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    By finding teens on their turf, the Center for Children’s Advocacy’s mobile legal office removes some burdens many of these teens face in daily struggle to get by.

    For most teens, just being a teenager is enough of a struggle. But for some teens who face not knowing where they are going to sleep at night, the daily struggle is much greater. Now, one legal organization is helping to ease that burden, four wheels at a time.

    For Mariah, discovering her legal rights wasn’t her top priority. Day-to-day survival was.

    “I was going through a lot,” she said.

    That’s why the Center for Children’s Advocacy’s mobile legal office is so life-changing for teens, many who’ve only known trauma.

    “Most of the kids we serve are moving around and they would probably not call themselves homeless. But under the law, they are homeless,” Stacey Violante Cote, of the center, said.

    Because most clients can't get transportation, Violante Cote and her team go to the teens, posting on social media where the van will be.

    A lawyer and coordinator in the van then guide teens through things most of their peers take for granted.

    “They have legal rights to basic needs, like food assistance, financial assistance, medical care. And, if they don't know they have those rights, then they are going without,” she said.

    The mobile legal office helped put Mariah in school.

    “It empowers me to have strength to keep moving forward and not give up,” she said.

    Now that Mariah has graduated, she’s preparing for her future by studying to be a dental hygienist.

    “Without this van, I would not have accomplished things the way I thought I would. It was a big help,” Mariah said.

    The van currently visits Hartford and parts of Fairfield County.

    To learn more, visit Speakupteens.org



    Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

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    The 26 roosters and two hens seized from a suspected cockfighting ring in the basement of a New Britain home are being tested for diseases to determine what happens to them next.

    Police seized the birds on Saturday when they responded to 288-290 Maple St. to investigate an anonymous complaint about a possible large cockfighting ring in the basement and found several roosters squawking and what sounded like a people cheering in the basement, police said.

    One of the roosters was was severely injured, according to police. 

    The birds are being held at a private facility as they undergo testing for disease.

    "We believe they were imported from Puerto Rico so the Department of Agriculture becomes involved to test for bird flu and things like that," Captain Thomas Steck, of New Britain Police, said.

    Police expect results on the tests on Friday. Diseased birds could be euthanized, but the decision would be up to the state. 

    If the animals are OK, the city animal control officers will file papers in court to place the birds with a rescue group the city has been in touch with.



    Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

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    Fans of barbecue and baseball will have something to celebrate when Bear’s Smokehouse Barbecue opens at Dunkin’ Donuts Park in Hartford.

    The barbecue restaurant, based in Hartford, will be the sponsor of the left field barbecue deck at the new ballpark, where they will offer Kansas City style BBQ to Hartford Yard Goats fans.

    “We are delighted that Bear’s Smokehouse Barbecue will be available to our fans at Yard Goats games,” Yard Goats General Manager Tim Restall said. “Bear’s is widely known as having the best barbecue in Connecticut and I can see their left field barbecue deck being a popular spot at our games. It was important for us to have a local Hartford brand like Bear’s inside Dunkin’ Donuts Park.”

    Bear’s Smokehouse Barbecue is a family-owned restaurant owned by competitive eating Champion Jamie “Bear” McDonald and his wife Cheryl.

    There are currently two Bear’s Smokehouse Barbecue locations, at 89 Arch Street in Hartford and 2152 Poquonock Ave in Windsor. A third is set to open in South Windsor. 

    The restaurant serves a variety of sandwiches, including pulled pork, brisket, kielbasa and burnt ends.

    They also serve ribs, a variety of entrees, combination plates and meat by the pound. You can get salads and dessert, if you save room after indulging on some good BBQ.

    “We are thrilled to be partnering with the Yard Goats and having our Kansas City Barbecue menu as an option to fans,” Jamie McDonald said in a statement. “Barbecue goes well with baseball and we can’t wait to fire up the smokers for a taste that everyone will love.”

    The Hartford Yard Goats will begin their inaugural season on April 7 in Richmond, Virginia against the San Francisco Giants affiliate, the Richmond Flying Squirrels.



    Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

    The new Hartford baseball stadium will be Dunkin' Donuts Park.The new Hartford baseball stadium will be Dunkin' Donuts Park.

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    The Department of Justice moved to sue the city of Ferguson, Missouri, Wednesday after its city council moved to make several major revisions to a proposed federal consent decree.

    The revisions called for by the Ferguson City Council, among other things, would require no mandate for payment of additional salary to police officers or jail staff, a cap on federal monitoring fees at $1 million and extended deadlines for the tentative agreement.

    "There is no price for constitutional policing. The citizens and the residents of Ferguson deserve what every American is guaranteed under the constitution," said Attorney General Loretta Lynch at a news conference announcing the suit. She referred to equal protection and freedom from illegal searches and "a fine system that is literally breaking their backs."

    The announcement came less than a day after the revisions were filed. Earlier, one of the city's negotiators of the agreement, Councilman Wesley Bell, had said he remained hopeful that the city would be able to avoid a lengthy and costly court battle with the DOJ



    Photo Credit: AP/Jeff Roberson

    Gerry Jasper speaks in favor of an agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice during a city council meeting Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2016, in Ferguson, Mo. The meeting was the first opportunity for residents to speak directly with city leaders following a preliminary consent agreement with the Justice Department that would overhaul of police policies, training and practices, fallout from the fatal police shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown in 2014.Gerry Jasper speaks in favor of an agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice during a city council meeting Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2016, in Ferguson, Mo. The meeting was the first opportunity for residents to speak directly with city leaders following a preliminary consent agreement with the Justice Department that would overhaul of police policies, training and practices, fallout from the fatal police shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown in 2014.

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    One person was killed when a car hit a tree on Route 74 in Tolland late Wednesday morning.

    The road was closed near Peter Green Road from around 11:50 a.m. until just before 3 p.m. 



    Photo Credit: ATolllandAlert

    Part of Route 74 in Tolland.Part of Route 74 in Tolland.

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    Police are looking for the two people who robbed a Hamden Subway and held a female customer up at gunpoint on Tuesday night.

    The robbery happened around 8 p.m. at 1315 Dixwell Avenue, according to police.

    The two robbers, described as young males, both had guns and stole money from the cash register and robbed a female customer at gunpoint, police said.

    They were wearing hooded sweatshirts and masks.

    Officer William May and his K-9 partner “Blaze” searched for the robbers, but did not find them.

    Anyone with information should call Detective Donald Remillard of the Hamden Police Department Major Crimes Division at (203) 230-4040.


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    Pony-loving, boot wearing Vermin Supreme finished fourth among Democrats in Tuesday's New Hampshire primary.

    Bernie Sanders beat Hillary Clinton in a rout. Martin O'Malley, who dropped out of the race after the Iowa Caucus, finished a distant third.

    But the fourth place finisher was a name familiar to many New Hampshire voters: Massachusetts resident Vermin Supreme, the perennial candidate best known for his campaign platform to provide free ponies to every American.

    With 96 percent of precincts reporting, Supreme received 257 votes, only slightly less than half of the 622 votes O'Malley received. That's also more than Republicans Mike Huckabee (214), Rick Santorum (197), Jim Gilmore (132), George Pataki (79) and Bobby Jindal (50) tallied. In their defense, though, all but Gilmore had already dropped out of the race.

    With his large beard and boot hat, Supreme has become somewhat of a cult figure in New Hampshire, where he spent a great deal of time attending candidate events and handing out candy. He was banned from the annual "Lesser Known Candidates Forum" at Saint Anselm College this year after he famously glitter-bombed the event four years ago, causing a mess that proved costly for the college to clean up.

    He also hosted a giant party and concert over Labor Day weekend. "Burning Vermin: Vermin Supreme Labor Day Telethon Money Bomb," was held at a farm in Croydon, New Hampshire, and featured a pig roast, bands and readings by Supreme.



    Photo Credit: necn/Marc Fortier

    Vermin Supreme outside a Rand Paul campaign event in Milford, New Hampshire, last year.Vermin Supreme outside a Rand Paul campaign event in Milford, New Hampshire, last year.

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    A man with a gun robbed a gas station in Oxford on Tuesday night and police are looking for information to help identify him.

    The Sunoco Gas Station at 357 Oxford Road was robbed around 10:30 p.m. on Tuesday and store employees told police a man with a black gun demanded money from cash register and ran off, heading south on Oxford Road.

    No injuries are reported.

    Police are looking for a man with a medium build, who is around 5-feet-10. He was last seen wearing a black coat over a dark gray hooded sweatshirt and a dark-colored mask or scarf over his face.

    Anyone with information about the robbery should call Troop A at 203-267-2200 ext.4323 or text TIP711 with information to 236748.



    Photo Credit: necn

    File photoFile photo

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    Bruce Springsteen fans are already camped out at the XL Center in Hartford for the concert tonight and police are warning that traffic will be a bit of a challenge as fans continue to come into the city.

    The show is sold out and doors open at 6 p.m.

    Police are warning anyone heading into the city between 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. to expect a lot of traffic and plan accordingly.

    Police said there are also concerns about counterfeit tickets and warn anyone considering buying tickets on the street to beware.



    Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

    Fans are already lined up for the Bruce Springsteen concert tonight.Fans are already lined up for the Bruce Springsteen concert tonight.

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    Nobody benefits from wasting an hour rifling through receipts and guessing about numbers with your Certified Public Accountant during tax time.

    Your CPA needs the following four categories of information to prepare your taxes properly. Make sure to bring all the necessary forms and receipts and organize them so that they may be found quickly.

    Identification and Basic Information 
    For any new relationships, you will need to supply identification for you, your spouse, and all dependents claimed. Social Security cards are preferred, but other government-issued ID is usually acceptable. Check with your preparer before you visit.

    Other basic information includes your address, your previous year’s tax form, and any information relating to a change in your tax status such as inheritance, marriage/divorce, and change in dependents. The IRS is cracking down on cases of divorced spouses filing separately but claiming the same child as a dependent, so make sure that situation is clarified if it applies to you.

    Income Documents
    Most taxable income will be summarized in standard IRS forms sent by payers – W-2 forms for traditional salaries, wages, bonuses, and tips; 1099 forms for self-employment, independent contracting, and most investment and interest income; and K-1 forms for personal taxes relating to ownership (S-corporations, partnerships, LLC’s, and trust/estate incomes).

    Each income source owes you a corresponding form. There are many variations of the 1099 form related to specific sources; check the IRS website if you are missing a form and are not sure what type of form you should receive.

    It is up to you to supply documents, such as bank statements, spreadsheets, or written summaries, for any income not covered by these forms. These sources include rental income, alimony, and self-employment income below the $600 limit that triggers a 1099-MISC.

    Expense Documents
    Expenses such as mortgage interest, larger charitable contributions, and student loan interest will be documented on a 1098 form. Many other potential deductions such as medical expenses, property taxes, moving expenses and childcare/daycare costs require verification through receipts, cancelled checks, statements, or spreadsheets.

    Your CPA may be able to help you find extra deductions that make itemizing worthwhile or save money on your current itemizing, but he or she must know what types of expenses you have. Ask for a checklist of potential deductions in advance so you can research possibilities prior to your meeting. If your CPA doesn’t have a checklist, there are many available online.

    Do your homework to consider all possible deductions, then organize and bring any documentation you think may be relevant.

    Don’t forget to include documents relating to unusual or catastrophic claims such as theft and casualty losses and losses from natural disasters. If you deduct these losses, be sure you include any reimbursements toward your losses when tallying your income.

    Health Insurance Information
    If you purchased health insurance through the Marketplace, you will need to bring the 1095-A form issued by the exchange. It contains the insurance premium and subsidy information for you and your family members. Your CPA will use it to fill out other forms that may apply to your situation, such as the Premium Tax Credit form (Form 8962) and the Health Coverage Exemption form (Form 8965).

    If you qualified for subsidies, it may be helpful to have the income estimate used to calculate your tax subsidy. Your tax preparer may need that estimate if your income differed greatly from the estimate and you end up with a large subsidy repayment to defend (or refund to claim).

    You may also need to provide information on payment or refund methods. If you intend to use electronic payment methods, you will need information such as your account number and the bank’s routing number. That is not necessarily the number printed on your check – verify the correct information with your bank.

    With proper preparation, nothing will go wasted during your tax preparation trip to the CPA – none of your time, your CPA’s time, or your money.

    This article was provided by our partners at moneytips.com

    How to Pay the Government Less Money Legally
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    Photo Credit: Getty Images

    A file image of tax forms.A file image of tax forms.

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    Firefighters may have uncovered a marijuana growing operation while they were putting out a fire in Hartford on Wednesday, police told NBC Connecticut.

    The Hartford Fire Department responding to a working fire at 180 Bonner Street just before noon. Firefighters remain on the scene investigating, Lt. Thomas E. LeConche with the department said. 

    Police said they are applying for a search warrant for the building. According to Deputy Chief Brian Foley with the Hartford police, the marijuana amount is large enough that it will be a Vice and Narcotics Investigation. 

    Foley anticipates arrests to be made and a seizure of evidence by late Wednesday. 

    This story is developing. Check back for updates.


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    A Tennessee mother is planning to sue after she says the hospital where she went into delivery accidentally performed a frenulectomy — an incision in the tissue that connects the tongue to the floor of the mouth — on her 1-day-old son, NBC News reported.

    Jennifer Melton, 31, of Hartsville, says a nurse encouraged the mother to put her baby in the nursery for a few hours so she could get some rest.

    "The nurse brought our son back into the room, and she began to explain the care process for the procedure that [the doctor] had done while he was away," Melton told NBC News on Wednesday. "I was like, what are you talking about? What procedure?"

    Melton said she panicked and demanded an explanation. The pediatrician explained to Melton that he did perform the procedure, and had asked for her baby "in error."



    Photo Credit: UIG via Getty Images

    Reportage in the maternity unit of American Hospital of Paris. (Photo by: BSIP/UIG via Getty Images)Reportage in the maternity unit of American Hospital of Paris. (Photo by: BSIP/UIG via Getty Images)

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    Police have arrested a teen suspected in a rash of car thefts in West Hartford.

    West Hartford police said Kristopher Alexander Galloza, 18, of Hartford, is suspected in several car thefts and car breaks-in West Hartford in the fall and was also wanted out of Florida.

    On Jan. 5, West Hartford police learned that there was an outstanding warrant for Galloza
    from the Orange County Sheriff’s Office in Orlando, Florida, so they reached out to authorities there, who said they would extradite Galloza if he was found.

    When he appeared in Hartford Superior Court on unrelated charges, authorities took him into custody.

    On Jan. 28, police obtained a warrant from Hartford Superior Court charging Galloza with racketeering, third-degree larceny, 12 counts of burglary in the third-degree, 12 counts of conspiracy to commit burglary in the third degree and second-degree criminal trover.

    Bond was originally set at $1 million and he remains in custody.



    Photo Credit: West Hartford Police

    Kristopher Alexander Galloza is suspected in several car thefts in West Hartford.Kristopher Alexander Galloza is suspected in several car thefts in West Hartford.

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    College-bound students will have the option to take the SATs next year in August, as the standardized test will be offered over the summer, NBC News reported.

    The College Board shared the news earlier this month when it rolled out test dates for 2017. It also revealed the elimination of the January SAT test date as of 2018.

    The move comes after the Assessments for The College Boards added a September exam date before college applications are due.  



    Photo Credit: AP

    In this photo taken Jan. 17, 2016, a student looks at questions during a college test preparation class at Holton Arms School. The current version of the SAT college entrance exam is having its final run, when thousands of students nationwide will sit, squirm or stress through the nearly four-hour reading, writing and math test. A new revamped version debuts in March.In this photo taken Jan. 17, 2016, a student looks at questions during a college test preparation class at Holton Arms School. The current version of the SAT college entrance exam is having its final run, when thousands of students nationwide will sit, squirm or stress through the nearly four-hour reading, writing and math test. A new revamped version debuts in March.

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    The governors competing for the Republican presidential nomination all tried to outdo each other in time spent in New Hampshire, staking their campaigns on an electorate more moderate and less religious than in Iowa. But when the polls closed on the country's first primary, it was the candidate who barely stopped for a cup of coffee in the Granite State making the victory speech.

    Businessman Donald Trump, who skipped much of the retail politics for which New Hampshire is known, the intimate meet-and-greets at diners, in living rooms and at town meetings, came out on top with 35 percent of the vote. He captured the lead when he announced he was running and held it throughout the race.

    Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who finished second, and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who finished fourth, both left New Hampshire for the next contest in South Carolina, while New Jersey’s Gov. Chris Christie, so often in New Hampshire that he was criticized for ignoring his own state’s problems, was dropping out.

    “If you look at [Trump's] circumstances, you could say that spending time in the state doesn’t matter, and when he did come it was for very large rallies where there was no give-and-take between the candidate and the citizens,” said Linda Fowler, a professor of government at Dartmouth College. “On the other hand, John Kasich really did show that retail politics can still make a difference.”

    Kasich began with 2 percent of the voters and ended up with 16 percent in a very crowded field, she said. The governor of a swing state who ran a campaign based on issues instead of insults, he was able to capitalize on his appeal to moderates unhappy with Trump and U.S. Sens. Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, exit polling showed.

    The outspoken Christie, meanwhile, was overshadowed by the even more brash and controversial Trump, and he struggled to gain his footing with voters. He finished sixth in the Republican pack.

    “We came here to say that speaking your mind matters, that experience matters, that competence matters, and that it will always matter in leading our nation,” Christie told supporters Tuesday night. “That message was heard by a lot of folks and it was stood for by a lot of folks here in New Hampshire, just not enough. Not enough tonight.”

    Christie, who focused most of his resources on a strong showing in New Hampshire, returned to New Jersey on Wednesday to announce he was suspending his campaign.

    Bush was pushing ahead to South Carolina after a fourth-place finish despite also failing to stir much excitement around his campaign. At the start of the year, his super PAC, Right to Rise, still had about half of the $118 million it raised last year.

    The three governors had trouble differentiating themselves, and some Republicans worried that Christie had the least chance of winning the nomination, Fowler said. In the past, retail politics have been critical for candidates — Sen. John McCain in 2000 and 2008, for example — but at the same time, the field was much less crowded.

    “Meeting voters doesn’t necessarily mean they’re going to support you, when they had so many options to choose from,” she said.

    New Hampshire’s voters famously demand a chance to see the candidates up close. The state makes a case for its first-in-the-country status by pointing to the scrutiny candidates get as they criss-cross the state for the small gatherings.

    On the Democratic side, the primary winner, Sen. Bernie Sanders, swept the state with 60 percent of the vote to 38 percent for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The two each made about 90 stops in the state, according to necn's candidate tracker.

    Among the Republicans, in the hours before the polls closed, Christie was claiming to have topped Kasich in days on the ground in New Hampshire and town halls attended.

    Kasich and Christie each spent about 70 days in New Hampshire to about 55 for Bush. During those visits, Kasich and Christie made 190 stops each at breakfasts, fundraisers, dinners and other events over the course of the campaign, while Bush made 111, according to the necn candidate tracker.

    Trump, by contrast, had only 46 stops over 30 days, though his campaign intensified its ground game in the final days.

    “We learned a lot about ground games in one week,” he joked after his win.

    Fowler cautioned against drawing too much from Trump’s victory, relying as it did on his celebrity.

    “It’s hard to generalize because his candidacy is breaking so many rules, not just the one about retail politics,” she said.

    Meanwhile, by Wednesday, Carly Fiorina had also suspended her campaign. She had campaigned heavily in New Hampshire, making 149, stops but came in seventh, with only 4 percent of the vote. 



    Photo Credit: Getty Images
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    Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump prepares to autograph a campaign poster as he greets people as he visits a polling station as voters cast their primary day ballots on February 9, 2016 in Manchester, New Hampshire.Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump prepares to autograph a campaign poster as he greets people as he visits a polling station as voters cast their primary day ballots on February 9, 2016 in Manchester, New Hampshire.

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    Police arrested a young man accused of shooting and decapitating his grandmother and her husband in Oklahoma City, police said Wednesday.

    Police found Quinton Deshawn Laster outside the home of Sharon Reed and James Earl Reed when they went to do a welfare check on Tuesday, NBC News reported.

    Police said three young children were in a covered garbage bag in the home that was being used as a daycare at the time of the murders, but they weren’t injured. They weren’t related to the victims, according to the victims’ relatives.

    Laster, 20, was arrested on two counts of first-degree murder.  



    Photo Credit: Oklahoma County Sheriff's Office via AP

    This February 2016 booking photo provided by the Oklahoma County Sheriff's Office shows Quinton Dashawn Laster. The 20-year-old was arrested Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2016, after police found the decapitated bodies of his grandmother, Sharon Reed, 59, and her husband, James Earl Reed, 78, in their Oklahoma City home.This February 2016 booking photo provided by the Oklahoma County Sheriff's Office shows Quinton Dashawn Laster. The 20-year-old was arrested Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2016, after police found the decapitated bodies of his grandmother, Sharon Reed, 59, and her husband, James Earl Reed, 78, in their Oklahoma City home.

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    The head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is looking towards a virus in Puerto Rico to track how Zika may spread, NBC News reported.

    The CDC says Zika is spreading the same way as chikungunya, a virus that’s also spread by mosquitos. Chukungunya, though,causes racking pain, so doctors paid attention to its spread.

    The virus was first identified in the U.S. territory in May of 2014, but was spread in almost all of Puerto Rico by October. It has now spread in 45 countries with more than 1.7 million suspected cases reported. 

    CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden said the organization is expecting to see “a significant number of cases” in Puerto Rico and other U.S. territories.  



    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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    Several schools opened late on Wednesday morning, while some schools dismissed early, including East Windsor public schools, Enfield public schools and Somers public schools.

    East Windsor High School dismissed at 11:55 a.m. due to inclement weather.

    East Windsor Middle School dismissed at 12:45 p.m., Broad Brook Elementary School dismissed at 1:30 p.m. and all after school activities have been cancelled.

    All Enfield public schools also dismissed early.

    "The decision is always based on the safety of our students and staff," Supt. Jeff Schumann said. "Today the trip in was slowed due to the weather conditions. We dismiss our last school, a pre-school at 3:30. We thought, if the trip home was slowed as the trip in was this morning those students and our buses would be on the road during rush hour and, by dismissing early, we could avoid that"

    Afternoon preschool classes have been cancelled, as well as after school activities, park & recreation and Enfield adult education classes. Enfield Child Development Center and ERfC School Age Centers will remain open. 

    Head Start, both regular and extended day dismissed at 10:55 a.m.; morning kindergarten dismissed at 11:10 a.m.

    The high schools dismissed at 12:20 p.m.; middle schools dismissed at 12:55 p.m.; intermediate schools, for grades 3 through 5, dismissed at 1:30 p.m.; the primary schools, for grades K through 2,  dismissed at 1:50 p.m.; and Stowe Early Learning Center dismissed at 2 p.m. 

    Somers public schools dismissed students early as well. 

    Pre-K students were dismissed at 10:35 a.m., while Somers High School and Mabelle B. Avery Middle School dismissed at 11 a.m. and Somers Elementary School dismissed at noon.   

    SIGN UP FOR SCHOOL CLOSING ALERTS



    Photo Credit: Getty Images/Flickr RF
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    School BusesSchool Buses

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    Warning: The story below contains disturbing content.

    A Massachusetts stepfather pleaded guilty Wednesday to torturing and sexually abusing his two stepdaughters, and their mother pleaded guilty for allowing it to happen.

    Justin Ladd, 35, pleaded guilty to 32 counts of assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon, indecent assault and battery, open and gross lewdness and assaulting a person because of their race, according to the Essex District Attorney's Office. 

    He was sentenced to 4 to 5 years in state prison, followed by 5 years of probation. While on probation, he will have to wear a GPS bracelet.

    His wife, Anne Ladd, 34, pleaded guilty to two counts of reckless endangerment of a child and two counts of permitting bodily injury to a child for which she has care and custody, the district attorney's office said.

    She was sentenced to 5 years of probation during which she may only see her children while supervised by the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families and if her daughters wish to see her. The two girls – now 15 and 17 – are currently in foster care.

    "While there is no amount of jail time that would reflect the utter depravity of the defendants' conduct, this agreement spares the victims the additional trauma of a trial," District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett said. "As for these young women, who are true survivors, I hope that hearing these people who inflicted such horror admit their guilt helps them to understand that what happened to them was not their fault."

    Prosecutors alleged that from 2008 until 2013, while living in North Andover, Massachusetts, Justin Ladd repeatedly abused his two stepdaughters, whose father is Dominican, by telling at them if they "aren't white, they aren't right," ordering them to dance like monkeys, throwing them against the wall, hitting them with a hammer, belt or piece of wood, twisting their tongues with pliers, exposing his genitals to the girls, and threatening to have the Hell's Angels rape and kill them if they told anyone. He also reportedly had Nazi symbols painted on the walls of his home and would order the girls to give him the Nazi salute.

    Some of this conduct allegedly took place in front of Anne Ladd, the mother of the two girls.

    At one point in 2012, she filed an emergency restraining order against her husband after North Andover Police, school officials and DCF were made aware of what was going on. But she later failed to renew the restraining order, saying she thought the girls were lying.

    In early 2013, the Ladds were evicted from their home and moved in with Anne Ladd's family in Fitchburg. They were forced to move to New Hampshire in July of 2013 after Anne Ladd's father obtained a restraining order against Justin Ladd. Shortly after, Justin Ladd was arrested and the children placed in foster care.



    Photo Credit: necn

    Justin Ladd.Justin Ladd.

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    The Hartford Roman Catholic Diocese has agreed to settle a sexual abuse lawsuit for $500,000, the victim's attorney said. 

    In 2011, Rev. Stephen Bzdyra was accused of making sexually illicit remarks and being inappropriate towards an alter boy in the mid-1980s. This suit aganist Bzydra was settled and resolved separately.

    Whie the Diocese fully denyed knowledge of sexual or physical abuse commited by the former parish priest, a Catholic nun testified that while seriving St. Francis Church in New Haven, she "witnessed Bzdrya's disturbing and inappropirate behavior" to the altar boy, William Dotson of New Haven, now 40 years old. 

    According to Faxon Law Group, the nun sent a letter to diocesan authorities expressing her concerns.

    "The plaintiff's position has always been that the Diocese should have taken action to eliminate Bzdrya's ongoing and serious threat to children within the Diocese," attorney Timothy P. Pothin with Faxon Law Group said. "Especially for our client, William Dotson, who Bzdrya repeatedly sexually abused over the course of several years."

    Pothin said the diocese didn't conduct a "meaningful" investigation and did not conact the nun who made the claim in the 1980s.

    In 2011, the state Supreme Court  ruled that a former Catholic school principal couldn't sue the Archdiocese of Hartford on claims she was wrongly fired for not retaliating against a student who complained about sexual remarks allegedly made by a priest.



    Photo Credit: Getty Images

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