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WHO on 'High-Alert' Over New Outbreaks of Bird Flu


The World Health Organization is urging all countries to monitor avian influenza and to report any human cases that could indicate the beginning of a flu pandemic, Reuters reported.

About 40 countries have reported new outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza in poultry and wild birds since November, according to WHO. Several strains of bird flu have been spreading across Europe and Asia, resulting in large-scale poultry slaughters and some human deaths in China.

Due to the rapid pace and expansive nature of these outbreaks, WHO director-general Dr. Margaret Chan said the organization is on "high alert."

The WHO’s 194 member states are required to detect and report human cases promptly, Chan added: "We cannot afford to miss the early signals."

Photo Credit: AP

3 Charged in Dirt Bike Thefts Could Be Connected to Crimes in Eastern Connecticut: Police


Plainfield police have arrested three people accused of stealing dirt bikes from a home and a motorcycle dealership and said they could also be behind thefts in several eastern Connecticut towns.

The residential burglary happened in the overnight hours of May 16 on Weston Road. The burglars forced their way into the garage through a back door and stole two dirt bikes, as well as other items, according to police, who said they found tire marks and shoe impressions in a nearby cornfield.

The burglary at MotorSports Nation happened overnight on May 23.

Police determined that the burglars forced their way into the building and stole several motorcycles and other property and said surveillance footage showed two people who concealed their identity. Investigators said they found shoe and tire impressions along a trail behind the business and located several items stolen in Groton, New London, Montville, Norwich and Ledyard.

Plainfield police arrested 25-year-old Jonathan Zadora, of North Windham, on Jan. 6.

He was charged with third-degree burglary, third-degree larceny, third-degree criminal mischief, third-degree conspiracy to commit burglary and conspiracy to commit larceny.

Zadora was initially held on a court-set $35,000 cash bond and was arraigned in Danielson Superior Court on Jan. 3.

Mariah Ellison, 24, of Norwich, was arrested on Jan. 9 and charged with third-degree conspiracy to commit burglary and third-degree conspiracy to commit larceny. 

She was initially held on a court-set $15,000 cash bond and was arraigned in Danielson Superior Court on Jan. 10. 

Jordan Lanphear, 21, of Norwich, was arrested on Jan. 21 and charged with third-degree burglary, third-degree larceny, third-degree criminal mischief, third-degree conspiracy to commit burglary and conspiracy to commit larceny. 

He is being held on a court-set $35,000 cash bond and will be arraigned in Danielson Superior Court on Jan. 23.  

Ferry Services Canceled Ahead of Nor'easter


Ferry services on the Long Island Sound have been canceled due to weather, according to posts on the company websites.

The Port Jefferson Ferry, which operates between Bridgeport and Port Jefferson, NY, announced it would stop trips after 1:30 p.m. departures.

The Cross Sound Ferry, which runs between New London and Orient Point, NY posted that all departures from New London have been canceled and that the last departure from Orient Point will be at 1 p.m.

The NBC Connecticut meteorologists are forecasting high winds along the shoreline. A high wind warning and a coastal flood advisory are in effect.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Car Crashes Into Crown & Hammer in Collinsville

3 Deliverymen Targeted by Robbers in Separate Incidents: PD


Three pizza deliverymen were targeted by robbers in separate incidents overnight, according to New Haven police.

The first incident occurred just before 1 a.m. Monday. The 57-year-old delivery driver told police he went to Wolcott Place to deliver a pizza. When he arrived, a man came up to him and told him the address was across the street. When the victim walked over, he was attacked by a masked man with a knife who demanded money.

The driver ran off after being beaten up. His injuries were not serious, police said.

There were two suspects in that incident. One was described as a man with a skinny build, around 5-foot-8 with short dark hair. The second suspect was described as 5-foot-8, was wearing a black and white plastic mask and was armed with a knife. 

The second incident was reported around 1:15 a.m. The 43-year-old victim he was delivering a pizza on Pine Street and was pulled over in the 200-block when he was approached by three men. The men opened his door and tried to snatch the pizza and the victim's wallet. One of the suspects showed a handgun and demanded money, police said.

The victim slammed on the gas and drove off, escaping uninjured.

The most recent incident brough police to Wintergreen Avenue and Level Street. A 29-year-old delivery driver reported he showed up to a Stevens Street home to deliver a pizza and has he handed over the pizza for the cash he was approached from behind by a man with a gun.

The victim handed over the cash, then the suspects got into the victim’s car and took off. The victim found his car a short distance away later.

The first suspect was described as male, between 24 and 26, with short hair, a medium build, standing around 5-foot-9 and wearing a black and grey Northface jacket. The second suspect is described as a man between 21 and 23, with short hair, a heavy build, standing around 5-foot-6 and wearing black Northface jacket.

New Haven police are investigating the possibility that the crimes are related but have not confirmed any connection at this time. 

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Police Officer Injured in West Haven Crash


A police officer has been injured in a crash in West Haven.

Police said the crash happened at the intersection of West Main Street and Platt Avenue and involves a police vehicle and another vehicle. 

Drivers are asked to avoid the area because traffic will be heavy until the scene is cleared.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Police Investigating Home Invasion in Preston


State police are investigating a home invasion and burglary on Branch Hill Road in Preston. 

State police responded to the home at 10:29 a.m. and said the intruder was a man who appeared to be 20 to 30 years old and around 5-feet-6, according to state police. 

He was wearing a gray hoodie, jeans a black hat and a mask. 

Preston schools have been notified.

Anyone with information is asked to call 911 or 860-848-6500.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Man Showed Gun at Higganum Gas Station: Police


State police are trying to identify the man they said pulled out a gun at a Higganum gas station late Monday morning but left without taking anything.

State police responded to Fuel Plus Station at 210 Saybrook Road at 10:38 a.m. after a masked man in dark clothing pulled out a gun, but left the store without taking anything, according to police.

The man is around 5-feet7 and weighs between 130 and 150 pounds.

Anyone who thinks he or she might information about the incident should call Trooper Enrico Milardo at the Haddam Resident State Trooper's Office at 860-345-2769 or text TIP711 with any information to 274637.

Photo Credit: Connecticut State Police

Lawmakers Push for Homicide Charges in Opioid Deaths


Two state lawmakers are looking to crack down on opioid drug dealers and increase the punishment if the overdose results in death.

The two separate bills -- proposed by Republican Rep. Kurt Vail, of Stafford, Republican Rep. Devin Carney, of Old Saybrook -- have a common denominator: to hold drug dealers responsible for homicide if a person who buys those drugs, dies from an overdose.

"We have people in my district, many have passed away from overdoses. I want to deter people from selling people and taking advantage," Rep. Vail said.

According to Vail's bill, he wants to "establish a new crime for homicide in the case of a drug overdose."

"Because (dealers are) the ones bringing it into the streets. And then maybe when we get one dealer, we can get someone above them," he said.

Rep. Carney also wants to establish a new, harsher crime.

His bill proposes "To hold drug dealers criminally liable for the sale of drugs that result in the death of a person who purchased the drugs from the dealer."

According to Carney, part of his motivation for the bill is having a very close family member affected by addiction.

"Dealers are knowingly cutting drugs with fentanyl and need to be stopped," Carney said.

The Town of Groton police chief agrees.

"The people that we're arresting, in many cases, are using other alternates and adulterants in the heroin. They're strengthening it. They know the product they're putting out there is dangerous and in many cases lethal," Chief L.J. Fusaro said.

Connecticut has been plagued by an opioid epidemic. Over the past few years the southeastern part of the state has seen an uptick in drug activity.

Last year there were 20 overdoses in the Town of Groton. Six resulted in death investigations. All six involved opioids, according to Fusaro.

He said he's in favor of looking into the two proposed bills. Currently, many cases have been handled on the federal level, because those charges have stiffer penalties for relatively similar crimes, according to Fusaro.

Some have concerns about the proposed legislation, including Tammy de la Cruz, who co-founded Community Speaks Out, a group that supports families facing addiction.

"Legislation like this scares me personally. The money involved in arresting, investigating and proving that an individual intended or held back what was in the drug is hard to prove," de la Cruz said in a statement. "This is a disease of the brain and needs to be treated like one. The only way to turn this around is not on the supply side but on the demand side."

Rep. Vail is in favor of increasing available treatment for addicts.

He said his bill is based off of a similar one proposed in New York.

Both lawmakers say they've spoken to one another about their proposals. Both bills have been referred to the Joint Committee on Judiciary.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Murphy Sends President Trump Plan for American Jobs, Products


Platt Brothers in Waterbury was a recent victim to U.S. policy when it comes to "Buy American," a provision that places rules on when a federal agency needs to purchase American made, or American-based goods.

David Mieczkowski, the President and CEO of Platt Brothers, a company which specializes in the production of zinc rod and wire, said Monday morning he learned they had been outbid by a European manufacturer for a $100,000 contract with the U.S. Department of Defense.

“Instead of making it in Connecticut with Connecticut labor, U.S. labor, it’s going to be made in Europe for the Department of Defense, the U.S. Department of Defense," Mieczkowski said.

Connecticut Sen. Chris Murphy has said since he entered office he has wanted to end the practice of the federal government making purchases from overseas manufacturers.

He sent a letter to President Donald Trump outlining his vision for accountability when it comes to federal spending, asking for a watchdog, regular audits, and limits on waivers all related to "Buy American."

“This is a relatively easy way for him to telegraph early in his presidency that he’s willing to put his actions where his words are with this ‘Buy America,’ campaign," Murphy said Monday,

President Trump himself, in his first day in office during his inauguration address said there will be new ground rules when it comes to how the federal government will make purchases.

"We will follow two simple rules: buy American and hire American," President Trump said.

Murphy said even though he disagrees with President Trump "on just about every issue," he says ensuring American manufacturers get a first look from the federal government is a place where he can meet the new president.

“My job as a U.S. senator is to make people’s lives better in Connecticut and that means creating jobs here. My job is not to be the political opposition to Donald Trump. My job is to make life better for the people of Connecticut.”

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

GOP Obamacare Replacement Plan Would Grant States More Power


Republican senators introduced a partial replacement to the Affordable Care Act on Monday that would let states keep some aspects of the Obamacare law while eliminating the mandate requiring citizens to carry health insurance.

The measure is being billed as an "Obamacare replacement plan" aimed at empowering states and broadening health insurance access, NBC News reported.

The move comes days after President Donald Trump's issuance of an executive order directing the Health and Human Services Department to "waive, defer, grant exemptions from, or delay" any ACA requirement that would impose a fiscal burden.

For now, however, the executive order that Trump signed Friday night has changed very little.

Photo Credit: Getty Images (File)

Local Pro Life Supporters Heading to Washington D.C.


Thousands of pro-life supporters will rally in Washington D.C. this Friday for their annual March for Life demonstration.

There was a smaller march with the same message in New Haven Monday afternoon.

“Life is life,” Norma Contois from Branford said.

Every year Contois voices her opposition to Roe v. Wade, the landmark Supreme Court case that legalized the right to abortion 44 years ago.

“Actions have consequences and if you’re old enough to have sex, you’re old enough to know that one of the results can be pregnancy,” she said, “so why should that child suffer and lose its life.”

After a noon mass at the Church of St. Mary on Hillhouse Ave., the pro-life demonstrators marched in front of City Hall and New Haven’s courthouse.

“It is so important to us that the unborn be protected,” said Elizabeth Grayson of New Haven.

Contois carried a sign calling for the defunding of Planned Parenthood.

“I should not have to pay for someone else’s mistakes,” she said.

According to data from Planned Parenthood of Southern New England, abortions are six percent of the services it provides. More than 90 percent are in areas like contraception, cancer screenings and STD and HIV testing.

One of the biggest misconceptions with the administration that’s coming in is that they will be able to get rid of us,” said Kafi Rouse of Planned Parenthood of Southern New England, “that’s just not going to happen. These doors will stay open. Planned Parenthood will be here for the next 100 years.”

According to Planned Parenthood's website, "federal funding is from Medicad reimbursements for preventive care, and some is from Title X. There's no keep-Planned-Parenthood-running part of the federal budget."

At the pro-life rally, Grayson marched with her husband and four-month-old baby. She is hopeful court appointments during the Trump presidency could lead to Roe v. Wade being overturned.

 “She is exactly the same baby here that she was when she was inside of me,” Grayson said.

Kindness of Strangers Touches Former Mailman With Dementia


While the holiday season is over, one former Danbury mailman is seeing a little sparkle in his eye after receiving hundreds of holiday cards.

Jim Gaboardi's room is filled with them. Cards that are handmade, cards with sparkles -- but until the last few weeks, it wasn't that way. 

Gaboardi's granddaughter, Meghan, came to see him at his nursing home in Bethel, Maplewood at Stony Hill, a few weeks before Christmas. It was a time where residents were receiving Christmas mail. 

As mail was passed out to all the residents, he did not receive anything and told her, "it’s been a really long time since I've gotten any mail." 

Meghan couldn't stand to see the look in his eyes when her grandfather, a man who delivered mail for more than 40 years and now suffers from dementia, told her that. So, Meghan took to social media to ask for anyone to send him mail.

Soon after, the letters started coming -- more than 200 of them.

"And look, some actually [say] 'Happy New Year.' So not just Christmas [cards] – with a heart inside!" Debbie Henriques, Jim's daughter, said. "And the sparkles you loved. Anytime you opened a card and the sparkles came out you got them all over your pants!”

The cards were written by people who know and others who do not know Jim.

"‘Hi Papa Jim.,'" read one card. "'You don’t know me, but I know a little bit about you from Meghan as she posted on Facebook about you after your time together. She is real proud of you. Merry Christmas.'"

Jim called the amount of cards pouring in, 'unbelievable.'

“I think the cards were a way of engaging him and then all of a sudden he just seemed to have brightness in his eyes,” said Debbie.

It was a vast difference to his engagement during his family's Thanksgiving. Debbie said her father stayed awake far longer than they imagined for their Christmas celebration: nine hours.

With Valentine's Day and Easter coming up, if you'd like to give give Jim Gaboardi a card, you can send it to Maplewood at Stony Hill: 46 Stony Hill Rd., Bethel, CT 06801.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

President Trump Resigned From Businesses; Sons in Charge


President Donald Trump has resigned from his namesake company and more than 400 affiliated entities, a Trump Organization spokesperson told NBC News.

In a statement, the spokesperson, who asked not to be identified, said Trump had transferred title, management and authority of the companies to a trust under the management of his sons Don and Eric and of Allen Weisselberg, chief financial officer of The Trump Organization . 

The spokesperson provided a resignation letter dated Jan. 19 and signed by Trump, along with a list of hundreds of companies that he had left.

The news comes amid rising pressure on Trump to resolve his perceived conflicts of interest — although the move will likely do little to persuade critics, including ethics lawyers for George W. Bush and Barack Obama, who have argued that he should liquidate his assets or place them in a blind trust.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Senate Committee Indefinitely Delays Votes on Perry, Zinke


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A Senate committee on Monday night abruptly postponed its scheduled votes Tuesday on President Donald Trump's nominations of Rick Perry and Ryan Zinke to lead the Energy and Interior departments.

The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee gave no explanation for the postponement, which it said was in effect "until further notice."

During his hearing before the committee last week, Perry — the former governor of Texas who unsuccessfully challenged Trump during the Republican presidential primaries — walked back controversial statements from his past campaigns promising to abolish the Energy Department.

Meanwhile, Zinke, a Republican U.S. representative from Montana, contradicted his would-be new boss during his confirmation hearing, testifying that he accepts the scientific conclusion that climate change is real.

Photo Credit: AP

Route 15 South Closed in East Hartford


Route 15 south is closed near exit 90 in East Hartford because of a jackknifed tractor trailer, according to state police.

The accident has closed the highway right before the I-84 split and there are heavy delays in the area. Drivers should seek alternate routes.

No other details were immediately available.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

I-395 North Closed in Killingly


Interstate 395 northbound is closed after a tractor trailer jackknifed near exit 43 (old exit 94) in Killingly Tuesday morning.

The road was shut down around 1:30 a.m., emergency dispatchers said. As of 6:30 a.m. the road was still closed.

No other information was available.

Photo Credit: QVEC-911

Why Hillary Clinton's Outfit on Inauguration Day Made a Bold Statement


While Inauguration Day fashion made headlines everywhere Friday, Hillary Clinton's wardrobe was noted for the subtle yet powerful message it carried.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

90-Year-Old West Haven Man Reported Missing


Police are searching for a 90-year-old West Haven man who has been missing since Monday morning. 

Harry Brown has no cell phone and is driving a 2010 Dodge Caravan with Connecticut plate NO7162, according to a news release from West Haven police. 

Anyone who comes in contact with Brown should call West Haven Police at 203-937-3900.

Photo Credit: West Haven Police

Mom Charged with DUI After Crash With 5-Year-Old in Car


A Plainfield woman is accused of driving under the influence with her 5-year-old daughter in the car, according to Plainfield police.

Sarah Graveline, 35, was arrested Monday in connection with an accident on Nov. 13, 2016. Police allege that on that day Graveline was driving under the influence when she crashed her vehicle near 808 Norwich Road in Plainfield. According to police, the car was in the northbound lane then swerved into the southbound lane and hit a guard rail before running off the road.

Graveline and her daughter were taken to emergency care for treatment of minor injuries, police said.

Police got a search and seizure warrant for Graveline’s blood test results and later issued a warrant for her arrest. Graveline turned herself in on Jan. 23.

Graveline is charged with failure to drive right, operating under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs and risk of injury to a minor. She was issued a $1,500 bond and scheduled to appear in court on Feb. 2.

Photo Credit: Plainfield Police Department
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