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Route 30 Reopens in Tolland After Trees, Wires Fall


Route 30/Hartford Turnpike has reopened in Tolland after a tree fell across the road Tuesday night, bringing down power lines, according to Tolland public safety officials.

The road was closed between Arnold Drive and Sand Hill Road while Eversource crews worked to make repairs.

Route 30 has since reopened.

Photo Credit: @TollandAlert

State Approves First Phase of Mixmaster Replacement Project


The state has approved $24.9 million in bonds for transportation projects, including $1 million to design and engineer the replacement of the Interstate 84 Mixmaster in Waterbury.

The Mixmaster is a soaring complex structure where Interstate 84 merges with Route 8 through Waterbury. It has become one of the most notorious areas for congestion in the state.

Malloy estimated that the final cost for a full replacement may cost tax payers "upwards of $10 billion."

Department of Transportation Commissioner James Redeker said the first phase entails figuring out how to manage the Route 8-Interstate 84 interchange.

"It’s to take a look at the Route 8 ramp system and that connection, because we found in our inspection reports that that is going to need to have work done on it soon, rather than the full replacement," Redeker said.

As for when a design phase may be complete, Malloy said, "It’s a reasonable question but it’s a ways off and we have to get that work underway, but that’s what we start today and it’s nowhere near finished."

Waterbury Mayor Neil O'Leary said improving traffic patterns in the city will help people get around the greater Waterbury area, which will be good for recruiting businesses.

"Now people will come through Waterbury. It will definitely promote the city in ways it hasn’t been promoted in decades, and it’s going to be a painful process and we all recognize that. At the end of the day, it’s going to be good for the city," he said.

Redeker said the most viable option for taxpayers is to replace the Mixmaster rather than patch it and invest in repairs.

"For some of the options, the cost to sustain the facility and never replace it is almost as much as the cost of a replacement over time and so that makes no sense," Redeker said. "We should have been doing the design a long time ago."

Norwich Issues Power Alert as Temperatures Climb


Norwich Public Utilities has issued a power alert this week, urging customers to conserve energy as temperatures climb into the 90s.

The utility company is asking residents to conserve power between noon and 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, which could amount to the state's first official heat wave of 2015.

This week's extreme heat and humidity will cause the demand for electricity to spike as customers work to cool their homes. This could tax the town's electrical infrastructure, according to the utility company.

Officials with Norwich Public Utilities are asking that customers take the following steps to conserve power this week:

  • Set a central air conditioning system to 73 degrees and only run window units when you are home.
  • Wait until after 6 p.m., when temperatures begin to drop, to use major appliances such as dishwashers or dryers.
  • Cut down on the use of heat-generating appliances – including computers, curling irons, hair dryers, stereos and televisions – before 6 p.m.
  • Use a microwave, stove or outdoor grill instead of an oven when possible
  • Install energy-efficient light bulbs, which generate much less heat than traditional lighting.
  • Close curtains or blinds to keep the sun out and minimize heat coming into your home.

Conserving electricity will also help minimize your yearly electric bill, since the company's annual rates are based on "peak days," according to the utility company.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News

1 Killed, 9 Hurt as Bible School Van Rams Train in Ohio


A Bible school van crashed into a train Tuesday night in Middletown, Ohio, killing a woman, seriously injuring the driver and sending all eight children on board to area hospitals, authorities told NBC News.

State Highway Patrol Lt. Clint Arnold said the van was moving at only 2 mph when it drove past multiple flashing warning signals and through a downed gate.

One of the van's occupants, an adult woman passenger, died of her injuries, authorities told NBC News. The driver — the only other adult on board — was seriously injured.

Police told NBC station WDTN of Dayton that all eight children suffered only minor injuries. The van was picking up its last load of children for the Church of Mayfield's summer vacation Bible school.

Photo Credit: Justin Kraus — WDTN

8 Kids Injured by Falling Tree


A 75-foot tree uprooted and fell onto kids at a summer day camp in Pasadena Tuesday, injuring eight children, two of them critically, officials said.

The pine tree came crashing down about 4:45 p.m. as campers and their families were walking through Brookside Park outside the Kidspace Children's Museum, officials with the Pasadena Fire Department said.

"It's just such a huge tree — no warning," said witness Klea Scott. "Massive amounts of pine needles that we couldn't see if there were more people in there."

Witnesses said children ran in every direction as the 75-year-old tree fell.

"We heard a crack and then I just caught a glimpse of the tree falling down," said Andrew Aguiniga, a child at the park.

Two children were taken to Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center in critical condition and six others suffered minor injuries, city fire spokeswoman Lisa Derderian said.

Derderian initially said at least one adult had been injured.

Aerial footage captured by NewsChopper4 showed two children on stretchers and an Urban Search and Rescue team using chainsaws to cut branches from the toppled tree as they searched for more possible victims.

A statement on the Kidspace Children's Museum website said all staff, campers, volunteers and guests were accounted for.

Thirty-three children ages 6 to 8 were enrolled in the summer camp, said Kidspace CEO Michael Shanklin.

An arborist will be called in Wednesday to determine why the tree fell, officials said.

Shanklin said the museum was expected to open Wednesday.

NBC4's Beverly White contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: KNBC

Heat Wave Expected, Air Quality Concerns Arise


Connecticut is on target for our first heat wave of the summer and state officials are warning of the possibility of poor air quality.

Temperatures climbed to 93 degrees at Bradley Airport on Tuesday, and the heat will linger into Wednesday, Thursday and possibly through the weekend as well.

Chief Meteorologist Brad Field said Meriden recorded the highest temperatures in the state Tuesday, at 94 degrees. Wednesday will likely be about 2 degrees hotter.

Several towns and cities are opening cooling centers in anticipation of what could be our first heat wave of 2015.

Ozone pollution is expected in southern sections of Fairfield and New Haven counties on Tuesday, and all of Fairfield, New Haven, Middlesex and New London Counties on Wednesday.

The state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection is warning of unhealthy air quality that could make breathing difficult for "sensitive groups," including elderly residents and children and adults with respiratory illnesses. Affected individuals could also experience coughing and throat irritation.

State officials recommend taking the following measures when air pollution levels are high:

  • Conserving electricity by setting air conditioners to 78 degrees
  • "Wait 'til 8" to use energy intensive appliances like washing machines, dryers and dishwashers
  • Driving less by carpooling or using public transit
  • Telecommute if possible
  • Refuel your vehicle after dusk and never idle a vehicle unnecessarily.

"Forecasters are predicting the hottest weather of the summer yet, so everyone should take simple precautions when high temperatures combined with poor air quality is expected," DEEP Commissioner Rob Klee said in a statement Tuesday. "If you are outside at work or at play, be sure to drink plenty of water and get to an air conditioned room if you need to cool down and catch your breath."

If you are out enjoying the summer weather, send photos to us at shareit@nbcconnecticut.com.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

State Department of Labor to Cut Dozens of Jobs


The state Department of Labor will lay off dozens of employees to account for "a significant budget shortfall" that "appears too great to resolve with the current staffing levels," an agency spokesperson said Tuesday.

DOL communications director Nancy Steffens points to a lack of federal funding as the aggravating factor and said the agency is considering consolidating or closing offices.

This year's federal funding shortfall is about $28 million, according to Steffens, who said the deficit is expected to climb to $32 million next year. A federal hiring freeze is already in place, but Steffens said it isn't enough.

The DOL hasn't specified how many workers may be affected, but according to a letter sent Tuesday from local AFSCME leaders to union members, up to 95 jobs could be cut.

Employees being laid off will be notified no later than Aug. 19, before the new federal budget year starts Oct. 1, the AFSCME says.

"It was clearly stated to management how disappointed we were with their inability to keep offices open and members employed," AFSCME Local 269 President Xavier Gordon and Vice President Marsha Tulloch wrote in the letter, adding that they hope to decrease the number of layoffs and help affected employees find jobs at other state agenices.

Steffens said other states with federally funded unemployment programs are dealing with similar problems and have already laid off employees.

The Connecticut DOL weighs heavily on federal dollars, receiving 90 percent of its funding from the federal government. About 700 of the agency's 800 employees are federally funded.

"The Feds have their own problems. They're trying to curtail in a rational way, in this particular case, as the unemployment rate goes down and there really hasn't been, I think, adequate thought on the part of the state to budget for the Department of Labor," said David Cadden, professor of business at Quinnipiac University.

"Several hundred" federally funded employees have been cut over the past few years, according to Steffens.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Video Shows April DUI Arrest of Chattanooga Gunman


Police in Tennessee on Tuesday released video showing the April arrest of Mohammad Abdulazeez on a driving under the influence charge, three months before he allegedly launched a deadly attack on two military facilities in Chattanooga, NBC News reported.

The video shows Abdulazeez weave in traffic before being stopped at around 2:10 a.m. on April 20. Police said he smelled of marijuanna and alcohol and appeared impaired.

Abdulazeez said he hadn't been drinking and explained his erratic driving was due to lack of sleep.

The 24-year-old fatally shot four Marines and a Navy sailor in the July 16 attack on a military reserve center, before he was shot and killed during a firefight with police.

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Millions Brace for Summer Scorcher Across U.S.


Around 35 million people will be under a heat advisory Wednesday, facing blazing temperatures and thick humidity which will make the summer scorcher only feel worse, NBC News reported.

Excessive heat warnings were in effect from St. Louis down the Mississippi River and past Memphis — into northeastern Louisiana and including Philadelphia. The sweltering heat is expected to last unusually long, Weather Channel meteorologist Kevin Roth said.

The northwest will see temperatures 10-20 degrees above average, with record-setting heat likely on Thursday and through the weekend. The northeast will see highs 5-10 degrees above average, Roth said.

The most dangerous heat is forecast for Missouri and Memphis, with predictions that the heat index could climb to 110. Texas and Florida, too, will see temperatures top 100 degrees.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

2 Killed When Car Flips on I-84 East in Southington


Two people were killed when their car rolled over on Interstate 84 eastbound and fell down an embankment in Southington Tuesday afternoon.

State police said the Hyundai Accent crashed around 3 p.m. near exit 32. According to witnesses, the car flipped down an embankment, and emergency crews brought in heavy equipment to retrieve it.

Two people in the car were pronounced dead at the scene, according to police. Their identities have not been released.

Police, firefighters and medical personnel responded to the crash and blocked two eastbound lanes, slowing traffic through rush hour. Traffic cameras showed heavy delays.

Authorities are investigating the crash and said no other vehicles were involved.

State police are asking witnesses to call Trooper William Bevans at 860-534-1000 ext. 6136.

Photo Credit: Connecticut Department of Transportation

'I Shook Her': Dad Accused of Critically Injuring Baby


A 32-year-old Berlin man has been charged with assault and attempted manslaughter after shaking his infant daughter so violently in April she was admitted to the hospital in critical condition, according to police.

Christopher Yawin was arrested at the end of June following a weeks-long investigation that began when his 3-and-a-half-month-old daughter was hospitalized with "significant injuries that were identified as being highly suspicious for abuse," police wrote in the warrant for his arrest.

The baby girl suffered a fractured skull, swelling on the brain, bleeding in the backs of her eyes, multiple broken ribs, an arm fracture that had partially healed, and bruises on her chest, abdomen and limbs. Police said her injuries were consistent with "shaken baby syndrome" and occurred on multiple occasions.

She was taken to Connecticut Children's Medical Center on April 30 and was listed in critical condition in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit. The child's mother, who is Yawin's girlfriend, told police the baby had been vomiting and having seizures, according to the arrest warrant.

The Department of Children and Families contacted police two days later.

Yawin first told investigators he became nauseous and fell while holding the baby April 14. He said his arms were wrapped so tightly around the child, he must have accidentally crushed her, according to the arrest warrant.

When police told him that didn't explain the baby's injuries, Yawin claimed he was holding her when she hit her head on the refrigerator. He then said he dropped her and she hit the ground "pretty hard," the warrant states.

Investigators didn't believe him and continued to press for the truth.

"If I tell you what happened, I'm going to jail," Yawin allegedly told them.

Police said he then admitted to shaking the child.

"I shook her because she wouldn't stop crying," Yawin said, according to the arrest warrant.

Yawin was arrested June 24 and charged with first-degree assault, criminal attempt to commit first-degree manslaughter and risk of injury to a minor. Court records show he has pleaded not guilty and was held on $500,000 bond.

It's not clear if he has an attorney. No one answered the door at his home when NBC Connecticut crews reached out for comment Tuesday evening.

Police said the arrest wasn't Yawin's first. According to the warrant, Yawin is a convicted felon with a history of child abuse complaints and arrests, including one stemming from the abuse of a child he fathered with a former girlfriend.

Photo Credit: Berlin Police Department

Police Activity at Cromwell Inn


There was police activity at the Quality Inn in Cromwell early Wednesday morning.

Police have not released information on the nature of the incident.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Taliban Chief Mullah Omar Dead? Afghanistan Probes Reports


The Afghan government confirmed Wednesday it was looking into reports that longtime Taliban leader Mullah Omar had died.

Rumors have circulated for years that the leader of the militant group that ruled Afghanistan until being toppled by U.S.-backed forces 2001 had died. 

Earlier Wednesday, an Afghan intelligence official told NBC News the government had come to the conclusion the longtime militant leader had died.

A source told NBC News the Afghan government had sufficient information to conclude that Omar died of hepatitis B about two years ago, and his death was kept secret to keep the group together.

Photo Credit: AP

Fire Breaks Out on Wesleyan Building Roof


A fire broke out on the roof of a building at Wesleyan University early Wednesday morning.

Crews were renovating the roof when they noticed materials up there smoldering upon arrival. The Middletown Fire Department was called to Exley Science Center at 265 Center Street on the Wesleyan campus at 1:57 a.m. for reports of smoke showing on the roof.

The fire is under control.

No one was injured.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

WATCH LIVE: 10th Anniversary of Fatal Avon Mountain Crash


The community will gather Wednesday at a service of remembrance in honor of the victims killed in a crash at the bottom of Avon Mountain 10 years ago this week.

Maureen Edlund, Barbara Bongiovanni, Chip Stotler and Abdulraheem Naafi died the day of the crash July 29, 2005.

Torrington resident Frank Juan, was paralyzed and died three years later. His family says the crash precipitated his death.

Juan, a softball player and umpire in Waterbury, was driving a commuter bus when a flatbed dump truck driven by Naafi came smashing through the intersection.

The truck's brakes failed. Truck owner David Wilcox had canceled the vehicle's insurance.

Avon officials said the memory of the crash remains fresh in the minds of residents and first responders.

"Our folks from the fire department think about that a lot of time whenever they're going through the intersection," said the Avon fire marshal, Jamie DiPace, who served as fire chief 10 years ago. "We go through the intersection hundreds of times a year and it's always there."

Now, as the 10th anniversary of the crash approaches, Juan's children and relatives are heading back to Avon to pay their respect.

"I'm going to do it. Yes. It's important that I have to do it," said Michael Juan.

"I think it's going to be rough on Wednesday," said his sister, Mona. "It's going to be hard. I have a hard time going over the mountain just any other day, never mind going to [it] that day."

The parking lot of Boyles Furniture & Rugs at the corner of Routes 44 and 10 will be the scene of the memorial service Wednesday at 7:15 a.m., the time of the crash. The furniture store was formerly the site of Nassau's Furniture, which another truck crashed through in 2007.

Trump: I'd 'Love' to Pick Palin for Cabinet Spot


Donald Trump said he'd "love" to have former GOP vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin as a member of his cabinet if he is elected president. 

Asked on Sarah Palin's Mama Grizz Radio's "The Palin Update with Kevin Scholla" whether he'd include Palin in his administration, Trump responded "I'd love that."

"She really is somebody that knows what's happening. She's a special person, she's really a special person," he said. "She's got a following that's unbelievable."

Trump said he's always admired the former Alaska governor's talent for taking criticism in stride.

"One of things I most admire so much about her is that she took so much nonsense, lies, disgusting lies," he said. "And she handles it so well. She's tough and smart and just a great woman."

Photo Credit: Getty Images

2 Dead, 31 Sick Amid 'Unusual' Legionnaires' Outbreak in NYC


Nearly three dozen cases of Legionnaires' disease, a severe, often lethal, form of pneumonia spread through the air, have been reported in the Bronx over the last two weeks in what the Health Department is calling a concerning "unusual increase" in cases.

Thirty-one cases have been reported in south Bronx neighborhoods, primarily in High Bridge, Morrisania, Hunts Point and Mott Haven, since July 10, the Health Department said. Two of the people stricken with the condition died.

Legionnaires' disease is caused by exposure to the bacteria Legionella; in most cases, people are exposed to the bacteria by inhaling contaminated aerosols from cooling towers, hot tubs, showers and faucets or drinking water.

Officials are testing water from cooling towers and other potential sources in the area to determine the source of the outbreak.

Legionnaires' disease usually sets in two to 10 days after exposure to the bacteria and has symptoms similar to pneumonia, including shortness of breath, high fever, chills and chest pains. People with Legionnaires' also experience appetite loss, confusion, fatigue and muscle aches.

It cannot be spread person-to-person and those at highest risk for contracting the illness include the elderly, cigarette smokers, people with chronic lung or immune system disease and those receiving immunosuppressive drugs. Most cases can be treated successfully with antibiotics.

The Health Department urges anyone with symptoms to seek immediate medical attention.

"We are concerned about this unusual increase in Legionnaires' disease cases in the south Bronx," Health Commissioner Mary Bassett said in a statement. "We are conducting a swift investigation to determine the source of the outbreak and prevent future cases."

At a news briefing on hot weather Wednesday afternoon, Bassett said the investigation was in its early stages, and reiterated early treatment was crucial.

"We have our disease detectives out in the field, scanning the environment and looking for places to take samples," Bassett said.

"We know a lot about Legionnaires', we know a lot about outbreaks -- this particular outbreak is still under investigation. We have an evolving situation," she added. "This is a common and readily treated pneumonia and we want to make sure people get care."

Lincoln Medical Center in the Bronx confirmed it had received Legionnaires' patients, but declined to say how many and referred questions to the Health Department.


John Dudley, district manager of Bronx Community Board 3, said the Health Department hadn't notified him about the outbreak and he wanted more information to spread to residents in his neighborhoods.

"I'm shocked," Dudley said, adding he was at least glad to know the disease couldn't be spread through person-to-person contact.

James Rouse, 42, died of Legionnaires' three months ago; he's not one of the two deaths linked to the more recent Bronx outbreak, but his family wonders if it's connected. He lived in Manhattan but taught music to children in the South Bronx. On April 30, he went to the hospital with a 104-degree fever, was diagnosed with Legionnaires' and then died 10 days later. 

"If it turns out those two people died and it's related to my brother's death, and something could have been done about it -- that kind of tragedy, I couldn't put into words," said brother John Rouse of Coram. 

An outbreak last hit the Bronx in December. Between then and January, 12 people in Co-op City contracted the potentially deadly disease. Officials said a contaminated cooling tower was likely linked to at least 75 percent of those cases. No one died in that outbreak.

Photo Credit: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Public Health Image Library

Man Illegally Dumps Bedding, TVs in Stamford: Police


Stamford police are asking for the public’s help to identify the man who illegally dumped a mattress, a box spring and TVs in Stamford.

Police released video that shows a man get out of a pickup, unload a mattress, box spring and two television sets and leave them on Stephen Street in Stamford around 4:45 a.m. on June 23.

The city of Stamford is being forced to incur the costs of the cleanup.

Anyone with information about this case is asked to call the detective bureau at 203-977-4417.

Photo Credit: Stamford Police
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Hartford Yard Goats Announce 2016 Schedule


The future Hartford Yard Goats have announced their schedule for 2016.

There will be 71 games at their home field, Dunkin' Donuts Park, which is under construction in Hartford with the goal of finishing it for next year's season. Hartford's new Minor League baseball team, currently still the New Britain Rock Cats until they move to the capital city, will take on clubs affiliated with the Red Sox, Yankees and Mets.

The Yard Goats are a Double-A Eastern League team affiliated with the Colorado Rockies.

In the team's debut home game, the Yard Goats will take on the Flying Squirrels from Richmond, an affiliate of the San Francisco Giants on April 7 at 7:05 p.m., according to a news release from the Yard Goats. The game will be the first in a four-game series.

The Flying Squirrels will also partake in a seven-game "homestand," including a series against the New Hampshire Fisher Cats, affiliated with the Toronto Blue Jays.

The Yard Goats will have its last home games of the regular season on Sunday, Aug. 28 against the Harrisburg Senators, affiliated with the Washington Nationals.

The Yard Goats' season closes with an eight-game stretch in Richmond, Virginia and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

The Portland Sea Dogs, affiliated with the Red Sox, will play the Yard Goats in April, June and July. The Trenton Thunder, the Yankees' farm team, will play two series, six games in total, in May and August. Hartford will also host the Binghamton Mets in July and August.

Fans can see the Yankees and Red Sox affiliates May 31 to June 6 in a back-to-back series. The Yard Goats will also play the Yankees and Mets farm teams during a seven-game homestand scheduled for July 4 to 10.

You can already purchase season Yard Goats tickets at www.yardgoatsbaseball.com or call 860-224-8383. Field, front row field box, stadium club, home plate club and home plate swivel seats are available and you can watch every game from the same seat.

Fans can pick out their seat at a private season ticket-holder event scheduled for next spring. Tickets cost at minimum $710 or $10 a game. There will be other benefits and events for season ticket-holders.

Photo Credit: Hartford Yard Goats

Family of Man Killed by Ohio Cop Calls For Peace


The family of Samuel DuBose, the Cincinnati man shot and killed during a traffic stop, is calling for peace following the release of the body camera video that captured the moment when DuBose was killed. 

DuBose family attorney Mark O'Mara called for a "peaceful and nonaggressive" response from the community after University of Cincinnati police Officer Ray Tensing was indicted on murder charges.  

The white University of Cincinnati police officer who shot the unarmed black man during a traffic stop has been indicted on murder charges, a prosecutor announced Wednesday, saying the cop "purposely" killed the motorist and "should never have been a police officer," according to NBC News.

In announcing the murder charge against officer Ray Tensing, Hamilton County prosecutor Joe Deters lambasted the cop over the death of Dubose, 43, saying the fatal shooting was "the most asinine act I've ever seen a police officer make."

Dubose was pulled over July 19 for having a missing front license plate.

Photo Credit: WLWT
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