<![CDATA[NBC Connecticut - Top Stories]]> Copyright 2014 http://www.nbcconnecticut.com/news/top-stories http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/NBC_Connecticut.png NBC Connecticut http://www.nbcconnecticut.com en-us Wed, 17 Sep 2014 05:33:11 -0400 Wed, 17 Sep 2014 05:33:11 -0400 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Dad of Raped New Britain Teen is "Petrified" for Family]]> Tue, 16 Sep 2014 23:00:58 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/new+britain+rape+ponder.jpg

The father of a New Britain teen who was raped while walking home from a friend’s house earlier this month is begging the public to help find her attacker and said the family won’t feel safe until he’s behind bars.

“Any father out there will understand that this is our worst nightmare, and I happen to live it every day,” said the girl’s dad, who spoke exclusively with NBC Connecticut.

His 18-year-old daughter was randomly attacked while walking on West Main Street in New Britain the night of Sept. 6, and the suspect – 24-year-old Antonio Ponder – is still on the loose. She was badly beaten, sexually assaulted and robbed.

Her father said she stumbled home "completely disfigured from all the beating, crying out loud, 'Help, they raped me.'"

“She’s afraid to go out. She’s afraid of him seeing her, afraid of him finding her,” he explained. "She really, really needs to know he's away and he won't hurt her anymore."

Since the victim stands a mere 4 feet 10 inches tall and weighs just 85 pounds, she had no hope of fending off her attacker, according to her father.

“She’s got the appearance of a 12- or 13-year-old,” her dad said. “I can’t understand how someone would do this.”

Ponder is a convicted felon who has ties to both Hartford and New Britain, according to police. He currently lives in Hartford and police have reason to believe he's in the area.

Police consider him a danger to the public and are asking for the public’s help in tracking him down. He’s wanted on charges of first-degree sexual assault, third-degree robbery and third-degree assault.

“Only a monster would attack someone like that,” her father said. “I am petrified for my family.”

Anyone with information on the attack is urged to call Hartford police at 860-757-4089 or New Britain police at 860-826-3000.

You can also call the anonymous New Britain Community Tip Line at 860-826-3199 or submit a tip online.



Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com/New Britain Police Department]]>
<![CDATA[Culprit Confesses to Stealing Statue From Teen's Grave: Cops]]> Wed, 17 Sep 2014 01:08:00 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/middletown+cemetery+angel+grave.jpg

The woman who was caught on camera stealing an angel statue from a Middletown, Connecticut, gravesite over the weekend has turned herself in, police say.

The woman's friends saw her photo in a news report and urged her to confess, according to police. She showed up at police headquarters Tuesday evening and turned over the statue, which depicts an angel holding a puppy.

According to Middletown police Capt. Gary Wallace, the woman was driving through Calvary Cemetery on Bow Lane thinking about her own ailing loved ones on Saturday when she spotted the gravesite and pulled over.

"She had an ill friend and another family member that wasn't doing well, and then decided when she saw the statue... that it just reminded her of her ill family," said Wallace. "And when she saw the statue, she just decided to take it."

The statue is now at the police department and will soon be returned to its rightful place alongside the headstone of 19-year-old Brandon Reeve, a Middletown High School graduate who died in a motorcycle crash in 2004.

According to police, the family set up a hidden camera after Reeve's headstone was defaced a couple years ago.

"It was vandalized once before," said James Reeve, Brandon Reeve's father. "The stone was tipped over once. Things were stolen. Somebody had the nerve one time to take one of the bigger statues and then the following week take the second one."

James Reeve said the camera has been in place for more than two years – and on Saturday, it finally came in handy.

"We're just keeping his name and memory alive," James Reeve explained. "I don't know why anyone would want to do this to us."

Video footage shows the suspect, who has shoulder-length blonde hair with bangs, driving up the gravesite in a white SUV, stopping to pick up the statue and driving off with it, police said.

Although the statue is valued at $100, police said “the sentimental value is priceless.”

James Reeve said this angel isn't the first statue to be stolen, it's watched over his son's grave for nearly 10 years.

Now the family is struggling to make sense of the crime.

"It's sacrilegious to do that to gravestones," James Reeve said. "I don't get it. I really don't understand it. If you've got a problem with me, come see me."

Police said the suspect, who has not yet been charged, is apologetic. Wallace said she didn't realize a camera was rolling.

"She was very surprised, from what I understand, when they talked to her, but she was very remorseful," he said. "She wants the family to know it was a huge mistake and she just wasn't thinking."

Brandon Reeve graduated from Middletown High School in 2002. A scholarship fund has been set up in his honor and golf tournaments are held every summer in his memory.



Photo Credit: Middletown Police Department/NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Minnesota Twins Split From Rock Cats Amid Talks of Hartford Move]]> Tue, 16 Sep 2014 22:41:46 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/rock+cats+generic.jpg

After a 20-year partnership with the Rock Cats, the Minnesota Twins are splitting from their Double-A affiliate in New Britain, according to the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

“We had to do something (by Thursday’s deadline) and we did,” Twins general manager Terry Ryan told the Pioneer Press on Saturday. “We ended up severing. I’m not going to deny. Yeah, we severed, but that doesn’t mean anything. I wouldn’t read too much into that.”

According to the Pioneer Press, the Twins still have the option of negotiating a two-year agreement with the Rock Cats, which are eyeing a move to Hartford in 2015.

“There’s a lot of uncertainty out in New Britain right now,” Ryan told the Pioneer Press. “I don’t think anybody knows if they’re going to move to Hartford. That’s about the only reason we severed is there’s a lot of uncertainty with the affiliate right now. The new owners are fantastic. That’s not the issue. Everything is fine, but there’s a lot of uncertainty.”

Conversely, the Twins could enter into a new agreement with one of six other Double-A teams still searching for major league partners, including teams in Chattanooga, Tennessee; Mobile, Alabama; and Tulsa, Oklahoma, the Pioneer Press reports.

The Twins have until the end of the month to select their Double-A partner.

“We’re out looking,” Ryan said, according to the Pioneer Press. “Whether or not we end up going elsewhere, we’re out looking. There's a few affiliates that are open. Not a lot, but we're exploring some things. I'm not sure exactly where we're going to land, or whether we might end up back in New Britain."

It’s unclear what the split would mean for the Rock Cats and their potential new home in Hartford.



Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Former Bank Teller Steals $35K From Customers: Officials]]> Tue, 16 Sep 2014 16:21:53 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/160*120/cashwad.jpg

A former bank teller is facing charges after stealing more than $35,000 from the accounts of nine customers, according to the state Division of Criminal Justice.

Susan Holm, 40, of Milford, was arrested Tuesday morning and charged with first-degree larceny and first-degree computer crime, both felony offenses.

She’s accused of embezzling $35,258 from nine customers’ accounts between November 2012 and July 2013 while working as a teller at the Municipal Federal Credit Union in New Haven, according to the DCJ.

Holm posted $35,000 bond and is due in New Haven Superior Court on Sept. 25. She could face up to 40 years in prison if convicted.



Photo Credit: flickr/401(K) 2013 ]]>
<![CDATA[Man Pickpockets Woman on NYC Subway]]> Wed, 17 Sep 2014 02:06:12 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/165*120/times+square+pickpocket.JPG

Police arrested a thief in the Times Square subway station Tuesday after they watched him pickpocketing a sleeping woman on live video, the NYPD said.

The thief apparently saw the woman sleeping on a bench on the subway platform just after 12:30 a.m.  and went to sit behind her, according to police.

Video shows a man slowly and deliberately reaching into the woman's pocket and pulling out a cellphone.

An officer monitoring the department's closed-circuit camera system at the subway station saw the theft in progress and alerted a patrol officer nearby.

That officer arrived on the scene and quickly arrested the suspect, identified as Juvian Rodriguez.

Police said Rodriguez has 38 prior arrests on charges including grand larceny, assault and drugs. He was on parole for grand larceny at the time of his arrest, police said.

It wasn't immediately clear if he had an attorney.

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<![CDATA[Rhode Island Bank Robber Found at Groton Motel: Police]]> Tue, 16 Sep 2014 22:54:51 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/money_handcuffs_generic_nbc.jpg

Police have arrested the suspect in a Rhode Island bank robbery who was found hiding out in a Groton motel.

Lawrence M. Sullivan, 36, has been charged as a fugitive from justice. He’s accused of robbing the Washington Trust Bank in Westerly, Rhode Island, on Monday, then heading to Connecticut.

Groton police said authorities in Westerly contacted them Tuesday for help in tracking him down.

Police from Groton Town, Groton City, Westerly and Ledyard, along with Connecticut State Police, searched the Super 8 Motel on Route 12 in Groton around 4 p.m. Tuesday. They set up a perimeter and brought in K-9s.

Sullivan was taken into custody after a four-hour search, according to police.

He was charged as a fugitive from justice and held at Groton Town police headquarters in lieu of $500,000 bond.

Sullivan will face a judge in court tomorrow.

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<![CDATA[Freak SoCal Downpour Wreaks Havoc]]> Wed, 17 Sep 2014 05:04:08 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/215*120/elsinoretrack.JPG

Driving rain and wind socked the Inland Empire Tuesday afternoon, flooding streets, school buildings, a school track and a general aviation airport and causing havoc for drivers.

It rained up to 30 minutes in neighborhood Canyon Lake, just east of Lake Elsinore.

The rain flooded roadways in minutes.

Some roads were nearly covered in water, making driving conditions extremely dangerous.

At Elsinore High School in Wildomar, about 20 classrooms suffered water damage. Crews were working late into the night Tuesday to remove water, but the school has implemented a contingency plan and reassigned classrooms for Wednesday.

Heavy winds also caused damage. An outhouse was blown apart and exploded onto the track at Elsinore High School.

Wind knocked down power lines and trees.

Karen Fisher was getting gas for her generator because her power was out.

"It was hot, really hot out," Fisher said. "All of a sudden, it came in like crazy. It just started raining ... like little droplets. And it looks like everything is flooding right now."

A large limb knocked out power for several hours in the area.

"It looked like a tornado," said Crystal Tibideau. "The winds got really, really strong. We had our trash cans that blew all the way across the parking lot. It's zero visibility. It was really crazy."

Gadi Schwartz contributed to this report.

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<![CDATA[Search for Long-Missing Md. Sisters]]> Tue, 16 Sep 2014 23:32:24 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/168*120/lyon+sisters.JPG

Detectives have been searching a Virginia property for the past week in connection with the infamous disappearance of two young Maryland sisters decades ago.

The Lyon sisters -- Sheila, 12, and Katherine, 10 -- vanished March 25, 1975, from a Wheaton shopping center.

Montgomery County, Maryland, authorities have been searching a property located in Bedford County, Virginia, between Lynchburg and Roanoke since last week. It was once owned by the family of Lloyd Lee Welch, Jr., who is also known as Michael Welch.

In February, Welch, 57, was named a person of interest in the Lyon sisters' disappearance.

Detectives have not found any remains, sources said.

The Bedford County Sheriff's Office confirmed that officers were assisting Montgomery County Police "with a homicide investigation."

The Bedford Sheriff's office also said cold case investigators had traveled to the area last week to meet with Bedford County authorities and Virginia State Police.

"Due to the sensitive nature of this ongoing investigation, no further details will be released at this time," a statement from the sheriff's office said.

The Lyon sisters' case is etched into the memories of several generations of Washington-area families. It shattered a sense of safety in the D.C. suburbs and made parents afraid to let their children out of their sight.

On March 25, 1975, the Lyon sisters had a planned a day at a local shopping center. They were on spreak break, and wanted to get some pizza for lunch and see the Easter decorations at Wheaton Plaza, now known as Westfield Wheaton mall.

With less than $4, they left their home in Kensington, Maryland and walked the half-mile or so to Wheaton Plaza.

There, a friend saw the girls outside the Orange Bowl restaurant with an older man who had a tape recorder and a briefcase, according to news and missing persons reports.

The girls were later spotted walking home, but by their 4 p.m. curfew, they hadn't arrived. By 7 p.m. that night, police had been called.

Later, a composite sketch was distributed of the man who seen talking to them. Tips flowed in, but to no avail.

Sheila and Katherine were never seen again.

In February, police identified a person of interest in connection with their disappearance. Lloyd Lee Welch Jr., aka Michael Welch, is a convicted sex offender who has been in prison in Delaware since 1997 on a rape conviction. Welch was noticed paying attention to the sisters the afternoon they vanished, investigators said.

"Even though so much time has passed, we have not forgotten that those young girls deserve justice, and their family deserves closure," said Montgomery County Police Chief Thomas Manger in February.

Lloyd+Lee+Welch+Jr.

Welch is originally from the D.C. area. Between the 1970s and the mid-1990s, he traveled extensively through the United States while working for a carnival company with his girlfriend Helen Craver, police said.

Welch was charged with raping juveniles in Virginia and South Carolina. He was also arrested in a burglary not far from Wheaton Plaza. He was known to hitchhike throughout the D.C. area.

Many people who grew up in the area remember the disappearance of the sisters, and how deeply it shook their sense of safety.

"It was just stunning. It could have been anybody's kids," said Charleen Merkel earlier this year while shopping at Westfield Wheaton.

"It brings back a lot of memories of being scared growing up," said another shopper, who did not give her name.

In an era when children frequently walked to school and elsewhere alone, parents started keeping their children inside.

"The Community Just Held Its Breath"

In 2005, 30 years after the girls' disappearance, police spoke about the frustration of never being able to solve a case that struck such an emotional chord for the community and for themselves.

The Lyons' older brother, Jay, became a police officer.

"It's a hit-home case," Philip C. Raum, a longtime law enforcement officer in Montgomery County who headed the police's Major Crimes Unit for four years, told Montgomery County's Gazette newspaper in an article on the 30th anniversary of the disappearance.

The girls' father, John Lyon was a popular radio personality on WMAL in Bethesda and performer. 

Radio personality Chris Core had just started working with him at WMAL when the girls disappeared.

"It's in that group of moments where the community just held its breath," Core told the Gazette in 2005.

"Partly because John was a well-known celebrity and partly because here are two innocent little girls going to the mall and disappear off the face of the earth, never to be heard from again."

Baltimore author Laura Lippman wrote a 2007 novel, "What the Dead Know," after being inspired by the Lyon case.

"The story... happened when I was a teenager, not much older than the girls who disappeared (the Lyon sisters) and living in a similarly 'safe' suburb," Lippman wrote in a chat on GoodReads.com. "It resonated very deeply with me."

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Connecticut



Photo Credit: FBI]]>
<![CDATA[Orioles Clinch AL East With 8-2 Win]]> Tue, 16 Sep 2014 23:08:23 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/160*131/455561388.jpg

The Baltimore Orioles won their first AL East crown since 1997, using home runs by Steve Pearce and Jimmy Paredes to beat the Toronto Blue Jays 8-2 Tuesday night before a boisterous crowd of 35,297 at Camden Yards.

With their ninth win in 10 games, the Orioles clinched their second playoff appearance in three years following a run of 14 consecutive losing seasons.

Afterward, the Orioles converged behind second base, fireworks soared in the outfield and streamers sprayed throughout the crowd.

It was Baltimore's ninth AL East title and only its second since 1983, when the Orioles last won the World Series.

The franchise has enjoyed a rebirth under the guidance of manager Buck Showalter, whose 1,254th victory thrust him past mentor Billy Martin into sole possession of 36th place on the career list.

Baltimore is 42-23 in a division that includes the defending World Series champion Boston Red Sox, the free-spending New York Yankees and pitching-rich Tampa Bay. The Orioles led by only four games on Aug. 6 before going on a 27-11 run.

The clinching victory featured an unlikely list of contributors, not at all unusual for a team that often delved deep into its 25-man roster. Ubaldo Jimenez was making his first start in a month; Pearce has morphed from a bit-player to a key starter; and Paredes didn't join the team until Aug. 28.

Pearce provided the Orioles with the lead for good with a three-run drive off Drew Hutchison (10-12) in the first inning. Pearce has 18 home runs this year, one more than he had in 290 games as a part-timer from 2007-13.

Paredes hit a solo shot in the second to make it 4-2. It was his second homer in 10 games with Baltimore.

In addition, newcomer Alejandro De Aza hit a three-run triple in the seventh for a 7-2 lead. De Aza came to the Orioles in an Aug. 30 trade with the Chicago White Sox.

Jimenez (5-9) survived a rocky start to limit the Blue Jays to two runs and two hits over five innings in his third start since July 5. After signing a $50 million, four-year deal in the offseason, Jimenez struggled with his control for much of the season, sprained his ankle in a parking lot before the All-Star break and ultimately lost his place in the rotation.

Pressed into service because the Orioles played a doubleheader Friday, Jimenez issued four walks in the first two innings. But he bounced back to retire his last 10 batters.

Orioles fans have until Friday to register for a ticket lottery online. Winners will be notifed next Wednesday.



Photo Credit: MCT via Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Meningitis Kills Georgetown Student]]> Tue, 16 Sep 2014 23:31:49 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/0916-jaime.jpg

A Georgetown University student died Tuesday after apparently battling a bout of meningitis, school officials say. 

Andrea Jaime, a sophomore at the School of Nursing and Health Studies, passed away at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital. 

Several days ago, Jaime tweeted she had a fever of 105 degrees.

According to a letter shared by university officials, students and teachers at the school do not need to take additional action. Tests are underway to confirm the 19-year-old's cause of death.

"This is difficult news for the many members of the Georgetown community who know Andrea," officials said in a letter sent to students Tuesday. "Georgetown officials have been in touch with Andrea’s family and will continue to provide support and assistance to them. Please join us in remembering Andrea’s family and friends in your thoughts and prayers during this time."

A prayer service was held at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at Dahlgren Quandrangle.

"I know she was in a sorority, she was a really nice girl. I don't know her personally, but everyone's going to remember her," one student said.

If you are a student at Georgetown and concerned about your health, you're asked to call the student health center at 202-687-2200 or 202-44-7243.



Photo Credit: Facebook]]>
<![CDATA[NY Man Charged in ISIS Plot: FBI]]> Wed, 17 Sep 2014 02:29:37 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/mufid-elfgeeh.jpg

A Rochester-area man has been charged on terror-related counts after the FBI said he tried to buy guns to support the terror group ISIS by wanting to kill American solders in the U.S.

Investigators said Mufid Elfgeeh also boasted he wanted to kill Shiite Muslim residents in his city and find others who would travel to join ISIS fighters in Iraq and Syria.

Elfgeeh was first arrested in May, and the firearms charges were made public in June. The recruitment charges were contained in a grand jury indictment handed up Tuesday.

The Justice Department said in addition to posting tweets with photographs and captions like "fighting the American invasion," they said he tried to buy two handguns and silencers to carry out an attack. But the FBI had been watching him for months and it was unlikely he could advance his alleged plans.

Officials said they arrested Elfgeeh after he began seeking financial help to carry out an attack. In a sting, they said he tried to buy the weapons from undercover agents.

Elfgeeh first came on the radar after an informant who was paid $21,000 for information tipped them off. A second undercover was paid $4,000 for his assistance as well, officials said.

Federal officials said they have Elfgeeh on tape boasting he hopes to kill 10 to 15 soldiers or former soldiers before releasing a video claiming responsibility.

In one online posting, Elfgeeh allegedly said,”Every Iraqi Sunni jihadist is defined as a terrorist in international society; what they don’t know is that the State of AIraq and Sham (ISIL) will one day rule the world with the will of Allah.”

“We will remain aggressive in identifying and disrupting those who seek to provide support to ISIL and other terrorist groups that are bent on inflicting harm upon Americans,” said Attorney General Eric Holder.

Elfgeeh, 30, is a naturalized American citizen of Yemeni descent. In addition to allegedly contacting the informants for help buying guns, they say he also sent $600 to a Yemeni man to help him get to Syria to join ISIS fighters there.

Elfgeeh is currently being held behind bars without bail. Phone calls and emails to his attorney, with a Rochester public defender's office, were not returned Tuesday evening. 

Follow Jonathan Dienst on Twitter @jonathan4NY

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<![CDATA[Killingly to Reconsider Mascot in Light of National Controversy]]> Tue, 16 Sep 2014 18:30:50 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Killingly00000000.jpg

The use of Native American references in team mascots isn't just a national debate – a number of local high schools are also joining the discussion, including the one in Killingly.

Sports teams in Killingly have been known as "the Redmen" for more than a century, but some students say it may be time for a change.

"It's a little racy, a little controversial in my opinion," said Killingly High School senior Steven Dellabaiea. "I think it should be looked at."

Killingly upt. Kevin Farr says a parent recently contacted him with concerns, and now school officials are taking a look at what they can do about it.

There are currently no immediate plans to change the mascot, but Farr says he expects the Board of Education to tackle the issue this year.

"We're actually taking a proactive approach to it, having student groups have a conversation about it," Farr explained.

It comes amid mounting pressure on the Washington Redskins to change their name. A campaign called "Change the Mascot" sent letters to 31 other NFL teams asking them to use their authority and take action against Redskins owner Dan Snyder.

Tribal leaders held a news conference on Capitol Hill on Tuesday.

"The Washington R-word is a dictionary-defined racial term. THere is no way it can be used to honor a people," said Ray Halbritter of the United Indian Nation, during the press conference in Washington.

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<![CDATA[Remains Found in Vernon Are of Woman in Her 40s]]> Tue, 16 Sep 2014 18:15:57 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Vernon+remains+reconstruction+crop.jpg

A year and a half has passed since human remains were found on the site of a former landfill in Vernon and police released new information on Tuesday that they hope will generate new leads in the case,

A local resident who was searching for scrap metal to build a sculpture stumbled upon the skull in March 2013 in the area of 126 West Street, which used to be the Rockville Landfill.

Police had just the skeleton to go on, but now say it the remains are those of a white woman between 40 and 50 years old, but could be slightly older or younger.

They released a sketch on Tuesday of what she might have looked like. Police said she had a slightly narrow face with high cheekbones.

A medical student at the Quinnipiac University's Frank H. Netter School of Medicine drew the sketch based on examinations of the remains.

Lt. William Meier III, of the Vernon Police Department, said the drawing is only an approximation of what the woman looked like and might not exactly resemble the features of the person found dead.

The mystery is still unsolved because officers haven't identified the skeletal human remains, but they have released a sketch based on the woman's biological profile in the hopes that someone will recognize some of the facial features and come forward with new information.

"We're hoping that a family member, a friend, a neighbor, or someone else will recognize this person and come forward to investigators with information that will lead to the identity," he said.

Police believe she was between 5 feet tall and 5-foot-3. The cause of death has not been determined.

Police ruled out the possibility that the remains might belong to one of three girls who disappeared between 1968 and 1974.

Officers planned to use dental records and DNA to cross-check the National Missing Persons Database, but there has been no match, Meier said.

Many older missing persons reports were taken before DNA technology existed and several have not been updated with DNA profiles, according to Meier.

Police have not said how long the remains were in the landfill. The case has been challenging due to the nature of the terrain and that the spread of remains made it difficult to recover.

Vernon police will continue to work with the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, the Connecticut State Police MIssing Persons Unit and scientific experts in an effort to identify the victim.

Police said it's possible the woman was not from Connecticut or even New England.

Anyone with information on the investigation is urged to call Vernon police at 860-872-9126. Callers may remain anonymous.



Photo Credit: Vernon Police Department]]>
<![CDATA[Man Pays With Fake $100 Bill in Bridgeport: Police]]> Tue, 16 Sep 2014 19:04:26 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/bridgeport+charles+rowe.jpg

A 26-year-old Brooklyn man is facing forgery charges after trying to use a fake $100 bill at a store in Bridgeport earlier this week.

Police said Charles Rowe tried to pay with counterfeit cash at a shop on Maplewood Avenue on Monday. Detectives searched his car and found eight more fake bills, along with $298 in actual currency.

Authorities believe Rowe was using the fake bills to make purchases and receiving real money as change.

He told detectives he was visiting his sick grandmother in Bridgeport, but couldn’t provide a name or address, police said.

Rowe was arrested Monday and charged with two counts of forgery. He was held on $25,000 bond.

Bridgeport police detectives and the U.S. Secret Service are investigating.



Photo Credit: Bridgeport Police Department]]>
<![CDATA[Berlin Police Push for New Headquarters]]> Tue, 16 Sep 2014 18:17:17 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/berlin+police+generic+1.JPG

Berlin police hope to break ground on a new headquarters next year, but opposition to the project is growing.

The $21-million facility would go up on Farmington Avenue and would take up about 30,000 square feet, about three times the size of the department’s current building, which sits next to the town hall.

“We’re looking for the community to support the police department. My officers are out there serving 24 hours a day, seven days a week and we’d like the community to back us up with the project,” said Chief Paul Fitzgerald of the Berlin Police Department.

The project has become controversial, with a group called the Berlin Property Owners Association raising concerns about its cost.

The department moved into its current space 40 years ago. At the time, they had one-third of the manpower that they currently have, said Fitzgerald.

Voters will decide on the project’s fate at the polls in November.

If it’s approved, the project will break ground in 2015. Officers hope to occupy the new space in 2017, Fitzgerald said.

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<![CDATA[Student in Military Jacket Prompts Southington Lockdown: Police]]> Tue, 16 Sep 2014 16:19:16 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/91614+Southington+Lockdown+Edit.jpg

JFK Middle School in Southington was on lockdown Tuesday after a student in a military-style jacket prompted concerns from staff members, who called police to report a suspicious person at the school.

The middle school, located at 1071 South Main Street, was placed on lockdown around 11 a.m. Tuesday.

Police said a school employee spotted a suspicious man in the hallway and described him as standing 5 feet 7 inches tall and wearing a green military-type jacket.

The school sent an alert to parents informing them of the incident as officers canvassed the area and searched the school grounds.

According to police, a student matching the staff member's description was found in a classroom and identified as the person in question.

The student did not pose a threat and, after completing a secondary search, police gave the all clear. The lockdown was lifted shortly before 1 p.m.

A second alert from Southington schools said police did not find anything that was cause for concern but conducted a thorough search for the buildings and grounds.

Just two weeks ago,  the school was on lockdown while police investigated a nearby bank robbery.

About 800 students are enrolled at the school



Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Cancer Alliance Moves Forward in Connecticut]]> Tue, 16 Sep 2014 18:21:21 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/180*120/HartfordCancerAlliancePic00000000.jpg

The Hartford HealthCare Cancer Institute is now the first certified member of the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Alliance, which means patients here in Connecticut will have an option to get cutting-edge care close to home.

The new development was announced on the Hartford Hospital campus Tuesday morning. The certification was granted after Hartford HealthCare aligned its standards of care with Memorial Sloan Kettering’s standards, and comes about a year after plans for the partnership were initially announced.

Under the partnership, doctors from the New York-based cancer center will train physicians from Hartford HealthCare’s five cancer centers on the latest surgical and treatment advancements.

Hartford HealthCare patients will also be able to participate in Memorial Sloan Kettering clinical trials over the next couple of months, said Dr. Andrew Salner, the medical director of the Hartford HealthCare Cancer Institute.

“We want to provide the absolute best cancer care in the world close to home,” said Salner.

Bloomfield resident Cynthia Gordon has already benefitted from the partnership.

Gordon was diagnosed with a rare abdominal cancer last year. She underwent surgery at Memorial Sloan Kettering and returned to Hartford for her chemotherapy and radiation treatments.

“To know that right here in Hartford you can walk in and have access to the newest trials, the newest research, the newest surgeries, how fabulous is that? It just takes the weight of worry of am I getting the best care? Yes, you are,” Gordon said.

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<![CDATA[Chris Christie Coming to Connecticut]]> Tue, 16 Sep 2014 18:32:13 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/tlmd_chris_christie_nj_juramentado_st.jpg

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie will travel to Connecticut next Tuesday to stump for Republicans running for office, sources close to Tom Foley's campaign told NBC Connecticut.

Right now, it's not clear where the event will take place, but Christie is expected to headline a fundraiser as well.

Christie visited Connecticut in July for a fundraiser in Greenwich alongside GOP candidate for governor Tom Foley.

Christie is the chairman of the Republican Governors Association and is rumored to be a potential 2016 presidential candidate.



Photo Credit: EFE]]>
<![CDATA[Hamden Woman Tied Up During Home Invasion]]> Tue, 16 Sep 2014 17:51:02 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/hamden+kaye+vue+drive+suspect.jpg

Hamden police are searching for the man who broke into a woman's apartment, tied her up and stole her car, electronics and debit card on Monday.

The victim, a 26-year-old woman, was sleeping in her home at the Seramonte apartments at 57 Kaye Vue Drive in Hamden when the intruder broke in through a bathroom window around 1 p.m. Monday, police said. 

Police said the suspect, who had a gun, tied the woman's hands behind her bag and bound her feet together, then grabbed her debit card and demanded her pin number. According to police, he threatened to come back for her if she gave him the wrong number.

He took electronic equipment and fled in her black Subaru Impreza hatchback with Connecticut license plates reading 436-YRA, police said.

Although the victim was not physically harmed, police said she's rattled.

"She's very traumatized, emotionally upset," explained Hamden police Capt. Ronald Smith.

While investigating, police found another broken back window. Authorities are searching for a suspect and investigating to determine whether they may have been a second break-in.

Police said the suspect is a heavyset black man. Authorities released surveillance footage Tuesday of a person of interest who matches this description.

Anyone with information about the incident is urged to call Hamden police Det. Mark Consorte at 203-230-4040.



Photo Credit: Hamden Police Department]]>
<![CDATA[Tea Party Calls on Visconti to Drop Out of Race]]> Tue, 16 Sep 2014 17:40:47 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/visconti091614.jpg

Connecticut Tea Party leader Tanya Bachand has written an open letter to unaffiliated candidate for governor Joe Visconti, a Republican, calling on him to vacate the race.

She sent a first draft of her letter to a few of her fellow Tea Party activists and she said the reaction was universal.

“Everybody was thinking the same thing and I put it down to paper,” Bachand said during an interview.

Bachand says the consensus among her fellow Tea Partiers is that Visconti's candidacy could spell doom for the Foley campaign by stealing right-leaning votes.

“This is not so much about being pro-Foley as it is making sure, two fold, one that Malloy does not get reelected and Foley’s our best shot at that and two that the Tea Party principles and ideals survive past this election,” Bachand said.

Visconti said when he received the letter that he refused to read it.

“I don’t read anything that starts with, ‘You can’t win,’” Visconti said.

In response, Visconti released a web video that displayed photos of him with several of the Tea Party leaders who signed the letter, along with photos of him at political rallies.

The unaffiliated candidate actively participated in the Tea Party movement in Connecticut and said he feels that leaders across the state are turning their backs on their core beliefs.

“They basically surrendered their principles. This is what they’ve done,” Visconti said Tuesday. “Tom Foley is not a conservative. He will not repeal Common Core. He will not repeal SB1170. He won’t even seek to repeal these. That’s what the big argument is.”

Tea Party groups concede that Tom Foley is not the ideal candidate.

Bachand even said, “Foley isn’t a panacea,” and added that the effort to get Visconti off the ballot has more to do with maintain the momentum of the movement.

“This is not about surrendering our principles. This is about making sure that our principles survive to fight another day,” Bachand said.

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<![CDATA[Baby Born to Boston Marathon Couple]]> Tue, 16 Sep 2014 17:33:33 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/baby44.jpg

A Dallas couple who wed just after running the Boston Marathon last year, soon after a pair of bombs tore through its finish line, are celebrating the birth of a baby girl Tuesday.

Robert and Kelli Watling welcomed their daughter Alexandra Copley Watling, whose middle name commemorates Copley Square — the site of the Boston Marathon finish line, and of the 2013 twin bombings.

Alexandra was born at 10:26 a.m. Tuesday, weighing in at 5 pounds, 6 ounces.

The Watlings are a couple with a deep love of running, and a tradition of linking their milestones to marathons.

Their love story began with a first date at a 5K, progressed to a proposal after the Chicago Marathon and culminated in a wedding after the finish of the Boston Marathon on April 15, 2013, just after the bombs exploded.

Their Boston Common nuptials had just begun last year when the bombs exploded, but with the support of their families, they went ahead with the wedding anyway amid the confusion.

"At that time, we still weren't sure who did this or why," Kelli told NECN earlier this year. "If it was a terrorist act, we certainly weren't going to let them derail our plans."

The couple raced the Boston Marathon again this past year knowing their daughter was on her way, in a triumphant move Robert said at the time marked "a perfect ending for us."



Photo Credit: Courtesy]]>
<![CDATA[Video Could Help Find U.Va. Student]]> Tue, 16 Sep 2014 22:41:53 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Hannah-Graham-image001.jpg

Police are studying new video that shows a missing University of Virginia nursing student, hoping that the sighting outside a pub in Charlottesville will help them narrow their search for her.

Hannah Elizabeth Graham, 18, from Fairfax County, has been missing since Saturday.

The new video shows her outside McGrady's Irish Pub, then walking east along Preston Avenue in Charlottesville at 12:46 a.m. Saturday. 

"Those of us who know and love Hannah know that she would not disappear without contacting family or friends," Graham's family said in a statement released Tuesday afternoon. "She is highly responsible and organized. She embraces life with energy and enthusiasm and has enriched the lives of many. Her empathy is evident in her daily interactions with us and her friends."

Stephen Rice, the band director at her alma mater, West Potomac High School, which she graduated from last year, agreed. "Hannah is not the kind of kid that would just go on a road trip and disappear," he said. "She was always very diligent with everything she did, and always did everything exactly by the book."

Police have started searching in the area of Grady and Preston avenues in Charlottesville. Previously, they had used a bloodhound to search a large area northeast of the university on Monday and found no trace of Graham.

The FBI has confirmed that it is involved in the search, saying only that it is providing investigative resources to local police. Albemarle County's search and rescue teams also lent a hand to Charlottesville Police Tuesday in their search for Hannah.

"We're mostly giving them some extra eyes and feet on the ground to actually cover more area quicker. In these searches, time is of the essence in trying to find someone," said Bobby Shiflett with Albemarle County Sheriff's Office. 

Graham, who is originally from England, is 5 feet 11 inches tall with blue eyes, light brown hair and freckles, according to university officials. She was last seen wearing black pants and a gold crop top with black mesh cutouts, according to surveillance photos taken Friday at her apartment.

Police said Graham's friends reported her missing Sunday after realizing nobody had seen or heard from her since early Saturday morning, when she sent a text message to a friend after leaving a party around 1:20 a.m.

University President Teresa A. Sullivan issued a statement saying the community is "united in our deep concern'' for the Fairfax County second-year student.

Graham's parents have left their home in the Alexandria section of Fairfax County to go to Charlottesville to help look for her, and a "Help Find Hannah Graham"' page has been established on Facebook.

"I just want her home safe. I'm scared for her," said Karen Blunk, who lives next door to Graham's parents. "Just from the standpoint of, you hear horrible things."

In October 2009, Morgan Harrington, a 20-year-old Virginia Tech student, went missing after leaving the University of Virginia's John Paul Jones Arena while attending a rock concert. Her remains were found three months later in a rural area. No arrests have been made.

"It's hearbreaking to know that another young woman is missing and that another family is going through the anguish of the missing priod," Harrington's mother said.

At least two other young women, both 19 years old, have also disappeared in the area in recent years. Samantha Ann Clarke vanished after leaving her Orange County townhouse in September 2010. DaShad Laquinn Smith disappeared in Charlottesville in November 2012. Neither have been found.

Anyone with information regarding Graham's whereabouts is asked to call a 24/7 tipline at 434-295-3851.

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<![CDATA[Woman Caught on Camera Stealing Statue From Gravesite]]> Tue, 16 Sep 2014 15:57:33 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/middletown+cemetery+thief+1.jpg

The family of a deceased person whose headstone was vandalized set up a camera to catch the culprit, and footage from this weekend shows a woman stealing a statue from the Middletown grave.

Camera footage shows a blonde woman driving a white SUV to the Calvary Cemetery at 307 Bow Lane in Middletown on Saturday, Sept. 13. Police said family members set up the camera after their loved one’s gravesite was recently defaced.

The suspect has shoulder-length blonde hair with bangs and is seen wearing light-colored zip-up sweatshirt or sweater, blue jeans and white sneakers. Video shows her stopping at the gravesite, picking up the statue and driving off with it, according to police.

Although the statue is valued at $100, police said “the sentimental value is priceless.”

Middletown police are asking for the public’s help in identifying the suspect.

Anyone with information is urged to contact Officer Robert Kraeger at 860-638-4000 ext. 310 or rkraeger@middletownctpolice.com.



Photo Credit: Middletown Police Department]]>
<![CDATA[Suspect in Theft of Autistic Man's Money in Court]]> Tue, 16 Sep 2014 17:11:37 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Steven+St.+Jacques+birthday+money+burglary.jpg

A man accused of stealing $100 in birthday money from an autistic man appeared in court Tuesday and will face a judge again next week.  

Police said Steven St. Jacques, 27, of Stamford, approached the victim, a 27-year-old autistic man, near Veterans Park last Tuesday afternoon, tricked him into handing over his money, then pretended to put it back into the victim's pocket

Instead, he ran away with the cash, police said.

When police were not able to find him, they released surveillance footage that showed a man running from the scene in the hopes that someone could identify the perpetrator.

That was on Thursday.

Over the weekend, St. Jacques was identified as the suspect. They obtained a search warrant and found an article of clothing at his house that matched what they say he was wearing when the video was shot.

St. Jacques was charged with second-degree larceny and appeared in court on Tuesday, where a new court date was set for Sept. 24.

Bond has been set at $50,000 and he remains in police custody.

He has had prior arrests for alleged assault and robbery, police said.

As Stamford police investigated, police officers, members of the local police union and community members banded together to collect money for the victim and presented him with $1,300 on Monday. 

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Connecticut



Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com and Stamford Police]]>
<![CDATA[Police Want to ID Woman Who Fired Gun in Video]]> Tue, 16 Sep 2014 15:13:59 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/BridgeportGunFire.jpg

Bridgeport police are trying to identify a woman who is seen firing a gun in a Facebook video.

The woman fired a semiautomatic handgun, according to police. They said they do not know if the incident happened in Bridgeport or another local city or town.

If you know the woman or where the gun was shot, call Detective John Pribesh at 203-581-5212.
 



Photo Credit: Bridgeport Police]]>
<![CDATA[Wynn Resorts Wins Boston Casino License]]> Tue, 16 Sep 2014 22:58:41 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/tlmd_casino36.jpg

Wynn Resorts has won the sole Boston-area gambling license with a $1.6 billion plan for a waterfront casino in Everett, Massachusetts.

The Everett proposal beat out Mohegan Sun's plan for a casino at Suffolk Downs in Revere, worth $1.1 billion.

Four Massachusetts Gaming Commission officials first gave their opinions in a non-binding poll Tuesday afternoon. Three of the commissioners said they leaned in favor of the Wynn proposal because they believed it would lead to more jobs and economic development for the state.

After the commissioners explained their thoughts, they voted to ratify the decision.

"We believe that a great deal of the resistance and energy that we experienced in some surrounding communities, and especially with Boston, was directly related to the fact that this was a competition. We expect that now that a decision has been made, everybody will find it much easier to relate to one another, get on with the job of creating jobs and building a better life for the citizens of Everett and the surrounding communities in the Greater Boston area," said Steve Wynn in a statement.

Wynn added that the decision created a "potential for enormous benefits."

"It would be unreasonable to expect that all of the parties involved will fail to reach for, and accelerate, the realization of those benefits," said Wynn.

Everett Mayor Carlo DeMaria issued a statement thanking supporters of the proposed casino.

"I want to thank the people of Everett for their continued support throughout the last two years as we made the journey to this point together," the statement read.

DeMaria went on to thank the people of Revere and Mayor Dan Rizzo for their work and energy during the process, saying that that city should be proud of its mayor.

Suffolk Downs COO Chip Tuttle expressed his displeasure with the decision.

"We are extraordinarily disappointed as this action is likely to cost the Commonwealth thousands of jobs," said Tuttle in a statement. "We will be meeting with employees and horsemen over the next several days to talk about how we wind down racing operations as a 79-year legacy of thoroughbred racing in Massachusetts will be coming to an end, resulting in unemployment and uncertainty for many hard-working people."

"Right now, weighing heavily on me is the 850 jobs, 850-plus jobs, at Suffolk Downs probably getting pink slips tomorrow," said Rizzo. "And that's very, very discouraging."

Mohegan Sun's CEO also voiced his organization's disappointment

"[We] believe we are the best choice for the Commonwealth's flagship casino," wrote Mitchell Etess. "We want to thank our supporters, Suffolk Downs, Mayor Rizzo, the city of Revere and all of our partners for their tireless efforts to bring jobs and economic growth to this region."

During the poll, Commissioners Gayle Cameron, Bruce Stebbins and Enrique Zuniga voted in favor of Wynn, while Acting Chairman James McHugh held out because he had doubts about whether the resort would open on time.

One of the biggest challenges remaining for Wynn is persuading Massachusetts environmental regulators that he has come up with an adequate plan to mitigate added traffic on Route 99 and the notoriously congested Sullivan Square area of Charlestown.

As a condition of winning the license, Wynn has agreed to commit some $70 million towards the cost of redesigning Sullivan Square and controlling traffic jams on the I-93-Route 99 interchange and ramp. Wynn also has to get Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, who has battled against Wynn and the commission over what cash and community benefits and traffic relief Wynn should have to provide, to sign off on many of his planned transportation upgrades.

"I will continue to do everything to protect the people of Charlestown. That remains my main focus," said Walsh in a statement. "Wynn's current offer to the City of Boston is unacceptable. We are evaluating the gambling commission's decision, and all of the conditions imposed on the issuance of this license."

Walsh added that the door is not closed on a negotiation with Wynn.

"My only focus is negotiating the strongest mitigation for the people of Boston," he said.



Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[Shelton Police Dog Retires ]]> Tue, 16 Sep 2014 14:41:36 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Christopher+Nugent+and+Jager+1200+new.jpg

 Jager, a police dog that has been working with the Shelton Police Department since 2008, has retired.

K-9 Jager was paired up with Officer Christopher Nugent and helped several local, state, and federal agencies during his career. He was also a familiar face at schools and community functions and programs, police said. 

Jager assisted in approximately 75 successful tracks and apprehended as many as 15 suspects.

The Shelton Police Department is planning on getting another K-9 soon, but the dog will not be working with Nugent, who was promoted to detective.

The new police dog will have a new handler.

If you would like to donate to the police K-9 program, send a check to the Shelton Police Department, at 85 Wheeler St. in Shelton.

Checks should be made out to “City of Shelton Special K-9 account.”



Photo Credit: Shelton Police]]>
<![CDATA[Box Truck Rollover Closes I-95 North in Waterford]]> Tue, 16 Sep 2014 16:44:46 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/95+north+waterford+box+truck+ax+2.jpg

Interstate 95 northbound is closed in Waterford after a box truck rolled over on the highway, according to state police.

Police said the truck driver suffered minor injuries. The crash happened around 2 p.m. and scattered debris across the highway. Authorities have shut down the area while they work to clear the road.

The Department of Transportation is sending dump trucks to help with cleanup.

It's not clear when the highway will reopen.



Photo Credit: Connecticut Department of Transportation]]>
<![CDATA[Man Charged in Theft of Construction Equipment]]> Tue, 16 Sep 2014 15:06:04 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/handcuffs12.jpg

Police have arrested a 22-year-old man accused of stealing construction equipment and batteries from commercial vehicles from several Plainfield businesses last month and said he’s also suspected of stealing storm grates from a Plainfield neighborhood last September.

Donald Malboeuf III, of Sterling, was arrested Tuesday following an investigation by Plainfield police and authorities over the state border in Rhode Island. He’s charged with several counts of larceny and conspiracy to commit larceny.

Police said Malbouef was also identified as a suspect in the thefts of storm drain grates in the Huntington Drive area in September 2013.

He was charged with two counts of fourth-degree larceny, one count of fifth-degree larceny, one count of conspiracy to commit fourth-degree larceny and one count of conspiracy to commit fifth-degree larceny and appeared in court today.

The investigation is ongoing and police said they expect to make additional arrests.



Photo Credit: NBC10.com]]>
<![CDATA[Middletown Dance Team Wins National Championship]]> Tue, 16 Sep 2014 14:11:48 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Cafferys+Dance+and+Gymnastics+School+Edit.jpg

A Connecticut hip hop dance team won That's Entertainment's national dance competition in early August at Trump Plaza in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

Middletown's Caffery's Dance and Gymnastics School earned the high score in the "all-senior group, line and production routines" and had the highest overall score with 299.5 out of a possible 300, according to a letter confirming the title from That's Entertainment Director RoseMary Pontuck.

The team competed as Caffery's Dance Crew and is made up of 16-to19-year-old students from Portland, East Hampton, Middletown and Higganum.

The dance crew did their routine to the song, "Bring Em Out."

"We rocked this dance competition," Kaitlyn Charton, Caffery's dance student, said. "Receiving the highest score of the entire competition was an indescribable feeling!"

The national championship-winning team includes Charton, Vanessa Lastrina, Adrianna Aresco, Lauren Billings, Megan Barnett, Kaitlyn Charton, Calvin Dempsy, Krysten Nye,Desiree Owens, Gina Palmieri, Kaitlyn Tomer, Gabby Varela and Chelsea Winborne. Lindsay Almquist choreographed the routine.

Caffery's dance director Maureen Aresco said that she's never before seen "a whole panel of judges jumped to their feet clapping and cheering" in her career as a dance teacher.

Nationals ran from Aug. 4 to 6. Before that Caffery's won the regional level competition in April in Windsor against about 1,000 competitors.



Photo Credit: Courtesy of Caffery's Dance and Gymnastics School ]]>
<![CDATA[2 Adults, 3 Children Affected by Middlefield Fire]]> Tue, 16 Sep 2014 18:07:44 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/fire+truck+generic.jpg

Firefighters from at least six departments responded to a two-alarm fire on Jackson Hill Road in Middlefield on Tuesday, and the Red Cross is helping a family of two adults and three children after the blaze. 

Crews from the Middlefield Volunteer Company, Durham Volunteer Fire Company, Westfield Fire Department, South Fire District Firefighters, Middletown, and Meriden provided mutual aid.

Damage to the home is unclear, but a spokesperson for the Red Cross said a family of five is receiving emergency food and clothing supplies. 


 

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<![CDATA[Danbury Hospital Sends Specimens to CDC for Enterovirus Testing]]> Tue, 16 Sep 2014 13:42:53 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/enterovirus_pkg_091314.jpg

Danbury Hospital is the latest Connecticut hospital to send specimens to CDC to be tested for enterovirus.

This comes days after state officials said Connecticut Children's Medical Center in Hartford is treating suspected cases of Enterovirus D68, the mysterious respiratory illness that has hospitalized children in a dozen states.

In all, 130 people have lab-confirmed cases, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Infants, children and teens are most at risk to become ill because thy don't have the immunity.

Dr. Greg Dworkin, chief of pediatric pulmonology, at Danbury Hospital, said they sent specimens to be tested for Enterovirus D68.

‘We are doing our due diligence. We are not overly alarmed. We just want to know what we have,” he said.

Enterovirus 68 presents like a bad cold or flu, according to doctors.

Symptoms include high fever, runny nose, sneezing, coughing, wheezing and difficulty breathing, according to the CDC. No fatalities have been linked to Enterovirus 68.

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<![CDATA[First Smashburger to Open in Waterford]]> Tue, 16 Sep 2014 11:54:30 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/smashburgerEDIT.jpg

The Mohegan Tribe of Indians of Connecticut announced Tuesday that its first burger franchise restaurant will be in Waterford.

The tribe has entered into a franchise agreement with Denver-based Smashburger to open up 16 restaurants in Easter Connecticut, Western and Centeral Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

The franchise has burgers, salads, fries and sandwiches on the menu, as well as "hand-spun" milkshakes. The Smashchicken sandwich is a featured menu item, including provolone cheese, baby spinach, pesto, giardiniera, tomatoes and mayonaise on a ciabatta bun.

The burgers are all-natural certified Angust Beef and "smashed on a 400 degree flat grill to sear in the juicy flavor" and served on artisan buns, according to a news release from the Mohegan Tribe.

The first Connecticut Smashburger will move into a 2,500-square-foot  storefront at Waterford Commons on the Hartford Turnpike (Route 85) and is expected to open in early December. The space is under renovation "to match the sleek and modern design of the burger brand," according to a news release from the Mohegan tribe. The new restaurant will bring in about 30 to 40 new jobs.

“Smashburger will continue our Tribe’s reputation for bringing the best to our region,” said Kevin Brown “Red Eagle,” Chairman of the Mohegan Tribal Council. “We have been consistently impressed by the company’s commitment to bringing the fast-casual restaurant experience to a higher level and providing excellent customer service. We also look forward to bringing new jobs to our community. Smashburger is a great addition to the Tribe’s continuing business diversification efforts.”

The tribe is "in the planning stages" its other future Smashburger locations.

The tribe, which has been exploring "diversification opportunities" for years, also has entered into an agreement with Arooga's Franchising, LP to run 15 Arooga's Grille House and Sports Bar restaurants in New England, according to a previous news release from the tribe. 

Northeast Wood Products, LLC, the tribe's subsidiary business, also recently acquired a wood pellet production operation in Peebles, Ohio and plans to purchase another in Ligonier, Indiana.

"After almost two years of careful diligence on diversification opportunities for the Tribe, we have been able to see the results of our efforts with the addition of the Smashburger franchise to our group of new companies,"  Brown said. "We chose this brand because of its superior product offering and its reputation as one of the fastest growing and most successful franchises in the United States."

A Smashburger spokesperson said in a statement that the franchise is enthusiastic expanding its footprint to the Northeast.

“This opportunity was one that is a perfect fit for our brand," Matt Stanton, vice president of development and strategy for Smashburger, said. "With the experience of the Tribe and our desire to find experienced multi-unit operators to grow with, we know this partnership will be one that aligns with our growth plans for Smashburger.”

Smashburger President and Chief Executive Officer Scott Crane said that the company is "thrilled to debut" the restaurant in Connecticut and "introduce our menu of premium smashed-to-order burgers, chicken sandwiches, salads, and signature sides and handspun Haagen-Dazs shakes to this culinary capital."

“The Mohegan Tribe will be a perfect partner for us as we continue to expand our presence nationally and bring the better burger experience to the Connecticut market," Crane said.

Under the agreement, Smashburger will open up locations in New London, Tolland, Windham, Litchfield and Middlesex Counties in Connecticut, as well as Rhode Island and Berkshire, Franklin, Hampshire, Hampden and Worcester counties in Massachusetts.

More information about Smashburger is available on the company website.

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<![CDATA[Tractor-Trailers Crash on I-95]]> Tue, 16 Sep 2014 07:07:31 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/91615+Tractor+Trailer+Crash.jpg

Two tractor-trailers collided on Interstate 95 North in Fairfield near the Exit 22 service plaza.

The crash happened at about 4 a.m. on Tuesday and the trucks have been on the shoulder of the highway for a couple hours.

There are traffic delays in both directions, largely due to rubbernecking, according to State Police.



Photo Credit: DOT]]>
<![CDATA[Police Seek Robber Who Shot Store Owner]]> Tue, 16 Sep 2014 11:12:48 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/91614+Bridgeport+Bank+Robbery+Edit.jpg

Bridgeport police are looking for a man who shot a business owner in the foot during an armed robbery at a Boston Avenue store Monday evening.

Police responded to Hair Plus at 161 Boston Avenue at 6:26 p.m. to investigate a report that someone was shot during a robbery there.

The robber came into the store and demanded money at gunpoint, shooting store owner Se Jong Chung, 55, in the foot, police said.

The robber escaped with a customer's handbag and some cash, police said.

Police obtained security footage of the incident and are asking for the public's help in identifying the suspect.

The department asks anyone with information to contact Det. John Tenn at 203-581-5243.



Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[2 Men Might Be Behind 6 Connecticut Bank Robberies: Police]]> Tue, 16 Sep 2014 17:22:15 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/West+Haven+bank+robbery+1200+new.jpg

Two men could be behind six recent bank robberies in Connecticut and an $8,000 reward has been offered to help solve the case.

Police said the descriptions of the bank robbers in cases from West Haven, New Haven, Hamden and East Haven are similar and the FBI is investigating, along with local law enforcement.

The first robbery in the spree happened on Friday, May 23 at the First Niagara Bank on Fountain Street in New Haven.

Ay 3:15 p.m. on Tuesday, June 10
, the First Start Community Bank at 299 Whalley Avenue in New Haven was robbed. Police said bandanas covered the men’s faces and one of them pulled a large silver revolver during the robbery.

Two masked men also struck the First Niagara Bank on Fountain Street in New Haven on June 27. The bank was held up at gunpoint and the suspects fled in a waiting white Toyota Corolla, police said.

About a month later, around noon on Thursday, July 31, two men wearing masks and hats robbed The First Niagara Bank at 2856 Whitney Avenue in Hamden. They were armed with a handgun, according to police.

Two men robbed Greater West Haven Federal Credit Union at 502 Main Street West Haven on Friday, Aug. 29.

Men in ski masks robbed the First Niagara on Frontage Road in East Haven on Sept. 10.

The reward offered is from the Connecticut Bankers Association. If you know who is behind the robberies, call West Haven Police detectives at 203-937-3907.

Police said there is a “strong probability” that the same men were involved in the robberies in the area, including one at the First Niagara branch at 36 Fountain Street, New Haven on June 27.
 



Photo Credit: West Haven Police]]>