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Paper Gun Leads to School Lockdown in Hartford


A student brought a fake gun made of rolled up paper to a school in Hartford this morning, which led to a lockdown.

Police said a temporary Code Yellow lockdown was issued at McDonough Expeditionary Learning School, a school for students in grades six through eight.

Everyone is safe and the lockdown has been lifted, according to police. 

NBC Connecticut reached out to the schools, but there was no immediate response.

Photo Credit: Hartford Police

Abundant Sunshine, Above Average Temperatures Return


Sustained dry, sunny weather is here, for the first time in more than a week.

Temperatures will fall back into the 40s tonight under mostly clear skies.

Tomorrow and Thursday will be sunny with highs in the middle and upper 70s – above average!

The next chance for showers comes as a series of fronts approach Connecticut.

A period of showers is likely in the second half of Friday, and as a result, temperatures will drop from previous days to the upper 60s.

Follow-up cold fronts over the weekend should be weak.

That knowledge tends to favor mainly dry but breezy weather, with large, puffy clouds mixing with sunshine.

High temperatures over the weekend will be near 70 Saturday, but fall into the lower 60s by Sunday.

Construction Worker Injured in Fall at Dunkin Donuts Park


A construction worker suffered some minor injuries in a fall at Dunkin Donuts Park in Hartford. 

Police said the man was on the third floor when he fell through a roof hatch around 9 a.m. on Tuesday, grabbed a metal object to stop himself from falling and sustained some cuts. 

He was taken to the hospital to be treated for minor injuries.

The park, where the Hartford Yard Goats will play, is under  construction. 

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Crews Respond to Reports of Golf Carts on Fire in Canaan

Shirtless Male Nurse Billboard on I-84 Stirs Reaction


"Who's caring for your mom?"

That is the question posed on the billboard just beyond exit 25 on I-84 eastbound.

Next to those words is a young topless man wearing a stethoscope.

“This was really about grabbing attention," said Victoria Walker, Director of Community Awareness for Traditions Senior Management.

The company created the billboard as an advertisement for a new all-female wing at Cheshire Regional Rehab Center. No male patients and no male nurses would be involved with that wing of the facility.

“The billboard has nothing to do with the caliber of the work that male nurses do," said Walker.

Others see the billboard differently than Walker suggests.

There have been many people posting, sharing and commenting on photos of the billboard, which are quickly spreading online.

In an email to NBC Connecticut, a man from Waterbury, who said he works as a registered nurse in New Britain, called the display, "disgusting", "degrading" and "demoralizing" to men in the profession.

Walker said that most of the rehab center is and will remain mixed-gender. The billboard and accompanying stock photo, she said, were not intended to offend anyone.

“This is really about our residents, our female residents and their choice in who does their care," she said. “We wanted to make sure people noticed it.”

The billboard went up last week and is slated to stay up until at least the end of the month.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Grandfather Graduates From College


Husband, father and grandfather are some of the many titles 84-year-old Jerry Pollard has been given throughout his life, but on Monday he earned yet another — college graduate. 

Pollard graduated from Northeastern Illinois University, becoming the oldest graduate to receive his bachelor’s degree from the school in 55 years.

"This is what I was going for, but I never believed I would do this," he said. "I retired in 2000, I had no hobbies, I had to find something to keep myself busy and I decided to get the education I missed 50 years earlier."

Pollard first enrolled at DePaul University as a young man in the 1950s, but ultimately enlisted in the Army, got married, started a job and had four kids. It wasn’t until 2006 he began furthering his education once again.

He started by taking one class each semester. 

"I don’t need a job so what’s the hurry?" he said. 

Pollard said the best part about being in college at his age was interacting with young students. 

"When you sit down with old people, you hear about aches and pains," he said. "You sit down with young people and they've got their lives in front of them."

Pollard didn’t let his age keep him from the full college experience. During spring break, he climbed Mount Everest, trekking up 14,700 feet — a number he proudly displayed on his cap Monday.

Many of Pollard’s nine grandchildren, several in college themselves, watched their beloved grandfather accept his diploma. 

"He beat me by one year, but I’m going to grad school so I said we can race then," said his granddaughter Danielle Schaer. 

Pollard’s biggest supporter, his wife of 57 years, passed away a few years ago.

"I can hear cheeks cracking when she’s smiling up there," he said. "She always said, 'When you graduate, I’m going to make you a party.'"

Graduation isn’t the end of Pollard’s educational journey. Despite a degree in history already accomplished, he’s enrolled in a course on pre-colonial sub-Saharan African history for next semester.

And he plans to keep going. 

"I’m very proud of him," said his daughter Cindy Schaer. "He’s inspired people he doesn’t even know and it’s incredible."

Photo Credit: NBC Chicago

WATCH: NYC Window Washers Rescued


Firefighters and police rescued window washers who got stuck on a slanted rig 17 stories up outside a building in Lower Manhattan on Tuesday morning, officials said.

Chopper 4 footage from the scene at 33 Maiden Lane in the Financial District showed NYPD Emergency Services Unit Officer Robert Mirfield rappelling down from the roof of the Federal Reserve building to help secure the window washers in the tilted rig.

Mirfield then helped the two washers walk down the rig and into a window on the 16th floor that had been busted open. The two men then were brought inside the building. 

"I said to the guys on the scaffold, 'Who is going first?,'" he said. '"I made sure their lines were secured and put another safety line on as well. Then I passed them through the window."

Both window washers were then taken to New York Downtown Hospital, where they were treated for minor injuries. Mirfield said they weren't panicked by the experience, though.

"They were calm guys," he said. "These guys work heights, so you can imagine, not an easy job to do."

But witnesses watching from the ground weren't so collected. Several gazed up at the site with bated breath until both men were pulled to safety.

"I was like, 'Oh my god, somebody's up there,'" Rozelle Castillo recalled.

The rig, which the FDNY said had some sort of defect, was leveled before noon.

The mishap will be investigated by the Federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

Photo Credit: NBC 4 New York

Police Search for Driver Who Fled After Crash


One person is hospitalized after a car and dirk bike crashed in Plainfield on Monday night and police are searching for the driver who fled the scene. 

Police said they received several 911 calls at 9:15 p.m. reporting the crash near Maries Package store, at 30 Lake St. in the Moosup section. 

The car was gone and officers found glass in the road and a red Honda dirt bike off the roadway with front-end damage. 

Officers then received several reports that the driver of the dirt bike also left the scene and officers spotted a man running in the distance, so they chased him and determined f he was the driver of the dirt bike, police said. 

Police identified him as Benjamin Harman, 32, of Sterling, and said he was brought to Backus Emergency Room in Norwich. 

The car that left the scene is dark colored and has a loud exhaust. 

Police are investigating.


Anyone with information about the crash should call Officer D. Wolfburg of the Plainfield Police Department at 860-564-0804.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut,cin

2 Statues Stolen from Headstones in Southington Found


Someone has been stealing statues from headstones at a cemetery in Southington and police said they have recovered two of them in Middlefield. 

The most recent theft happened sometime between Wednesday night and Thursday morning.

Police said marble statues were stolen from two headstones at Saint Thomas Cemetery on Meriden Avenue. 

Since January 2016, there have been six other reports of statutes being taken from gravestones in the cemetery. 

Police officers are in the area to thwart these types of thefts and officials from the department are asking for the public’s help to find whoever is responsible for these thefts. 

Police continue to investigate and have not made any arrests.

Anyone who sees a suspicious person in or around the cemetery should call police at 621-0101 and report the activity.

Photo Credit: Submitted

Construction Causes Delays on Route 4 in Farmington


Construction will cause delays on Route 4 in Farmington until this afternoon.

Police warn driver about congestion on Route 4, near Route 10, until at least 1 p.m.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Elderly Man Seriously Injured By Falling Tree in Clinton


An elderly man suffered serious injuries when he was hit by a falling tree in Clinton this morning.

Officials from the Clinton Volunteer Fire Department said they received a 911 call reporting a tree cutting incident at 9:50 a.m. 

When crews arrived, they found the man was hit by a falling tree, but was not pinned under it, officials said.

Firefighters removed the man from the woods and LifeStar flew him to Yale-New Haven Hospital. 

Citadel Rejects Incoming Student's Request to Wear Hijab


One of the country's oldest military schools, the Citadel in South Carolina, has denied an incoming Muslim student's request to wear a hijab.

President Lt. Gen. John Rosa said the college's strict policy on apparel and appearance is "essential" to the institution's goals, NBC News reported.

"This process reflects an initial relinquishing of self during which cadets learn the value of teamwork to function as a single unit," Rosa said.

Rosa said he hoped the woman would still enroll, but a spokesman for her family said that she would not unless there was a change in the policy, The Associated Press reported.

Ibrahim Hooper with the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Washington, D.C., told the AP the woman was crying after receiving the news and was considering legal action. Her name has not been made public.

Photo Credit: AP

Judge Rules Ill. Facebook Users Can Sue Over Photo-Tagging


Facebook's photo-tagging feature, which relies on facial recognition technology, has the social media giant facing a class-action lawsuit after a judge ruled users in Illinois could sue the company for gathering their biometric information.

The lawsuit can proceed to trial after a California judge last week denied Facebook's motion to dismiss the case, according to court documents filed May 5 and posted by Arstechnica.com.

Facebook's photo-tagging feature uses facial recognition technology to "extract biometric identifiers" from photographs that have been uploaded to the social media website. The program was launched in 2010 with the objective of encouraging tagging among friends on Facebook.

Illinois' Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA) seeks to regulate the use of biometrics because the information collected is unique to each individual and "once compromised, the individual has no recourse." The statute points out that even social security numbers can be changed, but biometric information is forever tied to an individual.

The three plaintiffs, Nimesh Patel, Adam Pezen and Carlo Licata, are arguing that this technology violates Illinois' BIPA law, which restricts how companies obtain biometric data.

Both parties agreed to transfer the lawsuit from an Illinois court to one in California where the three cases were consolidated into a single action. Facebook had argued that BIPA is not applicable under California law and that tag suggestions are not applicable.

The judge ruled that Illinois law applies because the state "will suffer a negation of its biometric privacy protections for its citizens if California law is applied."

In contrast, California will suffer minimally if BIPA is applied because the state lacks thorough biometric protections, the judge ruled. 

Ars Technica first reported on the ruling.

Photo Credit: Gil C / Shutterstock.com

Escaped Inmate Lived Under Alias in CT for 48 Years


A man who escaped from a prison work camp in Georgia 48 years ago was found Monday, 990 miles away in Sherman, where he has been living under an assumed name and running a boat repair business.

Robert E. Stackowitz escaped on Aug. 22, 1968 from the infirmary at the Carroll County Prison Work Camp in Carrolton, Georgia, where the then-23-year-old was serving a 17-year sentence for "robbery by force," according to the U.S. Marshals Service.

Stackowitz was known around Sherman as Bob Gordon and the U.S. Marshals fugitive team learned about the alias around five months ago, which led the marshals and Connecticut State Police to 70 Route 39 in Sherman, where Stackowitz was taken into custody without incident, authorities said.

State police said that when he opened the door for troopers and U.S. Marshals he said "I figured this day was coming."

The 71-year-old escapee was taken to Danbury Superior Court on Monday and is being held on $100,000 bond in Bridgeport while he awaits extradition back to Georgia.

Neighbors described Stackowitz as a good neighbor who would help clear snowy driveways in the winter.

"Everyone has a little backstory I guess," said David Schneiderbeck. "His is a little more elaborate than most."

-- Marc Santia contributed to this story

Photo Credit: Georgia Department of Corrections

Man Shot Several Times in Meriden


A man was shot several times in Meriden this morning and police are looking for the shooter.

Staff from Midstate Medical Center called Meriden Police at 10:40 a.m. on Tuesday and said they were treating a victim who had been shot several times, police said. 

Officers responded to the hospital and determined that the shooting happened in the area of 92-94 Franklin Street. 

The victim was then transported to Hartford Hospital and no information was immediately available on his condition. 

Police have not identified any suspects and continue to investigate.

Anyone with any information is asked to call Detective Joe Robison at (203) 630-6267.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Dow on Track for Best Day in 2 Months


The Dow Jones industrial average was up 200 points in midday trade Tuesday, with the index on pace for its best day since March 11, CNBC reported. U.S. stocks were buoyed by weakness in the yen against the dollar and gains in oil prices.

Photo Credit: AP

Cop Sorry for Controversial Tweets


A San Jose police officer who set off a nationwide firestorm with a series of tweets appearing to target the Black Lives Matter movement is apologizing publicly for the first time.

Officer Philip White was fired last October but quietly reinstated after a closed independent arbitration hearing in February. City leaders are expected to decide Tuesday whether to appeal that decision.

White has kept a low profile since returning to the force and did not openly address the controversy until an exclusive interview Monday with NBC Bay Area. He also released a public apology in the form of a letter.

White said his comments were actually in response to threats he had received.

The tweets — which some believe took aim at a movement launched after a string of deadly police shootings — sparked outrage around the country.

"Threaten me or my family and I will use my God-given and law-appointed right and duty to kill you #COPSLIVESMATTER," one tweet read.

Another said: "By the way if anyone feels they can't breathe or their lives matter I'll be at the movies tonight...off duty..carrying my gun."

In an interview at his home Monday, White said he wants the public to hear what he has to say — including that he's sorry.

"There are people out there that think I'm a monster, that I have racial tendencies, that I'm a racist and I'm not," White said, adding that he did not offer an explanation before because of the confidential arbitration process and out of concern for his family's safety.

He said the tweets, perceived by many as targeting Black Lives Matter supporters, were actually in response to viable threats he received after posting negative comments about anti-police protests.

"I actually received a telephone threat at one of my workplaces, saying that this person would come up and kill me and my family," White explained.

He said the person threatened to attack him when his family went out in public, which is why he tweeted about carrying a gun "at the movies" but never said which theater he had planned to attend.

A police investigation confirmed the threats.

Even though his tweets were actually aimed at the people who threatened him — not Black Lives Matter supporters — White said he still considers himself in the wrong.

"I never wanted to make excuses for my actions; they were inappropriate. There's no doubt about that," he said. "And if I could take it back, I would. The only thing I can do is apologize for them."

When asked what he thought when he saw the words he had written, White said: "Made me sick and made my family sick."

White's wife, Maryanne, a Filipino-American, is stunned by the accusations of racism because their family is multi-racial.

"We just said, 'They don't know.' I mean, our family members consist of African American, Mexican, Chinese, Vietnamese, Cambodian, Vietnamese," she said.

White said he apologized immediately to the police chief, the department and community leaders. He also submitted a letter of apology to the city manager, which he said shows he has "been remorseful from the start."

Before the Twitter controversy, White had an untarnished record with the police department and had received numerous accolades throughout his 19-year career.

Police officials have acknowledged White had no prior disciplinary problems and had high marks for his work in various roles, including starting a program in schools to steer children away from gangs.

When asked about the criticism he has received, White acknowledged "that hurts, especially with my 19-year career [and] my track record."

White said he hopes to resume his role of working in the community where he established numerous partnerships.

"I want to set a precedent here," White said. "I want people to know that it's OK to 'own up' to what you do. Own up for a mistake."

It's still unclear how White's public apologies will resonate with city officials and community leaders. But they are certain to make their feelings known more on Tuesday as White's words and actions, past and present, are scrutinized.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area
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Waterbury Teacher to Appear on Ellen Show


Jahana Hayes, a teacher at John F. Kennedy High School in Waterbury, has met president Barack Obama and she will be on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” this afternoon as she begins her reign as National Teacher of the Year.

Hayes has demonstrated through her own life that students can overcome almost any obstacle. She grew up in a Waterbury housing project and wanted to be a teacher, but those plans were put on hold when she became pregnant as a teen as was sent to a an alternative school.

In her late 20s, she enrolled in community college and did not tell everyone, then continued getting degrees.

When taping the show that airs this afternoon, Hayes spoke with DeGeneres about meeting the President and how she was able to achieve this success.

She said she always tells her students to be kind and that it doesn’t matter how good your grades are, it matters that you are kind and keep going.

Photo Credit: Michael Rozman / Warner Bros
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Hundreds Fight To Save Hartford Animal Control Officer’s Job


Hundreds of supporters packed Hartford city hall on Monday night in support of an animal control officer who was laid off due to budget cuts. 

From an online petition, to a march, to speaking at the city council meeting, they are doing everything they can to get the attention of city leaders and get her job back. 

Sherry D’Genova was laid off last week, one week before her 17th anniversary with the city. Her layoff was one of 42 announced as the city looks to climb out of a massive budget gap. 

“I don’t even know how I’ve made it through the last week to be honest with you,” D’Genova said. “To me it’s more than just a job, it’s who I am.” 

Since news of her layoff, the rescue community is rallying behind her. They have started a petition that now has more than 10,000 signatures. They marched to city hall on Monday night in an effort to get city councilors to listen about why they say letting her go would be a danger to the city. 

The cuts leave Hartford with two animal control officers, one of whom is on medical leave. 

A former Hartford dispatcher who spoke at the meeting said that is inadequate and unacceptable. 

D’Genova said saving her job would actually save the city money because of what they will have to spend on euthanasia fees, boarding fees and overtime pay without her. 

City councilors said they are mulling it over and have yet to vote on a budget that includes a lot of controversial cuts. 

“A lot of these things, we’re sort of stuck with,” Hartford City Councilor Larry Deutsch said. “But there are other ways than cutting these jobs.” 

Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin, who is calling for the cuts, said it is not a reflection of individual performance. There are just tough decisions that have to be made.

D’Genova’s supporters said they plan to be at every city council meeting until they vote on a budget.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Long-Lost Rembrandt Turns Up in NJ


A painting found in a New Jersey basement last year turned out to be a long-lost Rembrandt painting, according to the auction house that sold it.

The painting, later determined to be "An Allegory of The Sense of Smell" created by the artist in 1625, was found in a home in Bloomfield after the couple that owned the home died, according to Nye & Company, which sold the painting.

The couple’s children didn’t want the painting, so they called Nye & Company to put it to auction.

The auction house said it didn’t know the painting was a Rembrandt because it was so old and dusty that the artist’s signature was obscured. 

Thinking it was a 19th century copy, appraisers valued the painting to be worth between $500 and $800, according to reports at the time. 

But an art dealer knew better after bidding opened at $250 and ended up buying the painting for $870,000 before having it restored.

The painting has since been sold to American art collector Thomas Kaplan and is being put on display at the Getty Museum in Los Angeles.

"We are truly thrilled that the first museum to exhibit Rembrandt’s earliest known signed work, An Allegory of The Sense of Smell and its companions is the Getty," said Kaplan.

The painting is part of a set of five works depicting the five senses. Three of the other paintings in the set are at other museums, and the fifth -- which depicts the sense of taste -- is still missing, according to the Getty Museum.

Photo Credit: Courtesy of the Getty Museum
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