<![CDATA[NBC Connecticut - Top Stories]]>Copyright 2016http://www.nbcconnecticut.com/news/top-stories http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/NBC_Connecticut.png NBC Connecticut http://www.nbcconnecticut.comen-usWed, 25 May 2016 05:13:35 -0400Wed, 25 May 2016 05:13:35 -0400NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Body Found in Connecticut River in Middletown]]> Wed, 25 May 2016 04:54:34 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/police-tape-shutterstock_5628043315.jpg

A couple fishing called police when they found a body in the Connecticut River in Middletown on Tuesday evening, police said. 

Middletown Police are investigating who the person may be and how they may have died after retrieving the body from the river in the Harbor Park area. 

The Medical Examiner's Office has been called to assist in the investigation.

Please check back for updates on this developing story. 



Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[Black Bear Found Dead in Roxbury Was Shot]]> Tue, 24 May 2016 15:28:38 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/DEEP+dead+bear+in+Roxbury.jpg

A bear found dead at a nature preserve in Roxbury earlier this month was shot and likely dumped on Roxbury Land Trust Property, according to the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.

Officials at Roxbury Town Hall started receiving complaints around 8 a.m. on May 18 about a dead black bear on the property, so officers from State EnCon Police responded and found the animal.

A necropsy was performed on May 19 and determined that the bear was shot. 

Officials are still trying to determine who shot the bear and anyone with information is asked to call (860) 424-3333.

A bear found dead at a nature preserve in Roxbury earlier this month was shot and likely dumped on Roxbury Land Trust Property, according to the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.
Officials at Roxbury Town Hall started receiving complaints around 8 a.m. on May 18 about a dead black bear on the property, so officers from State EnCon Police responded and found the animal.
A necropsy was performed on May 19 and determined that the bear was shot. 
Officials are still trying to determine who shot the bear and anyone with information is asked to call (860) 424-3333.



Photo Credit: Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection]]>
<![CDATA[Family Offers Reward on I-91 Billboard for Cold Murder Case]]> Wed, 25 May 2016 04:57:27 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/BILLBOARDEDIT.jpg

The family of a Windsor man killed in 2013 is pleading for the public’s help after they offered a $250,000 reward leading to an arrest and conviction of the man’s killer.

The reward can be seen on a billboard on I-91 North and South near Jennings Road in Hartford. On the billboard is John Chakalos face – the 87-year-old man found shot in the head and murdered inside his Overlook Drive home in December 2013 with no word on who committed the crime.

The Chief State Attorney’s office Cold Case Unit told NBC Connecticut Chakalos family put up the billboards and are offering the reward.

“Maybe it’ll lead to something," Said Joe Zotter, a neighbor and friend of Chakalos for the last 20 years. “(He) always had a nice word to say about everything so you know it’s tough, it was really a shock to have something like that happen not only to John, but a neighbor across the street.”

Since the murder, the home has sat vacant and hasn’t been put up for sale, according to neighbors.

Now Windsor Police and the state’s cold case unit are hoping somebody knows answers as to why and who killed John Chakalos.

“I hope they solve it because I mean it’s just awful to think he’s just an old man living by himself and to think that happened is just awful. You never imagine that happening in your neighborhood,” Said Megan Connelly, another neighbor.

If you have any information, you’re asked to call Windsor Police or the State’s Cold Case Unit.



Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut]]>
<![CDATA['I Don't Know Who To Watch My Back From': NYC Student Locked in Fridge]]> Wed, 25 May 2016 00:01:07 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/208*120/51716food.jpg

A Manhattan high school student who was locked in a refrigerator by classmates told NBC 4 New York on Tuesday "I don't know who to watch my back from."

The 16-year-old boy, who asked not to be identified, was locked in the commercial fridge at Food and Finance High School on West 50th Street on May 6.

Three students were arrested after the incident, and students at the school said last week that it was a prank. But the boy who was locked in the fridge said he doesn't see it that way and that he's been ostracized since the incident.

"I feel like it's me against everybody at this point," he said. 

The boy said no teacher was in the classroom when fellow students locked him in the fridge. He said they then pounded on the door with large chef's knives and threatened to kill him.

"They're real knives," he said. "I was thinking, 'What if they opened the door and they really wanted to kill me?'" 

He added, "It was was pitch black, I just started freaking out."

After about 10 minutes, the boy said he called his mother. She in turn called the school. The boy was let out and three of the students were later arrested. 

The boy missed several days of school after the ordeal and said that he can't sleep because he fears retaliation. He also said his doctor diagnosed him with post-traumatic stress disorder and that students and teachers have mocked him.

"There are faculty that will say to me, 'Stay frosty,'" he said. "They think it's a joke. It's not a joke."

The boy's mother told NBC 4 New York she was outraged that students had access to chef's knives without supervision. She also said the Department of Education initially tried to downplay the incident, claiming students didn't have weapons because the knives are tools.

"Children were in danger if children were running around with knives and no supervision," the boy's mother said. "There was imminent danger."

The DOE again maintained that there were no weapons involved on Tuesday , however. 

"The safety and security of students and staff is our top priority. The school followed protocol in responding to an incident that was reported and the students involved were disciplined appropriately," the DOE said in a statement.



Photo Credit: NBC 4 New York]]>
<![CDATA[Police Investigate Fatal Crash in Middlebury]]> Tue, 24 May 2016 17:53:04 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Middlebury+fatal+crash+2.jpg

A man is dead after hitting a tree in Middlebury on Tuesday, according to police.

Late Tuesday morning, police said one man, Robert Graham, 45, was taken to the hospital to be treated for serious injuries after his car hit a tree at South Street and Longmeadow Road around 9:15 a.m.

The 45-year-old was pronounced dead at Waterbury Hospital. 

Wet roads were likely a factor in the crash, according to police. 

The accident is under investigation by the Naugatuck Valley Collision Investigation Team. 



Photo Credit: MIddlebury Fire Department]]>
<![CDATA[DOJ to Seek Death Penalty in Charleston Church Shooting]]> Tue, 24 May 2016 17:38:28 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/184*120/odio1.jpg

The Department of Justice will seek the death penalty against accused church shooter Dylann Roof, U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced Tuesday.

Lynch said in a statement that her department came to that decision after a "rigorous review process," NBC News reports.

"The nature of the alleged crime and the resulting harm compelled this decision," she said.

Roof, 22, will stand trial for the massacre of nine people last June at the historically black Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina. He was charged with nine counts of murder, three counts of attempted murder and possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime.



Photo Credit: Charleston County Sheriff's Office via Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Investigation Finds Mislabeled Wine in Several CT Liquor Stores]]> Tue, 24 May 2016 19:59:07 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/IMG_06501.jpg

Consumer Watchdog group Truth in Advertising (TINA) found 26 of 30 Connecticut merchants use shelf talkers, cards indicating a wine’s rating, for bottles they don’t sell.

“They bait you with a vintage and a rating that’s very good, and then they switch it for a different bottle and a different vintage, which can dramatically affect the rating,” said TINA’s Executive Director Bonnie Patten.

For example, Spirts of Madison had a shelf talker for a 2012 Waterbrook Chardonnay. Its placard touts high ratings from Wine Spectator. However, the liquor store doesn’t sell any bottles from 2012—they sell ones from 2014.

Spirit of Madison’s manager said he was not aware of the labeling discrepancy.

Nor were the employees at The Grog Shop in Middletown, according to its manager. NBC Connecticut had questions amid TINA’s findings that The Grog Shop advertised its 2012 Indian Well Merlot as a 2008.

“A consumer would value that bottle of wine that they’re buying differently,” said Patten.

Madison resident Dora Onorati agrees. She and her husband make their own wine every year.

“A 2010 (bottle) would be very different from a 2013 (or) from a 1989,” said Onorati. “I could imagine that would be a problem for somebody who’s going in, who doesn’t know anything about wine and who wants to learn more.”

Those placards are often used as a trusted source of information for such consumer who wants to learn more. Wine Spectator, a magazine that has reviewed more than 300,000 different wines including the two aforementioned, makes shelf talker placards for stores nationwide.

Tom Matthews, Wine Spectator’s Executive Editor, said he’s well aware of the misuse of his critics’ labels and urges stores use them accurately.

Meanwhile, counsel for TINA has filed a complaint with the Department of Consumer Protection. The DCP said it is in the process of reviewing that information.

“It’s not just going to be these 26 out of 30 stores,” said Patten. “There are many stores in Connecticut that probably have similar bait and switch tactics.”

The DCP, TINA and Wine Spectator all have the same suggestion—read labels and ratings carefully, and when in doubt, go to the source. Every wine rating magazine has a website where you can learn about any bottle in question.



Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut]]>
<![CDATA[Hedge Fund to Receive $22 Million from CT]]> Tue, 24 May 2016 23:32:43 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/BRIDGEWATER+STILL.png

One of the world's largest hedge funds, Bridgewater Associates, is slated to receive $22 million from the state, in return for job and other investment commitments.

In return for the state's millions, the firm will invest a total of $525 million in Connecticut through jobs and facilities improvements.

The deal is a part of the First Five program, organized by the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development, meant to encourage and spur investment among major employers.

“I still think that if we look at this from a taxpayer perspective and I view myself as a fiduciary of their dollars, that they’re going to get a great return on this investment" said Catherine Harris, the Commissioner of DECD.

The deal includes a low interest $17 million loan, $3 million for renewable energy sources and $2 million for training.

In return for the state funds, which will come in the form of bonds, Bridegwater Associates must retain the 1,402 that are already at the company's Westport headquarters and create an additional 750 jobs by 2021.

The company will also be eligible for $30 million in Urban and Industrial Sites Reinvestment Tax Credits over a ten year period.

“They are absolutely well-paying jobs, well above your average in Connecticut, believe me," Harris said.

Bridgewater Associates did not respond to a request for comment.

Republicans criticized the deal as unnecessary for a company like Bridgewater that manages more than $150 billion in assets around the world.

“People have just had enough with ridiculous decisions that government makes and this is beyond the pale," said Senate Minority Leader, Republican Len Fasano.

Even though GE announced it was leaving back in January for Boston, Fasano said the circumstances now are very different. He said Bridgewater was already going to invest to stay, whereas GE was frustrated with the way that state had been run for a while.

“What you need to do in Connecticut is say, 'What do we need to make people stay here?', so that they want to stay here, so that the business climate overall is good to be here because we’ve got control over our debts, and control over our taxes," Fasano said.

Smith said the state is getting a very high return on investment because the people who will eventually be employed by Bridgewater will pay income and local property taxes.

“The deal more than pays for itself so that $17 million will come back to the state in a different form. If the company doesn’t deliver, they don’t create the jobs, they owe us back that funding,” Smith said

The State Bond Commission will meet Friday where it is expected to approve the funds.



Photo Credit: Bridgewater Associates]]>
<![CDATA[American ISIS Defector's Unsealed Case Details Escape]]> Tue, 24 May 2016 18:07:57 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/IS-AP_539830332381.jpg

A judge has unsealed the case against an American ISIS defector whose identity is still hidden, NBC News reported.

The 27-year-old former Columbia University student, who is identified as Mo, spoke with NBC News last week — with the permission of prosecutors — about why he signed up with the terror group, the violence he saw and his desperate escape. Prosecutors acquiesced to revealing the defector's information after the interview.

Among other things, the case file details Mo's initial contact with the FBI in 2014. He told the FBI, "I just want to get back home. All I want is this extraction, complete exoneration thereafter and have everything back to normal with me and my family…Please help me get back home."

FBI officials have told NBC News that Mo pleaded guilty to two terrorism charges that carry between 10 and 25 years in prison — though he could get less because of his ongoing cooperation.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Hartford to No Longer Subsidize Parades, Festivals]]> Tue, 24 May 2016 23:33:29 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/PARADE+STILL1.png

One of the city's expenses that saw the budget ax for the next year is payments for festivals and parades.

Historically, the city had been very generous to organizations that put on music festivals, parades and other large scale events. Hartford has provided police, firefighters, public works and other personnel to make sure the events went smoothly.

“The city’s cost after reimbursements or the portions that the organizers would contribute was $700,000 for the year" said Melissa McCaw, who's in charge of budgeting and grants for the City of Hartford.

“A city that’s facing a shortfall of $10 million and we’re incurring $700,000 in expenses, we had to think differently about how to approach this.”

The groups that put on its respective events will be responsible to pay for the costs that the city would otherwise have to pay for. That's a model used by many other cities around the country because such events require extra police and fire staff to ensure the events are safe.

“We were waiting for that shoe to drop and we realized that we had to start thinking creatively and quickly on our feet because the parade couldn’t just be stopped," said Ana Valentin-Jackson, who chairs the board of the Puerto Rican Parade, slated for Sunday, June 5.

For the 2016 parade, Valentin-Jackson said her group struck a deal with the city to pay for some public works costs like trash collection. In future years, however, she said the event will need help from sponsors and other groups to make the event go smoothly.

She said there is no way the parade in Hartford will go away, even if the costs skyrocket.

“It’s the one staple event for the Puerto Rican community to celebrate our traditions, our culture and where we come from.”

Valentin-Jackson is open to making the parade a shared event among cities that groups from around Connecticut would help coordinate.

McCaw, with the City of Hartford, said that could be an event the city would love support as a region.

“I think we can make it bigger and better. I think there’s a great opportunity and that’s a wonderful example," McCraw said. 



Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut]]>
<![CDATA[Family Health Care Costs Have Tripled Since '01: Analysis]]> Tue, 24 May 2016 16:44:53 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/160*120/HEALTH_GettyImages-544488581.jpg

The costs of providing health care to an average American family surpassed $25,000 for the first time in 2016 — even as the rate of health cost increases slowed to a record low, a new analysis revealed Tuesday.

CNBC reports that the $25,826 in health-care costs for a typical family of four covered by an employer-sponsored "preferred provider plan" is $1,155 higher than last year, and triple what it cost to provide health care for the same family in 2001, the first year that Milliman Medical Index analysis was done.

And it's the 11th consecutive year that the total dollar increase in the average family's health-care costs exceeded $1,110, the actuarial services firm noted in releasing the index.

A significant cost driver identified by the index was the rapid growth in what health plans and insured people are paying for prescription drugs.



Photo Credit: Caiaimage/Chris Cross via Getty Images, File]]>
<![CDATA[Ansonia Business Analyst Accused of Selling Cocaine: Police]]> Wed, 25 May 2016 04:56:25 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/212*120/narcotics-arrest.jpg

An Ansonia business analyst is accused of selling cocaine, police said.

Bryan Tamburrino, 25, who works as an analyst for the microelectronics company, ASML in Wilton, was arrested following a months-long investigation launched by Fairfield and Stratford police. 

During the investigation, Tamburrino met and supplied undercover officers with cocaine for money on six different occasions within close proximity to a school or daycare, Fairfield Police said. 

Police said they obtained search warrants for Tamburrino's car and home. Tamburrino was stopped while leaving his job at ASML and police found a large amount of cocaine packaged for sale on the passenger front seat of his Audi SUV, according to police. 

Tamburrino is accused of seven counts of sale of narcotics, seven counts of narcotics possession and seven counts of possessing narcotics within 1,500 feet of a school.

His bond was set to $25,000 and he is expected to appear in court on June 8. 



Photo Credit: Fairfield Police]]>
<![CDATA[Accelerant-Detecting Dogs Help Out Local Police]]> Tue, 24 May 2016 15:56:05 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/accelerant+sniffing+dog.JPG

New Haven's had a wave of suspicious car fires so it's only fitting that dogs learning to detect accelerants were working on Tuesday afternoon on burned out vehicles. 

The animals come from state police forces in Connecticut and nearby New England states. 

Thirty years ago this month, the first accelerant-detecting dog in Connecticut was trained here in New Haven. 

"And I was one of the first trainers that was assigned to do that task," Jim Butterworth, a retired state police sergeant, said. "Dogs are amazing. Anything that possesses an odor a dog can find. Our biggest thing was trying to figure out how to apply that to a fire scene. That was the biggest challenge we had." 

Now when local fire marshals face the challenges of an arson case, they can call in the dogs from the state police. 

Say the suspicion is that the owner set the car on fire because it's not worth the loan payments. The dog can help detect if what's supposed to be internal combustion was external. 

"It's a great asset to have, it's another set of eyes, another set of ears and it's definitely beneficial," New Haven Fire Marshal Robert Doyle said.

Besides dogs, Doyle said what's helping in New Haven is the city government's decision to fully staff his office with 11 people. The result is more arrests and closed arson cases. 



Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[NYC Man Accused of Trying to Join ISIS]]> Tue, 24 May 2016 18:05:38 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/isis-suspect-color-0524.jpg

A Bronx man was arrested early Tuesday after he allegedly tried to join ISIS and later helped an undercover agent who he thought was trying to join the terrorist organization, according to a criminal complaint.

Sajmir Alimehmeti, 22, was arrested in the Bronx by the Joint Terrorism Task Force and is charged with providing material support to a terrorist organization, according to a complaint filed by the U.S. Attorney's Office.

"Alimehmeti is charged today with actions that show a clear intention to support a terrorist organization that is hell-bent on murder and mayhem," said U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara.

According to the complaint, he tried to travel to the Middle East to join ISIS on two occassions in 2014 but was blocked each time by British authorities. Then, this year, he allegedly tried to help an undercover agent who claimed to be attempting to join the organization. 

The complaint alleges that Alimehmeti first traveled to the United Kingdom in October of 2014 in an attempt to continue on to the Middle East but was denied entry to the country when British authorities at Manchester Airport found nunchucks and camouflage clothing in his luggage.

He tried again that December, according to the complaint, and was again stopped in the United Kingdom after British authorities at Heathrow Airport in London found images of ISIS and improvised explosive devices on his cellphone.

"As alleged, Alimehmeti continued his quest to support ISIL’s deadly terrorist agenda, after being denied entry into Europe with a bag full of military gear," said NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton. "When he returned home, to the Bronx, he allegedly turned to helping others join the terrorist organization as he built his own arsenal of weapons."

Alerted by UK authorities, the FBI went to work, introducing Alimehmeti to undercover law enforcement agents who posed as ISIS recruits interested in traveling to Syria, according to court papers.

A year after the second attempt, Alimehmeti tried to get a new passport and claimed he had lost his old one, according to the complaint. But he allegedly told undercover agents that he already had $2,500 to travel to Syria but needed to get a new passport in a different name because his had rejection stamps from the United Kingdom and was "already in the system."

Late last year and earlier this year, Alimehmeti began communicating with undercover agents, according to the complaint. When meeting with the agents, the man allegedly expressed interest in joining ISIS, telling one who he thought was set to head overeas "I'm ready f---ing go with you, man...You know I would... I'm done with this place."

He then bought that agent a phone to be used overseas and allegedly talked about "apps" that would encrypt his communications. He also bought two agents boots to use while fighting with ISIS at a sporting-goods store in Manhattan. The complaint also alleges that Alimehmeti also took one of the agents to John F. Kennedy Airport so the agent could fly to join ISIS.

According to the complaint, Alimehmeti played two ISIS-produced music videos that depicted prisoners being beheaded for the undercover agents. He allegedly told the agents that the videos helped him stay motivated while exercising.

Photos from the complaint show him posing in his Bronx apartment with what appears to be an ISIS flag. He also allegedly bought knives, steel-knuckled gloves, a pocket chainsaw, handcuffs and masks, and had MP3 files containing lectures by former al-Qaida official Anwar al-Awlaki.

The court papers said Alimehmeti told the undercover contacts he and his brother "had our own plan" to travel from Albania to Syria but that his brother had been arrested in Albania.

In a footnote, the FBI said in court papers that Alimehmeti's brother was arrested on weapons and assault charges in Albania last August.

Alimehmeti, who also faces fraud-related charges, was held without bail Tuesday and is scheduled to appear again in court on June 7. Attorney information for the man wasn't immediately available.

More than a half dozen individuals have been arrested since mid-2015 by the task force in New York and New Jersey on similar charges.

The investigation was conducted by the Joint Terrorism Task Force, comprised largely of FBI agents and NYPD detectives, and the NYPD's Intelligence Division.



Photo Credit: U.S. Attorney's Office ]]>
<![CDATA[Suspect in 1997 Willimantic Home Invasion Makes Court Appearance]]> Tue, 24 May 2016 17:06:13 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/windhammugedit.png

A Massachusetts man suspected of planning out a home invasion in Willimantic in 1997 appeared in court on Tuesday and he is being held on $500,000 bond. 

Jose Manuel Blanco-Dominquez, 57 of Lawrence, Massachusetts, is accused of orchestrating a home invasion on Chapman Street in Windham on June 25, 1997, in which two men, two women and two children were tied up with telephone cord and held at knifepoint while the intruders stole jewelry and cash, according to the arrest warrant application. 

The motive, officials said, was that Blanco-Dominquez claimed the victims owed him $45,000 for drugs. 

According to prosecutors, he dropped his alleged accomplices off and told them he would be waiting at a nearby gas station for them, but police were called to the home and arrested the suspects found there. 

Blanco-Dominquez was on the run until Saturday, May 14, when Boxborough, Massachusetts police pulled him over after a check of his registration alerted police he had an active warrant against him. 

He appeared with a translator in court on Tuesday to answer to charges of first-degree burglary, first-degree robbery and conspiracy and he is due back in court on June 10.



Photo Credit: Boxborough. Massachusetts Police]]>
<![CDATA[Facebook 'Poke' Violated Protective Order: Police]]> Tue, 24 May 2016 16:37:52 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/milford+police+department.jpg

A Milford man is facing charges after “poking” someone on Facebook who had a protective order against him, according to police. 

Police took Eric Bauer, 27, of Milford, into custody on a warrant on Monday after he was accused of violating a protective order by sending a “poke” through Facebook to the woman who got a protective order against him on May 5, according to police. 

Bauer was charged with violation of a protective order and released on a promise to appear.

While it is not clear why the protective order was put into place, Bauer is accused of risk of injury to a child and disorderly conduct from an arrest in March 2016. 

His listed attorney, K. Coleman, could not be reached for comment. 



Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Ansonia Schools to Address Concerns About Threat During Meeting]]> Tue, 24 May 2016 11:37:56 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/mead+school+ansonia_1200.jpg

Ansonia schools remain closed on Tuesday, the day after an anonymous post on an after school app indicated a possible threat and school officials plan to address concerns during a board of alderman meeting tonight. 

The city put all four of its schools on lockout at 1:15 p.m. on Monday and canceled all after school activities for the day after learning of the potential threat, according to a statement on the school department website.

Dr. Carol Merlone, Ansonia's school superintendent, said the post was made in reference to Ansonia High School, though police said it was unclear which school might have been the subject of the posting.

Police responded to all schools on Monday to ensure students were safe as they were being dismissed and all students were dismissed without incident, police said.

Merlone decided to close all Ansonia Schools today and said the decision was made " in conjunction with law enforcement."

A Facebook post on the Ansonia Public Schools page on Tuesday morning said the school district, Mayor David Cassetti and Police Chief Kevin Hale are inviting parents to a brief community update at the beginning of a special Board of Aldermen meeting at 7 p.m. at the Ansonia High School.

"The update concerns the reported threatening incident that occurred yesterday afternoon. In an effort to keep you informed and our children safe, this update will provide you with the latest information available.Please make every effort to attend this important community update at 7 p.m. in Ansonia High School, and of course the special meeting of the Board of Aldermen regarding the budget," Merlone wrote in a statement.



Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut]]>
<![CDATA[Lake McDonough Beach Closed Due to Lack of Lifeguards]]> Tue, 24 May 2016 15:04:19 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Life-Buoy-GettyImages-529095304.jpg

West Beach at Lake McDonough will be closed this summer due to a lack of lifeguard applicants this year, the Metropolitan District said. 

The lake's East Beach will still be open but the MDC warns beach-goers to be aware of the area filling to capacity during holidays. 

"This action is necessary to ensure the safety and security of all of our recreational users," the MDC said. 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Suspicious Package at DCF in Milford]]> Tue, 24 May 2016 17:40:54 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/milford+police+cruiser.jpg

Crews from the Milford Fire Department responded to the Department of Children and Families to investigate a suspicious package. 

Officials said they have responded to 33 Wellington Road at 2 p.m. on Tuesday. 

When a suspicious package was delivered and opened, witnesses found two containers of white powder. One of the containers were broken, exposing the unknown powder, police said. 

The powder was tested and determined to be non-hazardous. 

Police said the building was evacuated and no injuries were reported. 



Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Ansonia Schools Open Wednesday With Police Presence]]> Tue, 24 May 2016 23:25:12 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Ansonia+High+School.jpg

Ansonia schools were closed on Tuesday after a student reported an anonymous post on the After School app from someone who wrote he or she was tired of being bullied and threatened to shoot "it" up, according to police.

On Tuesday night, the district said all Ansonia public schools will reopen on Wednesday on a regular schedule. 

“It’s time to get back to normal," said Ansonia Police Chief Kevin Hale. "We’re going to have an increased presence tomorrow.”

The city put all four of its schools on lockout at 1:15 p.m. on Monday and canceled all after school activities for the day after learning of the potential threat, according to a statement on the school department website.

Some parents were upset that they were not told until late Monday that there was no specific target in the threat. The threat, eluding to bullying and a shooting, was posted online on the AfterSchool app in the morning.

“I shouldn’t have to text all my friends that are parents in the school system to find out what’s going on," said Loni Lymus, who has a son that is a first grader in Ansonia.

Dr. Carol Merlone, Ansonia's school superintendent, said the post was made in reference to Ansonia High School, though police said it was unclear which school might have been the subject of the posting.

Merlone also apologized to parents about how long it took for information to be released. She vowed to work with police to always communicate as quickly as possible. 

On Monday, police responded to all Ansonia schools to ensure students were safe as they were being dismissed and all students were dismissed without incident, police said.

Merlone decided to close all Ansonia Schools and said the decision was made " in conjunction with law enforcement."

A Facebook post on the Ansonia Public Schools page on Tuesday morning said the school district, Mayor David Cassetti and Police Chief Kevin Hale are inviting parents to a brief community update at the beginning of a special Board of Aldermen meeting at 7 p.m. at the Ansonia High School.

"The update concerns the reported threatening incident that occurred yesterday afternoon. In an effort to keep you informed and our children safe, this update will provide you with the latest information available.Please make every effort to attend this important community update at 7 p.m. in Ansonia High School, and of course the special meeting of the Board of Aldermen regarding the budget," Merlone wrote in a statement.

Dan Corcoran contributed to this report. 



Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com
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<![CDATA[Two Men Plead Guilty to Interstate Burglary Spree]]> Tue, 24 May 2016 13:44:36 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/police-lights-generic-crop.jpg

Two men who prosecutors say stole nearly $2 million worth of merchandise from stores across the U.S. have pleaded guilty. 

Federal prosecutors said 40-year-old Alionis Perez, a Cuban citizen who most recently lived in New Jersey, and 30-year-old Yoandrys Cue, a Cuban citizen who most recently lived in Florida, pleaded guilty on Monday to burglary charges. 

In 2013, they stole $250,00 worth of watches from a Fossil store in Clinton, Connecticut; $750,000 in watches from a Fossil store in Hagerstown, Maryland; $500,000 worth of watches and bags from a Michael Kors store in Lee, Massachusetts; and almost $200,000 in watches from a Fossil store in Grove City, Pennsylvania, authorities said. 

Perez also pleaded guilty to burglaries at stores in Missouri, Kansas, and Tennessee. 

They're scheduled to be sentenced in August.



Photo Credit: necn]]>
<![CDATA[How Well Can You Spell? National Spelling Bee Knockout Words]]> Tue, 24 May 2016 13:24:25 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/AP_854384059073.jpg

Stichomythia. Guetapens. Laodicean. 

Those hard-to-pronounce words have also spelled victory for some of the country's most lexical students: champions of the Scripps National Spelling Bee. 

But for the rest of the 200-plus students who participate in the spell-fest each year, the highfalutin vocabulary words prove more vexing. See with this quiz if you could have outspelled the studious contestants who made it to the finalist round. All the words featured in the quiz knocked out participants in recent years. 

And for those who want to continue to play along from home, this year's competition will take place from May 24 to May 26 at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in National Harbor, Maryland. 



Photo Credit: AP
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<![CDATA[Man Accused of Creating Fake Accounts for Free Electricity]]> Tue, 24 May 2016 12:54:31 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Frank+Woodruff+Rogers+II.jpg

Orange police have arrested a local man who is accused of stealing from a power company by using fake names to open accounts, then not paying the bills.

The investigation into Frank Woodruff Rogers II, 36, of Orange, started when United Illuminating Company filed a complaint.

Officials from the company said someone was creating false identities for accounts and obtained free electricity until the company determined that the identity was fake each time, police said.

Rogers was arrested on May 17 and charged with third-degree identity theft, criminal impersonation and sixth-degree larceny.

He was released on a promise to appear and he is due in court on May 31.

It's not clear if he has an attorney.



Photo Credit: Orange Police]]>
<![CDATA[TSA Replaces Head of Security as Airport Lines Grow]]> Mon, 23 May 2016 22:34:53 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-74969380.jpg

The Transportation Security Administration on Monday replaced its head of security and created a centralized incident command team, moving dramatically to address the issue of long airport lines.

Kelly Hoggan, the agency's assistant administrator for security operations since 2013, will be replaced by Darby LaJoye, TSA Administrator Peter Neffenger said in an internal memo obtained by NBC News.

LaJoye, a deputy assistant TSA administrator, was previously a top security official at two of the world's busiest airports: Los Angeles International Airport and JFK in New York.

Hoggan, who has been the focus of congressional inquiries into staffing and pay decisions, was reassigned to new duties, Neffenger said.

The appointment is part of a series of moves that Neffenger has taken since hundreds of passengers were stranded in security lines as their planes took off at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport earlier this month.  



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[NYC Man Accused of Trying to Join ISIS]]> Tue, 24 May 2016 22:45:24 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/EXCLUSIVE+ISIS+ARREST+PHOTOS+WITH+WATERMARK+052416+-+01000819_W.jpg

A Bronx man was arrested early Tuesday after he allegedly tried to join ISIS and later helped an undercover informant who he thought was trying to join the terrorist organization, according to a criminal complaint.

Sajmir Alimehmeti, 22, was arrested in the Bronx by the Joint Terrorism Task Force and is charged with providing material support to a terrorist organization, according to a complaint filed by the U.S. Attorney's Office.

"Alimehmeti is charged today with actions that show a clear intention to support a terrorist organization that is hell-bent on murder and mayhem," said U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara.

According to the complaint, he tried to travel to the Middle East to join ISIS on two occassions in 2014 but was blocked each time by British authorities. Then, this year, he allegedly tried to help an undercover informant who claimed to be attempting to join the organization. 

The complaint alleges that Alimehmeti first traveled to the United Kingdom in October of 2014 in an attempt to continue on to the Middle East but was denied entry to the country when British authorities at Manchester Airport found nunchucks and camouflage clothing in his luggage.

He tried again that December, according to the complaint, and was again stopped in the United Kingdom after British authorities at Heathrow Airport in London found images of ISIS and improvised explosive devices on his cellphone.

"As alleged, Alimehmeti continued his quest to support ISIL’s deadly terrorist agenda, after being denied entry into Europe with a bag full of military gear," said NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton. "When he returned home, to the Bronx, he allegedly turned to helping others join the terrorist organization as he built his own arsenal of weapons."

Alerted by UK authorities, the FBI went to work, introducing Alimehmeti to undercover law enforcement informants who posed as ISIS recruits interested in traveling to Syria, according to court papers.

A year after the second attempt, Alimehmeti tried to get a new passport and claimed he had lost his old one, according to the complaint. But he allegedly told undercover agents that he already had $2,500 to travel to Syria but needed to get a new passport in a different name because his had rejection stamps from the United Kingdom and was "already in the system."

Late last year and earlier this year, Alimehmeti began communicating with undercover agents, according to the complaint. When meeting with the agents, the man allegedly expressed interest in joining ISIS, telling one who he thought was set to head overseas, "I'm ready f---ing go with you, man...You know I would... I'm done with this place."

He then bought that informant a phone to be used overseas and allegedly talked about "apps" that would encrypt his communications. He also bought two informants boots to use while fighting with ISIS at a sporting-goods store in Manhattan. The complaint also alleges that Alimehmeti also took one of the agents to John F. Kennedy Airport so the agent could fly to join ISIS.

According to the complaint, Alimehmeti played two ISIS-produced music videos that depicted prisoners being beheaded for the undercover agents. He allegedly told the agents that the videos helped him stay motivated while exercising.

Photos from the complaint show him posing in his Bronx apartment with what appears to be an ISIS flag. He also allegedly bought knives, steel-knuckled gloves, a pocket chainsaw, handcuffs and masks, and had MP3 files containing lectures by former al-Qaida official Anwar al-Awlaki.

The court papers said Alimehmeti told the undercover contacts he and his brother "had our own plan" to travel from Albania to Syria but that his brother had been arrested in Albania.

In a footnote, the FBI said in court papers that Alimehmeti's brother was arrested on weapons and assault charges in Albania last August.

At his initial court appearance Tuesday, Alimehmeti, who's also facing fraud-related charges, remained silent and stared at his feet as his team of public defense lawyers asked the judge to set bail at $200,000.

Defense lawyers Sylvie Levine and Sabrina Shroff insisted that Alimehmeti wasn't being charged for criminal action, but instead "conversation that was consistently prompted by undercover law enforcement."

But prosecutor Brendan Quigley said Alimehmeti's "repeated support for ISIS shows that he's both a flight risk and a risk to the safety of the public." 

He also pointed to Alimehmeti's past arrests dating back to 2010, including robbery, assault, forcible touching and public lewdness. Alimehmeti has served probation and a year in jail for the crimes. 

The judge, Gabriel Gorenstein, acknowledged the defense attorneys' claims that Alimehmeti was being charged without ever acting on his intentions, but said that “those aren’t the charges,” and that his willingness to join and support a known terror organization was enough to keep him locked away.

Alimehmeti is scheduled to appear again in court on June 7. 

More than a half dozen individuals have been arrested since mid-2015 by the task force in New York and New Jersey on similar charges.

The investigation was conducted by the Joint Terrorism Task Force, comprised largely of FBI agents and NYPD detectives, and the NYPD's Intelligence Division.



Photo Credit: NBC 4 NY
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<![CDATA[Male Students Hold Feminine Products Drive at New Haven School ]]> Tue, 24 May 2016 13:33:12 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Hillhouse+high+school+1200.jpg

A group of male students from James Hillhouse High School in New Haven is holding a feminine products drive through June 2 so they will be readily available for women in public restrooms.

The idea came about after the founder of The Kiyama Movement (http://www.kiyamamovement.com/#what-is-the-kiyama-movement) read an article about how 86 percent of women do not always have the necessary products with them.

"We don't argue about the cost of toilet paper, they just make it available. So why should we argue about the cost of feminine products? They should be made available to females of all ages and they're not," Michael Jefferson, the founder of The Kiyama Movement, said.

The Kiyama Movement is made up of a group of 15 to 20 young African American men focused on promoting self-improvement. It teaches students about respect for life, sexual responsibility, commitment to fatherhood, respect for womanhood and economic accountability.

The group of young men is raising awareness and gathering supplies in the hopes that if a female classmate or teacher needs feminine products, they will have them.

They also hope it will inspire a nationwide movement.

"We care about women and we feel they should have the things they need just as much as we should," Terrance Mallory, a senior, said.

The students said the response from their female classmates has been positive.

"It is a little embarrassing to talk about at first, but they've actually come to like it and have supported us, donated very well," Patrick Moye, a senior, said.

Students said they hope raising awareness will help to eradicate gender inequality.

“I am extremely proud of each and every one of them for attacking this issue," Kermit Carolina, the supervisor of youth development and engagement for New Haven Public Schools, said.



Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[2 FBI Agents Shot, Suspect Dead]]> Tue, 24 May 2016 14:59:08 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Park+Forest+Final.png

Two FBI agents were shot Tuesday morning while attempting to serve a warrant to a man who was later found dead in his south suburban Chicago home.

The Cook County medical examiner's office identified the suspect as 50-year-old Melvin Toran. Court records show Toran had a long criminal history, including a conviction for murder in 1986.

He was paroled from prison on Feb. 18, 2013, according to the Illinois Department of Corrections.

SWAT teams were seen swarming Toran's home on Rich Court in Park Forest around 8:30 a.m. Multiple neighbors told NBC 5 they noticed the police activity as early as 6 a.m.

FBI special agent Garrett H. Croon said two agents suffered non-life threatening gunshot wounds during the attempted arrest of Toran, who was later found dead in his home. 

The commotion caused Park Forest-Chicago Heights School District 163 to delay their start time until 9:15 a.m., temporarily requesting parents to keep their children indoors and home from school while the FBI activity was ongoing.

One neighbor seemed surprised to find that Toran was a wanted man, saying that he "seemed nice" and had always been seen walking his dog.

Toran was a high-ranking gang member, according to the Chicago Tribune. The FBI was reportedly trying to arrest him on narcotics trafficking charges after Toran allegedly sold heroin to an undercover agent.

Toran's manner of death has not been released.



Photo Credit: Illinois Department of Corrections
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<![CDATA[Surprise From 'Avengers' Stars]]> Tue, 24 May 2016 11:55:03 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Ryan-Wilcox-Visit-IMG_2231.jpg

A San Diego teenager who is battling cancer welcomed Captain America, Iron Man and Pepper Potts into his home, just two weeks after his classmates stood behind him in support.

Ryan Wilcox, 18, is a Grossmont High School student who is also a die-hard "Captain America" and "Avengers" fan.

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In a video played at the school May 6, Chris Evans offered Wilcox well wishes and told him to "stay strong."

The clip not only went viral but prompted "Avengers" co-star Gwyneth Paltrow to suggest a trip to San Diego.

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The trip became a reality Monday when Paltrow, who plays Pepper Potts in the "Avengers" movies; Evans, who portrays Captain America; and Robert Downey Jr., also known as Iron Man, showed up on the Wilcox family's doorstep.

"I saw this car pull up and I saw them walking. I was just like — what?" Ryan told NBC 7's Greg Bledsoe in an interview Monday.

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The stars spent some time with Ryan in his room and even signed his wall. They left behind souveniers and a lot of memories.

"We're all a little numb. I knew for a couple days it was gonna happen but until you see them walk through that door, you don't know how you're going to feel. And they just were awesome. They didn't want cameras, they wanted to do it quietly," said Ryan's mom, Amy Wilcox. "They came into our home, sat on our couches and just visited with us."

She said the trio sat down with the family and just talked.

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Photo Credit: Family Photo
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<![CDATA['Natural' Mosquito Repellents Don't Last: Consumer Reports]]> Tue, 24 May 2016 10:48:43 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/ZikaMosquitoAP_791168702393.jpg

Most so-called natural mosquito repellents containing naturally derived oils smell nice but don't keep mosquitos off as long as those containing synthetic chemicals, Consumer Reports found.

Consumer Reports said it tested 16 products to see which work best against the Aedes mosquitoes that spread Zika as well as against Culex mosquitoes, which spread West Nile, and the ticks that carry Lyme. The products contain a range of active ingredients, including conventional chemicals like DEET, synthetic plantlike compounds that resemble those found in nature, and plant oils like citronella and rosemary, according to the group.

Their three top pics contain a different synthetic chemical: Sawyer Picaridin (20 percent picaridin); Ben's 30 Percent Deet Tick & Insect Wilderness Formula (30 percent DEET) and Repel Lemon Eucalyptus (65 percent p-menthane-3,8-diol, a synthetic derivative of eucalyptus).



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Baby Left in Car in Fla. Dies]]> Tue, 24 May 2016 23:31:43 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/052316+baby+inside+car.jpg

An 11-month-old girl died after she was left inside her parents' parked car Monday in South Florida, possibly for hours, according to police.

Emergency responders were called to the 3500 block of West 86th Terrace in Hialeah around 4:10 p.m. The baby was found unconscious and taken to Palmetto General Hospital, where she was pronounced dead. 

Police said the baby had been left inside her parents' parked vehicle with the engine turned off. It's not clear how long she was there, but police said it may have been a few hours. The child's name has not been released.

The temperature outside climbed into the upper 80s on Monday afternoon, according to the National Weather Service.

"In 10 to 15 minutes, a temperature of a car that's parked with the engine not running could go from 80 degrees to 130 degrees," explained a member of the fire rescue team.

Authorities have not taken anyone into custody or filed charges in connection with the case. Police are working with the Miami-Dade state attorney's office to investigate.

Hialeah Police also issued the following statement: "We are aware of the public interest and multiple information requests for this case. However, we will not be releasing any further information at this time while the case remains open and active. This is a very significant incident and an equally important investigation. We do not wish to comprise the integrity of the investigation or release incomplete information until the investigation is finalized."

According to HeatStroke.org, the child is the first to die in a vehicle in Florida this year and the eighth nationwide.

Janette Fennell, president and founder of Kids and Cars, a nonprofit organization focused on improving child safety around cars, recommends the following tips to parents:

  1. Look before you lock. Open the back door and look in the back seat to make sure everyone is out of the car (even if you think there is no one back there).
  2. Keep something you need in the back seat. Put your cellphone, briefcase, computer, lunch, ID badge, left shoe or anything essential to your daily routine next your child.
  3. Travel with a furry companion. Keep a stuffed animal in the car seat. When a baby is in the seat, the stuffed animal rides shotgun. The furry passenger serves as a reminder that baby's in the back.
  4. Always lock the doors. Even if the car is in the garage, keep the doors locked to prevent curious children from getting into the car.
  5. Put the keys and fobs away. Kids might want to play with keys and be able to get into the car without parents knowledge.
  6. Have a plan with child-care provider. If your child does not show up to daycare or school without prior notice, someone should call to locate child.
  7. If you see something, do something. If you see a child alone in a car, do not hesitate to call 911.



Photo Credit: NBC6.com]]>
<![CDATA[Part of Route 12 in Killingly Closed After Crew Hits Gas Line]]> Tue, 24 May 2016 14:54:10 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/connecticut+state+police+barracks1.jpg

Part of Route 12 is Killingly is closed after crews hit a gas line, according to state police. 

Crews from Frontier were digging when they struck a line, police said. There was a leak at some point and it’s not clear if the gas has been shut off. 

Route 12 is closed between Lewis Boulevard and Davis Street. 

It’s not clear if there are evacuations.



Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Firefighters Battled 2-Alarm Fire in Stamford]]> Tue, 24 May 2016 11:57:44 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/214*120/Fire_Truck_Generic_NECN_Chris_Caesar.jpg

Firefighters battlled a two-alarm fire at 589 Bedford Street in Stamford on Tuesday morning. 

Firefighters responded to find heavy fire and struck a second alarm.

There was some damage to nearby properties, including damage to siding and cracked windows. 

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

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<![CDATA[Taste of Summer Begins Tomorrow]]> Tue, 24 May 2016 17:04:15 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Model+RPM4+iCAST+Temperature+CT2.png

Temperatures will soar to 90 degrees across inland Connecticut tomorrow.

Lots of sunshine is expected, and it will last into Thursday.

Friday features a mix of sun and clouds, with highs in the lower 80s inland.

The Memorial Day weekend forecast challenge is the position of a back-door cold front.

First Alert forecasters are pretty confident the weekend begins warm, and ends cooler.

Temperatures will push 90 degrees on Saturday with lots of sunshine. It will be humid, and a late-day storm cannot be ruled out.

While a few showers are possible Sunday morning, the day will be mainly dry with a blend of sunshine and clouds. It will be cooler with highs in the 70s.

Memorial Day looks pleasant, with temperatures in the middle 70s and a good amount of sunshine.

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<![CDATA[Crash Closes Part of Old Farms Road in Avon]]> Tue, 24 May 2016 08:50:47 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Old+Farms+Road+Avon.jpg

Part of Old Farms Road in Avon is closed after a one-vehicle crash. 

The road is closed between Thompson and Tillotson Roads. 

Firefighters and a wrecker have responded to the scene.



Photo Credit: Eric Loh]]>
<![CDATA[Police ID Man Hit By Car in Bristol on Monday]]> Tue, 24 May 2016 08:37:08 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/bristol+police+crusier_1200.jpg

An 18-year-old man suffered head and back injuries when he was hit by a vehicle at West Washington and King streets in Bristol on Monday morning he is listed in stable condition, according to police.

Police were alerted at 10:52 a.m. when a vehicle turning left into West Washington Street hit a man crossing the intersection, police said.

Police have identified the man as Paul Sapp, 18, of Bristol, and said he was brought to a Hartford-area hospital.

A female pedestrian walking with him was not struck, according to police. 

Police are investigating and ask anyone with information to call the Bristol Police Department at 860-584-3011.



Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>