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Naugatuck Police Save Christmas For 10-Year-Old Boy


When a Naugatuck family had all the Christmas gifts stolen just days before the holiday, Naugatuck police rushed to the rescue.

Police said that around 7 p.m. Friday they responded to a reported burglary on New Haven Road. The resident told officers someone broke into the home and stole various items including electronics, clothing, and worst of all, Christmas gifts for her family.

According to police, responding officers decided to pool their resources to do something for the family. One of the items stole was a PS4 for the resident’s 10-year-old son, so officers headed over to Game Stop at Cross Point Plaza to purchase a new one. When the manager at Game Stop heard the story, the store pitched in with a significant discount off the price.

Officers returned to the home to give the mother, who was overwhelmed by the gesture and let her son have his Christmas gift a day early. He reacted with screams of joy and thanks.

The burglary remains under investigation. Anyone with information on this crime is asked to contact Naugatuck police at 203-729-5221 or the Confidential Tip Line at 203-720-1010.

Photo Credit: Naugatuck Police Department
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Man Critically Injured in Christmas Eve Fire in Manchester


Manchester fire and police are investigating a fire at a duplex that left a man severely burned.

Police say the fire at an apartment on Westerly Street started around 3:00pm. They are still trying to figure out what sparked the flames.

Neighbors quickly realized someone might be in trouble.

“That’s when I saw smoke coming from the windows and what appeared to be a man yelling,” Norman Rodriguez of Manchester, said.

Rodriguez launched a potentially life-saving to rescue the only person inside the apartment. He was joined by Nicholas Risley who lives in the apartment directly next to the one on fire.

“We see the fire coming out of the front glass, glass is shattering all over the place and we’re trying to get the door open,” Risley said.

“I tried to open the door. It wouldn’t open. So I kicked it in,” Rodriguez said.

Inside they found a 22-year-old man lying on the floor, with burns all over. Flames and black smoke were closing in.

“We were like we have to get him out of here. We’re not just going to him burn here and die,” Risley said.

“I tried to pull him out. He slipped out of my hands a couple times,” Rodriguez said.

Finally they were able to get him out of the apartment and onto the front lawn.

“He was completely burnt and he was screaming. They put him in an ambulance and took off,” Maddie Garcia of Manchester, said.

Police say the young man was rushed to Hartford Hospital then airlifted to the burn unit at Bridgeport Hospital in critical condition.

The apartment where the fire started was heavily damaged.

There was also damage to the next door unit, number 17, where Risley lives. He’s thankful he, his mother, and step-father are okay and their thoughts are with their neighbors on this Christmas Eve.

“It puts things in perspective for people you know what I mean to kind of appreciate this time of year,” Risley said.

Risley and his family won’t be able to stay in their apartment for now. They’re receiving help from family members and the Red Cross.

Investigators are still trying to determine what sparked the fire.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Final Goodbye: Some of Those Who Died in 2016


Embracing Soviet-style communism, Fidel Castro overcame imprisonment and exile to become leader of Cuba and defy the power of the United States at every turn. The strongman's half-century rule was marked by the unsuccessful U.S.-backed Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961 and the Cuban Missile Crisis a year later that brought the world to the brink of nuclear war. After surviving a crippling trade embargo and dozens of assassination plots, Castro died in November at age 90, one of many notables who left the world stage in 2016.

The year also saw the deaths of pop music giants: David Bowie, who broke musical boundaries through his musicianship and striking visuals, and Prince, considered one of the most inventive and influential musicians of modern times.

Among the political figures who died in 2016 was the world's longest reigning monarch: King Bhumibol Adulyadej, revered in Thailand as a demigod, a father figure and an anchor of stability.

Others in the world of public affairs included: former United National Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, ex-senator and astronaut John Glenn, former U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno, former Israeli leader Shimon Peres and former U.S. first lady Nancy Reagan.

In sports, the year saw the passing of Muhammad Ali, whose fast fists and outspoken personality brought him fans around the world. Other sports figures included golfer Arnold Palmer, Gordie "Mr. Hockey" Howe, basketball players Dwayne "Pearl" Washington and Nate Thurmond; and Olympians Vera Caslavska and Tommy Kono.

Artists and entertainers who died included author Harper Lee, conductor Pierre Boulez, musicians Leonard Cohen, Merle Haggard, Maurice White and Phife Dawg; and actors Gene Wilder, Abe Vigoda, Florence Henderson, Alan Rickman, Robert Vaughn, Garry Shandling, Doris Roberts, Fyvush Finkel and Anton Yelchin.

Here is a roll call of some of the people who died in 2016. 

Pierre Boulez, 90. Former principal conductor of the New York Philharmonic, one of the leading figures in modern classical music. Jan. 5.

Otis Clay, 73. Hall of fame rhythm and blues artist known as much for his charitable work in Chicago as for his singing. Jan. 8.

David Bowie, 69. Other-worldly musician who broke pop and rock boundaries with his creative musicianship and a genre-spanning persona he christened Ziggy Stardust. Jan. 10.

Alan Rickman, 69. Classically-trained British stage star and sensual screen villain in the "Harry Potter" saga and other films. Jan. 14.

Glenn Frey, 67. Rock 'n' roll rebel who co-founded the Eagles and with Don Henley formed one of history's most successful songwriting teams with such hits as "Hotel California" and "Life in the Fast Lane." Jan. 18.

Abe Vigoda, 94. Actor whose leathery, sad-eyed face made him ideal for playing the over-the-hill detective Phil Fish in the 1970s TV series "Barney Miller" and the doomed Mafia soldier in "The Godfather." Jan. 26.

Maurice White, 74. Earth, Wind & Fire founder whose horn-driven band sold more than 90 million albums. Feb. 3.

Antonin Scalia, 79. Influential conservative and most provocative member of the Supreme Court. Feb. 13.

Boutros Boutros-Ghali, 93. Egyptian diplomat who helped negotiate his country's landmark peace deal with Israel but clashed with the United States as U.N. secretary-general. Feb. 16.

Harper Lee, 89. Elusive novelist whose child's-eye view of racial injustice in a small Southern town, "To Kill a Mockingbird," became an Oscar-winning film. Feb. 19.

Nancy Reagan, 94. Backstage adviser and fierce protector of Ronald Reagan in his journey from actor to president — and finally during his battle with Alzheimer's disease. March 6.

Rob Ford, 46. Pugnacious, populist former mayor of Toronto whose career crashed in a drug-driven, obscenity-laced debacle. March 22. Cancer.

Phife Dawg, 45. Lyricist whose witty wordplay was a linchpin of the groundbreaking hip-hop group A Tribe Called Quest. March 22. Complications from diabetes.

Garry Shandling, 66. Actor and comedian who masterminded a brand of phony docudrama with "The Larry Sanders Show." March 24.

Patty Duke, 69. As a teen, she won an Oscar for playing Helen Keller in "The Miracle Worker," then maintained a long career while battling personal demons. March 29.

Merle Haggard, 79. Country giant who rose from poverty and prison to international fame through his songs about outlaws and underdogs. April 6.

Dwayne "Pearl" Washington, 52. Basketball player who went from New York City playground wonder to Big East star at Syracuse. April 20.

Prince, 57. One of the most inventive and influential musicians of modern times with hits including "Little Red Corvette," ''Let's Go Crazy" and "When Doves Cry." April 21.

Tommy Kono, 85. He took up weightlifting in an internment camp for Japanese-Americans and went on to win two Olympic gold medals for the United States. May 1.

Morley Safer, 84. Veteran "60 Minutes" correspondent who exposed a military atrocity in Vietnam that played an early role in changing Americans' view of the war. May 19.

Rosalie Chris Lerman, 90. Survivor of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Nazi death camp who was a passionate advocate of Holocaust remembrance. May 19.

Muhammad Ali, 74. Heavyweight champion whose fast fists, irrepressible personality and determined spirit transcended sports and captivated the world. June 3.

Gordie Howe, 88. Known as "Mr. Hockey," the Canadian farm boy whose blend of talent and toughness made him the NHL's quintessential star. June 10.

Anton Yelchin, 27. Rising actor best known for playing Chekov in the new "Star Trek" films. June 19. Hit by his car in his driveway.

Pat Summitt, 64. Winningest coach in Division I college basketball history who lifted the women's game from obscurity to national prominence during her 38-year career at Tennessee. June 28.

Elie Wiesel, 87. Romanian-born Holocaust survivor whose classic "Night" launched his career as one of the world's foremost witnesses and humanitarians. July 2.

Clown Dimitri, 80. Beloved Swiss clown and mime who studied under Marcel Marceau. July 19.

Rev. Tim LaHaye, 90. Co-author of the "Left Behind" series, a literary juggernaut that brought end-times prophecy into mainstream bookstores. July 25.

John McLaughlin, 89. Conservative political commentator and host of a television show that pioneered hollering-heads discussions of politics. Aug. 16.

Sonia Rykiel, 86. French designer whose relaxed sweaters in berry-colored stripes and eye-popping motifs helped liberate women from stuffy suits. Aug. 25.

Gene Wilder, 83. Frizzy-haired actor who brought his deft comedic touch to such unforgettable roles as the neurotic accountant in "The Producers." Aug. 28.

Vera Caslavska, 74. Seven-time Olympic gymnastics gold medalist who stood up against the 1968 Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia. Aug. 30.

Phyllis Schlafly, 92. Outspoken conservative activist who helped defeat the Equal Rights Amendment in the 1970s. Sept. 5.

Rose Mofford, 94. Arizona's first female governor and a shepherd for the state during a period of political turbulence. Sept. 15.

Arnold Palmer, 87. Golfing great who brought a country-club sport to the masses with a hard-charging style, charisma and a commoner's touch. Sept. 25.

Shimon Peres, 93. Former Israeli president and prime minister whose life story mirrored that of the Jewish state and who was celebrated as a Nobel prize-winning visionary who pushed his country toward peace. Sept. 28.

King Bhumibol Adulyadej, 88. World's longest reigning monarch, he was revered in Thailand as a demigod, a humble father figure and an anchor of stability through decades of upheaval. Oct. 13.

Junko Tabei, 77. The first woman to climb Mount Everest. Oct. 20.

Tom Hayden, 76. 1960s antiwar activist whose name became forever linked with the Chicago 7 trial, Vietnam War protests and his ex-wife, actress Jane Fonda. Oct. 23.

Janet Reno, 78. First woman to serve as U.S. attorney general and the center of several political storms during the Clinton administration. Nov. 7.

Leonard Cohen, 82. Canadian singer-songwriter who blended spirituality and sexuality in songs like "Hallelujah," ''Suzanne" and "Bird on a Wire." Nov. 7.

Gwen Ifill, 61. Co-anchor of PBS' "NewsHour" and a veteran journalist who moderated two vice presidential debates. Nov. 14.

Florence Henderson, 82. Broadway star who became one of America's most beloved television moms in "The Brady Bunch." Nov. 24.

Fidel Castro, 90. He led his bearded rebels to victorious revolution in 1959, embraced Soviet-style communism and challenged U.S. power during his half-century of rule in Cuba. Nov. 25.

Jayaram Jayalalithaa, 68. South Indian actress who turned to politics and became the highest elected official in the state of Tamil Nadu. Dec. 4.

John Glenn, 95. His 1962 flight as the first U.S. astronaut to orbit the Earth made him an all-American hero and propelled him to a long career in the U.S. Senate. Dec. 8.

Alan Thicke, 69. Versatile performer who gained his greatest renown as the beloved dad on the sitcom "Growing Pains." Dec. 13.

Zsa Zsa Gabor, 99. Jet-setting Hungarian actress and socialite who helped invent a new kind of fame out of multiple marriages, conspicuous wealth and jaded wisdom about the glamorous life. Dec. 18.

George Michael, 53. Rocketed to stardom with Wham! and went on to enjoy a long and celebrated solo career lined with controversies. Dec. 25.

Photo Credit: AP/Getty Images, File

I-691 in Meriden Now Open After Deadly Accident


State Police say  I-691 Eastbound before exit 4 in Meriden has been re-opened following a deadly car crash that occurred on Christmas morning at around 6:35 a.m. 

According to State Police, the crash occurred between exits 4 and 5 and involved one vehicle.

Police say one person was ejected from the vehicle and sustained a fatal injury.

Police have identifed the victim as 36-year-old Louis Gonzalez of Waterbury.

The other three occupants of the vehicle were transorted to the hospital and later released, according to police.

All lanes of I-691 Eastbound in Meriden between exits 4 and 5 were shut down at while traffic was being diverted off of exit 4, police say.

According to police, the crash was cleared and I-691 was re-opened just before 11 a.m.

Elderly Bristol Man Missing Since Yesterday Found Safe


A  Silver Alert issued last night has been cancelled for 78-year-old man Tadeusz Tomaszycki of 25 Nursery Circle, Bristol after he was found safe. 

The alert was issued after he was last seen on December 24th after leaving a family gathering in Burlington and not returning home, police said.

The silver alert was cancelled around 5:30 p.m. on Sunday, December 25. 

Dikembe Mutombo Proves Changing the World Isn't 'Crazy'


Dikembe Mutombo may have an easy smile and famous gravelly laugh, but the NBA Hall of Famer does not mess around.

"That African boy does not know how to play basketball," Mutombo recalls naysayers claiming when he was drafted by the Denver Nuggets fourth overall in 1991, according to NBC News.

The Georgetown graduate proved them wrong and went on to become an eight-time all-star and one of most celebrated defensive players in the sport's history.

Mutombo retired in 2009, and traded in his jersey for expensive blue suits. His mission is now saving and improving lives, not blocking shots, and he's using his stature and fame to help some of the world's poorest and most vulnerable — including building a state-of-the-art hospital to help the poor and sick in his native Democratic Republic of Congo that Mutombo says people told him he was "crazy" for attempting.

Photo Credit: AP, File

Fire Crews Battle Blaze at Vernon Home


Six children were safely evacuated after a fire broke out at 96 Union in Vernon Sunday night. 

Fire officials said crews were called to Union Street on reports of a fire around 5:15 p.m. Sunday. 

The house sustained serious damage and crews are still working to determine what sparked the fire. 

According to relatives, the parents of the children were not home at the time the fire broke out. 

Fire officials said one firefighter sustained injuries after slipping on some ice. 

This is a developing story. Check back wih NBC Connecticut for updates as they become available. 

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

You Can't Expense That Llama: 2016's Wackiest Claims


A llama brought in for a photo shoot may just be the zaniest expense request of 2016, according to a survey of more than 430 business travelers, NBC News reports.

A $28,000 bottle-service tab, a blow-up doll and personalized bobblehead figurines also made the list of oddest expenses that the travelers or a colleague tried to push through, per the survey by travel and expense management firm Certify.

Workers trying to expense something offbeat or expensive, or pass off personal expenses as something related to work, can be incurring a risk, experts say.

"You might think of it as a joke, but it could come back to haunt you in the office," said Dan Schawbel, author of "Promote Yourself: The New Rules for Career Success."

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Winter Blast Brings Blizzard Conditions to Northern Plains


A winter storm brought a white Christmas to the northern Plains on Sunday, with fierce blizzard conditions that threatened holiday travel plans as a wintry mix was expected to move further east, NBC News reported. 

Blizzard warnings were in effect in eastern Montana and swaths of North and South Dakota on Sunday afternoon, according to the National Weather Service, with winter storm warnings issued in Minnesota, Wyoming and parts of Northern Nebraska. 

The worst of storm was battering the Dakotas with heavy snow and ice, potentially stranding those trying to get home from grandma's house — or anywhere else — according to the Weather Channel. 

"I don't think anybody's going to be going anywhere, not if they're smart," said John Rowe, a senior meteorologist at the Weather Channel.

I-91 in North Haven Open After Crash Closed Several Lanes


Interstate 91 Northbound has been re-opened in North Haven after a serious one car accident shut down several lanes on Christmas morning near exit 12, according to State Police.

Police say the crash occurred at around 9:24 a.m. this morning and at least one occupant has incurred a serious injury.

At most several lanes were shut down on the highway for around two hours, until the scene was cleared at around 11:31 a.m., according to police.

Photo Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Merry Christmas - A Little Snow on the Way?


Good morning and Merry Christmas! There was some hellacious black ice out there last night and this morning across the state but things are looking up for the rest of today. 

A couple things to watch going forward. One issue is the potential for some really light freezing rain tomorrow in a couple of northwest hilltowns. The odds of this happening are fairly low, however.

There's a better chance for some snow on Thursday, however. The details aren't particularly clear but the European Ensemble is showing decent odds of >1" of snow across inland Connecticut (see graphic above). Temperatures will likely be borderline so this will likely favor the hills over the valleys and shoreline. This doesn't look like a big storm but rather a nuisance.  

Otherwise it's looking fairly quiet this week - hope you enjoy a great holiday!

Analysis: China is Both Threat, Opportunity for Trump


While the U.S. remains the world's dominant military and economic power, China now is the world's second-biggest economy and has the largest military. And Beijing is beginning to flex its muscles.

After hundreds of years of looking inward, China is ascerting itself regionally, building aircraft carriers, asserting its dominance over most of the disputed South China Sea and sending troops abroad.

President Xi Jinping, China's most powerful leader in decades, is sending Washington a strong message, which is that China has changed and old assumptions about global power and American dominance don't hold anymore.

As a result of an assertive Beijing, President-Elect Donald Trump will have to decide whether to continue irritating Beijing by sailing aircraft carriers in waters China claims. Beijing's willingness or unwillingness to restrain North Korea's nuclear ambitions may provoke some sort of reaction from Washington.

Trump has not wasted time in rattling Beijing's cage — that may hint at things to come.

Photo Credit: File--AP

Bob Diaco Relieved of Coaching Duties at UConn


UConn head football coach Bob Diaco is out of a job.

Diaco has been relieved of his coaching duties, effective January 2, according to a release on the UConn Athletics website.

"I believe a new leader for our program and student-athletes is needed to build a long-term success, Athletic Director David Benedict said in a statement.

Diaco finished the 2016 season with a 3-9 record. In three seasons, he was 11-26 as head coach.

"This is obviously not the way I had hoped things would turn out, but I appreciate having had the opportunity to be here at UConn," Diaco said in a statement.

According to his contract, UConn would have had to pay Diaco a $5 million buyout if the university fired him before December 31.  By waiting until Jan.2, the buyout is $3.4 million.

"I thank the administration, staff and fans of the UConn Football program for their passion and support over these three years. Most importantly, I want to say how much I love the players on this team and will be rooting for their success. I know that here are great things to come for all of them," Diaco said.

UConn will begin the search for a new head coach immediately, the university said.

Obama 'Confident' He Could Have Won in 2016


President Barack Obama expressed confidence that his progressive vision for the country still has broad appeal despite the stunning defeat of Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton in the general election this November in a candid sit-down for his former adviser David Axelrod's podcast "The Axe Files."

Although he complimented Clinton, saying she "performed wonderfully under really tough circumstances," he also suggested that had he been able to campaign for a third term he believes he would have "mobilized a majority of the American people" to rally behind the Democratic party.

"I know that in conversations that I've had with people around the country, even some people who disagreed with me, they would say the vision, the direction that you point towards is the right one," Obama told Axelrod in an interview published on Monday.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Car Crashes Into House in Milford


A driver suffered a medical emergency before crashing into a home in Milford on Monday, according to fire officials.

Crews responded to the crash at 1019 New Haven Avenue around 11 a.m.

The crash happened near Mary Ellen Drive, according to fire officials.

It appeared the car crashed into another vehicle before slamming into the garage of a split level ranch, causing significant damage to the house.

The driver was taken to Milford Hospital with minor injuries.

No one in the house was hurt, fire officials said.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

New Overtime Law in Limbo, But Still Helping Thousands


A law that would have made millions of workers eligible for overtime was blocked by a federal judge in November, but the law still may have resulted in higher wages for the workers it was intended to help, NBC News reported.

The law would have required companies to pay overtime to salaried/exempt workers who work more than 40 hours per week but made under $47,476 per year. Under current law, employers do not have to pay overtime to salaried/exempt workers if they make more than $23,661.

A federal judge issued a preliminary injuntion, saying the Department of Labor's rule exceeds the authority the agency was delegated by Congress, in late November, just one week before it was supposed to take effect on Dec. 1.

But according to a study by compensation information and research company PayScale, many employers gave employees raises, boosting them about the $47,476 threshhold, or reclassified employees as hourly working, making them eligible for overtime.  

Photo Credit: AP

Man Pulled Gun on Family Member Christmas Morning: Police


East Windsor police arrested a man after they say he pulled a gun on a family member while intoxicated early Christmas morning.

Officers responded to the Mill Pond Village Apartments on Mill Pond Road in the Broad Brook section of town around 3:15 a.m. Sunday.

They stopped a car as it tried to leave the area and found the driver, Americo Perez, 62, was the man allegedly involved in the incident.

After searching the car, police found the gun hidden inside the apartment where the dispute took place, authorities said.

A further investigation determined there were children present when Perez allegedly pointed the gun at the family member.

Perez was charged with first-degree threatening, carrying a loaded firearm under influence of liquor, first-degree reckless endangerment and risk of injury to or impairing the morals of children.

He was held on $50,000 bond and is scheduled to appear in court on Tuesday.

Photo Credit: East Windsor Police

Fire Breaks Out New Haven Condo Complex


Firefighters are battling a three-alarm fire at a condo complex in New Haven.

The fire was reported at the Harbour Landing complex at 99 Harbor Close and arriving crews found a fire on the roof and heavy smoke, according to tweets by the New Haven Fire Department.

Smoke from the fire could be seen from several miles away.

Everyone at the complex is accounted for, according to fire officials at the scene.

West Haven firefighters have been called to cover the fire station in New Haven that responded to the fire.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Nor'easter Potential Increasing for Thursday


The season's first major Nor'easter is possible Thursday.

As of Monday afternoon, the biggest question is when and just how quickly the storm strengthens.

The European model has been steadfast in showing a potent storm curving north near the New England coast.

Other models, such as the American and Canadian, have wintry precipitation on Thursday but have a slower-developing storm.

Either way, some snow is likely on Thursday.

The closer and stronger the storm, the better the chance for mixing in southeastern Connecticut.

The European ensemble system, which is run 51 different times, prints out an average snowfall of six inches on the Litchfield County border with Massachusetts.

Notice, however, the greatest chance for "jackpot" snowfall totals is well to the north of Connecticut, over Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine.

The most likely scenario at this point is a combination of mix (southeast) and all snow (northwest), with shovels and plows necessary for a good part of the state.

This storm's ceiling in terms of snow potential is high – so pay close attention to upcoming forecasts.

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House Catches Fire While Cromwell Couple on Honeymoon


A fire broke out at a home in Cromwell early Monday morning.

Someone driving past the home at 597 Main Street saw flames on the porch around 2 a.m., called 911 and alerted the people inside, according to fire officials.

Three people who were inside the house were able to get out safely.

Those people were pet-sitting for the owners, who are in Aruba on their honeymoon, according to Marc Kunkel, whose daughter owns the house.

The bystander threw a rock through a window to wake the people inside the home, Kunkel said.  He is now looking for the good Samaritan to thank that person.

Investigators are still trying to determine what sparked the fire.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut
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