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    The FBI and federal prosecutors are investigating allegations that St. Louis Cardinals officials illegally hacked into their longtime rival the Houston Astros' computer database to steal proprietary team information, a federal official told NBC News.

    The New York Times reported Tuesday, citing anonymous officials, that investigators had uncovered evidence Cardinals officials had broken into a network housing special team databases and compromised internal discussions of trades, statistics and scouting.

    Law enforcement officials think front-office Cardinals workers seeking revenge against Jeff Luhnow, a former Cardinals executive who became the Astros' general manager in 2011, may have been behind the hacking, according to the Times.

    Major League Baseball, the Cardinals and the Astros all said in separate statements that they were cooperating with the federal investigation into the breach.

    "Once the investigative process has been completed by federal law enforcement officials, we will evaluate the next steps and will make decisions promptly," the league said.

    The FBI wouldn't confirm or deny the Times' report, but it did say it "aggressively investigates all potential threats to public and private sector systems."



    Photo Credit: Getty

    Astros and general manager Jeff Luhnow answers questions from the media at Minute Maid Park on June 12, 2015 in Houston, Texas.Astros and general manager Jeff Luhnow answers questions from the media at Minute Maid Park on June 12, 2015 in Houston, Texas.

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    A misprint on the SAT means that some graduating high school seniors won't have their entire tests scored, thanks to a misprint that may have cut short the time they were given to finish.

    The two sections of the test administered June 6 that had the misprints will not be scored, said the College Board, which administers the tests.

    Now, students who took the SAT that day will be given the chance to retake the all-day college admissions test for free.

    Still, the College Board said it's confident the test scores would be reliable even without those sections being scored.

    The College Board, which administers the SAT, explained on its website.

    "The time allotted for the last reading section was incorrect in the student test books but correct in the script and manual provided to test center supervisors," it said. "The copy in the student test books indicated '25 minutes' while the manual and script indicated the correct time limit of '20 minutes.'"


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  • 06/16/15--09:11: Storm Possible Today

  • An abundance of clouds will prohibit any large thunderstorm outbreak today, though with a few breaks of sun, a storm can come through this afternoon.

    Temperatures will stay in the 70s for most today and it will be humid.

    A cold front is on the approach, so glorious weather isn’t far away.

    Tomorrow looks marvelous with lots of sun, a few puffy clouds and temperatures near 80 degrees. The humidity will be gone, at least for the day.

    A warm front lifts north over the region on Thursday, bringing a mix of clouds and sunshine. Temperatures will be in the 70s.

    There can be a shower on Friday morning as yet another cold front comes through, but the timing isn’t right for big thunderstorms. It should be a harmless passage.

    The rest of Friday features improving conditions. It will be a great evening for outdoor plans as the humidity will be nonexistent.

    An early look at the weekend shows primarily dry conditions, though there can be a storm on Sunday and temperatures will be in the 80s inland, 70s at the shore.

    What about the tropics? The second named storm of the season, Bill, is making landfall on the Texas coastline today.

    More than a foot of rain is possible in portions of eastern Texas, exactly where more rain isn’t needed after a deluge a few weeks back. That moisture heads in the direction of New England early next week.

    Stay with the NBC Connecticut First Alert weather team for the very latest forecast on-air, online and on the app.


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    A threat prompted the U.S. Navy to evacuate workers from two Philadelphia facilities Tuesday morning and raise the threat level to imminent.

    U.S. officials told NBC News they heightened security measures at the Philadelphia Navy Yard in South Philadelphia and Naval Support Activity Philadelphia center in Northeast Philly after the FBI informed the military of a potential terror threat.

    In turn, officials raised the threat level for those facilities from Bravo to Charlie — the second highest level — while evacuating workers around 10:20 a.m. Some workers said they were suddenly told they had to leave without being given an explanation.

    By noon, SkyForce10 captured crews blocking the entrance to the Northeast Philly facility with concrete barriers.

    The Navy took the lead on the investigation as NCIS confirmed that they were looking into a threat at the Northeast Philly supply facility. None of the agencies described the nature of the threat.

    Shortly after noon, Homeland Security gave the all clear but didn't reveal any further details. The FBI deemed the threat non-credible.

    The facilities provide "operation ready, secure shore infrastructure," according to the Navy.

    Other businesses in the Philadelphia Navy Yard remained open Tuesday as Philadelphia Police and federal authorities investigated.



    Photo Credit: SkyForce10

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  • 06/16/15--11:43: Bear Spotted in Norwalk

  • A bear was spotted on Brierwood Road in Norwalk on Tuesday morning and police are asking residents to keep their distance and call police to report any sighting.

    Bears normally leave an area once they have sensed a human and police urge anyone who sees a bear to enjoy it from a distance.
    Aggression by bears towards humans is exceptionally rare, but police are offering safety tips should you spot one.

    Make noise and wave your arms if you see a bear while hiking and keep dogs on a leash and under control because a roaming dog might be perceived as a threat to a bear or its cubs.

    You are also urged to walk away slowly if you surprise a bear nearby and not climb a tree, but wait in a vehicle or building for the bear to leave an area.

    Bears are attracted to the garbage, pet food, compost piles, fruit trees and birdfeeders around houses, so you should remove birdfeeders and bird food from late-March through November and place garbage cans inside a garage or shed.

    Add ammonia to trash to make it unpalatable and clean and store grills away after use.

    Don’t intentionally feed bears, because bears that become accustomed to finding food near your home might become “problem” bears.

    Also avoid leaving pet food outside overnight and don’t add meat or sweets to a compost pile.
     



    Photo Credit: Norwalk Police

    Norwalk police are urging residents to stay away from bears after one was spotted on Tuesday morning.Norwalk police are urging residents to stay away from bears after one was spotted on Tuesday morning.

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    Route 2 East in Colchester is closed after a serious crash involving a tractor-trailer and a state Department of Transportation truck.

    Police said the crash is near exit 16 and was reported at 10:20 a.m.

    No additional information was immediately available.

    Check back for updates.
     



    Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

    Route 2 East was closed on Tuesday after a tractor-trailer collided with a DOT truck.Route 2 East was closed on Tuesday after a tractor-trailer collided with a DOT truck.

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    Soccer star Brandi Chastain is asking all players to reverse their jerseys to show support for a rule change: no headers for players under 14.

    With the soccer world focused on the Women’s World Cup, Chastain is promoting the Safer Soccer Campaign. She says heading the ball can lead to concussions.

    Chastain was one of the first to jump on the effort — a former star who scored the winning penalty kick to give the United States the title over China in the 1999 World Cup, and memorably ripped off her shirt in exultation. Now she is a youth coach in Northern California, and a mom.

    Chastain believes that if youth coaches can reduce the risk of concussions by focusing on footwork and special awareness rather than headers, it will also allow players to develop stronger fundamental skills.

    "Now that I'm off the field and I'm stepping back I still feel the need to do something for the game. And I thought the best thing I could do is help make the team safer. As a mom, that's an extra push. I want my son to go to the soccer field and be safe," she said.

    Gracie Hussey was just 7 when she had her first concussion. In a youth soccer match, she was trying to head the ball into the goal when she collided with another player.

    Her mother, Beth, figures there were other concussions along the way but the worst came five years later, when Gracie crashed onto artificial turf, slamming the back of her head.

    Now 15, Gracie can no longer play soccer. She has headaches, suffers from inexplicable nausea and several times a day she feels like she's about to pass out.

    "I had concussion symptoms all the time, but I didn't really know what they were so I wouldn't say anything," she said recently from her home in Memphis, Tennessee. "I would see stars, like, probably every other game. But I didn't know that wasn't normal."

    While her athletic career may be over, Gracie and her mother have embarked on a new endeavor: Advocating for youth soccer coaches and organizations to keep headers out of the game until kids are 14.

    At the Women's World Cup this summer, there will be a lot of young athletes hoping to someday emulate players like American Abby Wambach, who is known for heading the ball with uncanny accuracy.

    The Safer Soccer Initiative recommends that those kids not be taught headers until they're high school age, after their brains and necks have had a chance to develop. The nearly year-old educational campaign is a joint effort between the Sports Legacy Institute, a concussion research and advocacy nonprofit, and the Santa Clara Institute of Sports Law and Ethics.

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    There has been a growing focus on concussion prevention in hard-hitting youth sports, like football. But little attention has gone to soccer, where headers, and the acrobatics and resulting collisions that often come with them, are a leading cause of concussions, said Dr. Robert Cantu, professor of neurosurgery at Boston University School of Medicine.

    A study published in the American Journal of Sports Medicine in 2012 showed that football had the greatest incidence of concussions among high school athletes. Girls' soccer was second.

    "If it weren't for headers, soccer wouldn't be in the high-risk group for head injury, and it is, surprisingly. Many people don't realize that," Cantu said. "Girls are particularly prone to concussions compared to guys."

    Part of the danger is that no one knows just when or how a brain injury, or multiple injuries, can result in permanent damage, Cantu said.

    The Sports Legacy Institute was involved in identifying the first case of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a degenerative brain disease known as CTE, in a soccer player after examining the brain of Patrick Grange, an aspiring pro known for his headers who died in 2012 at age 29.

    Cantu, who wrote "Concussions And Our Kids," isn't suggesting that kids shouldn't play soccer, he just believes they should do it more safely, especially in formative years.

    One of the first to jump on the effort was Brandi Chastain, a former star with the U.S. national team who scored the winning penalty kick to give the United States the title over China in the 1999 World Cup. Now she is a youth coach in Northern California, and a mom.

    Chastain believes that if youth coaches can reduce the risk of concussions by focusing on footwork and special awareness rather than headers, it will also allow players to develop stronger fundamental skills.

    "Now that I'm off the field and I'm stepping back I still feel the need to do something for the game. And I thought the best thing I could do is help make the team safer. As a mom, that's an extra push. I want my son to go to the soccer field and be safe," she said.

    ___

    At this time, there isn't one universal set of guidelines for introducing headers in youth soccer.

    Most youth organizations discourage coaching headers until the age of 10.

    Others take a more pre-emptive approach. Soccer Shots, an introduction-to-soccer program for young kids that has franchises nationwide does not teach headers as policy.

    Washington Youth Soccer's approach was spurred by a comprehensive youth concussion safety law that the state passed in 2009. Similar laws have been adopted by most states.

    One of the key provisions of the law mandates that young players who have been concussed get permission from a licensed health care professional before returning to action.

    Guided by the phrase "when in doubt, take them out," Washington Youth Soccer has also joined with Connecticut-based Triax Technologies to look at the number of blows players take to the head and how hard they are.

    At a recent tournament in Oregon, several 9-year-old players wore specially designed headbands with an electronic sensor that gathers data that can later be viewed by coaches and parents. While not a diagnostic tool for concussions, the technology is valuable in assessing whether a child is vulnerable.

    "It's not telltale of whether there's a concussion, but it's another piece of information and another metric I can use for the best interest of the athlete," coach Todd Veenhuisen said.

    ___

    Beth Hussey wishes she'd been educated about the dangers of concussions when Gracie, her youngest daughter, started playing.

    "She's very tough," Beth Hussey said. "She was going to fight for that ball no matter what it took. She's definitely very competitive and a great athlete. But I think you take that personality and you take a coach saying, 'You've got to head the ball, you've got to take the hit,' if you're competitive and you want to win, you're going to do whatever that coach tells you."

    An overachiever, Gracie played with kids who were older than her. She said she was taught to head the ball after only a handful of practices with her first team, and was told: "Don't ever let the ball hit the ground."

    The concussion that Gracie believes caused the most damage came when she was 12, after another player shoved her and she again hit her head on the turf, losing consciousness for several seconds. She played the final minute of the match, but got to the sideline and collapsed.

    "If I had known all the consequences that I could have faced from competitive soccer, and all about concussions," she said, "I don't know if I would have played with the same intensity that I did."


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    Rubber Avenue is closed in Naugatuck after a construction crew struck a gas main.

    It happened around 1:30 p.m. Tuesday in front of the Friendly's restaurant, according to Naugatuck police.

    Rubber Avenue is closed between Cherry Street and Arch Street.

    Police are asking drivers to avoid the area.



    Photo Credit: Naugatuck Police

    A gas leak closed a portion of Rubber Avenue in Naugatuck on Tuesday.A gas leak closed a portion of Rubber Avenue in Naugatuck on Tuesday.

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  • 06/16/15--11:32: Transport Details Pope Visit

  • Philadelphians and visitors to the city for the World Meeting of Families and visit by Pope Francis should be prepared to walk for miles when the events take place, Mayor Michael Nutter said Tuesday.

    "Private vehicles will not be a viable option," the mayor said as city leaders and event organizers detailed some of their transportation plans for the events set for September 22-27.

    City officials expect an additional 1.5 million people to visit — many coming to see the pontiff over the weekend of September 26 and 27.

    The use of public transportation was stressed. SEPTA will operate its normal service during the World Meeting conference, but once the weekend arrives that all will change.

    "During the weekend, it will present a significant challenge for us," SEPTA General Manager Joe Casey said.

    The transit authority will close 251 of its 282 rail stations -- subway, regional rail and trolley -- to essentially convert the network to express service. Trains will be fully-loaded at one of 31 stops and travel directly into Center City Philadelphia. The empty train will then be turned around and sent back to pick up more people.

    Casey said this will allow SEPTA to double capacity. The drop-off locations in Center City have yet to be announced. SEPTA officials said they are working with security officials to decide the best locations.

    Passengers of the subway, trolley and bus lines are being offered an unlimited three-day ride pass for $10. On regional rail, however, the passes will only be good for one day.

    Increasing parking capacity at suburban regional rail stations is another issue SEPTA is working on, Casey said.

    PATCO will be providing similar express service into the 9th and Locust Station in Center City from its Lindenwold, Woodcrest, Ferry Avenue and the Walter Rand Transportation Center.

    As for road closures around Philadelphia, officials were not ready to release that information.

    Donna Farrell, executive director of the World Meeting of Families Philadelphia, said the conference is creating two public information campaigns to help residents and visitors get around the city.

    The 'Know Before You Go' campaign will provide transit schedule information and walking routes for visitors, Farrell said. They're also creating a 'Papal Visit Playbook' for citizens to help them get around the mess. The playbook isn't ready, Farrell said, and would be coming later.



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

    In this file photo, Pope Francis waves to the faithful as he leaves St. Peter's Square at the the end of Palm Sunday Mass on March 29, 2015 in Vatican City, Vatican.In this file photo, Pope Francis waves to the faithful as he leaves St. Peter's Square at the the end of Palm Sunday Mass on March 29, 2015 in Vatican City, Vatican.

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    Police arrested a Meriden man on charges of attempting to sexually assault a minor in Southington late May, police said.

    Edwin Perez, 30, of Meriden, turned himself into police on an active arrest warrant. He is accused of restraining and trying to sexually assault a minor he knew on May 23, Southington police said.

    Police charged Perez with criminal attempt to commit fourth-degree sexual assault, risk of injury to a minor, second-degree unlawful restraint and second-degree breach of peace.

    Court officials sealed the warrant. Police said they are not releasing further information.



    Photo Credit: Southington Police Department

    Police arrested a Meriden man on charges of attempting to sexually assault a minor late May, police said.Police arrested a Meriden man on charges of attempting to sexually assault a minor late May, police said.

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    A state trooper was transported to Bridgeport Hospital after a crash in Westport on Tuesday morning.

    State police said the trooper was involved in a crash at the Sherwood Island connector and Greens Farms Road.

    No additional information was immediately available.
     


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    A Southington man is in guarded, but stable condition at Hartford Hospital after a motorcycle crash in Southington on Monday night.

    Two cars and the motorcycle Kevin Sullivan, of Southington, was driving collided on Flanders Road, near Pilgrim Lane around 5:15 p.m., according to police. American Medical Response transported Sullivan to the hospital.

    Police said one driver suffered minor injuries and the other went to the hospital only as a precaution.

    The road was closed for hours, but police reopened it at 9:15 p.m.

    If you have information about the crash, call Officer Jeremy Busa at (860) 621-0101 or email jbusa@southingtonpolice.org.

    Police are investigating the crash and have not charged anyone.



    Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

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    A tractor-trailer caught fire in Plainville on Interstate 84 westbound at exit 33 Tuesday afternoon, causing the closure of the ramp in that area.

    One lane of traffic is moving on the eastbound lanes of I-84 after the crash in the area of the connection to Route 72.

    There are no injuries.

    No further information was immediately available.



    Photo Credit: Michele Zommer

    A vehicle fire in Plainville has caused the closure of the Route 72 westbound ramp to Interstate 84 east.A vehicle fire in Plainville has caused the closure of the Route 72 westbound ramp to Interstate 84 east.

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    A 20-year-old college student from Queens was arrested on Saturday by the FBI for allegedly scouting possible targets for an ISIS-inspired attack, law enforcement officials said.

    Prosecutors in Brooklyn charged Munther Omar Saleh with material support for terrorism. The FBI said he boasted he wanted to carry out a terror operation to an undercover informant.

    A second man believed to be 17 years old was also questioned by authorities, according to federal court papers. Investigators said Saleh was researching how to make explosives and has watched ISIS videos online.

    Saleh is a U.S. citizen who enrolled in a Queens aeronautical college and was allegedly trying to learn how to build a bomb.

    Saleh allegedly posted jihadist writings online including claiming al-Qaida “could be getting too moderate” while also voicing support for the Charlie Hebdo attacks, the beheadings of hostages and establishing Sharia law in New York.

    Investigators also said he voiced support for the Texas attack on a cartoon drawing contest of the prophet Mohammed.

    In March, Saleh was twice spotted on the George Washington Bridge by Port Authority Police, and the Joint Terrorism Task Force was notified of the suspicious activity.

    JTTF searched his computer and discovered pro-Isis translations, according to the criminal complaint.

    In an online communication with a JTTF source, Saleh allegedly boasted, "Well, I am in NY trying to do an op." Investigators said he was also doing research on how to build a pressure cooker bomb similar to one used in the Boston Marathon bombings. The FBI said he also began shopping for components like a watch that could be used as a timing device for an explosive.

    An unnamed co-conspirator allegedly exchanged ISIS videos from Syria with Saleh. Officials have not yet named that alleged co-conspirator.

    On Saturday along the Whitestone Expressway, officials said Saleh noticed he and his co-conspirator were being followed, and they exited their green Jeep to approach the law enforcement vehicle. Police discovered a tactical folding knife on the co-conspirator when they were arrested, according to court papers.

    The investigation is ongoing and spokesmen for the FBI and the US attorney’s office declined to comment beyond what is in the criminal complaint.


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    Rachel Dolezal, the former NAACP chapter leader who sparked a nationwide debate about racial identity after her parents said she had long pretended to be black, says she is "definitely not white" and has identified as black since she was just 5 years old, she said in a series of NBC interviews Tuesday.

    "I identify as black," Dolezal told Matt Lauer on the "Today" show in an exclusive interview, a day after she stepped down from her post leading the Spokane, Washington, chapter of the civil rights group.

    She said she had begun identifying herself as black as young as 5 years old, though she did not affirmatively identify that way for more than a decade.

    "I was drawing self-portraits with the brown crayon instead of the peach crayon," she said. "It was a little more complex than me identifying as black."

    Shown a photograph of herself at the age of 16, appearing blonde and fair-skinned, she acknowledged that "visibly, she would be identified as white by people who see her," and said she did not describe herself as black yet at that time.

    In another interview later Tuesday on MSNBC, Dolezal told Melissa Harris-Perry that her black identity meant that she understood the experiences of black people.

    "It means that I have really gone there with the experience, being a mother of two black sons," she said.

    As for another aspect of her identity — her hair — Dolezal told NBC BLK that "this is a weave, and I do it myself."

    Dolezal is also expected to speak later Tuesday with Savannah Guthrie for "NBC Nightly News."

    Dolezal's claims about her own race have sparked debate about race, privilege, identity and activism — as well as calls for her to step down from her post leading the NAACP chapter — after her parents spoke out last week, saying she is white and has been pretending for years to be black.

    "It is with complete allegiance to the cause of racial and social justice and the NAACP that I step aside," Dolezal said in a statement on the chapter's Facebook page Monday.

    "Please know I will never stop fighting for human rights and will do everything in my power to help and assist, whether it means stepping up or stepping down, because this is not about me. It's about justice," she said. "This is not me quitting; this is a continuum."

    Dolezal's parents had told "Today" Monday that they think she pretended to be black as a way to hurt them, and that they have been estranged from her for years.

    "I think Rachel has tried to damage her biological family and those kind of claims, as false as they were, seem to serve her purposes in her mind," her mother Ruthanne Dolezal told the "Today" show.

    Dolezal was elected president of the local NAACP chapter about six months ago and has been credited with successes at its helm.

    Asked by Lauer on Tuesday whether she could have made the same strides had she portrayed herself as a white woman, she said she didn't know.

    "I've never had the opportunity," she said.



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

    Rachel Dolezal spoke with Matt Lauer about the recent controversy regarding her racial identity.Rachel Dolezal spoke with Matt Lauer about the recent controversy regarding her racial identity.

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    Monroe police have arrested two suspects in several home burglaries.

    Police arrested Serveo Santiago Jr., 46, of Bridgeport, on Jan. 8 when evidence connected him to a home burglary on Benedict Road in Monroe on Dec. 17, police said.

    While police were booking Santiago, he admitted that the committed a burglary on Far Horizon Drive in Monroe on Dec. 15 as well as other burglaries in Trumbull, Bridgeport and Fairfield, according to a news release from police.

    Police have charged Santiago with second-degree burglary, second-degree criminal trespass and third-degree criminal mischief and bond was set at $100,000.

    Police also arrested the suspected getaway driver, Enrique Soto, 51, of Bridgeport.

    Police said Soto dropped Santiago off at a home prior to most of the burglaries and pick him back up after Santiago had burglarized the home.

    He was charged with second-degree conspiracy to commit burglary, second-degree conspiracy to commit criminal trespass and third-degree conspiracy to commit criminal mischief. Bond was set at $50,000.00

    Both men have been held at Bridgeport Correctional Institute since police arrested them on similar charges in January.
     



    Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

    Police have arrested two people suspected in home burglaries.Police have arrested two people suspected in home burglaries.

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    A construction worker is in critical condition after falling into the water while working on a project in New Haven on Tuesday afternoon.

    Matthew Marcarelli, chief of operations for the New Haven Fire Department, said the department received a 911 call reporting someone falling from a garage.

    When officials responded, they determined that the victim did not fall from the garage, but was working on a raft and somehow fell into the water while working on the the Magellan fuel depot project

    Coworkers pulled the victim onto a raft by the time firefighters arrived and they were performing CPR.

    First responders then took over, continued CPR and used a crane to further pull the victim from the water. 

    The man, believed to be in his 50s, was then transported to the hospital and his condition is suspected to be "extremely critical."

    Marcarelli said the man was a veteran construction worker working on putting a barge, dock and moorings at the site.

    The nature of the victim's injuries were not clear.



    Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

    The fire department is responding to a water rescue in New Haven.The fire department is responding to a water rescue in New Haven.

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  • 06/16/15--20:30: Fire at Ansonia House

  • Firefighters responded to a house fire in Ansonia on Tuesday night.

    It broke out at about 7 p.m. on Howard Avenue.

    Viewer Mark Neuendorf submitted a photo showing smoke billowing from the house.

    No further information was immediately available.



    Photo Credit: Mark Neuendorf

    Firefighters responded to a house fire in Ansonia on Tuesday night.Firefighters responded to a house fire in Ansonia on Tuesday night.

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    Meteorologists around the country were buzzing after U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-South Dakota) introduced a controversial bill that would radically alter the organization of the National Weather Service.

    If signed into law, the National Weather Service Improvement Act eliminates the local forecasting component of the National Weather Service and establishes six regional weather forecast offices.

    Though the bill proposes keeping at least one meteorologist in each local geographic area, it goes on to say these meteorologists should, “whenever possible, be located together with state or local emergency managers.”

    Three separate offices cover Connecticut, by nature of its geography: Albany, Boston and New York. A group of local meteorologists staff each office to give forecasts and issue weather alerts for the nearby area. There are 122 offices nationwide. Local offices are responsible for issuing warnings for flash flooding, tornadoes and other types of hazardous weather.

    There’s no mention of lost jobs in the bill introduced Monday to the Senate’s Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, only a line that says sufficient training will be provided to “minimize employee displacement as a consequence of the plan.”

    Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Connecticut) who also serves on the committee said in a statement, "This bill has some promising provisions – such as enhancing forecasting accuracy by investments in equipment and technology, promoting public communication and improving coordination with emergency preparedness officials on the ground."

    However, Blumenthal says he has some reservations about the bill. "There are problematic potential impacts, perhaps unintended. One is that local expertise and familiarity with local needs may be lost, if centralization goes too far. I'll be working with my colleagues to strengthen the bill."

    Dr. David Titley supports the idea. He is a professor in the meteorology department at The Pennsylvania State University. Titley served in the Navy for more than three decades and said consolidation of the Navy’s weather services had benefits.

    “We found that the best forecasts were produced most consistently by forecasters who had lots of experience (and practice) with the weather situation," he said.

    Changing up the way the National Weather Service operates is nothing new.

    “The idea that the National Weather Service should consider some reorganization is not new – the Senate bill is motivated by a recent report from the National Academy of Sciences," Dr. Jon Nese, associate head of the meteorology program at The Pennsylvania State University, said.

    “In fact, right now a management consulting firm is studying the National Weather Service’s organizational structure with the goal of making sure the National Weather service continues to adapt and evolve,” he said.

    The bill says money saved through centralization would stay within the organization and be used to improve forecasts.

    For example, super-computing capacity would be expanded, investments would be made in research, forecast and severe weather communication with the public would be improved, surface observing networks would be made more robust, and radar coverage would be enhanced, especially in poorly-covered high density population centers.

    Dan Sobien, president of the National Weather Service Employees Organization, says it makes no sense. "It's going to cost more money to provide the American public with lesser service and worse forecasts."

    "What the bill is actually proposing is actually a degradation of the services that we're trying to create in the weather forecast offices right now.

    Senator Thune’s bill instructs the administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association to evaluate the current severe weather warning system and implement a new system for warning the public.

    Titley says it’s time to make a plan for the weather service in the 21st century and noted the last restructuring was in the 1990’s.

    “Back then the internet was in its infancy, computer weather models were much less advanced, we could not easily move real-time weather and radar data, and no one had heard of an iPhone. Technology has changed all those constraints.”

    At the very least, the bill will spark a conversation among meteorologists across the country.

    “I think the introduction of this bill will start a very serious conversation between the administration and the Congress, and also within the weather enterprise. There will be many different views, and I hope the discussion will remain civil and respectful,” Titley says.

    “I suspect that's all it will do, start a conversation, and if it survives, it will look very different at the end,” Nese said.

    Dan Sobien says accuracy will suffer with a regional forecasting setup, and questions where the public prefers to get warning information from.

    "If they're sitting in a house somewhere or in a park, presumably in Connecticut, would they rather their tornado warning or severe thunderstorm warning or information about flooding come from the New York City office, or would they rather it come from Washington, D.C.?"



    Photo Credit: Getty Images

    SHREVEPORT, LA - OCTOBER 2:  Mike Barry, lead forecaster for the National Weather Service office in Shreveport, works on predicting the path and strength of Hurricane Lili as it approaches the Louisiana coastline October 2, 2002 in Shreveport, Louisiana. Lili was designated a  Category 4 hurricane this afternoon with sustained winds blowing at 135 mph. Lili is expected to hit the Louisiana coast tomorrow morning.  (Photo by Mario Villafuerte/Gettyimages)SHREVEPORT, LA - OCTOBER 2: Mike Barry, lead forecaster for the National Weather Service office in Shreveport, works on predicting the path and strength of Hurricane Lili as it approaches the Louisiana coastline October 2, 2002 in Shreveport, Louisiana. Lili was designated a Category 4 hurricane this afternoon with sustained winds blowing at 135 mph. Lili is expected to hit the Louisiana coast tomorrow morning. (Photo by Mario Villafuerte/Gettyimages)

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    A 5-year-old boy from New Britain is safely back home with his family thanks to a firefighter who stepped in to help after the child wandered from his house and walked close to a busy street. 

    The child left his home as his grandmother slept. Witnesses saw the boy wandering partially clothed near the intersection of South Main and Whiting Streets in New Britain around 10 a.m. Tuesday. He was clutching a board game.

    "Grandmother reported that both she and the child had laid down to take a nap, child had woke up and somehow had been able to unlock a door and get out of the house," New Britain Police Capt. Thomas Steck said.

    He walked about 100 yards and his "Sorry" board game spilled in the road.  A city firefighter spotted in the street with no shoes on and realized something was wrong. He called 911 and brought him into the Dunkin' Donuts at the intersection. The first thing the boy said when he came in was that he wanted a doughnut, so the staff obliged and also gave him a drink. The fireman played the "Sorry" with the boy until police arrived. The boy said the game was his favorite.

    "One of the firefighters called in that there appeared to be a four or five year old male child unattended wandering close to the street," Steck said.

    Police quickly identified the boy and figured out where he lived.

    There is no history of any problems at the home, police said.

    Police said they are not filing charges against the boy's grandmother.



    Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

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