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Rock Cats Win Last Home Game in New Britain


These Cats rock! The Rock Cats won their last home game in New Britain Stadium Sunday as its fans and the city of New Britain says goodbye to the team that has long called the stadium home.

After 15 innings, about four hours or so of play, the Rock Cats secured a 7-5 victory for their last career home game in New Britain.

The team had an MLB All-Star playing with them in the game against the Portland Seadogs. Justin Morneau, a former American League MVP, has been on a rehab assignment, playing in New Britain all weekend. He's on loan from the Rock Cats affiliate Major League team, the Colorado Rockies

New Britain Mayor Erin Stewart was at the last game at New Britain Stadium. The Double-A minor league team is moving to Hartford next season, which was initially a point of contention in New Britain when the news first broke.

"So long, Rocky," Stewart said in a tweet, including a photo of the Double-A minor league team's beloved mascot, Rocky the Rock Cat waving.

"On behalf of the City of New Britain - THANK YOU TO OUR FANS! YOU ARE #1!" Stewart tweeted.

There's been mixed emotions about the team's move, which also includes a name change to the Hartford Yard Goats.

The team’s general manager, Tim Restall, likened it to reading a book, closing one chapter and beginning another.

The first fans arrived at the stadium at 8 a.m. Sunday morning from Boston.

Joe Secheyco said he's been to minor league games up and down New England.

"I've been to almost every minor league park in New England when it opened and if they close I go there to watch them also,” Secheyco said.

In a message to NBC Connecticut, Stewart said, "it's a bittersweet day." She thanked "all of the loyal New Britain fans who made this stadium what it has become!"

"We hope you'll come back," she said.

Will another team be moving into New Britain's stadium? That remains to be seen.

"Every new beginning comes from some other beginnings (sic) end...#NB #staytuned," Stewart tweeted before the game, along with a selfie with Rocky.

Did you go to the last Rock Cats home game? Tweet us your photos and videos or send them to shareit@nbcconnecticut.com.

Photo Credit: New Britain Mayor Erin Stewart

West Haven Fire Department Mourns Firefighter's Death


The West Haven Fire Department is mourning the death of one of its firefighters.

Firefighter Chris O'Keefe, 49, passed away suddenly on Saturday morning, according to the West Haven Professional Firefighters IAFF Local 1198 union. His son, Christopher "CJ" O'Keefe Jr. was by his side, according to his obituary.

"Like all dads, Chris loved C.J., but he would have been filled with pride at the way his son conducted himself during the emergency," his obituary stated.

The local union thanked members of the community for the condolences received and asks people to "please keep the O'Keefe family in your thoughts and prayers during this difficult time."

O'Keefe was born and raised in West Haven and became a firefighter in town in 2002, according to his obituary.He was also a member of the New Haven County Firefighters Emerald Society, the American Firefighters M.C. and the West Haven local fire union, his obituary states.

"There are no words to express our deep sorrow in the passing of Firefighter Chris O'Keefe," the West Haven Fire Department Historical Library posted on its Facebook page. "Our hearts break for his family and friends, especially his son CJ, a brave young man who stood tall and did all the right things in what had to have been his darkest hour. Know that our thoughts and prayers are with you. Chris was a good man who left us much too soon."

Aside from being a firefighter and loving father, O'Keefe had a passion for riding Harleys, according to his obituary.

"Recently Chris and C.J. have been attending the races together each weekend," O'Keefe's obituary stated."This was a great tradition from Chris’ childhood that he was thrilled to share with his son."

There is no official word on the cause of death, but it didn't happen while O'Keefe was in the line of duty.

Calling hours to pay respects to O'Keefe are Tuesday, Sept. 1 from 4 to 8 p.m. at Sisk Brothers Funeral Home at 3105 Whitney Ave. in Hamden. There will be a Mass of Christian Burial on Wednesday, Sept. 2 at 10 a.m. at the St. Joan of Arc Church at 405 West Todd Street in Hamden. Friends are to go straight to the church, according to O'Keefe's obituary.

The family asks for donations in lieu of flowers to The C.J. O'Keefe, Jr. Education Fund c/o Bill O'Keefe. You can leave condolences online at www.siskbrothers.com.

Hot Air Balloons Fill Plainville Sky at Festival


Robert Metz, of Avon, has been coming to the Plainville Hot Air Balloon Festival for 17 years.

“I started about 35 years ago. I took one ride and I was hooked,” he said.

Sunday, he pulled into the Plainville park before the sun was up, rolling out the rigging to his hot air balloon.

Spectators who arrived early caught a glimpse of the crews setting up.

“I just want to see how it all goes together,” Brenda Belanger, of Newington, said.

Though she’s never been up in one, Belanger inked her love of hot air balloons on her leg.

“It’s my dream to go on one,” she explained.

As balloons began to take shape over their baskets, spectators stared at the spectacular sight surrounding them. Balloons rose up from the ground, ready for the weekend's final flight.

“I like to see all the different balloons that are around. It’s just really cool,” said Sarah Ford of Plainville.

Thanks to the good weather they’ve made all four launches this weekend, and seen a record crowd. More than 25,000 people on the first night alone, according to the festival’s sponsor.

“It does keep getting bigger. I think it’s becoming more popular,” said First Lt. Kurt Plourde, a leader on the Plainville volunteer fire department.

While the public could watch the balloons launch for free, sales of food and craft space raised money for the fire department’s scholarship fund. They said it’s their biggest fundraiser of the year.

“This is a perfect weekend. You don’t always get a weekend where you get all the flights in, so this is a great weekend for us,” said Metz.

As the bright balloons colored the Connecticut sky, people looked up in amazement.

“I think it’s a lot of fun to see the little kids, it’s great to see their reaction,” Ford pointed out.

“They were all up in the sky and we even saw them blow up,” five-year-old Reese Naughton of Southington said.”

The little girl seemed mesmerized by the balloons, and she wasn’t the only one. The festival attracted plenty of families.

“We’ve done it at least four or five years in a row. We bring our children out and it’s a great time,” said Reese’s father, Pat.

Soaring high, those flying through the air said the feeling is unmatched.

“You’re up there. You’re free from just about everything. You just float around. You get a totally different perspective on what the world looks like.”

They stayed up for about an hour, and landed where the wind took them. One owner was able to steer his balloon toward the Rock Cats stadium before the team’s final home game in New Britain.”

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Home Invaders Impersonate Cops, Break Into Wrong Home: PD


Five men burst into a female's apartment on Edgewood Street impersonating Hartford police officers and robbed her cellphone at gunpoint after possibly breaking into the wrong apartment, police said.

A female victim told police she heard banging on her back apartment door while she was home alone and she went to check it out. Then five masked and armed men burst in after forcing the door open, yelling "Hartford Police," according to police. They ordered the resident to the ground and tied her up on the floor as she cooperated, police said.

As she lay there, she heard one of the men say they were in the wrong apartment. They took her cell and left.

Police responded at 8:45 p.m. Saturday to 36 Edgewood Street, Apt. 3. A Major Crimes unit detective responded there to investigate.

The apartment next door was burglarized while the tenant wasn't home, police later discovered.

The armed home invaders remain at large.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Sanders, Trump Surge in New Iowa Poll


Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and businessman Donald Trump — the two biggest anti-establishment candidates in the Democratic and Republican presidential primary fields, respectively — have seen their support surge, according to NBC News, citing a new survey of voters likely to participate in the Iowa caucuses.

In the Des Moines Register/Bloomberg Politics poll, Sanders is now polling just seven points behind Democratic front runner Hillary Clinton, nearly doubling his share of the vote since the last survey was conducted in May.

Sanders takes 30 percent support, while Clinton draws 37 percent, marking the first time she's dropped below 50 percent in the poll.

Trump, meanwhile, has seen a remarkable reversal in both his support and popularity in the state since May. Back then, he was polling at just 4 percent support and his favorability was at -36 points; now, he leads the pack with 23 percent support and his favorability is at +26 points.

Photo Credit: File - Getty

Male Burned in Camper Fire


LifeStar was called to transport a male burn victim after a camper fire in East Hampton.

A camper caught fire at Markham Meadows Campground on Markham Road in East Hampton.

The cause of the fire is unknown.

No further information was immediately available.

I-95 Shut Down in Milford Due to Tractor-Trailer Fire


State police have shut down Interstate 95 north in Milford near the Stratford line after a tractor-trailer fire.

A tractor-trailer caught fire just after 4:30 a.m.

Traffic is being detoured off exit 33 and back onto the highway at exit 34.

A forklift was called to the scene to move pallets of eggs at the scene.

No one was injured.

Photo Credit: elfuerte.225
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Calif. Family Hopes for 'Miracle' to Save $16K Tree House


An elaborate, three-story tree house in Orange County has gotten a temporary reprieve from building inspectors, but the high rise hide-out may not be out of the woods just yet.

Rossmoor resident Dr. Joni Doherty spared no expense to build the $16,000 tree house that features solar panels, redwood floors, handmade chairs and a top-floor club house.

The tree house was a dream she and her husband Jack Chen — a renowned surgeon — shared before he died in a surfing accident in 2013.

Her two sons wanted their father's memory to live on in the tree house.

Doherty didn't need a permit to build it. But six months ago, she received a letter from the Orange County Department of Public Works for code violations after a neighbor complained.

"They didn't actually have any specific safety issues in that code violation," Doherty said.

She is now applying for a permit and has support from hundreds of her neighbors, who have signed a petition.

"It's a labor of love," said her neighbor, Reina Evans. "Everyone loves this tree house."

Doherty is hopeful and believes her husband is helping her keep their dream alive.

"I feel like he's actually in some way helped this sort of get to the point where it might actually work out, like a miracle," she said.

The next step will be a public hearing, which could take place in several months, she said. But until then, she's been reassured from a county supervisor the tree house will remain in place.

Photo Credit: KNBC-TV

Petitions Circulate to Save Black Bear


Petitions are circulating to halt plans to euthanize a black bear involved in a close encounter with a hiker on a trail in Burlington late last week.

State officials closed trails at Sessions Woods Wildlife Management Area on Friday after hiker Stephanie Rivkin captured video of her confrontation with a young male bear and shared her footage with NBC Connecticut. 

Department of Energy and Environmental Protection spokesman Dennis Schain said in a statement Friday that wildlife staff is searching for the bear and plans to euthanize it.

Residents are now begging DEEP to save both black bears Rivkin encountered. Rivkin, who told NBC Connecticut she has received hate mail since the incident, said Friday she hopes the bears can be saved.

Rivkin talked to David Fisch, radio host of "Fisch in the Morning" on 104.1 WMRQ, on Monday morning to defend her actions.

"I was already calm. I go into nature and it's to be calm and take pictures and, you know, relax and get away from all the craziness of life," Rivkin told Fisch. "And when I'm out there I am calm. There's not reason for me to feel scared unless I'm being attacked and that wasn't the case. I wasn't being attacked."

Rivkin told Fisch she thinks remaining calm helped her by showing the bear she wasn't going to harm it. She said she didn't want to provoke the bear or draw more attention to herself, given her small stature.

As for why she recorded the encounter, Rivkin told Fisch it's a common habit in this day and age. She told him she never intended for the bear to be euthanized as a result of her video. Hear the full interview here.

Online petitions are now circulating, urging DEEP not to euthanize the bear.

A Care2 petition that has garnered thousands of signatures

demands DEEP save the "curious bear cub."

"Please help keep this cub out of the DEEP's crosshairs. It was clearly the human that was invading the bear's space," the petition says in part, describing the bear cubs as "curious and skittish" and stating that when it appeared they were uncomfortable "they would run and hug a tree."

"When one encounters a bear you should slowly walk away, not approach it for pictures and videos," the petition continues. "If anything, this woman should be fined for interfering with wildlife."

Another petition has 866 signatures and and is addressed to DEEP commissioner Rob Klee. Both petitions criticize the way Rivkin handled the encounter.


"If she had just continued on, and not engaged these bears they would have left her alone," the Care2 petition says. "Or, if she was that concerned for her safety, she should have made herself appear larger, yelled, whatever it takes to get them to move on. Truly, if these bears wanted to attack her, they would have done so. The Connecticut DEEP has a penchant for killing wild animals when they are even seen by a resident. Please help keep these bears around!!"

Officials said Rivkin was not hurt.

"DEEP staff had a chance to talk with this woman after her encounter with the bear," Schain said in a statement. "We are relieved she was not injured. This was certainly an unusual incident as bears do not often approach people."

He added that plans to euthanize the bear are the appropriate action to take after seeing this bear's behavior.

The tags on the bear's ears indicate DEEP began tracking it as a yearling over the winter. The bear was captured and relocated at least once, according to the agency.

If you spot a bear while hiking or camping, wave your arms to make your presence known and back away slowly. Do not approach or interact with the animal.

More bear safety tips are available on the DEEP website.

Photo Credit: Stephanie Rivkin
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Mom Left Baby in Car on Hot Day While Shopping: PD


Suffield police arrested a mother suspected of leaving her 8-month-old son in a running car in 86-degree weather while she shopped at Highland Park Market in town on Sunday afternoon.

Lisa Marie Murphy, 37, of Suffield, told police that she left her baby in the car for "five minutes" as she shopped at the grocery store on Bridge Street.

Police responded to Highland Park around 4:46 p.m. on Sunday after an employee called 911 to report seeing the baby boy alone in a black Audi that was running and parked in the lot at the front of the building.

When police arrived, a grocery store employee was standing behind the car as a woman opened the driver's door. An infant was in a child seat in the back of the car.

While the air conditioner was on, the outside temperature was 86 and sun was beating down on the car, according to a news release from police.

The child wasn't injured and police placed him in the father's custody.

Murphy told police she didn't think it was a problem to leave her son in an air-conditioned, running car for such a short period of time, according to a news release from police.

Police charged her with injury or risk of injury to children and released her on a $2,500 bond.

She is scheduled to appear in Enfield Superior Court on Monday.

Photo Credit: Suffield Police Department

Another Heat Wave Possible as More Kids Head Back to School


We're in for another possible heat wave as more children head back to school Monday.

A large ridge of high pressure is parked over the eastern United States and will remain there through at least this weekend, meaning a mainly dry forecast with high heat but moderate humidity.

Temperatures will soar into the lower-90s today inland, upper-80s along the coast. Sunshine will blend with a few high- and low-level clouds.

A backdoor cold front will lower humidity levels a bit tomorrow and also decrease the chance an official heat wave is achieved at Bradley International. Temperatures will struggle to reach 90-degrees tomorrow, likely peaking in the upper-80s.

Inland Connecticut returns to the 90-degree heat on Wednesday and Thursday, before far more comfortable weather arrives Friday.

Wednesday looks to be the hottest day this week. Temperatures will soar into the middle-90s inland, which would be a solid 10 to 15 degrees above the average high for the date. Shoreline locations will approach 90 degrees. Sunny skies are expected.

It’s still hot on Thursday with temperatures in the lower-90s inland, upper-80s at the coast. Should each day Monday through Thursday hit or surpass 90 degrees at Bradley International, it would make the stretch an official four-day heat wave.

UConn football has its home opener at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, and it will be very warm for football. Temperatures will be in the upper-80s for kickoff at Pratt & Whitney Stadium at Rentschler Field. There’s the potential for a shower Thursday night into Friday, but that will be monitored as the time gets closer.

Another backdoor cold front should work far enough west to cool down the entire state on Friday. With plentiful sunshine temperatures should rise into the lower- and mid-80s with no humidity.

An early look at Labor Day Weekend shows fabulous weather with sunny skies and no humidity. While it will be seasonable to start with temperatures in the lower-80s, highs once again near 90-degrees inland on Sunday and Monday.

That’s good news for the Woodstock Fair, which starts Friday and continues through Monday in northeastern Connecticut.

High pressure will be in command this weekend, yielding lots of sunshine with temperatures in the 80s.

Nearly 90,000 Women Joined Ashley Madison Last Week


Hundreds of thousands of people signed up for affair-seeking website Ashley Madison in the last week, parent company Avid Life Media said on Monday, even after a massive hack that leaked clients' information, Reuters reported. 

"Last week alone, women sent more than 2.8 million messages within our platform," Avid Life said, adding that 87,596 women had also signed up for Ashley Madison last week.

The company also struck back at reports that the site had few genuine female users, saying internal data released by hackers had been incorrectly analyzed.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Crews Responding to Fire in East Haven

Taliban's New Leader Dresses 'Neat', Is Good Listener: Bio


Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansoor became Taliban's new chief last month after the announcement that longtime leader Mullah Omar had been dead for two years. 

The announcement sparked a leadership battle. While the Taliban hashes out the dispute over Mansoor's appointment, those loyal to Mansoor on Monday released an in-depth biography of the man. NBC News cannot confirm the veracity of the document's contents as the Taliban's media arm is notoriously unreliable.

According to the bio, Mansoor "speaks less and tries to listen more to other people," he wears "neat and clean clothes" and "is fully conscious of the delicacy and complexity of all contemporary regional and international politics."

Photo Credit: AP

2 Rob Man Smoking Pot at Wildlife Sanctuary: Cops


Police arrested two men who attacked and robbed a man smoking marijuana with acquaintances at a wildlife sanctuary in South Windsor in July, police said.

Romario Robinson, 18, and Jamal Butler, 19, of South Windsor, are facing multiple charges including assault and robbery.

In July, a man told police that two men assaulted him at the Niederwerfer Road wildlife sanctuary. Police later learned he was smoking pot with others there when they encountered Robinson and Butler, both of whom he knew, police said. Robinson and Butler attacked the victim and stole his iPhone, wallet and belt, police said. They tried to steal his watch, but broke it in the process, according to police.

Robinson and Butler had fled the scene and the victim was taken to an area hospital to be treated.

Police later got arrest warrants for Robinson and Butler and arrested them over the weekend.

Officers charged both men with second-degree robbery, third-degree assault, fourth-degree larceny and criminal mischief.

Photo Credit: South Windsor Police Department

Hot Wheels: Here Are the Cars Thieves Like the Most


Hondas were the most stolen vehicles across the United States last year, with Accords topping the list and Civics coming in second, according to the annual Hot Wheels report from the National Insurance Crime Bureau.

Two full-sized pickup trucks, Fords and Chevrolets, came in third and fourth.

The tally identifies the 10 most stolen vehicles across the country. Honda Accords and Civics were also the most stolen the year before.

The number of thefts has fallen dramatically since the late 1990s, from a high of about 1.7 million to 700,000 today, most of them of older models, said Carol Kaplan, a spokeswoman for the organization. Better security, better policing and better tools for finding stolen vehicles have all contributed to the drop, she said.

Thieves are typically stripping the vehicles to pieces and selling the parts, she said. The demand for parts is likely driving the popularity of particular cars, she said.

The National Insurance Crime Bureau also identified the top 2014 models that were stolen last year. The Ford full-sized pickup headed that list.

The insurance group recommends installing an alarm on your vehicle, some sort of immobilizing device such as a kill switch or fuel cut-off and a tracking device. And of course, lock your car and take your keys.

Here are the 10 most stolen vehicles:


Photo Credit: AP
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Torso, Legs, Arms Found in New Haven Likely From Same Victim


The severed torso found in a former Salvation Army store that now sits vacant in New Haven in July likely belongs to a homeless man whose dismembered legs and arms were found days earlier in separate locations, according to police.

Police found the dismembered legs of Ray Roberson, a 54-year-old homeless man, on July 15. The limbs, which were severed at the knee, were discovered in the area of State and Court streets in New Haven, near the State Street Railroad Station. 

Hours later, police found two dismembered arms three to four blocks away, buried in a plastic bag under the Chapel Street Bridge. Police said the arms were also from Roberson.

The torso was uncovered weeks later, on July 30, inside the former Salvation Army building at 274 Crown Street. Investigators searched the area after learning Roberson may have spent time at the adjacent Salvation Army building at 301 George Street. The buildings share a parking lot.

Authorities have not located a head or hands. 

The last time anyone saw Roberson alive was May 20. He had been due in court on June 17 and never reported missing despite failing to show up in court.

Authorities have been investigating the case as a homicide and said it appears to have been personal rather than random, but they do not know where Roberson was killed or dismembered.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Arrest in Case of Man Lit on Fire


A 46-year-old woman angry over alleged infidelity has been charged with murder for allegedly shooting her boyfriend twice and then lighting him on fire, leaving his body to burn in the street over the weekend, police said.

Firefighters were called to 12th Street in Astoria shortly before 7 a.m. Saturday after getting a call about a fire and found the Shawn McWhorter, 43, ablaze. They put out the fire and McWhorter was pronounced dead at the scene.

A fingernail was found on his body.

McWhorter lived in the area, so detectives began to interview people he knew as part of their routine investigation, including his girlfriend, Dawn Mcintosh. Mcintosh told police she hadn't seen him that day, they had been supposed to meet but he stood her up, authorities say she told detectives.

While detectives were talking to Mcintosh, they noticed she was missing a fingernail, NYPD Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce said Monday. Mcintosh was taken into custody for additional questioning, and admitted to killing her boyfriend, Boyce said. Boyce said Mcintosh told police she shot McWhorter twice in the torso, then got her son to try to help her move the body into a friend's car.

McWhorter was too heavy for McIntosh and her son, according to investigators, so they allegedly moved the body a bit and then lit it on fire. McIntosh told police she doused her boyfriend in lighter fluid and lit him aflame using a cigarette lighter. Boyce said Mcintosh accused her boyfriend of infidelity and treating her poorly; she also said he owed her money.

Boyce said authorities are looking for the gun Mcintosh allegedly used in the shooting.

Mcintosh's son , 21-year-old Donte Watkins, was arrested for allegedly helping his mother move the body. He was charged with tampering with physical evidence.

Mcintosh's daughter was also present when the body was moved, but she will not face charges because she did not assist in the crime, according to investigators. The friend who owns the car the mother and son allegedly tried to move the body into did not know it was happening, police said.

Information on attorneys for the suspects wasn't immediately available.

Photo Credit: NBC 4 New York

CT Fair Schedule


Summer may be coming to an end, but there is still a lot of family fun to look forward to this fall with autumn fairs and festivals.

Here are some fairs to put on your calendar this fall:

Sept. 4-7

Sept. 10-13

Sept. 17-20

Sept. 24-27

  • Durham Fair (Sept. 24-27), featuring free Martina McBride concert on Sept. 25 at 7 p.m., free Craig Morgan concert on Sept. 26 at 7 p.m., Confederate Railroad on Sept. 27 at 2 p.m.
  • The Big E (Sept. 18-Oct. 4), featuring free Brett Eldredge concert on Sept. 25 at 7:30 p.m., free KANSAS concert on Sept. 26 at 7:30 p.m., free concert by Ace Frehley, original lead guitarist of Kiss, on Sept. 27 at 7:30 p.m.

Oct. 2-4

  • Berlin Fair (Oct. 2-4)
  • Harwinton Fair (Oct. 3-4)
  • The Big E (Sept. 18-Oct. 4), featuring free Jana Kramer concert on Oct. 2 at 7:30 p.m., free concert by Bridgit Medler, pop singer/songwriter and actress in NBC's "Undateable," DJ Paris Hilton on The Court of Honor Stage on Oct. 4 at 8 p.m.

Oct. 9-11

Comment below if you have information on a fall fair or festival you don't see listed. Send your fair photos to shareit@nbcconnecticut.com.

Photo Credit: AP

SCOTUS to Act on Kentucky Gay Marriage Fight


The U.S. Supreme Court this week faces the first religious objection to reach the justices since the decision declaring a constitutional right to same-sex marriage, NBC News reported.

A county clerk in Kentucky is asking for relief from a lower court order directing her to issue marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples. Her lawyers filed an emergency application directed to Justice Elena Kagan, who handles such requests from that part of the country.

Kim Davis, the clerk in Rowan County, Kentucky, "holds an undisputed sincerely held religious belief that marriage is a union between a man and a woman, only," her lawyers say in their application.

The requirement to issue same-sex marriage licenses "demands that she either fall in line or leave office."

Photo Credit: CQ-Roll Call,Inc.
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