<![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 Fri, 24 Oct 2014 04:34:53 -0400 Fri, 24 Oct 2014 04:34:53 -0400 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Malloy, Visconti Debate at NBC Connecticut Forum]]> Fri, 24 Oct 2014 01:40:36 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/214*120/malloy+visconti+at+forum.JPG

One of three chairs sat empty in the NBC Connecticut studio leading up to Thursday’s gubernatorial forum, which GOP challenger Tom Foley opted not to attend.

Unaffiliated candidate Joe Visconti went head-to-head with Gov. Dan Malloy, the Democratic incumbent he hopes to unseat, in a discussion spanning issues from gun control to the Common Core that was heated at times but civil throughout.

All three qualifying candidates for governor were invited to participate in Thursday night's forum, which aired at 7 p.m. on NBC Connecticut. Anchor and moderator Gerry Brooks was joined by panelists Susan Haigh of the Associated Press and NBC Connecticut political reporter Max Reiss.

Foley said earlier in the week that he would not attend the forum, claiming that his campaign could not “come to terms” with NBC Connecticut "in a timely manner."

The Republican candidate stood his ground. As Malloy and Visconti took the stage Thursday evening, a third chair set up for Foley remained empty and was removed as the forum got underway.

"That brings us to the elephant who is not in the room," Brooks said at the beginning of the forum. "Republican Tom Foley has elected not to take part in tonight's discussion of the issues. We have been in constant touch with Mr. Foley's camp in the weeks leading up to the event; they have never articulated a particular objection to tonight's format."

Gun Legislation

Malloy and Visconti clashed over a number of issues, and gun control took center stage. The governor stood by his gun law, explaining that universal background checks has prevented weapons from falling into the wrong hands, "including one woman who wanted to buy a gun and then go to a school and shoot more children."

But Visconti called the gun law an infringement upon constitutional rights.

"There are background checks, but there are not background checks for criminals. And this is the fallacy of the Malloy administration and the liberal agenda, that somehow we're going to pass all these laws and criminals are going to follow these laws," Visconti said. "They're not going to follow these laws."

He asserted that the only way to prevent another tragedy like the one at Sandy Hook is to place a police officer at the door to every school in the state.

Visconti pledged to repeal the limitations on high-capacity magazines and called Sandy Hook a "political tragedy gain."

"If they wanted to do something, they could have looked at the 30-round magazine that Adam Lanza used and just targeted that," he argued. "But they didn't. They went to handguns. They went everywhere. Because there was a liberal agenda."

But Malloy fired back, reminding Visconti that two Democrats and two Republicans worked together to develop the legislation and that he wasn't included in discussions about the bill.

"I made a solemn oath that I would do everything I could to make our children as safe as possible," Malloy said. "I'm sorry that people have been inconvenienced to register the [magazines] they already have, but I'm proud that we've stopped the sale of those things in the future. Those of you who are law-abiding citizens have the same rights you already have, but children are safer."

Mental Health

The conversation shifted to the topic of mental health and each candidate presented plans to improve mental health services in the state.

"I think this is one of the areas ... where money has to go," Visconti said. "We have to look at this and say, 'Why aren't we doing more?'"

He alluded to family members who have struggled with mental health and emphasized the importance of mental health screening to address problems in their early stages.

"Every year that I've been governor, we have passed additional legislation to increase mental health services in Connecticut," Malloy said, adding that he has also worked to fight bullying and train professionals to identify mental health issues among students.

It was one of the few topics Malloy and Visconti agreed upon.

"I'm not here to debate all the failures or even the successes of Gov. Malloy," Visconti said. "But this one here, I will give him a thumbs up."


The issue of education was a polarizing one. While Malloy outlined his accomplishments – including improving the high school graduation rate, cutting back on standardized tests and increasing the number of students taking and passing Advanced Placement exams – Visconti attacked Common Core standards.

"Common Core itself is something that's being rejected by students, by parents, by teachers, by everyone," he said, explaining that the best way to improve education is to strengthen student-teacher relationships.

"Common Core is dead on arrival if I'm your governor," he said.

Malloy, on the other hand, reminded Visconti that two teachers' unions have endorsed him for governor and that "towns and communities like Wallingford have done an exceptional job" implementing Common Core.

"We have to make sure that our children are properly educated and they can compete with any nation in the world," Malloy said.

Negative Campaign Ads

Despite Foley's absence, his name circulated with frequency throughout the forum.

The ongoing battle between the two frontrunners has been intensely negative, with both Malloy and Foley airing attack ads and trading personal jabs.

This topic of conversation was one of the first to come up between Malloy and Visconti on Thursday night.

"Everyone says it's very negative, and I suppose it is – every campaign has its own flavor, I suppose – but this is an examination of people's records," Malloy said, explaining that voters need to know the candidates' backgrounds and what they bring to the table.

Visconti, whose limited campaign budget has kept him out of the ad game, decried both Malloy and Foley for their bitter attack ads.

"Are you kidding me? Come on," he said. "The negative ads from the Malloy administration and also the Foley campaign are ridiculous."

Tax Reform and the Economy

Visconti pointed out that taxpayer money is funding the negative campaign ads and explained his mission to make major reforms to state tax code.

"We need to be real with the people because some people can't afford to live here anymore," he said. "No, I don't want tax increases, but I don't know – when we're working on a budget – how we can get there without cutting services."

Visconti said it's important to let the public know that tax increases "are a possibility" and said that if tax hikes become a reality, he will turn first to large corporations.

"We cannot go back, if we need to, to the income tax," Visconti explained. "The middle class is burdened. They're leaving the state."

Malloy acknowledged the challenge but said Connecticut was deeply burdened by the Great Recession.

"I never took a pledge not to raise taxes the last time, because I knew what was wrong with Connecticut and that it was going to take shared sacrifice to solve," Malloy said. "From the 2011 budget on, we've done nothing but cut taxes."

The governor highlighted economic growth as a means of generating revenue and explained that he has added hundreds of millions of dollars to a rainy day fund that was empty when he took office four years ago.

Malloy said said he has minimized spending increases and worked to protect public services, such as affordable housing, and veterans services, alongside legislators from both parties.

He said his administration has created 11,500 jobs in Connecticut, a number that's expected to hit 25,000 by the end of the year. Malloy also pointed out that crime is down 20 percent in Bridgeport and homicides have decreased by 32 percent.

"That's a wise investment. That's making sure that people have communities that we can build jobs around," Malloy said, touting recent investments by corporations such as Electric Boat and United Technologies.

Public Service Cuts

But Visconti said it's not enough. In an effort to avoid overburdening taxpayers and stimulate the economy, he said nonessential services will need to be cut.

"Everywhere we can that takes away from education, from the disabled from veterans... We have to decide what we are going to do in Connecticut," he explained, referring to tourism and the arts. "How are we going to get out of this?"

Visconti said he would "identify every grant, every program that is nonessential those needs, put them into a lottery system and... decide by lottery what has to go."

Malloy countered his argument by pointing out that Visconti's numbers accounted for a more-than-7 percent yearly spending increase, while he has adhered to an annual increase of 2.8 percent.

"I'm proud that we're seeing rapid increases in the state of Connecticut. In fact, the job numbers in tourism are out of this world... Because we're participating in advertising again and that pays for itself," Malloy said, although Visconti alleged that most of the jobs that have been created are lower paying.

Closing Statements

"I wish Tom was here," Malloy said at the end of the forum. "I think this has been a very useful discussion between Joe and I. I respect Joe; we have differences, but at least he tells you what he's going to do. Tom Foley has been dancing around these issues for months."

Voters who are anti-Malloy should be pro-Visconti, the incumbent governor said.

But he reminded residents that the state has seen its lowest unemployment rate – and fastest job growth – in years, and that crime is down and test scores are up.

"We're making real progress. Is this the time that we turn our state back over to the same people who drove it into the ditch?" He said. "We can't go back in the direction that we once were traveling. Otherwise our children will suffer; our cities and towns will suffer, and the progress that we have made will dissipate and disappear."

Visconti thanked his supporters and called himself the "people's candidate."

"It's been a great learning experience to just see how many Connecticut residents want something different," he said. "I will work for your. I can win this thing. Connecticut is a beautiful state. We have to stay and fight for it."

Tom Foley's Absence

NBC Connecticut executives released the following statement earlier in the week regarding participation in Thursday's forum:

“All candidates on the ballot have been invited to participate in the NBC Connecticut Gubernatorial Forum on Thursday, Oct. 23 at 7 p.m., including Mr. Foley. Mr. Foley meets all the criteria to participate. We’ve had ongoing discussions with all the candidates on a consistent basis and welcome their participation.”

Malloy said he was "surprised and disappointed" by Foley's absence.

"It's a strange thing but I also think it's disrespectful. The people of Connecticut deserve to hear from the candidates. He accepted this invitation, he then, for whatever reason... he's not here," Malloy said. "I think it's a missed opportunity to have a real discussion in a different kind of context."

He pointed out that Visconti's attendance may have contributed to Foley's decision to opt out.

Visconti is currently drawing 9 percent of the support of likely voters, according to a Quinnipiac Poll released Wednesday that shows Malloy barely nosing ahead of Foley.

"Tom's got a lot of things he doesn't want to talk about," Malloy said. "I just wish he was here so I wouldn't have to remind you of all the positions he's taken."

Visconti said he "foresaw this," admitting he wasn't surprised by Foley's choice.

"The public deserves a debate on the issues, on the specifics, and what I have seen, and the majority of Connecticut residents have seen, in this campaign are just negative ads, negative ads, negative ads," Visconti said, alluding to the bitter battle that Malloy and Foley have waged against each other. "Tonight I hope we can address [the] issues and keep it civil... and have conduct that's becoming of a governor."

Visconti's Pledge

About 15 minutes into the forum, Brooks asked Visconti the question on everyone's mind.

"Under any circumstances, in the days leading up to the election, would you drop out of this race and throw your support to Tom Foley?" he asked.

Visconti shook his head.

"I don't believe at the present time that Tom, I could help carry him over the finish line, Gerry," he responded. "So if I considered it, I don't think that would happen."

He then commented on Malloy's frequent references to Foley's absence. Visconti said he hoped to avoid discussing Foley for the rest of the night and focus instead on the issues.

As he segued into the topic of public transportation and the idea of turning state highways into toll roads, Brooks steered him back.

"Are you in it until election day?" Brooks asked.

"I am," was Visconti's reply.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com
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<![CDATA[No Additional Sex Offenders at Manchester Group Home]]> Thu, 23 Oct 2014 22:59:29 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Manchester+house+resized.jpg

The Department of Correction has stopped placing sex offenders at a group home on Clinton Street in Manchester after residents began to fight back out of concern for the safety of their children and families.

According to DOC spokesperson Karen Martucci, DOC Interim Commissioner Scott Semple sent a letter to Manchester town officials explaining that no additional offenders will take up residence there.

Manchester Mayor Jay Moran said the DOC promised to keep a close eye on sex offenders currently living at the group home to help maintain neighborhood safety.

It comes after more than 100 Manchester residents spoke up at a meeting with the DOC commissioner earlier this month and implored him to take action, arguing that the home is too close to schools, bus stops and public parks.

DOC officials and Manchester town leaders are planning future meetings but haven't set dates yet. Moran said he's pleased the DOC commissioner has opened the lines of communication.

He considers the development a "step in the right direction" but said he ultimately wants to see the group home shut down and the sex offenders moved out of the neighborhood.

Neighbors and Manchester officials said they weren't alerted when sex offenders began moving into the group home over the summer, but there is no law that requires the DOC to inform them.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Man Fires 28 Times on Neighborhood]]> Fri, 24 Oct 2014 02:42:56 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/225*120/Assault+Rifle+Alton+Street+Shooting.JPG

A Northeast Philadelphia man fired an assault rifle at his neighbor more than two dozen times after an argument spiraled out of control Thursday night.

"The shooter fired multiple shots, unloaded his magazine, then reloaded the weapon," said Philadelphia Police Chief Inspector Scott Small.

Not only was the 57-year-old neighbor hit multiple times but bullets -- police said at least 28 were fired -- also hit neighboring homes along the 8900 block Alton Street in the Bustleton section of the city.

Medics rushed a 57-year-old man from the scene to Einstein Medical Center in critical condition, according to Philadelphia Police.

"This victim stated who he was shot by," said Small.

Investigators said the incident began as an argument between the older man and a 26-year-old suspect around 7:30 p.m. in the rear driveway of the homes. At some point the suspect grabbed an assault rifle and began firing, police said.

At least 20 bullets hit two neighboring homes, said police. Officers checked on the residents inside and luckily no one was hit.

Police arrested the unidentified shooting suspect without incident and confiscated the rifle, said Small.

Photo Credit: NBC10.com]]>
<![CDATA[Who Is Craig Spencer, 1st New York Ebola Patient?]]> Fri, 24 Oct 2014 04:00:50 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/craig-spencer.jpg

New York City doctor Craig Spencer is the fourth person to be diagnosed with Ebola in the United States -- and the first diagnosed in New York. He recently came back from treating Ebola patients in West Africa, and has preliminarily tested positive for the Ebola virus at Bellevue Hospital on Thursday.

Here's what we know so far about Spencer, his background, what he has done since coming back to the U.S. and the people he may have come in contact with.

Who is Craig Spencer?

Craig Spencer, 33, was volunteering with Doctors Without Borders in Guinea, one of the three West African nations experiencing an Ebola epidemic. He is an emergency room doctor at New York-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center, but has not been to work there and hasn’t seen any patients since returning to the U.S., the hospital said in a statement.

Spencer "went to an area of medical crisis to help a desperately underserved population," the hospital said in a statement. "He is a committed and responsible physician who always put his patients first."

Spencer is from Michigan and attended Wayne State University School of Medicine and Columbia's University Mailman School of Public Health.

"Off to Guinea with Doctors Without Borders,'' he wrote. "Please support organizations that are sending support or personnel to West Africa, and help combat one of the worst public health and humanitarian disasters in recent history.''

Spencer left for West Africa via Brussels in mid-September, according to his Facebook page. He completed his assignment in Africa on Oct. 12 and left on Oct. 14 via Europe. He arrived in the U.S. on Oct. 17 at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport.

When Did Spencer Test Positive for Ebola?

Spencer participated in the enhanced screening at JFK for all travelers returning from the West African nations affected by Ebola. He did not have fever or other Ebola symptoms.

While back in New York, Spencer checked his temperature twice daily, Mary Travis Bassett, New York City’s health commissioner said Thursday evening during a media briefing. He began feeling sluggish on Oct. 21, but did not have any symptoms at that time. He felt well enough to go on a three-mile jog this week.

On Thursday morning, between 10 and 11 a.m. ET, Spencer reported coming down with a 103-degree fever and diarrhea and called 911.

He was transported from his Harlem apartment at West 147th Street to Bellevue, one of eight New York state hospital designated to treat Ebola patients, by a specially trained HAZ TAC unit wearing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Spencer was placed in a special isolation unit at the hospital where he's being cared for by the pre-designated medical critical care team.

Doctors Without Borders said it was notified about Spencer's fever Thursday morning and immediately notified New York City health officials.

Preliminary test results from one sample showed Spencer had Ebola, officials said. A second sample was being tested by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to confirm the diagnosis.

What Did Spencer Do Since Returning From Africa? 

Bassett said Spencer spent most of his time in his apartment, limiting his contact with people, but he had gone on a three-mile jog, taken the A, 1 and L subway trains and visited the High Line elevated park in Manhattan.

He also took an Uber cab to The Gutter bowling alley in Brooklyn Wednesday night, where he met some friends and did bowl.

"At the time he was at the bowling alley, he had had no fever," Bassett stressed.

Who May Have Been Affected?

Health officials have been tracing Spencer's contacts to identify anyone who may be at risk. Bassett said officials were aware of four people who came in contact with Spencer: his fiancée, two friends, and the Uber driver. The fiancée and friends who have been in direct contact with Spencer have been quarantined and are in good health, she said. They weren't yet being tested for Ebola because they were showing no symptoms, she said.

The Uber driver was determined not to be at risk because he had no direct physical contact with Spencer.

“Our understanding is that very few people were in direct contact with him,” New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said Thursday.

What Happens Next?

Spencer's apartment was cordoned off and the Department of Health was giving out information to area residents Thursday night. The bowling alley has been closed out of an abundance of caution, and will be examined Friday.

Officials have Spencer's MetroCard to track where he's traveled. They said there's a "close to nil" chance anyone was exposed on the subway.

"There is no reason for New Yorkers to be alarmed," de Blasio said. "We've been preparing for months for the threat of Ebola with clear and strong protocols that were scrupulously followed in this instance."

A specially trained team determined earlier this week that Bellevue Hospital has been trained in proper protocols and is well prepared to handle Ebola patients, the CDC said.

Several members of the CDC's rapid response team were on their way to New York on Thursday night, and others were set to arrive Friday morning, a federal official told NBC News.

President Barack Obama spoke Thursday night to de Blasio and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and offered the federal government's support, The Associated Press reported. He asked them to stay in close touch with Ron Klain, his "Ebola czar," as well as public health officials in Washington.

<![CDATA[Fire at Hartford Nursing Home Where 16 Died in 2003 Blaze]]> Fri, 24 Oct 2014 03:32:40 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/hartford+nursing+home+fire.JPG

Fire broke out Thursday night at a nursing home on Greenwood Street in Hartford, the same facility where more than a dozen people died in a blaze 11 years.

Hartford fire officials said flames broke out in the laundry room around 7:45 p.m. The fire was contained to just that area, but firefighters struck a second alarm as a precaution since a number of residents can't walk.

Everyone made it out safely, but one staff member was taken to the hospital for treatment of possible smoke inhalation.

Firefighters extinguished most of the flames by around 8 p.m. and began leaving the scene about an hour later.

Sixteen nursing home patients died and dozens more were injured in a blaze at this facility in 2003.

Authorities are investigating the cause of the fire. 

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Masked Man Fired Gun During Hamden Home Invasion]]> Thu, 23 Oct 2014 23:13:28 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/hamden+police+department.JPG

Two men, one of whom was wearing a Halloween mask, followed Hamden residents into their home Wednesday night, pistol whipped one of them and fired a gunshot before the homeowners' dog attacked and scared the intruders away, according to police.

Authorities responded to the home on Pine Rock Avenue at 9:15 p.m. on Wednesday and learned that two intruders followed two residents into the house and demanded money.

Police said a scuffle broke out during which one suspect struck a resident in the head with a gun. The resident’s dog attacked the intruders after a gunshot rang out and the men ran off.

Police said the resident who was struck suffered a head injury and cuts to the face but was otherwise OK.

One of the intruders is described as a thin man standing between 6 feet and 6 feet 2 inches tall. Police said he was wearing dark clothing and a white Halloween mask.

The other suspect was also thin and was wearing dark clothing and a mask, police said. Both suspects are believed to be in their early 20s and were armed with semi-automatic handguns.

Authorities believe the attack was not random but have not elaborated on the possible connection between the suspects and residents.

It's at least the fifth home invasion in the area in recent weeks. Neighbors said the sight of crime tape has become far too common.

"It has to stop," said Hamden resident Andrea Ciaccio. "It truly has to stop."

Police said they've seen an increase in criminal activity in the area and have stepped up patrols in the area to help keep residents safe.

Anyone with information is asked to call Hamden Police Major Crimes Det. William Onofrio at 203-230-4040.

<![CDATA[Farmington Burglar Steals Jewelry and Apologizes]]> Thu, 23 Oct 2014 22:39:44 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/214*120/Police+Line+Police+Tape+Police+Generic+Frankford.JPG

Police are searching for the woman broke into a Farmington home in broad daylight Thursday and apologized to the resident before leaving with stolen jewelry in her backpack.

The intruder entered a house on Copper Mine Road through a window around 1 p.m., then rummaged through rooms and stuffed jewelry into her bag, according to a resident.

The resident was home, and the burglar apologized and left when the resident confronted her. The victim told police the intruder appeared to be in her late teens or early 20s and was wearing a dark blue or black hooded sweatshirt and dark pants.

West District School in Farmington was placed on "lock out" while police investigated the incident. During a lock out, all the doors are locked and no one is allowed in, but everything inside the school functions normally.

Authorities are working to identify and arrest the suspect.

Anyone with information is urged to call Farmington police.

Photo Credit: NBC10.com]]>
<![CDATA[Fund Set Up for Kids of Stamford Mom Killed in Crash]]> Thu, 23 Oct 2014 17:20:03 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/stamford+police+cruiser+generic.jpg

A memorial fund has been set up to benefit the two children whose mother died in a Stamford crash Oct. 18.

Angela Lopez, 34, was killed when she was struck by a car on Hope Street while standing with her husband, Rafael Escobar, as he filled their food truck's gas tank, according to police.

Lopez was rushed to Stamford Hospital for treatment but died the next day.

She leaves behind a son and daughter: 9-year-old Luis, who is in fifth grade at Scofield Magnet Middle School, and 14-year-old Angie, a freshman at Wright Technical High School, according to Stamford police.

Donations can be mailed to:

The Luis and Angie Fund
1127 High Ridge Road #165
Stamford, CT 06905

More information is available by email.

Lopez was born in El Salvador and worked as a housekeeping manager at the Delamar Hotel in Greenwich, according to her obituary.

Calling hours are Thursday evening at the Jehovah Shammah Church of the Nazarene and a funeral will be held Friday.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[No Halloween Parades at Newington Schools]]> Thu, 23 Oct 2014 17:18:04 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/newington+school.JPG

Newington's public schools have eliminated Halloween costume parades this year out of respect for religions that object to the idea, but some parents object to that decision.

"To these kids," said Kami Astorino, mother of a fourth grader at Anna Reynolds Elementary School, "it has nothing to do with religion, it has nothing to do with exclusion, and it has nothing to do with evilness. They come to school, they wear their costumes, they celebrate, and that's how they ring in the fall."

Astorino said she respects and appreciates all religions, she doesn't want to exclude anybody and she thinks the world of the principal of her daughter's school.

But, she said, "I'm outraged."

Newington is not trying to cancel Halloween. Teachers can still display ghosts or skeletons or "Happy Halloween" signs.

But the idea is that if some students can't participate in a Halloween costume parade for religious reasons, then there will be no Halloween costume parade.

Student Aubrey Aukstolis hasn't decided whether she'll be a mermaid or a witch next Friday night. She participated in a costume parade when she was in Kindergarten at Anna Reynolds Elementary School.

"I remember her doing it a couple of years ago and it was nice," said her father, Michael Aukstolis.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Biomedical Research Facility Opening Branford]]> Thu, 23 Oct 2014 17:36:30 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/doctor-health-generic-1200-03.jpg

A new biomedical research facility opening in Branford is expected to attract top scientists and promises breakthroughs in medical science.

“We want to better assess what’s happening at a personal level — whether it's cancer or some other disease — to better diagnose and treat a given condition by generating a much deeper molecular information on an individual,” explained Dr. Eric Schadt, director of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, which is opening the Branford facility.

The new research center also promises to create new jobs in Connecticut.

“We’ve got 10 on staff right now," explained Todd Arnold, managing director of the Mount Sinai Genetic Testing Lab in Connecticut. "The goal by the end of the year is 25, and we’re hoping to grow to about 150 in the next three to five years.”

The state is providing a $9.5 million loan in support of the research center and will forgive up to $7 million of that loan if the facility can reach its jobs goal.

The announcement comes less than a month after another biomedical research facility, Jackson Laboratory, opened at the UConn Medical Center in Farmington, with state support.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Merritt Parkway Reopens After Crash in Greenwich]]> Thu, 23 Oct 2014 16:04:50 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Greenwich+crash+injuries+1200.jpg

The southbound side of the Merritt Parkway has reopened in Greenwich after a car crash and fire closed the highway between exits 27 and 28 on Thursday afternoon.

Greenwich police said the road has partially reopened and the scene is clear.

After the fire was out, police warned of long delays and said it would take time for Connecticut State Police to investigate the incident and clean up the scene.

Local traffic is back to normal, according to police. 

Photo Credit: Greenwich Police]]>
<![CDATA[State Police Endorse Malloy for Governor]]> Thu, 23 Oct 2014 17:57:39 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/180*120/dan+malloy+4.jpg

The Connecticut State Police Union and National Troopers Coalition are throwing their support to Gov. Dan Malloy as election day draws near.

"As Troopers we are trained to not only listen to the words people say, but we spend considerable time and effort studying their actions and statement," said State Police Union President Andy Matthews, in a statement dated Oct. 22.

"When we reviewed and considered the words and history of candidate Tom Foley for Governor, we became concerned about the risks to our memberships [sic] future," Matthews continued. "We felt compelled to speak out not just on behalf of our members, but also on behalf of the people and communities we serve."

Matthews said that, although the union doesn't always agree with Malloy's decisions, "true leaders make difficult decisions, even when some may not agree."

He said Malloy has worked to strengthen his relationship with the state police department and improve public safety in Connecticut.

"State Troopers are confident and proud of our current leadership," Matthews said.

The National Troopers Coalition also endorsed Malloy on Wednesday, explaining in a press release that Malloy "has taken consistent steps to consult State Police leadership and he has worked with rank and file troopers to imrpove public safety and officer safety."

Malloy will face GOP challenger Tom Foley and unaffiliated candidate Joe Visconti on Election Day.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Counselor Back to School After "Slasher" Film Controversy]]> Thu, 23 Oct 2014 18:35:02 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/sage+park+middle+vnuk.jpg

A Connecticut middle school guidance counselor returned to work today after agreeing to stop making the erotic horror films that prompted school officials to place him on administrative leave earlier this month, according to the school system.

Aaron Vnuk, a counselor at Sage Park Middle School in Windsor, and Dr. Mark Foley, principal at Granby Memorial Middle School, are accused of using aliases to make independent horror movies featuring violence and nudity through their company Moongoyle Entertainment.

Vnuk was placed on administrative leave after school officials learned of the production company and began investigating.

Windsor Public Schools Supt. Dr. Craig Cooke sent a letter home to parents on Wednesday letting them know that Vnuk would return to work today.

"After a thorough investigation, we concluded that no students were involved in the films produced by the company, and the teacher's involvement was limited to outside of school hours," Cooke wrote in the letter. "Moreover, we have been assured that the teacher would have no involvement in the future production of any films of a similar nature."

Cooke posted a statement on the Sage Park Middle School Web site on Oct. 3 announcing Vnuk's suspension while school officials investigated. He assured parents that students were never at risk or in danger.

Foley was also placed on administrative leave after the allegations came to light. Tim Cunningham was appointed to serve as interim principal.

Neither Foley nor Vnuk responded to requests for comment.

Photo Credit: Sage Park Middle Schoo/NBCConnecticut.com
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<![CDATA[Company Paid Workers $1.21 An Hour]]> Thu, 23 Oct 2014 14:47:49 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/1022-2014-EFI.jpg

A Bay Area tech company has been slapped with a fine and ordered to pay thousands of dollars in back wages after a United States Department of Labor investigation revealed the company paid workers $1.21 an hour.

The Labor Department said about eight employees of Fremont-based Electronics For Imaging were flown in from India and worked 120-hour weeks to help with the installation of computers at the company's headquarters. The employees were paid their regular hourly wage in Indian rupees, which translated to $1.21.

EFI, which posted third-quarter revenue of nearly $200 million, released the following statement on Thursday: "During this process we unintentionally overlooked laws that require even foreign employees to be paid based on local US standards."

Last year, another company, Bloom Energy in Sunnyvale, faced similar charges and was fined for underpaying employees from Mexico an hourly wage of $2.66.

Federal officials said both cases are particularly egregious, given the booming labor market and the wealth in Silicon Valley.

"It is certainly outrageous and unacceptable for employers here in Silicon Valley to bring workers and pay less than the minimum wage," said Alberto Raymond, an assistant district director for the United States Department of Labor.

EFI has been ordered to pay $40,000 in back wages to the employees. In addition, the company was hit with a $3,500 fine.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Power Outage Closes UConn Avery Point Campus]]> Thu, 23 Oct 2014 17:42:11 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/uconn+avery+point.jpg

The University of Connecticut Avery Point campus in Groton closed at 3 p.m. Thursday due to a power outage that left much the area without electricity, according to university spokesperson Stephanie Reitz.

All classes and campus activities in the afternoon and evening have been canceled, Reitz said. No other UConn campuses are affected.

The outages are expected to be resolved by tomorrow and Friday classes will be held as scheduled, unless university officials announce otherwise.

Strong winds overnight knocked down tree limbs and cut power to parts of the region.

More information is available through University Communications at 860-486-0871.

Photo Credit: University of Connecticut]]>
<![CDATA[Man Arrested in Newington Convenience Store Robbery]]> Thu, 23 Oct 2014 14:45:02 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Anthony+Marrero+1200.jpg

Newington police have arrested a man suspected in an armed robbery at a convenience store two years ago. 

Three men with a long gun robbed the clerk of the Valero Fas-Mart in Newington on June 26, 2012 and Anthony Marrero, 27, of Hartford, has been identified as one of the suspects. Police said DNA led them to him.

Marrero was arrested Marreo on a warrant on Tuesday.

He has been charged with first-degree robbery, conspiracy to commit robbery in the first degree, third-degree larceny and conspiracy to commit larceny in the third degree. 

Police expect to make more arrests.

If you have information on the robbery, call the Det. Derek Aivano at the Newington Police Department (860) 666-8445 and reference case number I20122459.

Photo Credit: Newington Police]]>
<![CDATA[Local Hospitals Hold Ebola Drill]]> Thu, 23 Oct 2014 14:41:40 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Ebola+drill+at+Midstate+1200.jpg

An Ebola drill is underway this morning as Connecticut hospitals prepare in the case that they had to treat an Ebola patient.

At Midstate Medical Center in Meriden, medical  crews, as well as the person posing as the patient, were covered from head to toe in protective gear. It was part of a test to ensure that the Hartford HealthCare system is ready.

Last week, Gov. Dannel Malloy ordered all hospitals in the state to perform a drill within the coming week to assure that their procedures and Emergency Medical Services are up to standards should they become necessary.

This came after a Yale University graduate student came down with Ebola-like symptoms following a researching trip to West Africa. Tests revealted that the student did not have Ebola. 

Malloy said that made it clear that preemptive action was necessary.

“I believe we must go above and beyond what the CDC is recommending, just as we did last week when I issued a preemptive declaration.  I want everyone to know – from the nurses in our emergency rooms to our first responders and our law enforcement personnel – we will provide whatever resources we have at our disposal so that you can do your critically important jobs safely and effectively,” Malloy said.

There have been no confirmed cases of Ebola in Connecticut.

A family who traveled in West Africa is in quarantine in West Haven for the next three weeks as a precaution. Mayor Edward O’Brien said they do not have symptoms and the quarantine is precautionary, in compliance with the state guidelines

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Ebola Patient's Fiancée Unable to Find New Home]]> Thu, 23 Oct 2014 14:43:55 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Troh+family+apartment+Dallas.jpg

The fiancée of Thomas Eric Duncan, the first patient diagnosed with Ebola in the United States, has been unable to find a new home in Dallas, even though she was released from monitoring on Monday after showing no signs of the virus.

Louise Troh, her son and a nephew were quarantined at a Catholic Church camp in Oak Cliff, but they are still living there while they look for new housing.

Pastors at Troh's church, Wilshire Baptist Church in Dallas, have been trying to help her rent a home.

“We’re hopeful today. Things are looking better,” said the Rev. Mark Wingfield, associate pastor at Wilshire Baptist. “The last few days we’ve ended the day very disappointed in the way things have gone.”

Troh and her family left their unit at The Ivy Apartments in the Dallas Vickery Meadow neighborhood when workers in hazardous materials suits were decontaminating the place.

Family possessions were removed and incinerated as a precaution against spreading the disease.

Thomas Eric Duncan stayed in the apartment before being admitted on Sept. 28 to isolation at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas, where he later died.

“You can imagine your own residence, and you were taken out of it, and everything in it was destroyed and you’ve got to start over again,” Wingfield said.

Experts say Troh and her family pose no threat to anyone, and they have nothing from the old apartment to bring to a new one. Still, that has not satisfied landlords to whom Wingfield has spoken.

“One larger complex in the area we talked to said we just don’t need any publicity out of this, and she’s welcome to fill out an application, but if she does it will not be approved,” Wingfield said.

Non-profit organizations serving other families in the Vickery Meadow neighborhood are facing difficulty operating programs since many volunteers are refusing to work in the area where an Ebola patient was, according to Laura Ward, with the Dallas Foundation.

“They're understaffed. They are short on volunteers. There have just been all kinds of needs that have come up in the community and for the non-profits as the result of something unexpected,” Ward said.

The Dallas Foundation is helping the other organizations return to normal.

“We've been overwhelmed by the number of people who come forward in our community and said, 'How can I help?'” Ward said.

Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings is working with Wilshire Baptist on finding a new home for Troh and her family.

“It is challenging,” Rawlings said. “And that’s why we as a community have got to be sure we understand the science and the medicine behind this so she can be welcomed back into a community and pick up her life again.”

The mayor said he is encouraged by the number of possible contacts leaving the watch list with no symptoms.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Wednesday that 66 contacts have now completed a 21-day monitoring period disease-free and 108 are still being monitored. All possible contacts will be released Nov. 7.

“You see me knocking on wood right now, everyday. That’s what I do,” Rawlings said.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Man Charged in Threat Against Jonathan Law High School]]> Thu, 23 Oct 2014 13:10:29 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Milford+Police+cruiser1200.jpg

Milford police have arrested a man accused of making a threat against Jonathan Law High School.

Police began investigating on Oct. 17 after receiving information that a Lansdale Avenue resident made a threat referencing Jonathan Law High School, police said.

After speaking with James Piccirillo, 48, of Milford, police determined there was no present threat to the school community and Piccirillo was admitted to a secure medical facility for evaluation.

During a search of his home, police seized guns and commercial grade fireworks.

Piccirillo was released from the medical facility around 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday and taken into police custody. He has been charged with second-degree threatening,illegal possession of explosives and illegal possession of an assault weapon. 

He was held on a $250,000 bond transported to Milford Superior Court GA22, where he was arraigned. 

Piccirillo remains in prison.

Milford Public Schools Superintendent Elizabeth Feser said in a statement that Piccirillo has no affiliation with Law High School or Milford public schools.

<![CDATA[Medical Records Stolen: Police]]> Thu, 23 Oct 2014 20:09:20 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/doctor-health-generic-1200-021.jpg

Medical records pertaining to about 40,000 patients over nearly two decades were stolen from a doctor's office in New Jersey earlier this week, authorities say.

Police say Nisar Quraishi, a general practitioner with more than 40 years of experience and offices in Jersey City and Manhattan, reported Tuesday that someone had cut through latches on a storage locker at his Jersey City office on Chopin Court and stolen the documents.

Quraishi told police a resident in the neighborhood called him to tell him the shed door was open, and when Quraishi went to check it out, he found all of his medical records from 1982-2009 were missing.

The stolen boxes had personal information, including social security numbers and home addresses, of about 40,000 patients he had treated and may still be treating, he told police.

Quraishi, who is also a clinical assistant professor at NYU Langone , told police he hadn't been to the storage shed since mid-August, at which point it was still locked. He said he had "no idea" who may have broken in, and he couldn't say whose information was stolen.

Police said there were no security cameras in the area.  

<![CDATA[Student Charged in Bristol Central High School Bomb Threat]]> Fri, 24 Oct 2014 03:16:36 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Bristol+Central+High+School+1200.jpg

Bristol police have arrested a student in connection with a bomb threat at Bristol Central High School on Oct. 9.

The school was evacuated after someone found a note on a desk saying a bomb would go off in the school, police said, and firefighters and the bomb squad were called in.

The building was determined to be safe, the investigation began and a juvenile was charged with first-degree threatening and breach of peace.

The student arrested is a juvenile and no additional information has been released on the case.

This was the latest in a string of  bomb threats at Bristol schools.

In September, police increased their presence at Bristol schools and arrested a student after the message "bomb school" was written on a bathroom wall at Greene-Hills School.

In June, two 10-year-olds and a 13-year-old were arrested in connection with a string of school bomb threats in the city. The arrests came after eight bomb scares over a span of nine days.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Police Make Arrests in Manchester Robbery]]> Thu, 23 Oct 2014 10:44:21 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/James+Crane+and+Keron+Parkman.jpg

Photo Credit: Manchester Police]]>
<![CDATA[Superhero Costume Scuffle]]> Thu, 23 Oct 2014 12:12:34 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/10-23-14_hollywood+blvd+costume+superhero+fight.jpg

A violent encounter between costumed superhero characters ended with Mr. Incredible slamming Batgirl on the sidewalk of Hollywood Boulevard in a fight caught on camera.

It was unclear what set off the altercation Tuesday in front of the TCL Chinese Theatre at Hollywood and Highland, and by the time police showed up no witnesses or victims were on scene.

In the video costumed Chewbacca and Waldo try to hold back Mr. Incredible as he grabs at a woman dressed as Batgirl, eventually throwing her to the ground on the crowded sidewalk. People watching nearby lunge toward the man after the slam, but no further violence appears to take place.

A man dressed as Spiderman said the sidewalk, filled with celebrity impersonators and people dressed as superheroes, is fiercely competitive as the characters collect money for photos with tourists.

“No one has respect for each other out here … it’s do or die,” he said. “Literally, everyone is feeding themselves.”

No arrests have been made. Los Angeles police are investigating the case.

Photo Credit: www.filmon.com]]>
<![CDATA[High Winds Knock Down Trees, Cause Power Outages ]]> Thu, 23 Oct 2014 14:48:52 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Glastonbury+Three+Corners+Road+1200.jpg

Power remains out for more than 2,000 households and businesses after high winds and heavy rain through the night and more rain and wind are in the forecast for today.

Winds took down trees in towns from New Haven and Middlesex counties to the northwestern tip of New London County and the southern tips of Tolland and Windham counties.

Connecticut Light and Power is reporting around 1,900 outages this morning and United Illuminating is reporting more than 350.

There were also delays of up to 10 minutes on Metro-North because of slippery rain conditions.

In Guilford, a portion of Sachem Head Road is blocked because a power line and pole are down across the road. A tree is also down on Podunk Road.

Ledyard police are reporting a tree down on Gallup Hill Road near the back of Ledyard High School and said traffic is limited until Connecticut Light and Power clears the wires.

A CL&P spokesperson said last night that the power company is working as quickly and safely as possible to restore power due to weather-related outages statewide.

One of the problems was in Manchester, where a tree fell on wires on Highland Street at about 7:19 p.m. CL&P workers responded to repair the damage.

The Waterford Police Department responded to several calls reporting downed electrical wires due to storms on Braman Road, Third Avenue, Shore Road and Niantic River Road.

"Please use caution and do not approach or touch any wires that may be down," the department said on Twitter just after 9 p.m.

State Police said that they have received many calls about trees down in Lebanon and Preston, including one that fell on wires on Route 165 in Preston near Brand Road.

Thursday will be cool and windy with gusts up to 35 miles per hour, according to NBC Connecticut meteorologist Bob Maxon.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[2-Alarm Fire at New Haven Strip Mall]]> Thu, 23 Oct 2014 11:32:44 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Fire+at+1460+Whalley+Ave+New+Haven+1200.jpg

Part of Whalley Avenue in New Haven was closed this morning after fire broke out at a strip mall at 1460 Whalley Ave., but has reopened.

The fire started in the back of Vip Dry Cleaners around 5:30 a.m. and firefighters opened a hole in the roof over the dry cleaner and a salon to ensure fire had not spread.

It's not clear where the fire started or how many businesses it spread to, but there was heavy smoke at Bruegger's Bagels when firefighters arrived.

It's not clear if anyone was inside.

Fire officials said a good firewall prevented the fire from doing further damage, but the strip mall will be closed at least for today.

The health inspector will be heading to the scene to check Bruegger’s Bagels before it can open.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Police Investigate Car in Water]]> Thu, 23 Oct 2014 08:21:28 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Bridgeport+police+generic.jpg

Police are responding to Seaside Park in Bridgeport, where there is a vehicle in the water near the boat launch.

Officials said it appears no one is in the vehicle, but emergency crews are checking to make sure.

Check back for updates.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Gas Fire Shoots Up Into Night Sky]]> Thu, 23 Oct 2014 07:56:30 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Wethersfield+Fire+Edited.jpg

Emergency crews worked through the night in Wethersfield after fallen wires came in contact with natural gas, sparking a fire that reached the heights of power lines and trees on Wednesday night.

The Wethersfield Fire Department was dispatched to Goff and Wells Road for a structure fire, Wethersfield Fire Capt. Paul Thompson said, but crews determined that wires came down during the storm and one hit a valve that turns a gas main on and offi.

"Arriving fire officials found that we had a natural gas vent fire that had been ignited by the primary wires coming down," Thompson said. 

No one was injured, but it was a bit of a shock for neighbors who heard a loud noise.

"All of a sudden, I hear a huge explosion and my window lit up with white and the next thing you know, there's a fire right down our street," Patrick Dowd said. "...  It was like the movies. ... It was a huge clap. it wasn't quite ground shaking, but it was pretty loud."

Wethersfield resident Gary Sharkevich said he heard a "loud pop" and "crack" that sounded like "a big firecracker big explosion."

Firefighters sprayed water into the fire as they dug to access the gas leak.

Crews also secured the scene, evacuated the house and monitored the situation to make sure the fire did not spread to the home.

Connecticut Light & Power officials also responded to cut power to the wires so CT Natural Gas could shut down the affected gas feed, Thompson said.

"It's the wind we watch so the flames don't get blown in direction of house," Thompson said. "...Natural gas, obviously there's always a fire explosion risk associated with it. ... While the fire looks spectacular, it's actually burning off that gas, which puts us in a better position than having an open leak like that so we can see where that gas is going. See how it's burning and we can keep it contained at this point."

The power has been turned back on.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Trooper Killer Suspect Mistaken ID]]> Thu, 23 Oct 2014 14:53:12 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/206*120/james+tully+eric+frein+lookalike.JPG

A northeastern Pennsylvania resident said he's been stopped and questioned more than 20 times by authorities who have mistaken him for a man sought in the killing of a state trooper, including one encounter at gunpoint that left him fearing for his life.

James Tully, 39, of Canadensis, said he wears his ID prominently around his neck as he walks to work each day through the wooded area where authorities are looking for Eric Frein. Nevertheless, he said he was once stopped about seven times in a single day.

"I'm worried about what is going to happen with the next one," Tully told the Pocono Record. "Is he going to shoot first and ask questions later?"

Trooper Tom Kelly, a state police spokesman, said Thursday the agency will investigate any formal complaint about alleged mistreatment. No such complaint has been filed, Kelly said.

Police have been searching for Frein in the woods around Canadensis since an ambush outside their barracks Sept. 12 left one state trooper dead and another seriously wounded. Authorities describe Frein, who grew up in the area, as a self-taught survivalist and expert marksman who hates law enforcement.

Not many people travel by foot in the rural region, which is filled with winding two-lane roads. Tully, a father of two, said he walks five miles each way to his job at a metal manufacturing company because he doesn't own a car. He carries a backpack, which police believe Frein has also done.

On Oct. 17, Tully said he was walking home when a driver in tactical gear pulled over, pointed a rifle at him and forced him down on the ground, putting a knee in his back. Tully said the man never identified himself, but let him go after another officer appeared and vouched for Tully.

"This guy apparently had delusions of grandeur that he would be the one to catch Frein," said Tully's father, Bob Tully. "We completely commiserate with the police, but this guy went full commando on my son."

James Tully said he went to the hospital and was diagnosed with bruised ribs. He now wears a reflective vest that he hopes will help identify him as someone not trying to hide from police.

"The one they're hunting for, he's not going to stand out. He's going to try and blend in," Tully told WNEP-TV. "I want to stand out so I can let them know ... I'm not the one they're looking for. Just let me go on my way."

A woman created a GoFundMe crowdfunding account to buy Tully a car and had raised more than $7,800 by Thursday afternoon.

<![CDATA[Texas Hearing on Ebola Preparedness]]> Thu, 23 Oct 2014 14:13:58 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/ebola-task-force-hearing.jpg

The newly-formed Texas Task Force on Infectious Disease Preparedness and Response held its first public hearing in the State Capitol.

At the 9 a.m. hearing, task force members focused on medical and public health preparedness for the initial identification and isolation of patients with Ebola or similar high-consequence infectious diseases, officials said.

Officials said that Thomas Eric Duncan could have walked into any hospital, so all hospitals must be prepared to handle an Ebola patient.

Task Force members heard invited testimony from witnesses representing professions and institutions involved in infectious disease identification and response. The main issues they discussed were internal communication, enhanced diagnostic screening and training for medical staff.

Speakers thanksed nurses Nina Pham and Amber Vinson, who tested positive for Ebola after treating Duncan. Texas Department of Health Services Dr. David Lakey, in particular, said it takes genuine bravery to care for someone with Ebola.

Texas Governor Rick Perry created the 15-member task force comprised of experts in infectious disease and public health, biodefense leaders and other state agency professionals Oct. 6. The group is charged with development of recommendations and a comprehensive state plan to ensure that Texas is prepared for the potential of emerging infectious diseases, such as the Ebola virus, and can provide the rapid response needed to effectively protect the safety and well-being of citizens.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Famed Painting Mystery Swirls Around NYC Restaurant]]> Thu, 23 Oct 2014 15:02:17 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/nighthawk+diner.jpg

Artist Edward Hopper's famous "Nighthawks" painting has had admirers speculating for years whether the diner depicted was inspired by a real-life eatery, and one Greenwich Village restaurant owner is convinced he knows the answer.

Fiko Uslu, owner of the newly opened Classic's Cafe at Greenwich and Christopher streets, says he's so sure the space was the setting for the classic 1942 painting that he wants to rename the restaurant Nighthawks.

"We did a lot of research, a lot of legal paperwork," he said. "I don't want to get anything wrong."

The painting shows an all-night diner in which three customers are seated, lost in their own thoughts, under an "eerie glow," according to a description on the Art Institute of Chicago website.

Classic's Cafe manager, Alex Vigro, said they never thought about a connection until a mystery man named Mark stopped by last week and pointed out some similarities.

"These windows right there, the view in front of us, they still remain the same," he said. "The corner, I think everything, the design, everything is really similar."

It's not the only location that has been suggested as the inspiration for Hopper's painting, which hangs in the Art Institute of Chicago. A building housing what is now a flower shop is one of at least three Greenwich Avenue locations frequently discussed, and it's not lost on local residents.

"Certainly the shape of this building with the windows, and the way it comes to a peak, potentially," said Cynthia Kueppers.

Blogger Jeremiah Moss has chronicled his journey to find the real-life Nighthawks diner, writing in a 2010 New York Times op-ed piece that city folklore has suggested that Mulry Square -- a triangular lot at Greenwich Avenue and Seventh Avenue South -- was the site of the diner. His research found that it couldn't be the case because a gas station stood there from the 1930s to the 1970s.

Hopper himself has said the painting was inspired by a "restaurant on Greenwich Avenue where two streets meet," according to the Art Institute of Chicago, but never got more specific than that.

Carter Foster, the curator of drawing for the Whitney Museum, which has 2,500 drawings donated by the artist's widow, making it one of the largest Hopper collections anywhere, said the painting was probably influenced by multiple locations on the avenue.

"There were three corners on Greenwich Avenue, not Greenwich Street, where Hopper walked by frequently that were roughly the same shape as the diner in 'Nighthawks,' and I think those were the inspiration in a very general way, as was the tip of the Flatiron building," said Foster.

The artist with the answers died in 1967, leaving behind his painting and the speculation that goes along with it.

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<![CDATA[West Haven Family Quarantined After Return from West Africa ]]> Thu, 23 Oct 2014 14:03:12 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/tlmd_ebola13.jpg

A family of six from West Haven has been quarantined after returning from West Africa, according to Mayor Edward O’Brien. They do not have any symptoms, the mayor said.

The quarantine is precautionary and complies with an emergency order Gov. Dannel Malloy issued earlier this month to prevent the spread of the Ebola virus in the state of Connecticut.

On. Oct. 7, Malloy signed an order that gives the Commissioner the Department of Public Health the ability to quarantine anyone who might have been exposed to the Ebola virus.

About a week later, after a Yale University student was in isolation with Ebola-like symptoms, Malloy issued stricter guidelines, requiring anyone who traveled to affected areas or was in contact with an infected individual, to stay at home for 21 days and take his or her temperature twice a day. 

Public heath health workers will contact residents by phone twice a day by phone to see how they are doing. 

Anyone who develops a fever or other symptoms that suggest the Ebola virus during the quarantine period will be sent to a hospital for evaluation and placed in room separate from other patients.

In accordance with the order, the family will quarantined in their home for 21 days.

Malloy's order also calls for anyone who became sick with a fever a fever with and/or any of the symptoms of Ebola virus disease such as nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, and  traveled to Liberia, Sierra Leone, or Guinea in the last 21 days or had contact with a person who has Ebola virus disease to be sent to the hospital to be evaluated and placed in isolation.

The Yale student who was quarantined tested negative for Ebola.


<![CDATA[Scene Clear After Bomb Threat at Hamden High]]> Wed, 22 Oct 2014 15:01:56 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Hamden+High+School+bomb+threat+1200.jpg

Hamden High School was evacuated as a precaution after someone called school administration and said there was a bomb in the building and it was "going to go off," police said.

Police were called at 11:41 a.m. on Wednesday, students were moved from the school to bleachers by the football field, then to the Hamden Ice Rink. 

The bomb squad responded, swept the building and determined that the scene was clear.

Police did not allow parents in to pick up their children, but some said they understood.

Students were allowed back into the building as of 1:45 p.m.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Downed Wires Cause Hartford Road Closure]]> Wed, 22 Oct 2014 21:04:29 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/102214+Hartford+Wires+Down+Edited.jpg

Police have responded to the area of 595 Broad View Terrace in Hartford due to downed wires and are closing the road there.

More information wasn't immediately available. Check back for updates.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[State Launches Ebola Information Website]]> Wed, 22 Oct 2014 20:29:37 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/tlmd_file_ebola_cdc.jpg

The state of Connecticut has launched a website to keep residents informed about the Ebola virus after a few reported cases and scares nationwide.

“Many residents have questions and concerns. For that reason, we felt it was important to create a localized site where information will be updated on an ongoing basis,” Gov. Dannel P. Malloy. “While there are no cases of Ebola in Connecticut, we are taking safety measures to prevent the spread of this virus should someone in our state become sick with Ebola. Our health officials and Unified Command Team have been meeting to prepare for a potential case here in Connecticut.”

State Department of Health Commissioner Jewel Mullen said that "a widespread outbreak of Ebola" is unlikely in the United States, but that officials want residents to be informed and know the preparations Connecticut is taking in the event of any cases in state. 

"“This site provides people with access to timely and accurate information about Ebola and the work the state and its partners are doing to protect Connecticut," she said. 

The new website also has resources for health care providers, such as information about protective gear and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines.

You can visit the state website at www.ct.gov/ebola. The United Way also has more information on its own website, www.211ct.org.

<![CDATA[Physician Accused of Sexually Assaulting Patient ]]> Wed, 22 Oct 2014 23:16:28 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Glenn+Giarratana+Edited.jpg

Police arrested a New London physician Wednesday who has been accused of sexually assaulting a patient, police said.

A patient of Glenn Giarratana, 58, of Madison, told New London police that a woman filed a complaint on June 9 reporting that a Hartford Dispensary physician sexually assaulted her during her annual physical. The doctor's office is located at 931 Bank Street in New London.

After an attending nurse left the room, the woman said that Giarratana subjected her to "sexual contact without her consent during her physical exam, police said. The woman immediately reported the incident to a nurse on site after she left the exam room, police said.

Detectives interviewed Giarratana, other physicians and several Hartford Dispensary employees.

Giarratana turned himself into police on a warrant and police. He faces a charge of fourth-degree sexual assault.

Police released him after he posted a $25,000 court-set bond.

Police ask anyone with information to contact the New London Police Department at 860-447-5269.

Photo Credit: New London Police]]>
<![CDATA[Oil Slick Causes Crashes on Route 8 in Beacon Falls]]> Wed, 22 Oct 2014 18:47:51 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Beacon+Falls+Route+8+Crash.jpg

The southbound side of Route 8 was closed in Beacon Falls for about an hour Wednesday after an oil slick caused a number of crashes, according to state police.

The oil covered about 100 yards of the highway between Exits 23 and 24, police said. The accidents were described as fender-benders, according to police.

Troopers were trying to determine how the highway became oily in that section.

The highway reopened around 6:30 p.m.

Photo Credit: Russ Sullivan]]>
<![CDATA[Nurse Amber Vinson No Longer Has Ebola: Family]]> Thu, 23 Oct 2014 12:13:47 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/ambervinson.jpg

Dallas nurse Amber Vinson no longer has signs of Ebola in her blood, her family said Wednesday, one week after she was hospitalized at an Atlanta hospital with the potentially deadly virus.

Vinson will be transferred into a different unit at Emory University Hospital and is still being treated in the serious communicable diseases unit, the family said.

"Amber and our family are ecstatic to receive this latest report on her condition," her mother Debra Barry said, saying the news had "truly answered prayers and bring our family one step closer to reuniting with her at home."

Vinson, 29, was the second Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital nurse to fall ill with the virus after treating Thomas Eric Duncan, the first patient diagnosed with the disease in the United States. Duncan died Oct. 8.

Her coworker Nina Pham, who also contracted the virus after treating Duncan, remains hospitalized in good condition at the National Institutes of Health in Maryland.

It is still unclear how exactly both nurses contracted the virus.

Vinson had worn protective gear including face shields, hazardous materials suits and protective footwear as she inserted catheters, drew blood and dealt with Duncan's body fluids. She worked on the three days in late September when Duncan was producing "extensive" diarrhea and vomit.

Vinson was hospitalized on Tuesday, Oct. 14, one day after she returned to Dallas from a trip to Ohio to plan her wedding and visit family. She was diagnosed with Ebola one day after she was hospitalized.

Vinson's family has defended her decision to fly home to Dallas the day before she fell ill with Ebola, saying that she made the decision in consultation with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and with guidance from her own hospital.

She had been cleared by the CDC to fly just before she boarded the flight, the CDC said last week, hours after the CDC chief told reporters she should not have flown.

Photo Credit: Vinson Family / NBC 5 News
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<![CDATA[CT Residents Complain of Health Insurance Cancellation Notices]]> Wed, 22 Oct 2014 17:56:43 -0400

For about the past week or so, health insurance broker Stephen Hunt has been getting phone calls from unhappy clients.

“They just keep building up and up and up and up and up," Hunt said.

The calls are coming from clients who have been notified by their insurer that their policy expires at year’s end and most will have to purchase plans with much higher premiums and much higher deductibles, he said.

“We’re not talking about a minor difference in premium. We're talking about a mortgage payment difference in premium for a lot of people," Hunt said.

Anne Melissa Dowling, the deputy commissioner of the Department of Insurance, said “that’s something we’re really concerned about."

Dowling says some 55,000 people across the state will have their policies canceled either because  it no longer meets the requirements of the Affordable Care Act or because grandfathered policies that didn’t need to meet requirements have simply been canceled by the insurer.

It is important, Dowling said, that they consider their options and, in particular, options available through Access Health CT, which may provide significant subsidies for individuals and families.

Anyone with questions can call the Department of Insurance, where well-versed experts can answer all questions, or they can call Access Health CT or consult with a knowledgeable broker, she said.

<![CDATA[Suspected Serial Killer Charged in Second Death]]> Wed, 22 Oct 2014 22:29:23 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Darren+Deon+Vann+new.jpg

A second round of murder charges were filed Wednesday against a registered sex offender suspected in the deaths of at least seven women whose bodies were found over the last weekend.

Darren Deon Vann, 43, was charged in the death of Anith Jones, a 35-year-old Merrillville resident whose body was found late Saturday night. Her family had reported her missing on Oct. 8.

Vann was charged Monday in connection with the strangulation death of 19-year-old Afrikka Hardy.

Earlier Wednesday, Vann was ordered held in contempt of court when he refused to utter a word to the judge during his initial court appearance in the Hardy case.

"He will stay in jail for the rest of his life until this hearing takes place," Magistrate Judge Kathleen Sullivanwas said before putting the case on hold until Oct. 29 and agreeing to a defense motion for a gag order.

"See you in a week," she said.

Vann was then taken back to his jail cell, which is away from the general population and where he is under 24-hour watch from personnel.

Authorities said Vann, of Gary, opened up about previous crimes once he was arrested in connection with the Hardy case and helped police find six other bodies. By Wednesday morning, just three of those six had been positively identified: Jones, 28-year-old Teairra Batey, and 36-year-old Kristine Williams.

Lake County Coroner Merrilee Frey on Tuesday asked for the public's help in identifying two of the women who were recovered over the weekend. Anyone with information is asked to call the Lake County Coroner’s Office at 219-755-3265.

Photo Credit: Lake County Sheriff's Office
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<![CDATA[State Police ID Body Found as Missing Man]]> Wed, 22 Oct 2014 17:22:31 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/David+Godwin+1200.JPG

State police have identified a body found earlier this month near Interstate 95 in New London as a Middletown man who has been missing for a year.

David Godwin Sr., 65, of Middletown, was last seen Oct. 13, 2013 at the Passport Inn on Main Street in Middletown. State police are treating the discovery of his body as a suspicious death at this time, state police said. Lt. J. Paul Vance, state police spokesman, said that is standard protocol until investigators can determine what caused his death.

In a Nov. 5, 2013 news release, police said that "it is believed that Mr. Godwin then traveled by train from Old Saybrook, CT to Penn Station in New York City" and arrived there on  Oct. 14, 2013" and that "the last communication anyone had with Mr. Godwin was on October 16, 2013."

Police said in that release that Godwin Sr. was likely "suffering from memory loss."

<![CDATA[First Niagara Bank to Consolidate New Haven Branch]]> Wed, 22 Oct 2014 16:38:31 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/First+Niagara+Bank+New+Haven+Edited.jpg

Customers at a First Niagara bank branch in New Haven will have to go to Woodbridge for bank business in the New Year due to consolidation plans.

Harvey Feinberg has been with the New Haven bank branch at 36 Fountain Street for decades, even maintaining the account when the bank changed hands and became First Niagara.

“I became a depositor in 1948. I still have that account,” said Feinberg.

So when he heard that First Niagara was consolidating his branch with the one on Amity Road in Woodbridge in January, he was devastated.

“People come and get their money, it's easy. The Amity bank doesn't have safe deposit boxes. It will become a tremendous inconvenience,” said Feinberg.

Other customers said the same thing.

“As far as having to travel-wise, it is going to impact me. It's far, because I live around the corner,” Monae Washington said.

First Niagara put out a news release Friday.

"Across the financial services industry branch traffic, and the number of transactions handled per branch, are declining and self-service transactions are increasing. First Niagara is no different," Mark Rendulic, First Niagara executive vice president of consumer financial service, said.

The statement also said more customers are using online services, but branches will still be available in the area for customers who need them.

Local leaders are now looking for answers. They say First Niagara made this decision without consulting anyone in New Haven.

“We have worked with that bank for decades, and we found out in a press release, that's it. No discussion of how these people's jobs would be protected, how our economy and our tax base will be protected,” said State Rep. Pat Dillon.

Some customers are taking their accounts into their own hands.

“I'm moving it to Webster because I like being able to come down here either walking or on my bicycle to do business,” said George Jafferis.