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Crash Closed Route 202 in Litchfield for Hours

Man Charged in Newington Car Break-Ins


Newington police have arrested a man who is accused of car burglaries.

Police responded to Fairfield Avenue just after 4 a.m. on Sunday after someone reported a man breaking into vehicles, police said. A witness told police she saw a man wearing a camouflage jacket going into cars.

When officers arrived they found Ainslie, Aaron, 40, of Enfield, hiding in the yard of a Fairfield Avenue home and took him into custody.

According to police, Ainslie admitted to being involved in the vehicle burglaries.

Police said Ainslie entered at least two unlocked vehicles in the neighborhood and police are asking anyone with information to call Officer Ryan Williams at (860) 666-8445.

Photo Credit: Newintgon Police

CVS Recalls Tea Over Salmonella Concerns


CVS Pharmacy is recalling Gold Emblem herbal tea over possible salmonella contamination, according to the Food and Drug Administration.

The voluntary recall applies to 1.41-ounce containers of Gold Emblem Abound Organic Spiced Herbal Tea. About 200 cases were sold nationwide, the FDA said. Affected containers have a best-by date of March 18, 2018, and the UPC code 0 50428 541043.

It comes after the manufacturer notified CVS of potential salmonella contamination, the FDA said. No illnesses have been reported.

CVS has removed all the affected product from stores and added a "do not sell" block to its register system, according to the FDA.

Consumers who purchased the product can return the item to CVS for a refund.

Contact 1-800-SHOP-CVS between 8:30 a.m. and 7 p.m. Monday through Friday for more information.

Photo Credit: Food and Drug Administration

Former Patriots Player Ron Brace Dead at 29


Former New England Patriots and Boston College defensive tackle Ron Brace has passed away at the young age of 29-years-old, according to family and friends.

The Springfield, Massachusetts, native starred alongside B.J. Raji at Boston College before being drafted 40th overall by the Patriots in 2009. Brace played four seasons with the Pats and accumulated 39 tackles and a fumble in 39 games.

The cause of death has not been disclosed.

Photo Credit: AP

Man Stole $25,000 Worth of Coins and Jewelry: Police


State police have arrested a Middletown man who is accused of stealing more than $25,000 worth of gold and silver collector coins and jewelry from a home in Haddam.

Owen R. Nelson, 34, of Middletown, is accused of stealing the items from a home on Injun Hollow Road in the Haddam Neck section of Haddam. Police started investigating on June 29 when a daytime burglary at the house was reported. They said no one was home during the burglary and no injuries were reported.

State troopers were able to recover some of the stolen items, police said.

In August, police applied for an arrest warrant for Nelson, but he eluded police until April 17, when police took him into custody.

Nelson was charged with third-degree burglary and first-degree larceny.

Bond was set at $100,000 and he remains in custody.


Nelson is being represented by a public defender and he is due back in court on June 20.

Photo Credit: Connecticut State Police

Suspect in 2013 Birthday Party Murder Arrested


Police have arrested a suspect in the murder of a 22-year-old man during his birthday party at a New Haven club in 2013.

The murder happened inside the Cheetah Club, at 169 East St., which is no longer in business, according to police.

The club was hosting a hip-hop party and rap performance that night and officers who were patrolling the parking lot next to the business heard a gunshot at 1:23 a.m. on Aug. 11, 2013, police said. Then they saw customers running from the club.

Inside, police found Torrance Dawkins with a gunshot to the head.

Officers reviewed surveillance video and said it showed the shooter specifically targeted Dawkins, who had just turned 22 years old at midnight.

On Friday, police obtained a warrant for Jean Bruny, 24, of Brooklyn, New York.

He is currently in federal custody and bond is set at $1 million.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Hastert Sued By Accuser


The man at the center of allegations against former House Speaker Dennis Hastert, previously identified only as "Individual A", has filed suit against Hastert, claiming the former speaker reneged on a deal to pay the young man millions of dollars.

Identified in court documents as "James Doe", the man alleges he was sexually abused by Hastert in a motel room when he was 14 years old.

"For many years to follow," the complaint states, "Plaintiff suffered severe panic attacks which lead to periods of unemployment, career changes, bouts of depression, hospitalization, and long-term psychiatric treatment." 

The language of the complaint largely mirrors accusations from the federal charges, for which Hastert is scheduled to be sentenced on Wednesday.

"In 2008," the lawsuit states, "Plaintiff was made aware for the first time that Hastert had abused someone else, too. Doe met with Hastert to confront him about what he had done." 

At that point, he said, he asked the former congressman to pay him $3.5 million "for the trauma he suffered as a result of the admitted sexual molestation and abuse," an amount which he says Hastert agreed to pay. 

As has been previously disclosed, Hastert's payments were interrupted when his banks became suspicious, after he had paid Doe approximately $1.7 million dollars.

Now Doe says he believes he is due the rest of the money, arguing that he and Hastert had a binding agreement.

"Hastert breached the settlement agreement, when he failed to make the agreed payments," he said in his lawsuit, filed Monday in Kendall County. "Plaintiff never filed a personal injury action for the injuries caused by Hastert's illegal conduct, never took any other action to seek redress for those injuries and did not disclose his claims...until he was required to truthfully answer questions from law enforcement."

The lawsuit seeks the $1.8 million dollars still owed from the apparently unwritten agreement, plus interest, and carries a demand for a jury trial.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Voter Hotline Set Up for Presidential Primary


Polls for the presidential primary open at 6 a.m. on Tuesday and a hotline has been set up to help voters.

Anyone who encounters a problem at the polls should call 866-SEEC-INFO hotline or email mailto:elections@ct.gov.

The hotline and email address will be monitored between 6 a.m. and 8 p.m. on Tuesday.

"We need to hear from you if something is not working as it should. Please let us know if you encounter any problems. Your vote must be counted. There is no acceptable margin for error on Election Day. None. We are grateful to the State Election Enforcement Commission for working with us on this valuable service," Secretary of the State Denise Merrill said in an email.

"We count on the public as much as we do election workers to report problems," Michael J. Brandi, executive director and general counsel of the State Elections Enforcement Commission, said in a statement. "Anyone with knowledge of election fraud or voting rights abuses is encouraged to call to report suspected violations. We will have the phones fully staffed to answer questions, advise on complaint procedures and, if appropriate, request the assistance of state criminal or federal law enforcement authorities."

Voters who use the hotline can report concerns anonymously, but are asked to provide the town and polling place where the problem is occurring and provide as many details as possible.

The Secretary of the State's office and the State Election Enforcement Commission will also hold two separate conference calls during the day on Tuesday to share information about potential problems or complaints at the polls and coordinate the appropriate response.

Voters should go to myvote.ct.gov to confirm that they are registered to vote, locate their polling places and check what type of identification to bring with them to the polls.

Boa Constrictor Found in Darien

Names on Ballots May Surprise Primary Voters Tuesday


Some of the names on Connecticut's primary election ballots may surprise voters at the polls Tuesday.

The Connecticut primaries are closed primaries, which are only for registered party members.

On their ballot, Democrats might be surprised to see the name of Rocky de la Fuente, a California man who petitioned his way with signatures onto the ballot in many states.

"Not only that, he's the first one on the line," Denise Merrill, Secretary of the State said. "That's because we randomly draw the names for who will be first on the ballot and his name came out first."

For Republicans, Ben Carson is still on the ballot even though he dropped out of the race.

"He never informed us in writing despite of many attempts on our part to reach him," Merrill said.

She and the registrars of voters in Waterbury expect a high turnout for both parties.

"After having Donald Trump come to Waterbury, I would anticipate that that would bring a larger amount of registered Republicans to the polls that day —either for or against the candidate," said Tim DeCarlo, the Republican registrar of voters.

"One thing I think is there is going to be a storm tomorrow weather-wise and that may take the count down, but yes we have a lot of activity and I think, we're anticipating a big turnout," said Democratic registrar Patricia Mulhall.

"Uncommitted" is also an option on both parties' ballots.

"You're voting to send delegates to the convention who are not committed to any of the listed candidates," Merrill said. "And interestingly, there's been more interest in this this year than previously."

Photo Credit: Sec. of the State

Clinton Won't Say Whether She's Considering Malloy for Cabinet


In the event that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton becomes President Hillary Clinton, Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy may or may not have a role in her administration.

During an exclusive interview with NBC Connecticut on Sunday, the former First Lady, U.S. Senator and chief diplomat was asked whether she has considered the second-term governor for either her vice president list or for another spot in her cabinet and she said it’s too early to make any comments on who may comprise her administration.

“Oh my gosh, I don't want to talk about what could be a position in the future” Clinton said. “That's totally hypothetical but you know clearly I appreciate what he's trying to do and wish him well here in Connecticut.”

Malloy and the Clintons have been political allies since his run for governor in 2010 when he received the endorsement of both former President Bill Clinton and Hillary. The former president campaigned for the governor during his reelection bid in 2014.

Malloy returned the favor to Hillary Clinton as one of her earliest endorsements for president.

Malloy’s name has been mentioned by Democratic sources as a possible Transportation Secretary and Attorney General candidate.

On Meet the Press with Chuck Todd on Sunday, a list of possible vice presidential candidates was discussed that included former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, Virginia U.S. Senator Tim Kaine and Sen. Sherrod Brown from Ohio.

The other name that has been discussed in Democratic circles is Julian Castro, a former member of Congress from San Antonio who currently serves as President Barack Obama’s Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Fire Destroys Trumbull Church


A Trumbull church needs to rebuild after a devastating fire gutted the building Sunday afternoon.

The worst of the damage is in the back of the Blessed Assurance Prayer Community Church, where Trumbull Fire Marshal Megan Murphy said the fire started and spread up the porch into the attic.

It took nearly two hours for firefighters from Trumbull and Monroe to put out the flames. Nobody was inside during the fire.

“The people who put their lives at risk on a day to day basis, we’re thankful for their efforts,” said Nick Jarboe, the Vice President of the church’s Board of Directors.

Repair crews boarded up the windows and covered the roof with a tarp Monday morning.

About 30 to 50 parishioners worshiped at the church. It is also home to a pre-school and the pastor, his wife and another church member lived upstairs.

“There was a woman who drove by today and said how can I help? Never seen here before she brought two boxes of Dunkin Donuts and coffee, so we’re getting a lot of support from the community,” Jarboe said.

Guiseppe Ferraro lives next door to the church on White Plains Road.

“It was amazing,” he said, “something I’ve never seen before.”

As Ferraro watched firefighters battle the blaze, he said he worried about the flames spreading onto his property.

“The wind at the beginning was blowing toward my house but thank god it changed direction, so I dropped the hose and tried to wet all the roof and the side of the house,” Ferraro said.

Church members tried salvaging what they could from inside, including some crosses, challises and religious paintings.

“It’s an unfortunate incident,” Jarboe said, “but no losses of life. It’s not a tragedy.”

The church is working with its insurance company and plans for the pre-school’s six students are still uncertain.

Fire Marshal Murphy said her investigators ruled out arson, but they are still investigating the cause.

Tolland Residents Speak out Over Proposed Project


Some Tolland residents are speaking out tonight about their concern on the size of a proposed project, which would house residential and retail space.

The proposed Tolland Village area consists of 369 apartment units, along with some businesses on the bottom floor, a restaurant and a hotel. They would be located off of exit 68 on I-84.

Tonight the developer, New England Real Estate, will meet with the Planning and Zoning Committee to propose zone changes.

The developer is requesting changing the 3-story multi-family buildings to 5 stories; to extend the width of buildings from 200 feet to 300 feet; and to change the height of the hotel from 45 feet to 55 feet.

The historic district is located near the proposed project. Jonathan Gould, Vice Chairman of Tolland’s Historic District, said changing the scale of the project would disrupt the small-town feel.

“The scale of the buildings, the height of the buildings are going to be very different from what is surrounding it and it’s really going to take away kind of from a quintessential, historic area here in Tolland,” said Gould.

Alona Croteau lives in the historic district.

 “I’d love some places to go shopping and maybe go to a restaurant however this kind of development seems like it’s a little bit bigger than what was originally contemplated in the Tolland village area concept, said Croteau.

The apartments would house UConn students and faculty.

The development is projected to cost $100 million.

NE Real Estate tells NBC Connecticut the reason they're changing the scale of the project is because the size of the current planned building would not generate enough revenue to pay for the cost of construction.

The Planning and Zoning director chose not to comment on the proposal.

Audio From Prince's Plane: 'An Unresponsive Passenger'


NBC News obtained a seven-minute clip of communications between two air-traffic controllers and the pilot of Prince's plane as it made an unscheduled stop in Moline, Illinois, six days before the star died.

In the clip, an air traffic controller at the Chicago En Route Radar Center in Aurora, Illinois, directs the pilot to the Quad Cities International Airport in Moline, Illinois, about 120 miles to the west. The plane had been bound from Atlanta to Minneapolis.

The controller in Moline then asks his counterpart in Aurora why the jet needs to land:

"What's the nature of the emergency?"

"An unresponsive passenger," says the Aurora.

Photo Credit: AP
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French Court to Rule on Alleged 'Dentist of Horror'


A French court will rule Tuesday in the case of a Dutch dentist accused of painfully mutilating the mouths of dozens of patients in the central French prefecture of Nevers, NBC News reported.

Prosecutors are seeking an eight-year prison term for Jacobus Marinus "Mark" van Nierop, 51, who's been dubbed the "dentist of horror" after about 120 of his former patients banded together to seek his prosecution.

After fleeing to Canada, authorities there extradited him to his native Netherlands where he was then turned over to French authorities.

Sylviane Boulesteix, 65, who saw van Nierop in March 2012 to have braces fitted, testified that van Nierop "gave me seven or eight injections and pulled out eight teeth in one go," AFP reported. "I was gushing blood for three days."

Photo Credit: AP

Cali Bear Sedated After Chase


A bear led authorities on a wild chase through Southern California's Sylmar neighborhood before wildlife officials sedated the gentle giant Monday night.

The black bear was first spotted near the Los Angeles Mission College campus, prompting officials to warn students and teachers to shelter in place.

The Los Angeles County Fire Department was assisting after the bear was spotted in the 13300 block of Eldridge Avenue at 9 p.m.

The bear scaled fences, running from police cruisers trying to scare it from the area for more than an hour.

No people were hurt by the bear, LAFD officials said.

The male bear is likely 2 to 3 years old and weighs 125 pounds, California Fish and Wildlife officials estimated.

The bear snoozed in a truck bed after a wildlife official shot it with a tranquilizer dart.

The animal was to be returned to the Angeles National Forest, officials said.

Photo Credit: KNBC-TV

Snowden Advanced Encryption '7 Years': Spy Chief


Edward Snowden's revelations about the U.S. government's spying activities spurred advanced encryption technologies by "about seven years," National Intelligence Director James Clapper said Monday during a talk hosted by the Christian Science Monitor.

Commercially available software has become so sophisticated so rapidly, Clapper added, that it is a "major inhibitor" to the government's ability to collect intelligence on terrorists.

"From our standpoint," Clapper said, "it's not a good thing."

But in interviews with NBC News, digital rights and security experts were puzzled over how intelligence officials arrived at the seven-year figure.

"He's speculating on what would have happened if what happened didn't happen," said Amie Stepanovich, U.S. policy director of Access Now. "I'm not sure what metric he's using."

Photo Credit: AP

Met Opera Understudy Wore Jeans


An understudy made his Metropolitan Opera debut over the weekend – all while wearing jeans and sneakers.

Tenor Francesco Anile surprised theatergoers at New York City's Lincoln Center during a staging of Othello after the performer in the title role was unable to continue singing in the final acts. The change was so sudden that Anile was unable to change clothes, taking the stage in garb more befitting a modern New Yorker than a 16th century Venetian general.

"People were a bit surprised, but it was a big surprise for me," he said.

Anile said he was texting with friends in the green room when Aleksanders Antonenko’s voice went out during the fourth act – just before the climactic finish of the Shakespearean adaptation.

A stage director ran into the green room, gave Anile a black cape and told him, "Francesco, come. We need you to sing."

Anile said he didn't have time to get into costume, so he went out onto the stage wearing his street clothes and cape. He belted out the final minutes on the side of the stage as Antonenko walked the part and lip-synched.

The audience was so moved by Anile’s odd debut that they gave him a standing ovation.

"(It was) strange, but I am very happy," Anile said, noting that news of the debut made it back to his home town in Italy.

Hibla Gerzmava, the Russian soprano playing Othello’s wife Desdemona, said the sudden change took her for as much of a loop as it did Anile and the audience. But she applauded him for being able to step in.

"For Francesco, I say ‘Bravissimo’ because it’s difficult for him,” she said.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Crews Investigate Car Found in River in East Hartford


Connecticut State Police are investigating after finding a car in a river in East Hartford this morning.

Officials responded to the boat launch near 301 East River Drive around 
Witnesses reported watching the car roll into the river.
Police say the car was empty.
No further information was immediately available. Check back here for updates.Connecticut State Police are investigating after finding a car in a river in East Hartford.

Officials responded to the boat launch near 301 East River Drive around 5:30 a.m. this morning.

Witnesses reported watching the car roll into the river.

Police say the car was empty.

No further information was immediately available. Check back here for updates.

Hillary Clinton Talks Guns, Economy and Conn. Connections


In her only interview with Connecticut media on Monday, Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton told NBC Connecticut about her recent rhetoric about guns and how the Sandy Hook tragedy has been a focal point of her campaign.

Clinton, who held a campaign rally at the University of Bridgeport over the weekend, said she hasn’t politicized the tragedy, even with a campaign ad featuring the daughter of Sandy Hook Elementary School Principal Dawn Hochsprung who was killed that day.

"I think we have a real problem with guns in America. Thirty-three thousand people per year are killed by guns and politics, our government, our democracy, is supposed to be about solving problems," Clinton said backstage. "We need universal background checks. We need to end the universal immunity that has been given to the gunmakers themselves. We have to do more on mental health. We have to do more on education about the dangers of guns, so I think it's an appropriate and necessary topic to be discussing in this campaign."

That final comment was a nod to the lawsuit that families of Sandy Hook victims filed against the manufacturer and seller of the weapons used in the December 2012 massacre. A judge recently ruled the suit could move forward.

Clinton spoke several days ago during a campaign stop in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, about how, as a child, she would spend time at a family cabin on Lake Winola. She said that’s where she learned to use a gun.

NBC Connecticut political reporter Max Reiss asked Clinton if she’s used a weapon recently.

"Well, not recently; I did go hunting when I lived in Arkansas. I haven't really had much chance to do it," she said. "I've done skeet shooting, but I wanted to make the point that I am not against responsible people having guns."

Clinton went on to say she believes in the Second Amendment and policies that can be good for both lawful gun owners and public safety.

"There is no contradiction between having safe gun policies that save lives and respecting Second Amendment rights," Clinton said.

On the issue of possible Supreme Court nominees, Clinton said some decisions by the high court have been "gifts to the gun lobby" and she would want a justice who could work to change those constitutional interpretations.

Additionally, Clinton said overturning Citizens United, the case that established that corporations could give unlimited sums to political campaign, would be a priority.

"I would certainly look for people who understood that Citizens United was one of the worst decisions the court has ever made," she said.

Connecticut’s economy has struggled since the 2008 recession and wage growth has remained essentially flat. Mentioning some of Connecticut’s largest cities, Clinton said her economic policies could provide some growth.

"I want to zero in [on] those places like Bridgeport and Waterbury that need those extra boosts and I will have those economics and jobs policy to do that. I will have an infrastructure policy and advanced manufacturing policy, a clean renewable energy policy, a small business policy and I want to do everything I can, working with the people in communities like Bridgeport and Waterbury to get back in the economic hunt to be able to provide more jobs that are going to provide good livings," she said.

The former secretary of state knows she will have to win over supporters of challenger Bernie Sanders, as well as independents, in the event she becomes the Democratic nominee. Clinton hopes her connections to the state as a student at Yale will play into voters’ decisions.

"I went to law school with Sen. [Richard] Blumenthal, so I've obviously known him for a very long time. Many other people in politics, in business and academia, and all kinds of civic groups so I do want people to know that I've spent a lot of time in Connecticut, driving around, seeing this beautiful state, and I want to be a partner to move the country forward," she said.

Clinton said her supporters in 2008 were polled as saying nearly half would not support then-Sen. Barack Obama in a general election but eventaully did.

Clinton hopes voters not only turn out for her Tuesday, but also that those who don’t vote for her examine how their values may line up with hers.

"I think the vast majority of my opponent's supporters are going to look at who the two nominees are and I'm very confident that we will have their support and we will work hard for it because I want people who don't support me now, not just people supporting my opponent in a Democratic primary but Republicans and Independents to really take a look at my record," Clinton said.

Photo Credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
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