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    Prescription drugs should only be a last resort as a treatment for lower back pain, a leading doctors' group said Monday.

    NBC News reported on the new guidance from the American College of Physicians, which says doctors should tell patients to try heat wraps and exercise first, then over-the-counter drugs like ibuprofen (Tylenol has been shown to do little for back pain), before they prescribe opioids.

    "Given that most patients with acute or subacute low back pain improve over time regardless of treatment, clinicians and patients should select nonpharmacologic treatment with superficial heat massage, acupuncture, or spinal manipulation," the group says in its new guidance, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

    Among the therapies that may help and have little risk of harm are tai chi, yoga and cognitive behavioral therapy, the group said.



    Photo Credit: Getty Images, File

    Man rubbing lower back, rear viewMan rubbing lower back, rear view

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    Former President Barack Obama has received 269,000 hearts (and counting) this Valentine's Day.

    He shared a special Valentine's Day message to his wife, former first lady Michelle Obama, on Twitter.  

    "Happy Valentine’s Day, @michelleobama! Almost 28 years with you, but it always feels new," Obama tweeted.

    Michelle Obama followed up with an affectionate tweet of her own.

    She posted a photo of their feet in the sand captioned with: "Happy Valentine's Day to the love of my life and favorite island mate, @BarackObama. #valentines."

    The Obamas vacationed in the British Virgin Islands with billionaire Richard Branson this month. Barack Obama was photographed on the water, enjoying retirement and trying out kitesurfing with Branson.

    Obama has tweeted just a handful of times since his presidency ended. 



    Photo Credit: Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images
    This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.

    Former President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama.Former President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama.

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    A Bridgeport police officer was involved in a two-car crash on Fairfield Avenue and State Street extension.

    Minor injuries are reported.



    Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

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    A series of airstrikes targeting ISIS commanders at a meeting in Iraq has killed scores of militants, including several senior figures, the country's military has said, NBC News reported. 

    The strikes, carried out Feb. 11 by an Iraqi F16, resulted in the death of 77 extremists, including 13 senior commanders, in Anbar province near the border with Syria, the Iraqi military said in a statement on Monday.

    One of the airstrikes also targeted the terror group's supreme commander, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi — but officials have been unable to verify if he was at the location at the time of the attack and there was conflicting information about his status.

    Two senior Iraqi military officials told NBC News that they were sure al-Baghdadi was in one of the locations that was bombed but had been unable to confirm if he escaped or had been injured or killed.



    Photo Credit: AP

    File photo: A soldier from Iraq's elite counterterrorism forces looks from the gun turret of a Humvee as troops gather on the edge of the Shuhada neighborhood in Islamic State-held Fallujah, Iraq, just before special forces pushed into the district on June 8, 2016.File photo: A soldier from Iraq's elite counterterrorism forces looks from the gun turret of a Humvee as troops gather on the edge of the Shuhada neighborhood in Islamic State-held Fallujah, Iraq, just before special forces pushed into the district on June 8, 2016.

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    State police said they found four kilos of cocaine when they stopped a driver on Interstate 84 who was not wearing a seatbelt and drove over the solid line. 

    A state trooper was behind the 2002 blue Dodge Durango driven by Luiz Palacios Ortiz. 43, of Mount Joy, Pennsylvania on Hamilton Avenue in Waterbury just before 7 p.m. Monday and saw Ortiz was not wearing a seatbelt, according to state police. 

    Connecticut state law requires drivers, passengers in the front seat and children between 4 and 16 who are traveling in the back seat to wear seatbelts.  

    The state trooper then followed Ortiz onto Interstate 84 East and noticed him swerve over the solid line into the right shoulder, police said, so the trooper then stopped him. 

    When state police checked Ortiz’s truck, they found a bag in the back seat that held four kilos of cocaine, police said. 

    Ortiz was charged with possession of a narcotic, illegal sale of drug by a non-drug-dependent person, failure to wear a seatbelt, failure to drive in a proper lane and operating a motor vehicle without a valid license. 

    He was held on $250,000 bond and is due in Waterbury Superior Court today.



    Photo Credit: Connecticut State Police

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    A 70-year-old West Haven man has been arrested in connection with a crash that seriously injured a New Haven police officer in November and police said the suspect was under the influence of cocaine and cannabinoids, did not have a license and was going too fast. 

    Thomas Greatsinger, 70, of West Haven, has been charged in the crash Nov. 28, 2016 that injured New Haven Police Detective Juan Ingles. 

    Police said Ingles was one of two police officers who was directing traffic at a construction project on Kimberly Avenue, under Interstate Highway 91, around 3:15 p.m. that day when Greatsinger hit him on a motor scooter. 

    Ingles was transported to Yale-New Haven Hospital to be treated for serious injuries, including a fractured disc in his spine, three herniated discs and a concussion, according to police. He remains out of work and police said they do not know when he will be well enough to return. 

    Police said the scene was well marked, with permanent work zone signs on both ends of the work zone, yellow sand barrels and cement barriers and a police car with warning lights on ahead of the work zone. 

    Despite that, Greatsinger didn’t see Ingles until it was too late, police said. 

    According to results of toxicology tests, Greatsinger was under the influence of cannabinoids and cocaine at the time of the crash, police said. When police checked his driving history, they learned he has never had a Connecticut driver’s license and a motorcycle endorsement and the GT Vespa scooter he was driving also had a motor over 49 cc and is required by Connecticut law to be registered, police said. 

    Police said Greatsinger was also traveling unreasonably fast, failed to slow down and sun glare impeded his vision. 

    Greatsinger was arrested Thursday and charged with assault in the second degree with a motor vehicle, operating a motor vehicle under the influence, striking an officer with a motor vehicle, traveling unreasonably fast in a construction zone, operating a motorcycle without a motorcycle endorsement and operating an unregistered motor vehicle.



    Photo Credit: New Haven Police

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    The search is on for a man police said stole almost $200 worth of beer from a Newington market, then dragged a police officer with his car for nearly 500 feet. 

    Police said they responded to the Best Market at 175 Lowrey Place in Newington just after 2 p.m. Saturday to investigate the report of a shoplifting in progress and an employee said a man and a woman left the store with $190 worth of beer without paying for it. 

    The man – who had facial hair, a black hat and black hooded sweatshirt -- fled the scene in a green Honda Civic before police arrived, police said.

    Officers apprehended the woman, Sandra Weeks, at the scene and took her into custody, according to police. 

    Another officer who responded to the area saw a vehicle on East Cedar Street that matched the description of what the shoplifter was driving. 

    As the officer tried to stop it just over the Wethersfield town line on Wells Road, the driver reached for a gun on the dashboard and a struggle ensued, police said. 

    The man then sped down Wells Road, dragging the officer alongside the car for around 150 yards until the officer was able to get free, police said. The officer sustained minor injuries. 

    Sandra Weeks, 31, was charged with sixth-degree larceny and she was released on a $5,000 and issued a court date of Feb. 27. 

    Police have recovered the Honda, but the suspected shoplifter remains at large. 

    Newington police ask anyone with information to call Sgt. Brendan Moon at (860) 594-6246 or bmoon@newingtonct.gov.



    Photo Credit: Newington Police
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    Whether you prefer a relaxing weekend away at a spa or an exciting fire and ice festival, Connecticut has many options to offer you this February. Here are a few fun ways to spread the Valentine's Day love. 

    Mashantucket: Foxwoods Resort & Casino presents a Valentine’s celebration on Feb. 11 at 8 p.m. at the Grand Theater at Foxwoods. “An Evening of Love” will include several R&B musicians, including Monica, Donell Jones, Mario, Soul for Real, and Mario Winans.

    Uncasville: Head to The Shops at Mohegan Sun on Tuesday, Feb. 14 to enjoy Valentine’s discounts all day long. The restaurants in the resort, including BALLO Italian Restaurant, Bean and Vine Café & Wine Bar, Carlo’s Bakery, Geno’s Pub, Michael Jordan’s Steak House, and others will be offering special deals on their Valentine’s dinners and desserts.

    Mystic: The Inn at Mystic is offering a Valentine’s Day Room Package, with rates starting at $189. This deal will give you a romantic overnight stay at the Inn, dinner for two, a bottle of champagne and a box of chocolates.

    Goshen: The Sunset Meadow Vineyards will be hosting a Valentine’s Dinner on Saturday, Feb. 11 and Sunday, Feb. 12 at 6:30 p.m. For $129.00 per couple, you can enjoy a dinner on the vineyard with music, roses, and chocolate.

    Westbrook: Water’s Edge Resort and Spa will offer a special menu and candlelit dinner at Dattilo Fine Italian, available Saturday, Feb. 11 through Tuesday, Feb. 14.

    Putnam: “Fire & Ice,” the fourth annual Valentine’s Festival, will continue the tradition of ice carvings, fire torches, fire dancing performances, and chocolate sculpting. The largest single ice-block competition in the United States will take place here on Saturday, Feb. 11 from 10 a.m. until 10 p.m.

    New Haven: A night of stand-up comedy will be provided at Anthony’s Ocean View on Tuesday, Feb. 14 at 6:30 p.m, with proceeds benefitting the AIDS Project New Haven. Tickets for “Love Stinks,” a comedy show and dinner, will include an open bar, hors d’ouvres, dinner, a DJ, and Team Green Light Comedy Collective for $75 per person.

    Branford: The Legacy Theatre will present “Heart of the Matter: songs and stories of love” on Tuesday, Feb. 14 from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. Get tickets to this event now for $20.

    Norwich: The Spa at Norwich Inn, partnering with Jonathan Edwards Winery, will offer a Wine Tasting Package perfect for Valentine’s Day weekend. This package includes a tour of the winery, a voucher for One Classic Tasting of 7 Wines at Jonathan Edwards Winery in North Stonington, breakfast in Kensington’s Restaurant, and full use of the spa facilities.

    Hartford: Sea Tea Improv will present “Valentine’s Day Special” featuring Romantic Baby at the Sea Tea Improv Studios on Tuesday, Feb. 14 at 8 p.m.

    Willimantic: The Leaf and Flour will be taking reservations for their “Sweetheart High Tea” all throughout February. For $28.50 per person, you can treat your significant other to special treats from decadent Red Velvet Cake and Mousseline cream Tart to a savory Bacon and Blue Cheese Quiche.



    Photo Credit: Getty Images

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    The president of Connecticut State Colleges and Universities (CSCU) has implemented a hiring freeze. 

    "These spending control measures are necessary given our projected cut of $25 million for the next fiscal year," President Mark E. Ojakian said. "We must be strategic given our limited resources." 

    The hiring freeze will apply to all 17 campuses and the system office.

    The decision to halt hiring new emloyees at CSCU comes amid severe budget cuts in the state.



    Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

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    At Kevin O’Bryan’s Woodbridge home of 20 years, snow covers the stumps from some of the trees he cut down last summer.

    "We actually have a preventative maintenance program as far as the trees are concerned," he explained. "We take them down when they’re too close or they’re leaning toward the house."

    O’Bryan is always on the look-out for limbs that could easily break off in high winds.

    "We keep the tree cause it’s healthy," he said. "But we don’t want the dead limbs on there, so if you cut those off and they grow over, you know, you keep your trees healthy."

    Down the street on Burnt Swamp Road, a utility crew continued repairs on downed power lines a day after winds up to 60 miles per hour tore through town.

    "There’s stuff down everywhere," said Keith Bouchard, owner of Arbor One Tree Service in Naugautuck.

    Bouchard came to Woodbridge Tuesday looking for business.

    "I noticed a lot of damage up in this area and I just wanted to start knocking on some doors and see what we could do," Bouchard said.

    He told NBC Connecticut it will take about three hours to clear the logs, branches and twigs from a driveway off of Amity Road.

    "The wind just came in pretty hard, 58 miles an hour, and it was pretty noticeable," Bouchard said.

    O’Bryan had this advice for other Woobdridge homeowners looking to protect their property.

    "You can look at the bottom of the trees and you’ll see where moss is growing or you’ll see a rotten hole in them and those are the ones you need to bring down," he said.

    By mid-afternoon, United Illuminating reported that power had been restored to the vast majority of its customers in Woodbridge.



    Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

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    Linda McMahon, former executive who started and helped grow the World Wrestling Entertment in Stamford, is officially confirmed as the new leader of the Small Business Administration

    Now with a local in office, small businesses on the shoreline are hoping she'll have a local impact.

    “Bodes well not for small businesses just like ours, but for everybody here in Connecticut,” said Dave Quinn, president of Quinn & Hary Marketing in New London.

    Quinn's small business reached a level of success that he can expand into downtown New London. But he said businesses looking to relocate into downtown, urban environments could use guidance with landlocked buildings and permitting, which is something McMahon can take on in her new role.

    "Could be some streamlining of regulations that would be helpful to small business,” Quinn said. 

    Lester Fantauzzi owns Globe Spirit in New London and said he wants McMahon to assess taxes.

    “Every time that they're trying to raise taxes on something, they shouldn't do it on the same businesses over and over again,” Fantauzzi said, adding the government keeps upping the tax on liquor and cigarettes, which makes it hard for him to keep prices low for his customers.

    Sara Munro, owner of Studio 33 Art and Frame Gallery in New London, would also like to see some tax relief and more small business loans.

    “Because we have to provide everything ourselves,” Munro said. “Our own health care insurance, we have to pay unemployment compensation, (workers’) compensation, all of the payroll taxes, and so forth and so on.

    Tony Sheridan, president and CEO of the Chamber of Commerce of Eastern Connecticut wrote a statement via email to NBC Connecticut. It said, in part: “It is also good to have someone as head of SBA who understands the unique Connecticut culture... Most of the small businesses want very little from the government. Mostly they want regulations streamlined and predictable. They want their representatives to understand their challenges and to essentially stand back and let them do what they are good at, run their business.”



    Photo Credit: Getty Images

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    Love was in the air in New Haven on Valentine’s Day as more than a dozen couples tied the knot at City Hall.

    “First time for everything, you know he’s the love of my life, I married my best friend,” Quionna Reed said, shortly after sharing a kiss with her new husband Anthony Reed.

    “She has a good heart, and she’s funny,” Anthony said. “We both funny, got to have humor in a relationship.”

    After the Reeds, high school sweethearts Juan Flores and Carolina Serna were up next. They celebrated their wedding with family, including their six-month-old daughter.

    “Dad, not me, dad, it was all dad, he picked the dress out,” Serna said.

    For the first ten couples to sign up for Valentine’s Day weddings at City Hall, the City of New Haven provided the wedding cake, bouquet of flowers and a bottle of sparkling cider.

    A justice of the peace presided over the ceremonies for free.

    “We were going to do it last year but money was kind of tight,” Anthony Reed said, “so I got a day off from my work so hey, we’re here.”

    The Reeds received a surprise congratulations from Mayor Toni Harp.

    “Many, many years of happiness,” the mayor said to the newlyweds.



    Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

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    A vanilla shortage could put a damper on the sweetest day of the year.

    Valentine's Day at Munson's Chocolate's in Bolton means thousands of dark and milk chocolate treats heading out to loved ones.

    "I got everything that she likes, I got coconut, fudge, chocolate," said shopper Tom Stanley.

    But a bitter truth for sweet treat industry owners is dealing with the rising price of vanilla.

    "It's always something we are always keeping an eye on," said the store's owner Karen Munson.

    Munson said she is not surprised to hear vanilla prices have more than tripled since last year; rising from $30 to $80 a kilo to up to $450.

    "It's really the norm," said Munson.

    Reasons for price hikes vary.

    In Madagascar, where nearly 80 percent of vanilla in the United States comes from, issues arise from harvesting because farmers tend to pull beans before they're ready in fear they might be stolen, which decreases the amount of usable crop.

    "Weather is one of the biggest factors that affects things, then there's other markets that are buying up at large quantities that are anticipated in the united states market," said Munson.

    Vanilla isn’t the only ingredient known to fluctuate.

    "Nuts for example, if there's bad crops, fruits," said Munson.

    Munson said ingredient market's rise and fall but it's all about planning.

    "The shortage in vanilla right now hasn't really had an impact on us," said Munson.

    A sentiment customers are grateful to hear, especially Stanley, who couldn’t dare go home empty handed.

    "She'd be a little upset, I didn't get her what she wanted anyway so, she'd be a little upset," smiled Stanley.



    Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

    Chocolate-covered strawberriesChocolate-covered strawberries

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    Warmer weather begins to melt snow off of your roof which could case major damage from ice buildup blocking your gutters.

    Ice dams, a build up of ice in gutters sending melting ice water inwards rather than out.

    "It came through the window, through the casing, and onto the floor," said Rose Lyons.

    Lyons knows all about the damage ice dams can bring.

    "I've had issues twice now in one of the bedrooms with water coming in," said Lyons.

    "Now the water can't run off the roof and start to creep up under the shingles," said John Bachand of JP Contracting.

    Lyons called a contractor to remove her ice dams because warmer weather is on the way.

    While down the street Rob Thibault took it upon himself to get rid of his ice issues.

    He bought a roof rake and made to not ignore the build up. He also tried to remove snow from his roof soon after the snow storm.

    "Yesterday I went out there and kind of scraped everything off and put some rock salt in the gutters," said Rob Thibault.

    Buchand said he's seen ice dams so large the removal called for jack-hammers. Lyons said she's seen bills just as big.

    "I was lucky the first time it cost about $1,400 but when the ice built up and I had an issue with the garage I think it was close to $10,000" said Lyons, "I want to take care of it before it takes care of me."



    Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut
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    Cannabis Energy Drink is on sale right now in Connecticut and raising some eyebrows in Enfield.

    The Mobile on King Street is displaying a bright green Cannabis Energy Drink can sign at the station and some say it is the first they have ever seen or heard of the product.

    “I didn’t even know there was a Cannabis Energy Drink,” Jamie Burnside of Enfield said.

    According to its website Cannabis Energy Drink contains hemp seed extract, caffeine, taurine and a “bunch of B vitamins.” It does not contain THC and causes no narcotics effect.

    Kyle Norris has tried the drink before and agrees.

    “It doesn't give any effects or anything like that it is just an energy drink,” said Norris.

    Despite his assessment, Norris says he isn’t sold on the idea of his own daughter drinking it.

    “You don't want 7 to 12 year olds running around drinking Cannabis (saying) ‘try this man',’’ Norris said.

    While Burnside believe the word Cannabis is a now a “common place” word, but says she would still want to look into the product.

    “If my kids were younger I would definitely dig in and found out what it’s all about,” she said.

    The Cannabis Energy Drink website tries to clear up any questions people might have. It reads:

    The confusion (and concern) can be attributed to the fact that hemp seeds/oil is derived from the Cannabis Sativa plant which is linked to marihuana. Marihuana contains large amounts of THC. The amounts of THC in hemp seeds and oil are so small they can be considered non-measurable.

    The product is 100 percent legal, but parents are not completely sold.

    “Promote if you need to, but I think it's the parent’s choice to watch what they give their children,” Norris said.

    NBC Connecticut has reached out to Cannabis Energy Drink headquarted in the Netherlands.



    Photo Credit: NBC Connectict

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    Two crystal bowls, as simple as they may look, are one of just a few items Donna Safer has to remember her late aunt.

    “They were always with her,” said Safer. “Wherever she moved, (the bowls were) always in the same place on the same buffet.”

    The bowls arrived as an inheritance gift on October 25. One was intact and one was in pieces, leaving Safer feeling pretty broken herself.

    “It was devastating because I know this can’t be replaced,” said Safer.

    She immediately contacted the US Postal Service for a reimbursement, after all, her cousin who sent the bowls insured the package for $1,000.

    It wasn’t as easy as having the USPS cut her a check for her losses. The service denied Safer’s appeal because she didn’t have a receipt proving how much the almost 80-year-old bowl is worth.

    Safer had trouble find an appraiser who deals with crystal, and couldn’t find anything similar online. Plus, with a 30-day appeal window, Safer’s time was running low.

    That’s when she called NBC Connecticut Responds.

    “What do I have to lose,” said Safer. “Maybe they can at least connect me with an appraiser.”

    Enter Larry Shapiro.

    NBC Connecticut Responds connected Shapiro, of Appraisals Antiques, to Safer. He knew where to look to get the answers she needed.

    “I went on to different retail sites, a couple of my paid sites that I have for antiques and collectibles, and took a bunch of different comparisons,” said Shapiro.

    He admits, an exact appraisal wasn’t easy, because of the bowl’s age and style, and he says that can be a lesson for everyone involved.

    “You should have some background on what you have,” said Shapiro.

    He suggests anyone shipping sensitive or fragile items either get a formal appraisal, or do independent research. That would help keep everyone, including the carrier, on the same page.

    “Realistically, if they had an appraised value ahead of time, they wouldn’t have had a problem,” said Shapiro. “They would’ve known what to insure it for.”

    For Safer and her crystal bowl, that magic number is 350 dollars, which is significantly less than the 500 dollars of insurance the Postal Service had on record.

    “It’s really a comedy of errors and a lot of miscommunication,” said Shapiro. “And hopefully, you know, I don’t see a problem. The Post Office should be responsible and they should pay, and I would think with this information they will.”

    And they did. Within one week, Safer received another long anticipated piece of mail. This time, a check, for a full reimbursement.



    Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

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    First pitch at Dunkin' Donuts Park is a mere 58 days away.

    Construction crews have been working each day to make sure the park is ready for baseball, after the entire 2016 was lost, due to construction delays and tension between the City of Hartford, and previous developer, Centerplan, which was fired last June.

    “As I’ve said all along the way, until that first pitch is thrown out, I’m not waving any banners but I think they continue to make very good progress and it continues to be a good strong partnership between the city, Arch Insurance, and the contractor Whiting Turner," said Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin.

    Centerplan now faces a new lawsuit from Webster Bank. In court documents, the Waterbury-based Webster alleges Centerplan has defaulted on more than $5 million in loans split between a term loan, and a construction loan specifically linked to the baseball park construction.

    The ballpark was initially supposed to be ready for April 2016, but it was later delayed to May, before eventually being fired by the city.

    Centerplan later sued the city for wrongful termination.

    NBC Connecticut's efforts to reach Centerplan's attorney were unsuccessful.

    Mayor Bronin says he's not shocked Centerplan faces a new legal fight.

    “I suspect Centerplan is going to be embroiled in a number of lawsuits for a while,” he said.

    The Yard Goats played the entire 2016 season the road. Team officials say they can feel the momentum building with just two months to go.

    "People are talking about how excited they are for baseball to be played in Hartford," said Yard Goats General Manager Tim Restall. “As you drive by the ballpark you see a lot of construction going on. They’re wrapping things up which is great. They’re round third and heading for home.”



    Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

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    A new study by AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety confirmed that millennials can’t seem to put down their cellphones, even when they’re behind the wheel. 

    After surveying over 2,500 Americans, AAA concluded that 19- to 24-year-olds are more inclined than any other age group to check their phones for texts while in the driver’s seat. They also aren’t as supportive of legislation aimed at stemming distractions while on the road, and they’re more likely to normalize texting and driving.

    Phone use is one of many dangers that contribute to almost 100 American deaths every day, on average, because of car wrecks. Another is driving while intoxicated, which almost everyone agreed was a serious threat to their personal safety.

    But as the study notes, most American drivers seem to abide by the mantra, “Do as I say, not as I do.” More than one in eight respondents said they had driven after drinking within the past year.

    Aggressive driving can also cause wrecks. Though over three-fourths of those polled said they disapproved of speeding on the freeway, almost half admitted to driving at least 15 miles over the speed limit in the past month.

    Because of irresponsible driving, 982,307 Americans have died since 1991. One in five survey respondents had been in a serious accident, and one in three was close with someone who had been injured or killed on the road.

    In 2015, there were 35,092 people who lost their lives in motor vehicle crashes, a 7.2 percent increase from the year before.

    "People in the United Sates do value safe travel and desire a greater level of safety than they now experience," authors of the survey wrote.

    Because of dangers associated with driving, many of those questioned said that it’s unacceptable to not wear a seat belt. Still, one in six admitted they hadn't buckled up in the last month.



    Photo Credit: Getty/Spaces Images

    A man is seen using a cell phone and driving a car.A man is seen using a cell phone and driving a car.

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    Firefighters responded to a two-alarm fire that started in the kitchen of Mar Y Tierra restaurant in Hartford and caused smoke damage in adjacent storefronts Wednesday morning.

    A pedestrian notified firefighters about the fire at 693 Park St. around 4:48 a.m.

    The pedestrian had seen smoke and walked down to the fire department, which was just two buildings away, so crews were able to respond quickly.

    When firefighters arrived they found heavy smoke coming from the building.

    Capt. Raul Ortiz, of the Hartford Fire Department, said the fire started in the kitchen of Mar Y Tierra restaurant and the smoke spread to two other connected storefronts.

    As of 5:20 a.m., crews reported the fire was under control.

    No injuries were reported and the fire was contained to the Mar Y Tierra Kitchen, but two other stores sustained smoke damage.

    Fire officials are investigating the cause.



    Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

    Firefighters on scene at 693 Park Street after a fire in a restaurant kitchen damaged several storefronts.Firefighters on scene at 693 Park Street after a fire in a restaurant kitchen damaged several storefronts.

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    A flagger working in a construction area in Tolland was rushed to the hospital after being struck by a car Wednesday morning, according to Tolland fire officials.

    The accident occurred in the area of 128 Merrow Road (Route 195) around 1:45 a.m.

    Fire officials said the flagger was hit by a car and thrown approximately 25 feet into the air and over a guardrail. LifeStar was requested but then canceled. The victim was taken to the trauma center at Saint Francis Hospital by ambulance. The victim’s condition was not immediately clear.

    According to fire officials on scene, the driver did not stop but was pulled over on Interstate 84.

    State police are actively investigating.

    More information was not immediately available. Check back for updates.



    Photo Credit: Tolland Alert

    A flagger working at a construction site in Tolland was struck by a car early Wednesday morning.A flagger working at a construction site in Tolland was struck by a car early Wednesday morning.

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