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    Police interrupted two burglary suspects in Bridgeport, including one who was found sitting on a toilet inside the Bridgeport apartment he allegedly broke into and ransacked.

    A neighbor called police at 4:18 p.m. Tuesday and said two men were breaking into a multi-family home on Englewood Avenue. The caller stayed on the phone until officers arrived, providing them details on the two men, according to police.

    One of the men fled out the back of the house, but police entered the home in a search for the second suspect. There they found Samuel Saunders, 24, of Meriden, sitting on the toilet in a bathroom with the door closed, police said.

    According to police, Saunders claimed to be a victim and told officers he ran and hid in the bathroom when he heard someone breaking into the apartment. When asked by officers, Saunders said he didn't live in the apartment, but said he knew the owner and had permission to stay there.

    Police contacted the owner, who told them he didn't know Saunders and that no one had permission to be in the apartment. Saunders was arrested.

    Officers also caught up with the other suspect, Johnnie Newkirk, 38, of Bridgeport, a few blocks away.

    Police recovered a pillow case filled with items inside the apartment.

    Saunders and Newkirk were both charged with second-degree burglary, possession of burglary tools and interfering with police. Both men were held on $50,000 bond.



    Photo Credit: Bridgeport Police

    Samuel Saunders (left) and Johnnie Newkirk are accused of burglarizing a home on Englewood Avenue in Bridgeport.  Saunders was found sitting on a toilet inside the home, according to police.Samuel Saunders (left) and Johnnie Newkirk are accused of burglarizing a home on Englewood Avenue in Bridgeport. Saunders was found sitting on a toilet inside the home, according to police.

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    Sandy Hook Elementary students return to class Thursday morning for the first time since 20 first-graders and six women were killed in the Newtown shooting rampage almost three weeks ago.

    School buses and cars will shuttle elementary students to nearby Chalk Hill Middle School in the nearby town of Monroe, Connecticut —now renamed "Sandy Hook Elementary"— where security has been ramped up for days.

    “I think, right now, it has to be the safest school in America,” said Monroe police Lt. Keith White.

    Police said they are stopping every vehicle that goes onto the campus and interviewing the people inside. Several security devices have been installed and police will remain at the scene until further notice.

    On Dec. 14, gunman Adam Lanza, 20, killed his mother then drove to Sandy Hook Elementary, forced his way into the Newtown school, and killed 20 children and six educators before taking his own life as authorities closed in.

    During an open house at the new Sandy Hook on Wednesday, parent Vinny Alvarez thanked his daughter Cynthia's third grade teacher for protecting her class during the rampage. The teacher, Courtney Martin, locked her classroom door and had the children huddle in a corner of the room, The Associated Press reported.

    "I'm not worried about her going back," Alvarez told the AP of his daughter. "The fear kind of kicks back in a little bit, but we're very excited for her and we got to see many, many kids today. The atmosphere was very cheerful."

    Besides security, making the school comfortable and welcoming for students has also been a top priority for school officials. Janet Robinson, superintendent of schools in Newtown, said 80 people have been working to get the school ready for Thursday.

    "Right now, Chalk Hill has been transformed from a middle school to a very cheerful, nurturing elementary school,” Robinson said.

    Furniture has been moved from the old building and the building will be decorated like a winter wonderland, filled with snowflakes people from around the world sent to the Connecticut PTSA to help make the students feel welcome.

    “The students coming in completes the circle,” Robinson said. "That's what's missing right now, is getting our students back."

    Former principal Donna Page will lead the school and Robinson called this a “Godsend” to help the transition process.

    Some of the set-up looks just like it did at Sandy Hook, but there will also be differences. 

    "Teachers were creative in setting up the rooms, and some of them are very different,” Robinson said.

    The school will also accommodate parents who want to go into the school Thursday, Robinson said.  

    Teachers and staff were at the school on Wednesday morning and were visited by Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy before the open house, the AP reported.

    Several students and parents have already visited and the children were thrilled with the gymnasium, which is much larger than the one at their former school, White said.
     


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    A Torrington man was arrested and charged after allegedly threatening to shoot and kill his co-workers.

    Farmington police said the incident stemmed from an altercation Robert Zordan, 53, had at his job, at Connecticut Spring and Stamping. Police said Zordan became angry and left, and when a friend called to see if he was alright, Zordan allegedly threatened to shoot people at work with one of his guns.

    Investigators didn’t reveal what may have caused Zordan to make the alleged threat, but when they searched his home in Torrington, they found 16 guns.

    “One of the firearms that we seized ended up being an illegal assault rifle,” said Lt. Colin Ryan, with the Farmington Police Dept.

    News of the alleged workplace threat alarmed many, who were still reeling from the recent school shooting in Newtown.

    “Now, threats are being made…your kids or peoples’ kids are coming in with guns…it’s very hard to predict what people can do,” said Gabrielle DeVito.

    “I don’t know if it’s the times, because everything is stressful or people aren’t making the money they need to make to survive…what makes them pop, I don’t know,” said Jeff Knight.

    Connecticut Spring and Stamping wouldn’t comment on the incident.

    Zordan was charged with breach of peace and possession of an assault weapon. He’s due in court next week.

     


    Robert Zordan, 53, was arrested Wednesday afternoon after he threatened to shoot and kill his co-workers.Robert Zordan, 53, was arrested Wednesday afternoon after he threatened to shoot and kill his co-workers.

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    A Brooklyn man is facing several charges after he barged into a church naked, and exposed himself to parishioners and a third grade class Wednesday afternoon.

    The incident happened around 2:00 p.m., at St. James Catholic Church on Water Street in the Town of Killingly. 

    The pastor told NBC Connecticut he got in through a front door that was supposed to be locked.

    “It's very scary your heart stops a beat for a minute or two,” said Tracy Caffrey. 

    It was scary for that parent, because her young daughter was inside and saw everything.

    “She said it was scary she said it was sudden,” Caffrey added. 

    The stranger allegedly exposed himself to a third grade class from the St. James School a few feet away.  The kids were in the middle of mass practice, and parishioners were there too.

    “It was very scary, they were definitely distraught,” Caffrey said. 

    The teacher inside the church did everything she could to protect her students. “She told the man to leave and told the kids go to the school immediately,” explained Father John O’Neill.

    Police showed up right away after they got a 911 call.  They arrested Gary Pohronezny at the St. James Church, and took him to the hospital for a psychological evaluation.  The Pastor told NBC Connecticut Pohronezny was known to police.

    While the scare at the church was tough for families to deal with, they were grateful no one was hurt.

    “Very thankful, especially after everything that's happened lately,” Caffrey said. 

    They were also thankful the unwanted visitor was put behind bars.

    After police made the arrest they went back to the St. James School and talked to the kids because they were scared.  The goal was to calm their fears and make sure they felt safe. 

    The suspect, Gary Pohronezny, was charged with disorderly conduct, risk of injury to minors, and interfering with police. He will be in court on January 10th.
     


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    A Canton couple escaped their home after flames broke out Wednesday evening.

    Fire crews responded to 4 Freedom Drive at around 5:10 p.m.

    The couple got out safely, but their home is completely destroyed.

    No other homes in the area were damaged.

    The cause of the fire is still under investigation.
     


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    Lawrence and Memorial Hospital in New London has temporarily restricted patient visitation due to a sharp rise in the influenza virus in the area around the facility.

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    Lawmakers averted the fiscal cliff by raising income taxes on the wealthy, but in this deal everyone's taking a hit. That's because Social Security payroll taxes are going up for all American workers. Here's what you need to know.

    What is the Social Security payroll tax?

    It funds Social Security through a tax on wages, split by employers and workers.

    What changed?

    In 2011, President Barack Obama pushed for, and Congress enacted, a temporary reduction to the amount of payroll taxes that workers must pay. The cut, known as a tax holiday, eased the burden from 6.2 percent to 4.2 percent of a worker's salary (the employers' rate remained at 6.2 percent). That rate was extended through the end of 2012. The point was to stimulate the economy by giving workers more take-home pay – about $1,000 a year for someone with a $50,000 salary. Because the new fiscal-cliff legislation does not extend the payroll tax reduction again, that holiday has ended.

    How much is the payroll tax going up, and who will be impacted?

    Workers’ share now returns to 6.2 percent. Just about all of the country's 160 million wage earners will be affected, according to Joseph Rosenberg, a researcher at the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center. The Wall Street Journal has a handy calculator that tells you exactly how much more you'll have to pay in payroll taxes.

    How bad is the impact, and when will it begin?

    The new rate covers salaries up to $113,700, meaning the biggest increase a single wage-earner will have to pay is $2,274. Married couples who both earn above that maximum amount will each have to pay, Rosenberg said. Employers have until mid-February to begin taking the added money out of paychecks.

    Is there any way, realistically, that the 2011 rate will return?

    Not anytime soon. There was no serious talk during the fiscal cliff negotiations about extending the payroll tax cut; it just wasn’t on either party’s priority list. So there isn’t much chance that the cut will be revisited now that the deal is done.

    Where can I find more information?

    Check out the Internal Revenue Service's new guide here, and the Tax Policy Center's tax calculator here.

    Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

    The Associated Press contributed reporting.



    Photo Credit: Getty Images

    Vice President Joe Biden, who appeared with the president after the House approved the measure, helped engineer the deal to avoid the fiscal cliff -- but payroll taxes will still rise in 2013.Vice President Joe Biden, who appeared with the president after the House approved the measure, helped engineer the deal to avoid the fiscal cliff -- but payroll taxes will still rise in 2013.

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    Making students feel welcome is the goal school officials and police have for Sandy Hook Elementary students who will be returning to class on Thursday morning for the first time since 20 first-graders and six women were killed in a shooting rampage almost three weeks ago.

    The students are being moved to Chalk Hill Middle School, seven miles away in Monroe, but the sign outside will say "Sandy Hook Elementary" because the name has officially been changed. 

    Janet Robinson, superintendent of schools in Newtown, said 80 people have been working to get the school ready for the students.

    "Right now, Chalk Hill has been transformed from a middle school to a very cheerful, nurturing elementary school,” Robinson said.

    Furniture has been moved from the old building and the building will be decorated like a winter wonderland, filled with snowflakes people from around the world sent to the Connecticut PTSA to help make the students feel welcome.

    “The students coming in completes the circle,” Robinson said. "That's what's missing right now, is getting our students back."

    Former principal Donna Page will lead the school and Robinson called this a “God send” to help the transition process.

    Some of the set-up looks just like it did at Sandy Hook, but there will also be differences. 

    "Teachers were creative in setting up the rooms, and some of them are very different,” Robinson said.

    Security is at the forefront of minds as children prepare to return.

    The school will be able to accommodate parents who want to go into the school tomorrow, Robinson said.  

    School officials said police have worked tirelessly to make the school safe.

    “I think, right now, it has to be the safest school in America,” Lt. Keith White, of Monroe police, said. 
    Police said they are stopping every vehicle that goes onto the campus and interviewing the people inside.

    Several security devices have been installed and police will remain at the scene until further notice.
    Teachers and staff were at the school on Wednesday morning. Several students and parents have already visited and the children were thrilled with the gymnasium, which is much larger than the one at their former school, White said.
     


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    A teacher from North Stonington accused with leaving the scene of a crash in Rhode Island that injured a 16-year-old pedestrian and driving under the influence has pleaded not guilty.

    Adriana Wright, 42, was charged in connection with a hit-and-run crash on Route 2 in Charlestown, Rhode Island on Dec. 27 at 9:15 p.m., according to a news release from police.

    She pleaded not guilty, according to the Providence Journal, and was released on a promise to pay $10,000 for failure to appear.

    The boy Wright is accused of hitting was walking in the breakdown lane when he was struck, according to police. He is the son of a South Kingston, R.I. police officer, according to NBC 10 in Rhode Island.

    The teen suffered bruises, lacerations and a concussion and has since been released from the hospital, Charlestown Police Chief Jeffrey Allen told NBC Connecticut.

    Wright is a teacher at Prout, a prestigious Catholic college preparatory high school in Rhode Island, according to police. She has been placed on administrative leave on Wednesday.

    The school Web site says she is a foreign languages teacher.

    She is married to a Connecticut police officer, Allen said.

    After the crash, Coventry police alerted all departments in the state to be looking for a vehicle that might be involved and state police in Wickford, R.I. said they had impounded a vehicle that might have been connected to the crash. Crime lab investigators collected evidence and police obtained an arrest warrant for Wright.

    She is due in court on Thursday afternoon to be formally charged with leaving the scene of an accident resulting in serious injury and reckless driving resulting in serious injury. She will also be charged in Rhode Island Traffic Tribunal with due care by drivers, use of breakdown lane for travel and laned roadway violation, according to a news release from poluce.

    According to court documents, state police charged Wright with driving under the influence, transporting a child under the age of 13. A pre-trial conference on the state police charges is scheduled for Jan. 7.

    She also was ordered to not drive until further notice and report to Charlestown police for processing.

     



    Photo Credit: Prout School

    Adriana Wright, as seen here in a photo posted on the Prout school Web site, has been charged by R.I. State Police and police in Charlestown, Rhode Island.Adriana Wright, as seen here in a photo posted on the Prout school Web site, has been charged by R.I. State Police and police in Charlestown, Rhode Island.

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    A crash closed Interstate 91 southbound for about an hour Thursday evening.

    According to State Police, several vehicles, including a tractor trailer, were involved in the crash between near exit 22s on the Rocky Hill-Cromwell town line around 5 p.m.

    There were minor injuried reported, police said.  The highway reopened just after 6 p.m.



    Photo Credit: Connecticut DOT

    A crash closed I-91 southbound Thursday, backing up traffic for miles in Rocky Hill.A crash closed I-91 southbound Thursday, backing up traffic for miles in Rocky Hill.

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    When U.S. Senator Chris Murphy took the oath at noon on Thursday, the 39-year-old became the youngest member of the Senate.

    Murphy defeated Linda McMahon in the general election and is filling the seat that Sen. Joe Lieberman.

    Murphy served six years in the U.S. House, so he is no stranger to how Washington works. 

    “I’ve been proud to work for the 41 towns of the Fifth District in the House of Representatives, and I’m going to bring the same passion and work ethic to my job in the Senate,” Murphy said in a statement.

    “I’m going to fight to strengthen Connecticut’s economy—with the right policies coming from Washington, there is no reason why Connecticut can’t grow jobs in science, technology, manufacturing, and defense “

    He also said he’ll be a leader in health care law and fighting against gun violence,

    “And I’m going to be a leading voice in the national conversation to end the kind of gun violence that shattered precious young lives and devastated a community in Newtown, Connecticut just three weeks ago,” Murphy said.

    While Murphy is the youngest member of the 113th Congress, the youngest  Senator in history is John Henry Easton of Tennessee. Despite the Constitutional requirement that Senators be at least 30, he was 28 when he took the oath on Nov, 16, 1818. You can learn more about how that happened on the United States Senate Web site.

     



    Photo Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS

    Newley-elected Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy celebrates his win with wife Cathy Holahan Murphy over Republican Linda McMahon in Hartford, Conn., Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012.  (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)Newley-elected Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy celebrates his win with wife Cathy Holahan Murphy over Republican Linda McMahon in Hartford, Conn., Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)

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    Gay marriage cleared a first hurdle to becoming law in Illinois on Thursday afternoon after gaining approval in a state Senate committee.

    The action by the Senate Executive Committee means the bill can now move to the full Senate.

    When exactly supporters would get a crack at the divisive issue in that body remained unclear. Democrats called off a full Senate vote earlier in the day after Sen. Heather Steans (D-Chicago) said three lawmakers weren't present for the General Assembly's lame-duck session. One Democrat was out of the country and another had a family issue to attend, while a GOP supporter was absent because of her mother's death.

    But Steans said the delay would only push a vote into next week or, at the latest, soon after the new Legislature is sworn in Jan. 9.

    "This is definitely a question of when, not if," Steans said. "This is the right thing to be doing."

    Senate Democrats hold a 35-24 majority, but even in President Barack Obama's home state, party members outside Chicago don't always toe the line. Not all are on board with extending marriage rights to same-sex couples, and key supporters did not attend Thursday's session.

    If the measure becomes law, Illinois would become the 10th state to approve same-sex marriage. It would be the first state to adopt it after momentum built following several successes across the nation in the November election and public encouragement from President Barack Obama.

    Advocates are pushing for full gay marriage rights just 18 months after the state recognized civil unions.

    Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle is among the supporters.

    "Gay and lesbian couples deserve full recognition of their relationships," she said in a statement shortly after the committee's vote. "Couples who are in loving, committed relationships should be able to marry and be treated equally in the eye of the law."

    Many faith organizations are opposed to the proposal on religious freedom grounds, arguing it would compel them to treat same-sex unions as the equivalent of traditional marriage.

    "The bill, as it's drafted now, will make it almost impossible for a religious organization to prohibit the use of its facilities for same-sex marriages, even if the tenets of that particular faith are diametrically opposed to that, and I think it's a fatal flaw in the bill," said Sen. Dale Righter (R-Mattoon).

    But proponents said the legislation would not impinge on religious beliefs because religious organizations would not have to recognize or consecrate gay marriage.

    "It's really important to understand it's not within its own church facility itself that's primarily used for religious purpose. If you have an ancillary facility that does do renting out for public accommodation and is getting payment in exchange for that, that you cannot deny equal access to to all individuals," Steans said after the vote.

    A gay actor who stars in a popular TV comedy campaigned for the measure in Illinois while religious leaders -- including a phalanx of 1,700 clergy, from Catholic to Muslim -- united in writing lawmakers to oppose it.

    "The real peril: If marriage is redefined in civil law, individuals and religious organizations --  regardless of deeply held beliefs -- will be compelled to treat same-sex unions as the equivalent of marriage in their lives, ministries and operations," said the letter, penned by leaders of Catholic, Lutheran, Baptist, Mormon, Anglican, and Islamic faiths.

    In a twist not uncommon in Illinois politics, the state's Republican Party chairman said he was lobbying for what he termed a "conservative" position in favor of proposal, calling it a matter of equality for "the party of Lincoln."

    "I don't think the government should be in the business of telling people who can and can't get married," GOP chairman Pat Brady said Thursday. "... This is the most conservative position."

    The proposal was a political risk for Democrats, who came to Springfield with voters most concerned about the $96 billion debt in the state's public pension systems, a problem Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn, a gay-marriage supporter, said should nonetheless be the lame-duck session's top priority.

    The plan is riding a wave from November ballot questions in several states bolstering gay marriage and support from Obama, whose political career began in the Illinois Senate.

    But the hiccups began before the champagne bottles were uncorked. Steans' attempt to amend marriage language onto an existing bill Wednesday night stalled when Republicans demanded a roll call on a procedural measure and defeated the bill's progress.

    The Associated Press contributed to this report.



    Photo Credit: AP

    Steven Bridges, left, receives a wedding ring from Michael Snell, early Saturday, Dec. 29, 2012, at City Hall in Portland, Maine. Same-sex couples in Maine are now legally allowed to marry under a new law that went into effect at 12:01 a.m. on Saturday. The Illinois Senate could consider a same-sex marriage bill Thursday. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)Steven Bridges, left, receives a wedding ring from Michael Snell, early Saturday, Dec. 29, 2012, at City Hall in Portland, Maine. Same-sex couples in Maine are now legally allowed to marry under a new law that went into effect at 12:01 a.m. on Saturday. The Illinois Senate could consider a same-sex marriage bill Thursday. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

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    Giants closer Sergio Romo was cited on New Year's Day at the Las Vegas airport, according to the Giants.

    TMZ first reported the story Thursday, but it was later confirmed by the team.

    A couple hours later Romo himself was apologizing for what happened and promising better conduct in the future.

    “I would like to sincerely apologize about the recent events at the Las Vegas airport which brought negative attention to the San Francisco Giants organization and its fans. I love and respect the Giants, my teammates and our fans and promise to conduct myself in the future in the 'San Francisco Giants Way,'" Romo said in a statement released by the team Thursday night. 

    Earlier in the day, a member of public relations department at the Giants told NBC Bay Area that Romo was taken to the police station at the airport, where he was cited for "violating airport rules."

    A TSA spokesperson said the incident happened at 8:30 a.m. and was sparked because Romo did not have the identification required to get through security.

    Las Vegas police officer Marcus Martin told Bay City News Romo allegedly became agitated with Transportation Security  Administration agents and was standing in an aggressive stance, had  clenched fists, and didn't back down when police officers arrived.

     "You can't be uncooperative with TSA officials or you will be  taken into custody," Martin told BCN.

    TMZ said Romo became 'angry and aggressive' after he wasn't able to provide officials proper identification to get through security. TMZ sited officials who said Romo appeared to be under the influence.

    The TSA released the following statement which did not include a name:

    “On Jan 1, 2013 at approximately 0830 PST at the Las Vegas McCarran International Airport, a male passenger was unable to provide identification required of travelers at the TSA Document Control station at the C-Annex Checkpoint. During the document identification process, the airport police noticed the individual engaged in a dispute with a TSA officer and took action. The security of other travelers was not compromised.”

    It did not appear the incident ended in an arrest; only a citation.  

     



    Photo Credit: Getty Images

    Pitcher Sergio Romo #54 of the San Francisco Giants runs along the parade route.Pitcher Sergio Romo #54 of the San Francisco Giants runs along the parade route.

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    A 17-year-old was flown by Life Star helicopter to Hartford Hospital after being hit by a car in Willimantic.

    The teen was struck in a private parking lot near 210 Birch Street shortly before 4 p.m., according to police.

    State Police said the victim and the driver are both students.

    An ambulance transported the victim to Windham Hospital and the teenager was then taken by Life Star to Hartford Hospital, according to Willimantic Fire Chief Marc Scrivener. The driver of the car remained on the scene, Scrivener said.

    Birch Street remained closed while State Police investigated the accident. Police are not releasing any information about the victim's condition.


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    The town of Hamden has spent years and tens of millions of dollars to remove industrial waste buried under hundreds of homes in the Newhall section of town. On Friday, a completion ceremony will be held to mark the end of the largest residential cleanup in Connecticut history.

    According to the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection
    , the entire neighborhood was built over a swamp that became a landfill that was full of trash from an old factory.

    In 2000, were plans to build an addition to the middle school on Newhall Street uncovered unsafe amounts of chemicals in the soil. http://www.newhallinfo.org/html-history/html-linkpages/history1a.html

    Soon afterward, the state started investigating soil and groundwater conditions and developed a plan to remove contamination from the neighborhood.

    In all, more than 130,000 cubic yards of waste fill that was buried under 240 properties was removed.

    The multi-million dollar project also focused on restoring all pre-existing features on the properties, including sidewalks and driveways.

    The completion ceremony will begin at 11 a.m.
     



    Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

    The largest residential cleanup project in Connecticut history is over and a completion ceremony will be held on Friday.The largest residential cleanup project in Connecticut history is over and a completion ceremony will be held on Friday.

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    To say times have been tough for Chris Gelinas is an understatement. The 16-year-old from Corpus Christi, Texas, has been battling a rare form of cancer for years and doctors recently told the teenager there’s no further treatment that can help defeat the epitheliod sarcoma.

    Chris’ fight is nearing its end.

    Despite the grim reality, family and friends continue to encourage Chris. His fellow students at Tuloso-Midway High School started doing what any teenager would do in this situation: they took to Facebook.

    Hundreds of schoolmates started a campaign in hopes of reaching Chris’ favorite athlete: Kobe Bryant. One call to the Lakers and NBC4 was able to help deliver Chris a personal message directly from Bryant himself.

    "Hey Chris, what’s going on, this is Kobe," Bryant said in a video message. "Just wanted to say thank you so much for your support and for what you continue to embody and the spirit that you have to endure and to persevere and to fight. That’s an inspiration for me. Just wanted to take time to give you a shout out, say hello. Hope you had a merry, merry Christmas and a happy, happy New Year."

    Chris was thrilled to hear the message from the player he’s idolized for as long as he can remember. Though the cancer has taken his eyesight, Chris couldn’t help but smile hearing Bryaant speak directly to him.

    Chris’ father Gary Gelinas was extremely grateful.

    "I think it’s awesome Kobe took time out of his personal life to send something to Chris," Gary Gelinas said. "He has been a fan since birth practically and to have his guy send something personal to him meant a lot to us."

    Being asked meant a lot to Bryant, too.

    "As a kid growing up all I wanted to do was play basketball," he said. "As you get older, you never thought in your wildest dreams that you’d be able to have that kind of impact on people."

    The Lakers’ star, humbled by the request, said it helps put everything into perspective.

    "It really adds more of a sense of purpose to your life when you feel like you can help others or inspire others," Bryant said. "I just feel extremely fortunate and extremely blessed to be able to do that."


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    One New Haven legislator wants to institute ammunition control in the aftermath of what happened at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown.

    State Senator Martin Looney said politicians must inspire public confidence and make children feel safe in their schools and residents feel safe in their communities. He knows this initiative alone won’t combat mass shootings, but believes it’s a start.

    “A gun without ammunition is only a club. We really need to restrict access to ammunition,” Looney said.

    His proposal would prohibit anyone barred from owning a gun from owning bullets or any kind of ammunition.

    “If we do a number of comprehensive initiatives in the aggregate, I think we can have some impact,” he said.

    Rich Burgess, president of Connecticut Carry, a gun rights lobbying group, said he  is dumbfounded by this bill.

    “What does this ban seek to achieve? It doesn’t make any sense,” Burgess said. “To be jumping on the bandwagon now and coming out with silly nonsensical legislation to combat what? Would have this stopped the Sandy Hook massacre?”

    Looney will introduce the bill during the new session, which begins on Jan 9.

    He hopes it will come in tandem with proposed restrictions on large-capacity magazines as well as the enhancement of mental health services and school security.

    Burgess on the other hand says there’s already a federal law that bans the sale of ammunition to felons so bringing it to a state level doesn’t make any sense to him.

    “Don’t penalize hundreds of millions of gun owners for the actions of a mad man for reasons that can’t be explained,” Burgess said.

    Looney says he hopes to have this passed by February or March.
     



    Photo Credit: Getty Images

    State Senator Martin Looney said politicians must inspire public confidence and make children feel safe in their schools and residents feel safe in their communities. He knows this initiative alone won’t combat mass shootings, but believes it’s a start.State Senator Martin Looney said politicians must inspire public confidence and make children feel safe in their schools and residents feel safe in their communities. He knows this initiative alone won’t combat mass shootings, but believes it’s a start.

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    Newington High School was evacuated for a short time because of a gas odor.

    The fire department has since left the high school, which located at 605 Willard Ave.

    No further information is available.


    Newington High School was evacuated because of a gas odor.Newington High School was evacuated because of a gas odor.

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    San Francisco's first river otter in decades has appeared in the ruins of historic baths near the city's coast, stumping and delighting locals — and happily devouring the goldfish they dump there.

    The otter has been dubbed Sutro Sam by scientists, for his residency in a spring-fed freshwater pool among the ruins of the historic swimming complex known as the Sutro Baths.

    Sam favors a pool full of oversized goldfish among the ruins, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. Scientists say he appears to have swum across the Golden Gate from Marin County, just across the strait to the city's north, but they are not sure.

    So many otters have popped up in Marin that some wildlife-conscious resident has erected an "Otter Crossing" sign in the town of Larkspur, the newspaper reported.

    Sutro Sam is not afraid of people and is well-fed and healthy, the scientists say. The pool he's found at Sutro is perfect for an otter — it's next to the ocean but is fed with fresh water from underground, the newspaper reported.

    He's eating carp-sized goldfish, dumped there by residents, "like potato chips," according to Megan Isadore of the River Otter Ecology Project.

    Sam has been in the waters near Sutro since September, the newspaper reported. Scientists will conduct tests on the jelly found in his intestines, which may help to digest fish bones. In the meantime, otter-watchers are asked to keep their dogs away from Sam's pool — so the dogs don't get bitten.

    To donate to the Sam-testing efforts, visit riverotterecology.org.

    See more Sam photos here.



    Photo Credit: Jouko van der Kruijssen

    A river otter dubbed Sutro Sam is living in a pool in the ruins of the historic Sutro Baths in San Francisco.A river otter dubbed Sutro Sam is living in a pool in the ruins of the historic Sutro Baths in San Francisco.

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    With the new Congress sworn in, Washington is now turning its attention to the next leaders to take the oath of office: President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden.

    "I will be honored to again stand on the inaugural platform and take part in this important American tradition," Obama said.

    Obama will be sworn in publicly for his second term by Chief Justice John Roberts on Jan. 21, Martin Luther King Day, at the U.S. Capitol, but he will be administered the actual oath a day earlier, as per the Constitution.

    Vice President Joe Biden will be sworn in — as per his personal selection — by Justice Sonia Sotomayor, whom he called "a friend" by whom it would be "an incredible honor" to be given the oath.

    Sotomayor will become the first Hispanic judge, and only the fourth woman, ever to have administered an oath of office.

    The unusual practice of having separate official and ceremonial swearing-in ceremonies is taking place this year because Inauguration Day, Jan. 20, falls on a Sunday, when courts and other public institutions are closed.

    As in years past, the Obama and Biden families called on Americans to participate in a National Day of Service Saturday, Jan. 19, in the run-up to the inauguration — this year in honor of Martin Luther King, given the ceremony's coinciding this year with the holiday that honors his birth.



    Photo Credit: AP

    President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden will be officially sworn in on a Sunday.President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden will be officially sworn in on a Sunday.

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