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Local Ski Areas Welcome Frigid Cold Which Helps Create Snow


This stretch of cold weather has several Connecticut ski areas seeing white and lots of it.

The snow making is underway and some slopes will be ready for the weekend.

While some people are bundled up probably wanting to be inside somewhere cozy and warm, Ski Sundown in New Hartford is loving the chilly temperatures because it helps them make lots of snow,

Snow guns shoot out about 2,000 gallons of water a minute creating a skiiers paradise, but because of the drought, Ski Sundown has had to delay its opening planned for Saturday.

“We have two ponds and we pump out of those ponds and we unfortunately pumped the ponds dry. This year, waiting for them to recover,” said owner Bob Switzgable.

And with several inches of snow expected in the area, followed by rain… they plan to open most of their trails sometime next week. An anticipated opening of Christmas week is two weeks sooner compared to last year. And that means some extra bucks!

“Oh we’re just dying to get open,” said Switzgable

They’re loving the early winter weather at Mt. Southington, too. And despite the drought, they do plan to open Saturday.

“We’re fortunate here that we have a good water supply we’re very cautious though to make sure that we’re taking advantage of the cold weather while it’s here and we’re maximizing production while still watching our water,” said Jay Dougherty, General Manager of Mt. Southington.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Waterbury’s Mayor Warns Against Leaving Cars Unattended While Warming Up


“Don’t be a victim” is the message from Waterbury Mayor Neil O’Leary in a tweet from his account Friday morning alerting residents of 12 stolen cars in the last 24 hours that were left running unattended.

Waterbury Police tell NBC Connecticut at least 15 unattended cars were stolen in the past two days.

“I thought that era was over with, the stealing car thing, but I guess not,” Michael Byrd from Waterbury said.

Byrd said his cousin learned the hard way to not walk away from a car that’s warming up.

“Right outside his home, he went in, started the car, warm it up, went to go get the kids to bring them off to school, headed back out,” Byrd said, “and it was gone.”

Outside a market in Waterbury Friday afternoon, Larissa Reed left her car running while she went inside.

“It’s sad, you know, nobody wants to get into a cold car, she said. “They can’t take it, the door’s locked, and then my car can’t start it back up without the key.”

Waterbury police said most of the thefts involved cars that were left unlocked with keys in the ignition, unlike Byrd’s newer SUV that uses a starter button.

“It’s a good neighborhood right here,” he said. “We got cameras, like I got cameras, regardless, better safe than sorry.”

Fortunately, Byrd’s cousins located his stolen car.

“We spent two days,” Byrd said. “We got a good family so everybody pitched in, we all looked for the car and it was lucky that he actually found it.”

The stolen cars were not limited to one neighborhood, police said, but rather they have taken place all across the city.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Officer Saves Christmas for Norwich Family


Three-year-old Lanèyah Rush loves Christmas. But when she got home from the park with her mom Wednesday night, all of the presents under her tree were gone. 

"She was just like, 'Mommy, where'd they go? I was behaving. Did the elves take my gifts back to the North Pole?' And I'm like, 'Oh my gosh,' and I instantly just started crying," said mom Bianca Arroyo.

Arroyo said she forgot to lock the door that evening.

She had just started working again. Her hard earned paycheck went to presents since she couldn't afford to get her daughter much last year.

"Who would steal from a child," Arroyo asked. Nothing else was taken from the home.

She called the police. Officer Mario Castro of the Norwich Police Department showed up at her door.

"Who does that? Especially two weeks out from Christmas," Castro said.

After taking her statement, Castro rushed to one of the locations for the Tommy Toy Fund and picked up a bike and games to make sure Christmas wasn't spoiled for Lanèyah.

"I think any officer at this department would have done the same thing," he said.

Arroyo, who went to high school with Castro, said this officer saved Christmas.

"I'm just like, 'Oh my goodness,' and I broke down crying. I was just very emotional. I couldn't stop saying thank you," Arroyo said.

As far as Lanèyah knows, he's just an elf in disguise.

"What did Santa say? That he's making a few adjustments," Arroyo asked.

"Yep," Lanèyah cheered!

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

DMV Cancels Road Tests for Saturday


The state Department of Motor Vehicles has canceled all road skills tests for Saturday because of the forecast for snow. 

To re-schedule a test, customers should call 860-263-5700 within the Hartford area. 

Those outside the Hartford area can call toll-free at 800-842-8222. 

The DMV is also calling customers with scheduled tests that are canceled. 

With the impending storm predicted to bring snow, drivers of commercial and passenger vehicles

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Accumulating Snow Begins Early Saturday


Snow will move in before dawn Saturday and fall at a moderate to heavy clip through the morning hours.

By late morning, the snow will begin changing from snow to rain, from south to north.

In some northern Connecticut towns, the snow and mix will simply end before the surface temperature rises above freezing.

Four to six inches of snow are expected north and west of I-84, with two to four inches in most other places. Southeastern Connecticut will see one to two inches of snow.

Warmer air continues to move in Saturday night, generating fog, with temperatures rising through the 40s.

Plain rain is expected Sunday, with temperatures in the 50s. Plenty of melting will occur, especially outside of the hills.

The warmth won't last long, though, as temperatures won't get above freezing Monday.

After this weekend, the next chance for substantial precipitation doesn't come until late next week.

FLOTUS: White House Needs 'Grown-Up' in Times of Crisis


Michelle Obama says the White House needs a "grown-up" and the nation will come to appreciate President Barack Obama.

In an interview with Oprah Winfrey set to air Monday night on CBS, the first lady says the election has reinforced her view that her husband's administration was able to inspire hope "because we feel the difference now."

"Now we're feeling what not having hope feels like," she says. "You know? Hope is necessary. It's a necessary concept. And Barack didn't just talk about hope because he thought it was just a nice slogan to get votes. I mean, he and I and so many believe that if you ... what else do you have if you don't have hope?"

"What do you give your kids if you can't give them hope?" she added. 

Mrs. Obama sat for the interview five weeks after the election of Donald Trump to the White House. The Obamas campaigned aggressively against Trump and argued that the New York businessman is unfit to be president.

CBS released an excerpt of the interview on Friday. In it, Mrs. Obama does not mention the incoming president by name.

While Obama has refused since the Nov. 8 election to repeat his criticisms of Trump, Mrs. Obama comes off as less accepting of the outcome.

In the interview, which was taped Wednesday in the White House residence, she said the public will eventually appreciate what a reassuring presence her husband was during the past eight years. She compared him to the person who doesn't freak out when a toddler bumps his head, causing the child to start crying.

"I feel that Barack has been that for the nation in ways that people will come to appreciate," she said. "Having a grown-up in the White House who can say to you in times of crisis and turmoil, 'Hey, it's gonna be OK. Let's remember the good things that we have. Let's look at the future. Let's look at all the things that we're building.'"

"All of this is important for our kids to stay focused and to feel like their work isn't in vain. That their lives aren't in vain," Mrs. Obama added. "What do we do if we don't have hope, Oprah?"

Photo Credit: AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta

One-Antlered Buck Dies in NYC


A white-tailed buck who was granted a last-minute reprieve from euthanasia after being captured in Harlem has died.

The one-antlered buck died while state officials from the Department of Environmental Conservation were arranging transportation to relocate the deer upstate. It was kept in a caged area outside the animal shelter.

The city blamed the state for the animal's death.

"Because of the length of time we had to wait to pick up the deer, the deer has died," Parks Department spokesman Sam Biederman said. 

The state says that's not true. 

"We offered yesterday to take possession of the deer and transport it to a suitable habitat," DEC spokesman Sean Mahar said in a statement. "The city did not accept our offer until just before noon today, and while we were arriving on scene the deer died in the city's possession."

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The buck was captured at the Polo Grounds Towers on West 155th Street and taken to an animal shelter early Thursday. He drew crowds for about two weeks at Jackie Robinson Park, where curious passersby snapped photos of "J.R.," a nickname given to him by residents.

Outpourings of sadness immediately followed the news of the four-legged viral sensation's death.

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Mayor de Blasio had said the deer would be put down Thursday evening after the state Environmental Conservation officials initially said they wouldn't be able to relocate the buck in the city.

"It's going to be a quick and merciful death versus a long and painful process," de Blasio said on WNYC Radio Friday. "That's the governing philosophy as best I understand it." 

Gov. Andrew Cuomo made efforts to rescue the buck in its 11th hour. He said the state would "find a new habitat for it immediately," just an hour after the mayor ordered the deer to be euthanized. 

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The city Parks Department said euthanasia would be more humane because travel causes stress and relocated deer have low survival rates. However, city officials said they "defer to the state as the regulatory authority on wildlife."

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J.R. wasn't the only deer in the news Friday. Officials were trying to rescue a deer that fell through the ice in South Amboy, New Jersey.

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Photo Credit: NBC 4 New York
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Man Was Driving Drunk and Texting: East Windsor Police


East Windsor police released photos to show what can happen when you decide to drink, text and drive.

Police said Friday night a car crashed into a parked car on Old Ellingto Road in Broad Brook. The driver continued driving away from the scene on three wheels and make it a mile away before officers caught up with him.

The driver, who was not identified, was arrested for DUI, distracted driving, and other violations.

While no one was injured in this crash, police remind everyone to think twice before drinking alcohol and getting behind the wheel. And remember, the text can wait.

Photo Credit: East Windsor Police Department
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Power Restored to Customers in West Hartford


Over 1,000 Eversource customers were without power on a snowy Saturday morning.

The Eversource website listed 1,111 without power mid-morning Saturday. As of 10:40 a.m., Eversource said less than 1 percent of their customers in West Hartford were without power and they were quickly working to restore the rest.

NBC Connecticut has reached out to the power company for details on what is causing the outage.

Check back for updates.

Photo Credit: necn

Inmates Hope for Last-Ditch Shot at Obama's Clemency Program


In the days after President Obama granted her early release from prison, Mandy Martinson drifted from joy and gratitude to guilt.

She felt blessed that her 15-year sentence for playing a small role in a methamphetamine ring had been cut short. But she also puzzled over why she received such a gift while thousands of other federal drug offenders were seeking the president's mercy, NBC News reported.

Some were on her housing unit at Waseca Federal Correctional Institution in Minnesota. They included lifers who saw Obama's ambitious clemency program, focused on low-level, nonviolent drug offenders, as their only hope at avoiding death behind bars.

Photo Credit: AP

Holiday Moment: When 'Santa Claus is Coming to Town'

Stamford Police Arrest Driver in Fatal Pedestrian Accident


Stamford police have arrested a driver who struck and killed an 18-year-old pedestrian on Stamford last month.

Police said Wilson Villa-Cabrera, 37, of Ecuador, hit Karina-Tinajero-Arreguin as she was crossing the street in from of Stamford High School on Nov. 5. Police said at the time that Villa-Cabrera did stop on scene and Tinajero-Arreguin was not in a crosswalk at the time of the crash.

On Dec. 17 Villa-Cabrera was arrested and charged with misconduct with a motor vehicle. He was held on a $50,000 bond and his passport was seized. He is currently scheduled to appear in court on Dec. 20.

Police said Villa-Cabrera was charged because he should have had adequate line of sight and road width to prevent him from hitting Tinajero-Arreguin. It does not appear that speed, distracted driving or drugs or alcohol were involved in the accident.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

2 Dead After Tanker Slides Off Baltimore Bridge, Explodes


Authorities said two people were killed and more than a dozen were injured when a gas tanker skidded off a highway in Baltimore and exploded. Police said a third person died in a separate incident.

Baltimore City Fire Chief Roman Clark said the tanker fell over the jersey wall on Interstate 95 and burst into flames early Saturday. WBAL-TV in Baltimore received a graphic video from a viewer who captured the crash on his cell phone.

At least 15 people were injured in a 55-vehicle pile up. Clark said it's unclear whether the pileup started before the tanker crash or was a result of the debris from the explosion.

Scores of traffic accidents were reported across the region due to slick roads. Maryland State Police said troopers responded to 330 crashes across the state in a 24-hour period.

Clark said the roads were very icy, but it was too early to say what caused the tanker to careen off the highway.

The Maryland Transportation Authority said southbound I-95 reopened around 1:30 p.m. Traffic was detoured off northbound I-95 onto I-695. Crash investigation and cleanup continued on the northbound lanes. It was not clear when those lanes would be reopened.

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan issued a statement after the crash.

“I strongly urge all Marylanders to use common sense and put their safety first by heeding all travel warnings from state and local authorities. Road conditions in many areas of the state are still extremely dangerous, and all those who can avoid travel should stay off the roads until conditions have improved.

“The First Lady and I send our deepest condolences and prayers to the families and loved ones of the individuals who lost their lives early this morning as a result of fatal accidents. Our state’s entire emergency management, transportation, and law enforcement resources are fully engaged in managing this situation and are working closely with local jurisdictions to provide needed support. I offer my sincerest gratitude to the state and local first responders who are working diligently at the scene of these incidents and who will continue to do so until the roadways are clear.”

MdTA police Lt. Kevin Ayd said the other incident occurred around 5 a.m. near Exit 59 along I-95. A driver, who was involved in a fender bender, stepped out to assess the damage and was accidentally struck and killed by an oncoming vehicle.

Baltimore County emergency officials said dozens of vehicles collided on the Beltway in the Rosedale area, and six people were taken to a hospital, according to WBAL-TV.

Photo Credit: WBAL-TV/NBC News

Route 9 North Reopens in Middletown


Route 9 north has reopened in Middletown after an accident involving a tractor trailer, according to state police.

Police said the rollover accident happened Saturday around exit 11 and minor injuries were reported. The highway was closed while police worked to clean up the wreck but has since reopened.

State police had a busy morning Saturday, responding to nearly 100 accidents before 10 a.m. and helping another 70 drivers who got stuck on the snowy roads.

Photo Credit: Connecticut Department of Transportation

Biden, Other Mourners Choke Up in Tribute to John Glenn


The nation's vice president and a retired Marine Corps general were among the dignitaries, family members and other mourners who choked up Saturday during a memorial tribute to the late space hero John Glenn.

Roughly 2,500 people gathered at Mershon Auditorium on the Ohio State University campus for "a celebration of life" for the former fighter pilot, history-making astronaut and longtime Democratic U.S. senator from small-town Ohio. He was remembered not only for bravery, but for his thoughtful consideration for others, his integrity and his patriotic optimism.

"I think John defined what it meant to be an American, what we were about, just by how we acted," said Vice President Joe Biden, a former colleague of Glenn's in the U.S. Senate. "It was always about the promise. We were a country of possibility, opportunity, always a belief in tomorrow."

Retired USMC Gen. John Dailey said Glenn was "never in it for himself," but always acted for the nation's greater good. Like many others, he recalled Glenn's humility and basic kindness.

"We had John for 95 great years and it still wasn't enough," Dailey said.

Glenn died Dec. 8 at age 95. He was the first American to orbit the Earth in 1962, and then in 1998 became the oldest person in space at 77.

Thousands of people, including Democratic U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, visited the Ohio Statehouse on Friday as Glenn lay in honor. A solemn funeral procession through the center of the capital city carried his casket past more mourners willing to withstand cold and ice.

Ethel Kennedy, widow of close Glenn ally Robert F. Kennedy, and their son Robert F. Kennedy Jr., were among the mourners present, along with Ohio political leaders including Gov. John Kasich and former Govs. Ted Strickland and Richard Celeste.

The service was preceded by recordings of hymns, arias and popular songs. Some — including Nat King Cole's "Smile" and Susan Boyle's version of "Impossible Dream" — nodded to Glenn's trademark optimism. Others, including "You Are My Sunshine," ''Moon River" and Shirley Jones singing "Goodnight, My Someone" — recalled Glenn's long love affair with wife, Annie, who survives him.

Their marriage was cited frequently as a source of Glenn's strength and an inspiration to those who have known and watched the couple for 73 years.

U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, a fellow Democrat who first met Glenn when he was a teenage Eagle Scout, called Glenn "an FDR Democrat" who believed in the power of government and the importance of public service — through his military and space career and his tenure in the Senate.

"He was a work horse, never a show horse," Brown said. "He labored over the details of non-proliferation and environmental cleanup of nuclear disposal sites, grunt work to some, but John was content to spend his time not on collecting instant headlines but achieving lasting results that would leave the world better than he had found it."

Brown's wife, journalist Connie Schultz, recalled his tenderness when their grandson was curious about how astronauts urinate in space. She saw it as example for the nation.

"If American icon John Glenn could take the time to treat a child with such respect, surely we can find the time to listen to one another," she said.

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden Jr. said the U.S. space program remains indebted to Glenn.

"It was courage, grace and humility John displayed throughout his life that lifted him above the stars," Bolden said. "As the current head of NASA, I can say unequivocally that we are standing on John Glenn's shoulders as we pursue a human journey to Mars, a journey that would not be possible without his bravery and selfless dedication."

Glenn's son, David, said his father let him find himself and make his own mistakes — even when he came home with long hair and wearing bell bottom pants. "He might have blinked twice, or his face twitched or something like that. But that was it," he said.

Daughter Lyn said she wanted an "atta girl" for some good grades she brought home at age 8, to which Glenn replied, "Yes, but what have you done for your country today?"

She said Glenn refused a deal worth as much as $5 million to have his photo placed on a Wheaties box because he saw it as making money from government service.

She ended a touching recollection with a simple farewell, "Godspeed, Dad."

Taps was played as Glenn was carried from the auditorium. He'll be buried at Arlington Cemetery near Washington, D.C., in a private ceremony this spring.

Photo Credit: John Minchillo, AP

Snowfall Totals Map Dec. 17, 2016


The whole state saw snow Saturday morning - here's a look at snowfall totals. Trained weather spotters contributed to this data.

Photo Credit: Monica
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One Transported to Hospital After Cheshire House Fire


One person was taken to the hospital after a house fire in Cheshire Saturday afternoon.

Fire officials said the fire department responded to 2080 Highland Avenue around 1 p.m. When firefighters arrived they found working fire on the first floor and smoke throughout the building. It took crews less than 15 minutes to put out the fire.

One woman was taken to the hospital to be treated for smoke inhalation, officials said. Her condition is unknown at this time.

The structure sustained smoke and water damage. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

The Southington fire department also responded to assist.

Photo Credit: NBC 7 San Diego

Snow Moves Out, Cold Moves in Monday


The cold and snow gives way to warm temperatures Sunday before dipping back below freezing Monday.

Warmer air continues to move in Saturday night, generating a thick fog, with temperatures rising through the 40s.

Plain rain is expected Sunday, with temperatures in the 50s. Plenty of melting will occur, especially outside of the hills.

The warmth won't last long, though, as temperatures won't get above freezing Monday – with highs expected to hover around 29.

Temperatures warm up Sunday but another batch of cold will move in Monday.

The next chance for substantial precipitation doesn't come until late next week.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Tree Falls on Wedding Party; 1 Dead


One person was killed and five others were injured after a large tree fell on top of a wedding party at a Southern California park on Saturday afternoon, according to the Los Angeles County Fire Department. 

Multiple people were trapped after a tree toppled over around 4:30 p.m. in Whittier's Penn Park, fire officials said. 

A wedding party was taking pictures after the ceremony when a 100-foot tall eucalyptus tree fell, trapping up to 20 people, the fire department said. Chainsaws were used to remove those who were trapped underneath the tree's branches. 

One person was killed and five people were injured. The five people who were injured suffered minor and moderate injuries and were taken to a hospital for treatment.

"The scene was very chaotic," said Sgt. Jason Zuhlke of the Whittier Police Department.

A search dog was brought in to search for additional victims who could still be trapped. 

"Fortunately, there weren't more people injured by the tree collapse," John Tripp, a Los Angeles County Fire Department deputy chief, said at a news conference. "It could have been a lot worse." 

The wedding party was taken to a nearby senior center where mental health counselors were made available to them.

Officials could not confirm that the heavy rains reported Friday evening played a factor in the tree collapse. 

Arborists will be on scene shortly to investigate why the tree fell.

Photo Credit: Twitter user @iCbass7

Police Respond to Dozens of Accidents


Heavy snow caused slick conditions on roads and highways across Connecticut on Saturday morning and caused a temporary closure of Interstate 84 in Hartford.

The highway was closed on the westbound side near exit 48 a little after 10 a.m. while police waited for the Department of Transportation to come out and treat the roads. It has since reopened.

State police responded to nearly 100 accidents before 10 a.m. on Saturday, according to Trooper Kelly Grant. Troopers also assisted another 70 drivers who were stuck, she said.

Police urged drivers to stay off the highways to allow plows to clear the roads. Conditions were expected to improve Saturday afternoon.

Photo Credit: Department of Transporation
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