Articles on this Page
- 07/08/13--18:08: _Sludge-Like Materia...
- 07/08/13--16:08: _Dam Break Floods Co...
- 07/08/13--15:59: _Route 44 in Mansfie...
- 07/08/13--15:23: _State to Assist Own...
- 07/08/13--17:17: _Knife-Wielding Hitc...
- 07/08/13--20:33: _After Body Found, M...
- 07/08/13--20:37: _Teacher Charged Wit...
- 07/08/13--19:31: _Paraplegic Journeys...
- 07/08/13--19:23: _Paraplegic Finishes...
- 07/08/13--11:31: _Heat Forces Closure...
- 07/08/13--20:49: _Grandmother Arreste...
- 07/08/13--21:36: _Hundreds Fight Stri...
- 07/08/13--21:52: _SFO Crash First Res...
- 07/08/13--20:45: _Jared Kupiec Drivin...
- 07/09/13--09:01: _No Swimming at Wads...
- 07/09/13--06:30: _Stephen King Coming...
- 07/09/13--07:47: _Police Search Armed...
- 07/09/13--07:57: _Recall Issued for O...
- 07/09/13--08:42: _Man Charged After P...
- 07/09/13--09:46: _Dry Cleaner Drone D...
- 07/08/13--18:08: Sludge-Like Material Leaked Into Danbury Hospital ER
- 07/08/13--16:08: Dam Break Floods Colchester and Hebron Roads
- 07/08/13--15:59: Route 44 in Mansfield Reopens After Fire
- 07/08/13--15:23: State to Assist Owners of Sinking New Haven Homes
- 07/08/13--17:17: Knife-Wielding Hitchhiker Attacks Woman, Steals Her Car
- 07/08/13--20:33: After Body Found, Mother Thanks Community in Search for Son
- 07/08/13--20:37: Teacher Charged With 41 Counts of Sex With Students
- Arrest in Baptism Party Shooting
- SF Fire Probes Whether Truck Ran Over Asiana Victim
- SoCal Church Mourns Asiana Crash Victims
- July 4 DUI Arrests Jump in LA County
- Suspected Drunk Driver Kills Couple Out on Daily Walk
- Councilman: Ice Cream Truck Music No Treat
- Dodgers Win 4-1, Kershaw Is Excellent
- 07/08/13--19:31: Paraplegic Journeys Across Country in Wheelchair
- 07/08/13--19:23: Paraplegic Finishes Cross-Country Wheelchair Trek in 99 Days
- 07/08/13--11:31: Heat Forces Closure of Grand Avenue Bridge
- 07/08/13--20:49: Grandmother Arrested for Walking with Child in the Street
- 07/08/13--21:36: Hundreds Fight Strip Club Plans
- 07/08/13--21:52: SFO Crash First Responders Entered Asiana Plane as it Burned
- 07/08/13--20:45: Jared Kupiec Driving City Car After Leaving Post
- 07/09/13--09:01: No Swimming at Wadsworth Falls State Park
- Hammonasset Beach State Park in Madison
- Rocky Neck State Park in Niantic
- Sherwood Island State Park in Westport
- Silver Sands State Park in Milford
- Black Rock State Park in Watertown
- Burr Pond State Park in Torrington
- Chatfield Hollow State Park in Killingworth
- Cockaponset State Forest (Pattaconk) in Chester
- Day Pond State Park in Colchester
- Gardner Lake State Park in Salem
- Gay City State Park in Hebron
- Hopeville Pond State Park in Griswold
- Indian Well State Park in Shelton
- Kettletown State Park in Southbury
- Lake Waramaug State Park in Kent
- Mashamoquet Brook State Park in Pomfret
- Mount Tom State Park in Litchfield
- Pachaug State Forest in Voluntown
- Quaddick State Park in Thompson
- Squantz Pond State Park in New Fairfield
- Stratton Brook State Park in Simsbury
- Wharton Brook State Park in Wallingford
- 07/09/13--06:30: Stephen King Coming to Hartford Next Week
- 07/09/13--07:47: Police Search Armed Man Who Stole Purse in Hamden
- 07/09/13--07:57: Recall Issued for Olives Sold at Job Lot
- 07/09/13--08:42: Man Charged After Plainfield Standoff
- 07/09/13--09:46: Dry Cleaner Drone Delivers Your Clothes
A major cleanup is underway inside the emergency department at Danbury Hospital after a sludge-like material leaked from a blocked pipe.
The water leak was discovered Sunday evening and forced the hospital to close down about 40 percent of the emergency department, including ten patient treatment rooms and one of two nurse's stations, according to the hospital.
The hospital requested use of the state's 25-bed mobile hospital tent, which was set up overnight in the parking lot outside the emergency department entrance and was operational by Monday morning, according to the hospital.
"So we could start using this as an area to triage patients, initiate care, deem who needed to come emergently into the main department and who could be treated in this area," said Dr. Patrick Broderick, the director of the hospital's emergency department.
Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton called the material "sludge-like" and said it started leaking from a pipe on the third floor, spilled into a room that wasn't in use, and then flowed down through the walls into the ER.
"The hospital does a lot of its own treatment and then dumps it into our regular sanitary sewer system. That happens in a different part of the building so this material had been slightly treated already," said Boughton.
Cleanup inside the emergency department is moving along quicker than expected, said Dr. Broderick.
They're hoping to move out of the mobile unit by Monday night or Tuesday morning if the patient volume is low enough, he said. The mobile unit will remain in place in case patient volume picks up and it's needed again, he said.
Repairs to about half of the damaged area are expected to be completed by Monday night, said Dr. Broderick. Repairs to much of the additional closed off area should take place on Tuesday, he said.
"We want to make sure that any area that potentially had any damage has been properly cleaned. We have to have all the electrical and computer equipment tested before we would put any patients in that area," said Dr. Broderick.
Inspectors from the city and state health departments are on the scene monitoring patient care and the cleanup process.
Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com
A sludge-like material leaked into part of the Emergency Department at Danbury Hospital over the weekend.
A large beaver dam in Hebron gave way early this morning, washing out two eastern Connecticut roads.
The dam let loose about 7 million gallons of water, flooding part of Old Hartford Road in Colchester and Jones Street in Hebron, according to Colchester Public Works director James Paggioli.
"Fortunately the damage is limited to a very tight area," said Paggioli.
Part of Old Hartford Road was closed to traffic as crews worked to make repairs. One lane of Jones Street remained open.
It's unclear what cause dhte dam to give way, officials said.
At its height, the water coming down from the dam rose to about four feet and cut a path about 100 feet wide on Jones Street, according to authorities.
"I'm just thankful no one was injured and it didn't affect homes or residents," said Colchester First Selectman Gregg Schuster.
Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com
A beaver dam gave way in Hebron early this morning, flooding Jones Road in Hebron (pictured) and Old Hartford Road in Colchester.
Route 44 in Mansfield has reopened near Hunting Lodge Road after a structural fire blocked off the area, according to the state Department of Transportation.
The fire broke out Monday evening at 451 Middle Turnpike, officials said. Authorities did not say what was on fire there or if any injuries were reported.
Route 44 was closed for over an hour.
Photo Credit: Getty Images
Route 44 is closed in Mansfield following a structure fire.
When Melanie Stengel bought her house on Beverly Road in New Haven more than 20 years ago, there were no problems. That’s changed in recent years.
“The house has been shifting. I have cracks that I can put my hand through this way in the basement foundation. I have about a wheelbarrow’s worth of dirt on my basement floor,” said Stengel.
That’s on the inside. From the outside, you can see the house is lopsided; the steps out front aren’t even, and the siding above the garage shows how much the house has shifted.
“The floors are crooked. The windows are crooked. It makes it hard to shut doors and windows,” said Stengel.
Stengel already had to redo her doors just to get them to shut. She says her heating bill has been through the roof. The problem is that her home, like others in the Westville neighborhood, was built on a filled-in pond.
“Over the years, the conditions and the soil phased some of the properties to sink,” said Erik Johnson, Executive Director of the Livable City Initiative.
The properties are now getting some state assistance. The State of Connecticut, the City of New Haven and the Greater New Haven Community Loan Fund will be working with homeowners to allocate $1.5 million dollars for repairs.
Each house will be evaluated, and the most damaged houses will be getting fixed first.
“It will be a grant. My guess is that there’ll probably be some requirements that once you get the work done you can’t sell the property the next day,” said Johnson.
For Stengel, the money is coming just in time.
“It would be wonderful. I mean it really would, because the house is just getting to be in really bad shape,” said Stengel.
The city of New Haven is planning to meet with homeowners sometime next month to give instructions on how those with sinking homes can get the state assistance.
Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com
Homes built on a filled-in pond in New Haven have begun to sink as the ground has shifted over the years.
The body of a missing 7-year-old boy with autism was recovered from a car behind his Washington, D.C. home.
Michael Kingsbury's body was found in the back of a car parked in an alley, yards away from his home in the 1700 block of West Virginia Avenue.
Police had launched an intense search of the Trinidad neighborhood after Michael was last seen walking in an alley close to his home between 9 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. Sunday.
At the time, he was believed to be wearing a pull-up diaper, and possibly a red shirt.
After 6 p.m. Monday, a sudden rush of police officers converged on the car in the alley. Sources told News4's Pat Collins that a police officer assigned to the search had happened on the car and noticed something.
The reaction at the scene was immediate, reported Jackie Bensen. People were heard screaming and crying, and police quickly increased their perimeter around the event. He was recovered from a car without tags, parked on private property, just two doors down from his home.
Officers told Bensen the car and the alley it was in were examined by at least two sets of search teams. Even the family said they looked inside of the car because Michael had once before hid inside of a parked car.
Police had to break a window of the car to get in and recover Michael's body.
"We need to figure out when exactly [Michael] got in the car," Assistant D.C. Police Chief Peter Newsham said. "It's too early to see if someone missed something."
Homicide detectives were among those who responded to the scene, Bensen reported. However, it is not unusual to have homicide respond to a death investigation.
Michael's mother Katrina Kingsbury spoke with Bensen Monday night.
"I'd like to thank everyone who came out to look for my son," Kingsbury said.
The family had been distraught throughout the search for Michael, as police searched abandoned buildings and sheds Sunday and Monday. Kingsbury said it's not like him to wander away.
"It's unusual for him to leave. It's never happened," she said. "As many times as he's been out here and played, he's never left the backyard. He knows not to go in to the street."
A Redlands, Calif., high school teacher accused of having a baby allegedly fathered by a teen student was charged Monday with 41 counts of sex and oral copulation with a minor.
Laura Elizabeth Whitehurst, 28, was arrested a week ago after the mother of a Citrus Valley High student contacted school officials about the suspected relationship between her son and the English teacher.
Authorities said Whitehurst had given birth June 18 to a baby fathered by the student with whom she alleged began having an affair when he was 16. The boy attended the baby’s birth, according to court documents.
After Whitehurst and the boy confirmed details of the relationship to a Redlands police detective, authorities made the accusations public. Then, at least two other men came forward and said they had had sexual relations with Whitehurst in 2007 and 2008.
One of the alleged victims spoke to NBC4 Southern California, saying he never felt victimized but wanted to share his story so that others might come forward to tell police about their experiences with Whitehurst.
Officials with the Redlands Unified School District had interviewed Whitehurst and her alleged victim about their relationship in May, but police were not contacted until the boy's mother made a complaint, according to a police detective's affidavit.
The charges filed by the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s office against the teacher reflect alleged relationships with the three teen students. Whitehurst is charged with 30 counts of unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor, and 11 counts of oral copulation of a person under 18.
She is set to be arraigned via video on Tuesday afternoon, according to a tweet from the District Attorney's Office.
If convicted as charged, Whitehurst could face up to 29 years in state prison, the District's Attorney's Office said.
Whitehurst was released July 1 after posting $25,000 bail. She was again arrested Monday without incident, the District's Attorney's Office said.
She is now being held on $750,000 bail.
The District Attorney’s Office is still seeking to identify potential additional victims of Whitehurst. Anyone with information should contact Redlands police Detective Natasha Crawford at (909) 798-7623 or the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office at (909) 382-3660.
More Southern California Stories:
Laura Whitehurst, a Redlands teacher who allegedly had an affair and a baby with a 16-year-old student, appears in her booking photo from July 8, 2013, when she was re-arrested by the Redlands Police Department after being charged with 41 sex crimes.
A New York paraplegic man who lost the use of his legs after a car crash 20 years ago has completed a cross-country journey in his wheelchair.
Gabriel Cordell, 42, ended his 99-day odyssey at his alma mater, West Hempstead High School, on Long Island Monday night.
The actor started the journey last April at the Pacific Ocean in California. He and a team of six traveled over 3,100 miles.
"He made it!" shouted hundreds of family members and supporters who gathered at the school.
Cordell used a conventional wheelchair for the entire journey rather than a high-tech racing chair. According to his crew, he is the first to ever cross the country in such a wheelchair.
"This represents the everyday person," Cordell said, pointing at his wheelchair.
"When they see me, they see themselves."
The trip was made, Cordell said, to both inspire others to be better and to test himself.
Cordell battled drug and alcohol addictions for six years, "checking out on the real world," he said.
What brought him back, Cordell said, was a promise to himself, as a teen, to do something "extraordinary" by age 45.
"I was running out of time," Cordell said.
Cordell's team stayed with him for every mile of the journey, riding bicycles alongside his wheelchair or ferrying an RV behind him.
The group is producing a documentary of the journey.
Cordell's nephew, Chris Kawas, served as his uncle's direct caregiver. Though he himself is battling drug issues, Kawas has remained sober the entire trip.
"I am not the same man as when we started," Kawas said.
Cordell's team has drawn inspiration, cheers, tears and generosity from a supportive public during the cross-country trek.
On Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn, one man moved by Cordell's effort bought lunch for the group at a local McDonald's restaurant.
"To see the country like that and to see Chris go through this, it changed my life," said crew member Chris Yanke.
During one part of the trip, Cordell's team barely escaped deadly tornadoes in Oklahoma.
The group later stopped to help a family whose home was destroyed.
Photo Credit: NBC 4 New York
Gabriel Cordell rolling through Brooklyn Monday, on the last leg of his cross-country trek.
A paraplegic from Long Island is making a 3,100 mile cross-country journey in his wheelchair. Greg Cergol reports.
Photo Credit: NBC 4 New York
Gabriel Cordell rolling through Brooklyn Monday, on the last leg of his cross-country trek.
The Grand Avenue Bridge in New Haven will be closed until 6 p.m. on Monday because of mechanical and electrical problems caused by excessive heat.
The bridge will be opened from 6 p.m. on Monday until 8 a.m. on Tuesday.
After 8 a.m., the bridge will be closed so authorities can conduct an in-depth inspection and repair it.
How long the bridge will be closed is not known.
If you are traveling east on Grand Avenue, take a left onto Front Street, a right onto Middletown Avenue to Foxon Boulevard, and take a right onto Quinnipiac Avenue.
If you are traveling west on East Grand, take a left onto Quinnipiac Avenue, a right onto East Ferry Street to Ferry Street and a left onto Grand Avenue.
Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut
The heat forced the Grand Avenue Bridge in new Haven to close for repairs.
Hamden Police say Audrey Smith was drunk while wandering in the middle of Benham street around 10 p.m. on the 4th of July with her 1-year-old grandchild in the stroller she was pushing.
The owner of Pool Table Magic, with help from his attorney, made their argument Monday night at town hall for a special permit allowing topless dancers. The commission put the details of the plan under extreme scrutiny, looking over dozens of other details, like parking spaces and the kitchen's square footage, before even addressing the issue of topless dancers.
"The commission, in the site plan application, must make a ruling based on -- not your feelings -- but what the zoning regulations say," said the restaurant's attorney Dan Silver.
Silver made no mention of the plan for topless dancers during his hour-long opening statement, practically skirting the controversial issue. He called upon a local engineer and architect to speak about the validity of the restaurant's expansion plans and modifications.
Only one person spoke in favor of the plan. Those opposed in the community came out in much larger numbers. Nearly 200 people were present in the standing room-only auditorium. Some were forced to peer inside the room, watching the action from the hallway. Residents say their quality of life is at risk.
“It’s a special permit use to have a strip club!” said one supporter, citing the restaurant was cloaking its true intentions with the special permit application.
Others who sat before the commission shared similar opinions of how they feel these kinds of businesses affect the direct community and those surrounding. “This type of establishment is exploitative and disrespectful of women," said Bonnie Karkowski of Windsor as she hand delivered a signed petition from residents of the neighboring town.
Pastor Earl Imswiler from Living Waters Fellowship Church in Windsor Locks said these establishments lead men to commit adultery and dismantle homes. “That type of terror and that type of breaking up of families is not good, and we really stand against that," he said.
Doris McAusland almost teared up when she revealed why her husband moved their family to Windsor Locks. "Before the age of 16, I was molested twice on the New York Subway system," said McAusland. "I am a victim of sexual crimes."
McAusland said when her husband received job offers across the region, they opted for Windsor Locks because they felt it was safer.
Attorney Silver mentioned numerous times that his client's business plan was constitutionally protected by the First Amendment. He went on to say even though the commission does not have the authority to decide constitutionality, he and his client hoped the town's decision would avoid future legal proceedings.
The meeting lasted nearly 3 hours. The commission rejected the restaurant's first application, in October of last year, saying it had applied for the wrong permit.
Photo Credit: AP
First responders gave their accounts Monday of the chaotic scene they encountered when Asiana Airlines Flight 214 crashed at San Francisco International Airport on Saturday. Joe Rosato Jr. reports.
More trouble for the Mayor of Hartford’s former chief of staff.
Hartford Police Internal Affairs Division is investigating why Jared Kupiec was driving a city registered SUV more than two weeks after leaving his post.
According to a police incident report, an officer noticed some car windows smashed on Capitol Avenue in Hartford Monday morning and one of those cars was registered to the city. The Silver Ford Explorer SUV was parked in front of Kupiec’s partment.
Kupiec admitted to police and the mayor to keeping a spare set of keys to his former SUV and using the vehicle for the weekend without permission, according to the Mayor office.
“It’s bizarre. It may in fact be criminal and we’re gonna follow this where it leaves,” said City Council President Shawn Wooden.
According to the incident report, Kupiec first denied knowing how the car ended up outside his Capitol Avenue apartment. He admitted to not turning in a spare set of keys when he stepped down from the city job on June 21st, but added he did not touch the vehicle since that time.
Mayor Pedro Segarra issued a statement saying:
“I am deeply disturbed and disappointed by this news. We’re getting all the facts and will act accordingly.”
Hartford Police Chief James Rovella confirmed the Internal Affairs division investigation.
Prior to his departure, Kupiec did cause some controversy with his use of a city issued credit card and his involvement in a car accident.
“Its pretty clear to me at this point that we have a person who is no longer an employee of the city of Hartford driving a city of Hartford vehicle that many thought he shouldn’t have had in the first place,” said Wooden. “This has to be pursued very aggressively. It’s unacceptable.Totally unacceptable.”
The incident was first reported on the blog “We The People Hartford. The Mayor’s Office says they did not know about the incident until its author, Hartford resident Kevin Brookman, called them for comment.
Jared Kupiec did not return a phone call asking for comment.
There will be no swimming today at Wadsworth Falls State Park in Middlefield, according to the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, and the east end of Rocky Neck State Park is closed.
The water at Wadsworth Falls will be resampled today and the results are expected tomorrow. The water at Rocky Neck will be tested tomorrow and the results are expected on Thursday.
All other beaches that DEEP tests the water quality of are open:
no skating/swimming sign from Feather Sound
If you’re a fan of Stephen King’s books, or films based on his books, then you will want to plan on attending a special live event in Hartford next week.
The modern master of thrillers will be here for “Stephen King in conversation with Colin McEnroe” at 8 p.m. on July 18 at the Bushnell in downtown Hartford and proceeds from the event benefit the Mark Twain House and Museum.
If you could not put down "Carrie," "The Shining," "The Shawshank Redemption," "It" or one of King’s many other best sellers, this is an event you will not want to miss.
Tickets range from $25 to $250.
VIP ticket packages, including a reception with Stephen King and a signed copy of his newest book, Joyland, are available.
Reservations can be made at www.bushnell.org or 860-987-5900.
Membership is available by calling 860-280-3112, or by going to www.marktwainhouse.org.
The event takes place at William H. Mortensen Hall.
Photo Credit: Getty Images
Stephen King will be in Connecticut in July.
Police are looking for the man who stole a purse from a woman in a Hamden driveway at gunpoint yesterday.
A relative of a Hepburn Road homeowner was getting into her car in a driveway on Monday when a man with a gun grabbed her purse and ran off, police said.
Police responded to the home around 5 p.m. to investigate and were not able to find the armed purse snatcher.
About two hours after the robbery, the victim’s credit card was used at Target in Orange.
Police are looking for a man who is around 5-feet-11 and between 18 and 25 years old. He was wearing a black T-shirt and a hat.
Police released a photo of the man who used the victim's credit card. He was wearing a black "Damn I'm Good T-shirt" and a black hat.
Anyone with information about the armed street robbery or the man who used the stolen credit card is asked to call Detective Brian Stewart at (203) 230-4000.
Photo Credit: Hamden Police
Hamden police are looking for the man who stole a woman's purse at gunpoint.
If you bought Bel Frantoio brand olives from an Ocean State Job Lot store, Connecticut state health officials are warning you not to eat them because they were not refrigerated.
The warnings and voluntary recall for the olives comes after staff from the Rhode Island Department of Health discovered that Bel Frantoio olives are labeled “Keep Refrigerated,” but were sold at room temperature, so they are susceptable to Clostridium botulism contamination.
The recall was issued for Mediterranean Olives: Calcidica Sweet and Calcidica Salted, produced by Bel Frantoio and packaged in 34‐oz. plastic containers, which were sold in Job Lot stores in Connecticut, New York, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont and
However, Job Lot is voluntarily recalling all Bel Frantoio olives at the recommendation from Rhode Island health officials.
While there no safety issues with other types of Bel Frantoio olives, they require refrigeration, contrary to the label that says “Refrigerate after opening,” according to the R.I. Health department.
Customers should return them to Job Lot for a refund.
These olives, when sold refrigerated at other stores, are safe, health officials said.
No illnesses have been associated with the recalled olives, according to Connecticut health officials, but anyone who feels sick after eating the recalled olives should seek prompt medical care, health officials urge.
Botulinum can result in serious illness or death.
Read more on the recall here.
Photo Credit: Getty Images
There is a recall for Bel Frantoio olives sold at Ocean State Job Lot.
Plainfield police took a 34-year-old man into custody Tuesday morning after he fired a gunshot while a woman and two children were fleeing a home on Cornell Road, police said.
Police responded to 155 Cornell Road after a woman called 911 around 2 a.m.
She reported having an argument with Zachary Truelson and said he fired a shot as she was leaving the house with her 1- and 3-year-old children.
When police arrived at the house and tried to contact Truelson, he did not respond, police said.
Authorities blocked off a portion of Cornell Road as they surrounded the residence and called state police in for asistance.
Around 6:30 a.m., police went into the house and took Truelson into custody.
He was charged with breach of peace in the second degree.
Truelson was held on a $25,000 bond and will be arraigned on July 10 at the Danielson Superior Court.
Police continue to investigate and more charges might be pending.
Police said no one was injured during the incident.
Photo Credit: Plainfield Police
Zachary Truelson has been charged with breach of peace after a standoff in Plainfield this morning.
A freshly laundered shirt, covered in plastic, flaps in the wind as it takes flight from in front of Manayunk Cleaners in Philadelphia.
It wasn’t picked up by a breeze, though, rather a remote-controlled drone, which ferries the shirt across the sky on a delivery run to a nearby customer.
“I’m all about technology and I see a lot of these cleaners, it’s so old school. You come in…and you just pick it up. I needed to spice things up,” says Manayunk Cleaners owner Harout Vartanian.
The 24-year-old, who’s trying to attract a young clientele at his Main Street shop that opened last September, converted a four-bladed DJI Phantom quadracopter, designed for taking aerial photography, into a dry cleaning delivery machine.
“We fly it to your house, it makes a noise, you pick it up and that’s that,” Vartanian says. “We posted a video to YouTube and it went viral. And ever since then, people have been asking ‘Hey, can you deliver my clothes by drone?’”
It takes two people -- a spotter and pilot -- to complete a delivery. The drone is launched from the sidewalk and once airborne, the clothes are attached to a makeshift hanging clip. Then, with clothes securely attached, the drone heads for its destination. But since the drone is small, it’s limited in how far it can go and much can be delivered in one trip.
“Right now, this particular model can only carry one to two pounds,” Vartanian said. He says that equates to a shirt or two. “There’s a higher-end model that we haven’t purchased yet, but obviously in the future that’s what we’re going to use. It carries around 5-10 pounds.”
So far they’ve focused the drone deliveries on customers from nearby businesses to log some flight hours, according to Vartanian.
Tim Nedzwecky had clean towels for his dog grooming business, The Groom Room, flown over. He calls the service “awesome.” Asked whether he’s concerned the towels might get dirty on their flight, Nedzwecky says no.
“I think that if something happens, they’ll fix it,” Nedzwecky said.
Next, Vartanian says they’ll randomly select one customer a month to have their clothes delivered by air for free. Then he hopes to expand the program and deploy a fleet of drones to deliver clothes to all customers.
While the drone deliveries are not exactly practical, they do get attention.
People often stop to look at the device flying high over Main Street, sometimes nearly a dozen at a time.
“It’s pretty crazy. I’ve never seen anything like it. I was wondering what the hell that was, to be honest,” said Trish Pasquarello. The 24-year-old said she’d try drone delivery because it would be easier than having to carry her clothes.
“It’s just something fun to watch,” says Bruce Cook. The contractor, who’s working on a project across the street from the cleaners, said he’s been watching the drone test flights for some time.
“It’s a novelty, it’s pretty cool, it’s cute, all that, but it’s not practical,” he said. “What would have been better, would have been if there had been a tractor-trailer coming down and met it.”
The use of drones in the American skies has been a hot topic of debate, as of late. Currently, drone use by commercial operators falls into a grey area. The Federal Aviation Administration bars people or businesses for operating a drone – or as they call them, Unmanned Aircraft Systems -- for compensation or hire.
The FAA also requires operators to obtain an airworthiness certificate to operate a drone. But that may change. Congress has required the FAA to develop guidelines for commercial drone use by 2015. The guidelines would give businesses a way to use drones for profit.
Vartanian doesn't think his drone falls under the FAA guidelines. He insists it's “just a toy” and is being used as a way to promote his business.
“It’s amazing. It’s something new, it’s definitely a step towards the future," he said. "[Customers] have never seen anything like this and hopefully they’ll get used to it because that's what we’ll plan on doing.”