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16 GOP Senators Back Meeting With SCOTUS Pick


The wall of opposition against President Barack Obama's Supreme Court nomination appears to be crumbling, NBC News reported.

Some Republicans are changing their stance on considering Merrick Garland, who Obama nominated to replace the vacated seat created by Justice Anotnin Scalia's death.

Two weeks into the nomination fight, 16 Republican senators now say they will meet with Garland — over 25 percent of the GOP caucus — according to a running count by NBC News.

That includes senators up for re-election in Blue States, such as New Hampshire's Kelly Ayotte and Illinois' Mark Kirk, who will be the first Republican to actually meet with Garland when they talk Tuesday.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Armed Suspect Shot at Capitol


A Capitol police officer shot and injured a man who brought a weapon into the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center Monday afternoon, the chief of Capitol Police said. 

An officer fired after the man pointed what appeared to be a weapon at him, U.S. Capitol Police Chief Matthew Verderosa said. The man was wounded and was in surgery Monday afternoon at Washington Hospital Center, where he is listed in critical condition, according to hospital officials.

The U.S. Capitol Police Department said Larry R. Dawson, 66, of Antioch, Tennessee, has been charged with assault with a deadly weapon and assault on a police officer while armed. They said Dawson's vehicle was located near the Capitol and was secured at a separate location.

A female bystander received minor injuries and also was taken to a hospital. 

"We believe that this is the act of a single person who has frequented the Capitol grounds before, and there is no reason to believe this is anything more than a criminal act," Verderosa said at a news conference. 

The man went through a metal detector at the visitor center, an alarm went off and he pulled out the gun, two sources told News4's Shomari Stone.

"It appears the screening process worked as intended," Verderosa said, noting the suspect has not yet been charged. A weapon was recovered at the scene.

NBC News’ Pete Williams reported early Monday evening that the weapon was a pellet gun. Dawson was known to U.S. Capitol Police and was a frequent visitor, Williams reported.

Dawson is facing charges for allegedly standing up and shouting Bible verses in October 2015 in the House Chamber Gallery. According to court documents from the Superior Court for the District of Columbia, Dawson identified himself as a “Prophet of God” to the people in the gallery.

According to the documents, Dawson was removed from gallery and, while being removed from the building, pushed a police officer and began to run. He was caught and charged with assault on a police officer.

A Stay Away Order was issued to Dawson, including a map of the area he was supposed to avoid, which included the U.S. Capitol building and grounds, including all Congressional buildings.

The U.S. Capitol complex was locked down about 3 p.m. The shelter-in-place order was lifted at 3:45 p.m., but the Capitol was open only for official business. The visitor center remained closed. 

At first, anyone outside was advised to seek cover immediately, U.S. Capitol police said. The D.C. Police Department later said in an update that there had been an isolated incident and there was no threat to the public.

Visitors were turned away from the Capitol as emergency vehicles flooded the street and the plaza on the building's eastern side. Police, some carrying long guns, cordoned off the streets immediately around the building, which were thick with tourists visiting for spring holidays and the Cherry Blossom Festival.

Initial reports by The Associated Press said a police officer sustained minor injuries. Sources told Williams and Stone that was not the case. Verderosa said no officers were injured.

The visitor center will be open as usual on Tuesday, Verderosa said. 

Jill Epstein, executive director of the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists, told NBC News she was at the visitor center on a lobbying trip to meet a senator when an active shooter was reported.

"I was with a group of my colleagues walking into the visitor center and as we were literally going through the metal detectors, people started screaming, 'Get out! Get out!' We didn't know which way to run. We ran out and and they told us to get against the wall so we were crouching against the wall outside the visitor center,” she said.

"Police appeared out of everywhere and they were screaming, 'Run for it! Run for it! Run up that ramp!' And we ran like you see in videos. It was surreal. It was so beautiful out and the cherry blossoms are in bloom and people are running for their lives. It was unsettling and scary," Epstein said.

The witness said one of her colleagues bolted for the door without his watch, wallet or phone, which were still on the conveyor belt of the metal detector.

It's the second time in less than a year that the U.S. Capitol was locked down due to a gun incident. Last April, a 22-year-old from Lincolnwood, Illinois, fatally shot himself on the building’s west front, triggering an hourslong lockdown.

A dental hygienist from Connecticut, Miriam Carey, 34, was shot and killed outside the Capitol Oct. 3, 2013, after police said she tried to ram a temporary security barrier outside the White House with her car and then struck a Secret Service uniformed division officer. She then fled the scene, leading police on a chase.

According to subsequent investigation by the News4 I-team, U.S. Capitol police stopped at least 13 people from carrying guns on or near Capitol grounds from 2012 to 2015.

On July 24, 1998, two U.S. Capitol Police officers were killed after a gunman stormed past a Capitol security checkpoint and opened fire. Officer Jacob J. Chestnut Jr. was fatally shot at the checkpoint, and a tourist was injured in the initial crossfire between the gunman and police. Detective John M. Gibson then told congressional aides to seek cover before exchanging gunfire with the shooter. Gibson was fatally wounded, but police say his actions allowed other officers to subdue the gunman.

Photo Credit: NBC Washington
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Death Row Inmate Dies Naturally


An inmate sentenced to death over 30 years ago was pronounced dead Saturday morning of natural causes in a California jail. 

Bernard L. Hamilton, was sentenced on March 2, 1981, by a San Diego County jury for the 1979, first-degree murder and second-degree burglary of Eleanore Buchanan.

Hamilton kidnapped, murdered and dismembered Buchanan’s body after she caught him burglarizing her van. He had a prior conviction for burglary in 1973.

Hamilton had been on death row since March 4, 1981.

Seventy condemned inmates have died from natural causes since California reinstated the death penalty in 1978.

Twenty-five inmates have committed suicide, thirteen have been executed in California and two were executed in Missouri and Virginia.

Eight other inmates have died from other causes, and one cause of death is pending.

There are 747 offenders on California’s death row.

Photo Credit: AP

10 Members of Family Killed in Easter Terror Attack


The Easter bombing in Pakistan that killed at least 72 people was particularly devastating for one family that reportedly lost 10 members.

"What could be more painful to me than this?" asked Qasim Ali, who is related to many of the victims in the Lahore suicide bombing.

"Almost the whole family has gone," Ali said. "My sister, her husband and daughter were killed. My two daughters and son were wounded."

He said his nephew Fahad, 10, and his niece Affafa, 18, were injured in the attack and are now at Ali's home, unable to stand because of heavy bandaging on their feet and legs.

"I don't know how I will be able to do anything, to continue at school," Fahad said.

Photo Credit: AP
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Utah Jazz Honor Kobe Bryant


On Monday, Kobe Bryant played his final game in Utah.

Prior to the game, though, the Utah Jazz took the classy move of providing the 37-year-old retiring superstar a collection of gifts that identified with the Beehive State. The Jazz gifted Bryant a season pass to Snowbird ski resort, along with a pair of skis.

Then, the Jazz put together an in-arena video prior to introducing Bryant one last time, and the video captured the essence of rooting against a player that would simply not be denied. The tribute featured Utah Jazz fans sharing their admiration for the NBA superstar in his 20th and final season.

At one point, a fan shares that he grew up wearing his John Stockton jersey practicing his "Kobe fadeaway" in his driveway. Another fan likened Bryant to the Joker character in Batman, as played by Heath Ledger.

"To us, he was the villain," The fan's voice blared in the arena. "But his performance was so awesome that you can't help but respect it."

When the game finally did get underway, the Jazz immediately got down to business, while the Lakers seemingly forgot they had to play a 48-minute game. About five and a half minutes into the contest, the Lakers only had two points and Utah had already opened up a 15-point lead.

From there, it got worse for the visitors—much worse. At halftime, the Jazz led by 27 points. That difference would jump up to 40 points after three quarters.

The fourth quarter started with Bryant coming out for a short stint on the court, but Lakers coach Byron Scott pulled out his aging superstar almost immediately in order to allow the crowd to acknowledge Bryant's exit. Bryant got a standing ovation and heard his name chanted loudly and clearly.

Bryant did not have his best night, as he exited the game with only five points in 28 minutes and missed 10 of his 11 shot attempts on the night. Still, the fans in attendance seemed thrilled to see the future hall of famer take the court one last time.

One set of lucky fans even received Bryant's arm sleeve. A girl inexplicably took a whiff of Bryant's sweat soaked arm sleeve, which immediately set the internet ablaze.

Conceivably, the arm sleeve still did not stink nearly as much as the Lakers' team did on Monday night. Utah led by as many as 53 points and eventually won by a final count of 123-75, which tied the record for the worst loss in Lakers' franchise history: 48 points.

Notes: Rodney Hood made 8/9 from three-point land, and all eight of his makes came in the first half. However, Hood could not manage four makes in the second half, which would have tied the NBA record for three-pointers in a game--a record held by Bryant.

Photo Credit: AP

1 Injured in Tractor-Trailer Rollover in East Haven


One person was injured when a tractor-trailer rolled over in East Haven just before 6 a.m. on Tuesday, closing Main Street.

The person was transported to the hospital and the injuries are not life-threatening, according to police.

Main Street was closed between Thompson and Kirkham avenues.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Woman Robbed Willimantic Dunkin’ Donuts: Police


A woman robbed a Dunkin’ Donuts on Main Street in Willimantic early Tuesday morning and police are trying to identify her.

The clerk called 911 at 1:45 a.m. to report the robbery and police responded to the donut shop, where the clerk said a woman demanded money from the register and ran west on Main Street after getting the money.

The robber did not show a weapon and the clerk was not hurt.

Police said the robber is a heavy-set woman in her early 30s with reddish-brown hair. She was wearing a blue jacket and gray pajama pants.

A Willimantic Police Department K-9 unit responded and the Willimantic Police Department Criminal Investigation Division is taking over the case.

Anyone with information about the robbery should call Detective Eric Dean at Willimantic Police Headquarters at (860) 465-3135.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Power Restored at State Police Headquarters


A power outage affecting state police headquarters in Middletown on Tuesday morning, but power has been restored. 

The computer systems were down and police said there were no permit, fingerprint or report services until the power was back.

Daughter of Woman Found After Missing 4 Decades Is Angry: Report


The daughter of an Indiana woman who was found after being missing for 42 years says they will never have a tear-filled happy reunion.

"I'm angry," Tammy Miller, 45, told People. "This isn't going to be one of those happy, made-for-TV movies."

Indiana State Police told The Associated Press Lula Ann Gillespie-Miller, who went missing in 1974 at the age of 28, thought she was too young to be a mother and signed custody of her three children to her parents in 1974. She then left home.

Detective Scott Jarvis took the case in 2014 after being contacted by the Doe Network, an organization that helps law enforcement close cold cases, police told the AP. They eventually learned Gillespie-Miller, 69, was living in Texas under a different name.

"I could have fell out of my chair," Tammy Miller told People. "I was shocked."

Tammy told the publication she called her mother last Friday, but her mom had an unexpected reaction.

"It was less than a two minute conversation," Tammy Miller said. "She said, 'I'll call you when I'm able to talk.’”

Tammy Miller said she “will never call her again” because "it felt like being rejected all over again."

"It's almost like going through the grieving process again," Miller says. "I'm glad she's alive, but it hurts emotionally knowing this was her choice."

Despite the non-fairy tale ending, Miller is happy to know what became of her mother.

"I'm going to have a wonderful life," Miller said. "I know it wasn't my fault. It was her loss." 

Photo Credit: Indiana State Police

Cold Night Ahead


A cold night is ahead as temperatures will plunge into the 20s under a clear sky.

Eventually it will turn out quite nice tomorrow, with abundant sunshine and temperatures in the middle 50s.

Clouds increase on Thursday, it will become gusty, and showers arrive at night. Highs will be in the middle 60s.

Friday's a dreary day with temperatures in the middle 60s with periods of rain.

An early look at the weekend shows the arrival of colder, unsettled weather.

Saturday will see more clouds than sunshine, as a few rain or snow showers move through later in the day.

An Arctic front will make for nasty conditions Saturday night. Howling winds, plunging temperatures and snow squalls can be expected.

Scattered flurries are possible Sunday, with highs stuck in the upper 30s and a whipping wind. Click here to learn more about what's being dubbed "winter's last gasp."

Police ID Man Who Died After Being Shot in Chest in East Hartford


Police have identified the 33-year-old man who died after being shot in the chest at his East Hartford home on Friday as Jerome Mack Jr. 

Police said someone called 911 around 6 p.m. on Friday, March 25 and told police they heard shots fired and saw someone running.

Police said they are still investigating and have not identified any suspects. 

Anyone with information should call the East Hartford Police tip line at 860-289-9134.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

EgyptAir Hijacker Arrested in Cyprus: Officials


A hijacker who took dozens of hostages aboard a commercial jet over what appeared to be a "personal" matter involving a woman was arrested after an hours-long standoff Tuesday, authorities said, NBC News reported.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs for Cyprus confirmed around 7:45 a.m. ET that all of the passengers and crew had been safely freed.

The drama unfolded aboard EgyptAir Flight MS181, which was on a domestic flight en route from Alexandria to Cairo.

A hijacker who claimed to have an explosive belt ordered the plane to diverted to either Turkey or Cyprus, according to officials. The belt was later deemed a fake.

The Airbus A320 flew to the Cypriot port city of Larnaca and landed at around 7:50 a.m. local time (12:50 a.m. ET) at which point negotiations got underway, EgyptAir said.

The hijacker spent the first three hours of the standoff demanding to speak to his Cypriot ex-wife or give her a letter, Cyprus government spokesman Nikos Christodoulides told NBC News.

Photo Credit: AP
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Michigan Teen Gets 10 to 20 Years for Plotting to Kill Family


A suburban Detroit girl will spend 10 to 20 years in prison for hatching a plot to kill her family at the age of 15 with the help of her older boyfriend.

Roksana Sikorski, now 17, apologized to her parents in Wayne County Circuit Court before being handed her sentence Monday. She was tried as an adult on charges that included assault with intent to murder and conspiracy to commit murder.

Sikorski was convicted of scheming with her then-boyfriend Michael Rivera, eight years her senior, to murder her family members by stabbing them to death.

It was the night of Oct. 17, 2014, when the 15-year-old surveyed her parent’s kitchen inside the family’s upscale Plymouth Township home before carefully selecting a 6-8-inch filet knife and heading to her little brother's bedroom, according to police.

Police reports show Sikorski was texting with Rivera throughout the planned attack, with one referring to the weapon of choice that asked, “Is this sharp enough?”

When Sikorski made it to her first target, she slashed her 12-year-old brother's neck, according to prosecutors. The boy managed to survive, but Sikorski wasn’t done yet.

In other texts uncovered by WDIV-TV, the teenager and her boyfriend had debated the best methods to slit an artery in the throat, a conversation complete with emoticons.

"I feel like dad is waking. He's moving but snoring. Babe..?" Sikorski wrote in one message to Rivera, according to WDIV-TV, to which he responded, "Baby im here just cut the throat quickly on both of them."

Sikorski at one point showed doubts, the texts showed, writing, "Babe I can't f----ing do it. I'm too scared. I want u to do it.... :( Plzz baby plzz. He kept waking up."

After stabbing her younger brother, the high school student moved on to her 11-year-old sister, according to police, but was spooked when both of the children started screaming. She then ran out of the house before she was able to carry out the planned attack on the rest of her family, police said.

"She still can't believe that she did it," her lawyer, Leslie Posner, told NBC News. "She's vivacious and outgoing. She gets A's in every class. She's tutoring other students. It was just a bad event."

Posner claimed the "sweet, little, diminutive 15-year-old" was "petrified" of Rivera. The two had met on Facebook the previous spring.

Roksana Sikorski and her two siblings were adopted by Laurene and Jeff Sikorski from an abusive family in Poland. Prior to the attack, her parents had filed a statutory rape complaint against her older boyfriend after learning of their relationship. The defense argued that is when Rivera convinced her into the murders. After further investigation, the rape charge was dismissed.

"I think she just thought this guy loved her and she wanted to do whatever he told her, and she was very vulnerable and she has a mental disorder and she needs help," Laurene Sikorski told WDIV-TV.

Rivera is now serving a lifetime prison sentence for attempted murder and conspiracy.

Sikorski's parents still stand behind their daughter, believing she should not have been tried as an adult.

"Nothing will benefit this child by sending her to jail,” Laurene Sikorski said Monday in their final plea before the judge, WDIV-TV reports. “She made some poor choices that led her to this conviction … How will sentencing her as an adult help her? Is this justice?"

Judge James Callahan told the family he would try to request Sikorski be housed in a juvenile facility until she turns 18.

“I would like to apologize to my family for not being the daughter they wished I could be,” Sikorski said at her sentencing. “I promise I will get better, no matter what happens.”

Photo Credit: WDIV-TV

Woman Calls 911 Over Pizza Order Mistake


A woman called 911 to complain that a Hartford, Connecticut, pizza shop made a mistake with her order and wouldn’t return her money, so she wanted police officers to get it back for her.

The woman said she ordered a small half-cheese, half-bacon pizza from Empire Pizza on New Britain Avenue, but they gave her one that had hamburger on half of it.

The pizza shop said the incident happened a couple weeks ago and they would have been happy to replace the order, but the woman said she'd already eaten half of the pizza.

Here's how the call went down:

“If I order a pizza and they don’t want to give me my money back, can you guys do something,” the caller asked the 911 dispatcher.

The dispatcher calmly told her to take it up with the pizza shop.

“That’s not something you would dial 911 for – 911 is for life-threatening emergencies only,” the dispatcher said.

“OK, can you call the pizzeria or something?” the caller then asked.

At that point, the dispatcher asked the woman what happened.

“I ordered a small pizza – half cheese and half bacon – and they bring me half hamburger, so I call them back and they don’t want to give my money back,” she said, adding the pizza shop was hanging up on her.

“That’s not a police matter, ma’am,” the dispatcher said. “You’ll have to work that out with the pizza shop.”

The caller again asked the dispatcher to call the pizza shop.

“No, we cannot call the pizza shop,” the dispatcher said.

The woman then asked the dispatcher why the pizza shop could call the police if she went over there and started arguing with them.

“If you go over there, you can call and have an officer meet you, but an officer’s not just going to call them and ask them to give you your money back,” the dispatcher explained.

The dispatcher then offered to have an officer meet her and urged her not to go into the pizza shop and say anything until she spoke with an officer.

NBC Connecticut reached out to the woman who called 911, but she did not want to comment.

Photo Credit: NBC10 - Dan Stamm

Teen Killed on DC Metro Platform


A 17-year-old boy was charged Tuesday in the murder of a 15-year-old boy shot in front of his mother and two sisters Saturday on a Metro station platform.

Maurice Bellamy, the suspect in the death of Davonte Washington, was charged with second-degree murder. He was shackled in the D.C. courtroom where he appeared Tuesday afternoon and was charged as an adult. 

"That's the man. That's the man who shot my baby," Washington's mother cried when she saw Bellamy.

Washington's loved ones filled three whole rows of seats in the courtroom.

Washington was shot after a young man approached him in the Deanwood Metro station and asked why he was looking at him, witnesses told police. He had been headed with his mother and sisters to get a haircut for Easter.

The shooting death of the teenager was senseless, D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier said Tuesday morning at a news conference. 

"Of all the tragic things that we see when it comes to violence, nothing is more senseless than this case, in my opinion," she said. "There's no reason for it. "

Washington, a ninth-grader and Air Force junior ROTC member at Largo High School, was sitting with his family in a Plexiglass shelter on the Metro platform when a young man tapped on the glass, Victor Leonard, Washington's grandfather, said Washington's mother told him.

The stranger asked Washington why he was looking at him and if he knew him from somewhere. Washington replied "What?" The young man then shot him twice in the chest and ran away, witnesses said.

The teenager was rushed to a hospital, where he died.

Police have no information indicating Washington and Bellamy knew each other, Lanier said. 

Bellamy was identified as the suspect after police compared video surveillance footage from the Metro station to a database of juvenile offenders, court documents say.

Washington's little sisters are devastated by their brother's murder.

"We have to talk to my granddaughters every day. We have to hold them and calm them down every day because they're reliving it," Leonard said.

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Washington family
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Man Designs Handgun That Looks Like Cellphone


A Minnesota man developed a handgun that folds up to look like a cellphone, an idea that's getting a lot of attention on social media.

Kirk Kjellberg, the gun's creator and CEO of Ideal Conceal, said he got the inspiration for a double-barreled .380-caliber pistol that looks exactly like a smartphone after a child saw that he was carrying a concealed firearm and he received unwelcome stares from restaurant patrons, he told NBC affiliate KARE. 

He came up with a pistol that "will easily blend in with today’s environment," according to the description on the website. "In its locked position it will be virtually undetectable because it hides in plain sight."

But "with one click of the safety it opens and is ready to fire," Ideal Conceal website claims.

Kjellbert said the initial prototype will be out in June and the company already has 4,000 requests for it, including from law enforcement. He plans to sell the gun for $395. 

A Facebook page Ideal Conceal already has more than 13,000 likes. But many who commented on KARE's Facebook page in response to the report were concerned about criminals using such a gun while others wondered if the product is even legal. 

"Yes, let's make it even easier to get a gun into a mall, movie theater, school, office building, etc...." one user wrote. "This is one of the dumbest ideas I've seen. I don't have issues with guns, but this just has bad idea written all over it."

Another user said, "How can this be allowed? How many will be killed by someone believing they saw a gun instead of a cell phone (sick)?"

Someone else mentioned that the gun looked like any other that was concealed.

Kjellbert assured in an interview with KARE that he didn't want "anything sinister."

"It's just made for mainstream America, not criminal enterprise," he said. 

He told NBC News the Department of Homeland Security has reached out to him about the pistol, and he plans on providing X-rays of it so law enforcement can distinguish it from cellphones during airport screenings.

Ginger Colbrun, public affairs chief for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, said in a statement the agency hasn't examined Kjellbert's handgun and that "domestic manufacturers are not required to submit firearms to our Firearms Technology and Ammunition Division."

But she said the ATF does work with the firearms industry, and manufactures sometime submit prototypes to evaluate whether the firearm will fall under the National Firearms Act.

"If a manufacturer is unsure of how a firearm may be classified ... then ATF recommends they send a sample for evaluation," she said.

It's not clear if Kjellbert submitted his gun to ATF for examination. 

Colbrun said the ATF has seen various firearms disguised as items such as knives, pens and walking canes, and that it has seen cell phone firearms in the past as well. 

Last year, Chicago's City Council voted to outlaw the sale and possession of gun-shaped cellphone cases in Chicago and officials in New Jersey warned residents against purchasing a cellphone case shaped like a gun that was seen on social media. 

Photo Credit: KARE

Rat Crawls on Sleeping Subway Rider


Here’s another reason to not sleep on the subway.

Video captured aboard a 7 train in Manhattan shows a rat crawl up an apparently clueless, sleeping man. When the rodent makes his way to the man’s neck, he wakes up and shrieks in horror, the video shows.

Rider Antony Lin, 31, shot the video in the last car of the 7 train as it pulled out of the 34th Street - Hudson Yards station about 3 a.m. Sunday, he told NBC 4 New York.

“I had my phone ready to film the rat since it was huge and the fact that it ended up inside the subway,” Lin said, adding that a couple on the train moved to another car when they saw the rodent. “So I see the rat crawl onto the guy and zoomed in.”

Lin said the man was asLeep long before the rat crawled onto him and does not believe he could have planned it as practical joke. 

“It's just insane and disgusting overall to see that. I've seen it on the tracks and platform, but never inside the train,” he said.

In recent weeks, NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton has stressed that sleeping on subway trains puts straphangers at risk of robbery and other crimes.

For Lin, the possibility of a rat crawling up your leg on the train is more than enough reason to stay awake.

“Yeah, that certainly makes me hesitant about sleeping in the subway again,” he told NBC 4 New York.

Photo Credit: @copaantl98 / Instagram

Police Warn of Car Break-Ins in Glastonbury


No city or town is immune to thefts from motor vehicles and police in Glastonbury are urging residents to keep vehicles locked after some recent burglaries.

The recent thefts have been from unlocked vehicles on House Street, Griswold Street, Harris Street, Addison Road, Dutton Place and Randolph Road, but police said neighborhoods all over town have been affected in the past.

“The suspects lurk about in your neighborhoods at night when you are sleeping, stealthily moving from driveway to driveway, checking door handles,’ the news release from police says.

The thieves go through cars, looking for anything they can sell, including iPads, iPods, GPS units, computers, wallets, cash and change.

Police warn residents not to leave keys or valuables in your car.

If you see anything suspicious, call police to report it.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Strong Winds Cause Thousands of Power Outages


Thousands of households and businesses are without power this morning because of strong winds.

As of 10:30 a.m. there are around 1,300 power outages statewide, with the most outages in Ridgefield, with 223.

Several local roads closed and public works crews from several towns, including Plymouth, West Hartford, Middletown, Torrington and Portland, were busy removing trees from road overnight.

The road closures prompted Kids Academy Child Care Center in Tolland to open late because wires came down outside of the school, according to state police.

Follow Heidi Voight on Twitter for traffic updates.

Utility crews from Eversource and United Illuminating are working to repair downed wires and restore power.

Wind advisories are in effect until this afternoon.

Board of Regents Approves Tuition Hikes


The Board of Regents approved tuition increases at 17 schools in the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities system.

This vote comes the day after the finance and infrastructure committee met and approved the hikes.

The Board of Regents listened to concerns from students, staff members and members of the public.

In a letter to students, Mark Ojakian, president of CSCU, said he recommended tuition increases at all the institutions for next year, including a 5 percent increase to tuition for universities. This would boost the current tuition of $9,609 by $480 to $10,089.

He recommended a 3.5 percent increase for community colleges, which would increase the tuition by $141, from $4,032 to $4,173. He also recommended a 4 percent increase at Charter Oak State College, from $8,666 to $9,013.

"I am fully aware that this is not the news you wanted to receive. Nor is it the news I wanted to be delivering. We spent a lot of time reviewing our budget options for next year. I believe this increase is fair given our current environment, and keeps our schools affordable so you are not burdened with crippling debt when you graduate," he said in a statement.

Ojakian said he expects $26 million in cuts during the next fiscal year and the proposed increase does not close the deficit, but it would allow the schools to "remain accessible and not burden students with crippling debt upon graduation.”

The tuition hike will affect more than 88,000 students.

The following colleges and universities are part of the system:

  • Asnuntuck Community College in Enfield
  • Capital Community College in Hartford
  • Central Connecticut State University in New Britain
  • Charter Oak State College in New Britain
  • Eastern Connecticut State University in Willimantic
  • Gateway Community College in New Haven
  • Housatonic Community College in Bridgeport
  • Manchester Community College in Manchester
  • Middlesex Community College in Middletown
  • Naugatuck Valley Community College in Waterbury
  • Northwestern CT Community College in Winsted
  • Norwalk Community College in Norwalk
  • Quinebaug Valley Community College in Danielson
  • Southern Connecticut State University in New Haven
  • Three Rivers Community College in Norwich
  • Tunxis Community College in Farmington
  • Western Connecticut State University in Danbury

Students are giving this mixed reviews and said they understand that the state budget is a growiing problem, but they feel like they are sacrificing a lot.

"It's distasteful to have to pay more and get less. We don't even have any athletics left, our catalogs are getting smaller, students are concerned -- will my classes be available so I can graduate on time," Gordon Plouffe, a student at Manchester Community College, said,

Ojakian also announced a temporary hiring freeze across all 17 campuses and the system office for at least the rest of this fiscal year.

The special meeting for the Board of Regents began at 10 a.m. in the Community Commons Room at Manchester Community College. The meeting will be on the second floor of Great Path Academy.

Approval of tuition and fees for fiscal year 2017 is just one of the items they are planned to discuss.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com
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