<![CDATA[NBC Connecticut - Top Stories]]>Copyright 2018https://www.nbcconnecticut.com/news/top-stories http://media.nbcnewyork.com/designimages/NBC_Connecticut.png NBC Connecticut https://www.nbcconnecticut.comen-usTue, 22 May 2018 13:56:43 -0400Tue, 22 May 2018 13:56:43 -0400NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Bear Gets Stuck In Car in Canton and Destroys It]]> Tue, 22 May 2018 13:19:22 -0400 https://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Bear+in+car+in+Canton+1200.jpg

A woman in Canton, Connecticut, saw the lights of her car go off Friday night and soon realized the culprit was not a burglar. It was an adult bear and the amount of damage it did was astounding. 

Linda Morad said she was housesitting for a friend who was on vacation when she saw the lights of her car going off. 

“I had my phone on 911 and I came partially down toward the car, and I heard noise, so I hit the send button on the 911,” Morad said. 

She did not see the culprit through the tinted glass and told police what she heard. Officers showed up in minutes. 

“And from inside the house, I saw them open the door and let the bear out – a full-sized bear,” Morad said. 

Then, police warned her about the condition of her car. 

“They said, ‘You’re not going to believe what your car looks like.’ I thought, ‘Well, I’ll clean it tomorrow’” Morad said. 

Then she saw the damage. The dashboard, the leather seats, the trunk and the hatchback were all torn to pieces. 

“I don’t think this could be cleaned!” Morad said. 

The bear had somehow gotten in through the unlocked driver’s side door of the vehicle, according to Morad. 

“And the door closed behind him, and apparently he was frantic,” she said. 

So now, Morad is borrowing a car, locking the doors and waiting on the insurance adjuster. 

She said she does not blame the bear. 

“This is a fluke. It’s like getting struck by lightning or hitting the lottery. How many times would it ever happen?” Morad said. 

Bears are becoming more common in Connecticut as the population grows, according to the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, and they urge people to take some precautions to avoid attracting bears. That includes keeping garbage cans in the garage. See more tips here.  

In the past year, there have been nearly 6,900 bear sightings in Connecticut, including 201 in Canton. 

Photo Credit: Canton Police and NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[State Issues Tips to Avoid Falling for ‘Storm Chasers’ or Scammers]]> Tue, 22 May 2018 10:07:42 -0400 https://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Connecticut_Battles_to_Clean_Up_After_Storm.jpg

The state is warning residents whose homes sustained tornado or storm damage last week to be vigilant and not fall victim to scammers. 

The Department of Consumer Protection is warning residents that some scammers or “storm chasers” target families after weather emergencies because they know they need repairs done quickly. 

“Whenever there’s a bad storm, we always hope that everyone’s circumstances improve when the weather does, but that’s not always true,” Consumer Protection Commissioner Michelle H. Seagull said in a statement. “Some contractors take advantage of a situation that’s already stressful for families by offering to do home repairs at low cost, and not following through. Consumers should always do their research before deciding who should do repairs on their home. If a contractor asks you to decide immediately in order to get a cheaper price, or asks you to pay in cash – it’s most likely a scam.” 


If you need repairs done as a result of the storm, make sure to:

  • Shop Around: Always get more than one price quote for work you need done. 
  • Ask Questions: If there’s anything you need clarified, or something in your contract that you don’t understand, always ask about it before you finalize your agreement. 
  • Have a Contract: Home improvement contractors are required to have a written contract with you. 
  • Understand Your Payments: Make sure you have a payment plan included in your contract, and never pay in full up front. 
  • Verify Registration: All home improvement contractors are required to be registered with DCP. You can verify their registration at www.elicense.ct.gov
  • Don’t Fall for Scams: Remember, if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Never give in to pressure tactics, forego a contract, pay in cash, or pay in full up front. 

The DCP urges residents who think they have fallen victim to a scam to first reach out to the contractor to try and resolve the situation. If that does not work, file a complaint with DCP by emailing dcp.complaints@ct.gov with detailed information regarding the problem. 


Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Frontier Says Software Update Interrupted Service in Connecticut]]> Tue, 22 May 2018 13:43:56 -0400 https://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/215*120/frontier.jpg

Frontier says service in Connecticut has been restored after a software update interrupted service Tuesday morning. 

“Frontier apologizes for the service interruption our Connecticut customers experienced early Tuesday morning. Overnight, a software update was installed in our network that interrupted internet service,” a statement from Frontier says. “We have corrected the issue with the update. Service is now restored. Customers should not have to reboot their modems.” 

The company said that any customer who might still be having a problem should contact Frontier for additional help.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut]]>
<![CDATA[WH Under Fire for Coin With 'Supreme Leader' Kim Jong Un]]> Tue, 22 May 2018 13:17:17 -0400 https://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/trump-un-coin.jpg

The White House is under criticism for issuing a coin commemorating the planned meeting between President Donald Trump and the North Korea leader, Kim Jong Un, just as the meeting seems in doubt with even Trump suggesting it might be delayed.

North Korea has threatened to walk away from the June 12 meeting in Singapore over fears that it will be forced to give up its nuclear arsenal without receiving significant concessions in return.

Last week it canceled high-level talks with South Korea amid military exercises involving the United States, a surprise move that came just hours before the talks were to take place. North Korea claimed the joint exercises were a rehearsal for an invasion.

Trump told reporters Tuesday that the summit might not take place on schedule.

“You never really know,” he said. “It may not work out for June 12.”

Trump was meeting with South Korea’s president, Moon Jae-in, on Tuesday to discuss the upcoming summit. A national security adviser to Moon had earlier downplayed suggestions that Trump had become nervous about meeting with Kim and said the summit was “99.9 percent done deal,” The New York Times reported Tuesday. 

Meanwhile the U.S. Senate minority leader, Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer, chided the White House over including Kim’s face on the coin.

“I urge the White House to take Kim off the coin,” the New York Democrat tweeted. “Challenge coins are a time honored tradition and certainly appropriate in this situation, but Kim Jong Un’s face has no place on this coin. He is a brutal dictator and something like the Peace House would be much more appropriate.”

The coins, dated 2018, show profiles of Trump and "Supreme Leader" Kim facing each other, with the two leaders' names, their countries and the words, “Peace Talks.”

The Peace House, which is within the demilitarized zone on the border between the two Koreas, is where Trump originally suggested he meet Kim.

The White House’s principal deputy press secretary, Raj Shah, responded that since 2003, members of the White House Communications Agency have ordered a limited number of commercially designed and manufactured souvenir travel coins for purchase.

“These coins are designed, manufactured and made by an American coin manufacturer,” Shah said in his statement. “These souvenir coins are only ordered after a trip has been publicly announced. The White House did not have any input into the design and manufacture of the coin.”

The White House Communications Agency is a military unit that provides communications support for the president and his staff.

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<![CDATA[Law Enforcement Activity Underway at Bridgeport Health Care Center]]> Tue, 22 May 2018 11:42:49 -0400 https://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Breaking-News-Intro-1200x675.jpg

There is law enforcement activity at Bridgeport Health Care Center in Bridgeport. 

A spokesman for the U.S. Department of Justice said no arrests are expected today. 

No additional information was immediately available.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut]]>
<![CDATA[Glimpse Into Hebridean Sky Cruise Ship That Docked in New London]]> Tue, 22 May 2018 08:32:43 -0400 https://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/160*120/Hebridean+Sky+3.jpg

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Man in Custody After 14-Hour Standoff in Southbury]]> Tue, 22 May 2018 10:43:15 -0400 https://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Joseph+Michael+Stotz+Connecticut+State+Police+mug+shot.jpg

A Southbury man was taken into police custody after a 14-hour standoff Monday, according to Connecticut State Police.

Troopers responded to a home on Purchase Brook Road around 2 a.m. for a report of a domestic violence incident and made contact with a man in the home who refused to come out, according to state police.

Police took 38-year-old Joseph Michael Stotz, of Southbury, into custody around 4:05 p.m. and he was transported to Waterbury Hospital to be evaluated.

Police said Stotz hit one of the arresting troopers, but no injury was reported. 

He was released and charged with assault on a police officer, interfering with a police officer and disorderly conduct.

Several roads in the area were closed while troopers tried to resolve the situation. State police said troopers seized several guns from the home. 

Photo Credit: Connecticut State Police]]>
<![CDATA[3 State Parks Remain Closed Because of Storm Damage]]> Tue, 22 May 2018 09:56:11 -0400 https://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Sleeoing+Giant+State+Park+Hamden+damage.jpg

Three state parks remain closed almost a week after powerful storms, including tornadoes, came through Connecticut and caused extensive damage.

The state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection is warning people not to try and visit any of the closed parks.

The following state parks are closed:

  • Sleeping Giant State Park in Hamden
  • Kettletown State Park in Southbury
  • Wharton Brook State Park in Wallingford

The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection said they are assessing when they can open Kettletown, and will provide an update Tuesday.

Crews worked through the weekend and into Monday to clear up Kettletown which was hit by a downburst.

“DEEP staff is really focused on getting that park reopened and ready for the camping season," said DEEP spokesperson Chris Collibee.

All the camping sites are sold out for the upcoming weekend.

Sleeping Giant and Wharton Brook will remain closed through the Memorial Day weekend. 

DEEP Environmental Conservation police are doing extra patrols to enforce closures.

Squantz Pond State Park in New Fairfield, which was also closed for days, reopened Monday, according to the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.

Chatfield Hollow was closed after the storm, but reopened Friday morning.

DEEP told NBC Connecticut that it is too early to estimate how much all the cleanup will cost.

For a full list of Connecticut State Parks, click here.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Connecticut Man Killed in Vermont Plane Crash]]> Mon, 21 May 2018 22:32:33 -0400 https://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/BALD-MOUNTAIN.jpg

A Manchester, Conn. man was killed in a plane crash in Vermont Sunday, according to Vermont State Police.

According to Vermont State Police, 31-year-old Ramsey Sampson Ah-Nee was the pilot and only occupant in a 1975 Piper PA-34-200T that crashed in Woodford, Vt. Sunday evening.

Police said the Federal Aviation Administration contacted them regarding a lost aircraft in the area of Bald Mountain in Woodford just before 6 p.m. Sunday. The FAA was tracking the plane and lost it on radar.

Search and rescue teams began searching the area of the last known coordinates and located the aircraft in the woods around 1 a.m. The pilot was found deceased on scene, police said.

The plane was scheduled to fly from Burlington, Vt. to Oxford, Conn. Police said Ah-Nee was an experienced pilot with more than five years of experience.

The FAA and National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the crash.

<![CDATA[PHOTOS: Bear Gets Stuck in Car in Canton and Destroys It]]> Tue, 22 May 2018 13:17:34 -0400 https://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/160*120/Bear+in+Canton.jpg

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Law Aims to Ban Mile-Long Fishing Nets that Kill Sea Life]]> Tue, 22 May 2018 12:48:29 -0400 https://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/0521-DriftNet.jpg

New legislation aims to phase out mile-long fishing nets off the California coast that have entangled and killed sea life, including endangered species, by the thousands over the past few decades. The gear, known as drift gillnets, are mainly used to catch swordfish but often net far more than what fisherman are actually targeting, according to an analysis by the NBC Bay Area Investigative Unit. While tougher restrictions and new regulations are credited for reducing the number of marine mammals unintentionally caught in the nets, state and federal lawmakers insist the impact to the environment is still detrimental.

‘It’s Strangling Them’

“They’re wound up tight in this net and it's strangling them,” said one man who spent nearly 30 days at sea on three different drift gillnet fishing trips in December 2016, September 2017 and December 2017. He spoke to the Investigative Unit about what he observed on the condition he remain anonymous. 

Sea animals “were drowning to death in these nets,” he said. “That's why these nets have to be banned for good — it's the only way to protect sea mammals in the ocean.”

He shot over 100 hours of video while on board two different boats off the California coast. He told the Investigative Unit he managed to get permission from crews to be on board. However, what they didn’t realize is that the he is an undercover cameraman working for animal rights groups.

“The crews and captains were so casual in telling me how many dead sea mammals would come up in the nets,” he said. “Part of what's at stake is our dignity — do we want to kill intelligent mammals that share the ocean and increase its biodiversity so that we can have swordfish on their plate?”

Animal Advocacy Groups Release Undercover and Underwater Videos

His undercover videos, as well as underwater clips showing marine life entangled in the nets, were recently released by a coalition of animal advocacy groups in an effort to get the nets banned. Those groups include Mercy for Animals, Sharkwater, Sea Legacy and the Turtle Island Restoration Network.

“It’s extraordinarily damaging, deadly, inhumane gear,” said Sen. Ben Allen, D-Santa Monica, who proposed state legislation to phase out drift gillnets. “California is a global environmental leader … I can't quite believe that we haven't closed this loop yet.”

Allen’s plan would offer to buy back permits from fisherman. Those who chose not participate, however, would be subject to more expensive permit fees each year. The current price of $330 would increase to $3,000 by April 1, 2020.

“The damage caused by this equipment is so high that if there are a couple of people who lose their job, you know, I think that that is a cost worth paying,” he said. “We're hopeful that this will be a very humane way of transitioning them out, moving them toward other types of fishing that are much less damaging.”

Allen said: “How much are we going to allow this really small group of fishermen with this one particular type of gear to cause this amount of damage off of our coast when there are other alternatives … that can still get good fish on people's plates but do so in a much less damaging way.”

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-California, is also proposing a federal ban on drift gillnets by 2020.

Mile-Long Fishing Nets Face ‘Great Deal of Scrutiny’

Drift gillnets can stretch up to a mile long, or roughly the entire span of the Golden Gate Bridge. The gear is typically 100 feet tall and must remain attached to a boat, and can only be dropped into the ocean from about sunset to sunrise. 

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration regulates the use of drift gillnets.

“Clearly this fishery has long been subject to a great deal of scrutiny,” said Michael Milstein, a NOAA spokesperson who provided a statement to the Investigative Unit.

“We understand this fishery and its impacts well,” said Milstein, who points to decades of data collected by NOAA. 

Since 1990, the agency has randomly placed government employees aboard fishing vessels to document how often marine mammals, sea turtles, seabirds and fish are caught and killed in drift gillnets. The Investigative Unit obtained and analyzed those records — nearly three decades worth — and discovered fisherman only kept about 23 percent of what their drift gillnets caught over the past 28 years. The rest was tossed back into the ocean — either alive, injured, or dead. The Investigative Unit first began reporting on the impact of drift gillnets two years ago.

More Than 4,000 Dolphins Killed in Drift Gillnets

Observers board about 20 percent of all fishing trips that use the nets. So in order to determine the rate for entire fleet of boats using the nets, the federal government calculates estimated totals each year. Using those figures, the Investigative Unit calculated totals for specific species and found drift gillnets have killed 87,929 sharks, 4,135 dolphins and 1,218 sea lions over the past 28 years. The nets also killed an estimated 456 whales and 136 sea turtles, which include endangered and threatened species.

“We have worked with fishermen over the last few decades, and we have also added controls and restrictions to reduce unintended impacts on protected species such as dolphins and whales,” Milstein said.

Tougher Standards, New Regulations

Holes in the netting are now larger and must be at least 14 inches wide. Additionally, noise making devices have to be attached all along the net to scare away unintended victims such as dolphins and whales. Since the federal government started requiring those acoustic pingers in 1997, the number of entangled marine mammals has been cut in half, according to a government report. NOAA is also considering installing cameras on fishing boats to keep a closer watch on what is caught.

“The result is that the fishery is now much safer, although it is also much smaller in terms of the number of vessels than it used to be,” Milstein said. Nearly 30 years ago, 141 fisherman used drift gillnets. Today, only about 20 fisherman regularly rely on the gear.

Fisherman Fear Jobs on Chopping Block

Environmental groups are pushing for fisherman to a use an alternative type of gear known as deep set buoy gear, which uses buoys to drop fishing lines 1,000 feet below the surface in order to better target swordfish and avoid marine mammals that prefer warmer waters closer the surface. In contrast, drift gillnets are set just 36 feet below water.

“Everybody is going to lose their livelihoods,” said Gary Burke, a fisherman opposed to the phase-out legislation. He has used drift gillnets off the California coast since the practice began in the 1970s. 

“They’re pigeonholing [fisherman] in a corner with this bill – ‘take what little money we're offering you or we'll put you out of business through regulations and restrictions and economically force you to do things that will cost you so much you can't afford to go fishing,’” Burke said.

Burke says tougher standards and new regulations regarding drift gillnets have already lessened the impact on marine mammals. Over the past five years, the nets haven’t snagged a single sea turtle, according to government records. The nets, however, did entangle and kill 15 whales during that same time period. While the gear is also used to net certain types of sharks, half the sharks pulled aboard last weren’t the right catch so they were tossed back into the ocean, most of them already dead.

The drift gillnet fishery along the West Coast only accounts for less than one percent of the swordfish consumed across the country. About 76 percent of the nation’s swordfish is imported from other countries, according to NOAA, many of which use drift gillnets and have even fewer regulations than the United States. Burke believes banning the gear in the U.S. will undoubtedly lead to more imports of swordfish that have been caught using questionable practices abroad.

“You're going to get imports from countries that have zero regulations,” he said. “If we don't produce it, we're going to import it — that's just the way it is.”

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area
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<![CDATA[Most Docs Say Emergency Rooms Not Prepared for Disaster: Survey]]> Tue, 22 May 2018 11:48:50 -0400 https://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/emergency+waiting+room+composite.jpg

Ninety-three percent of doctors say their emergency departments are not fully prepared for a surge of patients in the event of a disaster, according to a new poll by the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP).

The poll released Tuesday also revealed that less than 50 percent of emergency physicians believed they were even somewhat prepared for an emergency that require drastically increased patient capacity, whether due to a natural disaster or man-made event like a mass shooting.

The study polled more than 1,300 emergency physicians from both urban and suburban hospitals from April 25 to May 6. The survey had a response rate of 18.6 percent and a 2.7 percent margin of error. 

Only six percent of respondents answered that their emergency departments were fully prepared and, on the other end of the spectrum, 17 percent said their departments were not at all prepared.

"Emergency physicians are concerned that our system cannot even meet daily demands, let alone during a medical surge for a natural or man-made disaster," said ACEP President Dr. Paul Kivela in a release.

In another striking finding, 90 percent of about 250 doctors polled said there was a shortage or absence of critical medication in their emergency rooms and that over the last year those shortages have increased, according to the poll.

Dr. Karl Marzec, an emergency medicine specialist with Palomar Medical Center in Escondido, California, said he is often prompted to use a different medication, which may not be his first line of treatment, due to the shortage. 

"Over the last six months, there's been prolonged shortage of critical medications that we use on a daily basis, so we've been having to go to alternative medications," Marzec said. "Some of them work just as effectively but we are also in shortage of these backup alternative medications that we're using."

Marzec said pain medication, nausea treatments and saline — all of which help patients recover — are in short supply and that could slow down patient care in a mass casualty event. 

The respondents were also asked whether their hospital re-evaluated procedures in light of recent events. Thirty percent of physicians said they had not really or not at all re-evaluated, while 44 percent of emergency rooms did somewhat evaluate their procedures. 

Marzec said his hospitals do prepare by thinking about what type of emergencies could occur in San Diego County, like fires, earthquakes and shootings. 

"If there's large fires throughout the county, we'd be thinking, 'What are our burn facility capabilities,'" Marzec said. 

ACEP said a coordinated approach to preparedness, including a region-wide data management system and tracking of resources, is key to ensuring preparedness in a mass emergency.

The organization is working to get a bill approved by Congress that could increase oversight of medical resources, allowing for better tracking and ensuring supplies are there when needed, Marzec said. 

Photo Credit: NBC10]]>
<![CDATA[Juvenile Offender Takes Cell Phone Video While Locked Up]]> Mon, 21 May 2018 18:38:52 -0400 https://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Bridgeport-Juvenile-Detention-Center.jpg

The NBC Connecticut Troubleshooters have obtained cell phone video that appears to have been recorded by a juvenile in custody at the Bridgeport Juvenile Detention Center.

In the video, the young man who shot it appears to have done so from inside a locked cell and in a common area. None of the staff appear to have any idea that he has a phone or is recording video.

Phones are prohibited and considered contraband by the agency that runs the Bridgeport Juvenile Detention Center.

The Troubleshooters could not determine when the juvenile shot this video or how he got the phone inside. But it was posted to Facebook in March this year.

Gary Roberge, the executive director of the Court Services Support Division of the Connecticut Judicial Branch, the agency overseeing the juvenile detention centers in Bridgeport and Hartford, declined to go on camera to discuss the matter, and said he could not discuss specifics because this involves a juvenile.

Via phone, Roberge told the Troubleshooters that whether it’s the courts or police taking juveniles into custody, ”whoever does it is supposed to pat down and cuff the person, and put all their items into a safe place until they depart.”

State Senator Len Suzio (R- Meriden), who serves on the state Juvenile Justice Policy and Oversight Committee, or JJPOC, watched the video and is now demanding answers.

“I am absolutely certain the people in charge of the facility will be flabbergasted by that. That is a shocking video. It could just as well have been a weapon. If he can sneak something like this into a facility, then I mean we know that there’s knives and things like that that are far smaller than that and could be more dangerous even,” Suzio said.

The Troubleshooters also showed the video of the juvenile inside his jail cell to State Representative Toni Walker (D - New Haven), chairwoman of the JJPOC committee.

“I think what we have to do is find out how did he get it,” said Walker.

When asked if she had concerns that instead of a phone, the juvenile could have smuggled in a knife or gun, Walker replied, “Right now this is a kid, who’s on a spree he has got a phone and he’s taking pictures. And he’s doing it just to create mischief and trouble.”

Suzio said he wants a full investigation of how this juvenile got a phone in his cell.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut
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<![CDATA[Passenger Cruise Ship Docks in New London For First Time In Years]]> Tue, 22 May 2018 09:52:36 -0400 https://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Hebridean-Sky-Docked-in-New-London.jpg

New London had a big, white cruise ship docked at City Pier Monday – the first passenger cruise ship to use the port of New London since 2014, according to the Connecticut Port Authority.

The M/S Hebridean Sky is a foreign flag ship touring the East Coast.

“We haven’t had one at City Pier since (at least) 9/11 when nature of the world changed and security changed,” said New London Mayor Michael Passero. The State Pier, also in New London, hosts foreign flag cargo ships frequently.

But when the Hebridean Sky wanted to dock at City Pier, Passero said he, the Coast Guard, Homeland Security, the state Port Authority and Port security jumped into action. A process that could take three months took three weeks.

“It shows that we’re on the map. That people want to come here and that we have something very special to offer to the tourism industry,” Passero said.

Hebridean Sky Chief Officer George Hendry said the cruise operations company, Noble Caledonia, out of London, was looking for a new destination a little out of the ordinary.

“The amount of people who visited and thanked us for coming made it all worthwhile. It’s been a very warm and welcoming place,” Hendry said.

The Hebridean Sky and its sister ships travel anywhere from Antartica up to the far Artic, according to Hendry.

Monday the 110 passengers had the chance to hop aboard the Essex Steam Train and Riverboat and tour the Connecticut River, seeing landmarks like Gillette Castle and the Goodspeed Opera House.

“We’ve never been in the state before at all so it’s a new experience for us. We didn’t know what to expect – but we’ve had a really lovely morning,” said passenger Joyce Gape, of Welshpool, Wales.

“It’s perhaps a bit more of the real U.S. outside the cities,” passenger Tony Sherrard said. He lives in Buckinghamshire, England.

New London businesses, like Muddy Waters Café, gave crew members that local taste Monday, too.

“I hope to get a few people to converse with me this afternoon. I always like to talk to people from out of the area to see what they think about New London,” Owner Barry Neistat said.

The Hebridean Sky will leave New London around midnight and travel up the East Coast. Hendry said the final destination of the 12-day tour will be in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut]]>
<![CDATA[Hartford Police Investigate Shooting, Crash on Albany Avenue]]> Mon, 21 May 2018 18:41:15 -0400 https://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/HARTFORD-ALBANY-AVE-SCENE.jpg

Hartford police are investigating a shooting and a car crash on Albany Avenue Monday afternoon.

Police said the shooting victim is stable at St. Francis Hospital. No other details were immediately available.

Albany Avenue is shut down in both directions between Sigourney and Edgewood streets and will remain closed through rush hour, according to police.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut]]>
<![CDATA[Report of Gun Prompts Police Response at Norwich School]]> Mon, 21 May 2018 16:06:32 -0400 https://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Norwich+Police+1200.jpg

There will be a police presence at Kelly STEAM School in Norwich Tuesday after a report that a student may have brought a gun to school Monday.

According to a post on the Norwich Public Schools website, the school was placed on lockdown Monday when school officials received the report, and police were called in to investigate.

The building and grounds were searched, and no gun was found.

Police remained on scene as a precaution Monday and there will be a police presence Tuesday.

Students were safe during the incident, officials said.

“It is important to remember that if you see or hear of any potential threat, that you notify the police and school immediately,” the post on the school website read.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Branford Police Investigate Home Invasion]]> Tue, 22 May 2018 07:11:01 -0400 https://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Police+lights+generic4.jpg

Branford police are investigating a home invasion at the Jefferson Woods Condominium Complex.

Police said one person was inside a unit at the complex on Monticello Drive when two men entered through the front door around 2:10 p.m. One suspect showed a gun.

The suspects left after stealing a few items, police said. Nobody was hurt.

The suspects fled on foot. One is described as about 5-foot-9 with a medium build and was wearing a red shirt at the time of the crime. The second suspect was about 5-foot-4, with a thin mustache and was wearing a black shirt, according to police.

Police said it appears to be an isolated incident.

The investigation is ongoing. Anyone with information should contact Detective Ferris at 203-481-4241 or the anonymous tip line at 203-315-3909.

<![CDATA[Firefighters Rescue Ducks on Interstate 95 in Westport]]> Mon, 21 May 2018 20:07:01 -0400 https://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/WESTPORT-DUCK-RESCUE.jpg

Westport firefighters came to the rescue of a family of ducks trying to cross the road Monday - the road being a major interstate.

Fire officials said they received multiple calls reporting the family of ducks on I-95 during rush hour. Callers reported that the ducklings had fallen into a storm drain.

Firefighters, Connecticut State Police and a state Department of Transportation patrol responded to rescue the ducks, which were in the area of exit 17 on I-95 north.

Rescuers used hydraulic tools and other equipment to get into the storm drain. Firefighter Ponticiello then climbed into the drain with a ladder and convinced the nine ducklings to come out.

Fire officials remind drivers that if you are ever concerned for an animal, especially on the side of a highway, to call 911 for help.

Photo Credit: Westport Fire Department]]>
<![CDATA[Bermudez Zimmerman Says Age Doesn't Represent Experience]]> Mon, 21 May 2018 19:02:23 -0400 https://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Bermudez-Zimmerman.jpg

The youngest person running for statewide office on either side of the political aisle this year is Eva Bermudez Zimmerman.

The Hartford native and Newtown resident turns 31 next month, but said her age should not be confused with a lack of experience.

“I’ve worked very hard to get to where I am and make sure that I represent people and policies and advocacy, and I’m bringing that forward,” she said Monday during an interview.

Bermudez Zimmerman only started her campaign days before the Connecticut Democratic Convention in Hartford last Saturday. She entered the race as black and Latino party leaders were enraged that Democratic gubernatorial front-runner Ned Lamont had selected Susan Bysiewicz, a previous adversary, to be his running mate.

Some in the party were under the impression that a person of color would join Lamont on the ticket, and were dismayed by the pick of Bysiewicz, compelling Bermudez Zimmerman to enter the race.

She emerged from the convention with 40 percent of delegates, coming in second to Bysiewicz, the party’s endorsed candidate and former Secretary of the State.

Bermudez Zimmerman said she recognizes that Bysiewiecz has a long history in Connecticut politics and government, but said that doesn’t make her own experience less significant.

“You know, I’m never going to be in a position to say my background is stronger than Susan’s because of her time in the legislature but I know my background is stronger when it comes to voters and conversations.”

Bermudez Zimmerman is a union organizer and previously helped people to sign up for healthcare coverage on Access Health Connecticut.

Those experiences, coupled with her time spent on Capitol Hill as an aide for Rep. Charles Rangel of New York, she said make her ready to step into the job of governor, as the state Constitution lays out.

“We have rules in place, stipulations in place, to prepare ourselves for a situation of how old do you have to be to serve in this office. What credentials do you need to serve in this office? You know what? I meet that threshold.”

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut]]>
<![CDATA[Wallingford's Last Day of School to Remain as Scheduled]]> Mon, 21 May 2018 18:42:12 -0400 https://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/wallingford-bus-storm-back-to-school.jpg

Wallingford’s Board of Education has voted to keep the end of the school year and graduation as scheduled, despite missing multiple days for snowstorms in the winter and again following storm damage when severe storms hit Connecticut.

Students in Wallingford’s Public School District went back to school Monday after missing three days last week because of the severe storm damage.

The district already had 183 school days built into the school year, three more than the state requires, according to Superintendent Salvatore Menzo. The school board voted unanimously to forgive the three days and keep the end of the school year and graduation on the planned date, June 22.

The superintendent also recommended and the board accepted adding language that says that should there be more unexpected weather or other unanticipated circumstances that lead to more missed days between now and the end of the school, the district will have to add additional days to the year because they would then fall under the state required 180 days.

As life for students in Wallingford started to return to normal, many parents and homeowners were still cleaning up the mess mother nature left behind, including downed trees, utility lines, and damage to their homes and cars.

Other school districts such as Brookfield, Oxford, New Fairfield and Newtown were still closed Monday.

The superintendent of Brookfield Public Schools said he requested a waiver through the Connecticut Department of Education that would exclude the district from the required 180 school days.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut]]>
<![CDATA[Authorities ID Body Found After North Haven Explosion]]> Mon, 21 May 2018 15:24:03 -0400 https://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/North+Haven+explosion.jpg

Authorities have identified remains found after a police standoff and fiery explosion on Quinnipiac Avenue in North Haven earlier this month that injured 10 police officers.

The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner identified remains found at the scene as 60-year-old John Sayre, who lived at 385 Quinnipiac Ave., the home at the center of the investigation. Sayre's cause of death was determined to be "explosive and thermal injuries." The method is undetermined.

The incident began as a domestic violence situation on the afternoon of May 2, according to police, when a woman contacted police and authorities responded to the home.

Connecticut State Police Sgt. Marc Gelvin said the man inside the home refused to communicate with police and barricaded himself inside.

The South Central Regional SWAT team was called in and while they were clearing the outside of the home, there was an explosion from a barn on the property around 8:30 p.m.

North Haven police said that 10 team members officers from the tactical team were injured and nine were taken to Yale-New Haven Hospital.

Public records show that Sayre, who lived at the home, was going through a divorce that the wife filed for on April 18.

The standoff caused chaos in the area as neighbors were asked to shelter-in-place and immediate neighbors were evacuated.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA['Marijuana Cookies' Send Hamden High School Students to Hospital]]> Mon, 21 May 2018 18:43:46 -0400 https://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Hamden+High+School+May+21.jpg

Five students from Hamden High School were transported to the hospital after eating 'marijuana cookies,' police said, and they have arrested a 15-year-old girl.

The five students appeared to be under the influence of drugs and were sent to the school nurse, according to police

Then they were brought to Yale-New Haven Hospital as a precaution, according to school officials.

Officers investigated and said they learned a 15-year-old girl had brought the cookies to school and the students ate them before becoming ill. 

The teen has been charged with five counts of risk of injury to a minor and is scheduled to appear in juvenile court in New Haven.

Monday was the first day back to school since last Tuesday when strong storms caused extensive damage. 

Police are still investigating.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Complaints Expose ‘Bad Behaviors’ on CT Transit Buses]]> Tue, 22 May 2018 11:39:17 -0400 https://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/CT+Transit.jpg

Complaints filed about CT Transit in 2017 have raised concerns including bus drivers running red lights, cutting off other drivers, driving away from people who were trying to board or offering poor customer service.

The NBC Connecticut Troubleshooters obtained hundreds of pages of complaints filed by people who are not satisfied with service they received from CT Transit, the Connecticut Department of Transportation-owned bus service.

The DOT received the complaints from the Hartford, Bristol and New Britain areas between Jan. 1, 2017 and Dec. 15, 2017.

NBC Connecticut also obtained on-board surveillance video from many of the incidents in question.

In a complaint filed on Oct. 26, 2017, an on-duty CT Transit driver admitted to his employers that he had urinated in some bushes after parking his bus on Lydall Street in Manchester. Managers informed the driver that urinating is not allowed on the bus or in public.

In the video surveillance accompanying the complaint, the driver can be seen exiting his bus, walking to the bushes along the road and apparently relieving himself.

“That is not allowable in our policy,” Cole Pouliot, general manager for CT Transit, said about the urination incident.

“You're not allowed to pull over on the side of the road and urinate on private property,” he said. “He was counseled and we followed up with aggressive discipline to make sure it doesn't happen again.”

Another complaint filed on Nov. 29, 2017 and accompanying video concerned a bus driver who had become frustrated behind the wheel while on Main Street in Hartford.

Video showed the driver forming his hands into the shape of a gun as if to aim and shoot at a woman who had pulled her car into his bus lane. According to the complaint, the driver was "immediately corrected in accordance with company policy."

“It's distressing to see that and we followed up with him and I don't expect that driver doing anything like that again,” Pouliot said of the incident. “To my knowledge, he is still driving.”

A complaint filed on Sept. 18, 2017 concerned a bus operator who had received his bus late from the previous operator and continued to fall further behind schedule. Still, the video surveillance footage shows that the driver decided to stop at McDonald’s and returned to his bus with a bag of food and drink.

“The operator should have been checking in with the dispatcher and asking permission for things like that,” Pouliot said of the non-sanctioned lunch break.

“People remember that,” he said. “In fact, they called it in because they did recognize it.”

According to that same complaint, the operator drove over a railroad crossing improperly in order to make up time. Bus drivers are required to stop and make sure no trains are coming before proceeding across railroad tracks.

Pouliot said the number of complaints seems ‘appropriate’ based on the scope of what CT Transit does.

“We put almost 16 million miles on the street with all of our buses and moved about 26 million people last year,” he said. “Nobody likes when something bad like this happens, but I do take a lot of pride in the way we respond to the issues.”

“The feedback that we receive is less than 1 percent of the total amount of service that we put out there, so we definitely viewed these things as isolated incidents more than patterns of normal behavior,” Pouliot said.

“We've had a lot of good experiences, but this was just not one of them,” said Joe Duggan, of Newington. He said his bus driver decided mid-ride that the ride was suddenly over. “Folks kind of walked by and questioned him and his answer was ‘Everybody off.’”

Duggan, who said he is a supporter of public transportation and of CT Transit, filed a complaint in February 2017 about a driver who told all passengers, including an older man with a cane, to “get off” and “get the next bus.”

Ryan Leahy said he, his wife and three little kids were on a CTfastrak bus heading from Newington to Hartford to catch a baseball game on July 2, 2017 when he witnessed an incident.

“It was a smooth ride up until the point we got into Hartford, around Bushnell Park,” said Leahy who reported seeing a young man's bike being stolen right off the rack on the back of the bus. Then, according to the complaint filed with CT Transit, an altercation between several teens began unfolding right in front of his kids.

“I'll ride it myself again, but I don't think we'll take the family on again," Leahy said.

Pouliot said he wanted Leahy and his family to feel safe on board.

“I would encourage him to give us another shot because that is certainly not the experience that the majority of our customers have happen,” Pouliot said.

“I'll certainly be looking at some of the patterns of things that have happened and find if there’s not ways that we can intercept some of these bad behaviors to make sure they don't occur all over again," Pouliot said.

Among the feedback and complaints DOT received, riders also praised CT Transit’s service and commended drivers who went above and beyond to offer good customer service.

<![CDATA[Student Brought BB Gun That Looked Like Semi-Automatic to Shelton High: Police]]> Mon, 21 May 2018 12:51:37 -0400 https://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Destiny+Ryan+Shelton+mug+shot.jpg

A Shelton High School student was arrested Monday after she was found with a BB gun that looked like a semi-automatic handgun, according to police. 

Police investigated after students told school administrators that 18-year-old Destiny Ryan was showing what appeared to be a semi-automatic handgun in the girl’s bathroom, according to police. 

Shelton officers and detectives, who were already at the scene for an unrelated matter, approached Ryan and asked her if she had a gun and she said she did, according to police. 

Ryan then handed officers her book bag and inside was a black loaded BB gun that “closely resembled a 9mm semi-automatic handgun,” police said. 

Ryan was arrested and charged with possession of a weapon on school grounds and breach of peace in the second degree. 

She was released on a $2,500 bond and is due in Derby Superior Court on June 4. 

Photo Credit: Shelton Police]]>
<![CDATA[19 Marijuana Plants Found at South Windsor Home: Officials]]> Mon, 21 May 2018 14:37:32 -0400 https://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/160*213/Marijuana+arrest+Panayotoplus+1.jpg

Photo Credit: East Central Narcotics Task Force]]>
<![CDATA[Sleeping Giant State Park Could Remain Closed Until Fall]]> Tue, 22 May 2018 09:55:09 -0400 https://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/sleeping+giant+tree+damage.jpg

Sleeping Giant State Park in Hamden could be closed until the fall because of massive storm damage, according to the Sleeping Giant Park Association.

Four tornadoes, a macroburst and a microburst struck Connecticut on Tuesday, according to the National Weather Service. When a tornado in New Haven County lifted, a powerful swath of damaging winds continued from Sleeping Giant State Park to Wharton Brook State Park in North Haven and then into Wallingford and Northford. 

Sleeping Giant State Park has been closed since last week and the Sleeping Giant Park Association said all of the trails are closed to the public and are not expected to reopen until the fall.

“Even professional construction concerns brought in to consult are shaking their heads at the absolutely overwhelming task of cleaning up JUST the picnic and parking areas, and the Tower Path,” a posted on the Facebook page for the Sleeping Giant Park Association says.

The state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection has warned people to stay away from the state parks that are closed. Crews from DEEP said they have not made a determination on when the park will reopen. 

In a news release on Monday afternoon, DEEP said Sleeping Giant and Wharton Brook will remain closed through the holiday weekend and no determination has been made on when the two parks will reopen. 

DEEP will decide by the end of the day Tuesday on the status of Kettletown State Park for Memorial Day weekend.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com
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<![CDATA[UConn President Susan Herbst to Step Down Next Summer]]> Mon, 21 May 2018 15:14:35 -0400 https://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/susan-herbst-uconn-president.jpg

UConn President Susan Herbst will step down next summer and she said she plans to return to the classroom as a political science professor at the UConn campus in Storrs. 

The university released a statement Monday morning saying that Herbst, who has led the university since 2011, will step down next summer when her current employment agreement ends. 

“Being able to lead this outstanding institution has been one of the great honors and privileges of my life,” she said in a message to the UConn community. “These have been exciting and rewarding years. UConn has continued to rise in the rankings and grow academically as we embarked on transformational new initiatives, formed vital partnerships, addressed long-standing needs, planned carefully for the future, and made difficult but necessary decisions." 

Herbst was the first woman to be president of UConn since the school was founded in 1881, according to a statement from UConn. She was named UConn’s 15th president on Dec 20, 2010. 

“Despite financial struggles because of the state budget, together we have become a stronger, better university,” she said. “UConn is among the finest research universities in the United States and the pride of the state of Connecticut, as it should be.” 

The board extended Herbst’s original five-year employment agreement in 2014 to run through July 1, 2019. 

She said in a letter to the UConn community that she will return to the classroom as a professor of political science at UConn's Stamford campus.

“Stepping down was not an easy decision for me by any means,” Herbst said in a statement. “But a university is forever and each of us knows that we are only its temporary caretakers and champions. None of us are indispensable and the right time for a change always arrives eventually.” 

UConn Board Chairman Thomas Kruger said he will appoint a committee this summer to start a national search for the next president. 

Photo Credit: Peter Morenus/UConn]]>