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    A groundbreaking new insurance policy is being taken out on coral reefs near the beaches in the Cancún area — not to protect boats or divers but the reefs themselves. 

    Through parametric insurance, a new kind of risk management tool, money collected from a tax paid by local hotels will pay for reef repairs along a 60 km (about 37 miles) stretch of the Mexican coastline right after a major hurricane blows through, preserving a vibrant ecosystem that happens to be an effective bulwark for a valuable tourist spot that's susceptible to beach erosion. The arrangement is believed to be the first of its kind, and its creators think it could serve as a model for preserving all kinds of habitats around the world when they're at their most vulnerable.

    "Reefs are literally the first line of defense when a storm hits the coastline," said Mark Way, director of global coastal risk and resilience at the American nonprofit The Nature Conservancy. He said that the program would help make the case that "financial systems and services" can be an important tool in conserving and preserving the planet's natural defenses.

    The Mesoamerican Reef stretches hundreds of miles from this part of Mexico, the southeast tip that juts into the Caribbean Sea, down to Honduras, forming the second largest barrier reef in the world. It supports a rich variety of wildlife, but it also absorbs much of the strength of ocean waves that can erode the area's popular beaches.

    But when hurricanes hit, they can rip away parts of the reefs, killing or damaging lots of coral and leaving the beaches exposed to the elements.

    So The Nature Conservancy, the local tourism industry and the Mexican state of Quintana Roo created the state's Coastal Zone Management Trust, unveiled last month at a major international summit hosted in the area. The trust will collect tax money from hotels to pay both for regular maintenance of the coral reef and the innovative parametric insurance policy.

    When a major hurricane hits the area and windspeed reaches a certain threshold (how fast is still being worked out), the insurance policy will kick in, paying for the trust to clean up debris in the critical first few days and nurture and replant broken coral for months and years after that.

    The financial arrangement has buy-in from the local tourism industry after members came to realize the risks they were facing and that they could do something about it, said Fernando Secaira, Nature Conservancy coastal risk and resilience strategy lead for the region.

    "Almost everyone knows that the reef exists but many didn't know about the reef being degraded," Secaira said.

    How much tax revenue the trust will collect and how much the insurance will pay out are still being worked out, he said. The plan is to have the the trust up and running by the upcoming hurricane season.

    Insuring the reefs with parametric insurance likely wouldn't have been an option more than a dozen years ago.

    It's an increasingly popular tool mainly used, so far, by governments anticipating natural disasters like hurricanes and earthquakes, according to Eduardo Cavallo, who researches the economics of natural disasters at the Inter-American Development Bank in Washington. The bank is funded by dozens of governments and gives out development loans across Latin America and the Caribbean.

    Parametric insurance for natural catastrophes was first used by Mexico's government in 2006, according to Cavallo. He said the Coastal Zone Management Trust's use of parametric insurance for coral reefs is a far more specific application than he's seen before.

    Under a traditional indemnity insurance plan, assessors arrive after a disaster to evaluate how much damage was done and how much money to pay, Cavallo said. The process can take months and there can be disputes over how much money the policy should pay out. 

    With a parametric insurance plan, a pre-set payment is triggered automatically, so it can come within days. It's usually more expensive than traditional insurance and requires extensive modeling from the insurer to get right, but for governments that want to respond to a disaster immediately, it's become a good option to supplement traditional insurance and foreign aid, Cavallo said. 

    In Latin America and the Caribbean, "there's more and more countries considering this type of insurance and more and more availability," he said.

    There's been little controversy so far, Cavallo said, but he noted that "it's a market that's in its infancy."

    The quick payout is also critical for coral reefs after a storm, according to The Nature Conservancy.

    Coral is "a living organism and as it's rolling around on the seabed, it's getting damaged," Way said.

    When big storms do hit, they can damage massive parts of reefs. Three hurricanes that hit nearby Belize between 2000 and 2002 destroyed 75 percent of its coral reefs, according to a study cited in a United Nations report from 2004.

    Of course, coral reefs today are always under threat of bleaching, a potentially deadly phenomenon brought on by warming oceans. They're also being hurt by other human activities, like polluting and overfishing.

    The Coastal Zone Management Trust isn't meant to stop coral bleaching directly, and The Nature Conservancy has other initiatives aimed at reef restoration, but Way and Secaira noted that the effects of global warming do make coral more fragile and therefore more vulnerable to the damaging waves churned up in intense hurricanes. Through the trust, they believe they'll make the reefs more resilient.

    "When it comes to the actual structure of the reef, the biggest risk is hurricane damage," Way said.

    The initiative, announced March 8 at The Economist World Ocean Summit in Cancún-Playa del Carmen, came with some fanfare, according to Michelle Bender, ocean rights manager for the Earth Law Center who was at the conference.

    The insurance plan seemed innovative to Bender at first — she hasn't seen anything like it, either — but she started identifying some problems with it. She called it a "Band-Aid" for coral reefs that won't treat the bleaching that's chronically ailing them. She also took issue with the way the approach values nature for its human applications, rather its own inherent value.

    "We need to move past our traditional economic models that have the economy as our highest tier [in which] nature serves people and people serve the economy," she said.

    The Earth Law Center is set to launch its own initiative on Earth Day, a new legal framework that would establish rights for the ocean. It's part of a growing movement for giving rights to nature, she said, noting that a Colombian court ruled this month that the Amazon rainforest has rights.

    But others see the economic incentives-based approach as an effective way of getting governments to take conservation seriously.

    Michele Lemay, a coastal management specialist also at the Inter-American Development Bank, said she was "pretty excited" about the trust fund. It's the kind of approach she said gets the attention of top government officials who can change policy on a wide scale.

    "This is just one specific example where you can go to a minister of finance and you can show we can link a financial product with the conservation of some coastal ecosystems that have value to the private sector," Lemay said. "For a group of decision makers, that's what gets their attention."

    Twenty years ago, she said, those ministers, around the Caribbean at least, wouldn't have given an extra thought to such efforts. But she's seen a shift in the last several years that recognizes reefs and other coastal habitats as "the first line of defense against climate change," making governments and institutions much more interested in green infrastructure.

    She joked that this project has "the perfect storm" of backers in a major charity like The Nature Conservancy, a focused local government and willing private sector, so it's not guaranteed to work in other cases. But if it does work in Mexico, it will have "a huge demonstration effect," she added.

    The Nature Conservancy is already thinking about how to scale the effort around the world, and there's plenty of opportunities, starting with coral reefs. They protect or provide economic benefits to as many as 200 million people on Earth, according to a 2014 Stanford study that also found that restoring reef structures in the tropics is cheaper than building artificial breakwaters.

    Mangrove forests, salt marshes and seagrass beds, among other parts of the ecosystem, could also get their own parametric insurance policies. Pollution is another parameter that might trigger payouts.

    "We need to reduce vulnerabilities as much as we can" as risks increase with the onset of climate change, Way said.

    His colleague, Seceira, suggested parametric insurance could help countries begin to factor their natural wealth into their national accounting, the same way they do highways and hospitals.

    "We can approach nature as an asset that you can insure because it's so valuable," Seceira said. "It's changing the mindset of many people."

    Photo Credit: Luis Javier Sandoval/VW Pics/UIG via Getty Images, File
    This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.

    This undated file photo shows a hawksbill turtle swimming in the Cozumel reefs in the Caribbean Sea in Mexico. A new trust fund developed in part by The Nature Conservancy aims to insure a long stretch of the area's reefs, which protect some of the popular beaches, so they can be repaired in the immediate aftermath of damaging hurricanes.This undated file photo shows a hawksbill turtle swimming in the Cozumel reefs in the Caribbean Sea in Mexico. A new trust fund developed in part by The Nature Conservancy aims to insure a long stretch of the area's reefs, which protect some of the popular beaches, so they can be repaired in the immediate aftermath of damaging hurricanes.

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    A dozen homeowners and businesses in Bristol are now helping police solve crimes and catch criminals by sharing what they see from their homes or offices, through their surveillance cameras.

    “We could reach out to those people with those businesses and look at their cameras to see if they picked up anything, the crime or something that may help us in the investigation,” Lt. Richard Guerrera said.

    Guerrera said the surveillance cameras registered with police will help them capture criminal activity and could potentially be used to make convictions.

    Wethersfield police started a similar surveillance camera database in March and say 30 homes and businesses have now registered their cameras with police.

    “I'll sign up right away right away,” Jose Ramos said.

    Ramos still remembers the sickening feeling after being the victim of a crime.

    “Bad, horrible you know I didn't catch them,” Ramos said.

    Last November the contractor’s tools were stolen right outside of his front door. He estimates they were worth approximately $1000.

    “Without that you can't provide for the family. Those tools cost money,” Ramos said.

    While his Bristol home is equipped with surveillance cameras, they weren’t working the day he says criminals came onto his property.

    “I keep an eye on them and it's recording, the DVR is recording 24/7,” Ramos said.

    Soon Ramos’ cameras will be registered with the Bristol Police Department as part of the new Community Watch Team.

    For Ramos, it’s a no-brainer, giving police a look through his lens to help catch criminals.

    The program is voluntary. Those interested in registering their surveillance systems can do so through the city website.

    Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

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    The Groton Town Police Department is searching for a missing sailor.

    Police said 24-year-old Tyler E. Jacob, a U.S. Navy sailor, was last seen Tuesday morning when he left his Groton home. He has not been seen since.

    Jacob was riding his blue 2014 Honda CBR motorcycle with Connecticut plate 00KSVK. He is 5-foot-11, weighs approximately 220 pounds, is blond and has blue eyes. It is unknown what he was wearing when he went missing.

    Anyone with information on his whereabouts should contact the Groton Town Police Department at 860-441-6712.

    Photo Credit: Groton Town Police Department

    Tyler JacobTyler Jacob

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    A 3-year-old girl shot her pregnant mother Tuesday in an Indiana parking lot after finding her father's loaded gun in the car, police said.

    Shaneque Thomas, 21, was sitting in the front seat of the car outside Plato's Closet at a Merrillville strip mall parking lot when the toddler fired the gun, striking the mother between the chest and shoulder.

    The girl's 1-year-old brother was also in the car.

    "She had no idea what she had done and she was very scared," Detective Sgt. James Bogner said.

    Thomas' boyfriend, identified by police as Menzo Brazien, was inside the thrift store trying on clothes at the time of the shooting. He is being held on a preliminary charge of child endangerment, the Lake County Sheriff's Department said. 

    A Plato's Closet employee told NBC 5 a witness ran inside the store and told her there was a woman bleeding outside. 

    "There was blood flowing all from her stomach; just coming out like water, like a faucet, and I screamed 'Someone call 911,'" Hadassah Zirkle said.

    Another employee, Paloma Prieto, told NBC 5 Brazien rushed outside and was "balling his eyes out" as he wrapped his jacket around Thomas' waist to try and stop the bleeding until paramedics arrived. 

    Thomas was taken to a local hospital and then transferred to Loyola University Medical Center where she was listed in critical but stable condition.

    Employees took the children inside the store to shield them from the chaos. Zirkle said the little girl had blood on her jacket. 

    "[She was] just looking at me, caressing my neck. Just holding on to me. I was telling her it was OK," Zirkle added.

    Merrillville police say the couple from Michigan City were in Merrillville to visita local Planned Parenthood. The mother is about six weeks pregnant, police said.

    The children have been placed in the custody of the Indiana Department of Child Services. 

    Merrillville Police Chief Joe Petruch called the shooting a "real careless act."

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    A Stamford man was on the Southwest flight that made an emergency landing in Philadelphia Tuesday after something went horribly wrong and he said the flight crew members were “outstanding” during a tragic situation.

    Around 30 minutes into the flight, the twin-engine Boeing 737 that left New York with 149 people board apparently blew an engine and was hit by shrapnel that smashed a window and damaged the fuselage, killing a passenger and injuring seven others, authorities said.

    “All of a sudden, had a large explosion happen, with regards to what we assume was the engine and then, basically all panic broke out,” said Jim Demetros, a Stamford resident who was on his way to a technology software conference in San Antonio.

    The pilot took the plane into a rapid descent as passengers using oxygen masks that dropped from the ceiling braced for impact.

    Demetros, who flies frequently and said this flight happened to be on his birthday, commended the crew for how they responded.

    “(T)he crew at Southwest was outstanding, both from the cabin crew as well as the crew in the cockpit,” he said. “They handled themselves amazingly and as part of the whole sequence of events, because everything happens in an instant and it doesn’t come down in a very slow fashion. It comes down in a very quick fashion and puts panic in those who are sitting inside the cabin.” 

    The woman sitting next to the window that shattered, Jennifer Riordan, of New Mexico, died.

    Demetros said it was a pretty harrowing experience and the flight crew and people nearby scrambled to try to save her, while keeping everyone else safe.

    The said the crews and the two other people who tried to help the woman are “the true heroes.”

    “It was great to see how humanity came together in a very, very tragic situation, to say the least,” he said.

    National Transportation Safety Board chairman Robert Sumwalt said this was the first passenger fatality in an accident involving a U.S. airline since 2009.

    The tragedy is the skies will not keeping Demetros from traveling again soon.

    “You can’t worry about things that are out of control,” he said.

    He will be traveling next week again.


    Photo Credit: AP

    National Transportation Safety Board investigators examine damage to the engine of the Southwest Airlines plane that made an emergency landing at Philadelphia International Airport in Philadelphia on Tuesday, April 17, 2018. The Southwest Airlines jet blew the engine at 32,000 feet and got hit by shrapnel that smashed a window, setting off a desperate scramble by passengers to save a woman from getting sucked out. She later died, and seven others were injured. (NTSB via AP)National Transportation Safety Board investigators examine damage to the engine of the Southwest Airlines plane that made an emergency landing at Philadelphia International Airport in Philadelphia on Tuesday, April 17, 2018. The Southwest Airlines jet blew the engine at 32,000 feet and got hit by shrapnel that smashed a window, setting off a desperate scramble by passengers to save a woman from getting sucked out. She later died, and seven others were injured. (NTSB via AP)

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    The State of Connecticut is holding onto more than $750 million in unclaimed property. More than 1.4 million people and businesses are owed money from sources such as forgotten bank accounts, utility deposits, and insurance policies.

    The CT Big List puts all this information in one place. Anyone can search the online database to see if the state owes you.

    Getting your money requires some work.

    The State Treasurer’s Office says it typically takes about 90 days to process a claim once the proper documentation is received and some may take even longer due to their complexity.

    That was Linda Fischl’s experience.

    She filed a claim in September after discovering a $956 insurance policy in her late father’s name. Fischl called the state to pursue it as the executor of her father’s estate.

    Fischl had to submit a number of documents along with her claim, including a copy of her driver license, her father’s social security card, a notarized Power of Attorney agreement and her father’s death certificate.

    The next step was obtaining a certificate from the Probate Court.

    Fischl mailed everything to the State Treasurer’s Office and waited and waited.

    “I just thought, well, this is incredible. Who else is going to do this? Are they really going to go through all of the steps and have to backtrack or know how to approach it," she said.

    Fischl contacted NBC Connecticut Responds.

    In response to our inquiry, a spokesperson for the Treasurer’s Office confirmed Fischl’s claim has been approved and a check is being processed.

    To search for unclaimed property, go to

    1. Enter at least a last name in the box provided and click the "Search Properties" button to get a list of matching names.
    2. Click the check box next to the property number displayed alongside the name you wish to inquire about and click the "Claim Properties" button. (You may select more than one property listed with a name.)
    3. To create a claim form, fill in claimant's information and click the "Submit Claim" button to get a pre-filled claim form containing the information you entered.
    4.  Print out and complete the Claim Form and review the "Required Documentation" section of the form.
    5. Mail: * Completed Claim Form with claimant's signature and notarization; and * Required Documents listed on the instruction sheet to: State of Connecticut, Office of the State Treasurer, P.O. Box 5065, Hartford, CT 06102

    Photo Credit: NBC 4 New York

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    Three Hartford women face kidnapping and assault charges after cell phone video surfaced of what police call a brutal attack on Rowe Avenue last year.

    According to court documents, the cell phone was found during a search and seizure warrant for an unrelated ATF investigation. The video was passed to Hartford police in March 2018. Paperwork says that the video showed three women attacking another woman. The victim was "being dragged by her hair several times, punched and kicked repeatedly in the face, her cloths [sic] ripped off her body, and she is left lying naked in the middle of the road." Police say onlookers cheered and encouraged the suspects while recording the attack.

    Hartford Police reportedly identified one of the suspects as 30-year-old Ada Marrero of Hartford, who was known "from a separate unrelated investigation, in which Marrero was arrested for a firearm."

    Authorities say they also recognized the victim and that they were able to locate the victim through her probation officer.

    Paperwork reveals that when investigators reached out to the victim, she confirmed that "she was assaulted, robbed, and abducted on August 13, 2017" and named two suspects in the attack which included Marrero and 33-year-old Waleska Bones.

    The victim says that the three suspects approached her while she was on James Street and "assaulted, robbed, and forced her to 103 Rowe Avenue. She reported all three females would not let her go unless she got money to pay [Marrero]. She had her eyes swollen shut, bruising all over her body, and clumps of hair missing from her head."

    The victim told police she did not tell anyone about the incident because she feared for her safety.

    Court documents say the victim correctly pointed out the two suspects she named in a lineup of photographs.

    Investigators say they interviewed Bones and that the suspect admitted to taking the victim's clothes off and participating in the assault.

    Police say they tracked down the third suspect, 38-year-old Jacqueline Davila.

    Marrero, Bones, and Davila were arrested and charged with second-degree kidnapping, second-degree assault and cruelty to persons.

    Investigators believe the crime was drug-related.

    The three women were each issued a $250,000 bond.

    Photo Credit: Hartford Police Department

    From left: Ada Marrero, Waleska Bones and Jacqueline DavilaFrom left: Ada Marrero, Waleska Bones and Jacqueline Davila

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    The demolition work that started in February for a casino in East Windsor appears to be almost complete. All that remains of the Showcase Cinemas is a large concrete slab, some sets of stairs, and piles of rubble.

    But future development of the site remains further in doubt following a recent opinion from Attorney General George Jepsen. He was asked by Connecticut’s House Speaker to provide an opinion on the federal process for authorizing tribal casinos and whether Connecticut can pass laws to circumvent it.

    Jepsen responded with a thirteen page response and a grim outlook.

    Specifically, lawmakers considered attempting to authorize the casino and have it be under the guidelines of the compacts with the state’s two casino operating tribes. Jepsen said, “eliminating the federal approval condition would raise risks for the current gaming arrangements with the Tribes about which we have previously opined and continue to have serious concerns.”

    Speaker of the House Joe Aresimowicz welcomed the clarity from Jepsen.

    “The reality of an additional casino being built in Connecticut without the BIA approval in the next five years is zero,” he said.

    The issue, from the tribes’ and their supporters’ standpoint, is that the Bureau of Indian Affairs has not signed off on submitted amendments to their compacts with the State of Connecticut, leaving the project in a state of limbo. The East Windsor facility would be the state’s first casino located off of tribal land.

    The Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan Tribes entered into the joint venture for the casino as a way to combat the emerging pressure from MGM Springfield, a casino slated to open later in 2018.

    Andrew Doba, a spokesman for the tribes said of the opinion submitted by Jepsen, “We agree with the Attorney General that DOI is violating the law every day that it fails to publish notice of approval of the compact amendments in the Federal Register, and we share his confidence in our legal position.”

    “However, we strongly believe that there is a way to proceed with the project until the legal issues are resolved that protects the State’s revenue under the compacts, and we will continue to discuss the options with state leaders,” Doba added.

    MGM has continued its effort in the State Capitol to lobby for a competitive bid process for a third casino. The casino corporation viewed the opinion as a victory for their interests, how their commercial casino proposal for Bridgeport would not require approval from the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

    Uri Clinton, an executive with MGM said, “We reassert our view that the fastest, most effective way to achieve those goals, and modernize the state’s decades-old gaming structure, is to move forward with a competitive process.”

    Aresimowicz did not have as rosy an outlook when it came to MGM.

    “It’s my understanding that MGM has its hands in multiple pots around gambling throughout the United States, so if they want to build something in Bridgeport, they need to stop talking about it and promising and actually participate in some kind of study of what it will look like in the state,” he said.

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    A man who says he was sexually abused by a priest while growing up in Bristol is taking his case to court.

    A civil lawsuit filed in New Haven Superior Court names the priest, Reverend Gregory Altermatt, and the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Hartford. It claims sexual abuse dating back to the 1970s and 1980s when the plaintiff, now in his 40s, was 7 to 15 years old.

    Altermatt has not been charged with any crimes.

    The lawsuit states the church should have known that Altermatt posed a danger to minors with whom he had contact.

    “It’s not unusual that at this time of life an abuse victim finally says I can’t take this anymore,” Attorney Thomas McNamara said of his client, Matthew Cornell.

    McNamara said Altermatt became a close friend of the Cornell family that belonged to his parish, St. Matthew’s Church in Bristol.

    “His mother was very religious,” McNamara said, “so much so that she actually sowed some vestments for Reverend Altermatt’s ordination.”

    The abuse intensified, McNamara said, after Altermatt transferred to St. Anne Church in Waterbury. The attorney said it got even worse when the priest became a caretaker and babysitter for Cornell following his mother’s death in 1979.

    “After that Altermatt was spending an increasing amount of time with Mr. Cornell and had more opportunity to abuse him,” McNamara said.

    The lawsuit states Altermatt abused Cornell in the St. Anne’s rectory, his family home in Bristol, the priest’s car and Altermatt’s mother’s condo during a trip to Florida.

    The prosecution of former Penn State football assistant coach Jerry Sandusky and other adult survivors of child sex abuse motivated Cornell to take legal action now.

    The lawsuit does not specify an amount, but Cornell is seeking compensation for psychological damages.

    “He’s still feeling the emotional fallout from this and betrayal of trust from this man who was like a family member and took him under his wing,” McNamara said.

    NBC Connecticut reached out for comment on the allegations multiple times by email and phone to Altermatt’s attorney, but never heard back.

    “It is the policy of the Archdiocese of Hartford not to comment on pending litigation,” said Maria Zone, Director of Communications for the Archidocese of Hartford. “It is important for the public to know that the Archdiocese is committed to keeping children and vulnerable adults safe through its “Safe Environment Program,” which includes background checks of all of its personnel who have regular contact with children and vulnerable adults, and VIRTUS training for adults and minors that concerns sexual abuse awareness and how to deal appropriately with such issues. The safety of children and vulnerable adults is a top priority of the Archdiocese of Hartford.”

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    The $1 million set aside for towns to test homes for crumbling foundations is the target of a political furor in Washington, D.C. and in Hartford.

    The backlash started when Congressman Joe Courtney, who represents Eastern Connecticut where the issue is most prominent, wrote a letter questioning the sweep of $750,000 meant for municipalities to use for testing homes. The money was part of a larger grant from the federal government.

    He wrote to the Evonne Klein, Connecticut’s Housing commissioner, “given the urgency of and deep community interest in this issue, a decision of this magnitude should have prompted diligent and proactive communication with legislators, municipalities, and other key stakeholders.”

    Municipalities were tasked with applying for the funds. In the end, only Coventry filed an application on behalf of the town and seven other small towns. The application was successful, leading to $250,000 being provided by the state.

    The rest of the money was reallocated within the Department of Housing, something both Democrats and Republicans in the Connecticut General Assembly said was an acceptable outcome.

    “What happens is if the state doesn’t encumber that, the feds take a look at that and say, well, it looks like you didn’t need that so it looks like you’re going to lose $750,000 in perpetuity and that is money that is spent across the communities in ways that they need,” said Rep. Jeff Currey, (D – East Hartford), who has worked on the crumbling foundations issue.

    Republican Kurt Vail said in a statement, “It’s important for our towns to realize that they are still eligible to apply for grant money in the future. The reallocation of money earmarked for those affected by crumbling foundations highlights the fact that all stakeholders must work closely together in order to provide viable solutions to homeowners.

    Klein defended the moving of the funds, citing the lack of interest, and said, "This program has a longstanding track record of supporting low and moderate-income families. To that end, it would have been irresponsible for us to keep the funding set-aside any longer when municipal leaders have demonstrated very little interest in the crumbling foundations testing program and it would have jeopardized our future federal funds.”

    Lawmakers said they hope to come up with a way in the future to have the funds available for a longer period of time.

    South Windsor Republican Tom Delnicki also weighed in.

    “The money didn’t really go away. It wasn’t swept away purposely. It’s still in the state’s control and conceptually we could address it again," he said.

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    President Donald Trump continued to decry the Russia investigation as a “hoax” Wednesday, and said his team has fully cooperated with Mueller’s investigators. “Nobody has ever been more transparent than I have,” Trump claimed during a joint press conference on trade and North Korea with Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe Wednesday. Trump also said months of speculation that he would fire special counsel Robert Mueller and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein had proven wrong.

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    Killingly school officials are looking into opening the high school to neighboring towns without one.

    Officials are considering the plan in part due to decreasing enrollment and a desire for better student opportunities. Killingly High School is fit to hold 1,100 students. Currently enrollment sits around 800, according to Superintendent Steven Rioux. He’s seen declining enrollment in grades two through eight.

    With more kids, Killingly can maintain the quality programs the school has and possibly add even more.

    “If we can get students up to around 900 that offers us to expand our current offerings of foreign language,” Rioux said.

    They would also have the capacity to potentially hire more teachers and expand programs, he added.

    The school is equipped with a Regional Agricultural Education Center — there are sheep and goats on campus — a Head Start program that has students working hands-on with pre-schoolers, and technology classes with 3D printers, Rioux explained.

    “There are just opportunities here to allow other school districts to send students to Killingly High School at no additional cost to them,” Rioux said.

    Towns would pay for tuition and transportation, according to Rioux who said that many districts already provide students transportation to the agriculture program at Killingly.

    Killingly High School already is a designated school for Brooklyn students. About 120 currently attend, Rioux said.

    “They probably just would have to get more teachers to handle to volume of students, but I think it’s a good idea,” Lori Gardiner said. She has two daughters in Killingly schools. One is at the high school, the other, Katelyn, is in the seventh grade.

    Katelyn said the potential move could help out other districts plus bring her friends to her school.

    “It would be nice to see them in school instead of just out of school,” Gardiner said.

    Rioux said he’s had three superintendents reach out to him to explore this over the last year. The next step is reaching out to the districts in the area to get the conversation started. It will be a lengthy process, he added.

    Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

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    A simple night out at a softball game turned into a major event for two teenagers from Wallingford.

    In March Jordan Davis and Tre Childers were involved in a horrible car crash. Now the community is rallying around them during their long recovery.

    “Nothing but God’s grace and mercy,” said Ernest Childers.

    Ernest Childers counts his blessings watching his son and his son’s friend out and about after surviving a violent car crash last month in Wallingford.

    “I’m great. I’m doing really good,” said Jordan Davis.

    Jordan and Tre were in the car together when police say the Toyota Scion lost control and hit a tree on Highland Avenue near Route 68.

    The violent impact sent the two Sheehan High School students to the hospital with serious injuries.

    “It’s really heartbreaking to hear something like this happen,” said Sheehan junior Riley Wolcheski.

    That’s why students decided to help the pair. At Wednesday’s Sheehan softball game against Lyman Hall, fundraisers collected money for the boys’ medical bills.

    “Anything that happens, we’re really close. So we just wanted to do something really nice for the families and all that because we know they’re going through a really hard time right now,” said Sheehan senior Sam Iannone.

    Now with both Tre and Jordan out of the hospital, the boys and their families credit the community for helping with the recovery, which still has a ways to go.

    “Really thankful for all of the support that everyone came out, visited in the hospital and everything,” said Tre.

    “It means a lot and all of the support, it’s absolutely amazing,” said Jordan.

    Jordan hopes to be back in school next week, while for Tre it’s going to take a little bit longer.

    We reached out to police for an update on the investigation but have not yet heard back.

    Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

    In March Jordan Davis and Tre Childers were involved in a horrible car crash. Now the community is rallying around them during their long recovery.In March Jordan Davis and Tre Childers were involved in a horrible car crash. Now the community is rallying around them during their long recovery.

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    Do you think you’re a safe driver? Connecticut drivers are the worst in the country, according to a new report.

    The 2018 Safe Driving Report released by EverQuote Wednesday ranks Connecticut drivers as the worst in the country, followed by our neighbors in Rhode Island. 

    The report says drivers in the Northeast had the lowest safe-driving ratings overall, being most-likely to engage in unsafe habits like speeding, aggressively accelerating, or using the phone while driving. The Midwest boasts the safest drivers.

    Connecticut didn’t do much better in last year’s study – in 2017, Connecticut ranked 49th.

    EverQuote determined the scores by analyzing 781 million miles worth of driving data from 2017 collected by their EverDrive app. The EverDrive app collects data from different parts of the car, including the GPS, accelerometer, device screen on/off and gyroscope.

    While Connecticut has a distracted driver law that makes it illegal to use handheld devices while driving, the report says Connecticut drivers use their phones on 34 percent of trips.

    The report also found that Connecticut drivers sped on 56 percent of trips, aggressively accelerated on 17 percent, brake hard on 30 percent, and turn hard on 12 percent.

    On average across the country, drivers sped during 38 percent of trips, used their phones on 37 percent of trips, braked hard on 23 percent, aggressively accelerated on 14 percent, and turned hard on 11 percent.

    The report also noted that despite laws against it, distracted driving has had a significant impact on insurance rates across the country.

    Photo Credit: NBC 5 News

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  • 04/18/18--12:21: Eversource to Raise Rates

  • Rates will be going up for Eversource customers, according to the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority, but the rate increases will be smaller than the amount the utility company was asking for. 

    The Public Utilities Regulatory Authority, or PURA, issued a ruling Wednesday on the rate increase application Eversource filed on Nov. 22 and said the average residential customer will pay an additional $5.40 per month in the first rate year. 

    That rate is based on a customer using 700 kWh. It amounts to an increase of 3.8 percent in the first year, followed by increases of .78 percent in the second year and .73 percent the following year. 

    Eversource wanted to increase the average residential customer’s bill around $13.7 a month, or 9.8 percent, according to PURA, but its ruling allows a 1.6 percent increase in the first rate year and a monthly residential charge reduced to $10.80 from the current $19.25. 

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    Philadelphia police are investigating the “suspicious” death of the father of former Trump administration national security adviser H.R. McMaster.

    Herbert McMaster died Friday at the Cathedral Village home on the 600 block of Cathedral Road in the Roxborough section of Philadelphia. He was 84.

    Law enforcement sources told NBC10 McMaster's death is being investigated as suspicious due to allegations of neglect and dereliction of duty.

    According to the sources, McMaster fell and hit his head and was placed in a recliner but was not treated or monitored. He later died from blunt impact to the head and his death was ruled accidental by the medical examiner.

    Investigators are looking into whether workers at the home falsified paperwork and gave the McMaster family misleading information, according to sources.

    Philadelphia police, the attorney general's office, district attorney's office and the Health Department are all investigating.

    NBC10 reached out to Cathedral Village for comment but has not yet recieved a response.

    Photo Credit: AP, File

    In this July 31, 2017, file photo, national security adviser H.R. McMaster listens during the daily press briefing at the White House in Washington. A long-simmering dispute between two top White House aides has boiled into a public battle over the direction President Donald Trump’s foreign policy, as a cadre of conservatives groups are pushing for the ouster of McMaster.In this July 31, 2017, file photo, national security adviser H.R. McMaster listens during the daily press briefing at the White House in Washington. A long-simmering dispute between two top White House aides has boiled into a public battle over the direction President Donald Trump’s foreign policy, as a cadre of conservatives groups are pushing for the ouster of McMaster.

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    The official announcement nearly six decades in the making took place Thursday morning as Miguel Diaz-Canel was named the new president of Cuba — the first person not named Castro to hold that title since 1959.

    Diaz-Canel was the country’s first vice president and a long-time protégé of Raul Castro, the leader of the communist nation since 2008, when he took over from the longtime leader, his brother Fidel. The 57-year-old was hand picked in an effort to ensure the continuation of one of the globe’s last surviving communist states.

    The presidential result were essentially clear since Cuba’s national assembly approves all executive branch proposals by margins of 95 percent or higher. 603 of the assembly's 604 members voted for Diaz-Canel, with the new president being the only person not to cast a vote.

    Diaz-Canel is known to Cubans in the central province of Villa Clara as a modest-living, hard-working member of the party that has been in control for generations. He is an electrical engineer who previously served as the minister of education.

    “They’ve put in a nondescript civilian who doesn’t belong to the military, which is very important, and doesn’t have any control over any of the businesses,” said Jim Cason, a former U.S. diplomat to Cuba. “He’s an apparatchik so I think it’s a succession.”

    Raul Castro will still be the most powerful person in Cuba for the time being as he will continue to be the leader of the Communist Party on the island.

    “You can look at it as a generational transition, but it’s not a real transition to something new and different in Cuba,” Cason said.

    Some of the issues Diaz-Canel will face include a stagnant economy at home, with growing disenchantment on the island with slow market reforms Castro introduced in 2011.

    The country is also receiving fewer dollars from American tourists, as President Donald Trump has reinforced some restrictions eased under the administration of former President Barack Obama.

    Photo Credit: Getty Images

    HAVANA, CUBA - MARCH 21: Cuban Vice President Miguel Mario Diaz-Canel arrives for talks with U.S. President Barack Obama at the Palace of the Revolution March 21, 2016 in Havana, Cuba. The first sitting U.S. president to visit Cuba in 88 years, Obama and Castro will sit down for bilateral talks and will deliver joint statements to the news media. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)HAVANA, CUBA - MARCH 21: Cuban Vice President Miguel Mario Diaz-Canel arrives for talks with U.S. President Barack Obama at the Palace of the Revolution March 21, 2016 in Havana, Cuba. The first sitting U.S. president to visit Cuba in 88 years, Obama and Castro will sit down for bilateral talks and will deliver joint statements to the news media. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

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    A 44-year-old motorcyclist was killed in a crash on Highland Street in Manchester Saturday, according to Manchester police.

    Police have identified the man as Thomas Tortora, of Manchester, and said he was speeding down Highland Street when he hit a guardrail and was thrown from the vehicle.

    Medics pronounced Tortora dead at the scene.

    The investigation is underway, but police said the preliminary information indicates that speed was a factor in the crash.

    The Manchester Police Department Traffic Unit and the Mero Traffic Accident Reconstruction Team are investigating. Anyone who witnessed the crash should call Officer Augusto at 860-645-5560.

    Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

    A motorcyclist was killed in a crash on Highland Street in Manchester Saturday.A motorcyclist was killed in a crash on Highland Street in Manchester Saturday.

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    State police have canceled a Silver Alert for a missing man after a search in the area of Witch Meadow in Salem.

    State police had been searching for 35-year-old Thaxton Kaye, who had been missing since Tuesday.

    The alert was canceled just before 10:30 a.m.

    Photo Credit: Silver Alert

    Thaxton Kaye, of Salem, has been missing since Tuesday.Thaxton Kaye, of Salem, has been missing since Tuesday.

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    Police have responded to Wyllys and Groton streets in Hartford, near Hartford Hospital, after a car hit a man and the roads will be closed through the morning rush hour, according to police.

    The man has been transported to the hospital. No information has been released on his condition.

    Clothes and a backpack are in the middle of the street and a driver is cooperating with police. 

    Police warn drivers to expect delays on Columbus Boulevard.

    Check back for updates.

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    The New York Yankees are going to bat for a 10-year-old girl who shared a heartbreaking story on social media about years of bullying she’s endured at her Pennsylvania school.

    [[480218123, C]]

    The New York Post reports 10-year-old Cassidy Slater posted a video on Facebook detailing the traumatizing stories of bullying she has gone through. In the video, the Scranton fourth-grader holds up sheets of paper with the harrowing messages of abuse written on them.

    One sheet detailed how a group of kids came up to her at recess, hitting her, kicking her, pulling her hair, stepping on her and even spitting on her.

    The video, along with her Facebook page, was taken down by the social media company because she is not 13 and doesn't meet the site's age requirement, according to her mother, Jenn Slater, who reposted the video on her own page. Slater also alleged in her post that her daughter was initially threatened by the school's principal to remove the video before the school district contacted Facebook to report Cassidy's page.

    Slater pleaded with the Facebook community to share her daughter's story and help her "put a smile back on her face." The video racked up thousands of views and caught the attention of the New York Yankees.

    The team’s official Twitter account shared Cassidy's video Wednesday along with a video of their own, mimicking the style of hers. The two-and-a-half minute video features 23 Yankees players and manager Aaron Boone holding up written messages of support.

    "Hey Cassidy - we saw the video you made and from all of us here at the New York Yankees, we want you to know that you are not alone. We have your back!" the team wrote.

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    It begins with starting pitcher CC Sabathia holding up a sign reading "My teammates and I wanted you to know that we care about you."

    About 45 seconds into the video, first baseman Greg Bird holds up a sign that reads, "We may be older than you. We may be taller than you.” Then relief pitcher Dellin Betances finishes the message saying, “But we want you to know that we look up to you."

    The video ends with Boone inviting Cassidy to meet the team.

    Slater thanked the Yankees in a Facebook post, writing that she has "much respect" for the team and their gesture made her cry. 

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    Photo Credit: Getty Images
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    Yankee StadiumYankee Stadium

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    An E. coli outbreak that health investigators believe is linked to chopped romaine lettuce has expanded, with 53 cases now reported in 16 states, and nearly three dozen hospitalized, at least five of whom suffered kidney failure.

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention added 18 more cases to the total in its update Wednesday, a marked increase since the prior update less than a week earlier, and said five more states reported sick people: Alaska, Arizona, California, Louisiana and Montana.

    Officials believe the contaminated lettuce was grown in Yuma, Arizona, though they have not identified a grower, supplier, distributor or brand.

    Cases have been reported across the tri-state area, the most in New Jersey (7); New York and Connecticut have three cases each. Pennsylvania has the most (12) in this outbreak, followed by Idaho (10). Check the CDC's case count map.

    The CDC added nine more hospitalizations to its count from last week, bringing the total in this outbreak to 31. Five of those cases involved a type of kidney failure called hemolytic uremic syndrome, a serious condition caused by the abnormal destruction of red blood cells. No one has died.

    Consumers who have bought romaine lettuce - including salads and salad mixes containing romaine lettuce - are advised to throw it away, even if some of it was eaten and no one has gotten sick.

    Before purchasing romaine lettuce at a grocery store or eating it at a restaurant, confirm with the store or restaurant that it is not chopped romaine lettuce from the Yuma, Arizona, growing region. If you cannot confirm the source of the romaine lettuce, do not buy it or eat it.

    Restaurants and retailers are advised to take similar precautions.

    Health officials say the outbreak started in late March. Symptoms vary and can range from mild to severe diarrhea to nausea and vomiting. Usually, there is little or no fever present. E. coli can spread from an infected person, contaminated food or water, or by touching contaminated surfaces, the CDC says. It is very contagious and can spread quickly in places such as daycare centers and cruise ships.

    “Individuals with this infection usually get better within about 5 to 7 days, however, some illnesses can be serious or even life-threatening,” New Jersey Health Commissioner Dr. Shereef Elnahal said in a statement last week. “Anyone experiencing symptoms of this illness should see a healthcare provider.”

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    Hartford Public High School was evacuated after two fires broke out in the building at 55 Forest Street Thursday morning.

    The fires started in the boys' bathrooms on the second and third floor, according to fire officials.  The damage was contained to those bathrooms, they said.

    Students were dismissed for the day to allow the building to ventilate.  School will be in session on Friday, according to Hartford Public Schools officials.

    Both Hartford fire officials and Hartford police are investigating the cause of the fires.

    Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

    Two fire broke out inside Hartford Public High School on Forest Street on Thursday morning.Two fire broke out inside Hartford Public High School on Forest Street on Thursday morning.

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    The superintendent of schools in Montville and the principal and assistant principal of Montville High School have been placed on leave after they were arrested, accused of failing to report an alleged fight club in a classroom it in October and the board of education plans to hold a special meeting tonight.

    State police said their investigation started on Dec. 14 after Montville police initiated an investigation and contacted Department of Children and Families about a 15-year-old boy having symptoms of being traumatized.

    The teen told the DCF social worker that three other students at Montville High School had robbed and beaten him during school, according to police.

    As police investigated they viewed video, which they said showed a teacher present, encouraging the fighting and doing nothing to stop it. 

    Former Montville High School substitute Ryan Fish, 23, of Bozrah, had been fired in October after videos of fighting in his classroom surfaced, according to state police.

    Fish, who was arrested last week, said he did not realize what was happening at the time and issued an apology. 

    He has been charged with two counts of risk of injury to a child, four counts of second-degree reckless endangerment and breach of peace. 

    Officials said earlier this week that they would be deciding whether to charge school officials with failing to report the alleged “fight club” and charges have now been filed against Supt. Brian Levesque, 45, of Brooklyn, Principal Jeffrey Theodoss, 64, of Shrewsbury, Massachusetts and assistant principal Tatiana Patten, 59, of Niantic.

    The arrest warrant applications released on Thursday include details of interviews state police conducted with them in December and January.

    Supt. Levesque told police he had received a video on Oct. 5 from a board of education member and it showed two boys fighting in a class and an adult wearing a school ID who was not intervening, according to the arrest warrant application. He then forwarded it to Principal Theodoss.

    Theodoss told police that he was not at the school on Oct. 5, but received an email from Levesque over the weekend about two boys fighting in class. The superintendent also sent over video and asked if it was recorded at Montville High School, according to state police. Theodoss said he then forwarded the video to Patten, who confirmed the video had been taken at the school, according to state police.

    When police spoke with Patten, she initially said she was made aware of a fight club at the school on Oct. 10, according to state police.

    But during a later interview, she said a guidance counselor had gone to her on Oct. 6 and said a parent wanted the school to be aware of a slap boxing incident in a classroom and that Fish might be involved, but there was no evidence at the time, according to state police.

    Two days later, she received an email from Theodoss asking that she check it out and she confirmed the video had been taken at Montville High School.

    Theodoss told police that he had asked Levesque if police should be notified and he said no. Patten told police that Theodoss instructed her not to say anything to anyone about the incident.

    When police spoke with Levesque, he said Fish had been terminated and the students involved in the fighting were disciplined and he was done with the issue and did not contact police, according to the arrest warrant application.

    The board of education in Montville will hold a special meeting at the Montville High School Library and Media Center at 5 p.m. and there will be an executive session to discuss a "personnel matter related to the incident at the high school."

    Laurie Pallin, the assistant superintendent of Montville Public Schools, released the following statement on Thursday:

    “It is with a heavy heart that, as assistant superintendent, I try to make sense of a very unfortunate situation.

    “Today is a sad day for our district. Three well-known and highly respected members of the Montville Public Schools administrative team turned themselves in to state police Troop E this morning. These people are not only my colleagues, but they are my friends. As of today, the superintendent, the high school principal, and the assistant principal have been placed on leave pending the outcome of our internal investigation as well as the ongoing state police investigation.

    “There is much that, legally, I cannot address, and, due to the fact that I was not part of this investigation, I do not have many of the details.

    “What I can tell you is that we cannot and will not let this current situation define who and what we are at Montville Public Schools.

    “I would like to take this opportunity to reaffirm our commitment to our students and our families. The incident that occurred in a high school classroom was unacceptable but it is an exception to how Montville Public Schools operate- it does not illustrate the priority we place on student safety. It is our fundamental belief that every student in every one of our schools shall have a rich learning environment that is safe and nurturing.

    “We are exceptionally proud of our schools, our students, our educators, and our community. Our students and staff deserve to be recognized for all that makes our school community such a special place.”

    Levesque, Theodoss and Patten are due in court on May 3.

    There was no answer at the homes of Levesque or Patten.

    Photo Credit: Connecticut State Police