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Homecoming Surprise Caught on Video


In front of an all-school assembly packed with their peers on Friday, Matt Rodgers and Talia Kotel, who have Down syndrome, were crowned Barrington High School’s 2016 Homecoming King and Queen.

The moment they found out was captured on video and posted to the suburban Illinois school district’s Facebook page, where it garnered thousands of views and more than 100 shares.

During the pep rally, the nominees for homecoming court each opened cardboard boxes to find out who won. When Talia and Matt opened theirs, blue balloons streamed out as the crowd erupted in cheers.

Several students ran up to hug and congratulate the newly crowned king and queen, some even shedding tears of joy.

"Barrington High School students gave Talia and Matt a standing ovation when they entered the gym for the all-school pep assembly," a spokesperson for the school district said. "Students and staff were crying and embracing when the duo were named King and Queen."

"We are so proud of Talia and Matt and of our entire student body for showing the utmost respect and kindness toward each other."

On Saturday, Talia and Matt rode in a horse-drawn carriage during the homecoming parade down Barrington’s Main Street and were honored during the school’s varsity football game ahead of Saturday night’s dance, which was themed "Once Upon a Time."

Photo Credit: Barrington School District/Facebook
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Cops Ask People to Stop Dressing Up As Creepy Clowns


The creepy clown craze spooking the nation reached a fevered pitch last month with at least a dozen people arrested for taking part in the menacing stunt or for making false reports, according to police.

Now, various communities are stepping up patrols — with one suburban Cincinnati town having installed extra police at its football games Friday — while warning against clown-costumed copycats.

"Our citizens are frustrated with everything going on in society and this is another issue to address," Christopher Nacco, the sheriff of Pasco County, Florida, told NBC News in an email Saturday following a spate of claimed sightings.

"We are warning teens and young adults not to get involved in this fad, of dressing up as clowns to cause fear," Nacco added, "because eventually someone is going to perceive their actions as a threat and take justice in their own hands."

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Georgia Boy, 1, May Have Been Shot Dead by Brother, 3


Police in Georgia said a 1-year-old child died Saturday in a shooting that may have been carried out by his 3-year-old brother.

An adult left the gun in the same room as the children in a house in McDonough and one of brothers grabbed the firearm, described as a .45 caliber handgun, NBC station WXIA in Atlanta reported.

"There were adults in the room at the time but the adults were not paying attention … they did not actually see the incident occur," said Lt. Mike Ireland of Henry Country police department. 

Police are trying to determine if gunshot was self-inflicted by the victim or if his 3-year-old adopted brother shot him.

Connecticut's Jamaican Community Watching Matthew


The track of Hurricane Matthew is being watched closely by people in Connecticut with family in the Caribbean.

Connecticut also has a large community from Jamaica whose thoughts are with the country in the path of this dangerous storm.

From Scotts’ Jamaican Bakery in Hartford to the West Indian Social Club, more than 54,000 people in Connecticut are watching as Hurricane Matthew swirls toward their native country.

“Hoping for the best and praying it doesn’t hit Jamaica, hopefully,” says Toni-Kay Brown, who works at Scotts’ Jamaican Bakery.

“We’re all concerned and not just for our immediate family, just for our homeland,” says Seanna Bowen on Windsor Locks.

“I have friends and family in Jamaica,” says Shanique Fenlator.

Fenlator’s friend snapped pictures of a packed grocery store as people stocked up on the western side of the island.

“The general mindset that I’ve heard is they would rather be overly prepared than not prepared at all,” says Fenlator.

The latest prediction is the hurricane will hit Jamaica on Monday.

For people who have travel plans to that region, cruise ships are already switching destination ports and several airlines are waiving fees to change or cancel flights.

“We encourage people to make the phone calls, do their research, find out what options they do have,” says Amy Parmenter, AAA Public Affairs Manager.

As people around the Caribbean, from Jamaica to Haiti, ready themselves and their homes, their friends and family in Connecticut stand ready to help in case it’s needed.

“Collectively we are the ones who are going to assist,” says Andrew Lawrence of Hartford.

Many Jamaicans remember the devastation to their country after Hurricane Gilbert in 1988.

Because of the threat of these storms during this time of the year it is a slower season for tourists.

Photo Credit: National Hurricane Center

New Britain Diner Closed After Car Strikes Building


The New Britain Diner on Corbin Avenue was forced to close Saturday night when a car crashed into the building.

The New Britain fire department said a car was turning into the diner parking lot from Corbin Avenue when it was rear-ended by another vehicle. The force of the impact sent the front car into the building.

The driver of the second vehicle was taken to the hospital for treatment of minor injuries. No one in the other car or the restaurant reported injuries.

The diner had to close until officials determined if the building was structurally safe.

A diner employee confirmed they would remain closed until Monday morning at 8 a.m.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Crews Repair Water Main on Coolidge Road in West Hartford


Several West Hartford customers were without water Sunday morning because of a water main break on Coolidge Road.

The Metropolitan District confirmed that the 8-inch water main, which was installed in 1929, was shut down around 2 a.m. Sixteen properties on Coolidge Road from Flagg Road to Albany Avenue were affected by the shutdown.

MDC estimated repairs would be completed between 8 a.m. and 9 a.m.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Diesel Fuel Leaked Into Wetlands near Montville Reservoir


The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection responded to Montville Saturday after hundreds of gallons of diesel fuel leaked into wetlands.

Dispatchers confirmed that fire crews responded to wetlands near the Stony Brook Reservoir around 9:30 a.m. DEEP was also called to respond. 

DEEP officials confirmed that about 600 gallons of fuel leaked from a back-up generator system at a treatment plant that belongs to Norwich Water. Officials said some of the fuel pooled up in the low wetlands and the rest is being cleaned out through soil evacuation.

DEEP officials said there is no threat to drinking water supplies.

Contractors remain on scene cleaning up.

Photo Credit: Department of Energy and Environmental Protection

Middletown Non-Profit Works to 'Knock Out' Domestic Violence


Women and men filled 9 Round Kickboxing and Fitness in Middletown Saturday hoping to not just break a sweat, but also break the silence that surrounds domestic violence.

“We’re here to knock out domestic violence. To create awareness around it so in the future people are more empowered to take a stance against it,” said Dr. Kimberly Citron, the Director of Domestic Violence Research at Community Health Centers.

Dr. Citron says domestic abuse is such an intimate crime, many people don’t feel comfortable talking about it.

Funding for the life-saving services that CHC’s New Horizons shelter offers to victims has been harder to come by, thanks in part to budget cuts at the state and federal level. In addition to the shelter, New Horizons has a number of outreach programs.

“We have a 24-hour hotline that is staffed 365 days a year. We also have community based support groups, we have family violence victim advocates in the courts,” said Citron.

Participants paid a dollar at each station, nine in all, as they navigated through the kickboxing course at 9 Round. Through this unique fundraiser they hoped to not only spread awareness and raise money for their shelter, but also give people the skills to fight back.

“More women need to be involved. More women need to train. I’m a firm believer in training makes somebody confident and with confidence you become a hard target,” said Sly Manente, a trainer at 9 Round, and a self-defense expert.

The statistics are staggering. According to the Connecticut Coalition against Domestic Violence, one in four women and one in seven men will experience domestic abuse at some point in their life.

“It’s very important to me because I do know a lot of people and we all have been through things in some kind of way and we have to be there for one another,” said Yajaira Joaquin-Ortiz, of Plainville.

Joaquin-Ortiz brought a group of coworkers to Round 9, where they not only got a great workout, but after a few rounds with Manente and his time, went home with the knowledge of how to protect themselves. They also raised over $300 for the cause.

New Horizons has two more fundraisers planned this October, which is domestic violence awareness month.

The Walk to End the Silence is Sunday, October 9 at 2 p.m. at Harbor Park in Middletown. They're also holding a Game Show Night in the Middletown Board Room on October 20.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Believe 208 Champions First-Responder Mental Health


Answering the call to serve and protect often takes a toll on first responders. In the past year, Connecticut has lost three of them to suicide.

Sunday in East Hartford, an emotional event was held to recognize the sacrifice of Westport Police Sergeant Robert Myer, Branford Fire Department Deputy Chief Ronald Mullen, and retired Bethel Police Lieutenant Kevin Kennedy, who all took their own lives during the past year.

“People don’t understand what officers go through day in and day out,” said Deputy Chief Mack Hawkins of the East Hartford Police Department.

Hawkins worked with Officer Paul Buchanan, who took his own life in 2013. Since then, he’s volunteered every year at the Believe 208: Run for the Brave and Finest. The race was created by Buchanan’s widow, Trish, to help end the stigma that surrounds suicide. The number 208 was on Buchanan's badge.

“They wear that badge and they’re supposed to be our superheroes, yet they’re only human under that badge,” Buchanan explained.

Trish started this race to raise awareness about the need for trauma training for first responders. She says PTSD drove her husband to take his own life.

“Paul left us a note they day that he died and he said make my death an issue and help others like me,” said Buchanan.

Her goal is to prevent future tragedies.

The help didn’t come soon enough for Lieutenant Kevin Kennedy. He took his own life in July, a year into retirement from the Bethel Police Department.

“He was all about the guys. He was all about his men,” said his wife Eunice Kennedy.

Now, his brothers and sisters in blue are standing by Kennedy's family, giving back that support. They joined more than 300 others who crossed the finish line Sunday from departments across Connecticut.

“In the police brotherhood, EMS, fire, you are one family. I’ve learned that,” Kennedy explained.

“People need to know that our police officers and first responders they do a lot and they need recognition that and I think that the stigma that everyone is fine in that field needs to be more aware that some people need our support and our love,” said runner Lauren Backus of Coventry.

Jeff Rodick graduated from the police academy with Buchanan and served alongside him until his death.

“Police officers know we see everybody else’s bad day. We go other places where other people won’t go. We see things that a lot of people don’t see. After a while it builds up,” he explained.

Buchanan has made it her mission to see that first responders have access to the support and mental health resources they need.

“There are times that I’d rather run and hide, but I can’t because I know I have to do something, because only good can come out of this tragedy,” she said.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Windsor Locks Police Recognize Breast Cancer Awareness Month


Windsor Locks police are sporting pink T-shirts in honor of National Breast Cancer Awareness month this October.

The department said many of its members have had a family member or friend suffer from breast cancer, and they hope this initiative will raise awareness about early detection.

They encourage the community to help spread the word as they work to “arrest breast cancer and unlock the cure.”

Photo Credit: Windsor Locks Police Department

Christie, Giuliani on Trump Tax Revelation: He's a 'Genius'


Former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie argued Sunday that a New York Times report revealing that Donald Trump might have avoided paying taxes for 18 years shows the Republican candidate is a "genius" and uniquely qualified to overhaul the federal tax code, NBC News reported.

"There's no one who has shown more genius in their way to maneuver around the tax code and to rightfully use the laws to do that," Christie, a close Trump advisor, said on "Fox News Sunday.

Christie noted that Trump's use of tax provisions to minimize what he pays in federal income taxes shows "what an absolute mess the federal tax code is and that's why Donald Trump is the person best positioned to fix it."

His comments echoed those of fellow Trump adviser Giuliani, who said "the reality is he's a genius" on "Meet the Press" Sunday morning.

But Trump's former accountant, Jack Mitnick, indicated in his interview with the Times that the businessman "lacked a sophisticated understanding of the tax code" and "rarely showed any interest in the details behind various tax strategies." But, "he clearly grasped the critical role taxes would play in helping him build wealth." 

Photo Credit: AP
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New Trump Hotel in DC Vandalized With Graffiti


The new Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., was vandalized with graffiti Saturday afternoon, according to the Metropolitan Police Department.

Someone spray painted the phrases "Black Lives Matter" and "No Justice No Peace" at one of the entrances of the luxury hotel. Workers at the hotel covered up the messages with pieces of plywood.

Police said a man dressed in a yellow shirt and hat walked up to the side entrance on 12th Street NW just after 4 p.m. and spray painted the building's facade.

Video posted on social media appears to show the man tagging the build while bystanders condemn him and threaten to call police.

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Police are searching for the man.

In 2013, the Trump Organization won a 60-year lease from the federal government to transform the Old Post Office building on Pennsylvania Avenue into a luxury hotel.

The hotel was embroiled in controversy before it even opened. Several chefs who had planned to open restaurants in the newly renovated space pulled out of the project, citing Trump's comments about undocumented Mexican immigrants.

Trump was also accused of "baiting" the media to cover the hotel's opening by promising to finally address the birther controversy swirling around his campaign. The businessman turned the event into an infomercial for his latest real-estate project, only briefly acknowledging President Barack Obama was born in the Unites States, after touting the hotel for coming "under budget and ahead of schedule."

Photo Credit: Jazmin Bailey/WESH 2 News
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Route 318 in Barkhamsted Reopens After Crash


Route 318 in Barkhamsted has reopened after a crash Sunday afternoon, according to the Department of Transportation.

DOT confirmed the road was shut down between Route 181 and Route 179 around 3 p.m.

State police said it was a one-vehicle crash and one person was taken to the hospital. The extent of the victim's injuries is unknown.

LifeStar dispatchers said they were called to respond but could not fly because of the weather conditions.

State police are investigating.

More information was not immediately available. Check back for updates.

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1 Recorder Not Functioning During NJ Train Crash: NTSB


One of the two on-board event data recorders from the train that crashed into a Hoboken, New Jersey, train station last week was not functioning during that trip, a National Transportation Safety Board official said Sunday. The crash killed one person, Fabiola Bittar de Kroon, who was standing on the platform when the train hit.

Investigators aren't sure why the recorder wasn't working during that trip, said NTSB vice chairwoman Bella Dinh-Zarr, though she noted that the device was manufactured in 1995, making it older than the other on-board recorder. That recorder, which is in the lead car, has still not been recovered from the wreckage. Dinh-Zarr said conditions are still too dangerous to risk getting all the way to the lead car.

Aside from looking to the data event recorders, investigators also have taken more than 100 aerial drone photos, taken a 3-D laser scan of the train, interviewed injured passengers and spoken with the train's conductor and its engineer.

The engineer says he remembers going 10 mph when he hit the station. Officials can't confirm the speed at which the train was moving until they obtain the recorder from the lead car, which was made more recently than the other. They say they are hopeful that the second recorder was working.

As they continue to investigate the crash site, NTSB officials say they will provide updates. And for those local to the area, information about Monday's commute will be released late Sunday.

Photo Credit: AP
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Moosup Man Killed in Brooklyn Crash


A Moosup man was killed in a crash in Brooklyn early Sunday morning, state police said.

Police said the victim, identified as Randy Mayo, 36, was driving south on Route 169 near Barrett Hill Road when his vehicle crossed into the north shoulder and struck a tree.

Mayo sustained fatal injuries and was pronounced dead on scene.

State police are investigating

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Clinton Visits Charlotte Church, Calls for Healing


Hillary Clinton spoke at a church in Charlotte, North Carolina, Sunday morning, calling for healing in the wake of the deadly shooting of Keith Lamont Scott. Clinton urged those in attendance to try to see recent violence “through our children’s eyes.”

"Our entire country should take a moment to really look at what's going on here and across America to imagine" how young people view tensions between police and minority communities, Clinton argued.

The Democratic nominee was first invited to visit Charlotte by faith leaders after Scott was shot and killed by police earlier this month. Ensuing protests and unrest delayed Clinton’s trip.

Clinton was joined by Zianna Oliphant, who made headlines after her tearful appeal before the Charlotte City Council last week. "We are black people, and we shouldn't have to feel like this," Oliphant said Monday.

Photo Credit: Andrew Harnik, AP

CDC Warns Against Traveling to Asia as Zika Spreads There


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is warning pregnant women to stay away from 11 Southeast Asian countries where Zika is spreading, NBC News reported.

Thailand has been included on the list, where officials on Friday reported the first confirmed cases of birth defects linked to the virus. The other countries are Brunei, Burma (Myanmar), Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Maldives, Philippines, Thailand, Timor-Leste (East Timor), and Vietnam.

Pregnant women should not travel to any area with a Zika travel notice and should consider postponing non-essential travel to the 11 countries in Southeast Asia listed in the newly issued considerations," the CDC advised on Thursday.

Photo Credit: Alice Barr

Robin Williams' Widow Pens Essay


Robin Williams’ widow opened up about the late actor’s life in a moving new essay titled "The Terrorist Inside My Husband’s Brain."

In the essay, published in the medical journal Neurology, Susan Schneider describes Williams as drowning in his symptoms of Lewy body dementia and feeling like she was drowning along with him. Lewy body dementia is often misdiagnosed and can come with impaired thinking, memory loss, insomnia, and paranoia.

Williams killed himself in August 2014. 

Schneider writes, "Robin is and will always be a larger-than-life spirit who was inside the body of a normal man with a human brain. He just happened to be that 1 in 6 who is affected by brain disease."

Schneider, who serves on the board for the American Brain Foundation, hopes her essay leads to more understanding for everyone affected.

Photo Credit: Getty Images file

No Injuries Reported in Ellington House Fire


Route 140 in Ellington has reopened after it was closed so crews could battle a house fire Sunday, according to the Department of Transportation.

Tolland County Dispatchers said the Ellington fire department was on scene at a 2-alarm fire on Maple Street. Crystal Lake fire and Vernon fire also responded mutual aid.

No injuries were reported.

Check back for updates.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

2 Injured in New Haven Shooting


Two men were injured, one critically, in a shooting in New Haven Sunday afternoon.

New Haven police said one victim, identified as Taevon Alston, 28, of West Haven, was found at 2 Derby Avenue around 2:10 p.m. He was taken to Yale-New Haven Hospital for treatment. His injuries are not considered life threatening, police said.

A short time later a second victim, identified as Harold Herring, 33, of New Haven, arrived at the St. Raphael’s campus of Yale-New Haven Hospital with a gunshot wound. Herring is listed in critical but stable.

Police believe Herring was involved in the same incident as Alston.

According to police, a witness reported seeing a masked man in a hooded sweatshirt armed with a gun get out of a car near the scene. Another reported someone limping away.

The New Haven Police Detective Bureau and Bureau of Investigation are handling the case. Anyone with information should contact detectives at (203) 946-6304.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut
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