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    The Small Business Administration has opened a second Disaster Loan Outreach Center in Hamden for the week of October 22 to assist people impacted by the May 15 tornadoes and severe storms.

    According to the SBA, businesses and non-profits can borrow up to $2 million and loans between $40,000 and $200,000 are available for renters and homeowners to cover damage that was not covered by insurance.

    “Any businesses that might have some economic injury as a result of the storms or any kind of physical or structural damage,” explained Victoria Munoz, who is with SBA. “The same thing for homeowners that might have suffered any personal property losses.”

    SBA officials said they will assist people with their applications. The process takes about 20 minutes.

    The Hamden location is at the Miller Memorial Center on Dixwell Avenue. It will be open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. during the week and from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday. It closes permanently, Monday, October 29.



    Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

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    Two bystanders stopped an armed robber who attacked a couple while they were trying to make a deposit at a central Florida ATM.

    The Orange County Sheriff's Office said the couple was sitting in their car at the drive-thru of the Chase Bank on South Orange Blossom Trail when the robber "came out of nowhere" and tried to take the woman's purse.

    Police said the 55-year-old woman and her husband tried to fight off the attacker.

    Surveillance video shows the suspect reaching inside the driver side window and getting dragged by the moving car as the driver attempts to break free.

    Police said the suspect then pulled out a box cutter knife and grabbed the woman by the neck as she honked her horn. That's when two good Samaritans noticed something was going on ran to get the attacker away from the car, police said.

    The suspect fled the scene in an unknown direction. Police said they believe he may still be in the area. 

    Police is asking anyone with information to call the Crimeline at 800-423-8477.



    Photo Credit: Orange County Sheriff's Office

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    State police have arrested a man in connection with an October 2017 fatal hit-and-run in Old Lyme.

    Daniel Coffee, 36, of Lyme, turned himself in to troopers in Westbrook Monday morning.

    Coffee is accused of hitting 19-year-old Yeison Gomez Cruz as Gomez-Cruz walked along Boston Post Road near Sill Lane in the early morning hours of October 30, 2017.

    Coffee left the scene of the incident but was found a short time later, according to state police.

    Gomez-Cruz was rushed to the hospital but died several days later.

    Coffee is charged with misconduct with a motor vehicle, evading responsibility (death), and possession of less than 1/2 ounce of cannabis.

    He was scheduled to appear in court on Monday.



    Photo Credit: Connecticut State Police

    Daniel CoffeeDaniel Coffee

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    NBC News has debunked a handful of allegations that President Donald Trump and others have spread about the caravan of thousands of Honduran migrants that is headed north in the hopes of crossing the U.S. border.

    There is no evidence the caravan is being led by anyone other than Hondurans, despite Trump alleging that "a lot of money has been passing to people."

    A former senior intelligence official who continues to be briefed on current intelligence told NBC News that there is also no evidence that any Middle Eastern terrorists are hiding in the caravan. That's in contrast to a tweet from the president implying the opposite. The Department of Homeland Security, meanwhile, is able to gather biometric data as migrants pass between the borders of Central American countries. 

    Click here for more by NBC News on five myths about the caravan that are disputed by the facts.



    Photo Credit: Moises Castillo/AP

    Central American migrants making their way to the U.S. in a large caravan stand in line waiting for medical aid in Tapachula, Mexico, Sunday, Oct. 21, 2018. Despite Mexican efforts to stop them at the Guatemala-Mexico border, about 5,000 Central American migrants resumed their advance toward the U.S. border Sunday in southern Mexico.Central American migrants making their way to the U.S. in a large caravan stand in line waiting for medical aid in Tapachula, Mexico, Sunday, Oct. 21, 2018. Despite Mexican efforts to stop them at the Guatemala-Mexico border, about 5,000 Central American migrants resumed their advance toward the U.S. border Sunday in southern Mexico.

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    Suffield police are looking for witnesses to a deadly crash on Boston Neck Road Friday.

    Police said the one-car crash happened around 9 p.m. near the one-lane bridge over Stony Brook, in the 500-block of Boston Neck Road. The female driver, identified as 21-year-old East Granby resident Nina Adasiewicz, was killed. A male passenger was also injured.

    Investigators are looking to speak with anyone who was in the area of the crash between 8 and 9:09 p.m. Friday who may have seen the vehicle involved, a blue 2000 Honda.

    Anyone with information on the crash can contact police at 860-668-3870.


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    Police are investigating after a threat was made about a high school in New Haven on Monday.

    According to officers, an overnight threat was made using social media about Wilbur Cross High School. The origin and credibility of the message have not been determined.

    Police did not release details about what the threat specifically said.

    The school and its security team are being provided with police and other support in order to maintain a safe environment for all students and staff, school officials said. Wilbur Cross remains in session and is on a regularly scheduled half-day on Monday.

    “Student safety is the top priority for New Haven Public Schools. The collaboration and planning with the New Haven Police Department, school security, Central Office and Wilbur Cross Administration allows for us to respond to security issues quickly and proactively as we work diligently to maintain safe and healthy learning environments for all New Haven Public School students," Superintendent Dr. Carol D. Birks said.

    The threat remains under investigation.



    Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

    Wilbur Cross High School in New HavenWilbur Cross High School in New Haven

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    Emergency crews responded to Burns Elementary School in Hartford Monday after several people were exposed to a white powder.

    Hartford Public Schools spokesman John Fergus said a balloon with a white substance was found outside and brought into the building.

    Fire officials said students playing outside found the balloon, which burst. Two children and two adults were exposed.  No one was hospitalized and no one is showing any signs of illness, officials said.

    Fire officials said testing determined the substance was not hazardous or drugs, but it was not immediately clear what the substance was.

    The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection is investigating.

    Fergus said as a precaution the school called a Code Yellow, which means students were held inside the building. Anxious parents gathered around outside the school Monday afternoon awaiting an update.

    Sulaica Berrios said her 6-year-old daughter was exposed.

    "I hope so, that’s what they say but we don’t know for sure what it is. We are going to take her to the emergency room to double check everything is fine," she told NBC Connecticut.

    This is a developing story. 

    Editor's Note: Fire officials initially said 13 students and one teacher were exposed to the substance, but later clarified only two children and two adults were exposed.



    Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

    Emergency crews on scene at Burns Elementary in Hartford due to a white powder incident Monday.Emergency crews on scene at Burns Elementary in Hartford due to a white powder incident Monday.

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    In a grainy video recorded over the summer at a campaign event, Bob Stefanowski, the Republican candidate for governor, shared some of his thoughts on childhood immunization laws.

    NBC Connecticut obtained the video of Stefanowski from a source working for Democratic campaigns in Connecticut. The video is two minutes long, and it is unknown what is said before or after the two-minute portion on immunization policy.

    Stefanowski was asked by an audience member at the event, which appears to have been hosted by the Quiet Corner Tea Party, about the state mandating certain immunizations in order for students to attend public school.

    The member of the audience, who is off camera and cannot be identified, asked, “Do you think the state should dictate [immunizations] or should local [Boards of Education] handle that?”

    Stefanowski responded by saying, “I think it depends on the vaccination. We shouldn’t be dumping a lot of drugs into kids for no reason.”

    Connecticut mandates that students receive certain vaccinations at different points in their education. When students are entering pre-kindergarten, kindergarten, and seventh grade, immunizations for ailments like hepatitis, pertussis, tetanus, and meningitis must be completed before the students start classes.

    There other requirements for different schools and programs. For instance, a flu shot is required for children in daycare facilities and at youth camps, and state colleges require certain immunizations for students planning to live in on-campus housing.

    Stefanowski told the group that he and his wife had all of three of their daughters vaccinated, which he described as, “a choice my wife and I made.”

    The candidate would not commit to any kind of legislation that would change current state immunization policy when he was pressed by the person asking questions about his position.

    “I’d want to see it,” Stefanowski told the room. “I’m really not dodging your question. A hypothetical bill that I’ve never seen, it’s hard for me to say.”

    Then Stefanowski said, “I would look at it. I don’t think we should be forcing people to inject a ton of chemicals into their kids but I would want to see more about it.”

    When reached for comment, Monday, his spokesman Kendall Marr told NBC Connecticut in a statement:

    “Bob's position here is in line with the law. While he believes that the best practice is to vaccinate your children, he does not believe that the government should be able to legally force you to do so.”

    He added, “However, not vaccinating your children does mean you will likely not be able to enroll your children in public schools or daycares, so as not to put others at risk. Aside from affirming what the current law is, Bob does not advocate for any policy changes in this video. ”

    Jerold Duquette, an associate professor of Political Science at Central Connecticut State University, said the existence of the video will not lead to any meaningful conversations about vaccination policy among the candidates running for governor.

    "This reinforces the difference between someone who believes in vaccines and someone who doesn't,” he said. “You can't develop an issue in two weeks and that's not the point of using an October surprise. You're not trying to develop an issue. You're just trying to reinforce an existing cleavage.”



    Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

    Bob StefanowskiBob Stefanowski

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    A group of Ashford students had the rare chance to make contact with astronauts in space with help from a radio.

    Students were encouraged to ask questions, and received answers from astronauts aboard the International Space Station Monday.

    “What is the strangest thing you have ever seen in space?”

    “I think the strangest thing has probably been the aurora.”

    A dozen students participated in the event, which was made possible by Amateur Radio International Space Station, or ARISS. The hope is to inspire students to explore science, technology, engineering and math.

    “When the first transmission went through and it was all static I was like yay…but then it actually came through and you're talking to that person it was really cool,” said student Abby Robinson.

    Eighth-grader Anna Dietz said the astronauts gave her a new perspective.

    “What does it feel like emotionally to be in space and to see the world from such a unique perspective?” students asked.

    “It makes you pause but you also realize that we live very close together. The world is also a very small place sometimes,” the astronauts answered.

    “I really liked how she said it makes the world feel big and small…because I'm always thinking about like we're just on this planet spinning around,” Dietz said.

    Students also learned about life on board the ISS, all while the ISS passed overhead.

    “What is the hardest thing about having zero gravity?”

    “The hardest thing is you can't turn your back for a second when you let something go. I've lost about three forks, four spoons."

    It was a rare opportunity few schools experience.

    “I don't know the exact number but there was maybe 10 to 20 schools that get to do this this year...and that's globally,” explained science teacher Carly Imhoff.


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    A couple of billboards in Norwich are asking people to vote to replace the police department’s radio system, which was designed back in the 1940s.

    Officers said there’s often static and in some part of the city, the signal doesn’t even work. They say it’s a problem when it comes to both the safety of the public and police—especially if they can’t call for backup, or communicate with dispatch or fellow officers.

    “I have no idea what that guy said. He could be calling for help. I could be right around the corner,” said Norwich Officer Brad Fournier after hearing a lot of static come out of his radio along with a faint hum of the voice of one of his colleagues.

    Fournier said the current police radio system has poor signal. Once, a person got physical with him in a parking lot on the busy Salem Turnpike. Fournier’s radio signal cut out completely and he was fortunately assisted by an off-duty State Police trooper.

    The signal dropped in the same spot again Monday, less than three miles from the police department. Fournier had to call four times.

    “As a pastor, I’m really concerned about my neighbors and as a chaplain, I’m concerned about the safety of our officers,” said Chaplain Chuck Tyree, treasurer of the Norwich Police Chaplain Program.

    Since state election rules prevent police from spending public funds or employee time to promote a city referendum item, the Norwich Police Chaplain Program created a Public Action Committee to raise money for two billboards in Norwich. The read, “Saving Your Life and Theirs.” The next line reads “Vote YES on Question #3: Public Safety Radio System.”

    It’s a proposed 20-year, $2.7 million bond on the ballot this November to replace the Norwich police radio system and make it part of the statewide radio system. It would involve constructing two modern antenna sites and a system upgrade.

    Tyree and the group crowdsourced at least $1,600 for the project. Off-duty Norwich officers posed for the fictional scene depicted on the billboards. One is hung near Putnam Bank on West Main Street (Route 82), visible to drivers entering downtown. The other is on West Thames Street (Route 32).

    Chief Patrick Daley said partnering with the state system cuts the cost from $8 to $10 million to the proposed $2.7 million.

    “(It’s) already a built system, a proven system,” Daley said. “And it’s a lot quicker to get up and running. Instead of having three to four years to build, we’ll be operational by this time next year if the bond passes.”

    As for the tax impact to residents, the median valued single-family Norwich home would pay $11 in fiscal year 2020, $14 the year after that, then the cost declines in the following years.

    “And the one thing about the state system, it upgrades as it goes along,” Daley said. “So there’s no big dollar thing. It’s just constantly upgraded as needed.”

    Daley said it’s getting tougher and tougher to find replacement equipment for the Low Band Radio System. Sometimes the department needs to go to Ebay to get parts.

    The current antenna is on a utility pole and not properly weatherproofed, Daley added.

    When he was asked to list an example of the radio system not working, Daley replied, “There’s too many to list, to be honest with you. It happens every day.”

    Already Stonington and Town of Groton Police are in the midst of joining the statewide system.

    When asking Norwich residents about their opinion on the referendum item, a few said it’s definitely needed and something they’d consider voting for. One woman said while she thinks the new radio system is necessary, she doesn’t think she should be responsible for the cost.


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    Glastonbury police are investigating after someone left a dog at the Connecticut Audubon Society over the weekend.

    Police said the female dog was found tied up to the door at the Audubon Society on Main Street.

    Audubon society officials said they closed at 3 p.m. on Saturday and when staff arrived at 8:30 a.m. Sunday, the dog was there. Someone had already called police and staff arrived at the same time as animal control officials.

    The Audubon Society does not offer services for abandoned pets, officials said.

    Anyone who recognizes the dog should contact Glastonbury Animal Control at 860-633-7227.



    Photo Credit: Glastonbury Police Department

    Police said this dog was found tied up at the Connecticut Audubon Society Sunday.Police said this dog was found tied up at the Connecticut Audubon Society Sunday.

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    On Monday a regionalization committee picked a consultant to study a possible merger between the Ansonia and Derby school districts.

    The committee chose Boston-based District Management Group. It will spend 18 months looking at everything from enrollment to transportation to money.

    Ultimately, voters would get to weigh in on any plan.

    “When the electorate gets to see everything, the pros and cons, I think they’ll be able to make an educated decision and what happened tonight is really the first step,” said Jim Gildea, the committee co-chair from Derby.

    “What we’re looking for for our students are better outcomes. It’s no secret we are a challenged district, both Derby and Ansonia,” added John Izzo, committee co-chair from Ansonia.

    Negotiations are still underway for the cost of the study. There is grant money available.



    Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

    Ansonia and Derby are looking into consolidating their school districts.Ansonia and Derby are looking into consolidating their school districts.

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    The FBI and local police responded to an address at the New York home of philanthropist George Soros after an object that appeared to be an explosive was found in a mailbox, according to authorities.

    The Bedford Police Department said it responded to the address in the hamlet of Katonah at 3:45 p.m. Monday after an employee of the residence opened the package.

    [[498232821, C]]

    The person placed the package in a wooded area and called police, who alerted the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Firearms and Explosives. A law enforcement source tells NBC 4 New York that the device contained explosive powder, but it wasn't clear whether it was operational.

    Bedford police said the FBI's terrorism task force was investigating.

    The FBI is working with police to figure out who sent the device, which a senior law enforcement official said was similar to a pipe bomb. The FBI added that there is no threat to public safety.

    [[498272161, C]]

    A message emailed to Soros' foundation wasn't immediately returned.

    Soros, a billionaire who made his fortune in hedge funds, has donated heavily to liberal causes and is vilified on the right.

    He is also the subject of many unfounded conspiracy theories. Recently, conservative critics have, without evidence, accused him of secretly financing a caravan of Central American migrants to make their way north toward Mexico and the U.S.

    Others have falsely accused him of being a Nazi collaborator during World War II, when he was a child in Hungary. 

    Activists frequently post the addresses of homes he owns in Westchester County, north of New York City, on social media sometimes accompanied by ill wishes.

    FBI officials didn't respond to requests for more information late Monday.

    [[374756761, C]]



    Photo Credit: Getty Images/EyeEm, File
    This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.

    A device containing explosive powder was sent to the Westchester, New York home of George Soros on Monday, law enforcement officials tell NBC 4 New York.A device containing explosive powder was sent to the Westchester, New York home of George Soros on Monday, law enforcement officials tell NBC 4 New York.

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    The Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles rejected thousands of applications for vanity plates in 2017 and 2018.

    The DMV provided NBC Connecticut with a list of 4,315 rejected plates in response to a Freedom of Information request.

    A spokesperson for the DMV said some of the plates were rejected because they were already taken, but did not specify how many or which ones. Others were nixed because they were sexual in nature or contained profanity.

    Among the rejected applications, there are a number of references to guns, such as "ARMED," "GUNLOVR" and "GUNS4FUN."

    Alcohol and drug references are also popular. "DUI," "CANABIS" and "DRUGS4U" were all requested and rejected.

    SEE THE FULL LIST OF REJECTED PLATES BELOW.

      Unlike some other states, the Connecticut DMV does not provide specifics about what is and what isn't allowed on special order plates.

      According to the DMV’s website, vanity plates can be any combination of letters and numbers, up to seven characters.

      "There will be no dashes or extra spaces between letters. Only one dot is allowed. The dot cannot be placed at the beginning or end of a plate number," the website says.

      The website also states that the DMV will not issue one, two, or three digit plates. The letter O cannot be substituted for the number 0.

      As for the actual word or message on the plate?

      The application says, "Every attempt will be made to accommodate your request, however, the Department of Motor Vehicles reserves the right to deny issuance of certain requests."

      The DMV would not provide NBC Connecticut Investigates details about how plate requests are approved or rejected or who even makes the decision.

      Les Archer of New Hartford runs the Vanity Plates Photo Blog on Facebook and believes the DMV should be clearer about what is and is not acceptable.

      "There's folks on our page that have applied for vanity plates, things that you and I may seem to think should be accepted, but were refused for whatever reason," Archer said.

      NBC Connecticut Investigates asked the DMV how many vanity plate applications were received in 2016, 2017 and 2018, as well as how many of those applications were rejected. A spokesperson for the DMV said that it would cost us $650 in programming fees to gather that information for this story.

      The vanity license plate application allows you to list up to four choices, stating that the first available preference will be ordered. A new vanity plate on a standard background costs $94.



      Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

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      The Hartford City Council voted Monday night to raise the legal age to buy tobacco from 18 to 21.

      Hartford will become the first city in Connecticut to raise the legal buy age.

      The City Council voted unanimously in favor of that ordinance, but critics say the move will hurt Hartford retailers, because those between 18 and 20 can just go to another city or town.

      “I lost my grandfather to lung cancer and he started when he was really young peer pressured into smoking,” said Evelyn Levesque, a student at Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts.

      For the 16-year-old, it’s a fight that’s personal. She and her father got to see their fight pay off Monday when the Hartford City Council approved increasing the age limit to buy tobacco and nicotine products to 21 and older.

      “I have seen it firsthand an 18-year-old or a senior in high school buying it and then giving it to my friends,” Evelyn said. “And that scares me that really scares me.”

      “Now you take that age of being able to buy tobacco and pull that out of the high schools,” said Roger Levesque, a volunteer at American Cancer Society Action Network.

      Supports of the ordinance say 95 percent of all adult smokers began smoking before the age of 21.

      Councilor Larry Deutsch introduced the amendment.

      “Nicotine habit is dangerous, dangerous for your health, for the whole state's economy,” Deutsch said.

      Not everyone supported the amendment. The National Association of Tobacco Outlets sent councilors a letter saying it will hurt retailers, that tobacco sales account for up to 40 percent of in-store sales.

      For Sam’s Quick Stop, that number is closer to 80 percent.

      “It will drive the business away absolutely,” explained Raed Rayeshey. “Basically you guys going to close the door and go home.”

      Rayeshey said he would support the age increase if it was statewide, but a local ordinance just hurts local shops because those 18 to 20 can just go to another town or city.

      But supporters say they had to start somewhere.

      “We hope this is going to be the stepping stone,” Roger Levesque said.

      Mayor Luke Bronin will sign the amendment into law in the next seven days. He released the following statement:

      “Tobacco 21 has earned unanimous support on our City Council and our team will work in the coming months to implement this ordinance. Cities and states across the country had already taken this step based on compelling public health research, and I hope that Connecticut follows our lead and passes Tobacco 21 on a statewide basis.”

      Bloomfield’s Town Council heard a proposed ordinance inspired by Hartford’s Monday night, and it was referred to the admin and education subcommittee.


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      Federal health officials now have reports of 155 possible cases of acute flaccid myelitis, a polio-like syndrome that mostly affects children and that causes muscle weakness and paralysis, federal health officials said on Monday.

      The latest update from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows no change in the number of confirmed cases — 62 cases in 22 states, NBC News reported. But state health departments have reported another 28 suspected cases.

      The CDC urges parents to get kids to an emergency room quickly if a child has the following symptoms: difficulty moving the eyes or drooping eyelids, facial droop or weakness, difficulty with swallowing or slurred speech, or sudden arm or leg weakness.



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

      A file photo of a stethoscope.A file photo of a stethoscope.

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      Crews are responding to a fire at a business in North Windham on Tuesday morning.

      Police said the fire is at Hampton Products International located at 6 Industrial Park Road in North Windham.

      It is unclear what kind of fire is there.

      The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection and UConn Hazmat have been notified of the incident, but have not been requested to the scene, police said.

      This is a developing story. NBC Connecticut will update this story as details come into the newsroom.


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      A hazardous materials incident has closed the Canton Town Transfer Station on Tuesday and until further notice.

      Emergency crews from Canton, New Hartford, Burlington and Avon are at the scene on Ramp Road, along with a Hazmat team.

      Officials did not release details about the type of hazardous materials involved in the incident.

      Residents are being asked to avoid the area.

      According to the town, Powder Mill Road and Ramp Road are also closed until further notice. Dial a Ride Services have also been postponed. 

      Town officials said they will notify residents as soon as possible about when the transfer station will reopen.



      Photo Credit: Canton Volunteer Fire Dept.

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      A driver hit a bicyclist and then crashed into the back of a school bus while she was trying to leave the scene in Hartford on Tuesday morning.

      Police said the driver hit a bicyclist at the intersection of Gold Street and Main Street around 6:40 a.m. While attempting to leave the scene, she crashed into the back of a school bus near the intersection of Wells Street and Main Street. The crash closed Main Street between Wells Street and Gold Street.

      The driver fled from the scene of the bus crash on foot before being apprehended by officers at Main Street and Buckingham Street.

      The bicyclist suffered injuries in the crash and is currently in critical condition. Two students who were on the bus were transported to the hospital to be treated for minor injuries, officers said.



      Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

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      Connecticut State Police are searching for two suspects involved in a burglary in Stafford early Tuesday morning.

      According to police, two people smashed the front door of the Eagle Mart Sunoco gas station and stole merchandise and money around 4 a.m.

      The Stafford Resident Trooper's Office is asking for the public's help in identifying the vehicle the suspects used in the incident.

      The vehicle was last seen on Route 190 eastbound, near Rockwell Street, police said.

      If you have any information, you're urged to call CT State Police Troop C Barracks at (860) 896-3200.



      Photo Credit: Connecticut State Police

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