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Man Charged with Attacking Girl in her Middletown Home: PD


A Clinton man is accused of strangling and trying to sexually assault a girl after coming into her Middletown home uninvited, according to police.

Jean-Baptiste Berthony, 24, faces various charges including attempt to commit sexual assault, strangulation, home invasion, and kidnapping, among others.

Middletown police said that on Friday evening a resident reported a girl was at the door with a bloody nose claiming someone had assaulted her. According to the arraignment report, Officers responded and spoke to the “hysterical” victim, who told police a man entered her home through the front door and asked for a woman by name. The victim said that when she told the man that woman did not live there and asked him to leave, he attacked her.

The victim reported that she was knocked to the ground and the man hit her multiple times, then placed his hands around her neck. She also told police the man tried to take off her pants before she escaped and went for help, according to the arraignment report.

Police found Berthony, who matched the victim’s description of her attacker, two streets away. The victim positively identified Berthony and he was arrested, police said.

The victim was taken to Middlesex Hospital for evaluation.

Berthony was held on a $500,000 bond and is expected in Middlesex Superior Court on Jan. 9. 

Photo Credit: Middletown Police Department

Active Weather Pattern to Yield Little Snow Over Next Week


Multiple weather systems will make a run at Connecticut over the next week, but very little snow is expected.

The coldest air since last winter has been in place the past two days, but that's no sign of what's to come.

While a few snow flakes and sleet pellets are possible Tuesday afternoon, warm air surges north fairly easily.

So, the bulk of the next weather system will be rain. Wednesday morning's commute will be wet, as the rain will be getting ready to move out.

High temperatures will be in the upper 40s on Wednesday, which is more than 10 degrees above average.

Thursday and Friday will be mostly cloudy, and each day features at least a small chance for a rain shower.

The good news for the weekend is that no winter weather is anticipated Saturday.

However, yet another storm approaches Saturday night. High pressure will be in prime position for that system to start as some sort of a wintry mix.

There is a great deal of uncertainty as to when it actually arrives, but plan on at least some wintry precipitation on Sunday, lasting into Monday. Eventually, any snow or sleet will go over to rain.

So, when does winter return?

Even next week, models are showing a very unfavorable pattern for big snowstorms in Connecticut.

New Haven School Bus Carrying 16 Students Hit by Car: NHPS


A school bus carrying 16 students was involved in an accident on the way to Amistad High School in New Haven Monday morning, school officials confirmed.

A New Haven Public Schools spokesperson said the bus was struck in the back by a car as it was crossing Foxon Boulevard (Route 80) near Quinnpiac Avenue around 7:30 a.m. No one on the bus reported injuries, but the students were taken to Yale-New Haven Hospital to be evaluated as a precaution, school officials said.

Two people were inside the car. Their conditions are unclear.

New Haven police are investigating.

NFL Playoffs: Top Images From the 2016-2017 Season


Check out some of the best images from the playoffs of the 2016-2017 NFL season.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

East Windsor, Windsor Locks Remain in Running for Casino


MMCT Venture has dropped East Hartford, Hartford and South Windsor from consideration for the site of a new casino in the state, leaving East Windsor and Windsor Locks as the remaining contenders, the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan Tribes announced Friday.

MMCT Venture has been seeking sites for a proposed jointly run a border casino to compete with MGM Resorts International, which plans to build a casino in Springfield, Massachusetts. The venture is made up of the tribes that run Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun.

“We sincerely appreciate East Hartford, Hartford and South Windsor’s interest in working with us on this critically important project. They could not have been better partners,” said Mohegan Tribal Council Chairman Kevin Brown.

“After a detailed economic analysis, we’ve determined that East Windsor and Windsor Locks align best with our development models and preserve more jobs and revenue for the state. Ultimately, wherever we build this facility, we are committed to be excellent neighbors, dedicated to helping the Capitol Region succeed,” said Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Council Chairman Rodney Butler in a release.

Leaders of the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribes have said their business in Connecticut will suffer once the Springfield casino opens in 2018 and the General Assembly's fiscal office is predicting Connecticut could lose $68.3 million in revenue. A recent study commissioned by the tribe claims that more than 9,000 jobs could be lost if the state does not compete against the Springfield casino project.

The tribes are working with officials in both towns to set up meetings to discuss proposals with the communities.

Silver Lane Partners, LLC, the company that propsed the East Hartford casino, announced a press conference to discuss MMCT's decision. The press conference is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Tuesday at the Radisson Hartford Hotel on Morgan Street in Hartford.

State Issues Warning After 19 Complaints About Paving Contractor


State officials are issuing a warning after receiving several complaints about a paving contractor who operates mainly in the eastern and central parts of the state, according to the state Department of Consumer Protection. 

Officials from the state said they have received 19 complaints about Edward Branciforte since 2008 and they are asking anyone who has done business with him or interacted with him to come forward. His license has been suspended and state officials said Branciforte might also be operating under the name of a friend, Junie Lynn Leprie, to make his business appear legitimate. 

According to the Department of Consumer Protection, Branciforte typically shows up unannounced at a prospective customers’ door and offers paving services and they are urging residents to be wary of any home improvement contractor who goes door-to-door to solicit business. 

In many cases, Branciforte doesn’t include a price in his initial negotiation or contract, and then presents a large invoice after the work, which is often substandard, is completed, according to Consumer Protection. 

“One of our goals at DCP is to not overburden businesses that play by the rules, but to make sure that bad actors are held accountable. We’re working hard to keep our investigations efficient, and that means making sure consumers know when they can help. That’s why we’re asking for whatever information the public may have as we continue to gather facts concerning his paving activities,” Consumer Protection Commissioner Jonathan Harris said in a statement. “It’s also a priority for us to educate consumers about how to identify bad actors so that consumers can protect themselves and avoid waiting to get their hard-earned money back through a legal process or our complaint process.” 

Consumers should not do business with contractors who:


  • Show up at your door unexpected offering a great deal.
  • Are unable to verify they are registered appropriately with DCP.
  • Don’t present contracts compliant with state law. Requirements can be found on DCP’s website here). Contracts should always include a definite price, begin and end dates, and a three-day grace period during which the consumer can cancel the contract.
  • Refuse to answer questions about their work plan or your contract.
  • Can’t provide references.
  • Pressure you to commit to their services right away to make sure you get the cheapest deal possible.
  • Attempt to get you to pay all or a large portion of the contract price up front or any amounts by cash, money order or other untraceable method of payment.


Consumers can file complaints or provide information about Branciforte by emailing dcp.frauds@ct.gov or calling us at (860) 713-6100 and Toll Free in CT at (800) 842-2649.

Photo Credit: Connecticuyt Department of Consumer Protection

Deer Trapped on Ice in Simsbury


A deer is trapped on the ice on the Farmington River in Simsbury.

It's happening near Riverside drive, police said.

Police are monitoring the situation, but say they are hoping the deer can get itself off the ice.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Wrong-Way Driver Caused Crash that Closed I-95: Police


A wrong-way driver caused a crash that closed Interstate 95 north in Milford Monday morning, according to state police.

According to state police, a Chevrolet Silverado was traveling in the left lane of I-95 near exit 40 when the driver swerved to avoid a Buick Encore that was traveling the wrong direction in the left lane of the highway. The vehicles collided, causing the Buick to roll across the highway, into a path of an oncoming tractor trailer traveling in the center lane.

The tractor trailer swerved to avoid the Buick and struck the Chevrolet, which had crashed into the concrete median barrier and ended up stopped in the left lane.

The drivers of the Buick and the Chevrolet were taken to Yale-New Haven Hospital for minor injuries. The driver of the tractor trailer was not injured, police said.

The crash happened around 4 a.m. and the highway was closed for about 90 minutes while crews cleared it up.

The accident is under investigation and no charges have been filed at this time.

Photo Credit: Connecticut Department of Transportation

Cold Causes Issues for Crews Battling Windsor House Fire


Brutally cold temperatures made knocking down an overnight house fire in Windsor tricky for firefighters.

Fire officials said they responded to the home on Dudley Town Road around 12:30 a.m. Monday for fire and smoke coming from the attic.

One person who was inside the home escaped uninjured.

The crews got inside the home and fought the flames aggressively, but the cold temperatures caused issues as firefighters managed slippery conditions. It took more than an hour to get the blaze under control.

“A lot of times we have slips and falls and we want to make sure the fire fighters are protected. We do have a sand trick here and available from the town,” said Windsor Fire Chief Bill Lewis.

Lewis said as crews began cleanup the hoses froze from the cold.

The Blue Hills Fire Department also responded to assist. In total, about 50 firefighters were on scene.

The fire marshal is investigating the cause of the fire.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Vernon Man Accused in 2 Bank Robberies


A Vernon man charged with robbing a local People’s United Bank admitted to the crime, according to police.

Stephen Earnest Barstis, 52, is accused of robbing the People’s United Bank inside Stop & Shop on Pitkin Street in Vernon on Jan 5. Police said that when detectives executed a search warrant at Barstis’s home, they found cash, clothing and other evidence connecting him to the crime, and during his interview he reportedly admitted his involvement.

Barstis is charged with third-degree robbery and third-degree larceny. He was held on a $300,000 bond and is expected to appear in court Monday.

Police said Barstis is also a suspect in a robbery on Dec. 8, 2016 at the United Bank on Park Street in Rockville. Charges in that incident are forthcoming.

Photo Credit: Vernon Police Department

Vet Discharged in 1948 for Sexuality Granted Record Change


A 91-year-old veteran who filed a lawsuit after he was discharged from the U.S. Air Force over his sexual orientation has been granted a change to his military record.

Hubert Edward Spires was discharged from the Air Force with an undesirable designation in 1948 because he is gay, according to the Yale Law School Veterans Legal Services Clinic.

Spires’ husband, who is a U.S. Army veteran, spoke on behalf of his partner of 58 years at a press conference at the Yale Law School in November 2016.

"Despite the discrimination I faced, I left the military with an honorable discharge," Spire’s husband David Rosenberg said. "It is an injustice that the military has treated Ed and me so differently, despite our equal honorable service."

In 2011, Spires became eligible to apply for a discharge upgrade a year after the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell, the Clinton-era policy that banned gays and lesbians from serving openly in the military. His application was denied twice, once in 2014 and again in 2016, Yale's VLSC said.

In a letter dated Jan. 5, 2017, the Air Force Board of Correction of Military Records informed Spires that his military records would be corrected to reflect an honorable discharge. His records will also be reviewed to see if Spires is eligible for any financial benefits.

"...we believe it is more likely than not the applicant was discharged for his sexual orientation and there were no aggravating factors in the record that could, in and of themselves, form the basis of an adverse discharge. Therefore, in the interest of justice, we believe it is appropriate to recommend his records be corrected as set forth below," the Record of Proceedings read.

Previously the Air Force cited the destruction of his military records in a 1973 fire at the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis as the reason for not changing Spires' discharge status to honorable, according to the legal clinic.

Spires, who is in poor health and nearly died of pneumonia this past fall, wishes to have a military burial — a benefit he was not entitled to because of his current undesirable discharge status, according to Yale's VLSC.

Erin Baldwin, one of the law student interns who represented Spires, said that he and his partner are happy to finally have the discharge status Spires deserved and waited for.

Photo Credit: Ed Spires

Crashes Close Part of Wilbur Cross Parkway in Hamden


Part of the northbound side of the Wilbur Cross Parkway is closed in Hamden after separate multi-car crashes and state police said injuries are reported.

The parkway is closed near exit 61 and traffic might be moving on the shoulder.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

LifeStar Called to Serious Head-on Crash in Cobalt

Drunken Driver Crashes into Police Cruiser: State Police


A Willington man is accused of driving drunk and causing an accident when his vehicle crossed over the center line and struck a police cruiser, state police said.

According to police, Edward Lukas, 60, was driving on Route 32 near Ademec Road in Willington Sunday afternoon when he crossed the center line and hit a police cruiser traveling the opposite directions. The occupants of the other car suffered minor injuries.

Police said Lukas admitted to drinking alcohol before the accident and had a strong smell of alcohol on his breath. He failed field sobriety tests and was arrested.

Lukas was charged with operating under the influence, traveling unreasonably fast for conditions, failure to drive in proper lane, and failure to carry registration/insurance identification. He was issued a $2,500 bond and is scheduled to appear in court Monday.

Photo Credit: Connecticut State Police

Storm Topples Calif. 'Tunnel Tree'


The famous "drive-thru" tunnel tree in Calaveras County rivals some of California’s most iconic tourist symbols, including the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco and the Hollywood sign in Los Angeles.

And because of the weekend storm that battered the state, the tree is no longer.

The giant sequoia "Pioneer Cabin" tree, also known as the "Tunnel Tree," fell Sunday, in Calaveras Big Trees State Park near Angels Camp, which is north of Arnold off of Highway 4. It's also up near Tuolumne and the Stanislaus National Forest.

"We lost an old friend today," wrote county resident Jim Allday, who posted a picture of the fallen tree on his Facebook page. The Calaveras Big Trees Association shared his images.

Thousands of people had commented on the post by Monday morning. Several uploaded photos of entire families standing underneath the tree, which was first hollowed out in the 1880s. It's similar to Yosemite's Wawona Tunnel Tree, which fell in 1969, and several other trees with passageways hollowed through them.

The weekend storm brought flooding and other damage to much of California, and more rain brought by an "atmospheric river" was in the forecast Monday. A flood warning was in effect through Tuesday in the Calaveras area.

Some of the trees in Calaveras Big Trees State Park stand 325 feet tall and are 33 feet around.

"What a shame," wrote Malachy McAllister. "This tree was also a strong part of my idea of America when I was a kid."

Visitors could once drive through the tree. But it was most recently open only to hikers along a 1.5-mile loop.

There are still three redwood trees that you can drive through, all on private land along Highway 101, according to a U.S. Forest Service document. There are no longer any drive-through sequioas.

Photo Credit: Juan De La Torre, Lynne Kuhne
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Norwalk Police Seek Armed Robbery Suspects


Norwalk police are trying to identify two suspects who robbed the Shorehaven Mobil at gunpoint Friday night.

Police said that two male suspects entered the store at 219 East Avenue around 11:50 p.m. and pointed what appeared to be semi-automatic pistols at employees, ordering them to the ground.

One suspect was wearing a blue hooded jacket and a black bag. The other suspect was waering a black hooded jacket and a pink bag.

Anyone with information on this crime is asked to contact Norwalk police. Anonymous tips can be left at Norwalk Police Tip Line at 203-854-3111or sent to the Norwalk Police website.

Photo Credit: Norwalk Police Department

Kerry Apologizes for Past State Dept. LGBTI Discrimination


Secretary of State John Kerry apologized Monday for the State Department's history of discriminating against employees and applicants for their sexual orientation.

That history began in the 1940s, and continued for decades, Kerry said in a statement. The department was one of many employers, public and private, to discriminate against its staff and job applicants by forcing them to resign or refusing to hire them because of their sexual orientation, he said.

"These actions were wrong then, just as they would be wrong today," Kerry said. "On behalf of the Department, I apologize to those who were impacted by the practices of the past and reaffirm the Department's steadfast commitment to diversity and inclusion for all our employees, including members of the LGBTI community."

LGBTI stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and/or intersex. In April 2015, Kerry appointed Randy W. Berry to be the department's first special envoy for the Human Rights of LGBTI Persons, in order to promote the group's rights around the world.

Photo Credit: AP, File

Alibaba CEO Talks Jobs With Trump


Jack Ma, the CEO of China-based tech giant Alibaba, met with President-elect Donald Trump in New York City Monday and vowed to focus on small businesses as the company plans its expansion to the U.S.

"Jack and I are going to do some great things," Trump said while standing next to Ma at Trump Tower.

The e-commerce company has said it plans to create 1 million U.S. jobs by helping businesses sell to China. Ma did not confirm a specific number of jobs to reporters after the meeting but said he planned to focus on agricultural products, CNBC reported.

The meeting comes amid tensions between China and the incoming Trump administration. "We also think that the China and USA relationship should be strengthened — should be more friendly," Ma said. "The door is open for discussing the relationship and trade issues. I think the president-elect is very smart, he's very open-minded to listen."

Photo Credit: AP

2 Teens Last Seen at Southington Youth Shelter Missing


Two teens are missing after leaving a youth assessment shelter in Southington, police said. 

Kelly Caldwell, 15, of East Hartford, and Ma'Kiya Henderson, 14, of Norwalk, were last seen at the Winifred House on Birchcrest Drive at 8:30 p.m. on Sunday. 

The Winifred House is short-term assessment and respite home for teens and children in crisis, the website says.  

Henderson is 5'3", weighs approximately 150 pounds with brown hair. She was last seen wearing a black t-shirt, gray sweatpants with "BOSTON" written down the leg, a brown hooded coat and black sneakers.

Caldwell is 5'3", weighs approximately 120 pounds with brown hair. She was last seen wearing a blue crew neck sweat shirt with a Champion logo on the front, gray sweatpants, a gray puffer coat and white sneakers. 

Neither girls have a cell phone. 

Anyone with information is asked to call Southington Police Department at (860) 621-0101.

Photo Credit: Southington Police

Reports of Gun Outside Day Kimball Hospital Unfounded: Cops


Day Kimball Hospital in Putnam was on lockdown and a shelter-in-place was issued after unfounded reports of a man with a possible handgun in front of the hospital, according to state police. The lockdown has been lifted and state police said the incident was misreported and no one actually saw a gun.

Officials from the hospital said there was a report of a suspicious male outside the emergency room with a backpack that some type of gun was visible from around 1:30 p.m. The "active shooter" code was called out at the hospital and it was immediately placed in lockdown. 

State police initially said the reports of a handgun have not been confirmed and later said no handgun was displayed. State troopers checked the hospital, schools and surrounded area and found nothing. 

Ambulances transporting patients to Day Kimball were diverted to other hospitals soon after the incident was reported, according to Quinebaug Valley Emergency Communications. 

Schools went into lockdown for around 10 minutes.

Photo Credit: WINY Radio
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