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    A New Jersey police officer is recovering from smoke inhalation after rescuing animals from a pet shop fire, officials say. 

    The fire at Pet Center on State Highway 23 in Franklin, N.J. was reported at about 9 a.m. Tuesday, and officers Rafael Burgos and Jeffrey Korger were among the first responders on the scene, according to the Franklin Borough Police Department.

    Burgos rescued all the pets inside the building as other officers evacuated nearby businesses, police said. 

    Firefighters were able to put out the fire, and investigators say the blaze appears to be related to an electrical issue. 

    Burgos is receiving medical attention for smoke inhalation, police said. No one else was injured. 

    A local veterinary hospital is helping to temporarily care for the displaced pets. 



    Photo Credit: Handout/NBC 4 New York

    Officer Rafael Burgos (inset) rescued animals from the Pet Center in Franklin, N.J. when a fire broke out in the building.Officer Rafael Burgos (inset) rescued animals from the Pet Center in Franklin, N.J. when a fire broke out in the building.

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  • 02/25/14--16:50: Teen Scares Off Intruder

  • A 16-year-old from Hamden managed to scare off an intruder with a kitchen knife on Monday afternoon.

    The teen was home alone on School Street on Monday afternoon when he heard knocking on the front door, police said.

    Moments later, he heard knocking on a back and side door, then someone forced the front door open.

    The teen confronted the intruder with a kitchen knife, scaring home off, police said.

    Police responded to the house at 2:45 p.m.  to investigate the home invasion and the teen said the intruder ran from the home, onto School Street, toward Whitney Avenue.

    Shortly after 5 p.m., Officer Stephen Degrand of the Hamden Police Department stopped Joseph Conte Jr., 32, of 2586 Whitney Avenue, Apartment 2A in Hamden, who fit the general description of the person responsible for the home invasion, police said.

    Police determined Conte was the suspect they were looking for, arrested and brought him to police headquarters.

    Conte was charged with burglary in the second degree.

    He was detained on a $100,000 bond and is scheduled to appear in court in Meriden on March 10.



    Photo Credit: Hamden Police

    Police said Joseph Conte Jr. is suspected in a Hamden home invasion.Police said Joseph Conte Jr. is suspected in a Hamden home invasion.

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    A Shore Line East train carrying 14 people to Union Station derailed in New Haven this evening, according to a spokesperson for the state Department of Transportation.

    No one was injured in the derailment, which the DOT says is very minor. The front two wheels of the engine came off the tracks around 5:20 p.m. Tuesday, according to the DOT. It happened under the Wallace Street overpass.

    The derailment is not affecting Metro-North service. Five additional Shore Line East trains are running on schedule tonight. After the derailment, Shore Line East opened a second track to accommodate rail traffic.

    Another train arrived to pick up passengers of the derailed train. Crews hope to have the scene cleared by the morning.

    Trains are operating at a reduced speed in the area of the derailment.

    The cause of the derailment is under investigation.



    Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

    This Shore Line East train carrying 14 passengers derailed Tuesday evening in New Haven. No one was injured.This Shore Line East train carrying 14 passengers derailed Tuesday evening in New Haven. No one was injured.

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    The manager of an Enfield business center has pleaded not guilty to charges related to operating internet sweepstakes games.

    Stephen Scott, 49, of Granby, Mass., is accused of operating gambling devices and maintaining a gambling premises.

    His store, the Mouse Pad Business Center and Tech Solutions, was raided earlier this month by state and local police.

    The raids came two weeks after an NBC Connecticut Troubleshooters investigation shed light on what police are calling illegal gambling operations in Enfield, Bloomfield and East Windsor.

    State police, local police, the Chief State’s Attorney’s Office, Department of Consumer Protection and Department or Revenue Services have been involved in the investigation, which began three months ago, according to state police spokesman Lt. J. Paul Vance.

    Vance said an anonymous tip sparked the investigation.

    The first raid began around 11 a.m. Tuesday at the Mouse Pad Business Center and Tech Solutions, at 483 Enfield Street in Enfield.

    Police obtained an arrest warrant for Scott charging him with possession of gambling devices and maintaining a gambling premises.

    He turned himself in Feb. 12 and was released after posting $5,000 bond. Scott appeared in court and pleaded not guilty Feb. 25.

    Investigators were at the scene for more than six hours Tuesday, Feb. 11 and hauled out dozens of computers and boxes of financial records.

    "[Authorities] have seized over 200 pieces of evidence, which will become part and parcel of this criminal investigation," said Vance.

    The Mouse Pad was one of the businesses investigated by the Troubleshooters. The business offers a sweepstakes contest in which customers can purchase phone cards or internet time to play slot-style video games in hopes of winning cash.

    "I was on the computer and all of a sudden about 40 state police come in," said a customer who was inside the Mouse Pad when the raid began. "[They said], 'Hands up on the computers. Don't move.'"

    According to Enfield police, the State Police Organized Crime Investigative Task Force "uncovered evidence that this business appeared to be in violation of Connecticut General Statutes concerning professional gambling and possession of gambling devices."

    A second raid was conducted at the Bloomfield Business Center at 701 Park Avenue in Bloomfield, another location investigated by the Troubleshooters. Vance said the investigations in Bloomfield and Enfield were separate but connected.

    During that raid, a Bloomfield Business Center employee, 32-year-old Derieka Henry, of Manchester, was charged with breach of peace and interfering with police.

    Bloomfield Police Capt. Stephen Hajdasz said Henry was uncooperative with the officers executing the search warrant and did not follow orders from police.

    Henry was released on a $2,500 bond.

    It’s not clear if the Internet Connection in East Windsor location was also raided, but NBC Connecticut stopped by the store Tuesday to find the doors locked and the lights off.

    Vance said he doesn't expect that any of the businesses' patrons will be charged, but the investigation is ongoing.

    State Sen. Dante Bartolomeo said late last month that internet sweepstakes cafes violate the state's compact with Indian tribes operating casinos, and submitted a bill that would make them illegal.

    Bartolomeo issued the following statement the day of the raids:

    "The raids carried out today by the State Police send a clear message that these parasitic sweepstakes gambling dens are not welcome in Connecticut. I already submitted a bill, to clarify their illegality in our statutes, and I expect it to compliment and support the efforts of law enforcement. Every appeals court in the United States that has ruled on a case involving the activities of these sweepstakes cafes has found them to be a form of gaming, despite their claims to the contrary. I hope that legislative action taken alongside the work being done by state police will run the sweepstakes cafes out of Connecticut before they take root any further in our communities."

    Last week, she testified in a Public Safety Committee hearing on Senate Bill 102, saying sweepstakes games constitute Class C gambling and violate the compact between the state and tribal casinos.

    Business operators told the NBC Connecticut Troubleshooters that the sweepstakes games are legal and do not constitute gambling because entries are free and results are predetermined.

    The attorneys for the Mouse Pad sent the Troubleshooters a statement that reads, in part:

    "The Mouse Pad supports enlightened regulation of instant-win video sweepstakes. It's subject to abuse. If you say you're running a promotional free game of chance, but what you are 'promoting' in actuality is only thin air, you know, something without value at all, the courts look at it differently. If the customer is paying something but the 'product' you are promoting is demonstrably of no value to consumers generally, then there can be nothing you are paying for, except for the game. That makes your spurious 'promotion' in actuality, illegal gambling. All of the courts of Connecticut's sister states have approached the question in this way."


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    Two construction companies working on UConn’s new $32 million basketball facility could face tens of thousands of dollars in fines after a surprise visit from the Department of Labor reportedly turned up workplace violations and resulted in stop-work orders at the site.

    Inspectors visited the construction site Saturday after learning about possible violations on the job. The Dept. of Labor subsequently issued stop-work orders pertaining to two subcontractors working at the site: Intex of Glastonbury and J&V Construction of East Hartford.

    University officials and the Dept. of Labor said the subcontractors had been brought in to help with carpentry and tape together the edges of Sheetrock. They had been on site for about six months.

    According to the Dept. of Labor, about 20 of the subcontractors’ employees were not listed on payroll and were being paid cash to avoid state taxes.

    Undocumented workers were also found on site; Dept. of Labor representatives said many employees didn’t speak English and didn’t have social security numbers. Some took off running when inspectors approached them.

    A spokesperson for the university said Daniel O’Connell’s Sons, the general contractor in charge of the site, was not aware of the violations prior to inspection and has not been affected by the stop-work orders.

    “Neither UConn nor its general contractor were aware of the violations alleged by the Department of Labor, nor would we condone any such work practices,” said a spokesperson for UConn.

    State Sen. Catherine Osten, of Sprague, who serves as the Senate chair of the Labor and Public Employees Committee, released the following statement Tuesday afternoon:

    “I applaud the state Department of Labor for its investigation and findings against these two private-sector firms. Connecticut has labor laws in place to protect the safety and livelihood of working men and women in this state, and anyone who takes advantage of their employees by underpaying them and avoiding state taxes and workers compensation costs should be held accountable for their deceit. In fact, the Labor Committee has already raised a bill this year (HB 5071) that would provide for double damages against employers who do exactly what these two private-sector firms are accused of doing."



    Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

    Two construction companies working at the site of UConn's new basketball facility have been issued stop-work orders after Department of Labor inspectors reportedly found undocumented workers and that some employees were being paid cash.Two construction companies working at the site of UConn's new basketball facility have been issued stop-work orders after Department of Labor inspectors reportedly found undocumented workers and that some employees were being paid cash.

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    State police have arrested a 20-year veteran of the Trumbull police department who is accused of sexual assaulting one member of the police department's explorer program and sharing inappropriate texts with another.

    Trumbull police said William Ruscoe, 44, has been suspended from duty and there is an internal investigation to determine if he violated any department policies or regulations.

    Ruscoe served as an advisor to the explorer program, which works with youth interested in possible law enforcement careers, for several years, according to a statement from Trumbull Police Chief Thomas Kiely.

    The application for the arrest warrant says one victim is now 17 and he is accused of sharing inappropriate texts with her.

    The other victim is now 18-year-old.

    The investigation into Ruscoe started on Oct. 14, 2013, when a suspicious incident was reported at a high school in Tolland County.

    The 17-year-old girl told police that she joined the police explorers program in 2011, when she was 14. Months later, her drill instructor, identified as Ruscoe, started sending inappropriate and flirty messages, the girl told police.

    Then it escalated to Ruscoe asking the teen to send him photos of herself.

    In all, the teen said she sent Ruscoe about 50 photos of herself, exposed and Ruscoe sent her inappropriate photos of himself.

    During a cadet camp at the University of Hartford last year, the teen said she noticed Ruscoe paying attention to two Trumbull girls and told him that people were talking about him flirting with one of the teens in an effort to get him to stop flirting, police documents state.

    After meeting with the teen, police searched her phone for the messages.

    In January, police obtained a search warrant for Ruscoe's phone and met with him at the police station to retreive it.

    Ruscoe handed over his phone but said he did not want to provide the password or provide a written statement, according to the warrant application. 

    Ruscoe's attorney also told police that his client did not want to be interviewed.

    On Sunday, troopers met with the second victim, who told police that she was "very intimidated" because of Ruscoe's position and she did not want him to get in trouble.

    She told investigators she joined the explorers program in December 2012 and Ruscoe started sending her inappropriate messages in 2013. when she was 17.

    She told police that she did communicate with Ruscoe but only after he was very persistent.

    In the texts, Ruscoe wrote that he loved the girl and the texts progressively became more graphic and sexual in nature, according to police paperwork.

    She told police that Ruscoe begged the her to send him photos of  her and she eventually did, according to police. She also provided police with information about three inappropriate incidents that occured in June.

    Ruscoe took the teen to a beach in Stratford and gave her a silver bracelet with a heart-shaped charm that said "Made With Love," according to police. 

    On another night in June, Ruscoe picked her up early in the morning after a "band gig."

    He was drunk, she told police, became aggressive in a sexual manner and kissed her, but she tried to push him away.

    At the end of the month, Ruscoe took the teen to a Trumbull home he had moved out of.

    Once they were inside, he placed a gun on the counter and and was looking at her "in a threatening way that made her very uncomfortable," the warrant says. 

    The girl told police that things became sexual and she kept telling him to stop. He also restrained her hands behind her back with handcuffs while in bed, police said. 

    The girl told police she recalled one conversation in which Ruscoe said that if he ever got caught, he would go to jail and that he would kill himself if he went to jail.

    She said this was intimidating and she did not want anything to happen to him because of anything he did.

    The girl told police that Ruscoe had asked the teen to change his name in her phone to "Jack" because she liked the movie Titanic and told her he could get in trouble because of her age. 

    Toward the end of January, Ruscoe reached out to the 18-year-old and told her that police had come to take his phone because "an older friend that was a girl he used to help out was going through a rough time and she dropped his name," court documents said.

    Ruscoe told her he was nervous that police would contact her because her number was in his phone and advised her not to say anything because she is 18 and is not required, the teen told police.

    Ruscoe was charged with second-degree sexual assault, third-degree sexual assault, fourth-degree sexual assault and tampering with a witness.

    Police released a statement about Ruscoe's arrest.

    "I am deeply troubled and concerned by the nature of the charges that have been presented. We will make every effort to ensure that the integrity of the department and its officers is preserved as this case is investigated, and that the case is handles in a fair and timely manner," a statement from Kiely says.

    Ruscoe was arrested on Thursday and bond was set at $50,000. 

    He posted bond and is due back in court on March 5.



    Photo Credit: Trumbull Police

    Officer William Ruscoe has been arrested for alleged contact with two teenage members of the police explorers program.Officer William Ruscoe has been arrested for alleged contact with two teenage members of the police explorers program.

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    A candid photo of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and German Chancellor Angela Merkel went viral Tuesday, with online observers buzzing about the appearance of a Hitler-like mustache on the German leader's face.

    The image of the two leaders at a news conference, taken Tuesday morning by Jerusalem Post photographer Marc Israel Sellem, showed Netanyahu pointing his finger — and inadvertently casting a shadow on Merkel's face that many said resembled the Nazi leader's signature mustache.

    "At the end when I saw Netanyahu begin to point, I thought it would be interesting so I just started shooting, something like seven pictures a second," Sellem told the Jerusalem Post.

    Sellem said he was just as surprised as everyone else when he first saw the image on his computer. He said he included it in an e-mail to the editors of the Jerusalem Post and its sister publication, the Israel Post.

    Initially, the Jerusalem Post decided to not run the photo, but after an editor at the Israel Post published it to their Facebook page, it was shared more than 1,000 times in the first few minutes, according to the Jerusalem Post.

    Shortly after, Sellem and The Jerusalem Post were flooded with inquiries from media outlets asking if the photo were retouched (it wasn't, they reported) and for permission to reprint it.

    The photo was taken as Merkel spoke at a joint press conference with Netanyahu in Jerusalem Tuesday, as the two met to discuss the Israeli-Palestinian peace process ahead of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry's planned peace talks framework slated for April.

    In Jerusalem, Merkel said that she does not endorse boycotts of Israel. She said that although Germany sees Iran as a potential threat to Israel and Europe, she could not support Netanyahu's demand that Tehran give up all sensitive nuclear projects under any negotiated deal.



    Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images

    In this video-grab, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu points across the stage, casting a In this video-grab, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu points across the stage, casting a "Hitler mustache" shadow across German Chancellor Angela Merkel's face. This was taken during a joint press conference at the King David hotel in Jerusalem on Feb. 25.

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    Authorities are investigating after former New England Patriots tight end and murder suspect Aaron Hernandez was involved in an altercation with another inmate at a Massachusetts jail Tuesday, according to Bristol County Jail Sheriff Thomas Hodgson.

    Hernandez, a Bristol native, and the other inmate were both housed in the same special management unit in Bristol County Jail in New Bedford, Mass., according to WHDH in Boston.

    Hodgson told WJAR in Providence that the Sheriff's Department is conducting an internal investigation into the incident that will take about a day-and-a-half to complete, depending on what investigators find.

    He does not believe anyone was injured during the encounter.

    Hernandez could face criminal charges as a result of the investigation and have the time he's allowed out of his cell reduced from three hours to one hour per day, Hodgson told WJAR.

    The details of the altercation are unclear. Hernandez will remain in the same housing unit overnight, according to WJAR.

    Hernandez is accused of murdering semi-professional football player Odin Lloyd in North Attleboro, Mass., last year and has pleaded not guilty.

    He has also been linked to an unsolved 2012 drive-by double homicide in Boston.



    Photo Credit: Boston Globe via Getty Images

    Former New England Patriots player Aaron Hernandez at Attleboro District Court indicted on a charge of first-degree murder in the slaying of a Odin Lloyd, a Boston man whose bullet-riddled body was found in a North Attleboro industrial park in June.Former New England Patriots player Aaron Hernandez at Attleboro District Court indicted on a charge of first-degree murder in the slaying of a Odin Lloyd, a Boston man whose bullet-riddled body was found in a North Attleboro industrial park in June.

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    Agencies all over California are cracking down on water use - or considering doing so -  as the state faces emergency drought situations after the driest winter in state history.

    Up in Northern California, the Russian River Flood Control and Water Conservation Improvement District board of directors on Monday night unanimously adopted the 50 percent mandatory cutbacks in an effort to maintain as much water as they can in drought-plagued Lake Mendocino.

    That means Ukiah Valley residents, businesses and farmers must cut their dependence on the lake by half in March, according to the Santa Rosa Press Democrat. The move came after authorities measured an estimated 28,512 acre feet of water in the  lake, about 41.7 percent of capacity.

    Folsom residents in the Sacramento Valley have already been ordered by the city council to reduce their water consumption by 20 percent.

    And in Silicon Valley, the Santa Clara Valley Water District's board of directors on Tuesday unanimously approved a 20 percent mandatory reduction in water use for the public - double what the agency first requested last month. Exactly how it would be enforced has not been decided.

    "Probably the easiest way for most households is to cut down on your outdoor water use, which is half of most customers' water use," said Marty Grimes of the Santa Clara Valley Water District. "If you use only half you can already cut 25 percent."

    The board in January asked water users to cut back 10 percent. But since the area has received little rain, the state has eliminated supplies of imported water to the region.

    "If it rains we need at least eight inches to see enough runoff to make it to our reservoirs," said Joan Maher of the Santa Clara Valley Water District.

    The district's 20 percent reduction call is a recommendation -- it does not have the authority to issue fines. The board is recommending water companies they work with to implement mandatory restrictions, which could result in fines or higher water bills if customers do not conserve.

    Meanwhile, Santa Cruz has barred restaurants from serving drinking water unless requested and Marin County residents are asked not to wash their cars or do so only at eco-friendly car washes, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

    Other cities are taking a more voluntary approach.

    In Southern California's Ventura, for example, residents were asked earlier this month to voluntarily reduce their water use by 10 percent.



    Photo Credit: Getty Images

    SAN JOSE, CA - JANUARY 28:  A small pool of water is surrounded by dried and cracked earth that was the bottom of the Almaden Reservoir  on January 28, 2014 in San Jose, California. Now in its third straight year of drought conditions, California is experiencing its driest year on record, dating back 119 years, and reservoirs throughout the state have low water levels. Santa Clara County reservoirs are at 3 percent of capacity or lower. California Gov. Jerry Brown officially declared a drought emergency to speed up assistance to local governments, streamline water transfers and potentially ease environmental protection requirements for dam releases.  (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)SAN JOSE, CA - JANUARY 28: A small pool of water is surrounded by dried and cracked earth that was the bottom of the Almaden Reservoir on January 28, 2014 in San Jose, California. Now in its third straight year of drought conditions, California is experiencing its driest year on record, dating back 119 years, and reservoirs throughout the state have low water levels. Santa Clara County reservoirs are at 3 percent of capacity or lower. California Gov. Jerry Brown officially declared a drought emergency to speed up assistance to local governments, streamline water transfers and potentially ease environmental protection requirements for dam releases. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

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    San Diego Police Chief William Lansdowne is stepping down from his job as top cop.

    This comes in the wake of multiple accusations of sexual misconduct in the department.

    In a statement released Tuesday, SDPD said the chief's stepping down was his own decision.

    San Diego Police Chief William Lansdowne is announcing his retirement from the San Diego Police Department, effective Monday March 3, 2014. The Chief has served the citizens of San Diego for over 10 years and has successfully led the Department through countless critical events.

    Although Mayor Elect Kevin Faulconer did not ask for the Police Chief to resign, Chief Lansdowne felt it was time to do so. The Chief absolutely supports the new Mayor and believes in his vision and direction for the City.

    This was a difficult decision for Chief Lansdowne to make as he considers San Diego his home and truly values the citizens of this city and the employees who work here.

    City Leaders React

    Faulconer echoed the statement at a news conference Tuesday afternoon.

    "The decision to resign was the chief's and the chief's alone," Faulconer said.

    The mayor-elect thanked Lansdowne for his service and dedication to the department.

    "Chief Lansdowne has had a stellar career of 50 years in law enforcement," he said.

    San Diego County Sheriff Bill Gore said he talked to Lansdowne about his retirement before the news broke. Gore said the chief had mixed emotions about leaving.

    “There’s a new mayor, a chance for new administration, for him to pick his own chief. Although I think the mayor has made it clear this was Bill’s decision, and I respect him when he says that,” Gore said. “Maybe Bill just decided it was time.”

    Interim Mayor Todd Gloria, District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis and the San Diego Police Officers Association also released statements showing appreciation for Chief Lansdowne’s service.

    The chief's decision to step down came as a surprise to many. In an interview with NBC 7 on Feb. 17, Lansdowne said he wanted to stay on the job and see the department through the scandal.

    “I would like to stay. I’m excited about this police department and everything they do, but I also understand it’s his (Faulconer’s) decision to make,” Lansdowne said.

    At 69, Lansdowne has been leading the SDPD for 10 years. That’s longer than the three year average term of most big city police chiefs, he said.

    Moving Forward

    Faulconer did not reveal plans to replace Lansdowne, except to say details would be released “in the very near future.”

    Gloria suggested a nationwide search to find the next chief.

    “I think you stick with what works. That’s what we did with Bill Lansdowne. He came to us after that extensive process, one where the community was really invited to come in and share their thoughts on what they’d like to see in a police chief,” Gloria said.

    Former City Councilwoman Donna Frye agreed. Frye, who was first to come forward with allegations of sexual harassment against former Mayor Bob Filner, told NBC 7 that she thinks change is good for SDPD.

    "I hope they search for a replacement from outside the department," Frye said.

    Before his resignation, Lansdowne proposed an outside audit to crack down on any misconduct inside the department. The local American Civil Liberties Union hopes the audit will still take place even without Lansdowne at the helm.

    “Civil rights and civil liberties do not need to be sacrificed in the name of public safety. The San Diego Police Department will be more effective at keeping our city safe when the public knows that officers are held accountable and cannot act with impunity,” Executive Director Norma Chavez-Peterson said in a statement.

    The Scandals

    SDPD has been in the limelight in recent weeks due to ongoing investigations into sexual misconduct allegations involving two separate police officers.

    Former Officer Christopher Hays, 30 – who’s no longer employed with the department, effective last week – is accused of giving several women improper pat downs on the job. Officer Donald Moncrief, 39, is accused of touching a woman inappropriately during an arrest in the South Bay last year and allegedly exposing himself to the woman. Moncrief has not been formally charged.

    As a result of these recent cases, Lansdowne had called for an outside audit into the police department to review how the SDPD handles misconduct among officers.

    Former police officer Anthony Arevalos is serving an eight-year prison sentence for multiple sex crimes. On Tuesday, a judge threw out two of the convictions involving one of the victims and a meeting with the then-uniformed officer in a convenience store bathroom.

    Also on Tuesday, the department released information about a new arrest involving a police officer. Sixteen-year veteran of the force, Det. Karen Almos, was arrested on suspicion of DUI and has been placed on administrative duties.

    Check back for updates on this developing story.


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    A former employee of the Farmington school system is facing charges in New York after sexually abusing cows on a Herkimer farm, according to New York State Police.

    Reid A. Fontaine, 31, who worked for six months as an IT network specialist with Farmington Public Schools and resigned Sunday, is accused of attempting to have sexual contact with multiple cows. Police said another man, 35-year-old Michael H. Jones, of Ilion, N.Y., videotaped the encounter.

    According to police, the farm owner set up a surveillance camera after his cows became anxious and stopped producing milk. He contacted police after reviewing the footage.

    Farmington Public Schools Superintendent Kathleen Greider said the school district alerted Farmington police after learning of Fontaine’s arrest on Feb. 23. Fontaine resigned that evening.

    “The Board of Education and school district place student safety as our highest priority,” said Greider, in a statement. “Once we learned of the arrest of this individual, we took immediate and swift action.”

    She added that during his time with the school system, Fontaine did not have direct contact with students. Law enforcement and the FBI conducted a background check when Fontaine was hired and found that he had no criminal history, Greider said.

    Fontaine and Jones were both charged with sexual misconduct and released on a promise to appear.



    Photo Credit: New York State Police

    Michael H. Jones (left) and Reid A. Fontaine (right) are accused of sexually abusing cows at a farm in New York. Fontaine is a former employee of the Farmington school system.Michael H. Jones (left) and Reid A. Fontaine (right) are accused of sexually abusing cows at a farm in New York. Fontaine is a former employee of the Farmington school system.

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  • 02/26/14--04:43: Fire Out at Vernon Home

  • Firefighters have extinguished a blaze at 29 Bouldercrest Lane in Vernon this morning.

    Fire broke out at the raised ranch home before 4 a.m. and is now out.

    People were inside of the home when fire broke out and were able to get out.

    No one was hurt.

    Part of the home appears to be under construction, but it is not clear if that was a factor.

    Officials are still trying to determine the cause.


    Firefighters have extinguished a blaze at 29 Bouldercrest Lane in Vernon this morning.Firefighters have extinguished a blaze at 29 Bouldercrest Lane in Vernon this morning.

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    At an emergency Board of Education meeting held in Sterling tonight, just days after a great-grandfather brought home the wrong child from school, the boy's mother called administrators incompetent and demanded that the school take action.

    Angela Stone said her 5-year-old son was waiting for the bus at Sterling Community School on Friday when a man walked up to him and mistook the little boy for his own great-grandson.

    He brought the boy to his house and only then did he realize he had the wrong child.

    "Once the grand great-grandmother sees the boy and removes his hat, she realizes it's not her great-grandson and calls the school to say the great-grandfather has taken the wrong kid," Stone said at the meeting Tuesday.

    Up until that point, the school had been unaware the boy was missing. Stone said her son arrived home in a state of shock and refused to talk about what had happened.

    "This unbelievable and terrifying incident has placed a spotlight on the school's lack of security, particularly at bus pick-up and drop-off time," she said.

    Angela Stone called school leaders incompetent and demanded that disciplinary action be taken against the administration.

    The boy's uncle, Paul Stone, said he was upset with how the school handled the incident.

    "The school asked him to bring the child back," Paul Stone explained. "That was a totally inappropriate response. They should have, at that point, called authorities and had them go handle the child."

    "I do understand how upsetting this is," said Sterling Supt. Rena Klebart. "I understand how upset our staff is because we take our responsibility very seriously."

    Klebart said the grandfather followed policy by showing ID and signing out the correct student, adding that school staff members should have watched him retrieve the child. That part of the incident is under investigation, Klebart said.

    "Of course it's concerning. We are responsible for the safety of our children," she said. "We’ve increased the number of staff members who are on-duty during dismissal."

    The school has revised the policy for picking up students since the incident on Friday, adding more sign-out tables to avoid congestion and possible confusion.

    Additionally, if a child is being picked up from school, a parent or guardian needs to send the child to school with a note, according to the Norwich Bulletin.

    Klebart said the school is working to make sure something like this never happens again. 

    But Angela Stone said this isn't the first time school security concerns have been brought to light.

    "We all expressed that dismissal was a disaster waiting to happen," she said. "This past Friday, that disaster became my family's reality."



    Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

    A great-grandfather brought home the wrong child from school, and the boy's mother called administrators incompetent and demanded the school take action.A great-grandfather brought home the wrong child from school, and the boy's mother called administrators incompetent and demanded the school take action.

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    The man accused of dragging a New Britain police officer and the man suspected of hiding him are due to appear in Superior Court today to answer to charges.

    New Britain Police Officer Brett Morgan was badly injured on Sunday, Jan. 19 when he was dispatched to North and Willow streets to investigate. He was struck by the car and dragged 100 feet on the pavement, according to police.

    Jaheem Snype, 19, is accused of hitting Officer Morgan and has been charged with assault on a public safety officer, first-degree assault and attempt to commit murder.

    He will make his second court appearance today.

    Snype’s half brother, Frankie Gonzalez, was charged with hindering prosecution for helping to hide Snype.

    Police found the brothers in Barton, Vermont, closed to the Canadian border, after a massive search.

    Officer Morgan is recovering from his injuries. He has undergone several surgeries and intensive rehabilitation.

    A fund has been set up to help his family.
     


    Police issued an arrest warrant for Jaheem Snype, 19, in connection with the incident in which a New Britain Police officer was run over and dragged in the area of North and Willow Streets.Police issued an arrest warrant for Jaheem Snype, 19, in connection with the incident in which a New Britain Police officer was run over and dragged in the area of North and Willow Streets.

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    Central Connecticut State University in New Britain will be getting its first new residence hall in 10 years and construction begin this morning.
     
    CCSU President Jack Miller; Commissioner Donald DeFronzo, of the state Department of Administrative Services, Board of Regents President Gregory Gray and New Britain Mayor Erin Stewart attended the 11 a.m. ceremony.

    "This residence hall has been a long time coming," Miller said, according to Tweets from the university.

    The building will be eight stories, 220,00 square feet and will cost $82.3 million.

    The new residence hall will offer 150 suite-style rooms with a living room and bathroom shared by four students, according to CCSU.

    Each floor will offer group study rooms and alcoves for one-on-one studying and socializing.

    There will also be a computer laboratory, game room and large living room on the first floor to create a community center for the residents.

    The first floor will also include the University’s Residence Life administrative offices and campus-wide meeting space.

    Dr. Laura Tordenti, vice president of student affairs, said the CCSU facility will have "well-appointed" suites, a fitness center and meeting space for more than 300 students, the school said via Twitter.

    The site is off Ella Grasso Boulevard near the Student Center and Student Parking Garage.
     



    Photo Credit: CCSU

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  • 02/26/14--08:52: Evacuation at PortMiami

  • A passenger terminal at PortMiami was evacuated after an old compass that was emitting radiation was found Wednesday morning, officials said.

    The antique compass was found in a bag at Terminal B by Customs and Border Protection agents, Miami-Dade Fire officials said.

    The terminal was evacuated as a precaution and the guest was detained to determine the radiation level in their backpack, officials said.

    Miami-Dade Fire Rescue's Hazmat team was responded and was taking precaution to make sure there is no danger.

    Check back with NBC 6 South Florida and NBC6.com for updates.



    Photo Credit: NBC6.com

    Miami-Dade Fire Rescue responds to a Hazmat situation at PortMiami.Miami-Dade Fire Rescue responds to a Hazmat situation at PortMiami.

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    Police have arrested a suspect in a Darien home burglary and said the case matches a pattern of burglaries in Fairfield County as well as New York.

    Dirk Lloyd, 36, of 68 Melrose Ave. Bridgeport, is accused of stealing more than $20,000 worth of gold jewelry and coins from a home on West Avenue in November.

    Police in Miami Beach, Florida apprehended him as a fugitive from justice earlier this month and he was extradited to New York, where he is in custody on suspicion of several burglaries in Nassau County and Queens, New York. 

    Darien police have since secured an arrest warrant charging Lloyd with third-degree burglary and first-degree larceny.

    The burglary that Lloyd is suspected of committing in Darien matches a pattern of dozens of burglaries that have occurred not only all over Fairfield County, but also in New York, police said.

    The Darien Police Detective Division executed a search warrant at Lloyd’s Bridgeport home and said they recovered evidence tying him to other burglaries in Fairfield County. 

    Two other local police departments will also be applying for arrest warrants for Lloyd for similar charges.  

    Police do not know when Lloyd will be extradited to Connecticut. 



    Photo Credit: Darien Police

    Dirk C. Lloyd is suspected of stealing $20,000 in jewelry and coins from a Darien home, and also of burglaries in New York.Dirk C. Lloyd is suspected of stealing $20,000 in jewelry and coins from a Darien home, and also of burglaries in New York.

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  • 02/26/14--10:54: Fire Destroys Oxford Home

  • Fire destroyed a single-family home in Oxford today but no one was injured during the blaze.

    Mutual aid was called in from several towns to assist with a fire at at 2 Scott Road this afternoon/

    It was called in as a garage fire, but spread.

    Water tankers are being used.



    Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

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    New York men unable to grow thick, bushy facial hair are increasingly turning to costly beard transplants to rock the popular look.

    Dr. Yael Halaas, a plastic surgeon who specializes in beard transplants, said that there are a "variety of men who come for the procedure, but definitely we're seeing a trend of young, stylish men."

    "Hipsters, metrosexuals — people who are clued into having a cool look," Halaas told NBC 4 New York. 

    New York doctors are seeing an uptick in the number of beard transplants for men who are forking over as much as $7,000 for the procedure, where hair is harvested from the head or chest and implanted into bald spots on the face.

    The result can eventually grow to become a full beard, like those often seen on men in trendy New York City neighborhoods where thick facial hair has come into vogue. The beard hair takes root and grows gradually. After a patient is fully healed, the hair can be shaved and groomed like original facial hair.

    Dr. Glenn Charles, a Florida-based surgeon, told DNAInfo.com that 30 percent of his clients come from New York City and some show up with a celebrity photo in hand.

    George Clooney, Ryan Gosling, Brad Pitt and Tom Selleck are popular models for clients opting for the procedure, he said.


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    Chamberlain Highway in Berlin is closed between Southington and High roads because of structure fire on Blue Ridge Lane, according to the Berlin Police Department’s Twitter account.

    That is just over half a mile of Route 71, according to Google Maps. 

    No further information was immediately available.



    Photo Credit: Google Maps

    Chamberlain Highway in Berlin is closed between Southington and High roads because of structure fire on Blue Ridge Lane, according to the Berlin Police Department’s Twitter account.Chamberlain Highway in Berlin is closed between Southington and High roads because of structure fire on Blue Ridge Lane, according to the Berlin Police Department’s Twitter account.

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