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Chobani, Dannon Spat Goes to Court


Greek yogurt giant Chobani is taking legal action against rival Dannon amid an ongoing spat over a Chobani ad campaign targeting the use of artificial sweeteners.

Chobani filed a complaint Monday in the U.S. District Court Northern District of New York. The company is seeking a court declaration affirming that its Simply 100 advertising campaign — launched Jan. 6 — "is not false, misleading, disparaging or deceptive."

The campaign singles out competitors' products, including Dannon Light & Fit Greek Yogurt, which Chobani claims contains the artificial sweetener sucralose processed with added chlorine.

"Indeed, it is the presence of chlorine that prevents sucralose from being broken down in the body for energy, thus making sucralose intensely sweet and yet non-caloric," Chobani representatives allege in Monday's complaint.

According to Chobani, Dannon's legal team sent a letter Jan. 7 demanding an end to the ads, which Dannon claimed were "false, misleading, disparaging, or deceptive."

Chobani insists its assertions that its Greek yogurt "contains substantially less sugar than regular yogurt are not false or misleading" and are bolstered by data from the United States Food and Drug Administration.

"Consumers have the right to know what's in their cup. This campaign is fundamentally about choice — the choice between natural ingredients versus artificial ingredients," said Chobani's Chief Marketing and Brand Officer Peter McGuinness said in a statement Monday. "We're empowering consumers with facts and information to help them make more informed decisions when they're buying food for themselves and their family. We know people are concerned about artificial sweeteners in their food, and this campaign is about giving them truthful and accurate information."

Dannon, however, says the Chobani ad campaign "misleads and deceives the public about the healthfulness and safety" of its Light & Fit yogurt, according to Michael J. Neuwirth, Dannon's senior director of public relations.

"Like many reduced-calorie foods, Light & Fit Greek nonfat yogurt contains sucralose, an FDA-approved ingredient that has been safely and widely used as a sweetener in foods for more than 15 years," Neuwirth said in an email to NBC. "The truth is, we carefully craft our recipes to make our products not only delicious, but nutritious too." 

Neuwirth said Dannon plans to "pursue all available avenues to address Chobani's misleading and deceptive marketing."

Photo Credit: PRNewsFoto/Chobani LLC

Man Tossed Chemicals on Ex for Turned Down Marriage Proposal


Police in New Haven, Connecticut, are searching for a man who is accused of attacking his ex-girlfriend with chemicals when she turned down a marriage proposal.

The suspect, Derek Lee Rawls, 50, of New Haven, is believed to be on the run, possibly in the Atlanta, Georgia area.

Police responded to a Spring Street home at 7:45 p.m. on Friday to investigate the report of an assault and found the victim, whose face, neck, chest and arms were discolored and peeling from the attack, police said.

She was rushed to Yale–New Haven Hospital to be treated for the injuries.

The victim told authorities she has a restraining order against Rawls, who she dated in the past, and he threw the liquid chemicals at her after she told him she wouldn’t marry him.

Police said they recovered a plastic cup that contained some of those chemicals.

Police are asking for help to find Rawls, who is 5-foot-8, weighs about 220 pounds, and has brown and gray hair and brown eyes.

He’s clean shaven and has a small scar on his cheek, beneath his right eye, police said.

Rawls has two tattoos – one on his upper right arm which depicts praying hands, and one on his right forearm that depicts a portrait of his two children’s faces.

Police said Rawls is a convicted felon with a criminal history that includes convictions for robbery, first-degree escape, unlawful restraint in the second degree and felonious assault in Ohio.

The victim said Rawls told her he has a handgun, but she’s never seen it.

He drives a champagne colored Ford Taurus and the victim provided the Connecticut license plate AB9-3711, but police said they have no information on that plate, so the number might be something similar.

The victim has been released from the hospital.

Anyone with information on where Rawls is should call detectives at 203-946-6304.

Photo Credit: New Haven Police

Flights from Bradley to Denver to Begin in May


Starting this spring, you will be able to non-stop flights between Bradley International Airport and Denver International Airport on United Airlines.

The daily, nonstop service begins on May 5 and the flights will be on an Airbus 319 aircraft with 128 seats, according to the Connecticut Airport Authority.

“United is proud to offer our Connecticut customers a convenient and comfortable way to travel to Denver,” United’s regional sales manager Jack Purdy said in a statement. “Business or leisure travelers now have daily service to the Mile High City as well as several opportunities to connect to other cities throughout the Western U.S. and beyond at Denver, a United hub airport.”

81-Year-Old Pedestrian Struck and Killed in Stamford


An 81-year-old Stamford resident who was using a walker was struck by a vehicle and killed while crossing a street in Stamford on Sunday night.

Police said the pedestrian was a resident of Wormer Congregate Housing at 28 Vine Road Stamford. The person’s name and gender have not been released.

Police said a 43-year-old Stamford resident was driving the 2005 BMW X5 sport utility vehicle that hit the pedestrian on High Ridge Road, or Route 137, at Vine Road, at 8:24 p.m. on Sunday.

Initial indications from the investigation are that speed was not a factor. The BMW was going through a green traffic light and the driver, who remained at the scene, is cooperating with the investigation, police said.

Witnesses or people with information about the crash are asked to call police at 203-977-4712.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Bullet Fired Outside Hamden Pizza Shop Goes Into Living Room


Police are investigating after gunshots were fired in the parking lot of a Hamden pizza shop early Sunday morning and a bullet was found in a home.

A police officer spotted a large crowd in the parking lot of Slyce Pizza, at 141 Arch St., around 2 a.m. on Sunday and several gunshots were fired moments later.

Police said the gunshots came from the crowd.

When officers searched the area, they did not find anyone with injuries, but a parked vehicle had been hit several times and police found a gun in nearby bushes.

Later in the morning, a resident of Fairview Avenue, which abuts Arch Street, contacted police and said she’d stepped on a bullet in her living room and investigators determined it came in through an exterior wall.

Anyone with information should call Hamden Police at (203) 230-4040.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

2 Arrested in Connection to Multiple Residential Burglaries


Two men were arrested on Thursday in connection to multiple residential burglaries that occurred across southeastern Connecticut.

Benjamin Huntley, 36 and Michael Rousseau, 21 were arrested on multiple arrest warrants, East Lyme police said. Dt. Mark Comeau of the East Lyme Police Department said that police have been tracking Huntley and Rousseau since September 2015. 

Comeau could not provide NBC Connecticut with an exact number of homes that were burglarized but he believes the investigation will find 30 to 40 homes were hit. Police also think more suspects were involved with the robberies and anticipate more arrests.

The home robberies are still being investigated but East Lyme police said "numerous" burglaries and larcenies have been solved and stolen items recovered. 

Huntley and Rousseau are known to be addicted to heroin, Comeau said. 

This is still be investigated. Anyone with information is asked to contact East Lyme Police at 860-739-5900

Suspect in Armed Robbery at Glastonbury Subway Arrested


Glastonbury police have arrested a man suspected in an armed robbery at a Glastonbury Subway restaurant and said he is also suspected in an armed robbery in West Hartford.

Randall R. Michaels, 32, or Hartford, is suspected of committing an armed robbery at the Subway at 2858 Main St. on Nov. 19 and said he was identified through surveillance photos.

He has been charged with first-degree robbery, fifth-degree larceny and first-degree reckless endangerment.

He was also arrested on Dec. 14, suspected in an armed robbery in West Hartford and is incarcerated on those charges, according to Glastonbury police.

Bond was set at $250,000.

Photo Credit: Glastonbury Police

Convenience Store Burglary in Shelton: Police


Two men broke into The Mont's Mart convenience store in Shelton in the early hours of Jan. 9th.

Police are investigating the burglary of the store which is located on Leavenworth Road in Shelton.

A camera caught the suspects driving to the convenience store in a light blue station wagon. One of the suspects got out of the older model car and smashed the front glass of the store with a tire iron. The man took cigarettes and other items, Shelton police said.

Shelton police said neighboring towns have experienced similar burglaries-- that included a similarly described car and pictured suspect-- in the recent past. Anyone with information is asked to call 203-942-1544

Photo Credit: Shelton Police

Home Invasion Victim Jumped from Window and Called Police


Police are investigating a home invasion in New Haven on Thursday night after a resident was able to jump out a window and call police.

Police responded to an apartment on Weybosset Street just after 10:30 p.m. after residents reported a home invasion and the victims said two masked men had forced their way inside and one was carrying a shotgun.

One of the victims said he’d been inside his upstairs apartment, when the men barged in and demanded money and drugs.

The resident didn’t have either, so the intruders went to another apartment and made the residents stand in the living room, police said. Then the men reportedly threw one victim into the wall and he crashed through the sheetrock.

The other victims were ushered into a bathroom and one of them jumped out of the window and called police.

The intruders fled with $18 and a couple cell phones, police said.

One dropped a lighter from his sweatshirt pocket and a victim retrieved it and gave it to police.

None of the victims were injured and police are investigating.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

10-Year-Old Norwich Boy With Autism Found Uninjured


Police have found a 10-year-old Norwich boy with autism who was reported missing and said he is not injured. 

Allen "Mikey" Ohanlon was reported missing on Monday morning.

Photo Credit: Norwich Police Department

Syrian Refugee, 1st Female Ranger on SOTU Guest List


The guest list for President Barack Obama’s final State of the Union address reflects his presidency as he sees it.

The names of individuals joining First Lady Michelle Obama in her box were announced on Sunday. According to a press release, they “tell the story of the progress we have made since the president delivered his first address seven years ago.”

Each represents a cause which Obama emphasized during his presidency, such as criminal justice reform, the Affordable Care Act and gun control.

People of all ages and all walks of life were invited by the president — from Satya Nadella, the CEO of Microsoft, to everyday Americans making a difference, such as Cedric Rowland, an Affordable Care Act navigator from Chicago.

The list is also notable for who is not on it. Obama chose to leave an empty seat in the first lady’s box in honor of victims of gun violence “who no longer have a voice.”

Obama has been adamant about his desire for gun control, tearing up during a speech last week. He said he would not campaign with candidates who do not support common-sense gun control.

Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, who was in office when the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings took place, was invited as was Ryan Reyes, an activist whose partner was killed in the recent San Bernardino shootings.

Last month, Obama made headlines when he commented on a photo of a Refaai Hamo, a Syrian refugee, on the Humans of New York Facebook page.

“Welcome to your new home. You’re part of what makes America great,” Obama wrote. Hamo was invited to the address.

Hamo lived in Syria with his family until a missile tore through their home, killing his wife and one of his children. They moved to Turkey where he was diagnosed with stomach cancer. His family was eventually granted refugee status in the U.S. and now live in Troy, Michigan.

Lisa Jaster, the first female Army Reserve officer to graduate from the Ranger School, and Jim Obergefell, the plaintiff in the marriage equality U.S. Supreme Court case, will be attending.

Many other invitees are Americans doing good things for their community.

Braeden Manning, a 12-year-old Delaware resident, was inspired to start a nonprofit to feed the homeless after he attended the White House Kids’ “State Dinner”

Mark Davis of Washington, D.C., founded a business training low-income individuals to install solar panels.

A U.S. veteran and Mexican immigrant, Oscar Vazquez of Forth Worth, Texas, excelled as a STEM student in high school. He nows works as a business analyst in a web app development team, and encourages others to pursue an education in STEM.

Obama also included people he met during his first campaign for president, such as Texas veteran Earl Smith and Edith Childs from South Carolina.

(Click here to read the full list of invitees in the First Lady’s box.)

While this is Obama’s last State of the Union Address, it will be the first for Speaker of the House Paul Ryan in his new position.

Ryan said in a statement that his guests were “poverty fighters” from Wisconsin and around the country, such as Bishop Shirley Holloway, a Washington, D.C., resident who founded a nonprofit to help over 40,000 people dealing with addiction and homelessness.

Logan Barritt, a 4-year-old from Wisconsin, will be joining the speaker in his box. Starting with the change in his piggybank, Barritt raised $1,300 to send care packages to service members overseas.

Other lawmakers are bringing their own guests from around the country.

Rep. Barbara Lee, the Democrat from California, has invited Alicia Garza, one of the founders of the Black Lives Matter movement, according to NBCBLK.

Rep. Joe Courtney, a Democrat from Connecticut will bring Dr. Mohammed Qureshi, president of the Connecticut chapter of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. The mosque he attends was attacked after the Paris attacks last November, though no one was hurt.

Jim Harbaugh, coach of the San Francisco 49ers and University of Michigan alumnus, was invited to attend with his wife by Michigan Reps. Justin Amash, a Republican, and Debbie Dingell, a Democrat.

President Obama’s final State of the Union address will be broadcast on Tuesday, Jan. 12, at 9 p.m. ET.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Retired Meriden Cop Charged With Workers' Comp Fraud


A retired Meriden officer was arrested for workers' compensation fraud for which he collected more than $34,000 in disability benefits for a knee injury, police said in a statement.

Leighton Gibbs, 54, of Meriden, was arrested on Monday for allegedly failing to disclose the complete circumstances surrounding his knee injury. 

Gibbs received more than $34,000 in workers' compensation benefits after reporting a hurt knee in March 2011. The former officer did not report that he injured his kneed outside of work, according to the arrest warrant affidavit. 

He is expected to appear in court on Jan. 20 and has been released from police custody. Workers' compensation fraud is a felony punishable by a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

31 Hurt When Bus Hits Tree


Nearly three dozen people were hurt when the NJ Transit bus in which they were traveling crashed into a tree Monday, officials say.

The bus, which was traveling from Newark-Liberty International Airport, slammed into the tree at Wainwright Street and Lyons Avenue after noon, according to transit officials.

Police said 31 people were injured in the crash; two of the victims had broken legs. All are expected to survive. The impact destroyed the front of the bus. 

Footage captured at the scene shows several firefighters assisting passengers, some of whom are sitting on the ground wrapped in blankets. 

"It was crazy, frightening, everybody was trying to get out," said Christelle Chevalier, a passenger. 

Kevin Mickens said his mother was crying and had extensive pain in her back, neck and knee. 

The cause of the crash is under investigation. 

Photo Credit: NBC 4 New York

Shooting Video Could Be Released


A video showing the 2013 police shooting of 17-year-old Cedrick Chatman could be ordered released this week, becoming the latest in a string of Chicago police shooting videos made public since November.

Federal judge Robert W. Gettleman ruled last month that he will make a decision on whether to release the video Jan. 14. 

"I know there is a lot of public interest in this and for good reason," he said, adding that if his decision in the case is made solely on the footage, there's no reason not to release it. 

Chatman was killed while running away from two Chicago police officers in January 2013. 

A U.S. magistrate judge last month ordered the surveillance footage of Chatman's shooting death remain subject to a protective order, stating the video was "inflammatory" and could "taint the jury pool."

That same day, another judge ordered the release of video showing the October 2014 shooting death of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald. 

Attorney Brian Coffman, who is representing Chatman’s mother in a wrongful death lawsuit against the city, said the city is still fighting the release of the video even though Mayor Rahm Emanuel is calling for more transparency.

"He should pick up the phone and call us and say, 'You know what, we’re not going to fight this anymore. We want change. The City of Chicago, we want what's best for the citizens of Chicago,' and it hasn’t happened yet," Coffman said.

Coffman previously filed a motion asking a federal judge to overrule a magistrate judge’s decision to keep the video sealed.

Chatman was reportedly with two other individuals during a cellphone deal that turned violent on Jan. 7, 2013. According to court records, Chatman stole a Dodge Charger and was eventually boxed in by police near the intersection of East 75th Street and South Jeffrey.

When Chatman emerged from the vehicle, one of the officers reported seeing him reach for an object before running away, according to court records. The officers’ deposition revealed Chatman turned his body while running. Fearing for his life, one of the officers fired his weapon and shot Chatman.

Chatman was not carrying a weapon. Investigators later found an iPhone 5 case near his body.

His mother, Linda, has said her son did not deserve what happened. Coffman said the video’s release would help promote change.

"Some people may need to lose their jobs and that’s the unfortunate part of it, but we cannot keep going on the same path we are right now because this does not work for anybody," attorney Brian Coffman said.

The two men who were with Chatman —  Martel Odum and Akeem Clarke — were initially charged with his murder, but the charges were dropped. The men pleaded guilty to robbery and unlawful vehicular invasion.

Cameras mounted on a traffic signal, at South Shore High School and at a nearby apartment building recorded different angles of the incident.

Coffman said the video shows Chatman running from the police, not carrying a gun or making any movements toward officers that would have made them fear for their lives.

Chicago’s Independent Police Review Authority (IPRA) has found the shooting to be justified, but former IPRA supervisor Lorenzo Davis, who investigated the case, said Officer Kevin Fry, named in the wrongful death lawsuit, had no reason to believe his life was in danger before he fired his weapon.

"He should not have used deadly force to stop Mr. Chatman," Davis told NBC 5 Investigates last week. "He should have exhausted all means available to catch Mr. Chatman."

Davis claims he was fired by IPRA after he refused to change his findings in the case and has since filed a wrongful termination lawsuit. The IPRA had no comment.

"The City of Chicago is working to find the right balance when releasing videos of police incidents," city officials said in a statement. "In this case, a Federal Magistrate Judge placed a protective order on the video since a civil trial is pending and the judge is maintaining that confidentiality to not taint a jury pool and ensure a fair trial for all parties."

In response to the wrongful death lawsuit, the city previously denied there was any cover up.

Photo Credit: Family Photo

Ex-Dispatcher Sentenced in Steroid, Drug Ring Conspiracy


A former Newtown civilian police dispatcher was sentenced to two years of probation on Monday in federal court for manufacturing and distributing steroids, according to U.S. attorney's office in Connecticut.

Jason Chickos, 46, of Bridgeport, was working as a civilian dispatcher for the Newtown Police Department when he bought anabolic steroids from someone involved in a major steroid operation and distributed the drugs to other people, according to the U.S. attorney's office. He was arrested April 29, 2015.

Chickos pleaded guilty to buying steroids from another person in involved in the drug operation and distributing them, the office of the U.S. attorney said. He was a Newtown police dispatcher at the time.

Another man involved, Alex Kenyhercz, 29, of Ansonia, pleaded guilty to his connection in the conspiracy in Hartford court on Monday. 

The Federal Bureau of Investigation, Drug Enforcement Administration and Homeland Security Investigations found that steroid ingredients were shipped from China to individuals in the U.S., used to make steroids and then distributed in wholesale quantities, according to the U.S. attorney's office.

Some people involved in the drug operation were also distributing prescription pills, oxycodone and cocaine, federal prosecutors said.

Investigators seized hundreds of vials of steroids, about 600 grams of testosterone powder, about 350 grams of powder cocaine and four long guns in the investigation.

The FBI, DEA and Homeland Security Investigations are investigating with the help of the U.S. Marshals Service, U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

U.S. Attorneys Rahul Kale and Robert M. Spector are prosecuting the case.

Dad Indicted in Toddler's Death


The father of a 3-year-old South Jersey boy who was found dead in the woods near the Cooper River three months ago has been indicted for murder.

DJ Creato, 22, was picked up Monday afternoon from his job in Washington Township. He was indicted by a grand jury on a charge of first-degree murder and second-degree endangering the welfare of a child in connection with the death of his son, Brendan, the Camden County Prosecutor's Office announced Monday.

Brendan was found dead the morning of Oct. 13 near the bank of the Cooper River in Haddon Township, about a half-mile from his father’s home. The toddler's body was discovered about three hours after Creato called 911 to report his son was missing, authorities said.

"Hi, I just woke up and my 3-year-old is missing," Creato said in a 911 call obtained by NBC10.

"You didn't hear anything or see anything?" the operator asked.

"No, I just woke up and he wasnt in my apartment," Creato replied. "I don't know if he wandered out or what happened. I don't know where he is. The door was locked. I guess he unlocked it and left." 

Toward the end of the 911 call, a woman can be heard yelling "Brendan" several times.

Less than a month after the boy's death, Creato's lawyer, Richard Fuschino Jr., told NBC10 that toxicology tests on Brendan’s body had come back negative.

Officials also said there was no indication the boy was sexually assaulted and no indication of forced entry at Creato's home. They continued to investigate the child's cause of death.

In November, Philadelphia defense attorney Bill Brennan confirmed to NBC10 he was representing Brendan’s aunt and Creato’s sister, Sarah Jessica Creato, along with her parents. Brennan neither confirmed nor denied that his client was subpoenaed by a grand jury at the time.

"Grand jury proceedings are secret and it’s my practice, if there was a grand jury investigation, not to comment," he said.

While officials announced Creato's arrest Monday, they have not yet revealed Brendan's cause of death or a possible motive.

NBC10 was there as Creato was taken to Haddon Township Police headquarters in handcuffs Monday afternoon for processing. He is scheduled for an arraignment Tuesday at 1:30 p.m. in Camden.

NBC10 reached out to Fuschino Jr. for comment after Creato's arrest.

"I was shocked at what happened today," he said. "I had no warning that he was going to be charged today and it's heartbreaking. We don't know what actually caused the death here. We know my client is accused but we don't know what he's accused of having done." 

Photo Credit: Family Photo/NBC10

Grand Reopening of TGI Fridays in Manchester to Benefit Schools

Mother Dead, Son in Hospital After Being Hit by Pickup Truck


 A woman is dead and her son in the hospital after they were struck by a vehicle in Bridgeport, police said. 

The mother, Carmen Martinez, 41 of Bridgeport, was crossing the street with her 9-year-old son on John Street when they were hit by a pickup truck.

The mom was pronounced dead at St. Vincent's Medical Center. The boy is in critical condition at Yale-New Haven Hospital.

Police said the driver of a GMC pickup truck is cooperating with the investigation. He's been identified as a 70-year-old man from Berkley, Massachusetts. 

No arrests have been made.

NOTE: An earlier version of this story said the boy was 10 years old.

Please check back for updates on this developing story.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Video of Gunfight at El Chapo's Safe House


A Mexican television network aired footage of the government siege that ended with the capture of drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, NBC News reported.

The video, which appears to be taken from a body camera of a Mexican marine participating in the assault, provides a first-hand view of the shootout with Guzman associates in the kingpin's safe house in his home state of Sinaloa.

Guzman was arrested following a chase from the house, ending his six months on the run after tunneling from a maximum security prison in July.

The video of the predawn raid appears to be footage provided by the Mexico government to Televisa's Off-Air. The report also includes a Televisa reporter interviewing one of the Marines involved in the raid as they tour the wrecked safe house. NBC News has not authenticated the video.

Photo Credit: File--AP
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91-Year-Old Naugatuck Man Left Note Before Going Missing


A Silver Alert was issued for a 91-year-old man who went missing on Monday.

Frederick Christiansen, 91, of Naugatuck, was last seen on Jan. 11, police said.

The 91-year-old was last seen by his family at 5:30 am on Monday morning at their home. Christiansen left a note at the house indicating he may hurt himself, police said. The family said it's possible he is driving a gray 2009 Civic LX registered in Connecticut.

Christiansen is described as being 5'10" with grey hair and brown eyes, weighing approximately 160 pounds.

Anyone with information is asked to call Naugatuck police at 203-729-5221

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