<![CDATA[NBC Connecticut - Top Stories]]>Copyright 2017https://www.nbcconnecticut.com/news/top-stories http://media.nbcnewyork.com/designimages/NBC_Connecticut.png NBC Connecticut https://www.nbcconnecticut.comen-usSat, 25 Nov 2017 04:22:06 -0500Sat, 25 Nov 2017 04:22:06 -0500NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Shoppers in Search of Black Friday Deals]]> Fri, 24 Nov 2017 12:54:26 -0500 https://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/WESTFARMS-MALL.jpg

While more Americans than ever before have indicated they’ll let their fingertips do the shopping online this year, many people still waited in line on Thanksgiving Day to grab a good deal.

The doors to Westfarms in West Hartford opened at 6 p.m. Thanksgiving day and stayed open until 2 a.m. Friday. The doors reopened at 8 a.m. Friday.

People were ready to burn off some of that Turkey dinner they’d had earlier in the day. Thousands of people packed the place looking for doorbuster deals.

It was a similar scene at Best Buy in Corbin’s Corner, where people got in line the day before in hopes of getting a good deal on electronics.

Deal hunters stormed nearby Best Buy at 5 p.m. after some camped out for 24 hours.

"Friends would bring coffees, hot foods and soups and they were my support group they kept me going," Frankie Bones of New Britain, said.

Fueled also by the lure of savings people checked out the specials at Toys R Us in Manchester Thursday night.

"I just want to look for toys that I want for Christmas," Navian Talbot of Stafford Springs, said.

While more millennials are shopping online NBC Connecticut found a few teens who don’t mind standing in line this holiday season.

"It’s a lot easier, and you can do it from home and you don’t have to come out in the cold, but I come Black Friday shopping for the experience," Ryan Tarko said.

According to the National Retail Federation, shoppers will spend an average of $967 this year. That’s slightly more than last year.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut]]>
<![CDATA[1 Dead After House Fire in Meriden]]> Fri, 24 Nov 2017 11:31:54 -0500 https://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/carpenter-avenue-meriden-fire.jpg

One person is dead and a home destroyed after a fire ripped through a house on Carpenter Avenue in Meriden Thanksgiving morning.

According to the fire department, the fire broke out around 3 a.m. in a single family home at 161 Carpenter Ave.

Meriden fire officials confirmed one person was killed. The victim has not been identified.

The home is a total loss.

Fire officials initially said no one was home at the time of the fire, but they searched through the rubble after being unable to make contact with the homeowner.

No other information was immediately available.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut]]>
<![CDATA[Rhode Island Woman Killed in Killingly Crash]]> Fri, 24 Nov 2017 15:17:59 -0500 https://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/connecticut+state+police+cruiser+lights.jpg

A Rhode Island woman was killed in a crash in Killingly on Thanksgiving Day.

Connecticut State Police said 26-year-old Hope Butler of Warwick, Rhode Island, was driving on Route 6 in Killingly near Dark lantern Road when she went off the road and hit a tree. She was rushed to Day Kimball Hospital where she was pronounced dead.

The crash remains under investigation. Anyone with information should contact State Police.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[CSP Holiday Enforcement: Hundreds of Violations So Far]]> Fri, 24 Nov 2017 15:18:17 -0500 https://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/160*120/STATE+POLICE+LIGHT.jpg

State police have responded to one fatal crash, issued hundreds of tickets and made 22 DUI arrests so far this holiday weekend.

State police holiday enforcement began at midnight on Wednesday, Nov. 22 and runs through 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 26. Troopers conducted increased patrols and sobriety checkpoints are set up throughout the state during this period.

As of 8 a.m. Friday morning, Connecticut State police have responded to 235 accidents, one of which was fatal, and 33 with injuries.

Troopers have arrested 22 people on DUI charges, issued 311 speeding tickets, 5 seatbelt violations, and issued citations for 696 other moving violations.

In 2016, State Police made a total of 51 DUI arrests, issued 896 speeding violations, 311 seatbelt violations, and 2503 other violations over the Thanksgiving holiday period. There were 392 accidents, one of which was fatal.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut]]>
<![CDATA['Charred Body' of Young Man Found on Top of Commuter Train]]> Fri, 24 Nov 2017 22:11:48 -0500 https://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/WCAU_000000024089898_1200x675_1103012419712.jpg

The burned body of a person believed to be a young man was found on top of a SEPTA Regional Rail train when it pulled into Philadelphia's Center City station during the Friday morning rush hour.

The remains were burned beyond recognition, making it impossible for police to immediately identify the person killed, Philadelphia police said.

The "charred body," as police described it, was found about 7:30 a.m. at Jefferson Station, with the person's legs dangling off the side of the top of the train. 

Investigators do believe the person was 16 to 20 years old.

"The male has severe burns all over his face and body," city Officer Eric McLaurin said in a statement. "The male's clothing and belongings were also burned beyond recognition."

The body was found near the rear of the train in the vicinity of the power lines that connect to overhead the electrical source, police said. The connection between train and SEPTA power is high-voltage and deadly to the touch.

SEPTA did not provide details about the incident, initially describing it as a medical emergency in a tweet.

Delays of up to 20 minutes on Regional Rail lines were initially reported, but by noon, most of the train lines were running close to schedule.

<![CDATA[Blumenthal Calls for Clearer Markings on Toy Guns]]> Fri, 24 Nov 2017 13:12:24 -0500 https://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Blumenthal-toy-guns.jpg

A Connecticut lawmaker, Hartford law enforcement and doctors at Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center are asking parents to steer clear of buying look-alike toy guns this holiday season.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D - Connecticut) proposed new legislation to require all look-alike or toy guns to be marked with bright, permanent colors so they’re not mistaken for the real thing. This includes paint guns and BB guns.

"The law requires now that they be equipped with a very brightly colored item at the end. But it’s easily removed," Blumenthal said, demonstrating on an imitation gun.

In Hartford last week, police said a teen stole a car and according to witness accounts, the teen held up a BB gun to the car’s owner. The owner used his legal gun and shot the teen in the jaw.

Over the past two years, police killed 86 people carrying toy guns nationwide, Blumenthal said.

"The legislation should be a no-brainer. We’re not talking about taking guns away from anyone, we’re not even talking about background checks," Blumenthal said.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut]]>
<![CDATA[Sex Offender Tried to Buy Date Rape Drug to Drug Preteen: PD]]> Fri, 24 Nov 2017 13:51:48 -0500 https://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/QUIRK-MUG.jpg

A registered sex offender from Willimantic is facing charges after state police say he was involved in an "alleged under-aged prostitution/trafficking business," and tried to drug a preteen victim.

Police said 38-year-old Devin Quirk was charged with criminal attempt at first-degree sexual assault, risk of injury to a child, patronizing a prostitute and conspiracy to commit trafficking persons.

The investigation began on Nov. 6 when detectives from the computer crimes unit began looking into the alleged business. According to police, during the investigation detectives found that Quirk tried to buy date rape drugs to drug preteen victim.

Quirk was arrested Wednesday. He is currently being held on a $200,000 bond and is due in court Friday.

Quirk is a registered sex offender. According to online records, in 2005 he was convicted of second-degree sexual assault of a minor, and in 2013 he was convicted of third-degree possession of child pornography.

State police were assisted by the Department of Parole in the investigation.

Photo Credit: Connecticut State Police]]>
<![CDATA[1 Dead in Enfield House Fire]]> Fri, 24 Nov 2017 18:17:17 -0500 https://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/ENFIELD-FIRE.jpg

One person is dead and three others had to be rescued by firefighters after a fire at a home in Enfield Friday morning.

Officials said just before 2 a.m. flames broke out at 11 Alden Avenue on the second floor back porch of the two-family home.

"I saw the flames going off, and I went to the neighbor’s house," said neighbor Doug Worthington. "I ran back in the house to get the phone, and I called 911."

Fire officials said five people were inside the home at the time. Firefighters rescued three people, who were rushed to the hospital. A fourth person was found dead inside the home. A fifth was able to self-evacuate from the first floor.

None of the victims have been identified at this time. The conditions of the rescued victims were not immediately clear.

Crews remain on scene. The state fire marshal's office and the Connecticut State Police Fire Explosion Unit are assisting with the investigation into the cause.

No other details were immediately available.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

Editor's Note: Firefighters initially identified the home as being 11 Windsor Street. It is actually 11 Alden Avenue. The story above has been updated to reflect this information.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut]]>
<![CDATA[Man Thrown From Bridge in Shelton]]> Thu, 23 Nov 2017 11:07:52 -0500 https://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/shelton+police+generic.jpg

A man was seriously injured after being thrown off a bridge in Shelton early Thursday morning.

According to police, an altercation took place on the Derby Shelton Bridge around 1 a.m. and led to a 30-year-old man from Monroe being thrown from the bridge and into the Housatonic River.

Shelton officer David Eldridge jumped into the river, swam to the victim and pulled him to shore.

The man was rushed to Yale-New Haven Hospital with serious injuries.

Police said they know there were witnesses to the altercation and are asking anyone with information to call them at (203) 924-1544.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[No Injuries in Thompson House Fire]]> Fri, 24 Nov 2017 12:55:17 -0500 https://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/THOMPSON-FIRE.jpg

No one was hurt when fire broke out at a house in Thompson Friday.

Flames broke out at 131 Quaddick Town Farm Road Friday morning. Crews from East Thompson fire, Putnam fire and the Webster, Mass. fire department all responded.

No injuries were reported, but the structure suffered damage. 

Four adults and two children were displaced. The American Red Cross responded to assist.

No other details were immediately available.

Photo Credit: East Thompson Fire]]>
<![CDATA[Salvation Army Delivers Holiday Meals Across Hartford Area]]> Fri, 24 Nov 2017 09:14:32 -0500 https://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/SALVATION-ARMY-MEALS.jpg

Nearly 1,000 residents in the Greater Hartford area enjoyed a hot Thanksgiving meal delivered to their home thanks to the Salvation Army.

Sara Shaw and her family are planning to visit a handful of homes in East Hartford to bring Thanksgiving meals to people who are elderly or disabled.

"This has been a family tradition to come together and deliver meals," said Shaw.

"They’re alone most likely for the day, and if we're the only people they get to spend Thanksgiving with even just for a little bit,” said Chris Bassil. “What’s better than that?"

"It makes me feel really good because I know that I’m doing something nice for someone," Emma Carletti said.

A lot of preparation went into this Thanksgiving meal.

"There are about 200 volunteers here; we’re delivering 844 meals in the Hartford area," said Lisa Cretella, Director of Development, Salvation Army.

"We made the food yesterday. It took us about 14 hours and we had about nine people in our kitchen," said Michael Bova, the owner of Farmhouse Catering.

Volunteers come back year after year.

"The Salvation Army is about helping people but without volunteers and people willing to help," said Major Roger Duperee from the Salvation Army. "We can’t do it so we’re so grateful."

"It’s awesome, said Gary Lotreck of Tolland. “The connection with people here makes my thanksgiving and the families’ Thanksgiving."

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut]]>
<![CDATA[New Britain Police Serve Thanksgiving Meal to Community]]> Fri, 24 Nov 2017 08:18:24 -0500 https://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/NEW-BRITAIN-POLICE-MEAL.jpg

Dozens of police officers and volunteers in New Britain came together to dish up a Thanksgiving meal for the community.

Iliana Colon says she’s fallen on hard times recently and this meal means so much to her.

"I’m thankful for New Britain," she said. "I’m always thankful for new Britain, if it weren’t for new Britain these last 18 months, I wouldn’t be alive."

With help from several local organizations, New Britain police and PAL volunteers served turkey, mashed potatoes and stuffing to dozens of people.

The volunteers say they get as much out of it, as the people they serve.

"I see happy reactions they are very excited walking in that door, grabbing a plate, and coming to us to get food,” said Volunteer Marsha Michaud. “I love this. I wanted to give back. This is my first year and I think this is going to be a yearly thing."

"It’s our hope that they see us as true partners in the community,” said James Wardwell, New Britain Police Chief. “We are here to serve and nothing more. A lot of people I know. I can call them by name because I see them all the time, and we truly are grateful for them."

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut]]>
<![CDATA[Kensington Community Hosts Backyard Charity Football Game]]> Fri, 24 Nov 2017 08:43:26 -0500 https://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Kensington-charity-football.jpg

As sure as you can be that the Lions and Cowboys will take the football field each Thanksgiving, you can be confident so will the kids of Kensington and Berlin.

"For a backyard sport it gets pretty competitive," said Noah Mihalko, Kensington.

For six years, football has brought this community closer with the Mihalko family turning their yard into a football field and inviting not only neighbors, but families across Berlin to participate.

"This day is part of getting people together my friends and family," said Mihalko.

Thursday, his backyard on Devonshire Way was transformed into Devonshire Stadium, complete with the national anthem, an announcer, and the coin toss.

"Every year I look forward to this," said Max Rosinski, Berlin.

"I’ve known the Mihalkos since kindergarten and they’ve also provided for me and been like family for me," added Sebby Scott of Berlin.

Parents cheered from the sideline and the stands, made up of rows of lawn chairs in the driveway.

"It seems to get bigger and bigger every year which is very nice," said John Carlone, whose son has played in the game every year.

Three years ago the Mihalko Family decided they wanted to do more than just play football. They also wanted to tackle hunger.

"We donate to different churches or shelters. We try to mix it up every year," explained Noah’s mother Barbara Mihalko.

The players brought non-perishable food items to enter the game. Over the years, the Mihalkos say they’ve filled 50 bags with food.

"It’s just about giving others things that help them that we have that they don’t," said Karolina Carlone, the Mihalkos ten-year-old next door neighbor who designed the signs for the food drive.

The inaugural game was filled with peewee players and dads filling in as quarterback. One mom couldn’t help but notice how much has changed. Not only are the donations growing, but so are the guys on the field.

"What really took to me today was that I saw all the cars lined up and it was all the kids driving themselves over for the game," said Dorothy Carlone.

While they hope the custom continues, their parents say, it’s the lessons that come with this Thanksgiving tradition, they hope last a lifetime.

"Friendship and helping out and thinking about others on Thanksgiving day," said Barbara Mihalko.

The Mihalkos plan to drop off this year’s donations to Plantsville’s Faith Living Church.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut]]>
<![CDATA[Terryville Deli Provides Thanksgiving Meal for Those in Need]]> Fri, 24 Nov 2017 07:42:11 -0500 https://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/DELI-MEALS.jpg

Thanksgiving can be especially difficult for those who don’t know where their next hot meal will come from.

"If I wasn’t here eating today, I wouldn’t be eating, and that’s hard," Steven Zakiewski teared up as he shared his plans to be home alone this Thanksgiving. "I’d a been sitting home. I didn’t have any food in the fridge. I’d have had a peanut butter sandwich. That’d been my lunch."

His Thanksgiving Day changed thanks to Pasquale’s Deli, which opened its doors to veterans, emergency crews, and anyone in need of a hot meal for the second year in a row.

"This is a really nice tight-knit community because everybody here will help everybody," said Chris Tompkins, a member of Terryville’s Volunteer Fire Department.

Pasquale’s Deli opened its doors and turned on its ovens to cook food donated by the community, including four large turkeys, hundreds of pounds of vegetables, and a dozen pies.

"It feels good to give back on Thanksgiving when so many people don’t have much," explained the deli’s owner Pasquale Martino.

"I think it’s just great, especially for someone like me that’s living on a budget and really couldn’t afford a big thing to share with my mom and my sister," said Janet Piccirillo.

Janet Piccirillo picked up plates for her 90-year-old wheelchair-bound mother, her mentally challenged sister, and herself, so they could celebrate Thanksgiving together.

"It means a lot this year, because we really weren’t able to do it last year," said Piccirillo, wiping tears from her eyes.

"It’s a feeling. It’s that feeling of somebody coming in to bring us five-dollars with that story that that woman had saying, 'I don’t have much but here’s $5,'" said volunteer Nicole McWilliams.

McWilliams dished out plenty of hugs with her holiday handouts, thankful to help others who’ve fallen on tough times.

"It’s a beautiful, beautiful warm feeling," said McWilliams.

Pasquale’s Deli planned to donated any leftover food to the local food bank.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut]]>
<![CDATA[Navy Calls Off Rescue Effort for 3 Sailors After Plane Crash]]> Fri, 24 Nov 2017 07:14:18 -0500 https://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/USSReagan-iOS.jpg

The U.S. Navy has called off search and rescue operations for three sailors not immediately recovered after a C2-A Greyhound plane crashed into the Philipine Sea, the 7th fleet said in a statement. 

Search and rescue efforts from the crash of the transport aircraft on Wednesday afternoon Japan time were suspended at 10:00 a.m. local time Friday (8 p.m. Thursday ET). 

Eleven people were on board the plane. Eight sailors were rescued within 45 minutes of the crash and transferred to Ronald Reagan for medical evaluation. All are in good condition at this time.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with our lost shipmates and their families,” Rear Adm. Marc Dalton, Commander, Task Force 70, said in a statement. “As difficult as this is, we are thankful for the rapid and effective response that led to the rescue of eight of our shipmates, and I appreciate the professionalism and dedication shown by all who participated in the search efforts.”

The Navy has said that the families of the missing sailors have been notified that they were unaccounted for after the crash. The names of the sailors have not been released. The crash remains under investigation.

<![CDATA[Firefighter Injured Battling Hamden Blaze]]> Fri, 24 Nov 2017 10:41:59 -0500 https://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/235*120/hamden+shepard+street+fire.jpg

A firefighter was injured battling a blaze on Shepard Street in Hamden Thursday night.

The fire broke out at 132/134 Shepard Street around 5 p.m., according to officials. Arriving crews found heavy flames on the third floor of the multi-family home.

Firefighters from Hamden and New Haven responded to the scene.

A New Haven firefighter was taken the hospital for a minor shoulder injury, according to fire officials.

The third floor suffered heavy fire damage, and the lower levels had smoke and water damage. The home is currently uninhabitable.

No one was home at the time of the fire and no other injuries were reported. The homeowners, who had traveled out of state for the Thanksgiving holiday, are staying with relatives.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut]]>
<![CDATA[North Korean Defector Recovering From Wounds: Surgeon]]> Thu, 23 Nov 2017 20:42:39 -0500 https://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/FO31T_NORTH_KOREA_DEFECTION_VIDEO_1200x675_1101863491915.jpg

North Korea's latest defector, a young soldier known only by his family name Oh, is a quiet, pleasant man who has nightmares about being returned to the North, his surgeon said on Thursday, Reuters reported.

"He's a pretty nice guy," said lead surgeon John Cook-Jong Lee, who has been operating and caring for the 24-year-old. Oh has become a focus of worldwide attention after he was badly wounded by fellow North Korean soldiers as he scrambled across the border in the Demilitarized Zone that separates North and South on Nov. 13.

Video of Oh's escape released on Wednesday showed him stumbling over the border and being dragged unconscious through the undergrowth by South Korean troops.

Lee has been almost the only person to speak with Oh since he arrived at the hospital, he told Reuters in an interview at his office at Ajou University Hospital, just a few floors away from where the defector lies guarded by South Korean special forces and intelligence officers.

Photo Credit: U.S. Forces Korea]]>
<![CDATA[Woman Drove Drunk to Police Station With Child In Car: Cops]]> Thu, 23 Nov 2017 10:02:06 -0500 https://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/bridget-montgomery.jpg

A Vernon woman drove drunk to the police station in East Hartford with her 2-year-old son in the car, according to police.

Bridget Montgomery showed up at the police department around 8 p.m. on Tuesday to make a complaint.

While in the lobby, officers noticed she appeared intoxicated and realized she had driven to the station with her child, according to police.

Montgomery failed a field sobriety test and a breathalyzer test, police said.

She was charged with DUI, risk of injury and operating without a license and held on a $25,000 bond.

Photo Credit: East Hartford Police]]>
<![CDATA[‘Still in a Stalemate,' Says Top US Commander in Afghanistan]]> Thu, 23 Nov 2017 16:23:15 -0500 https://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/AP_17296456546097.jpg

America's top commander in Afghanistan, Gen. John Nicholson, told NBC News Thursday that the war here remains in a "stalemate," but that President Donald Trump's new strategy has reversed a decline in the U.S. position.

"We are still in a stalemate," Nicholson, a four-star Army general said in an exclusive interview with NBC News. "We are only 90 days into this new policy, but with the U.S. forces that will be arriving, with the new authority that we have been given, put the pressure on external enablers, with the fact that we are condition based and not time based, we've set all the conditions to win."

His comments largely tracked with a more upbeat-sounding assessment Trump gave in a video conference Thursday morning with members of the Army's 82nd Airborne First Brigade Combat Team here.

"I have to say just directly to the folks in Afghanistan: Everybody’s talking about the progress you’ve made in the last few months since I opened it up," Trump said. "We opened it up, we said go ahead, we’re going to fight to win. We’re not fighting anymore to just walk around; we’re fighting to win, and you people are really — you’ve turned it around over the last three to four months like nobody’s seen."

Photo Credit: AP Photo/Alex Brandon, Pool
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<![CDATA[Shoppers Camp Out For Black Friday Deals]]> Fri, 24 Nov 2017 08:10:20 -0500 https://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/best-buy-camping-out.jpg

People were camped out at Best Buy in the Corbins Corner shopping center in West Hartford on Thanksgiving, hours before the store was set to open.

Shoppers were hoping to get some Black Friday deals when the store opens at 5 p.m.

Frankie Bones, of New Britain was the first in line and said he was there to get a 50-inch TV that Best Buy was advertising for $179.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut]]>
<![CDATA[Car Flipped Upside-Down, Power Out in West Hartford]]> Wed, 22 Nov 2017 23:16:13 -0500 https://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/west+hartford+crash+power+out.JPG

A car was flipped upside-down in West Hartford on Wednesday night. 

The crash happened after a car hit a pole at the intersection of South Main Street and New Britain Avenue by the Dunkin' Donuts. Police said the pole was laying on South Main Street and it will need to be replaced. 

Police said when they arrived there was a small car fire happening and firefighters worked to get the driver out of the car safely. He was the only one inside the vehicle and sustained what appears to be minor injuries, police said. 

Traffic lights and homes in the area are without power. Eversource said there were more than 1,200 customers in West Hartford without power at one point. 

Emergency crews were working to make sure none of the wires are live. It was not clear when the power would be restored. 

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut]]>
<![CDATA[Hamden Police Probe 'Suspicious' Fire at Apartment Complex]]> Thu, 23 Nov 2017 10:49:59 -0500 https://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Hamden_Police_to_Release_Town_Survey.jpg

Hamden police and fire officials are investigating a suspicious fire at an apartment complex.

Police and firefighters responded to Hamden Village at 188 Treadwell Street around midnight on Thursday morning for a reported structure fire.

Officers determined the fire was burning on the exterior wall of one apartment, according to police.

A good Samaritan used a fire extinguisher and a bucket of water to douse the flames, police said.

One person was treated for possible smoke inhalation.

<![CDATA[Christopher Martins Welcomes Diners in Need on Thanksgiving]]> Wed, 22 Nov 2017 22:37:23 -0500 https://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/christopher+martins.jpg

The team at Christopher Martins restaurant in downtown New Haven is continuing its decadeslong tradition of opening its doors to the less fortunate on Thanksgiving.

On Thursday, hundreds of people will be welcomed into the restaurant for a full holiday feast, free of charge.

"There’s other people who don’t have what we have. So we always need to be reminded of that and give back to those who are less fortunate," longtime Christopher Martins bartender, Maria Porto, said. "Anyone who comes here is served a hot meal on china. It’s not a buffet. They’re served by waiters."

Pinto said of the meal that’s been an annual tradition at the State Street restaurant for around three decades.

Thanksgiving diners will also receive coats and other donated clothing. Volunteers were at the restaurant Wednesday night to sort through donated items to be given away. Among them were lots of children who are excited to be giving back.

"It gives a good feeling because you know you’re helping somebody,” Sal DeMaio, one of the children on hand to help with sorting donations, said.

"We’re going to help the people who need it, said 8-year-old volunteer Tessa Grillo. 

Those who have watched this annual tradition of giving said this is what Thanksgiving is all about.

"It touches me in many, many ways. As a family member of someone in need, as a parent for them to be able to see what it’s like to give back, it’s just an overall wonderful feeling," North Have resident and volunteer Kelly Grillo said.

Christopher Martins on 860 State Street in New Haven will serve Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday, November 23 beginning at 11 a.m. To contact the restaurant, call (203) 776-8835.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut]]>
<![CDATA[Meriden Dad Taking Sanctuary in Church to Go Home for Thanksgiving]]> Wed, 22 Nov 2017 15:05:47 -0500 https://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Marco+Reyes+Thanksgiving.JPG

A Meriden father of three who has sought sanctuary in a New Haven church for nearly four months to avoid deportation to Ecuador will be able to go home for Thanksgiving, according to his attorney and Sen. Richard Blumenthal. They said Marco Reyes has a temporary reprieve from deportation.

Reyes, who has lived in the United States for 20 years, reported to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in July as scheduled and was told he would have to leave behind the life he built in Meriden and head back to Ecuador by Aug. 8.

Instead of leaving the country, Reyes defied a deportation order and sought sanctuary at the First and Summerfield United Methodist Church across from the New Haven Green, where he spent had been staying since August and built a lectern there for the pastor.

Blumenthal went to the church on Wednesday morning to meet with advocates and deliver pies to Reyes, who expected to spend Thanksgiving there, in sanctuary.

On Wednesday afternoon, Reyes' attorney, Erin O’Neil-Baker, said her client will be able to go home for a temporary, undefined amount of time while he has a pending petition for review and a motion to reopen with the board of immigration appeals.

“(W)hile those are pending, DHS (the U.S. Department of Homeland Security) is not enforcing his deportation, so there is no timeline at all. While those motions and petitions are pending, DHS has decided not to enforce his removal,” O’Neil-Baker said.

Blumenthal said he hopes the reprieve will become a permanent stay for Reyes, who deserves a full, fair hearing. 

Reyes has lived in Connecticut with his wife and children since 1997 and the problem arose in 2007 when the family was vacationing and accidentally crossed into Canada.

Federal immigration authorities apprehended Marco Reyes as they tried to return.

Supporters said Marco has been checking in with ICE since 2016.

ICE released a statement in October about Reyes’ case

“On Aug. 8, Marco Reyes-Alvarez, a citizen of Ecuador illegally present in the United States, was scheduled to meet ICE deportation officers with the agency’s Hartford, Connecticut office, to verify his compliance with a removal order issued by a federal immigration judge in 2009. Reyes failed to appear and has since taken refuge in a church in New Haven, indicating he does not intend to comply with the court’s order. Reyes is now considered an ICE fugitive and will be arrested and detained when encountered. At which time, ICE will remove him from the United States,” the statement says.

According to ICE, Reyes in 2010 filed petitions to reopen his case and requested a stay of removal from the Board of Immigration Appeals and the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Both were ultimately denied.

He requested another stay of removal from ICE in 2016, which was granted while he pursued additional legal options in his case.

The statement goes on to say:

“After he exhausted those options, ICE notified him that the agency planned to carry out his removal order. In late 2017, he again petitioned the Board of Immigration Appeals to reopen his case and requested another stay of removal. The Board of Immigration Appeals denied the stay of removal, allowing ICE to proceed with the case.

“On May 5, 2017, ICE Acting Director Thomas Homan notified the chairmen of the House and Senate Judiciary Committees that ICE will no longer automatically grant a stay of removal for an alien based on private immigration bills introduced by Members of Congress — unless the Chair of the full Committee or Subcommittee makes a written request to ICE to stay the alien’s removal. This policy became effective May 5, 2017. Those aliens for whom an investigative report had been requested prior to May 5, 2017, will be processed under the old policy and granted an automatic stay of removal until March 15, 2019. Formal correspondence documenting this update is forthcoming. ICE is currently working to fulfill all requests for investigative reports received in conjunction with private immigration relief legislation introduced in the 115th Congress. This “grandfathering” of the private immigration bill policy affects 30 aliens whose private bills were processed before May 5.

“A federal immigration judge’s orders cannot be ignored. ICE and the courts can delay acting on an order to ensure all applicable legal processes and possible benefits are followed and/or reviewed, which occurred in this case. However, after these legal options are exhausted, ICE must still carry out the judge’s order in the absence of any other mitigating factors.”

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Federal Help Available for Residents With Crumbling Concrete Foundations]]> Wed, 22 Nov 2017 23:19:04 -0500 https://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/214*120/Joe-Courtney-John-Larson-Steven-Mnuchin.jpg

Major developments on the NBC Connecticut Troubleshooters investigation into crumbling foundations. We have been telling you about the plight of homeowners for more than two years. And now, more help is on the way.

Last month state leaders came through with $100 million of bond money over five years. Now the U.S. Congressmen representing the areas with the problem have another solution, tax deductions for repairs done on homes with crumbling concrete basements.

Congressmen John Larson and Joe Courtney say after 19 months of negotiating, they have secured federal tax relief from the IRS. People facing expenses to fix this, that can approach and even exceed $200,000 can now deduct the cost of the repairs that are not reimbursed. Most insurers do not cover this problem that affects people like Sheila Cyr of Tolland. “This is great. I had tears in my eyes just listening to this whole thing. Just, so appreciative and thankful to everybody."

The crumbling basements have been caused by concrete poured from 1983 through about 2013 in north central and eastern Connecticut that have the naturally occurring mineral pyrrhotite in it. When exposed to air or moisture, it can cause cracking

Under current federal tax law, taxpayers may deduct a casualty loss from their income if they have suffered a sudden loss due to fire, flood, theft, or other sudden and unusual causes. While pyrrhotite-related damage develops over time, Courtney and Larson have been seeking IRS guidance to allow a casualty deduction related to this longer-term damage, citing the precedent of IRS assistance to homeowners affected by corrosive Chinese drywall in 2010.

The new guidance, released November 22nd by the Treasury Department, approves their request for federal tax relief. Specifically, the guidance allows for the treatment of crumbling foundation-related repair costs as a “casualty loss” deduction from a taxpayer's taxable income. The change is effective immediately.

Congressman Courtney says at this point it is not known if the tax deduction applies for businesses or condos with this issue, but it does appear to allow people to make deductions on repairs in the past, “Let's say they fixed their house in 2015, okay, and didn't claim it, you know what I saw there I would interpret that that they would be able to file an amended return."

How far back you can go with the deduction remains the question. The biggest advice Congressmen Courtney and Larson shared was, for people with this issue looking for a tax deduction, they should definitely consult with a tax preparer.

Congressman Larson adds “The individuals and families in Connecticut with crumbling foundations have been experiencing an ongoing nightmare. While there is no one silver bullet solution to make up for the loss experienced by these homeowners, today’s announcement by the U.S. Department of Treasury will provide at least some degree of relief for many of them. It is the first time that the federal government has acknowledged the unique harm Connecticut residents have suffered through no fault of their own. I’d like to thank the IRS, the Department of Treasury, the National Taxpayer Advocate, and especially all of the homeowners who have reached out to my office to share their stories and allowed me to tour their homes.”

Photo Credit: US Congressman Joe Courtney's office]]>