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Proposal to Remove Middletown Route 9 Traffic Lights


The office of Gov. Dannel P. Malloy announced in press release Monday a plan to remove traffic signals from Route 9 in Middletown.

The governor and representatives from the Department of Transportation are expected to announce the details of the proposal to reconfigure the highway at an event at noon on Tuesday.

Middletown Mayor Dan Drew says city leaders are excited about the proposal, and that this is a positive change that shows the governor is dedicated to the area.

Drew says he expects the new highway configuration to improve traffic flow and commerce by making travel easier and encouraging people to visit the area.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Frozen Green Peas, Mixed Veggies Recalled


The National Frozen Food Corporation is recalling frozen green peas and frozen mixed vegetables after the company's tests revealed a potential listeria contamination, the company announced. 

The recalled items include frozen mixed vegetables and peas packaged by Bountiful Harvest, First Street, Great Value, Live Smart, Market Pantry and Sprout.  

The products being recalled were distributed in retail stores nationwide between Sept. 2, 2015 and June 2, 2016. The recalled items can be identified by the date codes printed on the back of the retail sized bag or the side of the master case. Click here for a full list of products being recalled. 

There have been no reported illnesses attributed to the recalled items, according to the National Frozen Food Corp. 

Following the cooking instructions on products can reduce infection risk, the company said. The elderly, children, pregnant women and those who suffer from weakened immune systems are the most susceptible to listeria. People who contract it usually show signs of a fever, muscle aches, nausea and diarrhea. Infection is liable to spread into areas of the gastrointestinal tract and the nervous system, and some infections can cause death.

Consumers who purchased products affected by the recall should not consume them. They may return them to the place of purchase for a full refund.

Consumers can also contact the company at 1-800-253-8269 Monday – Friday 8.am to 5 p.m (PT).

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Ride a Glass Slide 70 Stories Up


Anyone brave enough to plunge down a glass slide 70 stories in the air will get their chance this Saturday when an observation deck off the side of the West Coast's tallest building opens to the public.

The 45-foot slide transports riders from the 70th floor of the U.S. Bank Tower at 633 West Fifth Street in downtown Los Angeles to an open-air observation deck on the 69th floor of the building.

Made of clear glass 1 1/4-inch thick, the slide was airlifted onto the tower in March. The public opening of both slide and deck will be commemorated by an all-day block party on Saturday.

Individual tickets to the deck and slide range from $8 for children to $48.

The 1,018-foot-tall U.S. Bank Tower, owned by Overseas Union Enterprises Limited, will lose its title as the tallest building on the coast when the nearby Wilshire Grand Tower is completed in 2017. That 73-story building, developed by Korean Air, will be 1,100 feet high.

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Mom of 11 Laid to Rest After Orlando Rampage


Brenda Lee Marquez McCool, mother of 11 children, was laid to rest Monday after she was fatally shot during the Pulse nightclub rampage last week. 

McCool, 49, was dancing with her son Isaiah Henderson, 21, when gunman Omar Mateen opened fire inside the club. McCool survived cancer twice and died saving her son, according to witnesses who said she pushed him out of harm's way when the shooting started.

Henderson said in his eulogy that his mother was "crazy," but in a good way, and "she literally loved everyone," NBC News reported. He needed the support of two of his six brothers as he broke down in tears at the funeral at First United Methodist Church of Orlando.

Photo Credit: NBC News

Humidity Departing, Sunshine Increasing


A cold front pushed through the state this morning and now drier air is filtering into the state.

Clear skies and comfortable temperatures tonight.  Winds light and variable.

Sunshine sticks around tomorrow with a slight chance of a shower.

Another chance for rain exists Thursday as a storm passes by to the southwest. Showers possible in the afternoon.

Clouds move out on Friday and the day looks to be sunny and dry.

The upcoming weekend looks beautiful with abundant sunshine and temperatures rising well into the 80s.

'Mass Hysteria' at Subway Station


Dozens of commuters ran out of a crowded Manhattan subway station Tuesday morning after one straphanger thought someone claimed to have a gun, according to the NYPD.

Straphangers stampeded out of the Central Park North - 110th Street subway station in Harlem at about 9 a.m. in what police are calling mass hysteria.

Authorities said the commotion spurred from a fight between two people on a 2 train. It's not clear what led straphangers to believe someone had a gun. But police said that it doesn't appear that a gun was ever fired.

Rider Jessica Shockeness said that she heard three loud booms during a delay as her 2 train pulled into the station. She said after she got off she heard another commuter say "I think it was gunshots" and people started running out of the station. 

Shockeness said she didn't think the noises she heard were gunshots, but she decided to run too.

"I see people running, I'm gonna run," she said.  

One commuter told The Grio's Natasha Alford in a video posted on Twitter he was walking into the station wearing headphones when he saw people running toward him. 

"All they said was just, 'Run, run, run, run,'" the commuter said. "People getting stampeded, getting trampled, bags flying. It's crazy right now."

It's not clear if anyone was hurt in the commotion or if any arrests have been made. 

Photo Credit: NBC 4 New York
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Lightning Strike May Be Cause of Stamford Fire


Stamford fire officials believe a lightning strike is to blame for a fire at a home at 317 Thornridge Drive Tuesday morning.

The family inside the home were awakened by a large thunderclap around 4:20 a.m. The power went out and the family then smelled smoke, according to fire officials.

The residents called 911 and arriving firefighters found heavy smoke coming from the attic. The fire was contained to the attic area, fire officials said.

The exact cause hasn't been determined, but the Stamford Fire Marshal said it appears to have been a lightning strike.

No one was injured.

Photo Credit: Stamford Fire Dept.

Louisiana Deputy's Twin Toddlers Die in Hot Truck


A Louisiana sheriff's deputy's twin toddlers died over the weekend of heat exhaustion after they were found in a pickup truck outside of their house, according to authorities, NBC News reported. 

Bossier City police found the 3-year-old twins — a boy and a girl — in the pickup around 3 p.m. Saturday, according to a statement from the department.

Neighbors called police after the kids' "mother, who was home at the time, had contacted them saying she was looking for the children," the statement said. 

The toddlers were pronounced dead at a hospital. 

No arrests have been made, but Mark Natalie, a public information officer for the Bossier City Police Department, said Child Protective Services was monitoring the twins' 8-year-old brother.

Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images

Women Who Ran for the Presidency


Hillary Clinton made history as the first woman to become the presumptive presidential nominee of a major political party. But the first woman to try for the White House ran 144 years ago. Here are some of Clinton's female predecessors, who in seeking the presidential nomination, one by one splintered the glass ceiling that Clinton would eventually break.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Goat Attacked by Bear in Ellington


An Ellington family wants the state to find a bear that attacked their goat on Monday.

They heard the goat make an unusual noise and came outside to find the animal badly hurt and a bear on their property on Buff Cap Road.

According to family members, they tried to scare the bear off, but it stood its ground before eventually wandering away.

The goat, named Bulwinkle, had to be euthanized, the family said. A second goat was not injured.

Representatives from the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection are expected to visit the house today, according to the goat's owners. They want the state to track the bear and kill the bear, but aren't sure if that is what the DEEP will do.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

100 Drivers Run Stop Sign: Video


When a stop sign wasn't enough to get drivers to slow down on a Jersey City street, one resident set up a camera and used a bit of online shaming to get officials to take notice.

Sean Popke, a former news photographer, started recording drivers blowing past a stop sign in a family-filled neighborhood at the corner of Jersey Avenue and York Street.

"I let it roll for an hour and a half, and when I got back, I started counting all the cars and I counted 100-plus in 90 minutes," he told NBC 4 New York Monday.

The edited video posted online even shows a Jersey City police officer and a transit bus speeding through the stop sign.

Popke shared the video on YouTube and Facebook. It was met with swift action by officials in Jersey City.

"If you document something and show people the breadth of the problem, they will take action," he said.

Just two days after the video was posted, Jersey City Public Works trimmed the trees around the stop signs, moved one sign to a more visible location and added a stop-ahead sign.

Jersey City police were also taking action Monday: One officer was posted at the intersection and spent hours pulling over drivers and ticketing them for running the stop sign.

Police are hoping the stepped-up enforcement improves safety at the intersection.

Photo Credit: Sean Popke

Republican Senator Seeks Bipartisan Support for Gun Deal


A moderate Republican senator was seeking broad support Tuesday for a compromise to block guns from suspected terrorists, a day after the chamber split along partisan lines to derail each party's more sweeping proposals. 

Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, was discussing her plan with GOP leaders and said she expected the Senate to vote on her proposal. 

"I remain encouraged," she said.

There was no immediate word from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., on whether a vote would occur. And it remained unclear whether she could attract enough support to win if a vote were held. 

In an ominous sign, the National Rifle Association's chief lobbyist criticized Collins' emerging effort, though he stopped short of outright opposition to it. 

"According to reports, Sen. Collins and others would prefer to continue to talk about gun control and ignore the growing threat from ISIS," an acronym for the Islamic State group, the NRA's Chris W. Cox said in a statement. 

Cox said keeping guns from terrorists and "providing meaningful due process are not mutually exclusive." 

That could be aimed at a provision in Collins' bill that allows people to appeal to federal courts after they've been denied a gun, not before it happens.

Collins was pushing her proposal at a time when election-year politics has made partisan compromise on guns difficult to achieve. 

Even after the June 12 mass shooting in Orlando by a sympathizer of Islamic State extremists that left 49 people dead, neither party has seemed eager to cut a deal that might anger its most loyal voters — NRA-backing conservatives and pro-gun control liberals. 

The government's overall terrorist watch list has 1 million people on it. Collins' proposal would let federal prosecutors bar guns to two narrower groups of suspected terrorists: the no-fly list with 81,000 people and the selectee list with 28,000 people. 

Selectees are people who can fly after unusually intensive screening. Nearly all the people on all three lists are foreigners. 

Under Collins' proposal, Americans denied guns could appeal their rejection to the U.S. Court of Appeals.

In addition, the FBI would be notified if someone who's been on the broader terrorist watch list in the past five years buys a gun. 

Senators expressing support for Collins' plan included Democrats Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Martin Heinrich of New Mexico and Tim Kaine of Virginia, along with independent Angus King of Maine, who usually backs Democrats. 

Republicans supporting her included Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, Jeff Flake of Arizona and Lindsay Graham of South Carolina.

Photo Credit: AP

Video Shows Bank Workers Being Spanked in China


A video showing a corporate trainer publicly spanking and humiliating bank workers has gone viral in China, NBC News reported.

The workers were spanked during a training session on Saturday by Jiang Yang, who works for the Hongfeng Leadership Academy, which describes itself as a Shanghai-based corporate training institute.

The video shows Jiang striking four men and four women on their backsides four times with what appears to be a wooden rod. The employees worked for Changzhi Zhangze Rural Commercial Bank, and were spanked for not exceeding expectations.

Reached by popular Chinese chat app Wechat, Jiang told NBC News that he has been conducting these types of leadership programs for eight years. The purpose of the training was to help people "change their thinking and challenge them to face their own personal issues," he said.

Photo Credit: Corbis via Getty Images
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Caught on Video: Mountain Biker Crashes Into Bear


A mountain biker whose video camera captured him colliding with a bear on a trail near Lake Tahoe in California said he imagined the animal was as surprised as he was by the encounter. 

Davis Souza's chest camera captured the accident on June 12 along the Mills Peak trail.

Video the 26-year-old posted to Instagram shows Souza taking a left turn on the trail, then a small bear bursting into the path. Unable to stop in time, Souza crashes into the bear then flips over his handlebars.

"I never encountered a bear running like that," Souza told NBC. "I kind of froze and didn't know how to react."

Though Souza was quick to his feet, he could be heard on the video groaning in pain. 

"That was a bear," he tells friends.

Souza said that after the crash he explained what happened to a fire attendant at a nearby firewatch. Souza was told that there were no tagged bears in the area, meaning it was probably wild, he said. 

Souza said the bear made a groaning sound when they crashed into each other. He said he was happy to see that it had run off quickly and did not appear badly injured.

"It's the first thing my girlfriend asked me when I told her," Souza said.

"I really hope the bear is OK." 

Photo Credit: savydouza/Instagram
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Orlando Shooter's Friend Saw 'a Red Flag'


A friend of Omar Mateen told NBC News the Orlando shooter began listening to jihadist propaganda after a mutual friend was killed in a suicide bombing in Syria.

Prior to 2014, Mohammad Malik says, he never heard Mateen express extremist views or say anything homophobic. But after the bombing, Mateen began listening to recordings of Anwar al-Awlaki, the radical Islamic cleric killed by a U.S. drone strike in Yemen three years earlier. A suicide bomber, Moner Mohammad Abu-Salha, had said in videos that al-Awlaki inspired him.

Mateen told Malik that he thought the messages were "very powerful," and that's when he called the FBI. After the agents investigated Mateen, they determined that his comments to co-workers were not a threat.

After the mass shooting in Orlando, Malik is trying to make sense of the friend who became a killer.

Photo Credit: NBC News

Donald Trump and the 'Mad Men' Ad Agency Mystery


Donald Trump's latest campaign finance filing contains the names of dozens of companies that were paid for services, but one really stands out: Draper Sterling, a play on the name of the fictional ad agency from the cable TV series "Mad Men," NBC News reports.

The firm that collected $35,000 from Trump for "web advertising" in late April isn't headquartered in Madison Avenue offices filled with mid-century modern furniture and stylish secretaries; it traces back to a private home in suburban New Hampshire that's about a 15-minute drive from the home of ousted Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski.

Unraveling what it is and how it wound up getting a big chunk of Trump change is a bit like trying to figure out Don Draper's true identity.

The Trump campaign did not immediately respond to questions about Draper Sterling and the work it did, and efforts to reach people connected with the firm were unsuccessful.

Photo Credit: AP, File

Feds Investigating Whether Employee Was Plotting Attack on Homeland Officials


Federal agents are investigating whether an employee was plotting an attack against senior officials of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security inside its headquarters in Washington, D.C., according to federal court filings.

The employee, Jonathan Wienke of Martinsburg, West Virginia, was found with a gun by security officers while he was on the job at agency headquarters on Nebraska Avenue in northwest D.C. two weeks ago, according to the court filings obtained by the News-4 I-Team.

Wienke pleaded not guilty to a gun charge and is awaiting further court proceedings in the case.

But Wienke had more than a gun when he was searched on June 9, according to a request for court permission to raid Wienke’s home. A federal agent and security officers also found Wienke had a knife, pepper spray, thermal imaging equipment and radio devices.

Photo Credit: Getty Images, File

Budget Cuts End Free Ride Program in East Hartford


East Hartford is the only town in the entire Greater Hartford Transit District that provides free rides to anyone who wants one. It's been that way for more than a decade since the program started, but the program is coming to an end thanks to budget cuts.

The free rides will be replaced with a ticket system for passengers.

“Just by moving to the ticket system we receive a discount for moving to that system so $72,000 will be saved by the town of East Hartford," Mayor Marcia Leclerc said.

The ticket system will be put in place starting July 1 and the town will subsidize tickets for people with disabilities to a certain point.

Qualifying riders will be able to purchase 120 rides at a cost of $1.20 per ride, but after that, the price will then jump to $24 for 10 rides.

Robert Granger, an East Hartford resident uses the buses.

“If I ain’t got no money how am I going to get there?" he asked.

Granger said he wants to see the town work something out where the rides could remain free.

East Hartford provides rides all over the region to towns like West Hartford, Bloomfield, Hartford, and Farmington and all of those rides are entirely paid for by East Hartford.

In 2005, the town paid for $31,360 rides at a cost of $62,721. This year, the town has already paid for 117,976 rides, at a cost of $353,928 to local taxpayers. Mayor Leclerc describes this solution, that was approved by the town council, as the best decision for riders and taxpayers.

“Let’s face it, the town of East Hartford is looking to cut back all of the expenses it can,” she said.

Rides within the town will continue to be free for ADA customers.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

CT Man Was Making, Trafficking Illegal Assault Weapons: Police


State police have charged a New Fairfield man with firearms trafficking after they say they found him making and selling illegal assault weapons and handguns.

Michael Giannone, 44, appeared before a judge on Tuesday.

Detectives from the state police, along with the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and explosives executed a search and seizure warrant on March 24 at Giannone's home on Merlin Avenue.

Police stopped Giannone moments after he dropped his child off at school and took him to his house, where troopers served the search warrant.

According to police, investigators found 59 firearms on the property. Nine of those weapons were illegal, including two AK-47 assault rifles and five AR-15 assault rifles with no serial numbers on them, police said. They also found a rifle with an illegal silencer, two additional silencers, 65 illegal high-capacity magazines and more than 10,000 rounds of ammunition, according to state police.

In addition to the weapons, police said they found components to make 12 more AR-15 rifles, none of which had serial numbers.

At the time of his arrest in March, Giannone was charged with firearms trafficking, two counts of possession of an assault weapon, two counts of sale of an assault weapon, two counts of possession/sale of high-capacity magazines, illegal firearms transfer.

Police continued their investigation and arrested Giannone on additional charges Tuesday. He is also charged with 9 counts of possession of an assault weapon, 3 counts of possession of silencers, 65 counts of high capacity magazines, improper storage of firearms, risk of injury to a minor and possession of a weapon on school grounds.

Giannone turned himself in to state police. He he pleaded not guilty a in Danbury Superior Court and was held on $100,000 bond.  He is scheduled to be back in court on July 18.

Photo Credit: Connecticut State Police

Emissions Late Fee Bills to be Sent to Thousands


Car owners in Connecticut may soon get bills for late fees for vehicles that haven't been tested for emissions since last August.

The Department of Motor Vehicles stopped sending late fee notices last summer as it switched to a new computer system. The DMV will begin re-sending bills for emissions late fees on June 23. The first phase of the restart will cover about 200,000 vehicles, the DMV said.

Customers will receive a bill for each late vehicle, whether they still own it or not. The bill is based on ownership at the time the emissions test was due, according to the DMV.

The late fee is $20 per vehicle. A vehicle is considered late if it is 31 days or more past the due date for the emissions test and 61 or more days past the due date following a failed emissions test, the DMV said.

Customers can pay the late fee online, in a DMV branch or through the mail.

Photo Credit: NBC Chicago
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