Articles on this Page
- 12/25/14--16:04: _Homeless Man Reunit...
- 12/26/14--00:23: _Heartwarming Christ...
- 12/25/14--18:55: _Man Uses Exoskeleto...
- 12/25/14--19:37: _One Injured After G...
- 12/25/14--19:47: _Santa Brightens Bab...
- 12/25/14--23:38: _Video: Motel Guests...
- 12/25/14--16:02: _Manchester Police H...
- 12/26/14--14:32: _Pig's Head Placed i...
- 12/26/14--06:43: _Couples Night Glass...
- 12/26/14--14:28: _Gillette Castle Hei...
- 12/26/14--09:57: _Woman Injured in Ac...
- 12/26/14--12:25: _Cop Group Flies Ant...
- 12/26/14--08:38: _Rt. 163 Reopens Aft...
- 12/26/14--12:02: _15 DUI Arrests Duri...
- 12/26/14--09:54: _Cops Seek Car Invol...
- 12/26/14--16:55: _State Police Cruise...
- 12/26/14--18:06: _Woman Threw Raw Mea...
- 12/26/14--15:57: _Madison Officer Sue...
- 12/26/14--16:17: _New Owner Works to ...
- 12/26/14--23:08: _Boy Riding New Scoo...
- 12/25/14--16:04: Homeless Man Reunites With Family
- 12/26/14--00:23: Heartwarming Christmas Stories From Across the U.S.
- 12/25/14--18:55: Man Uses Exoskeleton to Walk
- 12/25/14--19:37: One Injured After Gun Accidentally Discharges
- 12/25/14--19:47: Santa Brightens Babies' Christmas
- 12/25/14--23:38: Video: Motel Guests Escape Fire
- 12/25/14--16:02: Manchester Police Help Santa on Christmas Day
- 12/26/14--14:32: Pig's Head Placed in Nativity
- 12/26/14--06:43: Couples Night Glass Blowing Demonstration in Riverton
- 12/26/14--14:28: Gillette Castle Heisted in Collaborative Mystery Series
- 12/26/14--09:57: Woman Injured in Accidental Shooting in Car on Christmas
- 12/26/14--12:25: Cop Group Flies Anti-Mayor Banner
- 12/26/14--08:38: Rt. 163 Reopens After Montville Crash
- 12/26/14--12:02: 15 DUI Arrests During Operation S.A.N.T.A.
- 12/26/14--09:54: Cops Seek Car Involved in Tool Thefts
- 12/26/14--16:55: State Police Cruiser Struck in I-91 North Crash
- 12/26/14--18:06: Woman Threw Raw Meat at Cops: PD
- 12/26/14--15:57: Madison Officer Sues Town in Discrimination Complaint
- 12/26/14--16:17: New Owner Works to Keep Meriden Building Standing
- 12/26/14--23:08: Boy Riding New Scooter Hit, Killed
After 20 years apart, a North Texas woman and her homeless brother finally reconnected at the airport on Christmas morning.
Her brother had become addicted to hard drugs and alcohol and was living under a bridge in Hawaii the last few years, until he made a phone call that he hopes will change his life.
Sarah Blanks was at the airport hours before sunrise on Christmas Day, waiting for the brother she hasn't seen in 20 years. The two haven't even spoken on the phone in about a year. But now he's on his way home.
"It means a lot. It's hard to explain. It's a comfort. It's a peace. It's knowing that your family is together. It's a good feeling. Especially on Christmas," Blanks said. "He'll be with his family on a day that's so special."
Roger Thompson tried to make a better life for himself in Hawaii decades ago. He worked in lighting on movie sets, helping create classic films like Jurassic Park and Godzilla.
But then he became addicted to hard drugs and alcohol.
"I worked in the film industry. And in Hawaii it went flat for quite a while. And unfortunately that's how I dealt with it. My fault, totally, no one else's but mine," Thompson said. "I found myself living on the streets in Waikiki, under the Ala Bridge, and simply just living day to day."
Thompson was living under that bridge when social workers found him this Thanksgiving. They gave him a bed at Hawaii's emergency shelter and offered to help him reconnect with family through a phone call.
Thompson decided it was finally time to sober up and start a new chapter, and he called his sister in Plano.
"We didn't know where he was or even if he was safe. We didn't know until just before Thanksgiving. That's when we got a call. And from that point on it's been our endeavor to try and get him home, to the best place he could be, as quickly as possible," Blanks said.
After an all-night flight back, Thompson gave his sister a Christmas hug for the first time in decades.
"It's like the best Christmas present ever. It's very special. And it's just special to be back," said 64-year-old Roger Thompson at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport. "It's been a long time since I've been around family."
With some help from Hawaii’s emergency shelter — called the Institute for Human Services — Blanks will work to find her brother a steady job early next year.
Thompson said he's an Army veteran, and he hopes to contact the VA and see if his expertise in lighting and his union membership from Hawaii can land him a job in North Texas.
"There's a lot I want to catch up on, and I just want to hit the ground running," he said.
And he hopes that after life on the streets, he can start a new chapter here in Texas — this time clean, sober, and happy.
"When in a situation like mine, you will most likely avoid speaking with members of your family because of embarrassment and wanting to avoid them having a burden on this homeless situation," Thompson said in an interview last week with Hawaii's Institute for Human Services.
"But it just takes one phone call to discover that this is not the case. I think that's important for others to know."
Photo Credit: NBC 5 News
After decades apart, brother and sister Sarah Blanks and Roger Thompson see each other on Christmas morning at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport .
The Christmas spirit was alive and well this year from coast to coast, with a stranger paying off the layaway accounts of struggling families and police and firefighters stepping in with replacement gifts after a fire and burglary. Here are some of the holiday season's most heartwarming stories.
A 64-year-old homeless man who had been living under a bridge in Hawaii reunited with his family in Texas after being separated from them for 20 years.
Police in Manchester, Connecticut delivered toys to needy children using an armored Bearcat vehicle as a sleigh.
In New Hampshire it was "elves" who were doing the delivering. Members of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) dressed up as Santa's helpers to deliver pet kittens to families.
After a fire destroyed a Virginia family's home, including all the Christmas presents inside, firefighters who responded to the fire brought replacement gifts to the family.
A father was brought to tears in North Miami Beach when police officers replaced hundreds of dollars' worth of gifts for his children after his family's home was burglarized.
Southern Pennsylvania Transit officers jumped into action to help a mother deliver the ultimate Christmas gift onboard a subway car — a baby boy.
A Marine helped a Southern California woman dig her home out from under a 6-foot-tall pile of mud and rocks. The homeowner had been sending the Marine care packages through the Adopt A Soldier program, so the latter wanted to return the favor.
Firefighters and police officers in West Covina, California, played Santa Claus to restore a family's holiday spirit by replacing gifts that were inside their car when it was stolen on Christmas Eve.
A 12-year-old Texas boy who has been suffering from cancer since the age of three only wanted cards for Christmas. He's gotten that ten times over. So far he has received more than 7,000 cards from all over the world.
An anonymous "layaway angel" paid the layaway accounts of about 150 people at a Toys "R" Us in Bellingham, Massachusetts, covering about $20,000 in holiday merchandise.
A YouTube star with more than 711,000 subscribers gave a homeless man $100 to see what he would do with the money. To his surprise, the man came out of a liquor store with food for his fellow homeless.
Santa brought good news to a child born prematurely on Christmas last year and who has been in the hospital ever since. After a year in the hospital, the one-year-old boy finally gets to go home.
Photo Credit: NBC 5 News
After decades apart, brother and sister Sarah Blanks and Roger Thompson see each other on Christmas morning at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport.
A Long Island man enjoyed his first walk on a Manhattan sidewalk in nearly five years with the help of a biometric exoskeleton.
Tom Ball, of Farmingdale, took a short walk on 38th Street earlier this month with the help of a motorized exoskeleton being tested by New York University’s Langone Medical Center that allows him to stand and walk on his own. The prosthetic is still in the testing phases, but Ball said he hopes that one day the device will allow him to walk his daughter down the aisle -- a dream he thought he would have to give up when he was paralyzed in a work accident in 2009.
“I hope I can walk my daughter down the aisle when she gets married,” he said. “And that's what I want to do.”
Ball, a third-generation iron worker whose grandfather was featured in a famous photograph atop the then-under construction RCA building in 1932, was paralyzed in 2009 while working on a project in the Bronx. He said he was pulling a steel beam when another fell, severing his spine and paralyzing him at the waist.
“I knew there was something wrong because I didn't feel anything,” he said.
Doctors told Ball he’d never walk again after the accident. He put on a rubber bracelet that reads “never give up” two days after he was hospitalized, and worked hard to maintain his old routine, going to the gym daily, playing basketball and staying active.
"You can give yourself 10 minutes of self-pity in the morning, then I just get up and get my day going," he said.
Still, he said, it’s the mundane things he used to do every day that he misses the most.
“I can't mow the lawn, I can't take care of the pool, I can't be the handyman,” he said. “I gotta rely on my wife and kids to do everything.”
Recently, Ball joined a medical trial for the exoskeleton, called the Indego. The device, which is motorized and partially encases a user's legs in metal support beams, allows Ball to stand up straight. If he leans forward just a bit, the prosthetic begins to take steps for him.
"What else do I have to lose? Let me give it a shot," Ball said, remembering his decision to volunteer for the trial.
Ball said that when he began the trial, he could only walk about 13 steps. But after months of practice, he can take thousands. And on Dec. 11, he did something he hasn’t done since before the accident -- he took a walk on the busy streets of New York City.
NYU officials say that the device hasn’t been approved by the FDA yet, and it’s not clear if or when it will be available to the public. But, for at least this holiday, it gives Ball some hope that he can give his daughter away at her wedding.
“I have a good shot at doing it,” he said. “A real good shot.”
One person was transported to the hospital after a gun accidentally discharged in Middlefield.
State police on scene say they were called to Kickapoo Road Thursday night for an accidental shooting. One person was transported to a local hospital with non life threatening injuries. No other details were available.
Check back for updates.
Most children get showered with toys and clothes on their first birthday, but for Khristian -- whose first birthday falls on Christmas -- it's the gift of being able to live life at home, and not in a hospital bed, that matters most.
Khristian was born December 25 last year -- three months premature. Since then, it's been a battle.
“He was born extremely premature, and as a consequence of that, has chronic lung disease,” said Dr. Michael Hobaugh, Chief Medical Officer at La Rabida Children’s Hospital.
That means Khristian's on a ventilator 16 hours per day, and had to spend his first birthday at La Rabida Children's Hospital. But, mid-morning he got a special surprise: a visit from Santa himself.
“Your first birthday and you have to spend it in the hospital,” said Santa (aka Paul Mesirow). “That's not fair.”
Fortunately, along with some wrapped presents, Santa's real gift came in the form of some amazing news.
“We just heard yesterday that everything's all set for him to go home in two weeks. So he got a special Christmas present, which is that he gets to go home,” said Dr. Hobaugh.
Mesirow has stopped at La Rabida every Christmas for the last 44 years, lighting up the faces of children who couldn't be home. Another patient, 1-year old Kevin Davis, was also born three months early and suffers from upper respiratory problems
“He's not old enough to really know who Santa is, but he just couldn't believe it, his eyes lit up!” said his mother, Kayla.
A few rooms away, we met 3-month old Malleah, who was born with a rare abdominal condition.
“She may not understand it, but it's her first Christmas, so it was nice and she smiled at [Santa],” said her mother, Brianna Morris.
All of the children are hoping to be home in a matter of weeks.
“Let's do this at home next year, OK?” Mesirow said to Khristian. “I'll look forward to seeing you at home.”
Mesirow has been visiting La Rabida Hospital every Christmas Day since 1970. He says the reason he started is the medical director of the hospital at the time told him that Santa’s visits gave the young patients a boost that no medicine could match.
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Cellphone video captured the harrowing moments when neighbors helped Los Angeles motel guests escape a fast-moving fire that left five people hospitalized and dozens more displaced on Christmas Day.
Footage shows a group of people screaming and working together to help guests jump from a second-story window as flames spread through several units at the J.J. Park Motel at 1906 W. 3rd Street in the city’s Westlake neighborhood.
"All of everybody worked together to get people out the window," said motel resident Monica Nixon. "I was crying, I was praying.
"I could less about presents, I'm just happy we're all here in the flesh."
The blaze was reported about 6:15 p.m. Thursday, Los Angeles Fire Department officials said. It took about 100 firefighters 21 minutes to knock down the flames at the three-story motel.
Five people were injured, including two with severe burns, officials said.
"This is a very humble community, they don't have very muchy to begin with," said LAFD spokesman David Ortiz.
Several families were evacuated and left stranded in the cold on Christmas.
“The kids were just opening their presents, they were having a good time. We were all eating," said one guest.
Arson investigators were trying to determine the cause of the fire.
A guest said she left on a portable stove because it was cold.
The motel’s property managers planned to offer other units to the people who were displaced.
Motel guests escape a fire through a second-story window on Thursday, Dec. 25, 2014.
Manchester Police are on a mission this Christmas Day--delivering toys to needy children.
Police cruised through town this morning in an armored vehicle, decked out in lights and tinsel, to hand out toys to needy children.
The families who needed the gifts were identified through the Salvation Army and the Blue Angels Foundation that is run by Sgt Hughes at the Manchester Police Department.
Toys are donated by the local Elks Club. They collected enough toys to donate to 44 children.
The officers' sleigh is the department's armored Bearcat, a $250,000 vehicle that is designed for tactical emergency response.
Police in Massachusetts are contacting the FBI after a baby Jesus statue was stolen from a Nativity scene and replaced with a pig's head, saying the vandalism could be a hate crime.
A priest at the Sacred Heart Church on Haverhill's South Main Street made the gruesome discovery Christmas morning, according to police.
Police believe the head was placed there between 1:30 and 6:30 a.m. Thursday.
Area farms and local butcher shops are being asked to step forward if they have any information.
Community and parish leaders say the vandalism is shocking.
"People slowly understand what happened, and they're heartbroken, they're horrified, they're outraged by this act. [It] really speaks to us on the most solemn day of great sadness and hurt," Sacred Heart Church's Father John Delaney said.
Bill Lapierre, 77, has attended the Sacred Heart Parish for as long as he can remember. But one thing he can't remember is something as disturbing as this.
"We had just finished doing 400 meals to help the poor and about 1,000 gifts to help the poor and to coming to that was really, really bad," said Lapierre.
The crèche is easily seen from Main Street. It's only about 50 feet off the street, making this brazen crime even more bizarre.
"It really hurts when they do that to any religion because that's our soul, that's where people go when they want to find God and be at peace, especially Christmas morning," Lapierre said.
The public is also asked to contact police at 978-373-1212 if they have any information on this vandalism.
A baby Jesus statue was also stolen from a Nativity scene in Greenfield on Christmas Eve.
Photo Credit: NECN
Are you a glass half full kind of couple?
Well, on Friday night, couples can enjoy a glass of wine while learning how to make glass itself at Greenwood Glass in the Riverton section of Barkhamsted.
After a 20-minute glass blowing demonstration at 7:30 p.m., you'll have the chance to make your own glass paperweight or flower in a workshop in a 10- to 15-minute session.
During the workshop, participants will choose glass canes and the couples whose canes add up to a total length of 11 inches will win a free workshop to make a glass flower.
Hors d'oeuvres will be provided and there will also be music and dancing.
Doors open at 7 p.m. and the event costs $12. The entry fee includes a glass of wine. The workshop is optional and costs $48.
Reservations are required, as the event has a 25-person minimum. Call Pete or Christine Greenwood to RSVP at the studio at 860-738-9464.
The glass blowing studio is located in a historic stone church in Riverton at 3 Robertsville Road.
More information is available on Peter Greenwood's website.
Gillette Castle in East Haddam has gone missing!
Okay, not really. But that's the plot of a mystery children will have to solve in The Great Connecticut Caper, a collaborative series by Connecticut authors and illustrators, according to cthumanities.org.
The storybook will be released in installments between January and June with different authors and artists writing and illustrating each chapter. A new chapter will be published every two weeks.
"Connecticut is the first to publish a state-specific version of an original Library of Congress project, The Exquisite Corpse Adventure," according to cthumanities.org.
Young readers will be tasked with trying to solve the mystery, the organization states. The book is fit for children of any age. Readers can follow clues on social media under #CTCaper and share "hunches," according to cthumanities.org.
There will be a launch party for the serialized book at the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art at 600 Main Street in Avery Court in Hartford on Jan. 7 at 4:30 p.m.
The publication will be released on Jan. 4.
Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut
Gillette Castle stock photo.
A woman was injured after an accidental shooting in Middlefield on Christmas Day.
Britney Koba, 24, of Bowling Green, Virginia, was trying to unload her gun in her car at the Palisades Road intersection with Kickapoo Road when she accidentally fired it, shooting a 9-millimeter round through her left leg, police said.
State troopers responded to the area at about 8:10 p.m. on Dec. 25.
She was transported to Hartford Hospital for treatment.
State police are investigating the incident.
Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com
The scene at Kickapoo Road in Middlefield on Christmas.
A group of retired and current NYPD officers say they flew a banner along the Hudson River Friday that said "de Blasio, our backs have turned to you" in protest of the mayor's policies toward the department.
The small banner, which traveled up and down the Hudson River Friday morning, was paid for by officers upset over what they called "the mayor’s incendiary rhetoric, and for facilitating the current hostile climate towards the NYPD."
The plane made several passes between Battery Park and the George Washington Bridge at about 9 a.m.
In a statement released Friday morning, the group of officers condemned the mayor for his comments about worrying about the safety of his interracial son at the hands of police following a Staten Island grand jury's decision not to indict an officer in the chokehold death of Eric Garner. They said de Blasio's comments fanned flames of civil unrest following the grand jury decision
"potentially to the deaths of PO Wenjian Liu and PO Rafael Ramos, as well as the continued threats against NYPD personnel."
"We no longer have confidence in Mayor de Blasio, nor in his ability to lead New York City and promote the values that both the NYPD and the good law abiding citizens of the city hold dear," the officers said. "Mayor de Blasio turned his back on us long before we turned our backs on him."
The flight of the banner comes six days after Ramos and Liu were gunned down in their patrol car in Brooklyn by Ismaaiyl Brinsley, who posted his intent to kill police on Instagram and committed suicide in a nearby subway station after he ambushed the officers.
Police unions were fiercely critical of the mayor in the days leading up to and following the officers’ deaths. The president of the city’s largest police union, Patrick Lynch, said after the shootings "there’s blood on many hands" and explicitly blamed de Blasio for the violence.
Some police officers turned their backs to the mayor when he arrived at the hospital where their two colleagues were taken after they were shot.
Asked about the banner flown Friday, de Blasio Deputy Press Secretary Wiley Norvell called for unity.
"This is a time to think about the families and honor our fallen officers," Norvell said in a statement. "Dividing people won't help our city heal. We'll continue to stand with responsible New Yorkers who are doing the right thing in a time of pain."
Photo Credit: John Cardillo/ Twitter
A car struck a pole in Montville Friday morning, closing Route 163 for a couple horus.
The road has reopened after the accident near the Meeting House Lane intersection.
Route 163 remained closed for a few hours as crews make repairs.
Photo Credit: NBC10.com
State police conducted increased traffic enforcement over the holidays in Operation S.A.N.T.A.
Between 12:01 a.m. on Dec. 19 and 2:30 p.m. on Dec. 26, police responded to 230 crashes, including a fatal car accident involving a pedestrian in Beacon Falls and 35 involving injuries.
State police also made 15 driving under the influence arrests and issued 241 tickets for speeding, 13 for seatbelt violations and 670 tickets for hazardous moving violations like following too close or distracted driving and cell phone use.
By comparison, in 2013, there were 249 crashes, 28 with injuries, and police made 18 DUI arrests and issued 301 tickets for speeding, four for seatbelt violations and 601 for hazardous moving violations, state police said.
There were a lot of people traveling over the holiday. Troopers will continue to patrol state highways and secondary roads for Operation S.A.N.T.A. through New Year's Eve.
There are also sobriety checkpoints around the state to combat drinking and driving through the New Year's holiday.
State police ask anyone who suspects seeing a drunken driver on the roads to call 911 to report it.
Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com
Farmington police are warning business owners to turn on their alarms while closed as officers seek the people responsible for a commercial burglary and stealing tools from an auto repair garage in town overnight Tuesday into Christmas Eve.
Police released a photo Friday of a dark four-door Acura Integra, likely 1994 or newer, likely connected that had two people inside. The burglary happened at Comer Contracting, LLC at 1112 Farmington Ave. sometime overnight between Dec. 23 and 24, police said.
The car might have been involved in other burglaries in the area that were similar, police said.
The burglars in those incidents seem to be targeting places that carry high-end tools, police said.
Police ask anyone with information about the car or occupants to call Det. Sergeant Sean Bailey at 860-675-2411 or leave a tip at 860-675-2483.
Photo Credit: Farmington Police Department
Farmington police are warning business owners to turn on their alarms while closed as officers seek people who stole tools from an auto repair garage in town overnight Tuesday into Christmas Eve.
A vehicle struck a state police cruiser stationed on Interstate 91 northbound in Hartford after being involved in another crash on the highway.
Traffic is limited to one lane on Interstate 91 North in Hartford between exits 32 and 33.
According to Lt. J. Paul Vance, the state trooper was working traffic enforcement and sitting in a stopped cruiser when the accident occured.
The trooper was transported to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries, according to state police.
The accident is under investigation.
A Massachusetts woman is accused of throwing raw bacon and sausage at a police station on Friday, saying she was there to "feed the pigs," but her parents tell NECN their daughter's behavior is "not her" and she needs help.
Framingham police say 24-year-old Lindsey McNamara of Ashland walked into the police department with a large Dunkin' Donuts box, and when an officer asked if he could help her, she told him she was there to "feed the pigs" and smeared a handful of raw meat on the dispatcher's window. She threw the meat all over the counter as well. As she tried to to do it a second time, she was arrested, police said.
Her arraignment on charges of malicious destruction of property and disorderly conduct at Framingham District Court was postponed until Feb. 9, and a judge placed her under a psychiatric hold at a hospital for a few days after McNamara told the court God instructed her to throw the meat and insisted on representing herself, adding that someone was "out to get" her.
Her parents, who were in court, told NECN that this behavior is "not her" and that their daughter needs help.
Her father said McNamara is a student at Salem State University and works at a nursing home, which her parents say they believe is affecting her mental health.
Salem State University was unable to confirm McNamara is a student.
Stay with NECN as this story develops.
Photo Credit: Framingham Police Department
A Madison police officer is suing the town, claiming that officials discriminated against her when she was pregnant.
Patricia Alonso said in a lawsuit that her employers treated her differently during her second pregnancy, not putting her on desk duty like they did while she was pregnant with her first child or offering her the same amount of maternity leave, according to the complaint filed on Dec. 5, 2013.
"The plaintiff alleges that the defendant discriminated against her in the terms and conditions of her employment on account of her sex (female) and pregnancy," the lawsuit states. "The plaintiff seeks injunctive relief, including restoration of seniority and benefits, and monetary damages, including lost wages and benefits of employment, compensatory damages, punitive damages, and her reasonable attorney's fees and costs."
Alonso has been a Madison police officer since August 2008. During her first pregnancy in 2010 and 2011, she was put on desk duty that required less physical exertion, but she said her superiors denied her that option when she was pregnant with her second child pending a doctor's note, according to the complaint. She took 12 weeks of maternity leave for her first pregnancy and was allowed to choose how much accrued time off she wanted to use, but that her human resources officer told her she had to request an unpaid leave of absence if she didn't remain on regular duty the second time around, Alonso claimed in her complaint.
After raising concerns to Police Chief Jack Drumm about not being able to go on desk duty during her second pregnancy, Alonso said he scolded her for "accosting" him and told a supervisor the encounter was probably due to her "hormones," Alonso said in her complaint.
NBC Connecticut left messages with the police chief's office and the department, but no one has returned our requests for comment at this time.
Alonso provided Drumm and Madison First Selectman Fillmore McPherson with a copy of her request for a leave of absence in November of 2012. She grew fearful that the police chief would not allow her to return to work after her maternity leave and expressed that concern to her human resources officer and McPherson. The first selectman told her "that he did not know if the Town would be able to hold her position, and that it would depend upon the needs of the Police Department," Alonso's lawsuit states.
While she wasn't required to turn in her gun and police identification the first time, she said that she was required to do so when she was on leave for her second pregnancy and she was worried that meant the town "intended to terminate her employment," according to the complaint.
She also filed complaints with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities in February, of 2013.
Photo Credit: Shutterstock
A residential building on East Main Street in Meriden that suffered a wall collapse early this year won't be demolished, as had been planned by the city.
"I’ve received word from the city that as long as we work on it immediately, then it won’t get torn down" said Nue Vuksanha, the owner of 80 East Main Street.
Back in January, the building's back wall partially collapsed, compromising its structural integrity.
City officials condemned the building and allowed tenants to remove some of their belongings. It's been vacant ever since.
Vuksanha purchased the building earlier this year and said he has every intention of getting it back to livable conditions.
All tenants were forced from the building and had to find new housing.
One of them, Luis Gutierrez, said he was never allowed to reenter the building to get his belongings that included some clothes and a pair of fish tanks. He filed a lawsuit in small claims court against the company that owns the building to get his things out of the building.
"I don't care about any money," Gutierrez said during an interview Friday. “I just want my items. I know they didn’t take them out because they haven’t taken people’s stuff out. There’s still people’s curtains up from a year. I just want my stuff.”
The building's new owner advised former tenants to contact him and he would arrange for their items to be brought out of the building. He said former tenants can't enter the building for safety reasons.
Vuksanha pledged to get the building to better than its original condition before the walls collapsed.
"The plans for the building are to fix up the back wall, fix up the inside, acquire the rest of the building which includes 72 Main. I should be closing on that within the next couple of weeks."
Meriden city officials confirmed that the building had been slated for demolition. Vuksanha filed paperwork with the city on Christmas Eve to avoid the building from being destroyed. He pledged to make the necessary structural improvements to keep the building standing.
The back of the building shows severe structural damage. A blue tarp covers the corner of the building that partially collapsed. There's a large exposed wood section about thirty feet to the right that reveals another section that requires attention.
Vuksanha says he hopes to have the building in working condition in the next three months.
A 12-year-old boy riding a motorized scooter he got as a Christmas gift was fatally struck by a car in front of his home Friday.
Roman Martinez was fatally struck about noon near Second Avenue and 24th Street in Upland, family members said.
He was riding a new electric Razor scooter when a Honda traveling west on 24th struck him.
He was flown by helicopter to Loma Linda Medical Center, where he died.
"Roman is a great kid, courageous, would probably end up giving you the shirt off his back," said his older brother, R.J. Martinez. "I'm in shock right now. (He) was a great kid, very good heart."
The driver remained at the scene, but she was not arrested.
The Honda left skid marks on the road. Its windshield was shattered, and the mangled scooter ended up underneath the car.
Witnesses said the boy's injuries were severe.
"I was able to just hear the screeching of the tires from hitting the brakes and the thud from the actual impact," a witness said.
Roman was wearing a helmet at the time, family members said.
Investigators said drugs or alcohol did not appear to be a factor.
The boy’s father, Roland Martinez, said drivers often speed on 24th Street, where the limit is 35 mph.
"The speeding on this street is ridiculous," he said.
A candlelight vigil was held for Roman Martinez on Friday night.
NBC4's Willian Avila contributed to this report.