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    A Norwalk police officer has been terminated for half a dozen violations of the department code of conduct, according to police.

    The Hearst Media Group reports that Officer Anthony Santo was suspended without pay for five years after he was arrested on charges that he sexually assaulted his best friend's daughter. The charges were dismissed in October.

    Norwalk police have not elaborated on the circumstances surrounding Santo's termination, but cited him for failing to uphold police manual requirements, including violation of rules, conformance to laws, incompetence, unbecoming conduct and intervention.

    "After reviewing the results of the internal investigation, I found just cause for termination based upon the totality of the facts and circumstances," Norwalk Police Chief Tom Kulhawik said in a statement Tuesday.

    Santo was terminated Monday.


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    A 58-year-old man caught robbing a bank in Meriden in September has admitted to the crime, and federal prosecutors said it wasn't his first offense.

    Authorities took Michael Maslar into custody as he was running to a taxi after robbing the TD Bank on East Main Street in Meriden on Sept. 22, according to the U.S. attorney's office.

    Federal prosecutors said Maslar, who has two federal convictions for prior bank robberies and has also been convicted of involuntary manslaughter and assault, pleaded guilty in federal court Tuesday to one count of bank robbery.

    Maslar wore a pillowcase over his head and told bank tellers he had a gun. He demanded $50 and $100 bills and ran off with $5,658 before police caught him, according to the U.S. attorney's office.

    Police said they found him with a money pouch filled with cash, a mask and gloves.

    Maslar will be sentenced on federal charges June 2 and could face up to 20 years in prison.

    He was previously sentenced to 165 months in prison for robbing a bank in Meriden on Sept. 11, 2001 and was released in January 2014.



    Photo Credit: Meriden Police Department

    Michael Masler, 58, has admitted to robbing a bank in Meriden last September.Michael Masler, 58, has admitted to robbing a bank in Meriden last September.

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    Community members crowded into the Farmington police station Tuesday afternoon to say goodbye to Drak, an ace police dog retiring to the home of his handler after nine years of service.

    "There are more people here for Drak's retirement than ours, so he's obviously much more popular than us," joked Farmington Police Chief Paul Melanson.

    Melanson highlighted Drak's accomplishments, describing the K-9's first week on the job, when Drak tracked a bank robber to a home where he was holding a woman hostage.

    "From then on, it was just amazing the type of police dog he was. But really, that's just the beginning of Drak, is the police work," Melanson said. "It is rare when you get a dog that can do not only the police work but also the community relations work."

    He said Drak was a big hit at local schools, where secretaries kept treats in their drawers and nurses called him by name.

    "The way he interacted with the kids at the schools was absolutely amazing to me," Melanson said of the 11-year-old K-9.

    The chief also praised Drak's partner, Officer Joe Capodiferro, saying the K-9's success "is a testament to not only Drak but to the handler."

    The two have been inseparable, spending full days in Capodiferro's cruiser and putting in more than 7,500 hours training over nearly a decade of work together. Melanson said the K-9 has always been "willing to put his life on the line in a moment's notice to help protect Joe."

    Although they'll no longer be partners at work, the K-9 and his human counterpart are still a team. Drak will live out the rest of his days at home with Capodiferro, surrounded by love and spoiled with treats.

    "It's been quite phenomenal to be with a dog with such versatility," said Capodiferro. "It's different being in the car and not having him near me; I'm not used to him not being behind me."

    Capodiferro said he plans to follow Drak's lead and serve another year and a half with the police department before retiring himself.

    Drak and Capodiferro will pass the torch to the department's new K-9 officer Ryker and his partner Officer Kyle Mortensen.



    Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

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    A first grade teacher at the Frank A. Berry Elementary School in Bethel and former "Rookie Teacher of the Year" has been charged with sexually assaulting three boys between the ages of 6 and 11.

    Brian Stroh, 30, of New Fairfield, is accused of inappropriate touching and has been charged with three counts of fourth-degree sexual assault and three counts of risk of injury.

    One victim is a 6-year-old boy, another is a 9-year-old boy and the third is an 11-year-old boy, according to state police.  

    Stroh was arrested Monday and appeared in court on Tuesday, where he was ordered to have no contact with minors, the victims or their families.

    Stroh has a history of mental illness, according to statements made in court on Tuesday. He spent the last 11 days in a mental institution in New York and is taking several medications. Defense attorney Kevin Chamberlin said Stroh needs continuous psychological treatment.

    "While current information indicates that Mr. Stroh's alleged activities took place away from school, these allegations are deeply troubling," Bethel superintendent Dr. Christine Carver wrote in a letter to parents, guardians and staff members on Tuesday.

    Bethel Public Schools schools learned of the allegations against Stroh on Feb. 19. He was immediately placed on paid administrative leave, but resigned on the same day and the school district has had no contact with him since, according to Carver.

    According to the superintendent, Stroh was an intern and student teacher for Bethel Public Schools in 2009 and started teaching for Bethel Public Schools in 2011. Carver said Stroh was also previously named "Rookie Teacher of the Year."

    "At no time during Mr. Stroh's tenure in Bethel did we have reason to suspect that he was engaged in any illegal or inappropriate behavior," a question and answer sheet from the schools says. "He had no disciplinary actions in his personnel file, and no reports from staff members claiming to have witnessed inappropriate behavior."

    Stroh is being held on $250,000 bond.



    Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

    A first grade teacher at the Frank A. Berry Elementary School in Bethel who resigned over allegations of engaging in A first grade teacher at the Frank A. Berry Elementary School in Bethel who resigned over allegations of engaging in "inappropriate activities with minor children" has been charged with sexually assaulting three boys between the ages of 6 and 11.

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    A Connecticut woman nearly lost an eye and can’t turn her head after a slab of concrete from an overpass fell and smashed into her car on Interstate 95 in Westchester last week.

    Myra Flores, of Stamford, was sitting in the passenger’s seat of her husband’s car and was headed north on the highway on Saturday when a chunk of concrete crumbled down and crashed through the windshield near Larchmont, New York, sending shards of glass and rock pieces into her face.

    "When I was in the moment I wasn't so concerned about my face. I was more concerned about my eye because I just had so much pain," Flores says. "I could hear glass breaking and I could hear the wind coming in through the windshield. I couldn't open my eyes and I couldn't talk."

    Flores, who was weeks away from graduating from nursing school at the time of the accident, had to get 15 stitches to hold her right eye shut after doctors pulled pieces of gravel and glass from it. She says she cannot turn her head without pain shooting through her body.

    Flores expects to learn in a few days if her vision has been damaged. Then she will have to consider whether her planned career in nursing remains a viable one.

    Though she was badly injured, and those injuries may have lasting repercussions, Flores says she is fortunate.

    "As a mother, even though I was going through the situation, I was grateful that my children weren't in the car," Flores says. "I can't imagine another human being going through what I'm going through now."

    Road crews worked on the scene near the accident Tuesday. NBC 4 New York has reached out to the New York State Thruway Authority for comment. 


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    A driver pumping gas at a Sonoco station in Wallingford narrowly escaped harm when the gas station canopy collapsed onto his car Tuesday afternoon.

    Footage from the scene shows debris covering his car. Emergency crews responding to the gas station at the intersection of River Road and Route 150 peeled a pile of twisted metal from the car, and when they were done, the man drove off.

    Gas station owner Rashid Sherwani said the driver was very fortunate.

    "Thank God, luckily, we didn't have many cars right now. Just had one car at pump No. 6 over there. The gentleman was... pumping gas when a portion of the canopy fell on his car," said Sherwani. "But he didn't get a scratch."

    Sherwani said 5-6 inches of snow accumulated on top of the canopy should not have been enough to cause the collapse.

    The gas station pumps are closed while repairmen work to fix the damage.

    Check back for updates on this developing story.



    Photo Credit: Viewer Photo

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    Gov. Dannel P. Malloy has "weak support" from Democrats, women and young voters, according to the latest Quinnipiac poll released Wednesday.

    Poll participants identified the economy and jobs as the top priority they'd like to see Malloy and lawmakers focus on, followed by taxes as the second highest priority.

    "Gov. Dannel Malloy starts his second term in the hole.  It is the first time he has been in negative territory since a June 2012 poll," Quinnipiac University Poll Director Douglas Schwartz said on Quinnipiac's website. 

    Of the people who took the poll, 50 percent of Connecticut voters said they are optimistic about the rest of Malloy's term, 44 percent have a negative outlook on the next four years, according to the Quinnipiac poll.

    "Half of Connecticut voters say they are optimistic about the next four years with Gov. Malloy," Schwartz said. "But 44 percent remain gloomy, probably because of the economy. About two thirds say the economy is in bad shape, and only about 1 in 5 says it's getting better."

    About 45 percent of women approve of Malloy and 43 percent don't in comparison to men, who disapprove 52 to 40 percent, the poll states. His approval rating with Democrats was 64 to 22 percent in comparison to a 78 to 17 percent disapproval rating from Republicans and 54 to 36 percent for independent voters, according to the poll.

    "When a Democrat scores only 64 percent among Democrats and is under 50 percent among the base, women and young people, you know he is in trouble," Schwartz said.

    According to the poll, 47 percent are "very" or "somewhat" satisfied with how things are in the state and 53 percent are "somewhat" or "very" dissatisfied, the poll states.

    You can read the full poll on Quinnipiac's website.


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    The mother of a credit union executive who police said was ordered to withdraw money while what appeared to be a bomb was attached to him says she found her son lying face down in the garage in their Bristol home with his hands tied behind his back.

    Valerie Yussman told police she and her son were taken into the house at gunpoint during the home invasion last month. Police said the intruders were cloaked in dark clothing, ski masks and ski goggles.

    The Hartford Courant reports that the search warrant was unsealed on Tuesday and police took Matthew Yussman's cell phone, a suitcase and other items.

    The Record-Journal has reported that according to a warrant, Valerie Yussman overheard the two assailants saying they owed money to people "and if they do not pay, they would be killed."

    According to the affidavit, the men asked Yussman for $4 million, but he said he could only give them $1 million.

    On the morning of Monday, Feb. 23, Yussman called his boss’ cellphone, said a bomb was strapped to him, warned him about what was about to happen and urged him to evacuate the bank, according to the 911 calls.

    The warrants say police determined the explosive devices were fake.

    The intruders remain at large.


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    The majority of Connecticut voters who took the latest Quinnipiac poll released Wednesday are in favor of legalizing possession of small amounts of marijuana for recreational use for adults.

    Of the poll participants, 63 percent said adults should be allowed to have a small amount of pot "for personal use" and 34 disapproved, according to the poll.

    Also, 67 percent of participants said that that they would approve of decreasing penalties for possessing small amounts of illegal drugs from a felony to a misdemeanor, according to the poll. Poll participants also favored taking away mandatory minimum sentences for possessing small amounts of illegal drugs 82 to 15 percent, which would allow it to be to judges' discretion depending on the case, according to the poll.

    Read the full poll results on Quinnipiac's website.



    Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images

    Stock photo (Photo credit should read DESIREE MARTIN/AFP/Getty Images)Stock photo (Photo credit should read DESIREE MARTIN/AFP/Getty Images)

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    A majority of Connecticut voters who took the Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday oppose having to pay toll on state highways.

    There was a 61 to 36 percent opposition to adding tolls to the highways from poll participants of all ages, genders and party affiliations, according to the poll.

    However, if tolls were added and the funds were spent on repairing state roads and bridges, voters overall would support it 59 to 40 percent, according to the poll results.

    You can read the full poll results on Quinnipiac's website.



    Photo Credit: Eric King/NBC 5 News

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    A large pothole on Interstate 95 north between the state line for New York and exit 2 has been causing problems on the highway on the Connecticut side on Wednesday morning, according to state police.

    Several vehicles were delayed as a result of the pothole, state police said.

    There were also unknown debris between exits 4 and 5 before the Mianus bridge, according to state police. 

    Drivers in that area are advised to use caution and expect delays.



    Photo Credit: DOT

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    Norwalk police have arrested a teen suspected in the stabbing of a 22-year-old man last week.

    The stabbing happened on the afternoon of March 3. Police said they responded to a large fight at the corner of South Main Street and Grove Street at 2:45 p.m. on that Tuesday afternoon and found a 22-year-old man seriously injured after being stabbed. The victim was transported to Norwalk Hospital and police began investigating.

    Police initially charged Nasir Hilliard, 18, of Norwalk, and three other people with second-degree breach of peace, but Hilliard has now been charged with first-degree assault.

    Police obtained an arrest warrant for Hilliard, who turned himself in to detectives at Norwalk Police Headquarters on Tuesday.

    Hilliard is being held on a $250,000 court-set bond and is due in court on March 18.
     



    Photo Credit: Norwalk Police

    Nasir Hilliard has been charged in a Norwalk stabbing.Nasir Hilliard has been charged in a Norwalk stabbing.

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    The majority of Connecticut voters support physician assisted suicide for terminally ill patients, according to a Quinnipiac University poll release on Wednesday.

    Of the participants who took the poll, 63 percent supported allowing doctors to prescribe doses of lethal drugs "to help terminally ill patients end their own lives," the poll said.

    The topic hit the national spotlight and became a controversial talking point when a terminally ill cancer patient named Brittany Maynard, 29, opted to end her life on Nov. 1, 2014 under the Death with Dignity Act in Oregon.

    "Connecticut has been a leader in personal choice at all phases of life, and this poll shows that support for aid-in-dying is not just strong, but growing from 61 percent in 2014 to 63 percent today," Tim Appleton, the Connecticut campaign director for Compassion & Choices, said in a statement. "The Quinnipiac Poll supports what polls across the country, and here in Connecticut have shown for several years - that a solid majority of residents support policies that would give terminally ill, mentally competent individuals the right to choose aid-in-dying."

    Connecticut voters in all age groups, genders and party affiliations supported assisted suicide for terminally ill patients. People older than 55 supported it 59 to 34 percent, according to the poll.

    Read the full poll results on Quinnipiac's website.


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  • 03/11/15--15:41: JRW Considers Leaving League

  • Chicago's Jackie Robinson West Little League team may leave the Little League International and join another baseball league after a controversy surrounding alleged residency violations left the team stripped of its championship title this year.

    The team’s attorney announced the move Wednesday, saying the 300 to 400 youth players and 90 to 100 parent volunteers will explore the possibility of joining the Cal Ripken- Babe Ruth League. The new league offers similar services as Little League International.

    “JRW parents and coaches feel strongly that Little League International inappropriately treated JRW children and parent volunteers, especially when Little League intentionally decided to announce the proposed change regarding the championship title to their corporate partner, ESPN, before speaking with JRW parents, coaches and children,” the team said in a statement. “This insensitive act by Little League International is a critical factor affecting JRW’s decision to explore other opportunities.”

    Earlier this year, Little League spokesman Brian McClintock announced the news of the vacated title, saying an investigation revealed that Coach Darold Butler and Illinois District 4 Administrator Michael Kelly knowingly violated rules by using a falsified boundary map for their 2014 tournament and used players who didn't qualify because they lived outside the team's actual boundaries.

    The team’s attorney, Victor Henderson, said the players, parents and the team’s leaders were unaware of the league’s decision until they saw it in the media.

    "Little League International received Jackie Robinson West Little League’s charter application in early December," Little League said in a statemwnt Wednesday. "We have not had further communication with them regarding the 2015 season."



    Photo Credit: distractyourface/Instagram

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    Hartford police arrested at least eight people Tuesday and charges are pending for another man in an undercover narcotics investigation.

    Jazzrey Feliciano, 25, of Hartford, Janice Pagano, 43, of Groton, Luis Perez, 58, of Hartford, Angela Mercado, 34, of Hartford, Felipe Rodriguez, 34, Hartford, Geraldo Santiago, 26, of Hartford, and Johnny Monarski, 39, of Norwich, are among the people arrested. Police are also working on obtaining a warrant to arrest Hector Serrano, 45, of Hartford, who is also a suspect in an armed robbery.

    After the police received several complaints from residents about drug dealing activity on the streets in the area of Park Street and Hungerford Street, the department's Vice and Narcotics Unit and South Conditions Officers conducted an undercover operation Tuesday to address it.

    After surveying the area and identifying possible narcotics dealers and customers, police arrested the eight individuals and are also expecting to charge Serrano, police said.

    Police seized heroin and a gun and said they also received "valuable information regarding the recent shooting." Police did not specify which shooting.

    Feliciano was charged with sale of narcotics, sale of narcotic within 1,500 feet of a school, possession of narcotics, possession of a controlled substance, Pagano was charged with possession of narcotics, Perez was charged with possession of narcotics, Mercado was charged with possession of narcotics, sale of narcotics, sale of narcotics within 1,500 feet of a school, Rodriguez was charged with carrying a pistol without a permit, criminal possession of a firearm, weapons in a motor vehicle, possession of a controlled substance, possession with intent to sell a controlled substance, Santiago was charged with sale of narcotics within 1,500 feet of a school and possession of narcotics, Monarski was charged with failure to wear a seatbelt, possession of narcotics and operating a motor vehicle without a license, and Souer was charged with possession of narcotics.

    Serrano is facing pending charges of possession of narcotics and possession of drug paraphernalia.



    Photo Credit: Hartford Police Department

    Hartford police arrested at least eight people Tuesday and charges are pending for another man in an undercover narcotics investigation.Hartford police arrested at least eight people Tuesday and charges are pending for another man in an undercover narcotics investigation.

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    Drivers were stuck on Interstate 84 for hours on Wednesday morning and school buses were late in Southington after a tractor-trailer hauling paper flipped over on the eastbound side of the highway in Plainville.

    Police shut down two lanes of Interstate 84 East around 2 a.m. after the truck flipped over, sending paper all over the road, and the lanes remained closed through the morning commute.

    Drivers, including Vanessa Whitaker, took detours to avoid traffic, but that did not save much time.

    Whitaker's commute from Waterbury to Southington still took three times as long as it should because she got stuck in more traffic on the back roads.

    The backup extended to Cheshire, and another crash on 691 East just before the Interstate 91 split added to the delays.

    Residual delays also clogged Queen Street in Southington, which led to school buses delays.

    Police expect the lane closures to continue through the morning rush on this foggy Wednesday morning.

    Fortunately, no injuries are reported in the crash. 

    Crews are cleaning up the scene.


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    Craig James, a former New England Patriots running back, said Satan inspired his former team to urge the Supreme Court to legalize same-sex marriage. 

    "If I were a current player in that locker room and my livelihood depended on me being quiet or losing it because of my belief system, I worry, I wonder. So, that's Satan working on us," James said during an interview on Friday on Family Research Council President Tony Perkins' radio show.

    The Patriots are among hundreds of U.S. businesses, including San Francisco Giants and Tampa Bay Rays, that submitted a brief with the high court in support of allowing same-sex marriage nationwide. The Supreme Court will hear arguments on the case April 28 with a decision expected this summer.

    James said in the interview Patriots and other teams risk sparking an "implosion" in the locker room if they continue to voice support for gay rights.

    "A locker room is a cohesive deal," James, who now works for the Family Research Council, a conservative Christian group and lobbying organization, told Perkins. "A locker room is a place where everybody has different belief systems but you just get along. In my opinion, I look forward to seeing now, if management tells you and the coaching staff tells you that you better not say anything about the other side, you talk about implosion in the locker room."

    Massachusetts was the first U.S. state to legalize gay marriage.

    James has expressed his anti-gay viewpoint in the past. During his failed bid for U.S. Senate in 2012, he said homosexuality is a choice and that he “will never ride in a gay parade.”

    He was fired as an analyst by Fox Sports in 2013 for the anti-gay comments he made during the campaign.

    Click here to listen to James' interview from Right Wing Watch.



    Photo Credit: FILE - Getty Images

    College football analyst Craig James attends the Time Warner Cable Media Upfront Event College football analyst Craig James attends the Time Warner Cable Media Upfront Event "Summertime Is Cable Time" on May 12, 2011 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Christopher Blumenshine/Getty Images)

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    A Bridgeport correction officer has pleaded not guilty to manslaughter charges in the hit-and-run crash that killed a mom and injured her 11-year-old son in Bridgeport in December.

    Patricia Daniels, 46, of Bridgeport, was charged her with second-degree manslaughter, risk of injury to a minor and evading responsibility and has pleaded not guilty. 

    A spokesperson for the Department of Correction said Daniels has served as a correction officer with the Bridgeport Correctional Center since 1998 and would be placed on administrative leave in light of her arrest.

    Police said they tracked down Daniels' white BMW X3 SUV in December and linked it to the crash that killed 51-year-old Evelyn Agyei, a mother of three, and injured her 11-year-old son in early December.

    Surveillance footage showed the BMW striking Agyei's Subaru several times, forcing her car off the road and into a tree, and Agyei's son told investigators the car "rammed" their vehicle repeatedly, according to police.

    Police said Daniels admitted to driving on Boston Avenue the morning of the crash and told investigators she checked herself into Saint Vincent's Medical Center for a psychiatric evaluation.

    Daniels lives less than half a mile from the scene. A relative leaving her home Wednesday evening declined to comment and said Daniels would not comment on the case.

    "All I want to say to her is when she faces a judge, she should come out with the truth," Jonathan Agyei said.

    She's been released on bond and is due back in court on April 2.



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

    Patricia Daniels, 46, has been charged with manslaughter in connection with the hit-and-run crash that killed a mom and hurt her son last month in Bridgeport.Patricia Daniels, 46, has been charged with manslaughter in connection with the hit-and-run crash that killed a mom and hurt her son last month in Bridgeport.

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    The service plaza on I-95 southbound in Fairfield is scheduled to reopen on Thursday.

    Of Connecticut's 23 rest stops, the Fairfield plaza marks the 20th in the state to be renovated, complete with McDonald's, Subway, Dunkin' Donuts, an Alltown Convenience Store and an ExxonMobil gas station, according to a news release from Project Service LLC. The company has a 35-year contract with the state to renovate all of Connecticut's rest stops.

    “Our Connecticut Service Plaza team is excited to provide great food choices, clean restrooms, fuel and convenience to the large number of travelers who pass through the Fairfield area,” Paul Landino, president and CEO of Project Service, said in a written statement. “We have completed twenty of the service plazas so far, and look forward to continuing to serve those traveling on Connecticut’s highways as we work to renovate the remaining service plazas in the state.”

    The upgrades to the rest area included "green" features that other renovated service centers in the state have been outfitted with like "photovoltaic" solar panels, restrooms that are water-efficient, insulation and lighting that's energy-efficient, as well as new heating and air conditioning units according to the release.

    All of the state's service plaza's are open 24 hours a day.



    Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

    The service plaza on I-95 southbound in Fairfield is scheduled to reopen on Thursday.The service plaza on I-95 southbound in Fairfield is scheduled to reopen on Thursday.

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    Stafford High School was evacuated Wednesday afternoon while school officials investigated a suspicious note, according to the superintendent’s office.

    Students were brought to the public library, then Stafford Elementary School. They have since returned to the high school and will be dismissed from there, the superintendent said.

    Dismissal from Stafford High School and Stafford Middle School will be delayed 30 to 45 minutes, according to the superintendent.

    Country Road was blocked off during the investigation, but all roads reopened by about 2:30 p.m., the superintendent's office said.

    No additional information was immediately available.

    Updates are available on the Stafford Board of Education website.



    Photo Credit: NBC 5 News

    Stafford High School has been evacuated because of a suspicious note, according to the superintendent’s office.Stafford High School has been evacuated because of a suspicious note, according to the superintendent’s office.

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