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    The University of Connecticut and part of Mansfield will soon receive up to 2.2 million more gallons of water per day, thanks to the Conn. Office of Policy and Management, which approved the plan for an additional water supply.

    Approval from the Office of Policy and Management has opened the door for UConn, the town of Mansfield and the water company to negotiate a contract and work toward obtaining a permit with the state Dept. of Energy and Environmental Protection, according to a release from the University of Connecticut.

    University officials said the Connecticut Water Company was chosen out of three contenders to build a five-mile pipeline from Tolland to Storrs. The pipeline could be up and running as soon as 18 months after all necessary permits are obtained.

    The water company will fund the $21 million project. Both other companies considered would have required UConn to pay tens of millions of dollars to construct the pipeline, according to the release.

    UConn officials said the Connecticut Water Company was found to be the “most environmentally sound and least costly option.”

    Last month, the UConn Board of Trustees endorsed the Connecticut Water Company as the university’s preferred candidate of the three options.

    Connecticut Water Company rates should be consistent with those currently offered to off-campus UConn students and people living in the area.


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    Fort Worth police said the city "avoided a major tragedy" Tuesday night when a gunman tried to fire at least five shots inside crowded McDonald's restaurant but his pistol malfunctioned.

    Surveillance video released late Thursday shows Jestin Anthony Joseph, 24, pulling the trigger several times while attempting to rob customers and employees, police said.

    Incredibly, the gunman walked outside and fired his gun successfully in the air, police said. He walked back inside and tried to shoot again, but the gun again malfunctioned.

    "I've never seen a video like this before," said Fort Worth police robbery detective Joe Loughman. "My gut feeling is the city of Fort Worth and the Fort Worth police department avoided a major tragedy on Tuesday night."

    Joseph entered the McDonald's located at 4800 South Freeway in Fort Worth just after 9 p.m. and asked a cashier for a water cup, police said. He then walked over to the water fountain, where witnesses said he was mumbling to himself before showing his weapon.

    "I walked into McDonald's, asked for water, went to the machine and, as soon as I did, dude said something to me. That's when I pulled the gun, and I lost it," Joseph told NBC DFW in a jailhouse interview Thursday afternoon.

    Joseph, who said the gun was loaded but not cocked, said he had no plans to hurt anyone.

    Joseph said he started hearing voices Sunday night and continues to hear them.

    He said he has never been treated for mental illness.

    Joseph added he was angry, believed people were after him, and had gone to the McDonald's to steal a car to get out of town.

    Asked if there was a better way to handle his anger, he answered, "No."

    The customers and employees were "severely traumatized" by the incident but the gunman was "calm" afterwards, Loughman said.

    One customer tussled briefly with the gunman. An employee tried to reason with him -- even as the gun was pointed at his head, police said.

    Patrol officers arrested him walking nearby without incident.

    Joseph is being held in the Mansfield Jail on five charges of aggravated robbery with a deadly weapon. His bond is set at $500,000. Fort Worth contracts with Mansfield to hold inmates.

    "I can't explain it," he said in his interview. "People are going to think I'm crazy. It's whatever."

    NBC 5's Eric King contributed to this report.


    Fort Worth police have arrested and charged Jestin Anthony Joseph  in connection with an attempted shooting at a McDonald's that was apparently averted when the suspect's gun malfunctioned.Fort Worth police have arrested and charged Jestin Anthony Joseph in connection with an attempted shooting at a McDonald's that was apparently averted when the suspect's gun malfunctioned.

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    A judge ruled Thursday that Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn's move to halt state lawmakers' paychecks is unconstitutional and they must be paid right away.

    Cook County Judge Neil Cohen said the state Constitution makes it clear that lawmakers' pay can't be changed while they serve their terms. Cohen ordered Illinois Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka to pay the lawmakers immediately.

    “Today the circuit court vindicated the Illinois Constitution as Judge Cohen ruled to protect and preserve the separation of powers," Senate President John Cullerton said. "Now that the governor’s actions have been answered by a court, I trust that we can put aside all distractions and focus on the goal of pension reform."

    Quinn used his line-item veto this summer to stop lawmakers' checks until they submit a solution to the state pension crisis. He warned of circumstances if they missed his deadline and described the pay halt as a wake-up call for those who have failed for two years to take action.

    "This is an emergency," Quinn said at the time. "This is a crisis. This requires the full attention of those who were elected to the General Assembly."

    A bipartisan committee has since been created to work through the pension issue, but it has not yet reached a recommendation.

    Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan and Cullerton filed a lawsuit against Quinn, alleging the veto power he used to suspend paychecks was unconstitutional. The lawsuit also named state Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka, who issues the paychecks.

    The lawsuit cites part of the constitution that Judge Cohen pointed to Thursday which says you can't change a lawmaker's salary mid-term.

    "Just as the Illinois Constitution of 1970 protects the right of each judge to receive a salary and not have their salary reduced during their term of office, the Constitution also requires that each legislator receive a salary and prohibits "changes" in the salaries of legislators during their terms of office," Madigan and Cullerton said in a lawsuit, filed in Cook County Court.

    Quinn has stood by his decision.

    When Quinn first announced the suspension, we asked readers in a flash survey whether the governor was right to suspend lawmakers' pay. Eighty-eight percent said yes, while 11 percent said no.

    The Associated Press contributed to this report.


    Pat Quinn: Zombie GovernorPat Quinn: Zombie Governor

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    The new and improved Big Tex was supposed to make his big debut on the State Fair of Texas' opening day, but Mother Nature had other ideas.

    "Unfortunately, the wind has picked up speed and is negatively impacting the curtain that has been hoisted in place to shield him from public view," fair spokeswoman Sue Gooding wrote in a news release.

    His reveal came as a surprise to those working at Fair Park.

    "We were surprised," said D.J. Thomas, an electrician. "We were trying to figure out when they [were] going to unveil him. The helicopters kept swirling, and we were working over in automobile building."

    "I'm elated," said Karla Ward, who will be working at a concession booth. "I'm fascinated, I'm excited, I can't explain it -- I can't believe we're seeing it."

    Chopper 5 had already caught a sneak peek of Big Tex when it flew over Fair Park earlier Thursday. His cowboy hat, part of his face and his red, white and blue shirt could be seen.

    Big Tex is bigger and better than ever. He weighs 19,000 pounds more, bringing him to 25,000 pounds. He's 3 feet taller and now stands 55 feet tall. Big Tex can also withstand 100 mph winds, making him ready for any Texas weather.

    His new duds created by Dickies and a smart pair of boots from Lucchese instantly drew attention. The boots are decorated with artwork, including designs of the Texas and American flags, the State Capitol, bluebonnets, longhorns and other Lone Star State-inspired icons seen on the sides.

    But not everyone was excited about his new look.

    "He looks awful," Thomas said. "Three chins, evil brows, he looks confused, like, 'Huh?' That's what I think."

    Now the big question remains: What will Big Tex sound like? State Fair fans will have to wait until Friday to find that out.

    Bill Bragg, the longtime voice for Big Tex, was let go by the fair earlier this year. Bragg stopped by Big Tex Circle to see what the rebuilt version on Thursday.

    "For me the worst part of [not being here] is missing you guys, all you guys out here on the midway," Bragg said to two women who approached him. "Because I love you with all my heart and soul and I'm gonna be missing you and thinking about you every day during the fair."

    Bragg told NBC 5 he does not know who his replacement will be, but that he wishes them luck.  He said he'd be willing to give some pointers to whomever the fair has chosen.

    A fire destroyed the old Big Tex near the end of the 2012 State Fair of Texas, while the fair was celebrating the iconic cowboy's 60th birthday.

    Big Tex's 75-gallon hat, 50-pound belt buckle and slow drawl -- "Howdy, folks!" -- had been greeting fair visitors since 1952.

    NBC DFW's Ray Villeda and Ben Russell contributed to this report.


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    Mariano Rivera may make a debut on his final weekend before retirement: as a centerfielder.

    The 43-year-old closer, in his 19th and final big league season, has said he'd like to play the outfield.

    Yankees manager Joe Girardi says he's thinking about allowing Rivera to do it this weekend, when the Yankees finish their season with a three-game series at the Houston Astros.

    Says Girardi: "In my mind, thinking that he's going to want to pitch, it would be a situation that I might bring him in (in) the eighth to play the outfield and close him out in the ninth if we have that opportunity."

    Rivera missed most of the 2012 season after hurting his knee while shagging fly balls during pregame practice at Kansas City. 

     

     



    Photo Credit: AP

    Mo is ready to play....centerfield.Mo is ready to play....centerfield.

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    Photographer Robert Sturman visited two California state prisons in 2012 to document a curious phenomenon -- inmates practicing yoga. This photo gallery shows inmates in San Quentin and Deuel Vocational Institution in Tracy, Calif.. Sturman was asked to capture the images as part of the prisonyoga.com project. The 43-year-old Santa Monica resident, himself a yoga devotee, was drawn to the project because of the therapeutic value of yoga in prisons. "I wanted the photos to show something extremely positive happening in our prison system," he said.

    Photo Credit: Robert Sturman

    An inmate at a California state prison practices yoga.An inmate at a California state prison practices yoga.

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    Police have arrested an 18-year-old from Bridgeport in connection with a home burglary on Cleveland Avenue early Wednesday morning.

    Rafael Vasquez is also accused of breaking into and stealing from a car in an unrelated incident, according to police.

    Vasquez was arrested after a neighbor called police to report a man in dark clothing creeping around the area with a flashlight. Police said they arrived to find Vasquez still at the home.

    When officers confronted him, Vasquez took off running. They found him crouching under a deck, police said.

    Officers searched his clothing to discover a debit card and Canon camera. Vasquez claimed the camera was his own, but couldn’t identify the model or tell police what kinds of pictures might be on the memory card. He said he didn’t know where the debit card had come from, according to police.

    Vasquez told police he was homeless and living in his car in a detached garage at the Cleveland Avenue home. Police searched the car and found a number of other stolen items, including a laptop and a University of Bridgeport student ID, authorities said.

    When officers contacted the student, she told them her car had been broken into earlier this month, according to police.

    Vasquez was charged with fourth-degree larceny, possession of burglary tools, interfering with police, criminal trespass and criminal attempt at second-degree burglary.



    Photo Credit: Getty Images

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    Middletown police arrested a man who they said had a car full of chocolate, dozens of snack cakes and lollipops, all made with marijuana.

    Police said they stopped Michael Mikolinksi, 23, of Coventry, Rhode Island, at Pine and Wadsworth streets in Middletown at 8:12 p.m. on Wednesday because a taillight was not working and he seemed extremely nervous and evasive.

    The investigating officer realized that something more was going on when he smelled marijuana, police said.

    During a pat down, the officer found hash oil in Mikolinski’s pocket and placed the suspect in handcuffs after he admitted it was a narcotic.

    When the officer asked if there was anything else in the car that police should know about, he said no, but a narcotic-detecting K9 found much more, according to police.

    Two-heat sealed bags that contained five bags of marijuana each and a cooler were in the car.

    Inside the cooler, police found a large bell-shaped piece of chocolate that smelled like marijuana, police said.

    At first, Mikolinski denied that the chocolate had marijuana in it.

    He told police that his mother had made it and that he picked it up in Cheshire before traveling to Middletown, according to the arraignment report.

    In all, police found five bell-shaped chocolates, 15 smaller square chocolates, seven lollipops and 24 homemade Twinkies in tin foil.

    Mikolinski first denied that the Twinkies had marijuana in them and said his mom made them, but later admitted that all the food contained THC, or Tetrahydrocannabinol, which is extracted from marijuana resin.

    In addition to the narcotic snack foods, police also found vials of liquid marijuana in the car.

    The total value of drugs in the car was around $7,500.

    Mikolinski also had $3,526 separated by rubber bands in his pocket.

    He explained it by saying his mother had baked him the marijuana goods and gave him the money to pay his rent, according to police.

    As police were investigating, Mikolinski received several text messages from people looking to buy marijuana, police said.

    They also found texts from Mikolinksi saying he was heading to Middletown and had “ounces for sale,” according to police.

    Police seized Mikolinski’s 2004 Subaru Forester and charged him with failure to have proper tail lamps, possession of marijuana and additional drug charges.

    He was held on $250,000 surety bond and is due in court on Oct. 9. 

     
     



    Photo Credit: Getty Images and Middletown Police

    Police said Michael Mikolinski had marijuana-laced snack goods when police stopped him for a light violation.Police said Michael Mikolinski had marijuana-laced snack goods when police stopped him for a light violation.

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    The governor has suspended all routine roadwork on highways in lower Fairfield County until further notice as more drivers take to the highways to avoid the Metro-North train nightmare caused by a power issue.

    A feeder cable serving a portion of the New Haven Line's electric fleet failed yesterday and Gov. Dannel Malloy has directed the state Department of Transportation to hold off on the routine maintenance work, specifically on Interstate 95, the Merritt Parkway, the Post Road, Route 7, Route 123 and other busier secondary roads, to ease the expected increased congestion cause by the power disruption.

    Malloy has warned that repairs to the equipment could take “as long as three weeks or more.”

    “Needless to say, I am frustrated at this situation and continue to press the folks at Con Ed and Metro-North to fix it as quickly as possible. But until the problems are alleviated, we need to take whatever steps we can to help mitigate congestion on roadways,” Malloy said.  “Our state transportation crews have halted all routine road work in the area and are working to ensure that the expected increase in traffic moves safely and efficiently.”

    The work that has been halted includes mowing, patching, catch basin brush clearing, tree trimming and line striping. 

    Bridge maintenance is being done at night, and any night work will be stopped and cleared by 6 a.m., according to Malloy’s office.


    According to the governor, work on the lane expansion project along I-95 in Norwalk has been suspended until further notice and there will be no lane closures except for emergency situations.

    The state’s DOT’s Service Patrols, large trucks with flashing lights to assist drivers whose vehicles have broken down, have been placed at several points along I-95 to help get cars off the road as quickly as possible and to assist with other congestion mitigation.

    Updates on the Metro-North situation continue to be posted on DOT’s website and on Metro-North’s website.
     



    Photo Credit: NBC 4 New York

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    The ELG Utica Alloys building on West Service Road was evacuated following a chemical spill Thursday afternoon, authorities said.

    Between 12 and 14 employees were inside the building and were evacuated as a precaution, according to the state Dept. of Energy and Environmental Protection.

    DEEP officials said the spill happened when the company attempted to transfer a newly delivered batch of hydrochloric acid, which turned out to be much stronger than usual.

    Ten-percent hydrochloric acid is delivered on a daily basis, officials said.

    The acid "reacted violently with the pump" during transfer, DEEP spokesman Dwayne Gardner said.

    Workers immediately halted the transfer and closed the acid container, Gardner said.

    The manufacturer and shipping company were contacted in an effort to find out the exact composition of the batch.

    ELG Utica Alloys processes alloys and recycles scrap metal.


    View Larger Map



    Photo Credit: Google Maps

    The ELG Utica Alloys building in Hartford was evacuated following a chemical spill Thursday afternoon.The ELG Utica Alloys building in Hartford was evacuated following a chemical spill Thursday afternoon.

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    Foxwoods Casino has finally broken ground on its long-awaited outlet shopping center, part of its strategy to boost business. 

    The 300,000-square-foot, $115 million facility will connect casino floors at the Grand Pequot Hotel tower and the MGM Grand. 

    The shopping center will feature around 80 stores, including Coach, Banana Republic and Calvin Klein.

    "There are no other outlet centers attached to a casino anyplace in the United States," said Steve Tanger, president of Tanger Outlets, the company partnering with Foxwoods. "We hope to provide fun entertainment for the entire family."

    The facility will bring about 400 construction jobs to the area and 900 full- and part-time retail positions once it opens, Tanger said.

    The groundbreaking was initially expected in early 2012 but suffered setbacks due to the slow economy.

    It comes as Connecticut's two resort-style casinos, Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun, continue to deal with declining customers and slot revenue. They're also facing increased competition from planned casino expansions in the northeast.

    "That's how we're going to combat it, by bringing back amenities that will bring people here aside from just gaming," said Rodney Butler, chairman of the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation.

    Besides the outlet mall, Foxwoods is advertising a variety of incentives for customers, including an offer to match other deals from northeast competitors.

    The casino is also taking steps to enter the world of online gaming, in hopes of eventually bringing additional customers through the door, Butler said, adding that the site will be rolled out soon.

    "You can go online at Foxwoods, you can learn about the games, you can play some of the games, get comfortable and then possibly earn some rewards to bring you back into the property and use those here," he said.

    At Mohegan Sun, officials are planning to break ground later this year or early next year on a "Downtown District," which will include shops, restaurants, and entertainment venues, said Mitchell Etess, the C.E.O. of the Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority. 

    They've also added new restaurants and made other upgrades, said Etess.

    "The reality is you need to give more and more reasons to visit.  Of course, you've got to provide a great experience when they get here but you've got to go a little beyond that nowadays," said Etess.

    Both Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun are hoping to expand into the new Massachusetts casino market as a way to increase profits and minimize competition. 

    UMass Dartmouth professor, Dr. Clyde Barrow, is an expert on gaming and said the Connecticut casinos wil likely never again earn the profits they once did.

    "They peaked out in 2006," Barrow said. "I don't think you'll see those revenue numbers, I'll say in my lifetime."

    The outlet center at Foxwoods is expected to open in about 18 months.

    Once ground is broken on the Downtown District project at Mohegan Sun, construction will also take around 18 months to complete. 



    Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

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    The University of Hartford is warning to students about an Internet scam advertising a business opportunity for a personal assistant.

    School officials said the scammer, who sends emails under the name Tom Sweeney, will mail a fraudulent check for more than $1,000 and ask the victim to deposit it, then wait 24 hours. The scammer will then ask for half the money back.

    This gives the scammer time to access the victim’s bank account and personal information, school officials said in a release.

    The scam is tied to the email accounts info8.newtoninvestment@gmail.com and mxmxdx6@gmail.com and lists a cellphone number of 405-586-0480.

    Students who receive scam emails are encouraged to contact the University of Hartford Dept. of Public Safety and to avoid responding to the sender.

    School officials are reminding students to refrain from giving out personal information and to thoroughly research the background of a company or individual when considering an unsolicited offer.

    Officials also said unsolicited emails are often used by scammers and can be cause for concern.



    Photo Credit: Zach Dunn/Flickr

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    A child from Enfield has died after being hit by a motorcycle while riding his bike on Broad Brook Road, according to police.

    Police said both the child and motorcycle driver, identified as 28-year-old Brian A. Dolloff, were traveling southbound on Broad Brook when they collided.

    It happened around 7 p.m. Wednesday.

    The child was taken to Bay State Medical Center and transferred via LifeStar to Connecticut Children’s Medical Center, where he died of his injuries.

    Dolloff was transported to Hartford Hospital and is in stable condition, police said.

    Authorities are investigating to determine the cause of the crash.

    Anyone with information is asked to call Enfield Police Officer Paul Dubiel at 860-763-6400 ext. 1322.



    Photo Credit: NBCWashington.com

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    A Bridgeport juvenile was arrested for burglary after breaking into a home and leaving his shoes and backpack behind, according to police.

    Police said the 69-year-old resident was home alone on the first floor of his house on Chamberlain Avenue when he heard a noise upstairs. The noise turned out to be a burglar, who went downstairs and ended up face-to-face with the resident.

    The two struggled briefly and the burglar fled. In his rush to get away, the boy left behind one shoe and a backpack containing his cellphone and keys, according to police.

    Authorities used the items to identify a suspect and track him down. The boy first tried to tell police he had been robbed and assaulted, but confessed when officers said they had his other shoe.

    The youth was charged with home invasion, second-degree burglary, possession of a dangerous weapon and assault on an elderly person.



    Photo Credit: Shutterstock

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    Two portable toilets have now been set on fire at the Moosup Little League Baseball fields in Plainfield, and police are trying to figure out who's to blame.

    The most recent incident happened Wednesday night. Fire officials arrived at the fields on Lions Drive around 9 p.m. There they found a portable toilet engulfed in flames, according to police.

    The portable toilet was completely destroyed.

    Police said it's not the first incident of its kind – another toilet was set on fire back in August.

    After firefighters extinguished the blaze, a police K-9 unit arrived on scene to gather evidence and track a potential suspect or suspects.

    Police haven't said whether they know who might be responsible.

    Anyone with information is asked to contact Plainfield police at 860-564-0804 or call the anonymous tip line at 860-564-7065.



    Photo Credit: Getty Images

    Plainfield police said that portable toilets like this one are being lit on fire at the Moosup Little League Baseball Fields.Plainfield police said that portable toilets like this one are being lit on fire at the Moosup Little League Baseball Fields.

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    Two Miami-Dade teens are being held on charges of aggravated battery after a video of a fight was posted on Facebook, officials said.

    The video shows Alexander Baztan, 18, and Eduardo Rodriguez, 19, punching and kicking 21-year-old Adriano Boniche, according to Miami-Dade arrest reports. Police said the fight began after a verbal confrontation among the men.

    Boniche sustained a shattered cheek bone, which required surgery, and a laceration to the right side of his head, which required multiple stitches, the reports said. He also had multiple bruises on his body, according to police.

    Officials said the suspects admitted to beating the victim.

    When Baztan appeared before Judge Rodney Smith in Miami-Dade bond court Thursday, his attorney asked if Baztan could be referred to a transitional program to help him get back into school instead of being given jail time.

    Smith denied the request, saying, "I mean, you were bragging about this on Facebook? Are you serious?"

    Baztan is being held on $7,500 bond and Rodriguez is being held without bond for violating probation.

    More Local Stories:

     



    Photo Credit: Miami-Dade Police

    Alexander Baztan (left) and Eduardo Rodriguez (right)Alexander Baztan (left) and Eduardo Rodriguez (right)

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    A North Texas police officer didn't expect to deliver a baby when he was called to a home on Wednesday morning -- and neither did the mother.

    Dispatch had simply told Officer Gene Kimpton that there was a 911 caller inside the Carrollton home with an unknown emergency.

    "I totally did not expect to be delivering a baby," he said with a laugh.

    "I was expecting something like a burglary in progress or something like that at the house," he said. "When I first approached the house, I had my gun out."

    But he quickly put his gun away after he entered the home in the 1700 block of Pleasant Run Drive and found a young child in the living room. He asked the boy where his mother was, and the child pointed to the bathroom.

    Kimpton found a woman on the bathroom floor who was in the process of giving birth.

    When she had called 911, she had simply told the operator, "Help me, please." With the help of a Spanish translator, she requested an ambulance. But she did not know what was wrong -- and she didn't know she was pregnant.

    A next-door neighbor recalled asking the woman if she was pregnant months before, but she said she was dealing with other medical issues.

    The woman told the 911 translator that she was having liver problems and that doctors had given her medication.

    The baby was also a shock to the woman's husband, who arrived home shortly after his wife and newborn were taken by ambulance to Baylor Medical Center.

    "I told him, 'Congratulations, you're a dad of a little boy,'" Kimpton said. "He was stunned. He had no idea this was coming."

    Kimpton had never delivered a baby before. His police training had taught him to deal with cuts and wounds, but nothing like delivering a child. But instinct kicked in for the father of two, and he went to work.

    "I realized what was happening, and I had to act. I had to help the baby out," he said. "Once we got the baby out, he was crying. We wrapped the baby in a towel, and I held it until the paramedics got there."

    Kimpton even held the baby boy while the paramedics cut the umbilical cord.

    While it was one of the more unexpected calls he's ever had, Kimpton said he is glad he could help.

    "I wasn't expecting to deliver a baby that day, mom and dad apparently weren't expecting to be new parents that day, either -- it took everybody by surprise," he said. "[It was] pretty incredible, helping a new life into the world unexpectedly."

    Despite the surprise birth, the baby is healthy, police say. He and his mother were resting comfortably at the hospital Thursday.

    The family declined to comment, saying it would like to remain private.



    Photo Credit: NBC 5 News

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    Recordings of 911 calls from the blaze that devastated a Jersey Shore boardwalk portray frantic attempts by civilians to douse the flames when the fire was still small, before it spread and destroyed more than 50 businesses.

    "Uh there's a fire on the boardwalk in Seaside ... underneath the boardwalk, you can't see the flames, but there's smoke," a caller says in one conversation with a dispatcher obtained by NBC 4 New York.

    "We got the hose on there ... Oh my God, you guys gotta come quick! It's going from nothing to something," the caller says.

    "Hurry guys, hurry hurry hurry."

    The fire that started under an ice cream shop and candy store quickly consumed a huge swath of boardwalk and burned for more than eight hours. Authorities said it was caused by the electrical failure of aging equipment damaged by Sandy.

    The wiring, officials said, was flooded and submerged in saltwater, and then was further irritated by sand and waves. Exposed wires somehow came into contact with each other, causing an electrical arc that is believed to have started the fire, which began in an inaccessible area under those boardwalk stores.

    "We can see all the smoke rising out of the boardwalk and everybody's like trying to throw water on it," says another caller.

    As callers told dispatchers that civilians were trying to put out the flames, they were told that firefighters were on their way and were warned to stay away.

     



    Photo Credit: NBC 4 New York

    The remains of the Funtown Pier in Seaside Park. A massive fire ripped through the Jersey Shore town Thursday afternoon, destroying the iconic pier.The remains of the Funtown Pier in Seaside Park. A massive fire ripped through the Jersey Shore town Thursday afternoon, destroying the iconic pier.

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    Connecticut state police have launched a criminal investigation into the Ansonia Police Department for the alleged mishandling of evidence, according to the Ansonia police chief.

    "I have requested assistance from the Connecticut State Police in order to conduct an independent criminal investigation into the irregularities that the Ansonia Police Department have discovered in the processing of evidence within the Ansonia Police Department," said Ansonia Police Chief Kevin J. Hale, in a release.

    The State Police Major Crimes Squad arrived to investigate on Thursday night.

    State police spokesman Lt. Paul Vance said it's not clear how many cases, if any, could be impacted.

    He said that mishandling of evidence could include a variety of things, such as missing evidence, evidence taken without permission and the destruction of evidence.

    It's not clear when the mishandling of evidence might have occurred, Vance said.

    Ansonia police are also conducting an Internal Affairs Investigation "to determine whether any department rules, regulations, policies or procedures were violated," according to Chief Hale.

    Hale said the investigation stems from the discovery of "irregularities" in the processing of evidence.

    Ansonia police have declined to comment on the issue.



    Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

    The State Police Major Crimes Squad is investigating the Ansonia Police Department following a report that evidence was mishandled.The State Police Major Crimes Squad is investigating the Ansonia Police Department following a report that evidence was mishandled.

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    Authorities are investigating after a Middletown police motorcycle struck a pedestrian Thursday night.

    It happened in the area of 605 Saybrook Road. Police said the pedestrian was crossing the street when the officer hit him.

    It's not clear if the police officer was responding to an emergency at the time of the crash.

    Both people were transported to Hartford Hospital, at least one via LifeStar, authorities said.

    Police said the pedestrian was alert at the hospital and that the officer received non-life threatening injuries.

    Saybrook Road in Middletown is closed near Route 9 while authorities investigate.

    An NBC Connecticut crew is at the scene.



    Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

    This mangled Middletown police motorcycle struck a pedestrian who was crossing the road Thursday night.This mangled Middletown police motorcycle struck a pedestrian who was crossing the road Thursday night.

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