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Carter Announces Grandson's Death at Sunday Sermon


Jimmy Carter's grandson has died, the former president said Sunday, NBC News reported.

Carter, 91, made the announcement during his regular Sunday school lecture in Plains, Ga., although he apologized for being late — the first time ever — and described how only a few hours before, relatives tried unsuccessfully to revive his grandson, Jeremy, with CPR.

"When he got ready to eat supper he told his mother that he thought he would lie down awhile," Carter said. "His heart quit beating."

The Atlanta-Journal Constitution reported that Jeremy was 28.

Photo Credit: AP

Police Seek Man Missing from Silver Hill Hospital


New Canaan police have issued a Silver Alert for a missing man from New York City.

Police Michael Jones, 25, was reported missing from Silver Hill Hospital late Friday night where he was last seen at 9:15 p.m.

Police describe Jones as 5-foot-11 and 170 pounds with a medium build, with short black hair, a moustache and goatee.

According to police, he was last seen wearing a blue hoodie with green stripes and dark colored pants. Family says Jones is not familiar with the area.

Police say Jones has bi-polar disorder and may not have taken his medication. He has no history of violence. His family fears he may become ill without his medication.

Anyone with information regarding his whereabouts should contact New Canaan police at 203-594-3500 or his mother Sheena Wright at 646 685 1192.

One Dead, 26 Injured in 'Possibly Intentional' Las Vegas Crash


A woman with a toddler in her car repeatedly plowed into pedestrians on the crowded Las Vegas Strip, killing one person and injuring at least 26 others in what police say may have been an intentional attack, NBC News reported.

Police said the driver, a woman in her 20s, swerved onto the sidewalk two or three times on the Strip.

The car, with Oregon plates, drove from the scene and was found parked at another hotel, according to police. The driver was detained and will face charges, police said in an early-morning press conference. They said the 3-year-old in the car was unharmed.

Police did not identify the driver, but said it appeared she recently moved to the area. Authorities have ruled out terrorism as a motive for the attack.

Photo Credit: AP

Branford Police Investigate Armed Robbery


Branford police are investigating the town’s second convenience store robbery in two days.

Police say they responded to Branford Sunoco at 700 West Main Street (Route 1) around 3:30 p.m. Sunday after a store clerk activated the holdup alarm.

Police discovered the suspect fled the store on foot in the direction of Beaver Road. When they arrived officers secured the scene and brought in K9 Joker to assist.

Joker tracked the suspect’s scent into a parking lot behind Eli’s Restaurant . Police believe from there the suspect entered a vehicle and fled.

The suspect is described as a male 25-35 years old, approximately 6’ with dirty blonde hair and a beard. He was reported as wearing a black winter jacket, dark hat, sunglasses and jeans and carrying a black backpack or shoulder bag. A handgun was displayed during the robbery.

The suspect vehicle is described as a dark red or burgundy four door sedan, possibly a late ‘90s Infinity with a chrome front grille.

On Friday a man robbed the Branford Mobil Station on Leetes Island Road. Branford police are still investigating that incident.

Anyone with information on either incident is asked to contact the Branford police department as (203) 481-4241 or the Branford Crime Tip Line at (203) 315-3909.

Photo Credit: Branford Police Department

Warm Weather May Wipe Out Chances for a White Christmas


This Christmas there might be few places in Connecticut with snow.

One of the places you can find the white stuff right now is at the Woodbury Ski Area.

On Sunday night, the crew says the conditions were right to make snow.

There is concern with high temperatures this week predicted to rise into the 50’s and possibly 60’s.

“I think with what we’ve made over since November and what we have left we will be able to make it through the rain and into the new year,” says Scott Damato, general manager of Woodbury Ski Area.

Snow making is an on-going battle and they’re constantly watching the thermometer. This winter has been unusual with a lack of natural snow and above average temperatures.

“It’s been a struggle. It’s not necessarily all the natural snow. We’re looking for cold air more than natural snow. Natural snow helps but generally we need cold air so we can make snow,” says Damato.

Staff at Vaszauskas Farm in Middlebury say despite a lack of snow this has still been a successful year; you can’t have Christmas without a tree.

Warm weather has meant more people out and about.
But a little snow would be welcomed.

“Yeah, I think so. Get people more in the Christmas spirit. It always helps for sure,” says Jason Ott, Vaszauskas Farm.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Woman Accused of Setting Car on Fire


 New Haven police have arrested a woman accused of setting her ex-boyfriend’s car on fire.

Police say they responded to 348 Howard Avenue around 8:39 p.m. on Saturday after the victim reported seeing his ex-girlfriend in his backyard and his parked car on fire.

A witness at the scene confirmed to police that a woman was hiding in the area before the car started burning. Police say there is a history of domestic violence complaints from the couple, and that the victim had a protective order in place.

The ex-girlfriend, identified as Andrea C. Edwards, 34, was arrested and charged with arson, reckless burning, reckless endangerment, risk of injury to a minor, vandalism, criminal mischief, criminal trespassing and violating a protective order.

The Arson Unit is investigating.

Photo Credit: New Haven Police Department

Can a Professor Be Fired for Doubting Sandy Hook Massacre?


Lenny Pozner has fought an underground movement of conspiracy theorists who have claimed the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre - and his son’s existence - was an elaborate hoax, NBC News reported.

Last week, Florida Atlantic University responded by moving to fire Professor James Tracy, a communications professor and a high-profile skeptic. Pozner has complained to police, filed legal injunctions and wrote an op-ed in a Florida newspaper targeting Tracy.

But the fight could be tough because professors have the right to say contentious things in their off-campus lives, according to NBC News.

Florida University hasn’t said what Tracy did to lose his job, NBC News reported. Tracy didn’t return messages for comment. Pozner did not return NBC News’ call for comment either.  

Photo Credit: AP

Firefighters Give Engine to Haiti


A group of firefighters in Los Angeles was reaching beyond its borders, working with community businesses and a local college to fix up a used fire engine as a donation for the people of Haiti still reeling from the earthquake in 2010.

The Stentorians of Los Angeles County, founded in 1954, was created to band firefighters together to fight inequality.

"A stentorian is a Greek herald: A messenger with the voice of 50 men," Capt. Jonathan Bowers said. 

The 7.0-magnitude earthquake took hundreds of thousands of lives and displaced thousands more.

"We saw the massive destruction, the devastation, and as we surveyed the different departments, they just don't have services," Bowers said.

For this project, their collective voices asked around for local support and the Compton Fire Station donated an out-of-commission fire engine to help their fellow firefighters in Carpefour, Haiti.

"One of the issues that Carpefour had during the earthquake is it had very minimal tools so basically they were using their hands," Bower said. "This engine is equipped...everything is on board."

But it didn't start that way.

"We actually were part of the rip-down, sanding, and getting it ready for paint,"
Alvaro Gomez, a former LA Trade Tech College student said.

Gomez was one of dozens of students from Los Angeles Trade Tech who donated class time to transform the engine.

"We did a lot of metal work," Gomez said. "Actually the whole inside box was recreated."

"They spent extra hours on it when it was getting close. They didn't want to leave," Brian Ferre, an instructor, said.

It took nearly three years to replace and restore parts, much of those also donated from local businesses.

"We all worked on this together. Just the experience that was gained was amazing." Gomez said.

Gomez said he took that experience on the job as the manager of an auto body shop.

"Just to see it go to a better place and where it can be reused -- to me that's amazing," Gomez said.

They also said the fire engine will continue to do good things. The Los Angeles Stentorians will deliver it to Haiti in January. Members will stay on the ground to help train firefighters there.

They said they now feel they have a lifelong connection from a labor of love that's brought the community.

For more information on the Los Angeles County Stentorians, you can visit their page here.  

State Police Search for Missing Boater at Hamburg Cove in Lyme


State police responded to Hamburg Cove in Lyme early Monday morning to investigate reports of a missing boater.

Troopers responded just before 3 a.m. and are searching for a missing boater in the area of the cove. A dive team is also on scene.

No further information was immediately available. We have a crew on scene and will provide more information as it becomes available.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Longest-Serving Lebanese Israeli Prisoner, Killed in Syria


Israel's longest-held prisoner --a Lebanese man -- was killed in Syria by an Israeli airstrike on Saturday night, NBC News reported. 

Samir Kantar was a Lebanese man who was convicted of executing one of the most notorious attacks in Israeli history and spent nearly three decades in an Israeli prison. He was killed by an Israeli airstrike that  targeted a residential building in the Damascus suburb of Jaramana Saturday night, according to the Lebanese Shiite Hezbollah group.

Kantar and four Hezbollah guerrillas were freed in 2008 in exchange for the bodies of two Israeli soldiers captured by Hezbollah in 2006, whose capture sparked a 34-day war between Israel and Hezbollah. His release was highly controversial in Israel, where he is believed to be the perpetrator of one of the most grisly attacks in Israeli history 

Photo Credit: Getty

Fire Destroys New Haven Home


Five families are without a home after a fire destroyed their house in New Haven.

The fire department was called to 55 Redfield St. around 8 a.m.. When they arrived, flames were shooting out of the back and roof of the home.

After getting the fire under control, the front porch of the home collapsed.

Fire officials say that neighbors helped to get the residents out of the home. One neighbor saw the smoke and grabbed a ladder to help residents out of the home.

Pedro’s Torres’ stepfather Hector Moya saw the flames from his backyard and sprang into action before firefighters arrived.

“He got the ladder and then he jumped over the fence," Torres said about his stepfather. "He threw the ladder and then he saved her.”

A resident who escaped from the basement said that other neighbors brought their ladders as well, helping to rescue several people trapped on the second floor.

The American Red Cross says they are assisting five families – 13 adults and two children – who were displaced by this fire.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Worker Injured in Milford Accident


A granite and marble worker was injured in Milford on Monday.

The incident happened in the area of 28 Roselle Street and wasn't as bad as it was initially relayed to emergency responders, according to Capt. Greg Carmen, of the Milford Fire Department.

An employee for Selmas Granite & Marble Fabrication temporarily had his leg pinned under a slab of granite.

First responders that arrived canceled any additional emergency crews from being called out because they could handle the situation themselves.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration was called to investigate.

The worker was taken to an area hospital.

Woman on Leave After Hate Crime


A California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation employee has been placed on leave after she was caught on cellphone video yelling slurs and throwing coffee and an umbrella at Muslim men praying in a park.

Denis Slader was charged last Thursday with two misdemeanors: battery and violation of civil rights, a hate crime. She has worked at the Department of Corrections for 10 years as a program technician in parole.

Slader is accused of approaching Rasheed Albeshari and several friends Dec. 6 while the men were praying at Lake Chabot Regional Park in Castry Valley. Cellphone video Albeshari recorded shows a woman, identified as Slader, making anti-Muslim remarks and calling Islam evil.

A park ranger is seen trying to diffuse the situation, telling the woman her comments are "inappropriate." The woman lunges toward Albeshari and appears to throw coffee at him. Prosecutors said she also threw an umbrella.

Department of Corrections spokesman Luis Patino said Friday that Slader was placed on "administrative time off effective immediately" after her arrest. He would not comment further or specify how long the time off would be.

Patino would only say "discrimination of any kind will not be tolerated" and that the agency expects all "employees to treat everyone with dignity and respect both on and off the job."

Slader, who was released from custody, did not return phone calls seeking comment. She is scheduled to appear in court Jan. 7.

The San Francisco Bay Area chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Santa Clara issued a statement welcoming the hate crime charges brought against Slader — something that Northern California Civil Rights Coordinator Brice Hamack had formally urged. 

Photo Credit: Rasheed Albeshari/Facebook

Indictment Over 'Kung Fu Panda'


A Randolph, Massachusetts, man who falsely claimed he created the DreamWorks character "Kung Fu Panda" has been indicted on wire fraud and perjury charges, according to the U.S. attorney's office.

Jayme Gordon, 51, was charged with four counts of wire fraud and three counts of perjury in an indictment unsealed Monday in U.S. District Court in Boston. He was scheduled to appear in court Monday afternoon.

According to the indictment, Gordon filed a lawsuit as part of a fraud scheme designed to obtain a multimillion-dollar settlement from DreamWorks. He allegedly fabricated and backdated drawings of characters similar to those in "Kung Fu Panda," lied repeatedly during his deposition and destroyed computer evidence that he was required to produce in civil discovery.

In early 2008, several months before the release of "Kung Fu Panda," Gordon saw a trailer for the movie and revised his own "Panda Power" drawings and story from the 1990s, renaming them "Kung Fu Panda Power," prosecutors said. The revisions were allegedly part of a scheme to make his work appear more like the DreamWorks pandas he had seen in the trailer.

Gordon filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against DreamWorks in U.S. district court in Massachusetts in 2011. Later that year, he proposed that the movie studio settle the suit by paying him $12 million. DreamWorks turned down that proposal, and the case went on for two years.

The full nature of Gordon's scheme allegedly came to light when DreamWorks discovered Gordon had traced some of his panda drawings from a Disney "Lion King" coloring book. After DreamWorks discovered the tracings, Gordon agreed to dismiss his suit. But DreamWorks had already spent about $3 million defending the suit by that time.

"Our intellectual property laws are designed to protect creative artists, not defraud them," U.S. Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz said in a prepared statement. "The misuse of civil litigation as part of a fraud scheme, and lying under oath, as alleged in this case, warp our federal judicial system and must be addressed with appropriate criminal sanctions."

Wire fraud carries a sentence of no more than 20 years in prison, plus a $250,000 fine. Perjury carries a sentence of no more than five years in prison, plus a $250,000 fine.

The law firms that filed the complaint on Gordon's behalf in 2011 had no information on the attorneys currently representing him.

Photo Credit: U.S. Attorney's Office

Woman Clipped By Bus While Crossing Bridgeport Road


The intersection of East Washington and Housatonic avenues has reopened after a bus hit a pedestrian.

A woman walked in front of a public bus as it was turning and it barely clipped her, according to Bridgeport police.

The woman was taken to the hospital and is okay.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Designer Purse, Wallet Worth Thousands Stolen in Stew Leonard's


Police are looking for a thief who stole a designer purse and wallet worth thousands of dollars from a customer's shopping cart at Stew Leonard's in Norwalk, police said.

Norwalk police responded to the grocery store at 100 Westport Avenue on Dec. 2 to investigate a larceny compliant.

A person stole a Prada purse worth $2,000 and a red Gucci wallet worth $4,800 from a shopping cart in the store and took off in a white four-door car with a sunroof, police said. The wallet had crash and credit cards inside, as well.

Norwalk police have released surveillance photos of a male suspect.

Police ask anyone with information to call Officer Boyd at 203-854-3113 or to call in a tip at 203-854-3111. An anonymous tip can be submitted through the Norwalk Police website at www.norwalkpd.com or via text by sending it to CRIMES (274637).

Photo Credit: Norwalk Police Department

'Alarming Comments' Prompt Heightened Police Presence at School


What started during an interactive online video game exchange as an intended joke between New Britain High School students spread on Facebook and led to a threat investigation that prompted heightened police presence at the high school Monday, police said.

"The juvenile students posted alarming comments to each other which were seen eventually by a much wider group of people," New Britain Police Chief James Wardwell told NBC Connecticut in an email. "While there was no direct threat, it was implied. The juveniles thought their actions were funny (a joke between each other), but the alarm they caused was very real."

Police declined to release the exact comments that sparked the concern, but Wardwell told NBC Connecticut in an email that "the totality of what was posted implied that students should not go to school due to planned violence."

The comments started while two students playing an interactive video game online joked inappropriately about "how they would handle a threat at the school,' according to New Britain Chief Operations Officer Paul G. Salina. One of the students posted the comments on Facebook and they spread for other students to see until one student reported it to a parent who then called police, he said.

New Britain police and school officials "took the posted comments very seriously" and spent the night investigating, Wardwell said. 

Salina was in touch with Wardwell at 12:30 a.m. and 6 a.m. on Monday. Police also conferred with Mayor Erin Stewart to understand "what the postings were about and to make sure our students and faculty were safe," Wardwell said.

"The threat was determined not to be credible, but the alarm and concern caused was real," Wardwell said.

More police were stationed at the high school Monday to "reassure students, parents, and faculty that the police were aware and there to do our part in keeping the community safe," he said.

"These matters, whether intended to be a joke or not, will all be investigated as serious threats and appropriate investigative steps will be taken," Wardwell said. "These actions were a poor choice by these two young people and there are consequences."

School officials met the students at school in the morning and disciplined them, however school leaders didn't say how they were disciplined.

"We take threats seriously and students must be reminded that joking about violence on school grounds on social media is not taken lightly," Salina said. "The school district has a wonderful working relationship with the police department and we work closely together to provide the safest environment for our students."

Police said the students involved and their parents have been cooperative with the investigation.

New Britain police are referring the students to the New Britain Juvenile Review board.

Their names have not been released, as they are under 18.

Man Arrested After 5-Month-Old Found Injured: Police


A 23-year-old man is facing charges after a 5-month-old child under his care was found with unexplained injuries, police said.

Police charged Kelson Dooley, 23, with risk of injury to a minor, cruelty to persons and second-degree reckless endangerment.

Officers responded to a medical call involving an injured 5-month-old child in back in September. The child was bleeding from the mouth and was having trouble breathing, so the infant was hospitalized for several days.

The Department of Children and Families worked with police to investigate the incident, resulting in an arrest warrant for Dooley that police served him on Friday.

Officers held Dooley on a $120,000 court-set bond and he is due in Manchester Superior Court on Monday.

Photo Credit: South Windsor Police

Man Charged With Stealing From Storage Units


 A Newington man turned himself in on charges of stealing hundreds of items from storage units in the fall, police said.

There has been an active arrest warrant for Bryan Roper, 26, who allegedly burglarized several storage units at the Extra Storage Space on Fenn Road. Roper is accused of stealing hundreds of items between September and October of this year, Newington police said.

Roper was charged with third degree burglary, first degree larceny, possession of high capacity magazines and criminal possession of a firearm. Court set bail at $100,000. 

Photo Credit: Newington Police

Robber Strikes at Babies 'R' Us


Police are searching for a serial offender who bound and robbed two employees at a Babies 'R' Us on Long Island early Monday, his 14th store robbery in four months.

A 40-year-old woman who works at the store on Corporate Drive in Westbury was letting her 60-year-old co-worker through the front door at 5 a.m. when a man forced his way into the store. Police said he brandished a black handgun and ordered the two women into the back office.

The man allegedly bound the 60-year-old woman with costume handcuffs and had her get on the ground. He then forced her co-worker to open the safe and put an unknown amount of cash into a canvas bag, according to police.

Before leaving the store, the suspect bound the 40-year-old woman’s hands with the same type of costume handcuffs and had her get on top of the other woman, police said.

No one was reported injured in the robbery.

Authorities say the suspect is wanted in 13 other robberies at stores across Long Island, including at a Petco, Dollar Tree, Dress Barn, Mandee, Joyce Leslie and Destination Maternity. He restrained his victims in each of those cases as well. 

Police say the suspect targets locations with female employees. In each case, he restrains them before stealing cash from the store's safe. He also wears a black ski mask. 

Police are encouraging businesses to make sure their surrounding area is well lit. Anyone with information is asked to call police at 1-800-244-TIPS.

Photo Credit: AP/Handout
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