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Crews Prepare for Connecticut Snowfall on Tuesday


Crews across the state are set to hit the road tomorrow to deal with the pending snow. While the amount of snow may not be a big concern for them, the timing is.

"It makes me want to call into work," said Luke Banzer of Carmel, NY.

While it would be nice to have Tuesday off, Luke Banzer and thousands of others will hit the road Tuesday knowing their evening commute may not be as pleasant as the morning drive.

It's expected that weather and road conditions will deteriorate in the afternoon, so drivers need to make sure they're in winter-driving mode.

"Definitely got to drive slow, give myself more time, and be cautious of the other drivers on the road because you do see accidents out there," said Banzer.

"That's always a challenge the first couple of snow storms, that people maybe drive a little too fast and not paying attention to conditions of the road," said Waterbury Department of Public Works Director David Simpson.

Waterbury DPW says they're stocked up and crews and equipment are ready to go. The fleet will move out to treat streets prior to the storm and remain out long after it’s over. Simpson says while not a lot of snow is expected, the snowfall hitting evening traffic can add complications.

"There will be more traffic on the road which means it's slower moving with our equipment. We'll coordinate any early dismissal or school challenges during the day with the education department," said Simpson.

Like any other winter weather event, everyone's urged to stay alert and slow it down.

"Slow down, take your time, get home safe," said Simpson.

Oregon Sheriff: Armed Protesters Harass, Intimidate Community


Local law enforcement is accusing armed protesters who seized an Oregon wildlife refuge of harassment and intimidation.

In a statement Monday, Harney County Sheriff Dave Ward described an "uptick" in reports of "law enforcement officers and community members being followed home; of people sitting in cars outside their homes, observing their movements and those of their families; and of people following them and their families as they move around the community."

Ward added, "While not direct physical threats, these activities are clearly designed to try to intimidate."

Federal employees of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, the site occupied by the protestors, also reported "a number of uncomfortable instances" of "unknown" outsiders idling outside their homes, watching them and initiating debates about their employment.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

15-Year-Old West Haven Girl Reported Missing


 A 15-year-old from West Haven was last seen on Monday, police said.

Dayan Dasilva was last seen wearing a purple turtle neck, black sweater, black leggings and black boots. She has brown hair, brown eyes, 5'0" and weighs 153 pounds. 

Dasilva's disappearance has been classified as "endangered" but it is not clear for what reasons she is endangered at this time.

Anyone with information is asked to contact West Haven police at 203-931-3900

Photo Credit: West Haven Police

Snow Expected for Tuesday Evening Commute


An "Alberta Clipper" storm system is expected to bring a period of snow across the state Tuesday afternoon and evening. 

NBC Connecticut has declared a First Alert Weather Day for Tuesday.

This weather system will bring icy roads and gusty winds tomorrow evening before a blast of cold air moves into the state. Forecasters emphasize the impacts are more important than specific snowfall amounts, as snowfall is impossible to predict to a tee.

Rain and snow is expected to develop Tuesday afternoon after 3 p.m. and a period of locally heavy snow is possible between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m.

Temperatures will fall quickly to the freezing mark once the precipitation sets in. That means any initial rain drops will quickly freeze before the change to snow.

Little or no accumulation is expected along the shorelines, while up to 2" of snow is possible in the hill-towns. Valley locations such as Hartford, Middletown and Meriden will likely pick up at least a coating of snow.

The bulk of the snow will be done by 8 p.m., though there can be lingering snow squalls late in the evening. Wind gusts will be over 30 mph.

2 Women Killed in I-95 Crash


Two women died in a crash involving two cars and a tractor-trailer that shut down Interstate 95 North in East Lyme on Monday morning.

Katerina Barret, 28, of Greenville, South Carolina, the driver in one car, and Marie L. Graves, 69, of Providence, Rhode Island, a passenger in another car, were both killed in the crash.

Kenneth Graves, 72, of Providence, Rhode Island, who was driving the car Marie was in, sustained minor injuries.

The tractor-trailer driver Bekzhan Turumkulov, 27, of Chicago, Illinois, wasn't injured.

State police responded to the crash near exit 72 on the northbound side of of I-95 around 4:28 a.m. on Monday after receiving several  911 calls reporting an accident with injuries.

Barrett hit the side of the Mato Equipment Leasing tractor-trailer Turumkulov was operating in the right lane as she was passing the truck while driving in the left lane, state police said. She veered to the left and hit the Jersey barrier median, re-entering the roadway and hitting the center of the passenger side of the car the Graves family was in, according to state police. 

Barrett was thrown from her car and the Graves' car "came to an uncontrolled final rest in the right shoulder," state police said. 

The two drivers were taken to Lawrence and Memorial Hospital to be treated for serious injuries.  raves was pronounced dead at the scene and Barrett died at the hospital. 

The tractor-trailer driver wasn't harmed. 

The highway was shut down on the northbound side for several hours as state police investigated, but it has since reopened. 

Troop E and F state police, East Lyme police, Flanders and Niantic firefighters and Lawrence and Memorial Paramedics also respondded. The Connecticut State Police Collission Analysis Reconsruction Squad (CARS), Department of Transportation and Office of the Chief Medical Examiner also responded. 

State police ask anyone who witnessed the crash to call TFC Daniel Hoffner at 860-848-6500. 

Follow Heidi Voight on Twiter for udpates

Photo Credit: CT DOT

Obama on Trump: 'Talk to Me if He Wins'


On the eve of his last State of the Union address, President Obama rejected the message Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has capitalized on in his campaign. 

"The message that Donald Trump's putting out has had adherence a lot of times during the course of our history. You know, talk to me if he wins. Then we'll have a conversation about how responsible I feel about it," he told "Today's" Matt Lauer in an exclusive interview Tuesday. 

"But I'm pretty confident that the overwhelming majority of Americans are looking for the kind of politics that does feed our hopes and not our fears, that does work together and doesn't try to divide, that isn't looking for simplistic solutions and scapegoating but looks for us buckling down and figuring out, 'How do we make things work for the next generation.'"

"Today" is broadcasting live from the White House Tuesday, providing viewers with a tour inside rooms rarely ever seen by the public.

Photo Credit: TODAY

Afghan Taliban Free Canadian Held Captive for 5 Yrs


The Afghan Taliban freed a Canadian man held hostage for five years, officials said Monday, NBC News reported. 

The exact date Colin Rutherford was taken captive is unclear. The Taliban announced his capture in February 2011 and released a video that May in which the then-26-year-old said he had been a tourist in Afghanistan, according to Reuters.

Canada's Foreign Minister Stephane Dion said Qatar played a role in freeing Rutherford.

Rutherford was released on humanitarian grounds, according to a statement from the Afghan Taliban.

Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images

Several Connecticut Residents Invited to State of the Union


When President Barack Obama gives his State of the Union Address Tuesday night, several Connecticut residents will be in the audience.

From the governor, to a man falsely sent to prison for a crime he didn’t commit, they'll get the chance to hear the president give his last state of the union address in person.

“It was emotional. I never in my wildest dreams thought I would get a call like that," James Tillman said of the invitation he received from Congressman John Larson.

Tillman made headlines nearly a decade ago when he was exonerated by DNA evidence after spending 18 years in prison for a rape he didn't commit.

Tillman’s story spurred newly passed legislation, co-sponsored by Congressman John Larson, that prevents the government from taxing compensation paid to those wrongly convicted.

“It means that the government cares. Things happen and the government is trying to make a wrong into a right and it helps," Tillman said.

Dr. Mohammad Qureshi, president of the Ahmadia Muslim Community, was equally surprised when he received an invitation from Congressman Joe Courtney.

“I couldn’t believe myself. It was really an honor," Qureshi said.

His Meriden mosque was hit by bullets after the terrorist attacks in Paris and California last year and the FBI is investigating the incident as a hate crime.

“I think our conduct after the incident must have triggered this maybe," Qureshi said. “The feedback has been overwhelming. The support I’m getting from everybody is overwhelming.”

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, who will sit near the First Lady for the State of the Union Address as her guest, has had a deep connection with the president ever since the tragic Sandy Hook school shootings.

“I think Newtown changed the president in many ways," Malloy said.

The president has championed Malloy’s efforts on gun control, but, the governor believes the state has made strides in other ways that have gained the president’s attention.

“It’s recognition that we’ve done a number of things. First state to pass a minimum wage of $10.10, first state to pass paid sick days," Malloy said. “There’s a lot of good things that Connecticut is doing and it’s nice to be recognized.”

New Britain Police Chief James Wardwell will also be a guest of U.S. Rep. Elizabeth Esty (D-5). The congresswoman announced that she and former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords will sit together during the address.

 “It has been five years since the tragic attack in Tucson and three years since the tragedy in Sandy Hook, and yet Congress has still not taken up commonsense gun violence prevention reforms,” said Esty, who is also Vice Chair on the Gun Violence Prevention Task Force. “I am proud to join my friend, Gabby, who has dedicated herself to public service. From Newtown and Hartford, to Tucson and Charleston, Chicago and Colorado Spring, Americans are demanding action to enhance criminal background checks and improve access to mental health services.”

Giffords' husband, Capt. Mark Kelly is expected to accompany her and sit with them in the House gallery for the president's final State of the Union.

“I am honored to join so many of my former colleagues and Congresswoman Esty at the State of the Union address. Congresswoman Esty is a true champion for common sense in the fight for making our communities safer from gun violence. Both Congresswoman Esty and I know all too well the impact of gun tragedies on our communities and our constituents. We share a bond no elected representative ever wants to share. It is a club you never want to belong to,” Giffords said in a statement. “But the truth is that gun tragedies befall every congressional district and every community in our nation. Gun violence knows no bounds. That’s why it’s so fitting and powerful that one seat in the First Lady’s State of the Union Guest Box will be left empty to honor the victims of gun violence. The Americans represented by that empty seat no longer have a voice. And we must be their voice.”

Watch the State of the Union Address on NBC Tuesday at 9 p.m.

Photo Credit: ap

Crash Closes Boswell Avenue in Norwich


Boswell Avenue in Norwich is closed after a one-car crash.

Police said the crash brought down a utility/telephone pole and the road is closed between 7th and 9th streets until further notice.

Minor injuries are reported and Norwich Public Utilities crews are at the scene.

Man Says Nanny Pushing 'Dead Baby'


Police say they have arrested a man who allegedly told a nanny outside a Long Island home that she was "pushing a dead baby" and tried to take the 20-month-old, following the nanny and child into the home through an unlocked door when the woman tried to escape.

The man, 44-year-old Craig Myczkowski, allegedly approached the 65-year-old nanny as she was walking the 20-month-old baby in a stroller in front of a home on West Broadway in Woodmere.

As the woman walked down the sidewalk, the man told her that she was “pushing a dead baby,” police said.

When the woman tried to get away from the suspect and back inside the home, he followed her and said that he needed to take the baby away from her, police said.

Although the woman made it inside with the baby, the man entered the home through an unlocked mudroom and then tried to enter the kitchen, but the nanny had locked that door, according to police.

The suspect then allegedly began yelling through the locked door, “Give me the dead baby!”

Sometime later he left the home, took the stroller and began walking eastbound on West Broadway. The stroller was located at The Pizza Place on Broadway in Hewlett.

Myczkowski was arrested Tuesday morning after authorities found him sleeping on a couch inside a doctor's office in Hewlett. They say his last known address is in Manhattan, but he has been seen around the Woodmere area in the past.

Myczkowski was charged with attempted unlawful imprisonment, endangering the welfare of a child, burglary, criminal possession of stolen property and criminal mischief. He was taken to a hospital for evaluation. It wasn't immediately clear if he had an attorney.

Neither the baby sitter nor the child was injured. Police praised the baby sitter for her swift actions to protect herself and the child. 

Victim, Alleged Gunman in Hospital


The family of a man who was shot in December by a suspected gunman in a month-long shooting spree across SoCal was distraught upon learning their loved one was being treated in the same hospital as the alleged gunman.

Bheri Werntz, a father and grandfather of three children, was critically injured after he was shot outside of his home in Burbank.

Authorities suspect the alleged gunman was Artyom Gasparyan, 32, who was in critical condition following a shootout with police on the 5 Freeway last week. Police said Gasparyan was wanted for murder, attempted murder, carjacking and robbery spanning Burbank, Panorama City and the Carson area.

Cristina Werntz, Bheri's wife, has essentially been living outside of the hospital where her husband was recovering for the past 34 days.

"It seems like a nightmare I haven't been able to wake up from," Cristina said.

Bheri's 27-year-old son Weston said he was there when the alleged shooting occurred.

"I'm yelling at him, 'Why'd you shoot my Dad?' ... He looks right at me and gives me this smug cocky closed mouth grin," Weston said.

"The 'why' is probably the worst thing. Why me? Why was Bheri there at that moment? Why did he pull into our driveway," she asked.

One week ago, Cristina was visiting her husband in the hospital as she watched police bringing someone into the hospital, and she knew it was Gasparyan.

Cristina said she has no message for Gasparyan, she just wants her husband to survive.

"There was days we didn't think he was going to make it, but we're more hopeful now. But he's looking at months and months of hospitalization and recovery," Cristina said.

Cristina said her husband is going to have his eighth surgery or procedure on Tuesday since the shooting.

Cristina said she was originally worried about running into Gasparyan's family or friends in the hallways. She was told Gasparyan was not being allowed any visitors and he was handcuffed to his bed.

Photo Credit: KNBC

Crews Respond to Bristol Structure Fire


Bristol police responded to a structure fire early Tuesday morning.

They extinguished the flames, which broke out at about 2 a.m. at 1204 Stafford Avenue in Bristol. 

The road was closed between Stevens Street and Sondstrom Road as the fire marshal investigated and it's since reopened. 

Texas Traveler Diagnosed with Zika Virus: CDC


A traveler in Houston has been diagnosed with a little-known mosquito-borne virus after returning from a trip to Latin America, health officials say.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it's the first diagnosis in the United States since an outbreak began in Latin America last year. In May 2015, the Pan American Health Organization issued an alert about the first confirmed Zika virus infections in Brazil.

Puerto Rico confirmed its first case in December, and the virus has also been transmitted in Mexico.

"It's caused by the bite of a mosquito, very similar to West Nile," said Dr. Khang Tran, chief medical officer at the Medical Center of Plano.

Unlike West Nile virus, however, Tran said the Zika virus is not deadly.

He said the symptoms, including fever, rash, joint pain and conjunctivitis (red eyes), rarely last longer than a week.

"The clinical symptoms are usually pretty mild, treated with acetaminophen or Tylenol, and symptoms usually go away within week," Tran said.

Though the symptoms are not considered serious, the CDC said pregnant women need to be especially careful when traveling to areas where the Zika virus is found.

Brazil is investigating the possible association between the infection and cases of microcephaly, a condition in which babies are born with only partially developed brains.

Photo Credit: AP

Route 44 in Coventry Reopens After Rollover Crash


Route 44 in Coventry has reopened after a rollover crash Tuesday morning.

The road was closed both ways at Richmond Road earlier in the morning, but it has since reopened. 

One person was transported to Hartford Hospital. 

Delays in Trumbull on Rt. 25 After Head-On Crash

Police Recover Man's Body From Middletown Brook


A man's body was recovered from Long Hill Brook in the area of South Main Street in Middletown on Tuesday morning. 

Firefighters and police responded around 7 a.m. after an employee from a local business found a man's body down an embankment near a stream. 

Police have not identified the man and the medical examiner's office is investigating. 

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Truck Crashes on Bradley Airport Connector in Windsor


A tractor-trailer has rolled over on the westbound side of the Bradley Airport Connector in Windsor.

The crash is in the left lane of Route 20 westbound near Hamilton Road.

No injuries are reported.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Biden: 'It's Possible' Trump Could Be Next President


Vice President Joe Biden acknowledged Tuesday that it is possible Donald Trump could be America's next president.

"Yes, I think it's possible,'' Biden told "Today's" Savannah Guthrie during a live broadcast from the White House on Tuesday when asked whether he could imagine Trump in the Oval Office.

"I hope that if that were to occur — I hope it doesn't because I have fundamentally different views than he does — I'd hope that he gets a lot more serious about the issues, a lot more serious about gaining knowledge about this this nation functions and foreign policy and domestic policy, but look, that's a long way off."

Meanwhile, President Obama told "Today's" Matt Lauer earlier that Trump's message wasn't connecting with a majority of voters, saying, "Talk to me if he wins."

Biden and Obama both agreed that Trump's bid for the Republican nomination was polarizing. 

"I think he is divisive,'' Biden said. "I think he'd have to acknowledge that he's very divisive. That's not healthy. We always do best when we act as one America."

Photo Credit: AP

'We Are Confident': Steven Avery's Lawyers Plan to Present New Evidence


Steven Avery’s new legal team said they plan to present new evidence and are "confident" that the man whose murder case was spotlighted in the documentary "Making a Murderer" will have his conviction vacated.  

“We are continuing to examine every aspect of Mr. Avery’s case and all of his legal options,” Kathleen T. Zellner said in a statement Monday. “We are confident Mr. Avery’s conviction will be vacated when we present the new evidence and results of our work to the appropriate court.”

Kathleen T. Zellner & Associates, P.C. in Downers Grove announced Friday it will assume “the full and complete representation of Steven Avery.”

“The Zellner Law Firm is looking forward to adding Mr. Avery to its long list of wrongful conviction exonerations,” the firm said in a statement. 

The firm will join Wisconsin counsel Tricia Bushnell, the legal director of the Midwest Innocence Project, the statement said. 

Details on how the legal team plans to move Avery's case forward were not immediately clear. 

Avery made national headlines in 2003 when he was freed after nearly two decades behind bars -- exonerated for a sexual assault that DNA proved he didn't commit. Two years later, Avery and his then-teenage nephew Brendan Dassey were charged in the killing of photographer Teresa Halbach, who visited the Avery family salvage yard to take photos of a minivan on Halloween.

Avery was suing Manitowoc County, Wisconsin, the former district attorney and the county sheriff for $36 million over his wrongful conviction at the time he was accused of Halbach's murder.

Halbach's bones and belongings were found burned near Avery's trailer. Both Avery and Dassey were convicted and sentenced to life terms, but only Dassey is eligible for parole — in 2048.

Both Avery's and Dassey's cases were featured in the gripping Netflix documentary “Making a Murderer.”

The documentary strongly suggests the possibility that Manitowoc County sheriff's deputies planted evidence against Avery, including a key found in his bedroom and blood found in the victim's vehicle. But Sheriff Robert Hermann has denied that claim.

"They did not plant evidence," Hermann said. "I trust them 100 percent. Quite frankly, I think justice was served in this case."

The 10-part series has prompted watchers across the nation to flood message boards and Twitter feeds, even prompting a response from the White House

Authorities involved with the Wisconsin case are saying the series is slanted and omits crucial facts that led to Avery and Dassey being found guilty in the death of Halbach.

The filmmakers, meanwhile, are standing by their work that spans nearly a decade and largely concentrates on the defense and perspective of Avery and Dassey's relatives.

Lawyers with Northwestern University’s Center for Wrongful Convictions of Youth are currently awaiting a ruling on a Habeas petition filed on behalf of Dassey, hoping to force a new trial in his case. They have argued that Dassey’s trial was plagued by the actions of his former attorney, who was removed from the case, and claim that Dassey’s confession was coerced.

The state, however, has said that the attorney's removal happened before his trial and have argued that Dassey fails to show that an appeals court's decision was unreasonable. 

Photo Credit: AP Photo/Morry Gash, File

Powerball Jackpot Jumps Again to Record $1.5B


The ever-growing Powerball jackpot has jumped again to a whopping $1.5 billion on Tuesday from $1.4 billion the day before. According to lottery officials, it is the world's largest prize ever offered.

The cash value of the prize is $930 million before taxes, according to powerball.com and winners have 180 days from the drawing to claim their prize.

The Powerball jackpot has rolled 19 times since the Nov. 7 drawing. Most of the gains came after last Wednesday's drawing when no one matched all six Powerball numbers for the $500 million jackpot. The U.S. saw sales of $277 million on Friday alone for the next drawing on Saturday, which reached $900 million amid a frenzy of purchases. No one won the big prize in that drawing, causing the pot to roll over and surpass the $1 billion mark.

Officials with the Multi-State Lottery Association, which runs the Powerball game, hoped for such a large jackpot when they changed the odds of matching all the Powerball numbers from about one in 175 million to one in 292.2 million last fall. By making it harder to win a jackpot, the tougher odds made the ever-larger prizes inevitable.

Powerball is played in 44 states as well as the District of Columbia, U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.

While that's the largest U.S. lottery jackpot ever, lotteries elsewhere in the world can be far bigger. Spain's massively popular Christmas lottery, known as "El Gordo," is ranked as the world's richest and last month showered 2.2 billion euros ($2.4 billion) across the country in millions of prizes.

As for the U.S., here's a look at the 10 previous highest jackpots and where the winners were from:

1. $656.0 million, Mega Millions, March 30, 2012 (3 tickets from Kansas, Illinois and Maryland)

2. $636 million, Mega Millions Dec 17, 2013, (2 tickets, from California and Georgia)

3. $590.5 million, Powerball, May 18, 2013 (1 ticket from Florida)

4. $587.5 million, Powerball, Nov. 28, 2012 (2 tickets from Arizona and Missouri)

5. $564.1 million, Powerball, Feb 11, 2015 - (3 tickets, from North Carolina, Puerto Rico and Texas)

6. $448.4 million, Powerball, Aug 7, 2013, (3 tickets, one from Minnesota and two from New Jersey)

7. $425.3 million, Powerball, Feb 19, 2014 - (1 ticket from California)

8. $414 million, Mega Millions, March 18, 2014, (2 tickets from Florida and Maryland)

9. $399.4 million, Powerball, Sept 18, 2013, (1 ticket from South Carolina)

10. $390.0 million, Mega Millions, March 6, 2007 (2 tickets from Georgia and New Jersey) 

 The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: AP
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