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    More than 20 men are suing the Roman Catholic Diocese of Norwich, alleging years of sexual abuse at the former Mount Saint John School in Deep River.

    The 20 legal complaints, filed Wednesday at New London Superior Court, allege abuse by a number of clergy and staff members that the men say occurred repeatedly over a period of approximately 14 years in the mid-1980s and 2000.

    All of the lawsuits are filed under pseudonyms to protect the identities of the complainants, who were between the ages of 10 and 15 when abuses began, according to the documents.

    At the time, Mount Saint John School was a boarding school for at-risk children, and all of the plaintiffs said they were placed there by the state Department of Children and Families or through a court order, according the lawsuits.

    The majority of the lawsuits claim abuse at the hands of Brother Paul McGlade, who served as the school’s executive director, as well as Brother Donald Paschal Alford, who worked as McGlade’s assistant. Both have since died.

    Several of the complaints allege abuse by other male and female members of the school staff.

    A number of the incidents detailed in the complaints took place during the course of altar boy duties, or in private music lessons or meetings. Some complainants said they were offered gifts or privileges, such as food or field trips, in return for their compliance.

    Patrick Tomasiewicz, the attorney representing the complainants, said the lawsuits are an effort by the men to shine light on avoidable abuse. A number of the of the complaints detailed efforts by the children to report incidents to staff, parents, and DCF, that were ignored.

    The men come from diverse backgrounds, but have dysfunctional families in common, he said. Some had suffered sexual abuse prior to being placed at Mount Saint John, according to the complaints.

    “These were young boys that were placed there by the state, so they were fragile and already came from broken homes,” Tomasiewicz said.

    Tomasiewicz also represents three men who filed separate lawsuits in 2014 and 2017 alleging similar abuse at Mount Saint John in the same time period.

    “They’re all broken wings and they’ve suffered greatly,” he said.

    A spokesperson for DCF said the department no longer has a relationship with the school, which now operates as the Connecticut Transition Academy. The Diocese of Norwich continues to have a hand in operating the school. The academy serves children with special needs who are referred by their parents, guardians or local school districts, according to its website.

    NBC Connecticut reached out to the school and the Diocese for comment but did not receive any response.

    It may be years before there is a resolution to the lawsuits. Jury selection for the first lawsuit filed in 2014 is currently scheduled for September of next year.

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    The ability to get around is something many take for granted. But one Norwich business owner saw a need and is now giving hundreds the “Gift of Mobility.”

    It all started nine years ago. AZ Pawn owner Phil Pavone had two motorized wheelchairs in his shop that never sold.

    “Got around Christmas time and I thought, let me put an ad in the paper, see if someone wants them and I’ll donate them. And I got 60 letters,” Pavone said.

    Each letter had a different story: some involved veterans, others mentioned people stuck in their homes, some were battling cancer. But all, for some reason or another, were unable to get a motorized wheelchair or scooter on their own.

    Pavone immediately went out and bought four more to give away.

    Every year since, Pavone has given away donated, refurbished motorized wheelchairs and scooters at no cost to recipients.

    He and a team of volunteers have collected and fixed-up hundreds over the years.

    “These chairs are a life changer,” according to Pavone. He said he’s even helped a Holocaust survivor.

    Pavone’s efforts have attracted the support of many generous donors. But Pavone still contributes thousands of dollars. He said there was a year where he gave $15,000 to $18,000 of out-of-pocket because of his passion for the cause.

    He calls it the “AZ Pawn Gift of Mobility.” On Sunday, Dec. 2 about 100 people will receive motorized wheelchairs and scooters at the Holiday Inn in Norwich.

    Tuesday, people were still coming into AZ Pawn asking for one. Others stopped by to donate chairs that are not needed anymore.

    “There’s such a need for this and it just brings tears to your eyes,” said Pavone’s brother, Frank, who helps refurbish the chairs.

    It takes a year to collect and fix them all up. Pavone always distributes during the holiday season, ensuring each chair fits the needs of the recipient.

    “After this giveaway we will have given away about 580 mobilized chairs,” Pavone said.

    Pavone’s battle with cancer 10 years ago also fuels the project.

    “That was the first time in my life that I’d been so sick, that I had to ask people to help me,” Pavone said. “So I know how these people feel.”

    Bob Palmer has gotten five chairs in the last six years from Pavone since he wears his out so much.

    [[501590011, C]]

    He uses his motorized wheelchair just like a pair of shoes traveling a mile or two to the “Y” or to a restaurant.

    Palmer was born with osteogenesis imperfecta, a brittle bone disease. Without a motorized chair, he is essentially bedridden.

    “The government switched policies with the wheelchairs. So they couldn’t just give me one anymore. And I can’t afford to rent one,” according to Palmer.

    For him, the “Gift of Mobility” is the gift of freedom.

    “This is about as big as a gift as my family,” Palmer said. “It puts it right up there.”

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

    AZ Pawn owner Phil Pavone and a team of volunteers have collected and fixed-up hundreds of motorized wheelchairs and scooters to donate over the years.AZ Pawn owner Phil Pavone and a team of volunteers have collected and fixed-up hundreds of motorized wheelchairs and scooters to donate over the years.

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    NBC Connecticut and Telemundo Connecticut are Connecting You to Joy with coverage of the New Haven Tree lighting.

    Santa flipped the switch to activate thousands of lights on the massive tree at the New Haven Green at 250 Temple St. in New Haven Thursday night.

    The East Windsor Middle School Chorus performed live. 

    The event included a free festival with a petting zoo, carnival rides, Santa visits, refreshments, live entertainment and more!

    Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

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    Frustrated parents in Hamden are fighting to keep their schools open after the district decided to close two locations Thursday night.

    The Board of Education unanimously voted to close and repurpose the Church Street and Shepherd Glen schools, moving sixth grade to the middle school and incorporating Wintergreen Magnet School into the public school system.

    This will impact more than 1,000 students.

    Redistricting for Hamden schools has been on the table since last fall.

    “When we've come to our decisions it is something that has not been made in haste,” said board member Melissa Kaplan.

    Many parents were upset with the decision, calling it a mistake and threatening to move out of the district if the schools close.

    Board members argue that this benefits all Hamden students. They say declining enrollment, budget concerns and making sure schools are racially balanced all played a role in the changes.

    “Any transition is difficult but the other alternative is cutting opportunities and curriculum and programming and to me that is doing a disservice to every student,” Kaplan said.

    It’s still up in the air how much money this will save the district. It could be millions if Wintergreen students who live in Hamden transition to the public schools.

    Those who spoke at the meeting said that won’t happen.

    “You will not recoup the funds you expect from us or others as your math estimates because you underestimate our commitment,” one parent said.

    The school closures will happen in phases, with the hope to have all this completed by the 2022-2023 school year.

    And because the Wintergreen building is owned by the town, the board must petition the council to transfer it to them.

    Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

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    The University of Hartford men's basketball team is 2-6 on the season, not quite the start they're looking for after a record-setting season last year. But no matter the final outcome, this will be a year to remember for two players on the roster.

    The Dunne brothers want you to know, not everything about them is the same.

    "The first thing was looks, you know everyone says that we look exactly alike,” said Jason Dunne, UHart Men’s Basketball senior guard.

    Their teammates only mix them up when they're wearing the same shorts, or sometimes other things.

    "Shoes. we've done that a couple of times in practice,” said Mike Dunne, the team’s freshman guard.

    It's been a while since the brothers last shared a court.

    "I got to go through it a little bit in high school when he was a freshman and I was a senior, but it's a little different this time,” Jason said.

    Now, with Jason once again a senior, Mike a freshman, they're sharing the court again, this time at the University of Hartford.

    "I already knew the environment. so I already knew what the games were like practices were like and it kind of just hooked me in where I was already comfortable before I was already here,” Mike said.

    The boys work well as a team, just don't forget who came first. And definitely don't ask who's taller.

    “I'm 6-foot-4 and a quarter of an inch, he's like 6-foot-4 exactly,” Jason said.

    The brothers said despite those differences, they are glad to be together.

    "We kind of take it day by day, we're not trying to go too fast because we only have one year together so we're really just soaking everything in and taking it one day at a time right now,” Jason said.

    Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

    The Dunne brothers both play for the University of Hartford Men's Basketball team.The Dunne brothers both play for the University of Hartford Men's Basketball team.

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    Three people were killed and eight others were injured when a truck with passengers riding in the truck bed crashed while fleeing from San Diego border patrol agents.

    Agents were chasing the truck on Interstate 8 near Crestwood Road in Boulevard at around 4:30 p.m. when the truck crashed and overturned.

    Border Patrol says agents patrolling an unknown stretch of the U.S.-Mexico Border in East San Diego County noticed tire tracks headed north away from the divide, as well as a piece of a vehicle, and alerted other agents.

    Another agent spotted the truck, which was missing a piece that matched the description of the piece agents found, and tried to pull it over.

    The truck refused to stop and continued eastbound on I-8 before turning around to the opposite direction. The California Highway Patrol said the truck reached speeds above 100 mph.

    BP agents deployed a spike strip that caused the driver to lose control and roll up an embankment, at which point the truck became airborne and multiple passengers were ejected.

    Three people suffered major injuries and five others had minor injuries. CHP officials believe only two people were in the cabin of the truck at the time of the crash and the rest were lying down in the uncovered truck bed.

    Everyone except the driver was unrestrained, CHP officials said.

    The driver, believed to be a U.S. citizen, was taken into custody and is being treated at the hospital, CHP said.

    Of the three people killed, one was a man and one was a woman. Border agents did not confirm the gender of the third victim.

    Cal Fire said that due to weather -- fog, wind and rain -- none of the patients could be airlifted to area hospitals.

    A Sig Alert was issued for westbound I-8 and traffic was blocked at the site of the crash for several hours.

    CHP is handling the investigation

    No other information was available.

    Check out NBC 7's live traffic map for real-time traffic updates.

    Please refresh this page for updates on this story. Details may change as more information becomes available.

    Photo Credit: NBC7

    Three people were killed and eight others were injured when a truck with passengers riding in the truck bed crashed while fleeing from San Diego Border Patrol agents.Three people were killed and eight others were injured when a truck with passengers riding in the truck bed crashed while fleeing from San Diego Border Patrol agents.

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    You can buy the cake, wedding rings and flowers in Costco for a wedding, but now add the ceremony to the list. A couple was married in San Diego's Mission Valley Costco Thursday morning. 

    It's a special place for bride Margot Schein and groom Julian Parris: the two had their first date at that Costco. 

    "It was three years ago to the day today," said Schein in her wedding dress while holding her bouquet. "We technically met online but I only messaged him because he had Costco in his profile." 

    The couple said their vows in front of an intimate gathering of their friends and family at the checkout cash registers in the store. Dozens of Costco employees watched from behind the family, some filming and some holding back tears. 

    "We have so much in common but Costco is the first thing," the bride laughed. 

    The couple, also fans of Harry Potter, wore their respective house colors. Schein had a scarlet dress with gold flowers (made from pages of the books) for Gryffindor. The groom had a blue and bronze tie for Ravenclaw. 

    After the ceremony, a one-layer white Costco cake was cut and the couple was presented with a decorated champagne bottle fresh off the shelves as a congratulations from employees. The two also received Costco nametags. 

    The couple then browsed the aisles together for the first time as man and wife. 

    "On our first date we got pizza and hot dogs and then spent an hour walking around," Schein said. "It was just such a good date." 

    The groom holds a Ph.D. in psychology from the University of California, San Diego. The two moved to North Carolina a few years ago so that Schein could pursue her master's degree. 

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    The Department of Veterans Affairs announced Thursday that it would pay veterans the full amount of benefits they are due under the Forever GI Bill, NBC News reported

    That announcement came just one day after two aides told NBC that VA officials privately told congressional staffers the department would not retroactively pay veterans whose checks were less than they were owed because of VA's ongoing computer problem. The department was sharply criticized and questioned about the potential policy during a Thursday hearing. 

    VA Secretary Robert Wilkie issued a statement in the afternoon saying that the student veterans would get their full monthly housing stipends in accordance with the Forever GI Bill.

    Photo Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto, File

    U.S. soldiers are shown in this undated file photo.U.S. soldiers are shown in this undated file photo.

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    More communities are on alert after a pair of attacks this week on kids at bus stops.

    Robbers struck students waiting for their bus in Windsor and Wethersfield.

    Now other cities and towns are urging parents to be on guard.

    “You want to make sure they’re okay at the bus stops because you never know who’s just going to pop up,” said Brittany Armatino of New Britain.

    Armatino is a little more worried about sending her girls to the bus stop in New Britain these days.

    “I’m having friends and family watch out with them on the bus or even if they’re walking,” said Armatino.

    On Wednesday, Windsor police say a 14-year-old boy was robbed, pushed down and slapped while waiting for the school bus.

    On Monday in Wethersfield, a 13-year-old middle school student was beaten and robbed also at his bus stop.

    Now other towns and cities are urging parents to be careful.

    “We sent the letter out just as a precautionary measure, thinking about safety,” said John Fergus, Hartford Public Schools spokesman.

    Fergus tells us the note encouraged parents, if possible, to make sure students are supervised or at least not alone at bus stops.

    “Again, just a reminder. Let people be safe regardless. If there are any concerns, see something, say something,” said Fergus.

    Those tips were echoed by the Manchester superintendent Matt Geary.

    In a message to families, he wrote in part, “Student safety is our highest priority and in this sometimes dangerous world it's best that we work together and look out for one another.”

    In South Windsor, police suggest parents talk with their kids about staying safe, as officers pay more attention to bus stops.

    It’s all leaving parents on edge.

    “We got to be careful with our kids,” said Victor Ramos of Hartford.

    Anyone who has questions is urged to contact their school district.

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

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    Marriott International said Friday that up to 500 million guests' information may have been accessed as part of a data breach of its Starwood guest reservation database, NBC News reported

    The hotel chain said it determined on Nov. 19 that an "unauthorized party" had accessed the database as early as 2014. For about 327 million of the guests, the information includes some combination of a name, mailing address, phone number, email address, passport number, Starwood Preferred Guest account information, date of birth, gender, arrival and departure information, reservation date and communication preferences.

    "The company has not finished identifying duplicate information in the database, but believes it contains information on up to approximately 500 million guests who made a reservation at a Starwood property," the company said.

    Photo Credit: George Rose/Getty Images, File

    The entrance to Marriott's Hotel at London Heathrow International Airport on Bath Road is viewed on September 12, 2016, in London, England.The entrance to Marriott's Hotel at London Heathrow International Airport on Bath Road is viewed on September 12, 2016, in London, England.

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    There are heavy delays on Route 9 South in Berlin after a crash.

    The crash is in the area of exit 22.

    Detour options include taking exit 28A, making a right onto East Main Street, a left onto Route 372 and getting back on Route 9.

    No additional information was immediately available.

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    Dozens of protesters have created a human chain and blocked the front doors of the federal building in Hartford in a show of support for a New Haven father who sought sanctuary in a church a year ago after he received a deportation order.

    Protesters were expected to gather around 7 a.m. Friday in a show of support for Nelson Pinos, but they ran to the front doors of the building around an hour earlier, linked arm-in-arm, and sat down in front of the doors. They are demanding that Immigration and Customs Enforcement allow Pinos to see his family in time for the holidays.

    Pinos sought sanctuary at a New Haven church a year ago today to avoid deportation to his native Ecuador.

    Last month Pinos’ attorney submitted an appeal for a stay of deportation – citing the psychological harm this ordeal is causing his children. However, according to CT Shoreline Indivisible, ICE has denied that request.

    Supporters had been hoping Pinos would be granted a stay ahead of the holidays so he could spend them with his partner and three children. Supporters said the stay was requested because the family's separation has caused "urgent and documented" psychological harm to his two teenage daughters and 6-year-old son.

    One of the protesters in front of the federal building said supporters will remain there until Pinos gets a stay of removal, until he is able to go home and be with his family.

    Police responded to the courthouse and expect to make some arrests.

    Pinos came to the United States in 1992 for a better life and has lived in Connecticut for nearly 20 years.

    Supporters said he’s been paying taxes with a social security number issued to him by the government more than 20 years ago.

    ICE says Pinos continues to evade immigration enforcement by staying at the church, which is considered a sensitive location and a place the agency will not enter to enforce deportation. The agency said that while Pinos has a legal appeal pending in court, there is no change in his status as of this point.

    Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

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    Fairfield police said they have obtained an arrest warrant charging a local woman with animal cruelty after finding several dead dogs in her home. 

    Police said they responded to a home on Prince Street in Fairfield just before 4 p.m. on Nov. 11 to investigate a report of animal cruelty and found several dog carcasses in crates. 

    Fairfield animal control officers, patrol officers and detectives responded to the house to investigate and removed the dogs’ remains after a search warrant. 

    Police said a judge signed an arrest warrant charging 31-year-old Heidi Lueders with five counts of animal cruelty and criminal damage to landlord's property by a tenant in the first degree and bond was set at $50,000. 

    The Fairfield Police Detective Bureau is coordinating the terms of her surrender.

    Photo Credit:

    All 17 Fairfield public schools, as well as three Catholic schools, are on lockdown because of several threats.All 17 Fairfield public schools, as well as three Catholic schools, are on lockdown because of several threats.

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    Stratford police are asking for help to find a teen who has been missing for a week. 

    Police said 17-year-old Andrea Dixon was last seen on Nov. 23 in Mount Vernon, New York, where she was staying with a friend. 

    Dixon has ties to the Bronx and is reported to have a personality disorder, according to police. 

    Anyone with information on where Andrea is should call Detective Torres at 203-385-4120 or police dispatch at 203-385-4100.

    Photo Credit: Stratford Police Department

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    The Dunne brothers are teammates on the basketball court too. Both play for the University of Hartford basketball team.

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    Stamford police say a 23-year-old man caused horrific injuries to an infant.

    Officers arrested Jeisson Garcia on Thursday.

    Garcia is accused of abusing a baby when the child was just 2 months old.

    Police began their investigation on February 6, after receiving a 911 call about a child not breathing. Emergency crews rushed the infant to the hospital.

    Doctors determined the infant was suffering from two skull fractures, cranial bleeding, two broken femurs, six broken ribs, retinal hemorrhaging, stretched neck ligaments and bruising, according to police.

    Police said their investigation found Garcia had repeatedly abused the baby while in his care.

    There are no details on the condition of the child now, nearly 10 months later.

    Garcia is charged with first-degree assault, second-degree assault, and risk of injury to a minor. He was arrested at court on Thursday where he was appearing on domestic violence charges related to the baby's mother.

    Police said during their investigation into the child's injuries, they uncovered evidence of domestic violence against the infant's mother. Garcia was arrested on those charges on February 12. He has been held in jail since his arrest, police said.

    A judge set a $1 million bond on the new charges.

    Photo Credit: Stamford Police

    Jeisson GarciaJeisson Garcia

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    Police have arrested a woman and a teen who are accused of drugging a New Britain resident during a party and stealing a gun and jewelry from his house.

    The resident contacted police on Nov. 7 and told police he threw a party the night before, woke up the disoriented the next day and suspected someone slipped him some type of drug during the evening.

    Then the victim realized that several things were missing, including a firearm and jewelry.

    Police identified several of the people who had been at the party, including 21-year-old

    Makaylarea Amber Perez, of East Hartford, and a juvenile.

    Police said Perez, the juvenile and another accomplice gave the victim narcotics to rob him.

    Perez and the juvenile were on Thursday.

    Perez was charged with conspiracy to commit home invasion, burglary in the first degree, assault in the second degree, larceny in the second degree, theft of a firearm and reckless endangerment.

    The juvenile was charged with conspiracy to commit home invasion and home invasion and detained at Hartford Detention.

    Photo Credit: New Britain Police

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    A groom encountered a surprising snag when trying to get a marriage license in D.C. last week: A clerk told him his New Mexico identification wasn't acceptable because it was from outside the United States. 

    "She was so sincere. She said, 'I'm sorry, my supervisor says we can't accept international driver's licenses,'" recounted Gavin Clarkson, who went to get a license with his now-wife, Marina, at the D.C. Marriage Bureau on Nov. 20.

    Clarkson said that when he first presented his license to the clerk, she looked at it, went to talk to the supervisor and then asked to see his "New Mexico passport," he told NBC Washington on a phone call Friday. 

    He said the clerk was embarrassed and apologetic once the matter was straightened out.

    After he informed her that New Mexico was indeed a state, she again went to speak with her supervisor, then told Clarkson, "'My supervisor and I have verified that New Mexico is a state,'" he recounted.

    "Basically, they went back and did a Google search," he said.

    At one point, the clerk also complimented him on his English, he said, noting that his now-wife, who is an immigrant, thought it was hilarious.

    Leah Gurowitz, spokeswoman for District of Columbia Courts, wrote in a statement, "We understand that a clerk in our Marriage Bureau made a mistake regarding New Mexico's 106 year history as a state. We very much regret the error and the slight delay it caused a New Mexico resident in applying for a DC marriage license."

    Clarkson said he's heard of other New Mexico residents having difficulty with people who believe the state is not part of the U.S.

    "I'd heard all those stories. It had just never happened to me," he said.

    The couple was in a bit of a time crunch that day; they had made plans to get married that same day, which was the bride-to-be's birthday.

    "We had our paperwork," he said. "We figured we'd be in there, we'd be out of there."

    While that wasn't quite what happened, Clarkson said the process only took an extra 20 minutes. "It wasn't a massive delay," he said.

    The couple was able to get married in D.C. that day as planned.

    While the newlyweds are still working out where to live, Clarkson will be commuting between New Mexico and the D.C. area for the time being.

    "But I do not have to go through customs," he joked.

    Ironically, some D.C. residents have also had trouble getting their licenses seen as valid. In 2014, Cox Media Group television reporter Justin Gray was on his way back to D.C. when, he said, a Transportation Security Administration agent at Orlando International Airport didn't recognize his license. He realized the agent was not aware of what the District of Columbia was.

    After that, security workers were shown copies of a D.C. driver's license to get them acquainted with it.

    Months earlier, D.C. resident Ashley Brandt was trying to fly home from Arizona when she also was questioned about the validity of her D.C. driver's license. "I got a little nervous," she said at the time. "I just wasn't sure if the TSA didn't think it was a valid ID or it was because D.C. wasn't a state."

    In 2017, the D.C. DMV discontinued use of "District of Columbia" at the top of its licenses and went back to using "Washington, D.C" to cut back on confusion.

    Photo Credit: Gavin Clarkson

    The couple was able to get married in D.C. that day as planned.The couple was able to get married in D.C. that day as planned.

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    Live Nation will be selling the 2019 Lawn Pass for a limited time that will give you unlimited lawn admission to all concerts at Xfinity Theatre in Harford for the 2019 season. 

    The Lawn Pass sells for $249, plus taxes and fees and will be available from 1 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 4 through Dec. 18 or while supplies last.  

    You can buy the pass at and use the drop-down menu to select the desired venue.

    You will receive a custom laminate with your name and a unique barcode that serves as your ticket on show day.

    Photo Credit: Live Nation

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    Police have identified the man who was found dead in an apartment on Main Street in Windsor Locks earlier this week and said his death has been ruled a homicide.

    Police have identified the man as 51-year-old Michael Keene, of Windsor Locks.

    He had been reported missing on Thanksgiving and was last seen on Nov. 11.

    Police said they received a call around 7 p.m. Tuesday reporting a foul odor in a residence at 74 Main St. and found a body.

    Keene was not immediately identified and the medical examiner initially could not identify him because of the condition of the body, according to police

    On Friday police said Keene was identified as the victim and he suffered from what appeared to be multiple wounds consistent with a sharp instrument. His death has been ruled a homicide.

    Police are investigating and said there is a person or there are persons of interest but no one has been charged. 

    Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

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