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    A 43-year-old Bronx man was arrested for allegedly punching a 6-month-old pit bull and beating it with a shovel, then burying it in the snow so deep only its head was visible, authorities say.

    Police responded to a 911 call about a dog being abused shortly before 3 a.m. Friday and found the pooch, which appears to be a pit bull, buried in the snow on 167th Street. Only its head was visible.

    Officers pulled the pup out of the snow and saw signs of mistreatment and abuse. It apparently The dog, a female named Hennessy, was taken to the ASPCA in Manhattan for treatment.

    About an hour later, police arrested Raul Cruz, who witnesses had identified as the alleged dog abuser, not far from where they rescued the pup.

    He was charged with aggravated cruelty to animals and torturing, injuring or not feeding an animal. It wasn't clear if Cruz had an attorney.



    Photo Credit: Handout

    Authorities released this photo of the puppy and the police who rescued her.Authorities released this photo of the puppy and the police who rescued her.

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    Want to see if your college student is skipping class? There’s an app for that.

    For $200 a year, parents, professors and campus administrators can use Class120 to check to see if a student is in class at the scheduled time.

    The minds behind the app, which was debuted by start-up Core Principle this month, say the accountability app could help students stay on track with their studies and prepare them for being punctual once they enter the workforce. But some students say it gives parents too much control over the lives of their adult children.

    Jeff Whorley, founder and CEO of Core Principle, developed the app after a conversation he had with a college professor that left him thinking that if colleges treated all students the way they treat Division 1 athletes, whose attendance in class is closely monitored, then graduation levels would rise.

    “If we could get students everywhere to attend at least 90 percent of their classes, over 80 percent would graduate,” Whorley told NBC Owned Television Stations.

    The app tracks if the student is in class, and sends an alert to the student’s parent or teacher if they do not show up to class for two days in a row. Core Principle can also call the student directly if a parent or teacher does not feel comfortable contacting the student. The app must be downloaded by the student, and it can only be used to track if a student is in class, not at parties or other activities.

    Still, some have criticized the app for being too controlling over students who should be treated like adults.

    "I would probably be more annoyed than anything," Natalie Pike told NBC affiliate WTHR. "I would feel like my life is being pried into."

    But Whorley argues that in the post-college world, a recent grad will face immediate consequences if they do not show up or even show up late to work. More students, he says, need to be treated with similar consequences by having a teacher or parent point out that they are late and help get back on track before the entire semester goes down the drain.

    “We don’t think this app is anti-adult," Whorley said. "It’s an introduction to the real economy.”

    The app has made recent headlines, with coverage in the Wall Street Journal and USA Today. In the last four days alone, the start-up has seen a huge increase in traffic from parents in Europe and Asia looking to track their children who are studying abroad in the U.S., he said. So far the app is available for close to 2,000 college campuses across the country that the company has geomapped.

    Whorley hopes that in the future this app can work to take class attendance.

    “The future of taking attendance is Wi-Fi or GPS where a professor looks down at a piece of smart technology instead of calling roll," he said.


    A new app allows parents and teachers to track students to see if they're skipping their classes.A new app allows parents and teachers to track students to see if they're skipping their classes.

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    The outbreak of measles at Disneyland in Orange County, California, has reignited the debate over the anti-vaccination movement, driven by parents who question whether vaccines are safe and and whether there is a connection to autism in particular.

    Medical experts say the study showing such a link has been repeatedly discredited and other parents counter their children are being endangered by irresponsible behavior.

    Arizona, meanwhile, is monitoring more than 1,000 people who might have been exposed as thousands begin arriving for the Super Bowl on Sunday.

    Here’s what you should know.

    How many people are affected?

    Sixty-eight people have reported contracting measles as a result of the outbreak that began at Disneyland, according to the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

    The majority of the children and adults who became ill either had not been inoculated or did not know if they had been, said Dr. Anne Schuchat, assistant surgeon general and director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases.

    “This is not a problem of the measles vaccine not working,” she told reporters this week. “This is a problem of the measles vaccine not being used.”

    Since 2000, measles has been eliminated in the United States, meaning it is no longer native to the country. But it can still be spread by someone infected elsewhere and the CDC is assuming that is what happened at Disneyland.


    How widespread is measles?

    Each year there are 20 million cases around the world, and 145,000 people die, according to the CDC. Other complications: encephalitis and pneumonia.

    Last year, there were a record number of measles in the United States, 644 cases, up from a median of 60 a year over the previous decade. And this January a total of 84 cases in 14 states were reported, more than what was typical in an entire year.

    Those numbers pale compared to the average number of cases reported each year before the vaccine became available: 549,000.


    Is there reason to worry?

    The CDC's Schuchat said the numbers for January were concerning.

    "I want to do everything possible to prevent measles from getting a foothold in the United States and becoming endemic again," she said.

    Dr. Stephen Morse, professor of epidemiology at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health, said he thought the country was a long way from returning to the high number of measles cases and other diseases.

    "If enough people are not taking these vaccines, we will see a resurgence, but right now these are fairly small events," he said. "So I think the reason everyone pays attention to it in medical and public health communities is simply because this is not a trend you would like to see really going up."


    How high are vaccination rates?

    Immunization rates remain high despite the attention the measles outbreak is receiving. Among kindergartners enrolled in the 2013-2014 school year, the median vaccination coverage was 93 percent and higher for measles, mumps, rubella, diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough and chicken pox.

    To provide what is called herd immunity -- to protect people who cannot be immunization and those for whom the vaccines are not effective -- experts recommend that between 90 and 95 percent of a community be fully inoculated. Health officials are worried about pockets of parents who are rejecting inoculation.

    Morse said the control of a disease such as measles was hard won.

    "When we actually had these diseases among us people feared them or at least really wanted a vaccine," he said. "Now of course we’re much more blasé, which is a mistake."

    What is the reaction from parents worried about vaccines?

    Barbara Loe Fisher, the president of the National Vaccine Information Center, a Virginia-based nonprofit that advocates allowing parents to choose whether to vaccinate their children, said that it was premature to point fingers at those who decided to forgo vaccines.

    "There is no question that there is a tremendous amount of pressure being placed on parents who are making informed vaccine decisions for their children," she said. "I think this has gone way too far. The discussion has gotten very ugly, it has gotten extremely polarized and it's caused a lot of parents to be very afraid of doctors and public health officials."

    Less than 1.8 percent of children attending kindergarten have vaccination exceptions, she noted. Less than 1 percent of children under the age of 3 are unvaccinated, she said.

    What about other diseases?

    Mumps, rubella, pertussis or whooping cough and chickenpox are among others that could also spike if parents continue to forgo vaccinations, experts say.

    “This isn’t just a measles problem,” said Dr. Gregory A. Poland, the director of the Mayo Clinic Vaccine Research Group in Rochester, Minnesota. “This is a problem for any transmissible disease for which we have safe and effective vaccines that aren’t unfortunately used.”

    Measles is especially contagious, but there have been other outbreaks. Mumps, for example, is no longer common in the United States, with only 229 cases reported in 2012 compared to 186,000 cases each year before the mumps vaccination program began in 1967. But in 2009-2010, there were two large outbreaks, according to the CDC: one among mostly Hasidic Jewish children in New York who were delaying immunization, and another among mostly school aged children in Guam.


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    When police in Groton were called to the home of a man who needed medical attention, they weren't expecting what came next.

    According to Groton Town Police, officers, firefighters and EMTs were called to a home at 1290 North Road in Groton on Friday after probation officers visiting 52-year-old Robert Hart realized he needed medical help.

    While officers were speaking with Hart trying to help, Hart grabbed a knife hidden in a chair and tried to stab them, according to police. One of the officers managed to calm him down and take the knife away before anyone was hurt.

    Hart was taken into custody and charged with criminal attempt at first-degree assault, criminal attempt at assault on a police officer, threatening and first-degree reckless endangerment.


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    Stop & Shop supermarkets are pulling Szeged Hungarian Paprika from its shelves over concern that it may contain peanut traces despite not listing peanuts on the label.

    According to a news release from the supermarket chain, the recall targets 5-ounce paprika bottles marked with the UPC of 7800600010 and lot number 091617PAHU05PS.

    No illnesses have been reported. Customers who purchased the affected paprika should throw out the bottles and bring back their receipts to receive refunds. The paprika is safe for people who are not allergic to peanuts.

    Stop & Shop recalled ground cumin earlier this month.

    More information is available through Spice-Co, the company that produces the paprika, by calling 732-499-9070. Customers can also call Stop & Shop customer service at 800-767-7772 or learn more online.


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    Two married San Diego Police officers convicted of drug sales and burglary charges were sentenced to three years in state prison in a downtown courtroom Friday.

    Bryce Charpentier, 32, and Jennifer Charpentier, 41, admitted to selling and furnishing a narcotic substance, possession of a firearm by an addict, conspiracy to commit first-degree residential burglary, conspiracy to commit a crime and possession and sale of a controlled substance.

    As a result, the two resigned from the SDPD in November. Jennifer also lost partial custody of her kids after her arrest.

    In court Friday, Bryce was teary as he apologized to the department and his family. The prosecution, however, called him "manipulative."

    In an attempt to argue against jail time, the defense said the two never used their authority status and witnesses did not know they were cops. They also said the two have gotten clean and are active in 12-step programs, and that Post Traumatic Stress Disorder contributed to their actions.

    Prosecutors asked for maximum sentences for both, saying other officers who suffer addiction and PTSD don't start distribution labs.

    District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis said in a press conference following the sentencing that "no one is above the law."

    "As police officers, their job was to protect the citizens of San Diego; not to victimize them," she said.

    Both officers initially pleaded not guilty, but changed their pleas after new charges were filed against the couple, accusing them of stealing prescription medication from their parent, burglarizing a home while on the clock as officers and leading a distribution chain.

    Bryce, a six-year veteran of the SDPD, and Jennifer, an 18-year veteran, were arrested in June during a San Diego County Sheriff’s Department narcotics investigation.

    San Diego Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman also spoke out about the case saying, "It is reprehensible that these two former officers made the terrible decision to betray and discredit our badge and our profession."

    Zimmerman said after the launch of the Sheriff's Department's investigation, she and her department cooperated fully and "the public trust is too important for anything less."

    Sheriff Bill Gore joined Dumanis and Zimmerman at the press conference.

    "I know I speak for everyone up here today when I say that we'd rather be up here for almost any other reason than to discuss the sentencing and prosecution of law enforcement officers," Gore said.

    He said he thinks the collaborative efforts between SDPD and the sheriff's office were successful, adding, "It's been said that trust takes years to build, seconds to break and forever to repair."

    Search warrants said Jennifer got seven different drugs in 71 prescriptions from seven separate doctors and then traveled to 17 pharmacies to fill them. Bryce went as far as Oakhurst near Yosemite to fill 79 prescriptions from six different doctors.

    One victim was Jennifer's own mother. During a visit to their home, Bryce texted his wife he was coming back and pulling into the driveway. At that point, Jennifer texted she was taking her mother into the backyard, presumably to distract her while Bryce took prescription medication from her.

    Before the couple's sentencing, Jennifer said she and her mom have worked things out and her mom wrote a letter to the court.

    The judge said she gave probation serious consideration, but the case does not involve simple street corner drug sales, and denied the motion. However, the two are out of custody until Feb. 6 and will only serve 50 percent of their sentence on good behavior.

    The couple was also ordered to pay $5,000 each in restitution.

    This is a developing story. Check back here for updates.



    Photo Credit: San Diego Police Dept. Yearbook

    San Diego Police Officers Bryce and Jennifer Charpentier were arrested on Thursday, June 6 on multiple drug charges.San Diego Police Officers Bryce and Jennifer Charpentier were arrested on Thursday, June 6 on multiple drug charges.

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    The dog that was plucked out of the roiling Los Angeles River in a heroic afternoon aerial rescue put on a quite a show as it made its brief cameo for the waiting cameras Friday night.

    The cute yellow dog nicknamed Lucky made a big splash Friday, discovered by someone at Warner Bros. Studios in Burbank who called in about a dog paddling down the rain-swollen River.

    The pup was swept at least three miles downriver and saved in Glendale, near the Golden State (5) Freeway overpass.

    Los Angeles firefighters went to work in the air and NBC4 caught it all as firefighter John Terrusa was lowered into the river to pick up the soggy pooch.

    "It was quite a team effort, quite a concert," Terrusa said.

    As Terrusa and canine spun their way to safety dangling from a line on a chopper, several people gathered with firefighters along the river's banks to warm up the chilly doggy.

    Lucky, a 7-year-old Shiba Inu who was not microchipped, is spending the night under doctor's care at a shelter in Eagle Rock. He will stay at a shelter for seven days, allowing enough time for his owner to come forward.

    If no one comes forward, then the dog goes up for adoption and there's already one offer.

    Terrusa is hoping this story has a happy ending.

    "It is definitely a loved animal," Terrusa said. "It's just one of those things where I'm sure the dog just got out of somebody's yard and got in the wrong place, at the wrong time."

    Asher Klein contributed to this story.



    Photo Credit: Mark James

    A dog was pulled to safety from a rushing LA River in a heroic rescue by a firefighter on Friday, Jan. 30, 2015.A dog was pulled to safety from a rushing LA River in a heroic rescue by a firefighter on Friday, Jan. 30, 2015.

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    A hazmat situation was declared in the Danbury Hospital parking garage Friday evening after two or three people reported an irritating chemical in the area, according to the fire department.

    Investigators determined that some sort of pepper spray was discharged in the parking garage and launched a full hazmat response as a precaution, firefighters said.

    The hospital was never locked down and no one was injured, according to Danbury fire officials.



    Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

    A sludge-like material leaked into part of the Emergency Department at Danbury Hospital over the weekend.A sludge-like material leaked into part of the Emergency Department at Danbury Hospital over the weekend.

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    Speculation about whether a trio of ferrets were responsible for the mauling of a 1-month-old girl in a Delaware County, Pennsylvania, home last week have been running rampant since the attack — but police are shooting down the rumors, saying clear evidence points to the ferrets.

    Skyy Fraim was released from the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia this week after undergoing emergency surgery following the Jan. 21 attack, police said on Friday. The girl’s nose and part of her cheek were eaten away, while her upper lip was shredded.

    The baby’s mother, Jessica Benales, was upstairs using the restroom when the mauling happened. She came down to find at least one of the ferrets attacking the child and pulled the animal off the girl, who was strapped into a car seat on the floor of the family’s Darby home.

    Benales, 24, and her 42-year-old fiancé, Burnie Fraim, told police they believed the ferrets somehow broke out of their mesh pen.

    But despite the accounts by police and the child's parents of the mauling, some ferret owners and shelter operators told NBC10 the animals could not have inflicted such severe injuries on the child.

    Others claimed a necropsy found no human tissue in the animal’s stomach — but necropsies were not performed on the ferrets, Delaware County Animal Control said, so that cannot be known. After the animals were euthanized, a rabies test was performed and came back negative.

    A staffer said necropsies are hardly ever performed by the agency and were not in this case because the mother witnessed part of the attack.

    Still, the necropsies are unnecessary, says Darby Police Chief Robert Smythe. There is clear evidence that the ferrets were responsible for the mauling, he told NBC10.

    “I would refute what they are saying because of physical evidence that was inside the building and that was on the child’s face,” he said.

    Skyy Fraim had puncture wounds on her head consistent with a ferret’s teeth and claws, Smythe said. Detectives looked at the family’s other pets and the possibility that a rodent was responsible, but those possibilities were ruled out. It also appeared the ferrets roamed the home, which authorities said was filthy, and broke into pet food.

    Benales and Fraim, who have four other children age 5 or younger, have each been charged with five counts of child endangerment. The children have been removed from their parents' care and are currently with the Delaware County Children and Youth Services.

    Authorities said the children and parents all have special needs and have been under the care of three social service agencies. 

    In addition to the ferrets, the family had six cats and two turtles. Two dogs had previously been removed from the home.

    Seven case workers were assigned to the family, Smythe said. He questioned how nothing had been done to improve the family’s quality of life and remove the animals.

    “It’s a family in crisis,” he said. “I believe they’re people that have issues and problems and the system is not working.”

    Prior to being charged, Fraim told NBC10 that he and his fiancé care for the children.

    “We’re good parents. It’s just we made one mistake by leaving them alone. We regret it, and we blame ourselves for it,” he said. The 1-month-old will need to undergo several surgeries to repair the damage done in the attack, the father added.

    Smythe said a district court judge disregarded a bail recommendation that included a psychological evaluation and instead released the couple on their own recognizance. They are barred from having contact with the children.

    A court date has yet to be set in the case.


    Contact Vince Lattanzio at 610.668.5532, vince.lattanzio@nbcuni.com or follow @VinceLattanzio on Twitter and Facebook.



    Photo Credit: NBC10/Facebook

    Burnie Fraim and his girlfriend, Jessica Bernales (inset) have been charged with endangerment after their infant was attacked by the family's pet ferrets, police said.Burnie Fraim and his girlfriend, Jessica Bernales (inset) have been charged with endangerment after their infant was attacked by the family's pet ferrets, police said.

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    After 25 years behind bars, the man who “emptied his gun” into a Plainville police officer has been getting ready to go free – but that decision could soon be reversed.

    Gary Castonguay, 70, was granted parole at a Jan. 9 hearing. But there was one big problem. None of the officer's family members attended the hearing; in fact, they didn't know it was happening.

    “We only found about it through word of mouth,” said Valerie Holcomb, the sister-in-law of Officer Robert Holcomb. “I was shocked, appalled. I was in tears.”

    Richard Sparaco, executive director of the Connecticut Board of Pardons and Paroles, explained that the family member registered with the Office of Victim Services has died and the state couldn’t reach anyone to let them know.

    “The Board was later made aware after the hearing of other family members who wanted to testify, but were not registered,” he said, adding that the requirements of the hearing where "not satisfied."

    “It is nobody’s fault but rather an unfortunate technical error – one that we want to and can rectify,” Sparaco said.

    Valerie Holcomb, who said family members only found out about the parole this week, called the Office of the Victim Advocate on Wednesday, which worked with the Department of Corrections Victim Unit to expedite the appeal and set up a new parole hearing.

    “Victim involvement in the parole hearing is a right and we want to make sure that the statements of the victim, or in this case the deceased victims family are part of the decision-making process,” Sparaco said in a statement Friday.

    The three-member panel of the parole board will decide whether to rescind Castonguay’s release based on the testimony of Officer Holcomb’s family members. A date for the new hearing has not yet been set.

    “It shows a clear message, when no victims are present, that there is no victim impact anymore, and that is so far from the truth,” Valerie Holcomb said. “He shows no remorse for what he has done and he does not belong on the streets.”

    After his conviction in 1989, Castonguay was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison with no definite end date. He's lost previous appeals and is currently behind bars at Macdougall-Walker Correction facility in Suffield.

    “This is a crime that has not been forgotten – by his, Robert’s family, by the community, by the Plainville Police Department,” Valerie Holcomb said. “He was a police officer serving to protect and defend our community when he was literally gunned down by this heinous criminal who stood over his body and emptied his gun into him.”


    Gary Castonguay was convicted of the 1977 murder of Plainville police officer Robert Holcomb.Gary Castonguay was convicted of the 1977 murder of Plainville police officer Robert Holcomb.

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    Both the Seahawks and Patriots have won Super Bowls before. So who will win Super Bowl XLIX Sunday in Glendale, Arizona? A case can be made for both:

    Why the Patriots could win

    It’s a dynasty. New England has won three Super Bowls in the Bill Belichick-Tom Brady era, which qualifies for as much of a dynasty as the NFL has right now. The coach and QB have come up big when it counts before, so they’ll find a way to win a fourth.

    The “evil genius” factor. Belichick may not be well-liked these days (or maybe ever), but he’s found a way to reach five of these championship games and win three. The personnel has turned over and the staff has changed, but Belichick knows his Xs and Os and is known for figuring out ways to limit the effectiveness of his opponents’ best players. Certainly he’ll come up with something special to stop Marshawn Lynch and limit Russell Wilson’s impact as a runner.

    LeGarrette Blount. Since the running back joined New England after his release by the Steelers in November, the Pats’ running game has had an explosive, workhorse ballcarrier to keep defenses honest. If the Seahawks defense spreads out and focuses its efforts on stopping tight end Rob Gronkowski or wideout Julian Edelman, Blount should be able to gash them with power runs.

    Special teams superiority. Both teams are solid in all areas, but New England’s punt-return, kick coverage and field-goal blocking abilities are a tick better. One big play could be the difference.

    Brady-to-Gronkowski. The passing combination may be the hardest to stop in the NFL when Gronk is healthy, and he’s been healthy and very productive.


    Why the Seahawks could win

     

    Karma. The flip side to the “evil genius” factor. The Patriots have been caught bending the rules before, so the whole “Deflategate” scandal from the AFC Championship Game is just the latest chapter. Remember, the Patriots went into Super Bowl XLII in February 2008, trying to complete an undefeated season, when they were upset by the Giants -- after the whole “Spygate” controversy first surfaced. That was Karma I. This could be Karma II.

    Pete Carroll. The Seattle head coach has managed to get his team to peak at the right time for two seasons now. The Seahawks play hard for him, and Carroll’s defense was No. 1 overall and No. 1 vs. the pass this season. After surviving a scare against Green Bay in the NFC Championship Game, all the mojo is on the side of Seattle's upbeat coach.

    Kam Chancellor. The Seahawks’ All-Pro safety will be the man tasked with containing Gronkowski, and he seems ideally suited for the job. He’s big, strong and athletic and should be up to the task. If Seattle can take away Brady’s No. 1 target, the Pats will be playing with one hand tied behind their back.

    Russell Wilson. The Seahawks’ young quarterback just wins. He’s not the best passer in the league -- until crunch time. Then he simply finds a way to make plays with his arm and his feet. He has a 6-1 playoff record, including five straight wins. In a meeting of the teams in 2012, Wilson led two late touchdown drives as the Seahawks pulled out a comeback victory.

    Marshawn Lynch. If the Seahawks can get “Beast Mode” in gear early, they can control the game’s tempo. And it will help open up other avenues for the Seattle offense. Plus, after a week of Lynch vs. media shenanigans leading up to the game, wouldn’t it be perfect for Lynch to win the MVP award and get yet another chance to be interviewed on national TV? “I’m just here so I won't get fined… and to get my trophy.”




    Photo Credit: Getty Images

    Can the team of Tom Brady and Bill Belichick win a fourth Super Bowl?   (Photo by Mike McGinnis/Getty Images)Can the team of Tom Brady and Bill Belichick win a fourth Super Bowl? (Photo by Mike McGinnis/Getty Images)

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    A 45-year-old convicted sex offender from Southington is facing new charges after investigators found child pornography on his computer, according to police.

    Authorities began investigating after Robert Amnott, 45, accessed a computer in violation of his parole, according to police. Investigators checked the computer and found illegal images of child pornography.

    Amnott turned himself in Jan. 29 after learning that police had obtained a warrant for his arrest. He was charged with first-degree possession of child pornography and was held on $10,000 bond.



    Photo Credit: Southington Police Department

    Robert Amnott, 45, a convicted sex offender, has been re-arrested on child pornography charges.Robert Amnott, 45, a convicted sex offender, has been re-arrested on child pornography charges.

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    New London Schools haven't been in session since Monday after after the Blizzard of 2015 dumped about 30 inches across southeastern Connecticut.

    With snow still covering many of the streets in the city Thursday afternoon, officials made the call to cancel school Friday.

    "We did a practice drive with our buses and even though the roads were OK, the sidewalks were still a problem," said Tim Wheeler, chief operations officer of New London Schools.

    He said about 40 percent of students walk to school, and with sidewalks still covered in many places, school was canceled for the fourth day in a row.

    "We're watching the weather very closely," said Mayor Daryl Justin Finizio, as he toured part of New London with U.S. Sens. Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy.

    When asked about school on Monday, Finizio said the school system "would be clear to go if not for the next storm."

    "With another storm coming we will have to see and I will leave that decision to the superintendent’s office,” he said.

    The mayor also said the city has been working around the clock to get roads cleared, adding that such a commitment meant that schools wouldn't be reached in time to get classrooms open.

    The New London Schools Central Office is in a mode of transition currently, with a new superintendent set to start Feb. 1, right as the next storm arrives, bringing with it several more inches of snow.

    "The first big decision he'll have to probably make is whether we have school Monday," Wheeler said.


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    Stolen street, speed and stop signs are becoming an all too common occurrence in Canterbury, according to the first selectman.

    “In the past we have had a sign disappear every once in a while, but we have had a rash of 20-24 sings disappear in a two month period,” said First Selectman Roy Piper.

    Between materials and manpower, Piper said the cost of replacing the signs is adding up, but his real concern is the cost to public safety.

    “The biggest thing is the fact it could delay response for emergency responders and it could also potentially cause an accident,” Piper said.

    The street sign on Gay Head Road is one of the many that has gone missing more than once. Gretchen Droesch said her sign on Cemetery Road is often taken as well.

    “They don’t think about others or the consequences of their actions,” said Droesch.

    Piper thinks the culprit is likely an individual or group of individuals recycling the metals for money. He says the best bet to keep them from cashing in is for a member of the community to come forward.
     


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    School is back in session in Putnam, but snowy sidewalks are forcing students to walk on the street, creating a situation parents – and the mayor – are calling dangerous.

    Lisa Roberts said her middle schooler was forced to walk in the road when the path he usually takes proved impassible. On Friday, she was one of a dozen who placed complaint calls to the town hall.

    “It’s just uncalled for. There’s no reason for this,” said Roberts.

    Mayor Tony Falzarano says he understands the issue. He took a drive down Woodstock Avenue, a main thoroughfare to Putnam High School as well as Putnam Elementary and the middle school.

    “The parents who called were correct,” said Falzarano. “It is a dangerous situation.”

    According to Falzarano, homeowners face a fine of $25 per day if their sidewalks are not cleared within 36 hours of a storm.

    He said the problem along Woodstock Avenue is that many residents are tenants, and some are too elderly to do the heavy lifting alone.

    “Our ordinance clearly states what you are supposed to do, but the fact of the matter is, how do you get people to do it?" Falzarano explained.

    To encourage compliance, the town is now sending out reminder letters and the superintendent has instructed buses to pick up walkers along the way. The mayor also said the issue will be added to the agenda at the board of selectmen’s meeting on Monday.


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    Three social studies teachers at a D.C. public charter school were fired for teaching black history lessons beyond what’s in the curriculum, students’ parents told News4.

    "It's about the history of who we are and where we came from,” said Michelle Payne, whose son is in the eighth grade at Howard University Middle School of Math and Science.

    Parents say it is unacceptable for a school located on the campus of a historically black university to stifle African-American history lessons.

    "If you know your culture, if you know from whence you came, it tends to build your self-esteem," said Lateefah Bilal, a grandmother who heads Parents in Action, Howard Middle’s parent group.

    D.C. Council Education Committee member Anita Bonds and Council member Brianne Nadeau are looking into the claims that the three teachers were fired for teaching too much black history.

    Bonds' spokesman said the charter school board chairman declined to answer her questions Friday.

    News4 reached out to school administrators and the D.C. Public Charter School Board several times this week. They promised to release a statement.

    Parents said they are also upset because the teachers were fired and escorted out of the building in front of the kids.


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    Gov. Dannel Malloy is calling upon the Federal Emergency Management Agency to assess storm damage in Eastern Connecticut after the blizzard earlier this week to determine whether federal assistance will be available.

    The Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection put in the request for FEMA to conduct a joint federal/state preliminary damage assessment in New London, Tolland and Windham counties.

    “This was a devastating storm for parts of our state that many cities and towns are still recovering from,” Malloy said in a statement. “This assessment is the first step in the process of securing possible federal assistance for those communities that were hit the hardest.”

    Some Connecticut towns received around 30 inches of snow between Monday and Tuesday, including Putnam, while Norwich received 2 feet of snow and New London received nearly that amount, according to the National Weather Service figures.

    As towns continue to work on clearing snow, some schools remain closed, including in New London and Stafford.

    After the initial assessments, Malloy will determine whether to make a major disaster declaration request, which could lead to FEMA reimbursing 75 percent of eligible costs and the state, tribal nations, or municipalities holding responsibility for 25 percent.

    The request asks for damage assessments to begin the week of Feb. 9.
     


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    New York state health officials say an upstate college student who took an Amtrak train out of Penn Station earlier this week has been diagnosed with the highly contagious measles.

    The student was diagnosed at Bard College in Dutchess County, officials said, but had traveled out of New York City on Sunday, potentially exposing people beyond the campus. 

    Anyone who traveled on Amtrak train no. 283 departing Penn Station at 1:20 p.m. on Jan. 25 is urged to contact their doctor if they're not immune to measles and they develop a fever. The train was headed to Albany and Niagara. 

    People who may have been exposed and have symptoms consistent with measles should call their doctor or local emergency room before going for care so that others at the facilities aren't exposed. 

    New York state has had three cases of measles this year, one in Dutchess County and two in New York City. 

    A measles outbreak in New York City in early 2014 affected dozens of residents, initially in upper Manhattan and the Bronx, and then in Brooklyn and the Lower East Side. Officials had been looking at whether that outbreak may have spread because workers in medical facilities didn't recognize the symptoms quickly enough to isolate patients and prevent them from spreading it to others. 

    Measles is a highly contagious respiratory disease caused by a virus and is spread by contact with nasal or throat secretions of infected people. Measles can lead to serious side effects and, in rare cases, death. Measles symptoms usually appear in 10 to 12 days, but can occur as late as 18 days after exposure. Symptoms generally appear in two stages.

    Learn more about measles at health.ny.gov.



    Photo Credit: AP

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    If you don't have some type of connection - getting a super bowl ticket can cost a small fortune.

    But that's not stopping some New Englanders from dropping thousands of dollars, a cost they say was worth it - to see the Patriots take on the Seattle Seahawks at the Super Bowl in Arizona. Others, though, say no thanks.

    The cheapest ticket price on StubHub Friday was $7,480.25. While Super Bowl tickets are always expensive every year, prices are seemingly higher than usual this year. They're so expensive that one Bristol fan who traveled all the way to Phoenix said he decided not to even go to the game.

    "Going rate from the last I saw was about 5,000 per ticket - that's a little out of my price range," Al Delavega, of Bristol said.

    So why are the prices so hi? Jesse Lawrence, CEO of TiqIQ, said it's a matter of the amount of tickets being sold.

    "The inventory levels are at historic lows, there's less than a thousand tickets available right now,
    compared to normally at this point at the Super Bowl, we'd see 3-4 thousand," Lawrence said.

    But Conn College graduate Tim Walsh, of Lincoln Park, New Jersey got lucky. His dad scored four seats for his family through work.

    "We were able to get them through my dad's company thrilled," Walsh said. "It's a once in a lifetime experience so you can't miss it. Have you ever been before? No first time."

    Joe Trodello, of Fitchburg, Massachusetts, is also feeling lucky.

    "We got tickets today - so we're really excited so we're looking forward to it," he said.

    Are you going to Phoenix to watch the Super Bowl? Tell us in the comments and send your photos to shareit@nbcconnecticut.com or share them with us on Facebook or Twitter (@NBCConnecticut).



    Photo Credit: Ernesto Torres

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    Residents of San Jose's Almaden Valley say they're under attack, with burglars targeting homes during the middle of the day.

    In the last seven days, police say, 20 homes in the neighborhood have been hit. This comes weeks after neighbors hired a private security company to help improve safety.

    Residents say the neighborhood used to be a place where people could leave the doors unlocked. Now, many are investing in alarms, dogs and private security.

    Mary Ellen Distini says her neighborhood is at war with burglars. According to the San Jose Police Department, in the last 90 days, 176 burglaries have been reported in the Almaden Valley. Six homes were hit on Tuesday alone.

    “The police are down on the men,” Distine said. “There isn’t enough to cover the area.”

    The department has only two detectives investigating burglaries in San Jose, police said, compared to 18 back in 2008.

    “We are not safe. We are not happy,” resident Tatiana Gorshkoe said. She said she is worried about her home and her well-being. “The kids come home after school during the daytime. That’s what’s really scary.”

    Police said the thieves are generally breaking into empty homes, looking for jewelry and small electronics.

    Investigators say they don’t have any leads and don’t know if the crimes are related. Their best advice: Lock your doors and invest in a security camera.



    Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area

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