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    A week ago much of the state had over a foot of snow on the ground. The unseasonable and record breaking warm temperatures has helped to quickly melt much of the snow throughout the state.

    The two satellite images below help to show how quickly the snowpack was weakened from Friday, Feb 17 to Monday, Feb 20. 

    Use your cursor to slide back and forth from Friday to Monday.

    The satellite is called MODIS (Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer). It's a high resolution weather satellite that takes snapshots of earth every 1 to 2 days. 

    Here's a list of snowpack depths comparing Friday to Monday.

    City Friday, Feb 17 Monday, Feb 20
    West Harford 9.0" 5.5"
    East Killingly 10.5" 5.0"
    Waterford 4.0" 0.5"
    Stamford 5.0" 0.0"
    Prospect 11.0" 8.4"

    The warmer weather will continue to take a toll on the snowpack with an extended period of above normal temperatures in the NBC Connecticut Exclusive 10 Day Forecast. You can find the latest forecast by clicking here.


    This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.

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    If the fee for a pistol carry permit increases to $300 from $70 for five years, new gun owners could be the ones discouraged from purchasing guns.

    "Existing gun owners, they'll suck it up and do what they have to do," said Gary Lenk, the gunsmith at Newington Gun Exchange. "It's new customers I'm worried about."

    Governor Dannel Malloy's proposed budget included fee increases for background checks, new, and renewed pistol carry permits. The estimated new revenue from the increases is $9 million, according to the Office of Policy and Management.

    Gov. Malloy has defended the proposal, saying it would bring Connecticut in line with New York City, that has a fee of $340 for the same permit, though other states like Rhode Island, Vermont and New Hampshire do not have similar gun permit fees.

    "We always want to be competitive," Malloy said at an event last week. He also rebuffed any claims that he's the enemy of gun owners.

    Lenk, at Newington Gun Exchange, disagrees.

    “Governor Malloy, despite his protestations is not a friend to the gun owners in the State of Connecticut, and he has never yet resisted a chance to take a shot at us, so, the budget gives him another excuse to do that.”

    For prospective gun buyers, the costs related to purchasing a weapon could be daunting. In addition to the proposed $300 five year permit fee, a resident would have to pay for a background check, a pistol safety course, and a local registration. All in, those fees could exceed $500.

    “For some people, that’s a very severe hit," Lenk said. "If you get the elderly that are on fixed incomes and they find themselves in a situation where they’re nervous and they fear for their safety and they want to get something to protect themselves with, that’s a lot of money.”

    The governor's proposal hasn't received much vocal support in the General Assembly. One of the chairs of the Appropriations Committee, Sen. Cathy Osten said she would look for ways to balance the budget without such a drastic fee increase for gun owners.



    Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

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    It’s something every driver should learn before getting behind the wheel.

    “If you see flashing lights, or you see traffic, you take caution, and you either stop, slow, pull over for emergency vehicles,” Maria Pettola said.

    But on Saturday night, Pettola witnessed what happens when those rules of the road are not obeyed.

    “We were driving from the New Haven area home to Madison,” she said.

    Her husband slowed down as they approached State Police responding to a broken down tour bus in the media of I-95 northbound in Guilford.

    “We saw a state trooper at his car in his truck going to get flares,” Pettola recalled in an exclusive interview with NBC Connecticut. “And just as we were passing him, we heard a collision and saw debris flying in the road.”

    Instead of pulling over to the right, State Police say Genaro Claussels of Hamden swerved left and sideswiped Trooper First Class Joseph O’Connell’s cruiser.

    “My immediate reaction was, oh my god, he got pinned between the cars,” Pettola said. “My husband said, no I saw him, he jumped out of the way, I saw his face, the shock in his face.”

    Pettola watched Claussels drive off from the scene.

    “We followed because we wanted to get the license plate at least,” she said.

    About a quarter mile away, she snapped a photo of troopers who caught up to him.

    After what she witnessed, Pettola is urging all drivers to obey the state’s Move Over law.

    “I think it’s extremely important for our emergency responders,” she said, “for state workers on the side of the road.”

    O’Connell is back on the job.

    “We’re very happy that he’s OK,” Pettola said.

    The driver suspected of being under the influence when he crashed into the trooper’s cruiser is due in court Tuesday.



    Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

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    Monday marked the third day of what feels like a heat wave across Connecticut.

    By the afternoon, all the snow was gone at the Guilford Mooring on the Water seafood restaurant.

    “A beautiful snowstorm down here out the windows looks gorgeous, too,” waitress Janthina Nelson said. “But having a cocktail outside on the patio, I mean there’s nothing better than that.”

    There is nothing better for business at the waterfront restaurant during the winter than this wave of unseasonably warm weather.

    “Temperature worked to our advantage and that’s when we thrive on for this time of year,” General Manager Ralph D’Amato said.

    Some customers even had to wait to be seated over the busy weekend, D’Amato said.

    “It’s great to the have the bounce back,” he added.

    Typically, the Stony Creek Brewery in Branford is closed on Monday, but it is open for the President’s Day holiday, allowing Dennis Murphy and his friends to enjoy a cold one outside on a warm winter day.

    “We have the day off,” Murphy said. “They have excellent beer here, we love atmosphere.”

    Over the weekend, bartender Jon Sackett said the place was packed.

    “Everyone’s been waiting for this moment for the weather to turn around, we can come outside enjoy ourselves grab a pint,” Sackett said. “We had a lot of volume, a lot of turn around, lot of money come through which is good for us, good for my pockets.”

    D’Amato said “without a doubt” he could live without another storm until next winter. His staff agrees.

    “I’m ready for summer,” Nelson said, “I’m done shoveling.”

    D’Amato said they plan to set up for outdoor dining in mid-March.

    But the restaurant, along with other shoreline businesses, should still benefit from temperatures staying warmer than usual for the rest of the week.



    Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

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    When Tracy Eckert picked up the phone and heard her friend on the end of the line asking for donations to raise money for police officers injured or killed in the line of duty, she didn't understand why he acted like he didn't know her.

    "The cadence, the voice was absolutely his, and he sounded like a police officer," said Eckert. "I was actually a little bit irritated with him. How the heck could you not remember who this is?" 

    Eckert's questions remained unanswered because the caller hung up. She didn't recognize the 860 number the call came from, so she reached out to her friend to see what happened by texting his cell phone.

    "I said in my text message, 'Let me know what drive you were calling for,'" said Eckert.

    But her friend, retired Torrington Police Lieutenant Michael Emanuel, said it may have been his voice but not actually him calling. 

    "It's 100 percent fraud. I can tell you - that on my end - I have nothing to do with whoever is calling," said Emanuel.

    Emanuel informed the department and they put out a warning on their Facebook page, calling it a "donation scam." So far, he's heard from several people who've received the same call from the same 860 number. When Emanuel tried calling it, the number was out of service.

    Emanuel wonders if he somehow got hacked since those targeted seem to be in his contacts. When it comes to the voice used, Emanuel has a theory about that too.

    "For about five years I was the press or public information officer, so there were many times my voice was on the radio or television. So they could have taken a snippet from that and built around that," said Emanuel.

    Emmanuel said people from Bridgeport, Bristol, Torrington, Waterbury, Winsted and Sharon have been contacted by the scammer.

    Eckert said she’s glad she found out the truth but worries others could fall for it.

    “Anybody who didn't know him personally would completely believe that this was a genuine call,” said Eckert. "It angers me, but it also amazes me that every time you turn around there's yet another way to get in people's homes and their wallets.”

    Torrington Police said the union does a fundraiser once a year and that they're not doing one right now. They recommend that if you have any questions about a phone call regarding a police fundraiser, hang up and call the police department to find out if it is legitimate.



    Photo Credit: NBC OTS

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    The City of Hartford wants to put owners on notice: residents take care of their property or face the consequences. 

    In parts of Hartford, anyone can quickly notice the buildings that neighbors call "eyesores".

    “Seeing things like that- the image comes down. You want everything to look nice,” Selimar Cartagena of Hartford, said.

    Some said they have had enough and are planning to move out of the city to purchase a home elsewhere. 

    “I don’t want no property down here where I grew up because the value is nothing. So I got to get out of here to live a normal life,” Teddy Simpson, of Hartford, said.

    Hartford's mayor Luke Bronin has a plan.

    In a letter to the city council, the mayor proposes changes to the city’s “Anti-Blight Ordinance.”

    He wrote in part, “Our goal is to increase the quality of life in all of Hartford’s neighborhoods.”

    Updated violations would include leaving boarded over windows or doors for more than a year, allowing grass to grow more than a foot, and leaving trash on the property.

    Fines could be $100 per violation per day.

    “I’m hopeful now that things are going to happen,” Hyacinth Yennie of Hartford, said.

    Community activists say in the past the problem has also been a lack of enforcing the regulations on the books.

    But the mayor says new, stricter rules will allow the city to better use the courts, fines, and liens to go after absentee property owners.

    “I want to see action and that’s all I’m interested in right now. Okay? People need to be held accountable,” Yennie said.

    If you want to weigh in there’s a public hearing about the “Anti-Blight Ordinance” at City Hall at 7 p.m. on Tuesday.



    Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

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    Four Americans were among five people killed when a light plane crashed into the roof of a shopping mall in Melbourne, Australia, the State Department has confirmed. 

    According to NBC News, the twin-turboprop Beechcraft King Air plane suffered engine failure and crashed into the mall near the end of the runway at Essendon Airport around 5 p.m. ET Monday (9:00 a.m. Tuesday local time), according to authorities. 

    Witnesses described the plane exploding on impact and erupting into a fireball. The assistant police commissioner for Victoria state said there were no fatalities other than those five people on board the aircraft.  

    "We extend our deepest condolences to the families and loved ones of all those who died in today's tragic crash," a State Department official told NBC News. "The U.S. Embassy and Consulate in Melbourne are working closely with local authorities. We stand ready to provide all appropriate consular assistance to the families of the victims," the official added without identifying the victims.



    Photo Credit: Joe Castro/AAP Image via AP

    Emergency personnel work at a light plane crashed in Melbourne, Australia, Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2017, local time. The plane crashed into a shopping mall, officials said.Emergency personnel work at a light plane crashed in Melbourne, Australia, Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2017, local time. The plane crashed into a shopping mall, officials said.

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    The “Ban the Bottle” campaign has made its way to the UConn campus at Storrs. The Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) and the Undergraduate Student Government Sustainability Committee are working to ban the sale of single-use, disposable water bottles on campus by 2020.

    “We're not taking them all away at once, but rather working gradually towards the long-term solution of being totally disposable water bottle free,” said Sustainability Committee Chairperson Myles Gibbs.

    The idea seems to have traction among students. According to UConn PIRG, their petition has already collected 3,200 signatures.

    “It is a paper petition basically from students telling the university that they want to see this change to make us a more environmentally conscious and healthier campus,” said Casey Lambert, the Ban the Bottle campaign coordinator.

    That petition and legislation on the topic is set to be presented to the student government on Wednesday. Freshman Wawa Gatheru drafted the legislation and said their efforts could not come at a more important time.

    “UConn and Coca-Cola are about to renew their contract this summer and we have seen other universities like Northeastern and Washington University in St. Louis modify their contracts,” said Gatheru.

    NBC Connecticut spoke with several students who said they would in favor of adding more refill stations on campus, instead of adding more waste.

    “I always carry around my own water bottle anyway,” said senior Michael Espinell.

    UConn PIRG said the ban would not apply to sporting events at Gampel Pavilion.



    Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

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    Cell phone video of two drivers who blocked traffic on Route 6 in the Mansfield area for a drag race has caught the attention to Connecticut state police.

    Leo Halle was caught in the traffic behind the racers and captured the video. He said it happened around 5 p.m. Sunday.

    In the video you can see two Hondas side-by-side holding up traffic. A man walks between then, makes a signal, and the cars take off.

    "They start burning out their tires, getting them slick, the next thing you know the guys counting down and pointing to each other and they start racing," Halle said.

    Drivers who were caught in the backup were furious, and state police weren’t too happy about it either.

    “Drag racing is dangerous, illegal,” said Master Sgt. William Kittle.

    The amount of spectators seen on a nearby bridge during the race give the impression that the situation was pre-planned.

    State police said they did receive reports of the race and are looking into it. The racers could be fined anywhere from $60 to $600, or face jail time if caught.

    Police add that if you hear about a race or witness one happening or about to happen, report it to police.

    Drivers who spoke to NBC Connecticut agreed with police that the stunt was dangerous and uncalled for.

    "Smart idea? Of course not," said Lorraine French of Willimantic

    As for Halle, he said the race did inconvenience him, but he had no hard feelings.

    “Bad place, bad time of day, I used to be young but we picked a better time to do that kind of stuff,” he said.


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    Dozens of migrants have died in the Mediterranean Sea, the latest victims of the perilous route, NBC News reported.

    Seventy-four bodies washed ashore in Libya, seen in photographs posted to Twitter by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies Tuesday.

    Migrants generally attempt crossing from Libya to Italy in flimsy inflatable boats loaded with small amounts of fuel, intended to get within reach of European rescue vessels in international waters. Last year, a record 181,000 migrants made the crossing.

    Libyan coast guard spokesman Ayoub Gassim said more than 500 migrants were rescued at sea on Friday and Saturday. He said smugglers are starting to use larger rubber boats to pack in more migrants.

    "This is going to be even more disastrous to the migrants," Gassim added.



    Photo Credit: IFRC MENA

    Volunteers with the Libyan Red Crescent helped recover the bodies of 74 migrants that washed ashore near Zawiya, Libya, the IFRC MENA said Feb. 21, 2017.Volunteers with the Libyan Red Crescent helped recover the bodies of 74 migrants that washed ashore near Zawiya, Libya, the IFRC MENA said Feb. 21, 2017.

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    A Southington woman was arrested after causing a car accident while driving under the influence with two young children in the car, according to Southington police.

    Bethany Duguay, 37, of Southington, faces charges of operating under the influence, risk of injury to a minor and failure to maintain proper lane.

    Southington police allege that Duguay was driving under the influence while riding west on Curtiss Street, where she missed a curve, crossed onto the eastbound side and struck a car traveling that direction.

    There were two children in the car, ages 3 and 5, who were not injured in the accident, police said.

    According to police, Duguay failed Standardized Field Sobriety tests on scene and was arrested. She was released on a $3,000 bond and is scheduled to appear in court on Feb. 27.

    The children were picked up at the scene by a friend and taken home. The Department of Children and Families was notified.



    Photo Credit: Southington Police Department

    Bethany DuguayBethany Duguay

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    A Woodbridge, Connecticut couple suspected in dozens of identity thefts in the Atlanta, Georgia area has been arrested.

    Woodbridge police said the Fulton County Sherriff’s Office in Georgia contacted them on Feb. 10 because they had active criminal arrest warrants for Ayelet Ellituv, 34 and her husband, Eliahu Shetrit, 53, who are accused of more than 50 counts of identity theft/fraud type charges.

    Woodbridge Police took Ellituv and Shetrit into custody last week and both were held at the Woodbridge Police Department until Valentine’s Day, when they were transported to New Haven Superior Court to be arraigned and to wait for extradition to Georgia.



    Photo Credit: Shutterstock

    File photoFile photo

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    An out-of-service SEPTA Market Frankford Line subway train crashed into the rear of another train at the 69th Street Terminal just outside Philadelphia Tuesday morning, injuring four people and knocking a few cars off the track during the busy rush hour.

    Upper Darby Police asked commuters in a tweet to avoid the busy terminal after the wreck on looping turnaround tracks, where trains turn around at the end of the line, around 8:30 a.m.

     Four people -- including the train operator and a man asleep on one of the trains -- were hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries, Upper Darby Police Superintendent Michael Chitwood said.

    "At this time we are not getting reports of any life-threatening injuries to citizens on the train," police tweeted.

    The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority said the trains were out of service at the time of the crash. One train appeared to have crashed into the rear of another train, police said.

    SkyForce10 footage showed one car tipped over at a 45-degree angle -- its wheels dislodged from the body of the train -- and at least three other cars partially off the track as crews responded.

    SEPTA used shuttle buses to get passengers from 69th Street to 63rd Street. Passengers could be seen boarding the buses around 9 a.m. the agency said to expect delays of up to 10 minutes on the line that runs from Upper Darby to the Frankford section of Northeast Philadelphia.

    The crash impacted West Chester Pike, Market Street and Victory Avenue for EMS personnel, police said.

    The 69th Street Terminal is equipped with advanced signaling technology called Automatic Train Control, or ATC, which should prevent two moving trains from the same section of tracks, former SEPTA spokesman, and current NBC10 Philadelphia employee, Manny Smith said. A SEPTA headquarters dispatcher would also be controlling the line and giving permission to engineers to move into and out of the loop.

    The systems in place ensure optimal turnaround times at the terminal since trains at peak hours arrive at least every four minutes, Smith said.

    The MFL Line has been operating with a bare minimum of cars due to under-body crack concerns.

    This crash comes nearly two years after a deadly Amtrak derailment in Philadelphia's Frankford neighborhood.



    Photo Credit: SkyForce10
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    Prospect police are warning residents about a police donation scam and said they are not making phone calls to ask for donations.

    The scam calls Prospect residents received over the weekend are similar to the calls residents of Torrington have been receiving, according to police.

    Prospect Police said the explorers in the past used a private company to make phone calls for donations, but they are not making those phone calls now.

    On Monday, police in Torrington issued a warning about a similar scam happening in town and said the union does a fundraiser once a year, but they're not doing one right now. They urge anyone with questions about a phone call regarding a police fundraiser to hang up and call the police department to find out if it is legitimate.

    Prospect police said there was a scam in town a while back in which someone called looking for donations to buy a police canine, but the person happened to call a retired police officer and the scam was quickly put to an end.

    They urge residents to ask the caller to send you something in writing, never give them any banking, credit card or personal information over the phone, take their information and call the police to verify.



    Photo Credit: NBC OTS

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    Second Hill Lane school in Stratford is closing at 10 a.m. today because of smoke in an elevator at the school this morning, according to the superintendent’s office. 

    The students were never in any danger, according to school officials. 

    Students who were bused to school will be dropped back off at their bus stops so parents can pick them up, while parents who normally drop their children off at school can pick them up at school at 10 a.m. 

    School officials hope to reopen tomorrow and said they will make a decision later today.



    Photo Credit: Submitted Video

    Students at Second Hill Lane school in Stratford were sent home early on Tuesday because of smoke in the building.Students at Second Hill Lane school in Stratford were sent home early on Tuesday because of smoke in the building.

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    WalletHub has ranked all 50 state capitals from best to worst to live in, and the news isn’t looking good for Hartford.

    Connecticut’s capital city ranked 49 out of 50 on the list.

    The WallHub study looked at four key factors – affordability, economic well-being, quality of education and health, and quality of life, then broke it down further. 

    Based on the statistics presented, Hartford had the lowest median household income, highest unemployment rate, highest percent of population in poverty, and the second least affordable housing and second lowest percent of adults with bachelor’s degree or higher. Overall it ranked it at 49, just beating out Jackson, Miss. at number 50.

    WalletHub said that the city that boasts the highest median household income, Juneau, Ala., came in at $66,009, 2.6 times higher than Hartford’s $25,065.

    Hartford was also drastically behind in its unemployment rate, coming in at the highest with a rate of 7.1 percent. The city with the lowest employment rate, Concord, NH, came in at a rate of just 2 percent.

    According to the analysis, the ten worst state capitals to live in are

    1. Jackson, MS
    2. Hartford, CT
    3. Trenton, NJ
    4. Montgomery, AL
    5. Carson City, NV
    6. Baton Rouge, LA
    7. Providence, RI
    8. Little Rock, AR
    9. Dover, DE
    10. Indianapolis, IN

    In contrast, the ten best state capitals to live in are as follows.

    1. Austin, TX
    2. Boise, ID
    3. Bismarck, ND
    4. Lincoln, NE
    5. Madison, WI
    6. Montpelier, VT
    7. Concord, NH
    8. Raleigh, NC
    9. Salt Lake City, UT
    10. Cheyenne, WY

     



    Photo Credit: Getty Images
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    Closing arguments are expected Tuesday in the trial of a Middletown father accused of throwing his 7-month-old son off the Arrigoni Bridge in 2015.

    Tony Moreno maintains that he never intended to kill his son and that the child slipped from his arms. Prosecutors dispute that story and are expected to make their final case.

    On the stand during the trial, Moreno held a baby doll in his arms he said represented his son Aaden as he spoke about the July 2015 day when the baby died after falling some 90 feet from the bridge into the Connecticut River. Moreno claims that his intention was to take his own life on the bridge, not his children’s, and that Aaden slipped from his hands into the water.

    Moreno jumped from the bridge but survived after emergency crews responded to the scene after receiving a call from Aaden’s mother that Moreno was suicidal.

    Prosecutors point to text message between Moreno and Aaden’s mother, from whom he was separated, to prove that Moreno went to the bridge with the intent of killing himself and their baby.



    Photo Credit: Middletown Police and Silver Alert

    Tony Moreno, left, has been charged in the murder of his 7-month-old son, Aaden.Tony Moreno, left, has been charged in the murder of his 7-month-old son, Aaden.

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    A Salem woman is accused of driving under the influence and causing a June 2016 head-on crash in Plainfield that sent a Moosup couple to the hospital.

    Police have arrested 30-year-old Stephanie Januszewski, of Salem, in connection with a crash in Plainfield on June 6, 2016 that injured a husband and wife, 77-year-old Matti Huhta and 76-year-old Marcia Huhta, of Moosup.

    Police said Januszewski was driving a 1998 Honda Civic north in the area of 416 Starkweather Road, crossed the center line and hit the Huhtas’ 2006 Mazda 3 head-on.

    Marcia Huhta was driving and Matti Huhta was a passenger, police said. All three people involved in the crash were taken to the hospital.

    After the crash, Marcia Huhta was flown by LifeStar to Rhode Island Hospital and Matti Huhta, was taken to Rhode Island Hospital with minor injuries.

    Januszewski, was initially taken to Backus Hospital in Norwich before LifeStar flew her to Hartford Hospital.

    Police said they obtained an arrest warrant for Januszewski and she was arrested today at the Plainfield Police Department after turning herself in.

    Januszewski has been charged with operating under the influence of alcohol and or drugs and assault in the second degree with a motor vehicle.

    She was held on a $25,000 cash/surety court-set bond and she is scheduled to appear at the Danielson Superior Court today.



    Photo Credit: Plainfield Police

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    The Trump administration is greatly expanding the number of people living in the U.S. illegally who are considered a priority for deportation, including people arrested for traffic violations, according to agency documents released Tuesday.

    The documents represent a sweeping rewrite of the nation's immigration enforcement priorities.

    The Homeland Security Department memos, signed by Secretary John Kelly, lay out that any immigrant living in the United States illegally who has been charged or convicted of any crime — and even those suspected of a crime — will now be an enforcement priority. That could include people arrested for shop lifting or minor traffic offenses.The memos eliminate far more narrow guidance issued under the Obama administration that resources strictly on immigrants who had been convicted of serious crimes, threats to national security and recent border crossers.

    Kelly's memo also describes plans to enforce a long-standing but obscure provision of the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act that allows the government to send some people caught illegally crossing the Mexican border back to Mexico, regardless of where they are from. One of the memos says that foreigners sent back to Mexico would wait for their U.S. deportation proceedings to be complete. This would be used for people who aren't considered a threat to cross the border illegally again, the memo said.

    These moves are separate from Trump's ban on travel from seven majority-Muslim countries, which is has been blocked by federal courts and could result in a newly written executive order this week, NBC News reported.

    It's unclear whether the United States has the authority to force Mexico to accept foreigners. That provision is almost certain to face opposition from civil libertarians and officials in Mexico.

    Historically, the government has been able to quickly repatriate Mexican nationals caught at the border but would detain and try to formally deport immigrants from other countries, routinely flying them to their home countries. In some cases, those deportations can take years as immigrants ask for asylum or otherwise fight their deportation in court.

    The memos do not change U.S. immigration laws, but take a far harder line toward enforcement.

    The pair of directives do not have any impact on President Barack Obama's program that has protected more than 750,000 young immigrants from deportation. The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals remains in place though immigrants in the program will be still be eligible for deportation if they commit a crime or otherwise are deemed to be a threat to public safety or national security, according to the department. 



    Photo Credit: Getty Images, File

    WASHINGTON - JANUARY 08: The Department of Homeland Security main office is shown January 8, 2010 in Washington, DC. U.S. President Barack Obama has ordered DHS to WASHINGTON - JANUARY 08: The Department of Homeland Security main office is shown January 8, 2010 in Washington, DC. U.S. President Barack Obama has ordered DHS to "aggressively pursue" advanced screening technology and to fix gaps in the way intelligence is distributed, analyzed and compared to watch lists used to identify potential threats against the U.S. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

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    Dramatic video captured by a woman and her daughter shows the moments before and after a group of seven young people plunged through the ice on a pond in Central Park Monday. 

    Lourdes Cuevas and her daughter Maia Ramirez, tourists from Paraguay, were taking a selfie as the group of kids, ranging in age from about 10 into the teens, climbed onto the ice-covered water on an unseasonably warm February holiday. Their photo shows the kids huddled on the ice behind them. 

    Suddenly, the group was in the water. Footage exclusively obtained by NBC 4 New York shows them floundering about, some struggling madly to grip the crumbling edges of ice, others screaming, as they tried desperately to escape. 

    Cuevas said one of the kids completely disappeared under water. 

    Two skateboarders who happened to be nearby raced to their rescue, and by the time firefighters arrived at the park by 59th Street and Central Park South, the kids had been pulled out of the water, witnesses and officials said. Some of the children and teens were recovering from hypothermia-related injuries at Bellevue and two other area hospitals on Tuesday morning, officials said. 

    The good Samaritans, Bennett Jonas and Ethan Turmbull, told reporters they saw the kids dancing on top of the ice, then suddenly plunging into the water. 

    "I look over, I saw six heads just trying to get to the shore," said Jonas. "The back one was probably a good 20 yards from dry land." 

    Jonas dived in as Turmbull stood by to grab them. 

    "The last two at the end, the kid at the end was unconscious," said Turmbull. "[Jonas] got him out, he was kind of out of breath, and [Jonas] threw him to me. I just kind of minded him until he came to." 

    Jonas, of San Clemente, California, who now lives in midtown, and Turmbull, of Sydney, Australia, say they happened to be in the right place at the right time. 

    "I was in the park for a reason tonight," he said. "I could have been anywhere right now, but I was 100 yards away, from kids who were drowning." 



    Photo Credit: Lourdes Cuevas and Maia Ramirez

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