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    A 3-foot pet corn snake was reunited with its owners eight months after it went missing from the family's Brooklyn brownstone, authorities said.

    The snake, Flame, escaped its home on Fifth Street between Sixth and Seventh avenues in Park Slope in June, the 78th precinct tweeted.

    The reptile showed up Friday at a neighbor's house and the terrified woman called 911, police said.

    DNAInfo reports the neighbor, Minerva Fernandez, is so fearful of snakes she can't even watch them on TV. The website said Fernandez hid in her apartment, waiting for police to arrive, as another neighbor kept the snake pinned in a corner of her staircase with a mop handle.

    Police arrived and captured the snake, then kept it at the precinct station house until the family could be reunited with it Saturday.

    A snake expert told DNAInfo the reptile probably survived on mice and other small rodents during its eight-month jaunt around Park Slope, and set up someplace warm in the winter months, possibly by a radiator.



    Photo Credit: @NYPD78Pct

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    After weary snow plow drivers were given time to rest Tuesday, delaying snow removal plans, crews were back out as early as 4 a.m. on Wednesday to clear snow from the Baldwin Street bridge.

    Afterward, crews will clear snow from the central business area and other sidewalks in the city and dump it at the Municipal Stadium lot.

    Deputy Public Works Director David Simspon said that the snow pile-up is forcing people to walk in the streets, so the city is working to clear those walkways to "make it safer."

    Many say walking across the icy and snowy Baldwin Street Bridge has become dangerous.

    “It was tricky because the cars when they come they drive fast and they don’t give us any space,” said Waterbury resident Zandile Nsumao.

    Waterbury Mayor Neil O'Leary said the city is working to finish the job across town.

    “We would be doing it now, quite frankly, but our people are just too tired. We want them to get some rest and get them back here fresh,” said O’Leary.

    Officials are watching the forecast and will have the crews out overnight if it looks like a lot of snow is on the way.



    Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

    After weary snow plow drivers were given time to rest Tuesday, delaying snow removal plans, crews were back out as early as 4 a.m. on Wednesday to clear snow from the Baldwin Street bridge.After weary snow plow drivers were given time to rest Tuesday, delaying snow removal plans, crews were back out as early as 4 a.m. on Wednesday to clear snow from the Baldwin Street bridge.

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    A teen who was fatally shot in a Newark street last month made a video about stopping violence in New Jersey’s largest city in the months before his death, NJ.com reports.

    Kyzeir Baker, 16, was shot along with an 18-year-old man on Spruce Street on Jan. 22 and died a few days later at University Hospital, the news site reports.

    No arrests have been made in the shooting.

    Baker’s death comes a little more than six months after he was interviewed in an anti-violence video posted on YouTube by the Newark HUBB mentoring program. Baker shot the video during a “Youth Television Film, And Press” class over the summer and talked about how teens should “avoid the streets.”

    "It's sad. It's like every night somebody dies,” Baker said in the video. “It's sad to see how all of these young teenagers are dying so fast, every day."

    In the video, Baker can be seen talking about gangs in Newark, and he recounts a story of a friend who was stabbed to death while trying to rob someone. He told the interviewer about advice his grandfather gave him to stay out of trouble.

    "He told me, ‘Don’t get in the gangs, don't get into nothing,’” Baker recalled in the video. “He said, ‘Be you, go out there be a lawyer, doctor, basketball player, whatever you want to be, but avoid the streets.’”

    The class’s teacher, Dash Living, told NJ.com that Baker was among 60 children in the class and was one of just a few willing to talk about violence and gangs on camera.

    “He was always participating in the discussion,” Living said. “He had courage.”

    Baker’s aunt told NJ.com that the 16-year-old was raised mostly by his grandmother after his father abandoned him and his mother got addicted to drugs. She said he was a Shabazz High School student and was on the honor roll in middle school.


    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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    A Venezuelan man who admitted to placing 96 threatening phone calls to Newtown residents two days after the Sandy Hook school shooting massacre in 2012 will be sentenced on Thursday.

    Wilfrido A. Cardenas Hoffman, 30, of Venezuela, pleaded guilty in Hartford federal court and will be sentenced at 10 a.m. on Thursday, according to the U.S. attorney's office.

    Federal prosecutors said Cardenas Hoffman used voice-over-IP technology to call the homes of Newtown residents on Dec. 16, 2012, claiming to be school shooter Adam Lanza.

    "This is Adam Lanza. I’m gonna [expletive] kill you. You’re dead. You’re dead. You hear me? You’re dead," Cardenas Hoffman said in one of the calls, according to the U.S. attorney's office.

    Authorities obtained a criminal complaint charging him with "transmitting threats in interstate or foreign commerce to injure the person of another" in May 2013 and officially arrested him on June 21 of this year when Cardenas Hoffman traveled through Miami International Airport.

    “These threatening calls, just two days after the tragedy, compounded the collective suffering of all of the citizens of Newtown and needlessly stressed law enforcement resources at a critical time. It is reprehensible criminal conduct. We are committed to investigating similar hoax crimes and prosecuting all who commit them, here and abroad,” U.S. Attorney Deirdre M. Daly said in a statement.

    Federal investigators said Cardenas Hoffman called about 47 phone numbers more than 90 times. He has been in custody since his arrest in June.

    A judge ordered Cardenas Hoffman to undergo a psychiatric evaluation at a prior court appearance in New Haven.


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    A documentary about the Woodstock, Connecticut puppeteer behind the characters of Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch on "Sesame Street" will be released in May, production company Copper Pot Pictures announced Wednesday.

    Caroll Spinney, 80, has brought the characters of Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch to life since the show launched 45 years ago. The documentary, "I Am Big Bird" tells his story and highlights his career and characters.

    "'I Am Big Bird' captures how the love radiating from Caroll has created a worldwide cultural icon and answers why he can't say goodbye to the characters he cherishes," Copper Pot Pictures said in a news release.

    He "handpicked a successor," Matt Vogel, "who has waited, quite literally, in the wings, as his understudy for almost 20 years," but "he has held on with no intention of retiring," according to the news release.

    "Yielding the Bird would mean saying goodbye to characters that are a true expression of his
    soul, characters that he loves and cherishes like his own children," Copper Pot Pictures said.

    The production company describes Spinney as a man who has "pure love" filling his life, from his relationship with his mother, who "handcrafted his first puppets" and "sacrificed her own body to protect Caroll from a savage beating from his father" to finding his true love, Debra after his first wife divorced him because she was "embarrassed" by his puppetry career. He was also very close friends with his boss, Jim Henson.

    "The unconditional love that envelops Caroll’s life—and which is captured in the hours of home video culled for I AM BIG BIRD — is the true secret to Big Bird’s popularity," Copper Pot Pictures said.

    Big Bird's popularity has faded as new writers explored other characters like Elmo, but Spinney's legacy as the yellow bird is historical in American pop culture, according to the production company.

    "He’s dined with heads of state, won Emmys and been named a living legend by the Library of
    Congress," Copper Pot Pictures said.

    Spinney was also originally supposed to be on the Challenger space shuttle in 1986, but NASA ultimately decided not to go forward with that plan, according to the production company.

    "Instead of boarding the shuttle, he watched from the studio as the astronauts, including his
    replacement, Christa McAuliffe, perished in the disaster," Copper Pot Pictures said.

    The documentary explores Spinney's creative process and what inspired him. It shows Spinney today and videos from his personal library "to illustrate how he became the man that became the Bird," according to the production company. The film also includes footage of Jim Henson with Kermit the Frog and interviews with Jane Henson, Vogel, Frank Oz (Cookie Monster, Bert) and Jerry Nelson (The Count).

    And, as the yellow feathers give way to grey hair, it is the man, not the Muppet, who will teach us the greatest lesson of all: how to love unconditionally," Copper Pot Pictures said.

    The documentary will be released in early May and will be released on VOD and iTunes May 5. New York theaters will start showing the documentary May 8 before theaters in other cities pick it up, according to the production company.



    Photo Credit: Getty Images

    NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 09: (L-R) Puppeteer Caroll Spinney, Sesame Street co-founder and TV producer Joan Ganz Cooney, and Sesame Street cast members pose under a NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 09: (L-R) Puppeteer Caroll Spinney, Sesame Street co-founder and TV producer Joan Ganz Cooney, and Sesame Street cast members pose under a "123 Sesame Street" sign at the "Sesame Street" 40th Anniversary temporary street renaming in Dante Park on November 9, 2009 in New York City. (Photo by Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images)

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    Now that the city of Hartford has officially approved a baseball stadium to house the Rock Cats, the team is preparing for a new chapter and that may include a new name.

    And team is throwing it to the fans to choose what it will be called with its "Name the Team" contest.

    “This is an exciting time with our franchise moving to Hartford, and we are asking the community to play an integral role in choosing our team’s name. Hartford has a rich history of sports, and we look forward to continuing this tradition with affordable family entertainment in the Capital City,” team owner Josh Solomon said in a statement.

    The contest launches on Feb. 17 at 1:30 p.m., when Hartford is slated to break ground on the new Downtown North development. Fans can enter the contest on the team's new website.

    Fans are invited to suggest a name that includes Hartford and include descriptions of their ideas.

    The fan whose idea leads to a new name will be rewarded with two lifetime season tickets to see the team play, a team jacket and baseball hat and a photo in the game program.

    Four runners up will win a pair of season tickets for the first season.

    A selection committee will choose 10 entries, which will then be posted on the website so fans can vote March 4-11.

    Fans will then able to vote on the top five entries starting March 11. The team will reveal the winner on March 18.

    If there are multiple winners, the contest committee will pick one of the tying winners at random.

    The Rock Cats' move to Hartford will bring professional baseball to the city for the first time in 60 years.

    The new baseball park is intended to "anchor" the Downtown North redevelopment project between I-84 and I-91, according to the Rock Cats.

    It's scheduled to open in April 2016 in time for the start of the Minor League baseball season. 


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    The National Transportation Safety Board sent Metro three urgent recommendations Wednesday regarding the ventilation of tunnels in response to the fatal smoke incident Jan. 12 in Washington, D.C.

    In a letter to interim General Manager Jack Requa, NTSB said Metro should assess its ventilation system, write a procedure for tunnel ventilation and establish ongoing ventilation training for control center staff and emergency responders.

    "Procedures for ventilation of smoke in emergencies can be critical, but they vary across systems, and in some systems are inadequate — as we have found in the present WMATA investigation,” acting NTSB Chairman Christopher Hart said in a news release. “Although the investigation is ongoing, WMATA should immediately address these issues to prevent any chance of a recurrence, and other systems should be audited for similar problems.”

    Ventilation fans can operate in supply mode — pulling fresh air in to the tunnels and stations — or exhaust mode — pulling air out of the tunnels and stations.

    At the L'Enfant Plaza station Jan. 12, the station and vent shaft fans were in exhaust mode, drawing smoke toward two stopped trains, according to the NTSB.

    Also, two of four fans in a vent shaft tripped a circuit and were not operational.

    The train stuck in the tunnel drew smoke inside because its ventilation was not turned off, according to the NTSB.

    Metro has already decided to allow train operators to turn off ventilation without first getting permission from the control center.

    The investigation also found Metro does not have means to determine the exact location of a source of smoke, and its ventilation procedure Jan. 12 was inconsistent with best practices.

    "We welcome the NTSB recommendations issued today and have begun to address these at Metro," Metro responded. "Following the January 12 incident, we conducted systemwide inspections and tests of all tunnel fan shafts and found them to be in good working condition. We also completed familiarization training for all 39 Controllers in our rail control center and we are reviewing additional protocols and training associated with tunnel fan use that are responsive to the NTSB recommendations issued today. We continue to give our full cooperation to the ongoing NTSB investigation."

    Metro said it checks all fans monthly and there is a standard protocol for checking ventilation fans.

    Hart, Requa and Metro Chairman Mort Downey briefed the Council of Governments about the investigation Wednesday.

    Rep. Gerry Connolly said it is "stunning" that Metro would need NTSB to remind it that should have a ventilation system in working order.

    Montgomery County Council member Roger Berliner said COG needs Metro to be at its very best, putting COG in a position to argue in favor of Metro.

    Metro leaders raced out of the meeting when it ended.

    Requa said that to his knowledge all fans in the system are working now.

    The NTSB also sent letters to the Federal Transit Administration and the American Public Transportation Association calling for a nationwide assessment of subway ventilation.



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

    Smoke filled the L'Enfant Plaza station during an electrical arcing incident Jan. 12.Smoke filled the L'Enfant Plaza station during an electrical arcing incident Jan. 12.

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    Anthem health insurance policy holders will be able to sign up for free credit monitoring and identity theft protection as of Friday. The company is offering the services after a massive data breach was revealed last week.

    The health insurance provider, one of the largest in the country, fell victim to a cyber attack that allowed hackers to gain access to an Anthem database containing 80 million records.

    Information the hackers were able to gain access to includes names, birthdays, Social Security numbers, street addresses, email addresses and employment information.

    Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Connecticut released a statement on Wednesday, saying it’s “committed to timely notification to consumers affected by the cyber-attack.”

    “Since the attack was discovered, we have been working with a vendor that is quickly making the necessary preparations to provide credit monitoring and identity theft protection services to the millions of people potentially affected by this attack. We have laid out a thoughtful plan with this vendor so that they can accommodate what we anticipate will be very high demand for these services. Our goal is to provide peace of mind to consumers, while minimizing frustration,” the statement says.

    Free credit monitoring and identity theft protection will be provided for free for two years.

    Consumers will be able to sign up for the services beginning Friday. Information on how to enroll will be posted at anthemfacts.com.


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    A singer from a Milford-formed band that recently competed on "America's Got Talent" is in the national spotlight again as he competes for a chance to be the next "American Idol."

    Nick Fradiani, of Guilford, vocalist and guitarist in Connecticut band Beach Avenue, has advanced to the third round of Hollywood Week before the panel of celebrity judges.

    He said that he was contacted and invited to audition, so he knew he would at the very least get to audition for Harry Connick Jr., Jennifer Lopez and Keith Urban.

    "I felt it was an opportunity I could not pass up," Fradiani said. "....The first audition was very nerve-racking, but I was also really honored and excited at the same time."

    Back in July, Fradiani and his band, Beach Avenue made it to the second round of "America's Got Talent" on NBC. Two other band members, Nick Abraham, of Fairfield, and Ryan Zipp, of Hamden performed their original song, "Coming Your Way" with him on the show.

    Fradiani is not currently working on any solo material, but he said that if he were to win "American Idol" and record an album, he said he would make music "similar to the music I make with Beach Avenue."

    "Touring has always been something I've dreamed of," Fradiani said. "I'd like to tour the whole world!"

    Back in Connecticut, Fradiani said that he and Beach Avenue have been writing several songs and doing a lot of demos.

    "So we'll have to see what happens," he said.

    As for his fate on "American Idol," that remains to be seen. He is in the mix for the final rounds of Hollywood Week, airing Wednesday and Thursday night on Fox.



    Photo Credit: Jessie Sawyer/NBCConnecticut.com

    Nick Fradiani (center) from Connecticut-based band Beach Avenue, recent contestants on Nick Fradiani (center) from Connecticut-based band Beach Avenue, recent contestants on "America's Got Talent," is in the national spotlight again as he competes to be the next "American Idol."

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    Watertown police are searching for the man who took apart toilets at Stop & Shop and McDonald's and stole the metal flushers.

    Police said the man entered the Stop & Shop supermarket at 763 Straits Turnpike around 9 a.m. Feb. 10 and disassembled a toilet in the men's bathroom. He took the metal flush assembly and left the store.

    He struck again the same day at the McDonald's restaurant at 564 Straits Turnpike, again taking apart the toilet and stealing the flusher. Police said the theft damaged the toilets and caused flooding.

    The suspect was captured on surveillance cameras at both places. He has short hair and a short beard and is believed to be in his 20s or 30s, police said. The man was wearing a dark-colored Carhart jacket and jeans at the time of the thefts.

    Police said he got away in a dark-colored Hyundai sedan with Connecticut license plates.

    Anyone with information on the thefts or the suspect should call Watertown police at 860-945-5218.



    Photo Credit: Watertown Police Department

    Police are searching for the man accused of stealing toilet parts from Stop & Shop and McDonald's in Watertown.Police are searching for the man accused of stealing toilet parts from Stop & Shop and McDonald's in Watertown.

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    A small twin-engine plane crashed, killing four people aboard, near the intersection of Krome Avenue and SW 144th Street in Southwest Miami-Dade County Wednesday afternoon.

    The Beechcraft 1900 had taken off from the Miami Executive Airport earlier Wednesday and was headed for Providenciales International Airport in the Turks and Caicos Islands when it crashed around 2:30 p.m., the Federal Aviation Administration said.

    "Fire crews that were responding noticed a huge black column of smoke in the distance, as soon as they got here it was apparent that it was an airplane, the downed power lines, the damage was consistent to a plane crash, completely engulfed in flames," Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Lt. Arnold Piedrahita said.

    The plane was trying to turn back to Miami Executive after one of the engines may have failed, according to Greg Chin of the Miami-Dade Aviation Department.

    A friend of the family told NBC 6 that the pilot of the flight was Captain Raul Chirivella, 52. Also on the plane was copilot Roberto Cavaniel along with Juan Carlos Betancourt. All three were from Venezuela. The family friend told NBC 6 the group was in the United States looking for plane parts to take back to Venezuela. Three of the victims worked for a company called Pan Americano.

    “The only thing I know that he come to pick up some parts for the airplane in Venezuela, but I don’t know if they make some job here,” said Macario Chirinos, a friend of Chirivella for 30 years. “It was shocking. I mean we didn’t expect that at all. We spoke with him five minutes before he took off.”

    A fourth person was on the flight, but has not been identified.

    Some 500 gallons of fuel were on board the aircraft, fire officials said. According to Piedrahita, it took so much foam to put out the fire, a foam truck from the nearby airport was brought to the scene.

    "Once the fire was extinguished, firefighters investigated the area and unfortunately, sadly, no survivors were found," he said. "It's a small contained area, in the dirt, no structures were affected, no homes, no animals or other bystanders or people on the ground were injured."

    The crash initially knocked out power to 537 homes, according to Florida Power and Light. FPL said power was restored to all but four homes within an hour. FPL said one pole was knocked down and another was compromised due to the crash.

    Miami-Dade Fire, Miami-Dade Police, and other agencies responded to the scene. The National Transportation Safety Board will be leading the investigation.

    As a result of the crash, Krome Avenue between Southwest 136th Street and Southwest 168th Street will be closed until Thursday morning.



    Photo Credit: NBC 6

    The remnants of a plane crash in SW Miami-Dade County on 2/11/15.The remnants of a plane crash in SW Miami-Dade County on 2/11/15.

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    Boston's regional transit chief Dr. Beverly Scott is stepping down, effective April 11, amid criticism of how her agency handled delays, suspensions and massive snowfall.

    On Tuesday, Scott defended her decision to suspend the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority's rail service for more than 24 hours as crews struggled to clear the tracks. This decision was highly criticized as thousands of commuters scrambled to make alternative travel plans.

    On her way out of her office Wednesday, Scott, surrounded by staff, said very little in the way of explaining the bombshell announcement.

    "Were you forced out?" a reporter asked.

    "I never give up on anything," she replied.

    The surprising announcement came hours after the Massachusetts Board of Transportation gave her a full vote of confidence, at a meeting in which she spoke.

    When asked Tuesday why he had not yet huddled directly with Scott, Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker said he had no direct control over the MBTA and was dealing with the agency through Secretary of Transportation Stephanie Pollack, who has a seat on its board of directors.

    Dr. Scott sent a letter Wednesday to the MassDot Board of Directors.

    "Over the next sixty days, I will work with you, and the Board, to effect a smooth transition. During this period, I will place priority attention on working with our team to: return 'T' services to normalcy," said Scott.

    Gov. Baker's office issued a statement following Scott's resignation that read, in part, "The Governor and Lt. Governor were surprised to learn of Dr. Scott's resignation this afternoon. They thank her for her contribution to the Commonwealth and are grateful for her offer of assistance as the MBTA transitions to a new General Manager."

    "I thank Dr. Beverly Scott for her deep commitment to our public transportation system and to the people of Boston and the Commonwealth," said Mayor Marty Walsh in a statement. "She has shown leadership and courage during the challenges we are facing, and I wish her the best of luck in the future. I look forward to working with the Governor to improve our public transportation system to better serve our residents who rely on it everyday."

    Rail service partially resumed Wednesday morning after being shut down for more than 24 hours as crews cleared snow and ice that had built up on the tracks from recent storms. 

    "During these past two years-plus, it has been an absolute pleasure and honor to serve with and lead this dedicated team of transit professional and public servants," said Scott.

    As the long commute home began Wednesday with limited MBTA service continuing, some MBTA riders were surprised to hear of the resignation.

    "Really, the lady that was on yesterday?" said John Dovoses of East Weymouth. "It's not really her fault. I mean, you've got to deal with what you've got."

    The recent performance of the MBTA has also raised questions about whether the aging system can be modernized enough to handle the Olympic Games -- should they take place in Boston in 2024. 

    "We are running an extremely aged system that is getting a pounding every single day," said Scott earlier this week.

    Wednesday, commuters had mixed views on whether Scott's decision to step down would actually help the T improve service.

    "I can see why she did that," said Alisa Raymond of Randolph, who had a two-hour commute Wednesday morning. "I watched her YouTube video the other day, and I feel like the management could be a lot better than what it is right now."

    "I feel bad for her, I don't know, I don't think she necessarily caused this," said Kristen Braithwaite of Weymouth, who had a three-hour morning commute. "I think we need more money into the system, I don't really see how things get better otherwise."

    Throughout the day, the buses couldn’t come fast enough to shuttle commuters on the T’s Red Line route between Braintree and JFK stations Wednesday – just one of several areas experiencing service interruptions after the MBTA resumed limited rail service after a 30 hour shut down.

    "Forty-five minutes we've been waiting," said Leanne Hindy of South Weymouth. "It's taking a while."

    "Oh my God, this is ridiculous," said Cedric King of Quincy. "The wait alone just for the buses is tiring, we're cold."

    "I am stunned by the resignation of Dr. Scott. Be clear, this Board has had no discussions at any time about her tenure as General Manager. We hoped and expected that she would fulfill her three year contract, which ends in December of this year. I want to thank Dr. Scott for her skillful and committed leadership over the last 26 months, and wish her the very best as she moves on to her next challenge. In the coming weeks, I will appoint a sub-committee of the Board to direct a nationwide search for her replacement," said John Jenkins, Chairman of the MassDot Board of Directors. 

    Scott was appointed in 2012 after managing transit systems in Atlanta, Sacramento and Rhode Island and holding leadership positions in others including the Metropolitan Transit Authority in New York.

    "For me, the special 'X Factor' at the 'T' will always be its people," said Scott.

    Scott did not give a specific reason for her departure.



    Photo Credit: NECN

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    A high-speed police chase came to a dramatic end Wednesday in North Dallas when the driver rear-ended a family's minivan and was promptly tackled, dragged into the street and beaten by a woman and a man whose vehicle he rear-ended.

    Dallas police identified the suspect as 40-year-old Artrai Alexander and said he allegedly stole a Dodge Challenger from a convenience store in the 3000 block of Grand Avenue, near Fair Park.

    The victim of the carjacking called 911 and provided a detailed description of the vehicle, which was relayed to officers' radios across Dallas.

    Dallas police chased the stolen vehicle along residential streets, parking lots and Interstate 635 until the driver tried to split between two cars at a stoplight but instead rammed into them at Walnut Hill Lane and Abrams Road.

    Jessica Liesmann, who was driving the minivan the suspect hit, and her boyfriend Charles Cook got out of their van, quickly approached the suspect's vehicle and fought him to the ground before police officers arrived and arrested him.

    "I saw him come behind me and hit me. I turned around and asked my son, 'Are you okay?' and he was like 'Yeah' - so I jumped out the car and was like, 'What the hell is wrong with you? You're in a school zone. What are you thinking?' He didn't say anything," Liesmann said.

    “I just hope he knows better and that the whole time he's in jail thinking about what he did, from the beginning to the end," Liesmann said. "I don't know why he did it or what happened, but I hope it replays over and over and over and he feels really stupid for what he did.”

    Liesmann's son T.J., 13, was also in the van and was taken by ambulance from the scene as a precaution. He was released from the hospital just before 6 p.m.

    "My mom, she did put him in his place, and I'm glad that he's in jail 'cause, to be honest, when I was in the car, I thought I died," T.J. said.

    "I was just angry. I just lost my 4-year-old child on the second day of school, and to think of something else happening to one of my kids," said Liesmann, "I just can't imagine. I'm just grateful, first of all, that he's OK, and second of all, that that guy is in jail."

    A handgun was recovered from the stolen Challenger, police said.

    "If he had a gun, I just thank God that he didn't pull it out, 'cause I could've easily been shot and she could've easily been shot," Liesmann's boyfriend Cook said.

    Dallas police said Alexander will be charged with aggravated robbery and evading arrest. 

    NBC 5's Amanda Guerra and Ray Villeda contributed to this report.



    Photo Credit: NBC 5 News
    This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story on our mobile site.

    A Dallas mother helped tackle and subdue a man suspected of carjacking a Dodge Challenger and leading officers on a high-speed chase.A Dallas mother helped tackle and subdue a man suspected of carjacking a Dodge Challenger and leading officers on a high-speed chase.

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    Gov. Dannel Malloy gave one of his first detailed hints of his transportation overhaul which he says will come out "in the next couple of days."

    The governor announced the latest round of $30 million in aid for towns and cities to use for road improvements in Waterbury on Tuesday.

    One of the governor's focal points is the Mix Master, a massive structure with several miles of ramps and overpasses in Waterbury where Interstate 84 and Route 8 merge. Malloy said restructing the Mix Master will be a priority project under his transportation plan.

    “The Mix Master itself is a multi-billion-dollar project which will eat up a large amount of resources," Malloy said during an event at the Waterbury Public Works Department on Tuesday. "I’m committed to not treating that program the way the state has treated other large projects.”

    Just a day earlier, Republicans in the General Assembly announced their plan, which included $1 billion per year in bonding over 30 years to improve roads across the state.

    The plan doesn't include tolls, and GOP leaders said they would meet with engineers and transportation experts about where to prioritize the funds.

    State Rep. Themis Klarides, the Minority Leader of the Connecticut House, said she thinks the GOP plan is a middle ground between what the state really needs and what taxpayers want.

    “Our goal was to say we have to prioritize transportation but how do we fund it," Klarides said. "So we bonded what we bonded and we put it under the spending cap without increasing gas taxes, any other taxes, or implementing tolls, and I think it’s been clear in this state people do not want tolls.”

    Malloy was quick to criticize the GOP proposal during his stop in the Brass City.

    “It’s not a plan, and you know it’s not a plan. There’s not a single project called for. It’s the usual Republican fantasy world looking to get a talking point," the governor said.

    He inched closer to saying his plan included tolls but wouldn't commit, instead explaining that the GOP plan without tolls is unrealistic considering how roads have been treated for decades and the fact that the state still has to fund colleges and universities.

    “We are wasting billions of dollars and paid for by every man woman and child in this state because we didn’t build a modern transportation system. That's a tax," Malloy said.

    In responding to the criticism, and the fact that the GOP didn't present a list of proposals, Klarides said the governor is speaking on topics with which he has no familiarity, adding that she looks forward to contributing to the "adult dialogue" the governor has stressed.

    "I’m not aware that he’s an engineer and I certainly am not so I don’t know which projects should be prioritized but I’d like to sit down and have those conversations," Karides said.



    Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

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    Top members of the State Senate announced plans Wednesday for the state to adopt new standards of data encryption for health insurance companies.

    The proposal comes less than a week after Anthem, Connecticut’s largest insurer, told customers it was the victim of a data breach that compromised more than 1.5 million names, addresses, and phone numbers.

    State Sen. Martin Looney, the top Democrat in the Connecticut Senate, said there have been informal talks about online protections but the news of the hack provided more urgency.

    “It has certainly enhanced, I think, the degree of alarm and also just the sheer size and scope of this Anthem hacking is creating alarms everywhere,” said Looney.

    Anthem announced Wednesday that any of its 80 million policy holders who may have been affected by the hack nationwide will have free access to credit monitoring and identity theft protection services starting this Friday.

    The company said in a statement it’s been working with a vendor to arrange credit monitoring for potentially tens of millions of people. The services will be provided free of charge for two years.

    Attorney General George Jepsen sent a letter, along with nine other state attorneys general, laying out their concerns to Anthem. He said Anthem has been more transparent than other corporations that have suffered similar hacks.

    “They had a good start,” Jepsen said. “They got out there with the information much more quickly than Target or Home Depot did with their breaches.”

    Republicans are on board with examining ways for companies to encrypt data in better ways, but added that they don’t want to create new problems with new legislation.

    “When we make laws, we have to make sure that we don’t end up with unintended consequences, so I definitely think it’s something we ought to look and say, 'What is the problem we want to solve?' and make sure that nothing we do causes another problem,” said State Rep. Themis Klarides, Minority Leader of the Connecticut House.

    Both Looney and Klarides have Anthem insurance plans. Klarides said she’ll use the services the company is offering.

    “I’m certainly concerned about it, and on Friday, when this starts, you better believe that I’ll be on there signing up for identity theft and fraud protection,” Klarides said.


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    A house painter suspected of shooting and wounding a San Diego television sportscaster was in a dispute with the victim over work done on the reporter's home, police said.

    Authorities say Mike Montana, 54, fired multiple shots through the rear window of Kyle Kraska's silver Mercedes on Tuesday outside Kraska's house in the city's quiet, predominantly residential Scripps Ranch area.

    San Diego police Lt. Scott Wahl said the dispute involved the painting of the KFMB-TV anchor's house, but he didn't offer specifics.

    The CBS affiliate said Wednesday that Kraska's injuries were serious but his prognosis is good. He was recovering at a hospital.

    Montana surrendered to authorities after a SWAT standoff at his home in suburban El Cajon and was booked into San Diego County jail early Wednesday. He is scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday on a charge of attempted murder.

    Montana identified himself as the self-employed owner of Superior Painting Corp. in a filing for personal bankruptcy protection in January 2014. He listed assets of $11,030, liabilities of $38,878 and monthly income of $2,012.

    Superior Painting's California business license was suspended in October 2013 for an unpaid balance of $1,951, said Tami Grimes, a spokeswoman for the state Franchise Tax Board.

    Jail records do not list an attorney for Montana, who didn't immediately respond to an email sent through jail system.

    Kraska is the sports director at KFMB, where he has worked since 1999. He has been a fixture in San Diego homes as the station's evening sports anchor since 2003 and hosts the San Diego Chargers postgame show.

    The Boston native previously worked for television stations in Los Angeles; Sarasota, Florida; Tampa, Florida; El Paso, Texas; and Albany, New York, according to a KFMB biography. He began his career as weekend sports anchor in Watertown, New York, during his senior year at Syracuse University.

    San Diego police say the attack is unrelated to any other crimes and described it as "targeted."

    "(The suspect) was looking for him," Wahl said. "He wasn't looking for someone else. This was not random."

    The shooting comes less than two months after a TV meteorologist in Texas was shot outside the station where he works.

    Authorities said KCEN-TV meteorologist Patrick Crawford was in his car the morning of Dec. 17 when a gunman approached, yelled at him and shot him three times.

    Crawford returned to the air four weeks later. Authorities are still looking for that gunman.


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    Traffic is moving slowing on Interstate 84 West in West Hartford after a crash and Department of Transportation cameras show a car overturned in the median.

    The crash happened between exits 42 and 41 and several emergency crews have responded at the scene.



    Photo Credit: Connecticut Department of Transportation

    A car flipped over and is in the median of Interstate 84 West in West Hartford.A car flipped over and is in the median of Interstate 84 West in West Hartford.

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    The Hartford City Council has drafted a resolution seeking to remove the city’s three registrars of voters over problems at the polls in November that “resulted in the lack of an accurate vote count, which persists to this day,” according to the draft.

    Attorney Ross Garber, of Shipman & Goodwin, one of two firms selected to advise city’s investigation into what went wrong Nov. 4, submitted his findings to the city council this week.

    “The Report of the Committee of Inquiry identified multiple, serious errors, which plagued the administration of the 2014 General Election Hartford and resulted in the disenfranchisement of Hartford voters and the lack of an accurate vote count,” the resolution states.

    The draft lists 13 counts against Democratic registrar Olga Vazquez, 10 counts against GOP registrar Sheila Hall and nine against Urania Petit of the Working Families Party.

    Each will undergo separate hearings and the seven-member council will vote on whether to remove them from office.

    The registrars have been under scrutiny since Election Day, when city polling places were riddled with problems that caused some residents to be turned away and led to extended voting hours in several precincts.

    According to the resolution, many of the issues “are attributable to errors or omissions by the Hartford Registrars, a dysfunctional working relationship among the election officials, a lack of leadership and accountability, and the absence of a clear, legally prescribed chain of command.”

    The three registrars are cited for violations including “neglect or dereliction of official duty, incompetence, dishonesty or incapacity to perform official duties or delinquency materially affecting their general character or fitness for office, and warranting their removal from office.”

    Each was given the opportunity to testify during two days of hearings held in December, according to the draft. The committee also reviewed documents, collected evidence and interviewed witnesses prior to drafting the resolution.

    The Hartford City Council voted late last month to proceed with the removal process after the Committee of Inquiry released an initial report documenting violations and dysfunction in the registrars’ office.

    An attorney representing Vazquez has said she will fight any attempt at removal, while the Associated Press reports that Petit has vowed not to resign.


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    Authorities are searching for the people who vandalized two state parks in Bolton.

    According to the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, graffiti was painted at Bolton Notch State Park and Hop River State Park.

    Vandals at Bolton Notch painted swastikas on large boulders that are visible from the highway. Hours after the graffiti was discovered, veterans painted an American flag over it.

    Anyone with information is urged to call the DEEP emergency dispatch center at 860-424-3333. The phone line is staffed 24 hours a day.


    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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    The Powerball jackpot swelled to an estimated $564 million by the time of Wednesday's drawing, a super-sized pot that will be split among the holders of winning tickets in North Carolina, Puerto Rico and Texas.

    The more than half-billion dollar jackpot, the third-highest Powerball prize in U.S. history, was upped from $485 million ahead of Wednesday's drawing due to the high volume of ticket sales. As of Wednesday afternoon the pot was worth $500 million. 

    Winners from Wednesday's Powerball drawing will divide up $381,138,450.16 before taxes should they each take a lump sum payment, The Associated Press reported.

    While winning the money may not buy happiness, such a large cushion of cash can grant you access to some of the world's most luxurious experiences and items. Here's a look at what $500 million would get you.

    100 Lamborghini Veneno Roadsters, with extra money left over to tip valet.

    27 private helicopters like the ones used by Christian Grey in "Fifty Shades of Grey." Each Eurocopter brand chopper piloted by the fictional multi-multi billionaire at the center of the story costs about $3,950,000.

    91,911,765 cronuts from Dominique Ansel Bakery, where flaky treats cost around $5.44.

    76,923 wedding dresses from Vera Wang. The top designer's creations set brides back at least $5,000 per gown.

    71,429 wells to serve a communities in Africa through Water Wells for Africa, which estimates that each well, which serves 2,000 people, costs $7,000 on average. 

    4,000 private island lots like the ones offered on Fiji's Mavuva Island. Each lot on the remote island starts at $125,000 each.

    If you didn't want to spend it all at once, you could use some of your earnings for these luxury experiences and goods recommend by VIP concierge services for the rich and famous.

    • Attend the highly anticipated potential fight between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao in May for $25,000, with floor seats, private travel, red carpet access, penthouse accommodations. The Black Door Experience package comes with VIP access to all of Las Vegas, including a private celebrity chef dinner, company Founder and President Rachel McIntyre.
    •  
    • $72 million gets you a flight with the Russian space team to the International Space Station, where you can go outside the space station and space walk like you're George Clooney in the movie "Gravity." No one has yet taken The Bluefish concierge service up on the offer, CEO and Founder Steve Sims said.
    •  
    • For $900,000, be the star of your own James Bond film for the weekend. You can create a plot line and have hired actors play the villains and kidnap you. Let your imagination run wild as  your moves are choreographed and filmed with actors, spanning locations like the Bahamas, Monte Carlo and Russia, Sims said.
    •  
    • In the mood for Italian? For $500,000, The Bluefish will send you to Florence to eat dinner for six at the feet of Michelangelo’s David for three nights, with special access to a non-public gallery and residence in the personal home of a world famous designer in Tuscany.
    •  
    • Dive down to see the Titanic with scientists. There won’t be any Wi-Fi, but for $60,000, you’ll get to eat with crews from Russia and France as they measure how the pressure and lack of light affect the Titanic’s preservation. The trip, coordinated by Bluefish, will last two hours, and you’ll see a lot of wildlife and ocean life that you’ve never seen before.
    •  
    • $50,000 gets you and your friend VIP access to the Victoria Secret Fashion Show, with backstage passes, a trip to the after party accompanied by two models and accommodations for one night, said Sims. 
    •  
    • It won't even set you back seven figures to sit in the millionaire seats at Churchill Downs. For $400,000, a family of four can snag Millionaire's Row seats at the Kentucky Derby and private airfare to and from the race, courtesy of Goviva. You'll even have money left over to bet.


    Photo Credit: Getty Images

    The estimated Powerball jackpot is now $500 million. Here's what you could buy with that money.The estimated Powerball jackpot is now $500 million. Here's what you could buy with that money.

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