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Neighbor Helps Police Rescue Injured Teen From Burning Car


Police officers and a neighbor pulled an unresponsive driver from a burning car after a fiery crash in Woodbridge early Saturday morning.

Justin Proto, 19, of Orange, was seriously injured after veering off Baldwin Road in the southbound direction and striking a tree near Greenway Road, police said.

Woodbridge police responded to the intersection of Baldwin and Greenway roads Saturday at about 3:56 a.m. to investigate a reported motor vehicle accident. A 2014 Nissan Altima was on fire when they arrived and the driver, Proto, was unresponsive, police said.

A neighbor woken up after hearing the crash came outside and helped police pull Proto from the flaming vehicle and carry him to a nearby field.

Emergency responders tended to Proto there and gave medical assistance. An American Medical Response ambulance transported him to Yale-New Haven Hospital to be treated for serious injuries.

Woodbridge firefighters responded and put out the car fire.

Police are investigating the cause of the crash.

Photo Credit: Woodbridge Police Department

Obama Calls Americans Who Foiled Paris Train Attack


President Barack Obama has spoken to the three Americans who tackled a gunman aboard a train from Amsterdam to Paris on Friday, preventing what could have been a massacre.

Airman First Class Spencer Stone, Oregon National Guard Specialist Alek Skarlatos and college senior Anthony Sadler, all friends from childhood, were traveling on the high-speed train when they heard a gunshot and glass shattering. The three are all California natives: Stone and Skarlatos are from Sacramento, while Sadler is from Rancho Cordova.

"I saw a guy entering the train with an AK-47 and a handgun, and I just looked over to Spencer and said, 'Let's go, go!'" Skarlatos said.

The three, along with a British man, Chris Norman, rushed the alleged attacker, who was identified by a french official as Ayoub El-Khazzani. Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said Spanish authorities had advised French intelligence about the 26-year-old because he belongs to the "radical Islamist movement."

Two people, including Stone, were seriously injured with non-life-threatening injuries. A third received minor injuries. Officials told NBC News that Stone underwent successful hand operation, and along with the other Americans, will be hosted by French President Francois Hollande for a meeting Monday.

Stone was seen Saturday leaving the hospital in Lille where he was treated.

President Obama called the Americans on Saturday to commend the men for their courage, Deputy Press Secretary Eric Schultz confirmed.

"The President expressed his gratitude to these three individuals for their heroic actions forestalling an even greater tragedy. The President wished Airman Stone a full and speedy recovery, and expressed how proud all Americans are of their extraordinary bravery," Schultz said.

Secretary of Defense Ash Carter said in a statement: “I want to thank the brave individuals, including two members of the U.S. military, who stepped forward to prevent an even greater tragedy from taking place aboard that train."

Photo Credit: Sadler family, AP, Getty
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Clinton Followed Rules, Common Practice: Lawyer


Hillary Clinton's use of a personal email account for conducting State Department business followed both federal rules in place at the time and the practice of some of her predecessors, her lawyer says.

The explanation, from Washington, D.C. lawyer David Kendall, comes in a letter sent late Friday to the State Department's undersecretary for management, obtained by NBC News.

"Secretary Clinton's use of personal e-mail was consistent with the practice of other Secretaries of State and was permissible under State Department policy in place during her tenure," Kendall writes.

Though styled as a letter to the State Department, it amounts to a response to a comment Thursday from a federal judge during a hearing over a lawsuit to obtain government records.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Connecticut Open Returns to New Haven


Join NBC Connecticut at the Connecticut Open through Saturday, Aug. 29 at the Connecticut Tennis Center at Yale.

The tournament is not only a large-scale sporting event but a way to give back to the community.

With five different competitions and week-long activities, the Connecticut Open is fun for the whole family! Each day of the tournament offers a new attraction, along with top-level tennis.

Some of the best tennis players in the world – including Caroline Wozniacki, defending champion Petra Kvitova, and Americans Madison Keys, Sloane Stephens and Coco Vandeweghe – will compete.

Tournament events include Kids' Day, Military Appreciation Night, UConn Day, Girl Power Night and Family Night, and will feature food trucks, entertainment, live music and other attractions.

For a detailed schedule of events and more information, visit the Connecticut Open's website.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Massive Slip and Slide Comes to Hartford


Summer is heating up and a massive slip and slide is here in the streets of Hartford!

Yes, you heard it right: a 1,000 foot waterslide is set up at Bushnell Park between Jewell Street and Capital Avenue on Saturday Aug. 22.

There will be music, food, drinks and, of course, the chance to slide until 5 p.m. Not only is this event a great way to get everyone outside and enjoy the community, is it charitable as well. A portion of the proceeds will go to Hartford Business improvement District.

The Hartford Business Improvement District’s mission is to bring about positive and lasting change by enhancing the economic vitality and quality of life within downtown Hartford. This organization hopes to create a safer, cleaner and overall better environment for Hartford.

So break out your bathing suit and sign up to make memories of the summer! For more information and registration: visit http://www.slidethecity.com/events/hartford.



School Start Days


Time flies! Summer is nearing an end, which means the start of school is just around the corner.

Here is a selection of the back-to-school dates around the state.

Tuesday, Aug. 25

Monday, Aug. 31

Thursday, Aug. 27

Thursday Aug.  27

Thursday, August 27

Monday Aug. 31

Wednesday, Aug. 26

Monday Aug. 31

Wednesday , Sept. 2

Tuesday, Aug. 25

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Bear Snacks on Seeds in Farmington Bird Feeder


A bear stopped by a yard in Farmington for a snack on Saturday afternoon.

Linda Nadeau saw the black bear in her Carriage Drive yard at about 4:20 p.m. Saturday.

The furry visitor was chowing down on some bird seed.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

No Human Remains Found in Landfill Search for Missing Couple


State police searching a landfill in Putnam as part of the investigation into the disappearance of an Easton couple last seen in early August has yielded no discovery of human remains so far, state police said.

State police spokesman Trooper First Class Kelly Grant said Friday detectives have been searching the Putnam Ash Residue Landfill, a 186-acre site operated by Wheelabrator Technologies, but would not elaborate on the details of the probe.

The landfill is used to dump ash from all the state's waste-to-energy plants.

State police have been searching the landfill the week of Aug. 18 in connection to the case of Jeffrey and Jeanette Navin, who disappeared from their Easton home Aug. 4, shortly after moving from Westport, state police said.

The last calls logged on their cellphones took place that day, according to search warrants obtained by NBC Connecticut. Those phones have since been turned off.

At this point, state police haven't found any human remains at the landfill. State police said they were search the land fill "in an effort to rule it out as a possible location." They continue to search for the Navins, gather evidence and follow leads to figure out where they are.

searchrator Technologies is cooperating with state police during the seawrch.

Authorities said a state trooper found the couple's pickup truck Aug. 9 in a Westport commuter lot. Investigators took more than a dozen swab samples from the truck, which had a broken window, according to the warrants.

A second source told NBC Connecticut the couple's son, Kyle Navin, has been named a person of interest in his parents' disappearance.

According to search warrants, Kyle Navin told police his parents visited him in Bridgeport the morning they vanished and asked to take him to dinner. Kyle Navin said he had a broken back and declined.

That was the last anyone heard from Jeffrey and Jeanette Navin.

Police spent Wednesday and Thursday searching their son's Bridgeport home. Neighbors said they haven't seen the younger Navin in about a week, and police have not been able to reach him since their initial interview.

Jeffrey Navin serves as president of the J&J Refuse waste management company in Westport, while Jeanette works as a school library aide in Weston.

Kyle Navin, who is listed online as operations manager of J&J Refuse, told police the family was in the process of selling the company, according to warrants obtained by NBC Connecticut.

About a week before the Navins vanished, a judge denied Jeffrey Navin's motion to reopen a case appealing more than $2.2 million in debt on a $900,000 Guilford home. Other relatives have said they don't believe the couple's finances factored into their disappearance.

Police have also searched the couple's current and former homes and one of their bank accounts. Investigators are working to obtain additional search warrants in connection with the case.

State police ask anyone who knows where Jeffrey and Jeanette Navins are or who has any information to call state police at 860-685-8190. All calls will remain confidential.

Horse Falls Out of Trailer


A horse sustained minor injuries after falling out of a trailer on Interstate 91 north on the Hartford/Windsor line.

It happened near exit 34. State Department of Transportation traffic cameras showed state police standing with a horse on the grassy median between the north and southbound sides of I-91. The horse was standing up in traffic camera footage.

The horse got slight road rash, but is doing fine, according to state police. A photo viewer Suzanne Spight snapped shows an off-duty state trooper walking the horse across the highway to safety.

"Off-duty trp & aux trp help a horse after it took a tumble out of its trailer I91 x34. A little rd rash, but ok," state police tweeted.

Traffic cameras also showed a trailer near exit 42 with the back of the vehicle open.

It's unknown whether the horse was injured or the circumstances leading up to the horse's fall.

No further information was immediately available.

Photo Credit: Connecticut State Police

Two Dead After Route 9 Crash in Cromwell


Two people are dead after a crash early Saturday morning in Cromwell.

According to state police, a Chevrolet K-10 driven by Kevin Palozie, 22, of Middletown, was traveling on Route 9 southbound near exit 19  when the vehicle sideswiped a Buick Lesabre around 1:15 a.m. Saturday.

The Chevy began to roll over, traveled through the wire guardrail and came to a rest in the grass median.

Palozie was pronounced dead on the scene. His passenger, Travis Coozi, 22, of East Hampton, was transported to Hartford Hospital where he later succumbed to his injuries.

The driver of the side-swept vehicle sustained minor injuries and was transported to Middlesex Hospital for treatment.

D&M Automotive towed the Chevrolet from the scene and Bishops Automotive towed the Buick.

The state highway was closed, but it has since reopened.

Photo Credit: DOT

Showers Possible Sunday


After sunny weather throughout the day Saturday, showers are possible overnight into Sunday.

With the skies clouding up into the evening on Saturday, there could be a few late night showers.

On Sunday, there will likely be a lot of clouds with a few showers. Highs will be near 80.

Come Monday, it will be partly sunny with a possible isolated shower.

Tuesday will likely bring thunderstorms and showers with high temperatures in the lower 80s.

It will be much drier Wednesday to Friday with bountiful sunshine.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Cecil the Lion: Controversy Hurting Domestic Hunting's Image?


Some hunters are worried about the outcry over the killing of Cecil, a popular lion in Zimbabwe, that may be hurting the sport's image in the U.S.

"In my opinion, he's doing more harm to public opinion on hunting than any anti-hunter could ever do," said Mark Duda, executive director of the public opinion research firm Responsive Management, referring to the Minnesota dentist who shot Cecil with a crossbow after guides allegedly lured lion out of a national park. "And it's too bad because it hurts … ethical, legal hunters who contribute to conservation and care deeply about wildlife."

Not all hunters think the Cecil controversy had damaged the domestic sport. However, none defended the way the lion at Zimbabwe's Hwange National Park was reportedly killed, according to NBC News.

Photo Credit: AP

Couple Describes French Train Scene


A Chicago couple says they consider themselves lucky to be alive after they barely avoided being struck by gunfire from an armed man on a train from Amsterdam to Paris.

"I probably missed that stray bullet by inches, so I feel very lucky," Amy said.

She and her husband, Bob, who declined to provide their last names, were aboard the train Friday when a gunman carrying an AK-47 started shooting at passengers and crew. Amy said she was dozing when she heard the sound of glass shattering and then felt pieces of glass in her hair.

Three people were wounded in the attack, but several passengers, including three Americans, took down the gunman before he could do any more harm.

"Our hearts were pounding. I thought it was a final train, basically," Bob said.

The gunman was identified only as a 26-year-old Moroccan man who was formerly under surveillance by European authorities.

The three Americans and a British man have been thanked by French authorities for thwarting what could have been a deadly massacre. President Barack Obama called the Americans Saturday afternoon to thank them as well.

Spencer Stone, one of the heroes and a serviceman in the Air Force, was injured during the attack, but he is expected to make a full recovery.

The other two Americans who helped stop the attack were identified as Oregon National Guard Specialist Alek Skarlatos and college senior Anthony Sadler. All three are friends from childhood.

"I think it could have been much worse because regular civilian people I don't think would have had the wherewithal to try to disarm a man with a machine gun," Amy said.

Police Grant Sick Mother's Wish


A terminally ill mother’s wish to see her daughter’s fairy tale 15th birthday celebration came true Saturday when Los Angeles police officers hosted a quinceañera for the teen.

Gang enforcement officers from the LAPD’s Central Division had met the family at a community movie night and learned that the parents didn’t have the money to throw the coming-of-age party for 14-year-old Jazmine Delgado. The mother has brain cancer.

With the help of local businesses, officers coordinated the bash that was held in East LA. A uniformed LAPD officer backed by mariachis serenaded guests and Jazmine took to the dancefloor with her mother for a special dance.

"I never expected this to happen," Jazmine said. "I’m happy to be here having my party and I invited a lot of friends."

Earlier, police shared photos on Twitter of Jazmine in a pink gown and a tiara posing with her family and officers before the big night. Another photo showed a line of lowrider cars outside the family’s home in the William Mead housing project just north of downtown LA.

"Watching Jazmine and how happy she is and how energetic and just ecstatic she is about today, that's the reward for all of us," LAPD Sgt. Janet Kim said.


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Norwich Mom Pleads for Return of Stolen Car, Belongings


A Norwich mom is pleading for the public's help to find her car packed full of family belongings, including all of her kids' back to school supplies.

Dawn Johnson is a proud mom of three young boys. Two of them are headed to school on Wednesday, including 8-year-old Ta’von Johnson.

“I’m looking forward to seeing all my old friends,” says Ta’von Johnson.

But the boys are missing everything from their shoes to their school supplies after the family's car was stolen early Friday morning.

The family had been living in Texas and recently decided to move back to Connecticut.

“We packed up all my clothes, not very much, all my boys’ clothes,” says Dawn Johnson.

The family’s 2014 Mazda 6 sedan was also loaded with lots of important things including Johnson’s IDs and bank cards. They arrived in Connecticut early Friday morning and parked the car in the driveway of Johnson’s mother’s home on Winchester Street in Norwich.

Johnson quickly went inside to drop off the boys. Less than ten minutes later she came out and the car was gone.

“I’m devastated because it’s everything, my kids, all their stuff, everything in there,” says Johnson.

Johnson says the thief was able to take off with the car because it has a push-button start and there was a spare, smart key inside because of the move.

Now, this mom has a message to whoever took her car and so much more.

“Just give me my car and kids’ stuff back. If you want my clothes, I don’t care. I just want my kids stuff back and my car,” says Johnson.

Norwich police confirm they are looking for the family’s sedan. Johnson says the car is a 2014 Mazda 6 silver-colored sedan with a Texas license plate, FYD-9952, with a Whaling City Ford sticker on it.

Anyone who sees it is asked to call Norwich police at (860) 886-5561.

City Workers Help Robbery Victim


Two sanitation workers picking up recycling materials in New York spotted something shocking early Saturday morning: a bloodied man running from his house with his hands tied.

The 76-year-old man was inside his home on 101st Street in Jamaica, Queens, when one of three robbers entered just after 6 a.m., police said. The suspect used a ladder to get into the house through a second-floor window. He then entered the victim's bedroom and tied his hands and feet before pistol-whipping him, police said.

Two other suspects — a man and a woman — then entered the home. They stole a television, cell phone and a wallet with $20 in it, police said. The three suspects then ran from the area.

A short time later, two sanitation workers saw the bloodied victim running from his house. The two workers, Michael Bermudez, 35, and Joseph Felicetti, 34, untied the man and called police.

He was taken to Jamaica Hospital. His condition was not immediately known, although he appeared to be suffering from wounds to his face in video shot at the scene.

"It should be safe in this area because the precinct is right here," neighbor Jasmine Amado said. "I know the man, my kids know him. He's a nice guy."

No arrests have been reported in the case.

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'Underground Railroad' For Refugees


A San Diego-area nonprofit running an "underground railroad" is trying to save "as many people as possible" from turmoil in Iraq by finding them refuge in Southern California, and it has tens of thousands of Christian Iraqis on its waiting list. 

Mark Arabo, a first generation Iraqi-American born and raised east of San Diego, founded the Minority Humanitarian Foundation (MHF) in 2014 after he grew tired of waiting for a response from Washington officials to the crisis created by Islamic State militants, he told NBC7 in San Diego.

“My number one goal is to save as many people as possible," Arabo told NBC7. "It's never been about me or whether I am a target or not. I am focused. We have to save people that are getting killed because of who they are."

The group aims to help Chaldean Catholics and other persecuted religious minorities in Iraq by creating a safe passage for those that would like the leave the country and building a safe haven for those that would like to stay within the country.

In the past ten months, more than 300 Chaldeans have been transported safely from Iraq to El Cajon's Chaldean Cathedral, east of San Diego, though tens of thousands more are on the foundation's waiting list. 

Though specific stops along the "railroad" are kept secret to protect the refugees, Arabo's passage to freedom starts in northern Iraq and goes through Turkey, several destinations in Europe, Mexico City, Tijuana, and finally El Cajon.

Arabo says visas are no longer processed in Iraq, making it impossible for Chaldeans to enter the U.S. in any ordinary fashion.

In June 2014 and July 2015, Arabo confirmed to NBC7 he flew to Washington, D.C. to speak with U.S. officials about the refugees that need help.

He visited with White House officials, State Department officials and members of Congress during his time in the Capitol, holding a binder filled with 70,000 applications for U.S. visas that he urged officials to consider. For many Iraqis, a visa is difficult if not impossible to obtain in Iraq, Arabo told NBC7.

Arabo said the underground process meets federal regulations. Once at U.S.-Mexico border, refugees ask for political asylum.

Arabo says in Iraq, Chaldeans are forced to join the Islamic State or they are killed.

As a result, there are more than 160,000 displaced Catholic Iraqis. 70,000 of those are on Arabo's waiting list, he told NBC7.

The prominent Chaldean businessman, who is president and CEO of the Neighborhood Market Association in San Diego, called for a more robust response to the crisis from government officials. 

“Our extractions are at night, when many of our government officials are asleep and we are doing everything we can to rescue these innocent survivors of a genocide," Arabo said. "This is our last resort, not our first, but in the absence of Washington we have to do something."

NBC 7 has reached out to ICE officials about the "underground railroad." Twenty seven Chaldeans are in custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in San Diego, Arabo said, but were not passengers on his “underground railroad.” 

Despite some fraudulent cases, Arabo said, many Chaldeans and others are in need of refuge.

Arabo said his "underground railroad" can't move people out of Iraq fast enough. He is pushing Congress to draft legislation that would give Chaldeans direct access to asylum and is pleading for action with the State Department and Obama Administration.

More than 60,000 Chaldeans live in El Cajon, east of San Diego, where the refugees have found temporary safety. It is the largest concentration of Chaldeans in the U.S. after Detroit.

Photo Credit: NBC7

Family Finishes Stabbing Victim's Ride


Farmington native Kevin Adorno's bike ride to Florida to propose to his girlfriend was cut short when a homeless man stabbed him to death outside a McDonald's in Vero Beach. Now his family and friends have finished the last stretch of his Maine to Miami ride in his memory.

Back in September, Kevin's girlfriend was going to fly out to Ft. Lauderdale to meet up with him, where he had rented a tandem bike to finish the last leg of the journey. Kevin had another surprise journey planned for her. He was going to have the boardwalk decorated and propose to her.

But the trip ended in tragedy before Adorno was able to propose. Police say a homeless man stabbed the 28-year-old outside a Vero Beach, Florida McDonalds when he went outside to make a phone call after stopping for food.

Police later charged 59-year-old Rene Herrera Cruz with first-degree murder.

Kevin was killed 145 miles from his final destination in Florida.

After a heartwrenching tragedy, Kevin's family has made a positive tribute to him by finishing his ride.

About 30 of his family members and friends left Connecticut last Sunday, leaving Vero Beach on bikes on Tuesday, the town where Kevin spent his final moment. They reached Miami by Friday.

“It’s going to be inspiring. It’s going to be hard because we know why we’re doing it because he couldn’t,” Tanya Adorno, Kevin’s sister, said before the trip.

“I’m sitting in the garage with a couple of friends and it just came to mind, I’m going to go down there and finish his ride and literally right there in that second when I said that, I’ll do that with you. That’s a great idea. Let’s do that,” Robert Adorno, Kevin’s brother, said.

The community through fundraisers helped make the trip possible.

The family set out hoping the ride would help them with the healing process.

The family started the Kevin Adorno Memorial Fund which eventually they hope will include scholarships and a youth biking program.

Kevin Adorno went to Noah Wallace School and Irving A. Robbins Middle School in Farmington and graduated from Farmington High School in 2004, according to Bicycle Friendly Farmington. He majored in graphic design at Central Connecticut State University and took classes before that at Tunxis Community College, going on to own two businesses, Bevy Productions and Media and My Pencil Portraits, according to the event notice on the organization's website. He also played soccer, football and lacrosse in Farmington. His experiences stretched further than his hometown, as he loved to travel, from backpacking through Europe to driving on a trip touring the country.

Kevin rode on his first big bike trip with his sister, Tanya from Maine to Maryland in summer of 2013.

“There’s lots of low moments that we have just missing him, and so something like this, to be able to come out, and channel all of our energy into something so beautiful," Tanya Adorno previously said. "It’s the best thing we can do.”

Long Lines at DMV First Saturday After Computer Upgrade


The first Saturday at the DMV since their computer upgrade started like every other day since their branches reopened this week. People lined up at 5 a.m. in Wethersfield. That’s three hours before the office officially opened.

Saturday is usually one of its busiest days of the year and there were long lines again already in the morning. Less than two hours after this DMV branch opened the line was cut significantly and the wait was only about 40 minutes once customers got inside.

“Crazy, I’m glad I got here early because I wouldn’t want to be at the back of the line right now," Alicia Currier, of Portland, said.

Some people turned around after seeing the line wrap around the building and down the block, but others stayed put, hoping the line would move faster once the doors opened.

“I was shocked. I thought it was in the wrong line. I thought I could actually sneak through the back door here,” said Marianne Lorenti, of New Britain. “I’m free today, and I’m overdue and it’s my fault, and this is my punishment,” Vincent Carcci, of West Hartford, said.

But this week has been nothing like usual. Lines have formed all week since the DMV upgraded its computer system.

“They’ve got to work out a lot of glitches I’m sure with any like any new program but hopefully it will get quicker the more they get used to the programs," Marianne Lorenti, of New Britain, said.

The DMV said one of the biggest issues was after being closed there were pent up demand for services. Also, there's been a learning curve with employees getting used to the new system.

The DMV said the computer upgrade allows them to provide more online services and they urge people to take advantage of that. Car registration renewals took no more than five to 10 minutes online just before noon Saturday, though on Thursday the DMV site was overloaded on mobile and said to try again later.

The DMV says 4,000 people got in line last week who didn’t have to, either because the expiration of the licenses and car registrations have been extended until Oct. 10, or because their work could have been done online, according to DMV spokesperson Bill Seymour. For more information: http://www.ct.gov/dmv/site/default.asp.

So, when the DMV reopens Tuesday, you might not have to rush there. If your license, registration or ID card expired on or after Aug. 11, you now have until Oct. 10 to renew without a penalty.

AAA also offers some DMV services like driver's license renewals that could help you skip the lines.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Billions in Pell Grants Don't Lead to Graduations: Analysis


Billions of taxpayer dollars go to college students who never end up with a diploma in their hands, a new report found.

Pell grants — which are given to low-income families and, unlike student loans, do not need to be paid back — are the costliest education initiative in the nation, NBC News reports. But little official data exists on whether they are a good investment, according to the education watchdog Hechinger Report.

Education Department Undersecretary Ted Mitchell last month lauded Pell grants as "one of the key levers that we have" to increase college completion rates. But an analysis published Monday by Hechinger revealed that Pell recipient graduation rates are often considerably lower than the overall graduation rate — even six years after a student starts college.

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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