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    For the first time in more than two months, reservoir water levels in Waterbury have reached above 50 percent. 

    "Very good," Waterbury resident Magret Mastropietro said. 

    Mastropietro said she is happy to see the new reservoir water levels posted on the city of Waterbury's website. 

    "Great, that's good news,” she said. 

    Since the statewide drought, the city has put in place a mandatory water conversation order for all residents. That means no outdoor use of water, no excessive use of water and of course no wasting water. 

    Restaurants aren't even supposed to serve water unless you ask for it. 

    "I conserve water. I wash my hands and shut it off. I don't waste any water," Waterbury resident Bill Kaytis said. 

    Last month, water levels hovered around 47 percent, which meant only 177 days of usable water, but now with a nearly 10 percent increase, usable water been stretched to 30 days. 

    "We need a lot more," Kaytis said. 

    Water authorities said if water levels do reach more than 50 percent, like they are now, the city is not necessarily in the clear. 

    "With the mandatory water restrictions they remain in place until we are above 50 percent for a month’s time," Superintendent of Water, Donald Carver, said. 

    For now, neighbors said any water level increase during a drought is still a nice drop in the bucket. 

    "Very good, I’m glad,” Mastropietro said. 

    According to water officials, the reservoirs not only have to stay about 50 percent for 30 days, but there also must be substantial rainfall in that time period. 

    Only then could officials consider lifting the water conservation mandate.


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    An elderly woman was seriously injured when she was hit by a car in a Stop & Shop parking lot Thursday, according to Madison police.

    Police said the woman was hit around 2:45 p.m. in the parking lot of the store, located at 128 Samson Rock Road. She was taken to the hospital with serious injuries.

    The driver did stay on scene and is cooperating with investigators, police said. The South Central Regional Traffic Unit and Madison police are investigating the crash.

    Anyone with information or who witnessed the accident should call Madison police at 203-245-2721.



    Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

    Madison police file photoMadison police file photo

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    President Barack Obama awarded a teary-eyed Joe Biden with the Presidential Medal of Freedom Thursday, praising the vice president as an "extraordinary man with an extraordinary career in public service."

    Obama said he's bestowing Biden, who appeared visibly stunned, with the nation's highest civilian honor for "faith in your fellow Americans, for your love of country and a lifetime of service that will endure through the generations."

    "For the first and only time in my presidency, I will bestow this medal with an additional level of veneration, an honor my three most recent successors have reserved for only three others: Pope John Paul II, Ronald Reagan and Gen. Colin Powell," Obama said at a White House ceremony billed as a tribute dedicated to honoring the outgoing vice president.

    Taking the podium, a surprised Biden said he had "no inkling." 

    The vice president said he doesn't deserve the honor, but knows "it came from the president's heart."

    Biden praised his wife and children for their support throughout his career, and praised the Obama family for their dedication to country and service.

    "I was part of the journey of a remarkable man who did remarkable things," Biden said.

    With Biden by his side, Obama says the tribute will give the Internet one last chance to joke about the "bromance" the two share.

    He honored Biden’s lifetime of public service, including his decades in the Senate and eight years as president, from the Violence Against Women Act, diplomacy, his “cancer moonshot,” and “It’s On Us” campaign to combat sexual assault on college campuses.

    Obama says his choice of Biden was the "best possible choice, not just for me, but for the American people."

    Listing the influences in Biden's life, from the nuns who taught him in grade school, to his Senate colleagues, to his parents, the president commended the "Biden heart."

    "His work does not capture the full measure of Joe Biden, I haven’t even mentioned Amtrak, aviators, and 'literally,'” he quipped.

    Noting that Biden's career is "nowhere close to finished," Obama says his vice president will go on to have an impact domestically and internationally.



    Photo Credit: Getty Images

    U.S. President Barack Obama presents the Medal of Freedom to Vice-President Joe Biden during an event in the State Dinning room of the White House, January 12, 2017 in Washington, DC.U.S. President Barack Obama presents the Medal of Freedom to Vice-President Joe Biden during an event in the State Dinning room of the White House, January 12, 2017 in Washington, DC.

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    After Newington parents posted their concerns on social media about the conditions inside of Anna Reynolds Elementary School, the school district is responding.

    Images from inside the school were posted to the Newington school system's website show photos of the school bathroom with missing tile, paint coming off of the wall and rust around a vent. In the gymnasium, the ceiling is in need of repair.

    Before they were posted on the school system's website parents and Newington residents took to social media wanting answers about what was being done to improve conditions inside the elementary school, which has never been renovated. One woman even posted photos which showed the ceiling in disrepair.

    "It needs a little updating. I went here as a child so it's an old school," said Laura Capuano, who has children at Anna Reynolds Elementary School.

    Upon seeing the concern on social media, Superintendent Dr. William Collins posted a reply to all parents on the system’s website.

    He told NBC Connecticut he agrees with parents that the school is in need of a renovation, which is estimated to cost at least $14 million.

    But town officials tabled the school system's request in September 2016 to begin the process of renovating the school as town officials work on renovating town hall.

    “As soon as they get the arrangements with town hall done I’m very hopeful that we’ll be able to follow through and renovate the building because it does need work,” said Collins.

    The school was built in 1954. It was originally scheduled to be renovated during the 2015-2016 school year, but has been pushed back to at least the year 2019.

    “We’re going to do our best to get the building renovated. The kids and staff deserve it,” Collins said.

    The superintendent wants parents to know there are no safety hazards at the school and if there are any, they will be fixed immediately.


    Photos posted to social media and the Newington school system's website show the conditions inside the Anna Reynolds Elementary School.Photos posted to social media and the Newington school system's website show the conditions inside the Anna Reynolds Elementary School.

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    The next time it snows blue lights may brighten up Hartford. It’s part of an effort to make sure drivers don’t get ticketed or towed when there’s a snow emergency parking ban in effect.

    The City of Hartford announced its blue light initiative Thursday.

    “The next time we have a storm of 4 inches or more when we need to declare a snow parking ban, those blue lights are going to be turned on and that’s going to send a signal to the city that when those blue lights are on a snow parking ban will be in effect,” said Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin.

    The blue lights are located at 16 key intersections in the city. Look out for blue signs, too, for free snow storm parking. Drivers can leave them at city parks, recreation and senior centers and all Hartford District School parking lots or at any of these locations:

     

    • 130 Sisson Avenue
    • 20 Francis Court
    • 50 Curcombe Street
    • 2434 Main Street
    • 125 Main Street
    • 547 Park Street
    • 60 Chadwick Avenue
    • 2 Holcomb Street
    • 11 Flower Street
    • 80 Coventry Street

     

    “We worked closely with the Department of Public Works out of the real time crime center developing data and mapping as to where the neighborhoods needed it most to have these types of lots and these types of notifications,” said Deputy Chief Brian Foley.

    When the blue light turns on, that means all on-street parking is prohibited in the City of Hartford. Cars left parked on city streets will be ticked and towed.

    “That’s a good idea that you see the light… it’s a ban,” said Hartford resident Nora Maldonado.

    The blue light initiative hopes to not only improve communication of when the ban is in effect, but also keep public work crews safe.

    "We have very narrow streets in this city – it is very time consuming to drive large trucks we have behind us through city streets and protect people’s vehicles," said Public Works Director Marilynn Cruz-Aponte.

    Additional Snow Emergency Parking Ban information can be found by visiting www.hartford.gov/snow-parking.



    Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

    Blue lights will flash at key intersections to notify Hartford residents when there is a snow emergency parking ban.Blue lights will flash at key intersections to notify Hartford residents when there is a snow emergency parking ban.

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    Violent crimes are on the way down in the Elm City, according to 2016 statistics released Thursday by the New Haven Police Department.

    The number of homicides had dropped from 34 in 2011 to 13 last year. The number of robberies, rapes and aggravated assaults last year were lower than in 2015.

    “I want to thank the men and women of this police department who go out there every day, they’re the real heroes here,” Assistant Chief Achilles Generoso said at a Thursday morning news conference. “They’re the ones that have driven down these numbers.”

    Between 2003 and 2012, there was an average of 126 non-fatal shootings. That number dropped to 64 in the past four years.

    “We’re not sitting on our laurels,” said Asst. Chief Generoso, who is in charge of the NHPD Investigative Bureau, “we’re moving forward to drive down those numbers that we’ve already driven down by half.”

    U.S. Attorney for the District of Connecticut Deirdre Daly said the decline in violent crime reflects the success of Project Longevity, a joint New Haven Police and federal law enforcement initiative that targets the most violent offenders.

    “I would suggest that what it is an intensive open and transparent sharing of intelligence,” she said at the news conference.

    This year New Haven Police plan to step up that collaboration with a new state of the art intel crime center. Interim Chief Anthony Campbell said it will tap into the ShotSpotter technology that alerts police when and where shots are fired.

    “We’ll be able to pull up photographs, video etc.” Chief Campbell said, “to be able to share with our partners and make apprehensions a lot quicker, grab people who may have been involved in violent crimes.”

    Larceny and motor vehicle thefts in New Haven are two crimes that did go up in 2016 from the previous year – both by less than 10 percent.

    At the news conference, Chief Campbell said officers should be outfitted with body cameras by June. 


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    Mobile food vendors in New Haven will weigh in on the city’s proposals to revise the rules and guidelines for their industry at a public hearing Thursday night at City Hall.

    Jimmy Khalid owns six Ali Baba’s Fusion food carts in New Haven.

    “I’m in this business,” he said, “when we were just a few carts used to be around in the whole city.”

    With the food truck business now booming in the Elm City, Deputy Economic Development Director Steve Fontana has spent several years compiling new rules to regulate the industry, including license fees for vendors to reserve their own spots.

    “What they hate doing is driving around in circles looking for a place to park,” Fontana said, “or not knowing someone is going to take the spot they thought was theirs the next day.”

    The proposed yearly feed fee for push carts or stands is $1,000. It is $2,500 for food trucks or trailers. Vendors on Long Wharf will be charged $500 for electricity.

    “Give people a chance and actually ask them to pay something in addition,” Fontana said, “so that we can plow that back into increase enforcement, additional clean-ups, police coverage.”

    “I don’t have any problem with that,” Khalid said of the city’s proposed fees.

    But Khalid worries about this proposal for vendors to set up in the Yale University ice rink parking lot to move back onto the Sachem Street sidewalks.

    “It’s like a food court,” he said, “and it’s very safe for anybody, any customer.”

    Khalid said hundreds of customers have signed a petition against the proposed change.

    “Will you show these signatures at the meeting tonight?” NBC Connecticut asked.

    “I will bring it with me, yeah,” Khalid said.

    The move back onto the sidewalk is part of the city proposal to create four special vending districts: downtown, Cedar Street by Yale-New Haven Hospital, Long Wharf and Sachem Street.


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    The town of Groton is asking people to help them craft their image – literally.

    “How do we stand out? How do we make ourselves stand out,” asked Sam Eisenbeiser, economic development specialist for the town of Groton.

    The town wants the community to help design a logo that captures the town's essence. It'll be used for community outreach and a website highlighting the town's economic development.

    "An image so that we can compete with the other town's around the country,” Eisenbeiser said.

    With Electric Boat in a hiring surge, looking to hit a peak employment of 18,000 people, Groton wants to cash in on the benefits.

    That means developing housing close enough for people to walk to shops and restaurants, and attracting EB suppliers instead of having that business go to neighboring towns, according to Eisenbeiser.

    Those who live in Groton say there's so much to highlight.

    "The Nautilus over at the sub base, and there are beautiful parks and places to take your dog and go hiking, and beaches,” said Nicki Finlayson, who lives on the Groton side of Mystic.

    “We know the community, we know what we have,” said Kali Woodhall, who lives in Mystic.

    Many are excited that they and their neighbors have the opportunity to showcase where they live.

    "Getting the community involved, I think it's very, very important to get people to the area and get people excited about what we have to offer,” said Rich Garmon, a resident on the Groton side of Mystic.

    Gone are the days of using the town’s seal to market. The Groton Business Association said Groton is so more than just an industrial town. It's time to show it.

    "We are so rich in resources here in Groton and we need to tell the world about it and we need to tell ourselves about it,” said Susan Bailey, chair of the Groton Business Association.

    The official launch of the competition is Jan. 19 and it runs through Feb. 28. participants need to create a ‘Brand Identity’ concept and logo with a slogan or tagline. The winner could win $250. For more information on the contest and how to submit an entry, visit www.groton-ct.gov/depts/plandev/edev.asp


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    JetBlue announced Wednesday that it will provide free high-speed Wi-Fi on all flights.

    While most airlines require its aircraft to reach cruising altitude before making Wi-Fi connectivity available, JetBlue's latest on board enhancement will get passengers connect online from the departure gate to the arrival gate.

    With its Fly-Fi internet system, passengers can watch free movies, stream content from Amazon Video, browse the web and use messaging apps on their personal devices.

    Frequent flyer members can also shop on Amazon.com while on board and earn three JetBlue TrueBlue points for each dollar spent on purchases.

    The feature was introduced in December 2013, but has since been installed on all of its fleet.

    “It’s 2017 and our customers expect to be connected everywhere, whether that be from the comfort of their sofa or 35,000 feet above it,” said Jamie Perry, vice president of marketing

    JetBlue is the only airline with free internet service for all passengers on every flight.



    Photo Credit: Getty Images

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    President-elect Donald Trump was informed about the existence of the unverified allegations against him about Russian ties after last Friday's intelligence briefing at Trump Tower on alleged Russian hacking, U.S. officials told NBC News.

    A senior U.S. official said that it was FBI Director James Comey himself who pulled Trump aside after the briefing and spoke with him one-on-one about the so-called "dossier," 35 pages of memos prepared by a former British spy for an anti-Trump client prior to last year's election.

    As NBC News has previously reported, Trump was not informed on the contents of the dossier during the formal briefing.



    Photo Credit: Getty Images

    President-elect Donald Trump, left, and FBI Director James ComeyPresident-elect Donald Trump, left, and FBI Director James Comey

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    The Hartford Police Department released its end of year report at the first COMPSTAT meeting of the year Thursday.

    The department announced that homicides, sex assaults, robberies and aggravated assaults were all down in 2016, compared to 2015.

    Homicides were down 54.8 percent in 2016 compared to the previous year. However, police noted that non-fatal shooting incidents increased 2.6 percent compared to 2015. Additionally, ShotSpotter detected 857 incidents in 2016, more than double the 394 incidents in 2015.

    Incidents of sexual assault were down 8.2 percent, robbery incidents were down 7.4 percent, and aggravated assaults were down 4.7 percent, police said.

    The property crime numbers were also favorable. Burglary incidents were down 4.7 percent and larceny incidents were down 2.1 percent. Auto thefts also saw a 14.6 percent decrease. Police noted that older model Hondas and Toyotas continued to be the most targeted vehicles for theft.

    Despite the positive outlook by number, city leaders said there was still much to do. Chief James Rovella noted that the city was working on ways to combat the ongoing opioid crisis and the issue would be addressed in more detail at future meetings. 

    Police said heroin and fentanyl use often drive other crimes, starting with property crime and going all the way up to homicides as guns are brought to the streets in exchange for drugs.

    The mayor echoed the police department's attitude on further work needing to be done.

    “A year in which many of the indicators of crime were down over the year before but that is not a reason to wave banners of victory – that’s a reason to redouble our efforts to make the city safer,” said Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin.

    The mayor also noted the city was continuing efforts to reduce gun violence and thanked the police department for their work.

    "You’ve done an extraordinary job this past year, as you always do, in an environment where you don’t have as many officers as you need, not as many officers as we want,” he said.



    Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

    Hartford officials released the 2016 crime statistics at the first compstat meeting of the year Thursday.Hartford officials released the 2016 crime statistics at the first compstat meeting of the year Thursday.

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    Outrage over a high school student’s social media post is causing controversy at Masuk High School in Monroe and its prompted one classmate to create a petition to have the student removed.

    Students at Masuk High School said the school is a wonderful place that encourages diversity. But one student’s social media posts are threatening that environment.

    “A lot of people are upset – I’m upset I signed the petition,” said Victoria Jones, a senior at Masuk.

    The unnamed student’s posts seem to be directed at students with disabilities, African Americans, and one post even mocked the tragedy at Sandy Hook.

    “I actually have a family member who is autistic and that is just completely wrong,” said senior Alexa Montalvo.

    The petition on Change.org linked to some of those images, which includes what appears to be the student’s Instagram profile. It reads, it part “My freedom of speech allows me to post offensive things. If you don’t like it you don’t have to look at it.”

    While the poster may have freedom of speech, some parents are concerned about what the posts are doing to the school environment.

    “When cyber bullying or any bullying that intimidates kids it takes away from their learning experience in high school,” said Masuk parent Mark Cavone.

    As of this writing the petition had more than 2,600 signatures and the school district has responded to the students’ concerns.

    Superintendent James C. Agostine released the following statement:

    “I want to reiterate and emphasize that any type of discriminatory or inappropriate behavior by any Monroe Public Schools students, or staff, is unacceptable and will not be tolerated.

    I remain in contact with Monroe Police Chief John Salvatore, as we continue to work together on the on-going investigation into these very disturbing social media posts that have cast our entire school community in a poor light.

    This incident was brought to our attention on Monday of this week and since that time it has been our primary focus.

    We have established disciplinary protocols in place, for that reason I am confident that all of our actions taken to date continues to provide a safe environment for our entire school community.”

    Police have been called in to investigate the posts.



    Photo Credit: Change.org

    A Masuk High School student has created a petition asking for the removal of a classmate over what he calls a A Masuk High School student has created a petition asking for the removal of a classmate over what he calls a "social media attack" on special needs and African American students.

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    Donald Trump's inauguration is still a week away, but opposing the president-elect is good politics for any ambitious Democrat with eyes on a White House bid, NBC News reported.

    That could be why some of the most outspoken opposition to Trump's cabinet appointees during this week's confirmation hearings has come from Democrats widely seen as potential presidential contenders four years from now. For the next four years, those politicians will be in competition with each other for the hearts, minds and dollars of angry liberals eager for anti-Trump champions.

    New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker was the most brazen in using the confirmation hearings to raise his personal profile, breaking precedent to become the first senator in history testify against a fellow member of the chamber. He was swarmed by reporters as he left the hearing room where he spoke out against Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions, Trump's pick for Attorney General.

    But other up-and-coming senators often mentioned in Democrats' 2020 fantasy draft picks leveraged the spotlight on their committees' hearings to press their issues and demonstrate their rhetorical chops.



    Photo Credit: Getty Images for Extra

    Mayor Cory Booker visits Mayor Cory Booker visits "Extra" at Newark City Hall on Jan. 15, 2013 in Newark, New Jersey.

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    Interstate 95 North is closed in East Lyme because of a tractor-trailer fire.

    The fire is near exit 73 and minor injuries are reported.

    Police are urging drivers to seek an alternate route.

    To get around the closure, you can get off the highway at exit 72 and take Route 156 or Route 1.

    No additional information was immediately available.

    Check back for updates.



    Photo Credit: Connecticut Department of Transportation

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    The former British intelligence agent at the center of the maelstrom over a 35-page dossier about Donald Trump and the Russians is named Christopher Steele, but an ex-colleague refers to him by a more familiar moniker, NBC News reported.

    "He's James Bond," said Nigel West, the intelligence historian and spy-novel author. "I actually introduced him to my wife as James Bond."

    Like the movie character, the 52-year-old Steele attended Cambridge University, where he was president of the Cambridge Union Debating Society. He was recruited by the Secret Intelligence Service, Britain's counterpart to the CIA, better known as MI6, right out of university, West said.



    Photo Credit: AP

    File Photo — A general view shows the MI6 building in London, Thursday, March 5, 2015.File Photo — A general view shows the MI6 building in London, Thursday, March 5, 2015.

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    A school bus with children on board has been involved in a crash on Interstate 84 East in Hartford.

    The crash is in the center lane, near exit 48, and no one is injured. 

    Police said it appears a driver rear-ended the bus.



    Photo Credit: Connecticut Department of Transportation

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    For the first time in American history, Lady Liberty will be portrayed as a woman of color on United States currency, NBC News reported.

    In celebration of the U.S. Mint and Treasury's 225th anniversary, the new $100 coin was unveiled on Thursday featuring Lady Liberty as a black woman.

    Since the passage of the Coinage Act in 1792, all coins are required to feature an "impression emblematic of liberty," in either words or images. Until the new coin designed by Justin Kunz was unveiled, Lady Liberty had always been depicted as a white woman.



    Photo Credit: AP
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    File Photo — Shown is the 2009 Ultra High Relief Double Eagle Gold Coin, at the United States Mint in Philadelphia, Tuesday, Feb. 3, 2009.File Photo — Shown is the 2009 Ultra High Relief Double Eagle Gold Coin, at the United States Mint in Philadelphia, Tuesday, Feb. 3, 2009.

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    Farmington Avenue in West Hartford is closed near Arnold Way and Robin Road after a police officer heard a shot fired overnight.

    Several officers are investigating at Farmington Avenue and Trout Brook Drive.

    Police said an officer who was nearby managed to pull over a vehicle, but it took off from the area.

    Police said they have not received an reports of injuries at this time.



    Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

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    Part of Colony Street in Meriden is closed after a driver hit a utility pole and snapped it, according to police. 

    A driver hit a utility pole, causing it to snap, around 1 a.m. and one person was transported from the scene.

    Colony Street is closed between Wilcox Avenue and the Britannia Street railroad crossing and officials said the road might be closed for several hours while crews work to repair the damage to two utility poles.

    At one point, power was out for more than 1,800 Eversource customers, but power has been restored.



    Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

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    A 14-year-old Bristol girl has been missing for almost a week and police are asking for help to find her.

    Shai Broaden has been missing since 1 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 7, according to police.

    She has black hair and brown eyes. She is 5-feet-5 and weighs 95 pounds.

    Anyone with information is asked to call Bristol police at 860-584-3011.



    Photo Credit: Silver Alert

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