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    A man who is accused of posing as an Uber driver and sexually assaulting a Quinnipiac University student in Hamden in January is due in court on Tuesday.

    Ahmad Bahjat, a 29-year-old Iraqi refugee, has been charged with sexual assault, kidnapping and unlawful restraint.

    The warrant for his arrest says the Quinnipiac University student got into Bahjat’s car on Jan. 31 because she believed he was an Uber driver and he sexually assaulted the woman in the backseat of his Nissan Sentra in an apartment parking lot in Hamden.

    The victim told detectives “She attempted to get out from under him, but he overpowered her” and “she told him “No”, “Stop” and “Get off” numerous times, but he did not.”

    While the victim was at Yale-New Haven Hospital, she logged into her Gmail account to see if she purchased an Uber ride, but did not see any transactions or receive a receipt, according to the warrant.

    The QU student left her phone in the car after Bahjat eventually dropped her off near Quinnipiac's main campus and police used an iPhone locator app to track it down.

    State police identified Bahjat as the suspect because of a parking decal in the car from Southern Connecticut State University, according to court documents.

    After the attack, Bahjat fled from the United States, police said. He went to Toronto, Canada, then to Turkey and Jordan before returning to the United States.

    When he returned, Customs and Border Protection authorities detained him.

    Bahjat is being held on a $500,000 bond.

    His case was transferred to a New Haven court and he is scheduled to appear today.

    He has not entered a plea, according to online court records.

    Photo Credit: Hamden Police

    Ahmad Bahjat is accused of posing as an Uber driver and sexually assaulting a Quinnipiac University student.Ahmad Bahjat is accused of posing as an Uber driver and sexually assaulting a Quinnipiac University student.

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    A Connecticut correction officer from Hartford Correctional Center is accused of sexually assaulting a male inmate and has been arrested.

    State police began investigating 37-year-old Paul Rosenberg, of Litchfield, in September after an inmate reported that Rosenberg was behaving inappropriately.

    The arrest warrant for Rosenberg said he grabbed an inmate’s genitals and buttocks and other correction officers knew what was going on, but did nothing to intervene and stop it.

    Rosenberg worked in the photo imaging ID office and has been placed on administrative leave, according to the arrest warrant.

    According to the warrant for his arrest, Rosenberg told one inmate to grab his genitals and sit on his lap.

    Rosenberg is also accused of contacting the inmate’s girlfriend against the inmate’s wishes, leaving letters for the inmate and conducted all the strip searches on the man when he returned from court appearances, according to the arrest warrant.

    The victim told authorities he felt Rosenberg was trying to groom him “into his gay lover,” and things had gotten “weird,” the arrest warrant states. He went on to say that Rosenberg brought in contraband for him, including deodorant, boxer shorts and chewing gum.

    “DOC staff knew what was happening to me from the get go, some of them witnesses C/O Rosenberg’s behavior but never stopped it, they just covered it up,” the inmate’s statement to police said.

    The inmate also said he saw Rosenberg and other correction officers play "elephant trunk," in which someone went behind another man and grabbed his testicles, pulling them from behind and causing pain.  

    The victim told authorities he did not come forward with the allegations because he was afraid to lose his job at the prison and suffer retaliation from staff. He also said he thought what was going on was normal interaction between Department of Correction officers and inmates.

    Rosenberg was arrested on Saturday and charged with three counts of fourth-degree sexual assault.

    Photo Credit: Connecticut State Police

    Paul Rosenberg is accused of sexually assaulting a male inmate at Hartford Correctional.Paul Rosenberg is accused of sexually assaulting a male inmate at Hartford Correctional.

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    Hillary Clinton holds a nine-point national lead over Bernie Sanders ahead of Tuesday's primaries in Mississippi and Michigan, according to an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll conducted March 3-6.

    Fifty-three percent of Democratic primary voters support Clinton while 44 percent back Sanders, the poll showed. 

    Clinton's lead is down slightly from her 53-percent-to-42 percent advantage in last month's NBC/WSJ poll, though the change is well within the survey's margin of error.

    Clinton has the edge over Sanders among those 50 and older (65 percent to 32 percent), non-whites (63 percent to 34 percent), women (61 percent to 37 percent) and self-identified Democrats (60 percent to 38 percent). Sanders, meanwhile, leads Clinton among independents (59 percent to 35 percent), liberals (56 percent to 42 percent) and those younger than 50 (60 percent to 38 percent). 

    Photo Credit: Getty Images

    Democratic presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders (D-VT) and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speak during the CNN Democratic Presidential Primary Debate at the Whiting Auditorium at the Cultural Center Campus on March 6, 2016 in Flint, Michigan.Democratic presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders (D-VT) and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speak during the CNN Democratic Presidential Primary Debate at the Whiting Auditorium at the Cultural Center Campus on March 6, 2016 in Flint, Michigan.

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    Donald Trump, who's come under fire for the pledge he's asking his supporters to take at his rallies, with their right hands raised, said it was "ridiculous" for critics to liken it to Nazi rallies.

    "Honestly, until this phone call, I didn't realize it was a problem," the Republican front-runner said Tuesday in a phone interview on NBC's "Today" show. 

    Trump claimed the crowd simply was "having a good time" and even encouraged him to lead them in the pledge. He said he didn't realize he was offending people. 

    Over the weekend, Trump urged supporters at a rally in Orlando to raise their right hand and repeat a pledge to vote for him. He repeated the effort at two more rallies days later despite critics comparing the scene to World War II Nazi rallies. 

    Trump's move comes just a week after he hesitated in distancing himself from the support of white supremacist David Duke, the former leader of the Ku Klux Klan.

    Photo Credit: Getty Images
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    Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks to the media during a press conference at the Trump International Golf Club as results rolled in on a day some know as “Super Saturday,” on March 5, 2016 in West Palm Beach, Florida.Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks to the media during a press conference at the Trump International Golf Club as results rolled in on a day some know as “Super Saturday,” on March 5, 2016 in West Palm Beach, Florida.

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    A 23-year-old Farmington man is accused of stealing around $48,000 worth of jewelry and cash in December from a neighbor who was away for the Christmas holiday.

    Police said Benjamin Edelson, 23, pawned several pieces of expensive jewelry in late December and early January, including a 1974 class ring from St. Thomas Aquinas High School in New Britain.

    Police located the owner of the ring through the high school’s alumni group and learned the neighbor did not realize the burglary had happened, police said.

    Police said some of the victim’s jewelry matched what Edelson is accused of pawning.

    Edelson did not provide a statement to investigators and was arrested Monday on a warrant. He has been charged with first-degree larceny and third-degree conspiracy to commit burglary.

    Bond was set at $99,000.

    Photo Credit: Farmington Police

    Benjamin Edelson is accused of stealing $48,000 worth of jewelry and other items from a neighbor and pawning them.Benjamin Edelson is accused of stealing $48,000 worth of jewelry and other items from a neighbor and pawning them.

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    Two Milford police officers who were working a private duty construction road job on Monday arrested a suspect in a bank robbery.

    A customer who had been at Milford Bank, at 205 Bridgeport Ave., approached the officers at noon and reported the bank was being robbed, police said.

    After obtaining a description of the robber, police apprehended 53-year-old Stephen Brill, a Florida resident who has been staying in Milford.

    Police said he had approached a teller, said he had a gun and wanted money. Brill never displayed a weapon and was not found with one, police said. He was holding the money in his hand when he left the bank, police said.

    Brill is charged with first-degree larceny and was held on $100,000 bond.

    Photo Credit: Milford Police

    Stephen Brill was charged in a Milford bank robbery.Stephen Brill was charged in a Milford bank robbery.

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    A New Hampshire man yelled profanities as he faced charges in a courtroom Tuesday after police say he tried to take down a building with an excavator.

    Jordan Ingram, 28, of Franklin was arrested Monday after he was found in a vehicle on I-89 in New London. 

    Authorities had previously responded to 15 Tannery St. for a report of a subject damaging the property.

    Ingram's mother, who would not go on camera, told necn she was in the process of buying the building before her son, who has a history of mental illness, decided to take an excavator, which she owned, and attack the building, leaving a large portion of it in rubble.

    Ingram, who is well-known to Franklin Police Department, was arraigned felony reckless conduct and felony criminal mischief. 

    It's unclear if Ingram has an attorney.

    Photo Credit: Franklin Police

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    The McDonald’s on North Colony Road in Wallingford will be closed for around three months as the owners build a new restaurant.

    The fast-food restaurant that has been at 608 N. Colony Road for 40 years is slated to close at 10 p.m. on Friday for demolition and construction of a new building.

    “The Zafiris family is grateful for your patronage throughout the years, and while we will miss you during the renovations, we look forward to continuing to serve you in the new restaurant for years to come,” the statement on Facebook says. 

    The restaurant is offering free coffee in any size on Friday.

    Photo Credit: Bloomberg via Getty Images
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    File photoFile photo

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    Protestors stood outside Torrington City Hall on Tuesday morning to oppose the recent closing of a homeless encampment in the city.

    Mayor Elinor Carbone said there were approximately 10 tents on private property.

    City officials monitored the camp for six to eight weeks and decided to clean it up because it was “a public health concern” after determining it was unoccupied.

    Now, the mayor is getting backlash from homeless people and activists who have been holding signs saying, “poverty is not a crime” and “we are failing the people who need it most.”

    “We want to let the mayor know that we are displeased with the way the closing of the encampments went down,” Skip Hoxie, a community activist, said. “What they did, in a sense, by closing them and not having the alternatives in place is that they excluded a lot of people that needed help and deprived them of what meager possessions they had at the encampments.”

    One of the people who resorted to living in a tent is Kelly, who is homeless.

    “Obviously, it is not the desired outcome in life, but sometimes life tears us down and we really need that steady place to go. When you are walking around in the winter and you are cold, that tent makes a big difference,” Kelly said.

    Mayor Carbone acknowledged that the local shelter is often full, but still encourages homeless people to reach out to “The Gathering Place” at 21 Prospect Street for assistance through social programs.

    “Yes there are programs out there to get housing and stuff like that, but where are they sleeping tonight? We need an answer to get them off the streets tonight until they get their housing,” Lisa Hageman, of Torrington, said.

    Protestors said they are not opposed to closing the camps, but they want plans in place to take care of homeless people immediately.

    Photo Credit:

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    Passengers and police described the aftermath of a commuter train derailment Monday night in a rural part of the San Francisco East Bay as a surreal scene out of a movie.

    "This is beginning to look like that Harrison Ford movie #TheFugitive derailment scene," passenger John Wong of Pleasanton, California tweeted from the scene. On Tuesday morning, he descibed how much the train was jerking before it fell off the tracks and down a ravine into the Alameda Creek.

    Alameda County Sheriff’s Sgt. JD Nelson added that what he witnessed — when an Altamont Corridor Express train plunged in chilly creek waters in Sunol, California — was straight out of a Hollywood thiller. He described the misty fog and the steep terrain, which could have come straight out of the 1993 film, "The Fugitive," which portrays a scene where a bus plunges down a ravine into the path of an oncoming train.

    [[371394891, C]]

    "To paint the picture," Nelson said, "you feel like it's the movie, 'The Fugitive.' That's the kind of scene it is. It's rugged, it's cold, it's dark."

    Early Tuesday morning, a Union Pacific spokesman said the most likely cause of the derailment — the second in a decade for an ACE train — was a mudslide that swept a tree in front of the tracks. Nine passengers suffered some type of injury, and Nelson said it was a “minor miracle” no one was killed.

    Rad Akhter said it was a close call. One passenger was “just under the mudslide, and we were trying to dig her out while the train was hanging. It was a pretty crazy experience."

    [[371408921, C]]

    He added: “One portion of the train was just missing in the beginning. All we saw was just water. Thank God I didn't sleep or anything, so I was aware of everything. But it just shifted the gravity all of a sudden, and you know we were all just panicking."

    Part of the panic was also because temperatures Monday night dropped to the high 40s, and the No. 10 train car was submerged in Alameda Creek. After getting outside, many of the 214 passengers on board draped coats and scarves around themselves. Some huddled on the ground, sitting side by side to keep warm. Others grabbed cell phones to call loved ones as swarms of emergency responders descended to help. Passengers were taken to the Alameda County Fairgrounds as a staging area.

    Kathy Heilmann remembered feeling a “jerk” and an “abrupt stop” before learning the train had gone off the tracks in Sunol, which is 45 miles east of San Francisco.

    “We knew we were in a pretty remote area, so we knew we had some hiking to do along the train tracks," she said.

    Still, Heilmann said despite the scary experience, she realized that she and the others were pretty fortunate.

    "I'm grateful that it wasn't worse,” she said. “I’m very grateful that it wasn't worse."

    [[371357651, C]]

    Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area
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    Passengers huddle for warmth and make cell phone calls after an ACE train derailed in Sunol, California. March 7, 2016Passengers huddle for warmth and make cell phone calls after an ACE train derailed in Sunol, California. March 7, 2016

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    Tyshawn Lee's killer told police he had planned to kidnap and torture the 9-year-old boy before he executed the child in a Chicago alley last fall as part of a gang retaliation, law enforcement officials revealed Tuesday.  

    "This was a targeted assassination," said interim Police Supt. John Escalante. "These are calculated killers whose actions define the words brutality and cowardice."

    Prosecutors claim Dwright Boone-Doty, who was charged Monday in Tyshawn's Nov. 2 murder, planned to torture the young boy by cutting off his fingers and ears, but ultimately lured him into an alley and shot the child numerous times at close range. 

    "I must tell you today I don’t think I've ever been more disgusted and appalled by such inhumanity," Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez said. "This intentional murder of Tyshawn Lee is among the worst that I have ever seen in my more than 30 years as a prosecutor."

    Boone-Doty was charged with the murders of Tyshawn and Brianna Jenkins as part of what officials said was a gang war between a faction of the Black P-Stones and the "Killaward faction" of the Gangster Disciples. A judge on Tuesday ordered Boone-Doty held without bail. He and two others accused in the case, including Corey Morgan, had planned to go on a killing spree after Morgan's brother, Tracy, was killed in a shooting on Oct. 13, 2015, officials said.

    After Tracy Morgan was fatally shot while in a car with his mother, prosecutors say Corey Morgan stated he was "going to kill grandmas, mothers, kids and all." That's when Morgan, Doty and another offender went out "daily, armed with guns, looking to retaliate."

    Prosecutors said Tyshawn, whose father is a member of a rival gang, was playing at a park when Boone-Doty asked if he wanted to go to the store and offered to buy the child "whatever he wanted."

    Once in an alley near 80th Street and Damen Avenue, Boone-Doty shot the child multiple times, prosecutors said. When asked about the shooting, Boone-Doty laughingly said he was facing the child as he shot him, saying "shorty couldn't take it no more," prosecutors allege. They also claim he planned to go back to the park Tyshawn was playing at and "shoot it up," saying he "should have killed all the kids in the park."

    Boone-Doty was also in the process of writing a rap song about the killing, prosecutors said. 

    "We have an unprecedented crisis on our hands," Alvarez said. 

    Boone-Doty has also been charged with first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder and aggravated battery with a firearm in connection with the murder and attempted murder of Brianna Jenkins and Deshari Bowens, which took place Oct. 18, the state's attorney's office said.

    Boone-Doty told authorities he saw a man with dreads in a vehicle and thought it was a rival gang member, so he opened fire on the car, killing Jenkins and injuring Bowens, Alvarez said. 

    In total, Boone-Doty has been charged with five felony offenses in connection with three separate cases. He was already in custody on unrelated gun charges, according to county records. The records did not indicate if Boone-Doty had an attorney.

    Police have already charged 27-year-old Corey Morgan with murder in Tyshawn's execution-style shooting but one other suspect remains uncharged. Morgan has repeatedly denied having any involvement in Tyshawn’s killing.

    Tyshawn was a student at Scott Joplin School, where his teachers say he was a "delight" to have in class. He liked to play sports and video games.

    "He was supposed to play ball. That's all he do, all he liked to do is play ball and play video games," Tyshawn's mother, Karla Lee, said at the time of his killing. "He didn't hurt nobody. I don't know why this happened."

    Police previously said members of the community have been vital to the investigation.

    Photo Credit: Chicago Police / Facebook
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    Gov. Dannel Malloy wants almost $129 million more in budget cuts for this fiscal year as the state faces deficits for 2016 and 2017.

    In a letter to the top legislative leaders, Malloy acknowledge the state is facing a revenue shortfall currently that is "in the range" of $200 million. The governor proposed various cuts across all three government branches in the state in order to help close the budget gap,

    "I understand that you are opposed to delaying payments to hospitals," Malloy wrote. "As Secretary Barnes made clear in his letter to hospitals, our action was a delay, not a cancellation. The delay enables us to have a more holistic discussion about how we should collectively react to revenue shortfalls that occurred after our fall meetings."

    Payments to hospitals could be released from the Malloy administration if lawmakers from both parties come up with  more cuts. 

    The governor told top Democrats and Republicans that he wants input on budget cuts that would need to total about $200 million.

    Malloy outlined what he called "achievable" budget cuts like cancelling pay raises in executive and judicial branches that is estimated at $4.6 million and another $6 million from "expedited reductions of the state workforce." 

    The governor is also seeking various expenses already approved by the legislature or rescissions that include $4.2 million from legislative , $12.5 million from judicial, $7.3 million from higher education, $51 million from private providers and another $5 million from the executive branch and others. 

    Other cuts include eliminating FY16 to FY17 revenue transfer by $18 million and reducing to non-ECS municipal aid by $20 million. 

    "This list totals $128.6 million," the governor wrote to his leaders. "Clearly we will need to go further but my home is to provide a context for our discussion."

    Senate Democrats responded quickly and said they are ready to do what is needed to balance the budget as long as those hospital payments are made. 

    Photo Credit: AP

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    A Florida dad's quick action to keep a flying bat from smacking his son during spring training has gone viral since the scary moment was captured by a photographer.

    Shaun Cunningham took his son Landon, 8, to his very first Major League Baseball game for his birthday on Sunday. The Ocala natives attended a Pirates-Braves game in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.

    In the fifth inning, as the Cunninghams sat behind home plate and Landon texted his mother a photo from his seat, Pirates outfielder Danny Ortiz lost his grip on a swinging strike and his bat went hurtling toward the stands, according to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Shaun had to think quickly as the bat barreled toward his son's head. He put his left hand out to protect his son from injury. 

    "I just did anything I could do to block it and deflect it," Shaun Cunningham said on NBC's "Today" show.

    The bat hit Shaun's arm and Landon's shoulder but they were both unharmed.

    Tribune-Review photographer Chris Horner captured Shaun's quick defensive action, which prevented a potential tragedy. 

    Landon said his first game was fun despite the flying bat fiasco. He will receive a jersey autographed by the Atlanta Braves' Freddie Freeman. 

    "My first baseball game was amazing," he told "Today."  

    Photo Credit: Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
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    Shaun Cunningham knocks down a bat thrown into the stands by the Pirates' Danny Ortiz during a spring training game against the Braves Saturday, March 5, 2016, at Champion Stadium in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.Shaun Cunningham knocks down a bat thrown into the stands by the Pirates' Danny Ortiz during a spring training game against the Braves Saturday, March 5, 2016, at Champion Stadium in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.

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    It will feel more like May than March midweek as temperature soar to potentially record levels.

    Low clouds are possible tonight, especially near Long Island Sound, as temperatures fall back into the 40s.

    Highs will be in the middle 70s inland, but lower 60s along the shore tomorrow.

    The water in Long Island Sound is near 40 degrees, so a sea breeze will kick in and keep coastal communities cooler.

    Record high temperatures could fall on Wednesday and Thursday inland, when they are 72 and 70 degrees, respectively.

    The record high in the Bridgeport area on Wednesday could fall, as it currently stands at only 60 degrees. Other days are likely out of reach on the shoreline.

    A number of record high minimums (usually morning lows) are also in jeopardy.

    Showers move in on Thursday afternoon, so it won't be as nice of a day, but it will still be near 70.

    Friday will be dry and cooler, but mostly sunny. The current forecast calls for highs near 60, but if the backdoor front stays to the north and east of the state, 70 is possible.

    The weekend looks mild, near 60 both days, with lots of sunshine to start but clouds to finish.

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    Someone stole an AR-15 rifle and a bulletproof vest from a state police cruiser, according to state police and they are looking for the person responsible.

    It happened on Rutland Road in Milford, according to state police.

    The gun and the vest were taken from a locked trunk of the cruser, police said.

    According to Milford police, there were 12 car break-ins on West Rutland Road, Plains Road and Haystack Road on Tuesday morning and a green 2015 Ford Fusion with Vermont plates GHK528 was stolen at the end of the crime spree.

    Police said they recovered a car in the neighborhood this morning and it had been stolen from New Haven.

    Anyone with information is asked to call the Milford Police Department (203) 878-6551, call 911 or to text "TIP" to 236748.

    Photo Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

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    A former Connecticut priest plead guilty to providing a teenager with ammunition and explosives powder in 2012, the U.S. attorney's office said.

    Paul Gotta, 58, who was charged with seven counts of sexual assault two years ago, faces up to ten years in prison after pleading guilty to one count of willfully distributing an explosive material to an individual under the age of 21 years old, according to prosecutors. 

    In 2012, Gotta aided a 17-year-old with purchases thousands of rounds of ammunition and on two occasions purchased two pounds of explosives powder in East Windsor for the same teenager, according to court documents. 

    Gotta served as administrator of St. Philip Church in East Windsor and St. Catherine Church in Broadbrook until he left in 2012 after being accused of sexual abuse.

    Gotta was indicted on six charges including aiding and abetting the unlawful transport of a firearm in interstate commerce, aiding and abetting the possession of a handgun by a juvenile, aiding and abetting the possession of ammunition by a juvenile, distribution of explosive material to an individual under the age of 21, aiding and abetting the attempted manufacture of a pipe bomb, and obstruction of justice but only plead guilty to one charge, prosecutors said.

    He will be sentenced on May 19 and could be spend up to ten years in prison and a fine up to $250,000. 

    Rev. Paul Gotta was suspended last year and arrested in March on several sexual assault charges is due in court on Wednesday for pre-trial proceedings.Rev. Paul Gotta was suspended last year and arrested in March on several sexual assault charges is due in court on Wednesday for pre-trial proceedings.

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    Clean-up crews have begun sanitizing the Chipotle in Billerica.

    The restaurant is voluntarily shutting its' doors after one employee got Norovirus.

    Two others are suspected of having it.

    The local board of health says Chipotle notified them Tuesday afternoon after the workers called out sick.

    Sandra Giroux, the Chair of the Billerica Board of Health says the restaurant is now in the process of throwing out all the food items and sanitizing the entire restaurant from "top to bottom."

    The restaurant confirms a total of four employees aren't feeling well, but that no customers have become sick and that:

    "Any employees who reported feeling ill will be tested and held out of the restaurant until they fully recover."

    This incident comes after a Chipotle in Boston's Cleveland Circle was shut down in December.

    More than 140 people, mostly Boston College students got sick with Norovirus.

    Now the Billerica Board of Health says it's unclear when the restaurant will open again.

    "That means inspections, everything has to be sanitized, also the employees are not allowed to return to work until they are five days symptom free," said Giroux.

    Some regular customers say this won't stop them from eating at the Billerica Chipotle.

    Customer Ella McGaunn said, "You can put in place policies for workers to go home, keep things as clean as you can, but any public area where people are going in and out is likely to spread diseases."

    The Mass. Dept. Of Health says if you ate at the restaurant and are concerned you are symptomatic to call your primary care physician and the State Division of Epidemiology and Immunization at 617-983-6550.

    Photo Credit: necn

    An aerial photo of the Chipotle in Billerica, Massachusetts.An aerial photo of the Chipotle in Billerica, Massachusetts.

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    The University of Saint Joseph is offering free housing to students who qualify for a new local scholarship. The partnership with the non-profit Hartford Promise is expected to help more Hartford students further their education.

    “We want to encourage those kinds of decisions that lead to greater college success," said Hartford Promise President Richard Sugarman.

    Now, students who qualify for the Hartford Promise Scholarship will get part of their tuition paid for and be able to live on campus for free. Those students will get a $20,000 scholarship over four years and Saint Joseph will match that in the form of free housing. Any student who has lived and attended high school in Hartford for all four years, held a 3.0 GPA, and had 93 percent or better attendance can qualify.

    38:04 Richard Sugarman, Hartford Promise President: “We want to encourage those kinds of decisions that lead to greater college success.”

    Saint Joseph’s new president believes the program is a win-win for students and the school.

    “They are just the perfect type of student. Every university wants students like the Hartford Promise students," said Rhonda Free.

    Sugarman hopes more Hartford students and their families will consider college as a real option when they learn about the program. He said many of those qualifying are the first in their families to attend college.

    “We want to foster a robust college-going culture in Hartford," Sugarman added.

    Many who do attend college chose to live at home to save money. Attending the University of Saint Joseph costs $35,000, not including room and board. The goal of the housing scholarship is to give students who might otherwise commute to class the full college experience.

    “Students are much more likely to graduate in four years. They develop all sorts of other life skills when they’re living on campus," Free explained.

    “I have more opportunities on campus. I have three campus employment jobs. So, I can get around classes easier," added Cinthia Vega-Ortiz, a freshman at the University of Saint Joseph.

    Saint Joseph’s is the fourth college to partner up with Hartford Promise but the first to offer free housing. Sugerman believes the idea has academic and economic value.

    “We want to encourage people to live in Hartford, frankly. So, if we have Hartford Promise scholarships for Hartford residents and people who go to Hartford public high schools, we think that will encourage people to live in Hartford, move in Hartford, stay in Hartford," he said.

    The first scholarships will be given out to this year’s graduating class and 140 Hartford students are on track to receive them.

    Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

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    I-95 southbound is closed in Madison near exit 62.

    The highway closed after a tractor trailer crashed.

    Traffic is passing on the shoulder.

    There were no other immediate details. 

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    Thousands of employees and their families at the Connecticut based Affinion Group are at risk for identity theft after the company said W2 form information was hacked in a phishing scam.

    “None of our systems were breached as a part of this incident and no customer information was involved,” Affinion Group spokesperson James McCusker said in a statement to NBC Connecticut.

    “We have notified authorities and are currently working with the affected current and former employees to help them take the necessary steps to safeguard their personal information in the wake of this incident, including providing credit and ID theft monitoring services.”

    Personal information of less than 3,000 current and former employees of the company based in Stamford could be exposed to the public. That includes their addresses, earnings and social security numbers.

    “It’s happening right now everywhere, people have to be more careful,” said Paul Jordanopolous of New Canaan.

    A spokesperson for the state’s Department of Consumer Protection said companies hit by hackers should notify the Officer of the Attorney General.

    Both local and federal authorities have been notified of the situation, McCusker said.

    Joshua Brown of Stamford told NBC Connecticut a cyberattack this past September on health insurance company Blue Cross Blue Shield exposed his private information.

    “It’s like a cyberwar,” Brown said, “everybody is stealing people’s information. These people do it as a job now, so it’s scary.”

    Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

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