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New Developments on E. Coli Outbreak at Lebanon Goat Farm


 The goat farm in Lebanon that may potentially be linked to an E. coli outbreak has been given two stipulations by the health department, the owner told NBC Connecticut. 

Oak Leaf Dairy Farm is no longer allowed to have the public visit its goats and may not distribute unpasteurized products, Mark Reynolds, the farm's owner, said. 

Reynolds said the outbreak has already started affecting his wholesale business. He said he had never had E. coli linked to his farm before. 

The Department of Health and other agencies began to investigate Oak Leaf Dairy Farm after seven people contracted E. coli.

Six of those people were children who visited the farm and petted the goats. 

Connecticut Children's Medical Center said two patients have been diagnosed with Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (HUS), which attacks the body's kidneys and is associated with the E. coli infection.

The DPH agency said they are bringing experts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta to help investigate the outbreak.

The DPH is asking anyone who visited Oak Leaf Dairy to contact them.

Photo Credit: Getty Images/Ikon Images

Wheels for Sophia


Sitting in a restaurant near her work, Christina Roettger shows us old home videos of her daughter Sophia. She tears up watch her daughter at happier times, walking and babbling. Now six years old, Sophia can no longer walk, talk, or feed herself. Her mother says her daughter’s health changed overnight when she was 18 months old.

“The seizures started, the night terrors started, the walking, she lost her walking,” Roettger recalled

Before the diagnosis her parents, who live in Tolland, had never heard of Rett Syndrome, a neurological disease affecting brain development in girls.

"Most doctors that we go to see for Sophia have never heard of it either. It's that rare,” said her mother. "I thought I'd be showing her the world and honestly, I have to show the world her."

Weekly doctor appointments, therapy, and school mean a lot of time spent in the van. As Sophia gets older, getting her in and out of the family's minivan has gotten more difficult. Her parents started a GoFundMe page to raise money for a $50,000 wheelchair accessible van. Money that would be impossible for her parents to save as they take turns staying home from work to care for their daughter.

"The poor thing, every time we get her in the vehicle she hits her head on the roof of the vehicle. It's really hard and uncomfortable for her,” said Roettger.

While they can’t give Sophie back her voice they’re hoping help from the community can at least make life more comfortable for their little girl.

Photo Credit: GoFundMe

New Zika Guidelines for Couples Before Pregnancy


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is warning couples who have been exposed to the Zika virus they may need to wait up to six months before trying to conceive, NBC News reported.

According to the new guidelines, women with Zika should wait at least two months before trying to become pregnant. For men, the guidelines recommend no sex or condom use for at least six months. The waiting period for men is longer because it can take up to two months to detect the virus in semen.

Previous guidelines have focused on protecting women who were already pregnant.

Zika is a mosquito-borne virus and has been linked to serious birth defects. The virus is spreading in Latin America and the Caribbean, and is expected to rise this summer.  

Photo Credit: UIG via Getty Images

Man Fatally Shot in Chest in East Hartford: Police


A man was fatally shot in the chest in East Hartford, police said.

Police said someone called 911 around 6:00 p.m. and told police they heard shots fired and saw someone running.

The incidident happened on Smith Drive. Police are working on obtaining a warrant to get inside the unit. 

There were no more details at this time. 

This story is developing. Check back for updates.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Woman Thanks Hartford 911 Dispatcher Who Helped Save Her Life


A special delivery for a 911 dispatcher in Hartford who helped save a woman's life earlier this month.

NBC Connecticut was the only station invited to the public safety complex on High Street late Friday afternoon, where the victim and dispatcher were able to meet for the very first time.  

The 44-year-old Eddie Glass was in a panic when she dialed 911 almost three weeks ago. She suffered a tremendous blood loss and might not have made it, if it weren't for the help of Katrina Edmonds.

Glass calls Edmonds: "My hero, my hero. Never had a hero and today I have a hero."

Glass brought a batch of balloons, a big cake, flowers and a warm hug for the 911 dispatcher at the Public Safety Complex.

Edmonds told NBC Connecticut, "It means a lot to me."

Edmonds answered the 911 call Glass made a few weeks ago from Holcomb Street in Hartford.

Edmond remembers the call verbatim, " How afraid she was and first thing she said was 'please help me.'

Glass said, "I was scared-- really scared. I thought it was my time."

Eddie suffered a large blood loss. She has a fibroid the size of a cantaloupe that will need to be removed. She tells NBC Connecticut that it was Katrina who kept her calm.

Glass added, "Her voice kept me going."

Edmonds reiterated, "The most important thing, placing myself in her shoes, if I was home alone is the fact I would want that care."

Hartford's is the busiest dispatch center in the state. 160,000 calls answers in 2015.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Spring Break Scams Target Would-Be Vacationers


Shelly Stamis saw an online advertisement for a vacation home in Florida at only $200 a night, and she figured she had found a solid bargain.

"We looked at all the pictures, and it was right on the beach, and it was definitely in our price zone, so we booked it," the Grand Rapids, Michigan, mom told NBC News.

Shelly wired $1,500 to a bank account in Florida and packed up her two children, but when they arrived everything went wrong. Shelly found out she was a victim of a growing form of online scam that targets travelers booking hotels and vacation homes, enticing them with too-good-to-be-true deals.

According to the American Hotel and Lodging Association, 15 million scam reservations were made last year, costing Americans over a billion dollars. 

Photo Credit: Getty Images/Flickr RF

Terror Threat Still Looms: Francois Hollande


French President Francois Hollande said Friday the network behind the attacks in Brussels Tuesday and in Paris last year will be eradicated, despite a looming threat, NBC News reported.

Hollande made the comments after three suspects were arrested in raids related to the investigation surrounding the Paris and Brussels attacks. Another man was arrested in a raid in Paris Thursday. 

"We have had success in finding the terrorists and both in Brussels and in Paris there have been some arrests and we know there are other networks, because even though the one that carried out the attacks in Paris and Brussels is in the process of being wiped out — with a number of its members arrested — there is still a threat looming," Hollande said. 

Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images

Sen. to Meet Obama's SCOTUS Nominee


Illinois Sen. Mark Kirk will meet with President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland Tuesday, Kirk's office confirmed.

This comes in the wake of Kirk telling GOP leaders to “man up and cast a vote” on Garland last week.

"We should go through the process the Constitution has already laid out," Kirk said. "The president has already laid out a nominee who is from Chicagoland and for me, I'm open to see him, to talk to him, and ask him his views on the Constitution."

Kirk’s office told Ward Room he will meet with Garland Tuesday at the senator's Washington D.C. office.

Republican lawmakers continue their push to block Obama's nomination until a new president takes office next year. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called Garland last week to inform him that the Senate would not move forward with the confirmation process.

Although 15 Senate Republicans are reportedly open to meeting with Garland, only Kirk and two others have called for confirmation hearings.

Obama nominated Garland at a ceremony at the White House's Rose Garden earlier this month. Garland serves as the Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit and is considered a centrist. He is an Illinois native, born in Chicago. 

Kirk defeated Oswego businessman James Marter in the March 15 Republican primary for his U.S. Senate seat. He will face Rep. Tammy Duckworth in the Nov. 8 general election.

Ethics Report Filed Against Alabama Gov. Bentley


Alabama’s state auditor filed an ethics report Friday alleging Gov. Robert Bentley and a former adviser misused state property resources, NBC News reported.

Bentley has been accused of having an affair with his top political adviser, Rebekah Caldwell Mason.

In his report — which initiates a formal investigation — State Auditor Jim Ziegler claims that Bentley and Mason "have been using state property and resources in furtherance of their personal relationship. He also cited news reports that Mason is paid by a group called Alabama Council for Excellent Government as well as a claim that she is the “de facto” governor.

The governor said he will cooperate with the state’s ethics commission. He denies any physical relationship took place.  

Photo Credit: AP

CT Senators Push for Action on Zika Funding


Connecticut's US Senators emphasized the need for extra funding form Congress to fight the Zika virus in this country and overseas.

President Barack Obama asked for $1.8 billion to be authorized by Congress to be spent on research, outreach, and toward the development of a vaccine to fight Zika.

The proposal has stalled in Congress.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal chided Republicans, said, “Mosquitoes, here’s a newsflash, don’t know the difference between red states and blue states."

Sen. Chris Murphy said the funding from Washington could be critical for Connecticut because there are several labs working on a vaccine to fight the virus currently. They include Protein Sciences in Meriden, UConn, and Carogen in Farmington.

“Right now the Republican leadership in Congress is refusing to take a vote on the president’s recommendation. I don’t know why this has become a political issue.”

Dr. Ulysses Wu, the Chief of Infectious Disease at Saint Francis Hospital in Hartford, said people don't need to be worried about contracting Zika in Connecticut. Those who should be concerned are anyone pregnant or thinking about becoming pregnant and they have travel plans to Central America, where some mosquitoes are carrying the virus.

"We are not worried about local transmission. People have said we are an air conditioning borne society so that is going to help us protect against these mosquito viruses," Dr. Wu said.

Photo Credit: AP

1 Injured After Head on Crash With Eversource Truck


 A driver was sent to the hospital after they crashed head on with an Eversource truck, police said.

The accident occurred around 2:00 a.m. on Saturday morning in Cornwall.

The driver was going southbound on Kent Road when they lost control of their car and hit an Eversource truck going northbound. 

The 22-year-old driver from Warren was sent to Sharon Hospital but it was not clear what injuries they had. The operator of the Eversource truck had no reported injuries.

Police said the accident is being investigated.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Fairfield County Population Keeps Climbing, Others Fall


The population in Fairfiled County has been steadily increasing over the last few years. 

Since 2010, the population has grown close to 30,000 people, making a 3 percent increase over five years, according to new U.S. Census data.

It should come to no surprise: several towns in Fairfield were among the top 25 best places to live in Connecticut, according to a report put out earlier this month. 

The area is known for lower local tax rates, higher property values and high-performing school systems. 

Other counties have no had the same outcome.

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Litchfield county had one of the more drastic drops-- its population has gone down 3.4 percent over the last five years. 

Bigger counties like Hartford and New Haven had populations remain about the same with only about .11 and .21 percent drops, respectively. 

More data below: 

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Photo Credit: Getty Images/Flickr RM
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Christie's M&Ms Pic Alights Twitter


A photo showing Gov. Chris Christie transferring M&M candy from a bag into a box was setting Twitter ablaze Friday night. 

"Chris Christie pouring his bag of M&M's into a bigger bag of MORE M&M's is a savage and perplexing move," tweeted Pete Blackburn, sports editor for Uproxx. 

The photo was retweeted nearly 5,000 times in about an hour, drawing plenty of snarky commentary — not unremarkable on social media when it comes to the New Jersey governor, who is known for his feisty and unfiltered personality, and often described by critics as a bully.

The picture was taken at the Notre Dame-Wisconsin basketball game at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, where Christie was in attendance Friday night, according to Seth H., the man who says he snapped the photo. 

"Time for some sugar problems in Fort Lee," wrote Radlein, referencing the George Washington Bridge scandal. 

"Trump is making him do this!" said JoePontillo, recalling the image of a stoic Christie standing behind Trump when he endorsed him.

Defenders pointed out that M&Ms sold in boxes at concession stands usually come packaged with bags inside the box: "Common practice to pour the bag into the box," said Tom Herron

"He's consolidating," said AJRendere.

And there were even a few sympathizers: "Poor guy can't even get his snack on," said Jason4Liberty.

"It's a box he's pouring them into and any veteran snack eater knows it's easier to pour into mouth out of a box," replied BesseBoy

Christie has been following Notre Dame basketball for years and was at their game Sunday at Barclays Center in Brooklyn; he is longtime friends with Notre Dame coach Mike Brey and his daughter is a student manager for the basketball team, according to NJ Advance Media.

Photo Credit: FILE - Getty Images
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Pushy Parents Cause Chaos at PEZ Easter Egg Hunt: Manager


An annual PEZ Easter egg hunt ended earlier than expected after pushy parents didn't listen to the rules of the game, the general manager told NBC Connecticut.

"I take this personally. I don’t want this to be a reflection of the brand," Shawn Peterson, the general manager of the PEZ visitor's center in Orange, said. "It was a fun thing up until this point."

Several parents were trampling over signs and shoving other participants at the annual hunt, causing chaos at the family-friendly event. One woman said an adult injured her grandchild's nose.

"My grandson ended up with a bloody from an ADULT in the 9-12 year old section knocking into him!!!! Where was PEZ personnel?? Where was the safety of our children in your thought process?? And to make matters worse, how about almost getting hit by a vehicle leaving your property, which had parked in your lot and was leaving, in very close proximity to the "egghunt" field"?" Jennifer Barden-Moore wrote on Facebook.

The event had more participants than the venue had expected; there were more than 1,000 people in attendance, Peterson said. 

PEZ hid 9,300 eggs for children to search for in three separate fields. The event was supposed to go until noon but was cut short when parents were encouraging their kids to keep searching, the manager told NBC Connecticut.

Peterson said that this year, the parents "took over."

This year, parents were on the "kids only" fields and going to the next hunt well before the designated start times. The signs on each field were taken or trampled on, Peterson explained. 

Parents stormed the PEZ Facebook page with concerns and frustrations about the lack of order.

Peterson defends that having one employee at each hunt field is how the company has done it for past Easter events with no incident.

One father wrote that his fiancé went to grab his 5-year-old from being trampled by other adults.

"You let all age groups go at the same time. Adults were running on the field after there was no adult signs. Pez had 0 control over the event. My fiance ran onto the field to grab our 5 yr old in fear for her being trampled, " Talon Hamand commented.

Peterson said the company purposely did not widely advertise the event in order to keep the number of attendants low. When PEZ noticed the number of people, they offered parents free coupons and candy inside the venue. 

Photo Credit: Patty Tomaso

Body of Missing American in Belgium ID'd


An American who hadn't been heard from since Tuesday's terror attacks in Belgium is dead, his brother said Saturday, NBC News reported.

"We found out today that cowards took my brother's life," Levi Sutton wrote on Twitter.

Justin Shults, 30, was with his wife Stephanie Shults, 29, waving goodbye to Stephanie's mom at the Brussels airport when the explosions went off. His employer, Clarcor, confirmed in a statement that Shults was killed and Stephanie is still unaccounted for.

The couple moved to the Belgian capital in 2014. Justin is originally from Gatlinburg, Tennessee, and Stephanie is from Lexington, Kentucky. Both were accountants.

Photo Credit: Family Photo
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WATCH: 'Birdie Sanders' Gets a Standing Ovation


Bernie Sander's flock of supporters went wild on Friday when the candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination greeted an uninvited guest in the middle of a rally in Portland. 

That guest? A little, green bird that fluttered onto his lectern, leaving Sanders laughing and the crowd on its feet. Sanders and the bird, which has since been dubbed "Birdie Sanders," look at each other for about 10 seconds, before it flies away.

The Vermont senator's rallies are known for exuberant crowds, but the bird got as loud a cheer as Sanders does.

When the crowd quieted down, Sanders – an emphatic environmentalist – noted some symbolism. "I know it doesn't look like it, but that bird is really a dove asking us for world peace. No more wars!" he said, to another ovation.

Twitter and Facebook users almost instantly made the moment go viral, and #BirdieSanders began trending. 

The Sanders campaign quickly started tweeting about it – as did the TV show "Portlandia," a sketch comedy show that parodies Portland's hipster scene. Perhaps its most famous catch phrase is "put a bird on it," from a sketch about extra-eager bird enthusiasts, which didn't go unnoticed by the show’s Twitter account. 

Photo Credit: AP
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UConn Student, Dad Fall Victim to Kidnapping Scam


A father was tricked on Wednesday into thinking his daughter, a UConn student, was kidnapped, while the student was being told her brother was being held hostage, police said.

The father, from Somers, New York, got a call on Wednesday from men saying that they had his daughter and demanded money. What the man didn't know was that his daughter was fine, and in fact, police said, being scammed herself.

The student had also gotten a call saying that her brother was being held hostage and immediately the woman attempted to wire money to the callers. The men on the phone told both victims that their relatives would've been hurt if they didn't get their money. 

The father stayed on the phone with the presumed "kidnappers" and drove to the police station in Adams, Massachusetts. He told police he believed his daughter was kidnapped and that the men on the phone had personal information about his family. 

When Adams Police sent a "ping" to his daughter's cellphone, they determined she was in Oxford, on Old Webster Road, and police were dispatched to that location.

At the time, the UConn student was at a Honey Farms on Sutton Avenue, telling an employee she was looking for a Chase bank, while at the same time passing a note that implied someone was going to hurt her family, according to Oxford Police, who were first informed by UConn police because the same employee had them called first. The student seemed distraught, the employee said.

Police went to Honey Farms and saw the student sitting in her car, visibly upset. Approached by an officer, she stayed on her phone and whispered that the men on the other line had her brother and were going to hurt him if she did not wire them money.

Oxford Police were able to confirm that the student's brother was safe and hung up the woman's cell phone. Police also notified the student's father that she was not kidnapped.

At this point, the woman explained what had happened, according to Oxford police.

She said she was told her brother had hit a child with his car and they were going to hurt him if they were note wired $1,000. When she could only wire $300 from a Wal-Mart, she was instructed to find a Chase and send the rest of the money to Puerto Rico. The caller also demanded she buy $280 in cellphone minutes and give the PIN to him in order to recharge his phone.

The caller then demanded that the student call her father and tell him she had been kidnapped in order to extort money from him as well. If she didn't do so, she said, they would've hurt or even killed her brother. 

The scam is currently under investigation by the Oxford Police. Massachusetts State Police and Adams Police helped locating the student.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

North Haven Man Arrested After Hitting State Police Cruiser


A North Haven man was arrested after striking a police cruiser while intoxicated and sent both drivers to the hospital.

Joseph Mickolyzck, 33, was driving his Audi when he struck a state trooper's car at around 2:00 a.m on Saturday.

The cruiser was parked in the shoulder on I-91 south of exit 9.

Police said Mickolyzck was driving his 2006 Audi A4 northbound and was observed "utilizing multiple lanes" on the four lane highway. 

Mickolyzck, who was operating under the influence, ended up veering into the left, rear side of the parked cruiser. 

Both the driver and the officer sustained minor injuries and were sent to the hospital.

Mickolyzck is accused of operating under the influence and failure to drive in the proper lane. 

His bond was set at $500 and he is expected to appear in court on Apr. 7.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

4 Die in Medical Helicopter Crash in Alabama


A medical helicopter crashed after responding to a car accident in Alabama Saturday, killing all three crew members on board and the patient being transported, authorities said, NBC News reported.

The Haynes Medical Helicopter crashed in Coffee County, Alabama, said Gregory Robinson, with the Alabama Emergency Management Agency.

The pilot, nurse, medic and patient were all killed. The victims will be transported to the Alabama Department of Forensic Science in Montgomery, officials said.

The National Transportation Safety Board said on Twitter it was investigating the cause of the crash.  

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Petition Asking for Guns at RNC Tops 25K Signatures


A petition calling for people to openly carry firearms at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland received more than 25,000 signatures Saturday evening, NBC News reported.

The petition's author takes issue with the decision by Quicken Loans Arena — which will host convention — to ban all firearms, even though Ohio is an open-carry state.

The petition argues the attendees will be “sitting ducks” against “evil-doers, criminals or others who wish to threaten the American way of life,” and demands Reince Priebus and the Republican National Committee to relocate the convention.

The City of Cleveland said in a statement last week it is "working with our federal, state and local security as well as our business partners we look forward to a successful convention."

Photo Credit: AP
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