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Police Investigating Untimely Death in New Britain


Police are investigating an untimely death in New Britain. 

Police said a male victim was found unresponsive in the area of Prospect and School streets and he was pronounced at the scene. 

The death is considered untimely and the medical examiner is investigating, but there does not appear to be a criminal aspect to the case.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

2 Cape Cod Beaches Closed Due to Shark Sightings


Two Cape Cod beaches were temporarily closed to swimming on Wednesday after four sharks were spotted about 300 yards off shore.

Nauset Light Beach and Coast Guard Beach in Eastham, Massachusetts, were shut down just before 2 p.m. They are expected to reopen for swimming in about an hour.

It was the second shark sighting of the day in the area. Around 10 a.m. Wednesday, a great white shark was seen eating a seal off Nauset Light Beach. Swimmers were told to stay out of the water until around 11 a.m.

Experts say great white sharks have been moving further north in recent weeks, which has forced the closure of several beaches to swimming.

Last weekend, Race Point Beach in Provincetown was shut down for a time, and seven of them were spotted off Nauset Beach on Aug. 18.

Photo Credit: Atlantic White Shark Conservancy

Phone Scammers Soliciting Sponsors for Golf Course in Groton


Phone scammers are soliciting residents to be sponsors for the golf course in Groton, police said. 

Groton Police are warning people, especially businesses, to be on alert of a male caller using a Virginia area code pitching sponsorship opportunities. 

The man identifies himself as the project coordinator for the Shennecossett Golf Course. Police said the scam is being used nationwide with the name of the golf course changed to fit the locality. 

If anyone has fallen prey to the scam, police ask residents contact their credit card company immediately and report it to Groton Police. 

Photo Credit: NBC OTS

Manchester Crews Put Out Garage Fire

Champlain College Offers Gender Pronoun Pins at Orientation


Champlain College in Vermont is looking for more ways to be inclusive of the LGBT community, and they’re starting at orientation.

This year the school is passing out gender pronoun buttons that students can wear to let people know how they prefer to be referred to, according to the school’s Director of News and Public Information Stephen Mease.

“It’s part of ongoing work to be more inclusive,” Mease said by phone Wednesday.

The initiative was the brainchild of Danelle Berube, director of residential life, and student leaders. Students can select buttons with a variety of pronouns including he, she, xe, or they, or students can opt for a button that identifies them as gender fluid.

Mease said the initiative is brand new and the buttons were passed out at orientations starting on Friday.

The school also opened The Women and Gender Center this year, which Mease said is designed to be an area anyone, regardless of their gender identity, can use as a safe space to study or just hang out.

“We’re responding – students have been asking for this kind of center,” Mease said.

Champlain has a male to female ration of 60-40, which Mease said is not the norm for higher education, where those numbers are generally flipped. Mease believes this is partially due to the majors offered, such as computer and game design, which were traditionally male professions. Mease said the new programs are meant to bring the conversations about gender and inclusion up front, and that the school is working to create an environmental that is welcoming in all aspects.

Champlain held orientation over the weekend and classes started Monday. 

St. Brigid's Starts First Day of School With Mixed Student Body


There mixture of three student bodies all under one roof for the first day of school at a West Hartford catholic school is the result of two catholic schools closing earlier this year.

"It was like losing a part of your family," said Saint Mary School teacher Karen Hurley.

Hurley worked at Saint Mary School in Newington. Her school closed just two weeks before classes began. Saint Mary administrators said if they hadn't closed they'd be nearly $500,000 in debt. Most Saint Mary School teachers now work at Saint Brigid Saint Augustine Partnership School in West Hartford about three miles away.

Along with transferring teachers to Saint Brigid's, students were encouraged transfer there too.

But Saint Brigid administrators said only 40 of the 109 students enrolled.

"Some of them chose to go to public schools. Some made their choice to go to another catholic school," said Saint Brigid Saint Augustine Partnership School Principal Shevon Hickey.

There are now a total of 161 students at Saint Brigid. The breakdown of the students include: 40 Saint Mary, 41 Saint Brigid, and 80 Saint Augustine.

Hartford's Saint Augustine School closed earlier this year from financial strain.

"We really have a melting pot of all three schools," said Hickey.

To accommodate the growing student population Saint Brigid has added three new buses to transport children. An increase from just one last year.

Two buses are designated to pick-up Hartford students, one bus retrieves New Britain and Newington students, and the last bus gathers kids from West Hartford.

With the growing number of students all housed under one roof teachers said they are working to ensure students have a comfortable transition.

"I think having some of us here to really makes a huge difference for them. It's a continuation of home and expansion of family," said Hurley.

Saint Brigid staff said they are still getting late enrollments and the number of Saint Mary students could grow. Staff also mentioned they will be trying to retrieve supplies and technology, like smartboards, from the Saint Mary School.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Rocky Hill Woman Accused of Unemployment Fraud


A Rocky Hill woman is accused of fraudulently collecting more than $12,000 in unemployment benefits, according to the state’s Division of Criminal Justice.

Sylwia Bagan, 37, was arrested and charged with one count of first-degree larceny by defrauding a public community and one count of unemployment compensation fraud. Investigators said she under-reported her wages so she could collect unemployment benefits. She collected $12,363 from January 2012 to December 2013.

Bagan was arrested by inspectors from the Unemployment Compensation Fraud Unit in the Office of the Chief State’s Attorney. She was released on a $10,000 bond and is scheduled to appear in New Britain superior court on Friday.

Photo Credit: File photo

Sex Offenders Still Registered at Vacant Hartford Building


It has been nearly three months, since smoke and flames ravaged a massive apartment building at 270 Laurel Street in Hartford where more than a dozen sex offenders once lived. 

The building was condemned, forcing 56 families including 73 adults and five children out for good.

Those without friends and family to stay with were brought to a local motel by the City of Hartford, including 71-year-old William Yount.

Yount told the NBC Connecticut Troubleshooters: "My future right now, doesn't hold much of anything because I'm in a wheelchair and I'm a sex offender.  It's very difficult having your name on the list and living a normal life. I can't get a job, I can't get a place to live, they pull your history and say 'oh, you're a sex offender, we don't want to know you!'  It has already happened to me."

Yount and eight other sex offenders have properly registered the motel as their new address on the state's sex offender registry.

But as of Tuesday, 14 other offenders were still listed as residents of 270 Laurel Street.

Stephanie Davis lives on Laurel Street with her pre-teenage daughter.

"I'm really wondering why are they still using that address?," Davis said. "I'm not sure if they're lost in the system because sex offenders have to have an address and they have to be registered wherever they are, right? So, that has me worried."

Davis said she was home the night of the fire on June 6, 2016.

“I never let my daughter out of my sight," Davis told NBC Connecticut Troubleshooters. "I’m kind of happy it's vacant now."

Sex offender Karl Johnson Jr. told the NBC Connecticut Troubleshooters off-camera that he reported Laurel Street as his address three weeks after the fire, because he wasn't sure the motel was an acceptable address.

Yount stated that he filled out his paperwork with the proper change of address, as required shortly after moving into the motel.

"I don't have a permanent address. Every 90 days I get a letter from CSP for human safety that I have to fill out and tell them where I live and mail it back to them. You have five days to do it."

Johnson Jr. said he is in touch with his parole officer once a month and is trying to leave his past in the past, like Yount.  

“I did what I did and I'm sorry for it," Yount said. "I learned my lesson in prison. I did nine and a half years and I learned my lesson and I will never ever attempt anything like that again." 

NBC Connecticut Troubleshooters have repeatedly asked state police for an on camera interview.  They refuse, but a spokesperson tells us by email, “They were given 90 days from the date of the fire to find new permanent residence. Parole continued to monitor them during that time period. Once they obtained permanent residence they notified Sex Offender Registry (SOR) in writing. Those that didn't or haven't notified the SOR are considered not in compliance and are dealt with the same way any other sex offender who doesn't report their permanent address is,” State Trooper Kelly Grant wrote.

NBC Connecticut Troubleshooters does know one of the sex offenders listed on Laurel Street died of an overdose while staying at the motel.

For all of them who still have to report an updated address, that 90 day deadline is next week.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

New Haven Distributes Narcan Kits On Overdose Awareness Day


As opioid addiction continues to impact communities across Connecticut, the City of New Haven distributed free Narcan kits on International Overdose Awareness Day.

The city’s health department held a training session Wednesday afternoon on how to use the medication at the Ives Main New Haven Free Public Librabry on Elm Street.

Thirty-eight-year-old Benjamin, who asked we don’t share his last name, knows first-hand how Narcan reverses the effects of an opioid overdose.

“I broke my neck and got hooked on opioids, opiates, whatever you want to call it,” he said.

Benjamin has been on a road to recovery from his opioid addiction for three years.

“Everyone had given up on me,” he said, “and I was ready to give up on myself.”

But then he met George Bucheli, a New Haven health department outreach worker with the city’s syringe exchange program.

“I noticed issues with his arm from lack of good needles, or sterile syringes and it just started from there,” Bucheli said.

At one point during his battle with addiction, Benjamin said paramedics needed to administer Narcan to revive him from an overdose.

“These kits need to be out,” Benjamin said, “it will save a lot more lives and maybe it will help people.”

Bucheli demonstrated how easy it is to assemble the intranasal spray and then how to squirt half the dose up each nostril.

“We train people how to identify an overdose, if the person has changed in color, if they’re vomiting,” Bucheli said.

Benjamin tells NBC Connecticut without the help he got from Bucheli and the health department, he may not be alive today to raise awareness about the dangers of addiction.

“I was at an all-time low and this man really helped me out here,” he said.

Bucheli credits Benjamin for his commitment to stay in treatment.

“Just to see him clean, he shines when he’s clean,” Bucheli said, “and to me it makes it all worth and it helps me too because I used to be a user back in the day and just seeing him shine and what I see every day keeps me clean.”

The Narcan training and distribution in New Haven comes two months after three people died during a rash of fentanyl overdoses that prompted a public health emergency.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Heavy Bus Delays for Windsor Schools


It was a bumpy start to the school year in Windsor after issues with bus routes, including delays of several hours.

On Wednesday the school district met with its new bus provider, DATTCO.

They promised changes which would improve service and on Wednesday all students were home by 5 p.m.

That was a difference from Tuesday.

Some parents had their kids dropped off close to 6 p.m., while others gave up and went to the school to pick up their children.

“It was very frightening. We weren’t even aware, sure our child was even on the bus or what bus they were on,” said Julie Fraysier.

The district points to delays which started with the high school. Those spilled over to the middle school and then became worse at the elementary schools.

Students whose bus drop-off times were supposed to be around 3:30pm still were not home hours later on Tuesday.

In a message to parents, superintendent Dr. Craig Cooke wrote, “Bus transportation to and from school (Tuesday) was delayed well beyond the normal even for the start of the school year.”

At one point Windsor police had to help, directing parents to pick up their kids and officers had to bring some kids home.

DATTCO said it expects issues with the start of the school year, but admits in Windsor the process “did not operate as efficiently as planned.” It would work with the district to smooth over “bumps” by changing routes, updating student lists, and making sure everyone is familiar with the routes.

The district said it wishes there had been more training for drivers before the school year, which possibly would have helped prevent some of the concerns.

“With some 50 percent new bus drivers doing those routes and running into some issues it was significantly delayed,” said Cooke.

On Wednesday, the district announced a school worker would ride on as many elementary school buses as possible to improve communication and speed up the drop off of students this week. 

Also extra staff were added to answer phones at schools for parents who have questions about their children. The automated phone message will be turned on after all students have been dropped off.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Community Colleges Weigh Armed Security


Community Colleges around Connecticut expect to receive guidance in the coming weeks when it comes to the hiring of armed guards on their campuses.

The legislature allowed the Board of Regents that oversees all of the state’s colleges and universities except for UConn, to move forward with the process during the legislative session.

The schools will soon be allowed to hire security guards for their individual needs that would be armed.

Some campuses, like Naugatuck Valley Community College and Manchester Community College already have certified police that patrol their campuses.

Tunxis Community College in Farmington has a private security firm patrol its campus.

Cathryn Addy, the President of Tunxis Community College says before any decisions are made when it comes to beefing up security, she would want to hear from the entire campus community.

“We have not yet discussed it as a campus and I don’t want to do anything unilaterally so once we have that conversation we’ll have a better vision of how to proceed in the future” she said.

While Addy admits that safety is one of her biggest concerns, especially because Tunxis features such an open campus where anyone can walk on at any time, she examines the hiring of an armed security officer through a budgetary lens. She says there are many aspects that go into such a hire that cost money.

“It’s the 24/7 coverage. The training of the salaries of people who are POST certified individuals which they would have to be so they can be armed on a campus.”

She added, “We would have to decide what are we not going to do in order to afford to implement this kind of a program so that might be a choice between hiring faculty or hiring armed security.”

A committee that reports to the State Board of Regents will provide recommendations for a security policy that would later be voted on by the whole board.

Armed guards may not be hired widespread this school year, but could become the norm during the next school year. 

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Cancer Survivor Gives Back to Hospital at Closer to Free


Ashley Hoben can’t wait to volunteer at her fourth Closer to Free ride.

“Every year I get to see my own doctor come across the finish line and give him a hug and say thank you,” she said.

Hobem met Dr. Howard Hochster following colon cancer surgery four and a half years ago. He is the head of gastrointestinal oncology at the Smilow Cancer Hospital at Yale-New Haven.

“We gave her some additional preventative chemo,” Dr. Hochster said, “which she went through really well and she remains cured at this time.”

When Dr. Hochster began his career in medical oncology more than 30 years ago, he said there was only one colon cancer drug.

“Now we have six chemotherapy drugs and four targeted drugs and biologics,” he said, “and people are living three times as long as they used to.”

This year Dr. Hochster is riding in his sixth Closer to Free, which raises money for critical research at the hospital and Yale Cancer Center.

“Only through efforts like this that help us raise the unrestricted funds,” he said, “that we can devote to the areas that we really need it.”

Dr. Hochster is part of Team MedONC, which is made up of about 30 medical oncologists at the hospital. The highlight of ride day is seeing cancer survivors cross the finish line, he said.

“In a way the ride is really dedicated to them,” Dr. Hochster said, “I think our whole theme of closer is to free is getting past your cancer and getting back to your normal life.”

Hoben continues to visit the hospital for regular check-ups, but two years ago, “we found ourselves back here again unexpectedly,” she said.

Doctors diagnosed her now 13-year-old son Colin with Hodgkin’s lymphoma. He’s been in remission since January.

“Thank you to all of the wonderful people who have helped us over the past four and a half years, basically save our lives,” Hoben said.

For Colin’s Make a Wish trip, the family recently travelled to the original Lego factory in Denmark.

NBC Connecticut is connecting you to this year’s Closer to Free on Saturday September 10.

Supreme Court Won't Reinstate Strict NC Voting Law


The U.S. Supreme Court declined Wednesday to reinstate North Carolina's voting restrictions for the November election, NBC News reported.

The high court deadlocked 4-4 on whether to let the state reimpose key provisions of the 2013 Republican-backed voting law, seen by many experts as the strictest in the country.

The state could be pivotal in the presidential race, and also hosts tight Senate and governor's races.

Last month, a federal appeals court blocked the law's voter ID provision, its reduction of the early voting period from 17 days to ten, and its elimination of a popular pre-registration program for high-school students. The appeals court found that those provisions targeted African-Americans "with surgical precision," and violated the Voting Rights Act.

Photo Credit: AP, File

Shelton Attorney Accused of Sexually Assaulting Boy


A Shelton attorney has been arrested after a boy reported the man sexually assaulted him for years and threatened to post nude photos online if he did not continue to have sex.

Shelton police arrested 49-year-old Peter Kruzynski, of Shelton, on Wednesday and charged him with first-degree sexual assault, second-degree sexual assault, fourth-degree sexual assault and two counts of risk of injury and impairing morals of a minor and coercion.

The boy told his parents, who alerted police, according to police.

The victim said Kruzynski sexually assaulted him when he was 12 years old, took nude photographs of him then coerced him to continue having sex with him for years by threatening to post the photos on the Internet.

The victim also told police that Kruzynski used his status as an attorney to coerce the victim to continue having sex.

Kruzynski was ordered not to contact the victim, but emailed and texted him after, according to police, and was then arrested on a harassment charge.  

The warrant has been sealed.

He posted a $75,000 court-set bond and was arraigned at Derby Superior court on Wednesday. He is due back in couty on Sept. 19.

Neither Kruzynski nor his attorney commented outside of court,

Photo Credit: Shelton Police

Mother of Autistic Boy Gets Surprise Note in Restaurant


After an autistic boy had a meltdown in a Missouri restaurant, the boy's family was surprised by an anonymous act of kindness.

New Haven Administration Tackles Absenteeism in Schools


It's not every day New Haven's superintendent of schools drops by your home, but for Yarida Collazo it's an opportunity to talk about her son, Alexander, as he heads into the ninth grade.

"He is very excited about the science program and engineering (at Metropolitan Business Academy)," said Collazo.

The visit to Collazo's home the day before the school year begins was also about attendance. Last year Alexander missed 16 days of school. That's just two days short of what's considered chronic absenteeism. His mom said it had a lot to do with health issues in the family.

"Part of the question is what are the things we can do to help make sure that high school and 9th grade, that his attendance is as strong as possible," said New Haven Superintendent of Schools Garth Harries.

It's an initiative that began this summer. The hands-on approach has dropout prevention specialists hitting the streets and going to the homes of 338 incoming high school freshman with a history of missing school. They try to find out why it's happening and what they can do to fix it because poor attendance can hurt a child's future.

"When students are not coming regularly, the chances of them dropping out of school is very high," said Gemma Joseph-Lumpkin, District Chief of Youth, Family, and Community Engagement for New Haven Public Schools.

"We want to make sure with that track record of disengagement, of being chronically absent, that we try to literally nip it in the bud, reach out to those families, reach out to those students, try to understand what we need to do to engage them, what we need to do to communicate with them and understand what the issues are but most importantly provide attendance education to them."

New Haven's school district already focuses on kindergarteners to try and make sure they learn good attendance habits.

"We've seen great success with our emphasis on kindergarten," said Harries.

Joseph-Lumpkin and Harries said this new effort to focus on 9th graders is extremely important because it's a vulnerable year for students.

"The whole idea of starting strong is powerful. We've been working on the kindergarten families. We really wanted to double down on high school this year, recognizing that how students start their high school experience is going to govern how successful they are," said Harries.

School officials said the leading reasons parents said students miss school is health issues and transportation problems. Dropout prevention specialists are assigned to certain students and work with them to solve any issues. They will also work with them throughout the school year to try and make sure it’s a successful one.

Superintendent Harries said they're making progress. In the last year he said they've cut down chronic absenteeism across the district from 25 percent to 19 percent. He hopes their latest campaign can do even more.

Photo Credit: Getty Images/Blend Images

Boaters Prepare for Tropical Storm Hermine


Boat owners have already begun holiday preparations at Brewer Ferry Point Marina in Old Saybrook.

According to manager Matthew Marshall, nearly 50 percent of Brewer’s Old Saybrook clients will be out on the water this Labor Day weekend, but tropical storm Hermine could call for a change of plans.

“Some folks had longer trips that they had planned,” said Marshall. “They will just shorten them up a little bit.”

Marshall said in Old Saybrook they are mostly watching and waiting, but that Brewer’s Mayland marina is very tuned into the tropics. As it goes up the East Coast, Hermine could hit Maryland hard before taking its turn.

“A lot of time goes into making sure everyone is safe,” said Marshall. “Guys down there may be standing back a bit from the celebration of the weekend and playing it safe."

Mike Greco of Glastonbury has his sights set on Block Island. He plans to leave from Old Saybrook Friday, but said his return trip is still to be determined.

“We do have plans to go back Monday, weather permitting. If things don’t cooperate we stay a little longer,” said Greco.

Boaters know the forecast always gets the final say when it comes to holiday plans, that’s why Joe Sullivan of Portland is paying attention.

“The weather on the water can be a lot different than the weather on land,” he said.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Tropical Storm Hermine Forms in Gulf of Mexico


An organized area of thunderstorms has been upgraded to Tropical Storm Hermine in the Gulf of Mexico.

While a direct hit by a tropical storm or hurricane remains unlikely in New England, some impact is possible in Connecticut.

The storm will move up and off the East Coast over the weekend, before it wraps up and lingers off the New Jersey shore, south of Connecticut.

As the storm spins around near New Jersey, it will weaken before slowly moving out to sea to the east.

As a result, periods of rain are likely in Connecticut on Sunday, with coastal flooding also a concern.

The combination of high pressure over eastern Canada and the storm to the south will create a funnelling effect into Long Island Sound.

The most rain in Connecticut will likely be along the shoreline, closer to the storm.

Some rain is possible as well on Labor Day, depending on how long the storm meanders to the south.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Farmington Gas Station Did Not Have Fire Suppression System


A spectacular fire at a Farmington gas station earlier this week somehow did not result in anyone getting hurt or worse.

The accident has raised questions about why no fire suppression system went off to put out the flames.

Connecticut does have state fire code standards that probably kept a fire at this Farmington gas station from becoming even more serious  Monday night. Two kids were pulled out of the back seat of a car before anyone could get hurt.

However, the gas station does not appear to have a fire suppression system that releases powder and puts flames out quickly.

The NBC Connecticut Troubleshooters learned that all gas stations in Connecticut must have fire extinguishers at each island, emergency shut off switches for gas tanks at the registers, crash valves at the tanks that shut off the gas if they get hit and in most cases bumper guards.

Connecticut does not require a fire suppression system at each gas station and an industry association in the state believes that makes sense.

Mike Fox with the Gasoline and Automotive Service Dealers of America said, "These fire suppression systems run $30,000 to $50,000 to install and then $2,500 to $3,500 a year to maintain.”

The association adds that the fire suppression systems also can go off even without a fire because they are sensitive to heat.

In fact, that’s what caused a system to active in West Hartford three years ago.

The state Fire Marshals' Association said it is comfortable with the state standard in place now due to the lack of fires like the one in Farmington Monday night.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Motorcyclist Brought to Hospital After Plainville Crash

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