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Report: Gronkowski Scheduled for Herniated Disk Surgery


Patriots' Rob Gronkowski has a herniated disk and will undergo surgery, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter and other reports.

Gronkowski is scheduled for the surgery in Los Angeles on Friday.

Various reports say Gronkowski could be out of action for 6-8 weeks.

This is the third time Gronkowski has had back surgery since 2009. He has also had four forearm surgeries, knee surgery, and ankle surgery.

Here is a breakdown of Gronkowski's injuries that involved surgery.

2009   Herniated disk surgery while in college at Arizona
2012   Broken forearm initially vs Colts in November while blocking on an extra           point. Missed time until playoffs, and came back and re-aggravated the           injury in the playoffs against Houston (January of 2013). Missed rest of             playoffs. Ultimately he had FOUR forearm surgeries between 2012-2013
2013   Had Back surgery in offseason
2013  Tore ACL/MCL vs Browns in December. Had surgery. Missed rest of                   season (including playoffs)
2016  Will undergo back surgery Friday (Will be his 3rd back surgery (2009,               2013)

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Dump Truck Crashes, Catches Fire in Haddam


A dump truck rolled over and caught fire in Haddam on Thursday.

The crash closed Route 81 near Soobitsky Road for several hours, according to state police.

The driver was treated for minor injuries, police said.

Photo Credit: David Putterman

Police Investigating After Finding Dead Body in New London Apartment


Police are investigating after find a person dead in a New London apartment.

Police went to an apartment on Green Street at 12:43 p.m. Wednesday after a resident called police to report a strange odor from the neighbor’s apartment.

The caller had not seen the neighbor in a while, so officers were sent out for a well-being check and found a man dead inside the apartment.

The chief medical examiner will investigate to determine the cause of death.

Anyone with information is asked to call the New London Police Department's Detective Division at 860-447-1481 or submit anonymous information through the New London Tips 411 system.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

State Budget Has Few Avenues For Fixes


The deficit awaiting lawmakers in January is projected at $1.45 billion, and with some of the biggest issues being fixed costs like pensions and benefits, there isn’t much room to move money around or cut without drastically hurting state services.

"This could be devastating," said Rep. Toni Walker, D - New Haven, the House Chair of the Appropriations Committee.

Officials from the nonpartisan Office of Fiscal Analysis and the governor's Office of Policy and Management provided their analyses on the state's fiscal situation and both concluded that fixed costs are strangling the state's coffers.

"The costs of state government are going up at unacceptably high rates and we have to rein that in," said Sen. Scott Frantz, R - Greenwich.

Rep. Walker said she can't rule out searching for new sources of revenue to pay for state government, but stopped short of outright endorsing tax increases.

"I'm not saying it's one kind of revenue," she said. "I'm saying there are options out there and perhaps we can direct those funds to cover our pension obligations."

There are $1.5 billion alone set aside this fiscal year to pay for pensions and retiree benefits.

Sen. Frantz says the state needs to figure out policies that lead to more growth in the state, but did acknowledge that options are limited when it comes to avoiding steep cuts before the end of the fiscal year on July 1.

"We have to hope for some better than expected economic activity."

Office of Policy and Management Secretary Benjamin Barnes said he doesn't expect growth to surpass 2 percent in Connecticut or anywhere for that matter. Even though his estimate differed slightly from the Office of Fiscal Analysis when it came to some balances and estimates, Barnes quipped, "At the end of the day we're both pretty pessimistic."

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Shoplifting Suspect Kicked Out PD Cruiser's Windshield: CSP


A Putnam man faces multiple charges after he kicked out a cruiser's windshield while in custody over a shoplifting incident, according to state police.

Police said they were called to Tractor Supply on Route 44 in Putnam for a report of suspicious activity. When police arrived employees reported that the suspect, identified as Jason Link, 37, tried to steal several drones and other items but fled when he was confronted.

Link then entered Walmart, where he was already banned from previous incidents. Employees reported Link appeared intoxicated. Police arrested Link and charged him with larceny, criminal trespass, and breach of peace.

According to police, while in a holding cell Link began bragging about selling drugs and started removing stitches from his face. While police transported Link to the hospital for treatment, Link kicked the windshield out of a State Police cruiser. Police said he faces criminal mischief charges for that incident.

Link is scheduled to appear in court on Dec. 13.

Photo Credit: Connecticut State Police

Nestle Touts New Way to Reduce Sugar in Chocolate


Kitkat and Aero bar maker Nestle said it has found a new way to reduce sugar by up to 40 percent without affecting the taste of its products, Reuters reported.

Nestle said the process works by changing the structure of sugar particles so each dissolves faster on the tongue.

Nestle said it would begin to use the new sugar in 2018.

Photo Credit: Bloomberg via Getty Images

Norwich Man Had Sexual Relationship with 13-Year-Old: Police


Norwich police have arrested a 19-year-old accused of having a sexual relationship with a 13-year-old, police said.

Norwich police said they arrested Gabriel R. Grant, of Norwich, on second-degree sex assault and risk of injury to a minor following a long investigation.

According to police, during that investigation Grant confessed to dating and having a sexual relationship with the victim for eight months.

Grant was arrested Thursday and held on a $100,000 bond. He is scheduled to appear in Norwich Superior Court on Dec. 2.

Photo Credit: Norwich Police Department

Schultz Stepping Down as Starbucks CEO


Starbucks Chairman and CEO Howard Schultz will leave his post as the company's chief executive, the company said Thursday.

Schultz will become the company's executive chairman, and current President and COO Kevin Johnson will become Starbucks' next CEO.

The changes will take place on April 3, the company said.

Starbucks shares dipped about 4 percent in after hours trading following the news of the planned leadership transition.

Schultz first joined Starbucks in 1982 as director of operations and marketing when the company only had four stores, according to Starbucks.

Photo Credit: AP

Elizabeth Warren Demands Answers on Trump DC Hotel Lease


Senators Elizabeth Warren and Tom Carper are pressing the government to explain how Donald Trump's federal lease to operate a luxury hotel near the White House can go forward despite what they call the "unmanageable conflicts of interest" presented by the president becoming his own landlord — as well as a provision that bans government officials from the deal.

The two Democrats sent a letter Thursday to the General Services Administration, which in 2013 awarded a lease to the Trump organization to redevelop and run a hotel in the Old Post Office Pavilion on Pennsylvania Avenue, NBC News reported.

Trump committed $200 million to transform the historic building into a hotel, and in return received the exclusive rights to run the hotel and keep the profits for a period of at least 60 years.

While Trump has said he will hand off control of his real estate empire to his children, he has not said whether he will transfer ownership.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Ex-NFL Player Shot, Killed in Highway Shooting: Sheriff


A former New York Jets player was killed in an apparent road rage shooting on a highway outside New Orleans Thursday afternoon, officials said.

Joe McKnight, a running back for the Jets from 2010 to 2012, was shot after an argument in the suburb of Terrytown, the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office confirmed. 

A witness told The Times-Picayune newspaper she saw a man yelling at another man near the intersection of Beherman Highway and Holmes Boulevard. As the other man tried to apologize, the man who was yelling shot him more than once, she said. 

Paramedics attempted to revive him, but he was pronounced dead at the scene, NBC affiliate WDSU-TV reports

Sheriff Newell Normand told reporters that the alleged gunman stayed on the scene and has turned his gun in to authorities. The man, identified as 54-year-old Ronald Gasser, was in custody and being questioned. 

Witnesses described the scene on social media.

"I don't know what kind of crime just happened on the corner of Berhman Hwy and Holmes Blvd," Damion Bills wrote on Facebook. "Whatever happened, it couldn't have been good cause about 20 cops got it completely roped over, hovering over what looks like a body." 

The Times-Picayune in December 2009 named McKnight the high school athlete of the decade. McKnight was responsible for a total of 30 touchdowns in his senior year at John Curtis High School, helping to lead the team to a perfect season, according to WDSU-TV. 

McKnight, 28, was drafted by the Jets in the fourth round of the 2010 draft after playing for USC in college. He spent three years with the Jets and then played two games for the Chiefs in the 2014 season.

The Jets organization tweeted: "Rest in peace, Joe McKnight. Our thoughts and condolences are with his loved ones."

Former Jets teammates were also tweeting about McKnight, expressing shock and grief. 

"This hurt to my heart. I can't stop crying," said Antonio Cromartie. 

"Just senseless violence... great teammate and sense of humor," Damien Woody said. 

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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Turning Chilly by Sunday


High pressure will build in this weekend, providing dry weather but cooler air.

A mix of sunshine and clouds is expected Saturday, and it will be breezy.

Highs will be in the middle 40s.

By Sunday, more sunshine is expected. However, highs will only be in the lower 40s.

Monday looks dry before a storm approaches later Tuesday.

High pressure will initially be in a prime spot to lock cold air in place at the surface.

That means some wintry mix is anticipated a the onset of the precipitation later Tuesday, lasting into Wednesday.

Eventually, the wintry mix will go over to all rain.

Late next week, much colder air arrives – it could even be below average for a time.

Bridgeport Police Release Footage of Burglary Suspects


Bridgeport police have released surveillance video of two suspects in a burglary that occurred in November.

Police said the suspects burglarized an apartment building at 105 Cleveland Avenue on Nov. 11.

The suspects appear to be male, were wearing dark hooded sweatshirts and carrying bags at the time of the crime.

Anyone who recognizes the subjects in the video above should contact Bridgeport police at 203-581-5233 or the Bridgeport Police Tips Line at 203-576-TIPS (8477).

Danbury-Based FuelCell Energy Cutting Almost 100 Jobs


Danbury-based FuelCell Energy, Inc. is cutting 96 jobs and the cuts are at the North American production facility in Torrington, corporate offices in Danbury and remote locations, according to a news release the company posted this morning.

About 17 percent of the global workforce is impacted, according to the news release.

"We are streamlining our business and cost structure as we reduce our production levels to meet the backlog we have today while positioning the Company for long term success. Our employees are our most valued assets so the decision to reduce our workforce was not made lightly," Chip Bottone, president and chief executive officer of FuelCell Energy, said in a news release.

Between layoffs and other measure, the company said it is cutting at least $6 million per year and said the production level is anticipated to be temporary and will be reevaluated as order flow dictates.

"Our value proposition for affordable, clean and continuous power that is easy to site where the power is used is compelling for addressing the power generation challenges facing society globally today. American innovation and American manufacturing combined with repurposing urban brownfields further solidifies the economic value proposition," Bottone went on to say.

Read the full release. 

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Planned Parenthood Offers Free HIV Tests for World AIDS Day


Planned Parenthood of Southern New England will offer free HIV tests at three locations in Connecticut in recognition of World AIDS Day.

Dec. 1 marks World Aids Day, which is a global health day designed to show support for those living with HIV and to remember those who have died. Globally, Over 35 million people have died from the disease since the early-1980s and there are an estimated 34 million living with the disease.

In the US, certain communities are disproportionally affected by the virus and the problem is compounded by social issues such as poverty, gender inequality, discrimination, lack of education and violence. According to PPSNE, more than 10,500 in Connecticut are currently living with HIV. On Dec. 8 the organization will offer free rapid HIV tests at the following locations:

Bridgeport Health Center
211 State Street
Bridgeport, CT 06604
11 AM – 6:30 PM

Hartford Health Center
1229 Albany Avenue
Hartford, CT 06112
8:30 AM – 6:45 PM

New Haven Health Center
345 Whitney Avenue
New Haven, CT 06511
9 AM – 5:30 PM

Appointments are not required and results are available in as little as 20 minutes. For more information visit PPSNE’s website.

For more information on World AIDS Day click here.

Photo Credit: AP

McMahon Could Provide Connecticut Influence in White House


Linda McMahon could be Connecticut’s voice in the White House when the Trump administration takes over in January.

Gov. Dannel Malloy enjoyed close relationships with both the president and Vice President Joe Biden, especially because of their common ground policy positions on raising the minimum wage, support for same-sex marriage, and their support for criminal justice reform. But with the Trump administration that ends.

As of now it appears McMahon would be the highest profile link to Connecticut, if Trump taps her for a post in the White House.

McMahon met with Trump Wednesday at Trump Tower. She said of the encounter, “The meeting went great, it was really nice to be up and I was honored to be asked to come in.”

As for some of the substance of the meeting, McMahon added, “We talked about business and entrepreneurs and creating jobs and we talked about SBA, and so we had a really good conversation.”

Since the main conversation was about business, that could be music to the ears of small and large employers around Connecticut, especially because the state’s economy has struggled to recover from the Great Recession.

"Obviously Connecticut becomes part of the knowledgebase and certainly some of the challenges and issues in Connecticut may get better addressed because of that,” said Peter Gioia, an economist and Vice President with the Connecticut Business and Industry Association.

Gioia adds that McMahon would have a knowledge of some of the issues plaguing Connecticut.

Greg Lanouette with A.H. Harris Construction Supplies says the issue he’s looking at is transportation. His company would thrive with more infrastructure projects.

A.H. Harris provides construction supplies for companies around the world and across the United States. He says transportation work do wonders for the construction industry, meaning more people would perhaps stay in Connecticut.

"Look at some of the companies that have pulled out of this state. Why do they do that? It's for the people first of all, the pool that's available, the brainpower. But it's also it's how much time are people spending in front of their windshields."

Photo Credit: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Pedestrian Struck and Killed by Tractor Trailer on I-95


A pedestrian was struck and killed by a tractor trailer on Interstate 95 in Old Lyme Thursday morning, according to state police.

Police said the accident happened around 11:30 a.m. on I-95 south between exits 70 and 71.

The victim has not been identified and the circumstances that led to a pedestrian being on the highway were not immediately clear.

The highway has been closed for several hours and is expected to reopen around 6 p.m.

State police are investigating the crash. The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection also responded to clean up spilled fuel.

Photo Credit: Mike Franklin

Boehringer Ingelheim to Lay Off 180 Workers in Connecticut


Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals has announced plans to end its “small molecule discovery functions” in Ridgefield and lay off 180 employees in Connecticut.

Boehringer Ingelheim spokesman Erin Crew confirmed the company plans to cut 120 employees in small molecule Discovery Research and 60 other functions in Connecticut.

“Following a careful examination of our human pharmaceuticals business, we made the difficult decision to reduce approximately 244 additional headcount nationwide since July 1. This includes approximately 120 in small molecule Discovery Research and 60 in other functions located in Connecticut. We have also reduced the size of our sales force by an additional approximately 64 headcount nationwide,” the company said in a statement.

The layoffs are part of a larger restructuring plan the German company has been working on since July. In the statement the company said it plans to increase investments in oncology with a focus on cancer immunology, and that it intends to form a new group beginning in 2017 that will result in 35 new jobs in Connecticut.

“We are sympathetic to the impact this decision will have on Boehringer Ingelheim employees and their families. We are committed to treating all employees with dignity, respect and sensitivity. We will support affected employees in a number of ways, including severance, outplacement services, and identifying other employment opportunities within the Boehringer Ingelheim network, as appropriate,” the statement read.

In 2015, the company laid off Connecticut workers in reaction to a sales decline and other issues.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News

Opioid, Heroin Overdoses Spark Vigil in Montville Community


If it’s not a friend, it’s a family member or an acquaintance – drug addiction shows no prejudice.

With several deadly overdoses this year, the Montville community is rallying together to support addicts and their families, and lift the stigma of addiction.

Thursday night dozens lit a candle and bowed their heads in prayer for the people battling addictions and for those who lost the fight.

Lisa Johns, of Uncasville, lost her son Christopher to an overdose two years ago. She’s a founding member of Community Speaks Out, a group for families and friends facing addition to support and educate one another.

“It’s been kept a secret for far too long, again. You know, it’s been hidden in the trenches and now we’re digging it back up,” Johns said.

Rehab programs need to be longer, according to Johns, and more needs to be done to make sure people fighting addiction stay sober.

The Montville Mayor was in attendance to show his support. There was also volunteer with Community Speaks Out handing out Naloxone and showing families how to use it.

Joey Gingerella, of Groton, is a recovering addict. He struggled with opioid use after trying it once or twice, and then getting prescribed opioids after a hospital visit.

People need to realize no one choses to become an addict, according to Gingerella. And getting sober is also an uphill climb.

“It’s a lot harder than I thought it was going to be,” he said. “I came into rehab and out of rehab thinking the same thing, ‘I can go out and use one more time.’ But even the second time, it was about 10 times worse.”

Gingerella said he keeps himself busy and away from drugs by coaching sports, spending time at the gym and with his supportive family, who is part of his motivation to stay clean.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Waterbury Pet Owners on Alert After Coyote Kills Dog


Laura Brazee's 10-year-old Papillon named Dylan always stayed close by her side, so it wasn't out of the ordinary for the seven pound pup to join her in their Waterbury backyard Saturday morning. He ran around while she worked up on the deck.

"I just keep reliving it in my head," said Brazee. "It was just an awful, helpless feeling that I don't wish on anybody."

Brazee says she heard what sounded like a dog fight and turned to see Dylan with what looked like her neighbor's German Shepherd. When she looked closer, she realized it was actually a coyote.

"My heart sank, and I tried to run up there," said Brazee. "He was so fast, so fast. He had him in his mouth and was on the run before I could even get off my deck and start running there, but I kept running and screaming, 'No, no, no!' trying to maybe hopefully scare him to drop him and hope for a miracle."

It was too late. The coyote took off and Dylan was gone.

"The two of us just literally sat in the grass and we cried," said neighbor Gerry Horan who heard the commotion.

Horan has lived on Madeline Avenue in Waterbury for 33 years and has never seen a coyote. She says it's changed how she takes her poodle, Bailey, outside.

"Now I go outside, and it's like I'm looking all around. I'm looking behind my back. I'm looking into the woods," said Horan.

State wildlife experts say coyotes typically attack pets less than 25 pounds and are most active at night. The fact a coyote attacked during the day in Waterbury shocked neighbors.

"People need to be aware everywhere you are, not just in the country. It's getting into areas now where everyone needs to be aware. They have to be vigilant, and they have to pay attention. Just don't let your dogs run around in the yard by themselves no matter where you are," said Brazee. "Even if you're walking your dog on a leash, you still have to be aware and concerned because they come swiftly and violently, and there's nothing you can do."

Brazee says she's keeping a much closer eye on her Silky Terrier, Skyler, and their surroundings. She hopes her story alerts other pet owners so what happened to her doesn't happen to them.

"I just hope this helps somebody else from having to go through the same tragedy, same pain," said Brazee. "It's a terrible way to lose your pet. It's a terrible way."

Photo Credit: Laura Brazee

Silver Alert Issued for 88-Year-Old Stratford Man


Police have issued a silver alert for a missing 88-year-old Stratford man.

Nicholas Mastroni was reported missing Thursday.

He is described as around 5-foot-10, weighing 176 pounds, with “salt and pepper” hair and brown eyes.

He was last seen wearing a tan baseball hat and black windbreaker. Anyone with information on his whereabouts is asked to contact Stratford police at 203-385-4100.

Photo Credit: Connecticut State Police
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