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Trump Helps Move Doomsday Clock 2.5 Minutes From Midnight


The Doomsday clock has ticked 30 seconds closer to apocalyptic midnight, and the scientists who control it are laying some blame at the feet of President Donald Trump.

The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists moved the hands of the clock, a symbolic countdown to the world's end, to two-and-a-half minutes to midnight Thursday. It's the closest the clock has been to midnight since the 1950s, when the country was in the midst of the Cold War.

The Bulletin noted a darkening international security landscape featuring rising nationalism and the United States and Russia at odds in several regional conflicts. Scientists expressed concern about Trump's refusal to take climate change more seriously — he's skeptical of the scientific consensus on climate change — and his "disturbing" nuclear rhetoric.

Trump refused during the campaign for president to rule out using nuclear weapons and in December said the U.S. must increase its nuclear arsenal.

"To step back further from the brink will require leaders who have both vision and restraint. President Trump and [Russian President Vladimir] Putin, who claim great respect for each other, can choose to act together as statesmen, or act as petulant children," said Lawrence Krauss, director of the Bulletin's Board of Sponsors.

The Doomsday Clock was created 70 years ago. This is the first time the scientists behind it have moved it 30 seconds, which reflects the fact that Trump has only just taken office.

"Even though he has just now taken office, the president's intemperate statements, lack of openness to expert advice, and questionable cabinet nominations have already made a bad international security situation worse," the Bulletin said in a statement.

The clock held no closer than five minutes to midnight from the 1980s until 2015, when it ticked to three minutes to midnight.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Red Sox to Retire David Ortiz's Number


The Red Sox have announced that David Ortiz’s number 34 will be retired Friday, June 23. 

His number will be the 11th on the right field facade of Fenway Park. The official retirement will be during pregame ceremonies before the game between the Red Sox and Angels at Fenway Park. 

Ortiz hit 483 home runs during his 14-year career with the Red Sox, second on the all-time list behind Ted Williams with 521. 

In Ortiz's final season, he hit 38 home runs, more than anyone 40 or older ever has. He led all of baseball with 48 doubles and a 1.021 OPS, and he led the American League with 127 RBI. 

Photo Credit: Getty Images

A Cool and Tranquil Weekend Ahead


After a busy start to the work week the weather pattern turns cooler and storm free for the weekend.

Today's weather will once again be unseasonably warm, in fact we're forecasting highs in the upper 40s which is 10 to 15 degrees above average. In addition to the warmth, scattered rain showers are forecasted throughout the day. 

The jet stream retreats to our south this weekend meaning quiet and cooler weather is in the forecast. 

Temperatures look chilly Sunday morning for the 2017 Penguin Plunge, supporting Special Olympics of Connecticut. Temperatures will be in the upper 20s for Sunday mornings plunge.

Following the weekend we are watching two systems for next week. We're monitoring a storm system on Monday afternoon which could bring light snow to the area and we're also watching a clipper system for Wednesday. 

Get your detailed precision First Alert 10-day forecast plus hour-by-hour weather and interactive radar by downloading the NBC Connecticut app.


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State Juvenile Detention Officer Charged with Workers’ Compensation Fraud


A state juvenile detention officer who collected workers’ compensation benefits after an injury on the job that was supposed to have rendered him unable to work has been arrested after investigators discovered he was working at a school, according to the state Division of Criminal Justice.

Dameon McLean, 41, of Hartford, reported an injury on March 22, 2016, while employed as a juvenile detention officer in Hartford and started receiving workers’ compensation benefits, according to the arrest warrant affidavit.

Then, surveillance conducted in October 2016 showed him working for the Cromwell school system as a behavior support paraprofessional to supervise students whose behavior required them to be removed from a classroom, according to the warrant.

The warrant goes on to say McLean continued to collect workers’ compensation from his state job although he was not entitled to do so, and amassed around $21,000 in benefits while earning another $16,109 from the Cromwell job.

Inspectors from the Workers’ Compensation Fraud Control Unit in the Office of the Chief State’s Attorney arrested McLean, who has been charged with two counts of fraudulent claim or receipt of benefits and first-degree larceny by defrauding a public community.

He was released on a written promise to appear in Hartford Superior Court on Feb. 9.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Waterbury to Lift Mandatory Water Restrictions


Waterbury city leaders plan to lift the city’s mandatory water restrictions on Monday, Jan. 30. 

The restrictions, limiting water use outside, have been in place since October, when Waterbury’s water levels in the reservoirs fell below 50 percent

But since November, Waterbury has received more than 10 inches of rain.

“That’s been very beneficial in adding to the supply of the reservoirs. So we’ve seen them rebound more quickly than usual,” Waterbury Water Superintendent Don Carver said. 

Carver said reservoir levels needed to be above 50 percent of total usable capacity for 30 days before they could lift the ban. Reservoir levels are now at 69 percent, so they plan to lift the mandatory ban on Monday. 

“It feels great. It really does. It’s been a long road, it’s been a learning experience for everybody and once again the Waterbury residents stepped up and helped us in a time of need by helping us to conserve water,” Carver said. 

In October, the Connecticut Department of Public Health also declared a water supply emergency for the city of Waterbury and water department leaders had to conduct seven different studies and look at ways to reduce water use, according to Carver. 

Although the restrictions will be lifted for all 27,000 water customers, Carver is urging everyone to continue voluntarily conserving water. 

“It’s not until you don’t have the water that you realize the value of the water so we just ask everybody to continue to use water wisely,” Carver said. 

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Man Shot in Hip in Hartford


Crews from major crimes are investigating after a 24-year-old man was shot in the hip in Hartford. 

Hartford police said the shooting was at 896 Garden St. and the victim was alert and conscious. 

He has been taken to Hartford Hospital and his injuries are not life-threatening, according to police. 

No additional information was immediately available.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

DOT Saves Opossum from I-95


Crews from the state Department of Transportation saved the day for this little guy.

State police said DOT came to the rescue of an opossum found along the exit 27A off-ramp. 

Then they released the little critter into the woods.

Nicely done! 

Photo Credit: Connecticut State Police
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34 Cats Removed from Stratford Home, Couple Arrested


Thirty-four cats were removed from a Stratford home after an investigation into neglect allegations and police arrested a husband and wife. 

Police have charged Catherine and Fletcher Graham, who are both 60 years old, with 34 counts each of animal cruelty. 

Police said they were arrested after a month-long investigation into allegations of numerous neglected cats at their Stratford home. 

Police said several of the 34 cats seized from their home were in some state of neglect. 

The Grahams are scheduled to appear in court in Bridgeport on Feb. 1.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Lines Form for Free Big Mac Sauce


Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

1 Dead After Norwalk Police Pursuit Ends in a Crash


Police said one person died after a pursuit in Norwalk ended with the car crashing.

Connecticut State Police assumed the investigation of the fatal crash on Geneva Road at 11:09 a.m. Thursday, at the request of the state attorney's office. 

No other details were immediately available. 

4 Top State Department Officials Ousted


The Trump administration began cleaning house Thursday in the State Department by ousting four top officials.

They are Undersecretary for Management Patrick Kennedy, two assistant secretaries, Joyce Barr and Michele Bond, and Gentry Smith, who heads the department's Office of Foreign Missions, NBC News has confirmed.

Two State Department officials confirmed to NBC News that Bond had intended to stay on into the next administration. Now her last day is Friday.

The departure of the quartet means President Trump must fill more posts— and comes on the heels of the departures of other long-serving diplomats who have chosen to quit rather than serve in the new Republican administration.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Accused Fort Lauderdale Airport Shooter Officially Charged


Nearly three weeks after allegedly opening fire inside of Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, Esteban Santiago was officially charged Thursday for the deadly mass shooting.

Santiago, an Iraq War veteran who flew from his home in Anchorage, Alaska to South Florida on Jan. 6, was indicted on 22 federal charges by a grand jury, according to the South Florida Sun Sentinel.

The 26-year-old faces two charges each for the five people killed during the incident near the baggage claim of Terminal 2. Santiago also faces two counts each for the six people wounded in the shooting.

Santiago is due back in court Monday, where he will enter a plea on all charges. He confessed to planning the shooting following interrogation from officials with the Broward Sheriff’s Office, FBI and other agencies, authorities said. 

Photo Credit: NBC 6

Bristol Police Search for Car Thieves


Bristol police continue to search for the people who stole a vehicle from Quick Auto Sales and Service early Thursday morning.

Officers responded to the business at 16 Andrews St. at 3:39 a.m. to investigate reports that two people tried to steal a vehicle and found that a 2008 gray Volkswagen Passat had been stolen from the lot.

Soon after, the car was involved in a crash at King and Fifth streets in Bristol and two people were seen running from it, police said. Police set up a perimeter and a State Police K9 unit responded, but they did not find the people.

Police also sent out an automated alert to residents before 4:30 a.m., letting them know about the search.

Police do not believe the public is in danger and suspect the car thieves have left the area.

Anyone with information should call the Bristol Police Department at 860-584-3000.

Analysis: When the President Praises Torture


President Trump's public endorsement of torture, a crime under international and domestic law, is an extraordinary departure from American tradition that will have historic and far-reaching implications, experts told NBC News.

Trump told ABC's David Muir that he supports "waterboarding and a hell of a lot worse." Trump said, "I would do, I would do — I want to keep our country safe." He added that if his advisers want to reinstate the simulated drowning technique known as waterboarding, "then I will work for that end [because] I think it works."

John Yoo, a former Justice Department lawyer who wrote some of the secret memos about the CIA program, told NBC News that Trump "is not being legally careful."

"The world has taken torture and cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment off the table, through binding international prohibitions that we have signed and ratified," said David Cole, national legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union. "The idea that the Trump administration is considering doubling down on these discredited policies is deeply disturbing."

"The broader political story is it's putting our opponents on notice that they are not going to keep punching at us and nothing is going to happen back," Yoo offered a different view.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Border Patrol Chief Mark Morgan Departs Agency


The nation's Border Patrol chief is departing the role one day after President Donald Trump signed an executive order to construct a massive wall on the U.S.-Mexican border, NBC News reported.

Mark Morgan's exit was announced by Kevin McAleenan, acting commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Morgan became the latest high-profile agency head to leave as the new administration takes over. The circumstances of his departure are unclear.

A former FBI agent, Morgan was hired by the agency in 2014 by to investigate allegations of abuse against migrants by Border Patrol agents. He found himself at odds with the union that represented the agents from the start.

When Morgan was appointed chief, the union stepped up their criticism and eagerly aligned itself with Trump.

Photo Credit: AP

12-Year-Old Boy Finds Apparent Grenade in West Hartford: Family


A 12-year-old boy found a grenade near his front lawn in West Hartford, the family tells NBC Connecticut. 

When Colin MacPherson found what appeared to be a grenade in the mulch next to his homes driveway on Warrenton Avenue, he went inside to tell his mother. 

"I was really, really scared," MacPherson said. 

His mother, Jeanne MacPherson, immediately called police. She said two officers in special vests came to retrieve the device.

Investigators told the family that while the devices seems to be a real grenade, it was no longer considered live.

The MacPherson's say they don't know where the grenade came from or how long it has been near their home.

NBC Connecticut has reached out to West Hartford police about the incident. 

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Police Launch Investigation at Glastonbury Spa


Police have launched a multi-agency investigation into a Glastonbury spa.

The Relaxation Spa at 799 Hebron Avenue was issued a stop-work order Thursday afternoon.

The Connecticut Department of Labor issued the order and accused the spa of violating several Connecticut wage laws.

The spa was cited for not having worker's compensation insurance, and employees were being paid in cash with no payroll records to show payments and taxes taken out, according to a spokesperson for the Department of Labor.  The employees were being mis-classified as independent contractors, but are actually employees, the spokesperson said.

NBC Connecticut called the spa for a comment, but no one answered.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Friends, Legislators Fight to Save NY Family's Support Pig


Wilbur is at the heart of conflict again, except this time he's not in a barnyard watching over "Charlotte's Web", he's on Staten Island.

Reporters crowded the backyard of Cristy Matteo's Hylan Boulevard home. Friends, neighbors and fellow pig owners stood behind Matteo holding up homemade signs in support of the pig as she took her place at the podium. "Save Wilbur!" one sign said. 'Let Wilbur stay in his home!" read another.

New York City has ordered the Great Kills woman to get rid of her pet pig, who has served as her father's therapy pet, by Jan. 31. Matteo, whose father has cancer, called the situation "heartbreaking", noting that the pig has become a member of the family since she brought him home from Utah five years ago. 

"He's like my child," she said about the helpful hog. "He's very emotional, he's very caring."

Matteo had her initial health violation dismissed last year by a judge who found that the Wilbur didn't qualify as a "wild animal". However, she said her case was overturned when it was brought to Manhattan.

That's when the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene ordered the pig out of her home, otherwise he'd be seized by the city.

Wilbur is so much of a comfort to her dad, the National Service Animal Registry has deemed him an "emotional support animal". Her father's oncologist has even said that he's helped keep his stress levels down, according to Matteo.

"As soon as my father would walk into the house, Wilbur would lay down in front of him and my father would rub his belly for an hour just trying to take his mind off of the radiation treatment he had all day," she said. "He's no harm to anybody, he stays in the house 95 percent of the time wrapped up in a sleeping bag all day."

A spokesperson from the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene said that the DOH issued several warnings to Matteo prior to issuing the August 2016 order.

"The Health Department has been working with Wilbur's owner for a year now and we will continue to work with her as she transfers Wilbur to a sanctuary," the agency said in a statement Thursday. "While we can appreciate how emotional this issue can be, the Health Department's primary role is to protect public health."

He added that she agreed to have Wilbur sent to a sanctuary and chose the location in November.

The Department said the Board of Health mandated that pigs remain on the list of prohibited animals because there's no USDA-approved rabies vaccine for pigs.

State Sen. Tony Avella called on Mayor Bill de Blasio to change the policy regarding pigs as support animals. He said that the city has failed to properly address the issue.

"There are municipalities across the country that do allow these animals, so why is New York City behind the curve?" Avella said. 

Avella says he proposed a state bill that would allow the state commissioner of the Department of Health to come up with regulations permitting municipalities to have support pigs, but the city council would need to mandate the bill for the proposition to take effect.

The state senator from Queens, who announced his New York City mayoral bid last month, says he'll change the laws regarding pet pigs if he is elected.

Staten Island legislators have also rallied behind the pig. The politicians sent a letter to the commissioner of the city Department of Health Wednesday requesting an exemption to allow Wilbur to stay put.

People have signed an online petition to keep Wilbur in Staten Island. As of Thursday evening, the family need a little over 100 signatures away from their goal of 10,000 signatures by Jan. 31st.

Photo Credit: NBC New York

Meet Gerber's Charming New Spokesbaby


Baby Riley Shines has been crowned the 2017 Gerber Spokesbaby.

The 7-month-old from Lewis Center, Ohio, was selected by a panel of judges as the grand prize-winning entry from more than 110,000 entries.

Riley was chosen for his “expressions and visual appeal, as well as how well he’d represent the brand.”

Riley will receive $50,000 cash prize, $1,500 in Gerber Childrenswear, and the chance to star in a 2017 Gerber ad.

"Originally, my husband laughed at me for entering the contest because there were so many submissions! Now, we have the opportunity to start a college fund for our beautiful baby boy," said Riley's mom, Kristen Shines.

Riley’s year will also be documented on the brand's social media platforms.

The Gerber Baby Photo Search contest began in 2010 and pays homage to Ann Turner Cook, whose face has been featured as the iconic charcoal-sketched logo on Gerber's packaging since 1928.

Riley is not the first baby of color to be selected for this honor, NBC BLK reported. In 2010 baby Mercy of Toledo, Ohio was selected. Two years later, baby Mary Jane Montoya from Fresno, California represented the company.

Photo Credit: Gerber

State Dismisses Sex Assault Charges Against Avon Doctor


An Avon doctor wrongfully accused of sexually assaulting 11 patients is suing the town and officers who investigated him.

Doctor Khosro Pourkavoos was charged in 2014 with 14 counts of sexual assault, but all charges were dropped last fall, after prosecutors said there wasn't enough evidence to go to trial.

Pourkavoos Attorney Patrick Tomasiewicz sent this statement to NBC Connecticut:

"Dr. Pourkavoos was a devoted family doctor for twenty five years with several thousand patients before he was subjected to a series of arrests that should never have taken place. As a result of these arrests, he suffered the loss of his medical practice, the revocation of his license, and the upheaval of his personal life. This suit seeks redress for these tremendous losses that he has painfully endured and, most importantly, to restore his good name."

Pourkavoos is now seeking nearly $30 million dollars in a federal civil rights lawsuit.

Town officials said the police department acted properly and they will defend its actions in defense of the claim.

William Vernile, the director of human resources for the town of Avon, told NBC Connecticut:

“During the pendency of the criminal investigation conducted by the Avon Police Department following citizen complaint(s) of criminal activity against Dr. Pourkavoos, the Avon Police Department worked closely with the State’s Attorney’s Office and determined probable cause based on all information available. Subsequently, a judge signed the arrest warrant. The Police Department acted properly and the Town intends to vigorously defend its actions in defense of this claim. Although the criminal charges were dismissed, some complainants are maintaining civil lawsuits against Dr. Pourkavoos. The Town does not intend to comment further at this time due to the pending litigation.”

Pourkavoos was charged after police investigated a woman's complaint that he sexually assaulted her in his office and identified other potential victims, police said, but the state granted a motion in September 2016 to dismiss the charges.

Two separate warrants were issued in January of last year, charging Pourkavoos with one count of second-degree sexual assault and two counts of fourth-degree sexual assault.

Hartford Superior Court Judge Julia Dewey accepted the motion within 15 minutes of hearing from the doctor's defense team, as well as, an attorney representing two of the women who went to Avon police with allegations of sexual assault against Pourkavoos a few years ago.

At the time, several people told police rectal and breast exams given weren't appropriate, nor was the doctor wearing gloves at times.

"The state of Connecticut hired an expert witness. They hired their own doctor. They met with our experts. The experts agree that the examinations performed, under the circumstances, were appropriate,” Tomasiewicz said.

Defense lawyers also question the police investigation, alleging a police investigator used leading terms during interviews.

"Before the arrest the department -- Avon never consulted with a medical expert," Tomasiewicz said.

"The one thing that is in common are words the inspector used, which the patients didn't. Patients don't say fondle. The inspector says fondle," Bergenn said.

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