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Officials To Discuss Timeline for Hartford Ballpark Tuesday


The Hartford Yard Goats have already missed an entire season in Hartford due to an incomplete ballpark. City officials say they won't miss another minute of game time.

On Tuesday the Hartford Stadium Authority is scheduled to meet with Arch Insurance and Whiting-Turner Construction to receive a timeline for the completion of the Dunkin Donuts Park.

Nearly two years after breaking ground for the stadium, pallets of material still sit inside and signs warn those passing by that construction is still taking place. But city officials say in a few short months the team will finally have somewhere to play ball.

“Hold on. The stadium is almost complete where the city now can enjoy a completed baseball stadium,” said Hartford City Council President TJ Clarke.

NBC Connecticut obtained the summary schedule that will be presented at Tuesday’s meeting. It shows the final completion date at May 17. But the date to pay attention to is the one regarding the temporary certificate of occupancy which allows the stadium to be used while under minor construction. That date is April 19, six days after the Hartford Yard Goats’ scheduled opening day.

Mayor Luke Bronin emphasized that the summary reveals a date range – and that both Arch and Whiting-Turner assure the city that temporary occupancy will be granted before the – meaning the stadium will be ready for baseball this season.

“There's some cleanup work that may continue after, but the stadium is going to be in a position for baseball to be played,” Bronin said.

NBC Connecticut was unable to reach the Yard Goats for comment Monday night. The meeting is scheduled for Tuesday at City Hall at 3 p.m.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Man Arrested at Trump Tower


A Baruch College student-athlete from upstate New York was arrested at Trump Tower with a knife, handcuffs, water gun and firecracker, NYPD officials said.

Alexander Wang, 19, was cuffed Monday night before he could get through security at the tower where the president-elect lives and works, according to the NYPD.

Police said that Wang, a track star from Poughquag in his sophomore year at Baruch, was also carrying a garrote, a small piece of wire or rope used to strangle a person. 

He was charged with criminal possession of a weapon and posssession of fireworks. He had never been arrested in New York City before, NYPD officials said. 

Attorney information for the man wasn't immediately available.

According to Baruch's website, he's the MVP of the cross country team and is majoring in entrepreneurial management. His favorite slogan: "Let your will be done." 

Teammates described Wang as "a decent guy" who mostly keeps to himself. 

"He's on top of his studies; I see him on the track when we practice," said teammate Luis Aquino. "I try to stay on top of him but, you know, he's a beast."

"We're here for him," Aquino added. "He didn't tell us he had issues, but I wish he did. Baruch is a family." 

Baruch College said in a statement that it is cooperating with law enforcement. 

Glastonbury School Board Votes to Close Elementary School


After much debate, the Glastonbury Board of Education has decided to close the Eastbury Elementary School.

Susan Karp, Chairman of the Board of Education, said that they voted seven to one to close the school.

The decision was based on declining enrollment and cost. The school will close at the end of the 2017-2018 school year.

“The Board appreciates administrators and staff members for their work on this issue, parents and community members for taking time to share their thoughts and concerns, and all those who remained patient and involved throughout Board deliberations,” The board said in a statement.

The decision comes after years of discussion and research. Back in May the board was originally expected to vote on the matter but after input from parents and a petition to save the school more than 700 signatures, the board delayed a final decision.

Eastbury is the smallest elementary in Glastonbury with 266 students. Glastonbury Superintendent Alan Bookman said closing the school will save the district $800,000 – mostly in personnel costs but also some utilities.

The board said they will soon work to develop a school redistricting plan to share with the public. Bookman said based on projected student growth the town will still have room for the next ten years to accommodate all of its students. 

However, disappointed parents disputed that.

“The enrollment projections have been wrong two years in a row. We’ve come in higher than projected each time they’ve refreshed,” said Luis Marques.

Darci McHenry, whose daughter is in 4th grade, said there were seven new students in her daughter’s classroom this year and fears closing the school will cause problems down the road.

“We have beyond enough population to continue this school growing versus shrinking, with all the new development in the area,” McHenry said.

Jennife Muller, who has children in fourth and third grade, attended Tuesday night’s meeting and said she’s concerned what redistricting means for the students across the whole district.

“Several kids from Hopewell and Buttonball and Hebron Ave are all going to get re-districted so it’s going to be losing that sense of community for all of these children,” she said.

Superintendent Bookman said the district did not expect to see a huge bump in class side and that average class size would stay slightly under 20. 

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Dakota Protesters Say Belle Fourche Oil Spill 'Validates Struggle'


A major oil spill just 150 miles from the Dakota Access Pipeline protests in North Dakota has validated the concerns of those who spoke out against the project for months, NBC News reported.

State officials estimate that more than 176,000 gallons of crude oil has leaked from the Belle Fourche Pipeline over the past week into the Ash Coulee Creek in western North Dakota. A landowner discovered the spill near the town of Belfield on Dec. 5, according to Bill Suess, an environmental scientist with the North Dakota Health Department.

The leak was contained within hours of its discovery, Wendy Owen, a spokeswoman for Casper, Wyoming-based True Cos., which operates the Belle Fourche pipeline, told CNBC.

Photo Credit: AP Photo/David Goldman

Suspect Broke Into Home While Resident Slept: North Haven PD


North Haven police have released surveillance photos of two suspects police say burglarized a home on Standish Avenue while the resident and her kids were sleeping.

According to police, on Dec. 2 around 6 a.m. one of the suspects entered the home and stole several items including the victim’s purse. Later the same day the suspects pictured above used the resident’s stolen credit cards at stores in Wethersfield and Hartford.

Anyone who recognizes the suspects is asked to contact North Haven Det. Harton at 203-239-1616

Photo Credit: North Haven Police Department

Official Who Wrote Racist Post About Michelle Obama Is Returning to Job


The head of a West Virginia nonprofit whose racist social media post about first lady Michelle Obama drew demands that she be fired is expected to return to work next week, NBC News reported.

Pamela Taylor, the director of the nonprofit Clay County Development Corp., was suspended after her Facebook post last month was screenshotted and went viral: "It will be refreshing to have a classy, beautiful, dignified First Lady in the White House," she wrote. "I'm tired of seeing a Ape in heels."

The controversial message also ensnared Clay County's mayor, Beverly Whaling, when she replied, "Just made my day Pam" — a comment that led her to resign.

Photo Credit: AP

Man Hit and Killed by Car Near Shelton Hiking Trails


A 48-year-old Shelton man is dead after being hit by a car on Meadow Street near the hiking trails Thursday evening.

Police said Ronald Richard was crossing the street near the intersection of Meadow Street and Shelton Avenue around 5:15 p.m. when he was struck by a car driven by 45-year-old Christopher Goldspink, also of Shelton.

Richard was taken to the hospital where he died of his injuries.

The Shelton Police Traffic Division Reconstruction Team is investigating. No charges have been filed at time.

Anyone who witnessed this crash or with additional information is urged to contact Shelton police at 203-924-1544.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Walmart Pulls 'Offensive' Mugs From Website


Walmart has removed a mug from its website after numerous shoppers reported it as “appalling” and “offensive.”

The black and white coffee mug was posted to the retail giant’s site with the message “Got Retard?” on it.

After numerous complaints, and a Change.org petition asking the company to stop selling the mug, Walmart said it had the item from a third-party seller “removed from the site as soon as we were informed.” 

“This item violated our policy and we quickly removed it,” Walmart said in a statement on Twitter. “It’s unacceptable a seller put it on our Marketplace.” 

A similar version of the mug also appeared on Amazon.com, but has since been removed from the site as well. Amazon said in a statement Tuesday the item is "not listed for sale on Amazon."

The National Down Syndrome Society thanked the retailers for “discontinuing sales immediately.”

“Upon learning of the offensive language used in products sold by Walmart and Amazon, NDSS reached out to both retailers to discuss the offensive items being sold on their websites and asked that they immediately disconitnue the sale of those products, which they both have done,” the group said in a statement. “NDSS strongly condemns the use of the ‘r word.’ As the leading human rights organization for all people with Down syndrome, we maintain a zero tolerance policy for this type of mockery and offense.”

GiGi’s Playhouse Inc. in suburban Chicago, a group dedicated to increasing “positive awareness of Down syndrome,” also thanked the companies for removing the product.

“Walmart, we would like to thank you for taking down your product, the despicable, offensive mug with the R-word prominently displayed on it, but not before many people were hurt,” the group wrote on Facebook.

Still, the group has asked both Walmart and Amazon.com “What can we do to ensure this doesn’t happen again?”

Walmart describes its Marketplace program on its website as a way for "strategic business partners" to sell products alongside Walmart products.

"Our sellers are selected based on reputation, sales projections and alignment with Walmart's values," Walmart's website says.

A request for comment on how the mug made it onto the company's marketplace was not immediately answered.

Amazon also did not respond to a request for comment about how the mug was listed on the site. According to the company's website, registered sellers can list their products to the Amazon Marketplace catalog.

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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Suspect in Fatal Groton Shooting Detained at Canadian Border


A 24-year-old man is dead after a shooting outside Ryan’s Pub in Groton over the weekend and police say the "armed and dangerous" suspect has been detained at the Canadian border.

Police had a warrant for the arrest of Dante Hughes, 30, for his connection to a fatal shooting. 

On Sunday, police said they were called to the business at 112 Fort Hill Road around 1:35 a.m. When they arrived they found the victim, identified as Joseph Gingerella, of Groton, in the parking lot with multiple gunshot wounds.

Gingerella was taken to L&M Hospital in New London where he was pronounced dead. 

No other details were immediately available. 

Photo Credit: Groton Town Police Department

NJ Trooper Stopped Drivers to Ask Them on Dates: Prosecutor


A New Jersey state trooper has been accused of covering up an alleged habit of pulling over women to ask them on dates.

The New Jersey Attorney General's Office said Tuesday that Marquice Prather, 37, had been arrested Friday Dec. 9 and suspended from his job.

The Linden man has been accused of tampering with or falsifying records to cover up the fact he was stopping female drivers in order to ask them on dates or ask for their phone numbers.

Several women between 20 and 30 years old told authorities that Prather pulled them over to ask them to go on dates or give them his phone number.

Prather also allegedly turned off his microphone during the pick-ups and saying it malfunctioned, and falsely reported the gender of the drivers he pulled over to disguise the fact he stopped a high number of women, according to authorities.

Prather was charged with of third-degree tampering with public records or information and fourth-degree falsifying or tampering with records.

He was released without bail after being processed on the charges, prosecutors said.

The charges will be presented to a state grand jury for potential indictment.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Northwest Connecticut to See Snow Tonight


A quick round of snow will coat the roads in northwest Connecticut tonight.

The snow will move in after dark and last into late this evening. Up to an inch of snow is possible.

Other parts of the state could see snow flakes, but the precipitation will be lighter and temperatures will be warmer outside of the hills. So, no more than a dusting is expected elsewhere.

Wednesday will be partly cloudy with temperatures in the upper 30s.

A blast of cold air arrives Thursday, when temperatures won't get out of the 20s!

The lake-effect snow machine will be raging to the west, so it's possible that one band sneaks into Connecticut on Thursday and puts down a quick inch or two.

Friday's high temperature will only be near 20, with wind chills below zero, especially in the morning.

A winter storm moves in Saturday, when snow will transition to a mix. Several inches of snow are possible before the change to sleet, freezing rain and rain.

Temperatures will rise into the 40s by Sunday.

Trump Taps Zinke for Interior Secretary


President-elect Donald Trump has tapped Rep. Ryan Zinke, R-Montana, for secretary of the interior, a top transition source told NBC News on Tuesday.

Zinke, 55, a member of the House Natural Resources Committee who's described as an avid hunter and fisherman, was an early and consistent supporter of Trump's presidential campaign and was re-elected to a second term last month as Montana's sole representative in the House.

If Trump carries through with the appointment, Zinke's nomination would have to be confirmed by the Senate.

The Interior Department oversees management of about three-quarters of federal land and natural resources, along with programs relating to American Indian and territorial affairs.

Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images

Tractor Trailer Crash Causes Delays on I-91N in Wethersfield


A tractor trailer crash on I-91 north in Wethersfield is causing traffic delays as crews work to clear up the mess and a fuel leak, according to state police.

Police said the truck crashed off the road, over an embankment and came to a rest in the woods near the Connecticut River, near exit 27. No injuries were reported.

The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection was called in to help clean up fuel that spilled from the truck. Officials said it did not appear the fuel was at risk for leaking into the river.

Traffic is getting by but police said it will be some time before crews clear the scene.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

1 Dead in Essex Firetruck, Car Serious Crash on Route 9


A firetruck and passenger car got into a serious crash on Route 9 southbound.

State police said Lifestar is responding for one patient between exits 3 and 4. 

The firetruck was stopped on the highway responding to another crash when it was struck by a car, state police said. 

The civilian transported to the hospital with life-threatening injuires has died. 

Route 9 in the area of the crash is closed and traffic is being rerouted off exit 4.

No other details were immediately available on this developing story. 

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Trump Feud Over Russia Intel Raises Deeper Concerns: Experts


President-elect Donald Trump’s tensions with U.S. intelligence agencies over the alleged Russian hacking is unsettling to national security experts, NBC News reported.

Some feel that a strained relationship between Trump and intelligence agencies could affect his ability to lead the country. Trump was critical of the CIA after they concluded Russia was involved in the leaked Democratic emails, calling the CIA “the same people that said Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction.”

The CIA’s assessment that Russia not only interfered in the election but did so to help Trump win has triggered bipartisan calls for a Congressional intervention.

Some national security veterans are also troubled by Trump’s announcement that he would not take daily intelligence briefings. He told Fox News, “I don’t have to be told the same thing in the same words every single day for the next eight years.”

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Where You Live Determines What Kills You


A new analysis by the Journal of the American Medical Association shows a county-by-county breakdown of what kills people in the U.S., NBC News reported.

Drug overdoses shot up 1,000 percent since 1980 in counties in Kentucky, West Virginia, Ohio, Indiana, western Pennsylvania and east-central Missouri. Diabetes-related deaths are more prevalent in Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi. Suicides and homicides were most prevalent in the western states.

Meanwhile, heart disease, is particularly high in the southeast of the United States, blamed on poor diet, a lack of exercise and less access to good medical care. 

"We found huge variation in all the leading causes of death," said Dr. Christopher Murray at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Seattle.

Photo Credit: Getty Images/Ikon Images

Chocolate Chip Cookies Sent to 8 States Recalled


A New York-based, family-owned business is recalling its chocolate chip cookies because they contain milk, which isn't declared on the list of ingredients and can cause serious or life-threatening reactions in people allergic to it. 

Linden Cookies, Inc., says the affected cookies, which include 2 oz. and 1.1 oz Mini Chocolate Chippers along with 1.75 oz three large chocolate chip pack — with sell by dates of Feb 8, 2017, through March 28, 2017, and Dec. 14, 2016, through Feb. 1, 2017 — were distributed to wholesalers in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Florida, Virginia, Maryland, Delaware and Massachusetts. 

The company, doing business in New York for 75 years, says it has not received any confirmed reports of illness to date and implemented the recall out of an abundance of caution. 

Consumers who purchased the recalled cookies are asked to return them to the place of purchase for a full refund. Consumers with questions can call Lindens at 845-268-5050 Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Photo Credit: Gracinda Carvalho / NBC Bay Area

Buzz Aldrin Talks Health Scare in South Pole


Two weeks after a health scare cut short his personal expedition to the South Pole, famed former astronaut Buzz Aldrin discussed his recovery from altitude sickness and his thoughts on losing friend and fellow space icon John Glenn.

Aldrin, 86, was taken to a New Zealand hospital, where he spent a week recovering from congestion in his lungs.

“When turning back is about as difficult as pressing on, you press on because you've got an objective, especially when they tell me I just set a record,” he told the "Today" show in an interview that aired Wednesday. "The oldest guy to the South Pole. See, now it was worth it, really.”

Aldrin, who along with the late Neil Armstrong in 1969, became the first pair of humans to step foot on the moon, learned of Glenn’s death during his time in the hospital. 

“I just admire that guy so much, even though he was a Marine,” he said. “But he knew how to fly that airplane, I could tell you that.”

Photo Credit: AP
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Woman and Dog Rescued from Frozen Pond


A dramatic rescue unfolded over the weekend when a mother fell into a frozen pond in Aurora, Illinois, while she was desperately trying to save the family dog. The woman jumped into a canoe to try to save her dog, Bailey, and matters quickly turned serious when she found herself waist deep in painfully freezing water. Fortunately, her 8-year-old son saw his mother struggling for help and called 911. The boy yelled out instructions from the 911 dispatcher as his mother and Bailey tried to come ashore. Eventually the police came and rescued her from the water, and then pulled Bailey safely to shore.

Photo Credit: Aurora Police Department

Coldest Air of the Season Moves in Thursday


The coldest temperatures of the season so far will move in Thursday and the NBC Connecticut meteorologists have issued a First Alert for bitter cold and subzero wind chills possible Thursday night into Friday.

Wednesday is clear with temperatures in the 30s and 40s with fair skies for most of the day. A band of snow showers move through Wednesday night into Thursday. A blast of cold air arrives Thursday evening, when temperatures won't get out of the 20s!

The lake-effect snow machine will be raging to the west, so it's possible that one band sneaks into Connecticut on Thursday and puts down a quick inch or two. Temperatures will drop and winds will increase, bringing potential for gusts up to 50 miles per hour by Friday morning.

Friday's high temperature will only be near 20, with wind chills below zero, especially in the morning.

A winter storm moves in Saturday, when snow will transition to a mix. Several inches of snow are possible before the change to sleet, freezing rain and rain.

Temperatures will rise into the 40s by Sunday.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut
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