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Free Flu Shots Available at Vaccination Clinics


Public health authorities in the Middletown area have launched a mass vaccination campaign involving a series of flu shot clinics.

"It's extraordinarily important people get their flu shot," said Mayor Dan Drew, "particularly for young children and particularly for the elderly."

The vaccine is FluBlok, developed by Meriden-based Protein Sciences Corporation.

"I've been saying for at least the last 15 years it's time to produce a vaccine without using eggs and preservatives," said Middletown Health Director Dr. Joe Havlicek.

Using DNA from a small part of the flu virus makes the vaccine safer for people with allergies. Health directors hope it will produce a better immune response.

Some years, the flu virus is vicious. Authorities don't know about this year's model yet but they do know October is the time for flu vaccine.

"The virus that goes around mutates as it travels, so seniors, the best thing they can do to protect themselves is get the flu shot, get the flu shot, get the flu shot," explained Cromwell Health Director Wesley Bell.

Residents can receive the vaccine for free at one of six scheduled mass vaccination clinics in Middletown, Cromwell and Durham.

"We're offering vaccine to anybody who wants it, regardless of insurance," said Salvatore Nesci of the Middletown Health Department. "Nobody will be turned away."

The clinics will be held as follows:

  • Oct. 2 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Middletown Senior Center
  • Oct. 6, 13 and 20 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. at Middletown City Hall
  • Oct. 27 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Cromwell firehouse on Coles Road
  • Nov. 3 at the Durham Activity Center from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Residents receiving flu shots should bring identification and insurance cards.

Bridgeport Man Charged in 6 Woodbridge Burglaries


Police have arrested a Bridgeport man in connection with six home break-ins this summer in Woodbridge.

Clinton McDevitt, 43, was arrested Monday and charged with four counts of third-degree burglary, two counts of criminal attempt at third-degree burglary, two counts of first-degree criminal mischief, first-degree larceny and driving under the influence.

Woodbridge police said he's suspected of committing six home burglaries on Prospect Court, Seymour Road and Amity Road between May 4 and June 3.

During the burglaries, McDevitt allegedly stole jewelry, electronics, a plasma television and lawn and gardening equipment, some of which has since been recovered, according to police.

Authorities found stolen items in his car June 3 when McDevitt crashed into a utility pole in the area of Rimmon Road and Ansonia Road, police said. He was charged with DUI in connection with the crash.

McDevitt was held on $100,000 bond and appeared in New Haven Superior Court on Monday.

It's not clear if he has an attorney.

Photo Credit: Woodbridge Police Department

Police Search for Men Who Attacked Woman in Colchester


Two men assaulted a woman in Colchester early Tuesday morning and police are trying to identify the attackers.

The assault happened on Broadway Street in Colchester, according to state police and troopers responded to the scene at 1:13 a.m.

The woman was transported to William Backus Hospital and troopers found no other victims.

The description of the attackers is vague, but state police said they were riding bicycles.

Anyone with information about the attack should call Det. McManaway at 860-465-5421.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Hartford Mayoral Candidates Answer Final Questions


Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra and opponent Luke Bronin spoke with NBC Connecticut the day before a Democratic primary could change the face of politics in the capital city.

They addressed economic development and public safety, plans to provide new youth engagement programs and the improvement of neighborhood schools.

Each candidate also took time during the 14-minute interviews with NBC Connecticut to attack the other on his respective records.

On increasing the number of Hartford police officers, Bronin, who has received the backing of Hartford Democrats, argued that the city hasn't done a good enough job of preparing for retirements and preemptively training recruits to replace them.

"We need to begin the work of stabilizing the force so we make sure the force doesn’t get smaller and smaller, and then begin the work of rebuilding it so we get away from officers working back-to-back shifts again and again, making huge amounts of overtime and get enough officers so they can actually be out of their cars, walking the beat, being that positive presence in the community," Bronin said.

According to a report commissioned by the Hartford Police Department this year, roughly 480 police are needed for full staffing. The force currently has fewer than 400 officers.

Segarra said it's up to the state, and not necessarily City Hall, to come up with funding for more police.

"The state is going to have to pay one way or another. The state incarcerates folks or the state provides us with the resources to make an effective reentry of our reentry population, and at the same time come up with a sufficient amount of police officers to meet the needs of the community," Segarra said.

The mayor said he's proud of his record of increasing the number of students involved in the Police Athletic League Program, which demonstrates what a future in Hartford law enforcement may look like.

"We need to expose kids to policing very early on so they know what the profession is now," he said.

Bronin said the onus has to be on the police to make themselves known in the communities where they work.

"If you want the best ambassadors who are going to get those kids thinking about a potential career in public safety, (make) sure that there’s an officer that they know – that they know on a personal level, who’s again, a positive force in their community interacting with them in a way to build trust," he said. "That’s the best way that you’re going to kids thinking about that as a possible career."

Both candidates were also asked about the future of the Hartford economy.

Bronin said if an insurance giant like Aetna were contemplating leaving the city, he would act quickly to assemble a group to stop it from happening.

"I’d call them and I’d call up the governor’s office right away and say, 'I want to sit down with the leadership of Aetna and the governor’s office to find out what’s possible' to make sure that we don’t lose what is one of the most important employers in the city."

Segarra said he would make a similar move and float the idea of tax breaks with the state but build in "clawbacks" to ensure such a large and influential employer delivers on its promises.

"Let’s sit down and discuss it. What are you going to do in terms of providing jobs to our residents? What are you going to do in future years with us recouping our investment from your company?" Segarra said.

Segarra stands by the new Downtown North development, which includes a baseball stadium to house the soon-to-be Hartford Yard Goats. He said the project will create nearly 2,000 jobs as construction continues. Projects like those, he argued, help the entire city.

"A lot of people don’t connect the dots in our city between all of the different efforts of the schools that we’re building, the infrastructure that we’re building, the stadium, other components," Segarra explained. "All these things tie in together to make our community a more vibrant place and a more economically productive place."

Bronin said that during the first few months of his administration, he would work to reach out to companies around the country who are looking to relocate and pitch historic Hartford buildings as possible landing points.

"We have a huge number of old buildings, Brownfield sites, and there’s money available from the state if we go after that in a systematic way," he said.

Finally, on education, Bronin said he wants to see increased investments in special education and for students who are still learning English. He said the more Hartford invests in its neighborhood schools, the better it is for every facet of city life.

"If we want to strengthen those schools, we need to first of all make sure... the responsibility of educating the kids with the greatest needs is spread across the system, the magnets, the Hartford magnets, the CREC magnets, the charters, which also means we have to make sure we get that support from the state for those kids in those neighborhood schools," Bronin said.

Segarra said more funds from the state are vital toward improving public schools. Across the board, city schools need to get injections of funds to pay for new technology and for individual programs for the students who need them most.

"We have a very low-income population that has a lot of other needs in the social services area," Segarra said. "We need to get those supports in order to have more equity and not have the achievement gap that we have between our city and other cities."

Woman Killed in Hit-and-Run While Trying to Save Dog: Family


Police have questioned the driver accused of hitting and killing a woman who was apparently trying to round up a dog on the side of the road Tuesday morning in Newington.

According to police, Sharon Frey, 60, of West Hartford, had parked on the southbound side of Willard Avenue in Newington and turned on her hazard lights before she was struck around 6 a.m. Tuesday.

"She appeared to have been corralling a dog after they passed through the intersection; some point shortly after that she was struck," explained Sgt. Chris Perry of the Newington Police Department.

Police found an injured dog and took it to a nearby veterinarian. It's not clear who owns the dog or if Frey had any connection to the animal.

Frey's family members called the crash heartbreaking and said the fact that Frey died saving a dog is a testament to her character.

Authorities believe the driver who hit Frey had been traveling behind her, in the same direction, and fled the scene after the crash.

Investigators have identified and questioned the driver, who they said is cooperating with police and has been released from custody. The driver has not been charged.

Police are asking anyone with information about the crash to call the Newington Police Department at 860-666-8445 or Det. Leroy Feeney at the Newington Police Department at 860-594-6208.

Editor's Note: Newington police originally said the pedestrian was a man, but later said the victim is a woman. 

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Driver Struck, Killed While Standing by Car After Prior Crash


A driver standing on the side of the road after a minor crash in Woodbridge was struck by another car and killed Tuesday evening, according to police.

Police said two vehicles traveling westbound on Rimmon Road/Route 313 in Woodbridge were involved in a minor crash shortly after 4:30 p.m. Tuesday.

The drivers were standing outside their cars on the side of the road when a third vehicle, also traveling westbound, struck one of them, then crashed into  according to police.

The driver who was struck was rushed to Yale-New Haven Hospital and pronounced dead. Police have not publicly released the driver's name.

Rimmon Road has been closed in the area of Redwood Lane while police investigate the crash.

It's not clear if the third vehicle stayed at the scene or if any charges have been filed.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Firefighter Has to Tell His Own Family Their Home Is Gone


Firefighter Robert Taylor is in a situation he's seen others go through countless times before: The Cal Fire fireman is among hundreds who lost their homes over the weekend in the Valley Fire that's ravaging part of Northern California.

The 24-year-old was dispatched to his own Middletown neighborhood hours after battling another fire in Butte County.

Taylor said he could barely believe his eyes.

"We're making our way into Cobb Mountain. That's my hometown I was seeing just covered in flames," he said. "Your body wants to stop and just be emotional, and slow you down a little bit, and taking that hit is hard, but with all the fire and everything going on around you, just the chaos, you didn't have time to think about it. All I could do was just get a photo and keep going."

Taylor had the duty of having to tell his family their home was gone.

Taylor's mother, who is staying with the rest of the family at an evacuation center in Napa County, said her son called on Saturday night to give her the news she didn't want to believe.

"He said, 'No, mom. I'm sitting right in front of the house in the engine, and the house is gone,'" she said.

Despite the loss, Taylor said he's determined to stay in Lake County and keep fighting fires. In fact, he kept working through the night even, after discovering his house was gone.

"Just the thought of 'What can we save?'" Taylor said. "I know how I feel and I don't want anyone else to feel what I feel."

Taylor said that, for the first time in his career, he can tell fire victims he knows exactly what they're going through.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area
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'Guardian Angels' Step in Attacks Crime Spree in New Haven


A New Haven neighborhood has called in a crime-deterring volunteer group called the "Guardian Angels" to help protect residents in the wake of several recent muggings in the Wooster Square area.

Safety has been the main topic of conversation in Wooster Square, and the neighborhood watch posted warnings after at least three people – all women – were attacked and robbed over the last few weeks.

"It's really scary because there are times when I'm out here in the park by myself," said Alissa Goldberg, who moved to Wooster Square in May and was out walking her dog.

Goldberg and her roommate Imani Williams were not alone Tuesday night, however. A team of Guardian Angels joined them.

"The goal is a physical deterrent to crime is paramount and giving a calming effect to the neighborhood, to women in particular," explained Rocky Pratt of the Guardian Angels' New Haven Chapter.

The local neighborhood watch invited the unarmed civilians – all wearing their signature red berets – to patrol the area and to step in and stop a crime if need be.

"We cannot give into fear, because then the bad guys win," said Peter Webster, captain of the Wooster Square Watch.

Webster said the New Haven Police Department has also increased patrols both on bicycle and in police vehicles. At this point, he said, there are no known suspects and police have yet to make any arrests.

"The women cannot give good descriptions of the assailants because they don't see them, because they come up out of no where," said Webster.

Plans are to have the Guardian Angels and the warning remain in place each evening until those responsible for the recent incidents can be located.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Video: Escape from Valley Fire


Dramatic cell phone video captured by a California family shows a desperate attempt to escape from the Valley Fire that’s been burning since Saturday.

Julie Wolf, a long time resident of Anderson Springs near Middletown, was unaware of the massive fire burning in the area until her son and daughter-in-law visiting from the Bay Area told her about it later that day. Her son, who was in the car in front of her, captured the dramatic 8- or 9-mile drive through the inferno.

"Everything looked like the inside of an oven," she told NBC News Tuesday night.

Wolf and her family, who did not know of the mandatory evacuations ordered around 4 p.m., decided to leave the house at 8:30 p.m. The family saw just how devastating and massive the fire had grown once they got on the only road out of the small community toward Middletown.

"All I could see was tail lights and fire," Wolf said.

After sparking Saturday afternoon, the Valley Fire has charred in excess of 95 square miles and ripped through the town of Middletown.

The Valley Fire has scorched 67,200 acres in Lake, Napa and Sonoma counties and claimed a life. More than 13,000 people have been displaced from their homes and forced to take shelter at evacuations centers due to a massive wildfire bursting through Northern California.

The fire is 30 percent contained, Cal Fire said late Tuesday.

NBC News contributed to this report.

'Dead Man Walking' Nun to Witness 7th Execution


Sister Helen Prejean, best known as the "Dead Man Walking" nun, will witness her seventh execution on Wednesday.

Richard Glossip, who has been on death row for 18 years, is scheduled to die by lethal injection at 3 p.m. CT in Oklahoma despite pleas for a last-minute reprieve from Prejean, football coach Barry Switzer and actress Susan Sarandon, who played the nun in the 1995 Oscar-winning film.

Glossip reached out to Prejean in January, a few weeks before his last execution date. That was delayed after the U.S. Supreme Court took up his challenge to the particular combination of drugs that Oklahoma uses to kill inmates.

The high court eventually sided with the state, and Glossip's more recent appeals have been rejected by the courts.

Photo Credit: AP

Dad Leaves Toddler in Car Overnight After Drinking Heavily: Cops


A Bridgeport man is facing charges after admitting to drinking heavily and leaving his 3-year-old son in the back of his car overnight, according to police.

Jeffrey Mejias, 22, of Bridgeport, has been charged with risk of injury to a minor.

Police said Mejias admitted he had a lot to drink Friday night before going to pick up the child's mother from work early Saturday morning. Mejias brought the toddler with him.

The car got a flat tire, and Mejias got out and walked home, leaving the 3-year-old asleep in the back seat, according to police.

Police said the boy's mother found another ride home and told them she had assumed Mejias and the child were sleeping in the locked master bedroom.

She was unaware the child wasn't home when officers knocked on the door of Mejias' Arctic Street home Saturday morning, according to police.

A neighbor called 911 after noticing the child crying alone in the car around 7 a.m. Saturday, police said. The child, whose diaper was soaked through, was taken to Bridgeport Hospital to be checked out, cleaned up and fed. Police said the boy was unharmed.

The boy was released to the care of his mother and the Department of Children and Families was notified.

Court records show Mejias was released from custody on a promise to appear in court. It's not clear if he has an attorney.

No one answered the door at his house Tuesday evening.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Bristol Students May Have Been Exposed to Scabies: Officials


Health officials are warning Bristol parents that some students may have been exposed to scabies.

School Health Services coordinator Catherine Plourde sent a letter home alerting parents to the skin infection, which is caused by mites and spread through physical contact or shared clothing, bedding or towels.

"Scabies is a bug that lives in your skin. It's a mite that you react to," explained board-certified dermatologist Dr. Frank Santoro, of Hartford HealthCare Medical Group. "The bug is transferred from one person to another and it causes an immune type of reaction to the skin that makes you very itchy."

It's not clear how many students may have been affected, but parents told NBC Connecticut the issue involves a classroom at the South Side Elementary School on Tuttle Road.

A fourth-grade student at the South Side School said his class is the one affected.

"She wanted to scratch it a lot," Jubari Cooper said of a female classmate who came to school with a rash. "It was super itchy. It looked like red bumps."

In the letter, Plourde urges parents to check their children for signs of an itchy rash or bumps, which can occur between the fingers and toes or on the wrist, elbows, armpits, waistline, abdomen, thighs or lower buttocks.

"Scabies can affect anyone," Plourde wrote. "It is not related to personal hygiene, age, or household."

She added that those who contract scabies are contagious until they receive treatment. Infected students must stay home from school until they start a prescription treatment.

"We usually start with using a ream that's put on head to toe at night and washed off after going to bed, and we recommend all clothing worn within 48 to 72 hours be washed in hot water," Santoro explained.

He emphasized that close contact is required to transmit scabies. Mites typically are not transferred by sitting on a couch or touching the same door handle as someone who has been infected.

Plourde said the affected classroom will be "thoroughly cleaned" and monitored.

Randall Lewis, whose child is in fourth grade at South Side School, said not all parents received Plourde's letter.

"I actually found out about it on a Facebook page," Lewis said. "Somebody who is also a parent at this school got this letter sent home with his child, and I hadn't gotten one myself, so it was actually a real shock to find out on Facebook and not from the school itself."

Parents with questions about scabies are encouraged to contact the school nurse or principal.

More information is also available through the Centers for Disease Control.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Artist Paints Portrait of Trump With Her Own Blood


A Portland, Oregon, artist is defending the use of her menstrual blood to draw a portrait of GOP presidential frontrunner Donald Trump.

Sarah Levy posted her depiction of Trump to her Facebook page on Sept. 12, calling the work "Whatever" and saying it was created with "Menses on matte board." She collected blood for it with a Diva Cup.

The painting's title is a reference to Trump's comments about Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly following the first GOP presidential debate in August.

Trump said that Kelly, while questioning his past comments denigrating women, was bleeding from her eyes and "wherever."

The remark was widely interpreted to have been a reference to menstrual blood. Trump later said he meant Kelly's nose.

"I heard his comment to Megyn Kelly and was outraged," Levy told NBC affiliate KGW of the inspiration for her painting.

"He had the gall to insult Kelly's intelligence through just saying she was on her period," she said.

KGW said it received more than 2,700 comments in two hours after the station posted a story about the drawing. Most were disgusted by the work, KGW said.

But Levy said what disgusted her besides the Kelly insult were Trump's comments about the Mexican and immigrant communities.

Levy began drawing two years ago to cope with her mother's sudden death and has since created lavish portraits — in charcoal — of political and historical figures, KGW reported.

Levy is auctioning the Trump portrait and will donate the proceeds to an immigrant rights group based in the U.S., she said. She is also selling posters on Etsy. 

Trump leads the GOP field with 30.5 percent support from Republican voters, according to an average of national polls by RealClearPolitics.

The Trump campaign has not yet responded to a request for comment on the painting.

Photo Credit: KGW Screenshot
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Crash Closes W. West Hill Road in Barkhamsted


W. West Hill Road in Barkhamsted is closed at Perkins Road after a car crashed into a pole and snapped it.

Once Eversource responds and clears a lane, police will alternate traffic.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Alleged South Florida Campus Library Foot-Sniffer Arrested


Authorities have arrested the man wanted by Florida International University authorities for allegedly smelling women's feet on campus.

Eddy Juan, 52, was taken into custody on Tuesday afternoon in the area of Southwest 59th Street and Southwest 97th Court in Miami-Dade.

Juan appeared in court Wednesday where his bond was set at $18,500 and he was ordered to stay away from FIU. He was also appointed a public defender.

FIU Police sent out an alert on Monday, asking for the public's help identifying the man with an apparent foot fetish.

Police said he had been crawling underneath tables at the FIU Library to smell women's feet. He had been caught in the act in photos.

Records show Juan is a registered sex offender. He has a rap sheet dating back to 1992. His previous run-ins with the law includes charges of lewd and lascivious behavior on a child and indecent exposure.

On Tuesday, investigators said a subject matching Juan's description was spotted riding a scooter in the area of 51st Street and Southwest 104th Avenue.

Officers attempted a traffic stop, but Juan attempted to flee and subsequently crashed.

He was taken into custody without further incident and is being charged with violation of sexual offender registration, fleeing and eluding, reckless driving, aggravated assault and resisting without violence.

FIU Police released a statement after the arrest, saying in part:

"On Tuesday afternoon, a member of the public saw the person and called  Miami-Dade Police Department. Police officers saturated the area and located the individual riding a scooter. The individual attempted to flee and was apprehended and arrested. FIUPD appreciates the involvement of the concerned citizens of Miami-Dade County, who provided the information that led to this arrest."

Photo Credit: Miami-Dade Corrections

Mom Returns Home and Hears Burglar in Daughter's Room: PD


A man is facing "forcible burglary" charges after a woman returned home to hear him in her daughter's bedroom in Hamden, police said.

Police arrested Tracey Ray, 18, of Hamden, after responding to a home on Edwards Street July 27 to investigate reports of a "forcible burglary."

A female resdient returned home and heard someone in her daughter's bedroom, so she called Hamden police.

Police identified Ray as the burglary suspect and he turned himself in on an arrest warrant on Sept. 16.

Hamden police charged Ray with third-degree burglary.

Ray is being held in custody in lieu of a $75,000 court-set bond and is scheduled to appear in Meriden Superior Court on Sept. 30.

Photo Credit: Hamden Police Department

Unseasonably Warm Through the Weekend


Warm afternoons but seasonably cool nights are the story of the week in the weather department.

Today features an abundance of sunshine with high temperatures in the upper-80s inland, but lower- and middle-80s at the shore and in the hills.

The jet stream is far to the north in Canada. Not only does the jet drive the weather, but it corresponds with a big change in temperature at the surface.

Given the jet stream is so far away from Connecticut through the end of the week, no large change in temperature is anticipated, nor is any rain going to come close to the state.

Thursday, Friday and Saturday all feature tons of sunshine. Inland high temperatures will be in the middle- and upper-80s, while shoreline and hill-town high temperatures will be in the lower-80s.

The afternoon warmth will be close to record levels. Today's record high temperature for the Hartford area is 92-degrees, tomorrow it's 90-degrees and on Friday it's 89-degrees. The record high on Friday in the Bridgeport area is 84-degrees; that record is in jeopardy.

The 2015 rainfall deficit is 4.2 inches at Bradley International in Windsor Locks and 5.4 inches at Sikorsky Airport in Bridgeport. That's equivalent to more than a month's worth of rain.

Low temperatures through the end of the week will be in the middle- and upper-50s in the hill towns, but lower- and middle-60s as one gets closer to Long Island Sound.

A moisture-starved cold front cuts across the state Saturday night. No rain is expected!

Monday will be noticably cooler with temperatures struggling to reach 70-degrees, but the cool-down will be short-lived as temperatures rebound in the middle part of next week.

Some indications point to unsettled weather early next week, but for now the forecast is dry with more clouds than sun on Monday.

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

Photo Credit: Tyler Jankoski

Guilford High Dismisses Early After Truck Rollover


Guilford High School is dismissing early after a truck rolled over behind the school.

The school is located at 605 New England Road.

Officials from the board of education said students are being dismissed in waves and that the truck was there for an ongoing construction project. 

No additional information was immediately available.

An NBC Connecticut crew is heading to the scene.

Check back for updates.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Tom Brady: Trump for President 'Would Be Great'


New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady stopped short of endorsing Donald Trump for President on Wednesday, but he did say he hoped the Republican candidate can win election. 

"That would be great," he told reporters. 

The comments came after a Trump "Make America Great Again" hat was spotted in Brady's locker a week ago. Brady said during an interview on WEEI-AM that the hat actually came to him through owner Robert Kraft.

The All-Pro quarterback has known the reality TV star turned presidential frontrunner since 2002, when Brady served as a judge for one of Trump's beauty pageants.

Trump was very supportive of Brady during the entire "Deflategate," ordeal, tweeting messages of support on numerous occasions.

Photo Credit: necn
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Police Respond to Multi-Vehicle Crash on Route 72 in Plainvile


Several vehicles have been involved in a chain-reaction crash on the eastbound side of Route 72 in Plainville, in the area of exit 7, according to state police.

Police said one car bumped into the back of the car in front of it, and that led to a chain reaction.

One eastbound lane is open and police are working to clear the scene

No injuries are reported.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com
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