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Few Lined Up for iPhone 7 at Westfarms


The new Apple iPhone 7 is out, but the lines were short at Westfarms mall early this morning. 

The iPhone 7 is in stock, but the iPhone 7 Plus is sold out and customers will not be able to get one now unless they preordered. Officials from Sprint and T-Mobile said preorders are up nearly 400 percent over previous launches. 

There are new earphones for the iPhone 7 -- a wireless version called AirPods, which sell for $159.

Features of the new phone include a water-resistant body, stereo speakers and an extended battery life. 

Staff members from Westfarms said hundreds of people were in line up on Thursday, but many left. 

David Epstein, of West Hartford, was the first person in line on Friday and said he’s a little disappointed about the early sell-out, but decided to stick around and see what he can get. 

The Apple store at Westfarms opened at 8 a.m.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

1 Dead After Driver Hits Pedestrians on Route 44 in New Hartford


One man was killed and a woman hospitalized after a car ran up on the curb in New Hartford on Friday. 

The two victims were struck on Route 44 and Route 219 around 9:15 a.m., police said. 

The driver was traveling west on Main Street when he traveled off the roadway and onto the sidewalk, hitting into the two people walking, police determined. 

Both pedestrians were transported to Charlotte-Hungerford Hospital. The man, William Pellum, 69, succumbed to his injuries shortly after, police said. 

The 68-year-old woman remains in treatment.

Police said the driver stopped and police are investigating. 

Pastor's Wife Shoots Armed Robber


Police say a Northeast Philadelphia pastor's wife shot an armed man who attacked her husband and tried to rob her family outside their home late Thursday night.

Pastor Robert Cook, his 38-year-old wife and their 12-year-old son were returning home just before 11 p.m. when a man armed with what appeared to be a rifle approached them near their front porch. Cook, a pastor at St. James Lutheran Church, and his family live next door to the church at Castor Avenue and Pratt Street.

When the man demanded the pastor's wallet, Cook said he didn't have any money, according to Philadelphia Police Chief Inspector Scott Small. The pastor said he tried to wrestle the gun away from the robber who in turn fought back.

"He hit me really hard in the back of the head with the gun – swung it like a baseball bat – and then everything was like lighting for a minute," said Cook. "I heard my wife saying, 'drop the gun! drop the gun!' I was like 'she's got her gun.' He turned towards her and I said, 'Shoot him!,' Shoot him!' and she shot him."

"I needed to do enough to make him drop the gun or make him go away," said the pastor's wife who asked not to be identified.

The 66-year-old suspect was struck in the leg before fleeing down Pratt Street – dropping his Eagles cap – as Cook chased him. The suspect tossed his firearm under a car and jumped onto the driver side running boards of a passing SUV and escaped, Small said.

Shortly after, a man fitting the suspects description hobbled into Aria Health Torresdale hospital with a gunshot wound. Hospital officials notified police, who then brought the Cook family to the hospital where they positively identified the suspect, Small said.

Cook told reporters early Friday he didn't hand over his wallet initially because "in some cases the armed person will shoot the victims anyways."

Luckily, none of the Cooks required medical treatment, said police.

Cook and his wife both have permits to carry a firearm. Small said the shooting appeared "justifiable."

"When we got our guns we're like, 'we got 'em but we hope we never have to use them,'" said Cook. "But... if it comes down to my family or him, it's him, I'm sorry."

Cook, armed with his gun as he spoke to reporters, said he planned to buy his wife a new gun – an early birthday gift – since her gun was taken into evidence by police.

The shooting is under investigation. Police have not said what charges the suspect, who has not been identified, will face. It turns out his "gun" was actually a black Ramset nail gun with black electrical tape covering the orange handle so it would look like a real gun, said police.

Photo Credit: NBC10
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Florida Principal: Stand During National Anthem or Be Ejected


The principal at a Florida high school is warning students to stand during the national anthem at school-sponsored events or face ejection.

Principal Ryan Nemeth, from Lely High School in Collier County, notified students last Friday during video announcements the policy will apply during the "Star-Spangled Banner" at all school-sponsored sporting events, NBC 2 reported.

"You will stand and you will stay quiet, if you don't, you are going to be sent home and you're not going to have a refund of your ticket price," Nemeth said in the video. "It's something that I'm very passionate about and something we are going to do."

The issue comes as a wave of athletes have refused to stand during the national anthem, a silent protest to denounce police brutality and the oppression of black people in America sparked by NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

Not all students students agreed with the policy.

"He shouldn't be ejecting people just because they don't wanna stand. Everybody has their voice to say something with it," student Adrianas Pena, a member of the school's basketball team said.

But, on Thursday, a spokesman for the school district told NBC 2 that Nemeth's announcement was taken out of context. Greg Turchetta said the principal's policy stemmed from a volleyball game a day earlier when 25 to 30 students "were being disruptive during the anthem." Turchetta said they weren't protesting.

"They may have been laughing and joking, you know, it's the beginning of an athletic competition," Truchetta said. "They just came in, I've seen it sometimes when people don't even realize what's going on... oh the anthem is on, and they might have been slow to react to it."

Turchetta added that students can peacefully protest during the anthem as long as they have written permission from their parents and aren't causing a disruption. The school district said the parental consent requirement is Florida Statute.

"I don't recall anywhere in the Constitution where it says that your freedom of speech rights come into effect when you turn 18," said Fort Myers attorney Michael Noone.

Photo Credit: NBC 6

Dry Saturday, Showers Sunday


While the weekend will begin dry, a cold front will bring clouds and showers on Sunday.

The majority of the state is now considered to be in a severe drought, for the first time since 2012.

Clouds will increase Saturday, but shower activity will hold off until Saturday night or Sunday.

Highs temperatures will be in the upper 70s.

Showers will continue Sunday, with thunder possible. Temperatures will be around 80 degrees.

While a shower may linger into Monday morning, much of Monday features improvement with highs near 80.

Tuesday through Thursday of next week appear mostly sunny with temperatures near 80 degrees.

Free Dental Clinic Expected to Help Thousands in Hartford


More than 1,000 volunteers are providing free dental care in Hartford today and tomorrow and more than 2,000 people in need or without dental insurance are expected to benefit from the 9th annual Connecticut Mission of Mercy Free Dental Clinic.

The Connecticut Foundation for Dental Outreach hosts the event, providing 146 dental chairs and 1,300 volunteers to offer cleanings, fillings, extractions, x-rays and limited root canals.

The annual event for children and adults is at the XL Center offers much-needed services for many.

“It's very difficult for a mother of three to be able to smile at her children and not be able to have the ability to explain to your children I can't afford the services," Krystal Tenner, of New Britain, said.

Hundreds of people camped out on a chilly night, hoping to take advantage of the free dental services. 

“Freezing cold, very tiring, but everyone in line has this great mood. They’re happy. They’re really thankful,” Krystal Tenner, of New Britain, said. 

George Sharrow, of Bloomfield, was the first person in line and arrived Thursday at 3 p.m. 

He is on a fixed income and needed a tooth pulled and replaced. It is a procedure that would have cost him hundreds of dollars. 

“It’s very nice that this is here and I’m going to benefit from it and all these people will benefit. It’s a wonderful thing,” said Sharrow.

The doors open at 6 a.m. today and Saturday. Patients are treated on a first-come, first-served basis and there are no appointments.

Parking is free at the Morgan Street garage. Just bring your ticket to get it validated.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Coast Guard Cadet Found Guilty on Sexual Assault Charges


One of two Coast Guard cadets accused of sexual assault has been found guilty and has been dismissed from service and sentenced to a year in prison. 

Cadet Michael Shermot was charged on Dec, 28, accused of sex assault and violating the Uniform Code of Military Justice, and suspended the next day.

He appeared for court-martial in Norfolk, Virginia on Thursday, according to the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, and was found guilty of violating the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

Cadet Anthony Livingstone was also charged with sexual assault and extortion. Livingstone will appear at the court-martial in Norfolk on Oct. 26, the academy said.

Photo Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

New Documentary Follows Syrian Rescue Group


The “White Helmets,” a new Netflix original documentary, follows the first responders in Syria who are unlikely heroes, NBC News reported. 

About 3,000 Syrians make up the Syrian Civil Defense group, comprised of shopkeepers, bakers and teachers put their lives on the line each day to help during the country’s war.

The Netflix documentary follows three men to Turkey, where they receive training before returning to Aleppo to work in the same rescue unit. The filmmakers' hope was to bring international attention to this civilian group and the work that they do.

The volunteers' work gained international attention in August when the group helped save Omran Daqneesh, the little boy covered in dust and blood.

“White Helmets” is now available on Netflix in 190 countries in 21 languages.

Photo Credit: AP
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Tribes Reopen Bidding Process for Third Connecticut Casino


The Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan Tribes will be accepting additional proposals for a third casino in the state through mid-October after reopening the Request for Proposals process.

The Mashantucket Pequot Tribe, which operates Foxwoods casino, and Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority, which operates Mohegan Sun, are the only two federally recognized tribes in the state and they have created the joint venture MMCT Venture with the goal of opening a third casino in the state.

The Town of Windsor Locks and Bradley Airport have each demonstrated an interest in being a site for the state's third casino. MGM Entertainment, meanwhile contends it has been left out of the bidding process and filed suit in federal court. The case was thrown out, but MGM plans to appeal this fall.

“This isn’t a process – it’s a sham. It is being run by MMCT, not the state, and MMCT is running it for its own purposes. Deadlines are set, then they’re missed. Towns are added, then subtracted,” Alan M. Feldman, executive vice president of MGM Resorts International, said in a statement. “Unrealistic job numbers are created out of thin air, then thrown around with impunity. We’re told this is a ‘satellite casino,’ then when information is pried loose we see renderings of a casino larger than anything in Las Vegas. A ‘process’ like this is exactly how you end up with a baseball stadium that is unfinished, empty, and tens of millions of dollars over budget.”

Feldman added that the process needs to be scrapped.

Mohegan Tribal Council Chairman Kevin Brown said in a statement that the tribes are anxious for this bidding process to move forward, but they want to be sure they are investing hundreds of millions of dollars in the right site.

“This facility needs to be successful if we’re going to save the thousands of jobs that are at stake, and we’re grateful that we have so many partners who see the tremendous potential for this project,” he said.

Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Council Chairman Rodney Butler said in a statement that they want to build the casino in a place that values the large investment.

“We believe it’s important for each and every community to know exactly what’s happening and where they stand, and so in the interest of fairness to those that applied, we’ve decided to continue the process so we can consider these latest proposals and any new submissions,” Butler said.

The new deadline for submission is Oct. 15.

Municipalities and other interested parties with questions can submit them to Pearce Real Estate at MMCT@hpearce.com.

Responses to those questions will be posted on the frequently asked questions page on the Pearce website. Completed applications should also be send toMMCT@hpearce.com.

Parking Day Promotes Public Space, Car-Free Travel


The city of New Haven is spending the third Friday in September promoting public space and car-free travel across the Elm City through Parking Day. 

That means free parking spots for anything but a car and the event celebrates different ways to commute, such as biking. 

"It's a way to shift the way we think about our streets and how we use them. So right now we only think about using them for driving and parking, but in the future, we could use them for --- for all kinds of different things," said Krysia Solheim, a sustainability consultant who had a table set up in a parking spot with Elm City Cycling. 

On Friday, organizations including Elm City Cycling took over parking spots, transforming them into “parklets” such as lemonade stands and seating areas to increase the use of public space. 

“There's the environmental reason, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, improving air quality and reducing local air pollution. There's also the health reason, it's obviously healthy to ride your bike to work,” Solheim said. 

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Chicago Cop Charged Over Shooting Into Car in '13


A Chicago police officer has been indicted on federal civil rights charges after dashcam video captured him firing in to a car packed with teenagers, wounding two, as it backed away from him.

Marco Proano, 41, was charged with two counts of deprivation of rights under color of law, according to U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois Zach Fardon.

Proano is accused of using unreasonable force with a dangerous weapon while on duty in Chicago on Dec. 22, 2013.

The incident was captured on the officer's dashcam video and the footage first released to the Chicago Reporter last year by a retired Cook County judge who called it “disturbing on a whole different level.”

In the nearly three minute video, Proano arrives at 95th and South LaSalle streets where a vehicle had been stopped by two other officers and is seen approaching the vehicle with his gun pointed sideways. When the driver of the vehicle backs away from the officers, Proano raises his gun and opens fire.

Six black teens were inside the vehicle, and two of the teens were wounded in the shooting.

"When a police officer uses unreasonable force, it has a harmful effect on not only the victims, but also the public, who lose faith and confidence in law enforcement,” Fardon said in a statement. “Our office will continue to independently and vigorously pursue civil rights prosecutions to hold officers accountable and strengthen trust in the police.”

At the time of the video’s release, Chicago police said the officer involved in the shooting was moved off the street and assigned to desk duty. The investigation was then referred to state and federal authorities.

"The charges announced today are serious and the Chicago Police Department will have zero tolerance for proven misconduct," CPD said in a statement Friday. "Mr. Proano was relieved of his police powers last year during the course of IPRA's investigation and CPD is fully cooperating with the US Attorney's Office."

A lawsuit filed by the mothers of three teens injured in the incident, including the two who were shot, alleges Proano fired more than a dozen rounds into the vehicle, striking one teen in the shoulder and another in the hip and heel.

The suit claims the teens did not show a weapon or pose any apparent threat, and alleges police removed the injured teens from hospitals without authorization to take them to a police station for questioning.

In a separate court filing, Proano reportedly admitted to the shooting, but denies claims that the teens did not show a weapon.

The Independent Police Review Authority said last year it referred the case to prosecutors shortly after the shooting took place.

“At the time of the incident, Officer Proano was removed from his District of assignment and placed on desk duty at Public Safety Headquarters,” the organization said in a statement. “The incident remains under investigation by federal authorities and IPRA.”

Chicago police also said that early last year, former police Supt. Garry McCarthy changed the department’s policy to clarify that officers are “prevented from firing at or into a moving vehicle when the vehicle is the only force used against the sworn member or another person.”

Each count of the indictment carries a sentence of up to 10 years in prison.

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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Man Found Under Vehicle in Norwalk Dies at Hospital


Detectives are investigating the death of a man found under a vehicle in Norwalk on Friday afternoon. 

Police officers responded to a home on Plattsville Avenue at 12:09 p.m. to investigate after someone reported an injured man and they found him under a vehicle in the driveway. 

Immediately, the officers began rendering aid, but the man succumbed to his injuries after being transported to Norwalk Hospital.

No additional information was immediately available.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Man Charged in Burglary at South Windsor Lumber Company


South Windsor police have arrested a man accused of breaking into a lumber company, breaking water lines and causing a flood, then stealing items. 

Police learned of the burglary at Rex Lumber on Sullivan Avenue at 2:40 a.m. Friday after employees found the damage. 

Allen Collins, 34, of South Windsor, is accused of breaking water lines in sinks to flood offices and throwing items around the break room areas. 

As police were investigating, Officer Chris Poehnert saw Collins pushing his bike on Sullivan Avenue and stopped to interview him. 

The officer found items stolen from Rex Lumber in Collins’ backpack and the man admitted to having broken into the building, police said. 

Collins was charged with burglary in the third degree, criminal mischief in the first degree, threatening and larceny in the third degree. 

He was held on $100,000 surety bond.

Photo Credit: South Windsor Police

Aerial Video Shows Drought Impact on Connecticut River


Most of Connecticut is now in a severe drought.

The rainfall deficit begin in May 2015 and has only gotten worse since.

Windsor Locks is now down more than 15 inches of rain since the beginning of 2015.

NBC Connecticut commisioned aerial video to see the banks of the Connecticut River from high above.

First Alert meteorologist Tyler Jankoski shows you some of the footage and explains the drought in the video above.

River flow rates are much below average for this time of year.

On the Farmington River, a new record minimum flow rate was set on Friday, September 16. The data there goes back 44 years.

No one storm will erase this drought, though a tropical system could make a big dent in the deficit. Right now, First Alert forecasters do not see any tropical activity in the near future.

Winter is historically the driest time of year in Connecticut, so it's likely this drought continues for some time to come.

Suspected Heroin Dealer Arrested in Wallingford


Police arrested two Wallingford men on heroin charges, including one who is suspects of selling large amounts of the drug in town.

Police said they have been investigating 24-year-old Steven Vincent, of Wallingford, who was suspected of making routine trips to the Hartford to buy large amounts of heroin and returning to Wallingford to sell it.

On Tuesday, police saw Vincent and 25-year-old Spencer Quigley, of Wallingford, in a suspected drug deal and found Vincent with 290 bags of heroin when they stopped his car, police said.

He was charged with possession of narcotics with intent to sell, possession of narcotics and conspiracy to possess narcotics.

Vincent s being held on a $100,000 bond and is due in Meriden Superior Court on Oct. 7.

Quigley was charged with conspiracy to possess narcotics and was released on a promise to appear. 

He is scheduled to appear in Meriden Superior Court on Sept. 27.

Photo Credit: Wallingford Police

Clinton Man Sought Hitman to Kill His Ex-Wife: Prosecutors


A Clinton man tried to hiring someone to murder his former wife, prosecutors said. 

James Erik Godiksen was charged after an AFT undercover agent revealed his murder-for-hire scheme, prosecutors said. 

Godiksen and the undercover agent exchanged multiple phone calls over four days. State prosecutors said the 54-year-old man offered to pay the undercover agent $5,000 to murder his ex-wife and offered extra compensation for killing her new boyfriend. 

On Sept. 14, Godiksen was arrested after providing the undercover agent with a $80 "down payment" to buy a knife, along with his former wife's physical description, her phone number, her home address, her place of work and the route she takes to drive home, the U.S. attorney's office said. 

After appearing in court, Godiksen was detained. 

Pratt & Whitney to Hire Thousands in Connecticut


Pratt & Whitney announced that it will hire thousands of workers in Connecticut over the next few years. 

The figure stems from the jet engine maker's push to hire approximately 25,000 employees worldwide in the next 10 years.

Since 2015, about one-third or 1,500 jobs of the company's worldwide hiring has occurred in Connecticut, it said. 

The state represents the largest number of employees by location for Pratt & Whitney with 9,500 in-state workers. 

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Water Company Issues Mandatory Water Ban for Parts of CT


A water company has issued a mandatory water ban for Mystic, Greenwich, Stamford, New Canaan, Darien and Stonington customers.

Aquarion Water Company said they are working in cooperation with town officials in implementing the mandatory ban on outdoor watering devices, including irrigation systems, sprinklers and soaker hoses, the company said. 

“We are telling our customers to turn off their irrigation systems and sprinklers for the season,” said Charles V. Firlotte, Aquarion President and CEO. “We are doing this to ensure that we have an adequate water supply for everyday use and fire protection.”

The ban is effective immediately. 

Most of Connecticut is experiencing a drought. 

NBC Connecticut commissioned aerial video to see how the banks of the Connecticut River look during the state's drought. The state's rain deficit has been hurting local farmers and threatening their crops, including Christmas tree and pumpkin farms. 

Photo Credit: Consumer Bob

Woman Sexually Assaulted, Choked in Wooded Area of Norwich


A 24-year-old woman was sexually assaulted and choked last month in a wooded area in Norwich, police said.

On Aug. 23, the victim said she was attacked by a man she had met prior, police said. 

The woman said she was sexually assault and strangled in the wooded area off of Hamilton Avenue, police said. 

Christopher M. Chmielecki, 26, of New London, was identified as her attacker.

Chmielecki was charged with first-degree sexual assault and strangulation in the third degree. His bond was set at $150,000. 

Photo Credit: Norwich Police

State Police Investigating Untimely Death on I-84


State police are investigating an untimely death on Interstate 84 East in West Hartford, under the Route 9 stacks and said there is no criminal aspect.

State police said the were called at 7:44 a.m. 

The left lanes on both sides of the highway are closed, but police expect them to reopen soon

State troopers are investigating and major crimes is assisting with the investigation.

Photo Credit: Connecticut Department of Transportation
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