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    At least 28 potential jurors in the George Zimmerman trial had gone through the initial round of questioning as of Friday evening.

    The one-on-one interviews were solely focused on the topic of pre-trial publicity.

    On Friday, Circuit Judge Debra Nelson told several groups of potential jurors to come back next week for more questioning.

    Judge Nelson told them not to discuss or research the case before they return to the Seminole County courthouse in Sanford next week.

    "You are not to read or listen to any radio, television or newspaper reports about this case," Judge Nelson said during the fifth day of jury selection.

    Judge Nelson also warned potential jurors from researching the case on the Internet or reading about it in emails, text messages or social networking sites.

    "You are not to discuss the case amongst yourselves nor with anybody else. Being away and mixing with friends and family and maybe co-workers, from now until Tuesday morning, they're gonna be very curious and they're gonna want to ask you some questions," Judge Nelson said. "My instruction to you is that you should tell them that you are potentially on this jury and you are not to have any conversation with them whatsoever."

    Zimmerman is charged with second-degree murder in the shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in February 2012. He has pleaded not guilty, saying it was self-defense.

    On Thursday, Judge Nelson said in court that the jury will be sequestered. She added that attorneys anticipate the trial to last between two and four weeks.

    Five hundred people have been summoned for consideration as possible jurors. Attorneys are working to build a pool of 40 potential jurors before another round of questioning.

    After the trial went into recess Friday afternoon, Zimmerman’s defense attorney Mark O'Mara talked to the media.

    “I know a lot of people had some concerns about whether or not we’d actually be able to pick a jury here in Seminole County. And I know I was one of the ones who kept saying I thought we would, because we’ve never failed to pick a jury in Seminole County in the past, even in some high-profile cases, so I’m real happy that it looks like we’re going to get Seminole County jurors to decide a Seminole County case,” O’Mara said.

    O'Mara also answered questions from reporters, telling them that he hopes that panel jury selection can begin by Tuesday or Wednesday. He also said he believed that jurors would be chosen by the middle of next week or sometime next week.

    Sanford criminal defense attorney Thomas Greene said potential jurors sitting and waiting at the courthouse, can bring on fatigue.

    “Sending them home I think is a good idea for the jurors, may not be such a good idea for the attorneys because they're obviously concerned about what they're hearing, they're seeing and what they're talking about,” Greene said.

    Green said it may be more difficult than ever to avoid any information about the case.

    “With social media it is just incredible, people are so wired into all of that, they can't put their phones down, they can't not watch TV, it's almost an addiction to a lot of people,” he said.

    Judge Nelson said the case would resume Monday morning.


    George Zimmerman in court on Friday, June 14, 2013.George Zimmerman in court on Friday, June 14, 2013.

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    The North Texas high school valedictorian who had this speech cut off last week is speaking out.

    Remington Reimer was giving his valedictorian speech to the graduating class of Joshua High School when school officials cut off his microphone. Reimer broke school policy of sticking to an approved script, the officials said.

    Reimer said school officials not only asked to see his speech, they made changes to it.

    You can view the original speech Reimer wrote and the edited speech here.

    “I just assumed it was grammatical editing, which I assumed that what they want to make sure was I didn’t make any mistakes while I was on the stage,” Reimer said. “I didn't expect it to be anything of a sort of deleting lines, adding sentences, changing the whole message of the speech."

    Reimer said his approved speech didn’t sound like he wrote it, and that the speech was missing key parts, including a part where he talks about faith, family and teachers. When Reimer started reading that section, his microphone was turned off.

    “I first thanked my family for raising me in a Christian home, I thanked a few teachers, I thanked God,” Reimer said.

    Ironically, Reimer also said he wanted to talk about free speech and constitutional rights.

    “I'm passionate about my constitutional rights. It disappoints me that they had the power to cut me off just simply by not reading what they wanted me to read,” Reimer said.

    Hiram Sasser with the Liberty Institute is now Reimer’s attorney. Sasser said the school violated its own rules when it comes to valedictorian speeches.

    “The school officials violated their own district policy by pre-approving a speech, by censoring a speech, by cutting off the microphone,” Sasser said. “The board policy says it’s the free speech of the valedictorian and they're supposed to be giving whatever speech they want to give.”

    Sasser was referring to the state education code, chapter 25, article III, which states:

    “The school district shall treat a student's voluntary expression of a religious viewpoint, if any, on an otherwise permissible subject in the same manner the district treats a student's voluntary expression of a secular or other viewpoint on an otherwise permissible subject and may not discriminate against the student based on a religious viewpoint expressed by the student on an otherwise permissible subject.

    A written disclaimer shall be printed in the graduation program that states, "The students who will be speaking at the graduation ceremony were selected based on neutral criteria to deliver messages of the students' own choices.  The content of each student speaker's message is the private expression of the individual student and does not reflect any position or expression of the school district or the board of trustees, or the district's administration, or employees of the district, or the views of any other graduate.  The contents of these messages were prepared by the student volunteers, and the district refrained from any interaction with student speakers regarding the student speakers' viewpoints on permissible subjects."

    Sasser said he wants the school district to apologize to Reimer and make sure it doesn’t happen again.

    “I don't want this to happen to anyone, to any other valedictorian in the state of Texas or really, nationwide,” Reimer added.

    NBC 5 contacted the Joshua Independent School District for comment, but didn’t hear back.

    Last week, Joshua ISD Superintendent Fran Marek said the district was standing by its policy of only allowing students to read approved speeches and not deviating from them.


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    Connecticut State Police helped authorities in Florida nab a man wanted for allegedly threatening his ex-wife and children. 

    Around 4 p.m. on Thursday, Connecticut state police learned that Craig Shertzer, 44, of Nashua, New Hampshire, was wanted by the FBI’s Tampa office for charges out of Florida and was believed to be traveling up the East Coast. 

    It was thought that Shertzer might be in possession of a weapon and driving a pickup towing a trailer.
    Connecticut State Trooper Craig Clabby was on a patrol on Interstate 95 northbound near exit 9 when he saw a Toyota Tundra pickup towing a white enclosed trailer and stopped the vehicle, police said. 

    Shertzer was driving, police said. They took him into custody, searched the vehicle and found no weapon.

    Shertzer was transported to Troop G in Bridgeport and was formally charged as a fugitive from justice and held on $500,000 bond for the State of Florida.

    Shertzer will appear today in Stamford Superior Court. 
     



    Photo Credit: AP

    Connecticut state police have captured a man wanted in Florida.Connecticut state police have captured a man wanted in Florida.

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    Peter is 9, and loves robots. He's also living with adult lymphoma, a lung condition that makes it tough to fight off infection. But he still loves gadgets, and wants to see robots in action. Enter Make-A-Wish and Scott Budman.

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    A Connecticut Light & Power employee is being credited with discovering a dangerous problem that led to a Bristol multifamily home being condemned yesterday. 

    Bristol police said the CL&P employee was sent to the 22 High Street because there was no electrical service. 

    The utility worker checked the basement and discovered that a steady stream of water was flowing from the ceiling onto an electrical panel.

    Bristol firefighters, police, members of the building inspector’s office and the building manager responded to the scene around 5 p.m. and the building inspector ordered the building condemned.

    Four families were evacuated and the American Red Cross is relocating them.


     



    Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

    This building was condemned after a Connecticut Light & Power employee found water coming through roof and onto electrical panel.This building was condemned after a Connecticut Light & Power employee found water coming through roof and onto electrical panel.

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    When the State Bond Commission meets next week, it is expected to approve $750,000 toward the design of a new building for Newtown’s Sandy Hook Elementary School, Gov. Dannel Malloy said on Friday.

    Six months ago, on Dec. 14, a gunman shot and killed 20 students and six educators inside the school.

    “There are many decisions to be made when it comes to the construction of a new school. There will be many challenges along the way. But it’s my hope that by announcing this funding today, we can help Newtown continue with the healing process.” Gov. Dannel Malloy said in a statement. “Our thoughts are with those 26 angels today and their families.  Their memories will forever be close to our hearts.”

    Malloy said the funding is being made available to help the project, which is in its early stages, begin moving forward as quickly as possible.

    “On the sixth month anniversary of 12/14, my thoughts and prayers continue to be with the victims and their families. I am pleased that the State of Connecticut is contributing to the effort to help Newtown heal and rebuild,” State Senate Minority Leader John McKinney, whose district includes Newtown, said in a statement.

    Earlier this month, the state General Assembly approved legislation authorizing a separate allocation of up to $50 million in bonding for the school's construction. 

    Malloy said all funding will be issued on an expedited basis.

    The bond commission meeting will be held on Friday, June 21 at 10:30 a.m. in Room 1E of the Legislative Office Building in Hartford.



    Photo Credit: AP

    White balloons decorate the sign for the Sandy Hook Elementary School as a Connecticut State Trooper stands guard at the school's entrance, Saturday, Dec. 15, 2012, in Newtown, Conn. A gunman killed his mother at their home and later walked into Sandy Hook Elementary School Friday and opened fire, killing 26 people, including 20 children. (AP Photo/David Goldman)White balloons decorate the sign for the Sandy Hook Elementary School as a Connecticut State Trooper stands guard at the school's entrance, Saturday, Dec. 15, 2012, in Newtown, Conn. A gunman killed his mother at their home and later walked into Sandy Hook Elementary School Friday and opened fire, killing 26 people, including 20 children. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

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  • 06/14/13--09:25: Gas Leak Over in Bloomfield

  • The gas has been shut off in part of Bloomfield after an excavator hit a gas main this morning.

    Businesses and apartments were evacuated between Tobey Road and Nahum Drive.

    Officials from the fire department said no one is danger.  They are clearing the scene.

     



    Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

    There are evacuations in Bloomfield after an excavator hit a gas main on Tobey Road.There are evacuations in Bloomfield after an excavator hit a gas main on Tobey Road.

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    A tree cutter is in critical condition at St. Francis Hospital after cutting his arm with a chainsaw in Hartford on Friday.

    A man, identified as being in his 50s, was 50-feet in the air, trimming branches on Edgewood Street when his shirt became caught in the chainsaw and cut his arm, according to fire officials and a witness.

    He was unconscious when crews arrived and they had to cut him down from his safety harness.

    “He had all his safety gear on. That’s the only thing that saved him, because when he became unconscious, he would have fallen out of the tree,” said Jan Dixson-Hicks, who witnessed the accident.

    The tree cutter's name has not been released.


     



    Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

    A tree worker cut his arm while cutting a tree in Hartford.A tree worker cut his arm while cutting a tree in Hartford.

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    A Chicago T-shirt company has decided to pull a controversial Blackhawks shirt that was a take on the "Boston Strong" motto that popped up following April's Boston Marathon bombings.

    Cubby Tees produced a T-shirt with a Blackhawks logo and the word "Stronger" in preparation for the Stanley Cup Finals matchup between the city's two hockey teams.

    But after a good deal of social media outrage and negative emails, the company decided to stop selling the Chicago Stronger shirts "in the interest of harmony between two great cities," and posted a lengthy statement on its web site that stopped short of an apology for the T-shirt's message itself.

    Cubby Tees says the shirt was not meant to "trivialize" the marathon tragedy, but to mock Boston sports fans who co-opted the "Boston Strong" term for their sports teams.

    It really seemed to jump the shark with the unbelievable proliferation of (non-fundraising) merchandising and the use of 'Boston Strong' by many to aggrandize themselves, or as a war-cry against a non-existent threat and as an anthem for the mindless societal diversion that is professional sports." -- Cubby Tees Statement

    The company also says the people who complained about the shirt didn't take the time to read the description that went along with it, which explains their philosophy behind its creation.



    Photo Credit: Cubby Tees

    The t-shirt was available in two styles, but has since been pulled.The t-shirt was available in two styles, but has since been pulled.

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    What better way to lick one’s divorce wounds than with a hefty settlement?

    Rupert Murdoch filed for divorce on Thursday from his wife of 14 years, Wendi Deng. The media mogul -- who is worth about $9.4 billion -- is no stranger to divorce. He married Deng, his third wife, less than three weeks after his divorce from second wife Anna Maria Torv who reportedly received one of the highest settlements on record at $1.7 billion.

    Here is a look at other big pay days from some of the most expensive divorces in recent history:

    The Wildensteins
    Art dealer and racehorse breeder Alec Wildenstein paid ex-wife Jocelyn Wildenstein a cool $2.5 billion from their messy divorce in the late 90s. The New York socialite, recognizable by her extensive plastic surgery, also received $100 million annually for the next 13 years.

    The Ecclestones
    Slavica Ecclestone settled for $1.2 billion when her divorce from husband Bernard Ecclestone, Formula One CEO, was finalized in 2009. The former model has reportedly used her wealth for shopping sprees, including the purchase of a $60-million private plane.

    The Khashoggis
    A judge ordered Saudi businessman Adnan Khashoggi to pay ex-wife Soraya a $874 million settlement after a five-year divorce battle. Soraya married the international arms dealer in 1961 when she was only 15 and gave him five children.

    The Wynns
    Casino executive and owner of the Wynn Resorts, Steve Wynn divorced his wife Elaine for the second time (their first divorce was in 1986 but they remarried five years later) in 2010. There have been conflicting reports on what Elaine received from the fallout, but she gained control of more than 11 million shares of the Wynn’s casino operations, which was worth more than $741 million at the time of their divorce, according to The New York Times.

    The Gibsons
    In what is believed to the largest divorce settlement in Hollywood history, actor Mel Gibson and ex-wife Robyn divided his net worth of $850 million when their 28-year-marriage ended in 2009. The two, who had seven children together, split after he announced that he was having a baby with Oksana Grigorieva, who dated him during his highly-publicized meltdowns and telephone rants.

    The Johnsons
    Robert and Sheila Johnson, the founders of Black Entertainment Television, dissolved their 33-year-marriage in 2000 and the former Mrs. Johnson was paid a $400 million settlement. The couple bought BET and Ebony Magazine with $15,000 of their own money and $500,000 in loans, but became billionaires when they sold BET to Comcast for $3 billion. Sheila later married the judge who presided over her divorce.

    Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver
    Shriver filed for divorce from the movie-star-turned-politician in July 2011, two months after it was revealed that Schwarzenegger had an affair and fathered a child with a woman employed by the family. Schwarzenegger reportedly handed over somewhere between $250 and $375 million in the divorce settlement.

    The Jordans
    Basketball star Michael Jordan ended his 17-year marriage to wife Juanita in 2006 and forked over $168 million in the settlement. Determined to protect his $650 million fortune, Jordan reportedly had his new fiancée Yvette Prieto sign a prenuptial agreement.

    Samathur Li Kin-ka and Florence Tsang-Chiu-wing
    Hong Kong property tycoon Samathur Li Kin-ka was ordered to pay ex-wife Florence Tsang-Chiu-wing $154 million after their eight-year marriage ended in 2008. Their settlement is believed to be the highest ever paid in Hong Kong.

    Neil Diamond and Marcia Murphey
    A generous Neil Diamond gave up $150 million -- half of his estate -- to ex-wife Marcia Murphey when the couple divorced after 25 years of marriage in 1994 and said she was "worth every penny."

    The McCourts
    L.A. Dodger owner Frank McCourt paid ex-wife Jamie $130 million in the wake of their 2009 divorce. Jamie, the former CEO of the Dodgers, was also required to relinquish any claims to the baseball team as part of the settlement.

    Tiger Woods and Elin Nordegren
    The couple’s high profile relationship ended in a car crash and a divorce and Swedish beauty Nordegren walked away with $110 million when their six-year marriage ended in 2010. Nordegren reportedly dropped $12.2 million of her new fortune on a beachfront mansion in 2011 in North Palm Beach, Fla.

    Steven Spielberg and Amy Irving
    Despite a pre-nup scrawled on a napkin, a California judge awarded Amy Irving $100 million when her four-year marriage to Steven Spielberg ended in 1989.

    Madonna and Guy Ritchie
    The Material Girl forked over money to the tune of $92 million to ex-husband Guy Ritchie when their marriage ended in 2008.

    Edith Yang contributed to this report.



    Photo Credit: Evan Agostini/Invision/AP

    News Corp CEO Rupert Murdoch and wife Wendi Deng Murdoch filed for divorce on Thursday. Deng is Murdoch's third wife.News Corp CEO Rupert Murdoch and wife Wendi Deng Murdoch filed for divorce on Thursday. Deng is Murdoch's third wife.

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    A suspicious package was reported at TD Bank, 59 Main Street in Woodbury, around 8:45 a.m. on Friday.

    The building was evacuated, part of Route 6 was closed and traffic was diverted in the area.

    The bomb squad investigated and the scene is clear.
     


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    Police in three Connecticut towns, along with federal officials, issued 15 warrants on Thursday as part of an investigation into a heroin and crack cocaine distribution network.

    They said they seized drugs, weapons, case and more.   

    The Hartford police department, along with police in East Hartford, West Hartford, the federal bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Internal Revenue Service and the United States Marshals Office were involved in the investigation, known as “Operation Sham-Roc.”

    Police said the seized five firearms, including a sawed-off shotgun, two .357 Magnum revolvers, a 9mm Ruger handgun and a 1911 .45 caliber handgun. They also seized 210 grams of crack cocaine, 200 bags of heroin, approximately $1,400 in cash, two bullet proof vests and a BMW 7-Series automobile.

    The investigation is ongoing, according to police.


    Police made a drug sweep in the greater Hartford area.Police made a drug sweep in the greater Hartford area.

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    The Taco Bell shell-licker has nothing on this guy.

    A photo circulating on Reddit shows a Wendy’s employee inhaling a mouthful of the fast-food chain’s Frosty frozen treat straight from the dispenser.

    The folks at Wendy’s have taken notice and said in a tweet early Friday that the employee is no longer with the company.

    Last week, a Taco Bell worker seen licking a stack of taco shells was fired after a photo of him in action was posted on the company's Facebook page.



    Photo Credit: Reddit

    A Wendy's employee appears to be taking a mouthful of Frosty frozen treat.A Wendy's employee appears to be taking a mouthful of Frosty frozen treat.

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    The family of Charla Nash, the Connecticut woman disfigured in a chimp attack in 2009, cannot sue the state for her injuries. The state’s commissioner on Friday denied the family's claim for damages.

    On Feb. 16, 2009, a chimpanzee named Travis attacked Nash in Stamford and left her blind and disfigured. Doctors at the time said it was a miracle she survived.

    After extensive surgeries and rehabilitation, Nash received a face transplant.

    On Nov. 3, 2009, Nash’s family filed a claim with the office of the claims commissioner, seeking permission to sue the state Department of Energy and Envoronmental Protection for $150 million in damages for the catastrophic injuries Nash sustained. A hearing was held in August 2012.

    On Friday, Paul Vance Jr., the claims commissioner, issued a decision denying the claim.

    In making the decision, Vance wrote that there is no dispute that the chimp caused Nash’s injuries, but that the state is not liable.

    “The State of Connecticut, were it a private person, would generally not have any duty to control the conduct of that third party absent some special relationship,” Vance wrote. 

    Travis was the pet of Nash’s friend, Sandra Herold, and the attack prompted officials to make more changes in laws regarding exotic animals in Connecticut. However, there was no law prohibiting Herold from owning the chimp at the time.

    “At the time Ms. Nash was attacked, there was no statute prohibiting the private ownership of the chimpanzee nor was there any statutory language that would have created a duty to Ms. Nash as a private person,” Vance wrote.

     



    Photo Credit: Greenwich Time

    Chimp attack victim Charla Nash has been denied the right to sue the State of Connecticut over the incident.Chimp attack victim Charla Nash has been denied the right to sue the State of Connecticut over the incident.

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    A 27-year-old Hartford man was arrested and charged Friday in connection with a 2007 "cold case" homicide and seven shooting incidents spanning from 2007 to 2008, according to the state's attorney's office.

    In eight separate warrants, Donald "Amen" Raynor was charged with 45 counts of murder, conspiracy to commit murder and illegal possession of a firearm.

    Raynor is accused of killing 22-year-old Delano Gray in Hartford and attempting to murder seven others. He is also accused of alleged theft and trafficking firearms in Windsor Locks and Hartford, the state's attorney's office said.

    Investigators began pursuing Raynor over a year ago after receiving a tip from the cold case playing card project, a Dept. of Correction and Office of the Chief State's Attorney initiative that sells prison inmates decks of cards containing information about unsolved crimes.

    Raynor is being held on $18.75 million bond pending a June 17 arraignment in Hartford Superior Court.

    Raynor's arrest comes as part of a major investigation into violent crimes in the North End of Hartford. Investigators have arrested 47 suspects so far and expect to make additional arrests. The court has ordered that all arrest warrants be sealed, said the state's attorney's office.


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    New Haven's much-anticipated Downtown Crossing project will break ground Monday with the construction of Alexion Pharmaceuticals at 100 College Street.

    The project will transform a now empty space into an attractive collection of restaurants, shops and offices and is just one of many in the city seeking to develop underutilized commercial and residential space.

    “What it means for families is more kinds of work in all types of places." said New Haven Mayor John DeStefano. "What it means for them also is more choices where to live. We've clearly had the emergence of a downtown neighborhood, which didn't exist ten years ago."

    Alexion alone will employ about 2,000 construction workers, then bring in its 350 employees from Cheshire and add on another 200 to 300 positions. It will also bridge New Haven's medical district and Yale's Medical School with the rest of downtown.

    New Haven residents are optimistic.

    “Hopefully that will make more jobs to students and post-docs working here,” said Sadya Achanta.

    “I think it's a wonderful location to have it next to the med school because there is so much research being done here, and I think it will allow a lot of collaboration between here and these different companies,” added Will Olds.

    The city is also planning to develop the site where the Coliseum once stood. There the city plans to build housing, office and retail space. It's waiting on a grant that would allow the development to join different parts of the city, just like Downtown Crossing, DeStefano said.


    New Haven's Downtown Crossing project will break ground Monday.New Haven's Downtown Crossing project will break ground Monday.

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    Milford police are investigating three indecent exposure incidents in the Westside section, according to a police spokesman.

    During the incidents, which occurred between May 24 and June 6, the suspect hid in the bushes before covering his face and exposing himself to various women. Police said the suspect did not try to contact any of the victims.

    Witness reports have led to a composite sketch of the suspect, who is described as a medium-skinned black or Hispanic man standing between 5'9" and 6'1" with a slim to medium build and short black hair. He was seen wearing a dark hooded sweatshirt, which he used to cover his face.

    Anyone with information should contact the Milford Police Department Detective Division at 203-877-1465, or visit the police website and click "Crime Tips."


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    After years of construction, the first half of the New Haven Q-Bridge is scheduled to open the weekend of July 26, according to a district engineer in charge of the project.

    Southbound traffic will be shifted to the first half of the new bridge, allowing crews to demolish the old bridge and build the other new half, the engineer said.

    Drivers say they hope the shift will alleviate some of the dense commuter traffic.

    “Morning time it's a struggle, afternoon time it's a struggle, at night it's a struggle,” said New Haven resident Damarie Vazquez.

    The new traffic pattern may not ease congestion right away because there are usually delays when patterns change. However, once drivers adjust, the Q-bridge project will be one step closer to completion.

    “They're finally ahead of the game, so that way the traffic can flow a little better, and it won't be so crowded. Lately everything has been backed up over the Q-Bridge, so it's a good thing,” said Rob Davis, who lives in West Haven.

    The project has been in the works for years because construction crews are demolishing the old bridge and building a new one that will span ten lanes.

    “I really hope that they can get it finished in a timely manner,” said Starks.

    The next phase of the project is scheduled to begin six weeks ahead of schedule. The project is currently under budget by about $8 million.

    The new bridge should be finished by 2015 or 2016.


    The southbound section of the new Q-Bridge is scheduled to open in late July, according to a district engineer in charge of the project.The southbound section of the new Q-Bridge is scheduled to open in late July, according to a district engineer in charge of the project.

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    After a five-month-long investigation, police have arrested several suspects in connection to a series of armed robberies in Clinton, East Haven, Hamden, New Britain, New Haven, Orange, Trumbull and Wallingford, police said.

    Seven Radio Shack stores, one AT&T store and one Verizon store were targeted, according to police. Officers from eight Connecticut towns conducted the investigation along with FBI and Dept. of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) agents.

    Police said they will reveal the details of the investigation at a Monday afternoon press conference. The conference is scheduled to begin at 3 p.m. and will be held outside the Radio Shack store at 90 Boston Post Road in Orange. The store was robbed on May 11.

    Other related robberies include the Feb. 5 robbery of an East Haven Radio Shack on Feb. 5, the Feb. 28 robbery of a Wallingford Radio Shack and the May 14 robbery of a Clinton Radio Shack.

    Investigators are not releasing any additional information until the press conference on Monday.

    Orange Police Chief Robert J. Gagne, New Haven Asst. Police Chief Luiz Casanova, ATF Resident Agent in Charge Timothy Carroll, FBI Special Agent Jamie Lawton, Wallingford Police Lieutenant Marc Mikulski, Clinton Police Sergeant Joe Flynn, New Haven Police Sargeant Robert Lawlor Jr. and Trumbull Police Detective Rocco Testi will all be in attendance.



    Photo Credit: Orange Police

    Security cameras show two robbery suspects at a Radio Shack store in Orange. The suspects stole 50 smart phones during the May 11 heist, police said.Security cameras show two robbery suspects at a Radio Shack store in Orange. The suspects stole 50 smart phones during the May 11 heist, police said.

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    Parts of Wethersfield are still dealing with flooding problems after Thursday night's rain. For one apartment complex, the water isn't the biggest problem.

    Joseph Ferrigno and his Wethersfield neighbors woke early Friday morning to find a fountain of raw sewage, a mixture of fresh water and human waste, being forced out of his toilet, bathtub, and kitchen and bathroom sinks.

    “Last night the tub was full and the toilet was gushing,” said Ferrigno. “Water kept on gushing and gushing.”

    The Health Department says the landlord should install backwater valves.

    The New York-based landlord says Wethersfield needs to fix the sewer pipes. But after waking up to a fountain of raw sewage pumping into their ground-floor apartments, these Hewitt Street residents just want answers.

    “It’s a little overwhelming,” Ferrigno said.

    The flooding contaminated nearly everything in his ground-floor apartment on Hewitt Street. The carpet is soaked. Furniture is ruined. And a trail of human waste litters the floor.

    The images are even more stomach-churning at his neighbors.

    “The problem is really due to all the recent rains,” said Paul Hutcheon.

    Hutcheon is the director at Central Connecticut’s Health District. He says the problem is a surcharge in the sewer lines. They’re full from all the rainfall this week, and it’s forcing that water – and sewage – back out of any available opening.

    “We’ve had to replace furniture, clothing, all kinds of things,” said Michael McDowell. “Not to mention the disruption to his life and our lives as parents.”

    McDowell’s son Justin, who has a disability, lives in one of the flooded units. He says this isn’t the first time they’ve dealt with this. Justin moved into this new apartment after a similar sewage backup in another Wethersfield apartment building owned by the same company.

    The problem could also be seen on major roadways like Silas Deane Highway. Cars drove through the water unknowingly passing through diluted human waste.

    “That’s a real dilemma because that can exist in a lot of different locations,” said Hutcheon.

    The director also noted the MDC will work quickly to sanitize the streets using lime. He says sunshine and time are two of the best remedies.

    But there is a possible solution.

    “It makes me concerned that backflow valves have not been installed for these basement apartments,” said McDowell.

    Paul Hutcheon responded, “This can be prevented to some degree by having a check valve or a back water valve installed on your sewer lines.”

    Loria & Associates, the apartment management company in Astoria, Queens, says if this is the simple solution, they’re willing to do it. But they’re not convinced the burden lies completely on them because of the widespread nature of this issues.

    The company also says they’re working to make the inconvenience as little as possible. They had a company deliver a waste palate to begin the cleanup and said PODS containers would arrive Monday so workers could remove contaminated furniture from units.

    A representative we spoke with over the phone says ‘they’ve got the best interest of [the] tenants at heart.’

    “Yeah, I’m optimistic because I like living here. I’ve been here 16 years, and I like living here. It’s a nice place,” said resident Joseph Ferrigno.
     


    Residents had a big mess to clean after dirty water gushed out of toilets, bathtubs and sinks.Residents had a big mess to clean after dirty water gushed out of toilets, bathtubs and sinks.

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