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Gusty Winds Tomorrow Precede Wet Friday


The transition from March to April looks to be quite an active stretch of weather.

Wind will be the big story tomorrow.

Gusts will be over 40 mph with some breaks of sunshine, especially early.

It will be warm for the time of year, with temperatures soaring into at least the upper 60s.

Clouds will increase, however, and overcast sky conditions are expected by evening.

Showers arrive tomorrow night and last through the day Friday.

It won't rain the whole time on Friday, but it will be gloomy and wet. Temperatures should once again rise into the middle 60s.

The weekend forecast resembles winter more than it does April.

While temperatures will peak in the 50s on Saturday, there will be an abundance of clouds.

A rain shower is possible Saturday, but the more impactful weather holds off until Saturday night.

That's when an Arctic cold front will sweep through the state and bring gusty winds, rain showers and snow squalls.

Wind gusts could surpass 50 mph Sunday morning, which would result in isolated damage across the state.

Tree limbs would come down and power would be knocked out in spots.

High temperatures will be stuck in the 30s with wind chills in the 20s!

Early next week, there will be a short reprieve from the disruptive weather on Monday.

That's when it will be dry with a blend of clouds and sunshine. It will be cold with highs in the upper 30s. A p.m. rain or snow shower is possible.

Tuesday brings a threat for rain or snow, but that's all it is right now. Nothing set in stone. Just something to watch.

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First-Graders Plotted to Poison Classmate: Principal


Three first-graders at an Alaska charter school have been suspended for allegedly plotting to poison a classmate.

Three female students at Winterberry Charter School in Anchorage allegedly planned to use silica gel packets — commonly found in pre-packaged food and medicine bottles to keep moisture away — "from their lunchtime seaweed to poison and kill another student," the school's principal wrote in an email to parents.

The scheme was foiled when another student heard about the "poison packets" and alerted administrators, Jennifer Castro, spokeswoman for the Anchorage Police Department, told NBC News. No charges were filed.

While silica gel is non-toxic, the tiny beads of which it is comprised can get lodged in the throat and pose a choking hazard, especially to young children, according to the Carolinas Poison Center.

Photo Credit: Getty Images/Blend Images RM

Cylinder of Marijuana Closed Route 85 Closed in Waterford


Police closed Route 85 in Waterford after finding what looked like a pipe bomb, but say it’s a cylinder that appears to be filled with marijuana.

A driver who was passing by found a metal cylinder that was capped on both ends near Interstate 395 and Industrial Drive, so police closed the road in the area of the Waterford Speedbowl/Harvey Industries as a precaution.

Members of the State Police Emergency Services Unit arrived and determined it was not an explosive. Inside they found a green leafy substance inside and said it might be marijuana.

Police reopened the road just before 3 p.m. and ask anyone with information about the package to call 860-442-9451.

Photo Credit: necn

Teen Pepper-Sprayed at Trump Rally


A 15-year-old girl was pepper-sprayed after a man allegedly groped her and she was seen on video throwing a punch at a Donald Trump rally in Wisconsin on Tuesday, police said.

The teen, from Janesville, Wisconsin, told police a man groped her and when she pushed him away, another person in the crowd sprayed her with pepper spray, according to the Janesville Police Department.

A 19-year-old woman from Madison also suffered injuries from second-hand pepper spray during the incident, authorities said. Both received medical attention at local hospitals.

The Janesville Police Department released a photo Wednesday in connection with the possible assault and asked for the public's help in identifying the man pictured. The man in the photo, who police believe may have deployed the pepper spray, is wearing glasses and a red "Make America Great Again" hat. 

Video of the incident posted on YouTube appears to show a girl upset because a man in the crowd allegedly touched her breasts.

The man denies the girl's claim as the crowd shouts around them. At one point, the girl lunges, swinging her arm toward the man and someone sprays her face with pepper spray. The girl is then seen leaving the crowd.

A man who gave his name as Dan Crandall, of Milton, identified himself to the Wisconsin State Journal as the Trump supporter who was punched. The man said he never touched the girl and claimed many in the crowd also disputed her allegation. 

Police said Tuesday they had not yet identified the man who was punched. According to Lt. Keith Lawver, the department was still reviewing videos and photos to determine exactly what happened. 

Roughly 1,000 people attended Tuesday's rally inside the Holiday Inn Express and Janesville Convention Center and another group of about 1,000 supporters and protesters remained outside the venue, police said. About 350 law enforcement officers were also at the scene. 

Six protesters were arrested the day before the rally for refusing to leave the hotel's lobby, police said.

The pepper spray confrontation is the latest incident in a series of altercations reported at Trump events. It also follows news that Trump's campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, was charged with simple battery stemming from an incident with a reporter earlier this month. Lewandowski allegedly grabbed the reporter's arm after a news conference, causing bruising. Trump and his campaign have denied the allegation against Lewandowski.

Anyone with information on the pepper spray incident is being asked to call the Janesville Police Department at 608-755-3100 or Janesville Area Crimestoppers at 608-756-3636.

Photo Credit: YouTube/Derek Hauger
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Juveniles Charged in Shelton Car Break-Ins


Shelton police arrested three juveniles suspected of breaking into several unlocked vehicles during the overnight hours of the week of March 21.

Police from Shelton, Waterbury, Seymour, Milford and Orange worked together and linked the juveniles to the crimes. They also recovered a key to a vehicle stolen from Shelton and later found the vehicle in Waterbury.

The three juveniles arrested were each charged with seven counts of burglary in the third degree, seven counts of conspiracy to commit burglary in the third degree, seven counts of sixth-degree larceny, seven counts of conspiracy to commit larceny in the sixth degree, larceny in the first degree and conspiracy to commit larceny in the first degree from the Shelton investigation and police said more arrests are expected.

Police are urging residents to remove valuables from their vehicles and lock them.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Former Addict Speaks Against Legalization of Recreational Marijuana


From spiraling out of control to full blown recovery, a Manchester man is sharing his compelling story of addiction only with NBC Connecticut’s Alyana Gomez.

Today Peter Helms walks the streets a free man. Through lockup in an enclosed cell and the dark hole of his heroin addiction, he saw the light at the end of the tunnel.

"I currently am attending Eastern as a Business Administration major. I also started my own company, a dream I never thought was possible," Helms said.

Helms said he was introduced to drugs and alcohol at the age of 13.

"I dabbled with marijuana as a young teen," he said.

However, it wasn't until after a trip to the ER for his appendicitis that his addiction began to take hold of him.

"I was sent on my way with a full prescriptions of some dangerously addictive opioid medications,” said Helms.

When those ran out, he desperately called a friend for more.

"He got those from his mother’s cabinet and before I knew it he was at my door with a handful of some oxycontin," said Helms.

Easy access to opioids is one of the reasons why Helms is working with the Governor's Prevention Partnership reminding people to mind their meds.

"The plea here is to have people to understand the dangers and dispose of meds they're not using,” said Jill Spineti, president and CEO of Governors Prevention Partership in Wethersfield.

It wasn’t long before Helms' addiction landed him in jail.

"Me and my cousin we decided to rob a drug dealer to support our habits," he said.

Helms spent five years behind bars thinking about getting clean and eventually did.

"Really recognizing that there are people out there who have compassion towards people who have been through things that I have been through and are willing to be supportive and helpful. That just really lifted me off the ground," said Helms.

Walking on his own, freed from confinement and most importantly his addiction.

The Mind Your Meds campaign is going on right now. People are encouraged to bring their unwanted prescriptions to drop off location at police departments across Connecticut.

Next week, the bill that could legalize recreational marijuana will be heard by many people, including the Governors Prevention Partnership are expected to attend and voice their concerns.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

US Spent $86M on 'Inoperable' Surveillance Plane


The federal government has spent more than $86 million on a drug surveillance airplane that is four times over budget and has yet to fly, according to a report issued Wednesday by the Justice Department's inspector general.

The Drug Enforcement Administration bought the ATR 42-500 aircraft for $8.6 million in 2008. It was intended to be ready three years ago, equipped to conduct counter-drug operations in Afghanistan, at a projected cost of $22 million.

"We found that more than seven years after the aircraft was purchased for the program, it remains inoperable, resting on jacks in Delaware," said Inspector General Michael Horowitz.

The DEA says it now plans to use the plane, once it's ready to fly, for operations in Central and South America and the Caribbean.

Photo Credit: Department of Justice

1 Dead, Hoarding Hinders Efforts to Battle Fire


A man in his 70s who was found suffering a gunshot wound and in cardiac arrest in a burning, cluttered home in Seymour on Wednesday morning has died, according to police.

The fire on Bungay Road was reported at 7:22 a.m. and firefighters found heavy fire and smoke when they arrived. Crews said they had trouble battling the fire because of hoarding conditions.

"It was very difficult for the firefighters to move around. It was cumbersome for them to get in. It was burning. The roof started to collapse. We opted to pull them out at that point," said Deputy Fire Marshal Tim Willis.

Once firefighters were able to get inside, they found one man who officials believe lived there.

He was in cardiac arrest and had a gunshot wound, officials said. The man died, and authorities are now trying to determine exactly what happened to him and what caused the fire.

Simultaneous investigations are underway.

The Seymour fire marshal and state police fire marshal are investigating the fire, while local and state police are investigating the shooting.

“The public, we believe, is not in any danger at this time,” Deputy Police Chief Paul Satkowski said. “It was an isolated incident we believe that occurred here on this property.”

Officials are notifying the man’s family and have not released his name.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

State Employee Layoffs Looming Following Budget Deal


The budget problems in Connecticut remain despite a deal reached yesterday to end the current fiscal year in balance and the governor and top lawmakers conceded on Wednesday that layoff notices to potentially thousands of state employees will go out in the next two weeks.

The state faces a current estimated shortfall between $550 million and $900 million and Gov. Dannel Malloy told reporters following a closed door meeting with top lawmakers that the layoffs will be "substantial."

Sen. Martin Looney, (D - New Haven), the President Pro Tem of the Senate, said on broad terms, they expect to save "hundreds of millions" as a result of layoffs.

The deficit mitigation plan approved by the House and Senate yesterday, and signed by the governor today, closed a $220 million shortfall projected to end the 2016 fiscal year. The plan included about $100 million in across-the-board spending cuts from dozens of programs, big and small, with minimal changes to social and disability services. Democrats and Republicans remarked that they wanted to protect the most vulnerable in the state.

The issues with the 2017 fiscal year budget are far more serious.

"It's four times as difficult to balance," Rep. Brendan Sharkey, (D-Hamden), the Speaker of the House of Representatives, said.

The Appropriations Committee is about two weeks away from a formal plan being sent to the House or Senate for consideration. The committee has been working to fill the hole described by the governor last month of $500 million.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

What's Your Fear? Win to Ride New Lake Compounce Coaster


What's your biggest fear?

Lake Compounce Family Theme Park in Bristol said 12 people will be chosen to ride its new rollercoaster in May.

One catch: you have to share your deepest, darkest phobias

After they spill their biggest fears, the winners will be the first dozen to ride on the new Phobia Phear Coaster. 

Phobia Phear Coaster was announced last year. According to Lake Compunce, the rollercoaster will have a 150 foot inversion in the air, which the theme park says is the, "highest in existence and the tallest in the Northeast."

Winners will be announced on the park's social media pages starting May 1.

Lake Compounce Theme Park will open for the season on May 7, when the phobia contestant winners will ride the new coaster for the first time. 

Photo Credit: Lake Compounce

A List of Trump's Rapidly Changing Policy Positions


Donald Trump's positions on major issues like immigration, the refugee crisis, health care, the Iran nuclear deal, and how to defeat ISIS have shifted during his campaign significantly, according to a review by NBC News.

In some case the GOP front-runner has taken two or three contradictory positions in the same week or even in the same interview, as was the case when he has outlined what to do with ISIS oil field profits.

Trump has also vacillated on whether to send in ground troops against ISIS or who exactly would be deported under his immigration plan.

Click through for more examples of what NBC News calls Trump's powerfully incoherent rhetoric.

Photo Credit: AP

Police Searching for Driver Who Knocked Down 79-Year-Old Man in South Windsor


A 79-year-old man was hit by a car in South Windsor on Wednesday morning and police are looking for the woman who hit him.

Police said they responded to the driveway of the Berry Patch apartment at 9:15 a.m. after receiving a report of an injured person near Felt Road -- behind the former Oakland Road gas station and a business plaza.

The man, who was in the road, told police a woman driving a gray or silver sedan knocked him over.

The victim had a cut on his head, but he refused medical treatment and went home.

Police are looking for witnesses and ask anyone with information to call Traffic Unit Corporal Stephen Hoover at 860-644-2551.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Hundreds of Pet Pigeons Killed in Huge Brooklyn Blaze


Hundreds of trained pet pigeons were killed in a roaring inferno that ripped through a Brooklyn block and injured nearly a dozen people, witnesses say.

The coop of pigeons atop an apartment building on DeKalb Avenue was torched in the blaze Tuesday night that also heavily damaged or destroyed four other buildings. Witnesses said all of the birds housed in the coop perished in the fire. 

Maribel Mendoza, a woman who lives in the neighborhood, told NBC 4 New York the man who owned the pigeons lived in one of the buildings that was destroyed.

"They used to be flying around," she said. "He would let them out and flag them, and they'd fly around."

Some people in the neighborhood took to social media to lament the loss of the birds, which could be seen flying through the neighborhood regularly.

"RIP #bushwick pigeons. These two coops went up in the fire tonight. Watching you guys fly was a neighborhood joy," tweeted @4rilla.

The death of the pigeons was first reported by the New York Post.

Authorities are still investigating the cause of the blaze, which took more than 200 firefighters to get under control.

Three of the buildings were gutted by the blaze, and the other two that caught fire will also likely have to be demolished. Two ground-floor businesses and a small church were also destroyed. 

The Red Cross said that more than 31 families were forced out of their homes by the fire. 

Eleven people were injured, although seven refused medical attention, officials said. The remaining four people were taken to Wyckoff Heights Medical Center. One suffered serious injuries and the remaining three, including a firefighter, had minor injuries.

Photo Credit: Winson Yuan
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Police ID Suspected Shooter in Bethel Triple Shooting


Two people are dead after a shooting in a Bethel home on Friday and police said they believe a man shot his brother-in-law, then shot his sister before turning the gun on himself.

Someone called 911 from a home on Governor's Lane and hung up around 2:20 p.m. on Friday, which prompted officers to respond, according to Bethel Police.

When officers arrived at 11 Governor's Lane, they found a woman, 68-year-old Ahn Cristofalo, in the kitchen with gunshot wounds and immediately called ambulance to the scene.

Police then found Ahn Cristofalo's husband, 76-year-old Charles Cristofalo, in a bedroom and said he was pronounced dead at the scene.

The other man, Thai Pham, 56, was in a bedroom with a gunshot wound and police said they believe he was the shooter and identified him as the brother of Ahn Cristofalo.

Police said they believe Pham shot his brother-in-law first before shooting his sister and them himself.

Online records indicate Charles Cristofalo owned the home and neighbors told NBC Connecticut a man lived in the home with his wife and another family member.

“He was a very good-natured man,” neighbor Victoria Bortolot said. “I never could imagine anything going on like that.”

First Selectman Matt Knickerbocker said there was evidence of a domestic disturbance,

Ahn Cristofalo and Pham were transported to Danbury Hospital and Pham died of his wounds, police said.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Connecticut Brewery Reaches Finals of National Competition


Connecticut’s Black Hog Brewing Co. has reached the finals of CNBC’s Battle of the Beer Labels 2016.

Black Hog’s Ginga Ninja advanced through five rounds of voting in the tournament style competition to reach the championship against Creative Comfort’s “Koko Buni.”

"We're extremely excited to have gotten to the final of the Beer Label Madness," Black Hog owner Jason Sobocinski said. "It's a national competition so for a brewery of our size and coming out of CT this is a really big deal."

Black Hog Brewmaster Tyler Jones made the “Ginja Ninja” beer at Portsmouth Brewery years ago when he married a red head who loves ginger, but isn’t keen on IPAs, Sobocinski said.

Black Hog is located in Oxford. Sobocinksi, who is from New Haven, also owns several food trucks and restaurants in Connecticut, including Caeseus Fromagerie Bistro in New Haven, Mystic Cheese Company and Smoke Box BBQ in Hamden.

The finals began today and you can vote for the “Ginga Ninja” here.

Photo Credit: Black Hog Brewing Co.

Run for Today: Mom Runs for Premature Daughter


We’re kicking off our Run for Today series today with one super mom who started running as an outlet while her premature daughter was in the NICU, and hasn’t stopped running since.

Born at just 33 weeks weighing only 3 ½ pounds, Savannah Plummer had to spend weeks in an incubator before she was healthy enough to go home. During her daughters time in the NICU Gillian Plummer found comfort in the March of Dimes.

"When you have a preemie, you don’t know if they’re going to make it, you don’t know what the situation will be like," said Gillian Plummer.  "When you have these organizations and people to talk to and other mothers who have been through the same thing or even worse it is the most amazing thing in the world."

Through that support system, Gillian heard about the Run for Babies. The fact that she had just had an emergency C-section and had never run before didn’t scare her.

“A couple weeks later when I felt better, I learned about the run and I started running and I started training I realized gosh this is amazing,” said Gillian. “I feel great, it’s helping me, it’s helping me get through this hard time and the rest is history.”

And from there, Gillian went on to participate in the Run for Babies just a few weeks later.

"The support that I got through the organization I wanted to give back. So I raised money, I did the run, and I just bawled my eyes out when I crossed the finish line and it was amazing," Gillian explained.

The comfort and inspiration Gillian found in running has helped more than just herself.

Gillian's husband, Geoff Plummer, said, “She’s a really motivated person in general and this just turned it to a whole other level when she started running more and I could see she was running for our daughter and for our family which was pretty motivating.”

Two years later and Gillian is running eight marathons and two half marathons each year.

"Every single race that I run I dedicate to my daughter and all the premies out there," Gillian said.

The March of Dimes Run for Babies is devoted to doing just that and it doesn’t matter if you’re a marathon runner or have never run a 5k.

"Everyone’s cheering you on on the sidelines and once you get there you get this super adrenaline rush and you’re like im going to do this and I’m going to do a really good job."

We want to see you there on May 1st so join the NBC Connecticut team and #RunforTODAY

Photo Credit: Gillian Plummer

Car Rental in Windsor Locks Targeted in 'Swatting' Incident: Police


 A car rental in Windsor Locks near the airport was targeted in a "swatting" incident, police said. 

Thrifty Car Rental received a roadside assistance call from a man who said he needed help with his disabled car.

The man then said he was on his way to "the airport" with a bomb strapped to himself "like Bin Laden," Windsor Lock Police said. 

Thrifty Car Rental is located near Bradley International Airport but the caller did not specific which Connecticut airport he may have been headed to. 

After an investigation involving Windsor Lock Police, Seymour Police and State Police, law enforcement responded to a confirmed address.

Upon arriving, police found a "gamer" who was the victim of the swatting bomb hoax, Windsor Locks Police said. 

A swatter can use various communication technologies to mask the call's origin, police said.

Law enforcement spent hours on the investigation and pursued all leads, the department said. 

The caller's identity is still unknown.

No bomb was found, police said. 

Zika Virus Causes Brain Damage to Fetus: Study


The Zika virus can cause brain damage to a fetus, despite normal ultrasound results early in pregnancy, according to a new study, NBC News reported.

There were no telltale signs of birth defects when researchers conducted an ultrasound of a Zika-infected pregnant mother at 13, 16 and 17 weeks. But later ultrasounds revealed other brain abnormalities.

"While this is a single case, it poses troubling questions that could inform future research," said the study's co-senior author, Dr. Adre du Plessis, director of the Fetal Medicine Institute and chief of the Fetal and Transitional Medicine Division at Children's National Health System in Washington, D.C.

The study also revealed that Zika can cause invisible damage to a fetus that could show up later, and that it made its way into developing muscle, liver, lung and the spleen.  

Photo Credit: AP

Hartford Schools to Cut More Than 200 Positions: Sources


Hartford Public Schools plans to cut hundreds of positions amid the Board of Education's projected $20 million deficit next year, multiple sources tell NBC Connecticut Troubleshooters. 

Anticipating a budget shortfall, city sources told NBC Connecticut Troubleshooters that school administrators plan to cut more than 200 positions in the district. 

The cuts include five of the most senior positions in the district which, would save $1 million per year in salaries and benefits, according to the sources. 

Other cuts will impact teachers, administrators and other staff which will likely mean the consolidation of schools.

Hartford government sources told the Troubleshooters the budget shortfall is primarily due to increased costs from collective bargaining agreements with employee unions and expected reduction in state grants. 

Hartford's school budget for next year will be officially presented to the Board of Education on Apr. 9. 

NBC Connecticut has reached out to Hartford Public Schools for comment. 

Miss. Moves to Allow Guns in Churches to Avoid Attacks


A proposal to allow people to carry guns in Mississippi churches is moving through the state legislature, NBC News reported.

“The Church Protection Act” allows houses of worship to designate members as security guards, who could obtain permits to carry concealed weapons to protect against attacks.

Supporters say the measure could prevent an attack similar to the June 2015 massacre in a Charleston, South Carolina, church that left nine members dead, while a gun-control advocacy group says the bill defies the will of a majority of voters who don’t see concealed carry permits as a priority.

The Mississippi Senate voted 36-14 in favor of the measure, which now heads to the House.  

Photo Credit: AP
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