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Woman Dies in Norwalk House Fire


A woman is dead after a house fire in Norwalk Sunday morning and hoarding conditions in the home made it difficult for firefighters to reach her, according to fire officials.

Officials that the fire broke out on Bettswood Road around 7 a.m. Crews had trouble reaching the woman because of "extreme hoarding conditions" in the home. Officials said every room was filled with junk and in some rooms the debris almost reached the ceiling. Firefighters crawled on top of the trash to locate the victim, according to fire officials.

When firefighters found the victim they started CPR and she was taken to Norwalk Hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

The victim has not been identified.

No one else was inside at the time of the fire. No firefighters reported any injuries.

State Fire Marshalls were called in to help investigate. The cause of the fire is unknown at this time.

Photo Credit: NBC 7 San Diego

Employees Fired After Joining Day Without Immigrants Protest


More than 100 employees across the country were fired from their jobs after skipping work to take part in last week's "Day Without Immigrants" demonstration, NBC News reports.

A company in Tennessee laid off 18 employees after they participated in the nationwide demonstration on Thursday, NBC4 reported.

The company's attorney, Robert Peal, said in a statement obtained by the news station that all employees were told they risked termination if they skipped work.

Two employees in Florida claimed they were fired from their positions at Grace Community School, according to NBC2, though the head of the school insists no one was terminated.

At Ben's Kosher Delicatessen Restaurant & Caterers in Long Island, New York, 25 workers were fired Friday when they returned to work, according to Telemundo 47.

Last week's nationwide "Day Without Immigrants" protests were aimed at showcasing the impact immigrants have on the U.S. economy.

Photo Credit: LM Otero/AP

Email Shows Kushner's Stricter Approach on Ethics Than Trump


The Trump administration has struggled with ethics vetting for Cabinet nominees and faced criticism for the president's decision to remain invested in his business empire. When Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump's son-in-law, prepared to enter the White House, however, the administration sought to do it by the book.

That is the picture established by new emails, obtained by MSNBC, showing how Kushner's lawyers worked on a divestment plan to avoid conflicts by conferring with the Office of Government Ethics.

Walter Shaub, the ethics office director who publicly criticized Trump and drew the ire of house Republicans, appeared heartened by the plans submitted by Kushner's team.

"The process was good here," said Norm Eisen, an ethics expert who is suing the Trump administration.

Kathleen Clark, an ethics expert at Washington University Law School, agreed there was a "striking contrast" between the approach of Kushner and other Trump officials.

Photo Credit: AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais

One Taken to Hospital After Crash on I-95 North in Guilford


One person was taken to the hospital after a crash that closed Interstate 95 north in Guilford early Monday morning.

Connecticut state police said the highway was shut down between exits 59 and 61 because of a one-car crash around 1 a.m. Monday. One person, who was not identified, was taken Yale-New Haven Hospital with undisclosed injuries.

The highway was shut down following the crash but has since reopened.

Photo Credit: Connecticut Department of Transportation

Drought Conditions Persist Despite Several Winter Storms


Most of northwestern Connecticut remains in extreme drought, despite several recent storms that brought significant precipitation to the state.

According to the latest US Drought Monitor report, released Feb. 16, 28.39 percent of the state remains in extreme drought. That’s down from the numbers reported at the start of the year, but shows no change from the week before, even after heavy snowfall during a storm on Feb. 9 and two smaller storms shortly after.

More than two thirds of the state remain under severe or extreme drought.

Drought conditions in the state forced several areas to institute mandatory water restrictions. Though some cities and towns have lifted restrictions, the state’s reservoirs are still low.

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Water companies are requesting that customers conserve by doing things like taking shorter showers, only running washing machines and dishwashers when they’re full, and turning off the water while doing things like brushing your teeth or shaving.

Fixing any leaky plumbing can also reduce water waste.

Photo Credit: US Drought Monitor

Old Lyme Pens Letter Asking Government to Abandon Rail Plan


Leaders of Old Lyme want the federal government to give up on building a new high-speed rail line through their town.

Their opposition has already prompted a major change to the plan.

“I think a lot of people in town historically want to keep the buildings and neighborhoods the way they are,” Tonja Houle of Old Lyme, said.

And that’s part of why town leaders recently fired off a letter to the Federal Railroad Administration.

It says “irreparable harm” could be done if a new bypass is constructed through the town as part of improvements to the Northeast Corridor line.

“What it would gain to me doesn’t seem worth all the construction projects,” John Turick of Old Lyme, said.

After local and state backlash, the Tier 1 Final Environmental Impact Statement calls for building a tunnel from Old Saybrook to East Lyme near Interstate 95, instead of an above-ground track right through Old Lyme’s historic district.

But the new idea has only unearthed more concerns.

“We have the beautiful Connecticut River estuary between us and Old Saybrook on the other side. That’s one major concern. Plus going underneath the town is not always a simple fix. You have to worry about noise and vibration,” Bonnie Reemsnyder, Old Lyme First Selectwoman, said.

The town said the uncertainty over a potential new rail line has sent shudders through its real estate market.

Last year sales were down nearly a third and prices were off 13 percent.

That’s despite New London County overall seeing increases.

“Many realtors have told us they aren’t able to sell homes in the village area for months now,” Reemsnyder said.

The Railroad Administration says improvements to the 457-mile long line will increase capacity, improve reliability and performance, and reduce travel times.

But it comes at a cost of upwards of $128 billion.

The town believes money would be better spent on improving the current line.

“I think the bypass going through southeastern Connecticut is very difficult for all of the communities along the shore,” Reemsnyder said.

The Railroad Administration is expected to make its decision sometime after March 1.

Approving this conceptual plan is just the first step in a long process which could take several decades before the project is finished.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Crews Search for Missing Kayaker on Thames River


Emergency crews are searching for a Montville man who has been reported missing after going kayaking on the Thames River in the Montvlle and Ledyard area yesterday.

Connecticut state police said family members reported Lyle Dagenais, 31, missing to Montville police around 11:30 p.m. Sunday when he didn’t return from a fishing trip.

The family told police Dagenais left home around 11 a.m. with three fishing poles, a tackle box and a gray and orange 11-foot kayak.

Dagenais’ vehicle was found at a boat launch in Montville, but the boat and fishing poles were missing.

Multiple agencies, including Ledyard and Montville police, the United States Coast Guard, Navy Police, Connecticut State Police and Gales Ferry and Montville fire crews are searching the river and surrounding area for Dagenais. The command post is on Dock Street in Montville.

The U.S. Coast Guard said they had a helicopter involved in the search. Connecticut state police said Trooper 1 is also flying to assist in the search.

Dagenais is 5-foot-8, 140 pounds, clean-shaven with brown hair. He was last seen wearing a gray “I love NY” hooded sweatshirt, dark pants and hiking boots. He might also be wearing a hat.

Anyone with information or who thinks they spot Dagenais is asked to call state police Troop E at 860-848-6500.

Check back for updates.

Photo Credit: Connecticut State Police and NBCConnecticut.com

Russia Compiling Dossier on Trump's Mind: Former Official


A dossier profiling the mind of President Donald Trump is being prepared for Russian President Vladimir Putin, a former senior Kremlin adviser tells NBC News.

Among the report's preliminary conclusions is that Trump takes risks but can be naive, the adviser said.

"Very serious preparatory work is going on in the Kremlin, including a paper — seven pages — describing a psychological portrait of Trump, especially based on this last two to three months, and the last weeks," said former Deputy Foreign Minister Andrei Fedorov, who says he has known Trump since 2000.

It's part of Putin's planning for his first meeting with Trump, the date for which has yet to be decided.

Photo Credit: Getty Images, File

Drug Dealer Comes Calling to Collect, Winds up Arrested: PD


Connecticut state police have arrested a man accused of dealing drugs after a report of two unwanted men at a property in Stafford.

Police said around 5:40 p.m. Sunday they responded to a caller who said there were two unwanted men on his property and he was concerned about his safety. According to police, troopers discovered that one of the men was the victim’s drug dealer and he was there to collect money he was owed.

Police located the suspect, Steven Morello, 36, ina vehicle on Route 30 near Route 140. In the vehicle police found several grams of crack cocaine, an expandable baton and ash.

Morello was charged with distribution of controlled substances less than 1500 feet from a school, weapons in a vehicle, carrying and sale of dangerous weapons, breach of peace and use of drug paraphernalia. He was held on a $10,000 bond and scheduled to appear in court on March 7.

Photo Credit: Connecticut State Police

Car Hits Pedestrian in Hartford

Gov. Proposes Bill to Eliminate Alcohol Pricing Regulations


Gov. Dannel Malloy has submitted a proposal to eliminate minimum price laws on alcohol.

Under the current law, which was adopted in 1981, retail stores must sell alcohol at prices set by liquor wholesalers.

The governor said this law results in unnecessarily high prices for consumers. According to the governor’s office, Connecticut is the only state in the country with such a law and it forces prices higher than prices for the same products in other states, which means Connecticut residents are either paying more or traveling out to state to make purchases.

“Because of this law, business owners have fewer rights in determining the operations of their businesses, and consumers are forced to pay artificially inflated, high prices for products that are sold at a substantially lower price nearly everywhere else. Let the businesses determine the prices for these products, not the government,” the governor said in a statement.

The governor also pointed to a report that a Massachusetts store chain used the price discrepancy in advertising to draw Connecticut residents to their locations across the border.

This is not the first time the governor has pushed to change the regulations - he proposed a similar bill last year.

Independent liquor stores have opposed repealing the law in the past, saying they need the minimum pricing laws so they can compete with big box stores and stay in business.

The legislation is Senate Bill 789 An Act Concerning the Regional Competitiveness of Connecticut’s Alcoholic Liquor Prices. And has been referred to the General Law Committee for consideration. Click here to read the full text of the bill.


Benny's in Waterford to Close at the End of the Month


Neighborhood retailer Benny’s is closing its location in Waterford, according to a sign posted on the store’s door.

According to the notice, the store located at 40 Boston Post Road will permanently close its doors on Feb. 28 at 5 p.m.

“We would like to thank you for being a loyal customer. It has been our pleasure serving this community for over 80 years,” the sign read.

Benny's began as a tire stand in Providence Rhode Island and expanded into a chain retailer with over 30 stores in three states. It sells a variety of merchandise, from toys to housewares to electronics.

Other Connecticut locations, including the ones in nearby Groton, Norwich and Old Saybrook, remain open.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Hartford Car Fire Appears to Be Intentional: Police


Police responded to a car fire in Hartford and said it appears the fire was intentionally set.

Officers responded to Bartholomew Avenue just 12:30 a.m. Monday and found a charred vehicle.

Police said crews from the Hartford Fire Department and the fire marshal’s office responded and are investigating.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

'Not My Presidents Day' Rallies Held Across US


Presidents Day means a day off for many across the United States, and hundreds of people in cities from New York to Los Angeles were using it to send a message to the current occupant of the White House. 

"Not My Presidents Day" rallies were being held in at least a dozen cities Monday, continuing a weekend of demonstrations aimed at speaking out against President Donald Trump's policies and actions.

The rallies in Chicago and New York were held near the Trump International Hotel in both cities, each drawing hundreds of people.

Two people at the Los Angeles rally outside city hall interviewed on MSNBC said they came because they find Trump purposely divisive and untruthful.

A march and rally in Atlanta was called "ImPEACH NOW," a reference to the state fruit, and NBC affiliate WXIA reported that the march stretched five miles. 

Hundreds or thousands of people were expected at each rally. There were no reports of arrests at any rally as of 3:30 p.m. ET. 

Earlier in the long weekend, demonstrators nationwide had rallied against Immigrations and Customs Enforcement raids, while New York City held a rally in support of Muslim Americans and scientists rallied in Boston urging Trump to recognize climate change and tackle environmental issues.

With five straight days of rallies and demonstrations, and more planned for future weeks, some activists are warning of potential "resistance fatigue." As NBC News reports, the "trendiness" of talk about "resistance fatigue" can be traced to a Medium essay published in January by Google engineer Yonatan Zunger, who wondered if tiring out Americans was the motivation behind Trump's nearly nonstop battery of executive orders. 

"It wouldn't surprise me if the goal is to create 'resistance fatigue,' to get Americans to the point where they're more likely to say, 'Oh, another protest? Don't you guys ever stop?' relatively quickly," wrote Zunger. 

That fatigue doesn't appear to have set in yet; still, some movement leaders are preemptively urging demonstrators to manage their energy and get enough sleep, among other things.

"This work is exhausting," Linda Sarsour, Executive Director of the Arab American Association of New York and one of four national organizers of the January 21 Women's March, told NBC News, and "under this administration it's proving difficult to take care of our physical and emotional well being."

"But we must," Sarsour added, "Because this is not a sprint, it's a marathon."

Sarsour has used Twitter to remind her 173,000 followers to take care of themselves and "EAT, DRINK WATER."

Trump was at his Florida estate, Mar-a-Lago, on Monday, from where he announced that he'd tapped Army Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster to fill the role of National Security Adviser, which the resignation of Michael Flynn left vacant.

He didn't address the rallies, but did tweet "HAPPY PRESIDENTS DAY - MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!" along with another tweet reiterating his claim that Sweden is being hurt by immigration. It is based on a Fox News report and refuted by many in the nation.

Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images

Taste of Hartford Restaurant Week Begins


Taste of Hartford is underway and the foodie celebration is going on for two weeks.

Twenty four restaurants are participating in the event, which starts today and goes through March 5 and they are offering a prix fixe menu. Most of the menus are for $20.17 or $30.17, depending on where you go and what you’re having.

bin228 Price: $30.17 Call: (860) 244-9463 

Black-Eyed Sally’s. Call: (860) 278-7427 Make reservations online here.  

The Capital Grille. Call (860) 244-0075. Make reservations online here

Carbone’s Call: (860) 296-9646. Make reservations online here

City Steam Brewery. Price: $20.17. Call: (860) 525-1600 

Costa Del Sol. Price: $30.17. Call: (860) 296-1714

Coyote Flaco Call: (860) 953-1299

Ficara’s Restaurant Price: $20.17 Call: (860) 296-3238

Firebox Price: $30.17. Call: (860) 246-1222 Make reservations online here.  

First & Last Tavern Price: $20.17. Call: (860) 956-6000

Francesco’s Ristorante & Lounge Price: $30 Call: (860) 296-3024

J Restaurant & Bar Price: $20.17 or $30.17 (860) 527-7764

Max Downtown Price: $30.17 per person (860) 522-2530 Make reservations online here.

Nutshell Café (860) 956-2836

On20 Call: (860) 722-5161 Make reservations online here

Peppercorns. Price: $20.17. Call: (860) 547-1714 Make reservations online here

Republic at the Linden Price: $30.17 Call: (860) 310-3269

Salute Price: $20.17. Call: (860) 899-1350

Siam Hartford Price: $20.17 Call: (860) 727-1088

Ted’s Montana Grill Price: $30.17 Call: (860) 692-1167

Trinity Restaurant Price: $30.17 Call: (860) 728-9822

Trumbull Kitchen: Price: $30.17 Call: (860) 493-7412. Make reservations online here. 

U.S.S. Chowder Pot IV Call: (860) 244-3311

VIVO $30.17 (860) 760-2333 Make reservations online here. 

Hartford is not the only Connecticut city or town celebrating restaurant week.

Danbury Restaurant Week runs from Feb. 20 to 26 

Fairfield Restaurant Week runs from Feb. 27 to March 5 

Greater Orange Restaurant Week runs from Feb. 26 to March 12

Ridgefield Restaurant Week runs from Feb. 20 to 27 

Stamford Restaurant Week runs from Feb. 17 to March 2 

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

JFK Airport Security Breach


Authorities are investigating a security breach at John F. Kennedy Airport Monday morning in which 11 people went through checkpoints at John F. Kennedy Airport without being screened Monday morning, with three of them setting off metal detectors, TSA and Port Authority officials say.

An airport official and a senior law enforcement official said at 6:05 a.m. Monday at Terminal 5 the TSA left a security lane open but unattended by screeners.

The TSA confirmed in a statement that "early reports indicate 3 passengers did not receive required secondary screening after alarming the walk through metal detector." The agency said that all the travelers' carry-on bags received the required screening. 

The TSA didn't notify police of the possible breach until about two hours later, according to law enforcement sources.

Police then canvassed the JetBlue terminal using photos and video screen grabs but could not locate any of the 11 passengers, and the travelers were presumed to have boarded their various flights, according to Port Authority police spokesman Joe Pentangelo. Three of them have been identified as passengers on California-bound flight, and they're expected to be screened there once they land. 

Port Authority police say they'll continue to work with federal authorities to identify and locate the other eight pesssangers. 

The TSA's statement said they are "confident" that the reported breach does not threaten the security of the screening system.

"TSA works with a network of security layers both seen and unseen," the agency said. "We are confident this incident presents no threat to the aviation transportation system. Once our review is complete, TSA will discipline and retrain employees as appropriate."

Photo Credit: NBC 4 NY./Getty Images
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SCSU Swimmer With Autism Comes in 2nd in Mile


Tyler Steskla, a junior from Cheshire, says swimming changed his life. He has autism and says the sport has helped him connect with others. On Sunday, the Southern Connecticut State University who has gone the extra mile in life came in second in the 1650 free, or mile race, in the NE10. 

Steskla was diagnosed with autism when he was 3 years old and didn’t speak his first sentence until he was 4. The Southern Connecticut State University student says swimming has given him the connection to his fellow athletes that helps him connect with them. 

Sunday, he finished second in the 1650 free, or mile race, in a time of 16:14.45. 

In case you missed the story Kevin Nathan did on Tyler last year, you can watch it here. 

Photo Credit: Southern Connecticut State University

Police Investigating Stabbing in Norwich


Police are investigating a stabbing in Norwich. 

As officers were responding to 99 Franklin St. at noon Monday to investigate a report of a fight in progress, a second caller reported that a person had been stabbed. 

Police said they found male victim with a stab wound and he was transported to William W. Backus Hospital. Police said the victim’s injuries are not life-threatening.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Trump Picks McMaster as National Security Adviser


President Donald Trump announces Army Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster as his pick for national security adviser at Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Fla., Feb. 20, 2017.

Coast Guard Warns About Cold Water Despite Warmer Air Temps


While the spring-like temperatures may have warmed the air over the weekend, it takes a lot more than two days in the 60s to get the water to climb out of the 30s.

"When water's this cold, survivability goes down," said Nicole Picklo, an Operations Specialist for the Coast Guard Sector Long Island Sound. "So you need to pay attention to hypothermia, frost bite, things of that nature."

With water temperatures between 32 and 40 degrees, it only takes 15-30 minutes to hit exhaustion or unconsciousness, and you only have a 30 to 90 minute window of expected survival.

"You lose mobility you don't have the dexterity that you normally would, so it's harder to do the simple little things because your muscles are all tightened up trying to keep that core temperature in as long as you can," Picklo said.

If you do want to get out on the colder water, experts warn you need to dress properly.

"Wet suits, even if it's just more jackets, sweater shirts, things of that nature to keep your body temperature warmer," Picklo said.

The Coast Guard always encourages everyone to have a float plan before heading out on any kind of boat. Go out in a group, have a method of communication, and let someone on land know your plan. Lastly, they say to always have a life vest.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut
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