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Fireworks Market Explosion Kills and Injures Dozens


Photo Credit: Esto en Línea

Senate President Recovering After Kidney Transplant


Senate President Pro Tempore Martin Looney is recovering after a successful kidney transplant surgery at Yale-New Haven Hospital, according to his office.

Looney suffers from Ankylosing Spondylitis, a form of arthritis that affects the neck and spine. A long-term side effect of the medication to treat this condition is kidney issues.

The New Haven democrat received a kidney from a living donor, Judge Brian Fischer. In a release to the media, the senator and his family offered their deepest thanks to Fischer for the “extraordinarily generous act.”

Looney has been a state senator since 1992. He was chosen as majority leader in 2003 before becoming president pro tempore in 2015.

Anyone interested in learning more about living donation can contact the Yale-New Haven Transplantation Center at 866-925-3897.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

AP Photographer Recounts Fatal Attack On Russian Ambassador


Associated Press photographer Burhan Ozbilici wasn't on assignment when he attended a photo exhibition after work in Ankara, Turkey - nor did he expect to get more than a simple photo of Russian Ambassador Andrei Karlov for his archives. Ozbilici recalls the moment of terror and chaos that happened after a young Ankara policeman drew his gun and fatally shoots Karlov on Dec. 19, 2016.

Opposing Holiday Messages Stand Strong on Shelton Green


Two holiday signs stand in stark contrast to each other on the Huntington Green in Shelton.

Last week, members of the Freedom From Religion Foundation posted a sign celebrating the winter solstice, and calling religion a “myth and superstition.”

Right next to it the city also posted a sign – one that reads “Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from the City of Shelton.” And the Huntington Green has long been home to a nativity display.

According to the FFRF website, last year member Larry Bloom attempted to place the same solstice sign in a different location but was denied because city officials thought it would be “offensive to many.”

The post on the website goes on to say that after last year’s sign was denied they filed a lawsuit over censorship, and the FFRF is negotiating a settlement to make sure Bloom gets equal access to city parks.

"We'd prefer to keep public parks and government buildings free from religious divisiveness," says FFRF Co-President Dan Barker in the post. "But if a devotional nativity display is allowed, there must be 'room at the inn' for all points of view, including irreverence and freethought."

This year Bloom obtained a permit and the banner is allowed up through Dec. 23.

Mayor Mark Lauretti said that he understands everyone has different ways of celebrating the holidays and he wants to be respectful of all views.

“You want to keep an open mind as we are supposed to do in America and everyone has the right to express themselves, so we let people do that within reason,” he told NBC Connecticut Tuesday night. 

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

2 Arrested in String of Commercial Burglaries in Shelton Area


Shelton police arrested two men accused in a string of commercial burglaries in the area.

Police said that on Tuesday they responded to overnight burglaries at Subway, City Stylez barber shop, Grow restaurant and M and T Spa, all located on Howe Street. The suspects had thrown rocks through front windows to break in to each business, police said.

The same night similar crimes were reported in Seymour and Ansonia, and Stratford and Milford had similar crimes recently as well.

Shelton police arrested two suspects, Keron Nixon, 34, of Bridgeport, and Roman Nieves, 37, of Bridgeport, in the case. Both men were charged with burglary, conspiracy to commit burglary, and criminal mischief. They are scheduled to appear in court on Dec. 21.

Shelton police said other arrests in the surrounding towns are anticipated.

Photo Credit: Shelton Police Department

Bradley Airport Ranks Low in Nationwide Customer Survey


Bradley International Airport ranked towards the bottom of a new survey of passengers' satisfaction with the airports in North America. Bradley Airport came in tied for second-worst among medium-sized airports, according to a new survey released from J.D. Power this week.

Tying Bradley Airport in the second-lowest position on the “Medium Airport Ranking” is Kahului Airport in Maui. Both airports got a score of 724 on a 1,000-point scale. The only medium-size airport scoring worse was Cleveland Hopkins. All three airports were rated as being in the lowest category on the “Power Circle Ratings” in the survey.

The board that runs Bradley Airport, along with other local airports like Hartford-Brainard and Groton-New London, said it recently conducted its own survey of 1,000 Bradley passengers and found an increase in airport satisfaction this year. “This is compared to the limited J.D. Power survey, which is based on responses from 401 individuals who we cannot verify actually used the airport,” said Kevin Dillon, the Executive Director of the Connecticut Airport Authority (CAA).

Bradley Airport has made a number of changes in the past year, including adding a duty-free shop, cutting down waiting times, and adding a premium lounge for travelers.

The airport has also added several dining options, with plans to add more in 2017.

This year, American Airlines resumed nonstop service from Bradley to Los Angeles, and Aer Lingus begin direct service to Dublin, Ireland.

The airport has also proposed a new transportation and rental car hub.

Ranking as the best medium-sized airports in the J.D. Power North America Airport Satisfaction Survey were Indianapolis International Airport, followed by Buffalo/Niagara, Fort Myers/Southwest Florida, Jacksonville, and Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky.

J.D. Power’s report found that New York's LaGuardia Airport is America's worst large airport, according to the survey, released Thursday, with Newark Liberty, Philadelphia, Chicago O'Hare and Boston Logan international airports, all major hubs, rounding out the bottom five.

On the other end of the spectrum, the best large airports include the local-feeling Portland, Oregon, airport and some sunny tourist destinations. Portland is followed by the international airports in Tampa, Las Vegas McCarran, Orlando and Miami in the top five. San Diego came in sixth.

New York's airports were all towards the bottom — John F. Kennedy was eighth-bottom in the large airport, just above the hubs in Houston and Los Angeles.

The 11-year-old study ranks terminal facilities, accessibility, security check, baggage claim, check-in and baggage check and food, drink and retail options to determine travel satisfaction.

The across-the-board ratings of baggage claim and food, drink and retail options increased most since the last survey. 

“The CAA is committed to providing the best experience possible at Bradley, and we will continue working to improve our services and facilities,” Dillon said.

You can find the full J.D. Power report by clicking here.


Here is the full statement from Connecticut Airport Authority Executive Director Kevin Dillon:

“The Connecticut Airport Authority (CAA) takes customer service and passenger satisfaction very seriously, and we recently instituted our own comprehensive passenger survey to understand our strengths and opportunities for growth at Bradley. Our survey data, which is based on feedback from approximately 1,000 verifiable Bradley passengers who were surveyed in the terminal per quarter, has actually shown an increase in airport satisfaction in 2016. This is compared to the limited J.D. Power survey, which is based on responses from 401 individuals who we cannot verify actually used the airport. Regardless, the CAA also took a number of steps to improve upon some of the opportunities noted in the J.D. Power ranking, including major improvements to the terminal facilities and amenities, with the opening of the new Escape Lounge, International Shoppes duty-free shop, Phillips Seafood restaurant, and nursing mother’s room. We are already planning for major improvements in 2017 with future concessions launches, including Two Roads Brewery. The CAA is committed to providing the best experience possible at Bradley, and we will continue working to improve our services and facilities.”

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com
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Hartford Ballpark on Track for Opening Day: Arch Insurance


The Hartford ballpark that will be home to the Hartford Yard Goats is on track for the team to play baseball on opening day, according to the insurance company that has taken over construction and management of the project.

Opening day is scheduled for April 13, Patrick Nails, of Arch Insurance, told the Hartford Stadium Authority today during the stadium authority meeting.

The stadium authority, Arch Insurance and Whiting Turner all attended a meeting, originally scheduled for last week but pushed back due to a scheduling conflict. 

Whiting Turner started working on the project following the city's firing of Centerplan when the minor league team was forced to play its entire inaugural season the road because the stadium was not done.

Officials said Tuesday afternoon that the new contractor has been correcting work the previous contractor did.

They also had to fix issues from "serious water damage" that occurred while the building was shut down for a few months, but that work is now done.

Among the work the contractor did was rip out walls and other areas to ensure the steel is fire retardant, including kitchen and stairwells.

Crews also repoured concrete and said it was poured in such away in spots that it would be slippery in the event of rain.

According to the Executive Director of the Hartford Stadium Authority, Sean Fitzpatrick, the plan will be to open the stadium in phases with Temporary Certificates of Occupancy over the next four months.

The only section of the stadium not expected to be complete and ready by April 13, is the pit for Bear's BBQ in left field.

Michael Spinelli, the construction consultant for the project working for Arch Insurance and Whiting Turner, explained that the concourse above the pit needed to be completed before crews can finish work on the pit itself.

Spinelli added that he's confident the section will be complete before opening day, but due to required tests and inspections, he didn't think it was likely that Bear's would operational by April 13. It would likely be complete by April 19.

Spinelli described the pit as, "the tail of the dog," and emphasized that the concourse of the ballpark took priority.

“When this building is turned over to the city of Hartford this will be a properly constructed building,” Spinelli said.

Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin said he's been assured the stadium will be completed in time and is pleased with the professionalism in the job.

“You know these guys are going to tell you when they encounter a problem. You know these guys are going to fix it and not cover it up which is a world of difference from what we were dealing with before,” he said.

But Hartford City Council President TJ Clarke is still skeptical the stadium will be complete on time and is fearful the city is at the end of its financial rope to complete the ballpark.

“We will see going forward you know, as to the timeline that was set if they are actually going to stick to that timeline,” Clarke said.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Uber Is Reportedly Bleeding Money, But They May Not Care


Uber appears to be taking its cues for world domination from a gym rat's mantra: No pain, no gain. 

The ride-hailing app has reportedly been hemorrhaging money at a less than ideal rate as it seeks to grow its business and fend off aggressive competition from its chief competitor, Lyft.

"Uber has been been growing dramatically and their ridership numbers have increased quite a bit this year," Mike Ramsey, a research director at Gartner who covers mobility, told NBC News. "As a result of that, to get new drivers, to maintain drivers and to expand into new markets, they are spending a lot more money."

Uber, which is privately held and said to be worth as much as $69 billion, does not disclose its financial statements. But the company is said to have lost a staggering $800 million in the third quarter of this year, and $2.2 billion in the first nine months of the financial year, according to reports from The Information and Bloomberg, which both cited unnamed sources.

Photo Credit: AP Photo/Eric Risberg, File

Vanity Plate Lands Santa on Naughty List


A custom license plate has landed an Alabama Santa on the naughty list. Dave Reid, also known as Santa, was baffled when the license plate he'd displayed on his SUV for six years was suddenly deemed offensive when he tried to renew it this year. The tag read "HO HO" and was on a specialty wildlife plate featuring a deer.

Photo Credit: WSFA-TV

Look to States, Companies if Trump Shifts on the Environment


Next year, even if President-elect Donald Trump does try to save the environmentally retrograde coal industry as promised, Google will be heading in the opposite direction — buying enough wind and solar energy to account for all of the electricity it uses at its data centers and offices around the world.

Another of Trump's promises, to abandon the Paris climate agreement, prompted hundreds of American companies, among them Mars, Levi Strauss, Nike and Starbucks, to write urging him to abide by the agreement and the decreases in greenhouse gases it calls for.

And in California, Gov. Jerry Brown warned after the election that if Trump puts an end to research conducted by NASA, "California will launch its own damn satellite."

With a Trump administration threatening to reverse the current administration's environmental agenda — his choice to lead the Environmental Protection Agency has sued the agency repeatedly — corporations and states, not the federal government, could be out front on advances to replace fossil fuels with renewable energy, create clean-energy jobs and keep the air and water free of pollution.

"A motivated state can accomplish a great deal," said Michael B. Gerrard, the faculty director of Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia University in New York City. "California is the jurisdiction leading the world on action on climate change. It has adopted a very ambitious plan that in most respects does not depend on the federal government."

California's goal: to reduce pollution 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030. The plan will be anchored by the state’s own cap-and-trade program, which sets a limit on emissions and creates a market for carbon allowances.

California's governor vowed last week to challenge any attempts to halt climate change research, including NASA's satellite programs that collect information on temperature, ice and clouds. Climate scientists have been worried about the future of the program since two of Trump's space policy advisers wrote about the agency's focus on "politically correct environmental monitoring."

"We've got the scientists, we've got the lawyers and we're ready to fight," Brown told a meeting of the American Geophysical Union.

Elsewhere states in the Northeast have come together to create a regional cap-and-trade program. Hawaii plans to use 100 percent renewable energy by 2045. Illinois' lawmakers this month voted for the Future Energy Jobs Bill, which is expected to expand clean energy, create thousands of jobs and spur billions of dollars in investment in what the Environmental Defense Fund called "the most significant clean energy economic development package in the state's history."

Twenty-nine states plus the District of Columbia require utilities to get a minimum percentage of their power from renewable energy, according to the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory. In 2013, the renewable portfolio standards accounted for 2.4 percent of nationwide electricity generation and a 3.6 percent reduction in fossil fuel generation.

Lawmakers who are less aggressive about advancing renewable energy are under pressure. Ohio's Republicans just voted to make the state's program optional and not only has Gov. John Kasich objected but the solar panel manufacturer, First Solar, which has a research laboratory in Ohio, is threatening to leave, taking with it the $100 million it spends in the state, according to Cleveland.com.

Most of the ways that states would reform the mix of their energy generation do not depend on the federal government, though tax credits for wind and solar energy are helpful, Gerrard said. The principal regulation that does require federal okay, though not money, is tighter fuel-economy standards for motor vehicles, he said. If the federal government were to back off those standards, California could pass its own but only with EPA approval. Other states could then adopt California's standards. There also are limitations on a state's ability to control the sources of electricity that flow into the state, he said.

Even states that are politically hostile to national efforts to fight climate change are taking action, often for economic reasons. Texas, for example, with the most proven oil reserves, is among the states that sued and temporarily blocked President Barack Obama's signature Clean Power Plan, the first to set a national limit on carbon pollution. At the same time, it is leading the country in the development of wind energy, which provided nearly 12 percent of the energy used in the state last year.

Gerrard said he was apprehensive about Trump's planned environmental program. The announced agenda calls for backpedalling on many of the country's most important environmental laws, he said.

"If Congress starts pre-empting state laws, then we're in wholly new territory,” Gerrard said. "Hopefully they won't be that aggressive in trying to kill environmental protection."

There are some areas where the federal government does pre-empt state regulations such as those governing nuclear power, but not many, Gerrard said. And even if laws are not repealed, Trump could starve the EPA of the money it needs and slow enforcement dramatically, he said. It's also not clear if Congress will act to overturn Obama's recent protection of the bulk of U.S.-owned waters in the Arctic Ocean and certain areas in the Atlantic Ocean from future oil and gas leasing.

The United Nations warns that climate change is already affecting every country on every continent with severe weather and rising seas. And if left unchecked, the effects will likely be "severe, pervasive and irreversible."

During the campaign Trump pledged to "cancel" U.S. participation in the Paris Climate Agreement, though he later told The New York Times he had “an open mind to it.” Bailing on the agreement could leave the planet in peril, scientists say.

The Paris deal, which officially went into effect last month, aims to avert the most dangerous effects of global warming by limiting the rise in the global average temperature to below 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit. That's the tipping point beyond which many believe the effects of climate change will become irreversible, according to Climate Interactive, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank.

The United States, the world’s second-largest polluter, has pledged to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 26 to 28 percent below the 2005 levels by the year 2025. That accounts for about 20 percent of the expected reductions, Climate Interactive found.

What Trump believes about climate change isn’t clear. During the campaign, he tweeted that it was a Chinese hoax meant to make U.S. manufacturing less competitive, though later he said his comment was a joke. In a video detailing his agenda for his first 100 days in office, he said, "I will cancel job-killing restrictions on the production of American energy – including shale energy and clean coal – creating many millions of high-paying jobs."

Then there are his nominees, proponents of fossil fuel and climate change skeptics. Environmentalists panned all of them.

The Oklahoma attorney general, Scott Pruitt, who would lead the EPA, questions how much effect human activity is having on global warming and is among the state attorneys general to sue over Obama's Clean Power Plan, a case that is pending. Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, picked to head the Energy Department, has said he would eliminate the department and has mocked "the secular carbon cult." Montana Rep. Ryan Zinke, Trump's choice for the Interior Department, has claimed climate change is not "proven science" and supports ending a moratorium on federal coal leases on public lands.

Finally, Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson, who would become secretary of state, leads a company under investigation into whether it withheld information from investors showing man-made emissions were changing the climate. Under Tillerson's leadership Exxon Mobil has endorsed the Paris agreement and shifted its stance on climate change, though Tillerson has continued to question predictions about its effect. 

"This is an administration that is dead set on putting polluters ahead of people every single time," said May Boeve, the executive director of the environmental group, 350.org.

Danny Cullenward, an energy economist and lawyer at the Carnegie Institution for Science in San Francisco, said that it was an important time to focus on the private sector and on government other than at the federal level.

"I would agree that states are absolutely in the driver's seat,” he said. "And I think that goes to some really interesting opportunities to do things right, albeit maybe at a small scale.”

States should focus not just on decreasing their own emissions but also on models that can be adapted to other places — ones with smaller regulatory agencies, for example, that need simpler policies to adopt.

"A lot of the regulation in the energy sector has traditionally been at the state rather than at the federal level," he said. "So states that want to change the way their energy systems, particularly their electricity systems, are operated have a lot of authority to do that."

A federal government determined to roll back environmental regulations could do real damage, environmentalists say. The GOP-led Congress has tried to pass almost 150 measures to reverse environmental regulations, including working against ones that set limits on mercury and ozone, said Jeremy Symons an associate vice president at the Environmental Defense Fund. The conservative House Freedom Caucus has provided Trump with a recommended list of regulations to eliminate, 43 of which are aimed at undermining the country’s progress on clean energy, while others would go after environmental protections, he wrote.

"It might be nice to think that things will just move forward but you can’t ignore Washington and the potential move in the opposite direction,” Symons said.

And although progress will be made outside of Washington, a lack of federal backing will hurt, Symons said. Not only is time running out to combat climate change, but with renewable energy affordable and creating jobs, this is when the country should be accelerating the transition, he said.

"If Washington is a drag pulling us backwards instead of propelling us forwards, there is an enormous missed opportunity there," he said.

A too ambitious agenda could backfire as happened to President Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush, said Symons and Steven Cohen, director of Columbia University's Earth Institute. Reagan's choice of Anne Gorsuch Burford for the EPA resigned after 22 months after she cut the agency's budget by 22 percent and came under fire over mismanagement of hazardous waste cleanup. The Bush administration had to reverse itself on plans to withdraw rules limiting arsenic in drinking water.

Regulations often force an improvement on an industry, and people's expectations are raised, whether for health and safety or clean water and air, Cohen said. Ralph Nader's "Unsafe at Any Speed: The Designed-In Dangers of the American Automobile," published in 1965, eventually led to safety advances such as seat belts, airbags and antilock brakes — despite resistance from automobile manufacturers concerned about cost. Today, customers pay more for vehicles with higher safety ratings, Cohen said.

Climate change is more difficult an issue to tackle, because it is occurring everywhere and its effects are still largely in the future, he said. He would reframe the issue as one of air pollution.

"Air pollution, water pollution and particularly toxic waste, these are issues that people see and feel and smell," he said. 

The EPA has been one of the most successful agencies, its regulations curbing pollution that had been rising in concert with an expanding economy, Cohen said. By the 1980s, the GDP kept growing but absolute pollution levels started to fall, he said. Some businesses might be harmed by regulation but society as a whole benefits, he said.

"The idea that you have to choose between protecting and growing the economy is simply untrue," he said.

Google announced this month that it would be powered 100 percent by wind and solar power next year — meaning that the amount it buys from renewable sources each year will match the electricity it uses. It signed its first agreement to buy all of the electricity from a wind farm in Iowa in 2010. In the six years since, the cost of producing wind power has come down 60 percent and that of solar power, 80 percent, the company said. Going forward, Google will be focused on signing agreements for low-carbon power that is not intermittent such as hydro and biomass.

"Many corporations realize they can save large amounts of money, energy efficiency of operations by lowering electricity and natural gas bills," Gerrard said.

Ceres, a non-profit organization advocating for sustainable business practices, has found that more than 60 percent of the Fortune 500 companies have set goals for the use of renewable energy or the most efficient use of energy, said Anne Kelly, a senior program director. States as a result are diversifying their energy sources to attract those businesses and the tax base and jobs they provide.

"There's really something to be said to the unstoppable momentum of the private sector, particularly in the area of procuring renewable energy," said Anne Kelly, a non-profit organization advocating for sustainable business practices.

Ceres will continue to make a clear business case for clean energy, for listening to the demands of power purchases not just power suppliers and the oil lobby, she said. Regulations such as the CAFE or corporate average fuel economy standards — first enacted by Congress in 1975 to increase the fuel economy of cars and trucks — are sending the right market signals and spurring the changes needed to transition to a low-carbon economy, Kelley said. Companies are locking into long-term power purchase agreements to try to avoid the volatility of natural gas prices.

"Given the momentum that I see in terms of private-sector leadership and state action makes me very optimistic,” she said. “I am certainly concerned about what could happen at the federal level but I’m optimistic about the states and all of our environmental laws have originated at the state level."

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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Airports Urge Holiday Travelers to Leave Extra Time


Bradley International Airport is urging travelers to leave extra time to get through security during the busy holiday travel season and other airports in the region are doing the same.

Bradley Airport’s Twitter account is urging domestic travelers to leave 90 minutes for TSA screening and for international travelers to leave three hours.

Follow Bradley Airport on Twitter for updates. 

LaGuardia Airport is warning of moderate to heavy traffic on the airport roadways because of holiday travel. 

Meanwhile, the Twitter account for JFK Airport in New York is warning passengers about construction-related traffic detours at terminal 5 and to allow extra time to pick up or drop off passengers or to use AirTrain. 

TF Green Airport in Rhode Island is warning travelers that you cannot get through the security checkpoint with wrapped gifts and to check the TSA website to see which items you can travel with and what is prohibited. 

Travelers flying from TF Green between 6 a.m. and 8 a.m. or from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. should plan to arrive at the terminal two hours before your flight. 

Logan Airport has not issued any warning, other than not to wrap gifts, but said live music will be playing throughout the airport on Thursday and Friday. 

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

I-95 North Reopens in Stratford


Interstate 95 North was closed in Stratford, but one lane has reopened.

The highway was closed near exit 34. State police said there are crashes on both sides of the highway, but they are not serious.

Traffic on the southbound side of the highway is slow.

Photo Credit: Connecticut Department of Transportation

Meriden Woman Stabbed Victim with Scissors: Hamden Police


Hamden police have arrested a Meriden woman accused of stabbing another woman during a fight in February.

Police said on Feb. 21, Officer Jennifer King saw a large crowd and a fight in progress near the corner of Morse Street and Columbus Street. When King got close, she heard a woman screaming that she’d been stabbed.

According to police the suspect, identified as Gloria Williams, 54, stabbed the victim, 27, multiple times with scissors when the victim tried to get between Williams and the victim’s sister.

The victim was taken to Yale-New Haven Hospital for treatment. She was not identified.

Police obtained an arrest warrant for Williams and on Dec. 17, West Haven police detained Williams and turned her over to Hamden police.

Williams was charged with second-degree assault and second-degree breach of peace. She is scheduled to appear in court on Jan. 3.

East Windsor Police Warn of Paving Scam


East Windsor police have issued a warning after a resident fell victim to a paving scam Tuesday.

The victim told police a man came up to her door and said he had leftover asphalt from a job and asked if she was interested in having her gravel driveway paved.

When the victim agreed, a dump truck dropped material on her driveway and an excavator then came and packed everything down. The victim gave the crew a check for $3,500 made out to Jacob Stanley.

East Windsor police believe this is part of a nationwide scam involving the Stanley’s, where a man offers a great deal on paving work but then takes the money without completing the job.

If residents have any concerns about the legitimacy of an offer, they should not accept. Suspicious activity can be reported to East Windsor police.

Photo Credit: NBC10

Groton City Police Arrest Two on Narcotics Charges


Groton City police arrested two people and seized various drugs when they executed a search warrant at a home on Brandagee Avenue Tuesday.

Police said Groton City police and the Regional Community Enhancement Task Force held a narcotics-related search warrant for 112 Brandagee Avenue and an arrest warrant for the resident, Gene Fluker, 41. When police arrived to execute the warrant, Fluker reportedly fled the scene.

Police eventually caught up with Fluker and he was arrested on various drug charges and interfering and resisting arrest.

A second suspect, Joel Cardona, 25, was also arrested on drug charges.

According to police, during the search they uncovered 3.5 ounces of marijuana, 5 grams of crack cocaine, 4.5 grams of powder cocaine, 70 controlled prescription pills, $220 in US currency, three cell phones, three digital scales and drug packaging materials.

Both suspects were held on bond. More arrests are expected.

Anyone with information on illegal drug activity is encouraged to call the Groton City Police Department Detective Division at 860-446-4186 or the Groton Town Police Department Detective Division at 860-441-6712.

Photo Credit: Groton City Police Department

Wethersfield Teen Has Been Missing Over a Year


Wethersfield police are renewing a call for the public’s help in locating a 17-year-old girl who has been missing for over a year.

Eligia Rodriguez of Tobler Terrace in Wethersfield was last seen in the area of Bronx, NY in May 2015.

She is described as 5-foot-1, with brown hair and eyes. She has two piercings on her lower lip and may have a tattoo of a purple diamond on one arm and a $ symbol on her left middle finger.

Anyone with information on her whereabouts is asked to contact Wethersfield police at 860-721-2900.

Photo Credit: Wethersfield Police Department

Delta: YouTube Star Sought to Disrupt Flight


A popular YouTube personality with a history of filming pranks and social experiments says he was kicked off a Delta flight in London after other passengers expressed their discomfort with him speaking Arabic while on the phone.

Adam Saleh tweeted a video about 6 a.m. ET Wednesday that showed him in a packed airplane bound for New York City with a friend and a flight attendant behind him. There are several people in Delta reflector vests on the plane as well.

"We're getting kicked out because we spoke a different language. This is 2016," Saleh says in the video. "I feel like crying."

Saleh later tweeted that he and his companion boarded a different airline's flight to New York City after speaking with police and going through Heathrow Airport's security again.

After landing in New York, he told NBC News that a woman sitting near him first became annoyed when he spoke with his mother over the phone, and then expressed anger when he began speaking with his friend on the flight with him in Arabic and laughing loudly and gesticulating. 

"She was like, 'Oh, my God, you need to speak English, I feel so uncomfortable,'" said Saleh. 

He said a man sitting with the woman stood up and told Saleh's friend, "You need to get chucked off the [expletive] plane."

"And it just turned into a whole chain reaction, like 10, 15 to 20 people got up, like, 'They need to get off, stuff happened in Germany, I don't feel comfortable here!'" he said. 

The news garnered disparate reactions on social media, as some expressed outrage against Delta while others were skeptical of the prankster's account. Saleh insists this was not a stunt.

"If we were doing a joke or a prank, we would have our official camera. We had our phone camera to pull out," he told NBC News, though he later added that his friend pulled out a professional camera afterward to film the aftermath. "My life isn't a prank." 

But Delta claims Saleh "sought to disrupt the cabin with provocative behavior, including shouting," based on the information the airline collected from the flight's crew and several passengers that were interviewed after the flight landed at John F. Kennedy Airport. 

"This type of conduct is not welcome on any Delta flight. While one, according to media reports, is a known prankster who was video recorded and encouraged by his traveling companion, what is paramount to Delta is the safety and comfort of our passengers and employees. It is clear these individuals sought to violate that priority," Delta said in a statement. 

Saleh said he's angry because "they can take advantage of people like my mom, who don't even speak English at all."

"What if my mom was there? She has no camera, she has nothing, and they kick her off in a nice way? She's in a position where no one has seen anything," he said. 

Passenger Marvin Avilez corroborated Saleh's account of a woman acting aggresively toward him, telling NBC News he saw a woman standing up and pointing and jabbing in the air toward Saleh. 

But he said the other travelers were more disappointed and frustrated by the way Saleh was acting.

"It was the gesturing and the posturing," said Avilez. "In fact, one person I spoke to said, 'Look, I knew he was joking. But it went too far. It just wasn't appropriate for a plane flight leaving London for New York City.'"

Avilez added, "His actions were inappropriate for this type of setting. It's kind of like telling a really bad joke or saying something politically incorrect at a dinner table with your family." 

Earlier Wednesday, Delta said it was investigating the allegation amid criticism from some on social media, who are taking the incident as racial profiling. The airline said more than 20 customers had reported being uncomfortable by the behavior of two men on the flight. It remains unclear what speech actually prompted the complaints.

Some online compared it to an incident from November, when a white man stood up in the aisle of a Delta plane and went on an expletive-laced, pro-Donald Trump rant. He was not removed from the aisle, though Delta later barred him from flying the airline.

"Remember that token statement @Delta made about diversity after the white supremacist WASNT kicked off?" attorney Qasim Rashid tweeted. "This is why I'll never fly Delta."

People have been removed from airplanes for speaking in Arabic before.

In April, an Iraqi refugee who attends the Unviersity of California, Berkeley said he was removed from a Southwest flight and questioned by the FBI after a passenger overheard him speak in Arabic. Southwest said crew members were investigating "potentially threatening" comments. The Council on American-Islamic Relations later filed a federal complaint on the student's behalf.

And while Saleh said he was speaking to his mother before being kicked off the plane, the video posted online does not show what prompted the incident.

"I can assure you that this was not a prank,” a member of Saleh's London-based management team told NBC in an email.

Another YouTube personality who said he was kicked off the plane as well had, a few hours earlier, posted a video that showed him walking up to an English man in what appears to be an airport and asking him in a kind of Arabic accent where the toilet was. The video was captioned "this is too fun," and Saleh retweeted it.

Saleh has been posting to YouTube for five years, with 3.91 million subscribers and 657 million video views on two accounts.

Many of Saleh's videos involve pranks or so-called social experiments. The most watched video on his personal account claims to test whether women are more likely to talk to a stranger on his own or if he has a red Ferrari. In the next most widely watched video, also from 2013, he and a friend repeatedly pray in New York's Union Square to find how people will react.

One popular video they posted, appearing to show a New York police officer stopping and frisking a man in traditional dress soon after watching him walk by in contemporary American clothing, was staged and meant to dramatize racial profiling they see regularly, according to the Huffington Post.

Last week, Saleh claimed he flew in the luggage hold of an Australian plane, though TigerAir refuted it as a stunt promoting dangerous behavoir, the New Zealand Herald reported.

He has posted other videos showing himself on planes. In January, he and a companion put on headscarfs for a flight "since people can wear whatever they want and feel comfortable," he explained.

In the same video, he films himself speaking Arabic with apparent strangers at an airport, and kisses a sleeping stranger as well.

Photo Credit: @omgAdamSaleh / Twitter
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Car Wash Workers Labor Through Cold Weather


Lately, it’s been a weather roller coaster in Connecticut, leaving many people wishing for a warm up and in need of a car wash.

Therefore, car washes are open even in the cold temperatures. For most people, working outside with water in freezing weather is just a little too difficult.

“It's bitter cold,” said Laura Berman, a customer at Golden Nozzle Car Wash in Hartford. “So I would like to be inside right now, haha.”

That’s what most of the Golden Nozzle Car Wash customers do during the winter. But employees such as Assistant Manager Greg Cadize spend most of their day outdoors.

Cadize says most of the car wash workers prefer the winter.

“When it gets like five, or below five, or zero you know that's when you feel the cold. But, most of the time it's comfortable working in the winter,” said Cadize.

Louis Ramos has been working at the car wash for nine years and says he doesn’t feel the chill.

“I don't get cold like that, haha. I have been here for a long time,” said Ramos.

Whether it is a car wash or anywhere else outside, employees said the key to staying warm isn't just people’s clothing, but what they wear on their feet.

“Make sure you wear boots because your feet is the only thing that could get wet once in a while. So, if you wear boots you should be alright,” said Cadize.

Along with bundling up, employees at the car wash said they are constantly moving and salting to prevent any slick spots. They whether the weather while wearing a smile.

“It's not bad, it's a great job,” said Cadize.

Still warning people that working at the car wash, in the cold, is not for everyone.

“Stay inside,” said Ramos, then laughed.

Uber to Allow Users to Set a Person as Their Destination


Uber will allow users to set a specific person, rather than a place, as the destination of a ride, the company announced Wednesday. 

The new feature, which will launch Wednesday, is called "Uber to Person," the company wrote in a blog post. 

"With Uber, you are going from point a to b. The new Uber to Person feature recognizes that people aren't just going to point b, they are trying to get to each other," Uber product manager Yuhki Yamashita told Mashable.

Starting Wednesday, Uber users can link their contacts with the Uber app. Users will then be able to add a contact's name instead of an address as the destination for a ride. 

Uber will then ask the contact for their current location, which will be used as the destination for the ride. 

"...skip the back and forth, forget the address, and get straight to whom you’re meeting up with," Uber wrote in a blog post to introduce the new feature.

Photo Credit: AP Photo/Eric Risberg, File

Truck Driver Found With 55 Pounds of Fentanyl


A truck driver from Arizona was found with more than a million dollars worth of Fentanyl in the cab of his truck during a traffic stop on Route 34 in Derby Wednesday morning. 

Police said Derby officers stopped the truck at 10:52 a.m. and found 55 pounds of Fentanyl in the cab. The drugs are estimated to be worth about $1.5 million on the street. 

Fentanyl is a strong synthetic opioid that is 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine, according to the National Institute of Drug Abuse. 

It has also been combined with heroin to create a lethal drug cocktail that police have blamed for several fatal overdoses. The number of deaths linked to Fentanyl have been increasing. There were 14 in 2012, according to the office of the chief medical examiner. In 2015, the number was up to 188 people and the projected number of Fentanyl deaths in 2016 is 446.

Police identified the driver as 47-year-old Erick Escalante, of Arizona. 

Because of the amount of drugs found, local police turned the case over to the Drug Enforcement Administration New Haven office for possible federal prosecution.

Photo Credit: Derby Police
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