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Female Motorcyclist Killed in I-84 Crash


A female motorcyclist was killed after she fell off her vehicle on Interstate 84 west in Hartford and a car hit her on Sunday morning, state police said.

Heidi M. Boutin, 47, of East Hartford, was driving westbound on her motorcycle through Hartford before exit 51 when she tried to merge into the center lane from the right lane, losing control and falling off her bike into the left lane, according to state police.

The driver of a Isuzu Rodeo headed in the same direction in the left lane then struck her. Boutin died of her injuries.

Crews arrived on scene at about 10:25 a.m. Sunday.

State police continue to investigate the crash. Troopers have identified the driver of the car and he didn't suffer from injuries in the accident, state police said.

No charges have been filed at this time.

No further information was immediately available.

Photo Credit: DOT

Burned, Bound Body Identified


Investigators have identified a New Jersey mother found dead Tuesday night on commuter rail tracks in Bridgewater, Massachusetts, her body burned and bound.

According to the Plymouth County District Attorney's Office, the body is that of 29-year-old Ashley Bortner, of Paulsboro, New Jersey.

Officials believe Bortner was killed at a different location and her body was brought to the rail tracks in Bridgewater, where she was burned. Bortner was found with her hands and feet tied.

Neighbors recalled a suspicious occurrence leading up to the discovery.

"Someone pulled down, did a U-turn, came up, backed down the tracks," said Ethan Ellis, who lives nearby.

Police believe Bortner was targeted and don't believe the public is in any danger. Additionally, they said there does not appear to be any connection to the discovery of a burned body in Worcester the following day, a case in which a suspect was arrested.

Bortner's family is asking for donations to bring her body back to New Jersey. CLICK HERE if you would like to donate.

"The family is devastated at this point, and right now, they're just keeping to themselves and trying to wait and see what actually occurred," said Bortner's cousin, Tracey Kulb. "They're working closely with the detectives in Boston just to find out anything they can."

Kulb told NBC10 Bortner was born and raised in Paulsboro and moved to Massachusetts around three years ago. Kulb also said Bortner was a mother.

"She does have a child," Kulb said. "It's just heartbreaking to the whole family. Ashley was the greatest. She was so much full of life, she was just so happy. She was always outgoing and she was just a wonderful person." 

Police continue to investigate. It's not clear if they have identified a motive or any suspects.

Photo Credit: Family Photo

Senators Call for 'Independent' Crumb Rubber Turf Study


Two senators have urged federal officials to lead an "independent investigation into the health risks of crumb rubber" turf, a surface made of recycled tires used on playgrounds and athletic fields across the country, NBC News reported. 

Democratic Sens. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut and Bill Nelson of Florida sent a letter to Chairman Elliot Kaye of the Consumer Product Safety Commission asking the CPSC to "devote additional resources to conclusively determine whether these products can be safely played on by young children and people of all ages."

The senators wrote that CPSC said in September it would provide technical assistance to an evaluation of crumb rubber now being conducted by the California Office of Environmental Hazard, but said the CPSC should "lead the independent federal investigation on this important matter."

The two senators are the latest Congressional officials to call for research on crumb rubber since NBC News begun airing and publishing a series of reports on the playing surface more than a year ago.

Photo Credit: NBC Nightly News

Phone Service Disrupted at Mansfield Schools, Town Offices

Police Investigate Designer Coat Heist in Waterford


Two people stole thousands of dollars worth of Tommy Hilfiger and North Face coats from the Macy's store in Waterford and police are trying to identify them.

The shoplifters stole around $7,000 worth of coats over three days at the end of October, police said.

Police ask anyone who can identify the people in the surveillance photos to reach out to them through a private Facebook message, call 860-442-9451 or email Officer Ferland at Dferland@waterfordct.org.

Reference case # 2015-02233.

Photo Credit: Waterford Police

Water Restored After West Hartford Water Main Break


A water main break in West Hartford was less severe than water company officials thought and water has been restored to homes and businesses along South Highland Street.

MDC officials released a statement early Monday morning, saying they were shutting down water to several multifamily homes and commercial properties between Farmington Avenue and Fennway.

Later in the morning, MDC said they partially shut down the main, and customers were getting "minimal service," but the full shut down would happen just after 8 a.m.

Water his since been restored.

The 8-inch water main break that is affected was installed in 1927.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

1 Hospitalized After I-91 South Crash

Man Suspected in $6,000 Cigarette Theft


A man accused of breaking into a Glastonbury convenience store and stealing more than $6,000 worth of cigarettes is suspected of committing several thefts with his brother and sister, according to Glastonbury Police.

Glastonbury police arrested Kevin Marshall, 50, of Hartford, on Nov. 5 and said he broke into the Sam’s food store in Glastonbury in June and stole the cigarettes.

He, his brother and sister, are accused of committing a string of convenience store burglaries throughout the state, Glastonbury Police said.

Marshall has been charged with third-degree burglary, fourth-degree larceny, third-degree criminal mischief and third-degree conspiracy to commit burglary.

He is due in court in Manchester.

Photo Credit: Glastonbury Police

Scattered Showers Tomorrow


The dry start to the week will be replaced by gloomy weather tomorrow as a nor'easter passes by New England.

Cloudy skies will produce scattered showers tomorrow, starting early in the afternoon. The steadiest, heaviest rain will miss Connecticut, though some of the showers will be heavy. Temperatures will be in the middle 50s.

Many spots in Connecticut could very well pick up a half inch of rain. Southeastern reaches of the state have the potential to see closer to an inch, but confidence is only medium as of Monday evening.

A few showers could linger early Wednesday, but much of the day will be dry. There will still be a good amount of clouds. Temperatures will range from the upper 40s to the middle 50s.

A cold front brings a few showers Thursday afternoon and evening, but it won't be a washout. Temperatures will be in the lower and middle 50s.

There's good news for those with outdoor plans this weekend.

A dry stretch of weather beings Friday and lasts into early next week. At this early stage in the game, Sunday looks brightest with mostly sunny skies. Temperatures will be in the upper 40s and lower 50s this weekend.

Avian Flu Could Mean More Expensive Turkey in Connecticut


This Thanksgiving, the turkey on your table will probably cost you more because of the Avian flu.

Avian flu, also known as the bird flu, killed millions of turkeys this year, creating a national shortage and major supply chain issues.

Gozzi’s Turkey Farm of Guilford, which has been in the business for three generations, said the shortage is serious business.

“It just made them hard to get and hard to get turkeys to start this year. It just trickles all down,” Bill Gozzi, the farm’s owner, saod.

The Avian flu issue impacted farms in the western part of the United States. But even here in Connecticut, the price of turkey will be higher

“I think you’re going to see about a 30 cent difference a pound this year,” Gozzi said.

Some shoppers said they might consider workarounds to avoid the higher costs, but they won’t change their big family dinner plans.

“I think people may have hams with it or something else with it, just to be able to make it an affordable holiday,” Roseann Reynolds, of Guilford, said.

“I think people are going to pay for it. Whatever. It’s traditional,” Betsy Johnston, of North Branford, said.
Gozzi said, barring another flu outbreak, turkey prices should return to normal by next year.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

2 Men With Long Criminal Records Charged in Hartford Slaying


Hartford police have arrested two convicted felons who are accused of shooting and killing a 47-year-old man in a minivan in July.

Everett Scott, 47, of Hartford, was shot in the chest in broad daylight in the area of Kenyon Court around 2 p.m. on the afternoon of Sunday, July 26, according to police. He died less than an hour later at St. Francis Hospital.

At the time of the shooting, police said they found drugs in the area and evidence suggested that the crime was connected to a drug deal and robbery.

After investigating, police obtained warrants and arrested Keith Hurst, 21, of Hartford, on Monday.

Hartford Police, as well as the U.S. Marshal Service Violent Fugitive Task Force and Hartford Shooting Task Force went to an apartment on Folly Brook Boulevard in Wethersfield to arrest him and took him into custody as he tried to run out the back door, police said.

He is a convicted felon and has previously been arrested in Hartford 12 times, police said. Bond was set at $1 million.

On Nov. 5, police arrested Phillip Williams, 27, of Hartford. He was in state Department of Correction. A judge set bond at $2.5 million. Hartford police have arrested him 10 times before, police said.

Both men were charged with felony murder, first-degree robbery, conspiracy to commit robbery, conspiracy to commit felony murder, criminal possession of a firearm and criminal use of firearm.

Body Found at Va. Playground


A man's body was found in a playground in Northern Virginia Monday morning, and sources tell News4 the victim's throat had been cut.

A woman walking her dog made the gruesome discovery about 8 a.m. in popular Beverley Park, at the intersection of S. Overlook and N. Overlook drives. The body was found under the bouncing bridge part of the play apparatus, near a slide.

The victim was a 24-year-old man who lived in another section of Alexandria, police said, classifying his death as a homicide. His name was not released, pending notification of his family.

The park, known as "The Pit" for its sunken layout, is one of the busiest playgrounds in the area, full of toddlers during the day — but there has been gang violence in the adjacent neighborhood in the past year. It remains to be seen if this killing is related.

"It's certainly out of the norm for this area, and we're taking it very seriously," Crystal Nosal of the Alexandria police said.

Neighbors said they're upset.

"There are bad people doing bad things, and sometimes it's below people's radar," said resident Beth Lloyd, who said her grandchildren play in the park.

"I think it's astonishingly bad," she said. "I mean, I can't imagine."

Alexandria Police Chief Earl Cook answered questions about the crime at a pre-scheduled community meeting held at a church.

"We do not know whether or not any gang-related activity was associated with this death. We do not know if any drug-related activity was associated," he said. "We have no motive as yet."

Cleaning contractors sanitized surfaces in the playground on Monday and carried away cleaning materials in red biohazard bags.

Anyone with information about the case is asking to call Sergeant Sean Casey at 703-746-6853.

Photo Credit: News4

President Obama Joins Facebook


President Barack Obama has his own Facebook page now. 

The White House launched the page on Monday, sharing a video of the president taking a stroll in White House's backyard — which, as Obama pointed out, is also a national park — and calling for action on climate change. 

"Hello, Facebook! I finally got my very own page," Obama said in a post that accompanied the two-minute video. "I hope you’ll think of this as a place where we can have real conversations about the most important issues facing our country – a place where you can hear directly from me, and share your own thoughts and stories."

On his backyard tour, Obama talked about the fox, the hawk and the squirrels that roam the south lawn. He then made a statement about climate change.

"I hope you'll join me in speaking out on climate change and educating your friends about why this issue is so important," Obama said in his post. "At a time when nearly three in four adults online use Facebook, this feels like a great place to do it."

Though you can't become the president's "friend" on Facebook, you can expect plenty of posts on serious policy matters. Obama also promised "some just-for-fun stuff, too."

The page's cover photo shows the president on what appears to be a boat tour to see the effects of global warming in Resurrection Cove in Seward, Alaska, on Sept. 1, 2015. 

The "About" section of the page reads, "Dad, husband, and 44th President of the United States. Comments and messages received through this account may be archived: wh.gov/privacy."

The page also includes highlights and milestones from Obama's life, including his marriage to Michelle Obama in 1992 and getting sworn in as U.S. senator in 2005 and then as 44th president of the U.S. four years later. 

Nearly an hour after its launch, the page was "liked" more than 20,000 times. 

Earlier this year, Obama officially joined Twitter, sending out his first tweet on May 18.

"Hello, Twitter! It's Barack. Really! Six years in, they're finally giving me my own account," Obama wrote.

Photo Credit: Getty Images/File
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Boston Students Exposed to Acid


Seventeen students at Boston Arts Academy were taken to the hospital Monday morning after hydrochloric acid got into the ventilation system, according to the fire department.

Boston fire officials declared a hazardous materials situation at the school around 10 a.m. Monday. The fire department said a class was working with hydrochloric acid, which did not properly vent through the room's hood system.

Fire officials said 17 students who reported feeling lightheaded were evaluated at the scene, then taken to the hospital as a precaution.

Afterward, the air was tested in the classroom and school and determined to be within normal limits.

Boston fire officials said students returned to class around 10:50 a.m. All fire companies left, but hazardous materials technicians stayed behind to make sure everyone was safe.

Boston Arts Academy is located at 174 Ipswich Street, just opposite Fenway Park. According to its website, Boston Arts Academy the city’s only public high school for the visual and performing arts, serving over 440 students.

Photo Credit: necn

Regulators Pull Plug on NY's Nonprofit Health Insurance Plan


The largest nonprofit health insurance company created under Obamacare to fail financially, Health Republic Insurance of New York, will shut down unexpectedly at the end of the month, leaving more than 200,000 New Yorkers scrambling for new coverage.

Among them is Joseph Pimbley, the principal in a consulting firm in New York, and his wife, who expect their premiums to double.

Pimbley had never thought that Obamacare was an economical way to provide health insurance to millions of uninsured Americans. Now facing premiums of $1,500 to $1,600 a month, he is unhappy with the choices available to him. Not only are there fewer of them, but they are more expensive and do not include the better hospitals, he said.

“Obviously it’s a huge disappointment,” he said.

Health Republic has 215,000 members, about half with individual plans and the other half as employees of small businesses, who must now choose a new plan whether on the New York state health exchange or elsewhere. The deadline for individuals to select a new plan on the exchange, originally Sunday, was extended to Nov. 30 for coverage through the end of the year. After Nov. 30, the state will enroll those people who have not made a selection in another plan.

“While we are deeply disappointed with this outcome, we believe it is in the best interests of our members,” Health Republic said in a statement to its members. “Starting a new insurance company is a daunting task in any environment, but the systemic challenges placed on us by the structure of the CO-OP program were simply too difficult to overcome.”

State and federal regulators had originally ordered Health Republic to cease operations by the end of the year, but pushed up the deadline after discovering that the plan’s finances were more dire than thought. Health Republic had reported losses of $130 million in its first year and a half.

On Sunday, the New York State Department of Financial Services announced that it was investigating Health Republic's reporting on its financial condition.

Elisabeth Benjamin, a health exchange navigator who helps people choose coverage, said that Health Republic was not the cheapest plan on the New York health insurance exchange, but that it offered a strong network of providers at a reasonable cost.

"People really wanted to be able to access high quality hospitals and doctors," said Benjamin, the vice president of heath initiatives at the Community Service Society of New York, a nonprofit organization focused on proverty that leads a network of navigators.

She said navigators were working to assist people in finding new plans by the deadline.

"There are lots of great options still on the marketplace," she said.

Congress authorized the nonprofit companies — or consumer operated and oriented plans — under the Affordable Care Act to foster competition and keep premium costs down. But 12 of the 23 co-ops have now failed.

They had received $2.4 billion in government-backed loans for their start-up costs and to meet capital reserve requirements, with Health Republic Insurance of New York getting $265 million.

The closures, which have left more than a half-million customers scrambling, are giving Republicans opposed to the health-care law new reasons to attack it. Two congressional subcommittees held hearings on the failures last week to examine why the co-ops collapsed and assess the likelihood that the loans would be repaid.

“Only in Washington would a group of bureaucrats think they knew how to micromanage ‘competition’ instead of letting consumers and markets do what they do best,” said Texas Republican Rep. Kevin Brady, chairman of the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Health.

Americans remain divided over Obamacare, with a Kaiser Family Foundation poll in July finding that 43 percent viewed the law favorably and 40 percent unfavorably.

Dr. Mandy Cohen, the head of the federal Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services, said in her testimony to the subcommittees that while the Affordable Care Act had appropriated $6 billion for the program, Congress had rescinded a substantial amount of that figure. A Congressional Research Service report in March found that overall Congress rescinded a total of $4.879 billion of the original $6 billion, leaving $1.121 billion.

“As with any new set of business ventures, some CO-OPs have succeeded while others have encountered more challenges,” Cohen said in her written statement.

John Holahan, a fellow at the Urban Institute, said that the co-ops faced a combination of problems: aggressive pricing to enroll members that led to losses, less money to temporarily cover bad risks than they thought they would receive under the Affordable Care Act, and obstacles to setting provider networks at favorable rates.

“You don’t know how many patients you’re actually going to offer somebody so you have no real leverage in negotiating,” he said. “And you’re going up and competing against carriers that have been in the market a long time and do have that leverage.”

Pimbley said that he and his wife will likely choose a plan not on the New York health insurance exchange but one available to him as a small-business owner. It is more expensive, but they want to know that if they face a catastrophic health problem they will be covered, he said.

"It's terrible out there," he said. "If you're not old enough for Medicare and you're not at an income level where you seek public assistance, your choices are so much less than they used to be."

The 11 other CO-OPs that are closing provide coverage in Arizona, Colorado, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Nebraska, Nevada, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah and West Virginia — with some with members in more than one state.

Another plan with a similar name, Health Republic Insurance of New Jersey, continues to operate.

First Selectman Challenges Recount After Losing By 1 Vote


Clinton's incumbent first selectman is challenging the results of a recount held Saturday after losing to his challenger by a single vote.

Republican challenger Bruce Farmer ousted incumbent Democrat William Fritz, who has held the job for five terms.

The vote on Election Day was a tie for the first time in town, with each candidate getting 1,632 votes.

The recount on Saturday resulted in Farmer getting 1,634 votes to Fritz's 1,633.

On Monday, June Hansen, the registrar, said Fritz has formally challenged the results and the Secretary of the State's Office is reviewing the challenge.

If the Secretary of the State's Office deems the challenge valid, there will be an adjourned election on Tuesday, Nov. 24.

When the recount was held on Saturday, the public was invited to come to the basement of Clinton Town Hall to observe the recount and see history in the making for themselves. Dozens of people filled a small room in the town hall to watch.

Fritz told NBC Connecticut last week week that he didn't' do enough campaigning this time around.

Farmer serves on the Board of Finance.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

University of Missouri President Resigns Amid Racial Unrest


University of Missouri President Tim Wolfe announced his resignation on Monday, following weeks of protests over racially charged incidents at the school.

Wolfe's exit came two days after black members of Mizzou's football team said they would not play, and a week into a graduate student's vow not to eat until until Wolfe left office. It is the culmination of several weeks of unrest over racist incidents and the administration's response, which many students criticized as lackluster, NBC News reported.

"I'll take full responsibility for the inaction that has occurred," Wolfe said Monday. 

The protests started after the student government president, who is black, said in September that people shouted racial slurs at him, and in October, members of a black student organization said slurs were hurled at them by an apparently drunken white student, according to The Associated Press. A swastika drawn in feces was also found recently in a dormitory bathroom.

The protest heated up during a homecoming parade Oct. 10 when black protesters blocked Wolfe's car, and he did not get out and talk to them.

Photo Credit: AP
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Police ID Pedestrian Struck and Killed in East Haven


The pedestrian who was hit by a car on Route 80 in East Haven on Saturday night has died and police identified him as 81-year-old Eugene Boland.

Boland was struck near the intersection of Route 80, or Foxon Road, and North High Street at 4:53 p.m. and was transported by ambulance to Yale-New Haven Hospital, where he was pronounced dead, police said. 

The South Central Connecticut Traffic Unit is investigating and police ask anyone who witnessed the crash or has any information is asked to call Officer Gorman at (203) 468-3820.


2 Suspects Sought in Shooting That Critically Injured Man


Police are looking for two suspects in a shooting in Stamford on Sunday morning that critically injured a 25-year-old New York man and are seeking the public's help in identifying the suspected assailants shown in a video they released of the shooting.

Stamford police responded reports of a shooting in the area of 84 Myano Lane at 7:24 p.m. on Sunday and found the victim, a White Plains, New York man, who had been shot in his torso, left arm and left leg. He was rushed to Stamford Hospital, where he through emergency surgery and he is critical, but stable, condition. The incident happened at about 7:18 p.m.

Police investigated and determined that the victim and a 34-year-old Stamford resident were walking in the area when another man approached the.  After a short conversation, yet another man jumped out from behind a tree, ambushed the victim and started shooting, police said.

The victim was asked if he was from the area and when he replied New York, that's when the shooter took out a gun and fired at him, police said. The victim ran into a home at 84 Myano Lane and someone called police to report the shooting, police said.

The suspects ran in the northbound direction on Myano lane and police are looking for both of them, police said.

The department released video to the media that shows a man walk across a yard and stop when he meets the victim. Then another man approaches them from behind a tree and begins firing. The video shows the flashes of the gunshots and then the suspected assailants run off.  Click here to see the full video.

Police described the first man who approached the victim as in his early 20s and wearing a dark hooded-sweatshirt. They said the shooter was also in his early 20s and wearing a dark hoodie.

Stamford police warn the public that the shooter might still have a revolver in his possession and that he should be considered armed and dangerous.

The victim didn't know the suspects, who were waiting for him and his acquaintance in the area where the shooting happened, police said. Police believe it's possible the victim was set up and continue to investigate.

Police ask anyone with information to call the department's detective bureau at 203-977-4417.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com
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Area Malls Bring Back Christmas Trees After Backlash


Three area shopping centers have brought back Christmas trees after their "anti-Christmas" Santa displays caused a stir.

Riverside Square Mall in Hackensack, New Jersey, The Westchester in White Plains, New York, and Roosevelt Field in Garden City, Long Island, faced a backlash this month after they rolled out what their owner called a "uniquely modern and interactive Santa experience featuring cutting edge artistic design."

The futuristic displays placed Santa in an "enchanted glacier," where children could play games within an artificial snow bank before hopping on the bearded fellow's lap for the traditional holiday photo op.

But the displays featured no Christmas tree, to the dismay of many.

Some shoppers said that Simon Property Group, the owner and operator of Garden City Mall, was being "too politically correct" and they threatened to shop elsewhere.

All three glacier displays have since been taken down and replaced with traditional sets, Simon Property Group said. The company installed the displays in six of its 120 malls nationwide.

In just six hours on Saturday, an online petition started by a West Babylon resident had amassed 1,000 signatures, according to Newsday. It demanded that Roosevelt Field "bring back Christmas."

Courtney Younghans, a mother of three from Bethpage, told Newsday that she usually heads to the mall with her children during the holiday season to take photos at the Santa display. But the lack of a Christmas tree had her reconsidering.

"I want to see a Christmas tree instead of a snow cave," her 10-year-old son said.

Simon Properties said its intention had been to deliver a "modern interactive experience for the family." 

"After listening to customer feedback, we immediately decided to remove and replace them with traditional décor, including Christmas trees, and hope our customers will join us in celebrating the Christmas season," Davis Contis, president of Simon Malls, said.

Adrian Baldeo, 35, told Newsday that he would have preferred something more traditional than a glacier but that protesting over the display was a bit much.

"If you don't like the pictures here, I'm sure you can find another place you like better," he said.

The mall display protests comes as Starbucks faces criticism over its plain red holiday cups, which now lack the word "Christmas," unlike previous years.

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