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    The United States Coast Guard will be using two ships this afternoon to attempt to break through the ice along the Connecticut River.

    Two 65 foot sister ships the Hawser and Bollard will try to move from Essex to Middletown to break through the ice jam.

    The ice jam is 6 miles long and extends from Hamburg Cove to an area along the river in the southern portion of Middletown. 

    Flood warnings remain in effect along the Connecticut River and the Housatonic River. 

    Check back with NBC Connecticut for updates on the mission. 


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    The town of Haddam has declared a state of emergency because of the danger flooding and a massive ice jam along the Connecticut River pose to town.

    A proclamation the First Selectman signed Wednesday says “a condition of danger to life and property exists in the Town of Haddam.”

    First Selectwoman Lizz Milardo said safety is her primary concern and wants to ensure that emergency crews can get to families in affected areas if necessary.

    She signed a proclamation to be forwarded to Gov. Dannel Malloy, asking that he proclaim the town is in a state of emergency.

    The U.S. Coast Guard was brought in to loosen up ice jams on the Connecticut River and will be out this afternoon as well.

    Milardo said they are not quite sure what will happen when that occurs, so local officials decided to issue a state of emergency.

    “We’re doing that two-fold. One reason is that there could be an opportunity down the road, joining with other shoreline towns that are involved, to apply for FEMA funds for our property owners,” Milardo said.

    “The second is if the ice breakers are not successful coming down the river our concern is that, as this ice starts to melt, what does that mean for those homes that are in low-lying areas?” she said.

    Milardo said some residents have already left their homes and water has risen.

    She is urging that residents who could be affected to ensure that the town has their contact information.

    Anyone with questions 

    Connecticut residents have been heading to the water's edge to take a glimpse of the natural phenomenon, but officials in affected towns have been concerned about the dangers and Haddam is the second Connecticut town to issue a state of emergency because of ice jam flooding.

    Kent has also issued one because of flooding along the Housatonic River, which forced evacuations and road closures.






    Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

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    A 15-year-old girl missing in Hamden is in need of her medicine, police said. 

    Hamden police responded to Paradise Avenue regarding an "emotionally disturbed person" around 8 a.m. on Thursday. 

    Ilyanna Mitchell had left her home through her bedroom window and according to her guardian, she needs to take her medication. 

    A silver alert was issued for Mitchell. Hamden police have conducted a search in the area and used K-9 units but Mitchell has not been located. 

    Mitchell is 5 feet 8 inches and weighs around 170 pounds. She has burgundy and brown hair and could be wearing an olive green jacket with black shoes. 

    Anyone with information is asked to call Hamden Police at (203) 230-4000.




    Photo Credit: Hamden Police

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    A woman stabbed the person she is in a relationship with during an argument in Wallingford on Thursday, police said. 

    Police were informed a Wallingford resident was being treated at the hospital for a stab wound early in the morning. 

    The victim told police the stabbing happened inside an apartment building on Center Street and police located 23-year-old Dominique Farr at a relative's home in Meriden. 

    Police said Farr was dating the victim and during an argument, she stabbed the victim with a knife in the lower abdomen. 

    The injuries do not appear to be life-threatening. 

    Farr was charged with assault and her bond was set at $75,000. 




    Photo Credit: Wallingford Police

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    A Webster Bank manager has been sentenced for stealing more than $500,000 from customer accounts. 

    Carrie Caesar, 47, of New Britain was sentenced to 12 months and one day in prison following four years of supervised release for embezzling, prosecutors said. 

    According to court documents, Caesar was the manager of a Webster Bank in Avon and between 2003 and 2016, she withdrew at least $535,600 from account holders' certified deposit (CD) accounts. 

    Caesar targeted six customers who were at least 79 years old and who she developed a relationship with. 

    The judge ordered Caesar to pay $535,600 in restitution to the bank. 

    In February, Caesar pleaded guilty to one count of theft, embezzlement and misapplication by a bank officer and employee. 


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    The parent company of the Los Angeles Times said Thursday it is investigating allegations of sexual harassment and inappropriate workplace conduct involving the paper's publisher Ross Levinsohn.

    The alleged conduct all predated Levinsohn's employment at the Times. The announcement from Tronc came after National Public Radio reported on its flagship news program "All Things Considered" and in a story on its website that Levinsohn had been sued in sexual harassment cases while working previously at two non-Tronc-related companies.

    According to the NPR report, Levinsohn, 54, admitted in sworn testimony to rating the "hotness" of female subordinates while working as an executive at the search company Alta Vista, and wondering aloud whether one female colleague moonlighted as a stripper.

    Tronc issued a statement saying it was beginning a probe of the matter.

    "This week, we became aware of allegations that Ross Levinsohn acted inappropriately," according to the company. "We are immediately launching an investigation so that we have a better understanding of what's occurred."

    "At Tronc, we expect all employees to act in a way that supports a culture of diversity and inclusion," according to the statement. "We will take appropriate action to address any behavior that falls short of these expectations."

    The organizing committee of Times journalists pushing for a union at the paper called for Levinsohn to be fired immediately in response to the NPR report.

    Results of the newsroom unionization drive are expected to be revealed Friday. Members of the Los Angeles Times Guild organizing committee wrote on their website that Levinsohn -- who became publisher in August -- is "not fit to lead our newsroom."

    NPR said its story was based on a review of court documents and interviews with more than two dozen former colleagues and associates of Levinsohn.

    Before joining The Times, he held jobs at CBS, Alta Vista, News Corp. and Yahoo. In its report, NPR said a former Alta Vista employee, Christine Fox, filed suit against the company and several executives -- including Levinsohn -- alleging a hostile work environment.

    A former executive at the company, Celia Francis, testified in the 2001 case that she had warned two top executives about the culture Levinsohn had allegedly created, NPR reported.

    "Ross was creating a frat house environment," Francis testified, according to NPR. "His behavior was inappropriate. I wanted to let them know they should do something about it."

    Members of the Times Guild organizing committee demanded on their website an "independent investigation" to determine how Levinsohn was hired.



    Photo Credit: Ben Gabbe/Getty Images, File

    In this file photo, Ross Levinsohn attends the 2013 Adweek Brand Genius Awards at Capitale on Sept. 25, 2013, in New York City.In this file photo, Ross Levinsohn attends the 2013 Adweek Brand Genius Awards at Capitale on Sept. 25, 2013, in New York City.

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    The pink "pussy hat" is in a museum collection, protesters have left the airports and George Orwell's "1984" has fallen back off the best-seller list.

    But the energy behind the anti-Donald Trump protests that exploded a year ago, which turned everything from T-shirts to yoga into a form of political "resistance," has started to shape into a surprisingly sophisticated political force ahead of November's midterm elections, NBC News reported.

    "Last year we marched and we resisted and we organized and now we're going to bring that collective power to the polls," said Bob Bland, co-chair of the Women's March. "Moving into 2018, we need to look beyond just 'resistance.'"

    This weekend, the anniversary of Trump's inauguration and the massive Women's March that followed, there will be more marches — 389 are planned around the world. But organizers this year are more focused on a new political effort dubbed PowerToThePolls, which aims to register 1 million voters and will kick off Sunday in Las Vegas.




    Photo Credit: Mario Tama/Getty Images, File

    In this file photo, protesters walk during the Women's March on Washington, with the U.S. Capitol in the background, on Jan. 21, 2017. Large crowds are attending the anti-Trump rally a day after Donald Trump was sworn in as the 45th president.In this file photo, protesters walk during the Women's March on Washington, with the U.S. Capitol in the background, on Jan. 21, 2017. Large crowds are attending the anti-Trump rally a day after Donald Trump was sworn in as the 45th president.

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    A former college classmate of one of the 13 tortured children said she will never forget the young man who wore the same clothes every day and didn't look anyone in the eye.

    Angie Parra took a music class with one of the older children of the brood at Mount San Jacinto College. She described the young man as a "sweet, but odd introvert" in an interview with NBC4.

    Parra also said he was "famished" and recalled when he scarfed down food at a school potluck.

    "He stood by the table and didn’t sit down," Parra said. "He literally ate plate after plate after plate."

    "I could see sadness in his face," she said. "His eyes – he never wanted to make eye contact with anyone."

    Mike Hestrin, the Riverside District Attorney, revealed in a news conference Thursday that David and Louise Turpin allegedly starved their children and forced them to eat rationed meals once per day. The 13 children – whose ages ranged from 2 to 29 – were forced to stay awake through the night and sleep through the day.

    Hestrin said the torture gradually escalated after the family moved from Texas to Riverside County in 2011.

    "One victim at one point was tied up and hog tied," he said. "When that victim was able to escape the ropes, these defendants eventually began using chains and padlocks to chain the victims to their beds."

    The couple pleaded not guilty to charges of torture and false imprisonment. David Turpin was also charged with one count of a lewd act on a minor.

    If convicted, the couple each faces 94 years to life in prison. Their bail was increased from $9 million to $12 million each.

    The abuse and torture came to light Sunday after the couple's 17-year-old daughter jumped out of a window and called police to inform them of the conditions she and her siblings were living in.

    "There are cases that stick with you that haunt you," Hestrin said. "Sometimes in this business we're faced with looking at human depravity, and that's what we're looking at."

    Public defenders assigned to the Turpins said they are reviewing the case and described it as "very serious."

    "Our clients are presumed to be innocent," said attorney David Macher. "They are presumed to be not guilty. We're going to provide a vigorous defense."

    The attorneys were asked whether they think the couple can receive a fair trial.

    "Part of it will depend on the reporting and the coverage of it," said Jeff Zimel, supervisor at the public defender's office. "People who are not in courtroom begin to form opinions about what happened."

    The couple's children all showed signs of muscular degredation and were all severly malnourished. All six minors were taken to the Riverside University Hospital System while the seven adults were transported to Corona Regional Medical Center, according to the Riverside County  Sheriff's Department.

    All children are receiving IV antibiotics, vitamins and nutrition. They have not been to a doctor in years and none have ever seen a dentist, according to Hestrin. He added that the oldest child, a 29-year-old woman, weighs just 82 pounds.

    Records show that the couple enrolled their children in a private school at their home, where David Turnpin was listed as its principal. There is no indication that others were enrolled in the school, called Sandcastle Day School.

    The children's grandparents said their son's family looked "healthy" and "happy" when they last saw them six years ago. Betty and James Turpin were shocked when they learned their son and his wife were arrested.

    "They were just like any ordinary family," Betty Turpin said. "And they had such good relationships. I'm not just saying this stuff. These kids, we were amazed. They were 'sweetie' this and 'sweetie' that to each other."

    In contrast, the sister of Louise Turpin, Teresa Robinette, said on the "Today" show Wednesday that her nieces and nephews didn't live a normal life.

    "They weren't allowed to date," Robinette said. "They didn't have a social life. They weren't allowed to watch TV. They weren't allowed to talk on the phone or have friends over, the normal stuff that kids do."

    A charity fund by the Riverside University Health System was opened in support of the children and to donate money toward their care and recovery.


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    Looking back at the jokes now, the lines like "I hate you, Americans" from a young man named Zulfi Hoxha don't seem so funny now.

    Hoxha, now 25, was a bus boy when he worked at a Margate, New Jersey, restaurant with Joseph Cacia.

    "We used to joke around like, 'We know you can’t stand us Americans.' And he would laugh like, haha, 'Yeah, we can’t stand you Americans,'" Cacia told NBC10. "But you didn’t think he was serious. You thought he was playing along."

    No one is laughing anymore. Hoxha is now in Syria, a "senior commander" with ISIS, also known as the Islamic State, according to federal court documents and his mother in an interview with NBC10. He goes by the nom de guerre, Abu Hamza al-Amriki, and has been identified by national security officials as one of the speakers in a May 2017 ISIS propaganda video. Al-Amriki is Arabic for "The American."

    Dressed in fatigues and armed with an assault rifle, he implores "lone wolf" attacks on the United States while kneeling in front of rocket launchers.

    After The Atlantic first reported last weekend that a New Jersey man named Nulfi Hoxha went to Syria in 2015 and became the soldier named Abu Hamza al-Amriki, NBC10 found his family in Margate. His mother, Ltefaji Hoxha, confirmed that her son is the man in the video.

    "I am upset," his mother told NBC10 at her house in Margate on Wednesday. "No good. I'm very upset."

    The family had at one time owned a pizza shop in Margate, and Zulfi Hoxha graduated from Atlantic City High School in 2010.

    It's unclear who he was referring to when he used the word "we" in conversations with Cacia and others as a younger man, since his mother said Zulfi Hoxha was born in the United States.

    Ltefaji Hoxha said she came to New Jersey from Albania many years ago.

    The FBI was apparently a few months too late in tracking down Zulfi Hoxha, according to a former friend who grew up in Margate with the ISIS soldier.

    The friend, who asked not to be identified, said the FBI asked him to wear a wire in 2015 and talk to the Hoxha family about their prodigal son. The FBI would neither confirm nor deny an investigation of Hoxha.

    But at that time, the friend said, Zulfi Hoxha had already left the country. According to court documents in a federal terrorism case against another American ISIS sympathizer, David "Daoud" Wright, Zulfi Hoxha had left to go to Syria in April 2015.

    In a story titled "A New American Leader Rises in ISIS," The Atlantic describes how Hoxha's reputed status as a senior commander "places him in an elite category of the group’s American members who have risen to some level of leadership."

    The writers noted how most American wannabe-ISIS soldiers never make it to the Middle East. More than 50 Americans, the Atlantic reported, have been arrested in the last three years trying to go to Syria. 

    Some others are like David Wright have been busted for devising attacks or conspiring to recruit fellow Americans.

    Wright was sentenced to 28 years in federal prison in December 2017 for plotting "to kill innocent Americans on behalf of ISIS," Massachusetts Acting United States Attorney William D. Weinreb said at the time.

    In court filings during Wright's case are the first references to the New Jersey man turned ISIS leader.

    Nulfi Hoxha hasn't reached out to his family in over a year, his mother told NBC10.

    Ltefaji Hoxha said the last time he talked to her he said, "'Zulfi is good.'"

    Echoing the supposed jokes Zulfi Hoxha exchanged with co-workers at Johnny's, his mother also said he became disillusioned a few years ago with a mosque in Atlantic City. He would say "he hate," his mother said, struggling with her English. She told him to stop going to the mosque.

    Attempts to identify the mosque have not been successful.


    This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.

    ISIS soldier, Abu Hamza al-Amriki, in a propaganda video posted in May 2017. Al-Amriki has been identified as Zulfi Hoxha, from Margate, New Jersey.ISIS soldier, Abu Hamza al-Amriki, in a propaganda video posted in May 2017. Al-Amriki has been identified as Zulfi Hoxha, from Margate, New Jersey.

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    The Christmas tree in a mansion in Severna Park, Maryland, was dry and had been up for weeks after the holiday, but the Pyles wanted to enjoy their twinkling lights just a little longer.

    But in the early hours of Jan. 19, 2015, something sparked. The tree was engulfed in flames that quickly spread, consuming the home and killing all six people inside.

    Don and Sandra Pyle, along with their grandchildren, Alexis Boone, 8, Kaitlyn Boone, 7, Wesley Boone, 6 and Charlotte Boone, 8 were unable to escape. All six people, including two pairs of siblings, were killed. 

    In her first interview since the tragedy, Charlotte and Wesley's mother, Eve Boone, spoke about the night she suffered an unspeakable loss. 

    "We were at a neighbor’s house waiting for any word," Boone told News4. "As time went on, it became apparent what had happened."

    The 15-foot tree in the mansion, which was dry after once-a-week watering, burned quickly and then spread. Firefighters arrived less than 15 minutes after the first alarms went off. They ran inside but were forced to evacuate within five minutes. The fire wasn’t under control for another three hours.

    "This fire was so intense, so hot and spread so quickly that nobody in the house had an opportunity to escape, and it explains why all six victims perished," said David Cheplak, a special agent for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

    "This didn’t have to happen," Boone said.

    The night before, her son, Wesley, and daughter, Charlotte, had dinner and a sleepover with their grandparents and cousins.

    "They were just beautiful, happy, fun kids," Boone said.

    After the deaths of her children, she said she tries to honor them. 

    "Try to keep in mind: What would they want you to do that day? Would they want to see you cry and be upset? They know that you miss them, but they don’t want you to be sad," she said. 

    Charlotte loved making videos with her guinea pig, Oreo, and riding horses. Boone took up riding horses in honor of her daughter’s memory.

    "She had a lot of spirit," Boone said.

    "She was going to be an animal rescuer," Boone said with a laugh. "And famous at the same time."

    Boone celebrated Wesley’s birthday by doing something he would have loved: she went skydiving. 

    "This is something that he will laugh at me for doing," Boone said. "How could his mom ever jump out of a plane?"

    Wesley was a sweet boy who looked up to his big sister. He loved Minecraft and the beach.

    "He was hilarious," his mom said.

    Her trauma is profound, but she said it has gotten easier over the past three years to be near the chair Charlotte painted with her mom, and the blanket the kids shared.

    A strong community also helps Boone move forward. She keeps a book of well-wishes that poured in from around the world during the dark days after the fire.

    Boone also stays close to Don Pyle’s sister, Sher Grogg, who finds peace herself by working with a fire safety group called Common Voice.

    "I was waking up at 3 a.m. most mornings because it was right before the accident would have happened," Grogg said. "I was searching to find out why … why it happened. Why the fire was so fast."

    Boone said she shared her story because she wants to spread the word about holiday fire safety.

    "This didn’t have to happen, and it doesn’t have to happen," she said. "So, if I can ever stop even one person from going through something like this, it’s worth it."


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    A husband and wife who pushed for political change in Zimbabwe, an adventurous Texas investor and a pair of decorated pilots died in a fiery helicopter crash in a remote area in the U.S. state of New Mexico.

    Investigators will comb through the charred wreckage in search for clues as to why the helicopter carrying the group of prominent friends went down after dark Wednesday.

    Friends and family members confirmed Thursday that Zimbabwe opposition leader Roy Bennett and his wife, Heather, had traveled to New Mexico to spend their holiday with friend and wealthy businessman Charles Burnett III at his ranch. Burnett's friends, pilot Jamie Coleman Dodd of Colorado and co-pilot Paul Cobb of Texas, were ferrying the group aboard a Huey UH-1 when it went down.

    Despite frigid temperatures that evening, the weather appeared to be clear and the wind was mild as they headed east over a rugged area toward Burnett's ranch.

    The only survivor was Andra Cobb, the co-pilot's daughter and Burnett's long-term partner. She was able to escape before the helicopter burst into flames.

    Her voice breaking, Martha Cobb told The Associated Press that her 39-year-old daughter was hospitalized with broken bones.

    "She's just very distraught," the mother said in a telephone interview. "I'm just glad my daughter is OK, but I hate that my husband of 41 years is gone."

    The Cobbs and Bennetts had become friends while traveling on cruises.

    Roy Bennett, 60, treasurer-general of Morgan Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change opposition party, won a devoted following of black Zimbabweans for passionately advocating political change. A white man who spoke fluent Shona, he drew the wrath of former President Robert Mugabe.

    Bennett survived a traumatic year in jail and death threats over his work. He was known as "Pachedu," meaning "one of us" in Shona and was often called the sharpest thorn in Mugabe's side.

    Obert Gutu, spokesman for the MDC-T party, described Bennett's death as a "huge and tragic loss."

    Born in England, Burnett was an investor and philanthropist with links to a wide range of businesses and a love of entertaining friends extravagantly. In 2009, he drove a steam-powered car at an average speed of 139.8 miles per hour to set a world record, The Guardian newspaper reported.

    Burnett, 61, was friends with both pilots, according to his personal attorney, Martyn Hill. Both Dodd and Cobb were experienced aviators who would not have taken unnecessary risks in the helicopter, Hill said.

    After being shot down while flying a helicopter in the Vietnam War, Cobb returned to the U.S. and served as a police officer for three decades in the Houston suburb of Pasadena, Texas, before becoming police chief, his wife said.

    Dodd was a decorated search-and-rescue pilot who helped stranded residents in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. During his time in the military, he flew medical evacuation missions in Central and South America and was inducted in 2010 into the Hall of Fame at the New Mexico Military Institute, where he had gone to school.

    Above reproach is how his estranged wife, Jacqueline Dodd, described him.

    Authorities were alerted to the crash around 6 p.m. Wednesday by a 911 call from Andra Cobb.

    Officials launched a search but said the response was slow because of the rugged terrain and lack of access. Engulfed in flames, the wreckage of the helicopter registered to an aviation company linked to Burnett was spotted on a ranch.

    The intended destination was the Emery Gap Ranch, a mountainous property near the Colorado-New Mexico border. Burnett bought it in February 2017, said Sam Middleton, a real estate broker in Lubbock, Texas, who helped with the purchase.

    In Zimbabwe, Tendai Biti, a prominent opposition leader and a former finance minister, tweeted that the Bennetts' "tragic passing" was "a blow to our struggle." David Coltart, an opposition figure, said the couple were "two of Zimbabwe's greatest patriots."

    In 2004, Roy Bennett was jailed for a year for assaulting a Cabinet minister who had said Bennett's "forefathers were thieves and murderers" during a parliamentary debate. An enraged Bennett charged the minister, who fell to the floor.

    He emerged from prison rail-thin and scarred from repeated sunburns. He told of the mistreatment of fellow prisoners, some of whom he said had starved to death in their cells.

    After receiving death threats, Bennett fled Zimbabwe but returned in 2009 after his party nominated him for the deputy agriculture minister in a coalition government with Mugabe's ZANU-PF. Mugabe, who had repeatedly alleged Bennett was the opposition party's contact with foreign funders, refused to swear him in.

    Bennett later returned to South Africa but remained a vocal critic of Mugabe's rule. He also criticized his former party for allegedly enjoying the comforts of government while ordinary Zimbabweans suffered.

    ------

    Merchant reported from Houston. Associated Press writers Farai Mutsaka in Harare, Zimbabwe, Mary Hudetz in Albuquerque, and Paul Davenport in Phoenix contributed to this report.



    Photo Credit: AP

    Senior Zimbabwean MDC opposition official Roy Bennett, left, and his wife Heather, relax at a friends home in Mutare about 200 km east of Harare, Zimbabwe, on Oct. 16, 2009. A fiery helicopter crash killed Bennett and his wife, while on holiday in a remote part of the U.S. state of New Mexico, authorities said Thursday, Jan. 18, 2018.Senior Zimbabwean MDC opposition official Roy Bennett, left, and his wife Heather, relax at a friends home in Mutare about 200 km east of Harare, Zimbabwe, on Oct. 16, 2009. A fiery helicopter crash killed Bennett and his wife, while on holiday in a remote part of the U.S. state of New Mexico, authorities said Thursday, Jan. 18, 2018.

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    President Donald Trump ends his first year in office with 39 percent of Americans approving of his job performance, according to the latest national NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll — the lowest mark in the poll’s history for any modern president ending his first year.

    Fifty-seven percent disapprove of Trump’s job, including a majority of respondents — 51 percent — who now say they strongly disapprove, which is a record high for Trump in the survey. That’s compared with 26 percent of Americans who strongly approve of the president’s job, NBC News reported.

    Among key demographic groups, 46 percent of men, 45 percent of whites and 41 percent of seniors give Trump a thumbs-up, versus 35 percent of those ages 18-34, 33 percent of women, 26 percent of Latinos and 8 percent of African Americans who do.

    By party, 78 percent of Republicans approve of the president’s job performance, compared with 8 percent of Democrats and 33 percent of independents.



    Photo Credit: AP, File

    President Donald Trump boards Air Force One Andrews Air Force Base, Md., Monday, Jan. 8, 2018.President Donald Trump boards Air Force One Andrews Air Force Base, Md., Monday, Jan. 8, 2018.

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    Emergency crews had to cut the top of a car off and pull the driver out after the car hit a tractor-trailer on Interstate 91, according to police.

    The crash was on I-91 North in Windsor.

    No additional information is available.


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    The flu has caused 21 deaths in Connecticut and hospitalized more than 600 people. Later this morning, state and medical officials will be holding a news conference to discuss the illness and how to prevent getting sick. 

    State records say 615 people have been hospitalized with the flu in Connecticut. 

    During a news conference at 11 a.m. in New Haven, health officials will be talking about why the flu has been so bad this year, the effectiveness of the flu vaccine, who is at the most risk and precautions the public can still take. 

    This briefing comes after a 10-year-old in New Canaan died in New York after getting the flu, which led to pneumonia. 

    Fourteen of the people who have died had Type A and seven had Type B. 

    Of the flu-related deaths, 17 patients were older than 65 years old, two were between 50 and 64 years old, one was between 25 and 49 years old and one was between 5 and 17 years old. 

    Richard Martinello, the director of infection control at Yale New Haven Hospital, Matthew L. Cartter, the state epidemiologist and director of infectious diseases for the Connecticut Department of Public Health and Byron Kennedy, of the Department of Public Health for the City of New Haven will be speaking at the news conference.



    Photo Credit: Getty Images

    FileFile

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    Two arrests are pending after a fight at Stratford High School Friday morning that led to a lockdown at the school.

    Police said someone said a knife was pulled and officers were investigating.

    Around 15 minutes later, police said the lockdown was lifted and there was no threat. They said they identified the people involved in the fight, which was isolated, and two arrests are pending.



    Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

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    A CT Transit bus crashed in Hartford and appears to have struck scaffolding at a building at Pearl and Trumbull streets that is under construction.

    A window on the bus broke and the scene is clear.

    No additional information was immediately available.



    Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

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    Classes at the Kent School, a private boarding school, will resume Thursday, more than a week and a half after students were sent home because of flooding.

    School officials sent students home Monday after ice jams formed on the Housatonic River, flooding the school property.

    “Given the unpredictability of the river and what may happen with the river, we do not believe it’s appropriate to have 580 students, 520 of which board, living on campus, so best to have them return home,” Jeff Cataldo, the Kent School’s business manager, said earlier this week.

    School officials said students will return to the boarding school on Wednesday and dorms will open at 8 a.m.

    The school pushed the return date from Sunday to Wednesday because of work being done now to clean and prepare the campus for students, the forecast for rain early next week and advice from local and state officials.

    The town of Kent issued a state of emergency after the ice jam flooding forced evacuations and road closures.



    Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

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    Amazon announced Friday that it raised its monthly Prime membership cost from $10.99 to $12.99, an 18 percent increase, CNBC reported.

    New members will begin paying the increased monthly price immediately, and existing members will pay the new price after Feb. 18, the online retailer said in a statement on its website. Members paying the $12.99 monthly price will end up paying about $155 per year, up from about $131.

    Amazon also increased the price of its monthly Prime Student membership, from $5.49 to $6.49. However, the company added that the annual membership prices will stay the same at $99 for Prime and $49 for Prime Student.

    Amazon started the monthly pricing model less than two years ago as a more flexible way of taking advantage of Prime's fast shipping and other benefits. Prime members spend considerably more on Amazon than non-Prime members.



    Photo Credit: AP, File

    In this Wednesday, Dec. 20, 2017, photo, a clerk reaches to a shelf to pick an item for a customer order at the Amazon Prime warehouse, in New York.In this Wednesday, Dec. 20, 2017, photo, a clerk reaches to a shelf to pick an item for a customer order at the Amazon Prime warehouse, in New York.

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    Delta Airlines has outlined some restrictions Friday for passengers traveling with support animals on board after a sharp rise of incidents during flights, CNBC reported. 

    Delta Airlines will require passengers traveling with support animals to show proof of health, vaccinations and a document signed by a psychiatric service for support animals confirming an animal can behave on board, CNBC reported. 

    The new requirements for support animal travel will go into effect March 1. 

    CNBC reported, incidents such as passengers being bitten or animals soiling the cabin have gone up by 84 percent. 

    Under the Air Carrier Access Act, support and service animals will still be allowed into the cabin free of charge. 



    Photo Credit: AP/Julio Cortez

    In this April 1, 2017 file photo, a service dog strolls through the isle inside a plane at Newark Liberty International AirportIn this April 1, 2017 file photo, a service dog strolls through the isle inside a plane at Newark Liberty International Airport

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    Southington police have arrested a Massachusetts man who is accused of showing up at a local store to meet a person he thought was a minor, according to police.

    Carl Bezo, 50, of Westfield, Massachusetts turned himself in to police in Southington Friday after learning of an outstanding warrant for his arrest.

    Police said Bezo was communicating with a person he thought was a minor through an online dating site and text messaging, arranged to meet the person who was portrayed as a minor and showed up at the Southington store to meet the person, who was actually by an adult from POP (Prey on Predators) Squad.

    The person from POP Squad recorded the interaction and information, including chat logs and video between Bezo and the POP Squad, was turned over to police for the investigation.

    A warrant was issued, charging Bezo with criminal attempt to commit risk of injury to a minor.

    Bezo was held on a $100,000 bond and is scheduled to appear in Bristol Court.



    Photo Credit: Southington Police

    Carl Bezo was arrested in Southington.Carl Bezo was arrested in Southington.

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    The flu epidemic has had life-changing consequences for a Carrollton family.

    Desiree Buckingham-Ramirez says her 8-year-old son is battling a brain infection that doctors say was caused by the flu.

    Witten Ramirez is typically full of life, as he shines through his autism, according to Buckingham-Ramirez.

    "He's a rock star. Everyone at school knows him. Everyone calls for him," she said. "It doesn't define him, but it definitely defines his personality!"

    Last week, she says Witten came down with the flu, like the rest of his family, but she says Witten's symptoms were much worse.

    "He's sleeping way too much," she said. "He stumbled a little bit, but I kind of chalked that up to, 'Hey, he isn't feeling well.'"

    Concerned about a reaction to medication, she rushed Witten to the emergency room.

    Testing revealed the flu caused an infection inside the part of his brain that controls movement.

    Now, she says, "He can't walk, he can't sit on his own, he can't stand, he can't talk. It's taken everything."

    "In the vast majority of adults and children who get a neurologic complication, we don't understand the reason why," said Dr. Benjamin Greenberg, a neurologist at Children's Health and UT Southwestern Medical Center.

    Greenberg says the condition is called cerebellitis, a rare inflammatory process that can become a complication from the flu in very rare instances.

    It's so rare, he says, it only affects affects a tiny fraction flu patients.

    However, there are no known risk factors for it, and, as in Witten's case, autism doesn't contribute to the condition.

    "You can have otherwise seemingly healthy individuals whose bodies handle flu in such a way to lead to a neurologic complication, which is why we spend so much time focusing on prevention," Greenberg said.

    The best prevention, he says, is the flu vaccine.

    Buckingham-Ramirez says Witten didn't get the shot this season like in the past.

    "I had no idea the flu was going to be that bad this year," she said.

    She says she plans to vaccinate him next year.

    Doctors say children can recover from the condition, but it may take many rounds of rehabilitation, which has now been planned for Witten.

    "It's heartbreaking to see your happy kid destroyed by the common flu," Buckingham-Ramirez said.



    Photo Credit: NBCDFW
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    Two Bridgeport residents accused of committing voter fraud by applying for absentee ballots for the November 2017 mayoral election in Stratford. 

    Police started investigating after the town clerk’s office in Stratford noticed some discrepancies in absentee ballots signed out by 56-year-old Troy Stevenson and 56-year-old Betty Chappell, both of Bridgeport. 

    Police said Stevenson and Chappell submitted at least two absentee ballots that were forged. 

    Chappell and Stevenson were charged with second-degree forgery and false statement in absentee balloting. 

    They were released on a written promise to appear and are due in court on Feb. 1.



    Photo Credit: Stratford Police

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    Before heading to Florida for Spring Training, the Boston Red Sox will be at Foxwoods this weekend, meeting with fans during the annual Winter Weekend.

    The event goes from today through Sunday, but you have to already have tickets to go because it’s already sold out.

    Fans can get autographs from and photos with players and alumni. 

    You can also attend baseball insider panels, a town hall meeting with Red Sox owners and managers who will take questions from fans about the upcoming season. https://www.mlb.com/redsox/fans/winter-weekend#players

    Wish you could be a baseball player? Test your fastball or take some swings at the batting cage.

    Children and their families can enjoy breakfast with Wally and his sister Tessie.

    Ballpark food will also be available at the event.

    The Red Sox Winter Weekend is at Foxwoods Resort Casino, 350 Trolley Line Blvd, Mashantucket.



    Photo Credit: Getty Images

    BOSTON, MA - OCTOBER 08: Jackie Bradley Jr. #19 of the Boston Red Sox celebrates in the dugout after hitting a three-run home run in the seventh inning against the Houston Astros during game three of the American League Division Series at Fenway Park on October 8, 2017 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)BOSTON, MA - OCTOBER 08: Jackie Bradley Jr. #19 of the Boston Red Sox celebrates in the dugout after hitting a three-run home run in the seventh inning against the Houston Astros during game three of the American League Division Series at Fenway Park on October 8, 2017 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

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    North Haven police removed a post on Facebook after people called it racist.

    Police said the post was part of a campaign to remind residents to lock their car doors nightly called "#9pmroutine".

    On Jan. 14, Omar Devone Little, a fictional character on the HBO series "The Wire", was the post for "#9pmroutine".

    "Fans of HBO's The Wire (sic) know that when OMAR is coming your doors better be locked #9pmroutine," The caption with the photo read. 

    Celebrities, popular people in the news and even Santa Claus were depicted in some of these Facebook campaign posts, North Haven police said. 

    "Evidently, some individuals perceived that this posting was racist and they had anonymously complained," North Haven police said on Friday.

    The town's first selectman requested the post be removed. 

    "The North Haven Police Department does not believe this posting was racist and it would not have allowed any #9pmroutine posting if it was in anyway racist, or if it was felt that the posting would be offensive to anyone. The intent of this posting was simply to use a popular TV personality, 'Omar Little of The Wire' to get our nightly message out to the community," the department said.



    Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

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    After a lengthy battle to balance the state budget for 2018, cities and towns across Connecticut are bracing for more cuts. Leaders in Ansonia and Derby say the state’s finances have forced them to consider consolidation of their small school districts. 

    “This is the way to go. We are a small community, we are a small state,” Mayor David Cassetti, (R) Ansonia said. 

    Cassetti said he’s pitched the idea for years but couldn’t find a partner, until now. His counterpart in Derby, newly-elected mayor Rich Dziekan, said next month his city’s aldermen will vote on whether to study consolidation with Ansonia and other schools in the Valley. 

    “We need to do studies like these to see if there’s a light at the end of the tunnel where we can save some money for our residents,” said Mayor Rich Dziekan, (R) Derby. 

    He said the study will look at the impact of different degrees of regionalization, from shared services, to combining athletics, or a complete consolidation of school buildings. Both leaders said cost increases and state cuts prompted the move. 

    “We’re nervous and we don’t want to raise taxes but that might be on the horizon,” said Dziekan. 

    “Every year it’s more and more money and it’s not sustainable,” Cassetti added. 

    Dziekan said they’d also like to consider consolidating with other districts in the region, like Seymour and Shelton. 

    “I don’t think that’s a great idea because you’re not able to concentrate on individual students and help them out with their education versus grouping them in a big class,” said Channel Yadao, whose 11-year-old daughter attends class in the Seymour school district. 

    “If you live in Ansonia and you have to now go to school in Derby it might be an issue for getting there in the morning,” pointed out Oxford resident Dhaana Demjanovich, a Seymour graduate. 

    One hurtle in the past has been the separate unions that represent the teachers in the respective towns. 

    “I think we’ve, got to consolidate the unions, I’ve been talking about that for many years,” said Cassetti. 

    Alderman Joseph Jaumann, who represents Ansonia’s Fifth Ward, first proposed the idea. He knows there will be pushback from some parents and roadblocks to navigate.  

    “Trying to create something new when people are used to doing things in old ways, people don’t like change so much,” said Jaumann. 

    “A lot of times you hear people say we’re going to lose our identity, our individuality, but those days are over I think it’s more about educating our kids, giving them a better opportunity to move on into the world and to save the taxpayers money,” added Dziekan. 

    If both cities agree to study the idea, ultimately the decision will still be left up to voters through a referendum after the study is completed in 2020.



    Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

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    Lanes on Interstate 84 east are closed in Southington after a truck crash caused grain to spill all over the highway. 

    Connecticut State Police said the right and center lanes on I-84 eastbound are closed near exit 28 after a tractor trailer rollover crash.

    The truck was hauling grain and it spilled across all lanes, state police said. 

    Minor injuries were reported. 

    Connecticut Department of Transportation has been notified. 

    No other details were immediately available.




    Photo Credit: CTDOT