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Yankee Candle to Sell “Boston Strong” Candles


Yankee Candle is a Massachusetts company and they wanted to do something to help the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing, so they are offering “Boston Strong” candles.

The scent is cinnamon, baking spices and a hint of freshly poured tea. The candles will sell for $27.99 and proceeds will go to The One Fund Boston.

“As a Massachusetts based company, this tragedy has hit so very near to our hearts and we all wanted to help. A special candle seemed the perfect solution to offer to our customers and employees who are looking for ways to support the victims," Harlan Kent, CEO of the Yankee Candle Company, Inc., said in a statement. "I am pleased to share with you that we have designed a “Boston Strong” candle that will be on our website starting today and 100% of net proceeds from sales of this candle will be donated to The One Fund Boston, Inc.”

The candles are expected to ship by May 22.

As of Thursday afternoon, donations to the One Fund exceeded $23.6 million.

Officials: Hackers Not to Blame for CBOE Outage


Chicago Board Options Exchange officials say the systems outage that delayed trading for several hours on Thursday was an internal problem and not the work of hackers.

According to the CBOE web site, users were having problems downloading information from the computer system.

CBOE spokeswoman Gail Osten told NBC 5 that trading resumed on the SPX, SPXpm and SPX Weeklys at 11:50 a.m. and the rest were expected to be back up by noon.

The CBOE is the largest U.S. options exchange. Many of the most frequently-traded stock options are bought and sold on its exchange.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Bombing Survivor: "Glass Everywhere and Then I Blacked Out"


Connecticut couple Amy and Mike Garofolo were in Boston last Monday to cheer on a friend in the marathon, but more importantly to mark a rebirth in Amy's fight with cancer.

They were mere feet away from one of the explosions.

For four hours the Middletown couple was on the sidewalk outside Forum Restaurant, waiting for their friend to cross the finish line. His slow time may have saved their lives.

“I remember him being blown back into the restaurant and going down like a rag doll. Glass everywhere and then I blacked out,” said Amy Garofolo, who says when she came to, her son Ryan was carrying her away from all the chaos.

She says it felt like she got hit by a ton of bricks. “And as we were evacuating out the back of the restaurant, I could feel blood trickling down my face.”

Amy sustained serious injuries, as did her husband Michael. He had perforated ear drums, staples in his head and burns on his hand. 

“There was lots of glass. I remember the falling glass,” said Michael. “Thinking to myself, 'This isn’t good.'”

It’s still difficult for the Garofolos to process. They were in Boston that Monday for a cancer fundraiser at Forum; they were also in town to celebrate Amy’s first anniversary of her stem cell transplant.

They had come in just 30 minutes before the first bomb went off and then the second exploded.

“We were literally out by the road cheering for four hours,” Amy said.

“I think of the what ifs. The thousand different decisions. Little decisions that were made by myself or Amy and a lot of different people that affected where we were,” Michael added.

Both Mike and Amy were blown back into the restaurant. They found their kids and were evacuated out back. Mike though went back in to help out; he saw the front glass blown out and pure terror.

“And then once I got out there, it was pretty horrific,” Mike said. "Within a split second — one minute they are cheering on their friends — they're on the ground, missing body parts, wondering what the heck just happened.”

Mike was taken to Massachusetts General Hospital to be checked out and was released several hours later.

“I’m just thankful,” said Mike.

"Neither one of them has taken me down, and I’m going to fight back against both of them,” Amy added.

Amy has been battling multiple myeloma for two years and says an incident like this has made her even stronger. As for her marathon injuries, she says she had glass in her hands, cuts in her head and down her nose, but the Garofolos know luck was on their side.

Oxford Woman Charged With 41 Counts of Animal Cruelty


An Oxford woman has been charged with 41 counts of cruelty to animals two months after officials seized malnourished animals from her property. 

Karen Desrosiers, 46, was charged on Wednesday and turned herself in to state police after learning there was warrant for her arrest, according to a news release from state police.

Officials began investigating when the Oxford Animal Control received a complaint about a roaming animal on Feb. 20, according to state police.

A search warrant issued for the property in February says horses and donkeys had badly overgrown hooves and skin conditions and no water. No hay and little animal feed was seen on the property, which was littered with construction equipment and old cars, according to state police, and one horse appeared to have wounds and injuries, though officials could not determine how they occurred.

Four dogs, a cat, a horse, a donkey and a pig were seized from Desrosiers’ home in February.

Police said the animals, including two miniature horses, a goat and 18 chickens, were kept in cages and corrals around the property.

Desrosiers was released after posting a $5,000 non-surety bond.

Officials from the state Department of Agriculture said Santana, the large horse, is still recouping and has a very long road ahead.

Several other animals are OK and have been placed into homes.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Plainfield Man Accused of Sexually Assaulting Pre-Teen


Plainfield police have arrested a local man accused of sexually assaulting a pre-teen.

Curt D. Bernier, 41, was arrested at his residence at 7 a.m. on Thursday on an outstanding arrest warrant, according to police.

Bernier was charged with first-degree sexual assault, fourth-degree sexual assault and two counts of risk of injury to a minor.

Police said Bernie is accused of having sexual relations with a 12-year-old family member and the arrest stems from a lengthy investigation in 2012. 

Bernier was held on a $100,000 bond pending his arraignment at the Danielson Superior Court on April 25.

Photo Credit: Plainfield Police

$7.7 Million to Be Distributed to Sandy Hook Families


The Newtown-Sandy Hook Community Foundation plans by May 23 to distribute $7.7 million to the 40 families most severely impacted by the December shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown and public meetings will be held about distributing the funds.

Twenty students and six educators were killed in the shooting.

The committee, after meetings with families, decided to provide one, all-inclusive disbursement rather than an initial disbursement followed by future disbursements. The amount to be distributed has increased from $4 million to $7.7 million, which is a majority of the fund. 

The distribution committee will hold two public hearings in Newtown to gather public input on the distribution. 

One will take place on Tuesday May 7, from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. and Wednesday May 8, from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.  A location is yet to be determined

Retired Federal Judge Alan Nevas will serve as chairman of the distribution committee.  

Newtown residents Dr. John Woodall, founder and director of The Unity Project, a resilience-building program for youth; and Joe Smialowski, a senior executive at Citigroup, are members of the committee and Attorney Kenneth Feinberg will serve as special advisor to the committee. None will receive compensation.

“Throughout his distinguished career Judge Nevas has been known for his thoughtfulness, fairness and integrity.  In our meetings with the families of those most severely impacted by the events of 12/14, the one thing we heard more than any other was their desire to have an independent third party involved in the process. The inclusion of Judge Nevas on this distribution committee with Dr. Woodall and Joe Smialowski is in keeping with the Foundation’s by-laws and brings a qualified, unimpeachable third party into the process,” Dr. Charles Herrick, a member of the Foundation’s Board of Directors, said in a statement.

"I am honored to assist the distribution committee in designing and administering a compensation program. My sole objective is to distribute available compensation by May 23, 2013 to all eligible claimants without any restriction or precondition,” Feinberg said. “I look forward to working closely with the committee in their efforts to help the healing process for the families most severely impacted by the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting and the greater Newtown community.”

Photo Credit: AP

George W. Bush: I "Really Don't" Miss Being President


George W. Bush is back in the Oval Office. Fortunately for him, it is just a replica of his old workplace.

Bush took a walk through the new George W. Bush Presidential Center in Dallas on Thursday and told NBC’s Matt Lauer that he does not miss his old job.

“I had all the fame and power I needed for eight years,” Bush said. “Laura and I knew when our time was up, it was time to come home.”

Bush and wife Laura reflected on their eight years in the White House on the day that five living past and present U.S. presidents gathered to help dedicate the George W. Bush Presidential Center in a ceremony that is expected to attract more than 8,000 spectators.

The event also marks Bush’s first return to the spotlight since he left the real Oval Office four years ago when he left behind a presidency that was punctuated with low approval ratings and controversial decisions -- decisions that Bush unabashedly says he does not regret.

“We were successful in protecting the homeland,” he said. “People are going argue whether such and such yielded information and I am telling you that it did and without it, you cannot protect the homeland.”


The tour of the center with the Bushes included a stop at the display of hanging chads - a relic of the Florida election recount where the Supreme Court ultimately ruled in favored of Bush after the 2000 presidential election.

The decision marked the beginning of a presidency for which Bush said he had high hopes: economic development, tax relief, education reform and faith based initiatives.

But that all went out the window on Sept. 11, 2001.

“I became a wartime president, something I did not want to be,” Bush said.

Still, Laura Bush says her husband is at peace. And while the former president does not miss being Commander in Chief, he has no qualms about encouraging his brother Jeb Bush to run in 2016. Bush said in an interview that aired on ABC on Wednesday that his younger brother would make a "marvelous candidate."

But their mother Barbara Bush disagreed.

"We've had enough Bushes," she said in a separate interview with Lauer, adding that Jeb is "by far the best-qualified man," but thought there were many worthy candidates.


Photo Credit: AP

UConn Workers Used Contractors on State Time for Home Renovations: Warrant


Two UConn employees have been arrested, accused of using campus contractors to renovate their homes on state time and authorizing thousands of dollars in overtime pay for the work.

Mark O'Neill, 56, the supervisor of the facilities department on UConn's West Hartford campus, and Jose Cruz, 58, the building superintendent, have both been arrested and charged with stealing from the state.

Police said O’Neil and Cruz are accused of billing more than $1,700 worth of personal supplies to their UConn credit cards and authorizing payment of $5,689.89 in unearned overtime when the contractors were actually working on the men’s houses.

Authorities started investigating after receiving a tip in November 2011.

According to the arrest warrant, O'Neill is accused of sending two campus janitorial contractors to do renovations on his South Main Street home in Suffield as well as on his rental home up the street while they were working on state time.

A news release from UConn police said the he improperly charged $341.96 to his UConn credit card to buy personal items.

Cruz is accused of improperly charging $1,419.78 to his UConn-issued credit card for personal use and having contractors deliver supplies to his Kenwood Circle home in Bloomfield and do work there on state time, according to the warrant.

Cruz "stated he knew it was wrong but that he and others had been doing it for years and that his boss, Mark O'Neill, did not have a problem with it," the warrant states.

One of the contractors also told police that he, another contractor and Cruz went fishing on state time, according to the warrant.

Cruz and O'Neill are on paid leave as their cases go through court.

NBC Connecticut went to O'Neill's home, as well as Cruz’s home, but no one answered the door at either residence.

Two contractors have also been arrested and the warrants state both have admitted their roles in the crime.

Photo Credit: UConn Police

Getaway Vehicle Found in Murder of Texas Asst. DA: Police


Kaufman County, Texas, investigators have located a vehicle they say was used as a getaway vehicle following the murder of Assistant District Attorney Mark Hasse back in January.

According to a search warrant released Thursday, the car, a 2001 Mercury Sable, was towed from a storage facility in Seagoville — the same facility where a white Crown Victoria was found that investigators linked to the murders of District Attorney Mike McLelland and his wife Cynthia.

Police said former judge Eric Williams — who along with his wife Kim was charged last week with the murders — was storing the Sable at the storage facility but moved it into the parking lot when he hid the Crown Victoria inside the storage unit.

Believing the vehicle to be abandoned, the owner of the storage facility later had the Sable towed. The tow company then contacted the owner of the Sable, Armida Martinez, who said she sold the car in 2010 on Craigslist.

The FBI said their investigation revealed that on Jan. 27, 2013, Williams searched a Texas license plate number that matched the Sable.

The FBI now has the Sable and is checking it for DNA and forensic evidence. The Sable matches the description of the car, described as a Ford Taurus, seen leaving the scene of the Hasse murder.

Investigators said entry logs from the storage facility showed the unit entered and exited several times on Jan. 30 and 31 and again on March 30, the day of the McLelland murders.

Photo Credit: Kaufman County Sheriff's Department

Two Teens Injured by Hit and Run Driver in Manchester


Two teenagers sustained injuries after they were struck by a hit-and-run driver Thursday evening, said authorities.

According to police, two boys ages 15 and 16 were crossing the intersection of Fairfield and Cooper Hill Street at around 6:48 p.m., when an SUV hit them.

Police said the driver sped off, but then came back and looked at the victims on the ground and laughed.

Zulma DeJesus tried helping them until paramedics arrived. “I saw the little boy his bone he was all sticking out he was unconscious,” she said.
The two teens were transported to Hartford Hospital. Both are suffering serious injuries said police. 

Responding officers found the driver a block away and arrested 55-year-old Rockville resident, Robert Tupper.

He is facing several charges including breach of peace, first-degree reckless endangerment, and evading responsibility with serious physical injury.

Tupper is being held on $100,000 bond.

The accident is under investigation. Anyone with information or who may have witnessed the collision is urged to contact Officer Steven Koss at 860-645-5560.


Top NFL Draft Picks


The top of the 2013 NFL draft was light on quarterbacks and heavy on brawn. Click through to see picks from the first round.

Photo Credit: AP

Woman Pleads Guilty to Mass Shooting Threat


An East Haven woman admitted Thursday to threatening to carry out a mass shooting and bombing at Gateway Community College.

Amanda Bowden, 19, pleaded guilty in federal court in Bridgeport.

Bowden was arrested Feb. 19 after the FBI learned of the threats.

"In text messages and recorded conversations, this defendant explicitly detailed her threats which included a planned shooting and bombing at Gateway Community College in New Haven," said David Fein, U.S. Attorney for the District of Connecticut.

According to court documents, Bowden made threats via text messages to a witness that she planned the mass shooting and bombing and that she had weapons and two napalm-based bombs at her home. She also made texted details of her threats and had phone conversations with an undercover law enforcement agent, according to authorities.

A search of Bowden's home after her arrest turned up no guns or bombs.

"Our office takes all such threats with utmost seriousness and will prosecute them to the fullest extent of federal law," Fein said.

Bowden pleaded guilty to one count of false information and hoaxes. She has been detained since her arrest.

Bowden faces a maximum of five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 when she is sentenced on July 13.

Photo Credit: Facebook

State Police Lead Search for Missing ECSU Student


State Police are leading a search for Alyssiah Marie Wiley, a 20-year-old Eastern Connecticut State University student from West Haven, who was last heard from on April 20.

A Silver Alert was issued early Thursday morning. 

On Wednesday night, state police brought in dogs to search the campus and places Wiley was last seen, but nothing came of the search. 

Eastern Connecticut State University Police said Wiley was reported missing on Wednesday. Campus police, as well as state police major crimes are involved in the search as well, according to police.

Alyssiah's mother's Facebook page says Wiley has been missing since Saturday.

She is 5-feet 6, weighs 150 pounds and has black hair and brown eyes.

Anyone who has any information on Alyssiah should notify State Police Troop K, 860-537-7500.

Photo Credit: Facebook

Hit-and-Run Suspect Taunted Victims: Witnesses


Two teenagers were injured when a driver hit them with a vehicle in Manchester, Conn. on Thursday and fled, authorities said, but them he came back and taunted the victims, the witnesses said.

Two boys, ages 15 and 16, were crossing an intersection in Manchester at 6:48 p.m., when an SUV hit them.

Police said the driver sped off, but then came back, looked at the victims on the ground, laughed and yelled at them.

“Then stopped right there, showed us his middle finger and started laughing and took off,” said Zulma DeJesus, who tried helping the teens until paramedics arrived.

The two teens were transported to Hartford Hospital and both are suffering serious injuries, according to police. One has broken bones and a head injury, according to officials.

Responding officers found the suspected driver a block away and arrested Robert Tupper, 55, of Rockville.

Police said Tupper passed sobriety tests and denied being involved.

He is facing several charges, including breach of peace, first-degree reckless endangerment and evading responsibility with serious physical injury.

Tupper is being held on $100,000 bond and is due in court on Friday.

The accident is under investigation.

Anyone with information or who witnessed the crash is urged to contact Officer Steven Koss at 860-645-5560.


Retired Rabbi to Open Medical Marijuana Dispensary in D.C.


A local rabbi is coming out of retirement to start a new business venture -- one that's catching a lot of people by surprise. Rabbi Jeffrey Kahn is getting ready to open one of D.C.'s first legal medical marijuana dispensaries, the Takoma Wellness Center, next week.

"We're very excited. It's been a long time in the making," Kahn said. "...For me, it's a chance to really do something else that's important to me, and I guess for my wife and I both, it was a mid-life change of careers."

Kahn retired from his duties as a rabbi in 2007, but is still active at local synagogues. He says he's honoring his father-in-law by opening the medical marijuana dispensary with his wife, Stephanie.

Stephanie Kahn says medical marijuana helped her father when he was suffering from multiple sclerosis in the '70s.

"When he finally tried it, it made a huge difference," she said.

In addition to three kinds of marijuana, the Takoma Wellness Center will sell vaporizers, a machine that makes marijuana butter for brownies and cookies, and books about pot politics.

Only people with HIV/AIDS, cancer, glaucoma and multiple sclerosis can get doctors' recommendations in the District. They will have to display a Department of Health-issued medical marijuana card to even be able to enter the facility.

"The people who are coming to this dispensary are people who are really sick," Kahn said.

But not all religious leaders approve of the rabbi's new venture. Some believe marijuana is immoral. Kahn disputes that charge.

"Morality is not part of the issue," Kahn said. "And what we're dealing with here is getting sick people medicine. We're talking about easing suffering."

Mom Convinces Son He Has Cancer to Steal Money: Police


Police have charged a New Jersey mother who allegedly lied and said her son was suffering with cancer in order to deceive friends and loved ones out of thousands of dollars.

Investigators say Susan Stillwagon, 35, stole as much as $3,500 through cupcake and bracelet fundraisers by claiming that her 9-year-old son had a type of lymphoma and needed medical care.

"You tell people your son has cancer and they want to help," said Pennsauken Police Lieutenant Michael Probasco.

Police got a tip earlier this week that Stillwagon’s story about her son wasn’t adding up. Investigators subpoenaed medical records and discovered Stillwagon had been lying.

Probasco says Stillwagon even convinced her son he was sick to carry out the scheme.

The suspect’s mother, who did not tell NBC10.com her name, says that her daughter is being treated at a local hospital.

“I will just tell you my daughter is sick and something snapped in her head. That’s why she is where she is so that we can find out what’s wrong with her,” said Stillwagon’s mother. “I am very concerned for my daughter, very concerned. We will get through this but people have to leave us alone or we will never get through it.”

New Jersey’s Division of Youth and Families checked on Stillwagon's four children Tuesday.

“They came to make sure the house is livable, food in fridge and that the kids aren't being mistreated and they didn’t find any of that,” said Lieutenant Michael Probasco.

Tamara Disalvo, a neighbor, says her thoughts are with the little boy.

“Just as a friend and neighbor you do feel deceived by this. He must be pretty confused because of he was deceived this way by his mother, that’s got to feel awful,” said Disalvo.

Stillwagon was charged with theft by deception and using her own son to commit a crime.

Photo Credit: NBC10.com

Sandy Hook Commission Meets Today


The Sandy Hook Commission is meeting in Hartford on Friday and will be focusing on mental health services.

Behavioral health professionals will make presentations on the topics of violence and trauma.

Malloy created the 16-member Sandy Hook Advisory Commission after the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School that killed 20 students and six educators. The commission is tasked to review the state's current public safety policy and make recommendations for improvement.


Photo Credit: Stephania Jimenez

Hartford Police Investigate Stabbing of Woman


Hartford police are investigating after a 46-year-old Rockville woman was found with stab wounds in her neck and abdomen near the main gate of Goodwin Park at 2:43 a.m. on Friday.

Police said the woman had multiple lacerations.

The victim is in stable condition in the ICU at Hartford Hospital and was only able to provide minimal details to police.

Major crime is investigating.

Police said this is not a random act.

They are looking for a man who goes by the name of "Nari." He is from the Hartford area and is between 5-feet-7 and 5-feet-8 and known to drive a newer green Nissan Sentra.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Settlement Reached in Quinnipiac Title IX Case


Quinnipiac University will keep all of its existing women's sports team and add women's athletic scholarships as part of a settlement after a women's volleyball coach sued the school over plans to eliminate the program in favor of competitive cheering.

The case made national headlines as it moved through appeals courts, which found that colleges cannot count competitive cheerleading as a sport when trying to comply with gender-equity requirements.

“This litigation advanced the cause of equality for female collegiate athletes across the nation, and the settlement will bring tremendous benefits to female athletes at Quinnipiac University.  The parties have worked hard to achieve this agreement,”Sandra Staub, Legal Director of the ACLU Foundation of Connecticut, said in a statement.

As part of the settlement, Quinnipiac will keep all of its existing women’s teams, including volleyball. The school will allocate more scholarships to female athletes and will improve the benefits provided to most of its women’s teams.  

Quinnipiac  has already added varsity women’s golf and rugby and expanded its women’s track program, according to a news release from the ACLU of Connecticut. 

According to the settlement, Quinnipiac will increase scholarships for women’s rugby and women's track. They will also improve the rugby field and build an indoor track and field facility that meets NCAA competition standards.

The school will authorize the maximum number of competitions for all of its teams and spend at least $5 million to improve the facilities used by women’s varsity teams, including locker rooms.

Quiinipiac will also spend about $450,000 each year to improve its women’s athletics program by increasing coaching salaries, hiring more coaches and academic support staff and providing greater access to athletic training and conditioning services.  

The school will allocate $175,000 during each of the next three years for additional improvements for women’s sports.

It will also hire a "referee," mutually agreed upon by the parties and confirmed by the court, to monitor its progress.



Hartford Mom Charged After Toddler Is Found Wandering


A Hartford mother has been charged with risk of injury after her 2-year-old daughter was found wandering at Rowe and Capitol avenues around 8 p.m. on Friday, according to police and neighbors.

This is the second time in three weeks that this has happened with the same child, officials said.

The boy was taken to Connecticut Children’s Medical Center to be evaluated and he is fine, officials said.

 Officers went to the mother’s house to investigate and found what they called “unacceptable living conditions.”

Other children were in the home, and have been placed in custody of the Connecticut Department of Children and Families.

Hartford Police and DCF are making arrangements for the kids.

The mother has been arrested and charged with risk of injury.  She is cooperating, police said. Her name has not been released.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com
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