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    NBC Connecticut is proud to partner with Central Connecticut State University and the Ana Grace Project to support the Love Wins Community Drive.

    Nelba Marquez-Greene remembers her daughter Ana Grace, one of 20 first graders killed inside Sandy Hook Elementary School, in many ways, including her work through the Ana Grace Project, an organization she created as a tribute to her daughter. 

    The Ana Grace Project partnered with the Consolidated School District of New Britain and CCSU to collect toys, winter clothing, toiletries, and food for New Britain families in need.

    The drive was all about giving back, and taking a day of sadness and turning it into hope.

    The community rose to the challenge, with hundreds of hundreds of donations pouring in.

    “This is an amazing community, and we are just so blessed to be here. Everybody working together. This is how love wins,” Marquez-Greene said.

    The food collected at the drive will go to food pantries like Maria's Place, which serves CCSU students in need. Toys will go to parents in New Britain to put under their Christmas tree.

    “The message is to give back to the community and show that love does win, and the receivers of these items today we hope that their hearts will be as full as ours today," said organizer Courtney McDavid.

    This was the first year of the drive, and organizers plan to continue. Learn more here.



    Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

    NBC Connecticut is proud to partner with Central Connecticut State University and the Ana Grace Project to support the Love Wins Community Drive.NBC Connecticut is proud to partner with Central Connecticut State University and the Ana Grace Project to support the Love Wins Community Drive.

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    A federal judge in Texas on Friday struck down the Affordable Care Act, ruling that former President Barack Obama's signature domestic legislation has fallen down like a losing game of "Jenga."

    U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor in Fort Worth sided with the argument put forward by a coalition of Republican-leaning states, led by Texas, that Obamacare could no longer stand now that there's no penalty for Americans who don't buy insurance, NBC News reported.



    Photo Credit: AP

    Protesters gather across the Chicago River from Trump Tower to rally against the repeal of the Affordable Care Act on Friday, March 24, 2017, in Chicago.Protesters gather across the Chicago River from Trump Tower to rally against the repeal of the Affordable Care Act on Friday, March 24, 2017, in Chicago.

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    Multiple departments responded when fire broke out at an East Hampton junkyard Friday.

    Fire officials crews responded to a fire at the Belltown Recycling Center on Old Coach Road around 7:40 p.m. and found two dumpsters on fire.

    East Hampton Company One Capt. Ken Royce said the fire was challenging because the location was nowhere near hydrants and with a narrow roadway to get into the facility, it was difficult to get tanker trucks close.

    Portland, Marlborough, East Haddam, Colchester, and Haddam Neck all provided tankers.

    No injuries were reported and the facility was closed at the time of the fire. The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection responded to check for hazardous materials but there were no immediate concerns, according to East Hampton Fire Marshal Richard Klotzbier.

    Officials are investigating the cause of the fire. Klotzbier said at this time there is no indication that the fire is suspicious, but the state fire marshal has been called in to assist in the investigation.



    Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

    Crews responded to a fire at the Belltown Recycling Center in East Hampton Friday night.Crews responded to a fire at the Belltown Recycling Center in East Hampton Friday night.

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    Luxury fashion company Prada has pulled a set of monkey trinkets from its lower Manhattan store amid outcry that the items depict blackface.

    In a statement Friday, Prada said that the images have been removed from the windows of its flagship in Soho and that it "abhors racist imagery." 

    But it added that the items -- which are part of the brand's Pradamalia line and depict a monkey with a black face and bright red lips -- are "certainly not blackface."

    "Prada Group never had the intention of offending anyone and we abhor all forms of racism and racist imagery," the company concluded in its statement. "In this interest we will withdraw the characters in question from display and circulation."

    Backlash to the items grew quickly after Chinyere Ezie, an attorney for the Center for Constitutional Rights, posted to Facebook that the items bore a resemblance to blackface imagery used in Jim Crow-era minstrel shows and illustrations.

    "I don’t make a lot of public posts, but right now I’m shaking with anger," she wrote.

    She was in such disbelief that she sent the photos to family and friends to verify what she was seeing. 

    "I messaged my mother of all people, 'Hey, is this blackface?'" she said. "Everyone who saw those images was as shocked as I was." 

    Ezrie added that when she confronted store workers, they told her "a black employee had previously complained about blackface at Prada, but he didn't work there anymore."

    Since Ezie's post Thursday, thousands of people have tweeted using the hashtag #BoycottPrada. Groups have also begun picketing outside the store. 

    "That's unacceptable," said Brittany Cooper, a passerby in the area. "That's blatantly obvious that's blackface." 

    "Prada is trash for this," said Althalie Paynting. "They know better. We all know better. I'm a white person; we know better." 

    Ezie also was unmoved by Prada's explanation and apology.

    "That sounds no more realistic than people who say Confederate flags are about southern heritage," she said. "We have an obligation to be educated about historical legacies of racism." 

    New York City Councilman Jumaane Williams, also a candidate for public advocate, has also called on the store to donate proceeds to anti-bigotry groups. 

    "The question is who the hell approved this," he said. "They have to apologize. They need to come out and say we fucked up."  



    Photo Credit: Andrew Siff / News 4
    This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.

    The Prada storefront in Soho, after items that some on social media said resembled blackface were removed from the display.The Prada storefront in Soho, after items that some on social media said resembled blackface were removed from the display.

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    Vernon Police are trying to identify a bank robbery suspect on Saturday.

    Officers said the man entered the Berkshire Bank on Hartford Turnpike around 9:10 a.m. and demanded money. He fled with an undisclosed amount of money.

    According to police, he was the only customer inside of the bank during the robbery. There were also two employees inside at the time.

    The suspect, who was not armed, is described by police as a man between the ages of 35 and 40.

    In surveillance photos released by police, the suspect can be seen wearing a red-colored sweatshirt and gray pants.

    No injuries were reported.

    If you have any information about the robbery, you're encouraged to contact Vernon Police at (860) 872-9126.



    Photo Credit: Vernon Police

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    A second threat involving Wallingford schools was reported on Friday night, just hours after a high school student was arrested for allegedly posting an alarming message on Snapchat.

    School officials said a disturbing message was posted on Snapchat on Friday night and the administration immediately reported it to police. Officers are investigating the threat.

    Any student who is involved in the threat will not be allowed on school property and the administration plans to work with the Board of Education to ensure the matter is handled in a serious and swift manner, according to the Superintendent of Schools Salvatore Menzo.

    Earlier in the day on Friday, school officials said a high school student was arrested after an investigation into an alarming message that was posted on Snapchat overnight.

    Menzo said in an email that police were notified overnight about a message from someone who "expressed his annoyance with Lyman Hall High School." Police were notified and the student was identified and arrested at his home.

    The student was charged with breach of peace and he is not allowed on school property.

    School officials are encouraging parents to talk to their children about the seriousness of making threats or posting disturbing photos online.



    Photo Credit: AP

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    Firefighters were called to Loehr Road in Tolland after getting a report of a person who was hit by a falling tree on Saturday afternoon.

    Fire officials said they were called to the address around 2:15 p.m.

    LifeStar said they were also called to the incident, but were later canceled.

    The person was transported by ambulance to the hospital, firefighters said. The extent of his or her injuries is unknown.


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    A man is in critical condition following a stabbing at a home on Robbin Road in Enfield Saturday night. 

    Police said they responded to 27 Robbin Road around 2:30 p.m. and found a man suffering from multiple stab wounds. He was taken to an area hospital where he remains in critical condition. 

    Police said they believe his injuries are not life threatening. 

    Enfield police and state police are investigating. 

    NBC Connecticut has a crew headed to the scene and will update this story as more information become available. 


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    Six in 10 Americans say President Donald Trump has been untruthful about the investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential campaign, while half of the country says the investigation has given them doubts about Trump’s presidency, according to a new national NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll.

    The survey, conducted a month after the results of November’s midterm elections, also finds more Americans want congressional Democrats — rather than Trump or congressional Republicans — to take the lead role in setting policy for the country. 

    And just 10 percent of respondents say that the president has gotten the message for a change in direction from the midterms — when the GOP lost control of the U.S. House of Representatives but kept its majority in the U.S. Senate — and that he’s making the necessary adjustments.

    “The dam has not burst on Donald Trump,” said Democratic pollster Peter Hart, whose firm conducted this survey with Republican pollster Bill McInturff. “But this survey suggests all the structural cracks [that exist] in the dam.”



    Photo Credit: Getty Images, Files

    President Donald Trump (L) and Robert Mueller (R)President Donald Trump (L) and Robert Mueller (R)

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    A pedestrian suffered life-threatening injuries in a crash in Bristol on Saturday night.

    Police responded to a vehicle versus pedestrian crash at the intersection of King Street and Bernside Drive around 10:30 p.m.

    Officers said the pedestrian suffered life-threatening injuries and was transported to St. Francis Hospital.

    The Bristol Police Serious Traffic Accident Reconstruction Team responded to the scene and is investigating the crash.

    Anyone with information is encouraged to contact Officer Brian Jones at (860) 584-3036.



    Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

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    Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer Sunday said President Donald Trump is preventing a deal to avert a partial government shutdown because of a “temper tantrum” over his demand for more funding to build a border wall.

    Appearing on NBC’s “Meet the Press” just five days before funding deadline to keep several key federal agencies open, Schumer, D-N.Y., said that he and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., are standing firm in their offers to Trump and that it’s up to the president to come to the table.

    "We Democrats, Leader Pelosi and I, offered the president two options as to how to avoid the shutdown,” he said.

    “We should not let a temper tantrum, threats, push us in the direction of doing something even our Republicans colleagues know is wrong," Schumer said.



    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.

    WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 11: U.S. President Donald Trump argues about border security with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) in the Oval Office on December 11, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 11: U.S. President Donald Trump argues about border security with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) in the Oval Office on December 11, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

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    Several families headed to Jones Family Farms in Shelton on this rainy Sunday morning in search of their perfect Christmas tree, just days before the gifts underneath will be unwrapped. More than 10,000 trees spread across 2,000 acres on the farm, several of which are ready to be cut and kept this holiday season.

    Farm manager Tom Harbinson says, “people have come here year after year. We like to say, ‘memories are always in season’ here at the farm.”

    Harbinson understands it can be overwhelming selecting the ideal tree among multiple varieties, but reassures that the “perfect” tree is all about preference.

    “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” says Harbinson. “When you get out to the field, you’re going to see the tree that you like, but one important thing to know is the right height.” He advises measuring both the ceiling and the tree stand before heading out the door.

    As for cutting the tree, Harbinson says it’s essential to know – for both safety and success – the slope of the tree. “Cut a cheat cut on the bottom side, so that you then finish it off at the top. That way if it’s leaning over, it’s not going to pinch your blade.”

    Experts suggest bringing or using a tarp on site to slide the tree down and across any hills. The stand that’s selected should correspond to the tree’s height and size. When placing it in the stand, Harbinson suggests having a helper to keep the tree level while any screws and knobs are inserted.

    Once standing, clean water is all the tree will need. Harbinson advises against old wives tales that suggest placing a penny in the water, or any other materials. “When you bring the tree to the home, initially, it’s going to want to acclimate to your home’s environment, so it will drink up a lot more water initially when you bring it to the house,” says Harbinson.

    Michael Giovannini and his family harvested their own tree this year. Both he and his sons came to the farm, despite the rain, to keep their family tradition alive. “Whether you’re coming afar or close, it’s definitely worth harvesting your own tree at Christmas,” says Giovannini.

    Harbinson suggests that families who are coming to cut a tree from the field should arrive to Jones Family Farm before 4:00 p.m.



    Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

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    At least two cats have been sealed into buckets and abandoned near a Manhattan animal shelter — both of which might have been taken away with the trash if staff hadn’t noticed them, the organization says.

    Staff members at Animal Haven Shelter, a SoHo-based nonprofit, were shocked Thursday when staff members found a cat sealed into a bucket that had been placed near a public trash can, the organization said in an Instagram post.

    Staff found another cat sealed inside a bucket back in November. The pail was placed next to the back door of the shelter's building, Animal Haven said in another post.

    “Staff isn’t left speechless that often anymore, but when morning kennel went to move what appeared to be just an empty bucket on the side of our building near the back door, they were shocked to see a tiny eye looking back up at them,” the shelter wrote after the first incident in November.

    “Yes, believe it or not but someone left an innocent cat in a bucket outside our door overnight," the shelter added. 

    The cat abandoned in November, dubbed Sage, was ultimately “safe and sound” after the ordeal. The cat found last week, however, is “in bad shape and, needless to say, is terrified,” Animal Haven said.

    The shelter posted surveillance video to Instagram after the Thursday incident and said it shows a man placing the bucket by the trash before walking off down the sidewalk.

    The shelter is now asking passersby to keep an eye out for buckets or containers that could contain cats.

    “We have contacted the police, but we’re asking that everyone in the vicinity of our shelter in SoHo PLEASE keep your eyes out for any suspicious buckets or containers like the ones in these photos!” the shelter wrote.

    “If anyone recognizes the person in this video, contact us immediately. And if you are ever desperate to surrender an animal, please reach out to us directly,” it added.



    Photo Credit: Animal Haven
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    Colin Kroll, the co-founder of HQ Trivia and Vine, was found dead in his Manhattan apartment on Sunday, NBC News reported.

    Police responded to a 911 call for a welfare check at the Spring Street apartment on Sunday, a New York Police Department Spokesman told NBC News. Kroll was 34, police said.

    Police found Kroll unconscious and unresponsive in a bedroom of the apartment, the spokesman said.

    He was pronounced dead on the scene, police said.



    Photo Credit: Bryan Steffy/Getty Images for Variety, File

    This Jan. 9, 2014, file photo shows Colin Kroll in Las Vegas, Nevada.This Jan. 9, 2014, file photo shows Colin Kroll in Las Vegas, Nevada.

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    A serious crash has closed part of Interstate 91 in Cromwell on Sunday afternoon.

    According to the Connecticut Department of Transportation, an overturned vehicle has closed I-91 southbound between exits 22N and 21.

    The crash was reported shortly after 3 p.m. and DOT officials expect the highway to reopen in two hours or less.

    Police said serious injuries were reported.

    Delays of nearly 2 miles were reported on I-91 south in Rocky Hill due to the crash.

    Motorists are encouraged to use alternate routes.


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    Connecticut State Police have identified the two people who were killed in a crash on Interstate 95 in Stonington early Sunday morning.

    Police said 38-year-old Jose Gonzalez, of Groton, was driving north on I-95 southbound in Stonington around 12:45 a.m.

    As he was traveling in the wrong direction, police said he collided with another vehicle, just north of exit 91.

    According to police, the front seat passenger in Gonzalez's vehicle, later identified as 37-year-old Eric Ramakers, of Phoenix, Arizona, died at the scene. The front seat passenger in the other vehicle, later identified as 26-year-old Lorna Valcin, of Braintree, Massachusetts, also died at the scene.

    Gonzalez and the driver of the other vehicle were transported to Rhode Island Hospital with serious injuries. A passenger in the other vehicle who was in the backseat was also transorted to Rhode Island Hospital with life-threatening injuries, police said.

    The highway was closed until approximately 6:30 a.m. and has since reopened.

    Any witnesses to the accident are asked to contact Troop E at (860) 848-6500.



    Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

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    Hospital officials who treated the 7-year-old Guatemalan girl who died in U.S. Border patrol custody said she appears to have died from sepsis shock, according to the most detailed timeline of her death released by the Department of Homeland Security.

    Autopsy results that will provide the official cause of death were still pending early Monday, NBC News reported

    Sepsis is the body's extreme response to an existing infection somewhere in the body that can lead to rapid organ failure and death, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

    The statement released by DHS elaborated on what happened to Jakelin Caal Maquin in the hours after she and her father were apprehended by federal authorities and she became ill.


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

    This undated photo obtained by Telemundo Network News and confirmed by officials with the Guatemalan consulate in Del Rio, Texas, shows Jakelin Caal Maquin of Guatemala. Seven-year-old Jakelin died two days after she and her father were taken into custody by U.S. Customs and Border Patrol along a remote stretch of the U.S. border.This undated photo obtained by Telemundo Network News and confirmed by officials with the Guatemalan consulate in Del Rio, Texas, shows Jakelin Caal Maquin of Guatemala. Seven-year-old Jakelin died two days after she and her father were taken into custody by U.S. Customs and Border Patrol along a remote stretch of the U.S. border.

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    Not even a trip to Heinz Field, one of the most favorable venues across the league for the Patriots through the years, could cure their road woes.

    New England is in very real danger of playing on wild-card weekend following a 17-10 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday afternoon, dropping their record to 9-5.

    Tom Brady's throw to Julian Edelman on a fourth-and-15 in the final minute of regulation came up short, and the Patriots are now a game back of the Houston Texans for the No. 2 seed and the first-round bye that comes with it in the AFC playoff picture.

    But New England had many chances other than its final possession to tie or take the lead against the Steelers.

    After Duron Harmon’s second interception of Ben Roethlisberger early in the fourth quarter, the Patriots drove all the way down to the Pittsburgh 5-yard line, where they faced first-and-goal.

    But a holding penalty, followed by a pass play for a loss of 2 yards, followed by Brady’s first red zone interception since 2016, spelled doom for New England.

    Brady threw up a jump ball in the vicinity of both Rob Gronkowski and Edelman, yet in landed safely in the hands of Pittsburgh cornerback Joe Haden, who neatly kept both of his feet in bounds to bring a stunning halt to the drive for the Patriots.

    Truthfully, the Patriots were lucky to be in the game as long as they were. While Roethlisberger had his pair of picks, New England was penalized a ghastly 14 times for 106 yards, including eight times before the snap.

    The Patriots were once again dreadful against the run, too. Despite Pittsburgh being without starting running back James Conner, rookie Jaylen Samuels sliced his way to 142 yards on 19 carries, good for a healthy 7.5 yards per carry.

    Brady wasn’t helped by his receivers, either. Edelman had two drops and James White and Josh Gordon had one apiece. Gronkowski, meanwhile, was a virtual non-factor for the Patriots. A year after putting up a career-high 168 receiving yards against the Steelers, he was held to a paltry two catches for 21 yards.

    Brady finished 25 of 36 passing for 289 yards and a 63-yard touchdown pass to Chris Hogan in the first quarter, which helped New England tie the game at 7-7. The Patriots never had the lead.

    Roethlisberger threw a 5-yard touchdown pass to Vance McDonald on Pittsburgh's very first series and later connected with Antonio Brown on a 16-yard hookup in the second quarter.

    It's the first time the Steelers have beaten the Patriots since the 2011 season, snapping a five-game winning streak by New England against Pittsburgh.

    The good news for New England is that it won’t have to go on the road again in the regular season. The Patriots finished 3-5 on the road, just the third time under Bill Belichick they’ve had a losing mark away from Gillette Stadium (2000, his very first year on the job, and again in 2009, which is also the last time they had to play on Wild-Card Weekend.

    New England closes out the regular season with a pair of 1 p.m. home games, first against the Buffalo Bills next Sunday and against the New York Jets on Dec. 30.



    Photo Credit: Getty Images

    PITTSBURGH, PA - DECEMBER 16: Joe Haden #23 of the Pittsburgh Steelers intercepts a pass intended for Julian Edelman #11 of the New England Patriots in the fourth quarter during the game at Heinz Field on December 16, 2018 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)PITTSBURGH, PA - DECEMBER 16: Joe Haden #23 of the Pittsburgh Steelers intercepts a pass intended for Julian Edelman #11 of the New England Patriots in the fourth quarter during the game at Heinz Field on December 16, 2018 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

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    Fire caused significant damage to a restaurant in Milford Sunday night. 

    Firefighters responded to Flames Mediterranean & American Grill at 12 Daniel St. after an employee of a neighboring restaurant called 911 just before 9 p.m. because some smelled smoke in the area, according to Milford Fire Rescue. 

    Firefighters forced their way in through the front doors and got the fire under control in 15 minutes, but the restaurant sustained extensive heat and smoke damage.

    The Milford fire marshal’s division is investigating the cause of the fire.

    The fire did not affect an adjacent real estate office or barber shop.



    Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

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    A Camaro crashed into a building and a tree in New Haven Monday morning and police are searching for the driver.

    The car hit a building at Grand Avenue and Front Street around 7 a.m., then hit a tree.

    Police said no one was in the car when officers responded and they are looking for anyone who was in the car.

    No additional information was immediately available.



    Photo Credit: Stringr.com

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