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Tuesday/Wednesday Storm Trends Warmer


Whether it's just noise at this early juncture or the beginning of a more substantial trend it's hard to say. There's been a notable jump to a warmer solution for the Tuesday and Wednesday storm which would mitigate the ice threat on the front end and allow temperatures to soar into the 50s on Wednesday.

At the onset, it still looks cold enough for some ice on Tuesday. You can see the light to moderate precipitation moving into southern New England with temperatures pretty close to freezing. This would ice some things up for the morning commute.

The biggest reason for the change is a change in the strength and location of a cold high pressure to the north of us. This high appears weaker over Quebec and is also getting dislodged and shunted east quickly. Without a strong high to our north feeding cold and dry air into New England we're not going to avoid a surge of very warm air coming in. 

At this point I'd still be on the lookout for wintry weather on Tuesday as this could easily change back to something a bit colder and more interesting. We'll see if the trend continues.

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Who Is the 'So-Called' Judge Trump Ripped Over Ruling?


Federal Judge James L. Robart, who brought President Donald Trump's attempt to block people from certain countries from entering the United States to a screeching halt, has lived much of his life out of the spotlight, NBC News reported.

Until now.

What little is known of Robart, who's based out of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington state, suggests that he is a soft-spoken yet fearless man — someone of deep convictions and a jurist who does not mince words.

He suggested in court that Trump's 90-day entry ban on people from the countries of Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen was not "rationally based," since no one from any those countries had been arrested in the U.S. on terrorism-related charges since 9/11.

Photo Credit: AP

Hartford Police Nab Suspect Accused of Robbing Bank


Hartford police have arrested a man accused of robbing the Key Bank on Park Street Friday afternoon.

According to police the suspect, later identified as Angel Colon, 47, of Hartford, entered the bank at 1700 Park Street around 1:15 p.m. and passed a note demanding money from a teller. The teller gave Colon the cash and he took off, police said.

A short time later an officer spotted a man fitting the description of the suspect and holding cash in his hands. Two witnesses identified that man as the suspect. Police said thy recovered $428 from the suspect.

Colon was arrested and charged with first-degree robbery and second-degree larceny.

Photo Credit: Hartford Police Department

Waterford Police Seek Suspect in Wal-Mart Theft


Waterford police are searching for a suspect accused of stealing a 50-inch Samsung TV from a local Wal-Mart, police said.

According to police the theft happened Friday around 2:30 p.m. at the Wal-Mart store on Parkway North and that the TV is valued at $598. Police believe the suspect fled in a red vehicle.

Anyone who recognizes the suspect or the vehicle he drove off in is asked to contact Officer Flanagan at 860-442-9451 or email him at Pflanagan@waterfordct.org.

Photo Credit: Waterford Police Department

Sled Dogs, Ice Sculptures and More at Glastonbury Festival


Tails were wagging at the Appalachian Tails in Glastonbury, where people and their pets gathered for a winter festival focused on our four-legged friends.

The Connecticut Valley Siberian Husky Sled Team brought at least a dozen dogs to the free Appalachian Tails Pet Company WinterFest. The dogs were quite the crowd pleaser, as they demonstrated their puppy power. Last year, there was snow on the ground, but a wheeled sled allowed the dogs to run on the grass.

“The kids love to see the dogs. We came last year, so hopefully this becomes an annual visit,” said Gianna Daley of Manchester.

Many visitors also carved out time to watch an ice sculptor show off his skills. He chiseled the first block of ice into the shape of a dog.

"The weather's great so I just wanted to take the kids out and see the dogs and the ice show," said Tony Cainchetti of Cheshire.

The organizer said public demand brought the event back for the second year in a row.

"It was a huge success last year. Everybody asked us about it all year so we figured we better bring it back," said Bryan Winoski, owner of Appalachian Tails Pet Company, and WinterFest organizer.

The event also included a wine tasting and food truck. Pet-themed arts and crafts, a puppy playgroup, and free samples and sales of pet supplies lured people, and their pets into the store.

"We like to be a partner with people who have dogs and cats. So, we think of ourselves as partners more than just a retail store,” said Winoski.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut
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Suffield Police Arrest Man Wanted on Felony Burglary Charges


Suffield police and Southwick, Mass. police arrested a man wanted as a fugitive from justice Friday.

Suffield police said the suspect, 32-year-old Kyle Mitchell of East Hartland, Conn., was wanted on an arrest warrant out of Southwick for 12 counts of felony burglary.

Suffield police arrested Mitchell in the area of 972 Sheldon Street. He was taken into custody without incident, police said, and held on a $100,000 bond. He is scheduled to appear in court on Feb. 6.

Mitchell was also charged with operating motor vehicle under suspension.

Photo Credit: Suffield Police Department

How Frederick Douglass Became a Trend This Week


Frederick Douglass — the black 19th century journalist, dedicated feminist, and radical activist — might not be the most obvious cultural touchstone for President Donald Trump, NBC News reported.

And yet the president made the civil rights icon uniquely relevant again this past week by name-checking him — in present-tense terminology — during a sit down with African-American supporters at the White House on the first day of Black History Month.

"Frederick Douglass is an example of someone who's done an amazing job and is being recognized more and more, I noticed," he said on February 1st, without elaborating with details.

Photo Credit: AP

Former Cobalt Postmaster Accused of Trying to Mail Drugs


The former postmaster at the Cobalt Post office in East Hampton is accused of sending and receiving packages with what he thought were drugs at the post office, according to investigators.

Gregory Sturges, 49, of Bristol, is charged with criminal attempt to possess LSD, psilocybin and other narcotics.

His arrest stems from an investigation by Connecticut State Police and the US Postal Service Office of Inspector General.

Police said that in July of 2016 a confidential informant provided investigators with information on Sturges. That informant said Sturges voluntarily approached them about assisting in mailing illicit substances in exchange for cash or cocaine.

According to court documents, police used the confidential informant to do a sting operation, where that person went to the post office to mail fake LSD and Psilocybin mushroom material to an undercover address in Florida

Court documents state that Sturges took the unpackaged items from the informant, and packed what he believed to be illegal drugs for them.

The affidavit said that on another occasion Sturges even organized a name and address to have the packaged drugs sent to, so he could intercept them, then give them to the informant.

NBC Connecticut reached out to USPS and a spokesperson from the Officer of Inspector General there told us in a statement: “At this time, Gregory Sturges is still on the rolls with the Postal Service, but is not handling mail or working with customers.”

Sturges is out on bond. NBC Connecticut did reach out to him for comment but has yet to hear back. He’s scheduled back in court on February 28.

Photo Credit: Connecticut State Police

Cypress Restaurant in Middletown to Close After 80 Years


After 80 years in business, a Middletown restaurant will close its doors at the end of the month.

Joe Carta and his identical twin Jim have spent their entire lives dedicated to their family's Cypress Restaurant on South Main Street. The business was opened by their parents in 1936.

Joe said he and his brother are planning to retire and their last day will be Feb. 26 The public is welcome to attend a party they plan to hold on that night.

For years the restaurant has served as a local hangout and family-friendly restaurant with live music and regulars who have been coming for years.

The Cartas have sold the business to Fred Marcantonio, founder of Sliders Grill & Bar, who plans to open another one of his popular chain restaurants.

For more information on Cypress visit their website.

Trump Protesters Block Streets in New Haven


Protesters opposing President Donald Trump’s immigration policies blocked traffic on the Route 34 connector and backed it up near exit 1 on Interstate 91 in New Haven, according to an NBC Connecticut crew on scene.

A group of approximately 100 protesters took to the streets Saturday afternoon, at one point blocking traffic on the Route 34 connector. Local and state police responded to move the marchers to the side of the road to clear a path for traffic.

Protesters said they wanted to make a statement against a list of grievances including concerns with the new Trump administration.

“This administration is attacking the people and this is a unity demonstration. Like we bring in the Latinos, that white people, the black, the Muslim, to work together,” said protest organizer John Lugo.

Protesters said several people were arrested. Connecticut state police confirmed there were several arrests but details were not immediately available.

Rallies protesting President Donald Trump’s policies on immigration continued across the country Saturday even after a federal judge blocked the order Friday and the Department of Homeland Security and the State Department announced they were not enforcing the order.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Man Arrested After Toddler Brought to Hospital With Burns


A Rocky Hill man is being held on $100,000 bond after a toddler was brought to the hospital with serious burns Saturday morning. 

According to authorities, the Rocky Hill fire Marshal’s office was alerted after a two year old brought to Connecticut Children’s Medical Center with serious burns, originally reported to as being caused by an electrical fire.

Rocky Hill police and fire departments were also alerted and said they responded to the Cold Springs Road apartment and to the hospital to investigate.

According to police, during the investigation, detectives learned statements and evidence taken from witnesses, the apartment and the hospital were inconsistent.

Police said the investigation led them to the last adult to have contact with the toddler, and resulted in the arrest of 27-year-old Michael Shamel Davis.

David is charged with risk of injury to a minor, reckless endangerment in the 2nd degree, interfering with police, tampering with evidence, arson in the 3rd degree and issuing a false statement. He is being held on $100,000 bond and is due in New Britain Superior Court on Monday, February 6.

Police said the incident is under investigation by the department’s criminal investigation unit, the fire marshal’s office and DCF. Anyone with information regarding this incident should contact the Rocky Hill Police Department at 860-258-7640. 

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Va. Student Allowed Back in US After Travel Order Blocked


A Libyan student at George Mason University who was banned from reentering the United States under President Donald Trump's executive order is back in Virginia after a federal judge's ruling to block the order.

Najwa Elyazgi was on an airplane when President Trump signed the executive order a week ago. By the time she connected in Istanbul to fly back to the Washington, D.C. area, she was told she couldn't board.

"It cannot be described. It's very difficult to go through this. I literally just didn't know what to do," said Elyazgi, a senior at GMU. "I mean, it's my future. It's my last year."

Elyazgi said when she was stuck in Turkey she panicked and researched other schools outside the U.S. she could attend.

"I searched for other universities, tried to apply to different places because I [thought I] may never be back here again and I want to finish my bachelor's degree," she told News4.

"I think at times it's been an emotional roller coaster for her not knowing whether she was wanted here in the U.S.," her attorney Kevin George said.

On Friday, a federal judge in Washington state temporarily blocked the ban.

Visa holders from seven majority-Muslim countries affected by Trump's travel ban hurried to board U.S.-bound flights Saturday, fearing they might have only a slim window through which to enter the country. Elyazgi has a student visa.

After a week of being in limbo, Elyazgi arrived to Dulles International Airport on Saturday.

"The nightmare's over," she said. "I'm glad I'm finally here."

Elyazgi said she was heartened by the welcome she received and the thousands of people who have protested the immigration order.

"I felt loved. The American people are really nice. They stand for others," she said.

Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring was at the airport to greet her. He had been in court in Alexandria Friday as the state joined a lawsuit to block Trump's immigration order.

"I thought it was really important to welcome her back and let her know we are glad she's back in Virginia, glad she's gonna be back at George Mason and we're gonna work to get other Virginia residents back as well," Herring said. 

Elyazgi is studying international relations. She said she hopes to one day improve diplomacy between Libya and the United States.

Neighbors Dread Super Bowl Party at 'Marijuana Mansion'


When cannabis businessman "BigMike" Straumietis asked his social media followers to guess who's throwing "the most gangster Super Bowl Party in Hollywood?," those who've been paying attention knew it would be at the gated sprawling hillside estate he calls his "Marijuana Mansion."

His Skyline Drive neighbors figured it out when the trucks full of party equipment began arriving the first of the week, continuing every day since.

"Anybody can have a party," said Ilse Speck, who moved into the Laurel Hills neighborhood three decades before Straumeitis and is more than a little peeved by his party style. "But hundreds and hundreds of strangers? And you advertise it on social media?"

Straumieitis made a fortune through his company Advanced Nutrients, which sells products for hydroponic growing of marijuana, and reports annual sales of $90 million. A master of  promotion, he's known for his parties and for posting racy video of them online, showing acrobatic entertainment, lavish spreads of food and drink, and cannabis being enjoyed, often by attractive and sometimes only slightly-clothed women.

"Are you getting plenty of feed and plenty of weed?" BigMike can be heard asking his guests on the video of his first big party at the Skyline Drive Marijuana Mansion last summer.

By all accounts, that party drew more than 500 guests.  By some counts, way more.

By some neighbors' accounts, even with valet parking and shuttle buses, it choked their Laurel Hills community with traffic congestion, and left behind mounds of trash in streets, sidewalks and yards.

Several neighbors say that is the main reason they dread the Super Bowl Party, though even in post-Prop 64 California, some acknowledge they are not comfortable with the images of cannabis being partaken so freely by so many guests.

"You're basically setting up a de facto marijuana dispensary in a residential neighborhood," said Skyline Drive resident Todd Canty.

"It's very open what he's trying to portray there, the lifestyle, the actions," said neighbor Alex Palermo. "People are not going up there just to watch the Super Bowl and have a couple of cheeseburgers."

A representative for BigMike insisted only those with a valid medical marijuana card are served, and that all is done legally. The rep said Straumietis was busy Friday and not available to discuss his event, but responded with a statement emphasizing the Super Bowl fest is a personal party at his residence.

"BigMike and his friends support a great and honored American pastime and wish to do this once again in the privacy of his own home," the statement concluded.

Whether or not the differences could be resolved with dialogue, neighbors have been pushing Los Angeles city officials to intercede. The city did deny a request for a permit to set up an outdoor stage, according to the office of Fourth District Councilman David Ryu. Some residents remained disappointed the city could not stop the party, or limit the number of guests.

Last fall the City Council approved a Ryu motion calling for an ordinance to regulate so-called "party houses." The drafting of that ordinance has yet to be completed by the City Attorney's Office.  Regardless, it's not clear if it would apply to the Marijuana Mansion situation, where the person hosting the parties holds what is believed to be a long-term lease on the property

Neighbors cringing at the prospect of the "gangster" Super Bowl party acknowledge they had been optimistic when they heard last year that the property had been leased, and thought that would end what they saw as a pattern of random parties thrown by different hosts.

"Now my neighbor is the Marijuana Don at the Marijuana Mansion," said Palermo, who declined an invitation to attend the August party, and was not invited to Sunday's.

BigMike had been planning a year end party, but the day it was scheduled came during wet weather and a power outage, and that party never took place, several of the neighbors said. They noted seeing a large generator being delivered to the Marijuana Mansion this past week.

Photo Credit: "BigMike" Straumietis

Best Job? Smithsonian Museum Taps New Beer Historian


NBC's Kevin Tibbles introduces the Smithsonian's new Beer Historian and reveals how she was tapped for the coveted career.

Historic Farmington Home Seriously Damaged by Fire


Fire severely damaged a home in Farmington early Sunday morning while the homeowners were vacationing in Virginia, according to fire officials.

Firefighters responded to a call of a fire on Route 10 before 3:30 a.m. Sunday morning. Fire officials said that when crews arrived the entire road was blacked out with smoke and they had to shut down the road.

“When they arrived the entire road was completely blocked with smoke. The building was almost hard to see because the smoke was so thick, and when they got closer to the building and opened the door they realized that the fire was just too intense inside so they went into a defensive mode and they fought the fire from the outside of the building,” said Mary-Ellen Harper, the Farmington Director of Fire and Rescue Services.

It took crews around two and a half hours to put the fire out.

The homeowners were on vacation when the fire broke out and no one was inside, officials said. Officials have been in contact with the residents and they are heading home. Until then, investigators can’t get inside the home to continue the investigation.

Officials said the fire did so much damage it could take days to determine the cause. At this point, authorities don’t even know where the fire started.

The home, which is considered historic, was built in 1875 and was known as the Henry Lewis House.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Mansfield Restaurant Closed After Small Fire


A Mansfield restaurant is closed Sunday after a minor fire, officials said.

Emergency crews responded to a fire at Toast Four Corners Restaurant at 625 Middle Turnpike in Mansfield around 8:30 a.m. Mutual aid from other area departments was also called.

When crews arrived on scene they found smoke coming out of the walls and discovered a small fire inside the wall.

The restaurant was occupied at the time of the fire but no one was injured.

The restaurant posted on its Facebook page that it will be closed for the next few days while it assesses the damage and determines a timeline for reopening.

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New Yorkers Scrub Swastikas Off Subway Train


New Yorkers stick together through thick and thin — that's why a group of subway passengers worked together to erase swastikas and anti-Semitic phrases scrawled on a subway car.

Gregory Locke, an attorney based in Harlem, was heading home from dinner Saturday evening and boarded an uptown 1 train at the 50th Street station near Broadway.

As soon as he stepped into the train car, the 27-year-old said he felt something was off. The atmosphere was uncharacteristically quiet. He then saw the swastikas and anti-Semitic phrases scrawled on the train walls in black marker. 

A Facebook post on Locke's page shows photos of the graffiti and passengers scrubbing the car windows and subway maps to remove it.

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A few moments after the train pulled out of the station, a passenger suggested using hand sanitizer to remove the Sharpie graffiti.

"One guy got up and said, 'Hand sanitizer gets rid of Sharpie. We need alcohol.' He found some tissues and got to work," Locke wrote.

By the time the train arrived at the 66th Street-Lincoln Center subway station, not a trace of the offensive symbols were left.

About two to three people wiped off the markings, while others helped by getting tissues and whatever else they could, Locke said. Some were silent, but no one was unsupportive.

"I've never seen so many people simultaneously reach into their bags and pockets looking for tissues and Purel. Within about two minutes, all the Nazi symbolism was gone," he wrote.

He says at least two swastikas were scribbled on every window, at least two per door, with at least 20 markings in total. He said he tried to get a glimpse at neighboring cars, but couldn't say with certainty if there were any other similar instances.

One of the phrases written on the doors read "Destroy Israel, Heil Hitler."

A Texan woman riding in the same car said she's never before had to deal with a situation like the one she encountered Saturday night and was visibly shaken. Another passenger suggested that instances like this have become the norm since President Donald Trump took office a few weeks ago.

"No sir, it's not," Locke responded in the post. "Not tonight and not ever. Not as long as stubborn New Yorkers have anything to say about it."

Record Number Sign up for Run for Refugees in New Haven


Sunday in New Haven, runners raced toward their goal of helping refugees of war-torn nations start a new life in Connecticut.

Integrated Refugee and Immigrant Services or IRIS, has been holding the Run for Refugees for a decade.

This year, the Run for Refugees raised more money than ever before, with a record number of people participating.

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In 2016, 1,100 people took part. This year, organizers had to cap participation at 2,500. IRIS Executive Director and race founder, Chris George, said they were closing in on the $200,000 mark before the race even began. He said that was more money raised than the previous nine years combined.

“People were motivated to come out and show their support when the executive orders were signed last Friday,” said George, referring to the President’s controversial decision to stop accepting Syrian refugees and immigrants from six other nations.

Laura and James Kaiser brought their children to the race and said there was a lesson to be learned by participating.

“I was talking to my daughters this morning about you never know when you need help. It could come all different places. Not just home, it could come from across the planet,” said their mother.

“We could help veterans and we could help other people but I think it’s also that we have enough resources to help people from other countries who need our help as well,” added her husband.

Nineteen-year-old Walie Al Abs is one of five children who settled with his parents in Glastonbury last July with the help of IRIS.

“This is so good for me because for my future. Syria now war. It’s no good. I know the life in Syria now is so bad,” he explained.

George says IRIS will use the money raised through the race to help refugees find housing, education, and other needs.

After the run, the March for Refugees was held. Participants walked from Wilbur Cross High School to the New Haven Green, showing their support for the cause.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Trump Protesters Gather in New Haven for Second Day Straight


For the second day in a row protesters gathered in New Haven to demonstrate against President Trump’s policies on refugees Sunday.

The event, named the March for Refugees by organizers, started at Wilbur Cross High School around noon and followed the IRIS Run for Refugees, an annual event to raise awareness and funds to help refugees who settle in Connecticut each year.

A varierty of officials and refugee activists were in attendance, including Mayor Toni Harp, Senator Richard Blumenthal, IRIS Head Chris George, and several refugee families from Syria, Iraq and Sudan.

On Saturday, another group of protesters blocked the Route 34 connector and police made several arrests. 

Rallies protesting President Donald Trump’s policies on immigration continued across the country this weekend even after a federal judge blocked the order Friday and the Department of Homeland Security and the State Department announced they were not enforcing the order. The Justice Department fought back - requesting an immediate reinstatement of the president's ban, but that request was denied by a federal appeals court.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates. 

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Fire Damages Office Building at East Canaan Campground


Multiple departments responded to a fire at the Lone Oak campground in East Canaan Sunday.

Norfolk fire officials said the fire happened at the main office building at the campground site at 360 Canaan Norfolk Road, which houses offices and bathroom facilities. No injuries were reported.

It was not immediately clear how extensive the damage was or what caused the fire.

Check back for updates.

Photo Credit: Norfolk CT FDEMS
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