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    The U.S. Olympic Committee strongly denied Monday that it has advised athletes and staff to consider skipping the Summer Olympic Games in Brazil because of the Zika virus, NBC News reported.

    The USOC bluntly said a Reuters report that it offered the advice in a conference call last month with the leaders of U.S. sports federation "is not accurate."

    The report cited the head of USA Fencing as saying USOC officials told the federations that no one should go to Brazil "if they don't feel comfortable going."

    The USOC said Monday that, in the call, it closely followed the guidance given by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the International Olympic Committee.

    CDC guidelines for travel to South America, including Brazil, don't say travelers should avoid Brazil, but advise that travelers protect themselves against mosquito bites.



    Photo Credit: AP

    In this Jan. 27, 2016, file photo, an Aedes aegypti mosquito is photographed through a microscope at the Fiocruz institute in Recife, Pernambuco state, Brazil. The mosquito behind the Zika virus seems to operate like a heat-driven missile of disease. Scientists say the hotter it gets, the better the mosquito that carries Zika virus is at transmitting a variety of dangerous illnesses.In this Jan. 27, 2016, file photo, an Aedes aegypti mosquito is photographed through a microscope at the Fiocruz institute in Recife, Pernambuco state, Brazil. The mosquito behind the Zika virus seems to operate like a heat-driven missile of disease. Scientists say the hotter it gets, the better the mosquito that carries Zika virus is at transmitting a variety of dangerous illnesses.

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    Interstate 91 South was closed in North Haven after a tractor-trailer jackknifed on Monday afternoon, but the left lane was getting by just after 3:40 p.m.

    State police said the crash is between exits 12 and 10.

    No information was immediately available on injuries. 


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    Interstate 95 North was shut down in Milford after a tractor-trailer jackknifed, but the road has since reopened.

    The crash happened near exit 36 and all lanes of the northbound side of the highway were closed in the area.

    No additional information was immediately available.



    Photo Credit: Connecticut Department of Transportation

    Interstate 95 was shut down in Milford.Interstate 95 was shut down in Milford.

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    Police busted an alleged cock-fighting ring in New Britain on Saturday, seized one badly injured rooster as well as several other roosters and hens, and arrested 10 adults and a teenage boy.

    Police said they responded to 288-290 Maple St. in New Britain to investigate an anonymous complaint about a possible large cock-fighting ring in the basement and found several roosters squawking and what sounded like a people cheering in the basement, police said.

    The officers then saw two roosters fighting in a cordoned off and people cheering, police said.

    The officers seized 26 roosters, including one that was severely injured, two hens, more than $7,000 in cash and more than 80 bags of heroin.

    Police arrested 10 adults and charged them with animal cruelty and risk of injury to children.

    A 15-year-old boy suspected of being involved was referred to juvenile court.

    Carlos Talavera, 52, of New Britain; Daniel Dejesus, 32, of Hartford; Agustin Vazquez, 45, of Hartford; Benito Serrano, 24, of Hartford; Carlos Figueroa, 53, of Wharton, New Jersey; Isaias Ramos, 21, of Manchester; Pilar Figueroa, 48, of Freeland, Pennsylvania; Samuel Ortiz, 39, of East Hartford; and Isaias Roman, 79, of New Haven, were charged with cruelty to animals and risk of injury.

    All were released on bond and are due in court on Feb. 18, except for Pilar Figueroa who will be arraigned in New Britain Superior Court on Monday.

    Police continue to investigate.



    Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

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    New Hampshire votes Tuesday with billionaire Donald Trump trying to lose the loser label, Ted Cruz looking to fashion a victory with far fewer Christian evangelicals than in Iowa and Marco Rubio aiming to shake off doubts following his disastrous debate performance.

    Hillary Clinton, meanwhile, hopes to prevent a victory by Bernie Sanders by putting her ground game in New Hampshire against his popularity in the state.

    In the country’s first primary, the candidates want to capitalize on their success in Iowa or show their campaigns are still alive. A week after the caucuses officially kicked off the race for president, a state that prides itself on its independence now makes its picks.

    “Usually what they do in New Hampshire is correct Iowa’s mistakes,” said Patrick Griffin, who worked on President George W. Bush’s primary campaign and is now a political and media strategist at Purple Strategies New England, a communications and government affairs company in Boston. 

    On the Republican side, Trump competes after being handed an embarrassing second-place finish to Cruz, though political consultants in New Hampshire doubt that Iowa’s results will matter much in the Granite State.

    “As everyone will tell you, all that gets shuffled and thrown back on a table essentially,” said Neil Levesque, the executive director of the New Hampshire Institute of Politics at Saint Anselm College in Manchester.

    Trump accepted defeat graciously the night of the caucuses, but afterward unleashed a stream of insults against Cruz on Twitter, accusing him of fraud in Iowa and demanding the results be invalidated.

    Trump was leading in the final 7News Boston/UMass Lowell tracking poll on Monday with 34 percent. Rubio and Cruz each were at 13 percent, Ohio Gov. John Kasich and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, at 10 percent, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, 5 percent, Carly Fiorina, 4 percent and Dr. Ben Carson 3 percent.

    Cruz’s win in Iowa came after he visited often, traveled throughout the state and appealed to two important groups, evangelicals and the homeschool community. Trump had his celebrity name, combative comments and the free media coverage that followed. In New Hampshire, Trump’s campaign appears to be trying to jump-start a more traditional campaign with “Walkin & Talkin for Donald J. Trump” fliers appearing asking supporters to help spread the word.

    “Cruz proved that Iowa is a place were organization matters, where identifying voters and getting them out, hand-to-hand retail politics or combat, depending on how you look at it, truly matters,” Griffin said.

    Cruz, who is not expected to replicate his success in Iowa in New Hampshire, is looking ahead to the primary in South Carolina. But he could be damaged by Saturday night's Republican debate, where he was forced to apologize again to Carson for his supporters' behavior in Iowa. The night of the caucuses, they spread false reports that Carson was dropping out of the race.

    Lee Miringoff, the director of the Marist Institute for Public Opinion, said Rubio’s finish in Iowa means Kasich, Christie and Bush must make a strong showing to become the candidate for the Republican establishment.

    “They’ve got to find places where they can punch through because between now and March 15 there’s going to be a ton of contests and the money is not going to be sufficient to wage a decent fight in those places,” Miringoff said. “People may pick a state or two to try to reverse their fortunes but that doesn’t get them in the contender status.”

    But Rubio may also be hurt by the debate. He was widely mocked for robotically repeating himself even as Christie made fun of his memorized "30-second" speech.

    Twenty-eight states plus the District of Columbia, American Samoa, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico and Democrats who live outside of the United States will make their choice by March 15.

    The day before the primary saw all of the candidates but Carson campaigning in New Hampshire, according to the NECN candidate tracker. Rubio had seven stops scheduled, the most of anyone.

    Kasich and Christie have campaigned heavily in the state, doing more than 180 town halls, meet-and-greets and other events. Fiorina and Bush have both made more than 110 stops, while at the other end Trump and Carson have made fewer than 50.

    Among the Democrats, Sanders is ahead in the polls, but by how much? The 7News/UMass poll has him ahead by 16 points, 56 percent to 40 percent, but one by the Boston Herald/Franklin Pierce University puts the lead at seven points, 51 percent to 44 percent.

    Both campaigns have been trying to manage expectations, Miringoff said, Sanders by stressing that Clinton won New Hampshire over Barack Obama in 2008, Clinton by emphasizing that Sanders is from Vermont.

    Independents, who make up 44 percent of the electorate in New Hampshire, can vote in the primary, which could help Sanders, Miringoff said. Clinton meanwhile is making a determined appeal to the young women who have been drawn to Sanders.

    Griffin said he did not know that Clinton’s organization in New Hampshire — and the support she has from prominent Democrats such as U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen and Gov. Maggie Hassan — would be enough to overcome Sanders’ strengths.

    “I’m not sure that that necessarily works to her advantage in a race with an insurgent Bernie Sanders who points to the politicians and basically says, ‘They’re the problem, she’s the problem, Wall Street’s the problem, we need a revolution,’” he said.

    But Levesque said he would not discount Clinton.

    “My opinion is always buy Clinton stock when it’s undervalued,” he said.
     



    Photo Credit: Getty Images

    Sen. Bernie Sanders and Donald TrumpSen. Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump

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    More than two dozen people were injured, including at least four who are in critical condition, when a charter bus heading to Mohegan Sun Casino flipped onto its side on snow-covered Interstate 95 in Madison, Connecticut, prompting police to shut down the highway.

    Officials from Mohegan Sun said the Dahlia charter bus — based in New York — was en route to the Uncasville casino around 12:20 p.m. on Monday when it rolled over on I-95 north, between the exit 61 off-ramp and the on-ramp.

    The highway was shut down for around four-and-a-half hours and crews were able to get the bus back on its tires around 3:30 p.m. The highway reopened around 5 p.m.

    Emergency officials said the bus was carrying about 55 people, including the driver.

    Video from the scene captured the frightening ordeal and showed several people climbing out of the front and top of the bus. 

    Ambulances lined the highway and transported passengers to nearby hospitals, including Yale-New Haven Hospital and Saint Raphael's.

    [[368069641,C]]

    Twenty-two were taken to the hospital initially and 12 more sought medical care after going to a warming center.

    The severity of the injuries varies and at least seven of the patients are in critical condition. 

    Chris Bernier, EMS director for Madison EMS, said the majority of the passengers were able to walk off the bus on their own, but some of the patients were critical and they were transported to the trauma center at Yale-New Haven Hospital.

    Officials from Yale-New Haven Hospital said they initially received eight patients and none of them had life-threatening injuries, but six people who suffered critical injuries were being transported from Middlesex Hospital. 

    Some injuries ranged from shoulder injuries to people who had trouble breathing. 

    Thirty-three passengers were initially taken to a warming center at the Madison town gym, but some later went to nearby hospitals after they warmed up, the adrenaline wore off and they began to feel symptoms of injuries, according to Madison police. 

    Middlesex Hospital said the Shoreline Medical Center received 16 patients.

    Patients were also brought to Yale-New Haven in Guilford, Middlesex Hospital and Saint Raphael's in New Haven, Madison police said. 

    The Red Cross was called in to help and it appears another bus has also been brought in.

    All additional buses from the New York area to Mohegan Sun have been rerouted and are being turned around, according to a spokesperson for Mohegan Sun.

    Connecticut State Police are investigating the circumstances of the crash and Gov. Dannel Malloy issued a statement saying his office is closely following the situation and prioritizing public safety.

    [[368076011,C]]

    "Our thoughts are with those who are injured, and we extend our gratitude to the first responders who are working to protect the safety of all those involved," the governor said, in part. "We urge all those who must travel to use added caution, allow extra time to travel, and reduce speeds as conditions warrant."

    Snow began falling on Monday morning and Madison had around 2 to 3 inches around the time of the crash.

    Dahlia is based in New York, officials said, but the bus has a Massachusetts license plate.

    In a statement, VMC East Coast, which operates the bus for Dhalia, said it was saddened "that this has happened today" and thanked firefighters, paramedics and police.

    "We pray that all our passengers are OK and will be safely returned to their families soon," the statement read. "We may release more information in the coming days.


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    Hundreds of schools were closed as snow fell in across Connecticut on Monday.

    By midnight, 1 to 3 inches of snow are expected in far western areas, 3 to 5 inches in central Connecticut and 5 to 8 inches in eastern third of the state.

    Most of the winter storm warnings have been dropped in favor of the lesser winter weather advisory.

    Nearly 670 schools were closed or have early dismissals and UConn canceled classes for Monday at the Storrs, Avery Point and Greater Hartford campuses, as well as the School of Law. Online classes at UConn, however, will proceed as scheduled and UConn Stamford, Torrington and Waterbury are operating on a normal schedule. Connecticut Central State University in New Britain is closed. 

    New Britain schools stayed open for a half day and the superintendent called for an early dismissal to get students home before the worst of the snow settles in. The high school will dismiss at 12:05 p.m., the middle schools will dismiss at 12:35 p.m. and the elementary school buildings will release at 1:20 p.m. All afternoon and evening activities have been canceled. The high school will have 50 buses lining the front and back of the building waiting to pick students up, so parents picking their kids up are urged to arrive early. 

    Several other schools have early dismissals. You can see the full list of closings and early dismissals on our storm closings webpage

    SIGN UP HERE FOR SCHOOL CLOSING ALERTS

    Many towns have parking bans Monday, including but not limited to Bristol, Plainfield, Rocky Hill, Bloomfield and Willimantic. You can check to see if your town has a parking ban on your municipality's website and many of them post them to our closings page.

    Milford will have alternate side of the street parking bans so snow plows can clear the roads, starting at noon on the even side and going until 8 a.m. Tuesday. Then, cars should be moved to the odd side of the street through 8 a.m. on Wednesday. Parking is banned on the odd side of all city streets in Norwich so plows can get through. 

    Power company crews worked around the clock through the weekend to restore residual outages from Friday's storm, but high wind gusts have knocked down trees and wires, causing more than 1,000 power outages on Monday. 

    Tomorrow will be mostly dry but mostly cloudy, with highs near freezing. A period of snow is expected late at night.

    There can be morning flurries on Wednesday, but overall it looks quite tranquil. Temperatures will be in the 30s.

    A volatile day is on tap for Thursday, with snow squalls and wind. Temperatures will peak near freezing but fall during the day.

    It should be a nice close to the work week on Friday with temperatures in the 20s, but that doesn't foreshadow what's in the pipes for this weekend.

    The coldest air so far this season and perhaps of the entire winter will arrive on Saturday.

    A period of morning snow is possible Saturday morning, with temperatures only rising into the teens.

    Morning lows will be below zero Sunday and Monday mornings.

    Both Sunday and Monday appear dry with a mixture of sunshine and clouds.


    This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.

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    The country's first primary begins in New Hampshire on Tuesday and after the Iowa Caucuses, the results will play a critical factor in deciding who will be sent to the White House. 

    Sen. Ted Cruz may have done well in Iowa but New Hampshire's evangelical voters, who largely supported Cruz in Iowa, aren't as numerous this time around, NBC News reported. 

    Donald Trump leads in the New Hampshire polls and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio hopes to gain more points. 

    For the Democrats, Hillary Clinton's camp increase their attacks on Bernie Sanders, who holds the lead in the polls. Bill Clinton was asked if he is worried that Hillary doesn't do well with younger voters and he replied, "No, it's all part of the strategy the Republicans have. Keep her tied up for a year."


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    Two commuter trains carrying a total of 150 people crashed head-on Tuesday morning in southern Germany, killing at least ten and injuring 81 others, police said, NBC News reported. 

    Police spokeswoman Lisa Meier told NBC News that the death toll had climbed to 10 by late afternoon after one person injured in the crash died in the hospital.

    The trains were traveling around a curve at around 60 mph on a single-track route when they collided and the the curve meant it was unlikely the train drivers saw each other, German Transport Minister Alexander Dobrindt told reporters. Officials said it was too soon to say what may have caused the crash but said .

    Police initially said 150 people were injured in the crash, but that number was later revised down to 81 — including 18 people listed with "severe" injuries."



    Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images

    Aerial view shows firefighters and emergency doctors working at the site of a train accident near Bad Aibling, southern Germany, on Feb. 9, 2016.Aerial view shows firefighters and emergency doctors working at the site of a train accident near Bad Aibling, southern Germany, on Feb. 9, 2016.

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    Police are looking for the suspect who robbed a bank in Colchester on Monday.

    At around 3:30 p.m., state police responded to the United Bank on 99 Linwood Avenue in Colchester for a reported bank robbery.

    Bank employees told police the suspect entered the bank and handed the teller a note demanding money. The employee gave the man an undisclosed amount of money.

    Witnesses said the man did not display a weapon or implied he had one. 

    The man fled in a dark-color car with tinted windows, possibly a purple Mazda, police said. He was described as 5'10" and was seen wearing sunglasses, a dark color baseball hat, a black hoodie and blue jeans.

    Anyone with information on this robbery or the suspect's identity is asked to call (860) 465-5400. All calls will be kept confidential. 



    Photo Credit: Connecticut State Police

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    Donald Trump became the first presidential contender in recent memory to use an epithet for female anatomy to describe a Republican rival on stage at a rally on the eve of the New Hampshire primary, NBC News reported. 

    Addressing about 5,000 people at Manchester's Verizon Center on Monday Trump derided his opponents and contrasted his recent statements on bringing back waterboarding to those of Sen. Ted Cruz.

    "You know he's concerned about the answer because well, some people," Trump said pointing to a woman in the audience, "she just said a terrible thing. You know what she said? Shout it out 'cause I don't wanna."

    Then he said it anyway: "She said, 'He's a p---y.'"

    The crowd laughed and cheered and Trump faux-chastised the woman, saying, "That's terrible! Terrible."



    Photo Credit: Getty Images

    Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks  during a campaign rally at Verizon Wireless Arena on February 8, 2016 in Manchester, New Hampshire.Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally at Verizon Wireless Arena on February 8, 2016 in Manchester, New Hampshire.

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    San Francisco lawyers are taking the U.S. government to court over the issue of unaccompanied minors and demanding a level playing field before the government decides who can stay in this country and who will be deported.

    Some attorneys argue the government is violating the due process clause of the constitution when dealing with unaccompanied minors — children seeking asylum from violence and poverty in their Latin American home countries.

    "Most of these people are seeking asylum because they're fleeing difficult situations," said Carol Bisharat with the Lawyer's Committee for Civil Rights of San Francisco.

    The group alleges the federal government is rushing cases through the court system without giving the children adequate time to prepare their arguments as to why they cannot go back home.

    The United States Attorney's Office did not respond to a request for comment Monday.

    Sometimes the unaccompanied minors, who are unable to hire a lawyer, have to make their case on their own against government lawyers. According to the lawyer's committee, eight out of every nine minors end up being deported.

    The lawyers, in response, filed a claim, which would force the government to release any document defining the policies for dealing with these cases.

    They said the government seems to be ruling on such cases arbitrarily, with decisions varying from case to case.

    "We want equal information as the government has," said Travis Silva with the Lawyer's Committee for Civil Rights. "We want an equal playing field for our clients."

    Members of the lawyer's committee said they want to know what they are up against when representing these children in court. The group hopes the lawsuit will lead to answers.

    "We're asking the court to force the government to this information over as soon as possible," Silva said.



    Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area

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    A man was found "ablaze" outside Prince William's London home and died in the early hours of Tuesday morning, according to police, NBC News reported. 

    London's Metropolitan Police said a hospital called shortly after midnight to report that a patient had gone missing. Officers launched a search but didn't find the patient, police said in a statement.

    Three hours later, police responded to reports of a man "behaving suspiciously" outside the locked parks of Kensington Palace — where William and his wife live when they're in London.

    The man, believed to be in his forties, was found "ablaze" by responding officers. He was pronounced dead at the scene. 



    Photo Credit: AP

    File photo: Television news satellite trucks lineup to report on the second pregnancy of Britain's Kate Duchess of Cambridge and Prince William outside their residence Kensington Palace in London, Monday, Sept. 8, 2014.File photo: Television news satellite trucks lineup to report on the second pregnancy of Britain's Kate Duchess of Cambridge and Prince William outside their residence Kensington Palace in London, Monday, Sept. 8, 2014.

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    Gov. Dannel Malloy is proposing some changes to the DMV that his administration says will reduce the amount of time you have to wait for services.

    The first part of Malloy’s plan is to allow the state to enter into contracts with private contractors, like AAA, to register vehicles. At this point, AAA is able to provide services for non-commercial drivers licenses.

    "AAA has had a great partnership with the Department of Motor Vehicles since 1992.  We would certainly welcome the opportunity to expand services in any way that could better serve the driving public," AAA said in a statement.

    He is also proposing to postpone issuing vessel titles until Dec. 31, 2018 and eliminating the ban on registering vehicles for people who have delinquent property taxes and parking tickets.

    “We know that the way government does business in this new economic reality must change, that the customer – our neighbors and residents – must come first,” Malloy said in a statement.

    He called long wait times at the DMV “simply unacceptable.

    “That’s why we’re outlining commonsense proposals to lower them. This enhanced flexibility best serves the customer, allows private contractors to conduct most routine motor vehicle transactions, and most importantly, decreases wait times at the DMV,” Malloy said in a statement.

    In postponing vessel titles, Malloy’s administration says it will free up more backroom staff resources to address reducing wait times in branches and limit additional traffic in the immediate future within DMV branch offices.

    The plan to eliminate the ban on renewing a vehicle registration or registering any other motor vehicle, snowmobile, all-terrain vehicle or vessel for anyone with outstanding tax payments or delinquent parking tickets would cut wait times by eliminating multiple visits from people who are denied a registration until local taxes or parking tickets are paid, according to Malloy’s office.

    “The DMV is going through a massive shift that should have happened decades ago,” Malloy said in a statement. “Transitions in an agency of this size and importance are always difficult and always see challenges – that’s probably why no one took on these massive issues before our administration. It’s clearly our hope that Republicans and Democrats can come together and agree to lower the wait times.”

    The DMV is also under new leadership since former Commissioner Andres Ayala resigned days after the DMV promised to make good after a glitch in its new computer system caused police to wrongly pull over drivers for having suspended registrations.

    Dennis Murphy, who served as Deputy Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Labor, is serving as the acting commissioner of the DMV.   

    Read the full bill here. 

    The bill has been referred to the committee on transportation.



    Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

    File photo.File photo.

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    A suburban Chicago father killed his wife and teenage son with autism before taking his own life inside their family home over the weekend, according to police.

    Oak Forest police were told Margaret O’Leary Joost called in sick Friday to Advocate Christ Hospital, where she was a crisis worker, and didn’t show up again Monday.

    A concerned co-worker went to the family's home on the 6600 block of Courtney Avenue and saw what appeared to be blood seeping out from the garage door, police said.

    Authorities responded to the home around 8 p.m., forced their way inside and discovered what Oak Forest Police Chief Greg Anderson described to be a "gruesome scene."

    The 55-year-old O'Leary and her 18-year-old son, Daniel Joost, were found dead lying in bed in their respective rooms, police said. Both victims had marks around their necks indicating they may have been strangled.

    Authorities believe they were killed by father and husband David Joost, who was found hanging in the home’s garage with slit wrists. A car in the garage had also been left running, according to police.

    The family is survived by a 20-year-old daughter, who was away at Millikin University in Decatur at the time of the deaths.

    "We can't imagine what she has got to be going through," Anderson said.

    Neighbors said they hadn’t seen any activity at the home since Saturday. Preliminary investigation found the double homicide and suicide was likely carried out late Friday or early Saturday, according to police. There was not a suicide note left at the scene or any calls to the home in the past, police said.

    The deaths were a stunning, sad realization for others in the Oak Forest neighborhood like Bill O'Malley, who has lived next door to the family for years.

    "They were nice people, friendly," O'Malley said. "The first people I met when I moved in."

    Investigators said David Joost recently lost his job and was struggling financially.

    "There was no indication there was anything going on at the home," Anderson said. "No domestic violence, nothing along those types of calls."

    The son, Daniel Joost, was autistic and attended a nearby transition program through the South West Cooperative, police said.

    "You'd just see him, he was always out barbecuing in the summers, in the flowers ... walking the dog," O’Malley said. "It's shocking. It’s kind of disturbing, really. You never really know what’s going on behind closed doors, I guess."

    The Cook County Medical Examiner’s office will conduct autopsies and will determine the official cause and manner of deaths.



    Photo Credit: Family Photo / NBC 5

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    Federal transportation officials might soon be looking into a Royal Caribbean cruise ship that ran into high winds and rough seas in the Atlantic Ocean over the weekend.

    Sen. Bill Nelson has called for the National Transportation Safety Board to investigate the voyage that forced frightened passengers into their cabins overnight Sunday as their belongings flew about, waves rose as high as 30 feet, and winds howled outside.

    "The thing about this storm was that it was forecast for days. So why in the world would a cruise ship with thousands of passengers go sailing right into it?" Nelson said Monday on the Senate floor, according to a news release from his office.

    The National Weather Service's Ocean Prediction Center had issued an alert for a strong storm four days in advance, Susan Buchanan with the weather service said. The first warning was issued Saturday for possible hurricane-force winds in the area the ship was scheduled to sail through.

    Royal Caribbean announced Monday that the ship was turning around and sailing back to its home port in New Jersey. No injuries were reported, and the ship suffered only minor damage.

    "I was shaking all over," passenger Shara Strand of New York City wrote to The Associated Press via Facebook on Monday. "Panic attack, things like that. ... I've been on over 20 cruises, I've been through a hurricane, it was never like this. Never."

    Sixteen-year-old Gabriella Lairson says she and her father, Sam, could feel the ship, Anthem of the Seas, begin to sway by 2:30 p.m. Sunday. The captain directed passengers to their cabins. There, the Lairsons heard glasses shatter in the bathroom, and they put their belongings in drawers and closets to prevent them from flying across the room. They ventured to the balcony, where Sam Lairson shot video of wave after wave rising below.

    "The winds were so strong that I thought the phone would blow from my hands," Sam Lairson, of Ocean City, New Jersey, said in an email. "After that we had to keep the doors to the balconies sealed."

    The ship — with more than 4,500 guests and 1,600 crew members — sailed Saturday from Cape Liberty, New Jersey. It was scheduled to arrive for a stop at Port Canaveral, Florida, at noon Monday, then move on to other stops in the Caribbean. But Royal Caribbean said on its corporate Twitter account that the ship would turn around and sail back to Cape Liberty. It is set to return to the Bayonne cruise port sometime Wednesday evening.

    "This decision was made for guests' comfort due to weather forecasts that would continue to affect the ship's itinerary," Royal Caribbean tweeted.

    Guests will get a full refund and a certificate toward a future cruise. Passengers onboard buzzed happily about that news, Strand said. Gabriella Lairson said that by early Monday morning, people were out and about on the ship, checking out the minor damage in some public areas.

    Lairson praised the crew and captain.

    "They did everything they could to make us feel comfortable," she wrote to the AP on Facebook. She said she and her father were a little disappointed the ship was turning around, but she called it "the best thing for the safety of everyone."

    Fellow passenger Jacob Ibrag agreed.

    "I can't wait to get home and kiss the ground," said Ibrag, who saw water flowing down stairs and helped some people who were stuck in an elevator Sunday as he made his way to his cabin per the captain's orders.

    The 25-year-old from Queens, New York, then stayed in his cabin until noon Monday, at one point filling his backpack with essentials in case of an evacuation.

    Robert Huschka, the executive editor of the Detroit Free Press, was onboard and started tweeting when the inclement weather hit. He told USA Today the ordeal was "truly terrifying." He described the cruise director nervously giving updates, and he later posted photos of shattered glass panels on a pool deck.

    But Huschka was among passengers who found a silver lining in the storm. On Monday, he posted: "The good news? They never lost the Super Bowl signal. Perfect TV picture throughout storm!''

    Royal Caribbean gave guests free Internet access and a complimentary cocktail hour, spokeswoman Cynthia Martinez said in an email.

    "Feeling better after the happy hour they just put on for the guests," Sam Lairson joked.

    And despite her own worries, Strand said her daughter, 8-month-old Alexa, slept through the entire episode.  


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    Several schools delayed opening Tuesday morning as roads remained slick after the storm on Monday.

    There are more than 350 school delays across Connecticut and North Stonington, Stonington and Thompson are just a handful of schools districts that have decided to give their students a late start to give plows a chance to clear the roads and sidewalks.

    The delays come after nearly 670 schools were closed or had early dismissals on Monday.

    SIGN UP HERE FOR SCHOOL CLOSING ALERTS

    There have been several crashes this morning, including a crash involving a van and a plow truck on Grand Avenue in New Haven, between State Street and Interstate 91.

    There have been some crashes and spinouts on Interstate 91 in Hartford. 

    Follow Heidi Voight on Twitter for updates through the morning commute.

    There can be some flurries today, but it looks quite tranquil overall, with temperatures in the 30s.

    Tomorrow is a different story, with more accumulating snow expected.



    Photo Credit: RMLevin
    This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.

    #snow started really coming down around 8#snow started really coming down around 8

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    Timothy Edwards Middle School in South Windsor was evacuated for around 22 minutes on Tuesday as emergency officials investigated the source of a gas odor, but scene is clear.

    Supt. Kate Carter said they evacuated the school as a precaution around 10 a.m. and the South Windsor Fire Department determined it was safe for children to return to the building. 

    According to police, the gas odor appeared to be coming from a propane tank in the back of the school.

    The school is located at 100 Arnold Way in South Windsor.



    Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

    Timothy Edwards Middle School in South Windsor is evacuated after the smell of gas was detected.Timothy Edwards Middle School in South Windsor is evacuated after the smell of gas was detected.

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    A gas station canopy collapsed on two cars in Torrance, California, Monday while maintenance workers were on the roof, checking it out for potential problems.

    "I heard a noise, something like an earthquake? I ran to the window. And seen that the roof had collapsed!" Giselle Vasquez, who works next door at Green Clean Car Wash, said.

    No one was seriously injured, including the drivers of the car and the crews on the roof, fire officials on scene said. 

    The roof collapsed at a Chevron station at 3960 Artesia Boulevard at 2:50 p.m.

    Two maintenance workers were on the roof over the gas pumps when they noticed cracks.

    As they were getting off of the awning, the roof failed.

    One managed to scramble away while the other rode the roof to the ground. He suffered minor injuries, and a "few scratches."

     

    Both drivers were inside the gas station -- not at the gas pumps -- when the roof failed, according to a G&M Oil spokesperson. 

    "There was no indication there were any issues with it. We regularly do maintenance at our sites. This was just routine," Julie Jackson, General Manager of G&M Oil, said.

    There were no gas leaks, Torrance Fire said.

    The Chevron station was roped off following the collapse.



    Photo Credit: KNBC-TV

    A roof of a gas station collapsed in Torrance Monday, Feb. 8, 2016.A roof of a gas station collapsed in Torrance Monday, Feb. 8, 2016.

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    New Hampshire on Monday is hosting the first-in-the-nation presidential primary, featuring candidates for the Republican and Democratic nomination. Of the state's 1.33 million residents, more than 870,000 residents are registered to vote. Polls started opening at 7 a.m., except for a handful of communities that begin voting just after midnight. In Dixville Notch, voters in that tiny town gave Republican Ohio Gov. John Kasich two votes, Republican Donald Trump got two and U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders won four votes for his Democratic bid.

    The candidates continued to reach out to voters and made rounds on TV shows on Tuesday.

    Chris Christie told his campaign volunteers to work now, celebrate later.

    Visiting his Bedford headquarters, Christie said the Republican contest is far from over, and that the campaign has much work to do to get voters to the polls.

    Christie continued to tout his performance in Saturday's debate, during which he came down hard on Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, saying it solidified the central premise of his campaign: that his work and life experience make him the best prepared to take on Hillary Clinton and win the presidency. And he says he's fine with others criticizing his record, because at least he has one.

    Jeb Bush,  buoyed by some favorable poll numbers and growing crowds at his town halls, was hammering away at Trump, saying his own experience as a two-term Florida governor is a better presidential qualification.

    Bush, appearing on Fox News Tuesday, says he's determined to knock down Trump because he says "this guy is not a conservative" and he cannot "win by insulting your way to the presidency."

    Bush says he's the only candidate offering detailed plans to lift people out of poverty, raise middle class incomes and keep the country safe.

    He says "that's what people want," not "the insults and all the divisiveness."

    Speaking to MSNBC's "Morning Joe" as polls opened, Trump said his campaign is $45 million under budget as he enters the second race of the presidential nomination process.

    He acknowledged that he's polled well in the Granite State but urged people to go out and vote.

    Trump also addressed a possible third-party run by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, calling Bloomberg his friend, but acknowledging some of his shortfalls as mayor with regard to property development.

    Trump has maintained a lead in most New Hampshire polls among his Republican contenders leading up to Tuesday's primary.

    Ohio Gov. John Kasich avoided making predictions and focused on his economic plans for the country, instead.

    Speaking to "Morning Joe" Kasich said he expects a "strong finish" in the first-in-the-nation primary, but emphasized his wishes to maintain a positive campaign that promotes job creation and economic prosperity for the American people.

    One of Hillary Clinton's morning stops put her face-to-face with Frank Fiorina, the husband of Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina.

    Clinton and Fiorina greeted each other at a middle school in Derry, New Hampshire that serves as a polling site.

    Clinton asked Fiorina, "Isn't it amazing?"

    Fiorina joked that he's not crazy about the snow but the people who come to the polls are "amazing."

    Clinton added, "Give my best to Carly."

    Independent voters, officially known as "undeclared," make up 44 percent of registered voters in New Hampshire. They can vote in either primary, making them a key group on Tuesday. Here are snapshots of voters who went to the polls Tuesday:

    Greg St. Laurent, a 68-year-old computer engineer who lives in Manchester and works over the border for a small Massachusetts firm, cast his ballot for Kasich in the GOP primary.

    "I think it's a very interesting process that we need to go through. I think the bulk of the country is indicating its displeasure with the establishment. So, I think it's important that everyone comes out to vote in the primary to indicate whatever pleasure or displeasure they have," he said.

    "The division between the parties is greater than it has been. Being a kid, I remember people a lot more united behind a particular candidate."

    Cait McKay, 29, of Manchester, voted for Sanders, who is locked in a tough battle with Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination. McKay works as a supervisor at a residential care facility for children with special needs.

    "The biggest issue that I hear from everyone is the economy, the economy, the economy, the economy," McKay said. "But, those aren't the biggest issues to me. I am more interested in gender equality, in equal pay and equality for everyone in health care — in just building a better society for everyone. Other countries all over the world have it so why is it so crazy to think that we can have it, too?"

    "I really find it odd that one side is scrabbling so hard against each other to find one person that they're all supposed to support. I mean, how is everyone going to pick someone so specific if they can't even get along with each other inside their party? That's one of the reasons that I really like Bernie. He's not taking the negative ads or the negative stabs at everyone. If you can't get along with the people that you're supposed to get along with, how can you go across the aisle and get along with anybody in the government?"

    Merton Grant, 87, and his wife, Phyllis, 80, say they voted for Texas U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz because he's a born-again Christian like them.

    "It was a tough choice. There were a lot of candidates, but we had to agree. Otherwise, why cancel each other's votes?" said Merton Grant, a retired real estate agent.

    The Nashua couple, lifelong Republicans married for 58 years, said they paid close attention to the debates but met just one candidate face-to-face: Ben Carson, who attended Sunday services at their church this past weekend. "Nice guy. Not sure he has a chance, though," said Merton Grant.

    Phyllis Grant, a retired nurse, said the two were ultimately swayed by the way Cruz handled himself in debates.

    Troye Fennell, 53, is a Goffstown resident who spent 18 years living overseas — including the United Kingdom, Turkey and Jamaica. He voted for Clinton.

    "I have been a supporter of Hillary for a long time, mostly because I like the way she conducts herself in her personal life and I loved the way she conducted herself as secretary of state. And I think that in the world that we are living in now she's probably the most qualified because of her familiarity with international politics and the way America is perceived in other countries," Fennell said. "I think she has a bit more of a global view, which I think is more in line with what I think. I've lived in a few different countries. I think the way Americans are viewed abroad, she has a better fit for that going in than the others do."

    Not everyone votes in New Hampshire, despite its prominence in the presidential primary season.

    Richard Kipphut, 61, moved to New Hampshire in 2006 from his native Connecticut. He has yet to take advantage of voting in the first-in-the-nation primary.

    A librarian at Plymouth State University, where he orders, catalogs and processes all its books, Kipphut says it's just too early to cast a vote and he doesn't like to have to declare for one of the major parties to vote in the primary.

    Kipphut is an unaffiliated voter, and he usually votes for Democratic candidates — though he says he voted for Republican Richard Nixon in his first presidential election.

    "I know you're supposed to say every vote matters. I don't think it's going to matter much, at least not for me," he said.

    So he's opting out. When the barrage of commercials from the candidates pops up on TV, he puts it on mute. He's having a tougher time ignoring the ads on his social media news feed. But it will take a break after Tuesday's primary, and Kipphut will vote in the general election.

    John Starer, 72, of Bedford, a Republican who owns a company that makes glue sticks, voted for Cruz.

    "I think he's about the only one who could possibly get elected as a Republican. I'd like to think Trump had a chance, but no," he said.

    He said Florida U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, also vying for the GOP nomination, lacks the experience to be president. "Maybe next time around."

    Starer said he made up his mind about five minutes before he voted after narrowing down his choice to Trump or Cruz.

    "The most important thing is to get back to our original values. We have to have someone who can put a coalition together, someone who's closer to a Reagan Republican."

    Megan Tolstenko, 33, an unaffiliated voter from Manchester, voted in the GOP primary for New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.

    "He pulled on my heartstrings," said Tolstenko, who works in the financial services industry.

    She described herself as "scared out of my mind" about the Islamic State group and thinks Christie would be best able to manage the country's defenses.

    "It's nice to see someone who's not forgetting about our role in the world," she said.

    She met Christie last summer.

    "I didn't think I was going to vote for him then. Today, I woke up this morning and something clicked," she said. "I will be honest with you — this whole season has been a struggle. I've gone back-and-forth between both political sides. At the end of the day, I need someone who has compassion and cares about the world as well as the United States. It seems like some candidates have lost sight of that, but for some reason, it just seemed like he always had that on his mind, and he talked about it in every speech. There was some integrity there, and that resonated with me."

    Nicole Reitano, a 24-year-old embroiderer from Nashua, says she voted for Sanders because she likes his economic policies and the fact that he supports abortion rights.

    "I felt like he was the most honest," Reitano said. "He's had the same views forever, and he's never budged. That makes me feel confident in him."

    An independent who voted for President Obama in 2012, she briefly considered voting for Clinton.

    "She seems to flip flop a little bit, but if she ended up winning instead of Bernie, I would be OK with that. Anybody but Trump is good for me. Pretty much."



    Photo Credit: AP
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    Brooks Thompson, right, checks voters in at a polling place at Broad Street Elementary in Nashua, N.H., Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2016, during the New Hampshire primary.Brooks Thompson, right, checks voters in at a polling place at Broad Street Elementary in Nashua, N.H., Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2016, during the New Hampshire primary.

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