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Astronaut Tweets Aurora Borealis Video


Scott Kelly, the astronaut spending a year in space, tweeted a video of the Aurora Borealis like it has never been seen before.

The video shows the spectacular changing colors of the northern lights from outer space.

Kelly has been active on Twitter while he completes his 342-day science experiment aboard the International Space Station.

Recently, NASA introduced a new game called, Where Over the World is Astronaut Scott Kelly? 

The rules of the game are simple: Kelly will tweet a photo and trivia question every Wednesday during his mission. The first person to reply to @StationCDRKelly with the hashtag @spacegeo and the correct answer. Each winner will receive the tweeted image signed by the astronaut when he returns to earth in March 2016.

Earlier in August, Kelly invited Twitter users to ask him any question. To the astronaut's surprise, the president of the United States tweeted at him: "Hey @StationCDRKelly, loving the photos. Do you ever look out the window and just freak out?"

Kelly will be the only American who has ever spent this much time in space. This experiment is also the first time that scientist will compare an astronaut's health while space-traveling compared to his identical twin, Mark Kelly, on Earth over the course of the next year, according to NBC News. The Kelly brothers are the first siblings to have both traveled to in space, a NASA bio read.

Photo Credit: AP
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Holiday Items Hit Shelves Amid Record Heat


Perhaps you've noticed the Halloween candy already stocked on store shelves, or even seen the first Christmas commercial of the season.

While the temperature may say summer, retailers are ready for fall.

Spirit Halloween popped up in West Hartford this week, and the manager says some of the company's stores opened as early as mid-August.

Still, the thought of cooler weather is scary for some.

“It’s been a long summer when you do hear people, they just don’t want to let go of it, but also last year was a long cold winter," said Peter Nogas of New Britain.

Others wish summer would never end.

“I love it! The more that we stay away from snow the better for me," said Prospect resident Michael Monahan.

There is a chill in the air of the local craft store aisles already stocked with boughs of holly.

“Seeing the Christmas commercials as well is a little depressing as well," said Monahan.

K-Mart's 2014 layaway commercial, which pokes fun at the idea of of airing Christmas commercials months early, has already started running again this year.

“With the warm weather it doesn’t seem like you’re in the mood for that yet," said Gauvin.

It won’t be long until you see snow shovels and salt lining the aisles. Hardware stores say they will bring out their winter gear next month.

Meanwhile, Halloween Spirit says being open early is also helping raise money for charity. Its "Spirit of Children" campaign allows shoppers to donate to children's hospitals.

Donations from the West Hartford store go to Connecticut Children's Hospital, while other store donations go toward a Halloween party for patients hospitalized at Yale-New Haven Children's Hospital.

Heat Wave a Plus for Shoreline Businesses


Some may be ready for cooler weather, but not the businesses that depend on the summer sun to make their money. The post-Labor Day heat wave is helping them cash in.

“Ice cream is going out the door," said Lori Lusk, who manages Gumdrops and Lollipops Diner just up the road from Rocky Neck State Park in Niantic.

Usually their hours after Labor Day become shorter at Gumdrops and Lollipops, but not this year.

"We usually cut it down to 9, but because it’s been busy we’ve been here extended later hours," explained Lusk.

The diner down the road is in the same boat.

"It’s very busy. Normally after Labor Day we cut some hours, but we’ve extended our hours. We’re full blown as busy as the summer," said Skippers restaurant owner Lefty Tsiropoulos. "Everybody’s coming in off the beach, the temperatures are staying hot, everybody’s coming in to eat."

This week, he's taking advantage of the business that got away from the restaurant next door. Many have already closed up shop, not expecting the weather to stay this warm.

"This is a great treat for us in September to get 90 degree weather days," said Tsiropoulos.

The weather is also a draw for those dining al fresco at Stowe's Seafood on the shore in West Haven.

"I need the nice weather. I’ve only got a few tables inside. I need for them to sit outside," said owner Wayne Capone.

While some are ready for the leaves to change, businesses that depend on the summer sun would like to keep this heat wave going.

"The weather brings in the people," added Lusk.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Person Dead After Being Hit by Metro-North Train in Westport

Ex-Teacher Tried to Kiss Teen After Dinner: Police


A former Shelton High School math teacher has been arrested after trying to kiss a 17-year-old student on the lips and making her uncomfortable with his questions during a dinner, according to police.

Police said a the teen filed a complaint in April, claiming George Perduta, 57, of Kensington, started asking about the status of the relationship when she went out to dinner with him, which made her uncomfortable.

After dinner, Perduta went to kiss the girl on the lips, but she moved her head down and he kissed her on the forehead, the teen told police.

A news release from police says Perduta was a teacher at the school and the teen was a Shelton High student when the incident occurred. 

Perduta joined the Shelton school system in 2009, after teaching in Hartford, Colchester, Bristol and Avone. 

Shelton schools confirmed Perduta was a math teacher at the time and that the school took action against him as soon as they learned of the incident.

"The moment that we were notified that George Perduta was seen out with a student last April, the proper authorities and organizations were contacted," Freeman Burr, Shelton's school superintendent, said in a statement.

Perduta was put on paid administrative leave, and resigned in May, according to Burr.

He turned himself in to police on Tuesday. He was charged with disorderly conduct and released on a $500 bond.

He is due in court in Derby on Sept. 22.

Photo Credit: Shelton Police

2nd Person Dies From Cucumbers


One person in Texas has died after eating a cucumber contaminated with salmonella, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services.

This is the second reported case of a person dying from tainted cucumbers sold by a San Diego-based produce company. 

The Food and Drug Administration, Centers for Disease Control and state and local officials continue to investigate a multi-state outbreak of Salmonella Poona linked to “slicer” cucumbers, supplied by Andrew and Williamson Fresh Produce and grown in Baja, Mexico.

This type of cucumber can also be called “American” cucumbers.

Medical records indicate that the Texas victim had serious underlying health conditions, but that salmonella was a contributing factor to her death.

The victim, who will not be identified, died late last month.

According to the CDC, as of September 8, 2015, 341 people infected with the outbreak strains of Salmonella Poona have been reported from 30 states.

The number of ill people reported from each state is as follows: Alaska (9), Arizona (66), Arkansas (6), California (72), Colorado (14), Hawaii (1), Idaho (8), Illinois (6), Kansas (1), Kentucky (1), Louisiana (4), Minnesota (12), Missouri (8), Montana (10), Nebraska (2), Nevada (7), New Mexico (18), New York (4), North Dakota (1), Ohio (2), Oklahoma (8), Oregon (8), Pennsylvania (2), South Carolina (7), Texas (18), Utah (30), Virginia (1), Washington (10), Wisconsin (2) and Wyoming (3).

Illnesses started on dates ranging from July 3, 2015 to August 30, 2015. Seventy people have been hospitalized, and two deaths have been reported from California (1) and Texas (1).

What are the Symptoms of Salmonella?

Most people infected with Salmonella develop diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps. The illness usually lasts four to seven days, and most people recover without treatment.

How Soon do Symptoms Appear After Exposure?

Most people infected with Salmonella develop diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps 12 to 72 hours after infection.

What are the Complications of Salmonella Infections?

In some people, the diarrhea may be so severe that they need to be hospitalized. In these patients, the Salmonella infection may spread from the intestines to the blood stream, and then to other body sites and can cause death unless the person is treated promptly with antibiotics.

Who is at Risk?

Children are the most likely to get salmonellosis. The rate of diagnosed infections in children less than five years old is higher than the rate in all other people. Children younger than five years of age, the elderly and those people with weakened immune systems are more likely to have severe infections. It is estimated that approximately 400 persons in the United States die each year with acute salmonellosis.

What Do Consumers Need To Do?

Consumers may return Andrews and Williamson cucumbers to the place of purchase or throw them out. If in doubt about your cucumbers, do not eat them.

The FDA encourages consumers with questions to call 1-888-SAFEFOOD Monday through Friday between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. Central, or to consult the FDA's website.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Bicyclist Seriously Hurt in Plainfield Crash


A 39-year-old man was seriously hurt when his bicycle struck a Pontiac at the intersection of 8th and 5th streets in Plainfield on Wednesday afternoon, according to police.

Plainfield police said Allen Stevens, of Plainfield, was riding his bike on 8th Street when he collided with a Pontiac Grand Am at the intersection of 5th Street.

Stevens suffered serious head and back injuries and was rushed to William Backus Hopsital in Norwich for treatment, according to police.

Authorities are investigating the collision.

Remains Found in 1999 in Waterbury Belonged to Missing Army Vet


Human remains found at an abandoned factory in Waterbury in 1999 are those of a female Army veteran, according to police.

Cassandra Pulliam-Lane's skeleton uncovered on Dec. 3, 1999 at the Harper-Leader building at 1020 South Main Street in Waterbury, according to police. Her death has been ruled a homicide.

Pulliam-Lane, an Army veteran, would be 45 if she were alive today.

Police said the remains were only recently identified as those of Pulliam-Lane, who was known to spend time in the south end of Waterbury.

Investigators are seeking more information about her death.

Photo Credit: Waterbury Police Department

Frontier Employee Credited With Saving Customer


A Frontier Communications employee is credited with saving a the life of a customer who suffered a medical emergency while on the phone with him.

John Pelow, who answers service calls pertaining to billing and sales for Frontier Communications in New Haven, took Joyce Crawford's call on July 10.

"She started to not feel well and she was slurring her words and feeling uncomfortable and telling me she was trying to say things, but couldn’t get them to her voice to speak," Pelow explained.

It turns out Crawford was suffering from a subdural hematoma and was bleeding from the brain.

"She had really was in serious trouble," said Pelow. "It was very emotional."

Pelow immediately grabbed another phone and called 911 while staying on the line with her.

"He said the magic words, 'I’m here with you and I’ll wait.' And he did. He waited to have the EMT’s there," Crawford recalled.

Medical personnel rushed Crawford to the hospital. She said she is now "doing well."

Crawford and Pelow met in person for the first time Wednesday in front of dozens of Frontier employees.

"I was so anxous the see the person belonging to the voice," Crawford told him.

She thanked him for saving her life.

"I probably would have waited to call the EMTs and wouldn’t have been able to," Crawford told NBC Connecticut. "And he not only made the suggestion, but he put the call right in."

Pelow also received an award Wednesday from state senators and Frontier Communications officials thanking him for his efforts.

Truck Hits Overpass on Route 9 in Berlin


Traffic was backed up on Route 9 south in Berlin and spilled over onto Routes 71 and 372 after a truck hit an overpass Wednesday afternoon.

Police said a vehicle struck the Christian Lane overpass on Route 9 south in Berlin. The truck appears to have been towing a backhoe.

Christian Lane was closed to traffic while crews worked to inspect the bridge. The overpass has since reopened.

One lane of Route 9 south was closed and traffic was heavily backed up starting at exit 27. Traffic spilled over onto Routes 71 and 372 in New Britain, which were also delayed.

Rocky Hill Bank Robber May Be Linked to 5 Other Robberies


A $5,000 reward has been offered for information leading to the arrest of the man who tried to rob a bank in Rocky Hill on Wednesday and may be linked to at least five robberies in the area, according to a source with knowledge of the investigation.

Police said the culprit entered the Webster Bank at 377 Cromwell Avenue around 3:10 p.m. Wednesday and handed the teller an empty bank envelope with a note attached to it.

The robbery was "interrupted by movement within the bank" and the would-be thief ran out with the envelope, according to police.

He ran northbound toward Route 160/New Britain Avenue before possibly turning south toward Route 3/Cromwell Avenue, police said. A K-9 tried unsuccessfully to track him down.

Rocky Hill police are working with other departments in the region to see if Wednesday's attempt might be linked to similar robberies in the area. Police said the FBI is also involved in the investigation.

A source with knowledge of the investigation said police believe the suspect in Wednesday's attempt is also suspected in at least five other bank robberies in Durham, Wethersfield, Deep River, Berlin and Branford.

The Connecticut Bankers Reward Association is offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to the culprit's arrest.

Anyone with information is asked to call Det. Andrew O'Brien or police headquarters at 860-258-7640.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com/Rocky Hill Police Department

3 Children Found Stabbed to Death


Three young brothers were found stabbed to death and covered in blood inside an SUV in South Los Angeles today, and their father, who is suspected of killing them, was taken to a hospital suffering from critical stab wounds.

Los Angeles police Chief Charlie Beck said the three boys ranged in age from 8 to 12.

Police responded around 7 a.m. to an SUV parked in the 300 block of East 32nd Street on a report of an assault with a deadly weapon, Beck said. The three boys were found dead in the back seat, while the father was found bloodied and suffering from stab wounds, police said.

A man who works near the scene said he was walking by the SUV and saw the man in the front seat, and he appeared to have blood on him. He said as he approached the vehicle, he saw a boy he believed to be about 7 or 8 years old — motionless with his eyes wide open and covered in blood. The man said he then noticed at least one other body in the back seat, and he saw what appeared to be a box-cutter in the vehicle.

Beck confirmed that a knife was recovered at the scene.

Police said the father is suspected of killing the three children, and they were not searching for any other suspects.

"The biological mother of the children we believe to be deceased. We believe there is a stepmother and she is safe," Beck said. "These are horrific incidents,'' Beck said. "These are incidents that scar not only a community but the first responders who have to handle them. It is a sad day in Los Angeles, made only slightly better by the fact that we have a probable suspect in custody."

The bodies were found near Dolores Huerta Elementary School, but the children did not attend that school.

Los Angeles Unified School District Chief Deputy Superintendent Michelle King said the kids were all students in LAUSD schools, but she declined to identify them.

"The schools they attended have been notified, and crisis counselors have been provided," King said.

Police did not identify the father or the boys. A memorial set up by family members, however, identified the boys as Luis, Alex and Juan Fuentes.

Residents in South Los Angeles held a memorial Wednesday night for the slain brothers at 32nd Street near the scene where they were found dead.

Family members said they were shocked to learn from police that the father allegedly murdered his two sons.

"He loved his kids and it's hard for me to see him do something like this. It's unbelievable. I don't know what drove him to do something like this," said Rene Chanquin, the father's cousin.

Xiomora Mena, the boys' aunt, said the father and his new wife had gotten into an argument, and she begged him not to take the boys. The boys' mother died of an anuerysm in 2008.

The killings occurred amid a rash of deadly violence in South Los Angeles that police have attributed to a raging war between rival gangs. Police have responded by sending more officers from the LAPD's elite Metropolitan Division into the area.

"I take this personally," said City Councilman Curren Price, who represents the area. "I live right around the corner, and I pass this way many times, been to the school many times. And to know that the kids that are back and forth here -- full of life, full of vibrancy -- and that these three are gone.

"We're going to be working closely with the community, with the police, others in the community to create a fund in memory of these youngsters and provide some support to the family and we ask the community to join us providing resources as a way of expressing our condolences but also providing assistance for the future."

An online fundraiser has been set up for the children. Anyone wishing to donate can do so here.

Photo Credit: KNBC-TV

Pilot Who Saved Passengers From Burning Plane: 'I'm Finished Flying'


 A pilot on the brink of retirement saved the lives of dozens of passengers on a burning British Airways plane and said it was the first time in 42 years of flying he'd ever faced a life-threatening emergency. 

"It's safe to say I'm finished flying," Chris Henkey told NBC News by phone on Wednesday. 

Henkey, 63, has been praised for remaining calm under pressure.

Henkey is credited for slamming the brakes and steering the Boeing 777 to safety after its left engine caught fire during takeoff from McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas after a 10-hour flight to London Gatwick. 

Photo Credit: AP
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Motorcycle Crashes on Route 32 in Franklin


First responders blocked off part of Route 32 in Franklin after a motorcycle crashed Wednesday night, according to state police.

Police said the crash happened around 7 p.m. Route 32 was closed in the area of Meeting House Hill Road.

There has been no word on injuries.

No additional information was immediately available.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

U.S. to Focus More on White-Collar Criminals


The U.S. Justice Department has issued new guidelines that focus on prosecuting individual executives in white-collar crime cases, and not just their corporations. 

The memo came as a response to criticism that the Obama administration's handling of the financial meltdown and housing crisis of 2008 to 2009, the New York Times reported. 

By going after individuals, Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates said the Justice Department wanted to "change corporate culture to appropriately recognize the full costs of wrongdoing, rather than treating liability as a cost of doing business."

"We're not going to be accepting a company's cooperation when they just offer up the vice president in charge of going to jail," Yates told the Times.

Photo Credit: AP

Crews Rescue Injured Hiker at Sleeping Giant State Park


Rescuers were called to Sleeping Giant State Park in Hamden after a hiker fell Wednesday evening, according to the fire department.

Fire officials said the person fell near the Tower Trail. According to the firefighters' union, the hiker was conscious and alert while being evaluated by paramedics.

Students at Quinnipiac University said emergency vehicles blocked the campus entrance across the street from Sleeping Giant. Footage from the scene shows a long line of student cars waiting to leave campus.

No additional information was immediately available.

Check back for updates on this developing story.

First September Heat Wave Since 1983


The first September heat wave in decades is official as the temperature has hit 90 degrees at Bradley International.

Monday tied the record of 93 degrees, while Tuesday broke a record, at 96 degrees. Temperatures reached 92 degrees Wednesday, breaking the record of 91 set in 2002.

Clouds will mix with sunshine today as the heat and humidity continue to grip the region. A few showers will work in late this evening ahead of the next weather-maker.

Tomorrow is cloudy, with showers and thunderstorms, but the severe threat is very low as there won’t be much instability in the atmosphere.

Some of the rain will be heavy at times during the day and temperatures will peak in the lower- to middle-80s.

The rain is needed across Connecticut. Windsor Locks currently has a 5.7-inch rainfall deficit this year, while Bridgeport has a 6.2-inch rainfall deficit for 2015. Those numbers equate to roughly a month and a half worth’s of rain.

Thursday’s rain will be on the order of a half and inches to an inch and a half, with some spots picking up more than 2 inches of rain.

While there can be a lingering shower on Friday morning, Friday will turn out to be a refreshing day. Skies clear in the afternoon, it will be breezy and temperatures will only be in the middle-70s -- starting to feel more like the season ahead!

This weekend appears to be a split.

Saturday will be very nice with a mix of sun and clouds. High temperatures will be in the middle- and upper-70s with no humidity. Great news for NBC Connecticut’s Shred-It event at The Shoppes at Farmington Valley.

By Sunday, clouds return and showers are likely. Temperatures will still be in the 70s and the chance of rain continues into Monday.

The average high temperature this time of year is 77 degrees, while the average low temperature is 55 degrees. Starting on Friday afternoon and extending into next week, the forecast is very seasonable. No 90-degree weather is expected.

Stay with the NBC Connecticut First Alert weather team for the very latest forecast on-air, online and on the app.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News

Hartford Deputy Fire Chief Suspended Without Pay


A Hartford deputy fire chief who first ran into trouble last winter has been suspended without pay, the NBC Connecticut Troubleshooters have learned.

Deputy Chief James McLoughlin has been suspended without pay for 15 days.

Fire officials say he endangered firefighters under his command in April by sending them into a building that had sustained heavy fire damage.

The department informed McLoughlin of his suspension on Friday, Sept. 4, the day after they held a hearing on the incident.

"We entrust our Deputy Chiefs to make difficult decisions. This is an aberration. It was not what we’d expect from a Deputy Chief or from Deputy Chief McLoughlin, specifically. He has a much better track record in making decisions than what was displayed that day," Interim Asst. Fire Chief Scott Brady told the Troubleshooters.

McLoughlin was the incident commander at last October's fire on Blue Hills Avenue where firefighter Kevin Bell died and four other members of the department were hurt.

As a result of these two incidents, the department issued a written directive on risk management last Friday. The department plans to put all captains and deputy chiefs through follow-up training in the coming weeks.

McLouglin was placed on administrative leave last December but was reinstated shortly thereafter.

Survivor: Charleston Shooter 'Caught Us With Our Eyes Closed'


Felicia Sanders, one of three people who survived the shooting at a prominent Charleston church in South Carolina, said the bible study group was about to say an ending prayer when the gunman opened fire.

"He caught us with our eyes closed. I never told nobody this," Sanders told NBC News' Lester Holt in an exclusive interview.

Sanders attended the Bible study with her son Tywanza, 26, her 11-year-old granddaughter, another relative, Susie. 

During the shooting, Sanders told her granddaughter to play dead while, Tywanza had been shot but still crawled across the room to try to protect Susie in her final moments.

"What I think of Tywanza, those last moments— my hero. My hero." Sanders told Lester Holt. "He took a lot of bullets."

Photo Credit: NBC News
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Photos Show Bombs in Aurora Theater Shooter's Apartment


Newly-released images show more than 20 bombs in the booby-trapped apartment of Aurora theater shooter James Holmes, who was sentenced last month to life behind bars.

The 27-year-old used soda bottles and wires to rig his apartment with home-made explosives and incendiaries that had to be made safe by experts with the help of a robot.

Buildings surrounding his suburban Denver apartment had to be evacuated in the hours after the July 21, 2012, shootings in which he opened fire during a midnight screening of Batman film "The Dark Knight Rises," killing 12 people.

Holmes was formally sentenced on Aug. 27 to one life term in jail for each victim, plus 3,318 years for the attempted murder of dozens of others. He was convicted after the trial judge rejected his insanity plea.

Photo Credit: Aurora Police Department
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