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    The New York Stock Exchange is being sold to a rival exchange for about $8 billion, ending more than two centuries of independence for the iconic Big Board.

    IntercontinentalExchange Inc., an upstart exchange based in Atlanta, said Thursday that NYSE Euronext Inc. shareholders can chose to receive either $33.12 in cash, .2581 IntercontinentalExchange Inc. shares, or a combination of $11.27 in cash plus .1703 shares of stock.

    The deal has been approved by the boards of both companies, but would have to be approved by regulators.

    Last year, IntercontinentalExchange and Nasdaq OMX Group Inc. made a failed $11 billion bid to buy NYSE Euronext.

    Earlier this year, European regulators blocked Deutsche Boerse AG from buying NYSE Euronext.



    Photo Credit: AP

    The owner of the New York Stock Exchange is being bought by InterContinental Exchange for $8.2 billion.The owner of the New York Stock Exchange is being bought by InterContinental Exchange for $8.2 billion.

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    A season that should be a time of joy has been marked by heart-wrenching loss in Newtown, as more victims from the massacre of 20 children and six adults are laid to rest.

    On Thursday, five funerals and six wakes were planned, and more tributes were scheduled for Friday and Saturday.

    At least nine funerals and wakes were held Wednesday for those who died when gunman Adam Lanza, armed with a military-style assault rifle, broke into Sandy Hook Elementary School Friday and opened fire. Lanza killed his mother at her home before the attack and committed suicide at the school as police closed in.

    "The first few days, all you heard were helicopters," said Dr. Joseph Young, an optometrist who attended one funeral and would go to several more. "Now at my office all I hear is the rumble of motorcycle escorts and funeral processions going back and forth throughout the day."

    At St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church on Wednesday, mourners arrived for Caroline Previdi, an auburn-haired 6-year-old with an impish smile, before the service had even ended for Daniel Barden, a 7-year-old who dreamed of being a firefighter.

    "It's sad to see the little coffins," said the Rev. John Inserra, a Catholic priest who worked at St. Rose for years before transferring to a church in Greenwich.

    "It's always hard to bury a child," Inserra said of the seemingly unrelenting cycle of sorrow and loss. "God didn't do this. God didn't allow this. We allowed it. He said, 'Send the little children to me.' But he didn't mean it this way."

    Hundreds of firefighters formed a long blue line outside the church for Daniel's funeral. Two of his relatives work at the Fire Department of New York, and the gap-toothed redhead had wanted to join their ranks one day.

    At Caroline's funeral, mourners wore pink ties and scarves — her favorite color — and remembered her as a New York Yankees fan who liked to kid around. "Silly Caroline" was how she was known to neighbor Karen Dryer.

    "She's just a girl that was always smiling, always wanting others to smile," Dryer said.

    Across town, at Christ the King Lutheran Church, hundreds gathered for the funeral of Charlotte Helen Bacon, many wearing buttons picturing the 6-year-old redhead. Speakers, including her grandfather, told of her love of wild animals, the family's golden retriever and the color pink.

    She was "a beautiful little girl who could be a bit stubborn at times, just like all children," said Danbury resident Linda Clark as she left the service.

    And in nearby Stratford, family and friends gathered to say goodbye to Victoria Soto, a first-grade teacher hailed as a hero for trying to shield her students, some of whom escaped. Musician Paul Simon, a family friend, performed "The Sound of Silence" at the service.

    "She had the perfect job. She loved her job," said Vicky Ruiz, a friend since first grade.

    In Woodbury, a line of colleagues, students and friends of slain Sandy Hook Principal Dawn Hochsprung, 47, wrapped around the block to pay their respects to the administrator, who rushed the gunman in an effort to stop him and paid with her life. U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan attended the service.

    "She loved kids. She'd do anything to help them and protect them," said Joann Opulski, of Roxbury.

    The symbol of Christmas took on a new meaning in Newtown, where one memorial featured 26 Christmas trees — one for each victim at the school.

    Edward Kish said he bought a Christmas tree two days before the shooting but hasn't had the heart to put it up or decorate it.

    "I'll still put it up, probably," he said. "It doesn't seem right, and it doesn't seem like Christmas."



    Photo Credit: AP

    A child peers through firefighters standing as the procession heads to the cemetery outside the funeral for school shooting victim Daniel Gerard Barden at St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church in Newtown, Conn., on Wednesday.A child peers through firefighters standing as the procession heads to the cemetery outside the funeral for school shooting victim Daniel Gerard Barden at St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church in Newtown, Conn., on Wednesday.

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    Some Michigan schools will be shuttered on Friday, but it's not for snow.

    Schools in three Michigan counties are canceling classes Thursday and Friday, with one of them citing fears of violence after the Connecticut school shooting — as well as rumors of the end of the world, per the Mayan calendar.

    The superintendent of one Lapeer County school district said he didn't want to stoke the rumors with the school closings but thought it would be counterproductive to have school in session in light of them.

    The schools had already been inundated by calls from concerned parents, many of whom planned to keep their children home from school Friday anyway, said Matt Wandrie, superintendent of Lapeer Community Schools.

    "Given the recent events in Connecticut, there have been numerous rumors circulating in our district, and in neighboring districts, about potential threats of violence against students. Additionally, rumors connected to the Mayan calendar predicted end of the world on Friday have also surfaced," he said in a letter posted on the district's blog Monday.

    "Our communities are anxious, parents are concerned about the safety of their children, there are rumors that have multiplied as a result of social media, and there are threats within local districts that bring pause as to whether conducting classes would be appropriate," the Genessee Intermediate School District said in its own statement obtained by MLive.

    Those fears were stoked after a false text message report of shots fired at a high school in a Flint suburb prompted a 911 call, a police response and a school lockdown.

    Winter break was supposed to have begun after Friday for the affected school districts and last until the new year. With this week's school closures, students will not return to school until January.


    Dozens of Michigan school districts are canceling classes Thursday over fears about school shootings and the apocalypse.Dozens of Michigan school districts are canceling classes Thursday over fears about school shootings and the apocalypse.

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    Newark Mayor Cory Booker says he will not challenge New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie in next year's gubernatorial race and will instead explore a run for U.S. Senate in 2014.
     
    Booker, in a video posted to his YouTube page Thursday, said he would finish his term as mayor and "explore the possibility of running for the United States Senate in 2014."
     
    NBC 4 New York was first to report the decision Thursday.
     
    Booker says he will consult with Democrat Frank Lautenberg, the 88-year-old senator whose term is up in 2014 and is the oldest serving senator.
     
    "It would be a privilege, an honor, to continue his legacy of service," Booker said.
     
    Lautenberg spokesman Caley Gray said in a statement that the senator was focused on disaster relief and gun control and did not have time to talk about "political distractions."

    Booker's decision not to challenge Christie comes as the Republican incumbent enjoys record-high approval ratings in polls taken since Sandy hit the Garden State.
     
    Many Democrats considered Booker, the two-term mayor of Newark, to be their best chance to take on the popular Christie. 

     



    Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images

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    Meriden police said they have recovered a stolen Bushmaster assault rifle and ammunition.

    Police on Wednesday found two loaded 30-round magazines and a loaded 10-round magazine in a residence on Kensington Avenue.

    Waldemar Nieves lives in the apartment where police found the weapon beneath a bed. He was arrested and charged with possession of a stolen firearm and hindering prosecution.

    Nieves was ordered held on $150,000 bail.

    Police said detectives learned the rifle, stolen from Coventry in 2009, was to be sold on Thursday.

    Spokesman Sgt. Darrin McKay called it a "great take off the streets." The shooter who killed 20 children and six adults at a Newtown school last Friday was believed to have used a Bushmaster rifle.

    It was not known if the 26-year-old Nieves is represented by a lawyer.
     


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    Connecticut's chief medical examiner said arrangements are being made out of state for the burial of the mother of Adam Lanza, the man who fatally shot 20 children and six adults in a Newtown elementary school.

    The New Haven Register reports (http://bit.ly/T9lc3X ) that Dr. H. Wayne Carver said a funeral home outside Connecticut wants to claim the body of Nancy Lanza, who was shot last Friday by her son shortly before he headed to Sandy Hook Elementary School where he went on a deadly rampage.

    Carver said he doesn't know the name of the funeral home, but said police in New Hampshire are fielding questions from the media. Nancy Lanza once lived in New Hampshire and her brother is a retired police captain in Kingston, N.H.

    Carver wouldn't say whether Adam Lanza's body remains unclaimed.
     


    This photo was taken of Nancy Lanza during the summer of 2012. Her sister-in-law, Marsha Lanza, of Crystal Lake, Ill., provided the photo from Lanza's Facebook page.This photo was taken of Nancy Lanza during the summer of 2012. Her sister-in-law, Marsha Lanza, of Crystal Lake, Ill., provided the photo from Lanza's Facebook page.

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    On Friday, December 14, 2012, our beautiful daughter, Josephine Grace Gay, was killed in an unimaginable tragedy at her elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut. Joey, many of her friends, teachers, and school staff members were taken from our loving community. Joey turned 7 three days prior to this tragedy and was looking forward to celebrating at her birthday party with many of these friends the next day.

    Although our family is devastated, we are deeply comforted in the knowledge that she is no longer scared or hurting and rests in the arms of our Savior, Jesus Christ. It is through His sufficient grace that we are able to get through this. Our innocent, trusting little girl stared into the face of unimaginable evil and overcame it in Christ. She was not alone in her courage.

    Our small, close-knit community acted instantly. First responders from our town and those surrounding quickly removed surviving children and staff members from the scene. Connecticut state troopers have tended to our families around the clock, surrounding us with protection and compassion. Neighbors, religious communities, townspeople, and professionals are providing the care and love that we are so in need of now. We see this movement grow daily with acts of love and kindness pouring in from around the country and the world. We see how evil is defeated.

    Since Joey's passing, we have received many media requests for our story and for pictures of our daughter. Although we are protecting our family’s privacy during this time of healing, we believe it is important to share some of Joey's story. It will help us if others know what a special person she was and how she inspired everyone she met.Joey was autistic and severely apraxic. She could not

    speak, yet she touched the lives of so many around her: teachers, therapists, friends, neighbors, all loved and cherished her. Joey was social and affectionate; she smiled, she loved hugs, and she even had a wonderful sense of humor. Her spirit was indomitable. She participated in rigorous therapy and treatment on a daily basis without complaint. She loved to play with her Barbie dolls, iPad, and computer, swim, swing, and be anywhere her sisters were.

    Josephine loved the color purple. Born in Maryland, she grew up in a family of Ravens fans and developed an affinity for all things purple. She rarely left the house without wearing something purple. After her passing, many friends who visited wore purple clothing to honor her. On Saturday a family friend tied purple balloons on the mailboxes on our street, and on Sunday the neighborhood children and her sisters and cousins released purple balloons with written messages of love to her in heaven.

    We will not let this tragedy define her life. Instead, we will honor her inspiring and generous spirit. We have established Joey’s Fund in her name through the Doug Flutie, Jr. Foundation for Autism. The proceeds of this fund will help families raising autistic children. It’s our way of dealing with this pain and never letting go of her love.

    Many people have reached out to us asking to provide help or support. We ask that, if you are able, please contribute to Joey's Fund, and if you are so inclined, please wear purple on Saturday.

    Bob and Michele Gay

    How to donate:
    Online: Doug Flutie Foundation

    On the donation page please select “in Memory of” and type “Joey’s Fund” in the box for “acknowledgement/address and comments,”

    By Mail:
    Send checks to:
    The Doug Flutie, Jr. Foundation for Autism
    Specify “In Memory of Josephine Gay” on the check.
    Mailing address:
    The Doug Flutie, Jr. Foundation for Autism
    PO Box 767
    Framingham, MA 01701


    Joey Gay was killed in the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown.Joey Gay was killed in the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown.

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    A blanket of sorrow hovers over Newtown, but people from all over are reaching out with acts of kindness because they want to help a community grieving after the school shooting.

    Someone from Virginia called Demitasse Cafe in Sandy Hook and donated $1,000 dollars to pay for every cup of coffee a Sandy Hook local orders.

    Ana Tipton said she is truly moved by the random acts of kindness from strangers miles away.

    "She wants me to put a sign in the window that says from Richmond Virginia families to Sandy Hook families," Tipton said. “People that are far away don't know what else to do and everyone is really affected by this and felt they had to do something.”

    Kindness is also pouring in to Newtown General Store on Main Street.

    It started with Tom Cavanaugh, a New Jersey native who now lives in Los Angeles and works as a dispatcher for the Cal State Northridge police department. (You can read his story here.)

    "People calling from all over the country. It started with a 911 dispatcher from Los Angeles who said he wanted to buy 100 cups of coffee for the next hundred people who walk in," said Peter Leone, who owns the shop.

    "It's been mind blowing," he said.

    After the coffee donation, Theresa Fronheiser, of Newnam, Georgia donated a bucket full of candy. She is a registered nurse, according to her LinkedIn page.

    "It's being well received. You see they get it and they stop and then wonder why is someone from around the country giving me a donut or a cookie and then it hits them and you see that it touches them," Leone.

    Leone said this helps this devastated community begin to heal.

    "It’s definitely pushing us to move forward and this town is resilient. They're going to come out OK," Leone said.


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    Bridgeport police said they closed down 10 illegal massage parlors in the city during a daylong sweep on Wednesday.

    “As a community and police department we won’t tolerate these types of establishments,” Police Chief Joe Gaudett said in a statement from police. “Prostitution is not a victimless crime. It frays the fabric of our community, both for residents and nearby merchants.”

    The city’s narcotics and vice squad conducted the raid, with assistance from the State Police Statewide Narcotics Task Force and the city Health Department.

    State law requires all massage parlors, managers and masseuses to be licensed by the state and the city has an ordinance as well.

    “These laws are now on the books and they will be strictly enforced,” Mayor Bill Finch said in a statement from police. “It’s a quality of life issue. People going to a restaurant for a family dinner shouldn’t be exposed this type of activity next door or down the street.”

    According to police Capt. A.J. Perez, the supervisor of the narcotics and vice squad, none of the 10 parlors or the women working there had the required documents, leading to all being closed down by the Health Department.

    “These places are houses of prostitution. There’s no one licensed at any of them to give an actual massage,” Gaudett said.

    Police said one person was arrested on a warrant from Danbury.

    The patrons were from cities and towns throughout Fairfield and New Haven counties.

    The places that were closed down were:

    • Tokyo Spa, 2925 Fairfield Ave.
    • Chate’au, 2662 Fairfield Ave.
    • Silver, 2742 Fairfield Ave.
    • Hawaii Salon, 3486 Fairfield Ave.
    • Osaka, 3941 Main St.
    • American Asian Modeling, 3853 Main St.
    • Oriental Health Spa, 2336 Main St.
    • Kay’s Hong Kong, 604 North Ave.
    • Fantasy Studio, 2742 Lindley St.
    • Jasmine Salon, 40 Summerfield Ave.

    Gaudett said the locations will be closely monitored in case they illegally reopen or open under a new name.

    Many of the employees were from Korea and presented driver’s licenses from New York and Pennsylvania, Perez said, while several others were Connecticut residents.

     



    Photo Credit: Getty Images

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    The city of Bridgeport will hold a special gun buy-back event on Saturday, Dec. 22 in an effort to get dangerous weapons off the street and out of homes.

    On Friday morning, Mayor Bill Finch and Police Chief Joe Gaudett will hold a news conference to announce the details.

    According to a news release, nearly $100,000 has been secured from the City of Bridgeport, Bridgeport Housing Authority and private sector donors.

    “Following last week’s tragedy, it has become a national priority to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous individuals,” Mayor Bill Finch, a longtime advocate of stricter gun laws and a member of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, said in a news release. “Chief Gaudett and I are encouraging City residents to turn in their guns so they don’t fall into the wrong person’s hands.”

    Police will offer up to $200 value for a working handgun. People turning in rifles will receive $75. A weapon determined to be an assault-type rifle will be eligible for a higher rate. More details will be released at the press conference on Friday.

    “Every gun that is turned in and destroyed is a gun that can’t end up on the street in the hands of a criminal or in the hands of a young person who could injure himself or someone else,” said police Chief Joe Gaudett.

    The department has a “no questions asked” policy that will allow people to turn in weapons anonymously without fear of being prosecuted for illegal gun possession. BB guns and non-working guns will be accepted but won’t be eligible a gift card. Gun dealers are not eligible to participate.

    People turning in weapons must follow a precise protocol.

    1. Firearms must be delivered unloaded;
    2. Firearms must be put in a clear plastic bag and put into another container (gym bag, backpack, etc);
    3. If depositing ammunition in addition to a firearm, ammunition must be delivered in  separate bag;
    4. If transporting the firearm by car, the firearm must be transported in the trunk of the car;
    5. After the firearm is screened by officers and determined to be a working firearm, a gift card will be given;
    6. Non-operational guns, antiques firearms, BB guns and holsters will be accepted but do not qualify for a gift card.


    New Haven Police will also hold a gun buy-back program over the weekend and have added a second day.
     

    1. After the firearm is screened by officers and determined to be a working firearm, a $50 gift card will be given;
    2. An additional $50 gift card will be exchanged for those firearms identified as assault weapons and/or saw-off shotguns(does not include newly sawed off for the purpose to receive extra gift cards);
    3. Non-operational guns, antiques firearms, BB guns and holsters will be accepted but do not qualify for a gift card.

    The Injury Free Coalition for Kids of New Haven and Yale-New Haven Children’s Hospital’s Injury Prevention Program are sponsoring the special event, which will be held on Dec. 22 and Dec. 29, at the New Haven Police Academy, 710 Sherman Parkway from 10:00am to 4:00pm. The event is open to all CT residents.

    Mayor John DeStefano Jr. is also a member of the Mayors Against Illegal Guns Coalition.




     


    Two Connecticut cities will hold gun buyback events this weekend.Two Connecticut cities will hold gun buyback events this weekend.

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  • 12/20/12--15:51: 2012 in Ninety Seconds
  • From the Costa Concordia disaster, Petraeus scandal and movie theater massacre to President Obama’s re-election, Kate’s baby news and “Gangnam Style,” here’s a look at the biggest stories of the year in 90 seconds.

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    Nothing like a little Christmas capitalism.

    Google this week launched a service designed to compete with Apple -- but for free. Google Music users will be able to store music online in a cloud for free, a service Apple charges $25 for via iTunes Match, according to the Associated Press.

    The service scans a user's hard drive and gives them "online access to the songs it finds," according to reports. Songs on the service's servers can then be accessed, or songs will be uploaded to a user's "online locker," the AP reported.

    Ah, the glory of the cloud.

    iTunes Match offers storage space for 25,000 songs, and Google allows 20,000 songs. Amazon has its own service called Cloud Player, which costs $25 a year for 250,000 songs.

    All three services are competing for shares of the American digital music market. Apple still has 64 percent of all online music sales, compared to 16 percent for Amazon and 5 percent for Google.


    Google is offering a service that's identical to iTunes Match but costs nothing.Google is offering a service that's identical to iTunes Match but costs nothing.

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    Three-time Olympian runner Suzy Favor Hamilton has admitted leading a double life as an escort.

    She apologized Thursday after a report by The Smoking Gun website said she had been working as a prostitute in Las Vegas.

    The 44-year-old Favor Hamilton lives in Madison, Wis. The Smoking Gun said she has been working for the last year for an escort service.

    Soon after the story appeared online, Hamilton released a series of tweets saying in part that she was "drawn to escorting in large part because it provided many coping mechanisms for me when I was going through a very challenging time with my marriage and my life."

    A middle-distance runner, Favor Hamilton competed for the U.S. at the Olympics in 1992, 1996 and 2000 but did not win a medal. She won seven U.S. national titles.



    Photo Credit: AP

    Suzy Favor-Hamilton, seen here leading the pack during a heat of the 1500m race at the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials in 2000, admitted to working as an escort.Suzy Favor-Hamilton, seen here leading the pack during a heat of the 1500m race at the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials in 2000, admitted to working as an escort.

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  • 12/20/12--13:33: Storms Coming
  • A potent storm system will create weather issues for us later tonight and tomorrow.

    So far, this storm has produced several feet of snow in the Rockies, blizzard conditions in the Midwest, severe weather in the south and more snow and wind in the Great Lakes. 

    This system is moving our way, but more importantly, the center will move west of us, keeping us too warm for snow and ice.

    Any time of year, the storms track is key to figuring out what a storm’s impact will be on us. This time of year, it is even more crucial!

    “Lakes Cutters” move across the Great Lakes and into southern Canada, leaving us on the milder side of the storm, bringing us rain, wind and even thunderstorms.

    Having a storm move south or southeast of us allows the cold air to hang tough, bringing snow, ice and wind to Connecticut.  This storm has a ton of moisture, “dynamics” that are producing tornadoes in the south and plenty of wind too.

    Later today, clouds will overspread the state and begin lowering this evening.

    After midnight, rain will begin to move in, possibly starting as a few sleet pellets in the northern part of the state.

    By 5 a.m., I expect the rain to really intensify and up to noon, the possibility of flash flooding, low visibility, and wind damage exists. Wind gusts up to, if not over 50 mph are very possible, creating property damage and even power outages.

    It will turn bright and nicer for the afternoon and dry out for the evening commute.
     



    Photo Credit: Getty Images

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    Newington Police said they received information on Thursday indicating that a student might have made verbal threats regarding Newington High School. After investigating, police said there does not appear to be a credible threat. 

    The information was spread by word of mouth and through social media, according to police. 

    Newington Police and school officials immediately began an investigation, identified those believed to be involved and have determined that at this time there does not appear to be a credible threat to Newington High School, or to any individual student, police said. 

    Police said the investigation is ongoing. 


    Police said a threat about Newington High School has been deemed not credible.Police said a threat about Newington High School has been deemed not credible.

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    If you were to imagine the most ridiculous phone call an NFL general manager could receive, it would probably sound a little something like this: 

    "Hey, Jim, it's Mike Tannenbaum from the Jets. I was just calling to see if you might be interested in making a trade for Mark Sanchez?"

    According to a report in the Daily News, the Jets are ready to trade Sanchez (who you might recall was their unquestioned and unchallenged starting quarterback just a few days ago) after the season. It doesn't include any note of what team is looking for a signal caller who will make north of $8 million (some of which the Jets would assume) next season and lost his job to a seventh-round pick, likely because the XFL went out of business a long, long time ago. 

    Lest you think that's the only bit of wheeling and dealing the Jets will do, they are also reportedly down with trading Tim Tebow. This actually has a chance of happening, although there's zero chance that the Jets will receive the fourth-round pick they paid in an atmosphere that makes it clear they will release him if they can't swing a trade. 

    The Jets haven't come out and said any of this publicly, of course. It's all coming via leaks, which isn't surprising since the Jets love to generate buzz any way they can as long as there's absolutely no chance that buzz will translate to wins on the field. 

    It's even more aggravating listening to Rex Ryan weave imaginary narratives about Tebow's usage and his decision-making on Sanchez -- no one has ever gone from giving a team the "best chance to win" to the bench faster -- during his daily press conferences. All Ryan has done this season is repeatedly underline the fact that the Jets have no plan or clue on offense, which is what got them into this predicament in the first place.

    In an insightful piece for Grantland, Bill Barnwell outlined two possible ways for the Jets to move forward into next season. One is to bolster the players around Sanchez (or Greg McElroy, presumably) and improve the offensive coaching staff while otherwise staying the course with what they've been doing since Ryan got to town. 

    The other is to just blow the whole thing up and start rebuilding from the ground up, a scenario which would include shopping Darrelle Revis, D'Brickashaw Ferguson and anyone else who would net some young talent for the team. Even without knowing who would be the G.M. or the coach, this is a pretty appealing option for a team heading nowhere at present. 

    Unfortunately, what's best for the football team has rarely mattered a whit to the Jets. That's why you're already seeing stories linking them to Michael Vick and will start seeing links to Alex Smith and assorted other quarterbacks who are on the discard pile for a reason. 

    In the case of Vick, that reason is that he turns the ball over at a rate that would seem stunning if you haven't watched Sanchez hand the ball away 50 times over the last two seasons. The Eagles have a terrible offensive line, but the Jets' ain't that hot and the rest of the Eagles offense is light years ahead of what the Jets throw on the field every week. 

    With the right offense and the right coaching, Vick might work out but so might a lot of other guys who aren't magnets for attention. It's hard to think that Vick's on the radar for a reason other than his celebrity and that's basically repeating the Tebow move with the slight change in the groups of people who love or hate the player.

    Well that and the fact that they'd probably actually play Vick. A significant difference, although not nearly as significant as one that actually put the Jets into a place where they are making reasoned and realistic decisions about the direction of their offense.

    There's none on the horizon, but Christmas is the time for miracles.  

    Josh Alper is also a writer for Pro Football Talk. You can follow him on Twitter.



    Photo Credit: Getty Images

    We're not sure what Rex is smiling about, but it is shaping up to be an amusing offseason for the Jets.We're not sure what Rex is smiling about, but it is shaping up to be an amusing offseason for the Jets.

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    A private funeral was held Thursday for the mother of the gunman who killed 20 first-graders and six adults at a Newtown, Conn. elementary school, a New Hampshire police source told NBC News.

    About two dozen family members attended the New Hampshire service for Nancy Lanza, who was shot and killed by her son before he went on the school rampage.

    For full U.S. news coverage, visit NBCNews.com.

    Friends of Nancy Lanza have told NBC 4 New York that she described her son as a very bright, intelligent person, and had mentioned that he had Asperger's, a mild form of autism.

    "I just know she spoke very lovingly of him," John Bergquist, who had known Nancy Lanza for about two years, told NBC 4 New York earlier this week.

    When Nancy Lanza and then-husband Peter Lanza moved to the central Connecticut community in 1998 from southern New Hampshire, they bought a new 3,100-square-foot colonial set on more than two acres in the Bennett's Farm neighborhood.

    Nancy Lanza had previously worked as a stock broker at John Hancock in Boston and her husband was a successful executive.

    Remembering the Sany Hook Victims: Portraits of the Fallen.

    When the couple divorced in 2009, he left their home to Nancy Lanza and told her she would never have to work another day in her life, said Marsha Lanza of Crystal Lake, Ill., Lanza's aunt. The split-up was not acrimonious and Adam spent time with both his mother and father, she said.

    Those who knew Nancy Lanza recall her as very generous, often giving money to those she met and doing volunteer work.

     


    This photo was taken of Nancy Lanza during the summer of 2012. Her sister-in-law, Marsha Lanza, of Crystal Lake, Ill., provided the photo from Lanza's Facebook page.This photo was taken of Nancy Lanza during the summer of 2012. Her sister-in-law, Marsha Lanza, of Crystal Lake, Ill., provided the photo from Lanza's Facebook page.

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    Police are investigating two incidents of attempted child abduction, said officials.

    According to investigators a nine-year-old boy was riding his scooter at the intersection of Beths Ave and Kathern Street at 3:45 p.m., when he was approached by a white male in his 30's.

    The man was inside a green or blue pickup truck and threatened to take the boy if he saw him riding the scooter again, said police.

    In a separate incident, authorities said, another nine-year-old boy was approached by a man driving a dark colored car with tinted windows at 3:50 p.m., around 99 Hiltbrand Road.

    The boy said the driver of the car motioned him to come closer to the vehicles, said police.

    Both boys were not harmed.

    The incidents happened down the street from each other. Police said the boys gave different vehicle descriptions so they do not believe the two incidents are related.

    Anyone with information regarding both incidents are urged to contact Bristol Police at 860-584-3011.



    Photo Credit: NBCWashington.com

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    Church bells across the country rang 26 times Friday morning—one for each of the victims killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School —to mark the one-week anniversary of the Connecticut shootings.

    Gov. Dannel P. Malloy gathered in Newtown with other officials on the steps of the town hall as a bell chimed after each victim's name was read, Five more shooting victims, including three children, were to be buried later in the day.

    Malloy requested participation in the bell-ringing earlier this week from all houses of worship and buildings equipped to carry out the symbolic gesture. He also requested Monday a statewide moment of silence at 9:30 a.m. ET, “exactly one week after the horror began to unfold.”

    Governors from Louisiana to Hawaii to Illinois joined Malloy’s call for a moment to remember the 20 schoolchildren and six faculty members killed in one of the deadliest school shootings in U.S. history.

    The federal government participated as well, with President Obama observing the solemn 9:30 a.m. occasion at the White House. In the immediate aftermath of the Newtown tragedy, Obama vowed "meaningful action" and announced Vice President Joe Biden would lead a group to come up with "concrete proposals" to reduce gun violence by the end of January. Obama said in a web video Friday he was encouraged by a “We the People” petition posted on the White House website calling for more gun control. "We hear you," he told signers of the petition, which has amassed 200,000 supporters. The National Rifle Association, which has been largely silent since the tragedy, was to hold a press conference later in the day. The group promised "meaningful contributions to help make sure this never happens again."

    For full U.S. news coverage, visit NBCNews.com.

    Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, meanwhile, marked Friday's moment of silence at an elementary school in Washington D.C., where he was scheduled to speak at a school safety forum. His visit to Neval Thomas Elementary School is his first public appearance since the shooting last week.

    A group from the technology world planned an Internet-based moment of silence. By Thursday evening, more than 150,000 people had signed a pledge to participate in a “five minute pause from all online activity” organized by Nick Grossman, an activist at Union Square Ventures, and the team at the activist site, Causes.com.

    A companion website, webmomentofsilence.org, offered instructions on temporarily blacking out websites to “help bring focus to the events at Sandy Hook and the broader issue of gun violence in America.”

    The website said that participation did not represent any political agenda and that organizers were hoping to remember the victims and “spark an ongoing productive conversation.”

    Huffington Post, ESPN, Foursquare, TechCrunch, AOL, Gilt and Adobe were among the sites that participated in the online moment of silence, according to Ad Week.

    The National Council of Churches told NBC News that many of its 100,000 congregations were planning to sound their bells Friday morning and those without bells were planning to honor the victims in other ways.

    Remembering the Sandy Hook Victims: Portraits of the Fallen.

    Susan Marie Smith, a rector at St. Albans Episcopal Church in Bexley, Ohio told NBC News that her church was planning a morning fast and 20 minutes of prayer “to share the burden of our brothers and sisters in Connecticut.”

    Back in Newtown, funerals will continue for a fifth consecutive day. Three more children and two school staffers will be buried. They include: 6-year-old Olivia Engel; 6-year-old Dylan Hockley; 7-year-old Grace McDonnell; behavioral therapist Rachel D'Avino, 29; and school psychologist Mary Sherlach, 56.

    On Thursday five children were laid to rest as well as a Sandy Hook teacher and Nancy Lanza, the mother of gunman Adam Lanza who fatally shot her before ambushing Sandy Hook Elementary School and taking his own life.


    Bells will ring across the country 26 times—one time for each of the victims killed at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn. last Friday.Bells will ring across the country 26 times—one time for each of the victims killed at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn. last Friday.

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    For students in New Milford, winter break is starting a day early.

    The New Milford school district decided to cancel classes Friday because of potential threats.

    Police determined the rumors were not real and said it's in the best interest of the school district to cancel school on Friday, December 21st  in light of the tragedy in Newtown.

    New Milford students will return to class on January 2nd.

     

     


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