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Two People Hospitalized in Ansonia House Fire

Coach of Hartford Professional Soccer Team Named


Professional soccer is coming to Connecticut year-round. The formal announcement was made this morning, including that Paul Wright will be the head coach of the team, Hartford City FC.

In June, the NBC Connecticut Troubleshooters learned that Professional Sports Management Group will be bringing professional soccer to the state and team, Hartford City FC, will play both indoors and outdoors.

Hartford City FC has signed a deal to play in the Major Arena Soccer League, which will play indoors at the XL Center, starting in November.

“We’re going to make this thing exciting,” James Duckett, the owner of the team, said and vowed to have local community events and getting residents and children involved.

The team will play year-round, Anderson and the management team said.

“I’m excited about the team and I’m also excited about bringing the outdoor team that we will add,” he said.

The larger goal is to bring a high-level professional team to the capital city.

The ownership group is vying for an expansion franchise in the North American Soccer League, which is one step below Major League Soccer. The NASL's marquee franchise is the New York Cosmos and has teams in markets including Miami, Minneapolis and Tampa.

Mitch Anderson, the president and general manager of Hartford City FC, said the team will have 10 home games, and two more in the playoffs.

About a dozen indoor soccer games will be coming to Hartford to complement professional and college hockey, as well as UConn basketball games in downtown Hartford.

Wright, who is from England, has a USSF “A” license and was on the 1999 Western Mass. Pioneers champion team and also played for Philadelphia Kicks.

“This is an exciting time for Connecticut. It’s an exciting time for professional soccer here at Hartford City FC. We’re really hoping that the city will come out and support us. I think it’s time for a professional team to be in Connecticut. I think it’s a great opportunity. There is so much great college soccer in this area,” he said.

The team also announced that Tommy Williams, from the English Premiere League, will be involved with Hartford City FC. He played for the Queens Park Rangers, as well as several other clubs.

Connecticut's team would begin play in 2017 in a brand new 15,000-seat soccer outdoor venue in the South End of the city.

There is a request for proposal to demolish Dillon Stadium in the Coltsville section of the city, with plans to build a state-of-the-art soccer stadium for a high-level pro team starting likely in 2017.

Duckett has said he believes Hartford is the ideal place for pro soccer, but said the team has an opportunity to give back to the city, as well.

“I want the people of Hartford to understand the vision that’s behind this. I’m not a soccer guy. I’m a football guy,” Duckett said. 

The goal is to keep children occupied in a region where they are not able to be outside for part of the year, and create avenue for children.

“Every kid is not going to become a professional athlete, but what you do, you instill discipline. You instill the competitive nature. You instill the ability for a kid to   feel that sense of achievement, and then you keep them occupied,” Duckett said. “That would eliminate them getting lost in the streets, them getting lost to drugs,” he said.

Duckett and Anderson said they'ire planning to fund the construction with private money. The group has plans to host several international matches every year, as well, with an eye toward bringing in teams that will resonate with the various ethnic communities in and around Hartford.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

5 Hospitalized After Crash in Tolland


Five people were hospitalized with minor injuries after a car collided with a motorcycle on an entrance ramp to Interstate 84 westbound in Tolland, according to public safety officials.

Tolland Public Safety officials said a motorcycle crashed Wednesday afternoon on exit 68 ramp from Route 195. According to state police, two vehicles were involved in the collision.

Five people were taken to Rockville General Hospital for treatment, according to Tolland Public Safety. Traffic on Route 195 was heavily delayed.

Photo Credit: @TollandAlert

New Program Gives $15,000 to Prospective Shoreline Homeowners


Hundreds of families along the Connecticut shoreline are getting some help to own a home through a down payment program. The program, called HomeLIFT, offers a $15,000 head start for eligible buyers.

“There was a time where I didn’t think I could ever be a homeowner," said Kym McKoy, a mother of three who is now under contract to purchase her first home in New Haven.

“Just a sense of knowing that this is mine," said McKoy. "I accomplished something greater than what I thought I could accomplish.”

McKoy said she would never have been able to go through this process on her own.

Luckily, she said, she does not have to go it alone.

She is in line to be one of 219 eligible homebuyers who will receive a $15,000 Wells Fargo HomeLIFT grant, which goes toward a down payment on a home in East Haven, West Haven or New Haven.

“If you’re thinking about moving to New Haven, East Haven or West Haven in the next few months, this is great time to do it,” Joe Kirk, president of the New York and Connecticut region for Wells Fargo, said.

To be eligible, a prospective homebuyer's income must not exceed 120 percent of the area's median income.

For a family of four, Kirk said, it equates to about $100,000. They buyer must live in the home as their primary residents for five years and also complete a homebuyer's workshop on Aug. 28 and 29 at the Omni Hotel in New Haven.

“It’s making it possible for people to take charge to build equity and to be part of a community where they have a solid investment,” said James Paley, of the Neighborhood Housing Services of New Haven.

To learn more about the HomeLift program and to register for the homebuyer's workshop, click here.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Firefighters Nationwide Pitch in for Toddler With Cerebral Palsy


What started with a single T-shirt has become a nationwide outpouring of support for a 2-year-old boy with cerebral palsy who happens to love firefighters.

Christopher Dumas is nothing short of a miracle. Born 12 weeks premature, the Quincy, Massachusetts, toddler spent 67 days in the NICU and was hospitalized three times during his first year. Shortly after he turned 1, Christopher received his diagnosis.

It has been an uphill battle for Christopher and his family, marked with daily therapy sessions. His parents, Chris and Siobhan, miss no opportunity to make their young son smile, so when they visited Las Vegas in July, they brought him back a shirt from the fire department.

Christopher was over the moon.

"With that shirt it sparked my idea of reaching out via email to fire departments around the country to build his collection," Siobhan Dumas wrote in a message to NBC Connecticut. "This was important to me to make this happen because due to his disability this is the closest Christopher will come to becoming a firefighter."

Christopher's aunt then connected with a Scituate, Massachusetts, firefighter named Tom Seery, who put out a call for fire shirts on his personal Facebook page. More than 800 people shared the post.

It was the spark that ignited a national initiative: Fire Shirts for Christopher.

In the past week alone, Christopher has received more than 100 shirts from departments around the country, including three in Connecticut: Canton, Rocky Hill and Waterford.

"This has been an absolute blessing for our son!" Dumas wrote.

First responders have also sent along patches – some cut from their own shirts – photographs, and handwritten notes full of kind words and well wishes. Siobhan Dumas said fire engines have even visited the family's house.

"From the men that come to our home on their day off just to give their support in the form of a high five or knuckles, to the ones sending Christopher the shirt off their back and to the guys who pass down their street beeping horn we thank you all for what you do for the community especially what you do for my little fire boy," Dumas wrote on Facebook. "Thank you all for being my son's hero!"

First responders who would like to send shirts or letters to Christopher can mail them to:

Christopher Dumas
39 Hovey Street
Quincy, MA 02171

Learn more about Fire Shirts for Christopher here.

Photo Credit: Fire Shirts for Christopher
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Motorcycle Mania Revs Up Downtown Middletown


The motorcycles are out in Middletown tonight for Motorcycle Mania and thousands of people are expected downtown.

The annual family-friendly event started 10 years ago, with a display of 1,000 bikes. It has grown in the last decade and more than 7,000 bikes around out this year.

Vendors have also been eager to get involved. Seventy vendors wanted to take part this year, filling up each available spot.

There is a lot to do and see for the more than 17,000 people expected to attend. You can enjoy different foods and listen to live music in addition to enjoying the motorcycles.

One of the additions to the event this year is a children’s area.

Motorcycle Mania runs from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. and it’s in memory of Dan Hunter, a founding sponsor of the event.

If you are planning on heading to Middletown, be prepared because Main Street is closed between Dingwall Drive and Court Street.

Today's event benefits Middletown youth programs.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

TV Ads Aim to Keep Students in Meriden School System


The Meriden Public School System is airing television advertisements, sending fliers to families and posting signs across the city in hopes of keeping students in the public school system.

Three television ads, which cost just under $10,000 and will run through the winter, remind students and parents that school starts Aug. 27 and touts the school system's offerings. They aim to keep more students from leaving Meriden to attend out-of-district magnet schools.

"We want people to feel good about our schools and we want people to people feel comfortable in sending their children to our schools, but we also know we’re in a competitive environment. This is about economics," said Meriden Supt. Mark Benigni.

School officials said the district has lost thousands of dollars footing the bill for students to attend magnet schools. Benigni said the district could save money in the long run by keeping students in Meriden.

"We went from $102,000 in 2013-2014 on expenses for these open choice magnets to this past year at $131,000," said Benigni.

Figures show 25 students who live in Meriden attend magnet schools other than Wintergreen Magnet and Thomas Edison, which are partners with the district.

Eighth-grade student Alejandro Aguilla called the Meriden school district "exceptional" and said he sees no reason to turn to a magnet school for his education.

"It’s the best education I’ve ever gotten in my life," he said.

About 9,000 students are enrolled in the Meriden School District.

U.S. Begins Manned Anti-ISIS Flights From Turkey


The United States launched its first manned anti-ISIS military flights from Turkey on Wednesday, adding to the unmanned drones that began bombing targets in Syria last month, NBC News reported

The first wave of manned flights from Incirlik Air Base included airstrikes as well as patrols, a Defense Department spokesperson said.

The United States has already been flying combat missions against ISIS in Iraq and Syria for more than a year, with most of those missions launching out of Qatar and Jordan and off aircraft carriers in the Persian Gulf.

Photo Credit: AP

Fairfield Animal Shelter Closed Amid Parvovirus Outbreak


The Fairfield Animal Shelter is closed after four confirmed cases of canine parvovirus were found in dogs housed at the shelter, according to the town.

Animal control said the outbreak is linked to a parvovirus outbreak in neighboring Bridgeport, which has closed its animal shelter through Aug. 20. The initial case was found last Monday in a dog being housed for Bridgeport.

Crews are sanitizing the shelter in Fairfield and expect it to reopen 14 days after the last case is diagnosed, which should be around Aug. 25, according to the city.

Easton Animal Control has handled all impounds for Fairfield since the outbreak. Animals found roaming will be sheltered in neighboring municipalities.

Parvovirus is a highly contagious viral disease that is passed on through dog feces and can cause life-threatening illness in dogs.

The virus is highly contagious and can be transmitted from dog to dog and from shelter to shelter by shoes, clothing, dog dishes and other items in contact with the virus.

The Animal Control Department will still handle all complaints as usual during the shutdown.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News

3 Found With $15K in Fake Money at Wal-Mart: Cops


Three out-of-state residents were arrested in Waterford after trying to buy hundreds of dollars worth of merchandise with counterfeit cash at Wal-Mart, according to police.

Police said Lamichael Black, 29, of Brooklyn, New York; Jamyira Bonner, 23, of Brooklyn, New York; and Maurice Perry, 27, of Florence, South Carolina, were found with $15,300 in fake $100 bills and altered credit and gift cards.

The three were arrested Sunday evening at the Wal-Mart store on Waterford Parkway North in Waterford.

According to police, Bonner used five fake $100 bills to purchase a $424.34 vacuum around 4:30 p.m. Sunday. Shortly thereafter, Black attempted to buy two sets of headphones totaling $425.29, but the cashier called over a manager to check the bills he handed over.

Wal-Mart employees became suspicious and called police. Perry entered the store after officers arrived but turned around and walked out when he spotted them, according to police.

Investigators searched the trio's car and belongings and found $15,300 in counterfeit cash, including more than 15 gift and credit cards with altered magnetic strips, police said.

Black was arrested and charged with first-degree forgery and sixth-degree larceny. Bonner was charged with first-degree forgery, sixth-degree larceny, illegal use of a credit card, third-degree identity theft and interfering with an officer, and Perry was charged with first-degree forgery, interfering with an officer and two counts of conspiracy to commit a crime.

All three appeared in New London Superior Court on Monday. Bonner and Perry are each being held on $25,000 bond ahead of their next court dates Sept. 14, according to the state judicial system. Black is being held on $100,000 bond and is due in court Sept. 2

Photo Credit: Waterford Police Department

Family of Bullied Teen Who Committed Suicide Sues Greenwich


The family of a 15-year-old Greenwich High School student who shot himself in the head after years of relentless bullying is suing the town on the grounds that school officials knew he was tortured and failed to protect him.

Bartlomiej "Bart" F. Palosz committed suicide on Aug. 27, 2013, the first day of his sophomore year at Greenwich High School. According to a lawsuit filed Aug. 12 in Stamford Superior Court, it was the first time his older sister, a recent graduate, was not there to look out for him.

The complaint alleges that Bart was "subjected to a years-long history of unremitting bullying" at Western Middle School and Greenwich High School. The last time he was bullied was the day he died.

Bart faced years of name calling, teasing and physical violence that left him injured on at least one occasion, according to the complaint. He was kicked and hit on the back of the neck. Classmates stole his pencil and threw it at him and smashed his brand new smartphone.

"Everyone treats him bad because he pushes peoples buttons," Western Middle School Asst. Principal Albert Sackey wrote in a report after Bart was kicked at his locker in 2012, according to the complaint. "Everyone is mean to him."

Bart's performance in class suffered drastically. He stopped turning in his homework and his grades plummeted in the spring of 2013, the complaint alleges. He also began biting his hands in an effort to cope with stress and anxiety.

All the while, school administrators, teachers and counselors left Bart "unprotected and unsupported" despite their knowledge of the bullying he endured, according to the complaint.

"Kids pick on him, very socially akward (sic), bullied regularly, annoying to peers," a middle school employee wrote during Bart's transition to the high school. "Bart gets bullied on a regular basis but he doesn’t tell anyone, needs to be connected, wants to be liked."

Another wrote: "Shoelaces tied together – Stitches in head – hit w/locker. He won’t tell on kids. No self advocacy. Very tall and awakward (sic), will stare at other kids. Wants to be liked."

The complaint claims Greenwich High School "failed to comply" with its anti-bullying policy, which requires staff members to provide victims with emotional support, intervene in and investigate known cases of bullying, file oral and written reports on bullying instances, contact the parents of bullying victims and discipline bullies.

The lawsuit cites Greenwich First Selectman Drew Marzullo as saying, "We as a community failed this child."

Bart's family is suing for more than $15,000 in damages. According to family attorney Randy Savicky of Silver Golub & Teitell LLP, the town is required to respond by Sept. 8.

"We feel this lawsuit is important so that other students in Greenwich don’t suffer the same kind of treatment that Bart did. It is our hope that this lawsuit will result in changes to how the Greenwich school system responds to students in need of help so that there will be no more needless deaths," the family said in a statement Wednesday.

NBC Connecticut has reached out to Greenwich Town Attorney John Wayne Fox for comment on the lawsuit.

Body in Landfill Identified as That of New Milford Graduate


Authorities have identified a body found 40 years ago in a Utah landfill as that of missing New Milford High School graduate David Arthur Stack.

Stack, 18, disappeared from his home in Colorado in June 1976. Days later, his body was uncovered in a landfill in Wendover, Utah, but went unidentified for decades. DNA analysis has only recently allowed investigators to put the pieces together, according to Sheriff Paul Wimmer of Tooele County, Utah.

Stack graduated from New Milford High School in 1975, a year before he vanished, Hearst Connecticut Media reports.

Stack was last seen leaving his home on Laurel Street in Broomfield, Colorado, with the intention of hitchhiking to California, according to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation Cold Case Files. He may have been heading for one of his siblings’ homes in Truckee or Berkeley.

Stack never arrived and was never heard from again.

It's not clear how he died, but Hearst Connecticut Media reports Stack was found shot in the head.

Wimmer said the department plans to release more information Thursday.

Photo Credit: Colorado Bureau of Investigation Cold Case Files

Teen Pulled From Pool in New London in Critical Condition


A teenage girl who was pulled from the water at Ocean Beach Park in New London on Wednesday evening is in critical condition at the hospital, according to police.

Police said lifeguards noticed the teen unresponsive in the deep end of the pool around 4:40 p.m. Wednesday. Authorities have not released the victim's identity but said she is about 18 years old.

Lifeguards rescued her from the water and began CPR while firefighters and paramedics headed to the scene. She was taken to Lawrence + Memorial Hospital, where she remains in critical condition.

It's not clear what caused her to lose consciousness in the pool.

Check back for updates on this developing story.

Parents of S.C. Teen Killed by Officer Speak


The parents of a South Carolina teenager who was killed last month by police demanded Wednesday that law enforcement give them more information about their son's final moments.

"We just want answers. We have no clue as to what happened," said Angie Hammond, the mother of 19-year-old Zachary Hammond, who was shot in a Seneca Hardee's restaurant parking lot on July 26.

Hammond was unarmed when Seneca Police Lt. Mark Tiller opened fire on him, shooting him twice. Police say Hammond was trying to run Tiller over.

Along with her husband, Paul, Angie Hammond pleaded in a press conference for officers to release dash cam video of the fatal interaction "just so we can know what happened."

"Our son deserves that, and we deserve that as a family," Paul Hammond told reporters.

Photo Credit: NBC

Man Accidentally Shoots Himself at Wallingford Home


A 26-year-old Wallingford man was taken to the hospital Wednesday after accidentally shooting himself in the leg, according to police.

Police said Martin Murray called 911 around 3:30 p.m. and told dispatchers he shot himself with a .22-caliber revolver in his home on Pine Street.

Detectives arrived to find Murray sitting on the front porch with bullet wounds in his leg. They searched the home and found the revolver inside, according to police.

Murray was taken to Yale-New Haven Hospital for treatment of non-life threatening injuries, according to police.

Authorities said no one else was home during the incident and no charges have been filed.

Car Collides With Motorcycle on I-91 North in Hartford


Authorities responded to Interstate 91 northbound in Hartford after a car collided with a motorcycle on the highway Thursday night, according to the Department of Transportation.

DOT officials said the crash happened just before 9 p.m. between exits 32 and 33 in Hartford.

Traffic cameras showed a fire engine blocking part of the highway, but the scene was clear as of 9:20 p.m.

There has been no word on injuries.

Photo Credit: Connecticut Department of Transportation

Photo of Lightning, Rainbow at Same Time in Arizona Goes Viral


A photo shared over 90,000 times on Facebook was taken by a photographer who says the shot took him seven years to capture.

Greg McCown, 42, snapped the photo of a lightning bolt hitting the ground while a rainbow appears in the sky above Arizona, according to The Weather Channel.

“Finally! After years of trying I finally got my lightning and rainbow picture," McCown said in the Facebook post. “What an awesome evening.”

According to The Weather Channel, McCown is a real estate salesperson from Tucson who takes photos in his downtime. He that the shot, taken in a small town just to the northwest of Tucson, required a lot guesswork and experience to capture. He said he had hoped the lightning would hit the ground where he wanted it to strike.

He also told The Weather Channel that it took him over seven years to take the photo, saying that the shot was something out of a dream for him.

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Greg McCown

Twitter Reacts to Jimmy Carter Cancer Diagnosis


The White House says President Barack Obama has spoken with former President Jimmy Carter and wished him a full and speedy recovery from cancer. 

"Jimmy, you're as resilient as they come, and along with the rest of America, [Michelle and I] are rooting for you," Obama said in a statement.

Carter announced Wednesday that he has been diagnosed with cancer and will undergo treatment at Emory Healthcare in Atlanta.

Condolences and prayers poured in on social media following Carter's announcement as politicians, journalists and supporters of the former president wished him luck in his battle against the disease.

Carter, the nation's 39th president, says the cancer was discovered during surgery this month to remove a small mass in his liver.

It was not immediately clear where the cancer originated, but Carter said it is in "other parts of [his] body." The former president said he will release more information "possibly next week." 

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Tattered Flags Taken Down After Veteran Complains


Tattered American flags flying in downtown Derby were replaced Wednesday after a veteran complained to city hall.

"If you're going to hang up a flag, you either hang it the right way or you don't hang it at all," said Sam Pollastro, who photographed the haphazard flags before they were taken down.

A friend who fought to defend the flag reached out to the mayor's office Wednesday and received a less-than-favorable response, according to Pollastro.

"His words to me were, this reminded him – it was a flashback, so to speak, of when he came back from Vietnam," Pollastro said.

Derby Mayor Anita Dugatto, however, disagreed with the veteran's perception of their exchange.

"That couldn't be further from the truth because we addressed the issue immediately," she said.

The weathered flags were replaced, or at least removed, Wednesday morning. Department of Public Works Commissioner Anthony DeFala oversaw the work.

"I'm very prideful about that," he said. "I hate to see anyone get disappointed with my department or the guys that work for us."

Pollastro said he has drummed up some 50 donated flags over the past 24 hours and plans to drop them off at city hall Thursday.

"I believe that their actions are going to speak louder than words, and today here was a good indication, and I hope this continues," he said.

World Trade Center Steel Memorialized in South Windsor


A chunk of World Trade Center steel that endured the attacks of Sept. 11 will be enshrined in South Windsor.

The steel, retrieved today from the hangar at John F. Kennedy Airport in New York, will become part of the South Windsor Fire Department Memorial, according to the fire department.

It's part of an Eagle Scout project by Boy Scout Eric Hofmann, which aims to raise money to enhance the South Windsor memorial.

The addition was brought back to Connecticut with help from the South Windsor police and fire departments.

"Outstanding job by all involved," the fire department wrote on Facebook Wednesday. "God Bless the 343 FDNY, NYPD, Port Authority PD and the thousands that were murdered on 9-11."

Photo Credit: South Windsor Fire Department
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