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Driver Faces DUI Charges After Fatal Pedestrian Accident in Milford


Milford police have charged a driver with DUI in connection with an accident that killed a man on Sunday.

Hector Frias-Angomas, 46, of New Haven is accused of hitting 24-year-old Vincent Pezzella as Pezzella walked across Bridgeport Avenue around 2 a.m. Sunday.

Pezzella, of Trumbull, was rushed to Bridgeport Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Frias-Angomas was taken into custody and charged with operating under the influence of alcohol. He was released on $500 bond and is scheduled to be in court March 31.

Nancy Reagan Funeral Set for Friday


Plans for a private funeral were set for Friday for Nancy Reagan, who died on Sunday of congestive heart failure at 94 in her Los Angeles home.

Mrs. Reagan will be buried at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California, next to her husband, Ronald Wilson Reagan, who died on June 5, 2004.

To prepare for her funeral, the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library is closed, and will re-open to the public on Sunday, March 13, 2016 at 10 a.m.

As part of the official events, Mrs. Reagan will lie in repose at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library on Wednesday, from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. and on Thursday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. on Friday and are closed to the public.

In lieu of flowers, Mrs. Reagan had asked that contributions be made to the Ronald Reagan Memorial Fund at www.reaganlibrary.com.

Flags across the country are flying at half-staff in memory of Mrs. Reagan. The White House directed federal buildings, embassies, military posts and naval vessels to lower their flags "as a mark of respect" for the former first lady. They'll remain at half-staff until she is buried.

President Barack Obama said he once had the opportunity to meet with former first lady, and  Mrs. Reagan could not have been more charming and gracious to him and Michelle Obama when he came into office.

The president spoke about the former first lady on Monday after meeting with financial regulators and advisers. 

Obama said the extraordinary love that she had for former President Ronald Reagan is well documented, along with the comfort and strength she provided him in hard times.

Obama said he has been lucky to have an extraordinary partner in his life as well. He knows how much she meant to the president and the country as a whole.

"He was lucky to have her, and I'm sure he would be the first to acknowledge that, so she will be missed," Obama said.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest, asked whether Obama would attend the funeral, said officials were waiting until funeral arrangements for the former first lady are settled before determining who will represent the White House at the service.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: File – Getty Images

Person Caught in Machine in Stafford

Schaghticoke Tribe and MGM Sue State Over Casino Plans


Schaghticoke Tribal Nation and MGM have filed a federal lawsuit against the state of Connecticut, claiming they are being unfairly shut out of an opportunity to build a casino in Connecticut.

The Schaghticoke tribe said Special Act 15-7 grants the right to pursue Connecticut’s first ever commercial casino, on non-tribal land, exclusively to the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation and the Mohegan Tribe of Indian and claims it violates the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution.

Now, the Kent-based tribe is asking the court to declare Special Act 15-7 unconstitutional. 

“Without any competitive bidding or gaming study, Connecticut shut out the Schaghticoke Tribal Nation and awarded to one pair of Native American tribes the exclusive ability to develop a highly-valuable commercial enterprise.  Under the Equal Protection clauses of the federal and state Constitutions, the Schaghticoke Tribal Nation should have the same right to pursue this economic opportunity as anyone else,” Richard L. Velky, chief of the tribe, said in a statement.

In January, the tribe filed file articles of organization for Confluence of Rivers Tribal Business Entity LLC with the Secretary of the State's Office and the application was rejected, the tribe said.   

 “The State has a long history of discriminating against the Schaghticoke Tribal Nation,” Velky said in a statement.  “Recently, the State fought our federal recognition, supposedly because they didn’t want another casino in Connecticut.  Now Connecticut wants to open a new casino, but only if the Schaghticoke Tribal Nation doesn’t get an opportunity to submit a proposal to operate it.  The Schaghticoke Tribal Nation seeks equal treatment, which does not exist under Special Act 15-7.”  

MGM wants to be in the running for the third casino. The company will soon open a casino in Springfield, Massachusetts and said the lawsuit is not a delay tactic and they want to see a casino in southwestern Connecticut.

"The state of Connecticut has established a law providing commercial gaming. Under those circumstances, those kinds of licenses shouldn’t be handed out just because somebody has an inside track inside the legislature. There should be a process that’s open, fair and transparent,” Alan Feldman, of MGM Resorts International, said in a statement.

MMCT Venture, the company formed by the Mohegan and Mashantucket Pequot tribes, released a statement about the lawsuit on Monday:

"After weeks of not returning calls from reporters, Chief Velky finally revealed that his operation is being bankrolled by MGM.  This startling revelation - which according to the chief was a year in the making - should raise a red flag for anyone who is concerned about MGM's plan to steal jobs from Connecticut residents."

Gov. Dannel Malloy said the Schaghticoke tribe is in a tough spot. 
“They have not been recognized as a tribe under the federal definition. That’s their problem. They can’t meet that test, but they certainly have the right as any citizen to have an opinion about what everybody else does,” he said.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Malloy Says Lawmakers Not Showing Leadership


In an exclusive interview with NBC Connecticut, Governor Dan Malloy accused lawmakers of not showing leadership on key issues over the past week.
Most recently on the issue of a UConn union contract that was eventually pulled, the governor took responsibility for the organized opposition against it arguing the agreement that had been negotiated for months wasn't affordable to tax payers because of the inclusion of $100 million in raises for the 1,800 member bargaining unit.
"I had been saying that behind closed doors to Republicans and Democrats" Malloy said during a visit to Mallory Industries in Farmington. "It became apparent to me they weren’t going to pull that trigger and that’s when I went public with my comments.”
Malloy added, "I decided to provide some leadership.”
Two days later, after staunch opposition from top Senate Democrats, and lacking support from the House Democratic caucus, the contract was pulled by the UConn Professional Employees Association, saying the reason had to do with a "technical glitch" with the contract, rather than lack of support.
On overall budget cuts, like those made to hospitals and community health centers last week, Gov. Malloy said he's the one displaying budget courage on those matters, not lawmakers.
"We’ve got to find $220 million dollars" Malloy said. "Before we send a whole lot of checks out, let’s put everything out on a piece of paper and decide whether there’s will to make the real kinds of changes I know have to be made.”
The governor argues that better spending controls that may need to total a billion dollars or more by the end of the fiscal year could lead to better investments.
Mallory Industries, where the governor toured Monday, manufactures high tech metal components for the aerospace and energy sectors.
The company has received state incentives to purchase equipment.
“This is big time, big stakes, big profits. Quite frankly, pretty big salaries" Malloy said following the tour.
He says if the state can get its fiscal house in order, then it could make even more commitments to Mallory and similar companies that would add to the state's booming aerospace industry.

“For years Connecticut ignored these businesses. That’s why they left or the parts got moved to be made in China. We’re paying attention.” 

Lawmakers seek to repeal tax on tampons and diapers


State lawmakers introduced a bill today that would expand the sales tax exemption to include feminine hygiene products and disposable or reusable diapers.

Representative Matt Ritter (D-1) says the incentive isn’t about revenue, rather, equity and public health.
“Here you have a product that is being taxed on only women in our state,” said Ritter.
He and his colleagues argue that an uncontrollable biological function should not fall under the same category as other goods and services, especially since products like antique coins and shoe repair services are exempt from taxes.
“When I hear that there are children that stay in the same spoiled diapers for a good part of the day because mothers can’t afford to make that kind of difference, it’s something we need to address,” said Representative Noreen Kokoruda (R-101).
The proposed bill would cut the cost of such items by six percent. That adds up to 7.2 million dollars the state would lose in taxes every year.
This comes at a time when lawmakers look to cut spending—not revenue—to help close the state’s 266 million dollar budget gap.
“We [understand] we have revenue problems,” said Ritter. “We’re not trying to be distracted from that. But there is a public health component and as the Public Health Committee, we try to pass legislation that we think is good public health for the state of Connecticut.”
Connecticut isn’t the only state pushing to end such taxes. Some New York lawmakers, including Governor Andrew Cuomo, also want to repeal its tax on feminine hygiene products. 

Fight Breaks Out in Front of Buffet Restaurant


Plainville police are searching for a suspect after a fight broke out at popular shopping plaza Saturday night.
Two victims were hurt including a 22-year-old woman who was punched over and over again by two men.
Police say it started inside the Imperial Buffet restaurant when one group made a comment to another group.
The fight became physical right outside the restaurant around 8:40 p.m. according to police. 
Police say a 50-year-old man was knocked unconscious for a brief period and had to be hospitalized.
A 22-year-old woman had injuries on her face after being punched so hard she fell to the ground. 
The manager at Imperial Buffet told NBC Connecticut he watched the fight happen from the window, but it was too fast for anyone to stop it. The restaurant does not have surveillance cameras outside, but the altercation was caught on cell phone video. 
Customers called police to report a fight in progress, but when officers arrived, the suspects were gone. 
They eventually tracked down one of the men they say is responsible, Luis Santiago, 47, of New
Britain, due in court on assault charges March 14th.
Police are still looking for his accomplice who they describe as Hispanic male in his 30s. Anyone with information is asked to contact Plainville Police.

What We Know About Ex-Marine Sought in Shooting of Idaho Pastor


Kyle Andrew Odom, the 30-year-old ex-Marine suspected of having shot a prominent Idaho minister several times outside his church Sunday, has a history of mental issues and acted alone, police said Monday.

Odom remained at large Monday night and is considered armed and dangerous, Coeur d'Alene police said a day after Tim Remington, senior pastor of The Altar Church, was shot and critically wounded in the church parking lot.

Remington, 55, was upgraded to fair condition Monday at Kootenai Health and Medical Center. He was shot six times after services Sunday afternoon, a day after he delivered the invocation at a rally for Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz.

Coeur d'Alene Police Chief Lee White said the attack was "preplanned" and that Odom — who is believed to have previously shown up at the nondenominational evangelical church — was armed throughout the Sunday service, which he attended before heading out to the parking lot.

Photo Credit: AP

Commuter Train Derails in Cali


The first two cars of a commuter train transporting people from Silicon Valley to the Central Valley derailed in Sunol Monday evening, injuring nine on board, four of them seriously, police said.

The leading car of the 214-passenger Altamont Corridor Express train No. 10 plunged into Alameda Creek after ramming into a tree near 5500 Niles Canyon Road between 7:15 and 7:30 p.m., authorities said. 

According to Steve Walker with the Altamont Corridor Express, the train’s first car, which weighs 120,000 pounds, has 130 seats in it. It was carrying six passengers and one crew member when it struck a tree that had fallen onto the tracks and fell into into the water.

At the time of the accident, officials reported that it was raining heavily in Sunol, a rural area of Alameda County, about 45 miles east of San Francisco. Passengers believe the wet weather caused a mudslide and downed a tree, which triggered the crash.

"It just shifted the gravity all of a sudden and we were all just panicking," Rad Akhter said. "There were two people hurt, pretty badly. One was just under the mudslide so we were trying to dig her out while the train was hanging so it was a pretty crazy experience."

Passengers told NBC Bay Area that they were terrified to find themselves in the water, forced to save fellow passengers and trek to safety through complete darkness.  

"We knew we were in a pretty remote area so we knew we had some hiking to do along the train tracks," said a passenger identified only as Kathy. "I'm grateful that it wasn't worse."

Crews had to fight the creek's fast-moving currents to pull riders from the partially submerged rail car, Alameda County Sheriff's Sgt. Ray Kelly said. Images posted on Twitter by the Alameda County Fire Department show the train car on its side and half-submerged in water. He said that the train car landed in the water on its side and the car began to fill with water. 

"It was dark, wet, it was raining. It was very chaotic,'' Kelly said. "This is an absolute miracle that no one was killed, no passengers or first responders.''

The second car behind it also derailed, but managed to stay upright while the three cars behind them, including the locomotive, stayed on the tracks, Walker said.

Five of the wounded passengers sustained minor injuries while the rest suffered serious, but non-life threatening injuries. They were rushed to Washington Hospital in Fremont and Eden Hospital in Castro Valley. Earlier in the night, officials reported that 14 people had been wounded, but later clarified that a few with minor injuries had been treated at the scene and were feeling better. 

As of 10 p.m., all the passengers were removed from the train and were being assessed, officials said. ACE sent buses to the crash site to transport uninjured commuters to the Alameda County Fairgrounds where they were reunited with anxious family members and friends, officials said. 

Around 10:15 p.m., however, commuters said on social media that they were still at the crash site, hungry and cold. Buses were not expected to reach the passengers till nearly 11 p.m., they said.

"This is beginning to look like that Harrison Ford movie #TheFugitive derailment scene," Twitter user John Wong wrote.

Multiple agencies, including the Fremont Police Department and Alameda County Fire Department responded to the scene. Police shut down Niles Canyon Road and expect it to remain closed until further notice.

"Once we get some daylight, we’ll be able to really see what’s going on and walk the tracks," Kelly said.

The ACE train was traveling from San Jose to Stockton, according to its website. The train — the last one othe night — was en route from Fremont to Pleasanton, Walker said.

Railway officials said after the derailment that there will be no ACE train service Tuesday.

"We are working with our partners to restore service as soon as possible pending a complete investigation and assurance that the tracks are safe," ACE train officials said on their website.

ACE officials also provided taxis for the commuters stranded in Pleasanton when the train derailed. The taxis took them to their destinations, people said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area
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Rubio: 'I'm Comfortable Running as an Underdog'


Having suffered defeats in every state that voted Saturday after a disappointing showing on Super Tuesday last week, Marco Rubio and his allies have since found small solace in an outright win in Puerto Rico on Sunday, and with it the commonwealth's 23 delegates.

Though Rubio has insisted he'll take the GOP primary fight all the way to the party's convention, most observers see little chance for him to remain in the race if he doesn't pull out a win in his home state, and that still remains in doubt.

A new poll out Monday, by Monmouth University, seemed to show the race narrowing, with Rubio just eight points behind frontrunner Donald Trump among Florida likely GOP voters. But Trump unleashed a new attack ad that same day that paints Rubio as "dishonest," and Ted Cruz is making a play in Florida to siphon votes from Rubio in hopes of delivering him a knockout punch in his homestate.

Rubio implicitly acknowledged the make-or-break nature of the Florida fight during his rally.

"So! It always comes down to Florida," he said with a grin, to open his speech.

Photo Credit: AP Photo/Paul Sancya

NJ Vehicle Killed 2 Teens at 70 MPH


The car that hit and killed two teenagers and critically injured a third in New Jersey Saturday night was traveling 74 mph when it jumped a curb and slammed into the teens, police said.

The driver of the vehicle, 23-year-old Eric Patterson, faces two counts of death by auto and one count of assault by auto in the wreck on John F. Kennedy Boulevard on Union City that left 17-year-old Noel Herrera and 16-year-old Brian Rodriguez both dead and a third teen, 17, critically injured.

Patterson pleaded not guilty to the charges and is being held on $1 million bail. Attorney information for the man wasn't immediately available.

Authorities said that Patterson was driving with a suspended license at the time of the crash. Law enforcement sources told NBC 4 New York that toxicology tests were being performed because investigators had heard that Patterson had gotten into a fight with his girlfriend and may have taken drugs before getting behind the wheel.

Victor Sanchez, one of the bystanders who raced over to try to save the boys, told NBC 4 New York he pulled Patterson from his car after the crash.

"I smacked him across the head and tried to wake him, and dragged him out of the car. He was knocked out and didn't say one word to me at all," said Sanchez. 

The teens were walking home at about 9:15 p.m. Saturday when Patterson's car crossed over two lanes in a 25 mph zone, hit a curb and struck them on the sidewalk, surveillance video obtained by NBC 4 New York shows.

Herrera and Rodriguez were both pronounced dead at the scene. The third teen was taken to the hospital with multiple leg fractures and other injuries. He remained hospitalized and in stable condition Monday.

Evelyn Rogers heard the sound of the crash from indoors.

"There was a bang, like something hit," she said

When she came outside, she saw the boys on the ground, she said.

Sanchez said, "I'm traumatized. When I close my eyes, I could see these two kids dead on the ground." 

"He should be locked up. I'm sorry. A person who has a suspended license should not be on the road," he said of Patterson.  

At a vigil for Herrera and Rodriguez at the crash site Monday evening, family and friends released balloons into the sky and cried. One of the boys' mothers fainted and was taken to a hospital. 

Students said the school wasn't the same Monday. 

"Today at school, it's been really depressing," said Ismael Machado. "Everybody was sad, all our classes, it's been quiet." 

Authorities said they set up speeding checkpoints on the roadway Sunday and Monday, ticketing 38 drivers for going to fast. One motorist was traveling at 54 mph. 

Ex-Marine Suspected of Shooting Idaho Pastor Has Vanished


Police don't know where an ex-Marine accused of shooting a prominent Idaho pastor has escaped to, NBC News reported.

The search spreads beyond the Idaho state borders even while the trail has gone cold.

"His whereabouts are completely unknown," Coeur d'Alene Police Chief Lee White said of Kyle Andrew Odom, 30, who is considered armed and dangerous.

White said at a news briefing late Monday afternoon that the trail went cold when Odom apparently drove west toward Spokane, Washington, and then south after senior pastor Tim Remington, of The Altar Church, was shot and critically wounded Sunday in the church's parking lot.

Remington, 55, was upgraded to fair condition Monday. He was shot six times after services Sunday afternoon, a day after he delivered the invocation at a rally for Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz.

Photo Credit: AP

House Speaker Ryan Calls GOP Candidates to Discuss Agenda


Less than a week after House Speaker Paul Ryan went after Republican front-runner Donald Trump for failing to disavow David Duke and the KKK, the former vice presidential nominee has spoken over the phone with the controversial candidate about developing a Republican agenda, NBC News reported.

And in addition to Trump, Ryan, R-Wis., has also spoken to Senator Ted Cruz, a Republican from Texas, "to explain House Republicans' plan to present a bold conservative policy agenda this year," the speaker's press secretary, AshLee Strong, told NBC News Monday.

Speaker Ryan also plans to have similar calls with Republican presidential candidates Florida Senator Marco Rubio and Ohio Governor John Kasich, she said.

The push to develop an agenda that the eventual Republican nominee can embrace has been a focus of Ryan's short tenure as speaker.

Ryan, who ran as Mitt Romney's running-mate in 2012, was elected to the Speakership after conservative House Republicans ousted House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, from the job in September of 2015.

Photo Credit: AP

Breeders Charged With 35 Counts of Animal Cruelty


The owners of 32 horses, 78 chickens, several rabbits and two dogs seized from Fairy Tail Equine in East Hampton in February have been charged with dozens of counts of animal cruelty. 

East Hampton police arrested Thomas Olajos, 36, and his wife, Melanie Olajos, 37, on Friday after an investigation by animal control officers from the Connecticut Department of Agriculture.

The couple is accused of failing to provide proper food, water, veterinary care and shelter to the animals.

They were each charged with 35 counts of cruelty to animals – 32 counts for each of the horses seized and the other four counts stemming from the alleged mistreatment of two dogs, 19 rabbits and 78 chickens removed from Fairy Tail Equine on Feb. 2.

A veterinarian determined that the horses were neglected and underweight, according to the state Department of Agriculture.

Many of the horses also had active lice infestation, had dermatitis and fecal material caked on their tails and legs. Officials said their manes and tails were matted and tangled.

The two dogs, both Great Danes, were so emaciated that their ribs, vertebrae and pelvic bones were visible, officials said.

One dog also had fleas, calluses on both elbows, excessive discharge in its ears, whipworms, profuse diarrhea and anemia.

The other dog, a 1-year-old old female, was underweight and also had fleas, conjunctivitis, and excessive discharge from both ears. The condition of the teeth suggested that the dog might have been chewing on rocks and dirt, officials said.

The chickens were underweight and malnourished when seized and most had little or no access to water.

Necropsies on three that were found dead during the seizure showed little content in their stomachs, minimal fat, skin lesions and intestinal perforation consistent with aggression and cannibalism.

Officials said 10 chickens also in poor condition were found in a cage in the Olajos’ house. Rabbits, found in cages throughout the house did have water and food available, but the animals and the cages were dirty, officials said.

Both Olajos were released on $10,000 non-surety bonds and are scheduled to appear in Middletown Superior Court on March 15.

Officials said state police also arrested Thomas Olajos, who is accused of issuing a bad check to a farm in Woodbury. He was released on a $1,000 non-surety bond in that case.

A Superior Court judge granted the state temporary custody of the animals on March 1 and the horses – mainly Friesians, Andalusians, and Gypsy Vanners -- are being cared for at the state Department of Agriculture’s large animal rehabilitation facility in Niantic, and the other animals are at various municipal shelters in the state.

The department plans to seek formal custody of the animals at a Hartford Superior Court hearing scheduled for March 8.

Anyone who wants to donate to the care and feeding of the animals should y make a contribution to the department’s Animal Abuse Cost Recovery Account.

You can make online donations by credit card here.

Photo Credit: Connecticut Department of Agriculture

Sisters Stole From Police Department: Cops


Two sisters came up with an elaborate plan to steal from the West Hartford Police Department, according to authorities.

Yahaira Santiago, an employee at Doctor's Express walk-in clinic on The Boulevard in West Hartford found a wallet containing $1,100 at the clinic and turned it over to her manager. But she first cataloged the wallet's contents, according to police.

Santiago then sent her sister, Jennifer Melo, to the police department to claim the wallet as her own, police said. Melo knew every detail of what was in the wallet and even had a photo of it, according to police.

"She knew the exact amount of 20-dollar bills, the exact amount of fifties, the exact wallet," Lt. Ted Stoneburner said.

About a week after Melo collected the cash, a second woman, Rita Vorotnikova, arrived at the police station to report she had lost her wallet at Doctor's Express. She even provided officers with a bank statement proving the cash was hers, police said.

"It takes a very special person to walk into the police department and steal from the police department," Lt. Stoneburner said.

When confronted, Santiago and Melo denied knowing each other, according to police. Officers began an intensive investigation and found the two women spoke to each other 120 times within two weeks of Melo picking up the cash from the police department. It was then that police learned they were sisters.

Santiago and Melo face charges of larceny and interfering with an officer. Santiago also faces an additional charge of giving a false statement. She was released on $25,000 bond. Melo was released on $1,100 bond, the same amount she's accused of stealing from the police department. Both will be in court on March 17.

Unfortunately for Vorotnikova, the money was gone by the time police learned the details of the alleged crime.

"she's not so much surprised that somebody stole money from her because that happens everyday, but more of, you know, that somebody would do it to the police station, Artor Shakhnazaraf, Vorotnikova's stepson said while translating for his stepmother.

Photo Credit: West Hartford Police

A Look at Trump's Failed Business Ventures


"A business genius he is not." Donald Trump was furious with Mitt Romney's scathing speech in Utah, that ticked off a list of his corporate misadventures: Trump University, Trump Airlines, Trump Vodka, Trump Magazine, Trump Steaks.

Trump has had numerous business successes, like Trump Tower, 40 Wall Street and "The Apprentice." But not every venture turned to gold — and the businesses Romney cited were notorious misfires, NBC News reported. 

Trump University was an online college launched in 2005 that offered to teach the mogul's real estate and entrepreneurship strategies, and charged fees ranging from $1,500 to $35,000. In 2013, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman sued, claiming the university was a scam operation that defrauded around 600 students out of thousands of dollars.

Trump Mortgage was a victim of bad timing — and the recession. "I think it's a great time to start a mortgage company," Trump told CNBC in 2006. "The real estate market is going to be very strong for a long time to come." Two years later, the housing market collapsed — and so did Trump Mortgage. 

Click through for more on Trump's failed businesses. 

Massive Blaze Engulfs Flea Market


At least one person was rescued and several cars swallowed as firefighters spent hours battling a blaze at a flea market building in Chicago’s West Humboldt Park neighborhood Tuesday morning.

The fire started in the 4500 block of West Haddon Avenue, where fire officials said there were reports of people trapped in the northwest side of the building, according to the Chicago Fire Department. 

Ambulances were called to the scene and people were seen on stretchers, but fire officials said no injuries were reported. At least one person was rescued from the building, the department said. 

By 11:30 a.m., all firefighters were ordered out of the building and the blaze had been upgraded to a 4-alarm fire. Shortly after, a level one hazmat was declared. 

The building's roof deck collapsed in the blaze, engulfing at least seven parked cars as the flames intensified. The fire department said the vehicles and other flammable items inside the property prompted firefighters to "surround and drown" the building. 

Just before 2 p.m. it appeared the building would be a "total loss" and all items inside could be destroyed, the department said. 

"The whole building will need to come down," said First Deputy Richard Ford II. 

A sign that read Buyer's Flea Market could be seen enveloped by smoke. The sign claimed the flea market is "Chicagoland's largest."  

According to a security guard at the building, five people were inside at the time the fire started. It was first noticed during a security check at 9 a.m. 

The flea market was not open Tuesday, but dozens of vendors and businesses rushed to the scene, only to watch thousands of dollars in work and merchandise burn to the ground.\

Richard Jacobs is a manager of the flea market which has been in his family for years.

"We feel terrible for all our vendors and we're hoping to rebuild if we can and see what happens along the way," Jacobs said. "We're still in shock as much as our vendors are."

Jacobs added that "They know that they should have insurance and we have made that clear. Those who did I'm happy about, those who didn't I feel bad about."

"It's my piece of the American Dream, owning my own business," said vendor Duwayne Randolph. "Just to watch it burn up like this... what more can I say."

Fire officials said it will take "several days" to determine what caused the fire. 

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California Highway Patrol Officer Pulls Kids From Burning Car


A California Highway Patrol officer pulled four people to safety, including two young children, after their car caught fire Monday morning in Monterey.

CHP Officer Kaleo Clissold "happened to be behind the vehicle" before the fire started on southbound Highway 1 about 10 a.m., the Monterey Herald reported. Herald director of photography Vern Fisher happened to be trailing both vehicles and captured video of the rescue.

Fisher said he "saw an explosion of smoke and flames" come from under the hood of the car.

Clissold first tried to open the burning vehicle's driver side door, but the door wouldn't open, CHP public information officer Oscar Loza told the Herald. Loza said Clissold screamed at the passengers in the front seat, two women, to get out when he noticed there a couple of kids in the backseat.

As the video begins, Clissold can be seen pulling one child from the car. He yells at one passenger who ran from the car, "Here take your kid! What are you doing? C'mon!" before going back to pull another child from the car.

All four people in the car were reportedly treated on scene and taken to the hospital as a precaution.

Photo Credit: Vern Fisher/Monterey Herald/Used with Permission
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Romney Makes Robo Calls for Kasich, Rubio


Mitt Romney delivered his anti-Donald Trump message directly to voters in Michigan, recording robo calls on behalf of Marco Rubio and John Kasich.

Kasich's campaign confirmed that recorded calls from Romney encouraging Michigan voters to choose the Ohio governor in Tuesday's primary are going out to homes in Michigan Tuesday. An audio recording of the phone calls said they are paid for by Kasich's campaign. Similar calls are going out across the state on behalf of Marco Rubio.

In the call, Romney urged Michigan voters to choose someone who can defeat Hillary Clinton in the fall.

Kasich's campaign is hoping a strong showing in Michigan will boost momentum heading into the Ohio primary on March 15.

A spokesperson for Romney said the former GOP nominee has offered his help to Rubio, Kasich and Ted Cruz in his efforts to stop Trump from clinching the nomination.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Montville Voters to Decide on Independent Police Department


Residents of Montville are voting today on whether the town should establish its own police department.

Montville is currently part of the resident state trooper program, which costs the town around $175,000 per year. In January, the town council passed an ordinance that would create an independent police department with its own chief.

After that vote, town leaders agreed this kind of potential change should involve public input, which led to today’s referendum.

Voters will decide whether to overrule the “Ordinance Establishing the Town of Montville Police Department.”

A “yes” vote is a vote to overrule the ordinance so the down does not create an independent police department, while a “no” vote is in favor of the independent police department.

"I think we need our own police department. I think we need to get on the map," Bill Pieniadz, of Montville, said.

"I feel that we don’t need an independent police force," Darrell Seeger, of Montville, said. "I don’t see an issue with having the state troopers."

Voting is taking place at Fair Oaks School, at 836 Old Colchester Road in Oakdale, until 8 p.m.

One of the issues people are thinking about is what impact this will have on taxes.

"I don’t want it.  I think it’s going to cost us more money," Montville resident Mary Bellamy said. "More taxes and I think we pay enough taxes in Montville."

Supporters of the plan for a Montville police department said the town has already built a facility that can house a new department. They want to see it better utilized and believe that new department can lead to better public safety. 

"With the additional coverage inside the building that is going to make 24-hour police officers available in the building as well as answering the telephone rather than getting an answering machine. I think that speaks for itself," Lt. Leonard Bunnell, of Montville Police, said.


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