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Car Smashes into Building in West Hartford


Police and fire crews were called to Hillcrest Road after a car smashed into an apartment building in West Hartford Sunday night. 

Police said there were no injuries but the building sustained heavy damage.

According to Firefighters, the gas to the building had to be turned off, leaving several people without a place to stay for the night.  

It was not made immediately clear what caused the crash. 

According to police, the incident is under investigation. 

We will update this story as more details become available. 

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

35 Expelled Russian Diplomats Leave US


The 35 Russian diplomats whom the Obama administration ordered out of the country in retaliation for alleged hacking of the U.S. presidential election have left the country, a State Department official told NBC News on Sunday.

The diplomats' families went with them, said the official, who said any other details would have to come from Moscow. Russian news agencies quoted Russia's embassy as confirming the news, Reuters reported.

President Barack Obama ordered the expulsion of the diplomats on Thursday and imposed sanctions on two suspected hackers and three companies that allegedly provided support to cyber operations by Russia's GRU intelligence service.

The CIA has concluded that the interference was intended to help Donald Trump win the election, and NBC News has reported that intelligence officials believe "with a high level of confidence" that Russian President Vladimir Putin was personally involved in the covert campaign.

Photo Credit: AP Photo/Alexander F. Yuan

Possible Debris From Plane Carrying 6 Found Along Lake Erie


Possible debris from a small plane that vanished last week after taking off for Ohio State University has been found washing ashore on Lake Erie near the airport where it took off, authorities said Sunday night. 

Air traffic controllers lost contact with the Cessna Citation 525 shortly after it took off from Burke Lakefront Airport in Cleveland on Thursday night, NBC News reported. Six people, three of them children, were aboard, returning to Columbus after having attended a Cleveland Cavaliers basketball game.

The unified command coordinating search operations by the Coast Guard and local fire and police crews said Sunday night that it had received multiple reports of debris washing ashore east of the airport. None of the reported has been verified as having come from the Cessna, it said.

Cleveland police, who are leading the investigation, said they're investigating the contents of a bag that was recovered separately Sunday near Shoreby Club Harbor in Bratenahl.

Photo Credit: AP Photo/Tony Dejak

How Trump Campaigned, and Will Govern, on Social Media


Getting off social media won't be one of Donald Trump's New Year's resolutions, a top aide confirmed Sunday, adding that America can expect more policy pronouncements and newsmakers in 140-character missives from the president-elect before and after his inauguration, NBC News reported. 

Days after Trump surprised national security experts by calling for more nuclear arms, incoming press secretary Sean Spicer told ABC News that Trump wouldn't shy away from using Twitter freely when in office — although the last time U.S. nuclear policy was detailed, it came after a year of deliberation.

"I think it freaks the mainstream media out that he has this following of over 45-plus million people that follow him on social media, that he can have a direct conversation. He doesn't have to have it funneled through the media," Spicer said on ABC's "This Week." "You're going to see — absolutely you're going to see Twitter." 

Trump's 2016 was colored by dozens of Twitter-spurred headlines and results — some intended, some not. Take a look at his top 140-character moments.

Photo Credit: AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

Minimum Wages Will Rise in Nearly Two Dozen States in 2017


Millions of Americans are set to receive higher pay in the new year, despite the potential confirmation of a millionaire labor secretary who once opposed the Obama administration's efforts to raise the federal minimum wage.

Twenty-two states, plus the District of Columbia, will see their minimum wages increase over the course of 2017, according to The Fairness Project, a nonprofit organization that supports progressive causes. In addition, dozens of cities will see similar hikes.

The raises are owed in large part to a strategy adopted by the Obama administration to circumvent an obstructionist Republican Congress. Rather than give up on their domestic policy agenda, the president and his aides have aggressively used the bully pulpit to push cities and states toward adopting key proposals — including a higher minimum wage.

The raises also reflect a galvanized grassroots effort that managed to convince an enormous number of voters of the need for higher pay.

Photo Credit: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Obama to Deliver Farewell Address Jan. 10


As his time in the Oval Office comes to an end, President Barack on Monday gave the country a preview of the farewell address he will deliver in Chicago on Jan. 10, a mere 10 days before President-elect Donald Trump is to be sworn in.

Obama, in a written statement, explained that the American people have helped him lead during his presidency, a theme he plans to highlight in his speech.

"I'm thinking about [my remarks] as a chance to say thank you for this amazing journey, to celebrate the ways you've changed this country for the better these past eight years, and to offer some thought on where we all go from here," he wrote.

The sitting president offered encouragement to his fellow Americans, who he said have hit obstacles since he took office.

"Since 2009, we've faced our fair share of challenges, and come through them stronger," he said. "That's because we have never let go of a belief that has guided us ever since our founding — our conviction that, together, we can change this country for the better.

The U.S. president's farewell address, Obama noted, is a tradition that dates back to 1796, when George Washington said goodbye to Americans before transferring power to his successor, John Adams.

Photo Credit: AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster

Early Morning House Fire Knocked Down in East Haven


East Haven firefighters responded to Gerrish Ave. at around 3:30 a.m. this morning on a call of smoke emitting from a roof, fire officials say.

Officials say that upon arrival, firefighters found a small fire on the 3rd floor of the multi-family home that was quickly extinguished.

According to officials, all occupants made it out of the building safely by the time fire crews arrived on scene and no one was injured.

Check Back for Updates.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Two Dead in New Haven After Car Crashes Into Synagogue


New Haven Police say that two men have died after a car crashed into the Congregation Beth El Keser Synagogue at 85 Harrison Street early on Monday morning following a police pursuit.

Police officials tell NBC Connecticut that the incident began as a carjacking in the area of Fitch and Blake streets after one man showed the victim a simulated weapon beneath his closing at around 12:15 a.m.

Police say the victim of the carjacking was not injured.

At around 1:35 a.m. an officer spotted the stolen vehicle, a 2005 Toyota Highlander, in the area of Whalley Ave. at Winthrop Ave. police say.

According to police, the officer attempted to stop the vehicle but lost sight of it.

The car was then found crashed into the synagogue, police say.

The synagogue sustained minimal structural damage while the stolen vehicle sustained heavy damage, according to police.

Police say one man was dead upon arrival on scene while the other was transported to the hospital where he later succumbed to his injuries.

Per standard procedure, New Haven Police say they have turned the case over to Connecticut State Police who are continuing the investigation.

Check back for more updates as they become available.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

State Police Seek Suspect in New Year's Day Car Theft


Connecticut State police are trying to locate a suspect accused of stealing a car from Marlborough on New Year’s Day.

State Police said the subject pictured above is believed to have stolen a 2009 gray Honda Fit license plate FC4193 from Main Street in Marlborough around 2:30 p.m. Sunday. The vehicle was last seen on Route 2.

Police said there is no immediate threat to the public but ask that anyone who spots the suspect not to approach him and to call 911.

Anyone with information or who can identify the suspect is encouraged to call Troop K at 860-456-5400 or text TIP711 with information to 274637. Callers may remain anonymous.

Photo Credit: Connecticut State Police

Connecticut Hospitals Welcome New Year's Babies


Hartford Hospital welcomed its first baby of the new year at 12:29 a.m. Sunday.

Baby Gia Burns was born of Angela and Michael Burns from Southington. She weighed in at seven pounds, 14 ounces.

Gia baby is the couple's first child, born just minutes after her parents' first wedding anniversary on Dec. 31, 2016.

Over at Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center, Lucas Li made his appearance at 5:18 a.m. Lucas must have wanted to celebrate the start of 2017 because it came early - he wasn't expected until Jan. 12!

He weighed in at six pounds, nine ounches, and is the second child of Yan Zhuang and Xiaochen Li of Vernon.

Photo Credit: Hartford Hospital
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Suspect Held 3 People Captive in Branford Motel Room: PD


Branford police have arrested a man accused of holding three people captive in a motel room and assaulting them.

Branford police said around 4 a.m. Saturday they responded to a 911 hang up at the Motel 6 on East Main Street.

Responding officers found three men and two women in the room when they arrived. Initially, officers were told there was a minor argument and officers then left. Police then received a second report that two men entered the room uninvited and robbed, assaulted, and held the original occupants of the room captive.

Christopher Pruitt, 37, of West Haven, was arrested and charged with robbery, breach of peace, assault, threatening, interfering with a 911 call, strangulation, larceny, and unlawful restraint. He is being held on a $100,000 bond and is expected in court on Jan. 3.

A second man reportedly entered the room with Pruitt but he has yet to be located.

Photo Credit: Branford Police Department

Dozens Displaced After Fire at Home Care Facility in Norwalk


Twenty-six people had to be relocated after a fire at an adult home care facility in Norwalk Sunday.

Firefighters responded around 7:15 p.m. to Carlson Place at 17 Nelson Ave. for a fire alarm. When crews arrived on scene they found that staff had already evacuated the building.

When firefighters searched the building they found one resident inside who was taken outside and evaluated by Norwalk Hospital EMS for smoke inhalation. The resident was then taken to the hospital for further treatment.

The fire was located in a first floor bedroom and quickly extinguished. There was heavy smoke throughout the building.

The Chief Building official declared the building unfit for occupancy. The residents were taken to a local hospital where they will stay until repairs can be made, fire officials said.

Photo Credit: NBC 7 San Diego

La Petite France in West Hartford Closing After 7 Years


La Petite France Bakery in West Hartford is closing its doors after seven years of serving up French pastries, according to a post on the bakery’s Facebook page.

In the post, the owners announced they would be closing the bakery and cafe, located at 967 Farmington Ave., on Jan. 12, and thanked the community for its support.

Owner Alexandra Litor will be starting a new career as a yoga instructor.

La Petite France was featured on NBC Connecticut's The Feast in 2013.

For more information visit the bakery's Facebook page.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut
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Armless Syrian Boy Thrives in US


Ahmad Alkhalaf and his father have been living in the United States among a rotating group of Muslim families since their arrival in June 2015 on a medical visa for Ahmad. The 11-year-old's arms were blow off in a refugee camp bomb blast that also killed three of his siblings in Syria. Dirgam Alkhalaf has applied for asylum and hopes to petition for the rest of the family if he and Ahmad are permitted to stay.

Photo Credit: AP

Reported Loud Bang, 'Explosion' Rocks Houses in Southington


Southington police are investigating reports of a loud bang after residents report the noise shook homes in the Southington, Wolcott and Cheshire areas.

Southington police told NBC Connecticut they were not sure what noise, described as an “explosion” was caused by but that authorities were looking into it.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

Delays on I-395 in Putnam After Serious Crash

McDonald's Opens in Vatican-Owned Building


A new McDonald's has opened up in a Vatican-owned building and not everyone is lovin' it.

The McDonald's opened Friday in the Pio Borgo district of Rome, about 100 yards from the Vatican State, the Catholic Press Agency reported Sunday.

While the opening was low-key, the move faced criticism when it was first announced. The "McVatican," as has it has been dubbed, will reportedly pay the the Vatican's property supervisor more than $30,000 a month to occupy the building's bottom floor.

Several senior cardinals also live in the building.

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Shrimp Shoplifter Strikes Watertown Market Twice: Police


Watertown police are trying to locate a man accused of shoplifting meat and seafood from a local market during the Christmas holiday.

Police said the suspect pictured above is wanted in connection with two separate shoplifting incidents at Labbone’s Market on the Straits Turnpike on Dec. 24 and Dec. 27. In one instance he allegedly stole two hams, a bag of shrimp, and a beef tenderloin - in the second, three bags of shrimp.

The suspect is described as around 6-foot, with a medium build and thin goatee. He was wearing a baseball cap and gray hooded sweatshirt in both incidents.

According to investigators, the man may go by “Ritchie Simpson.” Anyone with information on his identity is asked to contact Watertown Police Det. Kevin Ferrucci at 860-945-5216 or Crimestoppers at 860-945-9940.

Photo Credit: Watertown Police Department

Crews Knock Down Camper Fire in Moosup


Crews in Moosup knocked down a fire that started to spread from a parked camper to a home Monday afternoon.

Quinebaug Valley Emergency Communications tweeted that crews were called to 128 Sterling Hill road for a reported RV fire with extension to a home. The fire is under control at this time.

No other details were immediately available. Check back for updates.

Photo Credit: Quinebaug Valley Emergency Communications

Trump Takes Aim at Mayor Emanuel in Tweet About Chicago


As Chicago closed on one of its most violent years in decades, President-elect Donald Trump tweeted Monday the city should seek federal help if local authorities can’t handle the crisis.

“Chicago murder rate is record setting - 4,331 shooting victims with 762 murders in 2016,” Trump tweeted. “If Mayor can’t do it he must ask for Federal help!”

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Data made available by the Chicago Police Department shows 2016 was one of the most violent years in the city since the mid ‘90s. While it wasn't a record, as Trump stated, Chicago saw 762 murders, 3,550 shooting incidents and 4,331 shooting victims in 2016.

The mayor’s office did not immediately respond to Ward Room’s request for comment on Trump’s tweet, though Police Supt. Eddie Johnson told reporters Sunday he plans to hire nearly 1,000 more officers by the end of the year to help combat violence.
“If you give us the tools that we need to hold these individuals accountable, I promise you 2017 will be a much better, and safer, year for the city of Chicago,” Johnson said.

The mayor’s office did not immediately respond to Ward Room’s request for comment on Trump’s tweet, though Police Supt. Eddie Johnson told reporters Sunday he plans to hire nearly 1,000 more officers by the end of the year to help combat violence.

“If you give us the tools that we need to hold these individuals accountable, I promise you 2017 will be a much better, and safer, year for the city of Chicago,” Johnson said.

Over the course of the campaign, Trump repeatedly referenced Chicago’s violent crime.

“In Chicago, they’ve had thousands of shootings — thousands — since January first,” Trump said during the first presidential debate in September. “And I’m saying, ‘Where is this? Is this a war-torn country? What are we doing?’”

The Chicago City Council voted in November to remove honorary “Trump Plaza” street signs near the president-elect’s riverfront hotel and condominium tower as a response to the Republican's incendiary rhetoric about the city.

Johnson made a commitment Sunday to reduce the city’s violence in 2017. Besides hiring additional officers, the CPD plans to fund economic growth and provide support for young men in violent neighborhoods, police said.

On Sunday, “60 Minutes” aired a segment titled “Crisis in Chicago,” bringing renewed attention to the city’s murder rate.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel met with the president-elect last month at Trump Tower in New York City, delivering a letter from mayors across the country calling for protections for young immigrants. However, it’s unclear whether Emanuel and Trump discussed Chicago’s violent crime.

Trump also met with Chicago rapper/producer Kanye West in December. Following the meeting, West tweeted that he discussed the city’s violence with Trump.

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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