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    A natural gas explosion destroyed a duplex in Lewisville, Texas, hours after construction workers mistakenly cut a gas line, NBCDFW.com reported.

    The duplex behind the Lighthouse Pentecostal Church of God is owned by the Christian Community Actions, an organization that assists people who are in need.

    The home exploded at 12:30 p.m., while crews were working to repair a gas leak. Construction workers mistakenly cut a 4-inch gas line in the area at about 10 a.m., investigators said.

    Emergency crews at the time told NBC 5 they had the issue under control and that no evacuations were necessary. But fire officials later told another NBC 5 reporter that they had evacuated a block downwind of the gas leak.

    The house that exploded was not included in the evacuations.

    Atmos Energy said the cause of the explosion is under investigation.

    Two Lewisville firefighters and a man who was inside the duplex at the time of the explosion were sent to area hospitals after the explosion, according to fire officials.

    Witnesses said the explosion "felt like a bomb went off" and said they could feel the shock wave from blocks away.

    "Honestly, I didn't see anything at first," said Danny Vigil, who lives in the area. "What I felt was a huge explosion. It was almost as if you were sitting in a movie, a big action movie -- you hear bombs going, that’s what it sounded like."

    "Pictures were rattling, falling onto the ground," he said. "The first thing I did was run out the front door -- ran all around because I thought some car hit our home. [I] ran to the back, I saw flames, smoke, debris in the air, shingles, branches. It was just an unbelievable sight.”

    "I was sitting at my desk whenever was a loud explosion," Dwayne Ryaman said. "[I] literally thought maybe an 18-wheeler had ran into my building at first."

    “When I came out of my door, I immediately saw the black smoke and flames," he said. "I got a little bit closer to the scene, saw the debris that was strewn out in the middle of the street."

    Debris covered the roadway in the 500 block of East Main Street in Lewisville. The road was shut down while emergency crews worked near the scene.

    None of the surrounding homes or businesses were damaged in the explosion.

    The man who was inside the duplex was critically injured and taken to Medical Center of Lewisville. He underwent surgery and was later airlifted to Medical Center of Plano, where he was in intensive care Friday night. He is expected to survive.

    The injured firefighters were released from the hospital later Friday.

    Crews are put out hot spots at the location of the explosion. Atmos Energy crews assisted, along with fire crews from Lewisville, The Colony and Carrollton.

    NBC 5's Ellen Goldberg and Amanda Guerra contributed to this report.


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    HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) -- The families of the people killed in the Newtown elementary school shooting are weighing whether and how to get involved in the national gun-control debate.

    Sandy Hook Promise, a grassroots group formerly known as Newtown United, is inviting family members to an event next week where it will reveal an initiative to prevent tragedies similar to the Dec. 14 shooting that left 26 people dead.
     

    One mother also has been clamoring for a say in Washington, but people close to other families say the pain is still too raw to enter the realm of advocacy.
     

     John Engel has a cousin whose 6-year-old daughter, Olivia, was killed in the shooting. He says his family is hearing out the groups but is focused right now on just getting through the next month.

     



    Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images

    Police stand guard at the entrance to the Sandy School on December 15, 2012 in Newtown, Connecticut. The residents of an idyllic Connecticut town were reeling in horror from the massacre of 20 small children and six adults in one of the worst school shootings in US history. The heavily armed gunman shot dead 18 children inside Sandy Hook Elementary School, said Connecticut State Police spokesman Lieutenant Paul Vance. Two more died of their wounds in hospital.     AFP PHOTO/DON EMMERTPolice stand guard at the entrance to the Sandy School on December 15, 2012 in Newtown, Connecticut. The residents of an idyllic Connecticut town were reeling in horror from the massacre of 20 small children and six adults in one of the worst school shootings in US history. The heavily armed gunman shot dead 18 children inside Sandy Hook Elementary School, said Connecticut State Police spokesman Lieutenant Paul Vance. Two more died of their wounds in hospital. AFP PHOTO/DON EMMERT

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    After investigating for months, the Stratford Police Narcotics Vice and Intelligence Unit made two arrests and seized tens of thousands of dollars in cash and drugs in Trumbull.

    Police investigating drug activity in Stratford said they served a search warrant at 55 White Plains Road in Trumbull on Friday and seized around $13,000 dollars in suspected drug proceeds, 1.1 pounds of crack cocaine and 2.2 ounces of powdered cocaine.  The estimated street value of the drugs is around $40,000. 

    Police said they also seized drug packaging and scales.

    Eduardo Nieves, 31, was arrested and charged with possession of crack cocaine with intent to sell, possession of narcotics with intent to sell, operating a drug factory, possession of drug paraphernalia and risk of injury to a minor.

    He was held on a $250,000 bond and is scheduled to appear in Bridgeport Court on Jan. 25.

    Veronica Valdovinos, 26, was also taken into custody and charged with risk of injury to a minor, possession of a narcotic substance, sale of crack cocaine and conspiracy to sell crack cocaine. 

    She was released on $1,000 bond and is also scheduled to appear in Bridgeport Court on Jan. 25.
     


    Eduardo Nieves, 31, was arrested and charged with possession of crack cocaine with intent to sell, possession of narcotics with intent to sell, operating a drug factory, possession of drug paraphernalia and risk of injury to a minor. Veronica Valdovinos, 26, was charged with risk of injury to a minor, possession of a narcotic substance, sale of crack cocaine and conspiracy to sell crack cocaine.Eduardo Nieves, 31, was arrested and charged with possession of crack cocaine with intent to sell, possession of narcotics with intent to sell, operating a drug factory, possession of drug paraphernalia and risk of injury to a minor. Veronica Valdovinos, 26, was charged with risk of injury to a minor, possession of a narcotic substance, sale of crack cocaine and conspiracy to sell crack cocaine.

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    One person was killed in a one-car crash on Interstate 395 North on Friday near exit 91 in Killingly.

    A Ford SUV went through the guardrail and into the woods around 2 p.m., according to Lt. Paul Vance, of the Connecticut State Police. 

    The victim’s name has not been released.


    Police are investigating a fatal crash in Killingly.Police are investigating a fatal crash in Killingly.

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    Waterford Dispatchers say they received a series of 911 calls about gun shots coming from a home at 6 Cinderella Lane early Saturday morning.

    Police investigated the home in the Quaker Hill section of Waterford and found a number of hand guns, rifles, and a shotgun at around 2:17 a.m.

    A small amount of ammunition was also seized, said police.

    According to investigators, 25-year-old Andrew Malerba was arrested without incident and charged with breach of peace and unlawful discharge of a firearm.

    He was released on a written promise to appear in New London Superior Court on January 25th.
     


    Police found a number of guns after hearing reports of gun shots coming from a home in Waterford early Saturday morning.Police found a number of guns after hearing reports of gun shots coming from a home in Waterford early Saturday morning.

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    Police in New Haven are asking for the public's help in finding the man responsible for at least four armed robberies in over a week.

    According to investigators, the suspect walked into a Pizza Hut Restaurant on Whalley Ave around noon and brandished a knife. He threatened the clerk if he didn't hand over the money from the register, police said.  

    The clerk gave the man between $30 and $40 dollars and was not injured.

    Authorities believe the same man is also responsible for robbing a Dunkin Donuts on Ferry Street, the 7-11 on Whalley Ave, and the Subway Restaurant on Grand Ave on January 3rd.  

    In the 7-11 and Subway robberies, the suspect was armed with a syringe, police said. During the Dunkin Donuts robbery, the man had a knife.

    The suspect is described as a white male between 5 feet and 8 inches and 5 feet and 10 inches and weighs between 200 and 220 pounds.

    Anyone with information is urged to contact New Haven Police at 203-946-6316 or the Detective Division at 203-946-6304. Calls may be made anonymously.


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    Police arrested a young couple after they allegedly planted a fake bomb at East Hampton Middle School Saturday.

    According to investigators Sean Doran and Kayla Sypek, both 20 years-old and both from East Hampton, left the timing device near the front entrance doors of the school on Childs Road.

    School custodians discovered it Saturday morning as they were preparing to open the school for a Christian Youth Basketball League, police said.

    The makeshift bomb was red and orange and approximately 12"x 8"x 4" in size. Police immediately locked down the school and secured the area.

    The Connecticut State Police Bomb Squad was called in and determined the suspicious item did not contain any explosives. Police said the school was checked for any other possible dangerous items and was then deemed safe.

    Authorities say they found their suspects in a security video from the school and later arrested Doran and Sypek during a traffic stop. Also in the vehicle was the couple's 2-year-old daughter.

    At the traffic stop, police said Doran was wearing the same plaid, flannel shirt as seen in the surveillance video from the school.

    The couple confessed to the crime and both were charged with reckless endangerment in the first-degree, threatening in the first-degree, and breach of peace.

    Authorities from the Federal Bureau of Investigation are also investigating the case and Doran and Sypek could face federal charges as well.

    Doran and Sypek are each held on $100,000 bonds and are set to appear in Middlesex Superior Court on Monday, January 14th, 2012.


    This is a photo of the fake bomb police say Sean Doran and Kayla Sypek allegedly left in front of East Hampton Middle School Saturday morning.This is a photo of the fake bomb police say Sean Doran and Kayla Sypek allegedly left in front of East Hampton Middle School Saturday morning.

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         HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) -- The co-chairman of a state legislative committee says the panel plans to introduce a bill allowing claims of post traumatic stress disorder to be covered under Connecticut's workers' compensation laws, in response to the Newtown school shootings.
           Democratic Sprague Sen. Cathy Osten says the Labor and Public Employees Committee will introduce the bill in the coming days.
           Newtown's Board of Police Commissioners is asking legislators to change the workers' compensation laws to provide appropriate benefits to police officers and others who've suffered physical and emotional injuries "as a consequence of their heroic efforts" on the job.
           The Newtown police union said some officers who responded to the deadly shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School are too traumatized to work and have relied on sick time or donations to covers their salaries.



    Photo Credit: AP

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    Leon Leyson, who was among the youngest of refugees to be saved from the Holocaust by German businessman Oskar Schindler, has died.

    He was 83.

    Leyson was 10-years old when Poland was invaded by the Nazis, and 13 when he started to work for Schindler, the hero in Steven Spielberg's 1993 Oscar-winning movie, "Schindler's List."

    Many of Leyson's family members died in the Holocaust. Leon, his parents, older brother and sister survived.

    Leyson and his family moved to the United States in 1949.

    It wasn't long before he was drafted in the US Army. He often spoke about how grateful he was to serve his new country.

    A counselor at Los Angeles City College helped him get his eduction and he became a teacher at Huntington Park High School.

    He taught students there for 39 years. He lived in Fullerton with his wife, Liz, and raised two children.

    For a long time, most people didn't know Leon was a Holocaust survivor. It wasn't until "Schindler's List" came out that Leyson began talking about what happened to him and his family.

    He began talking at elementary schools, high schools, and college campuses.

    He told students about losing his freedom, how he was hungry and frightened.

    He talked about losing family members, including a beloved older brother.

    "Five of us survived the war, this is the bottom line, out of everyone who was related to me in Poland. And we survived because we were on Schindler's list," Leon said during an interview in 2008 when he was the subject of a 30-minute profile with NBC4's Fritz Coleman.

    Leyson spoke at the the Orange County's Chapman University often. In 2011, he was awarded an honorary doctorate.

    When he heard about that, he joked, "I'm really speechless. I'll be a doctor, so if you have a headache, come see me."


    Leon LeysonLeon Leyson

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    Wonder Bread will live on despite the bankruptcy of its longtime manufacturer, Hostess Brands, and a Twinkie salvation may be close behind.

    Flowers Foods, Inc., which makes the Nature’s Own line of breads along with the Tastykake line of cupcakes and sweets, said it had agreed to purchase several of Hostess’ best-known brands, along with 28 bakeries and other locations.

    Georgia-based Flowers said Friday that it had signed purchasing agreements to take on buy Wonder, Nature’s Pride, Merita, Home Pride and Butternut bread brands from Hostess for $360 million. The company also plans to buy the ailing bakery’s Beefsteak Bread for an additional $30 million.

    That deal does not include Hostess’ sweet cake businesses, but the company said last week that numerous bidders have come forward for Twinkies and other snacks. The New York Times reported that the divisions that make the snacks have drawn attention from “scores” of bidders.

    The news was greeted with glee by Twinkie fans – and groans by those who feel the preservative-laden confections have passed their prime.

    “Ugh,” NBC4 viewer Christina Ann Duffy posted on the station’s Facebook page.

    “Overpriced junk food!” declared Maria Silveira Kanning.

    Dozens of people weighed in, many invoking the nation’s obesity epidemic.

    But that didn't deter the Twinkie eaters.

    “Twinkies don’t kill, America,” wrote Maria Gallardo. “It’s people that don’t limit themselves that do.”

    Some asked about the fates of other products in the Hostess lines: Tarah Johnson wants the chocolate cupcakes to continue. Pam Bennett is concerned about the little white donuts.

    Others yearn for the cherry pies.

    “Hostess products are a national treasure,” wrote Holly Downs. “I’m relieved to hear they’ll still be around.”

    Hostess, which has faced financial difficulty for years, said in November it planned to wind down its operations after a bankruptcy court gave approval to a plan to shut 33 bakeries, 565 distribution centers, approximately 5,500 delivery routes and 570 bakery outlet stores. The court also approved the elimination of 18,500 jobs.

    The Texas-based company blamed a strike by its union for its initial plans to shut down. It entered bankruptcy in 2012 for the second time.

    But that didn't stop viewers like Diane Williams Bradshaw Preston from stepping up to try to save their favorite products.

    "While I'm happy for Twinkies, what about the stepsister, Snowball?" she wrote. "My favorite, even though I know what happens if you leave it in the trunk on a really hot day."
     



    Photo Credit: Getty Images

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    Residents of Newtown have promised to honor the lives of the 20 children and six adults killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School a month ago and are asking people across the country to join them and become part of a national effort to bring about change so a tragedy like this never again happens. 

    Parents of several victims not only attended the news conference announcing Sandy Hook Promise on Monday morning, but also held photos of their children and spoke.

    Nicole Hockley, the mother of Dylan Hockley, said she does not want to be someone who shares her experience and consoles another victim's family because she does not want there to be another shooting like the one that took her 6-year-old son.

    She said it will take a nation of communities to achieve true transformation.

    “I am … proud to stand for my son Dylan and pledge my enduring support to this promise,” she said. “This is a promise to turn the conversations into action. Each child, every human life is filled with promise."

    Nelba Marquez-Greene held a photo of her 6-year-old daughter Ana as she said she put two children on the school bus on the Friday morning of Dec. 14, but only one came home.

    Faith is helping the family get through tragedy, she said, and they are choosing love as a way to honor their young daughter.

    "Love wins. Love wins in Newtown. May love win in America," she said, adding that the promise residents of Newtown are making is in support of families, neighbors and honor those whose lives were lost.

    There is no agenda other than to keep communities safe.

    The non-profit organization, formerly called Newtown United, is focused on supporting the victims’ families, the survivors, first responders and teachers and staff of Sandy Hook and the town of Newtown, according to the Web site. They plan to do this by providing support, both financial and service.

    Tom Bittman, a cofounder of Sandy Hook Promise, said this grassroots campaign is not just about the families, but about Newtown's community, schools and being remembered for bringing about change.

    "We will work for real solutions to make every community safer," he said. "Doing nothing is no longer an option."

    Jeremy Richman Jennifer Hensel, parents of Avielle Richman, thanked the local, national and worldwide communities for “unwavering support” in a dark time.

    What happened to their daughter could happen in any community and they feel it is their responsibility to be outraged and take action, Jeremy said.

    “There’s not going to be one simple solution,” Jeremy said.

    He said they have started the Avielle Foundation to conduct research on mental health issues, both behavioral and biomchemical. identify risk factors and measure successes in help and intervention.

    “With this foundation, it is our hope to honor our beautiful Avielle and all the others that have fallen to such senseless violence,” Jeremy said, fighting back tears.

    David Wheeler and Francine Lotus-Wheeler, parents of Benjamin, also gave thanks for all the support.

    “We are parents -- just two of 149 million American parents,” David said, adding that parent is defined as a point of origin and reflected on the important role of parenting.

    “My wife and I have spent most of the past month to the task of being the best possible parents for our surviving son, Nate. What we have recently come to realize is that we are not done being the best possible parents we can be for Ben, not be a very long measure,” he said, and asked that all parents pause and asks themselves what is it worth doing to keep children safe.

    “What is worth doing?” he asked.

    The residents also said they are committed to preventing similar tragedies from ever happening again and are asking people from across the country to "make a promise to encourage and support common sense solutions that make their communities and our country safer from acts of violence like that which occurred at Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 14, 2012."

    Tim Makris, cofounder of Sandy Hook Promise, said everyone in the nation can learn by the way the community came together after the tragedy.

    “The goals of Sandy Hook Promise are within our reach. Now, it is time to get to work,” he said and asked people to make the promise.

    He said the organization is looking for a national discussion, to put aside preconceived notions and to doing something different to solve the problem.
     

     

     


    Families of victims of the shooting at Sandy Hook are taking part in the Sandy Hook Promise campaign.Families of victims of the shooting at Sandy Hook are taking part in the Sandy Hook Promise campaign.

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    South Windsor Police have arrested a 27-year-old local man accused of tackling and punching a female police officer and head-butting a male officer last month.

    The charges are in connection with a report of domestic violence at Michael Dillman’s Oakland Road home in December.

    When officers responded to the house, Dillman ran into nearby woods, police said.

    A canine team from Enfield was brought in to help with the search and Dillman was found in the woods, police said.

    When officers tried to take him into custody, Dillman tackled an officer and began punching her, police said.

    An Enfield officer then deployed his police dog and began to pull Dillman off the South Windsor officer, but Dillman head-butted the Enfield officer, causing a bloody nose, police said.

    Dillman was subdued with a stun gun and was sent to a local hospital for treatment and mental health assessment. 

    On Saturday, Jan. 12, police arrested Dillman on a warrant charging him with two counts of assault on a police officer, interfering with an officer and disorderly conduct. 

    He was later released on $30,000 surety bond and is scheduled to appear at Manchester Superior Court on Jan. 24.
     


    Michael Dillman is accused of assaulting two officers.Michael Dillman is accused of assaulting two officers.

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    Fire officials and police are investigating dozens of intentionally set bush fires since October and a reward is being offered for information.

    Officials from Derby, Milford, Monroe, Orange, Oxford, Shelton and Stratford, along with the Connecticut State Police Fire & Explosion Investigation Unit, are investigating fires that have occurred in multiple locations simultaneously, police said.

    The fires have been set on the sides of roads, including roads leading from Route 1 to Route 34 in Orange, along Route 34 from Orange to Oxford and Route 110 from Shelton to Monroe.  Several fires have also occurred in the area of Sikorsky Memorial Airport in Stratford, police said. 

    A reward of $2,500 is being offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person, or persons, responsible for these fires.  All tips will remain confidential.

    Officials ask the public to report any suspicious activity in these areas to the Connecticut Arson Tip Hotline at 800-84-ARSON (800) 842-7766. 

     



    Photo Credit: Dept. of Transportation

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    All week, the talk was that the AFC Divisional rematch between the Texans and Patriots would look nothing like the 42-14 Week 14 blowout that left Houston reeling and New England in a familiar last-season position: playing well as the playoffs approached.

    On Sunday night, the Patriots rolled again, this time 41-28, and the Texans were powerless to do anything about it. Tom Brady's numbers looked eerily similar to the first meeting; in December, he was 21 of 35 for 296 yards, 4 TDs and 0 INTs. In the postseason reunion, he was 25 of 40 for 344 yards, 3 TDs, 0 INTs. Put another way: Houston's defense, which was one of the league's best units early in the year, had no answers for Brady, Welker or the Pats' 2012 running game. Wes Welker led all receivers with 131 yards on eight catches, and Aaron Hernandez added six catches for 85 yards. Meanwhile, Stevan Ridley and Shane Vereen combined for 123 rushing yards (82 and 41 yards, respectively) and a rushing touchdown apiece (all told, Vereen had two receiving touchdowns, too).

    As usual, coach Bill Belichick was measured in his post-game comments.

    "It’s good to be able to play in the AFC Championship Game next week. I’m really proud of our players; I thought they worked hard all year. Today was a big win for us," he said. "It wasn’t perfect and there were certainly a lot of things we can do better, but it was a good win. I’m happy for the players. I think they really earned it. They had a good week of practice. I thought they really did a good job preparing for this game. It was good to see us make enough plays here to win."

    But it wasn't all smiles and high-fives in the locker room after the game; the Patriots lost tight-end Rob Gronkowski for the remainder of the postseason after he re-injured his broken arm midway through the first quarter. The team also lost running back Danny Woodhead on Sunday.

    "Hooman (Michael Hoomanawanui) and Shane (Vereen) stepped in there and both did a good job for us. Shane obviously made a lot of big plays, but Hooman did a great job too, as he’s been doing for the last month. These kinds of games, you never really know when the dial spins, where it’s going to wind up, who it’s going to end up on. Those guys were prepared. Offensively we were able to move the ball, put up some points. It’s a credit to everybody to be ready. "

    Brady said the Pats' "had a whole plan built for (Gronkowski and Woodhead)."

    "We run the first series of the game and all those plans change," the quarterback admitted. "I think a little of it was ‘What are we going to do now? How are we going to adjust?’ But we seemed to settle in there midway through the first quarter and put together a pretty good game. Obviously it’s a bummer to lose anybody, but someone of Rob’s importance or Danny’s importance, we need guys to step in and fill the void, whether it’s this game or any game after."

    But that's been the Patriots' M.O. for as long as Belichick and Brady have been together. Yes, there's the two most important cogs in this well-oiled machine, but the ancillary parts are also critical to their success. And Sunday, against a team that seemed overmatched from the start, it was enough.

    Come next Sunday, however, the Ravens won't be intimated about returning to Gillette Stadium, where they feel like last year's trip to the Super Bowl was ripped from them (thanks to Lee Evans and Billy Cundiff).

    Brady was asked if he was disappointed that there won't be a Brady-Manning rematch this week.

    "I think the two best teams are in the finals," he said. "Baltimore certainly deserves to be here and so do we, so it's very fitting. We played them early in the year; they got us. We blew a pretty big lead there at the end. We’re going to have to play our best game this week."

    And that's how it should be.



    Photo Credit: Getty Images

    FOXBORO, MA - JANUARY 13:  Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots makes an adjustment against the Houston Texans during the 2013 AFC Divisional Playoffs game at Gillette Stadium on January 13, 2013 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)FOXBORO, MA - JANUARY 13: Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots makes an adjustment against the Houston Texans during the 2013 AFC Divisional Playoffs game at Gillette Stadium on January 13, 2013 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

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    Police are trying to find the people who cut a hole through the roof of Sam’s Food Store in Suffield early on the morning of Dec. 31 and stole 150 scratch-off lottery tickets, among other items.

    Police said the burglary happened between midnight and 6 a.m.

    Days later, at 5:15 p.m. on Jan. 7, a man entered the Enfield Liquor Warehouse at 496 Enfield St. in Enfield and attempted to cash one of the stolen lottery tickets, according to police.

    Police have released photos from the video security footage from Enfield Liquor Warehouse in hopes of identifying the man shown.

    Anyone who recognizes the man is asked to call Suffield Police Officer Justin Fuller at 860-668-3870.
     

     


    Police said this man tried to cash in lottery tickets stolen from a Suffield shop.Police said this man tried to cash in lottery tickets stolen from a Suffield shop.

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    North Branford Police have charged a registered sex offender with sexually assaulting a 1-year-old child.

    Officers began an investigation Thursday after the child was taken to Yale-New Haven Hospital with an injury to the pelvic region. The Department of Children and Families contacted police after the hospital visit.

    North Branford Police arrested Joseph Lane, 33, of Higganum on Sunday.

    Lane is a registered sex offender. He was convicted of first-degree sexual assault in 2002. He was released from prison in 2006, according to the registry.

    Lane is facing new charges of first-degree sexual assault, risk of injury to a minor and two counts of violation of probation. He was held on $550,000 bond and was expected to be arraigned on Monday.



    Photo Credit: North Branford Police

    Joseph Lane, 33, a registered sex offender, is charged with sexually assaulting a 1-year-old child.Joseph Lane, 33, a registered sex offender, is charged with sexually assaulting a 1-year-old child.

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    A New Haven firefighters charged with bribing a witness has turned himself in to New Haven police.

    Police said charges against Aaron Brantley, 33, of New Haven, stem from an ongoing investigation.

    Brantley was charged with two counts of bribery of a witness. He turned himself in at police headquarters on an arrest warrant around 11 a.m.

    The New Haven Independent reports that Brantley is accused of trying to bribe two members of the department to back up discrimination claims he made in 2012 in exchange for settlement money from the claim.

    According to the New Haven Register, Brantley claimed he was being discriminated against when he was tasked with painting fire hydrants, cleaning windows and doing errands, as well as other duties while recovering from an injury. In response, he filed a complaint with the state Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities, the report states.  

    Attorney Hugh Keefe, who is representing Brantley, said his client has been with the department for eight years, has received several commendations and is a terrific firefighter who saved several people from burning buildings.

    "This case, in my view at least, is going nowhere. It's a shame he has to go through this, but that's the process," Keefe said.
     


    Aaron Brantley, a New Haven firefighter, has been charged with bribing a witness.Aaron Brantley, a New Haven firefighter, has been charged with bribing a witness.

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    U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro has introduced legislation aimed to curb gun violence by creating a tax credit to encourage people to turn-in assault weapons to state or local police.

    “Let us be clear. Assault weapons are not about hunting or even self-defense and they should be off the streets,” DeLauro said of her proposed Support Assault Firearm Elimination and Reduction for our (SAFER) Street Act. “There is no reason on Earth, other than to kill as many people as possible in a very short period of time, that anyone needs a gun designed for military purposes.”

    Police said Adam Lanza used a Bushmaster AR-15 assault rifle when he went on a shooting rampage at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown on Dec. 14, killing 20 first graders and six staff members.

    DeLauro is proposing a $2,000 refundable tax credit ($1,000 for two consecutive years) for an assault weapon owner who turns in their firearm to the state police.   

    A Connecticut veteran who owns an AR-15 and wanted to help urge other assault weapon owners to do their part to help prevent future tragedies suggested the proposal, according to DeLauro’s office.

    “Particularly if you are a parent or grandparent, the tragedy that happened in Sandy Hook last month is almost overwhelming. Such massacres should not happen in America and we should do everything possible to prevent such tragedies in the future,” DeLauro said in a statement. “In his remarks shortly after the tragedy, President Obama asked ‘Are we doing enough to protect our children?’  The answer, he admitted, is no.  The SAFER Streets Act moves us in the right direction.”



     



    Photo Credit: Getty Images

    WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 08: Representative Rosa Delauro(D-Conn) speaks during the Meals on Wheels Association of America press conference at the 345 Cannon House Office Building on May 8, 2012 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Kris Connor/Getty Images)WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 08: Representative Rosa Delauro(D-Conn) speaks during the Meals on Wheels Association of America press conference at the 345 Cannon House Office Building on May 8, 2012 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Kris Connor/Getty Images)

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    In the Post on Monday, Bart Hubbuch makes a plea for the Jets to make a play for 49ers quarterback Alex Smith this offseason. 

    Smith is probably an upgrade from Mark Sanchez, which doesn't say all that much since not having a quarterback might be an upgrade on Sanchez, but the suggestion pretty much misses the point that this year's NFL playoff teams have been making over and over again. 

    Offense wins championships in the NFL these days and playing game managers like Smith (or trading up to take them in the draft, as the Jets did with Sanchez) is not the way to generate that offense. The 49ers made the NFC Championship Game last year thanks to a power running game, a ferocious defense and a quarterback in Smith who was asked to simply avoid mistakes. 

    It should sound familiar, it is the same blueprint that the Jets followed to make it to two AFC Championship Games in a row, even while it also sounds archaic. The 49ers' season took off this year when then dumped Smith and handed the reins of the offense over to Colin Kaepernick, who played one of the best quarterback games ever in Saturday's victory over the Packers. 

    Had Russell Wilson's Seahawks been able to hold on in Atlanta Sunday, we might be hearing more about the thrilling work he did in bringing them back from 20 points down at the start of the fourth quarter. He threw two touchdowns, ran for another and generated more than 400 yards to lead a comeback that faltered when the defense couldn't stop Matt Ryan on two passes with 30 seconds left. 

    Kaepernick and Wilson mix NFL arms with the feet of guys who normally play other positions, a combination that has been slowly growing in the league thanks to those two guys, Robert Griffin III and Cam Newton. Even Andrew Luck and Aaron Rodgers, who don't play the read-option that has launched that quartet, make more plays with their feet than the previous generation of pocket passers.

    With more and more college football teams playing a similar style and the NFL doing everything they can to favor offenses rules-wise, it's pretty clear where the game is going. And even clearer that the Jets would be barking up the wrong tree to go for a variation on what they already have under center. 

    Not that they need to force things to bring in a Kaepernick/Wilson-type because there are more innovations than just a running quarterback. There's New England's fastbreak offense, something that the Giants should be studying as a way to press their advantage on that side of the ball, and the versatility of running backs and tight ends beyond the limited box they've occupied for much of football history. 

    And if you're not going to innovate, you better be able to dominate. The Falcons and Ravens are the conventional offenses in the final four, but they throw deep and spread the field in ways that the Jets and Giants could never do this season. 

    The Giants have reason for confidence in what they do offensively, but it wouldn't hurt them to find a couple of offensive pieces that can force defenses to think about less vanilla modes of attack than we're used to seeing from Kevin Gilbride. The Jets have nothing to work with so there's no reason for them not to innovate in hopes of finding their footing on that side of the ball. 

    If they are having a hard time thinking of ideas, they should just fire up the tapes from this weekend because it was a clinic on the future of offensive football. 

    Josh Alper is also a writer for Pro Football Talk. You can follow him on Twitter.



    Photo Credit: Getty Images

    Kaepernick is leading the 49ers; He should be inspiring the Jets.Kaepernick is leading the 49ers; He should be inspiring the Jets.

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    A Norwich police officer shot several times during a standoff is back in the hospital.

    Officer Jonathan Ley was readmitted to Yale-New Haven Hospital Sunday, according to a spokesperson for the hospital. Ley was listed in good condition Monday afternoon, but it was not clear why Ley had returned to the hospital.

    Ley was shot during a standoff with a man who had threatened to commit suicide-by-cop. Norwich police surrounded the Cedar Glen apartment complex Jan. 7 where Jason Razzino, 30, lived with his girlfriend. Razzino fired at officers, hitting Ley four or five times. Razzino killed himself after keeping police at bay for several hours.

    Ley was rushed to the ICU at Yale-New Haven Hospital. He spent three days in the hospital and was released on Thursday in front of dozens of police officers who came to show their support.

    A spokesperson for Yale-New Haven Hospital said he did not believe Ley's readmission was for anything life-threatening.



    Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

    Norwich Police Officer Jonathan Ley was readmitted to the hosptial just days after being released.Norwich Police Officer Jonathan Ley was readmitted to the hosptial just days after being released.

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