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    A total of 51 measles cases have now been reported in the wake of an outbreak linked to Disney theme parks in Anaheim this December, with all but nine cases directly connected to the park, health officials said.

    The total rose to 51 after Orange County confirmed that 16 people have come down with the measles there as of Friday afternoon.

    The source of six of those cases was unknown, in a sign that the illness's outbreak was more widespread than previously thought, Orange County health officials said -- the sick people hadn't been to Disneyland or been in contact with confirmed cases that were associated with Disney.

    The measles outbreak is expected to continue spreading, since the six non-Disney cases "indicates exposure to measles is more widespread throughout the county," the Orange County Health Care Agency said in a press release Friday.

    There were 45 cases in California as of Friday night, health officials said, nine of which were unrelated to Disney theme parks.

    There were measles cases in the following California counties: San Diego (10), LA (8), Alameda (4), Ventura (3), Riverside (2) and San Bernardino (2). Six other cases related to the Southern California outbreak were confirmed in three U.S. states and Mexico.

    Because health agencies have different reporting requirements, up-to-the-minute information can be hard to come by; by Saturday, the OCHCA reported higher numbers in Orange County than the state did.

    The extent of the outbreak was tabulated by combining reports from the California Department of Public Health, OCHCA and Associated Press. It was first reported by the Los Angeles Times.

    People with measles are contagious for about four days before a characteristic rash appears, along with fever, cough and watery eyes, health authorities say. Anyone who thinks they have measles should call a doctor before seeking help, so they don't expose others to the illness.

    The illness was mostly eradicated in the U.S. through vaccines. Authorities think measles comes to the country from overseas -- there were 644 measles infections in 27 U.S states last year, many brought over from an epidemic in the Phillipenes, the Associated Press reported.

    NBC4 reporter Matthew Glasser and The Associated Press contributed to this report.



    Photo Credit: AP

    A boy is checked for measles in this file photo from April 16, 2014.A boy is checked for measles in this file photo from April 16, 2014.

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  • 01/17/15--20:27: NY Governor Plans Cuba Trip

  • Just a month after the federal government announced the easing of travel restrictions to Cuba, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo revealed plans to visit the island nation.

    Spokeswoman Melissa DeRosa said in an email Saturday that Cuomo plans to lead a trade mission to Cuba to promote New York. She did not say when the governor would travel, adding that details would be announced later.

    Cuba and the United States announced last month that the U.S. embargo on Cuba would be eased and diplomatic relations would be normalized.

    DeRosa said the governor's trip to Cuba would be part of a "Global NY" initiative. Cuomo had previously announced that he plans trips to Israel, China, Mexico and elsewhere during his second term as governor.

    The announcement comes as Vermont Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy leads a three-day congressional mission to Cuba.

    The group of four Democratic senators and two Democratic representatives, all of whom strongly support Obama's policy, aims to get an idea from Cuban government officials of how they view the normalization process and convey a sense of what Americans expect.


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    Norwalk fire officials are investigating after six people were taken to the hospital to be treated for carbon monoxide poisoning.

    Fire officials say they responded to 35 Woodward Avenue Saturday night for a carbon monoxide incident. Upon arrival they found several of the home’s occupants outside on the front porch and lawn having difficulty breathing. Firefighters had to rescue two more occupants who had passed out inside the home.

    Four adult men and two adult women were transported to Norwalk Hospital and fire officials say their conditions are improving.

    The cause of the carbon monoxide leak is under investigation by Deputy Fire Marshal Broderick Sawyer and Building Inspector Bill Ireland. The home was deemed unfit for occupancy until repairs could be made.
     

     



    Photo Credit: Monica Garske

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  • 01/18/15--08:17: 60-Vehicle Crash in Pa.

  • Rescuers were responding to a massive and deadly pileup involving at least 60 vehicles on Interstate 76 in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, Sunday morning amid icy road conditions.

    At least one person was killed in the crash that happened in the westbound lanes of I-76 near the Gulph Mills exit in Upper Merion around 7 a.m., according to officials.

    Slick roads caused a number of crashes, including collisions that also closed parts of Interstates 95 and 476 in and around Philadelphia. The Delaware River Port Authority closed the four bridges linking Philadelphia and New Jersey while workers salted the bridge surfaces.

    "The most difficult part about this is that a flash freeze like this, the moisture can freeze on contact with the pavement," PennDOT spokesman Eugene Blaum said.

    At least three local hospitals are treating patients involved in the I-76 crash.  At least 15 people were transferred to Bryn Mawr Hospital, 11 to Paoli Hospital and five to Lankenau Medical Center, officials said.

    The deadly expressway accident was one of more than a dozen reported on roads around the region on Sunday morning, some causing closures while others just blocked lanes.

    "When we got here, there was heavy smoke coming from a lot of the cars," said Kaitlyn Maier, a driver caught in the jam on I-76. "People had already stopped and were sitting outside of their cars."

    Another fatal crash occurred in I-476 near Marple Road, police said.

    Authorities from multiple counties are urging drivers to stay home as road conditions are dangerous throughout the region.

    PennDOT had nearly 150 trucks out treating roadways before daybreak, when it became clear that conditions would be slippery, Blaum said. A freezing rain advisory was in effect in the area through 10 a.m. but temperatures were forecast to rise into the 40s later Sunday.

    The freezing rain also turned roadways in New Jersey hazardous, with spinouts and accidents along major arteries including the New Jersey Turnpike and the Garden State Parkway. Speeds were restricted to 35 mph, and parts of the roadways were closed as accidents piled up.

    Cars inched along on local roads, where braking at stoplights meant unexpected swerves as drivers tried to get traction on slippery surfaces. In New York City and its northern suburbs, the hazardous conditions forced sections of roads to close all over the area.

    Here's photos you've shared:



    Photo Credit: PennDOT
    This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story on our mobile site.

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    There are a lot of unanswered questions after a woman was found unresponsive on a New Britain road and later died.

    At this point, police are only saying her death was suspicious and that she was found near the intersection of Blake Road and Kim Drive around 9:48 a.m.

    Before police arrived on scene, several good Samaritans stopped to try and help the woman.

    “We pulled over, you know, and I, we had our kids in the back. I immediately started to pray out loud with them for the lady,” says Amanda Montepeque.

    Montepeque says she and her family had just left their New Britain home when they saw several cars pulled over on Blake Road and a woman lying on the road.

    She says police were not there yet, but several drivers had already stopped to help.

    “We pulled over because my husband knows CPR and he just wanted to make sure that somebody was trained. But he got there and he said that whoever was performing CPR was obviously trained well and knew what they were doing but she wasn’t responding at all to it,” says Montepeque.

    Soon after police arrived and took over caring for the woman.

    “She was transported to an area emergency room where she was pronounced dead shortly thereafter,” says Captain Thomas Steck, New Britain Police.

    Steck says police are not releasing the woman’s name until her family is told. So far, police have said little about what lead up to her death.

    “Based on the totality of the circumstance we believe that her death is suspicious,” says Steck.

    While there are still a lot of unknowns, neighbors say the death is sobering.

    “Any time you see something like that it’s definitely a chance to reflect, to just think about taking life very seriously because it’s a precious thing,” says Montepeque.

    Police are still waiting for a report back from the medical examiner for more information about how the woman died.

     


     



    Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

    There was police activity on Saturday afternoon on Blake Road in New Britain.There was police activity on Saturday afternoon on Blake Road in New Britain.

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    Cars littered the side of I-95 this morning as a glaze of ice made the road impassable. Traffic cameras showed hundreds of cars from Bridgeport to Greenwich stopped along with countless accidents and there have also been several closings.

    Six people were injured in a crash on I-95 in New London and firefighters are on scene, according to New London fire issues. Two ambulances are on the way and four more have been called.

    Interstate 91 south is closed between exits 22N and 21 in Cromwell because of a multiple-vehicle accident reported to the state Department of Transportation at 9:18 a.m.

    The westbound lanes of I-84 are closed in New Britain near Route 372 between exits 35 and 33 because of an accident involving multipe vehicles.

    Route 2 is closed in the westbound direction in Glastonbury between exits 10 and 8 due to a one-vehicle crash reported to the DOt at 9:47 a.m.

    Route 15 southbound is closed between exits 36 and 35 due to a multiple-vehicle crash in Stamford reported to the DOT at 10:02 a.m.

    Route 83 is closed at Lower Butcher Road in Ellington due to a one-vehicle crash reported to the state Department of Transportation at 3:12 a.m.

    Multiple organizations are reporting closings. Weston Public Schools canceled any activities scheduled to be on campus Sunday due to icy road conditions. Click here for more closings and cancellations.

    Rain and temperatures below freezing resulted in a quick accumulation of freezing rain in Fairfield County and that is spreading northeast across other parts of Connecticut. Fairfield fire officials are advising residents to stay off local and state roads.

    At 8 a.m. traffic accidents were being reported across I-95 and also on the Wilbur Cross Parkway near New Haven and Hamden and I-84 near Newtown.

    Freezing rain will continue through noon in some locations and then transition to all rain as temperatures warm above freezing.

    Once temperatures warm above freezing periods of rain will continue, possibly heavy at times, through the afternoon and evening. Up to 1 inch of rainfall is possible.

    The next time Connecticut might see snow is Wednesday with a possible cold storm system moving in from the north known as an "Alberta Clipper," Hanrahan said.

     You can track the progress of the storm on the NBC Connecticut weather page or by downloading the First Alert weather app for your iPhone or Android device in the App Store or Google Play.


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    State police major crimes detectives are investigating a home invasion in Colchester.

    Tevin Nanfito, 20, of 44 Main Street in Colchester, told state police that two masked men forced their way into his apartment and attacked him. The apartment is located above a consignment business.

    The men pulled him out of his bed, one of them armed with a knife, and demanded for him to "give me everything you got" and "give it up," state police said.

    The men duct taped his hands together and he led them to the place he stores his cash, according to state police. Then his assailants threw him to the ground, hitting him multiple times in the head. The home invaders also took a small quanity of pot from the home.

    He suffered several laceration on his head due to blunt force trauma, as well as a laceration on his right bicep.

    While he initially declined medical treatment, police brought him to the Marlbourough Clinic to be treated for his wounds.

    Police described the attackers as 5-foot-9 to 6-foot-1 with "small to medium builds." The men were wearing dark clothing and one had dark "Skate" shoes.

    The men fled in a car parked behind the home. The vehicle was last scene turning right onto Cragin Court.

    Detectives have been investigating since 5 a.m.

    State police are investigating the incident and ask anyone with information to call the Troop K barracks at 860-465-5400.



    Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

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    Messages of support, flowers and candles marked the spot Sunday night where police say a sleeping homeless man was doused with lighter fluid and set on fire by three attackers in Ventura, California.

    Community members of the quiet seaside town have been shaken up since learning that 58-year-old John Frazier was set ablaze near the San Buenaventura State Beach just before 11 p.m. Saturday.

    "I'm just flabbergasted. I can't believe, first of all, that somebody would do that,” said Ventura resident Melanie Sardo. “And second of all I come here almost everyday and I've never seen anything like that."

    A passerby rescued Frazier, who suffered burns and was taken to a local hospital, police said.

    The rescuer described flames as high as 5 to 6 feet to police, and helped put out the fire by throwing sand on him before calling 911, Ventura Police Department Sgt. Kenny Welch said.

    Police and firefighters arrived at South Seaward Avenue to find Frazier and some of his belongings still smoldering.

    “I think it’s pretty sick that somebody could actually do that to another human,” said Phill Keller of Ventura. “He’d come over here and sit here. He was harmless. He never hurt anybody.”

    Police confirmed that Frazier was sleeping in his sleeping bag when he awoke to three males pouring lighter fluid on him before lighting him on fire.

    The attackers were described as three males in their late teens to early 20's, with shaved heads, dressed in dark clothing, Welch said.

    Elaine Lutz said she spoke to the victim last week and says, as far as she knows, he never bothered anyone or caused any trouble.

    "We were talking about how beautiful the sunset was and the fish sculptures and how nice the evening was and he was just a really nice guy," Lutz said.

    Frazier, described by police as a "vagrant," was taken to Community Memorial Hospital, where he was later transported to a burn unit for second- and third-degree burns to his upper torso and face. 

    The burns covered up to 40 percent of Frazier's torso and extremities. His condition was unknown, but he was expected to survive, police said.

    “They should be caught and they should be tried for attempted murder,” said another community member, Kelly Moore. “This is not something to be forgot and be forgiven.”

    Anyone with information about this crime is asked to contact the Ventura Police Department at 805-339-4309.



    Photo Credit: Kenneth Holmes (@kholmeslive via Twitter)

    Messages of support and flowers mark the spot Sunday, Jan. 18, 2015,  where a homeless man was set on fire by three attackers.Messages of support and flowers mark the spot Sunday, Jan. 18, 2015, where a homeless man was set on fire by three attackers.

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    A stand-up paddleboarder got a killer view of a pod of orca whales that swam under his board off the coast of Laguna Beach, California, recently.

    The five whales hung around for a while, said Rich German, who caught the early January encounter in footage he shared with NBC4.

    Whales dive under German's board a few times, and the pod seems to showboat for nearby whale watchers. One whale comes up for breath just feet from German, spraying the water between them with its spout.

    German has seen all kinds of whales on his trips on the water, including humpbacks and blue whales, never killer whales before, he said. The orca lover dreamed of this moment.

    "I knew they had never harmed a human in the wild so I was not afraid," German said in an e-mail.

    German went out seeking the pod of whales. He had heard of a pod of killer whales off of Long Beach the day before he went out, he said in the introduction to his video, and knew they were heading south.

    Calling the whales highly intelligent in his e-mail, German said he is against the killing and capturing of orcas.

    "I hope that sharing this video of them in the their natural habitat will raise awareness and love for these magical beings, German said.

    See the full video, including more of German's thoughts on the encounter, on his Facebook page.



    Photo Credit: Courtesy Rich German

    A stand-up paddleboarder caught up-close footage with a pod of orcas in January off Laguna Beach.A stand-up paddleboarder caught up-close footage with a pod of orcas in January off Laguna Beach.

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    A car crashed into a residential building in Bristol just after midnight.

    Bristol police responded to the area of 140 Wolcott Street at about 12:44 a.m. on Sunday after receiving a report about the accident.

    No injuries were reported and police have not released information on the extent of the damage to the home.



    Photo Credit: Chris Piaskowski

    A car crashed into a residential building in Bristol just after midnight.A car crashed into a residential building in Bristol just after midnight.

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  • 01/18/15--13:37: Crews Extinguish Somers Fire

  • Somers firefighters responded to a fire at a Main Street home Sunday.

    Flames caught hold in a wall at 879 Main Street, according to Tolland County Dispatch. Firefighters responded after receiving a call at 3:35 p.m.

    The fire is under control, but crews were still on scene as of 4:09 p.m., according to a dispatcher.

    No injuries were reported and no details were immediately available on the extent of damage to the building.


    It only took firefighters five minutes to control the blaze.It only took firefighters five minutes to control the blaze.

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    Hamden police responded to at least 50 accidents in town on Sunday due to icy road conditions.

    One of them still had West Woods Drive closed for several hours Sunday after a car crashed into a pole, but the road has since reopened.

    Police said no injuries were reported and ice was a factor.


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    Route 8 north has reopened after three weather-related crashes on the Thomaston and Harwinton line , according to state police.

    Icy and slippery road conditions played a factor in the accidents. The state highway was temporarily closed between exits 39 and 41. 

    At least one person was taken to the hospital with minor injuries. There were no serious injuries reported.

    More information will be provided as it becomes available.


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    A driver was hospitalized after his car launched into the air and came to rest on the driver's side of the vehicle in Torrington early Sunday.

    Brian Hannon, of Torrington, was the only one in the car when he lost control of his 2007 Volkswagon Rabbit while headed southbound up a hill, police said. After hitting the northbound shoulder of the road, the car became airborne and landed on its side on his side of the vehicle on the road, according to police.

    Torrington police responded to the one-car crash at 1:18 a.m. on Harwinton Avenue just before the Harwinton town line.There were no dangerous weather conditions affecting the roads at the time of the crash.

    An ambulance transported him to Waterbury Hospital to be treated for serious injuries, but he was later transferred to Hartford Hospital when his condition grew worse, police said.

    An accident reconstruction team responded to investigate the crash.

    Police did not release information on Hannon's present condition.

    Torrington police ask anyone with information to call the department at 860-489-2000 or Det. Kevin Tieman at 860-489-2063.


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    Bradley International Airport is still experiencing some delays and a handful of cancellations after closing temporarily Sunday afternoon due to icy conditions.

    The airport reopened at about 2 p.m. to accept incoming flights and resume outgoing flights, according to airport officials. The airport advises that travelers check with their airlines for the latest updates on flight statuses.

    Earlier in the day, the airport was diverting flights due to icing.



    Photo Credit: Getty Images

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    Two teenagers were seriously injured in a hit-and-run in Waterbury on Saturday night.

    A Honda struck a 16-year-old  female and 18-year-old male on Brass Mill Drive, according to Waterbury police. Their injuries do not appear to be life-threatening. The crash happened at about 6:30 p.m.

    Police described the suspect vehicle as dark-colored with tinted windows.

    The crash remains under investigation and police are still looking for the driver.



    Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

    Waterbury PoliceWaterbury Police

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    Firefighters responded to a serious fire at a condominium on Ruth Street in Bristol on Sunday evening.

    The fire department received reports of a heavy fire on the second floor of one of the condos, Bristol firefighters tweeted.

    Fire officials on scene say they believe the fire was caused by electronics that overheated and set fire to a sofa.

    "The batteries heat up, especially older batteries they tend to heat up while they're charging and they were left on a sofa and they couldn't breathe," says Bristol Fire Marshal Robert Grimaldi.  "So there's probably no air circulation around the computer. So, they just heated up to the point they just ignited the couch and the ottoman."

    Three people live in the unit.  One person was in the home at the time but escaped without injury, according to fire officials.

    The fire caused about $50,000 worth of damage to the condo. No other units were affected.



    Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

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  • 01/19/15--00:05: HS Teachers Face Sex Charges

  • Two high school teachers were arrested for allegedly having sex with students during two trips at an Orange County beach, one overnight, authorities said.

    Melody Lippert, 38, and Michelle Ghirelli, 30, were arrested Saturday on suspicion of having sex with students at their school, South Hills High, during trips to the beach where they brought alcohol for the students, Orange County Sheriff's investigators said Saturday.

    The first of the trips to the beach took place in November, investigators said, when a group of male students accompanied Lippert to San Clemente State Beach, where she provided alcohol to the group and had sex with one of them, investigators allege.

    Weeks later, Lippert brought Ghirelli on a second trip to the beach, where both allegedly had sex with students during an overnight stay, police said.

    Lippert, the teacher who allegedly organized the first trip, was arrested on charges of conspiracy and contributing to the delinquency of a minor. The student was believed to be over 18.

    "I've known her since like I was 4. She's a really nice person and I would never think that she would do something like this," said student Keanu Estrada about Lippert.

    Ghirelli was arrested on sex-with-a-minor charges, investigators said.

    Both teachers live in Covina, in Los Angeles County, though this article originally incorrectly stated where they are from.

    School officials said other teachers alerted authorities when they began to hear rumors about the crimes.

    Neither trip was sponsored by the school, investigators said, a point emphasized by a spokeswoman for the Covina-Valley Unified School District.

    Both teachers were placed on paid administrative leave pending the result of the investigation on Sunday, school district spokeswoman Michelle Van Der Linden said.

    She had no comment on the nature of the allegations. "I think it's best to leave that up to the investigation. Obviously we have to respect their rights to privacy," Van Der Linden said.

    It's the second sex-related allegation involved at West Covina's South Hills High School in a week. Anthony Vidales, a 29-year-old part-time girls' wrestling coach, was arrested on Jan. 7 for allegedly having inapporpriate contact with a 17-year-old student at South Hills, police announced on Tuesday, Jan. 13.

    He was a contract worker, who worked part time for the school, according to a West Covina Police Department statement released the next week.

    The investigation into the female teachers began Friday, when the West Covina Police Department obtained information about the relationships and informed the OC Sheriff's Department, investigators said.

    Both were released, according to Orange County Jail records. There was no answer at a phone number listed for one of the teachers, while there was no contact information immediately available for the other.

    “I’m honestly shocked, I’m really shocked,” said parent Roza Hajialiakbar. “This can’t go on. Who does this?”

    Deputies ask anyone with information to call 714-647-7000.

    Gadi Schwartz and City News Service contributed to this report.



    Photo Credit: Courtesy Orange County Sheriff's Department

    Melody Lippert (left) and Michelle Ghirelli were arrested Saturday, Jan. 17, for allegedly giving students alcohol and having sex with some during trips to an Orange County beach in winter 2014, OC Sheriff's deputies said.Melody Lippert (left) and Michelle Ghirelli were arrested Saturday, Jan. 17, for allegedly giving students alcohol and having sex with some during trips to an Orange County beach in winter 2014, OC Sheriff's deputies said.

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    Vernon police are investigating a strong arm robbery at a local gas station.

    Police say they responded to a Citgo station at the intersection of Route 83 and Dart Hill Road for a reported robbery around 7:33 p.m. Saturday. Details of the incident were not immediately available.

    Check back for updates.
     



    Photo Credit: Shutterstock

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    City workers using metal detectors found several razor blades Monday at a popular playground along San Diego's Mission Bay, officials confirmed.

    The search was sparked by the discovery of six razor blades in Bonita Cove Park over the weekend. The blades, which appeared to be brand new, were found facing upwards by city workers around 12:15 p.m. Sunday.

    The park was closed but reopened again around 2:30 p.m. No children were injured.

    San Diego Police did not release how many razor blades were found Monday. They immediately put up caution tape once again, blocking off the public's access to the playground.

    This is not the first time razor blades have been discovered at Bonita Cove Park. On Sept. 13, three were found at Mariner’s Point. They were pointing upward and appeared to be planted there on purpose.

    On April 30, two boys were cut by razor blades while playing in the grass. In that case, nearly 20 razor blades were found scattered in the area.

    Razor blades were also found in Bonita Cove Park multiple times in 2013, including one instance where a mother was injured.

    Efrain Estala was heading to the playground Sunday with his children when he saw the police cars. He was immediately concerned that someone had once again planted razor blades.

    "It's pretty sad that actually somebody is going to take the time to try to hurt kids around here," Estala said.

    To date, no arrests have been made.


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