<![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 Sat, 31 Jan 2015 11:13:14 -0500 Sat, 31 Jan 2015 11:13:14 -0500 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Governor Asks FEMA to Assess Storm Damage]]> Fri, 30 Jan 2015 22:36:01 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/thompson_snow_still_012815.jpg

Gov. Dannel Malloy is calling upon the Federal Emergency Management Agency to assess storm damage in Eastern Connecticut after the blizzard earlier this week to determine whether federal assistance will be available.

The Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection put in the request for FEMA to conduct a joint federal/state preliminary damage assessment in New London, Tolland and Windham counties.

“This was a devastating storm for parts of our state that many cities and towns are still recovering from,” Malloy said in a statement. “This assessment is the first step in the process of securing possible federal assistance for those communities that were hit the hardest.”

Some Connecticut towns received around 30 inches of snow between Monday and Tuesday, including Putnam, while Norwich received 2 feet of snow and New London received nearly that amount, according to the National Weather Service figures.

As towns continue to work on clearing snow, some schools remain closed, including in New London and Stafford.

After the initial assessments, Malloy will determine whether to make a major disaster declaration request, which could lead to FEMA reimbursing 75 percent of eligible costs and the state, tribal nations, or municipalities holding responsibility for 25 percent.

The request asks for damage assessments to begin the week of Feb. 9.

<![CDATA[More Snow Caused Problems During Morning Commute]]> Fri, 30 Jan 2015 11:32:54 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/WVIT+2014+CT+Snow+Forecast+Jan+29.png

Residents across Connecticut are still digging out from the Blizzard of 2015, but already more snow is falling, which caused school delays and a tricky Friday morning commute. 

A burst of snow between late Thursday night and Friday morning will bring an inch or two to most of the state and up to 4 inches to the northern hills, according to Chief First Alert Meteorologist Brad Field.

Many schools are delayed this morning, while others are closed.

Flurries are expected to continue through lunchtime on Friday and will taper off by the afternoon. Temperatures are starting out in the upper-20s through mid-30s around the state tomorrow but are expected to drop as the afternoon wears on.

Saturday will be cold and mostly sunny, with strong winds and highs around 17 degrees. Another storm system will be moving in on Sunday night into Monday and we could see more snow developing on Thursday.

New London Public Schools are closed again Friday as the southeast corner continues to clean up from the Blizzard of 2015. U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy will be traveling to this part of the stat on Friday to discuss snow removal efforts, preparation for future storms and federal assistance programs. The senators head to Norwich on Friday morning and then to New London in the afternoon.

In Willimantic, a parking ban remains in effect until Feb. 6 because of all the snow.

Other school systems have also altered their schedules on Friday.

You can also sign up to receive text or email alerts when your business school district announces a cancellation or delay.

To receive weather updates on your phone, download the NBC Connecticut weather app.

This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story on our mobile site.]]>
<![CDATA[Amtrak Traveler Has Measles: DOH]]> Sat, 31 Jan 2015 09:55:56 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/measles+vaccination.jpg

New York state health officials say an upstate college student who took an Amtrak train out of Penn Station earlier this week has been diagnosed with the highly contagious measles.

The student was diagnosed at Bard College in Dutchess County, officials said, but had traveled out of New York City on Sunday, potentially exposing people beyond the campus. 

Anyone who traveled on Amtrak train no. 283 departing Penn Station at 1:20 p.m. on Jan. 25 is urged to contact their doctor if they're not immune to measles and they develop a fever. The train was headed to Albany and Niagara. 

People who may have been exposed and have symptoms consistent with measles should call their doctor or local emergency room before going for care so that others at the facilities aren't exposed. 

New York state has had three cases of measles this year, one in Dutchess County and two in New York City. 

A measles outbreak in New York City in early 2014 affected dozens of residents, initially in upper Manhattan and the Bronx, and then in Brooklyn and the Lower East Side. Officials had been looking at whether that outbreak may have spread because workers in medical facilities didn't recognize the symptoms quickly enough to isolate patients and prevent them from spreading it to others. 

Measles is a highly contagious respiratory disease caused by a virus and is spread by contact with nasal or throat secretions of infected people. Measles can lead to serious side effects and, in rare cases, death. Measles symptoms usually appear in 10 to 12 days, but can occur as late as 18 days after exposure. Symptoms generally appear in two stages.

Learn more about measles at health.ny.gov.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Teachers Fired Over Black History?]]> Sat, 31 Jan 2015 10:05:04 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/WRC_0000000009322877_1200x675_391671875779.jpg

Three social studies teachers at a D.C. public charter school were fired for teaching black history lessons beyond what’s in the curriculum, students’ parents told News4.

"It's about the history of who we are and where we came from,” said Michelle Payne, whose son is in the eighth grade at Howard University Middle School of Math and Science.

Parents say it is unacceptable for a school located on the campus of a historically black university to stifle African-American history lessons.

"If you know your culture, if you know from whence you came, it tends to build your self-esteem," said Lateefah Bilal, a grandmother who heads Parents in Action, Howard Middle’s parent group.

D.C. Council Education Committee member Anita Bonds and Council member Brianne Nadeau are looking into the claims that the three teachers were fired for teaching too much black history.

Bonds' spokesman said the charter school board chairman declined to answer her questions Friday.

News4 reached out to school administrators and the D.C. Public Charter School Board several times this week. They promised to release a statement.

Parents said they are also upset because the teachers were fired and escorted out of the building in front of the kids.

<![CDATA[Snow Makes for Dangerous Walk to School in Putnam]]> Fri, 30 Jan 2015 22:44:33 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/13015putnamsidewalk00000000.jpg

School is back in session in Putnam, but snowy sidewalks are forcing students to walk on the street, creating a situation parents – and the mayor – are calling dangerous.

Lisa Roberts said her middle schooler was forced to walk in the road when the path he usually takes proved impassible. On Friday, she was one of a dozen who placed complaint calls to the town hall.

“It’s just uncalled for. There’s no reason for this,” said Roberts.

Mayor Tony Falzarano says he understands the issue. He took a drive down Woodstock Avenue, a main thoroughfare to Putnam High School as well as Putnam Elementary and the middle school.

“The parents who called were correct,” said Falzarano. “It is a dangerous situation.”

According to Falzarano, homeowners face a fine of $25 per day if their sidewalks are not cleared within 36 hours of a storm.

He said the problem along Woodstock Avenue is that many residents are tenants, and some are too elderly to do the heavy lifting alone.

“Our ordinance clearly states what you are supposed to do, but the fact of the matter is, how do you get people to do it?" Falzarano explained.

To encourage compliance, the town is now sending out reminder letters and the superintendent has instructed buses to pick up walkers along the way. The mayor also said the issue will be added to the agenda at the board of selectmen’s meeting on Monday.

<![CDATA[Street Signs Being Stolen in Canterbury]]> Fri, 30 Jan 2015 22:40:23 -0500

Stolen street, speed and stop signs are becoming an all too common occurrence in Canterbury, according to the first selectman.

“In the past we have had a sign disappear every once in a while, but we have had a rash of 20-24 sings disappear in a two month period,” said First Selectman Roy Piper.

Between materials and manpower, Piper said the cost of replacing the signs is adding up, but his real concern is the cost to public safety.

“The biggest thing is the fact it could delay response for emergency responders and it could also potentially cause an accident,” Piper said.

The street sign on Gay Head Road is one of the many that has gone missing more than once. Gretchen Droesch said her sign on Cemetery Road is often taken as well.

“They don’t think about others or the consequences of their actions,” said Droesch.

Piper thinks the culprit is likely an individual or group of individuals recycling the metals for money. He says the best bet to keep them from cashing in is for a member of the community to come forward.

<![CDATA[New London Faces Prospect of Fifth Consecutive Snow Day]]> Fri, 30 Jan 2015 22:34:50 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Finizio00000000.jpg

New London Schools haven't been in session since Monday after after the Blizzard of 2015 dumped about 30 inches across southeastern Connecticut.

With snow still covering many of the streets in the city Thursday afternoon, officials made the call to cancel school Friday.

"We did a practice drive with our buses and even though the roads were OK, the sidewalks were still a problem," said Tim Wheeler, chief operations officer of New London Schools.

He said about 40 percent of students walk to school, and with sidewalks still covered in many places, school was canceled for the fourth day in a row.

"We're watching the weather very closely," said Mayor Daryl Justin Finizio, as he toured part of New London with U.S. Sens. Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy.

When asked about school on Monday, Finizio said the school system "would be clear to go if not for the next storm."

"With another storm coming we will have to see and I will leave that decision to the superintendent’s office,” he said.

The mayor also said the city has been working around the clock to get roads cleared, adding that such a commitment meant that schools wouldn't be reached in time to get classrooms open.

The New London Schools Central Office is in a mode of transition currently, with a new superintendent set to start Feb. 1, right as the next storm arrives, bringing with it several more inches of snow.

"The first big decision he'll have to probably make is whether we have school Monday," Wheeler said.

<![CDATA[Southington Sex Offender Arrested on Child Porn Charges]]> Fri, 30 Jan 2015 21:39:33 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Robert+amnott.jpg

A 45-year-old convicted sex offender from Southington is facing new charges after investigators found child pornography on his computer, according to police.

Authorities began investigating after Robert Amnott, 45, accessed a computer in violation of his parole, according to police. Investigators checked the computer and found illegal images of child pornography.

Amnott turned himself in Jan. 29 after learning that police had obtained a warrant for his arrest. He was charged with first-degree possession of child pornography and was held on $10,000 bond.

Photo Credit: Southington Police Department]]>
<![CDATA[Why the Patriots — or the Seahawks — Will Win]]> Sat, 31 Jan 2015 00:42:00 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/180*120/byllnbradee.jpg

Both the Seahawks and Patriots have won Super Bowls before. So who will win Super Bowl XLIX Sunday in Glendale, Arizona? A case can be made for both:

Why the Patriots could win

It’s a dynasty. New England has won three Super Bowls in the Bill Belichick-Tom Brady era, which qualifies for as much of a dynasty as the NFL has right now. The coach and QB have come up big when it counts before, so they’ll find a way to win a fourth.

The “evil genius” factor. Belichick may not be well-liked these days (or maybe ever), but he’s found a way to reach five of these championship games and win three. The personnel has turned over and the staff has changed, but Belichick knows his Xs and Os and is known for figuring out ways to limit the effectiveness of his opponents’ best players. Certainly he’ll come up with something special to stop Marshawn Lynch and limit Russell Wilson’s impact as a runner.

LeGarrette Blount. Since the running back joined New England after his release by the Steelers in November, the Pats’ running game has had an explosive, workhorse ballcarrier to keep defenses honest. If the Seahawks defense spreads out and focuses its efforts on stopping tight end Rob Gronkowski or wideout Julian Edelman, Blount should be able to gash them with power runs.

Special teams superiority. Both teams are solid in all areas, but New England’s punt-return, kick coverage and field-goal blocking abilities are a tick better. One big play could be the difference.

Brady-to-Gronkowski. The passing combination may be the hardest to stop in the NFL when Gronk is healthy, and he’s been healthy and very productive.

Why the Seahawks could win 

Karma. The flip side to the “evil genius” factor. The Patriots have been caught bending the rules before, so the whole “Deflategate” scandal from the AFC Championship Game is just the latest chapter. Remember, the Patriots went into Super Bowl XLII in February 2008, trying to complete an undefeated season, when they were upset by the Giants -- after the whole “Spygate” controversy first surfaced. That was Karma I. This could be Karma II.

Pete Carroll. The Seattle head coach has managed to get his team to peak at the right time for two seasons now. The Seahawks play hard for him, and Carroll’s defense was No. 1 overall and No. 1 vs. the pass this season. After surviving a scare against Green Bay in the NFC Championship Game, all the mojo is on the side of Seattle's upbeat coach.

Kam Chancellor. The Seahawks’ All-Pro safety will be the man tasked with containing Gronkowski, and he seems ideally suited for the job. He’s big, strong and athletic and should be up to the task. If Seattle can take away Brady’s No. 1 target, the Pats will be playing with one hand tied behind their back.

Russell Wilson. The Seahawks’ young quarterback just wins. He’s not the best passer in the league -- until crunch time. Then he simply finds a way to make plays with his arm and his feet. He has a 6-1 playoff record, including five straight wins. In a meeting of the teams in 2012, Wilson led two late touchdown drives as the Seahawks pulled out a comeback victory.

Marshawn Lynch. If the Seahawks can get “Beast Mode” in gear early, they can control the game’s tempo. And it will help open up other avenues for the Seattle offense. Plus, after a week of Lynch vs. media shenanigans leading up to the game, wouldn’t it be perfect for Lynch to win the MVP award and get yet another chance to be interviewed on national TV? “I’m just here so I won't get fined… and to get my trophy.”

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Plainville Cop Killer Could Have Parole Rescinded]]> Fri, 30 Jan 2015 21:41:54 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/gary+castonguay_722_406.jpg

After 25 years behind bars, the man who “emptied his gun” into a Plainville police officer has been getting ready to go free – but that decision could soon be reversed.

Gary Castonguay, 70, was granted parole at a Jan. 9 hearing. But there was one big problem. None of the officer's family members attended the hearing; in fact, they didn't know it was happening.

“We only found about it through word of mouth,” said Valerie Holcomb, the sister-in-law of Officer Robert Holcomb. “I was shocked, appalled. I was in tears.”

Richard Sparaco, executive director of the Connecticut Board of Pardons and Paroles, explained that the family member registered with the Office of Victim Services has died and the state couldn’t reach anyone to let them know.

“The Board was later made aware after the hearing of other family members who wanted to testify, but were not registered,” he said, adding that the requirements of the hearing where "not satisfied."

“It is nobody’s fault but rather an unfortunate technical error – one that we want to and can rectify,” Sparaco said.

Valerie Holcomb, who said family members only found out about the parole this week, called the Office of the Victim Advocate on Wednesday, which worked with the Department of Corrections Victim Unit to expedite the appeal and set up a new parole hearing.

“Victim involvement in the parole hearing is a right and we want to make sure that the statements of the victim, or in this case the deceased victims family are part of the decision-making process,” Sparaco said in a statement Friday.

The three-member panel of the parole board will decide whether to rescind Castonguay’s release based on the testimony of Officer Holcomb’s family members. A date for the new hearing has not yet been set.

“It shows a clear message, when no victims are present, that there is no victim impact anymore, and that is so far from the truth,” Valerie Holcomb said. “He shows no remorse for what he has done and he does not belong on the streets.”

After his conviction in 1989, Castonguay was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison with no definite end date. He's lost previous appeals and is currently behind bars at Macdougall-Walker Correction facility in Suffield.

“This is a crime that has not been forgotten – by his, Robert’s family, by the community, by the Plainville Police Department,” Valerie Holcomb said. “He was a police officer serving to protect and defend our community when he was literally gunned down by this heinous criminal who stood over his body and emptied his gun into him.”

<![CDATA[Ferret Rumors Swirl in Baby Mauling]]> Fri, 30 Jan 2015 20:17:12 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Child+Ferret+Attack+Parents+Fraim.jpg

Speculation about whether a trio of ferrets were responsible for the mauling of a 1-month-old girl in a Delaware County, Pennsylvania, home last week have been running rampant since the attack — but police are shooting down the rumors, saying clear evidence points to the ferrets.

Skyy Fraim was released from the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia this week after undergoing emergency surgery following the Jan. 21 attack, police said on Friday. The girl’s nose and part of her cheek were eaten away, while her upper lip was shredded.

The baby’s mother, Jessica Benales, was upstairs using the restroom when the mauling happened. She came down to find at least one of the ferrets attacking the child and pulled the animal off the girl, who was strapped into a car seat on the floor of the family’s Darby home.

Benales, 24, and her 42-year-old fiancé, Burnie Fraim, told police they believed the ferrets somehow broke out of their mesh pen.

But despite the accounts by police and the child's parents of the mauling, some ferret owners and shelter operators told NBC10 the animals could not have inflicted such severe injuries on the child.

Others claimed a necropsy found no human tissue in the animal’s stomach — but necropsies were not performed on the ferrets, Delaware County Animal Control said, so that cannot be known. After the animals were euthanized, a rabies test was performed and came back negative.

A staffer said necropsies are hardly ever performed by the agency and were not in this case because the mother witnessed part of the attack.

Still, the necropsies are unnecessary, says Darby Police Chief Robert Smythe. There is clear evidence that the ferrets were responsible for the mauling, he told NBC10.

“I would refute what they are saying because of physical evidence that was inside the building and that was on the child’s face,” he said.

Skyy Fraim had puncture wounds on her head consistent with a ferret’s teeth and claws, Smythe said. Detectives looked at the family’s other pets and the possibility that a rodent was responsible, but those possibilities were ruled out. It also appeared the ferrets roamed the home, which authorities said was filthy, and broke into pet food.

Benales and Fraim, who have four other children age 5 or younger, have each been charged with five counts of child endangerment. The children have been removed from their parents' care and are currently with the Delaware County Children and Youth Services.

Authorities said the children and parents all have special needs and have been under the care of three social service agencies. 

In addition to the ferrets, the family had six cats and two turtles. Two dogs had previously been removed from the home.

Seven case workers were assigned to the family, Smythe said. He questioned how nothing had been done to improve the family’s quality of life and remove the animals.

“It’s a family in crisis,” he said. “I believe they’re people that have issues and problems and the system is not working.”

Prior to being charged, Fraim told NBC10 that he and his fiancé care for the children.

“We’re good parents. It’s just we made one mistake by leaving them alone. We regret it, and we blame ourselves for it,” he said. The 1-month-old will need to undergo several surgeries to repair the damage done in the attack, the father added.

Smythe said a district court judge disregarded a bail recommendation that included a psychological evaluation and instead released the couple on their own recognizance. They are barred from having contact with the children.

A court date has yet to be set in the case.

Contact Vince Lattanzio at 610.668.5532, vince.lattanzio@nbcuni.com or follow @VinceLattanzio on Twitter and Facebook.

Photo Credit: NBC10/Facebook]]>
<![CDATA[Danbury Hospital Hazmat Response Was Precautionary]]> Fri, 30 Jan 2015 22:05:00 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/danbury+hospital+ER.jpg

A hazmat situation was declared in the Danbury Hospital parking garage Friday evening after two or three people reported an irritating chemical in the area, according to the fire department.

Investigators determined that some sort of pepper spray was discharged in the parking garage and launched a full hazmat response as a precaution, firefighters said.

The hospital was never locked down and no one was injured, according to Danbury fire officials.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Firefighters Rescue Dog in LA River]]> Sat, 31 Jan 2015 03:44:50 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/200*120/1-30-15-lucky+the+dog+la+river+rescue+ground.JPG

The dog that was plucked out of the roiling Los Angeles River in a heroic afternoon aerial rescue put on a quite a show as it made its brief cameo for the waiting cameras Friday night.

The cute yellow dog nicknamed Lucky made a big splash Friday, discovered by someone at Warner Bros. Studios in Burbank who called in about a dog paddling down the rain-swollen River.

The pup was swept at least three miles downriver and saved in Glendale, near the Golden State (5) Freeway overpass.

Los Angeles firefighters went to work in the air and NBC4 caught it all as firefighter John Terrusa was lowered into the river to pick up the soggy pooch.

"It was quite a team effort, quite a concert," Terrusa said.

As Terrusa and canine spun their way to safety dangling from a line on a chopper, several people gathered with firefighters along the river's banks to warm up the chilly doggy.

Lucky, a 7-year-old Shiba Inu who was not microchipped, is spending the night under doctor's care at a shelter in Eagle Rock. He will stay at a shelter for seven days, allowing enough time for his owner to come forward.

If no one comes forward, then the dog goes up for adoption and there's already one offer.

Terrusa is hoping this story has a happy ending.

"It is definitely a loved animal," Terrusa said. "It's just one of those things where I'm sure the dog just got out of somebody's yard and got in the wrong place, at the wrong time."

Asher Klein contributed to this story.

Photo Credit: Mark James]]>
<![CDATA[Married CA Cops Sentenced 3 Years ]]> Fri, 30 Jan 2015 21:52:54 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/bryce+jennifer+charpentier.jpg

Two married San Diego Police officers convicted of drug sales and burglary charges were sentenced to three years in state prison in a downtown courtroom Friday.

Bryce Charpentier, 32, and Jennifer Charpentier, 41, admitted to selling and furnishing a narcotic substance, possession of a firearm by an addict, conspiracy to commit first-degree residential burglary, conspiracy to commit a crime and possession and sale of a controlled substance.

As a result, the two resigned from the SDPD in November. Jennifer also lost partial custody of her kids after her arrest.

In court Friday, Bryce was teary as he apologized to the department and his family. The prosecution, however, called him "manipulative."

In an attempt to argue against jail time, the defense said the two never used their authority status and witnesses did not know they were cops. They also said the two have gotten clean and are active in 12-step programs, and that Post Traumatic Stress Disorder contributed to their actions.

Prosecutors asked for maximum sentences for both, saying other officers who suffer addiction and PTSD don't start distribution labs.

District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis said in a press conference following the sentencing that "no one is above the law."

"As police officers, their job was to protect the citizens of San Diego; not to victimize them," she said.

Both officers initially pleaded not guilty, but changed their pleas after new charges were filed against the couple, accusing them of stealing prescription medication from their parent, burglarizing a home while on the clock as officers and leading a distribution chain.

Bryce, a six-year veteran of the SDPD, and Jennifer, an 18-year veteran, were arrested in June during a San Diego County Sheriff’s Department narcotics investigation.

San Diego Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman also spoke out about the case saying, "It is reprehensible that these two former officers made the terrible decision to betray and discredit our badge and our profession."

Zimmerman said after the launch of the Sheriff's Department's investigation, she and her department cooperated fully and "the public trust is too important for anything less."

Sheriff Bill Gore joined Dumanis and Zimmerman at the press conference.

"I know I speak for everyone up here today when I say that we'd rather be up here for almost any other reason than to discuss the sentencing and prosecution of law enforcement officers," Gore said.

He said he thinks the collaborative efforts between SDPD and the sheriff's office were successful, adding, "It's been said that trust takes years to build, seconds to break and forever to repair."

Search warrants said Jennifer got seven different drugs in 71 prescriptions from seven separate doctors and then traveled to 17 pharmacies to fill them. Bryce went as far as Oakhurst near Yosemite to fill 79 prescriptions from six different doctors.

One victim was Jennifer's own mother. During a visit to their home, Bryce texted his wife he was coming back and pulling into the driveway. At that point, Jennifer texted she was taking her mother into the backyard, presumably to distract her while Bryce took prescription medication from her.

Before the couple's sentencing, Jennifer said she and her mom have worked things out and her mom wrote a letter to the court.

The judge said she gave probation serious consideration, but the case does not involve simple street corner drug sales, and denied the motion. However, the two are out of custody until Feb. 6 and will only serve 50 percent of their sentence on good behavior.

The couple was also ordered to pay $5,000 each in restitution.

This is a developing story. Check back here for updates.

Photo Credit: San Diego Police Dept. Yearbook]]>
<![CDATA[Stop & Shop Recalling Paprika]]> Fri, 30 Jan 2015 19:07:14 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/stop+and+shop+edit.jpg

Stop & Shop supermarkets are pulling Szeged Hungarian Paprika from its shelves over concern that it may contain peanut traces despite not listing peanuts on the label.

According to a news release from the supermarket chain, the recall targets 5-ounce paprika bottles marked with the UPC of 7800600010 and lot number 091617PAHU05PS.

No illnesses have been reported. Customers who purchased the affected paprika should throw out the bottles and bring back their receipts to receive refunds. The paprika is safe for people who are not allergic to peanuts.

Stop & Shop recalled ground cumin earlier this month.

More information is available through Spice-Co, the company that produces the paprika, by calling 732-499-9070. Customers can also call Stop & Shop customer service at 800-767-7772 or learn more online.

<![CDATA[Man Tries to Stab Officers Providing Medical Help: Cops]]> Fri, 30 Jan 2015 17:55:41 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/groton+police+department.JPG

When police in Groton were called to the home of a man who needed medical attention, they weren't expecting what came next.

According to Groton Town Police, officers, firefighters and EMTs were called to a home at 1290 North Road in Groton on Friday after probation officers visiting 52-year-old Robert Hart realized he needed medical help.

While officers were speaking with Hart trying to help, Hart grabbed a knife hidden in a chair and tried to stab them, according to police. One of the officers managed to calm him down and take the knife away before anyone was hurt.

Hart was taken into custody and charged with criminal attempt at first-degree assault, criminal attempt at assault on a police officer, threatening and first-degree reckless endangerment.

<![CDATA[What Does the Disneyland Measles Outbreak Mean?]]> Fri, 30 Jan 2015 20:41:35 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/215*120/MEASLES1.JPG

The outbreak of measles at Disneyland in Orange County, California, has reignited the debate over the anti-vaccination movement, driven by parents who question whether vaccines are safe and and whether there is a connection to autism in particular.

Medical experts say the study showing such a link has been repeatedly discredited and other parents counter their children are being endangered by irresponsible behavior.

Arizona, meanwhile, is monitoring more than 1,000 people who might have been exposed as thousands begin arriving for the Super Bowl on Sunday.

Here’s what you should know.

How many people are affected?

Sixty-eight people have reported contracting measles as a result of the outbreak that began at Disneyland, according to the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The majority of the children and adults who became ill either had not been inoculated or did not know if they had been, said Dr. Anne Schuchat, assistant surgeon general and director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases.

“This is not a problem of the measles vaccine not working,” she told reporters this week. “This is a problem of the measles vaccine not being used.”

Since 2000, measles has been eliminated in the United States, meaning it is no longer native to the country. But it can still be spread by someone infected elsewhere and the CDC is assuming that is what happened at Disneyland.

How widespread is measles?

Each year there are 20 million cases around the world, and 145,000 people die, according to the CDC. Other complications: encephalitis and pneumonia.

Last year, there were a record number of measles in the United States, 644 cases, up from a median of 60 a year over the previous decade. And this January a total of 84 cases in 14 states were reported, more than what was typical in an entire year.

Those numbers pale compared to the average number of cases reported each year before the vaccine became available: 549,000.

Is there reason to worry?

The CDC's Schuchat said the numbers for January were concerning.

"I want to do everything possible to prevent measles from getting a foothold in the United States and becoming endemic again," she said.

Dr. Stephen Morse, professor of epidemiology at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health, said he thought the country was a long way from returning to the high number of measles cases and other diseases.

"If enough people are not taking these vaccines, we will see a resurgence, but right now these are fairly small events," he said. "So I think the reason everyone pays attention to it in medical and public health communities is simply because this is not a trend you would like to see really going up."

How high are vaccination rates?

Immunization rates remain high despite the attention the measles outbreak is receiving. Among kindergartners enrolled in the 2013-2014 school year, the median vaccination coverage was 93 percent and higher for measles, mumps, rubella, diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough and chicken pox.

To provide what is called herd immunity -- to protect people who cannot be immunization and those for whom the vaccines are not effective -- experts recommend that between 90 and 95 percent of a community be fully inoculated. Health officials are worried about pockets of parents who are rejecting inoculation.

Morse said the control of a disease such as measles was hard won.

"When we actually had these diseases among us people feared them or at least really wanted a vaccine," he said. "Now of course we’re much more blasé, which is a mistake."

What is the reaction from parents worried about vaccines?

Barbara Loe Fisher, the president of the National Vaccine Information Center, a Virginia-based nonprofit that advocates allowing parents to choose whether to vaccinate their children, said that it was premature to point fingers at those who decided to forgo vaccines.

"There is no question that there is a tremendous amount of pressure being placed on parents who are making informed vaccine decisions for their children," she said. "I think this has gone way too far. The discussion has gotten very ugly, it has gotten extremely polarized and it's caused a lot of parents to be very afraid of doctors and public health officials."

Less than 1.8 percent of children attending kindergarten have vaccination exceptions, she noted. Less than 1 percent of children under the age of 3 are unvaccinated, she said.

What about other diseases?

Mumps, rubella, pertussis or whooping cough and chickenpox are among others that could also spike if parents continue to forgo vaccinations, experts say.

“This isn’t just a measles problem,” said Dr. Gregory A. Poland, the director of the Mayo Clinic Vaccine Research Group in Rochester, Minnesota. “This is a problem for any transmissible disease for which we have safe and effective vaccines that aren’t unfortunately used.”

Measles is especially contagious, but there have been other outbreaks. Mumps, for example, is no longer common in the United States, with only 229 cases reported in 2012 compared to 186,000 cases each year before the mumps vaccination program began in 1967. But in 2009-2010, there were two large outbreaks, according to the CDC: one among mostly Hasidic Jewish children in New York who were delaying immunization, and another among mostly school aged children in Guam.

<![CDATA[Cutting Class? New App Could Blow Your Cover]]> Fri, 30 Jan 2015 17:08:09 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/smart+phone+generic+.jpg

Want to see if your college student is skipping class? There’s an app for that.

For $200 a year, parents, professors and campus administrators can use Class120 to check to see if a student is in class at the scheduled time.

The minds behind the app, which was debuted by start-up Core Principle this month, say the accountability app could help students stay on track with their studies and prepare them for being punctual once they enter the workforce. But some students say it gives parents too much control over the lives of their adult children.

Jeff Whorley, founder and CEO of Core Principle, developed the app after a conversation he had with a college professor that left him thinking that if colleges treated all students the way they treat Division 1 athletes, whose attendance in class is closely monitored, then graduation levels would rise.

“If we could get students everywhere to attend at least 90 percent of their classes, over 80 percent would graduate,” Whorley told NBC Owned Television Stations.

The app tracks if the student is in class, and sends an alert to the student’s parent or teacher if they do not show up to class for two days in a row. Core Principle can also call the student directly if a parent or teacher does not feel comfortable contacting the student. The app must be downloaded by the student, and it can only be used to track if a student is in class, not at parties or other activities.

Still, some have criticized the app for being too controlling over students who should be treated like adults.

"I would probably be more annoyed than anything," Natalie Pike told NBC affiliate WTHR. "I would feel like my life is being pried into."

But Whorley argues that in the post-college world, a recent grad will face immediate consequences if they do not show up or even show up late to work. More students, he says, need to be treated with similar consequences by having a teacher or parent point out that they are late and help get back on track before the entire semester goes down the drain.

“We don’t think this app is anti-adult," Whorley said. "It’s an introduction to the real economy.”

The app has made recent headlines, with coverage in the Wall Street Journal and USA Today. In the last four days alone, the start-up has seen a huge increase in traffic from parents in Europe and Asia looking to track their children who are studying abroad in the U.S., he said. So far the app is available for close to 2,000 college campuses across the country that the company has geomapped.

Whorley hopes that in the future this app can work to take class attendance.

“The future of taking attendance is Wi-Fi or GPS where a professor looks down at a piece of smart technology instead of calling roll," he said.

<![CDATA[NYC Cops Save Beaten Puppy in Snow]]> Fri, 30 Jan 2015 17:03:23 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/dog+beaten+arrest.jpg

A 43-year-old Bronx man was arrested for allegedly punching a 6-month-old pit bull and beating it with a shovel, then burying it in the snow so deep only its head was visible, authorities say.

Police responded to a 911 call about a dog being abused shortly before 3 a.m. Friday and found the pooch, which appears to be a pit bull, buried in the snow on 167th Street. Only its head was visible.

Officers pulled the pup out of the snow and saw signs of mistreatment and abuse. It apparently The dog, a female named Hennessy, was taken to the ASPCA in Manhattan for treatment.

About an hour later, police arrested Raul Cruz, who witnesses had identified as the alleged dog abuser, not far from where they rescued the pup.

He was charged with aggravated cruelty to animals and torturing, injuring or not feeding an animal. It wasn't clear if Cruz had an attorney.

Photo Credit: Handout]]>
<![CDATA[Dangerous Cold, Then More Snow ]]> Fri, 30 Jan 2015 22:56:46 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/super+bowl+weekend+snow.jpg

Wind chill advisories and winter storm watches have been issued for most of the state ahead of dangerous cold and up to another foot of snow that's expected to blanket the state Monday.

By mid-morning Sunday, temperatures will dip down into the single digits in most communities. Gusts of up to 40 mph will create wind chills of between -15 and -25 degrees statewide, according to Chief First Alert Meteorologist Brad Field.

Wind chill advisories have been issued for most of the state, with the exception of the far eastern counties, and the wintry pattern isn’t going anywhere in the coming week.

Confidence is increasing for moderate to heavy snowfall late Sunday night through Monday afternoon. Most of the state will receive up to 12 inches of accumulation, but the shoreline will likely see 4-8 inches of snow, in addition to sleet and freezing rain along the immediate Interstate 95 corridor.

The heaviest snow will fall between 3 a.m. and 3 p.m. Monday, peaking between the hours of 6 a.m. and noon, Field said. The Monday morning commute will be heavily impacted.

Check for school delays and closings ahead Monday's storm, and sign up for school closing alerts to stay in the know.

This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story on our mobile site.]]>
<![CDATA[Shelters, Warming Centers Open]]> Fri, 30 Jan 2015 16:43:59 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/snow-generic.jpg

With wind chills below zero coming this weekend, several cities and towns have warming centers opens.

Hartford: The city will open warming centers if frigid temperatures expected this weekend continue into next week. Anyone in need of shelter is urged to call 211. If temperatures remain below 25 degrees on Monday, the following warming centers will be open:

  • North End Senior Center: 80 Coventry St., 9:30a.m. To 3 p.m., (860)757-0801
  • South End Wellness Center: 830 Maple Ave., 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., (860)757-0840
  • Parkville Senior Center: 11 New Park Ave., 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., (860)232-7867
  • Hispanic Senior Center: 45 Wadsworth St., 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., (860)493-6566
  • Hispanic Health Council: 175 Main St., 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., (860)527-0856

The following permanent shelters will be open 24 hours a day during the inclement weather:  

  • McKinney Shelter: 34 Huyshope Ave., (860) 722-6922
  • Immaculate Conception Shelter: 560 Park St., (860) 724-4823
  • South Park Inn: 75 Main St., (860) 724-0071
  • pen Hearth: 437 Sheldon St., (860)525-3447

Simsbury: The town has extended two warming centers through Feb. 9.

The Simsbury Public Library at 725 Hopmeadow Street will be open as a warming center from 9:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., Monday through Thursday, 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on  Sunday. Eno Memorial Hall, where the senior center is located at 754 Hopmeadow Street, will also be open as a warming center 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Monday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. from Tuesday through Thursday and 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Friday. Call the Simsbury Social Services Department at 860-658-3283 for more information.

Other municipalities have said shelters and warming centers will open up as needed. Anyone in need of shelter is urged to call 211.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[3 Hurt in Berlin House Fire]]> Fri, 30 Jan 2015 18:46:10 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/berlin+house+fire+edit.jpg

Two people were rescued and three were hospitalized after fire ripped through a three-story home in Berlin around 4 p.m. Friday, according to firefighters at the scene.

Firefighters said the homeowner made it out safely when flames spread through the house at 38 Highview Terrace, then went back inside to help two family members out of the burning building.

"He was outside and he had actually gone in to get the son-in-law and the child out of the house," explained Berlin Deputy Fire Marshal Matt Odishoo. "They had what looks like some smoke inhalation and he might have sustained some minor burns on his neck."

The three residents were rushed to the hospital for treatment. Odishoo said none of their injuries appear to be life-threatening.

A total of four or five people lived in the home, which sustained heavy damage. Firefighters said flames spread to all three floors.

Highview Terrace has been closed at Renee Drive while crews respond to the blaze.

The Cromwell Fire Department sent mutual aid, and the Berlin Volunteer Fire Department said a task force was called in.

Check back for updates on this developing story.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[College Students Will Have a Harder Time Cutting Class ]]> Fri, 30 Jan 2015 16:04:25 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/NC_attendanceapp0129001_1500x845__677564.jpg College students will have a much harder time trying to skip class now that parents and professors can track if they're in class or not. ]]> <![CDATA[Scammers Demand Money, Threaten to Kill CT Residents]]> Fri, 30 Jan 2015 15:48:28 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/generic+money+new.jpg

Police are investigating after scammers mailed death threats to Farmington families, demanding money in exchange for sparing their lives.

According to Farmington police, the FBI is investigating 14 similar complaints from homes in Fairfield County.

Farmington police said they have received two complaints within the past week from residents who received threatening letters addressed to their homes. According to police, the notes were postmarked in Austin, Texas, and Jacksonville, Florida.

The letters identify the recipients by name and explain how to make a $2,000 payment using Bitcoin, according to police. The senders set a payment deadline of noon on Feb. 13.

The notes begin as follows:

"XXX you do not know who we are, but we have been tracking you and your loved ones for a while now. We know your schedules. We know where you all live and spend your time. We also know how to kill any one of you without being caught. Now XXX, don't panic. This isn't personal. You did nothing to deserve this. You were just one of a handful of families unfortunate enough to draw our attention."

They continue on to say, "However, nobody has to die," then instruct the recipients to create an account through any online Bitcoin exchange and deposit $2,000.

"Withdrawal [sic] all Bitcoin you purchased to the following Bitcoin address: 19vcdWcV4J8bhH7j3igHZ5q4WGT2UX5V2S," the letters instruct. "Be sure to type all 34 characters of that Bitcoin address in EXACTLY."

The mailings also include a "Note to Law Enforcement" explaining that police will never be able to catch or identify the culprits.

The Farmington Police Department is investigating along with the Postal Inspector and FBI. Police are imploring anyone who receives a similar letter to contact authorities immediately and refrain from handing over the money.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Man Stole from 1 Church, Vandalized Another: Cops]]> Fri, 30 Jan 2015 15:33:04 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/hamden+police+cruiser+1.jpg

Hamden police have arrested a man accused of burglarizing one church in town, smashing stained glass windows in another, then burglarizing an art school and leaving Satanic symbols.

On Wednesday, police arrested Jaquan Beal, 18, of New Haven, who is suspected of committing the three crimes in November.

Beal is suspected of forcing his way into the Hamden Plains Methodist Church, at 15 Church Street, on Nov. 3 and stealing an envelope containing several hundred dollars, police said.

He is also suspected of smashing two stained glass windows at Blessed Sacrament Church, located as 321 Circular Avenue, on Nov. 9. Nothing was reported missing.

Beal is also suspected of vandalism on Nov. 17 at Paier School of Art, at 20 Gorham Avenue.

Police said Beal broke in and vandalized the interior of the building.

When police responded, they found broken windows throughout the school, as well as damaged vending and gumball machines. A fire extinguisher was removed and sprayed throughout the building. Police also found “666” and a pentagram painted in several locations. School administration estimated the damage at nearly $2,000.00.

Beal was charged with three counts of third-degree burglary, three counts of larceny in the sixth degree and three counts of second-degree criminal. He was arraigned on January 28.

<![CDATA[Orange Police Ask for Help Finding Wanted Man]]> Fri, 30 Jan 2015 14:33:03 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/david+dileonardo.jpg

Orange police are asking for the public's help in finding a man involved in a hit-and-run crash and leading police on a car chase earlier this month.

According to police, David Dileonardo, 29, is accused of leading police on a chase onto Interstate 95 after he left the scene of a collision on Jan. 9. He crashed his car on Saw Mill Road in West Haven, got out and ran.

It's not clear what he might be driving now. Police said he's known to frequent the Waterbury and Naugatuck areas.

Dileonardo is wanted on charges of sixth-degree larceny for allegedly driving a car with a stolen license plate, engaging police in pursuit, evading responsibility and other motor vehicle offenses.

His court-set bond will be $15,000.

Anyone with information on Dileonardo's whereabouts is urged to call Orange police Det. Mike Morrin of the Investigative Services Unit at 203-891-2138.

Photo Credit: Orange Police Department]]>
<![CDATA[2 Dead in Apartment Fire at East Brooklyn Mill Site]]> Fri, 30 Jan 2015 21:55:00 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/east+brooklyn+mill+fire+edit.jpg

Two men were killed Friday afternoon when fire tore through the old Tiffany Mill site in East Brooklyn, ravaging apartments and forcing nearly a dozen residents from their homes.

"I heard a loud bang and then I heard another bang. I came outside and I looked and saw smoke billowing out the window," said witness Mike Sarette. "It sounded like gunshots, and I came out to see what was going on, and that's when I noticed the building was on fire."

Building owner Jim Dandeneau said earlier Friday afternoon that two residents remained unaccounted for after another tenant went door-to-door to rouse neighbors and get everyone out.

"There are two tenants still missing. We haven't heard yet from the fire department, haven't gotten official word, but we're not sure they made it out," Dandeneau said, adding that one of the missing residents had worked the third shift for him Thursday night.

State police said crews from the Brooklyn Fire Department searched the building just after 1:45 p.m. and found the bodies. According to Major Michael Darcy, the men died in the area where the fire broke out. They have not been publicly identified.

According to emergency dispatchers, flames had already engulfed the building by the time firefighters arrived. It was already too late to save the victims.

"I saw flames shooting maybe 20 feet in the air, maybe more, smoke going everywhere," said Kelly Mahan, who has lived in the building since September."I feel so sorry for the friends and family and everybody. They tried to save them, but they couldn't do it, they couldn't make it, the flames were that high."

Dandeneau said the historic structure, built in 1820, contains seven apartments and houses 10 or 11 residents. A spokesperson for the American Red Cross, which is helping tenants who lost their homes, said at least 14 people have been displaced.

The facility suffered major damage. Dandeneau said smoke detectors sounded but the building is not equipped with sprinklers due to its age. He employs a full-time maintenance worker and added that the apartments are newly renovated and the building is up to code.

Karl Kuhn Jr., of Kuhn Builders in North Grosvenordale, said he saw smoke pouring from the windows and rushed to rescue two tenants in a basement apartment who didn't even realize the building was on fire.

"I'm just glad to get the people out that we did," he said. "Maybe if I was five minutes earlier, I could have done something."

Six fire departments from Brooklyn and Killingly responded to the scene, along with state police troopers, who have shut down Route 6 in the area of 182 South Main Street.

The Connecticut State Police Fire & Explosion Investigative Unit and Eastern District Major Crime Squad are investigating, along with the local fire marshal.

It's not yet clear if the fire is accidental or will be deemed suspicious.

Check back for updates on this developing story.

Photo Credit: Karl Kuhn Jr.]]>
<![CDATA[Woman Robs Greenwich Bank at Gunpoint]]> Fri, 30 Jan 2015 22:01:40 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/greenwich+bank+robbery+suspect.jpg

Police are investigating after a woman with a gun robbed a bank in Greenwich around noontime on Friday.

Police said a woman pulled a gun at Greenwich Bank and Trust at 1103 East Putnam Avenue around noon on Friday, demanded cash and fled after the teller handed over money.

No one was hurt, during the robbery and police are looking for a short woman, around 40 years old, who weighs around 100 pounds.

She has dark hair in a pixie cut and was wearing sunglasses and a dark peacoat.

Anyone with any information or who might have been in the area between 11 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. is asked to call the police department’s tipline at 203-622-3333 or 1 800-3720-1176.

You could also email a tip to tips@greenwichct.org

Photo Credit: Greenwich Police Department]]>
<![CDATA[Gunman Holds Up Southington Liquor Store]]> Fri, 30 Jan 2015 12:22:11 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Burglar_Thief_Robber_generic_722.jpg

Police are looking for the masked man who held up a Southington liquor store at gunpoint in Thursday and stole between $500 and $600.

The clerk of Queen Street Liquor at 1079 Queen Street said a man with a gun robbed the store at 6:46 p.m. and ran off, heading behind the building.

The robber was slender, appeared to be between 5-feet-8 and 5-feet-10 and was wearing blue jeans, a black zip-up hooded sweatshirt and black gloves.

His face was covered with a white mask or a bandana that covered his nose, mouth and neck and the hood of a sweatshirt covered his head.

A K-9 Unit searched the area , but the track ended in the College and Butler avenues neighborhood.

Anyone who has information or who witnessed anything suspicious should call Det. Mark Beal at 860-378-1645 or email mbeal@southingtonpolice.org.

<![CDATA[Hartford Home Exploded After Burglary: Police]]> Fri, 30 Jan 2015 16:24:31 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Hartford+house+explosion+1200.jpg

Police believe a burglary is behind a house explosion in Hartford early Friday morning.

Firefighters responded to 42 Winchester Street, a vacant house, at 1:30 a.m. on Friday after neighbors reported a loud bang that sounded like an explosion.

What firefighters found was just a shell of a house. The front and side walls of the home had been blown out.

As firefighters investigated, they saw just small flames coming from the dryer vent, but no significant fire.

As the investigation continued, authorities determined that a gas line had ruptured during the burglary, police said on Friday afternoon.

No one was inside the abandoned house when the explosion occurred and no one was injured.

The Hartford fire marshal's office, Connecticut Natural Gas and the state fire marshal responded and the major crimes unit is investigating.

Neighbors said the property was recently shown to potential renters, but no one has lived in it in awhile .


Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[ Shot Fired Into Hamden Woman’s Bedroom]]> Fri, 30 Jan 2015 10:05:09 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/hamden+police+generic+2.JPG

A Hamden woman had quite a shock on Wednesday afternoon when she heard a loud bang near her Wilmot Road home on Wednesday afternoon and later noticed that a bullet had gone right through her bedroom wall.

Police said the woman heard the loud noise at 12:30 p.m. and found the bullet several hours later. It had gone straight through the wall of a second-floor bedroom and landed on the floor, police said.

When Hamden police began investigating, they spoke with a witness who reported hearing two gunshots around that same time that were fired on West Helen Street, which is close to West Helen Street.

Anyone with information is asked to call Detective William Onofrio of the Hamden Police Department Major Crimes Division at (203) 230-4040.

<![CDATA[Water Main Break Repaired in West Hartford]]> Fri, 30 Jan 2015 14:11:27 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/south+main+water+main+break+in+west+hartford.JPG

A water main break in West Hartford has been repaired after 20 homes lost service in the area of Rockledge Drive and Webster Hill Boulevard late Friday morning.

A spokesperson for the Metropolitan District Commission said the 8-inch water main, which was shut down at 11:15 a.m., has been fixed and service was restored as of 1:40 p.m.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[WATCH: Seahawks Coach on What Richard Sherman Should Name His Baby]]> Fri, 30 Jan 2015 11:57:12 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/WNBC_000000005961142_1200x675_391459395811.jpg Seattle Seahawks Coach Pete Carroll joked that cornerback Richard Sherman should name his baby "Petey." Carroll was asked about the possibility of Sherman's pregnant girlfriend going into labor before the Super Bowl. The lighthearted moment came during a press conference with New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick on Friday, Jan. 30. ]]> <![CDATA[Suspect in 2009 Norwich Sex Assault Arrested]]> Fri, 30 Jan 2015 10:32:43 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Alexander+Perry+1200.jpg

Police have arrested a man accused of sexually assaulting a woman in an alley behind a Norwich business in 2009 and breaking bones in her face.

Police said the victim was walking in the area of Central Avenue on April 29, 2009 when a stranger called to her, then grabbed her while she was walking toward him, pulled her into an alley behind a business, attacked her and sexually assaulted her.

When investigators met with the woman, she was distraught. She said the attacker told her he had a gun, but she never saw one, police said.

She was able to provide police a vague description of the man, who ran away after the attack, and police searched the area, but did not find anyone.

More than five and a half years later, on Jan. 12, Norwich Police Department got a break in the case when the State of Connecticut Forensic Science Laboratory linked DNA evidence from the crime scene to profiles in the national and state DNA databases, police said.

On Thursday, police found the suspect, Alexander S. Perry, 24, of Central Avenue in Norwich, walking on Central Avenue.

He has been charged with first-degree sexual assault, second-degree assault, first-degree threatening and first-degree unlawful restraint.

Perry was held on a court-set $500,000 and will be arraigned at Norwich Superior Court.

Photo Credit: Norwich Police]]>
<![CDATA[Police ID Victim of Bristol Shooting]]> Fri, 30 Jan 2015 16:08:22 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Bristol+police+investigation+on+Route+72+1200.jpg

A 33-year-old Bristol man is hospitalized after being shot several times in Bristol early Friday morning.

Authorities received a 911 call from employees of the West End Cafe at 12:54 a.m. who said a man who'd been shot in the area went into the bar looking for help.

The victim, Emanuel “Manny” Maldonado, of Bristol, had been shot several times during an altercation at Divinity and Landry streets, according to police.

Seeking help, he went into the West End Cafe at 8 Divinity Street and employees called 911.

Maldonado was then taken to the hospital, where he is in stable condition. 

Police are asking witnesses to call the Bristol Police Department Criminal Investigations Division at 860-314-4561.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Craft Brewers Tackle Super Bowl, Beer's Marquee Event ]]> Fri, 30 Jan 2015 07:59:13 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/beer+bottles+generic+edit.jpg

New Yorkers packing the Roebling Sporting Club on Super Bowl Sunday will be watching the Brooklyn bar’s eight TVs to see whether the Patriots or Seahawks reign supreme.

Ryan McLaughlin, the bar’s manager, will follow a different contest — one played out at the beer taps.

“Bud Light will outsell any other beer that day, except maybe Budweiser,” said McLaughlin, who has worked the taps there for about a year and a half. But he’s “absolutely” seeing more people ordering craft beers like Great Divide’s Nomad or Coney Island’s Mermaid Pilsner, even during the Super Bowl, he said.

Craft beers — defined as beers from independently-owned, traditionally styled brewers making less than 6 million barrels a year — are more popular than ever across the U.S. But Super Bowl Sunday has traditionally been home turf for big American brewers like Anheuser-Busch and Miller-Coors, which can compound their worldwide cultural status with titanic advertising budgets.

Rather than try to compete on the grand scale, craft brewers say they’ll celebrate in their own small ways — unveiling a specialty beer, hosting a brewpub game-watch or simply posting a timely reminder on Facebook.

“We prefer word-of-mouth, social media and more organic advertising,” said Hilary Coalis, the director of marketing for San Diego’s Ballast Point Brewing and Spirits, which is growing rapidly and now distributes on both coasts. “We know it’s a big beer-drinking holiday, and we rely on our fans to make their choices.”

Stone Brewing Co., one of America’s largest independent craft brewers, has sworn off advertising altogether, said Nickie Peña. The brewery in Escondido, California, instead hosts what Peña calls "anti-Super Bowl" events. On the morning of the game, Stone invites its fans — national sales director Jason Armstrong calls them “true beer geeks” — to sample vintage or archived beers.

In 2013, American craft brewers collectively dethroned America’s biggest brand, Budweiser, shipping 16.1 million barrels to Budweiser’s 16 million, according to industry analyst Beer Insights. Craft beers have steadily grown by 10.9 percent over the past decade, said Julia Herz of the Craft Brewers Association, even as overall domestic beer sales have fallen.

“[Our fans] understand that instead of spending money on ads, we’re spending money on the product that we’re pushing out,” Peña said. “We’d rather create a product that’s locally made with high-quality ingredients, that isn’t watered-down, and put our money in that place, rather than putting our money on ads.”

At Top Hops Beer Co., a beer shop and tasting bar in New York specializing in craft beers, patrons said they prefer craft beers for the Super Bowl but are also picking up familiar brands for their friends.

“I like craft beers, Ommegang especially, but I think the general population is drinking Bud Light, Coors Light, and the other light stuff,” said Jonathan Spinner, a builder and designer. His friend Mike Warshaw, a plumber who was hosting his own Super Bowl party, said, “I’m probably going to buy a case of Corona, and Newcastle, but I’m into different-flavored beers.”

Ted Kenny, the owner of Top Hops, says he expects Budweiser and Stella Artois to sell well on the fourth Super Bowl he’s been in business. But he also expects to sell more craft beers than any other day of the year.

“I expect to sell more New England beers for people who want more themed parties — Sam Adams, Smuttynose,” Kenny said.

This year’s game has also provoked some friendly bets between brewers in Seahawks and Patriots country. Harpoon Brewery, with plants in Boston and Windsor, Vermont, and Elysian Brewing Company of Seattle (although recently acquired by Anheuser-Busch InBev) have each staked three kegs on the outcome. The loser will serve the winner’s beer.

That’s another trend lifting small brewers: Drinking local. Small, independent brewers celebrate their hometowns, they say, and local fans respond by celebrating with their beer.

“More people are looking to buy local products and support businesses that are made or grown closer to home,” said Eugene Simor, the president of San Antonio’s Alamo Brewing Company. “That’s what’s driving craft, and the big guys can’t compete with it. It’s not an advertising or marketing thing. It’s people going back to the roots of what the beer industry used to be about.”

Simor has leaned heavily on local support to drum up Super Bowl business. Alamo partnered with Texas Public Radio, local academics and several local businesses to host a panel discussion of Super Bowl advertising and marketing. The panel will be hosted at the beer hall in Alamo’s newly-opened brewery in in downtown San Antonio. Simor expects a capacity crowd: 125 people.

Tim Miller, a craft brewer from Maryland, is hoping a sense of local pride can also restore some luster to old brands. In 2011, Miller resurrected National Premium Beer, an old Baltimore brand, with an eye on Baby Boomers nostalgic for a local favorite.

“Our market is male, 50-plus, from the mid-Atlantic, really loves the beer, loves the story, remembers it fondly,” Miller said. “Our plan is that during, say, the Super Bowl or Father’s Day, a father will tell his son about this beer he used to drink, their special beer.”

Craft brewers still face an uphill battle against the entrenched American heavyweights, however, especially during the Super Bowl.

“Over the course of 2014, 30 percent of the case volume sold nationwide was premium light beers: Coors Light, Miller Lite,” said MillerCoors spokeswoman Cat Corrigan, citing a Nielsen statistic. “We know that those beers will be the prominent choice for sports fans who are sitting down to watch the Super Bowl.”

Bartenders at sports bars know it, too.

“I predict Bud Light, Miller Light, and Coors Light,” said Pete Fecht, a manager at St. Mark’s Ale House, a Manhattan sports bar. “A football crowd always drinks the cheapest beer in the biggest quantity.”

Big brewers are paying handsomely for that attention. Anheuser-Bush is the Super Bowl’s exclusive beer advertiser, ensuring that spectators will get their fix of the brand’s iconic Clydesdales (and, now, golden retriever puppies). MillerCoors, on the other hand, is promoting its brands through live events likely to drum up outside media coverage. Coors Light is sponsoring ESPN’s Super Bowl party, Corrigan said. Miller Lite is sponsoring a Super Bowl party co-hosted by Rolling Stone magazine and featuring Aerosmith.

Back at the bar at Roebling Sporting Club, McLaughlin will have Bud Light on hand. But craft beers will be on tap.

“People ask for what’s local,” he said. “I’m a staunch craft beer supporter. It’s the beer renaissance here in the United States.”

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[2nd Sex Assault Suit Filed Against Lakeville Boarding School]]> Thu, 29 Jan 2015 21:42:54 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/peter+carleton+chris+simonds.jpg

A federal lawsuit filed Thursday accuses two teachers and the headmaster at the Indian Mountain School in Lakeville of sexually assaulting a 14-year-old boy between 1982 and 1984, and says that school officials who knew what was happening did nothing to stop it.

It’s the second lawsuit filed against the school in three months alleging that the Indian Mountain School “failed and refused to stop teachers and the school’s Headmaster from ‘predatory sexual assaults and pedophilia’ inflicted on minor boys,” according to the plaintiff's attorney.

The abuse so traumatized the teen that at one point he tried to slit his wrists and kill himself, according to the suit.

The lawsuit alleges that “the school employed known pedophiles, and allowed those pedophiles free reign to gratify their perverse sexual desires by molesting young vulnerable boys in the school’s care and custody,” adding that officials “refused” to discipline or fire teachers they knew were abusing students.

According to the lawsuit, English teacher Christopher Simonds "manipulated, groomed, and sexually abused, assaulted, molested, fondled, sodomized and sometimes raped" dozens of boys during his nine years at the Indian Mountain School and abused the plaintiff more than two dozen times.

Simonds also took lewd pictures of the students to "blackmail" them and gave the boys cigarettes, alcohol, marijuana, cocaine and LSD, the suit alleges.

Despite although they found Simonds with child pornography and even discovered a young boy in his apartment late at night in violation of school policy, school officials turned a blind eye, the lawsuit says.

According to the suit, then-headmaster Peter Carleton and other staff members were aware of the assaults but failed to comply with mandatory reporting laws.

The suit says that school officials, administrators and teachers "actually conspired to prevent others from learning about or preventing or remedying the ongoing, rampant, serial molestations being perpetrated by school employees on the boys in the school's care and custody."

Carleton himself would watch the boys shower and visit their rooms late night, "sitting on their beds, and touching them in inappropriate and sexual ways," the lawsuit alleges.

“'Carleton was very definitely kinky,'” the suit quotes Board of Trustees chairman Paul Levin as saying. “We used to kind of wince and think he was trying to be funny. There’s a certain kind of person who gets away with murder through charm.”

When the plaintiff approached teacher Windsor Copeland for help, Copeland himself began sexually abusing the teen and one of his classmates, according to the lawsuit. 

“[The plaintiff] has suffered from the abuse his entire life. But he has chosen to come forward now with the courage and conviction to confront those responsible and to obtain the justice he deserves,” the plaintiff's attorney Antonio Ponvert III said in a statement Thursday.

Indian Mountain School's current headmaster Mark A. Devey responded to the new suit publicly Thursday with a statement promising to support its former students.

"Recently we notified our school community that we were conducting an investigation in order to identify any alumni who may have been victimized while a student at Indian Mountain School in the past. We believe that it is best for both the school and its alumni to deal with these issues now," Devey said in a statement. "It is heart wrenching to hear these allegations, and we are saddened by them. We will take the allegations very seriously, and we will support our alumni."

Another former student filed a similar lawsuit in federal court in October.

“This school was supposed to keep its students safe from harm,” Ponvert said in a statement. “These were little, vulnerable boys, totally unable to defend themselves. Instead of protecting the children, Indian Mountain School faculty and officials at all levels either closed their eyes to obvious criminal acts or participated in these horrific acts themselves.”

The lawsuit says the plaintiff suffers from permanent "mental, psychiatric, and emotional injuries" as a result of the abuse he endured, including anxiety, sexual dysfunction, PTSD, depression and low self-esteem.