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    Two people were killed Wednesday when a plane crashed and burst into flames shortly after takeoff from an East Texas airstrip, sources tell NBC 5.

    First responders were seen placing two tarps over what remained of the burned out aircraft, indicating there were two victims in the crash.

    The airstrip's owner, Walter Meziere of Quinlan, was the pilot of the aircraft. Trooper Kyle Bradford of the Texas Department of Public Safety says Meziere, who was 54, and his 49-year-old passenger, Joe Livingston of McKinney, were both killed in the crash.

    According to Lynn Lunsford with the Federal Aviation Administration, the single-engine Piper PA-24, which can seat four occupants, had departed the private Rockin' M Airport northeast of Quinlan early Wednesday afternoon.

    Only a few moments later, the plane crashed into a field about 1,000 feet east of the north-south grass runway. The plane came to rest a few yards from a residence in rural Hunt County.

    At this time, the cause of the crash remains under investigation.


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

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    Route 207 is closed at the Franklin-Lebanon town line, according to state police.

    The road is closed because a tree came down on wire and wires are on the road.



    Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

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    A woman who hit a pillar outside a Meriden gym Wednesday morning was speeding and driving without a license, according to police.

    Meriden police said the woman hit the gas pedal instead of the brakes when pulling into The Edge Fitness Club at 533 South Broad Street just before 8 a.m. She was taken to the hospital and has since been released.

    The driver, who has not been publicly named, will be charged with operating without a license and traveling too fast for conditions, according to police.

    Police said the crash damaged only the pillar. The building that houses the gym was not affected.
     


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    To comply with federal government rules, exits on Interstate 395 will be getting new numbers soon.

    The contractor has the new exit signs in a staging area near exit 84. Their numbers will indicate how far from I-95 an exit is located.

    "It makes more sense," said Frank Thompson, stopped at a rest area with his family in Moosup. "It'd be a lot easier as you're going down the highway to find where your next exit's going to be. It's also a lot easier to estimate how much longer you're going to be on the highway."

    People who drive the highway professionally say it will make life easier.

    "If you go up 80 miles, then you wouldn't need to know anything, you just see the number 60, 70, and key in on 20 more miles, 10 more miles," said Joe DeFuscio, of Providence.

    Some drivers have come across mileage-based exits in other states, but Nancy Kavanagh of Long Island said she handles them all the same.

    "I have my GPS and I just know what exit I'm getting off. I'm not really keeping track of how many miles. But I know they've done it in Maine, where I go a lot, and I can't say it's done anything for me," she said.

    The sign supports now in the staging area go up first along the road.

    "Now Google and Garmin and everybody else... I can't imagine what that's going to take to change everything," said Ken Leveille, who drives auto transport trucks.


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    There will no doubt be plenty of beer and fireworks this Fourth of July.

    Although we celebrate Independence Day on July 4 every year, that may not be the correct date of America's independence from Britain. In fact, John Adams wrote a letter to his wife Abigail hailing July 2 as the day people would celebrate America for generations to come.

    That's because on July 2, 1776, the Second Continental Congress voted to approve a resolution for independence. However, America celebrates July 4 because that was the day the Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence.

    Here's a look at other things to know this July 4:

    15,000 - The approximate number of July 4 fireworks shows that took place in 2014, according to the American Pyrotechnics Association.

    41.9 Million - The number of travelers AAA predicts will travel 50 miles or more from home during the holiday weekend.

    150 Million - The approximate number of hot dogs to be consumed on the Fourth of July, according to Marketresearch.com.

    61 - The number of hot dogs San Jose native Joey Chestnut ate in 10 minutes to win the annual Nathan's Famous Fourth of July Hot Dog Eating Contest at Coney Island in Brooklyn last year for the eighth time in a row. He also proposed to his girlfriend, fellow competitive eater Neslie Ricasa. She said yes.

    69 - The hot dog eating record Joey Chestnut set in 2013.

    6.8 Million - Number of singles sold of Katy Perry's "Firework" from her third studio album "Teenage Dream," according to the Recording Industry Association of America.

    99
    - The percentage of consumer fireworks that are made in China, according to The New York Times.

    3 - The number of U.S. presidents who have died on July 4. Thomas Jefferson and John Adams both died on July 4, 1826. James Monroe also died on July 4, five years later.

    1870 - The year Congress passed a bill to make July 4 a national holiday, though it has been celebrated as early as 1977, according to Time.

    $55.84 - The average cost of a barbeque cookout this summer for 10 people, according to a survey of grocery stores in 30 states.

    201.6 Million - The number of pounds of fireworks consumers used in 2014, according to the American Pyrotechnics Association.

    15 - The number of seconds San Diego's fireworks show lasted in 2012 when tens of thousands of fireworks were accidentally shot off at the same time.



    Photo Credit: AP

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    The town of Madison is getting a makeover.

    First Selectman Fillmore McPherson told NBC Connecticut there's been no major investment in the town's primary commercial district on Boston Post Road in more than a century. But with a ceremonial groundbreaking Wednesday morning, that's all about to change.

    Madison is keeping all the old charm but with a gleaming new look. By this time next year, downtown Madison will have more curb appeal – literally – right down to the granite.

    "We're going to be replacing the sidewalks on both sides of the street," McPherson said.

    And that's just the beginning. A revitalization project initially conceptualized in 2002 will leave very few stones unturned. In fact, about 24,000 square feet of that concrete slab sidewalk will be replaced by brick pavers – an instant facelift.

    "Trees and tree grates, with new plantings that are appropriate for a downtown situation," McPherson explained.

    Downtown Madison's literal curb appeal will get an upgrade as well, with granite to replace the existing curbing. Even some of the standard-issue road signs will be taken away to make room for more ornate versions.

    Much of what will be replaced has been here for more than half the town's 189-year history. Not that downtown Madison is lacking quaintness: with several locally-owned businesses, it's one of the more idyllic main drags in the state.

    "It's going to be beautiful," Grand Apizza owner Michael Nuzzo predicted, shrugging off any worry of disruption while the dust flies.

    "It's going to interfere a little, but we'll work around it. It'll be all right," McPherson said, pointing out that downtown Madison will remain open for business almost as usual. "It's probably not going to be until next spring before we finish. We'll be knocking off work about mid-November."

    He cautioned that some aspects of the touchup, such as tree planting, must bow to Mother Nature.

    Although he doesn't have a final tally, McPherson said the end cost will almost definitely be less than the originally estimated $3.2 million, most of which is being funded by state grants. He said some of the cost has been defrayed by volunteer efforts in the planning stage.

    "[Volunteers have] driven a lot of the design work, and doing surveys about what people would like. We've had a lot of input from the residents and citizens of the town," he said.

    Other promised improvements include modernizing parking space to current code, aesthetically pleasing new streetlight fixtures with energy-efficient LED bulbs, an overhaul of the center median strip, and removal of all overhead power lines.

    Construction is set to begin the week of Monday, July 6.


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    Connecticut residents will now be able to buy alcohol a little later as people stock up for 4th of July weekend barbecues and celebrations.

    Several new laws go into effect in the state today, including a liquor law that allows liquor stores to stay open until 10 p.m. instead of 9 p.m. The new legislation makes the extended hours an option, but there's no mandate for liquor stores to stay open that late.

    "I'm a beer drinker, so I'll do that and maybe some wine," said John Nesko, of Middletown, who added that permitting stores to stay open later gives people the option of buying something in the spur of the moment later on.

    While customers spoke to the convenience of the new law, some liquor store owners said the later hours could be dangerous.

    "I don’t think it’s a good idea. We have situations now where people are shooting each other," Jay Polke, owner of Willowbrook Spirit Shop in Cromwell, said. "I don’t think people need more fuel to ignite anything after 9 o'clock."

    Polke is still deciding whether to keep the store open for the extra hour because it did not help the business when the state allowed liquor stores open on Sundays.

    "We knew that people weren’t going to drink more because we’re open, so it cost us more money," Polke said.

    He said the state's goal to generate more tax money from later liquor sales isn't the best solution.

    But Janet Nesko, of Middletown, said "it would give the customer a choice as to when they want to buy it."



    Photo Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS

    Stock image.Stock image.

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    One round of thunderstorms moved through this morning and the threat of severe weather continued through this afternoon before moving out Wednesday evening.

    A few towns may see showers through the early evening.

    Skies clear overnight as temperatures fall into the 60s and refreshing air moves in by morning.

    Thursday starts will an abundance of sun before some clouds move in and temperatures will be near 80 degrees with low levels of humidity!

    High pressure builds in to close the work week on Friday and that means an abundance of sunshine. Temperatures will be near 80 degrees with exceptionally low levels of humidity.

    The big ticket item in the extended forecast is obviously July Fourth.

    High pressure sticks around all weekend long, making for perfect parade, fireworks and cookout weather. Impressively, the humidity remains absent! Temperatures will be in the middle-80s.

    Early next appears dry at this point with temperatures rising into the upper-80s.

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


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

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    LifeStar has been called to a rollover crash on Route 2 westbound in Glastonbury, according to state police.

    Police said the highway has not yet been shut down, but the Department of Transportation is warning commuters to expect lane closures.

    No additional information was immediately available.

    Check back for updates on this developing story.



    Photo Credit: Dennis Yonan

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    The sneaker collection of NBA star Ray Allen rivals the selection at any store you’ve ever been to, and the former UConn Husky is giving away some of his coveted shoes in the Hartford area.

    Allen has started sharing clues on Instagram. You can follow him at rayn34.

    Within a day of posting the announcement on his Facebook page, thousands of people have shared and commented on the post.

    Allen generated a large fan base in Connecticut while playing basketball for UConn, then returned to New England went on to play for the Boston Celtics.



    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.

    SAN ANTONIO, TX - JUNE 06:  Ray Allen #34 of the Miami Heat speaks to the media on a practice day following Game One of the 2014 NBA Finals against the San Antonio Spurs at the Spurs Practice Facility on June 6, 2014 in San Antonio, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)SAN ANTONIO, TX - JUNE 06: Ray Allen #34 of the Miami Heat speaks to the media on a practice day following Game One of the 2014 NBA Finals against the San Antonio Spurs at the Spurs Practice Facility on June 6, 2014 in San Antonio, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

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    A Meriden man is facing charges after police say he molested two children ages 10 and 12 over the span of several years.

    Antonio Montesdeoca, 22, of Bunker Avenue in Meriden, was arrested Monday and charged with numerous sex crimes in connection with the assaults.

    Police said Montesdeoca began molesting the two children, whom he knew, in 2009 and continued molesting them over the next few years.

    He has been charged with first-degree sexual assault, fourth-degree sexual assault, two counts of risk of injury to a minor and second-degree threatening. Bond was set at a total of $300,000.

    Montesdeoca was due in court Wednesday.
     



    Photo Credit: Meriden Police Department

    Antonio Montesdeoca, is accused of sexually assaulting two children ages 10 and 12 over a period of a few years.Antonio Montesdeoca, is accused of sexually assaulting two children ages 10 and 12 over a period of a few years.

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    The Avon school board is holding a special meeting Wednesday night in response to a parent petition that circulated in Avon asking the district administration to hold a public hearing about the administration's decision to eliminate social workers from all public schools in town and hire more school psychologists instead.

    Avon parent Sarah Calatayud started an online petition to get a public hearing after many parents complained they weren't given the chance to provide input. Laurie Vaillancourt-Pugsley also started a paper petition asking for a public hearing on the subject. Many parents gave feedback in the petition that they felt social workers provided a necessary support system and wanted a say in the decision.

    "Many parents are already concerned and upset by the school district's decision to eliminate the 'academic level' (I.e. (sic) the lowest level, in terms of academic challenge) in the high school. For kids with developmental disabilities and other behavioral health challenges, this is of great concern. Many parents feel that this decision was also made without adequate expert and parental input," Calatayud wrote in an email to NBC Connecticut. "So this social worker elimination decision came on the heels of that. Many parents in Avon feel they're not being included in this process and that the school district administration is making these decisions unilaterally without enough transparency about their process."

    The Avon town clerk's office had to verify the signatures in order to determine that the petition garnered the threshold amount to require a public hearing.

    Historically, Avon schools have employed both school psychologists and social workers. Materials submitted to the school board said in part that "school psychologists can administer intellectual, projective and achievement assessments as well as conduct both individual and small group counseling" whereas social workers "can only perform individual and group counseling which is also completed by the school counselors we maintain on staff."

    So, Director of Pupil Services Kelly Grant established a plan to keep school psychologists and school counselors but to eliminate social workers from staffing, according to the board materials. Avon schools currently have five school psychologists and under the plan the district will hire three more, according to board materials.

    Neither Grant nor Avon Superintendent Gary Mala could be immediately reached for comment. But Grant wrote a letter to the Avon community May 29 assuring parents that eliminating school social workers would not reduce services to students.

    "The decision to eliminate the school social worker positions in Avon has not been made lightly nor without a great deal of thought and consideration," Grant wrote in her letter. "Moreover, the notion that Avon does not value social workers could not be farther from the truth. While we, indeed, recognize what school social workers bring to the table, we are concerned that there is still more to do at a district level to address the whole child within the context of the school setting – especially at the earlier stages of challenge. We are interested in looking at the intersection of the academic and social forces that pull at our students from all angles on a day to day basis in an attempt to better understand the interplay between these forces."

    She went on to say that "substituting school psychologists for social workers arose out of recent conversations related to the reorganization occurring at Avon High School and in an an effort to articulate what could be done differently to meet the needs of students who may be more correctly characterized as curriculum challenged than they are as educationally or emotionally disabled."

    "Many students, who have previously felt supported and performed at optimal levels throughout their earlier school years, end up being referred for accommodation plans and special education services after they enter high school and report feeling anxious or compromised in their abilities to meet the academic and social demands," Grant said. "Our goal is to utilize staff in the most efficient and effective ways that support the academic, social, and emotional development of all students. While it never feels good to play the value of one professional over the other, our intent, here, is to make our mental health practitioners more versatile in their approaches."

    She said that a "well-trained certified school psychologist is certainly capable of addressing the mental health needs of student via the provision of individual and small-group counseling, support groups, and crisis intervention." The district hopes to "engage with students early on" instead of only responding when students "are in crisis" to enhance support to students "with academic, social, emotional, and behavioral challenges," Grant said.

    "Change is always difficult, especially for our most vulnerable students. It is with these students in mind, though, that this proposal is being advanced to insure that we are doing all that we can, and should, do to reach out to those students who are disenfranchised, disengaged, and disenchanted with school," Grant said. "We can no longer afford to respond by referring students for evaluations and assigning diagnostic labels; the focus, instead, needs to be placed on identifying and addressing the needs in a systematic, unified way that provides students with the learning opportunities that they require to build skills that will lead them to developing into fully-functioning and emotionally healthy individuals."

    Vaillancourt-Pugsley sees the roles of school psychologists and social workers as distinct and said both are needed in Avon schools. She is calling for the decision to be reversed and resolved by the time schools start up again in the fall. 

    "While school psychologists can counsel, it is really the social workers that are expertly trained to help all in the student population (because not just special education students reach out to them, but those feeling anxiety and pressure within the general education population as well)," Vaillancourt-Pugsley said. "They have a higher level of training and expertise to be able to help the students; and they have the outreach capacity beyond the school setting. School psychologists excel at what they do within the schools. Social Workers have reach beyond the school."

    The meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. in the Avon High School auditorium at 510 West Avon Road.



    Photo Credit: Getty Images

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    The former owner of a Shelton nail salon has been arrested on charges that he illegally tapped a gas line in the basement of the building.

    Tsen Bin Si, 38, of Queens, New York, is accused of buying and installing supplies to tap into the main gas line at 194 Leavenworth Road in Shelton.

    Police said Si is the former owner of what was then known as the Ya Ya Nail Salon and tapped the line while he owned the business.

    The salon is part of a strip mall that houses other businesses, including a day care and a children's art school, according to police.

    Authorities began investigating after someone reported smelling natural gas at the nail salon on April 9. The Shelton Fire Department and gas company found several leaks, and further investigation revealed the tapped line.

    Police said the salon's current owner had no idea the line been tapped.

    Si was arrested and charged with reckless endangerment, criminal damage of the landlords property, risk of injury to a minor and 10 violations of state fire prevention codes.

    It's not clear if he has an attorney.



    Photo Credit: Shelton Police Department

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    The Connecticut General Assembly has approved a measure that would require parents to get the certification of a judge, notary or attorney before they can cite a religious exemption for their child's vaccination.

    The measure is aimed at reducing the number of people who choose not to vaccinate their children.

    Gov. Dannel Malloy has not yet signed the bill into law but many in the medical profession expect him to do so.

    "I think so far the efforts have been incremental in encouraging parents to get their children, to have their children vaccinated, to comply with the American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines for full and timely vaccination," said Dr. Thomas Fromson, a pediatrician in West Hartford.

    He said parents are always looking for ways to "beat the system" and the new requirement acts as another hoop of sorts for them to jump through.

    "The idea of parents providing a religious exemption or allowing them to continue having a religious exemption encourages them to find a path to circumvent what we feel to be in the best interests of the child," he said.

    Other doctors, like Dr. Ulysses Wu, who serves as chief of infectious disease at Saint Francis Hospital in Hartford, believe such a requirement does not go far enough. Wu said if the goal is for more people to be vaccinated against harmful diseases, the exemptions need to be shelved as much as possible.

    "We have not only seen increases in vaccination exemptions in this state but around the country as well, and I think it’s something that the tide needs to be turned back," Wu said. "We are starting to see more cases of measles. We’re starting to see a lot more diseases that are preventable by vaccines."

    Wu's fear is that more people will look at the religious exemption as a way around vaccinating their children.

    Fromson is reminding parents that if a child is not immunized, that child puts others at risk for diseases that should be preventable.

    "Parental belief should not compromise the safety and welfare of the rest of the children of the school" he said.


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    Connecticut is on track to become the latest state to either ban or put new limits on the sale and manufacture of plastic microbeads found in many cosmetic products.

    The beads, tiny pieces of plastic commonly found in hand and face soaps, give off the feeling of a mineral soap. However, studies in other states have shown the plastic ends up in the water supply.

    Under the bill the Connecticut General Assembly has signed, products with microbeads must be completely phased out of the state by 2019.

    Gov. Dannel Malloy hasn't signed the bill, but sources in environmental circles said they expect him to authorize the measure.

    "What it does is it allows the industry to remove the products," said Robert LaFrance with the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. "It might be on inventory shelves. There’s utility in the products that they’re selling, so they want to get those out and phase them out over time."

    The proposed measure also provides for a study of the microbeads and a possible biodegradable replacement that manufacturers have suggested.

    "The industry wanted to do the development of a biodegradable microbead but we didn’t really know what that meant, so what we asked, and what they ended up accommodating, was to have the Connecticut Academy of Science and Engineering do a study to find out what those biodegradable microbeads might be and actually have them give us that so we can study them before we authorize them here in Connecticut," LaFrance said.

    Middletown resident Elaine Fournier said she's been using products that contain microbeads for years, saying that she loves both the feeling and the low price tag.

    Now that she's followed the news on the environmental issues surrounding them, however, Fournier said she supports the ban.

    "We have enough problems in our environment right now. I think the phase out is good, however I think it should be phased out sooner," she said.


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    A move to make states permit longer double tractor-trailers is progressing quickly through Congress, and U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal today called on safety advocates to strip the provision from the transportation spending bill.

    Interstate highways in Connecticut bear a number of 53-foot tractor trailers, but when two trailers are connected, the state government limits each to 28 feet.

    The package delivery industry hopes new legislation will require states to permit 33-foot trailers hitched together. Blumenthal said the move would be dangerous.

    "The so-called double-33s are actually deadly 33s because they are harder to steer, harder to stop, harder to save, when an innocent driver may be at risk," the senator said.

    A woman from Vermont who lost her husband in a crash in Nebraska shared her story with reporters at the press briefing Wednesday.

    "As we were about to crash," said Julie Magnan, "David quickly pulled my head down onto the seat. His heroic and unselfish act saved my life."

    Another party involved in the debate, the Coalition for Efficient and Responsible Trucking, claims longer rigs will mean fewer big-rigs on the roads, eliminating 3.3 million truck trips each year.

    Of course, that means fewer truckers.

    "This fight's been going on for a long time," said Dave Lucas, of Teamsters Local 761. "We fought it when the double-28s came in. The 33s would be much more dangerous. Our roads are not geared for it."


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    A trip out to sea for a Southern California couple celebrating their 18th wedding anniversary turned into a trip to the emergency room after a 350-pound dolphin leaped onto the boat, knocking the woman over and breaking both her ankles.

    Dirk and Chrissie Frickman and their two teenaged children were boating off the Dana Point Harbor on June 21 when a pod of dolphins swam alongside them. One of the dolphins jumped into the small boat, hitting the railing and bouncing inside.

    Chrissie Frickman wound up pinned beneath the thrashing dolphin until her husband pulled her free. The dolphin continued thrashing and bleeding from some cuts in the back of the boat.

    "It had bounced around so much it kind of injured its nose, injured its tail," Dirk Frickman said. "The blood started kind of spattering all over and my daughter looked and was like, 'Oh my God, please, don't let it die, don't let it die, don't let it die.'"

    Frickman radioed the Sheriff's Department Harbor Patrol and told them what happened. The patrol responded and pulled Chrissie and the couple's daughter from the boat to get them to shore and an ambulance. Dirk Frickman continued into the harbor, occasionally pouring water onto the dolphin.

    When he made to the harbor, two people helped get a rope on the dolphin and get it back into the water. The wounded animal swam away.

    "I was scared for the dolphin," said Chrissie Frickman, who is still in a wheelchair recovering from her broken ankles. "Like, I was kind of hoping it would just jump back out, but I knew that wasn't going to happen. I was scared for my kids, and, you know, you're like, 'Can they attack, how scared is it?' You know, just these crazy thoughts go through your head, but I'm sure it was just as traumatized as we were."



    Photo Credit: Orange County Sheriff's Department

    A dolphin is released back into the waters off Southern California after leaping onto a small boat and injuring a woman, on Sunday, June 21, 2015.A dolphin is released back into the waters off Southern California after leaping onto a small boat and injuring a woman, on Sunday, June 21, 2015.

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    As we celebrate the red, white and blue, Connecticut businesses – especially those along the shoreline – are celebrating another color: green.

    "It's definitely crazy," said Julia Keene at Ashley's Ice Cream shop in Madison. "The next morning, we'll be wiped out of all of our ice cream. That happened last year."

    Keene has spent several Independence Day holidays scooping ice cream.

    She said the store stocks extra inventory in preparation, also likely bringing back a most appropriate flavor, "Red, White & Blueberry," from Memorial Day.

    Across the street, at Asiye's Boutique, there's plenty of summer wear for women. Manager Ashley Lizotte said the Fourth is an important time for the store to make hay.

    "There's a lot of people out on the street. It's definitely a happy vibe, everybody's out and about," said Lizotte.

    To capitalize on that foot traffic, Lizotte said, the store expands its displays to the sidewalk, happy to lure in customers.

    "We like to put our stuff outside," Lizotte pointed out, "people just walking on the sidewalk. It's sort of brings them inside as well."

    These are but a couple of examples of shoreline commerce gone wild this time every year. Nearby Hammonasset State Park sees them coming a long time in advance.

    Retiree Rob Veilleux said spending time – and money – on the shoreline each Independence Day is a habit of many years, one by which he's learned the tricks of the trade regarding reservations.

    "Eleven months to the day," he answered to the question of when he reserved his campsite to call home-away-from-home this holiday week.


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    Officials in New Jersey are warning residents against purchasing a cellphone case shaped like a gun that has been making the rounds on social media.

    “Please folks -- this cellphone case is not a cool product or a good idea,” reads a Facebook post from the Ocean County prosecutor’s office.

    The black cellphone case includes a holster that looks just like a real gun handle. When the case is placed inside a back pocket, as seen in one of the photos, it appears as if a gun is sticking out.

    Prosecutors said the cellphone case could be dangerous and can be mistaken for a real gun by police officers.

    “A police officer’s job is hard enough, without having to make a split second decision in the dark of night when someone decides without thinking to pull this out while stopped for a motor vehicle violation,” reads the Facebook post.

    New Jersey State Police also posted the photos to Instagram in an effort to warn residents.

    “It’s a terrible idea, and it’s very dangerous,” says the Instagram post. “We strongly recommend that you do not use this product.”


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    A 58-year-old Wallingford resident who lost the use of his shoulder following a medical procedure has been awarded $4.2 million, according to a spokesperson for his attorney's office.

    Gregory Leigh, an employee of the PermaTreat Corporation in Durham, sued his doctor and MidState Medical Center in Meriden after a botched surgery left him with lifelong problems, the lawsuit says.

    Leigh visited Dr. Daniel Schwartz in December 2008 for treatment of a swollen lymph node on the side of his neck. Schwartz misdiagnosed what was really a mild bacterial infection and recommended surgery to remove the lymph node, according to the suit.

    During the procedure, Schwartz “damaged Mr. Leigh’s spinal accessory nerve,” causing “permanent catastrophic injuries” to Leigh's shoulder, a spokesperson for the personal injury law firm Koskoff, Koskoff & Bieder said in a news release Wednesday.

    “Besides misdiagnosing Gregory’s case entirely, the surgeon in this case botched the surgery, leaving Gregory permanently damaged,” attorney Sean McElligott said in a statement. “He now has nerve palsy, disfigurement of his arm and shoulder, cannot extend his left arm or raise it over his head, has permanent numbness and pain, and can no longer work at his job without considerable difficulty.”

    Co-counsel Emily Rock called Schwartz's injuries “entirely preventable.”

    A six-member jury awarded Schwartz $4.2 million following a two-and-a-half week trial at New Haven Superior Court.

    Hartford HealthCare, which operates both MidState Medical Center and Hartford Hospital, where Schwartz is now practicing, responded to the ruling in the following statement:

    “At Hartford HealthCare, we are committed to patient safety. It is at the heart of everything we do. We are focused on the important work of improving patient safety and quality within our network and across the country.”



    Photo Credit: Michael London & Associates

    A superior court jury awarded $4.2 million to Gregory Leigh, 58, of Wallingford, after a botched surgery left him permanently injured.A superior court jury awarded $4.2 million to Gregory Leigh, 58, of Wallingford, after a botched surgery left him permanently injured.

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