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Several Hospitalized, Including Baby, After Meriden Crash


Several people, including a baby, were taken to the hospital Friday afternoon after four cars collided on Route 15 northbound near the intersection of Interstate 691 northbound in Meriden, according to state police.

The crash was described as serious and LifeStar was called to the scene. Route 15 north was shut down in the area of exit 68W but the left lane has since reopened, according to state police, who said the right and center lanes will remain closed through rush hour.

It's not clear how many people were hurt. There has been no word on their conditions.

Check back for updates.

WATCH: Children's Chorus Sings at Ground Zero


A children's chorus sang after Pope Francis' remarks at the 9/11 Museum at Ground Zero in New York City on Sept. 25, 2015. "Let there be peace on earth," the choir sang, "and let it begin with me."

Students Killed in Seattle Duck Tour Crash Identified


Three out of the four international students killed when a Ride a Duck tour bus collided with a charter bus have been identified, North Seattle College said.

Claudia Derschmidt, a 49-year-old Austrian; Privaudo Putradauto, 18, from Indonesia; Mami Sato, 37, from Japan; and a 17-year-old Chinese student were killed in the accident on the Aurora Bridge in Seattle, Washington.

The four were among 45 students and staff members were aboard the bus headed to orientation.

Photo Credit: AP

Boo! Halloween Spending Declines in 2015


October is almost upon us, which means Halloween is on our minds — or at least on the minds of retailers. 

Over 157 million Americans will take part in Halloween this year and total spending is expected to reach $6.9 billion, down from $7.4 billion last year, according to an annual survey by the National Retail Federation (NRF). Those celebrating plan on spending an average of $74.34, also down from last year's average of $77.52.

"Halloween has been on the upswing in terms of the number of people celebrating and what they're spending, so we've reached a point where people have been stocking up for several years now," NRF spokeswoman Kathy Grannis Allen said. "The average person is content with the amount of merchandise they already have." 

September 2015 One of the Warmest on Record So Far


September 2015 will go into the record books as a very warm month in the Hartford area.

While there are still a few days to go, it is likely that the month will fall within the top five warmest Septembers in recorded history. Climatological records go back to 1905 in the Hartford area.

Through Sept. 24, this month ranks as the warmest September in 110 years of record-keeping.

The average monthly temperature, which is an average of the high and low temperatures for each day of the month, is currently 69.9 degrees. But it will go down.

The forecast highs through the rest of the month are near 70 degrees, while the forecast lows aren't from from 50 degrees. That means the average temperature for the final days of September will be near 60 degrees, which is lower than the overall monthly average of 69.9 degrees.

So, September 2015 will likely loose its top spot for warmest September in 110 years, but it will still go down as a toasty month.

After all, the first September heat wave since 1983 occurred early in the month and there were a total of five 90-degree days. Sept. 8, 2015 was also the warmest day of the year with a high temperature of 96 degrees.

This year has seen plenty of temperature extremes. February was the coldest month in recorded history, and May was the warmest since 1905.

Photo Credit: Tyler Jankoski

Woman Stabbed in Head Outside West Hartford CVS


West Hartford police arrested a 57-year-old emotionally disturbed woman who they said stabbed another woman in the head outside a CVS store on Friday morning.

The attack outside the CVS at 1099 New Britain Avenue early Friday morning was random, according to police.

The 27-year-old victim had just made a purchase a and was leaving the store when Gloria Drummer, 57, of West Hartford, attacked her for no reason, and stabbed her in the head several times with a large knife, according to police.

Drummer appeared to have waited for the victim to leave the store before the attack, police said.

When the victim fell to the ground, her boyfriend and CVS employees, rushed to help her and Drummer walked across the street and sat at a bus stop, where police took her into custody, police said.

Witnesses said Drummer had been inside the store, mumbling to herself, before the stabbing and appeared to be emotionally disturbed.

The victim’s injuries are not life threatening and she has been released from the hospital.

Drummer was charged with first-degree assault and breach of peace, then taken to UConn Medical Center to be evaluated.

She has been released and was arraigned on Friday morning. It's not clear if she has an attorney.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Connecticut Pilgrims Travel to See Pope


Pope Francis is in the area and many Catholics from Connecticut are making the trip to New York City and Philadelphia to see him on his historic first visit to the United States.

More than 250 pilgrims from the Archdiocese of Hartford boarded buses heading to Philadelphia to attend a Papal Mass on Sunday and the World Meeting of Families spiritual conference.

"Very excited. Very emotional," Elizabeth Cuentas said.

Just before noon, they left from St. Thomas Seminary in Bloomfield, St. Bridget's in Cheshire and Our Lady of Pompeii in East Haven.

Highlights of the New York Trip:

United Nations, 10:20 a.m.

Expect a half-hour speech when Pope Francis becomes the fourth pontiff to address the United Nations General Assembly. On the 70th anniversary of the annual session, Francis is also expected to meet with the U.N's secretary general, president of the General Assembly and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

9/11 Memorial and Museum, World Trade Center, 11:30 a.m.

After leaving the U.N., Francis will attend a multi-religious service at the 9/11 Memorial and Museum, the site of the 2001 terror attacks in Lower Manhattan that killed nearly 3,000 people. Victims' families and first responders have been invited to the event.

Our Lady Queen of Angels School, East Harlem, 4 p.m.

Next up is a visit to a group of third- and fourth-grade students at a school run by a partnership trying innovative ways to revitalize Catholic education. Francis will also bless 150 immigrant New Yorkers, including children who fled violence in Central America.

Procession Through Central Park, Around 5:15 p.m.

A late addition to Francis' itinerary is sure to be one of the most spectacular of his visit — 80,000 people who won a ticketed lottery will witness Francis' progression along Central Park West Drive. Scalpers were selling the tickets for as much as $100 each.

Madison Square Garden, 6 p.m.

Twenty-thousand people are expected at MSG -- the home of the Knicks, Rangers and Liberty -- when Francis wraps up his New York visit by celebrating Mass. His chair for the service was constructed by immigrant day laborers, chosen to illustrate the pope’s concern for those who are marginalized.

Saturday Philadelphia Trip:

8:40 a.m. Departure from John F. Kennedy International Airport
9:30 a.m. Arrival at Atlantic Aviation, Philadelphia
10:30 a.m. Mass at Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul, Philadelphia
4:45 p.m. Visit to Independence Mall
7:30 p.m. Visit to the Festival of Families Benjamin Franklin Parkway

Sunday Philadelphia Trip:

9:15 a.m. Meeting with bishops at St. Martin's Chapel, St. Charles Borromeo Seminary
11 a.m. Visit to Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility
4 p.m. Mass for the conclusion of the World Meeting of Families, Benjamin Franklin Parkway
7 p.m. Visit with organizers, volunteers and benefactors of the World Meeting of Families, Atlantic Aviation
8 p.m. Depart for Rome

What you need to know if you are traveling.

Photo Credit: AP

Democrat, Ky. Clerk Kim Davis, Becomes Republican


The Kentucky clerk who refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples is switching to the Republican party after she feels Democrats abandoned her in her fight.

"I've always been a Democrat, but the party left me," Davis said, according to her legal representatives.

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, a Baptist preacher running for president, visited Davis in jail and held a rally for her efforts. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz also traveled to Kentucky to bask in her defiance. Davis was freed from jail on the condition she does not interfere with her deputies issuing marriage licenses.

Davis was elected Rowan County clerk last fall as a Democrat, replacing her mother, who served as county clerk for 37 years. 

Photo Credit: AP

Pope Francis to Put Immigrants Center Stage at Independence Hall


When Pope Francis gives an address on immigration and religious freedom at Independence Hall in Philadelphia on Saturday, he will speak as a religious leader for whom the treatment of immigrants is so central to his papacy that his first official trip was to a Mediterranean island where hundreds have died trying to reach Europe.

Francis will meet with immigrants before his speech at the place where both the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution were signed, and bless a 5-foot-tall cross symbolizing the journey of faith of Latino Catholics.

“It will be the perfect venue for him to harken back to our roots as a nation, and remind us of our heritage and the principals on which our nation was built,” said Kevin Appleby, director of migration policy for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

The South American son of immigrants himself, Francis is making immigrants one of the focuses of his first visit to the United States. At a time when a top Republican presidential contender, Donald Trump, advocates for a wall along the Mexican border to keep out what he labels rapists and other criminals, Francis urges respecting the reasons that children, women and men leave their homes.

Speaking to the U.S. Congress on Thursday, Francis urged its members to be humane and just as they responded to the migrants pouring into Europe and the immigrants, often undocumented, coming to the United States from Latin America.

"We must not be taken aback by their numbers, but rather view them as persons, seeing their faces and listening to their stories, trying to respond as best as we can to their situation," Francis said.

Francis’ worldview is from the bottom up, with immigrants at the core of what he cares about, said John Carr, director of Initiative on Catholic Social Thought and Public Life at Georgetown University.

When Francis visited Lampedusa in 2013, the tiny Sicilian island toward which tens of thousands leaving North Africa have fled, he said the drownings of migrants was "a thorn in the heart." Two years later, with masses of Syrians refugees arriving in Europe, he is calling on every Catholic parish, monastery and convent to take in a family.

“For Pope Francis this is personal not political. This is moral not ideological,” Carr said.

Francis’ visit is replete with reminders of his appeal for better treatment for immigrants, including meetings with day laborers and children who crossed the border unaccompanied by adults. Francis had talked about arriving in the United States via a border crossing, though in the end he flew into Joint Base Andrews.

“To enter the United States from the border with Mexico would be a beautiful gesture of brotherhood and support for immigrants,” Francis said.

Immigrants from Los Angeles, among them young children, headed to Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia to appeal to Francis for help. Five-year-old Sofie Cruz, whose parents are from Oaxaca, Mexico, told NBC Los Angeles that if given the opportunity to meet the pope, she would ask Francis to talk to the president and Congress about legalizing her parents and others.

She did manage to meet the pope — delivering a shirt and letter to him during a parade in the nation's capital. A coalition of Los Angeles-based immigration rights groups, the Full Rights for Immigrants Coalition, had prepared for nearly a year for Sofie to make a dash for the popemobile. She wrote the letter herself, the group said. 

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Raesha Cartagena, the mother of a Catholic school student in New York City, said she thought Francis was trying to ensure that all people are treated with respect regardless of whether they are citizens.

“What he’s trying to teach is tolerance," she said. "I think he’s trying to focus on teaching people how to create compassion and understanding for people who are new here."

Observers not expect him to come with particular legislative challenges to American politicians. But even when he is not specific about policies such as immigration reform, his position and that of the Roman Catholic Church is clear, Appleby said.

“I think his purpose is not necessarily to get into the domestic policy debate or political season but to move hearts, to change hearts,” he said. “So he’s going to do everything in his power to raise up the common humanity that we have with migrants.”

Francis’ views on immigration and some other topics are out of step with many in power in the United States. A Gallup poll found that his favorability rating had dropped from 76 percent in February of last year to 59 percent in July, a decline driven by Catholics and conservatives.

In the last Congress, the Senate passed a bipartisan immigration bill that would have offered citizenship for many of the United States' 11 million unauthorized immigrants, but the bill died in the House.

By contrast, this Congress has opposed President Barack Obama’s executive orders to stop the deportation of some undocumented immigrants.

William D'Antonio, a senior fellow at Catholic University in Washington, D.C., said the Catholic church has gone from one that was almost entirely of white, European heritage to one that is almost half Hispanic. Of the 51 million Catholics in the United States, 40 percent are Latino.

"We are simply doing something that continues the American pattern of being an immigrant society," he said.

Latinos will look to him as their champion, said Carr, with Georgetown University. He said that he hoped that people opposed to immigration reform would listen to the pope, step back from the politics and think about the problem in moral terms.

"It is a wonderful thing that on his first visit to the United States, he will stand in Independence Hall and see where our nation began," he said. "It will remind him and it will remind the rest of us I hope what makes us who we are."

Photo Credit: NBC10

Robot Buys New iPhone


Note to marketers: Show up with a robot on Apple iPhone release day and you’re likely to get media coverage.

That’s what happened on Friday in front of the Apple store in Palo Alto, California, when the new iPhone6 and 6s Plus was set to be released.

Brianna Lempesis  of San Diego was in line waiting to buy one of the new gadgets. Well, sort of.

Her face beamed on a computer screen attached to a BeamPro Sustainable Technologies robot was present - and grabbing the air waves. She was physically in San Diego, and planned to purchase a new phone remotely through a complicated plan that involved paying by credit card in a deal that she already arranged with the store manager. Someone was going to drop the phone in a side pouch of her robotic "body." Then she planned to lock herself (or her robot) in the store and fly up to the Bay Area on Monday to get her hands - her real ones - on her new purchase in the flesh. She was apparently "standing" in line at other stores, like in Toronto, too, thanks to technology.

Lempesis wasn't the only robot-customer to think of the gimmicky idea, either. Lucy Kelly sent her Atomic 212 Robot - which looks like an iPad riding a Segue - showed up in Sydney, Australia to buy a smartphone, Metro and Mashable reported. Kelly is a media executive for Atomic 212, the Telegraph in England reported.

In the case of Lempesis, the company that she worked for has grabbed headlines before, too. In July, President Barack Obama greeted Alice Wong, founder of the Disability Visibility Project via BeamPro during the Americans with Disabilities Act 25th Anniversary reception in the Blue Room of the White House via a BeamPro robot.

Robots, and new iPhones, are good for all sorts of things, Lempesis noted.

“I love the magic of technology,” she said.

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Mystic Aquarium Debuts Rare Yellow Lobster


Mystic Aquarium’s new addition is one in 30 million.

The aquarium announced its new arrival on National Lobster Day. Chiffon, an extremely rare yellow lobster, comes from a New Bedford, Massachusetts, fishing vessel, according to Mystic Aquarium.

Chiffon joins the ranks of Sapphire and Topaz, two blue lobsters, which are one in every two million, along with an orange lobster called Orange, which is also one in 30 million, the aquarium wrote on Twitter.

Photo Credit: Mystic Aquarium

ESPN Reportedly Re-Evaluating 'SportsCenter'


ESPN's signature 'SportsCenter' news program is reportedly undergoing changes to keep up with the 24 hour pace of online news.

According to The Big Lead, ESPN will cut the show's airtime in half and drop its afternoon live show.

The company is expected to lay off up to 300 people over the next few months, according to The Big Lead's sources. The changes are attributed to parent company Disney requesting ESPN to cut its budget by $100 million in 2016 and $250 million in 2017.

The network issued a statement on the matter to CNBC, saying: "ESPN has historically embraced evolving technology to smartly navigate our business. Any organizational changes will be announced directly to our employees if and when appropriate."

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Bushnell Park Carousel Reopens


Hartford's Bushnell Park Carousel is up and running again after a yearlong closure, according to the New England Carousel Museum.

The carousel opened at 11 a.m. Friday, Sept. 25 and will be open every Friday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. It was closed for a year while construction was underway on a new wing of the Carousel pavilion, which will open up to the public within the next month.

The carousel, located in downtown Hartford, is one of fewer than 200 antique wooden carousels in the U.S. It turns 101 years old in 2015.

"We want to encourage people to come enjoy this treasure and learn about its unique history and art. If people begin caring and supporting Hartford’s carousel today, then it can be still be around for their great-grandchildren to enjoy in the future," Louise DeMars, executive director of the New England Carousel Museum of Bristol, said in a statement Friday.

The carousel features 36 jumper horses that move up and down, 12 stationary horses, two chariots, and a Wurlitzer 153 band organ.

Carousel fans can become part of the Friends of the Bushnell Park Carousel, the New England Carousel Museum, or both, which provides unlimited access to both facilities. More information is available online or by calling 860-585-5411.

You can book the carousel for personal gatherings before 11 a.m. or after 5 p.m.

Photo Credit: AP

Crews Respond to Apartment Fire in Wallingford

Hartford Hotel Rooms to Become Apartments


A Hartford hotel is expected to converted about 100 existing rooms to rental apartment units that would be within close proximity to the city's new Downtown North development.

The Radisson, separated from downtown Hartford by Interstate 84, is adjacent to the capital city's new minor league baseball stadium, Dunkin' Donuts Park, which will house the Hartford Yard Goats in 2016.

"It’s another great thing," said Mayor Pedro Segarra, adding that the new apartments will "create some growth and some vibrancy."

It not clear when the apartments will be finished, but they will compete directly with existing developments in Hartford. Segarra said he thinks there will be enough demand based on the way apartments at other Capital Region Development Authority properties have been scooped up.

"Everything else in the way of apartments have been filling up very quickly, so that’s a good sign," he said. "777 Main Street, which is one of the larger projects, is doing very well, as is 176 Allyn Street, so there is hope that all of these properties will turn around and continue to fill up."

Actor Wanted Sheriff Killed: DA


The Southern California man who once voiced the affable “Peanuts” TV cartoon character, Charlie Brown, is now facing new charges linked to making criminal threats, including writing letters from his jail cell in which he offered $50,000 to have someone kill the Sheriff of San Diego County.

Peter Robbins, 59, was supposed to be sentenced in a downtown San Diego courtroom Friday for violating terms of his probation.

In 2013, Robbins pleaded guilty to threatening his ex-girlfriend and stalking a doctor who performed breast-enhancement surgery on her.

Robbins served his time for those charges. Shortly after his release, he was arrested against for violating the conditions of his probation, including cutting off his GPS bracelet, drinking alcohol and failing to complete court-ordered classes. He has been in jail since late February 2015.

But, now, prosecutors say the troubled ex-actor has gotten himself into even more hot water.

At the courthouse Friday, San Diego County Deputy District Attorney Brenda Daly said Robbins is now being charged with four new felony counts associated with making criminal threats and vandalism.

Daly said those threats include writing letters from his jail cell to undisclosed recipients in which Robbins offered to pay $50,000 to have San Diego County Sheriff William “Bill” Gore killed.

“He has solicited and attempted to solicit many members through letters and writings to kill Sheriff Gore,” Daly told the judge. “He has attempted to intimidate many, many people. He has acted out in jail numerous times.”

The deputy DA said the counts also include the very public threats Robbins has made to one of the San Diego judges overseeing his case, Judge Robert O’Neill.

During a previous attempt at completing his sentencing hearing on June 5, Robbins had an angry, profanity-laden outburst in the courtroom, yelling at Judge O’Neill, “I hope you drop dead of a heart attack.”

He also screamed obscenities, tried to withdraw a guilty plea and told Judge O’Neill he wanted to fire his public defender. The judge stopped the proceedings, postponed the sentencing and granted Robbins’ attorneys a request that he be evaluated for mental competency.

Daly said Robbins is also being charged with vandalism for defacing his cell with “numerous writings” all over the walls, although she would not specify the content of those writings. She said he has caused more than $1,000 in damages to his cell.

The deputy DA said these latest charges are just the latest examples of bizarre behavior from Robbins, who has been unpredictable – to say the least – since his original arrest in January 2013.

Before these new charges, Daly said Robbins was facing four years in prison for the probation violations. With the new counts, his time in prison could double.

“He is looking at a significant amount of time,” she said.

For now, a preliminary hearing has been scheduled for Dec. 7 for the defendant.

While facing a judge Friday, Robbins appeared somber, and at times confused and frustrated.
The judge had to stop several times so Robbins could speak with his attorney when he needed clarification on what the judge was telling him.

During one of those brief breaks, Robbins decided to speak -- out of turn -- to the judge himself.

“I’ve been in jail without bail for eight months,” Robbins said. “Previously I was in jail for a bail amount of $550,000…”

The judge cut  him off and suggested he stop talking, as the comments could be used against him.
The judge then advised Robbins to speak with his lawyer and only make comments through his lawyer before making any further remarks.

“Do you understand that?" the judge asked him.

“Yes, sir,” Robbins replied, putting his head down.

The judge also explained that the likelihood of him being released from jail anytime soon is “not very high.”

At the end of his court appearance, as the judge explained the new charges, the shackled Robbins
sat with his hands crossed, staring straight forward, sighing and softly crying.

Daly said she wasn’t surprised or preoccupied with Robbins’ behavior in court.

“His reactions in court have been all over the spectrum, so I try not to pay attention to what his reactions are,” she told reporters.

Given Robbins’ reputation for courtroom outbursts, she said deputies are always prepared to protect the courtroom when he has an appearance in court.

Robbins was first arrested at the U.S.-Mexico border in San Ysidro in January 2013 for allegedly threatening and stalking his ex-girlfriend, Shawna Kern, and La Jolla plastic surgeon Lori Saltz.

Investigators said Robbins, a resident of Oceanside, began stalking Saltz after she performed a breast enhancement surgery on Kern.

Robbins and Kern broke up following her plastic surgery. Robbins then repeatedly demanded a refund from Saltz, stalking and threatening to kill the surgeon if she didn’t pay him back for his ex’s surgery, according to prosecutors. Robbins called Kern up to 37 times in a 24-hour period saying he would kill her and her son if she didn’t give back his dog and car.

In May 2013, Robbins was sentenced to jail time and ordered to enroll in a residential drug treatment program to tackle his problems with substance abuse. He was also sentenced to probation for five years. If he violated his probation, he stood to serve four years in prison.

To prevent that from happening, the judge had a few familiar words of advice for Robbins in court in May 2013: “If I can borrow a line from 'Peanuts,' sir, I'm going to grant [you] probation. If you adhere to those terms, you won’t go to prison. So, don’t be a blockhead.”

Robbins – who began his acting career at age 9 – was the voice of Charlie Brown for the iconic television specials "A Charlie Brown Christmas,” "It's a Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown" and “A Boy Named Charlie Brown.”

Photo Credit: NBC 7 San Diego

$50 Million Facility Coming to Waterbury


Waterbury officials joined executives from King Industries to break ground Friday on an office park just steps away from Route 8.

"This is probably the biggest coup that this administration has been able to negotiate," said Mayor Neil O'Leary.

King Industries is an additive and chemical manufacturer based in Norwalk with offices in Holland and China. The company purchased a Brownfield site in a business park from the city of Waterbury for $750,000 and will build a warehouse and manufacturing plant.

King Industries executives said they've been in talks with the city of Waterbury for about four years.

"We had specific site criteria," said Bob King, the company's director of operations. "We wanted 11 acres. We wanted to be near a highway and in an industrial park, and as you can see behind me, this is it."

The company will invest $50 million in the site, hiring more than 150 construction workers over 10 years and three phases of construction. In the end, King Industries is expected to employ about 60 people in Waterbury.

Bob King said staying in Connecticut is important for the family owned company. He said Waterbury provides a location rich in history.

"They’ve really been a cornerstone in Connecticut manufacturing and I think that legacy still stands today and I think it’ll continue," King said.

O'Leary said the company will also work with local schools on job readiness programs.

"They want to form a partnership with our education department and with our young people and get our young people trained with skilled labor into this type of work and that’s really what sold me on King Industries," he said.

O'Leary said more Brownfield sites are in the works to be cleaned and prepped for development and said he thinks the future is bright for more companies to come to Waterbury.

"Waterbury has the history of manufacturing that’s never left us since brass. Manufacturing is coming back into Waterbury. We’ve brought in more than 30 companies over the past four years, many of which are manufacturers, many of which are successful, King Industries is the jewel so far," he explained.

Papal Visit Day 5: Francis Speaks on Immigration


Welcome to the home stretch of Pope Francis' inaugural visit. The pontiff arrives in Philadelphia Saturday for the World Meeting of Families, a triennial gathering that is the largest of Catholic families.

Here's a look at  the agenda for today:

Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul, 10:30 a.m.

Francis celebrates Mass at the mother church of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. The place was built in the mid-1800s with no street-level windows, a reminder of the anti-Catholic riots that took place at the time.

Independence Hall, 4:45 p.m.

Francis will give a speech on immigration and religious freedom, standing at the same lectern that President Abraham Lincoln used to deliver the Gettysburg Address.

Festival of Families, World Meeting of Families, Benjamin Franklin Parkway, 7:30 p.m.

Francis will visits the Festival of Families, a celebration of family life around the world that is part of the World Meeting of Families. Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli and Colombian rock musician Juanes are to perform for Francis.

Want to Watch the Events?
We will cover all the day's biggest events live with live streams on our website and in our app. Click here for full coverage of the papal visit.

Philadelphia Forecast

Expect a cool and breezy weekend with temperatures in the mid-70's, according to NBC10's First Alert Weather team

If You're in Town: 

Francis' arrival means the virtual closure of the city's core, major interstates and more. Here's a schedule of what's closing when. But don't despair. Google Maps will help drivers navigate road closures and it turns out that parking may not be so hard to find. For those taking public transit, check out this survival guide. Still have questions? Check out this list of FAQs

In Case You Missed It

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Photo Credit: AP

Security Breaches Expose Private Information of Military Families


A pair of security breaches has compromised the private information of some U.S. Army families, according to a report by the News-4 I-Team in Washington, D.C.

The families’ medical histories, social security numbers, home addresses and child daycare information were made vulnerable. Unauthorized people or contractors have viewed the private information of at least 82 of those families, according to the federal General Services Administration, the agency that suffered the breached.

The agency's inspector general says as many as 8,000 of the 9,000 Army families that use the program may have had their information compromised.

These breaches add injury to injury: These families were all part of the U.S. Army Fee Assistance program, a program that has struggled to provide subsidies to Army parents who use private daycare services.

The program's managers and the GSA were brought before Congress earlier this month after Army families complained about late subsidy payments, which have triggered a series of financial hardships for the families. In at least one case, the late payments led an Army parent to declare personal bankruptcy.

News4 exposed the late payments in July.

Internal agency auditors have also revealed a major backlog of thousands of unreturned phone calls, emails and records requests from those Army families who were seeking the late payments.

The GSA has offered credit monitoring services to all 9,000 families who use the program.

Internal auditors found the GSA allowed contractors access to private information of families without first completing background checks and without requiring those contractors sign non-disclosure agreements.

The auditors found the contractors included a person with a criminal warrant for his or her arrest and two people with financial problems, including a personal bankruptcy.

In a second breach, the agency failed to properly encrypt the families’ personal information in a government database, auditors said. That breach was disclosed to other government agencies in June.

Army captain Karmon Dyches said she’s suffered a series of financial hardships because of the management of the program.

“It’s one thing to have your child care provider not be paid," Dyches said. "But it’s completely unacceptable to have your safety compromised.”

Dyches said home addresses and family details are particularly sensitive for military families.

A GSA spokeswoman said, “GSA takes its responsibility for the welfare of our military families seriously and understands it is critically important that GSA improve the operations of the Army Fee Assistance program. GSA apologizes to all of the Army families who have suffered frustrations and financial hardships.”

The U.S. House Oversight Committee launched an investigation into the Army Fee Assistance program in the wake of a series of reports by the I-Team, detailing red tape, backlogs and late payments for families.

The committee has also requested follow-up information about the agency’s response to the security breaches, the I-Team has learned.

Invasive Plant Found in Coventry Lake


The state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection is trying to figure out how a "highly invasive aquatic plant" called hydrilla ended up in the waters of Coventry Lake.

According to DEEP, an aquatic plant biology plant at the University of Connecticut recently found hydrilla fragments in the water.

Hydrilla, which is not native to the U.S., has become a big problem in the southeastern states and is spreading into the northeast, DEEP officials said. The plant threatens native vegetation, changes aquatic habitats and is difficult to control.

It's not clear how hydrilla fragments got into the lake. The plant's only other known locations in Connecticut are Silvermine River and small ponds with no public access, according to DEEP.

"This is a troubling discovery," DEEP Chief of Natural Resources William Hyatt said in a statement Friday. "This plant is highly invasive, and to date has only been found in a few locations in Connecticut. Finding it in a public water body that supports significant recreational use is concerning. We will move quickly to determine the extent of the infestation and to prevent further spread."

DEEP said Coventry Lake will be surveyed so officials can determine the extent of the hydrilla invasion and figure out how to control it.

Boating Division staff members will also be present at the boat launch to check vessels and trailers and provide information about decontaminating boats.

The state is asking boaters to take the following steps:

  • Clean visible plants, fish, animals, mud and debris from vessels before leaving the boat launch
  • Drain water from every space in the boat and dry off everything that comes into contact with the water
  • If you can't dry your boat, clean it with hot, pressurized water
  • Dip equipment in vinegar for 20 minutes, then rinse; wash with a 1-percent salt solution and leave on for 24 hours before rinsing; or soak for 10 minutes in a bleach solution or soap and hot water

DEEP is asking fishermen to avoid dumping live bait or removing plants and animals from the water.

You can report invasive plant sightings to DEEP's Inland Fisheries Division by calling 860-424-3474.

More information is available online at the DEEP website, as well as in the 2015 CT Angler's Guide and the 2015 CT Boater's Guide.

Photo Credit: NBc10.com
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