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    Two top school leaders in Cromwell are off the job amid accusations of possible misconduct, and now the Board of Education says it wants to get to the bottom of the issue.

    “We know this is an incredibly challenging time for the district and it’s unfortunate we’re in this situation,” said Mike Camilleri, school board chairman.

    It was an unusual start to Tuesday’s school board meeting in Cromwell. Earlier in the day, both the superintendent, John Maloney, and the assistant superintendent, Dr. Krista Karch, were put on paid administrative leave.

    “We are also well aware this is not a popularity contest. And our job is not to do what will make the most people happy but to do what we think is right,” said Camilleri.

    According to the school board, an anonymous letter accused the pair of possible misconduct or taking actions that could get in the way of their jobs.

    A law firm has been hired to investigate, with hopes of finishing a review within weeks.

    “We’re willing to participate and prepared to participate in any investigation which would be the appropriate place for teachers to address any concerns or questions,” said Amy Carta, teachers union president.

    At the meeting there was pushback. Some believe the anonymous writer should be questioned including how they went about getting the information. And several stood up to support the superintendent.

    “Superintendent Maloney has always been fair, honest and unbiased in all my dealings with him,” said Linda Demetriades, paraprofessional union president.

    NBC Connecticut reached out to the superintendent and assistant superintendent for comment but has not yet heard back.

    For now, the high school principal has been named interim superintendent.

    Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

    The Cromwell Board of Education meeting Tuesday began with a discussion of misconduct allegations against the district's superintendent and assistant superintendent.The Cromwell Board of Education meeting Tuesday began with a discussion of misconduct allegations against the district's superintendent and assistant superintendent.

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    A tractor-trailer has crashed down an embankment on Interstate 95 in Milford on Wednesday morning.

    According to the Connecticut Department of Transportation, the tractor-trailer went down an embankment on I-95 southbound between exits 36 and 35 shortly before 6 a.m.

    The right lane was closed but has since reopened. Police said they may need to close the lane again when they tow the vehicle out.

    Officials said no major injuries are reported.

    DOT expects the crash to clear in four hours or less.

    Photo Credit: Connecticut DOT

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    Kimberly-Clark has issued a recall for U by Kotex Sleek Tampons, regular absorbency, for a quality-related defect, the company said Tuesday. 

    Consumers have reported tampons unraveling and/or coming apart upon removal, leading some users to seek medical attention to remove tampon pieces left in the body. Additionally, some consumers have reported infections, vaginal irritation, localized vaginal injury and other symptoms, the company said. 

    The affected products were manufactured between Oct. 7, 2016 and Oct. 16, 2018. A list of lot numbers of the affected products can be found on the Kimberly-Clark website. Additionally, consumers can check lot numbers on the U by Kotex website

    No other U by Kotex brands are associated with the recall, the company said. 

    Anyone with the affected products is urged to stop using them and to contact the Kimberly-Clark Consumer Service Team at 1-888-255-3499. Consumers who experience any vaginal infection, irritation or injury, or symptoms such as hot flashes, abdominal pain, nausea or vomiting are urged to seek medical assistance. 

    Photo Credit: Kotex

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    New York Attorney General-elect Letitia James plans to launch sweeping investigations into President Donald Trump, his family and "anyone" in his circle who may have violated the law once she settles into her new job next month, NBC News reported.

    "We will use every area of the law to investigate President Trump and his business transactions and that of his family as well," James, a Democrat, told NBC News in her first extensive interview since she was elected last month.

    She outlined some of the probes she intends to pursue with regard to the president, his businesses and his family members. They include the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting with a Russian official, any illegalities involving Trump's real estate holdings in New York and continuing to probe the Trump Foundation. 

    The White House, Trump Organization, an attorney representing the company and Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani did not respond to requests for comment.

    Photo Credit: Mary Altaffer/AP, File

    In this Friday, Aug. 10, 2018, file photo, New York City Public Advocate Letitia James speaks during a news conference in New York.In this Friday, Aug. 10, 2018, file photo, New York City Public Advocate Letitia James speaks during a news conference in New York.

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    There were heavy delays on Route 15 in Fairfield after two separate crashes on Wednesday morning.

    According to police, a pick-up truck with a trailer jackknifed on the northbound side of Route 15 between exits 44 and 42. There's was also a separate crash involving two cars on the southbound side of the highway in the same area.

    Heavy delays of more than 13.5 miles were reported in the area from exits 46 to 37.

    There were no injuries, police said.

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    Nikki Haley, the departing U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, said in an interview for NBC's "Today" show that she used President Donald Trump's "unpredictable" nature to her advantage on the job.

    "He would ratchet up the rhetoric, and then I'd go back to the ambassadors and say: 'You know, he's pretty upset. I can't promise you what he's going to do or not, but I can tell you if we do these sanctions, it will keep him from going too far,'" Haley said.

    Haley also said that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman doesn't "get a pass" for the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. But she stopped short of recommending giving Saudi Arabia anything more than stern talking-to.

    Haley said that she wants her nominated successor, State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert, to be "successful" and "time will tell how this works out."

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    Photo Credit: Putnam Police

    Police responded to 157 Park St. at 11:15 p.m. Tuesday to investigate a report of a vehicle hitting a home and arrested 27-year-old Justin Hanosky, of Johnson, Rhode Island.Police responded to 157 Park St. at 11:15 p.m. Tuesday to investigate a report of a vehicle hitting a home and arrested 27-year-old Justin Hanosky, of Johnson, Rhode Island.

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    Police looking for a 29-year-old Colorado mom who's been missing since Thanksgiving are hoping that newly released surveillance video showing her last sighting at a grocery store will help in finding her.

    Kelsey Berreth, who was reported missing by her mother on Dec. 2, was last seen in public with her 1-year-old daughter at a Safeway supermarket on Nov. 22 in Woodland Park, where she's lived since 2016.

    The video shows Berreth, dressed in dark pants and a light jacket with her hair pulled back, pushing a cart with her child in a carrier on top. Authorities said they have already received a number of tips in the case and they hope the new footage will lead to more.

    Patrick Frazee, Berreth's fiance, told police he saw Berreth Thanksgiving afternoon when they exchanged their daughter, police chief Miles De Young said Monday. Frazee is taking care of the young girl now at his home. 

    Frazee and Berreth were planning to marry and had been living in separate homes. Berreth would either sleep at Frazee's house or take the child to her home.

    Frazee told police he took care of the child during the day while Berreth worked as a flight instructor at Doss Aviation. Berreth's employer got a text from her phone Nov. 25 saying she needed to take off the upcoming week. Her phone was tracked as being 700 miles away in Gooding, Idaho, that day.

    De Young said Frazee is cooperating with police and is not a suspect in the case. Berreth's fiance could not be reached for comment by NBC.

    "At this point, he is the father of Kelsey's daughter, and we're gonna leave it at that," De Young told reporters. "So, this is a missing person's case."

    Cheryl Berreth, Kelsey Berreth's mother, said at a press conference that "this is completely out of character" for her daughter.

    "She loves her family and friends, and she loves her job," Cheryl Berreth said. "Kelsey, we just want you home. ... We won't quit looking."

    The Associated Press contributed to this report.

    Photo Credit: Woodland Park Police Department
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    Kelsey BerrethKelsey Berreth

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    Retired Metro bus driver Jim Lucitt lost count of the assaults and insults he and other operators were subjected to during his 20 years on the job.

    The horror stories ranged from unruly behavior to attacks that posed serious safety threats to drivers and passengers. 

    "Most people don't have any idea what the job is like," Lucitt said. "You become the target of somebody’s agitation or aggression,and it's a very dangerous job."

    NBC4 obtained three years of internal agency reports that show operators were victims of assaults an average of 11 times per month. They document incidents in which they were choked, pepper-sprayed, splashed with hot coffee, punched, struck with bottles and threatened with box cutters and handguns.

    "People have urine thrown on them," said Lucitt. "They get the urine in a cup and they throw it on them, and they spit on them, and they open up their soda cans on them."

    In another disturbing case, a man approached a bus that was on a layover and began masturbating in front of the female driver. 

    "It could be anywhere from someone just verbally assaulting all the way on up to physical assault, even stabbing of operators, rape, urine, feces," said Art Aguilar, president of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1277, which represents drivers. "And, for what cause? I mean, dogs get treated better than some of these operators."

    Metro's security director said the agency is taking steps to protect drivers from such unprovoked attacks. Along with panic buttons that allow drivers to instantly summon police or deputies, many buses also feature new barriers to protect drivers. LA Metro is also testing live security cameras in 100 buses.

    "We can actually view streaming real-time video on the bus," said Metro security Director Alex Wiggins. "That way, if there is an issue on the bus, we'll be able to intervene in real-time.

    "Our operators are really on the front lines. They’re the first to interact with some individuals that may be in crisis."

    Congresswoman Grace Napolitano co-authored a bill to improve safety nationwide. Introduced in June, the bill never made it out of a subcommittee, but Napolitano plans to try again next year.

    "It requires transportation agencies to install barriers in order to prevent them within two years," Napolitano told the I-Team in August. "We will fight for this bill because we think it's important."

    Metro said is has voluntarily installed barriers on 1,500 of its roughly 2,500 buses, but the agency plans to include them on all buses.

    Until recently, the sheriff's department handled law enforcement on Metro buses, but the agency now shares that job with Los Angeles police. Officers and deputies are regularly riding buses.

    NBC4's Jonathan Lloyd contributed to this article.

    Photo Credit: KNBC-TV

    A Metro bus traveling in Los Angeles on Friday, Jan. 29, 2016.A Metro bus traveling in Los Angeles on Friday, Jan. 29, 2016.

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    A new brick-and-mortar toy store in Maryland opened by a former Toys R Us manager is seeing success thanks to the diversity of its dolls and toys.

    Glendon Warner said he worked for Toys R Us when it went bankrupt. He decided to stock all he learned there into something new.

    Toys, Babies and More in Hyattsville has been open for about two months and has found a customer base during a time when brick-and-mortar stores struggle to compete with Amazon and other online shopping options.

    Warner sees that as an opportunity.

    “They don't think about people who still don't know how to use a website,” he said. “They don’t think about people who still want to walk around and still bring their kids into a store where they can see live toys.”

    Part of the draw is what he stocks on his shelves: Dolls of color. Dolls that reflect the diversity of the children who play with them can be hard to find.

    “I noticed that even when I was with Toys R Us,” Warner said. “Before the second week of December, you can't find African-American dolls."

    The diversity of the toys and dolls he offers has gained him some international sales.

    “My second sale was from Great Britain,” he said.

    Because of the diversity and the hard-to-find toys, Toys, Babies and More has a strong presence online.

    As word of his toy story spreads, so does his business, something of which he and his wife are very proud.

    “It's not easy, but when you have good family, you have God, anything is possible,” Claudine Warner said.

    Photo Credit: NBCWashington

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    Former Obama housing chief Julian Castro says he's taking a step toward a possible White House campaign in 2020 by forming a presidential exploratory committee. The Texas Democrat tells The Associated Press that he will announce a decision Jan. 12.

    The move Wednesday gives the 44-year-old former San Antonio mayor an early start to what's shaping up as a crowded Democratic field without a clear front-runner to challenge President Donald Trump.

    Castro indicated in an AP interview that his mind was all but made up.

    "I know where I'm leaning, for sure," said Castro, who has said for weeks that it was likely he would seek the nomination.

    An exploratory committee usually is a formality before a candidate launches a presidential campaign. It legally allows potential candidates to begin raising money.

    But just as important for Castro, the step gives him an early jump on bigger name Democrats who are considering running but are taking a slower approach.

    No potential contender is more ascendant than outgoing Rep. Beto O'Rourke, who lost last month in a surprisingly close race against Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas. O'Rourke has excited donors and activists who are now prodding him to seek the presidency.

    Sens. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Cory Booker of New Jersey, along with former Vice President Joe Biden, are also potential candidates.

    Castro would be among the youngest candidates in the field and the most prominent Latino. He played down the attention that others are generating and pointed to past election cycles in which early favorites ended up faltering.

    "People might say right now, 'Well, hey, you're way down here in polling that's taken.' The most dangerous place to be right now is actually in the pole position," Castro said. "It doesn't bother me that in December of 2018 I'm not right up at the top of the list. If I decide to run, it would be because I believe I have a compelling message and I'm going to work hard and get to the voters and I believe I can be successful."

    Castro, who attended O'Rourke's election-night party in El Paso last month, said O'Rourke doesn't complicate his own chances.

    "He's talented. He ran a good race against Ted Cruz," Castro said. "I'll let him talk about his future."

    Castro said he has not spoken to former President Barack Obama about his potential candidacy but plans on consulting Democratic leaders. Obama has spoken to O'Rourke, who has said he won't make a decision on 2020 until after leaving Congress in January.

    Obama picked Castro to take over the Department of Housing and Urban Development in 2014. Two years later, Castro was on the short list of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton's potential running mates.

    For Castro, running for president would fulfill a destiny that Democrats have projected since he was elected San Antonio mayor at 34, followed by his star-making turn as the keynote speaker at the Democratic National Convention in 2012.

    He is the grandson of a Mexican immigrant and son of a Latina activist. His twin brother, Joaquin Castro, is a Democratic congressman from Texas. Julian Castro said the Latino community has been treated "like a pinata" under Trump and deserved a candidate in the field.

    "I'm also very mindful, especially now for the Latino community, that there's a particular meaning to my candidacy," Castro said. "We can't go through the 2020 cycle with nobody on that stage because of what's happened over the last couple of years."

    Young and telegenic, Castro rose to national prominence early in his career as a Latino leader from a state that Democrats are eager to retake after decades of Republican dominance. But in Texas, O'Rourke has eclipsed Castro after getting closer to a statewide victory than any Democrat in a generation. It now puts Texas in the formerly unthinkable position of having two Democratic presidential candidates in the same year.

    The last Texas Democrat to run for president was Sen. Lloyd Bentsen, who had a short-lived campaign in 1976.

    Maryland Rep. John Delaney is the only declared 2020 Democratic presidential candidate so far. Others are expected to announce their intentions in the coming weeks.

    Photo Credit: NBC 5 News
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    Julian CastroJulian Castro

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    A Bridgeport man is accused of choking a Shelton woman, then threatening to kill her while her young children were home, according to police.

    Police arrested 31-year-old Owen Mason, of Bridgeport, on Monday and he has been charged with home invasion, criminal possession of a firearm, strangulation in the second degree and risk of injury to a child.

    The victim, a 31-year-old woman, called police early on the morning of Nov. 14 and said Mason had choked her during an argument, police said.

    Once the victim called police Mason fled and police were not able to find him, according to a news release from police.

    Mason went back to the woman’s home several hours later, broke in, pulled out a handgun and threatened to kill her when the victim’s 4-year-old daughter and 5-year-old son were home, according to police.

    Mason fled again and police were not able to find him, according to police.

    They did arrest him Monday at Derby Superior Court, where he was appearing on unrelated charges and detained him on a $275,000 bond.

    Photo Credit: Shelton Police

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    U.S. Senator Chris Murphy and the 1990s boy band 98 Degrees have connected on Twitter after an issue with the band’s tour buses in Norwalk. 

    The band has a show at the Ridgefield Playhouse tonight and The Hour reports the band’s tour buses were kicked out of a Stop and Shop parking lot in Norwalk yesterday after there wasn't enough room for the buses at their hotel. 

    Senator Murphy saw the article and tweeted that “98 Degrees should be treated like the kings they indisputably are.” 

    The band then responded on Twitter, joked that they are looking for less nefarious tour buses and invited Murphy to tonight's show and “afternoon tea in the royal dining hall backstage.”

    Photo Credit: Getty Images for 103.5 KTU and NBC Connecticut
    This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.

    WANTAGH, NY - JUNE 16: (L-R) Jeff Timmons, Justin Jeffre, Nick Lachey and Drew Lachey of 98 Degrees perform at 103.5 KTU's KTUphoria on June 16, 2018 in Wantagh City. (Photo by Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images for 103.5 KTU)WANTAGH, NY - JUNE 16: (L-R) Jeff Timmons, Justin Jeffre, Nick Lachey and Drew Lachey of 98 Degrees perform at 103.5 KTU's KTUphoria on June 16, 2018 in Wantagh City. (Photo by Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images for 103.5 KTU)

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    Crews are battling a house fire in Norwalk on Wednesday morning.

    Police said the fire is at a house on Hilltop Lane.

    It is unclear if anyone was home when the fire broke out.

    This is a developing story. NBC Connecticut will update this story as details become available.

    Photo Credit: Norwalk Police

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    Two firefighters were injured and more than a dozen people were displaced Wednesday following a 3-alarm blaze in Worcester, Massachusetts.

    The blaze was reported around 5 a.m. at a multi-family home on Allen Street. Officials initially said about 13 to 16 people lost their home, but Red Cross said it is responding to assist 14 residents who were displaced.

    Resident Gabriel Soto's mother had just left for work when the fire happened.

    "I kiss her and give her a hug and then next thing I know, all this smoke was in the room and I panicked," Soto said.

    One of the hurt firefighters suffered a back injury, while the other suffered an ankle injury, according to officials. It's unclear if any residents were injured in the fire.

    Fire crews said the blaze was difficult to combat due to a frozen fire hydrant and the building's age.

    The fire comes just days after Worcester Fire Department firefighter Christopher Roy perished on Sunday after he responded to a 5-alarm blaze just about a mile away from Wednesday's fire.

    Some firefighters who responded to the Allen Street blaze also responded to Sunday's fatal fire.

    "Once the three tones struck, our firefighters went straight to work," Worcester Fire Department Deputy Chief Martin Dyer said. "All bad thoughts went out of their head. They came in and did the best job that they can."

    The cause of the Wednesday's fire is under investigation.

    Photo Credit: NBC10 Boston

    Firefighters respond to a 3-alarm blaze on Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2018 in Worcester, Massachusetts.Firefighters respond to a 3-alarm blaze on Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2018 in Worcester, Massachusetts.

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    Connecticut State Police are trying to identify a man who they said attempted to use counterfeit money in Madison earlier this year.

    Police said they investigated a report about counterfeit money at the Dunkin Donuts at the Interstate 95 northbound rest area on October 25 around 1:30 p.m.

    According to officers, a middle-aged male customer attempted to pay with counterfeit money. He then left the scene before police arrived.

    Anyone with information is asked to contact Troop F in Westbrook at (860) 399-2100.

    The investigation is ongoing.

    Photo Credit: Connecticut State Police

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    Crews are working to repair a water main break in Waterbury on Wednesday morning.

    Water department officials said a water main break has been reported on Lakeside Boulevard West. Customers near Lakeside Boulevard West, Jo-Ann Drive, Anawan Avenue, Forest Avenue, Charter Oak Avenue, Crest Street, Highwood Road and Larchmont Avenue may experience little to no water pressure and or discoloration while repairs are being done and shortly after.

    Crews hope to restore normal water service as soon as possible.

    Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

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    Interstate 84 East was closed in Hartford because of a disabled school bus that was leaking natural gas, according to state police, but it has reopened. 

    The highway was closed in the area of exit 46. 

    All the people on the bus were adults, according to state police, and none were injured.

    Photo Credit: Connecticut Department of Transportation

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    The open enrollment period of Access Health Connecticut ends Saturday and there are several changes this time around.

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    A New York woman whose photo was used in an ad campaign promoting the rights of HIV-positive people without her knowledge has been awarded $125,000 in damages, NBC News reported.

    Avril Nolan — who does not have HIV — sued the state's Division of Human Rights, alleging it had improperly used her photo in a 2013 ad that included the words "I AM POSITIVE" and "I HAVE RIGHTS."

    Nolan had posed for the picture for a "street-style" magazine piece in 2011. The picture was later sold to Getty Images, which licensed it to DHR for the ad.

    In a ruling made public Tuesday, Justice Thomas Scuccimarra wrote that the ad didn't contain a disclaimer clarifying the person depicted is a model. "Ms. Nolan did not give permission for the use of her photograph, taken in an entirely different context, and apparently thereafter sold," Judge Scuccimarra wrote.

    The ad ran in four print publications and three online publications.

    Photo Credit: WireImage

    Avril Nolan attends the 'Filthy Gorgeous: The Bob Guccione Story' New York Screening at Crosby Street Hotel on November 8, 2013 in New York City.Avril Nolan attends the 'Filthy Gorgeous: The Bob Guccione Story' New York Screening at Crosby Street Hotel on November 8, 2013 in New York City.

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