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Car Tax Cuts Coming to Connecticut


As the state's car tax deadline draws near, some of the state's top lawmakers are working to get the word out about car tax cuts that the General Assembly approved during the most recent legislative session.

The top two members of the State Senate held a show-and-tell of sorts in New Britain on Friday with the president of motor coach company DATTCO.

"You know, our industry has been subject to a lot of new regulations and higher costs, so anything we can do to be more competitive is [a good thing]," said DATTCO president Donald DeVivo. "We’re in a regional marketplace, so anything we can do to be more competitive is definitely helpful."

State Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff, a Democrat from Norwalk, touted the car tax cuts as "tangible benefits for the businesses of the state of Connecticut."

Lawmakers approved capping the state's car tax rate at 29.36 mills by the 2018 fiscal year. Any city or town with a mill rate higher than that will see a cut to its mill rate specifically for motor vehicles by that time.

The cut comes in two phases. The first phase trims local car taxes to 32 mills by July 2016 and the second phase reaches the cap of 29.36 by July 2017.

Lawmakers sold the plan as a way to provide real property tax relief for the first time, while maintaining the amount of state aid to cities and towns by dedicating some sales tax revenues to municipal aid. That way, lawmakers argue, they can keep sending the same share of state funds back to cities and towns at the higher mill rates.

Martin Looney, top member of the Connecticut Senate, called the car tax cut a "transformative element" of the next two year budget cycle.

Matthew Casarotto, who paid his $460 car tax bill Friday said he's very much looking forward to a 40 percent cut in New Britain, which has a mill rate of 49.

"That would actually be great. That would be wonderful. I just paid the security deposit for the place I’m moving into and I’m paying rent and I had this today, too, so it’s a big chunk of change. A bit lower would be nice," Casarotto said.

United CEO on Extra Fees: 'It's What Businesses Do'


 Still hoping for the day airlines let all customers check bags and make reservation changes for free?

Forget it, said United Continental Holdings Inc.'s Chief Executive Jeff Smisek at an industry lunch on Thursday, defending airlines even as they reap billions in profit and face federal probes into pricing practices.

Some travelers are "having difficulty recognizing that we're now a business," Smisek told attendees, recalling the bankruptcies and mergers that reshaped the loss-making industry in the decade after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. "They criticize us if we charge for more legroom. Let me tell you though: That's what businesses do."

Man Fondled Acquaintance, Touched Himself Inappropriately: Cops


A Waterbury man is facing charges after police say he arrived uninvited at the home of an acquaintance in Watertown, fondled the woman over her clothing and touched himself inappropriately.

John Rick, 50, of Waterbury, was arrested Friday and charged with fourth-degree sexual assault and disorderly conduct.

Police said Rick showed up at the home of a female acquaintance in the Oakville section of Watertown on July 2. Although he had not been invited into the home, police said he did not force his way inside.

According to police, Rick grabbed the woman's breasts over her clothes and began touching himself in a lewd manner inside her home. He left when the resident asked him to.

Rick was released from custody after posting $2,500 bond. He's due in court the morning of Aug. 11. It's not clear if he has an attorney.

Photo Credit: Watertown Police Department

Hackers Accessed UConn School of Engineering Servers


Hackers gained access to servers at UConn’s School of Engineering and the University of Connecticut is investigating the “criminal cyberintrusion,” according to a statement from UConn.

IT staffers at the School of Engineering first detected the security breach on March 9 when they found "malware" on several servers.

The hackers are apparently in China and the analysis revealed that the first breach on Sept. 24, 2013.

Officials said UConn has implemented measures to protect the university from a cyberattack and to help people and research partners whose data might have been exposed.

UConn IT security staff, who are working with outside specialists, have no direct evidence that any data was removed from the School of Engineering's servers. However, UConn is notifying around 200 research sponsors in government and private industry as a precaution. They are also working to determine how many people need to be notified about a potential compromise of their personal information.

"UConn places the highest priority on maintaining the security and integrity of its information technology systems," Michael Mundrane, Vice Provost and Chief Information Officer at UConn, said in a statement. "That's why, in addition to assisting individuals and research partners in responding to this incident, we're taking steps to further secure our systems."

The School of Engineering immediately notified faculty, staff, students, visitors, and emeriti -- as well as roughly 1,800 users of the Lync instant communication tool used across the university at the time -- that their log-in credentials might have been compromised and recommended they change their passwords.

The University's Information Security Office, School of Engineering staff and Dell SecureWorks worked to identify the extent of the breach, secure the affected systems and prepare a comprehensive review and response. They have no evidence that any data was taken from the servers, but began notifying research partners in government and private industry this week about the breach.

Officials from the university believe that personally information might have also been compromised and they will reach out to and offer identity protection services to individuals whose information, such as Social Security numbers or credit card information, might have been compromised.

"The unfortunate reality is that these types of attacks are becoming more and more common," Mundrane said, "which requires us to be even more vigilant in protecting our University community."

Learn more about the breach here.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Students Pretended to Be Teacher on Twitter: Cops


Two 18-year-old former Danbury High Schools students are accused of impersonating their teacher on Twitter and harassing her.

The former Danbury High School teacher contacted police on Feb. 20 after learning someone had set up a Twitter account pretending to be her. It used her name and photo, but portrayed her in a derogatory manner.

After investigating, police identified two former Danbury High School students as suspects.

The two students were seniors at the time of the incident, and police have obtained arrest warrants for Nickolas Brito and Mikayla Ramos, both of Danbury.

Brito and Ramos turned themselves in to the Danbury Police Department on Wednesday and were charged with conspiracy to commit criminal impersonation and conspiracy to commit harassment in the second degree.

Ramos was also charged with providing a false statement.

Both were released on a written promise to appear and are due in court on 8/18/15.

Photo Credit: Danbury Police

Summer Gas Prices Lowest in 6 Years


Connecticut gas prices reached their lowest level for the July 31 in six years.

The lines outside a Citgo station in Newington stretched toward the street.

"I was waiting until my tank got empty so that I could get the cheapest price," said Berlin resident Dena Shea, as she waited in a line four cars deep.

According to AAA, gas costs $2.66 per gallon nationally. The average in Connecticut is $2.83.

"That's more than a dollar less than it was last year at this time, when it was $3.89, almost $4," said AAA spokesperson Amy Parmenter.

Frank Tufano remembers those high prices not long ago.

"It’s getting low. It’s nice. When I started driving, it was $4. So now it’s nice to see them a lot cheaper. It helps your budget," he said.

The relief at the pump is especially helpful to those who plan to travel because now they won’t break the bank.

"August is certainly the month for travel as families try to get in those last few days of summer, so we know we’re going to have a lot of motorists on the road," Parmenter explained.

Experts say if you put off that road trip until the fall, you may see even better prices at the pump.

"In the next couple months we expect to see the gas prices that are dropping actually accelerate and drop even more quickly," Parmenter explained.

It's good news for Denwayne Jones. The Virginia Beach native has been putting off a trip back home to see family.

"I don’t travel a lot. When gas prices were really high I just went from Point A to Point B, and that was it. Now that gas prices are dropping I’ll be traveling a lot more," Jones said.

AAA says the reasons for the drop in gas prices are cheaper crude oil and the resolution of issues at certain refineries.

Photo Credit: Getty Images/OJO Images

ECHN Acquired by Prospect Medical Holdings


The Eastern Connecticut Health Network has secured a buyer, months after a sale to Tenet Healthcare went up in flames, sending uncertainty through the halls of several hospitals in Connecticut.

Corporators with ECHN voted to approve the sale to Prospect Medical Holdings earlier in the week.

Financial details of the acquisition have not yet been released and it still must be approved by state regulators.

ECHN had been searching for a corporate partner for the better part of a year when it joined with several major health care names in Connecticut that included Waterbury Hospital, Bristol Hospital, and Saint Mary's in Waterbury.

Two months ago, Prospect Medical Holdings and Waterbury Hospital announced that the latter had been acquired in a deal and that Prospect would pursue other facilities as well.

"This transaction will help strengthen ECHN’s ability to respond to changes in reimbursement and care delivery by operating our hospitals more efficiently and aligning our physicians to effectively utilize ECHN’s continuum of services," ECHN President and CEO Peter Karl said in a statement Friday.

ECHN operates Manchester Memorial Hospital and Rockville General Hospital in addition to several other major health care providers.

The company employs about 3,000 people according to a company spokesperson and it's unclear what may happen to staffing levels as a result of Prospect's acquisition.

Thousands of Clinton's Emails Released, Dozens Censored


Dozens of emails that traversed Hillary Clinton's private, unsecured home server contain national security information now deemed too sensitive to make public, according to the latest batch of records released Friday.

In 2,206 pages of emails, the government censored passages to protect national security at least 64 times in 37 messages, including instances when the same information was blacked-out multiple times. Clinton has said she never sent classified information from her private email server, which The Associated Press was first to identify as operating in her home in New York.

The Friday release brings the volume of emails publicly released by the State Department to roughly 12 percent of the 55,000 pages Clinton had turned over to department lawyers earlier this year. That falls short of the 15 percent goal set by a court ruling in May, a lag the State Department attributed to interest by the inspector general of the U.S. intelligence community in the possible compromise of classified information.

There were no obviously stunning revelations in the emails released Friday, which reflected the workaday business of government. Some of the documents could reflect favorably on Clinton, such as a message in August 2009 about a 10-year-old old Yemeni girl who had been married and divorced, and had been portrayed as unhappy in a CNN story.

"Is there any way we can help her? Could we get her to the US for counselling and education?" Clinton asked an aide, who began making calls.

Others could be controversial, such as 2009 messages from former national security adviser Sandy Berger about how to pressure Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over negotiations with Palestinians.

Some emails show the extent to which her closest aides managed the details of her image. Top Clinton aide Huma Abedin, for example, sent her an early-morning message in August 2009 advising her to "wear a dark color today. Maybe the new dark green suit. Or blue." Clinton later held a joint news conference with the Jordanian foreign minister. She wore the green suit.

Clinton's decision not to use a State Department email account has become a political problem for her, as Republicans seize on the disclosures to paint her as untrustworthy and willing to break rules for personal gain.

There is also the matter of the classified information that found its way onto her insecure email system.

Memos sent by the inspector general of the intelligence community alerted the FBI to a potential security violation arising from Clinton's use of a private server located in her home.

The inspector general said his office has found four emails containing classified information while reviewing a limited sample of 40 of the emails provided by Clinton. Those four messages were not marked as classified but should have been handled as such because they contained classified information at the time they were sent, the inspector general said.

Clinton has repeatedly defended her email usage, saying her private server had "numerous safeguards" and placing responsibility for releasing the documents on the State Department.

"They're the ones that are bearing the responsibility to sort through these thousands and thousands of emails and determine at what pace they can be released," she said after meeting with labor leaders Thursday in Maryland. "I really hope that it will be as quickly as possible."

Sens. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Ron Johnson, R-Wis., chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee, said they were concerned that Clinton's attorney, David Kendall, apparently holds thousands of Clinton's emails — including some that may contain classified information — on a thumb drive at his Washington office.

Grassley wrote a letter to FBI Director James Comey asking him to explain what the FBI is doing to ensure that classified information contained on Kendall's thumb drive is secured and not further disseminated.

Among Clinton's exchanges now censored as classified by the State Department was a brief exchange in October 2009 between her and Jeffrey D. Feltman, then Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs. Clinton emailed Feltman about an "Egyptian proposal" for separate signings of a reconciliation deal with Hamas after the militant organization balked at attending a unity ceremony. Both Clinton's email and Feltman's response are marked B-1 for "classified" and completely censored from the email release.

A longer email sent the same day from Clinton to former Sen. George Mitchell, then the special envoy for Middle East Peace, is also censored as classified despite the fact that Clinton did not send the original message on a secure channel. Mitchell later responded to Clinton that "the Egyptian document has been received and is being translated."

Other now-secret material involved a battle over whom to appoint as the head of the United Nations cultural agency.

The September 2009 issue was over the candidacy of an Egyptian official who had once threatened to burn Israeli books. Abedin on Sept. 22 forwarded to the Secretary of State a chain of emails from department staff summing up the maneuvering over the issue. One sentence in that chain was released redacted, with a code for national security interests as the stated reason.

Previous emails released by the agency revealed that Clinton received information on her private account about the deadly 2012 attack on U.S. diplomatic facilities in Benghazi, Libya, that was retroactively classified as "secret" at the request of the FBI.

The emails released Friday raised new questions about Clinton's stated reason for routing all her work-related emails through a private server. On several occasions, Clinton received messages not only at her home email server — hdr22@clintonemail.com — but also on a BlackBerry email account through her cellphone provider.

In March, a Clinton spokesman said the only reason Clinton had her own account is because she "wanted the simplicity of using one device" and "opted to use her personal email account as a matter of convenience."

There was no indication from emails released so far that Clinton's home computer system used encryption software that would have protected her communications from the prying eyes of foreign spies, hackers or any other interested parties on the Internet.

Current and former intelligence officials have said they assume the emails were intercepted by foreign intelligence services.

Earlier this year, a district court judge mandated that the agency release batches of Clinton's private correspondence from her time as secretary of state every 30 days starting June 30.

The regular releases of Clinton's correspondence all but guarantee a slow drip of revelations from the emails throughout the Democratic presidential primary campaign, complicating her efforts to put the issue to rest. The goal is for the department to publicly unveil all 55,000 pages of her emails by Jan. 29, 2016 — just three days before Iowa caucus-goers cast the first votes in the Democratic primary contest.

Health Officials Explain Legionnaires' Disease


Saint Francis Hospital in Hartford has not treated any patients for Legionnaires' disease in 2015, though it did handle three cases late last year. The disease has recently sickened dozens and killed three in New York City.

People do seem to catch the disease during air conditioning season, from inhaling the legionella bacteria, according to infectious disease specialist Dr. Ulysses Wu.

"That's why the majority of these infections are usually pneumonias," Wu said.

New York health authorities suspect the cooling tower at Lincoln Hospital in the Bronx is where the legionella bacteria contaminated water vapor. The cooling system at Concourse Plaza is contaminated too.

Fifty-seven cases of Legionnaires' disease have been reported this month in the Bronx, three of them fatal.

Symptoms are similar to pneumonia: fever, diarrhea, muscle aches and chills. With antibiotics, patients can recover.

Studies of who gets the disease have found it's not just the elderly, not just people with weakened immune systems.

"It is these people who've had a tobacco history or currently smoking who are at bigger risk," said Wu.

Medics have to test patients for Legionnaires' disease to diagnose it. Besides cooling towers, legionella can thrive in the vapor from showers and faucets, hot tubs and mist machines.

Wu also said there's a correlation between Legionnaire's disease and heavier rainfall.

"You don't get it necessarily from other people but just a general rule of thumb in life. What you want to do is you want to use good hand hygiene and if somebody around you is sick then you may not want to go near them," he said.

Photo Credit: AP

Hartford Election Monitor Established


The secretary of the state has established an election monitor for the city of Hartford after problems at the polls in November prompted officials to try removing the three registrars of voters from office.

Christine Horrigan, an attorney and longtime leader of the Connecticut League of Women Voters, will serve as the captial city's new election monitor, Secretary of the State Denise Merrill announced Friday.

Horrigan will have an office in Hartford City Hall. She has the authority to inspect and investigate the conduct of election officials, access all records and data available to city election officials and report irregularities.

She is also tasked with overseeing preparations for primaries and general elections in the city of Hartford, getting ballots ready and training election officials and poll workers.

Horrigan will oversee communications among election officials, make sure election officials meet all state deadlines and help "devise and implement a management plan for the successful execution of elections in Hartford that complies with state and federal election laws," Merrill's office said.

It comes in response to a slew of problems during the November 2014 general election, which led to extended hours at several of the city's polling places. The Hartford City Council tried to remove the city's three registrars of voters, but a judge ruled the council lacked the authority to do so.

One of the three resigned in April.

"I am excited to have this opportunity to work closely with the office of the Secretary of the State, the registrars and City Hall to ensure that elections in Hartford are well managed and that all voters have the chance to cast their ballots in a fair, timely and efficient manner," Horrigan said in a statement Friday.

Teen Fined in Connection With Deadly Greenwich Tubing Accident


Police have fined the teenage girl who was driving a boat involved in a tubing accident that killed a 16-year-old Greenwich High School student.

Emily Fedorko, of Old Greenwich, died in a tubing accident on Long Island Sound almost a year ago. Police said a motor boat was towing Fedorko and another teen in the water near Greenwich Point Park when the inflatable raft they were on flipped over. The teens were struck by the boat's propeller.

Fedorko died of her injuries. Police said the other teen, a 15-year-old girl, suffered a leg injury. Both were taken ashore at the Old Greenwich Yacht Club.

The teen driving the boat, Elizabeth Lewis, 17, of Riverside, Connecticut, has been charged with violation of boating regulations and rules preventing collision. Police issued Lewis a ticket fining her $150 on July 30.

"There is not enough room in a press release to express the deep sympathy the Investigators feel for the family of Emily Fedorko and for her friends who were present that day. The entire Greenwich Police Department extends our condolences. This official act concludes the investigation into the August 6, 2014 boating accident, and it is our hope that it will bring some closure to the families involved," police said in a news release Friday.

Your Weekend Beach Forecast


High pressure with enough of an influence on the northeast will make for a mainly dry Saturday with a mix of sun and clouds.

An upper-level disturbance cruising across northern portions of the region will spark off storms, but they will be few and far between. Some may reach the beaches.

Given the trajectory of the disturbance on Saturday, coastal Maine stands the best chance of a storm while the Jersey Shore stays dry.

Sunday is the pick of the weekend because the forecast is dry for all! High pressure moves closer to the region from the southwest and exerts its influence in the form of sunshine!

Both weekend days feature low levels of humidity. Overall, it will be an enjoyable beach weekend from Wildwood, New Jersey on north to Old Orchard Beach, Maine.

Long Island Sound
Saturday: Partly cloudy with an afternoon thunderstorm possible. Highs: Mid-80s.
Sunday: Lots of sunshine. Highs: Mid-80s.

Saturday: A mix of sun and clouds with a stray storm possible in the afternoon. Highs: Mid-80s.
Sunday: Plenty of sun. Highs: Lower-80s.

Cape Cod
Saturday: A thunderstorm possible in the afternoon, otherwise partly cloudy. Highs: Mid-80s.
Sunday: Mostly sunny with just a few puffy clouds. Highs: Lower-80s.

Jersey Shore
Saturday: A mix of sun and clouds. Dry! Highs: Upper-80s.
Sunday: Plenty of sun. Highs: Mid-80s.

Coastal Maine
Saturday: Partly cloudy with an afternoon thunderstorm possible. Highs: Upper-80s.
Sunday: Lots of sunshine. Highs: Mid-80s.

Photo Credit: LeAnne Gendreau

Mosquitoes in Waterford Test Positive for West Nile Virus


Mosquitoes in Waterford have tested positive for West Nile virus, according to the state Department of Public Health.

It's the first time West Nile has been identified in Connecticut this year.

State officials said the mosquitoes in question were trapped July 20.

"Early to mid-July is when we typically start to see an increase in infected mosquitoes, and this is a reminder for people to take steps to protect themselves from mosquito bites now through September," Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station Medical Entomologist Dr. Philip Armstrong said in a statement Friday.

Officials are encouraging residents to take the folowing precautions when spending time outdoors:

  • Minimize the amount of time spent outside from dawn to dusk
  • Wear long clothing, socks and shoes when spending an extended amount of time outside
  • Use mosquito nets when camping or sleeping outside
  • Use bug spray/mosquito repellant

Mosquitoes tested postive for West Nile in 15 Connecticut cities and towns last year. Six residents of Fairfield and New Haven counties were infected by the virus.

Police Probe Death of Middletown Teen 30 Years Ago


Police are trying to figure out what happened to a Middletown High School graduate who was found face down in a pool of water 30 years ago.

Lisa Berry, an honor student headed to Amherst College on a scholarship, disappeared July 31, 1985 – 30 years ago today. Her death remains shrouded in mystery.

Berry, a varsity cross country runner, left her home on Braeburn Lane in Middletown around 5:30 p.m. and told her mother she'd be home for dinner an hour later. She never returned.

Police said Berry stopped and talked with several people while running. Her route took her from Highlands Crescent to Westlake Drive, which, at the time, comprised a few condominiums carved into the woods. A new condo complex was under construction.

Firefighters searching for Berry found her body the next day near a running path, face down in 4 feet of water in a hole drilled for percolation testing. The state medical examiner said Berry died of asphyxia by submersion.

Police are working with the assistant state's attorney and the state forensic laboratory to figure out what happened to Berry. They're interested in speaking to anyone who remembers her and may have seen her the day she died.

Authorities are asking anyone with information to call the Middletown Police Department at 860-638-4000 or the Lisa Berry tip line at 860-638-4146.

Photo Credit: Middletown Police Department

Crews Respond to Water Main Break in Greenwich


Greenwich Avenue is closed at Havemeyer Place in Greenwich while crews respond to a water main break, according to the town's emergency dispatch center.

Water company workers are at the scene. Dispatchers said the break happened Friday night on Greenwich Avenue near the intersection of Arch Street.

Officials are warning drivers to expect delays in the area.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Resident Burned in Ansonia Fire


An Ansonia resident was burned Friday night when fire broke out at a home on Webster Drive, according to fire officials at the scene.

Firefighters arrived to find smoke emanating from the back of the house at 31 Webster Drive and flames in the area of the kitchen.

An adult who lived alone in the house suffered burns and was taken to the hospital for treatment. Authorities have not released any information on the victim's condition but said the person was conscious at the scene.

The living room and kitchen sustained fire damage. The fire marshal is investigating to determine the cause of the blaze.

'Something Wrong': Family of Missing Woman Makes Plea for Help


The family of a 57-year-old Middletown woman who has been missing more than two weeks is pleading for help to bring her home.

Nina Coe's sisters joined Middletown police for a news conference Friday night, choking back tears at the podium as they described the events leading up to Coe's disappearance, and the radio silence they've been met with ever since.

Coe, who is usually in constant contact with family members, last spoke with her sisters Wednesday, July 15. She attended a dentist appointment the following afternoon and has not been seen or heard from since.

"It's unusual for her to do that because she calls me every single day," said Coe's sister, Dale Ocelik, adding that she feels lost and anxious and has not been able to sleep.

According to a Silver Alert issued last week, Coe suffers from bipolar disorder and is dependent on alcohol and pain medication. Police said she may need immediate medical attention.

Coe's other sister, Barbara Plourde, said the siblings have called and texted Coe but received no response. They stopped by her apartment to find broken glass and the lights off.

"We just want Nina home, and I don't understand why she's not calling us," Plourde said. "We just want Nina home. There's something wrong and we need to find her."

Police are asking anyone with information on Coe's whereabouts to give them a call.

"She could be in trouble. She does have some medical issues, some dependency issue. We would like to get her home safely or get her some help if she needs it. We’d just really like the public’s assistance with this one," Middletown police Capt. Gary Wallace explained Friday.

When asked if he suspected foul play, Wallace said not necessarily.

"When someone has constant communication like what was mentioned here and all of a sudden just, it stops immediately, and there’s just really no sign of that person, no one’s heard from them, that’s concerning," he said. "I don’t know that that necessarily amounts to 100 percent foul play but it does amount to the fact that that person is out there, needs their medication, needs their family, and that’s what we’re concerned about."

Coe stands 5 feet 2 inches tall, weighs 130 pounds and has brown hair and blue eyes. Police said she wears glasses and has a tattoo on one leg and a scar on the right side of her neck.

Police are asking for anyone with information on her whereabouts to come forward and call the department at 860-638-4000.

Tornado Confirmed in New Hampshire


Thunderstorms rolled through New England yesterday and produced one confirmed tornado in New Hampshire.

Connecticut escaped the storms with no damage, though a few areas such as West Hartford experienced poor drainage flooding.
It was different story in New Hampshire.

The National Weather Service based in Gray, Maine on Friday sent an investigator to Warner, New Hampshire to investigate storm damage that occurred on Thursday, July 30.

A public information statement released by the weather service following the investigation says an EF0 tornado with maximum winds of 75 mph hit Warner.

No tornado warning was issued, nor was a severe thunderstorm warning in effect.

It was around 5:53 p.m. when the tornado struck without warning in the town along Interstate 89 in western Merrimack County. It wasn’t on the ground long, only for 0.4 miles.

According a damage survey conducted by a National Weather Service meteorologist, the most significant damage occurred when the tornado snapped or uprooted about 25 trees and tore a portion of the roof off a large storage structure.

A 12-by-24 foot section of the roof was discovered in the woods not far from the storage building, but not all of the missing section of roof was found.

This is the first tornado recorded in New Hampshire this year, and the first to hit Merrimack County, New Hampshire since July 24, 2008. It was only last year that a waterspout was confirmed over Lake Winnipesaukee to the north and east of Warner.

Photo Credit: NWS Gray, Maine

Cecil the Lion's Killer Contacts Authorities


Dr. Walter James Palmer, the American dentist who sparked outrage after killing Cecil the lion in Zimbabwe, has reached out to U.S. authorities, U.S. Fish and Wildlife officials said Friday.

A representative for Palmer "voluntarily" reached out to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Office of Law Enforcement on Thursday, the service said in a statement. 

On Thursday, officials said efforts to contact Palmer had been unsuccessful and urged him on Twitter to get in touch.

When You Can See Tonight's Rare Blue Moon


Be sure to set your gaze skyward Friday to catch a glimpse of the rare blue moon.

According to Adler Planetarium Astronomer Larry Ciupik, the moon rose for the first time at 7:27 p.m. Thursday and set at 6 a.m. Friday. The moon rose again at 8:12 p.m. Friday and will set at 7:11 a.m. Saturday. 

Ciupik says while the moon can be seen both nights, the peak time for viewing will be at 5:43 a.m. Friday. 

Don't be fooled by the name "blue moon," however. Most likely, the moon will look gray or white as usual, but it will be a full moon.

Blue moons are not actually defined by their color. Instead, by popular definition, a blue moon is the second full moon in a month. The phenomenon only happens every few years, making it a relatively rare occurrence.

A moon that appears blue is caused by dust in the atmosphere, according to Larry Ciupik, an astronomer at the Adler Planetarium. If the atmospheric conditions are just right on Friday, then the blue moon may appear slightly blue in color, but Ciupik says that isn't likely to happen.

The popular definition of a blue moon is as incorrect as the assumption that the moon will actually look blue, however, according to Ciupik. The Farmers' Almanac definition of a blue moon is the third full moon in a calendar season, which is just as rare as the second full moon in a month. The two kinds of blue moons do not usually align, however.

The last blue moon — by popular definition — happened in August 2012, and the next one will not appear until January 2018. The phenomenon can happen any month except February, even during  a Leap Year, because the month does not have enough days, according to Ciupik.

Although Friday's moon may not look any different than any other full moon, Ciupik believes the popularity of the blue moon is due to the general mystery of the moon, including the faces some people see in the orb and the myths that proliferate about full moons causing strange events.

"It's also a kind of romantic thing," Ciupik said. "I think it's kind of primal. You look at the moon, and it's kind of primal. You could be seeing this a thousand years ago, the same thing."

Photo Credit: UIG via Getty Images
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