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MassMutual Laying Off 100 in Enfield


MassMutual is laying off around 100 people from its offices in Enfield.

The Massachusetts-based company said it is laying people off companywide, including in Enfield, and they will be happening soon, according to company spokesperson Jim Lacey.

The company has 7,200 employees, including around 2,000 in Enfield, and the layoffs will affect around 5 percent of staff.

"MassMutual routinely and carefully examines all of its operations to ensure we are focused on activities that effectively and efficiently deliver the greatest value to our policy owners and customers. At times, this means making decisions that impact our staffing levels and when they do, we are committed to a thoughtful and respectful process," Jim Lacey, a spokesperson with MassMutual said.

This is the hit to the Enfield job market, which is losing more than 550 employees when Hallmark closes this year and more than 100 when Macy’s closes.

“Macy’s, Hallmark, and you know just too many!,” Angie Nguyen, of Enfield, said.

Mayor Scott Kaupin said this is unfortunate for the families affected, but MassMutual is committed to Enfield for the long-term.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Fairfield University Investigating Reports of 'Ghetto' Party


Fairfield University is investigating reports of students who live off-campus holding a racially-insensitive party with a "ghetto" theme over the weekend, with some students showing up in brown makeup, according to several news outlets.

The Connecticut Post reports that the “ghetto-themed” party was held on Saturday night.

Fairfield University issued a statement saying officials learned over the weekend that students who currently live off-campus “allegedly hosted a culturally insensitive party at one of the residences” and university administration is working with students and diversity officers to investigate the incident.

“Fairfield University is explicitly committed as a Jesuit and Catholic university to a culture that embraces and celebrates diversity, and we actively encourage conversations and support programs that deepen our students’ cultural sensitivity, while also impressing upon them that they are expected to be exemplary in their dealings with one another, and with everyone in the community,” a statement from the university says. “We expect that our students, faculty and staff maintain the highest level of respect for one another. We will be investigating this matter immediately, and will take appropriate actions as soon as the facts have been determined.”

The school said it is committed to an “inclusive, welcoming community that represents the diverse cultures that our students come from and where they will live.”

Last year, Yale University received national attention when allegations swirled that a fraternity held a "White Girls Only" party, but the school found "no evidence of systematic discrimination against people of color" and students who were at the party said that guests were allowed in on a first-come basis before it got too crowded and "men and women of color were among those admitted."

Photo Credit: File – Getty Images

Woman Stabbed 6 Times in Hamden VFW Parking Lot


A 26-year-old woman was stabbed six times in the parking lot of a VFW in Hamden early Sunday morning and police are investigating.

Police responded to 403 Morse Street around 2:30 a.m. and said the 26-year-old New Haven woman, was trying to break up the fight when she was stabbed in the chest, back, shoulder and hand.

She was brought to Yale-New Haven Hospital.

The Hamden Police Department Major Crimes Division is investigating and anyone with information should call detectives at (203) 230-4040.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Plainville Animal Shelter Owner Charged With Animal Cruelty


The owner of a Plainville shelter that authorities removed animals from in December has been arrested on 24 counts of animal cruelty and turned herself in to police after a warrant was issued for her.

Police started investigating Meda Talley, the owner of AlmostHome, in December when they received complaints about the animal rescue and shelter.

Authorities removed 20 dogs, 23 cats, a rabbit and a hamster from the shelter, with help from Farmington animal control because so many animals had to be moved out.

At the time, Plainville Police Lt. Eric Peterson called the conditions inside "unsuitable" for so many animals, even if they were just there temporarily.

The arrest warrant says the smell of urine and feces in the kennel area was "overwhelming," and says 24 animals were dirty or sick.

Some dogs had feces caked to his rear end, some had upper repiratory infections and some had fractured bones, according to the warrant.

In December, Talley refused to comment at the time, but her many helpers said the closing is uncalled for.

She posted bond. NBC Connecticut tried to reach her on Monday, but could not.

The town has also filed a separate civil suit, seeking about $17,000 from Almost Home.

Town manager Robert Lee said $8,000 is for veterinarian bills and the rest is for all the overtime costs of taking care of the animals since the December raid.

Robert Ziegler, the attorney for Almost Home, says they’ll be filing a lawsuit against the town.

“In the petition, they named Meda Talley individually and they should have never done so. They knew it was a corporation. It was a charitable 501C3 coorporation, but they named  Meda Talley, an individual, the defendant in the action,” Ziegler said.

Talley will be arraigned on March 7.

Photo Credit: Plainville Police

Thief Abandons Daughter: Cops


A mother is in custody after she allegedly stole over a thousand dollars’ worth of clothes from Philadelphia's Center City Macy’s store and then abandoned her young daughter after escaping from custody. 

Police say 27-year-old Mahogany Terry of Philadelphia stole 17 items of clothing from the Men’s Department inside the Macy’s on 13th and Market streets back on February 11 around 6 p.m. The woman’s 4-year-old daughter was with her at the time, according to investigators.

As Terry went into a dressing room to conceal the stolen items she was apprehended by security guards inside the store, police said. Investigators determined she had stolen $1400 in merchandise.

Terry and her daughter were detained by Macy’s Loss Prevention officers and taken to a room for further processing, according to officials. They then handcuffed Terry’s hand to a bench, police said. Terry then allegedly freed herself from the handcuff, escaped from the room and fled, leaving her daughter behind.

Terry’s daughter was taken to the Department of Human Services and was later reunited with her relatives. Detectives obtained an arrest warrant for Terry who lives on the 2900 block of North 29th Street. She was picked up by police from her home around 11 p.m. Monday and taken into custody. She is expected to be charged with retail theft and endangering the welfare of a child.

Prior to the latest incident, Terry was arrested twice before on similar charges, according to court records.

Photo Credit: Philadelphia Police

Uber Driver Attacked in VA


An Uber driver was attacked by passengers Saturday night in Arlington, Virginia, after he asked them to throw out the beer they were drinking in his car, the driver and police say.

The driver, who asked that News4 withhold his name, was punched and hit in the head with a glass bottle when three men from Woodbridge, Virginia, attacked him, police said.

The trouble began when the driver picked up six passengers before 11 p.m. Saturday night on Pollard Street. The group was boisterous, and soon the driver heard beer bottles clinking, he said. He pulled over the car on the 500 block of S. Washington Boulevard, near the Pentagon and the south end of Arlington National Cemetery, and asked the passengers to throw out the beer.

But instead of complying, one of the men opened a passenger-side door and tried to pull the keys out of the ignition. Then he began to hit the driver, he and police said.

"I tried to stop him with my hand, then from the other hand he threw the bottle at me on my head," the driver said. "After that, he started punching me."

A passenger then shattered one of the car's windows, and the group scattered.

Lance Ingram, 25, was charged with assault by mob. Justin Norconk, 26, was charged with malicious wounding and assault by mob. And Jeffrey Rowe, 26, was charged with destruction of property. All three men live in Woodbridge, Virginia, police said. They are being held without bond.

"We take this very seriously. No. 1, they shouldn't have been consuming alcohol in the car, so he is in the right to ask them to refrain from doing so," Arlington County Police Department spokeswoman Ashley Savage said. "And then to violently attack him is absolutely inappropriate."

The men were arrested after police saw them leaving the scene in a taxi.

Uber said the company has a zero-tolerance policy regarding harassment and abuse. The accounts of the two passengers who requested and split the ride Saturday night were immediately deactivated pending an investigation.

"Uber expects everyone in our community to treat each other with respect and common courtesy," a representative said. "We've been in touch with the driver-partner and stand ready to assist the authorities with their investigation."

Injured Girl Is ‘Silent Warrior’


The 10-year-old girl hospitalized after she and a friend were hit by a driver in San Diego's Tierrasanta neighborhood is “a silent warrior,” her judo instructor told NBC 7.

Raquel Lee Ann Rosete has been in critical condition at Rady Children’s Hospital since Saturday, when driver Julianna Little, 30, drove onto the sidewalk on Santo Road and struck the girls, according to San Diego police.

Raquel’s family did not want to release information about her condition, only saying it was critical Monday. Her friend suffered serious, non-life threatening injuries.

David Newcomb teaches Raquel judo at Naval Air Station North Island. Raquel’s father just retired from the Navy, and the family was planning to move from Tierrasanta soon.

"Just kind of portray how awesome of a girl she is. She's a real good fighter,” said Newcomb. “She's a warrior, super intelligent. Usually came back first place from her competitions and stuff. So it's very hard to see her in this state right now."

Her injuries are life-threatening. But Newcomb hopes the little warrior will fight her way out of danger.

"She's very attentive. She has got a great personality and very respectful,” the instructor said. “She's like a silent warrior. She doesn't speak that much in class, but man, she knows how to put on a good show."

Newcomb helped set up a GoFundMe page for the family, and a vigil for the girls is planned for Thursday.

After the crash that injured the victims, Little – the accused driver – fled the scene and later returned with her father. Police said she told them she fell asleep at the wheel.

She was booked into Las Colinas Detention Facility on three felony charges, including driving under the influence causing bodily injury. She is being held on a $1 million bail, and her arraignment is scheduled for Wednesday.

The driver's attorney, Anthony Solare, said this has been hard on Little.

“Obviously these cases are tragic for everybody,” said Solare. “My client, I spoke with her yesterday, is absolutely devastated over what happened. Both her and her family have asked me to express their deep concern and best wishes and prayers for those two children."

Solare told NBC 7 there is important information about his client’s culpability that is still unknown.

Photo Credit: David Newcomb

Brawl at Chuck E. Cheese's Caught on Camera


Police are looking for about a dozen people involved in an all-out brawl caught on camera at Chuck E. Cheese's in Manchester, Connecticut, on Sunday.

The incident began between two women at the restaurant at 82 Buckland Street and may have started after the two bumped into each other, according to Manchester police. It quickly escalated to include about 12 people, police said.

The group involved in the fight left before officers arrived.

Police are reviewing video of the incident to try and identify those involved.

Chuck E. Cheese's released a statement on Monday:

"We are regretful of the situation. Our cast immediately called the authorities once the altercation went from verbal to physical. We are working closely with the authorities to provide our surveillance footage. The safety of our guests and cast members is our number one priority. We are sorry this happened. We are usually a place for food and fun and family and we work hard to provide a positive, wholesome atmosphere for guests."

Photo Credit: Alexander Shway

Snow Tomorrow Evening, Rain to Follow


After a beautiful spring-like weekend with temperatures in the 50s and 60s, several days of disruptive weather are ahead.

Skies will be mostly clear tonight, allowing for good viewing conditions for the full "snow" moon.

Two storms will impact Connecticut in the midweek period.

The first comes tomorrow afternoon evening, starting as a thump of snow before changing to ice and rain.

The snow will be falling at a moderate to at times heavy clip during the evening commute.

A coating to 2 inches of snow are expected, and the icing could last into Wednesday morning in some northern Connecticut towns.

Wednesday will be quite murky, cold and damp. Not much will be going on except perhaps a little early icing in northern Connecticut and occasional drizzle and rain shower activity elsewhere.

Temperatures will hover in the 30s and lower 40s.

The second storm is all rain and really kicks in Wednesday night when heavy rain is anticipated.

Temperatures will skyrocket into the 50s and wind gusts over 40 mph will accompany the heavy rain.

Most of the rain will be done by midday Thursday, but not before melting any remaining natural snowpack across the state.

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Girl May Have Died Saving Others


A 10-year-old girl may have died trying to push other children out of the way of a moving car, according to the California Highway Patrol.

CHP officials said a Mercedes Benz began moving shortly after 5 p.m. Monday while parked on a slightly sloping driveway in the 13400 block of Interstate 8 Business in Lakeside.

Authorities believe a child may have put the car into gear.

A 10-year-old girl saw the vehicle start to roll and may have pushed others to safety, officials said. She was run over in the process and died en route to Grossmont Hospital.

The incident is still under investigation. No further information was immediately available. 

Photo Credit: NBC San Diego

Swedish Girl, 16, Rescued From ISIS: Kurds


A 16-year-old Swedish girl was rescued by counterterrorism forces from ISIS captivity in Iraq, Kurdish officials said Tuesday, NBC News reported. 

The teen, originally from the Swedish city of Boras, was freed near the ISIS-occupied city of Mosul on Wednesday, according to a statement from the Kurdistan Region Security Council.

She was "misled by an [ISIS] member in Sweden to travel to Syria and later to Mosul," the statement said. 

Kurdish officials said the rescue came after a request from the Swedish government and the girl's family.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Environmental Protection Workers Say Own Office Makes Them Sick


The Environmental Protection Agency's mission is to protect human health and the environment, but nearly 100 of its own employees based in the San Francisco Bay Area believe they're getting sick just by going to work.

Employees say the indoor air quality is so bad at the EPA Region 9 Headquarters in San Francisco, they're unable to do their jobs.

The irony is not lost on Taly Jolish, a staff attorney for the EPA and vice president of ASGE Local 1236, one of Region 9's three unions.

"It just seems crazy to us that someone would be risking their health by coming into the office to work on cleaning up the environment elsewhere," Jolish said.

Testing conducted by an environmental testing lab hired by the EPA, showed elevated levels of two potentially dangerous chemicals, formaldehyde and caprolactam.

Photo Credit: Getty Images/File

Stop & Shop Warns of $175 Coupon Scam


Customers of Stop & Shop supermarkets have been targeted in a recent online “click and share” scheme that appears to promise free groceries and the company is issuing a warning not to fall for it.

The scheme promises a free $175 grocery coupon for a limited time to celebrate Stop $ Shop's birthday and includes a counter on how many are left. but the grocery chain said on its Facebook page that it's not real. They have reported it to Facebook, but they are also asking customers to avoid providing the scammers with access to individual Facebook pages.

Some local customers said it’s not easy to tell it’s fake.

“To be honest, you can’t really tell because it looks real, but it won’t be," Robert Colvin, a Stop & Shop customer from New Haven, said.

Others said it is a tempting deal, if only it were real.

“Right now, times are tough," Julie Clement, of East Haven, said. "Everybody will take coupons if they can get them.”

A similar “click and share” scheme involving Shop Rite went viral in December 2015.

"I saw the Shop Rite one, so I just didn’t do it this time," Clement said. “Just be careful and diligent. … If it looks too good to be true, it is.”

Stop & Shop has yet to determine who is behind what it calls “fraudulent” Facebook activity and apologized to customers for any confusion.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com
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New Haven Church Celebrates 60th Anniversary of “In the Still of the Night” Recording


“In the Still of the Night,” is one of the biggest hits of the doo-wop era, Rolling Stone magazine named it one of the 500 greatest songs of all-time and Fred Parris and “The Five Satins” recorded it 60 years ago in the basement of St. Bernadette Church in New Haven.

“I couldn’t imagine a week later it being a hit,” Parris joked, while attending a ceremony at the church commemorating the song’s 60th anniversary.

Vinny Mazzetta, a life-long parishioner at St. Bernadette, played saxophone on the original recording of “In the Still of the Night” on Feb. 19, 1956.

“If you did a take, you made a mistake, you went back,” Mazzetta said. “Fred says we did ‘In the Still of the Night’ six times. I think we did it 12 times that day.”

The song might have been written long before they were born, but students from the St. Bernadette Catholic school sang every lyric with Parris and Mazzetta to close out the ceremony.

“What a surprise,” Parris said, “I really didn’t expect that and (it’s) just wonderful to have all the kids singing my song.”

The tune that has stood the test of time is now being passed on to a new generation.

“The song is wholesome and good and pure, like many of the romantic songs of the ‘50s and ‘60s. That’s why they’re so lasting,” said Father Francis Carter, who led the ceremony,

Parris still lives in Hamden and signed yearbooks for high school classmates who attended the event after the performance.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Senator Maynard Suffered Seizure Before Waterford Crash: Police


State Senator Andrew Maynard, who was badly injured in a fall in 2014, suffered a "breakthrough seizure" before getting into a car crash in Waterford last month and will not be charged, police said during a news conference on Tuesday morning.

Police said Maynard was on the southbound side of Route 32 in Waterford around 3:31 p.m. on Jan. 14 when his car hit the jersey barrier, crossed through the Scotch Cap Road intersection, hit another car on the northbound side of the road, then hit a telephone pole guard wire, which spun his car.

Maynard was unconscious at the scene, police said. 

Witnesses at the scene said Maynard was having a medical problem and medical records show he suffered a "breakthough seizure" at the time of the crash, police said.

Investigators never performed field sobriety tests because there was no indication that alcohol was involved and said medical records show no alcohol in Maynard's blood and said no drugs were listed.

Because there were no life-threatening injuries, police did not conduct an accident reconstruction, but said their investigating into the crash was extensive because of the political ramifications and public scrutiny.

Police said Maynard was able to communicate, with words and gestures, about what happened when they spoke to him about the crash, but he did not recall any details of the accident.

"The Waterford Police Department was and is focused on the accident itself,"  Chief Brett Mahoney said on Tuesday."I am proud of the numerous officer hours that went into this accident investigation and consider it resolved."

The crash happened a year and a half after Maynard was badly hurt when he fell from an outdoor staircase at his home in Stonington, hitting his head.

After the fall, he underwent physical and occupational therapy to work on his balance, strengthen his right arm and improve the use of his right hand, according to a statement that came out at the time of the incident. 

"Senator Maynard thanks the Waterford Police Department for conducting a thorough investigation of the circumstances surrounding his January 14th accident.  He is pleased that the State’s Attorney concluded that criminal prosecution was not warranted, as the accident was caused by an unfortunate medical emergency.  He looks forward to continuing his work in the State Senate and finishing out the remainder of his term," Maynard's attorney said in a statement.

Maynard, who is serving his fifth term in the Connecticut General Assembly, has decided not to run for reelection in Novembers.

“It has been an honor to serve in the Senate on behalf of my neighbors and the people of the 18th District,” Senator Maynard said in a statement. “I want to thank everyone for their prayers and well wishes, and I am grateful to live in such a beautiful and supportive community. I have made the decision to not seek reelection. There is much work to do this legislative session, and I am committed to continuing to work to create jobs, grow the economy and balance our budget.”  

N. Korea Backed Out of Peace Talks With US


North Korea showed interest in discussing a peace treaty with the United States, but pulled away after the U.S. insisted denuclearization be part of the negotiations, the White House said Monday.

"There was interest expressed by the North Koreans in discussing a peace treaty," Spokesman Josh Earnest told a news conference. "We considered their proposal, but also made clear that denuclearization had to be part of any discussions. The truth is that the North Koreans rejected that response."

The U.S. considered a proposal from the North Korea, which has long sought a peace treaty with Washington, said Earnest. The discussions took place before North Korea's recent nuclear test and rocket launch that have further strained relations.

Photo Credit: File--AP

Lawmakers Consider Bill to Cut Liquor Prices


A bill Gov. Dannel Malloy has proposed would cut the prices of liquor in the state and it’s going before some Connecticut lawmakers today.

Liquor stores in Connecticut are not allowed to sell alcoholic beverages below a set price, but Malloy wants to eliminate minimum pricing and allow liquor stores to charge what they want.

He said it could reduce the amount stores charge by $4 to $12 per bottle.

The Connecticut Package Store Association opposes the bill and said this would force some liquor store owners out of business.

Customers, however, said they would welcome the lower prices and this might bring more business into the state.

“I can definitely see an advantage to the prices being lower. That’s a great thing that might be happening.” Omar Walters, of Windsor, said.

A 2009 report from the a legislative analyst says the minimum markup laws, or price-fixing laws, were intended to protect small businesses from predatory pricing. 

The state Consumer Protection Liquor Control Division lists current discounts for beer and liquor.

The General Law Committee is holding the public hearing, during which several proposals will be discussed, including extending the hours alcoholic beverages are sold.

The public hearing is taking place this morning.


Carson: Obama 'Raised White,' Doesn't Get Black Experience


Ben Carson said President Obama was "raised white" and can't understand the African-American experience the way he can, according to a Politico podcast published Tuesday. 

"He's an 'African' American. He was, you know, raised white," Carson said in the interview. "I mean, like most Americans, I was proud that we broke the color barrier when he was elected, but … he didn't grow up like I grew up … Many of his formative years were spent in Indonesia. So, for him to, you know, claim that, you know, he identifies with the experience of black Americans, I think, is a bit of a stretch."

Carson, who has been polling at the bottom of the GOP pack, long dismissed questions about race as divisive and downplayed his own race. But recently, he's been running ads against affirmative action in South Carolina and condemning black crime as "a crisis" that only he knows how to tackle.

Photo Credit: AP

Rallies Planned at Apple Stores


Rallies were planned at Apple stores from Albuquerque to Munich on Tuesday to support CEO Tim Cook's refusal to help the FBI access the cellphone of a gunman who, along with his wife, killed 14 people in San Bernardino.

Four of those 30 rallies were planned in the San Francisco Bay Area, the heart of Silicon Valley and the stores closest to Apple headquarters in Cupertino, California. The rallies will take place at 5:30 p.m. local time in Corte Madera, Santa Rosa, San Francisco and Palo Alto, the store that Cook frequents the most. 

Rallies will also be held in New York, Philadelphia, Washington, Connecticut, Houston, San Diego and Los Angeles County, among other locations.

"We're angry that the FBI is trying to make all of us less safe by undermining Apple's security," the group's organizers wrote on the "Don't Break Our Phones" website.

Organizers say their goal is to show lawmakers why decrypting Syed Rizwan Farook's phone would be "dangerous." They encourage protesters to bring signs that read: "FBI: Don't Break Our iPhones!" and "Secure Phones Save Lives."

A majority of Americans, however — including Bill Gates — side with the Justice Department in the agency's desire to unlock the iPhone of the Dec. 2 gunman, according to a Pew Research Center study released Monday. A total of 51 percent of those surveyed said Apple should unlock the iPhone, while 38 said the company should not.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Sheri Pym, based in Riverside, ordered Apple last week to help the FBI access the password-protected phone, but Apple has resisted, saying such a move could compromise the security of all iPhone owners' information.

Cook reiterated that position in a company email Monday.

"This case is about much more than a single phone or a single investigation, so when we received the government's order we knew we had to  speak out," Cook wrote. "At stake is the data security of hundreds of millions of law-abiding people, and setting a dangerous precedent that threatens everyone's civil liberties."

The U.S. attorney's office filed court papers in Riverside on Friday seeking an order compelling Apple to comply with Pym's mandate. Federal authorities argue in the court papers that Apple has the technical ability to access Farook's phone data.

According to the court papers filed Friday, federal authorities suspect that Farook, 28, may have used the iPhone, which was issued to him by his employer — San Bernardino County — to communicate with some of the people he and his wife, 27-year-old Tashfeen Malik, killed.

"The phone may contain critical communications and data prior to and  around the time of the shooting that, thus far has not been accessed, may reside solely on the phone and cannot be accessed by any other means known to  either the government or Apple."

Prosecutors also insist that their request will not compromise the data of other iPhone users.

"The order requires Apple to assist the FBI with respect to this single iPhone used by Farook by providing the FBI with the opportunity to determine the passcode," they said in court paperwork.

See the full list of rallies planned.

City News Service and NBC Los Angeles' Toni Guinyard contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: Bloomberg via Getty Images

Cumin Powder Recalled Over Possible Peanuts


New Jersey-based Best Foods Inc. is recalling two sizes of Deer brand cumin powder that may contain peanuts not listed on the labels.

The recall comes after the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets found peanuts in the product during a routine sampling, according to the Food and Drug Administration.

Seven-ounce and 14-ounce packages of Deer brand cumin powder are being recalled. The affected products were sold in retail stores throughout New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Delaware and Virginia.

Although no illnesses have been reported, individuals with allergies could face serious life-threatening allergic reactions, the FDA warned.

Consumers who purchased these packages are urged to return to the place of purchase for a full refund.

The product comes in a clear and yellow plastic package, with no expiration dates. The 7 ounce packages are marked with UPC number 714760027497and the 14 ounce packages are marked with UPC number 714760027503.

Photo Credit: Getty Images/File
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