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Date Set for Pope Francis' Visit to Mexico


Pope Francis will arrive in Mexico on Feb. 12 to start his long-awaited visit to the heavily Roman Catholic country, a church official said.

Mexican Cardinal Norberto Rivera didn't provide any more details Sunday about the visit, only saying the pontiff would arrive in Mexico City on that date. Local media reported that the visit would last until Feb. 20.

Archdiocese spokesman Carlos Villa Roiz confirmed Rivera's comments, which were made Sunday during a homily in Mexico City.

Villa Roiz told The Associated Press that a Vatican official would be traveling to Mexico soon to arrange the pope's agenda for the trip. During the visit, Francis is expected to address the violence in Mexico as well as migration, one of the central themes of his papacy.

Francis had said he wanted to enter the U.S. from Mexico in a sign of solidarity with migrants during his recent U.S. trip but that the schedule didn't allow for it. Some Mexican church officials are hoping the pope will tour the U.S. border region.

Officials had previously said the pope would visit Mexico in 2016 without providing a specific date for his arrival.

The last pope to visit Mexico was Benedict XVI in March 2012.

Photo Credit: AP

Woman Suspect in Meriden Violent Attacks Arrested


A woman wanted in connection with several violent attacks in Meriden has been arrested and is due in court on Tuesday.

Quanessa Duncan, 20, is suspected in several recent assaults, stabbings and robberies, according to police, but they have not said how many.

The warrant for Duncan includes charges of carrying a dangerous weapon and second-degree breach of peace, according to police, who said more warrants are coming.

Bond for her was set at $25,000. She is expected to appear in court in Meriden on Tuesday.

Photo Credit: Meriden Police

Shelton High Student Arrested Over Threat


A Shelton High School student was arrested on Monday morning, the day after a parent reached out to police about a threat posted on Twitter.

On Sunday, the mother of a Shelton High School student contacted police, showed them a Tweet that said. “I have a gun and I think I’m going to use it tomorrow,” and said she thought a Shelton High School student posted it, police said. 

After investigating, officers identified a 17-year-old boy who attends the high school as the suspect and arrested him on Monday morning.

The teen, who has not been publicly identified, has been charged with second-degree breach of peace. He did not have a gun, police said.

The boy was released to his parents on a promise to appear and is scheduled to appear in Bridgeport Juvenile Court later this month.

Police said Shelton High School administrators were notified and Shelton Police are working with them.

The Shelton Public Schools website says students are safe.

"Late last night a Shelton High School student posted a threat using social media. Although Shelton High School was not specifically identified, Shelton Police Department became involved in the investigation of the matter and appropriate action has been taken. We believe that this matter has been handled effectively and to our satisfaction. We are confident that all of our SHS students attending school today are safe and not in peril," the statement says.


Hamden Woman Stabbed Boyfriend With Butcher Knife: Police


Hamden police have arrested a woman who they said stabbed her boyfriend in the back with a butcher knife.

Police responded to a home on Town Walk Drive at 11:55 p.m. on Sunday after dispatchers received a call from a woman who said she’d stabbed her boyfriend.

Investigators at the scene determined that Melissa Ptak, 43, of Hamden, and her boyfriend had gotten into an argument, which escalated into a fight, and she stabbed the man twice in the back with a butcher knife, police said.

Officers took Ptak into custody, charged her with first-degree assault and disorderly conduct and held her on a $50,000. She is scheduled to appear in court in Meriden today.

It’s not clear if she has an attorney.

Police said her boyfriend was transported to Yale-New Haven Hospital.

Photo Credit: Hamden Police and Hamden Police

Missing Fla. Toddler Found Dead


A Tampa toddler reported missing from a relative's home in Weston has been found dead in a canal, according to Broward Sheriff's Office deputies.

BSO Sheriff Scott Israel confirmed the tragic development in a press conference just before 11:30 a.m. Monday.

Deputies said a resident of the Racquet Club Apartments spotted a body in floating in a canal behind the complex around 8:30 a.m. BSO dive teams pulled the body from the water and later confirmed it was that of the missing toddler.

18-month-old Vihaan Pullamsetti disappeared while visiting relatives at the Racquet Club Apartment complex, located near Lakeview Drive and Blatt Boulevard in Weston. The boy's family said they first noticed he was missing on Sunday around 3:45 p.m., his usual nap time.

The family was preparing to drive back to Tampa after visiting relatives for Halloween festivities that weekend, NBC 6 has learned.

"Just in five minutes, just change their diaper and we were packing stuff in the car, That's it," said Gayadhri Sriram, who was letting the family stay at his house. "We were thinking all doors are closed, he was inside somewhere, we thought, but he was not there."

According to Broward Sheriff's Deputies, Vihaan's family and others tried to find him for about 20 minutes before dialing 911.

Thousands of residents volunteered in the search efforts, canvassing the streets of the neighborhood with flashlights Sunday night and into Monday morning. Cars were seen parked for several blocks as the community joined the search efforts.

Vihaan's tearful mother, Kamala Gavara, told NBC 6 that just this week, her son was learning how to open and close doors on his own. The family believes that the toddler may have opened a door of the first-floor apartment and wandered out on his own. 

A family spokesman for the Pullamsetti family thanked the media and the community for their efforts in assisting in the search for Vihaan. It's not yet clear how the boy died.

Stay with NBC 6 for updates on this developing story.

Photo Credit: Broward Sheriff's Office
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Man Arrested After Police Chase Through Several Towns


State police have arrested a Bloomfield man accused of leading police on a chase from Somers, into Massachusetts, and back into Connecticut on Halloween night.

Police said a state trooper from Troop C in Tolland spotted a car that did not have headlights on while leaving a home on Main Street around 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, so the trooper put on the sirens and tried to stop the car.

Instead of stopping, the driver sped off.

At first, he headed west on Route 190 and into Enfield, so Enfield police took over the chase, which continued down Hazard Avenue, police said.

The driver then got onto Interstate 91 north and went into Massachusetts, where troopers from the Massachusetts State Police took over and followed the car up I-91 north to Interstate 391 in Chicopee. At that point, the driver crossed over the grass median and made a U-turn, heading south, police said.

Massachusetts state police then reached back out to police in Enfield, as well as Connecticut State Police, to say the driver was heading back into the state.

Enfield Police then chased the driver on I-91 South to exit 45, but ended the chase because of safety reasons.

East Windsor Police noticed the car on Newbury Road around 11:30 p.m. and took Kevin Hartley, 24, of Bloomfield, into custody.

He was charged with engaging police in pursuit, reckless driving, operating under suspension, misuse of registration plate, operating an unregistered motor vehicle and failure to have headlights illuminated.

Bond was set at $5,000 and he is Court: Rockville Superior Court on Nov. 10.

Photo Credit: Connecticut State Police

Texas Police Chief Shot in Head During Security Job


A Texas police chief was in critical but stable condition after being shot in the head while working security at a bar early Sunday, authorities said.

Marlin Police Chief Darrell Allen was working at the Laid Back Lounge II in Temple "in uniform" but off-duty at the time of the 1:30 a.m. shooting, Temple Police Sgt. Allen Teston told NBC News.

Allen was shot while trying to detain a suspect, authorities said.

The 24-year-old suspected gunman was charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon on Monday.

Photo Credit: KCEN

Many Kids Left Alone With Mobile Devices: Study


Three-quarters of 4-year-olds in a low-income minority neighborhood in Philadelphia had their own smartphone, iPod or tablet and most used them without help, according to a report published on Monday.

Three out of four parents gave the devices to their children while they were doing household chores and to keep their children calm, and a quarter to put their children to sleep.

"Little is known about how children’s independent activity on mobile devices affects their cognitive, social, and emotional development," the study noted.

Nearly all children began using mobile smart phones or tablets before they were a year old, the study published in the journal Pediatrics found. Almost half played games or watched videos every day.

By the time they were 2, most children used them mobile devices daily and spent about the same amount of time on the devices as on television.

One third of 3- and 4-year-olds used several media devices at the same time, the study found. YouTube and Netflix were popular.

"Our study found that household ownership of tablets doubled since 2013, reflecting the pervasive nature of digital technology," the authors wrote.

According to Common Sense Media's nationwide survey, 72 percent of children age 8 or younger used a mobile device, up from 38 percent in 2011.

In 2013, ownership of mobile devices among children 8 and younger was in the single digits and only 17 percent of 2-, 3- and 4-year-olds reported using mobile devices every day, the study noted.

The study covered 350 children ages 6 months to 4 years who were seen at a pediatric clinic in Philadelphia between October and November of 2014.

It noted that a child's skill with mobile devices was a first step toward digital literacy. But it also cautioned that socialization with parents was critical for developing healthy ways to integrate technology into family life.

The American Academy of Pediatrics advises parents to limit screen time to two hours per day for children over age 2. The group discourages screen time for younger children.  

Photo Credit: AP

Man Had Gun, Ammunition in Carry-On at Bradley Airport: TSA


A 35-year-old man was arrested at Bradley International Airport on Saturday morning after TSA officers found a gun and several rounds of ammunition in his carry-on luggage.

State police and officials from the Transportation Security Administration said agents spotted a 9mm Glock and 200 rounds of 9 milimeter ammunition in the passenger's carry-on while they were screening it at a security checkpoint, so TSA notified local law enforcement.

When police spoke with the passenger, Jamil Dahhan, 35, of South Windsor, he said a friend drove him and his girlfriend to the airport and he grabbed the bags from the trunk, thinking this one was his girlfriend's bag.

He was charged with tampering with airport authority and carrying a pistol without a permit and released on a $5,000 bond.

He is due in court on Nov. 9.

In 2014, TSA agents found more than 2,200 firearms at checkpoints around the country.

Photo Credit: TSA

Threat Promped Evacuation of East Hampton High School


Police have launched a criminal investigation into a threat found on a bathroom wall at East Hampton High School on Monday, which forced the evacuation of the school for several hours.

Someone found the threat at 10 a.m. and a school administrator was the one to pull the fire alarm.

Students said the note contained a bomb threat, but police have not confirmed that.

While police searched the building, students were taken to St. Patrick's Church and parents were alerted through voice mail.

Students were allowed to return to their school just after noon.

School officials said they didn't release the students because their belongings are in the school and school would dismiss at the normal time.

Authorities are calling this an active criminal investigation and said they will be seeking charges.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Police Apologize for Handcuffing 7-Year-Old Student


Michigan police are apologizing for handcuffing a 7-year-old boy at his elementary school last month, NBC News reported.

The incident happened on October 12 at Brownell STEM Academy's after-school program, which is run by the Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce. Chrystal McCadden, the mother of the 7-year-old boy, said she got a call from the school to pick up her son. When she arrived, his wrists were bound. 

Flint police said in a statement Friday that the student "appeared intent on injuring himself" and was handcuffed to prevent injury to himself and other students.

"The officer used handcuffs to restrain the child to prevent injury to the child or others," the statement said.

Photo Credit: File--Getty Images

Police Have "Strong Leads" in Westbrook Gravestones Vandalism


Police said they have strong leads into whoever is responsible for vandlaizing around 44 gravestones in the Old Burying Ground in Westbrook.

The cemetery on Old Clinton Road in the center of town is the oldest in Westbrook, with monuments erected as far back as the 1730s, according to Catherine Neidlinger Doane, who posted photos of the vandalism on the Westbrook Historical Society's Facebook page.

The vandalism likely happened between late Friday, or Mischief Night, and early on Halloween morning, police said.

About 46 headstones were vandalized. Some were broken at the base, while others were broken in half.

"When this happens, this tears at the very fabric of what's important to Westbrook, which is our community and our community spirit,"First Selectmen Noel Bishop said.

The Westbrook Resident's Troopers Office is investigating and asks the public to contact State Police Troop F in Westbrook with any information at 860-399-2100.

Gas Leak at Manchester Home


Crews responded to a gas leak at a Manchester home on Monday afternoon.

Residents at 75 Wells Street smelled a gas odor in the basement of their home, according to Manchester Fire Chief David Billings. The call came in at about 12:30 p.m.

CNG responded and confirmed there was a leak, but couldn't cap it in the house.

Residents went outside as CNG worked on capping the gas line to the home from the street, Billings said.

Bennet Academy students nearby were kept inside as a precaution while this repair work was underway.

No other buildings were evacuated and employees or residents in other area buildings weren't told to stay inside.

The scene cleared at about 1:30 p.m. after CNG stopped the gas from going into the home, Billings said.

Police were made aware of the incident.

Sugar Processors and Corn Manufacturers Face Off in Court


Big Sugar and Big Corn face off in court this week in a bitter, multibillion-dollar battle of sweeteners that boils down to a mix of science, semantics and marketing, NBC News reported.

Jurors in the case between sugar processors and corn manufacturers will take up one of nutrition's most vexing debates and confront a choice common among consumers: sugar or high fructose corn syrup?

The trial starting Tuesday in federal court grew out of efforts by the Corn Refiners Association to rebrand its high fructose corn syrup as "corn sugar" to reverse damaging publicity that associated it with diabetes and obesity.

The trial starting Tuesday in federal court grew out of efforts by the Corn Refiners Association to rebrand its high fructose corn syrup as "corn sugar" to reverse damaging publicity that associated it with diabetes and obesity.

Photo Credit: File--AP

Amazon Offers 20 Weeks of Paid Maternity Leave


Amazon is now offering new birth mothers who have spent a year with the company up to 20 weeks of maternity leave. The company outlined the new perk in an internal memo, which it shared with NBC News on Monday.

It's the latest salvo in the technology benefits wars, with top companies heaping perks on their workers to prevent poaching and attract top talent. Women have been a focus of these expanded benefits, with companies including Apple and Facebook offering to subsidize egg freezing for their female employees, even as both companies deal with lackluster diversity statistics. 

Amazon's new program introduced on Monday guarantees new mothers four weeks of medical leave before delivery, followed by 10 weeks of paid maternity leave. All new mothers or parents who have worked at the company for at least a year then also qualify for an additional six weeks of paid parental leave.

Photo Credit: File--AP

Firefighters Investigate Smoke Condition at Naugatuck School Gym

Same-Day Voter Registration Available for November 2015 Election


Connecticut residents who are new to their respective towns and haven't registered to vote yet can still vote in Tuesday's election.

Same-day voter registration will be available Tuesday, Nov. 3 from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. at designated locations in each town.

In Hartford, residents can resident to vote the day of on the first floor at City Hall in the capital city, located at 550 Main Street in Hartford.

If you opt to do that, you need to bring a form of identification and proof where you live.

“The outcome of municipal elections impacts the everyday lives of Hartford residents. We urge everyone who is eligible to go out on Tuesday and cast a ballot,” Olga Vazquez, the Democratic Registrar of Voters, said.

To find out if you are eligible to vote and where your polling place is, visit the Connecticut Secretary of State's website.

You can also find out more information about voting in Tuesday's election at www.myvote.ct.gov. You can also call the Registrar of Voters' office at 860-757-9830  with election questions or call the Office of the Town and City at 860-757-9750 with any questions about absentee ballots.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Hartford Mayor's Race Enters Final Day


The race for Hartford Mayor enters its final day as three affiliated party candidates look to win the top job in the city.

Two candidates, Republican Ted Cannon and Working Families Party nominee Joel Cruz, admit that the Democrat in the race, Luke Bronin, has had a financial strength that they couldn't match during the campaign.

“I think from my end, I can’t go toe to toe with him" said Joel Cruz Jr., a current member of the Hartford City Council.

Cruz spent his day handing out flyers and knocking on doors in Hartford's North End. He says it's his authentic background that identifies with voters.

“I don’t just talk about the issues. I live the issues. I don’t just talk about the challenges of Hartford, I live the challenges. I know what it is to live in this city. I know what poverty looks like. I know what it feels like. My wife was homeless at 11 years old. We know what it looks like, and know what it feels like.”

Ted Cannon is a businessman who lives in Hartford's West End. He says a change of thinking is needed in city hall.

“Take fiscal responsibility for an example, that’s something that has been lacking in city hall for a very very long time" he said.

Cannon faces one of the steepest climbs among the three candidates because there are so few registered Republicans in Hartford. He says that's an obstacle he could tackle.

“I understand that we’re an underdog but at the same time I feel so strongly about our message that, you know, I have to be confident.”

Finally, Luke Bronin has amassed more than $1 million for the mayor's race, an unprecedented amount of money in a local Connecticut election.

Hundreds of thousands of dollars came from donors outside the city of Hartford and in some cases came from donors outside the state of Connecticut.

Bronin says many people care about Hartford.

“I think what it reflects is a lot of people believe in the city of Hartford and they want to see a change" Bronin said.

Bronin could be seen all over the airwaves in the lead up to the Democratic Primary against incumbent Mayor Pedro Segarra, that he eventually won.

The Democrat spent hundreds of thousands on television advertising, another rarity in a municipal election.

Since the primary, Bronin has been close to silent on television. He conceded that the most influence in the Hartford Mayor's race likely came during the primary with Democrats who far outnumber other parties in registered voters.

“There’s no question that there’s a Democratic advantage in the city," Bronin said. He added that he's continued to knock on doors citywide. "Every vote counts and Democrats can vote for any candidate of any party, so, we worked just as hard in the general as we had in the primary and are going to continue to do it through to the finish line.”

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Enfield Voters to Decide on Millions for Town Improvements


Enfield voters will decide on three questions in Tuesday's election.

One proposal would clear the way for more than $40 million in capital improvements at schools across the district, another would allow the town to purchase more energy efficient technology for town buildings from Honeywell, and another would allow the town to use sewer fees to make improvements to the existing sewer treatment plant.

The most consequential, as far as taxpayers are concerned is the $44 million bond initiative to allow $41 million for improvements to schools that would lead to new windows, exterior improvements, roof improvements in some cases and even new main entrances.

“Schools should have a vestibule-type set up with a secure doorway" Enfield Mayor Scott Kaupin said.

Kaupin said the initiative could mean local tax increases later in order to pay for the bond payments.

“I would be one, as a realist to say, there would be a slight tax increase unless the council found ways to cut funding from other areas of the budget.”

He said in some cases, schools haven't seen any improvements in decades and added that the town's planning hasn't necessarily been the most forward-thinking.

“In Enfield we’ve pretty much been a pay-as-you-go community funding one project after another but for these particular projects, they are expensive.”

The bonds would be paid over the course of 20 years.

Carrie Payer has two children in Enfield schools. She says she's wary about the way town spends her taxes.

“When the money is coming out of your pocket, you want to see results," she said.

Payer added that town officials need to really sell these kinds of projects to prove to residents that they're doing the right thing.

“The taxes in Enfield are quite high already and if you talk to the residents, every year we come across these things with our taxes going up and people are very frustrated about it," Payer said.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Crews Respond to New Haven Fire

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