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Police Look Into Possible Connections in Attempted Robberies at UHart


There have been two attempted armed robberies on the University of Hartford campus in the last month and police are looking into whether they are connected.

On Thursday afternoon, university leaders asked students to stay indoors or seek immediate shelter and lock doors after a man wearing a ski mask and holding a gun entered a room in the Stevens residence hall in B complex and attempted to rob a student.

The student managed to push the intruder out and was not hurt.

Police believe the person they are looking for left campus in a gold or silver Chevy and headed south on Bloomfield Avenue.

On Saturday April 16, two men held a student and his girlfriend at gunpoint and demanded drugs.

That incident was also at B complex and two University of Hartford students suspected of facilitating an armed attack at a dorm were arrested, but the two men who actually committed the home invasion remain at large.

Anyone with information is asked to call public safety at (860) 768-7985.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Car Fire Closes Southbound Side of the Putnam Bridge


The southbound side of the Putnam Bridge is closed in Glastonbury and Wethersfield after a car fire.

Traffic is backed up and you can take the Founders Bridge, Charter Oak or the Bulkeley Bridge as a detour.

Photo Credit: Connecticut Department of Transportation

Man Charged With Homicide for Not Reporting Overdose Immediately


An Oakdale man is facing homicide charges after police said he didn't report the overdose of his neighborhood immediately. 

Michael J. Bedard, 55, is accused of criminally negligent homicide and cruelty to persons after state police said he invited his neighbor over to do "lines" and the man ended up overdosing. 

On Feb. 9, the victim was removed from Bedard's basement on Illinois Court in Oakdale, state police said.

The victim's son told police he thought his father's death was suspicious and uncovered text messages from Bedard on his father's cellphone. 

Bedard allegedly texted the victim to come over and do "lines", the arrest warrant said. 

Police said when the victim became unconscious that Bedard waited almost an hour before trying to call EMS for assistance. Bedard told responding officers that he thought his friend had fallen asleep. 

The victim tested positive for opiates and despite medical employees best efforts, including using Narcan to reverse the effects of opiate overdose, the man died on Feb. 12. 

When Bedard was asked what his text messages meant, he said that the victim and him used to snort lines of Adderall but told another officer on a later date that he had invited the victim over for a few beers, according to state police. 

An occupant of Bedard's house told responding EMS that the victim had only used marijuana, the arrest warrant stated. 

Police arrested Bedard in connection to the victim's death on April 28 and he was released on the promise of appearing in court on May 12.

Photo Credit: Connecticut State Police

Showers This Evening, Rain Sunday


Numerous chances for rain exists over the next few days.

Today will be mostly cloudy with some breaks of sunshine, as temperatures rise to about 60 degrees.

Showers move in after 7 p.m. for much of the state and last throug the evening.

A good amount of low-level moisture will provide for clouds and an increasing chance of rain this weekend.

Saturday looks like the pick of the weekend, as it will be predominately dry with more clouds than sunshine. Highs will be near 60.

Clouds will take over by Sunday, with a steady rain most of the day. It will be chilly as temperatures only rise into the upper 40s!

The showers will last into the day Monday, when it will be chilly again with temperatures stuck in the 50s.

A good amount of disagreement exists in whether or not skies clear heading into Tuesday.

For now, the forecast calls for a mix of sun and clouds Tuesday before another chance for rain come Wednesday.

Every single day in the seven day forecast is below average, as seasonable highs are in the upper 60s by later next week.

Neighbors Complain About Stench in Manchester


The Laurel Marsh Trail, which is part of the Hockanum River Linear Park in Manchester, smelled like spring on Wednesday, but some days, users say, it doesn't.

“Last week it smelled - what was it, Wednesday or Thursday? I took a walk here and it had an odor," Paul Nagle said.

The source of the odor is no mystery. Manchester's waste water treatment plant is right alongside the trail. You can see the plant marked on maps and and you can see the plant for yourself from the trail.

It's usually no problem, according to a man who regularly walks his dog, Luke, there unless he smells sewage.

“I'll turn around and go somewhere else. There's another place up the street here that I'll go," Powers Bova said.

How often is it a problem?

"One out of seven, one out of 10 times, it's not every day, probably depends on the wind," he said.

Another source of odor when it's upwind is the Manchester landfill, depending on what workers are doing.

"It's bad enough where you don't want to breathe through your nose, where you want to hold your breath," Jason Campanelli, of Wethersfield, said.

Still most days the Laurel Marsh trail is a place to breathe deeply.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Crews Responding to Fire in East Haddam

Gas Explosion Rocks Western Pa.


The earth shook in western Pennsylvania Friday morning during an apparent gas-well explosion that injured one person and could be felt up to 6 miles away.

The blast was reported around 8:30 a.m. Friday in Salem Township, about 30 miles east of Pittsburgh in Westmoreland County. One person was burned at the scene and flown to a hospital for treatment.

Emergency crews were working to figure out the source of the gas.

Some residents called for help, saying they thought an airplane had crashed, while others said it felt like an earthquake.

"I didn't know if it was a plane or what," said Scott Filipiak, who was driving in the area. "It darn near blew me off the highway!"

NBC affiliate WPXI in Pittsburgh reported the source of the explosion to be a gas well along Route 22. The Department of Environmental Protection told the Tribune-Review officials believe the fire is at a conventional well site on Croft Road, but there is also a Texas Eastern pipeline in the same general area.

"It could be a well feeding a pipeline," DEP spokesman John Poister told the newspaper.

Emergency responders were evacuating businesses in the area where Routes 22 and 819 intersect, according to The Tribune-Review.

This story is developing. Check back for updates.

Photo Credit: Scott Filipiak
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Baby Born on Plane Named After Airline


A pregnant woman who unexpectedly went into labour and gave birth to a baby boy onboard a Jetstar Asia flight has named her son after the airline, NBC News reported.

The baby, Saw Jet Star, was delivered safely on Flight 3K583 on April 22, thanks to three doctors on board the plane who stepped forward to help.

"Both mother and son are in good health and have been discharged from the local hospital in Yangon," the airline said in a Facebook post this week.

The airline donated approximately $744 of baby supplies to the family.

Jetstar recognized crew member Saw Ler Htu, who "exercised utmost care and concern for the passenger," and visited the mother and child after they were admitted to a hospital.

Photo Credit: Jetstar Asia/Facebook

Road Repairs Underway After Hartford Water Main Break


A water main broke on Victoria Road in Hartford around 1 a.m. on Friday and officials from MDC said water is back on and road restoration should be complete by 9 a.m.

Water was gushing from the street for more than an hour and a half before repair crews were able to shut off the 8-inch 89-year-old water main.

Water was shut off around 2:30 a.m. and 29 houses on Victoria Road, between George Street and Campfield Avenue, were temporarily without water.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticcut.com

Person Struck and Killed By Acela Train


A person who was trespassing on train tracks was hit by an Acela train in Guilford on Friday morning and is dead, according to officials from Amtrak.

Amtrak Acela train 2190, which was heading from New York to Boston, hit the person by the Branford town line at 8:15 a.m., officials said.

One hundred nineteen people were onboard and none are injured. 

Six trains were stopped, but have been back in service since 10 a.m. However, Amtrak said to expect residual delays. 

Shore Line East service has also been restored, according to the Shore Line East Twitter account.

Photo Credit: Chris Van Horne

Family Suspects Foul Play in Case of Missing Teen Fishermen


The mother of a Florida teen who vanished months ago on a fishing trip with a friend now suspects foul play may have been a factor, according to a lawsuit filed in connection with the case.

Austin Stephanos and Perry Cohen, both 14, were lost at sea while fishing off the coast of Jupiter last July. New video was released Friday by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, showing the boys leaving the inlet before they went missing.

The boys were never found, although a pilot flying off the Georgia coast said he believes he saw one of the teens clinging to a pile of debris and waving his hands, according to a report released this week. By the time rescuers arrived, the person was gone.

The teens' boat was recovered near Bermuda almost eight months later, along with Stephanos' iPhone, which the families hope will provide valuable insight into what went wrong.

Stephanos' father, William Blu Stephanos, said earlier this week he was working with the phone's manufacturer and an IT professional to retrieve information from the waterlogged device.

The phone, however, has become a source of contention, with Cohen's mother filing suit Monday when the FWC agreed to relinquish the device to Blu Stephanos.

According to the suit, the FWC notified Pamela Cohen on April 22 "it did not intend to professionally examine the iPhone or extract the data" because the case was closed.

Pamela Cohen has said the teens shared Austin Stephanos' phone because her son's was broken. The suit claims she "will continue to suffer irreparable harm if the iPhone is not properly handled as material evidence in a possible maritime crime or homicide."

An investigative file dated Feb. 8 reveals the FBI has been involved in the case since September, when Austin Stephanos' stepfather told officials he believed the boys may have been abducted, NBC News reported. State investigators subpoenaed phone records in December as part of "an official investigation of a suspected felony," according to the document.

FWC spokesman Rob Klepper declined to comment Friday on the Cohen family's suspicion of foul play. He said the agency would not be issuing any additional statements on the case.

In a statement Tuesday, Pamela Cohen said she would withdraw her lawsuit if the Stephanos family submitted the phone for an independent forensics examination.

"We will be withdrawing our lawsuit as soon as FWC receives the written consents it needs from both families to put the iPhone in the hands of the best impartial iPhone extraction experts available, in a proper legal chain of custody," Pamela Cohen said in the statement.

During a hearing on the suit Friday afternoon, Pamela Cohen asked that the device be turned over to a third-party examiner.

"The public has a right to know what happened to the boys, and what led up to the point of their disappearance," the lawsuit states.

A judge said the phone will be shipped to Apple for forensic examination.

"We're highly disappointed that the FWC turned the phone over to Mr. Stephanos, but we're pleased the judge ordered the phone be sent for thorough, transparent and truthful investigation for both families," Pamela Cohen expressed.

FWC officials previously said there was no criminal element to the case.

Photo Credit: AP
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Monroe Man Had Loaded Gun at LaGuardia: TSA


A Monroe man was arrested at a LaGuardia Airport checkpoint on Thursday when TSA officers found a loaded gun in his laptop bag, according to Transportation Security Administration.

TSA has not identified the man, but said he told officers he forgot he had the gun with him. It was loaded with six bullets.

TSA officers immediately contacted the Port Authority Police, who confiscated the gun and arrested the man.

TSA urges passengers to look through bags thoroughly before going to the airport.

People traveling with guns can transport unloaded firearms in a locked hard-sided container as checked baggage only.

You must declare the firearm and ammunition to the airline when checking your bag at the ticket counter.

Photo Credit: TSA

1981 Ohio Homicide Victim Could Be From Connecticut


Mystery surrounds the homicide of a teen or young woman found in Ohio 35 years ago, and new tests done on pollen from her clothing reveal that she could have been from Connecticut or had some connection to this region.

Authorities have not identified the victim, a teenager or woman in her 20s, who was found in a ditch along Greenlee Road near Troy, Ohio on April 24, 1981.

She was wearing bell bottom blue jeans, a brown turtleneck sweater with an orange crisscross design on the front, and a handmade tan buckskin pull-over jacket with leather fringe around the seams with a deep purple lining.

Lab results on pollen found on her clothing came back on Sunday and suggest that she was from or spent a significant amount of time in the northeastern dry-oak forest region of Connecticut, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts or Rhode Island, according to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children.

A news release also says the tests showed a high level of soot from vehicle traffic or industrial activity found on her clothing suggests that she spent a significant amount of time in an urban area within the northeast or possibly from hitchhiking.

The victim had been deceased less than two days before she was found.

She was approximately 5-feet-6 and 125 pounds. She had long reddish-brown hair that was styled in two side braids and a part down the middle.

She had a ruddy complexion with freckles on her face and had several scars. One was under her chin, one was on her left arm, two were on her left wrist, right hand, right ankle and right foot and she had a porcelain-metal crown in her top right central incisor.

If anyone recognizes the victim or has any information about Jane Doe’s identity, call Detective Steve Hickey with the Miami County Sheriff’s Office, 937-440-3965 ext. 6629 or the Miami County Communication Center at 937-440-9911.

Photo Credit: National Center for Missing and Expolited Children

Dept. of Agriculture Check on Remaining Chickens After Fire


After animal rights activists protested in front of Hillandale Egg Farm in Lebanon Friday morning, saying they want for protections for the thousands of chickens that survived a fire on Tuesday night, the Department of Agriculture confirmed the remaining chickens are healthy and safe. 

"An inspection by the Dept. of Agriculture Friday...found that all remaining chickens appear healthy and that eggs from the plant are safe to eat," the department said. 

Roughly 80,000 chickens were killed on Tuesday night when a fire destroyed one of 13 chicken coops on the property.

The department said the follow-up inspection performed on Friday found that there were "no adverse effects on the other approximately 1.5 million chicken."

Water, electricity and feeding systems were all restored on early Wednesday and has returned to normal production levels, the department said. 

Protesters stood at the entrance, holding signs and wearing bio-hazardous suits, and said they want to make sure the birds do not have smoke inhalation and need medical attention from a veterinarian. 

“If these were dogs, 80,000 dogs killed in a fire, there would be an outrage across the country. So we are confident that the farm does not value the birds’ lives enough to carefully go through the wreckage and ensure they are OK,” said Zachary Groff, of Direct Action Everywhere, said earlier on Friday.

Hillandale Farms Inc. said in a statement:

"It's heartbreaking for any farmer to experience this kind of loss and we're so thankful our employees were unharmed. Our attention and efforts are fully focused on the health of our hens."

The fire marshal said an overheated conveyor belt likely caused the fire.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Waterbury Honors National Teacher of the Year


The 2016 National Teacher of the Year is one of Connecticut’s own—Jahana Hayes of Waterbury’s Kennedy High School and the school celebrated the news of Hayes’ award on Friday with a pep rally.

Hayes, a Waterbury native and social studies teacher, has been at Kennedy for the last decade after spending two years teaching at New Haven’s Hillhouse High School.

Hayes was named Connecticut teacher of the year last fall and beat out more than 50 teachers around the country to take the national award.

She said she’s excited for the opportunity to bring the national spotlight on her hometown for something positive.

“Big things are going to happen here. These kids have a charge. They know that every single one of them has something big coming,” Hayes said.

She attributes her success to relating to her students and being real.

“I’m here to learn from you just like you’re here to learn from me. There are no levels here. They get that,” she said.

As part of her award, Hayes will spend the next year out of the classroom, traveling around the country as an education advocate and spreading her teaching philosophy.

The celebration of her award is just getting started.

Next week Hayes heads to Washington, DC for a ceremony in her honor at the White House.

Gov. Dannel Malloy was one of the people at the rally on Friday to say congratulations to Hayes.

“We live in one great country and you live in a great city that has produced America’s teacher of the year you should be proud of that,” Malloy said.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Acela Train Hits and Kills Woman in Milford


A person who was hit by an Acela train in Milford on Friday afternoon is dead, according to Milford Fire Rescue.

The Acela Express 2158, heading from Washington to Boston, was going 200 miles per hour when it hit the trespasser in the area of Gulf Street and Buckingham Avenue around 2 p.m., according to Amtrak.

The victim was a woman who was approximately 45 years old.

The train traveling from Washington, DC to Boston was carrying 297 passengers and none was injured, according to Amtrak.

Amtrak trains in the area are being held and northbound Metro-North service is suspended between Bridgeport and New Haven.Buses are being arranged for Metro-North passengers.

Metro-North authorities Milford Police are investigating.

This is the second death involving and Acela train in Connecticut on Friday.

On Friday morning, an Acela train hit a person on the tracks in Guilford and the person died.

Pianist's Kids Asphyxiated


The two young daughters of an internationally known pianist likely died of asphyxia, according to a medical examiner in North Texas.

The Tarrant County medical examiner's office released the autopsy reports Thursday on the bodies of 1-year-old Michela Kholodenko and 5-year-old Nika Kholodenko, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports.

Their mother, Sofya Tsygankova, 31, has been charged in their deaths. Tysgankova allegedly told police "she didn't want to live" and "didn't see any future" for her or her children.

Vadym Kholodenko, a Ukrainian-born winner of the prestigious Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, discovered his daughters' bodies March 17 when he arrived at the Benbrook home the girls shared with their mother to take them to school.

Kholodenko told investigators he found his wife "going crazy" in a blood-covered night gown and the children "in bed, and not moving," according to the warrant for Tsygankova's arrest.

Investigators found bloody bed linens in a car parked in the garage, the warrant reveals. Two matching pillows discovered in the children's rooms — including one partially covering Michela's head — appeared to be stained with "biological fluid," investigators said.

A friend of Tsygankova's sister said Kholodenko and Tsygankova had been through a divorce and that Tsygankova was having a difficult time coping.

Tsygankova pleaded not guilty to two counts of capital murder. She remains in the Tarrant County Jail with bail set at $2 million.

Her attorney declined to comment on the specific allegations during Tsygankova's arraignment last month.

Photo Credit: Family Photo/Tarrant County Sheriff's Department

Vet Charity Bookkeeper Sentenced for Stealing $800K


A former veterans services organization bookkeeper who plead guilty to embezzling close to $800,000 has been sentenced to two years in prison.

Cynthia Tanner, 54, of Darien, pleaded guilty to fraud and tax evasion after embezzling around $800,000 from the National Veterans Service Fund and using the funds to instead pay for various personal expenses for her family and family members.

The NVSF was established to manage social services and limited medical assistance to Vietnam and Persian Gulf War veterans and their families with a focus on families with disabled children. 

According to the U.S. attorney's office, Tanner altered records to conceal her scheme and falsely claimed the money was being paid to veterans from 2009 to 2014.

Tanner pleaded guilty to wire fraud and tax evasion.

She has been ordered to report to prison on Aug. 30 and has been sentenced to two years, followed by three years of supervised release.  

She was also ordered to pay full restitution to the fund, as well as back taxes, interest and penalties.

Photo Credit: Darien Police

3 Charged in 300K Postal Money Orders Scheme


Three people have been charged for stealing blank postal money orders and cashed various amounts into their personal accounts, Connecticut's U.S. Attorney's office said.

Marc and Rachael Alexander, both of Stratford and Oxford, and Bernard Harris, of Bridgeport, were charged with multiple counts of wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. 

The U.S. Attorney's office said the trio somehow obtain blank postal money orders from the U.S. Postal Office in Old Greenwich. The Alexanders would imprint various denominations on the money orders with font that made them appear authentic.

After printing, they would deposit the money in different accounts before withdrawing the funds. Officials said the loss amounted to more than $300,000.

They face 15 counts all together. Each charge carries a maximum of 20 years in jail and a fine of $250,000. 

Marc and Rachael Alexander are currently being detained while Harris was released on a $125,000 bond. 

Trump Protesters: 'Leave Our State'


Vociferously chanting "Dump Trump," and "Run Trump Run," protesters trying to prevent Donald Trump from giving the kick-off speech at the California Republican Convention Friday blocked the entrance, jumped over bushes and faced off against police in riot gear.

The mood was mostly peacefully in Burlingame Friday morning, but turned much more tense shortly before noon, when protestors tried to block the entrance to the Hyatt Regency. Raucous crowds formed on Old Bayshore Highway. Police were spotted from the NBC Bay Area chopper running after them in full riot clear. One protester was escorted out of the hotel by security after she sneaked into the main convention hall and chanted: "Dump Trump."

Law enforcement officials told NBC Bay Area that a five arrests had been made as of Friday afternoon. One minor injury was reported.

Despite the protests, Trump arrived at the hotel shortly after noon, jumping with his entourage over a highway wall to make his way inside, where California Republican Chair Jim Brulte told luncheon guests Trump had arrived. "That was not the easiest entrance I've ever made," Trump joked at the luncheon. "It felt like I was crossing the border."

"People who believe in free speech were trying to prevent Trump from coming to the convention, but the California Highway Patrol and Burlingame police are really, really good, Donald Trump has arrived and is in the hotel," Brulte said.

Trump did have supporters outside the hotel, but the overall message was against the business mogul, who has called Mexicans rapists and whose platform includes building a wall on the border with Mexico to keep foreigners out.

People outside the Hyatt held up signs that read “Mr. Hate Leave Our State,” and more explosive, expletive-laden comments.

“We don’t want him to be president,” said Angelina Castro in a Facebook Live interview early Friday. Castro said she came to protest for her daughter.

"We don't have a problem with Republicans," she said. "We have a problem with racism, sexism and hatred."

Oscar Munoz, a military veteran with two college degrees, asked out loud: “Why are you racist? Why are we targets of your hate?” Munoz added, "He's a coward. I fought for my country. Did he fight for his country? I'm a vet not a rapist or murderer."

Trump wasn't there for immediate comment. But one Republican attendee told NBC Bay Area: "This is America, this is great, as long as they keep the protests peaceful, it's great."

Inside the GOP Convention Hall, Truman Jensen and his wife, Barbara, said they're voting for Trump because he has hired more people than Hillary Clinton.

The Trump brouhaha in Silicon Valley comes after the violent scene that played out in Orange County on Thursday night outside the Pacific Amphitheatre, where 17 people were arrested during a raucous protest after Trump gave a speech. One man was seen jumping on top of a police car, and a second patrol car was shattered.

Trump’s speeches have garnered support from many across the United States. But the anti-Trump sentiment is arguably among the strongest in the left-leaning Bay Area, where diversity is high and minorities from all over the world choose to live.

After his departure, protesters took over the Hyatt parking lot, protesters burned Trump effigies and in one instance, even the American flag. Another group of demonstrators chanted: "This is California, run Trump run." The crowd cheered when they heard that Trump had compared his experience of having to hop a freeway barrier to avoid protesters to "crossing the border." "Bay Area is anti-racism, Trump you're not welcome here," another group yelled.

This weekend, Trump will be joined by Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz — who will be speaking Saturday at noon — and his newly-named running mate, former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, who is slotted to keynote Saturday's dinner banquet.

Gov. John Kacish, who has so far led a lackluster presidential campaign, will be speaking at Friday’s dinner banquet.

Party leaders hope that the Republicans' messages don't dissolve into a shouting match, or worse.

"We've talked with everybody and we're confident that we have a good system in place," said Kaitlyn MacGregor, California Republican Party spokeswoman. "And if they don't behave, we have a system to handle that."

NBC Bay Area's Bob Redell, Robert Handa and Michelle Roberts contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area
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