to surrounding buildings.

The American Red Cross is helping seven adults in three families with emergency needs, including food, clothing and shelter.

Photos from the scene this morning showed smoke and emergency vehicles, including at least one ambulance.

The Greater Bridgeport Transit Authority responded and is keeping the evacuated residents warm. Mass Care and Rehab Staging Area was set up at the corner of River and Winston streets.

Fire officials have asked residents to avoid the area.

The cause of blaze remains under investigation.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com
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<![CDATA["Nothing Gloomy": Sen. Barbara Mikulski in Her Own Words]]> Mon, 02 Mar 2015 19:54:11 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/milkulski-AP120716033168.jpg

She is known as the dean of the Senate among her women colleagues. She is often described as feisty.

And after she became the chairwoman of the Appropriations Committee, The New York Times reported that although her predecessors were loved and respected, she was feared.

On Monday, U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski, the longest-serving woman in Congress, announced that she would retire when her term ends in January 2017.

The Maryland Democrat became a senator in 1987 after 10 years in the U.S. House of Representatives, was the top Democrat on the Appropriations Committee and was the first woman to head it.

Mikulski has long had a reputation for being blunt. Here are some of her memorable comments:

In January 2014, announcing a bipartisan appropriations bill, Mikulski said the process involved no "cute and funnies," according to U.S. News and World Report.

"This wasn’t kind of fun and Kumbaya," she said. "This was hard work."

Of women who are strong and persistent, she told the same publication: "Men fear us, but that is the way they talked about their mothers when they said 'clean up your room.' We said 'clean up your act, it is time we do something to help the American people.'"

In August 2013, The New York Times described a reporter calling out "Madame Chairwoman" as he tried to keep up with her in a hallway.

"That's right, 'Madame Chairwoman.' I like it," she said without stopping.

In July of that year, Mikulski halted a hearing when a BuzzFeed reporter, Rosie Gray, tweeted that she was trying to keep other senators from asking the director of the National Security Agency about the agency's data mining programs, The Times also reported.

"There is no attempt here to muzzle, stifle any senator from asking any line of question," she responded to the tweet.

"So, Rosie, it's an open hearing. Hi, look forward to keeping in touch."

"OMG WHAT IS GOING ON," Gray then tweeted.

"@SenatorBarb, call me!"

In 2013, Slate reported that when Republicans tried to encourage the rumor that Mikulski was gay, she denied it. She joked to Bob Shrum, who was working for her campaign: "There was no Ted Kennedy who ever asked me out."

Senate Republicans in 2013 blocked a bill she had sponsored aimed at tightening a law that made it illegal to pay women less than men for comparable jobs.

"When I hear all these phony reasons, some are mean and some are meaningless, I do get emotional," Mikulski said of arguments against the legislation. "I get angry. I get outraged. I get volcanic."

When she first ran for the U.S. Senate, she was told she did not look like a senator.

"A lot of Americans, black or white or female, are always told that they don’t look the part," she said, according to Time magazine. "It’s one of the oldest code words.”

In her comments about her retirement on Monday, she reassured listeners about her decision.

"I want the people of Maryland to know there is nothing gloomy about this announcement," she said. "There's no health problem; I'm not frustrated with the Senate. The Senate will always be what the Senate is."

Torey Van Oot contributed to this article.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[State Comptroller Expects $101.2 Million Deficit ]]> Mon, 02 Mar 2015 13:36:21 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Kevin+Lembo+722.jpg

The state comptroller expects the state will close the current fiscal year with a $101.2 million deficit.

Connecticut Comptroller Kevin Lembo wrote to Gov. Dannel P. Malloy that his projection represents a $40 million increase in the state Office of Policy Management's last deficit calculation "as a result of  lower estimated income tax income tax collections."

A "federal change in capital gains" affected income tax receipts for fiscal years 2013 and 2014.

"Taxpayers shifted gains that were likely to occur in Fiscal Year 2014 to Fiscal Year 2013 in order to take advantage of the lower tax rates in place at that time," Lembo's office said in a news release.

While estimated income tax payments grew 4.9 percent in comparison to last year and the Office of Policy and Management reports it is "anticipating a rebound," Lembo said he "is not confident that the level of anticipated increase will be attained."

“In the past, these payments through January have provided an indication of the size of estimated and final payment receipts that can be expected in April,” Lembo said. “The OPM projection relies on a 20-percent variance between January and April. An increase of this scope has not occurred in the last decade."

Lembo also expressed concern that "trading volume that generates taxable receipts has been declining" since the stock market began recovering in 2009.

"It appears that one cause is an aging demographic that has shifted to lower risk portfolios with less trading volume," Lembo said. "Complicating matters further, volume has been heaviest at lower points in the market cycle, thus reducing the amount of taxable capital gains. For these reasons, I have reduced my income tax estimate by $40 million this month. I remain hopeful that April receipts will outpace my current projection, but I believe it is reasonable to lower expectations at this time.”

However, he said he believes "that the OPM savings target for the General Fund that now totals $276.8 million is attainable."

“Over the past five fiscal years, annual realized lapses have averaged $511.2 million. Although the current lapse target is a significant challenge, it is not inconsistent with past performance in difficult budget circumstances," Lembo said. “It should be noted that in past years legislative action has been required in many instances to attain the required savings level.”

As for the next proposed two-year state budget, the state is bracing for another $55 million in proposed cuts after budget chief Benjamin Barnes announced last week he had made a mistake in crafting the governor's biennial budget due to an issue with a vendor that helped calculate the state's spending cap.The formula used factored in data from the 2008 recession era, which led to a discrepancy between the actual spending cap and the one factored into Malloy's budget, he said.

<![CDATA[Tolland Intermediate School Dismissing Early]]> Mon, 02 Mar 2015 12:36:31 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/school+bus+generic+ct.jpg

Tolland Intermediate School is being dismissed early because of a power problem at the school Monday morning.

One of three lines bringing power to the school failed, according to Tolland Superintendent Walter Willett.

The school has a generator, but it's not powerful enough to resolve the issue, so the school is dismissing for the students' safety.

Utility crews are on scene making repairs and Willett expects the intermediate school to be open on Tuesday.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Madison Skiers Clinch World Cup Titles]]> Mon, 02 Mar 2015 11:45:18 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Mac+Bohonnon+1200.jpg

Two Madison residents on the United States ski team placed second in aerials events Sunday at the FIS Freestyle Ski World Cup in Minsk, Belarus, but clinched season titles in a historic moment for the team, according to team's website.

Mac Bohonnon, 19, of Madison, won the first crystal globe for the U.S. men's ski team since Jeret "Speedy" Peterson's in 2005, placing second in the aerials event and winning the overall World Cup title with 491 points, according to the U.S. ski team's website. 

"Unfortunately I did know how close I was to winning the globe, so I was pretty stressed out all day and just tried to eliminate that from my head. But yeah, jumping went well. It was a tough site. We only had one day of training and got used to it quick and had a good day. Sasha jumped really well," Bohonnon said on the U.S. ski team's website. 

He said on the ski team's website that winning the globe "is a dream come true."

"I’ve been thinking about it for a really long time. And to do it 10 years after Speedy did it feels really special,"Bohonnon said on the ski team's website. "He was a huge influence on me and motivated me to get in to the sport of aerials. He was always someone I looked up to when I was trying to get into aerials. To think that I’m in a similar category as him, the last person who won a globe, is pretty special."

Kiley McKinnon, of Madison, placed 14 points behind her teammate Ashley Caldwell, of Ashburn, Virginia, to take second place in the aerials event with a "full, double full" move" and win the overall World Cup title, according to the U.S. ski team. She earned a crystal globe and is the first to do so on the team since Nikki Stone in 1998, the ski team said on its website.

"It’s kind of hard to describe what just happened," McKinnon said on the U.S. ski team's website. "I can’t really explain the feeling, it’s amazing. I’m so proud of Mac and Ashley for also being up there on the podium. It’s been so long since a U.S. woman has gotten this globe. It just makes me feel so honored to represent the U.S. To have me and Mac together there on top, being from the same town in Connecticut, it’s just amazing. It’s such an awesome feeling and I’m so proud of the whole team for bringing the nations cup home. It’s something that we really wanted, so to be able to stand up there with the entire team and cheer together was spectacular. It was awesome."

In February of last year, Bohonnon made his Olympic debut in the freestyle skiing men's aerial event at Sochi, Russia. His hometown declared it Mac Bohonnon Day to honor him as he competed that day. He was the only American to advance to the final round, ultimately finishing in fifth place

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Schools Delayed, More Snow Tomorrow]]> Mon, 02 Mar 2015 10:24:34 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Michelle+Warner+vernon+1200.jpg

A storm dropped as much as eight inches of snow in part of the state since Sunday, several schools are delayed or closed and more snow could be on the way.

Snow showers began on Sunday morning and coated most of the state with 3 to 8 inches of snow, with towns in southern and southeastern Connecticut getting the most.

Sun is expected to emerge during the Monday morning commute, with temperatures possibly reaching the mid-30s throughout the day.

New London Mayor Justin Finizio urged residents to clear snow off roofs as more snow and rain is expected Tuesday.

The snow has also been piling up in Willimantic and Police Lt. Stanley Parizo encouraged drivers to leave more time before heading out to clear off their cars.

In Hartford, schools are closed Monday as crews work to clear school parking lots that were used for off-street parking during yet another city-wide parking ban due to the snow.

More snow could be headed our way on Tuesday evening when we could see a burst of snow dropping 1 to 4 inches ahead of another storm system.

The snow could mix with sleet, freezing rain and/or rain overnight as warmer air moves in, making for a messy Wednesday morning commute.

There could be heavy rain on Wednesday, which could cause problems on roofs with heavy snow buildup, so you may want to clear off the snow and ice beforehand. Temperatures may reach the 40s.

The air will begin to get colder again on Wednesday night, so there could be ice and more snow come Thursday morning. Temperatures will continue to drop at the end of the week.

Send your weather photos to shareit@nbcconnecticut.com.

Photo Credit: Michelle Warner, Vernon
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<![CDATA[Six Displaced in New Haven Fire]]> Mon, 02 Mar 2015 10:25:44 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/3215+New+Haven+Fire+Flames+edited.jpg

Six people from a large extended family are displaced after a fire broke out at a Winchester Avenue home in New Haven. 

A family that lived at the home for more than 40 years was inside 922 Winchester Avenue when the fire broke out in a bedroom at about 3:15 a.m., according to a family member who said he tried to put out the flames but that it spread too fast so he focused on getting his family out. He alerted his family members when he couldn't extinguish it on his own and they got out of the building before fire crews arrived.

"I didn’t have time to be scared. I just grabbed my nephew and got out," resident Charles Mitchner said. "I didn’t have time to be scared."

Five people were inside at the time and one person wasn't home when the fire ripped through the residence. The fire destroyed much of the upper floor of the home, where the fire began.

The New Haven Fire Department said that everyone has made it out safely, including an elderly woman and a small child.

"As soon as the water hits the ground, it ices up. There’s heavy snow," New Haven Battalion Chief William Gould said. "Members are trying to make perimeter of the building. To the rear, there’s at least a foot of snow in the rear.

Fire officials said that Monday's cold weather and the latest snowfall made fighting the fire especially tough. It took about three hours to put the fire out.

"The main thing is everyone is out safely," family member Gina Mitchner said, adding that seeing the house burn was difficult. "You can replace a house, but you can't replace a life."

The American Red Cross is providing assistance to the family.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation. Winchester Avenue has reopened after it was closed for several hours.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Yahoo! Turns 20 With a Yodel]]> Mon, 02 Mar 2015 12:29:52 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/163*120/AP97030303425_YahooFilo.jpg

Sunnyvale-based Yahoo is celebrating its 20th anniversary on Monday, and the employees — and the Nasdaq bell in New York — are yodeling for joy.

"We're thrilled," CFO Ken Goldman said before the Nasdaq yodeled, not rang, before the opening bell, a first on the New York stock exchange floor, according to Yahoo.

He said the Silicon Valley company has come a long way since being house in a construction trailer on the campus of Stanford University, saying it's now a "global tech company" with more than 1 billion customers.

It was in 1994 that Jerry Yang and David Filo, two Stanford University electrical engineers debuted "Jerry and David's Guide to the World Wide Web," according to — where else? — but Yahoo News.

In its first iteration, the site was a directory other pages on the web, organized in a hierarchy.

The pair renamed it Yahoo, an acronym for, "Yet Another Hierarchical Officious Oracle," and on March 2, 1995, it was incorporated. The search engine is no long the leader in search engine capability or email. But it does have a growing news site, and it’s now headed by CEO Marissa Mayer.

To mark the #YodelOn festivites, a customized Yahoo Y20 animation took over the Nasdaq billboard in New York Times Square, and in San Francisco, City Hall will light up in the company's favorite color: purple.

At lunchtime, Yahoo employees will link up online to try to break the Guinness World Record for the largest simultaneous yodel.

Click here to see what 20 Internet words didn't exist before Yahoo launched.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Last-Minute Tsarnaev Hearing]]> Mon, 02 Mar 2015 16:27:52 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/AP893081903628.jpg

With jury selection in the marathon bombing trial wrapping up and opening statements scheduled for Wednesday, the judge and attorneys tried to hash out some potentially important pending motions Monday.

In one of them, prosecutors argued the defense should not be allowed to present mitigating factors during the first phase, or the guilt phase, of the trial.

"If there’s a particular piece of evidence that the judge feels doesn’t go to that aspect of duress and is simply being offered to show what a nice guy he is, or what a good kid he was before this ever happened then the judge will exercise his discretion to exclude that piece of evidence," said necn legal editor Randy Chapman.

Chapman says Judge O’Toole likely reserved judgment on this so he could rule on it in a case-by-case manner.

The judge also didn’t rule on a defense motion to prevent the prosecution from cutting panels out the boat Tsarnaev allegedly hid in during the Watertown manhunt, showing writings he made that the prosecution alleges amount to a confession.

The defense says the boat should be kept intact and the jury can view the whole boat either outside court or in a warehouse somewhere, but to cut it up would be prejudicial.

"Simply because the boat happens to be extraordinarily large doesn’t mean that 1) the jury’s not able to see it, and 2) that it can’t be broken down into a format that will allow it to be introduced at least in part as to evidence," Chapman said.

The group of 70 provisionally qualified jurors will be back at court Tuesday, when attorneys will use peremptory challenges to whittle the group down to 12 jurors and six alternates. Opening statements are scheduled to begin Wednesday morning at 9 a.m.

Photo Credit: AP]]>